31 January 2005


I'm still umming and ahhing about how to proceed with future MP3 offerings. When it comes to back catalogue/rarities/deletions, it's all fair game as far as I'm concerned. But what about the music being made right now on the underground? How do I know for sure that I'm doing these people more good than harm? I feel pretty sure that what I'm doing is right, and will be of long-term benefit to the artists concerned. But then there's the simple matter of showing some respect. I feel like maybe I should start asking for permission, or at least gauging the artist's opinion on MP3 blogs. If they don't want me to share their track then I'm simply in the wrong, regardless of any ethical arguments. But at the same time I don't wish to get friendly with these people and start acting as an approved, unpaid promoter of their work - I pride myself on being totally independent and show no allegiance - I've given myself a roving brief to write about and share a little of what excites me, and that approach would be tainted if I started chumming-up to artists and labels. I would become biased towards them. Admittedly, the generosity of Mike Paradinas has resulted in a heavy quota of Planet Mu releases being featured recently, but Mike made it clear to me that he wasn't expecting me to become a Mu promotional outlet - he just wanted to send me some stuff that he thought I might enjoy, with no strings attached. The fact that Mike seems to trust me to share whatever I like in a responsible, conscientious manner is the perfect arrangement for me. But then, most Mu stuff I feature comes from albums, so I'm only sharing one of maybe ten tunes, and if people like it they're more likely to buy the track anyway, cos it's cheaper to buy the whole album than the other tracks individually. But what about sharing an MP3 from a vinyl EP with only two tracks on it? I'm effectively giving away half the release! AHHH, it's tying my head in knots!

Although she chose to delete it, a comment from Infinite (of Drumz Of The South fame) got me thinking, and I hope she won't mind me reinstating a bit of it here. First she says:

"I don't see anything wrong with posting short clips of tunes (such as dubplate.net), or even mixes as you suggested but not whole tracks."

Fair enough. But later she states:

"Grime and Dubstep is created using particular frequencies which really can't be felt through computer speakers, therefore, a person hearing a low-quality mp3 Grime/Dubstep track will not hear it sounding as it should, which will surely effect their decision to purchase."

Which is a perfect reason why my 192 kbps MP3s are valid. They are usable. People can transfer them to their MP3 players on burn a cd-r and play 'em out in the car or hi-fi system, or even in a club (as I have done - playing some Soulseek'd tracks from "Grime 1" through a PA a few months ago really showed me just how fucking powerful those frequencies are!). I can't say for sure whether this would, in all cases, inspire people to buy the music, I can only look to myself as an example: it was the result of several months of downloading illegal MP3s that I became totally addicted to the Grime and Dubstep sound, to the point that I'm now putting my money into it, even buying-up the stuff that I'd already gotten for free previously. So file-sharing can work, though of course it depends on the morality and circumstances of the downloaders.

Anyway, I shall continue to muse on this subject for a little while yet, but there's at least one underground artist who has given me his blessing, unbidden, and that's Kode 9 - dubstep producer, DJ, 'high grade carrier of the Hyperdub virus' and fellow blogger. Kode's take on the issue is, "I don't have a problem with you doing it to released tracks and think it helps sales to be honest. . .at the same time, if someone only wants u to do a 2 min clip then that is fair enough as well i think. .".

Then, perhaps as a sign of solidarity, Kode 9 sent me a surprise - a recent thirty-minute MP3 mix which I'm allowed to do with as I like! As you know, I hate keeping things to myself, so I'm passing it on to the good readers here at Gutterbreakz for your immanent listening pleasure. This is the first time I've hosted a file this size (29 mb at 128 kbps) so I hope everyone who wants it is able to get it. I know some people still experience timed-out downloads from my server, but as all the previous MP3 have hit their 7 day expiry date this is all I'm sharing right now (apart from a couple of my own 'Steps', which I doubt there's much demand for!) so it should be okay.

MP3: Kode 9 - Babel Mix 190105 (29 mb)


Intro 9
Virgo - Monster (white)
Digital Mystikz - Neverland (dub)
Mark One - Tomb Raider (dub)
Macabre Unit - Death by Stereo rmx (dub)
Skream - Indian Dub rmx (dub)
Plasticman & S-Man - Section 7 (dub)
Burial - South London Burroughs (dub)
D-1 - Enigma rmx (dub)
Digital Mystikz - ? (dub)
Digital Mystikz - Conference (dub)
Loefah - Monsoon rmx (dub)
Random Trio - Rampage (dub)
Digital Mystikz - Officer (dub)
Terror Danjah - Gunshot rmx (Aftershock)
Wiley - Nu Era dub (white)
Mark One - Lost Gold (dub)

As you can see, it's practically all unreleased dubs, kicking-off with some heavy-duty eastern-flavoured tunes, until Plasticman's collaboration with MC S-Man takes us into a hard, minimalist stretch, then the Digital Mystikz lead us into a righteous dubzone, ending with a blast of quality Eskibeat. Selectaaaaah!!