Critical Beats Down 3: Rave Weak?
FACT Magazine is reasonably vital, considering.Sure, sometimes it bends and breaks in favour of giving pop plop and fads more cred than the cynical analysis I prefer, but the mixes alone are worth it. At least when they don't involve those like 'St. Vincent', an audio brand as pretty and empty as an imitation Ming Vase. Yet the media business is tough. Writing for my favourite record store gives me a greater freedom, and Rat a liberty to let me write, thanmost any publication except the perfection of WIRE can do. They have to attract eyeballs to advertise against, especially online. Rat is the epic record store, not a magazine or media website. I try and help their business, but my typings and musing are not the core of the place. This is freedom.This week for FACT is #RaveWeek. Why ever not. You may even spot some friends like Jerome Hill there.RAVE is well above the 122 BPM we just dissected speed wise.For once, maybe forever, I am a BIT younger than most of the best voices and memories of this scene. But like R. Kelly's secret child bride once opined - its just a number.When the M25 Orbital was alive with escapism, repetitive beats, and more than a little genius - I was a schoolboy with a load of guitar, rap and jazz records and little sense what this meant other than a party I had no invite to, but sometimes copied tapes from as a novelty. Or someone else's flyer that had been designed after hours on a rare expensive Mac or bedroom Atari ST.RAVE is an awful, ugly term. At least for me. Like Fast Food. What does it mean?From where I sit it means at worst:A load of people getting fucking ripped, probably in a muddy field in the 'Green Belt' that keeps us poor and living in hutches.Listening to sometimes interesting but more often stupid Day-Glo whistle Altern-8 mask idiot clobber rich kid plinky happy face escapism. A nice, if consumerist and hippie infested social movement that happened because of World War I stay sober making bombs bollocks. Hippies are a disease of the too rich and distracted. Not too many of them in Lagos, or Tunis, or Jakarta. Or DETROIT.Places poor but trying have no time for kaftans and wacked out cosmology. Reality is radical enough if you feel it.The Man pretended to hate.But this was the time when cops, especially the Met, stopped checking heads and forgot to be interested in confiscating weed and E from people en route to football games, on instruction from Westminster as it cut the violence and increased the laughter.Crusty anarchist arse clowns who forgot to get educated for free got out of control. The Daily Mail got sore, and some traveller turds took over Castle Mortonsomething and made it scatty. In the odd Major tradition of sounding Right but acting almost Left, the Criminal Just Us Act Jilted the Generation but the law on clubs and bars got far more liberal to salve the wound.The best bits and people went into proper House. Or more likely, Techno or Drum and Bass. And retreated to the Squat Party and Technival scenes, which were far more interesting.This is as truncated and unfair as a Congolese Parking Ticket - I know.It changed a lot, and helped to revolutionise graphic design too, but not all for the better.Far better people than me were actually THERE have a more interesting story to tell. When real Rave was happening, I was drowning in DC, feeling an odd combo of East Coast Rap, Prog Rock and Electro Pop sort of stuff.FACT's #RaveWeek writing has some of my idols, like Joe Muggs, who are the elder brothers of my nonsense telling it true:"Back in Brighton I discovered that in my year was Cristian Vogel, who was putting on techno parties that were anything but hippie-squatter: they were mental, yes, with relentless smoke and strobes and films like 'Tetsuo' showing in the backroom, but they were on-edge, modernist mentalness not crusty-mystical mentalness, and they opened me up to all sorts. Cristian was the first person I'd met who put out records, and he and his friends � particularly one Mat Consume, who did the clubs' artworks and backrooms � were into things like The Church Of the SubGenius and Gilles Deleuze. They showed me that if you were going to deliberately fry your brain, you could do it with a lot more style than the hippies."It was not just minds being mashed, though in all honesty that usually was a big part of it all. It was ears opening doors to new forms of art, fast and faster. Though it could have been slow. And we will travel to Early 80s Italy and 1985 Chicago bedrooms next to find the clues.