mvuent's 2step vortex


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similar atmosphere as the last one, but slightly chillier

surprisingly empty—similar abandoned mall feel to vaporwave / muzak. empty food courts and halls.

it’s not just the sax that evokes that imagery, it’s especially the vocals, which don’t sound intimate so much as like the last, fading traces of something. aaliyah fading out of existence like in

there’s a weird moment around 2:38. its probably supposed to be a hype building moment like in hardcore but instead you feel…stillness. for a few seconds you’ve been deserted. suddenly the bass sounds more like a drone than a proper dance music bassline.

rhythmically this feels stiffer than the first one, which adds to the somewhat frigid quality.

Like this for instance. It's not a mad take. It's not cloth eared. I can hear the empty food courts and shopping malls too. That sax obviously is teetering on the edge of Muzak but for some reason it completely seduces me, ravishes me.

I think the drop for me I really associate with Bushkin chatting all over it which changes the complexion of the thing
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i picked mvuent specifically for this because i was banking on the fact he'd be so removed from all our connotations of it he'd have these brilliant takes.

the coldness take for example is brilliant, but so alien to how we would have perceived it. it makes perfect sense once he says it, but just wouldn't be at all something i'd pick up on.

analysing them as these atemporal, acultural sonic artefacts.


Void Dweller
echoing world famous music journalist/phallic marvel simon reynolds there:

"If you live in London, perhaps you’ve scanned the FM spectrum and come to a halt at a pirate station whose sound you can’t quite finger or figure. It’s got House music’s slinky panache, but the rhythm’s wrong – too fitful and funked-up, and besides, there’s an MC jabbering over the top, Jungle-style. Maybe it’s Jungle, then – but then again, maybe not: too slow, too sexy. Sometimes it’s a bit like American R&B – except it sounds druggy, the wrong kind of druggy: like Timbaland on E."

i fucking love that intro. it makes me giddy with intrigue.

i wanted to nick it for my ill-fated drill article. "is it grime? no because... "is it trap?" no, too rhythmic, too complex, etc.

imo there are often three phases to artistic development (for "good" artists at least). the first is simple, amateurish, naive, but ineffably magic. the second is much more rigorous in terms of craft and complexity, which opens up new possibilities but lessens or dispenses with qualities the first stuff had in the process. the third stage is streamlined, a synthesis of the best things of each previous stage plus something new--or it's where those things get lost entirely.

did i read that somewhere? first place i noticed it was in the art for the comic strip pearls before swine though lol. but it applies to the hardcore-jungle-2step progression in some sense, surely? maybe you'd want to put house in the first stage.


Void Dweller
It's interesting reading this. I find it fascinating and I also find myself feeling a little bit agitated. It foregrounds aspects of the music that are, not quite invisible to me, but definitely occluded or drowned out.

that's the idea. not much point in trying to to say the 'right' things about it when 95% of the forum is more qualified that you to talk about that.


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my sister's coming home for christmas tonight, so i have to hang out with her. mvuent, any chance you can do some to entertain me this evening?


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this sounds like christmas. like being in a mall (not empty this time) around christmas as a kid. that kind of excitement.

thinking of the third phase thing i mentioned—maybe it wasn’t strictly a matter of getting back whatever appealed to “the ladies,” it was also about recapturing some of the childishness of hardcore. for example ‘hurt you so’ sounds a bit like this. but now shinier and more polished.

theres a sustained sound in the second half that also feels wintery. bluish howling of winter wind.


Void Dweller

starts out in delirium. feverish chills. slowly sinking.

then 1min in it switches to the classic ‘nuum radioactive quasi-tropical glow. then switches back a few times.

rhythmically its perfectly unquantized. wood blocks and knife slashes. the floor shifting and changing pressure under your feet.

i like this a lot but it’s not somewhere you’d want to stay for a long time. too feverish, too many unexplained forces floating around you.


Void Dweller

guitars? boring. very machinelike guitar but still. wish the quiet swirling sounds were foregrounded instead.

that pad sound that’s really noticeable around 3:00 is a perfect example of the warm-yet-cool quality i keep hearing.

don’t have anything interesting to say about this really

that second where the beat is suspended at :15 immediately tells me that this is the rollercoaster feel of jungle more than the gentle hypnosis of house. the balance of those two forces has shifted in jungle’s favor. cartoon physics to come.

understated “now things are kicking off” excitement when the stabs come in in the pre-chorus.

the bass is liquid and elastic at the same time. expanding and contracting.

dance music doesn’t usually have a coda. if anything it tends to put all the interesting stuff at the beginning to get your attention. adding a finale at the end is a very mature, restrained way of adding interest. works really well here but it’s the first signs of this. hardcore was shambolic, now we know how to organize our ideas into proper songs.


Void Dweller

what distinguishes "nerdy" rhythmic complexity from "cool" complexity? occurred to me lately that the latter always has some way of signifying that everything's ok, under control. it's intense but no problem for you. like in this pic that got memed years ago.

so when you take away the song or james brown exultations you end up with this.

sounds very clenched and gloomy even though it's rhythmically very similar to the stuff in this playlist.


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what distinguishes "nerdy" rhythmic complexity from "cool" complexity?

This is a great question I've always assumed it was about the implied pattern of movement both in terms of the dance and the drummer (human ir otherwise) but this may be too simplistic.


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Very tricky one to answer (only on a couple hours of sleep too). So there are a few elements involved:

1) The rhythm tripping itself up.

2) The amount of variation; how much it feels like a loop and how long one turn of the loop is.

3) Rigidness; something sounds rigid if it has syncopation without variation in volume dynamics.

4) Swing.

Cool music:

So the more avant garde end of jungle trips itself up a lot, but isn’t rigid and is probably very, very slightly swung. Also maybe is based around 2 bar loops or so.

2 step is very loop-based, it’s swung and doesn’t trip itself up too much. However it has rigid elements in the drums, even while the hi hats are very slinky and sexy.

More complex Grime is very rigid, isn’t swung and does trip itself up a tiny bit. Its very loop based though.

Nerd music:

That Stenny track mvuent posted has parts where it trips itself more incessantly than 2step usually does.

I imagine broken beat is similar to 2 step but with more tripping up.

conceptronica sophie is similar to grime except not as clearly looped as grime is; more varied.

Autechre’s xylin room is very much about stumbling and tripping itself up.


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i’m not a clever enough writer to sustain a thread like this singlehandedly though. so the more people post their impressions the better.

only if you insist:

Myron- Get Down

Complete warm sensuality. The vocals, and those white noise swooshes are very breathy. Sublime pillow talk. Idealised intimacy. (The voice is a girl’s, not Myron’s in my mind).

Stone Cold

2step is the slickest, funkiest music ever and the beat on this is testament to that. Makes me feel so confident . The drums are arresting, but not just physically, they arrest your ego. They compel it. Inflate it. Like when a girl is very clearly enamoured with you. When she’s properly hungry for you.

I usually pick up on that alienation and the trauma of Aaliyah, but not today for some reason. Absolutely making me feeling like a legend.


Too nostalgic. Too emotional. Can't listen to it.


Golden. Warm. Communal (particular memories of groups of Bermondsey girls bellowing this out in unison).

Also memories of a stillness in the midst of people. Being at a party or something and it comes and there’s a serenity that descends upon the proceedings.

I’m not usually one for lyrics, but totally buy into this. Rippling pentacostalsim. “Just release yourself to the love that’s holding you”.

Those horns are transcendental. Not from the mortal realm but rather emitted from the heavens like beams of light.

Bump n Grind

Pure, unadulterated, uncontained, unconfined, exuberant joy. Every day in 1998 was bright sunshine and clear blue skies.

Hold On

A feisty, fiery bird. She’s got a verbal and emotional muscularity. Leanness. Battle hardened and battle ready.

All of which is outrageously charming. All of which done with an insatiable twinkle in her eye.


When I Fall In Love

Another one where it does what it says on the tin. I’m completely buying into the lyrics. Why must I be a teenager in love? That’s the vocals.

It’s got that woozy dreamy quality underneath.

Then it’s pure London when the bass comes in. 90’s London. The 90's that Reynolds learned to say bizznizz in.

Body Groove

Absolute fun. Children’s party fun. Pink wafers. Musical statues. Pass the parcel.


Hauntingly poignant. Nakedly vulnerable. This isn’t pillow talk intimacy, it’s far more than that. Its an intimacy that allows you to be there in her moment of grief. For her to be completely and openly wounded with you. And for the time being all you can do is hold her, kiss her on the head and tell her it’ll get better one day.

Shola Ama

Hyper love. Turbo-charged affection. If your soul could smile. kodwo eshwun's cyborg erection (or "electrection" as he'd call it).

Its rare that you get happiness in music devoid of melancholy. Just unadulterated happiness. But this- like the bump and grind one- does just that.

And does so in a way that’s not cloying or childish in the way you’d get in hardcore for example. In emotional terms its adult hardcore (to coin a phrase).