Friday, January 02, 2004

A wee piece on Wiley , amongst others, in the Guardian today;

"Bow is England's equivalent of Harlem," announces producer and rapper Wylie (agh - excruciating name error - j) confidently. "Everything's coming out of there, Plaistow, all that area of east London. All the artists are there, we all feed off each other. We've networked and that's made it move."

He has a point. In the last year, some of Britain's most exciting music has emanated from the council estates of east London: a lurching, experimental sound pitched somewhere between garage, hip-hop and ragga. Dizzee Rascal is its most famous exponent, but the style is so new that no one has thought of a name for it. "No one really knows what it's called, but I call it eski beat - the eskimo sound," says Wiley, who appeared on Dizzee Rascal's Mercury prize-winning debut album, Boy in da Corner, and was part of the same garage collective, Roll Deep Crew. His records sound marginally less like the total breakdown of civilisation than those of Dizzee Rascal, but are equally innovative and thrilling, driven by spasmodic beats, orchestral flourishes and noisy bursts of electronics. "The garage people never liked it; they tried to push it to one side because they felt it was negative. Then the garage scene went a bit dead because they kicked us out of it, so we made our own scene."

Wiley's dissatisfaction with the waning garage scene is dealt with on What Do U Call It?, a track from his forthcoming debut album, which lists his grievances at some length, before testily concluding: "I don't give a monkey's." Today, however, he claims to have other things on his mind. His latest innovations include starting a clothing label and making tracks without any bass or beats, apparently influenced by the reggae his father played. "It works," he enthuses. "It fucked up the rave! The youth are open-minded; they're following what's being done. It's like a blueprint right now. A child who lives in Bow, on the same estate as Dizzee, they know that they can do it now, because they've seen him do it."

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