Sunday, October 24, 2021

Dune dance

 Watched Dune .... what a lot of cobblers.  Was there a single cliche of the genre that they shirked and shied from? 

Let us count the seen-before / heard-before a hundred times... 

Vast, majestic yet forbiddingly austere interiors, shrouded in shadow (hmmm they’ve colonized the galaxy but can’t afford some extra 140 watt bulbs?!). 

Haute couture-like, sculpted and dimensional garments, in sombre hues of black and grey, exquisitely tailored (how about a bit of hot pink for variety's sake, or some fluorescent multi-colored futuristic fabric of the far future?). 

Portentous drum-clattery music, swoops of lustrously dark abstract sound-texture, not unlike a poncified high-def version of Mover-style gloomcore at times... i.e. the usual Zimmerbombast. 

Faintly fascistic massing of troops, serried and regimented formations, huge chants of soldierly loyalty rising up with a vaguely Zulu-like quality... 

A priestly caste that gives off an eerie aura of gnosis. 

LOTR-style, much intense holding of the mutual gaze, shining eyes, plighting of troth, words of honor and glory, destiny and dynasty... 

A prince reunited with his older mentor, who schooled and schools him still in the manly arts of hand-to-hand combat. 

Still fighting with swords for some reason…

Despite being a s.f. nut in my teens, I never read the book.  I was put off by the cover I think - and never liked those sort of quasi-Medieval space sagas, galactic empires struggling for dominance, confederations of alien races etc. In fact vastly prefer s.f. that is terrestial and near-future (10 to 200 years ahead, that sort of range).  Never seen more than 20 minutes here and there of the Lynch Dune when it's been shown on TV. The book does sound vastly more interesting and potentially impressive, from what I've read about it online, than either of the two filmic versions (although this current one does seem to be immaculately executed, albeit within its utterly cliched and played-out terms). 

(And maybe Dune invented those cliches? But that doesn't really help the current viewer, can't be made allowance for).

Just about the only value I gleaned from watching it was realising that not one but two Eon songs derive their soundbite and title from (I assume) the Lynch Dune... 














The phrase "fear - the mindkiller" cropped up twice in the movie, in fact. But I don't recall "the spice must flow" coming up. But then again, I did actually fall asleep towards the final stretch. 


postscript: good to see that Gio Makyo has similar feelings, and even more informed ones having once dug the book:

-Lawrence of Arabia in space. Colonialist fantasy of a white savior coming to lead the brown people to freedom. 

-Yet another sci-fi film that is heavily stuck on Judeo Christian ideas of a “chosen one” Messiah, which I am so over at this point. 

-Ditto for any paranormal mental powers like “the force“. 

-Evil bad empire like that’s totally new… (Starship Troopers remains the only Hollywood film to suggest that maybe we are the big bad empire and not the rebels) 

-Stupid character name of the year: Duncan Idaho. (And I thought Philip K Dick was bad at coming up with character names!) 

-Typical fascination with militaristic iconography. 

-Dialogue mixed really low so they have the headroom to clobber you with the Zimmernator and the special effects sounds.

Another thing that’s really getting overdone is the use of digital filters to give a color tint to almost every scene now. Each location has to be differentiated by Ia pervasive color... gray, green, yellow, whatever. Steven Soderbergh‘s Traffic was really the first to do this Way back when with the saturated dusty yellow Mexico... it definitely has its usage, but it’s just knee-jerk almost every single freaking scene now.

About the Zimmerbombast, Makyo comments:

"So much of the Zimmer score just seems to be multi-synth versions of risers and impacts".

I don't know what that means exactly but it sounds authoritatively dismissive!


Makyo's final observation is telling: 

"Given that the whole allure of science fiction is that we can create entirely new worlds and situations beyond our imagination, why is it that we keep ending up in the same f—king scenario over and over? This wants to position itself between Star Wars and Game of Thrones so badly it hurts"

Indeed, indeed... 

We travel into the far future or the remote reaches of the galaxy - and find only our own past, the same old-old saga narratives, talk of destiny and dynasty...


















postscript


Friday, October 22, 2021

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Coventry rave exhibition

press release: 



Adi Dowling’s Daylight Robbery Presents: House Is A Feeling


Before, during & after the arrival of house music & ecstasy in Coventry Today, 12 October 2021 Coventry City of Culture Trust announces House is a Feeling, an immersive multi-media exhibition exploring Coventry and the motor city’s very own ‘Motown Story’ in electronic music. The exhibition will be take place in a secret location from November 11th – 28th 2021.

House is a Feeling is a chronological exploration of a music and cultural-revolution in Coventry from 1985 to 1993. This multi-sensory exhibition gives insight into a city before, during and after the arrival of house music and ecstasy and of those involved.

The exhibition explores the impact and legacy of electronic dance music and emerging youth cultures at a time of heightened social injustice, racism and violence, culminating in a musical and social revolution that put Coventry on the map.

The city was one of the epicentres of a new youth cultural expression in the UK and witnessed the birth of its first legal events orchestrated by Amnesia House and The Eclipse Nightclub, the first sanctioned all-night 24 hour club in the UK.

Presented through a series of corridors and curated themed rooms, the exhibition includes transformational theatre; audio documentaries; artist moving image and laser projections. With uncensored accounts tracking the journey of Coventry’s place as the pioneer of this global movement and multi billion pound industry, creating a blue print that was copied world-wide.

The work includes contemporary visual interpretations of the underground drug culture and captures significant historical moments covering themes of racism and city centre violence featuring local people telling untold stories of their experience.

Chenine Bhathena says:

“This exhibition documents one of the last youth and cultural movements of the 20th Century in the UK. The city was at the epicentre of electronic dance music and rave culture at this time. It was a time in hedonistic time in history when the younger generation were fully immersed in the moment, no mobile phones or selfies. It was just pure love for the beat. There was a sense of freedom and spirit amongst that generation that won’t be seen again. The exhibition will give the public a chance to see Coventry’s musical and social-revolution of the late 1980s and 90s.”

Adi Dowling says:

“This is a historical documentation of one of the most important cultural movements of the 20th century and maps the journey of a youth revolution that took over the world. The amazing thing was this was brought together by black, brown and white street kids who had nothing but each other”

House is a Feeling was commissioned by Coventry City of Culture Trust.

The exhibition is funded by Arts Council England and Coventry City of Culture Trust.











































Sunday, October 17, 2021

Hardcore Continuum Exhibition


Catch is, you have to go to the Nuum's own Ibiza to see it

From the Cyprus Mail, Eleni Philippou reports

"A two-week exhibition comprising of a time-based performance and installation by Emiddio Vasquez is coming to Limassol’s The Island Club and will present a sonic and conceptual experience.

"Hardcore Continuum’s point of departure is a recorded factual encounter between grime music producer Skepta, his young Cypriot cellmate George and a policeman at the Ayia Napa police station. During the conversation, George is asked to say something into a snuck-in voice recorder for Skepta’s future album release, to which he replies “I don’t understand”. This recording made it into the track, Ayia Napa Skit, which was released on Skepta’s debut album, Greatest Hits, in 2006.

"In the first week of Hardcore Continuum Vasquez will speculate on George’s position and train himself on producing UK garage and grime music. Streams and references from music production and pirate radio subcultures, as well as the UK rave culture, will unravel and connect during the week. The performance will be documented on tapes and parts of it will be live-streamed from The Island Club’s Instagram account.

"In its second week, the exhibition will carry on without Vasquez’s presence, transitioning into an installation with the material and sonic leftovers from the artist’s performance. The show will conclude with an event featuring Vasquez’s DJ partner Veronica Georgiou taking place at The Island Club on Saturday, November 6.

"The title of the exhibition is borrowed from Simon Reynolds, who employs the term ‘hardcore continuum’ to delineate what he takes to be the continuous development of UK dance music genres – hardcore, jungle, UK garage and grime – in the 1990s and 2000s. UK garage, in particular, reached its apex in, and due to, the exoticised and mythologised environment of Ayia Napa, but the latter also served as a turning point in the genre’s darker and grimier developments.

"Hardcore Continuum reflects on that turning point by directing the academic term towards the history of radio in Cyprus. In the 1950s, radio transmitted by foreign political actors in Cyprus helped shape ideologies in the Middle East and North Africa, arguably leading to the Suez crisis and complexifying the island’s role in the Levant. Today, radio transmission in Cyprus is closely associated with the ongoing presence of foreign military infrastructures.

"Through a series of sonic and conceptual deconstructions of radio (featuring bat recordings, online videos, ELF radio recordings from Lady’s Mile and Troodos and field recordings from the empty alleys of Ayia Napa in the 2020 summer lockdown), the exhibition tests the notion of a historical ‘continuum’ against the continuously permeative material properties of radio – properties also expressed by the forces of capital, extractivism, and colonialism.

"Exhibition-installation by Emiddio Vasquez. October 23-November 6. The Island Club, Limassol. Opening hours: October23 – 29: 12pm–8pm, October 30 and November 1 – 5: 12pm-6pm, November 6: 12pm-9pm. Tel: 25-252010"

Monday, September 27, 2021

Chic are a proof of my theory-stance-contention that the best disco is the the disco that made the charts

there is a logic to the syndrome of "the best stuff crossed over and became pop"

for what are the premises on which disco is based, its metric?

Good beat, good groove

Strong vocal performance

Great melody

Cool shiny production

Those happen to be exactly the same premises on which successful pop music is based - a beat you a dance to, a tune you can sing along to it, a certain conventional idea of vocal power, bright slick shiny production, well played etc

up to a certain point, you can say that disco-ness is poptasticness

so underground disco means simply not known by that many people, means not that successful on its own terms

Underground disco cultists are very similar to the Northern Soul thing

The Northern Soul people liked Motown-type music. But Motown they considered “commercial” – meaning, simply that ordinary kids knew about it cos it had been in the charts. So they formed a whole cut around either Motown releases that had not been hits (cos they weren’t quite good enough)  and then the Motown-wannabes, of which they were droves. And there was so much of this second-division, solid uptempo soul made then that they could sustain a whole culture based on it, and never play the Four Tops or Martha and the Vandellas or the Supremes.

Eventually they moved into the third-rate and the overtly substandard.

You get the same thing with garage punk of the Sixties – which I was really into and I went pretty deep into the second-rate zone, cos I loved that particular energy and set of noises and vocal aggression

But the best stuff  - objectively - was either the British groups who inspired the garage punks or those one-hit wonders like Count Five with ‘psychotic reactions’

Oh here and there you’ll come across something you think ‘this could have been a hit, should have been a hit’

But the bulk of it is determinedly second-division and enjoyable on that level if you are that obsessed with the sound

Same with disco

Thursday, September 16, 2021

melodic spacing in postdisco

In the piece on Chic and Sister Sledge et al, I note of Nile Rodgers & Bernard Edwards's songwriting: 

"Chic favored chord changes sublimely poised between happy and sad while the choruses were staccato, the spaced-out notes seemingly plotted on graph paper."

Listening to all the ChicOrg classic-era tunes, it struck me that Rodgers & Edwards were among the pioneers - perhaps the pioneers - of a stylistic feature of writing during the postdisco era, something I'd noted earlier in the year when listening to a ton of Eighties boogie and club tracks. 

On Dissensus I observed:

One thing I've noticed recently listening to 80s club faves, is that a lot of postdisco / boogie tunes have this thing where the chorus is rectilinear - regular and spaced out notes - which creates a delicious tension with the grooviness of the music. The verse melodies tend to move in this more fluidly shimmying soulful way.

The choruses sound clipped - there don't tend to be long held notes, and there's rarely melisma or trills or any kind of flourish. Instead it's all about precision and staccato starkness.  

Odyssey's  "Inside Out" is a good example - and a wonderful song / vocal performance, from Lillian Lopez (with this ever-so slightly harsh nasally timbre and sort of yearningly imperious tone). 

(Also the lyric is a bit peculiar, if you pay attention to it - "When you're lying in her bed / And you're in her arms instead of my love /As you feel her tightening grip...."  Beg pardon ooer missus ....  and then "And she's always on that phone / And you just don't think that you got the strength to fight it" - the fantasmic scenario dreamed of by the rival-in-love singing the song seems to be "hold on, I'm coming to your rescue", which may not be the male's feeling about the situation at all)

Cheryl Lynn's marvelous "Encore" is another prime case, with the spacing-out effect exacerbated by breaking up the chorus so that it's a sort of lurching back and forth between two voices (Cheryl and a backing singer, or it is Cheryl multitracked?).


(Listen to the fade of the 12-inch for the "all right!" as used in "Radio Babylon" and a thousand (slight exaggeration) rave tunes)

Change's Chic-like "Change of Heart" has the melodic spacing in the chorus in full effect. But the verses are also quite rectilinear (not sure if that's the right word but I'm sticking with it).  It's a very controlled sounding record. 


This kind of chorus was a 
hallmark of Jam & Lewis's writing, as with S.O.S. Band and particularly this tune "The Finest"


Melodically "The Finest" has that "plotted out on graph paper" quality - and Mary Davis's singing is just as restrained and near-formal as the melody is - which suits the kind of amorous constraints under which the song's character lives, a satellite of love. But then that exquisitely prim poise is blown with a horrible section that's all melismatic and oversouled, shattering the mood completely.

Apart from that thankfully brief excrescence, the whole of "The Finest" from the drum machine rhythm-track upwards, feels like a grid - or like a set of grids superimposed over each other.  

And of course nuumologists need no reminding what eternal anthem it led to... 



Jam & Lewis have similar things going on with certain Janet Jackson tunes and also Human League's "Human".

Rewinding to a few years earlier - Kool and the Gang's "Get Down On It" - I remember at the time this originally came out thinking that it had a curious quality of geometry, an oddly orderly symmetry.... but in this case that tension, the play of rigidity against loose 'n' groovy, is at work at all levels of the instrumentation not just the vocal melody.





^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

A recurrence of that kind of feel - spaced-out, tautly controlled, geometric - comes in the late '90s with Timbaland, especially the Aaliyah tunes. Here the spacing is even more strikingly stark, huge gaps in the drum programming. Aaliyah often sings as if she's tip-toeing, the voice padding across the stave with a feline wariness



Bringing it around to where we started, I discover that Timbaland engineer Jimmy Douglass actually produced Odyssey's "Inside Out" (one of his other clients around that time was Gang of Four for Solid Gold). "Inside Out" was actually written by Jesse Rae, a Scotsman so steeped in funk and R&B that he could fluently write in the idiom and pass for the real thing (in the late 80s I  interviewed him about his own excellent music). 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Here's a rather good white copy of postdisco geometrics - the tune feels like glistening planes intersecting in space, like a mobile made of colored glass



Sunday, September 12, 2021

the politics of dancing

A podcast conversation about rave culture and the politics of dance music I had with Francesco Tenaglia and Reece Cox as part of an exhibition / event series / program at Museion in Bolzano.

TECHNO Conversations” is a series of periodic podcasts in which some of the many aspects linked to the history of raves and clubs, such as communities, economies, stories and trends are investigated through the testimonies of protagonists including theorists and reporters. The series focuses on key historical moments and nightlife geography. A series of podcasts conceived and authored by Francesco Tenaglia."





Sunday, September 5, 2021

TAZmaniac devils (or, the desire called underground part 327)

Youth getting in a right TAZ-zy down under -  Robbie Mason on Australian anarchorave Temporary Autonomous Zoneheads aka netlabel ULTRAVIRUS, who mash up breakcore, hard tek, NeuroTrap, memecore, noise, deconstructed club etc and operate on the outskirts of "Sydney’s warehouse and bunker rave scene" 

Says ULTRAVIRUS operative Thorsten Hertog: “I was really inspired by early 2000s net labels, which came out of this early utopian idea of the internet being a democratic and commercial-free zone. Obviously we know that that idea of the internet has failed. But people just downloaded and uploaded music in bulk for free. The artworks were super tacky and it was very DIY.”

"Sydney went harder, weirder, faster and grittier in its rave music than perhaps any other Australian city" asserts Mason. (attention Thirdform!)

"In the face of lockout laws (only recently repealed) and severely underfunded creative industries, young Sydneysiders self-mobilised to rescue the city’s nightlife. The punk, rave and experimental art scenes especially have embraced alternative event spaces. Warehouse raves, squat parties and park gigs have sustained Sydney’s culture. The scales and frequency of these illegal events far exceed those in any other Australian city.... These grungy spaces of urban decay — warehouses, abandoned stadiums and empty office blocks — attract a particular type of crowd; one happy to push boundaries on a night out, happy to exchange the comforts of the club for the smoke-clogged claustrophobia of Sydney’s urban ruins and happy to brave mosquito swarms and mud. The extreme nature of these spaces, combined with the logistical nightmare of throwing parties within them, mean that any profit margins are guaranteed to be slim. These parameters lend themselves to left-field bookings and radical music. Unsurprisingly, Sydney DIY rave organisers have consistently platformed faster, harder genres including techno, hard trance, breakcore, drum and bass and gabber within these spaces."....

"Sydney’s hard dance revival is also due to 'our proximity to Newcastle and the Bloody Fist [Records] scene that existed there in the 90s, and the huge breakcore scene that exists in the Blue Mountains. These two cities pioneered these hard dance sounds. That has totally filtered back into Sydney.”

I remember Bloody Fist! In fact unless I'm completely mistaken I interviewed Mr Nasebluten himself by phone. Or was it email? No I think phone - I remember his voice. Bizarrely it would have been for a piece on gabber I did for the British version of Esquire! The unlikely things I have done in my life!They sent me to Arnhem in Holland and to Glasgow for Rezerection. I also trekked down to the most bereft zone of South London I've ever visited - a new-built estate of characterless semidetached houses right next to a Mordor-like chasm of industrial chimneys belching smoke and endless railways sidings and British Rail sheds stretching as far as the eye could see (which wasn't that far given the smoggy grey atmosphere that impended, but still improbably extended. It felt like some kind of rent had been fissured in the landscape). And in that little housing estate is where Loftgroover lived with his family. 

But that's an aside  - this ULTRAVIRUS is a very long, detailed piece, but well worth a deep dive. 

Not what I want to hear myself particularly, these days - Chic and Satie have been the listening this weekend - but I'm heartened somehow that people are doing this kind of thing ie. partying hard for their right to fight, or somesuch formulation. 



Thursday, August 26, 2021

DIY dance (ripe for conversion)

 

This must have been written in mid summer  '91 (October issue means comes out in September, monthly mag means a couple of months lead time). Teetering, teetering on the brink - all it would take is one strong pill to push me into the rave maelstrom. 

I'm glad the most highly charged bit is on LFO's Frequencies

Monday, August 23, 2021

Castlemorton recalled

 Todd L. Burns - who many will remember as the founder of the excellent music webzine Stylus and subsequently helmed various important publications - puts out an unmissable missive, a weekly newsletter called Music Journalism Insider. One of the regular features is called Notes On Process, in which he invites a music journalist to go deep into the background (the writing, editing, etc) of a particular piece.  

Todd asked me to do a Notes on the news story I did about the Castlemorton mega-rave in May 1992.  I realised that the article that ran in Melody Maker's news section was significantly different (more newsy) than the fevered rave convert / eye witness thinkpiece I submitted. So we have both versions up there annotated with queries and comments, discussing the circumstances of the piece, the workings of a weekly music paper, the traveler-raver movement / moment, and the larger question of "the politics of dancing." 

Here are the other earlier installments of Notes on Process. And you can subscribe to Music Journalism Insider here.














The missus with a piece from 1994 about the Crusty-Raver-Traveler-Squatters versus the Criminal Justice and Public Order Bill.












Saturday, August 21, 2021

the renegade master-er

 



They always used to intrigue me, those tags carved into the run-out vinyl - "A Porky Prime Cut".  Here's a interview with mastering legend George Peckham, done by Nico Sykes of No U Turn. I associate the run-out inscriptions with postpunk and indie records, so it was interesting to see that he carried on all through the '90s and was making his skills available to the drum 'and bass community. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

"Wake up, indie-kids" (Metalheads et al in MM )

 



January 30 1993 - and I made "Terminator" one of the singles of the week - the first time Metalheads / Goldie get single of the week, but not the last time... 

What leaps out now is that assessment "not especially innovative" which is of course dead wrong, but I was still getting to grips with the scene / sound, had yet to formulate the concept of rhythmic psychedelia (copyright me, yes that's right me) (Still I can't complain about "sampling" really can I now, since "chaste, hideous rapture" is stolen from Lautreamont and was probably the fourth - and far from last time -  I borrowed the phrase.)



Also notable about this singles column is the rave review for Satin Storm, which I believe I've mistitled (based on what was scrawled on the white label  I bought) and is better known now as "Think I'm Going Out of My Head"


I wish I had made Satin Storm single of the week instead of The Drum Club tune which is not that great - certainly not as good as their previous 'U Make Me Feel So Good".


























And then Metalheads score again in August of '93 with "Angel" - and this time we have a picture of Goldie. It's even worse than the photo of me I think! That strange perpendicular finger... 






























Also notable about this August '93 column - see below -  I make Foul Play "Open Your Mind (Foul Play Remix") Single of the Week (or rather, say I would have, but we didn't have a photo of the group. Not that this stopped us with "Terminator", mind) . 























Origin Unknown "Long Dark Tunnel" - better known as "Valley of Shadows" - is reviewed off of hearing it on pirate radio. (Or was it on a CD compilation? I don't think so). I'm not sure how I knew the name of the label, but I know I didn't own the vinyl at that point - bought it much, much later. Also worthy of Single of the Week status.


Aha - and then there's reviews for Omni Trio (yet another SOTW contender surely) while Goldie gets another review with the Rufige Cru "Ghosts". Well now I wish I had made that the second single of the week (or third, or fourth, or fifth)  and mentioned the remix of "Terminator" - "Terminator 2".

                                  The very tune that germinated the concept of rhythmic psychedelia in my brain? It has backwards                                                                      drums and phased breaks, see... 





Ray Keith is misattributed as the author of the Wot's My Code tune rather than remixer  - easy mistake to make as his name was massive on the front record sleeve.














Also this large claim on the label kinda invites confusion














Who's this Knookie chappie then? 









Saturday, July 24, 2021

time domain affects

 Chris Richards at Washington Post on South Florida "fast remixes":

"Clock-torquing has always been central to rap music, with DJs and producers perpetually tweaking the speeds of their samples, treating time like gobs of Silly Putty. Houston’s DJ Screw changed the trajectory of rap by famously slowing records down, loosening the tempo until it melted into a beautiful ooze — so it makes sense that a fast remix does something like the opposite. Instead of liquefying, the details crystallize. The beats become light and delicate. The rhymes get tight and Smurfy. Give a fast remix your most undivided attention and it’ll start to sound like a double-refusal of temporality and corporeality — a sort of metaphysical protest music."

Nice

although hearing them I think he kind of oversells a bit...

Some examples he cites: 

DJ Fetti Fee's rmx of WizDaWizard's "Don Dada's"  and rmx of  Wam SpinThaBin x Rico Cartel "Risk Taker"

DJ Frisco954's rmx of YN Jay "Summer Time" and remix of Kodak Black "Senseless" 




 

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

superhero / superantihero

Looking at the 4 Hero early EP The Head Hunter, with its back cover cartoon of the group as malformed beings grotesquely mutated owing to their experimentation with speeding up the bpm... 










It struck me they had one thing in common with The Groundhogs 















But there must be many other examples of musicians becoming comic-strip characters or animations. 

Well, there's the animated sequences in The Great Rock'n'Roll Swindle - a ruse around the non-participation of Johnny Rotten in the movie, the virtual nonparticipation of Vicious, and lack of documentary footage of certain key episodes 



                                                            original cel for Rotten


And here's that whole cartoon sequence from tGRnRS 




another sequence involving Vicious and his mum (plus smack and incest) (not actually in the finished movie) seeded these images on the left of the Great Rock'n'Swindle gatefold




which in turn reappeared on the front cover of this single and its music press adverts













Saturday, July 17, 2021

the fantastical things that Canby done with electronic sound

 


Reading the liner note essay in an old Tod Dockstader CD reissue, I came across this chap Edward Tatnall Canby - among many other things, an early proponent of electronic music.  















Dockstader was one of the composers Canby played on his show for the public radio station WYNC. 

Here below are archived shows from the 1960s in which Canby genially guided listeners into the alien world of musique concrete and electronic music. 

https://www.wnyc.org/story/electronic-music-part-1-of-2/

https://www.wnyc.org/story/electronic-music-part-2-of-3-electronic-abstraction

https://www.wnyc.org/story/electronic-music-part-3-of-3-live-and-recorded

Apparently Canby also played, during these shows, some of his own experiments with electronic music - now that's something I'd like to hear.

Canby was also an audiophile and hi-fidelity expert. And he wrote a book about the history of electricity. 

Here he goes deep into the specifics of a then new kind of tape - chrome 

























Wednesday, July 14, 2021

The Resurrection of Todd

A piece by UK Garage-ologist Gabriel Szatan on Todd Edwards's career rebirth 

"If there’s one moment of telepathic audience communication almost every Todd devotee can picture with their eyes closed, it’s this: simply utter the words ‘Jesus Loves UK Garage’, and a rippling harp ushers in the dream sequence.

"It’s New Year’s Day 2003. On the fringes of East London, history is being made. A full decade into his career, Todd Edwards is stepping up for his first club DJ set. The venue is Romford’s  Time & Envy, the night is DJ EZ’s 4by4, and the jet-lagged Jersey boy is sweating with anticipation in a homemade black T-shirt proclaiming Christ’s affection for UKG... 

"EZ slots his records away as Matt ‘Jam’ Lamont and Karl ‘Tuff Enuff’ Brown beam from the booth’s back wall. Todd is summoned and cues up a custom dubplate cut for the night. Around 1,200 tightly-packed fans surge forward to the sound of — wait, is that The Carpenters? Todd stands, eager but flummoxed, as people begin to cheer and shuffle to the muted intro for 45 seconds or so. Then the tune kicks in, and the venue goes absolutely doolally.

" [Todd recalls]'... They cheered every song, including that preposterous intro, which was intended to show the crowd how my samples worked. I learned so much that night: the interaction between the DJ and the crowd was like nothing I’d experienced in New York. The MC was saying things and the crowd chanting back — as an American, it just sounded like a pep rally.'”

"During his set, this innocence resulted in one amusing misunderstanding. As the crowd demands a rewind, Todd flashes a confused glance back to the MC. Unsure what was being requested, he whiffs at the chance of a thunderous reload, instead merely hitting the stop button and watching the turntable power down. He grimaces at the mention. "Tuff Jam always joke about that.”

Watch the magic and the mishap here https://youtu.be/1UxY5LonBIc  - or below 


Less cheerfully, there's a lot about Todd losing his way, bad management, financial struggles - and failure to capitalize on a later resurgence off the back of Random Access Memories

There's talk about his "lost" album Odyssey (actually released but not to much impact)

"A 2006 love letter to God that slipped through the cracks, ‘Odyssey’ has gathered something amounting to cult classic status amongst in-the-know heads. The album shows a different side to Todd — multiple different sides, in fact, as each track features a different vocal impression. Todd huffed helium to sound like Björk and crooned like Michael McDonald for maximum yacht-pleasing effect. The production is crystalline and the lyrics have an unresolved melancholy to them, seeking salvation in song. As an artistic statement, there’s no real point of comparison anywhere in Todd’s oeuvre." 

Hear it here or below 




"Todd has been chipping away at an improved version of ‘Odyssey’ for close to a decade, and come 2022, there will be an accompanying (re)making-of documentary by filmmaker Billie JD Porter. The new version is, Porter says, “basically a different album by this point. It’s a fresh, loud take on the original. Old school Todd fans are going to be overjoyed when this record hits.”


And here is Todd talking about spirituality, UKG etc at a Red Bull Music Academy event:


Friday, July 2, 2021

WHY DO THEY WANNA SOUND GRYMEY




listening to this talisman touchstone of an EP again, noticed at Discogs that inscribed into the vinyl there is an early sighting of the word / concept "grimy" 

  • Matrix / Runout (side A, etched): RIVET 1249 - A ∗ - J.T.S. - ∗ "WHY DO THEY WANNA SOUND GRYMEY"

(Onyx were also using the term around this time on the other side of the pond)

I don't know if I'd call the sound on Enforcers 4 "grimy" though - if anything it's reaching for a kind of psychotic slickness 




the beats and the bass on the flipside tracks blew my mind then, and still now 





Thursday, July 1, 2021

new-old-kore

 https://soundcloud.com/sonicrampage/memories-of-the-parazone-parallax-album-promo-mix

Man like Pearsall he say: 

"On July 1st 2021 my good friend Vali NME Click is dropping the pre-orders for the epic 'Message from the Parazone' on @parallaxrecordings, a monster four disc album featuring the best and brightest artists from the modern breakbeat hardcore / jungle scene. To celebrate this momentous event, Vali asked me to put together a retrospective of the label so far, so I've come up with this mix, which picks out at least one track from each of the releases so far, covering both the old skool re-releases as well as the new skool exclusives. Enjoy!"


taste for the compilation:

https://parallaxrecordings.bandcamp.com/album/departure-to-the-parazone

"Eyes to the horizon...it´s getting closer! This is the 12" sampler that will advance the 4x12" 'Message To The Parazone' album to celebrate the 5th birthday and 10th release of Parallax Recordings.

"The 4-tracker gives an insight into what to expect from the album and offers a wide range of styles: It opens with the dark and mystic 170-groover 'Horizons' by ScanOne. It´s followed by the raw, dubby, Amen-led Dead Man´s Chest Remix of 'Rhodiola'. Originally part of the Subaquatic EP by Tim Reaper it was a collabo with dutch Yorobi and is turning heads in various sets at the moment. On the flip InnerCore slaps us with 'Turbo Sound', an alarming ravey Hardcore beast that will make you jump off your seat and bust shapes in your bedroom. The dark lord FX rounds off the EP in his trademark dark style that only he can do so easily. 'Dark Shadows' is a pitch-black monster with racing, relentless Amens and the evilest mentasms. You don´t want to miss this. "