A wave of gentrification is sweeping across the global village and everything from politics to culture is being swept up into mediocrity and conformity. In music, the result is an introspective re-appropriation of musical genres at some rudimentary level. A formula of formula of an idea of how music should sound, has very little value beyond the immediate and has lead to a major stagnation in music. At every level it seems that artists and musicians tend to conform around a populace idea of what Hip Hop, Techno, Electro, Techno et al is and it has taken all the idiosyncrasies out of the music, where most of it blends into the same monotonous drone.
Throughout music history and into its present there are those characters and musical institutions that have opposed this conformity in powerful and intense terms. They ardently and at times vehemently opposed societal norms in pursuit of something unique, sticking their tongue out to the world and its conservative musical trends. Powers that be find them dangerous because they don’t understand them or their piercing rebel yell, and would rather suppress them than listen to them. These characters will eventually almost always prevail and sometimes even mobilise a culture behind them. Keith Flint was such a character… and he might have been the last of these characters.
His untimely passing comes in age where we desperately need more people like him to oppose the mediocrity seeping in as counter culture becomes mainstream culture and Techno bros and weekend pleasure seekers saturate every aspect of this culture and its music. It’s time to take up that rebel call again and if we’re going to find the power in our lungs to summon its piercing strength, we’re going to have to retreat into the margins again, back to the point of gestation from which this culture’s roots emerge and that means going back to the record store.
In Oslo Filter Musikk is the first and only word on the matter, the last vestige for the undesirables and the freaks like Keith Flint who pursue a onerous path against the tide of conformity, and the only place we can go to keep the spirit of somebody like Keith Flint alive. During a time when vinyl was in a sales slump, Filter Musikk persevered with Roland Lifjell at the helm, and as one of the few artists still releasing new vinyl at that time, Prodigy made up a fair share of Roland’s stock. “Felt I was the Prodigy store for a while there,” muses Roland, and even managed to win a fair few DJs over to the raucous sound of the UK ravers at that time.
For the generation in their mid thirties everybody has a Prodigy or Keith Flint story that they can tell, and for the generation that came before and after it, their’s and Flint’s impact on electronic music and rave culture has been a formidable and lasting one. It’s with great sorrow that we dedicate this edition of Filter Musikk to Keith Flint, and hope that his iconic legacy could inspire a new age of musical rebellion, soundtracked by music that retains that spirit, hopefully music like this like this…
Mas569 – Vamos A Entrar Desde Afuera (Forbidden Planet) 12″
There’s something to Jurg Haller’s Forbidden Planet label that simply shouts out at you from its austere packaging. The pencil sketches that adorn the cover of Forbidden Planet records are quite insidious as they draw you into their dower aesthetic, only to reveal something viceral, often grotesque or even ghastly in their abstract form. There are many other labels that have a similar visual profile, but what sets Forbidden Planet apart from the rest, is that the visual aesthetic carries through to the music, through past releases from Mono Junk, Cadency (Hector Oakes) and the Mover and now with this latest release from Chilean producer Mas569.
Electro is FB’s calling card and Mas569 upholds the sonic aesthetic that the label has perpetuated since day one. Skipping Electro rhythms and synth-heavy melodic phrases remain the order of the day as the new artist finds his voice in the Electro genre. “Vamos A Entrar Desde Afuera” is quite a leap from the artist’s previous and first EP, which favoured the kind of tougher House sound associated with early L.I.E.S records, but the way he weaves the melodic phrases through the heavy percussion bares some similarities with this latest EP. There’s a little more on the bone on “Vamos A Entrar Desde Afuera” as “Raza”, “STGO” and “Martillo” cater for something a little beyond the dance floor as the artist finds his place in the Forbidden Planet catalogue.
LNS, E-GZR – Crypto Stock / Beatdown (Wania) 12″
LNS and E-GZR are back on the Sex Tags Wania imprint, appearing together for the first time as a collaborative duo for the A-Side, “Crypto Stock”. A bold stomping Electro cut that moves between writhing acid bass lines and wispy atmospheres, the track unfolds much like those early Aphex Twin pieces on Warp as it continually evolves and modulates between phrases.
Appearing like the random thoughts of an android on the cusp of an existential crises, the form avoids consistency and normality for the abstract. It’s a pattern that the elusive E-GZR perpetuates on the B-side on his/her own, focussing more on the percussive elements than the previous track. That Wania / Sex Tags DIY immediacy is consistent and the music retains that kind of immediate allure, like the artists are recording the music straight onto the acetate and moving onto the next thing almost instantly.
Girls Of The Internet – Fondness Makes The Heart Grow Absent (Drab Queen) 12″
Girls of the internet are neither girls, they are not even a plurality, nor are they adept at Internet it seems with a small social media following. Girls of the Internet is Tom Kerridge, a side-project of the Ramp Records founder that has brought a little something of House music back its origins on this latest release for Drab Queen. The AA-side features soulful vocals, funky bass-lines and Tom Kerridge’s unique electronic adventures that flutter through the track like dazzling animatronic fireflies.
Terrence Parker takes the theme of the track and dials back the clock to 1989 for an energetic piano version of the original. Underpinning the essence of the track with that soulful vocal and the grooving bass, very little else remain of the original, as Terrence swaps out Kerridge’s guitars and electronic frivalities for a stark dance floor construction with meatier kicks and a perfunctory minimalism instead. While the original might indulge more of an effort on the listener’s behalf, Terrence Parker just gets straight to the point on the remix for a peak time vibe.
Roza Terenzi, D. Tiffany, Jayda G – Oscillate Tracks 001 (Oscillate Tracks) 12″ – link
Oscillate is a Berlin club night turned label. Coming to the fore out of the heady musical vaults at ://about blank, Oscillate is renowned for its forward-thinking music policy and its progressive club ideology which this first record attempts to capture this in the abstract language of electronic music. Oscillate “alumni” Roza Terenzi and D. Tiffany lead the way for the label with two Electro-breaks cuts that take their cues from various aspects of club music in a kind of assemblage of what the club night represents.
From D.Tiffany’s hoover synth echoing in the distance on “Spirit Alien” to Roza Terenzi’s lysergic 303 bass movements on “Electronique”, there’s a nod to the common threads of the past with a view to the future as they pull various influences into the space of each trac,. The two seasoned producers have a distinct handle of their individual craft, but where they crossover in the realm of a more open musical palette, is where the sound of Oscillate thrives.
Adlas – Arrival By Air (Answer Code Request) 12″ restock – link
It seems that we’re pretty much sticking to Electro and breakbeats on this edition, but from one end of the spectrum to the other with this new artist arriving out of nowhere on Answer Code Request’s label. There was some speculation that Adlas was a new Answer Code Request alias, but a picture of a boyish visage bathed in a hue of blue on discogs put that rumour to bed… thanks to Roland.
Four, stark bass-heavy tracks ensue with Adlas using syncopated kicks and broken snares to cut through wispy veils of electronic mist. “Search Signal” is the closest the producer comes to a four-four Techno sound, while retaining the sonic nature of the rest of the EP. The producer makes his debut with all the experience of veteran so it’s clear why people might mistake this for ACR, but this EP stands on its own, and although there are some similarities to UK Bass artists like Manni Dee, Adlas music shies away from common tropes in search of something unique in the club music realm.
Ending on the heady force of “Tidal Lock”, Adlas leaves a severe impression on his debut release. The artist doesn’t quite imbibe the affronting spirit of Flint, but the music, like all the other pieces represent the audacious spirit that Keith Flint’s character left on the scene. The bulk at the status quo and sneer at musical conformity as bold, individual pieces.