Saturday, December 22, 2007


a merry christmas


a joyous and fruitful next year

to all our readers

Friday, December 21, 2007

and the first great record of 2008: Black Habit by Rings (formerly known as First Nation), out on Paw Tracks on January 15th.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

nuum talk

* dissensus thread started by Gabba Flamenco Crossover on dubstep's migration into the free party scene where its sloth and coldness mesh perfectly with the Ketamine-induced Katatonia that's long defined the squat-rave vibe, When the pharmasonic synergy kicks in and producers from that scene start to propel dubstep deep into the K-hole, will the genre's metabolism screw right down to... quarter-step?

* bassline: another piece by Hattie Collins, this time for RWD and letting the scene itself--deejays, producers, promoters, even vocalists--tell their own story.
plus K-punk on bassline's freakadelic fairground aesthetic (and re. erm, nongenitality,yeah, totally, the amorousness of bassline is utterly fantastical and hyper-real; nothing to do with real-world between-sheets carnality, more luvdup than love action.)

* Martin Clark convenes a clutch of movers and shakers in the London scene to assess the significance of funky house's ever-rising popularity in the capital; whether it is indeed a major "pendulu(nuu)m swing". Martin is surely right to argue that the most exciting phases are those periods of semantic indeterminacy before anyone can settle on a genre name, everything's still in flux, the sound has yet to arrive at itself. But the difference between this moment and grime's wot-u-call-it phase in 2003 was that then there was a very obviously new and highly significant entity that was simultaneously demanding to be called something and evading the nomenclative fix. Here it's much less clear if there's even an "it" that's sufficiently defined/different to require a "wot". "Funky" melts into other genres at every edge without establishing much sense of itself as a demarcated terrain of sound. And as Martin notes at a couple of points, "funky" isn't yet a great leap forward, or even sideways, musically; the sonic paradigm shift has yet to reveal itself. Lots of interesting points made during the discussion (e.g. the bit on reloads in grime--a classic example of going into the Zone of Fruitless Intensification, something that was incredibly exciting--the rewind--getting overdone to the point where there's a complete disruption of any flow) but at the end of reading it I felt as confused as its participants appeared to be!

Martin lays out what the shift constitutes more starkly in his Pitchfork summation of the year in grime and dubstep. Kudos for the coinage "reflectist" in this nub passage:

"...In the capital funky house is on the march into grime's London fanbase. Diametrically opposite to grime [feminine, escapist, "mature raver," warm, anodyne, danceable, tracky, DJ-focused, shoes/shirts versus masculine, reflectist, "yout," hard, raw, watchable, MC-focused, hoods/trainers], funky house shows every sign of becoming UK garage part 2. While the sound is fairly generic funky house now, the sound of every wine bar as it has been for over a decade, urban London has now got its hands on the genre. History has proven that when they do, it gets claimed for their own and quickly mutated."

That's the glass half-full view. The other outlook would be to see this latest return to 'dancing/4X4/girl-friendly/'adult hardcore'/dressing smart' not as a drastic swing/start-of-something-new a la 1997 and speed garridge, but as the wheel turning one complete revolution... and coming to a dead stop. Back to where 'we' started. Or before we started, even: pre-rave, pre-acieeed. The words 'house' and 'funky' have a lameness to them, a stale familiarity. They suggest a modesty of ambition, of demand.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


really felt (new)

Black Moth Super Rainbow, Dandelion Gum (Graveface)reviewed
The Good, the Bad and the Queen, The Good the Bad and the Queen (Honest Jon’s/Parlophone) reviewed
Panda Bear, Person Pitch (Paw Tracks)reviewed
Burial, Untrue (Hyperdub)reviewed
Sally Shapiro, Disco Romance (Paperbag)
Robert Wyatt, Comicopera (Domino)reviewed
Moon Wiring Club, An Audience of Art Deco Eyes (Gecophonic Audio Systems)preview reviewedThe Focus Group, We Are All Pan’s People (Ghost Box)
Neil Landstrumm, Restaurant of the Assassins (Planet Mu) reviewed

Nelly Furtado, "Say It Right"
TS7, “Smile”
Mr V feat Willis Rose, “What's Your Name”
J Holidays Vs T2, “Bed”
TRC featuring Zoe, “Why Can’t I Find Love”
Sally Shapiro, "I Know" and "Hold Me So Tight" and "He Keeps Me Alive"
Johnny Trunk & Wisbey, "Ladies Bras"
JTJ Productions, “Stand Up”
Rihanna, “Umbrella”
Peter Bjorn and John and Victoria, “Young Folks”
T2 Ft Jodie Aysha, "Heartbroken"
Mr V, “Hey Remix"
Mr V, “Jack In the Box”
Murkz, "Manny Man"
Davina, "Runaway (TRC Remix)"
Aaron, “Never Rush”
Addictive feat T2, “Gonna Be Mine”
Fulborn Teversham, "Beachtune"
DJ Denver, “This Is Sick”
TS7 & T Dot, “Ding Dong”
DJ Q feat MC Bonez’s “You Wot"
Feist, "My Moon, My Man"
Klaxons, “Golden Skans”
Battles, “Atlas”
Caliber Ft KayLee, "Can’t Sleep At Night"
Coki and Benga, "Nite"
Dre, "Whiplash"
Dizzee Rascal and Lily Allen, "Wanna Be"
Dial Tone featuring Danielle Senior, "Take it to The Dance Floor"
Mercury, "My All (TRC Remix)"

really felt: transatlantic release delays confusion category

Lady Sovereign, Public Warning (UK release)
Lily Allen, Alright, Still (US release)

felt (new)

DJ Q, 4X4 mix cd volume 6 (Q Recordings)
Battles, Mirrored (Warp) reviewed
Evan Lurie, music for The Backyardians
Klaxons, Myths of the Near Future reviewed
Kevin Ayers, The Unfairground (Lo-Max)reviewed
Arctic Monkeys, Favourite Worst Nightmare (Domino) reviewed
Britney Spears, Blackout (Jive)
Various, 200 (Planet Mu)
Jamie Duggan Flavas November.2007 (Nocturnal)
Xylitol, Error Bursts In Transmission (Pierogi)
The Caretaker, Deleted Scenes/Forgotten Dreams
Dizzee Rascal, Maths and English (XL)
Skull Disco, Soundboy Punishments (Skulldisco)
µ-Ziq, Duntisbourne Abbots Soulmate Devastation Technique (Planet Mu)
Epic45, May Your Heart Be The Map (Make Mine Music)
Liars, Liars (Mute)reviewed
Enter Shikari, Take to The Skies (Ambush Reality)reviewed
Pinch, Underwater Dancehall (instrumental version)(Tectonic)
The Octopus Project, Hello Avalanche (Peek-A-Boo Industries)
The Dirty Projectors, Rise Above (Dead Oceans)
Fulborn Teversham, Count Herbert II (Pickled Egg)
Fujiya & Miyagi, Transparent Things (Deaf Dumb and Blind Communications)
The Glimmers, Fabriclive.31
RVNG Prsents MXs Justine D
Naphta, Long Time Burning and Grande Illusions (The Fear Recordings)
James Murphy & Pat Mahoney, Fabriclive.36
Ghedalia Tazartes, Hysterie Off Music (Jardin Au Fou)
Alog, Amateur
Various, 200 (Planet Mu) review

Shackleton, "Blood on My Hands" and “Blood On My Hands (Villalobos Remix)
Dusk and Blackdown featuring Trim, “The Bits”
Timbaland, “The Way I Are”
Gang Gang Dance, Rawwar EP(The Social Registry)
Dizzee Rascal, "Pussyole" and "Sirens"
Subzero featuring Sasha, "Be With Me (VIP Remix)"


really felt (newly available)

Daphne Oram, Oramics (Paradigm)
Harmonia, Harmonia Live 1974 (Crowland)
Various, Now We Are Ten (Trunk) reviewed
Nico, The Frozen Borderline: 1968-1970 (Rhino)reviewed
The Black Dog, The Book of Dogma (Soma)reviewed
Fire Engines, Hungry Beat (Acute) reviewed
White Noise, An Electric Storm (Island)reviewed
Young Marble Giants, Colossal Youth (Domino)
Sun Ra, Disco 3000: The Complete Concert (Art Yard)
Dinosaur L, 24/24 Music (Sleeping Bag)
Joy Division, Unknown Pleasures: Collector’s Edition and Closer: Collector's Edition (Rhino)
Seefeel, Quique: Redux Edition (Too Pure)reviewed
Naphta, Sovereign Rhythms Vol. 1: A 1993-1995 Hardcore & Jungle Selection and Sovereign Rhythms Vol. 2 (
Droid & Slug, Timestretch Vol. 1: 92-93 (
Luigi Nono, Complete Works for Solo Tape (Ricordi Oggi)
Creel Pones

felt (newly available)

Annea Lockwood, Early Works 1967 to 1982 (EM)
Max Goldt, There Are Grapefruits To Be A Squeezed in the Dark (Grob / A-Musik)
Various, Mute Audio Documents (Mute)reviewed
Betty Davis, Betty Davis and They Say I'm Different (Lights in the Attic)
Vernon Elliott and the Vernon Elliott Ensemble, Ivor the Engine and Pogles Wood: the Original Television Music (Trunk)
Mount Vernon Arts Lab, The Séance At Hobs Lane (Ghostbox)
Alizera Mashayekhi/Ata Ebtekar aka Sote, Persian Electronic Music: Yesterday & Today 1966-2006 (SubRosa)
The Slits, Return of the Giant Slits (PYTT)
Cultural Amnesia, Press My Hungry Button (VOD-Records)


really felt (oldly available)

Gas, track 5, Konigsforst
Kraftwerk, "Autobahn", Autobahn
Harrison Birtwistle, "Chronometer"
Add N To (X), "Fyuz"
The Smiths, "Stretch Out and Wait", "Asleep", "Half A Person", "Rubber Ring", "You Just Haven't Earned It Yet Baby"
Henri Suguet, "Aspect Sentimental"
Basil Kirchin, "I Start Counting (Demo)"
Bulent Arel and Daria Semegen, Electronic Music For Dance
Trevor Wishart, Red Bird and Journey Into Space
Pierre Henry, "Granulometrie"
The Kinks, The Kinks Are The Village Preservation Society


not really felt

Von Sudenfed, Tromatic Reflexxions (Domino)
Justice, (Ed Banger)
LCD Sound System, Sound of Silver (DFA)
Animal Collective, Strawberry Jam (Domino)*

really not felt

Avenged Sevenfold, s/t (Rethug)reviewed

felt confused

Cosmic Dennis Greenidge, Giant Man, Giant Plan (Mordant Music)

Om, Pilgrimage (Southern Lord)**

Studio, West Coast ***

Pram, The Moving Frontier ****


felt (music-words)

Julian Cope, Japrocksampler (Bloomsbury)reviewed
Carl Wilson, Let's Talk About Love (Continuum 33 1/3)*****

felt (music-pictures)

Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten reviewed
Scott Walker: 30th Century Man reviewed
Feiern: Don't Forget to Go Home, reviewed



meeting Robert Wyatt at Hay

seeing Young Marble Giants play together for the first time in 20-plus at Hay

participating in the world won't listen by Phil Collins

meeting Malcolm McLaren after his British Consulate sponsored speech ("never trust a policeman... you must fail, fail brilliantly... etc") to UK record industry folk in NYC on their way to South By South West


* should probably give it another chance but offput by for the first time suddenly seeing why AC sometimes get compared to XTC...

* * hypnotic and mystical? or monotonous and hokey?

* * * S'nice. Niiiiice. Except, hmmm, rather a lot it sounds quite a lot like... World Party.

* * * * S'nice. Pleasant. Listenable, in a Band of Holy Joy dubstrumental meets Dammers circa In the Studio kinda way. But it's like some kind of memo went around the international hipsterati: Pram, massively relevant again. I mean, it's not like this decade's output is so vastly superior to the 93-96releases. If anything, the reverse.

* * * * *by the end of it though I was starting to think it's high time for a thorough-going critique of Bourdieu

Saturday, December 08, 2007

A piece by me on The Brit Box and the last twenty-plus years of UK guitarpop.

Edited down brutally by the missus and much the better for it I'm sure; I'll post the baggy, rambling, director's cut at the other place in due course.

UPDATE: original mega-long director's cut now up at ReynoldsRetro

Friday, December 07, 2007



into the unknown...

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Dirty North

Martin Clark and Alex Sushon separately chide me for not knowing that "showa" has been grime slang for a good few years now. Apparently it originally comes from an infamous Jamaican gang who like to boast about showering their enemies with bullets. (And there was I half-hoping "showa" had something to do with precipitation, or personal cleanliness, or strong water pressure). So "showa", it's a twist on "killer", as in "that tune's killer".

It's also ruthless-meaning-good. As in this track--

KMZ, "Showa Man Dub feat. As it is TV"

where the MC boasts: "I walk with my stick every day, I make it rain"

Listening to all these darkbass-roiling 4/4 tracks with MC-ing on, it's a bit like a rewind to the summer of 2002, being in London and hearing outfits like Black Ops and Horra Squad on the pirates. There's that same odd feeling of being simultaneously repelled and rapt, appalled and attracted. The rapping, fairly crappy; lyrics ugly with misogny and carnographic doggerel; beats thin and cheap, murda muzak. That summer it wasn't at all clear whether this was the absolute nadir of UKG (i.e. So Solid's afterbirth) or the start of Something New. As it turned out, all that proto-grime submusic turned out to be the No Limit to Dizzee/Wiley/etc's Cash Money. The shit out of which greatness grew.

Remember Sublo inventor Jon E. Cash and "Swallow"? C.f. this.

And oh look at this: KMZ, "Batty Man Dub feat. As it is TV". Horrible (at least T.O.K. had a great beat).

Meanwhile, the other strand of bassline--the poptastic R&B hyperdiva strand, now that is actually the drastic pendulum swing from yang to yin, testosterone to oestrogen, that I had always imagined would happen in reaction to grime, except it took so long to happen I gave up on it and just forgot. But here it is: the return to dance energy, groove, amorous vibes, "girls like this/this one's for the ladies massive/feminine pressure". I'd imagined it would happen as a some kind of resurgence of 2step. Well, on the rhythmic substructure level bassline is
4/4, but its whole upper chassis pretty much is 2step. Bassline of the ‘Heartbroken’/’Smile’/’Bed’/’Never Rush’/’Why Can’t I Find Love’ stripe is pure ‘Flowers’/’Destiny’/’My Desire’/’Sorry’. And as much as it's called "bassline", it's got that extreme treble thing that 2step had, that fizzy ultrabrite sound.

Back on the hard’n’dark tip:

Cool bass-riff on this track, sMoKio "Janno", it's like bassline, screwed

From the West Midlands, this sMoKio fellow is kinda like Pitman, but for real.

Or perhaps at one point he wanted to be the next Mike Skinner, judging by "Hooligan House"

But then check out this JTJ-produced track "Is You" ,with a proper video

Then there's MC Murkz, the guy who did "Night Showa". Check out his tune "Manny Man"--he's from Manchester (lyrical references to Gunchester)--and his mixtape Do the Maths Vol 1 via Smugpolice

You know what it is, all this MCs-over-4/4, bassline rap... It's the Dirty North. Like with rap starting in New York, grime started in London. But it diffused itself into the provinces, then mutated. The results sound backward to the originators, just like crunk and other Dirty South regional sounds seemed retarded and crude to rap custodians. But...

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

hauntological vibes in the area!

1/ Via Sit Down Man, a link to a blog that has an amazing docu-poem depiction of
the building of the BBC Television Centre in Shepherd’s Bush,
soundtracked marvelously by our friends in the Radiophonic Workshop

2/ Now, when I first saw this place I thought they'd got to be either ripping off, or ripping the piss out of, Ghostbox.

But apparently the chap behind The Blank Workshop, Ian Hodgson, came up with the Belbury-like idea of Clinkskell (tourist board here) independently of and in parallel with Jules et Jim. And Ghostbox are not only aware, they approve and appreciate.

The music by “Gecophonic Productions” aka Moon Wiring Club, is actually excellent: midway between the "proper tunes"/discernible style pasticherie of Belbury Poly/Advisory Circle and the disintegrated oneiroscapes of The Focus Group and Eric Zann.

Check out the track “Ghost Radio” here

under the willow.. under the oak… under the elm, the treacherous elm

Love it!

Actually that is a track from the debut album by Moon Wiring Club, An Audience of Art Deco Eyes, which is orderable here and previewable in its entirety here

the single “My Churchwarden” by Jane Bribham made me titter!

As did the hermetic ornithology book Today Bread, Tomorrow Secrets by J.G. Mallard (four and six in the old money)

Sunday, December 02, 2007

nice little nuumological echo here:

T2's name comes from his childhood passion for Terminator 2

more in Prancehall's Vice micro-interview


Dissensus member Continuum (teeheehee) does a blog called Smugpolice with a steady stream of bassline mixes he's uploaded, most recently an auteurist series scooping up trax by producers JTJ, TRC, TS7, and the bizarrely named Warbus Tourbus...


when i saw in Hattie Collins's Guardian piece this quote:

"Shaun Banger Scott... agrees. '... The atmosphere, 99% of the time, is exactly what you would want it to be in any rave - shower [brilliant].'"

i did half-wonder if she'd been cob-nobbled, i.e. fed some fake slang like that spoof grunge lexicon someone at Sub Pop gave the New York Times

but on one of the two Warbus Tourbus mixes Smugpolice links to, there's a track called "Showa Riddim"

and then on the Jamie Duggan Flavas November 2007 mixcd (very first bassline product i've mailordered; hmmm they don't go a bundle on presentation, these bassline guys, cd-r plus the most desultorily designed of cd inserts!; good mix though) the last track is "Night Showaa" by Murkz (basically a grime MC rapping over Coki & Benga's celebrated fastdubstep riddim "Nite"--'doublestep' perhaps, ie. opposite of half-step).

so it's for real then! "showa"... i wonder what the etymology of that is then?