Nov 29, 2004

mp3 - Hello Darkness

Right. So winter's here and we've entered that long dark tunnel between October and March. There's practically no sun and the freezing rain is about to turn to snow. Worse still, the weather won't be this awesome again for a good four months. Bloody freezing hell.

So to make things a little more fun (or torturous - I'm not sure yet), I'm starting my first thematic mp3 series. Personal obsession and seasonal depression will be colluding to bring you a selection of dirty, dour, corny and spine-tingling Darkside chunes.

I'm going to try to be really orthodox about this - just tracks called "Dark ...," "... Dark," "Dark+suffix," and so forth. Once in a while I might change it up and throw in a tune that just has a sample that says something about things being dark, getting dark, etc., but that's about it. You get the picture. I'm not a fan of winter, but together we'll pull through this. So grab a couple of snowballs and turn down the lights...

Watch the ride...

mp3: Tango and Ratty - Tales From the Darkside (1992)

This was surprise find at my friend's shop the other day. A clear sign of winter's descent. It's a pretty decent tune from that moment when 909 kicks were giving way to stuttering breaks. This song has just about everything - a B-boy chipmunk, clean sine-bass, dirty distorted stabs, slow breaks and manic ones. I particularly like the chopped human beatbox during the string breakdown around 2:40.

More to come. Enjoy!

Nov 28, 2004

Toronto Crew: Where d'you get yr Grime?

I'm stumped. Where are people in Toronto getting their Grime fix? I'm assuming it's mostly downloaded stuff. I've downloaded practically everything I've got. Haven't tried Soulseek yet because setting it up under OS X seems to require a bit of alchemy.

But in terms of buying records, mix tapes or discs - is there any place even in Southern Ontario that has much of anything? The last couple of times I went to Play De Record and said "Grime" I got blank looks from the counter staff. It's always been my spot for Hip Hop and Jungle, but I think they're missing the boat on this one. Does anyone have other suggestions? I might order the odd thing from the UK but exchange rates and shipping make that a pretty expensive proposition.

So any help would be well appreciated? Luca? Robert?

Nov 24, 2004

Nice up ya scene


mp3 - My First Hoover

AforP enters the world of mp3-bloggery today. However, this is more of a test. Posts will be sparse until I move back to Laughing Squid and expand my server space. I won't ever be as regular or thorough as the excellent Spoilt Victorian Child, but I'm hoping to assemble some themed posts over the next few months that let me share bits of my music collection and maybe get some discussion going.

The inaugural post takes a cue from Gutterbreakz' nascent Belgian Hardcore series and today's offering from Richie Hawtin's F.U.S.E.

Living in Ontario in the early 1990s, it was nice to have at least one relevant techno label (+8) operating relatively close by because it meant that mail order was more of a possibility. I sent for the catalogue and picked up the requisite Plastikman + Speedy J's "Something for your Mind." I'd heard the Speedy J track on a mixtape and got hooked. It was my introduction to the magical hoover. Unfortunately, the record I ordered didn't sound much at all like the track on my tape. And subsequent tunes I found from Speedy were another beast altogether. What I was after was the Exposure Remix from Belgian label Music Man. This was before Discogs so I had a hard time tracking it down. Finally, years later, the original Napster hooked me up.

In truth, this song is downright monotonous. Yet anytime I put it on I play it all the ways through and give it a couple of rewinds. So without anymore babble, here's a little taste of the Windsor/Amsterdam/Belgium axis.

mp3: Speedy J - "Something for your Mind" (Exposure Remix) (Music Man, Belgium 1992)

Nov 8, 2004

Blog break

Overloaded with work right now. I'll be back to posting regularly sometime in December.

Until then, the one or two people who read this can find me at Dissensus.

And until I get a links section up, here are some of my current faves...

The Pinocchio Theory
Chantelle Fiddy's World of Grime

And always...
Autonomedia News

+ my bad news fix:
Common Dreams

More on Agit-tronics

I ended up writing a very lenghty reply to Robert's comment on the frist Agit-tronics post, so I thought I'd just put it on the main page.

Robert said...
"Paul, what do u think of the idea that making sound for its own sake IS a political statement?"

Good question.

I would say it definitely can be depending on the circumstances. But in and of itself, the act of making sound is not necessarily a politcal gesture. It can even be a diversion - pouring all of one's energy into a "statement" that may not contain any referrents for listeners. Studio based musics have a tendency to breed an apolitical, boys-and-their-machines atmosphere. Simon Reynolds described it in terms of "the boy's-own aura of anal retentive expertise, the vague, ill-defined conviction that something radical was at stake in the music." I'm implicating myself here as well.

I think early Jungle is a good example of a music that was contestational on an aural level - a sonically vicious response to social conditions in Britain during the recession. Its politics were most definitely implicit in its sound. The problem with implicit politics is that they are more easily obscured by sonic fetishism. Recently, I've been into Soundmurderer but I've also been asking myself what is the point of these virtuosic drill and bass-isms and retro ragga gunplay samples. On one level it's fun and nostalgic. On another it's exoticising and wanky. But I when I heard SM's "Badman" set against George Bush samples in Aaron Spectre's "No More Destruction" mix it breathed new life into it for me. The empty violence of the track was captured and politicised.

What I'm hoping for then, is music with explicit, articulated politics that reduce the emphasis on auteurism and develop a sense of responsibility toward fostering a culture of resistance. This perspective may have something to do with my musical awakening coinciding with the rise of both political Hip Hop and Fugazi at the turn of the 1990s. I see something similar in some of the Electro-Feminist Punk bands (EG: Le Tigre, Tracy + the Plastics, Lesbians on Ecstasy - don't say "Electroclash") or a group like Asian Dub Foundation. But it's hard to come by.

I'm not saying that everyone has to do it. I'm not saying I dislike music that is not overtly poliitcal. But I do think that, given the political climate, some people might think of putting their beats where their mouths are. Including myself.

Nov 6, 2004

Agit-tronics v. Freedom

So Freedom will be on the rampage for another four years. I'm hoping that, at the very least, we get some good Agit-tronic music out of this mess.

More DJ/Rupture and Mutamassik. Muslimgauze clones. Go Croatan! More capture of code: politicized relicks of the violently inert; new mash up scenes built on something more substantial than retro cred; homemade videos. Funny not dour. ADF, PE and Le Tigre offspring. More anti-war Hip Hop. Politcal Grime?

For the most part, electronic musics have tended to favour the apolitical route. During the Clinton coma, we Squarepushed, Auteched, Ovaled, etc. - making and consuming a lot of sound for its own sake. Its time the usually latent political potential of our musics was more fully developed. Instead of ironic cool lets have a dose of earnest belief.

Let's not think in terms of scenes, authenticity or virtuosity. Agit-tronics can be all sounds of like mind. DJs, sound makers, video makers, first timers.

Explicit, or implicit in their potential - a very short list of Agit-tronics:

DJ/rupture and Nettle @ Negrophonic
DJ/rupture v. Mutamassik "Shotgun Wedding"
Muslimgauze site
Aaron Spectre/MashIt "No More Destruction Mix"
Slaughter Mob "Saddam"
Madvillain "Strange Ways"

I'll add more as I find it and have time. Please add, exapand, discuss.