Tuesday, June 30, 2015

pirate radio archive

amazing collation of pirate tapes digitized and shared by Dan Warburton


some going back to 1989

others pure darkside

quite a few station names i never heard of

could get lost in this particular cloud

oops here another (both via Dissensus thread)


Saturday, June 27, 2015

dubstep in hindsight

super detailed oral history of the dawn and golden age of dubstep  - pulled together Lauren Martin

loads of little data nuggets

like this bit on cutting house Transition as favored by the Croydon dons for their dubstep dubplates

LOEFAH: Transition is a cutting house based in Forest Hill, near where we lived in south London. We heard that's where Grooverider got his dubs cut, and that was enough for us, frankly, so I started going there in probably 2003. There were rules: you only paid for your own dubs if you wanted them for yourself. If Hatcha wanted one of my tracks to play out, he'd have to pay to get it cut to dub, and then that was his copy. It all depended on what rate you were on, too: I was on 25 quid for two sides of a 10-inch, 30 quid for a 12-inch. They swapped from 10-inch to 12-inch 'cause they "ran out" of 10-inch, around 2005-06, but that was a step up. Going back to 10-inch might have made us look cheap, y'know?
JOE NICE: I started pressing and stayed on 10-inch because it was less expensive but, for me, when I was playing the early Dub War parties, it was as much a visual cue as anything else. If someone sees me pull out something that doesn't look the same size from a distance, they're thinking, "Yo, is that a 10-inch? Yooo, 10-inch are dubplates. Yooo, Joe Nice has a dubplate? Oh shit – I gotta hear what this brother's gonna play." Bottom line: dubplates keep you in the room.
And this bit about the emergence of the half-step lurch-beat
YOUNGSTA: Loefah took it to the point where he changed the structure of the drums. Not straight syncopated 4/4. Not 2-step garage. It was about taking a break out and having as much space as possible, while still maintaining a groove. Some of it was so atmospheric that it was like a soundscape, but we didn't take it that far and that's what made it a winner. Me, I'm weird. I like things a certain way, and that was how you could make a whole new track out of a blend of two of Loefah's beats. Even if two beats are perfectly in key with each other – which they always should be, beat-matching aside – it's about the pin-point precision timing of mixing together two or three beats that are so perfectly in key, and so stripped back, that they have elements in each that the other doesn't; that when put together, they create a whole new tune.You know how drum and bass breaks go well together because of how they're structured? And how house has a 4/4 beat? Percussion, melody and leads would vary massively for us, and the kicks could be where they wanted, but the snare? The snare would have to be on the half-time of the 140BPM beat, so that it would sound slower than 140BPM. That's why I've never practised. I haven't had any form of mixing equipment in my house for ten years. Loefah would give me a tune and I'd play it on Rinse, some time between 9 and 11PM, and that's it till the next club or radio show. It's like maths: if I knew that the snare is always there, my mixes would work.

Reading through the whole thing - and it is a bit of tl;dr epic - i couldn't help thinking that the whole evolution in all its intricacies and tangents across 8 years or so...   it is - dare I say it - NUUMy as fuck 
But then I couldn't help also thinking, well if so, then how come  I didn't really love-LOVE it -  dubstep? Not in the LUVVIT-2-THA-BONE sense... 
Appreciated it, oh yes...  enjoyed its existence as food-for-thought and the extension of something (the 90s Part 2)...  enjoyed and admired it as long-form listening....  even thrilled now and then to the occasional pretty amazing choooon ("Bombay Squad", "Qawwali", "Night", "Request Line", "Spongebob", "South London Boroughs", few others), 
but no, it was never a  love-LOVE-LOVE-IT, LUVVIT-2-THA-BONE,   2-THA-MARROW thing...
and it can't be because I wasn't there, right in the thick of it ... because I wasn't there for grime either,  I was on the wrong side of the Atlantic....  but I love-LOVE-LOVED grime (2 THA BONE, THA CHROMOSOME)
i think it must partly be that beat - too torpid for someone torpid enough already metabolically - the groove just didn't engage my body
but mainly i think it must be because it just wasn't an anthem-oriented scene... even those exceptional tunes I listened above, they aren't really anthems...  not quite...  they're bangers, maybe, some of them
i think it's the dearth of cheese, of POP!, that actually held me back from the full LUVVIT
the cheese, the POP! that runs through hardcore, through peak jungle... dims a bit during drum'n'bass (but is compensated for by either lush-cious musicality OR apocalyptic bombast)... the cheese, the POP!, that comes back strong with UKG, with 2step... and is there, in a way even in grime....  re-effloresces with bassline...  
dubstep, even at its most overbearing, is a deep sound, a tracky sound, a techy sound
Well it's History now.... 15 years since its earliest dawn-glimmers....seven years or so since it got hijacked  / "went down the wrong path"  - leaving the faithful bereft, making them disperse, or launch the postdubstep era
Hold tight for the wonky oral history... 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

caught in a trap

Hadn't realised that trap is still rocking the EDM massives, until deejay pal Josiah Schirmacher mentioned it in an email, referring to an artist he likes "working on the odder fringes of festival trap" - Buku, who Siah says is particularly skilled at deploying "pitched vocals"  - pitched up and pitched down 

Quite like that - the undulant, almost tabla-y motion to it  - the rollin' B-line flashing me on jungle-circa-95 but also the 808 boom on Outkast's  The Way You Move’ - also like the looped evil-laughter riff, and the sparkly high-frequency percussion that sounds like triangle or wind-chimes being struck almost -  that belly-dancer mysterious-Orient vocal is some cheesy exotica, though

He also recommends the multilayers of warped vocal samples in these other Buku tunes


Siah-man also sez - worth checking out Buku's label mate Wuki

(what is it with the goofy four-letter/ends-in-vowel vaguely-Eastern sounding names?)

Yes, trap - it's still going, then. 

Something about music today - a high-turnover of micro-genres, but then things just stick around, persisting through half-lives (half-lives that may actually involve more people being into them than when the media / bloggerati paid attention). 

But perhaps this is not a new thing, an internet thing. Same thing happened with drum & Bass. Drum & Bass has now existed for more than four times as long as a shit genre than it did as a hot genre - (18 years versus 4 years).  

F&G + Hkore History

(via Matos)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

deep(tech) thought(s)

Matt Moore dropped some interesting observations about deep tech in the comments of  an ancient (well, year ago) post here at EnergyFlashblog about deep tech versus nu grime

rather than leave it consigned to the archive I have pulled it forward:

Matt Moore said...
"Discussing Deep Tech / Shuffling with a fellow 40-something UK expat. He noted the Northern Soulish vibe to a lot of the dancing (e.g. knee drops, twirling hands/feet from the elbow/knee joints). He also made a dance comparison with MC Hammer / C&C Music Factory - except for me the dancing is much less exuberant. It feels confined, squashed even. How do you express yourself in an ever shrinking physical, social and economic space?

Music-wise I love the mix of warm and cold - the cavernous bass, the syncopated ticks, the splashes of house vocals. It feels like minimal 2-step, austerity garage? (which is a contradiction in terms but it would make sense for garage's boomtime opulence to be reconfigured for leaner times)."

Monday, June 22, 2015

Thursday, June 18, 2015


This is moderately exciting in its bashy, smeary, way...  but I can't help shaking the feeling this Container chappy is remaking music that was made 20 years ago, and remaking it... not as well. 

But I suppose not knowing the history that you're repeating might explain why you'd be unaware you're repeating it, or just not care that you're repeating it:

 "People come up to me at shows and want to talk techno, but I don't know a whole lot about it I don't listen to techno, really. The reason I started [Container] is because [girlfriend] Val listens to a lot of electronic music. One time, at a show she was iPod deejaying... she played this Daniel Bell track ["Losing Control" ],. For some reason I was way into it that time. I really liked the weird vocals....  A lot of times somebody will recommend an artist, saying 'You have to listen to this. It's really fucking insane.' Often it's not what I imagined it to be. Part of the reason I never got into techno is because it sounds too smooth and glossy, like it was made on a laptop. I like things raw and kind of sloppy. I like things when they're not perfect" -  Ren Schofield to RA

More gristly (or Gristly even) "techno" from ex-noisenik Container

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

don't change the subject my friend

this song is not only funny but I think weirdly beautiful - plaintive!

aimed at songs like these I assume (or their equivalents a year ago)

"Throw Sum Mo" is also weirdly beautiful  

Love that sort of tick-tocking psychedelic-glistening production

Nicki's dead-eyed zero-affect chorus

contrasting with 

the excessively excited rapping - histrionic almost-whinnying outbursts
like "girl you got me FASC-I-NATED!!!!!"

also the blink-you'll-miss-it bit where "just keep on dancin' til I'm outta paper" is answered by a background "Never!"

Late Breaking:
Matt in the comments mentions this spoof

Naomi Elizabeth has a host of other parody / satirical / humorous songs on YouTube but I have yet to go through properly

"Topic" reminds me a tiny bit of Geneva Jacuzzi's not-quite-right synthpop with a performance art lo-fi promovideo thing

Thursday, June 11, 2015

91 in 15

via this cool mix S.E.F. has done for House Not House Records

apparently the dude is an ex-member of Black Ops

you can feel some of that Sub Lo clunkiness and clankiness in this track

S.E.F. interviewed about his label Switched On Records here about his very nuum-y journey through music:

"Growing up in London made it easy for me to enter the world of music as I was surrounded by it from early on. I’d always listen to pirate radio and was out seven nights a week. I worked in record shops, promoted events, handed out flyers in the cold and rain, spent all my money on vinyl and equipment....Jungle was something I only ever heard of the radio, I never went to the raves as I was too young. When Garage came along I was still in college, so I was a listener and then a raver when I got old enough to get into parties, rather than being involved in the scene. Gass Club was my first garage rave I think! ... by the time grime came around in the early 2000s I’d bought some decks. I actually started Djing as a bet! ... From there I started playing out quite regularly, with my vinyl in boxes on the night bus, or possibly a cab if I was getting paid enough! ... my productions have a raw, dark and gritty feel to them. I guess grime did have an influence growing up but before that there was garage and jungle which grime was derived from so that’s where the main influences stem from in addition to rap/hip hop 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Monday, June 8, 2015

"The UK Underground Techno Resistance Fights On"

(via Steeve Cross)

88 in 15

The Living Graham Bond

the artist name makes me chuckle for some reason

vaguely redolent of the Offmenut sensibility - omniVIBErous regurgitate

(via Tim Finney)

Thursday, June 4, 2015

oh my ghost

Further to the previous post on Jamie xx's "Gosh" and  In Colour,  can't believe I missed this Leckey-laced slice of hauntological hardcore from last year....

with samples from....

... although many of the raver and MC soundbites come from elsewhere as far as I can tell

Really feel this whole strain of aunterlogikal  ardkore is played out at this point

What does yet another homage to lost madness really bring to the party?

How many years is it since the first Burial album....  since Where Were You In '92.... since those Unknown 12 inches....   well, it's six years since the latter, and subsequently we've had Lee Gamble's Diversions 1994-1996, there was also Four Tet's "Kool FM" and Beautiful Rewind .... and what feels like at least a half-dozen other releases based on a ghosts-of-rave concept  - jungle replicas and hardcore facsimiles galore....

to misquote my wife, from an old record review of hers about something else altogether, it's become "like ghosts we've come to... find a bit boring"

Now this one would be more hauntological - and possibly way more interesting  - if it was done by the Dead Graham Bond

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

ooh gosh (Future Pale)

An odd way to treat the "Think" break and all that pirate patter - "oh my gosh', "hold it down", "easy easy" "yes UK massive” -   take what should be uproarious and make it droopy and enervated..... 

Not completely de-vibed but definitely depleted and discombobulated 

update: it's growing on me, but the end bit... the end bit is just "Belfast" by Orbital, isn't it?

Mark Richardson has a good riff on Jamie xx's album at Pitchfork:

"The sampler is a memory machine. This is true in both the literal sense—memory is one of the device’s key specs, measuring how much sonic information it can hold in its "mind" at once—but also as a metaphor. When you capture and play back a sound, transposing it to a new context, you are "playing" the memories that have attached themselves to the original piece of music as much as you are playing a particular piece of sound. The producer Jamie Smith, better known to the world as Jamie xx, is a sampling artist and a memory artist. He does things with the music he's absorbed and with the associations that are embedded within it. So when we listen to his music, we aren’t just listening to music played by people in a room. We’re listening to his listening and hearing his hearing; he senses memories in certain sounds—some of which he was there to experience the first time, some of which have been handed down to him—and transforms them into something new and personal."

I suppose this is very Burial -  hauntology meets hardcore-continuum / memoradelic dance - although without the nostalgic anguish...  the yearning futile grasp for lost time that infuses those first two Burial albums

(Always thought the xx = Young Marble Giants divided by Burial )  

Then again, with all musicians (of the record collection rock era) you could say we are listening to their listening, whether they use a sampler or not.... they are all playing with memories, some their own (primary and formative encounters with music) and some vicarious and second hand

Bits I've heard of In Colour on Spotify so far sound like blubstep without the tears... that warm, wet sound-palette... bright, clinical sense of space

update #2: crikey, Boomkat bashes an album!

'In Colour' posits Jamie as the pre-eminent posh soul boy, lifting and massaging inspiration from the rich heritage of late '80s + early '90s London dance culture and channelling it into a pop-ready format palatable to Radio 1 daytime tastes and festival soundtracks. The putative "soul" of rare groove, boogie, hardcore and early jungle is sucked out and spliced with vocals in feathered arrangements ripened up for students and yummy mummys alike - all under one roof. From the deflated hardcore of 'Gosh' to the trudging 'Girl', it's as seductive as a Waitrose fridge on a warm day, infused with exotic tropical reference points in the steel drums of 'Obvs', mixing the suburban Breaks of latter-day Chicane and Marine Parade with woolly chords right out of a Lamb classic in 'Hold Tight', or nodding to seminal Joss Stone in 'Loud Places'. Oh, it's going to be a great summer, we can just feel it.

"Deflated" was actually my first word-choice for "Gosh"'s use of "Think" /pirate MC patter , but then I went with "droopy"!

Funny to see the ILM-ers laying into it.... 

2 and half stars from Andrew Ryce at Resident Advisor... 

"Judging from "Gosh" and "Hold Tight" (both loaded with clichéd MC chatter), you'd think hardcore and jungle never had any grit, soul or edge. Smith assembles his tracks like he's using a checklist, putting familiar elements together without seeming to understand what makes them work. His rave tributes are the equivalent of a Hallmark greeting card blaring out tinny versions of classic rock songs,"

It's this season's Future Brown perhaps - a glossy antiseptic mausoleum where street sounds go to be embalmed 

93 in 15

some "new-old" darkcore

(via steeve cross aka firefinga)

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

dematerialised dance

been sleeping on the deep tech lately

dom datwun points to buncha stuff worth checking

nightshift's label definition audio has a new comp

new hugo!

majesty my amour EP

mix from dom's label House Not House's act Clock Hazard

Audio Rehab still pumping it out

Now these new comps from Audio Rehab and Definition Audio reminded me of this chat I had with Dom a while ago, during which I asked if it was in fact the case - as it appeared to me - that there was no actual physical-form version of these compilations? Or indeed of the original single and EP releases from which the comps were compiled? It seemed to apply to all the deep tech labels, in fact: you couldn''t get CDs of the comps, or vinyl of the tracks.  You had to go to Beatport, or emusic, or...

Made me wonder if this was a dance scene where MP3s were in fact all you could access....

Did this make deep tech the first UK dance scene that was entirely dematerialised? Bassline, funky and even donk all put out vinyl...

Actually now I think about it, one of the US dubstep labels I interviewed for that EDM piece a few years ago had admitted - with a hint of shame, like they knew it breaking with dance music tradition - that for now at least their releases were available only as digital files...

So perhaps this is getting to be the new norm for dance music, especially the styles that are oriented to the youngest, most digitally-native listeners... the ones least likely to own a turntable, or even a CD-player... for whom music has never come encased in a physical husk...  who deejay with Serato

Which doesn't bother me particularly, except that I wish the labels would make the tunes available in FLAC....  Deep tech with its sculpted, intestinally-probing low-end-intensive basslines and all the detail and space in the production, really deserves lossless, untinny sound-reproduction.

Monday, June 1, 2015


new edition of Dancecult with focus on festivals and "event-cultures"


contents page:

Introduction to Weekend Societies: EDM Festivals and Event-Cultures (1-14)
                Graham St John

Feature Articles
Searching for a Cultural Home: Asian American Youth in the EDM Festival Scene (15-34)
                Judy Soojin Park
Boutiquing at the Raindance Campout: Relational Aesthetics as Festival Technology (35-54)
                Bryan Schmidt
Harm Reduction or Psychedelic Support? Caring for Drug-Related Crises at Transformational Festivals (55-75)
                Deirdre Ruane
Dancing Outdoors: DiY Ethics and Democratised Practices of Well-Being on the UK Alternative Festival Circuit (76-96)
                Alice O'Grady
Folk Music and Commercialization in Danubian Trances and Boheme (97-115)
                Barbara Rose Lange

Free Parties and Teknivals: Gift-Exchange and Participation on the Margins of the Market and the State (116-128)
                Anne Petiau

From the Floor
Dead by Dawn 1995
                Riccardo Balli
Strobe light Salvation
                Michael Arty Ghannoum

Goa: 20 Years of Psychedelic Trance (Tom Rom and Pascal Querner) (129-131)
                Joshua Schmidt
Danger Mouse’s The Grey Album (Charles Fairchild) (132-133)
                Ian Keith Rogers
The Globalization of Musics in Transit: Music Migration and Tourism (Simone Krüger and Ruxandra Trandafoiu eds.) (134-135)
                Garth Sheridan
Why Music Matters (David Hesmondhalgh) (136-138)
                Kat Nelligan
Music, Style, and Aging: Growing Old Disgracefully? (Andy Bennett) and Ageing and Youth Cultures: Music, Style and Identity (Andy Bennett and Paul Hodkinson eds.) (139-140)

                Liz Giuffre