February / March 1999

listen hear

The Rob Lo fidelity experience...
Rob Lo ponders the problems of growing old, gets all nostalgic about jazz, and reviews some new recordings, including the Source Direct album Exorcise The Demons.


Whilst DJ-ing at Bartok last week, performing my regular feat of cutting and pasting sounds from the last 300 years, a young man came up and said "Got any old school?" Old school what? I thought, whilst wondering how I could get from Rimsky-Korsakov to Krust in three 'moves'. He didn't go away. "I only listen to stuff from ninety to ninety-five", he continued.. "Seventeen or eighteen-ninety to ninety-five?" I should have replied, but didn't because such wit is almost always retrospective, and judging by his Kangol cap and baggy jeans, I thought it unlikely that he was a Varese-hating classicist. "Play some breaks that we know", he said.

By then I was getting that feeling, that urge I have sometimes when confronted by the Vague Punter syndrome, which either leads to me drawing my Colt .45, or calmly saying, as I did last week, "You'll have to be a bit more specific". He just shrugged, and wore a weird grin, so I asked him if he meant early jungle, a guess which proved correct. I said I'd got some old Bukem and Omni Trio, and suggested that some modern drum'n'bass really was worth listening to aswell - but he wasn't having that idea. He said 'That'll do" and walked away.

As Jane said to me the next day, it's a bit sad to see someone so young sealing themselves in a musical time capsule. People do it all the time, though, because it's nature's way of ensuring that the Youth phase is left behind, enabling them to mature and become sensible adults who won't sacrifice their children's essential comforts for the sake of that new Coldcut interactive CD Rom album do-dah. Unless you're well off and can afford a child minder, regular gigs (I understand people still go to them) are out of the question, and that previous music-buying obsession must be curtailed in order to redirect all that money towards the baby.

Since the post-war pop boom, the streets have been filled with retired rockers pushing prams, their hands baring faded tattoos which simply say 'Gene Vincent'. Punks have grown up to cradle kids in leather jackets which have 'Exploited' painted on them. Soul boys and girls, less inclined towards 'rebellion' in the first place, simply melt into straight society. And hippies, well, they kept on taking their kids to Glastonbury, and no doubt felt that their whole existence was justified when the magical reconnection with Youth happened in the Summer of '88.

As for original junglists, judging by the punter last week, I suspect that many have already jumped ship to join the legion of Lost Youth. They were encouraged, no doubt, by the evolution of cerebral drum'n'bass and the prevailing darkness of tech-step. They now spend their time preparing for, and developing, their adult lives, part of which will no doubt involve evenings in listening to well-worn Suburban Base records. I wish them well, of course, but also wish they wouldn't pester me when I'm DJ-ing because, as weird as it seems, despite being nearly 100 years old (it feels that way some mornings) I still have a little faith in music made today.

Jazz Nostalgia...