Low End Lowlife: 27.03.12

This week local lowlife Matthew Bayfield talks glittery capes, Michael York & sexual harassment on the tube... Oh and bass. Love a bit of bass.

Posted on Mar 27th, 2012 in Features and Interviews / By Matthew Bayfield
Low End Lowlife: 27.03.12 Easter Weekend is coming… I don’t know what that means in a modern day context: argue with the girlfriend? Go to a homewares or carpet shop sale? Realise you hate your life/life partner? Maybe a hessian rug with 80% off will help? Wonder if you did something to deserve all this plush upholstered despondency? Maybe God is punishing you? Is there really one of those anyway? All I know is that popular western descriptions of the “big man” sound an awful lot like Barry Gibb and I’ve never seen a rabbit lay an egg. Put your faith in Saturday night. Sunday morning feels like more of a ballache. Besides, at least when you give Barry Gibb a tenner you get a copy of Spirits Having Flown or Idea. All church gives you is a flat little biscuit and a sense of entitlement.

Anyway, god or no god, rug or no rug, here's some real good things to praise whilst you spiritually centre yourself!

San Fran’s Dirtybird label, helmed by house staple Claude VonStroke (pictured), have laid a pair of golden eggs recently. The first cut is in the shape of another French Fries constructed dancefloor bombshell: ‘Yo Vogue’. The original mix on the A comes strutting through with reverb heavy hand claps, a big rubbery bass that stutters and bumps underneath some down south screwed vocals and a mischievous line in foot sweating percussion. If you heard ‘Fries ‘Champagne / Hugz’ 12” from a little way back (and you should because I told you to cop that too) then you should know the chap’s of good stock already, as if the Dirtybird stamp of approval wasn’t enough on it’s own. Also on the A is a house mix which does, in all honesty, feel a touch pointless. With much of the deliciously fidgety percussion taken away the piece feels much more skeletal, and also generally strips ‘Vogue’ of its slightly cheeky frat boy colour. But as I’ve said before; I’m a rural Norfolk child. I’m more Shed than house, so maybe I've missed the point. Over on the flip mind you chief bird (who is actually a male) Claude VonStroke gets things back on track with a remix that takes the whirring, B-movie moog lines of the original cut right to the front of the mix, laced onto some shimmering finger cymbal-esque and clicking percussion rolls and that big tub thump of a bass, which turns the track back into a red faced, smutty little gem. Rounding up the package comes a remix courtesy of Leroy Peppers, who provides even more extreme levels of bit crushed sound and the sort of tacky synth keys that leave this mix playing something like if the original had been forced into the cartridge slot on a console from the days when you were an Italian plumber who ran round collecting mushrooms and rescuing peachy princesses as opposed to modern day games, where you play a gimlet eyed soldier who runs round collecting kill streaks whilst rescuing numerous hermit, vitamin D deficient gamers from a catatonic existence via a headset and a broad band.. or something. No wonder all those Game stores have hit administration, these subterranean children are too weak to walk to them. As well as that saucy little package there was also the recent drop of a single sided 12" by the name of 'Le Fantome' courtesy, again of head honcho Claude VonStroke, this time with a lyrical assist from Jaw. The track essentially takes everything that scares you about a ghostly apparition (or potentially a seedy stalker) and decants it into an almost seven minute, bass plumed peacock of a tune, replete with another of those tub thump subs and 4/4 strut, presided over by an almost hymnal church organ set of keys and Jaw's slinky, sensuous and/or mildly rapey lyrics perfect for a label called Dirtybird. Genius.

Hyperdub, are back again as well, fresh off that rather lovely Burial EP, which inevitably impressed everyone and also inevitably pissed everyone off, with two new releases that will, hopefully, impress everyone and piss everyone off some more. DVA's Pretty Ugly LP is finally here, and as you would expect from the man it is never anything less than fascinating. Rhythms slide in and out of each other constantly to giddying effect and just as you feel you are starting to get into a nice little groove the track seems to buck and fly off in another direction altogether, such as on opener 'Reach The Sun' which feels like it is about to swell into a full blown piece, but instead fizzles down into the second track or the Victor Duplaix featuring 'Madness' which feels almost like a G-Funk inflected ballad with the vocals slightly off rhythm. I'll not go any further into this one here, as it's a limited column even when I'm on the top of my game, besides there are already numerous discussions from many a fine music site available online, most of which weren't written by a laboratory skivvy during his tea break. Unlike this one. To cut a long story short Pretty Ugly feels like the sonic equivalent of when it gets to six in the morning at a house party and you decide to combine all those mad little leftovers from a myriad of party drinks. It might take a couple of sips to get the hang of, but it's always the most exciting drink you'll have. The second treat this week comes courtesy of King Britt with his new project '...Presents Fhloston Paradigm'. Stepping away from the computers for a moment this is an all analogue affair and, if the Fifth Element inspired (if I were to hazard a guess) title and the heavy application of Moog are to be observed you'll no doubt see it is a thoroughly sci-fi, somewhat proggy excursion. But don't panic, he hasn't gone all Rick Wakeman and just wandered off on some 35 minute musical ramble into the pits of a jazz cafe. Although if Mr Britt does now want to wear a cape, I think he has definitely earned himself a thoroughly spangly one with this EP. Opener 'Chasing Rainbows' starts with some loose percussive pad patter, promptly overlaid with thick, sumptuous synth rises akin to Black Devil Disco Club or possibly the sonic territory that John Carpenter was treading in Escape From New York (and every other soundtrack he has ever been let loose on for that matter) and is a nice grandiose opening for the two main courses. The Chase's skittered, thoroughly synthetic slices of drum programming and almost constant bleeping synth line, coupled with a multitude of electronic noises akin to old dial up tones and phone lines generates a strangely unhurried, yet still affecting sense of paranoia whilst 'Liloos Seduction' utilises a much softer set of almost psychedelic synth keys which pop and bubble over a (possibly) percussive line almost like the sound of muted machinery heard from a distance, something like Tangerine Dream's Love On A Real Train albeit through a codeine filter. Obviously with any project seemingly motivated by juicy analogue synths and sci-fi soundtracks Vangelis and Blade Runner must contractually be spoken of, so that's that box ticked, but if you really want a schooling in this sort of thing then let a professional educate you and pop over to King Britt/Fhloston's FACT mix here where, amongst other things, the Boom Boom Satellites, the ethereal soundtracking of Ryuichi Sakamoto and the philosophical ramblings of Rutger Hauer can be found intermingled. Throw Michael York in the pot and you've probably got the best house party squad on planet Earth.

Rounding up this week's ambling musical diatribe comes the ever reliable Wheel & Deal, with a new slice of the deep, brooding halfstep courtesy of Killawatt and the eccentric electro styling of South African signing SFR. Killawatt drops three new cuts, ranging from the brooding atmospherics of '71' which features some of that textbook KW conga rhythm assault, through the airy Eastern swells of 'Rolling Dunes' which thankfully, bear little or no resemblance to anything Frank Herbert ever did and finishes on record highlight 'Topio' which takes yet more of those meth pipe addictive conga rolls and puts them all over a growling set of LFO's to leave a bit of a club ready ayahuasca trip in your ears. Taking things to a slightly less organic place comes the electro powered, 808 fuelled double header of SFR's 'Vha Venda' and 'Nci Nci'. A side 'Vha Venda' begins with the distant sound of rhythmic chanting, swelling into thumping 808 rhythms and cut up electronic stabs to create a strangely meditative tribal club cut (most probably the only time I'll ever use such an obscure comparison) whilst on the flip comes the more skittered electro bounce of 'Nci Nci' which uses a nice little LFO against electronic blips and pops to twitchy effect. Ideal stuff for anyone who went a bit mad for the Soap Dodgers cut Wheel & Deal dropped a few months ago, or the Dismantle bits before that I would say. Last year was an extremely good year for N-Type's label, however this year he appears to have shit all over it in less than four months. Let's hope the winning streak continues well into the summer... Jesus look at that, a British person nearly went a whole conversation without mentioning the fucking weather. Alas I fell at the last hurdle! Still let us snatch a small triumph from this conversational tragedy: Pop over here for some free Ice Cream courtesy of the aforementioned Soap Dodgers! By the way it is audio Ice Cream. Sorry fatties.

And lastly this week a big shout out to the arrestingly pretty lady on the tube last time I went to "The Big City" who sat reading a book about self confidence, who then pretended not to hear me when I tried to engage her in friendly conversation about the merits of said book. Give it a couple more chapters shall I my sweet?

As always you can find me chatting bass related bollocks and sexually harassing both men and women on Twitter @Lowendlowlife my friends