Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Ssgs re-presents: Carsten Jost and Lawrence, Betalounge, 2002
Ten years. There are mixes that sit with you, that stay with you. For me this is one of the few best, and its importance is threefold. The first is obvious and biographical: this was a set that stitched Cam and I together, Cam the co-founding ssg who went somewhere, who is presumably in London. Then I discovered how much Chris loved it, too. We’ve told one side of the story of ssgs elsewhere. I can’t say that this mix enabled ssgs in the way other contingent encounters and shared passions did, but if there is one set that perfectly captures the spirit of that time and the spirit of the music we all loved, this is it. And this connects to the second thing, which is that this mix captured a moment in time for Carsten Jost and Lawrence. But maybe they didn’t quite realise it? I don't know... There is so much fluid energy here, so much promise, and the mix just totally brims with all these wonderful selections, which get worked out in the interplay. We know what happened, and some of you will know my mixed feelings about that (I think it's still worth reading what I wrote about it in 2008 [in that my assessment was correct], the recent piece is just an angry afterthought to dead loss), but right here, with this, they hit it, they did something incredible and unrepeatable. To the third point: I don’t think this mix is just significant for Chris and I and Cam and David and Peter. I want to say that, fundamentally, this mix might be important. This is one set of connected moments where minimal – which was really what was *actually* interesting in European electronic music of the last decade – really found itself. All artistic expression involves finding a way of ‘speaking’; there’s a whole language here. And it still speaks, to me at least. But is kind of an abandoned language now. Why did the people involved stop speaking in this way? I understand that it got boring and bad or whatever, but I think it’s odd and a shame that one might find comfort in derivative decontextualised ‘deep’ house (3D), when really, what you have here with this set was and is an audacious and genuinely European form of new electronic music, one that contained and expressed all these directions and possibilities, one that had a unique energy, colour and bittersweetness. That's the thing, why it's important. It's not just a generic sound or fashion they downloaded. They developed their own syntax and vocabulary and tone - more than anything, tone - and they spoke well and spoke in their own voices. All this has been abandoned...? I don't know, I wonder... ...I make it available to you in the hope that, maybe, you can start speaking with it again? Or just listen...
Ten years. Fuck. We had posted this mix once before, but with a megaupload link. So many dead links. Another piece of collateral damage from the decade whose signature is collateral damage. When I think back... so much has been defaced and vandalised in the world since then. Other things have grown and developed in interesting ways. Here it is then: ten years. Not for nostalgia, but - I hope, I trust - with the right kind of reverence (the kind that has no reverends): my absolute respect to the time, place, memory and significance of this set, which still hits you right where it hurts.
Carsten Jost + Lawrence, live @ the Betalounge, October 5, 2002