Thursday 28 September 2006 at 6:36 pm
Grime dying? The patient is fevered but that's not sickness. I understand the journalistic impulse to impose a traditional anthropomorphic narrative arc (birth, growth, stability, infirmity, death) on a loose collection of artists, singles, albums, radio broadcasts, messageboard talk, producers, fans, myspace digigraffiti, music videos, etc -- but writing off grime (or giving it the usual flagrant critical silence while championing dubstep, a similar genre whose most immediate difference from grime is the lack of vocalists) ignores the fact the Wiley and a handful of other MCs are producing some of their best work and bursting out with funky, fractured subjectivity as their rhymes get tighter, weirder, more personal.
Wiley in particular often divulges too much information, giving us an uncomfortable, wonderful amount of detail. On the intro to the Tunnel Vision 2 mixtape he goes "i want to big up all my studio engineers... hold tight all the 10-pound an hour massive, the 20-pound an hour massive, the 30-pound an hour massive for certain guys. Cause, you know, it ranges."
Boy Better Know & co. have begun releasing these mixtapes for free and getting the CD versions in the shops. You can buy Tunnel Vision 1 here, or snag mp3s here. TV 2, wherein Wiley discusses the salary range of his various studio assistants, can be got here with a bit of reply-registration action. OK, back to bizness--
Examine grime vs. dubstep in terms of how they treat the black voice. Grime has MCs spitting their own lyrics -- often angry, yes, but also often vulnerable, introspective, playful. Dubstep, on the other hand, devoices black subjectivity, swapping the microphone's live uncontrollability for the sample's prerecorded rigor-mortis. If you hear a voice in dubstep, it's usually sampled, a fragment, an emptied signifier of 'blackness' or 'dread' or or ethnic otherness (same goes for the oriental samples). Distanced in time and dislocated. Whereas the voices in grime are so up-to-date you have to live in London or scan the message boards just to decipher what's going on that week. Check Wayne & Woebot's comment conversation for a brief forray into similar territory.
the Digital Mystikz anthem 'Earth a Run Red' snatches that snippet of Ritchie Spice's roots classic, stripping away the rest of his conscious poetry. The second Dub Police 12" contains a handful of standard dancehall hype samples -- all serving as surface gloss to contextualize it as dub, soundclash, virile macho, whatever fantasy patois boasts alight in the collective imagination of their target audience. I could go on; these are just 2 examples among many. There is no agency, the black voice is used as spice... These structural cliches bore me in breakcore, and they bore in me dubstep. Wiley isn't boring, even when he's examining boredom (ennui, wot u call it?)
Wiley - A Time and a Place (Tunnel Vision 2)
Grab the sysyem round the neck and choke it
punishment, hold it...
my life is a like a book
sometimes i wanna close it...
there's a time and a place for everything
sometimes I don´t wanna to do anything
I just sit in my yard and watch sky digital,
I dont want to do anything.
Yeah, the cynic in me says: of course, when futuristic black thugs start saying stuff and self-organizing (Boy Better Know et al), that's precisely the moment when overground critical discussion surrounding the scene loses interest. Looked at another way, it's easier to write on instrumental music than to write about music with words coming from a place you don't necessarily understand or relate to or want to recognize.
An instrumental song contains an abstract consciousness, but a beat with an MC on it works more like a novel -- if you pay attention to the words and the person is spitting something of substance, it's a full-on immersion in someone´s mindset as it stylizes, flows, rhymes instelf into existence. And a ground-up genre like grime offers none of the usual content filters that come with major label rap -- this artistic consciousness $hit enters the ear undiluted. "Grime will not die even if I die" announces a messianic Wiley on Tunnel Vision 2, "hold tight the nonbelievers."
Devlin is young angry and white, and homophobic, and 17, so his lyrical-spiritual bandwidth isn't nearly as wide as grime's elders, but he does the war / street reality thing nimbly, aided here by the pathos of Wiley's synthetic beat.
remember the 'Hater' song by Various Productions that i posted here? A few months after I upped it the clever lads were signed to XL. Wiley must have liked 'Hater' as much as I did: he jacked the beat for a 100% free Logan Sama mixtape, War Report, downloadable here. or here.
heavyweight fights, they're a little more complex
me I carry the weight, I pray to the mic
Various' disembodied female voice, here truncated, only announces "I'm a sinner" -- doing to the original song what dubstep and breakcore do to reggae voices, cut out the body, leave a trace in hopes that the aura remains. As memes, ghosts dubs traces and duppies are attractive. But do you know anybody who doesn't feel slighted when they discover that you want to avoid their presence? OK, so Various got cool caché from this, etc etc.
but we shouldn't forget the power (relations) of dub. Who mutes? Who pushes the faders around? perhaps Lee Scratch Perry is such a hero and icon because he made and unmade, collaboed on the songs, recorded them, (presumably) paid the musicians, and then eviscerated, ghosted, what his companions had given him. Close to it all. Perry helmed the in-house production of ghosts, intimate dub production-process, a contemporary rarity in the age of a downloaded accappela, the tooth of body alive or dead or dying or like lichen kinda both and neither.
The soundboy is always being buried.
"Never said anything else" she continues, elsewhere, in memory. And we never even caught her name.
Wednesday 20 September 2006 at 6:52 pm
if you want to come to the DJ Rupture - Ghislain Poirier Bounce Le Gros 1 year anniversary in Montreal this Saturday (see below), I suggest you come early... things might get crowded...
Ghislain & I will be guesting at CISM radio from 10pm til midnite Friday, tune in for some talk & music; i'll mix if they got decks.
Filastine shot some video during his stay on the Miss Rockaway Armada, check it. They floated down the Mississippi this summer "on a flotilla of rafts made from junk, propelled by a few VW engines burning biodiesel." (If you don't yet have Filastine's album, fix that problem immediately.)
Grey informs us that the incredible music "comes off a poorly labeled Guca compilation (brass band battle in serbian town) cassette, but is Boban Markovic Orkestar. they are disqualified from competing because they won too much."
Monday 18 September 2006 at 4:16 pm
speaking of (gangsta) techno flourishes in reggaeton--
Yomo - Dele ft. Fat Joe
i got a version with no Joe and more gunshots but it's monday morning. from Los Rompe Discotekas.
real gangsta: "I thought how uncomfortable it would be if I wrote to you about money. This is why I am doing it now." 78 cents on cookies. JJ Rut-Pure opines in the comment section.
still listen to gangsta music? You bet. Pitbull & Luda, Banksy & Paris, nonstop murderation.
I think Pitbull could run for the President and win. There's something wonderfully insistent and well-enunciated about his voice, it sounds great as he shouts fascist commands over strange beats. His fundamental absurdity would flesh well with Their absurd fundamentalism. Imagine the TV debates!
Thursday 14 September 2006 at 6:35 pm
as i've mentioned before, The Ex's Andy Moor & I are working on album & playing some duo shows. he's got an excerpt from our last gig downloadable here. ('Lightning w/ DJ Rupture'). Recorded live @ OT301. We do completely improvised sets for guitar & turntables. The main 'beat' of this section is Skream's Lightning -- though there's a whole lot going on beyond that. This is our punk rock? Some moments are quite serene or subtle or whatever. Not this one...
Anybody got the Lean Back - reggaeton version MP3 that I upped in this reggaeton piece
way back in '04? Wayne's
on the lookout.
ok: this is the post where i post some songs i'd forgotten to post. (this is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a click)
Seven-and-a-half minutes of semi-mystical gnawa bass flowing through sung poetry. Then the beat & banjo hold hands and open the door, to pack you up and take you home. CD says Paco Abderrahmane but it's Nass el Ghiwane. The bootleggers are antilibrarians, losing books and renaming others, bringing disorder to the shelves.
Paco Abderrahmane - track 10 (Nass el Ghiwane) [10.6 MB, 11 minutes]
& here's an acoustic Imazighen song, male & female vox, strings, percussion, hitting that rugged and thin-aired mountain gait. Maghni's unnamed sparring partner overloads the microphone when she sings into it:
Maghni Mohammed - track 1 [9.5 MB, 10 minutes]
Timbaland overloads Justin Timberlake's voice too, pushing it from microphone to guitar amp modeling software or distortion box. So maybe they're not only gonna bring Sexy back
-- r&b Distortion might come back too. Caught out there?
Back to Maghni Mohammed, who may or may not be Mohammed Maghni. He is not the least bit sexy on the poorly-xeroxed bootleg CD cover: his eyes are twin pools of darkness. His moustache a fat caterpillar eating his face. Maghni crouches on the edge of a scrubgrass ridge under a non color-adjusted sky while the woman whose voice I prefer to his is completely out of sight, elsewhere
Colonel Force was happy injuring something. [via]
Saturday 09 September 2006 at 10:02 pm
you might not understand but it's hot though
Tego Calderón - Slo Mo
cosas interesantes estan ocurriendo en el reggaeton but until i have more to report, toma este low-slung late summer heater from Calderón's new (major label) album "The Underdog/El Subestimado". Apart from this jam, the Underdog's best tunes tastefully employ 'techno synths'.
* reggaetonica, a long-post blog, examines reggaeton around angles of race class & gender (rather than focusing on sonics).[via] Her letter excerpts point towards a critical Spanglish usage, something i'm all in favor of; bilingualism a prerequisite to any serious discussion of reggaeton en inglés. Plus, one language gringolandia is a dream of the past.
* Zizek en español
* Fredick Jameson on Zizek (London Review o' Books):
>>As every schoolchild knows by now, a new book by Zizek is supposed to include, in no special order, discussions of Hegel, Marx and Kant; various pre- and post-socialist anecdotes and reflections; notes on Kafka as well as on mass-cultural writers like Stephen King or Patricia Highsmith; references to opera (Wagner, Mozart); jokes from the Marx Brothers; outbursts of obscenity, scatological as well as sexual; interventions in the history of philosophy, from Spinoza and Kierkegaard to Kripke and Dennett; analyses of Hitchcock films and other Hollywood products; references to current events; disquisitions on obscure points of Lacanian doctrine; polemics with various contemporary theorists (Derrida, Deleuze); comparative theology; and, most recently, reports on cognitive philosophy and neuroscientific 'advances'... It is a wonderful show; the only drawback is that at the end the reader is perplexed as to the ideas that have been presented, or at least as to the major ones to be retained.<<
Monday 04 September 2006 at 11:03 pm
i haven't played Canada in three years or so. Ghislain Poirier is fixing that problem in fine style. (hold tight toronto, i'll be there b4 long) Come to think of it, this Montreal show is my first north american show in a year-and-a-half...
BOUNCE LE GROS V.11
1er anniversary !!!
Montreal September 23rd
+ DJ /RUPTURE (Soul Jazz, Soot, Tigerbeat6 - USA)
+ GHISLAIN POIRIER (Rebondir Records - Mtl)
+ HATCHMATIK (Peer Pressure - Mtl)
+ Free « Bounce le Gros » CD compilation at the door
Zoobizarre (6388, St-Hubert)
10pm until 3am
10$ at the door – limited capacity