Monday, February 8, 2010

funny thing is the bulk of my writing about hardcore/darkside/jungle was done after I moved to New York. I got married in August 1992 and from then on I was pretty much based in NYC. During 1993 I still had a place I shared in London and went back to the UK a few times, adding up to a total of about three months. And in early 1994 we moved to London and spent most of the year there, partly because I wanted to be back to witness jungle blowing up. But in actual fact all but one of the Nuum pieces at the Wire’s online archive were written from New York. That’s why I have to chuckle a bit when people say “what’s a guy who doesn’t live in the UK/London commenting on grime/funky for?”. Cos that was always the case, pretty much.

basically all through the Nineties I would be going back to London maybe three times a year, a week here a fortnight there, throwing myself very intensively into the scene, doing interviews, taping the pirates like mad. And friends in London would be sending me pirate tapes. There was also a very strong NYC jungle scene from early 1995 onwards and increasingly the name UK deejays would be coming over; we had great local jungle DJs like DB (actually British expatriate) and Dara (Irish, from Dublin I believe) and I’d be down the record store every week checking the latest imports. DB would soon co-found Breakbeat Science, which I think was America’s first drum’n'bass specialist store. So it was pretty easy to stay on top of things.

That carried on with speed garage and 2step but it got a bit harder because the junglists here were very anti it for a long, long while, and the NYC house people weren’t having it either, so a few records would seep into stores almost accidentally. This was an era when I’d have to swoop into London and buy like crazy and have this scary wodge of white label vinyl in my overhead locker. And tape the pirates like mad.

There did get to be a 2step scene in New York and it looked really promising, but then it petered out when the very early grime came along. Then there was a gap before the webbification of nuum took hold when it was very very hard to get the records outside London -- you had to mail order -- and there was nothing yet on the web in terms of pirate netradio or uploaded dj sets or Youtubed tracks or artist Myspaces. this was the 2001-2004 period. that has all completely changed obviously and in fact it's almost too easy to stay on top of dubstep/grime/funky/wonky/what-have-you, the nuum-not-nuum sprawl, what with all the uploaded pirate sets, pirates streaming through the net, giveaway mixes at FACT and elsewhere, tracks on Youtube, you can be anywhere on the globe and hear almost everything, without spending a penny... it's actually taken a bit of the romance and virtuous effort out of it in fact

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