Wednesday, May 29, 2024

White Dove Mourning

An interesting review of One Dove's Morning Dove White by Matthew Schnipper, as part of Pitchfork's Sunday Review series of belated reviews (in this case because the site didn't exist when the album came out in 1993). The score of 8.7 is higher than anything it would have received at the time.

At the time, the album was felt to itself be belated -  one of those anticipated albums that takes too long to be made....  (The delay came from a struggle with the record company, who pressurized them to put out more poppified version of the tracks, with radio-friendly mixes).

Reviewers in the UK as I recall felt the album, when it did arrive long after the initial buzz wave, to be underwhelming.... 

Certainly there didn't seem to be anything else on it as amazing as the single “White Love", which appears twice, in the Guitar Paradise Mix and as a reprise.

“White Love” stalled just outside the Top 40.

(They did have a small hit with “Breakdown” after the album’s release).

Listening again, I heard some really lovely tunes that sit somewhere between Saint Etienne and Seefeel – "My Friend”, "There Goes The Cure", “Transient Truth”.

A certain too-pure dream of perfect pop, a distillate of essences too rarified to survive the commercial rough-and-tumble of actual real-world pop…. meets dubby-clubby sounds… wisped through with ultra-breathy ethereal-girliness that places the group near shoegaze. (One reviewer described them as "Cocteau Twins just back from Ibiza").

Part of that Weatherall  moment in UK pop (wasn’t there an initiative called the 98 bpm Movement  slowing the music down from house tempo to a reggae-ish sway?... which would also make it a fellow-traveler with the Bristol sound. *

And then there’s Dot Allison’s voice….  Airy …. almost Medieval at times… a devotional sigh drifting through the cloisters of an abbey....  a sound that joins the dots between Lisa Gerrard and Kirsty Hawkshaw

“Whiteness” is the word.

Despite the dub and house elements, One Dove always seemed a supremely blanched sort of sound

Maybe that’s partly auto-suggestion, from titles like “White Love” and Morning Dove White

But it’s also Dot's pure-as-snow tones.

And it’s also the whiteness of Dot herself...

She looks like she’s made of snow...

A reminder that Scotland is nearer Scandinavia than the South of England.

Talking of the colour white

I can find no confirmation of this out there, but I continue to believe – I wish to believe – that the group are named One Dove as a sly nod to White Doves: an Ecstasy pill of ultra-blissy repute... the kind of pill that makes veterans of a certain era go all “ooh gosh” wistful, pursing their lips and exhaling with the memory rush

                                       As well as "White Doves", there were also Pink Doves and Speckled Doves. According to this drug awareness postcard, though, the Dove wasn't among the highest of MDMA content pills around then.  Perhaps it was just uncut with other things like speed, so it was a purer, cleaner sort of 'classic Ecstasy' lovey-dovey feeling. 

White Dove / "White Love"

Morning Dove White / White Dove Morning…. 

This was music for the afterglow… that 6AM dawn-after-the-rave feeling…. no one around… the city deserted and silent… and you tingling still...  feeling translucent… unbodied... hollowed out by ecstasy

And then the other druggy connotation of “white” would be the “whitey” – a white-out... swooning,  fainting, falling on the floor ….  a pill too strong… or one pill too many

The chorus in “White Love” -  if you can even call that wordless gaseous shiver-shudder a chorus -  sounds like a whitey.... an internal avalanche of bliss...  a deathgasm.

A voice coming, and coming – apart at the seams. Saint Teresa in the throes.**  

Sampled as opposed to sung, this kind of erotic-cosmic oozy-woozy feeling was all over rave tunes  of the era - wordless diva cries and moans, looped into bliss-spasms -  like Shades of Rhythm’s “Sound of Eden”. 

The bliss-spasm isolated / intensified even more on this tune by Pseudo 3


That's where the track titles, the sound, and the look (not just Dot's complexion and hair, but on the album cover she's dressed in white too), all these things converge - a meld, or braid, of spiritual and  erotic.  

Songs like sexy psalms

The idea of "purity" seems to nestle somewhere beneath all this - pure love, pure devotion, a pure dose, the perfect prescription. 

Edinburgh's techno temple Pure. 

The cover could be a morning-after-the-night-before tableau - Dot the sleeping beauty... unable to keep her eyes open, her head from drooping... the Other Chaps wasted and drowsy.

Talking of music for the afterglow....

One Dove's "Fallen" featured on this compilation from a few years ago put together by Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs: Fell From the Sun: Downtempo & After Hours 1990-91

A whole bunch of 98-bpm-or-thereabouts tunes described by the label by the label as "comedown downbeat, sunrise indie-dance and woozy morning moods".

 Tracks like The Grid's "Floatation", BBG's Satie-laced "Snappiness", The Aloof's  ‘Never Get Out Of The Boat’, Sheer Taft's "Cascades (Hypnotone Mix)", Moodswings's "Spiritual High".

The comp's timespan – 1990-91 – shows how past-their-moment One Dove were when they finally dropped Morning Dove White in 1993. 

Fell From the Sun fits the Icarian theme of having flown too high, starting to crash... a still glowing ember.  ("Higher Than The Sun" by the Primals is on there). 

The compilation's title though appears to come from the Opal song, as also recorded by Pale Saints. (The latter's name fits the blanched-by-bliss theme).

Not on the Fell from the Sun comp but partaking of the vibe of that time 

That Creation / indie-dance / post-Madchester / UK house nexus 


Afterglow is the name of the first of Dot Allison's - six? seven? -  solo albums.

I did a little interview with her around it for Spin. 

"I Wanna Feel the Chill" was one tune that stood out on a record that otherwise felt a bit subdued by its own good taste.  The eerie guitar lick is sampled from Tim Buckley's "Dream Letter." 

"Chill" - in either of its meanings - again shows an understanding of her thematic matrix.

Exaltation of Larks, from 2007, is another evocative title.

Her latest album Consciousology is on the shoegaze label Sonic Cathedral. 

* Well, I could swear someone telling about a 98 Bpm Movement started by Paul Oakenfold.... but it must have got mangled in the memory: Movement 98 was in fact a Paul Oakenfold project, centered around Carroll Thompson's vocals, and which scored a small UK hit in 1990 with the mid-tempo soul of "Joy and Heartbreak", with melodic elements borrowed from Satie's "Les Trois Gymnopedies".

Odd fact: Rob Davis, formerly the guitarist who wore women's clothing in Mud - was involved as a writer. Later he would make millions as the co-writer of Kylie-smash "Can't Get You Out of My Head".

Teresa of Ávila, 16th Century mystic  - a nun of noble birth, she became famous for her visions and raptures (sometimes involving levitations). Jacques Lacan, French Freudian theorist, wrote about Bernini’s sculpture of Teresa. Malcolm Bowie, paraphrasing Lacan, writes about “an unlocalisable and ineffable pleasure-spasm” that inspires Teresa’s enraptured contortions. 

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Futuremanic trax (3 of ?)


"this is the future crusade"

on the label Things To Come Records

from the same camp 

This I always misremember as "Dark Future"

Sticking to the theme 

Changing the vibe (and the label) completely - 

PFM = Progressive Future Music

Thursday, May 23, 2024

historical crimes (of trespass on the airwaves)

Shout to all the historical #PirateRadio stations who this new track is dedicated to! “Broadcasting From The Top Of The Block…” Great memories having the DTI on the tails of all involved putting up links & aerials… respect! This one’s for you!

So shouteth Source Direct in a recent tweet, referencing their new track "Top of the Block" which you can hear here 

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

Nor was I aware of this Dutch happy-gabber retake of the DJ Seduction tune, which Thirdform alerted me to in comments 

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