Sunday, 20 February 2022

Sanctions? On my blog?

Every now and then I enjoy a wander along the back streets of Spotify by plugging in a phrase and reviewing the first ten songs that pop up. So far, I've done "goodbye girl" and "sugar baby", the latter of which yielded at least one nugget of real gold in the pan courtesy of Jimmy Powell and the Five Dimensions.

A while ago I asked on Twitter whether anybody else wished to contribute a phrase. My friend Steve responded with 'sanctions'; whether this was a nod to then-current news items or, as I suspect, a devilish ruse to get me to experience some godawful noise I am yet to determine. Indeed, I was doubtful that such a term would yield anything but, lo and behold, there are hundreds of blessed instances. 

So, without further pomp and circumstance, here I go - this one's for you, Steve!

Artist: Raised Fist
Title: 'Sanctions'
Comically squeaky sturm und drang from frequently shirtless Swedish hardcore band Raised Fist, this has a certain animating spirit to commend it. Eh, they pay a little more attention to melody and texture than most hardcore bands I've encountered, but I can't get past the singer sounding like Mickey Mouse with a twenty-a-day Silk Cut habit. 6/10

Artist: Pluralist, Rex Domino
Title: 'UN Sanctions'
Fairly minimal electronica with a healthy slice of dubstep. Doesn't sound too far removed from the kind of stuff Kojey Radical does, albeit there's more free association going on where the lyrics are concerned. Does not sound as overtly political as our raspy Swedish friends; still, for a song released in 2020 I am impressed by the anachronism of "Got my baps out on Page Three.". Those days are long gone, my friend! 5/10

Artist: Nazar
Title: 'UN Sanctions'
Damn, the United Nations really can't catch a break! A whole minute of music concrete finally coalesces into something approaching a beat, which then disintegrates; a shame, because what replaces it is one of those distorted voice modulations, like when Channel 4 News used to interview the IRA, except in this instance I couldn't understand a single word being said. Ultimately a collage of sorts, abrasive, angular and disconcerting. Perhaps this makes more sense in the context of its parent album. 2/10

Artist: Gibberish, Chris McGrath
Title: 'Sanctions'
Is this nu-skatepunk? It certainly sounds like it. Do you think Tony Hawk still listens to this stuff? Do you think he ever did? He's probably too busy minting NFTs to really care. Anyway, this has pulled me back a good twenty years; but alas, back then I was busy inexpertly chugging my way through 'For Whom the Bell Tolls' on a Hohner. Yeah, nah. 3/10

Artist: Fauna Shade
Title: 'Sanctions'
For a brief moment I thought this was going to sound akin to 'Like Clockwork' by the Boomtown Rats. That didn't happen, but what did emerge was fairly inoffensive, garagey indie. They do that thing where the verses are quieter than the choruses. You dig, the single-note guitar chime giving way to big splashy power chords, to demonstrate that they really mean it. There's a couple of cool moments where it sounds like the singer is falling down a well, or being dragged into a cave. 6/10

Artist: gal pal
Title: 'Sanctions'
More indie, but this one has a hogshead or two more charm and inventiveness than Fauna Shade's effort. The singing is really expressive, pitched somewhere between Regina Spektor and the late, great Poly Styrene. I was immediately drawn to this strange bird due to the opening sound sounding like the start of Hawkwind's Quark, Strangeness and Charm platter, and the cataclysm of drums and synths that end the song is great craic. 8/10

Artist: jerry, slipknotmosi, hokoi
Title: 'sanctions'
Ostensibly, at least three entities contributed to the creation of this abomination. It answers the question, "what if we took the worst aspects of post-grunge, hip-hop and autotune pop and just smash them together, with no regard for what is pleasant or invigorating to the human ear?", and does it admirably. The thick mulch of layered robo-babble brings to mind the death throes of an evil cinematic supercomputer. Perhaps that's the aim? I'll stick with the Alan Parson Project's I, Robot, thank you very much. 1/10

Artist: NuMotive
Title: 'Sanctions'
I have no idea what constitutes good drum and bass. I will say this - the tempo of the music, and the staccato nature of the blips and blaps that punctuate the soundscape, do produce a sense of velocity and restlessness. A kind of skittering urgency, perhaps, which is underscored by dirty, fuzzy synth tones. If we fathom the worth of music by its functionality, this scores well. Do I like it, though? 5/10

Artist: B.O.M.
Title: 'Sanctions'
What the fuck is this? One of the more obtuse pieces of music I've listened to lately. I'd rather be listening to B.O.C., if you know what I mean! But you know what? Points on the board for creating something so quirky and challenging. It's less than three minutes, but packs a fair bit of wallop in that time - a staticky, nasty electro-stomp that assails the cerebral cortex quite successfully. 6/10

Artist: Dizzie Davidz
Title: 'Sanctions'
Autotune rap? On my blog? The day has arrived. I must admit, the Dizzie Davidz does take the manipulation of his voice a little further into the experimental realms than some of the others of the genre do, but not enough to hold my interest. It commits one of the biggest crimes around, where music is concerned - it's boring. Competent, but dull. Give me something incompetent with ambition over this any day. 3/10

And that, I type as the lights flicker on and off due to the storm blowing outside, is that. Not much there to get truly excited about, save that I want to give gal pal further consideration. In the course of this short blogpost I managed to say use both 'baps' and 'blaps', albeit the former was courtesy of the artist. What I wouldn't give for a 'bibimbap' right now! Stay safe, folks.


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