Low End Lowlife: 14.02.12

Matt Bayfield talks some gibberish and attempts to find the joy in a world without Whitney... And Pat.

Posted on Feb 14th, 2012 in Features and Interviews / By Matthew Bayfield
Low End Lowlife: 14.02.12 I'm not sure I side with all this spiritual bullshit and Mayan calendar cod, but if you were to tell me 2012 was the end of days I'd be inclined to take your word on it. But a single day into the new year, before there had even been time to curry the Christmas turkey, we lost a true matriarch. The people's Queen. The hooker with a heart of gold. Yes, on January 1st we waved a bleary eyed goodbye to Patricia of Butcher... Then, less than six weeks later, we lose another lady of steely composition, a woman who battled many demons and felt the proverbial faecal matter of life pelt her delicate skin at nearly every turn. Yes friends, at the weekend we sadly lost Whitney... No not Albert Square's puffy faced resident rape magnet. I meant Whitney Houston. R'n'B dive deluxe, domestic abuse victim and moderately tolerable actress. She rattled out a couple of the late 80's and early 90's finest pop numbers, and she shall be sorely missed. Sadly Albert Square's inferior model lives on, wearing earrings that suspiciously resemble shower curtain rings and encouraging Fatboy to DJ awful music to a club which apparently reaches capacity when any two primary characters and 4 market trader extras step inside, regardless of what time of day it is.

Here's what "The Fats" should be spinning this week:

The Boka label returns with the third (and to the best of my knowledge final) instalment courtesy of the appropriately partnered Killa & Instinct. A side 'Elude' by Instinct pushes the cavernous atmosphere up to ten, replete with reverb laded everything and spacious passages interspersed with clattering percussive bursts that serve to make this one of the most spacious and tense arrangements in an already excellent series. Over on the other side both Killa & Instinct throw down on 'Elements' another spacious piece albeit this time with a substantially looser, more tribal vibe to it, though still heavy on the reverberating audio clippings and that deep-head, eyes down feeling. If you missed the first two instalments in the Artillery series thus far you are probably a monosyllabic amoeba of a reader, but, my gangster raps aside, it's still not too late to join in the charge.

Traditionalist totem Distance has been characteristically busy once again as well this week. But that is no bad thing, besides, in times of grief it's good to keep busy. His own Chestplate imprint has just dropped its 16th slab of sub-frequency ordnance with regular collaborator Tunnidge at the controls. A-side ‘Aftershock’ opens with thick reverb coated synths and spare cymbal hits and gradually builds pressure en route to the stomping mainliner of a track, aimed squarely at the chest, as is this label’s obvious penchant. On the flip Tunnidge locks horns with Distance for the stalking, chamber atmospherics of ‘Blame’. Both men have a fine pedigree in this sort of construction and don’t disappoint with a murky permutation of metallic clanks, paranoid synth swells and an enormous, juddering bass line akin to a drawbridge falling. After Tunnidge’s debut Chestplate cut of ‘7 Breaths / Fear’ this release should be all the evidence you need to know that this man gets medieval like a trebuchet and a five bird roast. Alongside the Tunnidge helmed siege instrument Distance has also dropped a new 12” for Pinch’s influential and expertly curated Tectonic stable. The 'Reboot / Bazurk' 12" features two of his more menacing, paranoia inflected numbers. 'Reboot' in particular, with it's heavy grind and stomp strategy, certainly goes straight for the bowel on a decent sound setup whilst 'Bazurk' on the flip takes the same, lurching grind strategy but lashes itself onto an ominous, swelling synth line and some heavy duty percussion hits. I would imagine if Celtic Frost had ever mutated their lumbering black metal numbers into dubstep it may have come out something along the lines of these cuts. As if all that wasn’t enough for one Monday’s listening, and in keeping with his reputation as something of a groundbreaker, he may have pulled off the ultimate coup d'état in re-working a Nicki Minaj track into not just something listenable, but actually a bit of banger. Yes courtesy of the Melted Dubs series you can now find the oft bootlegged 'Dominoes' track alongside a surging powerhouse of a remix for Kid Adrift's 'A4 In Ecstasy', a brooding rework of 'Redemption' by soul newblood Josh Osho, and a snarling restructuring of Alex Clare's 'Too Close'. There is always a mass and heated argument operating somewhere on the internet these days about dubstep "going pop" or "selling out" or some bullshit and put bluntly these remixes go a fair distance (oh look what I went and did) to demonstrating that it is possible to have a catchy, chorus/verse/chorus led piece without compromising any of the weight or atmosphere traditionally associated with the genre (for additional proof go cop 'Falling' released on Chestplate last year). As a tidy little bonus sad, detail obsessed wankers can also observe that whoever pressed the Melted Dubs Remixes stuck the labels on the wrong sides of the vinyl... I personally didn't notice because my life is full of enriching charity work and the regeneration of local buildings of historical relevance, but some sad wanker who looks a bit like me mentioned it in passing...

Stepping away from the darker side of sound for a moment Wheel & Deal are back already with two new slices of electro madness courtesy of The Soap Dodgers (pictured). A side 'Rachel Went South' is a synth heavy workout something like pure happiness, and is the type of rave-crossover track that wouldn't seem out of place on DJ Zinc's Crackhouse II release. I'm not sure who the eponymous Rachel of the title is, or whereabouts in the south she went, but let's all pray it wasn't Eastbourne... Over on the B-side is 'Belly' again coming heavy with the synths, but this time, what with all the bouncing sub kicks and pitch bent vocals, it starts to sound something more like a heavy slung version of the footwork sound and is another joy to behold. Truly a cut dedicated to the preservation motion of the hips! Keeping things on a more synth led, spacey flex this week also comes the newest slice from the Bristol luminary Guido, on his very own State Of Joy label. One of the primary names, alongside the likes of Gemmy & Joker to name but two, to really push the synth laden, warped r'n'b sound (There are a 101 obscure pigeon holes for the sound's name, but let's not crack that pedant stuffed can of worms open). Frontside 'Micro X' features a bleeping array of synths and lays them over a thick, warm bass pulse and plucked string effects, to give a wonderfully heady blend of psychedelic colours primed to be pumped en route to Pala, whilst on the flip 'Vessel Dogs' takes the plucked strings structure completely overboard, with gentle harp brushes intercut with some thickset sub work and more of that synth heavy sound. I'm aware this came out nearly a month ago, but working a life as a tiny cog in a soulless 9 - 5 machine is heavy going and I just never got round to it. It without doubt deserves a big well done.

And finally this week, a big well done to Sony Music, who, upon hearing of the untimely death of one of their brightest stars, nipped onto iTunes at four in the morning and subtly added a few quid to all of her album prices... Abusing your status of power for the financial exploitation of an obviously troubled woman? It's what Bobby would have wanted...

Remember you can now find me both inappropriately intoxicated and obnoxiously opinionated over on Twitter @Lowendlowlife nearly any time of the week my friends!