Friday, January 30, 2004wanted: Cutty Rank's 'The Stopper' acapella on vinyl, so i can prove that a dancehall/Krautrock mash-up CAN work!!
meanwhile, haven't got round to getting someone to host 'Bela Lugosi's Dread' yet, but if you're interested, it can be found lurking on soulseek (my user name is the same there as here, if that helps...)
not quite sure how the acting Music Editor of the Face heard it (seriously.... ) but he's interested. Just waiting to sort out mixes/vocals from Aphasic (when i get the fucking tracks to him, and if he remembers agreeing to do it) and Dubdadda (Zion Train/Nucleus Roots).
... having also found a fucking dreadful 'dub' version of She's In Parties on the CD of the last Bauhaus album, 'She's In Dancehall' is also definitely a goer. I've heard the Dave Clark/Chicks On Speed version and it's shit, so no competition there then!!
posted by dubversion at 1:27 pm
ok, so it's a no-brainer that most dancehall albums are relatively dire: it's a 7" medium and all the better for it. but every now and again, i will pick up a long-player (ahem) by a dancehall/conscious artist if i missed the singles and it seems reasonable value.. so it is with last year's Anthony B 'Street Knowledge' album, and it's a weird beast. any album that kicks off with God Above Everything and Police has already justified its place in the rack, but other than that it seems to have some sort of identity crisis. the first few tracks are fairly righteous, but halfway through - perhaps because he's run out of things he thinks we need to 'bun', we're confronted with an entirely incongruous holiday reggae section, the most horrible example being 'I'm In A Dancing Mood', which is so dire (and camp, which is ironic, although to be honest Anthony B's lapses into homophobia are desultory and underpowered really, there being much more important stuff to 'bun' first) that it almost entertains, like Tony Benn suddenly stopping a monologue to do a 'i'm not saying my mother-in-law is fat...' routine.
for the most part though, despite relying on a few rather TOO familiar riddims, it's a decent album and to be honest i think Anthony B outranks Sizzla (who i guess he most resembles). Anthony B can do the breathless anguish thing and pull it off without sounding overwrought, whereas for the most part Sizzla sounds like he needs Ventolin more than Jah Love and comes off far too much like a joyless fundamentalist prick for my liking (Bono Dread, anyone?)....
(this was going to be a more general post about dancehall albums, but i got bored halfway through the new Elephant Man one, the first tune on the disappointing Vybez Kartel disc was straight out of the box with the boom bye bye business and Anthony B was entertaining me on the bus this morning....)
posted by dubversion at 1:20 pm
Monday, January 26, 2004hmm..
it's occurred to me that Pounding System looks a little more like Woebot than i first figured. which is a bit irksome.
but the options are limited, after all, and my html skills aren't up to much (or indeed anything at all)
at least i've got Brother Johnny to back me up..
anyway, "i put black on the outside cos black is how I feel on the inside."
posted by dubversion at 11:55 pm
just you wait. ten years since the Cobain fella kicked. rock all over the place all over again - troglodytes like Jet in the charts. and hey, the teens are still angry and goth is just way too much effort if you're, like, RILLY disaffected.
grunge it is, then. you read it here first. probably
posted by dubversion at 11:47 pm
left by my friend Jad as he fled back to Australia to root, drink and get a tanned right forearm, this is the future of the Dubversion Sound System. If Shaka can get by with a 40 year old deck on a beer crate, this must surely make me the Gorgon Sound?
posted by dubversion at 9:15 pm
or more precisely, moving lots of shite old indie records (The Popguns, anyone?) into storage boxes to leave more room for all that desperately cool stuff i'm constantly buying. Grime, garage, 8-Bar.. Yep, who needs Fatima Mansions when you've got crunk?
anyway, all this is but a preamble to this:
Pay It All Back Volume 1. i came very close to paying £15 for an original of this last month. Good job I didn't, since then I'd have two copies.. dreadful business. All it takes is a thin indistinct album spine, and a fast fading memory and you start doubling up...
Great fucking album, mind.. although it's amazing how rarely I listen to most of my (fairly comprehensive) On-U Sound collection these days. White boy reggae? Dub for crusties? fuck knows..
At the time records like My Life In A Hole In The Ground, Pounding System (ahem), Tackhead Tape Time completely moved my musical goalposts. I'd never heard the like, and the groaning shelves of dub, roots and dancehall I can see from here owe everything to Sherwood (remind me to tell you how like a small frightened child I was when I met the man himself... ). But so much of it is so, I dunno, 'crunchy' and I just don't feel the need any more.. a lot of African Headcharge and Dub Syndicate still makes the grade, but I was buying Audio Active records for fuck's sake.
Be warned - a State Of The Iration address is imminent by the way. So listen up you UK roots museum curators, Pounding System is BORED!!!!!!!!!!!!!
posted by dubversion at 9:04 pm
Sunday, January 25, 2004BLACK SLAVERY DAYS
'Clappers Records is founded for the main purpose of preserving reggae music. We are the first militant Anti-Corporate Record Company dedicated to preserving not exploiting reggae music. With our financial success we plan to construct institutions that will deal with the music and the musician without any changes.
"CLAPPERS RECORDS WERE NEVER MEANT TO BE ENTERTAINMENT IT'S A WEAPON WITHOUT COMPROMISE" says the Chairman of Clappers Records.'
and all that on a sleeve like this:
(sorry about the poor image quality, it was all i could find)
it looks more like a 'Pay No More than 99p' anarcho release from deepest Wiltshire in about 1984 than a slab of deep righteous roots, sessioned in 1975 with Jack Ruby but not released until 1980.. the Lowry-esque factory scenes on the sleeves, the scribbled credits, this looks like no other roots album i've ever seen. it sounds phenomenal too - Robbie (sans Sly), Augustus Pablo, Horsemouth are all featured across the 10 tracks, ostensibly by a handful of acts (including TSOSA - The Sound Of St Annes) but all originating from one July 1975 session.
Respect to Honest Jons for keeping up the quality with this one (and apparently the new Candi Staton collection is a gem too).
posted by dubversion at 4:12 pm
Saturday, January 24, 2004THE BUG VS GRAFITI
picked up in Rough Trade today, a dinked 7" of The Bug vs Grafiti on 'What Is The Problem'... which was one of the most entertaining (if overexposed) 'thug house' tunes of last year, for my money trumping Audio Bullies no trouble.. as far as I can tell, the remix first appeared on a Grafiti 12", but this is purely a Bug mash up, Ras Bogle chanting fine style over the mess Kevin Martin has made of the original and an equally fucked up dirty version on the flip.
serendipity is a wonderful thing.. also, i should probably thank Matt Woebot for drawing my attention to a Sun Ra track called Sleeping Beauty, which is a gorgeous lovely thing and a hell of a lot more accessible than most Sun Ra i've heard (see 'Jazz' comments below)... in fact, there's all sorts of excellent stuff to listen to from the woebot archives, especially an impressively funky and frankly filthy Where They At by DJ Jimi..
posted by dubversion at 8:14 pm
wasn't entirely convinced by this, to be honest, and i'm glad i blagged it at the last minute rather than shelling out 25 quid for tickets.
for sure, they sounded great for the most part, and Drumbo did a fair approximation of the Captain, but there was something a little shabby about it, and you could tell just by looking at the band that they were all doing it for different reasons - Rockette Morton was just happy to be playing again, i think, and looked like some kind of acid-fried Grandpa Walton (although if the stories are true, Grandpa Walton was an acid-fried Grandpa Walton); Gary Lucas is the busiest and most successful outside the band and he was clearly just enjoying being able to delve into that stuff again; Feelers Rebo Whalley looked really uncomfortable, like he suspected he really shouldn't be doing it but couldn't afford not to; but it was Drumbo French that got me. Two parts Mick Fleetwood to one part Floella Benjamin, he was just creepy. For all his insistence that he was paying tribute, not trying to imitate, there was a stench of careerism about him, a misplaced self-aggrandisement somehow..
there were highlights - a lengthy Mirror Man was stunning, and they started with Diddy Wah Diddy - but Drumbo was, frankly, a knob - we really didn't need fairly literal interpretation of lyrics through 'Music & Movement' style actions...
if you shut your eyes, it could have been the band in full flight in the 70s, so why am i carping? i mean, if anybody's going to be a Beefheart covers band, i guess they're better placed than anybody (at least they're not the fucking Doors Of The 21st Century) but it was lacking something. Walter Benjamin would at this point start wobbling on about the auratic - ‘its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be’ - but i'll skip that and mutter something about there being no 'vibe' instead.
The Fall were good though.
anyway, that's another legend added to my list of people i've managed to see that i never thought i would (of whom, really, Mission Of Burma were the only ones who made the grade on their own terms in the here and now, rather than because of their legacy - see Velvet Underground, Television, Dylan etc).
posted by dubversion at 1:36 pm
Tuesday, January 20, 2004i'm determined that this blog isn't going to turn into some shopping list cum 'what i did at the weekend' piece of shit, but i just thought i'd mention that
is utterly beautiful. seriously. it's everything i ever want from a movie and parts of it - not just the ending - made my chest feel tight.
(of course, scarlett johannson had an entirely separate effect but there's no need to dwell on that here)
posted by dubversion at 8:10 pm
Monday, January 19, 2004Jazz - Delicious Hot, Disgusting Cold
i can feel jazz creeping up on me the way you feel a bad head cold a day or so before it bites. can't stand the stuff, mostly. music for maths fans and people with Grade 8 Music Theory.
lord knows, i tried. i paid my dues with A Love Supreme and The Birth of The Cool. but it just didn't click.
even when i was listening to a lot of Tortoise and the like - and loving them more than anything for the polyrhythms and the looseness, i still baulked when i thought they were veering too far into jazz. sure, i like some of the easy stuff - Chet Baker, Louis Armstrong. You know, stuff with a tune, something you could hum along too.
... but i think there's some duplicity going on. i mean, take The Necks
that can't be jazz, surely. sounds like Can to me. definitely not jazz. but apparently they are...
and i'm not fooling anybody if i try and claim that the beautiful Cedric Im Brooks album The Light Of Saba isn't jazz, Kingston-style.. i mean, there's solos and shit,,
i'm fighting it off but i've got a bad, bad feeling about where all this is leading...
posted by dubversion at 8:55 pm
Saturday, January 17, 2004ok, i'm not making any rash promises, but now i'm a salary man with sensible hours and a pension, i'm going to see if i can actually make a go of this blogging lark.
a nice lick of paint and a Johnny Cash photo can do wonders for your sense of purpose.
posted by dubversion at 4:32 pm