Low End Lowlife: 04.10.12

This week's instalment of Low End Lowlife

Posted on Oct 4th, 2012 in Features and Interviews / By Matthew Bayfield
Low End Lowlife: 04.10.12 I was asked by someone recently why everything I write about in this column gets a rave review. It's quite simple really. It's not that I'm not picky in what I listen to. I am. I border on neo-fascist... Crap tunes and records with ring marks or split sleeves go straight to the barren, soul-less hell of the Eastern Front (Great Yarmouth's bars and clubs). There's also the issue that the majority of what I listen to is so shite I can rarely bring myself to re-listen to it to provide an accurate write up. Besides, if you were on an open top tour bus of London would you really want the conductor on the microphone pointing out the syphilis laced Asian sex traffic in Soho, the hobo tentatively scraping pigeon mulch from the treads of a rickshaw or London's wonderfully regimented architecture?

... Actually that's a shit analogy. Foraging feral people and Taken token extras are much more fun than a bunch of (barely) tax maintained geometry... And Liam Neeson might chin someone.

Here's what that tour guide should be highlighting:

First team on the needle this week are Commodo (pictured) and Lurka with their Black Box 12" 'Capische? / Glue Sniff Riddim'. Lead track 'Capische?' opens with a brassy, Madvillain esque intro which could have been sampled straight from the studio era Warner Bros archive. They then pile some discordant, jazzy keys similar to those featured on the pair’s last team up 'Gassin', atop skittered and sputtering percussion of a distinctly Southern flavour, which you can call "trap" if you fancy, to disorientating effect. It's a wonderfully off kilter combination which constantly feels as if it's going to fall apart completely, but the pair always manage to keep the production just the right side of "freeform". A class act all round. So if 'Capische?' takes its cues from Edward G Robinson and a splash of Southern fried cooking then 'Glue Sniff Riddim' is much more Steve McFadden and a tin of corned beef. Dense, squat layers of scuffed up bass growl, the staggered gait I imagine you find in the bottom of a Wotsits bag full of Humbrol, with searing synths and wailing paranoia throughout. Winners don't do drugs kids, but it would appear in this instance winners do do tracks with drug related monikers. Probably my favourite Black Box release this year.

Next, after another notably long absence, comes the new 12" from Joe, a man notoriously vague both in release schedules and the ability to Google him to find out about said releases. Thankfully every time he does put something out a journalist. somewhere. shits a hernia made entirely of hyperbole, the vapour trail of which proves easy to follow. Anyway he has just released two new nuggets courtesy of Untold's Hemlock, the label that also stumbled across James Blake and Fantastic Mr Fox to name but two of it's brighter stars. As usual many people are raving about it, but as usual with good reason. Front side 'MB' opens with a grandiose gong hit before sloping off into a lilting groove, pinging string samples and some soulful keys. This rhythmic skeleton is fleshed out by some beautifully warm subs that sashays playfully on the cusp of an afrobeat number, but I'll try and avoid using that word before professional bandwagon jumping twat Damon Albarn sidles up and tries to make a charity CD out of it. Over on the other side 'Studio Power On' takes things in another direction altogether. Branching out from the mind boggling kitchen sink percussive job Joe did on his 'Claptrap / Level Crossing' twelve for Hessle Audio the barmy beatsmith has decided to relocate and go all garden shed on this one: a rhythm section made from smashing glass samples, big hollow tub thumping subs and the sawing of wood (or something similar) mingle wonderfully with an array of bleeping submarine-esque synths to create a track that, if called upon, would probably be the perfect soundtrack to a scene in which Britain's most eccentric engineers (Wallace & Gromit that is, not those toff wankers off Top Gear) attempt to set up a home studio. Crackers.

Paradise Club Recordings, a new name you should instantly familiarise yourself with, have just put out their first record this week too, and what a treat it is. A side 'Of The Sun' by Bruh Jackman (who, if that sort of thing bothers you, is the collaborative efforts of Jabru and Hackman) is an immersive groove of a piece that flows gently on bass even warmer than that of the previous track by Joe and a giant set of soft, rounded sub kicks, humanised wonderfully by a gentle female vocal. It's a rare thing in electronically produced music, particularly at present where prevailing trends seem to be techy-house and brittle techno flexes, but the best words to describe this track are immersive and organic. There's also an extremely well shot video out now to accompany the piece that, also pulls off that rare feat of actually reflecting the vibe of the track in its visual content... Thank fuck it didn't involve loads of people "raving" at 6 frames per second intercut with time slip footage of a sunrise over a shoreline (yeah, I see you rehashing tired old ideas every festival that takes place near a coastline!) Over on the flip the grooves cut even deeper (metaphorically: as far as I can tell the wax is evenly engineered) with 'Syzygy' courtesy of Juno Sutton & MTD. Rolling on shimmering synths of an 80's boogie vibe, more tremendously tubby bass and an almost gospel tone in its vocal samples, the track is a joyous celebration of laidback funk with just the right amount of that 4/4 head nod factor. Both these tracks are primed for those 5am red eye moments, and if you were a fan of the LoveSick Recordings number I mentioned at the start of the summer head straight to a record shop. As a bonus for the troopers out there still buying physical products there is also a lovely little mediation courtesy of Jabru on vinyl only about the creation of electronic music. It's a beautiful package in terms of both tunes and presentation, so go support some people who clearly give a shit.

Anyway, that's it for this week, but as a sly up yours to my world weary companion mentioned earlier, who insists upon dragging me down, I'm finishing with a bit of a downer. I'm a big fan of South London Ordnance, particularly considering I'm not too big on house music as a whole, so I was indeed rather disappointed upon purchasing the somewhat uneventful Big Boss Theme EP. 'Booty Call' and 'Harrier' are both quite interesting, 'Booty Call' in particular with its woozy bass throb, but the title track ‘Big Boss Theme' just didn't have the deranged excitement a theme tune should. A theme tune should be razzle dazzle, superfluous showboating, pointless peacocking, not six minutes of solid, chugging rhythm that doesn't really go anywhere. How are you meant to arouse your concubines and delight your disciples with that endlessly looping rhythm!? To rectify this theme tune turmoil: here's how it should be done!