Thursday, September 29, 2022

Beyond Belief


This record came out in 1993!!!

Things like this I would listen to in disbelief  - first, that music like this could even exist, and second, that no one seemed to have noticed (I mean outside the core scene, which was completely cut off, media-banished, cognoscenti-scorned, and accordingly inward looking, out of necessity) 

I had a completely clear run at it for around 18 months. There was me and there was Kodwo, who would put some hardcore 12's in his monthly club trax column at the Wire - and that was it, in terms of serious-minded outside-scene coverage. 

Yes it was my Lester Bangs right side of History moment - you'll forgive me for being attached to it. 

(And in truth Lester had more company in his clairvoyance -  other crits-wise - than I did)

Ian McShane in the membrane

1 comment:

Thirdform said...

tbf everything is reclaimed now, everything gets smulched into this arch bourgeois democratic category of 'club music.' Even happy hardcore and gabba have had their hipster revivals. The deadmau5 revival is upon us, based on the meltdowns of some of the new RA writers on their exchange podcasts. Of course in one sense you/we were vindicated, but in another we weren't. The war didn't so much succeed as much as Luka loves to pontificate ad nauseam but we arrived at something like stalemate.

In a way bangs approach is kinda limited as well now, we find ourselves in the strange situation where 50s rock sounds more subversive than a lot of 60s music, the irony!

Granted, I don't think this will happen with rave because the technological evolution towards the end of the 80s was immense and truly unheard sounds did emerge.

But what sounds subversive to me nowadays is dance music that just isn't really proper/orthodox club music. stuff that's overdriven, crudely produced, whatever. There's a reason why ambient jungle and photek (amazing music to me no doubt) are loved by the new dance music kids on the whole whereas noise factory not as much. And it's not so much because of the chipmunks and ragga samples (if that were the case people wouldn't be listening to hyperpop and eurodance.) It is because Photek, GLR, metalheadz productions simply do sound better on club systems. The sparkling clarity of the sound, the placement of the dynamics, the lack of muddiness. This is the contradiction running through clubbing. The struggle is not between musicality and amusicality so much as between production and anti-production. Producers learnt to use their technology hence should not be taken in the sense that they got musical, but that they understood the conservative, individualistic thread running through clubbing as a mass phenomenon. Even something so brash and bolshie as happy hardcore got better production in the 00s by adapting its sound to coincide with faster euro/dutch trance influences. I can't give you any examples of tracks (cos its not my thing) but I think there is an album called hardcore the classics from 2009 or so, with 1 cd of 90s hhc, and 2 cds of the modern stuff. the ideas are the same, most of the melodies are the same, but the chassy is completely different.

Here it is, I think if you quickly flick through all the mixes you'll be able to see what I mean.

Incidentally I think this is why you don't really end up reaching for much techstep. Because Nico's bombast notwithstanding, techstep tracks even in the 96-97 era had a great, paranoiac cannabis dynamic range. They don't sound like boxed in, feverish, chuck-it-all-in-the-sync 93/early 94 productions at all. But of course relative to some of the ambient jungle they of course sounded crude. But on a technical level the production was advancing regardless of which side of the fence you were on.