Monday, March 27, 2017

if you can make it there

Tasty new mix (third in a trilogy that includes Detroit and  Chicago) by Woebot dedicated to the proposition that NYC was the engine of dance music innovation between 1986 and 1996

I'll shall have to ponder that....

When you take Todd Terry and Joey Beltram out of the picture...  I don't know if I think of New York as the hot spot during that decade.

The Nu Groove stuff  is pleasant, a little sedate and dinky to my mind ... Strictly Rhythm is lush, it does the bizniz...  garage is garage...

But feels like often NYC points towards things (as with e.g. the Bonesbreaks records) that are taken much much further elsewhere

Nitro Deluxe was a co-parent of bleep but there's really only 2 tracks there - "Brutal" and "Mission"

Beltram -  soon surpassed by his Belgian, Dutch and German offspring (and then veers off in a not-hugely compelling pure techno direction)

(And there's no getting round the fact that the  best record Industrial Strength ever put out was German - "We Have Arrived" b/w "Nightflight (Non-stop to Kaos)")

Still New York is New York  - the most populous, racially mixed, nightclub-dense city in America, and the equal-first gayest too -  so it's always going to be coming up with a steady stream of goodness

I always forget about this one, for instance - a high point of the Woebot mix

Wracking my brains but can't think of the title but there's a tune by the Horrorist (& Miro I think - as SuperPower) that closely replicates the "Searchin'" groove

I wonder if this is actually the first piano-vamper? Didn't the Italians get there first?  How about Inner City's "Good Life"? No matter, top tune

Landlord - one of those strange outfits that only put out the one fantabulous perfect record, before dispersing into oblivion



That came out in December 1991 - so wasn't it more like Todd keeping up with state-of-rave riffology-91-style, than actually pioneering it? (Not that he hadn't done a hella bunch of pioneering in the late Eighties)

Beltram's finest moment, contends Woebot - contentiously!

Very nice -  but pull the other one mate, doesn't rival the epochal weight of E-Flash or Mentasm 

Now if I was doing that mix I would have squeezed these in somewhere: 

(or one of the other many, equally splendid mixes)

Still prefer this to "Can You Party"...

(Would you believe - embarrassing this - but only really quite recently noticed the vocal lick in that comes from the start of "Planet Rock")

(And equally embarrassing - really only days ago I clocked that the other main vocal lick turned into a sample-stutter is from T. La Rock's "It's Yours" - later also used in a famous Nas tune, right? Not that I give one shit about Nas)

(Actually interviewed T. La Rock in '87 - but got a horrible feeling I never wrote it up.  He did a couple of fantastic records produced by Mantronik - "Back to Burn" and "Breaking Bells" - so that was my impetus to seek an interview - but then the next one was really weak, which deflated said impetus)

Ah but these Afrika Bambaataa and T. La Rock samples.... that does bring up one thing where I would say NYC has indeed had  an edge over Detroit and Chicago -  something that enabled it to anticipate the hybrids that blossomed fiercer elsewhere (i.e. London) - namely the way that house mingled with electro and hip hop.  So you get hip-house, you get breakbeat house...  later on you get Armand "I A Raw Individual" Van Helden ,with his B-boy affectations/ aspirations that nonetheless turned out be musically productive affectations / aspirations,... Earlier on of course you had Mantronix (much bigger in the U.K. than in their home city).

You can't imagine a record coming out Detroit or Chicago that would use a T. La Rock sample, can you? That right there is the affinity between the NYC action of this era and things like Unique 3 or Shut Up and Dance or Prodigy....

And one last Manhattan-and-boroughs classic - one of those generic-yet-consummate tunes. By JB's other half in Second Phase - Mundo Muzique, aka Edmundo Perez.  A perfect welding of 303-acid and Mentasmoid/Dominator blare - resulting in a singularly groggy-druggy record. Oh and hark at the E.P. title - Tranztechno! So in '91 the idea of ''tranz" was already circulating...

Saturday, March 25, 2017

the last point at which d+b had half-a-point?

that sort of cleanly-dirty production, that stereofield-snaking b-line thing

totally linear in its propulsion, none of the bebop-style drop-the-bomb B-line thing you got with classic-era two-lane-tempo jungle, where the bass in a sidling motion in relation to the drums..

flattened out in that respect but still in its narrow swingless way a rush

reggae influences burned off completely but also hip hop too - breaks that don't break, bass that pummels rather than booms

the drums become this whirring skitter

the hard rock name fits, although Motorhead would be far more apt - especially as so many of the tunes are to all intents and purposes identical

in an odd way a distant cousin to gloomcore  -  but with nothing close to the same lushly emotive atmosphere

yes this next one would seem to be a totally apt tune for them to be remixing

except they really make a silk purse into a sow's ear don't they?

they won't let the doomy riff ring out, they fuss it up, fill out the sound

still i really wouldn't mind having caught them in their prime

but i had long jumped ship to UKG and 2step ysee

breakbeat house

Thursday, March 23, 2017

drummer drummer drummer drummer drummer drummer get wicked wicked

via this tuff mix by Recoil (via Drumtrip)

as is this triffic tekno-pumper scratchadelic track that is one of my long-unknown Mystery Tunes off of a Lucky Spin / Don FM tape from 93  - mystery now solved, ta Recoil!

Monday, March 20, 2017



a comp from a few years back which i only just got around to checking out

love the squinky-textured riffs on that tune  (and the fact that the YouTube poster misspells "Safety" as "Saftey"!)

more from the mysterious Exocet

hip-housey - with early appearance of the "what is going on? and what are you being so nice to me" soundbite as later used by... Mixrace, am I right?

bleepy 'n bassy

that's all from the debut EP

a good start!

from the next 12 inch, not quite as compelling

losing focus (12 inch #3)

Monday, March 13, 2017

Thursday, March 9, 2017

so sumo me

Jon Dale points me towards this 1996 album by Soichi Terada as recently referenced in a FACT feature on Terada + Shinichiro Yokota as great Japanese house music geniuses:

"In the mid-90s, a massive influx of drum and bass caused house music to fall by the wayside in Tokyo. Terada was was enamored by the excitement and sub-bass pressure of jungle. “I was addicted to drum and bass [from] 1995,” he says. “It was so fun to experience the sub-bass sound in a club. I loved to go the drum and bass parties much more than the house events – in the late ‘90s I had a drum and bass disease, personally.” He went on to produce what he calls “sumo jungle”; sampling sumo fights from TV and utilizing the huffs, smacks, gongs and chants into his own strain of drum and bass, as heard on 1996’s Sumo Jungle LP."
This album is actually rather terrific, just as a mid-Nineties drum'n'bass full-length that strikes a sweet balance between dark'n'ruff and coffee-table-esque musicality - reminding me of Omni Trio at the mid-point between Deepest Cut and Haunted Science

And then the sumo soundbites - especially the ululating chants - are a really nice garnish on top. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

wobbly bass hooked lurcher - jiggling, burbling throbber

archive of disco columns by James Hamilton, pioneering British disco journalist

I came across his stuff when researching Energy Flash in the British Library, I think by the Nineties he was writing for DJ magazine maybe - as opposed to Record Mirror, his home in the disco and post-disco club music days. And I was struck by -

A/ his very precise measurements of b.p.m.  - and not just the main b.p.m., but the b.p.m in all the different sections of the track.

B/ his great nifty turn of phrase which in extremely compressed manner could convey the vibe and flavour of a groove and also  the various key appeal-elements in a track (the bass, the synth-riff etc). All of this done in not more than a tweet or two's worth of words per track.

His column was very useful for my researches because he reviewed a lot of ardkore and rave tunes as well as house etc. His having monitored the bpm down to fractions of an integer (he measured the tempo by brain and hand, apparently - counting it out and tapping) enabled me to  track the monstrous increase in b.p,m. between a late 91 tune, say, and how fast tunes had got by mid-93. It was like a jump of something 20 to 25 bp.m. in around eighteen months - a surge that felt cataclysmic and apocalyptic at the time and that had effect of driving away huge swathes of the rave audience into more clement zones of the dance culture, winnowing the audience for breakbeat down to just a (pill)headstrong hardcore. Rave dived into a Zone of Fruitful Intensification.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

every decreasing cycles (say hello, "wave" goodbye)

an electronic dance music trend so indistinct, it's reduced to a suffix with nothing to hang the suffix on!

[via Dissensus]

making me feel like I'm in some Groundhog Day scenario, as old-familiar rhetoric-riffs recur uncannily, dismally e.g.

"Wouldn’t it be great if our tracks resonated so deeply with people they start breaking down on the dance floor crying? We’re trying to make the most emotional tracks possible. This surely has to be the best result of that?

If the discourse is son-of-blubstep, the sounds are like the clinical missing link between Joker and BT

Or (continuing the 2009 premature-flashback theme, like Emeralds on an off day layered over a Happy Shopper trap beat.