Tuesday, May 15, 2018

yearning crews






2 comments:

kuz said...

Big fan of your hardcore continuum theories. I was a 94-97 junglist and then wandered off. I’m now immersing myself in all the 90-93 hardcore I mainly missed first time around. Happy days! I have a question: where are we in the continuum now? What is the iteration of bass music that matters in 2018? Dubstep came and went along with a bunch of other stuff like bassline and UK funky and grime etc. What should I be looking into now as an interested old fart/forever raver. Cheers

SIMON REYNOLDS said...

cheers Kuz

interesting question, and difficult question

i'm not sure if there is a current iteration of the nuum that stands out as the Next Phase or Now Phase of it in the way that grime and dubstep did in the early 2000s, or funky and northern bassline did later in the decade.

it could be that the narrative has petered out under various pressures (decline of pirate radio, internet taking over as mediating force and thus weakening the localism of the nuum, making everything more post-geographical)

at the moment what we seem to have is:

1/ grime, still standing, and in fact flourishing - more important as a mainstream and even political force than ever it was, yet at the same time, strangely static as a musical form. it's been in existence a good 17 years really if we date from Oxide and Neutrino, So Solid and early More Fire Crew like "Oi!". in that time it ought to have leapt through many stages of mutation. yet it still sounds more or less like grime did in 2003-2004.

2/ a lot of people, mostly out of the dubstep area, who are making music still informed by the nuum traditions, pulling from all across its rich heritage - yet the overall spread of it is too diffuse to really amount to a Next Stage (people talked about postdubstep, but postdubstep has now been going longer than dubstep itself did)

3/ quite a lot of people making retro-Nuum - replicas and pastiches and hauntological versions of older styles. e.g. all the jungle recreations and ardkore pastiches i've collected here, adding up to a 20 year chronology! - https://energyflashbysimonreynolds.blogspot.com/2018/04/x-panded-replica-rave-retro-jungle.html

4/ when you look at the core demographic of the nuum, which is Londoncentric, what they seem to be into over these last 4 or 5 years is:

a/ deep tech (had some hopes about this style but seems to have faded away / gotten boring

b/ Afrobeats (pretty nice but kind of its own thing separate from the hardcore lineage)

c/ UK drill, which is more or less the same as road rap, with slightly different rhythms - and which been getting a lot of negative press recently through being connected in newspapers to crime, gangs, knife sprees etc.

I know people who swear that UK drill - which is associated with South London, but gets it name from a Chicago style of trap rap, Chief Keef et al - is where it's at, the new cutting edge. But I haven't got into myself as yet - seems a bit flat and dead sounding, and very blank-affect and nihilistic. Lots of videos with people wearing masks and pointing gun fingers at the camera. It doesn't seem to have many of the things i liked about the various nuum sounds left in it, and i'm not sure if it's really part of the lineage. Whereas grime's style of MC-ing and frenetic, jagged rhythms did clearly come out of jungle, etc

I didn't mean to write such a long reply!

But that's what it looks like to me, from a fairly remote vantage point (LA), judging by what people closer to the action tell me or things i get to hear.