Low End Lowlife: 19.01.12

Matthew Bayfield tells it like it is.

Posted on Jan 19th, 2012 in Features and Interviews / By Matthew Bayfield
Low End Lowlife: 19.01.12 You would have thought that there's nothing quite as crippling to the soul, spirit and saddle of a young man as spending 8 hours sitting locked in a room being told about how to perform the act of packing 800 grams of sand into a steel mould in a "safe & controlled manner"... You would have thought. But get home (your parent's home to be specific) from the aforementioned 480 minutes of the cerebral anorexia that is your workplace and switch on the television and you'll realise that a place where you can barely generate enough neurological impulse to defecate in your own slacks is a veritable Nirvana compared to the world of Freeview channel Dave. Where three pre-pubescent fat balding men professionally moan because their job involves driving sports cars, blowing up caravans and generally being outspoken. Chubby people with a lack of self respect are harassed by muscular people with far too much self respect until they cry so much they wretch up that multi pack of Picnics they had in a stranglehold and learn to "love themselves for who they are". This usually requires stripping themselves of their personality alongside the majority of their physical body, leaving them looking like a thoroughly smug (and slightly less sun tanned) extra from ‘Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence’. It doesn't matter how beautiful you've bullied yourself into looking. You're still a bunch of pricks. On the subject of a bunch of pricks it is also the mystical land where Martin Clunes and Neil Morissey never seem to get old...

Fuck a clever link; here's this weeks wonderful music - Hip, hip, hip, hip, hooray!

Ramp Recordings, the people who released the tripped out disco/boogie sounds of Maxmillion Dunbar a couple of years ago return with another leftfield take on the dancefloor genre. Dro Carey is at the controls this time and his new Journey With The Heavy Collection takes a particularly off kilter look at the current trend for juke and footwork flavoured sounds. Yes with 2011 seeing more or less every living artist taking a punt on the newest bass trend (someone probably remixed a dead popstar in there too at one stage I'm sure) it is not unfair to groan at the dropping of yet another cluster of tracks featuring excessively metronomic 808 taps. Fortunately Dro Carey seems to be unable of functioning with any sound outside of his own. Although across the cuts there are obvious nods toward the 'Chicago sound', particularly the metronomic hi-hat ticks that roll constantly in the background on 'Motorvibe' and 'Velvet Mouth' to name but two, but there is something more to Carey's sound which is difficult to quantify. 'Brite Lotion' for instance, with its eastern vocal textures, feels like something Teebs could have created. But just as the ambient atmosphere of the beat is settling into place some particularly prominent bass & synth squelches fall into the mix and thicken the track into a catchy, yet still subdued groove. This subdued but still danceable feel is more or less the theme across the whole set, and proves to be charmingly infectious throughout. There are a myriad of styles deployed on Carey's productions, from the loose jazzy hints of 'Journey With The Heavy' to the fidgety, glitch inspired shuffle of '958.' Somehow though, and much to Carey's credit, the overall mood of the set never shifts too far in any direction as to break the links between the tracks, and stylistically the piece is nigh on impossible to pin down. Not the most immediate or pop ready piece of the year by any stretch but a deliciously confusing journey to send your ears on.

In another welcomed stylistic shift this week Headhunter returns to our headphones with two new cuts courtesy of Black Box. Having spent the last year or so also working in the juke/footwork tag, producing under his, now reknowned 'Addison Groove' alias he has released numerous crucial numbers alongside the eponymous 'Footcrab', one of the tracks that initially brought the sound to the masses in the UK. The man the government call Antony Williams now returns once more to his dubstep sound and alias. A side 'Clone' is a definite traditionalist half step number but it is nice to see a shade of his 'Groove alias slipping in by way of the syncopated 808 ticks rattling in the background. For whatever reason though, and perhaps it is merely because it elicits slightly too much of his footwork alias, the track feels a little bit uneventful. As with anything by Headhunter it is by no means disposable, simply not quite essential either. This feeling carries over slightly to 'Projector' on the flip also. Featuring a fine array of synths of an almost early nineties IDM flavour it is an interesting sound, again with subtly metronomic nods to the juke sound, but somehow manages to feel like it is building up to something that never quite materialises. Certainly worth exploring if only to hear how Headhunter fits into the dubstep mould since its almost total divergence of sound over the past few years, but not essential like some of the man's former works.

Without doubt the piéce de résistance of this weeks tunes comes in the form of a record which could more or less be pigeonholed in every sonic category involving anything. Ever. Part funk, part psychedelic rock, a heavy potential for hip-hop breaks, a splash of soul, a bit of boogie and, obviously, some Turkish folk and Eastern Desi thrown in too. Yes, it would appear Finders Keepers Records, seasoned professionals of pulling bizarre, not to mention Barry Gibb not getting laid levels of rare records out or the archives for repressing have definitely excelled themselves with 'Genclik Ile Elele' courtesy of some musically mercurial lunatic who travels by the name of Mustafa Ozkent. Recorded in Istanbul in 1973 (as far as my haphazard internet trawling has informed me) this may possibly be the only record in existence suitable for crushed velvet suit themed drug deals, sex in an Opium Den in the sweaty climbs of a developing Asian nation and a music led chase scene from Joe 90 featuring additional instrumentation from some intoxicated Hari Krishna's. Not to mention a coffee tasting afternoon at Pret A Mangé. Yes, like a sonic Swiss Army Knife (and no, that is not some bullshit Doctor Who reference for everyone reading this under a fine layer of perspiration in their Mum's airing cupboard) this record really is suitable for any occasion. I'm not going to feign some form of elite musical knowledge on this one, or act like I'm some petty traditionalist, I merely bought this record on the basis the cover featured an illustration of a monkey (the greatest single accessory in fashion) plugged into a reel to reel tape deck via a series of wires tapped into its handsome simian cranium. It really is the most appropriate cover of all time for such a cheerful little party experiment. Don't hesitate my Darwinian little friends, you must charge toward the future (aka 1973) and evolve!

So forget the old silver skinned cynics and the shallow showboaters. Look to a scientific revolution and a cinematic triumph about Simian conflict for guidance because the sooner the monkeys conquer this shit pit the better...