Thanks to Marc Weidenbaum for inviting me to participate in a discussion of the new release by post-rave UK minimalists Autrechre, called Move of Ten, on his site disquiet. One commenter, bart, opined that an Autechre song from that EP, "rew(1)" was "incredibly funky," and made the statement:
Autechre are playing with quantization in a way that is now familiar thanks to many post Dabrye/Dilla artists, but that they themselves have been doing since 1997’s Chiastic Slide.
Since "rew(1)" is about as funky as a ticking clock I pressed bart for clarification and got this:
I appreciate that it’s hard for you to get your head around people using technology in a creative way, but there are a number of people who do.
I said "now you're just getting personal" and bart apologized. Actually, no, he didn't:
It would be difficult for us to have a conversation about art and our appreciation of it without it being in some way personal, as it is a highly subjective issue.
He said he had no hard feelings about calling me an idiot after delivering this thorough slice of hiphopology:
I think Autechre are doing something quite different to both Dilla and Dabrye, but that there are technical commonalities. Quite a few tracks by Madlib and Dilla et al have used a technique of delaying certain channels relative to others, sometimes to achieve a kind of funk, sometimes to undermine it, or to give the track some ‘flex’. Originally this was something you would hear in Hip Hop tracks by producers like Marley Marl, (later and perhaps more famously by RZA) as a result of having sample start times occuring before the attack portion of the sampled sound. Examples of artists who have taken this way further in recent years (in a similar way to the way Autechre have) would include Mike Slott, Hudson Mowhawke, Flying Lotus, Untold, Slugabed and Rustie.
Whether these artists are all as funky as Dilla or Madlib is a matter of opinion.
I wasn't familiar with all these artists so I listened around and decided I liked Untold pretty much. Another participant in the discussion, Alan Lockett, contextualized bart's list:
If I’m not mistaken, bart is pointing to a wilfully staggered deliberately ‘off’ quantization-subverting styling that has proved popular enough with a bunch of hip-hop-inflected electronicists to have resulted in a sub-genre in itself, with its own designation: ‘Wonky’ (the most appealing of which, to these ears at least, is a bloke caled Lone, who isn’t a million miles away from a BoC* at times).
Wonky I know about and was excited to learn about Lone and Untold from the Autechre conversation, as well as a label called Hessle Audio.
*Boards of Canada