• Best LPs/Albums of 2011

    16 Oct 2011, 21:56

    Yeah yeah, we got 2 months to go - but no one releases anything decent in December right? So we're pretty much there.

    Not put much thought into this list yet - will update laters with revisions, additions, etc...

    Anyways, am writing this because I dug out this monster;


    Kode9 & The Spaceape - Black Sun
    Can I put my hand up and admit I never bought the first LP? Can I? Thanks. It's on the list of stuff to buy. But I am pretty sure it's not better than this one. Black Sun is science fiction future dub bass music, it fucking swaggers man, which a lot of other Kode9 releases seem to be missing. Dirty Beats ahoy.


    Rene Hell - The Terminal Symphony / The Hilton
    Really impressed with this LP (with free CD of other album) which is washes of synths and electronica last done this well on last year's Emeralds LP. My LP got lost on the walls somewhere - need to dig this out as i fucking loved the first few listens.



    Panda Bear - Tomboy
    Pretty sure a number of end of years will show strong for this, and a whole bunch of haters will shout out too. It's a different beast from Person Pitch, much shorter poppier songs, if poppier is the right word, kinda fucked up sounding beach boys, with samples of hurling rubbing shoulders with sweet laid back harmonies. Not sure there's any stand out amazing track or album centrepiece (so no 'Comfy in Nautica' moment basically) but there's a lot of love. Made me dig out the old Miracle Fortress CD Five Roses which did the whole hipster beach boys shtick a bit before (I think).



    Africa HiTech - 93 Million Miles
    Out in the Streetsin the streets in the streets. Out in the streets in the streets in the streets. You have all heard the remix right? the VIP one? It. Is. Large.
    this whole album is stella beats, arse (ass? (booty?)) shaking riddims for the best car stereos and coolest clubs. Mark Pritchard and Steve Spacek should be damn proud and give us another joint effort next year. Else there'll be words.



    James Blake - James Blake
    Viz comic had a catchphrase, slogan, call to arms if you will; "it's not as good as it used to be"... which many heads dismiss James Blake with. I dismissed him as a trendy-haircut-hoxton-cunt type. Which I since discovered was hella unfair (...well jury *might* be out...) and I really dig this album. Most criticisms against it seem to be that it contains songs and isn't CMYK or some other older "cooler" experimental dub stuff.
    Is it too far fetched to claim that mixing that old sound with gospel, pop and ballads was actually the left field thing to do? Well, yes it is. But it's one argument. Not everything needs to be underground, difficult and not 2for£10 in HMV. This is still clever, moving, deep and very very good indeed. I still say that PJ Harvey was lucky to win the Mercury Music Prize but then I haven't heard her album so am in no position to make such baseless claims.



    Bass Clef - inner space break free
    I do love Bass Clef. Said somewhere before that this felt like a companion album to Zomby's Where Were U in 92, OK it's not as good but it does feel like a re-imagining of someone else's childhood dance/rave (mis)adventures. And best of all it comes on a fucking cassette via the Magic & dreams Blog - you get a free download too, just in case yr tape deck is dead or never was.



    How to Dress Well - Love Remains
    Yeah it was sort of released last year - but TRIANGLE released in January too I think - and that's when I bought it - classic haunting RnB which probably has a genre named after it now.
    Let me check.
    Ha! - that'll do.



    more to come no doubt...

    Oh - tracks (not albums) can be found here; ...
  • To fileshare, or not to fileshare?

    22 Ago 2011, 18:18

    I recently got a PM on some site, which one it was doesn't really matter, asking if could send some mp3s across to someone who didn't already have them. The PM said they'd be happy to pay for that, via paypal or whatever.

    I'm sure that this is a pretty frequent occurrence! Maybe not for me, but for people on last.fm and just generally across the web. And it's not restricted to mp3 of course... the web is there to share stuff, sometimes your own stuff, sometimes links to other people's stuff and sometimes copies of other people's stuff that you maybe shouldn't be.

    "Maybe shouldn't be" then... there's the rub. Is it always wrong to swap other people content without their permission, is everything fair game, or are there unwritten (or written) rules about what is cool to swap and what isn't cool to swap?

    I revisited Ubuweb recently, this site allows uploads from out of print avant-garde works of art; poetry; film; image; sound; etc. They have a pretty clear policy of what they host, and if any artist asks them to take stuff down then they do so - after trying to argue the toss with them first, to try to convince them that's what they do is cool - they also remove any work that becomes available to buy once again (if asked) because that way they can encourage users to seek out and buy the Vinyl/CD/DVD, etc...
    Ubuweb uploading/posting policy (http://www.ubuweb.com/resources/faq.html#6)

    I would say that there's a difference between sharing something out of print and 'un-buyable' with something that is easily available to purchase online or in physical format. One being providing access to something that is not accessible elsewhere, the other is providing something to people either unable, or unwilling to purchase it 'legally'.

    In my case someone asked me to rip a vinyl record for them and send them the digital versions. There's not yet a digital version that's purchasable and the vinyl run has sold out the few places I checked. So maybe the user has no turntable anyway. Should I rip the vinyl but do so for free?

    Another question this throws up is why do artists release limited edition things? Should an artist retain any ownership of what they create, once created, and be able to decide how something reaches their audience or to what number of people they are happy for their 'art' to reach? Or once something is made then does that audience then accept ownership for further distribution?

    The whole of the web is a society, of sorts. People create web content for free, its a great and noble thing to do if you create something and share it for free with everyone, especially if it's really useful! But for those who owe a large part of their livelihood to creating stuff and being paid for it then the web society can easily deal with a small number of people consuming that stuff for free, as long as other groups of people consume it at some cost (either off or on-line). If the culture of that society becomes one where near everyone wants that thing for free then you either need people to work for free, to produce things that take little time to produce, let people who can afford to work for free do so, or get subsidies from people to produce. Subsidies from the state, a small sub-set of society, or one or two benefactors.

    I don't know what the answer to this is - one day I might think that I should rip what I like, and another I might think that this was wrong. What I'm interested in is how we decide what is right or wrong here.
  • Sorting your record collection is tough

    11 Ago 2011, 1:25

    When I was young, lets say back in 95, I used to write down each 7" record I bought into a yellow school book, one page for each letter of the alphabet. I quickly discovered that far too many records I was buying were by bands who started with S or M and that there were not many Ts. I gave up the book after a year and just stopped recording what I had. A fairly half arsed stab at being organised. Should point out that I didn't get any sort of computer till sometime around 2007/8 - maybe if I had one earlier I would have kept lists on that and had a better idea...

    Even though I only had a couple of hundred 7"s I still never bothered sorting them. They would just go back on the shelf, or into a pile somewhere in the bedroom I shared with my little brother. I had even fewer 12"s and LPs so they were always easy to find. Finding a specific 7" would take a few minutes I guess.

    Anyway, needless to say, my collection (and I guess it has become that) has grown from a few hundred to a few thousand - still not sure how many - probably more 12"s that 7"s these days. I'm not counting CDs here, all those just get ripped and put into cardboard boxes never to be seen again, tracking digital is, well, easy!

    How do you sort a collection then? Well, the most common must be alphabetising everything. But that works if you can remember most of what you have, and if you only have so many... So I am trying to sort into vague genres; indie/rock, dance/IDM, dubstep; old stuff, weird shit, etc...

    This itself takes time. mainly because as you sort you find something and just have to play it, or put in on a pile of stuff you should listen to again. So you end up with more piles...

    So I have 90% of my dubstep on one shelf now - but what's the best way to sort stuff now? I've gone for by label, sort of. All the hyperdub stuff is together, all the hessle audio stuff is together, all the tempa stuff is too - but then what to do with the tiny labels? I've just looked at the artist and seen if I can add them somewhere where they appear already. It's a bit of an improvement... maybe...

    Or you can just have random piles - that usually works.
  • Field Day.. surprisingly positive overall

    7 Ago 2011, 18:56

    Sat 6 Aug – Field Day 2011

    OK, so I've never been to a Field Day before, but I have seen Love Box and some Love Music Hate Racism things at the same site and I've been to my fair share of other one day festivals too...

    Didn't get there till gone 1pm but found that there were no queues to get in - all good!
    Working out where stages are has to be done by walking round the site once, there's signs to some places, but no maps...
    Beer was £4.00 (sometimes randomly £4.10) which is overpriced, but show me a city festival that has them much cheaper, right? Still, grumble, grumble...
    Impressive amount of food stalls, most overpriced (see beer comments, etc), but overall I think the right amount and variety of places.
    Sound quality was rubbish nearly everywhere... we actually found you could hear better outside the Shackleton Arms then inside! and poor sound did mean that artists were getting frustrated and crowds didn't get the gigs that they deserved. I really think that improving the sound could reap wonders for this festival...

    ...the crowds then. All I had heard from people before going was that the site would be full of hoxton twat hipster wankers. Yes they were plenty of people talking throughout sets but I had the same experience at Love Box, Wireless, even the Hitchin world music festival! If people don't know and love the music then they will often talk bollocks to their mates. How to tackle that can be done by getting better sound! If people can't even shout at their friends then they'll move back.
    I didn't really find a crowd I was in that annoyed me with incessant chatting/being wankerish. Getting overcrowded was a different kettle of fish, but then I was in a small tent and it had started raining!

    First band of the day I caught some of were Junip who feature jose Gonzales amongst them. Laid back, summery enough vibes, but not really my cup of tea... then off to catch a few songs by Ducktails who had recently had a bad live review in the wire, so wasn't sure what to expect, but really cool show, all psychedelic surf amidst casio backing = very cool. Next up were Darkstar who were just brilliant. Even though the tent was small I could walk right up near the front, had room to dance a bit and ponder quite why they were on so early, in a small tent. They really should be much, much bigger.
    Was meant to meet up with mates and watch some of Cloud Control but only caught a few minutes of nice enough indie before heading over to watch Oneohtrix Point Never who was playing only new stuff which was much more cut up, arrhythmic and noise based then the gentle keyboard washes I'm used to. Think I caught a snatch of returnal pop up towards the end, but who fucking knows... odd set then and difficult to say if I enjoyed or not.
    L-Vis 1990 was top fucking stuff from what I heard - Girl Unit's 'Wut' teasingly dropping out the mix just as i thought the tune proper was going to drop...
    Konono No. 1 got the whole tent bouncing - only caught 3 songs but very much dug.
    Actress was insanely busy but on the odd occasion I found I could move about a small bit, even to nod head. 'Maze' got much love, not sure what he started with (might have been 'even ghosts have a heaven'?) but was an intense minimal techno thud. His set pettered out towards the end I thought - possibly cut short because of a long delay to actually starting.
    James Blake was ace, despite fucking terrible sound issues, and 'CMYK' was the highlight running 'Limit to your love' a close second. Always prefer when the danceable tunes kick in, or the more soul ones switch to dance mode.
    One band who didn't seem to have, or didn't seem fazed by, sound issues were The Coral who were on top festival form. When you have songs of the status of 'Dreaming of you' then nothing much is going to get in your way. Wide smile inducing awesomeness.
    Never like Wild Beasts much. Live they seemed average, which was an improvement to these ears. Will give them another go at some point.
    Hopped over to watch Glasser who started with the pounding tribal stomp of 'Apply' - great stuff! Cameron was on shrieking form and, if I hadn't been so knackered, I would happily have stuck around to here the whole set. as it was I caught 5 songs and buggered off.

    Back to crowd annoyance - and in some sort of defence of the idiot; remember that this is a festival where 60 or more acts are playing and people who go might not really know any of them all that well. If a band doesn't hook you then you're never going to be quiet, respectful, and well behaved. At Wireless this year for PULP, everyone talked through all other bands unless you were right at the front (and even then you might not escape). I didn't find that Field Day was really any much worse than any other festival.
    So if you really love a band and want to watch them in hushed awe, you are better of going to a gig than catching them at a festival (unless the gig is in Hoxton or Shoredicth, in which case, yr fucked either way).

    Overall I dug the music, didn't mind the crowds, am a bloke so can't complain about the toilets (for me), but will happily sign any petition asking for twice as many lavies next year (and she-pee's too!), overcrowding can be fixed and should get better once the big stone building thing in the middle is mended and creates a bit more room.

    I'll be back if the line up is as good, but very much hoping the sound is addressed!
  • Glastonbury Thursday

    4 Jul 2011, 15:06

    Glastonbury 2011

    Ah, the paranoia inducing constant patter of rain on canvas. I've been camped at the bottom of Pennards before when our campsite got very flooded - you've seen the pictures; people canoeing about, tops of tents visible under the newly formed lake. I completely lost my tent that year - I was holding onto it until the force of the river just took it from me. Happy days and a great year (2005?) - so hearing anything other than very light rain sort of brings on THE FEAR for me... you learn to listen for the thunder, feel for the water underneath you...
    OK, we were camped near the very top of Pennards, but still in a small flat dip - meaning that run off could, in theory, cause very very localised flooding. Not sure when the rain started but I guess it stops near 9:30am and I make moves to go forage for food - ideally a massive fry up. Wednesday may have been a big one for many people because there's noticeably not many up and walking round yet. The queue for the sinks is 2 or 3 people long, the old railway track is very clear. It's cool enough in the air to go back to bed and I guess that's a sensible choice for a weekend which often involves grabbing any sleep you can at any time where ever you are.

    Breakfast at Glastonbury, at least once a year, is spent in the Children's World cáfe next to the cabaret tent. Today I garb a bacon and egg baguette. Good runny egg and good amount (and tasty) bacon. The old bacon and egg roll stall in the Market near the pyramid (sort of opposite the Yeo Valley yoghurt stall) has gone I see! Whenever I buy a roll from them the egg, without fail, will make an escape from the bap and run for freedom down the arm of my waterproof, over my hand. Luckily today's runny egg stays safely inside - maybe because I have the sensible option of sitting down - on a stool and a table no less - not on the ground...

    ...ah yes, the ground! Well, despite that rain it has dried ok and , yes, there's some mud but it's not too bad at all outside of the main market areas... the rain is very on/off but very light when it does fall... Pete and I meet up somewhere and then it's off to meet up with Mildew who's coach left London at 6.30 this morning and should be pulling into the site near 10.30 or something like... Mildew is travelling pretty light - most of the stuff she took was with us in the car... we walk passed her and into the dance village (the only time I'll actually set foot there this weekend as it turns out) then double back to other stage where we actually meet outside Millets.
    Caffeine and juice are located and we go sit near the Glade where I way up the arguments for and against buying a waterproof.

    It's £25-30 or something...
    Maybe it won't rain much any more
    It's stopped raining now!
    Maybe it will start again...

    I roll over to Millets and they say that the only size they have left is XXL. I am 5 foot 5. I decide to give it a miss. If it rains I can always just buy more cider, drink more gin, etc... that's the plan.

    We walked, the three of us, up the hill above Pennards and into the outside camping field, Mildew's air-bed gets pumped up and the sun comes out properly. I lie on the grass and let the mud caked against the bottom of my jeans dry up a bit. As this is the outside camping area there are nice toilets to make use of - their own toilet roll, sinks, soap! What fresh heaven is this? I grab a beer from the site beer tent and sit on the hill looking down over the festival - it's a great view.
    See, it's sunny!

    Back down into the site to meet up with Frank and Anna at Pennards wine bar - and to drink more strawberry wine - before traipsing across to Rocket Rays for burgers, chips and Raspberry Daiquiris;


    Suitably refreshed we plunge into Shangrai La, which is relatively empty. It's very hard work walking round because the muds deep and hungry for wellies! This year Shangrai La is on two levels, there's a walkway above the main alleyways - to get up top you have to be physically or mentally decontaminated! I never find out what's involved with that unfortunately because it's not open when we are there and later over the weekend it becomes VERY busy - and the mud gets a whole lot worse around there!
    Walking through the alleys I come across Shangrai-La-ians who want to swap my T-shirt for one of their t-shirts. these guys operate a swap shop place full of odd junk and some nice T-shirts! I reach into my bag and pull out a set of poker chips (to their slight confused/bemused/amusement) and swap them for a weird freaky green toy;


    We try to watch the Mexican wrestling at the bull ring within The Common but after waiting inside for a half hour it becomes apparent that there may well be a l-o-n-g wait ahead... so we make a move.
    I grab a nice veggie curry from Manic Organic in the green fields and we wander through the green futures, near dusk we walk up to the Tipi Tea Tent and sit outside with a nice cuppa each, watching a toddler laugh while putting her hands into the mud, listening to two Aussie guys play acoustic guitar and tell stories, sing songs, from within the next tipi along. Mildew pops back to her tent to turn in and me and Pete walk up to the Tipi field fire for a bit before Pete turns in and i wander off to The Park to wander through some difficult mud, listen to crowds singing Bohemian Rhapsody, then back to the tent for 9well to try and get some) kip.

    Whilst at the beginning of the day no-one much was up and functioning, tonight is dry(ish) and lots of people are revelling in Kings Meadow... sleep comes in fits and starts...A fairly quiet relaxed day then dissolves into odd dreams...


    ...the stuff that I *had* been planning to actually go see, but ended up missing of course was; Addison Groove and/or 2 Bad Mice... both of which would have been awesome but whayagonnado...
  • Glastonbury, we're all getting older... Wednesday memories (or hazy hearsay)

    28 Jun 2011, 20:00

    Glastonbury 2011

    Pfft - you're just getting old, man
    This is Glastonbury no. 13 for me (and Mildew3000) - I'm now just into my 30s and this year 2 of our troupe are about 5 months pregnant - so it's not going to be the all out alcohol soaked bunch of ne'er-do-wells that it sometimes is!
    I've no idea how the demographic for Glasto has changed since 97, but it sure felt that that year there were only a few 17/18 year olds with a lot of people just shy of 30 - maybe these were then second summer of love/old rave kids, grown up a bit but still prepared to 'ave it... dunno. Anyway, seems like the average age of the festival has shot down from 28 to 20 and you never feel older than when you are trying to get kip at 3am whilst all around you are the hard core pill-ed up ravers.

    Me and Pete camped in Pennards - which was no distance from the Pennards gate entrance we came through from the outside world. Frank & Anna had a tent on the outside way back behind the acoustic tent and then some, - ever see the big white cross the weird Christian Lady puts up each year? - they were just there under that field. Mildew got tickets through MyHab or whatever they is called, who then pulled out and Eavis had to get a tent company in sharpish with 1 week left - that field was just above the Pennards tipi field, outside the wall,
    You get a much better nights kip in the outlying fields - yes it is a bit of a walk but trust me, if you're starting to feel that you need a few more hours sleep each year at the festival then head for them! (I think I'm too old for Pennards now!)

    Driving down from London is a doddle
    So Pete and me drove down Wednesday morning, expecting a long journey of stopping and starting but, and this is really weird, we never got stuck anywhere... we didn't head north from Castle Cary (passed the train station) but went along the small lanes westwards up to Pennards Farm and the (ex) MyHub field. No traffic at all. Weird. So there's a thought for you; if you don't want the long delays near the site you can spend a hundred quid on an outside the wall tent spot, getting showers, nice loos, etc... or better still you can get a mate to spend that money then you can just get a lift. Nice one Mildew!

    Wellies on I get inside the wall - the security people have a scrabble round to find a wristband for me, not many people come through that gate... then I stroll down towards the Tipi tea tent and wander into Pennards field to find room for two tents. Rain starts again as I put them up but I get the outer (fly?) sheets done quickly enough, then Pete turns up with more stuff and finishes stuff off. The grounds flat but we're in a dip so it might get a bit wet/muddy around.

    Positioning of tents can be very important - ideally you want a walk-able space either side - so that pegs, guy ropes, etc do not get pulled out. Again, a good thing about camping a bit further out is that you should get more room around you - Dairy Ground areas seem good for that.
    Fucking annoying ways to secure more room for yourselves; Gazebos, creating a wall, tying loads of guy ropes together to stop people walking through.All of those are kinda dickish ways to grab land. Gazebos especially are just annoying. The other methods just end up getting pulled down when people walk back late and night.
    I've done them myself, thinking 'wouldn't it be better to get loads of room around us and wall it off so that no-one other then our friends can get through'... moan moan moan... old age, see?

    Tents up and filled with stuff we check what we forgot to bring; Pete forgot his glasses, I forgot my Gin, Vodka, waterproofs, food and energy drinks. Ah well, have some stuff still and a quick text to Mildew asking nicely if she can bring more Gin the next day - all good!

    Things always get too heavy too early for some... - or - remember to eat something
    Right - off to Kings Meadow to hear the calming sounds of a hundred balloons full of nitrous oxide being filled and emptied before the little silver containers are carefully left on the ground. No-one wandering around selling pills, trips, coke, etc - bit early? But few people ask me if I'm selling... nah mate, all I have is cider and sloe gin. Which goes quick enough as we chat bollocks and soak in the great Wednesday afternoon sun and happy atmosphere. The grass is dry enough (well, nearly) to sit/lie on, the mud is firming and we watch the skies for any sign that this good weather might change... of to Pennards Wine bar to get a bottle (or two) of the strawberry wine - no blackberry this year - bah. & then onto Brothers for some pear cider. Then wander off to Rocket rays to sit and drink, although the daiquiris are not yet ready... then back to Kings Meadow via Green Futures where we blow a mean didgeridoo. Kings Meadow sees us right for a small bit of green and then back to the tent where we chat to neighbours get them to roll up and so on and so on... I am getting a bit worse for where at this point, I leave the last of the strawberry wine with fellow campers and then we are good to walk off to find Frank and Anna.

    OK, Pete is good enough to go walk off to find Franks and Anna, I clearly am not. At some point I just disappear and Pete loses me, or I him. And I can barely stand now. Good stuff. I send a text msg to Frank saying "Term around" and then I try to walk back uphill, holding onto teh fence and making very slow progress. I think I take out a few guy ropes on my way back to the tent which I collapse inside, body in, legs out. At some point Pete gets back and zips up and later I manage to get into a sleeping bag, etc...

    I have no recollection of much of that, it's pieced together from sudden sharp memories, other people and guesswork. Hooray! One day handled in traditional first day overindulgence mode! I'm saying it was the sloe gin...

    Wake up next morning with a sprained left hand - guess I fell over after all!


    ...Thursday and onwards to follow!
  • Packing for Glastonbury 2011: what to take?

    19 Jun 2011, 16:36

    K... I am starting sticking stuff into my backpack - I'll add here what I've put in to keep an eye on stuff...
    • thin sheet/wrap thing
    • towel
    • shorts
    • pillow case
    • 2 packs of cleansing wipes
    • deodorant
    • Playing Cards
    • Poker Chips
    • belt
    • ant-bacterial hand clean spray stuff
    • Lighter
    • Box of matches
    • Penknife
    • **Gas Hob** oh crap just checked this and my bag smelt of gas - crap - gas panic! OK taken out now...
    • Twine
    • Paracetamol (never needed em at glasto yet - but will do one day!
    • Toothbrush & toothpaste
    • pair of plimsolls
    • plasters
    • small pan/kettle thing
    • sloe gin
    • gaitors
    • 3 pairs ankle socks
    • 5 pants/boxers
    • 3 pairs socks & a pair of football socks
    • 2 t-shirts
    • 1 old knackered shirt




    Extra bag to leave in the car;

    • socks
    • pants
    • jeans
    • towel
    • shirt
    • shoes
  • The 10 most important dubstep records?

    8 Jun 2011, 23:05

    I listened to the BBC radio 1xtra history programme today - some good memories but a bit of a narrow selection - although there was only 60 minutes, so whatyougonnado... anyway, back in a dubstep frame of mind and hankering for some 2006/7 tunes - or at least from when I started buying... Pinch, El-B, Skream, Ramadanman, Horsepower Productions... you know the drill.

    Got me thinking too... what are the 10 most important dubstep records? Not sure I have got to 10 yet but here goes;

    Skream - Midnight Request Line
    For many, this is where it all started - not the music, but the introduction to the music. Actually the flip, I is arguable the better track but it's not as important... First Skream tunes out as a 12" on Tempa back in 2006. The sound of Red stripe, Skunk, and PlayStation. Utterly brilliant.

    Benga - Crunked Up
    ...and where Ollie goes, Benny goes... first series of iDeal on BBC3 was soundtracked by this as far as I remember, dubstep was crawling virus like into the concious of late night TV watching ne'er-do-wells - and the soundtrack was good.

    TRG - Broken Heart (Martyn's DCM remix)
    This tune just blew up in 2008 and signposted a way that dubstep could evolve, swallowing tech influences and proving that the reach of dubstep was both expanding sonically and geographically.

    Pinch - Get Up or Get Up ft. Yolanda

    Should dubstep have vocals? I wasn't at all sure. Pinch set me straight. The instrumental version of this is good. The vocal version makes this and brings a softer sounding step which made dubstep that little bit less a boys thing. Phew.

    Shackleton - Blood on my Hands (Ricardo Villalobos Apocalypso Now Mix Part 1) / Blood on my Hands (Ricardo Villalobos Apocalypso Now Mix Part 2)

    I mean, it's just amazing. And it might not even be dubstep. Villalobos brings the minimal and creates space for the dread to fester.

    Burial - Distant Lights
    Burial's not bad is he? Hyperdub isn't a terrible label either. OK this is amazing. I could have picked one of many many tracks from either album or anything he's ever done, but we're sticking to 12"s here. It's a record that sounds like someone listening to club music from the rain soaked alleyway outside the club, trains going by overhead, night buses running, hood up. South London in November. Desolate, haunted, organic, awesome.

    Benny Ill & DJ Hatcha - Highland Spring
    Hatcha is still a name out there in the minds of many dub steppers, Benny still putting out tunes with Horsepower Productions and in solo guise he popped up in 2010 on Mala's Deep Medi imprint. Hatcha's just always been all over dubstep everywhere important Big Apple, FWD>>, Rinse, etc...don't know how many tunes he has his name on but this is one of the best and it forms part of the blueprints from which dubstep was built, and re-built.

    Benga & Coki - Night
    Dubstep isn't always about the base. Except sometimes it, er, is. How many dubstep tunes take the baseline and treat it as a riff? I mean this could be a smoke on the water style riff in 20 years time with air-dj's playing along... OK maybe not.
    Anyway this tune felt like it should break from the underground and run riot, it didn't quite manage it but most of the damage done to the door marked mainstream was done right here, other just finished the job (with less style)...
    Oh - and Zinc totally rinsed this with a D&B remix 12" too!

    OK - that's 8 - 2 more to go... I am thinking, I am thinking...
  • It's all cool to have yr music on an advert now, right?

    28 Mar 2011, 16:45

    Want to know something really weird? Years ago artists used to have some hissy moral dilemma about “selling out”. No, seriously! Artists who had next to no money actually had to think about it when asked: “would you like more money?” and some of them actually, and this really happened, turned the money down. I shit you not.

    These guys weren’t adverse to eating, having somewhere warm to live, buying medicine, buying beer, etc etc etc with money but it had to be the right sort of money. Honestly these guys decided that some money was ok and some money wasn’t. Some of the bad money was bad because of who it was who wanted to give it to them, some money was bad because it involved them doing something that they didn’t really want to do. (Oddly though money they paid to people for hard drugs didn’t often figure in their thinking of what bad money was... artists are fickle, no?)

    Some old dead guy called Bill Hicks, who was a stand up comic, not only felt ok with himself saying the following, but also other people actually paid him money to hear him say such things;
    By the way if anyone here is in advertising or marketing... kill yourself.
    No, no, no it's just a little thought. I'm just trying to plant seeds. Maybe one day, they'll take root - I don't know. You try, you do what you can. Kill yourself.
    Seriously though, if you are, do.
    Aaah, no really, there's no rationalisation for what you do and you are Satan's little helpers. Okay - kill yourself - seriously. You are the ruiner of all things good, seriously. No this is not a joke, you're going, "there's going to be a joke coming," there's no fucking joke coming. You are Satan's spawn filling the world with bile and garbage. You are fucked and you are fucking us. Kill yourself. It's the only way to save your fucking soul, kill yourself.

    Bill Hicks was not alone – many artists, and normal everyday non-artist types felt broadly the same thing (as I said, this was a long time ago and a lot of people were pretty messed up). Often this attitude was put to the test when a band was asked to leave their small independent label and move to a major label, sometimes the band were asked if a company could use their song in an advert.

    Now for the first of those there was sometimes a good reason why the band said no to joining a major label. Often the major would ask them to soften the edges of their sound, try to become a little more mainstream and charge a little more for their CD or gig prices. People like Ian MacKaye (Minor Threat, Fugazi) thought he would prefer to keep prices for fans low, stay independent and keep ‘underground’.

    Now, you might have thought that this attitude was consigned to the distant past but there are actually some bands from the last 5 or 10 years who still worry about such things;
    • Franz Ferdiand turned down adverts (http://web.orange.co.uk/article/franz-ferdinand-say-no-to-advert-offer) although have since had music in i-Tunes adverts.
    • Kings of Leon frontman Caleb Followill said that the band had no desire for their music to appear in adverts or on film soundtracks. "We had some people call us up wanting to know if we'd allow Use Somebody to appear in the trailer for their next movie, and we turned them down,” he revealed. (http://www.mtv.co.uk/artists/kings-of-leon/news/234831-kings-of-leon-turn-down-glee)
    • and Pulp said no to £100k from Coke (http://www.nme.com/news/nme/9283)

      You’ll note that two of those bands are actually rooted in an earlier age, PULP started out right at the start of the 80s/end of the 70s & many of Franz Ferdinand were playing in bands in the early 90s. Also all three of those bands have had mainstream success and big selling albums and tours so such decisions can be made from a place of relative security.

      These issues have never been problems for many artists however; mainstream artists are only unlikely to say no to the use of their songs in adverts, films or television, if the effect of using their song will be detrimental to future earning potential. E.g. Bruce Springsteen might think twice about allowing Born in the USA to Soundtrack a British Petroleum campaign in light of the off shore drilling disaster of 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico. Although he could calculate the loss of future earnings against the money he would receive for the advert... maybe it would be financially legitimate.

      Some artists find fault with making such a decision based solely upon cash value, they talk nobly of principals. What principals are these? Well, any artist will have their own set of principals but many will also find principals thrust upon them by their fans, or maybe the media.

      Earlier on I used the word underground, maybe I could have said counter-culture, maybe I could have used alternative. But those terms are often meaningless nowadays; the internet has pretty much seen to that, to the extent where there is no “culture” and “counter-culture” but only culture with a scale of popularity.
      Go blame MTV for marketing alternative as a brand if you like.
      The underground was once the community that railed against the mainstream, some of them were railing against “the man”, but the mainstream ate the only competition it had whilst adopting the stance of it’s prey when it needed to. This happy arrangement was only possible because there were enough artists out there to brave the cat-calls of “sell out” from their peers who saw the light and accepted the cash from the benevolent majors.

      These shouts of “sell out” are much quieter these days – you rarely even hear them. Everyone wants to get famous and make money, why not? But something did change, people really used to get bothered about this type of thing. Are there still bands out there failing because of a refusal to accept help? new bands I mean, not the old dinosaurs who have enough money to kick up a fuss about anything. When was the sea change and would we all laugh at the Bill Hicks of the world if we could go back in time?
      I mean laugh as in funny funny, not funny funny... well, you know what I mean...
  • Second hand record shops are killing the music industry... pt 37

    6 Mar 2011, 19:32

    Last weekend I popped across the solent to go see my mates and their new 3 week old kid (who is ace). Anyway, much more importantly I found myself waiting for the ferry with 45 minutes to kill and bumped into the "tHAT SHOP" which sells loads of second hand stuff, a good old alladins cave of junk/potential treasure.

    3 racks of LPs with a few more piled up sounded like a good way to while away three quarters of an hour... here's what I got;

    New Order - Temptation/Hurt - lovely sleeve and an excellent coda to the A side.
    The Go-Betweens - Spring Hill Fair
    Scritti Politti - Cupid & Psyche 85
    The Cure - Faith
    Tangerine Dream - Rubycon
    Devo - Duty Now for the Future
    Gary Numan - The Pleasure Principle
    Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Brain Salad Surgery
    XTC - Black Sea
    XTC - 3D EP (lead track being Science Friction)
    This Mortal Coil - It'll End in Tears
    The Human League - The Dignity Of Labour Pts. 1-4

    All in for less than £40 and I was a happt lad. Not heard of nearly all those tracks and some good stuff to get through no doubt - the Cure mini-LP is really impressive so far...