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.

Share your thoughts