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The F.U.N.K 2017: End Of Year Lists Part 1 - Metal

Metal, like hip hop, has had a fucking great 2017. Like hip hop its manifold joys can mainly be found away from the mainstream, certainly light-years distant from the kinds of boybands-with-guitars that seemingly dominate Kerrang-style metal culture. So most of my favourite metal from this year has come from slightly off the beaten track (so much great stuff coming out of Italy this year), much of it found via Bandcamp and those metal bloggers who are so ably covering the anti-scene at the moment. 

Needs saying actually - metal, like hip hop, is one area of music where blogging and word-of-mouth is all the guidance I need anymore - haven't been NEAR a metal mag this year and don't feel like I've missed anything. The bloggers care, and know their stuff so thanks to Angry Metal Guy and Cvlt Nation  and No Clean Singing and Heavy Blog Is Heavy  and The Sludgelord for keeping me vaguely in touch with the best metal in 2017, they've been invaluable. 

These are the metal/doom…

RIP PRODIGY: 'THE INFAMOUS' ALBUM REVIEW, JULY 1st, 1995, MELODY MAKER.

"the flame of doubt . . . " - 5 Things We Learned From Eurovision

1. The real winner was this song, which has haunted me like a recurring dream ever since. Poised, contained, suggestive, European. I have played it non-stop since Saturday night, I'm addicted. Blanche is only 17 and clearly had nerves on the night but what was wonderful is that she didn't panic, actually played on her nerves and used them to remain within herself and her abilities, didn't at any point disappear into the gusts of bombast others did. An utterly beautiful song that should have won. Anyone who voted, who didn't vote for this, should be fucking ashamed of themselves.



2. The actual winner, Salvador Sobral, was already clearly an unctuous twat judging by his performance of his dull sappy shit song. However he truly anointed himself as an utter wanksnap with the crown-of-turds that was his acceptance speech. I want to say that we live in a world of disposable music – fast food music without any content. And I think this could be a victory for music with peopl…

OH NO & TRISTATE - THREE DIMENSIONAL PRESCRIPTIONS (Hieroglyphics Imperium Recordings)

Here's how hip hop critique works these days. New 'product' gets rolled out on Datpiff or HotNewHipHop. If it's any good, or if it's by an artist who isn't regularly picking up tens of millions of youtube views or regularly instagrams/tweets images of his/her wealth, then it will be ignored by most, pick up some cursory ratings of about 7/10 by site-visitors and then disappear into obscurity. There will be five comments under it, usually bemoaning the fact it's being ignored. Meanwhile some twat called Kevin or called Lil or called Yung or called Nipsey or named after a brand will be picking up millions of listens/hits thanks to some shady sponsorship dealio or the fact that last week he happened to fart near a mic and Drake happened to smell it. The comments underneath  this dross will vacillate between about 90% 'STR8 FUEGO' and 10% 'WTF IS THIS TRASH'.

<a href="http://hieroglyphicsimperium.bandcamp.com/album/3-dimensional-prescript…

HUS KINGPIN & SMOOVTH - H.N.I.C: Hempstead Niggas In Charge (LowTech Records)

H.N.I.C. : Hempstead Niggas In Charge [LP] by Hus Kingpin & SmooVth


 One of the most sublime releases from the current crop of dated-yet-delicious grainy 90s-style hip hop from the East Coast. Hus and Smoovth have been dropping gems both solo and together for a while but this collaboration is perhaps the sweetest set either have ever given us - less confrontational sonically than Westside Gunn/Conway or even Action Bronson/Roc Marc but all the more sumptuously compelling for it. On one level, if you're the kind of hip hop fan that cares about currency (as opposed to Curren$y) and contemporaneity this might come across as too dated for you, utterly shorn of any autotune or any trap dynamics - this is unapologetically dated, grimy, grainy East Coast hip hop. However, what it innately realises is that the sound crafted in NYC in the early to late 90s was perhaps the greatest music hip hop ever gave us - a sound that still sounds just as luridly noir-ish and unsettlingly neon-blin…

Current Listening Feb 2017: A Quick Rundown of What Hip Hop Is Floating My Boat Right Now

Album of the year thus far I reckon is the new Quelle Chris. Just an astonishing piece of work, his
best yet, start to finish utterly compelling.

Being You Is Great, I Wish I Could Be You More Often by Quelle Chris

Also floating my boat this set of reblends of classic beats from Real Live's massively underrated lost masterpiece of 90s rap 'The Turnaround' with freestyles of the era. Shouldn't work, does a fucking treat. You can also download it from here.




Don't give a fuck that rap-fans with skinny jeans who read Noisey probably don't dig Your Old Droog. His new EP 'What Happened To Fire' if fuckin' boss.



And yeah, I must admit, I find it very difficult to drag my sorry ass away from Chief Keef's 'Two Zero One Seven' right now and why would I want to. Yes some of the tracks are indistinguishable but did you ever hold that against Monster Magnet? Exactly. The flickering half-dead roachtwitching drive and dissipation of right now summated b…

Current listening Feb 2017: GQOM.

Never knowingly ahead of the curve. Yes, I'm slow. But this video peaked my interest.



which then led me to this which is just fucking wonderful and astonishing and utterly addictive. GQOM is Durban-based, SA bass music that makes you step right. Obsessed with these sounds right now. If anyone can tell me/feed me more, please do.

Dominowe - SiyaThakatha by Dominowe

DAFT PUNK. ASTORIA. LONDON, LIVE REVIEW 1997

Melody Maker, 20 November 1997 UNDERGROUND/OVERGROUND, spectacle/black-out, in-yer-face/faceless, pop/music. Dance has to make its choices. Either it believes in its own unique power, rejecting stages, identification, authenticity and the audience/artist gap of reverence and tries to create a totally new kind of night out, or it can be just better rock'n'roll, filling stages with enough flash and bodies to kick shit off, still playing on the same ideas of spectacle and acceptance that rock thrives on. The trouble tonight is that we fall between dance's radical potential and a trad need for "legitimacy"; on the one hand, music so heavenly it makes minds and bodies pop, on the other hand, a spectacle and set-up so dim and dull that hearts and souls wither. Torn between celebrating 12-inch culture and shoring up album culture, it sells both short. Tonight, everyone's made to wait in a heaving Astoria til 11pm, then, a pause, a glance, and "is this them?" …

A POP DAYDREAM PART I: THINNING THE HERD.

This was my dream. And it was so vivid it really happened. 
I hired a van. The expense was a concern but I needed the capacity. First the long drive north to Middlesborough. I knew he'd be at home, visiting relatives. Made sure my HeadBag was packed. Blindfolds and ballgags. Rope. Some starved, stroppy badgers. Maxi-pack of chloroform-seeped bogroll from Costco. Masking tape. As I eased onto the M1 I told myself again the story of how it was developed from the need for waterproof ammunition casings in WWII. I had to, I was bored, and it's a long schlep up to 'boro. Idly, after securing a mortgage for a bacon roll at Tibshelf, I had an argument with my other personality about whether Middlesborough was in North Yorkshire, County Durham or Teeside. 
Nothing got resolved. A plain-clothes officer pulled me off in the hardshoulder near Malton and issued stern words about punching myself while driving. No hilarity did ensue. I needed to focus. This was a serious business. By noo…

RIP USTAD ABDUL HALIM JAFFAR KHAN 1927-2017

Ashamed to admit I was unaware that Ustad Abdul Halim Jaffer Khan passed on last week. Some of his records are among my favourite sitar albums and this cassette from 1989 features 13 typically exquisite tracks. Enjoy.

Tabla accompaniment is from Ustad Nizamuddin Khan. This tape is also hosted over at the fantastic http://oriental-traditional-music.blogspot.co.uk/ for which many thanks. RIP


CURRENT LISTENING JANUARY 2017

Putting these here as a note to myself so I don't forget - a few new things and a couple that sneaked in at the tail-end of 2016 too late for my best-of-the-year lists. Currently these are the only things digging me out of the Miles Agharta/Pangaea/Dark Magus/Complete On The Corner Sessions Box I currently can't seem to stop scurrying down . . . . . 

AU-DESSUS
XI
(Witching Hour Productions)




CAMP LO
ON THE WAY UPTOWN
(Persia) 


DUTCHY 
TRAVERSAL
(Bandcamp) 
&lt;a href="http://grandgarden.bandcamp.com/album/traversal"&gt;Traversal by Dutchy&lt;/a&gt;

THE GASLAMP KILLER 
INSTRUMENTALEPATHY
(TheGaslampKiller)&lt;a href="http://music.thegaslampkiller.com/album/instrumentalepathy"&gt;Instrumentalepathy by The Gaslamp Killer&lt;/a&gt;


INFINITO 2017 
A PROTAGONIST LIFE: UNSCRAMBLING AFRICA
(Bandcamp) 
&amp;lt;a href="http://infinito2017.bandcamp.com/album/a-protagonist-life-unscrambling-africa"&amp;gt;A PROTAGONIST LIFE: UNSCRAMBLING…