A bunch of new and not so new mixes I've come across in the last few weeks.
Blogariddims is no more, which is shame but a good move on the whole I think - there's now a round 50 to check out. In some senses they are a mess, but a noble and infinitely interesting mess - typified by no.50 - Terminus: mixed by series progenitor Droid, and featuring a selection of the series' stalwarts, it has a garbled, twitchy feel to it; but as it moves from skronky avant-classical stuff through incidental music and dubstep it always feels vital and relevant.
The Dubstep Forum was three years old a few weeks back and temporarily disappeared showing only a thank you screen and a link to this mix - yet more evidence that the scene is starting to close itself off, raw and twitchy under the searchlights of rockist scum such as ourselves...The mix, put together by BunZer0, is well worth a listen (the tracklist is here. The forum is back too, but for how long?
Then there's Grievous Angel's latest mix (for FACT Magazine: there's a whole bunch of other stuff to download too) - much smoother than I'd been expecting (it blends a good deal of Jill Scott into its weave) but no less engaging.
And, this Future Mix from Mary Anne Hobbs.
Lastly - make of this what you will. A cover of 'Archangel' by Banjo or Freakout.
Mountain*7 - for the person with nothing better to do
With the Knives gig fresh in my mind I was excited to be returning to the Koko. It occurred to me later how splendid a venue it is. If you are fond of the glitter-ball, then you are in for a treat. If like me, you’re not partial to large balls ornamented with glitter, it’s still cool. And it was agreed that we would return again for a club night. It’s that kind of place. But I am back again for a good old-fashioned gig.
I last saw dEUS at (whisper it) a V festival around the turn of the century. They blew me away. Raw intensity from a band like I had seldom experienced, coupled with my memory of there being only a few of us in the crowd. The electric shock Tom Barman (guitarist & singer) gained that day cemented it. Rock ‘n’ Roll.
They are far from a favourite band of mine, having always contented myself with what for me are their two classic songs, “Suds & Soda” & “Instant Street”. And these really are classics. The remainder of their canon fail to scale these heights. On the night I was not disappointed with their performance. And clearly the crowd was neither. Though it kind of fell to me to get the mosh-pit moving as & when required which was a little disappointing, but then I suppose someone has to. Anyway, another cool night was had at the Koko.
My thanks are to Lester for this one. Cheers!
Download: dEUS - Instant Street
Download: dEUS - Suds & Soda
Black History Month 2008
Although our eyes and ears have been bombarded with the news of a crisis in neo-liberal capital (K-punk is customarily lucid on this here), those who try to catch the trails which slip past such a monolithic media event would have noticed that the arrival of October also brought with it the launch of Black History Month 2008. BHM has now become, along with the Notting Hill Carnival, the MOBO’s and Diwali, a recognisable feature of Britain’s cultural landscape, or at least in the cosmopolitan areas. Even though the establishment of BHM signals the continued progress of a project invested in the increased visibility of race, I think it is important unsettle the frame which operates around it. We need to ask what BHM and other similar events indicate about the ways in which race has passed through Britain over the decade or so.
To produce this type of unsettling, I want to begin by taking a closer look at the manner in which BHM comes to unsettle me, the ways in which I find it unsettling, despite a wish to take part in its celebratory ‘history as democracy’ ethics. My vexations around BHM materialise through a peculiar attachment to and overinvestment in the term ‘Windrush’. As a common referent ‘Windrush’ has become an experience, it also names a generation, and I would argue that its use as a kind of default term points to a set of problems in the narrative which has been instituted around the Black presence in Britain. The first problem involves elements of basic historical inaccuracies. ‘Windrush’ feeds into a popular image of the Afro-Caribbean population’s arrival as a singular event, - a fresh off the boat story, when the reality of that movement was far more complex. Following the U.S governments heavy legislation on immigration during the 1940s, Britain, having been second preference became the primary destination for West Indians. But the arrival at the ‘Motherland’, rather than a cross-Atlantic stampede, was a gradual process dependent upon a close analysis of both the strength of the pound and the local employment market.
Secondly ‘Windrush’ as a trope for race and historicism reflects a broader desire to situate a clean, coherent, and ultimately safe narrative around the Black presence in Britain. The history of major port cities such as Bristol and Liverpool point to the fact that the Atlantic slave trade allowed Black communities to form in Britain almost four hundred years ago and there is even evidence that points to the presence of Black Roman soldiers in Britain. The tendency to overinvest in the cleanliness of ‘Windrush’ reflects an avoidance of complexity when it comes to considering the question of race. Paul Gilroy, in his revised introduction to the 2002 edition of ‘There Ain’t No Black in the Union Jack’ describes this as the reduction of race to a “corporate mission statement”:
“Stripped of legitimacy and effectively depoliticised, anti-racism could be reduced to empty, ethereal statements. It became equality of opportunity, was trivialised in the poetry of management science, and then in the theatrical inclusiveness that was regularly staged to create the impression of more solid shifts.”
It is that very “theatrical inclusiveness” that bothers me about BHM. The idea that an a concept-metaphor such a “Windrush” once refined and made palatable, can be placed neatly into, say, a school curriculum - the story of race can be done, box ticked, next item on the agenda please. Perhaps what we need to do is ask how race in this country has moved on from those almost normative positions of Black-British or British-Asian. Perhaps we need to shift our focus and pay attention to striking underpaid Brazilian cleaners, Fauji’s in Southall, or the Muslim schoolboy from Exeter; groups of people who are very much present and serve to upset the minority communities which an event such as BHM tries to celebrate and coerce into an acceptable ideal of Britishness.
We Were Promised Jetpacks (photo by thomas hermoso)
I noticed today that the very fine We Were Promised Jetpacks have been signed by the also very fine Fat Cat Records. There has been a buzz about the band for a good few months now and having seen them live it was obvious that someone was going to snap them up. I look forward to finally hearing them on record. Below are a couple of rough demo tracks that have been doing the rounds for a while, and a couple of videos of a recent session that did for bandstandbusking.
Download: We Were Promised Jetpacks - Moving Clocks Run Slow
Listen: We Were Promised Jetpacks - Moving Clocks Run Slow
Download: We Were Promised Jetpacks - Quiet Little Voices
Listen: We Were Promised Jetpacks - Quiet Little Voices
As it's apparently World Poetry Day, here's 3 utterly unlinked poems for you.
Ted Hughes - The Full Moon and Little Frieda
A cool small evening shrunk to a dog bark and the clank of a bucket -
And you listening.
A spider's web, tense for the dew's touch.
A pail lifted, still and brimming - mirror
To tempt a first star to a tremor.
Cows are going home in the lane there, looping the hedges with their warm
wreaths of breath -
A dark river of blood, many boulders,
Balancing unspilled milk.
'Moon!' you cry suddenly, 'Moon! Moon!'
The moon has stepped back like an artist gazing amazed at a work
That points at him amazed.
Simon Armitage - It ain't what you do it's what it does to you
I have not bummed across America
with only a dollar to spare, one pair
of busted Levi's and a bowie knife.
I have lived with thieves in Manchester.
I have not padded through theTaj Mahal,
barefoot, listening to the space between
each footfall picking up and putting down
its print against the marble floor. But I
skimmed flat stones across Black Moss on a day
so still I could hear each set of ripples
as they crossed. I felt each stones' inertia
spend itself against the water; then sink.
I have not toyed with a parachute cord
while perched on the lip of a light aircraft;
but I have held the wobbly head of a boy
at the day centre, and stroked his fat hands.
And I guess that the tightness in the throat
and the tiny cascading sensation
somewhere inside us are both part of that
sense of something else. That feeling, I mean.
Adrian Mitchell - Beatrix is Three
At the top of the stairs
I ask for her hand. O.K.
She gives it to me.
How her fist fits my palm,
A bunch of consolation.
We take our time
Down the steep carpetway
As I wish silently
That the stairs were endless.