Monday, 7 March 2011
Sorry about the the lack of updates recently. The last month has been so busy that I haven't been able to fit in any writing but I'm hoping things return to normal soon. In the meantime here's a mix of mine from last year:
J3000 is an alias that I intend to start producing under. The idea is for it to be an outlet for my interest in electro, detroit techno, chicago/detroit/deep house and the spaces between all of these. J3000 is about joining the dots between them I guess and this mixtape is the first attempt at that.
Dâm-Funk - Come On Outside
Space Dimension Controller - The Love Quadrant
Eli Escobar - Shoulda Let You Go
Newcleus - Cyborg Dance
Kurtis Mantronik - Push Yer Hands Up (Bleecker Street Hip Hop Formula)
Plus Device - Bodyheat
Jimmy Edgar - My Beats
Morgan Geist - Detroit
Roberto Rodriguez - About This Love Feat. Max C (Crazy P Dub)
The Hundred In The Hands - Dressed In Dresden (Kyle Hall)
Anthony Shakir - Assimilated
Kirk Degiorgio - Time Spins
Smith N Hack - Falling Stars
Aril Brikha - Winter
Tuesday, 18 January 2011
Note: I appreciate we're a few weeks into 2011 now and most best of lists have long since been and gone. To hell with convention though eh, here's a belated list for you all to enjoy
2010 was as fragmented and schizophrenic a year as ever in the world of electronic / dance music. In what strange world is Actress dubstep or Instra:Mental drum & bass? Artists seemed to be inter-breeding at an unprecedented rate with an irreverent approach to genre-bending. Flying Lotus transcended his Dilla’esque associations and pulverised everyone's brain with a bar-raising genre-less masterpiece. Meanwhile Shed made a techno album that jumped wildly between tempos and beats yet hung together beautifully. Similarly, the masterful Actress created an album that took in a bewildering range of influences yet pulled it all off with aplomb. In each of these cases, the artist took their genre as a frame to hang everything else onto; a starting point or a set of signifiers within the music. This was about building from the past but not in a nostalgic way. The best of these albums were surreal mutations adeptly mixing up old fragments into unlikely shapes.
Wednesday, 5 January 2011
Looking back at the broad sweep of twentieth century music, its hard not to notice how fresh and powerful it often was. Think about the dissonance and strange rhythms of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, the jazz prodigies who rewrote the rule book, the artistic and cultural impact of the bands of the 1960s. Think about Brian Eno's ambient experiments, Public Enemy's use of samplers, post-punk, Kraftwerk's machine music, Juan Atkin's dystopian hymns to Detroit, Aphex Twin’s other-worldly electronics, the glitch aesthetics of Autechre, Oval and the Mille Plateaux label, the dub techno minimalism of Basic Channel, the rise of the DJ and club culture through disco, house, rave and techno. The twentieth century is full of examples of music that had a powerful artistic and cultural impact that went way beyond the surface level. It seemed reasonable to assume therefore that, catalysed by the digital technologies of the early twenty-first century, the trend wouldn't just continue but actually speed up. Jaron Lanier was surprised at the lack of musical progress in the noughties; “I entered the internet era with extremely high expectations. I eagerly anticipated a chance to experience shock and intensity and new sensations, to be thrust into lush aesthetic wildernesses, and to wake up every morning to a world richer in every detail because my mind had been energised by unforeseeable art” . It came as a surprise to Lanier however, that, at the tail of end of the noughties, this hadn't come to pass. For a while he put this down to a temporary lull, the calm before the storm, but after a while it felt more like a slump. Lanier’s growing suspicion was that the internet, far from facilitating musical evolution, was leading to an unprecedented picking over of pre-internet culture. In his view, “the reinvention of life through music was in retreat”. Culture was now “fixated on the world as it was before the web was born”.
Thursday, 2 December 2010
There are two fundamental ways in which the internet has changed music. The first is that, by being freed from the limitations of physicality and old media, the vast majority of all recorded music is available to everyone instantly. The second is that the explosion of choice has created fragmentation; the decreasing relevance of the album, the splintering of music into sub-genres and the rise of the narrow cast, personalized, niche musical experience. The platitudes of the web-evangelists tell us this is overwhelmingly a good thing; the more choice people have and the freer they are to chose, the more everyone benefits. People will become more cultured and the culture will in turn become more sophisticated thus evolving more rapidly. Its a virtuous cycle, an exponential cycle of progress. Of course, nobody would argue that in order to have a healthy music culture (or any culture for that matter), diversity and freedom of choice is important. However, what happens when choice starts to feel limitless?
Wednesday, 10 November 2010
John Harris' recently wrote an interesting piece in The Guardian about the lack of political dissent in popular music. He says that, given our political and economic situation it would be very surprising if popular music didn't provide a response. However, the thrust of the article is that, political dissent has been so lacklustre for so long it seems unlikely that it will suddenly come to life now. Sadly, I think he's broadly correct here, as far as the decline of dissent in popular music goes, the times are not so much 'a-changing' as 'a-changed