08 March 2005


There's been a trickle of cd-r promos arriving at Gutterbreakz HQ recently. I'm always deeply honoured when people e-mail me asking if they can send me stuff - makes me feel like a 'proper' journo type! I love getting sent things in the post, me! I love getting e-mails too! So why do I hate it when the phone rings? I think K-Punk examined that peculiar effect a while back. Anyway, maybe I should get a PO Box sorted out and put it on the frontpage to encourage unsolicited packages! Before I go any further, I'd better point out that the MP3s featured in this post are only clips from the labels' own websites. I don't feel comfortable giving away complete MP3s of tracks that are still on pre-release, and I'm sure you'll appreciate my position on this.

ZIQ092First up this week is a promo of the latest release from Pin Prick Records, based in Hastings, featuring two very different versions of a tune called "Fire To Feed", by the charmingly named The Gays. When I first eagerly slipped the disc into the player, the jagged, scuzzy Garage Rock noise that started blasting out of my speakers was kinda fun, but my heart was sinking cos I figured this was another example of people sending me stuff that, if they'd actually read my blog, would know isn't the sort of thing I write about here. There's plenty of good music out there that I deliberately avoid due to it's unsuitability to the Gutterbreakz vibe, but I hate not writing about something when the creators have gone to the trouble and expense of sending me their work.

Luckily, track 2 is a radical remix that is definitely back in the Gutter orbit. 'Lord Of The Fuckbeat' Waster gives us the "Electro remix 2", which strips away all the original backing music and recontextualises the deranged vocal within a modernist structure of electro beats, bad-tempered synth pulses and, as the track develops, a heavy dose of breakbeat action in the old Hip Hop tradition just the way I like it - phat 'n' dirty! This odd juxtaposition of approaches would appear to be the very essence of what Pin Prick are all about, as stated in the press release manifesto:

Hello, beautiful music.

We love music that is alive, that makes us laugh, that astonishes us, moves us, takes us away.

We don't know anyone who only loves rock or only loves hip hop or only loves trance. People we have met like this have turned out to be knobheads.

We believe in mistakes, strange timing, the odd bum note, surface noise and the ghost in the machine.

There's further evidence of this genre-hopping approach at their well-constructed website, where you can hear clips of various acts that Pin Prick have taken under their wing, with a particular slant towards bringing 'traditional' indie/rock groups together with electronic/remix producers. I also really like the DIY cottage industry mentality - a quick glance through their catalogue reveals that most of Pin Prick's 'releases' to date have been cd-r only, or 12" test pressings limited to ten copies!! They're really only a slight step-up from Whatever Records, the pet cd-r label that me and my mate Aaron bugger about with occasionally. On that basis, the fact that 200 copies of "Fire To Feed" are being released as a limited hand-numbered 7" on 21st March would appear to be a gigantic financial leap for this label. Best of luck, my friends!

ZIQ092Next it's back to the dubstep with a promo of a forthcoming 12 inch from the Skull Disco label. This was sent to me by Laurie, who's "Mystical Warrior" (under the name Appleblim) is the first tune on offer. Laurie is based in Bath, which is very near where I live in Bristol, so I might get a chance to say hello if he comes along to the Croft on Thursday, and tell him in person how impressed I am by his track! It's swamped in atmosphere and features a ferocious, grinding synth riff with wraith-like vocal chants that definitely seems to be pushing towards the darker end of the dubstep spectrum - an area that I'm particularly interested in. The fact that Laurie tells me he's familiar with the Cabaret Voltaire back catalogue speaks volumes about where he sees this sound developing and I'm keen to hear more of his work.

The second track is by Shackleton. It's called "I Am Animal" and, of the two, this is the one that will probably help to shift more units, as it's loaded with the sort of complex, fluttery ethnic percussion that will appeal to the 'oingy boingy' crowd. The subby bassline and soaring string melodies create a moody yet sensual landscape that I've no doubt will be finding it's way into a few DJ sets in the coming weeks. You can hear clips of several other Shackleton tunes, all mining a similar vein, at Skull Disco's website, but I must say it's Laurie's effort that I find the most intriguing. This release is now featured in the dubplates section at Dubplate. Add it to your wishlist now!

ZIQ092Today's final promo is by, er, ME! I had this mad idea to take along a few cd-rs on Thursday and see if I could persuade some people to accept a copy. The cd-r features my two latest tunes, "Liquidate U" and "Campaign Dub". They're pretty much the same as the versions I've shared here, apart from some minor tinkering with the mix and mastered from the 16-bit WAV files. This is the first time I've made 'hard copies' of my Fruity Loops work and they now seem more 'real' somehow. I've made a grand total of five copies and I'm hoping to get them into the hands of Loefah, Skream, Pinch and anyone else who looks interesting. I'm not quite sure what I expect to come out of this little publicity stunt. I know the tracks probably aren't good enough yet, but I've just got this fantasy in my head that maybe someone might play one of my tracks in their set at some point in the near future. The thought of seeing a set list with one of my creations included is about the sum total of my aspirations at the moment.

It's weird when I think that last year I'd pretty much given-up on making my own music , yet the combination of Grime and Fruityloops has really got me excited about making beats again. I haven't sent a demo to anyone for years (I still have my collection of rejection letters - most prized of which is one from Warp Records from 1996) and I can't quite believe I'm being so (relatively) pushy about my shit at the moment. I'm sure it will lead to nothing more than embarrassment and further rejection, but I just can't resist it! Wish me luck...

Oh, and before I go, you might want to check out Scarboi's blog. He's this guy in Winsconsin who's taking a few faltering steps into making Grime riddims and sharing his efforts (sound familiar?!). Some amusing writing too!