Monday, 29 June 2009
Saturday, 27 June 2009
Lukid's new album Foma has had my head ringing (in a good way) since I heard it on sunday. It's a beat n' texture record, minimal in its musical elements but maximal in its admiration of spatiality. Everything has its right place in the mix, it's efficient, alluring, and totally evasive. Some of the record plays like a leaner, more vocally inclined Flying Lotus with his sense of a beat held back by a gluey gravity, and his penchant for soulful organ washes and disruptions of bleepy atari ejaculations (let's see how many posts I can mention semen in...on second thought let's not!) But Lukid is also playing around in sound design and modern classical electro-acoustic territory from much the same angle as Pole, or, in a different vein, Matmos (the synthy Matmos, not the concréte Matmos); weird tape hisses, Eno style drones, superannuated synth murmurs, and indecipherable voice samples. "Ice Nine" is a wintry, beatific thing, sort of like something of Kim Hiorthøy's. The piano is cavernous (and sometimes backwards), so are the high hats, but the casio congas are in the water closet, and somebody left the radio on, tuned to nothing, and every once in while there's an attempt to get a signal on Jupiter. In "Slow Hand Slap" a grimey bass is being tested out against a typewriter and eventually loses out to a flock of mermaids. They drown it, but it never really stops grindin. "Chord" comes from a more unanimous world, something out of Autechre's 90's playbook, an incessant, unnerving drone, insect wings, canisters, and relentlessness together with subtle shading. I hear 'Tri Repetae' but who knows... "Ski Fly" slinks closer to FlyLo or Hudson Mohawke than anything else on here - an EPMD beat pattern, Al Green guitars and backup singers, a horn section that got squashed into a synth or vice versa, and the feeling that if only D'Angelo could hook up with these dudes, we'd have an R&B we could be proud of. "Time Doing So Mean" is a summative anthem of the album which already feels like a critical release for beat heads and dreamers here in the first steps of '09.
Taken from http://www.sundayisforsounds.com/
Tuesday, 16 June 2009
Sinden features "Waves Imagination" from the forthcoming Lone album - Ecstasy & Friends.
Check the link >> Kiss 100 FM
El Michels Affair - Shimmy Shimmy Ya - Fatbeat Records
J Dilla - Kjay And We Out - Nature Sounds
Grizzly Bear - Two Week - Warp
Joker - Solid State - Kapsize Download
Maniac - Thug - Terror Rhythm
Toddla T - Rebel (Skream Remix) - 1965
Natalie Storm - Recession Special - Cdr
Genghis Clan Ft Mr Catra - Gatinha - Man Recordings
Unknown - Afro Nuts (Douster Remix) - Cdr
King Tubby And The Aggrovators - Ruffer Version - Soul Jazz Recordings
Donaeo - Mind Your Business - My Ish
Boy 8_Bit - Baltic Pine - Cdr
Herve - Who’s The Champ - Cheaper Thrills
Red Light Ft Redskin And Scorpio - Twist Up - Cdr
Feadz - Constantovulation - Ed Banger
Lone - Waves Imagination - Werk Discs
Saturday, 13 June 2009
Monday, 8 June 2009
Most of these fourteen tracks have short running times and no real beginning or end, slamming into each other in an end-to-end brick wall of beats. This may inspire fantasies about delicious full-length versions of these tracks hiding on DATs in Zomby’s closet, but the album doesn’t quite play out like the DJ mix you might expect. The lack of smooth transitions echoes track one’s title (“Fuck Mixing, Let’s Dance”) and emphasizes Zomby’s preference for straight-banging dance music over careful sonic (or vinyl) manipulation. In this music’s delirious ecstasy (pardon the pun,) you can hear a bright-eyed nostalgia for a dance music culture before LTJ Bukem and the like “elevated” jungle into the polite terrain of smoother (and more arrogantly named) “intelligent drum and bass. This is not the refined sound of soundtracks and car commercials, and the aerobics-class cheese melted into much of this music bolsters its unpretentious, raving sincerity. Sincerity; not reverence. Zomby obviously loves music like this, but this recording gives us a sense that he loves it as music, not as a religion or as a craft. This album never feels like devotion or like an exercise.
Plenty of artists have traded in received nostalgia for a bygone slice of pop (The Poets of Rhythm, The Darkness, The Pipettes) often with enjoyable, if not durable, results. Sometimes this is ironic pastiche and sometimes it is affectionate imitation, but either way, it smells suspiciously like an admission of defeat, as if we have reached a cultural dead end and our record-buying future holds nothing for us except reissues and star-studded tribute albums. Maybe the indie kids were right, and all music before now was just leading up to Animal Collective. Will there be no John Cage or Grandmaster Flash of tomorrow? Maybe I’m jumping the gun. Maybe Zomby IS the next John Cage (although I like him better as the first Zomby.) Maybe Zomby is making one last nostalgic stop before launching into the wide unknown. When the liner notes proudly proclaim that this record was made using only early 1990s gear, it’s a big flashing clue that Zomby is... not crossing, but flirting with the line between an art and a discipline.
Approaching music as a discipline is rarely a good way to get me running to the record store with my hard-earned substitute-teaching money in hand. This kind of approach gives birth to many breeds of mutant snobbery, from the theory-head sanctimony of too-smart-to-like-the-Ramones music majors to the arch-conservative, Wynton Marsalis attitude that continues to turn jazz into a dusty wax museum instead of a thriving art form. Rebel! Reject! Renounce! Be a cultural heretic, a pop-apostate! Musicians obsessed with the past are doomed to repeat it. Or imitate it. Or cover it. The lecture blurted out to kids in Pink Floyd t-shirts: “Don’t let the Keepers of Taste stagnate the airwaves! Find your own heroes!” That being said, if you’ll pardon this dispatch from the Village Green Preservation Society, maybe there is something to be said for glancing back over our shoulders, even turning around for a moment or two…
Bob Dylan’s debut album was a precedent for Zomby's. Dylan began his career with an album that consisted of his troubadour-repertoire of traditional folk songs and one original, the Guthrie tribute “Song to Woody”. Famous as an innovative, forward-thinking pioneer (although I might dispute that reputation), Dylan started out with a record as backwards-looking as possible. His conection with this tradition grounded him, and gave him a foundation on which he could build his ragged, thin-mercury folk rock. Charles Mingus is also admired for keeping alive embers of the jazz tradition, but his other foot was always placed firmly in the avant-garde. Traditions change, and an artist can inherit them without being enslaved by them. A great musician can expose the tradition’s un-mined facets, or use that tradition as a jumping-off point or a warm-up as their unique identity is developing. Sticking close to a tradition can also be a sneering (and probably deserved) finger-in-the-face to staunch demagogues like me who think music has to innovate in order to have value.
The music on Where Were U in '92? is too much reckless fun to be judged simply as a craft, but the imitation is too exact for it to not be judged as a discipline. I am sure that this album will be listened to and discussed very differently in light of Zomby's work in the future. For now, though, I can enjoy it without the burden of any context other than possibility. I’m not sure what Zomby’s intentions are, but I think he might tell us “Fuck Criticism, Let’s Dance.”
taken from http://digthatsweetsound.blogspot.com
I was 10 in 1992. So, to answer the rhetorical question posed on an M.I.A track a few years back and reexamined on the debut full-length by British master dubstep-cum-wonky producer Zomby, where I was in ’92 was probably out in my backyard playing with G.I. Joes. According to the rare interviews with the recondite Zomby, the future bass fiend was 14 in ’92, too young to gain admission into the thriving UK rave scene, but old enough to be completely taken by the vibrations and auras percolating out of the reclaimed factory space of those illegal parties.
Anyone who has gone through puberty can testify that the age difference between being 10 years old and 14 years old is as vast as the distance between the Earth and the Sun. Similarly, the U.S. and the UK experience of electronic dance music is sweepingly disparate. U.S. dance music was routinely ignored by polite society if it couldn’t be absorbed into the dominant culture, whereas the UK became gripped in panic over the latest youth proclivity for late-night drugging, the street crime that followed the former, and the decidedly anti-capitalist bent of heterotopian rave communities. At the same time as Zomby caught D-Force and Foul Play on pirate radio as a developing lad, I was in suburbia glimpsing only fragments of house music through the occasional radio play of Bizarre Inc., C+C Music Factory, or Inner City on the radio, interspersed with formulary mainstream record label runoff like Richard Marx, New Kids On The Block or Timmy T.
I enjoyed it all, of course, because I was ten. But in the ensuing years of adolescent objection, I found myself veering away from breakbeats and arpeggios in favor of the grinding guitars of grunge, metal, and rock-based-industrial. Something perverse within the American condition, supplemented by a junk food diet of Rolling Stone and MTV (not to mention a perhaps unconscious reactionary anti-drug, anti-gay, anti-minority cognitive dissonance) caused me to reject the innate rebellion of dance music as disposable and trite, pre-destined for roller-rinks and in-crowds. It was a culture apart from one I was expected to request entry. Europe, on the other hand, found total redemption from the chains of the dasein of late capitalism’s perpetual ennui in staccatos contrasted with whole notes, strobes, amen brothers, rippling vocal tides shouting “selecta”, and late, late nights out as zombies adrift in the somnambulance of waking life’s dreadful limitations. At the time, music journalists wrote off the scene and particularly the music itself as superficial, unfocused, unrefined, insular, and at times wantonly uncouth. The rapid pace of genre-swapping and scene erosion within what techno scribe and theorist Simon Reynolds has dubbed the hardcore continuum caused many to dismiss the music as fad-hopping bollocks, fueled by youth with no interest in developing the music enough to withstand the litmus test of time. With the perfect hindsight of history, it now appears that the tables have turned. The music of my teenage rebellion seems like rock hegemony. Pearl Jam, Metallica, and Skinny Puppy all seem like contrived and plodding relics, whereas 2 Bad Mice, Mr. Fingers, and 4hero still sound fresh, enduring, and timeless.
The point of this long aside is that Zomby’s debut album Where Were U in ’92? has already been branded as a retro artifact by both those who’d warmly welcome a nostalgia trip and those who could never understand why someone might want to revisit ’92 ‘ardkore in the first place. My argument is that a) those styles are still vital, particularly when not viewed through American rock-goggled lenses, and b)Where Were U in ’92? is more of a love letter than a flashback and thus cannot be carelessly dismissed as a genre experiment.
Far from the unexpected departure many are labeling it, Zomby’s latest is fully informed by his series of undeniably riveting short players for Hyperdub. It is bass music, just made with the old equipment rather than laptops. The wobbly sub-bass on “Euphoria” and “Tears in the Rain” should be familiar to any one with Kode9 or Skream, even if they couldn’t tell their Shep Pettibone from their Shanks & Bigfoot. “Pillz”, on the other hand, computes an offbeat Antipop Consortium-style malfunctioning synth riff which rushes on a grime beat. It’s a killer track and all the signs point more to parody than homage. “Is you rollin’?”, a female voice asks of the uncredited male rapper, before concluding “Girl, he get dumb.” Even still, it captures its desired energy acutely.
Zomby’s disc seems to try its damnedest to replicate a mixtape, or at least the atmosphere of a mix tape. While it’s easy to get distracted by the titular year in question, the aim of the artist seems to be directed more at evoking the sensation and the sense of possibility in ’92 rather than anything specific. The songs aren’t posed towards becoming singles. They’re mostly pretty short (only one track clocks in at over four minutes) and are either mixed seamlessly into one another or abruptly truncated in the midst of headrush momentum. Some tracks are even so sample-specific that appear to be more remix than original (or even mashup). “Float” exacts the whole of the melody line from Bizarre Inc.’s “Playing with Knives”, while “U R My Fantasy [Street Fighter II Theme Mix]” is essentially a version of the nearly identically named “You are my Fantasy” by Baby D. “
Of course, the reference points are still all over- diva squeals, recurrent Caribbean voices beckoning “rude boy” or “Zomby dub”, house synth-stabs, the return of the vanished funky break, and the requisite sound effects from Street Fighter II. It’s a mostly wonderful brew, even if it seems slightly pale in the shadow of it reference points. What it provides best, though, is a lucid rearview mirror vista onto a scene that the music press was far too immature to understand.