January 2005 Archives
John Peel. Click here to view flickr.
Since I heard of the death of the broadcaster John Peel on the day of my birthday (26th October) in 2004. I've struggled to come up with the right words about how I feel about John. In the meantime, here's a gallery of pictures collated from the absorb image archives.
Rhythm & Sound. Click here to view flickr.
Rhythm & Sound
Sunday 19th December 2004
Plastic People, Curtain Road, London EC2
'Dub music for people that don't really like dub', is how one person described Berlin's Rhythm & Sound. Their glacial, digital take on the most wisest of musics proves easily accessible for all. But even for saddo dub purists, whilst it's not exactly next level, it's still as joyous and wonderful as ever.
So therefore I recommend you get your hands on the latest release 'See Mi Yah' (Burial Mix). Available as a gorgeously presented pack of seven 7" or on more consumer friendly CD. Eleven tracks all running off the same rhythm, but featuring a neat selection of jamaica's finest vocallists. From the honey sweet stylings of Tikiman to the amusing horse impressions / gruff delivery of Bobbo Shanti. This music really will enrich your life.
Having brought over their own turntable set-up and a rag tag group of vocallists which included Tikiman. the elusive Rhythm & Sound made a rare appearance on London's finest sound system: Plastic People. The mix of happy shoreditch clubbers, moody dub acolytes and those stunned by the fact that the two men who basically made some of the best techno ever were in the same room made for a memorable and uplifting night.
The pale, white duo of Mark and Moritz seemed to be having fun as they jostled for space with the MC's, carefully selecting those precious 7". Sound was as pure and refined as you're ever likely to get in this city (my rant against decent sound systems in London will be for another entry). Sonically perfect as frequencies reached their maximum optimal range; hardware from two cities merged. Visually stunning as well, as everyone was cloaked in a mix of deep reds and black. Tonight took possible dub cliches and reduced them down to voice, rhythm and sound.
Venetian Snares. Click here to view flickr.
Thursday 20th January 2005
93 Feet East, Brick Lane, London E1
Well it seemed like a good place to start....After a Christmas spent hibernating in cricklewood, it only felt right that I should eventually venture beyond the NW2 postcode and hang out with young people. And where better than the piss-ridden pakistani-flooded streets of Brick Lane. Ever since the local Thameslink line stopped going to Farringdon, the districts of Shoreditch / East London just seem that ever distant. Which is the way I like it.
The cold, purple, cavernous interior of 93 Feet East always seemed uninviting and repellent. Like a church hall or some place dealing with officialdom, it felt perfunctory and I treat it as such. I wish I'd stayed at home. But somehow, the punishing audio-buggery of Venetian Snares just seemed too good to miss.
Soon enough, Mr. Funk takes to the stage, looking ever like the Nordic Viking of Noise. Whilst Planet Mu labelmate Chevron bobbed vigorously behind his laptop to a largely indifferent crowd. Then the hour long descent into power electronics begins. Moody classical ghosts skitter around timid breaks before giving way to bursts of skull-shredding noise. The amen opacity is notched up a percent, as rhythms collapse, melt, reform and tear away. Melody is sparse but effective and by the time fully formed gargantuan breakbeats have entered the four walls, the freefall has begun.
Don't even bother trying to identify anything, being familiar with Aaron's repertoire meant I had a good go, but nothing remains intact. Everything is taken through the Venetian grinder until it forms pure unrefined gabba. High velocity beats, each more urgent than the last, start to really test the sub-standard sound system.
Groups of well-heeled foreign loungers from the party next door poke their head around the corner in apprehensive curiosity. In the audience, skinny white guys strip and form shapes with their torso's near the front. The stage is invaded by people who dance like they're selling nails. But it doesn't really matter; this isn't shared aggression, more like a musical body reset. Our souls cleansed, ready for whatever 2005 brings us.
Since the demise of Absorb in August of 2004, I've quite enjoyed the lack of 'written analysis of music' in my life. Records kept on piling in through the post, despite my pleas with record labels and PR companies to stop sending stuff. That seems to have been reduced down to a trickle in 2005.
Looking back (memory and e-mail) it seems my closure of the site caused quite an amusing reaction. I'd had a reasonable readership to the magazine, both in terms of hits and e-mails. But the date of 21st August 2004 marked 10 years of HTML markup. I'd liked the idea of ending it...a 10 year life span isn't bad for a website.
People thought i'd run out of money (to assume that I earnt a living from it), or I just simply wouldn't go through with it. But it did end and i'm glad it did. Anyway, no need for me to rattle on, for those that haven't read it, Elizabeth wrote a wonderful short piece about absorb, available to read on the site itself.
So it's goodbye Absorb and hello Fail. From the collective to the singular. About music and little else. As Samuel Beckett succinctly put it "Try Again. Fail Again. Fail Better." I hope you enjoy your stay.
Oh, and it's good to be using capital letters for a change....