Thursday, January 31, 2013

this looks interesting - and it's tomorrow, i.e. Friday!


Fri 1st Feb
Kunstquartier Studio 1 Mariannenplatz 2 10997 Berlin 13:30 The Death Of Rave: Pt. I UK

Lectures and panel with Mark Fisher, Lee Gamble, Alex Williams, Steve Goodman (Kode9)), Moderation: Lisa Blanning

“The rave legacy no longer lives on, the corpse of rave bears no resemblance to those heady days in the late eighties and early nineties.”

V/Vm – The Death of Rave

Since V/VM's nineteen hour “The Death of Rave” project marked a nails-in-the coffin moment to the foregone UK-rave scene, as well as Burial's symbolic post-rave comedown and, more recently, Lee Gamble's dissection of old jungle tapes, a collective subliminal interest in excavating the sonic architecture of this period seems particularly rife. From the ebullient dissent of the outdoor hardcore and acid house raves, through the period post-1994's Criminal Justice Act which harboured darker variants of jungle, darkside, and drum 'n'bass, the sonic potentialities which unfolded themselves then have undeniably flowed strongly in the bloodline of UK music ever since. Using the “then” and “now” as points of flight, a complex social and musical ecology emerges in which, over a period of more than twenty years, musical aesthetic as well as substantial socio-economic, materialistic, and structural changes have become apparent. Drawing on debates on the “hardcore continuum” and “hauntology” as detailed by Simon Reynolds and Mark Fisher among others, The Death Of Rave focuses on the sonic cycle of death and rebirth, reflecting on the present and future of music via the past.

The accelerated vectors activated by rave and philosophy in the mid-1990s can be no-better represented than in the work of the CCRU (Cybernetic Cultural Research Unit). Although official word maintained, "Ccru does not, has not and will never exist," the work of Nick Land, Sadie Plant, and their graduate students at University of Warwick, which covered the nexus of theory, fiction, cyberculture, technology, and rave, continues to resonate strongly today. The sonic “conceptual apparatus” of jungle, which informed their thought, and the extreme intellectual productivity of the CCRU, invites examination as more than mere coincidence.

15:30 The Death Of Rave: Pt. II Berlin

Lectures and panel with:
Tom Lamberty, Felix Denk, Johnnie Stieler, Alexandra Droener, Ulrich Gutmair, Moderation: Felix Denk

“Es gab einen Moment 1994, wo ich im Tresor stand, da hätte ich heulen können. Jonzon ging das auch so. Nichts mehr von dem, was den Laden ausgemacht hatte, war mehr da. Ich konnte mir das nicht mal mehr schönsaufen. Ich stand da und sah, dass sich die Seele des Ganzen verflüchtigt hatte.”

Rok, quoted in “Der Klang Der Familie”

The unique conditions following the dramatic fall of the Berlin wall created the exceptional socio-political situation in which Berlin's techno scene was born. The euphoria of Germany reunited fuelled its infamous raves Tekknozid, Mayday, Tresor, and Love Parade, and saw the small parties of the early 90s grow to the global techno hub they are today. The inner workings of these early scenes have received in-depth historic interest, recently with Felix Denk and Sven von Thülen's book “Der Klang Der Familie” and Ulrich Gutmair's upcoming “Der Sound der Wende”. In the more than twenty years which have passed, the debate between “underground” and “mainstream” continues within a diverse sonic ecology while the recently hotly disputed GEMA tariff reforms currently threaten the existence of many of Berlin's clubs; as the city transformed into the dynamic capitalist metropolis it is today, the early DIY-days of illegal parties in temporary spaces seem distant compared to the regulated, administered spaces of many of Berlin's most famous clubs today.

QRT (Markus Konradin Leiner) was active in the mid-90s in Berlin. His anarchic media-theoretical writings were published posthumously on Merve. Similarly antagonistic towards the academic establishment as the CCRU in the UK, QRT's writings have hitherto remained somewhat neglected. His writings, inspired by Berlin's early techno scene as the electrification of archaic rituals, the body within the media-war, and the virtualisation of the present, question the current state of techno and techno-culture as part of today's changed discourses.

17:30 Virtual Futures: The Future Of Music

Panel: Christoph Fringeli, Tony Marcus, Luke Robert Mason, Dan O'Hara

“We have gathered you here to bury the 20th century & begin work on the 21st. We are children of the 21st century & live already in the future unknown, uncovering every day vast new landscapes for exploration. We will not know the results of the tumultuous global changes we are undergoing and creating for a hundred years or more, if we can survive them, but we are less interested in knowledge than in experiencing these changes.”

Virtual Futures, 1995

The cybercultural narratives of the mid-90s provided a social, artistic, and philosophical framework to understand and challenge the rapid advances in the development of information communication technologies. Driven by a need to critique the framework underlying society’s newfound anticipation for the future, the Virtual Futures Conference held at the University of Warwick 1994–1996 brought together groups of renegade philosophers to lock horns with the future based on the provocations of evidence provided by the emergence of the Internet. At the time, the conference was affected by a turbulent dynamic between technological acceptance versus a largely paranoid technophobia. Fast-forward to 2013, and this has flat-lined to find the 21st century human docile to the widespread ubiquity of information processing technologies.

Meanwhile, human agency has been subsumed by an increasing automation by non-human agents, as control over identity, society, and economics is relinquished to biases of robotic processes. Techno-evangelism attempts to brand, market, and, most importantly, sell the wonderment afforded by a wilful obedience to the future. They resound with the same transcendentalist fantasies of cyberpunk fiction – indeed speculation and futuristic thinking has become an art, and like any popularist art forms, it has become an industry.

Revisiting 1995’s Future Music panel, Virtual Futures will explore the implications of a new ecology – where music is no longer made but grown, thus demonstrating a quality of artificial life. In 2013 music doesn’t go viral, it is viral. And all the while we are left to question who, or what, is listening?

19:30 Orphan Drift: You Its Eyes 94-13
Screening of video works by Orphan Drift

In this specially commissioned audiovisual work, 0rphan Drift remix their rave-inspired works from the mid to late1990s. This period was characterized by a distinctly analogue, lo-fi materiality. Accompanied by audio from 0D’s Ocosi, Surface and Sadist, and by sound made for the 0D/CCRU 'Syzygy' collaboration in 1999, remixed by CCRU’s Kode9, this screening is a hallucinogenic immersive experience, a meditation on rave, techno culture, and its posthuman potentialities.

Related events:
Rave Undead I
Tue 29th Jan HAU2
20:00 Mark Leckey "Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore" – video screening
20:30 Theo Burt / The Automatics Group "Remixes" – German premiere
21:15 Lorenzo Senni

Rave Undead II
Fri 1st Feb BERGHAIN
Conor Thomas, Samuel Kerridge, Shed, Powell, EVOL, Andy Stott, Mark Archer (Altern 8), Lower Order Ethics

Monday, January 28, 2013

"i was more into the music than the rapping" - Danny Breaks, in this 1995 interview for German TV, dropping science on his beat-science

(via Blog to the Old Skool, via Droid)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

bunch of Jackin mixes recommended by Dominic / Datwun /MusingsofaSocialistJapanologist

Tom Garnett SCARE-F3ST 2012 MIX

Hannah Wants mix slightly more classy in vybe

and finally the Marcus Nasty Rinse FM live set w/ Shantie on the mic that turned him and others on to the sound big time

Friday, January 4, 2013

Jackin fanatic Tim Finney alerts me to this slinky unit

which he says is the solitary conspicuous absence from Datwun / Dom's otherwise "flawless" survey 

TimF concurs with D / D that "Lorenzo WAS producer of the year give or take azonto producer Ball-J" and directs me to Benny B's handy mixes of the two auteurs de jacquin'

 ah, that last one is actually a mix of Afrobeats - Benny B informs me.


Leaving Earth's Taninian with a counter view of UK bass, or as he prefers, post-step, to that  argued by Musings's Dominic /Datwun

(it's a follow-up to a much earlier  this year post on post(dub)step - dude posts irregularly but at great length and depth when he does)

these two posts add up to a surprising ideological swerve (basically embracing the Harper/Muggs position) from a chap who even earlier (May) last year was enthusing so infectiously and authoritatively about wobble...  but then again I suppose there's no rule that you have to pick sides between brostep and post(dub)step - indeed while ideologically I'm firmly on the wobble-bro side, in terms of day to day listening I probably listen more to the post_ stuff (but as I said in the earlier post here, that's because it's more compatible with the way I use music, maybe)

still I hope he won't disappoint me further by penning encomiums to vapidwave and cloud rap ;)

To the claims ventured in the latest post, on behalf of the post-....      

the parallel with postpunk can only go so far, I think, because what This Heat, Pere Ubu, Raincoats et al had was an expressive intent and communicative urgency that is simply absent with this posteverything digitronica--  with the postpunk bands, that urgency relates to the individual vision of the artists (their personalities, temperaments, biographies), but also to the fact that even at its most extreme postpunk was nearly always a song-based and lyric-based form that could support "saying stuff".... also, further, it relates to the wider contextual Geist of postpunk as a movement and a cause, carrying with it a moral imperative to communicate, challenge,  oppose, etc ... and moreover its belief that this was possible (postpunk coming not just after  punk, but as its fulfilment / intensification / dialectical next stage)...    .

none of these things apply with post-step, which seems to be about complexity and convolution for complexity and convulotion's sake.... a very pure form of music, in that sense -- but what that means is that it stands or falls on A/  just how experimental /sonically mindblowing you actually find it to be, and B/ how much you value experimentalism/aural-weirdness for their own sake 

in terms of B/ when it comes to dance that's just one of several metrics for me, several considerations -- and in terms of A/ well i'm still processing his many many recommendations (man, the guy's a digger, a chaser!).... for now can't quite hear the  "uncontrolled upsurge of revolutionary modernism" he's talking about...  seems more like Lisa Blanning's verdict on Night Slugs as a mixture not a direction -- i.e. stuck in that zone of addition (this + that + the other) and never quite makes it to the multiplication stage (this x that x the other = ?!%#$?@!?!)

BUT some of the stuff -- taken as an aggregate of established power-moves -- is pretty fucking exciting

i do like the ravey swoops and smears in this 

and in this one 

which almost has a PCP gloomcore feel but with friskier beats -- that oddly and cleverly combine a feeling of monolithic and polyrhythmic -- the effect at once cluttered and slammin'

i think he sells it slightly short by calling it post-step - it doesn't seem to have much of anything to do with Objekt and Hessle and Kimbie and all that abstrusity

the stuff he's celebrated does seems to be constructed around a dancefloor of the mind's ear (whereas postdubstep is increasingly abstracted from any body/crowd scenario)

i'd be tempted to call it ravestep if that wasn't almost as lame a word as post-step

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Well I never : that rap I like a lot when I hear it on LA's Power 106 station  -- Tyga, YG, et al -- a sound I have talked about here previously -- turns out it's not just a variant of trap, it's a thing in itself, with its very own name: Ratchet

And it's a local sound, it's based out of Los Angeles, the key figure is this here DJ Mustard (who produced "Rack City")

Andrew Nosnitsky mentions it in this Pitchfork overview of the year in hip hop:

"The rigid clap driven wave of West Coast ratchet music quietly ruled the year. While Tyga's DJ Mustard-laced "Rack City" might have represented the commercial peak of the sound, elements thereof continued to be absorbed by radio playlists via the likes of Rihanna's "Birthday Cake" and Drake's "The Motto" all year long. The energy was a welcome reprise to the usual moping that Drizzy brings to the airwaves. Meanwhile the scene's Californian representatives-- YG, Problem, Iamsu, Loverance and pioneer/permanent fixture E-40 (who released about a hundred songs across five albums this year)-- continued to stitch the threads of hyphy and jerk music into a more contemporary quilt to much commotion in the homeland. They're not just gaining momentum in Los Angeles and the Bay Area either, but in the less charted locales between like Bakersfield and Fresno, inspiring above the head hand claps and below the waist cheek claps."

More stuff on Ratchet and Mustard here and here  and here

Dissensus's Datwun, aka Dom in Japan, aka Musings of A Socialist Japanologist - aka the dude who enthuses infectiously about Jackin' Bass -- with a well worth reading overview of the year in music -  funny, lotsa cool audio-video clips,  and crucially, correct.

(well i find myself in substantial agreement with it, anyway!)

highlight passages from Datwun/Dom's overview:

on UK Bass

"For London producers working under the 'Bass' umbrella this year, not a single gun finger was busted. Postmodernism has not treated UK dance music well, and the atemporal, internetty, vybless music coming from the capital - a mush of vaguely dubsteppy bass, house rhythms, washy synths, 808s and AALIYAH SAMPLES MADE BORING HOW DO U EVEN DO THAT?!?!? - has lost all sense of FWD progression and all sense of fun....

"Wake me up when London artists stop talking like critical theorists and when somebody, anyone makes a BANGER."

[Feel a little kindlier towards UKbass hessle hemlock etc than he does, but perhaps only because I'm getting mellow and quite enjoy having weirdbeat-ige on in the background while working on my computer - in a club, i'm sure i'd be TEARING MY HAIR OUT IN BROCK-BLOCKED FRUSTRATION!]

on Footwork

"Imagine what music/culture would be like right now if footwork didn't exist? It's a truly depressing thought. For musical modernists, footwork is pretty much all that that stands between us and the end of history"

"for the first time in musical history the UK has responded to an American innovation by tempering it"

[Yes, exactly. Problem with footwork is a bit like the problem with all those global ghetto groove sounds, in so far as it can't be adopted wholesale as a culture by non-locals because it is so territorialised, bound up with specific rites and  in situ dance-functionalism. Unlike jungle in the mid-90s, it can't really be responded to in the "energy signal / summons to action" way i.e. scenes for footwork sprouting up all around the wall. It's not an identity (i don't think anyway) that can be embraced, signed up for, as a mode of conversion and plighted troth.  In the absence of that, then, footwork seems likely to have its effect as an influence, which tends to lead to ungainly fusion, or dilution, or quirkification -- the drill'n'bass etc scenarios. Or (again cf carioca, cumbia etc, as a flavor in hip-dj favour, dropped into sets but not really catalysing anything long-term... I]

On Jackin

Which gets hailed as

"a topography of a specifically Northern British dance tradition - evoking everything from bassline to Northern soul, via organ house, speed garage, happy hardcore, donk and jungle.... The difference between this music history in a blender and the internetty mush I decry in London-centric UK Bass, is that Jackin is the response to a specific Northern tradition, it's not a random assortment of influences gathered from soundcloud and youtube... but local influences absorbed into the music through a regional IRL scene, and absorbed through the memory of other local scenes. Simply put, jackin is exactly what you'd expect Northern rave music to sound like in 2k12, and it's strong because of its basis in The Real.
"Apart from this Jackin succeeds where UK Bass fails not only because it takes itself far less seriously... But because it is a scene which corresponds to a sound. Whereas if you say a song sounds like UK bass I have 0% idea what you might be referring to - in regards to its rhythmic pattern, its sound pallet etc. - if you tell me a song has a jackin bass then I know what to expect from the bass line."
[Have to say the scene defining innovation that he identifies as "hollow-donk-warp-owl-bass" is delicious but it doesn't quite sound like enough of a New Sound to really conquer the outside-world nonaligned dancefan's default stance of scepticism ("isn't this just a slightly new twist on house / uk garage?"). There remains something of a recombinant plateau / hyperstatic aura about the sound, as irresistibly slinky and nubile as it is]
[In classic scenius-don't-mean-there-aren't-auteurs having-your-cake-and-eating-it mode (i'm a repeat offender obviously) D hones in on the werk of Lorenzo, aka 1/2 of Cause & Affect ]

That is basically jungle house...  which is to say, speed garage, slowed a bit, and given some 2012 digi-polish

 His tune of the year

Love the donk/Blackout Crew echo of "that's sick"

(D's overview then debated over at Dissensus from this page onward... the back and forth having a shall we say deja lu feeling about it)