London’s Burning

Written in the immediate aftermath of the 2011 London Riots…

The flames are dying down and the media hysteria is switching over from apocalyptic prophecies of dark hordes of ferral youths destroying the fabric of society to tired cliches from politicians. Declaring their terror and disgust at recent events and promising to crack down on anyone and everyone they can find in possession of a hoodie or some nicked Tesco’s own brand vodka. The local gossip, which for about two days was running rife across South East London has also died down to a lazier, less tense dissection of events over pints and cups of tea. The hyper-aware proliferation of imagined mobs marching on largely unscathed areas of the metropolis suddenly seen as the implausible excitability of people who, for the most part, wandered half dazed and half excited through the whole event. Continue reading “London’s Burning”

A Brief Study of Free Music in South America

A final year degree essay…


My initial goals in starting research for this project were to gauge the reactions to two specific questions, the first regarding how locally based influences are within a free music movement which is largely non-regional given its having been founded, as a concept, with the internet in mind. I wanted to seek out strands within the output of Latin American contributors to free culture which could be tied back to local styles, be they an evolution of traditional culture or as a variation or re-definition of contemporary genres within music which had been adapted to hold a distinctness from their original inspirations. How capable I am of answering such questions at this point I’m unsure given the limited replies received to the planned bulk of my supporting evidence, the interviews which I sent out to various labels and artists. Whilst numerous individuals were willing to participate the task of being asked to break down the realities of an entire local movement is no easy one, in a field where regional analysis of the scene is seemingly non-existent there appeared to be little hope for or sense of a unifying sense of self within Latin American free music. In itself, of course, that offered some answers to the questions I’d planned to place my focus on, albeit not answers which particularly lent themselves to in-depth analysis. Continue reading “A Brief Study of Free Music in South America”

The Shark Bubbles : Night Train

Ever cutting edge in my musical tastes I’m sitting down today to review an EP from 2006 that’s made by a band who have an album freshly released this year. Pitchfork and NME evidently have nothing on me, well, NME certainly doesn’t but in this day and age that’s not much of a boast to make. So, why am I living in the past? Because as is routine with the world of free music you’re largely as likely to find something 3 years after its release as you are to find it 2 days after release, a wonderful bit of time warping for the lazy among us who build their musical collection on the back of smashing random buttons and waiting for something to download. Continue reading “The Shark Bubbles : Night Train”

Shlomo : Shlo- Fi EP

Emerging from the highly respectable Error Broadcast net label today we’ve got a lengthy EP effort from Shlohmo, US based producer of spacey, dreamy and futuristic beats which fit into the finest traditions of the nether-regions of Hip-Hop where tales of alien abduction, dystopian, utopian and outright bizarre futures are viewed with the same sort of ingrained acceptance as bitches, ‘hos and 9mms are in the Gangster clique at the far end of the musical spectrum. All of which alone brings up a few predictable comparisons (Deltron 3030 anyone?) but even if Shlohmo’s existing in the same universe as some of those earlier exponents of open, imaginative and fantastical Hip-Hop he’s in a different enough eigenstate to make the comparison a rather redundant, if not at all insulting one. Continue reading “Shlomo : Shlo- Fi EP”

The Black Atlantic : Reverence For Fallen Trees

Soup Indie is, as far as I know, a genre that I’m the only one to have ever mentioned. Which either makes it a unique act of observation worthy of one of the most transcendant geniuses of our time or, and this is the more likely reason, it’s just a bit of a shit definition which no one else has any use for. Either way I stand by it, for the sake of arrogance if nothing else, I made it up, it must have some use to someone. Anyway, for the uninitiated, Soup Indie as I use it refers to that sub-genre of Indie (and occasionally Folk) which overwhelmingly seeks to submerge the listener in an audio duvet, where they can sit insulated from the rest of the universe and let their mood be dictated by the warm, unthreatening tones of the music. It’s a good genre, sometimes, and even if it’s rather unlikely to inspire any solid emotion or passion it does at least offer a comfortable neutrality which can be indulged in during all those times where life demands nothing more than a little indifference. And I’m going to start using the term more too, which is pure arrogance again I suspect. Continue reading “The Black Atlantic : Reverence For Fallen Trees”