Prancehall’s Bass Odyssey, Part 12

April 11, 2008

Good morning, America. I don't mean to bombard you with my repetitive subject matter, I really don't. But one of the only things worth reporting over here on the shallow side of the pond is once again affiliated to Wiley and his new single, "Wearing My Rolex".

The day after the "Wearing My Rolex" video was unleashed onto an unsuspecting public, upstanding tabloid publication, The Sun, ran a story reporting the reason for Wiley's no-show in his own video was owing to his overpowering vulpophobia (fear of foxes). BBC 1Xtra's Ace & Vis then phoned Wiley to ask him about his phobia and the result of this can be seen in the above video, which looks like one of the funnier moments from Fonejacker. (You Yanks may not be too familiar with Fonejacker but click here if you want to watch all of the show's best clips. It's pretty funny stuff.)

To keep you guys entertained before clicking below, why not have a listen to one of the better remixes that can be found on the "Wearing My Rolex" promo CD?

Wiley, Wearing My Rolex (Agent X remix)

For the last month, I have been attempting to digest Supa D's Rinse 03 mix CD, a veritable cornucopia of that "funky" stuff being made in London that I told you about a while ago.

Perempay & Dee, "Buss It" (excerpt)

It certainly starts with much more of an impact than Skepta's Rinse 04 mix from the same series (that I talked about on here last week). It kicks off with Perempay & Dee's "Buss It", which sounds like being caught between a grime and soca float perfectly in synch at Notting Hill Carnival—all paranoid keyboard bass notes and snatched bongos. Unfortunately, though, it's largely downhill from here on in.

Aside from the tracks by Apple, Naughty, NG and Tadow, a lot of the music is ruined by awful cod-soul diva vocals. In some ways, it seems that it's slightly by accident that these UK producers are making really interesting, revolutionary house music. When you speak to a lot of the producers and DJs in this new scene, they really do try to play down the grime influence in their music and claim they are just making funky house or straight forward house. Why they would want to suppress the most interesting thing about their music is baffling to me. It's a weird dynamic that leaves this scene kind of stuck between something which has potential to be amazing and something which is the musical equivalent of watching water evaporate.

House started off as a pretty ghettoised, predominantly black thing, but in the 90/00s it became the ultimate gentrified apolitical say-nothing party music. In the UK, funky house is nothing more than dire West End wine bar muzak. It's the soundtrack to Gemma from accounts giving you a hand job in the toilets of a Yates's Wine Lodge after work on a Friday night.

As much as the producers on this CD may aspire to make conventional funky house music, they thankfully often fall short. The relentless horns and deep sub bass of "The Anthem" by Matic Productions remind me of a Channel One vs. Aba Shanti soundclash much more than a Masters At Work track. Elsewhere, if you can ignore the vocals, there is some really imaginative production. This may not be the epochal funky artifact I was hoping for, but it does give me hope that there is a lot of great music to come from this scene.

Before I go, check this recent video of Dizzee Rascal freestyling over Lil Wayne's "Fireman", which proves he hasn't lost it despite signing to Def Jux.

Prancehall’s Bass Odyssey, Part 12