Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Rider on the Stormzy

Here's a piece I wrote for i-D on the unlikely love affair between grime and Jeremy Corbyn.

Although written a good while before the Burial essay, they are companion pieces in some ways.

For instance, public transport - specifically, the night bus - plays a role in both pieces.

And Mark makes another appearance.

Monday, October 30, 2017

mitsy memoree

such an anthem they released  it the next year as "1999" and the year after that as "2000"

Then put it out again as "2004" (but unchanged - the 2000 versions repressed)

Now here's a bizarre thing - NME faves Peace, who are a neopsych Stoney Rosey sort of proposition, actually covered "1998" on their 2012 debut EP Delicious. Which actually makes me like them a little bit. It's not so much a cover as a purloining of the riff and the writing of a song over and around it. And actually it's not bad at all - quite a fun neo-psych blowout.

They must have been little kids when "1998" broke into the UK Top 10

back to the original (is still the greatest)

the video poster seems to think this is the correct (and faster) speed of the original, but feels bit too frantic to me

Binary Finary still going, based out of Australia these days, playing the odd festival around the world 

i was just about to pronounce that the music doesn't seem to have moved one jot forward since the late 90s -  but then realised it's actually a Classics Set !

the crowd go mental when the Binary Finary fellow drops "1998"

now i wonder if trance has moved a jot or two since the late 90s?

the pay off i fear would be too slight for it to be worth me investigating

one more time

Friday, October 27, 2017

shadows of the past, hungry ghosts of the future

new blog Two Hungry Ghosts interviews John Morrow  about the legendary Foul Play remix(es) of Hyper On Experience's "Lords of the Null Lines" and also Alex Banks about the great but less played original track

(via Droid)

Ooh and there's an interview with Morrow about their Omni Trio "Renegade Snares" VIP remix too (Banks too, as he and the other Hyper On fellow engineered).  Two Hungry Ghosts man seems to be systematically going through the Foul Play remixography.

Lots of other cool stuff on the blog, which is kind of like a magazine -  Issue One, Issue Two etc -

Like this chat with Blame

And here's the second "Null Lines" remix with Randall joining the Foul Play boys

And here's the really ace original Hyper On track - sort of nutty-but-dark maximalism in line with their earlier releases

On the flip of the first Foul Play remix was this beaut

Did not know about these other "Null Lines" remixes

improperly titled that one - should be Cloud Nine featuring Ray Keith

That Photek one appears to be from 2006  - and has a kind of techstep / gloomcore circa 96 quality

And what's this then?

actually rather nice

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Ghost Hardware: Burial and revenant rave

Here's an essay I did for Pitchfork about Burial's Untrue ten years on. 

It's also effectively a tribute to Mark Fisher, who is a recurring presence in the piece. 

It's intentional that Burial's real name is never once mentioned in the piece - honoring his original allegiance to rave's radical facelessness and anonymous collectivity. 

Below is my favorite out of the post-Untrue Burial output - in some ways the missing chapter from that album.

There were two parallels and precursors for Burial's  ghost-of-rave (as ghost-of-socialism) aesthetic that I couldn't get into as it would have been too much of a digression.

The first: Mark Leckey's Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore, which I wrote about here

And the second:  "Weak Become Heroes" by The Streets.

What Burial related through samples and moody orchestrations, Mike Skinner conveyed with words,  describing the flashback of a former raver abruptly set adrift on blissed memories of love and unity on the dancefloor. All the commotion becomes floating emotions...  They could settle wars with this...  Imagine the world's leaders on pills... All of Life's problems I just shake off.” Then he's snapped back to the dreary streets of a hostile and hopeless 21st Century England: “gray concrete and deadbeats... no surprises no treats... My life's been up and down since I walked from that crowd.” “Weak,” in Skinner’s song, means not just personally frail, but politically powerless. The weak became heroes when they became a mass, uniting around the unwritten manifesto in the music: someday there’ll be a better way, but in the meantime let’s shelter for a while in this dreamspace.  What the critic Richard Smith (like dear Mark also “late” now – so many ghosts these days) called “the communism of the emotions” triggered by Ecstasy seemed to prefigure a social movement. But the collective energy never got beyond the level of a pre-political potential; the moment dissipated. 

I love those hardcore and rave tunes because they sound deep, hopeful, for the times, and the people... It’s unbelievable, that glow in the tunes, it almost breaks your heart.” - Burial, someplace, sometime

"The tunes I loved the most…old jungle, rave and hardcore, sounded hopeful....  All those lost producers…I love them, but it’s not a retro thing… When I listen to an old tune it doesn’t make me think ‘I’m looking back, listening to another era.’ Some of those tunes are sad because they sounded like the future back then and no one noticed. They still sound future to me." - Burial, someplace, sometime  

In a way, it's a shame Burial stopped doing the interviews -  he was almost born to do them, even more than make music! He's better at describing his own music and motives than any of his critics, except Mark Fisher himself. I remember Mark telling me after he'd done the interview that he couldn't believe his own ears - the stuff that Burial was coming out with was so poetic and evocative, too good to be true almost. a dream of an interview. Anwen Crawford told me of a similar experience: as I recall it, it was like she was hypnotized, sent into a trance by his voice over the phone. but at same time he was completely real and genuine - somehow down to earth and an ethereal being floating out there at the same time.

"I wanted the tunes to be anti-bullying tunes that could maybe help someone to believe in themselves, to not be afraid, and to not give up, and to know that someone out there cares and is looking out for them. So it's like an angel's spell to protect them against the unkind people, the dark times, and the self-doubts" - Burial on Rival Dealer EP / "Come Down With Us"

Actually there's a third parallel/precursor - The Death of Rave by V/Vm, a/k/a The Caretaker - another of Mark's favorites of course... 

This post is dedicated to Carl Neville

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

studies in a mood

an adjacent mood

and what do you know, actually called "Moods"

more songs by Dillinja with "mood" in the title

a much later study in the (sovereign / deep love) mood, by someone else entirely

Monday, October 23, 2017

"drum and bass seances"

"Summoning up the ghosts of '94" - Downpour a/k/a  Chris Adams from Hood / Bracken with some auntologikkal ardkore

the two above are current - part of "a memory project studying the provincial drum and bass scene spanning the years 1992-1994"  - complete with "Period correct kit list: Akai s950 sampler / Alesis Midiverb II  / Novation Bass station / Roland RE-201 Space echo / Delta lab Effectron II  /Atari ST running cubase "

but these below appear to be older experiments in skewed nuum sounds, done as early as 1997, now reissued or issued for the first time

some cool titles - "hey charles hayward", "a beginner's guide to mass hysteria", "if you're a fast enough mc", "dont' let's quantize", "it's only rock and roll and i don't like it", "wish we were there" (don't we all mate - there / then)

this one is very dreamy

Saturday, October 21, 2017

it's... not... over

latter also sampled (different bit though) on

and LOTS of other records

including this (with yet another famous bit - "your mind your body and your soul" - from this ransacked-for-samples supertoon)

Also - "every day of my life" - as sampled in this (and other places too I think)

same lick also used on

Verily the sampler's first choice !!

Praise be to divaqueen Rochelle Fleming!!!

listen and just count the samples!

First time I ever heard the "it's not over" vocal lick was in a 1992 pirate session - it's five minutes into this comp of fave pirate bits, the build-up to a glorious trainwreck of a mix, Citadel of Kaos "It's Not Over" into Goldseal Tribe 'Living Lonely"

"community radio at its best - you nutter"

Monday, October 16, 2017

Belief it M8

"Taking the album’s title into consideration, these three parts seem to represent a sort of holy trinity for the UK hardcore continuum—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost" - cute bit about the tripartite structure of new Special Request retro-rave epic (early uk acid techno / junglizm / ambient emanations) in an otherwise lukewarm review at Pitchfork by Patric Fallon.

He rates this other recent effort by Paul Woolford higher.  

Moments So Dark

some days third-division darkcore seems better than first-division anything else

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Sweet Exorcist

Well what do you know... just checking out which Curtis Mayfield tune it was that (brilliantly) intros The Deuce (also gathering in brilliance - takes a while to get going, give it time)... and realised that despite loving the obvious Mayfield tunes I'd never really properly done his discography... Had a look and what I did see but there's an album by Mayfield, smack dab in his creative prime, called Sweet Exorcist

So this must be where Sweet Exorcist got their name from

It's a great name - for a band and for an album. But I wonder why Richard H. Kirk and DJ Parrot picked it...  And what the phrase signified for Curtis M?

Monday, October 9, 2017

hey, gabba + gabba !

Gabba #1

release rationale:

"DJ Balli is one of the most brilliant sonic minds of his generation: producer, performer, writer, label owner, and much much more. Composer (and long term fan) of hardcore electronic music, he's always believed in the intrinsic subversive power of up-tempo, 'not-intelligent' dance music as opposed to the most pretentious, self-important, byproduct-of-the-ancient-rockstar-system electronic scene. On his path, he met the infamous Italian outcome ArteTetra where he found the perfect platform to express his borderline take on music. Next October the 14th, the world will meet DJ Balli's last effort called 'SVELTO, the Hakken Tuner', recorded with the precious contribution of long-dead Futurist Giacomo Balla, out on International Cassette Store Day for ArteTetra as a part of the "Functional Tools 4 a Better House Living" series' first batch that will also include the 'Musica Lavapiatti' tape by Shit and Shine. Preorder is up at the link https://artetetra.bandcamp.com/.

"Here you can take a look at the exclusive tape trailer we at PAYNOMINDTOUS.it put together couple of weeks ago using the cassette's original tunes as soundtrack, and starring - of course - the almighty DJ Balli, who gets to trace back his origins directly to Giacomo Balla, futurism, pyramids ( .. ) and thirst for speed, also featuring PREVIOUSLY UNSEEN FOOTAGE shot in 1996 during one of the legendary Number One (BS, Italy)'s Hardcore Warriors nights' finale. We'll be presenting the tape on our website [https://paynomindtous.it] next Friday. So, enjoy the clip in the meantime, coming with English subtitles, and share it if you like it & want to support the amazing guys at ArteTetra. Let's finally acknowledge back the power to subvert the status quo that have always belonged to stupid, ruthless and violent music. P.S. Ah, did we mention the fact that 'SVELTO, The Hakken Tuner' is a hardcore gabber record? Yeah you heard us: not those fancy, horrible mainstyle revival stuff, we're talking real (weird) shit here. You've been warned!

Gabba #2

Gabba feature in Dazed and Confused focusing on the curatorial efforts of Ewen Spencer and Alberto Guerrini, creator of something called Gabber Elegenza and the Hakke Show. Here the emphasis is less on the sonix and more on the style of the subculture.

[via Karl Kraft]

Sunday, October 8, 2017


Well I didn't even know there was a version of this with a rap on it - let alone the squawking diva

The "Out of History Mix" is, I think, the one I like (and love the title)

Also the Cave Edit (another good title) - very spare and empty at first

And the Dub Mix

"Rehurse Eq" - what's that when it's at home?

Is this an unofficial remix from back in the day?

This claims to be one too but i can't hear much remixing going on

Then there's this recent-ish remix by Perc + Truss - nice bit of retro-slam action

Of T.99's one true moment of glory I wrote this (as part of an eMusic round-up called the Rave Dozen):


For a couple of years in the early 90s, Belgium ruled rave culture, spewing out a series of innovatively abrasive tunes that rocked ravefloors across the world while also upsetting droves of Chicago house/Detroit techno purists, who saw the style as eradicating techno’s links to black music altogether. And its true, the Belgian sound, as pioneered by labels like Hithouse, Who’s That Beat, R&S and 80 Aum, did turn away from the Afro-American wellspring and drink deep on strictly Euro sources. Its secret ingredients were a strong dose of Electronic Body Music, that stiff-jointed but dancefloor oriented offshoot of industrial trailblazed by Belgium’s own Front 242, and a pungent tang of classical music, especially the more sturm und drang-y Carl Orff/Wagner end of it.

Out of all the Belgian hardcore hitmakers, t.99 were the biggest crossover success, reaching #14 in the UK charts in May 1991 with “Anasthasia” and also scoring with the near-identical “Noctune”. The principal hook in  “Anasthasia” is a hard-angled stab pattern playing what sounds like a choral sample (possibly the famous “O Fortuna” sequence of Orff’s Carmina Burana). The intro to the track, a female voice saying “music, maestro, please” is at once a nod to the quasi-classical vibe of the tune and an advance rejoinder to the horrified hordes of house purists who would decry this slice of brutalist bombast as “just not music”. 

Actually the parts of “Anasthasia” that don’t feature the portentous fanfare-blare of the riff are quite pleasant: a chugging Euro-haus groove topped with wafting synths, almost like “Pacific State” without that cheesy saxophone. But the harsh ‘n’ doomy hook-stab does always return at regular intervals,  sounding a bit like a flock of crows cackling in scorn. 

The four mixes are fairly indistinguishable (this was a time when remixes were precisely that, remixes, as opposed to virtually brand-new tracks), the “Out of History” version perhaps having the edge by a whisker. 

That’s an intriguing sub-title, actually:  were t.99’s Patrick de Meyer and Olivier Abbeloos hinting that rave was a gigantic exodus of disaffected and politically disengaged youth leaving reality behind for a utopia of druggy noise? Or was the idea more apocalyptic, as in “we’re running out of time”? Or a bit of both, as suggested by the title of the debut t.99 album Children of Chaos

Sadly, following its 1992 release, the duo themselves headed for the dustbin of (dance) history. 

Their other glory-ish moment- "Nocturne"

Yet more C+C Music Factory style Eurodance rappige and diva sqwawkage

"Nocturne" came in mixes indexed to particular times of the night - stations on the journey to the end of the rave - a cute 'n' clever idea!

The same idea as "Anasthasia" / "Nocturne" pretty much

Different, but not good - the video is quite a period piece though

Oh the pathos of the rave single-artist album...

Fairly banging, reasonably slamming:

Before they were hardcore, they were New Beat