Monday, August 22, 2016

Nothing To Write About

I’ve either upped the quality control, or there isn’t that much new music that’s moving me. Either way, I feel that putting my eggs in fewer baskets is starting to make more sense.  The flood helped me as well. Losing 25% of your record collection sounds like hell, and initially it was. However, there’s no doubt that the situation provided mixed blessings. A load of shite was summarily disposed of; the insurance came through quickly and handsomely and, once work on the house has finished, my restructured collection should look a lot more refined.

Having said all that there’s nothing to write about, and I mean that sincerely. Apart from the obvious reviews and interviews, what is there?  I haven’t bought much over the last six months, but was disappointed in DJ Qu’s last album ‘Conjure’, which didn’t hit home in the way I would have liked, preferring to dither around the edges with unwanted artistic expression. DJ Qu is one of my favourite producers, but I feel this was a missed opportunity, rather like overcomplicating a dish on ‘Masterchef’. Also, the current tendency to cloak productions in a veneer of muck is wearing thin. I also have a feeling that DJing has finally eaten itself. Going out has changed and has to get back to what it once was. Something has to be rediscovered; a new kind of warmth and inclusiveness. There are many great selectors out there who haven’t sold out and still possess great sincerity. However, there is also a strand of this industry who are adrift in a sea of blandness and press photos. When I stopped writing reviews for Ibiza Voice around six or so months ago, it was because I was annually owed a reasonable (for me) sum of money for a few paltry reviews. I was always paid in full, no issues there. However, I had the impression that what I was contributing to was fighting a losing battle against the forces of torpid homogenization. I’d like to thank IV for the opportunities it gave me, but am disappointed at the direction it’s (perhaps inevitably) taken.

It’s been a hot potato for a while now but the subject of depression and its slipstream interests me greatly. The life of a travelling DJ predates the glamorous sheen of Facebook by a good few years. The pressures to be constantly in the zone and enjoying yourself no matter what must sometimes be too much. I love playing records and would be great to do it for a living. However, there is a large cost to be considered. It’s not a normal job and comes with completely different kinds of stress levels. The constant conveyor belt of ‘havin’ it’ can’t be ridden forever and, if the DJ is also a producer there’s another rung of possible critical sniping to be aware of. It’s not the bed of roses it appears to be, nor for many of the party goers either. Fabric looks like it’s about to close and this could be a watershed moment; not necessarily for the worst either. It’ll hopefully inspire things to go deeper underground and should be a liberating experience.

Another album that I didn’t think hit the spot was Levon Vincent’s eponymously entitledeffort from last year. It was already quite telling that the free track he gave away on an mp3 before release, I think it was ‘Anti-corprate Music’, was almost the best thing on it. Having said that, I bought the album, and DJ Qu’s as well . . . Dread the album that makes an “artistic statement”, it always means that things won’t quite be as they should. The other side of this coin is predictability, and that’s a reasonable prerequisite in all artistic output; but not in the traditional sense. There’s something comforting in music sounding as it’s expected to. Right about now I want liquid, aqueous grooves and I’m happy to say that these are supplied in spades by certain labels: notably Mosaic, Flyance and Lobster Theremin,  Electro is also flavor of the month, with the output of Shipwrec being particularly appealing, but also that of Central Processing Unit, Cultivated Electronics and  Brokn Toys.  What I’m having time digesting are the descriptions of sets by the so-called “diggers”: Nicolas Lutz, Voightmann and assorted cohorts . . . electro is often named as being a prime component of what they play, but if it is it’s subliminal. When I listen to what these guys do it’s very much like nineties tech house, and I say that in the most praiseworthy way. When the likes of Wiggle started to get noiced, mainly through Terry Francis’ exposure through Muzik, what was played at these parties was a non-genre specific mix of house and techno. “Whatever sounds good” . . . which is an obvious way of playing the best of the respective genres in question without worrying too much about want the audience thinks. The drugs were much better back then as well.

Having said that, there’s nothing that stimulates the senses quite like an unexpected major release. So I’ll close by mentioning Convextion’s first album in ten years, ‘2854’. It’s up on Discogs but has yet to become commercially available, although it’s a sure thing that limted edition coloured vinyl copies have already been sent out to Mojuba subscribers. The quality is still out there and is still worth investing in at the expense of untold amounts of shite so, if you only buy one more album this year, make it one you’ll still be playing in years to come.

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