Sunday, March 17, 2013

                             Energy Flash

I'm pleased to announce that a new 2013 edition of Energy Flash, expanded and updated, is being published by Faber & Faber in June of this year.

Look out for news of E-Flash related events in the U.K. for late June. In the meantime, as a taster for the book, I'll be appearing at the Faber Social on April 2 in London, participating in a night of conversation and entertainment themed around Vinyl. I'll read from the new section I wrote for the Faber edition, which covers the significant developments that happened in the five years since the last edition came out, but with special focus on dubstep and the rise of EDM.


Tuesday April 2nd, 7 pm: Faber Social and Rough Trade Shops Present Vinyl
The Social, 5 Little Portland Street, London W1
Tickets £6 in advance / £8 on the door

"Pete Paphides (BBC 6 Music's Vinyl Revival) will spin some records and host some chat; Travis Elborough will take us on a trip through 60 years of recording history reading from his book The Long-Player Goodbye; a panel of industry experts including Jude Rogers and Spencer Hickman will wax lyrical about the life and love of vinyl; Simon Reynolds will be zipping in from LA to read from his new update of Energy Flash: A Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture; The Pogues founding member and accordion player James Fearnley will read from his story of the band’s life Here Comes Everybody and Workin' Man Noise Unit will play a live set of tinnitus-inducing    tantum rock. More information                                
rave live PAs

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Friday, March 15, 2013

never realised there were so many hardcore promo videos

and even some Belgian hardcore vids too

Thursday, March 14, 2013

[from blissblog 2006]

instalment one of an irregular series


300/ Acen, "Window In the Sky" (Production House, 1993)

"Window In the Sky" was Acen's "River Deep Mountain High." After such a colossus was spurned by both general public and hardcore rave scene, what else was there to do but retreat from view. (Well there was a cool trip-hoppy thing as Spacepimp on Clear several years later, and I heard that more recently he's returned to making drum'n'bass in a low-key way). But "Window in the Sky," wow: a spectacular exit. The drum programming alone contains more creativity than most bands cram into their entire career. You want the mix ("Kingdom of Light") that's on Hard Leaders III: Enter the Darkside and also starts the 75 minutes CD that Profile put on in 1994, a weird little posthumous monument/semi-anthology that's highly listenable (six other mixes of "Window" by other Production House bods like DMS and Nino in state-of-art-94-junglist style, plus various other Acen tracks) but ultimately inadequate (doesn't have the definitive mixes of "Trip to the Moon" or "Close Your Eyes"). Someone really should do a proper Acen anthology, with the original mixes/remixes of "Trip" and Close". But yeah, with "Window", the moment at which hardcore could be pop has passed (it had passed with "Trip" which narrowly failed to be a hit in the late summer of '92) but it's like Acen is trying to hold onto that moment by force of will. And also hold the rave scene together (the sound at times is almost jungle-trance--epic and cheesy and dark and pop and hardcore all at once) under the roof of a single anthem-of-anthems.



Well, obviously, I never got any further with this series....

I did however have some of the top 300 mapped out in my head.

#299 was going to be A Guy Called Gerald's "28 Gun Bad Boy"  

#298 was going to be this tune on White House, a Bizzy B alias

#1 was going to be Acen, "Trip II To the Moon, Pt 1", for a perfect-circle ourobouros symmetry effect

Maybe have #150 as "Close Your Eyes" even

I don't know how people who set out on these long-term blog projects or series have the stamina.

That daunting sense of commitment and long haul was partly what discouraged me from going any further

Mostly though it was realising that 300 wasn't enough.

That really it would need to be the Top 500

Or even the Top 1000.


the remixes of "Windows", none as good as "Kingdom of Light" though

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

this is really good....

but I am having difficulties in establishing in my mind in what ways precisely it is different from the music being made circa 1998-2000

these are also really good....

but again I am having difficulties in establishing in my mind in what ways precisely they are different from the music being made circa 1997-2000

they are different, but it's the gloss and thickness of the music mainly, the size of the production, an illusion of expense (rendered meaningless because everybody can access that level of deluxe now)... perhaps increments in the intricacy of detail and sculpting

but substantially, at the level of structuration, of bones - this is a music that has already been and gone, that had its Moment....

its return (embraced, apparently, by young people, by young people in America particularly) as if it were new, with seemingly no awareness that it actually is a return... a reversion to a superceded stage

speaks to the disappearance of  the dialectic in dance music (aka FWD>>>, aka the modernist logic of supercession)

and its replacement by a new anachronic logic - "two steps back, one step sideways" (two steps sideways if you're lucky)

which counts for the uncanny feeling of contemporaneity and recapitulation,  nowness but not newness, when listening to things like Disclosure

(but of course I'm recapitulating myself here, aren't I... dunno, just get freshly amazed-fascinated-perplexed-disoriented by the phenomenon, each time I collide with it)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Open Culture piece on the Amen break, with a quote from yours truly about sperm banks

sampled from an earlier piece in the Economist, "Seven seconds of fire: how a short burst of drumming changed the face of music"

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Been playing the hell out of of "Survival" recently, on account of digging out  this compilation

What a line-up! What a track list!

Released March 93, contents late 1992 mostly - dawn of darkcore

Bought it in this one store in Greenwich Village that, while not a dance store per se, through its being Anglophile and therefore imports oriented, was just about the only place you could get rave and hardcore comps on CD in New York at that time *

(Much later in 1993 I found Liquid Sky, this record store / rave-clothes boutique, Soul Slinger's I believe, but in which DB had some involvement, and it stocked actual vinyl -- Reinforced, Moving Shadow, Suburban Base  - 12 inch ardkore junglizm manna for this famished exile).

But yeah, for a period, this store in the West Village was the only way I could get hold of the latest tunes (and by the time they reached comp they weren't the latest, the pirates had moved on), through a whole series of darkside CDs that React and Kickin' did...


Now this was during a long period from about mid-Feb 93 until the end of August when I was stuck in NYC (finishing the Sex Revolts) and itching, burning,  to be where the music was, i.e. London. Where the future was happening. Wore out the stockpile of pirate tapes I had and played those CDs to death. 

I reviewed that first The Dark Side comp on React for MM but  the reviews ed. never ran it, bastard!

Not sure what the lines across the text are -- looks like faded yellow or pink highlighter pen, so possibly bits that several years later I thought about recycling (and probably did recycle) into Energy Flash.

Another killer tune (so many) on The Dark Side is "String of Darkness" by Darkman aka DJ SS, which is basically a mash up of Rufige Cru's "Believe" and Derrick May's "Strings of Life". I remember the first interview I did with Goldie he referenced some kind of amiable rivalry thing he had with SS, I wonder if this was part of the back-and-forth

Goldie himself is on the comp properly with "Terminator"

Goldie, incidentally, has much of his early classic Rufige Cru/Metalheads stuff reissued very soon -- well, what do you know, I check, and it's out tomorrow in fact -  in a double-CD career retrospective called The Alchemist.

Tracklist for The Alchemist: The Best Of Goldie 1992-2012
01. Goldie presents Rufige Kru - Malice In Wonderland
02. Goldie & Metalheadz - Terminator
03. Goldie presents Rufige Kru - Menace
04. Goldie presents Rufige Kru - Monkey Boy
05. Goldie presents Rufige Kru - Dark Rider
06. Goldie presents Rufige Kru - Sometime Sad Day
07. Goldie presents Rufige Kru - Shanghai Dub
08. Goldie presents Rufige Kru - Rhythm Killa
09. Goldie - Special Request
10. Goldie presents Rufige Kru - Babylon 2012
11. Goldie - I'll Be There For You
12. Goldie - Saint Angel
13. Goldie - I Know Who I Am

01. Goldie - Single Petal Of A Rose
02. Goldie - Angel
03. Goldie feat. Natalie Duncan - Freedom (Radio Edit)
04. Goldie - State Of Mind
05. Goldie feat. Natalie Williams - Latin Skin
06. Goldie feat. Diane Charlemagne - What You Won't Do For Love
07. Goldie presents Rufige Kru - Beachdrifta
08. Goldie & J Majik - Runway
09. Goldie & 4 Hero - (Internal Affairs) In My Soul
10. Goldie presents Rufige Kru - Is This Real VIP
11. Goldie - VIP Riders Ghost
12. Goldie - Sea Of Tears

01. Goldie & Metalheadz - Inner City Life (Baby Boy's Edit)
02. Goldie - Kemistry (Doc Scott Remix)
03. Goldie feat. KRS-One - Digital (Armand Van Helden Remix)
04. Garbage - Milk (Goldie's Completely Trashed Remix)
05. Björk - Isobel (Isobel's Lonely Heart) (Goldie Remix)
06. Ed Sheeran - Lego House (Goldie Remix - Sticklebrick Edit)
07. Bush - Swallowed (Toasted Both Sides Please Goldie Remix)
08. Goldie - Temper Temper (Grooverider Remix)
09. Roni Size & DJ Die - The Calling (Goldie Remix)
10. Goldie presents Rufige Kru - Chances (Alix Perez & Sabre Remix)
11. Goldie presents Rufige Kru - Something About You (D-Bridge Remix)

I might buy this actually, for sentimentality's sake, and curiosity about how the later post-Saturnz drum 'n ' bass measures up to the earlier classic Reinforced (I know "Beachdrifta" and don't quite understand why Burial rates it so highly).


* Much much later I found some CD singles that Reinforced and Shut Up and Dance had put out in 92 at rave's UK crossover height -- CD singles would you believe -- that had slipped into Tower's giant imports branch, the one that used to be on 4th and Lafayette, directly opposite where Other Music is now.  

curated by CK303  -Daft Punk's "Teachers" Volume II, tracks from 1977-1997 that inspired 'Homework'

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

And a nod to the man of the moment...

Enjoyed this Bowie-goes-jungle track at the time for a bunch of reasons -- as much as it could be seen as bandwagon-jumping, as a genre-patriot I did it find it affirming that an artist that major and iconic (proper use of the over-deployed and utterly devalued word, in this case) would recognise it as the force it was, would want to jump on jungle.  Also it's rather well done: Bowie's vocal and melody bobs and weaves sweetly amid the Renegade Snares choppage.  Furthermore I was impressed that the dude had really done his homework -- read an interview with DB circa Earthling and he's referencing Kemet Crew.  Which is digging deeper than the public face of jungle at that time ie. Goldie, Bukem, Photek.

That said, he really should have hired some proper underground junglists to do remixes of tracks off Earthling. Adam F did redo this "Little wonder" B-side track (also a bonus tk on the album).

And there was a jungle mix of "I'm Deranged". Here it is performed live on the Earthling tour!

The next single off the album was less jungalistic and more rocktronica

Perhaps as a Londoner, he liked the just-4-U-London-ness of jungle. The mod-of-the-90s-ness of it.
bock me like dis mi yout (x 3)

and check da yout and bock





(or words to that effect)

twenty four seven, seen?

Monday, March 4, 2013

"I'm Different"?

Couldn't really be much more the-same, the-generic, the-like-everybody-else! From delivery to content to beat....

Which is not to say it doesn't great coming out your radio, driving through LA

As Joy perceptively noted, the icy plink piano refrain would, in a movie, indicate emotions like sorrow, trepidation, sadness, doubt, regret, dread

It seems to undercut the bluster of the MC

Smore changing same ratchet rap from the local rap station Power FM

And this one from Juicy J

Again with the melancholy-eerie refrains in the background

Heard something really great yesterday on Power FM but the deejays never identify  and i didn't think to write any lyrics down to google later ....  it was a cut above, though, in the complexity of the production, the mood ...  808-snares taking the military rat-a-tat-tat thing to the point where they were verging on this textural shear slashing across the track

[Goes to Billboard Hip Hop Chart]

Ah, it was this -

Tyga, who did my favorite rap tunes of last year

Now Future, he's good, yeah, I can see that -  but in my humble Tyga's better - or rather, the beatmakers who work for him are

i mean, yeah, Tyga, as MC-ing, it's pernicious and offensive, if effective, nonsense

but these beats

they really cut the Mustard


i haven't got around to checking out drill  properly yet, but i got a feeling i'm going to like it

a  lot more than cloud rap at any rate