This blog is defunct! Check out my new music blog at Sonicrampage.org.
Since writing up Friday's jungle post I've really been enjoying listening to some of my old tunes again, so here are some more mp3's. Annoyingly, most of the stuff I have is on vinyl, so I've ripped a couple of tunes out of old mixes of mine and used stuff I've ripped from cd as well. I hope you enjoy the tunes.
This is actually from a French compilation called Sourcelab 2 that I picked up in the summer of 1996 when I was visiting family in Switzerland. I know little about the actual artist, but this has always been a personal favorite, a real hidden gem of a tune. It combines wonderfully intricate drum programming with a lovely deep vibe. Ok, those sweeping melodic pads are one of the biggest cliches of electronic music, but I'm a sucker for that kind of thing. What can I say? They get me every time.
This is another deep tune. This one comes from a 1996 compilation called The Revolutionary Generation that came out on Moving Shadow. Moving Shadow is one of the epochal labels, that had been around since the very earliest days of the breakbeat hardcore scene. It has been at the center of UK breakbeat culture from the earliest days of the hardcore rave scene, and has participated in all of the shifts that the music has seen (well, with the exception of grime) from breakbeat hardcore to darkside to jungle to (intelligent/techstep) drum n' bass through to today's drum n' bass and nu skool breaks. They've released a huge amount of major anthems over the years, but this isn't one of them. The Revolutionary Generation was a compilation of releases by a group of friends from West London (the Wax Doctor, Alex Reece, DJ Pulse) who were at the time at the forefront of the development of the deeper, ambient-influenced, less immediately dancefloor side of jungle/drum n' bass.
On a slightly tougher tip, this is a classic release from Dillinja, one of the key figures in jungle/drum n' bass. Between roughly 1993 and 1997 Dillinja released a string of absolutely classic releases under a range of aliases (including Dillinja, Capone, Cybotron, Trinity, and The Specialist). These days he releases straightforward head-bangers that aren't even the slightest bit as good as his old tunes like 'Sovereign Melody', 'Silver Blade', 'Light Years', 'Threshold', 'Deadly Deep Subs', 'Friday', 'Deep and Rolling', 'The Angels Fell' and 'Massive' (to name but a few of what would otherwise be a very very long list). I think part of the problem with Dillinja is that he started dj-ing and then he adapted his style to more obvious dancefloor bangers from when he was just a producer, as well as the fact that drum n' bass itself narrowed its scope down to being straightforward rave music. Straightforward rave music is fine (hell, I love one-dimensional rave mania) but I've always thought it unfortunate that jungle went in that direction, because at one point it was so much more.
This is one of my favorite jump-up jungle tunes. Jump-up was called jump-up because it was music that, well, made you want to jump up and down like a loon when you were in a club/rave. While in the early years of jungle's emergence, in 1993/94, vocal samples were usually taken from ragga records, by 1996 producers had moved on to sourcing vocal samples from American hip-hop records. There were also a few stylistic changes from the tunes of a couple years before. For one thing, the beats had by 1996 become a lot more streamlined, 'rollers' as they were called, and the bass lines were being twisted in much more inventive ways from the simple body-blow 808 one note basslines that had been all the rage in 1994. This tune was made by East London's DJ Hype (pictured) who has always been one of the biggest crowd-pleaser dj's. This tune itself was never a particularly huge one, but it's one I've always really loved ever since I bought it when it came out. I love the fact that it has a couple of different basslines and that the beats shift around dramatically. This sample was ripped out of a mix I made about a year or two ago of some of my old jungle records, which I could post in its entirety if anyone is interested?
This, on the other hand, was an absolutely huge tune, a totally inescapable anthem. The original mix had been a huge tune, but this just took things further. This was one of the first tunes to really foreground the use of a robotically funky two-step rhythm, with only the occassional blasts of the Amen break to hint at jungle's one-time rhythmic complexity. This is an awesome tune, but it was one of the tunes that was probably the beginning of the end of my love affair with jungle/drum n' bass. That beat, that simple clipped 2-step rhythm was soon everywhere and drum n' bass retreated into being a series of dark, angsty dirges over that lolloping beat. So, with drum n' based reduced to a monochrome lurch that was devoid of ravey cheese, I got bored and started listening full-time to acid techno and nu-nrg, two genres of music that, however little they could compete with the best of jungle for musical invention, never forgot that they were forms of rave music and were there to, at least partly, entertain crowds.
I've been in a benevolent mood recently (btw, I wouldn't mind some feedback; good tunes? bad tunes? anyone want more of anything in particular?) but as cool as Yousendit is, there's only so much I can upload. So, with that in mind, why not check out Squatjuice? Totally disorganized, but there's a huge amount of cool stuff to find there (mostly underground dance music, but also some reggae, hip-hop, punk, and random other stuff).
what's the difference between hardstyle and newstyle? i can't really tell. they played a lot of hardstyle at raindance the other day i think. the MCs kept talking about it anyway. it was really fun. but when the drugs wore off it REALLY started to grate...
My response from that thread was:
Hardstyle was one direction in which European hard trance developed, whereas newstyle was a way in which European hardcore developed. Basically, the change to newstyle within the hardcore field happened a while ago, maybe seven or eight years ago, while hardstyle only really came around within the last two or three years. Sonically they aren't so different these days, except newstyle tends to be faster (not always though, some hardstyle producers have upped the bpm's quite a bit from the standard 140 that European hard trance producers like DJ Scot Project and Shokk used). Also, hardstyle dj's will still play stuff that is quite trancy, whereas hardcore (which is really what newstyle is, being the main sound of European hardcore) is quite a bit darker.
Just to add to that, they are still very distinctly the products of their original genres, even though there has been a significant amount of cross-pollination between the two. While hardstyle has filched sonic signatures like distorted kickdrums and the big anthemic ravey riffs, it is still quite clearly a part of the trance family, being still (compared to gabba at least) quite bouncy, less doomy, and more inclined to ravey euphoria. And, although hardcore/gabba has slowed down and lightened up a bit, it is still quite clearly darker and more headstrong than hardstyle as a genre.
Here are some representative sound clips:
Hardstyle: Check the Generator (clip from Technoboy live @ Defqon One, Holland, June 16th 2004)
Newstyle Hardcore: Masters Of Ceremony - Skullfuck / Bodylotion vs. Scott Brown & Darrien Kelly - Always A Jellyhead (JDA's Gelei Mix) (the last two tracks from the Hardcore: A New Beginning cd)
Off a Dynasty Crew show from January here is Marcus Nasty of Nasty Crew attacking D Double E, Footsie, and Jammer, who all left Nasty Crew last year. Marcus Nasty is the dj/boss of Nasty Crew, who are one of the absolute biggest grime crews. Off the interview on Risky Roadz he comes across as quite a vicious character. Anyways, this is the nastiest grime slewing I've ever heard. He's not even mc'ing, just speaking. Harsh words. Phew.
On a more general grime theme, go check out Simon Silverdollar's 2004 round-up, which will help fill in some of the gaps for those of you a bit unfamiliar with grime.
A more humorous takedown from Fat Joe on 50 Cent. Via So Many Shrimp.
Via the excellent Kid Kameleon I found a link to a downloadable copy of 'A London Someting Dis' (right-click, save as). It's fairly low-res but it's still definitely watchable. I remember watching it when Channel 4 first showed it, because that was about the time that I was first starting to really listen to the jungle pirate stations. It's a fantastic look at a particular moment in musical time.
At that point (early 1994) I was only really a casual listener to jungle. It wasn't until about a year and a half later, just after my 15th birthday, that I really became fully obsessed with jungle. I'll probably never be as into a form of music as I was into jungle. I used to daydream about it at school. I'd listen to pirate radio every night. Every week I'd go to Blackmarket Records in Soho to buy a couple records (for a couple years I never ate lunch at school, because I would save my lunch money for tunes).
I like, hell, love, a lot of the music that I listen to now, but I'll never feel as strongly about music again. It was just so fresh, such a pure sound. It was London. I was always an outsider when it came to jungle, being upper-middle class and American (being white wasn't a big deal, as it was very genuinely a multiracial scene - class and nationality were I think a much bigger deal in terms of me feeling on the outside of things). There was just so much energy in it, such an explosion of creativity. I'd go to Blackmarket every week and buy the two or three records I could afford but always walk out of the shop wishing I could have bought 10-15. There was such a huge range of styles being covered, and every week, listening to the pirates and going to the record shops was like being in the midst of something very deep and profound, and even from my vantage point on the outskirts of that scene it was a time that will always be burned into my mind. It's only a shame I was too young and, frankly, too wussy to go to a lot of the events. I did go to a World Dance at Wembley Conference Centre with 20,000 other people on New Year's Eve 1996 (when my parents' thought I was sleeping over at a friend's house haha) and that, as well as some trips to Metalheadz at the Blue Note in Hoxton when I was 16, will always stay with me.
No matter what else happens, I can always look back at my memories of that time.
Anyways, enough waffling, here's some mp3's of classic stuff from that period:
Desired State - Beyond Bass - (mp3)
DJ Hype - Tiger Style - (mp3)
Prizna - Fire (Urban Shakedown RMX) - (mp3)
4 Hero - Universal Love (RMX) - (mp3)
Goldie - Saint Angel - (mp3)
Or, English-language music in other languages.
In Puerto Rico, there is reggaeton, which is Spanish-language dancehall reggae.
Ivy Queen - Alerta - from the album Diva Platinum Edition
The music is, even today, very similar to Jamaican Ragga. The same basic rhythm is employed and many of the vocals tends to be in the Ragga style, although Hip hop-styled vocals are also common. Many riddims used in Reggaeton are also directly taken from Jamaican producers, with relatively minor changes (see below).
The genre's most notably unique feature is a driving drum-machine track derived from Puerto Rican genres Bomba and Plena. This is integrated into the riddim used, whether Jamaican or locally produced. However, despite the genre's relatively high level of derivativeness it is often very creatively done, with some excellent producers and performers incorporating their own personal musical backgrounds into the crafting of songs.
The lyrics, like most working-class popular musics', are often about the reality on the streets, misunderstandings, unfair situations, love, cheating and passion.
In France, hip-hop has become tremendously successful, especially among the children of black and Arab immigrants in the banlieus, the massive housing projects that surround most French cities.
"Much like the 'hood' in the U.S., the banlieue in France most often signifies a community of color or a community of racial “minorities,” although not exclusively, for some poor Whites also live in the banlieues. In the case of France, the banlieue communities are disproportionately dominated by immigrants and second-generation immigrants from France’s former colonies, “protectorates,” and “departements” of Africa and the Caribbean (such as Senegal, Algeria, Morocco, Congo, Cameroon, and Martinique among others). Individuals of these cultural backgrounds seem to hold a particular and special relationship to Hip-Hop, which is again characterized by diasporic intimacy, in large part because they conceive of the cultural producers of Hip-Hop, African Americans, and themselves as being part of an African diasporic whole. Moreover, Hip-Hop has often given a voice to the politically and economically marginalized, and this rings true for immigrant youth of France.
MC Cidinhoy y MC Doca - Rap da Felicidade
"Rio de Janeiro is known as the city of samba and carnival, but to most of its young population for the past decade it has been the city of funk. Depending on who you talk to, funk is either Rio's richest contemporary cultural movement or a dangerous hotbed of delinquency: the music of choice not just for the urban poor but for the armed drug gangs who control the favelas. One way the gangs provide for their communities is by organising funk balls - as in Formiga.
Outside the hangar-like hall, teenagers patrol with guns and makeshift stalls sell beer. Inside, a barricade of speakers, almost three metres high, spreads across the room. The crowd is predominantly teenage, provocatively dressed and dancing funk's famously lascivious, gyrating moves. "You can tell this is run by the traffickers," says Speed. "Look - there is no fighting. Everyone is here to have a good time. The traffickers are here to protect it."
The downside is that funk is stigmatised as the music of Rio's drug wars. To call someone a "funkeiro" is a statement not just of their taste in records but of their class, way of life and even morality. It dates back to the beach riots of 1992, when gangs rampaged across Ipanema, fighting each other and stealing from middle-class bathers. The authorities blamed funkeiros - and the reputation stuck.
Also, read Woebot's classic blog posting on 'shanty house'.
Anyways, er, to celebrate here's a radio clip of Trim - The Lowdown
Today I found out that Nick Kilroy had died. To be honest, it doesn't really mean much to me, but it got me thinking a bit on other people I've known who've passed away. I never knew who Nick Kilroy was until just a little while ago, when, while browsing I Love Music, I found out that he'd died. Although I never had any communications with him, let alone met the man, in a way I kind of knew him, or at least knew a part of him, because I have been using his site gabba/POD for quite a while, so I have been exposed to all kinds of music through him. It's strange the way the internet exposes you to so much of others.
So, anyways, it got me thinking about people I knew personally who died too young.
Three years ago my friend Anno Birkin died in a car crash near Milan with several members of his band, Kicks Joy Darkness. He was the first friend of mine to die. I'd been introduced to him when I was 17 when I started meeting some new friends at school. He didn't go to our school, but he was in a band called Durango 95 with my friends Dan and JS, two guys I'd only recently met at that point. I used to hang out with Anno a couple times a week, either at his place or at JS's. Then, after a bit, I sort of lost touch with him for a while, occasionally running into him in the strangest places. One time I'd been to a squat rave in Bethnal Green, East London, and as I was waiting for a train at 9am on the Sunday morning he came lumbering onto the platform. Then the next time I saw him was two years later when Dan mentioned to me that Kicks Joy Darkness were having their UK farewell gig before they went off to Italy to record their debut album. It was pretty nice to see him, we had a good little chat after the gig and then I went on to a party. It was nice that the last time I saw him was under such pleasant circumstances.
The next person whose death really affected me was my cousin Nathan, also a musician, who was in the band Gang Gang Dance. He was killed in one of those one-in-a-million act of God accidents - struck by lightning on a Manhattan rooftop. I was in New York that summer working, and I'd pretty much prefer to leave it at that...nasty times.
You can see Nick Kilroy's photos here.
Probably the coolest thing I've listened to recently was a recording of a radio show called 'Music Beyond Borders' from Houston's KPFT hosted by a guy named Matt Sonzala. It's two hours of hip-hop flavored music from all over the world all presented in a laidback manner by Matt. Great stuff.
The link is over at Matt's (excellent) blog. Check it out.
In that spirit, here's a little offering of my own on the international culture-clash theme. It's a Japanese guy mc'ing over the top of the Coolie Dance riddim, which was one of Jamaica's biggest dancehall beats of 2003.
01. 3-Phase feat. Dr. Motte - Der Klang Der Familie (Tresor)
02. Club De Hippica - Shoemakerlevi 9 (Energized)
03. Johen - Dance to the Beat (Unreal)
04. F-Attack - Crazy Bolt (Overdrive)
05. X-Frame - Scream (Crystal)
06. DJ Randy - Pandomia (Smoke Free DJ Tools)
07. Sourmash - Throwing Caution To The Wind (Zoom)
08. Hark - Omega (Pulsedriver RMX) (Nothing)
09. Rejector - Intoxicating (Wicked Mix) (Subharmonic)
10. Liquid Art - Xplorer (Hook)
11. The Combat Force - Combat Assault (Dawn Raid Mix) (Triebhafte)
12. DJ Misjah & DJ Tim - Access (ffRR)
13. Cyber S - Decadance (Nitric)
14. E-Razor - Yeti (Technogold)
15. Disco Volante - Forbidden (Floorplay RMX) (Transient)
16. Razor's Edge - The Zoo (Dark Dub '95) (Metropolitan)
17. Citizen X - Shadows (Straight Mix) (Technogold)
18. Nuclear Hyde - The Universe (Noom)
19. Man With No Name - Sugar Rush (Perfecto)
01. Data's - My Love (Time Unlimited)
02. Drax - Amphetamine (Misjah & Groovehead RMX) (Prolekult)
03. Gravital Force - File003.tmp (Nitric)
04. Swiss Made - Green Plate (Planet Vision)
05. Nuclear Hyde - Spectral (Noom)
06. Butler & Wilson - Deliverance (Angelic NRG Mix) (Transient)
07. Casseopaya - Power Trax (Prolekult)
08. Overcharge feat. G-Meter - About Humans (Time Unlimited)
09. Montini Experience - My House Is Your House (Gary D & Timo Maas RMX) (Phoenix Rising)
10. X-Ite - Cyberworld (Spaceflower)
11. Microworld - Booby Trap (Commander Tom RMX) (Noom)
12. Ray & God - Target Planet (Time Unlimited)
13. CJ Bolland - Counterpoint (Internal)
14. Astral Projection - Power Gen (Smart)
15. E-Razor - Shadow Chaser (Technogold)
16. Sentience - Vital Sign (Full Blown)
17. X-Cite & X-Cess - X-Hale (Metropolitan)
18. Freo-N - Theluric (State of Mind)
19. Limited Area - Asura (Paradise Productions)
These are two mixes I recorded about a year and a half ago of old European techno/acid/hardtrance tunes. This is the sort of music that I got into when I first started listening to dance music that wasn't jungle (my love affair with that genre is a tale for another day).
Eventually, in 1998 jungle/dnb had really hit a point of stasis and I started to get into acid techno/trance in a much more serious way. To this day it's almost certainly my favorite form of music. I now listen to quite a wide range of stuff, but the romantic appeal of a firing kickdrum and a noisy riff is permanently imprinted on my mind.
It's certainly never been 'cool' music to listen to; it's never been something that serious music critics have paid any attention to, but that doesn't matter to me. It is what it is, and what it is is unashamed rave music. The bacchanalian soundtrack to mutant aerobics in darkened warehouses/clubs/fields, that steady tick-tock of kick-bass framing all kinds of electronic sounds, from giant arpeggiated riffs to squaling 303's to soothing pads. Darkness and light. Even now with the hipsterization of much of past culture fast 4/4 music of the hard trance variety remains beyond the pale for most 'music lovers'. It's the sheer relentlessness of it, the constant repetition of certain themes, the riff-mayhem, the simplistic pile-driver way in which rhythm is used, the snare rolls, the complete lack of any understatement or subtlety, the absence of a 'subculture' beyond lots of loons dancing like madmen. You can't write about it while quoting Deleuze & Guattari, that's for sure. And the bad boys of IDM won't touch it, content to burnish their cred by badly ripping off black music.
The scene still continues on in Europe, but for me the sort of tunes that I put on this mix were the pinnacle (as well as slightly later stuff from the UK that isn't on here). You'd go out to a party and you'd feel that whomp-whomp-whomp and you could just lock in dancing. Almost purely instrumental music that you could disappear in for hours. The screams of joy from the crowd as a monster riff came in. Enormous cloud banks of smoke drifting through the flashing light, enveloping you in a haze as you furiously stomped to the 160 bpm madness pouring from the speakers. The bizarre selection of people you'd meet on a night out. The end of a night with everyone screaming for "one more!" It was so so so much fun, and so much better than standing at a bar nodding your head to 'sophisticated' and 'stylish' music ever is.
Just a quick note, but my mixes are back online and available to download.
Gabba - "(a) moronic inferno of headbanger beats, kamikaze bpm's, and testosterone-drenched sadomasochismo." #
"gabba was a 200 BPM assault on the senses. Relentless, pounding rhythms and atrocious noise were the law, especially in Holland, where gabba became the country's national anthem...Gabba soon split itself, morphing into the darker speedcore and the almost comical happy gabber, with its bizarre, fast versions of TV theme shows like The Flintstones and Cheers." #
"Went over to the decks at 8:30 to play. I decided to play a Rotterdam set, as I dont think a Speedcore set would go down to well, ha. Got to the decks, 'WHAT THE HELL!!' crappy Soundlab belt drive things, deary me. man. Fumbled around on them, and they wernt to bad really. I think this is what I played.. Object One - Ping Pong (Samurai) 145BPM Gabberhead - Tu Tu Tu (Megarave) Marshal Masters & Ultimate MC - I Like it Loud (2017) ?? & Youri - Fast Food (Powerbeats) Neophtye - Brain Cracking (Rotterdam Special) Tschabos - Give Me the Bass.
Felt a tap on the shoulder 'Soz mate, Ill have to stop you, its too hard', hahahahahaha. What the hell man, couldnt belive it, never got faster than 170 BPM. So I says, 'right Ill play 2 more records, Ill play summik happy' Stuck on DJ Trons 'Fuck that Happy Shit', the track that starts with 'I Wanna see a Rainbow high in the sky..... FUCK THAT HAPPY SHIT, THIS IS MOTHERFUCKING DEATHCOREEEE'. He, they enjoyed that. I stopped the music, shouted 'YOU FUCKING CHEESY BASTARDS' and put 'FUCK ME GEORDIE' on. Hehe, sat down, Shooting Star came on so we went home." #
"Fifteen hundred young people are packed on the dance floor of Massive, a giant all-night techno event celebrating the New Year. There's no one still moving whose ears are not ringing; the beats have been banging at deafening levels for the past six hours at the rate of 200 per minute and show no sign of letting up. Bodies twitch and move; eyes shut tight in deep concentration; strange smiles fill most of the faces. One kid is sprawled out with his head resting comfortably inside a giant vibrating bass cabinet.
To the uninitiated, the noise is formless and directionless, but each time the deejay switches records and pumps the techno while raising a fist in the air, the tight-knit group of flailing flesh responds with a burst of energy. The sight is surreal and somewhat frightening. The harsh sounds are complemented with bursts of colored, patterned lights provided by six Intellibeams, several grisly film loops bizarrely projected on weather balloons strung from the ceiling, bouncing laser beams, and psychedelic video projections. Multimedia run amok, the scene is one of utter abandon and pure pleasure. It's either the end of the world or the beginning, and it's all going down in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
"I play all over the United States, and Milwaukee is one of the hardest places. They like very hard, repetitive music," says deejay Repete, the man responsible for bringing hardcore techno into New York City's Limelight club and the headliner for that New Year's gathering. "I was impressed by the Milwaukee scene. The harder you play it, the more they like it."
"The night went on, and I played harder and harder and harder and harder. I'm not used to seeing that. I'm used to a situation where you take them up, then bring them down a little bit. Over there, you just pound them." " #
Note: All pics are from the Scottish site Twisted Hardcore. All the mp3's are available for only 25 downloads or for seven days, whichever expires sooner, and the tracks themselves are long since out of press. HOWEVER, if you are an artist or a record label whose work is featured among these tracks and you want me to take them down, email me and I will do so immediately.