The Rambler :: blog

Monday, August 22, 2005

Some listening for ya 

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Making a bid to be one of my favourite mixes of the year is this dark monster over at Blackdown. According to the footer to his latest Pitchfork column, Blackdown's mix is "100% unreleased". It makes one hell of a change from most of the quickly cloying grime and dubstep mixes doing the rounds recently - rearranging the same minor anthems over and over. Blackdown does still include Crazy Titch's 'Sing Along', which at the moment is practically obligatory, and definitely annoying, but at least here it's in a mashed-up version of Blackdown's own making.

The rest of the mix though is the perfect antidote to indentikit Fruity Loops grooves: this is some seriously bleak music, sitting in the black, black hole where dub, UK garage, grime, bhangra, grime, techno, hardcore, jungle and triphop meet. It's a lot better than that too, and for once actually sounds like dubstep could sound - a place where East London and West Country and all places in between can actually exist inside one beat. The mix is littered with fragments of pirate recordings; a standout sequence collapses the crackle and rumble of Kode 9 and Spaceape's 'Correction' into a refix of mic warm-ups, background chatter and shout outs, which are then sprinkled over the top of Roll Deep's 'Me' and Target and Riko's 'Hands Up', easily the two biggest tunes in the whole hour. In a different mix these would be energizing anthems; for Blackdown they just increase the bass menace, kick the momentum. There are no sunshine tunes here, just lightning flashes in the night.

I downloaded this mix on Friday, fell in love with it on Saturday, and on Sunday it pulled me out of a pretty grim mood of my own. Like all the best downer music, Blackdown's mix works best heard in the dark.

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