Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Credit to the Nation.

Thanks to all the fine Irish patriots who last night contributed to the stinking lake of boozy urine all along the Cowgate.

There's nothing that makes an Irishman prouder than the rancid pissreek of his compatriots.

Hail. Glorious. Etc.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Adjective invective

Jonathan Meades, broadcaster, writer and most wonderful man on the planet sticks his exquisitely polished loafers into "iconic" and its lazy, arbitrary usage in a profession that is evidently aware, but way past caring it's on its deathbed.

"Here are some nouns and compound nouns that have been prefixed by this most dismal of vogue words. These are all found constructions of recent provenance: none is my invention.


iconic injury-time winner, iconic itinerary, iconic jihad target, iconic jigsaw, iconic jingle, iconic jockey, iconic joke, iconic kitchen utensil, iconic knife, iconic knowledge, iconic lawnmower, iconic leprechaun, iconic light fitting, iconic lion, iconic lip balm, iconic mascara, iconic milkshake, iconic mittens...iconic radiator, iconic relationship, iconic restaurant, iconic retail mall, iconic robot, iconic rodent, iconic saddle, iconic sandwich, iconic sausage, iconic shampoo, iconic shoe, iconic shoehorn, iconic shop, iconic silhouette, iconic snack food..."

Impassioned, erudite, thought provoking and delivered with characteristic rhetorical élan, I could read his prose all day and night.

For those who haven't entered the invigorating, sardonic cult of Meadues you could do worse than to dig up the BBC DVD of Jonathan Meades Collection which is a compilation of some of his unique TV programmes from 1990-2007.

Try to ignore the fact that the dullards at 2entertain didn't bother their lazy arses licensing the original music and you're left with dreary MIDI tracks where a brilliant soundtrack enhanced Meades' high-falutin' grand guignol on topics as diverse as 1960's church design, uterine yearning in Finnish modernism and East Anglia as a marooned extension of Holland.

There are also links to a number of articles on Clive James page who describes him as "an educated upstart who not only doesn’t know his place, but knows far more than his allotted share about all the other places."

More Meades related wonderfulness in the New Statesman in which he digs up Kenneth Clark and defiles the memory of the respected"Civilisation" series saying "If the Edwardians had had telly, this is what they would have put on it: it was stately, formal and ponderous."

Oh sweet suffering...

Archived music press' feature on early live UK techno.

My particular fave is
Reynolds' contention that "Yank Dj's can't compete with Brits when it comes to building peaks and plateaux".

Peerless and utterly groundless snarking from the 'nuumfinder general, along with some supreme prime
high-hattery about "regressive strain in rave culture...exacerbated by the fact that half of them look like they're only 13".

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Dirty Deeds Done Dead Cheap

Amazing stuff here with an inventor/creator/mad genius making an instrument a day for a month. There are so many great ideas here, the best/most useful design is probably the mobius strip but i think the garden turntable (pictured) is the barkingest, most wonderful thing I've seen this year! Photos, videos, sound samples; follow the link.

This was a part of a wider "Thing-a-day" project where people made one item per day for the entire month of February, the kind of thing that makes me feel phenomenally lazy.

Seen on and stolen from AudioLemon.

Friday, 6 March 2009

A square peg in a round (k) hole

The seemingly endless theoretical wrangling over the existence and extent of the fabled "Hardcore Continuum" reaches something approaching a tabloid bunfight today as noted theory gonk, Simon Reynolds (someone for whom the existence of the HC represents a something of a meal ticket) kicked wonky to the HC curb for ideological heresy.
The crime? Not fitting neatly with Reynolds' thesis and key producers rejecting Reynolds' analysis (and possibly implying that he's, like totally old). What emerges from this little narrative can be summarised thus:

doesn't really like wonky. He can't dance to it. It's influenced by musics outside those universally decreed to be part of the HC "canon". Some people might take Ketamine at dances. It smells. Luke Vibert probably did it first. It involves producers from outside London engaging with a broader community, enabled by the internet. There are no 'zines. Or if there are the 'zine authors are insufficently conversant with Marxist theory and refuse to engage with an overwrought dialectical style birthed by hip young journalistic gunslingers in early 90's London.

Heaven forfend! The struggle for the discursive high-ground regarding wonky fails to see the energy, invention and excitement in that "scene" at the moment.It seems Reynolds would prefer if the major players conformed more to geographical or ideological boundaries, he seeks to
compare/contrast it with sounds that have a more philosophical basis. He doesn't seem to want them running around, hanging out, collaborating and learning from producers from all over the world. It's disappointing that a writer, who professes allegiance to the energy, anarchy and vitality of hardcore seems so intent on decrying ideological heresy among young producers.

I like Reynolds' writing, he's written some superb analyses of significant recent music history. But there are limitations to how far you can apply theory to reality. Throughout the history of dance musics there has been a "folk" element to certain scenes, locality and the sense of community that's formed through friendships and going to the same parties, listening to the same records, hanging out in the same pubs all contribute to productions.
Disco in 1970's New York was a diverse genre with certain clubs forging a distinct musical identity. From this chaos history is made, certain records were deemed "Garage" records, certain ones "Loft", certain ones "Studio". The Glaswegian Numbers crew are clearly influenced by Dopplereffekt and other US musics, undoubtedly through the Club 69/Rub a Dub crew. This is its own continuum, one that doesn't begin and end at the Watford Gap.
The Scottish Hardcore continuum (if such a thing even exists) is a significantly different beast (and has a different legacy) to that of, say Ireland. Through donning the straitjacket of Reynolds' theory we only see part of the picture, and one that is possibly seen through the rosy tinted specs of hindsight.
In a recent post, ISM's Pipecock really articulates the excitement of discovery, the simple joy of playing, listening to and losing your mind to records; looking to a musical continuum that isn't theoretical, one that's personal, that's formed through friends, great parties and just fucking doing it without fully understanding it.
One that "inspired damn near everyone I know to go buy record by cats like Drexciya and Basic Channel and start throwing them in the mix with any old funky electronic shit we could find."
Amen to that.