"We have been nursing a certain hope for quite some time now that once the second millennium is over people would liberate themselves from the clutches of revival-culture and look out for more contemporary and forward looking modes of musical expression and in the wider picture cultural and social organisation, that the social and economic systems of the past decades will be looked at with a more critical historical point of view and will be found lacking."
New issue of what is probably my favourite zine at the moment. For a publication coming out of the extreme electronic/free party scene, there isn't a whole lot of music this time (which is cool by me - you won't get MixMag doing that, will you?). Instead there are some very good articles about J18, N30, Mayday, WTO, Kosovo, the police and racism and so on. The analysis is spot on and it's all eminentaly readable, which is more than can be said for a lot of anarchist mags. Stewart Home's excelllent "Death In June Not Mysterious" appears here in print for the first time. There are some good reports from the 'fuckparade' in Berlin (the anti-"love parade", as I recall). Howard Slater's "Post-media operators" gets theoretical on us, The HomeWrecker Foundation hit with some more top-notch polemic, plus the usual high calibre reviews of everything from Pierre Schaeffer to Panacea. Nice graphics/design as well.
£1.50 per issue or £5 for a 3 issue sub (cheques to "Christop Fringeli") from BM: Jed, London WC1N 3XX. Also check http://www.c8.com/datacide
Two newies from AAA Aotearoa. Some nice reports (including a newspaper cutting) of their public ballooning events, with an excellent photomontage on the back of issue 6. Also stuff on their theatrical production of Berthold Brecht's "Life of Galileo". 7 includes a report from Russia, an excellent DIY bit of astronomy which prioritises comfort over specialisation (I won't spoil it for you) and the now obligatory slag-off of the "wank-assed-ocracy" of AAA groups which ceased activity at the end of the Five Year Plan, in accordance with prophecy.
From: AAA Aotearoa, C/o Mark Servian, PO Box 380, Hamilton, New Zealand
Aieee! Mental pulp fiction that aims to warp the fragile minds of teenagers and take a blowtorch to the moral fabric of British society! Horny goths! Austin Osman Spare! Sinister xtian psycho cult leaders! Demonic Possession! Black Metal inadequates! Jim Jones' finest hour replayed in the Northern vampire-nexus seaside town of Whitby! References to the Virgin Prunes and T.O.P.Y! What more do you want, eh?
£6.99 ISBN 1 84068 030-X www.creationbooks.com
Aieee! Completely bug-eyed rant-athon which makes your eyeballs bleed! Princess Di resurrected and zombified by a blood-crazed tabloid-reading public! "The insance christian god, 'God'"! Really weird quotes from anti-disco campaigners and Joseph Stalin! An entire chapter set aside to taking the piss out of Oasis! "Jimi Hendrix smiled that famous supercool smile that made him look like a cat that had just drunk a pint of brandy laced cream and was now having its little ginger cock sucked by an expert cock gobbler with a PHD in making cats come slowly."! Completely implausible plot developments involving time travel! Aleister Crowley! Plus the usual array of drug-fulled violence, violence-fuelled drugs, shagging, swearing and cop-hating. That will do nicely.
£6.99 ISBN 1 84068 032-6 www.creationbooks.com
I like Amp. Maybe it's the pinkness of the paper, or maybe it's the completely erratic contents, maybe it's because it's for girls and I'm not one, or maybe it's just because it's free. I dunno. Amp always has that personal touch - it's not trying to create some kind of aura of cool, which means it's able to cut the bullshit and talk about life properly and with good humour. Anyways - this issue has lots and lots of stuff on Berlin-based "avant-noise activists" Chicks on Speed, pee-ing standing up, Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, Tom Cruise artwork and some hilarious record reviews in which the power relations of gay sex and the sexiness (or lack thereof) of Ronan Keating are discussed rather than the music.
You can pick up Amp for free from lots of places but you can also subscribe - £2 for 4 issues, cheques to AM Payne.
Amp minzine, PO Box 30639, London E1 6GA. Also check http://www.ampnet.co.uk
Also received: Krax #37. Poetry, fiction, reviews etc. Typeset in entirely in bold, which really pisses me off. £3.50/$7US. 63 Dixon Lane, Leeds LS12 4RR.
"Anything you can do, my sound can do better - SCREEEEEEEE BUDA BUDA BUDA!!!!" Fuuuuuuck me. "Absolutely wicked" says another sample and this certainly is. 5 tracks of mental ragga soundclash samples, overloaded breakbeats and some very bizarre noises make this another essential purchase from Ambush. While DJ Scud steals the limelight with his all out frontal assaults on the dancefloor, Aphasic has been sneaking through the bushes, biding his time for a chance to sneak up on the unwary - from behind. Works pretty good in most situations (except maybe with a hangover) - if you're feeling good, this record will put a stoopid adrenalised smile on your face. If you're feeling pissed off it will draw all that aggression out of you. Stick it on in the middle of a drum 'n' bass set and see what happens... one in the eye for all those fuckwads that like their music "deep" and "sophisticated". No mate! We wanna jump up and down! You will too - or you can fuck right off!
Carnival weekend - hell yes. The evening started with some
confusion. The Abashanti-I vs
Jah Tubbys event, which had been billed as 'the soundclash of the century' was taking place
at Electorwerkz - an old warehouse that has been home to The Torture Garden and the
Slimelight. However, Upper Street was blitzed with posters advertising a house night at the
same venue. Oops. I sat in the Blue Angel awaited the arrival of the rest of the crew with
some trepidation. Comfortingly there was at least smidgen of dreadlock presence, but this
was far outweighed by the hordes of intense carhart-wearing fresh-faced blokes. Damn!
A little bit of detective work revealed that the majority of
the venue was given over to the 4-to-
the-floor kids and their heavy security. However - a nice bit of the ground floor had been hived
off for the rest of us. I assured a certain Porsche-owning distorto-germanic-techno producer
that he was in more danger of getting into trouble at the predominantly white rave than at the
soundclash. Beers were downed and we were off.
High-ceilinged room, crumbling brickwork painted dark grey,
3 columns of speaker stacks at
each end - about 16 feet high, and about 14 foot of that given over to b-b-b-b-bass. The two
systems on either side of the hall - one turntable each, plus mics, effects, and an array of truly
bizarre equipment (with knobs and flashing lights on) that had the more technically minded
amongst us furrowing their brows.
Abashanti-I was on when we arrived. Small dread bobbing up
and down, laying down some
righteous dubplates "King Judah, King Jud-ah" - posters of Haile Selassie gaffa-taped to the
wall. Between tracks plugging his forthcoming dances at Carnival and Camberwell. And then
version upon version: "Judah-dah-dah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah".
The sound-system makes most nightclubs sound like tinny transistor
radios. When the bass
drops your whole body vibrates. It's like the air molecules are trying to attack you. But "when
music hits you, you feel no pain". Our German companion looks concerned. I assure him it's
like a massage, but he doesn't seem entirely convinced. Jason grins maniacally. Oh yes.
"Come in Jah Tubbys". This is a pretty good-natured
clash - in stark contrast with the puffed
up ragga battle shown on Channel 4 the other night. More dubplate business and it's still only
early. When Jah Tubbys drop an Iration Steppas dub, the whole room shakes. I can see a
water bottle on a brick shelf - the whole bottle, including the water inside it, is vibrating big
time. (Another weird resonance I read later that Jah Tubbys once started a set in Leicester
by dubbing out some sound effects from inside a bottle?!)
Things are hotting up. Each sound now takes 15 minutes each.
Jah Tubby plug their pre-
amps and sound-systems services. Abashanti-I gives praises to Jah and a sizeable section of
the crowd responds by chanting "Rastafari". 200 bass-disciples swaying to the dub-masters. It
feels special - like we've been chosen to witness something amazing. I want to see how
things intensify over time. But we have to go.
On the way to Holborn we discuss our thoughts and reservations
regarding the spiritual
dimension of the evening. Whilst our attendance as non-believers could be regarded as the
same as going to church just to join in with the hymns, that would seem to be a very xtian lens
to look at the clash through. Perhaps it doesn't matter, and the rastas present certainly didn't
mind. Their belief system is pretty amorphous and undogmatic compared to xtianity anyway.
It's easy to get hung up about this stuff (see the Simon Reynolds article in the Wire issue 199)
but to me there's nothing wrong with keeping an open mind and enjoying the music and lyrics.
Anyway. The single men in our crew were hoping for some top
techno totty at the Rephlex
night at The End. I dampened their spirits by suggesting that it would all be single white
spotter types. I was wrong! We enter to the sound of Mr Richard D James mashing it up in the
main room, with a sizeable contingent of glam girlies dancing to his messy breakbeats and
junglist classics (super sharp shooter!) very cool. As time goes on his set gets stranger
more fucked up beats and some manic vocals the Aphex Twin sings "Can U Feel It?", that
notorious atonal Enrico Iglesias 'singing' uncovered by Howard Stern, abusive phone pranks,
etc. The club was by no means heaving, but there are still legions of people getting on down
to records that are well beyond the mainstream horizon. Coool. Dead by Dawn was probably
the last time I saw so many people dancing to so much extremity.
A good omen for DJ Scud, then. Following the main act at The
End is not exactly an ideal
introduction to West End DJ-ing, but if you're first track is the mutant ragga insanity of
Bloodclaat Gangsta Youth's 'Kill or be Killed', then you ain't got nothing to worry about. Jaws
drop and hips sway as the beats pile up and the mix continues with the all-time Ambush
anthem "Mash The Place Up". Oh yessss. Scud continued to lay down track upon track of
bruising beats and noise, the only let up provided by Frankie Paul's classic dancehall "Worries
in The Dance". People in the crowd started to lose it a bit some left, but those that stayed
were swept away compelled to dance. The Underground Resistance sample "Are you
down? Are you down? Are you down with the Underground?" funks things up nice. I can feel
my body taking over When the lights came on at 5am everyone looked knackered, stunned
and sated. Time to go home, then.
1. Scientist Rids The World of the Evil Curse of the Vampires
LP (Thompson Sound)
2. George Orwell - Homage to Catalonia
3. Babylon at the Ritzy
4. Pole dancing/jumping on the Essex Road
5. The fucking Circle Line
6. Macro Dub Infection 1&2
7. Louis Chude-Sokei - Dr Satan's Echo Chamber: Reggae, Technology and the Diaspora Process (The University of the West Indies, Mona) - title of the month for sure!
8. 400% Dynamite CD
9. American Beauty
10. Nocturnal Emissions - Futurist Antiquarianism
1. Various Artists - Dancehall 101 LP (VP Records)
2. Morgan Heritage/Bounty Killer - Gunz in The Ghetto 7" (71 Records)
3. Digital - Natty Dread 12" (Reinforced)
4. General Levy/Congo Natty old skool twelves!
5. That clear glue you get on the back of those crappy free CDs in the dance mags. Usually more fun than the contents.
6. Lee Perry Black Art 7" represses
8. Peter Fryer - Rhythms of Resistance (Pluto)
9. All the pirates sounding like they did about 6 years ago (or is that just me?)
reviews index | last month's reviews