DigiDub pressure!

After you’ve checked out the “Tippa and Colonel Again” track below, you might want to relax by listening to this.

Before I got going with the Tippa tune, I was trying to do a ragga-techno track (if you’re wondering what that’s like, there’ll be a couple on the new home page soon) but I got bored. Instead I headed off in a UK Digidub direction. The vocal cut-ups are from an acapella of a Buju Banton track featuring some rappers, but I’m not sure which ones — the file turned up with no info. I’d be interested to know what track it is.

Anyway, this is a pretty neat little cut which lyrically tries to navigate the gun talk / consciousness divide; instrumentally we’re talking crisp percussion echoes, Iration-style liquid bass and a few odd gobs of noise. I like it. See what you think.

Grievous Angel And Buju Banton: Bad Man Dub
5:15
7.3Mb MP3.

Dancehall pressure!

Coughing Up Fire stars in action
There’s never been a more exciting reggae scene than eighties UK dancehall. The sheer exuberant joy of the records and yard tapes from the era can’t be beaten. I’ve already done a mix of hits from that era, combined together with a load of ragga jungle from Rebel MC and others, on my “Tribute to Congo Natty” mix which is over on Marc Dauncey’s Bassnation site.

Now I’ve gone a step further. Back in March I reviewed the fantastic “Coughing Up Fire” CD, which showcases a 1984 set from Saxon International featuring the cream of Brit MCs – and it’s fabulous, every reggae fan should have it. A million thanks to John Eden for getting me that! In that set there’s a multitude of gems to enjoy, but I selected the explosive contribution of Tippa Irie and Daddy Colonel for the Grievous Angel make-over treatment.

Rather than do the usual trick of ripping the arse out of it with jungle – delightful though that exercise is – this time I’ve gone into homage mode, sticking to reggae speed and showcasing the vocal. The original is virtually an accapella and I’ve simply added some thumping dancehall / hiphop crossover drums and a solid UK digidub bassline. The result is an explosive floor-bound sound lending the genius of Tippa and Colonel the arsenal of beats required to destroy dances today just as they did twenty years ago. Here it is.

Grievous Angel Vs Tippa Irie and Daddy Colonel: Tippa and Colonel Again
4:01
5.6Mb mp3

Sadly I don’t know much about Tippa Irie or Daddy Colonel other than just being a general fan. But Tippa was one of the stars of Saxon, and helped originate “fast-talking” style chat. He scored some big hits, with Pato Banton and others, including the great “Hello Darling”, “Raggamuffin Girl” (featuring Peter Hunnigale), and “Stress” (featuring Lloyd Brown). Fans of three-sided football should note he also recorded “Shouting for the Gunners”, an Arsenal fan song which reached the Top 30.

Best of all he’s still working and recording today. Check his site.
Tippa in action today
There’s a great interview here.

Daddy Colonel I know even less about. He and Tippa did a record on UK Bubblers / Greensleves called Just a Speak at the same time as the “Coughing Up Fire!” recording. I suspect it’s this track that they’re doing on CD, and which I’ve turned into this tune, cos the crowd seem to know it well, but I’m not sure. There’s a label scan here.

Show respect (and do yourself a favour): buy the original album off the Greensleeves site.

Nervous Ragga.

While doing some tidying up I decided to re-post the Nervous Ragga mix track listing and location.

Originally released as a CD it’s now happily esconced at Marc Dauncey’s excellent Bassnation site, where apparently it’s been fairly popular. You can find it, in zipped form, here.

Here’s the original posting and track listing for it.

It’s called Nervous Ragga cos that’s the vibe. These tracks don’t make me feel all relaxed and chilled out. No, they make me feel nervous, hyped up, excited. This CD is propulsive, muscular, but constantly in spasm. Like deep funk, the grooves are densely packed, clenched, yet also like funk, the release comes from the vocals, alternately sweeping and stuttering but always hovering at the furthest edge of the beat’s swing.

The first rhythm, The Flip, eases you in. But the Threat rhythm that follows it, just hurls itself at you, all rave pianos and tubthumper bass. I tried to get a lot of call-and-response between male and female vocals on theis CD and this theme starts here. A recurring theme in the mix comes in here. The Highway rhythm is faster but gentler, but it’s very wiggly. It raoidly turns into a pounding ragga take on R&D on money with sweet female choruses being slammed into Lady Saw’s ruffness. She shouts us into Tanya Stephens’ Strange, over my favourite rhythm ever, Hard Drive. It sounds like world war three going off in a sound system, just vast gobs of massive bass and booming toms. I love it. Lots of cutting on this one, and a really nice mix of Lady Saw’s In Your Face Again and Cecile’s Backstrett Kettle at the end. The last rhythm, Bollywood, is a ragga version of throbbing p-funk. Despite recent criticism Sizzla is in top form on this rhythm. with a bit of politics at the end.

If you’re interested you can get an mp3 of Nervous Ragga at Marc Dauncey’s excellent Bassnataion site at http://www.bassnation.uk.net/sound/nervousragga.mp3. Many thanks to Marc for hosting this — if you want it you’d probably get it sooner rather than later cos who knows how long Marc will be able to keep it up. As it were.

Here’s the tracklisting.

The Flip

1 Ward 21 Style
2 Madd Cobra Bring It On
3 Kiprich Nah Waste Time
4 Tafari & Ava Monet Round And Round
5 Tok Girlz Girlz Girlz
6 Mr Vegas Gi Dem Wine

Threat

7 Tok Where I¹m From
8 Redrat Wine Your Waist
9 Sizzla Doin It Right
10 Kiprich Pickaside
11 Redrat Wine Reprise
12 Lukie D Woman With Shape
13 Shaddu Fi Real

Highway

14 Ward21 Reverse
15 Risto Benjie Right Now
16 Danny English Hang Dem
17 Lady G & Cutlass Chop It Suh
18 Chuck Fender & Fiona Money
19 Mr Vegas & Cecile Get Yuh Tonight
20 Lady Saw Follow Me

Hard Drive

21 Tanya Stephens Too Strange
22 Lukie De & Lexxus Hot Like Fire
23 Harry Toddler Doom
24 Action Check Fa
25 Alozade Ghetto
26 Sean Paul & Dutty Cup Crew Dutty Cup
27 Hollow Point Got You Deh
28 Famous Face & Tornado Jamaica
29 Lady Saw In Your Face Again
30 Cecile & Tanya Stephens Buss Back Skettel

Bollywood

31 Sizzla Heat Is On
32 Tanya Stephens Addiction
33 Determine More Fire
34 Frisco Kid More Marijuana
35 Captain Barkey Buss A Shot
36 Ward 21 Roll Up
37 Future Troubles Drunken Master
38 Wickerman Come Out
39 Elephant Man In The Streets Mega Mix
40 Mr Vegas War

About John’s query re: July 23rd 1994

John’s wondering just what we were doing that day, in relation to my comment below.

My answer: Uuuuuhh, I’m thinking Arbor Low I or II, but that could’ve been a coupla years earlier, thinkng about it…

This probably sounds desperately obscure to everyone else — let’s just say they were big “do’s” put on by the northern mob of a key group within industrial culture, at Arbor Low, which is an ace Derbyshire stone circle, not far from Sheffield. Some archaeologists call it “the Stonehenge of the North”. It’s a massive big weird place with huge recumbent (lying down) stones. I’ve visited a fair few times.

It just seems to me that getting the review on July 23rd, dawn of the dog days, with a lot of other interesting signifiers happening at the same time, might have some kind of resonance with celebration of the Sirius current. Some kind of pay off. It would be kind of appropriate. With the new baby coming soon — three weeks! — it’s likely that this is the last phase of musical activity for me for a while. Maybe ever. This could be the circle closing.

And more on Coil…

Simon’s judgement from waaaaaaay back : “Jon, awesome, on Coil.” As I said yesterday, Jon’s piece was the biz. Plus of course Martin’s breathtaking post. Having been, as I said in the Industrial Culture piece, a big time teenage Coil fan, it’s gratifying to find people saying exactly what I would say about the “band” (albeit filtered through their personal experience — which is exactly the way it should be). Kinda like blogging by remote control — other people do the writing! Interesting that a lot of this material is about records that came out after I’d shifted my attention elsewhere — i.e. after Love’s Secret Domain. Shit, I’ve got the limited edition of 55 copies hardboard-enclosed gold leaf version of Gold Is The Metal With The Broadest Shoulders — much sacrifice made to get that at the time — so a lot of the later stuff just didn’t have my name on it. Anyway, to take up some of Simon’s interesting points:

Like a lot more specific artifacts by them, without actually ever feeling like I’m a Coil fan. To be a fan, you need to love the “what they’re about”.
Ferreal. As I just implied, I feel like a Coil fan (FOREVER!) even while not liking a lot of their artefacts.

The Coil “what they’re about” is too bound up with esotericism. It’s geared around the select few; initiates.
Ahem. This is probably a big reason why it always had such appealfor me! The music was kinda secondary. Being into Coil was a cultural affiliation. The subject matter, the iconography, the style, were equally as important as what the music actually sounded like. Course that never stopped me skipping tracks or passing on releases cos I thought they were shit. More to the point, 99% of industrial records ever released were shit (like every genre — except for ragga jungle and 2 step UKG, maybe). Rightly or wrongly, I never bought a Current 93 record, despite their unique place in the firmament of industrial, and my liking of folk music. Never appealed to me. Heaven Street was OK, I guess, but I could never quite picture Current 93 getting down and dirty wth Sherwood on the knobs, and lets face it, if that’s not the ultimate criteria for appreciation of any record, what is?

Also, it’s so fucking content-heavy and concept-laden. The classic industrial hallmark where it’s almost like there’s a reading list attached to the record.

🙂 love it mate! Actually, industral can get badly indigestible if it wears its influences on its sleeve too obviously. “Not yet another record that’s got cut-ups, white noise and preachers on it!” Compare and contrast with Tackhead’s Mind at the End of the Tether. But I have to giggle at Simon’s remark about reading lists attached to records. I can remember responding very differently to records or tape depending on what was on their reading list (yes it did happen). And I have to assume he hasn’t seen the original vinyl cover of Coil’s Scatology. It’s entirely comprised of excerpts from key texts that relate to each track, like a sleeve of footnotes in an academic text — but kinda funky with it.

The intriguing question for me is why a group who came so close to the heart of visionary madness in rave culture, then veered away from it and … join in the whole darkside speedfreak moment… They should have joined the Reinforced crew!

I guess one issue to bear in mind here is how early they were into that whole scene. The story as I understand it (and no, this isn’t verbatim from Geoff or Sleazy) is that one of the first scenes where E was popular in the UK was in the gay party scene in the mid 70s, and I believe Sleazy at least was exposed to it then. I suspect Coil were some way ahead in the arc of their consumption of Reinforced et al… I could be wrong though.

In fact the logical thing for them do (if they had any interest in propagating ideas beyond a cult audience, that is) would have been to start their own pirate radio station (shades of the whole Psychic TV fantasy of counter-media).
LOL! Yes. I have to say that some of the greatest, most blistering acid DJ sets I ever head was at PTV shows in 90/91.

Hexagram 23

The only comment I want to make on this is that I have great respect for both Matt and Soul Jazz. I regret the intemperate language and the weak, ill-considered argument I used two and half years ago when commenting on the Woebot piece (is it really that long ago? I was young and stupid — well, younger, and hopefully stupider, then…). I still think Soul Jazz are good people and I note and value the effort they make to ensure that artists get paid. Meanwhile Matt has been one of the great proponents of reggae in all its forms in the UK for some years.

Media hashishim: how it feels to get your music reviewed in The Wire

Waaaay back in May, I did the online mp3 “release” of Grievous Angel Vs Niney The Observer: Blood and Fire (Twist-Up Dub Mix). The idea was to produce some banging jungle to bounce about to in the summer nights, and more especially to worship at the shrine of Niney. I’d wanted to do a jungle version of this tune for years: it’s something of an icon for me and John Eden (as no doubt it is for most reggae fans). It was a labour of love as these mash-up tracks always are — though not a po-faced one. My Grievous Angel persona is, well, stooooopid but fun.

Anyway, here we are on July 23rd — traditionally the day when the Dog Days start, when Sirius rises, as pre-celebrated with the last breakbeat mix — and I get a call from a somewhat excited John Eden. Leafing through his freshly delivered copy of the August edition of the Wire — which is as we all know virtually the house magazine of this parish, among the other bloggers at least — he finds, on the Steve Barker’s Dub review page, a surprising entry.

For there, in all its newsprint finery, was — indeed is — a whole, quivering, pulsating paragraph of text dedicated to this very track! And it’s, like, a GOOD REVIEW!!! There I am, sandwiched between reviews of Mikey Dread’s “African Anthem” album — which is personally significant, since it was largely Dread’s inspiration of and production of The Clash which originally brought me to that dark spiritual contentment which is reggae — and King Tubby’s “In Fine Style”, whose influence on me is as great as for any white boy dub fan. Great company!

And of course the review is by Steve Barker, On-U associate, famous for his “On The Wire” radio show, and by virtue of his involvement with Sherwood, a figure of huge significance to me, On-U being the very touchstone of my music. Needless to say I’ve always regarded his judgement as impeccable, so to get a thumbs-up from him leaves me positively luminous with pride.

Other signifiers of import on the page include reviews of DJ Spooky, who IIRC did a cracking version of Throbbing Gristle’s “Persuasion” on that old Trance Europe Express CD-book compilation, and of Manasseh’s new LP. I don’t know if he’s involved in this release, but I’ve met Nick Manasseh and his sound played at my mate Dan’s “leaving Brixton and moving to Hackney” party. He’s a nice man. I helped load the system back into the van in the morning.

Pleasingly Barker gets the way I tried to feed the momentum of the late arrivals of post-Ardkore continuum (Garage etc.) back into the jungle blueprint. Better, he describes the result as “a frenetic shower of shots to Babylon’s head”. DJ Aphasic would be proud of me! Listening back to the track now, I’m pleased that it captures the stop-start urgency of Niney’s original while giving it a good solid slug of bass malevolence.

How Barker obtained the track I don’t know. I do zero promotion of these things other than writing them up on this blog and telling a couple of online forums. But just to know that he’d heard the track would have been a buzz. To know he liked it enough to review it in The Wire leaves me positively vibrating with happiness. All my adult life I’ve read record reviews and wondered what it would feel like to read one of my own music in the national press. Now I know and all I can say is it fucking rocks. Thanks Steve!

You can buy the original track here and lots of other places. Respect the originator.

The original track is here, with the related blog post here.

Meanwhile, here’s the “More Fire Remix” which I knocked out a couple of months back. Seems a good time to get it out there!

Rewinding Grievous Angel Vs Niney: Blood & Fire

For those of you trying to find this corking bit of summer jungle, here’s the relevant links to save you googling.

The music is at:
http://www.grievousangel.net/Grievous_Angel_Vs_Niney_Blood_&_Fire.mp3

The blog entry and a scan of JA 7″ label:
http://blog.grievousangel.net/index.php?p=188

More details on this story when I get hold of a bit more info.

All I’m saying is, today is traditionally the beginning of the Dog Days, when Sirius rises. I wonder if this is a slight return from what we did on 23rd July 1994?