My musical setting has been better. Little more than a year ago, I had functioning CD-ripping Macs at home and the office (you’ve edited the special report; now finish with disco), opportunity to go through any amount of music with mates, to personalise and compile and, at home, time to make idiot musick that was satisfying then. It was a time of unashamed bourg technoconsumerist indulgence, without wishing to come across like Stephen Fry's new column
. Nights out were more regular too.
Fast forward 18 months and the possibilities have diminished. Work PC won’t even allow Flash, so that’s YouTube out, and its ‘websense’ policy is just beginning to filter out some of the more outré blogging names (concentrate on the Facebockers, I say). Don’t even think of a decent music archiving programme, just the crappy default player. Headphones are clearly seen as a sign of a lack of commitment anyway. In that time, the need to ensure the twins’ sleep has become the priority, ruling out any sonic fiddling upstairs above level 2.5 at home at night (at that level I can say the Justice lp sounded shite but it’s an unfair hearing) and nullifying the chance to push on from the doodlings to develop a sound based on handmade drum loops, riffs and particularates. Genuine props to all those who do find the time to dig deeper and find out more.
So the focus has been on the opposite of accumulation; where possible I have been filtering out the dross from the 90s and early noughties – lots of breaky, housey, techy, hoppy, jazzy nonsense. Although I could justify holding most on the basis of even one sweet riff or sound, if the faves and the next tier are suffering a lack of attention these are only ever going to be played at times of “sorting one’s records out”. Get rid. Much of it was free gear anyway.
The trough got deeper this week when I ballsed up a rare night out by naively hoping tkts on the door would be possible for Wire’s Metadub
special in Hosegate. Dubstep-der! Traipse back south.
Then, today, the Hadouken
‘mixtape’ (so-called but actually a USB and packaged like a CD) I’d bought in West Crunkdon (Croydon) HMV wouldn’t play. And Justus Kohncke and an ex-Leaguer have fouled all over a precious fave
, the League’s Things That Dreams Are Made Of, for the pop ambient and/or indie-techno sets.
But, a ray of light shone and the picture changed – the Burial rmx of Bloc Party’s Where Is Home. When pre-LP single came out, I may have suggested on a rudimentary Boomkat listen that it was a bit samey. But I missed the point in that singularity – a uniform stamp - is the point of many good producers. The gooey melody and its progression, rave ghost voice and two-step rattling are all standard and eminently done by himself and others, but arranged this way, submerged this way, they strengthen the overall impression, and I am sure the same will go for the album. And I can actually see it being played in a (sufficiently e-centric) club, catch the mood right when minds are frazzling and there is enough skip to take it along. Premier Drexciyan post-garage by the faceless wonder.
Things looked up. I ignored the ‘USB bugger off window’ and just opened up the folder, and it played in Finder (no need to risk iTune meltdown in its parlous state). Hadouken’s stakeholding in rave seems to be through a knack of enthusiastic melding generic pastiche through the grindie scene, such as the grime-guitar-hard dance mash-up Love Sweat and Beers, the grime-garage of Bounce, the metallic jungle of Liquid Lives. I can’t make my mind up whether it will benefit or founder from more polished production. As rave, it seems negligible, but then I am not 18, 20 or 25 so I don’t know how much the youngaz are buying into Indie Dance Phase 2 as a genuine clubbing option. Maybe quite a lot until the need for functional dancing narcosis takes over and they’re heading to Brixton every weekend for some Hard.
And can I say what a pleasure it was to go in and buy records in a shop
, even a major, rather than rely on the ‘have I reacted quickly enough’ online stampede at Boomkat and UK Record Shop. This Bloc third party will do nicely while I wait on the second album. I might even go to the new Rough Trade soon, and check out the security and coffee.
It’s still and always interesting to hear some of the noise around the scenes too – dubstep contributing to some crossover tunes; bassline and funky house making us think why don’t we just admitted we wanted linear (with some curvature)
all along (notice how many grindiers specifically avoid ‘funk’ in favour of the stomp too; let the chancer Ronson and the poptimisers do that).
I will get my Mac sorted too. And here is Czuk’s assess of last night: "What follows is scanty and ill-informed. I saw Kevin Bug and his crew and they were very good, then I saw the first couple of Steve and Spaceape's numbers, the second of which was a cover of Ghost Town with lots of windy noises (gusts rather than guffs that is). I elbowed forward and was an arm's length from a silhouetted Spaceape who is a surprisingly energetic figure, bouncing in double time, his mike pointed upwards at 45 degrees. Meanwhile, Kode 9 in a Sun Ra t-shirt obsessed over his devices, clearly irritated by the crackly speaker (which, happily, was less obtrusive than he was visibly fearing)." And a belated link
to Mark with Mad Mike. Chuffed to say a mate is managing a band Banks cites.
You have to immerse where you can. Had to go and meet a McClintock associate the other night so I borrowed the car and pimped the ride to Kool G Rap & DJ Polo - vibed off the great beats taking me right back to that supercharged hip-hop period but groaned at the lamentable ‘hot brown stick’ sexing up. The surface is still shit – Boyzone being wheeled out and the tall one being dressed up to look crudely crudely crudely like a Kasiser Chief; for every Durrty Goodz there is a Jammer. But there’s always areas that inspire. Get the dots joined up again.