Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Diane Charlemagne and the Featured Rave Vocalist Discontinuum

Mike Rubin with an NPR tribute to Diane Charlemagne and analysis of the under-appreciated, under-credited, often under-compensated role played by the singers in dance music

Sunday, December 27, 2015

death of dance

Metallica admirer Roger Scruton deplores the asocial / asexual dancing of modern music, but gives a big big-up to formation dancing and paired dancing

from the essay "Dancing Properly", published in March as part of the collection Confessions of a Heretic 

today's clubbers

jerk on to the floor in obedience to the puppet master at the desk

 “tend to avoid contact with each other, since there is no agreed convention as to what form their contact should take”.

They are dancing at each other. The difference between ‘at’ and ‘with’ is one of the deepest psychological differences we know. It is exemplified in all our encounters with other people – notably in conversation and in sexual gambits … The decay of manners that we have seen in recent times is to a large extent a result of the loss of withness and the rise of atness in its stead. Rudeness, obscenity, the ‘in your face’ manners of the new TV presenter – all these are ways of being ‘at’ other people. Courtesy, manners, negotiation and deference are, by contrast, ways of being with.

in these older dance styles, partners “touch, swing around each other, move together in an attempt to recapture withness”.

whereas techno-type music is a “grotesque caricature of music in which rhythm is mere beat and melody mere repetition”, and which is "loud enough to make conversation impossible and, provided the pulse is regular enough, to jerk the body into reflex motion, like the legs of a galvanised frog

in the Guardian interview Scruton recalls how

In the traditional dances, physical contact was permitted in a way that it wasn’t in everyday life. The electricity of physical contact has gone therefore from young people’s lives. For us ageds, I can remember the tingle in your fingertips when you touched a girl’s body anywhere. That’s part of it, but also that touching as a courtesy has gone.”

I love Viennese waltzes and polkas, and especially cèilidhs and old-fashioned formation dancing... I like rock’n’roll too. Young women especially love the idea of formation dancing … Once it’s on offer, people go for it. There’s a kind of ignorance.”

on Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel" - “There is no violent drumming, no amplified bass, none of the devices which – I am tempted to say – substitute for rhythm in so much contemporary pop. This withness is felt by the listener as an urge to dance, an urge to look around for the person whose hand could be taken and who could be led on to the floor.”

in a way, he's not wrong exactly ...  techno dancing is "autistic" but while it's asexual, maybe (some genres are pretty sensual) it's not asocial -  in the  massive-ification experience of being jointly subjected to overbearing rhythm, collectively synchronised to a pulse

despite loving Metallica (I'm assuming he's not ever heard metal in concert, at bodyshaking volume) Scruton also is unaware -  seemingly -  of the haptic dimension to amplified music, and especially to electronic dance music - sound as immersive, enfolding, penetrative, audiotactile..... this individualised (yet shared) surrender to overwhelming sound


Would Uncle Scruton approve of the dancing in this?

[via Karl Kraft]

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Thursday, December 17, 2015

form(less) + function(less)

Philip Sherburne on the new formlessness and its relationship to a queering of  electronic sound - Arca, Elysia Crampton, Lotic, Amnesia Scanner et al -- a messthetic (de)based  around "muffled explosions, glassy digital synthesizers, the over-compressed bandwidth of FM radio; the metallic detritus of Southern rap and industrial music; the reduction of human voices to grunts and yelps..... tension, disjunction, pliability—things being stretched to the breaking point."

This is the real-deal brain(y)dance: 

"At Krakow's Unsound festival this year,  [Elysia Crampton] delivered a performance that was part concert and part graduate seminar in object-oriented philosophy: five minutes of music, then five minutes of lecture, and so on, for nearly an hour. Before she began playing, Crampton invited the audience to consider the "clowniness" of her music, but when she spoke, she ranged from the creation of atomic elements in the Big Bang, to her Aymara heritage, to the issue of "trans-visibility" in popular culture and the question of whether trans-being is not an end in itself, rather than a journey between two poles; the thread uniting it all was the idea of emancipation and survival."

I think this might be my stumbling block with all this stuff - the "graduate seminar"  aspect. 

I don't know if I really want to be edified by music, exactly.... I want to be unloosed, opened, slammed... uplifted or flattened...  the brain disabled by a flood of emotion..... or sensation.... 

I do seem to have fallen back on a somewhat moronic metric with music -   that if it gives me a strong feeling, an emotional kick...  or it has a basic function that it pulls off successfully (groove, chill, slam, brock out,  etc)... then great

Personally feeling a bit exhausted with Conceptronica -   all these complexly collated arrangements of weird and disparate electronic sounds, which are accompanied by equally dense spiels of theory and hyper-rationalisation....  music where the listening and the reading really have to be in parallel, meshed together inextricably...

It's the next step beyond IDM,....   

IDM flattered itself that it was really cerebral and required a more discerning brain to understand it as sound ... but you didn't actually have to be au fait with theory or read the artist's spiels to listen to and enjoy and understand Aphex or Autechre or FSOL (if that floated your boat) ....  

"Understanding" wasn't really the point... even with Oval, you could ignore Markus Popp's theory

But this next wave of form-bending electronic music is a new stage in IDM where the music is complex and the thinking around and intertwined with music is complex... 

There is a kind of obsessive self-curation, a dotting of every 'i' and crossing of every 't', every last reference point mapped out

It's all a bit tidy-minded, for all the sonic imagery of abjection and splurging leakage and unravelled forms

For sure, the Conceptronica thing,  it definitely was really refreshing, really stimulating, when it first started stirring  (Ferraro, the first handful of OPN, etc) because things were a bit slack intellectually on the music scene... 

Ultimately it's not really what I'm looking for in music I don't think 

I'm looking for release.... not further knotting and cramping

Whatever the "it" is that I'm seeking it's not to do with verbalisation -   music does what words can't do, that's what it's there for.

The words should follow later and be somewhat desperate, flailing attempts to catch up with the music

For textual intent to be so imbricated in the very heart of the sound....

Then again perhaps these artists are today's equivalent to early Scrittis.... hopped up on different texts, responding to different (yet not that different) conditions....   a new "Bibbly-O-Tek" fighting a different "Hegemony"



Sherburne's take makes for an interesting compare + contrast companion piece to this one on NeoFuturism in (un)dance in the Tiny Mix Tapes end-of-year overview


Rockets and Rayguns's Bruce came up with a good term for the new genre - MDM - Mutant Dance 

the present energy and sound

another excellent ep from the present

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Pleasure Force

[via Steeve Cross]

ah, there are a quite few of these Toronto early 90s rave videos put by TheCommunic8r

Thursday, December 10, 2015

history of our world parts 1 to 43 (and counting)

at The Ransom Note , the series Gone To A Rave - stories from the birth of jungle (and other nuum phases too), label profiles, interviews, key tracks, quirky angles (small ads in rave mags!), etc etc - by a fellow called Ian McQuaid

notable instalments

pairs with this earlier one on Renk - aka Grant Nelson

not forgetting this one with P House founder Phil Fearon

well i thought i would just link to the most enticing looking 5 or 6 but i've nearly linked them all apart from the grime and UK and dancehall and happy hardcore ones. also left out the mission statements from Ian McQ

this reminds me i need to restart that Hardcore Heroes series, next year i will get back on the case.... i had got about 3 instalments half done but had to delay finishing them on account of the  Book (now done, pretty much) and another 16 plus lined up as candidates

.... a potentially interminable series especially if hardcore understood to include gabba as well as breakbeat

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

amen garage

"Am I listening to old or new music? When you're listening to one of René Pawlowitz's alter egos, it's a question you often have to ask. In the case of "Amen Garage," the query is one you have to direct at PCK, on a record called For The Kingdom, the second release from his label The Final Experiment, which includes "stuff out of the galaxy called Hardwax Berlin." This track's a revitalizing take on UK garage and breakbeats, combined with the severity and strength of Shed in his more fucked-up days. Proper business from the Don"—Jaun Pablo López

from Thump's best 50 tracks of 2015

Saturday, December 5, 2015


life of leshurr

no 2 muted owing to copyright claim


Front and Follow blurb:

"With A City Remembrancer, Ed Gillett [Shape Worship[ pushes his sound into bold new territories. Inspired by the shifting histories of London’s physical spaces, the album is both a beautifully detailed piece of sound and a nuanced, politicised eulogy to the city and its inhabitants.Field recordings and vocal samples paint a rich portrait of London as a gigantic palimpsest, constantly being rewritten or renewed; from the postwar utopianism of Brutalist architects, and the plight of residents now being evicted from those same monolithic estates, to ancient burial grounds dislodged by new Crossrail tunnels, or secrets being recovered from the mud of the Thames.

Those voices emerge from a rich sonic backdrop: clouds of billowing synths and digital textures wrap around clarinets, pianos & dulcimers, or are underpinned by fierce drum programming and oppressive bass weight; modular synth experiments blur into minimal composition and pounding techno, the album’s dense collage of sounds reflecting the disorientation, beauty and verticality of the city itself."

(via An Idiot's Guide To Dreaming)


double crispy

via this tasty mix of obscure-ish junglizm by Pearsall

track list

100% Vinyl!
Mixed in Berlin, November 2015
(45:10, 103 MB, 320 kbps MP3)
01. Wild Orkid - The Magic In You (Lucky Spin)
02. DJ Crystl - Let It Roll (Dee Jay Recordings)
03. DJ Solo - Made In London (Production House)
04. JMJ & Richie - Trouble In China (Moving Shadow)
05. Sub Sequence - Music Is The Vibe (Too'z Up)
06. DJ Trace - By Any Means Necessary (Speed Mix) (Dee Jay Recordings)
07. Harmony & Xtreme - X-Amount (Deep Jungle)
08. Parallel World - Tear Into It (Good Looking)
09. Eternal Bass - Infinity (Eternal Bass)
10. Babylon 5 - Yes Yes '95 (Dread)
11. Just Jungle - Double Crisp (Trouble On Vinyl)
12. DJ Fallout - Ripper (Rough Tone)
13. Spirits From An Urban Jungle - White Lightning (White House)
14. Octave One - Chillin' Out '94 (31 Records)
15. Sluggy Ranks - Ghetto Youth Bust (Voyager Dark Vocal Mix) (Profile)

"makes me want to go all Tex Avery"

or in this case "all Hanna Barbera"


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

nice 'n' Screechy (does it, does it every time)




Or is it  Jim Squeachy?

Or even Jim Squashy?!

Never registered - or maybe knew once and forgot - that "Walk & Skank" = "On A Ragga Tip"

There was a promo video for SL2, I remember it faintly - black and white, hyper-hyper figures scuttling around, doing rave stage-dancer type moves ... Not on YouTube seemingly

Ah, here it is (cheers Eli Bee in Comments) - not black and white though (distortion of memory)

Did Mr Screech do anything else as superfine as "Walk & Skank"?

Love the YouTube write up on this - "from the double-LP-length digikal reggae opus "March Of The Gremlins" by Naram filled with gritty minor-key riddims designed to wreak havoc on the cogs of the Babylon system"

Better than the LP itself judging by this track anyway....

Ooh, vibey