Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Desert Island Discs

 (cannot remember who or under what circumstances someone quizzed me on this topic)

Desert Island Discs

List 1: Absolute faves

John's children midsummer night scene

Sex Pistols No Fun

Roxy music beauty queen

Slits, cut

Michael Jackson, rock with you

Smiths, there is a light that never goes out

My bloody valentine, slow

Orbital, chime

Omni trio, renegade snares (foul play VIP remix)

Aphex Twin, we are the music makers

Aaliyah, one in a million versus Groove Chronicles 'stone cold' ( second song samples the first)

Future, fuck up some Commas

LIST 2 - therapeutic comfort listening to make desert island bearable

Beethoven, pastoral symphony

Byrds, younger than yesterday

Love, forever changes

Miles Davis, in a silent way

Al Green, 20 greatest hits

John Martyn, solid air

Robert Wyatt, rock bottom

Joni Mitchell - hissing of summer lawns

Brian eno, another green world

King tubby's special (disc two)

Smiths Hatful of Hollow

Aphex twin, selected ambient works 1985- 92

Sunday, August 15, 2021

how the 21st Century so far looked to me... in 2017

Who's the Best Artist Since 2000....

no overall single figures springs to mind, i'd have to divide it up into categories and with multiple contenders jostling for the top spot

* Pop Star as Public Figure -  Kanye West versus Ke$ha (with Gaga not far behind on sheer zeitgeist points and with the proviso I've little appetite for the audio bar "Bad Romance". i suppose you would also have to honestly mention Drake somewhere here)

* Performer / Vocal Presence-  Future versus  Ke$ha versus Dizzee

* Beat-maker  - Terror Danjah versus Metro Boomin versus Mustard (aka Dijon McFarlane - no really that is his actual  name).

* Pop Group in the Bygone and Obsolete Sense - Vampire Weekend versus Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti.

* Endless personal pleasure tinged with awareness of marginality in the scheme of things - Ghost Box versus Moon Wiring Club versus Ariel Pink

* A Compelling Case to Be Made although somehow I don't quite feel it fully myself - Burial versus Radiohead versus Daft Punk

I feel I''m forgetting things from the first half of the 2000s but it all feels quite long ago and hazy...

[this derived from this blogpost, which was in reference to this Dissensus Thread]

A blogpost that led indirectly to this -  a thread (among many others) that led to this

Saturday, July 17, 2021

grime 2005

Blackdown (aka Martin Clark) asks me and a bunch of grime-covering journalists about our favorite tunes of the year. 

Here's what I supplied (not sure why some US rap tunes have slipped into my selection):

Kano Featuring D Double E & Demon, "Reload It"

Lethal Bizzle "Against All Oddz"

Kano "Sometimes"

Bruza "Not Convinced"

Three 6-Mafia "Stay Fly"

Vex'd “Degenerate” (Planet Mu)

Skream "Midnight Request Line"

Doctor, Bearman, L Man and Purple "Let It Go" From Eye Of The Tiger Vol 1

Virus Syndicate "Major List MCs" From The Work Related Illness

Roll Deep "Shake A Leg" and "When I'm Ere"

Lowdeep "Str8 Flush"

Crazy Titch "Sing Along"

SLK "Hype! Hype!" (DJ Wonder refix)

Lady Sovereign "Tango" from Bitchin EP

Ying Yang Twins "Pull My Hair" and "Wait (The Whisper Song)"

Kano "Remember Me"

Wiley "Morgue"

Kanye West  - "Addicted," "Crack Music", "Diamonds From Sierra Leone" (From Late Registration)

I also slung Martin this little appreciation of "Reload It" (strangely not admired by others in the grime punditocracy, don't know why) which I had penned for Grime Primer I did for the Wire earlier that year (aka the 7th essay in the Hardcore Continuum series)

Kano Featuring D Double E & Demon, "Reload It"

“Circling back to "Bound 4 The Reload" (arguably the first grime track, no seriously, think about it: electro-bass plus MCing) this track celebrates the pirate and rave tradition of the DJ rewind, when the crowd hollers (or home-listening audience text-messages) its demand for the selector to wheel and come again.”

“Up until grime, the trigger for rewinds would be a killer sampled vocal lick, thrilling bass-drop, or even just a mad breakbeat. Nowadays, the MC being king, the crowd clamors to hear their favourite rhymes. ‘This is what it means when DJs reload it/That sixteen was mean and he knows it,’ explains Kano, before listing the other top dog MCs who get nuff rewinds (two of them, Double and Demon, guest on the track). ‘I get a reload purely for the flow,’ Kano preens, and you can see why as he glides with lethal panache between quick-time rapping and a leisurely, drawn-out gait that seems to drag on the beat to slow it down.”

“The track itself, co-produced by Kano and Diplo, is all shimmery excitement, pivoting around a spangly filtered riff that ascends and descends the same four notes, driven by a funky rampage of live-sounding drums, and punctuated by horn samples, Beni G's scratching, and orgasmic girl-moans. The old skool breakbeat-like energy suggests an attempt to sell the notion of Grime as British hip hop, yet if Trans-Atlantic crossover is the intent, that's subverted by the lyric, its theme being as localized and Grime-reflexive as imaginable. "Reload It" encapsulates the conflicted impulses that fuel this scene: undergroundist insularity versus an extrovert hunger to engage with, and conquer, the whole wide world.”

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

The A to Z of the Eighties - A Definitive Guide to the Decade (SR contributions only) - Melody Maker December 23-30 1989

This was great fun to do but arduous - as a staff writer, you had to do your Herculean bit for these big package features -  there's about 40 or so micro-essays from me here, super-distilled little takes on phenomena, figures, fads of the '80s - some of my favoritest scenes and sounds, and some of my least favoritest scenes and sounds. 

I'm not sure if any research as such was done - where could you go to do it in those days? There was no internet, there might have been some old magazines lying round the house, but no reference works on the '80s as such. So it mostly was all pulled from my memory, sharper then, and dealing with quite recent stuff - but still,  no doubt some errors crept in there on the factual front.  

Talking of errors - as they're non-bylined, and this is over thirty years ago, I'm like 97% certain these are all by me, but apologies if I've accidentally trawled in something by Stubbsy or the Studs. 

Of course other writers got to do things I would have liked to cover, so it's not a total Zeitgeist-scan according to Moi, but .... not that far off, actually.  

It's how I saw things precisely then - the winter of '89 - and  not always necessarily how I see them today, or indeed how I saw them within a year or two of writing.