Vybez Cartel, Best Friend

uncarved.org blogginess: “Vybez Kartel – Best Friend. […] which is clearly the best cut on the Ngozi riddim and anybody called Eden who tells you otherwise is just a pussy…

Mmm, were it not for the unfortunate mention of ‘sodomites’ etc about 30 seconds in, I may have agreed with you… :-)”

I guess… but it’s a bit of a dull riddim, innit? OK, nice to try doing modern nyabinghi, but I thought most of those cuts were boring.

The new Wayne Marshall / Outkast clash is however just as good as people have been saying it is. Kicking.

Can the world really be as sad as it seems?

Pounding System: “fuck, sometime i should just bite the bullet and talk about all the stuff that REALLY bothers me. about how long it’s taking for my psychotherapist referral to come through and how my grief about certain things is starting more and more to resemble cheap sentimentality, and how crass that makes me feel. and how this is the tenth anniversary year of losing my father and how sometimes it just makes me want to rip towels up or chew through glass or something.”

I know what you mean. Both about the issue of how far to go with talking about my inner feelings on what is effectively a public discussion forum, and about the grinding pain of grief on losing your father. There’s a lot I could talk about here, but I’m not quite comfortable doing so. This isn’t really English reticence, more a fear of being laughed at, or worse — maybe that IS English reticence! There’s also a concern about making a blog focused. Maybe my slagging of the concept of music-only, or music-primarily, blogs was misplaced. How much of this stuff is just a bore for people?

But I will say something about grief since Dubversion has mentioned it. Especially since I see a theme underlying a lot of the blogging circle of men dealing with the death of their father. Whatever.

I fully support Dubversion’s desire for a therapist. Within months of my father dying I was wracked with emotional pain. It was rough. You know that toothache-like, exasperating, intolerable discomfort you get from nails being scraped down a blackboard? Combine that with the feeling that your fingernails are being torn off by that process, over and over again… that was what it felt like. It was inescapable. I honestly don’t know how I could have survived without help. Mind you, my dad’s death brought a lot of hidden family stuff out of the woodwork, and my family largely collapsed for a while — it turned out a lot of our life had been something of a sham. I won’t bore you with the details.

Fortunately, my father spent the last (and only the last) night of his life in a Catholic Hospice (the one in Hackney, right by Beck Road). The one thing that the Catholic church has really done for me, is that when I phoned up saying I was having problems and he’d died there and did they know who I could talk to, they simply said Come in, someone here will help you. And I went, and they did. For a year. For free. And I don’t think the therapist was even Christian, since you’re wondering, and she didn’t just say “there there”. It’s hard work. And I carried on.

I won’t trot out the usual cliches about Grief. I understand Dubversion’s sense that the very authenticity of the emotions you’re having becomes suspect, because of the sheer monotony of it all. You find yourself laughing at your grief. I don’t have a particularly Nietzchean view of grief, because it leaves you weaker in many ways. Less forthright and less, well, youthful, I suppose. But it does have its gifts. One is a partial sense of perspective. Despite being a congenital worrier, I can push away a lot of life’s crap because I have seen my father lying dead on a mortuary slab. The crushing, ineluctable reality of that sight and what it means to me does help me ignore some small portion of the crap that life flings at me.

And that’s a good thing.

Still — those Captain’s mixes eh?

Street Tuff.

tufluv///: “Surely I can’t be the only person here who really likes General Levy & M-Beat’s ‘Incredible’. Gwan, listen to it jungle snobs. Rebel MC did some wicked breakbeat tunes too, namely ‘Wickedest Sound’. ///”

No you’re not — but you might be the last person here to admit to liking Incredible. Which is, always has been, and always will be, a work of genius, both lyrically and musically. MIDI breakbeats have never sounded so good. The only reason they got slapped down, IIRC, was cos Levy kept on calling himself King of the Jungle, when according to Goldie and Grooverider, he wasn’t. Nevertheless, it’s been a floor-filler ever since. As has M-Beat’s similarly wonderful re-work of Jamiroquai’s Do You Know Where You’re Coming From. Eden, for example, still foams at the mouth at the mention of Jamiroquai, despite his Destiny’s Child records. Do You features what is perhaps the best 808-sub melodic bassline of any record not made by 4Hero.

I scarcely need to mention Rebel MC. I am not aware of a bad record by him. People talk about his son doing some dodgy remixes but I’m not convinced. He is of course an icon in my house. I genuflect before the altar of Congo Natty on a daily basis.

uncarved.org blogginess

uncarved.org blogginess: “I met him a couple of times and he was wonderful – really generous and kind and interesting. One time he’d just come out of hospital and showed up at the Scala Cinema in Kings Cross where I’d organised to show a selection of films including his Dreamachine and footage of William Burroughs in London.”

This is absolutely true.

John’s a fucking good organiser alongside all his other talents.

Seriously, he’s the most impressive person I’ve met in the last 20 years. And I’ve met some good’uns. But unlike a lot of famous people, when you meet John you realise that it’s people like him that make the world go round.

This particular night that he’s describing was one of the best shows ever. The sort of thing that changes lives because it presents people with art and knowledge and people that show that the world is not what you thought it was. I don’t think that sort of show really happens any more. A lot of that activity has moved the web, which is great, but it just shows how pressurised life has become. The venues, the space, the opportunity to bring people together has contracted a lot in the last ten years, in London at least. I don’t have numbers to support this argument, but I definitely get the impression that it’s a lot harder to put on non-mainstream events now.

But maximum — and I mean maximum — respect to John for making things happen when it was possible.

She’s Fresh! Exciting!

Springtime has been brewing in Sheffield for a while but it hit us with all its force this morning. Stunning intense clear sunlight against crystal blue skies Londoners (for example) rarely see. Lots of buds and early blossom about too. What IS it about some buds that make them furry? Weird! Maybe Luka knows?

The hike over the big hill from Nether Edge to Hunters Bar was just a delight — I was being hit with all kinds of landscape alignments and physical sublimities on the way. “Amaaaaaazing”, as my son would say.

????tufluv///

????tufluv///: “big fuss made over the fact he made his tracks at school, though in the event a lot were done at a big Sheffield studio or by guest producers). “

Done at a very, very small Sheffield studio actually — it’s round the corner from and you just wouldn’t know it existed, it’s so small. The main thing they used was the monitors. Check the Sound on Sound interview.

Quick rewind

that was a naughty bit of crap: “The Clash were the second greatest Rock’n’Roll band ever. Second to The Rolling Stones. The Beatles of course weren’t a rock’n’roll band- they were a pop group. The Clash run a very poor second-place. They made three good albums (?The Clash?, ?London Calling? and ?Combat Rock?) to The Stones’s six (go figure). They make up good ground as a singles band as is attested by something like ?The Story of the Clash?.”

Just spotted this after looking over Matt’s piece on deephousepage.com. Personally I think The Clash piss all over the Stones for all the obvious reasons, notwithstanding the dark transcendence of their best work (Exile, mainly). The first LP is I think over-rated. I much prefer Give ‘Em Enough Rope (and I’ve been getting into trouble for that since I was 12). People talk about it being “too rock” — well, it’s certainly produced a lot better. Joe sings a lot better too. And lets face it, the tunes are better. Has there ever been a more exciting track than Safe European Home? It was of course amazing live. London Calling is of course great, the definitive Clash album, but Combat Rock isn’t. I loved it at the time but listening back, the songs are awful and Joe’s singing is just all over the place.

No, the best Clash album — in fact the best album ever made by anyone ever, IMO — is Sandinista. It’s a whole world that they’ve constructed in those grooves.

WOEBOT makes good on the RAP proposition

WOEBOT: “I’m kicking myself that I sold my copy of ‘Bite This’, man that is one bumbaclaat track! I’m stalking a copy at the moment. “

Great to see Matt filling in the details of my proposition that the best way of understanding “Grime” is through the prism of it being a return to / deviation form Rap. (An aside — Rap or hip hop? Hmmmm…). He does it extremely well. He also does a good job of suggesting some key records in grime’s historical evolution.

I would just like to point out that I have a copy of Bite This on an ancient compo I was given by someone (hope they don’t want it back). I stuck it on my 80s Mix cd “Fake It Til You Make It” (done WAY before it was fashionable to do the 80s, folks!). It is a “good bit” and segues into Art of Noise.