Friday, May 30, 2014

NUUMSTALGIA - protodubstep flashbacks; "more from 94"

Two new instances of nuumstalgia:

1/  protodubstep flashback:

Plastician is to reissue his early vinyl-only Plasticman releases of 2003-04 in remastered package

He explained to FACT that “I re-opened the original .flp Fruityloops files in the same versions of the software they were built in at the time and bounced them as wavs completely flat. I’ve not added any new effects or eq to any of them. They all contain exactly the same sounds and mix settings as they did in the early ’00s, even as basic as they are I felt it would be wrong to change anything.

But as well as Plasticman Remastered there will also be  the inevitable slew of remixes and refixes.

FACT interview with Plasticman/Plastician 

"Hard Graft" was the one I loved back in the day, when this stuff was seen as a sidestream to grime more than an entity in itself.

Indeed I included it in the Grime Primer I did for The Wire in 2005:

If you hadn’t already guessed from the name, grime inverts values. Dutty, stinkin’, even disgustin’--all are positive attributes in grime parlance. So when I say “Hard Graft” is utterly dismal, you’ll know this is the thumbs up. Grime often represents itself as gutter music. Mark One and Plasticman go further, or deeper, with this track, and seem to plunge into the sewage system. Full of clanking beats, septic gurglings, eerie echoes and scuttling percussion, “Hard Graft” makes you imagine pipes, storm drains, dank chambers.

Mark One, Plasticman and their cohorts constitute not so much a subgenre of grime as a side-genre, running adjacent to the scene proper. The sound is techy, MC-free, and more danceable than grime. Although a number of black producers are involved, you could fairly describe this style’s sonic coding as whiter than grime, and situate it on a Euro continuum running through Belgian industrial techno (Meng Syndicate, 80 Aum) through the cold technoid end of rave (Nebula II) to No U Turn’s techstep and Photek-style neurofunk (the beats on “Hard Graft” sometimes recall his “Ni Ten Ichi Ryu”). Plasticman’s nomenclative proximity to the Richie Hawtin alias seems telling.

2/  retro-rollige

Keysound Recordings present Sully's Blue EP -- "four sides of warm vinyl dedicated to classic break-based rollage ‘n’ choppage: less “where were you in ’92?” rather “who wants more from ’94?”  

The press release continues:

"One title seems to sum it up best: “Simple Things.” This double pack is not a statement about 2014, it is not trying to be a new sound, scene or development. This is just seven tracks of uncomplicated, intensely emotive, rhythmic fun – as MC’ed over by original-junglist-at-heart Riko on a recent Rinse FM show. It is concluded by a beatless “vapour dub” from Logos, as he sublimes the title track “Blue.” 

“The inspiration for these tunes essentially goes back to the free parties I spent weekends chasing in the early ‘00s,” explains Sully. “Youthful optimism put an almost spiritual spin on what were sketchy, chaotic, DIY happenings. Vision blurring subs felt like epiphanies. The EPs raw, chopped up sounds reflect that feeling: thrown together, reckless, but elevating with it.”

“Blue” is definitely a theme that runs through many of the tracks, a kind of synth-lead wistfulness. “Solitaire” riffs around the vocal fragment: “remember we like lone ranger: we ride alone, man”, while the title track timestretches “no man test” to form a kind of emotional push back, keeping all comers at arms length. “M141”, perhaps the ruffest of the EP, speaks of intoxication and submission: “taking… me… over.”

Hear here "Blue" and "Solitaire" from the EP 

Normally of course I disapprove of this kind of historical redundancy, but... but....  when it comes to certain stages of the Nuum - ardkore, darkcore, jungle, speed garage, 2step - I am quite seduced by this "more from" idea - the notion of stretching out the past, revisiting those years that went by way too fast, elongating and extending them -  turning a transition into a permanence...

Mental image of self as Oliver Twist holding out his plate and begging, "please sir, I want some more"

Harry Secombe's Beadle as Father Time scowling, then softening - "oh, all right then"

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

this was tomorrow #31

Shock of the New intro title sequence + synthtronic theme by paddy kingsland of radiophonic workshop - 1980

[via It's full of stars]

"an alternate Eighties"

in this Solid Steel mix DJ Food imagines an "alternate version of the 80′s pop chart, not the one already there in the form of the extended 12″ remix that came to prominence in that decade, but a secret, subtly twisted one with different producers at the controls. Imagine Depeche Mode and Gary Numan remixed by a Hip Hop engineer, Tears For Fears cut to ribbons by a tape edit king, Bow Wow Wow and The Human League streamlined into a slow disco groove. Grace Jones and Heaven 17 pumped up for a House club...". It's "an hour of mostly unofficial remixes, re-edits and versions of classic pop songs from the 80′s, remodeled by fans or studio engineers with access to the separate track stems", with examples ranging from a Balearic dub of I Want Candy to Hibakusha's revamps of "Relax" and  Once In A Lifetime (Hibakusha remix) (CDR)   to the Grace Jones cover of Me, I Disconnect From You that's actually from the original time but only released now on the new 2 CD deluxe edition of Nightclubbing.

Friday, May 16, 2014

retro ads (this isn't yesterday #1)

Ads for Daft Punk merchandise carefully styled to look they're from a 1970s or early 80s issue of, I dunno, Rolling Stone maybe.  Via DJ Food.

I think the Random Access Memories episode will seem in the future - even if anyone actually cares to recall it --- more and more mystifying as a gesture.

When they were on the Grammy Awards, playing live with these ancient veterans of black music Stevie Wonder and Nile Rodgers, I couldn't help wondering what it would have felt like if someone in 1979 / 1980 had been able to see this. It would have been Mark Fisher's "past shock" in extremis. They'd be like, "2013, and music hasn't moved on at all? It still sounds like Chic and The Whispers and Odyssey?!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Musical Materialities in the Digital Age Conference

Not participating in this but looks cool: 
Musical Materialities in the Digital Age
Conference, 27-28 June 2014, University of Sussex, Brighton
Overview: Music, while summoning notions of intangibility, transience and loss,
is also associated with material objects that serve to ground the musical, 
make the transient permanent and defer loss. Unearthing music’s association
with materiality reveals a fascinating array of artefacts, including instruments, 
scores, transcribing devices, sound recordings and much more. Such artefacts
provide vital reference points for historical research as well as inviting new
creative uses, rediscoveries and (re)mediations. They also add to the
ever-growing archives of past objects, whether stored in ‘physical’ or digital forms. 
Music’s material traces serve as vital ways of mediating memory, whether in private collections 
or public exhibitions. Furthermore, the use of musical ‘ephemera’ such as record sleeves, programmes, 
flyers and posters as a primary means for  putting the popular musical past on display in museums and galleries has highlighted the ways in which
such objects are  not so ephemeral after all.
The persistence of musical artefacts and musical materialities following the period of their initial use
value poses interesting questions. What is the fate of musical artefacts once they become obsolescent?
What becomes of music and its objects once relegated to archives? What is the role of musical artefacts 
in helping us to understand the past? What is the relationship between the physical and the digital in terms of music’s objects? 
To what extent does a focus on music’s objects challenge the idea of music as a social process? 
Conversely, what role does musical materiality play in the maintenance and development of rituals long associated with music? 
What rituals reformulate musical materiality? What does the remediation of the musical past via ‘media archaeology’ 
have to tell us about present desires, anxieties and needs? What is the role of museums, galleries, sound archives 
and libraries in these processes?
Working from the premise that musical materiality matters, the aim of this two-day interdisciplinary conference 
(welcoming speakers from media studies, music studies, cultural studies, museum studies, memory studies and other cognate disciplines) 
will be to reflect upon the materialities of music bjects and technologies in the digital age, with an emphasis on:
- Processes of remediation
- Residual media of ‘dead media’
- Cultural waste
- Media archaeology (and particular manifestations relating to sound and music, e.g. ‘vinyl archaeology’)
- The recycling of memory and material culture
- The digital archive
- The future of music creation and consumption
- Nostalgia and ‘retromania’
- Music as ‘thing’ and/or ‘process’
- Commodification

Keynotes will be provided by Professor Will Straw and Dr Noel Lobley.
The conference will include a specially convened panel featuring sound curators Andy Linehan and Cheryl Tipp of the British Library. 
Registration and Fees
Registration for the conference is now open. Please register as follows by completing the booking form
at and paying the appropriate fee using one of the payment 
methods listed on the registration page.
The conference fees for ‘Musical Materialities in the Digital Age’ are as follows:
Early bird rate (student): £50 *book by 21 May 2014 to benefit from this rate*
Early bird rate (non-student): £70 *book by 21 May 2014 to benefit from this rate*
Regular rate from 22 May 2014 (student): £60
Regular rate from 22 May 2014 (non-student): £80

Conference organisers
Richard Elliott, University of Sussex
Elodie Roy, Newcastle University

Elodie Roy, again!