A Conversation for The Four Elements of Hip Hop

Triphop

Post 1

Uncle Heavy [sic]

i know what it is (blah blah massive attack/dj shadow/portishead et al) but what is it, and where did it spring from?


Triphop

Post 2

Gubernatrix

Ah! Interesting question.

The short answer is, I don't know exactly where it comes from, although I can tell you what I do know.

'Trip hop' is sometimes referred to or categorised with 'downbeat'. Some trip hop is alarmingly close to Electronica, at the other end of the spectrum it can resemble hip hop turntablism. People started to pick up on it in the early nineties. It was influenced partly by hip hop DJ techniques, partly by ambient trance techno (remember people like Banco de Gaia?).

It's like a slowed-down hip hop beat with trancey stuff going on over the top, but with a lot of soul and jazz influences as well. It's a sophisticated, middle-class sound. Also, as well as American artists like Shadow, there were very interesting developments in Europe - the UK's Bristol sound, Air French band etc. Western/northern Europe has gone on to excel in Electronica beats, which have a similar musical heritage.

For me, the outstanding trip hop of the nineties came not from the Bristol movement (Massive Attack, Portishead etc), but from the Ninja Tune record label, owned by Coldcut. Coldcut started this label in 1990 and pioneered what became known as trip hop.

As you know, Coldcut have been around the block and are beyond all that genre crap - to the extent that they started taking the piss out of the music-journalist need to coin a new phrase for every sub-genre that makes an appearance. They put out compilation albums with silly names like 'Funkjazztical Tricknology', which were musically very innovative.

Some of Ninja Tune's artists include 9Lazy9, The Herbaliser, DJ Food (Coldcut under another name), Kruder & Dorfmeister et al. I find them more interesting than the self-conscious Bristol bands because they are more experimental and varied.

If you think of that percussion that lies under Massive Attack and Portishead tunes, that sounds like a heartbeat (dum da-dum, dum-dum da-dum), that characterises the 'Bristol sound' for me. And it's all you ever hear. No scratching, no random amusing samples.

I've somewhat lost track of what's going on now. Coldcut have re-released the album 'Journeys By DJ: 70 minutes of madness' this year, which is fantastic. It mixes every style you can think of from hip hop to funk to techno to drum and bass to electro to reggae. There's also a guy called Rjd2 who brought out an album this year on Definitive Jux called 'Deadringer', which is really fresh.


Triphop

Post 3

Uncle Heavy [sic]

i actually quite like the bristol sound, cos im not into hip hop so much, and am more into ambience, but im trying to get more shadow like stuff. maybe ill check out some ninja tune stuff...

except, i hasnt to add f ucking morcheeba smiley - grr


Triphop

Post 4

Gubernatrix

what about Royksopp then?


Triphop

Post 5

Uncle Heavy [sic]

oh yes. they are, like, WAY. dude. and all of that french lot of jazzy house dudes like daft punk, air, kojak, cassius, dimitri from paris blahblah.

not to go and see live, mind. dance acts are usually profoundly boring live.


Triphop

Post 6

Gubernatrix

Yup. And the poseurs in the poncy venues are even more so! Probably because they can't dance for fear of messing up their carefully distressed-gel haircuts and getting their John Rocha jeans dirty.


Triphop

Post 7

Uncle Heavy [sic]

you get just as many, if not more, poseurs at rock gigs in london clubs. i dont know where you live, but have you ever been to the metro club on oxford street? i saw the eighties matchbox b-line disaster and the liars there - two eminently moshable bands. but there were way too many preening indie fops there, all with their darling artfully arranged hair and pre-faded converse...


Triphop

Post 8

Gubernatrix

I know of the Metro Club but I don't think I've ever been there (can't remember).

However have been to the Dome, Garage, Forum, Marquee Club (when it still existed!), Astoria, LA2, Borderline, Brixton Academy, Barfly etc etc. I tend to find there are less poseurs at rock gigs - although there are always some.

Somehow its easier to find people who are obviously enjoying the music, atmos, whatever. Not that I want to be snooty about places like Cargo or the ICA bar, but it seems to take a great deal of effort to hang out there. Maybe I'm not cool enough....smiley - coolsmiley - wah


Triphop

Post 9

Uncle Heavy [sic]

not actually living in london i cant get to that many gigs there, but ive definately had more fun in places like mr smiths in bournemouth or the zodiac in oxford. theres fewer people trying to be cool or to be there to say they saw the next big thing and more people just having a good time


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