Friday, 1 August 2008

STEREO MCs: Elevate My Mind

I'm not too sure that I approve of the general past tense of this blog; the trouble is that the new music which matters takes time to get analysed, and quite often defies analysis - most of the time I just want to revel in its giddy nowness or enjoy it in strict privacy (i.e. with my wife). But cubes from the past have their own amiable way of refracting onto the present. Right now I'm reeling from the astonishing rejuvenation of hip hop, largely from where I'm sitting a rejuvenation directly from New Pop; listen to Li'l Wayne's "Mr Carter" or Nas' "Hero" or DJ Khaled and the rest of the world's "Out Here Grindin'" or Jiggs' "Walk In Da Park" and the mind's internal rotation is at least as active as it was in 1981, when movements in music were equally as new.

But "Elevate My Mind" is 1990, from Supernatural, the Stereo MCs album everyone forgets about (see also: all other Stereo MCs albums bar Connected) and its grey semi-raving remains a useful tonic; indeed the general talk about Midlands internal depression ("So I release more charge from my battery," "Out the bed, clothes, answer the door") and thence the greater world, if "greater" is the correct comparative ("There goes the Mayor, his nose is brown") and its pretend-nonchalant delivery seem to be a direct precedent to the Streets, although the song's roll is more evidently willing to rumble; its stirring churn is as wobbly but purposeful as any long-defunct East Midlands tram link and Cath Coffey's distantly positioned euphoria is deliberately ambiguous - "I wanna go higher" seems from several miles to be an invitation to colour and life but the corresponding "White Lines" sample reminds us of the potential crash. Still the Nottingham trio shamble through to engage in a haphazard communitarianism; seeing the rave, self-hatingly reaching out to touch it, but forward, always forward: "Don't hang about!"