Saturday, December 25, 2010

Night Slugs 2010 and The Day Ikonika Made Me Cry Blood

"We are passing from the sphere of history to the sphere of the present and, partly, of the future." - Lenin, 'What Is To Be Done?', 1902

"What is to be DUN?" - Greena, in conversation, 2009

This time last year, I was on holiday in the Canary Isles for the Christmas break. It was warm. It was weird. I was a bit unwell, though hardly dying - it's just a bit disorientating being a Brit with a woozy head-cold, while so close to the Equator, in the deep midwinter. I was trying to write something about the nameless genres that were being played at Night Slugs in 2009 - at this point Slugs was still just a club night, not a record label... I wasn't really getting anywhere. This music is fucking hard to pin down, and it's my friends who are making it, which really complicates things.

It's been a dizzying year for London club music, and in particular for this cru, its friends, and family. If you don't know why Night Slugs is the label of 2010, check out the incredible Night Slugs Allstars compilation CD, and have a read of this: me and Alex Bok Bok discussing some of the remarkable music that's come out on Night Slugs already, to celebrate the birth of, and the entombment of our blog, Lower End Spasm... you can find the ~interview~ here.

Dan: there have been a number of moments this year where you've gone "MY GOD, WAIT TIL YOU HEAR THE NEXT ONE..."

Bok : yep!!!!! i genuinely felt like that all year

As a Christmas present (ha), here's a fragment of what I ended up writing back in December 2009, while wandering around Tenerife listening to Bok Bok, and Lil Silva, and Cooly G, and L-Vis 1990, and Jam City, and Ikonika, and Mosca, and various Oneman and Ben UFO and Girl Unit mixes and radio sets. It's the completely and utterly true story of the day I cried blood (my nasolacrimal duct was fine, thanks for asking).

The Day Ikonika Made Me Cry Blood
(December 2009)

....what ties these producers together is a renewed focus on encapsulating the ecstasy, melancholy, euphoria and better-or-worse, intrinsic beauty of just existing, late-night in the city. There’s also a striving to be organic – using the synthetic to create the real. The synth-washes are like blood flowing.

Earlier today, I went for a walk in the afternoon sunshine; hoping to refresh my pixel-dizzy brain with clean air, powerful Atlantic coastal breezes, and Bok Bok’s ‘Youth Blood’ Remix on my headphones. It wasn’t hot, but warm – about 22 degrees centigrade. I’ve been suffering from a stuffy headcold for a few days, and once again I blew my nose hard to clear it, like really hard - discarded the tissue, and kept walking along the sun-kissed Spanish pavements. Then, as the synths welled up in my ears, something happened. My left nostril was engulfed, flooded; warmer than mucus, thicker than water, an entirely strange but bizarrely pleasant sensation, like it was bathing in warm coagulate.

Before I could work out what was going on there was a shocking, vibrant red on my tropical yellow parrot t-shirt, and dripping on the pavement. For the first time since I was – what, 7 years old?! – I was having a nose-bleed. Jesus.

The blood kept flowing, and the synths kept running through my ears: warm, woozy, all-consuming. I got back home, nose pinched, feeling pale and dizzy, and cleared it out, washed off the dried blood, changed t-shirt, and sat down. This was refreshing, but I was still light-headed. Then, ten minutes later, it started again – by this time my mp3 player had got around to Ikonika’s ‘Fish’. I dutifully began pinching my nose and stuffing tissues up my left nostril again. But it just kept on flowing... if the first rush was big, this second drop was IMMENSE, the intensifying synths of Ikonika’s punch-drunk track rising higher and higher, spinning me around every bit as much as the blood-loss.

Failing to staunch the flow, dripping red on every surface, down my arm, onto my shirt, my eyes suddenly started to well up with liquid too. But it felt too warm to be tears somehow, not thin or salty enough. I ran into the bathroom to see what the hell was going on: I was, to my utter shock, crying tears of blood. Rich scarlet gloop was literally pouring out from the tear duct of my left eye – filling my eye, clouding my vision, then climactically breaking its own surface tension and flowing out, tracing the line of my nose.

Blood like this is too thick to just fall to the floor, like tears would do: it doesn’t drop, it glides.

I stood in front of the mirror and let it elegantly, dramatically, flow out of my eye and down my cheek.

Visceral as fuck, this music.


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