Monday, October 31, 2011

Sunday, October 30, 2011

some call it hipster house, but John Calvert deserves some kind of
award /reward for this coinage:


just let that roll around your palate for a bit

here's his piece on chill-ravers Stay +


re. hip(ster)house, fellow who goes as RSR informs:

"i'm hearing the name 'homeless house' used by practitioners and scenesters, i.e. geneva jacuzzi and xorar. apparently a hat-tip to jus-ed who started djing for the second time while homeless and using only the six records he still owned"

and adds, accusingly:

"sometimes it seems like you think only certain people should like certain music. sometimes it seems like you think there's an authentic way to like music and a non-authentic way".

to which I say: au contraire, if anything hipster/homeless, it's a little too reverent towards early Chicago/ Detroit, they don’t fuck with the blueprint enough, could definitely be bastardised some more. no, what I do find a little odd, a little off, is this... okay they’re so into house music, but it’s not like there isn’t an ongoing house music culture that is the extension of music that inspires them. So why don't they participate in that, contribute to its furtherance? Could be that they don't like current club culture for social reasons, antipathy re. the sort of people into house-as-is. But it's not like house music has disappeared from the face of the earth and needs to be revived and resurrected. it's not even the case that it's changed so much that a Return to Original Principles is required. so there is the suspicion that hipster house = people whose productions wouldn't cut it on a contemporary dancefloor. Which is not to say that the stuff doesn't have a stand-alone charm and appeal outside that context.


James Grant points me to some "hipster hardcore"

a compilation of the stuff from the label Coral Records which you can hear in its entirety here

and an article about the conceptual framing of the project as "seapunk" (!)

well they've really got the old skool sound on that first track

and the third track, it's more Bukem aquajungle / "dolphin" vibes, so even more attuned to the concept (one does wonder if this "seapunk" is for real or a spoof on micro-genritis within the Zones of Alteration...)

other stuff is more omnivorous/post-everything-dance/digi-maximalist in vibe but cool

talking of "dolphin", there was this Nebula II track "Eye Memory" that sampled dolpin-chatter and was about how a dolphin, once it's met you, will never ever forgot you. i remember it getting played on a pirate as a hot-off-the-press tune and the deejay explaining the concept of "eye memory"... it was an incongruous David Attenborough moment on Touchdown or Destiny or whichever pirate it was...

Friday, October 28, 2011

brostep versus blubstep

brostep taking over

they shoulda used this

except it's too pensive and sombre and dark-clouds-a-gathering

too proto-blubstep

the hangover to brostep's binge

the comedown after the rush

(here's the full version of the brostep tune in the advert)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Could digs be any more influential on the bass-continuum in 2010? First came UK funky, next the future garage movement, the Night Slugs camp, Joy Orbison’s filtered dubstep anthem “Hyph Mgno”, Kyle Hall’s bombshell of a 12″ on Hyperdub, not to mention an influx of South African flavors: London pirate sounds through all of which ran the influence of commorancy and shop, in differing pecks. Even the Dutch are bubblin. But there remains one London camp which are domicile momentum totally distinctly from all the others. If you don’t be schooled them, soon after you’re perhaps not in the Circle.

Four years ago, when the ashes of UK shop had cooled and the intense heat of grime began to drive fans away, a little collection of pirate station DJs made a rewarding decision: Unhappy with the status quo they took items into their own hands and started their own night. And with the bravery of true pioneers, they started it on one of perhaps the riskiest day of the year: Christmas Day. “You eat and relax on Christmas Day, I couldn’t see why we wouldn’t be busy or why it wouldn’t be a success,” insists Tippa, the Circle camp’s host and one of its co-founders. “[The] rest is history.”

What began Christmas Day 2006 is now rapidly turning into a completely self-contained, autonomous scene. Built by its co-founders Supa D, Kismet, Feva, IC, Gemini, and of movement Tippa, and showcased on their weekly Rinse FM show, the Circle sound and the DJs they offshoot themselves with jibing Geeneus and A Plus are distinct and separate from the UK funky movement that has garnered consideration in recent years.

The Circle parties began as unadvertised events of 150-200 ravers who attended after receiving an invite through the post. To get the invite they’d have to share their nest address and personal details, a alike of disclosure that both ensured the Circle knew and controlled exactly who their clientele were. “That way we could kinda have an influence on the humans that were attending, making it easier to charge any hots potato on the night should they occur,” explains Tippa, who’s seen numbers grow to 700-1,000. “More and more citizens hankering to attend because all alters ego are talking about it, or the younger heads hark their older siblings gassing about how ace the last event was.”

Asked to describe the scenes at Circle, Tippa paints a vivid picture: “Typical Circle Rave: a new generation of twenty- and early thirtysomethings raving to rock-and-roll and atmosphere very similar to UK carport at its peak, but with a sound that has has-been all over for years– rejigged, refreshed, and re-energized into what we signal dubbage.

“Typical raver? People will say our crowds are ghetto, but really, there are no ghettos in the UK. There are poor parts, but something on the scale of the States or parts of third earth countries. We’re middle class, our inhabitants are middle class. Some are aggressive, some are super cool, 80% are super sexy girls, who beautiful up themselves in the maximum expensive dresses and shoes they can get from West End to rave at Circle. They express themselves in means else crash pad raves/events before could only dream of. I can say hand on my heart, you come to a Circle event, you will angle round to me and say ‘Tipaa… where the fuck did all these girls come from?’ That’s what character of lumpy it is.”

As the events have become more successful, offshoot raves have sprung up, particularly Tippa and Rinse’s Yellow in Brixton, DPMO and Adultz Only, and Its My House. A Plus– one of the first DJs on Rinse, a Roll Deep associate, and the founder of grime DVD film crew Media Gang– spun an ridiculous set from February’s Yellow. Anthems played by the DJs subsume Dennis Ferrer’s “Hey Hey”, Bassjackers & Apster’s “Klambu”, Kentphonik’s “Sunday Showers”, Paul Woolford’s “Pandemonium”, Rishi Romero’s “African Forest”, Kentphonik’s “Hiya Kaya (Rocco Deep Mix)”, and Ultra Nate’s “Loves The Only Drug (Adam Rios Shelter Mix)”, divers of which are on Rinse FM’s “I Love Funky” compilation.

The parallels with UK service centre are uncanny: dressy raves for an older, female-dominated crowd, held in the bars off London’s financial City district not unlike the seminal Gray’s Inn Road parking lot raves that gave DJ Kismet his eponym. Though in that case it’s almost matching the timelines are running in reverse: UK shop started as the Sunday scene, London’s take on U.S. doghouse for the older “mature” raver, before a younger, ruder crowd swarmed in, changing the role of host to MC and spawning grime. But that tide over, the younger ravers have had their bit first, with UK funky’s skank tracks attracting all the immersion in the anterior six years, while the Circle sound was busy incubating out of the limelight. But despite the comparisons, mold no underestimation, there’s precious little the hots lost within the two camps.

“It’s not just your basic tribal beat soon after any old melody, bass line, and dead-singer-that-can’t-sing-live-to-save-her-life uniform max so yawped UK Funky…” says Tippa of the difference centrally located UK funky and dubbage, making his position on the former entirely clear. “[Dubbage is] more intelligent, more of an experimental dubby ting that you will very feel on a decent sized sound utilidor…”

While so lots of the Circle setup bears the hallmarks of lockup, the ragtime itself is perhaps the best interesting element, not because it is so alien but because as diggings it is so stock. If you view the beginnings of UK funky five years ago as a reaction to the harshness of grime, when in that context the dubbage sound maintains the groove and sophistication that the rougher snares, MC bars, and ruder bassline drops of the common UK funky scene has in some parts edged back toward. Within these cluster of clubs, MCs play the host role with the DJ at the fore, riding enduring seamless mixes of tracky instrumentals, avoiding drops or breakdowns.

What’s curious about the gap medially the London/local/DIY/pirate feel of how Circle operate and their dressy crowds and sophisticated universal habitation sounds, is that it makes an ambiguity. Is that a subset of the foreign pied-a-terre melody lineage, as would be recognized by ravers from Ibiza to Berlin? Or is that the next pirate-inspired, grassroots civic London jungle, UK parking lot, and grime scene? Paradoxically, you can say “yes” to both. (This kind of ambiguity is reminiscent of dubstep, another subgenre focused on high-quality productions, unlike grime.)

When entertainering sets, Tippa generally very charismatically states, “that is our style/our folk…,” exerting the strong spirit of ownership endemic over preceding London genres allying UK lockup. “[Our sound] means it’s something that we brought to a new generation” he explains. “This is what we push, what we fully believe in, what we need to conceive when making swing but with our influence, and not influences from the States akin maximum UK artists portray in their tune. in that let’s be honest, a lot of deep habitation can be boring and shit, a stupendous gob of it.”

House is arguably the largest dance genre in the nature and by the very nature of its size and popularity, lots of it is bland, conservative, and generic. Some argue that the digital era in which we alive offers access to an effectively limitless supply of ragtime that causes musicians to be glutted and fudge together clotted song. But in the case of the Circle DJs they are reaching out into that vast wares of popular and using it as an opportunity by trawling through that massive grand pool to jewel tracks with which to define their sectarian identities as DJs, in London clubs and on pirate radio.

“I used to buy vinyl for myself,” explains Tippa. “Feva & IC and it was the carbon copy when, researching all the sites and shops for new tracks and hard to boast gems, paying settled the odds sometimes on eBay. It’s filtered through to MP3s and the equivalent ethos. Between April and June there was congeneric 17-20gb worth of melody downloaded by Kismet and APlus to sieve through, which we all have a go at and anon passage on to each auxiliary. It’s chip and parcel of staying on top and playing sounds that we feel fit into what we fancy others to descry and follow.”

Taking parish ownership of a sweeping sound is something London DJs have antique performing for decades, highest visibly with the shift from UK DJs playing U.S. garage records to again becoming UK workplace producers, and that shift is happening too with dubbage. Just as the World Wide Web has provided evident access for DJs to flat’s massive cosmic library, so it has democratized the tools of swing production, and several of the Circle DJs– Kismet and IC– are making the transition. Other DJs uniform Lighter, Teaser, and Comfy are hotly tipped.

“Kismet’s sound is straight dubbage,” explains Tippa. “whereas he downloads so lots folk, his sound knowledge is amazing at the minute. Every tune he has made is completely single from the one before, but he always keeps it dubby, dubbage. IC is also producing, he’s style is dubbage, but it’s more rollers that roll continuously. Kismet’s will in truth take you on a journey at times…. he’s got that early WBeeza mould going on, that’s imaginably because they’re really tip-top and close mates.”

The immediate future for the sound is not self-evident, but akin dubstep, it has aggregate at its disposal to translate to clubs worldwide. Indeed Tippa lately hosted with Geeneus at Global Gathering, one of the UK’s largest dance festivals and a far cry from the London underground. For now the Circle are busy action what they “fully believe in.” The rest will be history.

Monday, October 17, 2011

hipster house (slight return)

Where's Yr Child is this LA-based irregular club / DJ collective involving Sun Araw's Cameron Stallones, ex of the NNF family. The name is a nod to this acid house classic.

And then there's this image which bestrides the website--an all-black crowd of dancers with hands raised ecstatically:

I grabbed that image off of the WYC website and the jpeg has the title "cropped paradise garage". so that's what the pic is: Levan's congregation

i suppose that's no different from German techhouseheads calling a club Robert Johnson or indeed the Rolling Stones naming themselves after a Muddy Waters song.. but something about it jarred... i haven't been to a Where's Yr Child, but somehow I'm guessing the audience composition of a typical night is rather different, and probably so is the atmosphere...

right now, along with the Paradise Garage shot, WYC have a picture of a mass of mostly white ravers. But generally the iconography at Where's Yr Child is black--supersharp dancers at various clubs from several decades ago, a picture of dancehall act Scare Dem Crew, a Rasta with enormous bulbous infolded dreads. And didn't I read that Stallones is actually making a record with The Congos?

"Impluvium", the last track on Ancient Romans, the new, dense-with-detail Sun Araw record, is a house jam of sorts...

IMPLUVIUM (Official Video) - SUN ARAW from Daniel Brantley on Vimeo.

i suppose there's a natural fit between digging psychedelic rock and digging psychedelic dance... indeed now and then the wah-wah glare of Sun Araw makes me think of baggy's trippier, looser-fitted moments... that Stone Roses B-side "Something's Burning"... the Can-nier side of Happy Mondays... even Cope's copping a baggy feel on Peggy Suicide

i wonder how he (and "they", in general) got into this stuff in the first place (meaning house, acieed, balearic etc)... most likely from a completely different route than contemporary club people get "there"... i.e. not from clubbing but from records, books, Internet deposits (Hot Mix 5 radio sets from Eighties Chicago, Baldelli mixes, Youtubes of classic jams).

(i wonder how i'll feel if/when this crowd latch onto the stuff i really cared about/lived through... "hipster hardcore", "hipster jungle")

then again, I do recall reading somewhere that Stallones comes from a heavy duty religious background... so perhaps there's an underlying trance-endental logic that connects the attraction to psychedelic/kosmische rock, roots reggae and house in both its acid and gospel-deep strands

as the sample on that Ultramarine tune (forget which one) puts it "they're searching for spiritual reasons, they're looking for something more than this world has to offer"

or "dancing is sacred" (from this great late acid jam by Ultramarine)

Friday, October 14, 2011


an odd upshot of the emergence of "hipster house" is that there are now several currents of house-homage /retro-house running concurrently

* hipster house (100% silk *, miracles club et al)

* post-dubstep producers dabbling in early 90s vibes

* german (and elsewhere) producers operating in that zone between mnml and deep house purism (into which category you could shove for convenience sake theo parrish and his ilk)

(this is in addition to output from surviving original producers in the long established Chicago/NYC house tradition (like Dennis Ferrer) plus plus contemporary clubtrax that basically adhere to the house template but bang 'n' bosh it up a bit with filter and trance and digitalizm elements in the mix (Swedish House Mafia)plus all the house-trance/ibiza-lasvegas based stuff in the Top 20 pop charts plus "the kind of international trad house [i.e. not UK funky house] that currently dominates a lot of the pirate shows" in London according to Blackdown.)

(is 2011 house's biggest year internationally since 1989-90 or whenever it was crystal waters was in the US top 10?)

house is clearly rich and long-running and wide-in-scope a tradition to seed off a whole range of retro-house throwback styles...

but equally: hasn't house always had its own innate tendency towards harking back self-reflexively? it's always been as much about invocation as innovation... about the celebration of continuity and continuum-ity... certainly at least since the invention of the idea of deep house (end of Eighties, a swerve away from ACIEEED by many of the people who invented acid house, including Pierre/Phuture himself... and then in UK terms Shoom-head Danny Rampling embraced the New Jersey sound pretty swift I believe as a reactive (and reactionary) move against the Acid Ted incursion

there's always been a side to house that was conservative and preservationist: not acid tracks and jack tracks (i.e. the becoming-hardcore half of its soul - of which Green Velvet was its own resurrection, in a way) but the keep-on-holding-on to disco-underground principles side (as manifested in Cajmere, or a track like Gusto 'Disco's Revenge" )... the idea of "true people" was invented for Detroit by Eddie Flashin' Fowlkes but it is just as applicable to house's self-image

that ethos was always particularly strong in Britain, and indeed one the things that turned me off house for much of the 90s... the fidelity, the purism .... and above all the epigonic narrative of decline that everyone who gets into this music, at whatever point in the timeline, seems to buy into... the location of "Better Days" in the rear-view mirror, rather than just around the corner

Take Black Science Orchestra's album Walter's Room. Named in homage to NYC remix pioneer Walter Gibbons. Nod to Philly's orchestrated lush proto-disco with track "City of Brotherly Love". Another nod to Philly with the track, um, "Philadelphia". Jersey and NYC homaging tracks with titles like "New Jersey Deep" and "Hudson River High" and "Downtown Science". Track that'll make any NYC resident snigger a bit: "St Mark's Square". Cringe-inducing titles like "Rican Opus #9" and "Heavy Gospel Morning" and "Bless the Darkness". All couched in a musical setting of pallid luxuriance and mild slinkiness that is pleasant enough in its tepid way but just as historically redundant as Hives and Jet were in their own traditions.

Black Science Orchestra was masterminded by Ashley Beedle. A different kind of dance-retroism was pursued in his other supergroup project The Ballistic Brothers, particularly with their much-ballyhooed-at-the-time, now unremembered album London Hooligan Soul.

this is the sleevenote:

If our memories serve us well... Bunking school for crackers on a Friday lunchtime, forget your dinner ladies. Pirate radio,codes from the underground...Saturday night blues dances and forbidden moves to Phoebe's,Four Aces and Club Norick. Shaka, Fatman and Sir Coxone, the original drum and bass. Sneaking out of the back door with your brand new shoes. Saturday's alright for fighting. Skinheads getting a beat down, ambush in the night. Stuarts in the day Fila, Lacoste, Tacchini, Armani, Lois, Nike and Kappa. Taxing the rich and famous and rushing the Burberry door. Scoring a draw down the Saints. A pick up from the SPG. Blair Peach a crying shame the NF and unmarked police vans who is to blame? Clash city rockers and white men in Hammersmith Palais. Road trips to Caister, Soul Tribes, The Frontline and the Soul Partners. All dayers in Bournemouth taking the train, taking a train, ego trip dabbing speed it's all you need. Westwood, Family Quest no contest. West End B-boys and fly girls, chrome angels Graff bombing the Met. Breaking in the Garden ... Covent to you suckers. An armful of Studio 1 from Daddy Peckings. Flim Flam to Meltdown. The Jay Brothers, goodtimes and great tribulations. Gilles P and Paul Murphy Zulu style at the Electric. Brother Paul boogie times. The Beat Route and Hard Times. Fifteen years of fucking Tories, on the dole, a thousand stories of promised lands and meccas - Blackpool. To you the sweet sounds of Levine and Curtis. The Language Lab said and Dirtbox spread and old bill cracking miners heads. Who killed Liddle Towers? The Jam at Wembley seven times and National Health for the last time. Bump and hustle, soul 45s, too far gone there is no way back. Phuture, Acid, Confusion, The Rush, The Love, the smiling hooligan with dodgy gear open minds close and get the fear. East Grinstead and Bognor lads away, falling and laughing, escape to Brighton or off to Ibiza tying to maintain the buzz. Getting older and getting wed. Elvis is dead. Is anybody out there? A poll tax riot going on. They have sold my country...

It reminds me a bit of Garry Bushell's impressionistic "set adrift on memory bliss" freeflow blurb on the back of the Strength Thru Oi! comp, but with rather different reference points... a different version of working class youth-style.... a different route, in fact, from The Clash... closer to the route Mick Jones actually took into Big Audio Dynamite in fact

this Ballistics tune is all right in its repro antique way: reminds me a bit of when the Heavenly Socialists like Jon Carter did Big Beat meets rocksteady type tracks

Of course Ballistic Bros were on Junior Boys Own. As in Terry Farley who was Chief Inspector in terms of policing house music in terms of its fidelity to the source, via his column in Muzik (or was it Mixmag?) in which he was wont to talk in vexed tones about "proper black dance music"

talking of which, here's "Blacker" from the Ballistic Bros's 1997 follow up album Rude System

note the "blacker than thou" sample at the start

and then there was the Black Jazz Chronicles on Nuphonic, home of Idjut Boys and Faze Action (debut LP Original Disco Motion) and others who verily wanted to go back and dwell forever inside Walter's room

and in fact one of Ballistic Bros and possibly Black Science Orchestra too was Dave Hill the dude who founded Nuphonic. So it all ties together! (This is getting to be like one of those Kev Pearce/Yr Heart Out follow-the-lines jobs innit -- all it needs is a couple of studio engineer names plus a snideswipe about yours truly!)

Wiki-facts about Ashley B:

-- born in Hemel Hempstead in 1962 (which means we are neighbours and contemporaries)

-- after the career peak of getting to #2 in the charts in his alter-alter-ego X-Press 2 (with "Lazy" featuring David Byrne on vocals) he spent the 2000s heading the labels Soundboy Entertainment, Afroart, and Ill Sun

-- released an album in 2010 on K7 as another alter-ego, Mavis. (A nod to Staples, presumably. I think I got sent this. It features vocals from Candi Staton but also unlikelies such as Sarah Cracknell and Edwyn Collins)

-- Beedle is referenced in the Daft Punk song "Teachers."

Did that really get to #2 in the UK pop charts?

At least these early X-Press 2 efforts have a bit of British balls about 'em


* thinking about the semiotics of "silk" as in 100% Silk, obviously Steve Silk Hurley aka JM Silk springs to mind.... or the great late-disco West End track "Do It to the Music" by Raw Silk... but then how about King Britt (the US equivalent to Ashley Beedle in many ways, except Britt's actually from Philadelphia) who started out as a resident DJ at Silk City in Philadelphia, later recorded as Sylk 130, and recently did the Black Science/Afrofuturist type project Saturn Never Sleeps inspired by a certain Philly jazz god. But equally "silk" is part of the imagery of UKG, as in Pure Silk the club/compilation.

which then makes me ponder how Dave Keenan is mentally managing the drone/lo-fi/hypnagogic scene's turn towards the very Nineties zones he always reviled as "Dance Plodders" -- Volcanic Tongue blurbs for 100% Silk 12 inches often try to throw in the words 'kosmische' or 'psychedelic' presumably to mitigate against its rather more apparent resemblances to electroclash / Metro Area / Italians Do It Better

Thursday, October 13, 2011

PS to preceding post

interesting to consider what makes this London-based, dub-flecked take on NYC/New Jersey house so significantly different from the take that was took a few years later by 187 Lockdown/Dreem Teem/New Horizons/Lady Penelope & Abstrac/et al

is it really all down to the difference between West London (all those Clash/Portobello references in Ballistic Bros) and East London?

between music made for big well appointed clubs and shady clubs/raves/pirate radio?

because JBO-world blends into Heavenly Social/Big Beat world, and it's a world apart from Kool and Rinse

still they could all agree, sometimes, on Norman Jay and Giles Peterson...

Monday, October 10, 2011

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

protodarkcore w/ the Poltergeist little-girl-lost-in-TV sample

nuff respeck to Mr Playford

Monday, October 3, 2011

Michaelangelo Matos with a meaty in depth interview with the legendary Lenny Dee, celebrating the 20th anniversary of Industrial Strength Records:

the money quote, on being played "We Have Arrived" for the first time by Marc Acardipane:

"I just sat there and said, "Marc, you did it. This is it. This is the future. This is where it ends and where it begins."

and on dropping the track at a rave for the first time, at Mayday II in Germany:

"I've never seen ten-and-a-half-thousand people in one room raise their hands all at once, ever. Everyone was in awe when that record came out. It changed electronic music forever. That music, especially in that period of time, was the birth of something completely different. You get a guitar and it was totally acceptable to distort it and make rock records. Why wasn't it totally acceptable to distort all the electronic instruments? People had never heard anything like that. It's like a kid hearing rock & roll for the first time, back in the '50s. It took off and I never looked back".

and on then versus now:

"The early techno guys were a different breed of cats. I look at the new techno DJs now like, "Man, you've got to be kidding me. This is what's carrying the torch? Are you fucking nuts? This is the most boring-ass music." Techno music used to be the most exciting, new, upfront, underground, banging music, not clean, poncey, boop-boop-boop-beep-beep-beep-bup, one little thing—that's crap. You listen to my records from the '90s, and you listen to records now, and go, what happened to techno?"

Sunday, October 2, 2011

imagine the pop future as a Vengagirl stomping on a human face -- forever

longer mix sans pix but still with the submissive-masochist lyrics