Hudson Mohawke 51
BIG SEAN . jessica pratt . rough trade . LITURGY . mumdance x novelist LIAM HODGES . iain forsyth & jane pollard . Meredith graves + MORE
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THE G N I D L A SP SUITE
SAT 2 MAY — R P A 9 2 D WE ERFORMERS P IC M A N Y D SIX G, HIP-HOP IN X O B T A E B MIX OETRY. P D N A S E V O M Benji Reid
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Four Tet Live Little Dragon Floating Points Live Moodymann Lil Louis Mala Gerd Janson Dusky Mount Kimbie (dj set) Blawan John Talabot Bicep RĂ¸dhĂĽd Hessle Audio: Ben UFO x Pangaea x Pearson Sound
Sadar Bahar Rush Hour pres: Antal, Hunee, Recloose Legowelt Lone Paranoid London Dorian Concept Truncate Doc Scott DJ Deep Max Graef Franck Roger
Giegling pres: Edward (live), Vril (live), Dustin, Konstantin
Daniele Baldelli Motor City Drum Ensemble Gerd Janson Osunlade Daniel Avery Delano Smith Horse Meat Disco Goldie
Shura Lee Gamble Jeremy Underground Dele Sosimi Afrobeat Orchestra Alexander Nut Seven Davis Jr FKJ (live) Fierce Cern
Bringing underground electronic music to an abandoned fort
For full line up see website dimensionsfestival.com
Zero T Kon Kaidi Thatum Eric Lau Telephones Flako Kutmah Josey Rebelle 22a pres: Al Dobson Jr Tenderlonious Henry Wu NTS pres: Charlie Bones, Jon K, Jon Rust Berceuse Heroique pres: Ekman, Hodge, Kemal, Koehler + special guest K15 Catching Flies Dimensions Soundsystem Gilla (First Word) Cosmic Slop DJs Lexis (Music Is My Sanctuary) Plus many more to be announced
ALL WEEKEND LONG
BANK HOLIDAY SUNDAY 3RD MAY
"Fuck this. Let's go dance..."
SUNDAY 3rd MAY 2015 OPENING PARTY PART 1 – OVAL SPACE / 1PM – 10PM
FRED P · JOEY ANDERSON JANE FITZ · GILES SMITH JAMES PRIESTLEY PART 2 – THE LAUNDRY / 10PM – 6AM
SUNDAY 24th MAY BANK HOLIDAY SPECIAL STUDIO338 / 2PM – 10:30PM
MARTYN DELANO SMITH JEREMY UNDERGROUND GILES SMITH · JAMES PRIESTLEY
STERAC AKA STEVE RACHMAD PEVERELIST b2b KOWTON LINKWOOD JAMES PRIESTLEY · GILES SMITH
DERRICK MAY · DELANO SMITH JEREMY UNDERGROUND RYAN ELLIOTT AMIR ALEXANDER NICK HÖPPNER · FUNKINEVEN HUNEE b2b ANTAL JAMES PRIESTLEY · GILES SMITH POBLE ESPANYOL PIC-NIC AREA & LA TERRRAZZA, BARCELONA, ES / 3PM – 5:45AM
SUNDAY 21st JUNE 10 YEARS IN BARCELONA PARTY
Exhibitions Exhibitions Exhibitions Exhibitions Exhibitions
Highlights Highlights Highlights Highlights Highlights Viviane VivianeSassen: Sassen:Pikin PikinSlee Slee VivianeUntil Sassen: Pikin Slee Until 1212 Apr Apr 2015 2015 Viviane VivianeSassen: Sassen: Pikin PikinSlee Slee Until 12 Apr 2015 Lower Lower Gallery Gallery Until Until 1212 Apr Apr 2015 2015 Lower Gallery Lower Lower Gallery Gallery
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FB55 FB55 2424 Mar Mar –FB55 17 – 17 May May 2015 2015 FB55 FB55 24Fox Mar – 17 Room May 2015 Fox Reading Reading Room 2424 Mar Mar –Reading 17 – 17 May May 2015 2015 Fox Room Fox Fox Reading Reading Room Room
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Events Events Events Artists’ Artists’ Film Film Club: Club: Continental Continental Drift Drift Events Events
Looks Looks 2222 Apr Apr –Looks 21 – 21 JunJun 2015 2015 Looks Looks 22 Apr – 21 Jun 2015 Lower Lower & Upper & Upper Galleries Galleries 22 22 Apr Apr – – 21 JunJun 2015 2015 Lower & 21 Upper Galleries Lower Lower & Upper & Upper Galleries Galleries
Film Film Film Film Film Southbank Southbank Show: Show: The The Life Life and and Career Career
Educators’ Educators’ Gallery Gallery Tour: Tour: Looks Looks Show: The Life and Career Educators’ Gallery Artists’ Film Club: Continental Drift of Southbank of Francis Francis Bacon Bacon Wed Wed 2222 Apr, Apr, 5pm 5pm Tour: Looks Wed Wed 8 Apr, 8 Apr, 6.45pm 6.45pm Southbank Southbank Show: Show: The The Life Life and and Career Career Artists’ Artists’ Film Film Club: Club: Continental Continental Drift Drift Educators’ Educators’ Gallery Gallery Tour: Tour: Looks Looks of Bacon Wed 8 Apr, 6.45pm Wed 22 Apr, 5pm Thu Thu 9Francis Apr, 9 Apr, 6.45pm 6.45pm Wed 2222 Apr, Apr, 5pm 5pm Francis Francis Bacon Bacon Wed Wed 8 Apr, 8Now: Apr, 6.45pm 6.45pm Thu 9 Apr, 6.45pm Artists’ Artists’ Film Film Club: Club: Oliver Oliver Laric Laric + Q&A + Q&A of of Culture Culture Now: Adrian Adrian Clark Clark discusses discusses Wed Thu Thu 9 Apr, 9 Apr, 6.45pm 6.45pm Culture Now: Adrian Clark discusses Artists’ Film Club: Oliver Laric + Q&A Kurt Kurt Cobain: Cobain: Montage Montage of of Heck Heck Wed Wed 2222 Apr, Apr, 6.30pm 6.30pm Peter Peter Watson Watson Culture Culture Now: Now: Adrian Adrian Clark Clark discusses discusses Artists’ Artists’ Film Film Club: Club: Oliver Oliver Laric Laric + Q&A + Q&A Peter Watson Wed 22 Apr, 6.30pm Kurt Cobain: Montage of 1010 AprApr – 16 – 16 AprApr 2015 2015 Heck FriFri 1010 Apr, Apr, 1pm 1pm Kurt Kurt Cobain: Cobain: Montage Montage of of Heck Heck Peter Peter Watson Watson Wed Wed 2222 Apr, Apr, 6.30pm 10 Apr – 16 Apr 2015 Fri 10 Apr, 1pm Artist’s Artist’s Talk: Talk: Wu6.30pm Wu Tsang Tsang 10 10 AprApr – 16 –Polish 16 Apr Apr 2015 2015 Fri Fri 1010 Apr, Apr, 1pm 1pm Artist’s Talk: Wu Tsang KINOTEKA KINOTEKA Polish Film Film Festival Festival Friday Friday Salon: Salon: Creative Creative vs.vs. Commercial? Commercial? Thu Thu 2323 Apr, Apr, 6.30pm 6.30pm Artist’s Talk: Talk: Wu Wu Tsang Tsang Thu 23 Apr, 6.30pm Polish Film Festival Salon: Creative vs. Commercial? Artist’s 10KINOTEKA 10 AprApr – 29 – 29 May May 2015 2015 FriFriday Fri 1010 Apr, Apr, 3pm 3pm KINOTEKA KINOTEKA Polish Polish Film Film Festival Festival Thu Thu 23 23 Apr, Apr, 6.30pm 6.30pm Friday Friday Salon: Salon: Creative Creative vs. vs. Commercial? Commercial? 10 Apr – 29 May 2015 Fri 10 Apr, 3pm Jean-Michel Jean-Michel Basquiat: Basquiat: A Matter A Matter of of Life Life 10 Apr Apr – 29 – 29 May May 2015 2015 Fri 10 10 Apr, Apr, 3pm 3pm Jean-Michel The The Dardenne Dardenne Brothers Brothers Retrospective Retrospective DorFri Dor Guez: Guez: Film Film Screening Screening + Q&A + Q&A and and of of Death DeathBasquiat: A Matter of Life 10 Jean-Michel Jean-Michel Basquiat: Basquiat: A Matter A Matter of of Life Life Dardenne Brothers of Death Guez: Film Satand Sat 2525 Apr, Apr, 2pm 2pm 24The 24 AprApr – 3–May 3 May 2015 2015 Retrospective SatDor Sat 1111 Apr, Apr, 2pm 2pmScreening + Q&A The The Dardenne Dardenne Brothers Brothers Retrospective Retrospective DorDor Guez: Guez: Film Film Screening Screening + Q&A + Q&A and and of of Death Death 24 Apr –mix 3 May Sat 11 Apr, 2pm Sat 25 Apr, 2pm Feature Feature in ain a mix of 35mm of2015 35mm prints prints andand digital digital Sat Sat 25 25 Apr, Apr, 2pm 2pm 24 24 Apr Apr – 3 – May 3 May 2015 2015 Sat Sat 11 11 Apr, Apr, 2pm 2pm Feature in a mix of 35mm prints and digital formats. formats. 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FB55: FB55: Discussing Francis Francis Bacon Bacon Where Where Theory Belongs: JenJen Harvie Harvie Wed 29Theory Apr,Belongs: 2pm Wed 15Discussing Apr, 6.30pm A Nos A Nos Amours: Amours: Wed Wed 2929 Apr, Apr, 2pm 2pm Wed Wed 15Salon: 15 Apr, Apr, 6.30pm 6.30pm A NosAkerman Amours: Chantal Akerman 19:19: Chantal Chantal Akerman Akerman Screening Screening the the ICA: ICA: Shapes Shapes and and Forms Forms Chantal Friday Friday Salon: Ethics Ethics of of thethe Other Other A Nos A Nos Amours: Amours: Akerman 19: Chantal Salon: Ethics of the Other Screening the ICA: Shapes and Forms parChantal par Chantal Chantal Akerman Akerman & Sud & Sud Akerman Wed Wed 2929 Apr, Apr, 6.30pm 6.30pm FriFriday Fri 1717 Apr, Apr, 3pm 3pm Chantal Chantal Akerman Akerman 19: 19: Chantal Chantal Akerman Screening Screening the ICA: ICA: Shapes Shapes and and Forms Forms Thu Friday Friday Salon: Salon: Ethics Ethics of of thethe Other Other par Akerman & SudAkerman Wed 29 the Apr, 6.30pm Fri 17 Apr, 3pm Thu 23Chantal 23 Apr, Apr, 6.40pm 6.40pm par Chantal Chantal Akerman Akerman & Sud & Sud Wed 29Gallery 29 Apr, Apr, 6.30pm 6.30pm Fri Fri 1717 Apr, Apr, 3pm 3pm 23 Apr, 6.40pm FB55: FB55: Gallery Tour Tour ledled by by ICAICA Executive Executive parThu Where Where Theory Theory Belongs: Belongs: Michael Michael Taussig Taussig Wed Thu 2323 Apr, Apr, 6.40pm 6.40pm Where Theory Belongs: Michael Taussig Director FB55: Gallery Tour led by ICA Executive Thu Catalan Catalan Avant-Garde Avant-Garde Wed Wed 2222 Apr, Apr, 2pm 2pm Director Gregor Gregor Muir Muir FB55: Gallery Tour Tour ledled by by ICAICA Executive Executive 28Catalan Where Where Belongs: Michael Michael Taussig Taussig FB55: Director Gregor Muir WedTheory 22Theory Apr,Belongs: 2pm 28 Feb Feb – 18 –Avant-Garde 18 Dec Dec 2015 2015 Thu Thu 30Gallery 30 Apr, Apr, 5pm 5pm Catalan Catalan Avant-Garde Avant-Garde Director Director Gregor Gregor Muir Muir Wed Wed 2222 Apr, Apr, 2pm 2pm 28 Feb – 18 Dec 2015 Thu 30 Apr, 5pm 2828 Feb Feb – 18 – 18 Dec Dec 2015 2015 Thu Thu 30of 30 Apr, 5pm 5pm ArtsArts Institute Institute Contemporary ofApr, Contemporary TheThe MallMall London London SW1Y SW1Y 5AH 5AH Institute of Contemporary Arts 020 020 7930 7930 3647, 3647, www.ica.org.uk www.ica.org.uk The Mall London SW1Y 5AH Institute Institute of Contemporary of Contemporary ArtsArts 7930 3647, www.ica.org.uk The020 The MallMall London London SW1Y SW1Y 5AH 5AH 020020 7930 7930 3647, 3647, www.ica.org.uk www.ica.org.uk
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JESSICA PRATT With On Your Own Love Again, the San Franciscan artist has produced an extraordinary collection of bewitching, psychedelic folk. James F. Thompson digs down to the roots of her inspiration
MUMDANCE x NOVELIST When the sparse, innovative productions of old head Mumdance meet the irrepressible charisma of the new breed Novelist, the result is thrilling grime alchemy. The pair spoke to Tom Watson.
RECOMMENDED Our guide to what’s coming up in your city
NEW MUSIC From the periphery
TURNING POINTS: TWIN SHADOW Billy Black traces George Lewis Jr.’s journey from choir boy to windswept indie romantic – via hardcore punk and GTA
EASTER Nacho G Riaza spends an afternoon at a searing Argentinian poolside with the Berlin-based experimental synthpop duo
RYAN ELLIOTT Chris Williams meets the Detroit native who in Berlin has found a home, and in Panorama Bar has found his ultimate stage
GERD JANSON The affable Running Back boss and recovering journalist shares a word with Xavier Boucherat
GALCHER LUSTWERK As the dust settles on his cult mixtape, the smouldering Brooklyn producer talks privacy, Lustwerk Music and finding beauty in the mundane with Anna Tehabsim
LITURGY Having promised to do so for years, Hunter Hunt-Hendrix has fully transcended black metal’s boundaries. Thomas Howells speak to the man disintegrating genre tropes in a deafening swell of MIDI horns
DENNIS DESANTIS Tackling writer’s block head on with an innovative and essential resource for electronic producers
LIAM HODGES The designer filtering British tradition into daring yet attainable, street-ready fashion. By Cassandra Kirk.
REVIEWS Gig reports, product reviews and our verdict on the latest releases in film and music
DIGRESSIONS Baines’ World, Sold Out! with Waka Flocka Flame, the crossword and advice from Denzil Schnifferman
20 QUESTIONS: BEST COAST Of course Bethany Cosentino’s been to Disneyworld with her number one fan. Of course she has. She takes time out from chain-watching Seinfeld to answer Billy Black’s 20 daftest queries
PERSPECTIVE Perfect Pussy frontwoman Meredith Graves makes her case in defence of violence holding the notepad
ROUGH TRADE Speaking to Rough Trade founder Geoff Travis alongside the label’s alumni, Davy Reed considers the ideology behind the imprint’s legendary early days
HUDSON MOHAWKE Although he’s compiled a contact list that most producers could only dream of, Ross Birchard has decided to skip the party and get back in the driver’s seat. By Davy Reed Shot exclusively for Crack by Tom Andrews London: March 2015
IAIN FORSYTH AND JANE POLLARD Riding the crest of a post-Nick Cave wave, the cherished filmmakers sit down with Augustin Macellari to dissect nostalgia and look to the future
AESTHETIC: BIG SEAN With a number one album under his belt, the hip-hop superstar flaunted his swag for Crack’s styled fashion shoot
Adventures in contemporary music Spring 2015 Thu 9 Apr
Hello Terry Riley: James Holden, Koreless, Luke Abbott Tue 28 Apr, Village Underground
Stargaze presents: The Dodos orchestral + Deerhoof chamber variations Sat 9 & Sun 10 May
Mountains and Waves: Bryce Dessner and New American Music Wed 27 May, Village Underground
Ryoji Ikeda: Supercodex
SET IN HENHAM PARK SUFFOLK
16TH - 19TH JULY 2015
MANIC STREET PREACHERS / THE VACCINES / CARIBOU / JAMES BLAKE / JON HOPKINS / SBTRKT / LAURA MARLING WILD BEASTS / LIANNE LA HAVAS / DJANGO DJANGO / FEMI KUTI & THE POSITIVE FORCE / SAVAGES / TORO Y MOI / KWABS YOUNG FATHERS / UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA / SUN KIL MOON / THE 2 BEARS / CLARK / SHURA / LEON BRIDGES / KIASMOS
JASON MANFORD / ALAN DAVIES / JON RICHARDSON THE LAST LEG LIVE WITH ADAM HILLS, JOSH WIDDICOMBE & ALEX BROOKER / KATHERINE RYAN / TIM KEY / SARA PASCOE / NICK HELM SPECIAL GUESTS: CHILLY GONZALES & KAISER QUARTETT / GEORGE THE POET / THE LAST POETS / DR JOHN COOPER CLARKE / EDDIE ARGOS MUSIC / COMEDY / THEATRE / DANCE ON THE WATERFRONT / FILM / POETRY / LITERATURE / CABARET / SCIENCE / ART / LAKE SWIMMING / SOLAS
FOR THE LINE-UP SO FAR GO TO THE WEBSITE WWW.LATITUDEFESTIVAL.CO.UK / TICKETS FROM SEETICKETS.COM / 0871 231 0846 CALLS COST 10P PLUS NETWORK CHARGES. BILL SUBJECT TO CHANGE
Craig Richards Nina Kraviz Mr G (Live) Exos
Craig Richards Benoit & Sergio (Live) Laura Jones
Te r r y Fr a n c i s Norman Nodge Black Asteroid
2020 Vision Ralph Lawson Premiesku (Live) Sv e n Ta s n a d i
Balance CD Launch Fur Coat Inxec
Craig Richards Levon Vincent Session Victim (Live) Lo Shea Room 02
Te r r y Fr a n c i s Boddika Clockwork Room 03
Kaluki Pa t r i c k To p p i n g Pete Zorba Pirate Copy
Apollonia Dan Ghenacia Shonky Dyed Soundorom Amir Javasoul Room 02
Te r r y Fr a n c i s Slam Room 03
Yo u A r e W e Job Jobse W i L D K AT S Ashley Wild
25/04 Room 01
fabric 81: M a t t To l f r e y Launch M a t t To l f r e y Cassy Nail Kerb Staller (Live) Room 02
Te r r y Fr a n c i s Alan Fitzpatrick G re g o r Tre s h e r ( L i ve ) Warm Beautiful Swimmers Ali Tillett Ollie Seaman Myles Mears
w w w. f a b r i c l o n d o n .c o m
Executive Editors Thomas Frost email@example.com Jake Applebee firstname.lastname@example.org Editor Geraint Davies email@example.com Marketing / Events Manager Luke Sutton firstname.lastname@example.org Deputy Editor Davy Reed Junior Editor Anna Tehabsim Head Of Digital Content Billy Black Editorial Assistant Duncan Harrison Creative Director Jake Applebee Art Direction & Design Alfie Allen Design Graeme Bateman Staff Writer Tom Watson Intern Emillie Hawes Film Editor Tim Oxley Smith Art Editor Augustin Macellari Fashion Tom Johnson, Mees Tempellaar, Tom Turpie, Charlotte James, Carlene Harris Contributors Josh Baines, Denzil Schniffermann, James F. Thompson, Meredith Graves, Xavier Boucherat, Adam Corner, Thomas Howells, Chris Williams, Alex Gwilliam, Angus Harrison, Tamsyn Aurelia-Eros Black, Jon Clark, Jack Lucas Dolan, Pippa Chase, Nacho G. Riaza, Jack Bolter, Cassandra Kirk, Ellie Harrison, Philip James Allen, Mick Hockney, Maria Mouk, Henry Boon, Photography Tom Andrew, Tom Weatherill, Júlia Soler, Nacho G. Riaza, Teddy Fitzhugh, Ben Price, Danny Krug, Elise Rose, Dola Baroni, Lewis Lloyd, Daniel Robson, Markus Werner, Chris Cooper/Shot Away, Will Dohrn Illustrations James Wilson, James Burgess Advertising To enquire about advertising and to request a media pack: email@example.com 0117 2391219 CRACK is published by Crack Industries Ltd © All rights reserved. All material in Crack magazine may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of Crack Industries Ltd. Crack Magazine and its contributors cannot accept any liability for reader discontent arising from the editorial features. Crack Magazine reserves the right to accept or reject any article or material supplied for publication or to edit this material prior to publishing. Crack magazine cannot be held responsible for loss or damage to supplied materials. The opinions expressed or recommendations given in the magazine are the views of the individual author and do not necessarily represent the views of Crack Industries Ltd. We accept no liability for any misprints or mistakes and no responsibility can be taken for the contents of these pages.
Deftones Dai the Flu Grimes REALiTi Chastity Belt Cool Slut Contortions My Infatuation Action Bronson Baby Blue ft. Chance The Rapper Holly Herndon Home Young Marble Giants Brand New Life Bauhaus Passion Of Lovers WETDOG Chocky Gnod Breaking The Hex Lauer ESC Raekwon Incarcerated Scarfaces
Crack stared at the words, unable to fully process their ramifications. Unable to fully comprehend their implications. Unable to fully recall which one he is. It was true. Zayn had quit. He’d stared the 1D cash-cow straight in its big, dumb, emotionless eyes and said: “fuck you pal”. And we were left knowing just one thing: he’s gone. What would the logic be? The same irreconcilable personal differences that tore the Pixies asunder? Perhaps a love interest was to blame, a post-internet Yoko Ono? Maybe the very same intense hood beef which shattered Gucci Mane and Waka Flocka Flame’s friendship and left the Brick Squad name in tatters? Perhaps he was tired of demented 13-yearold girls the world over writing depraved fan fictions about him fellating his bandmates? At the time of going to print, details remain sparse. All we know is, he’s gone. He was clearly on a different page to the others. Harry Styles’s gossipcolumn-inch-munching East London antics didn’t sit well with the zoottoking badman at stage left. Neither did that other one who pretends to play football all the time. Zayn’s got his integrity. Zayn’s got bigger fish to fry. Zayn’s gonna be a superstar solo artist. Yes, that’s definitely going to happen. He’s gonna be the UK Usher. He definitely won’t end up rejoining them in a year for a big-money reunion tour. No, that definitely won’t happen. He’s definitely gone. Well, we admire him. The 1D lifestyle – or should we say, life-Styles?! Ha – wasn’t for him any more. He couldn’t look at Simon Cowell’s sallow, sinking, stankin’ mug one more time. He just couldn’t do it. He’s left that in the past. He’s moved on. He’s got bigger fish to fry. He’s gone. We’d like to offer you, the reader, our reassurances. Despite the shockwaves this has sent around the musical world, we’re going to stay strong. Despite all the rumours, music journalism as a whole isn’t going to take a six months hiatus to regather itself. We’re gonna keep on keeping on. It’s what Zayn would have wanted. And who cares what Zayn would have wanted anyway? He’s gone.
Geraint Davies, Editor
CUTS Bunsen Burner Hudson Mohawke Brand New World Kanye West All Day Goitia Deitz New Horizons Tobias Jesso Jr. Without You ESG UFO Palms Trax Sumo Acid Crew Tinashe Wrong Nidia Minaj Puto Iuri Lotic Heterocetera Communions Out Of My World Faith No More Easy thee oh sees Web FATHER Everybody In the Club Gettin Shot TAPES Somebodies Baby Koehler & Kuno Anti Gravity Switch Abbattoir Blues Still Here Kapital Paradis Electronique
Issue 51 | crackmagazine.net
Respect Beans on Toast Lizzie Bee Lottie Moore Ed Williams Terry Turbo Ruth Drake Luisa Zilio Aden Flint Mark Little
O ur g uid e t o w ha t 's g o ing o n in y o ur cit y
DELROY EDWARDS Corsica Studios 4 April
JESSICA PR ATT Church of St John at Hackney 8 April
L AND OF KINGS Boxed In, Moxie, Koreless Various Venues, Dalston 3 May £25 + BF GODSPEED YOU! BL ACK EMPEROR Shepherds Bush Empire 20 April
TORO Y MOI Oval Space 8 April
BILBAO BBK The Jesus and Mary Chain, Disclosure, Azaelia Banks Kobetamendi, Bilbao 9 - 11 July Three days: £91 / £98 with Camping + BF CR ACK BERLIN L AUNCH PART Y Prince Charles, Berlin 17 April €10 Following the recent launch of Crack's Berlin edition, we’re heading to Prince Charles to make this thing official. Headlining this bash will be Galcher Lustwerk, the Brooklyn-based producer who blends hip-hop influences with smudged, stripped back house and his own hushed vocals, reaching cult status in 2013 after releasing his breakthrough mixtape, 100% Galcher. You can find some more out about him on p. 44. Joining Lustwerk are Berlin resident and owner of Moodmusic, Sasse as well as long-term Crack affiliates Pardon My French and Gramrcy. If you happen to be about, come and join us yeah.
10 years is a long time. A hell of a heck of a long time. In that time, Bilbao BBK have brought a fleet of the world’s most celebrated artists to their gorgeous setting amidst the mountains of the Basque countryside: we’re talking Radiohead, The Cure, Depeche Mode, Jane's Addiction. That sort of thing. We’ve been the last couple of years, and we’ve had a blast in the balmy heat and loved-up atmosphere. Bilbao is like, seriously nice. So to celebrate a decade in the game, BBK have put together a mother of a line-up: there’s a load of stadium-filling monsters, as well as Future Islands, Disclosure, Azaelia Banks and a heap and a half more.
JACCO GARDNER 100 Club 24 April £10 JAMES HOLDEN Barbican 9 April
GROUPER Church of St. John at Hackney 23 April
Jacco Gardner rose to fame after making a brief cameo in Martin Bashir’s 2008 documentary Living With Michael Jackson … What’s that? We’re thinking of Jacko’s gardener? D’oh! So who is Jacco Gardner? Well, he’s a Dutchman with a penchant for Byrds-influenced 60s sounds and a very full head of hair. We’re in full approval here and if you don’t dig his reverb laden psychedelic vibe then you could always do a whizz back to that Martin Bashir documentary. It still stands up.
Since 2009 we’ve been revelling in the annual sprawl of Land of Kings as its wealth of music and art and interactive performance and cinema and food envelops E9 and N16 for 18 hours, inviting you to underground venues and loft parties and roof gardens and loads of other places you’d never otherwise think to look. This year’s line-up includes Joe Goddard’s hairy-house tag-team The 2 Bears, London experimental producer My Panda Shall Fly, Young Turks’ Koreless, NTS resident Moxie and much hyped indie auteur Boxed In. But we wouldn’t recommend sticking too rigidly to the timetable. There’s adventures to be had in these streets.
TRUST FUND Sebright Arms 13 April £6.50 You might know Trust Fund from that video with the dogs but let us set the record straight: Trust Fund aren’t just a band with dogs in their video. Actually, they’re more of a solo project with dogs in his video. Seriously though, Ellis Jones’s debut album No One's Coming For Us, has received more-thanheavy rotation in the Crack office and we can tell you first hand that they’re excellent live. Great hooks, pleasingly off kilter vocals and lyrics about stuff you understand like texting and feeling sad and stuff. You can’t scoff at that. Also, what is scoffing and how do you do it? Answers on a postcard.
HUERCO S Dance Tunnel 10 April
MUTEK MONTRE AL Andy Stott, Kiasmos, James Holden Montreal, Canada 27 - 31 May Prices vary Mutek is a globally renowned brand, and their Montreal event has a reputation for hosting exciting contemporary currents of music in a particularly cultivated setting. Taking place in the Musée d'Art Contemporain, the excellent line-up for the 16th edition of Mutek Montreal includes the likes of Andy Stott, Steffi, Session Victim, dub duo Sherwood & Pinch, L.I.E.S artist Svengalisghost, James Holden and New York’s Anthony Naples, whose recent album Body Pill has had plenty of plays in the Crack office. For those who appreciate it when innovative music is curated with the respect it deserves, Mutek Montreal is the ultimate destination.
THE THING Yard Theatre 10 April
ELIJAH & SKILLIAM fabric 10 April
Issue 51 | crackmagazine.net
17 PAUL SIMON & STING O2 Arena 15 + 16 April
NICK CAVE Royal Albert Hall 3 May
BE AUTIFUL SWIMMERS fabric 25 April
SHIT & SHINE Underworld 26 April
LOWL ANDS Interpol, Joey Bada$$, Hudson Mohawke Biddinghuizen, The Netherlands 21 - 23 August £129 + BF Fancy seeing Interpol, Joey Bada$$, Allah-Las, Father John Misty, Hudson Mohawke and Bad Breeding all in one weekend? Course you do. Fancy doing that in The Netherlands? Lowlands or – to give its full title – A Campingflight To Lowlands Paradise, might just be the festival for you. Three day tickets inclusive of shuttle and camping are only 120 quid and our stoner mate said you can get a flight to the Netherlands for less than a packet of scampi fries these days. Get in.
FARR FESTIVAL DJ Koze, Âme, Roman Flügel, Tama Sumo, Prosumer, Mr Ties Bygrave Woods, Hertfordshire 16 - 18 July £75 THE BL ACK MADONNA Dance Tunnel 25 April £5 Marea Stamper and her various monikers have long been a fixture of Chicago dance music; from pushing tapes to the Midwestern rave scene in the early 90s to recently becoming the chief talent buyer at Chicago clubbing institution Smart Bar. With her latest output as The Black Madonna, she’s celebrated for more than her productions and era-spanning sets. Her outspoken stance as a feminist and advocate for the queer community aims to erase the idea of female DJs as a novelty, instead highlighting women’s integral role in dance music history. Her recent DAPHNE event series featured workshops ranging from managing motherhood to working with synthesisers, and hosted nights headlined by Honey Dijon and Aurora Halal, without excluding male peers like Derrick Carter. Sound good? Get down with this dance music radical at Dance Tunnel this month.
Taking place in an old oak field in Hertfordshire, Farr festival is returning brighter and bolder – but not bigger this year. Promising to preserve the intimate atmosphere it has become known for, performing at the low-key boutique fest are plenty of big name acts, including the ever-eccentric techno shapeshifter DJ Koze, Innervisions stalwarts Âme, Panorama Bar resident Tama Sumo, house and disco maestro Prosumer and the gloriously eccentric Mr. Ties. For more feel good house and disco in all its various forms, there’s Hunee, Young Marco, Medlar and Shanti Celeste, nestled among a line-up dripping in quality.
SUPER FURRY ANIMALS Brixton Academy 8 + 9 May
L AUREL HALO Oval Space 30 April
SECRETSUNDA ZE 2015 OPENING PART Y Oval Space + The Laundry 3 May £14.50 + BF
PURIT Y RING Shepherd’s Bush Empire 30 April
MORITZ VON OSWALD Dance Tunnel 3 May
RED BULL MUSIC ACADEMY UK TOUR A$AP Rocky, Julio Bashmore, Prins Thomas Various Venues, London 8 - 12 April Prices vary As expected, the Red Bull Music Academy UK Tour is absolutely huge. During its five day London stop, A$AP Rocky will engage in conversation with Benji B, Julio Bashmore will host a workshop and Wolf + Lamb will spin a marathon set at The Old Queen’s Head pub. There are plenty of themed events which are guaranteed to mix things up too, including the garage and grime-flavoured ‘Tropical Roller Disco’ with the likes of JME, Skepta, C4, Flowdan, Preditah and Slimzee, the ‘Radio High Frequencies: Live In London’ which will see a cluster of stations team up to celebrate the legacy of pirate radio and the Victorian Ballroom-style ‘T Party’, which has a line-up ranging from Zebra Katz to Prins Thomas. It’s one hell of a schedule, so for more info and the full line-up, visit uktour. redbullmusicacademy.com.
FLYING LOTUS Brixton Academy 1 May
London’s notorious Sunday party had its humble beginnings in 2001, as Giles Smith and James Priestley played records to 30 or 40 of their friends at Shoreditch’s 93ft East. As word of the party grew, their rise was swift, and they’re now firmly established at the forefront of London’s party scene. The seminal daytime party opens its doors for summer 2015 with New York legend Fred Peterkin. The deep house don explores his visual and emotionally laced sound on his productions as Fred P, as well as Black Jazz Consortium and more recently Anomaly. It’s the raw emotion in his music that connects with so many, found explicitly on his breakthrough New Horizons EP, written following a battle with demon drink. The party goes from day to night with fellow New York native and cosmic house producer Joey Anderson, beloved East London DJ Jane Fitz, Steve Rachmad as STERAC, Livity Sound associates Peverelist and Kowton and more.
LEVON VINCENT fabric 9 May
Issue 51 | crackmagazine.net
TOTAL LOVE Fuck off man, it’s basically summer. Stop being such a dick. No, I don’t wanna listen to that new Xiu Xiu and Merzbow tune, I wanna listen to Wavves and smoke a bone. What d’you mean Wavves blow now? OK, whatever, my buddy from Toronto told me about this band. They’ve only played, like, four shows or whatever. Put them on. Yeah, I know they’ve only got one song. That’s the point. Let’s listen to it 50 TIMES! Come on man. It’ll be funny. Come on? Thanks man. I always knew you were cool.
NIDIA MINAJ Last year, global ears pricked up to the thriving dance music scene in Lisbon. Emerging from the vast suburbs of the Portuguese capital, the thrilling kuduro sounds championed by the likes of Marfox and DJ Nigga Fox are the fusion of various high octane, rhythmically wayward styles. This wildly adventurous amalgam is grown in the housing projects and at local block parties, and largely made with early 00s software FruityLoops, in this way drawing various parallels to London’s incubation of grime. While every release from Principe Discos, the chief label associated with the scene, feels like an event, their latest is particularly exciting. 17-year-old student Nidia Minaj makes electrifying, energy-charged music in between lessons. “I like going to school and making music and I never get tired of doing the things I like,” Nidia explains via email, “but I like music more than school, for sure.” Currently living in Bordeaux, Nidia was exposed to kuduro through her childhood in Lisbon, where she joined all-girl dance crew Kaninas Squad before breaking away to focus on becoming a producer. Evidently, this was time well spent; Nidia’s latest release Danger explores the deliciously off-kilter rhythms and whiplash production of the city as it springs rambunctiously into life over eight tracks. It’s the result of a ferocious creative impulse, and equally strong ambition. “My ambition is to be one of the best DJs in the world. Or even better, the best DJ in the world,” she proclaims. “And be recognised for what I’m doing.” This ambition to reach the pinnacle of her craft is inspired by her own idol and namesake, Nicki. Drawn to the rap powerhouse because she too is standing out on her own in her field, “we share the fact that we work in forms in which the boys are dominant,” she tells us. It looks like there’s no stopping this young pioneer.
O Puto Iuri 1 Marfox / Maboku : @NidiaVBorges
O I Don’t Wanna Work 1 Wavves / Best Coast : totallovemusic.tumblr.com MBONGWANA STAR
EBU Bristol-based musician Ella Paine is part of a bright new scene emerging from bedrooms across the city. Alongside friends like Oliver Wilde and Edward Penfold she makes analogue music that sounds right at home in the digital age; underwater folk shrouded in dream pop and sparse, somnolent string arrangements. Her latest release is a very limited edition split cassette tape with Tara Clerkin. It came free with the very first issue of Box, a new feminist zine linked to the very same scene. If we’re honest, all of the above are well worth a look. Keep an eye out for the young Bristolians, they’ll be out of their bedrooms and in your local record store before you know it.
O Keep Hold The Ocean Sound
From Kinshasa, the debut album from Mbongwana Star, is an astounding shot in the arm. A brand new act emerging, as the album’s title suggests, from the sprawling, unpredictable mass of Kinshasa, capital city of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the third largest urban area in Africa, they’ve forged something truly thrilling out of their difficult roots – “making magic out of garbage”, as band member Doctor L calls it. The album’s first glimpse, Malukayi, (which features compatriots Konono No.1) streamed via Boiler Room earlier this month to rapturous reactions. And rightly so; we’ve certainly never heard anything like it. A hypnotic, propulsive electronic loop seeps over a tightly wound beat replete with busy, organic clatter, calling to mind an African twist on ESG’s scattergun NY post-disco. The album as a whole welcomes snarling, fuzzed out high life guitars, funk rhythms, skittering percussion and countless voices in a concoction which is guaranteed to blow minds when they bring their seven-strong live show to the UK this June. From Kinshasa drops on May 18 via World Circuit. Trust us – it’s incredible.
MARIN Who is Marin? The 21-year-old North Londoner who’s bewitched Zomby into producing her very first track has surged inexorably into the eyeline. The track in question is (Prevail) Witch Hunt, a stirring soundscape of finger-clicks, gunfire, hi-hat trills and distant synth whimpers. Flecking a sinister, urban aesthetic with broken, jazzy husk, Witch Hunt – apparently nailed in a single take – is both understated and deeply engaging; a seriously impressive call to arms.
O (Prevail) Witch Hunt 1 Zomby / Andreya Triana
OOFJ, an Ai Wei Wei-endorsed LA-based electronic duo compromised of Danish musician Jenno Bjørnkjær and South African vocalist Katherine Mills-Rymer, first became musically and romantically entangled after encountering each other while Jenno was working on the soundtrack for Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia. The point of meeting feels appropriate, as the orchestral flourishes of recent tracks Cliffdive, I Forgive You and You’re Always Good feel truly cinematic, and beneath the aurally pleasing quality of Katherine’s breathy coos, there’s a simmering sense of emotional and erotic unease that would appeal to Von Trier’s imagination. Ahead of the April release of their new album Acute Feast, Dean Blunt has embedded You’re Always Good with a burst of white noise for his ‘SOUR™ remix’. And with OOFJ’s habit of deceiving with surface appearances, you can see why Blunt is fan.
O I Forgive You 1 HTRK / Charlotte Gainsbourg : oofj.net
O Malukayi 1 John Wizards / Tony Allen : mbongwanastar.com
1 Cat Power / Sparklehorse : soundcloud.com/e_b_u
Issue 51 | crackmagazine.net
O Listen 1 File Next To : Online
The Chuck Taylor All Star
Made by you
Turning Points: Twin Shadow
“I would go into school and sing requiems. We were all into Biggie and Tupac and stuff. It kind of separated me from all my friends!”
Words: Billy Black
Across the best part of a decade George Lewis Jr. has concocted and contorted his Twin Shadow alias. His rise from haunted bedroom pop star to full blown anthemic balladeer has earned both praise and derision. He burst into colour in 2010 with Forget, a collection of earnest, lo-fi, new-wave indie that garnered near-universal praise, and his follow up Confess showcased a cleaner vision of 1980s-infused romance. This year’s Eclipse sees him fully traverse musical borders on a foray into polished pop music. Here Lewis breaks down his creative journey into the five points which helped shape Twin Shadow as we know it today. Circa 1992: Singing in the church choir as a boy We went to a church where they had all these after school programmes that my friends went to. I was obsessed at the time with Boys II Men, and my parents knew I could sing because I was always singing along at home. When I joined the choir the director, Doug, would get me to try lots of requiems. I only got to perform once or twice but it had a profound effect on me, cause I would go into school and sing requiems to my friends and they’d go “What is that!?” We were all into Biggie and Tupac and stuff [laughs]. It kind of separated me from all my friends! 2000: Forming Mad Man Films I used go to these jam sessions. One day this guy Zak [Longo] showed up and he was writing actual songs. So I would go over to his house, and he was like the foundation of my learning how to write a song. Shortly after I met him I moved to Boston. A year later he joined me there. Within that year I’d gotten into all this kind of hardcore and punk stuff, and he was resistant but somehow I convinced him to play harder. I got good at guitar and Zak switched to bass. He found a drummer at school and we started to make songs as Mad Man Films. We kinda sounded like Red Hot Chilli Peppers at first, but I wanted to sound like the Contortions. 2010: Recording Forget In between Mad Man Films and starting Twin Shadow I’d made another record. I never pushed it hard, but that was my transition.
Issue 51 | crackmagazine.net
This guy [Eddie Bezalel, respected executive producer, A&R and manager] had heard this stuff I had online and he became, and still is, my manager. When I met him I was on the verge of giving up music completely. He was like “Why don’t you work on this more?” He motivated me to work on songs that already existed. After all this talking and discussing and making music, there was a sound developing. There was a month where I wrote all the songs on Forget. My manager gave me a computer and Pro Tools and I used Ableton to produce it. The whole thing was a wild learning process. The end result is that I have this incredible document of my growth. 2013: Hosting a radio station on GTA V I met a couple guys from Rockstar [Games] at a party for the launch of the game Max Payne, that the band HEALTH did the soundtrack for. One of the guys who I met at the party had heard Old Love, New Love from the new record and wanted it to be in the game. Then they said “We really need this like, pretentious hipster to have this radio station and be this snobby character.” I was excited when I thought I would be able to curate the station, but in fact that was an impossibility because they have to secure licensing. It was actually mostly compiled by Rockstar, but coincidentally many of my peers and many bands and artists I would have chosen ended up on there. 2015: Recording Eclipse I never want to make the same thing twice. There’s a lot of risk in that because sometimes I think “Just give everyone what they want.” But I myself can’t feel like I’ve progressed unless I’ve made a big shift. I started by looking at the lyrics, I decided the lyrics would be simpler and I wouldn’t try to talk in code as much and try to be as clever, things would be a lot more direct. And just from doing that the music became more direct. As a result I think this record is wider, more open. I’m sure my fans will say it’s more mainstream, but I don’t see that as a negative thing. Eclipse is release on 18 May via Warner Brothers. Twin Shadow plays Berlin Festival, 31 May
The Chuck Taylor All Star
Made by you
At the pool with Easter 22
Words + Photography: Nacho G. Riaza It’s December 2014. Berlin-based duo Easter land in Argentina to begin their first Latin American tour ahead of their soon to be released fourth album New Cuisine Part II. It’s summer in the Southern Hemisphere, and we spend a late afternoon with the band by the swimming pool of their Buenos Aires hotel. It’s not the most obvious location to spend time with a duo who specialise in moody and austere synth-pop. Norwegian Stine Omar and Max Boss, a German, originally crossed paths in 2005 and started making music and short films together. Easterjesus is the umbrella for everything that they create together; Easter is their band. It’s a complex arrangement. “Easter is our baby whale,” Omar explains cryptically, bathed in unrelenting sunshine. “Everything began when we realised we had a decent amount of collaborations in all kinds of forms, and there was a need to give it a name. As soon as we made it official, the need for it to be pop music came to be.” The name itself came naturally. “The best moment in the life of Jesus was Easter, and [me and Max’s] best moments are when we are in each other’s brains. Easter 2006 was the first time I saw a bird lay an egg, which was later eaten by a cat.” The duo’s artistic endeavours stretch far beyond music: their melodramatic serial drama Sadness is an Evil Gas Inside of Me, featuring narration from Berlin-via-Bristol art-dub singer Anika, showcases another element of Easter’s creative output. The first series will be finished in the coming months, and will be shown via special premieres before being shared with the public online. The pilot and second episode were already shown
in Buenos Aires at the Hyperlocal Festival in December. “Fortunately we are getting good reviews,” Omar says. “It’s something you should really watch before you die.” The series trailer is available to view now, comprising a warped and wobbly montage of home video footage accompanied by a deep-set grumble and Anika’s portentous voice, building to a sudden release of flickering, optimistic synths. It’s a bewitching, eerie, promising premise. There’s a creeping surrealism, something which is embedded in all of Easter’s work; see the sparse, Lynchian trap of their track SMAR. Yet the band insist their inspiration comes from reality. “[Our stories] are as real as you or me” stresses Omar. “SMAR is about our dwarf neighbour who is a millionaire.” But back to the case at hand, and the day at the pool. How does it feel to be performing in South America for the first time? “I would say I feel the same as I feel after sitting in a plastic chair under the sun,” Omar replies. “I feel hungry, privileged, foreign, and a little lost. But definitely good. When we played the crowd was amazing. We would love to come back to South America.” Easter climb out the pool, dry off and look ahead to a return to Europe, where they have gigs scheduled in Paris and Leipzig and Vienna. Like their music, there’s a calm sense of melancholy to Easter’s demeanour. But what was it that first bound them together in the first place? “The forces of the universe played a role. Sadness, faith and the passion for a hot bowl of noodles.” Listen to New Cuisine Pt. 1 at easterjesus.bandcamp.com
The Chuck Taylor All Star
Made by you
hands on the wheel
Words: Davy Reed Photography: Tom Andrew Assisted by: John Heyes Make-Up: Nicola Moores Brittin
In the early stages of his promotional campaign, Hudson Mohawke uploads a YouTube playlist of stuff that’s inspired his forthcoming album Lantern. It’s a fairly standard move, probably suggested by his publicist with the hope of generating a couple of online music news articles. The content compiled, however, is not so ordinary. Musically, he’s picked out soulful hiphop instrumentals, a track from the deeply unfashionable 80s new age group Shadowfax and Kenji Kawai’s opening theme from the anime film Ghost in the Shell, while the footage compiled includes clips of a speech from chess Grandmaster Garry Kasparov being interrupted by a penis-shaped mini helicopter, Akon hauling a fan up on his shoulders before throwing him off a stage, clubbers going wild to Fleetwood Mac at the final Optimo clubnight in Glasgow and a crowd of sweaty, shirtless young men embracing a moment of pure ecstasy during a colossal drop at a hardcore rave. It’s completely ridiculous, but it all makes sense. Hudson Mohawke – real name Ross Birchard – has always embraced absurdity. Despite receiving critical acclaim, his music tends to ignore any preconceptions about what said critics would normally have considered 'credible' in the first place, and despite the increasingly high stakes of his professional relationships, Birchard’s online presence eschews slick PR for his surreal, no-holdsbarred sense of humour. On the afternoon I interview the 29-year-old Glaswegian in an empty East London pub, however, he comes across as polite, down-to-earth maybe even slightly shy. Not displaying a trace of the ego that his success probably warrants, the bartender looks us up and down and scowls when I ask if she can turn down the music a little while we record our interview. At this point in his career, Birchard has found himself at a unique crossroads. Last December saw the release of The Rap Monument, a 42-minute posse cut which saw the likes of YG, Danny Brown, Young Thug, Raekwon, Action Bronson and many more spit verses over his hard-hitting, futuristic beat. And a few days prior to our interview, it’s announced that Birchard has co-produced Antony Hegarty’s forthcoming album HOPELESSNESS with Daniel Lopatin, aka avant-garde producer Oneohtrix Point Never. News of Birchard’s collaboration with Lopatin broke last year via pictures of the pair in the studio sharing a packet of Haribo (Birchard is famously enthusiastic
about the confectionary, and is known to collect rare editions on his travels). It’s been revealed that the HOPELESSNESS project is an electronic record with “sharp teeth” that sees Hegarty’s lyrics explore dark political themes such as the increasingly omnipotent presence of NSA surveillance. “It’s been a very collaborative record,” Birchard says. “It was very much an equal thing between the three of us.” It’s testament to the strength of Hudson Mohawke’s vision that he’s found himself invoicing the teams of both rap royalty and cultivated baroque pop songwriters for his production work. “The funny thing is, I’d actually been trying to work with Antony for years, the same deal with Kanye in fact,” he explains. “In both circumstances they’ve ended up coming to me, like ‘Let’s cut the managers out of the equation, let’s be in direct contact, fuck the A&Rs. Let’s work on a project together as if it’s nothing, as if we’re just doing it for fun, not thinking of the impact that a collaborative record like this could have.’” In June, Birchard will release Lantern – his first full-length album since 2009’s Butter – via Warp. While Lantern includes signature elements of Hudson Mohawke’s style – thunderous drums, slippery chipmunk vocals and synths that feel like the aural equivalent to an additive-laced soft drink – the album largely ditches Birchard’s recent forays into rap machismo for a sincere, bright sense of (p)optimism, and the collaborations with RnB vocalists such as Miguel, Ruckazoid and Irfane wouldn’t sound too out of place on mainstream radio. It’s going to surprise people. Listening back to Butter, it becomes clear that Birchard has chosen to apply restraint to his method. Butter was a genre-melting, BPM-darting, hyperactive headfuck that was lauded for its deliciously indulgent sound palette and striking originality, but criticised for the fact that listening to it in one sitting could leave you with the strange sensation of musical motion sickness. “I have a thousand songs that are the most confusing, technical shit ever,” Birchard admits. “What I wanted to do with [Lantern] was to consciously make an effort to strip it back. That’s something I learnt from Rick Rubin. We’d listen to a song, and he’s not even touching any equipment. He’s just sitting back and listening, being like ‘get rid of this, get rid of that’”, he says, impersonating the wizard-like super producer. “And before you know it, a 20-part song is a 5-part song, it’s just the essentials. I tried to incorporate what I learnt from him with this record. Which is why it isn’t quite as fucking all over the place as the Butter record.”
As has been incessantly documented, Birchard hooked up with Rick Rubin once he’d been recruited for the nowmythologised Yeezus sessions. Perhaps to a US audience not so familiar with Hudson Mohawke, it may seem like he’d been catapulted to the upper echelons from relative obscurity, but really the story of this softly-spoken Glaswegian kid producing for the likes of Kanye West, Pusha T and Drake is no fluke. With a passion for scratching and beat-juggling since his early teens, under the moniker ‘DJ Itchy’ Birchard became the youngest finalist in the UK DMC turntablist tournaments at the age of 15, and rap producers such as Just Blaze, Pete Rock and DJ Premier were formative influences before the broken beats of Prefuse 73 and Dimlite later inspired him to deconstruct the hip-hop template. “I remember when DJ Premier came to Glasgow,” he recalls with a smirk. “The two DJs who ran the night were like die-hard collectors of old, souped-up Ford Capris. And they were like ‘Right [claps hands] we’re taking Premier out to do some donuts’. He was in the tiny backseat of my friend’s car and he managed to break the suspension,” he laughs. “They almost killed DJ Premier.”
“I’m still into happy hardcore, I’ve always strived for that euphoria”
Although the influences of classic samplebased hip-hop have given way to more contemporary strands of – for lack of a more specific term – ‘trap’ beats in recent Hudson Mohawke productions, Birchard insists that the garish, intense euphoria of happy hardcore remains a major inspiration to him right up to the present day. “That’s my teens personified, and that’s what I’ve always aimed for,” he says with a great deal of affection. “I’m still into all that stuff. I went to a happy hardcore party in Whitechapel last Friday. Normally if I want to go to one of those shows, I have to go to a shitey place somewhere in the north of England. Not that I’m going to name any shitey places.” Birchard is known to play hardcore and trance edits in his DJ sets, removing the 4x4 kick and replacing them with his own signature drum patterns. As a gesture of respect, he enlisted hardcore and trance legends Gammer and Darren Styles to collaborate with him on Lantern. “It came full circle because they started covering some of my stuff,” he smiles. “So I was like ‘fuck it, we might as well do something together.’” While the inclusion of Gammer and Styles might make sense musically, and the likes of Miguel, Antony Hegarty and Jhene Aiko make for an eye-catching tracklist, Lantern is strangely free of big name rap collaborations considering that Birchard has gone from regularly retweeting a Rick Ross parody account to actually
befriending Rick Ross (“I have multiple stories about my encounters with Rick,” he grins, “but they’re not suitable for, erm, public consumption”). But even the biggest hip-hop producer has to be content with a behind-the-scenes role, and Birchard claims he’s had to turn down some big offers to steer his career in the right direction. “Essentially, these producers – and no disrespect to them – but their ultimate goal is to work with these artists, they don’t really have the ambition to be solo artists in their own right,” he tells me. “It’s always been a dream of mine to be a big hip-hop producer. But having had a little taste of it, it’s like the rap and hip-hop world is...” he pauses for a moment, choosing his words cautiously, “it’s not really as big as it seems from a UK perspective, and from me growing up listening to all that, thinking this is the absolute pinnacle of what you can achieve. Obviously there’s a lot of money in it, but it’s not quite as wide-reaching as you might be led to believe.” And in an industry where a culture of braggadocio is a central part of image maintenance, Birchard explains that it’s not always been easy to say no. “There have been times when I’ve been like ‘I’m sort of in the middle of something right now, I’m really sorry but I can’t just go to the airport and fly to Jamaica,’" he laughs. “There’s a great deal of ego involved in the rap and hip-hop world, so that can become a problem, because people can take that as if you’re disrespecting them.” This isn’t the only example of Birchard having to make difficult decisions. In 2011, he teamed up with Montreal-based LuckyMe labelmate Lunice to form TNGHT, a project which saw the duo blend musical styles to create trippy but club-ready bangers that were “too obvious or too mainstream” for their own solo projects. TNGHT’s 2012 EP spawned the hit Higher Ground, which, though brilliant, due to its high-octane aggression, could slip seamlessly into a frat boy's Friday night playlist. Seemingly at the height of their demand, TNGHT announced a hiatus. “It was great fun at the time. But we found ourselves in a situation, I guess in the summer of 2012, where it felt like almost every show we did was a bigger show, bumped up to a bigger level, but at the expense of diversity in the crowd. In my own sets, I’ve always taken pride in being able to hold a crowd with a five minute ambient track or something, which is not something you get away with when there’s a huge fucking moshpit at a TNGHT show.” TNGHT’s rapid and meteoric rise coincided with the Yeezus sessions. Couple this with Birchard’s frequent Hudson Mohawke
appearances at dance-orientated festivals (he’s remained closely affiliated with Glasgow’s Numbers label) and his apparently hedonistic appetite, then you’ve got a pretty intense schedule. Too intense, Birchard admits. “The problem was something I mentioned earlier. A lot of the producers that are involved with those rap records are willing to be like ‘yeah I’ll be there tomorrow, and I’ll just write off the next three months and I’ll be at management’s mercy!” Whereas I’d be in like Hawaii for five days of the week, and then go and travel and do three European festivals and then fly immediately back to Hawaii. I hadn’t experienced anything like that, and it was kind of overwhelming. You can’t be doing that for a good few months. It does take its toll on you.” On more than one occasion, Birchard has referred to a particularly intense incident where – in his own words – he nearly joined the '27 Club'. So did he push himself to the brink? “No, I don’t think it was that bad. I mean there was a lot of partying going on and a lot of ... unmentionables. But I don’t think I was ever at the point of ‘the brink’,” he says, chuckling slightly at my melodramatic choice of words. “I’m glad that now, with this record, I’ve had the luxury of saying to people who’re doing features: ‘You guys come to me. I’m making a record, and I’d like you to be involved if you can make it out here.’” As the pub starts to fill up, we decide to finish our drinks and wrap up the interview. Birchard is worried that we didn’t talk about Lantern enough, but he agrees that it was good to cover some old ground – a lot of his newer fans aren’t aware of his backstory. Later that evening, Kanye West appears onstage at the BRIT awards with a transatlantic, flamethrower-wielding entourage to premiere his new single All Day. The performance is considered an instant classic, sending the internet into a manic frenzy, but the track still needs mastering before its release. Birchard agrees to let Ye use his studio the Health Farm, or as he calls it, ‘HudMo Heights’, to polish off the track, and during the sessions Kanye decides to announce to his 11 million Twitter followers that his new album will be called So Help Me God. Once again, the name Hudson Mohawke appears as a footnote to a globally trending cultural event. And while this isn’t Birchard’s main priority – he’s got his own shit going on – it proves he’ll still lend a friend a hand, as long as you can make it out there to meet him. Lantern is released 15 June via Warp. Hudson Mohawke appears live at Field Day, Victoria Park, London, 6 June
“I take pride in holding a crowd with a five minute ambient track, which you can’t get away with when there’s a huge fucking moshpit at a TNGHT show”
HudMo: track-by-track Shrink Rap (2005) HudMo was once part of the low-key, Glasgow-based hip-hop group Surface Emp. This track is taken from the Lucky Me EP, which provided the name for highly successful label and design studio he would later form alongside Surface Emp rapper Dom Sum. Ooops (Oh My) (2008) A re-work of Tweet and Missy Elliot’s selfadoring RnB track, HudMo applied hefty but slinky slabs of bass to the acapella, creating a certified club banger that feels very much of its time. Cbat (2011) From the excellent Satin Panthers EP, Cbat’s sparse beat was pierced by a squeaky, mischievous lead melody. A prime example of how Hudson Mohawke has a knack of making sounds feel like miniature characters within a track. Mercy (2012) The G.O.O.D. Music anthem featuring verses from Kanye West, Big Sean, Pusha T and 2 Chainz. Credited for contributing “addition instruments”, HudMo’s input might have been fairly minor, but this was the moment he got his foot in the door with one of the world’s biggest rap collectives.
Higher Ground (2012) The most explosive product of HudMo and Lunice’s TNGHT collaboration, this adrenaline-fuelling, futuristic trap beat was driven by menacing but subtly tongue-incheek brass stabs, and it would become the weapon of choice for both good and bad DJs looking to instigate mayhem on a dancefloor. Chimes (2014) Prior to its release, this one been appearing in TNGHT and HudMo’s sets for some time. Now a lucrative prospect, Hudson Mohawke was approached by Apple, and Chimes was subsequently used for a MacBook Air advert. Very First Breath (2015) The first song to be shared from Lantern. Featuring the relatively unknown French singer Irfane, the track features an infectious pop melody and sonically rich production, making it Hudson Mohawke’s most radio-friendly track to date.
Words: Tom Watson Photography: Tom Weatherill
Minimalism in the ends: Mumdance x Novelist delete the presets and calibrate a new wave
After a year of collaborative releases, their friendship seems robust, bound by their ferocious work ethic and ardency towards grime. Their pooled work throughout 2014 lacerated the humdrum of 4x4 electronic music, culling melody for intensity. The marriage of Mumdance’s sparse production style with Novelist’s breakneck vocal delivery saw the light of day with the XL Recordings endorsed 1 Sec EP. “I actually met up with XL before Jack and I released Take Time,” Nov recalls on their first partnered tune. “XL caught my online activity with The Square [Novelist’s Lewisham stationed grime crew]. Then we released Take Time and it shut down the roads.” Novelist and Mumdance, real name Jack Adams, met through Boxed London’s co-founder and ‘grime archivist’ Slackk following a guest session for NTS Radio. The pair instantly cemented a vigorous working relationship, producing their debut single, Take Time, in one swift sitting. “It really made XL want to get involved with everything Jack and I were up to,” Nov reflects on the dynamics between himself and Adams. “We were just free-rolling it. We went to the studio with no presets. Just vibe out and make something. So it’s a blessing that XL linked up. Sometimes it can go left or right with labels. You’re never really sure. But we just did whatever we wanted to do and the response has been mad.” Being embellished with an XL-approved release certifies Novelist’s nascent future and is a heavy tick off Adams’ bucket list. “I’ve achieved two of my lifetime ambitions,” Adams chimes in, “having an XL record and having a little silver FABRICLIVE tin to my name. It means a lot to work with both of those institutions. My first memories of music were me and
my friends at primary school sharing an earphone listening to The Prodigy’s Experience on a walkman. So the XL logo has been something very prominent in my psyche as I’ve grown. A lot of records I’ve bought have been on that label so it’s been great to be a part of that continuum.” Unifying the magnetism of Novelist, the blooming adolescent, with the cultivated wisdom of Mumdance is a winning formula for Adams. Having instigated his career as a bass-sodden remixer signed by Diplo during the Mad Decent heyday of 2009, the producer traversed the international club circuit before falling silent around 2011. The name Mumdance was seldom voiced again until his aggressive return in 2013. Amidst the b2b collabs with Pinch and Logos, the self-released Twists & Turns record, and the decision to utilise outmoded sampling hardware in his live sets, something seemed darker, evidently tenacious about Adams’ reform. “I think I’ve got the weirdest career trajectory out of anyone that I know,” both Nov and Adams laugh. “I’ve been lucky in some things but essentially that luck will only take you so far. You have to work. “I’ve learnt a lot from great people and have had a lot of great experiences. But early in my career, I was just working for ages trying to achieve something that was in my mind but I was unable to express musically. I wasn’t technically good enough as a producer. During my first wave I had to do a lot of remixes and learn on my feet. I wasn’t really as good as some of my peers. That was frustrating for me.” So Adams took time off to revise the sound of his Mumdance project. “It made sense for me to just sit back and try and work out a sound which is mine. And I think people respect me more for keeping the Mumdance name during this transition – even though it isn’t the best name. But I’m not ashamed of where I come from. Others may disown their past, disown their tastes. I think some people use taste as a tool to belittle another person. That’s entirely wrong because music is music and everyone has their own opinion on it. You get the best music when you make it for yourself. When you try to fit in to a pre-existing set of ideas, disowning your tastes, that’s where you’ll suffer.”
Novelist consistently approves his friend’s assurances. “Exactly, Jack. I’d MC for my mates in my bedroom. Now I just get to do it for more people. And some producers just understand where you’re coming from technically. They might not completely get the culture but if they understand what you’re doing on the mic then that’s all you need. Then you can direct them.” Thankfully, the Mumdance and Novelist pairing hardly required any direction. Every asset of the 1 Sec EP was perfectly mutual. “It’s called Mumdance X Novelist because we both have a hand in everything,” Nov explains. “Jack might suggest a lyric. I’ll tell him to move a bass sound around. It’s both of us creating it at once.” Their results are protracted reassessments of grime constructed over isolated bass notes and scrambled drum loops courtesy of Adams’ latest hardware setup. “The main thing these machines offer is timbre and texture of sound; it has a very specific tonality to it. It’s natural for me to use this older hardware. It’s what sounds right to my ear. It’s a reflection of my taste. “I think that’s something that adds to the space in the tunes we write. Whereas a computer takes five minutes to create a drum loop, it might take me two hours to make something on a bit of hardware. I always find that software loops come together so easily that people always add too much to it. What we’re doing is an exercise in minimalism. Stripping things back to its very bare bones.” “Yeah 100%,” Nov interjects. “For example, a lot of people don’t even realise that 1 Sec is basically two bass sounds and a couple of sound effects. No percussion.” Adams resumes, “And that’s confidence more than anything. Nov is an instrument to the tune. When the 1 Sec instrumental was released I added a load of sound effects to help carry the tune. With Nov there, 1 Sec is like a setting for him, like a scenery, like a firework display. It’s almost like seeing what you can get away with.” By applying attributes of rigid minimalism to their sound, the duo seem to be the harbingers of an evolution in grime's established stylistic tropes. Yet the contentious subject of the genre’s false
Issue 51 | crackmagazine.net
“Your tooth. What’s wrong with it?” Mumdance cross-examines Novelist’s recent ailments. His address to the 18-year-old Lewisham MC is forthright yet affable. Novelist quacks heartily at the producer's protective probing. “They had to drill a hole in my tooth,” he explains. “It’s getting better. If I bite down too hard the nerve hurts but I’m getting a root canal. I’ve had to cancel bare Flatbush Zombies shows though.” The two artists begin an unbroken discourse that seems totally impenetrable.
”Freestyles, link ups, grime has always been there. It’s not just a sound. It’s the mandem in the ends” - Novelist
resurrection remains a tiresome talking point for both parties. “I’ve been doing pirate radio since I was 14”, Nov responds restlessly. “It has always been there and hasn’t randomly just returned. There’s always been something happening. Freestyles, link ups, grime has always been there. It’s not just a sound. It’s the mandem in the ends. All we do is spit bars. For people to call it a resurgence is a stupid summarisation about something they have no idea about.” “It’s always a bit of a minefield,” Adams insists, “because people are very passionate about grime. But core scenes are always going to be there; from garage to hardcore to drum'n'bass. Obviously it’s essential for journalists to talk about new movements to help the sound get coverage but I can understand why it gets people’s backs up. Grime’s definitely moved from a London sound to a UK sound and taken its first steps into a worldwide sound. You have people like Rabit in America, Strict Face in Australia and they’re all bringing new ideas to the table.” Despite grime’s misconceptions, both overseas artists and heritage forerunners are set on escorting the genre to the frontier of its potential. “Careers come in waves,” Adams believes. “I’ve had a wave before. Nov’s on a wave at the moment and there will be many waves to come. Nov and I are at the beginning of this stage of our career. You get given the tools and the opportunities but it’s up to us to take them. In my mind there’s still a lot more to be done.” “Yeah,” Nov laughs casually, “a whole new wave.”
1 Sec is out now via XL Recordings. Mumdance & Novelist play Sonar Festival, Barcelona, 18 - 20 June
MONO_CULT GENIUS OF TIME / MANPOWER / MATT LONG / BRAD MERCER
DANCE TUNNEL PRESENTS PROSUMER & MURAT TEPELI
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WAY BACK HERE LOW JACK / CLOUDFACE / WBH RESIDENTS
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A tale of two cities: Ryan Elliottâ€™s transatlantic love affair Words: Chris Williams Photography: JĂşlia Soler
Growing up in Detroit before settling in Berlin in 2009, Elliott is one of only a few Berghain residents to have joined the inner circle from outside Germany. So, sitting down for a conversation after his set at Bloc. in Minehead, the subject of his adopted home is where we begin. “Berlin, for sure, is home now,” Elliott tells me as we settle in the dressing room. “But, I always go back to Detroit in January, and I notice that I’m American, y’know? When I wake up, I make coffee, I put on the really good hip-hop station, and I listen to that before I check emails, promos, whatever. For five minutes, I just put on Detroit radio to remember where I’m from. And every time I go back home, I can’t deny it. It has a weird energy. I mean, Madonna is from there; The White Stripes are from there. Obviously all the Detroit techno guys are from there. All the Motown stuff. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about that city that sparks creativity.” Elliott has little doubt that the city played a considerable formative influence on his career, where he formed a close early relationship working as one-half of the Spectral Sound A&R team alongside Matthew Dear. But while Detroit provided the kick-start, he’s found a home away from home. “The first time I ever went to Berlin, in the same way I feel a certain weird thing when I land in Detroit, I felt like, ‘this is comfortable, or somehow familiar.’ That’s why I have such a connection to both Detroit and Berlin; because in a weird way, they’re actually really similar. They’re raw, they’re natural, and they’re honest.” Like many of Berlin’s techno figureheads, Elliott cherishes this rawness as an ideal environment for art to blossom. “I have a park behind the house, and if I’m having a bad day in the studio, I turn it all off, and I just go for a walk to clear my head.” Compare that to the fast-paced intensity of larger cities, which can manifest as an obstacle to creativity. “In London you have
to get on the Circle line, go to Hyde Park, or whatever. I love those towns, but they’re just too big for me. I like to be in a place where I can get my whole head around what’s going on.” We touch on gentrification in London and its effect on the clubbing landscape, agreeing that it has reached crisis point. So how long can Berlin resist? In a city that never seems to sleep, will the party ever come to an end? But as much as Berlin, like London, is changing, Elliott’s confidence about the longevity of the city’s scene is fuelled by the wider German attitude towards electronic music. “I’ve thought about that before,” he admits. “At least with Berghain, they realise that it’s precious. There’s a door policy. They’re good at protecting that. But also, the German government realise that club culture, EasyJet culture, is a big part of their economy. And in the same way that set times can be eight hours in Berlin, clubbing is more of a long-term thing for Germans. It’s more ingrained in the culture. It’s more serious. You can wake up on a Sunday morning and have a nice coffee before you go.” As if to confirm his position at the heart of European techno, halfway through our brief conversation Berghain icons Ben Klock and Marcel Dettmann enter the room, shortly before their headline slot on Bloc's main stage. Standing at over six feet tall in their mandatory all-black outfits, their considerable presence is just as distinguishable in the room as it is during any of their sets behind the booth. I quickly offer to leave and finish the chat elsewhere, though Elliott has other ideas. “Keep it down over there, you guys”, he jests in his unmistakable Michigan accent, “I’m doing an interview.” Dettmann and Elliott compliment each others’ trainers, before the hulking duo retire towards the corner of the room so Ryan and I can continue. It’s a light-hearted exchange, but doubtless one laced with respect. He’s clearly a part of the furniture at Ostgut Ton. “The first time I played Panorama Bar was probably the best set I’ve played in my whole life” he beams. “And to me, as a DJ, it defined me. That was the point where I knew that I could do this for a living if I wanted to.” In a club where many grasp at handsin-the-air house to get those infamous shutters open, Elliott’s penchant for
experimentation has cemented his status. “The last time I opened Panorama Bar I played Music for 18 Musicians by Steve Reich for 40 minutes at the beginning. People came in, and it was, like, hypnotic. It was great.” With such a broad swell of music in his purview, we attempt to dig further into Elliott’s methods of collecting music, and he reels off a small selection of trusted outlets: Hardwax, Rush Hour, Phonica. “But, for sure, the most important thing about being a DJ –,” he pauses to pick up my dictaphone at this point, shouting into it for emphasis: “The most important thing about being a DJ is to record shop! To go into music shops every week. You have to. You have to realise what’s going on out there.” It’s this dedication and commitment to sourcing the finest composite parts which made Panorama Bar 06 such a rousing success. But many of Elliott’s contemporaries within the series are being drawn towards producing their own LPs. It’s a move which he’s given some consideration. “I’ll do an album soon” he muses. “They’ve asked me to do one, and I can feel the inspiration for production coming back, so yeah…” The night is drawing in, and our conversation comes to a close. With the future in his sights, Elliott sits up and addresses me with candour in his voice. “It’s going to be a big task, just like the mix CD was. But in life, when you challenge yourself, when you get out of your comfort zone, sometimes you surprise yourself.” Panorama Bar 06 is out now via Ostgut Ton. Ryan Elliott will appear at Field Maneuvers, Oxfordshire, 4-7 September
Issue 51 | crackmagazine.net
Ryan Elliott has been at the forefront of electronic music for the best part of a decade, but 2014 marked a milestone year for the Berghain and Panorama Bar resident. Already regarded as one of the club’s standout selectors, last year his rapidfire mixing style and unerring tastes were propelled to wider attention after the rapturous reaction to his Panorama Bar 06 mix CD.
“The first time I played Panorama Bar was the best set I’ve played in my whole life. As a DJ, it defined me”
36 “It’s pretty natural for people to maybe be repulsed by their earliest creative efforts.” San Franciscan singer-songwriter Jessica Pratt released her first album in 2012 but since then she’s told anybody who’ll listen that it isn’t especially good. She’s dead wrong. Her self-titled debut is a wonderful collection of intimate, darkly beguiling folk songs defined by a homespun analogue aesthetic with simple, pared-back instrumentation and most of all, Pratt’s quavering voice. If the 27-year-old doesn’t especially care for it, she’s in the minority.
Strange melody: Jessica Pratt finally has an album to hold dear
Still, Pratt’s ambivalence towards her last LP is at least partially understandable – if entirely inaccurate – considering the circumstances surrounding its release. Having recorded songs for years at home with a simple four-track tape setup, in 2007 Pratt found herself with a block of free studio time courtesy of a friend. Seizing the opportunity, she laid down everything in her repertoire. Even then Pratt had doubts about the material’s strength but it was an opportunity not to be wasted: “I wasn’t crazy about it but I was like, OK, we’re here, so let’s do it.” Happy enough with the recordings but with no real ambition to take them forward, she sat on the tapes for years and wilfully consigned herself to obscurity in the process, to be filed alongside the likes of Sibylle Baier and a clutch of folk’s other singular lost talents. “I honestly didn’t have any intentions of putting it out,” she insists. “I didn’t really regard it as something I thought was like – not that it was bad – but it wasn’t the best of me, you know?” Enter Tim Presley, a fellow San Francisco native and the lo-fi garage whiz behind the White Fence moniker. “I had recorded Night Faces, which is a song I really like because it was recorded in the same fashion as the second record and was a song I was totally proud of; it was very unlike the other songs on my first,” Pratt explains. “I used to make shitty little YouTube videos for my songs with just, like, compiled footage or whatever and my boyfriend I was living with at the time, I think he was frwiends with Tim on Facebook and he posted that song on there. Tim saw it and, like, freaked out. Then the next morning I woke up to a message from him saying, let’s put it out.” The rest, as they say, is history. Presley set up Birth Records, a label tasked purely with releasing Pratt’s recordings and in 2012 – nearly six years after being recorded – Pratt’s debut full-length finally saw the light of day. “I really see Tim as my guardian angel,” she says. “It was very strange the way he kind of came out of thin air to do that and you know, he had never done
anything like that before. I feel like it was some kind of pre-destined thing with him.” If finally putting out an album kickstarted Pratt’s career in earnest, a number of other factors around the time of its release also played their part. Easily the most significant of these was her mother passing away; a deeply traumatic experience but one which also galvanised Pratt with an urgent need to make music. “It did make me automatically unconcerned with worrying about shit” she says. “I don’t know, everything becomes really petty-seeming in comparison. So I became really deeply motivated and unquestioning in my need to make music all the time.” To really set about working on album number two in earnest though, Pratt needed to escape the confines of San Francisco. Her mother had passed away, her friends were leaving in droves and now Pratt found herself left behind in a – surprisingly –creatively stifling environment. “There’s no music scene in San Francisco,” she laments. “I mean, there’s a little garage music and psych stuff which is OK but it’s kind of got this reputation for being a dead city in that way. Maybe some of that has got to do with how no one can afford to live there now. You know, if you eradicate the people who make cool shit then your city’s going to be less interesting.” On arriving in Los Angeles, Pratt got back to work, although new album On Your Own Love Again hardly seems to have absorbed very much of her fresh surroundings. It’s still very much introspective music for time spent under cloudy, rainy skies as opposed to the sun-kissed boulevards of the City of Angels. This is doubtless because the new LP was recorded entirely at home by Pratt, with additional instrumentation like organ and clavinet delicately scattered across the record’s 31 minutes of dreamy melancholia. The lyrics, previously hazily implied are now directly poignant: “I often try to leave my thoughts of you behind,” Pratt intones, referencing her deceased mother, exboyfriend or possibly both. It’s an absolutely beautiful record and yes, it’s full of sadness, yet it’s also one Pratt can at last be truly proud of. “In a lot of ways I feel like this is the first record for me,” she says. “I mean, as far as creative satisfaction and feeling like I’ve really channelled something pure and real into a bulk of songs that represent me and a period of time in a cohesive way. I feel much more confident in the songs and the lyrics and I’m better at using my equipment that I record with. It’s nice to feel 100% confident in something you’re presenting to people.” On Your Own Love Again is out now via Drag City. Catch Jessica Pratt at End Of The Road Festival, Salisbury, 4 - 6 September
37 â€œI feel I've channelled something pure and real into a bulk of songs that represent meâ€?
Words: James F. Thompson Photography: Chloe Rosolek
Rough Trade: British indie’s saving grace
Words: Davy Reed
It’s 1978 and the collective running West London’s Rough Trade record shop have launched a distribution company called The Cartel. It has built a co-operative network between the UK’s independent labels and it’s empowering the alternative music industry. They’ve also started an adventurous, forward-thinking record label, and they’re splitting any profit generated 50/50 with the artists. Their business practices are informed by their ideology, and their ideology is informed by a DIY punk ethos, feminism and left-wing politics. “For a brief moment in time,” former co-manager Steve Montgomery once said in a 2009 documentary, “we encapsulated everything that was right about the human race.”
Trade founder Geoff Travis says over the phone. “It was set up a bit like a commune, everyone was equal. We didn’t really have any aspirations for success. But, you know, we were living in England – a capitalist society – and we weren’t ignorant of that,” he laughs. After punk lit the fuse for Rough Trade, the company would assimilate with the shop’s local West Indian community by being committed reggae supporters, and they’d become synonymous with the stylistic adventurousness of post-punk and the emotionally expressive culture of indie music – a benevolently rebellious artform in a context where Margaret Thatcher is the Prime Minister and Eye of The Tiger is about to become a number one hit.
Earlier this year, a promo CD arrived through Crack’s letterbox entitled Recorded At The Automat: The Best of Rough Trade Records. With a tracklist featuring the likes of Arthur Russell, The Fall, Antony & The Johnsons, Chris & Cosey, Warpaint, The Strokes, Mazzy Star, The Raincoats, Robert Wyatt, Young Marble Giants and The Smiths, it’s an impeccable retrospective that celebrates the label’s musical legacy. Behind the still-running, splintered company is a turbulent story of debt, disagreements and bankruptcy. But let’s start with those glorious early days that Montgomery was talking about.
With the label having a considerable influence on the cultural zeitgeist and The Cartel handling a great number of credible but commercially viable releases from artists such as Joy Division, The Smiths and Depeche Mode, you’d have thought Rough Trade would be in rude health. But by 1982, the business was in deep shit, and with the shop’s future under serious threat, three employees chipped in to buy that division of the business on the condition that they could keep the name. Even after considerable research, it’s hard to understand exactly what drove Rough Trade towards its bankruptcy in 1991, with Travis and The Cartel founder Richard Scott’s accounts tending to vary considerably. “The distribution company got too big, that’s where Rough Trade crashed,” comes Travis’s side of the story.
“When we opened the first shop in ’76, it was really to find a safe haven where we could escape the notion of having to be part of the everyday working world,” Rough
“It was so successful that it became a monster that the management didn’t have the expertise to control. “But that was part of the problem with Rough Trade, in a way; there were a lot of people brought in for distribution who came from a management culture. I felt very alienated, going to board meetings where I just didn’t understand what anyone was talking about. It was very, very strange. But you know how politics work, I though we were one company, but people make their positions of power, don’t they? By dividing and ruling. And that’s what really happened.” But amid the chaos, in 1987 Travis had become business partners with Jeanette Lee, a former member of Public Image Limited who’d worked at the counter of Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren’s Acme Attractions shop during punk’s formative years. With the Rough Trade label in a precarious state, the pair made a foray into artist management, enjoying success with bands such as Pulp and The Cranberries during the 90s. As anyone old enough to remember JJ72 will affirm, towards the turn of the millennium guitar music had become dispiritingly stale. And so when Travis and Lee resuscitated Rough Trade records in 1999, their discovery of bands such as The Libertines and The Strokes smothered rock culture with a much-needed layer of dirt. “But although everybody embraced The Strokes, people were very sceptical about
But despite the troubles of its past, today Rough Trade is still going strong, and Travis sounds audibly excited about the label’s current roster, which includes artists such as Dean Blunt, Parquet Courts and Micachu. He and Lee are also now shareholders in Rough Trade’s Williamsburg shop – the biggest record store in New York City. “So we’re kind of reunited,” he says, quashing suspicions of animosity between the two companies. “We’re absolutely separate but completely intertwined. It’s a good relationship, really.”
As new generations grow up feeling entitled to endless free music at their fingertips, it’s hard not to feel slightly cynical of Travis’s optimism. But then again, the Rough Trade logo has always managed to appear in the sleeves of some of the best records of the era regardless of any drama going on behind the scenes. And you get the impression that for Geoff Travis, that’s what really matters. “The thing about being a record label, a shop or a distribution company is that you’re really just a conduit for what the musicians and artists want to say. It’s a great role, but it’s a modest role,” he insists. “The history of Rough Trade is really vritten in the grooves of the records that it released. That’s where its voice is.” Recorded At The Automat: The Best Of Rough Trade is out now via Rough Trade Shops
“When we opened the first shop in ’76, it was really to find a safe haven where we could escape the notion of having to be part of the everyday working world”
Issue 51 | crackmagazine.net
As the record label behind The Libertines’ classic debut, their messy sophomore and Babyshambles’ even messier first album Down In Albion, Rough Trade found themselves attracting the wrong kind of attention, with rumours arising of Pete Doherty being banned from the label’s offices. It must have been an emotionally testing experience. “He was difficult, it’s always difficult dealing with someone who’s a junkie. You have to take tough measures really, that obviously soured our joy. But we cared about Peter, he was an amazing character and we were very conscious of our responsibilities towards him, we didn’t want to be exploitative. We took him to rehab, we talked to his parents, you know, we didn’t ignore the problem. But at the end of the day, you have to help yourself in that situation.”
So as a label owner who has survived some of the biggest problems the industry can throw at you, how does Travis honestly feel about the future of the music business? “You know what, I think it’s been very hard the last 10 years,” he admits. “But everyone’s talking optimistically about the future at the moment. The struggle in the industry is how to get people to pay for digital music, but there’s a lot of indications that that’s about to happen. I mean, Beggars Banquet [Rough Trade joined Beggars Group in 2007] is very well set up to deal with the digital revolution and has been for a long time, there’s some very good people there.”
Geoff Travis - Rough Trade owner
The Libertines,” Travis points out. “I’d go and see The Libertines and they’d be absolutely brilliant and then I’d hear everybody say they couldn’t play. But they were always amazing I thought.”
Robert Wyatt on his working relationship with Rough Trade Rough Trade was quite different from the record companies I had become familiar with. The established setup had been – and probably still is – feudal. The company boss would be Lord of the Manor, his accountants and lawyers were his vassals and clerics. Below them, the singers and musicians were the peasants and serfs. For years some great people had done great things that way, naturally. But with Rough Trade, and the guidance of my missus Alfie, I had the liberating sensation of working as partners with them, each of us doing our bit for the mutual goal: to get some decent records out, and share the profit from those records.
Young Marble Giants singer Alison Statton on her favourite Rough Trade releases There are Rough Trade bands from that period that still evoke strong emotional reflexes today. When I first heard The Raincoats, it was my first Rough Trade musical crush! They made me want to run away and form a girl band and explore the musical sounds it could have to offer. It still makes me smile when I hear any of their instantly recognisable tracks.
Of course, Trade could indeed get a bit Rough. Mistakes were made, as much by me as by anybody else. But that’s all part of trying to do things in new ways, fairer ways. I can’t speak for others , but in my case, Rough Trade showed a way to work and play that’s stayed with me through the decades with other really good people: Rykodisc, Cuneiform and now Domino records.
In fact, all the fellow Rough Trade bands helped to widen and develop my musical taste in those early days, and they all loop me straight back to those times. I particularly remember loving - and still do Robert Wyatt, Augustus Pablo, Scritti Politti and Cabaret Voltaire.
The Raincoats’ Gina Birch on Rough Trade’s ideology There was a belief in a different way of doing things informed by an ideology that we could respect and trust each other without recourse to lawyers and complicated legal clauses and catches. There were many women employed at Rough Trade and Geoff definitely wanted and encouraged female bands and workers, he’s always been a thoughtful, ideological and politically engaged man. His love of music and creativity sometimes obscured his financial planning and, through necessity, he has become much more canny at keeping the company afloat and making wise choices. He is brilliant and I love that he is focused on the future and not the past. Issue 51 | crackmagazine.net
A t e r r i f i c f e s t i va l w i t h m o r e c h a r m t h a n y o u c a n i m a g i n e — T i m e O u t
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3 1 J U LY - 2 A U G
SINK THE PINK Presents
GIL L ES P E T ER SO N & Pat r i c k Fo r g e PRESENT SUNDAY AT DINGWALLS
LAST D ANC E SALOON
Ta k e o v e r s
STANDON LORDSHIP, HERTFORDSHIRE 4 0 M I N S N O RT H O F L O N D O N
Dodging clichĂŠ, nostalgia and pretension with the irrepressible Gerd Janson
Words: Xavier Boucherat Photography: Ben Price
If there’s one thing that makes Gerd Janson such a pleasure to talk to, it’s his acute appreciation of his profession’s clichés – not least because as a former music writer himself, he understands the importance of avoiding their use. Club culture relies on these tropes and stock expressions to fill pages. Try Googling Janson himself, and see how many pieces referring to the ‘DJ’s DJ’ you can spot. He rattles off a few more over the course of our time together. “There’s ‘reading the crowd’,” he groans. “I mean come on. Who can ‘read’ a crowd? And then when someone can’t ‘read the crowd’, there’s certain ways of saying that nicely – that what someone did was ‘daring’, or ‘out there’, or ‘challenging’.” Later on, when asked who his favourite younger DJ of the moment is, he unpacks a contemporary example. “It’s such a cliché to say Ben UFO right? Even if he is faking his age!” However, there’s one cliché that presents a little difficulty, and it’s a classic: the underlying suspicion that all of this shit — that is, the clubbing, the DJing, the music — all of it was so much better when we were kids. The difficulty arises from the fact that, in one sense, it’s true. Not because of a drop in quality or a shift in the culture, but simply because we were younger. “It’s the oldest idea ever. Everything was fresh to me. Obviously it’s never going to be as good as the first time.” Indeed, there is a refreshing sense of weariness about the Running Back boss, one that’s loath to romanticise the work involved. There’s the ceaseless travelling for example. Janson dislikes pretty much everything about travelling. The nights away from your own bed. The sleep deprivation. The having-to-be on airplanes with people who don’t know how to behave. “People ask you where you’re going this weekend. You name three different cities and they think ‘Oh wow!’, but then you’re tired when you arrive, you get an hour to sleep after dinner, then you’re gigging, then you’ve got another hour to sleep, and then it’s back to the airport. “I think there’s a general feeling this could all be over tomorrow”, he ventures, “so yeah, you’ve gotta try and grab as many buns from the buffet as you can, before it closes down!” Janson’s coping strategies include regular weekends at home, the aim being to preserve a social life outside the club. Lately however, he’s committed himself to a reduction in workload, although perhaps
a better word would be narrowing. He’s well known for once belonging to that curious breed, the DJ-journalist, but after years of writing for the likes of Groove and Spex in Germany, he’s since put down his pen, in part so he can honour his label commitments. “Unless you’re talking about some guy getting a bad pill in his Red Stripe, or a DJ getting sacked for whatever reason, all music journalism boils down to opinion and personal taste. Of course, I tried to write objectively, to explain why this is better than that, but the label meant that there was this menu available that people could look at and say, ‘hey! Look at the crap he’s doing! What’s this guy talking about?’” Ultimately, the writing and the label activity became incompatible. In any case, he reflects, his work is more or less done. Janson has spoken to everyone he felt was worth speaking to. “Everyone except Tony Humphries,” he adds. “He’s the last obsession I have as a music writer, but that’s really a fanboy thing as I enjoyed his old radio shows so much. “My inkpot was empty” he continues. “For years at Groove, I was the guy who reviewed every Theo Parrish record. At some point I realised I’d said everything I had to say. It was time to let someone else have a go. I suppose I got kind of weary.” Along with the writing, Janson has also left behind his academic pursuits, which revolved around American studies.
diversity. Over the course of his career, we’ve seen Janson play the role of DJ, label owner, producer, journalist, academic, RBMA curator and record store dude. “I always think it’s strange when someone who makes a living playing records starts talking about what a great painter, or writer, or chef they are” (although in the case of chef, he adds, Ata — who runs the famous Robert Johnson club in Frankfurt — is the honourable exception). “If they’re hobbies, then that’s great, but I think there’s a certain vanity that comes with the years of DJing. You start believing that everyone’s interested. You’re talking about literature, politics, gender and stuff to people who aren’t really that interested – all they wanna hear about is the new Radio Slave record.” Even now however, with the full weight of his creative energies behind the label and his DJing, the disco house king retains a modesty that pays particular kudos to those who came before him. “I consider myself to be learning still,” he admits. “I’m still a kid. Almost all the people I enjoyed going out to see play when I was a kid still DJ. Occasionally I’ll get to DJ with them, so in some ways I’m still the apprentice.”
from KiNK full of “catchy melodies and upbeat moments.” Something from rising Norwegian act Telephones. A new record from Fort Romeau. A reggae-disco offering, on which he doesn’t elaborate. “Maybe I need a sub-label. Running Gag, I’ll call it.” At this point, the man who minutes earlier sounded very much like a DJ complaining is sounding very excited indeed. Gerd Janson is vibing, and with such a busy year ahead, it’s easy to see why. “It’s like DJ Harvey once said — the good times are now. Always, now. Every weekend there’s younger kids walking into Panorama Bar for the first time, who am I to tell them it used to be better? Even when I’m tired and beat up, I think it’s a blessed lifestyle I’m able to lead.” Catch Gerd Janson alongside Todd Terje and Greg Wilson at Freeze’s 10th Anniversary show at The Bombed Out Church, Liverpool on 13 June, and the final ever Garden Festival, Tisno, Croatia, 1 - 8 July
The work-rate is still looking fierce, with lots incoming on Running Back. Most intriguing of all is a collection of ‘bonusbeats’, featuring contributions from Radio Slave, IQ, Disco Nightlight, and newcomer Blank Spanner.
“There’s a general feeling this could all be over tomorrow. You gotta grab as many buns from the buffet as you can, before it closes down!”
Naturally the interest and influence remain – there’s his Philip Roth obsession for example. “He may not be the most intellectual or stimulating writer in the world,” he starts, “but it’s the way he sucks you in, even when writing on boring topics, like relationships. It’s the syntax that’s so impressive. Every time I read something of his I’ll think, ‘you will never in your life be able to write a sentence like that’.” Even here however, Janson’s keen to pick apart potential clichés, in this case one that’s particular to him – his oft-praised
“This is a record I’ve wanted to do for five years now,” enthuses Janson. “Before people were able to loop on CDJs, bonus-beats were the name for records specifically made for DJs which you could use to make transitions more easily. So lots of records were made with a dub, an instrumental and a bonus beat. You’d have to buy two copies to prolong it.” He reels some more releases off the top of his head. A playful, big room affair
A softly shimmering melody brushes over a gentle rush of pads. Drums thud, and between tender bursts of melancholy, the voice of an unknown producer smoulders through the mist. “The sun, the sun is shining through...” It was the instantly compelling sound of Galcher Lustwerk. Commissioned by Matthew Kent’s Blowing Up The Workshop series in 2013, the Brooklyn-based producer’s 100% Galcher mixtape was an unexpected triumph. An hour-long blend of originals described coolly as ‘some tracks and stems from 2012 compiled into a promomix,’ its soul warming washes of deep house were subtly exquisite and starkly individual. It felt like something to cherish. On the morning commute, on a long walk, at home with the sun peaking through the blinds. As you let it sink in, it was also something you felt inclined to pass on, and as praise for the mix spread like wildfire through online networks, word of mouth success intensified. In six months it had reached near-cult status, topping numerous end-ofyear lists and rearing its head in round ups solely dedicated to albums, too.
Galcher Lustwerk: through the haze Words: Anna Tehabsim Photography: Teddy Fitzhugh
What was it about the mix that felt so endlessly alluring? Its gorgeous meld of tumbling deep house, ambient sketches and carefully selected vocals were defined, yet unplaceable. The mix felt like a blank slate of sorts, just as Lustwerk’s hushed free association word play set the stage and let your imagination fill in the rest. It was open to interpretation, an element fuelled in part by the lack of solid information on its author. The Galcher Lustwerk persona had initially conjured an impenetrable air of mystique, I pose to the man himself. “I’m curious to know what was mysterious, or where people perceived the mysteriousness to come from,” he asks from his flat in Brooklyn. The enduring curiosity surrounding the mix, the lack of information, the audacious pseudonym, and, later, the joint release through his close associates’ White Material label where the artists remained uncredited, may have portrayed him as an enigma of sorts.
Issue 51 | crackmagazine.net
But Lustwerk is quick to debunk the myths. “It seemed to me that people were playing the mystery card because I didn’t have any social media,” he explains. “I don’t see it as wanting to be anonymous, but especially now with the internet, I want to step back and I guess using that air of mystery helps me do that, helps me live my life. I just want to live a really private life, and I don’t feel the need to display it online. Beside the music.
“Now I’m starting to learn the ropes of the industry more, I know that you need proper photos and promotion and stuff,” he admits. “For a while I was fighting it really hard.” Lustwerk’s ears were tuned to electronic music from a young age. Growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, he religiously visited a now-defunct bookstore chain to check out the imported music magazines. “It was the late 90s, around the electronica era, and they would have all these UK music magazines. I would read the reviews, Chemical Brothers, liquid drum’n’bass, LTJ Bukem stuff, and buy a CD there. Around that time was when I started messing around with Fruity Loops, but as I got older I got more into rap, experimental stuff, jazz, RnB, hardcore punk.” Meeting the duo who would go on to start White Material – now DJ Richard and Young Male – at college in Providence, they were taught to DJ by Lustwerk’s friend and “favourite DJ” Morgan Louis, who, he happily tells me, has the next release on the label. They cut their teeth at bars and warehouse parties, yet as the transient nature of the college town meant that nothing quite stuck, it wasn’t until their move to Brooklyn that things fell into place. White Material became one of 2012’s most talked about labels, emerging with a string of attention-grabbing 12”s and the tagline “Working Man’s Techno” unintentionally summarising their no frills approach. After the release of Galcher Lustwerk’s Tape 22, the resale prices slowly crept up. By the fourth, anonymously credited EP, they were on sale for upwards of $70 on Discogs. “I had no idea it would be that crazy, and people would be so irate about it,” he says. Shortly after, Galcher released a vinylonly EP on Tsuba, followed by a selfreleased EP under the Road Hog alias. Intended for car listening, it was the perfect accompaniment to long stints on the road. Indeed, when listening to Lustwerk’s productions you’re very much in the director’s chair, as they harbour an allusion to a tangible, visual setting, or a strategic retreat from the realities of life. His scenery. “I see life in a cinematic way,” he agrees. “I look out the window and imagine a shot of a movie, even if it’s the most mundane scene.” After 100% Galcher, Lustwerk’s emotionally loaded approach became highly sought after, as were his distinctive vocals. “People have asked me to do features, and I don’t do it. People have said ‘I need a black sounding voice for my record.’ I’m like, ‘what…? No way’, I’m not going to give
you my voice if that’s your intention. I feel like I own it. Other people can replicate an 808 drum, but not my voice.” This headstrong nature is mirrored in the recent unveiling of his Lustwerk Music label. It’s an outlet for the Galcher material people have been bugging to hear on wax, and driven by motivations very much in line with his DIY mentality. “If anything I want to show young producers, especially young black producers in America, that you can put your own thing out regardless of the genre. Because a lot of young black producers around here, they just stick with the strategy of leasing out beats to rappers, and seeing whatever sticks. But the rap industry is so inflated and people get taken advantage of. You can do it your own way, you don’t have to waste your energy on a complicated system like the rap industry.” Both this idiosyncratic approach and clear influence from hip-hop culture bleeds into his DJing, too. “I like to spice things up a bit. When I played Panorama Bar I wanted to play stuff you wouldn’t normally hear there. I was playing a rap track and a girl came up to me and started yelling at me, but everyone else was dancing,” he remembers, fondly. “I get the chance to play at one of the greatest clubs in the world and I’m definitely going to play some rap on that system.” Though Lustwerk may have succumbed to ‘proper photos and promotion and stuff’, he remains deeply invested in doing things his own way. “Whenever I play it safe I’m super disappointed. Even if some girl had to come up and yell at me, whatever, it’s worth it.” The Parlay EP and the I Neva Seen EP are out now via Lustwerk Music. Galcher Lustwerk headlines the Crack Berlin Launch Party, Prince Charles, 17 April
“I see life in a cinematic way. I look out the window and imagine a shot of a movie, even if it’s the most mundane scene”
Words: Thomas Howells Photography: Danny Krug
Crossing the haptic void: Liturgy's Hunter Hunt-Hendrix talks The Ark Work, triplet flow and transcending black metal
The crux of the controversy remains his essay, Transcendental Black Metal: A Vision of Apocalyptic Humanism, published around the time of of Liturgy’s first full-length, Renihilation. It was highly contentious stuff: densely verbose, it mooted an original dichotomy of two distinct strands of black metal – “hyperborean” and “transcendental”, separated by a “haptic void” – with an appropriation of genre semiotics (and diagrams!) that, purists argued, weren’t his to fuck around with in the first place. Fortunate, then, that Renihilation was killer – a smart mess of buzzsaw drone and dextrous blasting that drew on minimalist composition as much as Mayhem and Graveland. If Hunt-Hendrix had just kept his mouth shut, the scene’s reception to Liturgy might have been far different. 2011’s Aesthetica expanded on the framework outlined in the thesis, dropping the measured asceticism of the first record for something more chiming and supernal, garnering the band mainstream critical praise. Both Dusenbury and Fox departed shortly afterwards (they returned to the fold in 2014). Hunt-Hendrix and Gann played as a duo for a short while, but silence descended as work began on what would become The Ark Work. Depending on how one views both man and thesis, the record’s expanded sonic and theoretical scope is either the closest Liturgy has come to true clarity of artistic expression, or a leap further down the rabbit hole of arch pretension; the frontman a kind of burst dam of ersatz philosophical thought, the band behind merely facilitating the flow of ideas. Hunt-Hendrix has posited The Ark Work as part of a larger gesamtkunstwerk – a ‘total artwork’ of which all three records are distinct ‘episodes’ – which draws on psychoanalysis, German idealism and Christian mysticism. It’s adhered to the black metal tropes of shrill tremolo guitar and blasting drums but this time incorporates “hard-style beats and occult-oriented rap”. He doesn’t, it must be said, make things easy for himself.
Speaking over Skype from his home in Brooklyn, he is placid and polite – far too pleasant to let me know I’ve called an hour late (my mistake). We start with the inevitable journalistic clickbait: the rapping. Having already baited the kvlt scene enough in the past, isn’t it just an invitation to criticism? “It’s not inviting criticism for the sake of it,” he sighs. “I just see there being a lot of potential that is unexplored in the relationship between those two things. If people think it’s crazy, that’s OK; I was kind of afraid to move forward with it. I know I open myself to criticism and I’m willing to endure it, but it doesn’t feel great. I certainly had some hesitation to really follow through.” Having ditched the traditional banshee wailing (“it hurts my throat, I feel too old for it now”), his new vocal is drawn primarily from Three 6 Mafia and Bone, Thugs ‘n’ Harmony – “a monotonous triplet flow that has always sounded to me like it’s an incantation or a summoning or a spirit.” The amalgam with black metal is akin to “finding windows from [one] world to another and then travelling between them.” These worlds also encompass medieval sacred chant and banks of midi strings, horns and bagpipes, though extreme metal is still the core around which the songs revolve. Such precarious stylistic balance has seen Hunt-Hendrix align his compositional process with that of Russian polystylist composer Alfred Schnittke. “I see black metal as a mediator between all these different styles from the past and present, all these different cultures,” he explains. “It’s an effort to use it as the nexus that’s connecting them, then allowing them to cohere in a synthetic way. I didn’t want the record to be eclectic sounding, or to sound weird or bizarre or goofy. Part of what has always drawn me to black metal is that it has such a wide and deep range of aesthetic reference; to a quasi-mythical past, or romanticism, or medieval times, or pagan cultures. I want to follow through with the promise made by those references to these different times and places, and expand the circle.” It works in part, and The Ark Work is mostly an excellent record. Where Renihilation and Aesthetica had an unmistakeable organic feel – largely via the introduction of the ‘burstbeat’ in the former (a reconfiguration of the traditional blastbeat that wavered in speed and intensity) and in the pure cognisant efficiency of the band in the latter – The Ark Work’s identity is overwhelmingly an artificial one. At its best it’s enthralling: a videogame take on black metal laced with
passages of medieval fanfare and synth intervals. The 12-minute opus Reign Array is a highlight, opening with a full minute of plaintive MIDI harpsichord before segueing into a twinkling iteration of the band’s old sound. Likewise Follow and Follow 2, replete with the neat flickers of IDM glitch, twinkling xylophone and the sampled roar of a crowd.
“Part of what has always drawn me to black metal is that it has such a wide range of aesthetic reference; to a quasimythical past, or romanticism, or medieval times, or pagan cultures”
At its worst, though, it errs towards the over-baked and underwhelming, conspicuously lacking the dynamic and cathartic nuance of its forbearers, smothered by an aesthetic that is more polished in concept than practise. This can be in part levelled at the rapping (Vitriol sounds dangerously close to a Salem B-side) but also in a reluctance to harness the raw talents of his band.
Greg Fox’s drumming has always been Liturgy’s real draw, and while his superlative musicianship is still present, here it is pared down, lower in the mix. When pressed on whether he agrees that Fox’s work is intrinsic to the success of the band, he is diplomatically terse. “The drumming in Liturgy is something that was my main focus, compositionally, on the first two albums,” he says. “An important part of this record was to not spend so much time trying to break new ground with the drumming style and to spend that energy on other aspects of the arrangement. But I’m glad he’s playing on it.” It’s hard not to wish that the The Ark Work – Liturgy generally –was a more collaborative project, that there was some mediating foil to Hunt-Hendrix’s sprawling vision. Still, derided or not, his autonomous determination is admirable, if exasperating. In any case, Liturgy’s take on extreme metal is some of the most interesting and quixotic of the new millennia, certainly preferable to the dopey homage of much of the genre. “After Aesthetica,” he concludes, “I really wanted to take the time to make an album that I was 100% happy with. The two before this one… I had a lot of difficulty parting with each of them. It didn’t sound enough like the music I had in my head for Liturgy. This does.” The Ark Work is out now via Thrill Jockey Records
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For all the criticism levelled at Hunter HuntHendrix, you have to respect the man’s persistence. As the creative force behind Liturgy – the NYC-based black metal/art rock group also comprising drummer Greg Fox, bassist Tyler Dusenbury and guitarist Bernard Gann – Hunt-Hendrix is the singular proponent of ‘transcendental black metal’, a re-codified and intellectualised take on the genre to which the metal underground have not taken kindly. Four records in, the offers of physical violence and rabid scene diatribes may have dissipated, but The Ark Work – released on Thrill Jockey this month – isn’t going to win over existing haters.
Designed exclusively for Crack by Benedikt Rugar. benediktrugar.de
In the wake of the extraordinary success of their move into mainstream cinema Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard have pooled their experience into an engrossing visual mixtape
Words: Augustin Macellari
“There’s something about when you feel like you’re meeting the personality of the artist, as well as receiving a message that they want to tell you, and you can feel their joy in the production of what they’re making,” says Jane Pollard. Iain Forsyth and herself have been working collaboratively for the last 20 years, since they met at Goldsmiths. We’re in their kitchen, in a little terraced house tucked around a corner in Bethnal Green; Shoreditch is creeping down Roman Road, but it’s not here yet. Iain and Jane’s practice thus far has toyed with, among other things, pop music, temporal linearity and the power of emotional memory to disturb the space-time continuum. Jane is talking about formative experiences: an Andrew Heard exhibition, a Gavin Turk exhibition and a Bruce Nauman artwork, Good Boy Bad Boy. There’s an argument to be made that these days the contemporary art landscape is cluttered with bloodlessness. Exhibitions of digitally rendered, trendy visual tropes, part of a recursive and impenetrable auto-discussion in a language that actually no one speaks, are approaching ubiquity in London. In this atmosphere it’s refreshing to hear someone articulate the importance of an emotional – human – dimension. To celebrate both feeling and reason.
Idiot Box, 2015, Installation View
This bloodlessness is something the artists could never be accused of. Their early work is marked by an interest in the power of non-verbal language, the capacity of culture to transcend linear time and consolidate separate moments into a third, emotional space. They explored this layering through the re-staging of seminal moments in pop music. A Smiths tribute band first, before more focused and impeccably choreographed re-enactments: Ziggy Stardust’s last performance in A Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide and File Under Sacred Music, a shot-forshot remake of a Cramps’ bootleg, made at a gig they played for the patients of Napa State Mental Institute. Music’s potential to act as a “psychological mnemonic device” and its accessibility as an emotional language initially came to their attention through mixtapes: “What mixtapes would unlock, in us and other people. The idea that this thing is loaded,
because usually when you’re making a compilation tape for somebody, it has a subtext.” There’s a 6 Music, fetishisationof-the-past type quality to this sort of talk, but Iain dismisses nostalgia unbidden: “it’s a really problematic thing, because it gets entwined really quickly with some sort of notion of a singular truth. To share nostalgia for something we first need to share a perspective on it; if we didn’t see it and feel it in the same way we can’t share the experience in nostalgia.” The tension inherent in creating a new emotional dimension through the overarching objectivity of shared subjective experience (as in, the physical, documentable qualities of a gig against each audience member’s experience of it) is a key facet of their early works – in File Under Sacred Music they went as far as to record their remake in front of an audience invited through a mental health charity. In the past they’ve played off this tension through dogmatic adherence to (and painstaking research into) their source material, and it’s through this that they’ve negated that nostalgia: the frankness of the re-enactment leaves no room for it. The last two years have seen a shift in discipline, with the release of their featurelength documentary/portrait/fiction 20,000 Days on Earth, a surreal and penetrating film about Nick Cave. The film is remarkable not just for its focus on Cave, but for its rigorous exploration of performance as profession, its success at simultaneously demystifying the creative process whilst sustaining the mythology of the icon whose twenty-thousandth day on earth it follows. It is essential viewing – not just for fans of The Bad Seeds, or rock and roll, but for anyone with an interest in the business of creation. A more conventional film – documentary or biopic – might struggle to dodge the kind of sentimentalised nostalgia Iain and Jane dismiss, but through a curious inversion of their usual MO, this film continues their explorations into memory and experience. Where their usual re-enactments are characterised by a borderline-pedantic adherence to documented detail, this work dispenses with any regard for everyday truths entirely.
“To share nostalgia for something we first need to share a perspective on it; if we didn’t see it and feel it in the same way we can’t share the experience in nostalgia” - Iain Forsyth
Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, File Under Sacred Music, 2003, single channel video, duration 22 minutes
“The decision to pay no heed to the truth was something we made really quickly. We’re not getting into conversations about whether this film features one person enough, because the moment we start to play that game we can’t any longer find a new language, a new way of trying to represent somebody.” Iain adds: “The moment you try and privilege one version of the truth it becomes about something completely different, and there’s no space to be creative. It becomes about fact, it becomes about journalism, and that’s a very narrow road to go down.” As Jane points out, this sort of filmmaking requires the full complicity of the subject, a willingness to allow truths to bloom out of the structured unrealities set up by the artists. This complicity extends the collaborative web further. “The relationship had to be conspiratorial,” says Jane. “We’re not looking, we are creating something in the act of doing this with them. And we just weren’t sure what that was going to be, really, until we started to try out ideas.” These experiments comprise two of the most powerful set pieces in the film: a session of psychoanalysis between Cave and Darian Leader, and a trawl through the semi-fictional Nick Cave Archive. In both instances, whilst the circumstances were contrived, the conversations were unscripted. “It was from that, really, that we started to find the themes that were interesting. We found things that surprised
us; the idea of how to look at Nick, to maintain the mythology or extend that mythological language so that the fan is watching something, rather than trying to peel away the layers of it.” The success of 20,000 Days… has changed things for the pair. Whilst they deny that it signals a shift in disciplines – “It doesn’t feel like a move, it feels like another possibility opening up” – it seems as though the opportunities it affords must inevitably impact on their practice as visual artists. Their latest show, currently on at Kate MacGarry gallery in East London, would seem to confirm this. Called Idiot Box, there’s a slight feeling of the swan song about it. Nine big black television monitors have been put in, piled up like a wall. This bank of screens operates logically within their visual lexicon; instantly comparable to the monitors at the start of 20,000 Days… that flash jarringly through the first 19,999 of Cave’s life. The works shown, nine films in all, include only one by the artists themselves. The films themselves are brilliantly selected; funny and poignant and weird, the show is like a mixtape. “It’s a language of putting things together,” says Jane. The videos selected comprise a fairly wide range, from a David Shrigley animation to odd little avant-garde films
Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, Silent Sound, 2006/7, Custom built sound, variable dimensions
commissioned for TV in a time when the medium’s institutions seemed to have more confidence in their audiences. Also included is a YouTube video, although its status is unsignposted within the sequence. The inclusion of an ‘internet readymade’ might be worth some words, but in this show it doesn’t feel relevant. Discussing it, Iain and Jane dwell extensively on the idea of the work as mixtape – in fact, in spite of the YouTube video’s inclusion, this exhibition feels more like an homage to the analogue than anything else. A wilful engagement with linearity, and a rejection of the highdownload speed, unfiltered information overload many visual artists are currently using their practices to try and parse. “Somehow the user navigated experience and all choice was utopia. And of course it’s not utopia, we’re shit at making decisions.” In their roles as curators here, they’ve compiled a mixtape crossed with a selfportrait. The work fits into the narrative of their own practice, but the inclusion of only one of their very early films changes them, in this instance, from creators to selectors.
John Smith, Gargantuan, 1992, video, 1 min
The overarching humour, aesthetics and ideas recognisably tie it to them, and in many ways perhaps it’s appropriate that their only presence as makers is a film from their degree. If they are, for now, transitioning from the gallery to somewhere else, it’s not at the cost of the ideas they’ve been exploring throughout their career. At the end of 20,000 Days… footage of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds playing in the Sydney Opera House is cut through with footage from throughout his career. Jane says: “That entire song pays total debt to our live art. That idea of past performances pushing in, that is an articulation of an idea that we were trying as 22-year-olds to work out; what happens when the past and the present are superimposed on one another, or you oscillate between them at a speed where there’s a blurring of what you’re watching.” What’s clear about the duo’s creative output – whether it be as filmmakers, visual artists or curators – is that the singularity of their vision brings them in line with their own influences, that “you can feel their joy in the production of what they’re making … you get the attention to detail and the joy in the act of actually making it.”
Idiot Box runs at Kate MacGarry until 18 April. 20,000 Days On Earth is now available on DVD
Perfume Genius + Jenny Hval Wed 10 Jun
Radiophonic Workshop Fri 17 Apr
Gwilym Gold Sun 30 May
Goldie & Heritage Orchestra
Thu 28 May
Wed 22 & Thu 23 Jul
with Anthony Child, Ali Wade & Jo Johnson
southbankcentre.co.uk 0844 847 9910
Timeless (Sine Tempore)
Music, Creativity & Technology www.sonar.es
Barcelona 18.19.20 June
the chemical brothers, skrillex, duran duran, die antwoord, asap rocky, fka twigs, flying lotus, róisín murphy, hot chip, jamie xx, arca & jesse kanda, squarepusher, siriusmodeselektor, seth troxler, autechre, fat freddy’s drop, kindness, laurent garnier, dubfire:live hybrid, tiga live, jamie jones, maya jane coles, rl grime, adam beyer, totally enormous extinct dinosaurs, pxxr gvng, evian christ, annie mac, cashmere cat, erol alkan, ktl, daniel avery, ten walls, scuba, henrik schwarz, the 2 bears, sophie, roman flügel, black coffee, special request, dj tennis, lcc, holly herndon, the bug, gramatik, ralph lawson, dorian concept, kiasmos, kate tempest, yung lean & sad boys, vessel, bomba estéreo, double vision: atom tm + robin fox, xosar, kasper bjørke, badbadnotgood, tourist, zebra katz, russell haswell, felix dickinson, meneo, redinho, cabo san roque, desert djs, mika vainio, lee gamble, helena hauff, viktor flores, voices from the lake, randomer, mumdance & novelist feat. the square, niño, powell, dj sliink, ¥€$Ø, swindle, fernando lagreca, klara lewis, jupiter lion, courtesy, headbirds, dj detweiler, bosaina, sta, ossie, torus, brigitte laverne, mans o, el niño de elche vs los voluble, la mverte, exoteric continent, mickey de grand IV, alejandro paz, noir noir… get your tickets here: www.sonartickets.com an initiative of
in collaboration with
r o f s n o i t u l o s r al e c c i u t c d a o t r p s r c e i f n f o o r t s i c t e n l a e S y e r D a r s i o n p n m e e D nt o c th e 57
Words: Geraint Davies
Creative blocks. Dead ends. Brick walls. They’re an unavoidable occurrence, and by definition, stubborn to shift. For the archetypical electronic music producer, such turgid obstacles can become seemingly immovable. The producer’s life can be an insular one with little means of respite; hunched in the early morning glow of a screen of fluctuating bars, tweaking and rearranging blocks of thought. Dennis DeSantis is a musician and writer who grew up on the outskirts of Detroit. With a wealth of musical experience across form, style and approach, his recent focus has been as head of documentation at Ableton, the music technology company who revolutionised methods of making and performing electronic music over the last decade and a half. Through his practice, DeSantis identified a gap in the market. There are endless tutorials to detail the technical aspects of production methods, but very little to address the nitty gritty reality of actually making music through these means. Comprising three self-explanatory sections – ‘Problems of Beginning’, ‘Problems of Progressing’ and ‘Problems of Finishing’ – Making Music: 74 Creative Strategies for Electric Music Producers is DeSantis’s attempt to address the disparity. This is no Ableton 'how-to' guide; there are no specific products mentioned in the text.
But perhaps more important than offering specific answers, it encourages a different way of thinking one’s way around studio problems; new ways of approaching creativity; new ways of conquering the “existential terror” of creating art. So has DeSantis succeeded in addressing that gap in the market? The fact Making Music’s first physical print run sold out in just two days offers resounding confirmation of the fact. As his colleagues at Ableton scramble around to put together a rapidfire second press, we asked the author a few questions about how the project came to mind, then came to life. The book is an incredibly valuable resource, it’s surprising that no one has thought of it sooner. Did the idea just occur to you, or are there any precursors to this kind of guide? I had been thinking about some kind of book in this direction for a few years, but took a long time to really figure out exactly how to do it and what would be the most useful things to write about. I don’t really know of other books that address these topics in this specific way, but I’ve seen some of this kind of creative strategy thinking turn up on blogs now and then. For the more motivational or philosophical topics, it’s common to see some of these strategies directed towards ‘artists’ in general, but I felt like there was a
way these could be tuned more specifically to electronic music producers. The scenarios, techniques and patterns discussed suggest a varied range of music-making experience. Is this the case? I do have a range of music-making experience, maybe because I’ve been unable to sit still and really just focus on one thing for very long. My earliest real musical interests were in electronic music, but I went off on a bunch of tangents before looping back around, including a few years playing drums in a funk band, as well as getting a doctorate in classical composition. I’ve certainly had my share of creative tension. But I figured the kinds of problems I’ve faced and the solutions I’ve come up with can’t be unique to me, and that I might be able to put these into words in a way that could help others. How did the idea come about to team up with Ableton? I work for Ableton anyway, writing the technical documentation and educational materials for Live and Push, so the fit seemed pretty natural. I had originally imagined the book as my own recreational project but I mentioned the idea to Gerhard Behles [Ableton’s CEO] one day, and he immediately suggested Ableton publish it. I was initially pretty sceptical of
the idea, since I imagined that publishing a book was way outside of the scope of the things we’d be good at. But in retrospect, this was absolutely the right decision. The book got much more early exposure as a result of being associated with Ableton. But more importantly, it’s just the next logical step in what we’re trying to do as a company, which is to help people become better musicians. Technology is only one part of that goal; education is the next one. Would the greatest satisfaction of all be in years to come, if certain producers, or certain tracks or albums, were to cite this book as a key influence? I hope it does, and I’d be really happy to hear that the book helped people get over creative blocks and get music done. I’d also love to see more things like this start to happen. Electronic musicians have a wealth of learning resources already available on the technology side, but could really benefit from more on the music side. The kind of academic musical education that I came from is not really well-geared towards the kinds of creative challenges that electronic musicians actually face, and I think there’s much more work to be done here. Find more information about Making Music: 74 Creative Strategies for Electric Music Producers at makingmusic.ableton.com
ar e w s n e m ’ s e g d Liam Ho ot them n , s u r o f is
A gaggle of socks and slider-shod urchins with a thirst for Red Stripe are squashed onto a sofa in front of a TV. It’s Liam Hodges’ spring/summer ‘14 installation, shown as part of Lulu Kennedy’s East London fashion incubator, Fashion East Menswear. Jump forward to autumn/winter ‘14 and the Hodges posse have become roadies, wearing jackets covered in strips of black gaffer tape like improvised leather, with Pagan imagery appearing sporadically. Come spring/summer ‘15, the gang moves to the MAN/Fashion East runway, taking to the catwalk as mature, badge-sewing boy scouts in two-tone baseball tops. By autumn/winter ‘15, Hodges’ most recent collection, inspiration had come from Walthamstow market. Headlines of local bootleggers were printed, patchwork-style, on tracksuits worn with Palladium boots, where some of the Hodges lads carried sandwich boards with slogans like ‘totally safe classics’. It’s fashion from the streets, without the condescension. “It always starts with research and that, I try to find a way to engage with the inspiration as much as possible,” Hodges explains in a café around the corner from his studio. “Last season it was the market so we
spent a lot of time filming people, talking to people, trying to document it. Whether I’m watching films or submerging myself in music, I completely surround myself with it so I feel like I understand it.” Hodges jumps seamlessly from roadies in bulky bombers, to scouts in the woods, to market stall vendors. You could run all four collections back to back, with each one elaborating on a key, distinctly British narrative. It demonstrates a fluid evolution of core ideas behind the brand. This evolution of streetwear is integral to London mens fashion; Nasir Mazhar is decking his boys out in shiny brocade tracksuits, while Astrid Anderson has her basketball hunks in oversize vests of pink lace. Liam Hodges’ contribution to this legacy is particularly potent, tapping English eccentricity in all its downright weirdness. Identifying Morris dancers, Kibbo Kift youth clubs and Pagan practitioners as modern tribes, you can trace an amalgamation of these tropes through his collections. Though it’s a misfit concoction, the outcome is remarkably wearable. It all boils down to Hodges’ method of turning those inspirations into a garment that he and his friends would actually want to put on. “It’s more the narrative for me,
more about a story or person,” he expands. “I find something that could be fun to do and try and work out how I would do it, how my customer would engage with that activity, the rest of it. The fabrics that I stick to are just core menswear fabrics, then I bring in other stuff depending on what I’m trying to communicate.” As Hodges talks of his aims for his brand, it’s clear he takes inspiration from the vision of his peers. He credits cult London designers Cassette Playa and Aitor Throup for leading him to choose fashion, admiring the positive messages embroiled in their conceptual and abstract worlds, where there are simply no creative restrictions. Though Hodges is not against tailoring – the traditional western ideal of menswear – the slick suit-wearing gent is not something he identifies with, aesthetically or in terms of what that image has come to represent. “There’s a certain tribal mentality to my clothes,” he explains. “It’s almost like a weird little community where the actual core message changes every season, as a reaction to the world around, but I guess it is about nice clothes that tell certain stories, rather than luxury, silk shirts, an archaic idea of achievement.” Liam Hodges’ brand is simultaneously strange and familiar. The designer’s ability to merge the commonplace and the obscure comes from his genuine fascination with both. It’s high fashion born from lowbrow culture. “I was telling someone the other day, we were talking about branding, that I see my brand as being aspirational, but not in the Dior sense of aspirational.” Not in terms of income, then, we suggest. “Not necessarily income, but more like, the things I look at, the messages that I put out there are positive, aspirational goals for people, but not necessarily a pretty bloke with a rich wife, swanning around in a Mercedes. “I guess, again, it’s different every time. There are constants. Every season there are different end goals, different aesthetics I want to portray,” he muses. “Ultimately, I’m taking something quite normal and making it beautiful.” For more information, visit liamhodges.co.uk
Words: Cassandra Kirk Photography: Elise Rose
“The messages that I put out there are positive. Aspirational goals for real people”
This Page Jacket: Our Legacy Sweatshirt: Shaun Samson All Jewellery Sean's own
Aesthetic: Big Sean Photographer: Tom Johnson Assistants: Mees Tempellaar + Tom Turpie Stylist: Charlotte James Art Direction: Alfie Allen Assistants: Carlene Harris Makeup: Nicole Lequerica Groomer: Matt Ikomoni
In 2005, aspiring teenage rapper Sean Michael Anderson caught wind that Kanye West would be visiting a local Detroit radio station for an interview. After pestering Kanye in the hallway of the station’s offices, Sean was granted the opportunity to spit a 16 bar freestyle that would change his life. Fastforward one decade, and Big Sean’s third album Dark Sky Paradise has debuted at number one in the US Billboard charts. It’s a career trajectory that’s seen Big Sean evolve from protege to a bona fide star, hooking up collaborations with the likes of Drake, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Miguel, DJ Mustard and Mike WiLL Made It while inking deals with G.O.O.D. Music, Def Jam and Roc Nation along the way. Known to follow and instigate trends within hip-hop culture, over the years Sean has been seen rocking Bathing Ape, throwback sports jerseys, a Louis Vuitton coin pouch, leather pants, the sharp black suits of G.O.O.D. Music’s “Rosewood Movement” era and the “street goth” look that included pieces from En Noir, Alexandre Plokhov and Rick Owens. His forays into the fashion industry have included his own design of Adidas shoes, a collaboration with streetwear brand Been Trill and the launch of his clothing line Aura Gold to name a few. Having appeared as a special guest at Kanye West’s surprise KOKO gig alongside Wu-Tang’s Raekwon, Vic Mensa, and UK MCs such as Skepta, JME, Novelist and Meridian Dan the night before, Sean was visibly hyped during our Aesthetic shoot. We caught him during a rare moment of downtime in his dressing room to discuss his influences, image and identity.
Thi Page Tshirt: McQ by Alexander McQueen Jeans: Saint Laurent Pants: Calvin Klein at Urban Outfitters Boots: Christopher Shannon x Cat Footwear Opposite Page Jacket: CMMN SWDN
62 So firstly, how was the show last night? Last night was amazing. Incredible. Literally 10 minutes before we hit the stage, were were like “Oh shit, what’s the setlist?!’ and so we all sat there and went over it together. Good times, man. Your album is currently number one in the Billboard charts right now. How does that feel? It feels awesome man. I couldn’t be happier about it. I come from Detroit, a lot of people from there don’t make it anywhere, and so it’s overwhelming when I think about it sometimes. This is my best album so far, I put my heart and soul into it. I put my privacy out on the line, I put my passion into it, all for people to relate to it in their own way. Have you celebrated yet? Nah, we haven’t celebrated yet. I haven’t even popped a bottle ... I mean, I guess we did at the club. But I was only at the club because I had to be there. I’m super thankful for it, but really I’m trying to look past it, we gotta keep moving. I work so hard man, I don’t want to slow down for anything. To what extent has rock culture influenced your style? Lately it’s been influencing me more than ever. I’ve been wearing a lot of vintage rap tees with like ripped jeans and clothes that actually fit better, you know? I used to rock like big dumb ass clothes, I’m a size medium or sometimes a large, but I was rocking XXL and shit in high school. Which artists do you think are pushing hip-hop culture forward right now? I think Ye is the number one influence in rap culture right now.
64 This Page Jacket: Liam Hodges Opposite Page Tshirt: McQ by Alexander McQueen Coat: Alan Taylor Jeans: Saint Laurent Boots: Christopher Shannon x Cat Footwear
66 This Page Jacket: Liam Hodges Sweatshirt: Liam Hodges Jeans: Saint Laurent Opposite Page Jacket: Our Legacy T-shirt: Shaun Samson Jeans: Saint Laurent Boots: Christopher Shannon x Cat Footwear
67 Over the years, which rappers have inspired you as style icons? I used to look up to Pharrell as a style icon, and I still do. And Ye, of course. Don C, Ibn Jasper, Nigo – those are my style icons too. And you’ve gotta give it to Hov too man. Like, he’d start wearing button-ups then everybody else start doing that. He’s changed the game a few times, stylewise. Which labels or brands are you into right now? I’m into a lot of newer brands. I really like Fear of God. I really like Saint Laurent – just their jeans more so than anything, they fit me really good. I’m super into Adidas. I’ve been wearing a lot of old Raf Simmons, I really like Bape. And just a lot of plain pieces too, nice hoodies, classic bombers. I’m really into this Stussy bomber. You grew up in Westside Detroit. Are there any styles or trends which are unique to that area? Detroit was known for being very stylish, ‘Detroit players’ they get labelled as. A lot of fur coats, gator shoes, a lot of suits and linen, scarves, fresh leather jackets. Really cool dressers man. And bright stuff too, like pink gators and green suits and shit like that. It’s definitely a city of players. It’s changed over the years, but there’s still that type of flair. Was there a favourite piece that you wore for the shoot today? I like the fur coat. It reminded me of some Detroit player shit. And I guess that’s what I am at heart. Detroit is in me. Dark Sky Paradise is out now via G.O.O.D. Music and Def Jam / Virgin EMI
BLOC. Butlins, Minehead 13 - 15 March As the curtain fell a day and a half early on their 2012 event, Bloc. left thousands of ticket holders stumbling out of London Pleasure Gardens, misplaced and confused. For many, it was a disorientating experience, and for the organisers, an unprecedented and unavoidable disaster that spiralled rapidly out of their control. So there was a palpable air of devotion as the faithful returned to the immense charm of the holiday park for Bloc.’s comeback. Taking place over five large stages that met at the focal point of the domed arcade, proceedings were booted into life on Friday, with DJs flinging out no holds barred techno from the charmingly tacky pub stage since early afternoon. Heading to the FACT stage for a back-to-back set from DJ Qu and October, it was clear that both the DJs and the crowd had a similar idea here, with tracks like Barnt’s jarring slammer Chappell receiving a raucous reception at just 6pm. We reluctantly tore ourselves away, heading to the Centre stage to check out legendary New York band ESG, whose sharply percussive, minimal disco-punk had soundtracked our pre-Bloc. preparations. Unfortunately, however, this incarnation of the band fell flat with a slightly lethargic-sounding rhythm section. A shame. Following ESG was Hudson Mohawke, who promised absurdity by warming up with a wall of rave synths blended with a sped-up
sample of Drake’s Hold On We’re Going Home. Jumping between ambient tracks, crowd-rousing snippets of TNGHT bangers and some admittedly dodgy dubstep territory, the most euphoric moment came in the form of Kanye West’s All Day, the anthem-of-the-moment which had been mastered in HudMo’s London studio. Once a vocal sample of the sentence “‘The white man, I say to you over and over again’” had been looped for so long that the words began to form melodies in the audience’s minds, Dean Blunt emerged on Saturday’s Crack stage from total darkness. Joined by Joanne Robertson (who played a vital role on Blunt’s album BLACK METAL) on vocals and guitar, a saxophone player and – of course – a bodyguard who remained motionless behind him throughout the set, Blunt strutted with a swagger that was part rapper, part Liam Gallagher – a stage presence deliberately at odds with the roughly sampled indie-pop and moody synth soundscapes blaring from the soundsystem. Midway through the set, a sensual assault was executed with abrasive strobe-lighting and a painfully high note that disintegrated into a hiss of white noise. After persisting with the strobe for so long that audience members could be seen fleeing the venue, the lighting suddenly cut to red, and the poignant saxophone line of GRADE felt like the flicker of a campfire in the foggy landscape of a post-apocalyptic metropolis. In terms of atmosphere, the weekend
Issue 51 | crackmagazine.net
reached a high when Moodymann blessed the Red stage with his presence. With an approach so relaxed that a member of his entourage remained fast asleep behind the decks for the whole set, the veiled Detroit icon loosely mixed his own hits with similarly languid, soulful tracks and the odd hip-hop track before bringing out Three Chairs member Rick Wilhite and Omar-S as surprises guest and pouring out shots for the audience members in the front rows. Quite the party. Debauchery ensued over at the FACT stage as veteran Chicago sleazebag DJ Funk unleashed his typically raw style of ghetto house that pushes beyond the 140bpm mark. Regularly grabbing up the mic to chant the kind of filthy rhymes synonymous with the man behind bangers such as Booty Clap, Booty Bounce and Big Ole’ Booty, Funk’s sheer filthiness made the drunker dancers totally lose their inhibitions, and steam could be seen rising from the crowd. Helena Hauff was another act to steer away from charismatic 4x4. Attracting a sizable crowd to the Crack stage on Saturday evening, she ran through a typically eclectic mix of dark ambient grumblings, ferocious EBM, vintage new wave and breakneck electro. Many punters dusted themselves off early on the Sunday to soak up the last hours of the weekend. Embracing the theme of the day, ‘jungle is massive’, a resilient crowd could be found soaking up the
frenzied sounds in the jungle and drum’n’bass-dedicated Reds stage. With only three of the five stages open and music ending at 2am, the room was impressively animated as a euphoric rush of 90s classics closed out the festival. With the likes of Ben UFO and Raime exploring murky, jagged drum’n’bass, it was Dillinja’s celebratory selection of his own productions that brought the atmosphere to boiling point. Though the standard of dance music was excellent throughout, it wasn’t the only thrill central to the Bloc. experience. It’s there in the strangely comforting sensation of fully carpeted dancefloors, or the mind-bending Japanese horror on Bloc TV, or even the reality jolt of bumping into Aphex Twin during a 5am arcade session. While it was rumoured that RDJ would be playing the Sunday special guest slot, this turned out to be untrue. We also heard that he had, in fact, just bought a ticket and turned up, which we hope holds more accuracy. Because there was a similar sense of loyalty in the crowd that had relished in Bloc.’s return proper. It was a reminder of a legacy that is both rich and rewarding, and that occupies a special place at the heart of British clubbing culture. Long may it continue. !
Anna Tehabsim + Davy Reed N Will Dohrn
Invada Records Spring 2015 Releases
THE KVB - MIRROR BEING
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow
10 track instrumental album from Berlin based duo
• Double LP / CD includes bonus material not included on digital version • Gatefold Sleeve • Download Card
• • • •
FAR CRY 4
Original Game Music by Cliff Martinez • BAFTA Winning Soundtrack from the composer of ‘Drive’ / ‘Spring Breakers’ / ‘Solaris’ • 3xLP inc. bonus material not on digital release • Solid Green / Solid Blue / Solid Orange Vinyl • Gatefold Sleeve / Download Card
‘Blue Moon’ & ‘Frosted Clear’ vinyl Download Card Digipack CD Artwork by the band themselves
Record Store Day Exclusives : April 18th 2015
POWER GLOVE - EP 1
4 track EP from the duo behind ‘Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon’ • Red Vinyl / Download Card • Limited Edition 1000 copies
30 DAYS OF NIGHT
• Heavy Weight Picture Disc • Includes 350 gram 12”x12” ‘Tiswas’ Print • Limited Edition 1000 copies
• 2 x ‘Blood Red’ LP / Gatefold Sleeve / DL Card • Features original photography from Director David Slade’s personal archive • First Vinyl Release - Limited Edition 1000 copies
Tiswas 5 Track EP - ‘Picture Disc’ version
Original Soundtrack by Brian Reitzell
Invada Digital SCARLET RASCAL VENUS Brand New Digital single from Bristol post-punk 4 piece
Releasing Vinyl LPs, Collectable Editions, CD & Digital since 2003 www.invada.co.uk
Live PEOPLE LIKE US & DIRTYTALK PRESENT: LOVEFINGERS The Coroners Court, Bristol 28 February
Laura Groves’s latest EP, Committed Language is a record galvanised by tasteful antique productions and curious songwriting, all submerged in waves of reverb. While there’s no denying this recent output is exciting, whether it could be translated into a live scenario was yet to be confirmed. It didn’t take long for Groves to put such worries at ease. Starting with a pitch-perfect rendition of the EP’s title track and then continuing with some reinvented renditions of older stuff, Groves’ performance was highly impressive. The vocal phrasing in particular was something very rare, bringing the classic essence of Kate Bush and Fleetwood Mac to mind roves may not be quite in that bracket yet, but she’s certainly come a long way in a short space of time. By the end of the show it the entire room seemed pretty blown away. Groves returned alone for a delicate interpretation of Paul McCartney’s Waterfalls to seal the deal then, as Groves herself put it, “it’s all over so quickly.” A firm affirmation of a burgeoning talent. ! Jack Lucas Dolan N Daniel Robinson
CONVERGENCE Various Venues, London 12-21 March
THE SUN RA ARKESTRA The Lantern, Bristol 23 March ‘In the half-between world, dwell they: The Tone Scientists. In tones and notes they speak of many things … The Tone Scientists: architects of places of discipline mathematically precise are the Tone Scientists’ – Sun Ra The current incarnation of the Arkestra, eleven strong and now led by 91-year-old Marshall Allen, took the stage wearing their trademark capes and headdresses – ritual costumes of intergalactic travellers. The line-up featuring saxophones, trumpet, trombone, flute, piano, double bass, vibraphone, congas, drums, violin, EWI and the vocals of Tara Middleton, warmed up with a couple of big band swing numbers – the perfect invitation to join their heady brew of free jazz, old swing, hard bop, doo-wop and electronica, peppered with afrofuturist references and stagecraft. During the two sets played the audience was given an object lesson in locked-in ensemble playing with bouts of glorious improvisation, Marshall Allen spraying notes from his alto as if he were a man half his age. Highlights included the mantic chant over a stew of percussion that is Space is the Place, the hard riffing Rocket Number 9 and a suitably deconstructed When You Wish Upon A Star. (Ra had a liking for Disney films and the Arkestra performed a concert at Disneyworld in the lat 80s.) We were then invited to Travel the Spaceway as the musicians left the stage and promenaded through the audience before taking their leave and going onto their next destination. As Ra told his band, ‘if you can’t play it perfectly right, then play it perfectly wrong.’ This Arkestra played it perfectly right.
! Mick Hockney Chris Cooper/Shot Away
Technology has aided in shivving the rigid red tape of convention lassoed around live performances. This is all the more generative for electronic music. If the sounds that fall upon our ears are altogether alien, it is technology’s job to help us visualise in the mind’s eye what we hear. And as the synthesis of synth and sight propel themselves into the future, so too do the performances. Convergence is fast becoming a polestar of this particular discourse. Only in its second year of existence, it lacks the imperfections of sophomoric festivals. Curated by Glenn Max, previous organiser of the Meltdown and Ether festivals, this year’s events have exceeded its want to deploy music with visual art. It has dominated the good bulk of March showcasing artists and session workshops in purposely diametric locations around London. Fettered by the broken glass and vomit of Shoreditch, Village Underground played host to the majority of Convergence’s seventeen events. Hackney’s perfectly dilapidated St John’s Church, the railway arched amenities of Old Street’s Kachette, Royal Festival Hall’s decadent setting, Amnesty International’s New Inn Yard headquarters, and the Troxy all opened their doors. Opening night is ‘fire and brimstone’ techno treasure Clark supported by Rival Consoles and Vessels. Incongruous edges and furrows evolve behind Ryan Lee West, aka Rival Console’s hardware. There’s a humanistic sensibility to his setup; the analogue sounds are undeniably lifelike. He hurriedly manoeuvres around wires and knobs as the dim of his laptop shades the contours of his deeply concentrated face. An applaudable introduction met with swelling warmth. Clark’s Warp released self-titled is a blueprint in electronic composition. It smoothly coalesces straightforward techno with the textured pitter patter of ambience. Tonight, Clark toys with this dualism coupled with an onstage confidence almost unparalleled by any other performer throughout Convergence. He disregards 4/4 for something all the more schismatic; a theme paramount to the following night’s roster of Inga Copeland, Untold and Andy Stott. Internet memes spliced with footage of Lena Dunham at awards ceremonies are displayed as Copeland spiels over fractured electronics. Her delivery has the detachment of an air-flight attendant. Her static disregard is both disorientating and arresting. It’s a comment on the ritualistic dumbfuckery of club music. She shames her crowd, stuck in an awkward hypnosis. This is a skeletal wakeup call – shaking us to think. The reception is unnecessarily cold; a reactive state sustained for both Untold and Andy Stott. Their ‘build and build’ experimentalism is expertly crafted; their Friday night audience expertly apathetic. Gazelle Twin and Tricky perform at St Johns at Hackney Church: the former being a demagogue of electronic leftism, the latter being a household name in the annals of dance history. The former is petrifying. She screams over amped thuds as strobe lights harass her masked face. The latter discards everything, rarely interacting with his crowd. He casually points at his musicians like a conductor, occasionally flaying his arms to increase either tempo or volume. A headline slot usurped by the radicalism of the support. And so the festival continues in this vein. Andrew Weatherall performs in Village Underground’s newly opened ‘Boom Room’ in collaboration with Noise of Art. The night is an aural spectacle. Contextual sampler Matthew Herbert records his audience shouting, which he assures will be utilised in a future performance. Elephants shrouded in jewellery constantine over pink and green triangles as Shivani Ahlowalia, aka Alo Wala delivers a bass beaten revision of traditional indian rhythms. Batida’s lesson in Angolan ancestry meshed with contemporary dance music is an astonishing feat. Days start to form one protracted performance, one after the other after the other, until Pantha du Prince, Zomby, Shackleton and Darkstar assemble for the festival’s finale at the Troxy. By this point, the visual unorthodoxy mixed with the psychedelics of Pantha du Prince’s soundscapes, Darkstar’s appropriated dub-tech and Shackleton’s sub-bass sampling forms a pyramid of ocular discord. The Convergence organisers have eclipsed their ambitious commissions. They have amassed a global operation into a set of London venues that have altered the trajectory of electronic music and what role technology will play in the future. That is until next year, when they do it all again.
! Tom Watson Antonio Pagano
WEEDEATER Underworld, London 8 March Amidst drumstick trickery and moistened hair comes a rolling gnarl. Its earthy register is so low it sounds like a bubbled churning. The sound you’d hear as you drain the air from a water-tight smoke pipe. It drags on and on and those closest to the growl start to cough as they drown their bodies of oxygen. In the dusky alcoves of Camden’s Underworld, Weedeater are winding their audience with a punch-drunk whop to their lungs. A trio of dazed and dirty North Carolinian loyalists playing simple boggy and boisterous North Carolinian riffs, the pace of Weedeater’s set duels between psychotically slow and mid-tempo thrash. And aside from the southern hayseed truisms, the moonshine spilling, cornfed belching and the bong resin stinking hokum, there is no schtick to Weedeater. They’re exhausting the place without any sensationalism. They’re just three bawdy bushwhackers playing very loud, very crass, very heavy drone with enough natural showmanship to leave you warped. There are very few metal bands that permit themselves to shed the trite doldrums of despair. Weedeater’s image is dictated by the doom they wield, the beer they consume and the weed they smoke. Their gruesome attitude is without guise. Their mannerisms are wholly believable and consequently relatable. This is what makes this show so deafeningly gratifying. !
Issue 51 | crackmagazine.net
LAURA GROVES St John on Bethnal Green, London 10 March
To those who spend a lot of time reading decent music websites, the Bristol party scene must look amazing from the outside. And to an extent, it is. But like many cities, the scene suffers from shortage of supportive mid-sized clubs and an economic dependence on the more fickle side of the student community. Adventurous line-ups often sell badly, and respected DJs can play to empty dancefloors. This is because, unfortunately, the internet and the real world are not the same thing. But since forming in 2010, Dirtytalk have been killing it. Following their gloriously hedonistic events at the Motorcycle Showroom (RIP), they’ve more recently thrown parties at a swingers’ club and an out-of-town Hells Angels boozer. When it’s announced that this night will be held at The Coroner’s Court, there’s a few whispered complaints that they didn’t get a license for somewhere weirder. But tonight, Dirtytalk have teamed up London/Bristol DJ collective (and general good-vibe peddlers) People Like Us, and the the cavernous, dimly-lit Court provides an atmospheric setting for ESP institute boss Lovefingers’ set – a marathon of woozy house, sluggish techno and Balaeric obscurities that sound as though they’re still smothered with the dust from the crate they were dug from. In terms of atmosphere, it’s basically unbeatable, but with the Court joined to its neighbouring club Lakota, Dirtytalk ticketholders must cross the legendary psy-trance Tribe of Frog clubnight to get to the bar, and more than a few disappear into a world of neon butterflies, shirtless blokes and inflatable martians. Bristol, you’ve done yourself proud this time.
Products RE AGAN Dready £34.99 dreadybrand.com Reborn for the 2010s, cult 90s clothing brand Dready makes a timely return - when the political situation is looking to be just as fucked as when founder Robert Sidlauskus was growing up under Thatcher’s iron thumb, a bit of socialist resistance is always welcome. All the shirts are pretty great, but this one’s our favourite: - a Spitting Image style caricature of everyone’s favourite ColdWarmonger Ronald Reagan.
RESTORE BASKET Muuto £69 goodhoodstore.com Buy all the stuff on this page and put it in this box. Meta-shopping!
BR AIN DE AD 4 LIFE ENAMEL PIN Brain Dead €11 firmamentberlin.com CAP Bracken £??(?) primitivelondon.co.uk
And there it is - the badge to sum up a generation. Wear with pride.
Bracken is a killer young label out of London who's aesthetic I totally fuck with. I don't know what this cap's real name is, or how much it costs, but if you can find one and buy one and wear one, please let me know (neckbone@ crackmagazine.net) cause I dig it.
LOVE IS A DRUG (SHAMROCK ) Zeus £150.00 prescriptionart.com BOKS T-SHIRT Patta €37.50 patta.nl It's a dream of mine, as I'm sure it is for many other young aspirational adults, that one day a universal hand-based-greeting will be decided upon. Personally, I'm happy to go with The Pound ('Boks' in Dutch) - It's certainly the most hygenic, and the subtle application of force makes your intentions more than clear. #BOKS2015
Celebrate (or not, obviously) the fleeting legalisation of Ecstacy in Ireland last month with this commemorative hand-moulded, plaster-cast pinger. Don’t try and eat it though, it’s about as effective as Cake.
BRICK MAGA ZINE BRICK £14 brickthemagazine.com Fresh from some of the brightest minds in UK magazine culture comes BRICK, a weighty, beautifully put-together tome that aims to slow down and delve into the lightning fast world of international hip-hop culture.
Issue 51 | crackmagazine.net
(Also, it's nearly alright-weathertime again, that's why you get two t-shirts this month ok).
08 15 05
E AST INDIA YOUTH Culture Of Volume XL Recordings In the wake of his prodigious rise to the status of bona-fide indie auteur – thanks to the release of the seemingly esoteric but wellreceived, even Mercury-nomiated, Total Strife Forever – the question begged to be asked: where could East India Youth go from here? The answer is complex and rewarding: at once back, and forwards in time. Where TSF was a vivid snapshot of a future idea of expansive pop music, Culture of Volume is a vision of the future plumbed from the past; a kind of baroque retro-futurism, with swooping chamber melodies paired to maximalist gloop. It’s doubtless an important step forward for an artist whose approach demands progression, or damns itself to stagnation. Culture… is a more rounded whole with a more focused vision; more vocally-inclined, oozing with confidence in Doyle’s songwriting chops and strangely alluring voice. In amongst the oddball onetwos of Rufus Wainwright-esque balladeering and synthesised 4x4 are even further swerves: Entirety is a gnarled analogue techno offering, its successor, lead single Carousel, merely emphasising that jarring quality with its own pining, soupy strings, which in turn degenerate into widescreen fuzz. While there are parallels to be drawn with TSF, this sophomore album is a completely different animal. While at times it may seem a step back in terms of instrumental complexity to the point of, on occasion, sounding a little flat, it doubtless drives home the frivolous lack of boundaries the East India Youth project sets itself. And so the question we began with is left again to linger: where is East India Youth going next?
On paper, the single Living For Love should have been a smash. The greatest and most prolific living pop artist working with Diplo and a writing team who are collectively responsible for Wrecking Ball, Big Girls Don’t Cry and If I Were A Boy. Granted, it’s not exactly to our tastes but it doesn’t take a genius sales forecaster to assume it should be a hit. It wasn’t. It isn’t. In fact, something is absent on all of the would-be bangers of Rebel Heart. The stripped back production on HeartBreakCity is let down by clunky lyrics like “Cause I’m in heartbreak city / And it’s not that pretty / And it still feels shitty”. Even Kanye’s production on Illuminati feels slightly lacklustre as Madonna reels off nondescript entities of power in an unspecific statement about Google or consumerism or The Pope or something. This said, one successful outcome of Madge's consistent reinvention can be found in the gloriously fizzy, PC Music ripping vocals, lucid synths and chunky chorus of Diplo/SOPHIE/Nicki Minaj collaboration Bitch, I'm Madonna, a surprisingly aware track and an album highlight. Many roundtable pop releases triumph; there can be moments of magic when a coach load of hit makers get behind one release, but sadly Rebel Heart isn’t one of those instances. For an artist who is defined by her own self-made reinventions, this feels decidedly void of character. We’d rather return to the diamante cowgirl of 2000 or the Eva Peron vibes of ’96. It’s all depressingly vanilla.
! Henry Boon
! Duncan Harrison
KENDRICK L AMAR To Pimp A Butterly TDE / Aftermath/Interscope
There’s something familiar about Only Real’s indie-flavoured, middle-class brat rap. You’d think this kind of thing wouldn’t stand a chance these days, but like a venereal disease that lies dormant, it occasionally resurfaces to humiliate us all. Jamie T started it, King Krule added a grating sincerity, 18+ put a health goth spin on it, and now Niall Galvin is ensuring that it buries itself alongside other confusingly popular trends like people calling coleslaw ‘slaw and the meteoric rise of UKIP. OK, we’ll be honest, Galvin’s got a knack for coming up with some seriously catchy, summery guitar riffs, and there’s some pretty nice moments in the instrumentals here. So if you can look past the unfunny lyrics about chicken shops and the Wavey Garms Facebook page or whatever, then this album could be a genuinely good gift idea for your 16-year-old nephew.
In the build up towards To Pimp A Butterfly, critics around the world took a deep breath and prepared to join a race to get their verdict up first – such is the relentless climate of an online economy, where fast-tracked reactions generate traffic and ad revenue is driven by clicks. This looked like a complicated one, the album’s title (a play on To Kill A Mockingbird, surely?) and the cover art (depicting a group of black males waving wads of cash besides a dead caucasian judge on the White House lawn) were a lot to process to already. But, it turns out, while To Pimp A Butterfly is densely layered, Kendrick Lamar’s core message is loud and clear. With a cast of musicians that includes George Clinton, alto sax player Terrace Martin, pianist Robert Glasper, Flying Lotus and his affiliated bass virtuoso Thundercat and many more, the sunkissed West Coast hip-hop beats here sporadically burst into noodly jazz. The album’s most instantly-gratifying, upbeat bangers such as These Walls and King Kunta are loaded with layers of meaning, with the former first presenting itself as a sex jam before unfolding into a multi-faceted psychological metaphor, while the latter is named in reference to Kunta Kinte – the legendary enslaved man who chose to have his foot amputated rather than be castrated after trying to escape a Virginia plantation. The 2014 single i initially raised a few eyebrows due to its cheesy chorus and Carlos Santana-esque guitar licks, but here a rawer version appears as the empowered, optimistic counterpart to u – a devastating track where Kendrick breaks down and literally cries as he raps – and therefore plays a vital role. While Lamar’s ambition is to be admired, there are moments whenTo Pimp A Butterfly gets slightly tangled up in its own structural complexity. The songs are punctuated with excerpts from a spoken word poem which, although powerfully-worded, begins to feel a little intrusive after repeated listens, and with so many tracks broken up by instrumental transitions and skits, some of the more lyrically dense verses here could’ve done with more space. But these aren’t major criticisms when the album’s mission is this exhilarating. In recent years, there’s been increased media attention towards incidents where young black males in America are killed by prejudiced police officers, many of whom escape substantial punishment. For better or worse, a mainstream US rapper has as much influence on the youth as almost any politician – this is a record which was streamed 9.6 million times on the day of its release. And on album finale Mortal Man, Lamar hoists the weight of this responsibility on his shoulders: “The ghost of Mandela, hope my flows propel it ... As I lead you this army, make room for mistakes and depression”. Throughout the album, To Pimp A Butterfly explores an internalised sense of self-hatred that’s developed during centuries of systematic oppression and institutional racism, and pledges to replace it with selflove. It’s a record that advocates the power of unified communities rather than the destructive individualism of gangster survival tactics. And while the finer details deepen your understanding, To Pimp A Butterfly’s primary message is perhaps most directly summarised during one of its few guest verses, performed by female rapper Rapsody: “Call your brothers magnificent, call all the sisters queens / We all on the same team, blues and Pirus, no colours ain’t a thing.”
This feels like an apt time for Mumdance to step up to the pulpit for his contribution to fabric’s shelves. Having kickstarted his career when handpicked for Mad Decent in 2009 and since re-invented himself, Mumdance has since showcased a kind of midas touch for contemporary club music, reshaping the sounds and institutions he was raised on and bringing them in to his genremelding but enduringly distinctive sounds. Having made waves in all corners of electronic music, this mix plays out like a directory. The glitchy IDM of Sweet Exorcist rolls in to the breakbeat ferocity of frequent collaborator Logos. The club focus continues on heavyweight offerings from Untold and Acre, where a kind of nightmarish backdrop of hedonism is brought to the fore. The levels are raised again when his collaborations with grime MCs Novelist and Riko Dan are given a VIP mix treatment for the most overtly party-starting chapter of this short compendium. For the home-straight, Mumdance locks in on the sounds that built his own outlook and caps off the mix with the ’93 weightlessness of Ramos and Supreme’s The Journey Part 1. A statement of intent and a musical background check on a producer whose impact can only grow.
! Billy Black
! Davy Reed
! Duncan Harrison
MADONNA Rebel Heart Interscope
ONLY RE AL Jerk At The End Of The Line Virgin EMI
MUMDANCE FabricLive 80 fabric
BL ANCK MASS Dumb Flesh Sacred Bones
ROMARE Projections Ninja Tune Weight. Charm. Precision. These are three words that spring to mind listening to Romare’s debut. It’s a resoundingly thoughtful dance release from Ninja Tune, where themes such as gay rights and racial discrimination are confronted as the emerging producer takes us on a sonic journey through AfroAmerican history. On the whole, the album feels like a slow and satisfying stretch into the day, the aural equivalent of a post-coital haze. One of the greatest feats of the album is that no two tracks sound the same. Where Romare tugs playfully on the ear with the gentle euphoria of opening track Nina’s Charm, the starkly different Work Song bounces and ricochets like the work of Brownswood-signed producer Swindle. Then, the transition from Work Song to Motherless Child is from playful to pensive, and it’s in this carefully constructed rework of the spiritual song that we are exposed to Romare’s - slightly controversial - whimsical approach. But his cultural references don’t feel insincere, and they don’t feel like theft – they simply add an air of curiosity to his sound. Embracing the beauty of imperfection with its warped sound, the album jolts and stumbles its way onto Roots, the infectious lead single. The album hits a bit of a lull around the middle, but ultimately wins us over with the irresistible Prison Blues, and finally La Petite Mort, rather aptly ending the album on a climax. Romare’s singular and unconventional style will have you pining for days. ! Ellie Harrison
THE PRODIGY The Day Is My Enemy Take Me To The Hospital / Cooking Vinyl 'This is outraaaaaaageous. This is contaaaaaaageous.’ ! Geraint Davies
13 ROISIN MURPHY Hairless Toys Play It Again Sam
Great idea this. Ghettoville may have been brilliant, and obviously nobody real bumps Silver Cloud when the sun’s out, but Cunningham’s recent output has been as bleak as Kafka on the final comedown. As such, it’s nice to see the Werkdiscs boss use the space on offer in a mix comp to, in relative terms, lighten up a bit. Even today when you give RIP or Splaszh a listen, you can hear the guy obsessing over every last built-from-scratch synth squeak, or every bitcrushed sample. So getting him to just stick some records on and not fuss too much about the beat-matching sounds like something we all needed. It’s predictably eclectic stuff, with L.I.E.S affiliate Greg Beato opening things up under his Breaker moniker, before moving through crystalised synthscapes, overdriven drum workouts and ruminative techno, courtesy of names as varied as ambient trance producer Lorenzo Senni, Simbiosi, and Mark Fell. Cunningham manages to consolidate a wealth of influences and styles into a coherent offering that doesn’t once come off too contrived. As usually happens on the DJKicks series, the selector throws in an exclusive. Cunningham’s is called Bird Matrix, reportedly the first thing he banged out on a new studio setup he put together not long after finishing the last LP. It’s lovely, its warm synth washes and lurching rhythms cleverly situating Ghettoville’s hooded-murkery beneath RIP’s heavenly lights in the sky.
There’s a stomach-churning joy in staring into the abyss, which Jon Power – one half of noiseniks Fuck Buttons and returning here in his solo guise of Blanck Mass – knows better than anyone. His brutal but euphoric compositions extend in all directions, from a molten core of searing electronica. But while Dumb Flesh is as intense and incendiary as you would expect from a man who makes a living out of rewiring and reprogramming machines until they squeal with static, it is also surprisingly easy to engage with. The warped reverse-vocals of opener Loam are almost soothing: soft, undulating and effervescent. Next up is Dead Format – more nightmarish and gnarly, but retaining (as most Fuck Buttons songs do) an essential kernel of melody. Skip straight to the mid-album tracks Cruel Sport or Double Cross, and you could be forgiven for thinking you’d accidentally stumbled on a psytrance party from the 90s. But set it in context – thundering techno breakdowns, clattering electronic percussion, and chopped robotic vocal snippets – and it makes a lot more sense: this is not an album to dip in and out of. In a way, little has changed in Power’s sonic palette since the first Fuck Buttons album steamrolled into our lives 10 years ago. As is traditional in his day job, the final track Detritus goes just that bit further, snarling and throbbing over the finishing line. But because his repertoire was so diverse from the start, the familiarity of his approach is a strength rather than a criticism: the twisted electronic techno gift that keeps on giving.
It’s always nice to see a label show a bit of ambition. Watergate has long had an established roster of artists that its compilation series has regularly pushed, their deep minimal house sound being the club and label’s main calling card over the years. This has allowed international artists to pass through, but there are also a number of artists they have kept closer and these form the basis of the brand and the club. Ruede Hagelstein is very much one of these, so it feels apt his debut is the first full-length solo artist release to appear on the label. Apophenia is essentially a minimalist exploration that manages to pull in many of the genre’s better traits very well. The isolated sounds, the warping of the synths and, most importantly, the application of space play a part in a cohesive set of explorations that run at a pace that could sit equally in a conversational setting as they could being pumped out of the club at full throttle.
Róisín Murphy has never been afraid to embrace the weird and see the wonderful. Back in 2000 when Moloko nailed their sound to the dance floor, it was clear we had a powerfully engaging presence in the form of Murphy. This is the third solo album from the Irish songstress and marks the end of an eight-year hiatus, following the disco-laced pop of 2007's Overpowered. Murphy has spoken of the influence the seminal New York ballroom documentary Paris Is Burning, a story about house music’s origins in black and gay culture, had on the album, and indeed, the LP is a heady mixture of disco, house and poppier ends of the spectrum, with a considered approach. While little new ground is being forged here, the precision and depth of the album keeps you hooked. But while easy on the re-defining, she has found the rabbit hole and is going in as deep as it goes. The vocals float amongst the stripped back and souped up house keeping the narrative focused. The paradox of pain and pleasure haunts the title track, while the first single off the album, Exploitation, is a shrewd take on the manipulation of art and its artists. Exile delves into similarly painful places, drawing from her past for a deeply personal insight. Yet, Murphy’s indubitable positivity is what makes each listen a pleasure, only further reflecting house music’s ability to transcend the mundane, its ability to make new families, new experiences and bring fresh perspectives to familiar territory.
! Xavier Boucherat
! Adam Corner
! Ruth Wiley
! Philip James Allen
ACTRESS DJ-Kicks K7!
RUEDE HAGELSTEIN Apophenia Watergate Records
J U N E
in the heart of BOIS DE VINCENNES
4 stages 100 000m² open air
3 days of outdoor partying in paris a p o l l o n i a - B e n K l o c k - b l awa n l i v e - C A B A N N E Cassy - Collabs 3000 (Chris Liebing & Speedy J) D e r r i c k M ay & D z i j a n E m i n f e at. F r a n c e s c o T r i s ta n o & O r c h e s t r e L a m o u r e u x live dvs1 & Rødhåd - Flo orplan aka Robert Hood four tet & floating points - Jeff Mills - Josh Wink k a r e n n live - L e n Fa k i - L i l L o u i s Marcel Dettmann - Nina Kraviz - Ricardo Villalobos rpr soundsystem (rhadoo & petre inspirescu & raresh) schwarzmann live (henrik schwarz & frank wiedemann) - zip Adventice Behzad
roman poncet) - Antigone
Amarou - Ben Vedren
- Die Galoppierende Zuversicht
François X - gary gritness live - herbert Live - in Aeternam Vale Live - Jeremy Underground & moritz
london modular alliance Malin Genie mr g
borderland - Kosme - La Mamie’s
Le Loup - Mandar
S.A.M.) - motor city drum ensemble
- s e v e n dav i s j r steffi
- Pit Spector - robag wruhme - seuil
- the driver
- neue Grafik - perbec (mark broom
p e t e r va n h o e s e n S3A
manu le malin &
Birth Of Frequency
p r e s a l e s ava i l a b l e o n : w w w.w e at h e r F E S T I VA L . f r a n d D i g i t i c k . c o m
12 09 16
16 PALMBOMEN Palmbomen II Beats In Space
SQUAREPUSHER Damogen Furies Warp Tom ‘Squarepusher’ Jenkinson describes Damogen Furies as an exploration of the “nightmarish and brutally visceral” side of electronic music. In other words, it’s a tough listen even to his standards. Reportedly it’s all recorded live with no edits, which is of course hugely impressive although kind of irrelevant when you’re listening to it at home. Squarepusher’s talent and ability were never in question. In technical terms, not many come close to his detail and complexity. But Jenkinson seems to be going deeper and deeper into his own universe and leaving the rest of us behind. The new album does have its moments but unlike classic records like Go Plastic and Ultravisitor, they’re too few and far between. Rayc Fire 2 starts with a promising groove but by the end you feel beaten over the head with endless variations of syncopated synths stabs. Exjag Nives is a highlight for its relative subtlety and poise. Kontenjaz on the other hand, flits between a deconstruction not dissimilar to stadium dubstep or a happy hardcore build up. Damogen Furies is essentially the sound of a producer who continues to alienate himself from the world around him. This does yield some unique sounds and you certainly couldn’t accuse him of lacking integrity or vision, but it also makes for a difficult, at points traumatic, listen. Worst of all, you don’t get the impression Jenkinson is having much fun either. Perhaps that’s the point.
So Speedy Ortiz have quit their day jobs and joined the full time drudge of tour/ record/ repeat. After four excellent records ranging from orthodox lo-fi to comparatively polished alt-rock, it seems that they’ve paid their dues. Foil Deer, their second full length, sees the band lock down their sound into something that is uniquely their own, yet fluid and changeable: a knot of duelling guitar riffs and background noise that, once untangled, is as strong as many of the oft-deemed untouchable records of their 90s forbears. Swell Content recalls a fuzzier Weezer (NOT Pavement, crucially), whereas Puffer sees a thus far unseen foray into 00s pop: sleek, well-crafted and insistent. Likewise, My Dead Girl sees a chorus which is only a stone’s throw away from this era, although is set apart by its somewhat dark subject matter. Indeed, perhaps the most ‘Speedy Ortiz’ of the Speedy Ortiz songs here is first single Raising The Skate, which wouldn’t have been out of place on either Major Arcana or Real Hair and now in hindsight seems a perhaps safe opening gambit, but the fact that this is the only (basically non-) qualm here speaks volumes: Foil Deer is another exceptional effort from this perennially challenging, refreshing outfit.
On first listen, Chaz Bundick’s latest seems laced with that familiar, lackadaisical Toro Y Moi feel. But under further examination, What For?’s status as a creative sidestep makes itself known For starters, there’s nary a sniff of a drum machine or warped funk sample; the composite parts of the songwriting feel far more complex. 70s psychedelia is the obvious focal point, aided by the growling guitar tones of Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s Ruban Neilson. But this is undoubtedly still a pop record, like the ones which came before, and some of the hooks err towards the saccharine. Lead single Empty Nesters, for example, has its tongue permanently embedded in cheek for the entirety, with lines like “let’s try and make another hit for the teens, woo!” a tad too heavy-handed on the self-aware nostalgia. Later on, tracks like Half Dome and Yeah Right take themselves a little more seriously, and are more communicable as a result. As usual, Chaz’s lyrics are deliberately naïve, treading dangerously close to corny, but the musical arrangements and faultless production carry you through. And Toro Y Moi’s ability to pull that range of tricks off in yet another relevant sonic context is pretty impressive.
! Jack Lucas Dolan
! Jon Clark
! Jack Lucas Dolan
SPEEDY ORTIZ Foil Deer Carpark Records
TORO Y MOI What For? Carpark Records
NICK HÖPPNER Folk Ostgut Ton Far from the depths of pulverising, punishing and altogether shuddering techno, Folk may be the most refreshing release on the revered Berlin label in recent times. Höppner’s deity status as an electronic institution in the pantheon of Berghain/Panorama Bar heroes feels integral to the release, considering he used to manage Ostgut Ton and has been a mainstay on their dance floors since the beginning. It bears little surprise to see his debut album excelling on this platform. The surprise here, then, lies in the wonderful fluidity of the music that directly conflicts the accusation of facelessness often levelled at Ostgut. Showing emotion has never been the primary objective of those who run the club and the label, its reverence being built on an austere approach to music and door policy that, despite detractors, doubles up as part of its wider appeal. This is part of what makes Folk such an essential release in their catalogue to date. Höppner’s production on Folk marries a pensive outlook with lightness of touch that gives the record real warmth. Both the title track and closer No Stealing are prime examples of this, with many elements, including vocals, deployed fully but never feeling overbearing or crowded. Even the punchier numbers, such as the amusingly titled Rising Overheads (you can tell he used to be a label boss), still hug rather than hurt you. In fact it’s the maximalism achieved on Folk that might be the record’s most defining characteristic, achieved with a sound that owes as much to the swirling, heady progressive sounds of the 90s as anything else, brought right up to date by a man who knows the world’s most progressive dancefloor inside out. ! Thomas Frost
Kai Hugo’s stage name is the Dutch translation for 'palm tree' and was influenced by the plastic incarnations found in the lidos of Rotterdam. He’s suffixed it with ‘II’ for this release but it should really read ‘1.5’. More than anything, Hugo’s second album is one borne out of transition and displacement, recorded at the home of the producer’s mother in Holland as he waited a couple of months for his visa to clear before moving to Los Angeles. Gone are the screechy, electronically transmogrified vocals from first LP Night Flight Europa but the glaciallypaced beats, analogue sounds and warped VHS vision of otherworldliness remain (Hugo has named all of his songs after minor characters from the X-Files, which he binged on whilst making the record). There’s a good deal less immediacy this time though; where tracks like Black Safari and Europa kept Hugo’s first record bounded within the realms of synth-pop, here the Dutchman focuses on mood pieces and incidental soundscapes, dovetailing with his day job scoring videogames. Where Hugo does go for the jugular, as on techno stomper Samuel Aboah – he was a multiple murderer without a pituitary gland, by the way – the result sounds like an unvarnished bedroom experiment, full of oscillations and percolations that ultimately go nowhere. Hugo himself has taken pride in detailing the simplicity of his recording setup from hardware through to tape, which would be fine if the source material itself didn’t sound like such a work-inprogress. Time will tell whether he truly finds his second voice under the real palm trees of the City of Angels. ! James F. Thompson
Film Christ, what happened? Here are the past month’s cinema releases in varying levels of mediocrity: Kill The Messenger feels as if the US government have commissioned a film to pacify provocateurs with a flaccid, patronising impression of free-thinking; there was hardly any thinking required for the tired fantasy epic Seventh Son; and Neill Blomkamp’s latest venture into futurism Chappie continues his winding, dingy downward trajectory of form. The debut from feminist auteur Desiree Akhavan, Appropriate Behaviour, doesn’t exactly fly but exhibits the ingredients to suggest a sharp comic director/writer/actor of the future. And so after all that sighing, taker of the biscuit this month is It Follows, a cool psycho-thriller. Thank god March is over.
APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOUR dir: Desiree Akhavan Starring: Desiree Akhavan, Halley Feiffer, Rebecca Henderson There’s a loveable scrappiness to Desiree Akhavan’s debut feature film which actually, eventually serves as a positive. The execution of Appropriate Behaviour is far from perfect, which in turn suggests that the film is made entirely on Akhavan’s own terms, and marks her prospective career as a feminist auteur/actor all the more exciting. Having released a minimal amount of TV and web series work previously, this foray into motion picture direction at times betrays a sense of the dilettante, with attempts to deliver an invisible narrative via quick, surreal comedy cuts enjoying various degrees of success. But despite lacking, as many debut directors do, some foundational technical moviemaking chops, Akhavan’s potent honesty is woven into the script and her acting performance. Set in hipster-sprinkled streets of Brooklyn, Akhavan leads the line as Shirin, attempting to shift the memory of her now-ex-girlfriend. Amongst flashbacks of the fraught moments that brought about the end of their relationship, Shirin experiences a series of awkward, gender-fluid sexual encounters in her ongoing attempts to move on. What Akhavan achieves is a sense of genuine warmth and charm, leaving us rooting for the protagonist throughout. We’re looking eagerly forward to more from this burgeoning talent. ! Tim Oxley Smith
SEVENTH SON dir. Segei Bodrov Starring: Jeff Bridges, Julianne Moore, Ben Barnes
IT FOLLOWS dir: David Robert Mitchell Starring: Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Olivia Luccardi
Although writer/director Mitchell hasn’t made something entirely original with It Follows – something pretty hard to do in horror – he has made it feel classic, which is the next best thing. He’s done this by taking a gnarly concept, applying some really simple but effective camera techniques, and topping it off with a killer soundtrack. Job done. The concept is akin to a Clive Barker (Hellraiser, Candyman) urban myth combined with the realism of Larry Clark’s Kids. Set in a neighbourhood where parents are void, Maika Monroe plays Jay – a duped, cursed teen, who after having sex is subsequently stalked by murderous strangers. The ‘that’s what you get’ cautionary narrative is where the Kids comparison comes from; it has that finger wagging Brothers Grimm ring to it, adding to the teenagers’ isolation. The most thrilling moments come when the ‘unknowns’ proceed toward Jay. Captured in long shots, these look totally awesome. But it’s the soundtrack, composed by Rich Vreeland, commonly knows as Disasterpeace, which is the film’s greatest success, sporting malevolent, John Carpenter synthesisers in decaying leftfield compositions. Shame, then, that as the novelty of the postGoosebumps rhetoric starts to wear off, It Follows feels about 20 minutes too long. But even if the E-numbers eventually lose effect, it’s still worth the rush. ! Tim Oxley Smith
We were hoping for a good old-fashioned flaunt with fantasy, but this didn’t enter the same stratosphere as the insurmountable joy that watching Willow can bring. Rather, Seventh Son reminded us of a disappointing family day out – like realising the It’s A Small World ride at Disneyland isn’t magical at all; that those beaming faces are made of creaking, cracking, flimsy plastic and all the voices have been recorded by disinterested, disheartened employees trying to make a buck to pay the gas bill. Perhaps it’s PG-13 fever, a certification that rarely seems to become lucky for producers looking to strike that balance between blood ’n’ guts and box office attendance. But most of all, it’s misdirection that is Seventh Son’s undoing: kids won’t find Jeff Bridges’ silly, raspy voice subversively enjoyable like we did, they’ll just find him weird. Even the awesome Julianne Moore as the baddie half-witch/half-dragon can’t help – the violence towards her scaly form won’t sit well with the How To Train Your Dragon generation, who’ve learnt to embrace dragons rather than slay them. This genredependent, highly unimaginative fantasy misadventure is far too basic for the website-coding 11-year-olds it’s probably aimed at. That said, Bridges manages to instill enough ironic enthusiasm to keep the small amount of brain cells required stimulated enough to see this through to the end. Thanks dude. ! Tim Oxley Smith
CHAPPIE dir. Neill Blomkamp Starring: Sharlto Copley, Dev Patel, Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver There is a deeply held feeling that Neill Blomkamp should probably be the future of science fiction. His ideas are daring, explosive and often chilling. Far from relying on distant planets, he sets his stories on the not-too-distant Earth, lacing them with a threatening plausibility. So why isn’t Neill Blomkamp the future of science fiction? Well, he keeps making shit films. Chappie is no different, in many respects, to his last effort Elysium: a bold and brilliant idea, slaughtered by weak dialogue, badly executed action sequences and about three times too much in the way of plot. Sections of Chappie are promising, largely those involving the titular robot learning how to handle itself in a shoot out, but these rare moments are widely eclipsed by clunky conflicts and Hugh Jackman’s mullet. Perhaps District 9 was really good (I can barely remember now), but Chappie is certainly proof that imagination alone is not enough. ! Angus Harrison
KILL THE MESSENGER dir. Michael Cuesta Starring: Jeremy Renner, Rosemarie DeWitt, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Michael Sheen Kill the Messenger is an American crime thriller tracing the publication, and aftermath of, an investigative series written for the San Jose Mercury News by journalist Gary Webb in the mid-90s. The articles allege that the CIA was involved in the importation of cocaine into the USA, and that the profits were used to support the Nicaraguan Contra rebels. This exposé is initially lauded, but it doesn’t take long for the mainstream media to turn against Webb (Renner) and, with some help from the CIA, his work is discredited, his family threatened and his career ruined. The strength of the subject matter – a beguiling true story – isn’t quite enough to mask the feeling that Cuesta (whose credits unsurprisingly include Homeland and Dexter) ran out of post-it notes to mark pages in his copy of Crime Thrillers for Dummies during shooting. Archive footage montages, string webs linking together evidence and a hushed meeting on a park bench: it’s all there. You can practically hear eyes rolling around the cinema when The Clash’s Know Your Rights soundtracks the films climatic ‘little guy sticking it to the man’ sequence. Despite vague redemption in a hearty effort from Jeremy Renner, giving the dark and tangled chain of events such formulaic Hollywood treatment is a total cop out. The material deserves a more complex, original and sympathetic account than it receives, and ultimately Kill the Messenger feels like a resoundingly wasted opportunity. ! Tamsyn Aurelia-Eros Black
CARL BARAT & THE JACKALS
THE MAGIC GANG
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electronic music & arts festival 11TH - 14TH JUNE 2015 2 Bad Mice / Adam Shelton / Al Dobson Jr / Andrew Ashong (Live + Dj) / Archie Hamilton Artwork / Bradley Zero / Brawther / Chimpo / Cottam / Craig Richards b2b Ben UFO dBridge / Enzo Siragusa / FaltyDL / Francis Inferno Orchestra / Frank & Tony / Hunee Last Waltz / Leon Vynehall / Luv*Jam / Marc Romboy / Marcellus Pittman / Margaret Dygas Maxxi Soundsystem / Midland / Mind Against / Motor City Drum Ensemble Mouse Outfit (Live) / Move D / Om Unit / PBR Streetgang / Point G (Live) / Radioactive Man Ralph Lawson / Romare / Ruf Dug / Seven Davis Jr (Live) / Soul Clap / Steevio (Live Modular) Subb-an / tINI / Tom Demac (Live) / Tornado Wallace / Voyeur / Zenker Brothers / Zip + many more Back To Basics / Bad Passion / Bade Records / Brotherhood Soundsystem / Butterside Up / Dog Eat Dog / Fresh Out The Box Future Disco / Futureboogie / Hit & Run / Hypercolour / Jaunt / Jigsaw Presents / Louche / LZRDM / Nixwax / One Records Percolate / Real Nice Presents / Rhythm Section / Road To Nowhere / Sounds Of The Universe / Studio 89 The Nothing Special / Tief / Waxxx / Wigflex / Wolf Music
F I N A L T I E R T I C K E T S - Â£ 1 2 5 + B F / / W W W. G O T T W O O D. C O. U K / T I C K E T S
Upcoming London Shows www.rockfeedbackconcerts.com
[PIAS] NITES: OTHER LIVES AND MORE
Sat 18th April
Thur 23rd April
Fri 24th April
CHEATAHS + NO JOY
Sat 2nd May
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Mon 11th May
SHE KEEPS BEES
Boston Music Room Tufnell Park Wed 13th May
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Tue 19th May
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BOXED IN LIIMA
Village Underground Shoreditch
Wed 1Oth June
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Islington Assembly Hall Wed 24th June
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FATHER JOHN MISTY
O2 Shepherds Bush Empire Fri 11th Sep
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POINT G (LIVE) · FRANCK ROGER · GEDDES A1 BASSLINE · S.A.M. · REMI MAZET MOHSON STARS · KONKRET CUTZ
MURAT TEPELI · MATTHEW STYLES · GEDDES
SUNDAY 3RD MAY SHAPES, HACKNEY WICK · 12PM - 12AM
SUNDAY 24TH MAY SHAPES, HACKNEY WICK · 12PM - 12AM
tickets available from
tickets available from
DORISBURG · ROAD TO NOWHERE DJS
Sunday 5 April
PART TIME THE RHUBARB TRIANGLE LEAVE THE PLANET Monday 6 April
NELSON CAN Tuesday 7 April
JOYA DIRTY WHITE FEVER Sunday 10 April
CLAW MARKS Monday 11 April
CORNERS MORNING SMOKE Thursday 16 April
THE MAGIC GANG Friday 17 April
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE LOVED?
Friday 24 April
SHACKLEWELL ARMS BIRTHDAY PARTY: CHEATAHS THE PARROTS BLUEPRINT BLUE Wednesday 29 April
RAKETKANON Thursday 30 April
DIRTY FENCES Saturday 2 May
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35 Chalk Farm Road London NW1 8AJ
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OPEN TILL 3AM FRIDAY & SATURDAY
DANCING UPSTAIRS TIL LATE FRI & SAT — ALWAYS FREE ENTRY
The Waiting Room Wed 1 April
FREDDIE DICKSON & THE GUARD
Tues 21 April
DEVON LOCH (RECORD LAUNCH)
Thurs 2 April
BEFORE MY EYES X FT.
Wed 22 April
RAIME X DEMDIKE STARE Tues 7 April
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WYLDEST Fri 10 April
Tues 28 April
TONGA FT. MIKE SKINNER & MURKAGE DAVE Mon 13 April
JOHNNY BORRELL &
Fri 1 May
TROPICAL WASTE FT. NEANA B2B MOLESKIN SUDANIM B2B KID ANTOINE
Tuesday 5 May Wed 15 April
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OH SO QUIET
SONIC JESUS (Underneath The Three Crowns) 175 Stoke Newington High Street, London N16 0LH waitingroomn16.com • waitingroomn16
BIRD ON THE WIRE PRESENTS SOLD OUT
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E N T E R A N E W WOR L D
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My mate swears he saw you at SXSW. Were you there? If so, what the hell were you doing in Texas?
I most certainly was. And I tell you, from a business networking perspective, that place is a field of dreams. I was there to promote a new venture of mine: a price comparison iPhone app called ‘Denz’ Discount’. We hosted a sponsored concert with Chvrches and Father John Misty played an intimate gig in a public toilet for which you had to tweet #SaveWithSchneef to register for tickets. Brilliant!
Kat, 27, Brighton The #clickbait music news rounded up by Josh Baines BLACK METAL BRO SHARES CHIRPSING TIPS Varg Vikernes – legendary church burner, and the man responsible for that try-hard in your Thursday morning seminar turning up in a succession of increasingly terrible ‘shocking’ black metal tees – has taken a break from murder and inciting racial hatred to school us on ... seduction. I only made it 30 seconds into his guide to “earning” aryan babes before remembering that this guy is a literal murderer and has the creepiest facial hair on the planet, and so he’d definitely get the ever-embarrassing blackout on Take Me Out. I’m only taking dating advice from blokes who manage to make it to Fernandos. BOILING WATER IS THE NEW ROCK’N’ROLL You might be as surprised as I was to learn that At the Drive In spin-off band The Mars Volta have their own spin-off band. What’s the point in any of this? Why bother? Why fucking bother? Presumably the members of said spun-off spin feel the same sense of futility, and so they tried to wake up their slumbering audience – an audience lulled to stoned half-sleep by the group’s barely endurable blend of faux-Santana mysticism and music college kid prog – by throwing a full kettle at them during a festival set in New Zealand. Imagine being at a festival in New Zealand. Watching that band. Imagine it. Imagine it.
Denzil Schniffermann Love, life and business advice from Crack’s esteemed agony uncle
NICK CAVE TO PUBLISH SICK BAG POETRY Your dad reckons that Nick Cave is a lyrical genius and that his tortured lovermanstraight-out-of the-swamps schtick is great rather than mortifying. He also thinks that scrawling non-sequiturs on aeroplane sickbags and asking people to pay for them is an innovative spin on contemporary publishing rather than a load of wank. Oh, and your dad bought the Nick Cave skateboard too, but he’s not had sex with your mum since 2001. Nice one, pops. H&M IN FAKE-NAZI PUNK DRAMA The last time I bought anything from H&M was when I was 17. It was a white polo shirt that was too big for me. I wore it with jeans that were too big for me, some black and white checkerboard slip-ons and a pair of cheap sunglasses. Dark days. For a moment, it looked liked H&M were going to spice things up with a new clothing line featuring fake metal band logos and problematic emblems, but it turned out to be an elaborate hoax. Bad news for Varg, he would have worn the shit out of that bomber jacket. @bain3z
Since it was announced that they’re bringing back The X-Files, I’ve been considering the possibility of extraterrestrial life forms. How about you Denzil, do you believe that there’s something else out there? Lydia, Edinburgh
I had a close encounter in 1997. On my journey home from a dinner with the Stonemasons, I pulled over to take a quick snooze in a lay-by somewhere near South Gloucestershire. Soon after, I was woken by a stunning light beaming down on me and my whole body felt like it was bathed in static electricity. I can’t remember anything else from that night. I’ve always suspected I was abducted by aliens. However, to this day my ex-wife insists that it was the Avon and Somerset police force.
I am utterly appalled that Kanye West is headlining Glastonbury. It’s an insult to the heritage of our glorious festival and I can’t think of anything worse than having to watch that materialistic oaf shout unpleasant things or even worse – use autotune – for two hours. I bet he can’t even play a single chord! Denzil, will you join our movement and sign our petition to help ensure this heinous man knows he isn’t welcome at Worthy Farm?
That’s a bit racist, isn’t it?
Roger Burton, 36, Frome Problems? e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
The Crack Magazine Crossword Across 02. & (9) 04. Troll (4) 06. Even a grade A doofus could work this thing (5,5) 07. Stress, as in, “I can’t stress this enough: I hate you and I don’t want to be your girlfriend” (9) 09. Because of the fact (Latin) (4,5) 11. Many; several; shitloads (7) 12. Heroic rag-tag lawyer played in unforgettable fashion by a certain Julia Roberts (4,10) 13. Scary, threatening (12) 14. Budget airline which we’re all at the mercy of (4,3) Down 01. Feeling sorry for someone cause you just get it, yknow? You just get it (7) 02. Eggplant (9) 03. NOBODY REALISES HOW GREAT I AM YOU’LL ALL MISS ME WHEN I’M GONE (17) 04. There’s no pesticide on my pear, pal. Don’t know about you (7) 05. To do with learning and school and stuff (8) 08. All the same; work garms (7) 10. Eggz (3) 13. To piss off (3) 15. A bracelet that dangles above your foot hinting at spiritual beliefs (6) Solution to last month’s crossword: DOWN: 01. KANGAROO, 02. WALZING-MATILDA, 05. RUPERT-MURDOCH, 07. WEDDING, 08. TOADFISH, 11. PRISCILLA, 12. PENDULUM, 15. FOSTERS UNDER: 03. AUSTRALIA 04. CANBERRA, 06. OUTBACK, 08. THE-BAD-SEEDS, 09. INXS, 10. AUSTRALIA-DAY, 13. CROCODILE-DUNDEE, 14. SURFING, 16. POSSUM, 17. GERMAINE
It’s no secret: Waka gets baked. Riverdale’s hardest is on some dumb shit. He even went so far as to advertise for a full time blunt roller at one point. Now, it’s probably fair to say that a man who smokes enough grade to require a full time blunt roller is going to be nursing a sore throat from time to time. Enter Pine Brothers. Bang. Free cough drops for life. All Waka had to give in return was a vaguely cringeworthy (but mostly hilarious) video. It’s a match made in heaven. In fact it makes so much sense it’s almost impossible to believe it hasn’t happened before.
first come, first served.
20 Questions: Best Coast
With her band Best Coast, Bethany Cosentino has spent the last six years drawing a hazy, idealised picture. A dreamy beach world populated by kittens, weed and TV. Her first two albums were fuelled by sunshine and post-teenage angst, and with album number three, titled California Nights, on the way we thought now would be a great time to check in. When we caught up with a slightly dazed Beth she’d just woken up, and all the signals suggest she’d been up until the early hours watching Seinfeld re-runs with a cat on her lap. Despite being disturbed from her slumber, she took pretty well to being bombarded with 20 of the silliest questions we could muster. Words: Billy Black
What was your favourite cartoon when you were a kid? Rugrats Who’s your favourite Wu-Tang Clan member? Ghostface Killah. Who’s your favourite character in The Simpsons? Lisa. What’s your signature recipe? I make really good baked salmon with a pesto sauce and an arugula and baby kale salad with a homemade dressing that’s just olive oil, mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper. If you were trying to seduce a potential lover, what music would you play? Sade. Why? I would never actually do that. But if you were going to go that route, Sade is very sensual and it’s also just really good. Have you ever been arrested? No. If you could pick surrogate grandparents, who would it be? I would want George Costanza’s parents on Seinfeld. The actual characters of each of them.
“I met Julia LouisDreyfus, so that was like meeting, y know, God.”
Do you play video games? Mario Kart for N64! I play Call of Duty on Xbox but with newer games the graphics are too confusing and realistic for me. When is the last time you sprinted as fast as you can? I can’t remember. I hate running so I don’t do it. Have you ever taken acid? Nope. What’s your worst habit? I chomp on ice. When I have a drink with ice in it, I chew the ice. It’s loud and rude and it drives everyone around me nuts!
Who’s the most famous person you’ve ever met? I recently met Julia Louis-Dreyfus. She plays Elaine Benes so that was like meeting, y’know, God. What’s the last book you read? Gone Girl Out of all the songs / tracks that you’ve recorded, which is your least favourite? I’m very sick of playing Boyfriend, every time we play it’s the one people yell out right at the beginning. It’s like … yeah … obviously we’re gonna play Boyfriend! What’s your favourite stoned snack? Del Taco. A drive thru Mexican place. It’s a step – many steps – above Taco Bell. Have you ever shoplifted? I remember specifically stealing polaroid film from K-Mart. Me and my friends used to go and swipe it, thinking we were like, really punk. Now it’s something that I think is really, really bad. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had? It lasted three days. I was an assistant to a fashion designer, I had to pay like $25 a day to park and the first thing I had to do was wash her dog bedding which had dog shit and piss all over it. Do you have a number 1 fan? There’s these two sisters and their best friends. They’re all really young, they’re like 16, 17, 18 and 21. They come to every show and run a Best Coast Twitter fan account. I saw them at Disneyland once and went on a ride with them! They’re so sweet and nice! What would you want written on your tombstone? ‘Serenity Now!’ California Nights is released 4 May via Virgin EMI
Meredith Graves is a writer, record label owner and the vocalist of Perfect Pussy. Here, in a piece entitled In Defence Of Violence, she reflects on her encounters with male chauvinists at alternative rock gigs Last year at Toronto’s NXNE festival, my band was asked to headline a stacked show. Spoon, recently having reunited, announced several hours before the show that they’d be playing a secret set after ours. The venue was already packed by the time Spoon fans started to pour in and elbow their way to the front to secure a spot. We made it through three songs before our bass head blew. The stage smelled like an electrical fire. I tried to signal to the sound booth for help, but they ignored me. Rather than help us, the event staff shrugged and tried to herd us off the stage to get Spoon on faster. A male tech told my drummer to get me off the stage. Not wanting to be forced into anything by rude people, our keyboard player and I stayed on stage, making a wall of experimental noise in the absence of guitars. Beardo indie dudes in the audience less than four feet away from me started shouting down at me to kill myself, calling me a bitch and a cunt, telling me I sucked, as I laid on stage screaming into a contact mic. By the time the venue sent a massive dude to physically remove me from the stage, I was too exhausted and sad to say anything. A few months later, at a pseudo-squat community space in a small German town, I was confronted again. When we finished, a man in the audience started screaming at me, in English, “Fuck you, you stupid fucking cunt, you fucking suck. Get off the stage, you stupid cunt.” I thought about Toronto, my back on the cold stage, a wave of men’s voices washing over me, close enough to touch me. In that moment, three thousand miles from home, something in my brain snapped, never to be repaired. “Bring ‘fuck you’ guy up here, please.” A space cleared in the crowd and the guy who’d been screaming at me came forward.
“My name is Meredith and I’m a really nice person with a family and a cat and a life. I’m three thousand miles from home and I swear to God, I’m trying as hard as I can to do a good job. Obviously you think it’s very important that everyone hears what you have to say, so while my band is still on stage, why don’t you take this microphone –” I thrust it in his face “– and you get up there and do what I just did. Then, when you’re done, I’ll stand in the back and scream at you.” I was terrified, but I was mad, and I was ready to rip his fucking head off. He started to lurch towards me. Before I could react, our bass player came out of nowhere and knocked him out cold with one punch straight to the temple. He went down heavy like the sack of shit he is. Strangely, most of the crowd seemed nonplussed. “Oh, that’s Toby,” one of the [male] venue coordinators told me, “He’s a self-important Marxist. He does that to women all the time. I’m surprised that hasn’t happened to him yet.” Toby and the Tobys of the world deserve to have their stupid doughy faces beat in. This, I recognise, is an unpopular opinion. Violence is terrifying. It doesn’t necessarily solve problems. It leaves everyone involved feeling bad. However, for reasons I can’t always explain, violence feels like a practical solution to the problem of harassment at shows. It’s absolutely not right, but maybe, just maybe, it will work. The threat of violence and death is the reality that all women live with. Women are habitually abused, and sometimes even killed, for refuting male advances, for speaking out against gendered violence, for refusing to comply with the rules patriarchy establishes for us. I constantly wonder what would happen if the tables were turned – if men didn’t feel safe leaving their drink unattended for even 30 seconds, if they felt they couldn’t walk home alone at night for fear of being raped, if they wouldn’t dream of going to a show alone for fear of being harassed, or worse. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned from 27 years in this body, it’s that an omnipresent
threat of violence will govern your behaviour and prevent you from speaking. So yes, against my better judgment, I fantasise about violence, of a world where men who choose to drunkenly spew slurs at female performers are pinned up against a wall and punched square in the mouth. Somebody takes a picture of him bleeding and crying and puts it on the internet for all to see. People learn his name; he is shamed and held up as an example. He is forbidden to go to shows until he goes through some sort of accountability process, or maybe not at all. Toby and his fucking friends start to understand what it’s like to inhabit a world where every move they make is in accordance with rules set by the people they have to stand next to at shows and is enforced by a permeating, incessant fear. Then and only then, finally, maybe, things will start to change. For more information on Meredith Graves’ new record label Honor Press, visit honor.press.com
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