Saturday, May 18, 2024

Ich verwurzele mich streng


(via Dan Selzer)

Love the ultra-New Wave - or I should ultra-Neu-Deutsche-Welle - sleeve with that type-on-tape, sticky-back print-out ribbon 

[goes looking on t'internet]

Label Embosser is the technical term. One of these jobs.

Compare with

Very limp follow-up

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

through rushes and through briars


I always heard the sampled lyric in "Sub Dub" as "through rushes and through briars" - thinking the word "rush" with its ravey connotations snagged the ear of DJ Seduction

Actually it's "Bushes and Briars"

Through bushes and through briars

I lately took my way

All for to hear the small birds sing

And the lambs to skip and play

All for to hear the small birds sing

And the lambs to skip and play

I overhead my own true love

His voice did sound so clear

Long time I have been waiting for

The coming of my dear

Long time I have been waiting for

The coming of my dear

Sometimes I am uneasy

And troubled in my mind

Sometimes I think I'll go to my love

And tell to him my mind

But if I should go to my love

My love he will say “nay”

If I show to him my boldness

He'll ne'er love me again

If I show to him my boldness

He'll ne'er love me again

In  Energy Flash I took a wild guess and said it sounds like Maddy Prior

See, I imagined some ardkore ooligan rifling through the parents's albums collection and alighting on some Steeleye Span

Slightly disappointing, then, to learn much, much later that it's from a sort of ambient house record, "West In Motion" 

Made by an Irish group called Bumble - the vocalist on this "Haunted Mix" (like it, like it) is Breda Mayock, which is a folk-rock maiden type of  name

There is an Andy Weatherall mix of this song that is admired by some 

Back to Seduction and "Sub Dub" (why is it called "Sub Dub" then?)

Did not know there was a crazy breaks remix of 'Sub Dub" with an even longer bit of the vocal

Or an DJ SS Rollers remix

The song is a trad.arr and appears in the stiff (if beautifully Nic Roeg filmed) cinematic adaptation of Thomas Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd.

Julie Christie "sings"

Actually it's Isla Cameron reprising her rendition from her own album - putting a lovely quiver through the melody. 

Apparently June Tabor did it also - on her very first recordings, which nobody has put out there

As did the witchily fetching Toni Arthur, best known for Play School as opposed to her folk-rock past 

Sandy Denny done it too - except she didn't, the song is completely different but has the same title. 

Which was then covered by Lee Ranaldo of all people. 

In terms of traditional music royalty - dynastic scion Eliza Carthy has notably had a go, with Nancy Kerr

It's said to be the very first traditional song that Vaughan Williams collected: 

"Sung by a 72-year-old labourer, Charles Potiphar.... Vaughan Williams...  experienced a deep sense of recognition as though “it was something he had known all his life”. Being new to folk song collecting, he only transcribed the first verse, and got the rest of the words from a late 19th-century broadside published by W.S. Fortey of Seven Dials (London). John Clare also noted the song in his manuscripts, compiled in the 1820’s"

Here's a cool version by The Swingle Singers, it sounds like a madrigal

Monday, May 13, 2024

future-dance at Beat Connection / a snapshot of UK garridge forming before your ears

I had a fun and wide-ranging chat with The Underground Is Massive author Michaelangelo Matos at his substack Beat Connection, which is dedicated to deejay mixes. The chat touched on Futuromania, rave, jungle, UK garage pirate radio, digital maximalism, and many other topics, using the structure of five deejay mixes and radio sets:  John Peel's legendary Punk Special from December '76, a Don FM Ezy D Xmas '92 show, DB's The History of Our World hardcore + breakbeat ultramix from 94, Tuff Jam's CD-mix  Underground Frequencies Volume One which captures UK garage at a protean formative moment before either the "speed" or  "2step" kicked in, and then Rustie's Essential Mix of April 2012, the frazzling dazzle of digi-maxed nu-progtronica. 

My favorite was probably the Tuff Jam set, which reintroduced me to these old favorites:

Matos noticed that one of Basement Jaxx had some involvement in this gorgeous Mutiny track.


It reminded me of a period when I owned about three or four speed garage comps,  as that was all there was to own -  and this was one of them. It was the main way - living in NYC - I was able to hear the music. A handful of 12 inch singles would reach the Manhattan dance specialist stores, and I'd scoop them all up, pretty much - but there was zero demand locally: the local jungle / drum+bass scene was at its strongest then, and they all regarded speed garage as apostasy, a def(l)ection from the True Path, while the New York househeads, as you'd expect, thought it was garbage not garage - too ruff-hewn on the production side, too fast, too bumpy.  Not proper.

As I mentioned to Matos, my evangelism - like with jungle several years earlier - involved making tape introductions to the new style for friends and colleagues. But because most of the best tracks I only had on these DJ-mixed CDs, I had to fade them up and fade them down in order to get them to resemble proper tracks, on these cassette compilations. I'm sure this is one of the reasons - all these three or four minutes portions of a track, sometimes with a bit of another tune lingering at the start, or coming in at the end - why these tapes confused my intended converts. But  mostly they just couldn't hear the subtle radicalism, the contamination of American lush sexy garage with jungly flavor, the exaggeration of the bump+flex in the original music.  I would get responses like "isn't this just house music?". Well, yes, but also no.

On the Tuff Jam ceedee, it's very nascent and early-days-yet indeed - the selection is equal parts American house, emulative British stuff that attempts to sound as smooth 'n' sexy and palatially polished... and then really just a few things that are true speed garridge. There's also stuff by those unorthodox Americans who would help to catalyse the UK thing and then be pulled along by it and pushed further - Todd Edwards, Armand Van Helden.  

Great days - I remember the hunger 

a/ the hunger just to get hold of the bloody music 


b/ the hunger, the itch, just to see where it was going to go next. 

I couldn't have imagined 2step, even though there was a clue on this Tuff Jam CD right near the end of it. 

Along with the sound of the New Thing, what hooks me as a language-fan is also the sense of a new argot creeping in - new buzzterms - "bumpy", Tuff Jam's term "Unda-Vybe" 

Friday, May 10, 2024

Det paid / MC Conrad RIP

 I had no idea this ever came out - the first MC-fronted jungle album. 1996.

MC Det' s Out of Det reviewed here by my old Melody Maker colleague Carl Loben - now the editor of DJ magazine. 

This later EP from 2002 has a title that nods towards - perhaps forms a matching book end with - an era-inaugurating album from 1991.

What Ragga Twins and Det had heralded was at that moment reaching fruition with grime

Wonder how this post-SUAD Ragga Twins effort from '95 sounds? Probably not very ragga-y.

As Carl acknowledges in his review,  jungle MCs rarely worked as "feat." artists on record - their style was built for and around the live set at a rave on a pirate 

What are the great examples of a jungle MC doing it in the studio?  

MC GQ is grrrrrrreat on this but it's really just one lick. Well one hook-lick and a bit of chat.

This is an exciting performance by UK Apachi  - it cuts back and forth between a singjay sing-song mode that's quite plaintive and   jabbered fast-chat that's raggaruff.

This from Stevie Hyper D is very early - 1991 - but it's more like a dancehall vocal rather than jungle MC-ing

Likewise this from the next year

Fun but pales next to this

Stevie Hyper D also did EP called Junglist Hooligan and the track "Junglist Soldier" in '95 and '96

A take on "Rub a Dub Soldier" 

Another very early effort - 1991 - is Killer Man Archer - on "Narra Mine"

But it is more like a dancehall deejay guesting than a junglist MC (okay it's points along a line but feels like there's a distinction )

I went looking and found that MCs featuring in jungle records seemed to happen more towards the end of the '90s (which surprised me) and that earlier quite often if I look for say a famous MC like Navigator, they'll appear in discogs as the producer of a track.  Bit like with MC Duke


Suggestions in comments

nominated Anonymously

MC Dynamite on Roni Size / Reprazent's "Brown Paper Bag"

DaveK in comments pointing out the Conrad remix of PFM  - which features his uniquely smoov and serene style of chill chat - reminds me that I have been remiss about RIP-ing MC Conrad.

Conrad's style of emceeing was perfect for the Speed vibe

Meditative indeed... adrift on reverie bliss

the most, cough, Bachelardian of jungle MCs

DaveK also mentions this early effort involving MC Fearless on the Boogie Beat label 

That's rather good and I like the melodic interpolation from "Moments in Love" too

Here's the whole Weekend Rush Part 3 EP

He also mentions Bassman's contribution to this classic 

That's more on the lines of GQ on "Roll Da Beats" 

Going back to Fearless, here's a bunch of later 'feat.s" from around '96

Aha - bit later than the period I'm looking at - but in 2003 Fearless teamed up with Shabba D, Skibadee and Det for this release under the group name The Professionals 

There's a great tune featuring Skibadee but it's UKG

uploaded by yourstrools 4 da commonwealth

Another one that doesn't really count - it's not a release, it's an advert - is this pirate ad for Telepathy, the MC whose name I'm blanking on is also the guy who ran the club, indeed he voiced all their ads 

Sunday, May 5, 2024

we need flight to feel the light (the Bachelard series 4 of ?)


The last truly divine Moving Shadow release? 

Dave Wallace was in Aquasky, which name could not be more Bachelardian. 

Nowhere-near-as-good flipside "Waves" continues these thematics: 

“When the dreamer really experiences the word immense, he sees himself liberated from his cares and thoughts, even from his dreams. He is no longer shut up in his weight, the prisoner of his own being”

- Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space

"I felt freed from the powers of gravity, and, through memory, succeeded in recapturing the extraordinary voluptuousness that pervades high places. Involuntarily I pictured to myself the delightful state of a man in the grip of a long daydream, in absolute solitude, but a solitude with an immense horizon and widely diffused light; in other words, immensity with no other setting than itself.” - Baudelaire, quoted in The Poetics of Space

Plunged into infinite space.... little by little the heart of God’s elect is uplifted; it swells and expands, stirred by ineffable aspirations; it yields to increasing bliss, and as it comes nearer the luminous apparition, when at last the Holy Grail itself appears in the midst of the procession, it sinks into ecstastic adoration as though the whole world had suddenly disappeared”  

- Baudelaire, quoting from the passages on the Prelude in a program to Richard Wagner’s Lohengrin, requoted in The Poetics of Space

“The word vast… is a vocable of breath. It is placed on our breathing, which must be slow and calm…  the word vast evokes calm, peace and serenity..... I begin to think that the vowel a is the vowel of immensity. It is a sound area that starts with a sigh and extends beyond all limits.... like some soft substance, it receives the balsamic powers of infinite calm. With it, we take infinity into our lungs”

- Bachelard, The Poetics of Space

Referring to the work of deep sea explorer turned desert wanderer Philippe Diole, Bachelard writes that the latter "gives us a psychological technique which permits us to be elsewhere, in an absolute elsewhere that bars the way to the forces that hold us imprisoned in the ‘here’.”....  Elsewhere and formerly are stronger than the hic et nunc...  Space, vast space, is the friend of being” 

Diole himself writes: "Neither in the desert nor on the bottom of the sea does one’s spirit remain sealed and indivisible....  As I walked along, my mind filled the desert landscape with water! In my imagination I flooded the space around me while walking through it. I lived in a sort of invented immersion in which I moved about in the heart of a fluid, luminous, beneficient, dense matter." 

Friday, May 3, 2024

into thinn air (the Bachelard series 3 of ?)

A poetic conjunction - "thinn air", "pure white" 

The "thinn" suggestive of an archaic spelling, or perhaps even an unusual child's name,

It's a release by Slipmaster J, aka Justin Cohen, the owner of Lucky Spin Recordings, Dee Jay Recordings, Pure White and other labels...  a Don FM regular too

For further poeticism, one track is called "Heaven" 

And the other is "Vision"

Here's a nice tune under his alias Code Blue - with more "poetics of air" imagery: "Angels In Rhythm", "Angels in Dub"

The latter, the A-side, is unusually literal in its dubbiness

"Angels" - like heaven - connotative of elevation,  ascension, altitude.... purity... serenity... radiance... light and lightness... the ether and the ethereal... the immaterial

"If we want really to know how delicate emotions develop, the first thing to do... is to determine the extent to which they make us lighter or heavier. Their positive or negative vertical differential is what best designates their effectiveness, their psychic destiny. This, then, will be my formulation of the first principle of ascensional imagination....  all metaphors, metaphors of height, elevation, depth, sinking, and the fall are the axiomatic metaphors par excellence. Nothing explains them, and they explain everything....  These images have amazing power: they govern the dialectic of enthusiasm and anguish….  It is impossible to express moral values without reference to the vertical axis.

".... Every valorization is a verticalization"

- Gaston Bachelard, Air and Dreams: An Essay on the Imagination of Movement

(The French title L'Air et les Songes translates as Air and Reverie, or Air and Reflections - which would be closer to Bachelard's meaning, as he is not talking about the dreams of sleep but of daydreams and  poetic contemplation

More aeriality from Justin Cohen, in collaboration with Darren Beale, as Atlas

A "second heaven" !

Not Slipmaster J / Cohen, actually an early alias of Grooverider, but on the Dee Jay Recordings label and with similar ascensional imagery:

From The Vision EP, probably the most known tune in Slipmaster's J slender uuurv is "Symphonic"

Earliest effort, with DJ Crystl 

Crystl on the remix tip, with "Angels In Dub"

Justin Cohen - a low-key figure, but clearly - especially with running those labels - a hardcore hero


Thursday, May 2, 2024

infinite calm versus infinite hype (the Bachelard series 2 of ?)


infinite hype


infinite calm 

“The word vast is a vocable of breath. It is placed on our breathing, which must be slow and calm.... I begin to think that the vowel a is the vowel of immensity. It is a sound area that starts with a sigh and extends beyond all limits.... Like some soft substance, it receives the balsamic powers of infinite calm. With it, we take infinity into our lungs”

- Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space 

infinite hype + infinite calm combined


Monday, April 29, 2024

Stormin' (the Bachelard series 1 of ?)

 "like a mighty wind, like a mighty wind / spirit comes down, comes rushing in" 

and recommended by Thirdform in comments - "Acid Storm" by Machine

"It seems that the immense void, in suddenly discovering an action, becomes a particularly clear image of cosmic anger. We could say that the raging wind is the symbol of pure anger, anger without purpose or pretext....  An initial anger is a sign of fundamental will. It attacks the work to be done. And the first thing to be created by this creative anger is the whirlwind. The primary object of homo faber dynamized by anger is the vortex....

"We do not perceive the cosmogonic whirlwind, the creative tempest or the wind of anger and creation in their geometrical forms, but rather as sources of power. Nothing can stop the whirling motion. In dynamic imagination, everything becomes active; nothing comes to rest. Motion creates being; whirling air creates the stars; the cry produces images, speech, and thought. As by a provocation, the world is created through anger

"In reverie on the storm, it is not the eye that produces images, but rather the startled ear. We participate directly in the drama of violent air."

- Gaston Bachelard, Air and Dreams: An Essay on the Imagination of Movement.


bonus stormizm

the calm before the storm... idyll, interrupted



Saturday, April 27, 2024

Let's Not Push Things Forward


A celebrated remix of The Streets's "Turn the Page"

What its existence would seem to demonstrate, though, is inability to turn the page of this particular book of history. 

(What you'd want, really, is not even a new chapter, but a whole new volume).

But this is Overmono whose debut album Good Lies was hailed by the Guardian as “UK rave history... distilled to perfection” 

I'm trying to think who would've been the equivalent in rock  - when this stage of "history" getting  "distilled to perfection" would have got underway..

Oasis seems too obvious, and also belated... I feel like the process was well underway by the mid-Eighties.

You'd probably have to wind it back to earlier in the (re)Creation arc - to Primal Scream

All that said, listening to Good Lies for the first time, I'm enjoying it. There's cleverness, there's craft, it's made up out of or in reference to things I already reverence... but the echoes, allusions and twists are subtly done. In a certain sense, what's not to like?  

I was always a bit more vulnerable to the appeal of "record collection rock" than I would have liked. I couldn't quite ever be as stern about it as Mark Fisher. 

Still, it's an odd thing  - given that the foundational principle of the culture is F-FWD - to listen to this 

Apart from the overall sound quality -  clean and crisp in a 2023 upgraded sort of way - there is nothing about this track that would sound out of place in 2000. It sounds like Groove Chronicles.  

I mean, maybe the wibbly synth wouldn't have been there but it could have been, if GC had wanted it to be. 

Surging styles become settled styles.

Bit like how groups operating today can be described as - can describe themselves as - "postpunk". 

It's a stable, if not utterly static, form - akin to the blues, or folk. 

yet already flashbacking in 2009 to 2004?

This "Dubstep Heritage" series only got to two episodes!

Friday, April 26, 2024

jumpstyle versus slumpstyle

Kieran Press-Reynolds with a guest piece at Shawn Reynaldo's First Floor, while the main man takes a vacation. 

It's a report on "the holy hell of cursed jumpstyle" - a zoomer-oriented TikTok-propelled twist to the gabber continuum.  

"vyrval’s ballistic banger is the biggest tune in a growing wave of psychotic jumpstyle music that seems made to express existential fears: technology has gone too far, we’ve broken the world beyond repair, autocratic autobots will soon seize control...  In the comments of the clips that accompany these songs, people write what’s basically apocalyptic science-fiction, imagining grim future scenarios: “Me watching an AI generated video of me doing the most atrocious War crime ever.” The visual aesthetic mirrors the freakiness: unsettling cyber graphics are superimposed on neon landscapes, with distorted limbs and objects."

"At its most baleful, these songs obliterate any and all melody, leaving listeners with no chance for reprieve from their unrelenting assault. Dj Svevsx’s “jumpstyle (1)” has over 8 million plays and it’s just a 42-second spasm of feculent kicks." 

Looks bit like the Moving Shadow logo, that silhouette. 

Weathered legend returns to youth currency 

What K calls "peak slumpstyle" - the slowed + reverb remix 

Lithuian "nu-jumpstyle Jesus" Yabujin 

And his alter-ego

"What makes this internet-addled aesthetic so addictive is the way it taps into the younger generation’s collectively fried childhoods. It’s a shitposty Tower of Babble that crosses countries and languages."

Talking of shitpostmodernism, Kieran is quoted in this Kyle Chayka article in The New Yorker on corecore and "The Dada Era of Internet Memes"

Check out also K P-R's piece at No Bells on the Bushwick nightclub Rash, which was attacked by an arsonist in what may well be a hate-crime a few years ago, but has now been rebuilt and relaunched. 


The uglier aspects of this nu-jumpstyle scene reminded me a bit of this spoof  and spoof pt 2 I concocted back in 2007 (inspired by guesswho)

Old post on hardstyle, a related genre that has some militaristic undercurrents... well, overcurrents really

Jumpstyle in simpler, happier, more innocent days. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2024


RIP MC Duke 

Another of those figures who moved through the UK rap scene and into hardcore rave and jungle. 

"Can't beat the system, go with the flow" - source of the famous sample as used by (fellow former Britrap cru) The Criminal Minds, on "Baptised By Dub"


"Educated Snares" - you gotta love that title!

Associated with Suburban Base / Boogie Times - recording, with a partner, under the name e.kude

Sample from Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men there (or perhaps impersonation)


   Gorgeous Chaka Khan sample in there.

But before Suburban Base, MC Duke put out a couple of aliased records with Shut Up and Dance ("fast rap' turned breakbeat h-core)

Discogs bio: 

Born Anthony Mark Hilaire / Kashif Adham

Died 21 April 2024, aged 58

MC Duke got his big break when the emcee who had won the DMC MC Battle got on stage at the DMC World Championships after party and announced that he would battle anybody in the house, MC Duke got up and beat him. Derek B saw what happened and as he had just signed to Music Of Life asked Duke to meet him at the label the next day. While waiting for Derek B, Duke met the owner Simon Harris, and rapped live as he didn't have a demo, needless to say the rest is history.

Later he joined the Shut Up And Dance label and released two 12 inches with DJ Leader 1 under the name I.C.3..

He then went on to produce for Boogie Times/Suburban Base label and set up the Harddisk and Bluntly Speaking Vinyl label


Messy playlist of MC Duke under various guises and in various eras

Interesting that despite being MC Duke, he graduated from rapping in the Britcore scene to producing in the Ardkore scene and running labels, as opposed to being a rave MC.  

Check out the nifty little sample from Specials "Gangsters" - another example of the 2-Tone / Nuum connection

"Common Sensi", teehee

This E.KUD.CM stuff is good ruffstuff - clattery and jittery - and some classic vocal licks (“spread out and skiatter", "sekkle" etc)

It has taken me a ridiculous amount of time (well, a full half hour) to notice that the name E.KUD.C.M.  is MC Duke backwards. 

Fits the hardcore as hip hop turned inside out idea -  hip hop but the MC is the occasional ancillary phrase bobbing about amid the beats, and the drums are doing all the real talking.