Top bloggaz crew

yourmove: “The sound of Moodymann, Theo Parrish and cohorts plodded steadily onward this year with a few standout releases.”

Big up Tom Churchill for getting on the blog programme. Dis ‘ere is a wicked rifle through the Moodyman massive. Tom C is a great writer on music, is also a very, VERY fine DJ, and a top producer, and a label master, and…

I feel a bit insignificant now!

House and Garage and Grime

blissblog: “Sub low is what you call underground house and garage, just think if the new name was called Sub Low you wouldn’t be fooled when you are deciding what rave to go on a Friday or Saturday night or what room to go and dance in your local club and still don’t get it. All you up and coming Dj’s playing dark side bass and drum tune’s like Bond, Buddha Finger, and the like’s of Wookie’s new stuff do you really think that is House n Garage. “

Now, yer man reckons that this is from 2001, maybe 2000. Makes some sense, especially the earlier date. What they call Sub-Lo they seem to be describing as, or at least aligning with, the breakstep sound (I mean — Buddha Finger!). And that’s alright by me, even if all the fucking hipsters slag off “breakstep” cos you can dance to it, it’s fun to listen to, and has a bit of depth… I mean, because it was named by Mixmag (bad, admittedly) and white people liked it (good), and worst of all cos the breakbeat crew adopted it as their own (again good IMO).

So it’s a matter of some satisfaction for me that our beloved, hipster friendly grime scene seems to be claiming descendence not just from ‘ardkore, but from a more recent cartoon-like genre which is as despised as ‘ardkore was until it got trendy.

Grime’s / Sub-Lo’s descendence from breakstep makes some sense. It’s not so much the twice as nice current is it. But not complete sense. The difference between producer-centric, Zinc-style breaks tracks to MC-centric 8 bar is pretty dramatic. I’d say there was a big mutation in between which must have come from somewhere. But where?

We could do with a history lesson here. Matt, Luke, Simon, whaddya reckon? When was the first “Grime” track? What changed it around? Which bits of garage did it grow from? Did any of you notice at the time? I didn’t, but I was busy with a baby and listening to nothing but dancehall…

There might be some useful post-rationalisation from listening to this mix… Para on UKD posted this:

“Check out this mix by some 17 year old dude, Skream - … Sounds all like early Autechre to me but then I guess that’s my white, 30 something reference point.”

I presume this is all done with new tracks, but I have no idea… but it sounds like it could be a missing link between dubstep / garage breaks and 8 bar. It’s a pretty good mix BTW, very dark atonal garage, but worth hearing. You’d better move quick though, I doubt it will be up for long.

Pounding System

Pounding System: “wanted: Cutty Rank’s ‘The Stopper’ acapella on vinyl, so i can prove that a dancehall/Krautrock mash-up CAN work!!”

if you soulseek for ragga accapella (try a few spellings!) you can get quite a few to try out.

It’s that name thing again

I Feel Love: Grimestoppers: “I have to endorse Matt’s comments about ‘grime’ being a rubbish name for a genre.”

Been meaning to write about this again (did it at length last year, d’accord).

I think you’ll find it’s called Rap.

The market size curve for dance music has been “flattening” (read: flatlining) for a couple of years now, with a noticeable reduction in young punters coming through the doors. It’s principally a demographic thing, not a piracy thing. (Can’t quote numbers — wasn’t able to nick the market reports!)

With a smaller overall market to play with, Matt’s right to suggest that the scope for further segmentation and “genre-level” product differentiation isn’t really there any more (not sure Kotler would recognise my languaga but we’ll let that pass). Instead, producers try to make records that attract a variety of different segments. Hence the slow down in the speed of garage to near hip hop speed, and the focus on hip-hop-style MCing — and also hence the cross-over of dancehall. It’s all about risk reduction.

Grime’s failure to translate its popularity into proper product — i.e. tracks with rapping on them — is a classic “CHasm” issue. The early market — DJs — want instrumentals. The late market — fans — want MC cuts. But the risk associated with deviating from the instrumentals-for-DJs market, given the small scale of the overall garage market, means that few producers risk doing MC tracks.

I would presume that post-Dizzee there will be a flood of MC tracks — Wiley has his album in the can for example. But the lack of airplay and availability of dubplates is a concern. If the market is real, they’ll be picking up on the early product samples. It doesn’t look to me like they are.

It’s possible the grime scene is about to fizzle out and that the albums will arrive six months too late. We need crossover MC tracks now — but who they’ll actually crossover to is a moot point. Personally I see no reason why the teen garage crowd won’t go for it, but they need a channel…