Pearsall's Tunes

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Thursday, March 24, 2005

Get Better Soon, Laura

My sister has been sick recently, and seeing as she is a New York rock queen, here's some mp3's for her benefit (and everyone else's too). I don't buy much rock music these days, so these are all kind of old, but I like them, and hopefully you will as well.

Sonic Youth - Chapel Hill - From their 1992 album Dirty, a melodic one with Thurston Moore sounding whingey. I like it.

Husker Du - Books About UFO's - From the 1985 album New Day Rising, which was Husker Du's big switch from their older hardcore punk styles to a more melodic thing. This is about a girl who reads books about UFO's. And it even has pianos. Fun.

Fugazi - Turnover - Shouty stuff from the Washington DC hardcore legends Fugazi. Off the 1990 album Repeater.

Dinosaur Jr. - Start Choppin' - From the 1993 album Where You Been. Main dude J. Mascis does his strangled cat voice, some pretty riffs , and a monumental guitar solo.

|| RPH || 4:04 AM || (3) comments

Friday, March 18, 2005

Wake Up!

The Producer - B-Boy Brutality

|| RPH || 6:00 AM || (0) comments


Via Jeff Chang I found a link to a really cool overview of the history of Quannum Projects, the Bay Area giants of underground hip-hop.

The bass line thunders out of the DNA Lounge's colossal speakers as the sold-out crowd pushes toward the stage. With this many arms and bodies intertwined, it's hard to tell where one person ends and another begins. The beat drops. Cutting through the darkness, stage lights find the performers -- MCs Lyrics Born, Lateef, and Gift of Gab -- as they shuffle onto the stage, dressed immaculately in pressed button-down shirts. As the bodies surge, Lyrics Born cracks a quick grin before breaking into his gruff, singsong flow that rides over a deceptively laconic sample. Marveling at the crowd's enthusiasm, Lateef provides Lyrics Born with a smooth, supporting vocal counterpoint. From the amount of fun everyone's having, it's hard to imagine that these three are CEOs of the most successful independent hip hop label in the Bay Area, Quannum Projects. But they are that, and much more.

For the next 2 1/2 hours, the Quannum MCs, with the help of their DJ, Chief Xcel, deliver a euphoric set that spans from their early days when they were part of a crew known as Solesides -- and when many in this crowd were barely teenagers -- through their most recent output, most notably Lyrics Born's celebratory anthem "Calling Out," the only hip hop song to stay atop local alternative rock station Live 105's request charts for 15 weeks. Judging from the fervor of both the fans and the performers, it's evident that this is more than just a homecoming for this crew, which was on tour most of last year. This is an assertion of dominance, a presence not felt since the glory days of Hieroglyphics in the mid-'90s. Later, Lateef declares that this is "probably the best show [he's] ever done."

It sounds like hyperbole, but it's not. Over the past 13 years, Quannum Projects and its stable of musicians/owners have had arguably the greatest success of any independent hip hop label in balancing artistic viability with commercial appeal. Quannum co-founder DJ Shadow's 1996 album Entroducing is the top-selling instrumental hip hop album in the genre's history, while many consider Blazing Arrow, the second full-length album from Blackalicious, a duo composed of MC Gift of Gab and producer Chief Xcel, to be the epitome of politically conscious, socially responsible hip hop. Lyrics Born's 2003 release, Later That Day, was renowned as one of the strongest debuts from an MC this decade and broke into the Top 40 on the Billboard Independent Albums chart. But what is most exciting -- and what makes Lateef's assertion seem genuine -- is that the label is really just beginning to gain momentum.

Anyways, reading it inspired me to throw up some Shadow mp3's, because I've always thought he was really really good. There has perhaps never been anyone else so skilled, in my opinion, at creating entire soundscapes through sampling, where everything meshed together beautifully to make beautiful, deep, and emotionally powerful music.

DJ Shadow & the Grooverobbers - In/Flux - A very early release from his time with Mo'Wax, possibly his first solo release for the label. A twelve minute virtuoso performance of sampling. Hypnotic and beautiful.

Zimbabwe Legit - Shadow's Legitimate Mix - This is off the Headz II compilation, which was a bit of a grab bag of stuff, featuring some really cool stuff, some trash, and lots of 'meh' material. This is really good, though, so that's why I've upped it.

DJ Shadow - Building Steam With A Grain Of Salt - This is off his first album, Entroducing, and is probably my favorite track off of it. It's built around a little piano riff, some heavy heavy drums, and all kinds of vocal fragments, and a strange monologue that he must have grabbed somewhere. Powerful.

|| RPH || 2:28 AM || (0) comments

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Beat Camp

Last Wednesday's Richie Vibe Vee show on BBC 1xtra, well the bit featuring the Beat Camp crew of producers, dj's and mc's. One of the crew, Dexplicit, did the production on 'Pow', the biggest tune of last year.

Part One - Includes interview with the crew members, plus some tracks.

Part Two - Part one of the crew in the mix.

Part Three - Part Two of the crew in the mix.

|| RPH || 2:10 AM || (0) comments

Last Friday

Last Friday I went with my friend Andy to Rothko on the Lower East Side to see the US debuts of the London grime mc's D Double E, Jammer, and Ears. It was a pretty fun show, and you can read a review of the night here. It was a pretty good time. Anyways, you can check out a video of the guys from earlier in the night spitting over the Mike Jones 'Still Tippin' instrumental at East Village Radio, which is, if you've ever been to 1st and 1st, that weird looking little storefront radio studio where the dj is literally right in the window.

Plus you can read an interview with Shadetek, the guys who put on the party (it's called 'Bangers n' Mash' - terrible name) here. Plus, an article from the New Yorker that easily explains everything to everyone.

|| RPH || 1:34 AM || (0) comments

Wednesday, March 16, 2005


I've just finished an expanded review of the L-Man mixtape at Have a look.

|| RPH || 5:04 PM || (0) comments

Apropos of Nothing

Reading tonight, so no big post. Still, here are two mp3's.

Jedi Knights - Dance of the Naughty Knights

The Jedi Knights was the electro side-project of Tom Middleton and Mark Pritchard, better known as ambient pioneers Global Communication. This appeared in the mid-90's, well before the 'electroclash' revival of those early 80's tracks. Ultimately they were forced to abandon this particular alias when George Lucas's lawyers got wind of their activities.

Unkle - Celestial Annihilation

Unkle started out as a collaboration between DJ Shadow and James Lavelle of Mo'Wax Records. It's still going, but Shadow has left to pursue other projects. This is a track off of the 'Psyence Fiction' album which, to be honest, wasn't all that great. This tune, though, is awesome. Sweeping strings and a solid electro boom-bap. Simple but effective.

|| RPH || 1:54 AM || (0) comments

Sunday, March 13, 2005

The Speed of Sound

I love music that is made with computers.

I don't mind 'real' instruments and all that, but when you get down to it, I'd rather listen to synths.

I especially love rave music.

I love straight-down-the-line kickdrum nonsense.

I love high bpm's.

I love screaming synths.

I love the much-mocked offbeat bassline.

I even, still, love snare rolls. Cheesy or not.

And when it comes to completely maniacal rave music, nothing is better than freeform hardcore. But what is freeform hardcore? Freeform is the new name for trancecore. But what is trancecore? Ah.

Trancecore, as a distinct genre of UK hard dance music, emerged in the mid-90's when long-time stalwarts of the happy hardcore scene like Billy Bunter of GBT, Sharkey and the RSR crew started moving away from the diva vocals, piano samples and cheesy stabs that characterized UK hardcore and towards a synthesis of their sound with European hard trance. Slowly, other artists emerged, particularly the utterly awesome Helix and Fury, but it was a micro-niche of what was anyways a relatively small niche of electronic music.

Happy hardcore was a strange thing, the essence of happy-go-lucky early 90's raveyness preserved in aspic, charging forward like a manically grinning amphetamine-addled Frankenstein. To tell the story to the uninitiated in the quickest and most perfunctory way possible, in the early 90's there was only one UK rave scene. If you listen to sets from these events, massive festivals of debauchery set in the otherwise sedate English countryside, the music covers an enormous range of sounds and textures, furiously chopped-up breakbeats melding into the classic 4/4 kickdrum and heliumized diva vocals and ecstatic pianos giving way to darkside pads and furious mentasms. Slowly the scene started to fracture, due to police crackdowns and to the long harsh comedown as hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of ravers started to really hit their tolerance limits for drugs (at the same time as the quality of imported ecstasy tablets started to really nosedive).

In London the musical focus started moving away from the most stereotypically 'ravey' aspects (the manic pianos, the delirious stab patterns, the diva vocals) towards a more serious sound, as producers started to take advantage of sampling technology to twist the breakbeats in all kinds of revolutionary ways. This was the beginning of jungle. Out in the provinces the opposite was happening. Increasingly turned off by jungle (its open ragga influences, its lack of e-friendly vibesiness, its reputation for trouble) the other part of the hardcore scene started to move in the other direction, purifying and concentrating the happy vibes and consciously jettisoning the melancholic and moody elements that had always been an essential part of the ying-yang balance of the earlier rave sound. As jungle moved to ever greater rhythmic complexity hardcore was moving in the other direction foregrounding the 4/4 kick, reducing the breakbeats to framing elements of even jettisoning them entirely. With the influence of Dutch gabba the kickdrums solidified, taking up much more of the space in the sound than in earlier tunes, becoming so powerful that they shook your ribcage when played on a massive sound system. As producers refined their game, slowly the amateurish but exciting unpredictability of the early 90's sound disappeared, as the producers, through great trial and error, developed pretty fool-proof methods of triggering the raver's rush. Certain elements became standard in every hardcore record - the overpowering kick, the off-beat stabs, the Fantasyland piano n' vocal breakdowns.

The difference between jungle and hardcore was apparent too in the difference between the crowds. As jungle moved away from pop-pupilled mayhem to being fuelled mainly by weed and alcohol the look became much more street, and the more eccentric accessories of rave culture were jettisoned in favor of a stripped-down urban look. Unlike the multiracial crowds at jungle raves, the happy hardcore scene was overwhelmingly white working-class, and predominantly suburban and provincial. At happy hardcore raves the early 90's never ended, from the blizzard of road-worker's jackets, glowsticks, tracksuits, whistles, horns, grinding jaws and rolling eyes that greeted anyone walking into an event like Dreamscape, Helter Skelter, Hardcore Heaven, United Dance, Labyrynth, Rezerection or Slammin' Vinyl.

At the same time as these changes were occurring, across the North Sea there were two giant rave scenes that were also in the throes of light-speed evolution. One was gabba, Holland's crazier-than-thou rave sound, militant hyper-fast distorted kick drums with maniacally darkside synths scraped directly from a bezerker fury hallucination. The other was hardtrance, Germany's more melodic rendering of raveyness. To be honest, as much as I love hardtrance, I'm pretty unclear on its history, as I've never seen anything in English about the origins of that scene. It evolved out of the earliest techno-trance music in Germany, the application of Teutonic arpeggiated melodies to techno rhythms. Hardtrance was fast music, with bpms ranging from a brisk 150 bpm to a deliriously charged 180 bpm, but it was generally not as fast as gabba, and it was much more melodic. In the early years this often took very simple forms, one or two-note riffs over a whomping kick and offbeat bassline. Unlike the monochromatic charge of gabba, which lacked basslines in any defined sense, relying on the distorted kick to provide bass pressure, hard trance had that kick-bass-kick-bass power that, on a loud sound system, gets people (like, well, me) grinning from ear to ear and pumping their fists. Hardtrance also had wonderfully, gloriously cliched key changes, as the music would suddenly shift up and down in intensity.

So, this influence made itself felt in Britain. Happycore was in a deep creative rut, with the same 10-15 dj's monopolizing the scene and the few specialist labels turning out a nonstop flow of mindlessly similar stuff. Indeed, as time went on the music went even deeper into cheesy territory, culminating in a truly shocking period around 97/98 when a disturbingly high proportion of the output consisted of terribly tacky tunes with fairground melodies and 80's pop vocal covers. Dire stuff. So, for dj/producers like Bunter, Ramos, and Sharkey a new avenue was definitely needed. Looking to the European sound of labels like EDM, Spaceflower, and Tesseract they started adapting their sound. The new sound was much rougher than the happycore sound, with the divas pensioned off and the pianos shoved into the attic. In their place came screaming 303 lines, attitudinally-challenged synth riffs, sweeping pads, and a much more serious vibe. Labels like GBT, RSR, Bonkers, Stompin' Choonz, Xy2, Nu Energy and Digital Beats were putting out some of the best rave music I've ever heard, even though it was a real hassle to find a lot of it, so microscopic was the demand.

I loved this sound at the time. It was such powerful music, the perfect synthesis of a couple of different styles of rave music. Unfortunately, it was, at the time, never accepted by the main part of the hardcore raving crew, who saw it as too weird and moody. The problem was that happy hardcore was dying on its arse by the late 90's, a corpse of a scene that hadn't had even a single vaguely original idea for years. With Gatecrasher-style uplifting eurotrance taking its place as the mass-market pillhead music it more or less completely collapsed, taking with it the puny trancecore scene. For several years hardcore was in the doghouse as record sales collapsed, raves emptied, and even the flagship compilation series Bonkers was put on ice. Most of the producers and dj's in both happycore and trancecore went off to get involved in other styles of music. For instance, Billy Bunter and Jon Doe started making and playing hard house and hard trance, while people like Helix, Fury, and Ramos gave up making music altogether.

The only person left flying the flag for maniacal trance riffs, screaming 303's, and rampaging bpm's was Kevin Energy, boss of the Nu Energy Collective. For years Big Kev (for that is he) was the only guy in the UK putting these sorts of tunes out, pumping out tune after tune from himself, Sharkey, and a few other people like Marc Smith and DJ Eclipse. Basically, being into trancecore meant that you'd buy releases whenever Kev put something out, which was maybe once every two months (obviously I was buying other styles of music at the time), and otherwise you'd spend your time tracking down the stuff you'd missed from the first flowering. Slowly but surely his hard work started to pay off and other people who had given up, like Richard Andrews (aka Shanty) of Digital Beats, got back into the production and release game.

It was around this time that the name shift from trancecore to freeform occurred. The idea of calling it freeform hardcore was that it would be a style of hardcore music that was unconstrained by boundaries, where influences could be taken from the full spectrum of electronic music to make original and powerful hardcore rave music. In practice, of course, it remained very heavily trance-oriented. Which was fine with me.

The actual hardcore scene itself has in the last couple of years has experienced its own revival, having taken on a heavily trance-influenced sound, as pushed by Hixxy's Raverbaby label and Scott Brown's Evolution label. This new hardcore sound was similar to the old trancecore sound, except cheesier. At the same time, the trancecore/freeform axis benefited from this revival and from Kev's years of hard work, becoming far more accepted in the hardcore scene at large as well as in the hard house/nu-nrg scene. Lots of new producers entered the scene, including a large contingent from Finland, who completely revolutionized the freeform sound. But that's a topic for another post.

Pearsall - Rampage Turbo Volume 6

98.7 megs, 192 kbps, 72 minutes

01. Carbon Based, E-Nrg & Nemes – Prologue (Electrolysis)
02. Code 33 – Tabular Desperation (United Ravers)
03. Kevin Energy – Crazy Styles (Vinal & Devotion RMX) (Nu Energy)
04. DJ Fury – De-Sensitize (Stompin Choonz)
05. Stargazer – Released (CLSM RMX) (Elation)
06. Vinal, Devotion & K-Complex – A World Of Illusion (Nu Energy)
07. Pozor – Lost Generation (Tesseract)
08. Furious – Nightbreed (Electronic)
09. Bass-X – Pilgrim (Kevin Energy & K-Complex RMX) (Evolution)
10. Scott Majestik – Psychopathic Bitch (Bonkerz)
11. Storm & Menis – Dynamite (Destructive Force)
12. DJ Fade – The Future (Future Dance)
13. Shanty & Tazz – 50,000 Jars of Hardcore Jam (Electronic)
14. Nocturnal – Fuck Existence (Digital Beatz)
15. DJ Eclipse – Stairway to Brooklyn (Nu Energy)
16. Sharkey & K-Complex – Delusion (Hec-Tech)
17. Alek Szahala – Superstition (Electronic)

This is a mix I did in December 2003, and it includes a couple of the different styles of hardcore I've mentioned (of course we're talking micro-genre hair-splitting so for the uninitiated I'd guess it would all sound like ludicrously last mayhem). This mix is book-ended by two twisted Finnish tracks, and includes mid-90's European tunes from Code 33 and Pozor, two early(ish) UK trancecore tracks from DJ Eclipse and DJ Fury, some dark and rough UK hardcore from Scott Majestik, Nocturnal and Sharkey & K-Complex, some lighter ravey stuff from DJ Fade and Storm & Menis, and some acid-trancey freeform tunage from Furious and the Nu Energy Collective. I've always been really pleased with this mix. I get quite anally-retentive about the technical side of my djing, and this mix has some of the sharpest mixing I've ever done on a recorded mix, with the tunes morphing into each other really nicely.

As I said before, this is very much a minority interest as far as music goes.

But I don't care.

I think it's awesome stuff. Pure manic energy from start to finish.

|| RPH || 9:45 AM || (1) comments


Some guy named releaseroger sounding off in response to a Hattie Collins column on the BBC site entitled 'Can Grime Pay?'

Maybe I'm getting too old for all of this.

Correct me if I'm wrong Collective Ed's but every two or three years a 'new' movement arrives to save us all from the 'majors'.

Let's play the cool card like all of the artists featured in the article have.

To champion something as 'fresh' and 'vibrant' is to make it cool? No? When something's 'cool' the quickest way to make it 'uncool' in a dad-dancing kinda way is to sell out to the majors?

You telling me this 'movement's not all about 'front'?

None of these guys want to earn any money right? They are all just doing it for the kick. I bet as long as there's room to breakdance everything's ok?

Get feckin' real. The REAL deal is that they're all out to make a quick buck on the back of any movement.
Jeez, why bother with it all if you're not out to make a few quid?

To me, this stinks of cultural snobbery. An exclusive club which allows entry to only cool people. There's a sense of hanging on to something precious yet something that would be sold as quick as your granny if the man with the suitcase full of money from the big major record label came knocking on the door.

"The worry now, of course, is whether Grime will go the way of UKG and end up merging into the mainstream,its real roots lost to the corporate coin eager to rake in the cash rather than build and nurture. "

You mean, it's not happened already?
"Real roots lost to the corporate coin"? My god, how funny is that sentence? Get a feckin' grip of the situation here.

"I've seen a lot of people at the top end of music who have no idea what's going on in the street; says 18-year-old Lady Sovereign, whose ear-splitting Cha Ching is just one highlight on Run The Road. They're asking 'What's the hottest thing?; And these people are controlling music? Some of them ain't got a clue."

You mean, like you?
What people at the top end of music? Oh, you mean you've had lunch with the head of BMG on Tuesday and went to a cocktail party with the head of EMI on Thursday?

Snobbery goes both ways here. The majors have the money and the marketing power.
The independants or the 'new wavers' or whatever they want to call themselves this week rely solely on that snobbish outlook that 'our music is too cool' for just ANYONE to like.
So, you don't want to be popular? You don't want adulation? You just want to 'keep it real'?

Obviously, my interpretation of being a respected musical artist is wrong. You should play behind closed doors, never release an album, just tell people you're 'keeping it real' and drive around in a knackered Ford Fiesta with a wonky exhaust and no MOT.
If that's the case, I'd like to be the first to champion myself as the greatest ever musical artist. I'm also the coolest as absolutely NOBODY has heard of me. Check that out. How 'real' is that?! Y'see the thing is that the majors don't get it. My guitar playing is so unique and so fresh that the big guns aren't ready for me yet. I'm ten years in front, baby! My way of combining Welsh Male Voice Choirs with Naplam Death samples whilst playing them over a speeded up version of 'Trans-Europe Express' is too goddamn cool to be heard by all you people that think you know music. Only my cat has heard it and he thinks it's sh*t.
You wait till you hear my version of 'Boogie on Reggae Woman' made with a kazoo, ping-pong balls on the back of a piano, nipple clamps connected to a 240V charge placed on the arse of my local MP and a bangin' house tune clocking in at 30,000 bpm's......oh, you can't coz if you do hear it then that means I'm no longer fresh and therfore I've sold out to the majors......f*ck it.....I'm off to be an insurance salesman.

[back on planet earth]

Somebody for fu*k's sake explain 'keeping it real' to me?
And I double dare anybody to explain it without reading back your comment and smelling the musical snobbery in it.

"Semtex agrees. 'The biggest conflict I have is with major labels because they still don't get it,; he sighs. "

I beg to differ.
I think you 'don't get it'. I think you don't understand how music evolves or has even evolved to your latest brand of 'new'.

Articles like this f*ck me off.
I am TIRED of being told what's 'real' and what's not, what's 'cool' and what isn't.
I'm an adult. Treat me like one.

"Abroad, they understand the cultural value and music of our artists."

You telling me that Britain doesn't?
Where the f*ck have you been for the last 50 or so years?
You think America understands the "cultural value and music of our artists"?

"you can guarantee we'd have a beautiful industry."

You bloody hypocrite.
What is industry without money?
What is industry without a market?
What is industry without lots of people to finance your industry? Are they not fans? The ones that WILL BUY THE RECORDS?

"don't believe the hype" - Public Enemy
Ain't that the truth.

As someone who has sometimes used 'not real' and 'not underground' arguments in discussing music I don't like, reading this is receiving a cold, hard slap of truth.

|| RPH || 12:58 AM || (1) comments

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Who's that white kid L Dot Man?

L-Man - Facts of Life

This is a zip file, if you don't have an unzipping program, I recommend Stuffit.

01. The Other Side Of Me (Produced By Mr.Fusion)
02. My Life Ft.Chloe (Produced By L-Man)
03. When I Look Into Your Eyes (Produced By Mr.Fusion)
04. Freestyle
05. Hannah (Produced By Mr.Slash)
06. Disturbed (Produced By Mr.Slash)
07. Freestyle (Produced By DJ Q)
08. Some People (Produced By Ripperman)
09. 25 Minute Mix Set (Mixed By Dj Frampster)
01. Freestyle Ft.Narstie (Produced By Dj Suicide And Rawdeal)

I got this recently from the RWD forum, and I've re-upped it because I think it's really good. L-Man is one of the mc's of one of my absolute favorite grime crews, South London's N Double A. They aren't as well known as the big East London crews (well, 'known' is relative, as it's a pretty small scene, in all honesty) like Roll Deep, Nasty Crew, Fire Camp, and Ruff Sqwad, yet the sets I've heard from them have been really awesome.

This mixtape doesn't have the same raw energy of those pirate radio sessions, but I like it for the raw emotional honesty he brings to his lyrics, which is something quite different from the usual 'I'm the baddest/best lyricist/best lover' type of lyrics from most London grime mc's. He talks about living in a children's home after being abandoned by his birth mother, his love for his foster mother, an ex-girlfriend who broke his heart, and even political and historical themes. He's got a really weird, angularly accented voice that sounds really good, fusing his London accent with a pseudo-patois influence. For those who don't know London accents it might sound quite weird, but I really like his flow and his lyrics. Most of the tracks on this are hip-hop, except for the 25 minute mix, where L-Man rhymes over big instrumentals like Wiley 'Dragon Stout', Plasticman 'Cha', and Bossman 'Bongo Eyes'.

I've also included another mp3, a promo mix cd where he appears with the rest of N Double A. The disc was mixed by Plasticman on the decks, and it is possibly the most exciting grime set I've ever heard. It's amazing, 45 minutes of pummeling basslines and absolutely chaotic mc'ing, pure undiluted energy, a torrent of words from guys who you can tell are absolutely, 100%, purely committed.

Plasticman feat. N Double A - Top Boy Promo CD

|| RPH || 9:10 PM || (1) comments

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

You Thieves!

"Last month, a student at the University of Arizona was sentenced to three years probation and a $5,400 fine for illegally distributing music and movies on the Internet. A spokesman for the recording industry claims investigators found more than $50 million worth of pirated material on his computer. That seems like an awful lot of money. How much is stolen music worth?

A lot more than you might think. Since a song costs only 99 cents on iTunes, and movies go for less than $20 on, it seems impossible to amass $50 million worth of entertainment on one computer. (Indeed, even if you could find 50.5 million songs or 2.5 million movies to download, they would take up hundreds of terabytes of disk space, which would itself cost a fortune.) But in some court cases, the value of a pirated file is based not on its retail price, but on the damages done to the company that legally produces and sells it.

There are a number of ways to calculate these damages. Some federal prosecutors have assumed that about 10 people will download anything on a file-sharing network, so they multiply the retail value of shared song files by 10. But it can get much worse: Lawsuits brought by the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America have claimed statutory damages as set out in the United States Copyright Law from 1976. According to the section on "Remedies for infringement," each work carries a value of between $750 and $30,000, as determined by a judge. (These are the current figures; the Digital Theft Deterrence Act boosted statutory damages by about half in 1999.) While a judge must also determine what qualifies as a "work," RIAA lawsuits typically request statutory damages for each song—and not each album."

Read the rest. Oh, and check out The Great MP3 Ethics Thread from Dissensus.

|| RPH || 7:35 PM || (0) comments

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Rob One

We Eat So Many Shrimp has two superb hip-hop mixes from DJ Rob One up for download. Go check them out.

|| RPH || 9:35 PM || (0) comments


Over the last year probably no single musician has gotten the music criticism community into such a lather as Maya Arulpragasam. M.I.A., as she is otherwise known, is the Sri Lankan-born singer whose debut album is just about to drop on XL Recordings. Her back story has stoked much of this controversy. Her father was (is?) a member of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, generally known as the Tamil Tigers, and she has named her debut album , Arular, in his honor. As a child she moved with her mother to West London where she went to school before going on to become an art student and become friends with some of London's most known hipster types, like Justine Frischmann from Elastica. So, this hugely varied life-experience, as well as her music (which mashes together dancehall, grime, hip-hop, and variants like reggaeton and baile funk), has provided the grist for a thousand mills churning over the eternal questions of "Is she 4 REAL? Does it matter?"

Personally speaking, I think that her stuff is a bit meh, some of it's pretty good, but I haven't heard anything that really blows my brains out. I like the mixtape she did with Diplo, Piracy Funds Terrorism, but it wasn't absolutely incredible. What has been cool has been the discussion about her. All the debate-type back and forth has been awesome, so here's a collection of stuff to read through:

Very very long ILM thread.

From Dissensus: "MIA - "Galang" on XL" and "Is MIA really that in tune with the hottest sounds?".

What MIA is listening to.

Three articles from Robert Christgau from The Village Voice: "Right, the Record", "Quotations From Charmin M.I.A.", and "Burning Bright".

Reviews of her mixtape with Diplo, Piracy Funds Terrorism from Pitchfork Media, Glorious Noise and Stylus Magazine.

Sasha Frere-Jones on her in The New Yorker.

Carl Wilson has had a lot to say, see here, here, here, and, hell, here.

A Nirali Magazine feature.

Luca Lucarini has a go as well, here and here.

Finally, check out Simon Reynolds offerings including the ones that can be found here, here, and here. That last one is the most recent one, and is pretty serious stuff (maaan).

If you made it this far, you deserve some mp3's. These are tracks from Piracy Funds Terrorism, so you'll get an idea of the sort of thing she's up to:
MIA - China Girl (Diplo Mix)
MIA - Fire Bam (Diplo Mix)
MIA - Uraqt (Diplo Mix)

Update, 3/8/2005, 3:53pm: Matt 'Woebot' Ingram weighs in.

|| RPH || 12:20 AM || (1) comments

Monday, March 07, 2005


Harajuku, Tokyo

I did manage to salvage some stuff, so here's an mp3. This is at least ten years old. Before I had full-on my religious conversion to jungle around my fifteenth birthday I listened to both jungle and punk, and one of the labels I used to buy a lot of stuff from was a Hamburg-based rock label called Crypt Records. They put out all kinds of low-fi balls-to-the-wall rock n' roll, from compilations of original 60's garage rock (the precursor stuff to punk) to albums by all kinds of never-to-be-succesful American punk and bluesy rock bands. This particular track is from a Japanese band called Teengenerate whose album I got this off of ('Get Action') was utterly, utterly awful, except for this and one other track. This one, though, is great. Just over two minutes of concentratedly noisy mayhem wrapped up in some charmingly awful production. Screaming, squealing smack your head into the wall music. Love it.

Teengenarate - Right Now

|| RPH || 12:10 AM || (0) comments

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Hard Drive Update

My external hard drive completely died last night (I couldn't get into it at all due to I/O errors) so I said fuck it and formatted it and lost pretty much all the info. Fortunately earlier this week when it started acting up I transferred all of the essential stuff directly onto the main drive, but I've still lost a huge amount of stuff. Luckily at various points I've burnt a lot of stuff onto cd, but as I am currently copying lots of stuff back onto the external hard drive, no (proper) blogging today. There'll be new stuff up tomorrow, cross my heart.

|| RPH || 11:39 PM || (0) comments

Friday, March 04, 2005

More Deep Space Adventures

In addition to that Paul Autonomic mix I posted about earlier, another mix that's been rocking my world recently has been a new mix by Paul Rose. It's much deeper, much dubbier, at times wandering off somewhere into a strange weightless space where the only anchor is the constant presence of that heavy dread bass before jerking you back out of your reverie as the music suddenly switches back into heavy stepping mode. Highly recommended.

Paul Rose - Dub n' Breaks Mix (right-click, save as)

01. Even - Oak Forest
02. Dee 1 - ???
03. Distance - Vicious Circles
04. L-Wiz - Habibi
05. Scuba - Timba
06. Slaughter Mob - Fever
07. Mark One - Tomb Raider
08. Search & Destroy - Koan
09. Eric H - The Lights (DJ Joseph remix) (Hotflush)
10. Slaughter Mob - Stopper
11. Distance - Roots (Boka)
12. Detroit Grand Pubahs - Sandwiches (Jive Electro)
13. Synthsis - Slippery
14. Scuba - Homing Device
15. Slaughter Mob - Python
16. Kode 9 & Dadi Gee - Sign o' the Dub (Hyperdub)
17. Toasty - Take it Personal (Hotflush promo)
18. Search & Destroy - Justice
19. Distance - 1 on 1 (Hotflush promo)
20. DJ Quest - Beerguzzla (Breakfasterz remix) (Cyberfunk) (plus Foodchain / Taiwan Ink)
21. Eric H - The Lights (original) (Hotflush)
22. Toasty - Like Sun (Hotflush)

|| RPH || 5:46 AM || (5) comments

Awesome Mix (And Other News)

Paul Autonomic has posted an excellent digital mashup (using the peerless Ableton Live software) of some grime and dubstep tunes.


Paul Autonomic - This One is Computerised (right-click, save as)

0:00 - Dizzee "Hoe" (Refix)
0:00 - Plastic Man "Pump Up the Jam"
1:30 - (Nightmares on Wax "I'm For Real")
1:37 - Mark One "Space Hopper"
3:28 - DJ Oddz - Strung Up VIP
5:48 - Wiley "Eskiboy"
6:02 - Lady Sovereign "Chi Ching" (Cheque 1 2 vocal and a cappella)
7:39 - Dizzee w/ D Double E "Give U More" (instrumental and vocal)
10:48 - (Nasty Habits "Here Come the Drumz")
11:01 - Vex'd "Pop Pop"
11:15 - Lethal B "Forward Riddim" (Hector Movie Mix)
14:30 - SLT Mob "Saddam"
17:45 - (Flirta D and Swarvo)
17:45 - Imp Batch "Gype"
19:51 - Alter Ego "Rocker" (Plastic Man Remix)
22:08 - Mark One w/ JSD "Stand Up"

There's a comments thread at Dissensus for those interested.

In other news, I've joined the admin team for Paul's site, but for the moment I'm going to be a bit quiet as last night I started having some problems with my external hard drive and I think I might have lost all of the London pirate radio rips I've collected (which is a total, enormous bummer), as well as quite a bit of other stuff. In all, if I can't fix it, it looks like I've lost about 10 or so gigs of music to file corruption. Oh well.

|| RPH || 12:44 AM || (0) comments

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

A Journey Into Unfashionability

Or, a guide to the varieties of hard dance.

Dan (and my head) at Absolution, The Soundshaft, London, Jan. 30th, 2004

Dan Durnin - BT Classics Vol. 2 (right-click, save as)

01. Defective Audio - Turn the Heat Up [Wasa-B]
02. OD404 - Ram Raid [Tripoli Trax]
03. Paul Glazby - Kick It [Vicious Circle]
04. Captain Tinrib & Steve Thomas - Get Down [Tinrib]
05. Phil Reynolds - Ballistic [Aztec]
06. Weirdo - Whiplash [Tinrib]
07. Justin Bourne & Lee Jeffries - Drop the Dime [Kaktai]
08. Equinox - Get Up [Tonka Trax]
09. BK & Andy Farley - Khemical Imbalance [Nukleuz]
10. Kevin Energy & Lee Techtonic - Mentazm [Dynamix]
11. Casper - Wallop [Passion]
12. Dynamic Intervention - Bigger Kicks [Cannon]
13. Tickle & Choci - Flute Remix [VCR]
14. Xavi Escolano - D.A.F.Y.K [DJ Tools]
15. M-Zone - Slave to the Rave [UK44]

Dan and me playing Pachinko in Tokyo, March 2002

This is a mix from my good friend Dan Durnin. Dan and I met at school when we were 17 and we've been good friends ever since. When we met he was actually the bassist in Durango 95 with a bunch of other friends of mine, but after going off to university and getting heavily into clubbing he decided to get into dj-ing after hearing me play an absolutely epic six and half hour set at the Millennium New Year's party we threw at his friend Mike's flat. I taught him what I could and he picked it up very quickly. He's not played out that much since starting because, like me, he can't really be bothered to deal with all the politics and ass-kissing you have to do if you want to be dj-ing regularly. But he is really good, and he's managed to play some really cool gigs, especially when he was living in Tokyo for a year teaching English.

Dan did this mix for Banging Tunes, a message board that we've both been using for about four or so years now. I've already explained my feelings for hard banging music, and this is very much in the same vein, except that this is more of a UK take on that whole piledriver sound, whereas the Rampage Archives mixes I linked to before were mostly composed of stuff from continental Europe. It's very much the sort of tunes that we used to go out and dance to every weekend, stomping like madmen for hours on end with sweat pouring off us. Maybe I am a sick man, but I can listen to this music in any circumstances, sitting at home, on the train, wherever, but it's unquestionably true that, like most dance music, it's best heard LOUD in a club. The bass and kick is the foil that you move to while your hands carve out crazed geometric shapes to the riffs that fire out of the speakers like controlled lightning. It's also fast music, and I love fast music. I never liked going to house clubs and sedately waltzing around the floor to 130 bpm discoey vocals; I wanted hard, fast, totally immediate music - a sonic roller coaster with little breathers before the snare roll brought the beat back and off you went again, jumping around like your limbs were made of gelatin.

This mix doesn't really mess around, it starts quite hard and fast and winds its way through hard house, nu-nrg, hard trance, and acid trance before ending with full-on mid-90's terminal velocity European mayhem. I love it. Makes me all misty for the past.

Dan and me at Vicious Circle First Birthday, Sheffield, September 2002

|| RPH || 11:20 PM || (0) comments

Old Flyers

Yesterday, at Boing Boing I found a link to a gallery of old school hip-hop flyers. There's some totally cool stuff to be seen there (like the one I've linked to above), although I must warn you that it's all on one page, and it takes a while to load even on broadband, so don't bother if you are dial-up.

Another cool resource for old flyers can be seen at Everything Starts With An E, a site dedicated to the original UK rave scene, that has a massive selection of flyers from 1988-1993 for British raves.

|| RPH || 10:45 PM || (0) comments

Mixes Back Online, Part Two

Every month our bandwidth gets hammered so I have to take our mixes down early. Anyways, every thing is back up again now, so if you want, they are there at I'm currently uploading some of my old mixes, and I'll let you guys know when they are up.

|| RPH || 8:55 PM || (0) comments

Music from Africa

One of my favorite recent music blog finds has been Benn Loxo du Taccu, which is all about African music and is written by a guy named Matt Yanchyshyn who lives in Dakar, Senegal. The music of the African continent is such a hugely complex and daunting field for the uninitiated that it's wonderful to have such an able guide and the chance to check out such a wide range of stuff. Go check it out, there's lots and lots of mp3's, all presented with interesting and informative notes on the artists and the scenes, influences, and traditions they are working from.

Anyways, since I'm on that theme, here's an mp3.

Manu Dibango - African Battle

This is from a compilation I picked up a couple years ago entitled 'Africa Funk: The Original Sound of 1970's Funky Africa', which was a compilation of tunes made in the 1970's (as per the title) by African artists who were influenced by American funk/soul music. The Cameroonian saxophonist Manu Dibango, whose track I've featured here, is one of the most famous musicians to have emerged from Africa during that period. If you're interested in learning more about him, there's a pretty long and quite interesting biography at Radio France Internationale.

Also on the African theme, check out this thread at Dissensus on Congotronics, which then develops into a discussion of Congolese music in general.

|| RPH || 12:38 AM || (2) comments