Saturday, January 28, 2023

Oxford Ardkore

Amused to stumble upon this obscure hardcore release titled Oxford Ardkore.  Two releases in fact - there was a follow up. 

"Oxford Ardkore" almost seems like a concept someone came up with to take the piss out of me, what with being a product of the university.

But it's for real and it's the work of a character who recorded as Doctor G (which again makes you imagine a professor who caught the raving bug and operates a pirate station from the eyrie of his chambers in Balliol or Magdalen)

Of course, Oxford is not only the university - it's a large town with an industrial element (Cowley) and a lot of regular people leading lives unconnected to academia or the ancillary employment that the colleges support. 

Still, it's not inconceivable that some students were sufficiently clued in - and drugged up - to be actually into rave and the first stirrings of jungle. 

Now I think of it, there was a post a few years back about ardkore junglizm emanating from the Oxford area  -Wots My Code, Invisible Man, Spinback, Q Project, Gwange, Total Science etc . 

Specifically the Blackbird Leys Estate (a place rife with joyriding in '91, incidentally).  

Good building to set up a transmitter from the top of... 

Wots My Code namechecking their hometown. 

Back to Doctor G, who ran a label called, haha, G-Spot Records. (Love the little joke of "Est 92")

Now I wonder what the 'Scratchapella' sounded like... 

Most of this stuff is not really first-rank work of the era, let's be honest 

next four from SubLogic 2010 offering The Unreleased History of Doctor G 

update 1/29

YT in comments points out that Doctor G = Graham Mew = The Invisible Man, a better known name in ardkore 'scenti circles. He notes the similarity with the hand-drawn labels. Another giveaway is the reference to Bangin B-Line as the production entity. And indeed it says "all tracks written, produced, engineered, mixed and sorted by Doctor 'G'". Sorted!

Ah, look he had a lot of aliases in those day

An entire mix of Invisible Man tuneage courtesy of Law 

Eventually he graduated to Good Looking 


Now what's this then - a completely different, much later, Oxford 'Ardkore - some kind of hardcore punk thrash band!

That's a reference to the iconic debut album cover by Bad Brains but instead of the White House it's the Bodleian library getting zapped with lightning (my college Brasenose, unscathed, is in the background)


Saturday, January 14, 2023

"the great music is always a riddle"

A lovely personal appreciation / reminiscence from Matthew Ingram at Woebot about his encounters with the mystic music of - and mysterious figures in - The Black Dog

Tangentially related - this "Contextual Mix" by Autechre weaves together a heap of tunes from 1992 or thereabouts that form the matrix out of which sprung Artificial Intelligence, the landmark Warp Records compilation of late '92 that was recently reissued. Technotronica that is still body-activating but is beginning to drift towards the edge of the dancefloor. It's over five hours long but it's well worth your time - I heard quite a few tunes I'd never come across before. Tracklist, helpfully identified by the nerd cru, is here

Is that splashy snare sound sampled from "Warning Sign" by Talking Heads? (Another appearance)


Pretty mad beatz - yet somehow not annoying, like so much of drill-and-bassy hyperjunglish stuff was. 

Monday, January 9, 2023

interviews x 2 - Grime Blog Oral History + Réflexions sur le Nuum

I'm among those interviewed for this Complex UK oral history of the Grime Blogs Era, shepherded into existence by Joseph JP Patterson, and also including the voices of Chantelle Fiddy, Martin "Blackdown" Clark, and Elijah, among others. It's an interesting read, although from my perspective the original dons of grime blogging have to include figures like Heronbone, Silverdollarcircle, and Woebot. But it seems that there was a whole other circuit of grime bloggeration going on - and going on longer. 

Time for me to  pull out my creased, dog-eared with over-use jest about it's time for you to pull out your Harraps French to English Dictionary - for here I am, en Francais, chatting about le Hardcore Continuum, with Adrien Durand of Manifesto-21 magazine.  The occasion being the recent publication by Audimat of Hardcore, a collection of my writings about touts les choses nuumologiques.  

I say "en Francais" but of course I did not conduct the interview in French - never was fluent enough to do much more than order a meal in a restaurant. However I was able to more or less read and understand this colloquy with Adrien (at one point I could read En Attendant Godot and L'Ancien Regime in the original). Mind you, I have a head start in so far as c'est moi qui parle. Here is a bit from it in French followed by the Google-garbled rendering of it.  

En vous trouvant confronté à ce nouveau mouvement, en particulier dans des contextes live, étiez-vous déjà dans une démarche analytique ?

J’étais sous ecstasy la plupart du temps (rires). J’avais eu l’idée un soir de faire une review collective et j’avais donc confié à mes amis des carnets de notes. Bien sûr quand je suis rentré chez moi le matin suivant, tout ce qui avait été écrit était illisible. Mais j’observais beaucoup la foule, le moment où elle ne fait plus qu’un, formant un gigantesque organisme. La façon dont les danseur·euses s’imitent les uns les autres également. C’est de cette façon que j’ai appris à danser. J’analysais les choses même en étant en train de danser dans un état second. Je sortais le week-end et la semaine j’écoutais cette musique sur les radios pirates. A cette époque, j’écrivais Sex Revolts avec ma femme, j’écoutais Can, j’allais en rave, tout cela se connectait dans mon esprit. Alors oui, j’analysais déjà des choses, mais je n’étais pas dans une posture analytique froide !

As you confront this new movement, especially in live contexts, has it ever told you in an analytical way?

I was on ecstasy most of the time (laughs). I had the idea one evening of doing a collective review and so I sent my friends notebooks. Of course when I got home the next morning, everything that had been written was illegible. But I watched the crowd a lot, the moment when it became one, forming a gigantic organism. The way the dancers imitate each other too. This is how I learned to dance. I analyze things even while dancing in a trance. I went out on weekends and during the week I listened to this music on pirate radio stations. At that time, I was writing Sex Revolts with my wife, listening to Can, going to raves, it all connected in my mind. So yes, I was already analyzing things, but I was not in a cold analytical posture!

(This anecdote got a bit garbled in transcription - it's about being at a particular rave (more like a multi-act gig in fact) and being there to review it for Melody Maker and - as we're all coming up - the bright idea hits me that the review should be a collective review -  my crew as a single reviewing organism (had been reading Deleuze for the first time) - so it's a single notebook, the one I brought to the event to do my job with, that there and then gets passed around. But in fact hardly anything got scribbled down and what was scribbled proved later to be largely illegible, because scribbled while dancing. So the review ended up being just me plus a couple of images and observations from my friends. And of course  - so much for collectivism! - push comes to shove it's me that gets the byline and receives the paltry pittance IPC pays for a 400 word review (barely enough to cover my X-penses that night!).