May 26, 2012
Underground hip-hop takes distinct forms on either side of the Atlantic, to the extent that it’s arguable that ‘British underground hip-hop’ refers to a genre distinct from the American equivalent, rather than a geographically differentiated variety of the same thing. Arguable, but that doesn’t mean I think that’s necessarily the case… I do think that there are some important cultural differences (place and ethnicity both have very different functions in the construction of American and British identity), but I also think that the adherents of hip-hop’s undergrounds probably have more in common globally than they do with their local mainstreams. That being the case, transatlantic collaborations seem to be a little thin on the ground…
May 22, 2012
The Beroan family kept the matriarchal Roganid Custom in their domestic arrangements; Feldua sat on his wife’s right hand, and Ukhand faced him across the table, sitting, as the most honoured male guest, on her left. Shenailo directed the meal from the head of the table, beautiful, pale, and very young, her courage fragile as she feigned normality, and cast continual anxious glances at her husband. The fare was good, wrasse in a green sauce, roasted tomatoes, rice with pumpkin seeds and dried apricots; Dorna’s port remained open, the pretender having no ships. ‘With food like this on the table, we must assume the pretender intends to assault the walls,’ observed Ukhand. ‘He has no way to lay an effective siege.’
May 21, 2012
When music has no lyrical content, its titles become gnomic and mysterious, intentionally or otherwise. ‘Our Floor With All Its Beliefs’ could be taken in so many different ways, but to be honest I think it’s best not to take it at all. Unless there is a very clear relationship between the musical themes and title it’s safest to assume it’s some kind of private joke or reference, and concentrate on the sound instead: and surely the point of music which refuses, not only verbal language, but the established tropes of musical narrative, is to present itself to the auditory cortex abstractly, as sound, in just the same way that the stone reproduced as the cover of Tone presents itself to the visual cortex.
May 17, 2012
Serious pop music: I love it. Of course most pop music has been made with a serious attention to getting the sound right, such as it is, but then there’s the stuff that applies the language and sensibility of pop to its chosen themes in a manner that looks way beyond the superficial concerns of the mainstream. Obviously the ‘popular music’ label has ended up including tons of stuff, such as extreme metal and progressive rock, that have pretty much nothing to do with pop, but while DIN Martin’s filigreed post-punk is hardly in the pop mainstream (and is certainly a lot more gloomy than anything that charts these days), but there’s still something distinctly pop about this.
May 16, 2012
I should come clean at the outset: I knew about this gig because She Makes War, of whose music I’ve been a fan for some time, put it on her website, and as it’s in my old stamping ground, it seemed an ideal opportunity to finally find out what she does live. It was only the day before the gig that I discovered Chris T-T was headlining, and I would guess that he’s just slightly too famous for me to have heard of him, with my warped and inverted approach to cultural discovery… I had no idea there was anyone else on the bill until I got there, but as it turned out, all four acts were well worth hearing.