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dmz 10

DMZ 10

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2014 part 1: life, death and 10 years of… !!!!!!!!!

10 YEARS OF HYPERDUB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Strobes

My favourite label Hyperdub provided me with my favourite live show of the year and one of the only London night’s that I brought my camera to in 2014 (click on image for the gallery). Which was no mean feat as it involved strobes on an otherwise pitch black dark floor. Check out this guy in the centre, blinded. That was all of us in the room. What you can’t see or hear are the high pitched sounds that accompanied this particular part of Dean Blunt’s compelling and heartfelt set. An immense experience.

Spectrum

I’d like to say a big thank you to Hyperdub for a decade of music that is beyond great. The four Hyperdub 10. compilations that came out this year highlight their varied contribution to the sonic landscape, which includes the aforementioned Dean Blunt, Burial, Darkstar, Scratcha DVA, Cooly G, Ikonika, Kode9 and of course, DJ Rashad and Spaceape, both of whom very sadly passed away this year.

Spaceape Polaroid ©GC

While I reflected on Rashad here, I never managed to post a proper tribute to Spaceape. I none the less felt his passing quite deeply and have been reminded repeatedly of his talent, this year. Most recently, it came up while re-watching the punishingly emotional dystopian epic that is Children of Men (watch it!) , which features his and Kode 9’s Backwards Mala’s John Peel Record Box, closes peacefully with his track Sine of The Dub, again produced with Kode9, but this time under Spaceape’s earlier moniker Daddi Gee.

I was lucky enough to hang out and photograph him, in his different guises as well as his regular (happy and incredibly clever) Stephen Gordon self on a number of occasions. His early DMZ sets and his ability to instill a nameless dread over the chasms of Kode9’s music, is a memory deeply embedded in my psyche and undoubtedly, the collective psyche of music lovers worldwide.  Rest in Peace Spaceape aka Steve Gordon.

10 YEARS OF BLACKDOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

One of the maddest things about Hyperdub’s 10th birthday is that it’s sort of all of our 10th birthdays – all as in everybody that was around on the dancefloors of FWD>> and DMZ 10 years ago.  Ever the torch bearer shining light on the underground, Blackdown also celebrated his 10th birthday this year and wrote a lovely piece to mark it, in which Drumzofthesouth (and the name that Sgt Pokes beset upon me, “Soulsnatch”) got a few mentions. Following the post, there was a nice bit of reminiscing on Twitter between myself, Blackdown, Bok Bok, Dan Hancox and Seckle. All good guys, all involved, all progressing. Bok Bok was on the cover of DJ Mag this year and Hancox published some essential articles about gentrification for Vice. Blackdown himself is forging ahead with success with his label Keysound. Happy Birtday Blackdown.

10 YEARS OF DRUMZOFTHESOUTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It’s funny, that considering that as a photographer and blogger my career is built on sentimentality, I did not manage to get my self together to publicly celebrate 10 YEARS OF DRUMZOFTHESOUTH, which as the story so far goes, “was born in 2004 with Quark and photocopier in Streatham Hill before becoming a blog.”  TRUE STORY. 10 YEARS! Who even knows what Quark is these days? (The above pic is my old bedroom in Norwood where I blogged from). While I’ve been away from the blog a lot, distracted by Trees and crafting stories for FACT among other reputable media, my heart’s still here. I’m still interested in what’s happening underground and even though I often feel old at raves these days, or that I don’t want to take my camera out cos it’s heavy, my ears are still open.

So send me stuff or get in touch if you would like to contribute to drumzofthesouth in 2015, which as it goes will mark 10 years of DMZ (!!!!!!!!!!!!!) And in the meantime, I’ll be posting up a few other bits about 2014, including photos and a “Currently Feelin'” post, which as old Drumz’ readers know, is NOT simply stuff that’s been released recently but stuff that I’ve found and would like to share cos, well, sharing is caring.

Until then, HAVE A GREAT NEW YEAR !

In a good place

“If there’s anything we have in life it is a freedom of expression.” – Mala

Click on the image of Mala above to be taken to a video of him digging through John Peel’s archive. It’s a catalyst for a description of Mala’s own journey with music and proves very inspirational. Check out which tune Mala plays to his baby son to soothe him. Check out a collection of my images towards the end of the video. It was nice to be involved in this!! John Peel lives on. x

http://johnpeelarchive.com/mala/

Music Maestro & psychic alignment

“People do meditation to find psychic alignment. That’s why people do psychotherapy and analysis. That’s why people analyze their dreams and make art. That is why many read Tarot cards, cast I Ching, dance, drum, make theater, pry out the poem, and fire up the prayer. That’s why we do all the things we do. It is the work of gathering all the bones together. Then we must sit at the fire and think about which song we will use to sing over the bones, which creation hymn, which re-creation hymn. And the truths we tell will make the song.”

Clarissa Pinkola Estés from Women Who Run With The Wolves 

There’s a great musical director inside my head. She gathers tunes without my conscious knowing, playing certain ones at certain times and providing a continuous, changing soundtrack to my changing interior weather system. Sometimes my amateur emo artist self calls on her to illustrate the way I feel (be it good or bad or something else), often to kick it out of my system. Then we rifle through the archives together pulling out songs. Music as detox, music as therapy, music as creation, or re-creation hymns, songs to sing over the bones with. Today, the maestro and I searched for hymns for the leaving of a situation, character and a longer term, annoyingly cyclical part of myself; internal and external predators as Clarissa Pinkola Estes (quoted above) might say. In short it’s a patch that’s ushering in a much needed personal revolution and, like all good revolutions, it needs a soundtrack. Enter Digital Mystikz, whose name is ever more apt in these days of techno-nature; and Mala in particular.  I moved through as many of his tunes as I could find on my laptop; allowing the frequencies to penetrate and pull bits of me out like string, a feeling comparable to a recent acupuncture experience. The more I dug, the more I felt relieved; lighter, tweeting (another form of creation hymns perhaps) the tunes that were pulling out the energies that a few years ago, I would’ve stamped into the floor at DMZ at Mass.

It’s no coincidence that I found an affinity with some of their titles also:


Blue Notez.

Changes.

Shake Out The Demons…