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Thursday, November 10, 2005


silverdollarcircle terminates here. this is the last post. after getting on for 3 years, i've decided that this has run its course. i didn't start this blog with any firm idea of how it would turn out, but slowly it has kind of crystalized into being about some very particular things, written about in a particular way. and now, i'd like to try something new: i don't want to start repeating myself on here, and i think i've pushed this particular uh 'project' [ack!] as far as i can.

so, a clean break. but i still plan on doing quite a lot of writing, perhaps on another blog, perhaps in some kind of hard-copy thing. the major project for the next few months, though, is to get a website of mp3s of pirate radio tapes up and running, finally.

many thanks to everyone who has read this- i honestly never stopped being surprised and flattered that people did. through doing this, i've come into contact with some great people, and made friends with quite a few of them to. it's been fun.

special thanks to simon, scott, and matt who have been constant sources of encouragement and inspiration, and helped to make me feel a part of something, welcome in the 'sphere, when i was a younger in the game...

thanks everyone. it's been an honour and a pleasure.

p.s go here: pandarescue.blogspot.com

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

further evidence that there was no crypto-racism behind the 'dirty canvas' ruff sqwad night: david moynihan, the organiser, told me that the event WAS advertised in rhythm division and at rwdmag.com. so efforts to get the 'grime kids' down were definitely made.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


so ruff sqwad last friday: i think everyone thought it was weird. and i think everyone thought it was great, amazing, fun, inspiring, intense. the weird first: grime in an art gallery was always going to be odd, but the almost uniformly middle class, twenty-something audience made it odder. it was a shame that there weren't (to my knowledge)any posts about the event on rwdmag messageboard or the rinse fm board, as that'd easily attracted loads of the grime core vote. and, contrary to lazy, predictable and sometimes idiotic accusations of crypto-racism that have appeared in certain places, everyone i spoke to there wished there was a more mixed audience- this wasn't a case of white middle class people wanting to listen to working class black music without working class black kids being there. and big up david moynihan for putting on the show.

but, the lack of rwdmag/rinsefm.com advertising did unquestionably make the night an odd, and occasionally awkward, event- most notably when Ruff Sqwad arrived for the soundcheck, to a few of us sitting against the back wall watching them over this small-but-massive divide of empty space. they didn't look at all impressed with us.

But once it all kicked off, to Tiny Prancer's mighty dancehall and grime DJ set, it was great fun. ruff sqwad mingled with the crowd, old friends and comrades met up (dave, derek and matt- chestle!) and i met a few lovely dissensus folk. things were loosening up.

ruff sqwad started with a few P.As, which were OK but slightly stilted and subdued. But when they moved into the freestyle section of the show it all went crazy- they kind of contracted into the tight knot of energy, bouncing lyrics off each other. fuda guy ['eeeeeeasy man!!'] and shifty rydoz were especially awesome: Shifty a cool-as-fuck MC who sounds as lean and pared back as he looks. his syllables snap and crackle over each other. fuda guy's more the grime-jester- a big, almost lumbering kid caught up totally in the moment, eyes staring into the middle distance, as these torrents and flurries of lyrics pour out in perfect form. he does the threatening-tantrum/choking back tears of anger thing like dizzee, and-if anything- is more exciting at the moment than dizzee. tinchy stryder has this star-quality thing going on, without a doubt: you can't take yr eyes off him any time he's on the mic, looking so relaxed and so vulnerable, doing that weird, hypnotic movement with his hands, like he's patiently explaining things to the class. but more that that, it's the sound of his voice, that croak that sounds frighteningly old and frighteningly young. However, the night was more about ruff sqwad working together, sparking against each other, than individual MCs: to be within 3 feet of them as they traded lyrics and mobbed each other, to see the intensity that they have as this close unit, was what made the night so special- there was this sense of everything piling up on top of each other, on top of itself, spilling out: bodies on stage, lyrics, tunes, bodies in the crowd.

best moments of the night, though, came from roll deep's roachee.
number 1 was when he started to spit his 'when i'm ere' lyrics and the whole place went totally mental in about 5 seconds, with ruff sqwad and the crowd grinning at each other, out of control.
number 2 was when rapid announced, 'we call this 'Monster Music'', and Roachee, quick as a flash, got on the mic and said, totally deadpan, 'Yes. I like that phrase. Very much.'


Friday, November 04, 2005

"I'm not even at my peak yet. When i'm at my peak it's over. For everyone."

Sharkey Major is back!
sharkey major and Mac 10 rinse fm mp3.

this is a big MP3 AND it'll take you a while to download. it may even go wrong a few times. but i cannot stress enough how important it is for you to persevere and download this (it's been doing the rounds for a while now- first on dj lioness' blog, and then on rwdmag messageboard). 'aim high 2' was the definitive grime uh 'document' for the first half of 2005, and this Sharkey Major set does the same job for the second half of the year. Mac 10's in full attack mode, playing the most broken and fucked grime out there at the moment, with an overload of brand new tracks. he does his thing of divebombing ultra-stacatto grime rhythms on top each other- intense like driving rain.

but, even more importantly,: sharkey major is back! this is the best thing that could have happened to grime. sharkey was, is, the best MC that grime has ever had in every possible way- only Trim has recently come close. Here he sounds even more urgent and pissed off than usual, outdoing all the craziness that Mac 10 lays down underneath him with relentless storms of lyrics- they'd almost sound like streams-of-consciousness if they didn't sound so structured and on point. if you like Demon, well, i think demon got a lot of his style of MCing- that energy, that nerviness- from Sharkey Major, and Sharkey does it even better.

you might not be able to listen to this for more than 20 minutes at a time: it's mentalist stuff, and can feel like being punched in the face over and over. but, whatever, you really do need to hear this, cuz it's probably the best example of the flailing noise-energy that grime can have: think 'forward riddim' extended into an hour long mix (with better MCing!).

my favourite bit of the rinse sessions boxset so far:
-plasticman's mix of a Crazy Titch freestyle with mariah carey's 'we belong together' instrumental. that's genius!

-also, my housemate pointed out to me the other day that on the first track of the roll deep CD, Wiley goes 'big up cambridge'. Eh?

see you all at ruff sqwad tonight yeah?

Monday, October 31, 2005


things that happened in londontown today:

-this morning, i overheard a man say, "i think, recently, i've become...a whole lot more complex". that's such a great thing to say.

-then i saw a man standing in the middle of oxford street perusing page 3 of the Sun incredibly closely and intensely.

-then i saw a man accost that cunt on oxford street with the mega-phone whose 'christian' views have taken a markedly sexist and anti-islamic tone recently. 'great' i thought- finally i'm going to see someone tell that bastard to shut up with his rightwing bullshit. but, no: on getting closer to them, within eaves dropping range, it became apparent that the man was actually having a go at mega-phone twat for not being right wing enough! Specifically, he was taking objection to the latter's calls for an end to world poverty: "it's not about the world, it's about britain", was the counter-argument. jesus christ.

-then i saw a tree surgeon [love that phrase!] on top of a really tall, spindly tree, chopping the whole of the top of the tree off. it looked well perilous so i couldn't bear to watch for long.

but forget london. the more important question is: what's been going on in sheffield recently? and the answer is: i've been visiting it. my first time in the socialist republic of south yorkshire (it's still called that, right?) and oh my days it's a lovely place. it's a bit like tufnell park multiplied by 100 and transplanted to moors and valleys and then filled with students. it's great and everyone's ridiculously well dressed and good looking for some reason. slash these bastard's student loans and force them back into cherry red DMs and rubbish Levellers t-shirts, i say. but i digress. why was i in sheffield? to see the mighty Vegetables. and they were ruddy special, to an arcane and resonant degree. you should see this band. they're funny and they write some of the only pop music that sounds like it knows we're no longer in the 60s, the 70s, or the 80s. and they write songs about interesting things that people actually care about, like george orwell and the history of psychiatry.

afterwards i went to a student indie disco, for a brief return to the indie nation. it's in good health, i can report. people are having strangely huge amounts of fun and kissing people who they think are pretty and getting drunk and forgetting about their essays. and steve lamacq's still the DJ. so, it's much the same as it ever was. to be honest, i found the whole thing a bit confusing and oddly overwhelming, but it was fun.

hang tight The Special One for peerless hospitality and kindness.

it's gone now, so if you've not got it yet you might never have it, but Lemon-Red did a guest post of houston hip-hop on the stypod mp3 blog. it was a short mix of a type of music that i've never heard before, but i want to hear so much more, so soon. i like the odd clunkiness of many of the beats, as well as the day-glow trippiness of the rest- i swear one track features a cut up sample of the Crazy Frog. much of it is filtered to fuck, full of sonic warps and whooshes, which helps to make it some of the dirtiest, catchiest sounds around. in a way, it's a bit like super-confident grime, with MCs sounding like sales-pitching used car dealers rather than nervy teenagers, and the often skeletal sound you get in grime replaced by grand, over the top, american (?) gestures, albeit one's equally plasticy and focussed on melodic-brutalist ring-tone style riffs. and there's a similar sense of things being sketchy and lush at the same time. but really, more to the point, it's music that makes me want to sit outside in summer and get drunk. which is a great, important thing to have in yr life.
so, this autumn will definitely be time to track down some more...suggestions to the usual e-mail address if yr in the know about this stuff, please...

Saturday, October 22, 2005


there's a poster in the tate that says that.

Posted by: silverdollarcircle.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


hey i've been ill. bird flu. contracted it from feasting on raw chicken. a lesson learnt.

never let it be said that SDC is tasteful.
i really have been ill though. that bit wasn't a lie.
dogzilla's taken to saying, 'i'll fuck up the next track, i'm CONFIDENT!'. ha!
not only does dogzilla sound like a particularly fucked up and vulnerable/crazy ray winstone character (think nil by mouth) he actually looks like him! it's uncanny.
sidenote: ray winstone's daughter is the posh girl in that naughty hip hop crew Crack Village. or so i've been told.


we went to Bangface the other day. if you go on their website you'll see some pictures of me and my 'crew'. an incentive, no? anyway, bangface... before it's just been kind of fun. but THIS time; oh my dizzle! it was like the best night of the past 2 years or something. absolutely insane fun. it's everything innit- the way everyone's blindingly drunk, the riot of xeroxed pictures on the walls, the fact that the phrase 'arthur fowler he loved this place' was stuck on the wall, the fact that it's in electrowerkz- which has it's own fake 'kitchen' in what is otherwise an apocalyptic concrete shell, the way it was the night i took to drinking neat whisky for the first time, the inflatable toys, cassette boy's impeccably rehearsed but very funny chaos, kid606's mohican, shut up and dance's sheer fuzzy blissiness, and ceephax's chest-cavity caving acid- even though it did get a bit pointlessly complex towards the end.

thing is about bangface, it kind of should be a bit awful, in that it's a bit of an 'IDM' pastiche of rave. but it's not awful at all, because the 'pastiche' isn't tongue in cheek, but a joyous show of genuine affection and an unwillingness to be self conscious. 'camp' doesn't have to be postmodern- 'pastiche' doesn't have to be arch and emotionally dead. having grown up in the 90s, these things are easy to forget.

and, perhaps more importantly, bangface never forgets that the dancefloor is always the main thing, and that you can't dance to smirking cleverness, nor to irony alone.

so, go to bangface and group-hug to rave like it's yr first time...


here's my theory about skepta: while he was a producer he spent a while coming up with lyrics, and so arrived on the scene as an MC with the best, most developed lyrics out there. but, it was all about the lyrics, rather than the tone. he was still in 'writing mode' rather than 'performing mode', so everything was too clearly enunciated and too clean. but now that he's an MC as much as a producer, he's no longer MCing from a writer's standpoint, but rather a performer's. so there's a lot more variation in his MCing now- the old monotone has gone, and he's getting more and more characterful as an MC all the time.

actually, when Wiley has loads of new lyrics he tends to lapse into a monotone as well- the focus is on the words rather than the sound. now, with skepta, there seems to be an acceptance that it's not just about reading out amazing lyrics with a perfect-time flow: it's about being, er, hype. or like dizzee would say... live-o.

what a great track that was. Skank OUT!
I was thinking about how much i like ruff sqwad the other day and apart from all the romanticism and raviness to them, i think it's also cuz the beats sound kind of awkward and clattery. that rickety clatter used to be what most grime sounded like 2 or 3 years ago. now, grime tends to be very controlled and have a tightness to it.- everything sounds hemmed in, compressed: claustrophobic, almost. and that can be great, from the precision blare and bangs, shock and awe, of davinche productions, to the amazing pointillist cuts and chops of low deep and young.dot etc.

but a part of me misses that rough clatter that grime used to have- the sense that the beats were almost an after-thought- a sound effect, more than a rhythmic instrument. the looseness and madness of those early tunes. and ruff sqwad still have some of that, which is just another reason why they're the best thing EVER.

Thursday, October 13, 2005


pakistan's broken in half, southern USA is drowned, bird flu is on its way, the tube's down till further notice- causing total chaos-, the government want to lock people up without trial, and it seems to piss down with rain constantly...

is this what the apocalypse is meant to look like?


you know some people say, 'nah, i never vote. they're all the same, aren't they?' ?. well, i'm just guessing here, but i imagine quite a few of those people vote for stuff like pop idol, or big brother. but in what sense is the choice between gareth whatshisname and Will Fatface a real choice? or the 'choice' between two toni and guy robot-fucks on Big Brother?

anyway, that's enough.

ok, latest movements go like this:
-loads of grime MCs have stepped up their game since skepta's been MCing- hear wiley, or dog-z, or essentials* now, and the levels of lyrical complexity and humour have gone right up.

-bruza's done this track with terror danjah called 'so real'. it's soppy piano-led loveliness like target in one of his R n B moods. bruza does these very JME-esque lyrics, all about how warring MCs aren't real, and his conscious lyrics are realer than another MC's gun lyrics. and it's like, yeah, JME has made this point a thousand times, and it wasn't that interesting the first time.

-wiley shows a lyrical interest in my uh Manor in his new track with ruff sqwad- something like, 'i'll clap-'em, but i'm not from junction'.

-that lady sovereign tune about hoodies is bloody bonkers i tell you! the way she yelps, 'sheeeee likes, theeeey like, weeee like our three stripes!', in the kind of voice that 15 year olds on the piss at the back of the bus have, it's brilliant!

-crazy titch has done this track which is like the first (relatively) subdued vocal i've ever heard from him. can't remember what it's called, sorry. anyway, the new mature, pipe and slippers, come round the fire and i'll tell you a few tales my children, Crazy Titch is great. he even does his old lyric of 'old skool, rude boy, ruff neck soldier' and it's sounds kind of...relaxing. weird.

-a few weeks back i wrote about the new mini-trend for very riffy, head caving, almost belgian-sounding grime tracks. well, it turns out that one of the tracks i'm talking about is:
starfox- 'henry cat'.
you must hear this track. it's on slimzee's mix on the mighty Rinse sessions 6cd set.

-a nice lyric i heard recently: 'i'm real, like madrid FC'.

and with that, i'm off to see the boy David Cameron make a tit of himself on Question Time...

*it never seems right to talk of essentials members singularly- they're like a group-mind thing. like the picture in Hobbe's Leviathan;


Sunday, October 09, 2005

Long Shadows.

hey, here's my favourite bit of writing ever, may be:

"He let the entire world press on him. For instance? Well, for instance, what it means to be a man. In a city. In a century. In transition. In a mass. Transformed by science. Under organised power. Subject to tremendous controls. In a condition caused by mechanization. After the late failure of radical hopes. In a society that was no community and devalued the person. Owing to the multitude power of numbers which made the self negligible...At the same time, the pressure of human millions who have discovered what concerted efforts and thoughts can do."

it's by saul bellow, from his novel 'herzog'.
reading saul bellow makes you feel and think like a conservative and a radical at the same time. 'radical', what an old fashioned word...


an autumnal snap in the air and a sudden yearning to here nick drake: Summer is over. which isn't too bad: nowhere does the grey of autumn and winter like London: a leaden, stately grey. lady grey/earl grey.

but the end of the best season only makes it worse that i haven't written about the most summery grime track of this year yet. it's produced by chunky bizzle and as usual i don't know the title. i don't know the MC either, which is a more serious crime. my heart says that it's stamina boy, but that's just a stupid, reasonless hunch. anyway, if you heard the pirates over the summer then chances are you will have heard this tune, lighting up the dark corners of grime sets. it's the one with the chorus of, 'and i'm like, and you're like, and they're like'. you know it, right? ok, so this was kind of the 'boys love girls' of this year- a little bit of melodic mischievousness that arrived suddenly and hung around all summer. the MC, whoever it is, isn't great but he doesn't need to be- he's good just providing structure and minimal distraction to a typically wispy, weightless chunky bizzle production. it starts off with a sped up soul sample, 'i can paint a perfect picture, of our love...'. and you think: another kanye-grime track, big deal. but then a 'woo-ohh' vocal comes in and stays on, breathlessly, undulating throughout the verse. the chorus comes in, and the vocal sample sticks onto a single 'woooo' and doesn't let up: just about all there is, really, is this one, crystal note. and in its melodic simplicity, its pure-tone perfection, i fell in love with it. chunky bizzle realises that sometimes, all you need is a note. it's such a lovely, gorgeous note, too, sounding as dusty and golden as 'slow jamz' did, framed by these odd old drum machine creaks. a track for late-summer late-afternoon happy weariness.

so, the track kind of sounds like sachiko M playing an al green cover, and the MC does a little bit of al green-esque juxtaposition of the sacred and the profane, religion and sex, where he seems to say something about 'girls coming out of church, giggling and flirting'. love, sex, religion and ultra-minimalism. what more do you want?

Saturday, October 08, 2005

best recent variations on the 'are you dumb?!' grime-meme:



both by bruza, i think.

hey i went to FWD the other day. it was my first time ever, and MMS rightly admonished me for taking so long. anyway, it was great. skepta was on the Mic for ages and was wicked: he was even doing these D double style echo effects. skream wrecked my head and my insides. heartless crew were bouncy and fun. Ears stood around and kept looking like he was about to get on stage but he didn't in the end. jammer sat in a corner and slept. essentials milled about- jendor is bigger in real life than he looks on those DVDS, but that really isn't saying much. anyway, that's all i can remember cuz i had a few two many brandies...

'TV psychologists' = lowest of the low. hearing them speak is like staring out into an grey ocean of utter banality. still, at least the decade or so that they each probably spent in higher education has stood them in good stead...


in the Guardian the other day there was a survey about young people and 'new media' (urgh!). apparently 30% of teenagers have internet sites. more interestingly, though, 7% (SEVEN PERCENT!) don't know whether they have an internet site or not. jesus christ, how can you POSSIBLY not know? like, if yr not sure whether you've got one or not, it'd be a good guess to say that you haven't...

but teenagers are mental anyway. they all want to vote tory and hate drugs and want to criminalise abortion. i read it somewhere.

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

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

a respite from the usual grime and techno blogging here to talk about what is, or should be, the next scene to get excited about- Tripwire. i first heard of it from Martin, of the now defunct Beyond the Implode blog. in between stirring words of praise for 70's thai rock and roll, and 80's squat-punk, martin made a few brief, tantalising references to this recent development from the former eastern bloc- mainly the ukraine, i think. basically, it's speeded up gangsta rap samples- NWA seem to be favoured sound-donors-, with crazy, chopped up rave stabs over the top. this is punk-rave, finally. at its best, tripwire has a mentalist, feral energy to it, with shards of treble-noise roughly stitched together into a sprawling, but danceable, glorious mess. apparently the drugs of choice in the tripwire scene are Base (like speed, but totally head-fucking) and poppers (rumours abound of tripwire kids taking to using amyl nitrate suppositories!)and, listening to it, that sounds like a pretty perfect music-drug interface. cheap, nasty and fun, tripwire's a much-needed shot of mindless teenage thrills and violence. Its not hard to see why revolutions have shook both the ukraine and georgia recently- the youth are seething with nihilistic rage if tripwire's anything to go by.

now the bad part. tripwire's pretty impossible to get hold of if yr not within convenient travelling distance of a dodgy ukrainian market stall. however, a bit- ok, a lot- of trawling through Limewire has unearthed a few bits and bobs- such as the MP3 posted below, by dj Cuntfinger (!), who seems to be the founder of the scene, kind of like wiley. and like wiley, he has a younger, dizzee-ish prodigy in DJ 2 Phat-2 Fly- i'll post one of the latter's mp3s soon.
anyway, here you go- enjoy!

dj cuntfinger- 'she got da beef'.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


apologies for the recent quiet. i've been on my summer holidays. the destination this year was Orkney. not orkney mainland though. we're more hardcore than that. so it was one of the northern orkney islands for us- Eday. there's nothing there except a shop. not even any trees. it's just grass and sky, green and blue. the minimalism of the landscape really grows on you. the kompakt lot would love it. may be. we saw seals and lots of rare bird life. we tried to fly a kite. we cooked for each other every night. we went to beaches that were like little slices of the carribean transported to the north sea to slowly freeze. it was lovely. however, Eday seems to have little or nothing in the way of a grime scene.

we also stayed in inverness to break the journey. inverness is a crazy place, full of ultra-exaggerated gestures- a person clearing their throat can be heard 50 metres down the street. people staggering around drunk at 3 in the afternoon- i was kept awake in the hostel at 4 in the morning by what sounded like a joyous riot outside. it seemed like a place on a knife edge, and i don't fully understand how it functions. but people were having fun.

now, however, holidays are over so i'm back, refreshed and happy, feeling better than i have for some months. a change is as good as a rest innit.

it may be a little known fact, or a well known one- i'm not sure- but the Tawny Owl's call of 't-wit, t-whoo' is actually a call-and-response. the male says 't-wit' and his female partner replies, 't-whoo'. so some people find this sound creepy, or scary, but really it's just a conversation between lovers.

we live in infantile times. this much is obious from the dire, contrived nostalgia of those 'i love the 80s' TV shows, and the remakes of starsky and hutch and Dukes of Hazzard. Adults dressing up as schoolchildren for nights out, and reading children's books on trains- whereas a glance through an undergraduate's bookshelf in the 60s would likely have thrown up some Sartre and Camus, now you'll find harry potter and phillip pullman.
This strangely desperate and sad infantilism seems to have taken a new turn recently, though, with the rise of TV shows based around parental figures taking over someone's life and explaining to them where they've gone so terribly wrong in their misguided attempts at independent living... THIS is how to eat, what to wear, how to recycle, how to save money, how to spend money- can you not do ANYTHING right? and we love this stuff. it seems that now, for whatever reason, what we really want is a good bollocking.

What worries me most about this development is that it could pave the way for another Thatcher-esque politician to emerge, ranting at us lazy and degenerate masses for decades, as we find it oddly comforting and lap it up.
'Just rejoice in the news i am giving you...' etc.

Friday, August 19, 2005


yes, it's time to reprise that infamous role.

"The meaning of the world lies outside the world"
-Silver Jews on Carnap's rejection of metaphysics.


"Everybody's talking but nobody's listening"
-Dizzee on Heidegger's concept of 'idle talk'.

"I'm no longer human- i've become an investment"
-Wiley on the Marxian concept of capital fetishism.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

if i was an astronaut, and the cables attaching me to my space station were somehow cut, and i was beginning my endless spiral through glittering, dark Space, i'd like to be listening to Villalobos' 'dexter', just have a little bit of perfect music + situation harmony before the oxygen ran out.

"you had your go, it's my go now. i spoke to you on the blower. fair's fair bruv. oh he's from Plaistow? East Ham, Plaistow, all the same..."

one thing i love is to hear MCs on pirate radio. not talking about MCs as in spitting lyrics here, but MCs as in hosts. there are many reasons i love hearing them. on one hand, i love the context they provide, with all these allusions and brief references and shout outs to other artists, djs, fellow MCs, station owners: you get the impression that yr listening to the milling hub of the scene. and you are, of course. i love the easy chatter of a good radio host- humanising the sound with stories of football in the park in the weekend, barbecues, girlfriends, school days. there's something compelling about unfiltered, comfortable addresses to an audience. this is partly why markets can be exciting. i love the exhausted, elated voice that ardkore MCs still have at the end of sets, reaching out through the airwaves like one huge "do you want a sip of this mate?". i liked it a few weeks ago when MC Twilight, who's with dj genocide freeze 92.7fm wednedays 6-8 pm, signed off with a happy sigh of, "London, it's been wicked." I found that moving. resolutions to journeys often tend to have some pull on the heart. the embrace and smile at the end of an 80s teen movie. i also liked it when Bossman on his Rinse FM set ruled approvingly, 'Shouts to the taping crew- you're VERY SMART'. that's funny.

i love the sheer weirdness, or at least lack of self-consciousness, of much pirate radio MCing. Riko talking about football scores for over 10 minutes with slimzee; that Real FM MC i was talking about the other day who twisted his rice and peas recipe into an extended analogy for the pain he would inflict on haters; MC Twilight conducting some kind of text-sex with his girlfriend on air; L-man deciding that that the miss-callers weren't doing their job properly and fucking off to a barbecue instead; someone on Delight FM challenging the DJ to play the worst song that he could, over and over.

mostly, though, i just love the sound of it. i love the new London accent- London's teenager's are the only group in Britain that i know of that have a radically different accent to their parents and grandparents. and it's such a good accent, the best accent in the world. one of the greatest British cultural innovations. i wish every day that i had it, but i never will, and obviously trying to acquire it would be grotesque. now, when i listen to grime or ardkore instrumentals without that accent over the top- generally punctuating the music with short streams of 3 digit numbers that are strangely soothing- it just sounds wrong. something important's missing. the music needs that accent. it's like it was made to sound good when the two were together. it wasn't, but it sometimes seems that way.

this is an important song that i can't stop listening to- if you don't download the MP3 then you're in the wrong, sorry to say. it's by a top-boy gentleman and squire and it's a little bit like what would happen if a Victorian gamekeeper decided to make rave pop.

Vegetables- Butcher's daughter.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

i'm back.

there's a little bit of a Mac 10 show i want to tell you about. for the final track on a typically frenetic mix, he decides to play a new track by chunky bizzle, who's going to be the big grime producer of the last third of 2005 i think. the track is called 'reaching out for your love' and it could be a big paradigm shift. it isn't really an MC tool- there's hardly any beat or bassline to it. all it is is atmospherics. a disembodied old soul singer groans 'ohhhhlll' like his heart is ruined and bleeding. there's a few slivers of sonar-ish bass but they quickly drop out. a speeded up vocal sample whips in; 'reaching out for yr love, reaching out for yr love'. ardkore lineage etc. the beat, such as it is, is just a few cymbal splashes and stilted, slowed handclaps. a pathetic beat, in the good, true, 'pathos', sense of pathetic. then comes the 'chorus'. the 'reaching out for yr love' sample is slowed down to it's true speed and looped over this weirdly waxy, translucent lapping wave of melody that undulates louder then more quietly but always sounds like it's buried under some thick, but clean, fog- you never hear it quite as clearly as yr expecting to, or want to. Ghost-grime: it's not about rhythms or basslines, it's about tense, romantic little sound poems. this owes a lot to the hazy decayed ardkore of Ruff sqwad but in it's sheer lack of interest in providing anything for MCs to latch on to, or even try to counter-weight them with syncopated rhythmic tricks, it's something else entirely.

and then comes the really eerie bit. the show is from 8th july this year. the day after. and the MC goes :'my condolences to all those who lost loved ones yesterday. RIP charlotte' just as the old singer wails 'ohhhhll', in real pain, and the track keeps pleading away, reaching out for your love, reaching out for love.


big up poplife blog- back and totally on fire. check out the imaginary wu-tang scenario especially.
derek- chestle!

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