Monday, April 30, 2012
Sunday, April 29, 2012
Maybe I'm overstating my case with the title of this post, but it's always got on my tits. The sneering and sometimes downright snobbery of certain writers and critics. Can you be a critic without having standards? No. Do these standards have to constantly resort to the uneccesary
I read with interest the interview with everyone's favourite whipping boy, David Guetta, in last month's Observer magazine. He does move in other circles to most and, like the British Royal Family, he's not really one of us. So, without trying in anyway to justify any bollocks he might spew forth, one quote stood out for me, which was lucky because it was headlined and, like a review grading system, negated the necessity to read the whole interview, even though I did:
"I don't do this for the money, I don't really care about that, I just want to make beats."
Bollocks David. Anyway, let's move on, because what troubled me even more was this quote, substantiated by writer Luke Bainbridge:
"Listen, some people take themselves very, very seriously," Guetta says. "I'm not a politician, you know what I mean? You remember in the old days you had people like Underground Resistance?" [a late 80s militant dance collective from Detroit]. He pauses and smiles. "I never took myself so seriously."
Live and let live, but no. I can't let that go can I? I certainly don't want to turn into an argumentative chap with a penchant for pedantry who lies out-nerding and is the quintessential blog equivalent of Comic Book Guy. Having said that, that crown's already been won a thousand times over. The tip of the iceberg as far as that is concerned has been reached by the writers behind two very well-known electronic music blogs. I shan't go into any detail as it's different strokes for different folks territory. The blogs are very popular and those who helm them have done an excellent job of popularising them, also the journalism is of a very high standard. Far more care, attention and time has been lavished on them than mine, which is at best a random, impressionistic, stream-of-consciousness rant/ramble.
In any case, let's not kid ourselves. "The US dance giant" as it is referred to in the Observer article, hasn't reawakened, it never really existed. Resolotuely underground, black in the inner cities, white in the suburbs and countryside, (sweeping generalisations I know), it's roots have never been truly acknowledged in the country of it's birth. As the article again makes clear, what is happening now is a world away from the counter culture. It's all about money, bling and who can sell the most tickets. What is singularly annoying though, is why lice like Snoop Dogg and Lil' Wayne are happy to be seen within it's confines. I thought these chaps liked "keeping it real"?
Has anyone asked UR for a reaction?
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Monday, April 23, 2012
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Not another digital vs vinyl debate please. Well, no, just some random thoughts that have done the rounds of my mind in the past couple of days. You see, I'm constantly thinking of stuff like this but rarely have the time to commit anything to posterity. Record Store Day yesterday got me thinking. Firstly about how ironic it was that someone like John Lydon was one of its most ardent figureheads. Also, while lying in the bath yesterday morning and listening to Radio 4, I heard that vinyl sales have increased for the first time in years, during the last twelve months. How much of that was down to EDM/IDM and not to rock, pop and independent self-congratulatory obscurity, etc?
Record Store Day isn't just about reviving vinyl of course, it's just as much about the camaraderie to be found in record shops and the discoveries to be made there. However, to regard all vinyl emporiums as oases of calm, disgression and tolerance would be to completely miss the point. In many respects they are as punishing as the playground, but this time the geeks and nerds are in control. I've never had any problem in any such situations, but I've witnessed countless episodes where customers have been made to look and feel stupid. The case of my brother, when buying 'White Man In Hammersmith Palais' from Probe in Liverpool. He had the misfortune to be buying it just as it had been cued up and started to blast out in the shop. "Don't you recognise Joe Strummer's voice . . ." shrieked Norman, a righteous, spekky bowl-haired dwarf so that the whole shop could hear him. No big deal, but I've known weaker personalities that could have become agoraphobic after such an observation. Norman was ok though, as was everyone else who worked at Probe, probably the best shop I have ever been in, or am likely to. Pete Burns and his black contact lenses used to put the fear of god into scales of all sizes. Paul Rutherford used to work there. I remember going in one weekday morning and he was chairing a debate into the merits of a particularly cheesy B-Movie which had been on telly the night before called 'The Car'.
Which, in a very roundabout way, leads me on to ponder why everyone is so in love with vinyl? The first thing to be straight about is that everyone isn't in love with it. It'll never recover it's former position as most consumed sound format on the planet, that's gone forever. MP3s and their bastard offspring will see to that for the foreseeable future. It's an ironic position, but vinyl, kept alive by house, techno, and all other club-related forms is now being re-appropriated by the rockiest masses. Vinyl's debt to independent dance music (IDM) or electronic dance music (EDM), is almost incalculable. Simultaneously though, the associated genres have done more than most others to bury it. No group of types lend themselves so easily to technological changes and advances in recording, formatting, broadcasting etc . . . but I supposed I shouldn't be too surprised. Techno paradoxically goes forward by constantly looking back.
Record Store Day makes me think of these places:
Phoenix Records The Shopping Hall Liscard, Bargain Box, Rox, Vernon's Vinyl Vault, Reaction Records New Brighton, Probe, Penny Lane, Daddy Kool, Dub Vendor, Skeleton Records Birkenhead, Rounder Records Brighton, Black Market, Rough Trade Paris, Salinas Paris, Rough Trade Ladbroke Grove, Phonica, Planet X New Brunswick NJ USA and many more the names of which are lost in the ether.
Friday, April 20, 2012
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Monday, April 16, 2012
Friday, April 13, 2012
Here's a three parter that kept me in stitches throughout my spring term at The University Of Sussex many moons ago. Pilfered courtesy of Gaz from Manchester, (where is he now?), it's three parts of the same show, albeit rather irregularly recorded. Part two, unfortunately, only comes through one channel, so I advise listening to it in mono. Anyway, pretty essential stuff, and full of memorable lines, from two of the lads in 808 State. "Spirograph Sharon", "GoGo MC" ("says he's going to pay the poll tax.You are sad GoGo MC . . ." "Eric Barker" and "The Hooded Posse" are just some of the characters that you'll come across while listening to this, as well as some excellent tunage. There is a site somewhere with tons of these sets on, and probably this one too, but like all of what I've posted on Mixcloud so far, these cassettes have a place in my heart, and whether they're already out there or not, posting them is just another excuse to listen to them in their original form one more time.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
It's been a while since I've posted any links to sets that have taken my fancy, so I'll get on with it. I live in a mix - ordained space, practically everything I listen to on my IPod is a mix. I listen to enough bits and pieces when reviewing and feeding back to various agencies and distributors, so I don't really see the need to listen to anything when out and about and not near to a computer. I also don't want to clutter up the blog firmament with more recommendations, as this particular blog has recently been in danger of becoming a host for links. I flirted with some very small reviews a while back which were blog-only and impressionistic to say the least. These might return soon and be a little more regular. In the meantime though, here are some links to some sets "I've been digging."
I've been downloading all of Luv Jam's mixes from his Soundcloud, which you can find here. Similar treatment has been meted out to Rex Club resident Molly and sultry Swedish sexpot La Fleur. Luv Jam had been on my radar for a while, having first come to my attention through receiving promos from Electric Sheep and Black Sheep Trax. La Fleur first came to my attention when I reviewed her latest release for Ibiza Voice whereas i'd known about Molly for a while, but was forced into action after hearing her brilliant remix of Spencer Parker's 'The Improvised Minotaur' on his 'Versions Francaise' Rekids release.
Mixes from Derek Plaslaiko are, inexplicably, few and far between, which is why his Sordid Culture podcast is well worth a listen. Ben UFO crops up in non-Rinse FM mode in this recording of a set recently recorded in Naples. Cottam is another charscter who seems unnecessarily shrouded in mystery, although I'm sure it's not completely down to him. Here's something that I noticed a few weeks ago. Subb-an came correct not so long ago with a mix recorded for Fabric, the redoubtable Fred P has some Planetary Travelling on his agenda . . . and here's a live recording of Butane at Black Market Membership a couple of weeks ago in New York.There are whisperings of the sets from Get Lost in Miami being posted, so more on that if and when the time arises. Meanwhile, keep your eyes on Resident Advisor, who have had some excellent podcasts recently courtesy of Harvey, Floating Points and sundry others. FACT as well, with Soul Clap and Huxley making up their last two offerings, as well as the excellent King Britt . . . Oh, and before I forget, here's one from Robert Johnson resident Ata, a TEA podcast from
That'll do for now I reckon.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Just something that's on my mind a little as I take the plunge into production. Actually, let me rephrase that; think about taking the plunge into production. If I don't do it now I ever will and I think I've got it in me. Not like a contestant from Masterchef who declares their winning ability in the first episode only to be ejected at the end f it. Speaking as somebody who has paid their dues in full and knows what they're talking about. Primarily an ideas man at the outset, now's the time to try and put those thoughts into practice.
Direction is a difficult one though, as is the necessity to be thought of as a serious artist, without coming off all po-faced. I'm trading in cliches here, but the dichotomy between the two is often small to non-existent. I don't know why by the idea of DJ as educator has always been a difficult one for me. Nothing wrong with picking up on new tunes when witnessing a set, or being inspired by what a certain selector does. It's the idea of playing records with the persuasive, educational aspect uppermost on one's mid that has always had me nonplussed. Play your music, let others listen, don't be too active in coercion. Maybe that's what's held me back all these years. I guess I'm just too lazy. Having said that, the art and craft of DJing fascinates me greatly. "What art, what craft?" I hear you say. Well, it doesn't happen overnight. Let's be clear. whatever comes from the turntables, CDJs, Traktor, Serato, or Abletion has to mean something. It's also necessary to know that any selector worth their salt knows their stuff. They've got a body of experience handed down congenitally from within their own timeline that is pretty much incorruptible. With this knowledge comes confidence borne of implicit preparation. Each gig has been meticulously rehearsed, both actively and passively, throughout life. "Great DJs are born, not made."
"I asked for a wolf and they got me a table lamp . . ." so said Rafa Benitez when questioned about Valencia's transfer policy before his move to Liverpool in 2004, (well not exactly. I can't remember the precise words). The fact is DJs should play what they like, if they don't then they're drones. I don't think that shite behemoths like Judge Jules (it could be anyone within reason) have these wonderful musical heritages to start with. They're just opportunist chancers (worse than opportunists), who play to those less fortunate than themselves. Less fortunate because they treat a night out under forced circumstances as something special when it's not. It's bowel-curdling, cacophonous, arpeggiated shite.
The value of the resident DJ here can't be understated. Often the saviour of the night, it's him or her who rarely puts a foot wrong due to the advanced level of rapport already built up with the sweaty mob. It's difficult to imagine many of todays A-list giving time to such a concept. They do, of course, but only transiently . . . for a few months of the year on Ibiza, or somewhere similar. It's not something that lends itself very well to anyone unless they have a real love of the music and contact. Luke and Kenny were great at Space, Harri and Domenic continue to rule the roost at Subculture . . . and you've got Ralph Lawson still pulling them in alongside Buckley and Tristan da Cunha at Back To Basics . . . not forgetting Craig Richards and Terry Francis at Fabric. These are the types of environment that make the most sense to me when contemplating the apparent effortlessness that bring performance and playing, mostly, other people's music, together. Sincerity and knowledge still count for a lot and outside the warehouse hinterland the interaction in these types of temporary autonomous zone is as close as you'll get to them.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Sunday, April 08, 2012
Acid Jackson - Boddika (Swamp 81)
Orbital Bliss EP - Patrice Scott (Sistrum)
Reflection EP - Mr G (Phoenix G)
Friday, April 06, 2012
And so it begins . . . The mixes I have up on Soundlcoud that aren't mine, The Wizard/Mills/Electrifyin' Mojo, Ron Hardy/Weatherall/Centreforce, are all being transferred to Mixcloud over the next week or so. Soundcloud is to become a suppository for my shit. The first to go is the Mojo. Should anyone want to download them from their new home, this should help.
To find them on the blog, just search. I've been engaging in some revisionism so the new links will all be where the original posts were.