Sunday, February 01, 2004

bemoaning the loss of nolberto solano, a peruvian demigod. a crushingly disappointing injury time equaliser today. you yanks don't knowmwhat i'm talkin' 'bout do ya?

"shoes off you love the toon" - this is genius, a riff on "pogo if you nlove the toon", but people take their shoes off and hold them aloft. it spread throughoput bthe whole away section. i love it.

encountered some wanker skinhead zulus in the pub (white birmingham semi-hooligan boneheads) singing england football songs at a black friend. infuriating, i can't understand these fucks. ///

Friday, January 30, 2004

I must say, to my shame, that I've been watching a lot of I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. In fact, I watch far too much television full-stop. Lydon is coming across as a worryingly alright bloke, almost avuncular. It's just weird TV. That Garth Marenghi thing made me laugh, too, which made me feel dirty - there's something stranfely amiss about it - a pervasion of wrongness (?). Also, one of the best Father Ted's was on last night, too. That's holy comdedy. ///
Don't know if anyone saw For The Benefit of Mr Parris (Revisited) on TV last night, wherein journailst/Tory/wanker Matthew Parris tried to live on a week's dole in the Scotswood part of Newcastle as he had done exactly 20 years ago (and failed). It left me feeling pretty sick and mixed up. So, you go into a community centre in the North of England in the year of the miners' strikes and tell a middle aged man with six kids who's all most certainly never going to find another job that life should be as 'uncomfortable' on the dole as possible to encourage people to seek work (as if they're all sitting in the pub living the life of Reilly). Part of me saw that he had a point (badly put across), the other was deeply offended. My parents moved us from the North East to the South Coast when I was five, about the time of the first documentary, and whilst my life has never been less than very comfortable - easy, in fact - I have a lot of close relatives on my mum's side who live in similar circumstances, and a lot of them are quite badly ill and on medication. Parris went to an estate where all the mums were on Prozac and they put all their kids on downers (Ritalin, I think) because they couldn't handle them and told the doctors they had ADS. Parris said all the kids he saw had downcast eyes and just shuffled around the streets. Then he met a guy with four kids who he'd met 20 years earlier, struggling to bring up his young family on benefit. The guy's son had hung himself just after his 21st birthday after going from scheme to scheme without finding regular work. I don't know how I felt - this kid must have been the same age as me - we were born in the same region at a similar time but totally worlds apart in every other way. How should this make me feel? I know I'll think about it for a day and then just forget; I have a certain amount of phoney guilt but that just passes. I just feel a bit pathetic and I know I can't really do anything about it. The Tory goes away spouting the same bastard opinions he had 20 years ago and Newcastle has a shiny new bridge and a Music centre and museum and the football costs £28 as opposed to £4. It's fucked, really, but it seems like a universe away. ///
Blogging is a public experience, right? The idea of a journal usually being a private one, here you’re putting a piece of yourself up there for people to read – and you’re lying if you say you don’t want as many people as possible to read it. And, thinking about it, there’s loads of contradictions about blogs. They’re meant to be about sharing something, about community, exchange, conversation, intercourse (snigger). But they’re also totally (well, potentially) selfish, narcissistic, fraudulent, deceptive, self-reverential, alienating, arrogant, self-important. You may want it to be as honest as possible, and so sometimes you write things about yourself you haven’t even told your friends and family (and then go back and delete it later), because you don’t feel like you’re telling anyone, just putting the words on a computer screen. But then you hide behind a pseudonym, because it makes you sound more mysterious than you are. Like you don’t have a double-barrelled surname. ///
Thanks to the people who got back to me about the magazine piece on blogs. It was written grudgingly but in the end I just had to knock out something quite insubstantial and generalised. Ironically, keeping it within 450 words proved a major problem. But, on the up-side, it's given me a lot to think about and re-energised my belief in this medium. It's the fact that it's free (in every sense), generally honest and accessible to anyone that makes what it is, whatever that is. I'll always have a place in my heart for ink and paper though; that's something else, but equally something that should be respected and loved like a blog should. I'll get around to that soon enough.

Interesting to get the impression from various people that the PRs are beginning to take notice of blogs and are focussing some of their efforts on bloggers as a first step of creating some initial hype. But the point where bloggers are being harassed by PR people wanting to know whether they're covering the latest Erick Morillo 12" is probably the point it'll all begin to fuck up. It's nice getting free records, but don't think they don't want something back. ///

Well, I had a listen to Wiley's 'Wot Do U Call It?' yesterday and is was not the disappointment I expected. It basically sounds the same as a lot of his other rhythms, just buffed up a bit (with a beefy low end) - the same synth/bass sounds and the usual five note riff that changes every eight or so bars plus those weird camera-shutter/door slam fx he uses on Roll Deep riddims, the only concession to the mainstream probably being a kind of gawky live horn sound, but then a lot of producers use that anyway. You can see where he's going with the lyrics, too, except it's inconclusive and leaves you in the same quandry Matt and Simon have been puzzling over. He probably should have called the track 'We Call It Eski', which is a bit D-Mob but it sticks in the head. I'd say the name is the least of anyone's worries - giving a sound a name generally fucks it up, it's the same old story - inventing genres imposes a template/blueprint and people just fall into the same groove time and again, stifling growth/change. A sound without a name is much more likely to shift and morph - you give it a name one week and it'll be something else the next. I mean, is anyone still using the term 8-Bar? It seems to be derogatory now.

Incidentally, XL have signed a Leicester trio called Class A, stating on the press release that the tracks were made on a Playstation. Now i'm not saying that making tunes on a games system or a million pound studio makes any difference as long as the ideas are good; often the former will be preferable to the latter. It was just interesting that this was seen as a selling point for a big label, as was also the case with Dizzee (big fuss made over the fact he made his tracks at school, though in the event a lot were done at a big Sheffield studio or by guest producers). And also a garage act signed on the back of a demo rather than pirate play (not knowing of any Midlands pirate network of note) and London hype shows... well, what? That the game's open to all comers? That the pirates don't actually hold that much sway with majors? Class A aren't particularly strong, MC or beat-wise, and theirs' isn't a sound identifiable with eski, sub-lo or any London sound - it's faster, more electroey, almost like Radioactive Man or Direct Beat in style. Garage from the provinces/north of London generally sounds different - see Oris Jay (Sheffield) and Mark One (Manchester), who've had a bit of restistance to their stuff from some quarters. I don't really know what I'm going on about, just trying to work out what makes an A&R's mind tick (nothing, some would say). And does major label involvement inevitably compromise an artist's sound (yes in the case of Dynamite, not really with Dizzee)... But it's all a question of what the market is, isn't it? Shit, I shouldn't be talking like this! Markets??!! ///

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Here's a chart Wiley's done for FACT magazine - I'm giving you a sneak preview which I hope no one will object to. Interesting that he's rocking Kelis - get those two in the studio together, eski style. I expect that Kano track may break him if he's signed, even though it's a bit Blur. I'm really losing touch here though, being in the provinces and that. Effort is required, complacency the common enemy.

Still haven't checked his XL single yet and I've had it for a fortnight.


1. WILEY ‘Special Girl’ (XL)
2. WILEY ‘Tredding On Thin Ice’ (XL)
3. KYLE DEANE ‘Cross The Line’ (white)
4. KELIS ‘Attention’ (Virgin)
5. KELIS ‘Glow’ (Virgin)
6. DIZZEE RASCAL ‘Back Against The Wall’ (test)
7. SUV ‘Rain’ (RCA)
8. WILEY ‘Pies’ (white)
9. KANO ‘Boys Love Girls’ (white)
10. KRIS & NEEF ‘No Better Love’ (Roc-A-Fella)

Compiled by Wiley, London, UK

Oh, and posting reviews that I've written for magazines is a bad habit that I must break. Not why I started a blog at all. ///

Last night dreamt about a crab tree - a tree with crabs in it, big orange-brown ones falling on my head with claws. Unsettling. ///

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

The area I live in has a lot of South Americans and other nationalities due to large number of language schools in the town. I'm in the internet and there's a very fucking loud thunder clap, then it starts snowing (I never associated the two before), and it's clear some of the Brazilians and that have never seen snow before, so they go rushing outside and there's lots of shrieking and shouting. Sweet. It's stopped now and hasn't settled - never does this south. Grey/black slush puppies in the gutter.

Oh, and that list thing below was meant to be me taking the piss. Well, half... someone should definitely re-release the New Fast Automatic Daffodils' first album - it would be a fucking sensation, la!

Incidently Justin Unabomber (alias Only Child) was the New Fads bassist. 'Big' on that Ladytron comp is wicked - the missing link between post-rock and Madchester.

I had a job interview today for a film magazine. Never wrote about a film in my life, but what's that to stop me. Told them I played golf - I haven't for years. It's a hobby though, and I will play again soon - they have carts for hire at the local municipal course. Yee-hah!

This weekend I will be in Birmingham following my team, Newcastle United. I'm well into the North again - should spend all my weekends there...

Respect Luka 4 eva... I'm gonna write tha on a busstop in fat pen with his URL. cheers for the words bruv - I won't quote ya

Meme speaks truth. Must re-link him ///

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

it's good that i can go outside now and hear the sea. the sea in the dark is strange, like sky but wet. feels good, scary but safe. ///
last night dreamt there was a fire. put it out though. ///
struggling to cope with the petty fads of the day, one retro revival after the next, back and forth through chronology - how vcan you plot what's going to come next? who is behind this sinister obsession that has gripped music. and don't think the street is any better than the trendies - except that which seems divorced of any historical context, but only shards and flickers of many pasts injected into the future (i.e. dizzee, wiley). when the future ceases to become futuristic, futurism becomes archaic. what's a self-respecting trendspotter to do? wait, then pounce, savage, gorge then moan with the indigestion. you can't have your next big thing and eat it. what does the barometer say? storm brewing far off, low pressure, moderate. big freeze coming, wrap up warm or light fires......>>>>>>>

what's in???
- bleeps
- acid
- chicago house drums; rim-shots, drum builds/fills
- warpesque sub bass
- italo
- mentasm stabs
- chanty vocals/raps on dance records
- dark
- alcohol & bad drugs
- mess
- orienteering
- fields
- pets
- the north
- new fast automatic daffodils
- fanzines

what's out???
- punk-funk/post-punk
- guitars
- hair
- leather
- camp
- shoes
- towns
- the south
- people
- newspapers

what's in-between......

- ghosts
- motorbikes
- androgyny
- shoegazing
- facial tattoos and metal shit in your face
- cloning
- god
- dancing
- blogs

kill: superficiality, lists, tv, drugs, shit like this................<<<<<<

someone press fastforward>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>///

Monday, January 26, 2004

A visit to DJ Sneak's opening night of his residency at Manchester's Sankey's Soap (tufluv's first time in the land the sun forgot) saw the fat man spinning plenty of acid house, which I drunkenly tried to record on my dictaphone, waving it above my head as I jacked my body and reached for the rafters. Yep, it's all about the 303s again - plus a bit of 'Move Your Body' - Chicago DJs still playing the same tune 20 years later. Think about it, what's changed?

Only got asked for pills once. ///

Four years after their rapturously-received ‘Appetite for Destruction’, this finds the Bavarian duo of Chris de Luca and Michael Fakesch expanding upon their once-unique but now potentially passé brand of deconstructed hip-hop by augmenting it with flesh-and-blood vocals. In particular, Munich-based Enik’s earthy tones are weathered beyond his 23 years, adding a lived-in soul full of romance and pathos, his cod-Jamaican accent sounding how Finley Quaye probably should. New York alt.rapper, Tes, guests on ‘Chopping Heads’ and ‘Fat Camp Feva’, his Eminem-a-like flow fed through the circuitry, meshing like another electronic component of their fascinatingly lifelike digital matrix. Elsewhere, Lamb’s Louise Rhodes guests as a return favour for a remix on ‘Sleeping Beauty’, whilst erstwhile Massive Attack vocalist, Sarah Jay, wraps things up on the gorgeously dusky ‘Captured in Tones’. Germany’s glitch sound may be beginning to wear now, but Funkstörung have imbued it was a humanity few ‘organic’ producers can match, following the manifesto of their debut with something of substance and staying-power. ///


Tom Jenkinson’s ninth (yes, ninth) LP sees him partly dispensing with spaghetti breakbreaks and mutoid bass to delve deeper into his first love of ‘real’ musicianship. Ultimately, though, it sounds like a man being pulled in a variety of directions at once (whereas before it was just the listener who felt like that), whilst crowd noise gives the impression of a live album when – so we are told – it’s not. That said, the opening title-track is Squarepusher made epic, Moog-oid synths carving bold spirals above a rhythmic cacophony. With ‘I Fucrum’, however, that dissolves into a procession of electro-acoustic jams led by ornamental jazz guitar solos and bouts of live percussive wankery. The mood flips again with the nervous panic of ‘50 Cycles’, whilst ‘Steinbolt’ is a cathedral-sized digital maelstrom that climaxes with a collision of orchestral string-swells, heavy metal feedback and a million radios tuned to static. Maddening, irrational and obtuse, Jenkinson nevertheless remains as capable of untrammelled beauty amidst apparent chaos as he is sheer sonic bafflement. ///


‘Electroclash’ may be the least-fashionable word to drop nowadays, but you can wager your white pointy shoes that its nasty little scars are all over the now-est dance music of the now. The cosmopolitan, underground and unerringly defiant ethos is a code by which Holland’s Crème Organization label has steadfastly adhered. Their first compilation strays little beyond the bounds of electro – the two main varieties being doomy synth-pop with spoken male vocals and doomy synth-pop with spoken female vocals, (sadly only available in Germanic Accent #1). All roads, of course, lead back to Kraftwerk – although, as Legowelt’s sinister ‘Into The Storm’ attests, it’s Kraftwerk with a chronic case of meloncholia, all existential angst and tongue-in-Euro-noir-chic à la Midge Ure’s moustache in the ‘Vienna’ video. However, there is some diversity to be had: Pussycat’s ‘Pussycat’ offering face-pummelling, booty-clapping ghetto-tech, whilst Raheim Hershel’s deceptively-titled ‘Electroclash’ is bad-boy acid house for illegal raves in Ukranian industrial estates. Get yer clogs off. ///

(For publication in FACT magazine, March 2004)

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