New mix: Endgame

 

I wish that the URL on FACT Magazine’s obituary for Mark Fisher were literally true – “mark-fisher-k-punk-capitalist-realism-has-died” – rather than what has actually happened. Capitalist Realism is alive, and Mark Fisher a.k.a. k-punk is dead. I didn’t know him, but his writing shaped me as much as any music, and I believe it will go on because there’s so much I haven’t delved into yet. My unread copy of Ghosts Of My Life, purchased with glee the moment I saw it at the ICA bookshop — until that moment, I didn’t know it existed — hides in my boxes of books, waiting for my new home, wherever that will be. Not much of an excuse. And I’ve ordered his new collection, The Weird and the Eerie, and you should too. Even when k-punk was in full swing, I didn’t always read it with the eyes I have now, being more focused on finding the latest and greatest dubplates than in understanding the world; I’ve gone back to it so many times since then, and every time I’m filled with a combination of self-loathing (how did I not appreciate this?) and awe.

One thing I did devour in its moment was Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative?, a book as Herculean in its upending of the post-Fukuyama consensus as it is short. Not only did it change my view of the world, it also cracked open the door leading to another, better way of organizing human endeavour than the one we currently cling to. Fisher didn’t have the answers necessarily, but diagnosing the problem was more than enough of a contribution. He knew that there was something ruthlessly anti-human about the ruling ideology, and located it in the prevailing attitudes toward mental health. Another gift he bestowed was indirectly pushing me towards thinkers like Lacan, and while my understanding is still fragmented and incomplete, it was Fisher who, more than anyone else I’ve read, put his finger on the way mental health and the state are related, and shouted with arresting urgency about the problem we didn’t know we had.

I’ve always had the spirit of those early ’00s times in mind when compiling the mixes I post on this blog; in some ways I’ve been making them for Fisher, Simon Reynolds, Martin Clark, Dave Stelfox et al, an imagined audience of real heads who led me to this music in the first place. So I’m dedicating this mix to Mark Fisher, and hoping that he know how much of an impact he really had on his students – in learning settings both formal and not.

R.I.P. k-punk.

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1. Helm – Olympic Mess (N1L Remix) – Olympic Mess (N1L & Beatrice Dillon Remixes) (PAN)
2. Walton – Gunman / Caught in a Trip (Tectonic)
3. Asusu – Sendak – Hallucinator _ Sendak (Livity Sound)
4. Insha – Quiet Storm – Dysplazia (Type)
5. Pangaea – Bulb in Zinc – In Drum Play (Hessle Audio)
6. Alex Coulton – Ascent – Gamma Ray Burst (Tempa)
7. Simo Cell – Away from Keyboard – Gliding EP (Livity Sound)
8. DVA [HI:EMOTIONS] – Notu_Uronlineu – Notu_Uronlineu (Hyperdub)
9. Gundam – Too Late – Intimate / Too Late (Goon Club Allstars)
10. J:Kenzo – Zbantu Shake – Battlefield / Zbantu Shake (Artikal Music)
11. Youngsta & Cimm – Redshift – Split Minds / Redshift (Tempa)
12. Distance – Badman – Dynamis (Tectonic)
13. Ipman – Constrict – Constrict / Running Man (Tectonic)
14. Youngstar – Bongo (Hi5Ghost Remix) – Bongo Remixes (White Peach)
15. Boylan – Shimmy – Norman Bates (Oil Gang)
16. Spooky – Fiesta – Fiesta / Cherry (Oil Gang)
17. Logos – Glass (Boylan Devil Mix) – Present Different Circles (Different Circles)

Mixed Dec 29, 2016 by Dave Morris a.k.a. deemo for a-void.ca.

New mix: Perspective

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In my new digs I was avoiding making mixes, because I don’t have proper speakers yet. Necessity being the mother of invention, I mixed this on the speakers in the TV, and damned if it didn’t come out not half bad. It helps that these tunes needed to be mixed, like money burning a hole in your pocket. Lot of great producers like Pearson Sound and Distal putting stuff out on their own labels, which is interesting, though everyone from Keysound to Tempa are still bringing that fire. And don’t sleep on Nomine – I didn’t always love his stuff but this one is a corker. Enjoy!

Download from Mediafire

 

 

1. Spokes – Flight – Flight EP (Coyote)
2. Lurka – Density – Beater (Timedance)
3. Pussy Mothers – Echo Party – The Number 1 (Optimo Music)
4. Zomby – I – Ultra (Hyperdub)
5. Randomer & Hodge – Second Freeze – Second Freeze / Simple As (Livity Sound)
6. Pearson Sound – Tsunan Sun – XLB (Pearson Sound)
7. Appleblim – Twist It Down – Minus Degree (Tempa)
8. Okzharp and Samrai featuring Shokryme – Body Deh – Gated EP (Keysound)
9. Alex Smoke – Dust (Tessela Remix) – Love Over Will (Remixes) (R&S)
10. Distal – Tokyo Nail Salon – Bushido Rave (Hot Mom USA)
11. Sam Gellaitry – The Gateway – Escapism II (XL)
12. SWINDLE – Lemon Trees (feat D Double E) – Funk And Grime EP (Butterz)
13. J. Tijn – Shmudge – Shmudge (In An Instant)
14. Nomine – Run Darker – Fist Bump (Nomine Sound)
15. LKD Beats – This tune is the winner (Keysound email list)
16. The Wildlife – NA 002 – Patterns (Mixpak)

Mixed October 9, 2016 by deemo for a-void.ca

Cot Damn Fall ’14 Masterpiece No. 3: Clap! Clap!

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Clap! Clap!
Tayi Bebba
Black Acre
Released Sept. 8 2014

Maybe it was the mysterious nature of the Italy-based producer behind Tayi Bebba, but the phrase ‘cultural appropriation’ is now probably the first thing dance aficionados associate with Clap! Clap!. That’s a shame. Let’s assume for a moment that the person is a white man; is this then an attempt to dress up someone else’s work – maybe that of a whole culture – as something original, and then profit from it, the way the likes of Pat Boone did by rerecording early R&B hits in a more ‘white’ style? I would argue it isn’t. For one thing, it’s clear that, although the samples of field recordings on Tayi Bebba pervade the album and give it its concept (an imaginary island), they’re arguably transformed into original work by the way they’re sampled and combined with synthesized elements to make a work that has merit in its own right. Of course, the work being interesting doesn’t absolve the creator of having swiped someone else’s ideas, but frankly, it helps. Nothing about Tayi Bebba feels tossed-off or exploitative; it’s a nuanced, well-constructed work. In a certain sense, I’d compare it to A Tribe Called Red; while ATCR obviously has a direct link with its native Canadian sample sources and Clap! Clap! may not, ATCR didn’t invent their culture from whole cloth either, they just brought vibrant new context and creativity to existing material. (I find it a little odd that dogmatic left-wing radicals are, in these cases, so hung up on the idea of inherited culture. They certainly don’t feel that way about inherited wealth.) While Clap! Clap! may not have come from the culture he or she is sampling, I don’t see any attempt to claim authority or authenticity in reference to the source material, so without knowing more, I’m willing to listen.

With that out of the way, boy do I dig this record. Clap! Clap!’s talent as an arranger and producer is unmistakeable; there’s nothing outwardly ‘ethnic’ about a song like “Conqueror (remorse/withdrawn),” yet it’s just as arresting and invigorating as the more obviously African-based “The Rainstick Fable” with its chants and kalimba melody plinking and plunking away over vivid manifestations of the low end theory. Read: bass. There’s no gimmick here, that I can see; just great, kinetic dance music that borrows liberally from garage, hip-hop and dancehall as well as its sample sources to create refreshingly original stuff. I love the half-time trunk-rattling rhythm of “Kuj Yato” and the almost Bhangra-like Jew’s harp groove of “Burbuka.” Oh hell, I love it all. If you’re a fan of Mo Kolours or Flying Lotus’ early stuff, your life will be vastly improved by this album.

New mix: JAWS

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This one is especially rugged – lots of raw, sort of distorted sounds, though there’s a nice mellow bit in the middle with the Mala single (which is gorgeous) and the SBTRKT/Jessie Ware collab. My favourite tune in here is definitely the DJ Big O remix of the BFlecha tune. I could mix a whole set of that. And don’t sleep on the Ill Blu tune either – Hyperdub just killing it with their comps lately…

Click here to download from Mediafire

Deemo – JAWS by Deemo on Mixcloud

1. DJ Hesburger – Roll Up Your Sleeves, Welcome to the Dance – …I Care Because You Don’t (Turbo)
2. Dusk + Blackdown – Back 2 Go FWD>> (Sweet 2 Go Sour Mix) – Back 2 Go FWD>> (Keysound)
3. Pev – Aztec Chant (Tessela Remix) – 12-inch (Livity Sound)
4. Ill Blu – Bellion – Hyperdub 10.4 (Hyperdub)
5. Mala – I Wait, Pt. 2 – I Wait (Pt. 2) (Deep Medi)
6. BFlecha – A Marte (DJ Big O Remix) – Beta Remixes (Arkestra Discos Holland)
7. AxH – Nano – Tempa Allstars, Vol. 7 (Tempa)
8. Aphex Twin – Syro u473t8+e (Piezoluminescence Mix) – Syro (Warp)
9. SBTRKT – Problem Solved (Ft. Jessie Ware) – Wonder Where We Land (Young Turks)
10. Mr. Mitch – Be Somebody – Don’t Leave [EP] (Planet Mu)
11. Chemist – Defiance (Rabit Remix) – 14 tracks: e-grime:emirg-e (Boomkat)
12. Sully – Concord – 12-inch (Hsuan)
13. Machinedrum – Hard 2 Be – Vapor City Archives (Ninja Tune)
14. Voltage – Gangsters – 12-inch (Natty Dub)
15. Scar – Ruby – 12-inch (Metalheadz)
16. Chimpo – Bun It (feat. Fixate) – Out An Bad (50 Weapons)
17. Fracture, Sam Binga & Rider Shafique – She Want It Ruff (Logos Space Jam) – 14 tracks: e-grime:emirg-e (Boomkat)

Mixed Nov. 11 2014 by Deemo

Cot-damn Fall ’14 Masterpiece No.2: LV & Josh Idehen

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LV & Josh Idehen
Islands
Keysound
Released Sept. 13 2014

I haven’t heard Routes, the first collaboration between production duo LV and spoken word artist Josh Idehen, so I was fairly unprepared for Islands. It hit me squarely between the eyes – these haunting but totally propulsive and danceable beats with this sharp-eyed raconteur who sounded nothing like the MCs I had heard before. Start with “Imminent,” a nasty little banger anchored with the refrain “likes to hang inna Hackney but / won’t catch him in Mile End cause / if you show face in Mile End cuz / things will likely get violent, cuz” – apparently inspired by a true story.

It could be a grime mc’s standard boast, but it feels more like an outsider noticing a neighbourhood in mid-gentrification. It grabbed me at first because my sister worked in Mile End, which up to that point I associated with the mildly miserable dead end neighbourhood of the Pulp song; after hearing “Imminent” I thought about how two people can walk the same streets and see something completely different.

In the afore-linked interview Idehen mentions he was inspired by The Streets, and that influence is apparent in the affablylazy phraseology of “New Pen,” but aching little fables like the title track and “Out of the Blue” are subtly original in their storytelling. And the beats are similarly both familiar and distinct, bumping and thrusting breaks simmering with dread. If there’s a better MC-led album this year, it’s got to clear one hell of a hurdle.

P.S. Keysound is label of the year, but more on that later…

Grime ain’t dead: Jammer

Jammer

Living The Dream
(Boy Betta Know)

Jammer - Living The Dream cover

Everyone’s shocked that grime hangs on, but the first wave of MCs stay hungry regardless of whether their pop forays succeed (Dizzee & Wiley) or fizzle. Case in point, Jammer returns three years after his polished yet strong Big Dada outing Jahmanji with Living The Dream, a record as gritty as anything you’d find on a bootleg DVD sold out the back of a van. There’s no Toddla T-produced throwback rave single on here; instead the album opens with a confession that all is not well in Jammer land: “I was in court on New Year’s eve and wouldn’t even give me bail … and I know a lot of reckless things made me break up with my girl / all the drugs and drink didn’t really go down too well… the labels didn’t wanna help me, I had to go out and do it myself,” an’ ting. The whole disc is full of defiance and bragging about conquests in rugged double-time flows, delivering the unfiltered street talk and explosive mix of ambition/desperation that American rap either can’t or won’t exhibit anymore.

It’s also much more varied than I’m making it sound; “Declined” is a great concept for a diss track about the singular embarrassment of watching someone get their credit card turned down, “On The Ball Pt. 2” is full of playfully pithy then-and-now rhymes worthy of Gucci Mane and “Big Man” is the four-on-the-floor posse cut with enough energy and bristling competition for the best verse between old pals Viper, JME, Flow Dan et al that, had it been on Jahmanji, might have turned Jammer’s best-promoted album into a hit. (Admittedly, the bassline was already a hit for Skepta when it was 2006’s “Duppy.”) But don’t cry Jammer for, because apparently he’ll be hanging in there anyway, chart success be damned. No sell out.