Friday, November 16, 2018

slammige cru (let us now praise Lee and Michael)

tuff tune, with delicious proto-vocal-science of that elf-girl gurgle at 0.57 seconds and passim

heard while making my way through the Leaving Earth list of rave LPs

from the good old days when "techno" didn't promise hair shirt longeurs and triple turntable tedium -  when techno banged, slammed, kicked (and even shoveled, now and then!)...  when a tune might actually contain, well, a tune -  as opposed to just a grackling sound and a nail-gun beat

GTO -  another example of the  personnel and sonix flow between industrial and techno

Started as Greater Than One, than proliferated under a thousand aliases, in multiple modes of slammige - bleep, hard techno, near-trance, jungle-ish, gabba

tearin' tune - B-line like concrete liquifying  (as the Man like Me said once upon a time)

another version

fame at last

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

mouth music (afrotronica)

[via Nick Zurko]

release rationale:

Khalab has summoned a futuristic afro-centric soundscape by weaving a poly-phonic tapestry of future bass, jazz and field recordings. The LP’s title track tells hard truths from the mind of spoken word artist Tenesha The Wordsmith. Along with her words the LP’s title has been augmented with a date marking the arrival of an emancipated future. 

‘Black Noise 2084’ casts aside the worn and surface level cliché of black music being soul music. Khalab guides us to the beginning of a journey, the journey of rhythms and he takes us within earshot of the voices and spirits that carried them. Soul gained over aeons of terror and forced transportation, soul driving survival against systematic oppression, wholesale against a people. Khalab looks to the noise, the messages, the spirits, and evokes the light of ‘Black Noise 2084’ out of darkness.

From dystopian roots, the beat marabout Khalab has led his assembly of messengers to invoke this myth of cathartic liberation. ‘Black Noise 2084’ features the voices of musical voyagers seeking new pathways: Shabaka Hutchings, Moses Boyd, Tamar "The Collocutor" Osborn, the master Gabin Dabir, Tenesha The Wordsmith, Tommaso Cappellato, Prince Buju and Clap! Clap! Within the tapestry of Khalab’s ‘Black Noise 2084’ the myth moves through its cycle of life, initiations and ceremonies with a cast of unnamed messengers.

Khalab was invited to work with field recordings from the archives of the Royal Museum for Central Africa of Bruxelles. The museum’s recordings made for a post-colonial World, hold ethnographic and historical insights into the cultures of the region over the last 500 years. The Museum is far from the horrors that Belgian King, Leopold II unleashed during his colonial reign, however it is a dark legacy that is far from absolved.

‘Black Noise 2084’ opens a portal where displaced rhythms, chants, screams and dreams collide with quaking bass, a vortex of shattering synths, jazz rains and emotion all amalgamate. Empires for millennia thrived across the African continent and Empires are being willed to rise.

As Khalab draws the LP to a close he brings light with ‘Dawn’ ft Moses Boyd. A dawn firmly squared-up by its past, hard truths of a barbaric history embarking on the beginning of reconciliation. Drum beats usher in the arrival home for a new glory. 2084 a time when rhythms have shed the cargo of their haunted odyssey. The myth of ‘Black Noise 2084’ is a new dawn where the ghosts of Leopold and all his kind are finally excised. Atonement in hearing the truths carried across the ages, carried in noise, Black Noise.


Monday, November 12, 2018

and that's why they call it...

Slimzee remembering sneaking, aged fifteen, into Labrynth, his first club, in 92-93, with his mate Geneeus

i wondered if i rubbed shoulders with these lads

Labrynth,  a few years later, in full junglistic mode

the Donae'O dada

Monday, November 5, 2018

rave LPs

Completely missed this enjoyable and extremely thorough survey - by Leaving Earth's Taninian, from a couple of months ago - of the single-artist Rave Album

A curious artifact, with a checkered history, and an uncertain market,  for sure...  but T makes a good case for some classics that came out in the period 1991-1992: the apex of rave as a mass phenomenon

Among the ones I've heard and own, I concur heartily with the verdicts (Experience is the gold standard, Rhythmatic's Energy on Vinyl is a lost gem, as is Sonz's Flowers in My Garden, but Eon's surprisingly unmemorable despite the run-up of killer singles etc etc)

What surprised me: how many I didn't know about....

Especially when it came to the Euro end of things - Germany, Holland, Belgium - where, according to T, there's a shitload of ace full-lengths, with album tracks as fierce and full-on and inventive as the well known singles

Some of these LPs would be pretty challenging to find, I should think - you might find them going  very cheap, but it would probably entail hours digging through vinyl junkyard basements. 

However -  quite a few are on Spotify! So if you've got a spare 7 hours...

I couldn't think of any omissions really.  Unique 3's Jus' Unique has some great tunes on it but it came out in 1990 so doesn't qualify. Likewise - although it's been a long time since I've heard it - i feel a case could be made for The Shamen's En-Tact as both a good album and genuinely part of the rave culture, but that 1990 too. As for their Boss Drum - I can't remember a thing about it, but I don't think any of it really qualified as 'rave', not even Ebeneezer Goode", by then they'd have been on the progressive/trance tip if anything, I should have thought. Tracks featuring vocals by Terence McKenna.

Utah Saints had an album out in 1992 but vaguely recall it being plodding stuff, "Something Good" withal.

Bizarre Inc released the album Energique in '92 but I should imagine they would have shifted towards house music by that point. (More curious about their 1989 album Technological, which is described at discogs as "techno". 1989 is early for a UK techno full-length - who else was there doing that? A Guy Called Gerald, 808 State....  a few more house or sample-cut-up in style like S'Express and Bomb the Bass and Coldcut).

Smart E's actually released an album in '92, would you believe.... and some people rate it

There's a coda to the Leaving Earth survey, which looks at albums that came out after the cut-off point that T's imposed - belated full-lengths that already seemed like curios by the time they were released, what with the music having moved on a long way, in multiple increasingly divergent directions.

Here I can think of one or two that might have been included - except that they're not very good, so perhaps would / should be filtered out accordingly!

Like Liquid's album, which I actually reviewed  - not at the time (1995) but many years later for eMusic.

I don't think T included the Messiah album 21st Century Jesus, from 1993 -  but then again, I'm not sure if was any cop at all.

A very belated debut album is Baby D's Deliverance, which came out in 1996 - and from descriptions seems like its contents are largely radio-friendly toned-down versions of the classic hardcore tracks from several years earlier.

Then there's Genaside II's New Life 4 the Hunted, also from 1996, which suffers from eclecticism - the misplaced desire to show versatility and genre non-confinement.

Well, the one arguable major omission in the missed-the-boat category is Gerald's 28 Gun Bad Boy, from '93, but perhaps that is being construed by T as simply too dark, too jungalistic, to count as "rave"?

Tragic cases of rave-era artists who never made an LP?

Acen would be #1

And a close-behind  #2 - Hyper-On Experience.

Friday, November 2, 2018

just 4 u london

that tune and the two videos got me thinking about the tradition within the nuum of songs about London or repping for specific bits of London - here's a backwards lineage  (suggestions of flagrant omissions please) where it's either in the title, the main vocal lick, or in the lyrics

(late addition via Sadmanbarty)



"Love for the London Streets" is the title and vocal lick of this 2 Wisemen tune

(with Stamp Crew, wait for the vocal lick at 47 seconds in and repeatedly after)

intro to this ruffhouse monsta divides the city into four quadrants and hails them all

missing in this london patriotism lineage are contributions from two significant phases - I couldn't think of a deep tech or a funky anthem that references london or london massive or even a specific area of the city ... is that because both styles were already succumbing to digi-era delocalisation? Funky if it references anywhere at all it would be a vague Africa. And deep tech is the least London-y of all these sounds.

prehistory to the nuum's London-love

postscript: a suggestion of the illustrious Selectabwoy

perhaps slightly outside the lineage


a funky example, from man in the comments

dissensus bods suggestions (ta lads)

deep and rude

a deep tech tune from this year that attempted to put some sorely needed rudeness back in the music

courtesy of Lady Saw, via a 2step banger of yore by M-Dubs

Thursday, November 1, 2018

sample trails


came out of this

(who knew seals & croft had some use?)


came out of this

but that (or a speck of it anyway) also reappears in this

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

the core of the core

fab pair of mixes by Selectabwoy collating the sample-sources for classic Reinforced and Tom+Jerry tunes and contrasting them with what the Dollis Hill crew did with them

mix rationale over here at Two Hungry Ghosts blog

more Selectabwoy mixes here

Monday, October 29, 2018

Miller time

a surprisingly faithful cover that gives the (fuck me is it really 40 years old? yes it is) song a digimax-shiny big BIG sound that's totally now

rather like the odd loping almost-breakbeat in the background, the least faithful bit of the rendition (the voice is very close to Daniel M's in its accent and phrasing)

yet for all that ultimately it is inexplicably unexciting

or should I say, explicably unexciting?

because trying to be soul-less and machinic just like in the Good Old Days is as empty and pointless a procedure as Adelle trying to be soulful and human just like in the Good Old Days...

ah this dude Fixmer is in a collaboration with the vocalist from Nitzer Ebb, who in the late Eighties already seemed decidedly behind the times with their DAF tribute act

That said, they were a very entertaining and committed live band, the Ebb - saw them rock a stage  hard at the Fridge in Brixton

What a load of Krupps, eh?

Did they secretly wish to title the album That Totalitarian Age?

"don't be lazy!"

sinewy, sweaty and shouty - a work aesthetic

aha of course of course

here's me on Mute and its story and legacy, recently, here


here's me on industrial dance music from 1991 but with no mention of the Ebb I don't think

here's me on Front 242 from around about the same time

it's coming back big time, the EBM / industrial-for-discos thing, apparently - and hey, this Holly Dicker piece from Resident Advisor takes the Ebb anthem "Join in the Chant" for its title!

of the other groups in this area, I was quite taken with Consolidated, because of their unusual strident Leftism, and with KMFDM, for reasons I can't remember. I'm not sure which was the album I kidded myself into thinking was worthy of a feature at Melody Maker - the one with this Carl Orff sample?

if they'd just pushed a little bit further, they could have been T99!

but the beat really is like jackboots

Skinny Puppy, we were all enamored with at MM - well, my crew anyway

But I found that you only needed one or two - perhaps just one - Skinny Puppy album in your life

Live, they were an endurance test

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Akron Techno

1980  - easily as advanced as what Cybotron were doing, possibly more advanced.

This one has real drums on (the shuffle bit in the title, no doubt) and therefore suggests Heldon and DAF more than Detroit or electro.

These three are slightly more trad analog-synth epic style but impressively bombastic and gloom-doomy.

Who was this Denis DeFrange dude then?

He has six tracks on the Akron-Cleveland compilation Bowling Balls From Hell (on the electro-redolently named label Clone, but in fact started by Ohio quirkwavers the Bizarros) and five of them are above ("Pyrenees" isn't on YouTube for some reason. I have it though - starts very impressively with lugubrious vapors over ruined planet type intro but then turns into a rather slight, brightly chattering synth interlude).

But apart from that, no trace of anything else!


Wednesday, October 3, 2018

pirates RIP (so sez NYT)

A piece at the New York Times reports that London's terrestial-broadcast pirate radio stations are on the way out, killed by a/ the internet, and b/ legalisation (or at least the issuing of licenses to those prepared to go through all the bureaucratic hoops)

Well, that's a bit old-news in this parish, I'm sure, but still - cool that the Paper of Record would, er, record their having once been vital, albeit not at the actual time they were vital (although they probably get a passing mention in the jungle feature i did for them backintheday now I think about it)  

In all honesty I am surprised that there are even fifty of them still left. 

The writer Annalisa Quinn notes:

"Now that Rinse is a licensed station, the contrast with Kool, a former competitor, is stark. Kool operates out of a grim warehouse with flickering bulbs and patchy black paint, but Rinse has leather couches, its own record label, and corporate partners like Smirnoff"

The Nuum was not built on leather couches and vodka sponsorships, that's for sure! 

I tried listening to Rinse online the other month.. but found it completely dispiriting...  literally, all the energy and interest in my bodymind seemed to just drain away as I clicked through the site, checking in on this, looking in on that...   The format, or platform, or site structure, or user-interface - whatever the right word is, I'm not sure -  so so enervating. And the shows themselves: vibeless... airless.  Even Uncle Dugs doing the old vintage hardcore, playing classic anthem after classic anthem, doing his best to make it hype -  it  just seemed to be going out into the void. The nonspace of the net.  And when I put on the Mark Radford show it felt like I had become that void. 

Here's a comment on an old thread at Dissensus (an Autopsy for the Hardcore Continuum) where I get into some structural analysis of how the pirates worked and what got lost when they started to fade:

"f there was a single pulse that you could track as the life-line, the vital sign [for the flourishing of the hardcore nuum] , i'd argue that it's the vibrancy and the essential role of the pirates

there is something about real-time terrestrial broadcast to a geographically restricted audience that creates community and a sense of synchronisation - everyone within the same forward-surging temporality

as soon as it became about the internet and netradio, you are leaving behind analogue culture - you are into geographically scattered audiences whose identity is primarily through identification with genre (whereas with jungle, UKG, grime et al - the identity came from the genre-identification but also a host of social and racial factors). 

you are also into desynchronisation - the ability to listen to shows when you feel like, when it's convenient, as podcasts or archived shows

this is just my experience, but living in NYC and then in LA i could never bring myself to listen to netradio of nuum-type music - it just felt wrong - i was listening too far away from the source, and at the wrong time of day

i think hardcore continuum is fundamentally an analogue-era culture - you can see that with the way it stuck with vinyl and with the dubplate long after other kinds of music had abandoned those for digital modes (there were still really shitty-sounding bassline 12 inches you could buy in 2008 - a phenomenon of persistence completely different from the vinyl revival going on elsewhere, which was the musical equivalent of artisanal cheese - almost literally, given that you could buy 40 dollar vinyl albums in Whole Foods here)

also feel like the broadcast nature of pirates contributed to a certain (delusional?) grandiosity - the DJs and MCs could actually say and feel, "this one goes out to the London massive" or whatever - the music is addressed to a whole city and its population (in potential, at least) - a lot more people were aware of the pirates than actually liked them (indeed they found them a nuisance)

in that sense it was a public culture

internet is narrowcast

Bonus bit - a piece by Ben Murphy for Red Bull on the best pirate radio documentaries on YouTube etc

Friday, September 28, 2018

funky kota

Indonesian music writer Gembira Putra fills me in on the electronic dance action in his country, which centres around a style known as "funkot" - short for funky kota, a mixture of breakbeat, trance, house and an Indonesian pop form known as dangdut.

Top tunes recommended by Gembi 

And here's a piece, translated into English,  by Gembi on the history of Indonesian electronic dance music

Monday, September 24, 2018

when the old sounds newer than the new

two philosophically suspect but undeniable banging tunes from Pearsall's mix of "new old skool"

mix-rationale in full here


"If we’re honest, most of the tracks on this mix betray precisely no influence from musical developments of the last 20+ years, something that, to me, brings up many interesting questions.
"This is because the original hardcore rave sound arose in a musical, social and political context that is very different from the one we experience today, a whole confluence of events that cannot be recreated. It also can’t be ignored that the scene was like a huge hive mind focused on relentless change and innovation – the speed of change was breathtaking, and probably without much parallel in recent musical history....
"So it’s an interesting paradox with tracks like the ones I’ve selected for this mix, in that they are very consciously imitating a moment in time when musicians were desperately trying not to imitate, but to innovate and to keep progressing. It’s a bit like modern guitar bands still reaching for that classic garage punk sound, in a sense.
"But the question is: does it matter? If the music sounds good, if it is fun and gets people dancing, who cares if it was made in 1992 in a studio in Hertfordshire stacked high with primitive synths and samplers or in 2018 in a bedroom in the Netherlands on a laptop loaded with soft synths?
I guess for me it doesn’t really matter. (Otherwise I wouldn’t be spending so much money buying this stuff on vinyl, duh).
And I don’t think it really matters for the artists or labels, either – sometimes music is just there to be enjoyed, so maybe I should shut up, stop overthinking things, and have some fun, right?"

Saturday, September 1, 2018


cool piece on the history (and prehistory) of the rewind ritual in rave by Harold Heath at DJ Tech Tools

"There’s a clear line of influence from Kingston Jamaica straight to, for example, the Four Aces club in Dalston which housed the legendary hardcore night Club Labyrinth...  a sprawling venue, formerly a West Indian drinking club which had featured appearances from reggae acts like Desmond Dekker, Jimmy Cliff and Dennis Brown. The rewind was already at home at the Four Aces, and it quickly became part of the hardcore ravers scene there. Lots of rave and hardcore DJs had West Indian backgrounds, so incorporating rewinds into their rave DJ sets was a logical progression."

"just a couple of miles down the road from Labyrinth was the legendary Telepathy raves in Stratford, co-promoted by Bret Telepathy [who explained]: “We…come from West Indian backgrounds. We grew up here. The Reggae flavours we incorporated, things like the MC because that what we were used to. Things that are industry standard now like rewinds – we created that at Marshgate Lane. We said, “Tell ‘em “Stop the tune. Rewind it.” (Brian Belle Fortune All Crews, 2004)."
the absence of these demographic links and migration of rituals explains why it never caught on in e.g. hard banging techno, house, or trance. but as the piece also explains it wouldn't have fit the vibe:
"DJs like Sasha and Digweed were celebrated for long drawn-out transitions between tunes, ravers at seminal London tech house nights Wiggle and Heart & Soul would whoop with joy as the hi-hat on a new tune was bought in, cheering the mix as well as the tune. Trance DJs might mix a pair of key-matched tunes together for minutes on end; this was not a DJing environment in which ripping the record back to the beginning was appropriate. House and techno tracks had long intros and subtle builds, they didn’t tend to have a well-known intro that would immediately send a crowd into paroxysms of joy and wild abandon"

Thursday, August 23, 2018

vintage 96 rollige

except it was recorded in 2017!

no, but it's great stereo-panning rhythmic psychedelia

like a lost batch of barely recognisable remixes of Goldie tunes done by Source Direct and Hidden Agenda

lead track of OneMind's debut album OneMind presents OneMind

(via Tim Finney)


it still sounds


the future

to me

very odd, that - cos i know it's not, that it's a now classic sound-style...

that it's history... legend...

a mythic and mythologized era

(hell, I done mythologized it myself - not single-handedly but certainly made an outsize contribution there!)

i know that we've gone past this and are looking back at it in the rear-view mirror

except that listening, it feels open and wide and forward-leaning - a full-speed ahead windshield view

perhaps it's just a trick of memory, how I felt then flooding back involuntarily

or that it's all so imprinted in my neurology and brain pathways that those sounds can't be heard any other way

it's not like I don't feel that feeling about some things happening today

(more so than 2009-2010)

but yeah, it feels like  my ears are staring out at a vista, a frontier, when I listen to it

if i played it to my beats and bleeps mad son, I wonder if he's be able to tell it was from the past ?

(not literally from the past obviously, in actual fact made virtually yesterday)

Tuesday, August 21, 2018


cool super in-depth piece by Holly Dicker for Resident Advisor on the history - and contemporary influence / resurgence - of EBM  - aka Electronic Body Music

I often used to de-abbreviate the term incorrectly as European Body Music - which i actually think is a better term, given the ancestral role of DAF, Liaisons Dangereuses, Die Krupps, etc

if I was to do Energy Flash again, one of a bunch things I'd add is more on the non-disco, non-American, Euro-industrial prehistory of rave

it's there implicitly and name-checked with the coverage of Belgium, gabba etc - but there is more to say about this other dance-oriented club culture of the Eighties that was going on at the same time as the black street sounds like electro, synth-funk, freestyle, early minimalist rap and proto-house - a scene / sound that was stompy, Euro, and descended out of industrial if veering often into a sinewy sort of fun

mind you, i never found it easy to dance to industrial -  i remember going to a place with the Stud Bros and Stubbs (champions of Front 242, Skinny Puppy, Front Line Assembly, a; grumh, et al at Melody Maker), right in the centre of London - it might have been a particular at Gossips now I think about it - and it was dedicated to industrial and EBM - and recall finding that the beat got tiring quickly -  too hard stomping, too nail-gun regular  - there was something missing, a shimmy that house added

an old piece of mine about what I called "industrial disco" circa 1991

Thursday, August 16, 2018


a fan video but conveys / intensifies the nova-psychedelica of now better than any of their own efforts

Wednesday, August 15, 2018


the retrovirus spreads deeper into rap culture (see previous episode)

lame video for mystifyingly poor single choice off otherwise largely splendid album

this is a bit better video wise, and a thrilling single out of many potential ones

Monday, August 13, 2018

nuum nuum nuum - the Matos pirate radio deejay set selection 1989 - 2008

almost every set mentioned in Michaelangelo Matos's Wire Primer on pirate tape recordings from April 2018 issue - UPDATE - MISSING MIXES NOW PROVIDED BY MATOS!!!!

Danny Rampling, Kiss FM, London (December 25, 1988)labeled simply as 1988 (39 min.)

Heartless Crew, Mission FM 90.6, London, part two (May 1988)

Saturday, August 11, 2018

"it’s muuuuweee, muuuuuweee"

Dan Hancox on the history of grime MCs and pirate radio, with particular focus on the quirky early days of vocal-noise and audio-logos

Friday, August 10, 2018

the laugh that launched a thousand tracks (well, 93 at the last count)

a fun and interesting piece  by Marke B. concerning one of the most proliferated and profuse samples of all time - Alison Moyet's liquid chuckle of pure delight from Yazoo's "Situation"

Thursday, July 5, 2018


a dank dense muggy broody bruiser of a pummelscape

replica rave / retro-jungle / aunterlogikal ardkore - slight return #1

this also coming soon is worth a listen - "Heavy, effective 1990s UK Hardcore/ UKG revival cuts" 
on the Come My Selector EP by  Soundbwoy Killah, out in September on Sneaker Social Club

loop da loop

same melody loop as this  - which was first?

retro rave

Wednesday, June 27, 2018


that rare thing - black-Eighties retro by a black person *

Zapptastic video

this is the bowdlerized version of the song, originally called "Sexual Eruption"

Ah, Snoop has previous retro form - appropriately homaging the 70s back in the 90s (it's that 20 year rule of revivalism)

* is it that rare? well, compared to the profusion of white folks retro-ing the Eighties, definitely - they've been doing it so intensively, for so long (longer than the Eighties themselves actually lasted)

but there are other black-on-black Eighties-retro exponents i'm sure


Monday, June 25, 2018

C Biz versus C Biz

That's a bit... nuumy isn't it? Culture gone on so long now they have to recycle the names

(see also Acen versus One Acen)

Image result for c biz

C Biz #1 = Bizzy B + mysterious DJ Connie (wonder if that is short for Constance or Conrad?)

C Biz #2 = rising road rapper / UK drill man, who is interviewed in this doc by Mike Skinner
(who ought to relaunch his project and call it The Roads)

Well who knew Skinner's been into this stuff for almost a decade?

Weird to hear Mikey S so Auto-Tuned on the chorus...

Thursday, June 21, 2018

true step garridge

Still sounds like phuture

Jonny + Andy chewed up D&B, swallowed the good bits, spat out the rest - and turned it into supapop for the Y2K.  So potent that Posh Spice wanted to get on board.

And it got to #2 in the UK pop charts in the late summer of 2000 -  back when the pop charts meant something -  how cool is that?

Never heard anything else by the True cru

There's this, which got to #6

Dane's B voice (esp at the chorus) sounds like how his faceflesh looks in that video  - grey-white plastic googunk

Oh yeah, this was a hit - a small one - too -

And  (who knew) a whole bunch of other bits

Now tell me, is this the only example in the entire history of Nuum remakes of early nuum-phase anthems (e.g. UKG revamps of ardkore or jungle tunes), where the remake is remade by the original maker?

Ah now this, this, is interesting - it could just be taken as 2step cover of SOS Band's Eighties R&B gem  "The Finest".... 

But really - for those who know - it is obviously meant to signify as a remake of ardkore classic "Finest Illusion (Illegal Mix)" by Foul Play, since that more or less swallows whole the vocal from the SOS Band tune

Funny thing, only two years or so before going 2step and Top of the Pops, Jonny Lisners was doing tracks like this

A sub-style that people in the D&B scene called two-step and which became utterly and deadeningly dominant

It is the same beat as the more basic 2-step garage beats - but the feel is completely different - unsexy, unrelenting, no swing, no sensuality - like a nail gun

Powerful in its way - I was quite taken with this direction at first - but ultimately nullifying

Why's it called "Piper"?

Your guess is as good as mine

I'd like to imagine it's a tribute to the wonderful Piper Laurie

It's almost certainly not.

That video is the perfect distillation of the neurofunk spirit

I do like the album Sawtooth (recently reissued) though

Particularly this track

Oh yeah I forgot - he did a second album in the neurofunk rigor mortis mode - Magnetic

What a canny leap from the dead end of D&B in 1998-99, to the lissom (and more lucrative) pastures of UKGstep

Jonny L was a bit of a shall we say nimble shifter though - for instance when the ardkore tide went out, he moved from doing things like "Hurt U So" to things that were more like pop trance or progressive

Actually that is not unpleasant at all - and in fact a bit proto-Daft Punky

But definitely straying from the nuum track.

As is this

Also much more Euro in feel

One of the tracks on these EP even has some Harthouse involvement in the production

But let us wipe all of that from the memory screen and remember "Hurt U So"

And this - the full mix of "Out of Your Mind"

Number Two in the UK charts!

"This tune's gonna punish you"

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Two Acens

more from One Acen, who is ... Afrobeats & B?

The bump 'n' flex of it is quite 2-steppy

Saturday, June 16, 2018

a decade of postdubstep

Was thinking the other day, it's been ten years - more or less, give or take - of postdubstep

And was wondering "where's it at now, then?"

And also "what did it amount to?"

Here's a compilation, on Bristol's Timedance label, and a review of it (by Philip Sherburne), that provides some answers

I like this track a lot:

Phil places the comp in the company of "iconic UK label documents" such as Warp’s Artificial Intelligence, Mo Wax’s Headz, and Night Slugs Allstars Volume 1" - all of which he says were "surveys of a landscape in flux, less repositories for an established sound than catalysts for a new upheaval".

Weeeeeell, the first two of those, I always thought, were actually pretty patchy compilations - although they certainly captured a Moment, it's true.

Phil identifies two aspects of the state-of-art that I think are true (and that I feel as deficiencies)

1/ a deficit of anthems.

As he writes, "Chekov’s clattering “Stasis 113”... is the only real club anthem here" .

I'm not sure I would agree that even that qualifies as an anthem to be honest - it's got a strident beat, yes - but you need more than that to achieve anthem-hood.  Anthems - think 2BM "Bombscare," Renegade "Terrorist," Double 99 "Ripgroove"  - are purpose-built to massive-fy a dancefloor. They contain embedded behavioral cues that trigger synchronised crowd responses; they appeal to the crowd-as-body.  Postdubstep tracks, when I listen to them, I don't picture a scene, a social tableau.

2/ a deficit of definition.

Phil rolls out the potted history ("the story of UK dance music is a story of mutation: of soundsystem culture and breakbeat hardcore colliding to create jungle and drum ’n’ bass; of American house that spawned its mutant UK garage; of the darkside 2-step that would morph into dubstep, that (briefly) world-conquering sound that rampaged like a world-conquering robot") as set-up for the inevitable pivot to the "2010s be different times" argument (i.e. we've moved past the era of genres and scenes):

"But aside from a few exceptions—specialist subgenres like UK funky, drumstep, and bassline house, also sometimes known, fittingly enough, as “niche”—the UK hasn’t generated many new styles in the past decade. That doesn’t mean that the process of evolution has hit a wall; it has just diversified and diffused. Instead of yielding distinct, readily identifiable rhythmic signatures, club music’s innovations have become restless, reinventing themselves at every turn. Seeking new ground across an expanded array of tempos, cutting-edge club music has poured its energy into shape-shifting textures and timbres. It’s a tough time for those of a taxonomical bent, but a golden age for listeners who like to be surprised at every turn."

Ha, yes, that's me for sure - "of a taxonomic bent". Definitely!

But more importantly I'm of a wanting to be shocked, brocked, shaken - and then, much later, stirred to write a thinkpiece about it ;) 

I mean this tune...

It's good -  I didn't feel like I'd wasted 7 minutes of my life afterwards. But I don't hear anything in it that feels 20-years-in-advance of Optical's "To Shape The Future." The production is more detailed and more spatially contoured. But that's just 20 years of upgrades innit?

So for me, it's been ten years of diffusion (as Phil writes) but also of defusion - as in a bomb being defused.

But I know there are others who disagree...  who are trying to formulate this postpostdubstep moment, write up it as an adventure.

And everybody deserves a shot at making their own time seem and feel like an adventure.

Good luck to them.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Rave FM Nottingham

Michaelangelo Matos alerts me to the fact that The Pirate Archive have recently uploaded a heap of vintage 91-92 sets from Rave FM the Nottingham pirate station. And furthermore Matos has helpfully sifted out the killer six sets out of the 20 available

DJ Senator & DJ Sy (1991; 89 min)

DJ Senator, Nov 1991 (37 min)

DJ Mayhem, Dec 1991 (42 min) 

DJ Mayhem, 1992 (46 min) 

DJ Rich’s February 1992 (93 min)

DJ Mayhem, May 1992 (95 min)

a banging selection

lots of tunes unfamiliar to me

particularly enjoyed the long Mayhem and DJ Rich sets of early '92

and in all of the sets, but especially those two, there's a distinct techno-y feel

which accords with the general principle that the further North you went, the less breakbeaty and the more 4/4 was the hardcore

frinstance, what a surprise to hear "Nightflight (Nonstop to Kaos)" by The Mover towards the end of that long Mayhem set - not something you'd have heard on a London pirate at that time I don't think

Oh yes forgot that Matos also recommendeds this Pirate Archive set for nutty MC chat -

MC Sharkey & DJ Wizard, Sense FM, 104.3, Woking, UK,

Thursday, June 7, 2018

proc frisk

Really enjoying this new Hyperdub album Insula by Scottish producer Joe Powers aka Proc Fiskal. It's a frisky, fidgety weave of grime / Eski / 2step rhythms with glinting splinters of melody and calligraphic tone-smears that seem to come out of the Sakamoto / "Bamboo Music" / B-2 Unit realm. Then  - as an extra flavour - stitched into the fabric of the album there's all these snippets of everyday speech and outdoors atmosphere , seemingly captured on the sly by the eavesdropping mic of Mr Powers. 

Interview with Joe Powers at the Quietus.

If you were wondering why the odd name - Proc Fiskal - rings a faint bell, most likely it's cos embedded in the back of your brain (if you're a Brit anyway) is a hazy memory of this:

"A procurator fiscal... is a public prosecutor in Scotland (who, despite the title, has little to do with fiscal issues). They investigate all sudden and suspicious deaths in Scotland... conduct fatal accident inquiries (a form of inquest unique to the Scottish legal system) and handle criminal complaints against the police... For the majority of crimes in Scotland, the procurators fiscal present cases for the prosecution in the sheriff, district and justice of the peace courts..."

Sunday, June 3, 2018

(how) drugs work

[The science of drugs] from I•HATE•THIS•FILM on Vimeo.

apt music in many ways

one of the favorite of my book covers

Friday, June 1, 2018

Pearsall Presents The Dream of the Nineties Is Alive in Kreuzberg Techno Electro Mix Up

A crunchy mix of contemporary techno + electro from Berlin-resident and vinyl-lover Pearsall,  triggered by my blogpost from early January, The Dream of the Nineties is Alive in Kreuzberg  about a visit month earlier to Hard Wax, the legendary vinyl-only record shop in the heart of the city's bohemian district.

(a post that was surprisingly well received - I was sure I was going to get some flak for it)

Well worth reading the mix-rationale text for Man like Pearsall's discussion of Berlin as a paradise for bohemian-professionals and how that paradise is coming under pressure from rising rents and gentrification a la New York Paris London...