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Virgin threatens filesharers
The Quietus , March 31st, 2008 12:22


ISP first to shut stable door, search for lost horse

Virgin Media is to be the first major ISP to threaten its customers with suspension of their internet connection if they persist in using illegal filesharing services. The BPI has repeatedly called for the introduction of a "three strike" rule specifically targeting repeat offenders, and has been involved in as-yet fruitless talks with the major ISPs for the past two years. Virgin Media's announcement makes it the first ISP has agreed to co-operate in tracking down, warning, and possibly banning individual customers from their services.

The UK government has told the BPI and the music industry that they must reach a voluntary agreement by April 2009 or face legislation, with a consultation paper on illegal filesharing reportedly to be published this April. "We have been in discussions with rights holders organisations about how a voluntary scheme could work. We are taking this problem seriously and would favour a sensible voluntary solution," said a Virgin spokesperson. A trial of the scheme could apparently begin within months, although it is not known how BPI technicians would be able to isolate individual users without raising privacy issues.

One presumes that Virgin will also qualify their current advertising campaign that explains at length how their superfast fibreoptic cable network is the best choice for those wanting to acquire music and films with "no boring download limits".


Jimi Tenor and Tony Allen

Anyone going on at you about a drummer is, obviously, going to be talking to themselves before a minute’s up. But in Tony Allen’s case, uniquely, you’d do well to stick around. He’s such a one-off that standard praise evaporates on contact. Innovator? Plenty of those about, often bettered by the people who ripped them off. Living legend? All touring on the regular these days. Funky as hell? Everything from [Klaxons to quirky homeware] has drained that epithet of meaning. Influential? Well, he invented a genre but you won’t find another band that sounds like any of his.

And the simple reason for that is, no one else can do what Tony Allen does. Aged 69, he’s still the only person who can play the Afrobeat he invented during his time driving Fela Kuti’s band, Africa 70. His is a total rhythm that allows no escape; you will dance.

It instantly takes over every part of your body, from head to viscera to toes, and never lets go.

It’s an octopus rhythm that does what four drummers could but never would; you can almost feel its tentacles prodding all your pressure points at once.

It’s a viral rhythm, possessing everyone in the room

, the same stuff that led ‘Zombie’ to be banned purely for its ability to overtake people.

It’s such a remarkable, [irresistible, insistent] sound,

No one else can realign your offal.

In one sense it’s been great having him in the country:

Anyone lucky enough to see his band play in recent years will know that the septugenarian in an ‘I ♥ Party’ T-shirt has only consolidated his power; no younger live band would make everyone dance for two-and-a-half hours.

Allen’s had an odd run recently; under-employed in The Good The Bad And The Queen (he’s great even in repose, but, in truth, another drummer could have provided those licks; why hire the best when you don’t know what to do with him?)

There’s a danger that newcomers and fans alike might fear a neutered Jools Holland jam band nodding toward “world” music (and this was innovative and modernist as anything that came from the West), or another shite collab like Albran’s

Respected by all for reasons that, at a casual glance, newcomers might miss; even sniff the spectre Jools Holland and his Oogy Woogy Hair.

as asexual as he appears to be; Fela fans might be thinking, “I’ve still got 75 more albums to get through before I even get to 1986; maybe later”.

They might even imagine it’s a Fred Wesley situation: fine and all, but this was live, 70s music and the players passed with the moment.

Special Agent – misfire?


So it’s great to hear Tony Allen playing Tony Allen again – that’s really all he has to do, and something no one else can do. The band here is the same one he’s had on tour for years, and they’re phenomenal

The good news is, there are monster Afrobeat jams here, plus loads of great stuff throughout.

Tenor colours it not with patronising cultural olive branches or jarring electronica that colours in the functioning gaps of the live band rhythm - but with 70s funk moves (path to wisdom), reggae, jazz (3 cont) and soul (selfish). In that sense, it’s almost the Allen album every beat head wanted to dig out of a crate – the beats are more to the fore than they were in the Fela big band

You can’t begrudge him that – plays real well.

If Jimi Tenor’s eccentro-funk rap threatens to tip into Scando-Beck territory on ‘Against The Wall’, his pipes (recorded raw) are at full force on ‘Selfish Gene’.

‘Path to Wisdom’ 70s Black Panther type rap sampled whole; beefy sax solo; even Life In The Bush Of Ghosts vibe, with the sources scewed (Allen invented the ultra-modern Afrobeat Eno sampled, after all); wild jazz sax solo at the heart – great that no one’s tried to overlay the source with netutering ‘modern’ electronics or what-not.

‘Darker Side of Night’ – flute solo even – this album’s pure funk-lover’s exercise, and – vitally – the original is still alive to keep it tight.

‘Mama England’ – how’s it treated him so far?

‘Got My Egusi’ – monster Afrobeat jam; pure, killer Afrobeat; the Tony Allen band in full force, not really Tenor there

‘Cella’’s Walk’ – great, in-the-pocket Afrobeat; again, all Tenor supplies is a little dusting of guitar solo.

‘Three Continents’ – final, monster jam.

Cabassa (?) the speaking drum thing and poss flute by Tenor? Perscussion improv on top? The vocal/keyboard interplay thing is.

Incredible stuff – that’s all you need to do, just play.

“I’ll follow you anywhere you decide to go” – semi love song, semi immigration experience?

9/10 minutes, breaks down to horn solo and ambient rhythm for a couple of minutes, then triumphal return