My piece on Hou Hsiao-hsien's Millennium Mambo, a 2001 film partly set in the club scene of Taipei. The piece also looks at the struggles that movie-makers have had with capturing what happens on the ravefloor - and why they've evaded it for the most part. It's for the journal of The Metrograph cinema in New York, where a restored version of the film is currently showing as part of a Taiwanese New Wave series.
Wednesday, December 28, 2022
Friday, December 23, 2022
Sunday, December 11, 2022
A round-robin retrospective on Artificial Intelligence, Warp's landmark compilation - now 30 years old, Jesus, and being commemoratively reissued - convened by Daniel Dylan Wray, for The Quietus. I am one of the voices corralled. As you can imagine, the colloquy contains a fair amount of complaining, from various angles, about the term / genre / discourse "Intelligent Dance Music" a.k.a. IDM, which the comp unintentionally launched. "Electronic Listening Music", as flagged up on the cover itself, would have made for a much better, more neutral and non-inflammatory term (although even there's a subliminal hint still of a "music for the mind versus music for the body" dichotomy, with the implicit suggestion that people who are dancing are doing so mindlessly, they're not really listening).
There were a few responses of mine that were not used, and being a waste-not-want-not type (a child if not of the era of rationing then of someone who lived through rationing, which lasted up until 1956, right?), here are those morsels.
Asked about the argument that IDM is a white cooptation of back music, I offered this demurral:
"I didn’t really feel that was a factor. After all, there is a huge European history with electronic music – Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Eno. A lot of postpunk and industrial. And a Japanese history too, with Ryuichi Sakamoto and YMO. But also with most of the IDM artists, they would be the first to acknowledge being inspired by Detroit techno and the early Chicago acid and so forth. I think there was a commonality felt with figures like Carl Craig and great respect for Underground Resistance and so forth.
"Where that became more of a thing was a bit later when you had the first-wave IDM artists adopting jungle’s breakbeat science techniques and then exaggerating them to the point where it was daft and undanceable. And there was a bit of attitude that irritated me then which was “look at us, we’re taking these ideas much further than the Junglists, who are all sheep, pandering to the dancers and the deejays”. It was an odd combo of coopting and arrogance. In fact, they weren’t taking the techniques any further than Dillinja or DJ Hype, they were just making them dysfunctional."
Quizzed about being "involved" in the IDM List and whether it was a real musical community.
"I wasn’t involved really, I don’t think I ever commented in a thread. But I checked it out, I subscribed to the list – just to see what people were talking about and how they talked about it. Being a student of discourse and fan rhetoric, I was interested to see how this unexamined superiority complex manifested in terms of judgements about which music mattered and why.
"I liked a lot of that kind of music – pretty much all the big names in IDM I thought were great or very interesting, and many of the smaller artists. Some of it is among the most beautiful music ever. I think its strong suit was melody and emotion. Well, you had interesting textures and sounds and atmospheres, but particularly melody and emotion was what it had to offer. If it had been called “emotronica” (admittedly a ghastly word!) then that might have been better. Not that hardcore dance musics are devoid of emotion, but it tends to be quite primary-color, unsubtle emotion, whereas in Aphex and Boards of Canada, et alc, you have a subtle palette of feeling – it can be poignant, eerie, mystical.
And finally, thoughts on the legacy of Artificial Intelligence:
"As I mentioned, I don’t think it’s that great a compilation, as a collection of tracks. There’s some good things and then as often with comps, the guest artists offer things that are maybe not their best work. It wasn’t a record I played more than a couple of times, I shouldn’t think. It’s more the throw-down of the title and the iconic cover image – it all added up to this big statement that Warp were making. Along with some of the things that were building in ’92 through to early ’93, the release really opened up a whole area of music that just grew and grew. Up to that point, you’d a few really excellent techno/house albums – 808 State’ 90 and Ex:Cel, LFO’s Frequencies, Ultramarine’s Every Man and Woman Is A Star. But it didn’t necessarily seem like a massive zone for the future. A lot of techno artists stumbled when it came to the album. But then I think with this comp, coming out at around the same time as Selected Ambient Works 85-92, suddenly it seemed a whole new space of possibility opened up.
From Artificial Intelligence's liner notes
Autechre's formative influences - almost all black music but as much electro and Miami Bass as house or techno
Sunday, December 4, 2022
A playlist compendium of Steve Gurley's work as Rogue Unit and as a remixer - the jungle / d&B (pretty complete selection there - please point out ommissions) and then onto the speed garage / 2step era (less complete - he was in demand, churning the stuff out). Then in a chronology double-back, at the end there's a bit of 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse and just a smidge of Foul Play ("Finest Illusion" - I remember Brad and John saying they had almost nothing to do with that track: they went off to deejay somewhere and when they came back, Steve had made the whole thing)
The Rogue Unit remixes like "Luv Dub", "Spread Luv", "Good To U", and especially "Peace Sign" and the naughty Princess "Say I'm Your Number 1" rebootleg are so so gorgeous.... as with other nuum auteurs, there's an identifiable signature here, particular fixtures / fixations... I don't have the technicals to pinpoint, but there's certain chord changes and harmonies he's drawn to... Even though working with vocal samples, he consistently gives them this thinned-out, stretched timbre, so that the diva sounds weak for love, ghostly and gaseous, wavering on the edge of expiry....
Thursday, December 1, 2022
Well who knew there was an early "Terminator"?
(Well, I didn't)
Tuesday, November 29, 2022
Sunday, November 20, 2022
I was thinking about the ways in which music seems to irresistibly provoke a mimetic physical response.
Well, for some of us.
Air guitar, air bass, air drumming - these are the big ones. But there's also air piano, air sax, air trumpet, air trombone even...
Certain kinds of music are particularly triggering.
For me, it's certain kinds of rock (not indie!), Certain kinds of jazz - fusion, jazz-rock, as opposed to Blue Note. Music where there's a bit of a swagger, a performative flourish. But also where the music is hard-hitting, has a physicality to the impact as well as the playing.
Now this effect on listeners must surely have died out as music has become more digital - less about manually played instruments and more about click-and-drag, shunting information about on a screen.
There's no such thing as an "air" response to hip hop, is there? The mimetic response would be rapping along, which you'll see-hear in the street when someone is listening to rap or grime on headphones. I suppose one could imagine a mimetic impulse to trap drum patterns. But in practice, I think not - somehow the body knows that it's not a human hitting those drums. The physicality of impact, the pull on the body, is not paralleled by a physicality of execution.
What got me thinking on this topic in the first place was playing some jungle and succumbing to the urge to mime out drum patterns - to do "air breakbeats".
Resulting, of course, in an absurd parody of actual drumming, based on things I've seen on TV - wrist-flexing, rimshot cracks, ride cymbal flutters...
That made me wonder if jungle really is unique among the digital-era musics in that it still has that capacity.
For instance, I can't imagine the mimetic impulse being triggered when listening to house or techno - anything propelled by a 909.
Jungle - being based on samples of breaks, of hand-played drum patterns - retains a musicality and humanity that can still pull at your limbs in this way.
But with jungle, the mimesis is a bizarre distorted form of mirroring. You're responding to the human player still audible within the barrage of chopped-up, resequenced drum breaks - the ghost in the machine. But these are accelerated and hyper-syncopated beyond what the original player would be capable of, let alone flailing failing you. So the element of wish-fulfilment is doubled. Two ghosts inhabit your flesh and take possession: the manual, near-automatized movements of the sampled drummer, and then the producer's edits, treatments and other decisions, which override and re-imprint the original performance. You feel the twin pull of funk and of superhumanization, and fall even further short than with regular "air drumming".
The unfinished thought here - the idea on the tip of my brain...
air guitar, air drums, air breaks, air whatever.... are they actually forms of dancing?
Nerd dancing - for those too physically awkward to get down.... but who can model, or self-project, into the role of the one who makes others get down.
Andrew Parker notes that "Maybe air-playing instruments is favoured by those who have no proficiency - their imaginings are unencumbered by technical knowledge." Although proficient in guitar and piano, he never air plays, precisely because "When I listen to a fast passage.... I'm mindful of the technical demands and what they would require to be developed." Good point: ignorance is prequisite for air anything!
He also sends through a video of a drummer doing an authentically hectic and hyper-syncopated simulation of jungle breakbeats, showing that an exceptional human player can equal the "superhumanization" effect of breakbeat science
If listening blind to this I would probably think it was a jungle track, except 1/ the rhythm switches up too often and 2/ I'd be wondering when the bass was going to make its entrance. After all, it's called drum and bass, not drum and drum...
Friday, November 11, 2022
Randall Roberts on a soon to be excavated 1986 recording of Sun Ra exploring the potentials of a Prophet VS synth:
"In the summer of that year while in Boston with his band, Sun Ra splashed down in a high-tech studio called Mission Control. Among the many synths and sound generators he approached was a newly released Prophet VS (“Vector Synthesizer”). The programmable digital keyboard, created by genius electronic synthesist Dave Smith, was remarkably sophisticated. Ra took to it and started playing. A recording of that session, called Prophet, will see release in December [on Modern Harmonics].
"You can thank gravity, the force of the cosmos and the magnetic field that a studio engineer as able to hit record, capturing for posterity the Space Traveler’s first experience with this particular synthetic future. Not that Ra was inexperienced. From an early age, the artist and composer took to new musical technology. Notes Ra biographer John Szwed in Space is the Place: The Life and Times of Sun Ra, the composer “kept up with new developments in music technology, especially those involving electricity, and dreamed of the possibilities of composing for instruments with new musical timbres."
That's the same synth that Keith Levene used on "Careering". Actually no, the Prophet 5 was the one he used - the Sun Ra one is a later, digital iteration.
Sunday, November 6, 2022
A 2011 mix by Soulwax that applies the New Beat trick - slowing house tracks down to make them sexy-eerie - to the faster Belgcore sound that came after New Beat.
The footage of dancing Lowlands ravers (often shirtless) from back in the day (I presume?) really makes the mix - bringing out the funklessness of the movements that was partially covered over by their sheer hyper-kinesis at the correct speed. No diss intended: Eurorave reactivated folk-dance traditions deep-buried and dormant in the youth population of Northern Europe, a kind of kinaesthetic race memory. Which is why jumpstyle for instance reminds me of jigging around the Maypole and Irish step dancing (all the action below the knee - kicky moves for kick-drummy music)
"Even though these Belgian records sound very "now", they are actually 20 years old and were meant to be played at a much, much faster speed. At the time this was the devil's music for us, but we have learned to listen through the claps and distorted kicks and discovered that if you slow these really dark and heavy techno records down all the way to about 115 bpm, it suddenly makes them sound less frantic,ballsier and a lot sexier.Belgium at its best when pitched down.
1. Yves Deruyter - Animals (Remix) 0:00 2. Pleasure Game - Les Seigneur Des Tenebres (Destructor Mix) 1:36 3. J'N'J - The Ballet 2:42 4. Dr. Phibes & Teddy Jones - Waresnare (Stelt Mix) 4:29 5. Ace The Space - Nine Is a Classic (Classic Strength Mix) 5:36 6. X-Change - Ready To Rock 7:08 7. Mackenzie - Cyclotron (Atomic Kick Mix) 8:06 8. X-Change - Let's Go 9:38 9. Space Trax - Vivisection 10:36 10. The Postman - ?? 11:43 11. Sonik Expander - Omega 12:31
12. Rave Crusader - Energy Overload (Acid Changes Mix) 13:57 13. Ace The Space - 9 Is a Classic 15:12 14. Krid Snero - Freedom 16:29 15. Krid Snero - F*** of Death 17:02 16. Next - Out There 18:17 17. Public Ambient - Revival Shadows (Side B - Track 2) 19:10 18. Bam Bam - La Casa 20:36 19. Dream Your Dream - Soushkin 22:46 20. Next - Transformed Temple (Remix) 23:54 21. Casa Nostra - Insomnia 24:52 22. Final Exposure - Vortex 26:07 23. N.U.K.E. - Dance With a Wolf (Pure Space Mix) 27:30
24. T.M.F. - F*** Off 28:04 25. Insider - Dreams 28:37 26. Hardfloor - Once Again Back (Rumble Mix) 29:44 27. Dreamland - Mind Penetration 30:30 28. Friends Of Django - F***in' Revenge! 32:14 29. Ramirez - Orgasmico (DJ Ricci Mix) 33:13 30. S.V.E.N. - For God's Sake 34:53 31. Ramirez - La Musika Tremenda 36:08 32. Krid Snero - ?? 37:40 33. Modular Expansion - Cubes 38:30 34. S.V.E.N. - Silencium 39:03 35. Groove Reactor - Magick 40:10 36. Krid Snero - White Line (D&S Remix) 41:50
37. BST - Êtes-Vous Coupable? 42:32 38. Synthadelic - I'm a Secretary 44:12 39. Tragic Castle - Say Hello To The Bad Guy 45:02 40. Yves Deruyter - Guess Who? 46:09 41. S.V.E.N. - Free Cocaine 47:16 42. Trigger - Stratosphere 49:13 43. Aqua Contact - La Sirena 49:46 44. Krid Snero - ?? 51:02 45. The Future - Locked In Madness 52:08 46. Plexus - Cactus Rhythm (Mike Ferlin Mix) 53:06 47. Second Phrase - Mentasm (Remix) 53:59 48. Ace The Space - Nine Is a Classic (Bay Area Drive-By Mix) 54:58
"The devil's music for us" - Belgian hardcore really did strike fear and terror! Yyou had otherwise sensible people, who'd loved acid house, likening it to fascism... Older worn-out ravers couldn't decide if the vibe was Castle Donington or the Nuremberg Rally soundtracked by a lobotomized Carl Orff!
Wednesday, November 2, 2022
- Mixmaster Morris aka The Irresistible Force sounds the rave alarm, September 1991, Melody Maker
A different viewpoint from Belgophile Caspar Pound of Rising High (who put out The Irresistible Force album)
Caspar's like, "Altamont? Bring it on, bring it on!"
More from Caspar Pound (plus a bit from Mark Archer of Nexus 21 / Altern-8) from an early 92 special issue of NME.
Here also is Joey Beltram in Melody Maker espousing a dark future techno whose spiritual homelands are Belgium and Brooklyn - and confessing to a love for actual heavy metal especially Sabbath (so perhaps hardkore tekno's spiritual homelands are Belgium, Brooklyn and Birmingham)
He also dismisses Frankie Knuckles and Tony Humphries as "old farty music" (shades of punk's Boring Old Farts dissage of the Old Wave)
When I interviewed Beltram in early '92, he claimed he was in the running to produce the next Metallica album!
Friday, October 21, 2022
First appears at 0.44 and passim in "Futuroid"
Sourced here at 3.48
"Futuroid" is an inspired bit of wordplay that I tried to deploy once when teasing out different ideas of what futurism and futuristic-ness might mean in music.
Extracted from its original context of meaning, here "boy, this is too much" works as a comic yelp expressive of Toffler's future shock
"Future? You can't handle the Future"
Other raw materials for the Noise Factory
Now the "I bring you the future, the future" bit - I'm guessing that is the voice of the record's creator? Or a mate?
But then there's that American old-timer warning that where we're going the country's very wild and dangerous and we'll have to cut through jungle and climb mountains so high they reach above the clouds.... presumably from some Hollywood movie.
And a stray "watch dis"
Not forgetting "dubplates playing in the ghetto tonight"
So whosampled doesn't have the full inventory by any means.
Ah! There is a fuller inventory at Discogs which references a vocal from Johnny Osbourne's "We Gonna Rock It Tonight" and the American male voice being from The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre
"Breakage #4" on the EP is the same song remixed.
Sunday, October 16, 2022
Saturday, October 8, 2022
Was playing the 4 Hero / Scarface "Seen A Man Die" rmx and the missus pipes up "this sounds like Last Poets"
I say, you want to hear an actual Last Poet does jungle track?
Opening soundbite is from this Last Poets solo project Hustler's Convention by Lightnin' Rod aka Alafia Pudim aka Jalaluddin Mansur Nuriddin - soundbite located at 10.44 mins
I think the "Roll Out" version was my preferred mix by a whisker - but both Die & Size sides got played to def that almost-a-year we spent in Belsize Park in '94. Joy would have heard the bass rumblizm coming through the wall between our workspaces.
She recognised the tune instantly.
Such thick, dense, roiling, seething choppage! Moody, murky, maruading, menacing minimalism.
That near-year in Belsize started with this beaut, which was getting near-constant play on the pirates in wintry early months of '94
"that dream is over"
Fusion-ripplige sourced here
Tuesday, October 4, 2022
I assume it was made in the '90s
Stylistically, I'd peg this as 91 or 92
Anyone actually know?
Thursday, September 29, 2022
This record came out in 1993!!!
Things like this I would listen to in disbelief - first, that music like this could even exist, and second, that no one seemed to have noticed (I mean outside the core scene, which was completely cut off, media-banished, cognoscenti-scorned, and accordingly inward looking, out of necessity)
I had a completely clear run at it for around 18 months. There was me and there was Kodwo, who would put some hardcore 12's in his monthly club trax column at the Wire - and that was it, in terms of serious-minded outside-scene coverage.
Yes it was my Lester Bangs right side of History moment - you'll forgive me for being attached to it.
(And in truth Lester had more company in his clairvoyance - other crits-wise - than I did)
Ian McShane in the membrane
Saturday, September 24, 2022
Here's an inventory, quite likely incomplete, of sampled snippets:
you got me burnin' up
such a good sensation
i can't find the words to explain
right on time
i wanna say yes
oh it's got me
so good so good
a feeling that I know so well
find a way
walk right in
you get down
let me tell you
time won't take my love away
And then there's also various non-verbal outcries - moans shrieks gasps yells woahs...
But there is one moment in "Love Sensation" that I've heard in various tunes - hardcore and jungle, for sure, possibly house tracks too - but I'm struggling to recall which.
This particular vocal burst occurs at 15 seconds in the below (it's also at 3.07 in the non a cappella extended version of the song at the top of the post)
And I always hear it as the ecstastic if somewhat mysterious diva command:
It used to tickle me - "what's she got against this Donald fellow then? What's Donald done?"
Definitely feels vengeful to me, rather than say an urgent appeal for Donald's presence.
(Now it rings out even more oddly as a motto for our time - a demand to the DOJ and attorney generals across the country to end the impunity)
Probably the utterance is in reality something along the lines of "get down y'all". But I always heard it as "Get Donald!" and I'm attached to this mishearing. (In the rave / jungle uses of the sample, it's sped up and compressed, adding to the "Donald" effect).
However I cannot dredge from memory which precisely are the hardcore or jungle tunes that deploy "Get Donald!" (whosampled is no help here).
update 10/2-/2022 - Spiro in comments identifies the hardcore tune that uses the "Get Donald" bit - Noise Factory "The Fire" . First appearance is at 1.21
Loleatta is also heard in the form of another famous much-sampled bit: "sweet sensation /i can't find the words to explain". And again with "oh it's got me in its... feeling that I know so well"
And then Stevie Nicks and Loleatta Holloway in the same track - goddess overdose!
"wait a minute baby stay with me awhile / said you'd give me light / but you never told me bout the fire"
Always took that as the plaint of a raver coming up a bit too hard on their first pill or pills.
The whole song is of course an ode to E
Hark ye, a few years ago there was a Dramatic Remix of "The Fire"
Bit too frantic for me.
Tuesday, September 20, 2022
Following sharp on the heels of the pair of Pause for the Cause London Rave Adverts compilations, here's Luke Owen from Death Is Not The End with another splendid comp: Pure Wicked Tune: Rare Groove Blues Dances & House Parties 1985-1992. A wonderfully vibes-full document of what you might take as the prehistory of the nuum - a musical mulch of smoovgroov that would get tapped all through the '90s as a source of samples and texture-flava to drape over the exoskeleton of beats + bass.
Pure Wicked Tune is a mixtape-style collection of extracts & cut-ups, taken from DIY cassette recordings featuring rare groove and "soul blues" soundsystems playing at early morning house parties and blues dances - mostly in South & East London - between the mid 1980s & early 90s.
Sounds like Funkadelic, Touch of Class, Latest Edition, JB Crew, Manhattan, 5th Avenue (and the many more featured on this tape) originally began to form in the mid-1980s. With lovers rock dwindling, and the reggae scene becoming dominated by harder digital-style dancehall, these sounds provided a tight but loyal crowd with a potent alternative - playing a mixture of killer rare soul, funk and boogie records in an inimitably reggae soundsystem style, complete with toasting, sirens and effects aplenty.
They were most well-known for playing at house parties and blues dances, typically in small flats or warehouses, with timing of such events generally running from the early morning hours until late the next afternoon. Though the popularity of the sounds faded following the dance music explosion of the early 1990s, there has been continued demand for revival sessions ever since. Whilst the influence of key British reggae & dancehall soundsystems on subsequent UK sounds like hardcore & jungle is relatively well documented, a similar line can just as easily be drawn from these sounds and the aforementioned styles' tendency toward sampling popular rare groove cuts, particularly well evidenced in the work of Tom & Jerry, 4hero, Reinforced & LTJ Bukem among others.
This represents the first outing in a series of collections exploring the sounds of UK soundsystem culture, via extracts from archival DIY cassette recordings of blues parties, dances & clashes made between the late 70s and early 90s. Often duplicated and shared widely, these ruff and ready "sound tapes" provided keen ears with music that wasn't otherwise readily available on the airwaves or in the record shops, and would go on to leave a deeply-rooted but too often overlooked influence on the UK's musical landscape.
Saturday, September 17, 2022
An article about the London pirate radio station Dream FM by Chris White aka DJ YT focusing on the fun 'n ' games of the midnight-to-morning shows on Fridays and Saturdays:
"... Dream’s proceedings descended into anarchy, with an eight hour non-stop party.... 'It was mostly made magical by the crazy listeners the station had. I couldn't wait for Saturday nights to get up to the studio, take part in the show and have a blast', recalls MC Herbs.... Groovevandal adds '... we'd do live calls, MC Herbs would do dodgy singing over speeded up honky tonk music mixed into drum & bass, rap battles between us all or just generally trying to put the DJ off by roasting him on the microphone.” The live callers added to the fun, 'people were just absolutely out there talking about the meaning of life and the best flavour ice lollies.' "
Plenty of Dream FM sets online but can't seem to find any of these prank-filled, phone-in nuttiness small hours sessions...
Sunday, September 11, 2022
Available now in France and other Francophone territories is Hardcore - pronounce it with a silent "h" and it sounds like ardkore. This collation of my writings on le Nuum has been attractively presented by Audimat Editions and translated by l' intrépide Jean-François Caro.
Texte de présentation:
Jungle, ambient jungle, techstep, speed garage, darkcore, grime, dubstep, funky… Depuis le début des années 1990, une série de styles musicaux s’est répandue du Royaume-Uni jusqu’aux dancefloors du monde entier. Ces musiques électroniques ont pris forme autour d’une passion pour la basse, les breakbeats, les sonorités issues du dancehall et le fracas des samples d’orchestre. Alimentées par les drogues (ecstasy, kétamine) et longtemps indissociables des radios pirates, elles composent ce que le critique britannique Simon Reynolds (Rétromania, Le choc du glam) a nommé le « continuum hardcore », pour mieux insister sur leur histoire commune. Dans ce livre, Reynolds revient sur ses propres expériences pour nous faire (re)découvrir une foule de maxis et de morceaux légendaires ou oubliés. Il revendique leur radicalité contre le mépris de classe, écoute les rapports féminin/masculin se transformer au cœur des infrabasses, et les réinscrit dans les trajectoires de la diaspora anglo-jamaïcaine et le multiculturalisme anglais. Avec son écriture à haute intensité, entre essai et reportage, cette anthologie inédite constitue un hommage sensible à l’énergie de la rave ainsi qu’un manifeste en prise sur l’innovation et la catharsis des dancefloors, à l’heure où les sonorités hardcore reviennent exorciser l’« anxiété généralisée » d’un capitalisme passé en mode turbo.
Sacre bleu, voila Sacred blue!
"Appelle moi une star regarde moi briller!"
Friday, September 9, 2022
"Omni Trio returns with never before released material - including tracks from a ‘lost’ seventh album.
Release date: 2 September 2022. Available on Digital platforms, Bandcamp and VERY LIMITED edition CD. This material includes tracks recorded around the time of the Rogue Satellite album that were originally pencilled in as part of an EP release which never happened.
Six of the tracks are restored from stems and fragments that would have formed the basis of a seventh Omni Trio album.
A VERY LIMITED EDITION CD will be available from Over/Shadow from September. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
A four track VINYL sampler of the album will be available later in the year on Blueskinbadger Records called TREELINE CUTS EP.
CD also available from Blueskinbadger Records.
Also available at the bandcamp is the sixth and final Omni Trio album Rogue Satellite originally released in September 2004.
Above the Treeline was the title that the Wire gave my second Nuum essay - on Ambient Jungle, in which Omni Trio was interviewed (remotely, by the Royal Mail)
But I'm sure that's just a funny coincidence
Wednesday, September 7, 2022
Tasty exercise in time travel here from Gremino
Particularly like this one, "Trouble"
This one and all - "Boomshank Crazy"
A journey through tropical beaches and palm trees, aqua currents, technology, cyber networks, danger, vigilance and concrete, and all of this operated with smoothness. Jungle Technology is an album which has alongside breakbeats and bass, rooted oldskool hardcore and Detroit techno melodies. The album has tropical paradise sound, but later in the album, we also visit hardened concrete jungle.
Effort has been seen for album's entity, so this is not just a compilation of good tracks. There's story (with interlude tracks) and own theme/aesthetic. The sound has original "rave-melodiousness", so this is not your typical oldskool jungle.
Alongside digital downloads, I put out good old CD-Rs - 30 copies limited edition. Disks are duplicated in factory, so they have beautiful label art printed. Overall I have seen much effort for cover art and booklet.
Thursday, September 1, 2022
Wondrous epic mix project here from Selectabwoy. Four mixes + a bonus mix makes five, corralling almost everything Moving Shadow compatriots / allies Omni Trio and Foul Play touched during their extended '90s peak. Original tracks (A-sides, B-sides, tucked-away EP gems). Remixes they did of each other's tracks. Remixes they did of other artists's tracks. Remixes others artists did of their tracks. Pearls expertly strung together, brimming shimmering raptures intensified with artful transitions and overlays.
Simply put - the Finest Music of the '90s, all there for the downloading and delectation.
Here's the tracklist (including a few things I'd somehow never heard)
Foul Play - Open Your Mind (Foul Play Remix)
Omni Trio - Feel Good (Original In Demand Mix)
Foul Play - Dubbing You
Omni Trio - Renegade Snares (Foul Play Remix)
Foul Play - Survival
Omni Trio - Original Soundtrack
Foul Play - Murder Most Foul
Haute Control - Future Stylin'
Foul Play - Screwface
Omni Trio - Stronger
4 Horsemen Of The Apocalypse - We Are The Future
Omni Trio - Mainline
Foul Play - Feel The Vibe (Again)
Splice - Falling (In Dub)
Foul Play - Finest Illusion (Illegal Mix)
Omni Trio - Step Off (Gold Blend Mix)
Omni Trio - Nu Grooves '94
Foul Play - Strung Out
Omni Trio - Rollin' Heights
4 Horsemen Of The Apocalypse - Drowning In Her (Phantasy & Aphrodite Remix)
Foul Play - Total Control (Origin Unknown Remix)
Omni Trio - Renegade Snares (Foul Play VIP Remix)
Omni Trio - Thru The Vibe (Bongo Mix)
Foul Play - Ignorance
Foul Play - Chrysalis
Omni Trio - Living For The Future (FBD Project Remix)
Omni Trio - Soul Promenade
Omni Trio - Feel Good '95
Foul Play - Being With You (E-Z Rollers Remix)
Foul Play - Cuttin' Loose
Haute Control - Dream Series (Volume 1)
Splice - Hold Me
Foul Play - The Alchemist
4 Horsemen Of The Apocalypse - We Are The Future (Darren Jay Mix)
Omni Trio - Feel Better (Foul Play Remix)
Splice - Bus In (Strawberries)
Foul Play - Dub In U (Remix)
Foul Play - Ragatere
Foul Play - Open Your Mind (Nookie Remix)
Foul Play - Survival (Remix)
Foul Play - Ricochet (No Stopping The Remix)
Omni Trio - Future Frontier
Bug Kann & The Plastic Jam - Made In Two Minutes (Foul Play Remix)
Haute Control - Drum & Bass Collision
Omni Trio - Renegade Snares (Original Mix)
Nookie - The Sound Of Music (Foul Play Remix)
Omni Trio - Be There
The Terrorist - Sing Time (Foul Play Remix)
Omni Trio - Nu Grooves '94 (Deep Blue Remix)
Foul Play - Karma Pt. 2
Foul Play - Being With You (Foul Play Remix)
Foul Play - Being With You (Van Kleef Remix)
Omni Trio - Soul Freestyle
Omni Trio - Ghost Rider
E-Z Rollers - Believe (Foul Play Remix)
Omni Trio - Renegade Snares (Rob's Reconstruction Mix)
Omni Trio - Soul Of Darkness (Promenade '96 Rollout)
DJ Pulse - So Fine (Omni Trio Remix)
Foul Play - The Stepper (Remix)
Omni Trio - Torn
Foul Play - Artificial Intelligence
London Steppers - Nu Grooves
Omni Trio - London Step
Foul Play - Beats Track
DJ Pulse - Stay Calm (Foul Play Remix)
Hyper On Experience - Lord Of The Null Lines (Foul Play & Randall Remix)
Omni Trio - Shadowplay
Omni Trio - Rollin' Heights (More Strings Attached Mix)
Omni Trio - Soul Promenade (Nookie Remix)
Omni Trio - Living For The Future (FBD Project VIP Remix)
Foul Play - Being With You
Foul Play - Cuttin' Loose (Remix)
Foul Play - Re-Open Your Mind '95
4 Horsemen Of The Apocalypse - We Are The Future (Two Dreads In A Dub Mix)
4 Horsemen Of The Apocalypse - Drowning In Her (4 Horsemen Mix)
JMJ & Richie - Hall of Mirrors (Omni Trio Remix)
Thursday, August 25, 2022
This is the story of a beat and the story of a beatmaster. The beat is the immortal "Amen" break, originally from an early funk track called "Amen Brother" by The Winstons. Someone who should know better once described "Amen" as jungle's default option--but that's like saying the Bo Diddley beat, or the twelve-bar blues shuffle, is something people fall back on when their imagination fails. Actually "Amen" is jungle's highest common denominator: its hard core, the absolute foundation and essence of the genre. Those two bars of stuttering kicks, driving snares and splashy ride cymbal, laid down in the late Sixties in seemingly throwaway fashion, have been dissected, processed, and reassembled to create near-infinite polyrhythmic possibilities. If you listen to the original "Amen" today it sounds kinda tepid, after all the damage that has been done to it, and with it. But the junglists heard something in that break--it's not exactly funky, it's got this surging, explosive quality--and amplified it a hundredfold, turning the snares into machine-guns, the hi-hats and cymbals into strafing shrapnel, the bass drum kicks into landmines under your feet.
Between 1993-1996, thousands upon thousands of jungle tunes were built around "Amen." And some of the absolute best were made by a young man who went by the name of Remarc. When it comes to the "Amen" break, Remarc is King of the Beat. If the "Amen" is the genetic drumcode of the junglist generation, Remarc is one of the supreme genetic engineers, dicing and resplicing that primal riddimatic DNA, and creating mutant monsters that stampeded the dancefloors of mid-90s Britain. For his ultimate burial tune "RIP" alone, he'd be assured of his place in the Junglist Hall of Fame. But what about "Thunderclap": have beats ever been more mashed, rinsed, shredded to fuck, and still funked? Catch me in the right misty-eyed mood and I might tell you that no dance music has gone further than the "Amen" tear-out circa 1994-5.
"RIP", "Thunderclap" and a precious handful of others represent a pinnacle that has yet to be surpassed.
Remarc is one of those DJ/producers--see also his peers Hype, Pascal, Bizzy B, Dead Dred, Marvellous Cain, and others--who never got the puff pieces in The Face, iD or Mixmag. They never became professional faces or quote merchants. They were simply too busy--building the soundboy killers that mashed up venues like the Roast and AWOL and Thunder & Joy. People used to talk about "intelligent drum'n'bass", but the tunes that ruled the true junglist dancefloor represented a kind of rhythmic intellect at its most penetrating and ferociously complex. Pure science. No need for wishy-washes of synth, pseudo-sophisticated jazz chords, or embarrassing attempts at "proper" songwriting. Just snare-rushes, a cyberskankin' B-line, and some
sparingly used vocal samples (ragga boasts, gangsta threats, and sweet diva licks). That's all it took to put you in jungle heaven. So let's hear it for Remarc, the bashment bombardier. REWIND selecta!!!!