To be honest, I think if someone did a Month in…Twitter column it would not only be better read than any of these articles, it would be far more entertaining. But until I persuade the higher-ups at FACT that Twitter is more important than music itself (it is), you’ll have to put up with this.
Twitter, for anyone into the confused dubstep/grime/future garage/wot u call it nonsense that this column deals in, is essential. Fuck Steven Fry and Paris Hilton, if you’ve ever been to FWD>> and you’re not getting regular updates on the life of Marcus Nasty, then you’re doing this all wrong.
Firstly, you’ll be behind on all the dorky in-fighting that goes on amongst the nerdier side of the community. When Simon Reynolds’ Guardian column about ketamine and wonky went up, I actually had to turn Twitter off such was the level of activity amongst hurt producers and bloggers. I will never do that again. Similar fall-outs have occurred in light of other recent Simon Reynolds columns – Kode 9 can be found here Tweeting about the Energy Flash author’s hormones – and there was plenty of dispute over Joe Muggs’ recent FACT review of Untold’s Gonna Work Out Fine.
Grime wonderkid turned pop brat Chipmunk caused all sorts of fuss amongst former fans of his with a series of obnoxious Tweets about the grime scene that made him, including blogger Grime Bitch, whose subsequent ‘Prickmunk’ blog post caused Chip Diddy Chip to call his lawyers and threaten to get the blog shut down. Pitchfork columnist Martin Clark later used Chip’s tweets as a stick to very effectively him beat him with. Other Twitter rows of note involve Marcus Nasty outing Hotsteppa, SK Vibemaker rucking with JME, and Funky Dee and Little Dee’s admittedly friendly grime vs funky dispute, which may yet lead to some sort of scene against scene tag team battle on DJ Cameo’s show. It’s probably coming after Little Dee’s album, or something.
Even if in-fighting’s not your thing, if you’re not locked into Twitter then you won’t be up on the latest music news: Wiley announced his album deal with Island on his Twitter page long before any news site did, and he’ll doubtless be just as quick off the mark when he walks out in two weeks’ time. Recent Tweets also indicate that he might be making a track with Gabriel ‘Heatwave’ Myddleton, and that his new album is the best he’s made yet.
It’s not all good with Wiley’s Twitter though. When he made his late arrival on the social networking site, everyone lost their shit – this was the man whose posts on RWD magazine’s forum were easily the best thing the mag’s ever had its name attached to, and possibly the internet too; his finest moment coming when he argued with a fourteen year old fan, telling them that their nan drove lorries for a living. But his Twitter game so far has been comparatively weak; over twenty Tweets, and nothing near as good as classic Wiley-isms like “I am Tinchy Stryder. I literally am him.” So the second page of this column will be dedicated to dab Twitterers from the UK’s bass music scene whom Wiley should be following if he wants to learn how to step up his game. It might hurt his pride, but it’ll help him in the long run – I’m sure he’s reading, after all.
Darren ‘Actress’ Cunningham, the man behind the Werk Discs label (home of Lukid, Lone and occasionally Zomby), makes considered, beautiful house music that takes in the history of Detroit while keeping it UK: his album Hazyville was made in a smoked out Brixton flat with frequently complaining neighbours. In both his taste, and his own productions, he’s seriously discerning. As a Twitterer, he’s a master of combining the abstract with the hilariously literal, as anyone who had the pleasure of watching him Tweet his way through the UK Top 40 one bored afternoon will testify:
– no.5 Lady Gaga – Paparazzi. Oh no, she’s gone full retard
– no.4 La Roux – Bullet Proof. we’re in love with the la roux. dont give a fuck attitude
– no.3 Black Eyed Peas – I Got A Feeling. Shocking
– Oh, its no. 2 Cascada – Evacuate The Dancfloor. Don’t worry love i’m nowhere near the dancefloor
– here it is no. 1. the suspense is killing me
– JLS!!!!!!! the new Pasadenas. Fully styled in H&M. BATTY!
Other recent favourites from Actress include ‘fuck sake, bout throw down a brutal techno set in club, and cabbie playing magic fm. flacid’ whilst on the way to 2562’s Unbalance lauch party, and one word gems that, when combined, provide some genuine insight into the head of one of the UK’s most intriguing musicians. Put it this way, I’m sold on anyone who can Tweet ‘Heinrich Mueller’ and ‘BOTTOMS’ in the space of one Twitter page.
The undisputed king of Twitter. An infamous member of grime’s history (he was the leader of NASTY Crew, who along with Roll Deep and Ruff Sqwad make up the holy trinity of grime collectives) turned one of UK house music’s premier DJs, his Twitter bio simply states “LIKEABLE ARSEHOLE”, and he’s not wrong. Marcus Tweets about farting in the gym, spam-headed Nandos waitresses, boners and the breakdown of gender boundaries in the 21st century, but his finest moment to date is coming up with ‘shitta’, the biggest buzz phrase amongst fans of UK street music since ‘shower’.
In Marcus’ own words, a shitta is a wrong’un; usually female. They can be educated, foreign, from Essex or the Mayor of London, it doesn’t matter; when Marcus comes across them he’ll let you, and the rest of the world know about it. But that’s not all, this week Marcus hit gold with his best Twitter moment to date:
That’s right, he told every sixth-former’s favourite philosopher, Freidrich Nietsche, to fuck off. Which frankly, half the world has been wanting to do for years. In the words of Mike ‘Boomnoise’ Burn, what’s next, Roska telling Baudrillard to get real? Let’s hope so. If it comes down to a war between UK funky DJs and philosophers I know who I’m backing, and it’s not the dead white guys.
There’s not much in the way of dialogue from Zomby’s Twitter, the elusive producer instead preferring to fill his page with YouTube links. They’re consistently quality though, collecting a series of influences on Zomby’s music that ranges from Steve Reich to ‘Trip 2 The Moon’. Even better, followers of Zomby’s Twitter are occasionally rewarded with mp3s of unreleased material, and semi-recently, a series of angry [and since deleted] Tweets directed at a dozy blogger who ripped a preview of Zomby’s One Foot Ahead of the Other centre-piece ‘Godzilla’ from YouTube to remix, before the original was even out.
Finally, you can’t write a column about Twitter’s role in dubstep, grime and UK house without bringing up UStream.
DJs all over the UK, from Bok Bok to Deadboy, Lukid to Oneman [above], Mosca and Unknown Soulja to Elijah and Skilliam, have been cutting out the middle man that is a club booth or radio station, and broadcasting DJ sets live to their Twitter followers over UStream. The trend was started by Oneman, who coined the phrase Yard Sessions to describe these shows (for non-UK readers, your yard is slang for your home), and for my money his sessions are still the best ones, sometimes lasting for over three hours and going through periods of reggae, dub and hip-hop, garage classics and twilight dubstep as the evening goes on.
Sometimes they’re done over webcam, sometimes they’re audio only – the specifics don’t really matter, the Yardcast sensation represents further disintegration of existing boundaries and limitations in UK club music, and so it’s a Very Welcome Thing. Plus there’s quality banter in the chat rooms. Certain DJs have plans to expand the UStream palette and take it out of the bedroom; I’m saying nothing for now, but watch this space.
Current Top Ten:
01 Untold – Gonna Work Out Fine EP [Hemlock]
02 Bubbz – Citizens of the City (Bok Bok dub) [forthcoming Blunted Robots]
03 Untold – Stop What You’re Doing (James Blake remix) [Hemlock]
04 Kry Wolf – Mucky (Mosca Remix) [digital]
05 Seductive – Underground Sound (Vato Gonzalez remix) [digital]
06 Scuba – Aesaunic EP [Hotflush]
07 Crystal Fighters – I Love London (Brackles remix) [forthcoming Kitsune]
08 Deadboy – If U Want Me [forthcoming Numbers]
09 Meleka – Go (D-Bridge Remix) [Propaganda]
10 Jam City – Witches Sunset [dubplate]