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A day festival for 16-25 year olds featuring live music, screenings, talks and workshops. Find out more about CTRL and how you can participate in this yearâ€™s festival at ica.org.uk/ctrl #CTRL #YoungICA
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20 Questions: Cardi B - 101 Trina John-Charles calls up the unelected mayoress of the Bronx to talk Madonna, moneymaking and brand new Aston Martins Turning Points: DJ Premier - 99 A first-hand witness of hip-hop’s formative years, Premier tracks the landmarks of his journey with Angus Batey Perspective: Nikesh Shukla - 102 The results of the EU Referendum voted in favour of Britain leaving the European Union. In response, Bristol-based novelist and screenwriter Nikesh Shukla rallies hope and unity from darkness and uncertainty in his piece, The Land is Ours
Aesthetic: Sevdaliza - 70 As a creator of otherworldly future pop, Sevdaliza thrives off intuitive artistic innovation. Lakeisha Goedluck explores the depths of her vision alongside our fashion editorial
Levelz: Made In Manchester - 44 The ascendant Manchester collective of MCs, DJs and producers carry the torch for their city’s rebellious musical outlook. By Grant Brydon
Popcaan: Generation Unruly - 36 The effervescent soundclash champion arrives in London for the first time and speaks to Rob McCallum about dancehall’s new dawn
Dinosaur Jr.: Work It All Out - 40 The distinct sound that Dinosaur Jr. perfected in the mid-80s has informed innumerable bands since. James F Thompson catches up with a band whose momentum doesn’t ever look like slowing down
Tony Allen: Human Rhythm - 54 The drummer who put the ‘beat’ in ‘afrobeat’ looks back on an incredible life, one committed to moving forward with and within sound
Veronica Vasicka: Concrete Jungle - 58 Dodging gentrification, overenthusiastic locals and space limitations are all part of running a label in NYC. Emma Robertson hears how the city has informed Vasicka and her trailblazing imprint Minimal Wave
Reviews - 79 Gig reports, product reviews and our verdict on the latest releases in film and music
Blood Orange: A Personal History - 28 Devonté Hynes’ intoxicating new album as Blood Orange summons the power of those who shape his world. The ever-evolving artist invites Brittany Spanos to one of his favourite Manhattan spots to peel back the project’s many layers
Wolfgang Tillmans Adjusts His Focus In Search Of Truth - 60 A recent defence of an EU-inclusive Britain has only deepened the allure of one of the most respected figures in photography. In a studio that has hosted countless iconic images, he speaks passionately with Augustin Macellari
In resistance to cultural oppression, NON Worldwide's Quarterly Publication gives power to marginalised voices - 66 The cross-discipline collective share fearless statements of resistance and revolution with Niloufar Haidari
Editorial - 23 A new leaf
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Issue 66 July 2016
Crack Was Made Using YG Don’t Come To LA
Popcaan Ova Dweet
Blood Orange E.V.P
Skepta Coming Soon Ft. Ilovemakonnen
Shakespeare’s Sister Stay
LCD Soundsystem All My Friends
Mitski Your Best American Girl
Angel Olsen Those Were The Days
Martin Creed (You Put Your) Hand In My Hand
Jenny Hval Untamed Religion
Spice So Mi Like It
Cute Heels Third Skin
Carole King So Far Away
DJ October Order & Cleanliness
Free Radicals I Just Can't Turn It Loose (Jerome Sydenham Edit)
Heiroglyphic Being The Discos Of Imhotep
Topaz Jones Powerball Car Seat Headrest Fill In The Blanks The Beatles We Can Work It Out Floorplan Ha Ya Red Axes Sun My Sweet Sun
So to what extent does a publication like Crack Magazine have a responsibility to be political? It think both implicitly and explicitly, it has been for some time. All art forms are vessels for political expression, and I think that the progressive power of a lot of the music we cover is generally underestimated. While I’d usually avoid using my editorial voice to point this out for risk of seeming preachy or taking for credit for the perspectives of the contributors and artists whose struggles I haven’t personally experienced, I’ve got to admit that it does please me to see an overtone of progressiveness and political discontent running through Issue 66.
I might be stating the obvious here, but in light of recent events, I think it’s important to clarify that Crack Magazine promotes the respect of perspectives from all cultural backgrounds and political ideologies that are based on compassion. The magazine, really, is a celebration of people who’ve found enough confidence to express themselves artistically, and so naturally we oppose the forces – whether they’re enforced socially or bureaucratically – that discourage them from doing so. And if this magazine does, by chance, find itself in the hands of someone who sympathises with the current political right-wing, I can only hope the content inside encourages a change of heart. Davy Reed, Editor
Shanti Celeste Lights Das Ding Take Me Away Blood Orange Best To You Chino Amobi + Rabit Izlamic Europe Traumprinz 2 Bad (Metatron's What If Madness Is Our Only Relief Mix)
Pro Tell Me
It definitely feels like one of the most important issues we’ve done too. We worked on this magazine in the UK during June 2016, and so there’s just no way I can sit down to reflect on those weeks and write something here that doesn’t reference the negative ideologies that have engulfed the political mainstream, and there’s no way I can ignore the mood of intolerance that’s become so strong you can almost taste it in the air.
In this issue’s Blood Orange cover story, Dev Hynes discusses finding his identity – a journey which involved digging deep into his family’s past and overcoming many discriminatory barriers. Across the rest of these pages, you’ll find Wolfgang Tillmans’ commitment to truthfulness discussed in a post-Brexit world, the NON Worldwide collective discuss their creation of a borderless virtual community and Nikesh Shukla make an optimistic call to arms in his passionate op-ed.
Following a considerable amount of hard work from our designers and our creative director, we’ve added some new visual touches to the magazine. The redesign has coincided with the kind of content which, in my opinion, makes Issue 66 of Crack Magazine one of the best we’ve ever done.
SUNFALL FESTIVAL Brockwell Park 9 July
PE ACOCK SOCIET Y Four Tet. John Talabot, Margaret Dygas Parc Floral, Paris 13 – 17 July €99
ST GERMAIN Somerset House 16 July
OBJEK T Phonox 15 July DIMENSIONS FESTIVAL Massive Attack, Moodymann, Kamasi Washington Fort Punta, Croatia 25 August - 29 August Festival pass: £140 + bf With its gorgeous Fort Punta site and a reputation for booking credible and adventurous dance music, it’s really no wonder that Dimensions Festival is a success year-upon-year. But even by their standards, we reckon this could be the most interesting line-up they’ve ever pulled off. Massive Attack will play live, dub techno pioneer Moritz Von Oswald will appear both as a DJ and with the trio he’s formed with Max Louderbauer and afrobeat legend Tony Allen, and The Bug will perform with Israeli vocalist Miss Red. Elsewhere on the line-up, you’ll find Kyle Hall, jazz virtuoso Kamasi Washington, Helena Hauff, recent Crack cover star Abra, footwork torchbearer DJ Spinn, Rinse resident Josey Rebelle, boundary-breaking MC Gaika, Shanti Celeste and Hieroglyphic Being. So good.
BLOOD OR ANGE KOKO 5 July
Peacock Society is another festival springing from Paris’s refreshed electronic music scene. It’s no secret that the city’s clubbing scene is in great shape right now, and this festival is becoming a jewel in its summer calendar. This year’s line-up features another selection of DJ heavyweights, including the likes of Len Faki, Rodhad, Floorplan, Surgeon, Helena Hauff and Tama Sumo, alongside homegrown talent Laurent Garnier, Jeremy Underground, Bambounou, Busy P and Simo Cell, each performing within the leafy surroundings of Parc Floral.
PIXIES Brixton Academy 11 July
TR ASH KIT Shacklewell Arms 16 July BOOMTOWN FAIR Levelz, Damian Marley, Derrick May Hampshire 11-14 August Tier 3 weekend ticket: £170
WE AVES Shacklewell Arms 14 July £7
WILDERNESS FESTIVAL Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters, The Flaming Lips, Georgia Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire 4-7 August £177 If you like your festival experience to amount to more than jumping around in a tent with a mass of strangers for forty-eight hours straight, Wilderness might be the ideal remedy for you. With all kinds of exceptional food and drink on offer from Michelin starred chefs, talk and debates led by the V&A, and an extensive theatre programme planned, there’s far more to get your teeth into than a questionable kebab at 4am. There’s music too – Robert Plant, The Flaming Lips, Jackmaster, Shura, Georgia and loads more will be making an appearance among in the gorgeous woodland surroundings.
Weaves are a rambunctious quartet of Toronto-based loop-lovers who jam soul, pop and rock together to create a discordant, distinct sound. Lead singer Jasmyn Burke provides the hooks (usually composed by singing into her iPhone on the hop) while fellow band-founder Morgan Waters screams dissonant guitar over the top. The pair work so well together, it sometimes sounds like their respective instruments are speaking in a language only they can understand. If their recently released debut LP is any indication, the live show promises to be a winner – skip this at your peril.
Let’s be honest, for a lot of people, Boomtown Fair isn’t primarily about the music. It’s about losing your shit in an ever-expanding, mind-bending fantasy town. It’s about indulging in illicit vices in the lawless DSTRKT 5 area, it’s about attending ceremonies at The Church of the Sturdy Virgin and it’s about swerving The Sheriff and his deputy Bane in the Wild West. If you’re looking to catch some great music when you’re there, we’d advise you to check out Manchester collective Levelz and the crew’s affiliate Madam X as well as Sam Binga, Newham Generals, Jackmaster, rave legends Altern 8 and Special Request. But if you do find yourself skanking to the Fat Bastard Gang Band while dressed as a steampunk, then fear not, because no one at Boomtown’s going to judge.
HIT-BOY XOYO 15 July
KELIS Jazz Cafe 5-6 July
025 BAMBOUNOU The Pickle Factory 29 July
ABR A Jazz Cafe 14 July
FABRICLIVE 88: FL AVA D L AUNCH Flava D, D Double E, Elijah & Skilliam Fabric 15 July £20 / £26
MADE BIRMINGHAM Stormzy, Kano, Lady Leshurr The Digbeth Triangle, Birmingham 30 July £39.50 Standing for Metropolitan Arts and Dance Event, MADE brings together an ensemble of heavyweight DJs, celebrated street artists, renowned set designers and top-tier artists for a unique one-dayer. Together, the creative forces combine to build a authentic celebration of homegrown culture and fresh creativity. When you aren’t soaking up the visual landscape built by the artists, you can check out sets from grime’s newest figures like Lady Leshurr and Stormzy as well as outings from OGs like Kano and Mike Skinner, the latter who will be partying with his TONGA soundsystem.
RICARDO VILL ALOBOS Fabric 16 July
JANE FITZ Dance Tunnel 20 July
MART YN The Pickle Factory 15 July
ANDY STOT T The Jazz Cafe 21 July £20 + bf Another great booking for Camden’s Jazz Cafe following the venue’s re-launch back in May. Following experiments in jungle and footwork with Demdike Stare’s Mile Whittaker as Millie & Andrea, Manchester producer Andy Stott recently released his fourth album Too Many Voices, continuing his formula of grey-scale bleakness, emotional tenderness and brewing sexual tension. This event is presented by The Wire magazine, who’ll be DJing at the event, so prepare for the esoteric.
Butterz’s leading light Flava D is stepping up to the podium for a much-anticipated contribution to the FABRICLIVE series. The mix promises to be a carefully measured brew of UKG, grime and bassline melded together with a view fixed firmly on the dancefloor. To celebrate the release, she’s heading up proceedings in fabric’s main room for a who’s-who of esteemed club-destroyers. Reload-sensei D Double E is in attendance with DJ Q, Elijah & Skilliam and of course Flava herself ensuring that the Friday night goes off with a bang. As she continues to transfix grime’s top table, this will be a perfect introduction to Flava’s mission.
THE EX DIY Space For London 7 August
JAY ELECTRONICA Coronet 23 July
MARTIN CREED Moth Club 13 July £7.50 Martin Creed might be best known as that guy who won the Turner Prize by repeatedly turning the lights on and off in a gallery but he’s also a highly respected musician. Creed’s latest album is due out this month and he’s off on a pretty lengthy tour to shout about it. If first single Understanding is anything to go by it’ll be an energetic, folk-punk effort with plenty of experimental undertones. Let’s hope the lights stay firmly on for the duration of this performance, eh?
COURTNEY BARNET T Somerset House 13 July
DETROIT: TECHNO CIT Y ICA 27 July - 25 September
DAMIEN DUBROVNIK The Waiting Room 21 July
MUDHONEY o2 Academy, Islington 15 July £21 Mudhoney can’t have a comeback because they never went away. Since 1988 the band have been slinging heavy rock riffs and touring relentlessly without hiatuses, break ups or fallouts. So, apart from being one of the first bands to be described as ‘grunge’, they are also one of the genre’s most enduring legacies. Although the band haven’t announced a new album yet you can bet they’ll be playing through some of their excellent 2014 album Vanishing Point. Long may they continue to rock.
One of the strangest things about America’s recent EDM explosion is the fact that a genre largely based on regurgitated 90s eurotrance has become so popular. It raised the question: why has the US largely ignored its own innovations? This exhibition, held in the UK for the first time at the ICA’s Fox Reading Room, documents Detroit techno from the 1970s to the 90s. Concluding with a focus on Underground Resistance – the politicised Motor City collective founded by Jeff Mills and ‘Mad’ Mike Banks – Detroit: Techno City documents the formative years of a music scene that’s influence continues to outlive countless commercial fads.
GEENEUS XOYO 8 July
K YARY PAMYU PAMYU KOKO 8 July
Born in DC and relocating to London at a young age, Oyinda packed up and left Great Britain at the age of 18 and wound up completing a music course in Boston. Since that fast-tracked study period (she completed a four-year degree in two years), she has hardly paused for breath. Her first ever live show took place at Lollapalooza two years ago where Rolling Stone ended up lauding her as “RnB’s best kept secret”. It’s a rhetoric wheeled out a lot in the music press but they were making a pretty smart bet. Rich, vogueinfluenced pop-noir melodies infused with the expansive RnB sensibilities of Sade or Aaliyah.
O Never Enough 1 SZA / Little Dragon : @oyinda
O Dunce 1 Loyle Carner / Mick Jenkins : @itsthisisda
DENIS SULTA Already a name bubbling up from Glasgow’s clubbing scene, Denis Sulta now looks set to go stratospheric. The Dixon Avenue Basement Jams producer made a huge entrance on Numbers last year with his eyes down anthem It’s Only Real, and it’s this connection with local hero Jackmaster that has also steered his latest step further into the limelight. His is the exclusive track on Jack’s DJ Kicks, the latest instalment of the K7! release series which is out this month. Titled MSNJ, it’s a softly euphoric builder that has the young Glaswegian – who also carved out his taste through a job at the city’s Rubadub store – on the cusp of dance music stardom. By now we know where heaps of talent and a fistful of Glasgow charisma can take young producers, making Sulta’s ascent pretty much inevitable.
Silver Waves is the alias of frighteningly young Bristolian producer Dylan Mallet. His first EP landed on Bandcamp in early 2014 and he’s been sharing a steady stream of genre-hopping experimental tracks ever since. His music builds on a variety of styles – techno, black metal, harsh noise and aspects of ‘world music’ are all identifiable on his early recordings. With such an electric mix of sounds, it’d be easy to peg his music as noise, but understandably, he’s not ready to be pigeonholed just yet. “I never started with the intention of making ‘noise’ and I still don’t think of Silver Waves as a noise project,” Dylan tells us. “When I was first considering doing solo stuff, I had it in my mind that it would be more of an ambient thing; I think that’s reflected in the first EP. As it has continued I’ve allowed the sound to develop naturally.” His latest EP opens with a smothered screeching scrape and evolves through fluttering breakbeats, harsh, metallic textures and amorphous, stuttering sirens to end on a pair of remixes from Bristol’s Ossia and Giant Swan. It’s far from what you might term ‘traditional’, but then neither is Mallet’s idea of what makes his output a success: “I do it because I want to and I kind of need to,” he explains, matter of factly. “There’s no ulterior motive, putting out music that I made on my own terms is what I want to do and it’s what I’ll continue to do until I don’t want to do it anymore.” Things are just getting started. Let’s hope that day is a long way off.
O Courage Sandwich 1 Skinned Teen, Pre : molartheband. bandcamp.com
O I 1 Gramrcy / Extreme Precautions : ssilverwavess.bandcamp.com
O MSNJ 1 John Talabot / Four Tet : @DenisSulta
As an introspective thinker with youthful charisma, ThisisDA makes for an intriguing character in the landscape of Bristol’s current music scene. While it’s a conversational flow and a preference for mellow, sunny beats that he’s become best known for so far, the rapper has also proven himself to be diverse. His back catalogue ranges from 90s hip-hop throwbacks to two collaborations with Manilaborn producer Eyedress, one of which features a fragmented, jazzy beat that was co-produced by Ratking experimentalist Sporting Life. Both lyrically and musically, ThisisDA’s new EP 21 & Done suggests that he’s progressing. With a luscious-sounding selection of beats that sounding more polished than anything he’s worked with before, ThisisDA delves deep, detailing those difficult coming of age years when trouble waits round many corners.
Multi-national London-based garage punk rock outfit Molar have been laying waste to live venues all over the UK recently in support of the similarly excellent DIRTYGIRL, but those in the know have been following their stuff since the end of last year when they released their unfairly good demo back in December. Demos aren't supposed to sound this good – trashy guitar screamer Courage Sandwich is the anthemic standout of the three-track (and now sold out) record, but it's all addictive, essential stuff designed to be shouted along to all summer long and beyond. Domestic dramas are made relatable through imagery we can all recognise, feminist mantras are delivered with goosepimple-inducing power, and you can hear their accents as they shout it. Love that.
Words: Brittany Spanos Photography: Emmanuel Olunkwa
As Blood Orange, Devonté Hynes has become one of the definitive musicians of this decade. Embracing pop sensibility with an enlightened approach, he is one of the leading artists to have blurred the binaries of “alternative” and “mainstream”, and “credible” and “commercial”, to the point where they have ceased to have useful meaning in critical conversations surrounding music. With his tender album Freetown Sound, Hynes’ political voice has gathered volume, elevating the radical words of others and using the past as a prism to project a new world.
031 “It was the day before Orlando that I had the idea,” Hynes says of the now-nixed shoot, which would have included a lip-sync scene involving the statues in the park directly outside of the Christopher Street bar. “It’s really crazy, the timing. Pride is always special, but I feel it’s gonna be an even more special situation.” Via social media, the 30-year-old musician behind the moniker Blood Orange has become a trusted first-responder and cultural commenter as people unpack moments like these. He’s a communityfocused artist who mourns with his fans and engages with political movements like #BlackLivesMatter, and the art he creates further reflects on collective pain. His standalone 2015 tracks Sandra’s Smile and Do You See My Skin Through the Flames?, for example, directly engaged with tragedies such as the death of Sandra Bland in her jail cell and other acts of the police’s racially-motivated violence against young black people in America. On his new Blood Orange album Freetown Sound, Hynes mixes the personal and political, naming the album after the capital of his father’s home country Sierra Leone and placing himself in his parents’ shoes to reflect their experiences as twenty-something African immigrants who relocated to the UK. “I moved to New York around the same age they moved to London,” he explains, speaking tenderly
about the people who raised him. “I’m trying to picture that period and also relate it to now. The album is more of an exercise in thinking about yourself and family and timelines and bloodlines.” The exercise arrives at both a professional and personal apex for Hynes, whose name has become synonymous with left-field pop quality. He’s hitting nearly a decade of living in New York City, and alongside his work as Blood Orange, he’s found rare success as a behind-the-scenes songwriting and production genius for the likes of Sky Ferriera, Solange Knowles and his dear friend Adam Bainbridge, aka Kindness. For the first time in his career, he can feel the weight of that rise. “I’ve never made an album for myself where I’ve known that even if there’s a small fraction of people, they will listen to it,” he admits. With Phillip Glass’ Words Without Music in hand, Hynes is dressed comfortably in a black basketball shirt and a t-shirt for the muggy Thursday evening he’s spending in DeSalvio Park, a bustling NoLita playground rife with teens and kids playing basketball in the small open corner that’s surrounded by Italian pubs and restaurants. Urban parks are an important part of his experience in Manhattan; he wrote lyrics for Freetown in DeSalvio and Washington Square Park, enjoying the happy medium between the hectic atmosphere of the city and the brief taste of nature. “I like to sit in the city,” he muses. “I can’t go upstate, that gives me a panic attack. I’m happy to go to weirdly overcrowded parks.” As a resident of NYC, he’s found more unity here than in East London where he grew up. “There’s crazy racism where I’m from [and] I was bullied by black kids so I felt so displaced,” he tells me. “I really only recovered from that in the last few years.”
Dev Hynes was supposed to spend his week filming scenes for a music video outside of New York’s legendary bar and LGBT rights monument Stonewall Inn. But last weekend, a tragic shooting in a gay nightclub in Orlando left 49 dead. Having attended a Vigil at Stonewall two days before our meeting, his focus on the site has shifted.
“There’s no real other place where you’re made to be aware of your place as a minority than in America”
034 At a young age, a self-taught appreciation for black history turned out to be a source of solace, and Hynes wondered constantly if the bullying could have subsided if that history had been taught in his school, if the lessons could have unified his black classmates instead of making him feel displaced. “Even if it’s not taught in public schools here, there’s still an awareness of what people have been through,” he says of the difference between America and the UK’s approach to educating black history. Still, his twenties being spent in America have been highlighted by the racial tension the country has experienced over that time, specifically the near-constant news stories of mass shootings and deaths of primarily young black men at the hands of white police officers. “There’s no real other place where you’re made to be aware of your place as a minority than in America,” he says. “That’s been interesting.” While 2013’s Cupid Deluxe – Hynes’ acclaimed sophomore album as Blood Orange – served as a love letter to his adult home of NYC, his latest goes back to his familial roots and pays tribute to how childhood and his parents’ histories have shaped his perspective. Songs like Augustine blend tropes of West African Christianity with direct references to the death of Trayvon Martin. “Cry and burst my deafness,” he sings, directly quoting St. Augustine, “while Trayvon falls asleep.” Elsewhere, on the song Love Ya, he unites his parents musically by reworking a song by the artist Eddie Grant, who hails from Guyana just like Hynes’ mother, while also sampling a Freetown woman speaking in Krio about her faith in God as her village is destroyed by rebels. “I won’t ever actually know what my mum and dad’s twenties were like,” he says while noting that he has not yet been to the city of his album’s namesake. “I’m imagining and trying to relate [their experience] back to mine.”
As an artist, Hynes has a rare balance of nostalgia and futurism. Beyond his parents and the black history he devoured as a kid, he’s a student of the music that preceded him without letting it overtake his vision. Freetown Sound is woven together with skit-like samples of cultural figures such as the writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, De La Soul and KRS-One while highlighting newer work like the piece For Colored Girls (The Missy Elliott Poem). Written by the young slam poet Ashlee Haze, whose
performance of it went viral earlier this year, For Coloured Girls… sets the tone as the introduction to the album. Hynes views this album as a kind of compilation, inspired somewhat by the Beastie Boys’ 1989 album Paul’s Boutique – a record famous for its innovative, complex collage of samples. “I first heard the album when I was 14, back in my skating days in East London,” he recalls, picking up his pace while talking about the hip-hop classic. “I’ve listened to that album my whole life. I can put the tape on at any point, and I’m in that world that those guys created.” Dev Hynes’ world, as it has been revealed to his fans, is a multi-textural one. The Blood Orange sound, which is often tender and melodically rich, is inspired by music played around Hynes’ household, ranging from his father’s appreciation for classical to his mother’s love for UK soul like Sade and UB-40. He’d hear his sister play Nirvana and Blur through his bedroom wall while his brother was a fan of hip-hop. Around the same time that he fell in love with Paul’s Boutique, he was beginning to formulate his own taste, becoming obsessed with British guitar bands like Mansun, Ash and The Bluetones while also morphing into a metalhead. As an artist whose back catalogue ranges from the adolescent screamo of his first band Test Icicles to the eloquent indie-folk of Lightspeed Champion, it’s no wonder that his musical education was so diverse. “Slipknot was probably my biggest obsession. I still am a huge Slipknot fan,” he says with a smile, making a mental note to listen to the masked nu-mental titans later that night. “There was a weird period six or so years ago when I was emailing with Shawn ‘Clown’ Crahan about doing something. It fell through somehow.” In the interim, Hynes has established a solid crew of collaborators, though there is still time for Crahan to join. The artists he works with become not only his friends but an important member of a self-created, unofficial collective of individuals he can call up and continue working with. “There’s rarely people that I work with once,” Hynes says firmly. He’s been known to turn down work with artists he doesn’t click with, placing priority on developing a sense of trust and intimacy with his collaborators. “If it’s not that kind of vibe then I don’t care. I care about making friends, because then what you create is good. There’s no hard
feelings in it. You’re not disappointed when you finish the creative aspect of it. It’s an ongoing process. That’s always what I want.” Freetown Sound has Hynes working with new and old friends, including Bea1991, NYC multi-instrumentalist Kelsey Lu, Nelly Furtado, Debbie Harry and Carly Rae Jepsen. He’s collaborated with Jespen before, co-writing All That from her critically and commercially successful album Emotion. After their Freetown reunion, the pair have begun writing together again. “She’s just so good at writing pop songs,” he gushes. “She does things that I can’t do and that I can’t think about.” When Hynes talks to me about Debbie Harry — a legend in reinventing what it means to be a cool New Yorker with both punk and pop sensibilities — it’s like he can’t quite contain his shock in being able to call the Blondie icon a friend. “We’ve become friends the last couple of years and have been hanging out in the studio,” he says, while revealing that he’s been working on some of her own material. “I think I was playing E.V.P for her and the idea for her singing came out while I was playing it. She was like ‘Yeah let’s do it!’” “I wanna see if he makes the next one,” Hynes says, mid-thought. There’s a basketball game taking place on the court that hits the periphery of our vision. Hynes watches closely as a young boy makes a valiant effort to get the ball into the hoop. The kid just hits the rim. Our conversation comes to a close, and Hynes decides he’ll stick around to watch the game, and even ponders joining. It seems that New York City, and this open corner with a clear view of the chaos surrounding it, is a place where, after years of searching, Dev Hynes feels truly at home. Freetown Sound is out now via Domino Records
“Freetown Sound is an exercise in thinking about yourself, family, timelines and bloodlines”
“As time goes by, things change, generations change, and artists change with it to survive”
The moment marks the beginning of a huge global resurgence in a genre long-forgotten by the mainstream after the demise of stars like Sean Paul and Shaggy. Just a few years earlier, it would have been near unthinkable for the Jamaican, who spent his early years growing up in the countryside by the river in Hayfield, a tiny rural village in the Saint Thomas parish of Jamaica. Popcaan, born Andrea Jay Sutherland, has since gone on to work with Pusha T and Travis Scott on Blocka, be sampled by Kanye West on Guilt Trip from 2013’s Yeezus, and feature on Jamie xx’s global hit Good Times alongside Young Thug. He’s also formed a long-term working relationship with Drake, first featuring on the intro to Know Yourself from last year’s If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, before a sample of his vocals starred in a leaked version of Controlla in the lead-up to the release of this year’s Views. When the album dropped though, he no longer appeared, with his part replaced by the inimitable Beanie Man. “That whole incident was where I saw that a lot of people support my music worldwide,” Sutherland explains as he sits in the Red Bull Studios in London Bridge, talking about the outcry online about his missing vocal. It’s two days before he goes on stage at Red Bull’s Culture Clash at the O2 Arena, against the home-grown talent
of Wiley’s Eskimo Dance and the UKG All Stars, as well as Wiz Khalifa and his Taylor Gang. Sutherland lines up with Brooklyn’s Mixpak Records crew, who have become one of dancehall’s biggest players since forming in 2009. Short in stance but huge in character, the self-styled Unruly Boss – within the loose collection of producers and deejays (the Jamaican word for an MC) dubbed the Unruly Gang – fills the room with his inimitable tone and wild sense of humour. He’s flanked by Dre Skull, one of Mixpak Records’ key producers who has rapidly become one of the genre’s brightest stars, and Shocking Vibes Records founder Jamie Roberts. It’s undoubtable, as Sutherland prepares to take to one of the world’s largest stages, that he has played a big part in putting dancehall back on the world scene. But opinions on the state of the genre differ, and some older artists are unhappy about where the younger generation are taking it. “A lot of them are saying people aren’t making dancehall music again,” Sutherland explains. “But that’s bullshit. As time goes by, things change, generations change, and artists change with it to survive. If you see some youth put out a song and going international with it, you’ve got to appreciate them, as it puts a better view on the music. A man just doing it to take care of his family. I want the older artists support the younger generations. I see Jay Z doing it with rappers, and we need that unity in the dancehall community.” And this is something Sutherland has become outspoken about. After he was dropped from Drake’s Controlla, 90s dancehall star Mr. Vegas posted a video on Facebook, claiming to take a stand for dancehall. In it he labelled Drake “the fake”, bemoaned his exploitation of the “hot genre”, and
Words: Rob McCallum Photography: Cian Oba-Smith
It’s summer 2012 and Popcaan is sat at the Tuff Gong recording studio in Kingston, Jamaica, smoking a spliff rolled with his favoured hot grabba tobacco. The scenario isn’t out of place for the young dancehall artist, until, when he passes it along, he turns to global hip-hop star Snoop Dogg, who’s at the studio recording the pair’s Lighters Up collaboration from his 2013 reggae album Reincarnation.
038 accused the Canadian and his OVO label of disrespecting Jamaican artists by failing to credit the likes of Beanie Man and Sutherland, where his sample did appear elsewhere on the record. But the defence wasn’t something the Unruly boss took kindly. He responded through a video address of his own on YouTube, directed at Mr. Vegas. “Don’t try to violate my brother,” he said. “You don’t know anything about Unruly or OVO. You don’t need to defend Popcaan. OVO Unruly, we don’t need your help.” In it he also solidified the connection between the pair, describing their bond as being “like family”. And Sutherland is still adamant that young dancehall artists don’t need defending by the scene’s old guard. “When Vegas said that, he wasn’t defending dancehall, he was trying to make headlines,” he explains in his high-pitched Jamaican tone. “He’s been missing for a while. He’s not on the scene, he don’t have no songs, no controversy, no nothing. Vegas is just calling other artists names to make it look like he’s defending dancehall, when dancehall don’t need no defending. There’s nobody on Drake’s album bashing him. So why should Mr. Vegas take up that title? It don’t make sense.”
Sutherland is no stranger to controversy either. He was reportedly arrested in the same month as taking on Mr. Vegas, after getting involved in an onstage altercation with a police officer he felt was over-zealously dealing with a stage invader at his show in Antigua. And supporting the youth around him is
something he’s taken seriously for some time. In 2014, while at Jamie Roberts’ Shocking Vibes studio in Kingston, a group of youths approached Sutherland and asked him sign them to Unruly Entertainment. He put them into a street battle over a rhythm CD on a car stereo, and as soon as they started to deejay, the yard was full of spectators, giving birth to the Unruly Clashes. “I put it on the next level,” he explains. “Clashing is something I’ve loved since I was very young, and we can do Unruly as a serious thing to help the youths.” He lists his clash heroes as Ninjaman, Super Cat, Bounty Killer, Beanie Man, Merciless and, someone that had a huge impact on his career, Vybz Kartel. Sutherland’s story kick-started in 2007 when he approached the dancehall legend at a My Scheme jam, with Kartel quickly signing him up to his Portmore Empire group. Over the next few years he would begin a non-stop run of singles, including tracks that began to garner him attention, including Gangsta City and Hot Grabba. But it was his 2010 Kartel collaboration, Clarks, that took him to a widespread audience. His Chromatic presents Yiy Change mixtape followed two years later, with the subsequent tour seeing him perform across Europe, the Caribbean, South America and Canada, where he would first link up with Drake. But it was signing to Mixpak Records for his 2014 debut full-length Where We Come From that truly established him as a voice of Jamaica’s youth. The album took him outside the confines of the
dancehall scene, using emotive music that wove pop sensibilities, hip-hop, trap and myriad other sounds through his trademark party tracks, including Everything Nice, Love Yuh Bad and Waiting So Long. Shortly before it dropped, Kartel was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder, and the success of Where We Come From inadvertently established Sutherland as the international flagbearer for dancehall. “It’s always a pressure,” he explains. “I’ve got a very big task. I’m Vibez’ young musical son. I’m forever grateful for the opportunity to make my voice be heard. But it take a lotta dedication to be where I’m at. You have to keep it on that level. But I’ve done that over and over and we’re going to keep doing it.” The mantle of representing Jamaica’s youth is something he seems to have taken to with natural ability. “I’m their motivation, just like other people used to be mine,” Sutherland explains. “But I just be myself. Most artists nowadays are trying to be somebody else, but I just share my life story.” And as Sutherland continues to push the sound, the world is taking note. Rihanna’s Work featuring Drake starred two of the biggest artists in the world tackling it through their own pop sensibilities. “That’s major,” he explains. “Them dancing dancehall is a big star endorsing the product. And every time we break down another barrier, we convert more people. But it works the other way. I’m always going to appeal to different audiences because I don’t
do everyday dancehall. I’m talking about things that other acts aren’t.” On Where We Come From, Sutherland was still firmly in the race for deejay dominance but he switched up the subject matter and turned to unity and freedom, crafting his own lane. “Some people that listen to me don’t listen to dancehall or know no dancehall artists. It’s nothing I try for, it’s just a natural thing. But it means you can look to Popcaan to take the music to the next level internationally.” Two days later, Sutherland proves this point at Red Bull’s Culture Clash, where he emerges victorious with Mixpak against two crews with huge home support, despite never performing in the UK before. And that lack of opportunity in the country, and more so the US, is something many dancehall artists bemoan as they struggle to secure visas due to previous criminal records. But an upcoming change in Jamaican legislation, which will wipe minor offences, means Sutherland and others may finally be free to embark on a US tour, something he feels will be huge for the next step of his career. “They’re the two key places for dancehall artists to get international recognition,” he concludes. “I stayed in Jamaica and people still made me an international superstar, but getting a visa to do the groundwork and promotion to get established there means it will only get better.” Where We Come From is available via Mixpak
041 More than 30 years after releasing their debut LP, J and Murph are back on the promotion trail for their 12th release and fourth since reuniting in 2007 after an extended hiatus with bassist Lou Barlow (at home for family duties today). Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not is more or less the prototypical Dinosaur Jr. record: squalling lead guitar and anthemic drumming coupled with indie rock melodicism and J’s croaky vocals.
Words: James F Thompson Photography: Nacho G Riaza
It’s a template that’s served the Amherst, Massachusetts three-piece well ever since their late-eighties records on seminal American independent label SST. “We have a definite chemistry that works between us,” Murph says as we decamp to a room nearby. “I think J writes songs with us playing in mind.” Long-time fans might have been slightly perplexed to see none other than Henry Rollins make a video appearance to officially announce the new LP back in May. A hand-held camera made its way down to an unlit basement, only to find Rollins hiding out down there in the dark with his record collection. “He’s like our number one fan,” chuckles a jet-lagged J, in one of his few, typically laconic contributions today.
“I think he’s really into the fact that we and certain bands are still doing what we’re doing," Murph explains, "he’s really into kind of keeping the dream alive – I think that’s important to him and he knows it’s important to us, so it works out. “We did a week run in December at the Bowery Ballroom [in New York] and he got up on stage for one song, Don’t, and it was intimidating, man. Henry, right in front of my kick drum eye-balling me like, ‘Me and you Murph, arrrrgh!’ I was just like, woah. He still has it.” Rollins wasn’t a particularly fervent Dinosaur Jr. follower in the early days but now the former Black Flag singer has an encyclopaedic knowledge of their output – unsurprising perhaps, given their seemingly ever-growing fan base in the wake of the 2005 reunion. After remaining a cultish proposition in the 80s, the group only ever gained much popularity during their first run once they’d signed to a major label, Lou had quit and Murph had been relatively marginalised. Despite the line-up turmoil, 1991’s Green Mind was a success. “I feel like in the early nineties where we did Lollapalooza and there was MTV, for me that was pretty major,” Murph recalls. Lou’s 1989 removal from the band was a source of acrimony between himself and J for many years, though, with the latter dismissing the former due to an apparent clash in personalities. In subsequent interviews, Lou would lash out at J and complain about perceived hurt and injustice. The two weren’t on speaking terms for years. Such was the strength in feeling that even if the pair were playing the same festivals (Lou had a new solo project, Sebadoh, a big deal in their own right), they wouldn’t deign to watch one other’s performances purely out of spite.
For Dinosaur Jr., the more things change, the more they stay the same. Trundling up the stairs of an East London studio space to meet the group, I’m greeted by a reassuring blast of classic rock as I reach the top. Drummer Emmett Jefferson Murphy, affectionately known to fans as "Murph", is perched listening to a track from 70s proto-stoner outfit Leaf Hound, nodding along in his baggy shirt and cap. Bandleader J Mascis is milling around too, towering above label people in a billowing black t-shirt and trucker hat.
It took until 2003 – fully a decade after Lou left the band – before he and J would make up, re-uniting on stage in London to perform Stooges songs. “Y’know, before we got back together part of it was kind of like finally an acceptance of some responsibility and apologising to me for this and that, and him getting less angry,” J says. “He’d been holding on to some anger for a long time. He took some responsibility and got less angry, and that’s what I noticed changed.” Now, nine years into the reunion and with a regular album cycle, it looks like Dinosaur Jr. can keep going as long as they want to keep touring. “It just seems like there’s momentum that we have and a reason to keep going and doing it,” Murph says. “We don’t want to over-saturate everyone by playing all the time,” adds J. “It’s just that we tour and at one point we’ve played everywhere and it’s like, well, if we want to keep touring we’ve got to make another album.” I wonder aloud whether the legacy of the band’s landmark late-eighties LPs weighs heavily when they’re recording new material to take on tour though, particularly because J has always said 1987’s You’re Living All Over Me is his favourite thing they’ve ever recorded. Is there a sense of trying to live up to those releases?
“We pretty much tend to just work in the moment,” Murph argues. “We’re focused on what’s happening at the time and we’re all kind of perfectionists in that we want it to sound good, to the best of our ability, but that’s really all we’re concerned with. We’re not really thinking in terms of hindsight or historically, how is this gonna lie – none of that is really at the forefront, it’s just about the task in hand and trying to produce a good product, y’know?" All the same, there’s no denying the seismic impact of those first few albums on legions of alternative rock acts into the nineties right up to the present. “It always surprises me when someone’s like, ‘Oh, I listened to your drumming’, laughs Murph. “I expect even the next generation to just turn to Hendrix and the Stones and everyone else like we did! It’s always surprising that they’ve moved on and maybe we’re now that generation, but I don’t really consciously think about that. We’re still just concerned about the music.” Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not is set for release 5 August via Jagjaguwar
“We have a definite chemistry that works between us”
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A LB UM
O U T
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INCLUDES THE SINGLES ‘ O L D S K O O L’ & ‘ N I G H T O W L’
8/10 UNCUT “A GLITTERY SLAB OF DISCO, METRONOMY LIKE WE’VE NEVER HEARD THEM BEFORE.” DIY
M E T R O N O M Y. C O . U K @METRONOMY
“London might have more opportunities, but if you haven’t got loads of money it’s a more stressful environment. I’d rather be broke and having a buzz” Chimpo MUSIC
045 When we reach the light at the end of the tunnel, we’re in the middle of a motorway roundabout, where producer and DJ Metrodome is set up under a small marquee. As the sun lowers in the sky, reggae and dub pumps through the speakers, and food on the barbecue eventually begins to sizzle. Tonight’s gathering was conceived by an anonymous affiliate of Manchester’s Levelz crew – the 14-strong music collective who’ve been generating hype across the UK and beyond – after he’d discovered a stray plug in the underpass. Deciding that it was an opportunity too good to miss, the crew hooked up a sound system and distributed the postcode via text messages, Facebook and Whatsapp to tip off their audience without attracting too much unwanted attention. A lot of the attendees look like students (it’s been promoted as an end of term party) but they’re a mixed group of kids – some rock Supreme and man-bags while others don dreadlocked hair. A suited businessman, who’s likely wandered into the situation on his way home from work, decides to settle down and catch the vibe.
Words: Grant Brydon Photography: Harry Mitchell
As the alcohol gets flowing and darkness begins to provide a comforting shroud over the scene, the beginnings of a party (at least on the crowd’s part; Levelz have been in party mode
since we arrived) slowly begin to form. There’s a group enthusiastically discussing the news that Atlanta trap legend Gucci Mane is finally free from jail, while Metrodome, who has been on DJ duties for a good few hours by now, begins to perform a karaoke version of Usher’s U Don’t Have To Call using his headphones as a mic. While Levelz have only been active as a collective since 2013, it’s been a whirlwind few years. Since kicking things off with a trio of cypher videos, they’ve won their hometown’s edition of Red Bull Culture Clash, taken over Apple Music’s Beats 1 for an evening, hosted a five-hour Boiler Room, appeared on Rinse FM’s The Grime Show and dropped in for a Radio 1 session with Toddla T. Googling leads down a rabbit hole of output from all 14 members, with their musical output ranging from grime, garage, 160 BPM cyphers, drum‘n’bass and laid-back hip-hop. With so many genres thrown into the mix, Levelz are a truly versatile collective, and they’ve taken a powerin-numbers approach in order to make some noise beyond their hometown. Levelz’ origins can be traced back to longrunning Manchester bass music night HIT & RUN, promoted by the group’s now-manager Rich Reason, which gave the crew’s members a platform to perform alongside the likes of Kaytranada and James Blake and connect with local record label Estate Recordings, which was home to the likes of Broke N £nglish, Skittles, Chimpo and Fox. The community vibe of the nights (at which many Estate Recordings artists would attend whether they’d been booked or not) began to develop further, and Rich recognised a huge wave of energy within the scene.
In August 2013, Rich called a meeting with a group of artists that he knew were all already friends and would work well together, as well as some younger MCs from a crew called Ape Cult – featuring Black Josh, Truthos Mufasa and Metrodome. “The couple of shows they had done for me had confirmed their undeniable star quality,” he remembers. “Even though at the time I wondered if Josh and I would ever be able to see eye-to-eye.” With such a contrast between their ages and backgrounds, Rich recalls the young rapper viewing him suspiciously in the meeting. Rich believes that the relationships that had developed through HIT & RUN and Estate Recordings were vital to building trust, and facilitated a strong team mentality. Levelz introduced themselves to Manchester through weekly parties, and to the world with three cyphers that established their versatility when it came to handling three different tempos, and demonstrated their multi-dimensional tastes and abilities. Last December, Levelz hid away in Wales to record the group mixtape LVL 11 – a collection of tracks that showcased their talent as producers, their agility as MCs and the goofy humour that inevitably occurs when they all get together as mates. And while the tape makes a strong collaborative statement, it shouldn’t be viewed as the work of a 14-man band, but rather a loose collective model similar to the likes of Odd Future or Awful Records. “Levelz was made to help us individually by moving together,” Josh explains. Rich concurs: “If Josh or Skittles’ solo projects blow up, then it’s only going to reflect back on Levelz.”
It’s a Tuesday night and a blue line on an iPhone leads us around the streets and pathways of Hulme, just south of Central Manchester. As we get closer to our destination, the muffled sound of bassy hip-hop echoes in a graffitismothered underpass.
“Levelz was made to help us individually by moving together”
049 Rich is the natural choice to liaise with the police, as disappointment crosses the faces of the crowd. After a short exchange, Chunky picks up the mic to break the news. “They said we can carry on!” he announced. “They said if you aren’t dancing they’re going to shut it down. If you’re hanging around like yobs. I agree with that officer.” Suddenly the party is in full effect, everyone is crowded around the barbeque dancing. “Can we give a round of applause to the police for being fucking safe,” Rich adds as the police retreat. “That’s Manchester for you.” While the Levelz crew are diverse in terms of sound and background, the city of Manchester is the thread that ties it all together. Chimpo – the producer, DJ and MC who’s arguably one of the most revered members of the collective – believes that living in the city promotes the crew’s varied approach. “There’s loads of different vibes up here but they all seem to cross pollinate,” he explains. “I think that’s important to all of our lot’s music, because it’s a bit more mixed up. This is my home and I’ve not been anywhere that matches it. London might have more opportunities
but the quality of life is lower if you haven’t got loads of money so it’s a more stressful environment. I’d rather be broke and having a buzz.” They also try to ensure that everything, from their merchandise to design and videos, is created by fellow Manchester residents. Simply put, “it’s a Levelz thing, it’s a Manchester thing.” The crowd begin to integrate more with the crew, and the mic begins doing the rounds. The sounds get a little grimier as Skittles, Chunky and T Man trade bars. When the crew begin to wrap things up, fans assist in clearing up the area with black bags. One girl tells me that since Levelz are doing such positive things for the city, she wants to make sure there’s nothing leftover that could get them in trouble. With the last of the equipment being packed into a white van, the group members head towards the city’s Mint Club to get the afterparty going, and heavens finally crack, letting a downpour wash over the temporary barbecue site while lightning flashes in the sky. “It symbolised a lot about what I love about Manchester,” Rich says later while reflecting on the party. “It’s perhaps a nod to the days when that area was a good bit wilder and more anarchic. It’s great to see so much development in the city, but I don’t want it to become another identikit steel and glass haven for only those with means.” Levelz appear at Boomtown Fair, Hampshire, 11-14 August
Later on at the Levelz barbecue, a homeless guy, who’s been dipping in and out of the event since the beginning, is watching over from a high vantage point. He suddenly waves to alert the crew of potential trouble, and three police officers appear silhouetted on the horizon. With the officers making their way down the bank towards the gathering, Chunky grabs the mic. “Everybody, can we make some noise for the police,” he exclaims, the officers approaching. “We love the job that you do.”
HIEROGLYPHIC BEING THE DISCOâ€™S OF IMHOTEP
SARATHY KORWAR DAY TO DAY [NINJA TUNE X STEVE REID FOUNDATION]
ASH KOOSHA I AKA I
SPACE DIMENSION CONTROLLER PRESENTS ORANGE MELAMINE
MAX GRAEF & GLENN ASTRO THE YARD WORK SIMULATOR
THE INVISIBLE PATIENCE
LP OUT 19TH AUG
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ROOTS MANUVA BLEEDS [DELUXE VERSION]
051 Words: Ben Murphy Photography: Grace Pickering
Sepalcure’s music, coming more from the electronic side, complemented it but moved beyond its confines.
“It comes down to our long term friendship,” Travis explains. “We used to jam together and never started really making actual tracks for a good five, or six years. Once we started doing that, it made so much sense that we had that trust and rapport together that is really essential for a successful collaboration.”
In 2016, experimental RnB has continued to flourish. When you have James Blake lending a hand on Beyoncé’s Lemonade and the DIY nature of serpentwithfeet and D∆WN (who’s currently collaborating with Machinedrum) influencing a raft of new musicians, it’s clear there’s a prevailing taste for soulful records with an unorthodox approach to production. But just as they did when they first appeared, Sepalcure have sculpted something fresh from their form with their new long-player. If their 2011 first album cultivated a heady postdubstep feeling, then their new album Folding Time sees them further flesh out those vocal samples, for the first time inviting guest singers aboard.
The duo have honed a distinctive sonic stamp since their Hotflush debut single Love Pressure in 2010. When they first arose, RnB with an alternative tilt was an emergent phenomenon, with artists such as How to Dress Well and The Weeknd defining a nebulous movement influenced by atmospheric electronics. Fashioning something soulful and affecting from sonorous RnB vocal samples, dub bass, broken beats and garage inflections,
Rochelle Jordan (a solo artist who’s collaborated with several electronic acts including Jimmy Edgar) features on the lead single Fight For Us, her lush voice adorning an ornate, delicate RnB ballad of circling guitar figures and Rhodes keys. Its stop-start rhythm has more than a touch of Timbaland, but the tumbling, filtered junglist breaks and splurges of synth suggest a different source. Devil Inside with Angelica Bess (who’s worked
This certainly seems to the case with Sepalcure, the duo of Travis Stewart, from North Carolina, and New Yorker Praveen Sharma, who are known separately for their bass-caked electronic releases as Machinedrum and Braille, respectively.
with both of the producers separately) embeds her resonant vocals on a dark pulse of fractured dancehall beats, before a wistful acoustic coda. While apart they create dissimilar records — Machinedrum making everything from footwork and jungle to house under the Aden alias, and Braille fashioning mutant takes on RnB on his debut album Mute Swan — when they work together, they pool their many influences and combine them in ways they’d never think to do when producing apart. “We definitely have similar backgrounds as far as influences go, but what we want to create in the studio can sometimes differ, so when we come together you see this meeting of worlds,” says Travis. “It’s a good collision.” Although Sepalcure arose when the post-dubstep scene was at its height, they have always eluded simple categorisation. In the intervening years, Machinedrum has become far more well known, releasing the excellent Room(s) and Vapor City LPs through Planet Mu and Ninja Tune and forming a relationship with the Teklife footwork crew, while Braille has put out singles through Rush Hour, Hotflush and Hypercolour offshoot
Glass Table, and his debut album on Friends of Friends. They’ve tried out various genres, but the twin threads of soul vocals and a dub aesthetic runs through their material. It’s there on album tracks Dub Of, with its cavernous, wideopen drama, spelunking bass and 4/4 thunk, and the spaced out, micro-detailed Brother Forest. Both suggest an affection for dub techno. “All things dub, definitely dub techno,” says Travis of their influences on the record. “Basic Channel, Rhythm and Sound,” chimes in Praveen. “You can hear that on Dub Of, that takes a lot of interest from that world.” But despite their overt influences, Sepalcure understand that to be pigeonholed risks being reduced to a fad. “We never avoid any rhythmic structure,” Praveen tells me, declaring his commitment to experimentation, and summing up the free-spirited nature of Sepalcure’s sonic explorations.
Folding Time is out now via Hotflush Recordings
Combining brains can be the most fruitful way of creating music distinct from your own. Sometimes solo studio sessions just won’t cut it. And when two musicians get in sync, magic can happen.
Produced exclusively for Crack Magazineby Printed Goods - printedgoods.net
The receptionist refuses to let me into Tony Allen’s hotel room as a matter of policy: no guests. The small-framed 75-year-old Nigerian emerges dressed in crisp sportswear and we walk to a café in between Algerian grocers and Ethiopian cafés in London’s Finsbury Park. Taut and sinewy, I wouldn’t have put him a year over sixty. He’s monosyllabic – a little tetchy perhaps, having flown back and forth between the city and his home in Paris twice in the past couple of days. Allen shakes his head sternly and covers his mug with a firm hand as the barista tries to offer him sugar. He soon loosens up, and sparks up a mild, pre-rolled joint in the café garden. Still, he seems like a sombre man, with weight on his mind. While his life has been devoted to music – Brian Eno called him “the greatest living drummer” – chaos and desperation have often cast their shadows, from thieving managers and creative disagreements, to military repression and a period of heroin addiction. ‘No guests’ is a policy Allen himself couldn’t be more opposed to. I’m speaking to him between a show at Jazz Café as part of the dub techno collective Moritz von Oswald Trio and an afro-beat- meets-acid-jazz session at the world famous Ronnie Scott’s jazz bar with his friend Bukky Leo. His career has been constantly fired by sparking inspiration in a diverse series of collaborators including von Oswald, Damon Albarn, Ginger Baker, Doctor L, Theo Parrish, and, of course, Fela Anikulapo Kuti. When Allen became friends with the unpredictable, visionary bandleader Fela Kuti in the early sixties, the partnership lasted for 15 crazy years. First playing jazz and highlife as Koola Lobitos, whose amazing recordings were reissued this year, Fela reincarnated the band as Afrika ‘70, mixing it all up to create the sound
of afrobeat. It put African music on the map like never before, and blew James Brown’s mind in the process. Allenko, as Fela called him, was the only one allowed to write his own parts. “I have four limbs, and four limbs have to do their separate things,” he recounts with pride. He put the beat into afrobeat. Tony has recently returned from Portau-Prince, where he was invited by the director of the French Institute as a kind of creative envoy to play a concert and strengthen the pulse of a country enfeebled by natural disaster. A brilliant album under the name Afro-Haitian Experimental Orchestra emerged from “raggedy” rehearsals with ten percussionists trained in the Haitian Vodou drumming tradition, linking squarely with the African styles that Allen grew up with. Ultimately though, it was a sobering experience. “What I saw at that time was poverty,” he recalls. “Too much, it’s horrible. That’s what I saw. It’s an eyesore, but you just have the earthquake so, one cannot, I cannot, imagine what it used to be before. And they have a crazy head of state, who don’t know nothing.” This must have been sadly familiar ground for the musician. In the 60s, ethnic tension and eventually civil war left dead bodies piled in the gutter outside the Lagos clubs where Koola Lobitos played. During peacetime, it had been “a paradise” for dancers and party people, but the current picture, in Allen’s eyes, is untenable once again. “Every club became churches,” he says. “The current generation don’t know what we’re talking about. Now you can be shot in your home. You’re not sure if you’re going to wake up the next day.” In the 70s, Fela Kuti had become highly politicised, even attempting to run for president. He faced down Nigeria’s corrupt military government in increasingly provocative songs, and eventually hundreds of soldiers raided the
musician’s home, which he’d declared as an independent republic. Some of his entourage were raped and murdered, the compound was burnt down and Fela was put in prison – his mother in a fatal coma after being thrown out of a window. Allen left around this time – he’d never signed up for this madness. “Afrobeat is not supposed to be political music, it’s not,” he explains. “It’s your message that is militant, not the music. Fela was singing love songs before he became militant.” Though Allen endured a fractious relationship with Fela, who died of AIDSrelated heart failure in 1997, only love and respect now remain. “Nobody ever sang like Fela before – they don’t have the guts. Fela was the only one who was able to because he was a special person.” Though he rules out mixing politics with music in the way that Fela did, he still engages with important issues addressing the world. On the single Boat Journey from his most recent album, his lyrics poignantly foreshadowed the refugee crisis, and speaking about the recent terrorist attacks on music venues – Pulse nightclub in Orlando and the Bataclan in Paris, his home city – he is resolute. “They cannot succeed,” he states. “They are not going to stop us. I was playing three days after. For everybody to forget about life just like that? Nobody submits to that.” After leaving Fela’s side, the 80s and 90s were a fairly quiet time for Allen, raising children in Paris and making ends meet as a working musician. But after the millennium, things happily heated up again, partly thanks to some chance encounters with Damon Albarn. His second fifteen-year relationship with an influential bandleader began when the Blur frontman sang “Tony Allen got me dancing” on the band’s 2000 single Music Is My Radar. After a drunken
Words: Gwyn Thomas de Chroustchoff Photography: Elliot Kennedy
meeting that saw the Blur frontman running onstage to embrace Allen at his drum kit, Albarn contributed vocals to Allen’s 2002 album Home Cooking, and the pair continued working together in Albarn’s supergroups The Good, the Bad and the Queen and Rocket Juice & The Moon. “For me he’s a pure artist,” says Allen. “Damon’s waking up every day with different ideas, and that is the way music should be. Damon is not in vogue, he’s doing everything, he’s exploring every avenue of music, wherever it’s coming from: Syria, Africa, Bamako, Nigeria, everywhere. So that means this is a nonstop guy.” That label “nonstop” shows what Allen values, whether in his general outlook on life or his endlessly energetic drumming style. “I cannot play the same pattern throughout the night. Impossible, because my drumming has different influences crossing.” It was only natural that this open attitude, combined with Allen’s contributions to rhythmic evolution, would open a dialogue with dance music’s most monumental figures, including techno auteurs Carl Craig and Ricardo Villalobos, who have both remixed him. He made his first real foray into electronic music as part of the French downtempo collective Psyco On Da Bus, and later found a kindred spirit in the Detroit legend Theo Parrish, with whom he recorded Day Like This/Feel Loved in 2013, with new material from the pair surfacing soon. “Theo doesn’t have too many gadgets, but when it’s spinning, he has the soul. He knows how to kick the ass of the people, you understand?”
Bearing in mind the unique rhythmic bustle of Parrish’s style, it’s easy to see where the common ground was, but less so with the Moritz von Oswald Trio, with whom Allen just performed. The German dub techno innovator mixed Allen’s album Lagos No Shaking in 2006, and later asked the drummer to join Felix
Loderbauer and himself in the collective after the departure of Sasu Ripatti (AKA Vladislav Delay). Together they recorded an album, Sounding Lines, where tracks roll out for miles, with little colour in a meditative pitter-patter of rhythm and subtle sound synthesis. This seems, surely, like one step too far from where Allen’s roots are sunk; the sepia-toned electronic theorising of von Oswald and Loderbauer must disagree with Allen’s live, human rhythms that usually bubble and sizzle organically beneath raised voices and the wail of brass instruments. But this novel fusion is exactly what excites Allen. “People should just try to neutralise their minds sometimes,” he says. “You got to look for patterns that fit. That is how I operate.” His advice to would-be innovators is such: “Don’t stay on just one style throughout your life – they made it already. I love to deal with the sound in front of me, I put myself with it. It makes a change; diversity and colours, not just a machine. A machine is too static, but with human being feeling within it, it makes it lively.” You certainly couldn’t accuse the musician of staying in one place. He continues to promote his 2014 album Film of Life, on which he sang, drummed and wrote the music, and July he’ll play twenty shows for Jamaican guitar legend Ernest Ranglin’s farewell tour. He’s also writing his first jazz album. As he heads off for rehearsals, he gives me some advice for the following night’s show. “Stay by my side,” he says, “so you can see what I do.” What I see and hear is a resilient, grooving musical force: a nonstop guy. Tony Allen appears at Dekmantel Festival, Amsterdamse Bos, 4-7 August
“Nobody ever sang like Fela before – they don’t have the guts”
S E P T E M B E R 2 N DD 4 T H 2 0 1 6
AL DOBSON JR BAKE
BEN SIMS PRES: MACHINE
THE BL ACK MADONNA DAN BEAUMONT ELGATO
JADE SEATLE SE
HIGH FASHION TECHNIQUE
MAKE ME: RUPES & RUBIN
BANANA HILL: CERVO & JVC
HANNAH HOLL AND
DANCE TUNNEL SOUNDSYSTEM
MEAT FREE DJS
MIKE PL ANT
NORMAL BEHAVIOUR: JOHN HANLEY, CARL H AND JANE FITZ SAMMY STRING
Words: Emma Robertson Photography: Teddy Fitzhugh
Born in New York in the 1970s to a Uruguayan mother and a Czech father, Vasicka’s world has always been a melting pot in the best sense of the word. Having grown up in NYC’s golden era of electronic music, it’s no surprise that Vasicka’s teenage years spent working at record shops, digging through crates, listening to cassette tapes, and going to illegal warehouse parties have brought her to this point. Vasicka’s love of 80s new wave and electronica flourished when she picked up DJing in the late 90s; she started spinning records and hasn’t looked back since. In 2003, Vasicka co-founded a pirate radio project called East Village Radio out of a small room of the second floor of a walk up in Manhattan, playing host to a variety of different DJ and radio shows, including Vasicka’s own Minimal Wave (which later evolved into a record label). Fast forward a few years, the whole East Village Radio operation moved down to a storefront space at street level where thousands of people walked passed every day. Located in the midst of a concrete jungle, surrounded by the hustle and bustle of the city, New York seemed to seep into the show, whether she liked it or not. “The juxtaposition of having this semiprivate, semi-anonymous outlet through the airwaves to then basically being a
fixture on the street made for interesting situations,” Vasicka laughs. “All kinds of random people would come in asking ‘Where’s the bar,’ or ‘Can I use the bathroom,’ or ‘Can I be on the radio?’” Did she ever say yes? “During that first year there, I actually did let people on the air! It never quite worked as they would rap on the mic or go on making shout out after shout out… It was impossible to get them to leave!” What is the capacity of space when we think about sound? If the East Village Radio is any indication, that Made in New York energy can have a distinct significance; but when it comes
“There’s a rawness and immediacy to the people of New York and I hear it in the music too.” down to it, does where we play music really make a difference? Vasicka thinks so. “Well ideally, the music I play works best in a dark smoky club at three am,” she says, matter of factly. Vasicka’s DJ sets can channel the gritty, raw edge of techno just as effortlessly as they can the weird wonder of the 80s synth she’s so fond of. Her Minimal Wave label, unearthing lost and overlooked DIY Cold Wave, Minimal Synth, New Wave and Synthpop records from the 70s and 80s, has since become a genre of its own. Although it closed its doors a couple years ago, East Village Radio played an integral role not only in Vasicka’s own musical journey but in the journey of artists like Morricone Youth, Steve
Lillywhite, Bobby Friction, and Mark Ronson. But if New York’s music scene owes something to Vasicka, she makes it clear that she owes just as much to New York. “The city has always been gritty to me, even though parts of it are less so now,” Vasicka says quietly, “and that roughness is definitely characteristic of the music I choose to play and release. I see it in the people, there’s a rawness and immediacy to them.” There’s a pause before she adds, “And I hear it in the music too.” Vasicka is the first to admit, though, that the evolution of a city as populous and culturally prominent as New York can be a double-edged sword. While the music and arts scenes have continued to swell since the 1960s and 70s, with that comes an inevitable flaw. Even for Vasicka’s own endeavors, gentrification has played a role in setting some change into motion. While it’s often argued that such movement hurts the art and music scenes where real estate is concerned, the outcome can also sometimes be positive. “We were given a 100% rent increase overnight on our Greenpoint space which housed the Minimal Wave label. We ended up finding something for the same monthly rental price but 30 minutes away, so we went with it. And it works,” she says. “It’s a high crime neighborhood… But that seems to be changing now. We often get these excited young kids coming in, asking what we’re doing here. One kid recently came by telling us he makes music videos and if we’d ever be interested in having him do a video for us…” she laughs. “He was about eight. It was really sweet. The neighborhood
has been very welcoming even though we could easily be seen as those white gentrifiers.” What we know for sure is that New York is changing. The growing real estate market has made throwing events — certainly the illegal warehouse raves of Vasicka’s youth — much more difficult. Oversaturation of talent likewise means that artists have to do a lot to stand out from the crowd. But for now, at least, it seems like Vasicka is up to the challenge. “Emulating the past will get us nowhere,” she says, when we suggest that clutching onto old New York might be counterproductive. “The ultimate success is to learn from the past, gather your influences and then leave them all behind. This is what Minimal Wave is trying to accomplish: a re-presentation of the past to a new audience. When people listen to the Minimal Wave releases, the intention is to transport them back.” In a way, her entire ethos is a mutation, a transformation; instead of hanging desperately on to nostalgia both for the music and the New York of yesterday, Vasicka reflects, repurposes, and perhaps most importantly, lets go. She’s quiet for a few minutes, thinking. Then she adds, “That’s really the only way to create something that is completely now and in the moment.” Veronica Vasicka appears at Berlin Atonal, Kraftwerk Berlin, 24 - 28 August and Simple Things Festival, Bristol, 22 October
Veronica Vasicka was made in New York. That’s not to say that New York made her — it’s not as cut and dry as that — rather, there’s something about her, from her DJing down to her energy, that is New York incarnate. Maybe it’s the fast pace of her mixing, the swagger of a kickdrum or a particular bassline. It could be the way she unwinds with ease during our chat despite the fact that she can’t seem to sit still. She is at once electrified and composed; lightning in a bottle.
Words: Augustin Macellari Photography: Henry Gorse
In the weeks leading up to UK’s EU referendum, it’s likely that you encountered one or more of Wolfgang Tillmans’ contributions to the Remain campaign. In a short space of time his posters, adorned with straightforward declarations about the benefits of the European Union and the advisability of remaining a part of it, achieved a kind of ubiquity across art schools, cafes and galleries. Likewise, his t-shirts will in all probability have popped up on your Instagram feed: Daniel Craig has one, and so do I. In a short space of time, the iconic photographer became the art world’s voice of Remain: other artists may have felt as strongly, but none put nearly as much effort into persuading the UK that we shouldn’t leave as he did. The energy expended in the campaign was not spare. The recent emergence of his political voice, he tells me, didn’t happen to coincide with a career lull. It wasn’t “to fill a gap.” In fact, with a major Tate exhibition scheduled for early next year, an ongoing exhibition at his London gallery, Maureen Paley, and an EP to be released, the added workload – if nothing else – was a testament to the strength of his belief in the European Union. “There are now forces at work in the world that hadn’t really been so vocal,” he tells me in his studio. “I guess they’ve been around, they’re always there, that sort of people of course exist – but they didn’t have the upper hand.”
For the last 70 years in Europe that’s been the truth. The results of Friday, 24 June – Independence Day to some, a day of numbing shock to others – may illustrate a shift away from that. It remains to be seen. There were compelling liberal arguments for Brexit, but the bile spewed subsequently suggests that they’re unlikely to find a voice, that the nasty rhetoric: “Send ‘em back,” was what swung it – that now the so-called ‘undemocratic’ neoliberal
superstructure of the EU actually doesn’t look that bad, after all. As Tillmans observes in a moment of what seems to be characteristic pragmatism, “the EU didn’t set out to be a neoliberal force, it only adapted to the reality in the world.”
of time. So does the ashtray, which fills up with the butts of Gauloises. Halfway through our conversation it becomes necessary to pause, go outside and take pictures before the sun goes completely down.
I meet Tillmans a week before the referendum, in his studio behind a Georgian terraced house in the nicest bit of Central London, south of Islington and west of Shoreditch. As he leads me to the large open room, accessible through a courtyard, downstairs, the surroundings are instantly familiar from their recurrence in his photos.
Throughout his career, Tillmans has documented spaces precisely like this: artists’ living quarters; incidental little reminders of life in the form of window boxes and orange peel, or rumpled clothes. His visual language is so assertive, and so uniquely his, that it has come to inform a generation of photographers. Having made his name taking pictures that did rather more than the usual for i-D in the 90s, he became the first non-British national to win the Turner Prize in 2000.
Another courtyard opens out of the right-hand side of the studio. Henry Gorse, our photographer, opens the French windows and inspects it. One of Tillmans’ assistants asks if we’ve seen “that photo of a weed” – apparently it was shot out there. Along the left wall the campaign posters are arranged, asserting “No man is an island/No country by itself.” and “For 60 years the EU has been the foundation of peace between neighbours/After centuries of bloodshed.”
His career has run concurrently with a shift in the currency of images so profound it has become the subject of innumerable exhibitions itself. Within the boundaries of this historical democratisation of images, where photography has become something free and instant, with many platforms for dissemination, it’s difficult to understate Tillmans’ influence.
Tubes filled with them, ready for distribution, are stacked at the back of the studio; tables piled with t-shirts ready to be couriered – these I think to Birmingham. And then elsewhere sit plants, and more plants, a picture of a seal pup balanced on a radiator, and a red towel hanging over another. The shifting quality of light passing through the room’s skylights marks the passage
In the introduction to a 2002 survey of his work, critic Jan Verwoert describes how Tillmans’ work has never been exclusive to the gallery; his practice spans installation, books and pop-culture outlets. Through this postmodern ubiquity, Tillmans’ visual language has seeped into culture; tasteful photographs of plants in front of a white background have informed
Wolfgang Tillmans exhibition view, first floor gallery: Maureen Paley, London - 2016 ©Wolfgang Tillmans, courtesy Maureen Paley, London
The State We’re In, A unframed inkjet print 273 x 410 cm - 2015 exhibition view, ground floor gallery: Maureen Paley, London 2016 ©Wolfgang Tillmans, courtesy Maureen Paley, London
“Photography has this incredibly powerful ability to make something tangible – a moment in life that then tells a greater truth”
Wolfgang Tillmans exhibition view, ground floor gallery: Maureen Paley, London - 2016 ©Wolfgang Tillmans, courtesy Maureen Paley, London
In this way, Tillmans has influenced more than just a way of taking pictures – his impact on a generation’s way of seeing has resonated down the line, snowballed with the elevation of his kind of 90s counterculture to a contemporary art-school mainstream. The subsequent feeling, sitting in his studio surrounded by potential photos, is a kind of inverse uncanny: a familiarity in strange surroundings. One reason for the strength of Tillmans’ images lies in their honesty. Whether they document a social scene, a moment with a lover, a sophisticated telescope, or an Ethiopian market scene, Tillmans engages with his subjects directly and subjectively. There is no attempt to present anything dispassionately, but through the implicit acknowledgment of his own presence as photographer, decision maker, and documenter, he truthfully presents his subjective view. A political example of this can be found in his new show at Maureen Paley. The ground floor is dominated by a powerful image of the Atlantic, weighty and angry and roiling. Elsewhere in the room is an image of a fragment of a medical procedure, tubes carrying blood outside the body. In a corner is a cluster of the sort for which he has become known: pictures arranged, printed to different sizes. These installations invite narrative reading, but also confound it. Their logic is not linear, but rather rhizomatic. In this sense they broadly reflect his practice. He has motifs or subjects to which he returns to and pursues outwards, over time. In this instance, in the corner on the ground floor, two pictures stand out. An image of a vandalised Spanish ATM, an act of civil disobedience, seems to reflect approbation on the part of the artist towards a protest directly leveled
“A general strategy that I employ is to acknowledge my own entanglement of the world that I’m in,” Tillmans says of the obvious tensions on display and the demands of honesty within his work. “I find it more honest and more productive to work with the reality than to either break under the weight of inequality, or pretend I’m not part of the elite.” The fallibility admitted by presenting these two arguably conflicting viewpoints, the vulnerability it exposes, itself expresses the trustworthiness of Tillmans’ camera: that he is willing to expose himself to criticism protects him from it, expands the faith we can put in his integrity and, by extension, images. Tillmans is not a documentary photographer. Rather, as argued above, he truthfully presents his experience – even going so far as to synthesise moments in order to present them truthfully. An iconic 1992 photo, Lutz and Alex sitting in the trees, shows a woman and man, in raincoats and nothing else, perched at different levels on the bough of a tree. “Those are my completely staged scenarios that are made, intended, to look like they could happen,” Tillmans tells me. “There are gradations between worlds that I make, and that I record. And they are not mutually exclusive.” The artifice of the situation has no effect on the truth of the image – the image retains its power regardless of the circumstances of nude Lutz and Alex’s arrival up that tree. The formal or conceptual ways in which Tillmans seeks to express a truth in his pictures seem to circle back, at least in part, to a fundamental respect for the power of photography as a medium. Before the shoot, we discuss the referendum at some length. It is unsurprising that politics casts a shadow over how we talk about his work, and afterward it feels like we return to a similar point, surrounding
the truth. Not long after I arrive we discuss Ukip’s now notorious “Breaking Point” poster, wheeled out in support of the Leave campaign, which exploited the tide of human misery in a queue of refugees. We talk about the ethics of a photographer who’d allow his picture to be used like that, although it later becomes clear (in a Guardian article) that he had nothing to do with its repurposing. Through its formal straightforwardness, lack of stylistic affectation and ambition to present the facts as baldly as possible, the picture leaves itself open to manipulation; it is loaded with narrative potential, but in its neutrality it also risks misrepresentation - as the Leave campaign proved, the content can be totally subverted by context. A few callous and careful lines turn it from a sad but hopeful convoy to an invading army – a river, swarm, flood. Something bad and biblical; a cause to fight against. Tillmans’ unique visual style, quite apart from giving his works texture and granting them ‘art’ status, uses subjectivity as leverage against recontextualisation. He precludes the possibility of his pictures’ misrepresentation by the unscrupulous through their scrupulous precision. “It’s not an endless Instagram feed, my work. It’s very, very particular,” he explains. “Photography has this incredibly powerful ability to make something tangible, a moment in life that then tells a greater truth – that the world would be poorer, or at least culture would be poorer if that [truth] wasn’t added into the cultural dialogue.” He is at the same time both pragmatic and realistic – he acknowledges the limits of things, from art to the EU, to truth. “People claiming truth, and they are not true – but on the other hand, of course, I’m not saying I know them all… But then there are truths – the Earth is a globe. Certain truths I want to be absolutist. And others we have to treat with a great sense of relativism, no?” A week after our initial conversation, and the referendum result is out. A blow for the reasonable and pragmatic,
a win for the heavy handed whose truths seemed convenient, and were rung out at the right pitch. Relativism is out, it would seem, for the nation when it comes to engaging the ‘truths’ of the Leave campaigners. Over email, Tillmans offered his comment, which is quoted in full below.
at the institutions that a cash machine represents. Nearby sits a shot from within – and of – the unattainable luxury of a business-class flight.
“I guess what we feel now, the sense of loss, is the feeling of having arrived in a new era after 25 years of supposed absence of ideology. An era where a completely irrational proposal can win 52% in a major country. It does not bode well for how the West will deal with the real issues of the future. 1.5 million refugees from war-torn Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan have spooked 508 million Europeans so badly, they are willing to consider tearing up their unity. That Everyone for Themselves is the answer to our problems, is hard to stomach. We must make those who played a decisive role in this theatre of propaganda take responsibility. The ever so balanced sounding Labour MP Gisela Stuart, who originated the idea of the 350m pounds to be spent every week on the NHS, and her failure to rebuke her campaign fellows for twisting her words into an insane battle cry. The editors of The Sun, The Daily Hate Mail, The Telegraph, Sky News for spreading irresponsible lies and fabrications. Their paintings of a golden future outside of Europe drove millions to vote Leave. They knew that they were letting a racist genie out of a bottle. Boycott them, and everything they do. Anybody who had the slightest involvement with this toxic Leave campaign should be held responsible for the claims they can’t deliver anyway; for sending Britain and, for that matter, the special relationship with the US, down the gutter. Ask them ‘Why on earth did you do this?’” Wolfgang Tillmans’ exhibition runs at Maureen Paley, London, until 31 July. His Tate Modern exhibition will run from 15 February - 11 June 2017
not only myriad Instagram posts but studio-chic interior design as well. Ditto his photos from nights out, friends posing for snaps, the insouciant and frank gaze often elicited by the artist has dictated how people look into the camera, influenced what they wear and where they go.
067 To those of you unfamiliar with cult Japanese manga, Akira is a 1988 film set in a post-apocalyptic Tokyo that’s gripped by anti-government terrorism and gang violence. In the final scenes (captioned by its Youtube uploader as “one of the greatest WTF moments in history”), one of the main characters mutates into some sort of horrifying giant flesh monster. There’s a lot of screaming, a bunch of exploding organs, and the film concludes with the giant flesh monster imploding and causing a big bang in an alternative universe. Although the comparison may be slightly overstating the impact of their debut publication, NON and Akira share similar themes: resistance, revolution, violence, and navigation of life in a dystopian future. NON define themselves as “the enemy of the world” – a sovereign nation state divided into three united territories. These are the UK, USA and South Africa – home to Nkisi, Chino Amobi and Angel-Ho respectively. In recent years, these three artists have attracted international attention with an approach to dance music that’s uncompromising and adventurous, both sonically and conceptually. In the true spirit of the
global village, they met online, bonding over issues surrounding race and a desire to create something outside of the status quo. As a collective, NON seeks to create a utopian virtual space in which there are no passports, no borders, no concepts of nationalism or systems that lead to social segregation in terms of race, gender, politics or sexuality. The cultural publication, published online and available for free, is a natural continuation of NON’s aims for “global domination”, and they tell me that there is no bifurcation between NON’s musical and printed outputs. Much like NON Records, the quarterly publication was born out of feelings of alienation and dissatisfaction with the mainstream publishing world. Citizens of the NON-State reside in villages, towns, and cities across the globe, and anyone can be one as long as they are contributing something to the state; freeloading and leeching is not allowed. “Each citizen has distinct social as well as geopolitical agency within our nation’s infrastructure,” they told The Fader last year. “In no uncertain terms, the intent of NON is to run counter to current Western hypercapitalist modes of representation and function, exorcising the language of domination through the United Resistance of policed and exotified coloured bodies”. As long as you’re
committed to this ideology, you can consider yourself a citizen of the global NON State. The past few years have seen a surge in the visibility of publications made by those from communities that have been historically marginalised, a move that stems from a disenfranchisement from the mainstream along with fatigue from waiting to be noticed and represented in a truly authentic and illustrative manner. NON Quarterly is adding to this voice, its creation and content inspired by real life and a desire to empower, strengthen and care for one another. “We all read a lot, and talk with each other about what we’ve been reading and what we’ve been seeing,” Chino tells me over Skype, “and we just thought about how cool it would be to have our own platform where we could publish critical essays and have our own voices, rather than waiting for people to write about us. “We can write about ourselves and have writers who are writing about artists that we like and curate our own culture. Taking ownership of what is important to us so it doesn’t get misrepresented or white-washed via an outlet that speaks in a voice that isn’t ours. [With interviews] sometimes language can get used that isn’t ours and has nothing to do with what it is that we set out to do, which is at the core to empower black and brown people globally”.
When I ask the members of NON Worldwide what the reaction to the first edition of their online publication NON Quarterly was like, their collective response is: “like the final scene of Akira”.
069 Words: Niloufar Haidari
The first issue featured poetry by Nkisi herself, an essay about migrating bodies by Onyeka Igwe, fashion editorials featuring the black and brown bodies that have been commonly missing from high-end publications, and a ‘pull out’ micro-netzine called _//BISEXUAL. ZULU.COCONUT_ which explores the “intersectional aspects of being a young black male bisexual human being in 2016”. Features to expect in the summer publication include a guest fashion editorial from the LA artist Lane Stewart, an essay by Christelle Oyiri on French West Indian rebel women who used to poison their slave masters, poems by Brandon Covington, author of a book of erotic poetry entitled Intimate Thoughts, along with a photo essay by
Nkisi. The ethos of the publication runs parallel to that of the collective as whole: “Empowerment of the people. In Defense of the people. An exercise in quotidian insurrection. An exorcism of dominance”. One potential difficulty of the audio-visual activism NON engage in is the danger that it will become an aesthetic, rather than a movement, if they loose momentum in their stated quest to “exorcise the language of domination, location, and erasure of those who are often not represented in mainstream media in their own terms”. To combat this and ensure they stay true to their initial aims, the trio stresses the importance of maintaining a very personal relationship with their citizens and the people they work with. “We always try to keep the focus on our essential values and ethos in terms of the people we like to work with and the things that we care about in the world,” says Chino. “So I think that safeguards us from becoming some sort of brand or just the word ‘NON’. The relationship we have with our citizens is very personal, to the point that there is almost an internal language spoken amongst us – to the outside it could look like a brand but on the inside it’s very much family vibes, we’re all kindred spirits.”
As for the future direction of the online quarterly, the trio aim to work with more non-profits who they share similar values with who would like to have their message relayed on a larger platform. Other ambitions include the hope to go truly global with the publication printed worldwide, making it “available to disenfranchised and underprivileged people who would otherwise not have a platform for their voice or message or issue concerning their locality.” In the dystopian future of late capitalism we’ve all found ourselves living in, it’s this kind of ideology that makes NON Quarterly such an inspiring platform. In many ways, it’s a movement as much as it is a publication, one that empowers and gives a voice to those who have historically been - and still are - hurt most by the systems we live in. The summer edition of NON Quarterly will be released late July / early August
The summer edition of the NON Quarterly will continue in the path of the first issue, namely as a survey of fashion, art, literature and culture that represents the global NON state. They accept contributions from everyone as long as they “primarily relate to the issues that NON confronts in terms of social justice and empowerment”, but are mainly interested in work from black and brown artists who have been historically underrepresented, alongside contributions from the trio themselves.
Words: Lakeisha Goedluck Photography: Vitali Gelwich Styling: Christina Van Zon
Picture a visual sequence where a man sits pensively in his car, a couple fight wildly in bed and a woman reclines in front of a painting easel in a pool of her own blood. This may sound like the product of a Lynch and Fincher collaboration, but it’s in fact the brainchild of the sultry powerhouse Sevdaliza. The Formula is the latest short film to expand on the artist’s sharp vision. Inspired simply by “life”, the captivating visual is a product of her organic creative process. “I don’t try to mould myself, I don’t want to settle in a form,” she explains. “I follow where my development takes me. In a way I am submissive to my creative rage. I give you my perceptions and experiences as a creator.”
It’s this creative fluidity that makes Sevdaliza difficult to categorise. The fuel for her gripping visual art is her visceral, intoxicating future pop, and there’s a sensuality to her voice which manages to sound both alluringly deep and effortlessly delicate. “When I sing I want it to feel physical, like it’s in your body,”
Sevdaliza insists. “That’s how I feel, it’s in mine.” The profoundness to her stylistic approach could be traced back to her unique background. “I always feel this deeper kind of solitude, and a kind of continuous questioning,” says the Iranian-born singer, who grew up in the Netherlands. “Maybe that comes from the fact that I was lucky to grow up in extreme opposites in terms of culture, faith and society.” As multifaceted as Sevdaliza’s artistry is, much of her work is the result of a collaborative effort. Since the beginning of her career, she has worked alongside the producer Mucky, who is partly responsible for the heavy bass and 80s haze that permeates her debut EP, The Suspended Kid. In regards to imagery, the Polish duo Pussykrew gave life to her hyperreal, futuristic vision for That Other Girl, while Emmanuel Adjei directed the aforementioned heart-wrenching short. Collaboration is a process that Sevdaliza doesn’t take lightly. “[It’s] about respect, trust and detachment,” she states. “Cocreation becomes of a certain value
to me, based upon personal growth and meaning and bonding with the collaborator. This process is extremely interesting, even more so than the actual outcome.” The contemplative way she approaches her art also applies to the way she constructs her look. With her distinctive mane of dark hair, relaxed style and numerous piercings, each one of her tattoos encompasses layers of meaning. “All of them are self-portraits drawn during an important mark in time,” she says. “They are my imprinted diary, every one shows a different face in a different time and space.” Laying her foundations in an era of convention-defying, binaryevading creativity, who knows what her next transformation will be. The Formula is available to watch in full online
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079 Words: Thomas Frost Photography: ShotAway / Chris Cooper
GLASTONBURY Worthy Farm, Somerset 22 - 26 June
Of all the anti-Brexit sloganeering and onstage solidarity with the attendees of Glastonbury Festival of Performing Arts, PJ Harvey’s poignant reading of Donne left an indent. Roughly paraphrased, it means humans cannot thrive by being alone. So as the news of Brexit broke at around 6am Friday morning, like many others, I slumped wearily back to my tent. Aside from that fateful Brexit date, the odds were stacked against the festival. The Pyramid headliners were the least inspiring in history, the site was sludge a week before anyone had
arrived, and I doubt anyone was vibing in the 12-hour car queues that greeted those that weren’t up at 4am on Wednesday morning. But if Glastonbury was an island, it adhered to what Donne laid down in the aforementioned literature. When the site essentially turned into brown glue and getting anywhere was extremely tough, there were constant displays of patience, kindness and congeniality. Some performances only strengthened that sense of unity. LCD Soundsystem closed out the weekend, and as our crew swung their tops in the air, popped all bottles that had been saved and hugged each other en masse to All My Friends – arguably the most appropriate tune to end any festival – the whole thing felt like an unequivocal “fuck you” to adversity. Most likely the performance of the weekend, a reunion that was originally greeted with scepticism was brought back into focus. While Coldplay were imitating a disco-influenced tribute act, the real deal was
being greeted with flares on the Other Stage. Other musical highlights included Tame Impala, who confirmed that their psychedelic pop is among some of the most immaculately constructed around. Well executed vocal harmonising, highs and builds, meant that there was a feeling from the band that this one really meant something. Elsewhere, Skepta and the BBK collective riding around the Pyramid stage on bikes and bringing grime to the grandest of stages was a wonderful booking, Kurt Vile at The Park with his distinctive drawl and bittersweet Americana was a perfect fit for the afternoon, and Sigur Ros in the John Peel tent was powerful, dark and epic. Meanwhile, Vince Staples was on playful form on West Holts, cracking ironic proBrexit jokes, while Underworld rolled back the years with a set that raided the best of their latest work along with all the classics. The most joy at Glastonbury is
often derived in the rich contrast of music in the smaller areas of the site. In one day we moved from the politically charged comedy and exuberance of the Avalon Field, to dancing in shipping containers in the turbo charged Maceos, before stumbling across new bands in the site’s most elevated point – The Crows Nest. Later on that evening we finished the evening with five hours of the best disco and techno in the NYC Downlow – Glastonbury’s rejuvenated and re-imagined LGBT quarter with drag queens aplenty and incredible music courtesy of Horse Meat Disco and Panorama Bar mainstays Tama Sumo and The Black Madonna. Coming here has become an annual pilgrimage of beaty, meaty goodness. The final hurrah of the weekend took place in The Rabbit Hole in the company of Charlotte Church – the operatic prodigy turned socialist icon and karaoke queen. Opening with a cover of Closer by Nine Inch Nails, she worked through an hour of crowd-pleasers before announc-
ing to the crowd that “she’d been partying too hard” to roars from the crowd zealously chanting her name. As the mud finally dried and the Stone Circle gathering found a place to sit (and in many cases sleep), there was a sense of peace. Moving between different pockets of Glastonbury can leave you with the lingering regret you didn’t do enough, but the fact is you always do enough – and if ever there was a weekend to escape the madness of reality, this was it.
No man is an island, Entire of itself, Every man is a piece of the continent, A part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less. As well as if a promontory were. As well as if a manor of thy friend’s Or of thine own were: Any man’s death diminishes me, Because I am involved in mankind, And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee. (John Donne, 1624)
081 FIELD DAY Victoria Park, London 11 - 12 June
Words: Davy Reed, Tom Watson + Thomas Frost Photography: Ro Murphy
No matter how many festivals you’ve been to, it’s easy to forget that binbags won’t protect you from the torrential rain, and that trainers can’t save your feet from being consumed by the ground’s swampy, Red Stripe-soaked quagmires. But Field Day is an inner-city festival, one where you feel safe in the knowledge that the party will continue in the confines of a pub, a club, or someone’s living room. So in this context, after the festival suffered from bad weather for the first time in a few years, sliding around in the mud felt like part of the fun. After a particularly unforgiving downpour on Saturday, the sun peers out for a couple of hours at around half four, reviving spirits just in time for Motor City Drum Ensemble’s set on the Bugged Out stage. With a habit of building up his soulful selections towards big disco drops, Danilo Plessow has forged a career as a crowdpleasing, but credible party DJ.
The Black Madonna’s entrance to the stage is met with loud cheers from the crowd, and although everyone’s footwear looks fucked beyond repair by this point, it seems like Field Day is winning. The mythologised Ghanian artist Yaw Atta-Owusu gets a deservedly warm welcome for what’s his second ever live show as Ata Kak. A huge inspiration for Brian Shimkovitz’ Awesome Tapes From Africa project, there’s been a long, globe-trotting mission behind the re-release of Ata Kak’s excellent 1993 album and making this tour happen. And although AttaOswusu’s hyperactive vocals don’t sound quite as elastic as they do on those old recordings, his excitement is contagious, and he hypes the crowd with his classy showmanship. Backed by Grandmixxer’s raw and fluid selections, Novelist delivers with ferocity, precision and the sense spontaneity that separates grime from hip-hop.
An increasingly politicised artist, Nov’s “fuck David Cameron” chant drives the crowd to fever pitch. “If you’re voting to leave the EU, suck your mum,” he declares, scooping up the award for the best stage banter of the weekend. With a huge crowd over the RA tent, Bicep then perform live in London for the first time ever. Musically, it’s main-room vibes from the off, with a tougher techno-edge and a faster pace than usual. And by the time they drop Just, the crowd’s inhibitions have been lost. Despite Field Day’s shift in pace from Saturday’s rampancy to a traditionally more relaxed atmosphere on the Sunday, the weekend’s wetness remains constant. But while there’s mud flecked over the bare legs of the ill-prepared, the mood for those in attendance for Moxie’s early afternoon DJ set is far from dampened. Optimistically sporting wayfarer sunglasses, she breezes through brawny disco, techno
and sun-summoning house while Fat White Family’s grubby nihilism perves its way through the sweaty atmosphere in the Shacklewell Arms tent. With the London band’s barbarous, almost fatalistic onstage delivery, frontman Lias Saoudi unnervingly peels away one item of clothing at a time. For an act doggedly celebrated for suspending themselves too close on to edge of total disorder, they’re somehow militantly tight. Anton Newcombe’s previous experience with the edge of disorder has also been heavily documented, but as Brian Jonestown Massacre take to the main stage, all the self-destructive unbalance of previous outings seem replaced by gratitude and affection. Other than the pretty witless moment where Newcombe insists for his audience to chant “pigfucker” in order to alleviate him from a bad mood, the band charm with their shimmering psychedelic rock. The Avalanches might potentially be the most
contentious addition to Field Day’s bill. With outrageous levels of hype reached ahead of their comeback, their set is unfortunately strung together with shambolic beat matching and mediocre dance material. PJ Harvey’s greyscale, full marching band bombast isn’t just an apt way to close the festival, but a complete affirmation of her role as an iconic performer. Silent for the most part, the rich thematic darkness to her songs is constantly arresting. She’s operating on another plain this evening. The songs of The Hope Six Demolition Project sounded slightly stunted on record, but here, the punch of the marching band drums and a brass section is much stronger in the live setting. The three tracks Harvey performs from Let England Shake, especially the incredibly moving This Glorious Land, feel fresh and thematically relevant in the new setlist. Harvey and her band perform a two song encore, but it’s the final, chanted lines of initial set-closer River
Anacostia (“Wade in the water, God’s gonna trouble the water”) that ring in our heads as the huge crowd vacates Victoria Park and spills out onto the streets of London. Another classic Field Day finale.
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Live WE LOVE GREEN Paris 4-5 June
LOVE SAVES THE DAY Eastville Park, Bristol 28-29 May Team Love’s empire has grown substantially. The Bristol creative event company’s acquisition of The Love Inn bar and the formation of Love International, a festival in Croatia borne from the Garden festival, has seen their influence spread both in and outside of Bristol. This expansion appears to have given Love Saves The Day’s organisers the ability to curate a festival that easily surpasses its predecessors. Unlike most of its day festival competitors, an attention to detail gave each stage at Eastville Park a unique feel, and year’s Love Saves The Day felt as immersive as any boutique camping festival. Amsterdam representatives Antal and Motor City Drum Ensemble kept the groove building until well after dark on Saturday at the Brouhaha stage. Later, Hot Chip closed on the main stage with their influential style of quirky synth-pop. On the other side of the site, Shy FX and Congo Natty played predictable, if energetic, sets at the Cloud 9 stage. At the Paradiso Stage – hosted by Crack on Sunday – Bok Bok and L-VIS 1990 laid down one of the best sets of the weekend. Although the atmosphere of the crowd wavered a little on the second day of the festival, the duo managed to build a heaving mass of bodies over their hourlong set. Undeniably, many punters were drawn to the festival by Sunday’s headliners: Stormzy and Dizzee Rascal, both of whom vindicated grime’s recent ascension into the public consciousness during their respective sets. Stormzy’s performance was full of gung-ho bravado but lacked the professional confidence that Dizzee brought to the stage. Dizzee delivered a set of grime classics from his seminal album Boy In Da Corner, steering clear from his chart hits until the final half hour. Year on year, Love Saves The Day’s line up becomes more diverse. It’s a festival that caters both to pop enthusiasts and those with an interest in the underground. Some see this as a threat to the festival’s atmosphere, but at its heart, Love Saves The Day aims to cater to every scene in Bristol. This year it succeeded. ! Alex Green N Shotaway
Sonar is defined by a healthy flow of ideas between cultures and creators, technological advancements and innovations in human creativity. This is made explicit by Sonar+D, which fleshes out the festival's experimental outlook. An ideas incubator tucked away in the day venue, it centers on mind-altering installations, future-focused talks and specially commissioned projects. Taking place a stone’s throw away from the multitude of exploratory music on the other stages, and acting as a prelude to the innovative, visionary sounds of the night programme, these disparate parts of the festival fit together with unlikely ease, and ultimately make Sonar larger than the sum of its parts. It also created interplay between Sonar+D and the music at Sonar by Day. The impact of advancements like virtual reality on our engagement with leisure found a kindred spirit in Kode9 and Lawrence Lek’s the Nøtel project, exploring the idea of a hotel manned by automated robots built to serve humans, while the celestial sounds of the Alma observatory complemented the techno futurism helped along by Underground Resistance, whose joyous, four-man live Timeline performance was a highlight of the day schedule. The future is a guiding force for Sonar. Alongside the direction that future music is hurtling in – like the glitchy, dreamy soundscapes of Kelela and Sevdaliza and Oneohthrix Point Never’s mindwarping noise – were new vanguards of radical popular music. The night program had a healthy dose of stirringly individual voices. Skepta and Stormzy spearheaded the new generation of politicised UK music, while the likes of Powell and Lorenzo Senni showcased thrilling new club sounds, but the most explicitly provocative performance came from ANOHNI. Cloaked under a cape, she instilled human passion into her album Hopelessness, against the backdrop of miming faces wearing anguished, weeping, or unsettlingly vacant expressions. The performance was gripping and charged with gut wrenching power, leaving many chilled and some disgruntled, and sparking impassioned debate not usually found at events of such scale. Being confronted by such issues in an escapist setting was striking. Similarly, across the weekend, with the EU referendum weighing heavy upon attendees’ minds, themes of unity and togetherness seemed increasingly compelling, giving Sonar’s involvement in We Are Europe, the new initiative from the European Union’s Creative Europe program, an enhanced potency. Sonar is charged by progressive visions of the future; a pin-drop of exploratory sounds and healthy human advancements amongst an inclusive, international approach. Festivals take note.
Anna Tehabsim Nacho G Riaza
! Louis Labron Johnson N Julien Mignot
MIR A DIGITAL ARTS FESTIVAL Funkhaus, Berlin 11 June Barcelona's MIRA festival is a celebration of visual arts and electronic music. Their first edition in Germany takes place within Berlin's Funkhaus – the complex from which East Germany's national radio was broadcast prior to unification in 1990. During the daytime, lectures and exhibitions from visual artists are presented inside the MIRA Dome. However, the festival truly comes to life in the evening. Andy Stott delivers a set that veers from the serene to the furious, matched with mesmerising shapes projected by Barcelona’s Onionlab. Vessel then provides our highlight in the grandiose Recording Hall. Torch in mouth, topless, and backed by Pedro Maia's ominous visuals, his set feels animalistic, helped in part by the room’s tiered layout. Once used for orchestra recordings, tonight the room holds the Bristol producer at its centre while dancing punters surround him. We visit Tundra's Hyperjump installation – a spectacular, if disconcerting, room of 25 robotic headlights – before enjoying The Field’s set. Following Vessel, it’s a comparatively pretty show from the Stockholm producer, and the landscapes provided by Berlin graphic designers Pfadfinderei are a stunning match. As in Barcelona, MIRA Berlin demonstrated the symbiotic relationship between electronic music and visual art. Here’s hoping the festival returns to Berlin next year.
! Jack Bolter Elizabeth Cacho
SONAR Fira Montjuïc + Fira Gran Via L'Hospitalet, Barcelona 16-18 June
On a weekend in Paris where the rain was so constant that it burst the banks of the Seine, spurred a cluster of riots in the old Marais district and lined the Metro carriages with FAMASwielding military, the signs were ominous for We Love Green festival. But, mercifully, the festival came to life with strong performances on Saturday night from both the main stages. It was, admittedly, a slow start. While Metronomy’s DJ set piqued our interest with the highly anticipated Summer 08 album on its way, the volume was strangely quiet, and by the end we were hoping fancifully for a couple of the classics. Floating Points held the crowd’s attention, albeit in more of a chin-stroking reverie than anything more dynamic. So far the crowds were more or less still milling about, buying wine, looking Parisian, and few people appeared to have really committed themselves to watching a performance yet. Hudson Mohawke’s turn on the La Clairiere stage changed that. There was a spate of wild gunfingering from the crowd: they had awoken. LCD Soundsystem rounded the night off on the larger La Prairie stage, with a performance that really came into its own from about halfway through when they changed tempo with Losing My Edge, and by the time they’d got New York, I Love You and I Can Change, people were swaying happily, eyes closed, blissfully unaware of the scrum they were going to have to face when leaving the festival en masse in the muddy darkness. We arrived on Sunday with some rather natty Carrefour plastic bags fitted elegantly over what was left of our footwear from the previous day. Drawing admiring stares and gasps of envy, we strutted straight through to see James Blake going through the hits, finishing, unsurprisingly, with a powerful rendition of Retrograde. Air gave their first live performance in six years, drawing a huge roar from the crowd when they came on in their spacey white suits. By this time the area in front of the stage was more or less a clay-filled bog, so those not sporting Carrefours just gyrated gently with upper body motions, keeping their feet suctioned firmly to the ground. The night finished with some serious head-nodding at Âme. The techno did its work. People were lying starfished on the periphery of the stage, covered in straw. We Love Green had been good to us. It was time to go.
P R E S E N T S U P C O M I N G
L O N D O N
COSMO TRU DY & Th e SHELDR AKE ROMANCE
& The Impro mpt u E ns embl e
SHACKEWELL ARMS Tuesday 05 July.
BUSSEY BUILDING Wednesday 06 July.
ODET TA HARTMAN
TH EM E PA R K
SERVANT JAZZ QUARTER Wednesday 13 July.
MOTH CLIB Friday 15 July.
VISIONS F E ST I VA L
S H O W S
THE VICTORIA Tuesday 12 July. FABER SO CIAL PRESENTS: An Evening O f Ta lks With
TI M B U RG E S S CECIL SHARP HOUSE Tuesday 19 July.
WI LLIS KI R AN E ARL BE AL L E O N A R D
VARIOUS, HACKNEY Saturday 06 August.
THE FORGE Tuesday 09 August.
100 CLUB Wednesday 24 August.
COLLEEN G R E E N & CASSIE RAMONE
CHAD L AW S O N
SCALA Tuesday 15 September.
MOTH CLUB Thursday 22 September.
THE FORGE Thursday 29 September.
WOLF A L I CE SU PER FU RRY A N I M A LS W I LD BE ASTS & M ORE
THE DOME Tuesday 04 October.
ISLINGTON ASSEMBLY HALL
BY T H E S EA FEST I VA L
DREAMLAND, MARGATE Fri 30 Sept & Sat 01 Oct.
Thursday 13 October.
AM BER A RC A D E S
ISLINGTON ASSEMBLY HALL
ROUNDHOUSE Wednesday 19 October.
MOTH CLUB Thursday 20 October.
HALE Y BONAR
SPRI NG KING
ROUNDHOUSE Saturday 22 October.
MOTH CLUB Thursday 27 October.
KOKO Friday 28 October.
KE VI N M O R BY
F LU M E
WI LLIAM TYLER
ALEXANDRA PALACE Thursday 17 November.
BUSH HALL Sunday 20 November.
Friday 14 October.
ISLINGTON ASSEMBLY HALL
Tuesday 08 November.
T I C K E T S & MO RE I N F O AT W W W. R OCK F E EDBACK.CO M
WE ATHER FESTIVAL Bois de Vincennes, Paris 3-5 June
We’re not complaining, but it’s never been harder to pick a European festival. But while the choice is amazing, for those who are primarily into song-based music, Primavera Sound still kind of feels like the jewel in the crown. There seemed to be particularly big buzz this time, probably due to the abundance of big deal debuts. Both PJ Harvey and Radiohead played their first festival shows in years, and The Avalanches returned to the stage after their 16 year hiatus (for what turned out to be a pretty anticlimactic DJ set rather than a live performance). Then there was John Carpenter, the 68-year-old Horror Master, performing what was billed as his first live festival show ever on Thursday night. Over on the Pitchfork stage, Vince Staples performed with impressive energy. The chorus of Hands Up becomes an intense double-entendre in the live context, functioning as a traditional hip-hop method of rousing up a crowd while paraphrasing the orders of a prejudiced police officer. With poignant, euphoric classics like New York, I Love You…, You Wanted a Hit and All My Friends in LCD Soundsystem’s headline set, the band gave the crowd plenty of opportunities for a soppy embrace, but James Murphy’s muted interaction didn’t really qualm suspicions that this is primarily about the cash. Let’s see what happens with the album. Following an audio excerpt from the recent Nina Simone documentary (“I tell you what freedom is to me: no fear!”), Radiohead arrive onstage and launch into Burn The Witch, signalling a cluster of A Moon Shaped Pool songs before we’re spoilt with a range of hits that includes everything from Talk Show Host to divisive setcloser Creep. With the festival’s two biggest stages facing directly opposite each other, within minutes of Radiohead’s set finishing we’re in danger of watching The Last Shadow Puppets, and so we escape to witness DJ Koze soundtrack the sunrise. This might be hard to believe, but Ty Segall & The Muggers’ Saturday night show was one of the highlights of the entire festival. Amidst a trippy, rowdy stage show (it felt like the right kind of rowdy too – aside from a branded karaoke area, Primavera Sound was impressively low on laddish behaviour) Segall lost his microphone to a drunken audience member going by the name Manny. In response, Segall swapped places with him, watching from the front row while Manny fronted The Muggers and tore through an incredible rendition of Feel. Manny, if you’re reading this, you can now consider your performance critically acclaimed.
! Davy Reed Nacho G Riaza
! Adam Corner Guillaume Murat / Jacob Khrist
ME ADOWS IN THE MOUNTAINS Rhodopes Mountains, Bulgaria 10 - 13 June Although Meadows in the Mountains is a fairly new addition to the commercial festival circuit, like many other bohemian gatherings before it, its roots lie in an intimate gathering of friends. The clue to the USP of this festival is in the name – the site is arguably one of the most unique and untouched landscapes that Europe has to offer. Maybe this was the desired atmosphere that motivated the first UK rave promoters to explore the Adriatic – and Balearic coastlines before it – in search of a sanctuary for hedonistic rituals. The founders of the festival have local roots, and it shows in the respect and integration with the native community working to house many of the attendees. It also implicates an admirable line on event waste which larger festivals simply couldn’t due to scale. There were moments, however, where the desire to record the moment did kill the atmosphere. In an environment as intimate and natural as a 300 person 5am sunrise set in the Bulgarian mountains, I did question the need for a full film crew, and it goes without saying that being told to dance by a producer of some description is probably going to disrupt anyone’s vibe. If we were left unsatisfied with the music in one place, there was always somewhere else to party in the small 24-hour curation of stages. The sunrise stage was dominated earlier on in Friday’s programming by Ed Word’s set, with Ben Cozmo D’s Seems To Me standing out alongside Sha’Lor’s I’m in Love. Vague spatterings of memory from Saturday night placed Bristol party starters Rough Draft closing the main stage with Paul Hardcastle – Rainforest. Sunday’s music was interrupted around 9pm by a genuinely touching speech from the mayor of Polkovnik Serafimovo, although the subsequent, harshly commentated, effigy-burning ceremony would have gone more smoothly with a musical accompaniment. However, it did at least mark the countdown to Last Japan, who completely tore the roof of the wooden shack / main stage he played. Ultimately, if it can avoid some of the modern pitfalls of hedonism, Meadows in the Mountains has all the raw ingredients to provide two thousand lucky punters with a totally unique, life-affirming experience, year in, year out. Anyone who’s been lucky enough to attend this utterly bonkers event so far will be waiting with bated breath to see how the magical story unfolds. ! Alfie Allen N Aron Klien
PRIMAVER A SOUND Parc del Fòrum, Barcelona 1 - 5 June
With half of the Parisian public sector on strike and the waters of the Seine rising after days of torrential rain, arriving at Weather festival in one piece was no straightforward affair. But this was a festival with a line-up worth fighting the elements for. Plus, the bunker mentality created by the adverse conditions and the remote, industrial setting was actually a perfect precursor to the intense schedule of three days of non-stop house and techno that lay ahead. Countless parties attempt to ape the aesthetics of an industrial wasteland, but Weather goes one better by just actually setting up shop in one: an unfathomably huge sprawl of hangars and concrete, next to a military airport with a space shuttle parked up alongside. In a cavernous aircraft hangar hosting the Autumn stage on Friday, newlyweds Adam Beyer and Ida Engberg were cultivating a dark, adventurous, and satisfying sound, before old-hands Chris Liebing and Speedy J turned in a crunching, half-step techno wrecking-ball masterclass as Collabs3000 – like Modeselektor without the histrionics. Day two brought a raucous set from Parisian artist S3A (Sampling As An Art), who strutted expertly through a set of set of disco, house and assorted delicacies that would have Optimo tipping their hat to the energy and eclecticism on display. The Black Madonna continued the upwards trajectory, slamming through muscular disco, a dash of Soca, a drop of metallic grime, and ending with a ballsy once-through of Daft Punk’s Da Funk as parting kiss for the French crowd. While the techno got tougher in the dark hangers, with Ron Morelli knocking out earsplitting fire-crackers on the Winter stage, the Summer stage offered some lighter shades. Egyptian Lover’s boom-bap set was rattling nicely along until his crew got locked into prolonged onstage taunting of the sound engineer to turn up the volume, who perhaps predictably temporarily turned it down in revenge. Sunday began with a four hour set from Ricardo Villalobos, whose set segued between warm and fuzzy but slightly-wonky house, and more low-slung, Andrew Weatherall territory, his crackly records clearly having been lovingly played until their grooves bleed, as the setting sun signalled the final few hours of music. At this point we opted for the gallop through genres that is a Hessle Audio three-way set. Afro-house, cowbell-heavy techno, and tracky, acid-flecked electro all made an appearance. The crew, much like Weather festival itself, seem to have an unlimited supply of incredible, eclectic music.
07 THE JULIE RUIN Hit Reset Hardly Art
In this third instalment for Tresor Records’ Kern mix-series, Berlin based DJ/producer Objekt endeavours to consolidate the haphazard kinetics of a live performance with the nuanced discipline of studio recordings. Making use of “old and new techniques alike,” he suggests. The frenzied balance of styles and BPMs flits freely from breakbeats to techno to IDM with the kind of thrilling confidence – cockiness, even – that Objekt’s peak-time sets have become known for. Yet the decisive blending from track to track is so fine tuned, that Kern Vol.3 carries itself with a certain clearheadedness. Comparatively, this is potentially the most unruly of all Kern releases to date. The audacity to align an exclusive preview from Bristol’s Shanti Celeste alongside the melancholic vocal abstractions of Anna Caragnano, or to nestle Ondo Fudd’s Blue Dot with the minatory drone of Yair Elazar Glotman’s Oratio Continua (Part 1) is quite simply abnormal. This is Objekt’s first offering since his debut album Flatland was released on PAN in 2014; a record that seemed to vicariously hover over concentrated techno production and experimental avant-gardism. It was by no means a total rejection of techno’s framework, but rather an explorative reformation of what it is capable of. Here, Hertz moulds other artists’ work to accommodate with this equilibrium of exploration and tradition, with Kern Vol. 3 whittling together a confounding miscellany of off-kilter rarities and vintage techno movers.
It’s tough to imagine what the landscape of guitar music would look like without the influence of riot-grrrl pioneer Kathleen Hanna. Leading by showing, not telling, and with help from her trademark ‘angry girl’ wail, she’s inspired countless female-identifying musicians to start their own bands. On The Julie Ruin’s second album, Hit Reset, Hanna is angrier than ever, and it’s a grownup fury. While her vocals wire a terrifyingly mellowed outrage through a tougher, post-punkier sound, her lyrics are closer to Hanna’s bones and to the bravery that captured her fans than on 2013’s Run Fast. Alongside tongue-in-cheek stabs at fake male feminists (“Oops I snuck a kiss, come on it was just a joke”) there is painful, hopeful introspection (“Maybe I'm more hellbent on living than I am on just surviving”, “I'm done speaking through a shamed face"). Statements like these are just as relevant ever – despite the all-white, middle class reputation 90s-era riot grrrrl has garnered, Hanna is currently a gay, race, disabled and trans rights activist who is engaging on a meaningful level in 2016. It’s empowering and exciting to hear her progressive ideas being illustrated again in her signature squall, particularly so after her well-documented and exhausting battle with Lyme’s disease. Of course, Hanna isn’t all of the Julie Ruin – the band have their own impressive musical and political credentials that are showcased on this album – but with Hit Reset, it’s Hanna that particularly proves that she is much less a nostalgic misfit with her eyes cast hopelessly backwards. She’s a living, breathing, relevant part of an inclusive movement that she herself helped start.
! Tom Watson
! Sammy Jones
OBJEK T Kern Vol. 3 Tresor Records
STEVEN JULIEN Fallen Apron Records
As Bat For Lashes, Natasha Khan has made some striking, beautiful and occasionally exceptional music. In the early days of her music career, she opened for Radiohead. Her second album Two Suns was a treasure trove of soft-focus anthems. And although it was harder to connect with her last album, 2012’s The Haunted Man, it still contained the swooning piano ballad Laura. But despite her credentials, Khan’s work has also at times settled for a dreamy-butdull aesthetic – songs that occasionally wash past in a beige blur; melodies and lyrical themes that meander along, with no obvious destination in mind. On The Bride, her fourth album, this tendency is on full display. Khan’s soaring voice can be as compelling as ever, and there is the odd winner: Sunday Love has an ounce of lilting energy and sounds like the Bat For Lashes of old (i.e. gentlyspun, electronic melodrama). The album’s concept centres on a dark wedding tale, but too many tracks (Close Encounters; In Your Bed) are tediously middle-of-the-road, and the mawkish spoken word Widow’s Peak is just plain cringe. Not quite a disaster, but definitely a disappointment.
On 2014’s My Krazy Life, YG straddled the line between underrated and indistinct, dropping quality bars and unpretentious hooks over DJ Mustard’s dijon-slathered signatures. Caught up in that interpolation-crazed producer’s wave of rap radio dominance, the Los Angeles native appeared to take an inadvertent backseat to the cultural phenomenon of handclaps and “HEY” chants driving his hit singles. Despite YG’s sharp lyrical detail, few of those listening to Left, Right or Who Do You Love? via the radio had any tangible sense of who they were listening to. His artistic identity was so closely bound to that of another, someone larger-than-life with divergent ambitions from his own, that he ended up on a failed Fergie comeback single for which the video was practically a Beats By Dre advert. A clear attempt to define himself after that muddled rollout, Still Brazy – which succeeds without contributions from DJ Mustard – idealises YG as the Westside’s most credible current representative. Following last year’s widely reported attempt on his life, he makes a strong case for that on characteristic tracks like Word Is Bond and Who Shot Me, the latter an intentionally vague accounting of who might’ve tried to take him out. The threat of violence, often by YG’s hand or that of his surrogates, looms large throughout. Much could be made of the throwback L.A. vibe defining these beats, from the post-Zapp bounce of 1500 Or Nothin’s I Got A Question or just about any of the five tracks DJ Swish had a hand in. A deliberate holdover from My Krazy Life, the immensely talented Terrace Martin expertly brings the P-Funk back to G-Funk on single Twist My Fingaz. His debt to Dr. Dre an existential rather than material one, YG isn’t paying homage here so much as inserting himself into a tradition. Kendrick Lamar may have brought Los Angeles back to the forefront of the international rap conversation, but he alone can’t speak for it. Demonstrating a fairly obvious appreciation for-if not a direct connection to-the notorious Bloods gang, YG represents the inaccessibility of locales like Compton, with the same inherent allure of that forbidden and forbidding zone that drew people to the music of N.W.A and its many tendrils. If not for YG’s morbidly mordant sense of humor, Still Brazy would amount to little more than a latter-day outing from The Game. There’s no shortage of triumphalism in hip-hop, but when it’s presented in such an engaging storytelling style it’s easier to embrace. Where Kanye West wearily bemoaned those asking too much of him on The Life Of Pablo’s Real Friends, YG turns the veritable parade of player-paupers into comedy on Gimmie Got Shot. One can’t help but smirk along with the Bool, Balm & Bollective narrative, which ultimately humanises YG in ways a dozen DJ Mustard smashes never could.
Fallen is the debut album of FunkinEven, and it marks the first release under his birth name. With a close-up portrait of his face as part of the cover art, you might expect Fallen to be his most frank, autobiographical work yet. And, to some extent, you’d be right. Fallen is the perfect illustration of Julien’s artistic résumé. Each of its 12 tracks advertises a different aspect of his varied production style: the jazzy piano loops on highlight track XL, spiralling acid house on Kingdom and twisted breakbeat on Disciple. Since 2009, the NTS affiliate and Apron Records boss has made a name for himself in rough-and-ready club music and through a series of intriguing collaborations with the likes of Kyle Hall, Shanti Celeste and Delroy Edwards among others. Here we see the artist in sharp relief. Yet Fallen is something of a concept album, soundtracking a “rebellious soul expelled from the pearly gates and forced to live in hell among mere mortals for eternity.” At first, this motif works. Menacing tones saturate tracks like Reciful and Jedi, while bright flourishes succeed in making Chantel and the aforementioned XL ascend to a higher plane. It gives Julien a chance to explore two contrasting emotional states, two contrasting sound palettes, and, most poignantly, two contradictory elements of his own personality. Ultimately, the concept isn’t pronounced enough in the music. But while the distinction Julien draws between the gloomier and brighter tracks on the album isn’t sharp enough to fully realise the concept, thankfully Fallen is, at its core, a collection of superb tracks that bounce with an idiosyncratic energy, irrespective of any deeper meaning they might possess.
! Adam Corner
! Gary Suarez
! Alex Green
YG Still Brazy 400 / CTE / Def Jam
BAT FOR L ASHES The Bride Parlaphone
08 METRONOMY Summer 08 Because Music
VARIOUS ARTISTS Sherwood At The Controls Volume 2: 1985-1990 On-U Sound
The partnership of DJs Chris Coco and Jim Breese is indisputable as a coalition forged between two masters of ambient solace. Coco, famed for his contribution to the critical Real Ibiza compilation series throughout the 90s, and Breese – an ex-Cafe Mambo resident DJ – carry such a distinct reputation in their respective fields that any mix they release as a combined outfit maintains the obligation to soundtrack or encapsulate the Balearic spirit of Ibiza summertime. What’s more, even the concept of so-called ‘Balearic spirit’ is so difficult to define sonically that it could be regarded as more of a state of consciousness over a definitive sound. For argument’s sake, Coco and Breese tread on a reasonably conservative path and adhere to the customary ease of a cosmic chill out session for the followup to last year’s debut compilation. Affable synth searing turns from Stratus and Manchester dream-pop band Horsebeach sidle with rather saccharine vocal inclusions from Young Gun Silver Fox with You Can Feel It and Bing Ji Ling’s remake of Loose End’s hit Hanging on a String. Excursions into dub and flamenco make for the more notable interuptions in a mix that’s inundated with electro-acoustic twiddling and subdued bass lines. Fundamentally, Balearic 2 is a reliably relaxed sequel to a series which happily places itself between a more demure take on a Late Night Tales compilation and a humdrum beach bar megamix. It’s an effortlessly mild listen, and one that can feel more tepid than tranquil.
John Peel famously once said of The Fall: “they are always different; they are always the same”, and a very similar description could easily be applied to Martin Creed – who you may know as the bloke who won the Turner Prize for the lights switching on and off – and his outlandish brand of off-kilter indie-pop. Someone who lurks in the peripheral shadows of the underground, his music is befitting of his status as a perennial outsider: it stands very much alone, a collection of his own thoughts and ideas, barely serviceable for an audience. And while being different, it is always the same. A thin riff, an initially funny lyric repeated over and over, backing vocals, layering, end. His songs are scratchily recorded demos of raucous sessions that are at once childlike and world-weary; upbeat nursery rhymes that unfold into dark metaphor and claustrophobic tension without any particular change. (You Put Your) Hand in My Hand is a perfect example of Martin Creed’s bizarre circus: its lyrics are puzzled throughout the track as they manically repeat, calling into question the health of the relationship he is describing. Similarly wild-eyed is Let’s Come to an Arrangement – a stifling, electrifying mess of jumbled melodies and vocals, offering very honest insight in a highly confrontational manner. And, like The Fall, Martin Creed is not for everyone, as much as the merits of his work should allow him to be. A record that is more of an intellectual curio than one for repeated listens, Thoughts Lined Up is basically what the title suggests: a twenty-four track collection of Martin Creed’s strange thoughts which will test the limits of your preference for the unusual.
"I was never meant to be this fucked up" wails Gonjasufi toward the end of his third LP for the legendary Warp records. Flying Lotus and The Gaslamp Killer produced his previous effort, but here the part-time yoga teacher largely suffers alone. Submerged with recklessly distorted guitars, sinister organs and lo-fi drums, Sumach Ecks’s unmistakable warble is harrowing, an unusual vocal style which could be located somewhere between Vic Chestnutt, Korn’s Jonathan Davis and Tom Waits at his weirdest. Poltergeist marks a blissful death scene in the album’s narrative (track titles such as Vinaigrette, Devils, Surfinfinity, When I Die and Last Nightmare follow), and it relishes in a despondent loneliness and a slow guitar solo not dissimilar to that of Radiohead’s glorious Hunting for Bears. This is the highlight, for sure; and the album’s merit generally comes when it leans toward sadness rather than nihilism. A ten track version of Callus might make for a cold-eyed, unnerving listen, but what we’re presented with here is a raw, nineteen track collection with a lack of thrust that is ultimately exhausting. It’s about pain and death, and it’s overkill.
Following the first At The Controls compilation – which showed off Adrian Sherwood’s mastery in marrying dub and post-punk between 1979-85 – comes the second volume, which unearths some arguably lesser-known productions and remixes from the On-U Sound label head. As with Volume 1, we hear Sherwood applying his scholarly love of dub techniques to the music of his contemporaries, but Volume 2 presents a more diverse bunch of tracks, ranging from EBM and jacking protohouse, to electro, cyberpunk and early hip-hop. Just as dub is a re-imagining of old source material, we hear this theme of recycling and recontextualising sound played out in the sampleheavy milieu of late 80s dance music. An undercurrent of afrofuturism often surfaces, and many passages are reminiscent of Brian Eno and David Byrne’s 1981 album My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts (cited as direct inspiration for the African Head Charge project) but Sherwood’s explorations are motivated by passion and approached with respect. One of the many great moments on this compilation is Sherwood's remix of The Unknown Cases' track Masimbabele 89. We hear a thick dub bassline, chanted vocals and bongos through booming 80s production. It sounds huge, and it should be highly desirable material for any decent DJ. Although many will perceive this compilation as "one for the heads", Sherwood At The Controls Vol 2 is a varied offering that’s consistently exciting. It's a heavyweight release, sure, but those willing to take it on will be certainly be rewarded.
! Tom Watson
! Jon Clark
! Henry Johns
! Thomas Painter
CHRIS COCO & JIM BREESE Balearic 2 Balearic
GONJASUFI Callus Warp
Ramona Gonzalez has said she feels like her 2012 sophomore album One Second of Love was one full of concessions; that her emotive electro-pop was compromised due to the demands for a more commercial sound from the “Midwestern bros” at Secretly Canadian, the successful independent label she was signed to at the time. No surprise then, that this third album Liquid Cool – the name Gonzalez also gives to her music – feels at times overly reactionary; with Gonzalez gleefully backing away from studio polish to literally record the album inside a closet (well, two closets actually). The problem is that Gonzalez has re-claimed her rawer sound, but she hasn’t delivered tunes strong enough to cut through all the lo-fi obfuscation. Songs like Was That a Sign, for instance, sound like half-complete demos that easily could have surfaced on the first Nite Jewel LP, 2009‘s Good Evening, which suggests Gonzalez hasn’t especially advanced her vision. And with tracks such as lead single Kiss The Screen, I Mean It and Running Out of Time being the album's highlights, it transpires that, ironically, it’s actually the bombastic dance-pop melodies and big choruses that work best here.
! Katie Hawthorne
! James F. Thompson
NITE JEWEL Liquid Cool Gloriette
MARTIN CREED Thoughts Lined Up Telephone Records
Joe Mount has written, recorded and produced five albums in ten years, and by the sound of things, he’s done a whole lot of thinking about that fact. The summer of 2008 saw the release of Metronomy’s second album Nights Out – the first record to win his musical moniker the milestone of a billboard ad. A quick Google suggests Mount spent 2008 playing the kind of venues that you’d kill to catch Metronomy in now: Bristol’s Thekla, London’s Old Blue Last, Glasgow’s Arches (RIP). While Metronomy’s 2014 album Love Letters was an exercise in luscious, 60s-style pop, Summer 08 is a nostalgic tribute to his more youthful indie disco years. “I wanted to make another record with the naivety of Nights Out,” Mount said in this album’s press release, “ten tracks, straight up, upbeat. Write another banger, then another, and don’t really think about it.” He’s partially achieved this. Summer 08 is roughly 50% banger. Opening song Back Together is a nerdy hip-shaker, using a corny call-and-response style vocal conversation to remember – and regret – “grad school” era flirtations. Lead single Old Skool sees Mix Master Mike wrap up a cowbell-driven, powder-fuelled spin of bratty bravado with an onslaught of turntable scratching that somehow works. Mid-record, Mount finally lets us see the emotional depth behind the grinning, sweaty Myspace profile pictures. Robyn turns up on the melancholic Hang Me Out To Dry to join Mount on a trip down memory lane (“When I’m going out, I always take these same roads,” he murmurs). Mick Slow is sultry psychedelia with a wink and a nod to Bowie. Closer Summer Jam hits the sweet spot between hazy rememberings and critical, sobering selfinspection. Abruptly aggressive synth lines and angelic choral voices well up and fade out, leaving only echoes. You can hold on to the memories for as long as you want, but no party lasts forever.
! Oli Warwick
There's a sense of unaccountable distance meandering around Hedge Maze's four track release for London-born label Lobster Theremin. Loosely clinging to a techno template, the Leeds-based producer permits Kerb Hits to gently fade in and out of consciousness. In this space, he subtly builds on muffled kick drums with highly reverberated synth patterns. Ambient noise whirs incessantly like the modified thwacking of waves against the shore. Hi-hats chitter-chatter about themselves like swarms of insects ejecting from their nests. All of this nuanced elbow room Hedge Maze has given himself to hone his ideas assumedly plays in to the producer's affection towards the existence of aliens, UFO's and the unexplained. If you entertain this concept, Kerb Hits has the resilience to abduct you to an eccentric realm of simple yet unrestrained house, erratic drone and tenebrous techno that’s best absorbed in the twilight hours.
It’s hard to imagine someone so playful and relatable could arise from the prickly noise band Black Dice. Eric Copeland’s sound exhibits a kind of magical musical lunacy shrouded in a dark humour that could soundtrack a 1930s Fleischer cartoon. Following his outstanding 2007 debut Hermaphrodite, which was a colourful spew of bizarre samples and grizzly electronics, Copeland’s prolific output includes ventures into woozy disco with his 2013 album Joke in the Hole, while two lo-fi excursions with L.I.E.S saw him demystify his sound to a more warped brand of straight-up, dancefloor-focused tracks. Black Bubblegum is a far cry from anything we’ve heard before, with Copeland putting his vocals at the forefront of this bubbly and psychedelic carousel ride. Ripe in his idiosyncratic humour, there’s a carelessness to this record that makes it a messy and lovable album of lazy summer ballads. Resonating with the beachy garageband feels of The Sonics and quirky swirls of Doug Hream Blunt, Copeland becomes the frontman he never was. Inspired by, in his own words; "Glitter dreams, money troubles, apocalypse paranoia, one hit wonders". It’s pretty evident Copeland hasn’t had the best of times, but the defeatist optimism on Fuck it up turns it all sunny-side up. Stuck in the mud Kids in a Coma is a hypnotic and churning laugh at lethargy. On and Cannibal wrap back in Copeland’s knack for a sticky sample with pressure on distorted vocals and guitar. Free from inhibitions, Copeland and mastered a charismatic and silly pop-driven record.
There’s recently been a positive reappraisal of ‘bloghouse’: a genre of visceral, garish dance music which blew up during the mid-late 00s. It was fun at the time, and it was admittedly the movement which first drew many 20-somethings to club music, but it’s since been trashed as an embarrassingly adolescent interlude, a dweeby past many of us would rather bury under the more “credible” tastes we’ve all developed in more recent years. One of the biggest names from that era was MSTRKRFT. Formed of Death From Above 1979’s Jesse F. Keeler and Al-P, the duo collided nu-rave and punk in occasionally productive ways, scoring hits like 2007‘s Street Justice and 2008‘s Bounce. Now, six years since their last studio album, they’ve returned with Operator, a work of mostly unlistenable tracks that ditch the smart melodies for screamo noise. The artwork is a bad start - a cheap-looking monochrome image of the pair in army-style helmets and jackets, wearing tough faces that say, ‘Be scared, please’. The tracks range from confected adolescent rage-core to sleazy macho electro. Runaway is about the best song on here, but its Vitalic synth lines and catchy melodies are swamped in a tinny, over-compressed production that tries to put too much stuff into too small a musical space". Morning of the Hunt sounds like a tribute to Justice’s Genesis, but there’s no pay-off and swagger like there is in the French pair’s bloghouse banger. It's more like a bad-spirited parody. MSTRKRFT have claimed they had hundreds of hours of recorded music to make this album with, and yet they somehow found space for Playing With Itself, which might be the most annoying song I’ve ever heard: atonal, siren-like patterns loop slowly around muddled percussion and gospel choir ‘Oh’s. It’s nice to get nostalgic about bloghouse, and to redeem the reputation of the electro-house and fidget house that many of us might covertly still harbour a soft spot for. But Operator is solid evidence that attempts at an actual comeback could be a terrible idea. There’s nothing here you’d miss if you never heard it again.
While hip-hop has a long history of borrowing from jazz, until recent years it’s been hard to think of stand-out examples of this dynamic in reverse. Toronto four-piece BADBADNOTGOOD remedied this in 2011 when their striking technical ability and inventive reinterpretations of popular hip-hop tracks caught the attention of Tyler, The Creator on Youtube, and their videos subsequently went viral. Incorporating elements of funk, electronic music, contemporary jazz and hip-hop, the band’s oeuvre stood out as unique. Now on album number five (their numeral album series was interrupted with Sour Soul, a collaborative LP with Ghostface Killah), they’re still delivering. However, their progression has always seemed to unfold in steady, logical steps rather than bold leaps or curveballs. IV is no exception and once again moody atmospherics, elaborate solos and slow-burning tension mark the majority of the tracks. In terms of changes, IV ditches the post-rock trappings of previous releases, at points leaning more towards woozy Hawaiian soundscapes. Speaking Gently introduces Beach House-indebted dream-pop to the mix, while the album’s guest spots highlight the band’s knack for seamlessly integrating different perspectives into their music. Kaytranada collaboration Lavender is a highlight, pitting a skulking bass line and inky black atmosphere against interjections of bright, wailing brass, while Time Moves Slow brings out qualities in Samuel T. Herring’s voice that aren’t quite as prominent in his work fronting Future Islands. Where the band fall short here is in their lack of risktaking; which often makes the album fee conservative (Cashmere and In Your Eyes, featuring newcomer Charlotte Day Wilson, in particular feel like filler). While it’s refreshing to see jazz reworked in a contemporary context, it’s hard not to feel like BADBADNOTGOOD could stretch its boundaries much further than this.
! Tom Watson
! Aine Devaney
! Robert Bates
! Steve Mallon
ERIC COPEL AND Black Bubblegum DFA
HEDGE MA ZE Kerb Hits Lobster Theremin
MSTRKRFT Operator Last Gang
VAKUL A Cyclicality Between Procyon And Gomeisa Dekmantel When Vakula first appeared on the house and techno periphery, few would have guessed what talents the Ukranian producer possessed. The signs were there as his release schedule ramped up, but it was with his wild album drops for his own Leleka label last year that the penny truly dropped. Both A Voyage To Arcturus and Dedicated To Jim Morrison leapt far beyond the cosy confines of deep, four-to-the-floor dance music and presented luscious compositions of jazz, funk, psych and drone, played on real instruments by real players and arranged with a skill that can’t be blagged messing around with drum machines. Having previously paraded his Vedomir alias on the label, Vakula returns to Dekmantel for the third instalment in this loosely defined trilogy of long players, having declared improvisation and the cosmos as the guiding influences behind the music. It’s an album that starts off in uncompromising territory, cavorting around abrasive arpeggios and snarling analogue noise in a manner that may be a shock to those more au fait with the producer’s house music. However, such an opening makes it all the sweeter when Double Star System appears on the scanners, tempering those wayward electronic elements into a balmy thrum to allow space for some Balearic guitar twangs over the top. Unfurling the contents of the track at a relaxed pace over 12 minutes, this is the perfect example of the accomplished skill Vakula can bring to more esoteric realms of production. There are whispers of techno to be felt in the likes of Overcoming Distance and 8600 km Radius ranks amongst the finest laid back groovers attached to his name, but they are merely parts of a bigger picture. Veering from the savage to the smooth with a deft touch, this album surely ranks as a perfect snapshot of Vakula as the many-sided dice he is today.
BADBADNOTGOOD IV Innovation Leisure
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Film 08 07
TALE OF TALES dir. Matteo Garrone Starring: Salma Hayek, Vincent Cassel, John C Reilly
! Tamsyn Aurelia-Eros Black
WHEN MARNIE WAS THERE dir. Hiromasa Yonebayashi Starring: Sara Takatsuki, Kasumi Arimura Previous Studio Ghibli films My Neighbour Totoro, Spirited Away and Grave of the Fireflies all explored, to some degree, the impact of a child’s imagination when coping with difficult situations. But whereas the former dealt with loveable forest sprites or polluted river spirits, the studio’s most recent and final release concerns something more demure and real. Like many Ghibli films, When Marnie was There follows a young, female protagonist en route to a new destination. The film opens with 12-year-old Anna sitting alone, too awkward and afraid to speak to her classmates. It is only when she suffers a stress-induced asthma attack that her doctor advises that she go stay with her foster parents for the summer, in hope that’ll it will make her happy again. Unfortunately, what follows are a string of halfformed ideas and poorly constructed storylines. To summarise the flaws of the films in a few sentences, Anna’s relationship with Marnie, a mysterious, blonde girl whose charming presence fascinates Anna, seems clichéd – their platonic relationship is read through the male gaze of director Hiromasa Yonebayashi, and it comes across exactly as you’d imagine a middle aged man to conceive female friendship. ! Gunseli Yalcinkaya
THE VIOL ATORS dir: Helen Walsh Starring: Lauren McQueen, Brogan Ellis, Stephen Lord Established novelist Helen Walsh enters the film world with this coming-of-age story. The film follows sixteen year old Shelly (Lauren McQueen), who is forced to adopt a material role for her two brothers after their father is sent to prison. Finding it hard to keep the household together, Shelly wanders around a decaying Cheshire suburb aimlessly, attracting the attention of Mikey (Stephen Lord), an unsavoury middle-aged man who buys her expensive gifts. The scenario is then noticed by Rachel (Brogan Ellis), who is from a posher part of the area. Rachel appears to offer to guidance for Shelly, but there seems to be an ulterior motive. With the character’s intentions partially concealed, Walsh creates a tense, uncomfortable atmosphere. Rather than having conventional protagonists and antagonists, the definitions are blurred, and the character’s reactions to such intense situations and painful experiences feel very human. An impressive and memorable debut.
We’re instantly reminded of Werner Herzog’s legendary Fitzcarraldo, which depicted a Western imperialist’s confrontational and grueling mission in the Amazon, when watching Embrace The Servant. Through the eyes of the shaman Karmakate, we follow him as a younger man and an older one (played by Torres and Bolivar, both unknown as actors) embark on two separate expeditions, both to find the a sacred plant yakruna. With the film’s trippy editing, the two white explorers’ journeys hazily melt together. These finely tuned technical aspects conjure up the dreamlike disorientation of Karmakate’s memory. The film’s core message – one which deals with the conflict between Western knowledge and the spirituality of Amazonia – isn’t neatly tied up in a conventional cinematic ending but through a pyschedlic, drug-induced vision that represents Karmakate’s story in a way that he understands. As perceptions are expanded and Western constructs fall apart, Embrace of the Serpent creates a mood of profound and unsettling beauty. ! Tim Oxley Smith
! Lee Fairweather
BARBERSHOP: THE NEXT CUT dir. Malcolm D. Lee Starring: Ice Cube, Cedric The Entertainer, Nicki Minaj With the public backlash to Spike Lee’s ChiRaq still fresh, fictional depictions of Chicago’s troubled streets need to tread carefully. And despite being excessively earnest and at times a little too mushy, this third instalment of the highgrossing Barbershop comedy franchise ultimately succeeds through a lovingly written script and an entertaining ensemble cast. The barbershop has now had an extension to accommodate a female salon – a plot device which allows for some rapidfire topical discussion. Nicki Minaj’s brilliantly fiery Draya provides the standout performance of the film – schooling old man Eddie (Cedric The Entertainer) on the meaning of ‘fleek’. It’s undeniably corny, and the segways into social commentary sometimes feel a little contrived. Fortunately though, the whole thing holds together with enough warmth and laughter to carry it through. ! Duncan Harrison
Tale of Tales is just like the bedtime stories you might tell your children, if you want them to have severe adjustment issues and never sleep again. Despite being based on three fables from Giambattista Basile’s 17th century fairy tale collection Lo cunto de li cunti (Entertainment for Little Ones), the film covers murder, rape, disfigurement, abandonment, betrayal, and of course plenty of monsters in the dark. There’s a queen who longs for a child and will leave nothing unsacrificed, a princess who’s married off to an ogre due by her father, and two sisters in an embittered battle against the ravages of time. While this a twisted, dark exploration of 17th century fantasy, the issues confronted by the women are timeless; infertility, unhappy marriage and anxiety about ageing. Shot in fantastical palaces and castles across Italy, visually Tale of Tales is a rich, complex masterpiece. There are countless striking images throughout the film, but the one that will stay with you long after you close your eyes to sleep is that of the Queen (played by Salma Hayek) eating the heart of giant sea monster, aggressively tearing meat with her teeth and smearing her beautiful face in blood. Maybe not one for the children after all.
EMBR ACE OF THE SERPENT dir. Ciro Guerra Starring: Nilbio Torres, Jan Bijvoet, Antonio Bolivar
Products AMERICAN FOOTBALL PATCH stayhomeclub.com $6 There’s an old joke that goes something like, “What’s the difference between rugby and American Football?” The answer is, “Rugby is a game for hooligans played by gentlemen and American Football makes me cry and think about my failed relationships.” What better way to show off your inability to just ‘get over it’ than with a patch inscribed with lyrics from the definitive art-emo band?
LTFC FOOTBALL SHIRT lobstertheremin.com £35 “Woi oi!” and “Kick that ball into the goal right now!” are just some of the things you’d expect to hear at your average football game. Lobster Theremin want to bring that rambunctious atmosphere to the world of underground dance music and with these stylish shirts they might just succeed. Don’t come crying to us when you spot Palms Trax necking a warm Bovril and shouting “Come on you edits!” next time you visit your local record store.
ZAYN MALIK x MARK WILKINSON TEE zaynmalikstore.com $35 This shirt, showing former One Directioner Zayn Malik emerging from a burning city brandishing a giant ‘Z’ flag, was illustrated by Mark Wilkinson, the man behind iconic imagery for FISH, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and more. Zayn, you’re so freaking metal these days!!!
VERY BLACK FLAG CROP TOP theveryblackproject.com $45 As exceptionally modeled by Dev Hynes in this issue’s cover feature, Very Black present this box-fit wide crop-top lovingly created in Brooklyn, NY. With a genderless cut and the cosign of the quintessential Englishman in New York, this is a safe addition to the t-shirt shelf.
GRANITE NOTEBOOK Printedgoods.net £13
TRANNY Laura Jane Grace with Dan Ozzi Coming Soon
“Goodbye, gender!” To start to understand the power of Against Me! founder, guitarist and singer Laura Jane Grace, picture her laughing face, lit with the glow of her birth certificate as it burns, and as hundreds of fans stamp and clap. This onstage show of defiance for North Carolina’s governmentsanctioned gender binaries was just another extension of Grace’s continued empowerment of trans people, of the LGBT community, and of every other ‘outsider’ she’s ever shouted for. Her biography, written in collaboration with Pitchfork’s Dan Ozzi and released this autumn, will surely be an essential part of punk’s story – and hopefully one that makes the genre more progressive than ever before.
Founded by twin brothers George and Raphael Greaves, who also produced this month’s middle page poster, Printed Goods is a new multidisciplinary design studio in Bristol. This twocolour printed pocket book is the perfect size for anyone wishing to jot down useful reminders on the go. Unclutter your mind.
P H O N O X S U M M E R
P R O G R A M M E
DJ DEEON & RUSHMORE f r i d a y 1 s t j u ly
ANTAL & PALMS TRAX f r i d a y 2 9 t h j u ly
HORSE MEAT DISCO f r i d a y 2 nd s e p t e m b e r
SKREAM f r i d a y 8 t h j u ly
BOXED: BOK BOK, LOGOS, MR. MITCH, SLACKK & MORE f r i d a y 5 th a u g u s t
MOTOR CITY DRUM ENSEMBLE f r i d a y 9 th s e p t e m b e r
ROMARE & HENRY WU f r i d a y 1 2 th a u g u s t
EROL ALKAN f r i d a y 1 6 th s e p t e m b e r
KYLE HALL & DJ FETT BURGER f r i d a y 1 9 th a u g u s t
LOCO DICE f r i d a y 2 3 rd s e p t e m b e r
LIVITY SOUND f r i d a y 2 6 th a u g u s t
DEKMANTEL SOUNDSYSTEM f r i d a y 3 0 th s e p t e m b e r
OBJEKT & CALL SUPER f r i d a y 1 5 t h j u ly LGBT FUNDRAISER: MR. TIES f r i d a y 2 2 n d j u ly THE HYDRA: SIMIAN MOBILE DISCO s u n d a y 2 4 t h j u ly
M AD A MU S I C + 1883 MA G A Z I N E IN A S S O C IAT IO N WI T H S O N E S T R E L L A G A L I C I A P R E S E N T S
C A R G O L O N D ON / / W E D . 2 0 J U LY 7 : 3 0 - L AT E / / T I C K E T W E B . C O. U K * Compl i mentary Est rella Ga lic ia for e a rly a rriv a ls be twe e n 7 :3 0 pm – 8 :3 0 pm*
+ RESIDENT DJ’S
LUA SO NIQ UE
#SONEGx1883 #1883magazine #EstrellaGalicia #MadaMusicEnt
@EstrellaGaliciaUK @1883magazine @Estrella_UK @MaDaMusicEnt
188.8.131.52 July 2016 Ferropolis, Germany
Follow us: #wearemelt
Disclosure, Deichkind, Tame Impala, Jamie xx, Two Door Cinema Club, Chvrches, M83, Solomun, Boys Noize (live), Maceo Plex, Ben Klock, Modeselektor (DJ-Set), Skepta
Acid Arab, Andy C, Andy Stott (live), Benjamin Damage, Black Coffee, Black Cracker, Blind Observatory, Bob Moses, Bomba Estéreo, Boris, Circa Waves, Coma, Cormac, Cosmin TRG, Damian Lazarus, Dekmantel Soundsystem, Digitalism, DJ Koze, DJ Phono, DMA‘s, Dr. Rubinstein, Drangsal, Ed Davenport, Ellen Allien, Fatima Yamaha (live), Floating Points (live), Freddy K, Fritz Helder, George FitzGerald, Gold Panda, Graham Candy, Gunjah, Hard Ton, Heidi, Helena Hauff, Hi Fashion, Ho99o9, Honey Dijon, Horse Meat Disco, Illesnoise, Isolation Berlin, Jamie Woon, JD Samson, Josh Wink, Kim Ann Foxman, Klyne, Kobosil, Kode9, Kollektiv Turmstrasse (live), Kuriose Naturale, Kytes, La Fleur, Lady Leshurr, Laurel Halo, Lea Porcelain, Leon Vynehall, Liss, Magdalena, Makam, Mano Le Tough, Marco Resmann, Matthias Meyer, Maya Jane Coles, Mind Against, Motor City Drum Ensemble, Muallem, Mura Masa, Niko Schwind, Noah Kin, Oddisee & Good Company, Oliver Koletzki, Pan-Pot, Partok, Peaches, Peak & Swift, Peggy Gou, Pev & Kowton (Livity Sound), Renato Ratier, Roosevelt, Sango, Sarah Farina, Say Yes Dog, Several Definitions, SG Lewis, Shed, Shifted, Sleaford Mods, Sophie, Stephan Bodzin (live), Still Parade, Stimming (live), The Black Madonna, Tiga (live), Tijana T, Tom Trago, Vater&Sohn, Vessels, Virginia (live) feat. Steffi & Dexter, Vril (live), Woman, Zed Bias, Zomby, Ø [Phase]
SUN.04.SEP.16 WED.23.NOV.16 THU.20.OCT.16 WED.14.SEP.16 THU.24.NOV.16 THU.20.OCT.16 THU.15.SEP.16
FRI.25.NOV.16 WED.26.OCT.16 THU.22.SEP.16 THU.01.DEC.16
THU.27.OCT.16 MON.26.SEP.16 FRI.02.DEC.16
Crossword Across 1. Shut yer gob, you’re in a mob, you stupid _ _ _ (3) 3. That flappy limb between your ankle and your toes (4) 4. Beautiful city, withering socialite (5) 6. Mr Lineker pretends to like crisps for money (4) 7. He’s on fire and your defence is terrified (9) 9. Professor Quirrel’s dark arts class (7) 11. That cold place where mums go (7) Down 2. Wear it on your foot, open it on your car (4) 3. If you’re posh (which you obviously are) this country rhymes with pants… (6) 5. Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ time honoured classic Arcadium (JK LOL) (7) 8. Renowned wanker (7) 10. Zoe, Johnny, Bobby etc (4)
Yob, Foot, Paris, Gary, WillGrigg, Defence, Iceland, Boot, France, Stadium, Referee ,Ball Answers:
Self Portrait Frankie Cosmos
Eavis or Beavis? Who said it: The benevolent Glastonbury legend, or the blonde-haired one from Beavis & Butthead? 1) “You know, they really should um, stop the violence, because sometimes it hurts, you know?” 2) “There was a lot of LSD around” 3) "Getting kicked in the nads by a cow sucks" 4) “Say one more bad thing about Metallica and I’ll kick your ass!” 5) “This is not Santana this is The Smiths”
Answers: 1) Beavis 2) Eavis 3) Beavis 4) Beavis 5) Eavis 6) Beavis
6) (On Robert Smith) “It's like, when you try to get a cat to look at itself in the mirror, and it's like, it won't look at itself, it like, looks up and down and everything, you say “Look at yourself! Look at yourself! Now, now!” And it's like, it just won't do it”
This month's artist takeover, the first in our series of residencies, was created by Orron Fearon, reacting to the word 'borders'.
If you'd like to contribute to the series in the future please email email@example.com
Turning Points: DJ Premier
Words: Angus Batey
“Me and Guru had so much in common on every level of hip-hop” DJ Premier
1989: Joining Gang Starr I had a crew called MCs In Control. Carlos Garza, who was one of my best friends, he heard it and sent a copy to Stu Fine, at Wild Pitch, who was lookin’ for new artists. Stu said he’d like to put me in Gang Starr with Guru. I had to go to New York for a family situation, and I met Guru at a club called The World. We had so much in common on every level of hip-hop that we already felt like we knew each other. I sent him the [debut Gang Starr single] Words I Manifest beat: we recorded the song, and all the New York mix shows played
it. I remember Marley Marl opened his show with it. I stayed with my group, but my MC joined the Navy. He enlisted for four years: if it had been like a year, I’d have waited for him, but four years? So I called Stu back and said, ‘Yo, man, I don’t have a group any more.’ He said, ‘Do you wanna join Gang Starr now?’ And I was like, ‘Yo, I’m down.' 1989-92: Establishing the Premier sound [Debut Gang Starr album] No More Mr Nice Guy was really done by three of us – me, Guru and ShloMo Sonnenfeld, our engineer. We had to rush to get the album done, we did it in two weeks. With Step in the Arena we moved to a major label, got a real budget, and I was able to work on beats on my own and start to establish a sound. But it was when we did Daily Operation that I finally established the Premier sound, when I was confident that could take on anybody. Prior to that I would not have taken on KRS-ONE or artists like that, but once we did Daily Operation my confidence was through the roof. 1997: Gang Starr single You Know My Steez I approach [producing] with what I call my DJ ear. I found that sample [Joe Simon’s Drowning In a Sea of Love] and heard how dope that guitar stroke was at the beginning. I’m all about James Brown, and what he says is everything’s got to be on the one: but
my favourite part of [Joe Simon’s track] was hittin’ on the four. I go by feel – I don’t go by the way the measure is. So I took the other parts and just chopped them into pieces and played around with the arrangement on the turntables. That’s always my way. 2007: Working with Rick Rubin on Grammy-nominated track Classic Classic (Better Than I’ve Ever Been) remix Rick Rubin did the original. He gave Kanye West a CD of six beats, and Kanye chose that one; then he gave that to KRS, Nas and Rakim. I got all the vocals sent to me, then I found that Rakim had made his own drum beat and recorded his verse at a different tempo. I wasn’t really ProTools-savvy yet, so I had to stretch his voice and re-record his vocals into my CDJ, then flew them in, and just kept punchin’ the ‘record’ button whenever it started to drift. Present: Production work, solo material and a documentary I’ve just finished executive-producing an album for MC Eiht. It’s called Which Way Iz West? and it’s a really, really dope West Coast album. I’m also mixin’ down the NYGs, who are part of the Gang Starr Foundation – that’s a really hard, raw New York album. And I’m workin’ with a new artist, a singersongwriter named Torii Wolf. She plays drums and guitar, and she’s a really dope singer – she’s got a kind of
Bjork-ish type voice, but she’s definitely unique. I’m working on my solo album, Last Session at 320, to go along with a documentary about the history of D&D Studios - they sold the building at 320 West 37th Street so we moved out of there in January. We did a documentary with all the people who worked there - Jay Z, Nas, the whole Boot Camp and everybody spilled the beans, from heroin addicts, to the fights, the guns... Everything is in that documentary! And of course I’m still runnin’ Gang Starr Enterprises with Guru’s sister, Trish, to make sure we still keep the name and the estate alive. Guru has a 15-year-old son, so we wanna make sure that he stays afloat. And hopefully we’ll get some music once we get some other things clear. DJ Premier performs at Fresh Island Festival, Croatia, 12-14 July
Arguably one of hip-hop’s greatest producers, DJ Premier’s story is one of ceaseless innovation and relentless hard work. Premier, real name Christopher Martin, was working in a record shop in Houston, Texas when he was recruited into the group Gang Starr, which quickly slimmed down to a duo – with Premier manning the decks alongside the now-legendary emcee Keith “Guru” Elam. The musicality and authenticity of their records made Gang Starr one of a handful of artists whose records were prised by both hardcore rap heads and curious outsiders alike. In the early 90s, Primo began to produce for artists outside the extended Gang Starr Foundation family. Following Guru’s untimely death in 2010 Primo still carries the torch, while his Sirius radio show has given a glimpse of the person behind the decks.
ARIS P , L A R O L PA R C F WA R E H O U
S E | C LU B | V IS U A L A
R T S | F IL M S | TA L K S
ELECTRONIC CULTURE FESTIVAL WEDNESDAY 13 JULY 2016
LEN FAKI & RØDHÅD — KERRI CHANDLER PANTHA DU PRINCE presents THE TRIAD JOHN TALABOT — RARESH — FUNCTION live JEREMY UNDERGROUND
VIRGINIA ft. STEFFI & DEXTER live — BICEP — HELENA HAUFF DAX J — BOB MOSES — DJ BONE — AURORA HALAL TIJANA T — HEARTBEAT — WAXIST
FRIDAY 15 JULY 2016
LAURENT GARNIER — SVEN VÄTH — MACEO PLEX FLOORPLAN — SURGEON live DAVID AUGUST live band — ALAN FITZPATRICK CYRILLIC (AKA KiNK) — TAMA SUMO BARNT — BARAC — MAX D NICO MOTTE — MIKAEL SEIFU — ALEX & LAETITIA
SATURDAY 16 JULY 2016
Licences n° 2-1056649 / 3-1056650
TALE OF US — FOUR TET — SBTRKT dj set DJ SHADOW — BRODINSKI — RECONDITE BAMBOUNOU b2b MARGARET DYGAS
KIASMOS – EVIAN CHRIST dj set — BUSY P b2b ECLAIR FIFI MYKKI BLANCO — LOTIC — POINT POINT — MUMDANCE & LOGOS MARK FELL — SIMO CELL — MEZIGUE — AZAMAT B
TICKETS ON RESIDENTADVISOR.NET
20 Questions: Cardi B “I like to go to the strip club on a first date” Cardi B
Words: Trina John-Charles
Do you have a number 1 fan? Yes I do, his name is Chrissy.
What was your favourite cartoon when you were a kid? Tom and Jerry.
Have you ever been arrested? Yes.
Who’s your favourite member of the Wu-Tang Clan? Oh I don’t know about that youknowimschayin’? [laughs]. I’m too young for that baby! I’m a 90s baby. I came up listening to stuff from like, the 2000s. Who’s your favourite person to follow on Instagram? The Loopy Blogger. He’s so funny. He’s from the Bronx and he just talks so much about things I can relate to, because he’s from my own hood.
What kind of car do you drive? I have a Suburban, but I just bought me an Aston Martin. I’m just waiting for it to come. We got it in grey, but we’re going to put a matt sheer on it. What’s the worst hotel you’ve ever stayed in? It’s called La Quinta. I think that was in Florida. Heavy Metal or EDM? EDM of course, whoop! EDM, baby!
Who’s your favourite character in The Wire? You know, I never really watched that show. I never really had cable. Would you go for a beer with Kanye West? Yeah, I’ll have a drink with him. I feel like I could talk to him about a lot of things. A lot of people judge him because of the way that he is, but now that I’m gaining popularity, I can see why he acts how he acts. People try and put him down and talk so much bad about him, it’s like, why be polite when people are not polite to him?
What’s your signature recipe? I don’t really have a recipe to things. But when I do dressings I always add garlic... And lemon. Favourite video game? I never really played video games much, I never really had any of those things. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had? Being a cashier in a supermarket. If you were trying to seduce a potential lover, what music would you play? Oh. My. Gosh, when I have sex... [laughs] I like to listen to Madonna – Justify My Love and Erotica. Those are my two favourite songs. What would be your idea of a perfect first date? I like to go to the strip club on a first date, you know why? Because, I know if the guy is cheap or not, me and him can judge the women, I’ll know what type of women he likes and who to watch out for. Also it’s like, when I eat in front of men for the first time, I feel so uncomfortable. After the strip club, if we have a couple of drinks, and if I feel like I want to go home with him, I’ll go home with him. Yeah, just go to the strip club. It’s real calm, it’s real cool, it’s not a party so you can’t get ballistically drunk, or dance sweaty, you’re just sitting down looking at dancers.
Do you have any tattoos you regret? I have a few guys names that I tatted on me that I regret. I want to get a cover up, but I just don’t know what. I always wanted to tattoo a panda, but the panda thing got real overrated. What’s your worst habit? My worst habit... I like to pick my own scabs. What’s the first thing you’re going to do after this interview? I’m going to watch some TV and then I’m going to take a nice little nap and then I’m going to do a song at the studio. Is there a piece of advice you wish you’d give to yourself ten years ago? I would tell myself just to never give up on my dreams. Ten years ago, everything that I ever dreamed about, I shut it down. At the time everybody around me was poor. Everybody that had money was selling drugs or scamming. I never really met anybody who told me they were making money because they graduated from school or anything. I just got real realistic with things and my goals were real low. And now it’s like, wow dreams really do come true. I don’t know how, but they did. @iamcardib
Once in a while, someone gets thrown into the spotlight and they make sure to keep it real while they’re there. Cardi B is a former stripper, reality TV star and rapper with a colossal social media following and a New York state of mind. With her uncensored humour and unapologetic attitude, Cardi’s become an online sensation and something of a national treasure in the U.S. The more you see her, the more love her and want her to win. And so after tentatively reaching out to her publicist, we were delighted to hear that Cardi was available to answer Crack Magazine’s 20 Questions.
Refugees Welcome, Eton’s No to Mess Fortress Europe
Refugees Don’t Welcome, EU No to want me Fortress baby? Europe
NO Don’t HUMAN EU ISme want ILLEGAL baby?
NO Black HUMAN Lives IS Matter ILLEGAL
END Black AUSTERITY Lives NOW! Matter
Perspective: The Land Is Ours Nikesh Shukla is a novelist, screenwriter, and the editor of Rife Magazine, an online platform for young people based in Bristol. Here, he considers the fallout of Brexit following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, and where the disempowered youth could turn to next Even when you turn up, you’re not heard. That must fuck with your head. Even when it affects you the most, so you turn up and cast your vote, you’re not heard. That must make you feel like not bothering next time. Even when you defy the doomy statistics about voter turnout in your age demographic and turn up and put a cross in the box, you’re not heard. Does it make you want to burn everything to the ground?
I hear you. In the hours after the referendum result was announced, I was told to “go back to brown land”, someone threatened to set my ‘greasy ass’ on fire, and a friend of a friend comforted me by telling me, “don’t worry, you’re not that kind of immigrant”. Three days later and I couldn’t leave my house because I was afraid of being shouted at on my way to work. As I helped the young people I mentor make a film in the street, I overheard one man yell at another, “well it’s not your fucking country, is it?”
The first general election my friends got to vote in was in 1997. I was just too young to vote, but I was invested. I was listening to Naxalite by Asian Dub Foundation over and over again, feeling this burning sensation in my chest, because again and again until the land is ours and again and again until we have taken the power. I remember watching a student debate, with people making the case for the different parties. Watching it then, we were excited about Tony Blair. We knew he was dangerous, because that’s what the billboards told us. But we needed that danger. We needed to emerge from the increasingly heavy tread of Tory rule. My friend Simon made the case for the Situationists and tore up a mocked-up ballot paper. Will wore a shiny red shirt and pleaded for people to vote Labour. No one remembers who made the case for the Tories, but if my memory serves me correctly, he definitely had a briefcase. The next day Simon and Will hugged over the result, both in red this time, and it was sunny, the air felt light, we had taken the power and the land was ours. Why am I telling you all this? Because we’re agents of hope. We have to believe in hope in these dark uncertain times. Hope brings us together. Hope
unites us against the rise of fascism. Hope is safety pins on chests. Hope is making art that challenges the status quo. Hope is that moment in Network when Beale yells, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this any more”. Hope is knowing that turning up and voting is half the battle. Hope is the pursuit of the accountability of elected officials. I stress elected officials. Nigel Farage is not an elected official. Currently. I hope I didn’t just do that bit in films where someone asks, “what’s the worst that can happen?” right before the worst happens. But maybe the worst has happened already. How much lower can our faith in our country get? I’m getting distracted in my message of hope. That happens when you’ve barely slept, and you’ve cried, felt angry, numb, and terrified for your baby as you’ve devoured the internet until 2am most nights, trying desperately to fa thom what is going on. The future is uncertain. Here are things you can do: volunteer in grassroots projects, donate money to charity, report hate crimes and step in when you see them happening, think of small positive local things to do, tell your MP they need to do better, believe in change,
END AUSTERITY NOW!
Illustration: Ed Chambers
because that change is you. Look at the demographics. Whatever happens next, as these generations wither away and die, is in your hands, and you know exactly what to do with it. I trust you. It’s your world. And my daughter’s. And I have to believe that whatever state it’s handed over to you in, you’ll know the right way to put things right. Look, I’m not going to tell you it’s okay. We don’t know. But we have to hope. My friend Josie texted me this morning saying, “we are all still here and none of us will give up”. We are better and we will keep going. Again and again until the land is ours. And again and again until we have taken the power. Nikesh Shukla is the editor of a forthcoming collection of essays about race and immigration in the UK, titled The Good Immigrant. The fee for this piece was donated to The Arts Emergency Service, a British charity helping students from diverse backgrounds
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