2562 - Aerial
It’s been a shit year. And the music hasn’t helped. So much has fallen short. Expectations dashed. Nothing has quite hit my spot.
The drum n bass is now too noisy. The rock music is just too often plain dull. I have this summer (what summer?) gone back to the sounds of rock-steady & rude boy reggae, but also the (seminal) 60s rock classics such as the Zombies. “Care Of Cell 44” is my feel good hit of the summer.
I suppose I have also enjoyed on occasions a bit of dubstep/grime & teasingly, a little bit of techno too. Ahh. Yes. Techno. It makes me feel 19 again? Well. No. It has tended to be the more minimalist techno I would have scoffed at years ago. But then when I played electronic music years ago, what I played it on, was little better than listening to music out of this laptop (without the subwoofer & speakers). But now…my god, it never ceases to astound me how sweet a sound can sound nowadays.
So, anyway, I was surprised to discover two of the tracks of the last year or so that have gave me most pleasure were from the same artist. Dave Huismans. Albeit, under a two different guises (2562 & A Made Up Sound). I think you will understand why this music really needs to be appreciated under reasonable playback conditions. For the record, 2562 is a bit more dubstep, and A Made Up Sound a bit more techno. Got it? It matters.
The rude boy reggae and psychedelic rock from St Albans perhaps doesn’t require such controlled playback conditions. Does that make them timeless?
Listen: 2562 - Moog Dub
Download: 2562 - Moog Dub
Listen: A Made Up Sound - 699
Download: A Made Up Sound - 699
Listen: The Valentines - Stop The Violence
Download: The Valentines - Stop The Violence
Listen: The Zombies - Care of Cell 44
Download: The Zombies - Care of Cell 44
The effort of trying to produce a worthy post for Mountain 7 on my first experience of dubstep Live involves taking a series of risks that produce an unavoidable guttural discomfort. First there is the formal risk of playing the role of Dylan’s Mister Jones in ‘Ballad of a Thin Man’. Secondly is the more fundamental but related problem of becoming involved in a broader anthropologisation. Can one write, discourse about a ‘thing’ without taking part in a kind of demand for it to become known, defined, given classification?
I recall reading Kodwo Eshun’s ‘More Brilliant Than The Sun: Adventures in Sonic Fiction’ a couple of years ago, and he was developing a schema for viral music. I now get the feeling that he was setting the terrain for the arrival of dubstep
The slightly unnerving feeling that we were taking part in an event which was not ours but was none-the-less well worth tuning into.
Skream has a flourish for the unexpected and the obscure which lends his music a lyrical sway.
A chance encounter and conversation with kode9 on our way home. It turns out that he and Eshun were colleagues during the early days of the Ccru project at the University of Warwick. I should have asked him about those links. Did he hear this thing coming, did he know that it was going to spew forth from Croydon’s own Big Apple?
Corridors of sound
A bunch of great dubstep and dubstep-related mixes and podcasts I've come across of late and thought I would share. If you know of any other good mixes etc then leave them in the comments or get in touch. Cheers.
The blogariddims series in general is well worth a listen and you can subscribe through iTunes or google reader or whatever. This recent mash-up by Zhao (he of different waters among others) is cracking, and mixes Skream, Appleblim and the like with Indonesian Gamelan and ragga inflected stuff.
Loads of great mixes and posts at grievousangel. There's a collected page of mixes here - dubstep sufferah vol3, is a belter. There's also a great 2007 scene-scoping interview about this volume at Blackdownsoundboy.
A bunch of podcasts: Hospital Records; Electronic Explorations; and Xlr8r (the recent dusk + blackdown mix is great) - the first two cover various sounds but tend to focus on grime, dubstep and drum n bass; the latter is a little more scattershot.
Keeping up with all this stuff...: Dubstep Forum (there's enough here to make your ears bleed black); Blackdownsoundboy; gutterbreakz; Pitchfork's Grime and Dusbtep Column (check out their link to this YDOT mix); Rinse FM.
And finally a bunch of Kode9 sounds: this Maida Vale session (partly with Spaceape) was broadcast on the 24th July; there's his mix of the recent London Zoo album by The Bug; and this radio show he did with DJ Rupture - and the rest of Rupture's WFMU shows.
Edit: Just after I put this together, Mary Anne Hobbs reprised her seminal 2006 Breezeblock Dubstep Warz session (there's an MP3 of the show here) in which 7 DJs (Mala, Skream, Kode9, Vex'd, Hatcha, Loefa, Distance) took over her Radio 1 show and notionally 'broke' Dubstep. This time those 7 DJs chose 7 more to reflect the state of the scene: Silkie & Quest, Kulture, Joker & MC Nomad, Starkey, Chef, Oneman and Cyrus. You can hear the results on listen again for the next few days (this option boosts the listening figures) or there are various MP3s of the show doing the rounds.
Album: Dragging A Dead Deer Up A Hill
This is a bit of a departure for Liz Harris, or Grouper as she's better known. Well, perhaps departure is the wrong word - this is more of an unveiling. Way Their Crept (the only other Grouper record I've heard, currently) was a fuzzy miasma of effects and billowing textures, but somehow you knew the songs were in there, buried for sure, but there, as if at the bottom of a moss-choked well. This time round the fuzz-drench has all but dissipated and Harris is revealed as a haunting siren with a clutch of beautiful, aching songs. Some of the reviews I've read have naturally concentrated on the Cocteau's and This Mortal Coil element in all this, but to me this is closer to the sound Judee Sill was reaching towards - a mesmeric questing folk sound that flung itself outwards and grazed the heavens.
Listen: Grouper - When We Fall
Download: Grouper - When We Fall
Listen: Grouper - Stuck
Download: Grouper - Stuck