Page 1

TEI SHI + RAEK WON

jenny hval

HEALTh

italojohnson

stormzy

theaster gates

holly herndon

JODECI

52


Launching Thursday 14th May 2015 UPCOMING ARTISTS: Anthony Parasole Artwork Bradley Zero Dave Clarke Deetron DJ Nature DVS1 Gilles Peterson HNNY Ivan Smagghe B2B Optimo Jeremy Underground K15 Max Graef Mount Kimbie Mr Beatnick Nick Hรถppner Oneman Pearson Sound B2B Call Super Space Dimension Controller SpectraSoul Tama Sumo www.patternsbrighton.com Tom Demac


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Thursday13/8 13/8 Thursday

Florence++The TheMachine MachineUKUK Florence RideUKUK Flying Lotus LotusUSUSRide Flying

FatherJohn JohnMisty MistyUSUSTyler, Tyler,The TheCreator Creator Father US US Sunn O))) O)))USUSRun RunThe TheJewels Jewels TeamMe Me Sunn USUS Team LianneLa LaHavas HavasUKUKSilvana SilvanaImam Imam Daphni Lianne SE SE Daphni CA CA TorgeirWaldemar WaldemarSmerz Smerz Torgeir

Friday14/8 14/8 Friday

Beck Alt-J LarsVaular Vaular US US UKUKLars Beck Alt-J JagaJazzist JazzistIda IdaJenshus Jenshus Jaga

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Saturday Saturday15/8 15/8

Susanne SE SusanneSundfør SundførThåström Thåström SE Emilie Nicolas deLillos Saturda Emilie Nicolas deLillos atourdy SoSld Fat White FamilyUK Sturgill SimpsonUS

ut ay

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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 karenn live - Len Faki - Lil Louis - Marcel Dettmann Nina Kraviz - omar souleyman - Ricardo Villalobos rpr soundsystem (rhadoo & petre inspirescu & raresh) schwarzmann live (henrik schwarz & frank wiedemann) - zip Adventice Behzad

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borderland - Kosme - La Mamie’s

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S.A.M.) - motor city drum ensemble

live

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Photo © Danny North

17 – 30 August 2015

David Longstreth + GABI

Young Jean Lee’s We’re Gonna Die

Performed By Future Wife With David Byrne

Plus more to be announced


Highlights Highlights Highlights Highlights Highlights

Exhibitions Exhibitions Exhibitions Exhibitions Exhibitions

Looks Looks 2222 Apr Apr 2015 2015 – 21 – 21 JunJun 2015 2015 Looks Looks Lower and Upper Upper Gallery 22Lower Aprand 2015 – 21Gallery Jun 2015 Looks 22 Apr 2015 – 21 Jun 2015 Lower and– Upper Gallery 2222 Apr Apr 2015 2015 21 – 21 JunJun 2015 2015 Lower and Upper Gallery Lower Lower and and Upper Upper Gallery Gallery FB55 FB55 FB55 2424 Mar Mar 2015 2015 – 17 – 17 May May 2015 2015 FB55 FB55 24Fox Mar 2015 – Room 17Room May 2015 Fox Reading Reading

Mar 2015 – May 2015 2424 24 Mar Mar 2015 2015 – 17 – 17 17 May May 2015 2015 Fox Reading Room Fox Reading Room Fox Fox Reading Reading Room Room 2525 Mar Mar 2015 2015 – 17 – 17 May May 2015 2015 25 Mar 2015 – 17 May 2015 ICA ICA Theatre Theatre 25 Mar 2015 – May 2015 2525 Mar Mar 2015 2015 17 – 17 17 May May 2015 2015 ICA–Theatre ICA Theatre ICA ICA Theatre Theatre

From Fromher herwooden woodensleep... sleep...Ydessa YdessaHendeles Hendeles From her wooden sleep... Ydessa Hendeles Fromher herwooden woodensleep... sleep...Ydessa YdessaHendeles Hendeles From Shout ShoutOut! Out!UK UKPirate PirateRadio Radioininthe the1980s 1980s Shout Out!26UK Pirate Radio 26 May May 2015 2015 – 19 – 19 JulJul 2015 2015in the 1980s Shout Out! UK Pirate Radio the1980s 1980s Shout Out! UK26Fox Pirate Radio ininthe May 2015 –Room 19 Jul 2015 Fox Reading Reading Room

Events Events Events Fear Fear of of Missing Missing Out Out Events Events 2929 May May - 31 - 31 May May 2015 2015 Fear of Missing Out

May 2015 – Jul 2015 2626 26 May May 2015 2015 – 19 – 19 19 Jul Jul 2015 2015 Fox Reading Room Fox Reading Room Fox Fox Reading Reading Room Room

Film Film Film Cobain: Cobain: Montage Montage of of Heck, Heck, Force Force Film Film Majeure, Majeure, 1/2, 8 1/2, Heaven Heaven Adores Adores You, You, Cobain:8 Montage of Heck, Force

Stanley Stanley Picker Picker Lectures: Lectures: Rose Rose Wylie Wylie Stanley Picker Lectures: Phoenix, Phoenix, Futuro Futuro Beach, Beach, Stray Stray Dogs, Dogs, The The Tue Tue 12 12 May, May, 6pm 6pm A three-day A three-day event, event, bringing bringing together together Cobain: Montage of Heck, Force Stanley Picker Lectures: Fear of Missing Out Majeure, 8 1/2, Heaven Adores You, Rose Wylie 29 - 31 May 2015 Cobain: Cobain: Montage Montage of of Heck, Heck, Force Force Stanley Stanley Picker Picker Lectures: Lectures: Fear Fear ofMay of Missing Missing Out Out Tribe Tribe and and Girl A1/2, Girl Walks Walks Home Home Alone Alone at at leading leading artists artists and and social social Majeure, 8 Heaven Adores You, Rose Wylie May --theorists, 31 May 2015 Phoenix, Futuro Beach, Stray Dogs, The Tue 12 May, 6pm A three-day event, bringing together Majeure, Majeure, 8A1/2, 8 1/2, Heaven Heaven Adores Adores You, You, Rose Rose Wylie Wylie 2929 29 May May -theorists, 31 31 May May 2015 2015 Night...All Night...All screening screening throughout throughout May May Sophie Sophie von von Hellermann Hellermann thinkers thinkers to to discuss discuss postdigital postdigital anxieties anxieties Phoenix, Futuro Beach, Stray Dogs, The Tue 12 May, 6pm A three-day event, bringing together Tribe and A Girl Walks Home Alone at leading theorists, artists and social Phoenix, Phoenix, Futuro Futuro Beach, Beach, Stray Stray Dogs, Dogs, The The TueTue 1212 May, May, 6pm 6pm A three-day A three-day event, event, bringing bringing together together Tue Tue 19 19 May, May, 6pm 6pm and and the the social social condition. condition. Tribe and A Girl Walks Home Alone at leading theorists, artists and social Night...All screening throughout May Sophie von Hellermann thinkers to discuss postdigital anxieties Tribe Tribe and and A Girl A Girl Walks Walks Home Home Alone Alone at at leading leading theorists, theorists, artists artists and and social social ICA ICA Cinematheque: Cinematheque: Eye Eye on on I I Night...All screening throughout May Sophie von Hellermann thinkers to discuss postdigital anxieties Tue 19 May, 6pm and the social condition. Night...All Night...All screening screening throughout throughout May May Sophie vonvon Hellermann Hellermann thinkers thinkers to to discuss discuss postdigital postdigital anxieties anxieties Sophie 5 May 5 May 16 16 Jun Jun 2015 2015 Artists’ Artists’ Film Film Club: Club: Shifting Shifting Visions: Visions: Collections, Collections, Memories Memories Tue 19 May, 6pm and the social condition. ICA Cinematheque: Eye on I TueTue 1919 May, May, 6pm 6pm and and thethe social social condition. condition. Screenings which which explore the production Breaking Joints Joints Part Part 1 &1 2: & 2: and and Archives Archives ICA Cinematheque: on II 5 May - 16 Junexplore 2015 Artists’ Film Club: Shifting Visions: Collections, Memories Breaking ICAScreenings ICA Cinematheque: Cinematheque: EyeEye Eye onthe on I production and and performance performance of identity of identity in a in modern a modern eraera Wed Wed 13 13 May, May, 6.45pm 6.45pm Wed Wed 13 13 May, May, 6.30pm 6.30pm 5 May 16 Jun 2015 Artists’ Film Club: Shifting Visions: Collections, Memories Screenings which explore the production Breaking Joints and Archives 5 May 5 May - 16 - 16 Jun Jun 2015 2015 Artists’ Film Film Club: Club:Part 1 & 2: Shifting Shifting Visions: Visions: Collections, Collections, Memories Memories Artists’ dominated dominated by by mass mass digital digital culture. culture. Season Season Screenings which explore and performance of identity inproduction a modern era Wed Wed 1010 Jun, Jun, 6.45pm 6.45pm Curator Curator Karen Karen Alexander chairs chairs a a Breaking Joints Part & and Archives 13 May, 6.45pm Wed 13 May,Alexander 6.30pm Screenings Screenings which which explore explore thethe the production production Breaking Breaking Joints Joints Part Part 1 &1 1 2: & 2: 2: and and Archives Archives opens opens with with Jean-Luc Jean-Luc Godard’s Godard’s Alphaville Alphaville on on and performance of identity a by mass Season panel panel discussion discussion in response in response to to Ydessa Wed May, 6.45pm Wed 13 May, 6.30pm anddominated and performance performance of identity of digital identity inculture. ain inmodern a modern modern eraera era 10 Jun, 6.45pm Curator Karen Alexander chairs aYdessa Wed Wed 1313 13 May, May, 6.45pm 6.45pm Wed Wed 13 13 May, May, 6.30pm 6.30pm Tueopens Tue 5 May 5 May 2015. 2015. dominated by mass digital culture. Season with Jean-Luc Godard’s Alphaville on Charles Charles Atlas Atlas + Q&A + Q&A Hendeles’ Hendeles’ ICA ICA exhibition. exhibition. Wed 10 Jun, 6.45pm Curator Karen Alexander chairs a dominated dominated by by mass mass digital digital culture. culture. Season Season panel discussion in response Wed 1010 Jun, Jun, 6.45pm 6.45pm Curator Curator Karen Karen Alexander Alexander chairs chairs ato aYdessa Wed opens with Jean-Luc Godard’s Alphaville Tue 5 May 2015. opens opens with with Jean-Luc Jean-Luc Godard’s Godard’s Alphaville Alphaville on on on Sat Sat 23 23 May, May, 1pm 1pm panel discussion in response to Ydessa Charles Atlas + Q&A Hendeles’ ICA exhibition. panel panel discussion discussion in response in response to to Ydessa Ydessa NTS NTS & ICA & ICA present: present: Industrial Industrial Tue 5 May 2015. TueTue 5 May 5 May 2015. 2015. Room&Book Room&Book Art Art Book Book Fair Fair Charles Atlas + Hendeles’ exhibition. Sat 23Atlas May, Charles Charles Atlas +1pm Q&A + Q&A Q&A Hendeles’ Hendeles’ ICAICA ICA exhibition. exhibition. Soundtrack Soundtrack For For The The Urban Urban Decay Decay NTS & ICA present: Industrial Looks: Looks: Trace Trace Bodies Bodies 22Room&Book 22 - 24 - 24 May May 2015 2015 Sat 23 May, 1pm Art Book Fair Sat Sat 23 23 May, May, 1pm 1pm 17 17 May 2015 -For 21 - 21 May May 2015 2015 NTS & ICA present: Industrial Soundtrack The Urban Decay NTS NTS &May ICA &2015 ICA present: present: Industrial Industrial SatLooks: Sat 1616 May, May, 7.30pm 7.30pm For For its-its second year year Room&Book Room&Book Room&Book Art Book Fair Trace Bodies 22 24second May 2015 Room&Book Room&Book Art Art Book Book Fair Fair willwill Soundtrack For The Urban Decay 17 May 2015 - 21 May 2015 Soundtrack Soundtrack ForFor The The Urban Urban Decay Decay return return to24 to the the Nash Nash & Brandon &Room&Book Brandon Rooms. Rooms. Looks: Trace Bodies 22 --its May 2015 Sat 16 May, 7.30pm second year will Looks: Looks: Trace Trace Bodies Bodies 22For 22 - 24 24 May May 2015 2015 ICA ICA and and BRITDOC BRITDOC presents presents 17 May 2015 21 May 2015 May May 2015 2015 - 21 - 21 May May 2015 2015 Useful Useful and/or and/or Useless: Useless: Artists, Artists, what what is is 1717 May, 7.30pm For second year to theyear Nash &Room&Book Brandon Rooms. SatSat Sat 1616 16 May, May, 7.30pm 7.30pm Forreturn For its its its second second year Room&Book Room&Book willwill will 9/11 9/11 Trilogy Trilogy and and selected selected shorts shorts by by ICA and BRITDOC presents your value? value? Post-Craft: Post-Craft: Towards Towards Economies Economies return Nash & Brandon Rooms. Useful and/or Useless: Artists, what is return return to to to thethe the Nash Nash & New Brandon & New Brandon Rooms. Rooms. your Laura Laura Poitras Poitras ICA and BRITDOC presents 9/11 Trilogy andpresents selected ICA and and BRITDOC BRITDOC presentsshorts by Wed 20and/or 20 May, May, 6.30pm 6.30pm of of Making Making Towards New Economies Wed Useful and/or Useless: Artists, what your value? Post-Craft: Useful Useful and/or Useless: Useless: Artists, Artists, what what is is is ICA 27 27 May May -Trilogy 30 - 30 May May 2015 2015 shorts 9/11 and selected shorts Laura Poitras 9/11 9/11 Trilogy Trilogy and and selected selected shorts by by by Wed Wed 6 May, 6 May, 1pm 1pm New your value? Post-Craft: Towards New Economies Wed 20 May, 6.30pm of Making your value? value? Post-Craft: Post-Craft: Towards Towards New Economies Economies your In association In association to to Fear Fear of of Missing Missing Out Out Laura Poitras 27 May 30 May 2015 Laura Laura Poitras Poitras TEXT2SPEECH: TEXT2SPEECH: Room&Book Room&Book Wed May, 6.30pm Making Wed 6 May, 1pm Wed Wed 2020 20 May, May, 6.30pm 6.30pm of of of Making Making 27 May -- 30 May 2015 In association to Fear 2727 May May - 30 30 May May 2015 2015of Missing Out FriFri 2222 May, May, 3pm 3pm Room&Book FB55: FB55: with with Bacon Bacon Wed 6 May, 1pm TEXT2SPEECH: Wed Wed 6 Wrestling May, 6 Wrestling May, 1pm 1pm A Nos A Nos Amours: Amours: Chantal Chantal Akerman 20: 20: In association to Fear of Missing Out In association In association to to Fear Fear of Akerman of Missing Missing Out Out Thu Thu 1414 May, May, 6.30pm 6.30pm TEXT2SPEECH: Room&Book Fri 22 May, 3pm FB55: Wrestling with Bacon TEXT2SPEECH: TEXT2SPEECH: Room&Book Room&Book captive Acaptive Nos Amours: Chantal Akerman 20: Looks: Looks: Symposium: Symposium: (Dis) identifications identifications La La A curated A curated evening evening ofwith of screenings screenings and May, 3pm FB55: Bacon Thu 14Wrestling May, 6.30pm FriFri Fri 2222 22 May, May, 3pm 3pm (Dis) FB55: FB55: Wrestling Wrestling with with Bacon Bacon and Thu Thu 28 28 May, May, 7pm 7pm A Nos Amours: Chantal Akerman La captive A Nos Amours: Amours: Chantal Chantal Akerman Akerman 20:20: 20: Wed Wed 2727 May, May, 11.15am 11.15am talks. talks. Thu 14 May, 6.30pm Looks: Symposium: (Dis) identifications A Nos A curated evening of screenings and Thu Thu 14 14 May, May, 6.30pm 6.30pm La captive Thu 28 May, 7pm captive captive Looks: (Dis) identifications A evening screenings and Wed 27Symposium: May, 11.15am talks. Looks: Looks: Symposium: Symposium: (Dis) (Dis) identifications identifications La La A curated A curated curated evening evening of of of screenings screenings and and Thu May, 7pm Thu Thu 2828 28 May, May, 7pm 7pm Wed 27 May, 11.15am talks. Wed Wed 27of 27 May, 11.15am 11.15am talks. talks. Institute Institute Contemporary ofMay, Contemporary ArtsArts TheThe MallMall London London SW1Y SW1Y 5AH 5AH Institute of Contemporary Arts 020020 7930 7930 3647, 3647, www.ica.org.uk www.ica.org.uk The Mall London SW1YArts 5AH Institute of Contemporary Arts Institute Institute of Contemporary of Contemporary Arts 020 7930 3647, www.ica.org.uk The Mall London SW1Y 5AH TheThe MallMall London London SW1Y SW1Y 5AH 5AH 7930 3647, www.ica.org.uk 020020 020 7930 7930 3647, 3647, www.ica.org.uk www.ica.org.uk

The The ICA is ICA a registered is a registered charity charity no. 236848 no. 236848 The ICA is a registered charity no. 236848 The ICA is a registered charity no. 236848 The The ICA is ICA a registered is a registered charity charity no. 236848 no. 236848


13

Contents Features 24

TEI SHI Through dreamy electronic pop, Valerie Teicher navigates a flood of influence with meditative melodies. The emerging singer-songwriter talks defining vision and defying expectation with Anna Tehabsim

30

RAEKWON The Wu-Tang legend sits down with Davy Reed to discuss his “fly and luxurious” new sound, the Cuban Linx documentary and why the Clan are brothers for life

38

34

HEALTH Back from the dead: Robert McCallum finds the LA noise quartet brewing new magic

36

CHASTITY BELT

“We’re the perfect band!” Former party jammers Chastity Belt have recently found themselves on a more reflective tip. They’re still hilarious though. Suzie McCracken tries to hold it together 36

53

38

DISCODROMO Giacomo Garavelloni and Giovanni Turco are celebrating five years of freedom at their Cocktail d’Amore events. Thomas Frost meets the duo behind one of Berlin’s most cherished parties

40

CEREMONY

Tei Shi shot exclusively for Crack by Christelle de Castro New York: April 2015

With a stylistic trajectory defined by creative turbulence, Tom Watson speaks to the erstwhile hardcore bruisers about their latest iteration 30

42

42

JENNY HVAL The soft apocalypse: Angus Harrison has a feverish conversation with the Norwegian avant-pop auteur

46

50

34 53

17

The fast-rising grime MC has been bulldozing his way through 2015, and he’s had a grin on his face the whole time. By Xavier Boucherat

18

ITALOJOHNSON

21

The mystery DJ trio pursue an uncomplicated musical vision. R, J and M tell Xavier Boucherat about preserving intimacy, sociality and space in the club

23

54

58

62

Cassandra Kirk visits the studio of the womenswear designer dealing in empowerment by design

69

REVIEWS Gig reports, product reviews and our verdict on the latest releases in film and music

90

DIGRESSIONS Baines’ World, Sold Out! with Pharrell Williams, the crossword and advice from Denzil Schnifferman

93 58

AESTHETIC: HOLLY HERNDON As she prepares to release the career-defining Platform, we invited the post-internet laptop producer to collaborate on the latest, highly-conceptualised instalment of our Aesthetic feature

BEDWYR WILLIAMS

JH ZANE

TURNING POINTS: JODECI The quintessentially 90s, leather-clad RnB bad boys are back – but did they ever go away in the first place? Duncan Harrison calls up Mr. Dalvin to get his side of the story

Reporting on the latest London exhibition from the Chicago-born, socially-conscious artist 60

NEW MUSIC From the periphery

LAFAWNDAH

THEASTER GATES

RECOMMENDED Our guide to what’s coming up in your area

Augustin Macellari speaks to the artist whose surrealist visions and mischievous attitude provide a vital spark of levity in the self-serious world of contemporary art 50

EDITORIAL We got scammed

STORMZY

Yasmine Dubois translates real life experience into building blocks of vibrant sound. Duncan Harrison explores her considered global vision 54

Regulars

20 QUESTIONS: ANTON NEWCOMBE The Brian Jonestown Massacre mainstay may have toned down the antics, but he’s still a formidable raconteur. Billy Black asked him some Qs

60

94

PERSPECTIVE On the anniversary of Chicago footwork pioneer DJ Rashad’s death, Bristolian DJ/producer Addison Groove reflects on the loss of a friend and an inspiration

40


MAY

2015

FRIDAY 8TH

NEIGHBOURHOOD MARCO SHUTTLE / SVERCA / TASHA

SATURDAY 9TH

OSTGUT TON NACHT ND_BAUMECKER / FRANCIS INFERNO ORCHESTRA

FRIDAY 15TH

BIG WAVE MARK SEVEN / BIG WAVE RESIDENTS

SATURDAY 16TH

DANCE TUNNEL PRESENTS CHRISTOPHER RAU / WILLOW

SATURDAY 23RD

YOUR LOVE SADAR BAHAR & TAMA SUMO

SUNDAY

WAY BACK HERE TEREKKE / GREG BEATO / WBH RESIDENTS

24TH

SATURDAY 30TH

DARKROOM KASSEM MOSSE / NIC BAIRD / RUPES

JUNE

2015

FRIDAY 5TH

DANCE TUNNEL PRES. POWERHOUSE HEAD HIGH / STEFFI

SATURDAY 6TH

TIEF DJ OCTOBER / MANUEL FISCHER / HESSELTIME

SATURDAY 13TH

DANCE TUNNEL PRESENTS MR. TIES - ALL NIGHT LONG

FRIDAT 19TH

THUNDER HUNEE / JOSEPH APTED / MILES SIMPSON / WILL WEBSTER

SATURDAY 20TH

ZLEEP DJ QU / CHAMBOCHE / MICAWBER / NICK COBBY

DANCE TUNNEL 95 KINGSLAND HIGH STREET, LONDON E8 2PB WWW.DANCETUNNEL.COM


In an effort to indulge one of our favourite passions we’ve collaborated with Arbor Ales to create the first in our new range of beer. Crack Hops Double Park Pale Ale 4.2%

To enquire about stocking, please contact hello@crackhops.com


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Issue 52

Executive Editors Thomas Frost tom@crackmagazine.net Jake Applebee jake@crackmagazine.net Editor Geraint Davies geraint@crackmagazine.net Marketing / Events Manager Luke Sutton luke@crackmagazine.net Deputy Editor Davy Reed Junior Editor Anna Tehabsim Head Of Digital Content Billy Black Editorial Assistants Duncan Harrison, Xavier Boucherat Creative Director Jake Applebee Art Direction & Design Alfie Allen Design Graeme Bateman Staff Writer Tom Watson Film Editor Tim Oxley Smith Art Editor Augustin Macellari Fashion Dexter Lander, Adam Mckee, Samantha Rubinstein, Joel Benjamin, Joshua Wiley Contributors Josh Baines, Denzil Schniffermann, Adam Corner, Thomas Howells, Angus Harrison, Robert McCallum, Suzie McCracken, Cassandra Kirk, Jill Evans, Robert Bates, Francis Blagburn, Jon Clark, Alex Gwilliam, Henry Johns, Aine Devaney, Billie Monnier-Stokes, Tamsyn Aurelia-Eros Black, Maria Mouk, Jack Bolter, Steven Dores, Nathan Westley Photography Christelle de Castro, Theo Cottle, James Burgess, Alex De Mora, Teddy Fitzhugh, Jonangelo Molinari, Shawn Brackbill, Elise Rose, Ashes57, Chastity Belt, Rian Davidson, Mike Burnell, Brian What, Markus Werner, Sven Hoffman Illustrations James Wilson, James Burgess Advertising To enquire about advertising and to request a media pack: advertising@crackmagazine.net 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.

Jenny Hval The Battle Is Over Bankroll Fresh Real Trapper Holly Herndon New Ways To Love Loke Rahbek & Puce Mary With Complete Will Sharon Van Etten I Always Fall Apart Mbongwana Star Malukayi (feat. Konono Nº1) Nozinja Vatswelani Kornél Kovács Utopia, Ohio Haunted Doorbell Beautiful Sheffield Man Power Trans (Discodromo remix) Laurent Garnier The Man WIth The Red Face Jackson Scott Ripe For Love II Christophe Move Your Body, Dance With Me The Magic Gang Alright Kollaps This Could Be

‘Crack has $4,000,000 dollars sterling in a Nigerian bank account and with your assistance we would like to transfer this money to the UK. All we need is your kind participation and your bank account details. May God be with you.’ Everyone’s been witness to some sort of elaborate yet flimsy online scam. Perhaps you’ve played along with one. Maybe you’ve even been caught out by one, knowing you, you absolute doofus. But this one was something special. A friend of Crack who works in festival PR got in touch this month, just to confirm that our new Public Relations/Senior Online Editor – who will remain nameless – was coming along to a handful of festivals this summer, reviewing them, interviewing Patrick Topping, that sort of thing. We don’t have anyone with that title, we told her. If someone worked at Crack, they’d have a Crack email address, and a Crack email footer. But he does have a Crack email, she said. So we checked, and he did have a Crack email, and a Crack email footer. This bloke had taken things up a notch. Not only had he subtly nicked and edited one of our email formats; this evil fucking genius had acquired crackmagazine.co.uk (we use .net), redirected it to our website, then set up an email address and started telling all and sundry that he would be coming to their festival this summer. Just send a couple of tickets, thank you very much. We went in hard. We emailed the alleged and said we had lawyers (which we do), and that we’d contacted the police (which we had), and that we’d very much like it if he’d stop pretending to work for us please. There was something in the relaxed, ‘fair cop guv’ air of his response – bearing in mind this was an email with the subject heading ‘Corporate Identity Fraud’ – that couldn’t help but garner begrudging respect. ‘Ah, it was a worth a shot’ was the vibe. He’s a student, he’s skint, and fraud seemed a viable option. He said he’d tried replicating the bit in Human Traffic when the bloke pretends to work for Mixmag, and when that hadn’t worked, he tried this. You know how it is, he said. Well, not really. I’ve actually got an interview with Patrick Topping lined up, maybe you want to use it? Well, not really. Love the mag, he said. Well, thanks. He actually signed off as ‘the alleged’. But we’ve decided to forgive him. There’s something about the sheer audacity, the hustle, the casual willingness to embrace illegal activity in order to cop a few DJ sets, that earned our reluctant admiration. Off into the wide world you go, young man. Magazines, keep an eye out. This guy’s on the rampage, and he’s armed with a Patrick Topping interview.

Geraint Davies, Editor

Cat Power Nude As The News Tyler, The Creator Smuckers ft. Lil Wayne & Kanye West Cakes Da Killa Serve It Up Snootie Wild Rich Or Not Ty Dolla $ign Drop That Kitty ft. Tinashe & Charli XCX Hedge Maze Dysania Micachu feeling romantic feeling tropical feeling ill Naked Void Route 8 It Doesn't Matter Anymore Tei Shi Go Slow P Morris BBHMMORRIS BIG BLACK Passing Complexion APHEX TWIN Avril 14th PABLO MATEO Xyzzl LEFTFIELD Universal Everything (Hodge Remix)

Issue 52 | crackmagazine.net

Respect DJ Rashad Alfresco Disco Leanne Powell The Kerridges Louis Labron-Johnson Galcher Lustwerk Annette Lee


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Recommended

O ur g uid e t o w ha t 's g o ing o n in y o ur cit y

ESG Oval Space 23 May

KINGS OF CONVENIENCE Bush Hall 7 May

CR ACK STAGE @ FIELD DAY FKA twigs, Tune-Yards, Owen Pallett Victoria Park, London 6 June £38.50 PERFUME GENIUS Southbank Centre 10 June £20 Seattle native Mike Hadreas has spent the best part of a decade blossoming. His emotive, piano-led songs have fluttered from introspective chrysalises to full-blown self-assured butterflies. Always dramatic, always moving, his latest live incarnation sees him move from behind the piano to the front of the stage. We caught him at a few festivals last year with his full band in tow. To say we were left speechless would be an understatement. Expect a gripping performance.

DENOVALI SWINGFEST Fennesz, Dalhous, Greg Haines Café OTO + St John at Hackney 22 - 23 May £18 / £22 Active since 2005, German label Denovali has fully established itself as a force in the world of experimental music. Refusing to be limited by genre constraints, for the last seven years the imprint has displayed its wares at a yearly Swingfest in Essen, West Germany, expanding to legs in Berlin and London in 2013. This year’s London edition welcomes a truly intriguing array of acts through its doors. The first night unfolds at Café OTO, featuring illustrious Blackest Ever Black duo Dalhous, London-based experimentalist Karen Gwyer, best known for her work on Opal Tapes and No Pain In Pop and innovative Scottish promoter Matthew Collings alongside Denovali’s Ricardo Donoso. The Sunday, held in partnership with St John Sessions, sees revered ambient composer Jon Hassell performing live with an ensemble, as well as Fennesz and Greg Haines. The no-headliner policy, which sees all acts play for the same amount of time in a random order, is typical of the Denovali label’s commitment to pushing things forward.

GOT T WOOD Motor City Drum Ensemble, Ben UFO, Marcellus Pittman Anglesey 11 - 14 June £125 + BF

When FKA twigs performed at the opening of V&A’s Alexander McQueen retrospective Savage Beauty, wearing that Birds of Paradise gown, there was something reassuringly fitting about the association of the two visionaries. A precursor to twigs’ punk glamour, the late fashion designer brought something thrillingly new to his field. With intricately considered theatrics, he carved an intensified and often unsettling world of uncompromised creative vision. Through her celestial debut album, a series of awe-inspiring, globetrotting shows, and a handful of beautiful, surreal videos spanning stylish shubari and woodland voguing, twigs has been singularly and consistently raising the bar. We are beyond proud to have her extend this vision to our stage at Field Day this year. For our return to the must-do London weekender, twigs headlines a line-up including Melbourne crooner Chet Faker, Rinse FM talent DJ Barely Legal, Oscar nominated composer Owen Pallett, PC Music producer Danny L Harle, Radiohead’s Philip Selway and Merrill Garbus' technicolour Tune-Yards project. See you there.

LEVON VINCENT fabric 9 May

Anglesey’s might seem a long way away right now, but if you’re feeling adventurous you’ll be well rewarded with this gorgeous coastal-woodland rave, previously described by ourselves as “One of the most important boutique festivals that the UK has to offer.” So there you have it. Straight from the horse’s mouth. Stepping up this year are Disco kingpin Motor City Drum Ensemble, irrepressible upstart Ben UFO going b2b with fabric resident Craig Richards, and Detroit native Marcellus Pittman. A jewel in the festival circuit.

SOMERLEY TE A PART Y Seth Troxler, Jackmaster, Heidi Somerley Estate, Hampshire 30 May £30

SONAR Chemical Brothers, FKA twigs, Flying Lotus Barcelona 18 - 20 June €180 + BF THE JULIE RUIN Electric Ballroom 26 May

ND_ BAUMECKER Dance Tunnel 9 May

Despite its status as arguably the world’s foremost electronic music festival, Sonar are unapologetic in their refusal to pander to anyone’s definitions of what a great line-up should be. The play by their own rules. This year’s big names are blindingly diverse – Chemical Brothers, FKA twigs, FlyLo, Duran Duran – while other potential highlights include Jamie xx, Autechre, The Bug and Seth Troxler. Meanwhile at the outer limits, you’ve got Holly Herndon’s post-internet cut-ups, Diagonal boss Powell, and shouts to whoever invited Sunn O)))’s Stephen O'Malley back with his super intense KTL project. And here, stop pretending you’re over Hot Chip. Their live show is still amazing.

RICHARD DAWSON Bethnal Green Men’s Club 13 May

As the Tea Party organisers point out, not many people get to use the Somerley Estate, home to the Normanton family for some five generations, so this is your chance to take advantage of the good Lord Normanton’s generosity. Joining you for the second edition of the one-dayer will be veteran German house duo Âme, Radio 1 resident and Jackathon queen Heidi, much lauded UK duo Dusky, and obviously Jackmaster because it’s 2015 and every festival going wants his name on their poster.

BICEP Oval Space 16 May

Issue 52 | crackmagazine.net


19 DJ NATURE Patterns, Brighton 16 May

COLLEEN GREEN Hoxton Bar and Kitchen 29 May

SWANS Roundhouse 21 May

RICARDO VILL ALOBOS fabric 16 May

LOOKS ICA Until 21 June Free with Day Membership JME + SKEPTA fabric 22 May

LOVE SAVES THE DAY Azealia Banks, Wiley, Four Tet Eastville Park, Bristol 23 - 24 May From £39.50

SUN KIL MOON Barbican 31 May £25 - 30 + BF Mark Kozelek is widely regarded as one of the most underrated singer-songwriters of his generation. His slow-burning Americana, understated honesty and gravelly vocals have wooed critics and fans alike ever since his old band, cult heroes Red House Painters, suddenly disbanded. It was’t until 2014’s Benji though that Sun Kil Moon really found its feet as a project and Kozelek was propelled out of the underground and into the spotlight. It’s been one hell of a ride and if anyone deserves your attention right now, it’s this man.

One of the undeniable highlights of Bristol’s party calendar, LSTD may have a new home over in Eastville – thanks for the memories, Castle Park – but the vibe is unchanged, and uparalleled. Beyond the big-hitting main stage hype (Jessie Ware, Azealia Banks) we’ll be making a beeline for the Apocalypso stage, where Saturday sees Futureboogie presenting the very finest in contemporary house (Âme, Craig Richards) and Sunday welcomes grime heroes new and old in Wiley, Skepta and Stormzy alongside the only real badman with a peerage, David Rodigan MBE. And, obviously, come and hit us up at Crack Presents Paradiso on Sunday, where we’ll be getting down with Four Tet, Erol Alkan, Daniel Avery and Floating Points.

Reacting to a world where identity hinges on amplifying a persona through a smart phone screen, artists are increasingly concerned with how self-perception is shaped for this generation of Internet lifers. Highlighting a selection of this work, the ICA’s Looks exhibition peeks through the window at our digital selves, investigating the ways in which mass digital culture informs identity. Inspecting the fall out of gender and sexuality through a post-internet, post-human lens, these issues are refracted through various mediums, including Juliette Bonneviot’s exploration of estrogen mimicking xenohormones, Wu Tsang’s immersive film that explores the dark implications of current day surveillance and Andrea Crespo’s work on the internet’s networked mobilisations of identity. A heads up for the next time you catch yourself thinking in Instagrams.

METZ Underworld 16 May

LUBOMYR MELNYK Cafe OTO 17 May

HIDEOUT Nina Kraviz, Joy Orbison, Bicep Zrce Beach, Croatia 28 June - 2 July £129 + BF DVS1 Patterns, Brighton 29 May £7

WE ATHER FESTIVAL Venue TBA, Paris 4 June

CONVERGE Student Central 30 May

K ASSEM MOSSE Dance Tunnel 30 May

Techno luminary DVS1 takes his craft seriously. Known to speak out against the vacuous nature of the industry ‘hype machine’, as well as being a firm believer that you should get you heads out of your phones and onto the dancefloor, Zak Khutoretsky is keen to remind people that, fundamentally, what matters above all is the music and the experience. DVS1 brings his uncompromising style to Brighton courtesy of Patterns, where upstairs you’ll find Crack resident Gramrcy, whose killer debut release on Berceuse Heroique sub label Ancient Monarchy is out this month. Not to be missed.

Hideout’s five years old. That’ll be half a decade of people making bad decisions / bloody fantastic decisions on a beach in Croatia, and if that’s not something to celebrate, we’re done celebrating. This year they’re bringing Russian-born house and techno don Nina Kraviz, the ever inventive Joy Orbison, Bicep and their fresh-to-death selections, and look! It’s OG dubstep’s own wayward son, Skream! Fancy bumping into you here mate.

PHARMAKON The Dome 4 June

Issue 52 | crackmagazine.net

DJ OCTOBER Dance Tunnel 6 June


21

New Music PSALM ZERO

BULLY

NAKED Although LuckyMe are known for championing the meatier side of electronic music, bringing HudMo, TNGHT and Machinedrum to wider audiences, they have also been known to get behind experimental post-rock, through the likes of American Men and the ambient drone of Sevendeaths. The tastemaking label pursues a similarly organic tip with emerging outfit Naked, an Edinburgh trio fronted by singer, artist and curator Agnes, who has previously worked with the likes of prolific visual artist Rafaël Rozendaal. At the band’s debut show in Glasgow, Agnes expanded on her subverting work with Rozendaal, where they performed in a tunnel pumped full of ‘new car smell’. The band were warming up for Mykki Blanco, for whom the trio produced the ferocious noise punk of Moshin In The Front for last year’s Gay Dog Food mixtape. The track is a slice of chaos way more unruly than their own sound, where reverb-laden vocals and skittering trap beats meet moody, 808 backed shoegaze. The result is chillingly gorgeous.

O Void 1 Beach House / Tamarind : @___NAKED

With their sugary melodies and pop-punk chord progressions, on first listen some of Bully’s tracks don’t sound a million miles away from Jill Sobule’s mid 90s hit Supermodel from the Clueless soundtrack. This is a good thing, by the way. But as a former intern at Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio studio in Chicago, singer/guitarist Alicia Bognanno’s scholarship in sound informs the gooey distortion that smothers Bully’s riffs. In the build up to their soon-to-bereleased debut album Feels Like, the Nashville four-piece recently shared the incredible track Trying, which sees Bognanno express anxieties about body image, a late period and a pointless degree before screaming the chorus with a cathartic sense of hysteria that recalls Courtney Love at her finest. Bully may be borrowing a lot of music ideas from the past, but we’re confident that Feels Like is going to be an important record for a lot of people in 2015.

O Trying 1 Hole / Pity Sex

: bullythemusic.com

Psalm Zero play an intricately deconstructed version of metal, mining anthemic tension, nods to industrial metal and a sprinkling of Gregorian pomp for good measure. Not everyone’s cup of tea, their first album, 2014’s The Drain, can be strenuous at times – we’ll be the first to admit it showed little more than promise. However, last month that all changed when they released a video for a new song called Real Rain, a slice of medieval, disjointed cyber metal that sounds like it has been produced in a factory by robotic monks. If that doesn’t pique your interest we honestly don’t know what will.

:

O Real Rain 1 Liturgy / Fear Factory facebook.com/psalmzeronyc

SHOW ME THE BODY

ACHROMATICIST Some people will tell you it takes a PHD in Musicology to really know whether noise is good or shit. Those people might make you feel silly for not using terms like timbre and temporal masking. They might even tell you this whilst eating caviar, reading a copy of The Telegraph and voting for the Conservative party. Well, those people, those stuffy people with their high-strung agendas and their elitist values … those people are absolutely right. Truthfully, most of us will never really understand what makes Achromaticist good. He is though. Go listen.

:

O Walled In 1 Hexentanz / Sunn O))) soundcloud.com/achromaticist

Something important is brewing amongst New York-based zine/label/art crew/ live collective Letter Racer. Based loosely around acts including experimental rap trio Ratking and the associated projects of members Wiki and Sporting Life, they also number the weirdo, beat-programmed pop-trash of 86 and new-wave jungle fetishist Lee Bannon as associates. At the core of the group are Queens-based sludge freaks Show Me The Body, whose discordant mulch is a reflection of the non-judgemental, open-ended ethos of Letter Racer, and the collective’s reaction to city-wide – world-wide – gentrification. “Letter Racer is how we participate,” the band state over an email exchange. “Kids all over the city are reimagining all the tunnels, parks, apartments, and galleries. It’s what happens when you evict families or raise the rents: kids claim other spaces. No one owns Letter Racer, there’s no president. It’s the group of artists and friends we work with and trust.” SMTB dropped their debut EP, nauseatingly named Yellow Kidney, last year. It was a jarring, woozy collection of clashing rhythms overlaid by a confident, spoken-word flow and potent blasts of guttural grunt. It also featured an unplaceable top-end tone, an unsettlingly familiar, grating clang. A clamber through live photos gave the game away, with vocalist Jay CashwanPratt pictured hammering away at a four-string banjo. In disharmony with the burly shapes of bass player Harlan Steed and the metallic force of drummer Noah Cohen-Corbett, the banjo became a formidable tool. “Harsh noise is really important to us,” say the band of the unorthodox instrumentation, but those four strings offer something else; a curious melody, an evocative, gangrenous, malevolent country twinkle.  Last month heralded a self-titled follow-up EP, and it’s a step up in every way. The banjo’s alternation between ominous twang and brutally abrasive reverb sits even more awkwardly over the meaty, sludgy backdrop, and Cashwan’s addictive, slurry vocal paves the way more effectively for the brash explosions at the heart of tracks like Space Faithful and Bone Soup, or the warped, post-punk patterns of Six Fingers Thick. The heaviness betrays the band’s sludge/doom adoration – they cite scene luminaries like Dystopia, Grief, EyeHateGod, Salem and Tommy Wright III as influences – but it’s dyed in the wool with the jazzy, avant-garde wonk of only-in-NY no wave. The seasick waddle of Vernon, meanwhile, features a typically on-point cameo from Ratking rapper Wiki, who spits in double time over the track’s wandering jangle. Their affiliation is like the cleverer, cooler, energised sibling of the more awkward Trash Talk/OFWGKTA union on the opposite coast; an inclusive meeting of minds in the world’s most exciting city, a crossover built on mutual artistic expression trickling down from artist to audience. “There is no crossover,” stress SMTB forcefully, bluntly. “The music we play is an organic product of our environment. The kids who come to our shows understand that.” 

PLAYBOY CARTI Anyone who’s been keeping an eye on Awful Records knows that a degree of dedication is required in order to keep up with the pace. Free from the restrictions of music industry bureaucracy, the DIY Atlanta collective’s Soundcloud stream seems to be relentlessly coughing up new material from its many members. Now, with the emergence of affiliate Playboy Carti, it looks like we’ve got some more homework on our hands. Carti dropped collabs with prominent Awful artists Etheral and Slug Christ last year, but the youthful rapper recently scored a viral hit with twinkling, lo-fi track Broke Boi, and his new 808 Mafiaproduced track with Da$h and Maxo Kream suggests that there could be genuine hype. There’s speculation that street style icon Ian Connor has been mentoring Carti, and on Broke Boi, Carti he confirms that he’s in good company: “Keep a small circle, I can’t fuck with squares.”

O Broke Boi 1 Supakali / Vince Staples : soundcloud.com/678carti

O Bone Soup 1 Harvey Milk / James Chance and the Contortions : soundcloud.com/show-me-the-body

Issue 52 | crackmagazine.net

O Listen 1 File Next To : Online


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Further wave of acts...

LAMB SUBMOTION ORCHESTRA SHERWOOD & PINCH (LIVE) PORTICO / STEALING SHEEP LONELADY / ALL WE ARE THE PARADISE BANGKOK MOLAM INTERNATIONAL BAND / ZUN ZUN EGUI THE LOVELY EGGS / ROZI PLAIN / PLUME MOULETTES / DUOLOGUE / FEBUEDER C DUNCAN / THE GENE DUDLEY GROUP SHEELANAGIG / SWIMMING GIRLS NO GO STOP / B.O.M.B.S. / GOAN DOGS BITE THE BUFFALO / BAILA LA CUMBIA TOYFACE / FLAMENCO THIEF / ARDYN BARAKA / KOMODO / BIRD NOIRE...

NIGHTMARES ON WAX (DJ SET) J.D TWITCH (OPTIMO) OCTOBER B2B APPLEBLIM PHAELEH / BRADLEY ZERO FUTUREBOOGIE / OUTBOXX Eddie Argos of Art Brut (telling you how to form a band and become famous), new wave comedy from Bristol Punchline featuring Wil Hodgson, Phil Jerrod and more, music bingo, Plunge Theatre tea room experience, piano knees up, pop-up cinema, yoga and sound bath, Dj musical statues, Cidercise, massive party games, 10th Annual Hat Competition, plus a full programme of activities for the little ‘uns. 31ST JULY & 1ST AUGUST 2015 GILCOMBE FARM, BRUTON SOMERSET —————————————————————————— FARMFESTIVAL.CO.UK

RUF DUG / NY*AK / APIENTO / SHAPES JUST JACK / BANOFFEE PIES / FACTA ∆DMIN B2B HARRI PEPPER / STUDIO 94 SOULWORKS / COEXIST / LOOSE LIPS PARDON MY FRENCH / THE DISABLISTS CRUCIAL & FRESH / THE BOOGIE CARTEL FLAXMAN / CHRIS MENIST & MAFT SAI DOM SERVINI (WAH WAH 45s) / COR DISCO THE DUB TENT / VINTAGE MOBILE DISCO...

LIMITED £59 ADV TICKETS CRACKMAGAZINE.NET


23

Turning Points: Jodeci Before Jodeci, commercial RnB music was a fairly cosy place to be. It was a zone of sequinned blazers and breakfast stools that would be dutifully vacated at the point of key-change. The Hailey brothers and the DeGrate brothers came through with soulful, gospel-inspired songs with upbeat production all set against a backdrop and aesthetic rooted in the rap world. With monster hits like Stay, Freek’n You and Come And Talk To Me, the North Carolina natives repeatedly topped Billboard’s Hot RnB/hip-hop charts during the early to mid 90s. Two decades later, and Jodeci are back with a new album. We caught up with founding member Mr. Dalvin (Dalvin DeGrate) to look back on their journey and reassess the status of RnB’s “bad-boys” in 2015.

1991: Signing with Uptown We looked on the back of all our favourite artists’ album covers – Guy, Bobby Brown, Al B Sure, Heavy D – and we were like ‘Man, this the label we gotta be on, all our favourite artists are signed to Uptown’. So we just jumped in a car, we had about $300 between us all. We went to New York, didn’t know where we were going but found the address to Uptown and the A&R slept on our demo tape for a little while. Then Heavy D went and got Andre Harrell [Founder of Uptown] and they signed us that day. Then history began. 1993 – 1995: Releasing Diary Of A Mad Band and becoming the “bad-boys” of RnB I think people labelled us as the bad boys of RnB because of the prototype of what RnB was. We came and we changed that and it was hard for people to accept. We had the jeans, we had the skullies, we had the hoodies. They wanted us to wear sequins and we said most definitely not.

Words: Duncan Harrison Everything was on Jodeci’s terms and some people feared that. The Grammys didn’t understand it – we were too defiant for what their prototype of an RnB musician was. There were a lot things we weren’t invited to and Boyz II Men were invited but that was ‘cause they were easy. They were less intimidating than Jodeci was. We were considered the N.W.A or the Guns N’ Roses of RnB music. They called us everything, but we stuck to our guns and we’re still around. The women love Jodeci because we were so defiant. 1995: Hiatus Let me clear the air: Jodeci never broke up, we just stopped putting out records. Everybody was under the misconception that we went our separate ways and called it quits, but we never did. Instead of trying to force our way through we just stayed relevant by our name being mentioned by every relevant artist. From Drake, to J Cole, to Usher, to Justin Timberlake, everyone was just ‘Jodeci! Jodeci! Jodeci!’. Every artist longs for that point of being off stage and being creative. 2014 - Present: Comeback performance at Soul Train awards and releasing The Past, The Present, The Future It was nice to go back and be received with open arms, and it was so nice to see all our peers out there at the awards. Standing ovation from the time we walked in to the time we left. They were singing the songs louder than we were. This album is another time-piece, another period. I would never put an end on Jodeci. Jodeci lives on without the individual members. It’s like The Temptations – even though

some of them have passed away, The Temptations live on. Jodeci will live on in the hearts of everybody just like Michael Jackson. It’s never going to be the end. We just have to keep going. The Past, The Present, The Future is out now via Sphinx Music Entertainment / Epic Records

“We were considered the N.W.A or the Guns N’ Roses of RnB music. The women loved Jodeci because we were so defiant”

Issue 52 | crackmagazine.net

1983 – 1990: The Early Years My father has made close to 30 gospel albums, and me and DeVante as youths would tour with him. We got the experience of touring and recording at a young age. By the time we got to the studio for Jodeci, we were on our own because we were already masterminds. People thought it was amazing that these kids from would go into the studio and do it all for themselves. We skipped a lot of our childhood years because we were recording. We weren’t at high school dances, we weren’t at proms. I’ve never been to a prom! Fortunately I learned from my Dad and we all became great musicians and performers.


TEI SHI


UNANCHORED MELODY


26

Words: Anna Tehabsim Photography:Â Christelle de Castro

"I wanted to make something hard to pin down. You know the emotion when you feel it, it’s not something that can be described in a word"


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Devised for the release of her first EP, ‘mermaid music’ was indicative of Teicher’s desire to detach from obstructive labels, an unwittingly helpful tool for her internet born project. Yet somehow the term manifested in the music, marrying a melancholic mood and bright flourishes of pop sensibility with foggy production and effortless, crystalline coos. For all its yet-to-be-defined, still-amorphous details, it seemed to carry a fascination with duality: certainty and uncertainty, physical and abstract, familiar and strange. Tei Shi’s output to date has been charmingly homegrown, with just two EPs of work – the first of which was self-released on Soundcloud – and a glacial cover of Beyoncé’s No Angel existing alongside a handful of videos shot by her director friend Nicolas Pesce. The latest, and most epic to date, is a grindhouse-esque montage of grainy footage following Teicher through an abandoned housing complex as she battles a mysterious, tentacled monster alongside an all-female militia. Kickstarted by the DIY pop revolution, she joins a growing cult of artists who strive to be at once daring and accessible, able to calmly cultivate an international fanbase while defying industry stereotypes. Overthrowing traditional notions of genre with her quietly confident sound, Tei Shi emerges from a sphere of artists, Grimes, FKA twigs and Kelela among them, who’ve explored the extent to which one can meld a hybrid of styles with a singular voice. Yet, much like those artists, Teicher still feels discouraged by an arbitrary label’s ability to colour the way people interpret sounds. “Mermaid music started off as a joke,” says Teicher, as she greets me from her family’s Bogotá home, a faint tinge of emerald still visible in her platinum bob. “I understand there’s a need for shortcuts, but it would be easy enough to say: here’s new music, it’s good, listen to it. Rather than ‘here’s this future-pop-RnB-Brooklynite’,” she continues. “It was during a time when the term RnB was being thrown around to label any new female singer. To me, those songs were the furthest things from it.” As we speak, Teicher is running errands inbetween rehearsals for her first international

tour, with dates across Northern America, Europe, and a handful of UK festival shows. Today marks the official release of the Verde EP, her most polished release to date. It embodies both sonic and personal growth, applying the airy fragility of her voice to a bolder sound. In the lead up to the release, the five tracks had been streaming online, with a few of the songs having been nudged between dashboards for a while now. “It’s very anticlimactic,” she laughs. “When you release music online, you lose that tangible validation and release of actually seeing it. I tend to detach myself from things, step away.” This tendency to disengage from situations has possibly been shaped by Teicher’s life so far, an upbringing punctuated by constant relocation. Born in Argentina, Teicher moved to her parents’ birthplace of Columbia at the age of two, before moving to Vancouver at eight as her family followed her two older sisters to their college destination. Relocating to Columbia for a year at 15, Teicher eventually made her way to music school in Boston. She now calls New York’s China Town home. It’s an otherness she mines to great effect in her music, her fluid sound the inevitable result of so much darting back and forth between countries. “I always had an outsider perspective,” Teicher explains. “Whether it was in Columbia, being the only Jewish kid in school, moving to Canada and being the only kid who had a Hispanic background, there was always that kind of otherness.” A result of her transient childhood, Teicher felt both inside and outside of her culture, making herself the constant. “When you switch up your environment so drastically, you develop an ability to flow in and out of contexts. At the same time, you develop a very consistent sense of self-identity, so that you have this one thing you can rely on,” she pauses, chuckling at the introspective nature of the subject, “I feel like I’m in therapy right now.” Having always nurtured an urge to pursue music, Teicher didn’t make the leap until she enrolled in Boston’s Berklee College of Music. What she lacked in knowledge, she was confident she could make up for in passion. Yet upon arrival Teicher withdrew into herself, quickly discouraged by the narrow-minded approach to creativity, and subsequent artistic stifling that such a competitive environment can breed. Teicher burrowed into her own sound in isolation, working on music for three years without showing a single person. “That allowed me to take my own path. I was writing songs in a very private setting and I didn’t have the resources at my disposal to make rich recordings. It forced me to use my voice more to compensate.”

Honing her style under the dim glow of a laptop, Teicher channeled her feelings of isolation and loneliness, as well as the yearning of the long distance relationship she was in at the time, into an intimate collection of vocal demos, influenced as much by Elliot Smith’s expressive range and Madonna’s pop psyche as the delicate, emotive delivery of 80s Spanishspeaking vocalists, fed by her father’s love of Latin jazz. A month before graduating, Teicher met fellow Berklee alumni Luca Buccellati. The first person to hear the raw demos she’d been working on, Buccellati proposed they re-record them. “Luca entered at a point where I had already developed my identity, and he was able to make it stronger,” she tells me. His production skills provided the bedrock to Teicher’s sound, where delicate vocal delivery hangs suspended over wandering bass and short bursts of harmonised melody are offset by dousings of warm electronics. “Having someone that was very supportive got me to that point where I was confident enough to put something out,” she explains. “It was only once people responded well to the first song, that I was like, ‘I can do this.’” Teicher unveiled her project to the world in the summer of 2013 with the Saudade EP. A sophisticated distillation of bedroom pop, the songs refined her ephemeral vocal qualities, while preserving a fly-onthe-wall sense of intimacy. The release highlighted a refusal to be defined, from its content to the EP’s title. The Portuguese word, which, as she gracefully corrects me, is pronounced “souw-dah-dah”, was chosen for its linguistic qualities: it has no direct translation in English, yet describes a specific emotional state, that of profound nostalgic or melancholic longing. “I wanted to make something that wasn’t really describable, that was hard to pin down. You know the emotion when you feel it, but it’s not something that can be described in a word.” The release attracted a modest but passionate online fanbase. However, its success bred limitations, sparking for Teicher a desire to go beyond what was expected of her: “that I should stay in some kind of box or some kind of category,” she explains. And so Teicher began to pursue her next project, working on a collection of songs that could advance her vocal acrobatics as well as showcase her stylistic breadth as a performer. The Verde EP, released via independent New York label Mermaid Avenue, signals a new direction, setting the stage for her pop trajectory. “Is that what you want, like the

Issue 52 | crackmagazine.net

Valerie Teicher once described her sound as ‘mermaid music.’ Initially a flippant attempt to resist categorisation when unveiling her Tei Shi project online, the definition stuck. Aligning herself with the enchantment of the mythical sea creature, Teicher was onto something. With glistening pastel tones and layers of acapella vocals gently overflowing, her sound nurtured an undercurrent of lust essential to the legend of the Greek siren.


28 "There's no other way to pursue music than from a place of complete nakedness, being unabashedly honest with whatever you're trying to do"

other boys? / Someone you can flaunt like the other toys?” she sings on Bassically, an intense, cathartic ode to empowerment with a main stage-friendly chorus. It’s a personal anthem of sorts, influenced by the juxtaposition of male and female roles. “As a female you play a psychological game a lot, where you know your capabilities but you downplay yourself in situations, to ease certain relationships around you,” she explains as we touch back in for a catch up, this time from her China Town bedroom. “At the same time, starting out in music, it’s a difficult environment to be in when you have to be very confident and very assertive about yourself. You have to learn to be that way. The challenge is just feeling a need to prove yourself continuously, to overcompensate for something. I wanted to break through those things. I can do this. I can do more than this. I can make a big, powerful, pop song.” Once again, where the EP’s title is concerned, you’re encouraged to read between the lines. “Verde describes something that’s not yet ripened; it’s at an immature phase,” Teicher says. “I feel like I’m very green, I’m still starting to grow.” With her first international tour and rough plans for an album on the way, Teicher is just making herself comfortable, stretching out her sound above the safety net of her own knowing self-awareness. “Any goal you set for yourself, once you reach it, your goal immediately becomes the next thing, it’s a ceiling that keeps rising. I think there’s no other way to pursue your own music than from a place of complete nakedness, of just being unabashedly honest with whatever you’re trying to do.” While she’s still tapping into just who she wants Tei Shi to be, she’s reluctant to spell out her next move. With a few directions mapped out, it’s uncertain which she’ll take next. Much like her music, you can read in to it what you want to. Tei Shi appears at Field Day, Victoria Park, London, 6 June. The Verde EP is out now via Mom & Pop / Mermaid Avenue


Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire 6th - 9th August 2015

BJÖRK / BEN HOWARD

GEORGE CLINTON, PARLIAMENT & FUNKADELIC Perform Return To The Mothership

ROISIN MURPHY / NICK MULVEY / NILS FRAHM / CARAVAN PALACE HERCULES & LOVE AFFAIR / DAMIAN LAZARUS & THE ANCIENT MOONS ÁSGEIR / BRANDT BRAUER FRICK ENSEMBLE / SHAMIR / BOMBINO BENJAMIN CLEMENTINE / IBIBIO SOUND MACHINE / LÅPSLEY WILL & THE PEOPLE / CC SMUGGLERS Gastronomy

Welcomed to Wilderness...

Introducing from Scandinavia...

RAYMOND BLANC NIKLAS EKSTEDT

The Restaurants

The return of...

ANGELA HARTNETT

HIX / MORO / PETERSHAM NURSERIES THE WILDERNESS COOKERY SCHOOL WITH DAYLESFORD

Live Stages & DJs

KIM ANN FOXMAN / DJ HARVEY / TOM MIDDLETON FRANCESCA LOMBARDO / ANDY BUTLER ANTAL / FELIX DICKINSON / PBR STREETGANG Evenings in the ballroom

RONNIE SCOTT’S / CAMILLE O’SULLIVAN / THE TIGER LILLIES Dancing through the days and nights

THE CAROUSEL PRESENTED BY SHANGRI LA’S CHRIS TOFU, CONTINENTAL DRIFTS & GLOBAL LOCAL

GABBY YOUNG & OTHER ANIMALS / DUTTY MOONSHINE BIG BAND / GYPSIES OF BOHEMIA THE JUKE JOINT, PRESENTED BY PETERSHAM ROAD

DIZ AND THE DOORMEN / BIG JOE LOUIS / ERROL LINTON / HONEYFEET THE TRAVELLING FOLK BARN / HOSTED BY FRONT ROOM SONGS, WOODBURNER, TWO FOR JOY, THE LOCAL & EFDSS

THE TURBANS / STOMPIN’ DAVE & HIS BLUEGRASS BAND / DE’BORAH / ROB HERON AND THE TEA PAD ORCHESTRA THE BANDSTAND SUPPORTED BY TIME OUT

AURORA / JALLY KEBBA SUSSO & MANDING SABU / JEREMY LOOPS / LONE WOLF / LLOYD YATES FRANCES / THEY SAY JUMP Spectaculars

OPERA HOLLAND PARK’S ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND IN CELEBRATION OF THE 150TH ANNIVERSARY OF LEWIS CARROLL’S MASTERPIECE

THE SATURDAY NIGHT SPECTACLE / THE FIREWALKING CEREMONY Talks & Debates presented by Secret Forum

V&A / SUNDAY PAPERS LIVE / THE SUNDAY ASSEMBLY / FRONTLINE CLUB / THE SCHOOL OF LIFE THE RSA / DYLAN JONES / DAN SNOW / JOHN LANCHESTER / DOM JOLY Theatre, Circus & Performance

FOOLISH PEOPLE / BATTERSEA ARTS CENTRE / OLD VIC NEW VOICES Classes, Workshops & Crafts

A CURIOUS INVITATION / THE WILDERNESS ART STUDIO / HUNTER GATHER COOK Wellbeing & Outdoors

WILD SWIMMING / THE LAKESIDE SPA / YOGA & MEDITATION


30

Striving for Perfection: Raekwon aims for nothing less than a chef d’oeuvre Raekwon the Chef is on his press grind. His schedule is ridiculous, but he seems relaxed. Quite the professional, he gives a firm handshake and responds to questions by reeling off neatly quotable soundbites. “London always love hip-hop man, y’all hip-hop for real out here. Word. But we were just saying, we don’t hear enough of it on the radio out here.” I try and offer an explanation, but Raekwon has his own theory. “Maybe it’s because they don’t want it to stir up the minds of the people, you know what I’m saying?” Even after over 20 years in the industry, Raekwon seems excited and hungry, showing none of the fatigue that’s often expected from veteran rappers still doing the rounds in Europe’s hip-hop nostalgia industry. “I’m at my best man. I’m only getting more vintage and expensive,” he argues. “That’s why I called my album Fly International Luxurious Art. If you want me, you gotta be ready to taste the best.” Fly International Luxurious Art, which was released in late April, is Raekwon’s sixth solo album. Since releasing Only Built For Cuban Linx... Pt.2 – the impressive sequel to his seminal ’94 debut – in 2009, Raekwon’s career has been rejuvenated (“That kind of brought my mojo back,” he nods). On his previous album, 2011’s Shaolin Vs. Wu-Tang, Raekwon reached out to the hardcore Wu fans, lyrically building dark criminal narratives with fragmented, cinematic details while borrowing RZA’s aesthetic of soul samples fused with oriental melody. It seems like the aim of F.I.L.A., on the other hand, is to juggle Raekwon’s veteran status with a more contemporary update of his personal brand. While the likes of Rick Ross, French Montana, A$AP Rocky, and – yes – 2 Chainz appear as guests, Rae has wisely resisted any attempts of club-friendly trap, instead sticking to beats that, for the most part, complement his flow.  “Coming up in the 90s, and then seeing how the music changed from how [it was when] we was coming up ... I had to be able to do both. I think that, as artists, we have to adapt with what’s going on today,

but not lose who we are,” Raekwon argues. “I have to give everybody something. And that’s what I do, that’s why I’m the chef. Because the chef has to make sure he has multiple dishes, and that he’s able to serve,” he says, making hand gestures as if sprinkling herbs into pots and pans. And this year, Raekwon has a lot on his plate. Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... reaches its 20th anniversary in August, and a documentary entitled The Purple Tape Files (in reference to the coloured cassette it was initially released on) is currently in production. The documentary, which Raekwon describes as “organic, up close and personal” is a crowd-funded project that offers amateur rappers willing to donate $200 the chance to have their mixtape reviewed by Raekwon and Ghostface Killah – who features on 15 of Cuban Linx’s 18 tracks and is generally considered to be the album’s co-star. The film was initially announced at the Sundance festival in Utah earlier this year. “We showed a seven minute trailer. Blew everybody’s head off. It was amazing to everybody. So that felt good to me,” Rae claims with unflinching confidence. With dialogue excerpts sampled from Scarface, Johnny Woo’s crime movie The Killer and the Richard Prior-starring blaxploitation film The Mack, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... saw Raekwon and the rest of the Clan adopt Mafioso pseudonyms and engage in aspirational criminal fantasies. But the Wu-Tang Clan belong to a generation who felt the brunt of Reaganomics, which coincided with a crack cocaine epidemic that wrecked communities while tempting the disenfranchised youth with a short-term escape from poverty. And so while it presents itself partly as a work of fiction, much of the inspiration behind Cuban Linx is, of course, is rooted in reality.  “It was the struggle man, it was us coming up in the inner-city slums and not really knowing nothing else but that,” Rae reflects. “Going to the studio and then coming back and seeing what we seeing: running from po-lice, seeing friends go to

jail – the life is just crazy man. It was scary, but it was a reality for us. And yeah, Cuban Linx, the style of it reflects on that hustling mentality that we had as kids, wanting to escape the ghetto and be rich, to come into a better way of living.” While producing GZA’s debut Liquid Swords during the same era, RZA had envisioned listeners shivering in their cars on a windy winter night while creating the album’s ice-cold, eerie beats. Cuban Linx, on the other hand, was always intended to be a summer record despite its heavy lyrical content. Sonically, RZA’s mission was a success. The beats and samples on Cuban Linx sound warped with heat, making it easy to imagine Rae and Ghost wiping sweat from their brow as they’re climbing a graffiti-smothered stairwell or scheming on a sun-beaten street corner. And testament to the tight organisation of the 93-97 period known as RZA’s “Five Year Plan”, Cuban Linx dropped while the sun was still out. So, as a 25-year-old rapper with a game-changing solo album out on the streets, how was New York’s summer of 1995 for Raekwon? “There was a lot of drugs, a lot of kids moving around the neighbourhood to go party,” he remembers fondly. “The hip-hop was dope back then. We would travel on a boat, 50 deep, to the city to come to these shows, really seeing hip-hop at its finest. You got guys coming out on the street, blasting their music, driving by in something nice with windows down – you can hear this shit five blocks away. Girls was coming out, switching they clothes up and looking sexy. They say ‘the roaring 20s', for us it was like the roaring 90s.” While Wu-Tang’s enormous collective discography includes many great records released since 1997, it’s generally believed that those early albums possess a certain magic, perhaps generated by the group’s close proximity to each other at the time. Tension can be the catalyst for the Clan’s creative chemistry, and legend has it that during the sessions in RZA’s low-budget, claustrophobic basement studio in Staten Island, the emcees would fiercely

Words: Davy Reed Photography: Theo Cottle


32 battle each other for a chance to get on a beat. “It stayed competitive all the time man, in a good way,” Rae confirms. “Because if your shit was weak, they’d tell you. We protected the integrity of each other’s brand.” When he reflects on the early collective charisma of the Clan, he becomes visibly excited. “You had GZA with the witty, intelligent one-liners. Method Man with the flow – we felt like his flow was crazy, Meth could rhyme fast or slow. Ghost with the emotions attached to his music, he’s so emotional! With myself, I’m painting pictures of the scenes of the crimes, we all had a gift! U-God with that banging voice! Inspectah Deck comin’ with that intro to every record, he knows how to hit it, it’s like if he was a sniper,” he exclaims, holding up an imaginary rifle with his hands. “It’s like ‘hit it from fuckin’ 300 yards away’, Deck could hit it! Remember Deck is the one who set if off with Protect Ya Neck, and that changed the fucking game for us.

“Wu-Tang stayed competitive all the time. If your shit was weak, they’d tell you”

“And you know, RZA was a master man, at that time. He never really went outside. Like even when we was doing a lot of running around, RZA wasn’t outside like that. He stayed locked in his room, hair all out, looking like he just woke up. This guy was focused on his beats. He was younger, and he had the energy … But I guess he had something to prove at that time.” Internal beef is nothing new for the WuTang Clan – they’ve been falling out with each other publicly since the late 90s. But during the build up to the group’s 2014 album A Better Tomorrow, Raekwon and RZA had a dispute that echoed the controversy surrounding the group’s 2007 album 8 Diagrams, and this time their relationship appeared to be particularly sour. The album was originally intended to be released in 2013 to mark the Clan’s 20th anniversary. But despite a triumphant run of tour dates, the group struggled to muster up the same enthusiasm for the studio, and RZA blamed Raekwon’s alleged lack of cooperation and absence from the sessions for the album’s delay. In April 2014, Rae angrily expressed his dissatisfaction with RZA’s production and team management in an interview with Rolling Stone, effectively declaring himself on strike from the group. Shortly before RZA called a deadline for the record, a “truce” was called, and Raekwon recorded several verses for the album at the 11th hour. But Raekwon had been right. A Better Tomorrow wasn’t a complete disaster – this is the Wu-Tang Clan after all, these individuals couldn’t make a dull record if

they tried – but a lack of inspiration was audible, and too many of the album’s better verses were eclipsed by cheesy choruses performed by little-known singers. Since its release, Raekwon has distanced himself from A Better Tomorrow, and RZA likened the project to bearing a child “with one arm”. No matter how bitter their feud might appear in the press, Raekwon insists that there’s a unity between himself and RZA that’s fundamentally unbreakable. “When we have beef with each other, it’s never physical beef or something that’s longlasting,” he assures me. “Like he didn’t put his hands on me, he didn’t fuck my girl or no shit like that. It was just differences with the music.” So how exactly do they make amends after such harsh words have been exchanged? “When you think about where we come from, that’s something we would never forget. We know that we needed each other. So we always reminisce back to that, that helps sometimes with issues,” he explains. “So we could be mad at each other, but next time I see you, you’re getting a hug, ‘How you doing, how’s the family?’ Yeah, we went at it, and we’ll go back at it again if we have to. But nobody can take away the bond.” But while the Clan may be able to bury the hatchet, whether or not they can ever revive the passion of their golden era is another question. “We all got family now. I got three babies. There’s guys in the group who’ve got five, six babies. So you can just imagine what they’ve got to deal with,” Rae says. “You lose certain desires after a while because now, you have another role to play. And we always knew that, not everybody’s going to be the same forever when it comes to being creative. Sometimes it becomes a conflict in the group. But, for me it’s like I’m still a kid. I love it. I love this job.” It’s a PR-friendly statement, but Raekwon’s passion is convincing. He may have been central to the Wu-Tang Clan’s feuds numerous times in the past, but his stubbornness stems from his respect for the fans. And after all these years, it seems the chef never lost his appetite. “You know the last thing I’m ever going to do is give you something that ain’t from here,” he says, pounding his chest with a clenched fist. “It’s always from here bro.” Fly International Luxurious Art is out now via Ice H20 / EMI


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Words: Robert McCallum / Photography: James Burgess

HEA On a cold Saturday night in February, just after coming off stage at Camden’s Roundhouse, Jake Duzsik of LA noise merchants HEALTH perches on a step outside the front doors of the venue. The band is nearing the end of their European tour, supporting Interpol, which prefaces the announcement of their long-awaited new album Death Magic. Despite rumours about the record, details of their first album in five years had been sketchy to say the least, with the only discernible glimmer of material being the audio in a 30-second TV advert for American comedy programme The Eric André Show, on which the band were guests back in January. When I meet with Duzsik, the album is still uncomplete at this stage, but he promises that it will land in late spring. He won't be pushed on a name. Dressed only in a t-shirt, denim jacket and jeans, Duzsik explains that he isn’t used to such cold, hailing from the balmier climbs of

downtown LA. His scratchy stage persona – full of pent-up aggression – reflects the sound the band emits live, but is not present in our conversation. Duzsik exudes warmth – “Put a note in there that I’m freezing my ass off!” he jokes. He also has a sense of humour about the band’s extended absence. “You can’t go away for five fucking years and come out with a bunch of stuff that sounds like it comes from the same time period.” The pulsating electronic noise band belched out of LA with their self-titled record in 2007, but it was 2009’s Get Color that drove them beyond the confines of The Smell, establishing the band as global stalwarts of the scene that emanated from the mythologised DIY venue. After a two year spate of relentless touring followed by time spent writing the soundtrack to Max Payne 3 – which means the band’s last recording bizarrely shipped four million copies in its first year – HEALTH took some time out in the studio. After a string of ‘pre album shows’ at Dalston’s Birthdays in 2013, everything

went a bit quiet. “We didn’t want it to take this long,” Duzsik admits. “It’s not like we’re reclusive and don’t give a shit. We are exceedingly neurotic as a band, we work on stuff excessively and fret over details.” Being on a supporting tour for Interpol seems a strange way for the band to creep back into the limelight, but perhaps getting out on the road was just what they needed. “I am definitely excited to be back. We’re playing the new stuff and just working out how to present the tracks live,” Duzsik continues. “That is kind of the point of why we wanted to do this tour.” On stage at the Roundhouse, HEALTH still sound like a noise band playing in your favourite Lynchian nightclub – their guitars passed through an incinerator – but there is a definite aesthetic shift in what’s on offer. One track sounds like an ethereal Pet Shop Boys (and is big enough to fill the huge venues they play), its monstrous pop passed through a thunderous decoder, with its noise elements still razor sharp, cutting deeper than a pickaxe.

“The reason anybody was excited in the first place is because we were trying to be challenging. For us the whole mission statement is to do things that are new,” he says. “So doing a record that sounds like Get Color would be a waste of time creatively.” The band have always been rule breakers. With their records constantly shifting and morphing, everything they write refuses to settle, but a heavy dose of grandiose 80s pop may be unexpected for fans. “We don’t like elements that sound like something we already know. That is really important to us,” Duzsik explains. “It is probably commercially to our detriment. But that shit is exciting to us.” HEALTH have always amalgamated a dizzying array of genres into their sublimely cacophonous noise. “Jupiter [Keyes] is really into really beat heavy, gnarly and dark underground hip-hop, while John [Famiglietti] is heavily into electronic music,” Duzsik says. These sounds have always been interlaced into the band’s aesthetic, and are ever


ALTH present tonight. “I listen to a lot of old music,” Duzsik continues. “Sometimes we aren’t going to be able to incorporate it. But it’s about what our band can do with that framework.”

Reflecting on the band’s constant experimentation, Duzsik says: “If you look at the first record compared to the second there was that shift.” HEALTH was mainly an atonal noise record, but on Get Color, the band brought actual songwriting to the fore, with discernable choruses breaking through the industrial churn. “It is a similar shift in terms of it being more accessible,” he continues. “If you listen to punk rock records, the sound gets squashed in the mid-range. If you listen to hip-hop, it sounds huge, because they use all three ranges. We were really trying to do that with this record. So it does sound new for us.” One of the most apparent changes in the new songs the band play at the Roundhouse is the fact that Duzsik’s lyrics are audible. On previous records, his vocal range has been used as an instrument in the sound, his words utterly unidentifiable. “It wasn’t a conscious decision. It seemed really natural at the time,” he explains. “It’s like if My Bloody Valentine comes out on the next album and you can hear every word that Bilinda Butcher is saying. It is an aesthetic shift. There are going to be elements like that on the new record.” Alongside engineers Lards Stalfors (The Mars Volta) and Andrew Dawson (Kanye West), HEALTH have also been working with London resident Bobby Krlic, aka The Haxan Cloak, in the studio. The band heard Krlic’s album Excavation and got in touch. “It sounded dark and heavy as fuck; it is recognising that less elements in the mix can make things sound crazy,” Duzsik continues. “That is why we were excited about working with him. We wanted the record to be

“You can’t go away for five fucking years and come back with a bunch of stuff that sounds like it's from the same time period”

powerful.” Krlic, who had been busy in the studio working on Bjork’s Vulnicura, was at the band’s show the night before. The man behind The Haxan Cloak described HEALTH as “hugely underrated” in an interview with Pitchfork. Duzsik says: “The third record decides whether you are going to be a band that is around for a while or if people thought your sound was cool at the time but you just had a couple of records. “It is nerve-wracking. We don’t want it to sound retro; we want it to sound new. I don’t think it is going to alienate our fans.” For a band so intent on pushing the excesses of sound, this must always be a concern. As he stands up from the step that he has been perched on, he reflects on Da Vinci’s statement that ‘art is never finished, only abandoned.’ “We are getting to the point that we are ready to abandon it, but in a positive way.” Death Magic will be out 7 August via Loma Vista


Sex-positive jokers who sing about being sluts? It can only be Chastity Belt Chastity Belt used to be a party band. They had songs called Giant Vagina and Pussy Weed Beer, as well as an album called No Regerts (typo intentional). Now it’s Time To Go Home – they’re older, spellcheck-ier, and less obviously concerned with making people move. But just because they’ve decided to have an early night, that doesn’t mean the fun is over. Because Julia Shapiro, who we called to speak to at home in Seattle, is pretty much the concept of party in a person: she laughs incessantly, is completely hilarious herself, and has that laconic drawl that makes it sound like she’s an old person pretending to be ‘some high kid’. I basically want to be her best friend. .. which kind of sounds like the theme and title of a Chastity Belt song. The video for the band’s recent single Cool Slut could be a 90s Disney Channel rundown of the band members and their only-slightly fictionalised hobbies. In the clip, guitarist Lydia earnestly observes some plants. “Lydia is really into gardening and stuff,” says Julia. “It’s one of her jobs here in Seattle. She works for the city, and was doing landscaping and working at the conservatory.” Do all the girls have day jobs? “Yeah, people should know that we can’t be fully supported by our music!

Right now I’m a bartender on Capitol Hill, Gretchen nannies and tutors math, and Annie’s a barista and she also nannies.” But before they moved to Seattle and got jobs, Chastity Belt attended college together. The idea behind Cool Slut first took shape when Julia and drummer Gretchen used to walk around campus, shouting out sex-positive statements accompanied by a ukulele. “Yeah, it’s pretty embarrassing that I played a ukulele,” Julia admits with a laugh. Now she has adopted the song title as her ‘tag’ – the quotation marks are heavily implied. “I’m kind of a graffiti artist,” she smirks. “I started writing ‘cool slut’ on bathroom walls. Maybe some young girls see it and think, ‘Maybe it is cool to be slutty! Yeah! I’m a slut, and I’m cool!’ I also sometimes write little tag lines beneath it, like ‘super fucking wet tonight’, or ‘touch my clit’.”

Words: Suzie McCracken Photography: Chastity Belt


Julia’s affection for her bandmates is infectious – she giggles uncontrollably when telling of a recent occasion where they were driving together, feeling bored with nothing to talk about. “So somebody suggested, like, ‘Why don’t we just … like ... complement each other?’ It was the cheesiest thing. “So we did that, and everyone had picked out similar strengths for everybody. I thought about it afterwards and how our personalities totally match our parts in the band. One of Gretchen’s strengths is that she’s very calm, totally reasonable, but also down to do whatever ... and I feel like she keeps the rhythm, you know?” There’s a break for laughter. Julia resumes in her cheesy-but-genuine tone. “Yeah, she’s drumming along, calmly. Then Annie is very loving, a really good listener. And her bass parts exude that kind of warmth, I feel...” Like I said, Julia is funny. She has great taste in comedy, name-checking Abbi and Ilana from the Comedy Central show Broad City, and Californian stand-up and writer Chelsea Peretti during our chat. As for her own wit, it’s still present on Time To Go Home despite the fact that the band’s tone has become more downbeat, even poignant at times. “We kind of shifted into this more serious band when we moved to Seattle,” she explains. “Not that we’re all like, really serious people now, but we just started playing the kind of music that I listen to ... I listen to slower, more contemplative music most of the time. So it was cool to finally be making the kind of music I’m interested in.” Comparisons to Brighton’s Electrelane have been made since No Regerts, but this kinship is explored further on newer songs like Joke and Drone. Then there’s The Thing, inspired by John Carpenter’s 1962 film, which sounds like a grown-up Monster Mash or Giant Vagina, Part 2. “I normally save all my evil-sounding songs for my other band, Childbirth,” says Julia, “but The Thing works well with Chastity Belt. And Lydia came up with this really cool lead line on it, like ‘Dee dee deee dee dee dee deee deeee’, where she goes all the way down the scale. It’s really awesome.”

Another laugh. “It’s funny though! And then Lydia is very emotionally aware and very curious and I feel like her lead parts are like that. They’re very strange but manage to evoke some real emotions. And then mine was that I’m creative and witty, and that makes sense because I write the lyrics. “And then I put all that together and I thought ... ‘Woah, we’re the perfect band!’” Time To Go Home is released 11 May via Hardly Art


38

Discodromo: galvanising Berlin’s gay scene through freedom of expression

Sonar By Day in 2012 provided the first physical exposure to their rich house/disco/ Italo mélange. A scorching hot morning after the night before, through incredibly tired eyes, I watched a set that brought me back from the brink and coaxed every immediate friend in the vicinity out of their slumbers for a mojito-powered dance. The vibe was beautiful. The second experience was a long Sunday afternoon spent on the Panorama Bar dancefloor the day after our interview. A sixhour set that soundtracked the majority of our time in the club, Giacomo Garavelloni and Giovanni Turco’s majestic wonderings in the aforementioned genres reaped a palpable sense of devotion and support from the club's committed crowd. Their success is in no small part due to the glistening reputation of Cocktail D’Amore, the event series which the duo runs with Berghain resident Boris. In five years of parties, Cocktail’s notoriety for freedom of expression has landed it a reputation, alongside events such as Homopatik, as one of the most renowned gay parties in the city. So much so that disco aficionado Daniel Wang wrote a love letter to the party for Electronic Beats, saying, among many other accolades, that “being at Cocktail feels like joining the United Lovers’ League of Europe – that is what keeps pulling me back.”

Words: Thomas Frost Photography: Rian Davidson

It must be an occasion for you guys to be playing such a big slot in Panorama Bar. That doesn’t happen all the time I guess? Giovanni: Well it used to happen more often and then we had a little break, and now it seems like it’s happening more regularly. For me it is always like the first time. We have expectations and pressure in that room. It can be a little overwhelming. The gay community in Berlin forms the crux of Cocktail D’Amore’s clientele, but you also have a big following away from Berlin – we saw your set at Sonar a number of years ago and you had huge support. Giacomo: I was a little surprised because it’s so far away from home. We do have people following us in Berlin, we do see familiar faces. Playing in Berlin is like being at home, like being around family.

The party has moved through a number of locations, including a run-down supermarket, a circus tent, and the fourth floor of a warehouse. Though Cocktail’s locational instability has been part of its charm, it seems to have found a home for the summer in the wonderful adult playground that is Griesmühle. Situated on the banks of a canal, its tree-houses, underground passages, deserted cars and labyrinthine layout provide ample nooks and crannies for all manner of self-expression. It’s these features that will see the Cocktail parties last for 24 hours this summer, and are also the location for our photoshoot with the pair. The wildly accelerating momentum of these nights might have put the brakes on the duo’s production output for now, which is in short supply but high on quality. They recently celebrated five years of events with their Nothing Matters When We’re Dancing compilation – the title a nod to the escapism that can be a salve in times of economic, political and social struggle – featuring their own Le bipolarisme n’est pas le cubism, a frantic Chicago house track with some nods to Italo and new wave. Sitting down with the boys in their favourite Kreuzberg eatery MJs for a chicken dinner, their genuine surprise that we’re interested in their world is a refreshing dose of humbleness. This is, of course, intermingled with a real confidence in what they do and, ultimately, what they have created.

Giovanni: It’s all about Cocktail d’Amore though. When we started doing Cocktail five years ago, the gay scene wasn’t developed as much as it is now. It was really small and was mostly about pop music but with a little edge towards disco, that’s how it started. We got into that scene and tried to give it a different direction with more of a quality sound towards house and disco, but deeper … I hate that word, but it’s true. Was this part of the inspiration for Cocktail D’Amore? Giacomo: There was no other inspiration other than the fact we were sick of not having good parties to go to. There was Berghain, but you can’t go there every week. The first party was promoted from midnight until noon and the 80 people that came stayed there and enjoyed it. The second time we didn’t open the courtyard, because we thought no one was going to come, but then people just started coming. Then I started ringing friends, saying, “you have to come!” We had a mountain of coats behind the DJ booth. Your parties have gained a reputation for freedom of expression, where people can come and feel comfortable and have fun in all respects. Giacomo: At one of the early parties one of the guys got naked and at that time the security told him to dress up! So people came up to us and said, “the bouncers are telling him to put his clothes on!” This is not acceptable at Cocktail, so we said to the bouncers, “please, people can do what they want here.” So from that moment on people were naked if they wanted to be. This is part of what creates the atmosphere at Cocktail. The music for us is obviously the most important thing, but the atmosphere is generated by the openmindedness of the audience.

Issue 52 | crackmagazine.net

You started doing Cocktail in Lisbon, what are the differences between this party and the one in Berlin? Giovanni: You cannot really export the party. You can’t say we are doing a Cocktail in Lisbon. There is only one Cocktail. We can bring our music to a different city but a party is made by its people. These people, along with the music, create a specific atmosphere and that’s not something you can package up and take to another city. Why do it then? Giovanni: Because we know have a following among the gay scenes in different cities outside of Berlin, but we also know the music in the gay scenes outside of Berlin can be bad. The intention is to bring the some of the Berlin vibe from a musical perspective to these new situations. Everywhere you go in different cities there are gay guys who are into different music, house, disco, Italo etc. It felt like people were craving this and that’s why we decided to move Cocktail. Cocktail d’Amore takes place monthly at Griesmühle, Berlin. The also appear at a Weather Festival Off Party at Concrete, Paris, 31 May


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“At one of the parties a guy got naked and the security told him to dress up. We said “please, people can do what they want here”


40

Love lost; Ceremony's Ross Farrar opens up healed wounds

To exist, as Ross Farrar does, in a constant state of metamorphosis could be lifesapping. As the frontman of Ceremony, he finds solace in the turbulence of change. There is almost no entry point to the band’s canon of work. Start in 2006 and you’ll hear deafening disorder; a bludgeoning of abrasive hardcore likened to Infest or Coke Bust. Start today and you will be disarmed by chimerical jangles and lulled musings of love lost. Their dichotomising sounds match their inability to stand still. “It’s been a whirlpool,” Farrar sighs heavily, as if unable to understand how he’s managed to achieve all he has. “I’m one of those people that wishes time would slow down just for a minute to enjoy the time we have on earth. But it’s all so momentary.” Since Ceremony’s inception in 2005, the band – for which Farrar is joined by Anthony Anzaldo, Andy Nelson, Justin Davis and Jake Casarotti – have released three EPs and are readying themselves for the drop of their fifth studio album, The L-Shaped Man. Formed in Rohnert Park, California, Ceremony fast became hardcore deities. Their first slew of

Words: Tom Watson Photography: Shawn Brackbill

records, including Violence Violence and the Bridge-9 approved Still Nothing You, were short, voracious stabs of Tragedyesque battery, each barely surpassing a minute in length. At first regarded as “hardcore’s equivalent to Hiroshima,” they fused the botched dissonance of power violence with the skeletal refrain of oldschool punk. Come 2010, Ceremony had changed. They released Rohnert Park, a considerable departure from the velocity of Violence Violence and a brazen mellowing of sound. Come 2011, Ceremony had changed again. Having signed to Matador Records, the band were paralleled to the likes of Wire and 80s post-punk satirists such as Mark E Stewart. By the time they released their fourth LP, Zoo, in 2012, we were faced with a band so familiar by name yet so polemically different. “Everything has changed,” Farrar concedes, “but I still participate in punk and go to punk shows and collect punk records. That’s all still inherent. But just going into a room with the guys in Ceremony, we end up producing sounds in a way that I can never explain. We never


41 go into a record thinking ‘this is exactly how we want it to sound’ or ‘this is how we want it to be.’ “But it’s hard to say whether it’s a progression or not, because it’s a complete change in sound. That’s the key point. We started as a punk band and now it’s manifested itself into this soft, dreamy sound. It just felt natural for us to do that. I guess this style of music has always existed in our canon of work somewhere.” It’s been three years since Zoo, two of which Farrar regards as some of the worst in his life. “I think about Zoo now and I was in such a different place in my life. I don’t remember 2012 as much as I should. We were touring a lot and I was on the verge of a break-up. I was going through a lot of turmoil at the time.” But Farrar’s pain in these subsequent break-up years is what directed The L-Shaped Man; a record scored by hysteric remorse. It sounds like a band trying to shed the sorrows of their past. “The songs on this record call for sadness. It was perfect the way it worked out really,

because I was going through all of this shit and the songs were so melancholic. I guess The L-Shaped Man is a product of that time,” he laughs with an air of affectionate humility. “Ceremony wasn’t anything that I planned out. It was something that I stumbled into when I was younger and now it’s such a big part of my life. When we play a show, I black out and I put all that I have into Ceremony. Especially with this record, I thought about whether it would conjure any kind of lost unwanted emotion. Playing these songs at certain times could be hard. I may feel affected by that and it could show publicly.  But I’m feeling a lot better now and it’s kind of morphing into a more nostalgic feeling. A lot of times when you go through something that’s hard, especially with love, there’s that cliché of having a wound. Usually a wound scabs up, you heal and you can look back on these things in a reminiscent sort of way. I’ve let go a lot of the pain there. It’s not all sorrow. That’s kind of the thesis of the record too. You have these terrible things that happen to

you but they end and you get through it. You can always get through it.” While heartache remained the topical discourse for The L-Shaped Man, Farrar’s original premise was influenced by the lifework of artist Leslie Lerner. “I’d seen a painting by him in San Francisco Airport and was really moved,” he recalls. “After studying his work I found we had a quite a few similarities. He died in 2006 but I contacted his wife. I really wanted to talk to her about him and to possibly use one of his paintings for a record cover. That idea was aborted because the painting was a little too abstract and I didn’t think people would relate to it as it was a single, very simple, minimalistic image.” While the initial album artwork never came to fruition, Farrar reveals that he’s hoping to work on a project with Lerner’s widow, perhaps a series of interviews, in order to further explore this tapestry of inspiration.

are proving that no band should fester in the restrictions of genre. Without the likes of Ceremony, punk would simply plateau. “There are a lot of bands who play the same style of music,” Farrar persists, “and they worship this one band and try to sound like that for as long as possible and they don’t do anything else above that. I think they feel like if they change their sound, people will leave them behind. When you’re in a place where Ceremony is, playing to a fanbase, it’s scary to think that no one’s going to like you anymore. It’s a really strange feeling. But then there are bands, such as ours, who say you’re going to have to deal with it, because this is the art we’re trying to create. You can either leave it behind or you can carry along with it.”  The L-Shaped Man is released 18 May via Matador Records. Ceremony appear at Visions, London, 8 August

It’s every facet of Farrar’s artistic license that makes The L-Shaped Man so significant. With introspective lyricism, leanings towards the abstract, and the band’s perennial will to evolve, Ceremony

“Ceremony wasn’t anything that I planned out. It was something that I stumbled into when I was younger and now it’s such a big part of my life”


The improvised hallucination: Jenny Hval on spontaneous emotion and ruining her reputation


Words: Angus Harrison Photography: Teddy Fitzhugh

When Skype finally focuses into clarity, and Jenny Hval and I are facing each-other, we begin with cursory apologies. While she’s recovering from a bewildering bout of jet-lag brought on by a recent stint touring America, I’ve spent the majority of my weekend uncomfortably wriggling in my bed with a nauseating flu. Put simply, we haven’t felt like ourselves lately. With a strange appropriateness, however, I have also spent my feverish sessions listening to Apocalypse, girl, the Norwegian artist’s fifth solo record, her third under her own name. The record is a weird dream of sorts, pulling ideas in and out of focus through disorienting sonic shifts. In a sense it exists in a fluid universe; melodies are briefly active before disintegrating, lyrics and ideas make contact for a moment before twisting and melting completely. I pose this idea of hallucination to Hval, asking her where such intense malleability starts. “I thought I was making a spontaneous, but still very clear, pop album. I didn’t intend the intensity. For me it was a very happy writing process. As the album recording went on this depth emerged.” Hval’s spontaneity is the driving force of the record, with spoken word segments naturally transitioning into impulsive melodies. “I don’t try to write perfect songs, instead I try to follow the immediacy of the structure that I originally improvise. Doing that preserves the human element in music, when you can connect to a melody without knowing where it’s going.” This method results in the unfolding character of the record, a narrative that spirals into scenes of apocalypse and introspection. “Statistics and newspapers tell me I am unhappy and dying, that I need man and child to fulfil me, that I’m more likely to get breast cancer,” she sings on The Battle Is Over. Hval admits that she was surprised by how disorienting her lyrical content became. “The things that come out when you improvise might be a lot darker than you thought they were when you were just ‘saying them’. That is sometimes the real discovery with music, those immediate elements.” From speaking to Hval and listening to the record, it seems as if the weird worlds she discovered and unpacked on Apocalypse, girl became the territory where she was

best able to communicate her ideas. Far from the strictness of a conventional pop or alternative rock album, the fluidity offered a safe space from preconception. In order to best articulate this, she recalls a recent party she attended, where “someone put on a Marvin Gaye album on and I thought it was Nina Simone. With music you don’t have the prejudice you have when you see things.” The Simone/Gaye confusion is a conveniently placed reference next to Apocalypse, girl – a record that plays meaningfully with identity and, in particular, gender. Our culture, as it stands, enjoys categorising and delineating gender politics. Feminism comes in waves, with manifestos and structures. Apocalypse, girl doesn’t necessarily attempt to defy or escape any of these entanglements, but it certainly does explore the idea that a more introspective angle on feminism can induce powerful responses. “I definitely think the personal take on things is overlooked,” Hval says. "I want to express things specifically from a female point of view, but also in universalistic terms. I really want female existentialist crises, or themes of crisis, to be universal.” This aim for universalism gives Hval’s voice freshness. Tackling confusion and doubt on abstract terms means they can be read in a multitude of ways. “There is always an element of confusion to any kind of listening experience, and that’s where my interest in more abstract sounds and gender politics meet.” It is the emergence of concepts from seeming senselessness that empowers Apocalypse, girl, and qualifies many of its most affecting moments. Much of this is achieved by linking bigger, universal themes of crisis back to personal, and specific, memories. “I was starting with images that were nauseatingly private, like the song Heaven which literally begins with the memory of me trying to sing in a gospel choir and failing when I was 13.” This level of exposure, Hval feels, is what then establishes a closer relationship with her audience. “I feel that when things turn intensely personal in an artistic context, they also manage to express something that isn’t personal but more a confrontation to something the listener is feeling.” Was


this an attempt to separate herself from being a named artist, and instead perform as a person, I ask? “At an early stage, the working title for the album was Ruining my Reputation – because I was really sick of the images that dictate how you are supposed to be as an alternative artist: a minor voice, away from the industry, more authentic than mainstream artists. I was trying to see what I could do to destroy that. I think it is very old-fashioned.” While Apocalypse, girl will do nothing to destroy her reputation, it is palpable how the vividness of her personal experience allows for a very real connection to the listener. “In the end I feel I was able to say things and create sonic textures that I wouldn’t have been able to without those images. I also watched a lot of films while making this album, so many ideas turned into something visual in a way.” Rooting the process in cinema comes both from Hval’s interest and that of her producer, Norwegian musician Lasse Marhaug. “He’s even more of a film nerd than me. He’s seen everything. He watches a film while making coffee in the morning. People have seen him watch films while he packs up equipment after a show. He is intensely into it!” Marhaug’s prolific viewing habits made him a perfect fit for Hval’s creative process. “It was amazing to work with someone who has such a good and developed visual language. I often think in very visual terms. In fact I probably know more about films than music. I’ve studied film but I’ve never studied music.” The visual language developed for Apocalypse, girl, as the title suggests, was one of extinction and desperation. Yet Hval and Marhaug’s end of days was far from Armageddon. “We were trying to explore the more frightening world of the softer apocalypse. The apocalypse in films like Melancholia by Lars Von Trier, where it is just inevitable and nobody is fighting it. They are limp – taking a bunch of pills to kill themselves, a sort of soft amputation.” It struck me, at this point in our conversation, that our talk of the album had ranged from the vague to the specific, the political to the fantastical. It is strange that an album so emotionally engaging should draw on such disparate themes. In one stroke, the record is close to hyperreal, referencing Hval’s immediate

memories, then in the same hand there is a wild mysticism at play. At this point, we return to Hval’s previous comment about the improvised nature of her writing, a technique she reduces as something that is principally emotional. “The emotional is incredibly confusing but can also contain these incredibly clear moments, when you know exactly what it is you are feeling.” Ultimately, it is this search for the splinters of clarity among the melee of ‘feelings’ that makes up Apocalypse, girl. Hval respects her ideas and emotions enough not to try and fully understand where they have come from. Instead, like our conversation fought through jet-lag and flu, she interprets the moments of crystallisation as the rarity. In some ways, it is anti-pop philosophy, believing emotions to be far from direct. Instead her interludes of clarity and realisation, as with life, are made occasional monuments in a bizarre hinterland. Apocalypse, girl is released 8 June via Sacred Bones Records

“I'm sick of the images that dictate how you are supposed to be as an alternative artist”


IZZY BIZU

JACK GARRATT

THE COURTYARD LONDON WED 13 MAY

O2 ACADEMY2 OXFORD SAT 16 MAY SOLD HARE AND HOUNDS BIRMINGHAM MON 18 OUT MAY ACADEMY 3 MANCHESTER TUE 19 MAY RESCUE ROOMS NOTTINGHAM WED 20 MAY THEKLA BRISTOL THU 21 MAY

JOYWAVE

LA DISPUTE/ FUCKED UP

SEBRIGHT ARMS LONDON WED 20 MAY

ZHU

OVAL SPACE LONDON WED 27 MAY

AQUILO

VILLAGE UNDERGROUND LONDON TUE 23 JUN

NOEL GALLAGHER’S HIGH FLYING BIRDS AT CALLING FESTIVAL CLAPHAM COMMON LONDON SAT 04 JUL

STORMZY BRIGHTON CONCORDE 2 TUE 27 OCT KOKO LONDON THU 29 OCT

JOHN GRANT

EVENTIM APOLLO HAMMERSMITH THU 12 NOV

@ L N S o u rce

KOKO LONDON TUE 26 MAY

SHURA

SOUP KITCHEN MANCHESTER WED 03 JUN

BRONCHO

DINGWALLS LONDON WED 01 JUL

THE STAVES

NEWCASTLE UNIVERSITY SUN 25 OCT O 2 ACADEMY BOURNEMOUTH SUN 08 NOV

IMAGINE DRAGONS

THE 02 LONDON WED 04 / THU 05 NOV CAPITAL FM ARENA NOTTINGHAM FRI 06 NOV MOTORPOINT ARENA CARDIFF WED 11 NOV BARCLAYCARD ARENA BIRMINGHAM FRI 20 NOV

TOBIAS JESSO JR

B R I G H T O N C O N C O R D E 2 T U E 24 N OV O2 SHEPHERD’S BUSH EMPIRE WED 25 NOV

Ti c ke t s | E xc l u s i ve s | Wi n | l i ve n at i o n .co. u k


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The de ser ved Big Mi ke : e v e r i s e o f r yone’ getting s t o k now Stormz y Words : Xavie r Bouc Photog herat raphy: Alex de Mora

“I think the humour comes naturally,” drawls Stormzy. “A lot of grime lyrics are just funny. When people talk about how dark and aggressive the culture is, yeah, they’re right. But there’s also this very lovely, comical side to it. I couldn’t name you an MC that doesn’t have a funny lyric, something that tickles a bit. Street culture is dark, but it’s always been a bit jokes, you know?” Grime’s occasionally overlooked sense of humour is something Stormzy (real name Michael Omari) has been exercising fully these last few months, whether it’s getting his mum involved in the Know Me From video, name dropping Shirley Carter, or promoting his UK tour with a spoof recording of his apparent 8-year-old self spitting bars on dodging homework and getting Nando’s (“Nah, that’s not real,” he says. “I think that’s the first time I’ve admitted that actually.”) The humour is tied up in an unpolished realness that’s helped grime make some of its strongest statements to date, an obvious example being That’s Not Me’s low budget green-screen video. In fact, says Stormzy, the original video for Know Me From was shot on HD cameras and cut to a professional standard, with no passing vans fucking up the shot halfway through. Concerned that it lacked the same vitality as Not That Deep, Stormzy scrapped it, opting instead to get someone with a handheld cam to shoot him and his boys trooping through the ends with a ton of props. “I like having my friends in the videos, that’s more what I represent right now,” he says. “You can see it all fall apart at the end, with the mandem just running out and having fun.” They’ve certainly got reason to celebrate – Stormzy has had a mental year. The MC singles out his inclusion on BBC Music’s Sound of 2015 shortlist, in which he reached the number three slot, as a highlight. Just a year previously he’d been in the middle of an engineering apprenticeship. Then there’s things like the MOBO award, the sell-out UK tour, the Jools Holland appearance, the trip to Ghana with Twin B... And then there’s the one he’s tired of talking about – the Brits performance. The one he dismisses as “a quick experience” that barely involved him, but one that prompted one of the more important conversations grime’s had with itself in recent years. The questions bear repeating, because they’re ones that have accompanied Stormzy’s rise: why did it take one of the biggest names in music full stop to get some of the UK underground’s finest on stage at the Brits? Does grime owe Kanye West a single thing?

“Of course it doesn’t,” comes the instant response. “I’m a strong believer that nothing like that means anything. Grime doesn’t need a co-sign. It was sick before Kanye West, it’ll be sick after Kanye West. It’d be sick if Kanye West had turned around and said he hated grime. Obviously it doesn’t harm having one of the biggest artists of our generation talk about it, but yeah, people have been looking way too deep into that man.” The performance itself was responsible for 126 OFCOM complaints, and Skepta would go on to satirise the negative reception with a skit on Shutdown which may or may not have been a genuine caller complaint. Grime may be in various stages of transition, but whilst some discuss the genre making a breakthrough in the States, and others like Mumdance or Visionist preoccupy themselves with the outer-limits, there’s still uncomfortable questions around what some people’s problem with UK urban is – is it a matter of taste? Or is there something darker going on? Stormzy agrees it’s a problem. “It’s like, what about Plan B’s performance?” he asks, referencing the rapper’s riot-themed Brits appearance in 2011. “There’s alarm bells there because that was just as dark, but didn’t have nearly the same media backlash Kanye had. For me that raises questions.” These are seriously big questions though, ones that are bigger than the individual artists involved, and in any case, Stormzy’s got more than enough on his plate right now. Life on the road as a full time artist has given the 21-year-old a whole different mess of things to stress about (haters, touring schedules, mobile contracts), but helping him hold it together is a suitably modest end-goal.     “My goal is to be the greatest, and that’s something I don’t even know how I’m gonna measure,” he declares. “A number one wouldn’t do it, because then I’d be thinking I need a hundred number ones. A sell out tour in the UK wouldn’t do it, because then I’d be thinking I need a sell-out arena world tour. So I don’t really know how I’ll measure it, but when it happens, when that greatness comes, I’ll just know.” Stormzy appears at Love Saves The Day, Eastville Park, Bristol, 24 May


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Phones off please: ItaloJohnson operate a firm no-bullshit policy

Words: Xavier Boucherat Photography: Harry Mitchell


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There comes a point towards the end of our time with ItaloJohnson when we’re wondering how to refer to the mysterious crew’s individual members in the write-up. Real names are obviously out of the question, and we’re going to need something a little snappier than ‘the one in the cap, the serious one with the cheekbones, and the slightly undernourished one’. “How about first initials?” suggests Cap. This gets a raised eyebrow from Cheekbones, but Hungry seems cool with it. After some deliberation, they give the go ahead. So, with that, meet R, J and M, who as DJs, producers and as a label go collectively by the name of ItaloJohnson. The trio are in Bristol to open for DJ Koze at the Arnolfini gallery, having just recovered from Good Friday celebrations which saw them attend a fondue party that ‘got out of hand’. March saw the release of ITJ09, almost a year on from ITJ08. All three agree it’s the best they’ve put out so far. Online, it’s accompanied by a typically flippant press release, composed entirely of underground dance music clichés like claims of the record’s super-limited run of 103 copies (“We should have made that 303,” mutters M), offered up by three Germans raised on Detroit and Chicago classics from the day they were born.  “After receiving an 808 for his 10th birthday,” it says, “one member of the faceless trio was rumoured to have ghostwritten basslines for some of techno’s finest during the early 1990s.” It’s here you can see ItaloJohnson’s wicked sense of humour in full effect – one that doesn’t allow for effective pigeonholing. Sure, the anonymity is undoubtedly a response, in part, to the internet, but it works both ways – they’re nobody’s poster-boys.  “The whole press release is a joke,” begins R. “We don’t want to be associated with these fanatics in Berlin, this vinyl connoisseur crowd. Look at prices on Discogs and you can see it’s gotten completely out of hand. We would never limit any of our records. Whenever I hear someone’s really limiting a vinyl, I think ‘well, maybe it wouldn’t sell anyway. If they really wanted to sell shit, they would press more.’”   J launches into a tirade about his strict vinyl shopping policy – no more than €20, under any circumstances. “And whenever I break that rule,” he quickly adds, “the record is repressed within three weeks. Every time.” The last time this happened, he’d been in the UK where he’d stumbled across a

relatively cheap copy of a record he only goes so far as to identify as “a great house track,” one he’d been chasing for years. Worried he’d never get another opportunity, he blew the bank and paid €30. Two weeks later it was repressed, and widely available once again for a fraction of the price. This gets a big laugh from M. “But you’ve got the original pressing!” he tells him, “you’ve got the REAL THING man!” “Which doesn’t matter at all,” comes the weary response. “It’s exactly the same music. The only difference is that on my old record, the tracks are all worn out.” But what about when the vinyl-only ItaloJohnson pander to the clichés themselves? It’s here we start running into the inevitable tensions that running a purposely low-key operation brings about. M rolls his eyes. “A lot of people,” he starts, “have said, ‘this is ridiculous. They say they’re anonymous, but here they are at this interview, here they are on this podcast.’ It’s something everyone likes to squeeze.”  If anything though, the trio seem to relish these tensions, which force them to evolve in novel ways. At one point for example, R derails things to make an official announcement – after ITJ10, the hand-stamps that have accompanied every release so far are finished. What’s in store for ITJ11 isn’t clear, but as far as they’re concerned, getting the records hand-stamped by virgins in a Neukölln basement joins the long list of tropes they’re keen to shun.  “Just so we’re clear though,” interrupts J, “up until now, all of our records have definitely been hand-stamped by virgins in Berlin. Let there be no doubt about that.”  Guiding the three is an underlying imperative to make decisions for the right reasons. If you’re setting up a label and releasing records, then hand-stamping is a cheap and attractive alternative for a group of young men with no money and no designer friends. It’s practical, “and plus”, adds R, “we’re just lazy.” It’s the same story when we talk about the vinyl-only policy, or to look at it another way, the total lack of digital content. Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud – these things need a continuous stream of new content if you want to keep them alive, which with an average of two releases a year just isn’t an option for ItaloJohnson. “I’m never keen on quoting,” begins R, “but Dixon said something years back that’s still absolutely the truth, something that works

so well for us. He said he wanted to just put out a few records, and let them breathe. It’s far better when you can see how a person’s evolved, and if you’re seeing them all the time, you won’t notice.” In other words, we’re not talking knee-jerk reactionism here. ItaloJohnson aren’t going to war with the net, nor are they at odds with anyone who relies on it – they just happened to have found a method that works well for them, that relies on a sociality that the net has effectively negated over the years. J, for example, recalls attending techno raves that – without the money or resources to reach out to big names – ran open deck policies. R misses being a young dude having to work grumpy record store clerks in search of that one, elusive track on a mixtape (“It’s not a good record shop if the staff aren’t grumpy,” J comments. “If they’re friendly then it’s time to leave”). M laments the days when people’s heads were more in the party and less on their Instagrams. This last point triggers some particularly lively discussion around the growing popularity of no-photo policies. “It’s something we see more and more of,” says M, grinning. “It’s a great trend!” “It’s that intimacy though,” suggests R. “What happens in the club should stay in the club. People do crazy things at the rave, and they can come out more when they know they’re not being filmed.”   

“What happens in the club should stay in the club. People do crazy things at the rave”

“Far better for them if there’s no proof,” concludes J with a smirk. Ultimately, it’s a sociality that, while inclusive, does depend on a commitment to partying – a sociality that R, J and M would hope they embody some of the spirit of, both through their releases, and in their live sets. Paradoxical though it may sound, putting the music first can downplay the importance attached to the DJ. You don’t go to see ItaloJohnson play – you go to party with them, and that’s exactly how they like it. ITJ09 is out now via ItaloJohnson


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A celebration of sound system culture


to dance at parties. After experiencing it first-hand you get that curiosity to push your knowledge and learn more.” Even now as her sound continues to build and grow, Lafawndah is unconvinced by the age of information. “I have a strange relationship with the internet,” she tells us. “I have a hard time acknowledging the idea that I can look for anything. I’m not the kind of person that can just zone on YouTube infinitely. It creates anxiety instantly because there are just too many options. It makes me a very analogue person, a lot of things have to be experienced in real life first, and then that is the point of departure for research. Never the other way around.”

Lafawndah dances towards unfamiliar terrain

In a post-Pon De Floor world where cultural appropriation is a persistent, think-piece spawning issue, Lafawndah’s learn-thenbuild ethos is incredibly refreshing. “If there is an obliviousness to it then it’s problematic. But if you’re able to back yourself up and you are conscious of what you are doing and you are trying to do it with respect and acknowledgement, then I think it’s actually pretty beautiful,” she argues. “I feel like I’m borrowing and I’m still trying to do something that’s genuine to me. I’m not trying to make dancehall, I’m not trying to make zouk music. I’m not legitimate, I don’t have the knowledge.”

Words: Duncan Harrison Photography: Jonangelo Molinari

Any sense of cherry-picked exotic fascination is hard to find in Lafawnda’s music. Tracks like Butter and Chili showcase a kind of global-futurism where tribal, localised sounds are put through a digital, hyperreal filter to make something brand new. “Once I build the beat, it’s my base. I acknowledge where it comes from but I always make sure to have a very personal take on it,” she explains. “I feel like I contribute. Chili doesn’t sound like anything a zouk producer would make because of the palette. The way we have this little frog that’s so acid house then a synth that’s so rave. I definitely don’t mean to sound pretentious, but I always want to bring something to the table.”

To record her debut self-titled EP, Lafawndah locked herself away in a studio on the Franco-Carribean Guadeloupe islands with Jean Claude Bachara – a legendary producer and pioneer of the local zouk genre. It was a prison in paradise where she worked intensively towards cross-pollinating her sound. Calling from LA, the singer and producer likens the experience to No Exit, the 1944 existentialist theatre piece by Jean Paul Sartre in which three characters are locked in a room together for eternity. “In the play, it starts as something pretty normal – dinner between friends – then it just turns into a nightmare. It didn’t go that badly but there was definitely a side of the trip that was a little nightmarish, anxious, and I think that translates in the EP.”

With pounding carnival rhythms, muggy synths and reggaeton melodies that battle against heavyweight machinery, Lafawndah describes her music as “paranoid zouk” and “ritualistic club music.” It’s a soundtrack to the kind of pleasure-seeking that will either carry you up or throw you sideways. Half-Iranian, half-Egyptian, Lafawndah (real name Yasmine Dubois) has also called New York and Mexico home in the past. While some artists desperately scrabble through the recesses of the internet to find a suitable subculture to piggyback on, Lafawndah allowed real-life experience to inform her vision. “The point of the project is the experience of it more than the removed curiosity. Living in Mexico was a big one. That wasn’t about research of any kind, it was just experiencing it first-hand and going

Having recently clocked in recording sessions with a team made up of Teengirl Fantasy’s Nick Weiss, Hippos In Tanks signee ADR and Night Slugs co-founder L-Vis 1990 in New York, Lafawndah’s forthcoming Tan EP is due for a September release, and will be preceded by a selfdirected video which should drop in May. The beat for the lead single, she tells us, was inspired a song she heard at a Turkish rave in Germany. Far from showing any grand ambition to dominate the world, it seems as if Lafawndah’s mind is more preoccupied with discovering it. The Tan EP will be released this September


“You're not supposed to mention it – but how can you not?”: Bedwyr Williams tears though the po-faced art facade

Issue 52 | crackmagazine.net


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Words :

The Venice Biennale has rolled around again. Last time, dazzled by funny people in funny clothes, I rolled around in an Aperol Spritz haze, peering through the art critics, dealers, collectors and –ists, trying, and largely failing, to engage with what I was supposed to be there for. There was some good art and some bad art and some boring art, but getting to it was a nightmare; it was like a 72-hour long private view locked in to the most intense 45 minute period, full of people battling over the last of the free Heinekens. Sanctuary came in an unlikely place; tucked out of the way, apart from the hustle-and-bustle of the Giardini, was the Welsh Pavilion. Here Bedwyr Williams had transformed a former convent into a meditation on the near and far, stars, terrazzo, hobbyists. A direct response to the exhibition space, The Starry Messenger assimilated and riffed on the material context, marrying a kind of British domesticity to the Italian otherness of the palazzo. Passing through different zones – a home observatory soundtracked by a middle-aged man’s weeping, a suburban pond filled with synthetic terrazzo, inappropriately tinkling, and under a giant coffee table covered with domestic signifiers – led the audience to the bleachers, and Williams’s film. In the (largely) po-faced atmosphere of the Biennale, where art is treated with a reverence usually reserved for sacred texts, this film was a tonic. A dark, humorous trip through the earth and cosmos, from a dentist’s waiting room to a mosaic-tile factory it was contemporary art through the lens of Reeves and Mortimer.

This was a move in medium from the performances and installations Williams had previously been making, but it’s a format that’s working for him. His subsequent films have explored a dystopian post-apocalyptic suburbia and meandered through the consciousnesses of occupants of the surrounding area of a mysterious hotel built entirely on 70 degree angles. His latest, Century Egg, is a project made in conjunction with the museums of Cambridge, and provides an acerbic and surreal glimpse into an intellectual cocktail party. Century Egg is being previewed in Cambridge at the end of May, and The Starry Messenger has been installed in Cardiff’s g39 gallery. I got in touch to ask Bedwyr about the decontextualisation of his work.

The Starry Messenger was site-specific in a sense. How did you go about fitting into this whole new context? I just didn’t even try. All of the things were so much about each other from one room to the other in Venice, you’d have to be like a pedant or something to say “but there’s no terrazzo here.” I hate saying this, but it is what it is, do you know what I mean? I hate people saying that, but it is. What it is.

When you exhibit, your films are often shown alongside or as part of installations. Do you view the installation as secondary to the film, or is it a necessary way of providing a degree of context? I think I conceive of both things at the same time. I’m not, like, an academic theory artist; I never got into it because of that. I think it could spoil it for me, or something like that. Most things that I do are completely like a gut feeling. Maybe it’s a bad thing to be, but I believe in the idea that there could be a magic idea in my head or something. And when it comes, I’m still excited about being an artist in that way. That’s probably not cool, and not very progressive or anything, but I still think as if I’m making a school project or something; how many things can I put in this to impress my teacher, kind of thing. I think all the artists that I like do that as well. Almost as if they’re taking on too much, do you know what I mean?

Augus

tin Ma

cellari

Watching your films I got a sense that maybe they’re only called ‘contemporary art’ because they’re not quite anything else; they don’t engage with the usual recursive, self-referencing discussions of art. They seem to be part of a different discussion: they each have a clear narrative voice. How do you use narrative? I grew up – not that I grew up at the feet of a shepherd or something like that – but my grandfather was a hill farmer, and a little bit of a raconteur. So he would tell stories, and we had to be quiet. And my parents, my uncles and so on would just listen to this guy talk. There’s something about stories. I don’t mean those patchwork pants storytellers that bother kids in outwardbound centres. I think storytelling is interesting, but storytelling at Glastonbury is probably shit, you know what I mean? But storytelling in a pub in Toxteth is probably amazing. So that kind of thing. I think that more or less everyone likes to hear a narrator’s voice. I know it’s not cool to hear a narrator’s voice, but I know, deep down, everyone likes being told something that begins here and ends there. As long as it’s not boring. I believe in that.


Humour features strongly in the narration and visual imagery. A sense of humour in art is quite rare; why have you chosen to engage with it, and how do you use it as a tool? I studied painting at college; I love painting. I love doing it, I like looking at it, most of the time, but when I was at college, I couldn’t get round that thing that it doesn’t really have a proper, live connection with people. I was into [Martin] Kippenburger, and Mike Kelley and things like that when I was a student. No different to anyone else, loads of people like the same stuff. But at the time, most of the students around me were making these fake, like, Richter-type things. Or else just throwing grey pigment at massive square canvases and then putting a small, little blue thing on them. And those fuckers would get all of the end-of-term shows in the gallery at Southampton Road – it would just be full of that shit. I was making no connection at all, but I was friends with Colin Lowe, who used to work with a guy called Roddy Thomson. Through speaking to people like Colin I realised that there were people that have an interest in humour in arts. Because most of my tutors would see it as if, you know, there’s no rules being an artist, but actually – don’t do funny things.

Being based in Wales, you’ve kind of willingly removed yourself from the hub of the ‘art world’, so to speak. Similarly, the concerns manifested in your work are removed from the usual art dialogues. It seems to reflect a kind of faith, or security, in your creative process. Yeah, it’s weird. Differently to a clever artist – not that I’m stupid, but y’know – if I have an idea that I like, I have an emotional reaction to it. Almost like, not that I’m going to cry because I’m so proud of myself, but it’s completely emotional. Like, I believe in that thing of the artist as some kind of poet. That you lock yourself away and you come up with something. It’s not a very logical process for me. The working bit is straightforward – like I have to do A, B and C to make it happen. But the ideas and stuff? You know, there’s two types of people: there’s the kind of people that can go to a symposium and the people that can’t. And I can’t. I can’t order my thoughts in that kind of way. Lights Out runs at g39, Cardiff, until the end of July

As in, art is serious. Yeah. You can do anything, but not that. And it’s a bit like institutional critique, as well. I mean, people don’t like you to make fun of fucking goofball collectors in Frieze, with their silly glasses and their silly shoes; we’re supposed to be people that are like sponges to the outside world, we suck things in and we make work, we think about things in oblique ways. But to celebrate that, we go to these art fairs and these Biennials where the people that buy this stuff dress like Quality Street characters, do you know what I mean? And we’re not supposed to mention it. It’s ridiculous, like how can you not? Like a man in a completely red suit and red glasses… So humour is like a reaction against that? It’s also a pretty keen emotional tool, for audience engagement. Peter Sellers was the first person to rip through a scrolling title sequence on TV. You know, when the production details were on a roller, he was the first to rip through that, and terrify millions of viewers at home, because they’d never seen a flat plane being torn open. I think we live in this time where artists are wonderful, do you know what I mean? We’re wonderful, we’re marvellous. And we’re feted, and there are prizes for us fucking galore. But I think somebody has to make fun of that, or at least question it, or something like that. Issue 52 | crackmagazine.net

“We live in this time where artists are wonderful, and we’re feted, and there are prizes for us fucking galore. But I think somebody has to make fun of that”


first come, first served.


Theaster Gates is about reactivation. A trained potter, urban planner, an artist, an intellectual, his is often called a ‘social practice’. In that capacity, his reactivation takes the form of shrewd financial turnaround: making and selling what could perhaps be termed a ‘domestic’ artwork – pottery, for example – and investing the money in a much bigger project; a social artwork. This could be the purchase of a decrepit and abandoned bank, to be repurposed into an arts-space-cumcommunity-centre, or the procurement of an entire collection of stock from a shop in liquidation: vinyl, books – to be installed in one of his other social projects as a library or listening room. He also hoards “failed” materials, which he reactivates as sculpture, or painting. In his latest show, Freedom of Assembly, at the White Cube in Bermondsey, he exhibits works made from the residue of school gymnasium floors, a hardware shop. Elsewhere he converts authentically made, if practically redundant, sections of roof into paintings. For an artist whose practice has been, up to now, largely politicised in some way – the Chicago-born Gates’ previous White Cube exhibition dealt extensively with civilrights issues, both historical and ongoing – this latest show represents something of a shift in gear. Three rooms of the gallery are given over to his work. The first contains the

Theaster Gates: Freedom Of Assembly

Words: Augustin Macellari


aforementioned hardware store residue: giant orange brackets are mounted on the wall, a tall sculpture made from the shop’s display-case pegboard backing zig-zags up and disappears into the ceiling. Beside it, what looks like a section of roof, tiled in wood. Next door, Ground Rules: two paintings face one another. Made from sections of gym floor, they are warm and familiar. Geometrically arranged pieces of tape, red and black and formerly purposeful, interrupt the vertical lines of hardwood and introduce a discourse the artist has, thus far, not engaged with: art history, art about art. The final, biggest room manifests most literally the ‘Assembly’ of the exhibition’s title. In a corner are huddled small humanoid figures; roughly made, they stand engaged more with each other than with the rest of the space’s contents. On the walls, huge abstracts emit a strong tar smell; in the middle, pots stand on rough wooden plinths, the wood certainly reclaimed from somewhere. Railway sleepers? Aesthetic connections abound; in each room a link to another. Gates has built up a kind of tasteful nexus of clean abstract forms, an exhibition of works that look a lot like art. These links foreground certain discussions: engagement with modernist themes and ideas, questions about painting and sculpture, etc, etc. In some ways this seems to be a show of

dualities and of tension. Gates has inverted the MO, or the regular form of social art; instead of using visual art’s language and techniques to critique a social issue, he has used social issues – the residue of “educational catastrophe” – to join in an intellectual, art historical dialogue about painting, sculpture, material and modernism. In this sense he has reactivated the materials and objects with which he works in a very different way; the social issues become implicit, and the arty issues explicit. Freedom of Assembly becomes not an interrogation of political issues, the First Amendment, and all the problems that spring to mind when the liberal artyfart thinks of America at the moment (at the time of writing the city of Baltimore is succumbing to what are, essentially, race riots after the murder of yet another African American youth at the hands of the PD) but rather becomes an exercise in material assembly, the studio/gallery discourse, and the narrative of objects. It is this latter theme that is the most interesting at play in the exhibition, and which suggests that the show is perhaps not such an exercise in self-indulgence as could be assumed from Gates’ enthusiastic rejection of “explicit” engagement with social issues, in the face of undoubtedly interesting but ‘Ivory Tower’ musings on modernism and all that. During the Q&A at the press-viewing, Gates describes the act of exhibiting traditional African objects, “separate from

their dance or effigy or ritual form. Separate from the makers, with no sense of who made the thing.” That exhibiting objects like this is a fundamentally hopeless challenge: “there’s no way that the mask can tell you enough if you don’t know who the maker was, what the rituals were. And that, that desire to divorce ritual and content from the mask, I think is one of the great challenges of the Western museum.” In this context, Ground Rules suddenly vibrates with a kind of stifled narrative, a sense of something important being thrown into relief, made conspicuous via its absence. In repurposing, reloading these potent artifacts with an entirely other set of meanings, the latent thrums. Similarly, the casualness with which the roofing material paintings – roofs – are exhibited in the main space belies their complex and loaded narrative of production, and the personal connection Gates has to it (his dad was a roofer). In this sense, in parts of the show almost feel like institutional critique; he has taken the socially potent and interpreted it into artspeak. It’s probably defensive of me to read into this a suggestion that this is almost an inverted dumbing down – that the artist is parsing important social issues into high-minded, bourgeois discussions. Nonetheless, I have a distinct sense that the more interesting art is happening elsewhere. What we have at the White Cube is an assortment of works, in dialogue with themselves and with other

works that the White Cube and the White Cube visitors are interested in. In this case, paintings made from the gymnasium floors of closed public schools, paintings made from roofs, and sculptures made from the residue of a bankrupt hardware shop. Aesthetically and conceptually, these works add up to a successful and interesting exhibition, “sexy” objects, reactivated as art; a show that allows Gates to assert that “for the first time in [his] showing career, [he] feel[s] like [he] can say something like, ‘Just let the work speak for itself.’” In Chicago, we have: 56 closed schools and a bankrupt hardware shop that has been bought by Gates, and is itself in the process of being defibrillated, resurrected, by an artist who gets “excited… trying to keep intact a neighbourhood’s commercial strip.” Who is “trying to figure out, in addition to the one or two things that [he] might pull out and take over to the White Cube, how can [he] keep the life that is within these buildings … present?” In this sense, Freedom of Assembly feels a bit like a shadow; what we have access to constitutes almost a byproduct. It’s a sign of Gates’ abilities and quality as an artist, as well as the towering significance of what is casting the shadow in the first place, that despite the dilution of the explicit social themes, they remain potent in their quiescence. Freedom of Assembly runs at White Cube Bermondsey until 5 July

(Left) Theaster Gates, Atlas, 2015. © Theaster Gates. Photo © White Cube (Ben Westoby) / (This Page) Theaster Gates, White Sky, Overcast, 2014. © Theaster Gates. Photo © White Cube (Ben Westoby)


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JH Zane tears fabric for the rebel girls Words: Cassandra Kirk / Photography: Elise Rose

Several seasons ago, a generation of Chinese students graduated from fashion design courses and launched their own labels. The question of what they were representing, how to classify their collective aesthetic and what separated them from the rest of the world’s young talent reverberated through the industry and its media. It seems arbitrary now, this attempted classification of the sprawling artistic output of a particular national group. Of course, China’s stratospheric economic rise had huge effects on the world of fashion and so, naturally, many became increasingly curious about the the country and its people’s sense of fashion and style. But now, being a Chinese fashion designer isn’t a preset, just as it wouldn’t be if you happen to come from anywhere else in the world. Juhao Zeng, the 26-year-old behind womenswear label JH Zane, emerged from this spring of designers, though his work is not defined by geographical context. The mood board on the wall of Zeng’s studio, for example, shows several pictures of chairs of mid-century modernity in black and caramel leathers and dark wood. “For autumn/winter, what I was looking at was homeware,” he explains. “I was actually just trying to buy a chair for my house and I came across this amazing interior designer, Finn Juhl, and I thought it was an amazing colour palette. He’s got a museum in Copenhagen, which is actually his house, and it’s just beautiful. I wanted to design something for the woman who lived in that house, like a character. That’s how I worked last season.” The imagined girl in question wears a furry mustard jacket with a black and white checkerboard flare skirt, which is puckered and folded over at the waist. She wears flares, long and slender or cropped mid-calf, with ruffled off-the-shoulder shirts and tan tunics over grey polo necks. JH Zane has amassed a devoted following for such a clean, tailored and hyper-feminine take on womenswear where, for Zeng, the devil’s in the details. Growing up around his parents’ clothing factory in the Southeastern metropolis of Shenzhen, Zeng would pester workers to explain what they were doing, or why machines moved the way they did. But his decision to move into fashion wasn’t made until much later. “The factory was just a place to hang around for me, it wasn’t something I took seriously as a kid” he recalls. “I knew I was interested in art and design, but I didn’t know what I was going to do until I got into university and chose fashion.” His decision proved to be a wise one, and after graduating from Winchester School of Art in 2011, Zeng went on to train professionally at Katie Eary and Gareth Pugh’s studios, as well as working as a freelance stylist in London. It was here he

gained an understanding for the intricacies of fit, shape and art direction, sharpening his practical skills and defining his own signature aesthetic. “After those two years I discovered what styles I actually liked and what I wanted to dress women in. I have a better idea of what women’s bodies are like. It was a long process, to find what people call brand identity.” Throughout the four collections he’s produced since launching JH Zane, several things recur, including tablecloth and kitchen tile-esque geometric patterns. “If you look back to all my old seasons, you can always see a touch of 60s or 70s,” he tells us. “I simply love it.” The route to the finished collection changes every season, with fabric being key to constructing the desired silhouettes. Each time, his girls have a particular attitude. And, as we talk, it’s clear that the strength of character of his girls – he repeatedly refers to them ‘my girls’ – is what defines them.  “Last season was rebellious, the season before that, quite energetic. Next season I want to do something fairly sarcastic … I want women to feel powerful wearing my clothes.” What makes a woman powerful? “Being themselves. Who cares what other people think? That’s the attitude I want my girls to have.” Another recurring theme essential to Zeng’s romantic tailoring is one of carefully selected revealing and covering up, baring pockets of skin in unusual places. We wonder if it’s done to titillate, to tease or to provoke – he comes across as the type to enjoy a gentle wind-up, after all. “I am definitely quite conscious about the revealing nature to my work. I don’t like to show too much, but also don’t want to show nothing at all; classy with a surprising twist.” Slung on the rail, a monochrome dress with unfinished edges, pieced together as if from sections of torn fabric, demonstrates his idea of sex appeal. The back is tied, revealing a sliver of skin, and the whole thing feels as if it could fall off with the tug of a string. It’s all of these things: modest, revealing, and full of contradictions. “Like I mentioned before, my design is always driven by feminism. I like to rebel from what some people think women should look like, or whatever they consider sexy. I might unconsciously provoke, tease or titillate certain people, but it’s never my intention. The whole idea or concept of my brand is never about anyone else but the women themselves; to be confident, comfortable, quirky, and, most importantly, strong and independent.” For more information on JH Zane’s SS15 collection, visit jhzane.co.uk


“My design is always driven by feminism”


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Vest: Cottweiler Jacket: Craig Green Trousers: Stylists own Trainers: Y-3

Aesthetic: Holly Herndon

“I know that you know me better than I know me.” Released in September 2014, Home by Holly Herndon is a love song of unbridled intimacy. The object of her affection and unerring trust, here, is a device – a phone, a laptop – blessed with a Wi-Fi connection. An intangible link to her centralised sense of self. The implication is that connectivity, the ability to access information, communication, data, functions in itself as Home. Presented parallel to this is the vulnerability innate to such accessibility: the weakened sense of privacy and the potential for treachery of the most piercing kind. Because Home has a second subject – an imagined third party, monitoring her activity, accessing her data. The third element within Home’s audio/visual/

Photography: Dexter Lander Stylist: Adam Mckee Photo Assistant: Samantha Rubinstein Hair: Joel Benjamin Graphics: Joshua Wiley Words: Geraint Davies


63 The subsequent singles, Chorus – paired to software visionary Akihiko Taniguchi’s imagining of real-time, 3D internet interaction – and the album’s stirring opening track Interference, also boasting a Metahavendirected video, painted the album as an exercise in collaboration; of a solo artist conscious of the fundamental impossibility of communicating anything about collective experience when conducted in isolation. Clasping these ideas, this Aesthetic shoot and interview with Herndon exists as a collaboration between Crack,

This Page Shirt: Maison Martin Margiela Trousers: Vintage

sensory course is the concept of the avatar: the version of oneself projected online, tweaked via tagging and untagging, disclosure and retainment of information. A portrait, self-curated and written in information. “I don’t know which me to be”, Herndon’s voice pools and disperses. Home was the first glimpse of Platform, Holly Herndon’s second album, her first for 4AD, and it acted as a marker in terms of holistic concept. Its video saw the Herndon we know – all pale skin and shock of orange hair – suddenly obscured in a deluge of icons, a waterfall of meaningless yet familiar data. The video was directed by Metahaven, the Dutch studio specialising in experimental digital design, key players in development a visual aesthetic for Platform that doesn’t so much complement its concept as embed itself deeply within it.

photographer Dexter Lander, and Herndon’s process itself. Drawing inspiration from Home, the shoot approaches the idea of metadata in mobile photography; shot entirely on iPhone, it addresses the mass of information that can be gleaned from a single tap of the finger in terms of image recognition, geotagging, technological specificity. The shoot further elaborates on the ideas of the digital self explored through Platform, a study in format and personal projection, as well as aesthetic and visual identity expressed through fashionas-art. In her wardrobe


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Dress: Yohji Yamamoto Trousers: Stylist's own Trainers: Y-3


65 specifications, Herndon – a doctoral candidate in composition at Stanford’s Centre for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) – became embodied as both an idea of the artist, and as a physical entity, someone who thinks about clothing in terms of shape, comfort and wearability. It’s this dialogue which makes Platform such a startling piece of work. With the engrossing tapestries of Home and Chorus sitting alongside conceptual exercises like the narrative sound experiment Lonely At The Top, there’s no avoiding its status as a radical album. That Herndon’s presence is stirring dialogue about identity, technology, sound design, conceptual art, fashion and aesthetics is indispensable.

How do you feel your visual aesthetic has developed from previous campaigns to Platform? It has dramatically changed since working with Metahaven in that it feels much more deliberate. Metahaven are one of the most interesting contemporary design groups – and are distinct for their ability to apply their processes towards political objectives. We discussed Russian Constructivism a lot when working on the record, which is one of the few examples of the avant garde paralleling and complimenting political shifts. We are both hugely concerned about issues of privacy, new technological alternatives and share a social and DIY attitude. To what extend is your aesthetic shaped, or even dictated, by technological advancements? This is something that I consciously have tried to integrate as seamlessly as possibly into my practice. I’m obviously interested

in technology anyways, and topics pertaining to tech are often the conceptual driver behind my work, so it makes the most sense to me to use technology to talk about it. Not only does it give me a deeper understanding of my subject matter, but it also helps me to find aesthetics that do not rely on past expressions, and instead can respond to the problems we face today, in the language of today. New problems call for new strategies, and that is what Platform is all about. What qualities do you look for in artists you’re interested in collaborating with? As I mentioned before, I like to integrate subject matter into my work process. With Platform, I was interested in infrastructure and collective action, so the natural first place to start was with opening up my practice. All of my collaborators bring something unique to the table, but one unifying quality is that they are often engaged in multifaceted practices, where they are dealing with issues outside of music or art alone. This is something that has recently become important to me, as I am realising that music and art alone is hugely ineffective toward actual social or political change. There is a dialogue in contemporary art right now around the dehumanisation and fetishisation of the female body observed via beauty advertising. Do you have any opinions on this side of the fashion industry?  There is the art of fashion design and there is industry. I am curious and hopeful about viable alternatives to this predicament. Fashion design can be hugely transformative, in the way that we view our bodies and our own value. I find inspiration in designers like Amber Halford, of Perfect 69, who makes clothes for

Top: Yohji Yamamoto, Jacket: Vintage Trousers: Stylist's own Trainers- Y-3


66 all bodies, regardless of size, shape or age. But of course that is the minority, the majority of the industry is about profit margins, and making someone feel beholden to a brand for their sense of self is an effective way of turning a profit. It’s a missed opportunity really – the human body as canvas could be so much more interesting, empowering, and inclusive than the dominant discourse currently allows. This shoot interrogates the idea of metadata in mobile photography – the This Spread Top: Issey Miyake Trousers: Stylist's own

amount of information that can be gleaned from a single shot. While some find this unsettling, is it fair to say you embrace, even encourage, this level of technological intimacy? This level of detail can be frightening, and I think it’s important to acknowledge and educate ourselves about the dangers implicit to these new capabilities. Then again, I don’t have a nostalgia for a simpler, disconnected time. Our notions of what is natural and intimate shift as our tools evolve, and I’m interested in finding the benefits of these technologies, as well as the pitfalls. There’s an increasing idealisation towards tactile, physical formats such as vinyl, or film photography, in conscious friction with the digitalisation of art and information; the ephemerality of an iPhone photo sits at the opposite extreme to a developed film photo. Do you see these two things as completely different entities, or versions of the same form?  I see it as a continuum, and there will always be someone claiming that one is less real than the other, or that digital work doesn’t contain the artist’s aura. I find it quite boring, to be honest, and it’s a pretty fallible argument as often times people use prior technologies to somehow delegitimise newer technologies, as if the 1970s or whatever were some special moment in time where the balance was just right. In music I think it’s funny, as I study with many people who pioneered digital technology and are so grateful at the ease in which they can create and


67 share their work now. John Chowning, who discovered digital FM synthesis and founded CCRMA, was horrified when he heard that we are still sharing music in vinyl format. He is in his 80s and couldn’t fathom why we would be so retro! I’m extremely mobile, in fact I don’t have a permanent residence at the moment, so being able to travel with the ideas embedded in records and books stored on a hard drive is huge for me. There’s something quite liberating about not needing a lot of stuff; it helps me to re-evaluate my priorities and make fast decisions. You’ve embraced, even promoted, the capacity of the laptop as a tool of creative expression. Do you feel a similar level of connection to your iPhone? Do you feel indebted to it as a means of contributing to your life? Or does its capacity for transferring intimate information at such speed contribute to ‘avatar anxiety’?

It’s both, of course. I do feel extremely intimate with my phone, in fact that was what inspired me to write Home. I felt as long as I could find Wi-Fi and my phone was charged, I could be home in my inbox, regardless of where I was physically. This trust is of course betrayed when that home isn’t secure or private. I don’t have a lot of avatar anxiety in terms of FOMO. I don’t use social media often enough to experience that and when I do, I tend to feel energised by the activity. You specified Yamamoto and Miyake as designers whose clothes you enjoy wearing. What appeals to you about these designers? I love the tailoring of both. Sometimes when designs are not classically feminine I can look bulky, because I’m not super tall, but the clean lines and tailoring, create a wonderful silhouette without relying on tired notions of the feminine. Also I’m a comfort freak. If it’s not comfortable, I know I won’t wear it, so with these designers, I can wear flat shoes, and comfortable cuts, without looking like a slob. Comfort and mobility to me communicate empowerment. Clothing/ shoes that don’t allow me to walk or move, communicate that movement and work is not a priority. Mobility and the ability to explore are the most important freedoms for me. Platform is released 18 May via 4AD


69

Live

COURTNEY BARNET T The Fleece, Bristol 28 March

THE HANDSOME FAMILY The Globe, Cardiff 22 March

It's a rare musician that can break through the demographic, amassing compositional purists and the experimentally curious. German composer Nils Frahm has done just that, seamlessly crossing from the melancholy of profound piano stories to rhythmically heavy impressions of keys, drum machines and bass. Starting off his European tour with two sold out shows at the Volksbühne in his residing city of Berlin, Nils left a rare impression on those fortunate enough to slip into the 100-year-old ‘People's Theatre’. As Frahm’s hands dance he runs through the first melodies on his upright piano and the Mellotron (a tape replay keyboard containing pre-recorded sounds). At some point, on his upright, he breaks into a digitally unadulterated piece, sad and timely, a signature work. The finale is an improvised, slowly-built rendition of the Says composition from 2013’s Spaces and moves through a majestic 10 minutes. The audience roars, and Frahm returns for an two-part encore. Drumming out a rhythmically deviant groove on his grand piano with soft mallets, he brushes the microphone, and once back on the keys he pounces and paddles over his strong fingers, laying out a Schubert-worthy finish and earning a standing, screaming ovation.

N

! Maria Mouk Markus Werner

! Xavier Boucherat

LONEL ADY The Haunt, Brighton 14 April

GROUPER St John at Hackney, London 23 April The St John Sessions series of ambient, drone and modern classical shows at the Hackney church of the same name are the best musical initiative going in London right now, period. That tonight’s instalment is completely sold out should be testament to the organisers’ cumulatively excellent curation as much as Grouper’s ascendant profile. Liz Harris’s live iteration this evening is the closest to one of conventional songs we’ve seen her play, excepting her turn in Mirrorring a couple of years back. Drawing heavily on tracks from last year’s excellent Ruins – transposed from the delicate, solo piano of that record to a more usual reverb-drenched guitar and tape combo – the set is atypically accessible, expectedly elegiac and all-too-brief. It’s thrilling to hear her voice in such relative clarity. It’s easy to forget that voice when it’s being used as a treated, droning extra instrument in her more abstracted work. It’s a haunting element when brought to the fore. Certain segments seem rehashed from the his Café Oto show with Jefre Cantu-Ledesma a few years back. Also perplexing is Harris’ decision to play in part against a backing track. Despite the flaws, the Ruins highlight Clearing and the protracted closer of Made of Air are heady and beguiling all the same. !

Thomas Howells N Brian Whar

These days there’s the general impression that an artist only gets one real chance to make a splash; that first impressions are everything. When Lonelady’s impressive debut album Nerve Up appeared on Warp Records half a decade ago, it failed to have the impact it probably deserved, and as she slipped off the radar, you could have been forgiven for presuming she’d gone for good, consigned to the piles of not quites. But new album Hinterland has landed to a fanfare of critical acclaim, finding a degree of broader appreciation for its melding of soulful 80s pop, post-punk and disco. The album forms the backbone of tonight’s set, and the use of triggered samples and rigorously rehearsed elements result in a heavily controlled performance. As video images of Campbell’s hometown seep across the back of the stage, it becomes clear that post-industrial Manchester informs much of Lonelady’s rigid, controlled rhythmic identity.  The Joy Division-esque intro of Bunkerpop harnesses skipping guitar riffs worked through to their natural ends, while the slippery pop of Groove It Out revels in funk-tinged riffs and elasticated basslines reminiscent of fellow Mancunians A Certain Ratio, and by the time closing song Hinterland arrives, one thing is certain; Lonelady is a rare talent, and one who deserved to rise again. !

! Steven Dores

Nathan Westley N Mike Burnell

Issue 52 | crackmagazine.net

NILS FRAHM Volksbühne, Berlin 28 March

“You need to tone it down boy,” bellows the lumbering, dishevelled figure of Brett Sparks, a fire in his tired eyes. The Handsome Family’s frontman is in no mood for the antics of the late-20-something weirdo wrecking everyone’s vibe down the front. From start to finish, the New Mexico-based trio have the packed bar of country lovers and True Detective fans locked down in a trance – everyone, that is, bar the problem child, who batters about the place whooping and hollering, loudly pestering his visibly mortified girlfriend.     The young man is forcibly removed. But minutes later, just as the murder ballads resume, a fight breaks out at the back of the venue. Which begs the question: this is essentially a country and folk gig, why’s it popping off in here? Could there be something diabolical at work?  For all of the graceful harmonies, the gorgeous songwriting, or the playful husband-wife bickering, you can’t shake the feeling that something is very, very off with this music as it’s performed live. Just beneath the surface, you can hear something utterly infernal stirring; perhaps the real genius of The Handsome Family is, they never go quite as far as to peel back the skin.  We’re all being made to contend with our demons tonight, and clearly, some weren’t ready. A very special show – but whether or not it was enjoyable is debatable.

Courtney Barnett arrives in Bristol less than a week after the release of her new album Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit. When she asks the sold-out crowd whether they’ve bought a copy yet, the vast majority of the room responds in the affirmative, and they’re probably not lying – the album has just surged into the Top 20. Barnett has been cresting a wave that’s washed her onto the sweaty streets of SXSW (for roughly a billion shows), TV appearances with Ellen DeGeneres and Annie Mac and a seemingly endless tour of the world. And yet, as she saunters on stage to roll out a solo version of Depreston while technical issues are resolved, she exudes the laid-back charm that’s made her such a likeable personality. It’s a gentle start to a set that ebbs and flows, from the Brian Jonestown Massacre-aping Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go To The Party to the overdriven, Pixiesesque anthem Pedestrian At Best. In between, Barnett’s gentle demeanour, inter-band-banter and loose, bluesy guitar solos enamour the crowd completely. Barnett may have an exhausting schedule ahead of her, but when she returns to the stage for a highly-entertaining encore of the Divinyls’ 80s classic I’ll Make You Happy, it feels good to see her clearly enjoying the ride.


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71

Products

ACADIA SHIRT Fido Dido x Etudes Studio €220 etudes-studio.com This inspired hook-up between Paris's sharpest design studio and legendary 90s cartoon character Fido Dido (you know, the one from the 7 Up ads) plasters Fido's mug all over a monochrome range of cut-and-sew shirts, tees, sweats and bags. This chequered number is our favourite, just don't wear it near a motor-racing event unless you want to face the wrath of the wealthy and entitled.

RECORD BAG PPU $7.99 earcave.com Carry the weight of the vinyl revival on your shoulder with this classy tote from the wonderful dudes at Peoples Potential Unlimited.

PATCH SET Mar tine Rose x Ditto £55 dittopress.co.uk TIMEX 80 CL ASSIC Timex £59.99 timex.co.uk We've all got (i)phones now, but far from making watches redundant, they're emphasising the inherently attractive qualities a nice bit of wrist furniture offers the casual wearer. If you're unsure about how to proceed, just know that these Timex watches are fucking classic (clue's in the name), and in the world of the watch, classic is king.

Convert your inner-punk into your outer-punk with this wonderfully designed range of ambiguous badges, featuring the names of real-life skinheads! Wear yours with pride while you kick your local Foxtons in.

LOGO SOCKS Huf x Thrasher £15 flatspot.com Guys, please welcome the return of the sock to this humble page. It’s officially hot so you can’t get away with those 5-for-£3 Primarni’s poking out of your shoes anymore, not in those shorts mate. Best pretend you can skateboard and wrap up in these Huf x Thrashers.

FIN SWIMSHORTS Ontour €49.95 ontour.nl Tone up, bronze up, suns out, guns out, knees out, knees up, wear some shorts, have some fun, try not worry about anything too much, you're more likely to win an Oscar than get attacked by a shark.

COMPETITION Straight outta Brooklyn, caseable (yep, lower-case c) knock out some very fine, hand-crafted protection for the essential hardware that enables your digital life to continue apace. We've worked together to produce a limited range of Crack-themed laptop cases, and to win one for yourself all you have to do is answer the following question: Which of these is not the name of an official Instagram filter: a) Ludwig b) Jamie Jones c) Brannan Send your answer to competitions@crackmagazine.net Head to caseable.com to see the full range.

In his native France, Laurent Garnier is basically a God (besides being literally a Knight, having been recently named Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres), which is explains why this, Garnier's personal history of dance music, has become a bestseller. Featuring insights from professional space-cadet Jeff Mills, LCD Soundsystem's (RIP) James Murphy and King-of-thedisco Francois K, it's probably a bit easier to digest than Energy Flash and probably a lot funnier, which makes it pretty essential if you ask us (we love you Simon).

Issue 52 | crackmagazine.net

ELECTROCHOC Laurent Garnier £30 laurentgarnierbook.com


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Albums

12

14 13

17

15 METZ METZ II Sub Pop

The genesis of Blur’s sound from their debut – Leisure – to their sophomore effort – Modern Life is Rubbish – was undoubtedly the making of the band. Across four brilliant albums they streamlined Essex-bred banter into a distinctly British style of eclecticallysourced pop music. Then, all of a sudden, they got all clever and started knocking about with all artists and what-not. The Magic Whip, fortunately, harks back to that brilliant streak of pop genius and while there’s the occasional nod to Think Tank-era loftiness on the whole it’s not half bad. Opening with Lonesome Street is probably the best idea they’ve had since Tender swayed sixth album 13 into life. Unlike Tender though, it stomps through a poppy frame recalling a more energised Blur. It’s Coxon’s knack for melody and Albarn’s comic timing put to best-fit. The only real face-palm moments emerge from the lyrics. In Ice Cream Man (“Here comes the ice-cream man/parked at the end of the road”) Albarn tries to squeeze out a metaphor from a Whippy pump and ends up staring down at a melted choc-ice. Overlooking the pomp there’s plenty of well-pitched tunes to balance it out - tracks like New World Towers and There Are Too Many of Us tackle crucial subjects without getting too pretentious while Go Out and I Broadcast bring a barrage of classic CoxonAlbarn pop to the fore. The Magic Whip isn’t perfect but it’s certainly a welcome return for a songwriting partnership that’s spent far too long in the dark.

It’s hard to talk about this record without mentioning that album title, so for those not in the know, let’s summarise the context: Lil Wayne is Young Thug’s idol. Young Thug has been picked up by Birdman, who used to be Lil Wayne’s label boss. Wayne and Birdman are in a bitter feud, and Wayne has accused Birdman of withholding his next album, Tha Carter V. Young Thug, for reasons it’s hard to understand, decided to call his next full length Tha Carter 6. After being threatened with a lawsuit, Thugger then changed the title to Barter 6 – a reference to the Blood gang’s practice of replacing the letter “C” with “B” to express their disdain for the Crips. Prior to its release, Complex magazine posed the question: will Barter 6 make Lil Wayne’s Carter V irrelevant? The answer is no. While Weezy is one of the few identifiable strands in the DNA of Young Thug’s eccentric vocal style, this surprisingly restrained record sees the Atlanta rapper swerve major label theatrics and continue to carve his own path. Constantly Hating sets the tone sonically with a subtle, mid-paced trap beat which features a featherlight melody that feels almost comic when juxtaposed with Birdman’s threat to break your nose. The less-is-more approach of the beats here is a triumph. With bigger gaps to fill and little to hide behind, Barter 6 sees Thugger exercise the full melodic and rhythmic potential of his voice. It’s possibly his most polished material to date, but it sounds like nothing else out there. And after a few listens, all those peculiar punch lines, spluttered ad-libs and gooey, off-key hooks begin to stick in your memory like drying drops of paint that were recklessly flung at a canvas. Thrilling stuff.

Howling’s eponymous debut single seduced everyone who heard it in 2012. The plaintive and confessional vocal of Ry X soared above Innervisions label boss Frank Wiedemann’s delicate deep house rhythms. But while Howling (the single) was an unanticipated and deserved success, Howling (the act) had only one track to their name. The fact that their debut album Sacred Ground not only refuses to hide behind their hit single, but offers such a rich and layered palette of sounds and compositions, is testament to the ability of two talented artists to make the best of serendipitous circumstances. As John Talabot and Pional proved; dreamy deep house plus one unusual, emotive vocalist can be a winning combination. As SBTRKT and Sampha proved, it can also quickly become grating and insipid. But while on occasion Sacred Ground veers into super-fey territory, Wiedemann’s subtle production gives what otherwise might have been morose melodies a sense of dynamism and direction. X Machina is probably the standout track: a rippling electronic undertow gently submerging ethereal vocals. The otherworldly Forest builds into a cyclical, shamanic stomp, while the cinematic and cerebral Zurich is a beautiful slice of charming and chiming electronic ambience. A pared-down, ‘unplugged’ version of first single Howling closes out the album. Sounding eerie and elusive, it’s a confident and anti-anthemic interpretation, rather than a cynical cashing in on their earlier success.

While there are many women making great club music, unfortunately the most common stereotype of “a deejay/producer” is still The Solitary Man. He makes beats in his bedroom by himself; he performs solo; he tours alone. Jamie Smith, however, started out in a band – a collaborative venture. The xx got famous fast, and Smith has since pursued several other collaborative projects - producing for Drake, working with Gil Scott Heron, and so on. But now we have In Colour, with just his name on the cover. As he told Rolling Stone, he doesn’t “get to hide in the back anymore.” Behind the self-deprecation is, perhaps, the fear of going it alone when your musical identity is so tied to such a successful band. Opener Gosh betrays none of this diffidence. Built around a mangled sample of the break in Lyn Collins’ Think About It, Gosh is an homage to UK hardcore, the first half to its grimier edge and the second to its ravey, positive-vibes soul. Swaggering, cut-up beats are peppered with MC calls, and punctuated with what begins as an ominous sweeping bass; then, a surprisingly sunny portmanteau synth flips that same bass line into major key-sounding ecstasy. It’s an extremely clever and well-worked song. Later on, the UK hardcore referencing returns with Hold Tight: maximal jungle with gentrified-South-London aesthetics. It'll be interesting to see how much staying power this iteration of the 'nuum will have. The xx were either pilloried or praised for their lyrics on love and (failed) relationships, and In Colour develops these themes. SeeSaw is the most like an xx song on the whole album, with xx bandmate Romy delivering a breathe-y vocal about a tortuously changeable romance that appears to end in resigned melancholy. Then Smith’s onto what’s likely to be the album highlight for most people, Loud Places, again featuring Romy on vocals. A softly tinkling piano and warm bass rouses when a hand-clapped section ushers in a sing-along chorus over a smart, if unsurprisingly so by now, lyric on a breakup. Songs like this will confirm either fans’ adulation of The xx as emotionally-articulate, minimal pop geniuses, or detractors’ dismissal as formulaic miserabilists. There are a couple of missteps. I Know There’s Gonna Be Good Times is fun, to an extent, and is probably some kind of showcase for Smith’s RnB/hip-hop production talents, but becomes skip-able after a few listens. Album closer Girl starts with bathos - a voice saying, “you’re the most beautiful girl in Hackney, you know.” It’s a decent song, but it feels quite static compared to the rest of the album, and doesn’t lend any sense of conclusion where there should be. We have here, then, a debut solo effort that is excellent in large parts, less so in others. The track sequencing, other than for Girl, is spot on, but an over-reliance on lyrics describing fraught/ended relationships will lead some to wonder whether The xx, as a band, can write about anything else. Smith might be still working out what ‘his sound’ really is. But if the aim was to establish himself as an individual performer of great talent, to send off the nervous shoe-gazing boy reputation – to efface his own selfeffacement, maybe – In Colour is a great success.

Expectation can be a killer. When Metz came searing into the public consciousness three years ago, expectation wasn’t one of the factors that stood in their way. No, they just had the other 9,999 factors that make the industry resemble a desperate arid landscape where making it, and keeping it, in a rock band is a jazzy combination of considerable talent, relentless work ethic, pinpoint timing and perfect luck. You’re gonna struggle, son. But Metz caught the attention, and kept it, because they deserved it. They made thrillingly visceral, roaringly honest punk rock, fearlessly aggressive, carelessly free. They were one of the most exciting punk rock bands to emerge in the best part of a decade, a dose of old-school North American punk ethos without seeming like an homage. In short, they fucking ruled. To album number two, and everyone’s rooting for Metz. Everyone expects Metz II to be another grand statement. Everyone expects Metz to be the band to herald a new era of emancipating punk rock music. Expectation can be a killer. Because as superficially exciting as these 10 tracks are; as great as it is to hear the trick of playing a riff for eight bars longer than it has any right to be played while a crash cymbal makes you squint with every wired hit repeated out of all recognition; as much as those skewed post-Hot Snakes/Jesus Lizard guitar parts bring a sadistic smile to your face – as an album, it’s ultimately unedifying. Once the urgent thrill of opener Acetate has petered away, you don’t feel as if you’ve learned anything new about these three fine, talented men from Toronto. You wonder what they’ve really learned from three years on the road, other than to express their preordained formula with increased precision. It’s all just a tiny bit flat. Which sucks, because that’s the last word that could be directed at premium, primetime Metz. Coming into this album with no previous knowledge of the band’s capabilities, you’d probably be left thoroughly sated. But it’s the expectation – that’s the killer here.

! Billy Black

! Davy Reed

! Adam Corner

! Robert Bates

! Geraint Davies

YOUNG THUG Barter 6 300 Entertainment / Atlantic

BLUR The Magic Whip Parlophone

HOWLING Sacred Ground Monkeytown

JAMIE X X In Colour Young Turks


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12 MAT THEW HERBERT The Shakes Caroline International

HUDSON MOHAWKE Lantern Warp

Due to a few years of hype and airplay, second albums are generally the ones where a band branches out a bit – cracking out the obscure, lofty references or hiring a children's choir before going bankrupt. Not Joanna Gruesome. Sticking to their uncannily unique blend of furious alt-punk thrashes and melodic indie pop, their second record is very much business as usual. A streamlined follow on from their wonderful debut Weird Sister, their second LP, clocking in at an admittedly meagre twenty minutes, allows basically no room for error or improvement; a second roll of the dice for a band who tie together the disparate threads of indie music with incredible aloofness and zeal. Last Year opens the record with the band’s strongest track to date, a hugely exciting song that distils perfectly the ferocious vocals, crashing guitars and melodic choruses that have earned them such acclaim. Likewise, second track Jamie (Luvver) presents melodic hook after melodic hook, another bewilderingly good song within the first five minutes. A comparatively lacklustre Crayon slightly misses its mark with its stop-start verses, but any very slight reservations are quickly and brutally smashed under the crunching noise that opens I Don’t Wanna Relax. Awesome stuff, and while the band don’t cover any particularly new territory for themselves here, the main question to be asked is who the fuck cares?

It can sometimes be hard to know exactly how much fun we are supposed to be having. Favouring a shroud of irony over sincerity, expressions of open enjoyment leave us vulnerable, looking over our shoulders, secondguessing whether or not anyone else is going to join in. It is this climate that makes what Hudson Mohawke has achieved with his second solo album actually quite remarkable. From start to finish it, its intent is to encourage serious, aggressive, uninhibited joy. This is euphornography. The idiosyncrasies of his first record Butter, the maximalism of his work for GOOD Music and the fervour of TNGHT are all present in Lantern. And after years of contributing and collaborating, this is Hudson Mohawke’s time to take centre stage. Even the tracks with features from the likes of Miguel, Antony Hegarty, and Jhené Aiko, can’t distract from the confidence of identity expressed by their conductor. In fact, the record stretches in a number of directions, playfully darting between orchestral arrangements and RnB jams; the opulent scale of Kettles offset by the poignant delicacy of Indian Steps. Yes there are “big tunes”, and you can expect to hear Ryderz at basically every single festival you go to this summer. It could easily be levelled that Hudson Mohawke’s sound is all about scale, and the album does sound huge both in instrumentation and ambition. Yet to only hear the size of it all is to miss the album’s key theme: to make music that sincerely sounds of happiness. Just as it is easier to send a thousand flirty, sarcastic texts than to say, “I love you”, Lantern takes the step to actually sound as big as we can all feel. With this foundation, the floor-filling drops he has made his name with are endowed with more purpose than ever. Lantern will challenge you not to start enjoying yourself, and it will always win.

For all its overbearing claustrophobia and stick-it-to-the-man title, Earl Sweatshirt’s follow up to 2013’s Doris isn’t the sound of an artist who has run out of ideas. Rather than joining his once-partner Tyler on a technicolour voyage toward multi-platform supremacy, Earl has tiptoed back into his monochrome lock-up and quietly slid this record past the threshold from underneath the door. It’s the sheer commitment to this feeling of sunless despondency which makes the record such a singular rap release. There are also moments of real lyrical mastery. On Mantra Earl spits, “Now you surrounded with a gaggle of 100 fucking thousand kids / Who you can't get mad at when they want a pound and pic / Cause they the reason that the traffic on the browser quick / And they the reason that the paper in your trousers thick”. These laments to millennial stardom battle against sluggish beats and a muted vocal mix. While occasionally these moments of preoccupied genius blur into the swampy terrain Earl is preaching from – there is a bold, unswerving aesthetic that has to be admired. When Odd Future first arrived, questions around longevity came at them from all angles. While Tyler endeavours to dominate at a macro level, Earl has closed in the lens and pinned down a sound of his own. I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside is a bold - albeit one-track - statement of intent. Even after three years of freedom, he’s kept us holding out for the next move.

! Jon Clark

! Angus Harrison

! Duncan Harrison

JOANNA GRUESOME Peanut Butter Fortuna Pop!

What a pair of fucking fakes. This pair of papier-mache punks with their mockney lip-flapping, fag-paper-thin-sentiment, derivative riffs, embarrassingly prescriptive pseudo-politics and sixth form poetry, firing barbs as prickly as soup. These two fucking fakes. These two make Royal Blood look like Crass. Cashing in on the dull, numb despair which defines so many young people’s lives – it’s beyond ironic. Slaves’ £50 skinheads will grow back, but they can never take back this act. This debut album, released on one of the biggest labels in the world, is rotten, insulting from the top down. Single Cheer Up London is a disgrace, a pseudoironic call to arms set to a 4/4 electro pulse, a polished version of anarchic, post-riot, disaffected youth emulated and monetised; recession, gentrification, all that shit, that grimy shit that affects people, regurgitated and recorded and aimed at an audience growing up in this shit and not really realising what’s so fucked up about it all, and being force fed this pathetic facsimile. They want your cash, they’ll do what they’re told. Box ticking liars. This album is shit, and Slaves’ borrowing of punk tropes and real problems to peddle this slickly produced hatefully-contrived gunk is despicable, boiling down the kind of heart-breaking, life-ruining issues which define Cameron’s Britain into handy, snappy, cut-out-and-keep jacketpatch slogans like Despair and Traffic. Despair and traffic. Give me a fucking break. Fakes. Fucking fakes.

Phillip Lauer has spent the three years since Phillips, his Running Back debut, remixing and collaborating across the Frankfurt club scene he is embroiled in, notably producing a string of work with Gerd Janson under their Tuff City Kids moniker. Yet, the release of Borndom marks a welcome return for Lauer to the format where he is arguably at his most interesting. That’s not to say Lauer’s time away hasn’t afforded him progression. Borndom is like Phillips in HD; everything is clearer, bolder and more assured. Infectious or otherwise, the drawn out nature of Borndom begs for vocals, and it’s the tracks with guest spots that are most rewarding. From the charmingly monochromatic droll of Ela on Alright and Caribou’s Sun channelling Telefon to Jasnau’s robotic ESC feature, Borndom relies on these guest vocals to provide focus, structure and ultimately, intrigue. There are points where Lauer alone is able to bring moments of brilliance. Title track Borndom is delightfully vintage, while Gammelan looks forward, its inescapably grooving melody building to euphoric highs that the rest of the album strives to recapture. These moments dot themselves about in amongst a sea of uninspiring, yet relatively enjoyable more middle of the road numbers. Lauer’s ability to evoke joyful nostalgia whilst simultaneously conjuring visions of the future is what sets him above others in an overcrowded genre. If, moving forward, he is able to recapture and maintain the highs of Borndom, Lauer has the potential to be a master of the album format. For now though, Borndom sits just above Boredom.

Matthew Herbert’s inclination to address dance music from a classical yet leftfield school of thought is as prevalent as ever on The Shakes. In many ways, the album continues from where 2001’s Bodily Functions LP left off, expanding on his playful mixture of jazz-informed house and popinfused ballads. However, with vocalists taking centre stage, the album carves a theatrical edge into Herbert’s house lineage, creating a narrative of resistance and strife in today’s precarious world. The result is an album that is at points baffling, and, at rare moments, intensely emotionally affective. With its eccentric orchestration and high-energy choruses, some parts of The Shakes are more Broadway than Bodily Functions. Battle lends a dramatic opening, with eerie synths that induce a foreboding sense of unease, while Ade Omotayo’s soulful vocals bellow like a defiant war cry beckoning a world of struggle. Strong and Smart dabble slightly over that line of cheesiness, with their hyperanimated rhythms jolting you with positivity. Herbert’s sound begins to lament at this point, revealing an undeniable sense of vulnerability behind the overtly positive anthems prior. Delicate moments like Know, Warm and Silence sit irresistibly between unyielding displays of emotion. Ending on Peak, the album’s impassioned climax, its surging 10-minute ride marries a subtly garage tinged aesthetic with gospel organs and impassioned vocals, telling us to “rise to unknown places, love in symmetry.” This is a brave and uncompromising record, clearly one of purgative release for Herbert. A bold expression of passion, The Shakes endeavours to connect to real, human emotion. Sometimes it hits, and sometimes it falls just short of the mark. Though the sense of drama on display here borders on corny, under Herbert’s charismatic spell, it’s somehow all redeeming.

! Geraint Davies

! Henry Johns

! Aine Devaney

L AUER Borndom Permanent Vacation E ARL SWE ATSHIRT I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside Columbia / Tan Cressida

SL AVES Are You Satisfied? Virgin EMI


INVADA Records Spring 2015 Releases

EX_MACHINA ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK BY BEN SALISBURY AND GEOFF BARROW • Double LP/CD includes bonus material unavailable on digital version • Invada store exclusive Limited Edition (500) A.I. frost/blue splatter Double LP • White vinyl Double LP (1500 copies) • Includes Download Card

Far Cry 4

@invadauk /InvadaRecordsUK

The KVB

ORIGINAL GAME MUSIC BY CLIFF MARTINEZ • BAFTA Award Winning Soundtrack from the composer of ‘Drive’ / ‘Spring Breakers’ / ‘Solaris’ • Triple LP includes unreleased bonus material • Solid Green/Blue/Orange Vinyl • Includes Download Card

Mirror Being 10 TRACK INSTRUMENTAL ALBUM FROM BERLIN BASED DUO • • • •

‘Blue Moon’ and ‘Frosted Clear’ vinyl LP Includes Download Card Digipack CD Artwork by the band themselves

RSD2015 Limited Stock Direct from Label

Sleaford Mods

Power Glove - EP 1

30 Days Of Night ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK BY BRIAN REITZELL

5 TRACK EP ‘PICTURE DISC’ EDITION

4 TRACK EP FROM THE DUO BEHIND ‘FAR CRY 3 BLOOD DRAGON’

Tiswas

• Includes 350 gram 12”x12” ‘Tiswas’ Print • Limited Edition 1000 copies

• Red Vinyl / Download Card • 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

Invada Digital

CUTS

‘bunsen burner’

Taken From the ‘Ex_Machina’ soundtrack. The follow up to last years ‘EP1’ by Audio Visual artist CUTS

Releasing Vinyl LPs, Collectable Editions, CD & Digital since 2003 www.invada.co.uk


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Holly Herndon returns to coax further secrets from the hyper-emotional core of the digital landscape. Like 2012’s Movement, the voice remains the principal ingredient here. Openers Interference and Chorus assail the listener with waves of vocal manipulation that wash through the frayed networks of glitched rhythm like a mob – one looking to reclaim the spaces denied to them by the modern dangers we face online, such as state surveillance, net neutrality, etc. This idea of reclaiming is present throughout. You might assume, and not unfairly, that any record concerning itself with a post-Snowden internet would be largely characterised by pretty grim vibes. But listen to tracks like Locker Leak, the sound of a viral ad-campaign collapsing under its own digital weight, or Home, a letter from Herndon to the NSA agent assigned to monitor her online activity, and you’ll see that she’s an optimist. Platform refuses to despair, instead asking, how can we fix this? Despite offering up some of Herndon’s most accessible work to date, Platform retains a crafted, academic feel; a focused set of studies carefully dissecting their respective subject matters. This is very much the case on a track like Lonely at the Top, which in essence is an audio-play that sees Herndon play the role of a masseuse, guiding a high-value client through his appointment. In fact, the track is an experiment in autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR), the idea that certain sounds (in this case whispering) can provoke pleasurable sensations. Try YouTubing it, and you’ll discover an entire online community. Paradise in this life? Maybe, says Platform’s deeply engaged, avant laptop-pop, but not without a making a conscious effort to. As third track Unequal puts it, “change the shape of our future, to be unafraid, to break away.”

After an eight-year wait, one of the more elusive producers from the Kompakt stable, Dave DK has released his third album. The follow up to 2012’s Palmaille EP, Val Maira starts off with softly expanding ambience, unfurling into a glistening introduction to his stripped back sound. Maintaining this ethereal resonance throughout, the tracks cast light to another side of the Berlin-based producer. Val Maira harnesses simplicity as power, using minor chords, twinkling bells and crisp percussion to give its soft sense of longing a real depth. It’s an intense sensory experience, employing static sounds in many forms across the album: a soft rustling, a perpetual crunching, and in the opening to pop-focused Whitehill, the electric energy of an over zealously rubbed balloon. Here, DK has found a fitting home on Kompakt, mining the kind of exquisite, rose-tinted techno put to work on the label’s Pop Ambient series, coupled with weight and dynamism: We Mix At Six and Smukke Lyde are two prime cuts of sluggish, hypnotic dancefloor fare. A delicious slice of melodic techno with wistful melancholy at its core, Val Maira becomes so much more than the sum of its parts – the quintessential Kompakt album.

Odd Future has basically disintegrated. Earl has locked himself away to write moody, introspective rhymes during the dead of night, Hodgy, Domo and Mike G have left the hype circus for the comfier confines of a low-key online following, while Frank is said to be hiding backstage at James Blake's clubnights. Cherry Bomb is Tyler’s fourth full length, his first to feature no vocal contributions from his OF cohorts. Instead, the likes of Kanye West, Lil Wayne and Pharrell are uncredited guests. There’s no direct correlation between celebrity status and the quality of a collaboration of course, but Tyler’s current contact list does defy the predictions of his early doubters. And while there have been plenty of criticisms to be levelled at Tyler during the last five years, it’s never been easy to deny the power of his vivid imagination. With modest resources, the early days saw the teenage prodigy build an artistic universe where gritty, lo-fi menace juxtaposed with childish aesthetics. Cherry Bomb is an upscaled version of his formula, where both sides of his dual personality are pushed to the extreme. Tyler channels his punk rage on Deathcamp, which is based around a vicious, Stooges-influenced riff played by Cole from the Black Lips, and the ferociously distorted title-track feels like the more nihilistic sequel to his 2011 fuck-everything anthem Radicals. On the flip side, Tyler takes inspiration from jazz funk artist Roy Ayers, exploring semi-ironic muzak territory to envision a picturesque American suburbia that’s subtly tainted by his signature creepiness. Cherry Bomb ultimately suffers from its own attention deficit – the album is split into 13 tracks, but feels like you’re listening to 30 half-finished tracks squeezed into fifty four minutes. And then there’s the bizarre issue with Tyler’s voice, which is often either submerged by instrumentals, pitch-shifted beyond recognition or transferred, ventriloquist-like, to a cast of female vocalists. It makes you wonder: now that most the haters have surrendered, has Tyler began to feel slightly lost for words?

! Xavier Boucherat

! Billie Monnier-Stokes

! Davy Reed

SHAMIR Ratchet XL Recordings “Introvert was my name, but for some reason everyone liked me, and I just couldn’t handle the attention I gained.” So sung a prescient Shamir Bailey on his 2014 EP Northtown. The shy, retiring type who attracted thunderous applause with his evocative, houseinfused love narratives on the EP is nowhere to be seen on Ratchet. “Extrovert is my name”, runs the subtext of this effervescent debut album. “Fuck emotional vulnerability, I’m getting massive now.” In small doses, this new persona works a charm. On The Regular, the album’s fizzy forerunning single, is a winking assertion of unabashedly femme power, on which he revels in the dextrous, androgynous vocal that attracted so much attention in the first place. Think GFOTY’s Friday Night with a couple fewer layers of irony. But the schtick begins to sag when stretched thinly over a number of other sizzling, anthemic efforts such as Call It Off and Make A Scene. The Catherine Wheel synths and buoyant cowbell are exciting elements, but they’re neutered by predictable song structure and a failure to fully embrace the throwback house influences that once garnered praise. Where the album does deviate from neon-lit pop bangers, the emotion feels tokenistic, cordoned off to the designated sad songs where crooning and slowed pace substitute the nuanced emotional investment glimpsed fleetingly in his earlier, more daring work. Still, it’s refreshing to see Shamir’s gender-fluid persona shine proudly. Closer Head In The Clouds acts as a festival-ready victory lap to spite any potential haters who might want to drag him down from having the time of his life. The album should please crowds and ensure sustained interest in the Vegas native for a while yet, but it’s just a shame it fell foul of a strange paradox: he seemed braver as an introvert than he does as a diva.

The assortment of electronic subcultures and dance movements that have sprung out of South Africa post-democracy are no longer a secret. Black Coffee is now one of the biggest DJs on the planet, Spoek Mathambo’s Fantasma project found broadsheet acclaim and the township wildness of Nozinja’s Shangaan Electro has now found a home on Warp. The danger with any introductory releases aimed at the fickle yet intrigued minds of the western world is a syndrome of dilution. What was once a thrillingly unpolished strand of Afro-futurism could easily become curio for the chin-stroking populace. Fortunately, the debut full-length from this true modern luminary doesn't pander to the tastes of the supplement-reading masses. Nozinja Lodge is a 10-track invitation into the astonishing and hyperactive realm of Shangaan with no watered down idiosyncrasies. With the irresistible palpitations of Tsekeleke at its centre, the LP proudly flaunts the kinetic, almost bass-free sound on cuts like Baby Do U Feel Me and Nwanga, while closer Jaha brings melody to the fore to demonstrate the communal and cathartic foundations that bred the whole movement. Nozinja has spoken openly about the integral role of movement within Shangaan Electro. While it might be more of an induction than a fully formed longplayer, Nozinja Lodge triumphs by amplifying all the most human traditions that the genre is built from; movement, togetherness and untamed positivity.

! Francis Blagburn

! Duncan Harrison

T YLER , THE CRE ATOR Cherry Bomb Odd Future Records / Sony

NOZINJA Nozinja Lodge Warp

DAVE DK Val Maira Kompakt

HOLLY HERNDON Platform 4AD


DOORLY & FRIENDS

DEF MIX

THE BOX

THE BOX

103: RAF DADDY PRESENTS BEAR FACE

103: MENTAL GENIUS

#THISISCUFFLDN

AUDIO REHAB

THE BOX

THE BOX

Basement Jaxx (DJ Set) Andy Butler (Hercules & Love Affair) Doorly Jaymo & Andy George Raf Daddy (The 2 Bears) & The Savage Girls Will Tramp Nicola Bear SE7EN B2B Jordan Wade

Felix Da Housecat Todd Terry Ryan Blyth STUFF SION 103: MADTECH

Alexis Raphael Third Son Kashii Tainted Souls

David Morales Tedd Patterson Hector Romero Justin Berkmann Dave Lubin Tom Crane Johnny Landers Ollie Beavis

SATURDAY SESSIONS THE BOX

Low Steppa Dale Howard Mark Radford Carnao Beats Rianz Dhanani

David Zowie Denney Walker & Royce 103 : SYSTEMATIK

103

Syap Louie Anderson RS4 Andme & Bastian

SUNDAY

Franky Rizardo Bowler T.Bunts B2B Ben Synz Dean Chapple B2B James Daniels Cowlin

RINSE THE BOX

Surgeon & Starlight (UK Debut) Perc Sigha Lee Gamble Special Guest : Objekt 103

Brawther Dexter Harri & Domenic Adesse Versions

SATURDAY SESSIONS THE BOX

DJ Fresh Anek More TBA


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Fast & Furious 7 has reached $1 billion faster than any other film in the history of cinema. At the time of writing, its $1.3bn worldwide total now makes it the fifth biggest film of all time. Cinema ticket sales are still on the rise, but it’s more likely that the cruelly ironic circumstances of star Paul Walker’s death has drawn audiences to their local multiplexes. And so Hollywood’s strange, almost intangible, relationship with morality is exhibited once again. In recent times we’ve lost Heath Ledger, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Robin Williams, and in their last on-screen appearances they become ghosts of themselves, channelled through the characters they play. Maybe our senses had been pummeled by Vin Diesel and co’s antics, but for all its flaws - and there are plenty - FF7 made for a worthy send off for Paul Walker. Using stock footage from the previous movies to put together a reflective homage, it encapsulated the audience’s adulation and gratitude to those people that pretend to other people, to make us happier.

BYPASS dir. Duane Hopkins Starring: George Mackay, Benjamin Dilloway, Charlotte Spencer Being British and being miserable go hand in hand, and with British film, it seems the lower the budget, the higher the disillusionment. Bypass is the story of Tim (Mackay), a young man left to fend for his sister after the death of their mother. With their dad and older brother out of the picture too, Tim falls into a cycle of petty crime, all the while becoming increasingly ill. Although Duane Hopkins’s script is full of catalysts and pressures (with bayliffs and unexpected pregnancies thrown in for good measure), it barely skims the surface of the social context it’s seeking to portray. Hopkins finds more success through his adopted cinematography, alluding to the ethereal feel of Terrence Malik with dreamy close-ups and disorientating voiceovers, while Benjamin Dilloway delivers a strong performance as Tim’s brother and all round tough geez. Yet, for all its merits, the glossy visuals and vague story make Bypass as about as satisfying as a picnic in a lay-by, and twice as depressing.

07

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! Tim Oxley Smith

CHILD44 dir. Daniel Espinosa Starring: Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Noomi Rapace

LOST RIVER dir. Ryan Gosling Starring: Iain De Caestecker, Christina Hendricks, Matt Smith, Ben Mendelsohn The directorial debut of Ryan Gosling, Lost River was originally titled How to Catch A Monster before its first outing at Cannes was received with untempered vilification. 10 months later and 10 minutes shorter it has re-emerged for nationwide release. The question remains: is it any good?      Single mother Billy (Hendricks) lives with her two sons in a ghost town mirroring Detroit, desolate streets haunted by burning buildings and ruled by sociopathic hooligan Bully (Smith). Billy is struggling with mortgage repayments and in desperation accepts a job offered by Dave (Mendelsohn); bank manager by day, proprietor of a torture salon by night. Meanwhile, Bones, Billy’s eldest son, becomes convinced they are trapped in a spell – and it is up to him to break it. The film is, essentially, a very long, beautiful, meaningless music video. While it achieves Gosling’s aim of portraying an American-Dream-turned-nightmare, it has no social commentary or insight to offer, making the portrayal a rather one-dimensional affair. Strong currents of David Lynch and Nicolas Winding Refn run through the film, sparking an internal debate of where the line between influencing and copying is drawn. Although Lost River is at times self-indulgent and over-orchestrated, its saving grace can be found in its reflection of the struggle most of us will be familiar with; the internal fight between fear of the unknown and a longing for escape. ! Tamsyn Aurelia-Eros Black

Western cinema has made much progress in its representations of the rest of the world. We are more comfortable than ever with films that offer the limelight to other nations, and audiences are increasingly open to international stories and casts. Yet the one hurdle we have yet to overcome is that of the dodgy accent. Put simply, why in a globalised 21st century, do we still have to put up with a Soviet drama where every actor sounds like a Peter Sellers character?     It is unfortunate that this clunky issue detracts from any other potentially redeeming features Child 44 has to offer. The thriller is based on the bestselling book by Tom Rob Smith, which never professed to be hardnosed historical literature – it is basically a Gone Girl for 1950s Moscow. Yet this slightly schlocky source could have been salvaged and even made brilliant, if the actors were actually Russian or at least spoke it. Instead the whole thing plays out with an ensemble of 1970s Bond villains chasing shadows across the communist state.      The plot, a series of grim murders against innocent children in a Russia supposedly ‘free of crime’, is compelling enough to engage, and (accent aside) Tom Hardy is an actor whose presence continues to justify his reputation, so maybe I’m just being a pedantic dickhead. Perhaps I shouldn’t expect a thriller to feature full subtitled Russian dialogue, but the accuracy in delivery falls painfully, and distractingly, short. The Russian accents in last year’s Muppets Most Wanted were more on point. And, unfortunately for Child 44, that film also featured a musical finale in a gulag. ! Angus Harrison

17

05

FAST & FURIOUS 7 dir. James Wan Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Roberta Rodriguez  The seventieth – seventh, whatever, they all blur into one – release under the ludicrously successful franchise is also the final appearance of Paul Walker, who died as a result of injuries from a 100mph LA car crash in 2013, while filming was ongoing. With more stunts than there are dramatic pauses, director James Wan (The Conjuring, Saw) shows his undeniable knack for making a modern blockbuster. FF7 has the self-awareness any seventh sequel demands, but having not seen any of the films since the 2001 original The Fast and the Furious, we came away ultimately disappointed, if not particularly surprised. 14 years and countless protein shakes later, any sense of the counterculture and urban angst the original loosely conjured has completely dissipated. Vin Diesel’s character now works for the US Federal government rather than staying up all night, committing crime and not giving two shits about anything – except cars. Boy oh boy, does he like cars. What on the surface might seem like a bit of fun inadvertently highlights the decline of Western culture; a consumerist nightmare with zero social or moral conscience. Walker’s collaged performance is undoubtedly, counter-intuitively poignant, and you can’t help but count souped-up armoured cars being dropped out of a plane and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson smiling as highlights. But still – this is a sad and shallow indictment of Planet Earth, 2015.   ! Tim Oxley Smith

WILD TALES dir. Damian Szifron Starring: Dario Grandinetti, Ricardo Darin, Maria Marull Echoing Chaucer’s 14th century collection of writings The Canterbury Tales, Wild Tales satirises contemporary society, using short stories to depict the unpleasantness of the world in which it is created. Though writer/director Damian Szifron sets his film in 20th century Argentina, human nature seems to have changed little in the past 600-odd years.     With six unrelated threads, Szifron explores the darker imaginings of the citizen and their coexistence with society. Wild Tales is unabashed in its eagerness to expose bourgeois pretensions, with money, pride, social etiquette and bureaucracy being developed as central motifs. Here, black comedy brings about teeth grinding catharsis as Szifron draws out unhinged performances from a perfectly cast team of actors feeding off his confident and honed directing. It’s hard to overlook how much fun everyone is having hurling themselves across the limits of social acceptability. The format, and the deconstruction of the profane ideologies we endure day-to-day, is perfectly pitched, resulting in dirty, violent and hilarious vaudeville. ! Tim Oxley Smith

Issue 52 | crackmagazine.net

Film


78

KJIHQPOLNM

THE TIMES

BRECAN BEACONS, WALES

THE INDEPENDENT

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Thurs 28 May

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Fri 22 May

MIKE SKINNER & MURKAGE DAVE PRESENT TONGA Tues 26 May

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Tues 2 June

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INFLAGRANTI

SHANTI CELESTE / ED WORD / GET LOW CARTEL / KNEE DEEP DISCO

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TOMORROWS TULIPS

Thursday 21 May

DADDY LONG LEGS Friday 22 May - Sunday 24 May

FLUFFER FEST Monday 25 May

LEISURE Thursday 28 May

THE VRYLL SOCIETY Friday 29 May

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Roundhouse Thurs 21st May

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ICA The Mall Fri 5th June

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BOXED IN OSLO Hackney Thurs 11th June

Mon 15th June

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Lexington Islington Thurs 18th July

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UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA

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Goldenvoice Presents PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTING OUT 07.05.15 SOLD THE ROUNDHOUSE

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+ SWEDISH DEATH CANDY

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YEARS & YEARS

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SHARON VAN ETTEN WED 29 APRIL O2 SHEPHERD’S BUSH EMPIRE

FOXYGEN TUES 12 MAY ELECTRIC BALLROOM

MALKA WED 27 MAY SEBRIGHT ARMS

HINDS (FKA DEERS) TUES 19 MAY SCALA

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DOLDRUMS WED 20 MAY ELECTROWERKZ

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YOUNG WONDER THURS 7 MAY ELECTROWERKZ

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FROKEDAL TUES 26 MAY THE WAITING ROOM

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CROCODILES THURS 11 JUNE BOSTON MUSIC ROOMS WE ARE THE CITY WED 17 JUNE BIRTHDAYS DALSTON PLASTIC MERMAIDS THURS 1 OCT OSLO HACKNEY EZRA FURMAN THURS 22 OCT O2 SHEPHERD’S BUSH EMPIRE LA FEMME TUES 24 NOV KOKO THIS IS THE KIT WED 25 NOV SCALA PARALLELLINESPROMOTIONS.COM


The #clickbait music news rounded up by Josh Baines £2 FOR 2MANYDJS Everyone’s favourite Belgian export since chips with mayonnaise and statues of children pissing, 2manydjs have pledged their support of a new North London chicken shop. Chicken Town is an initiative that seeks to churn out cheap and tasty poultry for paltry prices to the teens of Tottenham, and apparently they’re also offering to get youngsters behind the grills and even take them to animal slaughtering sessions. Great stuff, guys. CRYSTAL CASTLES BUILT ON SAND Every REAL 00s teen pretty much lived in slowly loading MySpace profiles during sixth form. Chances are, they also soundtracked their own narcissistic page of self-delusion with a song by Crystal Castles at some point. Apparently they’re still going. Or were, rather, as last month month saw the bloke with the bow legs and the bad back badmouth his female companion with the bad back and the bow legs over who apparently left the band last year in a row over who wrote their songs. Fully functional adults have got upset about this. Great stuff, guys.

Denzil Schniffermann Love, life and business advice from Crack’s esteemed agony uncle

@bain3z

Denzil says:

I’m a musician, an artist, an entrepreneur, the CEO of all types of shit and I got the hottest chick in the game wearing my chain. I could sell ice in the winter, I could sell fire in hell, but for some reason I can’t sell my new music streaming service even though I got Jack White and Deadmau5 to cosign it. Damn hipster blogs trying to pull me down. Sir, I need your advice.

I’ve actually sold my shares in Spotify – all that bad press is the last thing I need with my blood pressure. Plus, the music market is all about the “Old School” these days. I made an absolute killing on Record Store Day this year – you can press any old rubbish on luminous green vinyl and have the students queuing round the corner. Some of these kids are even buying cassette tapes for Christ’s sake!

Shawn Carter, 45, New York

SPAM ALERT: HOT GIRL Terri Perella wants to add you to her contacts list Hello sexy moviestar it’s me Terri! I saw your profile on linkedin. I was excited. You’re cute! I want to share my hot and horny photos with you, babe!

WE’RE ALL RIGHT (LEANING) By the time this is printed, we’ll know the outcome of the general election [please check - JB] and we’ll be under the reign of [check this – JB] and the nation will be [add an adjective in after the election – JB] which is [please add a value judgement – JB]. To get us in the mood for voting, many musicians have given us a nudge in the right direction. Firstly, we saw forgotten indie rockers The Rifles drop a hot pro-UKIP tweet, which was immediately deleted, then outmoded pop harridan Madonna posted a picture of Margaret Thatcher on her Instagram, which was immediately deleted. The fallout? An article on Noisey. Great stuff, guys. A$AP STROPPY A$AP Rocky always seemed like the type of bloke who'd be easily tempted by Brick Lane’s overpriced curries and vintage trucker hats, so it wasn’t too surprising that he was spotted having a ‘scuffle’ in one of the street’s semi-famous bagel shops. A fan had allegedly thrown something at Rocky’s car, and so he burst into said bakery and threatened to ready to tear seven shades of shish out of his attacker. Dat Pretty Mother Fucker soon clocked the smartphone wielding onlookers, and instead started shouting about how much he loves London in a really whiny voice. Great stuff, guys.

Dear Mr. Schniffermann,

Click bellow to view my (28) private photos hrrp://terri82/porchedating.ru

Problems? e-mail denzil@crackmagazine.net

Denzil says: Wow, OK. Don’t get me wrong, this is extremely flattering. And if it wasn’t for the fact I’ve just been on my fourth date with a chartered accountant from Dudley (back to mine but no funny business, we watched an episode of Porridge then I called her a cab) then who knows, things could be different. But as things stand, I’m going to have to respectfully decline your advances. And what exactly has this got to do with Spam? If there are investment opportunities afoot then I’m your man. I’ve always wanted to add a luncheon meat brand to my portfolio.

Hi mate,

Denzil says:

It’s that time of year again when it’s time to book the old summer holiday! Know what I mean Denz? Methinks you do. At the moment I’m torn between four days in Norfolk – B&B, like – or a full week in in a caravan in Amroth, Pembrokeshire. To be honest though, not really bothered where I go – so long as they’ve got Carlsberg on tap! Am I right Denz? But yeah, in all seriousness, I intend on getting absolutely leathered. What you got planned for the summer months?

You sound like a lively sort, Mark, but I won’t hold that against you. Let it be said: Denzil Schniffermann is a creature of habit, so I’ll be sticking to my usual routine, thank you very much. Late May I pop over to Calais for a long weekend, return with a summer’s supply of vino relaxo. After that it’s a BBQ on the third Sunday of every month, then 10 days at my timeshare in Benidorm come August. Bon anniversaire!

Mark, 31, Gloucester


91

The Crack Magazine Crossword Across 01. Of These and Men (4) 04. Dan Snaith is a type of moose, a type of horned moose (7) 05. Massive amphibian; shoes and tears (9) 07. The kind of Games which involve disastrously poor Ben Affleck performances (8) 09. They march and march, these cute little bastards. God, how they march (9) 10. Tiny Scottish horse (8,4) 12. Gammy-legged city bird (6) 13. Everybody knows that this is the word (3,4) 15. This big-eared wildcat smells like Africa ;) (4) 16. Having a massive bird around your neck is no laughing matter (9) 17. Lazy foot-landing pet (3) Down 02. Tea-glugging man-but-not-a-man, looks cute in a nappy (5) 03. This mammal laid an egg, you won’t believe what happened next! (4,6,8) 06. I’m not an animal, I’m a human being! Sort of (8) 08. MASSIVE BLOODY FISH but it’s not a fish but it acts like one, if you ask me (5) 11. Laughy dog (5) 12. Horrible nippy little fish fucker (7) 14. Dec’s insectoid mate (3) Solution to last month’s crossword: ACROSS: 02. AMPERSAND, 04. OGRE, 06. IDIOT-PROOF, 07. EMPHASISE, 09. ISPO-FACTO, 11. UMPTEEN, 12. ERIN-BROCKOVICH, 13. INTIMIDATING, 14. EASY-JET DOWN: 01. EMPATHISE 02. AUBERGINE, 03. UNDERAPPRECIATED, 04. ORGANIS, 05. ACADEMIC, 08. UNIFORM, 10. OVA, 13. IRK, 15. ANKLET

Pharrell Williams. Big hats, bigger hits – you know the chap. Despite basically owning pop music, Pharrell has never shied

away

from

the

odd

product

endorsement to top up his already bursting coffers. Case in point: Qream with a Q, a milkshakey liqueur designed with the lactose intolerant lady in mind, cause he wouldn’t want you to feel all bloated and shit when you go to the club, baby. Cause you beautiful, girl. Sip this shit, girl. With its sickly, faux-deluxe branding and the whole weird, sleazy vibe, Q-Qream didn’t sell. Not a man accustomed to failure, Pharrell is suing the product’s distributors for $5m. Cause he hasn’t got enough $s. He’ll never have enough $s.


93

20 Questions: Anton Newcombe

Anton Newcombe got accidentally famous for all the wrong reasons. Back in 2004 Ondi Timoner released the seminal documentary Dig!, painting the Brian Jonestown Massacre frontman as a drunken, egomaniacal loose cannon on a one way street to self-destruction. What Dig! failed to capture was a man on a mission; a man who’s frequently been described as a genius and is among the most under-appreciated songwriters of his generation. 11 years on and Anton is still putting out records year-on-year, still touring and still reinventing his pioneering brand of psychedelia. With a new collaborative album with Tess Parks out soon, he’s now settled down with his family in Berlin, a long way from his Californian roots. As soon as Anton knew where we were based he couldn’t wait to pepper us with Anglophile references, touching on cartoons, cautions and Kanye along the way.

What was your favourite cartoon when you were a kid? Shit, I wonder what it is? How about the psychedelic ones? I love The Beatles cartoons. Yellow Submarine.

Is there a piece of advice you wish you’d given yourself 10 years ago? I sacrificed my 20s working on music, but I still wish that I could have done more. I don’t know if that’s physically possible.

Do you support a sports team? Not one. Isn’t that weird? I wanna say something from, like, a lesbian snooker league, but I can’t think of any.

When was the last time you ran as fast as you can? I got into it with this guy in a bar. I just walked out. He followed me out so I picked up a trashcan and hit him over the head with it. I turn around and this whole mob’s chasing me. I smoke a pack of non-filters a day and I’m 47. I ran until I hit a block, then they caught me. The only reason I got saved was these gang bangers drove by and were like “That’s not fair, there’s like 10 of those guys kicking him!”

What is the most overrated album of all time? Whatever is number one right this second. That has got to be the most overrated record. What is your favourite sitcom? Does Alan Partridge count? What’s your favourite breakfast cereal? I’m a fan of all the Scandinavian stuff. Wayne’s World or Bill & Ted? I’m not into that stuff. Little Britain. Would be my answer. Have you been arrested? Cautioned.

Have you ever taken acid? Yeah. In my life I thought I was in total control, but acid was the first thing that made me feel like I was out of control, and then you have to learn how to master that environment. That’s what I first liked about it. But of course, after a while … you only need to do it so many times.

And what for? Oh, you know, fighting.

Who’s the most famous person you’ve ever met? Well I would say – are you ready for this? Drumroll … Ringo Starr.

What’s you favourite boardgame? Ouija board. I don’t really consult spirits, but I like the idea of it.

How was he? He’s so the way you imagine him to be. He’s so … all the way Ringo.

Would you go for a pint with Kanye West? I don’t care for the guy and I don’t drink. So there’s your answer. What would you want written on your tombstone? ‘Please don’t judge me too harshly.’ Have you ever shoplifted? We used to steal packs of beers and we’d run away and, like, throw them at the people who were chasing us. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had? I used to work for a sailboat company and I’d be sanding fibreglass and you’d get this fibre all over you. It could get in your pores, even. Do you have a number one fan? There’s this one lady – she’s gonna laugh if she sees this – her name is Diana. We’ll be anywhere in the world and she’ll just pop up. She’s not crazy or anything. She’s like … a lawyer I think? What’s the first thing you’re going to do after this interview? I’m gonna have a cup of tea! I Declare Nothing by Tess Parks and Anton Newcombe is released 29 June via A Recordings

“I don’t really consult spirits, but I like the idea of it”

Issue 52 | crackmagazine.net

Words: Billy Black


94

Perspective

Footwork ascended from a Chicago street dance to a global movement, and I always knew it would. I’d try and trick people into hearing it by starting off my ‘dubstep’ DJ sets with it back in 2008. I will never forget the day I saw Fabric explode to the sounds of juke. I try to push myself and the audience, and footwork was a sure way to get people weird. Like a raging bull full of sperm, it bashed down barriers with no true formula. It came at a time when many production levels were so high that the spirit of the music was often lost. This music was not about production, it was about a feeling. I met DJ Rashad for the first time in Room 2 of Corsica Studios, a London venue with a sound system that can cover the frequencies of footwork. I told him that I’d been playing his music nonstop since I’d discovered it, that it was the most exciting thing to happen in years. With his backpack on and ever so humble persona, he could not stop thanking me. That night I played my set, he played his set, and at the end we went back-to-back. That made my fucking year. This was my glimpse of Rashad’s character. There was no ego. How many DJs do you know who will give up half their set to let you tag with them? He made everyone feel like they were part of his family. Next time I saw Rashad was in Berlin a few days later. We were playing a venue called Horst Krzbrg – one of my favorite venues that city has ever had. I remember playing him acid techno before the show. ‘Yeah this shit’s crazy,’ he says. ‘I get down with this,

pass me your USB key, I’ll load you up.’ I came from a world where dubplates and exclusives were everything, yet Rashad would openly hand me and most others he met a folder full of 300 new tunes him and his Teklife crew had made in the last few months. To this day, I still have music from him that I haven’t got round to playing. I was in my hotel room, an hour before I was to DJ at a London club, when someone called me to tell me that Rashad had died. It was hard to believe. As I’m playing, I’m checking the socials to see if anything came up ... not a word. Then within about half an hour or so of it getting out, it was trending on Twitter: #ripdjrashad. Me and Rashad had spent a lot of time together, either on tour or in my house when he had some down time in-between gigs. Those days were spent watching Richard Pryor, making music or listening to his stories of Chicago life. On the road, I’d introduce him to whisky and tequila that I have a passion for. ‘You don’t wanna drink that shit, this is much better’… a phrase I’ve said a million times now. My hat goes off to DJ Spinn. Rashad was his long time friend, when he died it hit me hard, but it must have hit Spinn 10 times harder. Yet Spinn persevered, and to this day, is flying the flag strong. The Teklife baton has been handed over to DJ Earl, DJ Taye, Taso, Manny, Ashes 57 and many others. There is not a weekend that passes where I look up at the crowd and don’t see someone wearing a Teklife t-shirt. The logo is a sure sign of a good party with the right people. I miss Rashad everyday. But I can see how much the world cared for him and his love of footwork. Had he not been alive at the time he was, maybe none of us would have ever heard such a distinctive sound. When I meet up with others that knew him, there is a underlying feeling among us that one person brought us all together. The future looks fine for Teklife, and they had a mentor who will never be forgotten. @addisongroove teklife57.com

Illustration: James Burgess

Tony Williams, aka Addison Groove, is a respected producer and DJ from Bristol. He was an early supporter of Chicago footwork in the UK, and has remained committed to spreading its popularity across Europe and beyond. On 26 April 2014, DJ Rashad – thought of by many as footwork’s figurehead – passed away. In this article, Williams shares the memories of his late friend and collaborator, and celebrates footwork music’s enduring popularity.


Summer Season

Alix Perez B2B Ivy Lab Ben UFO Big Narstie Black Sun Empire Brookes Brothers Buraka Som Sistema (Live) Butterz Calibre B2B Marcus Intalex B2B DBridge Cause & Affect Critical Sound Culture Shock Dillinja DJ EZ DJ Haus DJ Hype Dubphizix & Strategy's Well Good Do Ed Rush & Optical Elijah & Skilliam Emperor B2B Upbeats Erol Alkan B2B Daniel Avery (4 Hour Set) Fabio Fake Blood Hazard Hessle Audio Hoya:Hoya

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Huxley Icicle (Live) Illum Sphere Luke Vibert Jack Beats J.Phlip Kasra B2B Foreign Concept Krystal Klear Legowelt (DJ Set) LTJ Bukem DJ Marky (3 Hour Set) Matrix & Futurebound Maztek Mefjus B2B Ed Rush Monki & Friends Moxie Mumdance Newham Generals Pangaea Pearson Sound Phace Playaz Renegade Hardware Soul:ution Spectrasoul S.P.Y Surgeon TC Tom Shorterz And More TBA


CRACK Issue 52  

Featuring Tei Shi, Raekwon, Jenny Hval, HEALTH, ItaloJohnson, Stormzy, Chastity Belt, Discodromo, Ceremony, Theaster Gates, Holly Herndon, J...

CRACK Issue 52  

Featuring Tei Shi, Raekwon, Jenny Hval, HEALTH, ItaloJohnson, Stormzy, Chastity Belt, Discodromo, Ceremony, Theaster Gates, Holly Herndon, J...