Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Pessimist (2017)

At the risk of seeming like a complete wanker, I've taken to making a concerted effort to seek out new music which isn't shit. I tend to take the view that the pursuit of new for the sake of new is essentially dull, and I'd rather drink my own piss than end up like a certain pillock whom we met back here:
I'm fifty-one. My favorite bands right now are Otherkin, Bad Sounds, Spring King, Sundara Karma, Inheaven, Kagoule, Vant, and Moaning. I can't see myself ever not listening to new music.

On the other hand, more horrifying still is Thoughty2 - as introduced back in September. I seem to have encountered many of his type of late, young men with beards, not yet out of their twenties and already lamenting the passing of the fucking Beatles, already well and truly glued into what they doubtless regard as the grand tradition; and it's bollocks. Culture remains as it has ever been. The only real difference is that there's more of it these days, and the lines of distribution have changed meaning it's a lot easier to find oneself overwhelmed by crap. My music consumption - referring to my record buying habits because I remain unconvinced by downloads - tends to be reflected in what I write about here; and it's mostly old simply because I've been spending a lot of time catching up on things I couldn't afford when they first came out; or it's something I'm still listening to because it still sounds good. I am aware that this may present an unfortunate impression of something resembling nostalgia.

So I've set myself the task of buying something roughly contemporary at least once a month, because I know there's a shitload of good stuff out there, and it's fun to hear new and surprising things. It reminds me of what got me into music in the first place.

The Pessimist album is actually over a year old so it turns out, but never mind - close enough. It's the work of one man, Kristian Jabs, who has apparently been at it for a while, as you will know if you're down with the Bristol drum and bass scene, which I'm not because I'm old, fat, and I live in Texas. Reviews mostly seem to focus on this being a blend of both techno and drum and bass, which makes as much sense to me as my friend Eddy claiming to enjoy both kinds of music, both drum and bass: and yes, I have seen the Blues Brothers, thank you very much.

Anyway, it sounds like drum and bass to me.

I don't know.

Does it matter?

I suppose there's some techno element to the glitchy bits of sampling, growling synth, bass rumble and so on, but then I've never assumed that all drum and bass must sound exactly the same, and there's surely room for a bit of variation without having to come up with yet another fucking silly name. Where Pessimist differs from your average serving of drum and bass is that it's much better, or at least better than a lot of the stuff with which I'm familiar. It's a bit like all that awful ponderous deep forest stuff, except that it's done right - no wind chimes, no trace of that horrible flat sound, just a ton of depth and feeling and the sort of swing you only usually get with acoustic music. It feels somehow as though it's played live, or maybe I mean it feels as though it is alive, despite the knife edge precision and digital clatter of the beat. So maybe the success of this album is in the contrast of man and machine, so to speak. I don't know, and I don't really care what you call it, but I know that it sounds substantially amazing.


  1. I actually like The Beatles. But I don't lament their passing. I mean, imagine what they'd sound like now....

    1. Yeah - no real problem with them here either, and I still vaguely intend to buy the White Album and Revolver at some point (the two I never had). The thing that bothers me is that tendency people often have to fixate on one thing at the expense of everything else.