The final installment in this stunningly good first series of Blogariddims. A big thank you to Droid for putting it together and to all the Blogamuffins – Droid, Slug, Gutta, Mattb, John Eden, paul.meme, Bassnation, Soundslike, Rambler, Hal, Heatwave, Wayne Marshall, Naphta and DJ Flack – for their excellent contributions. And, of course, thanks to everyone who listens. A second series looks likely, but for now Blogariddims will be taking rest.
This is an end and a beginning of sorts for myself as well. After a long and frustrating musical impasse (simultaneously, too intimate and too distant), I’m feeling a new optimism and creativity, imagining possibilities beyond the constraints of any given form. The question is always how to make a break that isn’t total, that builds on the past without being glued to it. Watching many of the artists collected here find their own way has been helpful.
So this mix is about first steps into new territory and giving over to what may come. It pulls together a lot of the music and ideas that I’ve found most-exciting and least genre-bound in the last few months. Nine of the 22 tracks in this mix come from either Shackleton, kode9 or Mala, each of whom, I’ve often said, is more like a genre unto himself than a representative of any broader style or collectivity. The other major contingent here comes from Bristol in the form of tracks by Pinch, Peverelist and Rob Smith-related projects (Appleblim and Bass Clef were meant to be on here as well but didn’t fit in the end). There are also several remixes on here and a number of others would have made it into a longer mix. It’s only in the last several months that remixes by these artists have begun to appear in numbers and it seems to me that this is where some of the most innovative and interesting music is being made at the moment. Take the Villalobos remix of Shackleton; kode9’s work with the Junior Boys; or Burial’s incredible treatment of the most unlikely of sources in Jamie Woon’s ‘Wayfaring Stranger.’ There’s also the forthcoming Pole remix project with contributions from Appleblim, kode9, Peverelist and Shackleton. In each case, the artists involved are making lateral moves that open up new sonic fields and points of reference that keep the gene pool from going stagnant.
I reluctantly cut quite a few tracks in earlier stages of the mix. Kuma went to the trouble of doing me a VIP of his excellent ‘Lost in Translation’ but unfortunately it didn’t fit with the flow of the mix. ‘Vansan’ was cut for the same reason, as was Shackleton’s remix of Cutty Ranks ‘The Stopper.’ Shack’s ‘New Dawn’ and ‘Massacre’ – both absolute killers from his Scuba release – were supposed to in here, along with Burial’s remix of Jamie Woon’s ‘Wayfaring Stranger,’ Bass Clef’s version of ‘The Grind’ and one of Skream’s Marc Ashken remixes. I also tried Scuba’s ‘Frisco’ but the tone wasn’t right.
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[00:00] Ricardo Villalobos ‘Fizheuer Zieheuer Pt. 1’ (Playhouse)
[02:00] Phylyps ‘Untitled A’ Trak II (Basic Channel)
[06:15] Rhythm & Sound w/ Tikiman ‘Music a Fe Rule’ (Rhythm & Sound)
[11:30] Junior Boys ‘Like a Child’ Carl Craig Remix (Domnino)
‘Fizheuer Zieheuer’ – marching forward, pulling you along. I won’t pretend to know a lot about dub techno/minimal techno but, right now, I really like what these tracks do and the possibilities they open up. The Rhythm & Sound material I’m a bit more familiar with, but my introduction to all things in this vein was actually the first Pole album so, as usual, I’ve been working backward as much was forward. // Just a taste here but the Carl Craig mix of Junior Boys’ ‘Like a Child’ surprised me with its dubwise soul. More lovely than the good, but too cool, remixes by Alex Smoke and Morgan Geist on the JB’s previous remix 12″.
[14:00] Henry & Louis meets Blue & Red ‘Answer’ Pinch Remix (2 Kings)
[15:30] Shackleton ‘I Want to Eat You’ (Mordant Music)
[20:00] Shackleton ‘Tin Foil Sky’ (Skull Disco)
[22:00] Mike Oldfield ‘Evacuation’ The Killing Fields OST (Virgin)
When I first heard Pinch’s version of ‘Answer’ I actually thought it was an Appleblim refix – it’s vocal hook sounding to my ears like it was saying ‘Vansan.’ Pinch has been doing a lot of exciting work lately, but little of it has made its way beyond the studio and the dancefloor. Watch for his forthcoming album to see why Bristol is probably the most exciting place for music in the UK right now. // Shackleton’s ‘I Want to Eat You’ was one of my favourites of 2006. It comes in two parts: the first is the calm before the storm, rattling percussion and raspy flutes in a delicate and tense balance. The second is all plunging bassline, crashes, ringing and voices in distress. It could easily be a meditation on human chaos unfolding beneath an air raid or a barrage of missiles. // The idea for this section actually goes back to my original plan for last year’s Blogariddims mix which formed during the Hizballah/Israeli war and would have combined Shackleton, Muslimgauze, Sandoz, early-On-U Sound, early-jungle… At the time, I was playing with Shackleton tracks – all percussion and timbral shifting – in combination the odd melodies and similarly tense themes of Mike Oldfield’s score for the film The Killing Fields. When played at 45 RPM, the section I’ve pulled from ‘Evacuation’ actually sounds like it could have come from a 1992 ‘ardkore track. Oldfield’s ‘Etude’ was orginally meant to be in the mix, but it was bumped in favour of the Polmo Polpo track.
[23:15] RSD ‘Pretty Bright Light’ (Punch Drunk)
[25:30] Massive Music and kode9 ‘Find My Way’ (Hyperdub)
[28:00] Mala ‘Left Leg Out’ (DMZ)
[31:30] Smith & Mighty ‘B-Line Fi Blow’ (Studio !K7)
If there was reason for optimism in last winter’s release schedule, it had a lot to do with this long-anticipated pair from Mala and kode9. Together they signaled a wave of brighter, up style tunes finally moving from dubplate to vinyl and beginning to correct the emotional imbalance of commercially available tracks. // Two selections here as well from Rob Smith-related projects. ‘Pretty Bright Light’ lurches along with clattering snares that bring to mind the disjointed sounds of AWOL circa 1993. Smith & Mighty’s ‘B-Line Fi Blow’ actually dates back to 2002 but it was revived recently by Peverelist in his SubFm set. “B-line fi blow speaker box, selecta drop the needle watch the jumping jacks.” Bound to keep you skanking.
[34:30] Junior Boys ‘Double Shadow’ kode9 Remix w/ Space Ape (Domino)
[37:15] TRG ‘Put You Down’ (Hessle Audio)
Remixes are where a lot of the most interesting experiments are taking place these days (see recent projects by Burial, Pinch, Villalobos, Skream, and, of course, the forthcoming Pole remix project). Here we have the long-awaited collaboration between kode9 and Junior Boys (although 9’s ‘Stalker’ really was the first) – a lackadaisical near-4×4, Space Ape chatter, and those dissonant synths that have been a fixture in recent kode9 material. // TRG brings sexy back with shades of El-B and Horsepower filtered Loefah and Burial.
[39:30] Mala ‘Bury the Bwoy’ (DMZ)
[41:30] kode9 ‘Magnetic City’ (Soul Jazz)
[42:30] Peverelist ‘The Grind’ (Punch Drunk)
Derek Walmsley called ‘Bury the Bwoy’ a ‘menacing warrior charge that recalls the more primal reaches of On-U Sound’s catalogue. Crazy D called it ‘the wonky donkey.’ ‘Walkin with Jah’ (Soul Jazz 135-12) may have been the first of Mala’s ‘gallop’ tracks to see a release but ‘Bury the Bwoy’ and ‘Left Leg Out’ are the more convincing statements of departure from halfstep via routes other than 4×4, breaks and 2step. Other Mala tracks in this vein include ‘Hunter,’ along with ‘Forgive’ and ‘Unexpected’ (many them dating back to 2004/5 but only now being released), but the vivid, end-of-days, edge-of-consciousness haze of ‘Bury the Bwoy’ make it the real show stopper. // With its fittingly Ballard-esque title, kode9’s ‘Magnetic City’ conjures a different sort of haze: powerplant-hum, a city lighting the night, escaped signal and current dancing in the atmosphere. Pure electricity. // Peverelist’s ‘The Grind’ was like a breath of spring air when it arrived unexpectedly in my mailbox over the winter. It has since become a focal point of speculations on genetic mutation.
[44:00] Substance & Vainqueur ‘Immersion’ (Scion Versions)
[46:30] Mala ‘Forgive’ (Deep Medi)
New Basic Channel-style dubby techno pitched to +8 makes for an unexpectedly good fit with this Mala galloper. ‘Forgive’ can come off a bit pious but it really is gorgeous. Built for introspective, eyes-closed skanking during the early morning plateau.
[52:00] Shackleton ‘You Bring Me Down’ (Skull Disco)
[57:00] Polmo Polpo ‘Like Hearts Swelling’ (Constellation)
[64:00] Burial ‘Gutted’ (Hyperdub)
‘You Bring Me Down’ is one of Shackleton’s most subtle and accomplished tracks to date, a patient, continually shifting timbral antiphony. Like ‘Magnetic City’ it is immersive, more spatial than linear. It never drops, instead unfolding and folding back like a fevered dash through unfamiliar flora, surrounded by unseen rattles and whispering trees. // I saw Polmo Polpo perform in Ottawa in late-2003, the tracks from Like Hearts Swelling set to black and white films of parachutists who would pause mid-drop to be burned from the middle-outward by an overheated projector bulb. A break from his earlier experiments in noisy minimal techno, the luau-drenched tracks on this album paint images of bodies lingering on a cool Hawaiian beach at dusk, vacation dreams falling short, cold bathing suits clinging to chilled skin. By contrast, the title track is all simmering undulation – the heat, liquifying horizons, and time slowing by infinite degrees. // “Have rested and am moving south. All is well…”
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Most of the releases in this mix can be found (mainly on vinyl) at Rooted Records, Chemical or Boomkat. The Skull Disco discography to date can be bought on CD or vinyl direct from SkullDisco.com. Some mp3 versions are available at Bleep.com.