Pop the glock
Last week I went back to Bristol to hook up with Puffin Jack, Ricky Carnage and other friends and associates.
It turned out Lazerboy was hosting the back room at local house night Empathy, and he, Puffin, Mike Bull and Gareth Watkins (the boys, basically) were all playing. Throw in Al Dare, myself and Carnage as punters and it looked like a techno reunion of family-album proportions….Alas, the turnout was pretty dire, and those people who had bothered to brave the bonecrushing cold to get there headed straight to the main room to hear prog/electro-house upstart Luke Dzierdek. I too popped in briefly to check him out, but I was kind of put off by his visual similarity to Finn from Hollyoaks, not to mention the turgid, electrohouse-at-its-most-bullish tuneage (though when he dropped his own ‘Over’, the Silver Planet ’05 smash that also happened to be the Tiefschwarz ’04 rip-off to end all Tiefschwarz ’04 rip-offs, it sounded ace) and the (mostly male) pondlife who had gathered to dance to him.
So, as often happens, I found myself chewing my face off contentedly to my buddies’ sounds (Note: It’s come to my attention that, when mashed, I do this weird, unintentionally cod-mystical dancing thing which kind of makes me (pictured above) look like a gay Italian version of Rafiki from the Lion King. Which is fine when there are lots of gay Italians around – London, anyone? - but not on a virtually empty dancefloor in Bristol. I need to sort that shit out). Anyway, it’s important to stress that the emptiness of the back room had nothing to do with the quality of the music, which was as high as you’d expect from our motley Brizzle crew. Bull and Watkins, who we’re collaborating with on our new night (details soon), played at their funkische minimal best (I remember some Ryan Crosson tracks sounding particularly tasty), and with their new Final Scratch setup, which kinda made the booth look like the controls on the Millenium Falcon or summat, but in a good way…Lazerboy has gone pretty italo since his big move to London (no bad thing), but he made room for ‘Just Fucking’, ‘Arquipelago’ and other assorted screamers; while our very own Puffin showcased his newfound ‘nu-jazz but not nu-jazz, unbroken beat techno’ tendency, which sounds awful on paper but excellent on a system. It’s the Compost Black Label via dubstep vibe – really tough, clattering snares and ultra-excessive bass woomph.
The best things I heard all night, though, I must confess, I heard when we went back to Puffin’s house…One was the jazz collaboration ting with Christopher Dell that Roman Flugel’s just put out on Laboratory Instinct – I was too fucked then to remember how it sounds now, but not too fucked to assure you that it is utterly brilliant, though duly wanky, of course (there’s a 12” EP out from the pair next month, definitely have a sniff). The second thing was a CDR by Puffin’s mate and former Imperial Records employee Ralph, who records as RLF (pronounced, drum roll please, as Ralph) and has put out a pair of 10”s for Rex (who’ve released stuff by Cut Copy, The Presets and The Avalanches); the most recent, Blow Your Mind and Your Speakers Will Follow, was described by one commentator as ‘a no holds barred soundclash between Andrew Weatherall and Steve Albini’. Now, I remembering listening to one of those tens a year or so ago, and loving the (loosely speaking) electro breakbeat feel (seriously Carnage, such a love is possible); but the new stuff that Puffin played me off that CD last week was nothing short of SCINTILLATING. Seriously, I know I was off my face, but none of the many florid adjectives I regularly use can come close to explaining how satisfying it sounded to me…It’s not really dubstep, but I guess the kind of music which you would think ‘dubstep’ denoted, if it didn’t denote what it does denote. You follow? Basically, it’s quality stuff; I presume he’s going to get some of the tracks waxed up in the near future – but definitely a name to watch. Really thoughtful, fun, impeccably weighted production, with enough horns and unnameable noise to counter the remorseless bass frequencies that provide the essential character. And it sounded fucking refreshing after another night on the 4x4 tiles.
As soon as I get a copy of that CD, I’ll post some tracks for you. For now, make do with some old chestnuts that found their way into Lazerboy’s set:Audion - Just Fucking (Roman Flugel's 23 Positions in a One Night Stand Remix) // Spectral Sound
Charlie - Spacer Woman // Mr Disc
What else? I was wanking all over the new remix of The Klaxons by Matt and Pete the other day. Well, since then, I’ve listened and listened and can assure you that my enthusiasm was by no means misplaced. Moreover, the Nottingham-based pair have found a name for themselves – Night Moves. Check their Myspace, where I think you can stream the Klaxons mix right now.
I’ve been watching too many films recently; lack of funds has made binge-drinking less workable than usual, and the murderous cold weather means that being couped up in a cinema with a box of popcorn, or at home, chainsmoking in front of the laptop, has become an invaluable means of passing the dead, wintery time. I finally got around to seeing A Cock & Bull Story, which should have been an English Lit student’s wet dream, but kind of felt like an overgrown TV vanity project rather than the joyously self-consuming, revelatory movie I thought it would be. And it had one of those chummy Best-of-British, post-Trainspotting/Four Weddings supporting casts that morbidly holds the interest, but kind of pulls the wool over one’s eyes as regards the actual characterization (or lack of) going on – Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon, Keeley Hawes, Dylan Moran, Ian Hart, Greg Wise, Jeremy Northam, Kelly McDonald, Stephen Fry, Shirley Henderson and so on and so on. Anyway, I had nothing to do last night, so I thought it was time to watch David Cronenberg’s Dead Ringers (pictured above), in which Jeremy Irons plays twin gynaecologists who come unstuck over their obsession with some fucked-up actress and her bodged innards. It’s bloody entertaining, in that recklessly exploitative, slightly grubby Cronenberg way (though if you didn’t see his recent, low-key Spider, you should), but I left it at the half-way point – I was having my dinner, and chicken enchiladas don’t mix well with gynaecological horror, let me tell you…Cronenberg is, I hear, working on pre-production for an adaptation of Martin Amis’s bloated, brilliant-but-awful minor masterpiece London Fields, a book which even its narrator describes as ‘unfilmable’. I dare say it’ll never get made; I think Cronenberg and a couple of others have tried in the past, and backed out. Anyway, if it does get made, surely Ray Winstone for Keith and Hugh Grant for Guy? That’s how I’ve always envisioned it, contrary even to the descriptions in the novel…Seriously off the point here. This is meant to be a music blog. But while I’m on the topic, while watching Dead Ringers last night I remembered how much I love Jeremy Irons and how few notable movies he’s in these days (Dungeons & Dragons? Prrmph…). Whacking his name in the IMDB, as you do, I was delighted to find that along with Laura Dern (one of my favourite actresses, largely because I kinda fancied her when my ten-year-old self watched Jurassic Park) and Justin Theroux (who played the wry director fella in Mulholland Drive), he's starring in the new feature-length by David Lynch. It’s called The Inland Empire, the script is top-secret, and Lynch is filming totally in digital. Scheduled for premiere at the next Cannes, apparently. You know it’ll be good. Going to a free screening of (pain in the) Lars Von Trier’s new one, Manderlay, on Wednesday; I kinda hate the man, but I’m unashamed to say that I thought Dogville was phenomenal (don’t ask me about The Idiots) – question is, will the same tricks work this time around? I’ll probably let you know.
Right. What track to post? Well, I think we would all do well to remember just how good Ame were before Rej came out. This one’s a friggin’ barnstormer...
Ame - Shiro // Sonar Kollektiv
I’ll tell you what else I’m loving at the moment – ‘Kitchen’, released on Trapez by Noze late last year. Featuring a disconcertingly pervy vocal (‘It sounds like a drunk old man who’s had electro shock therapy and a whole bottle of absinthe,’ say Phonica), the production is nice, very nice: glitchy, sticky, tracky business that’ll rock any dancefloor that can tolerate the barmy lyrics which adorn it. But nice to see Trapez showing a sense of humour, not to mention a human voice.
Download: Noze - Kitchen // Trapez
There’s some interesting new releases emerged this week…The new Dubsided 12” by Jesse Rose is getting a lot of attention, and a lot of plays, which is understandable ‘cos this self-styled ‘fidget-house’ stuff is glitchy enough to find favour with our sort and boorish enough to satisfy a more breaks/hip hop-hungry floor. Rose teams up with Trevor Loveys for a 12” on Made to Play (home of Buckley’s superb ‘Block Party’), and again the sounds are smart, though I prefer Loveys’s own stuff on Front Room and Freerange. So, yeah, all of the above with sound colossal out, but I can’t help but feel there’s something implacably wrong about all this post-This is Sick/A Bit Patchy tackle; isn’t all just a bit too….cartoonish? Connaisseur, whose first release was Patrick Chardronnet’s sublime ‘Eve By Day’, have a new single from Jochen Trappe out – the A-side is fussy tech-funk, while Robert Babicz provides a remix on the flip that brings a dreamier minimalism to proceedings. I haven’t got a copy yet, but I highly recommend it….Uffy, a new signing to France’s Ed Banger, provides the double-header Pop the Glock/Ready to Uff. The original ‘Pop the Glock’ has a take-it-or-leave-it Peaches/Avenue D vibe going on, and SebastiAn’s remix (predictably) takes it through the warped, haemorrhage-funk blender. The highlight of the 12” is Mr Oizo’s rendering of ‘Ready to Uff’ which paints from same retrofuturist Parisian block party palette as ‘Half a Moustache’. What do you make of John Tejada? I have mixed feelings. I’ve seen him DJ and he is FANTASTIC, and the Poker Flat mix he did (included on the recent box set) is irresistible; production-wise, I’m not so sure. He puts out a lot of stuff, and a lot of it passes me right by, then along comes a ‘Mono on Mono’ or ‘Sweat on the Walls’ and I cream my pants, wondering why I don’t listen to more Tejada. Well, this week John T returns to spiritual home Poker Flat with a new 12”, ‘Big City Music’. From what I can tell, it falls into the exceptionally-dull-at-home-but-will-sound-great-in-the-mix camp; in other words, a sturdy but by no means essential purchase. Here’s a stonking, retro-house joint from Martin Landsky which pops up on Tejada’s Poker Flat mix:Download:
Martin Landsky - Reject // Poker Flat
I’ve spent most of this morning listening to Aphex’s ‘Ambient Works 85-92’ – how good is that? I have to remind myself once every couple of months quite how perfect and thrilling and ahead-of-its-time and supernaturally melodic it actually is. ‘Tha’ and ‘Ptolemy’ make me quiver so much that regular exposure to ‘em is not advised – I would post one of them, but if there was an album that was actually WORTH paying a tenner for, it were this. So buy it.
Most of the records/tracks I've mentioned are available here. Give the artists some money.