Things That Go Bang in the Night

I’m awash with new records l like a lot right now. I’ve always want­ed to use “awash” more. It seems like an odd word which must relate back to sea-far­ing day past when brave Euro­pean sailors trekked around the world and dis­cov­ered peo­ples who obvi­ous­ly were unaware they exist­ed before they were dis­cov­ered.

Then they killed them as often as not.

I’ve just been read­ing about the fine Dutch explor­ers who took over an island in the Indone­sian arch­i­pel­ago, on the prowl for spices and slaves and the like, in the 17th Cen­tu­ry and met a lit­tle resis­tance from the locals who didn’t real­ly want to be dis­cov­ered. The Dutch cor­ralled the island’s pop­u­la­tion into a secure area and then dropped the Japan­ese exe­cu­tion­ers into it. They Japan­ese swords­men trav­elled with the brave sailors for just such an occa­sion. In a few hours, sev­er­al thou­sand locals were reduced to a dozen or so com­pli­ant souls and the Dutch were up to their knees in bits and pieces on human­i­ty … maybe that’s where “awash” comes from. The head explor­er was pun­ished by a pro­mo­tion in Hol­land, a colo­nial gov­er­nor­ship or some­thing. His heirs, of course, formed the Nation­al Par­ty in South Africa, anoth­er fine bunch of tol­er­ant folk who made racism a state pol­i­cy in South Africa. Coin­ci­dent­ly, a like-mind­ed polit­i­cal par­ty in New Zealand shares the name.

An Aus­tralian here in Bali yes­ter­day called Don Brash our Pauline Han­son, the dif­fer­ence, of course, being that Aus­tralians mar­gin­alised Pauline where­as Don seems to have cap­tured a large part of the elec­torate who want their $40 a week. Whilst Hanson’s views were large­ly seen as loopy, Don’s not dis­sim­i­lar views on race are seen as main­stream by many, which is quite a con­dem­na­tion of New Zealand in 2005.

Don has lots of sup­port too from big busi­ness too, who are miffed that that, amongst oth­er things, they are not get­ting their just recog­ni­tion as big wheels and want Don to roll back the clock to the days of those Dutch explor­ers and re-insti­tute feu­dal titles. Don is glad to do as ordered. You could say Don is grate­ful at being awash in sup­port and cash from his friends in big busi­ness. The fact that he denies such an obvi­ous kow­tow to his mas­ters would be humor­ous if the whole inci­dent didn’t indi­cate the over­whelm­ing influ­ence that an unelect­ed pres­sure group would exert over any Nation­al gov­ern­ment.

I wor­ry too, about los­ing the progress the indus­try I’ve most been involved with across the years, has made under our stand­ing gov­ern­ment. For close to thir­ty years, I’ve been an observ­er and a par­tic­i­pant in the dri­ve to get New Zealand made music on our air­waves. This has been achieved under a vol­un­tary code over the past five years, after decades of bash­ing our heads against the wall.

How­ev­er, this vol­un­tary code has only worked with the implic­it threat of leg­is­la­tion if a vol­un­tary code failed to achieve a quo­ta. National’s tra­di­tion­al sup­port for New Zealand music, and indeed the arts in gen­er­al (there are the famous quotes from Mul­doon about pop­u­lar music not being cul­ture fol­lowed by a decade of active dis­in­ter­est in the 90s) has been appalling and there is noth­ing to indi­cate that has improved. With­out the threat of leg­is­la­tion to enforce a quo­ta, I seri­ous­ly doubt it will last. And I real­ly can’t see a Brash-led gov­ern­ment tak­ing any stand against the large cor­po­rates that dom­i­nate our air­waves. In fact, its posi­tion on TVNZ’s Char­ter indi­cates it would take quite the oppo­site posi­tion on quo­tas. National’s Arts and Cul­ture pol­i­cy says absolute­ly noth­ing about any­thing.

So, yeah, music; awash might not be the word to use but there are sev­er­al that make me smile alot….

I like the I:Cube sin­gle Chica­go Sur Seine , very ear­ly Knuck­les with a slight­ly euro tinge, but I guess that’s what the name is meant to imply; Putsch 79’s own Liv­ing For The Arpeg­gios is very much part two of their Asian Girls from a cou­ple of years back but I liked that so … Their mix of The Juan Maclean ’s Give Me Every Lit­tle Thing is just ok but the Cajmere one with Dajae on vox is a wicked bit of old 95-ish Cajual styled Chi-town noise. Just as good, actu­al­ly even bet­ter, is Anders Trentemoller’s amaz­ing elec­tro hip house mix of Want 2 / Need 2 by Sharon Phillips. I’ve been a fan of this guy since I grabbed a sin­gle of his on the usu­al­ly bland Naked Music label a cou­ple of years back. But, it’s the Carl Craig mix of Lau­rent Garnier’s Bar­i­t­urik Blues from his Cloud Mak­ing Machine album which has absolute­ly floored me. Indus­tri­al soul­ful tech­no made for dark rooms late at night seems to sound rea­son­ably per­fect here under the after­noon Bali sun, espe­cial­ly when it drops down to this gap at about five min­utes them comes back with an incred­i­ble post-Detroit Exper­i­ment flur­ry before build­ing up again.

I lis­tened again today to his (Carl’s) 69 EP from 1991 and, after 14 years it’s still hard to fig­ure out if this Detroit Tech­no record was maybe bet­ter described as a hip-hop record with tech­no sen­si­bil­i­ties. I guess many of the pio­neer­ing tech­no and house pro­duc­ers have firm roots in hip-hop and I think records like Flash on the Wheels of Steel or Al-Naay­fish are as much a sign­post towards tech­no as towards hip hop. The bar­ri­ers that the prac­ti­tion­ers of gen­res, in par­tic­u­lar, those of a hip-hop lean I’m afraid to say, put up against oth­er styles of essen­tial­ly the same music I see as unfor­tu­nate and a lit­tle sad. Purists scare me a lit­tle.

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