Friday, December 12, 2003

Things (possibly) coming up from me next week...


Boxsaga 'Computer_Love' (Nonstop)
Soundmurderer & SK-1/Tech Level 2/Wayne Lonesome 'Whowanseekwar'/'Dem Nuh Know Me' (Shockout)
Kid 606/The Bug/Wayne Lonesome 'Buckle Up' (Shockout)
Cae$ar 'EP' (Keys of Life)
Nicole Willis 'Say It' (Puu/Sahko)
Spektrum 'Kinda New' (Tiefschwarz Remixes) (Playhouse)
Master H 'Thirteen' (Mylo Mixes) (Soma)
Smash TV 'Hi-Jacked' (BPitch Control)
Thomas Andersson 'Minimal Mama' (BPitch Control)
ST Plomb 'EP' (Mental Groove)
Longview vs. Ulrich Schnauss 'Can't Explain/Will You Wait Here' (White)
Various 'Gommagang 2 Sampler' (Gomma)


v/a 'Tracks for Horses' (Melodic)
dDamage 'Radio Ape' (Planet Mu)
cLOUDDEAD 'Ten' (Big Dada)
v/a 'Raiders of the Lost Arp 4'
Random Factor 'Convergence' (2020 Vision)
v/a: Back to Mine: Death In Vegas (DMC)
Beans 'Now Soon Someday' (Warp)
v/a 'Zen CD' (Ninja Tune)
Telefon Tel Aviv 'Map of What is Effortless' (Hefty)
Ellen Allien 'Remix Collection' (BPitch Control)
New Sector Movements 'Turn It Up' (Virgin)



Went to see Q-Bert last night at his first ever London gig. Now, I like turntablism, but like a lot of things once you've seen one scratch you've seen 'em all. However, some of the things he was doing with his fingers last night were mental - scratching without the cross fader but making it sound like he was using it by stopping the record abruptly to punctuate the sounds he made. I'd love to give a blow-by-blow account; "he did this flare, then a crab", but that would be monumentally dull. Also the whole thing seemed like an infomercial for this new piece of kit he was using called a QFO - basically it's a deck with an up-fader on the side; an all-in-one, portable turntablizm centre. Just in time for Christmas, too. I thought he might do a five minute demo on this thing, but he used it for his whole set. The assembled b-boys seemed to love it - plenty of middle-class, shaved-heaved youths in hoodies going "booo!". Sadly I found my attention wondering, and my feet wondering to the bar - perhaps the fact he was also sat down didn't help (my mate suggested he has arthritis or some similar ailment, though this may not be the case - he certainly doesn't seem to have carpal tunnel syndrome the rate his fingers were moving). The young Japanese pretender Kentaro was cool and a bit more exuberant; it's a given for scratch DJs to drop drum & bass these days (Q did), but this chappy also dropped some heavy, stomping disco, dub and what sounded like Scottish bouncy techno from the mid-90s. What strikes me about turntablism is that it's in a no-man's land between genuine musical art/creation (you don't believe it, just see 'em play tunes by using the pitch-shifter) and a sport, employing dexterity both mental and physical, as well as an accute awareness of rhythm, pitch and even key. Wiki-wiki. ///

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Have also just discovered that after a lot of speculation and less than a year in existence the indie-rockist BANG has folded. Sorry if this is sounding like a media news bulletin and half of you will probably say good riddance but we're still talking about people's jobs. Needless to say it's not a good time to be a journo - not if you want to get paid for it. That's why I'm moving back to Bournemouth. See you on the beach! ///
Had to rub my eyes when walking into the newsagents today to see Sleazenation with a big RIP all over its nattily-designed slip-cover. Suspecting this as one of their little post-ironic jokes, once I'd purchased said magazine I quickly flicked to Neil Boorman's editorial to find that it was in fact true, Sleaze was dead. Well, not quite - Sleazenation was dead but will continue in a new, revivified incarnation as Sleaze, which is a tad confusing as that's what many people abbreviate it to anyway, but in any case a shock - not least because I contribute to them and didn't know - but not entirely a surprise having been through a similar experience in my one and only editorial staff job. In that instance the mag rebranded from a weekly dance music title to a monthly, 'aspirational', music/lifestyle magazine which showed many promising early signs (just as the whole dance slump was beginning to accelerate) but was somewhat cruelly terminated after only five issues.

Now, I don't know what most of you think of Sleazenation - it generally comes in for the brunt of anti-style mag/Hoxton axis sniping - but for my money its been the most amusing, inventive and non-conformist of the clutch of titles that make up the much-maligned British 'style' press. I only hope they know what they're doing cos I think they could really do something nasty and beautiful and give the people who haven't been voluntarily lobotomised by 2000s celeb culture a proper good read, 'cos for all its merits this electronic format will never replace something whose pages you can actually turn, tear or burn, according to preference. Er, sounds like I'm pitching for a job here..... I'm not. Well...

Also RIP dance music website burnitblue which suddenly ceased activity last week and looks to be another one down the old toilet. It's a fucker. ///
I appear to have lost my archives. Help.

Both albums sound like they look. Missy is leather, pit bulls, camouflaged Hummers with fat tyres and Black Power girls with menacing shades, Afros and clenched fists. It’s wire-mesh and borstal-chic. It’s ragga-bashment-bassquake and worries in the dance. It’s fight-fit and punchin’ its weight. Kelis is synthetic candy-coated, Neptunes’ production has definitely hit a plateau – perhaps not doing her many favours. The Kelis/Williams/Hugo interface is unlikely to provide any more answers to the riddles of the cosmos. She sounds sleepy-sexy; nothing really has that whiplash, violent affirmation, immediate arousal quality – that ‘Zap!’. Sweet-toothed. Bland, complacent, average. Slick. Lazy. Marshmallow bounce, smooth, creamy glide. Confectionery. ///

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

KERRIER DISTRICT ‘Kerrier District’ (Rephlex)

The only info on the primary-coloured sleeve is the name (an administrative region of Cornwall and a sly, West Countrified spin on New Jersey’s Metro Area) and a sticker bearing the solitary word: ‘DISCO’. Yes, in the latest stage of his chronologically back-to-front revision of modern dance music’s major epochs – most notably jungle and acid – Luke Vibert has shinned his way back down the family tree trunk and dug it up from the roots. With ten tracks across three slabs of heavyweight vinyl, called things like ‘Let’s Dance and Freak’, ‘Disco Bus’ and ‘New York’, that couldn’t be more apparent.

An exercise in subtle disorientation; tracks begin with all the key characteristics of classic late-‘70s Moulton/Kevorkian/Russell/Levan disco in its dubbed-out, star-dusted majesty, whilst equally referencing the early house of Larry Heard and Bobby Konders. ‘Let’s Dance and Freak’ is all romanticised anachronisms; flushed synth sqiggles scrawling neon patterns over a matte black swathe of groove, a glutinous bass squidge beneath heavenly whisps of high-end ether-melody, trimmed with samba hoots and percussive clatter. ‘Silhouettes’, meanwhile, seeps dry ice through its refined grooves and sunken bassline, cello and woodwind embellishment skittering over its surface.

This is going to surprise many a Vibert/Rephlex aficionado. Rather than lampooning the polite retro grooves of Geist and Jhesrani, he’s merely adding his own spin. But, for all the quaint air of rose-tinted nostalgia that hangs over the album, that trademark Vibert tomfoolery keeps having its wicked way; shifting more and more leftwards as the psychedelic weirdnesses and incongruities begin to unravel. ‘Illogan’’s pimp-walking bassline evokes lithe, camp dancers with dislocated pelvises flung in superhuman, gyroscopic figures-of-eight, engaging in casual interplay with Moogazoid synth-lines as the psychedelic flute and tripnotic pulse of the beat work up a groove vortex that sucks you in and begins to mess with your marbles.

On ‘Disclix’, more old Rephlex traits appear. There’s a gelatinous Mr Fingers-style bassline, but it jammers almost like prime-time raving Aphex; steadily layering and intensifying with repetitive, arcing synth motifs and antiquated orchestral trills that add an element of Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. ‘New York’ sounds like a very analogue ancestor of Daft Punk’s ‘Da Funk’; messy and un-clinical; fuzzed around the fringes – a fossilised, prehistoric version of techno caked in scum and mud. On ‘Yesco’, the cut-up divas could have come from some old house or hardcore anthem; Orgasmic, androgynous groans and synthesised horns oozing and rippling across splashing beats. There’s a sense of time being bent; eras mixed and matched like a cryogenically regenerated skeleton fleshed out with alien parts; a Frankenstein’s groove-monster, ungainly but with a semblance of cohesion. Yeah, you can see the stitches, but it dances with a certain amount of grace.

By the time of ‘Wide Vice’ and ‘Squaredance’ its began to stagger; becoming drowsy and not a little aimless; the beat slowed to a drag, the horn stabs sounding weary; although while the latter seems to exist in a somnambulant dance-daze the warmth of its bassline and Balearic guitars radiate through it; monged-out but glowing softly. Perhaps it’s like a trip down someone else’s memory lane – trip being the operative word – a hypnotic regression where in a parallel universe this might all make sense. It’d be easy to see this as yet another retro indulgence, because that’s what it is. It may not be a mind-blower but at its best moments it glows with a gentle, sparkling, dreamy affection. ///

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

bling. orange-skinned Italian rubs his hands. ///
Part two?! Look, listen, learn. ///
Yeeeeeah Boy-eee! THAT's what I want for crizmuz. ///
Norman Cook and Darren Emerson have set up a paying dowload site here. Only their Underwater (Gus Gus/Tim Deluxe) and Southern Fried (Space Cowboy/Grandadbob) labels involved at the moment. ///

Monday, December 08, 2003

Trucker hat-wearing blonde freaks Junior Senior are a Scandanavian version of Black Lace (“Shake your coco-nuts!/Coco boyzz!”) meet the Spin Doctors, this being their addition to the office Christmas party cheese selection of unnecessarily bad novelty songs and humour from the Carry On school of innuendo, only without the humour (i.e. the soundtrack to gross humiliation). DFA remix: cowbells + loping punk-funk bassline + pinging noises = same old story = still laughably shit. ///

Richard explains: “This Limited Edition 7” may have my wintery version of the song I made with Jarvis – that one’s called ‘Into U’. For your information the inclusion of generic festive sounds and additional programming was performed on September 24th, around the time I noticed the first sign in a local pub telling you to book your Christmas roast now or be disappointed.” The sound of a Christmas spent heartbroken and on smack: electro beats + slide guitar + sleighbells = winner. ///

Well, it’s got steel drums on it and it’s very, very boring. Features the brilliantly named Ms Thing singing “I wanna dude who’ll do me in his van”, however. ///

Not quite the Hiroshima-on-wax that was his ‘Lucky Star’ remix, Dillinja nevertheless plumbs the depths of bass that few others dare. It actually sounds slower than much current d&b, perhaps in an effort to make Tali’s typically hooky vocal fit, building on a meat ‘n’ potatoes stepper as Tali hums in a jazzual style, she goes into an accapella chorus as Dillinja whips up a whirlwind of strange fx that rev up then die away until the drop, where it just goes “Vuhhh-vvvuhhh-vfffuggGHHHHH”… like that. Interestingly odd synth-led breakdown, too, plus dubwise test-tones aplenty. ///

Surprisingly heavy track from Ms Rucker; a thumping, mid-paced, quasi-house, Jazzanova-produced beat like a slow-mo Lil’ Louis under deep-sea pressure, Ursula riffing lyrical on the anatomical workings of the heart with “valves and ventricles and aortas” as the bass seems to be pulsing blood in a thick, steady flow. “If my heart were made of bone it would shatter,” says the lady. Moody. ///

Is there a more odorous, yawn-inducing word than 'DJ tool'? Engine-greased tedium on wax. ///
New Touch mag out now: Ms Dynamite on the cover (bit of a Heat -style, 'Cor she's had a baby but just look at her figure!'), my Jehst feature and a great piece on Cuban hip-hop. Oh yeah, and a pic of a nine-year-old Dizzee in a dickie bow. Believe! ///
Not half bad compilation, this...

LADYTRON 'Softcore Jukebox' (Emperor Norton)

1. My Bloody Valentine 'Soon'
2. The Fall 'Hit The North Part 1'
3. Cristina 'What's a Girl to Do'
4. Dondolo 'Peng'
5. Wire 'The 15th'
6. Ladytron 'Blue Jeans 2.0'
7. Snap Ant 'Saviour Piece'
8. New Fast Automatic Daffodils 'Big'
9. !!! 'Feel Good Hit of the Fall'
10. Fat Truckers 'Teenage Daughter'
11. Fanny Pack 'Hey Mami' (Sharaz Remix)
12. Seelenluft 'Manilla' (Headman Remix)
13. The Source/Candi Staton 'You Got The Love'
14. Codec and Flexor 'Crazy Girls'
15. Ladytron 'Oops Oh My'
16. Shocking Blue 'Send Me a Postcard'
17. Pop Levi 'Twins'
18. Nancy Sinatra/Lee Hazlewood 'Some Velvet Morning'

Plus Roxy Music pastiche cover with Mira Aroyo in a bikini (nice!). With skulls on (of course!). ///

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