YouTube is probably the greatest anthropological project ever launched. It has managed to expose the multitudes of the human condition more than any other medium ever created, and allowed people to express themselves in more diverse ways than at any point in history. This weekly column is an outlet for me to share with you some undiscovered gems, as well some very well-trodden gems, and discuss just what it is that makes the chosen accounts so intriguing.
WHO: SliverDrizzle and Qadoshezkaton
WHAT: Two archival music channels with very different music policies.
HOW MANY SUBSCRIBERS AT TIME OF WRITING: 7,570 and 312 respectively.
WHY SHOULD I CARE: For most of us, our relationship with YouTube began with music. We all hark back to the halcyon days of lyric videos made in Windows Movie Maker with endearing spelling errors. It was a simpler time, before Vevo, before ads, when uploading an Akon song alongside a slideshow of photos of Akon and the word "AKON" written in clip art was a true labour of love. There are less of these going around now as all the major labels have entered into aggressive takedown campaigns against any video which uses their music without authorisation. So now music on Youtube is less some kid in year 8 fade-cutting the lyrics to "Heartbroken" by T2, and more Meghan Trainor selling you Samsung Galaxys and subscriptions to Reader's Digest.
Still, even though it doesn't have the cute, youthfulness it once did, Youtube still has an impeccable archive of weird and varied genres of music: old flamenco, prog rock, Memphis rap – if it exists, it's probably on YouTube somewhere. The two channels I've chosen today are very different in terms of content, but share their desire to post music you won't find on Tidal.
Let's begin with SilverDrizzle. As I'm sure we're all aware, grime music is hitting the mainstream in a way it never has before. After a fallow period in the late 2000s, it was given a powerful rejuvenation via the return of some beloved originators - Wiley, Skepta, JME - and the breakthrough of some exciting young talent. But while its new faces and sounds are receiving their deserved kudos, one guy has been mining and researching the heady backlog of lost instrumentals, radio sets, freestyles and everything else: from a second version of So Solid's Dilemma to a "slew" of grime's current boss don Skepta by former SLK MC Van Damage (who I'm told now runs a strip club). SliverDrizzle exposes all of the minutiae in this varied, important scene.
Every track on here is indicative of a time and a place. This is much the same with any music channel that dedicates itself to making sure people know what happened in the genre of their choice, how it grew, where it changed and shifted.
On the other side of the coin is user Qadoshezkaton. Again, it's someone archiving music for the listening pleasure of a committed group of fans, but for very different music. I came across Qadoshezkaton while researching a band called Stalaggh (or Gulaggh as they're now more commonly known), an extreme metal outfit who do their darndest to create the most terrifyingly horrific music imaginable. Rumours abound that their album Projekt Misanthropia features the agonised screams of Russian mental patients, allegedly ones that they kidnapped. It is a phenomenally violent and unlistenable record, but that seems to be what Qadoshezkaton dabbles in. Other uploads to his channel include full releases by artists like Gnaw Their Tongues, whose song "Bonedust On Dead Genitals" is a similarly crumbling, hissing nightmare. He also has uploaded a cover of a Behemoth song, and an original song all of his own, which he describes as "ambient", but is actually just low volume high pitched guitar whining, somehow managing to be more sinister than all the mental patient screams combined.
Though the two channels are in stark opposition to each other, their clear dedication to making sure people can find whatever they're looking for binds them. It binds all channels whose purpose is not aggrandisement or fame, but charity and sharing. For every inane vlogger doing a Ben and Jerry's ice cream haul over a tinkly ukulele, there's a SilverDrizzle, a Qadoshezkaton, quietly mousing away, getting on with it. They're the cogs that make Youtube the greatest archive of human art and ideas in existence.