MUSICAL EXPRESS 28TH JAN 1995
Ben Willmott | Raising a desert storm
Feeling a little bit lazy this morning? Can't face getting up and out
of bed - ever? Then lts time to meet Bedouin Ascent and the Stone
Roses of techno.
Thank God for The Stone Roses. Not for their rather potchy 'Second Coming'
of course, but for the knock-on effect their high profile re-emergence
has had. Faced with the prospect of being dubbed lazier than the great
icons of slackerdom themselves, lounge lizards from LFO to Depth Charge
have finally got their acts together and released LPs undoubtedly worth
But wait before you cost BEDOUIN ASCENT - who's finally delivered his
album debut for Rising High after just two EPs in as many years - as
a budding Ian Brown of techno. He's not been skinning up and settling
down in front of Neighbours for all that time; no, he's that other scourge
of record companies, the perfectionist.
"Rising High were really keen to market me as one of their main
artists, says Bedouin's mastermind Kingsuk Biswas, or Biz for
short, as we chomp our way through a packet of chocolate Digestives
in the South London flat we've chosen for the interview. They
wanted me to release as much stuff as possible, but you can't release
something until it's ready."
Like, for instance, his sparkling debut LP 'Science, Art And Ritual'.
Full of rolling, percussive electronica that gives the barriers between
techno, electronic jazz and ambient a serious kicking, it was actually
recorded way back in autumn 1993, with a good year's tinkering to follow.
But then Biz is not your average bash-'em-out-andcollect-the-cash
techno bandit, ready to jump ship when the next fad comes along. For
starters, you won't find him sneakily searching through the latest techno
releases for ideas to steal - Biz takes his inspiration from for more
"There's a certain route I often take when I'm on my way home,"
Harrow-based Biz explains, "just walking down that path musical
ideas come out from nowhere and when I turn a particular corner at a
particular point in the path, when I pass a particular tree or brook,
the tune changes direction because of that. It's a living and breathing
music like that."
Sounds suspiciously like beardy weirdy stuff. But as Biz, a relatively
average looking, puffa-jacketed twentysomething, stokes another spliff
with another unfeasibly long roach end, everything becomes predictably
clear. He doesn't really nip out for a quick stroll every time the going
gets tough in the studio; it's his way of explaining that it's not just
other people's records, but other people, noises, surroundings and,
well, just about anything that can goad him into musical action.
But if there is one major force that Biz hangs his works around, it's
that all important groove. "I collaborated with David Toop recently.
The results were a primitive kind of funk, quite intense and I'm really
on that tip at the moment," Biz says. "I'm a self-confessed
groovaholic, always hove been. When I'm doing a track now and the groove
really takes over I end up living in the groove for days and days. Living
it out to see which way it goes and feeling it from the inside."
Strange then that his outings so for have been more suited to chilled
out head-nodding sessions than serious rug cutting manoeuvres, but then
that whole classification lark -house vs techno vs jungle vs ambient
- doesn't appeal much to Biz either. "It's dangerous because it's
control; classification's the way the mind controls the world,"
Biz explains in his best conspiracy theory tones. "It's the way
oppressive forces control the public opinion for example. If you split
something up you can deconstruct it, overpower it and control it."
Take Biz in verbose mood, add a few 'strengthened' cigarettes and
you do tend to end up talking the global, moral or metaphysical when
all you really needed to know was how many sugars he takes. That's
not to say he's pretentious - for from it - he's just simply got
a few more brain cells than the average 303 basher. And while he
operates mainly in isolation and wants his music to stand apart from
the new fashion for ultra-complex electronica, there's no denying
he's part of a new breed of technobrots like labelmate Wagon Christ
(who he'll also be collaborating with), Mu-Ziq, Global Communication
and Autechre, who've freed themselves from clubland's restrictions
but remained faithful to that all important head-shaking groove.
Funk's not dead!