Monday, June 24, 2019

mother's little helper

Two songs about a housewife zonked out on tranquilizers

The Orbital video falls into that category of videos for blisstastic euphoric dance songs that undermine the vibe totally (see also the Jonz video for "Praise You" by F.Slim)

The whole of Other Channels is a concept album about a housewife woozy on anti-depressant and anti-anxiety meds watching TV through a glassy-eyed haze.

Other songs on this theme:

Rolling Stones "Mother's Little Helper"

The Fall  "Rowche Rumble", "Industrial Estate" ("when you get depressed, get some valium" or lyrics to that effect), and (to an extent) "Underground Medecin"

And then there's a lot of recent rap that's about percoset and xanax of course

Bristol Pirates

Cassette edition of Death Is Not The End's contribution to the Blowing Up The Workshop mix series. 

"A trip across the frequencies of Bristol's pirate radio stations via cut-ups of broadcasts, taken from the late 1980s to the early 2000s ~ also a love-letter to my childhood, an audio document of the years I spent growing up in the city."

[via Jon Dale]

Sunday, June 23, 2019

"MDMA sucks!"

 from the Techno Sucks, Vol 1 EP by Lunatic Asylum, aka Guillaume Leroux

aka Dr Macabre

aka Renegade Legion

"Torsion" is my equal first all-time gloomcore tune, alongside "Apocalypse Never" and "We Have Arrived" (although whether the latter is gloomcore or just gabba is a moot point)

i have already hero-ized this fine fellow at great length earlier of course

but here are a couple of his baby steps towards later, late-90s greatness

good title, not quite there yet sonically

the appearance of the "marching" thematic, in '93 already

from the same pre-PCP EP, and from the side of the record titled "Assault Side" - but nowhere near assaultive enough. Or even at all

this is much better  -

love that sort of whinnying, braying, demonic-jeer sound these guys all used

An early one for PCP / DE2001 i missed the last go round

love the mispelled EP title

but he was to get so much better in a year or two

that said, this flipside to "Torsion" - actually the A-side - is rather subdued - not as dark or as forceful as the title promises. Atmospheric though -  good sounds and textures.

Disconcerting to look at these lean, lanky youts who've become solid middle-aged men

(Navigator, when I met him, round at his workplace at the jewellers in Hatton Garden, as shown in this video - an anonymous redbrick building, I think we spoke in the stairwell so he could smoke, or some little side-room with a kettle and a couple of chairs - Navigator then was this skinny, scrawny boy. Now look at him).

Disconcerting also how documented the culture is now (docs, oral histories, retrospective pieces, amateur archivism) compared with the foggy blankness of minimal information  available when these things unfolded in real-time

These names - DJs, producers, MCs  - were completely mysterious figures. Known only as voices on pirates, names on flyers, or on 12 inches. Occasionally as a figure onstage shouting into a mic or cutting on up the decks

You knew virtually nothing about them  - unless you lived in the same neighbourhood as them, I suppose. But there was nothing out there, no data bank to draw on as a journalist

Going to interview some of them back in the day for EFlash  was disorienting enough in itself  - suddenly this mystery-figure is an actual human being.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Tape Packs - UK's Rave Essential Time Capsule

at RBMA, a piece by Ian McQuaid on the rave tape pack:

"Each pack contained up to 12 cassettes, featuring live recordings of the DJ sets, crowd chatter and general ambience of whichever rave they were documenting. They were stark in their honest reproduction of the night – no overdubs, no edits, every MC stutter and needle skip left in for the world to hear.... Developing as a crucial point of access during the early days of hardcore, hitting a fever pitch in the mid-’90s heyday of jungle and garage, and even seeping into the grime scene with the Sidewinder packs of the early ’00s, tape packs sold by the thousand, a vast underground economy servicing a scene that the mainstream rarely bothered to try and understand. Peddled by the behemoth rave brands that dominated in the last decade of the 20th century – the likes of Slammin’ Vinyl, One Nation, Vibealite, Garage Nation, Telepathy, World Dance, Helter-Skelter, Dreamscape and more – they carried the music direct from the raves to the specialist record shops to the punters eager hands. Once bought they could be played over and over on car stereos, Walkmans and ghetto blasters, endlessly bootlegged and shared, ensuring that a rave could live far beyond its magical eight hours."

DJ SS, one of the big sellers of rave packs, features prominently in the piece:

"SS puts this thirst for tape packs down to two things: Nostalgia, in that people would want a memento of the rave they’d been at; and the simple fact that it was hard to hear cutting-edge rave music anywhere else."

Talking of nostalgia, and instant-nostalgia, I seem to remember that at least one rave promoter had a system set up where rave-packs of the event were already available to buy as punters were leaving the event. Presumably missing the very last set!

You can also get retro-packs like this old skool flashback to early days of the Eclipse (themselves credited in the piece as the pioneers of rave packs)

Nicky Blackmarket also quoted on their dissemination of the music role:

“They were crucial in spreading the music. Toronto had a massive jungle scene, and that originally started from the Canadian shops themselves bootlegging everyone’s tape packs from over here. A lot of people became big from those packs!”

McQuaid makes the point that this was one of the few mediums (apart from pirate radio) in which the MCs were on equal billing and an equal selling-factor, given that there were few hardcore and jungle tracks that gave MCs a credited "featuring" type role in those days.

"In spite of how far their bars, ad-libs and tics travelled, there was very little precedent for rave MCs to release records to any great success until MC Luck hit the UK charts at the tail-end of the ’90s. To this day, the likes of Skibbadee, Shabba D, Det, GQ, Moose, Five-o, Fearless, Foxy, IC3 and many more have a lopsided recorded history. They appear – at best – on a smattering of studio recordings on the one hand, and hundreds upon hundreds of live performances accessible via tape packs on the other. Their careers were built from a constant drip of high-wire performances, bars spat out off the cuff, repurposed to fit with whichever way the DJ wants to go. It’s a different kind of energy; what Paul Gilroy calls “kinetic orality” – tone and flow designed to impart pure physical motion to crowds of thousands. It’s a skill that has proven near impossible to translate to studio situations, but one that is potent enough to ensure the big names have been running the mic every weekend for nearly three decades."

Kinetic orality - love it, making a mental note of that one.

Cool and crucial part of the history, clearly... and yet I must admit, I never owned one during the ardkore  rave or jungle days. Pirate radio tapes did the job for me - they were free, and (see below) they actually sounded better and had a more interesting track selection.

I did own one tape pack later on, when a journalist friend who ended up getting sent doubles of a UKG/2step pack gave the spare to me. It came in a videocassette case, but inside were something like six C90s.  Twice as Nice?  Pure Silk? I can't remember - one of the big garridge raves, or club nights.

But it was an incredibly dreary listen!

The sound quality was diabolical - dubbed at extremely high speed on cheap cassettes - just very thin-sounding. Much worse than the tapes I made off of the garage pirate stations.

Worse, all the sets from that night featured the same tunes pretty much - what was hot, what was guaranteed floor-filler, that week. And the MCS were getting repetitious, using their small arsenal of chants and vocal licks over and over, sounding hoarse as they competed with the very loud sound system.

Probably there was an awesome atmosphere in the club or rave on the night.

But it wasn't captured on these tapes that's for sure.

I listened to it just once, and in fact I'm not even sure I made it all the way through all six C-90s.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

new-old (something for your mind)

2019 reproduction-antique junglizm

got the sound down perfect

but using a sample i associate most with the gabbatrance classic on Dance Ecstasy 2001