I’m Scared of Vinyl

Uffie

Posted in Gigs by Catriona on March 18, 2010

Uffie seems to be one of those artists who people either love or hate – either way she provokes a pretty extreme reaction. I should probably admit right now that I’ve long belonged to the former category of shameless Uffie-love. Perhaps it’s her music that won me over, maybe it’s her extreme Parisian coolness, or possibly even her style –more likely it’s a combination of all three.

Uffie is on the verge of releasing her long-awaited debut album, Sex Dreams and Denim Jeans, which still doesn’t have a definite date of release, but the first track, ‘MC’s Can Kiss’ has already gleefully splashed itself across the music blogs, despite the obligatory dose of bitter criticism that Uffie seems to get wherever she goes. To be honest, the real reason for the love-hate response to Uffie stems from how she broke into the music scene in the first place.

Most of you, if you’re bothering to read this article at all, will be aware of the Parisian record label Ed Banger. It’s the single most influential label behind the recent upsurge in electronic music. You could argue that Kitsuné can also make a claim for this title, due to the calibre and popularity of its compilation albums, but Ed Banger has Justice on their books, as well as SebastiAn and Mr Oizo. They’re also a notoriously cohesive bunch – artists on the Ed Banger label have a very close relationship with each other, remixing and supporting their labelmates. Uffie first appeared as the girlfriend of Feadz, one of the Ed Banger artists, when she provided vocals for Feadz’s track ‘Uffie and Me’ back in the early part of 2005. She went onto record ‘Pop the Glock’, which was produced by Feadz, and in early 2006, she was signed to Ed Banger, after Busy P (DJ and ex-Daft Punk manager – he owns and runs the label) heard the track.

The single, ‘Pop the Glock’ and its B-side ‘Ready to Uff’, which was produced by Mr Oizo, enjoyed considerable success. Lyrically, Uffie has never been particularly discreet: she certainly hasn’t been shy of either self-promotion or mentioning her connection with Feadz. ‘I got a man and he goes by Feadz’ was a refrain from ‘Pop the Glock’, whilst she pointed things out even more explicitly on ‘Ready to Uff’:

‘I’m that damn crazy brat, and I don’t give a fuck,

I got my man, my sound, my glass and I’m ready to fuck…

I’m Uffie, of course.’

You can see why she’s encountered a few problems, really. Still, she’s released some genuinely good tracks, and Uffie has a very distinctive style – you can immediately identify her vocals, even through the most distorted of remixes. What particularly annoys me is that poor Uffie is currently being continually compared to Ke$ha – Uffie’s videos on YouTube are annotated with inane accusations that she is copying the white girl rapping style that Ke$ha ‘originated’. Whilst neither of them actually started it, you can’t call Uffie the imitator – she’s been releasing music for years – ‘Pop the Glock’ came out way back in 2006.

Her latest single, ‘MC’s Can Kiss’, is every bit as excellently produced and lyrically taunting as her previous work. This is what I absolutely love about Uffie – no one can deny that her songs are first rate, but they can’t help but get riled by the accompanying words. If you want to spend an amusing hour or so, read what they’re writing about ‘MC’s Can Kiss’ on the music blogs, it’s hilarious. The general consensus appears to be to give Mr Oizo the credit for producing it so nicely, but to lampoon her for her lyrics. They’re supposed to be ironic, for god’s sake. How obvious does she have to be?

Unfortunately, due to time restrictions, we were unable to get an interview with Uffie, so as you’ve probably guessed, this piece is comprised out of a motley assortment of press releases, Wikipedia entries and snippets of information gleaned from obscure internet interviews. Still, it’s the Trinity Ball Guide*, I suppose, and it does help to have some idea as to which of the acts you might try and see. Already, I’m planning an elaborate schedule for the evening, of flitting between tents in order to catch as much of the line-up as possible. It’s that pre-Ball optimism that completely fails to take into account that most of the night is going to be dictated by how drunk you are. I’m even contemplating bringing a camera, in order to take some photographs, but I know that it’s a bad idea. At the back of my mind I know that history will inevitably repeat itself. Last year, despite being at the Ball for a good eight hours, I cannot remember seeing a single act. Most of my time was spent slumped on the grass outside the dance tent, watching my friends lurch past in various states of drunken dishevelment and varying stages of undress. The highlight of my evening was accosting the Senior Tutor and having a long, rambling conversation with her. Luckily I can’t remember the details, and I sincerely hope she doesn’t, either.

This year, my expectations have reached an all-time low. I know my limits. My alcohol tolerance currently rivals a twelve year old’s. Two cans of Bavaria and I’m practically unconscious. Because of this, I’m planning on writing the word UFFIE on the back of my hand with permanent marker, to ensure that this time round, I manage to see at least one of favourite acts. Keep things simple: that’s the best way to approach the Trinity Ball. And on that note, there isn’t really much point in going all-out on buying an expensive dress and getting your hair and nails done beforehand, if you’re a girl (or a man who’s planning an interesting alternative to a tuxedo). There tends to be an enormous amount of peer pressure to prepare frantically for the Trinity Ball, but at the end of the day: it’s dark, everyone’s drunk, and you’ll spend most of the night packed into a overcrowded tent, walking across cobblestones or sitting on the wet grass. Just enjoy it for what it is – a music festival in formal dress set in the unlikely and slightly surreal surroundings of Trinity College.

*This is a backdated piece that I did for this year’s Trinity Ball Guide, hence the off-topic rambling at the end of the article. Due to a very tight deadline, there wasn’t a chance to set up an interview, hence the way that the article reads like an extended bio. Sorry about that!

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