2009’s already been talked out, so halt your tongues and tuck in cheeks for five sights of music running on splintered time, rails leading most to bass-weight and rhythm.
From barbarity arrives a renaissance. (James Bulley)
We begin to think in earnest upon our ingrained vision of a musical composition. The multiplication of an advanced technological age entrances composers into a state where they create not with, but because of machines. Many composers will no longer use technology; they will lay wreaths in awe of its prowess. Automated music machines are created with a virtuosity that dazzles the crowd and doubts the role of a performer. Harry Partch and Moondog find themselves locked in a contredanse macabre to the sounds of Felix's Machines and Pierre Bastien.
Others still will recognise and commit themselves to the exponential development in the capability of mechanics. They will dedicate themselves to the exploration of the fallow ground it bequeaths us. Music will no longer be a weapon to oppress, impress and control but a technological virtuosity, a science to master, be baffled by and adore. The Afrofuturism of George Russell, the bellicosity of Luigi Russolo and the imagination of Philip K. Dick will act as credo for these missionaries.
Harry Partch rinsing us
Mall Shot (Kev Kharas)
Last night noise coursed through this mall, singular and collected, like a hair lump, knot of blood or a tide of benevolent backdraft. The rhythm of the drummers gave it pulse, pedal noise a voice; one harsh, unintelligible and woven through a language yet to smooth into words and grammar. Instead – just noise, barbaric in its ambiguity. Now, like most days, the mall lies dormant through the unbearable sunlit hours of en masse bedroom retreat, just another scattered, AWOL hub of modern leisure, coarse tangles of wire protruding from the walls of every room, lunging out from brackets in a way that seems to give them the desires of unmastered fauna. Their curiosity is rewarded in the evening, when they are torn from root like pervert weeds.
The malls started dying back in the mid-1990s, which is odd as they weren’t even malls then, they were shopping centres. People used to hate America; but the kids with ‘Not My President’ hoods would spend whole days lazily exploring the mall like a team of bored lovers; inhaling the smell of scolded Formica from diner tables waited by crass, petty girls from the local estate, learning the way the avuncular CCTV systems would re-train their focus at the sign of trouble, stealing through the neglected private corridors only security staff were supposed to stalk. People’s hatred of America left with the money – when the US had its Achilles’ bared for the Vietnamese to see it immediately began to take on the familiar, romantic, impossible fuzz associated in 2009 with helping skirted women over stiles and Gregory’s Girl.
Telepathe - 'Devil's Trident'
Now the malls, once derided by the tangled, pink brains of Europe as hives of wanton pointlessness, act as communal beacons, gathering wailing crowds like they’re bassbins emitting something polar-magnetic, attracting noise to clatter down stairwells, bounce off the concrete and become physical, turning this slagged out lump of Perspex, tile and glass into one, gigantor instrument. The retro-paganists, by now tired of spending another uninhabitable day forlornly swimming in the weak memory of infinite leisure like so many faggot swan, are on the roof relishing the ultimate Situationist irony, fucking and turning the bodies of past presidents into drugs. Which isn’t too hard now, to be honest, as each new president slides into the next like the return of a full moon; each disembowelled shop a DIY cathedral, ascendable for any prepared to clamber the ligatures of their own, sunstroked imagination.
Precendents come in varied forms: jazz pioneers, the churches, fire stations, guild halls and transport depots that were lost, earlier, to the hunger for rhythmic communion, the stages parked in shopping centres like inoculants, saboteur viruses waiting to be sprung. As pure live music begins to take body from these vast, left vessels of electricity, the sun seems more seduced than ever, moving closer daily to bronze the happy, living skin and peer in through the panes of glass ceilings, fingers reaching through to embrace those kissing, ecstatically, in the shade of fractured colonnades.
Union Jackin' (Thomas Oldham)
As the more brained mainstream proponents of US hip-hop and R n’ B begins to endorse rhythms that conduct dances thus far unseen on Britain’s universal sticky, satellite town dancefloor, so a new generation of UK beat bane, lead by Hudson Mohawke, became Timabaland-esque presences on our top ten; re-configuring notions of popular rhythm as grime’s predatory thug was embraced, with the collateral of making British rap artists commercially viable for the first time.
Hudson Mohawke - 'Overnight'
Submerged (Tom II)
“Ultrasonic music, employing a vastly greater range of octaves, chords and chromatic scales than are audible by the human ear, provided a direct neural link between the sound stream and the auditory lobes, generating an apparently sourceless sensation of harmony, rhythm, cadence and melody uncontaminated by the noise and vibration of audible music.” - Simon Sellars, 'A Ballardian Burial' (source)
What starts with Myths of the Near Future filters down through Burial, Kode9 and the Bug. Lost and paranoid, half-submerged ‘aqua-crunk’ sounds as messages from a drowned world, tendered out through the newly amphibious gills of Flying Lotus and Rustie. Forwards, all either implode or submerge. Sea levels rise and there’s a coast on every city - motorways meet with beach and legs lust for flippers. Low frequencies rule waterways only parted by lost, old soul fragments, juttering up like galley scuppering rocks. On land it’s part Mad Max, part Empire of the Sun – grotesque ferals roam deserted cities, singing only of horror and playing solely in treble. Eventually both combine; the Earth shakes and slowly combusts.
Spuriosa! (Samuel Strang)
Those dead-eyed glances, tousled locks and burly figures, boybands rule supreme with a new look for a new season: DC hardcore. Black Flag tats peek out from behind Calvin Klein kegs as the charts become littered with the likes of Ben Adams's post-CBB return with his take on "Crucified". Bradford Cox disbands from Deerhunter duties after a four-month break in Kingston finds him adopted as the new prince of dancehall. Cox is later jailed under suspicion of taking out Busy Signal following the pair's well-documented feud. Lunken Funky finds itself failing to appreciate what made it unique; 2-step instead sucks on its soca soaks. Fen and Ramsey return to household notoriety whilst T2 produces Beyonce's move into Bhangra Niche with the hysterically received Sasha Fierce's Merk Up Vol. I. Soul Jazz impress again with a compilation of blues recordings of 18th century leprosy sufferers. Siltbreeze proclaimed the new Motown as they find six of their tape releases padding the top of the charts. Lo-fi becomes ubiquitous FM fodder forcing Psychedelic Horseshit, contrarians of the highest order, to start recording with Rick Rubin in an attempt to find a more challenging sound.
Darkstar - 'Aidy's Girl Is A Computer'