Im the OCDJ and the joy of repetition really is in me.
I suggested this column with the intention of chronicling the obsessions of a dance music addict who main-lines his addiction for eight hours on a daily basis. The object was to record particular tracks, past, present and future (garage) that have taken over my life and seemed like the greatest piece of music that Ive ever heard, like, literally, ever. Obviously, there have been a lot of moments like this.
As with all the borderline mentally ill, however, in my head the project grew out of all proportion until Id convinced myself that what was needed to begin was a grand summation of an entire musical movement that, due to its recency and current rate of expansion, cant really be summarised. Sidestepping the restrictions of space, practicality and my all-round laziness though, this is my half-arsed attempt at grand overarching generalisation. To make up for its incoherency Ive put together a mix, now a month or two old due to large amounts of pontification and even larger amounts of simply doing fuck all.
I have a confession to make: for a brief period, UK Funky took over my life. Its origins are up for debate its indebted to 90s US house, it crystallised during the melt down of grime, etc, etc., blah, blah, blah but in its present form its been sucking in influences from across time and space like an insatiable black hole, spitting them out a wormhole on the other side where theres a universe much like our own, but with the disorientating perspective of a Picasso painting.
A word to purists: the mix is neither strictly funky (Lones Pineapple Crush, recently signed from his own Magic Wire label to Herves Cheap Thrills, has been described as rude boy techno, possibly just now, by me) or from the UK (as in the inclusion of New Yorker Falty DLs superb Lauren Hill sampling two-step My Friend Will Always Say) but they made sense at the time and each has its own particular soft spot in my orbital-frontal cortex.
Hackman and Doc Daneeka tick both boxes, with Gutterflower and Cops coming from the faultless Pattern label, an offshoot of the more dubstep leaning Ramp, and which, along with Hyperdub and Numbers, is a must check for every release. Recasting the saccharine sweet RnB vocals of 2-step as Numbers Deadboy does on If U Want Me – and the subterranean subs and spacey synths of jungle at a heavily percussive 130bpm, theyre the twin sides of a sounds that ignores conventional genre limitations to flip between four four and broken beat.
Its this schizophrenic nature (or, more accurately in DSM-IV classification, multiple personality disorder someone with my condition knows these things) that Scratcha DVA, host of Rinse FMs essential Grimey Breakfast think Chris Moyles if hed grown up in Leighton and was even a third funny as he thinks he is – plays up to on Schizophrenic, switching every eight bars from a jaunty, carnival skank to psychotic bass drop. Elsewhere fellow Rinse FM regular, Roska (Roska, Roska), teams up with Untold for Long Range, a bumpy ride that draws as much on early Strictly Rhythm, as it does the current bass scene.
Breachs Fatherless, the work of the multi-talented Ben Westbeach, shows funkys current, more stripped down aspect, with shades of ODB in its titles acknowledgment of the swirling stylistic melting pot that is being drawn from. Pangeas broken house, off the mind-numbingly brilliant Commix remix album, and the massively prolific Altered Natives, with a track from his rawly brilliant Tenement Yard album, take things even further in direction of techno, the sound now chirpsed by bass music on a daily basis, while Hyperdubs Cooly G even echoes Sheffields northern bleep past on the jittering Phat Si.
And all this is without mentioning Julio Bashmore, the young Nottingham based producer, whos been bringing funky to the wider world, signing to Claude Von Stokes dirtybird whilst at the same time getting deep, in bass and mood, with tracks like Footsteppin and Around.
Finally, sandwiching everything, historically at least, are Nubian Mindz Samba 909 and Gold Pandas Snow and Taxis. Released in 2005, the former contains all the seeds that have are being reaped today, a venn diagram of overlapping styles whose epicentre transcends all its constituent parts. The later, by an artist traditionally described as chill wave, abandons the urban trappings usually ascribed to funky, instead taking one of its archetypal rhythms, adding dreamy synths and writing the first page to yet another volume in its multi-volumed history.
1. Hackman Gutterflower (Pattern)
2. Doc Daneeka & Rodski Copz (Pattern)
3. Deadboy I U Want Me (Numbers)
4. Cooly G Phat Si (Hyperdub)
5. Julio Bashmore Batak Groove (Soul Motive)
6. Scratcha DVA Schizophrenic (Hyperdub)
7. Roska & Untold Long Range (Numbers)
8. Breach Fatherless (Pattern)
9. Commix How You Gonna Feel (Pangea Remix) (Metalheadz)
10. Altered Natives Oh My Zipper (Eye4Eye)
11. Lone Pineapple Crush (Magic Wire)
13. Nubian Mindz Samba 909 (DJ History)
14. Falty DL My Friends Will Always Say… (Planet Mu)
15. Gold Panda Snow and Taxis