Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

AMNESTY WEEK 2K10: DJ Fresh – Gold Dust

The only UK top 40 hit in this year’s Amnesty week batch…



Doug Robertson: In his head, this is what Mark Ronson thinks he sounds like. Mark Ronson’s head can be a good place to be sometimes.

David Katz: This song works as a time capsule, floating me back to those simpler times of 90s children’s television. I’m reminded of the nauseous greens and purples of after-school CBBC and the Big Breakfast, those scarily enthusiastic ‘can-do’ presenters, and mid-programme visual inserts that rattled your telly like seizures. No doubt for other listeners, it will summon up more adult reference points like raga or jungle, but I can only mentally place this track in a particular, eerily nostalgic zone: an early engagement with the big beast, ‘popular culture’.

Chuck Eddy: A monotonous stomp, but a stomp nonetheless. And when the chorus comes around, so does a hook or two.

Alex Macpherson: It’s long amused me that so many dancehall artists seem to pay the bills by appearing on generic European commercial dance tracks that hit No 3 in, like, the Swiss dance charts or something — similar to how the Beckhams, for instance, quietly get a shit-ton of yen through Japanese advertising contracts for cheesy and/or embarrassing products that they wouldn’t be seen dead endorsing at home. “Gold Dust” is a fairly typical example of the form; it’s enlivened by its hint of drum’n’bass, but that aggravating Guettaesque staccato synth ensures that it never lifts off. Ce’cile herself is anonymous and sadly unrecognisable, and you suspect she doesn’t mind.

Alex Ostroff: “Gold Dust” is not quite wonderful enough to overtake Cecile’s shining moment of pop brilliance (the magnificent “Hot Like We”), but it’s a blast nonetheless. Combining some vintage d’n’b with a melody halfway between Santogold and MPHO‘s unreleased album, ‘Gold Dust’ is weird, but not too weird. Enough to stand out, but not so much that it doesn’t have a shot at the charts. Plus, the jumprope video is part of a growing trend of which I strongly approve.

Martin Skidmore: Ce’cile’s vocals here sound second-language to me, which gives it an endearing enthusiasm and oddness. The rest is Bad Company member Fresh’s kinetic drum & bass, and this might be the most fun D&B single I’ve heard in ages, hyper and thrilling. Absolutely wonderful.

John Seroff: I only wish I’d been savvy enough to have found this upon its release, as it’s quickly risen into the rank of my personal top ten of ’10. DJ Fresh shows Aphex-level degrees of control and artistry, juggling four different tempos and perfectly balancing Ce’Cile’s knockout vocals with a sublime mosh of electronic burble and muted shouts buried deep in the mix. Ce’Cile is the best instrument on a song packed with interesting ideas; she flits between double-dutch toasting and r&b hooks with precision, fire and total ownership of the beat. The train whistle that announces the song’s end is terribly apt; in the wake of something this immense, what else would you expect?

Michaelangelo Matos: Oh, please.

Jonathan Bogart: Am I too American to “get” drum ‘n’ bass? That must be it.

Frank Kogan: This irritated me immensely when it first hit the charts, sounding coy and detached. Glad I listened again, ’cause now it feels pleasingly silly, like panicky eyes in the funny pages, if still a bit detached.

Kat Stevens: This spring I downloaded an excellent mixtape from Chrissy Murderbot, a Canadian DJ whom I saw play live a few years ago (he was wearing a Crystal Waters t-shirt). The dude loves all sorts of old-skool dance music and did a mixtape per week for a year focusing on 52 different subgenres (Rave, Detroit, Hi-NRG, Loungecore – you get the idea). If I could remember my password then his 1994 Ragga Jungle mix would have been my top track this year. Back then I loved all the mad ragga that managed to cross over into the chart (Dawn Penn, General Levy etc), but at twelve years old I was a bit too young to go crate-digging for Shy FX remixes so never got to really explore it before now, and this ‘new’ crop of semi-obscure banging jungle tunes propelled me through my summer. I walked down baking pavements way more quickly than was strictly necessary. I threw my hands up in the ay-err, because the Original Ganja Man was In Effeeerct. I quit my job and spent several happy weeks trying to make music and enjoying the sunshine, and writing a book about being twelve years old. I tried making a jungle track of course, but I got too distracted imagining what sort of awesome toasting I could do over the top if I were a cross between UK Apache and Stush. Then the “Gold Dust” video cropped up on my Youtube subscriptions and for the first time in weeks Chrissy Murderbot’s hypothetical crown was under threat. I became mesmerised by the amazing kids doing Double-Dutch skipping. The breaks were tame compared to Remarc and co, but they were still banging, with the sort of electro I devoured four years ago riding effortlessly over the top. Most importantly for a 21st century drum’n’bass track there was no godawful live drummer hacking away at the snare. Ce’cile’s haughty snapping put me firmly in my place in regards to my fledgling MCing career — on that score I think I will have to be satisfied with pestering Lucky Voice about getting “Incredible” onto their song list. Anyway, it’s all very well spending a whole summer arsing around and being 16 years behind the musical curve, but of course my savings ran out and I finished writing my book and eventually I had to return to reality. Unfortunately reality is fucking freezing and I’m working a stressful 40-hour week and I haven’t listened to Chrissy Murderbot’s jungle mix for a whole month. But thanks to “Gold Dust” at least I can get back up to speed with this year, just in time for it to end. And this song will be here to remind me when the temperature was above freezing and I didn’t have to travel on rush-hour buses, where everything I saw or heard was an idea that I could use for something else and I was never short of something to write about. 2010 was definitely a good year. Nearly as good as 1994.

Katherine St Asaph: I feel like running around zapping things with neon lasers. It is a good feeling.

5 Responses to “AMNESTY WEEK 2K10: DJ Fresh – Gold Dust”

  1. Hurrah for totally derailing a Jukebox entry to bang on about something else entirely :)

  2. Chrissy Murderbot is from Chicago (by way of Kansas City), not Canada, FYI.

  3. Bums. Why did I think he was Canadian?

  4. responses are all over the place here.

  5. The video is so seriously good.