Wednesday, May 27, 2020

type beat

what wouldn't i give for an official instrumental of "Motorsport"?

it doesn't exist, so I must sate the craving with ersatz - the "type beats"

none of these re-productions quite capture the ethereality, the mistiness  of the original by Murda Beats & Cubeatz  -  like systems music screwed, a few bars of Michael Nyman looped in a deep tranquilizer trance

but fun to listen to all in a row - or even simultaneously

likewise what wouldn't i give for a vocal-free "Goosebumps" beatscape?

What would Adorno say about this?

Or about the phenomenon of loop-makers  -  hustling cottage-industries churning out not even beats but sub-beat components, in hopes of a way into the biz

Theodor's concepts of pseudo-individuation and part-interchangeabilty fit the way almost all contemporary pop is made, where there isn't even a singular hit factory but multiple sites of constructions. Component elements are developed in different studios round the world, by people who never actually meet;  extreme specialization rules (a guy whose only job is working on the vocals, another on beats, yet another on the mix of the final assemblage).  The loop-maker sweatshop-of-one is  the ultimate extension of these Adorno-ite principles -  somewhere between vagabondage, longshoremen crowding the dock in hopes of getting some work that day, and unpaid internships

The sample packs with kick drums etc on peddled by labels or producers with a rep are related, but from the other way around: a name selling off their trademark sounds, FX, etc to hopeful aspirants. 

I think also, on the subject of type beats, of the ceramics sculptor Ken Price and his remark: "A craftsman knows what he's going to make and an artist doesn't know what he's going to make, or what the finished product is going to look like."

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Strong Island

one of the first tunes I heard on pirate radio - way way before ardkore - in the late '80s, when the fare on the air was soul and reggae and a bit of hip hop

i'm not sure if I heard it first there, though - might have actually bought it as an import... may even reviewed it

perhaps that's why i didn't catch the pirate bug then -  there wasn't the same sense of "you can only hear this music through these illegal channels" or "these stations are already broadcasting from the future"

the stabby sample-riff is quite hardcore .... you can hear the transition from UK b-boyism to breakbeat house as a pregnant potential already

in fact there's a H-core tune or two that always remind me of "Strong Island"

is this it?

no actually i think it's this one - the riff-blare that comes in at about 1.40

much more manic though, obviously

going back to the mid-late 80s rap  - lots of odd little one-offs in those days

ah never realised that was a Marley Marl production

Sunday, May 24, 2020


never knew this video existed!

from Droid's ongoing great Dissensus thread on 95 as jungle's peak year 

more rave rainbows

no mention of rainbow in the title but a rainbow colored video for a sky themed rave masterpiece

Friday, May 22, 2020

Burning Bells

used to love these tunes - perhaps even more than the Mantronix stuff

interviewed T La Rock - but i don't think I ever wrote it up (possibly because disappointed by his third single in that sequence)

here's one my comrade at MM, Frank Owen, did - also appearing, Arthur Russell


I suppose this tune is why he has a footnote in the Official History of Rap - as sampled later by Nas

Don't remember this one at all

the album

seem to remember he had a thing about how LL had bitten his style

Ah he went hip house, Todd Terry on production

and before that there was a track with the word "Ecstasy" suspiciously prominent

Thursday, May 21, 2020

McShane in the membrane (annihilating riddim redux)

The voice of Ian McShane, the words of I Punman

But in this case for once "annihilating rhythm" is not used

Points for cleverness there

And tuff little unit of a trakk too


Bonus "annihilating"

Appears here in one of my favorite 80s hip hop tunes, but without the "rhythm"

Apparently it's also in 808 State "In Yer Face" but I can't hear it

“song’s manacle and its demonic charge… the original breath… the whisper of unremitting demand” - IP, voiced I McS

almost certainly cued by the rending and writhing of Bataille i'd wager

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

son of donk

a bloke on Twitter jests, "don't tell Simon Reynolds about this lot"

so of course I had to check them out didn't I

Bradford's finest - Bad Boy Chiller Crew

"we get more gash than you've had warm dinners"

warm dinners? why not hot?

the return of donk, isn't it

except on t'other sound of Pennines

well, the sound is not donk - the sound is bassline, but less rococo in the bass-wibble department than peak-2007 bassline  - here serving as unflashy functional backdrop to the, ah, textual effusions of the Crew....

but everything else about the BBCC reminds me of the Blackout Crew - the fast flows, the clothes, the complexions, the ah thematics

it's not just the BBCC, there's a whole scene of this stuff in Bradford 

it's like hyperlocalism, or micro-regionalism - the lads are stars in their hometown, can't walk around the city centre without getting stopped 

apparently their management has plans to take them national and have been holding back for some kind of proper release - but i daresay the virus lockdown  put a spanner in those works

unfamiliar with the term "charva" - the internet says it's a Geordie word -   the BBCC wield it as an inverted insult, a reclaimed stereotype - "chav and proud of it"

Getting a bit rap'n'B / trapoTune

Saturday, May 16, 2020

shoe3 (dreampoptronica)

Cardrossmaniac chips in to the shoegazetronica discussion

His mention of MBV (specifically the bonus single instrumental with Isn't Anything -  breakbeat overlaid with ghostly wavering) and A.R. Kane's "A Love From Outer Space" reminded me that the precursors to shoegaze had dancey moments.

Well, there was M.A.R.R.S. obviously....

But A.R. Kane did a one-off single as A R K that was their stab at house

Possibly motivated by desire to prove that they'd contributed more to "Pump Up The Volume" than a coloursplash of guitar? Or perhaps to show that they could do full-on dance music if they wanted to....

Comrade Oldfield oversells the side project a little bit in this 1988 Singles Page.

Paul makes it sound a bit more enthralling and achieved than it actually is. But that's how we rolled in those days ("inflation of meaning" yunno). This review is an example of what one Melody Maker editor teasingly referred to as the National Geographic school of reviewing then prevalent at the paper (at least, with my crew).  Moraines, escarpments,  that kind of thing...

Rudi and Alex had already showed their dancey tendencies on the flipside of "Pump Up the Volume" with this beauty, to which Colorbox lads contributed only a bit of drum programming.

A remix I have no recollection of ever hearing.

Then, as referenced by Cardross with "A Love From Outer Space", there were several boppy tunes on i.

"Crack Up" was a favorite.

Another vaguely housey chugger

There was even a remixes mini-LP or maxi-EP in 1990 - the typographically clever Rem'i'xes

Several of the remixes - "Miles Apart", "Crack Up", and "Crack Up (Space Mix)" - were actually done by Robin Guthrie. But they don't seem to be available on YouTube.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020


Jon Dale points me to the press release for The Primitive Painters reissue

"Deciding to make their tribute to this style of music the duo turned out 10 tracks of gauzy, melodious electronica in a white hot fever, one after another over the ensuing months. Settling on a name for the new project they picked ‘The Primitive Painters’ taking inspiration from the band Felt. 

“We are both children of the C86 movement,” explains Jörn. “this attitude of noisy art school influenced rock like Primal Scream, MBV, The Jesus & Mary Chain really inspired us to take a DIY approach to our music.”

So it is confirmed! 

Something in the air? At Pitchfork, Philip Sherburne reviews an album by Auscultation wherein producer Joel Shanahan "expands his palette, mingling shades of ’90s ambient techno with distant echoes of the Cocteau Twins’ dream pop."

Meanwhile, Ian Hodgson writes in with some of his favorite shoegazetronica tunes of t' 9ties - mostly shoegaze groops remixed by Electronic Listening Music notables. 

This is his All-Time Fave

Never heard that, although I liked Slowdive and Bandulu

Another Slowdive remix suggested by Ian  - this one by Global Communications alter-ego Reload

Clean forgot this lot....  seem to remember reviewing a single of theirs that toted a hefty load of ELM / IDM remixes. Perhaps it was this very one? 

Curve were such music press faves, weren't they? Well, Melody Maker faves, let's be honest - but I like to think of MM as being the music press by 1990 (always amazed to come across people who were still reading NME by that point). A group that's completely itself evacuated from popular memory. I must say I was never really convinced by them - a bit too much the canny ZeitGeist surfers, I felt,  like the Eurhythmics in their day.   My colleagues went gaga for them, though. 

Another band I completely forgot existed

I do appreciate the name, though - something of a reference point for your post-Lacan theorists of jouissance as "ineffable pleasure-spasm", Theresa. Perhaps it was the Hildegarde of Bingen tune by  The Beloved ("The Sun Rising"?) that turned these dreampoppers in a techno-ish direction. Or maybe they heard the dark-bliss pleasure-spasm of One Dove's "White Love"... 

Of this next track, Ian says "10/10 this one I reckon"

I had a major Cocteaus jag the other week -  tried to do that daft thing of listening to the entire urrrrv in one go, from start to finish (well, I didn't bother with the twilight-phase albums when Elizabeth starts singing in very plain English). The stretch from Head Over Heels and Sunburst and Snowblind to Aikea-Guinea via  The Spanglemaker and Treasure is sublime and almost immaculate .... as is the stretch from Love's Easy Tears via the Harold Budd collaboration to Blue Bell Knoll.  Before the first flush of genius, they're warming up, finding their unique voice; after the second flush, they're losing it, losing their way, heading into the diminishing returns zone. But there's that mysteriously middling and unmemorable patch of Victorialand, Tiny Dynamine, Echoes in a Shallow Bay, where the magic touch just goes away for a bit. And then it comes back, full strength - perhaps more even more consummate. Very odd - who else has that happened to?

Ah I remember, there was a whole album of Chapterhouse remixology wasn't there?   

Seefeel are exactly in the zone

And this is the ultimate shoegaze into ambient techno nexus - one of my own abfavs and a pinnacle of t' 9ties

Ian points to Mark Van Hoen as a key figure in this blurry indietronic zone. And also Ulrich Schnauss as the one who inherited and furthered the idea.  

He also mentions M83 as a later iteration 

M83 and Ulrich S fall into "the same box: sort of quality hi-lush electronica that crosses over (good songwriting)", Ian notes, adding mischievously, "And ends up as soundbeds on motorsport montage clip shows."

For me, the problem with a lot of it is that it gets a bit too wispy and clean-sounding.... and pious. A sort of saintly pallor. 

(A religiose vibe that actually came back a bit in the 2010s). *

It picks up the aforementioned "The Sun Rising" / Orbital "Halycon" etc vibe in the chill beatific side of house ... and melds it with the "mist gathers at the base of the ruined abbey, ghost choristers waft sighingly through the cloisters" vibe of lots of shoegaze.... 

Which I did love with this Slowdive-covering-Syd beauty

Well blimey, that is actually a release on the Sonic Cathedral Singles Club.

"Sonic cathedral" being the parody meme taking gentle piss out of the kind of praise prose poesy that wrapped itself around Cocteaus, 4AD in general, dreampop etc etc, back in the day - yours truly being a perpetrator

Ah and this has reminded me of another nexus in the shoegaze / electronic-listening / ambient / early post-rock / Stereolab-Saint-Etienne typestuff / etc confluence - Darla Records

Who started a series of releases called The  Bliss Out - named after a certain book

Here's a best of The Bliss Out

*    from that 2012 post on the New Exquisite / New Religiose i.e. Juliana Barwick, Julia Holter, Grouper

the hallmark: those pure airy vocals, more often than not wordless, or blurred to the point of indecipherable... multitracked into a choir-of-one... warp 'n' wefted... tapestried... heavy on the reverb ... where plainchant meets enchantment

the sound of the Ineffable... being effed

i don't think the intent is particularly retro or to hark back to anything (other than to the pre-modern or primordial)... but clearly it's influenced by the late Eighties... and it can't help reminding of that moment, if you're of a certain vintage yourself

where late 80s post-Goth/4AD-type stuff connects to current conditions of music-production is that Goth-Lite was primarily studio music, it was all about layers, sound treatments, effects... it broke to large extent... with the performance model of rock recording (Cocteaus DCD et al did play live, of course, but their live shows were attempts to duplicate the textural richness of what was concocted in the studio, rather than the other way round: the studio recording as attempt to simulate/approximate the energy of a live performance). So obviously that translates to the solo artist + digital audio workstations in a bedroom scenario of today, where live performance is an optional afterthought to careers created through blog-buzz

artificial reverb, that other hallmark of the New Religoise, figures as an irresistible temptation to producers looking to add "space" to recordings that are otherwise by their mode-of-construction a bit airless and dry

along with the outerspace/innerspace associations of the "sonic cathedral" effect...

Monday, May 4, 2020

DJ Records

those girls seemingly plucked from the pages of iD and turned into a style-bible cartoon

that wonderful video / tune, although not actually part of the phenom, led to me that little spate of records in 87-88 that  - while congruent with / shoved in with the house acieed moment -  were really hip hop in methodology: kinetic collages of samples (sampling not being something you got that much of in house, outside of Todd Terry, and certainly not sampling-as-citation / recognisable quote)

"DJ records" they called them

Sort of hip-house - but rarely with any rapping element (unlike your Doug Lazy etc type records)

More iD/ Face fashion-spread images sprung to life.

Loved that one in particular. Interviewed Mark Moore of S'Express around the next record and mentioned "Hey Music Lover" as a fave and said "you were going for a Sly Stone vibe with that right?" And he gave a little sly smile and said "yeah, that's what we were going for". Of course I realised much later, it's a Sly and the Family Stone cover - part of a medley of music-celebrating songs on Dance to the Music.

in a way, a root of hardcore - but also of big beat

e.g. Norm's early effort - preFatboy