Thursday, 27 November 2008

Monday, 24 November 2008

Chicken head tracking

So, you get about four of these chickens, strap a turntable to their heads, and you can listen to Vinyl on the road! Right?

Saturday, 15 November 2008

CGI in films...


from GraphJam.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

the ruff guide to intelligent jungle - appendix

Almost missed this:

Well, I had fun doing that.  Hope you've enjoyed some of this too.  There were loads that just missed out on this list.  Here are a few near misses, just so I can big up some of the key players that it would be a shame not to mention.  Also for some of the headz who knew all the above tunes, maybe there's something new down here :-)  Each of these artists has had several seriously good tunes (as have all of those above).  It's hard to pick one for each, but these are ones with special significance for me:
Atmosphere by DJ Phantasy on Liquid Wax 1992
Meditation by DJ Crystl on Dee Jay Recordings 1992
The Touch by Origin Unknown (Andy C) on Ram 1993
The Dark Stranger by Boogie Times Tribe on Suburban Base 1993
Follow your heart (part 2) by 4 Hero on Reinforced 1994
Piano Tune by Peshay on Good Looking 1995
Ram Radier by Klute on Certificate 18, 1995
The Cult by Source Direct on Metalheadz 1995

Sunday, 9 November 2008

The ruff guide to intelligent jungle part 2 - DJs

More from our mistery author...

Those were the tunes, then.  Hope you've enjoyed checking out further links and maybe found some surprises too :-)
But Drum n Bass was never just about the tunes.  What about the DJs?

Fabio, LTJ Bukem and Goldie playing classic oldskool intelligent on Radio1Extra Live from the Ministry of Sound 30/12/07

[A very big download, it's true;  i can't get the streaming to work, but maybe you can.]
I don't want to chat tunes.  Some of them I've already highlighted;  the vast majority of them were considered for inclusion in my guide and many were missed out solely because they only really work within the context of the mix -- Bukem in particular rinses some superb selection and maintains a fasinating groove, like he doesn't play oldskool as much as he should!  But I'd like to highlight how these 3 DJs represent different strands in the story.  Again, this isn't my favourite mix, far from it, but it does show how it all fits together.  Don't bother with the last half hour, what's it got to do with anything?  Is it maybe Fabio in the mix?  Well it's shit don't bother.

0 - 32 min  Fabio
Without any exageration, Fabio helped invent DnB/Jungle with porn smuggler Grooverider with their night Rage at Heaven providing the blueprint for the development of the scene as early as 91.  Don't be fooled by revisionist theories about Bristol or North London blah, Rage was playing the key hardcore breakbeat tunes months before the other rave nights, at least until Spectrum came on the scene, where certain producers overlooked by F+G tried to ply their dubplates.  But of these two heavyweights, twas always Fabio promoting the lighter, more soulful sound within the scene even whilst everyone was off their nuts on pills and it seemed as if there was no soul to be seen.  Fabio always found it.  Though i frequently dislike his mixing technique (in contrast to Grooverider's geniuslike ability to render two average tunes into one amazing moment, and make it last an hour!), props are due to Fabio for his ability to survey the mix and dancefloor in a way which never loses touch with the roots of the sound -- from Coleman Hawkins to the Detroit Techno of Kevin Reese Saunderson et al via King Tubby, Curtis Mayfield and Aretha Franklin.  Ironically, Fabio is one of the few people in the scene he literally created who realises where it came from!  And one of the only DnB DJs to show true unadulterated love for the Acid House explosion which created the initial conditions for DnB.  He never apologizes for the cheesiness or the stupid clothes, he always just smiles and says 'those were the days'.  This slightly detached peripheral vision is particularly demonstrable in that he is perhaps the only one who knows how to adopt jazz influences without vanishing up his arse and forgetting his love of football terraces (go Spurs!)
All of which means that it really is a crying shame he's never learned to mix properly, lol.  Feel free to skip until...

32 min -- 2hr 10 min LTJ Bukem
It's great to hear the great man playing oldskool!  I much prefer it :-)
LTJ Bukem, well... the most perfect of all DJs, he has continuously refined his approach to the mix, the sound system, the lights, the MCing, the venue, etc... controlling every aspect of his mixing environment to his exact specifications, he makes no mistakes.  And takes no risks.  By 2000 this had unfortunately removed much of the incentive to witness him live, since he is so zen in his concentration upon the dance of the ravers, he pays literally no heed to other aspects of rave culture -- the posse and crew big ups and sycophantic collaboration of other Premier Leaguers in Drum n Bass, the fucked up conversation in the bogs, the random skits and in-jokes, the Red Stripe crew bungling their way from the bar turning their heads at girls who should know better, Northern monkeys cracking jokes at the expense of pussy Southerners in freezing club queues, those moments of joy, romance and love, scenes of fright, chaos and hurt and everything in between.  And whilst the same criticism could occasionally be levelled at muso ravers like myself -- and my sometime autistic approach to raving which emphasises frequencies over having a large night with your mates -- well, the fact is I haven't my living out of it!  The Japanese tourists don't mind, he's every bit as astonishing as they were expecting.
But if anyone epitomised the snobbish element of Intelligent it was this boy called Danny and his cohorts / disciples.  And with some irony, it is Bukem who first expressed hate for the label 'intelligent', claiming that it unfairly implicates other sounds as being 'unintelligent'!  Well, what with his label 'good looking' and his tune/album/night which share the name 'logical progression', does he not imply that other stuff is ugly and illogical?  Poor ol bastard, needs to lighten up!
And if most researchers look at what happened to Intelligent, they tend to follow the paths above.  Indeed, as i hinted last time by using the word Jungle, the meaning of the expression 'Intelligent Drum n Bass' has become so dilute (like the music) as to merely mean 'atmospheric' Drum n Bass.  Even Wikipedia talks out of its arse, claiming that Artcore was the same thing, bollocks.  Basically it's people in Fabio and Bukem's shoes looking back and remixing the past to suit their current theories about the present.
Firstly the development of the liquid sound from Fabio via John B, trance mashers like Stakka and other stuff i know very little about -- essentially a club sound honed strictly no later than 2 am in West End and city centre venues with aftershave offering dudes in the bogs and folk on the prowl for a fuck.  I don't know much about this scene, although I was a frequent visitor to Swerve during the birth of liquid round 98, i never stayed to find out how this was propogated around the world.
Secondly, Bukem's path has already been outlined -- his logical progression eventually took him to a point of stasis where his career dodged any of the uncertainty of being a drum n bass dj.  And what was visceral, what was unthinking and unbalanced had no place.  But I say everything in moderation including moderation itself.  Actually it's nice to hear him play some oldskool, because for all my criticism, you have to hand it to him... he literally never makes a fucking mistake.
Oh, I forgot Goldie didn't I?  :-)

2 hr 13 min -- 3 hr 30 min  Goldie
You guys might have already got the gist that i think that the gold one is the one and only true genius of jungle.  I've highlighted aspects of Fabio's folly which make him a contender and aspects of Bukem's perfection that lead me to suspect he is actually a Reptilian;  but with Goldie, folly and foible and the wonderful are inextricably linked.  Sure his mixes are rarely good the whole way through.  Who cares?  He wrote the best Jungle album ever, ran the best Jungle club night ever, runs the best Jungle label ever and is also amazing at conducting Grieg!  His graff is pretty mindblowing too, and I've very little doubt that he was the best in Miami at making gold teeth back in the day when that was his living!  All those random things, the blackness, the whiteness, the restlessness and poise;  I'll happily forgive him 'stenders, the boy is possibly the most important musician since James Brown, no exageration.  This mix is typically flawed but the moments of genius more than make up for it.  I'll hold no truck for the theory that says he can't mix -- that's a bit like saying James Brown was crap at singing.
Talking of which... MCs...  Er not much to say, except they're never that good like Mr Brown.  Mostly because they're not conducting a group, i tend to find the whole thing just doesn't work.  In the Rave setting they have their place but they are rarely appropriate to Intelligent, which I guess was in some way a reaction against the rise of MC culture within the caucus of the Rave scene.  If you like rap, stick to hiphop.
What about Bukem's chosen sidekick Conrad, well listen to Logical Progression vol. 1, now you've got the idea that he ain't bad, well forget it, he's never been better that trust me.  Cleveland Watkiss, yes but it ain't jungle, file under Drum n Bass, Jazz, etc.  Em, er that leaves MC Justice, who I seem to remember from nights down Metalheadz, is sometimes the quietest/laziest of any MC.  Perhaps that's the best accolade I could give any MC, lol...
There are many other DJs but only one is worthy of mention with the company above...
... some one entirely dedicated to the mix and nothing else.  He's hardly produced any tunes, he's never promoted a night, his label Mac2, well it's not exactly famous.  That man is Randall.  And he's better than any of the above I can assure you.  Like Goldie he's more than happy to bring stuff into his set which might not be viewed as Intelligent, until he mixes it with his attitude.  He is nearly as 'perfect' at mixing as Bukem and certainly more exciting.  You'd best do your own research, use google, use torrent searches, whatever.  As long as you stick to 92 -- 96 inclusive I'm fairly sure you will be unable to find a less than amazing set, good luck!
Bye bye have a fun weekend

The ruff guide to intelligent jungle

All of this is nicked from a friend, who shall remain uncredited for now (no doubt those in the know will figure out who), just reposting it here so that I can share it with the literally units of people who read the blog ;)


"Anyhow's here you can pick and choose...  It's all quite arbitrary;  no doubt i've forgotten some obvious lines of enquiry, oversimplified the story and generally biased my account with ignorance, but hey, i'm not that bothered.  It's only supposed to be fun.  So here is...

Just to prove that i'm not only about oldskool (lol), here is the tune which inspires this guide:
Colemanism by Fracture and Neptune on Vibez 2006
This has been on repeat round at mine pretty much solidly for two days :-)

These guys have restored my faith in jungle.  About time, too.

Now, onto the massive guide, massive...

"Jazz Jungle"?  There certainly is a connection with Jazz, though it may be closer to Thelonious Monk and Art Blakey than some cheese like Stan Getz.  Jazz was about pushing things forward.  I hate that stuff that pops a sax in the mix, hoping to invoke the gods of Bebop;  utter bullshit.
So I make only slight apologies that most of this stuff is a little ruffer than some people's ideas about so called 'intelligent'.  It's all good for 'sit-down' listening, yes, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be ravey.  I mean, its supposed to be played on massive speakers!
So:  no bullshit crappy sounds fender rhodes nice pads oooh missie i do like your tinkly modulation does sound just ok on my whiney little TV ARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

This stuff is intelligent and was called such at the time.  But it is also all jungle.
... That having been said, I'll start with something 'nice'....

"Drum n Bass 2000 by Squarepusher" on ???? 2000 ????
Controversy surrounding this track (which was rare, ie non existent imo.  If we're honest it was 'released' by Napster.  My guess is that it is by Squarepusher, the bass tone about 6 minutes in sounds like his and that's an unusual sound in DnB.  I've got a feeling it's actually a processed live bass, layered with some sinewave stuff, which supports my theory.  Whatever, I'm really quite sure it has absolutely nothing to do with the very rare Lost in Space Drum n Bass 2000 Album, to which Squarepusher contributed a track, for the simple reason that someone would have informed us of its correct title by now if it were!  No it's got to be some kind of joke.  The piano is eerily familiar as many have commented.  I thought I had the answer the other day, but it turns out that the record i heard was sampling this, not the other way round...
PS  This tune is deceptive -- a lot changes during its course and you could miss out on the fun if you only check out the first 3 minutes...
Now let's dig up the archives.... It all started way back....


Made in 2 Minutes by Bug Kann and the Plastic Jamm on Optimum Dance 1991
I believe that this style of tune is the ancestor of the mid 90s intelligent thing.  Note the ironic title;  a clear boast on the cleverness of the composition.  If you're hardcore and want to follow the thread fully, first check this unusual 4 beat instrumental version (  Or just cut to the chase and check this shit out...  Don't worry i've saved you listening to the shite rapping, this is also instrumental :-)

Atlantis by LTJ Bukem on Good Looking 1992
However, accepted wisdom is that this is the man that started off the whole 'intelligent' thing (a few months later).  There were other players too, such as Doc Scott with his Surgery EP;  but many people would say that Demon's Theme was year zero in the history of jungle, certainly from an 'intelligent' perspective.  Via Horizons, Demon's Theme Part II and the much misunderstood symphony Music (the number of times I've heard this tune without any bass, it's just depressing), Bukem showed us how Dolphin noises and Korg M1 pads were the perfect counterpoint to Amen breaks and reverbed out 808 kicks for bass.
Anyhow, this one happens to be my favourite;  a little hardcore for you!

Warning by Firfox and 4 Tree 1993
Roni Size, showing us how the intelligence in jungle connects with the Jamaican Dancehall which so often ends up cliched in early jungle, especially the more chilled stuff.  But this one is just unique.  Never heard another like it.  Funny, dancey and outrageous, yet deep and warm.

Lord of the Null Lines (Foul Play remix) by Hyper on Experience, Moving Shadow 1993
The original is very interesting because of its happy go lucky nature which turns on the lyric "There's a void where there should be ecstasy".  It's s a comment on the MDA (heavy not like MDMA) pills that were going about at the time -- 'snowballs' -- which Simon Reynolds credits as a component of the darkcore jungle scene.  It seems that H on E weren't in favour of the direction the scene was taking.  However, it's the foul play mix that takes it every time on a dance floor;  though it uses many of the original loops, here is a clear case where subtle structural composition (i.e. 'intelligence') has a massive effect on audience reaction, the thing is structured like a poem or something!

Thru the vibe by Omni Trio on Moving Shadow 1994
Some people were still on one, of course!  This one is too much for me these days, but if only someone did a hiphop remix on that piano...

Jazz Note by Krust on V 1994
Meanwhile... this one shows us how the jazz influences were building up.

Follow your heart by 4 Hero on Reinforced 1994
So, there was this certain moment in time that seemed to drift along for about 18 months in which you could write a track so floaty and chilled and yet get the people groovy merely by engaging the crowd's ever keener ear for the shifting polyrythms simple sliced fresh break salad.  Of the huge number of mostly forgotten tracks in this vein, 4 Hero produced a good few.  And since I've not yet mentioned them, now would be a good time.  I find the best are their more understated offerings...

Basic Principles by Alex Reece on Metalheadz 1994
Meanwhile, back in the kitchen, some other cats were cooking up the breaks.  New recipes and combinations of sounds for each hit.  Granted, Pulp Fiction is better, but this is forgotten -- and older (!) -- so I thought I'd put it in for a laugh.  Cheers Nino!
Was this tune the start of two step DnB?  I reckon.

Rings around Saturn by Photek on Science 1995
Hard to know what to say.  My pick of the classic era Photek.  Ni ten ichu ryu is cleverer, incidentally, and a more important piece of music.  I would argue for its status alongside Guernica as one of the most important works of art in the history of everything.  But i prefer rings around saturn.  I remember the first time i heard it...  Metalheadz at Dingwalls about 1997...  Doc Scott on the decks.  Yeah.

Angels Fell by Dillinja on Metalheadz 1995
Stone cold classic.  Alongside Pulp Fiction, this is probably the track which is most frequently cited as DJs favourite metalheadz release.  The drum patterns and bass are remarkable, the louder you play it, the more 'intelligent' it sounds.  Watch your bass bins!

PS  if you want to dance, you'll have to play Nino Kawasaki's sped up 5% version, also on youtube.  If you want to waste (another) evening listening to jungle, you could do worse than checking out the rest of Nino's collection on youtube...

Circles by Adam F on F-Jams 1995
Could have put up Metropolis;  but haven't we had enough Metalheadz already!  Not much to say about this one.  Nino's put up the remix by Adam F which is quite nice to DJ, well, that's a good one for collectors.  Works better on the dance floor, but not as good as the original.  Oh, and Adam F's dad is Alvin Stardust, lol.. that's how he got signed to EMI...

Can't really do a list like this without mentioning Goldie's album Timeless (FFRR 1995).  The most arrogantly and accurately titled album ever, this one they'll be playing when we're all living in pods in some virtual galaxy far in the future.  I won't include any tracks in the list, because the whole album is amazing (stick to the single album UK version, the other one just ain't right, you know it).
Unfortunately, its genius helped kill the intelligent thing by bringing it overground.  So I'll not be including any of the embarassing shit that followed.  Even the high points like Mutant Jazz Revisited by Trace, well there's still something not proper about them.

Spellbound by Tango on Creative Wax 1996
However, I forgive this one for being the best of a bad bunch.

Made ubiquitous by the DJ Kicks compilation of Kruder and Dorfmeister.
It might be worth mentioning at this point that the intelligent thing continued to crop up as a pleasant influence on certain downbeat and triphop and even some real hiphop like DJ Shadow.  Here's an obvious and quite pleasant example:

Speechless (K+D remix) by Count Basic on Studio !K7 1998

So, that was that then.  Well.  Not exactly.
Of course it takes Goldie himself to pop up out of nowhere and produce the occasional piece of genuinely jungley intelligent jungle.  His second album Saturnz Returnz wasn't up to much it's true (although Dragonfly is kind of nice).
Beachdrifta by Rufige Kru on, duh, Metalheadz 2001
Okay, it might be a bit too ruff to be truly 'intelligent', but then that's the Rufige for yer.  Just gorgeous, those strings.  In that battle for lush, no one has ever done it better than Goldie.


As a reward for making it this far, here's Goldie in the studio with Heist...

PS the author would like to point out that

That radio 1 mix for example just isn't good enough for a blog, shurely?  I mean with all that shitty compressed radio sound, arsehole interviews and not enough dynamics in the sub bass and some annoying MCs and stuff?  And I sometimes i just talk shit.  I said Spectrum (Paul's Oakenfold's acid house night back in 88) when I meant the Paradise Club and AWOL and all that, but I was also getting muddled up with Bukem's night Speed which came later and was obviously kinda pivotal for the intelligent thing cluturally.  Oh blah di.  And I can't justify putting the K+D tune in come to think of it, when I've left out so many absolute corkers.  The Box (original mix) by Kemet Crew for example.  Oh well...

mathematical algorithms explain beauty, curiosity.

So this crazy german dude reckons that since your brain (an information-processing device) doesn't want to store every single sensory input it perceives, it uses compression techniques to be simplify the world.  he goes on to suggest that our brain finds things beautiful when it can encode them using as few algorithms as possible - ie highly compressible things.  this is why symmetrical faces are so appealing.

He goes on to say that it makes sense that things which we find interesting are things which don't quite fit with our existing compression algorithms, but that force us to develop new ones - things that you've already decided are beautiful become boring if you keep looking at them, so you begin to look for things that are beautiful in a new way.

And here's a copy of one of his papers on the subject: Simple Algorithmic Principles of Discovery, Subjective Beauty, Selective Attention, Curiosity & Creativity, including evolutionary justifications for all of the above. 

Absolutely lovin' my course, everyone.