Friday, May 22, 2015

RS4 - nuum to the kore

interview by Jack Law (aka Corpsey, aka Dirtnap) with deeptech producer RS4, also known as Oris Jay also known as Darqwan - a fellow with a lot of nuum history, and who knows his history

I have often felt bleep echoes in deep tech - and extremely interestingly, Oris Jay's rediscovery of bleep - the music that "originally got me into electronic music" , on account of the fact that he grew up in Sheffield - is what lay behind his shift into the deep tech zone

Q: Why the switch from Oris Jay/Darqwan/DQ1 to RS4?
RS4: I released an album in 2012 called "To The Fly" which had a mix of genres on it. Spanning about 10 years of musical styles that have influenced me from Hip Hop, Dancehall, Drum & Bass to Dubstep. What it missed was the music that originally got me in to electronic music, which was the Bleeps & Bass sound that Sheffield was known for in the late 80’s/early 90’s. I knew one day I would try and produce a few tracks based around that old style of music (basically stripped-down House music, bass driven, 808 & 909 drums with some synth sounds). In 2006 I gave it a go with a track called "Rudeboy DJ" which I did with DJ Veteran. That was the first time I used the alias RS4. A few months after the album release an old friend of mine called DJ Lombardo introduced me to the Deep Tech House sound. I remember him saying to me, “It sounds like your Darqwan stuff but House music, you should try it using another alias”. So I did, and RS4 was back. R.S is short for Oris and 4 is short for the 4x4 time signature (four to the floor). It’s nothing to do with Audis!
Q. Its interesting to see a producer from Sheffield - a city long associated with industrialism and industrial music - fastening onto this style, which I think has a quite mechanical feel to it. Could you explain the role growing up and living in Sheffield has taken in shaping (or NOT shaping) your musical direction?
RS4: Growing up in Sheffield in the 80’s/90’s was an exciting time for me musically as my local record shop was Warp Records. I could only just see over the counter at the guy playing these mad Bleeps & Bass sounds which I found fascinating. I was too young to get into most clubs in Sheffield at that time however, walking on my tip-toes and not making any eye contact with the doormen I managed to get into a club called The Limit. This club was pitch black, one way in and one way out, low roof and massive speakers. 5 minutes after I got in the track “LFO” by LFO came on and when the bass dropped I knew music was the life for me.

Sheffield was also known for its Steel industry. Where I lived you could hear the echoes of the machines banging repeatedly like a slow faint kick drum. I guess even the sound of the factories in the background have influenced me.

On his break with dubstep:

RS4: I never really stopped making music, I just decided to make an album that took longer than I expected. A few months after its release I got a bit of writer’s block as the sound of Dubstep had changed in a way that I didn't want really want to follow. My friend Lombardo rang me and asked me if I have heard of deep tech house, I said no. He said it sounds like the tunes you used to make back in the day as it has bass and bleeps with influences of house from the 80's and early 90's. I decided to try make one which was a track called "All Around" and it ended up being signed to Audio Rehab. After that I just kept going.

So basically Oris / RS - as a listener/fan, and as creator/participant - is nuum all the way through - his life taking him through bleep, jungle, UK garage / breakstep, grime, dubstep, and now into deep tech. Only thing he appears to have skipped is funky!

RS4's newest release for Audio Rehab

Special RS4 mix for Pack London:

special uk rave 90/92 mix

tasty but not the hasty breaksy madnesst you'd expect with the words 'UK Rave 90/92' or indeed expect me to post here ....

instead Man Like Iueke strings together a shimmerscape of slinky, oneiric, four-to-floor (so far anyway)....  floaty MDMA dreamflesh vybes....  a gentle fever...

vaguely in the zone of ooh Golden Girls' "Kinetic" maybe...  or perhaps Ubik and Nexus 21

but i don't recognise hardly  any of the tracks and dude's not put the promised tracklist up yet

love it

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

hardcore 4 Heroes ( # 1 of 1)

An interview  at FACT with Dego McFarlane of 4 Hero legend and broken beat not-so-legend

(He said cattily)

But seriously it always amazes me how little legends like Dego rate the stuff on which their legend is based.

Asked about the classic-era Reinforced and 4 Hero stuff  - which FACT interviewer Mr. Beatnick says "still feels futuristic and totally ahead to me. Maybe more now than ever", a right-on opinion as far as I'm concerned - Dego says this:

"To me when I hear those records, I hear the excitement of youth. I hear the non-boundary, don’t-give-a-fuck attitude going on....."

Yes, yes, I'm with you, I'm with you - pray continue Dego!

 "Some of the tracks are well crafted, yes. But for the most part, those records are cringey to me – I cringe. I hear all the mistakes. I hear mistakes all over the place...."

No, no, no... I beg to differ, Dego, I must beg to differ...

 ".... There’s a couple where I feel like, “Oh, I was on it there!” But it’s mostly mistakes to me. That was the problem, I didn’t go to music school...."

But that's why you were able to do what you were able to do, man!

"You’re hearing us learn stuff right there, open book we are. You can hear our progression...."

Exactly, you were going somewhere... you hadn't got there yet....


Dego does point to his remixes of Tek 9's "The Attack" on Breakin' Sound Barriers: Remixes EP from 1993 as among the few things that still stand up for him:

"I did two versions of it, parts one and two, and I think that was the best, most futuristic or whatever. Everything seems in tune."

Niiiiice, yes - but better than "Journey From the Light" or the Golden Age E.P. or "Wrinkles In Time" and "Terraforming" off Parallel Universe ????!!!

No coincidence surely that the "Attack" RMX is among the most looking "ahead" to broken beat of all the classic-era 4 Hero stuff....

Musicians - in truth, the last people you should listen to for an opinion on the merits and demerits of their own work!

The interview also mentions some recent output under the name  Cousin Cockroach that used "a diskette of old sounds from the 90s" and "parts from the old Tek 9 and Tom & Jerry stuff".

Titled, amusingly, "This Ain't Tom & Jerry"

Niiiiice enough  (does go on a bit though)

But I wish It Bleedin' Was Tom & Jerry,  to be honest.

It should be noted that Dego has a new solo album out, entitled The More Things Stay the Same to be released on 2000 Black on May 26.

About the title Dego says:

"I’m at that age where I’ve seen it all – things I bought at the time, people don’t want to hear that, and then later on, well, everyone likes this again now do they? It’s the same with fashion, its the same with everything, everything goes in cycles. There’s nothing really new. There’s only the nuances of the day that it is. Like when people say things like, “This person invented drum ‘n’ bass”, or whatever – that’s nonsense, jazz musicians did that years ago! Hit that groove. And something probably made them do that. Nothing really is actually new."

This is a view of things I do not concur with.

Interesting fact - Dego has been living in New York for a few years now.

But he also says "In terms of New York, I feel like since the glory days of hip-hop, Masters At Work and things like that, New York ain’t really come with a sound of its own. It’s all about LA now. They seem to have that creative buzz, creative circle going on."

I have a sneaking feeling (a sinking feeling, also) that he's talking more about Flying Lotus than DJ Mustard, though - don't you?

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

re-e-wind (to the days of New Labour)

FACT with the story that Chuka Umunnawho just announced his candidacy as the Labour Party's next leader,  used to be a UK garage DJ. 

And not only that, but a music journalist, writing for urban music magazine Touch.

Umunna - MP for Streatham and  Labour's Shadow Business Secretary - is standing as a back-to-Blairsics, nu-New Labour, business-friendly / pro-"aspiration" candidate.

 Much of the story originally comes from a piece in The Independent from 2011:

"I love my music. I used to DJ – strictly vinyl – but I haven't 'played out' for ages, which I'm sad about. I briefly had a regular residency in my constituency when I was training to be a solicitor, and at university I used to run a night. You grow up in an area like this and music is a major part of urban youth culture. I went through a phase in my teens when I was majorly into ragga. Then I moved on to jungle. (We didn't call it drum and bass in those days). Hip-hop and soul were constants; I was brought up on soul music. Then I found US house and UK garage in the mid-Nineties, before it became really big." 

"Then I moved on to jungle... Then I found... UK garage"...

 Potentially the first hardcore continuum Prime Minister! He's got my vote, for sure.

Nuum Labour!

(Although slightly alarmed by the detail in The Independent that he doesn't pronounce "garage" as "garridge" but "surprisingly he pronounces it the way you might expect the average MP to – with its second syllable rhyming with 'Farage', rather than, say, 'Beveridge'."

(Lovely touch that - Ukip versus the fellow who laid the groundwork for the Welfare State)

There is also some stuff from a DJ magazine interview by Carl Loben:

"When I first started going out with my friends and enjoying music I was right there at the beginning of the UK garage scene. The brilliant thing about it was that it was a fantastic fusion of all of London's different cultures — it was distinctly London, a very British sound.
"And what also appealed to me about it was that there was no element of us seeking to mimic what people were doing in the US — it was a very British sound, and it just completely captured my imagination.
“I first started writing about it on a freelance basis for Touch Magazine, which was the offshoot of Kiss FM. Then when I was at university, I bought some decks — they were very old skool decks, belt-driven.

"My favourite DJ was probably Karl 'Tuff Enuff' Brown... 
"Producer-wise, I liked a lot of MJ Cole's stuff, Todd Edwards, Grant Nelson..."
It sounds like Umunna didn't care much for 'garage rap' and definitely disliked like grime, so he switched his allegiance to US soulful house 'n garage (presumably why he pronounces it 'garaaaage' not garridge' :

"I felt it was a bit of a shame that everybody got greedy, and it got too aggressive, the whole garage scene, which is why I slightly fell out of love with it. We allowed the MCs to take over, and it went from being quite a kind of happy, uplifting vibe to something that was a bit more aggressive — that I didn’t like" 

That makes me reconsider my plans to vote for him, especially as not super sold on the Nu-NuLab, pro-enterpreneurial slant of his candidacy. 

Although that will play probably well with the UKG generation I should imagine, now entering middle age and quite possibly feeling wistful about the flash-the-cash prosperous Britain days of the first Tony B prime ministership.

The mix-race Umunna certainly looks pure UKG, or should that be impure UKG - he's a photogenic blend of Nigerian, English and Irish, and was raised in South London, the son of a small businessman.