Monday, March 26, 2012

Darkbeat - An Electro World Voyage

While pottering about amongst the sonic undergrowth, I came across this gem on dvd. Thankfully, some thoughtful soul had already uploaded it to Youtube. It proves, beyond any doubt, the dramatic power of electro and also how much we need documentaries like this to continue to be made.

Monday, March 19, 2012


The lack of danger and risk implicit in the listening habits of today really is a cause for concern. Fostered in the mainstream by reality music shows, and in the underground by push-button libidinous funk, homogeneity is making a mockery of cross-pollination. The paradox is that the sweaty mob are subconsciously narrow-minded while pretending to be eclectic. This has always been the case of course, and shouldn't be unnecessary cause for concern. Having said that, facism passing for worldliness should be dealt with when and where necessary.

Has electronic dance music run its course? Is it bereft on any real innovation any more? Not if what continues to be described as the "hardcore continuum" has anything to do with it. It's not for everybody though is it? Those of us who look to house and techno as primarily floor-based can't have failed to come into contact wit jobsworths whose mission it is to dissect and tease apart the very membrane of what gives us so much enjoyment and inspiration. The best proof is provided by the DJs themselves. It's difficult to casually come cross a DJ proclaiming the intellectualism of what he or she does. Harvey is a case in point. Constantly lauded for the life he leads and the vats of street cred he has, he is the absolute antithesis of the stereotypical "cool" DJ. Up his own arse he most certainly is not. In a recent interview I did with Ed Davenport, he stressed the fact that he and his circle of friends were definitely not the drug-taking, hard-partying types. Now Harvey is supposed to be just that, but we all know that at fifty+ you have to slow down. The obvious way around that is to lead a life meticulously designed for just that purpose so as to make it all appear effortless. Harvey has done that. Most people leading a similar music-producing life are in the process of doing it, but the actual percentage of those who succeed in it is probably very small indeed. That most DJs and musicians, of any persuasion, actually lead riotous lives is bollocks. It's a media misconception, drip fed to perpetrate stereotypes and myths, negative and positive.

Fact is, the hedonistic aspect of music making, particularly the overly-incestous EDM scene, has always played second fiddle in a lot of people's minds to the intellectual facet, most commonly deployed when debating techno's finer points: Detroit, lack of Detroit, realness: mostly concerning Detroit or its lack thereof . . . soul . . . teutonic influences . . . what came first, Kraftwerk or techno . . . the chicken or the egg . . . and so on. The blackness of techno or its caucasian, European face. House is also subject to similar scrutiny, although not as abundantly. When it is though it's often the case that Chicago and new York are played off against each other. NY takes the deep house role, having done so ever since the days of East coast, New Jersey garage, stalwarts like Kerri Chandler are deified and almost impossible to criticise (not that I would want to, btw). Jus' Ed, DJ Qu, Fred P and others have continued the fine tradition of making soul-infused, often dark house music which blurs the lines between disco, techno and alienation. Chicago, meanwhile, although the spiritual home of house, has failed to really produce much new, innovative stuff for a reasonable while. I've just reviewed a Joshua (Iz) release for RA. Although it's a nice record and as good, if not better than anything comparable being produced by similar artists, there's a feeling of stasis, envoked on the utilisation of the same outlook and sonic approach to making tracks he's always had. Lucky he's pretty good at what he does.

The Conservatism of a lot of electronic music runs counter to its underground credibility and propensity for innovation. The various and disparate strains of UK underground dance music being a shining exception to the rule. Accusations of gimmickry abound however, and outside the shores of Albion, many either don't get it, or are congenitally resistant to it due to its eclecticism and lack of inhibition. Nowhere is music more democratised and accessible though . . . a polymathic expanse of rhythmic territory which is still underexploited and undervalued, in spite of the constant permutations and rebirths it undergoes.

String Theory EP - October (Simple Records)

Read my review of October's excellent 'String Theory' EP for I Voice here.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

March Chart

Analog Dreams - Patrice Scott (Sistrum)

Bugler Gold Pt 1 - Madteo (Hinge Finger)

Come Back - B-Tracks (Supply Records)

Llywellyn Ap Gruffyd EP - V/A (Crow castle Cuts)

Salt Water - Peverelist (Livity Sound)

This One's For The Children - Jimmy Edgar (Hotflush)

Die Wolke - Zum Goldenen Schwarm (Giegling Staub)

Monument EP - Tevo Howard (Buzzin' Fly)

With The Re-Edited - Exos (Aux Records)

Versions Francaise - Spencer Parker (Rekids)