Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Sunday, November 24, 2013

never trust your fantasies

classic darkcore "I can't believe these feelings" rave-dream-as-lie paranoia title to this Essence of Aura EP that's weirdly eluded my ears to until this very moment

Lord of Darkness himself Doc Scott on the remix tip here

"Intruder", from the Pure Essence EP also very much on that vybe (cf.  Luna C Project's "Edge of Madness"- "There's an invisible intruder / That's got inside your mind / Invading your sense of right and wrong / Making your conscience blind")

original of "Can I Dream"

love the label graphic on this 93 collab with Distortion Crew

unreleased cut issued by ardkore archival label sublogic

transitioning from dark into intelligence like so many others

Saturday, November 16, 2013

ambient trap, dolphin drill

liquid gangsta

Chal Ravens frets over this Fat Trel track's street-nihilist allure in a piece at FACT that attempts to "redefine the guilty pleasure"

Thursday, November 14, 2013

metal dance

while we're on this industrial-techno / Eurohardcore continuum tip (i.e. Gesaffelstein, Horrorist, Soulwax's Belgcore 'n' gabber slowed-down mix), one of my fave archaeologies of 2013 was  Trevor Jackson's Metal Dance:  Volume 2

like the first volume, an exploration of the hinterland between postpunk and techno-rave -- EBM, second-wave industrial, dancefloor-oriented Goth

like the first volume, a lot of this stuff I'd probably have shunned as past-its-avantfunk-moment in the actual mid-Eighties, when I was listening to Husker Du and Schooly D, but which now sounds really fresh

here's the tracklist:

01. Tuxedomoon - 59 To 1
02. Logic System - Unit
03. Psyche - The Saint Became A Lush
04. Skinny Puppy - Deadlines (400 Blows Remix)
05. Propaganda - (The Echo Of) Frozen Faces
06. Visage - Der Amboss (Instrumental)
07. Rusty Egan - The Twilight Zone (Trevor Jackson Edit)
08. Material - Secret Life
09. Rene Bandaly Family - Tanki Tanki (Rabih Beaini Edit)
10. Experimental Products - Work That Beat
11. Crash Course In Science - Jump Over Barrels
12. Liaisons Dangereuses - Etre Assis Ou Danset
13. Esplendor Geometrico - Necrosis En La Poya

01. Ministry - Over The Shoulder (12-inch Version)
02. Test Dept - The Unacceptable Face Of Freedom: Face 3
03. Mile High Club - Walking Backwards
04. CHBB - Ima Iki-Mashoo
05. Front 242 - Body 2 Body (2trax)
06. Vice Versa - Riot Squad
07. Chris & Cosey - Driving Blind
08. Doris Norton - Personal Computer
09. Plus Instruments - Vom Ertrunkenen Mädchen
10. Conrad Schnitzler - Das Tier
11. Neon - Lobotomy
12. Arthur Brown And Craig Leon - The Conversation
13. Haruomi Hosono - Platonic
14. Godley & Creme - Babies

Here's Trevor Jackson talking about the compilation at Resident Advisor

Here's a promo minimix TJ did

Here's a video mix, official or unofficial i knownot

 And finally some of my fave tunes from the compilation

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

FACT  flag up a mix by Soulwax (from a few years ago, seemingly) that involves slowing down gabba and Belgian hardcore to 115 bpm.

Awesome it is indeed, but I have to disagree that the result "sounds vaguely soothing and almost... soulful".  Decelerating gabba doesn't transform it into jazzual  Kruder 'n Dorf type downtempo emollience.  The insurgency and raging madness survive the tempo drop.

In some ways, it becomes even more woozy and drug-fucked. 

No, you couldn't really imagine putting this mix on at a dinner party as background music. It's too imposing, too infernal.

The b.p.m. reduction technique shows that what made gabba and Eurohardcore so intense wasn't actually the speed, or at least not primarily the speed. It was certain musical structures, timbres, tonalities...  and a mood.

FACT also point to the video accompaniment of Nederlands ravers in sports wear or stripped to the waist, gurning and sweating, and say "if you didn’t know better you might think it’s one of the 100% Silk lot having a laugh at our expense," i.e. a hipster house pastiche, a spoof.

And it does look a bit like the retro-rave video to that Miracles Club tune " Church Song".

At first I assumed it was old footage digitally spliced from some rave video-pak merchandise type thing. But many of the Nederavers look at a bit mumsy and dadsy, plump and balding (techno slapheads, but not by choice). So I assume it was done recently and the concept is "gabba for the middle aged".

Just my cup of tea, then.

(Via Eli Bingham)

Friday, November 1, 2013

piece of retro-future

Listening to the Gesaffelstein album, this track and certain other Aleph moments reminded me, in texture and mood, a little of the Horrorist. (Who incidentally put out an excellent album this year, Fire Funmania).  Actually the declamatory opening track "Out of Line" with its black drones and knelling tones is even more Chesler-esque.

Now when I first heard Yeezus I thought, you now what, bits of this, they really do sound like Kanye West has been listening to the Horrorist.... 

Well, knock me down with a feather, it's Gesaffelstein that produced "Black Skinhead"

And here's the Horrorist guest-vocalling on an EP by Sound of Science

Saturday, October 26, 2013

taking the PIF

grime + hauntology = my postmillenial sweet spot, obviously. Here's Robin the Fog on the Public Information Film, or PIF  -  a memoradelic talisman for those raised in the 70s and 80s, but, he notes, undergoing something of a mini-revival with the following "urban yoof" oriented PIF:

Robin imagines other possibilities for PIFs updated for postmillenial Britain starring grime MCs:
  • Lethal Bizzle neglects to don gloves while handling a sparkler (that’s a firework, not street-slang for jewellery)
  • Chipmunk leaves his Chip-pan unattended while polishing his floor and then puts a rug on it.
  •  Example neglects to stand still on an escalator and makes an Example of himself. (very clever, that one)
  • Wiley, attempting to return to his ‘Eski-Boy’ roots, acts irresponsibly on a frozen pond
  • Dappy from N-Dubz attempts to rescue a frisbee from a substation (with surprisingly graphic-yet-cheering results).
  • Tinchy Strider goes kite flying near a pylon, while an elderly Bernard Cribbins looks on from the tree-tops, concerned 

Friday, October 25, 2013

at Playboy, Frank Owen + Lera Gavin (his missus) on Molly, bath salts, "e-tards", and the vain quest for the "real thing"

also featuring quotes from Mike Power, author of Drugs 2.0, "a compelling account of how the internet has revolutionized the global drug trade"

Power's remarks about how “unity, euphoria and sex will never go out of style” and "Molly has become hugely popular right now because it is in many ways the perfect drug for the times. We’ve never been so networked yet so disconnected" rub dissonantly up against gritty Owen/Gavin reportage from the recent, drug-death-tarnished Electric Zoo rave in NYC:

"One with pasty skin and a blond goatee briefly scanned his surroundings...  took a capsule out, split it and poured the contents into his water bottle. He shook the bottle vigorously and took a sip. He winced and gagged. “This tastes like ass,” he said. “But I’ll be tripping in no time.” Nearby, close to the entrance to the show, a young Asian man was lying facedown on the grass, humping the ground. He turned his head to one side and vomited. By this point Electric Zoo’s staffers were spraying the crowd with water hoses. Overheating is a major risk factor for molly users."

Talk of unity, collective intimacy created by empathogens, etc also rubs dissonantly up against the callous responses of fans pissed off because the final day of the rave is cancelled by the organisers and the city following two deaths:

"Honestly, I do not even feel for the people who died. This is fucking stupid. I paid so much money to go to this fucking festival. Just cuz a couple people are fucking dumb you ruin it for 10s of thousands! Fuck you Zoo!”

Thursday, October 24, 2013

feel the panic

at The Quietus, an archaeology of the siren as a musical device by Robert Barry

inevitably mentions rave / hardcore en route to the Klaxons

Praga khan - rave alarm by syncrythm


Friday, October 11, 2013

nostalgie de la vitesse

Rinse FM's old skool don Uncle Dugs, while playing Crystal Waters's "Gypsy Woman": "You know what, it’s funny, how much our music changed – within a year of this tune being out, this wouldn’t have fitted in in any of the raves. It's funny isn’t it – music was changing so rapid in these days. Bpms were flying through the roof."

sets adrift on memorE bliss

a treasury of old skool -- Uncle Dugs shows for Rinse FM archived -  including guest sets and chats with hardcore luminaries like 2 Bad Mice, Frost, and Guy Called Gerald.

"Proper oral history" says the Man like Droid.

Particularly enjoyed this one, featuring "lovely bloke" Nicky Blackmarket and themed around 1991 (responding to a request for LFO, Dugs says "Not in the bag mate, that's 1990. Bit of a shtickler I am"), that being the year when Dugs went to his first rave

Monday, October 7, 2013

"it's a rave, Lewis"

my mate Sean Nye tells me this Morse episode, originally broadcast in 1992, was directed by Danny Boyle

the writer was Julian Mitchell, whose resume includes co-writing with Ray Davies the teleplay Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire) (which was never actually produced)

here's the whole Cherubim and Seraphim episode

Thursday, October 3, 2013

phil sherburne at spin  lambasts the las vegas-ization of electronic dance culture

as also explored in this new yorker story by josh eels

and in an earlier spin piece

postscript: and a piece in Billboard about how clubbing is almost as big a draw to punters as gambling in Las Vegas now

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

"Error 404 - Page Not Found"

So I'm trying to check out FACT mag's "Sentimental Things: The Story of UK Dance Music from 2000-2009 in 100 Records" feature series, curiosity piqued by the way it's framed in the intro blurb, as an attempt to:

"document a decade that not only won’t be repeated, but arguably...  witnesses the hardcore continuum – that lineage of UK dance music that charts hardcore’s transition to jungle, to garage, to grime and dubstep and so on, as advocated by writers like Simon Reynolds – dissolving into something else entirely"....

That something else entirely being related to "the transition from the club... and... pirate radio... to the internet as dance music’s key hub – the arena where new scenes were incubated and future classics first broke...."  

But every time I click on a year - 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005-- I end up with:

Error 404 - Page Not Found

Tempting to find something symbolic in that glitch void! An inadvertent allusion to historical consciousness being eroded by the lateral logic of netspace.

The blurb, again: 

"For better or worse though, the dim room that most people are discovering dance records from in 2013 is lit by the cold glow of a Macbook rather than Plastic People’s little red light"
Hope that glitch gets fixed quick because I would to check with my own ears if there is an audible difference in the music as analogue mediation gets steadily more displaced by digital dissemination during the course of the 2000s.

"Glutted, clotted" is one syndrome I've observed, obviously. While the clottage can be attributed to the superpowers of the software involving in the music's making, the gluttage clearly has something to do with the post-historical/post-geographical overload: the interior swarm of influences and inputs that creatives now must contend with and attempt to thrive within. (Although not dance music as such, this is very audible in the New UK Underground proselytized for here by Adam Harper, "post-noise" whose imploded genre-morphing seems to take off from "Preyouandi" and Cosmogramma more than Sheer Hellish Miasma and Burned Mind)

But I wonder (in light of FACTblurb's "cold glow" versus basement-red light-feeling contrast) whether there we willll be able to detect an audible depletion of an aura of sociality in UKdance, a sense that it's made for solitary ears rather than for a crowd-body whose Pavlovian reflexes respond to certain triggers and structures....  that it becomes steadily less about stoking a collective vibe and more about stroking the individual cerebellum. Tickling the intellect of the homebound or the in-transit earbudded unbody.

Certainly it's noticeable that in most dance writing today there's little reference to, well, dancing....  almost no emphasis on the scene, crowd behaviour,  participant-observer stuff.

Instead its primary mode is taxonomy, the tracking of genre-ological evolution and mutation, etc.

Which is to say, monitoring flows of information...  remote encounters between genres and peoples  in increasingly immaterial world...   Digihybridity... Music for a virtual dancefloor.

postscript: another thing i suspect will be audible as the years go by from the decade's start to decade's end is a decline in the rate of anthem-production...    the anthem i think is predicated on the crowd as the site of reception....    there's only been a few anthem contenders in recent years ("hyph mngo" is a sub-anthem, to my ears, falls just short; "Wut", definitely;  Joker has a smattering of top tunes that achieve anthemhood..  But even great talents like Z**by  that are steeped in nuuum knowledge don't really make anthems, by and large  his stuff is deep...  his revisiting of hardcore on U in 92 noticeably didn't involve anthemicity, it was a deepification of 2 Bad Mice et al

there is also i surmise something about hyper-eclectism that works against the emergence of anthems, which seem to involve tapping into the essence of a genre, e.g. Renegade "Terrorist" is pure jungle, certain trance or gabba classic anthems are pure trance, pure gabba...   To write an anthem today probably requires a reversion to some kind of retro mode, which may partly explain the house resurgence

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

disco flailure

neil kulkarni speak truth:

"Another mistaking of metronomy for feel, vagueness for profundity. Somewhere in this flabby seven minutes of pffft [Arcade Fire, "Reflketor"] there's a shitty 2 minute song waiting to break out. I'm not being picky. I'm just having standards i.e demanding that a pop song gives me pleasure, doesn't bore me, doesn't coast, doesn't come across as entirely unjustifiably pleased with itself. 'Reflektor' has not one moment of pleasure or wonder in it, only the smug constant insistence that hey wow, we're cool cos we're a rock band but we're trying to play disco. (That boom-tish alternated hi-hat rumble every fucker has down pat when they wanna get 'dancey', another rhythm section that thinks it's Frantz/Weymouth that hasn't listened to enough Dunbar/Shakespear to even come close). Broken down to it's constituent elements everything that should work is in place on 'Reflektor' (even that 'k'), James Murphy pushing all the right buttons to try and heat things up, eventually failing to stop it flailing because what's being played is so bereft of heart and purpose, the changes so signposted and monotonously run through you're simply witness to them going round them over and over again without any real sense of movement or import. Simply not good enough when the frontman and band are clearly such tedious & arrogant individuals they have to hide their non-personas behind 'zany' masks (and what a fucking tired trick that has become for a whole generation of indie meh-merchants) in the Cjorbin-annointed video. If you're going to make music like this you need words interesting enough, a personality big enough or voice intriguing enough (Bowie, Grace, Donna) to imbue all that rotational repetition with a sense of dramatic art and change. 'Reflektor' contains none of that, just sits wobbling like a wodge of flavourless jelly slopped on a bassbin, Bowie's fleeting appearance offering merely an aggravatingly tantalising glimpse of what might've been if a human being rather than a pack of 'tastemakers' had had a go at this 'song'. Pass."

File next to: 


Monday, September 23, 2013

Bradford Tremor Corps

bassgasmic mix from bleep legends Unique 3 aka Edzy

new single  'Feels So Good' out now, foretaste of Picture, No Sound album coming very soon on Rocstar

tons of classic Unique 3 up on the soundcloud going way back to the beginning

also the ruff 'n raw mix for Annie Nightingale from a few years back

never knew he done a single on Strictly Rhythm

Thursday, September 19, 2013

history rEpEats

Dance explosion, fueled by euphoriant drug, is followed by messy phase when the drug is cut with adulterants and surrogates, leading to bad reactions and deaths.... confusion, excess, paranoia, recklessness and wrecked-ness.

Mixmag with a report on how MDMA powder aka Molly, the cult of which was based on its purity and reliability compared to Ecstasy in pressed pill form, is nowadays, almost inevitably, increasingly turning out to be adulterated or bogus, with thje substitute substances in most cases being the MDMA analogue Methylone.

"The Miami Herald reported that in just 12 months there had been a staggering 16-fold increase in seizures of methylone, while MDMA seizures had dropped off a cliff. In 2011, Miami police reports show drugs sold as Molly were seized and submitted for testing 207 times. The overwhelming majority – 190 – contained MDMA, while just 17 contained methylone. But in 2012... testing proved that 278 samples contained methylone, and just 59 contained MDMA"

Echoing the hardcore-era not-quite-E surrogate MDA, famously encountered in the notoriously intense "snowball" pills of the early 90s, Methylone offers a speedier, harsher buzz:

Methylone is fun, but I’d rather have MDMA for sure,” [Mark, a London-based DJ] says. “Methylone makes me sweat like hell, and gives me a tight jaw. The high isn’t as deep and is a shorter buzz. It can make you quite touchy-feely and even horny – it’s pretty good for sex, though most guys can’t come on it. But the thing I least like about it is that it leaves me wanting more, like coke. Also, methylone is a little more harsh on the comedown and leaves your heart beating quite hard, whereas MDMA doesn’t,” he says. “I wouldn’t be totally pissed off if I got some methylone for a night out, but I’d want to know what I had – and I’d want to pay less for it.” 

As an adulterant, it’s among the least bad things it could be, nowadays. Luckily, it’s not massively toxic and the dose range isn’t that different to MDMA – a standard dose is around 100mg, or a tenth of a gramme, much like ecstasy.

Other common adulterants in US pills and capsules include TFMPP, a vile drug that will make you feel wakeful, hot and restless, and 5-MEO-DipT, a powerful drug that should never be mixed with other substances as it can react badly and cause spasms.

The report is by Mike Power whose book Drugs 2.0 – The Web Revolution That’s Changing How The World Gets High is an in-depth exploration of modern drug culture and the rise of analogues bought and sold through the internet. More info here.

 More stories about drug induced badness and EDM  -- deaths at Electric Zoo in NYC; Australian festival plagued by overdoses

More about Methylone's "tweekier high" at EDM Tunes

Big question about how all this will affect EDM: is the music going to get darker, more twisted and febrile, more interesting?