Sunday, April 15, 2007

interim post: artistes divers.

good day. a brisk further round-up of various choses de 2007, par ordre alphabetique:

android and victor stroganov's "my house" is the 'maximum' side of the new max/min "moscow-london black" 12", and reaffirms what we already know, namely that muscovites are uniquely at ease with chaos. spidery, clinical, clean, clanging and great, it is backed by liberator and mcaffer's textbook, military-drum n'drum min-side "my techno", which represents our city somewhat more capably than fulham, charlton, brentford and west ham are managing at the moment.

on a similar tip, slovene producer mark ankh's eerie "fourth dimension" is remixed by d.a.v.e. the drummer for january's 12" a-side on hydraulix 13, a single pleasingly at last within our clutches: with the original on the flip sounding correspondingly more minimal. tempo warning: the two sides play at different speeds, a bit like slovenia with and without zahovic.

bracken "we know about the need": dimensions t.b.a.

as butcher boy's debut album "profit in your poetry" is a release on how does it feel to be loved ? you will not need us to tell you what kind of musical ballpark we're in, but we won't shy away from letting you know that it's a very strong, and in places quite excellent, record. like math and physics club, they sell themselves the shortest with the occasional belle & seb carbons (although even these are saved with some devastating turns of phrase), but when they get even the merest hint of the young smiths in their sails, all brightens and they breeze across any ocean you might care to name. while the 30-minute length of the album is welcome and just right, it is the title track and "girls make me sick" that really make you wish small labels could afford to put singles out all the time: although at least the latter did see the light of a day, as a download-only, earlier in the yr.

remastered as one of a trio of discharge re-issues on captain oi! records, their "hear nothing see nothing say nothing" album still sounds now like the milestone we all thought it was then: the historical midpoint between "never mind the bollocks" and "scum" (q.v.). listening to it, you will be exhilarated. it's incredible, but as warming as hovis with dvorak, to think that this was a top 40 album (and they nearly dented the top 40 singles not too long afterwards with "never again", one of the bonus tracks on this re-release).

highly-rated battler dubbledge finally gets a 12" of his own, "rice and peas", on the lowlife label. we've never exactly been lowlife ultras, but the title track at least gives him a chance to outshine guest appearances from labelmates asaviour, jehst and micall parkinsun, as they ride a pulsing bass and spooky retro keyboards. one to keep a weather eye out for.

the 'darkside' remix of fireworkz's "hold it down" - new vinyl on w10 records - is, as you'd expect from a record billing bruza, tiny tempa, hypa & marcie, kelle le roc, scorcher & wretch 32 and wariko - something of a channel-u friendly "club banger". in our more sedate world this means another opportunity to pogo around the bedroom smashing imaginary crockery, the same adrenalin rush we got off the exploited 20 years ago. none of the mcs (the original mix features j2k, an in-form shystie, goodz, l-man and narstie) particularly get a chance to shine, and kelle le roc's contribution is not required, but springtime wouldn't be the same with a bit of blazing garage.

hoodz underground have at last resurfaced, with the "pass the mic" / "history" single on trackshicker records. the aural joy, tempered with fierce reality, of their 2003 single "how do you feel ?" was meant to be followed by an album, but nothing seems to have materialised since. this time round, we are assured that an album will follow, and the savvy "pass the mic" shows that musically, they've picked up neatly where they left off. "history" seems to suggest that the extended absence owed something to their disillusionment with mainstream rap - one shared by all of us - but then that's why we need the likes of the erudite menace, joni atcha & co to fight it. along with thee s.p.c. (slow down tallahassee's new single sounds pretty good, for example), this eight-man crew represent what is actually good about sheffield music at this point in time.

klashnekoff's "my life", the lead single off "lionheart: tussle of the beast", is - like the joe buhdha-produced album - marginally underwhelming: the common syndrome of a great artist becoming belatedly critically-acclaimed - we were going to say 'lionised', but that would be sinking too low - just as the rest of us were starting to think that they hadn't really managed to capture the sheer anger and danger of something like "it's murda" (or k-lash's contribution to hoodz underground's previous single) for far too long. if you do dabble in "lionheart", we recommend "refuse to die", "sayonara", or the siren-packed "terrorise the city", which features none other than elder statesman of east coast hip-hop, kool g rap.

if, like us, napalm death's "scum" and "from enslavement to obliteration" albums permanently changed the way you listen to music, and perceive the role of lyrics, then you won't need the likes of mark tichener (much as his recent turner prize exhibit tickled our senses) to tell you this anew. but, if you don't already have the "scum" lp, then earache's new 20th anniversary edition of it may be just the job. it combines all the tunes with a dvd, which as well as the talking heads, features a documentary about the making of this extraordinary landmark: recorded, lest we forget, in two nocturnal sessions with two entirely different line-ups. best of all, the dvd focusses on the great mick harris, who retells engagingly much of the very confusing story of early napalm, a band who went through more incarnations back then than the italian government.

another thoroughly engaging character is diversion tactics' chubby alcoholic mc. in his bobba fresh guise he helped make zygote's album amongst the must-have records of last year: now, for the new 12" on boot records, his chosen alter ego is robot boy, the single detailing the robot boy's adventures in old-skool cut-up beats, with the inseparable and ubiquitous verb-t and kashmere contributing to the sci-fi fantasy as "verb t1000" and "kashmachine". as you'd expect from the diversion tactics stable (zygote produces and arch turntablist jazz-t provides all the cuts) the beats are big and sparse, the scratching is mighty, and the robot boy takes about 0.001 seconds to confirm himself, via "virgin galactic", as surely colliers wood's favourite son.

this side of the river, taskforce of london n5 team up with bury crew's mc intenz for a new white label: the jolly "jacked" 12" is very similar to their collabo with nottingham emcee karizma on last year's elementz universe album, showing their bubblier side rather than the command of the low-key, downbeat hip-hop which will hopefully be displayed again soon on a new album (if it is, our top tip for the likely lp title is "music from the corner volume 5").

and. having slagged boxsets last time, seems appropriately hypocritical for us now to mention the wedding present's "the complete john peel sessions" box on sanctuary. whilst large swathes of the later discs are a reasonable distance from necessary, the set does represent the somewhat belated rehabilitation of the weddoes' second peel session, which had seemingly been airbrushed from history trotsky-style all the while 12"s of their classic peel first and their '86 janice long sesh were doing the rounds on strange fruit and nighttracks. while it is true that the four tracks here largely ended up as b-sides, they still see the weddoes at their early zenith, with guitars being played faster than most thrash bands could manage, and gedge's kitchen sink dramas somehow given that little bit extra by keith gregory's roving basslines - "don't laugh" is the best of all. so NOW, can someone release their andy kershaw session from 1985 ?

a bientot...

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