A Month Curated by A Ten Year Old #17

Les Nuits – Nightmares on Wax (1999, Warp Records, Taken from ‘Carboot Soul’)

What’s Trip Hop?”

My daughter has just asked me this question.  I’ve just come out of a long boring work meeting involved several angry people who have clearly drunk too much coffee.   So, I welcome the distraction. 

Alexa recommended a radio channel called ‘Trip Hop’ and I’ve been listening to it

So I try to explain about how in the 1990s a band called Portishead made a record called ‘Dummy’ which sort blew the music industry apart by creating a sound that hadn’t really been heard before.  A record full of samples, scratchy old beats, and big old vocals.  It was a genre that includes acts like Tricky, Massive Attack (all from Bristol, I tell her, and we detour as we discuss our trip to Bristol, where we went to We the Curious, the SS Great Britain and other local attractions) and yesterdays group Morcheeba.  It kind of lasted about three years before people sort of lost interest in it (in reality it became the staple music played in hipster cafes, at middle class dinner parties and kind of started to celebrate itself with its overt ‘sophistication’ and when Massive Attack et al started making music that was deliberately ‘not trip hop’ that’s when music fans started to move away from it) and the scene kind of morphed into different things (although they still call it trip hop).

We tune into the radio channel (again in reality it was a playlist designed by Amazon and not a radio channel at all) and the first thing that comes on is ‘Les Nuits’ by Nightmares on Wax, which if you ask me is not really a trip hop track at all.  Sure its laid back and chilled and full of weird beats, sampled strings and would sound great in a club as a smoke machine pumped away, but its not a trip hop record.  Then again, who am I to question (and this is a direct quote) “Sounds selected by Amazon’s Musical Experts”) and as it happens my daughter loves it and with a minute she is requesting that Alexa adds this to her playlist.  We let “Best of Trip Hop” run and just for larks here are the next two tracks that are played.

The Elevator (The Chill Remix) – Jaffa (2000, Dune Records, Taken from ‘Elevator’) – I’m not sitting here pretending to be an expert on all things trip hop but I’ve never heard of Jaffa before and if I was compiling a Best of Trip Hop Playlist I suspect this would be nowhere near it, although saying that its not that bad if you like a retro sounding organ chiming away over the top of some blunted beats. My daughter listens to it all the way through but like me finds it all a bit ‘Meh’.

Straight after that we get something else that I have never heard of before

Plain Song – Sidewinder (1999, Fenetik Music, Taken from ‘2badsheep’) – which I’m fairly sure isn’t a trip hop version of the Cure track from ‘Disintergration’ but a rather playful trumpet infused piece of Ninja Tunes style wonky pop (only its not released on Ninja Tunes but clearly wants to be).  We don’t get halfway through this before my daughter loses interest and wanders off.  Make of that what you want.  As she wanders off somewhere in my mind an idea for a series sprouts above the ground but we have plenty of time for that to develop.

Let’s press the shuffle button on my daughters playlist again and see what gets selected

Walk on By – Dionne Warwick (1964, Scepter Records, Taken from ‘Make Way for Dionne Warwick’)

A few years ago Rolling Stone did a countdown of the 500 Greatest Songs of all Time.  The Top 50 of that contained ONE song by a solo female artist (‘Respect’ by Aretha Franklin).  ‘Walk On By’ was the second highest track on that countdown by a solo female and it was placed at Number 51.  I type this on International Women’s Day (March 8th) and I just want to say that Rolling Stone’s Top 500 tracks suck massively because ‘Walk On By’ is so much better than at least 45 of the tracks in their Top 50 as are several hundred others by solo females. 

As I type that another series idea sprouts tiny buds….

Here’s another Bacharach and David staple as sung by Dionne. 

Make It Easy On Yourself – Dionne Warwick (1963, Scepter Records, Taken from ‘Presenting Dionne Warwick’)

Tomorrow The Obligatory Primal Scream Post


1 Comment

  1. JC says:

    “Sounds selected by Amazon’s Musical Experts”

    Kids…just say no. Your uncle Barry and his blogging pals will keep you right.


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