16 September 2005


Surely one of the most devastating beats to emerge this year is Mark One's 'Plodder' riddim. First heard as the backing track to the Virus Syndicate track "Slow Down", it's since been released in it's own right on the Contagious label, which is great because, even though the Syndicate's rhymes are essential, I can now hear the music in it's raw form and really get deep into Mark One's sound. His particular fetish for certain soundbytes and textures really comes out here, with the whirring noise that makes me think of surveillance cameras (although I reckon it's a hydraulic sound effect from Alien II), gothic choral ambience and portentous orchestral riffs combined to create a horrified/paranoid mindstate that, for me, is the true soundtrack to Britain in 2005. Whilst other genres bury their collective heads in the sand, wallowing in fantasies or mindless hedonism, Mark One (along with other key artists like Vex'd, Plasticman etc) are staring reality hard in the face, mapping the pressures of the age in sonic form as brutally and effectively as Cabaret Voltaire did with "Red Mecca" back in riot-torn '81.

The "Plodder/Slow Down" sound palette is rinsed even further on the respective b-sides "Devil Boy" and "Devil Man" adding further bleak, stripped-down possibilities, which got me thinking about creating a mix that brought all the facets together into one long, sustained landscape. Working on a 'one-riddim' mix seemed like an interesting project, allowing for some serious beat-mashing potential, aided by the features on my new mixer which allow me to 'kill' certain frequencies or perform choppy hip hop-style cut-ups with the 'tap' buttons. I recorded a fifteen minute jam earlier today, and present it here:

Gutta's Plodder Mix

It begins with "The Industry", taken from last year's "One Way" album, which features most of the sounds that would coalesce into "Plodder". From there, it's just two 12" singles (four sides of vinyl) mixed-up ruff. Of course, it wouldn't be a Gutta mix without a few fuck-ups, and it didn't come out quite as well as I'd hoped, but hopefully you'll get the idea of where I'm coming from with this thing. Welcome to reality...

Post Script: Some geezer over at Dissensus seems dead certain that the track I'm calling "Plodder" is actually "Devil Man", and vice versa. I was basing it on the info on the sticker and run-out grooves, but maybe it's wrong. Come to think of it, it would actually make sense to call the "Slow Down" instrumental "Devil Man". But both tracks are in the mix, so I'm still calling it the "Plodder Mix", okay? I had a similar embarrassing moment back in January concerning Vex'd Subtext 001 "Pop Pop/Canyon". How difficult is it to get the fucking labels on the right way round?!