Sunday, March 31, 2024

No Fearon

Tuff little unit of a tune at the intersection of bleep, hardcore and UK tekno 

"To The Core" - you gotta like that title 

"Drums Of Peace" rounds out this tasty 3-tracker

Uncle 22 = Desmond Fearon - co-founder of  De Underground Records, Forest Gate hardcore label of renown. 

Any relative of Phil Fearon, one of the founders of Production House? 

Uncle 22  did an album very early on in the UK acieeed-and-after story - 1989. 

On Alex Paterson & Youth's label Wau! Mr Modo

Of course, junglists know the name Uncle 22 mostly for this 

Is this some kind of prototype version? 

With Navigator

This remix is the more famous version of "6 Million",  I guess

version galore

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Reese piece

 "Rumblizm: In Praise of the Reese Bass" - an ode to one of the classic rave sounds, originally unleashed by Kevin Saunderson for the Reese track "Just Want Another Chance". 

By Matt M at Lost Tempo 

"While it is comparatively simple to reproduce, the Reese bass sounds less like the product of an instrument than that of a cataclysm. The wave forms seem unstable. The vibrations are not so much heard as felt, the aftermath of a distant earthquake. Even on airpods, you feel it. But it is meant to be felt through a sound system in a club...."

The Reese Weapon - the Casio CZ-5000 synth


"Just Want Another Chance" pops up in Futuromania as it happens, in a piece on acid house:

"On Reese’s ‘Just Want Another Chance’, Detroit producer Kevin Saunderson sets a guttural, Stephen Mallinder-style monologue of desire over the spookiest of Residents synth-drones – an ectoplasmic bassline much slower than the drum track."  

The original 12-inch, which I picked up in New York in early '88 - in a record shop that was half rap, half house -  has three slightly different versions:  all with the same title, undifferentiated by any  subtitle. 

On the flip there's five raw "Rhythm Tracks", almost like grimestrumental "MC tools" but presumably designed as DJ tools.

At the time of Reese, there was no such thing as "Reese Bass"  - it was just one spooky track in a swarm of sinister acid house tunes.

It became "Reese Bass" when it was revived by the junglists, specifically the Man like Ray Keith

I wonder if he sampled it or recreated in on the Casio CZ-5000?

But I don't remember the phrase "Reese Bass" being talked of reverently until this DJ Trace remix of the T-Power track.

Then it propagated and for a while it seemed like you could hear it everywhere. 

Matt follows its half-lives in 2step and dubstep and beyond. 

He also points to this piece by John Hull on the history of the Reese bass. 


Postscript 3/29

Anonymous in comments points to this other Kevin Saunderson use of Reese bass type sounds - an odd lonesome moan-whine!

And another KS track with a wild but different bass-sound

Matt M points to this interview with Ray Keith about Reese and "Terrorist"  - made in Nookie's
 mum' s pantry, in just four hours. Borrows from Kevin Sanderson, but apparently the ambition was to do some on a par with "Strings of Life",

Interview conducted by Zinc. Hark at Ray's Father Christmas beard!

Reese bass later a preset on this synth, the Korg Prophecy, which went on the market in 1995.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Thursday, March 21, 2024

RIP Splash (aka Daz Ellis aka Undercover Agent)

A soulja has faaaaaaaaaallen 

Splash aka Daz Ellis aka Darren Ellis is immortal for this

Impossible levels of personal thrills attained with the appearance - at the fade in this very clever fan video - of Ari Up hollering "Babylon lovers", sampled from "Luv Und Romance"off of Cut, the second album I ever bought. 

The full-length version

On some days this Splash tune is right up there with Sacred's "Do It Together" as the Anthem of the Era for me

Now Daz has gone to 

Not as familiar with the work he did under his other - main - identity Undercover Agent, although I daresay I'd recognise most of the tunes from hearing them out at raves or on the pirates. 

This one deserves love just for capturing a buzzphrase of back in the day

It always tickled me that MCs would go "ooh gosh" or "oh-mi-gosh" - seemed like some kind of weird throwback to the days of Just William or Jennings & Derbyshire. 

This one pretty ruff

Nice squeaky sped-up raggamuffin on this one

Daz Ellis started his own pirate station, Cyndicut FM 100.4 FM.

Then started his own label Splash Recordings which soon merged with Juice Records. 

Here's a playlist of much of Daz's releases

Monday, March 18, 2024

Sixx maniacs

Sixx of one, half a dozen of the other...

Here's a really interesting piece by Vivien Goldman about Rebel Sixx and what she calls "Bad Mind"  - a musical mood of desolation and distrust emanating from Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago. The feature is informed by her decades-long relationship with the Caribbean and its music, including a recent spell living in Jamaica.  Along with a rich sense of the economic realities of the region, the piece involves on-the-ground research into the rivalries between different garrison communities, territorialized conflicts that played out in music, in gang strife, and in politics. It draws parallels between the attempted assassination of Bob Marley and the murder of Sixx. 

Until reading this long piece, everything I knew about Rebel Sixx was from Kit Mackintosh's Neon Screams, where his music is extravagantly celebrated in the chapter on trap dancehall and "Trinibad".

What struck me reading Goldman's piece is the huge gulf between the ways in which she and Mackintosh respond to the music of Sixx and similar 21st Century dancehall artists. Which is perhaps not that odd given that a couple of generations separate them. Still, it's surprising that there's almost zero overlap, no point of contiguity between the two sensibilities. 

Mackintosh is a young man intoxicated by the surfaces of the sound, giving himself and his prose over fully to the ecstasies of vocal psychedelia: the unearthly transmutation of the human voice through Auto-Tune, Harmony Engine, and other processing technologies pushed to the extreme. 

A lifelong lover of  and critical champion for Caribbean music, Goldman hears through the surface to the social text. Indeed she finds the songs and singing of Rebel Sixx (and others like Shane-O and Rygin King) haunting "despite its excessive use of vocoder".

Kit Mackintosh on Rebel Sixx: 

"Rebel Sixx... perpetually phases and fluctuates between multiversal realities in his tracks. He's forever suspended in the slipstreams of quantum superposition as he manages to simultaneously manifest in every form imaginable. Like the hall of mirrors visual distortions observers experience near neutron stars and black holes - multiple-imaging, the wavelengths of light stretching and squashing - Rebel Sixx's vocal timbre shifts at every turn.

"In his tracks - like "Evil Me Dweet', 'Quick Evil Pt. 2', 'Dem Know', 'Evilous', Parliament', 'Rifle War', and 'Looney'- Rebel's voice will be shattered and fractal in one moment, then squished and squeaky in the next, but then bulbous and bubble-shaped immediately afterwards as successive layers of multi-tracking, pitch-shifting, reverbs, choruses and fuck knows what else are interfaced with his Auto-Tune. His voice will sound like anything from the radiant curvature of sunshine around the Earth's atmosphere to the jagged layers of off-centre red and blue you see when you view 3-D images without the special glasses on. Rebel Sixx's music is an exercise in bending, refracting and contorting synaesthetic light.....

"To understand Trinibad is to wander through the desolate corridors of abandoned cognition; it has no memories and no associations. The music doesn't harken back to anything, nor does it fill in the blanks. Rather it leaves you suspended in a perpetual year zero... Listening to it you hallucinate states of consciousness but not colours or shapes or places or people.... Nothing really exists in it. Nothing's quite experienced."

Vivien Goldman on Rebel Sixx: 

" A wry intelligence in his voice first drew me in. The way Rebel Sixx sang it, bloody images became a sad seduction, leading to contemplation; his sweet and sour sound poetically, cynically, recounting brutality with a honeyed soprano and heavenly timing.

"He was a musical original, and I had no idea when I first heard his music that he was dead, let alone the circumstances. When I fell for Rebel like any fangirl, I assumed he was Jamaican as he was so popular there. During that year I spent back on the island, his songs were everywhere—the bleak delicacy of his and Travis World’s “No Trust No Love,” and “Rifle War,” “Ghetto Prophet,” “Message to the Heart.” As I adjusted to the feel of this music, oddly bass-free and with an alarming emphasis on the evils of Bad Mind, realizing my favorites were by one artist helped me to absorb and understand the new sound.

"Among the phrases Rebel spread was “Fully Dunce,” a backhanded compliment. When the expression wound up on bookbags and t-shirts, Rebel was accused of spreading anti-intellectualism—whereas he was always encouraging youth to keep studying. His sardonic throwaway had been enough to start a craze and a controversy. His early death disturbed me so deeply, I needed to find out what had happened.

"It was, I soon learned, a direct hit. Two masked men broke in at 11:45 PM on Sunday, July 5, 2020, and shot him 20 times at close range at his home in Bon Air Gardens, Arouca, outside Port of Spain; Rebel hadn’t heard them enter as he was on his Playstation with headphones. Obviously Rebel had upset some people badly – but his music sang so implicitly of humanity with all our foibles! Why would people want Rebel killed, even as his art was deepening?"

I'm from the generation in between Viv and Kit - so it makes sense that I'd be equally attracted to both ways of feeling the music. I'd go further than that, though - where I want to be, critically, is exactly that zone between ecstatic surface and social reality.  I'm interested in the membrane between the mythopoeic sound-shapes and the lifeworld that effuses them.  Roots and future, content and form, truth and illusion:  I wouldn't tip the balance to one side or the other. 

Tommy Lee Sparta, another totemic / talismanic figure in Neon Screams, also crops up quite a bit in Goldman's "Bad Mind Music" piece. 

Saturday, March 16, 2024

"'The fast' is packing them in"

Interesting piece by Michaelangelo Matos for Racket about Minnesota deejay crew Crimes Against Ravers and their 200 bpm nu-gabber sets, which are drawing local youth to alarmingly crowded house parties.

Here's one of the crew with a Cocaine Induced Psychosis Mix

Even the cru's graphix flashback to the era of Mokum and K.N.O.R. and Forze.

"For a recently made limited-edition screenprint T-shirt, Matt drew “a ’90s gabber goblin Calvin [of Calvin & Hobbes] pissing on the turntables.” 

Does seem to be a general drift back to velocity happening on various fronts 

Maybe it's related to this point Matos makes: 

"After the pandemic, a lot of kids were locked up for two-three years and are ready to rage. And C.A.R. is an outlet for that.

"“That was definitely what I felt a lot at the start,” Joe says. “I think a lot of us felt and still do feel the itch—you’ve just got to get out and dance your heart out.”

But also this:

“It’s that, plus just how fucked up the whole world is,” Matt says. “This is a nice outlet to let off steam.”

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Junglists, F.C.

 The Arnett Gardens Football Club is a Jamaican professional football club based in Kingston, which currently plays in the Jamaica Premier League.

The team is based in the Arnett Gardens community of South Saint Andrew, Jamaica, and plays in the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex.

The team came out of a merger between the All Saints and Jones Town Football teams in 1977. Arnett's fans originate primarily from Arnett Gardens and its adjoining communities – Jones Town, Craig Town, Hannah Town & Admiral Town. The Junglists, as their fans are known, are very passionate and vociferous about their team and will travel all over the country in support of the team. The Arnett Gardens part of Kingston is popularly known as the Concrete Jungle, hence the nickname of the club.