Sunday, February 21, 2010

last Saturday, the penultimate night of the Unsound Festival, I went to the "Bass Mutations" night at the Bunker in Williamsburg, where the main room's headliners were TRG, Untold and 2562.

Untold was the one I was most curious about: how would this sound--not nu-IDM so much as Nuum-IDM--as heard on all those mixes work out as body-shocking, crowd-rocking fare? Well, I was never bored: the set was relentlessly intelligent, and intelligently relentless. (As was TRG beforehand). Still, it was striking that the moments through the whole night that seemed vibey-est were funky-related ones (a track by Roska, DVA's "Natty", a couple of others.) It wasn't that they were ruder, exactly; you couldn't have described the other stuff as polite, it was all pummellingly physical, insistently high energy. If I could put my finger on what was absent elsewhere but present in those moments that gave me the real tingle, it might actually be genre-icity itself. But why would that provide "added value", and in a way that was felt first, as instant visceral/emotional way response, bypassing intellect? A mystery I'd like to return to at a later date, after due rumination.


Looking for some background on the guy I came across Blackdown's interview from the middle of last year, and was surprised to read this response from Untold to a question about when he started producing and what the spur was:

"I got my first sampler and keyboard in 1993. I’d bought some cheap decks a few months previously and was deep in the dark jungle sound emerging out of hardcore. It was a mad year. I went from listening to pirate radio and tapes clueless as to how the tunes were created or mixed to discovering raves, buying tunes and learning to beatmatch and string sets together on these belt drive decks.

I played all these amen jungle tunes on 33rpm just so I could hear what was going on with the beats. I remember being so blown away by all those pitch shifted, timestretched and reversed drum edits on the early Reinforced and Moving Shadow releases I just desperately needed to clock how they were created. It was never about getting tunes out on vinyl, just being able to make those mashed up beats.

I’d love to be able to listen to those tape packs again with the same naivety, appreciate them as a half hour slab of sound… unaware of different tunes being blended, hearing those classic breakbeat samples just as futuristic rhythmic noise

Well fancy that. I'm always being told we're in a whole new era. Past is irrelevant. Old models, no longer applicable. But here's this dude, a poster boy for the New Boundary-Dissolving Fluidity/"There Are No Rules Anymore", and he's, if not a Nuum General, then a Nuum Non-Commissioned Officer.

(No spring chicken either by the sound of it, unless he was eight when he got his first sampler.)