Saturday, May 06, 2006
Flickr desi dive and beyond...
Flickr: it's a such beautiful thing.
When the blogs and forums ain't doing it for me, I Fickr-dive; just add a tag like 'desi', 'Iraq' or 'hackney' into the search box on the homepage and just fall deep into into new worlds and people's lives. I find places I will probably never visit and see people I will probably never meet, yet experience them both in such vivid technicolour and in such a rich way - unlike the experiences of say reading a thousand empty one-line responses on forums or scanning the fractured image shards displayed search engine results.
The image above has no real connection to this post, beyond the fact that I instantly felt strongly about it while searching for the tag 'desi.' Coming home on the tube last night the carriage went overground just as I clicked on a 1Xtra radio rip of Bikram Singh ft Gunjan "Kawan (Jay Dhabi Reggaeton Remix)". Her vocals exploded into my ears as the sun poured over greater London and I felt a rush, that buzz I hadn't felt in a long time - perhaps since Mala's FWD>> set. Its felt like recently I've spent a long time listening to empty angry grime, second rate token cod-reggae dubstep and soulless dark, halfstep wannabe-Youngsta material - and it's not moving me.
On the point of digidub it's perhaps interesting to revisit Jamie Vex'd prophetic comments last year at grimemusic.com.
"...with dubstep, if it isnt halfstep, isnt minimal, and doesnt have blatant dub referenes, then some say its not true dubstep. How restrictive is that? Real dub is very organic, digital sequencers aren't. It takes alot of understanding and studio technique to go down the dub route. Without that knowledge, you can end up making Digidub. Im not in that."
Jamie OTM. It's not like I don't like real Jamaican dub, but as he says unless you understand how its done right it sounds cheesy. Drum & bass last year was full of hundreds of tracks that threw reggae samples over any beat and they sounded so token. And even if you were to get the sound right, how can cloning something made 30 years ago be better or more original than the original itself? Sure it gets a response on the dancefloor but mostly it's a creative cul-de-sac, unless you can add a fresh, original twist in the way the Mystikz can. To me applying the sonic ideas of 1970s dub to a 2006 dubstep context is a far more promising direction than sampling Lee Perry's back cat.
And as for dark empty halfstep, I guess I feel impulsively right now that I want more vocals in my life - I'm planning a new Keysound Radio: vocals edition. Part of me fears the dubstep pendulum has swung too far towards dark halfstep and is in danger of homogenising the scene. Dubstep does not equal bad clones of Loefah or copies of Youngsta's selection - don't get it twisted. Loe seriously knows what he's doing when it comes to minimalism; his clones don't. And furthermore what's the point of cloning anyway? Do you think Loe built 'Horror Show' by copying other producers? Find your own way.
But returning to desi, or more specifically desiton - the mutation of UK Asian desi with Latin American reggaeton - I posted a link on Dissensus about the Punjabi Hit Squad's pioneering of this sound. Since then I recorded the two stand out tunes last week. They are:
Bikram Singh ft Gunjan "Kawan (Jay Dhabi Reggaeton Remix)"
Alyssia ft Dee (PHS) "Pyar Hogiya (Desiton Remix)"
You can download them both on the same MP3 from those links, just as long as someone out there can tell me where the hell I can buy them from now AsianSounds.com has gone down.
FLICKR-DIVE UPDATE: Seems like the Flickr-dive effect isn't acutally limited to Flickr shots. Check this blog for jaw-drop shots of god knows where, well beyond my world. Afganistan?