Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Grey Cooper Love Band

are playing DQs late bar on Monday 5th. Their Myspace (where you can listen to some tunes) has George Clinton, James Brown and Donald Byrd in the top eight (star-spangled or what??)! Local Sheffield cats too, so come and support.

GREY COOPER LOVE PARTY
Live at DQ THE LATE BAR,
Fitzwilliam Street (near the Washington/below Devonshire Green)
Sheffield
Monday 5 June 2006
9pm till very late! Free Entry

And come this Thursday Ray Keith is playing there too, definitely to be attended, doubly so since that day marks the end of my formal education!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Ever FWD>>

The best Dubstep line-up ever. The chance to catch all those early garridgey DJs is amazing, shame i'm going to be on holiday for this and DMZ at Mass. I'm loving the fact that Plasticman, Tubby and Geeneus are billing, meaning the night is really gonna be a mashup of dubstep, grime and garage. Plasticman b2b with Geeneus on the fwd>> podcast is seriously tight mixing.

Still, the wording clearly implies this to be the start of something regular, my money is on a party every two or three months. Hopefully it will alternate with DMZ, providing big Dubstep parties every month! Going to be lots of trips down to London over the next year i predict! Thank god for cheap advance rail tickets, the Megabus can be severely wearing if experienced too frequently!

FRIDAY 23.06.06

FORWARD

Entrance: 23:00 - 06:00 | £10/£6 NUS on the door | £10 Advance tickets | Fully licensed bar until close

Main Room: Plastician, Youngsta, Digital Mystikz & Sgt Pokes, Hatcha, Geeneus, N Type, Tubby. Hosted by MC Crazy D

Lounge: The Roots of Dubstep - Horsepower, El-B, Artwork, Menta, Phuturistix, Landslide, Hatcha (2001 Set)

Grime and dub-step night Forward, kicks off a new Friday night party here at The End.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Do The Churchill

DMZ Leeds

Soldier business on the train with Red Bull armaments, then trekking up to the West Indian centre and finding Clay Pit Lane turn into a large dual carriage way and thus negate my attempt to walk to the venue.

Walking past a room of old West Indian guys chilling out next to a room of the most thundering drum'n'bass imaginable.

The fact that the WI One Day International cricket match was being shown.

The fact you could buy curry goat over the bar.

N-Type was tight as ever, I didn't really recognise that many of his beats though, barring Iron soul's Kalawanji. Oh and I think he dropped Loefah's Ruffage too. The MC was Cessman (though at the time i mistook him for Rogue-Star, cheers UFO!) who together with IronSoul (who is know as Kromestar when making grime!) forms the Terraphonix production team. Cessman's spitting was pretty decenct, a doubletime dnb-ish flow.

Skream got the party moving, rinsing our plenty of his best beats; Dutch Flowers, Music to Make U Stagga, Lightening and others. Big response blending that last track into Loe's I Rmx. I don't think he is as technically proficient as most of the other DJs though, and he can be a bit rewind happy. Crazy D on mic, pretty decent. Great contrast to both Pokes and Rogue-Star. Its easy to see the ghost of garage haunting him still, in that slightly nasal delivery and the vaguely blinging sunglasses he was wearing.

Mala (Loefah was also due to play but wasn't there) playing a good one and a half hour set. Absolutely loads of bangers (I'll add more if I remember them) including what I always think of as 'the horses hooves tunes' with the crazy off kilter rhythm like dashing stallions. I was peering into the DJ bit and trying to see the names of the dubs and this is called Bury the Boy Dub (cheers Joe Nice!) I think. Also Left Right Left which is obviously pretty genius, Anti-War Dub (great crowd reaction), Haunted and more. I seriously might take a notepad next time to jot down the tracklistings but maybe that's taking the geekery a bit too far?! Pokes on mic, what a funny guy. My favorite line was when a tune demanding a particularly large degree of head-skank dropped and he urged the crowd to 'do the churchill'.

Youngsta and Task. Yunx is a great DJ but I find the mood of his tune selection to border on the homogeneous sometimes. He's also a real elitist, playing dubs from just Skream, DMZ camp and D1 I think. Mala's Blue Notes (great title) and a Skream tune called, I think, Morning Blues were new to me. I still really enjoyed the set, but at 4 in the morning some more bouncy ish may have been better - Youngsta's set would have been perfect for the smoked-out 4.30-6 slot. Task is a man of few words, which in Dubstep is often a good thing. Just a select few crowd urges and abrupt exclamations - 'Youngsta ya big!'

Females. Pretty good gender ratio of, say, 6:4 rather than the more traditional dubstep 8:2 situation. Probably to do with DJ Fresh, Commix, Bailey and Hazard in the other room. Some even had fancy skirts on. I would say peasant is defiantly out this year, though minor manifestations of asymmetry persist. The dnb wasn't too bad actually (I allowed myself a couple of ten minute jaunts), though I didn't know any of the tunes or the DJs. It was maddeningly fast though, and without the earplugs supplied free (props!) I don't think I could have stood it. As it was, the music was like a sonic Red Bull best enjoyed in short bursts, though my favoured spot at the front of any night seemed to be predominately a courting zone for illicitly enhanced mid-teens.


Slightly too many rewinds. Slightly. Not really a major problem.

Finishing at 4.30. It being a Sunday my train homewards wasn't leaving until 8.30, giving me a pleasant four hour early-morning interim in which to explore Leeds' semi-industrial outskirts. Nice. Maccy Ds in the station opened at 6.30 I think, providing refuge and unaccustomed entertainment in the unfortunate form of both The Daily Telegraph and The Mail. Their coffee is actually pretty good and obviously sausage and egg mcmuffins are the best thing served in the whole place. If somebody had stepped up at 4.30 and rinsed it out until 6 it would have been perfection. Perhaps I'm forgetting the somewhat blunted state some people seemed to be in as I was wholly sober and just riding the bass.

The bass-maddened strip of metal behind my head when sat in the third chair from the front on the left constantly vibrating and giving an unwanted percussive layer to the music. Remedied by moving chair.

Loefah not being there.

I'm searching for negatives here, but I suppose if it had been ragga-styled Jungle in the other room that would have killed it. Though I would then have been caught on the horns of an unsavoury listening dilemma.

Lil bit of aggro at kicking out time but nothing serious.

Hope everyone who reached enjoyed it as much as I did!! Big up DMZ gang for doing something special out of nothing but love for music.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Phlegm Comics

More local business. These pics are from Issue 4. The covers of this issue are all made from old Indian newspapers or something. Check the site.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

SMG

SMG Productionz. Two MCs and one DJ, the classic line up. DJ Freddo spins the plates and Tw1st and X-Edus are the rhymers. I caught up (does e-mailing count as catching up in this modern age?!) with producer/DJ Freddo and asked him some questions about the Grime music we all love.

PorkJacket: Obviously grime is a pretty London derived music form. How do you think it translates to Northern cities such as Sheffield, Leeds or Manchester?

Freddo: I think it can translate into any accent or city, it's basically our version of hip-hop. As for the accent I think it's good to hear MCs with the different slang & accent, it adds personality to the music, as we use different vocab. I know there are a lot of London MCs who think grime should stay in London, but if we want to go international we need to move as a country, the same way the US has eastside, westside, dirty south, hispanic, midwest. I believe grime has the potential to do the same thing.

PJ: Did you guys get into grime through garage, jungle/dnb, hip-hop or just a mixture of musics? What other styles are you feeling?

F: We got into grime through a mixture of genres. I was brought up listening to a lot of dub reggae [as Newham Gens have also stated], old-skool speed garage, drum'n'bass and jungle. I started DJing at about 13, those times I was really into d'n'b and jungle, that's when I got interested in music production. I then got into hip-hop in a big way in my early teens, and have been influenced by a lot of producers such as DJ Premier, Pete Rock and RZA. This is which is why I use a lot of samples and big basslines in my beats.

Right now I'm really feeling dirty south hip-hop, it's got the rawness that I think a lot of modern hip-hop is lacking. In grime, lets see; JME, Skepta, Doogz, Flirta, Midland's Mafia, Low Deep are making some sick productions, Virus Syndicate. But seriously, Sheffield is about to explode in everyone's faces, with crews like, SMG, S.C.U.M, S.C.S, JD and much more.

PJ: How do you all know each other? Who is who in the group?

F: I met Tw1st through his brother TN. We had been friends for years. I met Tw1st, who always said that he wrote bars but not seriously, and one day I showed him some of my beats and he just said, "shit, we could merk man" so we bought a studio and the rest is history. The rest of the crew is just family & close friends; TN & Tw1st, you got Skinz & Big-D (also brothers), Spyda & Luda B (more brothers) then there's me and my little bro Siddo.

PJ: How important is the internet in what you do?

F: It is immensely important to what we do, it's enabled us to get into everybodys homes, make ourselves a household name. I've not come across a site for grime like ours as yet, we give people what they want to hear and on top of that we do it for free. We're averaging 100 visitors a day and because we are a 'dot com', we are easily accessible overseas. We have members from the USA, Austria, Germany, France, Japan and right across the UK. The world is on our doorstep.

You heard the man, hit the link and listen to some Steel Riddims!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Saw the big mechanical elephant in London too.

Champagne Dance

My hard disc died around a week ago. It has been a bit strange not having my music collection but has in some ways been an educative experience, if an enforced one! I have been rinsin Rinse FM all day instead, being too lazy to get my CD's out of retirement. Recently caught Kode9 (who dropped the first tune on MRK1's fresh 'Contagious' imprint, 'I Got To' (echoeing Masta Ace's classic 'I Got Ta'?) which is Sizzla over one of Mark's beats and very nice too), Youngsta & Task, Newham Generals with Dizzee Rascal (who has a new flow!), DJ Spyro (very jokes host) as well as Logan Sama and an old Oris Jay set on Kiss100. In the day there seems to be plenty of UKG on the station, today some vintage sounding 4x4 tracks were getting hammered as well as some 2-step action by artists whose names I actually recognised - El-B, Zed Bias and El-Tuff.

In the mean time here are a couple of sets that might be harder to find. I can't remember from where on the web I pulled em down.

Macabre Unit on 1-Extra 11.07.2003. (50MB)

Disturbed Man Dem Instrumental Mix by DJ Dowee, May '06. (13.5MB in RealPlayer format)
This mix is great. Very grimestep!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Big Body Workout

Well trekking down to Brixton was definitely worthwhile! N-Type, Kode9, Mala and Loefah, Skream, Distance and Plasticman smacked it pretty fuckin' hard in that order.

Arrived around 11:15, anxious about the queue - worries that were in fact not assuaged by the large tail of people coming out of the doors of Mass. But it trundled onwards and by 12:00ish we were at the ticket office. Pokes was on duty there. Walking up the spiral staircase to attend Mass the bass was somehow being channeled by the shape of the stairwell into a handrail vibrating beast! Got in there for the second half of N-Type's two hour set which was quite banging and expertly mixed.

Kode9 then stepped up to the 1s and 2s which provided for me the highlight of the night. Over an hour he crafted an absolute gem of a set, dropping Prince's 'Sign of the Times' longside '9 Samurai' and a whole host of other raw shit. He did to dubstep what I have seen Matthew Herbert do to house music; get inside its space, bend its energies into such ebbs and flows that every minute seemed essential to hear. Looking back at the row of people light up on the stage at the back like a primary-school chorus line of dub-zombies and hearing my favorite SpaceApe rhyme (As a child I was always happy-go-lucky/As a man I believe I am just plain lucky/To be alive...) over some fresh new riddims was just fantastic.

Mala and Loe then stepped up for a 2 hour back2back set. Mala was shocking-out to every tune with his joyful body-racking head nod, Sgt. Pokes was larging up the bar staff (what other night would that ever happen?!) and Loefah dropped 'Ruffage', 'Horror Show', 'Mud' and other half-step gems. Popped out part way through the set for some Maccy D's which was convenient!

After Mala'n'Loe finished Skream stepped up. The DJ box was extremely rammed at this point, with all the DJs and MCs who had played plus Youngsta, Task and plenty of others crowding around and instigating rewinds. Skream looked like he had had a few at this point (it was 3:00!). Loads of bouncy classics got spun -'Dutch Flowers' and 'Music to Make U Stagga' being my two favourites - and there were plenty of rewinds, slightly too many perhaps. But it didn't really matter, this was the party set, the energy flashpoint of the evening. Crazy D rode the beats in his usual manner, at one point exuberantly ejaculating 'Cheese and peas' into the mic. I think he spits slightly too many bars sometimes, which can have the effect of smudging all the tunes into each other and make them sound remakably familiar. Skream treated us to a new track he has made with Warrior Queen. I must admit I found the opening lyrics slightly hubristic, detailing as they did, Skream being 'the greatest', 'the saviour' or some such. However, he really is the kid prodigy of the scene and you can hardly begrude him his propers.

Wonderful to see how much love and respect the DJs have got for each other. Immediately after stepping down from the turntables Mala begin dancing just as rigourusly to Skream's beats as to his own. And the special interaction between dubstep MC and DJ has always struck me as a rarely intense example of a male heterosexual relationship. Not to mention the co-orporation demanded by playing back2back with another DJ. Everytime Mala and Loefah play together it can only cement thier friendship.

The crowd was good natured and adoring every tune that dropped. The bouncers were surly and had ridiculously shiny jackets on. The beer was massively overpriced but I wasn't drinking anyway.

And then at 4:00 Distance stepped up for an hours spinnage. Only heard his first four tunes as tiredness was oncoming but they sounded pretty good, somewhat like a squelchy Vex'D sound. And then homeward! Very very large night. Roll on DMZ Leeds!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Junglism

In a somewhat sterile bar, full of white furniture aimed at class but ending in tack, I was last night reminded of just how good sped-up drum breaks can sound. Kenny Ken was in town, playing a set of classic Jungle. I am not knowledgeable enough in this area to name the tunes other than the ubiquitous 'Original Nutter', but for around fifty minutes, before he moved onto souless modern DnB, I was dancing away on the small dancefloor. Such a great feeling to know that both the dread rhythm of reggae and dub and the cartoonish euphoria of hardcore were but a few knob twists away! It was fun. Fun is the crucial element I would characterise the kind of new DnB I dislike as lacking. It is unfunky, mechanical and grooveless.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Vinyl cheapness

To balance the books I picked up these releases, each at 65p. The Roots compilation is great, very catchy and simple tunes. The Kenny Ball one is an album of his and his band covering traditional Japanese tunes in a Jazz stylee! Strange, reminds me of Tomita's 1970s tunes of him covering things like the Star Wars theme in gentle, plinking analogue-synths.
The first four Big Apple releases have come up on 'Independance Records'. Not sure entirely how that occurred but, being such foundation material, I snapped them up. My card is getting a right hammering, I've got Skepta's 'Duppy', Loefah's Skream remixes, two Jon E. Cash 12"s, a Neckle Camp e.p. and DMZ005 in the post already!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Detroit Techno

I have been recently listening to a compilation entitled 'Detroit Classics and Techno Diamonds'. Lots of tunes I have never heard of, longside tunes by the famous names such as (obviously) Atkins, Saunderson and May and others.

The one thing that has really struck me about the music (I don't know the exact dates of this stuff but I guess 80-85) is the cross-over into the disco/nascent hip-hop aesthetic territory of producers like Egyptian Lover. There are tunes on this compilation that could easily be woven together into a brilliant set of early house/techno/electro0flavoured hip-hop and disco by a skilled DJ. Some of tracks feature MCs, though they are in the 'toasting' tradition of simple rhyme-purveyors we have seen in the early Jungle and now Dubstep scenes, their voices often as not synthesised into a robotic groove. Easy to pick up on influences from both Parliament and Kraftwerk, which is something that perhaps can not be said all that often!

The other immediate impression is just how much they sound like sex. It is sweaty, dirty music and funky too, the funk of the vinyl grooves and the grinding body. DJ Funk has a tune called 'Pump That Pussy' and DJ Assault one called 'Tits-n-Ass'. Even Derrick May's breakthrough track, though instrumental, is called 'Nude Photo' and for me well encapsulates the fantastic paradox of the best electronic music - so obviously a machined product yet so obviously fitted for a human groove.

Anyway, I'm really enjoying the music and am in the process of procuring more Saunderson, Atkins and May to explore as well as some second-wave stuff like Jeff Mills. If anyone has any recommendations for me I'd love to hear them! Exploring the early Chicargo house scene might be an interesting project to run in parallel with this.