In this month’s Scratching the Surface column, Scott Wilson investigates a uniquely queasy strain of experimental electronics to have come from Italy in recent years from the Wo Land and Gang of Ducks labels, and artists including Vaghe Stelle, Dave Saved and One Circle.
Scott Wilson investigates an emerging strain of DJs and producers making club music which aims to combine mainstream musical culture with experimental tendencies, discussing Total Freedom, the Janus collective, Dutch E Germ and Sentinel.
Scott Wilson takes the current temperature of UK-centric and UK-inspired club music in this month’s column, with Celestial Trax, Acre, Beneath, DJ Q and more discussed.
Scott Wilson looks at the strangely alluring mixture of texture and rhythm to be found in the music of Joane Skyler, Sendai, Kloke, Vril and Nico Motte in this month’s column.
Scott Wilson looks at music from Vaghe Stelle, Thug Entrancer, Pinch & Mumdance and more in this month’s column.
Records from Minor Science, Holly Herndon, the Mood Hut axis, Miss Modular and an unknown figure on Rush Hour come under the spotlight in Scott Wilson’s latest column.
Scott Wilson explores the increasing confusion surrounding the term “underground” in relation to dance music, taking in recent releases from Slackk, Palms Trax, D’Marc Cantu and more.
Scott Wilson looks at heat-warped kosmische, sweaty deep house, precise, cooling electronics and alternative takes on dub for hot summer’s nights in this month’s Scratching The Surface.
I’m not really a person to make new year’s resolutions that I can’t keep, but this year I’ve decided that on those rare weekend mornings when I’m not wishing to scrape the contents of my own alcohol soaked brain out, I’ll be listening to music for pleasure. Whether it’s the deluge of digital promos, the urge to mix some records together or just using it as a means of blocking out the incessant drone of London life, I find the amount of time I spend properly listening to music greatly reduced. Part of this is undoubtedly the prevalence of MP3s; without a certain physicality listening becomes something we can do anywhere, and not necessarily for the better. As a way of countering that, I’ve been delving into the murky world of cassettes, taking my chances on whatever has the nicest artwork, or the more enticing description and simply waiting for the delivery of a small plastic box contained in a jiffy bag. Confined to the kitchen where my sole cassette radio player resides, I’m locked into one place for as long as it takes the tape to play.
A few months ago I wrote that this year had been characterised by a lack of major narratives in underground dance music. Nowhere is this more evident than in the arena of what we call bass music, the genre formerly known as post-dubstep, whose early years seemed to be dominated by a clutch of producers releasing on Night Slugs, R&S, Hemlock, Hotflush and Hessle Audio who have increasingly been copied by a younger generation. Arguably bass music’s biggest change in 2012 was that it became a major commercial force; as divisive as his album Personality was, nobody could deny that Scuba and his Hotflush imprint are major brands now; Disclosure came out of nowhere to offer a bright, accessible take on the genre that cracked the British top 40, and even Ministry Of Sound released a compilation called Future Bass. As a term, however, bass is one that many writers (this one included) still feel reluctant to use with any degree of certainty, and the likes of Scuba and Disclosure encapsulate why this is so; although the musical inspiration for these artists may have started with dubstep or garage, you’d really struggle to describe the music they make as anything other than a strain of house music, and to call it “bass” feels like a fallacy.
Tuning into Hessle Audio’s Rinse FM show last Thursday, I was surprised to hear “Shut In”, a track from Austin Cesear’s recent (and excellent) album on Public Information. As it reached its end Ben UFO acknowledged the track (and his preceding selections) as “outsider dance”, and offering shoutouts not to the Swamp81 axis or the Hemlock family, but to Will Bankhead and The Trilogy Tapes crew, Bill Kouligas and the PAN massive, and anyone who had seen Hieroglyphic Being and Oneohtrix Point Never in London over the preceding weeks.
FACT Magazine’s Tom Lea recently made the point in his review of Jam City’s Classical Curves that the “popular misconception amongst techno producers right now is that releasing music on a hand-stamped white label is somehow taking the form back to basics… but its current position at the height of techno fashion seems to miss the point – the best techno has always been synonymous with imagery”.
“There are bands that have been acting ruthlessly in the shadow for years, in a completely confidential manner, then one day chance (but does chance exist?) makes you find one of their recordings, listen to it, and at that moment you could kick yourself for not having discovered these soundscapes earlier and you try to find all of them.”
The third instalment in our Scratching The Surface series sees Scott Wilson investigate the raw strands of electronic music emanating from the Livity Sound, Clone, Skudge, Spargel Trax and Third Ear camps in recent weeks. Scroll down to listen to a mix Scott has compiled to accompany the piece.