Monday, 26 January 2015

DOT ROTTEN – CHECK ME OUT

I do believe this is the first time I've written about Dot Rotten. He's a grime artist who's been floating around for a while now, probably most notably getting nominated for BBC's Sound of 2012 list. If you don't know (i.e. you've never lived in the UK) his name is a pun of a character from a London-based soap opera called EastEnders – you must've heard of it – whose name is Dot Cotton. She's about 500 years old and smokes a lot.

Anyway, my ears were on like, red alert or whatever when I heard this new-ish song from Dot Rotten. It was new when I first heard it, around a month ago, on Charlie Sloth's Saturday night show on BBC Radio 1/1Xtra. It's called 'Check Me Out' and it's real cool. But the one I heard on the radio also featured fellow grime MC JME and now I can not find it anywhere. Please, if you can find it, or if you know where to find it and you see this message washed up on the shores of the internet in months or years to come, please direct me to the Dot Rotten x JME version. Thank you.

'Check Me Out' is dark and narcotic, a lazy haze conjured by Canadian producer Sevn Thomas. Bubbles of growling synth switch in the grime style between a repeated few notes, a muffled crunch that accompanies fittingly directionless bleeps which echo into the darkness. Fragmented percussion features lone snares for the verses before rattling hi-hats summon booming columns of sub-bass for a decidedly sordid beat that fits the subject matter.

Over the track, Dot Rotten assumes the role of an overprivileged member of the upper class, affecting a posh / aristocratic accent with a genius bit of nonchalant smugness thrown in for good measure. Essentially he paints a picture – and perhaps quite rightly – of the debauched and arrogant upper middle class (yeah we love classes in the UK). The words themselves are brilliant, I want to write them all down. He talks about drinking chamomile, scones with strawberry jam, eating caviar whilst the lower classes are in Malia. Little things, too, like posh, fake laughter fluttering in the background alongside non-posh words like "swag" as the narrator says how the-shit he is – I love it!

A couple of choice lines: "Fuck that business meeting / I shall not be showing up / Father says I'm childish / Fuck him, I'm not growing up" and and also "Red wine from '08 / Been here for a century / Strolled into my mansion / And there's four girls with four friends for me," not only demonstrating great imagery but also punchy and effective rhymes, too.




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Saturday, 24 January 2015

MINO MINO – GLOWING

Who is MINO MINO? Who is MINO MINO? Who is MINO MINO? Who is MINO MINO? Who is MINO MINO? Who is MINO MINO? Who is MINO MINO? Who is MINO MINO? Who is MINO MINO? Who is MINO MINO? Who is MINO MINO? Who is MINO MINO? Who is MINO MINO? Who is MINO MINO? Who is MINO MINO? Who is MINO MINO? Who is MINO MINO? Who is MINO MINO? Who is MINO MINO? Who is MINO MINO? Who is MINO MINO? Who is MINO MINO? Who is MINO MINO? Who is MINO MINO? Who is MINO MINO? Who is MINO MINO? Who is MINO MINO? Who is MINO MINO?

Somebody has to be MINO MINO. Obviously, someone is going to be them. You don't just… or maybe you do… but generally you don't set up a SoundCloud and then almost overnight get like a zillion plays. I reckon it's the side project of somebody already established. I went back to see the first people they followed, and the very first one was Maxo. Maxo… Mino… Hmm. But that can't be it. Then again, maybe you really can set up a SoundCloud, follow the right people, get noticed quick-fast. BUT I am not a detective! What do I know! I know absolutely nothing! Who am I! GRAAAAARRRRGH!!1

Anyway, MINO MINO or Mino Mino or mino mino is a new musicmaker and their name is a repetition of the word Mino which is the name of a number of places in Japan as well as the name (kanji: 蓑) for a traditional Japanese straw cape, see here for details. It could also be a truncation of 'Minogue' maybe that's it. Etymology and identity aside, the music itself is really interesting. Most recently they put up a track called 'TBH' which kinda sounds like an electronic djent track vaguely crossed with the suspenseful music from Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine.

However, I first stumbled across them thanks to a track called 'GLOWING' or 'Glowing' or 'glowing' so, yeah. Again there's this atmosphere of tension, a impending threat, a mist of grit to it, sonically illustrated with schizophrenic insectoid synth rapid-chirruping high up the register, a bulging bassline – the type from Goldeneye (N64) – enacting a few notes of threat for some sweaty-palmed terror.

Elsewhere it glitters with nocturnal sophistication, sweeping pianos lending it a noir jazz air. All the time it is hotly dynamic, always shifting, an ADHD étude where hi-hats tick and shiver, morphing from glassy to abrasive, where toms tumble together, breaks in the low end of the track – including clusters of polished kicks – giving the track, and you, some room to breathe. It's the soundtrack to looking round the corner of a corridor you don't wanna go down. Or a road you don't wanna walk down. Or a fantasy heist. More than anything else it sounds like videogame music and that's a mega plus for me; that it can conjure so many things, I think this says more about the production (which is super-polished and fine-tuned as it is, regardless of imagination) than it does about me.

It also does say a lot about how being an enigma or operating with a certain air of mystery makes everyone lose their shit over you, i.e. makes you a more attractive artist to want to follow / listen to.




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Y/N GUEST MIX 024 :: OH WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? A DREAM DISCO MIX BY STATS

It's that time again. What time? Guest mix time. It's a bit of a different guest mix this time around because the tracklist isn't so much a tracklist as a set of "ingredients" – it's not in order, I'm not 100% certain that enough of each and every track was used to warrant it being listed as a "track", and I don't know if some of the sounds in the mix were even listed. Instead, elements are spliced and mixed together, just like ingredients. Flour and eggs and sugar and butter kinda stop being those things when you make them into a cake. And so it is with this mix, courtesy of London band Stats – in particular, from just one of its members who is called Ed.

I stopped trying to dissect this mix after a while and just enjoyed it, trying to guess which parts came from where on the ingredients list was just getting to be impossible. To use the cake metaphor again, it's like digging into your favourite cake to try and find the original components that came together to create it. Well, it's obviously not as impossible to discern which sound comes from which song, but it definitely does show the abilities of Ed, who is the actual frontman of Stats.

Filled with meaningful snippets from documentaries and interviews – the voices of people as diverse as Werner Herzog and the digitised female voice of the Narrator for Windows (I think?) – the mix moves through a wormhole lined with pulsing disco basslines and fragmentary electronica, the groovesome nature of the mix clear at the very outset as 'Beam Me Up' by modern-but-authentic disco outfit from Brooklyn, Midnight Magic, moves into Stats' own 'Where is the Money'.


Music contains everything, and you can make a song about anything, so it’s like the world but bigger. Once you’re doing it, it’s difficult to remember how you first started, like when you learn to talk. It becomes second nature, which is more interesting than first nature because it’s not strictly necessary, but it feels like it is.

ED (STATS)

The jaunty poetry (check out 'D'you wanna eat') and art-pop sound of Stats, inspired by acts like Talking Heads, is as clean-cut as it is angular; they incorporate funk grooves and rock noise into their songs, coupled with catchy vocals and spoken word quirks that suit the urban environment in which they exist. Frontman Ed also says, "Stats songs often try to look at what’s specific about how we live right now, especially in cities." So there you go.

Taking inspiration from the opening line to Bryan Ferry's version of 'A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall' (Bob Dylan), the mix is called Oh Where Have You Been? "And that," confirms Ed, "is loosely its theme."

Playing for La Roux (whom Stats remixed a couple of months ago) on tour recently, he tells me about the experience of travelling the world, having not really been anywhere apart from the UK. "Songs people write about touring often complain about [it], on the grounds that it’s repetitive and alienating - but I really enjoy everything about it," he tells me. "Because you have so little time and control, you are under no illusions about discovering the 'real' St Petersburg or Los Angeles or wherever: your experience of a city is guaranteed to be short, incomplete and highly subjective."

With much of Stats' lyrical output dedicated to contemporary living, traveling to many different cities was eye-opening for Ed. "One thing common to pretty much every city I’ve seen, from Berlin to Boulder, Colorado, is people saying they can’t afford to live in them any more because property is impossibly expensive," he explains, relating it back to 'Where is the Money', adding, "Many of the songs and films and stories in this mix stay in my head because they seem to relate to things like that."

So, in conclusion: please enjoy the dreamy disco feels running through this mix. I hope you like it. Thank you to Ed, who also would like to thank William Bowerman, Tom Hatfield and Ali Staton.

"This mix is by Stats.
Stats are a minimal pop band.
Stats are six people.
Stats can’t dance and Stats don’t take drugs.
Stats are a grown-up thing to do.
Stats have big plans tomorrow.
Stats are all over the place.
"


1. It is a journey to the end of the world

2. Remember the future (beam me up)

1. You have to keep moving out, but remain in orbit

2. Happy man, happy man, that's me

1. This green world of God’s

2. You can almost taste the hot dogs and french fries they sell

1. Nature here is vile and base 

2. When I’m working, or washing my hair

1. Oh, where have you been? 
2. It was lots of fun, the mechanics of getting together

1. Well go on, tell me something

2. There’s a big building, that's me.

• I N G R E D I E N T S •


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