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Monthly Archives: April 2009

Love it or hate it – yes, there really are only two options people – this is the tune destined to be bellowed by the drunk and sunburned and blasted out of builder’s radios all summer long. A ludicrously moronic lyric (sample: Some people think I’m bonkers / But I just think I’m free or A heavy bassline is my kind of silence) that would be cringe-worthy over a moody grime rhythm is slapped into check by the irrepressible pop (dare I say) genius of Armand Van Helden who crafts a bassline hip-house energy flash fully celebrating it’s own stupid vitality, spinning around and falling over like child tripping balls on tartrazine. Dismiss it if you want but those people in the video are definitely having more fun than you. Check it out – I challenge you to meh.

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Should be some tickets left here for Them 4 this Friday if you fancy some genius smashed-up synths from Glaswegian aquacrunk prodigy Rustie, here on a bill with with Planet µ ‘s shiny dubstep scientist Ital Tek, labelmate and extreme wobble-step (honestly, red-lining on the shit) specialist Raffertie and Rinse FM hero ‘sir’ Spyro. Then, on Saturday head over to Cargo

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I know I’ve mentioned it already but FACT’s free shindig at Cargo is unmissable for anyone with a passing interest in UK bass. Once again – Wookie, Alexander Nut (check out his FACT mix), Various Production, Brackles… it’s a no-brainer. GET THERE EARLY, doors are at 7.  Fast-forward to the 22nd of May…

Wow. More info here and here. Doesn’t appear to be listed on the flyer but apparently Débruit of ace wonk-hop French label Musique Large is playing room two. More on them later.

I shall endeavour to start using less hyphens.

It’s scandalous that I have not yet mentioned the greatness of the FACT magazine website or dubstep blog Sonic Router. FACT are an independent, London-based free magazine who also run a clear, comprehensive and most importantly REGULARLY UPDATED website covering most contemporary leftfield musics with with a dancefloor bias. Of particular note are their superb series of free, commissioned DJ mixes available to download from the site, provided by a series of reliably interesting up-and-coming artists. The latest one is from Rinse FM DJ Alexander Nut whose R&B tinged take on the new wave of broken hip-hop, synthed out dubstep and 2-stepped house is a real luxury.

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Download: FACT Mix 44 – Alexander Nut

RE-UP EDIT get it here now Fact Mix 44 – Alexander Nut

Tracklisting:

Nadsroic ‘All Hot’ (LuckyMe)
Martyn ‘Seventy Four’ (3024)
Floating Points ‘Vacuum Boogie’ (Eglo)
Om Unit ‘Cradle’ (Terrorythm)
Floating Points ‘JW Beat’ (Planet Mu)
Joker & Jinz ‘Purple City’ (Kapsize)
Noah D ‘Serrriousss’ (White)
Newham Generals ‘I Heard You Been Smoking’ (Dirtiee Stank)
Ras G ‘5 AM Spliff’ (Poobar)
Joker ‘Digi Design’ (Om Unit remix) (White)
Dam Funk ‘Chocolate’ (Stones Throw)
Dudley Perkins ‘Yo Soul’ (Stones Throw)
Floating Points ‘For You’ (Eglo)
Computer Jay ‘Epiphany’ (Ramp)
Fatima & Pursuit Grooves ‘Are You Satisfied’ (White)
LL Smooth Criminal ‘Turf Talk’

Sonic Router is a dubstep orientated and once again REGULARLY UPDATED source for news, videos and mixtapes from the UK bass world. One of the latest is from Berkane Sol / Ramp affiliate Shortstuff whose mix caught my eye due to the inclusion of the better examples of Funky (Hard House Banton’s ‘Sirens’, Lil’ Silva’s ‘Seasons’, Roska’s ‘Our Father’) blended with some quality skippy dubstep (Peverelist, Pangaea) and personal favourites ‘2 Bad Mice’ and the classic Menta remix of DJ Zinc’s ‘Tonka’. Get on it!

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DOWNLOAD: Shortstuff – Sonic Router Mix

Tracklist:

1. Falty DL – To London (Forthcoming on Ramp Recordings)
2. Kode 9 – 2 Far Gone (Hyperdub)
3. Ghost – The Club (Tempa)
4. Geiom – Eyl Booty (Forthcoming on Berkane Sol)
5. Roska – Our Father (White)
6. Mickey P – Innami (Unreleased)
7. 2 Bad Mice – 2 Bad Mice (Moving Shadow)
8. Kode 9 & LD – 2 Bad (Hyperdub)
9. Horsepower – When You Hold Me (Tempa)
10. El B – Son De Cali (Forthcoming on Soul Motive)
11. Li’l Silva – Seasons (White)
12. Shortstuff & Mickey Pearce – Tripped Up (Unreleased)
13. HH Banton – Sirens (White)
14. Ramadanman – Revenue [Untold Remix] (Forthcoming on 2nd Drop)
15. LD – Wood Block (Hyperdub)
16. Brackles – Rawkus (Forthcoming on Planet Mu)
17. Peverelist – Clunk Click Every Trip (Punch Drunk)
18. Untold – Anaconda (Forthcoming on Hessle Audio)
19. DJ Zinc – Tonka [Menta remix] (Bingo)
20. Shortstuff – Stuff (Forthcoming on Ramp Recordings)
21. Mala – Forgive (Deep Medi)
22. Pangaea – Memories (White)
23. Joe – Grimelight (Hessle Audio)
24. Shortstuff – Progression (Forthcoming on Formant)

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Mike Paradinas aka µ-Ziq’s Planet µ was and still is one of the few truly major labels to emerge from the 90s post-rave electronica scene, along with Warp and Rephlex. While the Aphex Twin affiliated Rephlex slips in and out of obscurity and Warp make some ‘interesting’ choices (although I admit, lately their trend awareness and quality control have synced a little better), Planet µ has become the most reliable and prolific of the three. If there’s any criticism then maybe the retro acid of Syntheme and the considered IDM (sorry) of Boxcutter suggest a little too much reverence to established and respected sounds, but on the whole Paradinas’ label is a well valuable and much loved outlet of quality electronics.

I say all this now as there is a clutch of excellent new releases forthcoming, one of which I feel deserves specific reference:

US ‘street bass’ (read: synth-heavy American grime) producer Starkey‘s debut LP Ephemeral Exhibits dropped at the end of last year but for me he’s really nailed it with his recent single on Keysound and this, coming in June. Jamie Vex’d takes the flashing, neon crunk of ‘Miracles’ into more spacey territory with the sliced diva vocal worming its way between cracking drum machines and blooming chords. Jamie’s carving a warmer, more melodic sound since going solo (heard also on this months In System Travel EP but done better here for my money). Retaining the cavernous expanse of dubstep but happily leaving behind some of the cold, empty sonics.

‘Creature’ on the flip is a crazy beast. Barely under control it rides a shuddering, buzzing groove like a barrel of drunken snakes, sometimes I wonder if it works but for the other 90% of the time it sounds like the best thing he’s done. A fucked jam, wonky as hell and as invigorating as a double-shot espresso.

Check samples of the tracks –



No, come back!

I’ve not been giving much love to the six-string worshiping and much maligned world of heavy metal of late. Mainly due to a glut of good new dancefloor electronics but I’m starting to wonder that a subconscious part of me… hesitates. As if it would put people off.

It’s not that I’m ashamed (far from it) but in the love-or-hate-it stakes nothing really comes close to metal – sure, people get obsessive about many sounds, scenes and themes but a lot of people really don’t like metal. Frequently in need of defense whether it be in a courtroom or just over a beer, the pure unabashed directness and extremity that metal strives for is commonly interpreted as empty macho posturing, artless noise for idiots and thugs to bang their heads to. ‘Why is it so angry?’ they ask, but I’ve never seen it as mindless violence, more the most exciting, clear and perfect representation of the joy of being who you are and being alive. ‘YES’ I would (and still do) think, age 16, pressing play on Pantera’s Far Beyond Driven, ‘life is FUCKING AMAZING and I’m gonna GO to the FUCKING PARK’.

It’s easy to laugh at. Endlessly pretentious, histrionic and camp, the best way to take it seriously is to not take it seriously. Treat it like a glorious pantomime, not humorous music but made with an un-ironic awareness of its own absurdity and that of the world around it. It’s the ultimate good time but in a way as cerebral as it is physical. That’s when it’s good I admit, a fair amount of it is utterly crass, ignorant shit but that’s just the byproduct of anything that has such a profound, timeless appeal – it’s as likely to be embraced and regurgitated by one sort of person as the next.

It’s one of the few places that the base, the primal and the carnal truly meet the highest and most progressive forms of art. It can be regressive and avant-garde simultaneously. In a way though, if that’s what you’re thinking at the time then you’re not paying attention. Shut up and listen.

Joe Stannard wrote this great piece about metal’s wonderfully contradictory identity for the Wire. He mentions true metal pioneers such as Slayer, Voivod and Celtic Frost before touching on metal’s recent reapraissal thanks partly to Stephen O’Malley and Greg Anderson’s Sunn O))). Read it, it’s an excellent primer especially for those who never thought they’d be interested.

Maybe more metal soon.

Swedish Pirates

Swedish Pirates

As you may or may not know, last week the men behind the world’s most notorious (though not – notably –  the largest) file-sharing website were found guilty of copyright infringement, ordered to pay £3 million in damages and sentenced to a year in prison. I won’t go over the details as this does it perfectly but I am interested as to what it means and, more importantly, doesn’t mean.

The Pirate Bay provides indexed links to torrent files. Torrent files are used with a stand-alone program to find other users with that same torrent, downloading or uploading data between each other depending on how much of the completed album/movie/game etc they have yet downloaded. No actual content is hosted by the website and file sharing itself is not illegal, just the sharing of copyrighted content.

The court found that they were guilty of knowingly enabling the sharing of copyrighted content. Now, before I get into what this logically leads to, I should mention that The Pirate Bay was set up in 2003  by an anti-copyright organisation called Piratbyran, and has become the most notorious of its kind by gleefully styling itself as some sort of romanticised digital Robin Hood figure, railing against the bloated corpus of corporate media. As pirates in fact, those (somewhat misguidedly) loved semi-mythical figures of the seven seas. They are proud of their illegitimacy.

Going out of their way to wind up the music industry in the most high profile manner possible (the internet), they were purposefully attracting controversy. The major labels want figures to make examples of, to claw back lost revenue and give them a good kicking in the process. The chairman of industry body the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) John Kennedy reacted thusly to the verdict:

“The Pirate Bay did immense harm and the damages awarded doesn’t even get close to compensation, but we never claimed it did.

“There has been a perception that piracy is OK and that the music industry should just have to accept it. This verdict will change that.”

The way people discover, access and aquire music has changed forever and unless some wildly extreme measures are implemented you will never stop people illegally downloading music. Losses aside, the time has come to adapt – Apple have become the world’s largest digital music retailer (to the point that they essentially own the UK singles chart) by adapting rather than panicing and innovating rather than leading high-profile but arguably pointless witch hunts.

The one thing the music industry does have to accept is that it has to change. This verdict will not alter people’s perceptions, rather it will reinforce views that the music industry can’t / won’t change. The Pirate Bay still very much active (and busier than ever ironically) and there are an infinite amount of other websites, forums and programs that do exactly the same thing. Not only that but if we consider what The Pirate Bay actually does – links to downloadable copyrighted content – we would have to take into account any sort of data hosting site or search engine. Just think about that for a second. EVERYTHING. If the precedent set by this verdict was to be followed to its logical conclusion we’d have to take most of the internet to court. Including…

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Go to google, type the name of an album/ film etc followed by torrent and… that’s what The Pirate Bay does. It looks different, indexes the files and bleats on about it but it’s essentially the same premise. It’s a search engine. There’s a very interesting piece on this issue here but I’ll just pull one quote from it, from Ben Edelman, a professor at Harvard’s Business School focused on Internet regulation:

“Google now can and does do what the Pirate Bay has always done, and if they’re prosecuted, they would have much more interesting arguments in their defense.”

Exactly. A couple of Swedish ‘pirates’ are easily made examples of – thanks partly to their loud mouths – but I wonder how this issue will be approached.

The music industry’s business model is out of date. Time to adapt, change and grow with the times. No-ones sure what’s going to happen but I think that prospect is as exciting as it is scary. In fact, more exciting! No, as exciting.

Now, what’s for dinner. Anyone?

FastFWD to 2.17 (or from the beginning for full dramatic effect)

Neighbours LOL

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Being one of the most hyped artists in UK electronic music can’t be ALL bad. Crafting club bangers that play by some of the rules whilst gleefully kicking the shit out of the others must be one of the best ways to turn heads while still pushing boundaries. I get the impression he couldn’t care less about all the chat – making whatever the hell he wants and inventing his own genre in the process (the questionably necessary but descriptive ‘aquacrunk’).

Returning to excellent electro-tech label Wireblock after a brief foray on Up My Alley (with the excellent ‘Dog Mask’ and ‘Soapy Tits’) and following the scene quaking ‘Zig-Zag’ is a fair task – its shuddering synth arpeggio delivered his shattered-circuits sound in the most accesible form to date.

The forthcoming ‘Bad Science’ EP boasts the whip-crack claps, bubbling fizz and chunky game FX that make his primary coloured crunked-up diamonds shine. To further entice he’s pulled something of a coup by snaring Detroit electro legend and Drexciya affiliate Heinrich Mueller aka Dopplereffekt for a remix, an unlikely but welcome choice of remixer. Rustie and Wireblock bringing together the past, present AND future of electronic music.

Rustie – Bad Science EP (Wireblock)

Tracklisting:
1 Tar [Listen]
2 Bad Science [Listen]
3 Shadow Enter [Listen]
4 Zig-Zag (Heinrich Mueller Gravitational Equilibrium Mix) [Listen]
5 Zig-Zag (Reprise) [Listen]

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Hello again! We haven’t spoken for a while but hey… parallel tracks sometimes require specific attention. I’m still getting used to the shameless self-indulgence of blogging so any comments/words of encouragement/vicious diatribes are genuinely welcome. There’s a veritable wealth (wealth I tell you) of good new bass in the coming month or so I’m going to try and cram it all in this week whilst I spend my time staring at screens in various parts of London.

First up Bok Bok, a 23 year-old DJ/producer/graphic designer (check the latter out here Will… and anyone else) who’s keeping all the current varieties of -step firmly on the dancefloor. There’s the jittering, frenetic-yet-intricate rhythms but with just enough of the brashness in the synths and bass to keep it from being too refined. He runs the Night Slugs night with L-Vis 1990 putting on the likes of purple king Joker, Drop the Lime and Funky outfit Crazy Cousinz. In his own words:

‘As a DJ my aim is to gather tracks from a wide range of sources, scenes and styles and make them all work together in a riddim-y, dutty uk soundsystem / pirate context. I’m originally a grime head, but the emergence of the UK Funky scene has got me looking for that raw percussive momentum and bass energy in all sorts of strange places.’

There’s an extensive set to be downloaded, Bok Bok going back-to-back with Braiden on ace bass station Sub FM. Dubstep, 2-step, techno, even deep house – keeps the energy up while successfully treading the line between beard scratching and body moving. Bass, bass, bass…

Download it here, right-click to download.

BOK BOK b2b BRAIDEN live on Sub FM 21-02-09

tracklist:
01 – MOODYMANN – Freaki Mutha F cker
02 – MARIEL ITO – DX-TZ
03 – OCTOBER – Invitation
04 – GREENA – Actual Pain
05 – DONAEO – Party Hard ft PRINCESS
07 – KARIZMA – Darqness
08 – GHOSTMAN – 25th Hour
09 – MARKUS MULLER – Chateaubriand (MARIEL ITO rmx)
10 – DISTANCE – Feel Me
11 – DARKSTAR – Need You
12 – L-VIS 1990 – Murder
13 – LIGHTER – Skanker
14 – STARKEY – Gutter Music ft DURTY GOODZ
15 – SCUBA – Ruptured (SURGEON rmx)
16 – MALA – Bury The Bwoy
17 – SIDESHOW – If Alone (KOMONAZMUK & APPLEBLIM rmx)
18 – JOE – Rut
19 – BOK BOK – Ram Riddim
20 – KARIZMA – Outta Control
21 – BRACKLES – Get A Job
22 – PANGAEA – Memories
23 – SHORTSTUFF – Regression // KID KUDI – Day N Nite
24 – KODE9 – Black Sun
25 – L-VIS 1990 – Run
26 – SPOOKY – Shallow Minds
27 – HEADHUNTER – Jukework
28 – SUNSHIP ft WARRIOR QUEEN – Almighty Father (SKREAM remix)
29 – JTREOLE – The Loot (SULLY rmx)
30 – LIL SILVA – Funky Pulse
31 – CRAZY COUSINZ – Bongo Jam (L-VIS 1990 & BOK BOK’s refix)
32 – TVO – Afanc (2562 remix)
31 – HEADHUNTER & ENVOY – Chaos Engine
32 – GUCCI MANE – Freaky Girl
33 – HEADHUNTER – Come Down
34 – N.B. FUNKY – Riddimbox
25 – N.B. FUNKY – 2nd Strike VIP
26 – DLX – Matter Of Fact (BREAKAGE rmx)
27 – DARKSTAR – Aidy’s Girl Is A Computer
29 – MARK BROOM – Twenty Nine (black mix)
30 – D MALICE – Bad Habbits
31 – EMVEE – Glitch Dub
32 – PAUL KALKBRENNER – Steinbasser
33 – HEADHUNTER – Chaosphere
34 – MR DE – On The Floor

I’m glad we get these chances to chat x

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Computer squelch-bass from Berlin’s Doshy, first came to my attention thanks to that Jamie Vex’d mix I posted. which features his remix of Stagga‘s ‘Lopsided’ (forthcoming on Robox Neotech). That and the more fractured, looser tracks he’s done are prime underwater g-funk, bubbling away like simmering circuits. Not so bothered about the forthcoming EP on Tigerbass, electro smash-house that belies a more nosebleed background. Keep removing sounds so the ones left can flop around, believe me they like it.

There’s a mix up on his myspace which is a bit closer to the b-more bashing Tigerbass sound, check the tracks on his player instead.