Monday, October 27, 2014

the Blame game

Greatest hardcore track ever?

Top 5 definitely

Underrated outfit, Blame , although in a sense his greatest work was remixed by others - as though his role was to set others up to excel

But this next one was all their own work (by this point it was Blame & Justice) - one of the most glassily brilliant and unusual-sounding of the whole first-wave of ambient jungle / int*****nt drum & bass

flipside also good - vaguely reminding me of Grace Jones circa Living My Life

Strangely when I reviewed it in Melody Maker, I focused more on "Essence" than the far more unorthodox and hypnotic "Anthemia"

BLAME & JUSTICE--"Anthemia/Essence" (Moving Shadow). 
Smooth-riding mellow hardcore, with Grace Jonesy vocal, jazz-funk sax, and even a sample from The Orb's "Huge Pulsating Brain" to ram home the ambient connection.

This earlier (93 as opposed to 94) Blame 12 inch hasn't quite made the transition into "musicality" that it aspires to, and that "Anthemia" pulls off so successfully (yet without losing any of the minimalism or wrongness-as-rightness of jungle)

"A21" was always one of the tracks I skipped on The Joint 

Flipside "Sikological Hostage" reminds me a bit of the 2 Bad Mice Underworld EP -  impressively dense , pushing the darkcore envelope -  but not much fun really

Can't seem to find the original of "Nightvision", this is the remix by D'Cruze (another under-rated, just-below-first-division jungle/D&B producer)

Here's what I wrote in The Wire about "Nightvision' and the later "Sub Committee" (see below)

Texturally closer to the fuzak-squad, Blame & Justice are also doing astonishing rhythmic stuff underneath all the Joe Zawinul-esque synth-foliage. On "Nightvision", and on Blame solo tracks like "Sub Committee", there's an effect like a sampladelic equivalent of the way a drummer will let the stick vibrate on the skin, rather than make a crisp hit - a sound like a spinning coin that's starting to decelerate. "Nightvision" is so reverb-riddled and elasticated, so nuanced with percussive accents and hyper-syncopations, it's virtually a drum solo, albeit constructed painstakingly over days as opposed to happening in real-time.

Here's what I wrote in Melody Maker about the remixes EP

BLAME & JUSTICE--"Chapter II Remixes" (Moving Shadow)

"Nightvision"--remixed here by D'Cruze--is a drum & bass groove so eerily elasticated and dub-reverbed that it's hard to imagine what kind of physical response could do it justice. Art-core rhythm-magick designed for pythons or contortionists, music to turn your body inside out.

And the flipside

Completely forgot about this EP, which is reminiscent of EZ Rollers

Oh, turns out I reviewed it in my D&B column in Melody Maker:

BLAME --- Sub Committee EP (Moving Shadow)
Fusion-tinged drum & bass at its most mellow and moist. On "Sub Committee", milky globules of cosmic synth, vaguely redolent of Weather Report's Joe Zawinul, glide over an elegant frenzy of snare-rolls and rapid-fire triplets. "Music Takes Me" reworks Blame's 1992 happy hardcore hit "Music Takes You", replacing the cartoon urgency of the original with a glossy sophistication; the shrieking-diva chorus remains as spine-meltingly intense as ever, though. But the other two tracks, "Groove Research" and "Dream Finder", blur the thin line between serene and soporific. 

Soon enough I stopped paying attention.... just the titles, "Heritage" and "Retrospect" give the game away

So it  makes sense that Blame would get sucked into the Good Looking / Looking Good aquajungle miasma

Mind you this one (back on Shadow)  is edging into nu-dark, technical-but-sinister

And then scores more, Conrad Shafie never stopped making drum and bass, indeed a few years ago finally put out his debut album. would you believe....

Blame - just another genius, just another hero

1 comment:

Keith said...

Did you ever listen to D'Cruze's album Cruzin? It's great!