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Tuesday, July 27, 2004

not gonna do a proper long post right now cuz i'm knackered. in fact, i'll prob not do many long posts until after munkyfest cuz the whole thing is tiring me out a bit; it's on sat. 31st july- get yr skins down there! [as in, yrselves, not yr skinheads. actually, bring yr skinheads too. all welcome. well, only the non-fascist ones].
ok. anyway. today i was in a barn doing little jobs and and listening to kompakt's 'total 4'. this is what most days in the fortnight leading up to munkyfest are like.

lots of people deserve cheers, thanks, and praises.
just some of these are:

dripdropdrap for being the best international newcomer
helsinki station for staggering works of heartbreaking genius
uncarved for a wicked Bug review that makes me desperate to hear the record, which is what all reviews should do i think. i don't see the point in reviewing non-amazing stuff. it's like, there's so much great music and art out there, concentrating on that is already a massive task so why waste time saying stuff like, 'uh, new badly drawn boy record is um ok, ish, in places...'
little dog's day for being funny as chuff.
MPC for being wicked. i kind of feel like i'm on alien terrain reading his blog but i can't explain why. it's strange and i love it.

and of course all the rest like k punk and blissblog and original soundtrack and woebotnik and heronbone and virtual stoa etc etc. everyone is great. it's never been better i reckon- we're at a peak right now!

and although it sounds real showbiz and horrible i would really like to thank you readers. cuz before i did this i always thought i'd be really happy to have just one person read it, so to have about 80-90 a day is just amazing for me. honestly, i don't know quite why you keep coming back but i'm so grateful that you do

x x x x x x x x x x x

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Grime Recently Heard Part II: the wiley/roll deep entourage axis.

[most of these tracks can be heard on dj logan sama's excellent weekly show on rinse 100.3fm, 7-9pm fridays.]

there's what oxford residents would call a 'rake' of product coming out of the roll deep camp at the moment- two full length cds are just about to be released; roll deep's album and wiley's 'Creeper vol. 1' mixtape. not sure what labels these are gonna be on, and that's an issue that could delay their release- grime artists seem bizarrely reluctant to put out albums on anything other than huge multinational labels, in contrast to how everything else in the scene is pretty much a totally self-contained, self-sufficient cottage industry of pirate radio stations, small independent record shops, small independent labels + white labels, d-i-y film makers, and rave promoters. anyway, i'm sure that these albums will see the light of day soon, in some form.

roll deep are now an 'entourage' not a 'crew' by the way. i dunno why. but it sounds cool i guess. what is most fantastic about the recent roll deep stuff is just how uniformly great the MCing is. roll deep came in for some criticism last year, with people suggesting that Wiley was the only big MC and the other MCs in the entourage were average at best, riding on wiley kat's tails [an impression which wasn't helped, perhaps, by the shift of the name to 'entourage', which made it sound like roll deep were US hiphop style grouping of mates around their talented leader- g unit, d12 etc...]. but on their recent tracks, just about every roll deep MC smashes it just about everytime. certainly, i think that the overall level of talent in roll deep is at least equal to nasty's current line up, and might even surpass them. they are still, with out question, the top boys. partly what's so good about rolll deep is, as skykicking wrote about ages ago, that each MC has a definate character and style of his own- wiley's mechanistic determination, flo-dan's scary half-whispers, [new member] brazen's hyperactive flow that rivals demon's, scratchy's slightly bratty confidence, breeze's stop-start syncopations, and [when he makes an appearance] riko's cockney yardie perfection [i don't think i'm being hyperbolic here- he really is probably the perfect grime MC. when he's on it, only dizzee comes close to riko's level of understanding of how to use the grain and texture and natural rhythm of his voice to blow minds].

but it's not just that- there also seems to be an urgency about the Roll Deep MCs at the moment. they're chatting AT you and you can't ignore it. like lethal b, they've now reached a stage where they are so confident they can just attack the track, controlling it somehow, never sounding like they're the ones trying to keep up with the rhythm and noise underneath. Wiley, in particular, sounds much more forceful and committed on these recent tracks than he ever did on his album. one possible theory- that wiley's too deferential when MCing over his own beats- he accords them too much respect, never getting close to smothering them, drowning them out, or creating those thrillingly awkward moments where the MC manages to twist the track into new shapes by refusing to follow what the rhythm seems to dictate [god gift does this superbly on the massively, bafflingly underrated 'street beats' cd on MoS, where he picks up on the non-obvious aspects of the music and amplifies them in his MCing]. when Wiley is MCing over other's beats, however, which he is on all the tracks mentioned below, he seems to be much happier to take control of them, kind of dominate them. hear him now and it's so obvious why he's the biggest out there [apart from dizzee, but i'm not sure if he counts as 'grime' anymore in the same way that wiley does]

which leads on to; the [perhaps] worrying aspect of the new roll deep- the tendency towards poppy r n b + hip hop devoid of the the perversity, invention and contrariness of the glitched up, noized up, popgrime/grimette/gRime n B style i mentioned a few days ago. sometimes, listening to these tracks you really would think that you'd stumbled across some budget london version of the stars of MTV base, rather than the crew at the forefront of the most exciting, alien, new form of electronic music in the world.

worst offender here is probably 'BUS STOP', an almost daisy-age ish sounding hip hop track, with relaxed funk guitar riff, bouncy piano lines + smooth n soulful diva on the chorus. i mean it's nice n all, but it just sounds so fucking straight and settled. there's none of the chaos and madness of grime here. it's like, why aim at average, polite hip hop when you can be the best in the world when yr doing yr own thing? are roll deep just aiming at the charts here? i'm not sure- they do genuinely sound like they're enjoying themselves, and it certainly doesn't sound as cynical as so solid's sell-out tracks. but there is the uncomfortable feeling that they are may be starting to gaze up to america, whereas before they used to mercilessly observe east london, albeit while US sounds flooded around them and seeped into their music. Before, US hip hop seemed to provide some of the context, to be refracted and distorted in the grime + the gutters. now US hip hop looks worringly close to being the goal. scary.

other tracks toy with an R n B template, and do manage to subvert it in that dreamlike anything-can-happen state that grime does best [which is why lee's blog has the best name ever for a grime blog]. specifically, tracks like target's production for roll deep, 'BACK IN THE DAY', and one that i think might be called 'THE RAIN'.
but i dunno, the subversion and fuckery is a bit too subtle for my liking- like on the target production, say, initially it sounds like a nice, glossy r n b cut, but then you notice that the beats are constructed out of wheezing samples that sounds like darth vader's breathing. wicked- but i miss the crazed, cartoonish part of grime that's never afraid to go over the top or shove things right in yr face. grime works best when it's a music of extremes- ethereal beauty and lurching, scraping noise. this playful, discrete contortion of r n b just feels a little bit too...safe, and polite. likewise, 'The Rain' has a wonderfully odd repeated sample of 'so?', and a naive-pop xylophone plinking away, but it's all backgrond, not the main event, so it's just like, come guys, stop holding back! where's the jolts of crazed invention tearing through?

there are some amazing tracks though. first and best- 'SALSA' which has the manic joy that only dancehall usually manages to capture, as roll deep yell, 'come on, shake a leg with me, whooa-oh!' in the chorus and do their best cartoon versions of Latin calls and whistles. it's the most fun you'll ever have with grime. best of all is that the ricocheting synth line seems to be a version of wiley's synth tear drops + sighs that formed the backbone of 'ground zero', woken from the dead and ready to dance. an exquisite bit of self-referencing from wiley- showing that, momentarily, he's left the sublime ice cold wastes and justs wants to have fun.

also great is 'LET IT OUT', which has an eerie, unblinking, patient feel, letting the tension build but just riding out it. cut-up piano chords echo through the haze. sine-wave-smooth high tones glide over the sound fog below. i get reminded of fennesz and also onkyo. it's the avantist garde and also the tuffest of pop and that's what we want from grime, right?

with regards to the creeper vol. 1 mix tape, the tracks i've heard are 'freestyles' [in the grime sense of the word, which isn't really a freestyle at all] over the biggest and most hardcore grime tracks:- wiley's version of jammer's destruction is crazy-good, with all time best lyrics like, 'i know hunger and he said he don't know you, i know pain and he said he don't know you, i know crime and he said he don't know you...'. it's a hit! also the roll deep version of this jammer track which i've not heard before- i think logan said 'vaguer rhythm'?- will make all yr jaws drop- almost absurdly dramatic strings and beats, put through jammer's orientalist/sino-grime prism, bringing up images of noble warriors and epic battles- if kurosawa were still around, he'd do best to get jammer on the soundtrack. roll deep's version of target's + terra danjah's 'poltergeist' is also pretty much the definitive one, as is wiley's version of 'creep crawler', which will be the b-side to 'Pies', and called 'take chances'.

so, a kind of mixed bag i guess. when they're at the best, roll deep are the best. i just wish they'd stick to the grime.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

ah sorry no grime report today cuz i'm too tired. tomorrow though, definately. just been a bit too hectic today- i spent 6 hours in a van going back and forth to crewe. being in a van is cool + exciting for about 20 minutes. i think i saw a dead polecat on the road. there was a point in the day's activities where me and will had to walk through a room full of babies hanging out, sitting on the floor and giggling. there was about 50 of them. crazy crazy days.
and it's all for this.

anyways- grime tomorrow. hold tight.

i got 5 wiley white labels through the post today. my first ever e-bay purchase. they only cost me £22 in total- a bargain i tell you. so i have an 'eskimo' of my very own. but, sadly, no record player to play it on at the moment cuz i'm not a cool kid. but having no record player is kind of nice cuz it means you have to go round friends' houses to hear them which makes the excitement lovely and social. actually may be we should have a kind of dancepartyaction to wiley's beats. hmmm mmm.
anyway i'm rambling innit- see you tomorrow, bright + early, luv ya...

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

tonight i saw ian play at manchester. he's a star on stage. and off stage actually. go and see him sometime. like at munkyfest perhaps...

the first band on were gash though. me and somedisco and 86400 seconds promised to do a blogosphere demolition of them, but i can't remember their name. they sounded like the charlatans but heavily sedated. actually, not that exciting. just the charlatans while v v tired...

on the way back to my country outpost from manchester i saw:
a building that looked like a chess board, called 'marlsbro house'
a huge shop with loads of shiny pianos in its window. i imagine elton john has a room that looks just like this.
a limosine with 'The Bitch' written on the side.
a rabbit in the headlights

Grime recently heard part I: popgrime/grimette/gRime n B.

ok, let's get started...
there's been a little bit of shift in recent months it seems to a poppier, glossier vision of what grime could be. or perhaps this is just a return to the birds in the sky/you were always/bounce days of early 03. i dunno. anyway, it seems to be getting a bit more tuneful and fun out there. something aimed at the ladies perhaps [would be interesting to find out the gender division, if any, for grime MC shows and raves actually- do girls find those boys going off on one about guns exciting?].
there's the whole aftershock thing of love is here to stay/so contagious/ so sure/ friday night of course but there's a bit more as well. like:

oh my god this is a TUNE. perhaps the very best example of grime's recent interest in mercilessly fucked up r n b tracks. p jam smashes the tune to a thousand pieces. base elements = arabian flute part + chilling and chilly sitar riff + his trademark tyre squeals [second only to terra danjah's giggle as the best producer calling card]. it's already dark and gutterish but then p jam throws in these absurdly hardcore basslines that drill through the track with bone marrow shaking force. the most fearsome, pitch black grime b-line i've heard for ages. excellent. it almost sounds like he's willfully throwing the track off course, trying to drown out the melody and the lushness. there is conflict and clash right at the centre of this tune! frisco's MCing is alright but not like amazing or anything. but chardonnay is great. in the verses she kind of wails, and leaves any melody behind, and that's cool cuz she sounds like she's lost in the track, with that bass closing in on all sides, and she's calling plaintively and desperately for something to latch on to, a way out of this unforgiving darkness. then the chorus comes and she grabs hold of it and sings along to the sitar melody; 'cant't hold it in, telling no lies...'. she's got this reedy, breathy voice and that helps to make the song sound so alien and dreamlike. it's r n b, but really feverish, sick r n b. and it's so catchy. it carries on playing over and over in yr head just like when yr really ill dreams + crazy toughts twist over and over in yr sleeping restlessness.
good good good.

there's a pattern emerging here i think: this song is amazing, as is delta's [from boys in da hood?] 'baby', as is 3 of a kind's 'babycakes'.
production-wise, this is probably the most forward thinking and futuristic grime has ever got, which is saying something...
davinche is turning out to be the biggest producer this year, and his compilation album [out in august i think] could be a real classic.
the tune takes the wiley/roll deep template of mangling a nice r n b vocal sample into oblivion [see, for example, 'you were always' and 'special girl'], but pushes it to a whole new level. the track sounds so thinned out and trebly that the first time i heard it i thought my speakers had broken. there is no bass, only high end drama. davinche fucks up this sample of a woman singing 'baby' so that it reduces down into a burble of clicks and gurgles, sighs and squeals- the very sound of babytalk! i like it when grime gets conceptual like that.
and that's the whole track- this amazing, shifting tapestry of glitches, with 'baby' occasionally surfacing to be heard clearly, bobbing up like a diver grabbing air before going back under into the water and shadows. it has to be heard to be believed really. davinche goes so abstract but somehow manages to keep it all tuneful and with a definite groove to it. it's still an anthem + a banger. i hope that the san francisco glitch massive hear it and make notes.

Wiley is huge on this track. he's one of the best out there and here he shows why. sounding a lot more passionate and forceful than he did for much of his album, he pleads with his girl, his baby, to take him back, pointing out that he refrained from stabbing her current boyfriend [!], and then signs out with the heartstopping + heart breaking lyrics, 'the last two years have torn me apart...there's so much going on in my head right now'. that's the other side to his whole eskimo/ice cold sound i guess- there's real pain behind it all. kano's good, but he's got a bit of an established schtick right now- that whole cheeky asides to the ladies thing. it's still fun, but his verses are starting to all blur into one for me. there's now a kind of generic 'kano verse', and there's so many recorded examples of them, and that means that perhaps they don't blow you away quite as much as they should.

mainly this is essential because you get to hear d double's recent change of direction [also showcased in 'so contagious', with shola ama]. he's started Mcing about relationships, love, sex and everything! it's such a shock, cuz d double's whole thing used to be this ultra-violence chat with the alien, inhuman sounds and echoes ['uhnnn, ohnnnh' + 'muiii muiii' etc]. he was the most otherworldly of all the grime MCs but now it turns out that he's just a regular guy. he's well funny on this track. he lays down the law to his lovely companion*, coming on like a pissed off parent, 'after the quickie, you have to go quickly...if yr in my house, obey my rules; if you don't like my rules- get outta my house!'. it's said with such innocent joy, as d double becomes the parent who originally laid down the rules that meant that his girlfriends had to leave the house quickly after sex, and realises that that's what he's become. you can tell that he's really enjoying himself on this track, revelling in showing a whole new side to his skills. the production's pretty minimal but that just means that all ears are on d double and that's a good thing.

loads of people have wrote about this, and indeed i've written about it before, so i'll be quick. skykicking was talking a while back about how danny weed's 'salt beef' sounds so wrong, and it does, but this wonder production sounds completely disfunctional. it's the sound of a computer breaking down but somehow struggling on- the synth line warps and buckles out of key, creating the kind of lurching atonal musical deadzone that wonder does best. a lady sings, to a stereotypical full-of-eastern-promise melody, 'what have you done?' and it's oh so eerie. deviant music. forget Coil! he he. kano is great here as well- slightly darker than usual, almost spitting the words out. everyone is on their nastiest bahaviour on this track yet it's still totally pop- and that's basically what makes this strain of grime so amazing, so endlessly fascinating and inspired.

ok, they'll be another grime piece tomorrow. nighty night.

*that's nicked off scott somedisco.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

sad to see that the virtual tophet is no more. she did a wicked blog questionnaire a while back that i was going to do, even though i don't usually like that sort of thing, cuz it looked fun, but then i realised that my answers would be practically identical to chris brooke's, so i thought it wouldn't be very original. so if you want to know about me, look at what chris says about himself.

sorry, that sounds crazy.

i liked the 'dylan thomas or ted hughes?' question the best. that's a serious issue. there are dylan thomas people in this world, and there are ted hughes people, and the distinction between them is deep, significant, and too mysterious for me to think seriously about at the moment. i'm a dylan thomas person.
i should have mentioned that the first line of 3 of a kind's 'babycakes' is 'confused, don't know what i'm feeling'.
that's important.

i met scott somedisco the other day + i can confirm yr suspicions that he's lovely.

today i saw the band 'kill yourself'. they play semi- naked and wear gas masks and they are genuinely, generally, dangerous and nasty and kind of beautiful. at one point the bassist took of his gas mask and sort of gritted his teeth around it and started swaying, rocking back on his heels, while playing a bass line that fucked up yr insides. that's so good.

tomorrow i shall start writing about grime again but tonight i shall go to bed. there's lots to write about but not now...
hold tight.

Monday, July 19, 2004

babycakes, you just don't know, know
how i, i like it down low, low
but i just want you to know that i think our love will grow, grow
we'll take it step by step
cuz i'm not something you own
i haven't felt like this about a song since 'i luv u' a year ago: that almost obsessive pattern of listening to a song again just as it finishes, or at least wanting to listen to it again, with only the fear that over-exposure will destroy the whole magic of it holding me back. i think just about everyone i've met who's heard this song loves it, and loves it deeply. the perfect pop song. the song that will encapsulate people's summer of 2004 for years to come. and surely, a song that will become 'our song' for a hundreds, thousands, of couples. it's not a track it's a movement.
 importantly, it's the first 2 step garage song to make it big in years [it was actually written in 2001, i think];- perhaps the time is right for a little bit of regression and nostalgia on the underground, or perhaps this song is simply too good not to become massive, regardless of the genre it belongs to. whatever, the production is gorgeous, ethereal, with a plink/plonk synth line that shimmers like summer rain, sparkling with the honest glamour of how david hockney sees swimming pools, and the slightly distorted beats skittering and crunching underneath.
but it's still all about the vocals. boy and girl take a verse each and come together for the chorus, and when their voices do unite, the effect is ever so slightly discordant, a little out of tune and off key. and that's perfect. because despite the sheer, carefree beauty of the chorus and the exclamations of love within it, the song seems to actually be quite a guarded, cautious expressin of love. 'i'm not something you own' they warn each other. we'll take it step by step. you don't know everything about me, we're at the start of this and we not sure about it yet. as dave stelfox mentioned to me in what academic footnotes refer to as 'personal correspondance', there's a darker side to this tune than the sunniness of it would first suggest. dappled sunlight.
[sunlight leaking through closed bedroom curtains at the start of a new day and falling on a new couple]

listening to it more, you realise the whole song becomes a 3 minute long nervous, uncertain stutter. the repetition of certain words: 'I...I' 'Grow...grow'; the glitched up middle eight that cuts up the boys vocals into fragments, into nervy tics; the restless fidgets of the beats. And again, that's perfect, cuz it's really a song about falling in love, rather than being in love. it's about, as the girl sings, 'butterflies in yr belly'. it's about that first moment when yr still not sure, and you don't really know what's happening to you. it's about delirious joy meeting vertigo. weightless, spinning, bottomless happiness: but isn't it scary when you can't see the bottom?
[a man in david byrne's film 'True Stories': 'I've never felt this way about anyone before, people at work must think i'm going crazy'.]
so it's a gorgeous, perfect song. it's intimacy and detachment, it's belief and doubt, it's joy and warnings- it's everything a pop song about love should be. and with that chorus that always takes yr breath away, just a little bit, and sometimes puts butterflies in yr belly.
i wrote before that it's this year's 'never leave you [uh oh]' but helsinki station disagrees, saying that it's really this year's 'sweet like chocolate'. and i think he/she [not sure which] could be right. cuz, like sweet like chocolate, babycakes is tingly devoid of even the slightlest bombast or harshness, so there's just this little, delicate, crystalline tune sparkling away. 
and like both sweet like chocolate and never leave you, babycakes is all about charm.  not just because of the slightly out of tune vocals: there's something else that makes this song utterly, meltingly, charming. hardly any great pop music has this. even if you like, say, britney or beyonce or sugababes, i don't think there's much charm in their music, not like babycakes and never leave you or sweet like chocolate have charm. they have that special feel to them that sounds like easy invitations, that sounds like everything, truly and basically, is just fine.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

the conversation

i don't really talk about telly much here but i can't resist this time:

this other day i was watching 'average joe'. basic premise= a programme where loads of average looking men living in a 'dream house' somewhere in california or somewhere try to win the affection of a conventionally beautiful looking girl, who eliminates them until only one is left.
it's the first night of the men meeting the girl. she's got to eliminate 4 people that night so first impressions are of paramount importance. there's a barbecue. much wackiness and 'look at me' stunts from the men. everyone's trying to get their turn with her and make it count. in the background, always, is a young man called tariq, a super-intelligent guy who's already college professor at 21. always he is there, watching, silently, as other men talk to her. then, finally, he picks his moment and moves in, ushering her to one side so that he can have her undivided attention. looking into her eyes, he asks:

"do you like brocolli?"
her: '"er....oh, not really" [composing herself and smiling], "i like peas though"
him: "i do not find green vegetables interesting".

and so, the conversation is over.

mercifully, she does not eliminate him.
rain, always rain, angry rain making people feel guilty and small:


but it got my brother out of sports day

i want to write about babycakes soon

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

this link will eventually take you to a place where you can download some grime pirate sessions, including an essentials one.

it's all out there and it's free and it's amazing so no excuses.

today the air smelled like brambles and on the car journey you could tell that it was a dying summer day just by the way the brake lights ahead glowed.

oh and this looks interesting, especially the wiley + ruff sqwad + nasty session from the often underrated 1extra [just imagine how awful the bbc's attempt at setting up their own 'pirate' station could have been then look at how good 1extra is.]

Tuesday, July 13, 2004


...i only heard 'strings of life;' for the first time yesterday, in our kitchen cuz my housemate had just bought a 'cream techno' boxset, which is surprisingly great and pleasingly bangin. the first time i heard this track: like, i mean, seriously, FUCK [like the knifehandchop song title...it all fits together this blog, you know, like a giant jigsaw. so many hidden allusions and references, it would blow yr mind if only you knew. trust me*]. anyway, back to those strings of life, you know when yr just right next to the stereo, as close as you can cope with, listening with total wonder? and i was thinking how amazing it would be to have heard this in a warehouse in the late 80s over a big soundsystem and how surely anyone who heard it then must have thought that they lived in the most exciting time there has ever been, and how this was the most poetic music ever, and it means so much even though you can't tell what it means, and how everyone who listened to this, surely, would be an instant convert to techno.

then my girlfriend walked in and, pointing to the stereo, goes, "what's this?'
me [excitedly]: 'itsstringsoflifeareallyfamoustecnotrackbyderrickmay'
her:, 'Oh, it's shit isn't it? really shit'.

which just goes to show. although quite what i'm not sure.

*actually, it wouldn't.

new links for drip drap drop and helsinki station. both excellent. both grimey. both garridgy. sweet as a ruddy nut.

unhh. i've started listening to kiss fm loads. i dunno why. maybe cuz its quite relaxing and sort of friendly you know? not demanding at all. so smooth and shiny. and sometimes they play that babycakes song.

Monday, July 12, 2004

"leaden circles dissolved in the air".

that's virginia woolf describing big ben's bells tolling.

jesus that's good.

drip drop drap blog is new and it's really very good: lots of stuff about dubstep and garridge and i like that. there's still not many of us blog people writing about garage/grime/dubstep on a re-ga-lah basis [...like tinchy strider would say...] so it's good to have another comrade out there.

dj mackie played a song that i requested on sunday. i was so happy cuz i was desperate to hear it. it was that liberty track i talked about a while back. the one with the female vocalist and the slowed down + sleazed up rave piano riff. the one where liberty goes 'unhh' all the time and sounds like he's orgasming. it's still my favourite song of this year....

...but a contender to steal its crown is 'babycakes' by 3 of a kind. ona garage/r n b tip, with magnificently bored and out of tune vocals. it's totally amazing, like this year's Never leave You [uh oh]. i've only heard it once so i can't really do a detailed commentary on it, but trust me it's one of the best.
coming back to london for a few days after a week long break has, thankfully, go rid of my pessimism about grime. i've heard some fantastic stuff over the past few days. slew dem youngers, plasticman, the new davinche track, allstar producers, and tracks off the new roll deep album stand out especially. i'll write about them properly in a few days though. i need to time to think about this- i've been doing too many rush-jobs here lately i think. i want to try and do something good.
i saw two things yesterday that stand out:
1] some kids had broken into the school opposite and found a dead squirrel, which they had attached a piece of string to so they could swing it around and throw it at each other.
2] an alcoholic man sitting at the side of the road with that look that street drunks often have, where they stoop down slightly and squint at the pavement, looking like they are confronting deep pain with lost confusion. everybody just walks past, trying not to make eye contact, partly cuz, rightly or wrongly, you don't trust him not to go crazy at you, partly cuz yr in the city and that's what people do in the city, and partly, perhaps, because deep down you realize that that could be you in years to come. you just don't know, just as once they didn't know, just as once they walked past and tried not to make eye contact. it can be such a fine line and sometimes there's no net to catch you.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

BLACK OPS have done a horrific track called 'champagne and ho's'. basically, it's about rape. they start off talking about how the girl they're with starts complaining that she's uncomfortable with their advances and so they warn her that they 'just don't care'. then these lyrics are said:

'why are you saying, "'it's starting to hurt"?, i told you before that you shouldn't flirt'

'don't tell me, "i don't wanna", bitch just swallow'.

in over a year of listening to grime, of listening to people talking about killing, robbing and cheating, this is the only track that's really shocked me. it made me feel sick. all the gun talk and threats of violence in grime can really just be seen as battle lyrics as extended metaphors- the whole idea of the top boy/ badman who's going to take out weak MCs in the clash. But this black ops track, which exists outside the context of battle lyrics, is something else entirely. i think that really there should be a total media shutdown on tracks like this, just as there largely is with, say, skrewdriver records:- writers shouldn't cover them, djs shouldn't play them, labels shouldn't put them out. but i'm just mentioning this track briefly so that you know that parts of what comes out of the grime scene can be totally immoral, even evil.

a few weeks ago hardcore is more than music magazine talked about how jon e cash and the rest of black ops were such positive role models and inspirations to the kids of west london. i just say that people should also see that they present themselves as extremely violent misogynists, [ 'ho's don't mean shit to me' etc] and rapists.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

soldiers, fallen...

...well, not really, but it is time to pay tribute to all those blog people who have recently decided to call it a day. so thanks to all these for being great while they lasted:

technicolor for frequent shots of almost overwhelming excellence- the end of year round up was an all time classic of course, as were the posts about him exploring and falling in love with new york after just moving there.

mile long shadow of a cooling tower for making me realise that i should raise my game significantly. i still don't think i've quite managed it, but i'd be a lot worse without paul's example to inspire me to push things forward a bit. rumour has it that paul will be back blogging soonish, but in a new place away from those mile long shadows.

the devil dances in an empty pocket for being the best thing i've ever read, anywhere

world of stelfox for being one of the main reasons that i now listen to soca. i'm v grateful for that.

woebot cuz he's the don, of course.

and at the moment i'm loving these blogs that are still alive:
somedisco: really liking the slight change to longer posts amid the trademark links for essential daily reading.
86400 seconds ian's on top form at the moment. go and have a read.
woebotnik cuz he's the don, of course
hackneyed central for his recent post about crying, jobs, buskers, and akufen, which is so good it'll make yr mind + yr heart go funny.
and 1471 blog for always saying so much with so few words.

and loads more...

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

i had a dream last night that i was on raw blaze 90.00fm, clashing tinchy strider. it was a great dream and things were going well until for some reason i got hell bent on the idea of rhyming 'mustard' with 'custard'. such a bad idea. i think i said something like tinchy just 'didn't cut the mustard' and then went on to say that his style was too messy, like what clowns do with custard [pies].

and it was all downhill from there. needless to say, tinchy merked me good and proper. it was hugely embaressing.

but, fortunately, only a dream.

Monday, July 05, 2004

lots of people seem to be hating on franz ferdinand at the moment. i'm not their biggest fan or anything, cuz i'm ruff sqwad's biggest fan instead [actually, i bet i'm not], but it does seem a bit unfair and uncalled for. i mean, listen to 'take me out', with that nice stomp [solidity] and those guitars winding and squiggling up and down [fragility], and those vocals which are wicked to sing along to while drunk and can you honestly say that yr not tempted to have a little dance, not at all? [fragilty + solidity are so good in music- why don't more musicians realise this?]
just about everyone likes dancing to it, and some might be ashamed but really there's nothing to be ashamed of. any music that makes you want to dance is a pretty amazing thing, if you think about it. this sound, this movement of air particles, that's making you do a kind of physical expression of it, making you create yr own reflection of it. it's mindblowing really.
and it's still quite rare that music does that. so when it happens, i'm grateful.
life's too short and too uneventful usually not to dance.
when you've got the chance

poet. and i don't know it.

girls in my school always used to say that.

oh fuck it.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

also: shystie's 'One wish' is out tomorrow. you should buy it, it'll be fun i promise. it's the aphex-ish blissy grime track i was talking about the other day. you want to get the one with the terra danjah remix, though, cuz it's terra that makes the track all lushy and early 90s softcore ravey. the original version isn't nearly as good.

oh, and i will talk about n double a and essentials soon, despite what i said below. essentials' new track 'jenny' is a bit of a classic...

hey guys...


...no disussion of those N double A or essentials people here though. we're going strictly old skool:: i was in the pub the other day with a man my girlfriend went to primary shool with. lovely bloke. anyway, it turns out that he went to high school [pimlico comp., if yr interested...], with none other than so solid MC ASHER D, famous, amongst other things, for being imprisoned on gun charges, starring in grange hill, and getting well and truly merked by dizzee in a now legendary clash. [apparently one of the lyrics dizzee used against him was, 'you got 21 seconds to apologise!']

this is what he had to say about the asher d he went to school with:
"was a bit of a character, y'know? everyone knew him, got into nuff fights".

and also, he said, asher d was a near professional-level sportsman [i forget which sport]. lots of MCs seem to have almost made it in sport- wasn't woebot talking about how d double and wiley were excellent sportsmen, a while back? and in the latest Touch magazine, kano reveals that he used to play for chelsea youth team [i think i'm remembering this correctly, it might be arsenal tho...], and was going to go on to play for norwich, before wisely deciding that he couldn't be arsed and it'd be more fun to MC about girls at raves. i guess the thing is: these MCs are all hugely competitive people. it's all about proving yr the top boy, defeating any rivals, pushing yrself further and further. also, of course, it's about working as part of a team/crew yet also wanting to be the one that stands out from the people around them. and that competitive instinct seems to channel into whatever they're doing. contrast the typical male indie or punk musician: hated sports at school, always last to get picked, then channel into whatever they do their slightly snobbish loathing of society's expectations as well as their irradicable sense of weakness, of not being able to do what their peers can do and -importantly- of not being able to do what men are supposed to be able to do.

caricatures yes, but may be there's something in it:
MCs: want to win at the game
indie and punk musicians: say 'fuck the game', thus transforming their loser-status into a strength. [hello lou barlow!]

i'm not sure where DJs figure in all this speculation though. i'll have a think, hey...

but the BEST thing the man in the pub told me was that neutrino, as in 'oxide and...', lives down my road! he's so bourgeois! you literally couldn't get more gentrified than where i live. we have FOUR 'interior design and lifetysle' shops for fucks sake. i wonder what neutrino does all day. he must still have quite a lot of money if he's living round here [i live where i do due to a just-complicated-enough-to-be-boring arrangement whereby i can live here and it's still fairly cheap], but neutrino's music career is effectively over. so what does he fill his days with? i'm gonna track him down and find out. investigative journalism, yeah. i hope that he fills his days drinking [organic, if pos.] coffee in street cafes while reading the Guardian and complaining about all those horrible yuppies that have moved in and really dragged the area down, which is what a significant proportion of people do round here.

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