Sunday, June 26, 2011


Milton Bradley, of "Do Not Resist The Beat" fame and "The End Of All Existence"? Shurely shome mishtake.

I have to admit that my writing style can often be a little overwrought. There's a constant search when both reviewing and appraising to grab the most tenuous link possible and to rebrand it for public consumption; ie spout as much shite as you can and see if you can get away with it. Well, we often do. Such is the relative blandness of a lot of today's music, both electronic and otherwise, that any attempt to make it sound more interesting involves a verbal gamble with the senses. It's always been this way and I must say that I've been trying to get the metaphorical monkey off my back for ages now, but due to a lack of time and discipline I've failed up to now.

Having said that I don't really owe anyone any favours here. It's wonderful to receive so much free music but not so good to feel tacitly obliged to make your gratitude constantly explicit. I think I've done quite well so far though. One development over the last few years is that I've become increasingly isolated from the rest of what I would regard as "The Electronic Music Community." It's been touched on in at least one previous post so I won't reiterate the reasons why again, better just cut to the quick and list advantages and disadvantages. Advantages: well, zero really, barring filling the role of completely impartial outsider and, therefore, answerable to no one. Disadvantages: plenty, not least my inability these days to be able to engage with people who share my interest and passion for this music. This month marked the third year in a row I haven't made the trip to Sonar. In truth I was beginning to get a little bored with it, but who do I think I'm kidding. Three days from one year of relatively the same annual activity isn't really much to be bored of.

Even though I've always held the view that looking back isn't necessary, (except when watching coverage of Glastonbury. What a hideous homogenous Behemoth that has become. Going there these days is as mandatory as a gap year), and living in the moment is difficult to better re: house, techno and its bastard offspring, things do seem to have suddenly plateaued. I can't quite put my finger on it but certain things that should be exciting me aren't anymore. That's not to say that nothing is. There's plenty to be excited about, but the endless 4/4 furrow that has been ploughed for the last twenty five to thirty years is, I feel, about to reach critical mass and that within will germinate in all sorts of unpredictable ways. How I'm not sure but I'll follow up this post very soon though and list some thoughts.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

June Chart

It's worrying how fast time flies. Here I am, thinking that I should write another chart, when I realise that I've missed out May altogether. Ah well, April's was belated anyway.

Disappointing Dancefloors - Alex Jones (Hypercolour)

Sigha EP - Sigha (Hotflush)

Telophase - Incyde (Steadfast)

Convexations EP - Jon Convex (3024)

The Rejection - Corrugated Tunnel (Process Recordings)

Covers EP - Benoit & Sergio/Slow Hands (Double Standard)

Dancer In The Dark EP - Ahmet Sisman (Stock5)

Detroit Deepconstructed - V/A (Soiree)

How Can I Feel - Inxec & Leks (Culprit)

The Eastside Story - Marcellus Pittmann (Seventh Sign)

Transmissions - Norm Talley (Thema)

Visionquest Summer Beach Edition - V/A (Visionquest)

Principles - Benoit & Sergio (DFA)

Learning To Fly - Matthew Jonson (Minus)

Yangango EP - Gregorythme (Cityfox)

Rollercoasters Of The Heart - Bass Clef (Punch Drunk)

Scotch Your Mind - Alli Borem (Desolat)

Remixes - Steffi (Ostgut Ton)

I Don't Smoke EP - Matias Aguayo (Kompakt)

Panta Rei Remixes - Agoria (Infine)

Feeling a bit short of ideas and inspiration at the moment. Probably something to do with being at home while Sonar is going on. It's now three years since I was last there. I can clearly remember coming back from a Kompakt party to watch the closing stages of the Spain/Italy Euro '08 semi. Not what you travel to Barcelona for really, but hearing the cheers over the roofs of San Adria de Besos as Fabregas put in the decisive penalty made it all worth it.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Park Life

There isn't that much going on today, but the sun is shining and there's a fair in the park in front of my house; so I thought I'd pop over to play footie with the grubs and, while we were there, I couldn't help but notice that said amusements were soundtracked by a reasonable array of relatively commercial disco, soul and funk. Here are some random bits.

Not Where You Might Expect It

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Random Film Clips Of DJs Playing

For that is what they are. I like watching stuff like this. That probably says a lot more about me than it does about those on the ones and twos. The Maya Jane Coles one is cool, more because you can actually see the crowd in a club than anything else. The Craig Richards one is similar, but very low-key. The Seth Troxler b2b with Ellen Allien may give you an epileptic fit. Then we go to the other extreme, with Jeff Mills live at Sonar five years ago. It's now three years since I last went. Too late for this year. It starts tomorrow. Sob.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Kenny Hawkes

Kenny Hawkes, who died yesterday, occupied a relatively large place in my overall clubbing experience. More for being one of Space's resident DJs, alongside Luke Solomon at Bar Rumba, than anything else. Words are always dwarfed at times like these, so here's a link to a set from his pirate radio days at Girls FM, and the vids shows the man in action. It seems that every other post commemorates a death at the moment. Captain Beefheart, Gil Scott-Heron, etc; You take these things as you find them, and Kenny was just as significant in his own way.

Here's a link to an old post, that features an even older pair of interviews. The first from Derrick Carter, the second from Luke Solomon and Kenny Hawkes.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Axis Of Evil?

It seems to worry some people that the direction of house music is currently in the hands of a motley crew of young upstarts just as intent on having a good time as making good music. Hedonism and house haven't always been the cosy bedfellows one might be led to believe. This has been the case more and more lately largely due to battle lines having been drawn between nerds and more nerds. Let me elaborate. It seems the done thing to take the lofty position of definer of house, that definition almost always being on the deep side, in order to differentiate from the relatively formulaic, but undeniably catchy and effective, sound that is currently making waves at the moment and has been for the last two years. I'm talking of course of those chaps in the Hot Creations camp, and, to a lesser but no less important extent, the relatively young Visionquest crew. Over both of these camps like some benign, but calculating svenghali, is draped the spectre of Crosstown Rebels.

So on the one side we've got the composite being of Hot Creations, Hot Waves and Hot Natured, on the other we've got Visionquest and their cohorts - an honourable mention goes to Benoit and Sergio, the Siegfried and Roy of house. How did we get here? Well, after a fair few years of minimal, stripped-down grooves, some of which are only now just ebbing away, the time was ripe for a change. Deep house, the street-cred stalwart of many a beer-belly endowed DJ has always been there, and has risen to prominence a lot recently, thanks in no small way to East Coast DJs such as Jus' Ed, DJ Qu and Fred P, as well as Steffi from Holland/Berlin. Of course this skims the surface and far more than these are involved in the music. Often impossible to differentiate it from certain strains of techno, its strength is in its versatility, its weakness in its reputation for geekdom. This is where the problem lies; schooled in all house styles and with depth, as well as libido and bass, Hot Creations bring the disco, Visionquest bring the rave, and they complement each other effortlessly.

Neither of these labels, and more specifically surrogate parent Crosstown Rebels, are wanting for credibility, publicity or plaudits. They've come a long way in a short time but their success was calculated and is no accident. What possibly gets on certain people's wick is the fact that success and fun seems to be going hand in hand. How can it be possible to be that good and hedonistic? Anyway, it's been a long time coming and the fact that it's arrived was always on the cards. It won't last forever but it has the opportunity to mutate and cross-pollinate a lot more successfully than many past strains. It's a resolutely Anglo-Saxon take on the genre that finds its true home in the sun and, more importantly, it's very much in touch with its feminine side.