delusions of grandeur

This is the sound... the sound of the underground!
Running while sick is crap. I thought my lung capacity would be worse because I’ve been congested and coughing, but I actually ran fairly well tonight. I still loathe the act, but I’m getting more and more used to it. Maybe if I keep doing it, I’ll lose some weight – either that or my ankles will collapse under me. Either way, I’ma make like Forest and keep run-ning.

So I actually got a couple takers on my “guest blog” offer, not sure anyone will actually deliver, but it’s kinda cool that I at least got some tentative OKs. I’ll print ’em as they come.

Tonight (tomorrow, whatever) is the Death Cab for Cutie show at the Fillmore in SF. Been a nice long while since we’ve made that trek to see a show, and I think this one is worth it. Ben Kwellar is the opener – and I dig his new solo effort, so I’m looking forward to the entire fête. I guess this will be the 4th time I’ve seen Death Cab, and as long as they keep turning out stuff like Transatlanticism I’ll keep shelling out ducketts for tickets. They really are one of my favorite indie (some might argue that anyone on the OC ain’t “indie” anymore) acts out there right now. I like to think the magic is in the chemistry, but I can’t get over the fact that Ben Gibbard’s other material is nearly unflappably perfect as well. I mean darn, Postal Service, All-Time Quarterback, that dude is some kinda lyrical Midas. Ahem, enough fawning.

Oh man, I’m just sitting here listening to some compilation I grabbed off the newsies called something like “Old Skool Hardcore.” What a trip down memory lane. Wanna walk with me? OK. The year is 1992, my best buddy Kyle is gone for a month of the summer vacation between our freshman and sophomore years of high school – as he is every year, visiting his dad in Plano, TX. Every year Kyle came back from his dad’s place with mass amounts of new music, but this year was different. Whereas he’d usually come back with tapes full of rare 60’s or 70’s gems he’d unearthed from his dad’s huge music library – this year he brought back something new. God forbid! Seeing as we were both “too cool” for modern music (“Hammer Time” indeed), this was a huge step. He didn’t know it, but those two albums Kyle brought back were gonna change everything.

The Prodigy’s debut, “Experience” only just released that year, and Utah Saints’ self-titled 1st LP, also placenta-covered; back-to-back on one blissful 90min Maxell. Seems Kyle’s dad’s long-time girlfriend’s two no-good sons had gone and got into the whole “rave” scene. Being as I had no idea what a “rave” even was, the whole thing was new to me. As were these beat-heavy, chunky-jangly tunes. But man, it was like a natural fit. Overnight we went from Derek and the Dominos and Bob Dylan to breakbeat’s #1 proselytizers. What’s now known affectionately as “old skool hardcore” was the muzak-du-jour for us. And much like the elitism I revel in now by enjoying non-radio indie – being on the bleeding edge of a new and underground genre was an attractant in and of itself.

From then on it was a friendly competition, who could score the roughest most underground tunes and share them with the other. Scouring record bins in Orlando DJ pits like the Drop Shop – trading for obscure mixes and LPs with contacts met while using teachers’ PCs during Biology in the internet’s swaddling days. Never satisfied with the standard 4/4 “fairground” techno bullshit which eventually made it into mainstream musical consciousness – we were always searching for the most brokenest and choppy beats. Eventually, with our friendship waning, the acquisition of new tunes became somewhat of a pissing contest (at least, in my head it did). I would hear from Jeremy that Stacy got a new mix from Kyle and it was badass. Jealous, I’d find something new and try to get it circulating within the “network” – all the while hoping Kyle’d eventually hear it came from me.

Soon enough drugs and girls drove us apart for good, but during later “reunions” we’d always be surprised to find out how much our musical tastes tracked each other. From breakbeat to some new stuff called “jungle” out of London, morphing into the Chicago jungle scene from the US side of things, and finally dying under the generic “drum and bass” moniker. Release parties for Moonshine records at Orlando skating rinks, sacks of weed and doses, despite drifting down differnt paths of personal taste, we pretty much stayed neck-and-neck until he shattered my thinking by playing me Pavement’s “Wowee Zowee” one day.

That bitch was always one step ahead. Guess it served me right. Prodigy sucked after “Jilted,” and arguably sucked during “Jilted” too. Don’t even talk to me about that bitchass group with a crab on their record that sang “Firestarter,” whoever those dicks are – they ain’t the same Prodigy that did “Experience.” Liam might still be able to whip up beats, but ugh. Jungle was getting stale, and while happy hardcore tried – it just couldn’t recall the early nineties. It was time to move on, and as always – Kyle was my catalyst. So onto Pavement and Built to Spill I moved… still loitering around the genre today.

Holy crap y’allz. I just wrote several paragraphs on the kind of music I liked in high school. What the eff? But you know, I don’t care if it’s boring. It was easy to write – and that means it needed to be written. When I forget I’m writing and concentrate on telling the story, I know it’s a story worth writing down. Even if it is about nothing at all. Anyway, it’s not a complete “Dave’s musical tastes” evolutionary chart (man, how awesome would it be to actually make one of those?!) – but it’s a slice of time. I mean, somewhere either before or during all that was the Skinny Puppy/Front 242/Ministry phase, y’know, the all-black and combat boots era? Ahh, music, way too important to me.

Anyway, I wrote all that because I was originally trying to “introduce” a story about my eternal quest for a long-lost mix tape from the breakbeat days, but the “intro” morphed into a story of its own. I’ll just get right to the point: I’m always looking for songs which mighta been on this mix, as it was, in my opinion, the defining mix for early 90s hardcore. Alas, I lost the tape – only to one day years later hear the exact same mix on some alterna-radio’s Saturday night “club mix” or something. So I know it was a popular mix, perhaps commercially released or local to some big Orlando DJ. For nearly five years I’ve had a text file on my desktop called “mixtape.txt” in which I track songs in two categories: “definite,” and “possible.” One day I’ll find that mix, I swear. Stupid “underground” music, hard to find by definition, bah!

Maybe if I stop chugging Diet Cokes I’ll realize it’s nigh’ on 1am and I gotta go give my eight hours to the man again tomorrow. I’ve impressed myself with such a voluminous tome today, at three pages in Word it’s bound to look impressively page-filling sandwiched between the sickly-green borders of the blog.

And he even took time to link it up proper, good night all. Dave. Is. Out.


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3 Replies to “delusions of grandeur”

  1. "ducketts" means money (slanginsider.com). "Ducats" are the class of fundamental particles high end Italian motorcycles are made from. You need to be spelling your colloquailisms correctly.

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