A superb new EP of pitiless, dystopian bleakness from the blasted, no-man’s land specialists DNS.
Far from evoking an underwater glide as the titles suggests (it just sounds too jagged, too ploughed up and ruptured to evoke the cold liquidity of the atlantic trench? A grim hunt, sure, but) ‘Radar’ feels rooted in a cold and lifeless landscape: Sea or land metaphors aside, this is probably their finest black ops, deep insertion yet. A rusty metallic beat clanks hard through the sinister creep of mustard gas FX and drone, while the bass saws and belches are so smeared out by reverb they merely fizzle limply above the wasteland like desperate flares put up in panic by wired sentries – highly unnerving and original.
There are some comparisons to the likes of ARtroniks et al. to be made here. There’s a definite sub-cadre (away from from the big name dubstep dons and labels) expertly crafting away in grim defiance who mercifully don’t seem to give a shit about producing according to the whims of the times, who don’t want their sound to be decorative, but true. There’s no “false musical consciousness” (as Adorno put it). DNS are dug in deep to their territory and they ain’t going anywhere. Just don’t try a frontal assault on their position!
Some new show/mixes up on the Rinse FM site to recommend.
If you feel you need to play catch up on all things Grimey/Dubstep then look no further than these mixes & download podcasts.
Logos 29th May
Pinch 21st May
Distance 21st May
Will Self bang on the money with his piece on the new Brixton McDonalds. Depressingly, almost feels inevitable….”the beige infill of hipsterdom”.
Like the Krease EP, essentially slowed down drum & bass. It has all the trappings of ‘dark’, has all the right ingredients and is certainly tech crafted, but ultimately it feels so self-concious and self-regulated it almost sounds tired and by the book. Just makes me want to go and listen to Moving Fusion, Ram Recs et al. again. One for the bag no doubt, but a prisoner of its own devices.
Jay Krease from Dead Noise System. Sounding very like a cleaned up, slowed down and paint stripped, minimal techstep tune (with nods, surely, to “Shadow Boxing”?) old school, timestretched, raaaaasta vox shenanigans and a ridiculously low rolling sub. This one doesn’t really go anywhere – just a moody, hoods up, foot shuffle, head nodder while toking hard on your reefer in the dark corner. Quality restraint though, with “hold the line” discipline.
Ok, ok, ok. Last one I promise, before I come back to reality.
If one tune epitomises the sheer intensity, unstoppable momentum and ‘avin it abandon of that period for me, it surely has to be Spiral Tribe’s “Do Et” off their seminal first ‘Breach The Peace’ EP. This is before they became synonymous with their more incessant, bubbling 4/4 French ‘Tek’ sound and when sonically there was still ‘ardcore dropping in their sets (possibly their most vital and exciting period…for me anyway). When I found my copy of the EP in Rough Trade W11, I remember being both totally gobsmacked and feverishly excited (but also with a creep of disappointment) that something of their energy had materialised in physical recorded form and cover artwork. It felt like contraband from the netherworld but also as if the vaults had been split wide open.
Regardless, this tune stands as the most joyful, hilarious (and inadvertently poetic) ode to Free Parties/Rave ever! Over to you MC Scallywag.
“If you’re a raver and can’t score an E…you must be buzzing on Acid!”
All that graffiti reminiscing got me all misty eyed about other characters from back in the day and while I don’t in any way want to turn this into a retro archiving sesh (…too many quality sites already doing that job on a far more impressive scale!) I couldn’t resist another follow up. And this segues nicely outta Fume.
The first proper rave nights I went to were the Tonka Sound System nights at the Zap in Brighton (circa 1991?) Harvey & Choci… what a line up! Can never forget the decks set up right in the middle of the dance floor below the stage, Choci with his shirt off, girls massaging him mid-set, everyone down to the last wo/man totally off their nut. Sweat, Vicks, Amyl and uninhibited dancing. Wildly eclectic sets right across the spectrum (and if you were lucky an after party on the beach down at Shoreham or wherever). And God’s honest truth, I cannot remember a single tune from those days, except (for some bizarre reason) Naz aka Naz’s “Organised Crime” !?! – the Godfather trumpet intro. “Just when I thought I was out…They pulled me back in.” I remember Choci dropping that at the peak of collective euphoria and the whole place going OFF!!!
“Your name’s not down…you’re not comin’ in”
Whatever happened to old Choci I started thinking?? He had a pretty wild run, from his Choci-Roc graffiti days in NYC, the first British writer to get up on the trains, to his DJ/producing/studio and record shops in Soho. The first record shops where I made weekly trips to and started buying and collecting vinyl obsessively from in fact (and where I discovered many an early Industrial Strength/Magnetic North/Drop Bass Network/Praxis hard techno gem and their like). Heady days. He went all Acid later and my visits tailed off but it was definitely a seed of my musical turn on and tune in.
I’d forgotten, or probably didn’t even register at the time, that one of his first tunes (if not the first?) was Mark One “Hoovers and Spraycans” from 1991 – featuring a pneumatic drill sample no less (Nomex would have been proud!) in a ’91 stylee – 4/4 kicks AND old school breakbeats. Solid ‘ardcore tune. Anyway, from what I can tell he’s back at the walls and spraycans now with the Team Robbo crew (who had that old school v new school spat with Banksy), some mention of him going into carpentry and not involved in music anymore theses days.