Fri.04.Nov Allan Rayman Courage
Fri.18.Nov NVOY Elderbrook (Live)
Fri.02.Dec WiDE AWAKE 808INK
Fri.11.Nov Noah Slee Daniel Ness
Fri.25.Nov More // Night Makola
Fri.09.Dec PHAM Mont Jake
Get Burst Every Friday
Charity no. 1161096
Charity no. 1161096
Image © The Record, 600 HIGHWAYMEN (C) Maria Baranova
Image © The Record, 600 HIGHWAYMEN (C) Maria Baranova
18 NOV 2016 INCLUDES ‘SAFE & SOUND’ ‘RANDY’ AND ‘ALAKAZAM!’ “A JOYOUS RECORD” DAZED
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CHRISTINE AND THE QUEENS CHALEUR HUMAINE / ALBUM OUT NOW - INCLUDES ‘TILTED’ & ‘SAINT CLAUDE’
“A PERFECT ANTIDOTE TO POP CONSERVATISM”
ALBUM OF THE WEEK The Sunday Times
ALBUM OF THE WEEK The Guardian
ALBUM OF THE WEEK The Observer
– DELUXE EDITION – I NC LU DE S 6 B ONU S T R A CK S + LI V E PE R FOR M A N CE D V D FR OM Z E NI T H LI LLE , F R A N CE AVA I LA B LE 25T H N O V E M B E R
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LAURENT GARNIER LAURENT GARNIER MARCO BERNARDI MARCO BERNARDI ALEX JONES ALEX JONES CEDRIC MAISON CEDRIC MAISON F R I D AY 1 1 N O V E M B E R D RFURMI DC AY O D E1 1 N O V E M B E R DRUMCODE
ADAM BEYER ADAM BEYER ALAN FITZPATRICK ALAN FITZPATRICK DENSE & &PIKA DENSE PIKA IDA ENGBERG IDA ENGBERG S AT U R D AY 1 2 N O V E M B E R B RSI SATT OU RL DI AY N : M1O2T NI OONV EPMRBEESRE N T S BRISTOL IN:MOTION PRESENTS
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S ATS UATRUDRAY 1 21 N2 ONVOEVME BMEBRE R D AY A N AENV E VNEI N GI N GW IWT HI T H
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U UT T D DOO S OS OL L
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NERO[DJ[DJSET] SET] NERO FRICTION FRICTION DIMENSION DIMENSION INSIDEINFO INFO INSIDE HYBRID MINDS HYBRID MINDS MYRO MYRO
S AT U R D AY 1 9 N O V E M B E R S ATHUORT DCAY 1 9I ONNOSV E M B E R R E AT H O T C R E AT I O N S
EATSEVERYTHING EVERYTHING EATS RICHYAHMED AHMED RICHY RUSS YALLOP RUSS YALLOP DENNEY DENNEY DETLEF DETLEF SOLARDO SOLARDO WAIFS & STRAYS WAIFS & STRAYS
T H U R S D AY 2 4 N O V E M B E R 2 3 27 4 N O V E M B E R T H RU OR OS M D AY ROOM 237
AUTECHRE [LIVE] AUTECHRE [LIVE] RUSSELL HASWELL RUSSELL HASWELL ANDY MADDOCKS ANDY MADDOCKS
IN:MOTION SERIES - SEPTEMBER 2016 - JANUARY 2017 IN:MOTION SERIES - SEPTEMBER 2016 - JANUARY 2017
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DJ EZ EZ DJ MATT JAM JAM LAMONT MATT CONDUCTA CONDUCTA THE BLAST BLAST DJS VS THE BODYNOD DJS DJS BODYNOD TAKE OFF OFF DJS DJS TAKE
ATUURRDDAY AY 0033 DD EE CC EE M SSKAT MWBB EE RR N E E D E E P I N E L R O KNEE DEEP IN ELROW
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OO UU TT
KKUURRUUPPT TF FMM TTOODDDDL LA AT T ZZI INNCC DDJ J HHAAZZA ARRD D BBAARREELYLYL EL EG GA LA L EEMMPPEERROORR KKAASSRRAA MMUURRL LOO AAMMYYBBE ECCK KE ER R SSI IOOBBHHA ANNB BE EL L L && MMOORRE E S SU UN N D AY D AY0 10 1J AJNAUNAURAYR Y N NY DY D
O UU TT O
ANDY C ANDY C BAD COMPANY UK [DJ SET] BAD COMPANY UK [DJ SET] TC TC LEVELZ LEVELZ RICHIE BRAINS [FULLCREW] RICHIE BRAINS [FULLCREW] BRYAN GEE BRYAN SOUL INGEE MOTION SOUL IN MOTION JAYDROP JAYDROP
TTAALLEEOOF FUUS S BBEENNKKL LOOCCK K J JAACCKKMMA AS ST ET ER R KKI INNKK[ L[ LI VI VE E] ] SSTTEEFFFFI I NNAASST TI AI A J JEERREEMMY YUUN ND DE RE RG RG OR UO NU DN D GERD JANSON AGXEERL DB OJ AMNASNO N I AT AX LEOL J OB HO NMSAONN HIETLAELNOAJ OHHANUSFOFN RHOENL EMNOAR EHLALUI F F FRL OO NR I M A NO RKEULPLFIE R SFI LMOORNICAINN OK U P F E R DSJ I OMCOTNOCBIENRO HDOJD OG CE T O B E R &H O M DO GR E & MORE
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EZRA FURMAN MON 31 OCT ROUNDHOUSE
STEVE GUNN MON 14 NOV 100 CLUB
PALACE WED 23 NOV BRIXTON ELECTRIC
GIRL BAND THURS 8 DEC SCALA
GABRIELLA COHEN TUES 1 NOV SERVANT JAZZ QUARTERS
LITTLE CUB TUES 15 NOV ELECTROWERKZ
HIDDEN CAMERAS TUES 29 NOV THE LEXINGTON
ROZI PLAIN FRI 9 DEC OMEARA
LAIL ARAD WED 2 & THURS 15 NOV SERVANT JAZZ QUARTERS
SAVOY MOTEL WED 16 NOV SHACKLEWELL ARMS
BO ROCHA WED 30 NOV THE PICKLE FACTORY
GLAD HAND WED 16 NOV SERVANT JAZZ QUARTERS
JERKCURB WED 30 NOV SHACKLEWELL ARMS
CATE LE BON WED 14 DEC ISLINGTON ASSEMBLY HALL
THE BIG MOON THURS 3 NOV SCALA
LA FEMME THURS 17 NOV O2 SHEPHERDâ€™S BUSH EMPIRE
HINDS FRI 2 DEC O2 FORUM KENTISH TOWN
GLASS GANG TUES 8 NOV THE WAITING ROOM
BC CAMPLIGHT FRI 18 NOV OSLO HACKNEY
RHAIN WED 7 DEC THE WAITING ROOM
FRAN LOBO WED 9 NOV THE PICKLE FACTORY
HAZEL ENGLISH MON 21 NOV THE WAITING ROOM
SERATONES THURS 10 NOV OSLO HACKNEY
ANNA MEREDITH WED 23 NOV SCALA
PETER SILBERMAN (THE ANTLERS) WED 7 & THURS 8 DEC THE FORGE
MERCHANDISE WED 2 NOV THE LEXINGTON
MITSKI MON 6 MAR VILLAGE UNDERGROUND GLASS ANIMALS THURS 16 MAR O2 ACADEMY BRIXTON CAR SEAT HEADREST THURS 23 MAR ELECTRIC BALLROOM
011 Crack Magazine is a free and independent platform for contemporary culture Published and distributed monthly by Crack Industries Ltd. For any distribution enquiries please contact email@example.com
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THE WORLD’S GREATEST MUSIC FESTIVAL ON SNOW.
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MK (marc kinchen) | GORGON CITY DJ SET HOT SINCE 82 | EATS EVERYTHING DAVID RODIGAN | DISCIPLES | DUSKY SKREAM | MY NU LENG | JAMES ZABIELA TODDLA T | RICHY AHMED | ARTWORK MONKI | SOLARDO | ALAN FITZPATRICK CASSY | BARELY LEGAL | DENIS SULTA FUR COAT | SASSE | MELLA DEE KC LIGHTS PLUS MANY MORE TBA* IGLOO RAVES | MOUNTAIN STAGES | ENCHANTED FOREST PARTIES AWARD WINNING SNOW PARK | THE INFAMOUS SNOWBOMBING POOL PARTY AUSTRIA’S LARGEST FANCY DRESS STREET PARTY | 100+ SPAS & POOLS EUROPE’S LARGEST ROAD TRIP | & MUCH MORE
*FOR THE LATEST LINE UP:
Highlights Exhibitions Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2016 23 Nov 2016 – 22 Jan 2017 Lower & Upper Galleries
Carmel Buckley and Mark Harris Sparrow Come Back Home 6 Dec 2016 – 5 Feb 2017 ICA Fox Reading Room Closing this month... James Richards: Requests and Antisongs, until 13 Nov 2016 Fluorescent Chrysanthemum, until 27 Nov 2016
Events Cubitt 25 Years Wed 2 Nov, 6.30pm
Premiere of new documentary Cubitt 25 Years: An Artist Led History, followed by a discussion with Cubitt artists and curators.
13 Presidents: Election Night Special Tue 8 Nov, 6.30pm
On the night of the US Presidential election we host a reading and discussion to celebrate the launch of Marisa J. Futernick’s book 13 Presidents.
Artists’ Film Club Chandigarh is in India + Q&A Sat 12 Nov, 2pm Naeem Mohaiemen 19–23 Nov 2016 A three-part screening of Mohaiemen’s films examining the moments of mis-recognition in revolutionary leftist movements of the 1970s followed by a Q&A with the artist. Institute of Contemporary Arts The Mall London SW1Y 5AH 020 7930 3647 ica.org.uk
Technology Now: Blackness on the Internet Wed 16 Nov, 6.30pm
Curator and writer Legacy Russell leads a panel discussion exploring blackness and the material of the internet.
Culture Now: Discussing John Berger Fri 18 Nov, 1pm
Yasmin Gunaratnam, Tessa McWatt and Tom Overton discuss Berger’s life and work.
ICA Music: Kode9 & Lawrence Lek present The Notel Fri 18 Nov, 8pm
The UK premiere of Kode9 and Lawrence Lek’s new live project The Notel.
ICA Learning Associates Skin Deep present: Sonic Transmissions Wed 23 Nov, 5pm
Skin Deep bring together live musicians, DJs and music makers for an exploratory live public listening session.
Meet the Man Behind the Story: CITIZENFOUR + Edward Snowden live in conversation Sun 6 Nov, 3pm
At this special screening of CITIZENFOUR, ICA and BRITDOC present a live satellite conversation with Edward Snowden to discuss what has changed in regard to mass surveillance over the last three years, and thoughts about his own future.
Ogawa Shinsuke and Ogawa Pro: Collective filmmaking and the culture of dissidence 17 Nov – 11 Dec 2016
A retrospective season highlighting the essential documentaries by Japanese filmmaker Ogawa Shinsuke and the filmmaking collective Ogawa Pro. This programme offers audiences a rare opportunity to discover one of the most important bodies of work in documentary cinema, with a selection of films covering thirty years of filmmaking by Ogawa Pro.
The ICA is a registered charity no. 236848
Regular Features Editorial - 23 King of the Teens New Music - 27 From the Periphery
Lil Yachty: Dream On - 22 Lil Yachty counts the likes of Frank Ocean and Skepta as fans, but old school hip-hop fans are outraged by his hook-heavy “bubblegum trap”. Having met with the Atlanta star before his first London show, Duncan Harrison weighs up the criticism and wonders if it’s time to let the kids have their fun
20 Questions: Sleaford Mods - 77 Jason Williamson talks mullets, Travelodge meat and dickhead bosses with Davy Reed Perspective: gal-dem and the elevation of unheard voices - 78 With content produced exclusively by young women of colour, online and print publication gal-dem is going from strength to strength. gal-dem opinions editor Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff proudly reflects on their landmark V&A event
Aesthetic: Elias Bender Rønnenfelt - 52 As the compelling frontman of bands such as Iceage and Marching Church, Elias Bender Rønnenfelt has been a figurehead of Copenhagen's underground since his adolescence. He flaunts his rugged punk romanticism for our regular styled shoot
Nina Kraviz collects stories with her трип label - 30 Since pouring passion into the project, Nina Kraviz has sent audiences further down the rabbit hole of her tastes with трип. The Russian DJ discusses the energies that bring it to life with Emma Robertson
Young Echo: Soundsystem Punk - 36 The Bristol collective binds a sprawling web of output from producers, who each foster the evolution of their sound through lawless radio sessions, club nights and live shows. Gwyn Thomas de Chroustchoff finds them further united by the politically resonant launch of their record label
DJ Earl: Fuelling the Footwork - 42 As part of Teklife’s new school and a force pushing forward creativity in the genre, DJ Earl flies the flag for footwork with pride. By Tom Watson
The Alluring Darkness of Lawrence Lek’s Imagined Futures - 46 The visual artist’s uncanny dystopic visions react to a world that’s stranger than fiction. By Francis Blagburn
Turning Points: Slick Rick - 75 Having endured a postfame prison sentence and citizenship dramas, rap's legendary storyteller is heading out on his first ever UK tour. Theo Kotz speaks to him before he hits the road
Reviews - 65 Gig reports, product reviews and our verdict on the latest releases in film and music
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017 So here it is, Issue 70, featuring our most divisive cover star to date. We had a lot of discussion about Lil Yachty, and once we’d confirmed the cover I couldn’t wait to send the mag to print. It’s a good feeling to have 2016’s freshest, most distinctive breakthrough star on the cover. That said, we had to respect the fact that there might be Crack readers out there who, to put it lightly, might not share our enthusiasm.
Crack Was Made Using Dizzee Rascal Stop Dat
Mechatok See Thru
Sound Track Orchestra and Silvy Tirsa Song
Sporting Life Nothing To Hide ft Blood Orange + Wiki
Dedication Pito Deep Lil Yachty Pretty Mr Beatnick Achilles Heel Dead or Alive You Spin Me Round Slick Rick Street Talkin’ ft. OutKast D. Futers I Care Avalon Emerson Dystopian Daddy Seka Milieu 1 (Babbelonian) J Hus Playing Sports Oozing Wound Diver
Nick Cave + Warren Ellis Theme from ‘Mars' Poirier Marshall Partners Atelier4 CC-Dust Mutiny Planetary Assault Systems Message from the Drone Sector
Still undecided about Lil Yachty? If so, I’d encourage you to read our cover story, for which Duncan Harrison has skillfully weighed up both sides of the debate. Personally, I think every generation should be entitled to defiant new music which their elders can’t stand, and I’m happy to see this kid thrive. As Lil Yachty himself rightly declared, in full AutoTuned glory, “We do what we want to do – we are the youth!” Davy Reed, Editor
Hyetal Near Water Jay Daniel Knowledge of Selfie Solange Cranes in the Sky Killawatt Livewire (Ossia remix) A Made Up Sound Peace Offering Nicolas Jaar History Lesson SURVIVE Copter
En Vogue Don’t Let Go
To be totally honest, it took me a while to come round to Yachty myself. Without listening closely enough, maybe I’d wrongly written off his eccentricities as contrived kookiness. But as the cosigns mounted, I was won over by a couple of Yachty’s guest appearances, and the exuberant joy of his Summer Songs 2 mixtape – particularly the second half – had me hooked. If you’re the kind of hip-hop traditionalist who trembles at the sound of Auto-Tune and you’re losing interest as you read this, hang on, we've got you covered – there’s an interview with the legendary Slick Rick on page 75.
In all seriousness, I can understand why some listeners would wince at Lil Yachty’s ultra-sweet pop melodies and undisciplined raps. But why are some audiences so quick to dismiss youthful innovations? Unlike conversations around rock music, where diversity is generally acknowledged, in some narrow-minded corners of the rap internet there exists a strange mentality that lyrical dexterity equals quality, as if the more a hip-hop record deviates from Illmatic, the worse it is. If you can love both The Beatles and Black Flag, why can’t you appreciate Rakim and Young Thug at the same time?
Issue 70 November 2016
Recommended O ur g ui d e to wh at's goi n g on i n y ou r c i ty
JULIANNA BARWICK Oslo 5 December
LE GUESS WHO? Wilco, Julia Holter, Savages, Suuns Utrecht, NL 10 - 13 November €125
JULIA HOLTER O2 Shepherds Bush Empire 14 November
As with each instalment, Le Guess Who? is fueled by the experimental tastes of its curators. As Utrecht’s premiere avant-garde festival celebrates its tenth edition this year, it invites a searingly on-point quartet of curators to expand on its themes. Country rock legends Wilco, blissful pop composer Julia Holter, post-punk frontrunners Savages and far-out Canadians Suuns are all putting on their picks. Across a sprawling range of venues, including churches, galleries, and theatres, this year’s expansive line-up continues to champion the alluringly strange, featuring everyone from Tortoise and Tim Hecker to Laurel Halo and Jessy Lanza, via Bo Ningen, Laraaji and Marching Church. #SAVEOURCULTURE Great Suffolk St Warehouse 3 December
POSITIVE EDUCATION FESTIVAL Cabaret Voltaire, Surgeon, Bambounou Various Venues, Saint-Etienne €60 Positive Education Festival is back for its second year with another strong showcase of exciting and experimental electronic music. Thursday’s bumper programme of live shows include Cabaret Voltaire and The Hacker. Friday’s bill is contrastingly compiled of only DJs – highlights of which are Pev & Kowton, Hodge B2B Randomer and of course Surgeon. Day events across different genres and venues keep it varied, including PEEV in a cinema and Macadam Mambo boss Sacha Mambo, as well as an impressive cross section of homegrown talent – The Hacker, Bambounou, In Aeternam Vale, Low Jack and Antinote's Zaltan.
On 6 September, the operating license of fabric was indefinitely revoked. The city’s flagship venue, it’s a cornerstone of London clubbing, and the loss of the nightclub is a huge blow to our culture. But the fight isn’t over. Following the ruling against fabric, those who value a healthy nightlife scene in the city, as well as those in the rest of the UK, have become galvanised around its closure. Donations to fund the team’s ongoing legal battle as they appeal the decision have reached over £300,000, and some of the country’s biggest clubbing institutions have joined forces with fabric for fundraisers. This event is one of the many #saveourculture fundraisers taking inspiration from what would have taken place at the club over the coming weekends, featuring Nina Kraviz, Craig Richards, Alan Fitzpatrick, Barker & Baumecker and Terry Francis. Keep dancing to help reopen the doors of the iconic establishment.
THE LOWEST FORM The River Studios 10 November
SEVERED HE ADS Electrowerkz 4 November
CLOCK STRIKES 13: DIFFERENT CIRCLES X CONTORT Corsica Studios 26 November Contort is the lovechild of distorted noise artist Samuel Kerridge and his partner in life and crime Hayley Kerridge. ‘This NOT just another party’, they emphasised at their sporadic series of all-day Sunday events in Berlin, which called upon artists to play “whatever they fuck they want”, without constraints and expectations. A more refined but similarly potent vision lies in Mumdance and Logos’s Different Circles label – springing from the ‘weightless’ instrumental grime trend but primarily driven by contrast and collisions in sound. This Clock Strikes 13 event draws upon the talents of label affiliates and other favourites from the realms of techno, noise, grime and beyond, with the Contort team of Samuel Kerridge, Raime and Sos Gunver Ryberg alongside Mumdance & Logos, Wen b2b Parris and a jungle set from Randall channeling the ethos of Different Circles.
PWR BT TM Shacklewell Arms 6 December
The world desperately needs more bands like PWR BTTM. The upstate New Yorkers are one of a handful of emerging bands directly expressing their own experiences of being queer in the punk scene. Their 2015 debut Ugly Cherries is a perfect mix of comedic observations on social anxiety, the mundane chores of daily life and the perils of the dating world. The duo’s witty, uptempo power pop is a perfect antidote to the hypermasculinised tosh that’s been dominating the charts for way too long. Inclusive, fun and totally talented. What more could we ask for?
FLOATING POINTS ALL NIGHT DJ SET Studio Spaces E1 12 November
LORENZO SENNI LN-CC 10 November
Severed Heads aren’t great at keeping promises. After announcing the death of the band in 2008, and signing a document stating that they’ll never again perform live, the band recently completed a US tour, and they’re now back for a handful of European shows, including this show from Cosey Club and Trevor Jackson’s Metal Dance. Sydney’s deeply influential band have enjoyed an upsurge of interest recently after a handful of reissues by the Dark Entries and Medical Records labels – including the glistening hits Dead Eyes Opened and Petrol – kept the fire burning for their pioneering mixture of woozy industrial, shimmering synthpop and EBM chuggers. They’re joined here by fellow cult act Crash Course in Science. Catch them before they threaten to disappear again.
CROATIAN AMOR Moth Club 18 November
019 KODE9 + L AWRENCE LEK PRESENT THE NOTEL ICA 18 November MARSHALL ALLEN’S SUN R A ARKESTR A Café OTO 22 + 23 November
NICOL AS JA AR Heaven 6 + 7 December
SPECTRES Birthdays 7 December
Following up on the huge success of his recent fourth LP, The Landlord, Giggs is gearing up for the biggest UK headline show of his career. Having always operated slightly to the left of grime’s conventional blueprints, The Landlord was an off-kilter trap masterpiece built from fierce lyricism and world-class production. As well as showcasing the tales of The Landlord, the date marks a big achievement for Giggs, who has a history of getting his London shows strategically shut down by London police forces. On Instagram, Giggs revealed that a string of meetings had to be carried out to finally get this headline date locked in. It’s a landmark show for a London artist who always deserved his moment on home turf.
WE ATHER WINTER Donato Dozzy & Peter Van Hoesen, Unforseen Alliance, Laurent Garnier Paris Event Centre 17 December €35 For the third instalment of Weather Festival in Paris’ winter edition, the line-up is amazing from top to bottom. The reunion of Birth of Frequency, Zadig, Antigone and Voiski as Unforseen Alliance is justification alone for the price-tag. Josh Wink also headlines room one, while the rest of the bill is made up of Marcel Dettmann, Marcelus, Blind Observatory and Kosme, as well as Russ Gabriel and Sweely playing live. Shake the winter chill with some pitch black techno.
CALL SUPER + LENA WILLIKENS The Pickle Factory 2 December
CITIZENFOUR SCREENING WITH EDWARD SNOWDEN LIVE Q&A ICA 6 November
PREOCCUPATIONS Oval Space 7 November £14
CHANCE THE R APPER O2 Academy Brixton 20 + 22 November £27.50
Maybe it's time to stop mentioning Preoccupations’ previous incarnation as Viet Cong. The band have paid their dues for the mistakes they made in a past life and now they’re back. Their debut album under the new name pulls together the gloomy makeup of post-punk, a chugging, unrelenting percussive element and a monotonous drawl courtesy of frontman Matt Flegel. Much like fellow Canadians Ought, their take on noisy is intellectualised and considered. They’re bound to blow up, go and see them now.
The last time Crack saw Chance The Rapper live, we were in the basement of a Shoreditch venue. It was 2013 and he was visiting the UK for the first time, fresh from releasing his earth-stopping second mixtape Acid Rap. Things can change a lot in three years. Chance is now a certified global superstar, the mixtape he dropped this year became the world’s first streaming-only release to chart on Billboard, he upstaged Kanye on Ultralight Beam and his distinctive brand of optimistic gospel-rap has transitioned into the mainstream with no major label backing. This time round he’s playing considerably bigger spaces with a new setup featuring a full live band and a catalogue of hits which most rappers could only dream of.
KORNEL KOVACS Oval Space 19 November
COURTESY Patterns, Brighton 5 November
THE BIG MOON Scala 3 November
Two years ago, when the ICA first screened Laura Poitras' CITIZENFOUR, it ran for a record-breaking 30 weeks. In November, the academy award winning documentary will be screening at the gallery once more. This time round, the film’s subject Edward Snowden will be in conversation live via satellite presented by the ICA and BRITDOC. Exploring the ways in which matters of mass surveillance has transformed and developed over the last three years, Snowden’s unique insight as a landmark figure in the history of whistleblowing will provide an illuminating understanding of modern society’s most abstract and intangible threat.
GALCHER LUST WERK The Yard 2 December
RP BOO Café OTO 10 November
STEVE GUNN 100 Club 14 November GENESIS BREYER PORRIDGE Café OTO 8 November HELENA HAUFF ALL NIGHT Bloc 25 November
GIGGS Kentish Town Forum 11 November £17.60
O Hold Up (Dough Up) ft. Lil Uzi Vert and Lil Yachty 1 Dej Loaf / Lord Narf : @kodieshane
QUIET LUKE There is an unmistakable theatrical streak in the music of Quiet Luke. Having tried to be everything from rapper to choirboy, the New York-based producer and artist has now pinned down a sound which belongs to him. He's currently riding the wave of his debut EP Beholden, full of lofty experimentalism and histrionic grandeur. “My mother says that I'd always be singing when I came home from school,” he tells us over email. “Music, especially melody, has always found it's way into my head and back out of me somehow.” Quiet Luke’s music exists at the intersection of far-reaching pop sensibilities and triumphant choral majesty. His Beholden EP is an exploration of romanticism and egoism in the modern era – timeless themes which he beams through a lens of modern-day cynicism. “Pop music taught me about a wall of sound, but choir made me love a wash of sound," he explains. "Choral music also made me reappreciate classical music, which up until then was just something from my childhood that I was running away from.” The artists who shaped his sound – he tells us – are as diverse as they are reliable. Jackson, Vivaldi, Wonder, Sade, Hendrix, all psychedelic melody makers and composers who value the performance itself just as much as what is being performed. He’s also situated himself in a colourful space aesthetically, “It's all connected. I think that my style helped me re-contextualize my music. When I started paying close attention to how I wanted to present myself and this project, I realised that my music belonged in the cannon of glam, rock in general, P-funk, Japanese aesthetics, and sci-fi.” Through an almost academic approach to absorbing, recreating and remoulding the music that his been around him from an early age, Quiet Luke has managed to present a debut offering which is stylish and ostentatious without feeling detached or distant. While he might be inspired by timeless luminaries that came before him, his own creative pursuit is rooted in the existential crises of the now – full of muted rollercoasters and internal conflicts. “Beholden is about how hard loving yourself and someone else can be in this day and age”, he tells us. Considering it’s his debut, he doesn’t do a bad job of capturing it.
TE AR TEAR are here to prove that grunge is far from dead. In fact, if their angst-ridden anthems are anything to go by, it’s very much alive and living in London. The four-piece pour a plethora of influences into their sound and don’t just rely on the signifiers of their Seattleite 90s forebears for inspiration. Delve deeper into their sound and you’ll hear the gloomy atmosphere of Joy Division, the discordant slog of The Sex Pistols and the frenetic urgency of Siouxsie and the Banshees. They’ve already caught the attention of Charlatan’s frontman Tim Burgess, who’s signed them to his O Genesis label, so it’s safe to say we can expect big things from TEAR in the coming months.
O Virtudes 1 Darkstar / Live Low : livelow.bandcamp.com
T.WILTSHIRE The charming Tender Hooks label is steadily affirming its reputation in an increasingly saturated market. Born out of the party of the same name at Corsica Studios, it has released a slew of warm, dusty atmospheric house since its inception in 2014. The rising London label caters for somewhere between the dancefloor and the bedroom, and their latest release marks an evolution of sorts, with an emotive album from label affiliate T.Wiltshire. On last year’s debut 12”, the vinyl-only The Sandringham EP, T.Wiltshire’s distinctly analogue sounds mined lush, deep and dusty techno alongside two live jams recorded straight to tape. The London-based producer’s newest offering, his debut LP Selfless Machines, picks up where Sandringham left off, with a collection of wandering synth motifs and seductive analogue house – an impressive first foray into the album format from two tender talents. O #2 1 Casino Times / Antony Naples : @twilstshire
O The Sprawl 1 Hole / Sonic Youth facebook.com/xxTEARxx
O Escapist 1 Blood Orange / Sade : @quietluke
O Track 1 File Next To : Website
Four minutes into the Petra Collins-directed video for All In, the care-free posse cut from Lil Yachty’s Sailing Team, the crew’s sole female member jumps out of a yellow school bus to deliver her verse, pulling goofy faces and exposing the gold grill on the bottom row of her teeth with a beaming smile. If you saw it, you wanted to know more. With a voice as soft and sweet as whippy ice cream, Kodie’s Little Rocket EP saw her apply her charm to more conventional modern RnB production, while Hold Up (Dough Up) – the lead track from her new Back To The Future Project – sees her sing alongside Lil Uzi Vert and Yachty over a particularly pretty-sounding trap beat. You’d need heart of stone to not be feeling this.
Formally recording as Ghuna-X, Pedro Augusto focus has shifted to his new project Live Low. His work has appeared on Tesla Tapes – The Salford cassette label run by and for affiliates of Gnod. Live Low is based in Porto, part of an exciting atmosphere of exploration that seems to have gripped the whole of Portugal in recent times. Lovers & Lollypops, the label releasing the first Live Low LP - Toada, is a testament to that, now 80 releases deep into an incredible catalogue. The record creaks and hisses, wheezing under the weight of its oozing drone. It contorts and crackles like burning crisp packets. Scattered across the gloomy surface are moments of cascading beauty and shimmering tricks of the light. The mind conjures coastal seascapes in the cold misty winter: breathlessly gorgeous, but dark, brooding and forlorn.
022 Words: Duncan Harrison Photography: James Pearson-Howes
Lil Yachty is a sensation. With his endearing persona, striking image and sugary melodies, the Atlanta teenager has become an internet star, personifying the carefree charisma of youth.
So whatâ€™s with all the haters?
“If you’re different, it’s going to take a second for people to accept change”
As the studio team finish final preparations for the shoot, NYC legend Cam’Ron’s 2002 hit single Hey Ma plays through the photographer’s soundsystem. Right on cue, Yachty wakes up, walks over, unplugs the aux and puts on Chief Keef’s track Cashin. Considering the debate surrounding him, it’s an appropriately audacious move. In a little over a year, Yachty’s gone from dropping out of college in Alabama to becoming the talk of the rap internet. The self-proclaimed ‘King of the Teens’ has divided opinion – accentuating longstanding differences between two schools of rap fans. Atlanta godfather Gucci Mane told a US radio station that the future belongs to Yachty and his peers, while Pitchfork writer Sheldon Pearce described him as “definitive proof that modern rap has no gatekeepers, and Soundcloud rap’s laziest possible copy-and-paste job.” The debate is fierce and ongoing. While he’s built up a huge and primarily young fanbase in a remarkably short amount of time, Lil Yachty has also become the punchbag for a legion of rap fans who feel he represents a degeneration in the genre – an artist trading lyrical dexterity and streetwise grit in for catchy melodies and unintimidating eccentricities. “I was making music for fun,” he tells me once the shoot’s wrapped up. “I wasn’t trying to be no lyricist. That’s what people don’t understand. All these blogs and old hip-hop MCs don’t understand I’m just having fun.” Fitting
with his playful aesthetic, Yachty’s voice is almost cartoony – a kind of nasal baritone, dozy but switched-on. His youthfulness is on show too. His eyes are fixed on his PSP – playing NFL Street 2 and showing off all the other games he’s got with him on tour. “It used to bother me, but not anymore. If you’re different, it’s going to take a second for people to accept change.” It’s unsurprising that the backlash got to Lil Yachty at first. The comments levelled at him range from those confused by his melody-driven ‘mumble-rap’ and those genuinely upset by the apparent disrespect he’s shown for hip-hop’s old school. In August he uploaded a photo to Facebook of him biting his trademark boat medallion. The top comment reads, “Please choke on that necklace and die. Sincerely, all the old hip-hop heads who require talent in their music.” Born in 1997, when Yachty was ready to pursue music his father connected him with a longtime friend, Coach K. The Coach is a crucial figure in the timeline of ‘New Atlanta’ – he managed the early steps of Gucci Mane’s career and has been instrumental in affirming the Southern rap capital’s status as hip-hop’s modern nucleus. He’s become a kind of uncle figure for Yachty – accompanying him here on this first trip out of America. At first, Coach is a somewhat intimidating figure whose reputation precedes him, with two decades experience and a santa beard that only comes with wisdom. Later though, his affection for Yachty is clear – he chuckles at his silliness and reassures him that British bacon is indeed edible when breakfast is served up. Having only made music for around 10 months, Yachty’s profile grew considerably when he starred alongside the likes of Naomi Campbell and Young Thug in Kanye West’s Madison Square Garden takeover – the globally streamed launch for West’s Yeezy Season 3 range and his “living,
breathing” album, The Life of Pablo. It was at the Yeezy show where Yachty first met Young Thug, who he later went on tour with. “He’s super cool,” Yachty enthuses. “He’s just like me – openminded to trying anything.” Much like Thug, Yachty has always been keen to exist outside of conventional rap norms. As a kid, his parents exposed him to all kinds of art. He remembers growing up in an environment which taught him to escape conventions. “I don’t say no to anything – I give everything a chance. I was raised around art. My dad was a photographer so I was always exposed to so much imagery. I had an iMac and the internet… I was just always in my room.” The pixels of his imagination are most prevalent in his music, but there’s a feeling of daydreaming youthfulness throughout everything he does. When he’s not looking down at his PSP, he’s looking up, wide-eyed and thoughtful. This personality is poured into the two mixtapes he’s released in 2016. Lil Boat and Summer Songs 2 have a vivid cinematic quality. Narratively, the tapes revolve around three characters. ‘Uncle Darnell Boat’ – Yachty’s middle-aged moustached alter-ego – and his two nephews. “Well, hello folks, Darnell Boat here,” he says at the start of the first tape, in a pantomimic voice of a straightedged elder. “Today, I’mma tell you a little story about my two nephews: Lil Yachty and Lil Boat.”
With his luminous yellow tracksuit and red beaded braids, Lil Yachty is hard to miss. The 19-year-old Atlanta-based singer-rapper is in London for his first European visit, and later tonight he’ll play an electric sold-out show that will see the likes of Skepta and Frank Ocean in attendance. Arriving late to our morning photo shoot, Yachty strolls into the studio and immediately slumps down on the sofa to take a nap.
“I don’t say no to anything, I give everything a chance. I was raised around art”
While the debate about Yachty’s credibility rages on, the only thing undeniable at this point is the hype he’s getting. Earlier this year he laid down a verse for Chance The Rapper’s Coloring Book, shrugging off expectations that he might end up as a one-hit-wonder: “After 1Night the folks thought I was finished/ I pinned my name to the game like a seamstress.” It was arguably the most affecting verse on the whole record. “I knew I had to really write something because Chance is so dope,” Yachty explains. “He sent it to me and I sent it back in like 30 minutes, I was so
excited. I’m a huge fan.” While many rappers would try and play it cool, Yachty is unashamed of his fanboy moments. “When I was at Made In America Festival I met Jay Z and Beyonce!” he exclaims, sounding as if he’s still trying to believe it himself, “it was crazy cause they knew who I was. They spotted me first! Beyonce said, ‘Look it’s Yachty!’” The excitement and sincerity of Lil Yachty is compelling, yet for some the fact he acts a little like a competition winner only adds fuel to the theory that he’s effectively winging it. It’s sometimes hard to decipher whether Lil Yachty is excited because he’s made it, or because he’s gotten away with it. There’s a case for arguing that he’s baited the response from older hiphop heads – a contingent especially susceptible to insolence. He made a particularly grating pop song with reality star Kylie Jenner which he’s since admitted was “awful”. Elsewhere, a video emerged of Yachty and his entourage listening to Drake’s Shot For Me on his tour bus, claiming that the Toronto superstar is better than Biggie and Tupac. After playing Drake’s tune, they put on Tupac’s Picture Me Rollin’ and imitate the sort of hands-in-the-air action that’s typically associated with old school hip-hop shows. “Drake be singing and rapping!” shouts one of Yachty’s friends, “Tupac and Biggie, ain’t got shit on Drake!” It’s clear to see why he’s seen by many as an agitator – smuggling the ostensibly throwaway idiocy of the internet generation into the rich tapestry of hip-hop. According to Yachty, these moves haven’t been part of some masterplan
– where he disrespects an entire culture and separates himself from older styles – he was just born into a generation who weren’t force-fed east coast rap and haven’t inherited the narrow-minded attitude that the entire genre has been deteriorating since the mid 90s. “I was never shown New York rap until I went out there last summer and started getting put on,” he confesses. “I’d never heard DipSet or Biggie or anything.” The only rap Yachty’s dad played him as a kid was Kanye and OutKast – hardly key champions of traditionalism. Other than that he was raised on Paul McCartney and Coldplay. He lists Pure Heroine, the 2013 debut from New Zealand teenaged pop star Lorde, as one of the greatest albums of all time. After an hour in his enjoyable company, Lil Yachty seems like an easy sell. He tells me he gets lonely on the road and wants a girlfriend, that he wants to take care of his family, that he’s trying to stay off Twitter. All normal obstacles for a 19-year-old thrust into fame. Altogether he seems like an internet explorer with a playful demeanour, infatuated with the most essential elements of songwriting. To some, the melodies he dreams up are immature and facile, to others they have a kind of starry-eyed charm. His seemingly overnight ascent to superstardom is still something he’s coming to terms with. “I talk to my mum every day,” he says, recalling how things were just 12 months ago. “I’ve lived with her my whole life until this year. I was scared about not speaking with her. Every memory I have is in that house but there was a lot of rules and a lot of chores. I had to keep my room clean, I had a curfew, I couldn’t have company all the time. Now I have my own place – I have a penthouse.”
This sudden change in lifestyle seems to be what weighs heaviest on Yachty’s mind. He’s created a mystique around himself and willed success into existence. If anything, the hype is moving too fast even for him. To write him off as a passing fad on account of the differences between him and Tupac or Biggie is to undersell the limitless creativity and essential freedom of expression that exists within hip-hop. Why shouldn’t his music sit worlds apart from a style that he’s two generations and 800 miles away from? There’s also a chance that he might turn out to be the modern paradigm for faking it till you make it – the meme made manifest – an American dream story built on aspiration and personality alone. “I think back to college a lot. I had no money and I was walking around campus and nobody knew me,” he reflects. “I remember walking through the mall in my city and thinking to myself, ‘One day I’m gonna walk through this mall and everybody’s gonna know who I am’. I’ve been back to the mall and people follow me and chase me.” He’s looking me in the eye for the first time. “It’s crazy. All my dreams – every dream – has come true.” @lilyachty
“If you were to have an angel and a devil on your shoulder, Lil Yachty would be the angel and Lil Boat would be the devil,” he tells me, without smirking. “I’m not saying Boat is a bad guy, he’s just a bit more aggressive.” The two characters actually serve as a handy way of splitting his rapping style in half. Lil Yachty is responsible for the airy, falsetto singing – lullaby melodies on ice-cream-van beats. Lil Boat emerges when he gets tougher and takes on more of conventional rap delivery. His biggest solo hit thus far is 1Night which, having gone viral through Vine, was accompanied by a music video which paired footage of Yachty’s IRL boat trip with meme imagery and a cameo from Venus X. Then came Broccoli, a sun-kissed collaboration with Virginia producer/rapper D.R.A.M. which has gone double platinum. Since his music has begun to seep into the mainstream, some listeners have likened Yachty to a young Andre 3000, while others have compared his AutoTuned vocals to the sound of a Sega Megadrive malfunctioning.
Words: Emma Robertson Photography: Vivek Vadoliya
“When I got involved in the music industry, I was dreaming about some multi-cultural, international organisation where the music would start with friendship”
Nina Kraviz can’t stay still. First she’s sitting cross-legged, then lounging back against the wall. Next she’s up and grabbing records from a bag, then opening her laptop to play me music and showing me a clip on her phone of her playing with horses in Iceland, providing playful reenactments of the scene. When she sits back down again, she relays in hushed tones a recent shamanistic conversation with the Reyjavik-based artist Exos. It’s not that Kraviz is frantic, rather that there is so much she wants to say and do that staying stagnant even for a moment would feel counterproductive.
Such seems to be the way of the Siberian-born artist, who has a home everywhere and nowhere all at once. “I’ve always lived life as a traveller,” she says. She is all wild hand gestures, regardless of tone. “I love to travel. I think that’s part of what has kept me going in this job — the constant touring can be really hard, so it’s lucky for me that I love travelling so much.” Her record label held a party in a cave in Iceland this past summer, and Kraviz is plotting the next set of events for Montreal, New York, Miami, Tokyo, and beyond. Naturally, it would seem, her label is called Трип, pronounced Trip – as in psychedelic trip, trip around the world, and yes, even an ego trip. “Of course, this label is very egotistical because everything that you see on the label is a reflection of my taste,”
she explains matter-of-factly. “There’s nothing that appears on the label that I’m not 100% sure about.” The label’s birth was the culmination of a number of ideas. Kraviz calls it “energies coming together”. The first, she explains, was a surreal dream she had one night in 2014. “I woke up in the middle of the night and when I rolled over, I saw an octopus. And it was turning around slowly in front of me,” she says, her voice a whisper. “And then suddenly, it devoured everyone and everything in sight!” Her hands clap together like a mouth; she does a little sound for effect. Slurp. “This octopus didn’t even realise that he had turned into a monster. The dream reminded me of my days studying biology, when I was learning about the first forms of life on earth. It was all about worms and simple forms of life.” She pauses. “It gave me this strange feeling about what this animal represents, like, you can’t count on anything in this life, you know? Everything flows and changes, even when you’re sitting still. No matter what you do, you’re changing something. I’m learning slowly to accept that.” Around the same time as Трип's formation, Kraviz was working on her contribution to the esteemed DJKicks mix series. “The idea around the DJ-Kicks mix was to capture my influences so there was some acid, some Detroit techno, some Icelandic
033 If Kraviz’s octopus was an allconsuming creature, Трип became the same. The label took down everything around it, becoming Kraviz’s main focus for the better part of the past two years. Since debuting the label with a conceptual album entitled The Deviant Octopus (what else?) in 2014, Трип has put out 10 releases, mostly gatefolded albums along with one 12 inch — a whopping 85 tracks in total. Kraviz herself appears on most of the releases, alongside up and coming musicians like Nikita Zabelin, Deniro, and Roma Zuckerman, as well as established artists like Bjarki (who is releasing exclusively on Трип), Biogen, Aphex Twin, Fred P, Steve Stoll and Terrence Dixon. The music ranges from darker ambient pieces, to IDM and acid,
to lightning fast techno and everything in between. It’s an anomaly in that way. Трип is working entirely without deadlines, without an overarching genre, without boundaries. “Трип is not a techno label — sure, it’s a techno label in the universal understanding of it,” she states quickly, probably in response to my raised eyebrows, “but for me, techno is a period of time; a cultural genre, a feeling, an attitude. It’s the whole vibe around the music, everything electronic, technology.” The hand gestures again. “It is an era.” Instead of regimenting, Kraviz lets her artists (and herself) record freely, asserting that there’s no set way to make a techno track. “There’s absolutely no fucking way! That’s the point about being creative. You do things when you feel like doing it. When you go to the studio, it’s a result of natural creative momentum, it has no particular reason. It’s just something that evolved in a period of time. I like music that is almost a mistake, a coincidence. You plan something and you have an outcome that’s completely different, on the wrong side of the road. This is the most beautiful thing.”
dub,” she muses. “I included Nuclear Red Guard, by Exos, which was one of my first records. I also included Pop Song by Steve Stoll, Freak Electrique’s Parsec, things like that.” Inspired by the artists that appeared in her mix, Kraviz’s mind began to wander again. All those energies came together in a spark, a switch flipped and – like the octopus – the idea for Трип had materialised seemingly out of nowhere, devouring everything around it.
â€œFor me techno is a period of time, a cultural genre, a feeling and an attitudeâ€?
035 “It has direction. It has a certain sound, it’s not random,” she insists, flipping through a stack of Трип records. “Every release tells a different story. Take this one, for example.” She smacks the sleeve of Arthur and Intergalactic Whales, a two-tracker from Трип cohort Bjarki released in 2015. “This is my favorite ever release in terms of artwork, and this entire thing started with Arthur Russell.” As Kraviz tells it, Russell’s track as Dinosaur L, Go Bang, was heavy on her rotation both at home and in her DJ sets. Serendipitously, some time last year, she listened to a track from Bjarki who, unbeknownst to Kraviz’s love of the original, had sampled a Deeon track, itself containing a sample of Go Bang. Kraviz wasted no time in releasing Bjarki’s distillation, I Wanna Go Bang. The sleeve, (like every record, in fact) comes inscribed with two lines: “I wanna see all my friends at once/ I’ll do anything to get the chance to go bang.” Concepts and stories aside, perhaps if you had to refine the meaning of Трип into one distinct sentence, it would be that one. “That’s why I became a musician in the first place,” Kraviz
explains, “I was always trying to find a place where no one could reach me but at the same time, where I could feel a part of something bigger.” If you’ve listened to Kraviz’s 2009 single Pain in the Ass, you might know a bit about her childhood spent in Irkutsk, Siberia. “At school, in the streets, if I went out it was tough. It was a very intense time. But I always had my music. I find this comfort zone at home in my room listening to the radio. And so when I eventually got involved in the music industry, I was always dreaming about some multi-cultural, international organisation where the music would start with friendship and then grow from there,” Kraviz explains. “I wanted to create a playground where artists and musicians could feel at home and comfortable enough to share their ideas, connect with other people, and let their creativity flourish.” Since the label works without deadlines or release schedules, Kraviz essentially gathers music without the artist knowing when or how the tunes will ever come to fruition on the label. It asks for a certain amount of trust from her artists, and Kraviz says she’s been shocked by the complete confidence that her peers have placed in Трип. Trust has become the label’s most vital ingredient, particularly as Kraviz has, as she puts it, a very specific vision. “Sometimes people will show me music that is very perfect, but there is nothing that touches me. Everything here, every track I sign is honest. I could hear the person behind the track,” she says, pulling up Philipp Gorbachev’s Ivan, Come On, Unlock The Box, a Трип release from last year, as an example.
The hook, in Gorbachev’s native Russian, is infectious, while the track’s raw, rough-around-the-edges quality adds a little charm to its darker, bleaker sound. “I heard this track and I loved the post-punk sound of it. I told Philipp I just needed this track, and then I did an edit using one little loop segment. We released it as part of a concept album in November last year.” As Трип has been able to develop organically, when I ask her what her plans are for the label’s future, she’s unsure. Of course, she has a hope — in fact, she has a few of them. She wants to do another party in Iceland. She wants to start a sub-label. She wants to repress a Pete Namlook collaboration with a Russian band called New Composers. She wants to release more music from the Icelandic artist Biogen, who, like Namlook, passed away a few years ago. She wants to continue giving a platform to young musicians from her native Russia. She wants to keep putting out music that she hasn’t been able to find anywhere else in the electronic music scene. But, as plans go? “No, I just want to relax and enjoy it. I have no expectations,” she laughs. “I’m lucky that I’ve been able to present this musical vision. I would like to continue that tradition as long as it’s coming naturally. At the moment, I’m very inspired… But when that stops, I stop.” Bjarki’s Æ LP is available now via Трип Nina Kraviz appears at Dekmantel São Paulo, Brazil, 4-5 February 2017
You might think that Трип’s releases would feel unfocused given the openness and freedom Kraviz affords her artists. Just the opposite, in fact. Somehow every record has a narrative, tied together not only by the story that sparks the album’s concept but also by the clever and often dark surrealist drawings by her resident designer, Tombo, a young fan turned artist from Portugal. In a way, the label and its releases blossom just how Kraviz had imagined they would: at the meeting point of sonic and visual storytelling.
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043 Words: Tom Watson Photography: Jack Johnstone
During this frenetic speech, DJ Earl was paying homage to both his peers and contemporaries in the dimension of footwork – the often 160BPM, Chicagoborn music and dance movement that Earl and the Teklife collective have been developing for over a decade. So every word counts. “Any opportunity I have been gifted is an opportunity presented by someone humble enough to realise that footwork wasn’t just about them,” he continues. “It’s about liberation and helping everybody. But anyway, where were we?” 25-year-old Earl Smith, aka DJ Earl, is part of the class of footwork’s present and future. Taking influence from the scene’s early architects such as RP Boo, DJ Clent and Traxman, Earl’s skill for broken beat production has also been lauded for its progression. As one of the younger members of the Teklife family, he’s able to utilise the genre’s aggressive dynamism and welds it with swooning slow jam romanticism. It’s a realm of footwork seldom explored until recently. Earl and other esteemed experimentalists including JLin, DJ Manny, DJ Taye and DJ Paypal are regarded as the genre’s next surge. And as footwork’s popularity continues to mushroom, the responsibility lies with these names in preserving their artform’s very existence. Spawned from the mutations of ghetto house, hip-hop, booty music and juke, the genre originally provided the soundtrack to dance crews in Chicago, who would battle against one another in any public space available, from ice rinks to dilapidated insurance
offices. The dance, a frenzy of foot action and spasmodic legwork to the pulse of 160BPM and upward, remains somewhat local to the windy city. But, in recent years, the speed-centric velocity of the music has been injected into clubs and venues on an international scale. “It’s a beautiful thing,” Earl smiles. “We just started this thing making music on our computers, learning the craft, growing up in the juke community. The dance was just embedded in our lifestyles from years past. But it’s the music that seemed to make sense of it all.” Earl spent his former school years attending microcosmic dance events such as The War Zone and Battle Groundz. The latter is a local club night frequently held on a Sunday and originally idealised by footwork doyens DJ Spinn and the late DJ Rashad. Seniors of the neighbourhood used to organise these dances as a creative and safe outlet for teenagers. “For me and the younger generation of kids, we were drawn to these events because what else was there to do?” Earl became instantly enamoured by the events and the rhythmic complexities displayed by opposing dance troupes, and began fine-tuning his footwork as part of his crew Creation. “Crews made it cool,” he explains. “It made everything feel like a positive competitive sport. I was this young kid watching all these dance crews, trying to figure out which one was the best. It was exactly what I wanted to be doing.” Battle Groundz was a place for Earl to fully immerse himself in every aspect of footwork. Attending the weekly event for a year, Earl became acquainted with its organisers, Spinn and Rashad, in 2009. Having started to veer more towards music production and DJing over the dance, Earl was invited to be a permanent Teklife member. “Ironically, the first thing they talked to me about
“Hold on, I’m talking real fast. My bad.” Footwork producer DJ Earl has just realised that he’s speaking at around 160BPM. He pauses, quietly laughing at the coincidence, and takes a moment. “I’ll slow down a little bit.”
was school and how my grades were,” he remembers. “They were on some real shit with us. No messing around. They needed us to be on point. They genuinely mentored us.
in. My parents’ housing situation wasn’t really conducive to loud sounds. I figured maybe I should try living in New York. But I’m always going to be rooted in Chicago. It’s part of who I am.”
“Coming up under Rashad and Spinn was an opportunity they didn’t have to present us with in the first place,” he continues. “As I got older and more humble I realised they literally dedicated their lives to this music. They took all of us in and acted like older brothers to us all. And because of that I do feel a responsibility to carry on the legacy that they created by taking the time to hang out with some kids and open doors for us all for free.”
Today, Earl is touring with Open Your Eyes, the first full-length record to be released by Teklife following a posthumous DJ Rashad album. Having collaborated with the likes of Oneohtrix Point Never on a number of tracks, Earl spent three consecutive days locked in the basement of his parents’ house with Manny and Taye to complete it. “Only left that room to use the bathroom and then come straight back,” he laughs. Following its release in August, the record has already been perceived as a confirmation of footwork’s stability for the future. But how far does Earl think both he and this subculture can stretch? “It’s not just a subculture anymore. It’s exercise. It’s aerobics. Footwork can fill all types of spaces. Gyms. Main stages. Clubs. Fashion runways. It now has the potential to be published everywhere.
Talk on Rashad’s untimely passing back in 2014 is equally delicate as it is unavoidable for the DJ’s protégés. “I think I’ll always be in shock about it,” he laments. But since his mentor’s death, footwork has entered electronic music’s mass-market, with Earl being a major player in its maturation. “I think what really started to impact people is when Teklife started to tour. Purists were like ‘Oh you’re touring now, it’s supposed to be about Chicago’. But of course it’s about Chicago. We were born and raised in Chicago. The dance is bred there. People have their opinions about footwork’s evolution but some people can’t handle change. It’s crazy to see footwork played in a commercial space like Elevate Festival or Sonar because footwork’s from the hood. Literally from poverty stricken areas.” Earl is currently based in New York. As he tells me, the move was essential for his well-being. “I wasn’t exactly in the safest neighbourhood. Chicago’s an amazing place but my levels of anxiety brought on by refusing to make basic decisions like going to the store because I’d be afraid of getting shot were difficult. I also couldn’t create in the space I was
“When it comes to what we do, even how Teklife came about, it’s always been about footwork’s natural progression,” he continues. “We do this everyday. We’re about that life. It’s our living soundtrack. It’s a literal documentation of who we are. Imagine if you could dance out the soundtrack to your life. If you could dance, if you could interpret all your emotions, feelings, thoughts and experiences into dance and sound. That’s footwork.” Open Your Eyes is out now via Teklife. DJ Earl appears with footwork dancers at Ableton Loop, Berlin, 4-6 November
“I feel a responsibility to carry on the legacy that Spinn and Rashad created”
Upcoming London Shows SAT.21.JAN.17
THU.24.NOV.16 THU.26.JAN.17 THU.03.NOV.16
LETâ€™S EAT GRANDMA
KLLO & GROVES
THE FORGE Tuesday 01 Nov.
OVAL SPACE Wednesday 02 Nov.
OMEARA Thursday 03 Nov.
RUN LOLA RUN
feat. Shye Ben Tzur, Jonny Greenwood & Rajastan Express
LADIES & GENTLEMEN... THE FABULOUS STAINS
MICKS GARAGE WAREHOUSE Thursday 03 Nov.
TROXY Thursday 03 Nov.
GENESIS CINEMA Saturday 05 Nov.
CASS McCOMBS BAND
PLUS PART CHIMP
PLUS MEG BAIRD
THREE TRAPPED TIGERS
PLUS THE PHYSICS HOUSE BAND
SCALA Monday 07 Nov.
ISLINGTON ASSEMBLY HALL Tuesday 08 Nov.
SCALA Friday 11 Nov.
PANTHA DU PRINCE
BRIXTON ELECTRIC Friday 11 Nov.
CECIL SHARP HOUSE Thursday 17 Nov.
ALEXANDRA PALACE Thursday 17 Nov.
SWET SHOP BOYS
THE DOME Thursday 17 Nov.
BUSH HALL Sunday 20 Nov.
BIRTHDAYS Monday 21 Nov.
HOW TO DRESS WELL
VILLAGE UNDERGROUND Monday 21 Nov.
SCALA Tuesday 22 Nov.
MOTH CLUB Thursday 24 Nov.
BING & RUTH
PAPER DRESS VINTAGE Thursday 24 Nov.
SERVANT JAZZ QUARTER Tuesday 29 Nov.
CECIL SHARP HOUSE Tuesday 29 Nov.
MELT YOURSELF DOWN
THE ORWELLS PLUS DEAD PRETTIES
SHE KEEPS BEES
OMEARA Wednesday 30 Nov.
THE DOME Wednesday 30 Nov.
MOTH CLUB Friday 02 Dec.
LOS OLD OUT S CAMPESINOS!
THE RADIO DEPT.
MOTH CLUB Sunday 04 Dec.
ELECTROWERKZ Thursday 08 Dec.
SCALA Tuesday 31 Jan.
VILLAGE UNDERGROUND Monday 13 Feb.
KOKO Tuesday 21 Mar.
THE DOME Thursday 06 Apr.
PLUS THE FIELD & GAZELLE TWIN
T FLUME OU OLD S
FRI.02.DEC.16 SAT.11.FEB.17 THU.10.NOV.16 SAT.03.DEC.16 TUE.14.FEB.17 THU.10.NOV.16 MON.05.DEC.16 TUE.28.FEB.17 FRI.11.NOV.16
TUE.06.DEC.16 TUE.28.FEB.17 TUE.15.NOV.16 TUE.06.DEC.16 THU.02.MAR.17 THU.17.NOV.16 WED.07.DEC.16
Words: Francis Blagburn
“I’m interested in contemporary manifestations of the sublime”
048 When I join Lawrence Lek at his studio in Hackney Wick, I feel welcomed into a cosy yet expansive feeling room, dotted with potted plants and worksin-progress. Framing the room is a wooden structure Lek calls the Pavilion. It’s by far the biggest object here, rising up above our heads like a palm tree with four trunks, encircling the room and covering us like a canopy.
“I was talking about creating architecture that needed to sound like something and he was creating an album that needed to look or feel like something,” Lek recalls. “He was making sound about space and I was making spaces about an atmosphere. That became The Notel. Notel was also one of the tracks on the album; it kind of happened like that.”
“That was one of the last physical objects that I made, from when I still thought that being an artist or being an architect was about making big cool stuff,” Lek explains. Elsewhere in the studio, there are half-open laptops and sketch designs left waiting to be picked up again. I wonder if the studio’s a bit small for him, but he pre-empts me. “It’s a small space but it contains all these other places within it... I like collecting spaces.”
As displayed in a gallery setting, participants can take a tour of The Notel by picking up a controller and playing from a first-person perspective. Different areas of the building are paired with different tracks from Kode9’s record, and the pairing of the two artists works effortlessly based on their shared approach to creating work. “On the most superficial level we’re both really interested in getting complex ideas across in very straightforward mediums that can be quite elemental. The Notel is not just about luxury space and a certain sound, it’s about our hopes and fears about how the world is going to turn out. You can be really intellectual about it, but it’s not a book, it’s an experience.” This is typical of Lek, who doesn’t think of his work as a dry intellectual exercise. It’s supposed to be an experience, and an entertaining one at that. While some artists might turn their noses up at having their work viewed in such terms, he is more pragmatic, and talks about himself as both an artist and a cultural producer: part of a system of economic reality and increasing mass demand. “As people have more leisure time, we’ve achieved more life expectancy and we need to consume more entertainment. The last few years for me has been a process of coming to terms with that; the fact that I have a job, that I am producing culture and entertainment.”
It’s a good summary of what much of his work is all about. Lek is a visual artist who creates virtual environments. A trained architect, he is able to design and construct virtual spaces using 3D modelling software, transforming these into playable artworks laced through with narrative. Recent work includes Unreal Estate, a playable story in which the Royal Academy is bought by a Chinese billionaire, and QE3, in which an anonymous Glaswegian philanthropist turns the Queen Elizabeth 2 into a new home for the Glasgow School of Art following its last voyage at sea. The Notel he mentions is a similar, but even more striking work, again centred around a single place, but turned into a kind of dystopia. It’s a human-free, fully automated luxury building manned by drones, and while it’s essentially a scifi-inspired idea, it’s designed just like a real building would be. The Notel is displayed in partnership with Hyperdub boss Kode9, whose 2015 album Nothing acts as an accompaniment to the piece. Lek had initially reached out to Kode9 to discuss soundtracking a film commission he was working on, but their conversation steered towards the idea of The Notel.
Does he view this as tainting some kind of ephemeral artistic purity? “There’s a line, I wouldn’t make a video game for Coca Cola or whatever, but I am part of the culture industry. There’s still a very romantic ideal about having the space and time to create, but most creative people just have to write 600 words for a blog entry or release a couple of singles for download, or do a performance instead of an installation. The demand for entertainment – be it visual art, fine art, everything – has grown so hugely that it’s become hard to create an ambitious work in the classical sense.”
051 artist as an AI,” but in the meantime it has indirectly inspired two of his most prominent pieces from this year. “Doing The Notel led me to think about ideas to do with automation and which when combined with geopolitics made me think about how China is portrayed in the face of all these things, as a threat to stability and as a geopolitical threat to world peace.” The product of this thought is a one hour video essay titled Sinofuturism, which suggests that Chinese-made goods in the form of mass-produced products represent an invisible artificial consciousness. Far from a piece of sci-fi dystopia, the idea is that it already exists today. The theory embraces clichés about the spectre of China and fuses them with fears of the spectre of artificial intelligence to create an overwhelming film.
“Sinofuturism is a theory for an invisible movement about technology and Chinese culture specifically,” he explains. “Just like Afrofuturists imagined themselves as hyperrobots and superworkers in order to get over the master and slave dynamic of history, or Gulf Futurists like Fatima Al-Qadiri embrace the idea of neoliberalism as their model, and work with shopping mall and hypercapitalist spaces, the model for Sinofuturism is artificial intelligence.” The film has resonances with the work of Adam Curtis, and it’s a project Lek describes as “a bit paranoid and a conspiracy theory in essence, but a conspiracy theory I’ve been convinced by”. It’s the day after the second American Presidential debate and the Tory conference is only a few news-cycles behind us when we speak, and Theresa May’s assertion that “a citizen of the world is a citizen of nowhere” echoes in my mind with his post-human artworks, in particular his humorous impression of post-Brexit dystopia, Europa Mon Amour. I suggest that perhaps reality is catching up with the fantasy element in his work, and conspiracy theories like Sinofuturism aren’t as likely to be laughed off anymore. “She’s saying these things I literally could have written into a script about a year ago,” he confirms. Still, far from a straightforwardly damning critique of contemporary society, Lek treads an emotionally ambivalent line. He admits that, while a post-work future seems in some way bleak, another part of him would love the luxury of a life devoted to leisure. The great shifts we’re witnessing right now – in technology, in culture and in politics – offer up opportunities to explore our ambiguous relationship to these overwhelming trends more deeply. “I think it’s definitely too
grandiose to say I’m trying to create sublime feelings or anything like that,” he says, “but I’m interested in contemporary manifestations of the sublime. How do we as individuals feel when we’re confronted with something greater than us or a force more powerful than us? Whether that’s politics or Brexit or a flood or luxury. How do we feel when we’re confronted by that?” In a funny way, this feeling of being overwhelmed by something is made all the more powerful by Lek’s borderline silly video game aesthetic. His artwork tackles huge themes and macro-historical trends, yet relishes in its ability to create something eerily real with the blunt tools of video game entertainment. As a sort of distorted mirror to our mass demand for entertainment, luxury and leisure, his work can be downright scary, but it’s also enjoyable and strangely hypnotic. Maybe, as sickly as they seem, the spaces Lek collects are worlds of our own creation, and objects of our own desires. Kode9 and Lawrence Lek present The Notel at Clock Strikes 13, ICA, London, 18 November
This thought process is visible in Lek's work, which continually comes back to themes of human labour and leisure. The Notel is a fully automated luxury building dedicated to leisure in a world where technological advances have rendered human labour, and indeed humans more generally, pointless. Lek’s preoccupation with the idea of ever-increasing leisure time and the decline in the need for human labour stems partly from research into automation and artificial intelligence he undertook as a resident at Wysing Arts Centre in Cambridge. It’s research that will eventually lead to his forthcoming work, something he describes teasingly as “a portrait of the
Elias Bender Rønnenfelt
Words: Paul Hanford Photography: Steph Wilson Styling: Charlotte James Make-Up: Chloe Botting
“I’m trying to decide if I should be fully honest here.” Elias Bender Rønnenfelt takes a sip of beer in a dark, windowless corner of The Dove pub on London’s Broadway Market. He seems fragile, so much so that on occasion I’m sure I even catch him visibly shake. I’ve asked him about the origins of one of his band’s names, Marching Church. “Let’s get it out there.” He clears his throat, as if to release a toxic confession that befits the thick black Jim Morrisonesque hair that drapes across his pale skin. His eyes are so piercingly blue that if you were going to make a Danish vampire movie and needed a lead who would crush the hearts of every eighteen-year-old on the planet, Elias would exude this role as immaculately as David Bowie became an alien in The Man Who Fell To Earth. “There’s this Swedish hardcore punk band called Rudimentary Peni and they have this song Martian Church,” he explains. “I misheard it, thinking ‘marching church’. It started as a good image incorporated into an Iceage song.”
This answer, over a lunchtime pint, demonstrates the Elias Bender Rønnenfelt that appears across the nine songs on the new Marching Church album Telling It Like It Is: lurching with a brittle sense of imminent implosion before somehow falling into a raw gentlemanliness. This is the very same Elias Bender Rønnenfelt, who since arriving into our consciousness in 2009 – when most of the members of his other band Iceage were still only
17 – has journeyed from gloomy punk urgency into the gritty, moth-eaten romanticism he exudes right now. “It does get weird waking up after a few days in the same bed,” he reflects on the better part of a decade playing in bands and touring – a lifestyle which has perhaps influenced his unkempt, but confidently stylish appearance.” You establish this sailor syndrome. When the sailor comes back, he finds it hard to adjust to staying put with his wife and children and wants to get back to sea.” This old-fashioned imagery is somewhat fitting due to the rugged melodrama of Telling It Like It Is, on which Elias drunkenly croons over an array of piano, strings and growling guitars. The album further transcends this idea of Elias as simply some kind of bratty punk from Denmark, a label he’s never sat entirely comfortably with. “We wanted to do the complete opposite of what came out of the typical punk scene,” he says of Iceage’s origins in Copenhagen. “We wanted to do everything they didn’t do.” And musically, Marching Church allows Elias to practice the atypical musical habits he’s nurtured from a young age. “When I was four years old, my mother was pushing me round in a stroller and there was an organ grinder that I apparently went nuts about,” he recalls. “He was called Zabrini.” “All the kids were listening to The Smurf’s Dance Collection and that wasn’t really doing it for me. Later, after I became friends with Dan [Kjaer Nielsen, Iceage drummer] we started
obsessing about music together. It started with Bowie, Stooges, Velvet Underground like it does for so many, and it spiralled out into obsessions, it’d be like one day ‘I just discovered this guy James Chance’ and then the next day Dan would have discovered Serge Gainsbourg.” Now, still only 24, Elias Bender Rønnenfelt has also played in bands such as Vår and Pagan Youth, and he continues to experiment so that, as he once told Pitchfork, his music doesn’t “only cover the emotions that come with a clenched fist”. How does he decide which song is for Iceage and which is for Marching Church? “I believe there’s a need for both of them to exist in order to realise these ideas. In that sense, I’m a slave to these ideas.” And with the new Marching Church album about to unravel more than a few perceptions, in turn both chaotic and beautiful, I ask him, what is chaos? “You could argue everything is and while there’s not a lot of order or control in my life, I never look at it as chaos, it’s more like this big improvised synchronised dance.” Telling It Like It Is is out now via Sacred Bones
Shirt & Jacket: McQ Alexander McQueen
054 Jacket & Coat: McQ Alexander McQueen
Jacket & Trousers: McQ Alexander McQueen
Shirt: McQ Alexander McQueen
Carhartt WIP Simple Things Stage:
As attendees bolted from club to concert hall for this year’s Simple Things festival, all roads seemed to lead to the Carhartt WIP stage at the SWX venue in Bristol’s city centre. Local MC ThisisDA set the tone for the day, performing his confessional raps with kinetic energy before renowned selector Throwing Shade stepped up to bring her adventurous live show, where influences meld together and sounds seep in and out of focus with an electrifying freedom. As crowds began to pile in for the venue’s evening programme, the spirited leftfield pop of Hyperdub singer/producer Jessy Lanza was galvanised by the addition of live drumming. Day became night, and the arrival of former Crack cover star Abra pulled in one of the biggest crowds of the day. Mesmerising the audience with her misty RnB melodies and swinging, knee-length braids, material from the Awful Records artist’s Princess EP had the whole building spellbound.
Then came king Kano. With the venue at capacity and an audience prepped to spit back every last bar of this British icon’s catalogue, the mood was at fever pitch. Mixing tracks from the Mercurynominated Made In The Manor with old favourites and timeless wheel-up weaponry, the set was a masterclass in modern British excellence, and a fitting finale on a line-up packed with explosive talent.
Photography: Cameron Sweeney, Perry Gibson + Sam Mulvey
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ISLINGTON ASSEMBLY HALL
Live GOAT SWX Bristol 19 October
Blood is an overarching theme in Norwegian avantpop artist Jenny Hval’s latest release Blood Bitch. It’s also a recurring motif in her live show – an energetic collage of surreal theatrics. Hval greets the audience with a brief and cheerful introduction as she takes to the stage alongside cloaked bandmate Havard Volden on synths and dancer Orfee Schuijt. Hval then addresses the elephant in the room – they are carrying a 12ft inflatable paddling pool with them. The pool is laid flat at the back of the stage and the set opens with the gentle drone and softly spoken vocals of Ritual Awakening. Hval wanders around the stage while Schujit produces several white sketchpads and begins to scrawl something across their pages. Conceptual Romance follows and by the time the chorus breaks, the pads are revealed: Schujit has been colouring in dozens of pages with red crayon. Hval’s vocal range is as broad and measured live as it is on record, and the slightly haphazard choreography compliments the music. It doesn’t take long before Schujit is in the pool, shades on her face, pretending to do the backstroke. The tracks that stray into harsh noise territory feel forceful and raucous live, punctuating the gentler moments of the album and making for a set that delivers on multiple fronts. As the set progresses, the theatrics escalate and towards the end Hval and Schujit are in swimming costumes, covered in fake blood and doing aerobics in black capes. While these elements are far from polished, their spontaneity and energy leaves the more reserved shows of some of her peers looking cold and lifeless by comparison. ! Steve Mallon
MOODYMANN Invisible Wind Factory, Liverpool 8 October “I’m not the smoothest motherfucker,” Moodymann says, leaning over the turntables with the ends of his bandana hanging across his face. “But we gon’ have a good time Liverpool”. We’re not fooled – Moodymann’s mixing and sequencing is characteristically nonchalant but his all-round ‘smoothness’ isn’t up for debate. He was the perfect headliner for RBMA’s Club Cosmos, a bespoke clubbing experience billed as “stargazing for the post disco generation”. With ariel instillations and a laser-light show, a mysterious, extraterrestrial mood hangs in the air. It's a tone that Kenny Dixon Jr. has always captured innately. With warm up from OR:LA and Sassy J capturing the spectrum of the cosmos brilliantly – flitting between sparkly disco and dreamy house – the tone was set just right. On walks Moodymann. After playing a cut from Prince early on, an airing of D’Angelo and the Vanguard’s Betray My Heart eased us into the small hours. His set stayed on point besides a couple of misfires (Moderat’s Bad Kingdom doesn’t sound quite as fresh as it once did) but he mixed in some of his go-to choices like Fred Wesley’s House Party and The Doobie Brothers’s Long Train Running for huge singalong moments. The track-list was also the perfect soundtrack for falling in love with Liverpool and it’s people – the crowd were upbeat and celebratory throughout, providing an exemplary case study for the argument that sanctuaries can be found outside of the capital. While the night wasn’t quite the history lesson a “post disco generation” writer like myself might have hoped for, the one-off instillations and the smartly curated lineup made for a clubbing experience which sat apart from my standard, earthly adventures. ! Duncan Harrison N RBMA
! Ian Ochiltree N Mark Dearman
GIANNI Deutsche Oper Berlin 1 October
JE AN-MICHEL JARRE The O2, London 7 October Much like the kitsch electronica and camp interpretations of the intergalactic future that he has championed for over four decades, JeanMichel Jarre’s notoriety comes and goes like the seasonal nature of fashion. Luckily for Jarre, the current appetite for throwback analogue soundtracking is strong. But, as he demonstrates so diligently tonight, it’s wrong to suggest the artist has nothing left to contribute to a sound he helped establish in the 70s. With the aid of arresting visuals and a big-budget light show, Jarre utilises this O2 Arena performance to address some deeply-resonating postures on global current affairs. “I’ve always regarded the UK as my second home,” he begins, having skipped down from his risen booth of keys and wires. “Brexit or no Brexit.” It’s been six years since the composer last toured the UK and in the face of the drastic change since his previous visit, Jarre remains unequivocally sincere and positive. Similarly, at midpoint through the performance, he comments on the work with “a very special collaborator,” at which point the pseudo-industrial chugging of Exit begins. A clip of Edward Snowden appears as the backdrop, with the whistleblower speaking directly to the arena on the naivety of neglecting our rights to personal data privacy. “Saying you don’t care about privacy because you have nothing to hide is like believing you don’t care about freedom of speech because you have nothing to say,” Snowden laments while Jarre gently antes the rate of drum samples. It’s a genuinely powerful and unexpected partnership The whole performance carries with it this degree of softly politicised symbolism that enhances the emotion of tracks both classic and unfamiliar. Oxygène 2 and 4, two of his most popular compositions, still own an otherworldly allure as if Jarre is sending out ‘welcome’ messages to alien life-forms. His encore, a preview of Oxygène 17 and the Armin Van Buuren assisted Stardust are showered in geometric polychrome, rainbow prisms, and enough light to keep a small country out of darkness. It’s all brilliantly overblown, but there’s an emotive urgency in his performance tonight. After 40 years of soundtracking the space age, JeanMichel Jarre is still an artist that has a lot left to say, without having to say that much at all. . ! Tom Watson N Mark Harrop
Gianni is the Brandt Bauer Frick-soundtracked opera by English director Martin Butler about the rise and fall of fashion icon Gianni Versace, and his murder at the hands of serial killer Andrew Cunanen. Gianni Versace, one of the fashion world’s first openly gay designers, and arguably the first to link music and fashion together, was a perfect fit for the opera’s vogue ball setting. That said, in terms of narrative, the story about Versace’s rise to fame, his experience as a gay man and a fashion designer, and his staggering celebrity were all, oddly, missing from the show’s narrative. In fact, it was difficult to find any narrative beyond the vogueing until the show’s second act, which featured a confusing segment about the stabbing of various characters from the show, including the ball’s “Mother,” portrayed by Amsterdam-based vogue queen Amber Vineyard. Luckily, Gianni’s music was monumental, Brandt Brauer Frick providing a soundtrack that thundered along with the dancers’ dramatic moves, or built up to a swell of cinematic force. And as for the actual voguing, it was stunning, throwing out intense dance moves that seemed to blend vogue’s Old and New ways. Lyrically, though, the show struggled, often painfully obvious explanations of the opera’s themes — literally, “Fashion! Wealth! Power! Fame!” I spent the performance confused as to when the Gianni Versace story would come into play, and left disappointed that, as far as I understood, it hadn't. Perhaps I’m at fault here — maybe I didn't “get it” — but walking back to the train station from the theater, I heard others asking themselves similar questions. ! Emma Robertson N Thomas Aurin
JENNY HVAL Stereo, Glasgow 17 October
Given its previous life as stickycarpeted ‘superclub’ Syndicate, it’s difficult to imagine Bristol's SWX hosting a ritual held by gang of dayglo pagans. But it’s happening. Once through its doors and up the stairs, old sins begin to fizzle away as dusty psych records, via the impressive new soundsystem, fill the spacious room. The lights dim as a tribal chant hums over the PA. The band pick up their instruments and with a chug, it goes silent, before breaking into the tom-thumping intro to Words. To cheers, the leading pair emerge, launching instantly into possessed, tambourinebashing dance. Over an almost two hour set, Goat draw generously from their three album arsenal, each demonstrating their ability to mine from transcontinental genres and fuse together lean and digestible songs. From Goatfuzz, through to Disco Fever and into Trouble in the Streets they glide from fuzzy Sabbath to Ghanaian Highlife. Their costume box provides the visual accompaniment, pastiching an array of eras, cultures and traditions at once. The vocal duo remain brilliantly intense. Stalking, sweeping and swirling into perpetuity. They shake maracas, twirl ribbons, gyrate, chant and bounce. At times they carry the show, as momentum lapses during I Sing in Silence, their manic orchestration drags you back in. The night is wound up with regular closer, and suitably dramatic, Det Som Aldrig Förändras - Kristallen Den Fina as the band gradually leave the stage. Chicago’s If You Leave Me Now begin to play as the lights come back up and suddenly everyone is transported back to a drizzly Wednesday in Bristol with a thump. Good, clean, weird fun.
Releases 07 07
05 KUEDO Slow Knife Planet Mu
Oscar Powell was up to his usual antics while promoting Sport. Having published Steve Albini’s grouchy response to a sample request on promotional billboards last year, Powell employed the same technique in the run up to the album release, publishing his email address and inviting fans to troll him and send footage of themselves smashing watermelons for a music video. The album itself exudes a sneering smugness and charming sarcasm, with track titles like Fuck You, Oscar, Gone a Bit Bendy (NTS Chatroom Version) and Gettin’ Paid to Be Yourself’ [Al’s Kick Ass’ Mix]. Having signed to XL Recordings for this release, the album proves the latter to be true, as Powell never once compromises his jarring structures or his antagonistic humour. Rather, he takes his jovial punk attitude to beguiling new heights. I won’t lie, on first listen I was left wondering what the fuck I’d just listened to. Sport is a hot mess of fizzing bass blustering around gnarly punk guitar samples, a hurricane of dissonance. Big Keith [‘Ok Ok’ mix] pulsates with an ugly sexiness like a Massive Attack track dragged backwards, Do You Rotate? entraps a heavy metal guitar riff with scrap yard electronics and Skype places a stoned rant from Chicago DJ Traxx above an anxious kick drum. It’s pretty clear that Powell is slithering away from the humourlessness of so much underground electronic music. And in an industry common for stone-faced, throw-away producers, you have to love the guy’s audacity.
Killed By Deathrock Vol. II picks up Vol I’s initial mission: to drag forgotten treasures of horror-inflicted punk from the past and into the grim depths of the present, where a new generation of creeps may hear them. These compilations, curated by Sacred Bones Records founder Caleb Braaten, offer an introduction to the 80s obsession with deathrock: punk rock with a slant towards the spooky. Far from a lengthy, homogenous haunted house of creaky floorboards and disembodied howls, a new listener will be thrilled (or should that be chilled?) by the album’s sparks of excitement from all corners of new wave, dark wave and gothtrimmed punk. The compilation also offers a variety of ways to identify with this curious sub-genre. Red Temple Spirits’ 1988 lofty post-punk jangle Dark Spirits pleads with God himself, while Red Zebra’s I Can’t Live In A Living Room, recorded in 1980, is all agoraphobic new wave angst set in a doctor’s office. While Flowers For Agatha’s Freedom Curse is fey, dreamy, and apologetically peers in the abyss of emotional loss, Skeletal Family’s Promised Land flips two fingers up in defiance of society with a teentold tale of fleeting romance. But despite the variety on offer, there are reoccurring musical signatures here. Shards of needling guitar fall often around endlessly echoed keyboards, and the majority of vocals are delivered with a curled lip and a vaguely disgusted shrug. But as much as the protagonists would have you believe it’s all downhill from here, by creating such a cohesive and enjoyable compilation, curator Braaten has ensured that the legacy of deathrock is very much alive.
After a five-year wait, Slow Knife has obviously been the proverbial 'difficult' second album for Jamie Teasdale, aka Kuedo. Having created ultra-gnarly dubstep in the mid noughties as one half of Vex’d, Teasdale then defined the Kuedo sound with 2011’s melancholy masterpiece Severant. Severant was sci-fi in romantic mode. Violently cleaving Severant’s serene surfaces open, this second Kuedo album is sci-fi as conceived by J.G. Ballard, exploring the turbulent shadows of 'inner space'. Listening to it isn't exactly fun; but then, neither is reading High Rise. From its outset, Slow Knife beams us back into the familiar Kuedo cosmos, with gorgeous synths, drifting like nebulae alongside those fluttering hi-hats. But Slow Knife is ceaselessly driven forwards by a dramatic purpose. Teasdale has set out to depict, in the abstract, the highs and lows of a romantic relationship. The comforting opening stretch is merely a representation of the relationship's honeymoon period – the aural equivalent to the suburb in a slasher movie. If Severant was a balm for the soul, Slow Knife is Kafka’s ‘axe for the frozen sea within us’. When that axe drops, the blade is as expertly forged as you’d expect from one half of Vex’d. When the saccharine Love’s Theme fades to make way to the black of Approaching, with its abrupt swarm of dissonant strings and howling bamboo flute, it feels like a psychic wounding. The album ends like a nightmare: on Halogen Lamp, bayou bug swarms chatter, and a sub-bass note rumbles, like a chainsaw being revved behind a bolted door. With a cinematic quality that morphs from Blade Runner to Texas Chainsaw Massacre in 46 minutes, Slow Knife confounds expectations, taking you to places you didn't even know you wanted to go.
On a Friday evening in September, Solange Knowles attended a Kraftwerk gig in New Orleans. While dancing, she was reportedly told to “sit down” by a group of white women, who proceeded to pelt her with half-eaten limes. In response to the incident, the singer penned a piece on her website Saint Heron entitled: And Do You Belong? – I Do. Like Solange’s label Saint Records, the intent of the Saint Heron site is to support the advancement of people of colour – specifically in the creative sectors. In the aforementioned post, she writes of the instance at the concert and other similar experiences she’s faced as a black woman. Essentially, the sentiment behind many of her words can be summarised by this excerpt: “‘This is why many black people are uncomfortable being in predominately white spaces.’” With her third studio album A Seat at the Table, Solange instead endeavours to carve out a ‘space’ – as it were – predominantly for black people. From the outset, her desire to empower is clear. “Fall in your ways so you can wake up and rise,” she purrs on opening track Rise, while on follow-up track Weary, she repeats the telling statement: “I’m weary of the ways of the world.” As the album progresses, Solange’s social and political stance is expressed further still. Don’t Touch My Hair, which features Sampha, unpicks the significance of hair in relation to identity for black people. Similarly, on F.U.B.U. she reclaims the N word and announces that “For us, this shit is for us/ Don’t try to come for us” – here, the theme of audible defiance is at its most potent. Solange’s message is also communicated via the many interludes that punctuate the album – from her mother’s proud reflections on what it means to be black on Tina Taught Me, to her father, who speaks of his experiences of racism on Dad Was Mad, to the acoustic display of “Black Girl Magic” on I Got So Much Magic, You Can Have It. Overall, the sound of this album is not dissimilar to Solange’s previous offerings. It’s an amalgamation of genres she’s accustomed to – there’s no mistaking the elements of dreamy RnB and futuristic funk in its soft, meditative sway. The difference here though, is that there’s much more substance behind her signature harmonies and gorgeous, airy arrangements. Solange has imbued this album with a narrative steeped in the experience of blackness in America as well as an engaging, deeply personal insight into her own identity. And in essence, A Seat At The Table is an ode to not only black culture, but to black people themselves. Her sister Beyoncé may have shown us what happens when life gives you lemons, but Solange has come into her own, to teach us how to respond when life throws you limes.
There’s something timeless about the form of melodic, propulsive house and techno that Mayer’s Kompakt label has woven into the fabric of dance music. And despite Mayer stepping out to the !K7 label for this collection of collaborations with some of his favourite artists, there’s evidence here to remind you why, beyond the label, “Kompakt” is so distinctive it has become something of a beloved genre. The cyborg-funk of Disco Dancers (with fellow German veterans Burger&Voigt) is warm and playful, Joe Goddard’s tones fit nicely with Mayer’s melancholic production on For You and lead single (Und Da Stehen Fremde Menschen, with Barnt) plays cleverly with a vocal sample, producing a fidgety melodrama that sparkles with energy. There is one absolute clanger – the Euro-techno-ballad nightmare Mind Games with Friendly Fires’ Ed MacFarlane – but the album’s downsides are not weak tracks per se. I like a good middle-distance-stare-whilstlistening-to-Gui-Boratto (who also features), but it isn’t clear that this brand of epic emo-tech can survive infinite variations on its core themes. There’s a tension in the position Mayer finds himself in now: his creative direction and patronage of particular moods has created a universe of immediately identifiable, Kompakt-inspired sounds. But as well as creating stability, these textbook signifiers produce inertia – and the feeling that maybe there isn’t that much going on here that we haven’t heard dozens of times before.
! Aine Devaney
! Sammy Jones
! Jack Law
! Lakeisha Goedluck
! Adam Corner
VARIOUS ARTISTS Killed By Deathrock Vol. II Sacred Bones POWELL Sport XL Recordings
MICHAEL MAYER & !K7
SOL ANGE A Seat At The Table Saint Heron
DJ L AG DJ Lag EP Goon Club Allstars
DANIEL AVERY DJ-Kicks !K7
K AITLYN AURELIA SMITH + SUZ ANNE CIANI Sunergy RVNG Intl
Coming on like the smell of dry ice mingling with the mulch of rotting leaves in Autumn, Wolfgang Voigt’s atmospheric tribute to the forests surrounding Cologne is a feast for the senses. Since 1996, the Gas project has been one of the Kompakt founders’ more prominent ventures. While much of the seminal work was reissued eight years ago on Nah Und Fern, Kompakt have decided to revisit this bewitching techno fairytale once more with an expansive, loud-cut pressing. It’s a project that warrants such treatment, with the true magic of Voigt’s creation becoming apparent in the subtle detail that a decent system can bring. A constant feature above the muffled 4/4 kick drums and billowing, shapeless melodic swells is the miniscule crackle of static, approximating the clamouring rustle of trees with needlepoint precision. Such touches mark out the depth in this most immersive of music – touches that would be lost without the correct means of listening. Both chilling to the core and strangely comforting, Gas is the embodiment of electronic music that exists in an emotionally ambiguous state. Equally, it hasn’t aged in 20 years, lingering outside the trappings of time, much like the trees that inspired it in the first place.
London-based label Goon Club Allstars is fast evolving to be Gqom's western ambassador; a legitimate entry point for those unfamiliar with the Durbanbased movement. Following the release of last year's RudeBoyz EP, Goon Club are continuing to act as the respected conduit between South African producers and the wider northern hemisphere. Also referred to as 'Gqomu,' or 'Igqom,' the sound – forged from sparse, grainy, low-bit rate productions – has secured its cultural footing via free-todownload databases such as Kasimp3. This, augmented by Durban's own Gqom Oh! series has hoisted particular artists out from the internet's masses and provided them with an international platform. DJ LAG is the self-appointed inventor, godfather and king of Gqom. Over four productions, the bedrock of this self-titled EP is blatant; haunted snare rebounds, glacial reverb, scissored vocal cuts and ominously minimal drops akin to that of UK bass music with the mix's high-end filtered out. But LAG supplements the Durban broken beat with a slightly less accustomed category of Afro-house. Sgubhu, a melodious strand of Bacardi House born out of Johannesburg, is much like Gqom but with a greater accent on trance-esque synthlines. Here, LAG marries the two with astute expertise. His offkilter sample work, moderately awkward track structures and hard driving drum patterns are your typical club pacers, yet the Sgubhu styles propel these tracks to a higher, weightier, bossier trajectory. Opener Ghost On The Loose's fog horn bass drop is a state of Gqom far more intruding than what we have heard before. Similar to that of Ice Drop with its whispered gasps of a human's breath stone hopping over squashed low end bass warbles. High on the platform Goon Club and Kasimp3 have provided, Gqom's mutations continue to accelerate. DJ LAG is proof of this.
Daniel Avery’s debut album Drone Logic emerged in 2013, amidst a haze of well-deserved praise. It was simultaneously fresh-sounding and drenched in vintage influences. With playful vocal snippets from Kelly Lee Owens, rubber-band acid bass lines and a real ‘album’ feel (not a given for electronic artists), it marked the arrival of a major new talent. His Divided Love nights at fabric, and across Europe, have ensured that he is now an increasingly prized commodity, despite relatively sparse new material since Drone Logic. Avery’s commentary accompanying his DJ-Kicks mix gives a pretty good idea of where his head is at: DJing as the art of techno transcendence, so that “when the pivotal moments hit, your watch stops ticking”. Lucid, bewitching and sombre techno is therefore the order of the day. One of Avery’s own offerings to this mix – a new track titled A Mechanical Sky – offers the type of transcendental moment he refers to. Elsewhere, stark, metallic rhythms rub up against swooping, trance-laced productions. In Artefact’s captivating The Fifth Planet, there is some rhythmic light relief, creating space for a nagging bass pulse to chart a course through the track. On its own terms, it’s a strong selection. But given the diversity and depth Avery has shown in terms of his own material (and the eclecticism of the Divided Love line-ups), it is difficult not to wonder if this wasn’t a missed opportunity to pull back the curtain on some of his less-obvious influences. Instead, on this mix – and increasingly in his headline sets – Avery has chosen the seemingly irresistible arc towards the purity of the techno palette.
! Oli Warwick
! Tom Watson
! Adam Corner
GAS Box Kompakt
DARK0 Oceana XL Recordings
Sunergy is the 13th instalment of RVNG Intl’s FRKWYS, a series that celebrates intergenerational collaboration. ln this case it links electronic pioneer Suzanne Ciani with contemporary synth composer Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith. The collaboration is a result of a fateful meeting between the two esoteric musicians, who each share a particular passion for the buchla synthesiser, at a community dinner in Bolinas, California – a small town that for a short while they both called home. Bolinas is hemmed by the ocean; a constant idyllic image that, along with the lingering sun, drapes Ciani’s mirrored studio where this album began. Much of Sunergy deals with these primal forces of energy. Its sparkling, unrefined softness sounds deceivingly earthy for an entirely electronic composition animated through a network of patch cables. A New Day sends ripples of water and light coiling around the room, while gentle breezes hiss over and above Closed Circuit. Most of Sunergy’s charm is found in the natural energy between the two composers – it’s impossible to imagine a creative collaboration could sound this convincing without a spiritual unity between the two artists, and between their synths. The unfolding tracks are a success because they don’t set out to do anything: they’re improvised, organic and result from the bond of friendship and respect. Comprised of just two (three if you count the bonus) tracks, and although extended in length, it’s still a fairly indulgent album. It’s not the best buchla music we’ve heard from either artist, but the notable collaboration carries a certain charm. Like RVGN Intl say; this release is “for heads, by heads.”
Looking back across Dark0’s relatively short discography — he’s released EPs with Visionist’s then Lost Codes (now Codes), Mr Mitch’s Gobstopper Records and Rinse — it seems difficult to believe that his music, so vividly emotional but conversely, so ruthless and cut-throat, took as long as it did to find a home at XL. Now label-mates with close friend MssingNo, an artist whose influence can be felt on the sugary chiptune romance of new EP opener Forever, Dark0’s work feels justifiably elevated on Oceana. Rather than a collection of tracks, this is an EP bound by core themes of love, heartbreak and ultimately, retribution — they might not be unusual reference points in his music, but here the message is hammered home, loud and clear. Following Forever is the glorious Luka, a euphoric, orchestral synth trip that doesn’t let up, growing only more intense and with every loop, before third track Plague cuts through any remaining giddiness like a knife through butter. He clearly wants to make a point, and quite abruptly too, as the mournful key notes that define the opening 45 seconds would suggest, although it’s the prickly layers of dark, contorted synth lines and demonic, razor-like stabs that momentarily shroud the EP in shadow. Plague might feel like the one track on the EP that Dark0 has done before — see unreleased track Scyther — but in the context of retribution, it works a treat. As if to cleanse, final track Heal then delivers as a beautifully effective digestif, with swirling melodies and hushed, blurry vocals offering serenity and respite from the emotions Dark0 seems happy to wear on his sleeve throughout Oceana.
Connan Mockasin’s gone full Britney circa 2001 VMAs on this album’s cover art; bare skin, flowing blonde waves and a fat, phallic albino python draped around his shoulders. But Soft Hair don't do sexy in any usual way. You'll notice red body paint, hairy forearms and an equally sultry stare from Mockasin's musical compadre LA Priest. The musician once known as Sam Dust/Eastgate from hyperactive indie band Late of the Pier holds out a glossy green apple, daring you not to feel just a tiny bit turned on. Pop world androgyny and unsubtle erotic signifiers rarely herald a sexual revolution in 2016, so it's truly satisfying that Soft Hair come through on their Garden of Eden-styled promises. The project has reportedly been in the works since 2009, when the two musicians met on tour, and these eight tracks are the consequence of a slowburning process flavoured by both artists' solo projects. Dust fully embraced his LA Priest moniker with debut LP Inji last year, and track A Goo(o)d Sign makes a reprise here – slightly edited, and with an extra vowel in its title. That extra 'ooh' makes a perfect analogy for a half hour spent with Soft Hair. Drips drop and flies buzz, bubbles burst and spongy beats take bungee dives into psychedelic spirals. Relaxed Lizard drifts just the right side of freaky, and Alive Without Medicine's simmering cosmic heat hits boiling point. Voyeuristic single Lying Has To Stop dives head-first into a deep, turquoise pool – helium-high “mmmm yeah”s offset cheap bum jokes for one of this year's most understated, persistent earworms. Mockasin's let-itall-hang-out approach finds its match in Priest's elastic sense of time and space, and this meeting of warped minds brings out the best and worst in both parties. It's a blow out.
! Jo Kali
! Tomas Fraser
! Katie Hawthorne
SOFT HAIR Soft Hair Weird World
11—16 11—16 MOTH Club MOTH Club
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SLEIGH BELLS Jessica Rabbit Lucky Number
Oren Ambarchi’s latest release Hubris is a confident continuation of Sagittarian Domain and Quixotism in its exploration of relentless, driving rhythms. The extended three-track album is apparently simple in form, but the best way I can describe its deception is to think about seeing a pack of cards so perfectly from above that you can’t tell if it’s one card or a whole pack. In truth, a form which seems repetitive and inconclusive is, in this case, a result of careful, meticulous work – layers of bass guitars, retouched percussion, slipped in aleatoric synthesiser. Amabarchi has revealed that, for him, collaboration is an approach to get beyond what we’d expect to hear, or even what he’d expect of himself; to take his ideas, have them challenged, torn apart, and built on. The list of collaborators on Hubris boasts the likes of Crys Cole, Mark Fell – whose electronic percussion is heard on the final passages of Part 1, Arto Lindsay, Jim O'Rourke, Konrad Sprenger and Ricardo Villalobos – who contributes the electronic rhythm of Part 3 – as well as Joe Talia and Will Guthries on twin drums, and modular synthesist Keith Fullerton Whitman. Each additional collaborator helps the rhythms throughout this album gesture towards an almost transcendental state. It’s patterned, repetitive form captures a spiritual, ritualistic head space. If you keep your ears alert you notice the subtlest of details and tonal shifts, but it’s better to let go and lose yourself in the sound, completely bypass any sense of time, and fall into its unconscious journey.
On paper, Thought Forms have everything going for them. Having attracted a following due to the intensity of their dark drone-rock, in their early stages the West Country trio received support from Geoff Barrow, who signed them to his Invada Records imprint, as well as Portishead’s touring bassist Jim Barr – who produced their 2012 sophomore Ghost Mountain. But where Ghost Mountain excelled in creating a striking soundscape, with its spectral atmosphere and half-submerged, low-feedback doom rock, too often new album Songs About Drowning sinks to the bottom of your stomach in the form of a frustrated and foggy sigh. That being said, there are moments where the album rises to the surface; namely, Charlie Romijn’s vocals on The Bridge and slow-paced, jazzy number Aeaea, where a clever brass arrangement collapses into a sea of distortion. There are also powerful lyrics here (“your name is written on the inside of my eyes”) which leave a heavy imprint in the listener’s mind, while tracks like Inland demonstrate a clever grasp of dynamics that make you feel like you’re in a half-conscious state of delirium. But with its plodding pace, remaining in that headspace throughout Songs About Drowning can feel like a test of endurance.
As thrilling as it felt at the time, only the most optimistic of Sleigh Bells fans could have foreseen a long-term career for the band off the back of their 2010 album Treats. There’s often a fine line between a singular sound and a gimmicky one, and the marriage of extremes that Alexis Krauss and Derek Miller crafted, layering punishing guitars over saccharine melodies and then playing them back through a blown-out speaker, was one that treaded that line particularly precariously. It wasn’t really until 2014’s Bitter Rivals that they showed real signs of progress, but it tended to be a bit of a binary affair; the tracks on that LP invariably either sounded just like the Sleigh Bells of old, or like another band entirely. There was little in the way of middle ground. Early signs for their fourth album were less than positive when Sleigh Bells dropped Champions of Unrestricted Beauty late last year – a track that totally lacked any of the band’s original sense of identity. Fortunately it’s failed to make the cut on Jessica Rabbit, an album that suggests the New York pair might finally have cracked how to breathe fresh life and genuine nuance into the Treats formula. It’s a stormy, atmospheric affair, from the Deftones-style dissonance of Torn Clean and Lightning Turns Sawdust Gold to the punk stroppiness that runs through Rule Number One and Throw Me Down the Stairs. There are missteps – the naff, ravey synths that run through I Know Not to Count on You spring to mind – but a band who threatened to collapse under the weight of their own concept look as if they’ve found a new creative vein to tap into. On this evidence, it might be a rich one, too.
! Jo Kali
! Gunseli Yalcinkaya
! Joe Goggins
OREN AMBARCHI Hubris Editions Mego
THOUGHT FORMS Songs About Drowning Invada Records
PAPA M Highway Songs Drag City
What do we talk about when we talk about America? What do we talk about when we talk about talking about America? What, even, do we talk about when we talk about talking about talking about America? I'll tell you what we talk about. We talk about Denny's and Wendy's and IHOP, we talk about freeways and intersections, we talk about gated communities and uptowns and condominiums, we talk about grease and lust and gun-smoke, we talk about patriotism and regret and pride, we talk about flags and bills and rights, we talk about alligators and Everglades and raccoons, we talk about rednecks and neocons and regular folk, we talk about bluegrass and Alan Lomax and jazz, we talk about Fox and CNN and HBO, we talk about Mike Tyson and Michael Jordan and Tyson Gay, we talk about Coke and Pepsi and Sprite, we talk about Perez Hilton and Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian, we talk about mac and cheese and sloppy joes and hot dogs, we talk about baseball and basketball and football, we talk about Korea and Vietnam and Iraq. We are talking shit. Because to talk about America, to really talk about America is to talk about one thing and one thing only. And it isn't Bush or Obama or Trump or Clinton or Chicago or Detroit or New Jersey or Philip Roth or Gore Vidal or Norman Mailer or Pizza Hut or KFC or Taco Bell or Whitman or Carver or Thoreau or Emerson or Oprah or Maury or Jerry. It isn't you. It isn't me. It isn't us, either. No. It's the Kings of Leon. The Kings of Leon are more American than anything listed above, more American than a bald eagle, more American than the Grand Canyon, more American than America itself. And sadly, the Kings of Leon are becoming the most mortifying band in the world. I'll leave you to work out how I feel about their seventh album WALLS.
David Pajo’s musical CV is an impressive one. Over the course of a career that’s spanned more than two decades, he’s been part of one of the most influential alternative bands of the nineties as the guitarist in Slint, recorded with the likes of Will Oldham, Royal Trux and Zwan and toured the world as a live member of Interpol and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. It’s all the more harrowing, then, that it’s been so long since the Louisville, Kentucky native made headlines for his music. Pajo made an attempt on his own life in February of 2015 and, in March of this year, suffered serious leg injuries in a motorcycle crash. Highway Songs, his first release under his solo Papa M moniker in twelve years, arrives at the end of the most turbulent period of Pajo’s life. If it’s true that great art arises from adversity, then this should be one hell of an album. It certainly seems as if he’s been freed from convention at the very least. This is a wildly experimental set of tracks, largely instrumental and swinging from the freewheeling heavy guitars of Green Holler to the choppy electronica of The Love Particle. An unsettling atmosphere pervades throughout, although of course that’s something that Pajo has dealt in ever since Spiderland. There’s plenty of nods to Slint here, in fact, particularly in the low-mixed spoken word vocals on closer Little Girl. Some ideas work better than others – you could mistake the acoustic guitar piece Dlvd for somebody tuning up – but as uncomfortable a listen as Highway Songs often is, it contains more than enough evidence to suggest the world nearly lost a singular talent, twice, in these last eighteen months.
! Josh Baines
! Joe Goggins
KINGS OF LEON WALLS RCA
P H O N O X
GERD JANSON: DECEMBER RESIDENCY f r i d a y 2 , 9 , 1 6 & 2 3 d e ce m b e r
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AMERICAN HONEY dir. Andrea Arnold Starring: Sasha Lane, Shia LaBeouf, Riley Keough
10 UNDER THE SHADOW dir. Babak Anvari Starring: Narges Rashidi, Avin Manshadi, Bobby Naderi
I, DANIEL BL AKE dir. Ken Loach Starring: Dave Johns, Hayley Squires, Briana Shann For something to cut through the noise in the way I, Daniel Blake has is an astonishing accomplishment. An unending cycle of injustice, an aggressively individualist political agenda and a merciless austerity regime has too often left the UK feeling hopeless, while inscrutable statistics and hostile headlines have left the more well-off feeling emotionally detached. The story of Daniel Blake, a carpenter who requires state welfare support after suffering a heart attack, commands you to look past the numbers – however desensitised you’ve become. Daniel meets Katie – a single mother who has moved to the North East after spending two years in a London homeless hostel. The two characters try to find their way through the red-tape jargon-maze of the British benefits system and their stories hit like a battle cry. An exhausting depiction of austerity’s most distressing ramifications are made all the more harrowing by Loach’s unflinching realist lens, and I, Daniel Blake evokes something more than sympathy in his audience. The only peace you can find after watching a film like this is that its creation, and its demand in cinemas across the country, reassures you that there’s still compassion out there. ! Duncan Harrison
LO AND BEHOLD: REVERIES OF THE CONNECTED WORLD dir. Werner Herzog Werner Herzog’s Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World gives us an insight into the online world of international hackers, interconnected realities and web addiction. Arranged into 10 chapters, each section focuses on a facet of the tech world: from its beginnings in Pittsburgh’s Carnegie-Mellon university to its darker backwaters. It’s a colossal task that Herzog handles with style. The speakers – a strange and wonderful selection of scientists, tech-entrepreneurs and anti-web inhabitants – never cease to amaze and shock the audience with their anecdotes and demonstrations of self-driving cars and digitalised information. It’s within this kooky world that Herzog peppers questions of love and attraction. “Does the internet dream of itself?” he asks in one scene. Typical to Herzog, the cinematography and overall feel has a way of seeming grand and dramatic, without being too forced. Each scene is framed to perfection, and although the frames sometimes feel jumpy or unrelated, every subject is given time to reveal their genuine characteristics. One speaker notes that fictional portrayals of the future almost never predicted the Internet – yet today, it is one of the most dominant parts of our lives. Fraught with social, moral and philosophical dilemmas, Lo and Behold is a strangely warm yet harrowing spectacle. ! Gunseli Yalcinkaya
! Joseph McDonagh
! Gwyn Thomas de Chroustchoff
THE GRE ASY STR ANGLER dir: Jim Hosking Starring: Michael St Michaels, Sky Escobar, Elizabeth De Razzo As 2016 continues to offer up evidence that everyone’s completely lost their minds, Jim Hosking offers up an absurd B-movie as his first feature film. Set in an armpit of LA, The Greasy Strangler follows Big Ronnie and his son Big Brayden as they make their living as tour guides of derelict disco clubs. But by night, Big Ronnie’s addiction to fatty foods transforms him into a crazed killer. It’s all outrageous, nauseating and implausible. And after watching the trailer, we’d already decided it was going to be hilarious. But what we expected to be a kind of body-horror Napoleon Dynamite in fact morphs into something more akin to John Water’s disturbing classic Pink Flamingos. Domestic unease builds between the father and son, jokes are no longer funny and our tolerance to the un-PC gets fully tested. It turns out that Hosking has coerced us into thinking we’re watching lo-fi slasher, but instead we get suburban surrealism. Everything framed is here is distorted and absolutely disgusting. And perversely, it looks great. ! Tim Oxley Smith
In Under The Shadow, the debut film by UK director Babak Anvari, personal fears merge with supernatural forces during war and revolution in 1980s Iran. It’s a political horror film that doesn’t skimp on shivers. Though the film takes cues from Guillermo Del Toro’s supernatural war films The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth, plot and setting are pared down to the absolute basics, with Under the Shadow’s intimate examination of a woman’s life in 20th century Iran spiralling into paranoia and cabin fever. After her husband is called up to fight, Shideh tries to maintain a normal life with her young daughter Dorsa in their flat in Tehran. Like in Closed Curtain, by Iranian director Jafar Panahi, the home is a place of freedom: the family are able to dress casually and watch American films on an illicit video player. But as the war gets closer the cracks literally begin to show, with a new reality making itself known and uncanny invasions taking place. Shideh is beset by a Pandora’s box of terrifying intrusions both psychological and physical, but the free-for-all of fear is deftly juggled by the director, and underpinned by subtle symbolism in its creepy motifs of holes, coverings and secrets. Under the Shadow is a tightly calibrated torrent of anxiety, depicting a mother under siege.
American Honey is an odyssey of ethereal beauty and grimy yet seductive low-lives. It follows Star (Sasha Lane), who runs away from an abusive and poverty-stricken home to join a motley crew of travellers who sell magazines door-to-door after being seduced by Jake (Shia LaBeouf) and his crew in a supermarket (to Calvin Harris's We Found Love). In this road movie, there is no destination and a distinct air of aimlessness that pervades the day-to-day hustling and partying. The film is never without visual command, but director Andrea Arnold’s portrayal of the disenfranchised avoids meaningful dialogue around issues of class, race or sex across American Honey’s near three-hour running time. With some astonishing photography, an impressively eclectic soundtrack – boasting songs from Bruce Springsteen and Nashville anthems to hip-hop via Kevin Gates and E-40 – and an enigmatic central turn from Sasha Lane, it's impossible to look away from American Honey. But it’s also too shallow to step inside.
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Products BRITISH VALUES britishvalues.bigcartel.com £8 British Values is an independent zine worth your attention. Founded and edited by UK music and politics writer Kieran Yates, the zine brings together various interesting, funny and novel perspectives on the modern immigrant experience. Plus, look at Queen Lizard Tweezy May on that cover. Oh man.
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PLX-500 TURNTABLE pioneerdj.com £300 High torque and built in RB-VS1-K compatibility make this new turntable from Pioneer more than capable as a deck for DJing, and all the included extras make this just as attractive for home album listening too. The dust cover even includes a sleeve stand, so you can smugly marvel at your extra-large artwork and tell everyone how it just sounds better.
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THE CARHARTT WIP ARCHIVES Rizzoli £40 Carhartt’s journey from rugged workwear brand to streetwear apex is a story that spans continents and decades. Their new book celebrates and documents the incredible story of how their WIP division has permeated creative scenes on a global scale. Taking in Detroit’s hip-hop community, Berlin’s electronic music cro–wd and Tokyo’s streetwear innovators on a worldwide photographic journey, The Carhartt WIP Archives is a beautiful document of a genuinely fascinating brand.
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Marvel at homes you’ll probably never be able to afford in this through-the-keyhole look at London’s iconic Brutalist housing estate. The physical evolution of photographer Anton Rodriguez’s blog, Residents lovingly captures the interiors and inhabitants of this highly sought after time capsule.
Crossword Across 3. Biggest boss (7) 5. Sticky red wine from Portugal (4) 6. You should know, you’re as thick as two short ones (5) 7. Like a big, clever, slightly smug fish (7) 8. That mission’s impossible Tom (6) 11. Neenaw neenaw neenaw etc etc etc (5) 13. A t-shirt cut for the gang (4) 15. Half lady half fish (7) Down 1. That one guy who’s always jumping rope (7) 2. The GOAT luxury vessel for maritime excursions (5) 4. Easter, Christmas, Desert (6) 7. What your cool cousin from Falmouth calls the wooden bit of a skateboard (4) 9. Pauline Quirke’s favourite washing powder (4) 10. Celestial bodies ready for ironing (9) 11. The spiky toothed bastard who beat you at pool (5) 12. The big massive salty death bath (3,3) 14. Crashing destroyers of sandcastles (5)
Answers AAcross: Captain, Port, Plank, Dolphin, Cruise, Siren, Crew, Mermaid Down: Skipper, Yacht, Island, Deck, Surf, Starboard, Shark, The Sea, Waves
Self Portrait Sadie Dupuis
Lil Wayne or Michael Caine? Which high-achiever said it: New Orleans’ lucrative rap export, or the quintessentially cockney actor? 1) “Do I believe in God? Yes I do. When you’ve had a life like mine, you have to” 2) “I have accomplished all that I have set out to accomplish and more” 3) “I’m an addict, I’m addicted to success. Thankfully, there’s no rehab for success” 4) “Trying to tear down the past prohibits you from building up your future” 5) “Wherever I live, if there isn’t a restaurant I want to go to of a certain type, then I open it”
Answers: 1) Caine 2) Wayne 3) Wayne 4) Wayne 5) Caine 6) Caine
6) “I’ve behaved my entire life as if I’m immortal”
This month's artist takeover was created by Lia Boscu, who was responding to the word 'Dawn'
If you're interested in contributing to this series, please email email@example.com
P R E S E N T S
09 | 11 | 16
T - 29 LD T | 11OU | 16 | 16T - 06 | 12OU | 16 28 SOLD SO| 11OU SOLD
- EVENTIM APOLLO HAMMERSMITH -
- O2 ACADEMY BRIXTON -
11 | 11 | 16
30 | 11 | 16
- THE NINES, PECKHAM -
- DALSTON, VICTORIA -
16 | 11 | 16
03 | 12 | 16
THE FRONT BOTTOMS
- ST PANCRAS OLD CHURCH -
18 | 11 | 16
- O2 FORUM KENTISH TOWN -
EMANUEL AND THE FEAR
06 | 12 | 16
- THE ISLINGTON -
| 16T 19|LD11OU SO
25| 11 | 16
- O2 FORUM KENTISH TOWN -
BOY KILL BOY
08 | 12 | 16 - 09 | 12 | 16
- OSLO, HACKNEY -
SUPER FURRY ANIMALS
21 | 11 | 16
JOAN AS POLICEWOMAN & BENJAMIN LAZAR DAVIS
- ROUNDHOUSE -
14 | 12 | 16
- HEAVEN SOLD | 11OU | 16T 22
- RYE WAX, PECKHAM -
25 | 01 | 17
- ELECTRIC BALLROOM SOLD | 11OU | 16T 23
- LEXINGTON -
01 | 02 | 17
- O2 SHEPHERD’S BUSH EMPIRE -
| 11OU | 16T 23 SOLD
- PALLADIUM -
26 | 02 | 17
- ST PANCRAS OLD CHURCH -
23 | 11 | 16
- O2 FORUM KENTISH TOWN -
- O2 SHEPHERD’S BUSH EMPIRE -
02 | 03 | 17
23 | 11 | 16
- O2 ACADEMY BRIXTON -
- O2 ACADEMY BRIXTON -
04 | 03 | 17
25 | 11 | 16
- O2 ACADEMY BRIXTON -
- TROXY -
27 | 11 | 16
10 | 03 | 17
- O2 SHEPHERD’S BUSH EMPIRE -
- O2 SHEPHERD’S BUSH EMPIRE -
T I C K E T S AVA I L A B L E F R O M
SONGKICK.COM - GIGANTIC.COM - TICKETWEB.CO.UK SEETICKETS.COM - STARGREEN.COM
Turning Points: Slick Rick Words: Theo Kotz
“The nature of hip-hop is to have soul and grit. It’s not only about making money”
Early Years: Moving to the US and Embracing hip-hop When I was little I was used to the English culture of the 60s – The Beatles and the cold and the rain. Then when I was 11 we moved to the Bronx. I was always into writing stories to entertain people and when the rap came out and exploded on the African-American community, we took the storytelling and put it into rhyme form. Later, Doug E
Fresh was hosting a rap battle in The Bronx. This kid I knew from school was in it, and I went with him. Dougie noticed me, and that was it. It was like sparks from then on. We made La Di Da Di and The Show and that was the beginning. 1968-88: Recording and Release of The Great Adventures of Slick Rick Well after branching from Dougie, I had to make my own solo album. I just started learning how to fondle with the music by myself. Jam Master Jay helped me out a little something something plus a couple other producers, and we came up with Great Adventures. It went platinum and it was like a fantasy. It was like the top of the mountain for a young American youth. You reached a level of celebrity where you was rolling with your idols and the people of that status, Kool Moe Dee, Flash and LL Cool J. 1990-1997: Arrest and Jail Time, The Ruler’s Back and Behind Bars At the time, when you go from you regular little 9-5 to celebrity status, a lot of us would hire a relative that had street credibility, but eventually they start to take advantage of you and stuff like that. That’s what I did, next thing I know I feel like my life is in danger – one thing led to another, and you know
the rest. Then I went into that other adventure of imprisonment. Now you’re restricted, you may not be crazy for it but it still keeps you on the schedule and you’re exercising. You gotta lot of time to write and do everything to perfect your hobby. Other than that it’s scary and you gotta know how to move and shake. The albums I released at that time was made when I was out on bail for a little while. So I was making two or three albums in a rush to keep my name alive over the sentence. 1999: Release of Critically Acclaimed, Commercially Successful Album The Art Of Storytelling We made that up in a quiet area and we had enough time to do our thing nice and slow and calm. It was a great feeling to work with guys like OutKast and Nas. These guys were the icons of the game at that time. Their name gave your light to their audience and the younger generation. Being sampled by Snoop Dogg and everybody also helps keep your name alive. Shout out to all the vets that helped out. Current Day: US Citizenship and Return to the UK It feels great to be back to your hometown, your birthplace. It’s been
a minute. Beyond the music I’m really into the fashion game. Plus I got some buildings in the Bronx where I play landlord. Other than that it’s making sure that the game is alive and well and has a certain amount of grit. That also goes with the clothes and the jewels – everything has to have a certain amount of representation for this culture. The youth is gonna be the youth, but from my aspect we gotta make sure that we maintain that grit, we don’t go too far off course from the nucleus of what this game really is. The nature of this thing is to have soul and bring it to your peeps so they can have fun. It’s grit. It’s not only about making money. It’s making sure that everyone has a good time and it’s modern and relevant. I’m planning on putting out another album through the internet. I want to make people have fun, tell stories and get to know the Slick Rick brand. Slick Rick’s ‘Coming Home’ tour begins at Mantra, Manchester, 25 November
Arguably one of the most distinctive rappers of all time, Slick Rick perfected an anecdotal style that has echoed across hip-hop’s entire history. After the release of his debut solo album The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, the rapper was involved in an altercation with his cousin and former bodyguard which led to him being incarcerated during the height of his fame. Having been born in London, Slick Rick’s issues with immigration authorities have restricted his abilitwy to travel outside the US. But in 2008, the then New York Governor granted Slick Rick an unconditional pardon, and earlier this year he finally acquired his US citizenship. As he prepares for his first ever UK tour, we caught up with The Ruler to discuss the peaks and troughs of his dramatic career.
29 –32 The Oval, London E2 9DT
Oval Space / The Pickle Factory OVAL SPACE ——————————————————— —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–––––––––––––––––––––––––———— 02.11.16 Illuminations with Let’s Eat Grandma ——————————————————— —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–––––––––––––––––––––––––———— 04.11.16 Livin’ Proof 9th Birthday with Livin’ Proof DJs and Guests ——————————————————— —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–––––––––––––––––––––––––———— 07.11.16 Bird On The Wire presents Preoccupations ——————————————————— —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–––––––––––––––––––––––––———— 08.11.16 Eat Your Own Ears presents Peaches, Special Guests TBA ——————————————————— —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–––––––––––––––––––––––––———— 09.11.16 Eat Your Own Ears presents Peaches, Special Guests TBA ——————————————————— —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–––––––––––––––––––––––––———— 10.11.16 Oval Space Cinema x Songkick present Stop Making Sense ——————————————————— —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–––––––––––––––––––––––––———— 11.11.16 Oval Space Music with Space Dimension Controller presents Fluorescent Trails Live, Tiger & Woods, Prins Thomas, Lord Of The Isles ——————————————————— —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–––––––––––––––––––––––––———— 12.11.16 Oval Space Music presents Len Faki, Anthony Parasole, Cleric ——————————————————— —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–––––––––––––––––––––––––———— 18.11.16 Percolate: Crazy P Full Live Band, Support, Sam & Toby ——————————————————— —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–––––––––––––––––––––––––———— 18.11.16 Percolate: 4th Birthday with Leon Vynehall, Jeremy Underground, Krywald & Farrer, performances from English Breakfast London & London Ballroom Scene ——————————————————— —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–––––––––––––––––––––––––———— 19.11.16 LWE presents Bondax & Friends with Bondax, Mayer Hawthorne, Fono ——————————————————— —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–––––––––––––––––––––––––———— 22.11.16 Oval Space Cinema x Songkick present Mistaken for Strangers ——————————————————— —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–––––––––––––––––––––––––———— 23.11.16 Eat Your Own Ears presents Fakear, Special Guests ——————————————————— —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–––––––––––––––––––––––––———— 25.11.16 Trouble Vision presents Hivern Discs wih John Talabot, Barnt, Edward, Marvin & Guy ——————————————————— —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–––––––––––––––––––––––––———— 26.11.16 Fleetmac Wood presents The Tusk Ball with Roxanne Roll, Smooth Sailing, Antenna Happy Live, Twin Sun ——————————————————— —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–––––––––––––––––––––––––———— THE PICKLE FACTORY ——————————————————— —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–––––––––––––––––––––––––———— 04.11.16 The Pickle Factory with Bambounou, Eduardo de la Calle Live, Alex Egan ——————————————————— —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–––––––––––––––––––––––––———— 05.11.16 Neighbourhood with Clouds, Hodge, rRoxymore, Cadans, Kracht ——————————————————— —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–––––––––––––––––––––––––———— 06.11.16 Sunday Club* with Conrad [Idjut Boys], Red Greg, Miro ——————————————————— —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–––––––––––––––––––––––––———— 09.11.16 Parallel Lines presents Fran Lobo, Support TBA ——————————————————— —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–––––––––––––––––––––––––———— 10.11.16 Ovation: Clap! Clap! Live, Wallwork ——————————————————— —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–––––––––––––––––––––––––———— 11.11.16 The Pickle Factory with Matthew Dekay All Night Long ——————————————————— —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–––––––––––––––––––––––––———— 12.11.16 Secretsundaze All Night Long ——————————————————— —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–––––––––––––––––––––––––———— 16.11.16 Ovation: Nick Hook & Friends with Nick Hook, Special Guests TBA ——————————————————— —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–––––––––––––––––––––––––———— 17.11.16 Ovation: DVA [Hi:Emotions] presents NOTU_URONLINEU, øøøø presents Nature Abstraction ——————————————————— —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–––––––––––––––––––––––––———— 18.11.16 The Pickle Factory with Sonja Moonear, Andrew James Gustav, Toby Nicholas ——————————————————— —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–––––––––––––––––––––––––———— 19.11.16 Ovation: Kornél Kovács, Mark E, Mr. Beatnick ——————————————————— —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–––––––––––––––––––––––––———— 23.11.16 Ovation: Romare Full Live Band, Special Guest TBA ——————————————————— —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–––––––––––––––––––––––––———— 24.11.16 Ovation: It’s A Fine Line (Ivan Smagghe & Tim Paris) with Luke Abbott Live ——————————————————— —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–––––––––––––––––––––––––———— 25.11.16 The Pickle Factory with PLO Man, Hashman Deejay, C3D-E ——————————————————— —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–––––––––––––––––––––––––———— 26.11.16 Ovation x Soul:Ution LDN with LSB ‘Content’ LP Launch, Marcus Intalex, Lenzman, Okular, DRS / Stamina, Tyler Daley ——————————————————— —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–––––––––––––––––––––––––———— 30.11.16 Parallel Lines presents Bo Rocha ——————————————————— —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–––––––––––––––––––––––––————
20 Questions: Sleaford Mods' Jason Williams
Words: Davy Reed
“I don’t touch any of the meat at the Travelodge breakfast. Fuck that”
What was your favourite cartoon when you were a kid? Scooby Doo. What book are you currently reading? Who Governs Britain? by Anthony King. Who’s your favourite member of the Wu-Tang Clan? U-God. What was the name of your first ever band? Meat Pie. And what did Meat Pie sound like? Early Small Faces, and trying to get early Guns N’ Roses in there as well.
What’s your signature recipe? I do a good Victoria Sponge, and I can do a good Sunday dinner. What was the first record you fell in love with? Sid Vicious covering Something Else, which I bought on “7. I was 10 years old. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had? Working in a TV rental warehouse. It was back when agency work started emerging. It was fucking horrible, but I was sofa surfing at the time and it was hand to mouth for a while. The boss was a total cunt who needed banging out. He had no idea at all. I still think about hitting the bastard. Do you have a number one Sleaford Mods fan? I don’t think so, we’ve got a fan club called the SMarmys, but they’re all equally as insane. Have you ever had a nickname? ‘The Grantham Grinner’. Someone called me that when I first moved to Nottingham, don’t know why, I think they thought I had a big mouth or that I looked weird when I took drugs. Or ‘Paul Feller’, they used to think I was a poor version of Paul Weller!
Maybe if it all goes wrong with the Sleaford Mods you could just do Paul Weller covers as Paul Feller. Well it probably will go wrong at some point, let’s face it! It’s a shit business!
Have you ever been arrested? When I was a kid, for smashing light bulbs in the town centre. The put me in the cell for about three hours, and I just figured that wasn’t for me.
What’s the worst hotel you’ve ever stayed in? I’d say in England, Travelodges are the worst.
If you could pick a surrogate grandparent, who would it be? Eddie Murphy! It’d probably have to be his film persona though, in real life he’s probably a bit of a bastard.
What do you do about the breakfast buffets? Do you just get amongst it? I’ll get amongst it, but I don’t touch any of the meat. Sausages especially. Fuck that. Would you go for a pint with Kanye West? Yeah definitely. I like to think that the media have created Kanye West, and that the real Kanye West is actually quite down-to-earth. Describe the worst haircut you’ve ever had... I had a mullet. Shaved at the sides, kind of like a suedehead at the top and long at the back. If you were trying to seduce a potential lover, what music would you play? I’ve been listening to a lot of Drake recently, I’d put some of that on!
Is there a piece of advice you wish you’d give to yourself ten years ago? Probably something along the lines of stop taking drugs or stop drinking. I wouldn’t have changed much though, I dunno. What would you want written on your tombstone? “Should it Have Been You?” The T.C.R. EP is out now via Rough Trade
I remember delivering Issue 53 of Crack Magazine, one month after the Conservative Party’s 2015 election victory, to a café in London, and being met by a puzzled look from a panini-chewing customer. “Sleaford Mods?” he said, squinting at the duo on the front cover. “I saw them live recently... They were the worst band I’ve ever seen.” Who could deny the Mods' genius? Must have been a closet tory, right? I mean, Rough Trade liked them enough to release their new T.C.R. EP – hence why I ended up discussing bad haircuts with their frontman Jason Williamson.
Illustration: Leyla Reynolds
Perspective: gal-dem and the elevation of unheard voices gal-dem began as an online magazine last year and has since found huge success by supporting the creative work of women of colour. Reflecting on their takeover of London’s V&A, gal-dem opinions editor Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff discusses the importance of creating your own platforms for visibility. On 28 October around 6,000 people snaked their way into the V&A museum in South Kensington for gal-dem’s Friday Late event. As a magazine written and produced exclusively by women of colour, the demographic of our audience was diverse, and it felt as though there was a new kind of electricity lighting up the stale air. We were taking up space in a place that wasn’t meant to be for us, filled with the busts of long-dead white men and the marble-stone curves of the women they dreamed up. It was magical.
For the past year, gal-dem has been shouting about the lack of diversity in the media and the creative industries, and how this leads to situations where, for instance, you have national newspapers demonising young, black female student campaigners, publishing racist cartoons, and organising positive action events where all the speakers are white men. Our exclusion so often means we are underrepresented and misrepresented in areas where we should be flourishing.
Liv Little founded gal-dem last summer after a frustrating two years at the University of Bristol, where, she says, there were “specific instances [of racism] that made me want to scream, and if not scream, cry.” As a fledgling journalist, I could feel her pain – before gal-dem I often felt alone in the workplace, battling microagressions, sexism and some instances of outright racism. But, working alongside a voluntary team of over 70 contributors, as one of the editors of the publication I have been lucky enough to see us develop from the ground up. Slowly, gal-dem has become more than a caress over the scars caused by colonialism and the ongoing racism and misogyny women of colour face because of it – we are the change we want to see in the creative industries. September saw the launch of our 260-page print magazine (I like to call it the gal-dem bible) around the theme of “gal-hood”, which I hope reaches the type of teenager fed up with looking at bambiesque white women posing awkwardly with overpriced luxury items and reading vapid sex columns, as so often found in mainstream women’s magazines. The really special thing about what’s happening with gal-dem is that we are not alone in our journey. We worked with dozens of women of colour at the V&A to fill up the 15 rooms we occupied with music, art, performance, food, panels and discussions – and all of them are making
their own waves. Throughout this past year I’ve seen collectives like BBZ, who run a monthly club night and miniature exhibition for queer, trans, non-binary folx and women of colour in Deptford, go from strength to strength. At the V&A they turnt up – and as anu, a BBZ contributor wrote shortly before the event, “I’ve been making art that people have called ‘weird’ since day… but now a piece of work that I have created is being shown in the V&A and most importantly, it’s being shown amongst the work of several other talented women of colour who are incredibly powerful and positive influences”. Other highlights were the exhibition from Unmasked Women, which channelled the black British female experience in a way that can only be described as regal; the raw honesty from Lotte Anderson, artist and founder of MAXILLA and Lynette Nylander, deputy editor of i-D, who spoke candidly about self-worth and the process of creativity; Reel Good Film Club’s “MTV bedroom” taking us back to the 90s – and, of course, Kelechi Okafor’s “twerkshop”, looking at the origins of the now widely-popular dance form that has its origins in Africa. While these may sound disparate, the coming together of all these pieces of creativity felt like a revolution for the lost little brown girl I once was, growing up as one of the very few mixed-black children in Edinburgh.
There’s no denying that the whole night was surreal. Seeing so many black and brown people amongst the exhibits at the V&A, comprised of a largely homogenously white demographic, was bizarre. We tripped along through rooms filled with treasures from ancient ages, hung our illustrations from the huge ceilings and generally made ourselves at home. Out on the door, the queue trailed round the block. Security were in shock – “We’ve never seen so many black or Asian people here,” he said, adding that our event was also the busiest Friday Late he’d ever worked. As we spilled out onto the pavement as the night drew to a close, one of my favourite journalists, Lola Okolosie, turned to me and said that she believed the night was “historic”. Later, looking at social media, this sentiment was repeated. Change is in the air, and we’re going to be a part of it. As one of the gal-dem (and V&A panellist), Chanté Joseph, wrote, “[At the V&A] I felt completely comfortable and at ease with myself. I was so blessed to be in a space with people who don't see me as some 'angry black girl'... gal-dem have given me the tools and the confidence to go on and create the spaces that I want to see." gal-dem magazine is out now
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Featuring Lil Yachty, Nina Kravis, Young Echo, Dj Earl, Lawrence Lek, Elias Bender Ronnenfelt and much more