Saturday, October 29, 2005

Generic mishap

The latest taste barometer of the Style, section 11 of 29 in the Sunday Crimes, made me wince at its sheer try-hard, trend-obsessed desperation. In Going Down was “breakcore and dubstep – that crazy-fast BPM gives us heart palpitations. We’re recovering with reggae”.
Sure shores. Do they realise dubstep is so slow as to be necrotic, an anti-dance music? Are they even aware of labels like Ad Noiseam or Brooklyn Beats, or been feeling Rupture or Shitmat? Are Ministry doing compilations of either microgenre already? Are the well-heeled Times hacks heading out from Wapping to grimey weekends dos on the East London margins? I think not.
Stick to what you know, knobheads (product placement advertorials masquerading as “couture”).
This isn’t breakstep or dubcore, but it should give you heart palpitations:

Deluxe breathing techniques required...
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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Rock re-examined in a red dress

Pika and Oni front Osakan troupe Afrirampo. The two female early 20-somethings were the star turn at the Gallo-curated ATP 2005, and have been growing their profile in the UK ever since. While having fun with the fundamentals of male-oriented rock and debunking the desires of those who see them as the grunge geishas of their more outré fantasies.

On Friday 21 October they were at Upset the Rhythm’s night at the Luminaire, in deepest Brent borough. Second support Leopard Leg from Brighton provided a thundering, female counterpart to Can's freeform yowlfest ‘Peking O’ off Tago Mago. At times about five drummers were employed to propagate sonic chaos. But their desire to subvert rock’s male dynamics may not have been helped by the rather orgasmic finale.

Then Afrirampo came on and energised most rock formats known to Homus Giggus. Initial fears about it being a mere retro glam stomp were quickly allayed, as the “girls” either eschewed or satirised various other rock conventions. The obligatory wade into the small but compact crowd was an amusing exercise in expressing the mutual desperation contained in appeal and adulation, as well as breaking the boundary between performer and spectator. The number of people mucking about on stage at the end confirmed a theatrical atmosphere of self-consciously relaxed riot. Use of grinding heavy/death metal chords was uplifted by drumming that competed and complemented – this never happens in the metal genres mentioned and perhaps illustrates why they are inherently and crushingly conservative. What may have been a bloke offstage working their vox through an FX box only added to the melee.

PIKA write is "our's real music CuleCule stir japan Drop in River Nake. SOON OVER THERE STIRING. Every body Smile. Every body same. ONI also Supponpon (naked) brain rock sing and guitar! So amazing. "SUPPONPON ROCK AFRIRAMPO ! "

On stage they reduce rock's vocal element even further to its essentials, while also entertainingly highlighting and integrating the potential language 'barrier'. A series of yelps, cries and screams correspondent with the context of the song, the “language” irrelevant... vocal chords can make meaning without words.

“You do wonder if they aren’t having a little fun playing with our desire for savagery. Their musical accomplishment is a shock, but not because of their cuteness,” wrote Plan B in their Cover Story a while back. Sure. Clearly there is an awareness of what they are presenting, and such things complement rather than contradict the anti-language on stage, the cod-English booby babble above or the primal rock thump of their music. Naked, it should be asserted, should not be taken literally by the indie spotters/tossers which will inevitably form their prime fanbase. Their “nude minds” are free to think, you’ll laugh out loud and dig the beat while realising their treatment of 20th-century rawk is on to something.

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Friday, October 21, 2005

Cinestatic CEO has lost his smunk...

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Saturday, October 08, 2005

Breaking up the Gang, Livening up the Party

Gang of Four – Return the Gift (bonus remix CD) and Bloc Party – Silent Alarm remixed. One a mostly poor sets of renditions of a cult band by others who owe Go4 a debt, the other a sometimes brilliant set of Bloc versions from producers unafraid to take off in unexpected directions.

Some Go4 remixers, or bands playing cover versions, paid too much respect, whether they thought Go4 were a straight-ahead punk band with a neat line in sloganeering or a band that took a much more deconstructivist approach to popular music, to the extent that many add up to mere homage. In the first category, this includes Go Home, Ladytron (a similar semi-motorik delivery as on Silent Alarm rmxd), Tony Kanal, Phones (again, similar DFA-ness from Epworth on Silent Alarm) and The Rakes. In the second, Hot Hot Heat deliver a disastrous, if thankfully brief, On-U-sound/old hip-hop reconstruction of Damaged Goods, ironically. The best moments come from Fautline (Anthrax) and Amusement Parks on Fire (Why Theory?) – who alienate the jagged riffs and dislocate the words in dubbed out industrial zones, faithful to their own sonic stamp. And The Others take At Home He’s a Tourist into acceptable Clash-dub directions, suggestive that Dominic’s mob should concentrate more on production rather than lame guerrilla gigs.

So the best tracks on both CDs are those that vive la différence. But the moments of interest are more frequent on Silent Alarm – including Blackbox’s glitchy breakbeat drones (Positive Tension), M83’s emotive synth sweeps (Pioneers), Four Tet’s florescent etherealia on So Here We Are, Automato’s breakbeat infusion of The Price of Gasoline, DFA 79's techno-thrash on Luno. And the homages come off better too. Whitey homes in on and hones the danceable rock of Helicopter, for example.

Perhaps status – Go4 a cult act belatedly invested in the alternative rock canon, Bloc Party a decent enough band treading the 79-84 path but also one already blanding out, if their latest single is any evidence – does influence the reconstruction process. In the first too much respect does seem to have been paid to a band unlikely to ask for such reverence, while maybe the second are seen as a small fish in an increasingly deep pond, and therefore ripe for less care and more positive exploitation.

Go4 also returned the gift to themselves. The Gift’s main CD is Burnham, Gill, Allen and King’s muscular and largely simpatico reinterpretation of their best work. Like the recent spate of ATP-sponsored concerts whereby bands play the entirety of their seminal albums (Dinosaur Jr, Mudhoney), bands re-recording their classics could be part of another music industry diversification (therefore deepening of the revenue streams) wheeze. But if you want to hear some Go4, transport yourself back in time and place or make some other kind of (socialist) leap of the imagination, surely you reach for the old albums? Playing the Return the Gift remodelling, la musique pour la musique, is curiously association-free, an experience in isolation. Perhaps their extended gang won’t play this main CD much after the initial spins.

More on the Gang at recent gigs here and here. Our Leeds correspondent caught the East End Bloc early on and wrote about them too.

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Thursday, October 06, 2005

новый-Soviet Goth?


and here's the slight return...
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