22 September 2003

Blissblog:"as far as i know the first stuff that has a real London dance identity is all those DJ records from 87 onwards like s'express, coldcut, bomb the bass, MARRS and also perhaps the renegade soundwave stuff, maybe meat beat too. "

Now, here is where I start giving out props to the London massive. Very exciting time in my life, yes indeedy. The Renegade Soundwave reference in particular is absolutely spot on, for my money. Only recently I've started listening to 'Soundclash' and 'In Dub' once more. I think I first heard their single 'Kray Twins' on Peel (or was it Janice Long?) back in 1987(?) and was immediately transfixed: jaw hit the floor, revelatory experience etc etc. Although I wasn't aware at that point where this music had originated, I instinctively felt that it was of British origin - the first home-grown Hip Hop of note, perhaps. It made me feel like I- a non-musician - could make music too. And here I am, making music still. Thanks guys. But why did Gary Asquith insist on singing in that Amerikanized drawl? Surely an East-end accent would've been more suited to his lyrical themes? Perhaps it was just too inconceivable to use a British accent in hip hop at that time. Now, of course, Audio Bullys can do their best Terry Hall impressions over a garage riddim, no sweat. But they lack that romanticised vision of inner city gangsta life that RSW portrayed so poetically. Musically, 'In Dub' in particular still sounds very credible. Trip Hop? Sampladelica? 'In Dub' virtually wrote the manual for such genres and found room for some pile-driving bass-heavy dancefloor stompers too. I had the pleasure of catching them live here in Bristol around the time of the 'Howyoudoin' album. Unfortunately I was very pissed and think my constant demands for old-skool classics like 'Kray Twins' and 'Cocaine Sex' was starting to grate on Gary's nerves after awhile. I believe he tried to shut me up by asking the rest of the audience to give a round of applause to the "overenthusiastic punter down the front".

Coming back to Peel, did anyone else out there spend their nights-in during the late-80's with finger on the tape recorder's pause button, patiently waiting for Peely to play some new Hip Hop or House tunes? You'd have to listen to five or six tedious indie-guitar efforts and maybe some world music obscurity, then bingo! Some beats at last! I made quite a few cool tape comps in this way, shame most of them seem to have disappeared over the years. I never bothered noting the track info, so usually had no idea who or what I was listening to, but who cares? I was young and had no concern for future historical documentation. Certain tracks still stick in my mind as particularly note-worthy, including one by a Hip hop crew called (judging by the lyrics) the Dominating Three MCs, called (possibly) "Kickin' It Loud". It's one of the best examples I ever heard of that particular strain of minimalist hip hop that had absolutely no tune or conventional instrumentation whatsoever. Over a skeletal drum machine pattern you just hear these eerie slabs of found-sound and of course some devilishly violent scratching. It's what musique concrete was invented for. And then there was a brutal slice of 808-driven House called "Bang The Box" which by today's standards would probably be viewed as moronic, but christ it sounded like REVOLUTION at the time. And what about that Marley Marl track that was maliciously "dedicated to the white DJs"? Fucking hell it rocked! I really need to start doing some serious research into the world of late '80s Hip Hop 'n' House obscurities....