Wednesday, 21 September 2011

PCCP cracks a smile as Smutlee unleashes a slew of edits

Now, anyone who has ever been promised any copy from me knows that speed and productivity are perhaps not my forte, so it makes me feel a whole lot better when I see Smutlee put something up on Soundcloud, as it reminds me that he's one person who could possibly give me a run for my money in in a lazy-bastard off.*

Cheap and utterly unfounded pops aside, I'm glad that my boy Smutlee doesn't flood the moombahton scene, as it allows us to fully savour what he does and maintains his status as the UK's first and finest producer of 108s. As I've mentioned elsewhere, his subtle transplanting of bashy vibes in place of the reggaeton element of Dave Nada's creation has worked a treat, and has been influential on up-and-coming producers - and was always utterly logical given that the UK urban scene landscape is informed more by dancehall vibes than latin ones.

Moombahton suffers from people who are content to try to work with the innovations of others, but Smutlee has never been like that - from the off he's forged his own sound, and his position on the scene shows that people are happy to wait as they know they won't be disappointed. He's actually been sitting on these edits since the start of 2011, since his cracking Mixpak session, don't you know - but the fact that they still sound impeccable and haven't dated in a scene that sprouts genres daily shows that he's on to something. From Majic, Look Pon Me and his Chambacu remix through to this batch, he's shown a ridiculous grasp of melodic hooks and an intuitive production style that searches for freshness and doesn't rely on a small clutch of tried-and-tested-yet-ultimately lazy samples.

He's working on original material at the moment, full of cowbell-handclap-whistle party goodness, so expect that to be released some time in 2017. Till then, drink in these beauties...

Stronger Clap (Smutlee Moombahton Edit) by smutlee

Hoodrat Stuff Hot Wuk (Smutlee Moombahton Edit) by smutlee

Mad Balloon (Smutlee Moombahton Edit) by smutlee

Hey You Driver (Smutlee Moombahton Edit) by smutlee

*This is not true. Smutlee is a highly productive man, who would probably rescue your nan from a burning house - he just doesn't release much.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Exclusive: Skinny Friedman gives PCCP the skinny on Moombahton De Acero 3

I love Young Robots. You love Young Robots. People who maybe don't even know about Young Robots will come to love it in time. How long it will take non-believers to love this Brooklyn-based label will depend on the speed of their Internet connection - but it'll be roughly the sum total of the time it takes to download Young Robot dons Skinny Friedman and Apt One's Moombahton De Acero 3 and take it all in.

The past few months on the Moombahton scene has seen the welcome arrival of a slew of buzz-rider kids, all full of enthusiasm, grand schemes and cracked software, yet of equal importance, a number of OGs who were perhaps taken for granted have asserted their rightful place in the pecking order with high-grade productions - I'm thinking Doc Adam with his La Reconquista EP, Sabbo with Deepaton and Lightning Eyez with his monumental Wildstyles comp. One of the pitfalls of this scene is the reliance on the idea of the fam - play up to the mutual support and you prosper, do your own thing and bypass the PR games and you'll sit in the stands. You rarely hear a peep from Apt One and Skinny, yet they're as important as anyone on the scene - when I first got into this beast, their first MDA EP was a key part of me becoming a mark - tracks like Apt's Con Alegria edit and Skinny's take on Count and Sinden's Mega nailed what made Moombahton so unique, and proved it had an unrivalled scope and an alchemic ability to improve almost any track. Skinny doesn't get the credit he deserves for helping to build a firm link with the urban scene, while everybody needs to go through their Serrato libraries and take stock of how Apt One has quietly and consistently delivered fuss-free bombs - just go back and listen to Fich So Sexy on Sabo's Moombahton Massive 3 EP, for starters.

This brings us to Moombahton De Acero 3. Immense. Apt One's deep latin banger Carlito is among my tracks of the year, full stop, a worthy partner piece to the fiesta vibes that Kwest, Sabo, Melo and Pickster have been dropping recently, but with the sweeping minor-key expanse of O-Wey by A-Mac. On the back of his Trap Rave release, Skinny has again truffle-pigged around in his hip hop roots and tweaked Drake into a more airhorn-friendly domain. Young Robots have also made a smart move by bringing Jay Fay and Cassius Slay into the fold, two up-comers who have already had maximum impact in a short space of time - check Jay's recent remix of Javier Estrada and Cassius' first EP.

I'm really pleased that Skinny added to his already wired, sleep-deprived state by taking the time to speak to PCCP and give us the lowdown on MDA3.

Now all you need to do is download
Moombahton De Acero 3 - and if you're in that New York place tonight, head to the launch party here...

I'll shut up now and let Skinny take over...

"It's crazy how big a part of our sets and our parties moombahton has become over the last year and change. Thanks to all the remixes and edits everyone's making, we can run seamlessly through house, dubstep, dancehall and 90's R&B. And the kids love it. The kids!
This is me and Apt One's third Moombahton De Acero compilation. It means Moombahton Of Steel, which is a nod to our Pittsburgh roots. Back when it was a funny experiment, it seemed like giving one's moombahton project a Spanish name was the thing to do. Now it honestly sounds a little corny, like when every rap album had a hip-house song with a bad pun based on the word 'house'. (Unrelated: we also did a hip-house EP.)As well as the usual remixes from me and Apt One, MDA3 also introduces Cassius Slay, Jay Fay and Tiny Cat, who we'll be working with on moombahton projects on our Young Robots label. Hope everyone loves it."

Skinny Friedman + DJ Apt One - Kick It! (Evil Dee)
"This flips the intro to Rawkus's Soundbombing I tape, with DJ Evil Dee yelling and the first few notes of Artifacts' Brick City Kids. We were underground rap heads back then and this was a big record for us. We used to play mad underground rap at house parties until the girls complained. So this is an homage to our backpacker past."

Skinny Friedman + DJ Apt One - Kick It! (Evil Dee) by Young Robots Records

Drake + Lil Wayne - "I'm On One (Skinny Friedman + Cassius Slay remix)
"Cassius Slay is my dudes CJ and Keith from Columbus. I was down there for some gigs this summer and we threw this together. Then we went to like five clubs that wouldn't let us in because we all had hats. Columbus is weird. I always have fun down there though."

Drake + Lil Wayne - I'm On One (Skinny Friedman + Cassius Slay remix) by Young Robots Records

Mark Reeve - Carlito (DJ Apt One remix)
"This is Apt in his element. I'm a lot more into the hard, dumb stuff and he goes for funkier, deeper tracks and you can see it in the tracks we've chopped up on the compilations. It creates a cool dynamic when we spin back to back though; we cover a lot of ground."

Mark Reeve - Carlito (DJ Apt One remix) by Young Robots Records

Tiny Cat - Touch
"Fundamentally, moombahton is an excuse to take genres into new speeds. Tiny Cat is a deep techno dude and he thought he hated moombahton until I broke it down for him like that. It gets hyped up as this offshoot of dutch house or dubstep, but smart DJs know it mixes well with dancehall, hyphy rap, NOLA bounce, etc etc. So dude hits me a couple days later with this totally original, synthed-out track, and it's probably gotten the best reception of all the tracks here."
Soulja Boy - All Black Everything (Jay Fay remix)
"I met Jay through Twitter after I used his Look Pon Me remix on a mixtape. When he started doing moombahton it was a no-brainer to try to get him involved. Dude is crazy talented. I love the bass drop on this one."
Cassius Slay - The Bouncer
"Anyways, CJ and I connected over a love of ignorant-ass rap music, so it caught me off guard when dude up and sent me a whole grip of original moombahcore. They're sitting on a lot of tracks and we're aiming for November for their EP."
Scottie B + King Tutt - African Chant (Skinny Friedman remix)
"One of my favorite Baltimore Club joints of all time, I don't think I played a single gig from 2006 to about 2008 without dropping African Chant. It slowed down pretty nicely."

Scottie B + King Tutt - African Chant (Skinny Friedman remix) by Young Robots Records

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Gerard Butler's new film - is this for real?

You know how they had all those McBain trailers in The Simpsons? The ones that totally nailed the ridiculousness of mainstream Hollywood genre conventions? It may be possible that Quantum Of Solace director Marc Forster has perhaps not realised that they were intended for rofls - either that or perhaps he thought he'd see if he could help kickstart an Heavily Armed Unassuming Person action sub-genre in the wake of Hobo With A Shotgun.

Either way, this looks... I can't quite put it into words. Curious? Bad? Lame? Potentially hilarious?

Turns out Machine Gun Preacher is actually based on the life of wrong-un-turned-top-bloke Sam Childers, who gave up a life of crime to set up orphanages in Somalia – therefore proving that yes, this film actually is indeed for reals. Thanks for the bad movie buzz-kill, real-life dude.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Nice one, London Film Festival

The line-up for the London Film Festival was announced today, which I'll have a rifle through soon enough.

While they're going out on a limb by programming the critically ooh-Jesus-really?-not-sure-let-me-get-back-to-you W.E., Madonna's allegedly shit/okay-ish new film (depending on how charitable you are), I think that's more than chalked off by the fact that they've also scheduled The Artist, Michael Hazanavicius' supposedly ravishing silent movies tribute. This got a lot of love from Cannes, providing a welcome distraction from the gravitas-gloomcore tagteam of Terence Malick's Tree Of Life and Lars von Trier's Melancholia.

Here's the trailer for your peepage, though it may be worth noting that the Weinsteins have their paws on it now, so they may have asked for dialogue to be added and for the black and white footage to be full technicolour by the time we get to see it. They have form, you know.

An open (though albeit belated) email to Jon Kwest

From: Neil Queen-Jones
Date: Tues, 6 Sept 2011
To: Jon Kwest
Re: Moombahjaz

Dear Mr Kwest,

It was with great anticipation and a little bit of a Japanese schoolgirl handclap-squeal combo that I received the email from you containing your latest release, Moombahjazz Vol 1, a 108bpm-dembow tribute to the great Tito Puente. Over the past god-knows how long, your tracks have never strayed far from 'oh fucking hell that's very good indeed', and even on the rare occasions that quality does vary, a lesser track would still be worth a solid 'oooooooh!' and a contented facial expression, not dissimilar to when finding a beer tucked away at the back of the fridge.

This time, however, I have to admit that I had some slight reservations. I've become concerned with moombahton's minor obsession with genre assimilation. I even got to the point of having chin-stroking, self-important chats about it with my moombah-peers about the issue, and feared that, on the back of Dust Mask, you too might be veering towards an over-reliance on that. I think there's a threshold of four new sub-genres a week - any more than that and the system starts glitching.

So you can imagine the size of the Japanese schoolgirl squeal-clap combo part 2 when it transpired that within the EP was Chang, an absolute screamer of a track that cannot be reisisted; a glorious, percussive, uplifting and joyous one that carries on the fiesta vibe you recently displayed with Cubia, your also-overwhelming track on Sabo's Moombahton Massive 5 EP.

Chang - Moombahjazz Vol 1 by Jon Kwest
Jon Kwest - Cubia ft on "Moombahton Massive V" by Jon Kwest

Of course, this does have the added disadvantage of making me look a dick in retrospect in terms of my whole genre cross-polination leading to moombahton retardation thing. But I'll take that swap, just this once.

Keep it up, and ta everso for the freebie.

Yours with an increased sense of faith,

Neil Queen-Jones

Thursday, 1 September 2011

New trailer for a great-looking film you might have to wait a while to see

Martha Marcy May Marlene, which hits the UK next February, was a massive hit at this year's Sundance, and reeks of that highbrow critic-luring, brooding US indie vibe that'll ensure folk will be talking about it for ages, then get forgotten about, a la Catfish.

Hat tip to Empire and Twitch.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

The Kool Kids Klub's Moombahton Special: the night the UK caught up

All photos: Lee Tickett

If you look closely enough, you can see the smear. The ugly, jealous smear left on the window, put there by my nose, after it was repeatedly pushed up against the pane, enviously watching the rest of the world enjoy what we here in Britain were being deprived of. Amid all the excitement and, yeah I admit it, my obsession for moombahton, one of my key joys was reading Marcus Dowling’s heady, sweaty, evangelical reports from the Moombahton Massive parties over in DC, along with raucous tales from the Arizonaton bashes of DJ Melo, Pickster One and Frank Mendez’s El Cuco fam. Meanwhile, the likes of Dave Nada, Heartbreak, Dillon Francis, Sabo, Munchi and Skinny Friedman were jetting all over Europe and the rest of the planet, spreading the word like hipster jehovah’s – yet apart from a short residency from Dillon Francis, the UK’s door remained unknocked.

The irony was painfully clear – for a scene forged in a global workshop, only a handful of geographically favoured people could get the full picture, right there, in the clubs, where moombahton truly makes sense – the punk-acid house energy streamlined by an unfettered, languid and sexy latin grace and nobility. Moshpits kicking off and G-spots being located on the dancefloor: the same hedonistic vibe you get from any great scene before it’s co-opted by the mainstream – the debauched freedom that comes from knowing you can do your own thing while the uninformed majority aren’t paying attention.

But it’s okay, we’re here now. It happened. The Kool Kids Klub, Smutlee and Jake Twell made moombahton work in the UK. This isn’t to demean what has gone on here before, far from it – both Club Popazuda’s Fiyahpowa and Boyfriend’s Club Tropicana were perfect ambassadors, both stepped up to try to bring moombahton to London, both were offered scant reward for their efforts. DJs, producers and club nights had also sprung up all over the country – but there had yet to be a major statement event that resoundingly gave the club scene the UK cosign to corroborate the media support from Toddla, Annie Mac, Mistajam and Nihal from BBC radio, and Mixmag and The Guardian *proud face x2*. Yeah, it’s arrogant of us to think that it matters, but even though we live in the era of a global community, this place remains an unquestionable epicentre of dance music - just ask Dave Nada: “I'm beyond excited about all the positive UK response to moombahton. To me that's the biggest compliment. I feel like if you win over the UK, then you’re automatically ahead of the curve.”

Anyway, we’re here now, we’ll have what you’re having, ta very much – and it’s all down to The Kool Kids. Alex Baker, George Smith and Justin Reid-Simms already stood tall on the bass scene from their base in Southend, just outside of London - their last three guests were Toddla, Annie Mac and French Fries, while A-Trak, Herve have also done a shift, as have any number of up-and-coming talents like Mele and Warrior One. If you do bass, you either play or want to play there. The Kool Kids haven’t just swooped in to claim the prize, by the way – when I discovered moombahton last year, two of the first people I found in the UK who were on it here were Smutlee and Justin, Whole Sick if you want to find him on Soundcloud. For around a year, Whole Sick was dropping 108s into his warm-up sets, to the point that Smutlee’s Majic had become a minor anthem.

There’s a neat symmetry to it happening outside of London. With the rise of regional hip hop and moombahton setting up shop in DC and Phoenix, the dominance of traditional cultural meccas like New York and London has been challenged. Arguably, it was the strength and diversity of the London club scene that stopped it bedding in earlier, with both Fiyahpowa and Club Tropicana coming up against a city with a fiercely competitive club scene that wasn’t keen on nurturing fledgelings. Away from that mecca pressure, it can grow, and it’s no coincidence that many of the producers and DJs in the UK are from outside London – guys like Twell, Jamrock, Mr9Carter, Untimely Sounds, Jera and Jimi Needles.

So logic was on the Kool Kids’ side, as was the crowd - loyal, committed and fervent. If you have a crowd’s trust, you have more freedom to take them places. It’s only right that Whole Sick prepped the crowd for Smutlee – and gave us the first of the night’s key moments, supervising the switch to 108 for a crowd weaned on 130. After French Fries’ Senta got the place up, a pitched-up DJ Sabo’s Spock’s Delight dropped – which could have indicated an evening of compromise, but instead it morphed smartly into Snoop’s Drop It Like It’s Hot - and then back to the Sabo track at the correct speed. The gear shift was palpable – as was the cultural shift. The hard part over, Smutlee had carte blanche. Lee excels in smart, melodic, well-crafted sets, warm in character and diversity. From his own dancehall-informed edits, to the metronomic squeaks of Halo Nova’s Get Sticky, via DJ Melo’s Told Ya, that Get Yr Freak On edit by Alvaro that I really need to get my hands on and Heartbreak’s monstrous remix of Toddla’s Watch Me Dance, Smutlee packaged up the depth and breadth of this sound, and provided symbolic moments two and three. Much of what was played early on had the feel of a Trojan horse, edits with enough familiarity to reel in those on the fence, so hearing Ckrono’s edit of Samim’s Heater felt pivotal. Sure, it’s an edit, too, but its cleaner use of the dem bow, reined-in bass and cumbia-tinted melodies suggested a point in the night when moombahton stopped wanting to be something else and claimed a spot of land for itself. Then Smutlee delivered a simple, devastating few minutes: Daft Punk’s Da Funk into Dave Nada’s Moombahton, two mid-paced, unique EDM icons providing a sweaty cosign. Next to DC, we’re at ground level still here, so you’ll forgive me for reading small moments as portentous.

There was nothing small about Jake Twell’s set, though. Put simply, Smutlee popped the cork, then Jake quickly shotgunned the contents (note: check metaphor works before publishing). Twell’s one of the nascent UK producers brought over to the scene from dubstep by Munchi’s Firepower, and brings a sound that works on a partycore level of beats and bass that both bounce and wobble. His set felt like blue balls being drained in the middle of a primal scream therapy session – the pressure of a year’s wait being released in one fierce burst. It was a blistering set, and the kind you can only ever hear once, packed with the cherry-picked killers that people aren’t tired of yet. This was Moombahton 101, bringing newbies up to speed at pace: Firepower, King Kong, Cam Jus’ Big Boss, Sandungueo, Sabo’s Jump Around – tick, tick tick. Yet this wasn’t just a hall-of-fame routine, this was fully up to speed, with still-fresh tracks like Sazon Booya’s La Bomba, Pickster’s Dem Bow Is The New Amen and Bro Safari’s Wombats ensuring that this was no half measure.
It worked - Smutlee and Twell helped the Kool Kids provide a platform for moombahton to grow here in the UK, using both tropical and bass as door wedges to let it in. Seeing that Munchi played London shortly after, and Smutlee gained his wings by playing at New York’s Que Bajo, signs are this won’t be the end of it. The real pity is that The Kool Kids appear to have no immediate plans to follow it up, which is a huge shame, as they could seriously boss it here in the UK. Who will profit from their hard work? We’ll see.

It’s funny, a few years back, I was writing a new music column for The Times’ website, and the need to write about the newly formed Mumford & Sons was far outweighed by the urge to big up what was emerging stateside, hipster rap, with acts like The Cool Kids offering a buoyant, populist sound that cut across much of what I was hearing. We all know where that ended up. Yet, now, another buoyant, populist sound just took a step to making the grade. It’s an irony that isn’t lost on me: Kool Kids 1, Cool Kids 0.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

A quick look at the Scala Forever season - plus ticket giveaway!

"The Scala existed to stick two fingers up to formal mainstream movies," so said founder Stephen Wooley, who oversaw an era of bold, left-field programming that has rarely been seen in this country - and certainly not since its demise in 1993, a victim of both the video boom and a legal battle with Stanley Kubrick and Warner Brothers over an illicit screening of A Clockwork Orange. Inspired by the legendary US grindhouses, the Scala boasted an incomparably eclectic programme that ranged from Argento, Waters, Romero, Meyer and Woo through to Herzog, Capra, Bunuel, the Marx Brothers, Leone, early cult classics like Freaks, euro-smut and any genre you like that ended in -sploitation.

And now it's back, kinda. For seven weeks only, screens across London will pay tribute as part of the
Scala Forever season, organised by the Roxy Bar & Screen , which kicked off on Saturday at the Roxy with a screening of the 1933 King Kong - the first film to grace The Scala - and closes, fittingly, with A Clockwork Orange. Echoing the programming that made the Scala the icon it is, the season offers a taste of the unhinged joy it had to offer, minus the cats, the smell, the rumble of the tube train, the dodgy sound, the druggies and the couple copping off behind you.

Like the sound of it? Want more? How do you fancy winning a pair of tickets to a double bill of unforgettablly infamous arthouse world horror in the form of Jodorowsky's unhinged Santa Sangre and the Asian surrealism of Tetsuo: The Iron Man on Sunday 4th September at the Roxy?

All you need to do is drop us a mail here, making sure you put Scala Forever in the subject line. Please note, you must be over the age of 18, and seats are not allocated, so get there early to bag a good seat.

Main photo copyright dusashenka

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Submarine DVD review

There’s something really annoying about reviewing Submarine when it’s on DVD, as opposed to on when its theatrical run – basically, all you’re doing is looking over at the people who gushed the first time around and meekly validating what they said, with only minor variations you can call your own – maybe you can make a really stupid observation or aside that they rightly skipped over.

Still, bravely I soldier on and join the chorus of a million voices that came before me by stating for the record that Submarine is a genuinely fantastic, unforgettable and potentially timeless film, one that captures all the joy of cinema and undoes the damage to cinema done by Shyamalan, Bay and all the other cine-transgressors that we all kinda secretly love.

This classic fish-out-of-water plus coming-of-age tale follows school-kid Oliver (Craig Roberts) as he clumsily falls in love with classmate Jordana (Yasmin Paige), while watching his parents’ own relationship flounder amid their own failed aspirations. Struggling to convince the world of his own potential greatness, Oliver finds himself instead wrestling with frustrations – his own difficulty in fitting in with a world that doesn’t get him, and his mum’s mid-life crisis, as she risks her marriage to get reacquainted with a a boyfriend from her past who’s re-emerged, played by Paddy Considine. Directed by sort-of first-timer Richard Ayoade (well, he directed the Artic Monkey’s concert movie, Arctic Monkeys At The Apollo, and episodes of the impressive, yet a bit overlooked 80s terror spoof, Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace), it’s so steeped in warmth, character, tone and style that it’s nigh on impossible to pick holes. If there’s a line to be drawn it’s to the likes of Harold & Maude and the films of Wes Anderson, deeply humanistic comedies that use eccentricity to draw out depth of character.

But Ayoade goes further – he never shies away from the flaws that could make his characters believable and unlikeable, therefore swerving the overly mannered schtick of Wes Anderson. And he does it all with an incredibly flamboyant and expansive directorial style; Oliver’s self-indulgent flights of fantasy give a widescreen view to the kitchen sink everyday story, and provide the Catcher In The Rye vibe - all of it done with a rich visual style that deftly mixes techniques and formats to keep it buzzing along. Much has been made of Ayoade's cine-literate approach, yet it is rich and always remains on the right side of indulgent. This restraint goes with the whole sense of deftly controlled execution - Submarine manages to be both big and small at the same time, bold yet intimate – summed up by the theatricality of Paddy Considine's Graham, who verges on parody, yet is ultimately as easy to empathise with as anyone else in this rampant joy of a film.

To recap: yeah, it's really good. And so are the extras. To be honest, they could be a procession of clips of cast and crew telling me I'm a dick and I'd still say you buy it. It's not though, it's a healthy pack of extended scenes, Q&As, featurettes and other nuggets. Nothing more to say, really, let's just assume you're off to buy it, shall we?

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Download: Guapo Feo drops a different kind of moombahsoul

We've all been loving David Heartbreak's Moombahsoul comps, haven't we? Of course we have – they're as slick as a Brylcreem otter making his move on a sexy lady otter during the BP oil disaster, and they've been a welcome antidote to the dominance of the Dirty Dutch sound and its sometimes-meh derivatives that tend to boss the moombahton scene. It's also provided a much-needed stepping stone to an expansive, more developed use of melody and texture that's essential if this thing is to last beyond the point when the hipsters sell up and leave (freebie joke that you'll have already heard 23 times, courtesy of somebody or other: hear about the hipster who burned his tongue? He ate his pizza before it was cool).

Yeah, so we're all about the moombahsoul, agreed? Then say thank you to New Yorker Guapo Feo for reminding us that soul music is also about passion, raw emotion and dizzying highs and lows with his edit of Nothing But A Heartache by The Flirtations, which just happens to genuinely be my joint all-time favourite Northern Soul tune (Chapter 5's You Can't Mean It is the other, if you're bothered). Given that Northern Soul is so raw, and the prodcution on the original track was so warm and full of life, Guapo's edit could have easily gone very wrong. It doesn't - hear it for yourself...

Animal Kingdom DVD review

Clammier than Ryan Giggs’ hands when his lawyer calls, this Australian crime drama has emphatically placed one foot in the cult-classic section of our collective cinematic heart. After being taken into care by his aunt, youngster J (James Frecheville) inadvertently finds himself bang in the middle of tense battle for survival among the notorious Cody crime family – with each of his cousins locked in their own particular struggle with grim fate.

Right from the word go, Animal Kingdom hits homes with its distinct take on the crime genre, less concerned with the spoils of felony, more with the family’s quest to maintain their status under unsurmountable pressure – the police are arguably even more arseholy and ruthless than they are, and the crooks' long-term prospects are starting to look increasingly grim. The siege mentality that springs from this persecution fuels a gloriously ironic domesticity, soap-esque, that undercuts much of the bravado – two of the gang discuss getting proper jobs while picking up milk at the supermarket, while the deceptively cruel matriarch Smurf directs traffic from the kitchen. The pecking order that gives this film its title also plays itself out, with the weakest through to the strongest asserting their place in the food chain – none more than the feral Pope, thanks to a kettle-boiling performance from Ben Mendelsohn, whose sullen fa├žade struggles to contain his primal scumminess, and Jacki Weaver’s Smurf, whose dark and twisted version of maternal instincts earned the Oscar nod that helped firm up Animal Kingdom’s status. Like A Prophet before it, Animal Kingdom plonks J into this territorial domain, letting his survival instincts lead the narrative.

As J starts to find his place, the consequences begin to stack up and the tight-knit bonds begin to unravel. Guy Pearce’s Detective Leckie spots what remains of the old J and sees a chance to bring the family down – the youngster has both his and his family’s fates in his hands, and the consequences of his actions have huge consequences for all involved.

Tight, tense, sweaty, gripping and addictive, Animal Kingdom is excellent from start to finish. Flip to the extras and you’ll find the usual suspects: theatrical trailer and director interviews. All told, there’s no reason for you not to buy it.

Animal Kingdom is out now on DVD and Blu-ray

Less Than Zero: who wants to watch a film projected onto a load of fridges?

If you live in the Hackney area and have a love of films that's matched by both an undying admiration for the common fridge's continued contribution to society and a sadness at how the Olympic urban renewal programme has come at the expense of a hideous eyesore, then Films On Fridges is the event you've been waiting for. Starting tomorrow, Wednesday 27th July, Films On Fridges will adding to the lively pop-up cinema scene by projecting a season of classic and new sports films onto a recreation of east London's infamous Fridge Mountain, a 20ft-high stack of discarded fridges which used to call the site of the new Olympic home.

FOF kicks off with a sold-out screening of Rocky, then follows it up with the likes of Cool Runnings (duh), Escape To Victory, Rio Breaks, Saint Etienne's What Have You Done Today, Mervyn Day? and the premiere of Pelada, the SXSW-wowing documentary which looks at how the love of football veers towards being a faith that can help people around the world cope with hardship *points to trailer below*

Find out more about Films On Fridges here – or buy tickets to the screenings here.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Dammit, I got sucked in by the Star Wars deleted scenes press release

Yeah, it goes without saying that we all got off the Star Wars bus at around the same time. For me, it was the moment that Liam Neeson uttered the line: "You hear that? That is the sound of a thousand terrible things coming this way," which, for me, is the yardstick by which all bad dialogue can be judged. Then there's the whole Lucas the cultural desecrator thing, with each repackaging of the series digging away at what was left in my heart of the child that stood in line for hours with his dad to get in to see them first time round.

But God damn you, Lucas, there's something almost untainted about the raw footage in this clip for the forthcoming Blu-ray extras which could almost make up for the many of those failings.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Download: Jon Kwest's new Dust Mask compilation

Seeing the name Jon Kwest on something means you have a guarantee that what's within is going to be somewhere between top quality and the top drawer, so arms are well and truly open for his new compilation, which sees moombahton hanging around the M25 waiting for the tip-off for the location of the party, rediscovering the original rebel buzz of UK Hardcore.

Moombahton's rapid progress is in part due to its quest to push its limits, to experiment with genre conventions to see what fits. The beat beneath is fine, that's pretty much locked – a hearty dem bow rhythm set to 108bpm or thereabouts, just tickle the snare texture and add percussion to taste. But everything else on top is up for grabs – we've had Heartbreak pushing both the soul and dancehall elements, and now Philly-based producer and BMore Original don Jon Kwest is drawing a line between moombahton and the rawness of Hardcore for his new Dust Mask comp, which you can download now from Pop Culture Care Package.

Let's let Mr Kwest fill us in: "I was around to hear these originals when they dropped, I had a sister who listened to house music and I recognized, even then, that most of the songs were just two existing popular house/techno records sped up with a Simon Harris break over it and I loved it! Not to say I didn't love the original tunes, but something about just snatching something and making it new always appealed to me. There are a lot of parallels between UK Hardcore and Moombahton - back then they sped it up, now we slow it down. Some people hated it when they first heard it, then grew to love it. It was, and still is, all about a good nasty time. I can't tell you how proud I am of this project. Despite their busy schedules, everyone really came through and showed their ass!"

With respect to said guys - like Smutlee, DJ Melo, Uncle Jesse - I'm not sure if I want to see their asses. No offence, you understand. Bare cheeks aside, this ongoing genre-dipping restlessness may suggest an identity crisis, but it feels more like a drive to find a sweet spot. The riffs of Dirty Dutch house have a finite appeal for mant, so exploring formats to find one new magic element that sets off the beat is totally logical. Either that, or moombahton is the proverbial shark that dies when it rests. While there's the potential for Dust Mask to be little more than a new angle, instead it's a project that finds its own spot. A while back, I figured that the UK guys would soon be producing a sound that had the fierceness of moombahcore with the drive and party bounce of moombahton, but it hasn't quite panned out like that, instead the US boys have moved towards that – and this comp is packed with it, taking the dubstep-derived moombahcore wobble and fusing it with the siren blare of Hardcore. Also, at the moment there's a need to further nail the use of melodies beyond the snippet sample – Dust Mask in places takes on that challenge, with heavily reverbed vocal lines and the naggingly hypnotic gargantuan riffs reminding us that killer beats and placeholding melodic considerations won't be enough in the long term. There are some beauts from the likes of Kwest himself, DJ Melo, Smutlee, Uncle Jesse, Ckrono, Pickster One and the Tactic boys — now all you need to do is download the damn thing and tuck in.

Then head make sure you over to Jon's place at Moombah Original and grab the mixtape that goes with the comp.






The Awsome 3 - Don't Go ............... Nate Metro Ft Avonlea (Pickster One Rmx)

Bass Boy - Let The Bass Be Louder ....................... Steve Konkel & Nate Metro

Skin Up - Juicy Red Apple .............................................................. Jon Kwest

2 Bad Mice - Bomb Scare (Ckrono Rmx) .............................................. Ckrono

Rocking Down The House .................................................................. DJ Melo

The House Crew - Keep The Fire Burning ......................................... Jon Kwest

2 Bad Mice/Flippa Mafia/Cham - Bomb Scare (Smutlee Rmx) ............... Smutlee

Cosmo & Dibs - Star Eyes .................................................................... Tactic

Acen - Close Your Eyes (Optikonfusion) .......................................... Jon Kwest

Circa '91 - Can You Feel Me (Sonido R&N Ghettocore Rmx) ... Rampage y Nader

2 Bad Mice - Drum Trip ............................................................... Uncle Jesse

Halo Nova: Goombahton review

You can’t review this EP without first acknowledging the people who released it, Generation Bass, and without also them giving a hat-tip for their contribution to moombahton as a whole. From the off they’ve championed, encouraged and given a home to everyone who’s flirted with the sound, be they Munchi or the guy who made that really ill-advised moombahcore edit of the Inspector Gadget theme that Umb is hopefully still hanging his head in shame for posting. They’ve given focus, momentum and legitimacy to the scene, pretty much helped to make moombahcore a genre in its own right - and I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that it would have been a far less unified community without them.

This is their first moombahton digi release and another example of how GenBass’ links with dubstep have brought a gritty look to proceedings, a big move which has helped prevent this burgeoning movement slipping into the haha!-no-seriously-is-that-what-that-thing-is-blimey-kids-these-days-will-listen-to-any-shit, along with Skweee and other things which I’m not motivated enough to look up on Google. Florida-based dubstep producer Nick Pittsinger aka Halo Nova has tried to bring a more refined, cleaner sound at a time when the movement is desperate to shake off the stigma of being just a bunch of edits. For the lead track Get Sticky, he's switched the formative Dirty Dutch riffs for tweaky acid, a sensible move that a few, like the Philidelphynz Skinny Friedman and Lighning Eyez, have tried before, and the online dating agency has then paired that up with some percussive military procession drums, all of which layered over the 108bpm Dem Bow-derived beats that are a must if you want to get in the metaphorical or literal moombahton club.

Get Sticky bears all the hallmarks of somebody trying to do something new, but along the way something feels like it got slightly lost - moombahton is nothing without a dirty great bottom end, which is where this slightly loses its edge and feels slightly too first-day-at-school in its efforts as a result. This actually isn’t much cause for concern though, as Sabbo, the ever-impressive Israeli, offers up a remix which both papers over the cracks and makes sure there are biscuits for the decorators. The acid is acidier, the beats are enough to entice Stephen Hawking debate the neurological function of swag and the drops bring out the inner beast within the track. The EP is worth it for that track alone. Shazalakazoo, the Ernie Wise straightman to Neki Stranac’s light-hearted edit Eric Morecambe tries a more controlled approach, sticking closer to the original, just smartening it up for its appearance on iTunes.

Anyone who knows Umb and Gen Bass will know their love of moombahcore, and it’s perhaps surprising there's not more evidence of that here, but Panty Raid at least ensures that those who like their tracks to be able to perform a colonic are catered for, though if I'm going to get said colonic, the big party vibes and carnival whistles here at least ease the pain.

The good people at GenBass wanted PCCP readers to have a taste in the form of the instrumental version of Get Sticky, which you can download here.

After you've done that, you can get the bus and buy Goombahton down at your local iTunes.