Tuesday, October 25, 2005
word is born
i'm not the only one who feels this. quite independently, i've heard the same from three other of the dubstep headz. but, to use a maths analogy, if you're at the bottom of the curve, the rate of change is the greatest.
grime's not sitting 100% right - but that a whole nother post. dubstep, after a massive renaissance this year, feels like it's paused for a second, though i'm tipping Oris Jay's 'Mighty Wan' as a potential breakthrough record.
Perhaps this lull is no bad thing. Man can not live on Youngsta and Roll Deep Rinse sets alone, - believe me I've tried.
speaking from strictly personal experience, enthusiasm can never nor should never be faked. to this end i've been trying to actively expand my daily music consumption boundaries.
a lot of the usual dance suspects - d&b, broken beat, breaks, techno, house etc - leave me cold. or cross. or feeling like i'm going backwards.
I've been checking Silverstar and Robbo Ranks' shows on 1Xtra to up my dancehall knowledge, though only Sizzla and Vibes Cartel consistently do it for me. if anyone else knows any incredible dancehall shows, lemme know.
i've also made an effort to learn about bhangra, a genre with vast history i know virtually nothing about.
Lata Mangeshkar and Pannal al Ghosh are two classical asian artists I've been checking recently. And I've long since loved the Asian influence in dubstep. Skream's Indian remix. Horsepower's 'Sholay'. Kode 9's 'Fukkaz/Subkon'. All stone cold classics. So bhangra made sense.
To find out about a scene you know nothing about - when your asian mates don’t answer their persys - you need an entry point. The BBC Asian Network provided that for me, particularly the hilariously entitled Markie Mark.
Within a few weeks he recommended 'Word is Born' by Specialist 'n' Tru-Skool as a classic LP, even though it was only one year old.
Contained inside this £8 CD (stuff your £9 1-sided grime 12"s, now that's value!), are some hooks so deadly i nearly crashed the car on the way to Forward>> this week - and that was 30 feet from my house.
The last CD that did that to me was the first Logan Sama free mix CD last year. How i took that right-angle corner on a dark country road at 70 mph and keep the right side of a tree i don't know.
'Word is Born' slams in with some heavy riddims, laden with the energy and hype so missing from garage sometimes. 'Sanehvaal Chounk' should be a number one record.
'Nashia Tho Dhoor' takes the same riff as the recent Nas hit 'Get Down' and freestyles in some mad asian dialect over it. It's infectious in any language.
Littered throughout the album are patches of melodic genius intermingled with, to these ears at least, glorious dissonance, just like Kano and Wonder's 'Lately' but more severely bi-polar.
But the album's backbone is built from hip hop and bhangra, asian and afro-american vibes. How sad then, in the very week i discover this CD, where the cultures blend so seemlessly, things should turn so ugly in the real world between the british black and asian communities.