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Monthly Archives: July 2009

Not pissing in the ocean. But how much does that matter?

Not pissing in the ocean. But how much does that matter?

Are you a neophile? Do you hunger for novelty?

Are you a magpie, snatching each shiny object within your gaze and devouring any worth it might offer before looking up to continue your search, hunger barely dented? Does the idea of a static culture, free from the everyday bombardment of data on the information superhighway cause you to break out in a cold sweat?

Do you like Zomby?

I feel an affinity with his influences – 80s video games and 90s UK rave – which coaxed me away from resisting the largely lumpen, monochrome sound named dubstep and reminding me of the need to diversify. But to what end?

Zomby’s appeal exists also as part of THE NEW. Specifically the much derided (by him, amongst others) term ‘Wonky’, on the subject of which posts can be written as intricate and expansive as this increasingly notorious article. Although many genre terms refer to textural elements or structural rules, Wonky appears to exist purely as part of a dichotomy with an opposite – the wonkification of music is to change it, make it different and it is those factors which, when (and only when) viewed in contrast with the un-Wonky, necessitate the term.

The cult of the new deems Wonky to be good, as it is different. Unfixed time signatures, rhythms almost arrhythmical in nature, gloopy, undefined sonics… all unusual in dance music therefore worthy of intense scrutiny. This championing of all things Wonk has given my little neophile brain a bit of a bruising, the increasingly academic and opaque nature of the internet chatter surrounding such artists as Zomby has begun to repel me, leading me to forget what I saw in such music in the first place.

When I started college, I chose English Literature. We began by reading a book, the name of which I can’t recall and do not wish to as its content here is irrelevant. The next term was spent picking apart and analysing the text, to the point where it could no longer be enjoyed as a single piece of art and I could only appreciate it as a huge jigsaw of factors, elements and influences. I dropped the subject immediately.

I never wanted that to happen again, but I fear this unrelenting wall of comment, opinion and analysis which constitutes the interweb many be once again undermining the direct, sensual and physical appeal of music which feeds my mind and body. I once again refer to the excellent Dan Hancox and direct you to his Buffoon Empiricist Manifesto: (I implore you to read about it here)

Buffoon Empiricism is a response to the terrible perseverance and proliferation of information and music online. Everyone can access everything, all of the time. Every message board post has a download inside. Every riposte has another riposte. Club music has become more of a spectacle than ever in the last five years; regarded, consumed and critiqued from a metaphorical and physical distance.

Yes, dancing is far preferable to RSI. Zomby’s One Foot Ahead Of The Other EP is out 7th September on Ramp, featuring the track below. It’s awesome and right now, it doesn’t matter why.

panggg

When injected with melancholy, deftly placed space and a smidgen of pathos, dance music (at the lack of a better term) describes places dripping with a syrupy sepia; like hazy memories, ancient summers shot through super8 with the comforting ambiguity only such textural, instrumental music can lend.

Most cite Burial as responsible for propagating such elements amongst the delicate skipping rhythms and inky black bass of 2-step/dubstep/whatever but for me it all slotted into place with Ramadanman‘s ‘Blimey’ – the faint swelling pad and distant chattering voices rising amongst the woodblocks, creating similar colours to golden(i.e. Pause)-era Fourtet.

Whilst Ramadanman has (for me) failed to follow it up with anything to match it in terms of scope, Pangaea has quietly risen to the fore with tracks such as this, on Scuba‘s Hotflush. Just listen to that sound that starts to blend in at 1:50 – as mournful as a sighing processor…

Fast-forward to now for the hyper limited ‘Memories’ which takes the idea behind Skream’s diva-step anthem remix aka The Biggest Tune In The World (You know which one I mean), completely ignores it, buries it under 3 feet of clay and crafts something infinitely more nuanced and ultimately satisfying. Grab it now, if there’s still time.

Finally, grab his March mix which features above track at the very end. There’s still enough dubs there for you ‘spotters and top marks for the SL2/Acen/2 Bad Mice inclusions. Old skool hardcore FTW.

DOWNLOAD: Pangaea – Reprise Agency Mix

Tracklist:

01. SL2 – DJs take control (XL)
02. Martin Kemp – Bowser (unreleased)
03. 2 Bad Mice – Hold It Down (Moving Shadow)
04. Ramadanman – ??? (unreleased)
05. Micky Pearce – Innami (unreleased)
06. Luke Envoy – Uptown (unreleased)
07. Badawi – Lost Highway (unreleased)
08. Acen – Trip II The Moon (part II) (Production House)
09. Guido – Tango (unreleased)
10. Tempa t – Next Hype (Brackles remix) (unreleased)
11. Untold – Anaconda (forthcoming Hessle Audio)
12. Peverelist – The Blues (unreleased)
13. Joe – Rut (Hessle Audio)
14. Untold – I Can’t Stop This Feeling (Pangaea remix) (unreleased)
15. Pangaea – Memories (white)

He’s a good bloke that L-Vis 1990. Aside from re-energising half-step wobblers with some much needed NRG, I got talking to him outside one of London’s reasonably priced (and fully vegan) Samuel Smith pubs and he stuck me on the door for that night’s THEM vs HYP!HYP!HYP! event at Corsica Studios. I had to leave early for ‘personal’ (ahem) reasons but all such rave shame shall be washed away the attendance of us all at him and Alex Bok Bok‘s gutter dance shindig NIGHT SLUGS, where the filthiest in skewed house meets the infinite colours of worldwide electronic party bass.

Wednesday 22nd of July sees Christian Martin and London’s own minimal-funkstress Cooly G backed up by L-Vis and Bok Bok. Grab this mix for some appetite-whetting. Purple funk, Electrik Red and laser bass:

BOK BOK – LUCKY ME MIX
http://s3.amazonaws.com/luckymedia/32bokbok.mp3

01 – REFUGE – U Best Believe
02 – DONAEO – Love To Happen
03 – MOSCA – Square One
04 – DRE SKULL – I Want You (BOK BOK remix dub)
05 – ALISON HINDS ft MACHEL MONTANO
06 – DJ CLEO – East Rand Funk
07 – R1 RYDERS – Rubberband
08 – DORIAN CONCEPT – Trilingual Dance Sexperience
09 – SHORTSTUFF & MICKEY PEARCE – Tripped Up
10 – ZOMBY – With Lasers
11 – ELECTRIK RED – Drink In My Cup
12 – JOKER & GINZ – Purple City
13 – TERROR DANJAH – Sidechain
14 – BOK BOK – Crew dub
15 – DJ ASSAULT – Vandalism
16 – MR DE – Time Space Scrilla
17 – BASUTBUDET – Take Them Out To Eat (BOK BOK’s sundown edit)

clark_totems_flares

No talk of (Chris) Clark can avoid mention of 2006’s Body Riddle – his third long player and a modern electronica ‘perfect storm’, managing to sate the appetites of both the digital hi-fi kidz and the notoriously picky bearded purists with its delicate sample constructs and melancholy android melodies. Heavily indebted to the scene royalty of labelmates Autechre, Aphex, Plaid and the like, as good as it was its virtues still relied heavily on a familiar basis. A high-grade homage, Leone’s A Fist Full Of Dollars to Kurosawa’s Yojimbo. It is also I might add, very good.

His work since (2008’s Turning Dragon and this year’s Growls Garden EP) suggests an artist enamored with the ensuing success and live schedule that followed. Thick riffs and dancefloor elation worked themselves in amongst the gourmet distortion and more conventional breakdown/drop structures begun to replace the choppy edits, to the point where undeniable album highlight ‘Growls Garden’ (which is brooding synth-pop more than tasteful IDM) gets played by posh-trance doyen and Border Community label boss James Holden.

Better quality…

The above track is a triumph, its thumping midsection echoes the glorious crunch of gallic Ed Bangers Justice and requires mandatory air-punching. It also sees Clark follow fellow electronic virtuosos Cursor Miner and Tim Exile behind the microphone for the first time to complete a dark-wave anthem with more grandeur and pathos than the former and a hella more direct, physical appeal than the sometimes obtuse lab-coat boffinery of the latter.

The rest fades into a pleasant, sometimes impressive yet faintly directionless haze of classic acid warbling and fuzzed-out textures that feel included more out of compulsion than joy. Nothing else quite possesses the brio of the above track or exhibits the excitement he obviously felt crafting it. I urge Clark to continue extricating himself from the massive influence the 90s still has on electronica and plow full-steam ahead with his new identity as some sort of grand, gothic slayer of twee inanity.

For the moment get Body Riddle and Growls Garden EP, then wait.

L-R Gemmy, Joker and Guido. Thanks to Dan Hancox for photo

L-R Gemmy, Joker and Guido. Thanks to Dan Hancox for photo

Dan Hancox writes about music well. He combines the intelligence to unravel sounds and themes into clear theories with the warmth and honest enthusiasm of someone who is obviously a music fan. His blog is well worth following, although I found his recent fried chicken/pirate radio analogy a little hard to swallow (oof!).

His piece for the guardian on Bristol’s ‘purple’ trinity of Joker, Gemmy and Guido comprehensively sums up the appeal of their rich, dayglo sound; the influence of classic video game themes and g-funk, the importance of using melody to reclaim dance music from the clutches of male dominated xtreme bass-fetishism and the issue of synaesthesia – unavoidable thanks to the trio’s colour orientated reference points. There’s very little I can, or would want to add. So I wont. Just read it.

Of the three, Guido is the one I know the least about. This 29min mini-mix however provides a tasty bite size introduction to his take on purple – the most melodic of the three, not shying away from synth-sax and the easily misused autotune to bring the patterns to life. Grab it here, courtesy of Numbers and their ace podcasts.

Guido – Tantalized
Guido, Aarya & Ruthless – Beautiful Complication
Guido – Chakra
Guido – You Do It Right
Guido – Orchestral Lab
Gemmy – Johnny 5
Guido – Mad Sax
Joker – Do It!
Guido – Tango
Joker – Digidesign

ALSO

A few Joker remixes (more often than not with Ginz who worked with him on the awesome Purple City) of more mainstream artists have been cropping up on the internetz with all – like this re-rub of carnival house perennials Basement Jaxx – severely pwning the originals. That combination of tropical fruity keyboard twirls and pixxellated bass give it the delectable glow the original only promised…

…come back! Yes, it is Zero 7. No, I haven’t heard the original. The bassline here burns like a digital heatwave before the increasingly recognisable purple synth riff rides over the top like… *a few adjectives later* …, so I don’t think we need to hear the original. This really is er… ‘massive’. Yes, that’ll do.

AND ALSO

Grab his mix from the Barcelona SONAR 2009 festival here, thanks to FADER. No tracklist yet, but there’s some lolworthy video of a man whose star is most definitely rising. Watch him fly.

lolcano eruption!