If this is for real I’m well made up…

From an email I got today:

Sent: 28 September 2004 02:28
To: grievousangelsoundsystem@yahoo.co.uk


I’d just like to say, regardless of this email, that Tippa Irie is one of the all-time greats and playing about with his and Daddy Colonel’s lyrics was fantastic fun.

Entirely coincidentally…

Here’s a new version, slightly cleaner and groovier version of the main mix of “Tippa and Colonel Again”.

And here is “Tippa and Colonel Again — 1985 vs 2005 Dub Mix”, a rather tasty high tek mix. If the original is a fat loping growler, this is a much spacier cut with slo-mo junglizms all over it. I like it even more than the original.

New ragga techno

You know I was saying I probably wasn’t going to be doing much more music, what with the new baby coming? Weeeeell… it was really boring waiting for it to come, and I had spare time on my hands and…

… well, I’ve done a new ragga techno track. And it’s a bit of a corker.

I’ve again gone back to that all time classic ragge acapella, Cutty Ranks’ DJ Epitaph, cos it’s just overflowing with potential for versioning and mashups. I just can’t resist it.
The magnificent Cutty Ranks

The musical blueprint is pounding techno speed ragga with shades of electro to the beats and acidic basslines. Very tasty as far as I’m concerned.

Grievous Angel Vs Cutty Ranks: Culture Killer.

Best bio of Cutty Ranks I could find was here though it fails to mention his work with the Bug.

Dance, dance, dance to the radio

You can find an archive of the On the Wire show where Steve Barker played Grievous Angel’s re-rub of Niney the Observer’s Blood and Fire here.

It’s very low res and so the quality isn’t all that but it’s OK — it’s the last of the jungle tracks (The Bug, Kid 606, Congo Natty… great company), at the front of the show, before tunes by Ijahman Levi and Tubby. Steve introduces the tracks at around the 36minute mark.

As you can imagine, my first play on the radio is a very proud moment for me :).

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
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
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.

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.

Summer Breakbeats 2: Dog Days

Back on the 25th May, summer was taking hold, the moon was waxing, and it was time to throw all cares to the wind and bounce around to old breakbeat records, so I posted a mix of hyped up, ragga-flavoured tunes of the broken persuasion. A lot of people said they liked it and some were unwise enough to ask for more. So here we are at midsummer, with the moon waxing again, the Dog Days fast approaching, and an introspective, waning-moon industrial mix under our belts; it feels like it’s time for another breakbeat mix, this time of more recent vintage and of an even more banging nature.

This is a mix of breakbeat for big rooms — arenas even. The tracks are maximalist, flavoursome, dirty and above all huge fun. Where the reference points for the tunes on the last mix were ragga and hip-hop, here it’s funk, acid and, with not a trace of irony, hard rock. While you can mosh to many of these tracks as much as dancing to them, this is not music for acid teds. As with all great pop music, whether Sinnitta or Sonic Youth, Sister Sledge or Psychic TV, there’s a cartoon element to this music which absolves it of any responsiblity other than to evoke that transcendence that comes from dancing about like a loon and bumping into strangers.

Breakbeat’s not hip. But as the blogerati know, it’s no longer that untouchable, following John Eden’s widely read defence of it. As he said at the time, “It isn’t cool, but I worry about people who worry about that stuff. Fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke.” I seem to remember Simon talking about breakbeat sharing many of the same features as our beloved ‘Ardkore: music that’s functionally designed to generate a buzz, a low-brow, orgiastic impertinence that revels in sounds and effects that are bound to irritate many listeners, while inducing grins of recognition from its targets. I therefore wanted to do a mix of favourite breakbeat pile drivers that emphasised the textural connection with ‘Ardkore without going the ragga route. Instead, the tracks in this mix represent a battle between funk and rock for the possession of dance music’s soul, with acid refereeing. It’s a blast.

Big Room Breakbeat
60 minutes.


Kasha Ft. Sarah Nelson: U
A picture of Shara Nelson. I can't remember who was in Kasha. Probably someone embarassingly famous.
Classy hyperkinetic soul to start off.

Leftfield: Dusted (Si Begg Mix)
Leftfield, wondering where that funny noise is coming from.
Yes! The Leftfield plodder from the LP no-one listens to gets twisted into industrial funk mentalism by hit-n-miss studio genius Si Begg.

Basement Jaxx: Jump’n’Shout (Boo Slinger Dub)
Basement Jaxx, in Brixton
The extra ruff mix. Familiar I know but there’s some interesting wrinkles here…

HardKnox: Come In Hard
Hardknox. MENTAL!!!
From one pub in Brixton to another. Absolutely mental heavy metal mash-up. I fucking love Hardknox.

Dylan Rhymes: Naked and Ashamed
Dylan Rhymes, DJing.
No I never heard anything else by him either, but this is the apotheosis of hard rock acid house.

S.I. Futures: I’m the Bomb (Grievous Angel Edit)
Si Begg, looking cheerful. Cute, isn't he?
The revenge of the funk. Awesome track. Dude.

Fatboy Slim: Michael Jackson
Norman Cook, acid house hero.
Saint Norman — who is still the most fun and therefore the best non-reggae DJ I’ve ever seen — in fine Negativ-land-sampling style.

Plump DJs: The Funk Hits The Fan
Plump DJs, embracing modernism.
I’ve danced around the kitchen with my wife to this track more than anything else in the past year. That’s really all you need to know about this one.

Plump DJs: The Gate
This is just a buzz track. Nothing else. It’s pure ear-candy. Obviously it’s just a re-working of an extremely well-known acid breaks track but that kind of versioning mentality tjust makes me love it all the more. Originality is the enemy of creativity in dance music.

Chemical Brothers: Loops of Fury
Just another huge, pounding, head-shredding buzz track. With extra guitar solos. It’s the dance music equivalent of Deep Purple’s Highway Star (the version on Live in Japan). The corruscating Hammond lines are replaced with wave upon wave of overdriven synths, and it’s just killer.

Way Out West: King of the Funk
Jody of Way Out West, DJing. No, really.
Under-rated act, Way Out West. Must’ve been that shite trance mix CD Nick Warren did. Still, this is a fabulously funky integration of dance music and metal.

Si Begg Vs T Power: I Like That
Si Begg, inventing another meaningless pseudonym.
Something twisted beyond all recognition to bring you down.

The First Taste of Hope is Fear: Ambient Industrial 1980 – 1987

I was involved in industrial culture for a long time. The music was really big for me right the way through my teens, since I got into Cabaret Voltaire when I was 13, and Psychic TV a year later. Almost a quarter of a century later, not much industrial music still sounds good, because vast amounts of it wasn’t any good anyway, but the best stuff has visceral energy, emotional impact, and the kind of transcendence most music simply doesn’t achieve. There’s been a frisson of interest in, or at least references to, the industrial scene, for a couple of years now, accompanied by the much anticipated and hyped re-formation of Throbbing Gristle. It seems like a good time for me to re-appraise and wrap up this period of my life and the music that went with it, and in the process share some the best of it with people who either weren’t there first time, or passed it by. As the mix’ title suggests, I hope that what comes across is the sense of hope that emerges from amongst the harshness; to me, it’s no surprise that many in the industrial scene were later to become involved in dance music. Perhaps they simply discovered ecstasy before most people – you wouldn’t blame them…

The emphasis here is more on the ambient side of industrial than the banging noise side of industrial. As ever, before I do a mix or a piece of music, I live with it inside my head for some time before committing needle to Mac, and it was the more atmospheric tracks that “came through”. Despite being largely ambient, it’s still highly dynamic. Atonal and beatless for most of its duration, there is still a sense of lushness to this mix, and the snatches of melody and recognisable beats have enormous impact when they do appear. The structure of the mix mirrors fairly closely that which we would follow when doing work in this period, and the mix could be used as a meditational tool. But then what couldn’t?

The First Taste of Hope is Fear is here.

(30 minutes 32 seconds long; 42Mb; 192kbps MP3.)
1. Einsturzende Neubauten: Das Schaben. 7” included with the original pressing of the “Halber Mensch” LP. 1985.

“In the beginning there was noise.” That’s not quite the first principle of industrial but it’s the first impression people tend to get. Das Schaben means “the scraping”, and it is literally that – a load of metal scraping. And it’s beautiful. For me it represents clearing the circle; clearing your mind so you can focus.

Einsturzende Neubaten at the time of Das Schaben

2. Throbbing Gristle. Heathen Earth. From the “Heathen Earth” LP. 1980.

Heathen Earth is probably my favourite TG album. Whether because or despite the lack of “songs” – and certainly it has no “hits” on it, no live versions of Discipline or Hamburger Lady for example – it’s glorious to listen to. It reminds me of Miles Davis. The performance is improvised, but it’s a focused piece of music. Here, this track creates the sensual space for what is to follow.

I’ve recorded it in slightly dubbed up form, reinforcing industrial’s obvious parallels with the Jamaican classics.

Heathen Earth

My favourite Throbbing Gristle picture

3. Coil. How to Destroy Angels. Laylah 12”. 1984.

A concept 12”: if that doesn’t define industrial I don’t know what does. The concept here being – according to the essay accompanying the record – the accumulation of male sexual energy, achieved through the gentle pummelling of gongs. This music is affecting and emotional in ways I can scarcely describe, yet there is nothing to it, just gamelan simplicity. It calls out elements.

The record is a great artefact, since the B-side is entirely blank, creating an ideal surface for scrying: pure, glossy, deep black.

The sleeve of the original pressing of Coil's How to Destroy Angels

4. Einsturzende Neubauten: Halber Mensch. From the “Halber Mensch” LP. 1985.

From the accumulation of male sexual energy to the half-life of masculinity. Half-life as in both the atomic decay of life, the realisation of mortality (“The first and only thing we know is that we all die” – GPO, roughly) and the realisation that one is only half alive. To me, it encapsulated he horror of looking in the mirror and not recognising who is there. Here, it is the charge: the human vocalisation of one’s self, a determined assertion of presence.

When I was 16 I went to see Neubauten at Heaven. They started with this piece and it was, predictably, awesome. They followed with Yu Gung and a brace of other classics before the PA exploded. I spent three hours on the night bus back home to Essex.

The front of cover of Einsturzende Neubaten's Halber Mensch LP

5. Non. Blood and Flame. From the “Blood and Flame” LP. 1986.

I’m not sure which particular track this is and I’m certainly not going to find out, because all the track titles are terrible on this LP, but if you like waves of pulsating white noise, this track is killer. It’s fairly tasteful though, as waves of pulsating white noise go. Here, it’s the silence after the charge, where all senses are engaged.

There’s a story Phil Hine often tells about Chaos Magick and the perils of paradigm shifting. One of the aims of chaos is to become informed about, and at least partly agnostic about, one’s own belief systems. One way of achieving this is to practice paradigm shifting , where one adopts belief systems that are different from one’s own in order to understand their relativism. Anyway, this associate of Phil’s decides to take up the paradigm of fundamentalist Christianity – and gets so carried away that he joins a church and is born again.

Oh, the risks of Occultism.

Now, for those of you who don’t know, there was a time when Non’s Boyd Rice was a bright young star of industrial, one of its formative characters, and capable of great work. He was also a Premier League piss artist, wind-up merchant, and prankster. Even more so than Martin Dust. And he liked to play the dressing-up-in-militaria-and-growing-a-beard games that are all part of the fun of industrialism, and very good he looked too. Then, at some point in the 80s, he seemed to cross over the line between irony and sincerity, and took to proclaiming his fondness for Hitler, how American culture is a victim of political correctness, etc. Yeugh. Eden’s take on all this is that he “has taken up so many ludicrous positions over the last 10 years that it’s impossible to think that he isn’t playing the game purely for laughs” . Eden / Kali from back in the day nailed the whole Cold Hard and Black Nazi / Satan schlock-slop here – read it, and see what real industrial philosophy was about. Personally I just think Rice is a wannabe-macho prick; and no doubt he thinks the joke’s on me.

Great tune though
Blood and Flame. As opposed to Blood and Fire, eh Boyd?

6. Laibach. Die Liebe. 12”. 1985.

To me this song is the pop music counterpart to Heathen Earth. In particular, it’s a pop music recapitulation of the question on the sleeve of Heath Earth: can the world really be as sad as it seems? It is this yearning which is the emotional well-spring of much industrial music, and which is often over-looked by the non-cognoscenti. After the assertion of life: reclaiming feeling.

Laibach history.

Laibach’s Guiding Principles, 1982.

Laibach in da house!

7. Coil. The Sewage Workers Birthday Party. 1984.

I was a teenage Coil fan. I used to exchange letters with John Balance and everything. It was a really big part of my life. All the usual teenage fandom clichés apply – I resonated with the songs emotionally, I identified with their ideology and belief systems, and their music provided me with a place of refuge. The track here is pretty much a song, based on a coprophagic gay SandM story. It’s very beautiful: squidgy, rich, and romantic.

The main Coil site.

8. Laibach. Vade Retro. From the “Nova Akropola” LP. 1985.

There’s an old Wiccan saying – it must date back to the seventies at least – that “Where there’s fear there’s power”. It’s very true and worth reflecting on, and I don’t mean that in the sense of knee-jerk teen age miserabilism or aggression. A lot of good industrial dealt with fear – not as a means of diminishing the listener, but of empowering them, allowing them to unpick their fear. This track is startling at least. The ritual enacted is unnerving, yet these are Yugoslavian materialists, not occultists – at least, I never heard anything about Laibach being involved in magick. Yet it still poses the question: what, and who, are you actually afraid of?

Neue Slovenische Kunst.

9. Psychic TV. In the Nursery. From the “Dreams Less Sweet” LP. 1983.

If Vade Retro plays at being fearsome, In The Nursery is the real thing. It’s certainly unsettling, but that’s not because of over-wrought spookier-than-thou occultnikism. No, this song is about responsibility. It’s about taking responsibility for your own feelings and desires – all of them – and neither erasing them nor being enslaved by them. What does “no guilt and no retribution” mean? Does it really mean horror? Is that really what happens when you get what you want?

Dreams Less Sweet.

10. Psychic TV. Eleusis. From the “Dreams Less Sweet” LP. 1983.

Burroughs said that art was what was left after the magick. Eleusis is Andrew Poppy’s art.

11. Test Department. And We Shall Return No More. From the “A Good Night Out” LP. 1987.

Industrial musicians always had a penchant for folk music, which was of course deeply unfashionable at the time, and this was Test Dept’s take. I saw them at Bishops Bridge Maintenance Depot, a vast train service space in the backwaters of Paddington. It was a vast performance, totally filling the space, with troupes of ballet dancers, huge metal constructions, enormous video projections, and armies of military drummers and bagpipe players. The brobdignagian scale of state power, and even more so of the potential resistance to that power, was artfully displayed. Here Test Dept deploy their full vigour, but filtered through purely organic tones and forms. This song earths the industrial current.

LP cover of A Good Night Out