Welcome to www.rolldeepcrew.co.uk – Roll Deep Crew Music, Roll Deep Audio, Roll Deep News and MC Wiley, Dizee Rascal and MC Flowdan: “Dizzie clashes with So Solid’s Asher D on Choice FM then the audience call in to vote for the winner”

I assume you’ve all been banging the realaudio on the roll deep site like I haven’t been, but for those of you who missed it, check it.

Good stuff and I’d just like to mention that a lot of the riddims are actually pretty fast, pretty much UKG speed. Grime isn’t sooooo different from its antecedents.

BTW the “mix” I’ve linked is actually accapella and arguably all the better for it. Now as soon as I figure out how to record RA files into the pc I’m doing some techno-speed ragga with it…

somedisco: “Meme back huzzah!
good points about grime, Laswell (guilty of that myself, TBH), Outkast”

Blimey. It’s weird settling down to trawl through a blog and finding props about your own blog. Cool. Big up yr self, somedisco.

We should all at least have links to an email address on our blogs — even Reynolds has that. I can’t work it out.

Maybe there should be another Britbloggers’ pub evening…

worlds of possibility: ” I mean, if you follow the prog/psych/etc thread, and you’re not careful, not clued-in, you can end up listening to the Ozric Tentacles. And that’s just not a healthy thing, awright? “

Oh I dunno. According to my mate Bill, Ozrics offshoot Eat Static invented jungle. So they can’t be all bad…

blissblog: “Flippin’ heck that Jaxx album’s a bit of a flailing over-egged pudding isn’t it?”

Oh darling, it’s because it’s prog punk-house, they have no choice! After all it has both Siouxsie and arch-prog fan (heavy into Greenslade) Dizzee Rascal on it, so it MUST be prog.

blissblog: “Happy Mondays–Yes Please***

*** somnabulent funkmuzak sub-muso drivel only one notch above The Doors circa Other Voices/Full Circle”

Boom-boom!

This is actually one of my fave Mondays records despite (maybe because) of everyone hating it. The main defence is the track “Stinking Thinking” which is one of my two or three fave Mondays tracks, really really neat, evil little pop record. I like “Sunshine and love” as well. It’s probably worth another deeper listen but I gave it to Oxfam a few weeks ago IIRC. Not enough space!

Other Voices is really dire though.

blissblog: “* Laswell Involvement Warning”

Stand by for a massive phlegm-ball of bile regarding hispters’ universal anti-Laswell tendenceis. They’re a bag of shite. And why the antipathy? Cos Laswell got their first and actually did something instead of just writing about it. It’s all jealous juvenility in other words.

blissblog: “OutKast have such impeccable sonic/psycho-sexual/cultural/etc credentials, and it seems perverse and churlish to not to join in the applause…. but they’re starting to seem like a sort of Fugees of Crunk, donchathink? “

No, Outkast are cool, you’ve just got reviewer-itis, always a risk if you do this professionally. Your critique makes sense within your own intensely developed critical framework but you’re in danger of neglecting the fact that Outkast are a wicked band and Stankonia is a great (though flawed) album. And there ain’t many like that around.

And what’s so bad about the Fugees? Or Lauren Hill for that matter? It’s just tunes.

Rock blog

So I’m on a train on the way back to Sheffield from London and I really should be doing some work. But fuck it, I’ve been at it for ten hours today and I’ve had a three day, forty hour week already, so I just don’t feel like it. As Eden has said – many times – fuck ‘em. Fuck the lot of ‘em. Cunts.

(As an aside – polyphonic ring tones. What the FUCK is that all about? They’re too loud, too distracting and too SHITE. I can’t wait to get a phone that does them. One of the most intense mobile users I ever knew, a Mexican management consultant living in Brussels who is, still, probably the most fantastic manager I ever met, didn’t use a ringtone at all. He just used the vibrate function. He could take calls in the middle of a meeting without anyone noticing – and stand up and start presenting at the end of the call, without missing a beat. But I digress.)

So let’s talk about David Bowie.

As many of you know, I have a somewhat deep-seated aversion to the Velvet Underground which is largely mirrored in my feelings for La Bowie. Too much self-indulgence, too much artsiness. Actually, let me just dwell on the Velvets – again – for a moment. I totally understand the adulation, I just find it REALLY IRRITATING. There’s too much knee-jerk knee-bending over records that are really pretty ordinary in the main. Let’s not dwell on the details – I’m sure they’re painfully familiar to most of you – but what is interesting about the Velvets is the milieu, not the group itself. I accept they did some good songs and shows, I just think it’s more about the reflected glory from the ideas of the Factory et al.

I enjoyed playing their songs in a teenage post-punk band, but I never got the elemental rush of discovery from the Velvets. And it was not for want of trying. Like Matt TWANBOC (who still regularly worships at their shrine) I was exposed to them in early teenage, in my case by the trendy boyfriend of an older sister (perhaps the coolest way of getting into music as for an adolescent). So I got the whole slew of albums and bootlegs taped right from the off.

But it never quite made me go whoosh. Possibly because I’d already been introduced to the Doors and the Stooges, and indeed to the infinitely superior tech-funk of Cabaret Voltaire (I was a MASSIVE Cabs fan at 13, just DYING to grow up enough to buy more records and go to their gigs).

So I’ve never been convinced by the Velvets. And I imagine this might perhaps slightly pain someone like Matt TWANBOC, because if I imagine someone slagging off the Clash, who were my most-favourite, number one band when I was a teenager, and the first proper band I ever went to see live, at 13, then I think I’d find it really quite painful. (He’ll probably give the Clash a good kicking now, but I don’t care – Sandinista is still the best album made by anyone ever…)

And I tend to put Bowie into the same bag as the Velvets. I’ve never got on with all that Lodger / “Andy Warhol” / voice-and-piano foppishness. (No doubt this would make me a stranger in Coldplay’s or Radiohead’s houses.) Too much preen, not enough gleam. But what I DO love about Bowie, and always have done, is Scary Monsters, both the song and the album. I say this having just listened to the song at high volume in a dodgy pub in Kings Cross over a couple of pints of wallop. Christ, entertainment doesn’t come much better than that. It has everything – screaming noise, remarkably funky grooves (I was fantasising about dropping it in a club set, it would work) and exaggerated Croydon accents – what’s not to love? It puts a big, shit-eating smile on my face every time I hear it, especially the daa-daa-daa woah-woah-woah bits with the metal shredding guitar counterpoint at the end. And I really like the album too, which is odd cos there aren’t really many other Bowie albums I can say that I truly hand-on-heart love. Well, there’s Young Americans, but I don’t have it, in fact I’m not 100% convinced I’ve even heard it all the way through, but who can resist Fame? Perfect emulations of James Brown (and other black superstars) are what white people are FOR. Just listen to The Micronauts’ The Jag, which is a fabulous, fabulous take on the essence of 70s transcendental soul, with just the right intervals in the chords. And the Speedy J remix is a corker. I lost the CD but managed to pick up the 12” on eBay for a song. Which Made Me Happy).

On balance I’d say I was still interested in Bowie, still open to the idea of buying a few old albums and still willing to lend a sympathetic ear to, well, even his new stuff, which I would imagine must be dire, though the odd bar finding its way to my ears isn’t that bad.

Perhaps best of all – and this will turn the stomach of pretty much everyone reading this except Marcello, even Eden, and he was down in the trenches with me at the time – is the fact that Bowie did the whole double-headlining tour thing with Nine Inch Nails, who as Marcello has already pointed out really were one of the most important bands of the 90s. They were a fantastic live event too, neatly creating the apotheosis of high tech rock, before wisely and somewhat defiantly jacking the whole thing in. (Me and Eden went to see NIN… as he will no doubt contradict in no uncertain terms, I had to beat them off with a shitty stick…)

In fact I’d go so far as to say they kept the On-U / Tackhead current burning, what with Adrian Sherwood producing the first LP and everything (to, it must be said, the complete bemusement, if not disinterest, of their peers, target audience and industry). Never mind the Goth pantomime of the guitarists. Feel the beats, the textures, the shapes, and understand why most white Americans with their cultural background didn’t need techno and certainly didn’t need drum’n’bass when they had NIN. How much of a pisser this must have been to Reznor only adds to the deep, comic irony of this band…

So, this seems to be my Rock Blog – the ideal antidote to the current spate of Prog Blogs (none of you will pass muster without doing Genesis, BTW, and none of you have the stomach to confront their – yuck – prog populism. But Genesis is Genesis and Rush is Rush and there’s a difference. You simply haven’t done prog till you’ve done Genesis. Ask any middle aged German ROCK fan.)

So is this the moment I tell you about The Cult, Love Removal Machine, and Ian Astbury being the cousin of my ex-brother in law? It’s a classic Essex hippy story. But it will have to wait. Cos it’s time for a piss and I’m already at Kettering.

skykicking: “Skykicking taking a slight issue with my comments on neophiolia”

“Now I like Paul’s writing a lot…”

Why thank you. You’re pretty good yourself. Though I’m not as good as Eden, which is a source of endless irritation to me, but there you go: he has talent and I’m a middlebrow hack. Matt TWANBOC’s a proper writer too, at the moment he almost can’t be bothered, leaving sentences unstructured and all that, yet he still pisses on almost everyone else.

“… and he seems to know his garage…”

I knew about garage for a while but I left London almost two years ago and you just can’t keep track away from the pirates. I just listen to my old Dem2 records and occasionally make up CDs for my wife. She loves 2step (after ages of being bored by music after the birth of our baby) and would love to go out dancing to it. But of course, you can’t.

“… but to me this smacks of building a strawman. I haven’t seen anyone complaining about how crappy golden age 2-step (and it was a golden age!) is compared to grime. ”

Create straw men? Moi? 😉

But no, there’s at least a semi-serious point here. I detect in the current dissing of classical UKG (and for that matter the cultural revisionism, that has consigned mid-nineties techno to the bin of un-hipness) in favour of grime, a premise that grime is good BECAUSE it’s new. And this raises my hackles in a profound way. Yes, I distinguish between what I object to, and the current appreciation of grime on its own merits (for reasons of invention and of dialectical development (its antecedence in hardcore etc.). This is of course absolutely fine.

However I perceive a susceptibility to novelty for its own sake. And this to me is suspect. It’s just commodification, where a culture articulates an ideology that desecrates last years’ forms simply because they are no longer freshly minted. Which means that people who like last year’s thing are branded conservative when they simply like a different trope. An example, which I want to qualify in a moment. While I partly enjoyed Reynolds’ put down of, IIRC, Spoony, who was saying he wanted to put on nights for that minority of people who preferred the old 2step and soul-inspired 4-beat sounds of ’97 to ’99, I was also disturbed that the basis of his criticism was that Spoony should simply be embracing the new. As afar as I could tell, Spoony should like and promite Grime simply because it was NEW.

Now, I actually hesitate before citing this example, because I do not want to be seen as dissing Reynolds, for whom I do of course have great respect and affection. And I owe him a ragga mix CD. And it was an off-the-cuff comment (something which I have FWIW encouraged in him) and not a major issue in any event.

Furthermore I do appreciate the value of POP: of the creative power of churn (shades of Schumpeter’s gales of creative destruction here). At one level — what I would see as a child-like level — the desire for novelty for its own sake can be enjoyable. And no, I’m not saying that everyone should be making and listening to 99-vintage UKG. [It should be 95 techno crossed with ragga! ;-)]

But his comment can be taken as an indication of a sort of knee-jerk disowning of UKG and older musics simply because they’re old. Techno, house, and of course more than any other genre, breakbeat, all suffer from this phenomenon as well. (BTW in the main body of their work this anti-historicism is something that Reynolds and Matt TWANBOC emphatically do not suffer from – quite the reverse. You read Reynolds and you constantly get allusions to previous musics, and by no means only to hipseter forms. And TWANBOC’s knowledge of and articulation of the merits all kinds of older, neglected musics is legendeary – though his comments on Hardfloor cut deep, I’m telling you, DEEP!! 😉

So I detect this attitude not so much in Reynolds et al, but I still think it occurs as a basic assumption (an ideology) throughout contemporary discussion of dance musics. And what really makes me look at it with – well, not horror, more a kind of amused dismay – is my perception of my first and last musical love, reggae. Cos for as long as I’ve known and loved reggae, which is well over 25 years now, it has changed in revolutionary ways yet for me it’s kind of stayed the same. Every element from its history has always had a currency. I mean this both in terms of modern forms recycling older ones, and in terms of older tracks being re-released or versioned. Yes, reggae is perhaps the most volatile form on the planet but the old has never been ignored. (The few weeks old – now that’s another matter!)

I suppose at the root of this is what I perceive to be the hipster’s horror of cheesiness, and everyone has different tolerances for formaggio. But I just think in a world where you can dance – I mean really dance, without any irony – to Michael Jackson’s Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough, with absolute joy, 20 years ago, now, and 20 years in the future, there’s room for people to get down to unfashionable UK Garage.