27 December 2007

Mix: My Teabags Weigh A Ton

A celebration for those who know and an education for those who don't. 13 tracks of massive UK hip hop from the well-known to the seriously underground, spanning several decades.
Originally posted (in a more primitive form) on the Avalanchers message board, this is the definitive version.

01: Roots Manuva - Witness (One Hope)
02: Lionrock - Straight At Yer Head
03: Fun^da^mental - Fartherland
04: The Brotherhood - Punk Funk
05: Asylum (feat MSI) - Miscellaneous
06: Ice - Year of the Snake (ft. Toastie Taylor)
07: New Flesh For Old - Mutatis
08: Techno Animal - Demonoid(Peel session version)
09: Ruthless Rap Assassins- Justice (Just Us)
10: Asher D & Daddy Freddy - Brutality
11: Demon Boyz - Glimmity Glammity
12: Gunshot - Social Psychotics
13: Silver Bullet - Undercover Anarchist

Get it here.

21 December 2007

Music: Whitehouse - Racket

[Susan Lawly 2007]

I was excited at the prospect of a new Whitehouse album, as I'd enjoyed "Asceticists" so much, but "Racket" hasn't exactly lived up to expectations.

On the positive side, the use of African percussion (particularly on "Mouthy Battery Beast" - one of the stand-out tracks) adds another layer of tension to their assault and the usual razor-sharp sonic clarity is in full effect. They have included a couple of slightly more subtle instrumentals of which "Bia Mintatu" is excellent, but "The Avalanche" does occasionally veer to into directionless synth noodling (albeit with the feedback and resonance at 11).

On the minus side, they continue the Whitehouse tradition of padding out an already short album with a "reworking"of a track from the previous release ("Dumping More Fucking Rubbish"). And "Fairground Muscle Twitcher" is unfortunately reminiscent of a toddler with a harmonica.

In all a bit of a mixed bag: when they're good, they're fucking spot-on. When they're not, they're average - which is something a band with their attitude can't afford to be.

20 December 2007

Music: Halfbear - Corpsepainter

[Wipthrash Records]

While Corpsepainter has four subtitles, to my ears it falls into three distinct phases. It starts off with dark rumblings and some very nice high-end screeching and then drags you off into the depths of some dark Nordic forest: something growls deep in the darkness, there are buried voices in the murk, are those twigs snapping?

The terror continues for the first 9 minutes or so, then slowly a looped beat rises out of the mix and we are heading off somewhere else, possibly into darkest Techno Animal/Spectre territory? There are hints of tinkling jazzy piano and some repeated vocal eructations that (for some reason) put me in mind of Captain Beefheart. But most of all, this part reminds of some of the more loop/rhythm based works of Nurse With Wound.

Things take another shift around the 18 minute mark, when the rhythm loop fades out. We are now into a kind of grim, frostbitten glitchtronica, with the dark atmospherics continuing mixed in with clipped white noise beats and the return of the distant voices until at 27 minutes, it's all over. Then you want to listen to it again.

The Wipthrash remix takes the original and revs it up into a caustic assault, with occasional hyperspeed distorted beats that verge on white noise. It provides a nicely earscouring counterpoint to the dark atmospherics of the previous half hour.

All in all, a deeply satisfying release.