Sunday, September 10, 2023

Nuumology and Nameology

For quite a while now, my thinking about the Nuum is that it doesn't really exist anymore, at least as a generative culture-engine....  The new formations stopped coming a while back. Probably the last full-blown paradigm was Funky (although there's some who would say Deep Tech). Many factors here, but the main one would be the eroding away of the infrastructure that supported the heyday succession of sounds - pirate radio, vinyl, record shops. Nowadays music propagates itself immaterially, through internet and social media channels, and the audio is ever more wedded to the video (making it pop, in potential at least, rather than underground). 

What remains of the Nuum is: 

1/ musicians who came up through earlier phases and are still actively making music informed by that phase and/or drawing on other heyday phases.

2/ Nuum as a site of nostalgia and memorialisation (producers making jungle-replica tracks, auntological ardkore etc.... Back to 92 or Back to 2003 events.... this blog, even!) 

3/ half-life traces of Nuum rhythmic patterns or other sonic hallmarks (some argue you can detect these echoes in 2010s-onwards London street sounds like UK drill)

Having been thinking along these lines for approaching a decade now, how surprising it was to see this  sign from the window of a bus in London last month!

What struck me was how utterly Nuumy most of these names are:

Supa D, Coldsteps, Loyal Squad, Dezy B, Wigman, Spidey G.... 

These could easily be UK Garage era names from 25 years ago. 

I looked it up online and the lineup for this Notting Hill Carnival after-party appears to be largely Afrobeats. 

Which would be one place where the "road" audience went in the 2010s.... another would be drill... . 

I don't hear Nuum-traces in Afrobeats particularly, on a sonic or rhythmic level...  

Yet clearly, in terms of  "vibe", there is a continuity, a persistence....  

Assumed names of artists; track titles;  the names of clubs and raves and record labels.... On the face of it, these would seem to be peripheral elements...  yet for me they feel essential and archetypal 

I smiled with recognition, seeing that sign. 

Despite all the infrastructural shifts, the influx of new sonic influences, the sheer passage of time... something is perpetuating itself.... 


Anonymous said...

Not being funny, but if youve only just found out about these DJs/this scene, are you rly the guy to be making the kind of grandiose claims you come out with in the first half of this??? 🤔😬🤔😬

Ok if you want to hang up your raving shoes + grab the pipe and slippers but pleaaaaz have some intellectual modesty!! 🙃🙃 In an ideal world it wouldn't matter whether you give these the thumbs up or down as Genuine Hardcore Continuum. But in absence of of music press or blogs your words are still v influential for a lot of ppl and can legitimise and delegitimise scenes, and that can have irl results for access to +distribution of resources... (around the time of BLM in 2020 a lot of ppl were writing on the impact ofblind spots/exclusion in the music press if you came across it )

Glad you got the rush from seeing this sign. People are doing exciting stuff like they always do. Doubtless it's different from before. You can always dive in properly and get to know. But if you can't be arsed, at least hold your hands up +level with your readers that you don't have a clue on this right now

Hope you choose the fun route 🌝


I suppose I should be flattered that you attribute such enormous sway to my words.

But seriously, do you honestly think that me shooting the shit on a blog about a sign I saw while on holiday in the UK and that I found intriguing, that this would actually affect the prospects of scenes and sounds? You are talking about Afrobeats, right? Something well established, big in the UK for years, a presence in the pop charts, etc.

C’mon! It's just potty.

All this bollocks about thumbs up / thumbs down, legitimizing / delegitimizing - as if A/ that's what this post is doing B/ that's something I've ever been interested in doing C/ something I'd be capable of doing.


"Doubtless it's different from before"

That is actually the point of the post, if you had elementary reading skills.

The kind of people who once gravitated to jungle, UK garage, etc, now gravitate towards other, more internationalized sounds.

Despite that, something – a London vibe - perpetuates itself. It’s not so much in the music as in things that surround the music.

I think that’s interesting – it makes me smile, in the same way that as seeing a friend's kid and noticing the family resemblance.