Monday, January 15, 2007

Fiercely pursuing the quantity over quality ethic that has made him the toast of the UK Blognoscenti, hailed as a radical, visionary new voice everywhere from Clacton to Grange Over Sands, the iMpostume cavaliery hurls out the following poorly thought out........errrrr...................thoughts.... which he has been recently.. errr....finking............


Fuck ME!
Sorry about that but I've just Quidditched (quiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiidddddddddddddd!!!!!!!!!!) that Bass Clef rekkid "A Smile is a..." (on cd obviously) and it's frigging top. HOWEVER, it's VERY ON-U, isn't it? When I hear the word dubstep, I reach for my deodorant ! Crusty, white-dread, bong-hits and hot-knives, matress-in-a-transit-van, free-the-Henge, Castaneda-reading, shroom-gobbling, my-dad's-an-Earl, trustafarian lineage in effect! Just check out the spacey cover! Hear the sheer naffness* of the spooky alien abduction and “I’ve just discovered Dub” neophyte overstatement of the "Welcome to echo chamber (mwahahahaha!)" samples. If you ask me the real phantoms haunting Dubstep are Terminal Cheescake and Ozric Tentacles.....err.... which could be why I really like it!**
I wonder whether it is the religious element, the sense of communion in dub, the way it opens up (y'know, wildly guessing, like) onto an amelioratory otherness that lifts the disciple out of Babylon and offers healing that the crusties (perforce) never really got out of dub***.... how it might have elevated and fortified (vitalist alert!) the soul, replenished the (v.a!) spiritual reserves of believers, they liked it, not because it was beautiful or (v.a!) spiritual or sacramental, but because it disordered the senses. They fuck you up, the drum and bass. A load of crusties I used to hang round with (many moons ago) referred to African Headcharge as “African Headfuck”, the perfect, intense, obliterate-yourself accompaniment to Space Cakes and Special Brew. The African part of it was irrelevant.
(Actually in thinking about this I wondered whether there were any Christian dub bands, any christian rastas.. an absurd notion of course.. however a cursory Googling brings up, yep.... "Christafari"! Truly the end IS nigh.)
* Doesn't naffness disavowed hover around Dubstep like a pestilential murk.. is there a naffer moment in recent music than that bit when Spaceape, with glacial slowness and Old Testament Portentiousness intones " Now..........(yeah?)....... he's... (anytime you're ready).... smoking....... (yes?).........(yes,what?)..........(what? Menthol lights?! Dung? Pith?Bits of old carpet?)........ Rocks (Ta-da!)" ?***
** Listening to it again. Yeah I really like it! I may even be tempted out of iMpostume heights to see them on the twenty-first.... as long as that's not a week night of course...
*** And again I'm not saying I don't like it exactly.... but how far from "Rudebox" is it? How uncheesy?
Jesu christ!
And while we’re on the subject of spirituality, now, it could just be encroaching middle age (theirs, not mine, of course) but haven't Messrs Martin and Broderick taken a distictly " spiritual" turn with their latest soon-come efforts? "Jesu," Broderick’s shoegazer metal combo are certainly a step back and away from Godflesh, aiming at something mantric and meditative, with proper(ish) singing, (the fact that Broderick’s, you know, not exactly Caruso voice-wise adds to the sense of straining for a higher state, for take off) dubby vocals, keyboards, melody, great phased and flanged out sheets and washes of oxidized guitar, (I mean last years E.P "Silver" was downright pretty) a great rusted, ruined church, half mildewed marble, half corrugated steel, everything suspended and spiraling slowly skyward. How much the tone and approach of the band and the material on the up-and-coming lp “Conqueror” is attributable to Broderick’s nervous breakdown is anyone’s guess, but it’s fair to say that he has always had an interest in this kind of redemption through repetition/transcendence through turgidity ethos, (anyone remember “Loopflesh”?) and “Conquerer” if its reminiscent of anything, reminds me of the really early Techno Animal stuff circa “Ghosts” and Bark Psychosis circa “Scum”, in other words a return to a largely unexplored set of possibilities that might roughly be termed Post-Industrial Psychedelia, ( and maybe Controlled Bleeding, prime exponents of the polyrythmic dirge, were in there too.) Broderick himself seems pretty happy with the tag Shoegazer Metal and it’s important to make a distinction between the introverted, Gnostic qualities of Jesu, the very British, feet mired in the mud, rhythmic plod with the guitars scraping and scintillating overhead as against the much more rugged American terrain, the self-consciously Mountainous immensity of label mates Isis, Pelican et al or the more Slinty, dark-backwoods guitar ambience of the Neurot crew. This is an English, a very Blakean vision of dark satanic mills and glowering hills, of the omnipresent damp, English greyness suddenly riven by intimations of some great beyond, the tradition might run from the Blue Orchids (but while the Blue Orchids maintained that Mancunian swagger throughout there’s something very Midland’s glum about Jesu) through Bark Psychosis to Movietone/Clinic ( both totally neglected bands as far as the iMpostume is concerned), the old factories fallen to decay and being reclaimed by nature, the clogged canals shot with ribbons of phosphorescent slime, the overlapping fields and lanes offering an escape from the city. The albums longest track, at ten minutes, is called “Weightless and Horizontal” and the vocal runs thus,“ try not to loose yourself, you’re always needing, you’re always hoping,” while what sounds like a distant church organ drones through the guitar fug. The whole thing suffused with religious yearning, striving for serenity.


And, re Broderick’s erstwhile partner in crime, aren’t King Midas Sound y'know considerably less Yard than the Bug stuff...much warmer (even if Roger Robison was on Techno Animal's ferociously brilliant "Dead Man's Curse", (though err…. he was also on much of the less engaging material on “Pressure”, which makes me worry that Kev’s Sensualist aspirations may be slightly misplaced )) more (VA!) soulful, more poetic? Somehow this, along with that Bass Clef Lp and the Impostume’s own recent listening habits (he’s been digging stuff like Dr Phibes and The House Of Wax Equation and New Radiant Storm King of late he confesses, in the spirit of The New Honesty) leads me to swiftly wrap a teatowel round my head and clip on a pair of huge gold loop earrings that I stole from a passing chavette in order to predict that 2007 is going to be a year suffused in mystic wonder, that Dubstep’s schoolboy Sci-fi will be replaced by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan name-dropping positivity.... he feels it in his liver..... “Six Organs of admittance” and all that, and coins a new phrase, Sufi-metal! Let the ascent into the Maelstrom commence!


Emo-er than thou!

The iMpostume has recently returned from Hastings (he was there for “work” purposes) where, man of the people and champion of the alienated teenager that he is he got drunk in a grimy cellar and proceeded to make friends with the local Goths in a spirit of not-at-all-patronising, when-I-was-your-age lecturedom and un-pretentious pseudo-ethnographic researchivity. There was about six of them and they were all under twenty. One of the surlier, most introverted of the gang was quite heavily tattoed and had, get this, among his other pretty ornate designs, a series of deliberately scratchy, incompetent blue-ink Belsen-style numbers tattoed on the underside of his forearm, heading toward the wrist. ( I made a note of the number on a beermat but subsequently….. err.. lost it during my drunken, somewhat circumlocutory return to the hotel.) What’s that all about? I asked him and he explained ( not in so many words) that it was because he identified with the victims of the Holocaust ( he wasn’t Jewish, needles to say, so on quite what level I never found out) and that besides, loads of people had one, and that it was always the same number, (some badge of like, deep disaffection with modern life) something that the other, friendlier guys backed up. I wasn’t really sure how I felt about it all so I went back to boringly impressing upon them on how much more interesting and radical things were in my day etc, but you know, I remember when it felt like a statement getting your nose-pierced! Tattoos were really hardcore, neck tattoos were the province of the psycho, but Concentration Camp tattoos?????? I mean…. young people today*
*or has this been going on for years and the iMpostume is once again merely revealing how sadly behind the out-of-joint times he is**? I mean Steve 57 has probably had one since he was eight or something.
** unless, quite rightly, they were winding me up. anyone confirm/scotch this one for me?

7 comments:

Dejan said...

It seems you were too busy with your premature mid-life crisis to notice that those concentration camp tatoos perfectly reflect the virtual (hauntological - tm) status of the Second World War in the youngster's lives, but nevertheless the Empire is still shoving the Second World War down our throats to justify its conquests. Yes you DID correctly observe the effects of virtualization; it has nothing to do with ageing!

steve57 said...

er... actually, I do have the number '57' tattooed on my left arm...

owen hatherley said...

mr impostume, i have the same giggly reaction to the spaceape and the desperate straining for significance of the kode 9 lp in general. this may make me a bad person.

carl said...

I........n........I........ am.......in........TO........tal...AGree.......ment.....wit............u......OW.........en.....HA (hahahahaaha).....ther......LEEE (leeleeleeleelee)

mid life crisis? that'll make a nice break from my extended adolescence then....

carl said...

wow.. for some reason blogger is truncating my space ape parody....

i should point out of course that while we may agree on Kode 9, under NO Circumstances Owen, should you listen to that Jesu lp.....mind you.. you have a liking for oxbow if i remember rightly!


VITALIST!

owen hatherley said...

i once made breakfast for Eugene Robinson, who is incidentally a vegetarian

carl said...

yeah but only because you were worried that if you didnt he'd have you in a headlock on the lino before you could say "Giant Haystacks"!