Low End Lowlife: 23.11.11

Matthew Bayfield reports...

Posted on Nov 23rd, 2011 in Features and Interviews / By Matthew Bayfield
Low End Lowlife: 23.11.11 Philosophically speaking there are many questions our humdrum lives throw up on a day to day basis. Questions with unattainable answers. Questions to keep you awake deep into the mid-afternoon: "Why am I here?" "Will I ever find true happiness?" "How many humans does is take for a Human Centipede' to become a Human Millipede?" There is, however, one question which has plagued scholars and theologians since (almost) the dawn of time itself: Why the fuck do the BBC insist on cancelling Eastenders once every year to show me slow motion soft focus footage of beaten children soundtracked by Elbow?

Don't get it twisted, I care about children a great deal. I eat nearly three a week. But never during Eastenders. As much as I care about domestic abuse in the UK it pales in comparison to Tanya's rampant cancer and poor sweet Pat's dodgy ticker. If cuddly lantern jawed Northern softie Gary Barlow wants to round up the cream of shit UK rappers and make a charity single to raise money for a good cause then that's just fine. Because I know for a fact Dot needs a new tea set. The vicar’s coming round. I'm a child. I'm in need. I need gin & Eastenders. But last Friday I was only half the man (child) I was supposed to be... And that guilt's on you Gary Barlow.

A few people who ARE concerned with my personal wellbeing however have been working hard this week to brighten the grey office days that oppress my spirit and creative flair (but apparently not my mouth.) So once again let us the harvest the creative bounties of the world's bass laced agricultural purists my fellow fieldworkers.

First course on the (turn)table this week is the new album from Glaswegian soundsystem stalwarts Mungo's Hifi. New album Forward Ever, released through their own Scotch Bonnet imprint, is a tribute to the longstanding reggae traditions the boys have upheld since bread came sliced but stands more so as a glimpse towards what hopefully will come to pass with future reggae sounds. Lining up vocalists both old & new, from the classic pipes of Sugar Minott, through the largely bonkers toasting styles of Soom T to the bouncing ska delivery of Gentleman's Dub Club and everything in-between, no technique is left unexplored across what is arguably the gang's must coherent work to date. Personal highlights include the loopy 'Soundboy Police' with its bouncing 8-bit bass tones and elasticised emceeing of the aforementioned Soom T and the Pupajim assisted 'Boat People', which is a laidback summer anthem perfect for the fogged out dead of winter you are currently in the midst of cycling to and from the job centre. There's also a chance to hear the slow roll bass rattling grooves of 'Gimme Gimme' with Kenny Knotts again, just in case you missed the twelve inch release of said bounty earlier this year. One fo' da kids. The charitable devils!

Alongside our ackee and battered Mars Bar platter we also have to save some room to fit in a fine set of nibbles from Brussels based label Plynt Records. Having stumbled upon them in a hazy internet excursion (potentially looking for something far less savoury... possibly a Coronation Street omnibus) it was a delight to find a couple of gems on this European label. U.X.O's Raw Meat EP takes the creative process of beat making back to basics, and utilises only SP 555 Sampler and set of turntables to create its two tracks which span almost twenty minutes of music. The sound of these tracks, are, however, nowhere near basic. A swirling haze of psychedelic hip-hop, thick with ambient passages of bass rumbles, space and pattering rhythms are inter cut, interrupted and generally turn out with flurries of freeform jazz, breakbeat rhythms and some Moog cuts that could make Rick Wakeman shit his spangly cape (if, at a still virile 62 he hasn't already in an act of defiance against modern rock cretins such as Muse). Oh and just to add to the mind melting magic: It's free! There is also the equally wonderful EP A Hippytronic Ballad available for download for the smallest morsel of your dole money. If you missed it from the title and the subtle day glow melting bubble fuelled cover art it's also something of a psychedelic nugget of a piece. This time instead of taking the decks and sampler styles of old school hip-hop, the various contributors it have set the controls for the heart of a SNES. And a sitar. And maybe a magic carpet. Basically you could spend all day picking out the numerous wonderful sounds and comparing them to offbeat world references like an overpaid, gastro pub dining Guardian critic or you could just piss off and listen to the little blighter. If you can only afford one track though (it is nearing the end of the month after all) take the mature route and pick 'Limit To Your Fluff' by Spongemagnet (pictured). It's every bit the preposterously bouncy 8-bit hip-hop/crunk/skwee/dubstep/electronica/funky peddle grime/acid jazz excursion the name made you hope for!

Last this month, but as ever not least, and I might just start giving them their own column the greedy bastards take up that many words of this one come the gentlemen of Deep Medi. Again. Having already abused my ears and journalistic biro (it's a low budget organisation; go fuck yourself iPad writers) with crucial cuts from the like of Goth-Trad, Pinch, Silkie, Commodo, Cyrus, Jeremy Beadle and Old Apparatus this year (alright, the Jeremy Beadle one may not actually exist, but I bet that tiny hand of his could quite easily deliver a crucial cut to the larynx if ever he felt the need, let alone a hot stepper) they have once again come up trumps with the new V.I.V.E.K release 'Soundman / Diablo' . 'Soundman' on the A side is a stalking, reverb soaked rattler, and brings a focussed building pressure something like Pinch's 'Swish' taken to a murky almost aquatic setting. I think Liam Neeson said it best when he politely requested some Greek or other 'release the Kraken'. Meanwhile on the flip 'Diablo' is making moves much more toward a synth led tension, the vibe of which you may find in the brittle spare electronic sounds of The Knife's isolating and haunting 'Silent Shout' album from a few years back, underpinned of course, with a snarling bass pressure to help drive that lingering paranoia up through the gut and into the southern hemispheres of your brain.

So from the sunny climbs of Jamaica, through the space between the space of some studio space in Brussels to the subterranean venue in the back of your cranium where Jeremy Beadle lies in wait, via an over worked Thesaurus and a nine pence Tesco ballpoint that was another week’s words about music. And child abuse. I'm having a week off next week as I'm tripping in the capital and will have forgotten what makes me a human upon return. That's if I ever knew and Gary Barlow hasn't had one of his acolytes take me out. Who knows, maybe me and N-Dubz can "have Beef". I bloody love a Toby Carvery! But anyways I'll have a novelty gap plugger lined up so fear not! The verbal/moral pillage will continue!!!