"I've Got The Love Of Jesus". There are clear signs of wear and tear in the voice of lead Clarence Fountain, but he knows how to put the strain to good use. Production by Booker T Jones proves that this man knows his green onions.
Kodwo Eshunfinds hidden depths in the new Techno, HipHop and streetsoul melodies
Sven Viith Ritual of Life (EYE Q RECORDSPR 0778 12") Despite a steady series of ambient releases aimed at the dancefloor -albums such as Frankfurt producer Sven Vath's Accident InParadise from which these remixes are taken the music hasn't really been drawn into the 90s club continuum. In a terrain where impact is meaured by instinct, reaction and musculature, ambient music dissipates the nervous sympathy of the club sensorium. Ambient is anti-dance - it drains energy, it turns the limber tautness of dancing into a slumped torpor. Therefore, it is shunted off to a side room, as if its energies have to be contained separately.Vath's music, its weightless sensibility buoyed up by sitar and translucent flute, finds its analogy in the zero gravity sequences of 2001. Satellite commuters tumble and rotate in space. What should be a terrifying distortion becomes a comforting journey within a controlled environment. The lassitude of ambient listening pleasure suggests that the music does the rotation for you -you become body conscious, earthbound, while the sound moves through simulations of vacuums. This track provokes polar inertia: a sense of dead immobil~tywhile simultaneously being transported through vast distances. No longer beats per minute - instead, moments are taken from beats and expanded into another time frame altogether.
The SubplatesVol 1 (SUBURBAN BASESUBBASE 24 10") The four tracks on this 1 0 EP from the prolific Essex hardcore label are expressions of today's velocity boy fever. It's as if all the possibilitiesof every impact, crash and accident -which we attempt to alleviate via car bumpers, speed limits and breathalyser tests - have been harnessed and somehow syncopated. If the horror, thrill and danger of accidents could somehow be harnessed to polyrhythms, then you would have a new aesthetic of calamities per minute. This EP is that aesthetic but with no big deal aggrandisement attached to it. DJ Hype's track "The .Chopper" is excellent, running a hyped up escalator sound against a mockery of Satie-esque sentiment.
It desecrates everything it touches by pushing the speed of living up against the speed of technology, of reproduction.The former loses out, and loves it.
Dr Phibes & The House Of Wax Equations Moment Of Truth (OFFSIDE DRPZM 12") For anyone doing Black Rock, there's an existing trajectory to be explored. It reaches from Funkadelic's Maggot Brain to Herbie Hancock's Crossings and Sextant to Miles Davis's Agharta to the second side of the new Jungle Brothers' album Beez With The Remedy. But Dr Phibes aren't a group who can take the weight of this path of black noise. Their new single is a grey drizzle, hopeful harmonics dragged helplessly to earth by mundane vocals. The content isn't particular enough to Black British experiences to hold my interest. Black Rock in the UK should be the name for an expansion of black identity, a redefinition of the limits of black romantic imagination and also a decolonisation of the traditional Black vs White, SoulIFunk vs RockITechno opposites. It should be the name for an identity rethink, a consciousness overhaul. Black Rock needs its own Smiths in order to get a sense of what Greg Tate calls "vulnerability with attitude". There's a need for vulnerability with no apologies, for self-indulgence, for an inward lookingself obsessed black narcissism. All this is what Black Rock should be and Dr Phibes aren't up to it. I dream of a group who will come one day and will do all this. They will be called
Black Assassin Saint and they will overturn everything. In my lifetime preferably.
The Beatnuts Intoxicated Demons (RELATIVITY1VIOLATOR 88561-11 1 4 1 12") Longtime NY producers for the Jungle Brothers and Kurious George, this debut EP impresses with its fine, ambitious jazz-infected production skills. The eccentric, micro-assassination fantasy which ends "Story" is dazzling. In fact, the 'skits', five out of the 10tracks on this 2 0 minute EP, do a lot of interestingthings in a very short time. Serious HipHop is committed to a wake-up call, to a rational attack on the mediatedfalse consciousness of its audience. Skits are the pratfall, the fall guys to the stand-up theory of HipHop's militant messages. They are the dramatization of a specific political unconscious. Wondering, carnivalesque, serious and comic, these digressions have recently moved in from the margins of HipHop's broadcast technique. Where a group like The Pharcyde score with the picaresquejourney of "If I Were President", The Beatnuts go for all out fracture, words tailing off, music collapsing in on itself as hyper-awareness gives way to disconnected daydream.
PsycheIBFC Applied Rhythmic Technology (ART 3 12") UK release on a new label for Detroit producer Carl Craig aka Psyche aka BFC. On this EP, Techno is Black Mystery restored. Roland Kirk couldn't have known (or maybe he did), when he wrenched the shattering disgust of "Black Mystery Has Been Revealed" out of piano, broken glass and whistles, that late 20th century pop culture would become the triumph of Black ambition, a series of identifications, reactions and assimilations of Black impulses of invention and triumph through oppression.Carl Craig takes up music from the point when Miles Davis turned his back on audience's adulation and admiration. He takes the postural semantics of that aggressive refusal all the way out into a principled invisibility.This music doesn't have a visual register. The icon system, the videogenic props, the entire industry of scopic attachmentjust isn't there and so Techno collapses into inscrutable mystery and sonic awe. The second track "How The West Was Won" (hear it as "How The West Was One") is a lament for the world of differencesTechno leaves behind -flanged guitar tones and mournful synthesizers play off delicate rimshot drum patterns. "Noodle Soup" is the faintest hint of an a capella loop stifled with misery, while "Sleep" is barely there at all; infinitely subtle ripples and perimeters of sound offer up circles in which sighs and groans are engulfed and drowned. Carl Craig and the music media, both print and visual, are incompatible: his music is lamenting something they don't even know is over yet.
Various ArWs Cultural House: Selected (CULTII iLP) Brilliant compilation of freeform epiphanies usually grouped and ignored under the name of Garage music. Producers such as Victor Simonelli (who used to be Critical Rhythm), Lennie Fontana and Victor Romeo, and labels such as Magnet, Velvet City and X-Ray, are important and unrecognised black music talents. They work under careless project names and give conversational couldn't-care-less titles to their music. For instance, T.M.V.S., which simply stands for the producers' initials, loop the opening bars of US swingbeat boy wonders Shai's track "If I Ever Fall In Love", and generate their own track "Don't Be Shy". The former is a simulated harmonic interface of ballad and rhythm. The latter becomes the butterfly to Shai's slightly sluggish caterpillar, turning into a sparse intricate interplay of off-the-beat rhythm and warped variations on a capella. In fact, the more perfunctory the title, the more chiselled the music, which favours bottom end arrangements and male vocal yearning over the top note diva pitch of more mainstream House.0
(Independentdance music 12"s and LPs are available through Greyhound, Record Corner, Revolver, Pinnacle and specialistdance shops.)
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