August 26, 2014


by Chris Randall

The video above is outstanding. There's no other way to describe it. I'm not a big Goldie fan, being more on the Roni Size side of the fence when it comes to rollers, but the Heritage Orchestra performing Goldie, with that level of musicianship, and the joy the proceedings bring to the table, is a prime example of the Perfect Storm, where everything comes together, and the energy that it gives off is greater than the energy that went in to making it. (And that, in my opinion, is the definition of art, overall.)

I don't really have anything to say about the performance, because it is both objectively and subjectively outstanding. I do have something to say about this, though:

Here's the thing: it is perfectly acceptable to not like something. It's even acceptable to voice that opinion. Music, like anything creative, is a subjective endeavor. But that comment is a prime example of the form of Internet Fuckwittery we've come to learn is a byproduct of making cool shit. The Dunning-Kruger Effect in full force. (The tl;dr version: the Dunning-Kruger effect is a scientific study that proves the old saw that a fool is certain, while a wise man is full of doubt.)

In my various careers, I've run in to this a lot. There's the pedigreed version, in the form of the guy that writes reviews of records and live shows. There's the semi-pro version, where someone has enough knowledge to make music, but not enough to do it well, and becomes a self-taught expert on gear, but not its use. There's the fan version, wherein lyrics that were generally chosen for their ability to fit in to a rhyming scheme become the subject of debate and broad declaratives about an artist's state of mind. There's the Agile version, where stakeholders and user stories substitute for actually having a vision. It goes on and on.

Chris Killer is phrasing his comment in this form: "I am an expert on the live orchestration and performance of 90s drum 'n' bass, and this fellow needs to work at things a little while in order to properly meet my exacting specifications of what, exactly, constitutes same." Chris isn't, however, an expert on anything having to do with this performance. He isn't even a semi-expert. As far as I can tell, the only relationship he might have to this performance is that he bought a Goldie record once.

And there's the rub: it's okay to just say "I don't like this." Leave it at that. "In my opinion, this isn't done the way I like to see Goldie's music done." That's totally fine. Everyone's okay with that. But when you're all "I KNOW EVERYTHING THERE IS TO KNOW ABOUT THIS THING AND YOU DID THIS THING WRONG EVEN THOUGH IT'S YOUR THING AND NOT MY THING" you're running a serious risk of coming off like a fuckwit.


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Aug.29.2014 @ 1:40 PM
Good post Chris. I'm sure I'm guilty of this myself, I probably even do it more than I want to think about.

Hopefully I'll think of this post next time I'm about to engage in some fuckwittery and remember to STFU instead.

Aug.29.2014 @ 3:19 PM
Chris Killer
Your punctuation is a little off and you have a penchant for starting sentences with 'and', but apart from that this is a really good blog post. Well done.

Aug.29.2014 @ 5:42 PM
Chris Randall


Aug.29.2014 @ 10:27 PM
Or at least a good start.

Sep.01.2014 @ 11:57 PM
Goldie is no doubt an innovator in the drum n bass field, but I think it's a bridge too far to suggest he's the inventor. Kids up and down the UK were knocking together hardcore breakbeat music with Akai S950s and Atari STs way before he showed up.

Rob Playford doesn't get much credit for Timeless. He essentially ghost produced the album.

Sep.04.2014 @ 8:32 AM
beauty pill
My chief issues with music writing [and I would presume this extends to film critics and other types of art criticism, but I'm less knowledgeable there] is when the writer presumes to grasp the intentions of the artist.

That's when I can't abide record reviews. When the writer starts saying stuff like "Here is what the band was trying to do." It's always square and dumb and presumes that artists think like critics think. Which they do not, or no art would exist.

That kinda thing burns me up.

- c

Sep.06.2014 @ 2:49 AM
Philip Crinnion
That video is brilliant - gave me goosebumps - wish I'd been there

Sep.07.2014 @ 12:27 PM
OK, now you've got me wondering how to find out if I'm incompetent, and whether or not I want to know... or know about knowing that.

"There is an intimate, dynamic interplay between mind wandering and metacognition. Metacognition serves to correct the wandering mind, suppressing spontaneous thoughts and bringing attention back to more "worthwhile" tasks.[49][50]"


The there's this:

"On 24 August 2012, he [Goldie] appeared in the Channel 4 Documentary Idris Elba's How Clubbing Changed the World (hosted by Idris Elba) to explain how he invented the revolutionary technique of time stretching by misusing a HF ultra-harmonizer which is usually used for guitars. He then goes on to say that when he crossed this with digital breakbeat the sound evolved from jungle into drum and bass."

I had no idea.

And, Idris Elba is pretty cool, though I haven't seen this documentary.

Sep.08.2014 @ 8:07 AM
Chris Randall
Yeah. There are other artists that could lay a reasonable claim to inventing drum 'n' bass. The Vikings can lay a reasonable claim to discovering America. But much like Columbus discovering America, when Goldie "discovered" drum 'n' bass, it stayed discovered.


Sep.08.2014 @ 11:53 AM
Yep, my girl Freydís Eiríksdóttir f'd that up (Vikings colonizing Vinland, that is.) Never multitask colonizing a country with a murder plot against your fellow colonists. Freydís failed Fundamentals of Norse Conquest 101 and ended up tarnishing the whole enterprise for her brother.

Great video, anyway.

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