Saturday, 11 December 2010

Find Out What Happens When People Stop Being Polite, And Start Gettin' Reel - Hype Williams

I'm going to remain polite and stay 'reel' (does that mean I have to film a review instead of writing one?).
   Hype Williams attracts the tag ‘hypnagogic’, and if there’s one adjective guaranteed to put me right off any artist it’s that one. Mind you, I’m all for expanding one’s vocabulary (although mine’s stayed as it is since 1987), so you might be encouraged to look it up on Wikipedia where you would find that it’s ‘a term coined by Alfred Maury for the transitional state between wakefulness and sleep (i.e. the onset of sleep)’. Now, to me, that’s not a desirable state for music to induce in a person. I realise, though, that for a generation raised to click a mouse before the umbilical cord’s been snipped so they can spend all their time being screen-fed useless information music which creates a permanent state of semi-somnambulism may be just what they crave.
   ‘Hypnagogic’ is a term used by only the hippest critics, of course, and is unlikely to appear in The Sun’s showbiz page anytime soon. I did, however, see a page devoted to Hauntology in there last week (‘Hauntology? What Is This Craze That’s Sweeping The Nation?’). It featured juicy gossip about who Miles Whittaker is shagging, and a punch-up involving James Kirby and a nightclub bouncer.
   Anyway, Hype, we were told not to believe it by Public Enemy, so should we believe in this? In truth the musical hype machine that once existed regarding ‘underground’ or ‘alternative’ music no longer exists since neither does the monopoly on opinion by a few tastemakers. This is a good thing. It means I can pretend that my opinion matters here albeit as one more tiny voice amid the cacophony of democratised criticism on the ‘net.
   ‘Jesus To A Child’, I’ve just learnt, was also the title of a George Michael track. Whether this is a cover or not I don’t know because I’ve no intention of playing a George Michael track to find out. Well, it’s a blur of beats and hazy, indistinguishable vocals anyway, so it would be hard to tell. And it’s only 1min 42secs long. ‘I want to be the best there ever was’ intones a voice on ‘Rescue Dawn’, what else he says is hard to tell, but I think he namechecks Pokemon – yes, it’s that post-modern. The first ‘Untitled’ track is also brief at just over a minute, and sounds like a love rap to someone – ‘I’m ugly as fuck’, he says in the slow, doped-out drawl, sounding not unlike a psychotic weed-head. I hope she still loves him, but I’d be wary if she brought him home for my approval. ‘Blue Dream’ continues the blissed-out mode that makes this ‘hypnagogic’, but it does have a good slow groove going on. ‘The Throning’ nicks a large portion of Sade’s ‘Sweetest Taboo’, which in my books should never work because I can’t stand her schmaltzy penthouse muzak, but I’ve got to give Hype credit for transforming it into something that’s almost good. Old computer game sounds crop up...brief reprises of ‘Jesus To A Child’, and so it goes in an unspectacular fashion, but I now realise that I should probably be bombed out of my skull to be able to tune into this. Or under 30. It’s only 24mins-long. To think that there’s any form of hype surrounding it is incredible.

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