Tchami feat. Kaleem Taylor - Promesses (2013)
This completely passed me by last year. Parisian house banger released on Fool’s Gold.
Lance Morgan Frequency Promo Mix (2014)
Saw Lance Morgan DJ last night at Bodynod in Bristol. This is the first time I have seen Deep Tech being played out and danced to in a club and though I wasn’t blown away I can definitely see the music growing on me and I’m definitely interested in attending a party like Audio Rehab or Frequency in the near future.
It’s especially eye-and-EAR opening to see people ‘shuffling’ to these tunes - the style of dancing itself is instructive. From what I can tell its all about making a lot of movement (mainly with your arms) in a very small space - like you’re dancing in a phonebox or something. This somehow makes perfect sense with this style of house cos there’s something simultaneously stiff and funky about it. The dancing is like a semi-inhibited form of jungle dancing. Fittingly, this music sometimes sounds like house that’s bursting at the seams with a barely repressed jungle/grime energy and fury.
Weirdly it reminds me of techy Drum N Bass as much as anything - the dark basslines and clinical drums - but the vibes at Bodynod were more garage-esque - lots of OIOIIIs and girls looking criss in nice dresses and the possibility of champagne bottles being popped.
Pay as U Go played after Lance Morgan and I just wanted to point out that although grime thrives on anger and has a reputation as being a very angry genre sometimes last night reminded me of just how FUN it can be. It’s all big reloads and singing along to bars. You look around the crowd and at the MCs on the stage and its big grins all round.
Future - Move That Dope (2014)
This is about to be the monster hit of 2014 - this year’s ”Mercy”? Future is the most stylishly garbed rapper out, too. Pharrell on the other hand… I hope there’s a (benign) brain tumour under that hat otherwise its pure fuckin fuckery. The trucker cap would be better at this point.
Destiny’s Child - Lose My Breath (2004)
Lord GAWD what a beat. Darkchild on some unintentional/non-existent proto-”Mr Bean” (Apple not Atkinson) shit here with the clattering, seething pot-n-pan percussion. Beyonce looks unbelievable TWICE in this video too. When cloning finally becomes viable lets clone Beyonce in her mid twenties about 6 billion times so we can all have one to shower with gifts and slobber.
All I want to be is the Allen Iverson of everything.
Shola Ama - You Might Need Somebody (1997)
Call me a batty man all you like but this is basically my favourite song ever on certain days. I’m going to make a footwork version of this looping Shola singing ”Fiyahhhh!” while the sub-drum goes bananas in the background.
We are coming to an age where the survival of the species is dependent on recognizing that the evolving model of corporate capitalism is intrinsically inimical to the human condition. Apple and Sony and GM loathe families and households; sharing of resources is one of the biggest crimps in maximized consumer sales. The ideal Corporate Human is solipsistic and isolated, working from his home office in his single rented apartment upon his rented computer, paying chatrooms for intimacy and MMORPGs for the proxy of a community. With a clinical eye for detail, Jonze gives us a world where even the most perfunctory human communication is delegated to external websites and smartphones to handle.
Matt Cale found Her to be a ‘rumination on amour bound to serve as the final word for quite some time’. I agree with him that this is one of the best films of 2013 (too bad I saw it too late to add to my list), but I disagree about the message of the film. Her is the presentation of a subtle and insidious nightmare- one where all of the mysteries of the human condition have been collated and parsed down to simple algorithms, where Big Data has managed to commoditize and master every aspect of the emotional landscape. Note the computer games portrayed in the film- they don’t show first person shooters, but interactions with wayward children and parenting. In the pastel knitted cruelty of Jonze’s future, those have become the fantasy. A planet of perpetual adolescents wandering in a sea of augmented reality fog, coddled to their graves by machines of loving grace.
—from Devon Pack’s review of Spike Jonze’s ”Her” for Ruthless Reviews. I haven’t seen the film yet, but I got a smart-phone this week, and I’m feeling a little bit like I’ve been infected. I’m thinking of watching ”Her” as a B2B with ”Videodrome”. Then strangling myself with whatever USB cables are still left.
Avoid the mirror mostly these days. Look miserable mostly. Problem at the moment is that I can’t plaster on the fake smile needed to meaningfully contribute to the media anymore. I can’t pretend that things are ok here, that something as ephemeral and essential as a record, isn’t connected with everything else, the shitmare of life under this govt., I can’t write about music unless it’s in terms of how it offers furious escape, or horrified reflection, unless the music or the writing about it, lets something out, taps the bile, releases things a little because there’s a determination, whether in attack or retreat, to its intent. Music that could only be made now is all that interests me. That eliminates alot. In the case of rock, it eliminates all that isn’t noisy. All I listen guitarwise is metal, doom, sludge, female punk, angry fukkers y’know? Writing about anything else while we’re being torn apart on all fronts just seems wrong somehow, seems like just adding to the ads, rah-rahing for shitheads and the shit art they push our way. It’s tough pretending. It’s tough writing with the mindless ‘hey, things are ok here’s some more art to consume’ chipperness mandatory to being allowed to write at the moment. Summoning a smile you can’t fake, a smile you can’t afford not to have anymore. Especially when the worse music has that same chipperness: heard the guitarist from Peace on 5Live a few Sundays ago saying the way music is political now is ‘less about messages, and more about bringing people together to have a good time’ (We’re the young generation, and we’ve got nothing to say). See those blinkers are itchy. No matter how much +ve botox I inject into my face my grin keeps cracking. I’ve always attempted to write not as if ‘music is my whole life’, but according to how music fits in with life. Because for fans, that’s how it works, it’s only the marketeers and money-men who want to push the idea that ‘music can be your whole life’, just as the same kind of demoniac wankers wished to push the idea that football fans are obsessional, insanely dedicated to the point where they don’t mind being exploited at every turn. At the moment, criticism is encouraged to live in a bubble, a sententious place where theory is allowed but politics isn’t, the wittering/chortling debate of fanboys about ratings and filing strategies. Critique needs to be weaponised in times like these. Needs to point out how the fuck all this formatted compressed data called pop might actually help us survive, rather than just forget the facts of our demise and listicle our brains into oblivion. I can’t cheerlead no more. My pompoms are too droopy.
Thus (more or less) begins a BRILLIANT blog by Neil Kulkarmi on Alex Turner, the NME and the stifling conservatism of the British music press. I went through a phase in my younger days of reading the NME and worshipping bands like The Libertines. It’s understandable that white middle-class people like white middle-class bands, isn’t it? I mean, I don’t like bands myself anymore but I’m certainly aware of the weird disconnect that exists between the person I am and the people making much of the rap music I love. We’re separated by race, class and nationality. That could never be ME, rapping over a Zaytoven beat. That COULD be me, singing about a failed relationship over a piano/string section, destined to end up soundtracking a Nokia advert in which people in summer dress/es skip up a hillside in the fading of a summer sun. Jesus.
I read somewhere (perhaps Blackdown wrote this?) that one of the amazing things about music is that how it can connect people of all creeds/colours, across otherwise insuperable boundaries. This is true. Also, I think that we seek the exotic, existing in the mundane. Rock’N’Roll speaks to this need to dream and fantasise, even if its more and more a hollow fantasy and musically hackneyed (every rock band has a mythos attached to it of some sort). Rap music is - like all music - a recording of reality, a documenting of the street-life that real people are living. But it is also fantasy. Somebody like Rick Ross makes this glaringly, garishly obvious. But even, say, Mobb Deep (seen as some of the ‘realest’ rappers around) were creating something noir-ish out of a bleak, doubtlessly often mundane reality.
The yearning for something exotic, something new, of course extends to the search for exciting new SOUNDS. Which are conspicuously absent from NME sanctioned RAWK N ROLL.
Anyway, I’ve started meandering further and further off the napalm-path blazed by Mr Kulkarni. The blog demands to be read by any music writers/fans regardless of your interest/lack-thereof in indie/rock and the NME. Its certainly challenging, as a music writer who potters away in my little internet cranny, treating every piece of music with a degree of irony (because, as my recent post about that Fat Trel song showed, the left-leaning liberal rap fan is almost ALWAYS forced to either apologise for their own tastes at tedious length or evade the whole issue by making jokes), to be reminded that music does NOT exist in a vacuum. It isn’t JUST entertainment.