I’ve decided to use this blog to release my music. This is slightly ironic in view ofthe current mp3-hosting debate (how often do producers release tracks through bloigs? All the time probably). In any event, most of these tracks start from loving a tune, but having a different mix of it running in my mind, often for weeks at a time. The same thing happens with DJ mixes, so there’ll be some of them up here, including some refugees from Marc Dauncey’s excellent but (hopefully temporarily) late and lamented bassnation.net.uk. Plus there’ll be some new ones, mainly dirty UK Garage and reggae.
I’ve used the Grievous Angel moniker for years. I think thought about it first in 1989 — it was a chemical weapon in William Gibson’s Neuromancer, which seemed to make terribly exciting at the time. I didn’t find out til years later that it was the title of a Gram Parsons LP — which is great iconography as far as I’m concerned, even though the music is a mile away from his. I’ve never listened to the album in case I don’t like it — I’m just glad he looks good in the photos.
People I’ve sent tapes to often think they’re getting heavy metal, which amuses me a great deal: there’s a lot of metal’s deliberately dumb attitude here, a cartoon feel. This is something I’ve noticed in a lot of my favourite music — Funkadelic, Congo Natty, Tackhead, Lady Saw — and I reckon the best bands start off wiith a “this’ll be a laugh” attitude and find their soul by accident. Certainly all good dance music has some of this attitude. Beats being po-faced anyway.
The tunes I make tend to fall into two categories: jungle, usually re-edits of reggae tracks; and ragga techno, which is usually acidic, dubby ragga running at techno speeds. But I’ll be posting a couple of different things here as well. If I was smart, I suppose I’d stick to one genre, but the ideas keep coming in different shapes and sizes. (Well, I say ideas, but I mean completely obsessional ear-worms I have to exorcize or risk going mad.) And anyway, even if these tracks aren’t all at the same speed, they all recognisably have the same personality: brash, pushy and dumb.
Styllistically, it’s all about squeezing reggae through dance music’s funky sphincter. There’s nothing I like more than a good dancehall tune that’s had an amen break shoved up it and I’d really like to do more stuff like that.
I’m obsessed with taking John Eden’s DJ mixes and turning sections of them into new tracks, and that’s exactly what I’ve done here. For one thing it saves me the hassle of buying choosing, buying and digitisng great reggae records and for another there’s a fantastic sense of multiple versioning creating multiple layers of meaning which can really lift the engagement of the listener compared to an average club track or boot. (In other words — I like vocals.) Incestous? So what?
Having said all that, this one is actually quite gentle in its Vocal Mix form. Full vocal selections, a tight beat and a big, soft, rolling bassline mean you just ride the lyrics, which is what dancehall is all about. This one’s about the songs, not the beats. They’re twisted, but subtle.
Whereas the Dub is all about funk noise at jungle tempo. The vocals are reduced to a fragment cyclng over over dirty breaks. But the groove is wide open and swinging. This isn’t smart at all but it is fun and very punk. And yes it does go rolling half way through.
I’ve always wanted to do this. It’s just a big, smiley, big room tune, and it deserves to be heard in drum’n’bass sets as well as old-school house ones. It was done in the run-up to seeing Weatherall do his amazing set at Dust – away of psyching myself up for it. Not that he played any drum’n’bass, nor would I particularly want him to, but if I heard Come Together playing in a jungle club, this is how I’d like it to sound. Ecstatic. Turn it up.