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Showing posts from May, 1999

Get Off on His Cloud (a look at 'Maxinquaye'-era Tricky) (July 28, 1996)

Get Off on His Cloud By DENNIS ROMERO JULY 28, 1996 12 AM DENNIS ROMERO IS A TIMES STAFF WRITER Tricky, whose imaginative mix of American hip-hop and British soul music has wowed critics on both sides of the Atlantic, just won’t go along with the photographer’s attempts to make him look up during a photo session on the roof of the Hyatt on Sunset. Despite the coaxing, the slender Englishman just puts his elbows to his knees and stares at his gray Nike trainers. The orange sunshine may be aglow above him, but Tricky’s gray cloud is up there too, following his small frame around like a cartoon phenomenon that darkens only his space. The cloud, too, hovers over much of Tricky’s music. His mood this day may result from the stress of recent fatherhood or his never-ending hours in the studio. Or it might just be the cloud of marijuana smoke that constantly surrounds him (Artforum magazine calls him the king of “ganja-delic paranoia”). Or it may be from the anger that has consumed h

Rumble in the Jungle (the rise of drum 'n' bass) (Los Angeles Times, Dec. 3, 1995)

POP MUSIC: Rumble in the Jungle: There’s a furious battle being waged over the soul--and future--of that electronic music with the breakbeat drive train. Is it street-tough enough to survive? By DENNIS ROMERO DEC. 3, 1995 12 AM Take a good look at Goldie’s face: muscular and tense, with a mouthful of gold incisors and leering eyes that have seen both the streets and the sound studios. It could be the musical face of the future. “Urban breakbeat has become the mood of the ‘90s,” says Goldie in a sneering cockney accent, “like rap was in the ‘80s.” The similarities between Goldie’s new sound and the rise of rap are haunting. The 30-year-old electronic musician from London is the leader in a genre of music being hailed as the hip-hop of Britain--a genre that is finding its way onto the British charts and slowly seeping into America. Goldie may call it urban breakbeat, but most simply say it’s “jungle.” And if you think he’s just tooting his own horn when he compares it to

Secret Formula (the Chemical Brothers) (Aug. 18, 1996)

Secret Formula By DENNIS ROMERO AUG. 18, 1996 12 AM DENNIS ROMERO IS A STAFF WRITER FOR THE TIMES' LIFE & STYLE SECTION The searing dance single “Chemical Beats” starts off with an ominous, alarming loop before it’s overtaken by a hard-edged guitar riff--the type that Beavis & Butt-head might emulate with their air-instrumental enthusiasm. The song continues to build, adding a funky cowbell and relentless bass. And then there’s a simple sample: “Uh,” it says, over and over. “Uh.” Throw your fists in the air and bow your long hair. With this 12-inch single in 1994, the Chemical Brothers, a young duo from Manchester, England, firmly established that dance music can actually rock--hard. Though others have tried to prove this point, from Afrika Bambaataa and Run-DMC to MC 900 Ft. Jesus and God Lives Underwater, the Chemicals have driven it home--and to America--with 1995’s critically acclaimed crossover “Exit Planet Dust” and with the current dance-core EP “Loops of Fur

Raving Fanatics: Well, 17,254 people can’t be wrong. (Los Angeles Times, Jan. 5, 1993)

Raving Fanatics: Well, 17,254 people can’t be wrong. The all-night party scene has left the underground. By DENNIS ROMERO JAN. 5, 1993 12 AM SPECIAL TO THE TIMES Destructo is riding high. He’s at the apex of the Knott’s Berry Farm Timber Mountain log ride, pinned in a fiberglass tree trunk by a gaggle of screaming girls. It’s his birthday, it’s 2:30 a.m. New Year’s day, and this is his party for 17,254 paying guests--the largest rave yet held in the United States. When he mentioned rave two years ago, he says, “Nobody would listen, not even my mom and dad.” He steps out of his log, dusts off his black and red wetsuit-look outfit and declares, “Everybody wants to be a kid.” He’s willing to ride on that, big-time. Destructo--a.k.a. Gary Richards--helped pull off this coup in hipsterdom, “K-Rave ’93.” A partner in RaveAmerica, which co-produced the party with Knotts, Richards is known for holding all-night dance parties in odd locales. (Waterslide parks are his fave.) Ri

Many flavors of hip feed the Hard fest (July 17, 2008)

Many flavors of hip feed the Hard fest By DENNIS ROMERO JULY 17, 2008 12 AM On NEW YEAR’S Day of 1993, fans of cutting-edge music could have done worse than hanging out with Gary Richards on his 22nd birthday as he rode a roller coaster high above Knott’s Berry Farm. Richards was throwing a party for himself, but more important, he was pulling rave culture and techno music out of illicit warehouses and injecting it into the concert-going mainstream, drawing a crowd 17,000 strong to his K-Rave ’93 at the Orange County amusement park. Of course, the rest is history: Rave grew up, DJs such as Paul Oakenfold went on to score Hollywood movies, and fans of the music would one day be sipping wine at the Hollywood Bowl as Underworld performed. Some of the gentrified dance music events in town now are downright geezerly, which brings up the questions: Where are all the new kids? And what are they listening to? Enter a familiar face, Richards, now 37, who says he’s as thrilled as ever

Organic ’96 Offers Fresh Alternative (June 24, 1996)

Organic ’96 Offers Fresh Alternative By DENNIS ROMERO JUNE 24, 1996 12 AM SAN BERNARDINO NATIONAL FOREST —  KROQ is here broadcasting live, several heavyweight label executives are checking out the scene, and so is a capacity crowd. Organic ’96--an all-night synthesizer-based dance music affair with perhaps the most artistically laudable lineup of its kind ever assembled in America--is a critical success. But the question on a lot of people’s minds (including those label folks) is not about the critical, but rather the commercial. They want to know: Can dance music festivals like this one, which ended early Sunday, fill the void left by the highly lucrative Grateful Dead tours and at the same time bring a fresh alternative to “alternative” rock festivals gone stale (read: Lollapalooza)? Perhaps the question is left unanswered. For Organic’s organizers, concert promoter Philip Blaine and a music agent who went under the moniker Chaotica, cost, apparently, was no object. Besides

Late, Late Show : At the new after-hours clubs, the party lasts until long after sunrise. (Los Angeles Times, Nov. 3, 1994)

Late, Late Show : At the new after-hours clubs, the party lasts until long after sunrise. But police say some club-goers keep the beat with the help of drugs. By DENNIS ROMERO NOV. 3, 1994 12 AM LOS ANGELES TIMES Only last year, the hours between bar closings and Sunday services in L.A. belonged to dance-till-you-drop “ravers.” It was a new generation’s late-night dance-party scene, envied by club-goers throughout the world and hyped in newspapers, newsmagazines and TV tabloid shows. Where else could thousands party in an amusement park till 5 a.m.? But gangs, thugs and new drugs invaded all-night raves, scene watchers say. So a lot of the young people packed up and went back to the ‘burbs. “I feel like I’m a minority now,” says one raver-in-retreat. What’s left of L.A.'s rave scene are about a dozen after-hours joints from Santa Monica to Downtown, serving several hundred die-hards. Some look classy, others look like drug dens, most cater to the 18-and-up crowd. Some rav