it happens for a reason

staying up late is easy.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

LISTENING SINCE THE PREVIOUS POST:

WINSTON RILEY PRODUCTIONS- 'DANCEHALL TECHNIQUES'
V/A -'FOLK GUITAR'
SILVER JEWS- 'BRIGHT FLIGHT'
WILEY- '2ND PHAZE'
ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA- 'GREATEST HITS'
BEACH BOYS- 'PET SOUNDS'
BASEMENT JAXX- 'SINGLES'
LUCIANO- 'SCI FI HI FI VOL.2'
RICHIE HAWTIN- 'DE9 LITE MIX'
DJ BEN- 'REMEMBER OLD SCHOOL MIX'
MICHAEL MAYER- 'LIVE AT STATIC'
RENATO RENALDI- 'HOARSE FRENZY'
UNDERGROUND RESISTANCE- 'X-101'
JOHN TEJADA- 'THE END OF IT ALL'
M.A.N.D.Y LIVE AT PLUG CLUB, SHEFFIELD.
MR SCRUFF LIVE AT PLUG CLUB, SHEFFIELD.

friday night was a classic case of the school boy error of peaking too early and peaking wrongly. by the time M.A.N.D.Y came on were we all in a seriously bad way making frequent trips to the toilets to try to empty our stomachs of the pestilence. we can laugh about it now though, because we're laidback and, yes, 'chilled', like that.

once someone at work did a little dance next to me in front of the customers to mungo jerry's 'summertime' which was playing on the stereo. obviously i was appalled by such beahviour and backed away as she tried to get closer, clearly intending that we were to dance together for the pleasure of the customers. so daft. anyway, this moving and backing away went on for a little bit until she made a last ditch effort and laughed forcefully, 'c'mon, CHILL OUT!', all the while doing this stupid dance, with me standing totally still in front the customers, and wanting to kill her a little bit.

which is just one reason while you'll never (i hope) see mungo jerry's 'summertime' in the list of listening up there ^.

but, regardless, M.A.N.D.Y. From what i could tell, through my sick ears and body, he was playing quite hard, quite minimal set. no gushy 'mandarine girl' -style electrohouse bliss here. may be electro house is going to get more minimal and minimal techno's going to get more muscular and the two will become one, as the spice girls prophesised. who knows? as richie hawtin is fond of saying, techno is a constant adventure, an unfolding narrative and you never know which way it's going to turn. 'cept you do, really, if yr clever and perceptive enough, which i'm not.
anyway, look, MANDY (don't watch the full stops) was good, and different to how i expected. so there you go.


-----------------------------
on sunday morning, listening to underground resistance's mighty, MIGHTY, 'x-101', i had a pining for dark and nasty techno, the kind which actually scares you as it echoes and thuds round clubs. the kind of techno which has an element of horribleness to it, and that's a good thing. the kind that's as brutal and inhuman and impressively destructive as dynamiting mountain sides. then i realised that i don't really own any of that stuff, apart from the odd bit of underground resistance, of which 'x-101' is probably the most extreme, and therefore best, example.
but then, but then...luciano's 'sci fi hi fi' mix got put on the stereo and my pining was answered, a little. on the basis of the first 2 episodes, the 'sci fi hi fi' mix series on Soma is turning out to be pretty much essential- ewan pearson's inaugural one is like the pinnacle of gorgeous electro house.
luciano's mix is equally good, but in a very different way. it's nothing like his records, which are delicate little flowers of fragments upon fragments of melody on chinks upon chinks of beats. no, with his sci-fi hi-fi mix, luciano crafts minimal techno into this head-caving whipping sound where even the inevitable (it is minimal after all) space and vacuums sound fearsome. at points it sounds almost like the creaks and groaning squelches of psy-trance. it's far from the usual sensual pops and kisses the perslon/cadenza lot usually come out with. it's actually quite nasty. which is just what i wanted.

Friday, May 26, 2006

LISTENING SINCE THE PREVIOUS POST:

DJ BEN- 'REMEMBER OLD SCHOOL' MIX
WIGGLE- 'FABRIC MIX'
THEO PARRISH- 'FALLIN UP, CARL CRAIG MIX'
WINSTON RILEY PRODUCTIONS- 'DANCEHALL TECHNIQUES'


the rain is over and the the sun makes the grass on clapham common glitter. the cricket has gone well, and we're about to go home to make a silly amount of cakes. we're in good moods. and so, we listen to Dj Ben's 'remember old school' mix of cosmic disco, north african pop, and gorgeously kitsch 80's plasticy pop over and over. we decide that why we like dj ben is that he sounds like dj/rupture, but a dj rupture for our (currently) fluffy and sentimental hearts. dj/rupture is a dizzying spiral. dj ben is a slow, swinging swirl.

this came to pass, of course, because of the inspiring report from woebot of the recent Baldelli DJ set at plastic people, something which i'm still cursing myself for missing. so a flick through i-tunes brought up a few 'afro-cosmic' mixes that i'd forgot i even had. that's the great thing and the bad thing about these times of downloading- you can have it all, but then you don't even care enough about it, don't even notice it.

but now we care about the dj ben mix, very much. the most inclusive, hopeful dance music ever. at some point, i'll put it up on a download site so you too can share the joy. for now, though, go to

www.dj-ben.de

he's got some new mixes up there, but i've not heard them yet.

ok i'm off to sheffield for the weekend. see you monday x

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

LISTENING SINCE THE PREVIOUS POST

WILEY- '2ND PHAZE'
RECORDING OF MICHAEL MAYER LIVE AT STATIC
DJ BEN- 'REMEMBER OLD SCHOOL MIX'
RAINBOW BRIGHT- 'THE ROLLAH'
MATES OF STATE LIVE AT GARAGE, LONDON
HOT CLUB DE PARIS LIVE AT GARAGE, LONDON
THE HEADCOATS- 'ELEMENTARY HEADCOATS'

------------------------
wiley's '2nd phaze' has had 2 lives. it's first life was as a rumour, a myth, over a year ago now. whispers about it being the definitive grime statement, a devastating showcase of wiley at the top of his game, were passed around messageboards and internet forums, by those who'd heard it, and probably plenty who hadn't. this was going to erase all those post-'treddin' doubts. this was what we'd been waiting for.

its second life is right now. it trickled out with no hype, into one, and only one, on-line record shop, by passing the usual niche grime channels of Uptown and Rhythm Division. few people even knew that it was out, and even fewer had much to say about it. we weren't even sure if it was meant to be an album or a mixtape. from the sublime to the ridiculous: wiley had done things his way, as always, and we were left confused.

but what to say about it? again, it's a two-halves thing. at first, it throws itself at you, fireworks of ideas spilling everywhere. the first 5 tracks are a definitive grime statement. it's all here, everything that's ever made you love grime, as wiley tears through it with deadly urgency. he's been waiting too long and all that's been pent up is released, finally. 'intro' has the obsessive intricacy in music and words that only wiley can really pull off- it even switches to a whole new sound 30 seconds in, wiley's boredom threshold is so low. he's got a lot to do. 'eskiboy', 'gangsterz' and 'you're not real' have all been caned on the pirates for so long that they're old friends, but here they sound vital and fresh. only here, heard together in breathless sucession, do you really get a true sense of how good these tracks are, of just how completely wiley has mastered his art. 'stormy weather' has come in for flak but it's a perfect example of that woozy style that Target pioneered, a sound like bits of mist, roughly stitched together.

and then something odd happens. wiley seems to lose interest, his job done and point proved, and the psychopathically intense focus is lost. half finished and sketchily thought-through ideas, irritating joke tunes, the sound of lads trying to make each other laugh, and slushy R n B with choruses too much like lumpy syrup all clutter things up.

there's still bits of genius dotted around, of course. 'johnny was a bad boy' is blackhole-absorbing, a wasteland frozen by the low howls of square wave bass and littered by skittery beats blowing through. 'icepole remix' is the end-point, the logical conclusion, of the path that wiley first set out on all those years ago with 'eskimo': everything- the MCing, the beats, the divebombing gloops of synth- have been honed into icicles and arranged into surgical strikes. 'i like the way' is gleefully leery, sounding like a sean paul track staggering home blind drunk, with wiley not being able to help himself from growling 'hnnnrh' like some over-sexed pantomime villain.

but as great as these tracks are, jaws don't drop anymore, once the initial focus has been lost.
or, at least, they don't until 'friday night', perhaps the best track wiley has ever recorded.
it all begins unpromisingly. first there's the title. yr expecting another boring clubs n drink n girls by-numbers filler track. as the track starts an AM-rock guitar riff shimmers in, and yr worrying that wiley's been plundering Magic FM for ideas again. but, again, wiley's half-good/half-bad dialectic kicks in and all the doubts are blown away. firstly, this is a club n drink n girls tune. but it's the true and brutal side of all that, not the rapper's fantasy. wiley sounds tired and crushed, despite his cracked announcement that he's still 'confident with the flow'. he wanders round the club as a ghost, feeling 'hollow inside', observing all with a weary scientific eye. he feels too old for this, he shouldn't be here, he should never have come. he's on the outside of this, and on the outside of where he wants to be in his life and career, but can't give either up. so it's the same cycle, for ever. Or until something happens. it's important that one of wiley's last lyrics on the album is, 'let's not forget that i'm ageing'.

and the AM-rock riff is the perfect worn out and faded neon backdrop, promising a good time that's long gone, that's history. Rapid, from ruff sqwad, embellishes it as starkly as he possibly could, just a little roll of pattering beats, a few clicks of fingers, and a soul sample groan for the chorus.

it's the most severe and truthful song i've heard in years. it cuts through all the bullshit, to the core of things, and says what it needs to say, without once flinching.

for this track alone, '2nd phaze' is a major, major event. even if wiley isn't making it one.

Monday, May 22, 2006

LISTENING SINCE THE PREVIOUS POST:

VARIOUS PRODUCTION- 'FOLLER/HOME' 7"
AZTEC MYSTIC- 'AGUILA'
PATRICK CHARDRONNET0 'LEDGE'
V/A- 'POKER FLAT VOLUME 4'
WILEY- '2ND PHAZE'
OLD RUFF SQWAD RINSE SET
DOMINIC A
CHUNKY BIZZLE
SATIE
FEMI KUTI
KODE 9- 'DUBSTEP ALLSTARS VOL.4'
PHILIP SHERBURNE- 'SCHAFFEL IS STRONGER THAN PRIDE MIX'
HOT CHIP- 'THE WARNING'
ARIZONA AMP AND ALTERNATOR- 'S/T'
ARTIE SHAW
V/A '100% NEW BEAT' TAPE
RUFF SQWAD- 'NO BASE' EP
THE NOISETTES
POLMO POLPO- 'LIKE HEARTS SWELLING'
FAT TRUCKERS DJ SET AT T-BAR
MOUNTAIN GOATS LIVE RECORDING
THE KNIFE- 'WE SHARE OUR MOTHER'S HEALTH' (TRENTEMOLLER MIX)
LUKE SLATER- 'I CAN COMPLETE YOU'.

no one told me that Hot Chip were so fey! jesus! nice though. nice and messy. but all those prince comparisons had me itching to hear some junior boys-esque sighing sexiness. but no, it's all too cardigan-wearing to be really sensual. which is no bad thing, for i'm wearing a cardigan while writing this (it's a sexy one though, trust). but after the first initial shock at the feyness, the sheer INDIE-dance of it (much more indie than 'proper' indie-dance ever was, right?), it's a great record. i just wish it was the junior boys. which, after woebot's teaser, just makes johnny dark's record even more urgent for me...

------------------------------------
also Urgent and Key is the fact that dj rolando's got a new mix out. his 'nite life' mix is pretty much perfect. he shows you the links between deep house and detroit techno, and that's pretty important. to me, anyway.

---------------------

Dust.
and even more urgent is the fact that chunky bizzle's releasing a mixtape this summer! in my grime-doldrums (which i'm clawing my way out of, slowly) 2 things were big helps. firstly, the fact that 2nd Phaze was going to drop any time soon. and secondly, that chunky bizzle, whose tracks kept on and on floating through the heat on pirate-radio smog last summer, could point the way forward, could be the saviour. chunky bizzle produces grime like no one else- yawning canyons, sleepy hollows, haunted by ardkore and kanye, tunes stretched out in the sun with beats as nothing but garnish. it's n
it's crazy that it's even called grime, in a way- it's so dreamlike and gentle. it's not grimey-- it's dusty. but, with grime, it shares a willingness to switch focus from the beat to the feel:- these are tracks to be draped over MC's words. one of grime's big ideas has always been to let MC's take care of the beat.
but chunky bizzle departs from almost all grime- except perhaps ruff sqwad and target- in favouring slow squiggles and clouds of melody over darkness. chunky bizzle, however, pushes things out further into weightlessness and blissiness than even ruff sqwad. it sounds like a park in london at the height of summer, ringed by roads melting in the heat.

even better, though, his mixtape is called 'i'm an 80's baby'. chunky bizzle wrapping up 80's pop glossiness in patina and fug is almost too exciting. perhaps the continuum is about to get an ariel pink moment? let's dream.

to hear what i'm talking about (although he hasn't posted his best tracks),
got to
www.myspace.com/chunkbeezey

Friday, May 19, 2006

LISTENING SINCE THE PREVIOUS POST:

OLD ROLL DEEP RINSE SET
WILEY- '2ND PHAZE'
WRETCH 32- 'LEARN FROM MY MIX TAPE'
LOGAN SAMA- KISS FM SET
RAMONES- 'IT'S ALIVE'
JENNY LEWIS AND THE WATSON TWINS- 'RABBIT FUR COAT'
MAGIK MARKERS LIVE IN KILBURN
BARR AND CORSANO LIVE IN KILBURN
BIRDS OF DELAY LIVE IN KILBURN
TEMPERATURES LIVE AT KILBURN
NATIONAL SCHOOL LIVE ON A BOAT
INCREDIBLY LOUD CLASSICAL MUSIC IN VAUXHALL STATION
WIGGLE- 'FABRIC MIX'
RENATO RINALDI- 'HOARSE FRENZY'
THEO PARRISH- 'FALLING UP (CARL CRAIG REMIX)'
ALEX UNDER- 'Las Bicicletas Son Para El Verano (Alex Smoke's Rusty Bike Mix)'


apologies for the silence. i've been out and about seeing live music. last night it was the formidable national school (nee Vegetables) on board the good ship 'battersea barge' (which is actually in vauxhall). i am now a total convert to gigs in boats. and drinking in boats. ANYTHING in boats. you get the prettiness of the river with all its twinkly lights, and you get the excitement of being/pretending to be an old sea dog. that's a Big Look, whichever way you cut it. so, get yrself down to the battersea barge, if you please.

---------------------------------
the other gig i saw this week was an upset the rhythm party of noise in Kilburn, the furthest North i've ever gone in London i think. north london, unlike south, is weighed down by history and civilization, you can feel it as yr walking around, whereas south always feels like it's clinging onto the fringes of the city, like it's only just got here and could go at any moment.
so upset the rhythm are DIY noisy/post hardcore gig people. i'm glad that i've found out about them as i spent much of my youth- not enough of it, but still a fair bit- going to DIY gigs in basements and top rooms of pubs in liverpool and manchester and sometimes Leeds, where you'd pay almost nothing to get in, where there'd be stalls selling enticing vinyl, and it wasn't clear how we had all come together for this, and you could never work out what these impossibly cool people did when they weren't at gigs cuz they seemed removed from the boredom of everyday life and wrapped up in this self-sustaining culture, and odd bands that sounded like no one else would play on stages made out of crates, and all the equipment would be bruised and antique, and it was like being let in on a secret, every time.

but in london, that doesn't seem to happen, not so much. but upset the rhythm are bucking the trend. there was a lot of noise at this gig. some of it was pink clouds of noise, gently ebbing away, from Birds of delay. some it was fractured grits of noise, from Temperatures. this seems to be what the kids listen to nowadays, this free noise. i don't know, may be 4 years ago i had the patience and the will to understand this, but i'm not sure i do now. as i get older, more and more i just want to dance.

but i did see the greatest drummer i have seen- chris corsano. apparently he's some kind of living legend. he looks impossibly young, like ian mackaye in the minor threat days, a look of cultured honesty. he's played with all the top boys of improv, i think. nels cline, thurston moore, various old people who play saxophones and probably, definitely, call them 'horns'.

you know.

anyway, at the gig, in kilburn, he was playing with Barr, who's like anticon but not as mathematical. barr talks about his life and his fears in this shower of consciousness in a voice that is, we decided, Very American. he's great, and engaging, and seems to have this innate sense of rhythm so it's like HiphopNotHiphop---riding the beat but in such a weird way that made me thinking of flyfishing, you know when you throw it out in a vast, looping arc and then pull it back in. at the end of the gig you want to be Barr's friend, but i think hearing him on record, in my house, would make my head hurt a little.

but we were talking about chris corsano. his drumming is astounding. it's kind of free-jazz drumming i guess, but really fluid and delicate. it's so milky. it's like his music is like breathing for him. or like a conservation, a proper one, with Barr. i hate it when people talk about improv music being a 'conversation', but this really was. apparently he does solo sets with a bin full of crazy toys and contraptions and electric things that whirr, and he pulls them out of the bin at random and constructs something beautiful. apparently those sets are out of this world.

magik markers were the last band on and it all fell apart. they have two guitarists and neither guitar worked properly, and one didn't work at all. it was like seeing a couple who you're friends have a fight in front of you. it all got too awkward so we left.

-------------------------------------
two people who i think are probably geniuses in housey minimal techno at the moment are Alex Smoke (of the lushy 'chica wappa'), and alex under. they have joined forces, kind of, for alex's under's 'Las Bicicletas Son Para El Verano (Alex Smoke's Rusty Bike Mix)'. and it's lovely. it's like a mini dj set, with all these different elements spinning around and being slotted into the pattern one by one. and it has this giddy, hyper-sensitive jittery happiness to it that i like, because it reminds me of that feeling you get just before you're amount to embark on a big night.

---------------------------
i need to hear that carl craig remix of the delia and gavin tune
------------------
wiley- '2nd phaze'. BIG. will write about it very soon, once it's all been digested.

Monday, May 15, 2006

LISTENING SINCE THE PREVIOUS POST:

JENNY LEWIS AND THE WATSON TWINS- ‘RABBIT FUR COAT’

PANTYTEC- ‘MAY BE’

LOGAN SAMA KISS FM SET

SANCHO PANZA- ‘CARNIVAL MIX’

DANNY WEED AND MEGA- ‘COKE DRIVE’

PERSIL

THEY CAME FROM THE STARS I SAW THEM

TOKYO ADVENTURES

VOO

--------------------------------

oh, the cricket, the cricket. Dear me.

-----------------------

ANYWAY, a record that I love at the moment is ‘rabbit fur coat’ by Jenny Lewis and the Watson twins. Getting the facts out of the way quickly: It’s an alt-country record with nice tunes. Now on to the fun stuff; this music is so stately! Elegance is so important in music. People might not think that grime, the music that I spend most of my time listening to and thinking about, is elegat, but it is to me. It’s all about beautifully simple solutions.

‘rabbit fur coat’ is elegant in a different way. I don’t know if any of these songs are in 3/4 time or not, but I’d want to waltz to this record, if I knew how to waltz. As things are, it makes me want to sit outside in a sunset sipping long island iced teas and chatting about the day gone as the dust slowly settles back down on London. I love the way the singers glide and swoon in this gorgeously refined way. This is straight-backed music, done up to the nines, with a honeysuckle gentility to it. It’s music which makes me look forward to getting older.

But going to the other side of things, a few weeks ago at Fabric when I saw a group of Spanish shirts-off and shaved-head hard looking guys sing along drunkenly to Pantytec’s utterly wonderful ‘may be’, I thought it was pretty cool. In the UK, minimal techno/micro-house is a pretty niche, studenty, middle class interest, and it was interesting to see a little bit of how it’s received on the continent, where it’s much a bigger thing: hard music for cross-section dancefloors to go crazy to. As a middle class student, I have a stupid thing of thinking that the things that I like are somehow validated when people who aren’t middle class students like them. So, Perlon is hereby validated in my bourgeois-angst ridden mind…

‘may be’ is the latest Pantytec single (pantytec is sammy dee and zip). It starts out as a typically sexy and obtuse perlon cut, full of sugary but metallic ripples, sticky gurgles, and showered kisses of sound. Then, out of nowhere, a drunken trombone comes in and the track changes totally, into this stumbling journey home singalong. Smiles all round. You should buy it, you know.

----------------------------------

like lying on a beach you don’t really want to be on: Pandarescue on Ariel pink. It’s wonderful writing.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

LISTENING SINCE THE PREVIOUS POST:

PANTYTEC- 'MAYBE'
GET PHYSICAL RECS- '4TH ANNIVERSARY MIX'
TRAUM RECS- 'INTERKONTINENTAL 3'
LUCIANO- 'BLIND BEHAVIOUR'
ARAB STRAP- 'FIRST BIG WEEKEND OF THE SUMMER'
SKEPTA- 'STUPID' 12"
RUFF SQWAD- 'NO BASE' 12"

what i love about get physical records is that you know that they're always going to go for maximal fun. they're going to camp it up, and go dirty where needs be, to keep you smiling. sometimes, most times, i don't want innovation or difficult and deep genius, i just want something to make me and friends smile, sitting around the kitchen. (2nd anniversary mix is better than the 4th, though)

skepta's new EP is crazy. it's like a mischmasch of all his previous big tunes, strung together onto this constantly mutating helix. very large.

ruff sqwad's new EP is a delicate heart-murmur with no bass.

skepta's new EP also features the stoney and eerie howling at the moon track which roll deep always play. even larger.

ruff sqwad's new EP has exhortations to 'drop the bass, COME ON!' which are much appreciated.

fuzzy techno for breakfast courtesy of Traum's techno interpol. as comforting and gently formal as Test Match Special.

it's the second big weekend of the summer.

i work on saturdays.

i need to go to work now.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

LISTENING SINCE THE PREVIOUS POST:

WILEY- AVENGER/FLAT DERIK
LOADS OF OLD WILEY WHITE LABELS
VARIOUS PRODUCTION- 'HOME' 7"
THE JUAN MACLEAN- 'LESS THAN HUMAN'
KODE 9 AND SPACEAPE LIVE AT WORKER'S PARTY
LEAVING THE FOLD LIVE AT WORKER'S PARTY
DIZZEE AND NEWHAM GENERALS RINSE SET FROM LAST WEEKEND

so despite the end of the grime honeymoon (similar thoughts and concerns voiced here and here) i've been on a bit of a spending spree for grime records today. i only rarely buy grime records, as i tend to think that somehow they sound a thousand times better when they're coming out of pirate radio, but today i picked up wiley's new 12 on Dumpvalve, and ordered some new terror danjah, ruff sqwad and skepta stuff from rhythm division.

i say 'despite the end of the grime honeymoon', but i think may be the 'despite' might be better replaced by 'because'. i have two ideas on this. firstly, my recent purchases could be the equivalent of those tell-tale signs of infidelity; unusually generous gifts from yr other half. perhaps i'm somehow trying to make amends for what feels somehow like a betrayal? or, secondly, perhaps its more akin to those clamourings to experience all you've missed that you can get once you realise that you'll never be in a particular place again, like the last days of University when, finally, you do all the tourist stuff that you spent 3 years trying to avoid. perhaps this burst of buying records right now comes from the worry, or-more worringly- the realisation, that i might not be a true 'grime fan' for much longer. perhaps i'll be leaving this plac soon. perhaps i want to fill in as many gaps as i can before i move on.

but i'm overreacting. i'm not moving away from grime, not really. i'm just trying to understand what i think about it now, which i've never had to do much before, as my love for the music used to be so immediate, and so clear.
the end of the honeymoon.

those who say that the recent drop in enthusiasm for grime is just hipsters moving on to the next trend are at least partly wrong. for me and i think for many others its more complex and confusing than that: it's about trying to figure out how and where this thing fits into yr life right now, this thing that's been such a big part of yr life for years, that you've invested yrself in. i've changed, yeah, but grime's changed too.

but back to the point- wiley's 'avenger'. the a-side's OK, but i prefer grime tracks when they're fireworks, whereas this one's a ticking bomb. the b-side 'flat derik' is lovely though, with a bassline like little black holes torn into the track.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

LISTENING SINCE THE PREVIOUS POST:

MAGDA- LIVE AT TECHNIQUE, 2005
WOEBOT- 'BHANGRA SELECTION 2005'
SKREAM- 'AUGUST 05 MIX'
BANG- 'SHOOTING STAR'
DANIELE BALDELLI- 'PLUTON' (LOVELY COSMIC DISCO DOWNLOADED FROM THE MIGHTY ALLSEXISTAPE.BLOGSPOT.COM)
DANNY WEED- CREEPER.
DARKBOI, VORTEX, GRIMINAL ETC- 'UP AND COMING VOL. 1'


tired, so tired. but i must stay awake for Lost, as i am addicted. so till i can get my fix, why don't i inform and entertain you with a fireside chat about some music?

i didn't used to like Magda at all. she's part of M_nus, richie hawtin's label. she also has nice hair. when i heard her sets before, either recorded MP3s, or live at fabric, they were so dry and clicky that i couldn't really cope. (techno is a good lesson against the lazy gender stereotyping of female= soft and emotional- two of the biggest female DJs and producers, magda and Dinky, do some of the most relentlessly minimal and machinistic stuff out there. is machinistic a word? or...a neologism? let's hope its the latter. always forwards, never backwards as the saying goes...) .
so. but then i stumbled across this great mix, which you can download for no money whatsoever here:
http://www.technique.org.uk/music

and oh gosh, i should have been paying more attention to magda, it seems. this mix, a live recording of a club set, is almost embaressingly sensual, which is how i like my techno. heavy breathing and weird, cut up grunts and hiccups feature heavily and nicely messily. i also love the chicago-y, jack-y moments, with those hollow, cantering melodies.

i worry that i love techno too much actually. i think what happens is that when you listen to a lot of it, it actually reconfigures yr mind somehow, and from then on, yr thoughts beat at 120 bpm, so to speak...listening to techno, or more widely any house-derived 4/4 music, starts to be as natural as breathing. when i listen to techno, even techno that i don't really like, i still think: this is how things should be. i worry about this because, left to my own devices, i can easily spend hours listening to interminable techno mixes and, really, that can't be healthy.

but that's life as a man-machine. god i wish i was a man-machine. and Kraftwerk feel the same way

(about me, that is...).

---------------
today i listened to danny weed's 'creeper' to remind me why i started on my obsession in the first place.
-----------------
But really it's all about
bang- shooting star

the most beautiful track to be played at the overwhelmingly beautiful happyhardcore church organ recital last week. a track that stopped everyone's (understandable) laughter, and made the crowd glance into each other's increasingly teary eyes...
if you haven't heard this, and you aren't downloading it from the link above, then you are needlessly denying yrself joy.

ok! off to go and watch Lost.


till tomorrow...

Monday, May 08, 2006

LISTENING SINCE THE PREVIOUS POST:

PANTYTEC- 'MAYBE'
DOMINIK EULBERG- KREUT AND FLEUCHT MIX (SPELLING? WHO CARES)
JENNY LEWIS AND THE WATSON TWINS- 'RABBIT FUR COAT'
PAAVOHARJU- 'YHA HAMARAA'.
JOHN MAUS- 'SONGS'
TRACY AND THE PLASTICS' CULTURE FOR PIGEON'
V/A- 'STUDIO 1 SCORCHER'
DIZZEE AND NEWHAM GENERALS ON RINSE LAST NIGHT
ROLL DEEP ON RINSE LAST NIGHT
GLAMMA ON RINSE TONIGHT
MAGDA- LIVE RECORDING FROM TECHNIQUE, 2005
LIL WEAVAH- THE STREETS MIXTAPE.
FORCE AND STYLES- HEART OF GOLD
JOINING OF THE CLANS- BRAVEHEART
BANG- SHOOTING STAR
SUPERTHRILLER AND CUBAN BROS LIVE AT LOST VAGUENESS BALL (BOTH WANK)
CAT POWER- THE GREATEST
OLD NASTY CREW DEJA VU SET.
SLIPMATT AND DJ VIBES- 'BATTLE OF THE DJS MATCH 1'
JUNIOR BOYS- 'LAST EXIT'
VARIOUS PRODUCTION- 'IN THIS' 7"
UNDERGROUND RESISTANCE- 'WINDCHIME'
SKREAM- 'AUGUST 05 MIX'
BUN B- 'DRAPED UP + DRIPPED OUT' HEARD FROM PASSING CAR
PERSIL SONGS ON MYSPACE
DANANANACKROYD SONGS ON MYSPACE


so i guess the pattern is that there generally won't be posts on here over weekends. just too busy i'm afraid. but on weekdays, i'm all yrs...

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and so, with a car slowly passing by, glinting in the sun, windows down, banging out bun b's 'drapped up and dripped out', summer arrived in london. it's that simple sometimes. quick and neat.

like a good haircut, i believe.
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grime sounds very new and it sounds very old. it sounds like antique computers which have gone wrong, while trying to conduct orchestras. and sometimes it sounds dusty and fizzy with the warps of age.
blah blah blah. what's better to say here, though, is that grime isn't as good as it used to be. not nearly as good. i only realised this properly when i was on the rwdmag forum and picked up an old Nasty set from the deja vu days. and it just brought it home- things really were better in the old days. listen to a roll deep set now and a nasty set from 2003 and there's no comparison. this has saddened me for a few days. but there it is.
it's not just the NASTY MCs that wereand still are, peerless and perfect. it's those old grime productions- old jammer and wiley and danny weed and dizzee and slimting beats that were so brutally stripped down and up front and instant.

i remember reading something on techno years ago that said that techno music was like an ice berg- most of it was hidden below the surface, but that was what was keeping the whole thing going.

and i think grime is like that now. it's all atmosphere, hints, and density now. the old grime thing of being so shockingly, punch-in-the-face brazen about the sound, to the point of being cheap and tacky (these are good things) doesn't exist so much today.

i think the new haunted weights and wastes of grime were really pioneered by dj tubby and newham generals, but that kind of sound, the meditations on the sinister and the sublime, and rattling, door-slamming clangs of beats, is pretty much everywhere if you listen to the pirates today, especially on roll deep shows. i think it's probably the biggest thing that dubstep has given grime- the sonics of the two scenes are very different, but the feel of them, and their approaches, are getting very similar. grime used to kick out of your speakers, and now it sneaks up behind you.

i think that's the progression, and yeah i think it's a progression for the worse. not that i don't love the music. i always will, and that's the problem. i don't think i can ever leave this behind, no matter where it goes, and no matter how much i don't want it to go where it's going. i'm beginning to understand those people who were into jungle and then followed it into techstep, and felt alienated and confused by where the music had travelled to, but just couldn't let it go.

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and all this change is recent grime sounds is especially odd, as now more than ever grime MCs want to be crunk MCs.
may be that's what dizzee wants to be as well, i don't know. he made a surprise guest appearance on rinse last night. it's always a thrill to hear dizzee on pirate radio. obviously. but once again he was eclipsed by newham generals. particularly Footsie, bizarrely. i don't know what's happened to footsie, but he's suddenly unstoppable. i can't really get into dizzee's new flow. it's so blunt and ugly, all blocky where he used to be angled. but still, it's THAT VOICE. and it's dizzee. so, i had to listen. and i loved it. obviously.

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and one last thing briefly- check out glamma's show, 9-11 pm rinse 100.4fm on mondays. tonight he did this insane instrumental mix that sounded like 10 orchestras crashing into each other for an hour. he does frantic, heart in the mouth grime mixes better than just about anyone. just like grime used to be, perhaps.

ok, i'm going to bed. night night x x

Thursday, May 04, 2006

LISTENING SINCE THE PREVIOUS POST:

WILEY- 'JOHNNY WAS A BAD BOY'.
WOODEN WAND AND VANISHING VOICE- 'BUCK DHARMA'.
'SACRED SELECTIONS': HAPPY HARDCORE PERFORMED ON CHURCH ORGAN IN ST MATTHEW'S CHURCH, LONDON.

today summer tapped london softly on the shoulder. office blocks exhaled thousands of workers into parks. parks had trees with leaves so green they were surreal. the brunswick centre has been cleaned and sat gleaming in the sun, looking like a collection of space age beach huts nestling on huge concrete dunes.


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i saw happy hardcore performed on church organ today. i can't really explain how good it was. i'll write about it in a few days. i'm still reeling a little bit. big up matt stokes.

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'buck dharma' by wooden wand and vanishing voice is the sound of dying embers. and beautiful women who terrify everyone. and long shadows. their music glows and drips. it sounds like the confusing end to confusing parties. they make you feel happy and vaguely nauseous. listening to them, my eyes feel heavy and minutes slow down. their music is very close and drifts into the distance. they make me think of electric and wet air before storms.
so, they don't sound like today. but close. and they sound like i wish today would have been.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

LISTENING SINCE THE PREVIOUS POST:

DJ/RUPTURE- 'THUGGISH PT. 2 COMPILATION'
LUCIANO- 'SCI FI HI FI VOL.2'
SCRATCHY, MAXIMUM AND KARNAGE RINSE FM SET.

last night Scratchy taught us the correct way to say 'radio'. you've got to put a 'g' in it. so it's 'ray-dgio'. that's how you do it. i've never heard scratchy host a pirate show before; as in not just MC on it, but properly host it, telling listeners what the tracks are, sending shout outs to the extended rinse family and keeping the links alive, fielding missed calls and texts from listeners. not many people are actually good at this. Riko is the undisputed master, comign across like a grime john peel, with this easy relaxed chat about what's going on with him, football, and food. like with john peel, when riko hosts a show you just end up wanting to be mates with him. Fuda Guy's also good, because of the insane amount of enthusiasm that he has for EVERY SINGLE track that's played. it's like he's constantly awe struck at the brilliance. so, as you can imagine, i like him.

and yesterday we learnt that Scratchy's great at hosting too. he's funny. he makes up words (like 'fenergy', chrsit knows what it means...) and isn't afraid to come across a bit silly, trilling 'bree bree!' across every track. it reminded me that one of the best things about pirate radio isn't merely hearing all these intense, hardcore tracks. it's often more about just being entertained and relaxed by idle chatter and the sense of fun. it's about having a good time. with grime, that can sometimes be easy to remember. but at its heart, pirate radio is about a group of friends getting together and making each other laugh. just like Chris Moyles, then. but not shit.

Monday, May 01, 2006

LISTENING SINCE THE PREVIOUS POST:

A PARTY SPENT IN A BLUR OF SUGABABES, ALTER EGO, MATTHEW DEAR AND OTHER DANCE HITS OF TODAY.
SOME BACH. DUNNO WHAT, OBVIOUSLY.
BEANIE SIGEL, 'FEEL IT IN THE AIR'
JENNY LEWIS 'RABBIT FUR COAT'
GNARLES BARKLEY- 'CRAZY'
AN ALT.COUNTRY MIX AT WORK.
GALOPPIERENDE ZUVERSICHT- LIVE RECORDING FROM KONTROL, 2004
PIER BUCCI- 'FAMILIA'.
SKREAM, 'AUGUST '05 MIC'
DIGITALDIGIT- OLD SCHOOL RAVE MIX.
DJRUPERT- 'UNDERGROUND HOUSE MIX'
CAT POWER- 'THE GREATEST'
CAT POWER- 'DEEP INSIDE (PEEL SESSION)'
JOHN MAUS- 'SONGS'
RICHIE HAWTIN- 'DE9-LITE MIXMAG MIX'
ROLL DEEP- 'IN AT THE DEEP END'
MY FRIEND WILL TRYING TO DO 'MICROTONAL' VOCALS OVER BREAKFEST.
*A FANTASTIC ELECTROHOUSE TUNE IN WHICH MALE AND FEMALE VOCALISTS DUET, WITH A LYRIC OF 'MAKE IT RIGHT, MAKE ME FEEL...' IF ANYONE KNOWS WHAT THIS TRACK IS, PLEASE GET IN TOUCH, CUZ IT'S GORGEOUS*

you may not know this (why would you?), but i have two brothers. My older brother gets paid for doing posh things to chemicals. my younger brother is at school, and he does exams and stuff. both brothers are better than me. for partial proof, go to my little brother's blog and observe how it better than this blog.

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it's been a frantic bank holiday weekend, with little time for listening to music properly, and certainly no time to write on here. one thing i've been loving recently is richie hawtin's 'de9-lite' mix for Mixmag magazine. i'm no fan of the magazine, to say the least. and i'm not a huge fan of richie hawtin, either. may be i just got into techno to late to really 'get' the whole mystique about him. and me and jack saw him at fabric once and i thought he was gash. it was a b2b with villalobos. ricky V was left holding the pieces as richie H went on these interminable ultra-minimal bouts of harshness. i don't like the really boshy stuff. i'm too nice, coddled, bourgeois and emo.

and i found the last de9 release, 'transitions' to be pretty dull. i like minimal techno when it's all slinky and silky and sexy and feminine. but 'transitions' is a dry-as-a-bone, furrowed-brow mix that's as studious as they come. and not much fun. it builds and builds slowly, imperceptibly which is all very nice and graceful but it's not going to get you shaking a leg. and i'm not sure about the point of techno that doesn't make you want to dance.

but anyway, back to the Mixmag mix. It's great! even the sleeparchive track, which richie hawtin describes as a 'mind game' not a 'dance game' (alarm bells!) is actually a beating heart of dancefloor fun. the last two tracks- by man of the moment Alex Under and Loco Dice- in particular are astounding: skewed, thrilling techno that plunges through twists and turns, leaving you dizzy. i think the 'lite' format works well for richie hawtin. the full-fat version can just get too wanky, too caught up in the planning and the concept. whereas , the mixmag mix has a feeling of excitement and spontaneity to it. it gets straight to the point. sometimes simplicity- just banging it out- can be best.

but, i'm still not sure why he's officially regarded as a Techno God.

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so, Gnarles Barkley, 'Crazy'. so, so, so. i'm not sure about this one. sure, it's pretty and breezy and it sounds of summer. but when i hear it i get this weird feeling of emptiness. likes there's just a hollowness at the centre of it. each and every little bit of it is great, but when it's all put together there's something missing.

i don't know exactly what that something is, but here's my suspicion: i think Gnarles Barkley, deep down, might think that they're not 'just' a pop band; may be, even, that they're somehow above pop. but that kind of attitude is fatal in pop music. it's all or nothing. any glint of self-consciousness, or doubt about the worthiness of yr station, detroys the fantasy, utterly. pop should be brazen and so self-confident that it's actually weirdly ego-less: there can be no shame in pop. 'crazy' is a pop song, but i'm not sure that it was written and performed by people who would be happy to said to be writing pop songs. and that may be the emptiness at the heart of it.
but, as i said, that's just a suspicion. something's missing, though, definitely.