I do a similar monthly column on Quietus called Hyperspecific if you're after similar stuff as well - http://thequietus.com/features/hyperspecific
Forgive the plug...
I like it a lot, though I find it far more of a challenging listen than most of his older stuff (a lot of which *is* genuinely, game-changingly brilliant).
His performance of Night Dolls With Hairspray earlier this year in Bethnal Green was brilliant and utterly demented.
I also really enjoy this album, think it's my favourite of the Mu footwork records so far (possibly barring Roc)
"it provides a roadmap of where Kode9 and the Spaceape could have gone with this album – moving away from dubstep to an altogether different sound, rather than exhausting their drive and discipline in trying to remould a genre where innovation is currently directed towards how it can survive and thrive in the mainstream."
Err, no. Disagreed to the max. For a start, this isn't a dubstep album, in any way you could possibly try to explain. Secondly, you only have to dig very slightly beneath the surface of the mainstream to find people within ostensibly 'dubstep' circles driving innovation in completely new and un-mainstream-conscious directions.
And by and large, I completely agree with it, though I think I'd have given it an 8 rather than a 7. I think it's the most 'complete' sounding thing they've released so far.
Best I've read for ages. And a good review. I shall be listening to this when I get round to it... Might be next week or in a few months' time, but it's good to know that it'll be worth investigating.
Well spotted on Al Tourettes, probably my overloaded brain. It did all blur into one a bit, hah.
Given the general discussion that's surrounded the record so far, and Blake's music up until this point.
What the hell's the point of a review if not to put a record in some context? At this point, given how easy it is to hear an album without needing to go out and pay for it, you don't need someone to tell you whether or not something's worth hearing. It's more a matter of making you think about the context a record has developed within. In that sense this review's as relevant and worthy of respect as the Quietus review (which is, admittedly, great) or FACT one.
Given that the hype itself is a large part of the album's context, it's pretty important to acknowledge that.
There's just a genuine feeling among a lot of people who've been following Blake's older music since he first began that he had something a lot fuller and more brilliant within him (it's probably a 6 for me). There are moments of greatness on here (To Care Like You, I Mind), but too much of it ends up floating in a middle zone, neither a pop record nor an underground/dance record. It certainly has nowt to do with dubstep - there's very little actual sub-bass on the album other than Limit, and it's doing both the record and dubstep a disservice to continue with that comparison.
To be fair, having seen him live it does make a *lot* more sense in a live context, through a big system, though the way he's manipulated his voice in the past has resulted in far more subtly beautiful music.
But I'd argue that if this had dropped unheralded from the sky without a mention of dubstep it would have gained similar reviews, but the comparisons would have been with 90s Warp, Jamie Lidell, et al.
Suitably drowning in an ocean of (in this case) literary dissonance. Or something. Good record as well.
Their new one, One Nation, has just been promo'd and is the proverbial dog's.
Also excited about upcoming sounds from FaltyDL, Blawan, Kode9 & The Spaceape, Tim Hecker (which I've heard, admittedly), Earth, Bjork, potential Radiohead, etc etc.
I'm going to Plastic People instead for a Ben UFO/Joy Orb, 'house music all night long' kinda takeover.
Quite tempted by Plastic the night before as well for FWD, I haven't been since I moved back to London - it's Pearson Sound, Deep Teknologi, Roska and Hatcha, which sounds like lots of fun. Oh, to have more money...
And yes, the Hecker record is utterly, utterly breathtaking.
Great list - there are a few there I haven't checked, but kudos for including Jeck. 'An Ark For The Listener' is my favourite of his albums, and one of the best of the year, and I'm a big fan of KFW, The Electric Harpsichord and Returnal.
Gonna have to check out the Evan Caminiti record, the way you've described it excites me quite a lot, great stuff.
Was referring to their output this year been substantially more accessible (especially with regards to the hypnagogic lot) than usual, rather than the label's usual output being sub-par (which it most certainly ain't)
Including one of Four Tet and Burial's 'Moth' that's absolutely divine. Weirdly, listening to it again today, especially to his first Fjree Feather EP, and the remixes, I was really reminded of Earth's later music as well. The way the guitar lines plays off everything else, and the sparse, doomy drumming, really bring 'The Bees Made Honey...' to mind.
In a way perhaps, but I guess I don't see why it's any more inaccessible than, say, Broadcast & the Focus Group, or Oneohtrix - but that said, I suppose they don't exactly have much in the way of immediate crossover appeal...
Yeah I remembered that, I was really glad to see it get coverage here, as I reckon it's the best album released this year (alongside Forest Swords, but I guess at a push that's kind of an EP).
And it's great. Both similar and different to his older stuff, it's quite like some of the stuff from Klavierwerke but with the vocals more obvious. Lots of looped vocal lines that gradually build and harmonise. Limit To Your Love is still the odd one out in that it's the only one you could really describe as a 'song' per se.
What a wicked concept for an article, nice work!
I'll be reading this properly when I've got some time later.
One of the finest guitar musicians around today, she's pretty much an alchemist.
It seems to be a bit of a marmite album.
DiS interview has gone up today as well.
I don't at all agree with your assertion that "the template for a lot of what they are pushing is stale" - or rather, I find it a bit of an unclear statment. Do you mean dubstep itself is stale?
I do agree with the score though. Not particularly fussed for the album myself BUT Skream, Benga and Artwork have all produced some fantastic, groundbreaking music in the past (and continue to do so, albeit tempered with other stuff), and they've earned the right to do whatever they want to do. The fact that people are getting behind them, even if it's a fairly tranced-out, dull version of what dubstep can still be, is worthy of celebration - there are few people who've worked harder over the last decade to get to this point, and they deserve the success. It would never have come if they'd continued to peddle deep FWD music...
But I do have a lot of time still for Dear Catastrophe Waitress - I guess I'm quite looking forward to hearing this, though I'm not going to rush out and get it. Nice review though. I have a feeling it won't come anywhere near their older stuff, but it'll be good to hear more from Murdoch and co. anyway.
I do know what you mean though about not being sure about it - I can't tell whether it's fooling me into liking something that, were it sung by a tie-dyed man with an acoustic guitar in the Small World stage of a festival, I would absolutely, unequivocally hate. Hmm. Ah well. He did a lovely track with Subeena last year as well, so maybe I'm just biased cos of that connection.
"it is largely incomprehensible and if it were meaty instead of beaty it would be one of those steaks you get a t-shirt for finishing. You'll still be digesting it six months later. Which is kind of gross."
And in that one sentence you've eclipsed everything I've ever waffled about Mr. Sufi on this site :) I'm going to imagine him as a steak next time I listen to his album.
I suppose it's a matter of comparison really. I find it difficult to enjoy the whole thing as a listen in its own right, as it just feels too disjointed. When you stick it alongside something like the new Commix remix album, which has quite an amazing sense of coherence despite the variety of people working on it, it's not something I'd be as keen to play from start to finish. There's some fantastic material on here, but I guess I find that about half of it leaves me, if not cold, then a little lukewarm. When it's good (Pritchard/Oneohtrix/Broadcast) it's VERY good indeed though.
Synths that sound like coked-up eighties music - really bright, garish, trebly and harsh on the ears.
And no mention of aquacrunk? Shame on you.
Nice review. It's an interesting development, this gaudy aesthetic being peddled by him and HudMo - cocaine synths, eighties hair metal stylings and the magical ability to somehow take far too many cheesy elements and make them sound good. There's this underlying eighties videogame vibe to the artwork as well, which I guess fits with the general tone of the music...
Kinda more excited about Panoramabar than the Berghain, from what I've heard about it and the absolutely glorious mixes from Cassy and Tama Sumo on Ostgut. And seeing some of Tama Sumo b2b Lakuti at Freerotation this year, which was great.
There's this sense at the moment that dubstep is eating itself. The most interesting manoeuvres tend to come from people that are spurning the genre's typical hallmarks in favour of something different (though I'd argue DMZ and the Deep Medi stable are still locked to some brilliant stuff, and Jack Sparrow's upcoming album on Tectonic has some lovely moments). The crossover with house and techno is refreshingly different to what it was before funky turned up - dropping the BPM seems the best option, hence Ramadanman/Kowton/Blake etc creating stuff of most interest.
The way you've described that DFA Crystal Ark release makes it sound absolutely incredible - I think I need to check it out as soon as possible. I've not bought anything on the label for absolutely ages, so perhaps this is a solid excuse to rectify that. I need to pick up the new Jeck, I'm still playing Sand and his recording of Sinking Of The Titanic with Bryars (oddly well paralleled to this) very regularly, and they're great. Altar Eagles sounds really interesting as well, the usual haul of good stuff to check out...
You heard the new Funf compilation on Ostgut, created by the label's artists out of sounds Emika recorded all over an empty Berghain/Panoramabar? Beautifully conceived and so far (I've heard most of the first disc) beautifully executed. It makes me even sadder I've not been there yet, really evocative stuff.
Did you see his interview with the Quietus about what he wears?
"I always felt that if you look down at your shoes and they look good back at you, you're fucking sorted."
But it doesn't detract from the music for me at all, and I suspect they wouldn't sound so ramshackle and out of place without it. Again, it's that weird process of sticking a load of stuff together that really shouldn't be combined, and coming out with something that sounds really tense and unnerving as a result.
That said, it did irk a bit the first few times I heard it, and the fact that it's not on that many tracks on the album is, I think, a fairly large factor in why I think King Night's so great. Might prove a little more difficult if he rapped on every track. I do definitely prefer the instrumentals.
Perhaps in a different way. 'Beverly Crush' and 'November' are both brilliant. But yeah, it does lack some of the furious energy of Skeleton, and a lot of the exuberance is toned down in favour of smoother grooves. Looking forward to catching them live in London next month though.
Fairly flawed logic though. By that reasoning no one could write with any feeling about music from before they were around to hear it, which is quite clearly not the case.
If you think it's a claim to some kind of 'authenticity' so be it - I certainly haven't made any claim to having been 'there' at the time. Far as I'm concerned Burial's an album that does a pretty damn fine job of articulating musically what a lot of people have told in words about the spirit of the times.
Check this interview if you're interested in the kinda stuff that's inspired this piece
'More so than hypnagogic pop or whatever the latest label to pillage the past might be, hip hop is music’s great recycler and re-animator.' Indeed, and it's that quality that bled into electronic dance music - turntablism, samples and breakbeats, and ultimately pretty much everything that's great about modern music*. A lot of the 'chillwave' set especially are essentially wrapping hip-hop methodology in indie rock clothing, which seems to lead to music that's mostly pretty dull by comparison to its influences.
This week's come at an apt time as the majority of my last month has been taken up by a re-blitz on Wu Tang records.
*Broad sweeping statement alert
God knows how I managed that, but this redresses the balance nicely.
It's barely left my stereo since it was released, and I STILL haven't got bored of hearing Kode9 drop 'n' rewind 'Poison Dart'.
Can't wait for this, I still play both her albums at least once a week or so.
Did you manage to get a copy of Kassem Mosse's split with Lowtec on the Laid label? His track on that's amazing, a gorgeous deep house thing.
The new Shed is wonderful, it's at least as deep as Shedding The Past, though takes a little more effort to sink into. He's falling further towards the UK bass bracket in the sense that a lot of it could almost be dubstep, if it was made by someone with a history that stretched far beyond the genre's limitations. It reminds me a lot of his stuff as STP and some of the releases on Wax (the Dub Shed session stuff especially), in that it's a little more spaced out and slow to develop.
I don't think I've quite 'got' the new Cosmin TRG yet, though I know a lot of other people who are completely loving on it. Probably a matter of persevering.
On the upcoming, the new Peverelist/Hyetal double header on Punch Drunk is absolutely killer. Oh, and the new Model 500 track for streaming on XLR8R from the R&S EP sounds rather good, in a classically M500 kinda way.
It's a great album, though a little exhausting to listen through all the way. I'm perhaps slightly more into DJ Roc's 'The Crack Capone' album, because it's a little less mind-spinningly disorienting, but there's some really special stuff on here.
My first thought when confronted with live albums generally is 'why should I bother?' - and I thought that about this, until I remembered how much sheer AWESOME goes into Mogwai live. I remember 'Fear Satan' the first time I saw them felt like being sucked out of an airlock. I'll have to pick this up, interested in seeing the film as well...
I'm glad he's beginning to get the wider recognition he really deserves as well - the show had a double page review in the Observer the other day.
But I'm really looking forward to this, and the idea of it being a bit droney and weird sounds alright to me...
I haven't listened to Finelines in a long time, might have to dig it out actually, perhaps along with Ash/Seafood/Idlewild etc etc. Need some kinda renaissance on that stuff...