it happens for a reason

staying up late is easy.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


i think the yummy bingham thing might be getting towards the obsessive stage. but she's got my favourite voice in the world at the moment. and the jagged, kind of minimal, nursery-rhyme style melodies that she specialises in is a MASSIVE look (like 50 cent but not, y'know, a dickhead).

i'm still reeling, psychologically, from seeing 'tropical malady' last night. crikey.... what a, uh, humid, film. it's very sticky, and close, uncomfortably so at times. there's lots of shots of fizzing neon lights and skies even fizzier with masses of insects, and both are very appropriate. and after seeing it you can almost pretend that its summer over here and not the slow crawl out of winter. with that in mind, i want music that makes me think its summer right now, and that's where this Bhangra compilation that matt woebot did for me a few months ago comes in. we cooked to this tonight, and it was great, as the sunlight streamed in, weirdly smoky and fuzzy (actually i think its just the dust round here...). the more i listen to this bhangra selection, the closer the parallels to ruff sqwad seem. which is good, cuz i love writing about ruff sqwad. but there are genuine affinities in the sounds, i think: the collapsing, weaving, beats that work almost more as texture than rhythm in many places; the love of stirring, strident, brass and strings; the use of rapidly repeated 'heys!' and shouts as the building block of many of the beats; the spidery and florid guitars that are way removed from any rock tradition.

my two favourite tracks from this compilation are posted below as mp3s. the first of them, by dr zeus, is my favourite piece of production on the whole CD; love, love, LOVE the 'fill in the gaps' construction of it. all little feints and parries. YES. and that guitar is so delightful! a shy smile of a melody, the whole way through. i think the vocalist on this track is pretty amazing too. i find it hard appreciating just how good these guys are sometimes, as they're singing in a way and in a language i'm not used to, so sometimes its easy to get distracted and disoriented by the novelty of it all. but yeah, the vocalist on the dr zeus track is huge. the way he keeps tight to the beat and then occasionally just breaks out to one side, almost dragging the beat along with him, bringing the song to (even more) life is a big wow. it reminds me of wiley on 'gangsterz' on those moments where he spills out of the one line flow, and crams the words in.

the second track, by northern lights, is my favourite song on the compilation overall. it's also, predictably, the raviest and most maximalist (is that a word? no?). i've had this song in my head in the hours since i heard it today and its not even maddening yet. its got perhaps the most elegant beat on the CD, and there's something fantastic, and fantastically hard to grasp, going on in the bass of the rhythm- these waves of whumps, gulps, and wobbles. and densely strummed acoustic guitars generally sound great in dance music: basement jaxx know this. i dunno how you dance to this stuff, but it must be great fun. the best bit is the end, in which the synth takes over the melody till the fade. i wish that bit went for, oh i don't know, 10 minutes or so. but that might be cuz i've been listening to too much villalobos recently...


dr zeus- 'das ki sohniyeh'.

northern lights- aasiq dig dig

i'm starting to think that slick's 'no bass riddim' might be the best ruff sqwad production ever. what way for slick's to start a career on the buttons! 'no bass' has pretty much everything i love about ruff sqwad: it sounds blissy and hopeless at the same time. the lack of bass is clever, cuz ruff sqwad are at the best when they sound light and dreamy. and they haven't sounded like that consistently for a good year and a half; 'anna' and 'underground' marked a shift to a harder, darker sound that they're only just coming out of now. and with its delicate, hauntological melodies, and smeary bits of vocal samples, 'no bass' feels like (if not sounds like) ruff sqwad's most ardkore, most acen-ish moment yet. which is a good thing, obviously.


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