Thursday, December 5, 2019

becoming-cartoon







young Sadmanbarty has a whole theory about these sprite-like goblin-voiced dancehall singers, to do with digital technology and identity-morphing and transhumanity - the schizo-Gothic proliferation of personae and mask-selves.









i always finds these tunes insanely compelling the first time i listen but for some reason (same goes for Vybz, for Popcaan, for Alkaline) i don't go back to them - whereas the autotuned Afrobeat or mumble rap is much more repeat-listenable... perhaps it's just because the dancehall stuff is so full on, always going for the listener's jugular, the personality-level volume-knob's always pitched to 11

also find the beats in today's dancehall often seem to have a curiously muffled quality, so glossed up and digi-sheened and hi-def huge in girth, it's like there's a blanket of dazzle smothering them

Monday, November 25, 2019

recreativity



sometimes i think could listen to this for ever

it is a higher order of creativity than this, isn't it - no getting around it





but then again is this




a higher order of creativity than this?




that's where it gets sticky


Tuesday, November 5, 2019

nostril + nostril





prefer the left one

This pair done a lot of good stuff under various joint names and separately (and with different collaborators too).

Here's just one early alias



Pascal Redpath is actually his real name, would you believe?

Before deciding whether to release a track or not, do you think James Hoyte thought to himself, "Is this Sponge-worthy?" *






* obscure and strained joke

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Westchester circles




borrows a lick from




also fragments from






"Circles" = one of the twin towers of Adam F discography

the other is this



the rest eludes my memory - what am I missing?

Saturday, November 2, 2019

lost entitites


one of my favorite ever pirate bits














not keen on this remix



flipside = one of those 'genre-of-one' killer tracks that point to a path not taken


doomravers





Forbidden Planet rerelease rationale:

After our first reissue of The Mover in 2014, Forbidden Planet is back with two-part reissue of seminal material from the late 90s to early 00s by Doomcore pioneer, Fifth Era. Fifth Era consisted of a group of musicians from the UK and Czech Republic who pushed a slower, darker version of Hardcore. Their transgressive style had an irrefutable impact on the underground and we hope that this release goes a way to reintroduce Fifth Era's unique sound to a new generation. Vinyl only.

To be released in early November.








Sunday, October 27, 2019

we like it i like it you like it too



Now this here is not the last d&b tune ever that I've liked...

But it's the last one I loved loved luvvdit2dabone

In the summer of 2002 "LK" was getting played nonstop on the pirates - well actually on the pirate, singular - since there was just the one playing drum + bass, amidst a whole heap of UKG and proto-grime pirates - at least that I could pick up in the part of West London where we were staying (I was over to do research for Rip It Up). I was surprised there was even one pirate, so far had the d+b slipped out of nuum's orbit by that point.

But that's where I heard it, on the one and only drumnbass pirate.

I associate this tune's skittering beat with my 2 year old running madly round and round the little coffee table in the rented ground floor Ladbroke Groove flat were staying in.

A family favorite it was. A little lightning bolt of sheer joy.

So it's "LK" and Dizzee's "I Luv U" (the instrumental version) and "Pulse X" that are my abiding musical memories of that summer.

Mostly I was holed up in the British Library going through old copies of Sounds and The Face, or trying to chase down the elusive Keith Levene and going round to Martin Fry's gaff and doing little expeditions to Bristol and Manchester and Sheffield, to soak up any surviving postpunky vibes and interview relevant parties. A curry with Richard H. Kirk. Steven Morris's house way out in the Cheshire countryside.

I think I only managed to go to one club that entire summer.

Although very fond of the Stamina MC "all I know is this tune / tear up nuff venue" chat on the single version, I ultimately prefer this instrumental version



Went and bought that garish yellow green sleeved CD single.

Made it my #2 fave single of 2002

Strangely though I have never until this moment heard the original song that it is - not based on, but largely composed out of, in terms of melodic, harmonic and textural substance.



lovely

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

DJ Marky - went down to Movement once or twice, pretty good. Vibe a bit V Records / Full Cycle, tuff but tasteful. 

But I also saw him deejay in São Paulo  - and he was slutely tearin

D&b was hot there at the end of  the 1990s. Not with the general populace, but the cool kids. It was such a huge city and population that it could support all these different music micro-cultures, and some of them were incredibly Anglophile, obscurist Anglophile.

I was there for a music festival - talking about I'm not sure what (rave culture I expect )

4 Hero were there and did a music production workshop. They also, if I recall right, did some kind of not hugely fruitful live stage jam session with Azymuth, or members thereof. I think the whole concept was British music(ians) meets Brazilian music(ians).  Better on paper. 

In the music workshop, I asked Dego and Marc "What in your opinion are THE most must-to-avoid d&B structure-arrangement and/or production cliches? The ones that make you groan when you hear them in a track? That you'd never in a million years allow to bear the Reinforced label, let alone the 4 Hero one?"

They seemed tickled by that. Hint of a smile broke on their otherwise impassive and laconic faces.

Can't remember what they said though. They mimed out, vocally, a few well-corny drops and intro lick cliches, I think.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

PiLheads in the garridge?



i wonder if this was inspired by "Swan Lake" aka "Death Disco" by PiL?



seems unlikely with your nuum, but you never really know

quite a few of them have a secret postpunk connection

e.g. Dem 2 would you believe, one of them had a postpunk past

either that or a 2-Tone one




ah but talking about the ska / rocksteady traces in nuum

this, this here could quite possibly be a sideways inspiration for "Death Disco"



and hey i did not know that Madness did a version, and in more or less the same time-period as PiL





that's weird that cos in the 2-Tone chapter in Rip It Up - which follows directly after the PiL / Metal Box chapter, i start by contrasting "Gangsters" and "Death Disco", the Specials mono debut LP and the stereodubspacious Metal Box...


That version of "Swan Lake" by, hahahaha, Swan-E  - a cover which is funnily enough titled "Gangster" -  weird chains of echoes here - that was on the Cage Underground label.

The same little short-lived label that put out the marvellous Napa-Tac trak








"L-o-o-o-ndon Massive!"

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

echoes of Jah



is sampled in this



but i'm sure that either the Twinkle Brothers original lick or its Rebel MC relick is sampled in another hardcore / jungle tekno tune  - late 92 / early 93?  a real mad sounding tune.

anyone know?

10/24/2019 update

yesterday, via twitter -  within seconds - the omniscient Ian S comes with the answer



tuuune

Monday, October 21, 2019

crazy (for) jungle




the madness in my brain that's for sure

Friday, October 18, 2019

walk walk walk skank skank skank







bonus walk skank







update 10/23

Ian S spots another link in the chain



niiiice

reminds me a little of this 2step tune that is full of joy



Saturday, October 12, 2019

lover's rock (slight re-return)



Kofi's first group - and Caron Wheeler's too

on the actual Lover's Rock label





One of the later Brown Sugar singles, there's another group on the flipside, doing this song - which I half thought would be some kind of oblique inspiration to PiL's "Albatross", but it turns out to be a cover of the (early, Peter Green era) Fleetwood Mac hit!



And same side of the 7 inch also features this nice Brown Sugar version of Deniece Williams's "Free"



Any excuse to play this gorgeous Kofi tune again - and the excuse is the fact-tidbit that in addition to vocalling she also played the bass on it

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

lovers (slight return)

dub-I



didnt-I



nino-I



dream-i



Kof-i (in person)



vibe-adjacent

Sunday, October 6, 2019

echoes of deaf journalists



"Simon, don't give them any good reviews, until they've paid their ads..."

no really, that's the first line of the song - rather taking me aback!

i assume aimed at someone who wrote for  Black Echoes back in the day

possibly [darts to Wiki] reggae writer and photographer Simon Buckland?

it's a bit of a heavy-handed satire

and (whisper it) although not "a load of old rubbish", not one of the Prof's finest moments




Friday, October 4, 2019

rub a dub






hardcore 'n' rave revenants









postscript 10/7/2019



later re-revenant revisitations





semantically connected (ardkore)






postscript Oct 7
Spiro in comments points out another rub-a-dubby ardkore tune



semantically connected (80s dancehall)





Sunday, September 29, 2019

can't beat the system go with the flow




constituents









October 1 update:

Ian in Comments points out another sample-source (for the "now you know" bit)




the remix




rewind (remaster)




misconceived

Friday, September 20, 2019

exploding diva-bliss



luv luv luv this particular vibe - bliss-2-dark - ecstasy edging into the panic-rush

late 1992 - 1993 - early 1994 are the temporal coordinates










[late addition via Sadmanbarty Dissensus thread on technological abstractions of the human voice)

happy hardcore continues the divas but the sense of shattering -  a dangerous excess - has left the music, leaving just fastbounce

meanwhile the ambient jungle carries on deploying divas - beautifully, but it's more exquisitely done,  in the classy style of all that Masters of Work type house

perhaps cos it's no longer pitched-up, but timestretched so it sounds more like proper singing, properly human

whereas the stuff that E-lectrifies, transfixes,  is the "closer to fireworks than soul" stuff

these would be cusp works on the edge between diva-distress and nu-smooth











Wednesday, September 18, 2019

get on up like a faxmachine



a Pink Floyd reference and a James Brown reference in a single song

chugging Euroteknohaus that i'd never heard until this moment

yet i'm not honestly sure i've heard this classic before either, somehow



or this either



love the artist's real name - Aad de Mooy







Saturday, August 24, 2019

this is my tune



Dug out this Lovers Rock comp made ages ago by my dj pal Paul Kennedy and was reminded how lovely this song is by The Cool Notes

and also by how uncannily it sounds like Saint Etienne (or rather I should say, how uncannily Saint Etienne sound like it  - in some of their earlier modes at any rate, Foxbase Alpha time particularly)

almost to the point where I'm wondering if Cracknell and the boys covered it

Love that synth solo -  so delicate and filigreed it almost sounds like guitar (and in fact is twined around a guitar solo, doubling the effect)

Dub is nice too



The lyric to  "My Tune" would have fit well with the songs-about-songs, meta-music interblog challenge of 2015 - the singer / group's evident pride in her / their creation... self-reflexively celebrating the seduction-by-hook of the consumer's ear and the fan's inevitable purchase of the delectable product .... a record that enacts its own promise  (shame it wasn't a hit) 

The title "My Tune" could also lend itself to a quite different lyric, written from the consumer / fan perspective - about that feeling you can have with pop songs (or any kind of songs - dance anthems, etc), that this song was made just for you, that is belongs to you - so snugly does it dovetail with your desire, so uncannily attuned it is to your particular audio-erogenous zones

(Well, The Cool Notes tune does contain that idea in the line "I wrote it for the people, I wrote it for you" - but here the addressee is the massive, it's "you" second-person plural i think - as in the earlier line "I write the tunes that you dance to in the blues". The word "blues" itself being uncommon parlance suggests the idea of social ownership of the song)

But yeah when a song on the radio possesses you, takes over your life,  it is like falling in love - that same feeling of extreme fortune and blessing, that heaven-sent matching 

I feel like there is already a song, or possibly many songs, out there that are about just this feeling -  a need miraculously met, the pop song as a personalised transmission....  

it's rather like the way certain stars when performing onstage can seem to meet each fan's gaze .... or how very charismatic persons, in the interview situation or the glad-handing meet-and-greet situation, reputedly can make you feel like you're the only person in the room, that you have ALL of their attention

but this-is-MY-tune also makes me think of the more disordered, hallucinatory regions of fan feeling  and fan-thought (as documented in the Vermorels's Starlust) where the star seems to be speaking directly to the fan, sending them secret messages, coded clues... the eyes in the poster on the bedroom wall piercing deep into you

While we're loving the lover's rock, here's another dreamsong about the dance of desire









postscript 8/25

Ian S in comments points out this rave versioning of Janet Kay



Fernando Ramirez Ruiz nominates Indeep's "Last Night a DJ Saved My Life" as belonging to song-as-salvation self-reflexivity syndrome



Thursday, August 22, 2019

mystery bliss 1 & 2



thieves the gaseous-bliss diva from "Sound of Eden", makes even gassier-blissier use of it

stumbled on this by chance and realised it's one of a big batch of mystery trax   - result! - that i never got around to turning into videoclips so's the massive could help identify them

here's one the massive helped me with before



blisstastic

what do you think, shall I finally do the remaining 25 tunes for the trackheads to ID?


Monday, August 19, 2019

"ardcore? are you sure?"



ad for Music Power Records, Haringey!

and the full ad break from Pulse FM June 28th 1992 (half way through Adrian H & MJ)



via Deep Inside the Oldskool, which has the whole Adrian H & MJ set

also
via this cache of pirate tapes (c/o Mikus Musik)
a Pulse FM show by Chris Simon who co-ran Music Power Records

even more Pulse-ating power







Sunday, August 18, 2019

rufige

sometimes think this is the greatest hardcore track of all time - dark, blissy, dubby, delirious



knew one of its sources was this excellent Sweet Exorcist album track



did not know another was this





also seems unlikely there is an EP that's better than that Rufige 4-tracker










mind you the Metalheads EP with "Terminator", "Knowledge", "Sinister" and "Kemistry" is pretty fucking stunning

the best three in a row in all of H-core? Darkrider EP, Terminator EP, Angel

the only ones close are Foul Play (Vol. 2, Finest Illusion, Vol.3) and Omni (Mystic Stepper, Renegade Snares, Vol. 4)


Tuesday, August 13, 2019

slaves






trope reached earlier (1991) than the famous and supreme example (1995)




other notable nuum slaves





bit of Grace there via the musique concrete-y psycho-acapella track on the Slave to the Rhythm album






have i ever heard this super long 12 inch version of 'Slave to the Rhythm'? I'm really not sure



any more notable "slaves" in the rave-dance-disco-house realm?


postscript 8/14 

Ian S in Comments points out these examples:







he mentions a "slave" thematic to this but I can't hear it

Thursday, August 8, 2019

mashing up history



check the slogan on the label of this version of the original Jem 77 tune -
"Proper Bloodclaart Pirate Radio Bizness"




this other recent Rave 2 the Grave tune is better than the Jem 77/Cubic 22 one I think



of course there were tracks that were effectively mash-ups  -  aka rip-offs - happening in real-time back in the old skool days. i can't think of any examples off the top, but there were quite a few that were composites of existing killer tunes.

This Mickeybeam75 chappie is slinging this kind of thing up there, along with a lot of high-quality uploads of original-era tunes

this one - not a mash up but a new-old tune -  is quite devastating, beats and bass-wise. really like it




Here's the whole Wetman  EP on Vivid



Funny title

This is an earlier EP by Wetman

Monday, July 29, 2019

Pearsall mix of salvage junglizm 94-95 - never released at the time tunes now vinylized




tearing mix from Man like Randall H


Mix rationale:

"One of the things that has delighted me in recent years has been the amazing revival of jungle music from producers new and old; along with this explosion of fresh jungle there has also been a very exciting trend towards ancient dubplates from the golden era finally getting proper releases. So for this, the ninth edition of my Get It series of mixes of recent(ish) vinyl releases, I am very excited to pull together 15 tracks that were until recently only on dubplate or on extremely limited and rare pressings. This mix covers everything from mellow rollers to aquatic tearouts LTJ Bukem-style to full-fledged ragga mayhem and dark steppers. Enjoy!

Check out the other Get It mixes: soundcloud.com/sonicrampage/sets/get-it-15-track-all-vinyl

Check out more old skool jungle: soundcloud.com/sonicrampage/sets/jungle-is-massive-pearsalls

Mixed in Berlin, July 2019
100% Vinyl"

Update 8/5 - Pearsall's blog post on unreleased dubplates and the reissue labels specialising in them

"Sometimes dubplates functioned as a means for producers to road test new productions – getting a trusted dj like Grooverider or Randall to play it out and report back on the crowd’s reaction. At other times dubplates were unique versions of tracks that were literally created as secret weapons for big name dj’s, for example a special remix that only that one dj might have.

Hard as it is to imagine today, back in the 90’s there was so much mystery around this music – you would go to a rave or a club night and hear track after track after track that were simply not available to buy, and might not be available for months or even years. In this situation, if you heard something that blew your mind and wanted to hear it again, often your only option was to go see that dj again and hope they played it, or buy the tape pack from the event.

Dubplate culture was one of the key elements behind the incredible speed at which rave music evolved from through the 1990’s...  The dj’s and producers were constantly trying to upstage each other, and dubplates allowed new music to be played to ravers within days or even hours of being finished – no need to wait for labels or pressing plants or distributors or shops. Finish the track, get the DAT to a dj, they take it to Music House and have it cut, and it can go on the decks at a gig that night.

One of the side effects of this dubplate culture was, however, the fact that a lot of amazing tunes simply never came out. They were stuck on dubplate for many reasons – couldn’t fit into release schedules, artists and labels couldn’t reach a financial agreement, or the label owner(s) decided that the sound had simply moved on. Sometimes it was as simple as the original DAT being lost and no copies existing!

So for jungle fanatics, the years since 94/95 have been marked by the knowledge that there was a huge secondary catalogue of music that was only available to the public via low-quality recordings from raves and pirate radio...."


Tracklisting:

01. Dave Charlesworth - Guinness Track (ADR)
02. Simon 'Bassline' Smith - Oh Yeah (Deep Jungle)
03. J Majik - Telepathic (Deep Jungle)
04. The Invisible Man - Drifting (Drumtrip)
05. Equinox - Badman Style (Scientific Wax Retro)
06. Bizzy B & DJ DLux - Classic (Existence Is Resistance)
07. Bay B Kane - Cupid (Spandangle Selection)
08. DJ Nut Nut - You Can Do It (Deep Jungle / 8205 Recordings)
09. DJ Stretch - W (Dubplate Mix) (AKO Arcade)
10. Tom & Jerry - Bring Ya Dub VIP (AKO Arcade)
11. Bones & Natty - Thunder (Foxy Jangle)
12. Q Project - Champion Sound (Unofficial '95 Bootleg Mix) (Sublogic)
13. DJ Crystl - The Dark Crystl VIP (Hardcore Junglism)
14. DJ Renegade - What's Happening? (8205 Recordings)
15. Dillinja - You (Dom & Roland Productions)

bit of nookie



Wednesday, July 17, 2019

the beauty of Beverley




Six things I have in common with Beverley Craven

1/ Born in the summer of 1963 
(July for her; June for me)

2/ A connection with Ceylon / Sri Lanka 
(Her dad worked there and it's where she was born; my dad spent his childhood there, I grew up hearing many tales about Kandy and Colombo, still have quite a few Sinhalese relatives scattered around the globe) 

3/ We both grew up in Berkhamsted and went to school there
(I was at the local boys-only public school; she would have been 2 years above my younger brother Tim at Ashlyns, the state school; before that she went to Bridgewater middle school, just up the road from our house, at 113 Bridgewater Rd, so I have almost certainly walked past her, or seen her walking past.. ) (She also once worked at luxury health resort Champneys,  right next to door where my friend Dudlyke lived) (She still lives in that Hertfordshire / Buckinghamshire border zone).

4/ Both have a connection with the Yorkshire Dales

5/ Both cancer survivors

6/ Finally  (and this is why this post is on EnergyFlashblog) we both intersect with rave culture. 

In Beverley's case, the connection is not of her choosing - indeed it's possible, if unlikely, that she's unaware of it. 

"Promise Me", her big hit -  No. 3 in May 1990 - is a pretty-enough, rather old-fashioned ballad.  The sampling wizards of Orca skip the sappy chorus and home in on a pearly wisp of melody and sunburst singing in the verse  (heard first at 1.01 in "4 AM")




"It's four o' clock in the morning and it's starting to get light" - absolutely top detournement of a love ballad lyric to describe a rhapsodic rave moment, there.

As is another line that Orca (forgive me) reporpoise: "you look like you're in another world"

In "Promise Me", the "look like you're in another world" is about the male lover - who's distracted, distant, emotionally unavailable to the yearning girl singing the song 

In "4 AM", "in another world" is the sea of shining eyes and the dancefloor dreamspace, from which we are to be too-soon expelled, into the gray light of the morning... back to  ordinary life and the inevitable comedown... 

On Lucky Spin records, "4 AM" was a huge tune in 1993.... I picked it up some years ago, by which time twas tad pricey.  

(For a while, I thought the the artist was called Pure White. Seems that was name of a Lucky Spin sub-label).

The not-quite-as-good remixes



This one is ruff and junglistic, but I still prefer the original



Nothing else I've heard by Orca comes close to "4 AM", despite promising titles e.g. the two Dances with Dolphins EPs...  "Pure Bliss" ,"Underwater Science", "Sky Hook". It's good, solid stuff, in that happy-dark zone, getting ruffer, then getting wafty (titles like "Intalect", ooer), then getting technical

However one of Orca - Darren Beale - had various other aliases (Koda... also Psykus, with his Orca-mate Kristian Towsend... quite a few others). One of these aliases was Acro, as in the great "Superpod" which continues the cetacean obsession with its name (pod being a tribe of dolphins) and use of dolphin sounds. 



Fab rmx, getting well tech-itchy in a Photekky way but not losing the bliss




slow on the uptake today, just twigged that Acro  = Orca backwards!

i shall have to do a proper trawl through the whole alias-cluster uuuurv at some point.  

Back to Bev...
  
Craven cites among her influences Kate Bush and Judie Tzuke, but I don't hear much Bush, apart from the piano, whereas I do hear a lot of Tzuke - especially "Promise Me", which has a similar scenario and yearny, needy, feminine-fluttery quality to Tzuke's one hit "Stay With Me Til Dawn"







Look at this period-piece promo, which (possibly an artifact of the lighting and/or the aging of the video format) makes her look like a painting that come to life. 



Overbite-tastic! 

"Stay With Me Till Dawn" got repurposed itself, at the dawn of the Nineties, by Ultramarine, on the gorgeous "Honey", which turns around the "need you tonight" bit of the pre-chorus 



Well what do you know, from just last year, Beverlee and Judee (and Julee) team up for a single  



two singles 



actually a whole album / tour

also a joint performance of "Promise Me" on the telly 




Home Counties soul

Another Bev chartsong, albeit only just barely a hit really








There are other AOR lady / Brit female singer-songwriters who have been rave-ransacked of course, notably the lovely "Sleeping Satellite" by Tasmin Archer. 






I guess that style of AOR is an alternative source for yearning, soaring vocals, from the more usual soul / R&B/ house diva stockpile. 

I wonder why there was never a rave version of "Constant Craving"

Well fancy that




addendum 7/18

Pointed out by anonymous commenter, another dance treatment of the "it's four o'clock in the morning and it's starting to get light" Bev-sample - rather nice too




Meant to say also that in my mind I always bracket Orca's "4 AM" alongside this wonderful tune "Blow Out Pt II" aka "You've Had It, You've Had It All, Boy"



Must "do" Bass Selective properly one of these days...

And also alongside this tune by DJ Massive



"4AM", "Blow Out Pt. 11", "Ruff in the Comfort Zone"  - a little cluster of  junglistic but luvdup  diva bliss anthems that walk that underground / pop line and stick together in my memory


addendum 7/19

Ian S in Comments points out that Bay B Kane sampled Ms Tzuke also  - from "Ladies Night", off the same album as "Stay With Me Till Dawn"






Here is an in-depth breakdown of the making of the Bay B Kane track from God Is No Longer A DJ


Saturday, July 13, 2019

Old Bill Dutty Babylon



I've said before, a bunch of times, that "Cockney Translation" - Smiley Culture's 1984 debut single - is an important moment in the prehistory of the nuum. Not musically, but because its comparison of black and white slanguage, seems to herald an emerging hybrid youth identity that would blossom in the Nineties with jungle and UKG  -  complete with its own black-white accent where you can't tell the race of the speaker by the sound alone (if you happened to be sitting a few rows ahead of them in the bus, say).

I've said it frequently enough, that it's actually referenced in the Wikipedia entry on Smiley Culture

Well, here's a nice little confirmation of the thesis -  "Marked Up" a jungle track by Psycho & Mr Man (alter-ego of the mighty S.M.F. - Jason Verrall and Peter Hudson) that pinpoints and pivots around a crucial juxtaposition in Smiley's lyric: "Old Bill / Dutty Babylon".



Black and white unite, against a common enemy.

In this song, Smiley's fame allows him to bypass systemic oppressions (a sweet fable that has a sad sour aftertang now given his demise).




Flipside of "Marked Up" also cool.



One day I will have to do the S.M.F. urrrv properly

For now, a tune by them that blew my mind when I heard it on the pirates in early 93

one of those can't believe people make sounds like these" moments

especially when the mad "Strong Island"-like noise comes in about 2.30

even more so when the insane stab riff slash smear shred noise comes in at  3.42 -  "vhs tape all wound up and tangled. a flailing laviathon made out of dial up sound"(Sadmanbarty).