Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Go Lower

Yo. A holler to put this mix on yer radar if it ain't already.

It's a mix by them Faggerrttttronixxx boys over at Lower End Spasm for FACT magazine, and it's got the FLEX! Go grab it now.

The tasty grime / Niche / Bmore tracklist includes some Dexplicit and Radioclit, an edit/megamix of Skepta riddims, and three tracks involving Drop The Lime (some under the Curses! alias). It's really pretty satisfying to see that DTL's getting the attention he deserves - me and the Bomb have been talking for a while now about how anyday soon his sound is gonna go overground all of a sudden. That 16year-old girl on the back of the late bus'll be playing Curses! mpfrees off her Nokia6320. Judging by the reactions to the recent T&B sets at Fabric, the time is not long.

And he's long overdue more credit; the man is working HARD, putting out remixes and tracks non-stop. There's also something enticing about his own output - there's that lingering feeling for the dedicated listener that they've witnessed something a little bit intimate, a slice of something personal just-revealed, and it's those tentative suggestions that we're being allowed to share something private that makes us come back for more. It's not all about the trouble and bass all of the time.

Finally, the mix ends with the Boy 8-Bit's simple remix of Burial's 'Archangel', the track off the much-blogged Untrue LP that has the most euphoric rave vocal of them all. The remix is grabbable from discobelle, where they astutely observe that it's a very basic addition of a very basic electro beat, just intended to give more of a dancefloor vibe to this hypnotic track. Jace Rupture just pointed out that such remixing decisions are overused. Yup, guilty as charged with that Kisssss remix from the last post I just did. I guess when it comes to making decisions, there's a problem with falling back on borrowing the tropes of the time.

Blackdown laments that major dubstep artists have had to make such quick decisions because their scene's got them so busy that they haven't been able to work at their ideas, or the articulation of their ideas. They just deliver the goods, what's expected of them, all the right noises in the right sort of order. Nothing that intimate getting out. You start thinking of audiences as having a rather stupid herd mentality - just push the button and they flip out; don't push the button and they leave unsatisfied, and prefer the next guy who did press the button. We know that a scene's increasing popularity increases the contempt its admirers had for it - that's just backlash economics. But what a shame if popularity causes the artists to disparage the scene - perhaps that's part of what happened with Dizzee. Lets hope it doesn't happen with DTL, cos he's going up there.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Weddin Bells & Kissez

Yes yes yes, wedding season calls for a remix! In honour of a forthcomin bash to celebrate the union of two lovely peoples, I've thrown this track together:

I've been playin' 'I Was Made For Lovin You' as part of a bouncy set for a couple of years now, it's a nice camp klassik. I just wanted to chuck on a bit of extra bass'n'zing for this ever-so-special occasion (props to DJ C for his filter 101 class). It cuts well with a lot of the high-quality bmore'n'house dancefloor-focussed tracks I keep grabbin' from discobelle and curb crawlers. Keep it rolllllllllllllin....

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

What Isn't In Between


I picked up Aaron Spectre's LP 'Lost Tracks' earlier this year (on Ad Noiseam), and totally intended to write about it. But having formed the intention, I must've felt I'd thereby exhausted it. So, big oversight...
I'm going from memory, cos the liner notes are in the CD which is in my other life daaan saaf. All I got here is my itunes and a bad record for recall. As I remember, the cover artwork is photos taken by Kevin Martin, (who I'm assuming is Kevin 'The Bug' Martin) - they're all haunting shots of the Lebanese state railway that's 'fallen' into disuse, to the extent that entire trees grow between the tracks. The first impression of the pictures are of charming light, only a second glance reveals the turmoil.

And that's a direct inversion of Aaron Spectre's usual output: raggasonic breakcore. His digi-grindcore Drumcorps guise (on CockRockDisco and Kriss) is all about the harsh surface impression. But Spectre's breakcore tracks (especially 'Evil Most Foul' on death$ucker) and general hard-styles outputs are essential listening for the very reason that there's loads going on in the interior, unlike some of his contemporaries. They bear repeated listening exceptionally well - the music doesn't give up its secrets, or become transparent or formulaic with familiarity.

So this release is quite an exception to his established output - it's not about savage dancefloor destruction, instead it's a kind-of meditation on consonance and conciliation. I read some reviews which drew comparisons between 'Lost Tracks' and Ulrich Schnauss's shoegazing styles. They both take warm, melancholy tinged motifs and wrap themselves up in sustained sounds that embrace and decay. But while Schnauss is into an MBV 'Loveless' wall/sound, Sceptre works out at a purer, clearer pitch. There's a track called 'Dulcimer', and features the bell-like notes of a dulcimer dropping like glass tears; fuzz free, crystal clarity. In fact, while there are crunching rhythms and dsp effects throughout the LP, the most pervasive and successful achievements are the melodies. Sometimes they're upfront, as with 'Dulcimer', cracking the surface. Else where they're diffuse, moving on top of tonal progressions, yet partially submerged within them. On this score at least, this LP brought The Durruti Column to mind, and I thought a Compare And Contrast could be informative:

Monday, September 10, 2007


Another one going back a couple of weeks, but I gotta rave (albeit quickly) about the Young Dot LP [not mixtape] 'This Is The Beginning' that I heard c/o dot-alt. It's a quickfire, solidly-grime collection of tracks that fit together in the complete and satisfying way that an album should do. It's got forward-looking rhymes - sure, there are 'I came from here, this is where I grew up, this was the scene, what has happened' retrospective moments, but the mood is aspirational: there's no question that grime has a future, in fact, the question doesn't even come up...

Like the majority of the grime repertoire, a lot of the themes of the tracks are self-regarding - five of the fourteen tracks have 'I' in the title - but there are quality bars throughout: "I beg you don't get rude, you'll only find out yer dad's a wanker and you came from a test-tube" and a bit later "I wanna get the dough that Nelly gets, so I'm gonna break fast like Ready-Brek". There's some raw cut beats - the neck snapping rhythms on 'Think Your A Top MC' syncopate with a mushrooming descending bassline. Even more notable is the fact that Dot Rotten is interested in flexing his chorister's cords - the album has a backdrop of pseudo-operatic sung harmonies. 'I've Been Broke So Long' has vocal breaks that manage to take a rise out of R.Kelly's HiphOpera hobbyism, and at the same time manage to keep a UK styling - Dot manages to sound London even when singing 'Ahhhh'.

There's a slew of bars on Wiley's 'Gangsters' rhythm, but you feel the fronting isn't the most important feature of the track (since "me and my gang we tend to get respect" is quite a modest claim). Here's the point - it's a massive instrumental, and everybody wants to get some rhymes on it, but Y. Dot goes a bit further. 'Top Gangsters' adds extra bassbeats, rolls the rhythm from bar to bar, and by the final verses he's chopped the beat to shreds, splicing in extra snares and hooks. The production isn't as sparse as Wiley's version, but carries and builds tension throughout.

The beat chopping and splicing is in greatest effect on 'I Violate Cause I'm A Sinner', reworking the Various Production tune 'Hater' that already got worked out in Wiley's 'I'm A Sinner' that you heard on War Report volume 1. Where Wiley superimposed the sound of Darth Vader breathing deeply, Dot's packs in a warm humming Light-Sabre sound effect by cutting and gating the bassline. Wiley dropped all of the original vocal except the 'I'm A Sinner' - Dot keeps the line and does a mean imitation, singing 'I Violate' in a similarly effected vocal style. Check it:
Young Dot - I Violate Cause I'm A Sinner - (4mins 00sec, 9.8mb, 320kbps) [zshare]

And best of all, it seems Y-Dot has made the whole LP available for free as a download, and it seems it might be that you could pick it up on the internet. Have it.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Rush Assembly

My ability to focus has been exhausted by the following, which took four years to make, but which was finally assembled as if in a rush:

Not having any pressing deadline o'erhangin my life any more, I can get back to normal routines. So this morning I started listening to music using more than one turntable again, and because I figured I'd get back online today I also recorded what I played to myself. So here's a hastily assembled mix:

Done In Mix.mp3 - 20m54secs - 27mb - 128kbps [zshare]

1. Group Doueh - "Wazan Samat" from Guitar Music From The Western Saharah [Sublime Frequencies]
2. J-Dilla - "Jungle Love" from The Shining Instrumentals [BBE]
3. DMX Crew - "Space" from Collapse of the Wave Function vol.1 [Rephlex]
4. Modeselektor / NinjaMan - "Weed Wid Da Macka" [Shockout]
5. DJ C / Johnny P - "Seaya Face and P J Body" [Shockout]
6. Assassin - "Boring Gal" on Stage Time rhythm [Birchill records]
7. Beenie Man - "Real Badman" on Stage Time rhythm [Birchill records]
8. Elephant Man - "Nu Fi" on Stage Time rhythm [Birchill records]
9. DJ/rupture - "Options" from Miss Nemesis 7" [Ek-ke Records]
10. Disrupt (Jahtari) - "Tubby ROM Module" from Tubby ROM Module / Foundation Bit 12" [Werk]

Ten in twenty minutes, as if in a rush... Why do we try to do so much at once? And if I'd taken more than one stab at it, I could've made those segues a bit smoother. No quality control, some people. No patience.

Besides the above, I've also been listening to the following, and it follows that you should do so too, since if I'd written about it at the time you probably would have done, so go do so now:
  • Prancehall's killer 'Anger Is A Gift' mix of grime-plus. Go here for the original post, where new uploads are getting listed, or try downloading here [sendspace]. Excellent stuff, some great exclusives. Lovely bit of Jammer on Britney's 'Toxic', and a slice of that 'Down Down Down and Out' spiritual from Bugsy Malone. Hot hot hot.
  • Timeblind's collision of miminal with dubstep, the 'Fauna' mix, downloadable here [direct]. Original post and tracklist here.
  • DJ/rupture's radio show on - which has had guest slots from Drop The Lime, Skull Disco, The Heatwave and many more. Summer's going quickly like this.
  • Word The Cat's Bassline mix - download it here [direct] and read the post and tracklist here.
  • The latest blogariddims podcasts, which include some hot Spanish flavours [direct] from The Heatwave and an icy fresh delivery of Basic Channel tech/dub styles on the mix [direct] from Gutterbreakz (full description here).
  • Philip Sherburne's 'Chips the Light Fantastic' mix of recent and as-yet-unreleased minimal zounds, mostly white label materials it seems. Thread here, although it's unlikely there'll ever be a tracklist. Try downloading here [zshare], or check the thread for details of more dl-points.
  • This one's going back quite a bit (to June), but then hell, why shouldn't I, the music's fresh (and probably still unreleased), and you might've missed it if you weren't watching the same channels as me - we shouldn't rush away so quick from mixes that sound good and which their creators have actually spent some time and thought in constructing. So: I've been listening to Matt Shadetek's "More Fire More Bass" mix on heavy repeat - largely 'cos I love the way that "Bumbaclat Badman" by Chronkik feat. Skepta, Wiley & Esko works in the mix, and because I'm diggin all the Shadetek and Drop The Lime exclusives. Post and tracklist are here and the mix is downloadable here [direct].
  • "Simon's Slow Music From Africa" mixtape, downloadable here [zshare], found c/o the excellent Awesome Tapes From Africa blog, where you can find the tracklist. Thanks to Jules for pushing this one my way. Highlights of the mix include Camayenne Sofa and Number One du Senegal - crackin stuff.
  • A regular drip-feed of 'blog house' .mp3s from those crazy Scandinavians over at - lots of Lily Allen, Sinden, Daft-Punk-esque filter house, crunk and related things. I seem to have acquired a form of filter-listening - a lot of discobelle circulations get listened to only once before I delete them. It's not that I dislike the music, it's just that it fits into a very functional template, so I go through it once, hear what's going on, appreciate it for what it does or otherwise, and move on... Not rushing, it's just cos I'm listening to dancefloor music without being anywhere near one, so I don't savour or save it. Huh.
Keep on.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Sask and Back

I just got back from Toronto, as well as Saskatoon, Canada's 'Paris in the Prairies'. Travel, as you know, maudlins the mind. So here's some music for getting back in to doing all of the same things that you were doing before you stopped doing them so that you could do something else. The track captures a moment of pristine experience, the autumn of reflection, and the presence of an absence. With rave stabs.

Wasteland - In Your Sleep - from October (Transparent, 2004) 3m58s 5.69mb

Have some kleenex handy, this might get emotional.

(Props to Jon for the late-night word on this.)

Some great news - PUZZLEWEAZEL has a new LP out on Sublight called EX-GRID. It's a crackin' slice of his hyperspliced breakcore sound: the boy from Arhaus has a serious precision technique of microbeat mastication. I picked up his Farvel Til Slegt Og Venner! EP on Violent Turd back in 2003, and I've been waiting nearly four years to hear anything else. Around that time there was a bunch of people making such production-powerhaus breakcore - Drop The Lime, Otto Von Schirach, Hrvatski, Dev/Null, V-Snares were the big guys. But each of them has moved into slightly different pastures - DTL's picked up the bass wobble and house step sound; Otto's sound has become less frenetic, more abstract; Keith Fullerton Whitman seems to have dropped the Hrvatski moniker, and puts out perfect, polished, warm fuzzy analogue synth stuff; dev/null also took 4 years to put out an LP (on CockRockDisco), which recapitulated a lot of stuff previously freely available online - all good, but not much in the way of new thrash-drumming inspired fragmented beats.

Of course, Venetian Snares continues to chop'n'splice in a ridiculously exciting way, but we all know that he's at his absolute best behind the violin... So yeah, Puzzleweasel is pretty much the saviour of this sound for me - with none of those cheap'n'willful gestures like trying to superimpose a layer of pseudo-violence on the tracks - he just works the milliseconds hard, whips them into shape with dizzyingly pure craftmanship. Head over to his myspazz for new audio. The photo above is from the hypnotic and shocking video to CVON, available on the tube, although I refuse to do one of those embedded linked players cos they're no good for .rss feedreadsters. And you should definitely hear the track, as follows:
Puzzleweasel - CVON - from ExoGrid (Sublight 2007) 3m51s 5.3mb

Have some kleenex handy, this might cause epistaxis.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Graft and Fade? Get Out More

Here's another mix for some pleasant summer listing for you to try. I thought I'd put some music in there from artists who're appearing at Sheffield's Lovebytes festival (actually, I only got Hecker in there at the end - he's playing with Russell Haswell, should be a blast), and I'm also including some original music, so hey, it's something a bit different from usual huh.

Could It Be May? 22m19s 25.6mb 106kbps

[00m00s - 04m35s] Ben Frost: 'Forgetting You Is Like Breathing Water' - Theory of Machines
[00m52s - 07m36s] Jaap Blonk: '1986 Version ersrster teil' - Ursonate
[01m08s - 05m07s] Jessica Rylan: 'I Was Taking A Nap' - Lush Life
[04m34s - 12m02s] Joe: 'red sh5t'
[06m02s - 11m42s] Makoto Moroi + Toshiro Mayuzumi: 'Variations on numerical principle of 7 (1956)' - Concert: 20-21
[09m34s - 12m58s] Tetuzi Akiyama: 'Terrifying Street Trees' - Terrifying Street Trees
[08m53s - 09m21s] Vybz Cartel: 'Call The Ambulance (acapella)' - Promo
[11m32s - 21m20s] Joe: 'Three Chords'
[12m41s - 17m36s] Yasunau Tone + Hecker: 'Man 'Yo / Zero Crossings' - Palimsest
[20m05s - 22m12s] Joe: 'Charity'

What else is good? KeswickLemon passed on this highly ltd ed mix compilation called ONO NORWAY, which is a great selection, featuring tracks by Noxagt, Sixtoo, Paavoharju, The Grey Field Recordings, Dubbing Mixers, Francois Tetaz, John Cage, Spunk, Matmos, Sunburned Hand of the Man, Volcano the Bear, Twine and Machinefabriek. But as they say on boomkitty, it's not about the tracklist, it's about the mood. A highly recommended work of graft and fade. Go click on his discogs page to hear more mixes etc. A man of breadth.

Finally, we've got another cracking c90 party next friday (18th May) - Dj Distance brings the metal-tinged dubstep, while Hanuman brings the ruckus. Me and Rich c90 got a little bit loquacious writing flier-text for this one - trawl through the meaty extended metaphors below:

DJ DISTANCE (Planet Mu, Rinse FM)

All Sound Bwoys and Sound Gyals Out!! Fresh off the back of the
release of his killer album 'My Demons', original dubstep soldier DJ
Distance heads to c90 to represent for his first dance in Sheffield.
One of the most creative and original producers that scene has
fostered, Rinse FM resident Distance has been essential listening
since dubstep day one. Bringing deep sub riffage and heavy
rock-flavoured riddims, chestplate protection is recommended.

HANUMAN (Punch Drunk, Death$ucker, Werk)

Hanuman, simian deity and one half of MONKEY STEAK, brings spiritual
turbulence to the dancefloor with his impious trinity of Klezmer,
Balkan beats and jungle-dancehall riddims. A compulsive musical
kleptomaniac, Hanuman layers the familiar alongside the arcane: Joanna
Newsom sobs her shrill tears while Mathhead's dubstep banditry robs
the bass, Mr. Oizo barrels into the Neptunes, and Shakira & Timberlake
try to get in some moves before being outstepped by the Yiddish Swing
Orchestra and Aaron Spectre. Dervish insanity of seraphic

C90 DJs (Runnin Away With It)

18th May
D'n'R Bar, Arundel Gate Sheffield, S1 2PN (opposite TJ Hughes, near The Roxy).
9pm til 1am
£5 on the door ROAR


Monday, April 16, 2007

c90 this friday

Just a brief one - check the flier:

Yup, we're looking at a night of crazy tech-bounce action. You can hear a tasty mix from Landstrumm over at spannered, and you can see pix and things from previous c90s over at This one's gonna be mental - looking forward to it for all the best reasons.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Air Of Mystique

Living out of the city is proving to be kinda nice.

It's strange too - there's a cafe where every action is either dictated or prohibited by a series of handwritten half-crazed signs stuck to every surface. On a similar note, I popped to our local 7-11 yesterday evening, where they were selling copies of Kafka's Metamorphosis on the counter next to discounted Tizer. Go figure.

Beautiful and strange. Puts me in mind of Terence Ill's 'Aprodite' - check it:
Terence Ill - Aphrodite.mp3 - 3.24MB

Monday, March 26, 2007

Getting Back To Giving Back

Big post with 71mins of music. I haven’t posted any mpfrees for a while, so here’s a load of mixes of music to which I’ve recently been listening (grammar). Each mix is entirely unpolished, but for a profound reason: I’m currently polishing The Thesis, so my efforts at perfection are focussed otherwhere.

Each mix has a delightful backstory, so allow me to interpose photos and tracklists with the relevant histories:

Feel Like Folding mix (11m28s) – 15.8mb

1. Para One – Midnight Swim (Epiphanie) [naive]
2. Drop The Lime – Skyline Fantasy (We Never Sleep) [tigerbeat6]
3. The Rice Twins – For Penny and Alexis (Speicher 33) [kompact]
4. JME – Holiday (.)
5. Atki2 – Architect [unreleased]

I was driving to Glasgow at New Year listening to Hanuman’s excellent mixes, glad to have survived Xmas unscathed, when my car blew up on the M6. With smoke in my rear-view mirror, I crossed 3 lanes of traffic and sat shaking on the hard shoulder. The hardest transition was moving from breakneck-pace-and-making-good-time to stationary-and-stuck. I sat rigid for ten minutes, freaked out, but with the mix still going: stopping the music would invite the noise of the motorway inside, and I needed to keep it out a little longer. I felt like I wanted to just throw my hand in.

Similarly, I was in the process of taking Traktor out for a testdrive (still only just got my L-plates with this bit of kit) by putting together a compilation of tracks I’d acquired through the blogosphere: most of the playlist I’d prepared was stuff sourced from Ken Trax and Word The Cat. The plan was to bring in Max Mohr’s ‘Diamantem’ of the TrickMaster’s revenge LP part way through this new and exceptionally addictive Atki2 track. Listening to the mix should amply suggest that I’ve been feeling the house vibes a lot recently – particularly geared up to Drop The Lime’s recently developments in that area [his Curses! alias is the good sheet – he’s rockin this stuff at Fabric soon on a lineup alongside Sinden, which makes great sense – surely he's likely to be showing up more on the crazy good posts from], and I’m an avid subscriber to CLAWS’s Gentlemen’s Techno Radio Show [GTR homepage] [subscribe to the podcast].

Anyhow, this vehicular outing was equally unsuccessful: it was all going so well, but then the Traktor blew up just as ‘Architect’ got rolling. So I guess I should’ve just deleted the file and started over, but I haven’t had the time, and I figured this is an opportunity to share my listening and driving habits… Anyway, this is a nice way to offer a teasing snippet of just how good the Atki2's stuff is, without actually giving the game away - it's a 20sec taster. But yeah, I give up - Throw that hand in, it’s time to fold.

Mishapen Pieces of Steel (20:48) – 23.9mb

Haven’t got a tracklist to hand. A couple of the c90 boys planned on driving up to Scotland on the O.C. (read: off chance) that there was a spooky electronica event going on in some woods somewhere. The whole thing was supposed to be so secret that you could only find out about it by decoding some crazy pages somewhere in the ether. I figured on making a mix for them to drive up with – aiming for uncompromising bleep stuff, but it ended up having a much more manic breakcore vibe to it. I know there’s some (un-named) stuff off werk that Darren passed on to me, which I figure is Überdog as it fits his M.O. – brutal while maintaining a sense of epic form; I think Jason Forrest described his stuff as verging on prog once. Apt. There’s some stuff that sounds like Electric Kettle and some stuff that sounds like Droon and some stuff that sounds like Blaerg – I’ll go through and i.d. tracks soon. Again, short and sweet – bitesize mixes suit me better I guess. I think I got the CD to the intrepid travellers on time, but it proved unlucky – they got all the way to bonnie Scotland before working out how thin the evidence for their invasion had been. But if you want some music to get you North, give it a go.

You’re Spending Money You Haven’t Got Boy (38m56s) – 53.6mb

1. J-Dilla - E=MC2 (The Shining Instrumentals) [BBE recordings]
2. Two Culture Clash feat. Cecile & General Degree - Na Na Na Na [Wall of Sound]
3. Actress - Mentor (werk one) [werk]
4. Ghislain Poirier feat. Mr Lee - Dem No Like Me [Shockout]
5. Monkey Steak - Gaza Stripclub (Electric Birdland EP) [Death$ucker]
6. Milanese - Peggy Flynn remix [white]
7. Mark Houle - Edamame (Bay Of Figs) [minus]
8. female - exotica (Advanced Bossa remixes) [RSB]
9. Errorsmith - Between Decks (Near Disco Dawn)
10. Drop The Lime - Devils Kicks (We Never Sleep) [Tigerbeat6]
11. Melchior Production - Over The Rise (The Meaning) [Playhouse]
12. SleepArchive - Research (Research E.P.) [sleeparchive/hardwax]

This mix is very recent. It’s the most polished ideas wise, but hey, I screw up a couple of segues big-style [how do you pronounce that? I’ve always rhymed ‘segue’ with ‘league’, but I’m aware of an increased prominence of ‘segue’ rhyming with ‘leg-way’, of which I am no friend].

The J-Dilla track doesn’t need description – I don’t pick up much hiphop these days, but Dilla’s effortless productions constantly demand attention. Timeless. RIP. The second track’s a few years old – my first Cecile purchase, start of a big addiction: it’s a great glitch-electro riddim, like if Pan Sonic wanted to make dancehall, with Cecile on top form with a really catchy hook. Actress’s ‘mentor’ I’ve mentioned in a previous post – utterly dancefloor. Ghislain Poirier’s ‘Dem No Like Me’ is a great addition to the SHOCK catalogue numbers. The tigerbeat6 subsidiary label’s been putting out extremely high quality dancehall/bashment releases, twinning tb6 producers with big name mcs and toastmasters. But on this release, instead of crafting a dancehall riddim (what w&w enumerates as a 3+3+2 rhythm), Poirier works out a stripped’n’bare warped handclap hiphop beat for Mr. Lee to growl over.

Monkey Steak’s ‘Electric Birdland’ EP has themed sides – on the one there’s two ruff’n’tuff junglist cuts, and on the other there’s two of their kleptomaniacal off-kilter garagey workouts. ‘Gaza Stripclub’ is one of the latter, starting us with a dervish-whirl-with-finger-bells flutter, before rolling out a snappy yet sleazy two-step-infused beat and haunting fog-horn bullroarer bass. Hanuman’s klezmer compusions drive the midsection, while Atki2’s flickering hyper-percussion skips all around the outside – it’s not so much stripclub as midnight market, surrounded by frenetic, excitable energy. In next is Milanese’s Peggy Flynn remix – Milanese has got that 2-step down to a fine art, with a vocal that sounds like it’s been through an 8FM-machine. Both the Monkey Steak and this Milanese track reassert the importance of the dancefloor as a place for having fun; Wiley and Kano have both been complaining that nobody don’t dance no more… It’s not totally true – there was this really spritish guy getting very loose at DMZ’s second birthday party at around 5.30am, although he was perhaps the exception rather than the rule – but it’s nice to know that top quality producers are making music for more than the hands-in-the-air or the heading-nodding crowds.

Of course, there’s always been a focus on dancefloor aesthetics over at the minimalish house next door. Mark Houle’s ‘Bay of Figs’ LP featured prominently in Magda’s ‘She’s A Dancing Machine’ mix CD to great effect – these disembodied synth strobes seem almost viral: you can’t argue with ‘em, you’re quickly infected, and they leave you just a little helpless. Killer stuff, and nice to have such crazy top end melodies – I like the idea of leaving the dubwise technos of Andy Stott or Geoff White to provide the bass, while rolling some crazy catchy stuff like this at the higher end of the frequency spectrum.

As ever, I'm not a fan of keeping sounds clean for long, so in bleeds this FEMALE number which rapidly gets ruff (delightful orange vinyl release). With a mind to keeping it crazy, I layered the some of that classic errorsmith over the top, and it briefly descends into madness. It picks up for some fast-and-edgy Drop The Lime action, off his incredible We Never Sleep - I really can't rate this release too highly - before relaxing slightly into some minimal house courtesy of Thomas Melchior - perhaps not an obvious successor to DTL's grime-driven bass whump, but I suspect there's a certain shared sympathy to be had between the two, particularly since 'Dreams' on DTL's 2006 'Shot Shot Hearts' LP picks out a similarly, softly spoken, nearer-to-morning-than-midnight house vibe.

Yeah, so that's it - 3mixes, one at 10mins, one at 20mins, and one at 40mins. So by that logic I suppose there's an 80min one next in the offing. I won't though, I prefer these snippets of mixtures - kinda thing you might find in a good sweetshop.


Thursday, February 01, 2007

next c90 - Pinch & Atki2, 16/02/07

Yup, we've got another dance on Feb 16th in Sheffield, this time featuring them Bristol wunderkinder PINCH and ATKI2. Further details over at the c90 page, but for the meantime, just enjoy this beautiful piece of minimal design what DUST put together for us. Lovely.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Let Glasgow Flourish!

It seems like there's mischief to be had at the drop of a hat up north. I hit Glasgow with a bang - my car sorta blew up on the way there - so I rang round my whole scottish world and made sure I had a social life. Whatd'you know, but our man TOOOKA had mentioned grabbing the Birchville Cat Motel show, so it was a done thing.

TuKKA, as you may know, has recently posted an EP on his myspace titled Let Glasgow Flourish! He's burning up a small number of copies with artwork as I write, and I'm sure that if you were to poke him you might be able to grab one before they're all gone. Tuckerock is a sort of Birchville-inspired sleaze-drone made on a £3 casio keyboard with some fuzzed up guitar providing the wash. It's perhaps the freshest I've heard this sound in a couple of years:

  • 'KRK Continental' has a rolling tattoo of snares blasting the backdrop while octave and unison synths hold a reed-like melody-like line through the middle - it's all quite appropriately appropriating scottish insignia.

  • 'Sandyford Day Nursery' starts like an outtake from The Books' 2004LP 'Lost and Safe' - misaligned fragments of toys being bashed by children. Hey, I'm all for using children as a new form of electronic interface for composition, but this track steers clear, and resolves itself into something briefly concordant and regular - elements coagulate into a satisfying uniformity.

  • Glasgow, like Birmingham and Bristol, is a city that's bifurcated by a motorway running through the centre. Pedestrians call roll right through from sheltered Georgian terraces to 6 lanes of lights, and out the other side. 'Bislands' and 'Millenium Park' are assuredly the strongest of the four tracks. Both bought'emselves a family pack of codeine and krautrock and went to watch the traffic. Bislands knows about motors and exhausts and combustion. Millenium Park thinks about the transience of travel and the silky trails of brakelights

  • While in Scotland:

    Play Bagpipes Made In Canada

    Birchville Cat Motel is yer'man Campbell Kneale from New Zealand. And yep, he played an electronic bagpipe machine. As well as a very crazy sort of drone controller that you can see his finger on - it's like a guitar string through which ALL THE POWER IN THE UNIVERSE is flowing, and as he moves the thing that looks like a stapler, or changes the pressure exerted by his fingers, so too changes the AMOUNT OF POWER IN THE UNIVERSE, and we all feel the changes accordingly.

    I have to admit that BCM messes with my sense of time - perhaps he speeds it up and slows it down with his stapler. After this show (at the 13th Note on 9th Jan) Tukka assured me it'd been at least 20minutes, but I can only account for 5minutes.

    The support had been a miss and a hit. The miss: Opaque, a bunch of guys on several guitars wearing facemasks had taken us from some positive-interference style work (not-quite unisons) that might have overlapped with Phill Niblock or even LaMonte Young (his drift studies) into some dirge-driven onanistic powerchords in an attempt to be dredging the same tar pits as Sunn0))) etc. I'm all for the Southern Lord family, but I don't think it's a case of turning it up and making it slow. The delicate work had been pretty good, so I was kinda sad to lose interest.

    I came back in for a spectacular treat - Richard Youngs on guitar in a combo with Alex Neilson playing free on drums.

    Youngs' eldritch, folklore-esque multi-instrumental releases are pretty hard to track down, although the Wire magazine have some mp3s on their site following a frontpage a while back. Together, he and Neilson worked around a number of ideas - creeping up to them, testing them like a wobbly tooth. But the main emphasis was to keep the tooth firmly in place, so those sharp spikes of tension and pain weren't allowed to give over to that swollen flooded feeling of bursting release. Delicate tension the whole way, ramped and mounted on the fear that you might chew on the wrong side of your mouth.

    But yeah, the last five minutes were the best. BCM came on, plugged in a stadium's worth of cables to his unit and started screaming, mutedly, into a microphone that he nearly swallowed.

    The show reminded me most of 'Chi Vampires' off the EP of the same name - you've got a gentle chamois leather softly buffing your bodywork when someone hits a switch and you see it's a brillopad - but brillo still makes stuff sparkle, right? Scratch on through, you'll see the silver, you'll FEEL cleaner. Throughout the set the layers of sound were tightly located - it was all very geographical. If you sort-of tuned your ears up you could hear the abrasive rinsing of static phasing itself around your head, and if you tuned down you could hear short bursts of samples looping off-beat. In you screwed your eyes into your ears you could see and hear that the air itself was made of sirens and bagpipes, while deep in the back of your neck you knew that you could hear a heavy bass drum, pounding you to the core, trying to break open your ribcage and let the deaf leopard out. Everything roared. And then filtered itself out, slowing itself back to earth, leaving only a sampleloop to remind us that music usually demands that a riff be repeated.

    I asked Campbell a coupla questions afterwards, drunkenly pushing an agenda, and here's the ever-so-professional transcript:
    JR: Hey, so how do you feel the audience should be taking your shows?
    CK: I guess I don't write the music with a particular audience reaction in mind...
    JR: I mean, you're there on stage, kinda rockin out, while the crowd seem to stand so deadly still, like they're scared to move their heads in case they miss anything.
    CK: It makes a difference - if you move your head then you get hit with lots of different frequencies, the whole sound changes as you move.
    JR: So you're there rockin back and forth...
    CK: .... yeah, and I'm feeling it that way. It's a big rock thing for me on stage, right?
    JR: I was going to ask - what're the samples?
    CK: That last one at the end is an Iron Maiden loop
    JR: Is that important to you?
    CK: Yeah, I grew up listening this stuff, and I just love listening to it and using it in what I do. I get really excited being able to use it, and I love hearing it over and over.

    Yep, I shouldn't try asking questions again. Promise you I won't. But hey, a similar idea can be found on Jason Forrest / Donna Summer's 'Death AfterLife' (on Mew le Disque), which essentially samples the whole of Iron Maiden's greatest hits and rebuilds them into power drone for the kids with new ears. Two guys coming from similar directions pull out radically different yet sympathetic sounds. I'll post some shortly, you can compare and contrast at yer leisure. In the meantime, go check out Let Glasgow Flourish!