Low End Lowlife: 13.03.12

Here is Matthew Bayfield.

Posted on Mar 13th, 2012 in Features and Interviews / By Matthew Bayfield
Low End Lowlife: 13.03.12 Scuba's newest record 'Personality' opens, quite wonderfully with a spoken word piece posing the question "We are all unique. Or are we?" This is then answered with the pretty water tight conclusion that “most people are fucking boring to be honest”. The man isn't wrong, just take a peek at this week’s top ten singles, or check out some people's posts on Twitter. No one gives a fuck if your bath is too warm. In fact, I don't even give a fuck if my bath is too warm, I like looking like I have psoriasis. I'm also not bothered about your commitment to international aid campaigns. Making me watch endless sepia toned videos about peckish POW's or slow motion footage of people crying clothed in potato sacks won't help feed them, and it won't dry those war torn tears. It'll just waste the internet allowance I could be using to watch classic Eastenders scenes on Youtube. If you want to genuinely make a difference, take a sandwich to a homeless person who actually lives in your town or city, or go scrape some of the shit off the pavement that you regularly bitch about ruining your Vans deck shoes. You may think me something of a cynic, I probably am, but then maybe you could start an online petition to shut me up. I'm sure after 382 likes I'll stop ...

So anyway, whilst you crack on with drafting that up and producing some wonky screen-print tees, I'll help you select a soundtrack to your noble fight for justice and equality. Imagine banging these little gems out in the New Mini your Dad bought you hey? You'll be like Kevin Costner in the postman... Saving all those poor innocents, waving your big flag. Well done you lot...

The aforementioned Scuba finally dropped that long awaited new LP Personality via his very own Hotflush recently. I was meant to cover it last week to be honest, but I never even started writing the article as I was out growing some sustainable resource paper to write my article on and missed my deadline. The other Bearded writers have started a petition to kick me out. On the whole Hotflush is probably one of the most consistently exciting labels currently operating, in the past they've introduced the world to the likes of Joy Orbison and Mount Kimbie to name but two, so it is no surprise that label proprietor Scuba knows his craft. If you caught 'Adrenaline', the somewhat polarising single from the end of last year, you'll have noticed the gentleman's sound expanding out from the more subdued murk that made previous LP Triangulation the toast of the town. Fortunately for us, Scuba can paint as interestingly with dayglo colours as he can with his grey tones and this album is more or less straight up joy from start to finish. Opener 'Ignition Key' lays out the mantra mentioned at the start of this column, and then backs it up with some spacious, anthem sized techno, replete with chunky processed synths of a most joyous nature, a big swirly soulful vocal and some beachy, sun kissed style. It's the sort of tune destined to sound wonderful at Outlook this year (at which Scuba will be performing.) 'Underbelly' is another current highlight, no less grandiose in scale, but a touch more subdued, this one again comes with the sun kissed vibe, but wrapped around some booming, reverb heavy vocal snippets and almost tribal drum patterns. 'Tulips' comes closer to the more immersive sound Triangulation listeners will be used to, with its thick pulsing bass and gentle but deep layers of atmospherics and serves as a pertinent reminder as to just how much feeling Scuba can wrangle from the arrangement of electronic sounds. 'NE1BUTU' however takes things back to a whole new plateau of upbeat revelry and has some infectiously joyous piano lines stripped straight out of the chart bashing dance music of the early nineties coupled with more of those anthem grade soul vocal clippings. It makes me feel like I should be back rollerskating up Great Yarmouth pier again, in the warm, hazy days when it was owned by full time racist, part time comedian Jim Davidson and a Chomp only cost me ten pence... Alas those days are gone, but at least with a man like Scuba at the controls, we can all look back and smile. Then of course there is 'The Hope', the lead out single from the album with it's pulsing drum charge, big shimmering synths and hokey vocals that got a bunch of petty wankers on blogs and Youtube comment boxes decrying "sellout" and a whole raft of other trivial shit. But put bluntly, all that ‘traditionalist’ fluff aside, if this track had been made in the mid eighties it would have been used on a film soundtrack to a training montage featuring an atypical macho man, in tight (probably luminous) lycra running around snowy campsites in entirely non-homoerotic circumstances whilst being trailed by two tubby blokes in an old blacked out Vovlo. Not sure if there's anyone who can't enjoy that. So anyway, sold out, antagonistic, genius, man with a beard other than Barry Gibb who makes classic tunes for clubs, whatever you want to brand Scuba for his recent releases just remember the wise words that blue eyed dish of an actor Paul Newman once said, possibly after a few drinks: “A man with no enemies is a man with no character”.

Tectonic are back again with their newest 12" featuring some fanciful Southern footwork from Distal (pictured). On the A-side there is a collaboration twixt Distal & HxdB entitled 'Booyant', that’s got all that skittering shuffle that the (self proclaimed) 'Boss of the South' is known for, tightly packed under some interesting percussive clicks and pops and a rich, see sawing synth that both sit on an almost aquatic, rich sub pulse of the ilk HxdB (which I believe is pronounced Hexadecibel) is known to frequent. Over on the flip Distal provides 'Amphibian', which rolls on a big tub thump of a sub-bass with an impatient and woozy synth line something like Rolf Harris playing a vocoder, amid ticking, almost metronomic percussive patterns. Shackle these to the double wide bass groan, akin to an amphibian, one assumes of the track’s title and you have one of the most infectiously eccentric cuts Tectonic has put out in some time... And I still have no idea why there is a jelly fish on the vinyl art. Maybe it is just the overall aquatic feel of the cuts, maybe it is an altogether more sophisticated theory that a lowlife such as I would never pick up on. Either way, this 12" gives a fair deal of credit to Distal's self proclaimed title of The Boss... But don't go mentioning it to that blue collar, down at heel, working class Springsteen chap, he'll only go and get the boys from his dock working job to start kicking up ruckus.

Taki & Nu Light's Coming Up EP is also now available courtesy of Dutch bass bastion Subway Recordings. A-Side 'Coming Up' has been acting like an ADHD inflicted orphan on a bouncy castle for a good old while now, getting plays from more or less everyone, but is still as much fun as you remember it. Those initial, almost eastern styled electronics that chime over tight heavily processed drum lines, that comically massive build up, those preposterous, air raid quality mid-bass lines, they’re all still here. If you haven't heard this at some point yet (or maybe you just didn't know it) you should probably get off your Tumblr, get out the house, go to a record shop then go to a club... You might want to leave the record in the cloak room. Or, if the robbing bastards charge a quid, hand your record in at lost property, claim you lost it on the way out, and get it back for free! Remember my little misers, for every eight successful Lost Property fiddles you pull you save enough money to buy a new 12"! On the B side to this certified electro madness comes 'Pure' and 'Impulse'. Both tracks take a slightly more subdued route through the ear canals than the A-side, 'Pure' being a sparse, highly processed sounding number, replete with tapping, synthetic drum hits and the odd squark sample all leading up to two almighty drops of the skull rattling variety whilst 'Impulse', is a denser, more processed number of a similar style. It's no surprise based on the pairs' history in other forms of electronica coupled with the sound of this EP to hear that some of their work has potentially been signed to Benga's Benga Beats imprint, so let's hope the rumours don't prove unfounded and the man gets a move on dropping a few more of their gems.

Oh and some bloke called Burial released a new EP on some pokey little label called Hyperdub too.

Anyroad that’s all for this week. I’ve got a trip to Kony Island booked up with my baby, Tom Waits told me it’s the best place for children…

You can also follow me crusading for animal rights and cheaper KFC prices on Twitter @lowendlowlife if the mood takes you. Charity is good for the soul!