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we're happy: it's a fact.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

so, we didn't really work out dylan did we. such an enigma. blah blah. very pretty though.

oh apparently anti-social behaviour will be eliminated by 2010. how wonderful.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Hang on to any history you have.


no matter how many bad experiences i have, i'm still shocked and amazed by how shit Royal Mail is: stop losing/stealing my fucking records!


oh of course i shouldn't have said that ruff sqwad's 'move' is new. cuz it's dead old. but in many ways it's similar to the new sound ruff sqwad are currently dealing in, so that's why i wrote about it in the post below. and cuz it's got guitars on it.


Treat yrself to an mp3 of ukraine (pirate?) radio rip of Tripwire founder and legend, dj Cuntfinger:

dj cuntfinger- 'sistah dick'.

this one's bonkers- especially the radio host's introduction to it. the hardest most fractured hardcore. and with weird folk samples too... so listen to it and rrrrrush like a fuck, as the tripwire kids (probably) say.

Friday, September 23, 2005

it is always so surprisingly exciting when a dog is on the tube. more so when it's a really big dog.

and with that out of the way, we go on to discuss: Guitars and Grime...

guitars and electronic music together are generally yuckish: like hiphop (after the debacle of that Blondie song, presumably...), 'dance music' is something that guitar bands, after a few years of misguided experiments, generally- and, perhaps wisely- steer clear of. be nice if they could do properly, of course, but most of them can't and sensibly decide to leave it at that.

but grime producers at the moment seem to be in love with the sound of guitars. may be because we live in a post-'Lean Back' age. dunno. anyway, fact is there's loads of guitar + grime tracks round at the moment, ranging from the rubbish [kano's 'typical me'], the ridiculous, [slew dem sampling that racist fuck clapton's 'layla'] to the really very good>>>such as...

NEW RUFF SQWAD STUFF!--- most grime producers use guitars to draw links between heavy rock and grime [and the two genres do have a lot in common i guess- both celebrating and reinforcing adoloscent male machismo and both featuring lots of shouting and noise. except heavy rock is by and large shit, and grime isn't...i do seem to be into making very sweeping negative judgments today don't i? apologies...]. danny weed's recent Sabbathy power-drones (e.g that first track on aim high 2] are a good example.
but ruff sqwad, cuz they work in their own unique stylistic world, use guitars to sound almost camply dramatic, or to sound thuddingly Krautrockish.

for examples of the former, check out Tinchy Strider's 'Move', where a guitar plays this lilting descending guitar line that's almost...fey. first few times i heard this, i didn't even notice it was a guitar, cuz it uses guitars in such an odd, unexpected way- to lighten and may be feminise the sound, rather than to bolster it with crunch and growl. that's the thing with ruff sqwad: because they're working from outside the rock tradition- and because they possess musical genius- they make guitars sound radical and startling. they're using guitars in non-rock ways.

for the more Kraut-esque stuff, check Shifty Rydoz's '1999', which has a stark 2-note riff that nags away, sounding jagged and brutalist. guitars here are used more as percussive, rhythmic tools than anything: a constant morse-code bleep.

another 2-note guitar track (lou reed would be pleased...) is by Ruff Sqwad affiliate and protege T-Boy (Rapid said on Rinse that t-boy'll be 'licking off heads' soon...). don't know the name of this one, but try to look out for it cuz it's huge: kind of gothic-grime, but not nearly as horrible as that sounds. the two notes drag away, dark and sludgy as contact-miked molasses. i've got a big soft-spot for these kind of dead-eyed sonic wastelands, for some reason. it's weirdly beautiful, [like the hazy glow from far-off foot-and-mouth fires...]. luvvit.

lastly, Dirty Danger has done a new track which i think Rapid just referred to as 'K' on Rinse [i hope it's named after Josef K...], and which combines the Krauty and the fey. Rapid reckoned this was a 'rock ting', but really it's not: the riff is too disjointed and sparse to be typically 'rock', and the high-pitched counterpoint, which is similar to the guitars on 'Move', sounds strangely medieval for some reason, like a little baroque flourish or something. anyhow, this is the cutting edge at the moment so, once again, get to know...

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

there i was thinking lazily that 'gype' was the original orchestral-grime track. and then i thought, no- that's rubbish nonsense. it's been going for ages, this sound:

jammer and mr wong- 'chink rasta'.

ah fuck it, i know that dog-z track sounds lighthouse family but i can't resist it- i love it. guilty pleasures...
"if you're going to quote the book of revelation
don't keep calling it 'the book of revelations'
there's no 's', it's the book of revelation
as revealed to St John the Divine
See also, Mary Hopkin
she must despair.

you've got a shit arm, and that's a bad tattoo".
-half man half biscuit on The Libertines.

wake up far too early, look out of the window, blink at the sun and listen to:

wiley-tunnel vision

cuz it sounds like new dawns.

then listen to:
tomas andersson-happy happy

to compare and contrast the 'woop woop' samples.

p.s anyone know what's the 2-steppy track that was played when flo-dan was first on the mic on sunday's rinse set, let me know, please...

Monday, September 19, 2005

there's a new god's gift tune out, dunno the name of it- i hardly ever do. starts with a hyped flurry from him that's almost conversational, like the quick machine-gun of threats and shout outs that often begin grime tracks. but then, he doesn't let up- he doesn't end. just goes on and on in the same tone of voice, this weirdly levelled and controlled madness, smearing a decisive 'and you know!' at the end of each line. and you realise- this is the song, a whole 3 minutes of the kind of stuff that's usually just opening ceremony stuff. the beat's pared back to clicks and scrapes, forming a mildly disorientating backdrop to this perhaps awe-inspiring performance from god's gift, this voice that's viscous, and thin, taut, strung out at the same time.

listening to this, it's hard to believe that it's the same person who muttered and forgot in those DVD interviews. it's even hard to believe that it's the god's gift who did his cockney-baritone thing on the 'street beats' CD. here, he's got the kind of almost-but not-shrill urgency that much younger MCs tend to have and then lose. and that's great. maybe it's hanging round with tommy guns and brazen that's done it. whatever, i'm pleased that he's back.

OK, let's talk Young.Dot...
there's only one young.dot release out- called the 'young dot EP', conveniently- and you need it. i don't buy many grime records at all but even i got this one. so no excuses.

it's interesting because it might be the first example of a grime classicism emerging: whereas other, previous, grime tracks often sounded like preparatory sketches and breathless experiments-and often this was a large factor in them sounding so good- the young.dot EP sounds like the finished article, grime-wise. lessons have been learnt and absorbed and here's the end-product from young.dot, a gleaming showpiece of grime tropes and idioms. honed and polished. perhaps perfect.

all of which might make the EP sound like it's horribly generic and dull- 'grime comes of age' etc. please lord no. but it's not dull at all. it's the best grime record for ages.

if young.dot is like anyone in particular, i guess he's like a little like Oddz, with a similar restlessly melodic plasticy sound. gloopy, but very stacatto gloops. the opening track, i think it's called 'bonanza [!], is that track that's been making you feel queasy listening to pirate sets these past few months...a hailstorm of dexplicit-style clacking with davinche-style brass blare. and then there's what's REALLY great about this track- the retching 'doonnnhh!' sample at the end of each bar, pitching the beat into sheer fucking evil hysteria. the middle two tracks are lovely takes on the orchestral-grime sound with all the lightness of touch you'd want. on the third track young.dot even throws in a bit of Wonder-ish dark-alleyway bass murk/merk to balance out all the melodic carousels.
it's the final track which comes closest to ridiculous greatness of 'bonanza', though. young.dot does that ruff sqwad/early jammer thing of folding interlocking melodies into each other, switching and chopping between flows of notes and stammering jabs of notes. and all throughout the main riff's on this aquatic synth that sounds crazy, squashed and pressured- and very similar to those plastic tubes kids have at halloween that make strangled 'ghost' sounds when you hold them upside-down. it's kind of horrible but gorgeous too.

so, two headfucks of tracks and two pieces of melodic loveliness: there is nothing that is less than fantastic about this ep.

absolutely merks it with a discussion of that taxidermy documentary. the best piece of writing you'll read all year. "are you dumb?" as skepta would say...

" Because i love you- but i don't recognise you!"
-spy vs spy.

-stuff on grime tomorrow i promise. things got in the way...

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


the biggest bars of all this time around, courtesy of shower man Tiny Prancer. i'm thinking, of course, about his immortal response to anyone who tries it, nothing long:

"why call out a brother's name? WHY CALL OUT HIS NAME?!"

...to reprise my recent obsession with drawing links between grime and cricket, if i somehow found myself playing cricket, and i was the victim of 'sledging', this would be my response, everytime.

in a record shop the other day i found myself in an atypically indie mood, and so reached for Arcade Fire's 'Funeral'. and my word! it's excellent! i like the way it sounds so desperate and ragged in its ecstatic throes. and the way you can tell instantly it was recorded at the Hotel2Tango: sounding both murky and glittering. as a teenager, hotel2tango always seemed like the most romantic place and idea to me. the dense simplicity of this record is just great-- you kind of know how at once every song is going to pan out, how it's going to keep thudding away to its climax or cascade but it all sounds so right that it can often be beautiful. cuz it's done with belief that this is really important. and that, in itself, is important. also, "you change all the lead sleeping in my head to gold" is a lovely lyric.
a record i'll be spending much of my autumn with, i think.

i was going to do a little rhapsodic piece about that new Dogzilla track. i mean, a grime track about looking down on city lights at night and star-gazing...it's made for me, innit! but then prancehall pointed out that it sounds like a Lighthouse family song. and you know what, he's right, so no rhapsodizing here. narrow escape!
tomorrow or the next day we will be talking about chunky bizzle, god's gift, and young.dot (i'm not going to stop talking about young.dot. Ever.) so bring yr notes and be there or be fucking square


Sunday, September 11, 2005

correction no.1: 'young dot' is the name of the producer NOT the name of the retch-grime (with tripwire, THE new genre- be told) track that i keep going on about.

correction no.2: when i was talking about roll deep earlier today, i should have used the phrase 'grime empire', cuz that's what roll deep are now. it's no longer about individual crews battling it out- it's about a massive, constantly growing, roll deep empire, incorporating other, smaller, crews under them.

chris at the virtual stoa asks, regarding the Conservative leadership contest,
"Is the Dr. Fox strategy to be aggressively stupid in order to try to win support amongst the Tory grassroots?"

(i'm guessing that's the first time Chris has ever been on the receiving end of that particular word of praise. let us hope that it's the first of many.)

flo-dan on his preferred fielding position:
"i'm a straight up gully man".

i have this fantasy that some day writing on grime will be like channel 4's cricket analysis, with a simon hughes-esque figure explaining just how trim was able to merk stormin so quickly, and giving an overload of statistics showing how wiley's flow has changed over the years.
Sadly, i am not that figure. but somebody should be.

the weird thing about grime at the moment is roll deep's total dominance of it. only about 14-18 months ago people were starting to write them off as nothing more than second division chancers riding on wiley's coat-tails. but now, no one can touch them. no one comes close. partly this is due to wiley's resurgence, both lyrically and musically, but ALL the old-hands have picked up their game- scratchy, flo-dan, breeze, target, and danny weed tower above others. and with Trim, they might have the best MC in the world.

so, roll deep are very good. duh. like you didn't know. but what's more interesting is that it's hard to see how they'll ever stop being the top boys. there's such a density and intensity of creavity and talent in roll deep at the moment, all pushing each other to higher heights- just hear how far jammer's MCing has come on, and syer's too, since they've become part of the extended roll deep family. furthermore, they've got youngers whom its hard for me to listen to and not think, despite the vague nagging sense that moderation is probably called for, that they could be the next dizzee. manga, brazen, tommy guns, devlin- any of these could step into that fabled, currently empty role given a few years and a bit of wiley mentoring.
but aside from all this, there's also some interesting economies of scale thing going on with roll deep and their place in the scene at the moment, in that they're so big and so good at the moment that they can cherry pick the best of The Others and recruit them to the roll deep family tree. look at who's they've managed to get over the past year or so- maximum, trim, zimbon, jammer (kind of), skepta, manga, jme, riko, god's gift, south agents (again, kind of)...
there's a possibility of roll deep (in the most extended sense) having a virtual monopoly over grime in a fairly short period of time, if their current exponential rate of growth in talent, influence and power continues. and right now, it's difficult to see how it won't continue- roll deep at the moment is like some kind of vortex, getting stronger and stronger as the best of The Others are pulled into it. so, top boys. forever.

which reminds me: back and forth. forever. love to those who know.


Friday, September 09, 2005



and with that i'm off to Bangface to see luke vibert for the second time in a week, somehow.

god i miss sharkey major.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


keith moline in this month's Wire:
"i'm waving my hands in the air, but i just don't care"

that's merkery!
"ah, nice, Shane, noice..."

the new sound of the english summer. get to know.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

the realisation dawns: my generation is the least exciting, most conservative, generation since the 1950s.

some songs i can't stop listening to at the moment:


usually saxophones sound awful but not on this track. here they sound like the sadness of a night in a city in the pissing rain. taxis pulling out of the neon, away from failed dates. mist on the windows blurring it all. hairs stand up at the beginning when he goes 'spider senses are tinglin...something's goin on'. and also, for whatever reason, when he says '85% communication, non-verbal'. he's got a gift. lovely flutes too, but then flutes are always, always lovely.

oh my days! alarm sirens + ridiculous, incessant 'wooo!'s + oddly disjointed bass drums. a rave classic, standard.

'young dot' is the name of the grime track i was talking about the other day, the one with the retching sounds. the sound of nauseous machines trying to put up a fight. it makes you feel ill but that can be a good thing.

thank god dexplicit's seen fit to bring back the boing-boing to grime. it's been missing for too long and was always one of grime's very best sonic weapons. so, the bass line to this light + sheeny grimette tune is this absurd boing, but it never upsets the pop perfection of the track cuz grime doesn't work like that- the more cartoonish and video-game trashy things get, the better. and Nana's vocals are great, flitting round like the quickest quicksilver. i don't think she really is a nana, tho- she doesn't sound old enough. that would be amazing tho. geriatic grime is the future. get the olders involved. my nan had some big bars but she passed away.

anyway...sorry for the silliness. this is my favourite track from one of my all-time favourite LPs, 'wearemonster'. it's destroyed, flayed and eroded techno- the looped sound of a speaker cone ripping with the bass pressure. but despite the violence in the sound, it's one of the most blissy things you'll ever hear, and makes me think of tired hands in the air at six in the morning. and when the bass falls away and a voice does a little whispered sigh, the sound you make when yr waking up contented, everything else around you seems to stop.


jammer and skepta's -swag mc burial. hmmm. first time i heard it, it seemed almost comically bad, lyrically. 'nobody likes you!' 'You're totally swag!' 'you're the shittest MC in the whole wide world!' 'shittest MC in SLK!'. i mean i'm not really a fan of subtlety, but for fucks sake! still, after a few more listens the joyfully childish aspect of it kind of appeals. and i'm starting to really like skepta's voice, finally.

riko was great on slimzee's show at the weekend. he spent quite a while talking about football, as is customary, and then debated whether to have rice and peas or a roast for his sunday lunch. but, more importantly, he had this different flow going on, a clipped, but relaxed and easy stream that reminded me a bit of old skool garage MCs. may be it was just cuz it was sunny sunday afternoon and he was in a good mood, but it'd be great to hear more of that.

here's an mp3 of jammer and stormin. it's not necessarily a great tune, altho the glitchy sound trails at the beginning are biggle, but it is the sound of a dreary rainy day on a bus in london. a day like today:
jammer and stormin- battlefield

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