Saturday, December 30, 2023

"London Massive!" (the declensions of "Madness On The Street")

Ooh gosh this sounded so so phuturistic when I first heard it  -- all the dainty little keyboard quivers and squiggly blurts, the flickered vocal delays and twitchy hyper-syncopations.

"Respects to All Passion FM Crew" - respects plural! Each and every one gets their own personal nuff respect...  

Then -  now calling themselves the Stamp Crew, rather than Richie Boy & DJ Klasse feat. Fai -  came this revamp with the wonderful recurring shout-out to the "Lon-don Mas-sive"  

That I remember and bought at the time.

But I don't remember this version with the bubblin-criss MC doing his best Creed impersonation


Ah the "London massive" bit is actually on the original 4/4 bounce version  - flipside to the 2step "Madness"  - but it's not made as much of as it is on the subsequent declension

That wriggly oil-slick legato B-line is very DJ Narrows / Niche / Northern Bassline

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Lost In Nuummas

At Christmas, my  17-year-old niece was playing tunes and this one grabbed my ear like a terrier snatching turkey shreds from under the table.  

I was like, "I know that groove"

I had an irresistible urge to inform her what the tune underneath the tune was - regale with tales of buying the 12-inch at the time... just how exciting the UKG-into-2step moment had been. 

But I resisted it. Who wants to be the boring old uncle droning on about things prehistoric? 

Funny thing is, this grime refix of Some Treat - which I'd never heard - is itself really old, from 2009. Back then only slightly older than my niece,  Chip(munk) is now in his mid-30s!

The kingdom of atemporality isn't it, music today? Chronology all jumbled, sequence flattened out.  Doesn't matter to the youngers, and why should it? They find what they need by lateral drift. 

Later, I remembered there was yet another intertextual layer, a deeper stratum of nuumological history beneath. 

Some Treat's "Lost In Vegas" (1998)  is itself a partial rewrite of Shut Up and Dance's 1990 tune "£10 To Get In"

The Suzanne Vega element - doubtless heisted indirectly, via the 1990 dance bootleg turned smash hit by DNA - is just one element of deliciousness that gets transferred from "£10 To Get In" to "Lost in Vegas" to "Going On Sho". 

There's also the "turn it down... cos it's too fuckin' loud". 

Now where's that bit from? 

It reappears in a couple of Luke Vibert bits - including a tune named "Turn"

And Shut Up and Dance self-sample the Vega lick for just a flicker in this tune 

But back to the meat in the middle of the Nuum Historical Sandwich

I don't remember this remix 

But I do remember the name Angel Farringdon 

Ruff 'n 'rollin' - lovely flickers of filtered breakbeats draped across the 4/4 pump 'n' flex

Flipside is tuff 'n' slinkier still

Delicious clattery swing to it. The horn fanfare! The peculiar thin whistling refrain. And that gluey rolling B-line. 

JBR - Johnny Biscuit Records! 

Who was Lil Smokey, then?

Angel Farringdon - that's  Helen T, aka Helen Taylor - who engineered and programmed Some Treat 

That was their one shot - this follow-up is tasteful and flava-free. Spindrift is a Helen T alias.

Angel Farringdon did a record with Russell Square, tee hee. Credited to The Railway People on the white label. 

But although there's another portentous horn part, just like in "Clean Riddem", it's not quite in the same league. 

I do like like the backwards-vocal - combined with the ceremonial-sounding horn, there's a bit of an "Eastern promise" vibe. The reverse drums bits. I suspect a past in drum + bass. 

This is identified as "Prototype" but appears to be the same tune. 

Angel Farringdon also did a record with Warren Street, tee hee hee.

Helen T's discography is much more extensive than Some Treat's. Multiple identities, a string of releases.  

El B was prevailed upon to darkdubrmx this one

There are some vaguely hardhouse, London underground acid, and breaksteppy things later in the discography

Back to the peak moment

What days they were... 

In my mind I always cluster "Lost In Vegas" and "No Fighting" / "Clean Riddem" with this glorious one-off by Napa-Tac, which samples heavily from SUAD's contemporary Rebel MC

It's like the two ends of the '90s - 1990 and 1999 - are in communication, forming a loop, a perfect circle - or rather an imperfect circle, as things cycle around without merely repeating and reiterating.

You know it's coming...  you know it

That's why they call it a continuum, folks!

Aha, here's what I wrote about "Lost In Vegas" back in '98 when rounding up the year's blisses

SOME TREAT -- Lost In Vegas (JBR)

A tribute to/remake of Shut Up And Dance's 1990 (or was it even 1989?) track "Ten Pounds To Get In," this samples the Suzanne Vega vocal-riff from "Tom's Diner" that SUAD must have got from DNA's unoffical-then-subsequently-sanctioned dance version of the S. Vega track. We're talking multiple levels of citation here, serious intertextuality. On a broader level it's a tribute to the hardcore continuum--getting on for ten years of London's multiracial rave scene, a culture of mixing it up, of hybridising hybrids and mutating mutations; the continual reinvention of flava and vibe. A tradition of futurism. Roots N' Future = the endlessly fresh now.

Now I think about it, that might be the very first time I used the term "hardcore continuum".

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

the family that raves together


This reminds me of when I doing my on-the-ground research into the 2-Step / UK garage culture, around 1999. I came across this flyer for an event that provided a creche. .So you could go to the rave and bring your toddlers and small children with you and they would be left in the care of a qualified child-minder. 

I'll never forget the kicker to the sales pitch: "So there's no excuse, bring the fucking kids".  

And that's why the piece ended up being called "Adult Hardcore" - the idea was that the teenravers of 91-92 were now settling down, starting families. (Another bit of evidence: seeing a guy behind the counter of Rhythm Division in E3, bottle-feeding a baby nestling in the crook of his arm, backdropped by a wall of UKG white labels).

But  this is different - this is going with your kids and raving together with, albeit in the dance music equivalent of those hardcore matinees for under-21s that used to have in the USA. 

Raving en famille? That really is the absolute end of the generation gap.

I wonder if this an outlier, or whether there'll be more and more events like.

 C.f. rock festivals today, which are real family affairs. You hear of a teenager who'll go to the festival with their parents and they'll all stay in a tent together. Or groups of schoolfriends going to the festival, along with all the parents - the kids going off on their own, the parents likewise socializing mostly with the other parents. Regrouping back at the tents. 

A friend of ours did that with her daughter and her daughter's friends and the friends's parents. Each generational grouping would wait until the younger / elder grouping was out of sight before getting their drugs out. 

Thursday, November 30, 2023

the insulting algorhythm

Whenever I am listening to something off YouTube, and the selection in question ends and I'm distractedly doing something else and not making an active choice about what to listen to next... then  what plays next automatically is invariably a dub techno mix. Something that descends from Basic Channel / Chain Reaction but drained of all swing, soul, and sensuality. 

Things like this 

or this

as created by this anonymous - conceivably nonhuman - YouTube channel

What puzzles me is that this is not music that I habitually listen to, or indeed ever listen to. So where is the algo getting its data from? On what is it basing these suppositions about my supposed audio sweet  spot? 

If it was tracking my purposeful activity on Youtube - playlisting, watch-listens, searches etc - and  wanted to come up with something appealing to make stick me around... well, it ought to be choosing something from the following categories: peak-era ardkore and jungle, pirate radio sets and pirate radio adverts, weird old East European animations, Britcoms and TV plays from the 1970s, various sorts of avant-garde and electronic library music, maybe some jazz fusion and some reggae...

Below-par dub techno - it's one of the the last things I'd ever want to hear! Right down there with trance and landfill indie,

Truthfully, it's music that I've never listened to -  except for a period in the late '90s when I scooped up all the classic Basic Channel and for a while religiously bought each new Chain Reaction until the label went right off the boil. I did like Pole. I loved Gas. 

If I was going to listen to that kind of thing, I would listen to exactly that kind of thing - those artists, those labels. I wouldn't seek out some dilute knock-off version. 

But clearly YouTube thinks it's got the measure of me and that's someone who's easily palmed off with the ersatz and tertiary-level derivative. 

Perhaps it can tell that I'm preoccupied with something else, work or reading an article or following some internet spoor ... and thinks to itself "hmmm, this old fart would like something vaguely dancey yet inconspicuous, that'll putter along warmly and soothingly in the background". 

On the contrary - every time it drops into that marshmallowy amorphogroove, I jolt into alertness, exasperated - "not this shit again!".

I swear there was a week or two where it was the exact same mix that would restart in any YouTube lull.

Mind you, these dub techno and ambient techno and ambient dub techno mixes, they are all such featureless blanks, so boringly and un-alluringly titled,  I might just be imagining it's the identical mix each time... 

Monday, November 27, 2023

feel the mellow

 31 years on, a mystery tune, on an old Touchdown FM cassette, uncovered!

found via this sampled source

as also heard in this 

and also this 

The title "Feel the Mellow" comes from another sample, "feel the melody", from Soul II Soul's "Back to Life (acapella)", but mostly likely via Njoi's "Anthem".

Almost entirely a composite of other things (prominently Liquid "Sweet Harmony") but  "Feel the Mellow" is a tune I've never forgotten and always itched to know what it was

Here's the flipside, similarly collaged into existence 

Darren Pearce aka The Tripper seemed to have many alter egos

Saturday, November 25, 2023

brux out

Via Kode9, an astonishingly blown out ruffride from

Not sure if this bruxaria or some other subset of funk carioca (it's funny how these scenes / styles dip into wider-world view and then dip out again and then....  after quite a bit.... dip back in again... see also the periodic excitements about Jersey Club ) 

It hits that spot of so-wrong-it's-right, is-this-music-yet-I'm-not-sure-who cares that you had with early grime or early darkcore 

Kode mentioned that a key element of bruxaria is drastic overuse of side-chain compression (see this old blogpost which engages with ideas of Ryan Diduck about side-chain as defining sound of the now)

It's a bit much for everyday listening (trying to concentrate on anything else almost impossible while it's on!). In truth my metabolism more in alignment with the Andre 3000 record these days....

But one for the TikTok / ADD generation for sure.  

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

now jump up all bunglist cru


Production (love the pockets of reverb) and beat mayhem on this = fantastic. A mad skidding scrambled frazzler of a track, cartoon physics in full effect, until it goes into an idyllic ambi-jungle section... then frenzies up again.   Dozens of ideas thrown out with typical 92-93 largesse...

But why oh why is it called "Twisted Bungle"? Are there samples from Rainbow? If there are, they are pretty mangled. 

At some point I must embark upon a study of the S.M.F. uuurrrv  (or is it SMF? Seems to be inconsistency there) and its various solo tributaries.

This one still blows my mind 

First heard by me on Don FM in early '93, just before this bit 

"Rush Stimulator" was a mystery tune for the longest time, had no idea of the title or who made it. 

Then, one day,  grubbing through scuffed 12-inches in this stall in Greenwich Market that was a bit of a cache of old kore, I saw the title "Rush Stimulator" and I thought, "that's it, that has to be it" - because of the "you stimulate me so much" sample. 

Thursday, November 16, 2023


The other month I went on a bit of a rant about remix albums and how shite nearly all of them had been during that late '90s boom. With particular reference to Sacrilege, the Can "tribute", via an Eno sleeve note for that project that more or less recants the whole idea of remixology. 

Well, here's the opposite - the Anti-Sacrilege. A Can remix project that achieves veneration through distillation:

Rather than replace most of the original with some sub-par music of one's own, these remixes are all-Can - I don't think there's anything added at all. Instead  Tom Caruana makes loops out of peak moments of Can rotormotion.  It's hip hop methodology in excelsis.  

Listening, I was reminded of a fantastic scene in The Get Down - Baz Luhrman's underrated drama about the early days of hip hop in the South Bronx - which juxtaposes "Vitamin C"  with graffiti-daubed subway trains rattling along an elevated track at night.

Inner Space Instrumentals is from 2019 and is one of dozens of Caruana re-edit projects

Hat tip to Dave Segal who alerted (and who himself hat-tipped Sasha Frere-Jones)

Tracklist for Inner Space Instrumentals:

1. Bel Air 03:20

2. Barnacles 02:34

3. Pnoom 01:57

4. Midnight Men 02:09

5. Hunters & Collectors 02:11

6. Quantum Physics + Come Sta 01:16

7. I'm So Green 01:36

8. Dead Pigeon 02:47

9. Midnight Sky 01:33

10. Soup 02:01

11. One More Night + Future Days 03:13

12. She Brings The Rain 02:33

13. EFS no. 7 02:12

14. I'm Too Leise 01:31

15. Mary So Contrary 01:26

16. Shikaku 01:48

17. Radio Beam 01:50

18. Empress & Ukraine King 01:36

19. LH 702 02:31

20. Vitimin C 02:31

21. Dead Pigeon 2 02:51

22. Under The Surface 02:32

23. Messer Scissors Fork Light 02:19

24. Evening All Day 01:34

25. Bubble Rap 02:35

26. Mushroom 02:48

27. Halleluwah 03:32

28. Father Cannot Yell 01:47

29. Harry The Theif 02:21

30. Spoon 02:25

31. Gomerrha 02:48

32. Aumgn 02:57

33. Cutaway 01:58

34. Prehistoric Future 03:18

35. Bring Me Coffee or Tea 01:07

36. Obscura Primavera 01:36

Ah, well I was looking for it on YouTube and quickly discovered that Inner Space Instrumentals is the dubversion of Inner Space, a proper old skool (meaning early 2000s-style) mashup that meshes Canstrumentals with MCs like MF Doom and Kool Keith. Actually, the rapping isn't sampled - Caruana sent the loops to MCs and they came up with stuff to go with it.

So even more redolent of The Get Down then...  

It's cleverly done, weaving the rapping with the riddim. But I prefer the pure Can-and-nothing-but-the-Can - even if it's actually a byproduct of the initial project.  

Check it out - it's name-your-price too. 

Sunday, November 12, 2023

melodic spacing in postdisco boogiefunk (slight return)


Suddenly remembered this S.O.S. Band deep cut from their 1982 album III.... 

It has this clipped, staccato melody thing, that would be taken to the limit in their biggest (UK) hits "Just Be Good To Me" and "The Finest".  Something I particularly associate with Jam & Lewis's songwriting for them and others (although in the case of "Looking For You" it's not actually written by them)

A post-Chic style of "melodic spacing," as discussed earlier here. 

What's cool about "Looking for You" is that the staccato feel is really strong in the verses, as opposed to where it usually sits, the chorus. (The chorus in "Looking For You" is actually a little blah). In the verses, the choppiness creates a lurching quality that matches the song-character's frantic lovelorn / lover-lost state of  mind. That desperation is further supported by an equally jutting distorted rock-guitar riff, that - in tandem with the prickly rhythm guitar part - exacerbates the off-balance feeling. You picture a swivel-eyed person, literally looking around trying to spot their missing lover in the crowd... catching someone with a faint resemblance out of the corner of the eye and for a second hallucinating their face.

Thursday, November 2, 2023

The Darkside


Darkside before "darkside"...  

Writing about this next Derrick May tune in early '88 - in the middle of a piece on acid house - I was reminded of Joy Division, indeed describing as one of those "lost Joy Division B-sides". What can I have meant? The compelled-sounding feel of "She's Lost Control"? It certainly doesn't sound like "These Days", the great lost B-side of "Love Will Tear Us Apart". 

Listening to it again now, I can't really hear why it made me flash on Joy Division. If anything, it's closer to an incredibly reduced, emaciated take on "Everything's Gone Green".

Hearing postpunk echoes in postfunk sounds outta Detroit... this brings up the strangeness and drifty unfixability of temporality in music. For as much as these records seem "ahead of their time today" (they did in fact blueprint much of '90s techno), at the actual time of writing I said it reminded me of early '80s avant-funk. I even used the phrase "lost future" to describe these vibe-echoes of DAF and Liaisons Dangereuses audible in acid house and the darker side of Detroit (in particular Reese "Just Want Another Chance" and Phuture's "Your Only Friend")

Probably what I should have said is "interrupted future" - with the guitar-y main body of the Eighties representing a deliberate abstention from technology - sequencers, drum machines, MIDI. By main body, I really refer to the alternative rock sphere - the future carried on unfurling in  mainstream rock to some extent, as digital took over in studios. And I suppose there were corners of the alternative - industrial and Electronic Body Music - that embraced the latest tech. Still, with indie, the return of guitars, and the wistful casting-backwards-glances to the 1960s dominant, outright futurism dropped away in alternative music sufficiently for me to wield this trope of "the lost future" - referring to something that went into abeyance only five years earlier

Returning our ears to the May heyday, the thing that gets me in his tunes are those egg-whisk sounds - hi-hats, I think - whose scything rustle creates that distinctive nervous propulsion. Heard at their most sibilantly nagging here:

And to lesser degree here:

Also the melodies with their indefinable alloy of serene euphoria and lonely desolation.  

Also the basslines

Okay, the whole thing is consummate - but I do love the egg-whisk sounds. 

It's kind of ASMR-y, a delicious itch in the ear.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Overground Obedience

Who knew that Underground Resistance had a sub-label dedicated to some of the most bouncy sunny-side up piano house around? 

Happy Records! Songs about sunshine and love for all the world! 

Mad Mike even renamed himself Glad Mike for this perky little number (not really - but he should have)

Such a warm, bright, yellow-y sunflowers sort of sound. 

I was hoping for a Doors sample in that one. 

A lot of the organic-y keyboard sounds remind me of "Plastic Dreams", one of the not-hardcore tunes of that time that I really loved. Fantastic record, but very far indeed from the extremes of militancy elsewhere brewing, from jungle techno to gabber to UR themselves.

It's doing my head in a bit - these are the people who did "Death Star" and "Rage" and tracks dedicated to things like the U-boat crews's unchivalrous torpedo-without-a-warning approach to victory at all costs! 

Then again, I suppose - really quite soon, with the Martian releases and Galaxy 2 Galaxy and "Hi-Tech Jazz" and that kind of thing, Mike Banks would be outing his secret George Benson-loving side, within the UR-the-label discography. Not shunted to a sub-label. 

Divas n' all!  

Did they just fancy a bit of that Crystal Waters crossover action?

This next one is by the son of James Jamerson Jnr, aka the mighty bassman on all those Motown eternals

sad-not-glad ending to his story, though - "found death in Denver, Colorado on April 2006 (aged 39)"

A typo (presumably meant to write ''found dead") that is unexpectedly poetic... 

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

one more chance for Autechre?

Inspired by this really interesting, long-long-long interview with Autechre by Droid, I thought I might give them boys another go....  

Would be the third time of trying, if we count the initial back-in-the-day listening.

Got rid of nearly all the CDs years ago - where shall I start?  Tips, playlists, beginner's guide to , all very much welcomed.

Bear in mind, though, my entrenched position is 1/ no grooves 2/ no tunes 3/ no discernible emotions or even moods.... so evidence proffered to the contrary is unlikely to be persuasive... 

Much more likely to be swayed by extremes of abstraction.... absolute unhuman inhospitable uninhabitable inclemency...  the kind of unreachable alienness gestured at in the devastating denouement to Stanislaw Lem's Fiasco...

I do remember being quite impressed by Confield, for instance...

Did I quite-like Oversteps

Thing is, I can't remember. And that is the main issue, I just find their stuff resolutely evades memory. There's no element in it, on any level, that sticks. 

Woebot had a great description of Autechre's inutility and extraneousness -  something like "a pipesmoking breakdancer"

That momentarily made me think, "something I'd like to see-hear!"

Any group that could inspire this degree of precision-loathing eloquence has got to have something going for it... 

Friday, October 13, 2023

jittery in the jungle

jelly-wobbling vocal science, running a shudder through a very familiar sample

 (heard at around 6.07 below)

Not familiar (to me, and nor to most I should imagine) from the original Jocelyn Brown tune, however -  but from an earlier teknorave tune that sampled JB and transformed a soul-moan into a wraith-like shiver-sound.

 (first wuthering iteration at 1.01)

Thursday, October 5, 2023

Midnight Girls


Second panel in the sublime triptych "Now I Need You / Working the Midnight Shift / Queen for A Day", the continuously mixed song-suite that takes up side 2 of the double album Once Upon A Time. The absolute zenith of the Donna Summer / Giorgio Moroder / Pete Bellote synergy, this shimmering  electrodisco captures the lonely beauty of the city -  Kraftwerk's "Neon Lights" shot through with the desolation of Burial's "Night Bus". 

I'm just a working girl, just earning a living

When the city's waking up, I'm going home

While my friends are all out

They've all gone out dancing

They're out having fun

Working that midnight shift

For that extra little something

The things that are out of my reach

I need so bad

Seems like I'm always leaving

When all the others arrive

My body still carries on

But I'm dying inside

Six years later, Dislocation Dance, Manchester postpunk discofunkish outfit, did this reinterpretation of "Working the Midnight Shift" as "Midnight Shift", the title track of their third and final album. They have brought out a buried implication, or at least possibility latent in the original song: street prostitution.

Thematically this remake could be a fusion of Summer's 1977 "Working the Midnight Shift"  and her 1979 smash "Bad Girls"

Or a bridge between Summer's original "Midnight Shift" and her last big hit "She Works Hard for the Money"

Friday, September 29, 2023

hardcore contiNOOM

Back in the '90s I listened to all sorts, a real omnivore despite the increasing focus and patriotism for the London pirate nexus 

Here's a tune I really liked outside that zone

Involves stunning deployment of Mentasm stabs, using panning and delays, the net effect of which to make the stabs appear sculpted in stereo-space, to be coming at you from multiple angles like  geometrically faceted javelins. 

Be patient, it does take a while to build, there's a long chuggy trance intro, and then the killer section kicks around 4.10. -and after that then it just pummels and sears all the way to the end. 

Ooh gosh - imagine the rushes this triggered across the Continent!

It's like a cleaner, pristinely-focused version of Human Resource's "Dominator"- sharp like a new pair of glasses.

Not sure what you'd call it, or what is was known as at the time  - Hardtrance? Trancecore?

Quite close to Dance Ecstasy 2001, the trance-leaning offshoot of PCP

First heard "Are Am Eye" when Lenny Dee played it at Rezerection - where it stood out in a field of otherwise extremely samey and indistinguishable material heard through the night - mostly happy hardcore - "A A E" stood out not through being eccentric or deviant but just quintessential and exemplary. 

Picked up a bunch of other tunes including his similarly titled "Eye C Red" and "Eye B M" and a few other Noom bits - but nothing else I heard from Tom or the label quite hit the bull's eye like "Are Am Eye". 

Noom meets Nuum - a remix that has some Acen "Trip to the Moon" at the start, and passim

The Commander's own remix 

Or one of them - he did a bunch over the years (sad to learn Commander Tom died in 2022)

Many others remixed it

Indeed it's been remixed to a ridiculous degree

The original is unimprovable 

Sunday, September 24, 2023

The Noise of Art versus The Noise of Art

Now you may recall The Noise of Art - which was Suburban Base graffix wizzrd Dave Nodz having a go at making tunes, assisted by engineer Mike James 

Name homaging The Art of Noise, inaugurators of a lineage of Brit sample wizardry that flowered in jungle (AoN especially relevant to the skratchadelik Sub Base kru insofar as they were the backing band for "Buffalo Gals").  

No doubt the name also acknowledging that he was a visual artist moving into the realm of sound - the graphic face of so many legendary Sub Base covers now infiltrating the vinyl itself, no longer just the gorgeous husks encasing the vinyl.


But did you know there was an earlier The Noise of Art? A whole decade earlier -  a real-time homage to the sound-signatures and techniques of  The Art of Noise, very much working within the same    ultra-stabby, 1-second-sampletime aesthetic as Dudley & Cru.  

This The Noise of Art was a side project of Murray Munro, one half of the synthpop outfit Mainframe. 

Released on the Ying Yang Yumm label (teeheehee).  

Based out of Hemel Hempstead, neighbour to my hometown Berkhamsted 

Parody / replication of the Horn Frankie/"Two Tribes" chugger disco-metal sound also audible on the track "Sex:War:Religion"

Is that meant to be a parody of the Morley sleevenotes?

There was a follow-up

RRunning joke about Baxters Soup.

The non-parody output sounds quite Buggles / New Musik - even the word "Radio" in the song title, although that may be an attempted ploy to woo deejays. 

Look a bit Bugglesy too

Probably fan of Thomas Dolby as well

Their one shot on a major label (Polydor) 

This megamix nearly-15 minute 12-inch version romps through all the remixological conjuring tricks of 1985 and exhibits further evidence of a Trevor Horn fixation - that same "Two Tribes" elastic-bass bassline. Shades of Yello and Trevor Hardcastle's "Nineteen" also.  

Back to Dave Noddings, whose daubs in sound were decent but whose real forte was the wild-style sleeves.