Writing by Neil Kulkarni

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

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.



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 better than anyone. Smear yourselves with it until your skin bleeds pure barcode.




You KNOW I love Strange U. You should too. Album finally here and it's an absolute livid motherfucker.



Oh and very much digging this str8 fuego from Oh No & Tristate



Finally, haven't even got to the belly of this beast but if the singles were anything to go by this will be one of the year's highlights. See y'in March my darlings.

 

Current listening Feb 2017: GQOM.

14:18 Posted by neil kulkarni No comments
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.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

DAFT PUNK. ASTORIA. LONDON, LIVE REVIEW 1997

10:00 Posted by neil kulkarni , , , No comments

 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?" You have to applaud Daft Punk's successful stab at anonymity, but it's all very well being anonymous set behind a pair of decks in the middle of a dancefloor or perched above (as they were when I saw them tear up Glastonbury something fearsome this year), but when you're on a big stage, when people have stood for two hours looking stageward waiting for something spectacular, to simply slope on unannounced and start spinning out the hits isn't enough.


And it's a shame, because in terms of sheer ear buzz and booty quake they're phenomenal — harder, more concise and 
propulsive than the sometimes
 wayward LP "808 Revolution" 
sounds like just that, the 
four-to-the-floor thump speeding 
into pure electro-spark and hiss,
 the beats warping into levels of bitchy ruffness worthy of Mantronix at his finest.
A lot of Daft Punk's bite tonight is determinedly old-skool — 'Daftendirekt' and 'Burnin'
 come on as straight-down-the-line Bambaataa to this sourpuss, and 'Around The World' is the best diva-less disco ever. All night, Daft Punk have an uncanny knack of splicing the best chops together in a mixology that's never in service to correctness, but purely in the interests of the sheer, rubbery danceability of the groove. In many ways, they do to 20 years of dance music what Jon Spencer does to rock — purify, distil, amplify — and their retreat into the shadows is entirely in keeping with that history. But it's a con to perpetrate it in a venue made for visuals and, by the time an admittedly storming 'Da Funk' hurries us out, you catch the nothing lights, the empty screens, you catch yourself, and you have to wonder if this is £12 better than hearing it in a club, whether this crush and heat and fever are somehow improved by simply being in the same room as the people who make the sounds. If they're even here. If they aren't, it doesn't matter, and maybe Daft Punk count that as a victory. I call it a bank raid. Hands up.
© Neil Kulkarni, 1997

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

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 noon I was in Middlesborough. Found the address, knocked the door, strode in, found  him, chloroformed the cunt, explained why to his fam (who to be honest with you seemed grateful) bundled him into the back of the bus. James Arthur. One knocked off the list. 


He started gurgling just south of Leicester Forest East where I took out a payday loan for a Kinder Bueno. Releasing the hungry badgers kept him quiet and he huddled by the wheel arch, trembling for the remainder of our journey as my marauding mustelidae mob sniffed the air and bared their fangs, seeking moisture, sound and heat, sensing fear. I chuckled at the sounds of his bowel-evacuation as we took the exit for the A14 and plunged eastwards. The next prize was perhaps the most important. Framlington seemed to take an age to get to. I found the local pub buzzing with activity. Asking a local what was going on I was told to fuck off back to Afghanistan which I took as a sign to go into the lounge and try and blend in. With my pint of Cherry Bols in hand I surveyed the locals and they surveyed me. This continued for a few hourly silage-deliveries until suddenly the impasse was broken by the arrival of my next target. The locals got selfies. I waited until he needed a slash & followed him before chloroforming him as he pissed, letting his inert torso fall with a light forward slump and squelch into the urinal. Reaising I'd left the masking tape and ball-gags in the minibus, I improvised by forcing 3 compacted Bloo Toilet blocks between his purulent lips and pitched him out of the bog window before dragging him by the cock to my vehicle, his muffled squeaks of panic and terror sweetly mellifluous to my ears in a way his music has never been. Ed 'Cunting' Sheeran, number 2 on the list, safely bagged. 


I tied him and Arthur together, gave them an admittedly somewhat spiteful drink/bath from a bucket of my own piss and pushed down hard on the accelerator. I had to make it to London. The Brit awards were happening. And I had so much chloroform left. 

Pulled up outside the O2, told the valet to ignore any whimpering and keep the engine ticking over. Got my James Corden outfit on and my mission started moving on quick. Amazing how celebs are willing to talk to that grotesque bolus of ambulatory ordure but with my pally-mask on, and my air of desperation assumed, they started tumbling like dominos into my traps. I just kept grinning. It's my glands. 

Sam Smith? Invited down an alley with a fake bag of coke and then coshed with a barbell. 

Charlie Puth? Mollified with a shiny object, pulled aside into an alcove by the BPI stand, then accu-pressured into submission by the careful yet brutal application of mallets to his kneecaps. 

James Bay? He certainly couldn't 'hold back the river' of his own micturation once I'd zapped his balls with a cattleprod and gamboled him into the back of the van. 

Now they were five, which was plenty. Turning Talksport up to maximum, I drowned out the by now insufferable muffled snivelling and sniffling from behind me with the robust dipshittery of Andy Goldstein and Jason Cundy. It was near midnight by the time me and my captives pulled into my secret location. I pulled off their blindfolds and their darting eyes blinked against the harsh neon striplights of the cold concrete bunker. As they lolled around the cold floor, their legs twitching in pain from the pins and needles (mental note - next time prepare actual pins and needles), from behind my dais, for the first time, I spoke 

"Polluters of the soul. I bring thee thence. You have not evaded punishment for your crimes, your crimes against humanity in the name of humanity. 
You who have stole pop, and make pop speak for your wretched beige hearts. 
You who destroy possibility. You who have reduced music to an endless biscuit game, an endless nauseating exploration of your revoltingly mediocre innards, a soundtrack to nought but consumption and neediness. 

You who enact the same old games of cultural imperialism, making black music's cutting edge a dull blunted backscratcher, ripping off black innovation to feed white greed. You diluter of grace to make gruel. You MOBO-winning motherfuckers. You whose art is proudly akin to 'lifecoaching'. You earnest providers of a soundtrack to an endless consumerism. You wallpaper-excreting blanchers and repackagers of  black music's marginalisation. You 'grassroots' artists who keep industrial exploitation alive. You non-threateners of entitlement and stasis. You who have reduced music for a whole generation of young people to the ability to vlog an acoustic cover and BOTHER people with it.  You who bleat about the power of self-promotion while exploiting nepotism to its utmost. You venal visible totems of the great lie - the new meritocracy of pop. 

You who hate pop. You who have destroyed it. You keeping us in this endless 1985. 


You who call yourself 'musicians'. You marketeers. You sucklers at the diseased teats of Britschool-pop. You decadent dimwitted apolitical degenerators of the national life. You friends of royals. You craven wanksnaps. You reducers of the song to the personal, to the self-help-manual, to the e-mail from middle-management, to the 'holding on'. You conflaters of pity with compassion and metaphor with depth. You solipsists of self-regard. You con-men. You cunts. 


You who hate pop so much you are transforming the form of pop into infantile nursery-rhyme pasquinade  under the guise of being faithful, respectful, reverent to the lineage. You who insist that the human voice and the human lyric must always spiritually upwardly inflect, with the truly bile-scraping timidity and earnestness of the irredeemable dullard. You slimy seekers of our fondness. You 'nice guys' and 'legends'. 


You who will have us striating our wrists and necks with blunt sporks with your calamitous influence, your withering of future expectations, your spray-on world-weariness and the 'really meaningful' empty blaring shitcuntery of your music. You friends with Jools and Jo and all the curators of Sunday Supplement Pop. You lamentable live-lounge lingerers. You Sainsburys soundtrackers. You ad-men. You shitehawks. You propagators of 'crossover'.  You denigrators of true standards in the name of 'quality', you 'decent' writers of 'top' 'anthems' of such unmoreish plasticity and state-of-the-art rootsiness they're downright fucking emetic. 

You boring cuntlords. You dull pieces of shit. You robbers of hope. You destroyers of joy. You friends of Fearne Cotton. You supplicants of power. You Tory shitsuckers. You singer-songwriters. You endless travellers within the windy windswept lower-colon of your soul. 


You who soil our radios,  contaminate our shops, corrupt our young with your faecal whining. You who mistake vagueness for profundity, chattiness with wit, pointless detail for illumination. You who think of  nought but'likes' as you sew your cliches together, you who all good people wish could be done for shoplifting in Saudi, you rollers of dungballs from your own self-pity and poesy. You walking ball-aches. You of such very very punchable 'fragility'. You whose falsettos are designed to show you have a heart rather than the turd on a rope that truly swings within you. You with bruises near your elbow from so much playing of that machine you use to enable fascists. You who lyrically peer down from your promontory of smugness while feigning 'compassion'. You who will endlessly postpone the future. 

 I condemn you to this hell on earth and welcome you to your new home. Your final resting place."


All I see then is their eyes dilating in terror, and a concomitant  sense of immense imminent joy. And then I wake. 

I can't wait until I dream part II. 
Stocking up on Red Leicester to ensure it comes soon. Will keep you posted. 

(thankyou to my dear friend Sam Webb for the 'Thinning The Herd' title and idea)