May 2005 Archives
After much hassle and badgering from people who used to read Absorbola, FAIL now has a crude and rude listings page. Niftily referred to as FAIL / LIST, this'll be a simple, single page list mentioning worthy gigs and events. There's no calendar or RSS feeds, but I will be posting up pictures of girls from time to time. Scene!
Use the link on the right column or click here.
After a week of corporate hell cock suck, I had to lift myself up out of the cold grey mist that smothered me like a slightly damp and over-affectionate dog. As soon as the first snare rush passed under the needle of 'Sound On Sound', I knew all would be well. Restrains on the clever edits to allow more of a groove to emerge. New kids, fresh style.
Clash of the dancehall titans! Both the Kid and Rupture are master craftsmen at making Jamaican digital just that little bit dirtier and you'd have thought that this would be 'in the red' for noise levels. But surprisingly, this is restrained, immediate and quite beautiful.
Sister Nancy's tense lyrical call plays odds against Kid606's arsenal of plug-in's on all three of his wildly different mixes. Cyclic synths and rasping Rhodes dominate on the first. The second mix offers pixel-dub artefacts hovering over twangy guitar and dominant bass. Lastly, playful delay reduces her presence to a mirage-like haze. Rupture himself adapts a reggaeton stance for his joyful jig, replete with parping horns.
As essential as anything else this label has released.
"I've only got sixteen bars, so you'd better listen up real good." Manchester's Virus Syndicate manage to weave pretty coherent, intelligent street lyricism amonsgt the sparse shards of dubstep. Mark One smartly merges sneering bass with bursts of Kubrick-esque medieval prayer. Giving everything here an epic filmic feel. Amazingly, the album is even sicker....
It means doubt.
Robert Lippok. Chief architect of To Rococo Rot, Berlin resident and Sonar protester. He's also my mate. He dresses the way an artist should and is involved in so many projects that Berlin's output (music or otherwise) would halve if he stopped.
Loaded with clever melodies that mesh and weave / Stamped with rhythms that refuse to be second-guessed. Despite the plethora of real instruments throughout the twelve tracks, there's always an underlying, lurking motif that reminds you of the presence of the machines.
If we assume that there are no missteps during the entire forty minutes, then I can get on with telling you about my favourite bits. The counter-play between the DX7 and guitar picks on 'Please wake me for meals'. Gameboy / Nanoloop punctuated percussion cutting deep into Meiko Shimizo's vocals on 'Kaitusburi'.
Morgernstern's soulful turn on the aptly named 'Sommer'. Damon Aaron's heartfelt plea amidst an electro-cacophony on 'If the day remains unspoken for'. I could go on....But simply put, this is exemplary, accessible, electronic music for people with music amplification systems.
I don't know Barbara, but on the strength of this record, I'd like to.
AGF's percussive poetry constantly baffles, delights and surprises with each session. Her meccano approach to beats and slight-of-hand chord-play that characterised previous works are reshaped by her partner Vladislav Delay.
His influence is evident on the work as a whole. On moments like 'Causing a Taifun' and 'Restrict' where the ghosts of 'Vocalcity' can be heard in the distance. Night-time basslines, dub clatter and slowed drum marches provide a cushion for Antye's intimate observations whilst Detroit Jazz hovers in the foreground.
Lyrically, her delivery is broken and fractured, much like the music. Helped by the fact that English isn't her native language. Narrative, commentary, critique. On 'Restrict' she makes pithy asides about immigration and borders ("it's fucking politics, again."). On 'Recorded' she even turns on the music itself, rightly claiming that "Everything's been recorded already."
Needless to say, 'Explode' is a beautifully presented, engaging piece of media.
Recovering from a couple of week's of euro excess, words about my trip to Tresor up soon. But I got home and these made me forget how crap London can sometimes be....
Goldie himself is slightly long in the (gold) tooth these days, but his Metalheadz imprint is still going. Recent releases haven't been as radical as those early twelves. But nonetheless check the B-side 'Rebel': a track that actually sounded better at home than it did over Black Market's soundsystem.
In this excellent series of 12"'s from South London's Werk crew, a cheeky side order of piss-take laces exercises in bass weight, stop/start rhythmatics and all manner of tight edits.
A virtual of pot-pourri of styles: Volume 1 is the best, 2-stepping a disparate range of samples into submission. Initially quite silly, its complexity revealed upon repeat plays. Volume 2 brings half-time dancehall and breakneck breakcore biznizz to the fray with much gusto.
Volume 3's bass-heavy electro vibe doesn't go unnoticed, fierce and forceful but it's the weakest offering. Volume 4 moves into more unexpected territories; the A-side's alternating 8-bit b-lines and cough-ridden riddims are appealing in their quirkiness, the B-side wheezes and spurts like all the best Luciano.
If there's any justice in this world, this should be the summer soundtrack of South London. Inventive and insane in equal measure.
Technical Itch / Mason & Armanni: Split 12" (Freak Recordings) - 12"
As the more inventive jungle producers take cues from the experimental end of the breakbeat spectrum (think Venetian Snares, Squarepusher, Aphex etc). Hybrid variants on the jump-step and rolling amen edits are increasing in number. Look past the cliched film samples and you'll find machine-abusive, weighed down breaks that jackhammer and writhe. The A-sides on both rule. Welcome to the sound of doomrush....
Absolutely no chance of getting analytical on stuff like this. The artwork and track titles are marginally more amusing than any of the gabba-hybrids on offer. Except for the intro to 'Ellesse Warrior' which is simply terrifying. Welcome to the sound of chavstep....
More welcome sequences in minimal dubstep; stripped down, bare and pretty fucking effective. 'War Dub' has a clever bit mid-way where isolated vinyl scratches mutate into rasping sub-bass. 'Alien Tongue' seems to take the same middle eastern cues as The Black Dog did on 'Spanners'. A 2-step shuffle jamming in the Sahara.
Burial: South London Boroughs (Hyberdub) - 12"
A bubbly, effervescent burst of dubstep from Kode9. Fizzling with analogue delays, filmic cymbal crashes and disjointed rhythms. Daddi Gee allows all these textures to filter through with his low-end, downbeat delivery. Reminded me of 'The Rastaboma' by Timeblind on the now sadly defunct Orthlong Musork label.
Easily one of the most astonishing 12"'s I'll hear this year, Burial takes four tracks, each differing in style, but somehow hanging together under the flexible banner of dub.
'South London Boroughs' is the one with real bite; a sustained B-line that never lets up means that dust-ridden rhythms and rave stabs have to work hard to get a look in. 'Southern Comforts' distant parping horns and slightly off-beat kicks recall the voodoo magic of the Sabres of Paradise's 'Wilmot'.
'Broken Home' is simply jaw-dropping; a clattering half-time pulse, altered afro-beat vocals and rain-soaked strings that really tug at the emotions. 'Nite Train' perfectly mapped my late-night journey on the tube from Brixton to Golders Green. It's definitely a London ting.