Posts from 3rd March 2004

3
Mar 04

EARLY RAP IN THE UK TOP 40

FT + New York London Paris Munich18 comments • 1,812 views

EARLY RAP IN THE UK TOP 40 (not a definitive list cos I’m doing it quickly and haven’t heard everything)

Dec 79: Sugarhill Gang – Rappers Delight #3
Dec 79: Kurtis Blow – Christmas Rappin #30
Jan 81: Blondie – Rapture #5
Jun 81: Evasions – Wikka Wrap #20
Jun 81: Tom Tom Club – Wordy Rappinghood #7
Dec 81: Adam And The Ants – Ant Rap #3
Jan 82: Modern Romance – Queen Of The Rapping Scene #37
Aug 82: Grandmaster Flash – The Message #8
Dec 82: Malcolm McLaren – Buffalo Girls #9
Jan 83: Wham! – Wham! Rap #8
Mar 83: Kenny Everett – Snot Rap #9
Jul 83: Gary Byrd & GB Experience – The Crown #6
Oct 83: Rocksteady Crew – Hey You (Rocksteady Crew) #6
Nov 83: Roland Rat Superstar – Rat Rappin #14
Feb 84: Break Machine – Street Dance #3
Feb 84: Grandmaster Flash & Melle Mel – White Lines #7
Feb 84: Mel Brooks – To Be Or Not To Be (The Hitler Rap) #12
Mar 84: Afrika Bambaataa – Renegades Of Funk #30

And then I got bored. Research done for this thread. What did I miss?

I don’t possess the necessary level of irony to enjoy the Langley kids

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 353 views

I don’t possess the necessary level of irony to enjoy the Langley kids: this Round Table of reviewers listening to Tot Rock and other kidforms of music struggle to attain the hipsterly correct degree of witty unmovedness they appear to be setting themselves here (as per quote), and (interestingly enough) fail. Partly this is because they don’t actually understand the whyfore of irony: it’s not about “pretending to like” stuff you actually don’t (cf every lame whinge ever against I Love the 70s et al), it’s about feeling – in certain company – that you have to ration how and when you’re able to admit to your true responses. Sometimes you should probably just go aspire to less rubbish company; other times – whence camp etc – this may not yet be an option. I love some of the Langley stuff, I think for the same reason I’ve started to love hearing hymns sung at schools (one of the unanticipated side-products of the if…. project): there’s an ancient but deeply utopian yearning still audible in these forms of music, sometimes actually quite at odds with the social contexts which allow (or cause?) them to continue to exist.

More Bandwidth Than Sense

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More Bandwidth Than Sense: This is a neat concept (original vocals over R’n’B ringtones) and it’s not the creators’ fault that it sounds mostly really horrible. Having spent 4 solid weeks poring over mobile phone websites for work this mix has particular resonance for me – in a way it would have been more weird/interesting had 424 Sound Monster used the previous generation of ringtones, really stark BBC Micro bleeps, which had a kind of primitive charm and would have sounded very odd next to the slick original vocals. The tones you hear now suffer from being too recognisable, not sounding anything like ‘a phone ringing’ but sounding weedy and awful next to the source material. It’s like phone games – Snake II is pleasantly blocky and barely representational; the new colour ones just remind you what a fun machine your PS2 is. (Link via Philip Sherburne’s excellent site.)

(Update: the Eminem “Without Me” mix is much more like it, about 10 minutes into the first MP3 on the site.)

Pavement – Elevate Me Later

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Pavement – Elevate Me Later

It’s ten years since Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain came out, it’s only a couple of years since I realised that this particular song isn’t actually called Alleviate Me Later, and only a few minutes since I realised that I’ve spelt alleviate wrong for the past 27 years (eliviate). Not that I’ve ever had much call to use it.

Anyway, why talk about Pavement now? It’s because it’s just struck me that one of the things I like about Pavement is that they sound exotic, like far flung places, art school sophistication, a hazy kind of summer that I could just maybe enjoy. Not at all like I find myself today, sitting at my desk doing homework, exactly the same as when I first heard this album. It’s quite depressing.

This song is nonsense, flowing words that make no sense, casual instrumentation. Probably, one of the first bands, along with Eric’s Trip (who I’m going to listen to next) that made me think you don’t need to play well to be in a band, but you still need something. The moment my heavy metal view of musicianship really just fell apart, the learn some power chords, practice your scales, drop D tuning…

It’s the “sleep with electric guitars” line that I always remember, like it’s something to aspire to.

HEALTHY VEGETABLES: PART ONE aka: Broccolli For Breakfast

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 862 views

HEALTHY VEGETABLES: PART ONE aka: Broccolli For Breakfast

Last night I did a slightly retro wee dinner party for my flatmates and a friend, centrepiece being a truly magnificent Coq Au Vin. No reason why said dish should have gone out of fashion, there is no better thing than eating an chicken breast wholly saturated in bouze. With some savoyard pots (more on which later) all we needed was some nice simple veg. And hence a surfeit of broccolli.

I am loathe, especially when I have a bit of mashed potato for potential bubble making in the fridge. So the left over broccolli went into the fridge for breakfast. Waking up a bit late, I only had ten minutes to do something exciting with the steamed florets. So out came the wok, a bit of hot oil and a two minute stir fry ended with the sizzle of much soy. With the salty soy and the probable excess of oil it is unclear whether or not this really remains healthy. It sure was tasty though. And today I have been coasting on pure iron power.

The chapter device used in Dogville is astute,

Do You SeePost a comment • 207 views

The chapter device used in Dogville is astute, considering the majority of people going in to see it would be well aware that the whole affair rocks in just under three hours and probably won’t be a bundle of laughs. In giving us a bill of fare as we go along, it marks the time nicely, splitting it into almost Saturday morning picture serial form. It also flags the ups and subsequent downs of the community to prepare us. Certainly the lack of naturalism in the sparse set removes much of the visceral horror in what transpires, but leaves us with a potentially more disquieting intellectual understanding of the events.

Even more effective is John Hurt’s Jackanory like narration. In reducing the storyline to fairy tale like simplicity it suggests a much more Manichean ideology than Hollywood allows these days. As a piece of anti-American criticism it can be read in a number of ways. Maybe Dogville represents America, eager to help as long as it can exact its own eventually worse price. Or maybe Nicole Kidman’s Grace is more of a representative, in her final role as over the top avenging angel. The final philosophical discussion on arrogance does not allow us to decide. Perhaps it is that both Grace and Dogville represent facets of America (or humanity) who will eventually destroy each other.

The film clearly wants us to think about these things, and its dark humour seems to run in opposition to its tone. And yet the boardgame like set, as much like a Cluedo board than anything else, is at its heart playful. I expected to hate it, instead it engaged me thoroughly. A willingness to use a number of methods to get across its ideas, and no obvious conclusions. For all of its grit and formalism, it is warm, funny and oddly inviting. Unlike Dogville itself.

Losing a match,

TMFDPost a comment • 222 views

Losing a match, despite scoring what seemed to be a perfectly good equaliser, is always unfortunate. However Mr Flack (scroll down, penultimate line), there’s no need to resort to stereotyping, although with babycham being PERRY after all, it’s probably appropriate in the west country…

THE MOUNTAIN GOATS – “Cotton”

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THE MOUNTAIN GOATS – “Cotton”

I’m reading this and looking at this while listening to this (and perhaps, if you’re interested, you’ll want to check this out, if you haven’t already), and I realize A) I don’t click over to here often enough (which the steadfast impermanence of the internet lets me get away with) (FOR NOW) and B) I don’t listen to the Mountain Goats well. I own a few of their records, I play them every so often, and I enjoy the hell out of them when they’re on, but they’re there much in the same way white noise or a radio at a party or crowd noise is there – totally willing to be engaged and admired, if so desired, but otherwise plenty happy to stay in the background and stay discretely busy.

I enjoy the music from a safe, admirable distance, unwilling to get too dirty in the details for (possible) fear of getting it wrong. Bullshit, yeah, but it’s not a conscious choice for me to be standoffish; it just works out that way. Admiration as respectful cowardice / fear / passive-agressive ego stroking (because I KNOW that this is beyond me, and I should be proud to recognize that)? Oh, whatever – chalk it up to my ears being distracted by what the rest of me is doing.

But this new record – it seems to WANT me to pay attention. It’s not going to let me get distracted, not going to let me politely ignore it. And “Cotton”, with the muted strumming and the piano crossing paths like cool pillow cradling tired head – it is beautiful. “Let it all go,” he sings – yeah, sure, I’d love to do that, but what? What am I letting go? What’s going on? I feel some tears wanting to poke their way out. And I’m smiling? What’s going on?

I want to let this song go, that moment of untainted inexplicable beautiful sadness, just let it go and let it diffuse into the air and float on currents passing through drywall and budding leaves and car exhaust and smokestacks, maybe to risk the chance that someone else catches it and feels that, maybe to be selfish and keep this feeling to myself knowning only I’ll feel that way, maybe to be selfless and let the song be. Just some quiet. Just some regular noise now. Something to keep me grounded, keep me from floating away.