Friday, April 29, 2005

Here Come the Grimey Limeys

Flirta D (Ft. other people) - This is Grimey

You can generally tell that a genre's established when the comedy records start coming in, but in some ways grime had its pisstakes before it got screwface serious - no-one's very interested in claiming Pitman as an innovator (I'm not even interested enough to listen to anything he's done), but sideline The Streets in your garage rap history and I think it's harder to tell how Flirta D can spit straight gibberish and get props (call me on my underthinking here in comments).

Anyway this is still quite far from being parody, essentially because Flirta manages to flow crazy while keeping his tongue in his cheek - he's as technically impressive and utterly compulsive here as Slim Shady on those early effortless laugh-a-second tracks (think "As the World Turns")(don't think of the can't-be-bothered unfunniness of "My First Single"). For my money, Flirta D's having more fun with flow now than just about anyone in any rap game (who else? Devin the Dude?). As a marijuana anthem (sort of), Grimey's inevitably slower (please pretend you don't know about Sticky's "More Weed") than your average grime track, and it's got that typically clean, thick, uncluttered rap production treatment (plus cartoon chorus - Please rewind me!) that every jokey track gets. So maybe not very grimey at all, minus the flows, but whatever - if you figure out how I can live life without wanting to hear this every 4 minutes then keep it to yourself.

Statik - All Star Producers

Don't know your Davinche from your Skepta? Simply consult Statik's "All Star Producers", a who's who audio sampler of all the big names in garage rap production. Readers: if that Youngstar bit that sounds like the "Where's Your Head At" breakdown actually exists as a full-length instrumental (or, even better, has a vocal!), run (don't walk) to the comments box.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

I Still Mean What I Mean

The Streets - Streets Score (Vocal Mix)

If you're looking for self-deprecation in your rap you're either on some fringe-y Sage Francis or Atmosphere tip, listening to Kanye figure out if he can assume the figure of progressive community-leading role model with Gucci flip-flops on or waiting for those 30 seconds in "You're Not Me" when the Clipse realize they're as morally toxic as the shit they push. The comfort music soundtrack to your insecurity complex is likelier located in some Death Cab for Cutie album.

Now Mike Skinner never made any excessive claims to realness, but that doesn't make "I'm a fake" any less of a striking way to begin a verse. I don't think it's excessive to cast this pretty, musically understated self-diss (a Pirate Material-era b-side btw) as brave from a guy whose marketing gimmick consists of characterizing himself as the everylad (Maxim doesn't like losers either, remember). Over a spare drum pattern and strings that move slower and gentler than the ones in "Turn the Page", Mike assures us that he's "not the genuine article", just the lead in the Logic Audio-generated movie in his head. The detail-obsessed confessional mode is the default Streets schtick, but this is the sound of the inbetween to the inbetween - a  touchingly honest (or honest-sounding, and if there's a difference then that's what this song's about) surrender of hype.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Torn to Make You Happy

Britney Spears - Breathe on Me (James Holden Vocal Mix)

Really this is the sexiest that Brit's ever sounded, and she's totally unrecognizable: that froggy voice atomized into a bazillion glistening breathy pixel-shards, all swept above and beyond by a propulsive jetstream of backwards-run riffs and ecstatic bleeps and the rest of those 'nanotrance' (I hear that's what we're calling stuff like this now) devices that make 'ethereal' the Border Community house-style.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Skeptics Say the Flow's Too Hectic

Lethal B - Ugly Riddim (feat. Dream)

Tabla 'n Sitar's last 'urban music' stand ('sides Med's "Get Back" and... er.. Rich Boy's "Get Down"... hmmm what was my point again)? Forgetting orientalism for a moment, as a dance-music latecomer I'm in favour of more gated vocals and beat-stutter everywhere (NORE's "Nothin" still kicks, btw). This being a Lethal Bizzle production I could stand things a little less finessed and more y'know UGLY but oh well. Remembering the orientalism again, it lets lines like "got rap after rap goin' around my head/feels like I'm wearin' a turban" crossover from dodgy to pretty hot. (Sorry (?) for the pun-less post title, but I'm in the midst of compiling a list of rap etc. songs wherein the word 'hectic' appears.)

Friday, April 22, 2005

Stepping Out

As a bunch of you'll know, Blogger's been behaving in a less-than-great manner recently, so no content yesterday. It was gonna be a 'Why Am I an MP3 Blogger" soul-searcher of post (one that I've decided to postpone), so consider yourself spared.

Sweet Female Attitude - Flowers

Before Three of a Kind's "Babycakes" (which the blogosphere's oldskool garage-hedz [Spizz's Rob Dem excepted, I believe] puzzlingly didn't find all that terrific), "Flowers" was the Hallmark of sickeningly sweet 2step. It's guaranteed to either put a spring in your step or make you regret every action that has led to your current condition of crippling loneliness.

MJ Cole feat. Elephant Man - Zoom Zoom

Too impossibly bouncy to frame as the yang to Flowers yin, but the cool reverso synth-harpsicord and spooky synth washes (think I stole that description straight off Harvell) make this a slightly darker, slinkier affair. My question to you: was this the lone raggarage crossover track? (Another question: since this doesn't really count as raggarage, was there *ever* a raggarage track?) (Yet more: How annoying is it that I'm this proud of having coined "raggarage"?)

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Lovers' Spatula

Joakim - Come into my Kitchen (Basement Dub mix)

Joakim tracks have this way of sounding as ashamed as they are assured - the vocals quiveringly confessing some dirty secret (being into food sex, for instance) while the beat makes sure you're still willing. I always thought there was something quietly obscene about Teenage Kiss's awkward electro-flailings, and this is similarly ickily irresistible.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Elsewhere...

Just because we don't have broadband access today doesn't mean we're gonna leave you empty handed. Well, we kinda are, but we'll at least point you in the direction of some things we hope you'll like. Go to The Rub and cop Mark Ronson's "Bombs Over Scotland" bootleg - probably my favourite mashup of the last 2 years. It sounds like a bad idea, sure, but riding a straightup guitar riff hasn't sounded this good since, well, "Stroke of Genius" (much like new-rawk hasn't sounded as catchy as "Take Me Out" since "Hard to Explain"?) and, minus 2 seconds of semi-ugly timestretching, the "Roses" switchup is seamless-as-fuck. In the last 5 seconds Ronson even squeezes in that other indie-disco surefire, the Kidz Bop cover of "Float On"! Oh, just for the record: once I've played this at a party I don't really want to hear "Take Me Out" ever again.

The 2step garridge sunshine and butterflies post is probably still on the way, but Duncan Powell makes it somewhat irrelevant with his downloadable March mix. The opening track in particular, "Something Wrong", is essential, and out-Edwards's anything I've heard from Todd's recent output (that is, if you still associate Edwards's name with immaculately layered vocal cutup joy and not rhythmic unchangeability).

(P.S. The first set of MP3s expired today - but before I put lines across their names I thought that, in this introductory 2 week Hectic changeover period, I'd let you request any or all of 'em to be re-upped. If this is the case, lemme know in comments.)

Monday, April 18, 2005

Take a Little Journey

Isolee - Schrapnell

Pedal-steeled, southern-fried... microtech? Not only does it 'work', it's the most magically transporting sound I've heard this year - driving music for the warm summer night of the soul. I was gonna do a Perpetua-esque spec 'video treatment', but it got more than a little corny - let's just say there were milkshakes, open roads and girls. Burton/Lynch/Solonz take note: If I ever get a biopic, I want this as my 'perfect day' theme.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Grime after Time

I was gonna have a fluffy 2step weekend-christening post, but I didn't get a chance to bring the mp3s I hoped to post. And I'm still practically monosyllabic. Enough excuses, more garage-rap:

Kano - Boys Love Girls

It occurred to me that 1) some recent Kano converts might actually not have heard this and 2) it's still his best flow thus far. I liked it better when he had to tell us that had feelings, instead of showing 'em (ie. "Brown Eyes").

Durrty Goodz - Hold Me Down

After the undeniable (feel free to deny it in comments) hotness that is "Reload" (which was quite cleverly junglistic I thought, managing the trick of sounding like 150bpm when it wasn't anything near!) I'm really looking forward to hearing the beat Diplo's apparently done for Durrty Goodz, who can't really be made to sound bad over anything, but needs to be hooked up with some fake-dancehall ala "Diplo Riddim". Heres some stuff from when he was still Doogz, you need it. Plus "shenanigans" really needs to be reincarnated as rap slang. And look out for 1:52 to 2:00.

(fuck, I can't believe I wasted my one allotted grime pun on that shitty post title)

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Tired of Being Tired

I've had 4 hours sleep in 2 days so commentary's at a new minimum, but here's a thing or two (old and new) to bang anyway:

Ruff Sqwad - Pied Piper (Tinchy Stryder Vocal)

You made it through screaming 6yr olds when you were blasting Favela, you can deal with an extended Tinchy verse. It's the beat you're listening for anyway - when it hits, it's like a subterranean explosion, dynamite in a mineshaft.

Lady Sovereign - Broom/Last Saturday

More irresponsible kidsplay on another overtly silly new Sov track - if not the best grimey-ish-esque (I'm playing it safe 'cause I really don't feel like having that argument) cautionary drinking tale since "Too Much Brandy", then it's certainly the other one.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Hanging onto Emptiness

It's a busy day, but I don't wanna lose the momentum, so we'll see how far I get with this. As committed to the new as we are at Hectic, we don't want you getting avant-complacent, so today I'm taking it back all the way to 2003 with two possibly overlooked joints I rediscovered while harddrive reorganizing (remember when it seemed music couldn't get any less romantic than CD filing?)

Redman - I See Dead People

"Dead People" is a slightly weird variation on the typical Eminem goth beat - no emo chord progressions, just constant drum shuffle accented by pizzicato strings on every beat. But what I really love here, 'sides Redman - who, on medium form, is still pretty great - is just how disembodied the samples sound - curt, clipped broadcasts snatched from the ether. And I can never quite anticipate the jolt I get when Big L answers Reggie's I don't die with I was born dead: the ultimate tragic punchline from the worlds best lost punchline MC.

Scarface feat. Nas - In Between Us

This is, well, perfect. Those out-of-phase mournful sighs, the descending guitar figure, the delayed strings, the tinkly minor keys, thick handclap beat, so faultlessly arranged the lot of them, one of the best Nas guest verses ever - I mean, I was thirteen, I was nursing/ a knot in my face/ but chose another time and a place, that wearied, exhausted lament of a chorus, 'Face's voice... just.. yeah.

Okay, okay, some fresh stuff, but only cause it fits with today's emo-rap them and it's killing me right now -

Beanie Sigel - Feel it in the Air (feat. Melissa)

An empty, airy gray wash, the moment of calm when you're forced to accept the things you can't change, that silvery lite-jazz sax too genuinely affecting to be a parody of comfort music.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Three to the Floor

Okay, before we get the proceedings proceeding, an open letter to my (recently silent) partner Kaiser (and all like-minded individuals), who for the most part doesn't 'get' Jaques Lu Cont, and actively dislikes his "Mr. Brightside" remix: go read this, and adjust your opinions accordingly.

2004 was a house year to remember - micro went macro, electro went pop, and we got a couple of tracks that I've no reservations (grammar notwithstanding) about calling my two favouritest dance things ever: the fucking epic distorto-riff dreamhouse Superpitcher remix of the MFA's "The Difference it Makes", and Rex the Dog's microedited, synth-spangled reworking of The Knife's "Heartbeats".

2005's shaping up to be even better. Some recent faves:

Kiki - So Easy To Forget (Ada Remix)

The dependably gorgeous queen of sparkle-house (geddit?) once again delivers with this remix. "Forget" reminds me of what was probably the best track on Triple R's 2003 mix "Friends", Oxtongue's "Delight" - similar reverby, vocodered-vocal, similar ambient swells, similarly swoonsome. It's the details that do it: that one errant blip amongst the bleeps, that ornate little (semi-orientalist?) melody... well, okay, it's everything else that does it too: when the handclaps and keyboard wash come back in after the dropout, it's like woah.

Einmusick - Jittery Heritage (Short Mix)

"Jittery Heritage" is a great title, and boy oh boy, it is not wasted on this one: the shivery thrills come in the form of lightning-flash string(?) streaks, but otherwise there's nary a nervous waver - when that riff arrives, consider your dancing-ass owned. I don't how how or why the heck there's a "short" edit of this, and though I kind of have to appreciate all my house jollies being compressed into pop song length, I really want the tension-and-release build up to begin as this fades out. If you find the "Doesn't Fucking End" mix, please let me know.

The Mogs - Kelly Blame (Ph 606 Version)

The tag tells me this is from 2004, but whatever - it's part of *my* 05, and it should be part of yours. The french femme vocals don't disappoint, but the secret star of this intoxicating story is that filtered-as-fuck wah wah guitar - if I had no problems with the simile, I'd compare it to some unfortunate duck's last semi-submerged quack. Oh, and you might like the synths too, they're Rex-worthy.

Monday, April 11, 2005

..and some antiseptic, this could get HECTIC!

The Hectic Kru have been roused from our month-long slumber by the passing of a bandwagon that just begged to be jumped on - yes, Hectic is now an Motion Picture Entertainment Group Audio Layer 3 (MP3) blog, bringing you just the kind of incredibly hot musical freshness you haven't come to associate with the Hectic name!

To begin: we're in the process of organizing S.A's first (to my knowledge) Grime party ting, so I thought I'd share some of the best of the recent selection of sublow, eski, 8bar, whatchoocallit:

Low Deep - Str8 Flush (Vocal Mix)

Pitched-up vocal snippets as indebted to ye olde UK ardkore continuum as they are to Kanye's chipmunk soul over synthbaroque piano and violin figures, "Str8 Flush" is a great addition to the growing crop of manicured-yet-heavy filigrime, the likes of which you probably first heard in Imp Batch's "Gype" riddim - and that goes double for the almost impossibly delicate b-side "Catz".

Dream - Get it Done

Like Roll Deep's "Let it Out", clean sharp, piano-hooked grime tempered with razor-tipped synths, but this time with an actually hummable chorus! Pretty great MCing too, could stand to be a little less polite perhaps, but the best hungry doubletime entrance I've heard in a while. And how could confectionary fans such as ourselves (you've clicked on Just Glaze, right?) not love the cookie verse: Don't get it twisted/You missed it when man was living off biscuits/ Jacob's Cream Crackers and.. RITZ.

Jammer - Murcul Man Outburst

Man, grime has got this 'fun words to say' stuff on lock - have you tried saying "MURCKLE!!" or "NEKKLE!! out loud"? Tried transcribing the Flirta D verse from FWD 2? Anyway, "outburst" says it all really - Jammer busts "Fire Hydrant" wide open, showering us in the spray of stray syllables.

BONUS track: now this is the kind of bastard pop I can get with: Pitbull over Dizzee's "Trapped"