Friday, 8 October 2010

System, Raime, Sun Araw

Thinking about how much I like the ending of ‘Drk’ by System from their new ‘B’ album reminded me of the time a DJ friend of mine announced that the best thing about the Elvis record he had just played were the crackles at the end. Yes, they were the old days, when DJs talked and a room might comprise of Punks and Teddy Boys, as this one did. I suppose he played Elvis as a request from the Teds, although I can’t think why he even had the record in his box. But then, in these olden times, it was not so rare for a young DJ like him to carry an eclectic selection including popular old tunes. He was not, after all, a ‘hip’ DJ. Anyway, after the announcement a small riot ensued, the violence of which was not, surprisingly, directed at him (thankfully, because he asked us to protect his gear) but between the two tribes. I don’t recall who, if anyone, won that particular battle.

   Not only is the ending of ‘Drk’ great, but the rest of it is too. This album has grown on me over the last week or so. It’s a very clean production; nothing radical, but the sounds are organised in an interesting fashion so as to avoid boredom setting in. They go for dub at times, and although it’s not the modishly murky variety, it is well done. On ‘Well Blank’ they even do the Dubstep, kind of, but in their own way, and prove that approaching a genre from outside often produces more interesting results than those trapped within. I don’t even mind the rather clich├ęd skank of ‘Stanley’ because, despite the reggae-by-numbers rhythm, they play some good synth over the top. ‘WB’ is much deeper and dirtier in the rhythmic stakes. I like to think the initials stand for you-know-who, but probably, represent ‘Wobbly Bass’ or something.
  According to Boomkat Raime’s ‘Raime’ EP is causing ‘much consternation in the blogosphere’, although I haven’t checked their references to find out why. I think consternation translates as hype here, and I’m not sure why, exactly. It has a distinctive sound, a kind of tribal minimalism, you might say, with Gregorian style chants in the mix. They like using a sparse, echoed drum sound, with light ambient trimmings. I’ve listened a lot and can’t see what the fuss is about. Demdike Stare do this kind of thing so much better.
   Talking of hype, Sun Araw is smothered in it, as far as I can tell. Mind you, hype today isn’t what it used to be when it came from the old printed music press, is it? Only the NME, Sounds and Melody Maker to shape the nation’s opinion? Yes, the olde days again, when tribes went to war and supposedly ‘hip’ young journalistic guns told us all what was cool and what wasn’t. Simpler times, when you had a favourite of the three and bought it religiously, probably.
   Sun Araw would have been on one or all of their covers, I’m guessing. He does fit the bill for a celestial fusion of psychedelia and electronics, thus marrying old and new, after a fashion. Listening to ‘Off Duty/Boat trip’, I’m in two minds as to whether there is greatness at work, or excessive indulgence with little heed for proper composition (I know that makes me sound like an old fart). When the wall of noise is fully applied it proves overbearing for these ears, but when he calms down a little, it’s much more appealing and effective, as on ‘Canopy’. If the wah-wah is overused, it does at least conjure up memories of Funkadelic at their trippiest, and that’s no bad thing. Listening again, I’m thinking he is worthy of the hype, so I’ll join in and say he’s The Greatest Thing to come along for the last three days at least.


  1. That System album is great, eh? Did you hear the first one? I think I prefer that - much lighter on the percussion front, more in the thrall of Pole I suppose, but it works well.

  2. No, I've not heard that. They're new to me but I'll be investigating. So much little headspace...


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