Thursday, December 07, 2006
Sometimes I wish I could be an ethnomusicologist, cos I absolutely delight in taking bits of music apart and looking at all the pieces, and the idea of relating some of the pieces to different geographies and biographies seems like a great thing to spend one's days doing.
So I read wayne's recent post on the themes running through his brand new Blogariddim mix with joy - all illustrated with pictures for rhythms and cute samples. [Them thar riddimmethodists have got lots to answer for, in my mind, not only for their projects of proselytising about mashups, which are pretty addictive, but also because they've introduced this new musical notation. Where formerly, music was formally represented by staves'n'quavers, and then shapes and so on, wayne's made it de rigueur to present a snapshot of a soft synth, or a scene from ableton live, or a bit of reason].
Sadly, the closest I'm gonna get to working on this sort of thing academically is by presenting some of his observations in an epistemology lecture in an effort to wake my students out of their slumbers. But hey, given you're probably not gonna sit in one of my classes, go read his post. It's his work, I don't wanna plagiarise at you.
Other lovely lovely stuff is this 'ere Monkey Steak remix of 'haiku', available (soon?) on Combat records. You can hear a sample here.
As you can hear, it's a lightly tripping 2stepper, fiddling with itself using a rubberized bass bounce (sourced from the original Stormfield production) in an urgent yet dainty manner. And, as that slightly convoluted metaphor would suggest, there's something about it which feels a little bit dirty.
As you well know, the 'Steak are the boys behind the massive Lighthouse Dub on Punch Drunk records, closely affiliated with Bristol's best record shop. The Lighthouse has been doing some impressive rounds, and appeared on kid kameleon's exceptionally tasteful dubstep mix for xlr8r a little over a month ago.
Moreover, 50% of Monkey Steak are heading up to Sheffield for our next c90 bash in February - we're proudly putting on Sam (Monkey Steak) Atki2 alongside Bristol's other dubstep luminary, Pinch. You may recall that Pinch has remixed a couple of Sam's releases, and it's clear that these guys operate well together, so it should be an exciting night.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
The Heatwave crew and a whole load of affiliates have been putting out the Blogariddims 60minute podcasts for nearly 6months now, and their tenth, as Wayne points out, is pretty dedamnably exceptional. Clockin in at around 90minutes, the idea's to go through the history of the UK MC:
"An England Story is our personal take on the history of MCing in England, and this mix by no means purports to be a definitive or chronological account of the past 20+ years. But it has ended up including tracks from most years since 1984 and as far as possible we've tried to represent all the big players. For reasons of space and also of not having material on vinyl, we've had to exclude tracks from the likes of of Deman Rockers, Asher Senator, Roots Manuva and London Posse - there's more than enough material for several other mixes, and a volume two is definitely in the pipeline..."
The tracklist is heavyweight, a great mix of uk hiphop, grime, triphop, dubsteppishness, and dancehall vibes. Go subscribe to the podcast immediately using this here feed, and go download the mix there.
1. YT - England Story, Sleng Teng remix (Sativa Records, 2006)
2. Kenny Knots - Watch How The People Dancing (Unity Sounds, 1986)
3. Ackie - Call Me Rambo (Heavyweight, 1986)
4. Rodney P - Riddim Killa (Low Life, 2002)
5. Estelle & Joni Rewind - Uptown Top Rankin' (Ill Flava, 2002)
6. Blak Twang - Red Letters (Blakjam, 1998)
7. Top Cat - Love Me Ses (Dance Vibes, 1988)
8. Glamma Kid - Fashion Magazine (Mafia & Fluxy, 1995)
9. General Levy - The Wig (Fashion, 1992)
10. Tubby T - Ready She Ready (Big League, 2003)
11. LD aka Da Riddla - Peace Ah Dat (Freedom Sounds, 2004)
12. Apache Indian - Chok There, Bombay remix (Island, 1993)
13. Jay Sean, Juggy D & Rishi Rich - Dance With You, Diwali remix (Relentless, 2003)
14. Dynamite MC & Emptyheads - Shake, Jstar remix (Surface2air, 2006)
15. Troublesome - More Girls, R'n'B mix (Mafia & Fluxy, 2000)
16. Yungun - Push (Heatwave special, 2005)
17. Shizzle - Rotate Dem (Kray Twinz, 2006)
18. Roll Deep - When I'm 'Ere (Relentless, 2005)
19. Slew Dem feat Jammer, G Man, Shorty Smalls, Ears, Chronik, Kraze & Knuckles - Joy Ride (Slew Dem, 2006)
20. Rossi B & Luca - Run 4 Cover (white label, 2005)
21. Klashnekoff - Jamrock Freestyle (white label, 2005)
22. Tippa Irie - Complain Neighbour (UK Bubblers, 1985)
23. Papa Levi - My God My King (Taxi, 1984)
24. Tenor Fly - Bump & Grind (9 Lives, 1994)
25. Massive Attack - Daydreaming (Wild Bunch, 1990)
26. Skibadee - Tika Toc (Ahead Of The Game, 2006)
27. Lady Sovereign & Riko - Random, Menta remix (Casual, 2004)
28. Dizzee Rascal - I Luv U (XL Recordings, 2003)
29. Lady Stush - Dollar Sign (Social Circles, 2002)
30. Warrior Queen & Sunship - Almighty Father (Casual, 2004)
31. Tricky - Hell Is Round The Corner (Fourth & Broadway, 1995)
32. Suncycle - Somebody (Jamdown, 2004)
33. Blackout JA & Marley - Hot Show (Ball A Fire Muzik, 2004)
34. Navigator & Freestylers - Ruffneck (Freskanova, 1998)
35. General Levy & M-Beat - Incredible (Renk, 1994)
36. UK Apachi & Shy FX - Original Nuttah, Bhangra Jungle remix (SOUR, 1994)
37. Top Cat, Shy FX & T Power - Everyday (Digital Soundboy, 2006)
38. Jakes & TC - Deep (DSR, 2006)
39. Smiley Culture - Police Officer (Fashion, 1984)
40. Jah Screechy - Walk & Skank (Blacker Dread, 1984)
yes yes, that's right, the next c90's on dec 1st
we're hosting the cream of the skam stable (and other suitably mixed metaphors):
head to www.c90.org for more info.
pikcha of poster by dust
Friday, November 17, 2006
710 - Dwayne Sodaberk, from the LP 'Cut Open' 2006 on tigerbeat6 [buyable]
[A voice-over with matronly tones recalls "as a child he always seemed more interested in the boxes that the toys came in..."]
I keep half-remembering conversations and trying to work out who I had them with. I have a feeling that I've met someone very interesting quite recently - was it yesterday? - and that we had talked about Anthony Burgess. I think there was more Enderby in the conversation than there was Orange, which was what made the conversation so charming. I recall that parting comments involved the new-to-paperback biography by Andrew Biswell, (titled 'The Real
Life of Anthony Burgess' because the 'the author and composer was a notorious fabulist of his own history").
Sadly, I suspect the conversation was merely dreamt, although it's encouraging to note that I find myself to make an engaging interlocutor.
Dreaming And Remembering - Jason Forrest feat. Timeblind, from the LP 'Shamelessly Exciting' 2006 on CockRockDisco [Buyable]
Making yourself fabulously essential is also the work of fabulation. One of those britprop wunderkinder Menswe@r said that he'd wanted one of those belts that linked with two S-shaped hooks, so he mentioned it on a radio show and lots of adoring listeners sent some in. These might be the entirely reasonable wages of such celebrity, but how do you get on that show in the first place so that you can make these entirely reasonable demands?
One way is to make sure that people think that other people pay you these respects already, with the intention that other people jump on the bandwagon, desperate to have a part of that action, struck by the unbearable thought that they might be behind-the-times and outmoded because they haven't yet partaken in this feast of altruism.
Sometimes people jump onboard because of who is already there, sometimes because they don't want to be left behind, and sometimes they jump just because you've given them something to jump on to / somewhere else to jump. But it definitely seems to help if you make it clear that you'll be doing this anyway, getting on with it regardless of whether they join in or not.
The rumour breathlessly accelerated all round the school-yard - "Darren's got a gang, and you're only in if he says you are". It fell in new ears, untouched by playground lore, ears so young that they hadn't yet felt the ruddy rugby blows of winter, curled as they were inside balaclavas, heads-down over conkers and pieces of string. But inside, each person who heard the rumour felt its resonance and recognised it; secretly, they each wanted to be in.
"Jon says you've got a gang." "That's right" said Darren. And then they asked his permission to join, and it was up to him if they could.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Forward to Feb '06, and me, the Bomb, my bro & sis-in-law went over to Amsterdam for the Sonic Acts XI festival of computer art, where /rupture was curating the lineup for the friday night (featuring himself with Andy Moor (the Ex), Vex'd, Scotch Egg, Shadetek, Sheen, the Bug - yeah, I know, it's funny that so many of these have played c90 huh - and Filastine, who's playing c90 on nov 9th).
While we were in the city, we headed up to the SMCS - Amsterdam's finest gallery for contemporary artwork - which was situated temporarily (though brilliantly, it should permanently rest there) in an old concrete post office building at the ports to the east of the main station - like an old GDR building.
Therein was an exhibition by Shirin Neshat - and this 'ere SMCS webpage has some samples of her video work for you to check out: I strongly recommend you do so. The exhibition was pretty overwhelming - several of the video installations featured two screens opposing each other, so that the exhibitee has to stand against the wall so as to avoid occluding either image from any other exhibitees. The films shown on each screen were shot in a rich textured b&w, and played sequences at counterpoint to each other. Perhaps the most affecting of these was Turbulent - on one screen a loan woman in black stands on an empty stage before an empty auditorium, the camera sweeping close around her as she waits with a patient expression. On the other screen, a man in white stands on a stage crowded with musicians before an auditorium filled with men, and as he begins to sing a solo serenade the crowd smile and relax. The woman listens without responding, unmoving and unmoved. When he finishes, to applause, she looks down and prepares herself and then begins, and all the men freeze, listening intently to her almost-primal performance. As a member of a midway audience in the exhibition, you instantly feel trapped, compelled to listen and not to turn away, but also to look to the other screen and see the reactions of the full auditorium behind.
During another screen-to-screen installation, Rapture, I started to hear that haunting refrain that had kicked off the /rupture set back in November. It felt odd to make a link like that, particularly as we'd come to Amsterdam to see /rupture again - but here it was, circling and swirling as a group of black-clad women launched a boat in a stone coloured sea, while behind me men swarmed over a ruined castle, watching their efforts. The voice is that of the woman-in-black in Turbulent, Sussan Deyhim, singing music which was written especially for these films in collaboration with Shirin Neshat.
So let me share some of this stuff. Click here to go to sendspace to download the first three minutes of /rupture's set at c90 featuring a collision of the neptunes with Rapture, the soundtrack to Shirin Neshat's video piece as performed by Sussan Deyhim.
And if you click here you'll get to download a bit of the original soundtrack - which, moreover, is streamable and buyable here. Head to that stream to hear the awesome (and frightening) performance in Turbulent.
Oh, and a repost for Sparky - click here for that recording I made from the crowd using my Nokia6230 at the Limassol wine festival of that live rembetiko group. Enjoy!
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Should be a good party, those Designer's Republic guys have got a whole 'sensory overload' theme planned, and so we're planning to play some sort of it's-too-much-i-tell-you sonic accompaniment. Free, so it can't hurt you too much, right?
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Get yerself over to Rare And Racy and buy a whole load of obscure jazz records, noise CDRs and out of print and hard to find books asap, cos the council's discussing making life hard for 'em in an effort to get another identikit stylish bar in there instead...
(Then volunteer to do something for the benefit gig, and then go to the gig:
See you in there (virtually or otherwise).
Friday, September 22, 2006
In other news...
Cyprus was a blast. We went to a wine festival in Lemessos 'cos I'd heard that there was gonna be some raw Rembetiko. And there was. And there was free wine. Perfick.
The fella below was playing a Baglama, a half-sized bazouki that pretty much defines the Pireas style of rembetika. It's so small you can hardly see the tear-drop shaped bowl behind his hands.
In Greece (and Greek-cyprus, and whereever people gather to talk greek), 'baglama' is used as an affectionate put-down or insult - like calling someone a 'pecker' I guess, "you're so small I can hardly see you behind my fists".
Here's an mp3 of my attempt at a field-recording. Yeah, it's well tinny, but you can hear the interplay of the bazouki and the baglama - some great call&response and devastating polyphony. The strange thing is that the performance of this music feels so relaxed that you could almost believe that it was improvised.
Friday, September 01, 2006
Can't find much about the band that conjured up his fiend. The press releases tell us that "'Dracula' is by Piramis, a Greek prog-rock outfit who excel themselves on this stunning rock disco cut with insane vocals and freaky electronic experimentation." Further details on the now defunct Hungarotun records website are all Greek to me...
While we're speaking of such Hellenic things, I'm off to the lower bit of Cyprus, hungry to sample some Rembetika. I'm a recent convert, thanks to an introductory cdr I gratefully received from Sparky:
So here's a couple of historically disparate tracks taken from Matt Barrett's Guide to Rembetika page, where he's got plenty more:
Friday, August 25, 2006
Just one mp3 this week - been busy with tings an ting. It's off an old Pete Tosh tape that I've had kickin around since I came across it while going through a dead man's things about eight years ago. Dunno what the album's called cos the inlay's missing and the print on the tape was faded, but I've seen an LP called 'Bush Doctor Live' which has a very similar track list to side A, which is the 'live' side of this tape. This is the third song on side 2, a dubbed out studio FX-ed recording called 'Vampires'. Spose I could go to discogs and have a dig, but I'll leave that to you, it'll give you somethin to do while you listen to...
It's a bassy half-stepper, pure dubstep-roots vibes, with some crisp skipping-triplet hi-hats in the left, a snare crack that phases left to right each bar, and some zoned-out reverb catching and throwing some of the vox (esp. "fire burn-burn-burn-burn-burn..."). But what guarantees this track a deservedly central place in these dubstep times are the noisy atmospherics - not only has it got white-out noise fanflares, but it's also laced with wolf howls and eldritch screams from the get go.
The 'vampire' theme came to mind following South Africa's dogged reassertion that garlic and lemon juice are satisfactory sources of protection against (and CURES for) AIDS and HIV.
you fight against integrity
fight against everything good for the younger generation
unnu old vampire
only trod upon creation
with your bloody meditation
unnu set of vampire
[also, got some feedback from certain parties sayin they couldn't ever find the mp3s - here's the deal: click on the track name, and it'll take you to a download site. They stay up for about 7days after posting, but I can renew any anytime you like - gonna sort out so they stay up longer soon]
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
But I gotta say, and this is happening more and more, that it was a relief to discover that Polar had a website-website, instead of relying simply on a mice pace site [we know that the repetition of a noun changes its referent if we emphasise its first occurence: if I'm going home then I'm going to where I sleep at the moment, and if I'm going home home, then I'm going to where I came from (origins, roots, family's residence); if I intend to have a drink then I'm probably thirsty, but if, yes, I'm going for a drink drink, then I won't be driving home, or home home, later].
The problem is analogous to the plight of street theatre. [Should I leave that statement hanging rather than qualify it, just to see whether this is a commonplace intuition?].
I mean that for a while, if not many long years, there's been a sort of international tradition of people doing some sort of improvised entertainment in public places, and it's died a death. Yeah, busking still sort of goes on - in our city it's either vain young men peacock-strutting their pubsescent voices and conceited covers, or it's earnest willowy girls with rabbit-in-headlight eyes struggling through baroque violin concertos. But while universally loathed, the traditions of jugglism and mime (and associated clowning) seem to have started to die out. [This is empirical claim is justified on the grounds of some localised anecdotal evidence: London's Covent Garden and South Bank, Barcelona's Ramblas, Prague's central pedestrian areas, Parisian and Brussellian plazas]. And the reason is down to the fact that it's simply easier to copy all the other unimaginative ARTISTS who paint themselves a shade of grey and stand still for a living.
I've no doubt that there are people who go to imaginative and extravagent lengths to make themselves statue-like (while only rarely being statuesque).
But the point is that for the most part you get someone who says 'oh right, all I gotta do is put some sort of costume on, and then if I stand still enough all the tourists'll give me money'.
No one should claim that these guys are doing a great job of contributing to a rich and varied historical tradition - they're cashing in, they've seen a few people get some moderate success from doing something that's easily emulated and they do the same cos it takes less effort (street theatre with no thinking required). Outside the National Film Theatre I saw a dude in a fancy-dress-hire-shop Tellytubby outfit...
So yeah, there's something similarly lame about myspace. You meet a bunch of talented individuals, or you hear some track that someone sends 'round to you, and you wanna go look them up online, and the only way that they've decided that they'll use the internet is to get a myspace site.. Well, some people have had some moderate success from using it, so hey, why try harder?
Alright, I'm purged. Hypocritical philippic finished. Have some music.
C/Z records (an authentically grungey label out of Seattle that put out Melvins and proto-Pearl Jam records before SubPop even existed) - buyable
#1 - Guilty Pleasure
In discussion with Sam Atki2 about the origin of his Guilty Pleasures EP, it seems that a taste for bouncy 2steppy garagey tracks is never far away. I've come here to confess the following indulgence, a white label that came my way in 2000, but which is probably older, and which I've had on heavy rotation when there's no-one around.
unknown - text me (white label)
Yeah, that's a killer vocal I know. Sadly no instrumental on the flip, just the same vocal with a less-interesting r'n'b loop instead of this cheap'n'genuis UK garage riff. Steal it somebody please.
#2 - Le Plaisier du Bounce
If any of you've been following the beat research going on over at the riddim method, you'll probably have heard or read about Dj C et al's Boston Bounce. If you haven't, I hereby encourage you to head here and then listen here. But this here next track ain't no Boston Bounce, it's a Brixton thing. And while the research centres might be geographically and even motivationally distinct, there's this methodological norm in common: Make The Accents In Your Rhythm Flip And Bounce, Snap Head Nodding Beats Like An Off-Centred Cam.
Actress - Mentor (Werk Discs)
#3 - Pleasures of the Night
Great recommendation from Juliun, but I ain't allowed to make confessions on anyone else's behalf, so for any eavesdropping deity, let's get the score clear.
His sin = leading into temptation.
Mine = acoustic avarice.
The Temptation = Goth Trad.
Goth Trad - Acid Steps (off his Mad Raver's DanceFloor on PopGroup Recordings)
Goth Trad makes sounds using his own 'music effector', which is sort of like a big nasty ball of springs and electricity. Einsturzende in a TV repair shop instead of a scrapyard. Acid Steps is a great example of the temptation - yeah, those first 4 bars got you expecting some Wiley beats: string stabs that shout 'preset' at you. But in rumbles a rhythm from a different age altogether, more 2badmice than mo'fire crew.
Friday, August 11, 2006
Speaking of things continental, there's been some discussion about how us enlightened northern brits see our relationship with mainland europeans. Our philosophy department here in sheffield's getting a healthy turnover of fun young european philosophers, and it's been interesting to work out how best to play the good host. But both Albert and Pepé (who've recently returned to Spain) commented how refreshing it is to be in a place where other people tend to leave you alone; under the title of 'respecting privacy' it seems that british reservation can be a welcome quality. I was left wishing that I'd been more engaging / inclusive / gregarious around these guys, but perhaps (it transpires) that's just a misplaced desire to emulate what I'd perceived to be a closer and more fraternal continental style of relationship. And it's probably a false conception, coming from a sort of mistaken and romantic idea I have about cultures with better cafes having better conversations/alists.
Still, convinced that I don't merely mistakenly fetishize foreignness, I went and delved through a stack of records I bought at various markets around Normandy four years ago. Aznavour 'as solutions, duetting with a mate (or himself?) about how he doesn't ever want to forget his amies, his amoures, nor his emmerdes.
Charles Aznavour - Mes Emmerdes
No opportunity for many emmerdes with Glemor as I can't even get more than a few words at a time out of him, his accent's a bit too strong for my peasant-French. But this is a record about which I have no conceptions, and so no misconceptions, and about which I have only the slightest romance, given I bought it on the strength of the cover alone and was happy to discover that the photo is an accurate representation of the sound within.
Glenmor - Vous Donne
It's a unified and enigmatic package. Serious eyes in a face that droops wearily (wisely?) Is Glemor smiling? Is Glenmor friendly? Does Glenmor tell the truth?
Friday, August 04, 2006
Followin up from the informative and generous mego post over on the wirewool recently, I figured I'd make mention of a couple of favourites.
MASSIMO - from 2001's "Baby Let Me See Your USB (And I'll Show You My FireWire)"
massimo - fierce sailor
[First stumbling block: how to get a 3" cd in and out of a mac cd drive?]. It's amazing what this man can do with just a trumpet and some sort of infernal noise machine. I'd thought about including this track as part of my on-going ever-evolving Compilation of Pieces Using Dot Matrix Printers until a glance inside the sleeve revealed the claim that "this +20db session was done by massimo with just one trumpet". Hmmm.
But yeah, that ain't no trumpet you're looking at, it's a firewire. A little while back there was some sort of internet hi-jinx over at the sony.com site: a search for "USB and Firewire" included the 'pornographic' image above in the results. (The humanity! Never before has the innocent internet user been so besieged by explicit content).
Next up, ILSA GOLD - Trashcan Session [live from the Funkhaus] - from 2003's "Regretten? Rien!"
Ilsa Gold - Trashcan Session
The whole of Regretten? Rien! totally caught me off guard. At the time I'd been reading staalplaat's "Vital Weekly" newsletter...
(Now available as a podcast, a great idea, except that the audio format means that I started to stop reading Frans de Waard's et al's thoughtful, slightly detached reviews, which often finish with phrases like "A very nice compilation" and "But overall this is quite a nice release, although, like many others these days, maybe a bit too lengthy for my taste")
... and while I was in Amsterdam I visited the staalplaat store (now in berlin) with the express intention to check this out. The first (4second) track "Intro: Dreimal Roggenbrot" is just a three-note casio keyboard motif and a couple of heavy bass kicks (those which appear later on #7's "New York") and then you're into 'Silke' - with a german welcome to the rave cave. But I was standing there listening, leaning up against a wall covered in european arthaus 'zines, expecting this to be a double CD full of acid squiggles and 909 kick drums, when it hits into a whole load of german language talk radio. As | don't share the tongue, I can only report that I'm just vaguely aware that there's some messing around in the radio studio, but I guess I miss out on most of what's going on. So yeah, Trashcan Session is a great example - snippets of german radio, a voice interrupts and changes the track, and all the while one or other of the Ilsa's has got his hands on some midi triggers, pushing pads to get a kick bouncing and a handclap beating along under the AOR / pop records. That track they're singing with at 4m44s keeps coming back throughout the double CD, ultimately blending into the final raveup that is 'Eggs They See', their (original?) version of that riff wot underworld used in that 'born slippy'. "Overall" as FdW would say "a fine tradition. It's good to see people doing this again."
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Sometimes you can be too busy - that's kinda obvious. But the trick is being too busy doing not-enough: that's rollercoasting. I've been flat out kickin my heels for a fortnight that I can't get down to anything. I'm full time doing nothing now.
Valencia (more to follow):
- where James Turrell sets up new churches in and out of doors to provide contemplative spaces for today's rushed and anxious art audiences.
- where Kenny Hunter takes artworks out of the city and puts them in a gallery.
And other frivolities as yet undocumented by available .jpegs.
Earswise, I finally got round to grabbing some of the other tracks off Xinlisupreme's Neinfuturer LP from their site - submergence for free.. Also picked up some magda mixes live at technique in leeds 2005 through the powah of ggl which I'm feeling immense about.
Herbert's Scale is smoother than I'd expected - really diggin the way he's using the big band now: subtle and charming, with some on-the-money production that lets it sound really (for want of a better word) authentic. Dani's vox are the best she's done on a Herbert release, with the possible exception of the 'drop like this' Akufen remix. More listening than can mention, as ever. Back wit more soon.