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

"Here you can take a look at the exclusive tape trailer we at 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 [] 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

Saturday, September 30, 2017

The Last Pirates

BBC doc on pirate radio, mostly focused on the Eighties tower block wave

(via Karl Kraft)

Friday, September 29, 2017

7 of clubs

i'm not sure what the logic was exactly but as tie-in to my book on glam rock, iD asked me last year to list my seven favorite / life-changing clubs / nights-out-dancing. No i don't quite understand either but a fun and easy exercise so why not? i included raves as essentially very large, roof-less clubs. oh and there is a gig in there as well. so clubs, very loosely understood. in chronological sequence rather than ranked according to life-changingness.

1. Progeny, Brixton Academy, London, October 1991
"Orbital entrance with their live techno performance (then a rare thing) and the immortal tingle-riffs of Chime. But at this irregular rave organised by The Shamen, it's the born-again rapture of the audience - blissed out girls blindly carving shapes in the air, shirts-off and shadow-boxing boys lustrous with sweat - that really turns me into a rave convert."

2. Castlemorton Common, Malvern Hills, Worcestershire, May 1992
"Anarchy in the UK, for real. Hordes of urban ravers join forces with cavalcades of hippie travellers in their caravans and trucks, and the result is an instant city - estimated population 40,000 - springing into existence in a remote rural part of the West Country. Causing consternation across the nation and ultimately leading to the Criminal Justice Act, the free party - instigated by soundsystems like Spiral Tribe and Circus Warp - rages for eight days. I'll never forget the ashen light of dawn rising after the first night - and the hairy drive back to London, with my friend Samantha nearly falling asleep at the wheel several times..."

3. Labrynth, Dalston, East London, 1992-93
"A catacomb of garishly painted caverns and corridors, with a deceptively halcyon outdoor garden, and a murky and jostling main floor, the Labrynth was my favourite club ever. It's where I witnessed hardcore rave turn to the dark side: hands-in the-air choruses and happy pianos gradually, insidiously eclipsed by scuttling 'n' seething breakbeats, foreboding bass-tremors, macabrely witty horror-movie samples, and shudders 'n' shivers of clammy synth-slime. What I remember most about Labrynth is that you never once saw the DJs - they were tucked away in the corner somewhere out of sight. Instead, the stage was occupied by the ravers themselves: a crammed, teetering front row of kids facing the crowd from out of which they'd climbed. The crowd literally became the star of the show."

4. Even Furthur, Wisconsin, USA, May 1996
"Anarchy in the USA, for real. Hordes of candy-ravers and gabba warriors - most from the nearest cities, Milwaukee and Chicago, but others who'd flown or driven from every corner of the nation - descend on a scouting camp in a remote rural part of Middle America. The chaos was partly chemical and partly weather induced. Sporadic rain turned the dancefloors into swamps full of puddles. Along with the mud and the screams of acid freak-outs that intermittently pierced through the trees, what I remember most vividly is Scott Hardkiss dropping his skin-tingling, never-to-be released remix of Elton John's Rocket Man. And the debut US performance of Daft Punk, then barely-known but already a fully-formed juggernaut of joy."

5. Club Voodoo, Bayside, Queens, April 1998
"NY's compact but fanatical hardcore scene congregated for the birthday bash of Brooklyn techno warlord Lenny Dee - and for the US debut of The Mover, just one of the aliases used by the German producer Marc Acardipane (whose 1991 track We Have Arrived pretty much invented gabba). He played a searing, stampeding set that drew on an arsenal of tunes by himself and allies like Renegade Legion and Miro, all released via the Frankfurt label cluster PCP / Cold Rush / Dance Ecstasy 2001. The strobing riffs of Apocalypse Never and Torsion seem to swarm through the ravefloor like a cloud of poison gas. Then the fire marshals arrived to shut down the party for being dangerously overcrowded."

6. Drive By, New York, 2000-2001
"I went to a bunch of UK garage clubs in London but I never had as good a time as I did at Drive By, the hub of NYC's intimate 2step scene. The parties took place at various locations, but my favourite was the Frying Pan, a boat - moored off the Hudson River at the Pier 63 quayside - whose interior was fantastically corroded (it had been sunk for several years, then refloated and repaired). Unlike the UKG vibe of snooty exclusivity, Drive By's atmosphere was friendly and fervent, with a striking dearth of designer labels and not a drop of ostentatiously swilled champagne; the dancing too was more fluidly nubile and expressive. The mismatch that had always pained me during my UK excursions - the gap between 2step's frisky euphoria and its audience's screwface cool - was gone. For once, instead of being a pale copy of the UK original, the US transplant was like a corrected and perfected version."

7. Hard Summer, Los Angeles, August, 2012
"EDM is rising to a peak, its take-over of the USA seems certain. I visit LA's premier EDM festival - two successive weekend nights, drawing fifty thousand - more as an anthropologist than a participant. (I also have my 17-year-old niece, a bit of a handful, in tow, which means I have to be the responsible, surrogate-parent). Despite these constraints, the two nights are both big fun and a revelation, reminding me that the music is always changing, that it will always have a surprise or two up its sleeve. Such as the retina-blitzing bombast of Skrillex and his headlining concert, which shows the extent to which electronic dance music has become a fully integrated audio-visual spectacle. While also showing that this doesn't always have to be a degrading (d)evolution, a travesty of the original spirit. For sure, things have come a long way from the darkness, the tucked-out-of-sight DJs of early rave clubs like Labrynth. But the music is still all about the rush, it's a celebration of noise and sensation and excitement for its own sake. And when Skrillex flips the cameras onto the fans and then projects that teeming throng of faces and hands, that glittering constellation of held-aloft phones, onto his towering video-screens.... well, once again, the audience is the star."

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

"once electronic instruments suggested an exciting, uncharted future"

"The future of 2017: a cheaper, smaller, unified version of yesterday. The D-50 was awesome and still is, but if re-releasing a D-50 and adding a generic step sequencer represents the vision of contemporary electronic music creation, something very essential got lost on the way. Once electronic instruments suggested an exciting, uncharted future. Now they represent a longing for a nostalgic past that did never exist" - Robert Henke, recently

paging people who working with electronic music-making hardware / software - is this remark, made by one who seems like he ought to know what he's talking about,  true in your experience? 

Monday, September 25, 2017

"we did it with sound"

A friend of mine, Sean Nye, was recently at a Goldie gig, where the G-Man mentioned how he'd been asked by Skepta if he would  produce a track for him ("I said 'yeah - I'll produce the shit out of it'"). 

Then Goldie said this:

"You've probably noticed, grime is having a lot of impact at the moment. That's because it's telling the truth about what's going on in our cities. We were doing the same thing twenty years ago - but we did it with sound."

(Or words to that effect)

 I thought that was a good point, and well put. True - and a bit Nuum-y too. 

Actually it's pretty likely I've made a similar point myself, at one point or other in the fifteen years since grime's emergence:  grime verbalises what jungle was "saying" through rhythm / texture / mood. But probably in a less to the point, more verbose way than the Man Like G.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Ho Ho Ho (to the Manaugh born)

a tip from an interesting bloke I met recently - Sebald-ian industrial techno hauntscapes inspired by Dungeness

a companion mix to the album, made by man-behind-it Oliver Ho

i wonder if our lost dear boy would have liked it? (although he wasn't a Sebald fan as I recall)

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

the last blast

twenty years ago today  -  great turned to shite, almost overnight

i'm talking about drum and bass obviously

the enshitenment threshold (says someone on this Dissensus techstep / neurofunk thread) was:

(perhaps it's cos the title is like a over-used metaphor of my own to describe techstep's drone-blare bass - the discourse-into-music feedback loop)

personally i'd probably say this was when the stuff started to leave me frigid 

YouTuber says "the album that changed d&B" - too right, and too bad.

This was the last truly great tune for the ages I think - but it didn't feel like the End (even though it sounds like Apocalypse Pending), it felt like a new frontier opening up - like there was so much more still to come.

Wrong! or so it turned out.

"Shadowboxing" - a 
"soundtrack for a defeated army" copyright padraig - and maybe this one are equal first in the glorious swan-song stakes

flailing gorgeous death throes of a genre going down in flames!

this tune  - which i don't recall at all from the time - is like a neurofunk photocopy of "Shadowboxing", everything glowering and malevolently potent about it is now suppressed and infolded

some argue for good things to be gleaned by the thorough and persistent out of that later techstep / early neuro / technical twitch zone

e.g. these Tim Finney picks 

my own attempt to see the writing on the wall - and to hasten its death with a horrible coinage!

no really that's what i wanted to do with the N-word - i was actually hoping someone would do a compilation titled Neurofunk, like they did with Artcore

amazingly people are still using the N-word, debating the term, i think there is even a message board for fans of neurofunk

it's almost as successful as post-rock

so what happens now

so so sure was i that that was gonna sample this

but it didn't

love the label name - Blipton Factor Wreckords

shades of this much earlier DIY label who sometimes spelled Records as Wreckords

so much darkcore

Thursday, September 7, 2017

electronic dance music

and more

dude made the music as well as the choreography

Monday, September 4, 2017

fraternization machine / disabled skank

here's an interview  I did with Sam Backer of Afropop about the British dance experience, late Eighties to late 2000s, bleep to wobble.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

grinding on

Giggs still grinding it out

like this one, from last year w/ Donae'o

my favorite is still the one about the parsnip

actually, scratch that - it's the "little prats best scat" one

this also sick

what is he actually saying in that garbled gutteral drone sextalk chorus?


seems to have an odd attitude to his own penis, Giggs

sometimes wonder whether maybe with these guys their true dirty secret is that they like nothing better than an evening at home curled up with the long-term live-in girfriend, watching a romcom or or a Jane Austen adaption

Thursday, August 17, 2017

dance music as inherently anti-fascist

other examples?

postscript 8/19

CJ suggests this

and in the comments Eli B argued for this one

i must say that i always thought that was Gabi + Gorl doing that "playing with dodgy imagery to rile up the squares"  move .

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

post-step / post-brock

Over at Leaving Earth, a new and very interesting post from the enigmatic Taninian...  who's been posting sporadically (very long gaps in between each one) to take the measure of what T feels is the absurd bounty of the last seven or eight years of post-dubstep action... what  T prefers to call "post-step." 

In  T's account, it's been an almost non-stop flood: so copious, varied, and on an individual unit level so intensely detailed, as to be barely digestible. T's over-arching claim is that  this approximately 8 years long stretch of  diffuse, hyperactive productivity - which ranges from Nightslugs and Rustie-style maximalism to weightless grime, and out of which T singles out as exemplary figures like Jam City, Jameszoo, Starkey, Montgomery Clunk.. , it all amounts to an era of wildly innovative, form-bending music on a par with postpunk or the early Nineties surge of hardcore rave, jungle, gabba, first-phase IDM...

In this (final?) blog post, T pauses to ponder - perplexed and fretful - as to why this upsurge has not been shouted about sufficiently.... Why the discursive short-fall? Where is the persuasive narrative around the eruption that would enable it to be accepted widely as an on-going full-blown phenomenon - something that everyone needs to pay attention to? Even the exponents don't come over as proponents that strongly: the post-step producers aren't talking themselves up as anything that radical or remarkable - seemingly don't feel that's the case.

In short, the question is: what if you had a revolution and nobody noticed?

Good questions, and T teases out possible answers and analogies with other eras and their different fates. The argument is too involved and extensive to summarise, but the gist - or one of the gists - is that there's something about the media economy of the present era that works against consensus forming, a centrifugal tendency driving people into smaller niches. There is also a failure of will, of rhetorical drive.... and there is also this pesky retromania narrative that has gotten in the way...

Obviously, I'm not wholly on board with the fundamental premise, i.e. T's fervour about this stuff. I haven't viscerally felt the post-step output to be shaking things up, or shaking me up (what I feel viscerally is the lack of viscerality, in fact). But taking taste out of account, objectively I think it's fair to say that post-step  hasn't created or attached itself to new kinds of social energies, it hasn't opened up new subcultural spaces or generated new behaviours. Rather it's too easily and neatly slipped into the existing structure, occupying much the same sort of space and (non)function that was once filled by IDM.

I also think the advocates for it have not necessarily done it any great favours: whole lotta insight, notta lotta incite.

One thing that T doesn't really consider is the idea that for all its abundance of ideas, the work that's gone into it, the startling sound-shapes and rhythmic angularities...  that despite this apparent plenitude there might be something deficient in it - or at least absent -  that explains the lack of take-up on a wider-world level.

If I was to try to put my finger on it, I'd say it has something to do with the way the energy in the music doesn't explode outwards... doesn't burst into the world. Rather, it's implosive.

It doesn't feel like anybody or anything is being released through this music.

In that sense it is attuned to its era (as is so much post-indie fare, or conceptronica generally), is the perfectly logical product of it - it is shaped at the deepest level of sonic structure and texture by the same kind of neurotic everyday processes that make modern life so self-repressing and asocial.

Breaking with the rave model, post-step is music that doesn't brock out - cut loose, slam, smash it up...

It's post-brock.

The fact that "rock" is a buzz term in rave music (and in hip hop) suggests to me that there is a greater spiritual and libidinal affinity between the hard rock continuum and the hardcore continuum, than there is between prime-era nuum (rave, jungle, UKG, grime) and the music of the postdubstep diffusion.

So a second-division rave anthem like this

actually has more in common deep down - despite the surface dissimilarities, the totally different means of construction and production - with a second-division rock anthem like this

than any post-step release, even though you can draw a much more logical-seeming sono-historical lineage between early-90s dawn-of-nuum and the last seven or eight years of whatever-you-call-it.

It's not just the physicality of the impact and the response - rocking, slamming, banging - it's a historical parallel as well. Both the second-division hardcore rave track and the second-division hard rock tune are  instances of,  sub-units, of a Grand Cultural Project: each track or tune is a microcosm enactment of "a program for mass liberation" (the subtitle to Lester Bangs's famous Stooges essay).  Each is in miniature the promise of freedom -  the herald of a non-alienated existence.

So long ago was it, and so very different in feel is our tense present, that the Promise probably seems like it must always have been a lie - the sensation of unbridled movement in the music just false energy.  But relics from those times are still capable of making it feel real, if only for the duration of their unfolding.

One of the only places where this kind of unleashing-feeling can still be registered as a force in contemporary music is rap. Where - no coincidence - the language of rock and rock-star has bubbled up as a self-descriptive, a displaced ancestry to be claimed and flaunted: "Future Hendrix", "Black Beatles", etc etc. And - no coincidence either - surrounded by all the old rockist 'n' roleplay trappings of macho and misogyny, the ugly fall-out of  all that self-glorifying excess and breaking free of all constraints.

A backward step... what was great about the "brock out" era was that all the wildness and cutting-loose was kept, but most of the retrograde claptrap got chucked to the kerb.

what was also great about the "brock out" era was that it was where progressive and regressive intermeshed in the grand tradition of rock music itself - the forward-evolution of sonics and the ritual-function of rhythm working off each other

or to put it another way

it was where cutting-edge and cutting-loose coexisted

too much post-brock era electronic music has the former, but not the latter

the form without the function


Let me present here a discontinuum of liberation-through-energy artifacts, aka the Brockism Canon.

Or at least a partial canon, according to one brockist-for-life...

And yes in case you're wondering I do include disco in this discontinuum  -  disco and house - or at least place them very close, virtually adjacent in their fundamental affinity of affect and aim. The emphasis with discofunk and house is less on slamming or brocking, true - more on gliding and swirling  - as you'd expect, given that it is less coupled to a heteromasculinist / phallocentric libidinal economy -  but disco-house is still absolutely about transport and release and self-escape  - about access to a state of non-alienation. "Only when I'm dancing do I feel this free" to quote La Madge. 

Monday, August 7, 2017

before and after Omni

playlist of  RH's early work and his later work

playlist of Omni post-peak work and stray oddities

Saturday, August 5, 2017

parallax paradiddle

(via luka via dissensus thread on sickest insanest darkcore sonix)

"an effect like a sampladelic equivalent of the way a drummer will let the stick vibrate on the skin, rather than make a crisp hit - a sound like a spinning coin that's starting to decelerate. "Nightvision" is so reverb-riddled and elasticated, so nuanced with percussive accents and hyper-syncopations, it's virtually a drum solo, albeit constructed painstakingly over days as opposed to happening in real-time" - my take at the time

the flipside is almost as good

d'cruze remix of "nightvision" just a bit too fiddly

while this auto-rmx of "nocturnal" one is jazzed out with glinting textures

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

so long, Omni

supposedly this was "Moving Shadow's attempt to beat the record for longest song in the Top 40 singles chart"

apparently "they came close but didn't quite make it"

but that story doesn't sound quite right  

what about The Orb's "Blue Room" - that's nearly 40 minutes long, right?

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

after Omni

also via the Drumtrip post (which is from a few years ago)

some stuff Haigh did in the D&B field after Omni

Black Rain, his parternship with Sean O'Keefe aka Deep Blue aka one of 2 Bad Mice

actually Black Rain was not in fact "after Omni" but a few years before the very last Omni album Rogue Satellite

hello, here's Rob doing the auto-remix (under an alias) move again

Another very late Omni release, is this Cut Out Shapes (Rare and Unreleased) thing that Moving Shadow put out in 2012

This though is an actual "after Omni" Rob Haigh release

as is this

and this

and this

i should really listen to all of them properly, and try to suppress the itch for a breakbeat to come in

Thursday, July 27, 2017

before Omni

i knew about his postpunk / avant-funk / industrial / NwW-aligned deep past - all the Satie/Budd-esque piano etudes

but i didn't realise (until I read this Drumtrip piece) that Rob Haigh had hardcore form before he hooked up with Moving Shadow

shortly before Omni Trio he recorded as Splice and ran the label Parliament Music, aka PM Recordings -  an extension of his Hertford record shop Parliament Records. The label put out 16 EPs and 12 inches in a fast burst during 1992 and a little ways into '93

Haigh never mentioned any of this when I interviewed him in '94 (via letter not phone, let alone in person: the replies arrived  handwritten but in capital letters - as if lower case, a glimpse of his actual handwriting, would be too personal)

i wonder if he was embarrassed by his early breakbeat efforts?

let's give them a listen then, to see if he should have been

w/ partner Rhodes.K - the Fuck It Up EP

on his tod, the Bass Odyssey EP

the Re-Edit to Taste EP

Aspects of Dub EP

Pianism EP

is that the first appearance of the Omni Trio name? now i think about it i think i have this record somewhere, surely picked up just because of the Omni rmx - not realising it's yer classic auto-remix (under an alias) maneuver

and then this bonus track which is Haigh showcasing his piano skills and giving away some licks for other producers to use

with his mate Rhodes-K again - the All You Need EP

a one-track collab with Syko as part of the multi-artists EP This Is The Future

Well, it's juvenilia definitely (meaning in terms of his rave-era artistry - he was already quite old by this point), but enjoyable in its scrappy, nutty, made-in-minutes energy - i can perhaps see (especially in the context of speaking in '94 and its ever-maturing growth to artcore) that he'd want to draw a discreet veil over these early sketches

odds and sods by other bods on the label

you got love the title "Progressive Handbag"

Monday, July 24, 2017


and this one - the last word in jazzy jungle -  drum and double-bass

Thursday, July 20, 2017

when you need to feel love


relick on the next EP is even more flustered-frantic and treble-hissy, but sans the wicked bassdrop and the "jongaliss"

and that whisked-into-soul-souffle chanteuse sample comes again on this 95 tune

where does that Tinkerbell tingle of Angel Delight hail from then?

perhaps her identity should remain a mystery

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

paradigm shifty

over at Dissensus, Sadmanbarty recently posed the question: Who's the Best Artist Since 2000?

interesting answers in the thread (Kanye versus Gaga versus Gucci Mane versus Wiley versus..)

but none more interesting than Sadmanbarty's own comment, in which he averred that grime was the best music of the period (only up to mid-2000s though, after that didn't evolve - co-sign that!), and then mentions T Pain as influential-for-the-good (but not actually good, or lastingly good himself as music-generator) through his popularisation of Auto-Tune:

"The novel use of autotune has lead to some of the most paradigm shifty music of the last 17 years; late-00's dancehall, afrobeats, chicago bop and the post-Future wave of Atlanta rap."

He then picks Vybz Kartel as his #1 Best Artist Since 2000 (partly cos of his "alien autotune tracks") with Young Thug, another language-liquidizer, at #2.

That comment about "most paradigm shifty music of the last 17 years - late-00's dancehall" caught me by surprise, because, well - perhaps ignorantly - I had thought that after its early 2000s burst of ideas-packed excitement (and mainstream penetration) Jamaican music had pretty much dropped off the face of the Earth.  Certainly hadn't got the sense that any paradigms were being shifted there, at any rate.

So I asked Man like Sadmanbarty for some recommendations and he kindly obliged - not just for recent-ish dancehall, but for Chicago bop and Afrobeats too. You can listen to them all in a continuous flow at this YouTube playlist I've assembled. There are also below in the post.

What they all have in common - and it's almost a generic global-ghetto-beatz gloss that covers the surface of all music now - is the crinkled sheen of grievously over-done AutoTune. Standardized bizniz seen. AutoTune and similar devices / apps (e.g Melodyne) have established global dominion, audio hegemony. They're inescapable, and seemingly even more so in the non-West such as Middle East and North Africa.

Found it a bit wearing on the dancehall to be honest (even though there's quite extreme and inventive things being done here and there by the singers who doubtless record in the studio with AutoTune in their headphones affecting their vocals in real-time, so they work out how to push the effect). Similarly with the Chicago bop (liked the MBE stuff marginally more than Sicko Mob for some reason).

Partly the finding-it-wearing has to do with how rhythmically I can't hear anything really new going on in the dancehall - just that bashment big-beat style, often with a kind of digital smear to the drums. Perhaps that's the overall maxed-out sound quality. The end result is that everything in the tracks feels like it's made out of the same denatured stuff, it's like there's this flat plane of hypergloss. The tracks are so toppy that they feel imbalanced (one wonders how they sound in the dance). Still that reflects the fact that the treble sector is where all the innovation, or extremism, is taking place maybe, and has been for much of the 21st Century so far.

Where it sounds most appealing to me - most ecstatic - is the African stuff, especially where the rhythms are more lilting and sinuous than big 'n' bashy. The AutoTune pleasingly exacerbates the frothy fluidity of the singing and the snaking shapes of the melody-lines.

AutoTune dancehall

Chicago bop


As to that original Q - who's the Best Artist Since 2000....

no overall single figures springs to mind, i'd have to divide it up into categories and with multiple contenders jostling for the top spot

* Pop Star as Public Figure -  Kanye West versus Ke$ha (with Gaga not far behind on sheer zeitgeist points and with the proviso I've little appetite for the audio bar "Bad Romance". i suppose you would also have to honestly mention Drake somewhere here)

* Performer / Vocal Presence-  Future versus  Ke$ha versus Dizzee

* Beat-maker  - Terror Danjah versus Metro Boomin versus Mustard (aka Dijon McFarlane - no really that is his actual  name).

* Pop Group in the Bygone and Obsolete Sense - Vampire Weekend versus Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti.

* Endless personal pleasure tinged with awareness of marginality in the scheme of things - Ghost Box versus Moon Wiring Club versus Ariel Pink

* A Compelling Case to Be Made although somehow i don't quite feel it fully myself - Burial versus Radiohead versus Daft Punk

i feel i''m forgetting things from the first half of the 2000s but it all feels quite long ago and hazy

Sunday, July 9, 2017

playing trix on your mind

not forgetting this early beaut

interviewed Neil T around this Enforcers epic for this 1994 Wire "continuum series" piece on ambient jungle

soundbites from the Kurtz scenes in Apocalypse Now...

getting a teeny bit smoov for me with this one but love the vocal lick

yes going with the general drift towards slick and "soulful"


older and ruffer, better

and well weird remix

re-remix, well mashed n strange

a very odd 94 track with strange bird-like tweets and a very angular stompy beat -  can't imagine this got a lot of action on the dancefloor - cool anomalous tune though

wonder what he did after D&B? and what's he doing now?