Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Rinse August

Rinse FM

So we were back on Rinse FM last Thursday at 11pm. Audio to come on the Rinse FM site, here's the tracklist:

Dusk + Blackdown Rinse FM August 09

Download it HERE.

Zomby "Float (Skream's I was at infant school, where was you in '92 remix)" (unreleased)
Funky Hackmann "Always the Same" (unreleased)
Atki2 and Dub Boy "Tigerflower" (unreleased Steakhouse)
TJR ft Xavier "Just Gets Better" (Sbtrkt refix) (unreleased)
Funky Hackmann "Pistol in your Pocket" (unreleased)
Kascade "Angel on my Shoulder (Zed Bias instrumental remix)" (unreleased)
Maxwell D "Long Tingz" (unreleased)
Shortstuff & Hyetal "Don't sleep" (unreleased)
Jeremih "Birthday Sex (Donae'o remix)" (unreleased)

Cooly G "Weak" (Dub Organiser Vol 4)
Kowton "Looking At You" (unreleased)
Kowton "Stasis (g mix)" (forthcoming Keysound Recordings)
Sully "In Some Pattern" (unreleased Keysound Recordings)
Shortstuff "Relapse" (Formant)
LV "Don't Judge (Fantastic Mr Fox remix)" (forthcoming Second Drop)
A Nie Dvamata S Bobi Piem Kafe (Ramadanman refix) (unreleased)
Ramadanman "Something Happened Along the Way" (unreleased)

***LHF showcase***

??? "???"
??? "???"
??? "Inferno"
??? "???"
??? "???"

Kryptic Minds "Assembly Line" (unreleased Osiris Music)
MC SP "Bad Dreams" (unreleased)

Desto "Can't Take It" (unreleased)
Sully "Toffee Apple" (unreleased)
Bloom "Love Phaze" (unreleased)
JME "Over Me" (unreleased)
Joker "Taste the Rainbow" (unreleased)
OGs "Passin Tru" (unreleased)
Zomby "5emt3x" (unreleased)
Starkey "Knob Twiddler" (unreleased)
Untitled "Untitled" (unreleased)
Tempa T "Boy of da Ting" (unreleased)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The greatest rhythms in dubstep part 1

Late last autumn, I began a foolish task: writing about the greatest uses of rhythm in dubstep. There are several reasons why. Obviously dubstep's become a bit rhythmically stagnant of late, especially in the core of its club-orientated producers.

But more than that, as a producer I've always loved the science, or moreover dark black art, of programming beats, extracting the groove from the grid. Explaining why certain tracks stand out seemed like fun, not least when so much music blogging these days seems to be about taking tangential references from track names and implying/fabricating layers of narrative bolted into larger pre-formed philosophical/political agendas.

Recently I realised what a foolishly large task it was, so I've broken it into pieces. Here's the first of many (hopefully): the greatest rhythms in dubstep.

Hold the front page - music-blogger-in-actually-talking-about-the-music shocker.

"Far East"

To call Wookie "dubstep" is to do him a disservice, but equally by "Far East" (circa 2001/2) it was more than just the UKG scene that had accepted him and got played regularly at the Velvet Rooms era of Forward>>. But this dark garage roller is as proto dubstep as they come. Also finding favour with breakbeat garage DJs, it's beats were smarter, more detailed and more dread than the Bingo rollouts that surrounded it at that time.

Take for instance the drop on "Far East." Every other drop known to DJ-kind has been a whole integers of bars; "Far East's" is a fraction or quite possibly a decimal. It slams in like a sucker punch: DJs who mix over the drop beware.

Being needlessly contrary with your beats is easy: anyone could program a dubstep track in 7 bar cycles or in 78/3 time signature. It's getting away with it which is hard. By getting away with it, this means: does the track still retain some sense of groove, however abstract?

And therein lies the glorious challenge of drum programming and a theme that will return in all of these pieces: you have confines - somewhere between predictable bore and unlistenable freakout - in which to work, can you find an untried variant?

But back to "Far East." It's other great joy is something which is found on many Wookie tracks of this era. It's the timbre of the hits he uses. Somehow, where ever they're sampled from, they seem to have picked up a gritty, dirty feel to them that makes them feel raw and organic. So the greatness of the drum sounds here aren't just thanks where they're placed, with exquisite neat fills and dense variants on a 2step groove, but the sound of the sounds. Wookie: he cracked the rhythmic puzzle. He's a don.

Monday, August 17, 2009

LDN012 Blackdown ft Durrty Goodz - Zomby remix, vocal and instrumental

So while Keysound 11, Grievous Angel's VIP of Soundclash 1, is having a few technicals (release date still tbc), I'm not gonna let that stop the Keysound 12"s. Next up is Zomby's remix of my Concrete Streets, with the Durrty Goodz vocal and the unreleased instrumental on the flip. You can hear them all in the YouTube video above. Release date: 7th of September.

The art, shot by my friend Simon again, is the place in Waltham Forest E11 where Goodz got his hair cut as a kid. Don't forget Goodz merks this track in our video too.

Following "Concrete Streets" there will be Grievous Angel's Redux of our album on CD, which I may preview on our Rinse show on the 27th.

After that is LDN013, a 12" from Kowton and something a little different but a crucial part of our sets this year: two tracks called "Stasis (g mix)" and "Countryman". The 12" after that will be by one of two artists, depending on which art gets finished first, both of whom's names start with an S... Onwards and upwards for 09.

PS: I was on YouTube uploading the "Concrete Streets" video today and damn this is weird.

PPS: this is me on Twitter.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

August update

Rinse FM

Just a few quick updates. First news is there’ll be no more Pitchfork dubstep/grime/funky columns until October, sadly, as Pitchfork are concentrating on a big editorial push. Kinda frustrating but that’s their call.

More positively Dusk and I filled our “15 things you didn’t know about...” questionnaire for Rinse’s birthday, which is live here on the lovely new Rinse.fm website. The images in rotation on the front page are sick.

We had to have a think about this but I can assure you that eating your entire DJ wages in cake and dressing up as the Flight of the Conchords is just the tip of the iceberg of the antics Dusk gets up to. Other gems include...

· Our respective kryptonite-like weaknesses.
· What person with two number one's I'm not the press officer for.
· What indie chancer bouncers think Dusk looks like.
· What footballers would we be, if we were, erm, footballers.
· The most famous person I've interviewed.

And yeah, we’re calling Skream out because he and I have been talking about doing a disco clash with me and Dusk live on Rinse for about six months (Pokes as the ref) but he won’t commit to a date. Apparently he’s busy DJing or something.

"Watch out, W.E.A.S.E.L. Crew about..."

Anyway I warned him this list of 15 will mention his name and he called me a “W.E.A.S.E.L.” Fine fine Mr Skream, less Mustela-based merkage, more “D.I.S.C.O.”! Unless you’re... shook? Mwhahaha.

We’ve also mentioned we’d like to clash Joe Nice on a Lost Dubs show, but Joe has a, ahem, half decent excuse for this not happening yet, since he lives in Baltimore, but when he’s next over this will happen. The first person to draw for a released dub loses: everyone’s a winner.

Finally it’s been a funny week. Came back from holiday with my batteries recharged and found myself possessed by Keysound, despite "Soundclash 1 (Grievous Angel VIP)" still being delayed. I thought I was pretty focused on it before but I seem to have fire in my belly. Best of all I think I’ve come across a hoard of something pretty special. More news when things are finalised, but I thought I’d share the positivism: when you look hard, and I always am, there’s some very fresh sounds being made.

PS Looks like I'm going to be talking at UCL on the 26th September on a program about "recent cultural histories of suburban London." I'll let the organiser, Andrew Harris, reveal the lineup but I've been asked to talk a bit about the tracks on Margins Music and also perhaps talk to Nico Hogg, the photographer I interviewed here. Come down if you're about, should be fun.