Posts from 18th May 2002

May 02

Starbound (3.2)

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Starbound (3.2) is a somewhat frustrating example of Flash technology taken to its (ill)logical extreme, but I’ll take any chance I can to plug Disco Inferno. I have been listening to them, rather obsessively, since coming home, and fretting (as seems impossible to do otherwise when familiar with the DI story) about “wasted potential.” I was struck by a comment in an interview with Rocket Girl founder (and co-founder of one time DI label Che) Vinita Joshi:

“I remember seeing them play live at the White Horse in Hampstead and there was this guy down the front swaying about getting really into the music with his eyes closed. Ian just kept repeating the same guitar line over and over again just staring at this guy. He was totally oblivious of course lost in the music, still with his eyes closed. The rest of the band weren’t sure what was going on and were wondering when Ian was going to change chords. At the end of the night I asked Ian what he was doing and he explained that he thought the guy was taking the piss out of him. I suppose Ian couldn’t believe that someone was so into the music he was making. Such paranoia!”

Sadly, I realize I have more in common with Ian Crause every day. DI imploded – perhaps rightly – because of a string of indignities: having their equipment stolen, being dropped by Rough Trade when they were swallowed up by One Little Indian, public indifference, the poverty seemingly inescapable for the independent/experimental musician. That they were crushed by the ‘music industry’ is perhaps less a crime, however, than Crause disappearing from music (entirely?). He has no right, after showing us what even the most failed of DI’s experiments could produce, for withholding that genius from his audience out of bitterness.

LUDACRIS – “Saturday (Oooh, Oooh)”

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LUDACRIS – “Saturday (Oooh, Oooh)”

Rhetorical question (the answer’s no): has there ever been a style of music so warmly suited to lazy summer hedonism as hip-hop? I may not have a big green stash and the pocketfuls of cash are running lower than they really ought to be, but watching out for big ol’ ass (or your chosen equivalent) is a universal right and right now my universe is looking good: back in London, the bus up to work twice a week, sunlight filling a half-unpacked room in a house which feels more like home after two weeks than Oxford did in 18 months. The nearest shops there were a 25 minute trudge, and an easy stroll over the road to the garage still feels like a wonderful freedom.

Simple pleasures need simple songs, and “Saturday” qualifies. Three song-carrying hooks in the chorus and the rest of the track takes care of itself. Ludacris isn’t the most surprising or subtle of rappers but he knows how to set a mood and keep it – clownish horniness on “What’s Your Fantasy”, Stagger-Lee menace on “Southern Hospitality”, and a street-king bonhomie here. It’s his best track yet, and a reminder that however dystopian, dysfunctional or dispirited hip-hop gets at its uttermost edges, party jams are forever near the music’s heart.