Wednesday, July 27, 2005

lifetime achievement award

just now starting to get my head around smagghe's fabric 23. give it a month, people will be going off, "best fabric disc since akufen!", or some equivalent nonsensical construction. you'll hear the following words quite a bit: dark, moody, acidic, gothy, synth, italo. you'll note that goes not so far towards explaining the gap between this unstoppable burner of a mix disc and smagghe's suck my deck! mix.

let's leave aside the juvenalia - how to kill the DJ is a "back to mine" with pretensions, death disco was so firmly fixated on the past it could've (should've?) come out on soul jazz. the difference smacks you in the face as soon as you put the disc in - great sick waves of undulating low-end. suck my deck promised "murder was the bass", but ultimately, it was a tease. aside from chelonis' crowd-pleasing "the rush" (sing it, robots: THE RRRRRUSH!) the bass was mostly missing. we got stiffed with prissy dx7 basslines or sawtooths filtered high up into midrange riffs.

for a sec, it looked like smagghe was out of step. as tim pointed out yesterday, just in time for summer everything's gone all thick and muggy. you've got isolee's squelch-gasmic "cardiology" remix, dub kult's subterannean groanings, booka shade's penchant for wobbly-boom. maybe it's the gradual-bleeding in of the gloppy'n'glutinous micro-crew (your areals and alter egos, especially) and their smeary sensibility. maybe it's a need to consolidate gains - when it's crunch time, when everyone smells a buck in the electro/micro/minimal, even billions-selling trance djs like howells and sasha and digweed, it's time to pull back to what you do.

but YOU KNOW ALL THIS, right? i'm just taking my shot at summing-up the electronic moment, and the electronic moment, as we all well know, is all about riffage. so who wins the lifetime achievement? NO, it's not vitalic. we're talking lifetime here. NO, not daft punk - though you're close! not marc acardiapane, not joey "speicher owes me money" beltram. the lifetime achievement award goes to...

cause i have my finger on the pulse of dance music, and that pulse is FLAT BEAT. cause unless you're a hardcore conneiseur of 16th note hihat you'll start to drift off every few minutes during fabric 23 - until, that is, those thick scuzzy two-note bass pulses come booming back. cause FLAT BEAT is one of the few 90s dance tracks that still blows up the indie disco / electrohouse dancefloor (the others are "around the world", "jump'n'shout" and ... uh ... "firestarter"?). cause the new sound of electrohouse is not clean-like-a-coke-mirror, it's hairy, funky, crunky, fig-shaped (big bottomed), lizard-brain grippin a fat hotdog with its lips business.

in lieu of acceptance speech (bear with me here) a few words on behalf of our nonverbal fuzzy buddy. what sort of oiseaux is he? no idea, though big servings of nasty faecal overstuffed foie gras seem to be crucial to the aesthetic. where did he come from? again, haven't the slightest. daft punk? well, perhaps out of deference to chicago OGs they seem to take their basslines in the form of 4/4 808 thump or sampladelic punchline. that said, the closest precedent may be the punk's "oh yeah", 2.5 minutes of 3rd-quarter OMG WTF that suggests a way out for producers stuck for a lack of rhythmic tricks: when in doubt, 'fro it out. pump that Monophonic Shit until there's nothing left but Smoking Tape. let's all make mistakes.

ps - the other hot "french touch" ticket for the winter is going to be The New French Glitchcore thing. y'know, Jackson, Choc Rock, TTC, France Copland and other shit. warp and planet mu and the rest of the IDM culture vultures are going to try to sell you on these guys like it's the second coming of the prefuse aesthetic. cause that's the sort of lame hegemony-tricks stale IDM labels like to play. like our aphex twin? you'll love our brothomstates and chris clark. be sure to grab some team shadetek and max tundra on the way out, k? but don't be fooled, yeah? you and i know that the goliath that casts it shadow over the overripe, messy, farty borderlands between electro, micro and glitch is three feet tall!!!!!!!!


Blogger Tim said...

"best Fabric disc since Akufen" ouch.

Vahid I hope you'll take it as a huge compliment when I say that you're the rob them co of dance music! Because it is!

1:58 AM  
Blogger jermaine noble said...

terrific post, and tim is very right.

2:26 AM  
Blogger Ronan said...

I played "Flat Beat" a few months ago and it fucking bombed, it does not sound as good as you think it does, the drums are really dated!

4:06 AM  
Blogger Ronan said...

but good post all the same, I like the Smagghe Fabric alot, kind of odd how people don't. There are some wicked (possibly even better) Smagghe live mp3s going around, maybe I'll post one up here.

4:07 AM  
Blogger j. said...

haha i knew this blog was a good idea

6:15 AM  
Blogger David said...

I cant believe it took you guys this long to come up w the idea!

9:29 AM  
Blogger hector23 said...

Fuck Yea! Vahid in the house!

and do post that smagghe mp3 set you mentioned ronan. I am still indebted to you for going bonkers over Get Physical ages ago and convincing me to buy it on ilm.

2:56 PM  
Blogger Ronan said...

get physical makes me so proud! feels like one thing I was really ON at a nice early stage but of course I have Monsieur Smagghe to thank for that, first heard Chelonis on How to Kill The DJ and that got me onto them.

4:32 PM  
Blogger Lex said...

Smagghe was amazing at Fabric last week. I too like the CD!

5:09 AM  
Blogger jermaine noble said...

things i just remembered that seemed worth mentioning:

1) the puppet's name is eric, right?

2) doesn't mssr oizo have some kind of collaborative project with jackson? not that i have much faith that anything on 'smash' will have a vague resemblance of dancefloor focus

1:06 PM  
Blogger Manuel said...

'flat beat' always reminds me of matthew herbert's dj sets...clicky-bassy-bouncy stuff, very fun and funky...kinda hit-or-miss but when he's on he's on

are there any other djs rocking this kinda stuff? i'm thinking oizo's remix of ark's 'sucubz' + green velvet + maurice fulton + clicky flow underneath it all

6:29 PM  
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