Friday, April 26, 2019

"bowel-evacuating bangers" / uncanny-valley retro-rave

via FACT, Special Request aka Paul Woolford promises "bowel-evacuating bangers" only on his new LP  Vortex (the first of four albums in quick succession apparently) which is out the end of May.

"Fuck all that conceptual guff m888..." Woolford says, a rallying cry I can co-sign. "I had a right fucking doss making this."

That said, it don't sound that bowel-evacuating to me... a bit clean, a bit digi-crisped.

Despite being produced in his underpants apparently! 

I've liked the Special Request stuff before - he's captured that thick gritty churning "rollidge" / "ruffige" breaks sound, almost a time travel effect

Talking about doing-it-clean and the time-travel perplex:  here's another mix of new-old darkcore from Pearsall - "93" but made NOW

at his blog Pearsall continues the discussion he and I have been having about the pleasures and pitfalls of retro-rave

to my point as about H-core being "an unrepeatable moment – a whole confluence of factors (state of technology, state of the outside world, the surrounding music-scape esp hip hop and dancehall and R&B but top 40 pop, the drugs, the relative youth of the movement and its lack of history and self-consciousness, but also lack of sense of itself as an industry and a career structure / profession) produced this sound suffused with Zeitgeist and impelled with chaotic energy … seemingly out of control, set on an evolutionary course whose destination nobody knew…. a thrill-ride on a big dipper that was still under construction,,, a plunge into the unknown

which I contrast with retro-rave's "meticulous reconstruction of the known, done with love and desperate longing

Pearsall muses whether "these reconstructions are a bit too perfect" resulting in an effect analogous to uncanny valley effect in robotics - an excess of symmetry and proportion.

"Modern producers working in this genre are working with 25 years’ worth of information – they have seen which elements work on the dancefloor, they have vastly superior tools available for composing, editing and mixing down tracks, and they also have a better understanding for how to structure tracks to be both easily mixable and dynamic for crowds. This is a collectively build knowledge that they can draw on

cf. .the freestyle making-it-up as they went along of darkcore93 producers and the far crapper technology at their disposal: 

"Amateurish productions, wobbly levels, bizarre (and frankly stupid) samples, keys clashing, different elements not properly in time with each other … if you are a crate digger who is interested in this period, as I am, over time you hear some really bizarre and terrible stuff, the kind of stuff that gets ignored in modern throwback mixes or lists of ‘the best early rave tracks’.But this stuff wasn’t ignored at the time! It would get played at raves and on the radio, so when you listen to some of these old recordings you get these moments where just you furrow your brow and go, ‘what the hell is that?’"

with nu-dark you never get that "what the fuck?!?",  totally floored (in the good + bad senses)  because it's flaw-less

"These recreations are lots of fun," Pearsall further muses, "How could they not be when the original concept is so great? – but taken as a whole they are almost too perfect, too precise, and they are missing the messy, experimental edge to the original early 90’s tracks."


Pearsall said...

I like Special Request a lot, but I think 'bowel-evacuating bangers' is maybe overstating matters somewhat. I think because of his background as a tech-house producer his stuff has always been a bit too mannered to really reproduce the madness of the rave era. For example, I've been really enjoying this mix of vintage Bizzy B tunes recently, and I'm sure you will dig it too:

That's some nutty rave music right there!

Unknown said...

Too much knowledge is a bad thing - it's why I'm eternally thankful that I've never learned to mix or produce tracks. I'd much rather be dazzled by the sleight-of-hand than know exactly how the trick was designed.

One excruciatingly boring thing about current times in old skool (I know) is the over-bearing popularity of 1992-94 darkside tracks. Of course they're great, but it's almost like old skool for drum 'n' bass heads. There's nothing wrong with pianos :D

thirdform said...

man, i absolutely love skittery chipmunky pianos as the next man but it's pure revisionism to think the dark nut nut hardcore wasn't going on before dnb. There is loads of throwback piano rave tracks, and i can't get into it because like most things the heads are always musically more ahead of the djs (heads not snobs.) whereas the dark/jungle stuff still appeals to me mainly because (and most people are gonna hate me saying this) a lot of that piano stuff was made for considerations apart from the love of it. a lot of the pinnacle 93 tunes were made in 92 and circulated on dub forever, same with 94 stuff. that's why mans like carl cox went to techno, he was hanging around fabio and groove forever and it just wasn't happening for him.

thirdform said...

It's as if pulse fm, fantasy fm and chillin fm never happened. yeah of course there were pianos in the pirate radio hardcore but they were not as overdriven into infinity, the reggae thing was a pirate ting first then, whereas the reggae influence still had to catch on in 93 in the big raves.

It's the same with El B with garage, he was hanging around metalheadz for days not able to get his foot in. The difference today is some bloke in Holland can do a rave revival without having to commit to the local narritives (and often petty) rivalries. Like everything this has positives and negatives. anyway let's discuss this on dissensus...