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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.

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…

google-video-homepage

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?

I know it’s a bit old but… hey.

Plastician, here sporting a fine pair of lolshorts.

Quality blog Sonic Router have provided a refreshingly succinct primer on all things forward-thinking in dubstep for the mighty Quietus, which you should all read. There’s some heads-ups on new and forthcoming releases and a few short bios of key artists. Good work all.

Also (also!), head over to subnav.com to grab the bump r funk mix courtesy of DJ Wise aka Bare Bones. More of an upbeat party vibe with the quality end of commercial R&B shifting into sideways hip-hop, Funky and delectable 2-step. Or in his own words:

inspired by the glorious spring weather a healthy dose of caribbean & african influences in a bumping bass heavy mix. starting with some wonked out r&b then moving swiftly into a mash of dancehall & uk funky with a sprinkling of old rave & techno classics. roll on summer!

Get it here. Right-click to save.

00.00 cassie – me & you
01.05 hud mo – come get it
03.15 diplo – tell me what you think
04.40 ciara – echo
06.25 flying lotus – gng bng
08.10 hud mo – oooooooops oh my
11.10 beyonce ft buju banton – single ladies (richie blindz rmx)
14.04 radioclit & esau mwamwaya – cape cod kwassa kwassa
15.46 dr evil – we love the girls
18.33 voicemail – put it up
19.20 dva – hardhouse
21.36 wookie ft ny – falling again
23.28 actress – crushed
25.00 geeneus – out of the future
26.42 steve poindexter – computer madness
29.30 fingaprint – just leave
31.50 donaeo – party hard
34.49 busy signal – step out
36.06 crazy cousinz – inflation
38.55 dj cleo – wena ng’hamba nawe
41.50 mujava – township funk (radioclit rmx)
44.30 perempay & dee – in the air
48.14 aidonia – i like her
50.00 lighter – skanker
52.30 cooly g – dis boy pt 4
55.13 beenie man- gimmie gimmie gimmie
57.30 nb funky – riddim box
59.35 nicolette – waking up
62.28 benga & coki – night (geeneus rmx)
65.11 mr vegas – dope
67.25 kode 9 – black sun
69.21 cooly g – floating
71.51 innerzone orchestra – bug in the bassbin
76.30 ends ——–

In fact, that Cassie tune he starts with always reminds me just how much genius chart R&B can come up with if it trys. And she’s pretty hot. Can I say that?

More Cassie:

Message ends.

obama2

…and the world holds it’s breath. Except it doesn’t, with joyful proclamations of relief and faith in the future. Although as heartened as most, I feel the need to reserve at least part of my judgement for now. Expectations are (frequently) there to be confounded so lets all carry around some wood to touch and hope for the best.

Back again now. Hope you all had a wonderful and productive week or so.

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