January 31, 2004
On the g**** naming phenomenon currently doing the rounds at Woebot , I Feel Love and blissblog. I remain ambivalent about 'grime' but convinced that 'garage' is just not appropriate. 'Garage' was a crap enough term in the first place - it always had horrible resonances for me with 'tasteful' dance music, and surely genre-naming has to register threshold shifts in sound. 2 step wasn't speed garage, and 'grime' ain't 2 step. Seems to me that at least two things mark out 'grime' as a distinct genre: the role of MC's and its funkless, sexless mechanoia. Garage is up music, sexmusic, cocaine and champagne audio: grime is a downer. Angus' point that many genre names (disco, punk) are asignifying is well-made; so in some senses it doesn't matter what the name is, but it does matter that it has one. As Simon points out, names can be 'semantic weapons.' Perhaps, like 'jungle' and 'desi beats' the name needs to come from outside, from an insult-turned-into-a-badge-of-pride.
I notice that in Robin's brilliant post on Dizzee (and much else), he uses 'eski.'
(btw, Robin, Marcello Carlin had a similar experience to you re: the Blaine/ Dizzee interface.)
Posted by mark at January 31, 2004 02:20 AM
does k-punk (or anyone) have a case _against_ eski?...I say all this as someone with relatively little experience of the 'genre', but it seems like an excellent candidate given that it's (a)cryptic - meaning it lends itself to secret tribalisms, yet is (b)descriptive in a really interesting, sonic-theoretical sense, and (c)is a perfect little word-atom, meaning that through use it can easily devoid itself of what little meaning it initially has and become an asignifying brand-token-slogan (as angus says, like disco, punk). Its awkwardness appeals. 'Grime' is almost _too_ considered, descriptive, too much like an NME editorial meeting invention...Not that it's not good, but one feels it won't stand the test of time.
i'm not sure grime is a downer, it's crystal meth or something, and crystal meth is not a downer, i'ts not loved up, that's for sure, but it's wired and fiercly energetic.
What's _your_ feeling on the name 'grime', then, Luke?
That origin (which I was totally unaware of, listen I just don't hang out in those sorta places ok ;) does make 'grime' more interesting cos it means that rather than one of reference/attempted description, the relation between the word and the genre is one of shared origin (from a particular psychotropic experience - cf 'acid house' although this is disputed, some saying it's sonic-descriptive rather than pharmacological) So from that triangular pov maybe it's more authentic. And the music itself begs the same question as the drug - namely what social/psychological circumstances must be in play for you to willingly make yourself feel grimy! I still prefer eski for its cryptic atomism tho.