K F r e e
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Ar t, M u si c , C h i c k e n
1 0 0% Silk T i n a riwen J a mes Kirku p & m o re. . .
THURSDAY 12TH JULY - SUNDAY 15TH JULY SUNRISE COAST, SUFFOLK
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JOIN US THIS SUMMER IN THE MAGICAL SURROUNDINGS OF THE BLACK MOUNTAINS, WALES...
Music VAN MORRISON • FEIST • MOGWAI
VERY SPECIAL GUEST TBA • THE WALKMEN
STEPHEN MALKMUS & THE JICKS • DEXYS • YANN TIERSEN
THE TALLEST MAN ON EARTH • OF MONTREAL • JONATHAN RICHMAN TUNE-YARDS • MICHAEL KIWANUKA • THE FELICE BROTHERS KING CREOSOTE & JON HOPKINS • THE BEES •SCRITTI POLITTI • JUNIOR BOYS MR SCRUFF - KEEP IT UNREAL • JAMES BLAKE (DJ) • TIME & SPACE MACHINE
BENJAMIN FRANCIS LEFTWICH • DAMIEN JURADO • FIELD MUSIC • LOWER DENS • FRIENDS BOWERBIRDS • SLOW CLUB • GHOSTPOET • BETH JEANS HOUGHTON & THE HOOVES OF DESTINY CASS MCCOMBS • BULLION • DARK DARK DARK • THREE TRAPPED TIGERS • DAUGHTER • WILLY MASON KING CHARLES • THE STAVES • TREMBLING BELLS • JOE PUG • LUCY ROSE • PEAKING LIGHTS • ISLET MEGAFAUN • CATE LE BON • CASHIER NO.9 • TOY • ALT-J • THE WAVE PICTURES • KWES • VONDELPARK LONE • GANG COLOURS • LAURA J MARTIN • JAMIE N COMMONS • STEALING SHEEP • STEVE SMYTH VADOINMESSICO • PSYCHEMAGIK (DJ) • RICHARD NORRIS • ROCKETNUMBERNINE • And Lots more... Comedy BUG WITH ADAM BUXTON • JOSIE LONG • THE RUBBER BANDITS • ZOE LYONS • ROBIN INCE • HOLLY WALSH • MIKE WOZNIAK • HENRY PAKER • MARK OLVER • DELETE THE BANJAX • EDWARD ACZEL • GAVIN OSBORN • And Many More TBA
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Einstein’s Garden SIMON WATT: DISSECTIONS UNCUT • ROSIE WILBY: THE SCIENCE OF SEX • MJ HIBBETT & THE VALIDATORS: DINOSAUR PLANET • LORI CAMPBELL • BRONZE MEDALLISTS • BRIGHT CLUB • And Lots More...
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Adults: £145 (including camping). Student: £125 (including camping). Holiday Ticket £40 (Add a holiday ticket and camp for a whole week) Tickets available from www.ticketline.co.uk/green-man Tel 0844 888 9991 Coach Tickets and packages available from National Express www.nationalexpress.com/greenman For more information, including the full line up please visit www.greenman.net
131-12-Crack Magazine 270x340 con1-1.indd 1
EAGULLS - EP
18/07/12 12” & DDL
FEAR OF MEN GREEN SEA 16/06/12 7” & DDL
WHITE FENCE GREEN BALLOON OUT NOW 7”
VIRALS MAGIC HAPPENS OUT NOW 7” & DDL
FORTCOMING RECORD RELEASE PARTIES
FEAR OF MEN TUES 19 JUNE / THE OLD BLUE LAST
EAGULLS THURS 19 JULY / CAMP
fabric JUN â€” JUL 77A, Charterhouse Street, London EC1. www.fabriclondon.com fabric 63: Levon Vincent, Out Now. fabric 64: Guy Gerber, 25th June. fabric 65: Matthias Tanzmann, 20th August, fabric 66: Ben Klock, Coming Soon
2020soUNdsystem (live) ALex JoNes ApoLLoNiA BeN KLocK Bicep BLAwAN BriNsLey KAzAK cAssy cedric mAisoN cLAUde VoNstroKe coBBLestoNe JAzz crAig richArds dAN gheNAciA derricK cArter
dJ QU doLLz At pLAy droog dVs1 dyed soUNdorom gUy gerBer h FoUNdAtioN: hipp-e & hALo hUxLey JAy hAze Josh t JUJU & JordAsh (live) JUstiN mArtiN LUKe sLAter
mAKAm (live) mArceL dettmANN mArtyN (live) mAthiAs KAdeN mAtt toLFrey miKe pArKer mr c mr g (live) NicK cUrLy No regULAr pLAy (live) omAr s petre iNspirescU peVereList rAdio sLAVe
reBoot roBert dietz sAmU.L sAschA BrAemer shAUN reeVes shed (live) shoNKy steVe BicKNeLL tALe oF Us tereNce pArKer terry FrANcis teVo howArd (live) the AdVeNt (live) thUgFUcKer
Photographer: Filippo Chatzis Stylist: Alexandra Saushkina Make-up: Rocio Cordero Hair: Aaron Blondell Vest | Sinstar Leather Jacket | Schott Leggings | Helen Steele Headpieces | Emma Fielden Earrings | Maria Piana For those who are cracked let the light in: Respect Shaps Donna Summer Robin Gibb Jeff Wayne Ross Patel Prince Charles Akis Kollaros Richard ‘Chill’ Hawkins Dan Chandler Stephen Shapcott James Wilson Filippo Chatzis Harriet Chavasse Ross Timms Executive Editors Thomas Frost firstname.lastname@example.org Jake Applebee email@example.com Contributing Editor Geraint Davies firstname.lastname@example.org Marketing / Events Manager Luke Sutton email@example.com
14 18 20 22
c u t co py
european tour - march 2011 3rd 5th 6th 8th 9th 10th 11th
G l a s g o w - D e at h D i s c o S p e c i a l M a n c h e s t e r – N o w Wav e @ G o r i l l a Lo n d o n - T h e F o ru m O s lo - R o c k e r f e l l e r Malmo - KB C o p e n h a g e n - Lo p p e n Stockholm - The Strand
w w w . c u t c o p y. n e t
12th 14th 16th 17th 18th 19th 23rd
w w w. m o d u l a r p e o p l e .c o m
H e l s i n k i - H o u s e o f C u lt u r e Ta l l i n - R o c k C a f é Berlin - Lido Koln - Gebaeude 9 Amsterdam - Melkweg Pa r i s - N o u v e au C a s i n o Lisbon - Coliseum
needs a new shit-filter. Last week, under the ever increasing weight of being ill, accidentally watching Sex, Lies And Rinsing Guys on the TV and then turning over and accidentally watching Mother Truckers, going to bed in a cold sweat, and then waking up to Keane on The Andrew Marr show, the last remaining defences of our purpose built shit-filter collapsed under the indescribable weight of shit we’d been exposed to. Over exposure to shit in most cases can lead to one of two things. Firstly a Big Brother style scenario can occur in which you blindly and willfully accept shit as the norm and become compliant in shit-spreading and recommending shit to your friends under the pretext that shit is in fact good. Shit is never good.
w w w. m ys pa c e .c o m / c u t c o py
Secondly, you go for a walk in the countryside and subsequently chat to Richard Hawley, which is exactly what Crack did (see page 14). Sometimes it takes a man with a highly concentrated filter and refined world view to re-align your parameters, so that whatever shit gets thrown at you, your filter becomes more resistant. In this issue, Crack bought a filter for you and all your friends, before throwing a few darts at the picture of Will.i.am on the back of the door and booking our tickets to see Radiohead in Berlin in July. Thank God for resistance.
Art Direction & Design Jake Applebee Fashion Sarah Barlow Alexander Jordan Alexis Day
Contributors Mavis Botswinga Christopher Goodfellow Mystic Greg Hulio Bourgeois Tom Wiltshire David Reed Tim Oxley-Smith Jon Wiltshire Lucie Grace Philip Allen Claude Barbe-Brown Emyr Glyn Rees Matt Riches Bear Gwills Billy Black Josh Baines Thomas Jones Bee Adamic Mike Coleman Illustrations Lee Nutland James Wilson Crack Magazine Office 12 Studio 31 Berkeley Square Clifton Bristol BS8 1HP CRACK is published by Crack Industries Ltd Advertising To enquire about advertising and to request a media pack contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
07747779952 © All rights reserved. All material in Crack magazine may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of Crack Industries Ltd. Crack Magazine and its contributors cannot accept any liability for reader discontent arising from the editorial features. Crack Magazine reserves the right to accept or reject any article or material supplied for publication or to edit this material prior to publishing. Crack magazine cannot be held responsible for loss or damage to supplied materials. The opinions expressed or recommendations given in the magazine are the views of the individual author and do not necessarily represent the views of Crack Industries Ltd. We accept no liability for any misprints or mistakes and no responsibility can be taken for the contents of these pages.
Crack has been created using: Lucy Pearl - Don’t Mess With My Man Jimi Hendrix - If 6 was 9 Elton Motello - Jet Boy, Jet Girl James - She’s a Star CFCF - Invitation to Love Nicholas Jaar - Essential Mix Julio Bashmore - Au Seve Tim Buckley - Buzzin’ Fly Clutch - Child of the City Damian Marley feat. Nas - Patience Hot Action Cop - Feva 4 Da Flava The Nerves - Give Me Some Time The Young Gods - Kissing the Sun Tom Jones - Chills and Fever Japandroids - The House That Heaven Built We Are Augustines - Juarez Clams Casino - Real Shit From A Real Nigga Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds Oscar Mulero - False Statements Suede - So Young Dntel - Trudge Footprintz - Golden Dreams (Footprintz Remix)
Lovebirds Feat. Stee Downes - Want You In My Soul Master C&J - Face It (Leftside Wobble Re-Edit) Blood Orange - Dinner Joe Jackson - Steppin’ Out Guy Gerber feat Lady Falkor - Lady Falkor Kurt Vile - Jesus Fever Idlewild - These Wooden Ideas Danvers - Loose Filters Auntie Flo - Haven’t Got Anybody Tolga Fidan - Farewell 22 The Game feat. 50 Cent - Hate It Or Love It Mystery Jets - Radlands The War On Drugs - The Animator Moving Fusion And Fierce -Now’s The Time Eurythmics - Thorn In My Side Pachanga Boys - Time Remain - The Beast With Two Backs (Lukas remix) The Field - Everday Eats Everything - Jagged Edge Kindness - House The Rapture - Sail Away Connan Mockasin - Forever Dolphin Love
The Stone Roses - Where Angels Play Paul Simon - Crazy Love, Vol. II OFF! - Man From Nowhere Catwalk - No Room For Love Jessie Ware - What You Won’t Do For Love Fela Kuti - Yellow Fever Beach House - Other People Slugabed - Sex Machinedrum - DDD Dam Funk - Mirrors Actress - Plexus Future of the Left - A Guide To Men The Sonics - Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark Flats - Shuffle Melvins - Blood Witch Didz & Chico - Something New The Fugees - The Score Vincent Gallo - My Beautiful White Dog Youth Lagoon - July Prince - If I Was Your Girlfriend Burial - Pirates Rolf Harris - Stairway To Heaven
FOR A FURTHER INSIGHT INTO OUR FEATURED ARTISTS, We’VE asked
Download OUR EXCLUSIVE JUSTIN MARTIN mix @ crackmagazine.net
THEM to pick their top three records / Albums of the moment. ENJOY.
Brian Wilson - Heroes & Villans Brian Wilson - Vega-tables Brian Wilson - Surf ’s Up
Outfit - Another Night’s Dreams Reach Earth Again Fugazi - 13 Songs Zulu Winter - Language
c u t co py
JUSTIN MARTIN Disclosure - What’s In Your Head Pachanga Boys - Time Kill Frenzy - This One That One
Prince - Parade Danny Brown - Triple X Mute Audio Documents - 1978-1984 - Various
TINARIWEN Toumani Diabaté - Elyne Road Femi Kuti - Obasanjo Amadou & Mariam - Wily Kataso
european tour - march 2011 3rd 5th 6th 8th 9th 10th 11th
G l a s g o w - D e at h D i s c o S p e c i a l M a n c h e s t e r – N o w Wav e @ G o r i l l a Lo n d o n - T h e F o ru m O s lo - R o c k e r f e l l e r Malmo - KB C o p e n h a g e n - Lo p p e n Stockholm - The Strand
w w w . c u t c o p y. n e t
12th 14th 16th 17th 18th 19th 23rd
w w w. m o d u l a r p e o p l e .c o m
H e l s i n k i - H o u s e o f C u lt u r e Ta l l i n - R o c k C a f é Berlin - Lido Koln - Gebaeude 9 Amsterdam - Melkweg Pa r i s - N o u v e au C a s i n o Lisbon - Coliseum
w w w. m ys pa c e .c o m / c u t c o py
LG & Biscuit - Smoke Rings Mo Kolours - Banana Wine Die & Break feat MC Fats & Buggsy - Peace & Dub
100% SILK Ital - Only For Tonight Magic Touch - I Can Feel The Heat Maria Minerva - Ruff Trade
W E ’ V E L A U N C H E D O U R N E W E - T I C K E T S Y S T E M
UWE BRISTOL CREATIVE INDUSTRIES Bower Ashton Campus / Spike Island / BV Studios
E V E R Y O N E W H O B U Y S T W I L L B E E N T E R E D I N T O C O M P E T I T I O N S T O W I N T I C K E T S , S I G N E D P R A N D M O R E
©Paul Darnell, Fine Art
9–14 June 2012
I C K E T S M O N T H L Y M E R C H , I N T S ,
••• C R A C K M A G A Z I N E . N E T / T I C K E T S
crackma g a z i n e . n e t
ALT- J (∆ ) T he C o o ler 1st Ju ne
Luck y D r ago ns T he C ube 1st Ju ne
BLOC Orbital, Snoop Dogg, Steve Reich London Pleasure Gardens July 6th + 7th Weekend £99+BF / Day £55+ BF
R BM A @ Sonar B y D ay
Octo ber T he B a n k 2 n d Ju ne
Flying Lotus, DJ Harvey, Nina Kraviz, DJ Spinn & Rashad, Doc Daneeka, Om Unit, XXXY Barcelona June 14th - 16th 155 Euros Let’s set the scene. One of the world’s sexiest, most cosmopolitan cities, with a carefully selected roster of electronic music’s finest from around the globe, a hot day, a cocktail, and the world’s coolest brand bringing its unique sense of musical experimentation and quality production to the Red Bull Music Academy stage at Sonar By Day. Featuring a host of names that will no doubt astound us, and a few we know will astound us, most notably in the form of house music princess Nina Kraviz, Brainfeeder boss Flying Lotus, and eccentric disco wizard DJ Harvey, to say we are all over this is somewhat of an understatement.
Relocated to a quite frankly phenomenal new setting of London Pleasure Gardens in Royal Victoria Docks, Bloc 2012 is a daring venture to create a cultural utopia in the heart of the capital that has made everyone sit up. Making the most of an insanely varied collection of stages and spaces, the festival is bestowed with a line-up which has the UK’s other major electronic festivals glancing over with envy. From the biggest of big hitters in Orbital, Snoop Dogg, Richie Hawtin, Squarepusher, Ricardo Villalobos and Flying Lotus, as you move down the line-up the quality stays ludicrously high; Battles, Four Tet, Nicolas Jaar, Doom, Shackleton. All signs are pointing at this being one of the best weekends in, like, ever.
A u n tie Flo TB2 22nd June
Fr iendly Fires B2B Fo als DJs S tart Th e B us 3 rd Jun e
T ra sh Talk The Croft 19th June
Gu ita r Wo lf Andr ew Bird Trinity 6 th Ju ne
Ter a M elos T he F leece 7 t h Jun e
Thekla June 6th £12
Ra w M a t er i al s : F our Am er i c an Ar ti s ts : 1 972 to 2007 Bristol Museum and Art Gallery 30th June - 23rd September Free This exhibition is a powerful retrospective of four icons of American conceptual art, displaying key pieces from each individual. The artists in question are New York-based Jenny Holzer, whose sublimely simple yet profound statements – known as ‘truisms’ – are expressed iconically in projected form. Secondly, the influential and versatile Bruce Nauman, whose work in sculpture and video has had a considerable impact, though this exhibition will focus on his striking work with neon. Thirdly, the celebrated Ed Ruscha, a thriving exponent of the Pop Art movement, creating innately American pieces in a range of media. Bronx-born typographic visionary Lawrence Weiner completes a brilliant line-up of talent. This gathering of seminal work from across the pond promises to be an eye-opening treat for anyone with an interest in contemporary art.
If you haven’t seen Wild Zero, then just see it. It stars Japan’s spectacular leather-clad jet rock ‘n’ roll trio just being fucking rad guys and killing zombies and stuff and blaring out their brash, bombastic, in-yourface garage punk where no matter how hard the drums are getting hit, you still strain to hear them over the sheer chest-caving power of Guitar Wolf himself ’s axe. If The Ramones hadn’t been such pussies then maybe they’d have been half as badass as Guitar Wolf. Obviously, The Ramones weren’t pussies. It’s merely a means of pointing out how badass Guitar Wolf are.
C as i no Ti m e s T he L anes 8t h June
Wo o d e n S h jip s The Fleece 10th July
C R A C K @ Parklife
Jamie Jones, Seth Troxler, Ricardo Villalobos Zrce Beach, Island of Pag, Croatia June 29th - July 1st Sold Out
Martyn, Pearson Sound, Jackmaster, Araab Musik June 9th + 10th Platt Fields Park, Manchester Weekend £64.50 / Day £38.50
There’s no shortage of festivals brushing Croatia’s idyllic coastline over the course of the summer, but Hideout’s the one that’s got us booking flights to Pag. Cherry-picking liberally from the very best of the world’s house and techno, Jamie Jones, Seth Troxler, Loco Dice, Maceo Plex, Soul Clap, Four Tet B2B Caribou and countless more are a cert to keep you fist-pumping through the baking heat, all building towards the holy grail of a Ricardo Villalobos headline set. And if you see us acting like bell-ends to Skrillex, that’s between you, me and the sea, k? Boom.
Crack’s Manchester assault continues apace. We’ll be there in force to celebrate the city’s finest weekender, and we’re delighted to be hosting a stage in association with Thrasher. So all day Saturday you’ll find us getting down to the best in bass from some of our favourite artists; recent feature star Martyn, Pearson Sound, AraabMusik, Ben UFO, Jackmaster, Space Dimension Controller, Lone and some other supercool biniss. OK, we might sneak away to catch a bit of Chic with Nile Rodgers, The Flaming Lips and the Crosstown Rebels stage. Sunday, meanwhile, sees the Now Wave stage boasting a bloody game-changing line-up thanks to Twin Shadow, Mount Kimbie, Jessie Ware, The Field and Factory Floor, while across the arenas they got Soul Clap and Wolf & Lamb, De La Soul and Maya Jane Coles. It’s a treat mate, meet you down the park.
S wi m D e e p S t art T he Bus 9t h June
Ea ts Ev e r y th in g Motion 3rd June
N or m an Jay Bi g Chi l l 9t h June
La Sera T he Fl eece 15 t h June
El e k t ro s ta t ic F e st iv a l Arnolfini / Colston Hall June 10th-12th Prices vary
Gra n d ma ste r Fla sh Lakota 22nd June
Th e Ri nky D i nks Th e Fl eece 15 t h June
Some might say ‘Contemporary Classical’ is an oxymoron, but in truth there have been some truly staggering classical pieces penned in the modern era, and this festival is a celebration of contemporary classical music in all its forms. Directed by Bristol-based composer Richard Barnard and working closely with Bristol Ensemble, Elektrostatic is a series of talks, workshops and stunning concerts from the Ensemble themselves as well as welcoming one of the UK’s finest groups Psappha, across two of the city’s most respected and atmospheric venues.
1 00% S ilk / P la n e The Motorcycle Showroom June 8th / June 1st - 17th £8 In 100% Silk, Amanda Brown has constructed a boutique label of singular vision, her own LA Vampires forging warped, filthy pop, licking its lips at the dancefloor in the least obvious of ways, and forming a distinctive label sound by somehow finding a lovingly-assembled gathering of peers. This label roadshow sees the Vampires joined by Maria Minerva, Ital, Magic Touch and some special guests bringing their curiously seductive magic to this stunning space (see our 100% feature on page 34). And while we’re in the area, the Bristol Biennial art festival will also be coming to The Motorcycle Showroom in the form of Plane, the venue’s resident artists Slucutt and Watts’ presentation of “a temporary immersion in speculative modeling and architectural immanence.” Intriguing.
C ra c k M a g a z in e 3rd Bir thday w/ R eebok R adi o
A ddi s on Gr oove T hek l a 15 t h June
E L-B T he Crof t 16t h June
Line Up TBA Secret Location – Bristol August 11th
Latitu d e
£10 We’re three years old and, rather conveniently, our birthday falls smack bang in the middle of summer. Even more conveniently it’s during Olympic week, so all you little party heads will be in town as no festival with half a brain cell is getting their jig on that weekend. In a final piece of wonderful convenience, we’re joining forces with Reebok Radio to throw a massive nine-hour party in a secret location in Bristol. Featuring a wealth of artists we’ve championed over the three years we’ve been doing this ‘ere magazine, we’re making sure this one goes off with an absolute bang. Expect BBQ, expect décor, expect surprises, expect guest DJ slots from team Crack, and expect one of the most varied parties you’ve ever attended. Fuck the Olympic Closing Ceremony… they’ve got nothing on this shindig.
Bon Iver, Metronomy, Richard Hawley, The Horrors, Other Lives, The Field, Kurt Vile Henham Park, Suffolk July 12th – July 15th £175 The thinking man’s festival returns with it s assured line-up of all things beautiful in music, theatre, comedy and spoken word. This year headlined by the magical Bon Iver and featuring a carefully curated selection of acts, Latitude has become a must on many a festival goer’s list for a reason.
Jackm as t e r T hek l a 2 2 nd June
Superpower: Africa in Science Fiction Until 1 July
Full Moon Orchestra Special: A Space Odyssey Tue 5 Jun, 7pm, Free
11am–6pm Tue–Sun & Bank Hol Mon, Admission free
Film Arnolfini cinema is fully licensed
The Desire Called Utopia & Other Science Fictions Thu 14 Jun, 6.30pm, Free
Live Art / Dance You & Your Work 9 Fri 15 & Sat 16 Jun, Free Zoi Dimitriou Company: You May! Fri 22 Jun, 7.30pm, £10/£8 Concs
Cinema Workshop: Martians of Africa Sat 23 Jun, 2.30pm–6pm, £12/£10 Concs
You May! Symposium Sat 23 Jun, 11am–2pm, £8
Africa Paradis & The Bloodettes Sat 30 Jun, 8pm, £6.50/£5 Concs
Film Exercise: Screening & Discussion Thu 21 Jun, 6.30pm, Free
T: 0117 917 2300 / 01 E: BOXOFFICE@ARNOLFINI.ORG.UK 16 NARROW QUAY, BRISTOL BS1 4QA
Bristol’s Big Green Week 2012 Sat 9–Sun 17 Jun Plus talks and courses, Bookshop (Nus 10% off on Wed) and Café Bar (open daily from 10am)
Wanuri Kahiu, Pumzi, Film Still, 2010
Exhibition Tours 2pm every Sat, Free
Elektrostatic Festival Sun 10–Tue 12 Jun, £12/£10 each event
New store opening 6th June www.photographique.co.uk 27 Clare Street, Bristol, BS1 1XA 0117 930 0622
The w Sho 22 20011
Fine Arts Degree Show 09.06.2012-‐ 14.06.2012
UWE Spike Island Studios 133 Cumberland Road Bristol BS1 6UX
Ryat Ryat is the latest release to appear on Flying Lotus’s Brainfeeder’s imprint and fuck us sideways, he’s done it again. To describe Brainfeeder as a label is doing it a disservice, it’s more of a unique sound orchestrated by Lotus’ signature beats. Ryat stays true to this on her debut album Totem, but also floods the whole record with her wonderful Bjork-style vocals. Each track is named after an animal, but don’t let the concept put you off, it’s an incredible debut effort. So to recap that’s Flying Lotus style beats combined with Bjork. We’d probably get involved with that.
The choice mix from the Crackcast series this month sees Justin Martin pushing in a fresh direction. The natural heir to Claude Von Stroke’s Dirtybird crown has been stepping out on his own of late with a brand new album called Ghettos And Gardens, and his new direction in sound is illustrated quite superbly in this varied mix effort for Crack showcasing him in a considerably revamped guise. There’s still the trademark Dirtybird bass, but there’s a whole load more texture to proceedings exemplified by tracks from Doc Daneeka, Robag Wruhme and John Tejada. The man himself described this as “perhaps his best mix ever”, a description that doesn’t fall short. Expect more of this kind of fare when Justin touches down for Love Saves The Night at Motion in Bristol on Sunday June 3rd and a whole host of tour dates this summer.
Pa ch a n g a Bo y s Rebolledo and Superpitcher are two heavyweights on Kompakt, a label that has us consistently dribbling. Introducing The Pachanga Boys; a Kompakt dream team with a sound they describe as ‘hippie dance’. Personally we don’t think hippies would really go in for this, but most people with an ear for beautiful, flowing, emotive electronic music will. Standout production, the wonderful 15 minute journey that is Time, is an absolute game-changing slice of lamentful house that goes by like it’s only four minutes long. Look out for rare live dates. Tune: Time
Tune: Seahorse myspace.com/pachangaboys
Coming soon: Maria Minerva | Juju & Jordash myspace.com/ryat
File Next To: Superpitcher | Todd Terje
crackmagazine.net/mixes File Next To: Bjork | Flying Lotus
L a u re l C o lle c t iv e Either Laurel Collective are one of the best kept secrets in the country, or we’ve been missing a trick somewhere. Because the tunes on this London band’s debut full-length Heartbeat Underground are lush. And not lush in the grand, orchestral sense, but in the sense of “oh my god, that’s LUSH.” See They Hate Me’s cutesy vocals are given a peculiarly sinister edge by some very intelligent guitar work, and the nagging lick and quirky vocals of Sunshine Buddy is superb. Cheap’s fuzz-bass displays the band in a harder light, while measured, dynamic closer Fizzing Blood proves the band also know when to leave the trimmings well alone. Smart British guitar pop. We love it.
Mafi a Lig h ts
This trio of Surrey boys effortlessly won a place in our hearts with their appearance at our last party at The Nest, their combination of thoughtful, atmospheric beats and considered live instrumentation floating through the room and filling us with loveliness. The detail and maturity of their song structure belies the scarily low number of their cumulative ages, while vocalist Joel Arley’s earnest, loved-up delivery is a revelation. Having already taken the bold move of a remix collection, this is an inventive and extremely ‘of the moment’ set of lads. We dig.
Be n in C it y
The ninth effort since Futureboogie reinvented itself as a shit-hot record imprint sees Ben Jacobs’s Crackazat project joins a pretty illustrious roll call of artists. His latest EP, Tunnel, displays an artist entirely at home with creating the unpredictable; the title-track fills every progressive second of its nine minutes with ideas, from driving rhythms to delicate and expertly turned-out keys and elements of everything from jazz to techno. On the other side find Book On The Beach, which freely embraces traditional rootsy percussion to elating effect, and the warm 106 bpm wig-out Panick Aggressive. Get your grotty mitts on it July 2nd.
You have to hand it to the Audio Doughnuts label; they know how to keep it interesting. Having spent 2011 hosting the sort of bass bin-busting parties that Tory Ministers lobby to get shut down, the incorrigibly on-point club collective have drawn a wildcard for the release of Baby, their debut cut as a label from Benin City. It’s fairly stark and paranoid stuff from the silver-tongued wordsmith who brought LV’s Routes to life last year, but Benin City’s anxious clash of swelling brass, mournful laments and inky electronics make Baby a captivating debut from a beguiling new act and a burgeoning young label.
File Next To: Midland | Will Saul
File Next To: LV| Planet Mu
Tune: Spiriting Tune: Fax of Death therearemafialights.tumblr.com laurelcollective.com File Next To: Yeasayer | Tanlines File Next To: Mystery Jets | Animal Collective
ÂŠ Richard Hawley
DATES S ept 14 th – S e p t 1 6th | Fe sti val N o . 6, Po rt m e ir io n S ept 21st | The Pavi l i on, Bath Oct 3rd | B ri x ton A cad e m y, Londo n
WORDS T ho mas Fro s t
TUN E D on’ t S t ar e A t T h e S u n
There’s something deeply reassuring about a Guinness drinking, Malboro smoking, quiff sporting middle-aged teddy boy with a thick Yorkshire accent finding much warranted commercial success amidst the mire of mediocrity that the album chart now represents.
that I suppose I revealed I’d got a half decent voice, and it would have been so silly to bury it under a load of guitar. But for this album, the songs and ideas I was coming up with warranted a heavy stance, if you like. To me it was very direct and if you throttled that it would stop being direct. It seemed the solution was the thing I have in my hand every day. And it wasn’t my dick, it was my guitar.
S I TE ri chardhaw l ey.co.uk
I always like to have something to do with Sheffield and it is a nod to the city. Someone said recently that it’s Richard Hawley’s psycho-geography of his hometown, and I sort of thought that was an interesting way to look at it. I thought it was more of a metaphor of where we are as a country and I suspect a planet. I can only write about it from the perspective of someone from Sheffield, but I think there will be many people who relate. I literally As we write this, his new album, Standing At The Sky’s Edge, is number think we are stood at the edge right now, politically and socially, and if we three in the album charts. Richard Hawley has gatecrashed Keane and It’s a really interesting juxtaposition of the raw themes you sing don’t reverse certain negative thinking we will never be able to reverse it. Scouting For Girls’ top ten album chart party. The fizzy pop got binned and about and a huge astral rock sound. The definition of civilisation or being civil is that we care for our sick and Guinness is on the house. And much like his rich, dark, depthy-flavoured elderly and give them a dignified end to their life, or we help them recover, tipple of choice his new record is likely to have an enduring resonance. The subject matter of the song is elemental, but it still contains a certain but at the same time we cherish and nourish our kids and give them hope Hawley’s seventh album is a masterpiece. aspect of the domestic as well. There are more cosmic themes in there, but and a decent education. These bastards in power now really are quite that comes from pondering mortality rather than wondering what’s at frightening in that they aren’t idiots, they’re very clever people. Thatcher To say Hawley’s songwriting style has changed is a falsity; there is still the other end of the galaxy. This is a very personal and immediate to ones was a wannabe toff. This lot actually are the toffs. They are trying to that reassuring sincerity, and the themes deployed on Standing At The self kind of thought. If you are lucky enough to get to a certain age, people reverse 200 years of history from 1815 when the Enclosures Act came Sky’s Edge certainly bear resemblance to previous work. The mournful start shuffling off the mortal coil and you’d have to have the emotional into force (legislation that enclosed open fields and common land in the lament is there (Seek It), the love song, a staple of Hawley’s previous solo range of a rhinoceros’s arse to not ponder these things. country. This removed previously existing rights of local people to carry out output, makes its presence felt on opener She Brings The Sunlight, and the activities in these areas). When you see an arial view of Britain you just see habitual reference to Sheffield is immediately visible in carved out fields. It wasn’t like that once. All the lords the album title (Sky Edge being a slightly rougher area and ladies took that land and carved it up and rented of Sheffield blessed with a wonderful view of the city). it to farmers so it went back to a feudal system, which had ended in the 1600s. In that period of time it used to The trick Hawley manages to pull off with such be called ‘common land’. If anywhere near you is called “ W h e n I ’ m a w a y I d o n ’ t t h i n k of glorious aplomb is to project these themes via something ‘common’, it’s called that for a reason, it a musical style far removed from the crooning means it’s common land to the common man. That’s B e e f e at e r s a n d B u c k i n g h a m Pa l a c e , rockabilly and one-man guitar act we’d become just one part of it though. What kick-started the record accustomed to on previous album efforts. The fare was when I walking the dog in and around Sheffield as I t h i n k of t h e f u c k i n g b oo z e r s . ” on the new record is an aggressive, dark form of it’s got amazing green space. I’ve got a collie and I’ve psychedelic space-rock that takes these overarching walked miles with him. It stops him from becoming a themes and applies them solely to the individual. fat bastard. I’ve re-engaged massively with the green Yet the underlying anger and musical grandiosity spaces in and around Sheffield. I don’t know another on the album is what drives the whole vehicle forward. There is a sense city like it, really. The woodland I was walking around is like, 5,000 years of foreboding derived from a number of themes, not least the untimely old. It’s ancient and the first thing the Government wanted to do was to death of best-friend and guitarist in Jarvis Cocker’s band Tim McCall, but It’s nice that you’ve done it this way instead of writing a series of sell off all the woodland areas in a piece of legislation that was going to also the pondering of mortality in the wake of such politically troubling emotional, mournful laments. It’s very refreshing to attack it in this privatise the woodland areas of this country. I was just fucking outraged, and turbulent times. Hawley is going deeper than ever before, and grandiose way. because what that implies is that me and you have no access whatsoever it’s compelling. to any recreational spaces. It didn’t even belong to them in the first place. The thing is, we’re alive! That’s the dichotomy. All we’ve got is now. That’s You can’t sell what doesn’t belong to you. The electric guitars are cranked up to tremulous levels on Down In The the weird irony of it all; if you are in any way a thinking, sensitive or pensive Woods and Leave Your Body Behind You, the scenes of Hawley’s most person, so much of your life is spent pondering those thing and then before Isn’t Nick Clegg the MP for Sheffield and Hallam? immersive thoughts. Who would have predicted something as placid as you know it, your number’s up pal! I thought I’d try a different approach, long strolls with the dog could have inspired such kaleidoscopic music? rather than crying with my tongue up my arse. I thought, ‘let’s ‘ave it!’ Yeah, he is. When these cunts got in there was a riot in our polling station, Instead of alienating the audience with effect-laden psychedelia, the because it’s really polarised where I live. It’s old Labour here, really really themes on the record tether it with the human sincerity we’ve come to It’s really nice to see you’ve retained Sheffield as the consistent old. Like, Jurassic Labour, like me. The other half are kind of aspiring take for granted from Hawley. inspiration. The themes on the album are as personal and close to people. I don’t know where their fucking heads are. Anyway there was a home as they have ever been. massive fucking riot because they tried to close a polling station and loads Determinedly set in his ways, the trademark sunglasses, leather jacket of left-wing voters that turned up really late, as in the last half an hour, and reassuring working class earnestness are still there, precisely the The basic music is always about sense of place. If you think about a lot of went mental because they tried to close the polling station. variables that made us fall in love with him in the first place, but the blues, folk and old country music, a lot of it is about place. Even little folk former Pulp and Longpigs man has a new found fire in his belly born from songs that use space rock are often very much of the personal and even As time goes on Sheffield seems to be undergoing a change in terms dissatisfaction. The troubadour never allows the new colour in his guitar domestic. It implies quite massive things. I am but a man and a human, of how it looks and new businesses coming to the area. playing and gnarled teeth to get the better of him and tip the sound over but if you write about what you know and what you know to be absolutely the edge; this is Hawley as potent as you could imagine. Crack’s interview fucking true from colloquial or personal experience, I’m pretty certain a Take the Thornbridge Brewery. There are pubs closing down all over with him over a cigarette and an early morning coffee was a wake-up call lot of human beings will be feeling the same thing. Our needs as human Britain every day and I love me’ pubs. When I’m away I don’t think of of the most invigorating proportions. beings haven’t changed all that much since we crawled into caves. We Beefeaters and Buckingham Palace, I think of the fucking boozers. But need food, water and shelter. Love and art are the beautiful luxuries you this Thornbridge Brewery has saved loads of awesome oldies – y’know, see in life. these awesome spit and sawdust wood structure pubs – from going to the What has prompted the change of direction on the new record and knacker’s yard. They are massively successful, but at the same time you what, if anything, has re-ignited your love for the electric guitar? You write almost unapologetically about the finery of the working get loads of other good businesses that are struggling. It’s a strange time. class, and it’s great to see working class romance explored in this Where I’m from and where my grandparents are from, parts of them are The passion for the guitar has never died, y’know. The method in which I stratospheric way. The title of the album, Standing At The Sky’s like no-go areas now. Parts of Sheffield like Pitsmoor and Fir Park are quite used to deploy it was a lot subtler. It wasn’t really deliberate, but when I Edge, refers to a working class area of Sheffield, right? sketchy to go out at night, yet you get these other parts of the city that are went solo, I was very conscious that a lot of guitarists that go solo make really nice. really bad records. I’ve written songs since I was a kid, so it was important Cheers, I’m glad it works. Sky Edge is one of the first places that was ever the change to going solo was focused squarely on the song, and in doing inhabited. There was an iron-age fort there and the Romans settled there. There is obviously a lot of anger and frustration on the new record,
© Richard Hawley
l i t e r a l ly
is this subconsciously your most political album to date? Maybe. It’s politics with a little ‘p’ though, because I’m not as eloquent as someone like Billy Bragg who has political argument in his songs. My songs are more about reaction and how it affects the individual. It’s definitely a colloquial response, but political writing is probably for someone else, though I have done it before. Tonight The Streets Are Ours was definitely a response to politicians patting themselves on the back after creating the ASBO. I just wanted to stove the fucking TV in. I just thought, ‘you fucking cowards. You’ve never had the balls to look at the root causes of what makes someone behave like that.’ It takes years for someone to be that dysfunctional. I get angry now and again over things like that and I just rear up and write songs. We were in London a few weeks ago to watch Pulp at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the Teenage Cancer Trust’s series of gigs. For a Pulp fan it couldn’t get more glorious than that. It must have been great to back on stage with the old gang again? It was lovely because that might be the last time we’re all together again. There was that bit in the concert where Jarv got everyone to shine little lights at the beginning of This Is Hardcore. Steve (Mackey, Pulp bassist) and me were stood together in a line and the hairs on the back of our necks just stood up. There’s a real connection there. It’s almost like electricity, you can really feel it. It’s connecting with people on a level that’s actually
think n ow , don’t wi l l
s t oo d
p o l i t ic a l l y , reverse
s oci a l l y
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n e g a t iv e
quite hard to do. It’s great going onstage with Jarv and the guys. When you’re with a front man like Jarv, it’s like going onstage with a nuclear bomb, y’know what I mean? The irony of it is that the band is probably at the height of their powers at the moment. It’s often the way when a band retires and people have the opportunity to sit on their material that you don’t realise what you’ve got til it’s gone. Absolutely. When we decided to stop for a bit, I don’t think any of us realised how long it was going to be. I remember they released that Greatest Hits thing, which I personally thought was a really bad mistake, and the whole thing just stiffed. It’s not a rose-tinted glasses kind of thing though, things take time to mature and there are certain things that are evergreen and will always be great, and a lot of the Pulp stuff is so culturally and lyrically astute and on the money it won’t ever change really.
i t. ”
One of the Crack team, Lucie, is the founding member of the Longpigs group on Facebook. She wanted you to know it still gets a solid amount of attention. I don’t do it, all that. I went on this forum we set up a couple of years ago, but it does me head in. The internet is a repository for all the human race is, good or bad, but I can’t hack the head-swiveling, eye-revolving nutters on there, they do my head in to the point that all the good folks that are sincere, good and nice are lost. You are just reading vicious things. It’s some fat bloke in his pants that’s done a media studies degree in Swansea who is just bored. He’s being vicious for the sake of it and I don’t really want to connect with people like that man. I want to connect with people that are on a bit more of a higher plain. Finally, what cigarettes do you smoke, what do you drink, and what hair product do you use?
Obviously with a date at Brixton Academy, an album high in the charts, and a full UK tour, this must be an exciting time for you as an artist. Seven albums down and playing your biggest gig yet?
Malboro Lights – student fags, but I’ve been smoking them for years. I used to smoke Embassy, but then I went France and everyone was smoking them. I drink Guinness, and Black And White for my hair.
It’s right good, but let’s count our chickens when they hatch pal, know what I mean? I just hope some people show up. I’ll be a bit bored if it’s just us.
Illustration by Cat Johnston
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FARMFESTIVAL SOMERSET 27-28 JULY 2012
ÂŠ Zen Sekizawa
DATES J u ne 2n d | Fi e l d Day, London J u ne 12th | X OYO, Lond on J u ne 15th | Ruby Loung e , Manche s t e r
W ORD S G era int Da vi s
TUN E A Ri n g O n E v e r y F i n g e r
S I TE l i arsl i arsl i ars.com
Ev en by L iars’ standards, t h eir sixt h record W I X I W is a bolt from t h e blue .
Liars’ Aaron Hemphill lies prone, unconscious, in the back of an unmarked laundry van. Cellophane pulled across his face, his shock of white blonde hair is pressed tightly against his head, limbs bound. Alongside him, similarly trussed up, lies the band’s rangy vocalist Angus Andrew and drummer Julian Gross, the trio having been accosted by the vehicle’s seemingly inconspicuous driver. The scene is soundtracked by a bubbling, bleary, engrossing electronic backing. It’s the music video for No. 1 Against The Rush, the first single from Liars’ sixth album, WIXIW. Two years ago, Andrew could be found alone in a dinghy drifting in a vast sea, barraged relentlessly by a tidal wave of rocks; three years previous he was driving a muscle car wildly through a barren desert as an endless beam of white light spewed from his mouth. When it comes to dropping a new record with a resonant thud, Liars know what they’re doing. Since early this year a steady, curiosity-tweaking stream of video clips have dribbled onto Liars’ website. Building over time, a gradual mesh illustrating the assembly of the record has revealed itself. The videos display a band falling in love with a process, discovering, exploring, pushing themselves and celebrating their difference. These are tens of fascinating creative bursts in themselves, in turn capturing the method behind the record. Some of the footage of the band accumulating unusual samples is fabulously eccentric; an apple being plugged in and eaten, an electric razor left alone to clatter on a table, the distinctive hum and clang of a halogen light; fluid dripping onto foil from a height; a microphone encased in ice, attached to a broom or simply dragged along the road. God knows how long this collecting process went on, and god knows how many of these sounds were used, but it’s clear these steps were integral to the creation of WIXIW. Multi-instrumentalist Aaron sees these videos as key to the band’s interaction with their audience: “It’s a fairly new standard with the internet, how bands or artists interact with fans via these new media of communication. I think really it was exciting for us to find our footing in this world.” But plenty of artists manage to maintain fan interaction without going to such lengths? “For us, we like to maintain an element of mystery, so the record is open for interpretation. We love to have a connection with the people who listen to our records or are interested in our band, but we also don’t want to dictate how people interpret things.” This interpretive nature is none more evident than in the album’s title. When the listener is allowed to choose how to say an album’s name, you know they’ve been handed considerable control. “We don’t want to dictate meaning”, Aaron continues to stress. “We just want people to enjoy it and take it as far as they want to go. It’s not meant to be a concept that people either get or don’t.” There is so much to draw from the name both visually and audibly (we’re plumping for a loose, kind of ‘wishoo’ pronunciation, in case you’re wondering); it is not only palindromic but also symmetrical to the eye, a seductive blend of capitals that immediately rings of Roman numerals and begs, rather than asks, questions. A history of the Brooklyn three-piece’s album titles displays a band placing painstaking thought into each aspect of their presentation. Digging into the catalogue, They Threw Us All In A Trench And Stuck A Monument On Top was a seriously bold and knowingly ostentatious title for a debut record, its follow-up also referring to a demonised ‘they’: They Were Wrong, So We Drowned, based around American witch folklore. 2006’s Drum’s Not Dead, meanwhile refers to the album’s conceptual main character, Drum. Yet between those creations and 2010’s Sisterworld came the unimaginable; a simply self-titled effort. Aaron is clear about each respective title’s relation to the record behind it. “[The self-titled album] wasn’t a statement in terms of rock history, it was more where we were at the time. We felt we wanted to make something that was more ... straightforward. We
spent a lot less time on that record because we wanted something more immediate and simple. Drum’s ... and ... Drowned were perceived as having an all-encompassing concept, and I think at every point we wanted to make the title as indicative of our feelings at the time as possible.” And creating WIXIW – the word, the idea, the image, the sound – is a reflection of a band looking to challenge both themselves and their audience. Because this record sees the Liars template, ever the experimental, percussive, atmospheric patchwork, pushed sharply into electronic territory. A bold move by a band defined by bold moves, it sees the aforementioned banks of samples spread across a glitchy, beaty, programmed sound that few could have predicted. See Octagon, with its pulsing bass and sample held together by Andrew’s monotone, droning vocal and distant, irresistible melodies, or the unpredictably drawling title-track and album centerpiece that features layers of far-reaching chords set against a backdrop of clattering percussion. Most strikingly, Brats’ sudden and striking pop-techno is an excursion into wholly alien territory. All in all, WIXIW is probably the last place you expected Liars to go, which if you were playing hide-and-seek with them should always be the first place you look. “We’ve always used electronics in some aspects”, explains Aaron, “but I think the biggest difference is that we learned new programmes and techniques. This is electronic in a different way. It comes up frequently that we always steer away from our past and that we’re always changing, and I think that’s true to an extent; we change the tools that we use, but I think we’ve always been interested in beats. I’d hope there’s some continuity or a thread that runs through all the records despite the change in tools.” This severe departure towards an untested realm required a reliable sounding board; an esteemed filter to ensure the band’s electronic wanderlust did not turn to misadventure. For that role the band needed look no further than the head of the label that has released their output since 2004. Having formed the legendary Mute Records in 1978 and played a key role in the incipient, experimental days of electronic music, Daniel Miller is a figure of considerable authority. Mute released key records from the likes of Erasure and Depeche Mode, as well as countless less celebrated but pivotal peers, so Miller knows a thing or two about the creative bravery of an artist extending into an uncomfortable, unknowable electronic realm. It’s fascinating to hear Aaron become animated when waxing lyrical about some of the label’s output, gushing, “the Mute catalogue never ceases to amaze us” and “it’s hard to believe how current it sounds with where music is today”. The implication is clear; that this latest release on Mute owes a great deal to many which have come before. It’s difficult to make inroads into what has prompted Liars’ latest deviation. The band’s recording process appears to be a combination of chaos and insularity. External factors and influence are at a minimum; each development is a direct result of where Liars were and where they want to be next. “It was a natural development”, Aaron tells us. “With Sisterworld we attempted to refine and express our attempt at traditional songwriting in a rock context, so all of the instruments were recorded traditionally. This time we wanted to record an album on our own, through computers, in less of a studio environment.” Curiously, the band recorded the majestic, pounding, moving single piece Drum’s Not Dead in Berlin, yet WIXIW might be considered more in line with the heritage attached to that location. Aaron is quick to dismiss any residual influence. “Any sound parallels with Berlin within that record were coincidental. If we wanted to make a ‘Berlin’ electronic record and listen to those records and attempt to be a part of that, it wouldn’t work. When we make songs it’s so chaotic, in a sense that we’re really just trying to create sounds we’re excited by. We’re not really capable of intentionally incorporating sonic influences. It’s all coincidental.”
It’s perhaps this inward-facing nature that makes this such a personal and at times anxious release for the band to make. “Certainly,” Aaron confesses. “It’s been hard. We’re still nervous and somewhat doubtful. It’s scary, this record, for us.” When it’s put to Aaron that perhaps putting traditional instrumentation aside breeds a certain vulnerability, he immediately disagrees, before double-guessing himself. “No, I don’t think so ... actually, know what, you’re right. I think the fact that we used programmes we’ve never used before does open up another area for us to be scared. We’re really novice at the electronic world, so that is an element of it. But also, there are far bigger factors. It’s a very personal record and the whole process was so rewarding and so exciting, but it’s really scary, we feel like we’ve put a lot into it and there’s a lot on the line.” Much of this ‘personal’ nature refers to the album’s lyrical content. From previously playing with telling stories and creating images, at times being direct and at others stunningly cryptic, this appears to be the band’s most introspective record to date. “This is where we’re coming from personally and what we’re trying to address. This is doubt and the emotions associated with that.” Kicking off with a song entitled The Exact Colour Of Doubt and lets the listener know exactly where the album is thematically headed. That Liars chose to simultaneously put themselves on the line in terms of their sound and their words explains doubly why this release is riddled with such doubt. “When we finished the record I was very proud and confident, because we love it so much. But the fear and anxiety comes when you factor in the listener. It’s like, ‘oh god, I didn’t even think about that.’ I don’t know if we’d have even had the capacity to think about that until the record was done.” In truth, it’s genuinely surprising to hear how a band so freely associated with ruthless creative evolution, seemingly without a care for trends or reception, can find themselves so anxious about a release. If anything, the most surprising step they’ve taken in ten years was in making two records previous to this that were so relatively accessible. Don’t forget, this is a band who had the temerity to end their first album with This Dust Makes That Mud, a 30 minute piece, the last 25 or so are made of the same hypnotising, intoning riff, looping until it ingrains itself on the inside of your skull. We’ve listened to it all the way through a dozen times. “I would normally never listen to that back”, Aaron comments, “but I recently did. It just reminds me of how much fun we had and how ... not lightly we took it, but how playful we were with recording. ‘We’ll leave this to loop until the CD can’t go any more’, and the vinyl has a lock groove that replicates that effect.” It’s intriguing that doing something so daring, so perverse, and so silly came naturally to the young band. “I remember the thinking behind that song, that it’s the song that comes on at the end of a rave and everyone’s drugs are wearing off and it’s a huge bummer. Reality kicks in and the longer the song goes on the more you have to think about reality.” The anxiety that one day people would actually listen to that sound never really dawned on them; never mind that people might still be listening to it ten years later. “We just made these decisions on the fly. ‘Let’s loop it forever!’ It’s good to listen to that stuff and think back on that sort of spirit and try to maintain that six records in.” He becomes pensive. “It’s hard, but we still manage to make decisions that are captured on the final product that make us say ‘god, did we really do that?’ And that’s what keeps it feeling fresh and exciting for us.” And maybe that’s what’s kept it fresh and exciting for us too.
WIXIW is released on Mute on June 4th
WORDS: C lau de B a rb é -Brown
TUN E E S P ( E x t r a S e n s or y Pe r f e c t i on )
S I TE y nr-product i ons.co.uk
Have you been seduced by telectronic bleeps and glitches on latest album The Dragon of an Ordinary Family?
thing. LL Cool J, Rick Rubin, DJ Premier, J Dilla. Dilla is a huge influence but I think there is a lot of bandwagon jumping though with the Dilla thing. Let’s not forget that Dilla himself was a student of Premier, Pete Rock, D.I.T.C, Marley Marl, and he would openly say that. It’s important to give credit and see the lineage of music. We were in the car the other day and Slipperz is listening to CDs and breaking down Mozart; literally breaking down sections of the music, talking about it, some deep shit. So y’know, the longer you do it, the more you notice things, and try to learn. I can’t read or write music, but that’s another thing; I’m like, ‘let me look at traditional modes of making music’. I’ve grown up in this hip-hop thing with like drum machines, turntables, and then everything’s become computer-based, or synth-based and electronic right now, and that seems to be where everyone is going. But hold up – you still need to know what an E sharp is.
I L LU STRAT ION: J a mes Wilson j ameswilso ni l l ustrati on.com
It’s rare to find an artist within a particular scene or genre as well respected as Jehst is within UK hip-hop. Born William G. Shields in Kent, the 32 year-old also known as The High Plains Drifter, Billy Brimstone and Jay Star has, over a 14 year career thus far, enlightened fans and inspired fellow musicians. With razor-sharp delivery, poignant content and wordplay that is mindmeltingly scientific, Jehst blew up on the UK scene from the word go, his skill in music production completing a devastating combination of talents. His debut Premonitions EP in 1999 was released on his own YNR Productions, which he co-founded with Leeds hip-hop artist Tommy Evans. With no topic too hot to touch for the young MC and a knack for visualising concepts in the mind of the listener, Jehst’s popularity and attention gripping draw appealed to the old guard and newcomers to the scene. An almost instant hot commodity, it wasn’t long until acts such as Task Force, and producers such as Evil Ed and Harry Love came a-knocking. His career reflects a considered and well-timed approach, rather than a flooding of the market, with a number of years between each solo album release. With his own label, he has not only enabled a means of control for his personal creativity, but also created a platform responsible for perpetuating the careers of many up and coming or established artists.. We met Jehst at Unit 15; an intriguing venue nestled away in an industrial estate in Bristol’s Old Market. It was the perfect setting for one of his first gigs featuring a full live band. This band consists of members who are respected musical forces in their own right, with Micall Parknsun on vocals and MPC, Jazz T on turntables, Louis Slipperz on bass, Fae Simon also on vocals, and Kwake on drums. Crack sat down with him to discuss old and new relationships, Robocop, Mozart, and of course the megaconstruct that is music, with all its existential trimmings.
You’ve been a prominent name on the UK hip-hop scene for a long time now, working with Tommy Evans, Klashnekoff, Lewis Parker and other big hitters. 13 years or so on, are those bonds still strong? It’s a big question. You know, some of the bonds over the years – like my man Harry Love – we ain’t done no work musically for years, that’s my boy so it doesn’t matter whether we are doing music or not. But you know, life just changes people’s agendas and directions, so it’s hard for everyone to stay tight the way the fans like to think. Sadly it ain’t like that. Is embarking on this new live set-up with a full band an attempt to discover a new dimension in your personal style, or an effort to maintain a classic hip-hop sound? I think the band has both elements to it. It allows me to expand and do something different as people have only really seen me with a traditional hip-hop set-up, just DJ, two turntables and a mic, bang! But then at the same time, the way we’ve approached the band is very stripped down. It’s all about the drummer, and the drummer still controls he loops and sample-based stuff. He’s got the Roland pads, so it’s like drums, bass, DJ, we got the MPC as well. It’s still very stripped down and hip-hop. We haven’t tried to recreate every element. I suppose actually it is a traditional hip-hop sound, even though a lot of people would say traditional hip-hop is just straight up programmed MPC, SP 12 and whatever drum machine shit. But even a record like Rapper’s Delight and Chic - Good Times; they replayed, they didn’t sample it because they didn’t have the technology to do it then. I put it off for a long time because I didn’t want to take on the responsibility of so many people to organise, but you know, it’s something we will hopefully keep running with. I’m really enjoying it, it’s refreshing bruv, and a new lease of life for the material as well.
I have to really give credit to LG for the sound of The Dragon ... and a lot of the production on there. I think some people probably think it was a conscious effort to kind of push for a more electronic or glitchy sound. But in truth, the album was so long in the making and constantly getting put on the back burner. There are tracks on there that span, like, a five to six year period. When LG was dropping those beats on me, I’d never even heard the kind of sound that has become current in hip-hop and we kind of associate with Brainfeeder. I wasn’t hearing nothing like that. The same way those guys have developed that sound by just building on their hip-hop influences, and obviously a heavy Dilla influence, I guess we just naturally took a similar path. So stuff like the intro track, he must have dropped that beat on me in 2007, but it works with the band, and obviously the newer tracks are easier to adapt because I’ve still got all the files. If we were gonna do the old shit, I’d be like ‘we’re gonna have to get an Atari ST and dust it down!’ It’s just what we do, know what I mean? We just try and stick with what we’re feeling. There’s a lot of serious and gritty content in your lyrics, but you still manage to keep a sense of fun, especially in your videos. Is that a hard balance to maintain? I don’t know, I think that’s just natural man. It’s just a reflection of my personality and my attitude towards life. Anyone with a conscience can see there is a lot of fucked up shit going on, but then you can get so wrapped up in it that you become part of it. If you think there is more to life than that, you can’t give all of your energy to fighting it all the time. That might sound a little bit defeatist, but I really believe that. I see people just smoking, drinking, whatever, and they’re getting wrapped up in all these social issues in their head, and mixing it up with their personal issues. It’s just soul-destroying shit. I feel it’s important to stay conscious; to discuss shit and be aware, but at the same time don’t let that same shit drag you into the gutter. Life is here to be enjoyed. I think things like the Nuke Proof Suit (a video where Jehst parodies the way the war on terror has invaded everyday life) was an effort to counterbalance, even in terms of the content of the music. It was tongue in cheek shit, but actually a serious concept about post 9/11 fear and everybody being in that mentality, but at the same time the commercialisation of rap, and the message of hip-hop. The beats are quirky, and then even on the video, send it up like some Robocop type shit. You look at a movie like Robocop, it’s mad serious, but it’s pure stupid silliness at the same time. That’s what I wanted to do, because I think if you’re going to approach something really serious, you’re only gonna catch other people that are already thinking about that. You want to catch a wider audience and make them think. I think it’s a hard balance to maintain in terms of keeping an audience. What are some of your most prominent musical influences? It’s easy for me to go into a long list of hip-hop that’s influenced the sound specifically, and obviously the content as well. But then, you know, there’s a whole world of music that hip-hop has led me to. Your obvious names like your Bob Marley and your Jimi Hendrix, David Axelrod, Bob James, Roy Ayers, Scratch Perry …
How does it feel to be a pioneer of hip-hop, and a role model for a new generation of MCs? I’ve seen these cats coming up man and I’ve got to big them up. Big up Buggsy, he be repping Bristol right now, big up High Focus, all the young cats coming through, Brotherman, Yager, Confucius, Reemus, Lunacy, Jack Flash. Yeah, there’s bare cats. I think it’s healthy right now and I’m really feeling what’s happening. I also I feel people are out of this tribal shit, in the sense of genres of music. Right now everybody’s crossing over based on your intention, like if you’re a rapper who is just rapping about pure negativity and dumb shit then whatever, but if you’re a rapper rapping about some conscious shit, and then you got a singer, or a producer, or DJ doing some total different shit on a positive vibe, then these people are coming together. It’s the content and the movement that’s more important than saying ‘you do 90 bpm music, and I do 140 bpm music’. Who gives a fuck! If we are on the same positive vibration, let’s bring that together. There’s too much negativity, especially in rap bruv. In rap all I hear is 90% negativity, and that’s sad to say. I love it, I’m a fan of it, I’m a product of it, I’m part of it, but gotta burn the negativity man, it’s just getting tiring. How did you come to hear of Buggsy, are you often looking for new acts coming through? Is that a big part of what you do with Young ‘n’ Restless? It’s part of it. My eyes and ears are open all the time, but it’s not like I’m actively out here scouting and whatever. I’m still doing my own thing but there’s still a roster of artists so we’re still bubbling. But Buggsy, I can’t even think how the link came about with Buggsy. I think the track ended up becoming a bit of an internet track. We didn’t actually get together in the studio and do it. I think I linked him at Outlook, that’s probably the first time I met him. The track turned out nice and I’m glad it didn’t go to waste; because when it was originally recorded it was just for the producer The Purist who did the beat. He was just trying to get people together on his track, so the fact it ended up as a Buggsy track was cool. He’s a good guy bruv, and he puts in the work, shooting the videos, all that. Buggsy, you just stole the show, you just stole the end of my interview! Shit, I’m gonna holla at him right now!
You mean things that spawned hip hop? The Dragon of an Ordinary Family is available now on YNR Productions Yeah, because through the whole culture of digging, and breaks, it’s led me back to so much music. Even things that people think are kind of cheesy, like Steve Miller or something, there’s a whole world of music out there. But really it’s your Cold Chillin-era hip-hop, Marley Marl production, Big Daddy Kane, Eric B and Rakim and Ultramagnetic MCs, Public Enemy is a huge influence, Run DMC, Beastie Boys and that whole kind of Def Jam
Thanks to afterdark.co/bristol and Unit 15 for all their help
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From Left To Right Cut Copy Metronomy © James Kirkup
Everything changes. We all have to adapt. As technology continues to advance and become an increasingly ruling presence in our lives, so the means we are exposed to information is altered. What James Kirkup accomplishes with astonishing vigour is utilising an impressive number of contemporary media outlets as a means of expressing his own brand of digital art. Be it through the mode of branding, designing visual identity, or simply having fun with visual ideas; working at London’s internationally respected design agency Poke as a freelance graphic artist, or simply having fun in his spare time, Kirkup finds a way to pour his own creative energy liberally over anything sporting his name. Drawing information from across the board and reproducing it in his own distinctive, contemporary style, this is an artist with his finger strapped to the pulse. His portfolio displays a clear eye for the element of simplicity and immediacy so key to effective branding. Sleek, subtle and immediately arresting, it’s very rare to see it done so well. Yet despite establishing a clear affinity with creating brand identities, Kirkup seems loath to sit still in any one role. Flipping between positions and tasks with freedom, it
seems impossible to imagine James settling for any kind of restriction. Some of his most striking work comes when working alongside musicians. Take a project for one of the most important British bands of the modern era, Metronomy, creating artwork for a pair of concerts this past March. Over the course of two posters, James manages to say, with remarkable subtlety, a huge amount about the band, their image and sound with a striking keyboard motif designed for an NY show and a sublimely interworked mesh of Eiffel Towers creating a near Aztec print for the corresponding Paris gig. Equally, his European tour poster design for Australian synth-pop leading lights Cut Copy boasts a design stark in its basic symmetry, hinting at a tribal or hieroglyphic pattern while remaining confidently modern and effortlessly iconic. The auspicious commission to take control of photographic direction and design for singles from Bloc Party and Ellie Goulding added serious international respectability and clout to an already bloody impressive portfolio. It’s a range of musical projects which juggles the Main Stage (Justice, the aforementioned hefty names) with more low key, up-andcoming acts (Young Lagoon, Stay+, Outfit). As James acknowledges, these
smaller acts not only allow him to build his name alongside respected artists, but also to display his work on the cover of a song or tour poster which may, one day, be viewed as seminal. Also taking in perfectly on-trend clothing design (see his work alongside 1ina100, which took classical oil paintings and reinterpreted them through the medium of a contemporary logo), devising his own music and design magazine Fragment – now a more all-encompassing media brand – and poster work for Corsica Studios’ über on-it club night Off Modern; this is a creative restlessness which Crack benefitted from when James designed one of our most memorable middle-page posters to date. And from there we had no hesitation in welcoming this phenomenal young talent to be our latest featured artist.
You appear to keep very much on your toes creatively, with a wide range of projects and ways of expressing yourself. Do you consider it important to remain as versatile and open-minded as possible? Yeah, I find myself falling into different types of projects all the time, I get - - - - ->
PA R I S
3RD MARS 2012
Youth Lagoon © James Kirkup
too excited about being involved. Keeping busy is really essential though, and keeps you fresh and excited to get working each day. I just fit in the sleep thing some other time. So therefore how would you define what it is you do? Is there an overarching title you feel comfortable with? I’d say I’m a Graphic Designer as although I get involved with a wide range of projects, that’s essentially what I bring to the table. I liked the whole term ‘Creative’ before I started working in a larger studio and it meant something completely different, so Graphic Designer it is. Obviously you’ve worked with a range of different musicians, has there been any act which has been a particularly big deal to you? In my opinion any chance I get to create something that represents another artist’s work, whether it be a record cover or identity, is a huge deal. However, this year so far, working for Metronomy was right at the top for me. I’m a real big fan of their releases and knowing they already
had such an outstanding artwork in place for The English Riviera, it made me really want to come up with the goods and raise the bar. Does it matter to you whether or not you’re into the music you’re representing? Fortunately I think nearly everything I’ve worked on in recent years I’ve liked – maybe one or two things I haven’t been completely blown away by, but yeah, I’d say it’s important. Of course I’d like to believe I could do great design work whatever the project, but when you’re into what you’re working on you get a real sense of excitement, and that helps you strive to make sure it’s the best you can produce. Is it important to have both more mainstream acts like Metronomy and Bloc Party and smaller, hipper artists like Youth Lagoon in your portfolio? I’m not sure you can pick and choose until you’ve reached some form of ‘status’ within our industry. Without getting your teeth into the less
established musicians, you’re certainly not going to get any closer to working with the bigger acts, or ones of your choice. Working with smaller acts can sometimes be much more rewarding too. For instance, working on the Outfit 7” last year with Double Denim could well turn out to be a really important piece of work – those lads certainly aren’t getting any smaller. When working for larger brands in your work for Poke, have you ever felt restricted or confined by a brief? Do boundaries and set concepts help you to thrive, or do you enjoy working with more freedom? Working within any agency environment comes with certain creative restrictions, on every project. Sometimes they can really hold you back and attempt to destroy that high level of design you’re trying to set down, but it’s always exciting to beat them or work a way round them. I try to keep the mindset of; bring on the restrictions, it’d be boring if we always got our own way all the time – but sticking to that thought can be pretty difficult.
First Year Anniversary Edition
Ghosting Season Cloud Boat NZCA/LINES Andy Whittaker (R&S Records) DJ set
October 24th - 8:00pm The Macbeth
Budgie (Livin' Proof/ Honest Jon's)
+ Off Modern residents: Nasty McQuaid & Tomfoolery (Tomb Crew) An art exhibition and a selection of films curated by the Stanley Schinter Picture Show More TBA
PRETTY LIGHTS FRIDAY JULY 29TH - 8:00pm CAMP BASEMENT
thursday NOVEMBER 5th corsica studios
70 Hoxton Street, London, N1 6LP £3.00 ON THE DOOR
elephant & castle
70-74 City Road, shoreditch, London, EC1Y 2BJ
FREE before 10pm, £5 after
£7.50 from www.ticketweb.co.uk www.goddontlikeit.com
Posters For: God Don’t Like It (Left & Right) Off Modern (Middle) © James Kirkup
“A p i e c e of g oo d g r a p h ic d e s i g n wo r k , a s
m u c h a s i t n e e d s t o l oo k n ic e a n d f a n cy , needs
mo s t
im p o r t a n t l y . ”
Much of your work really stands out for its simplicity; what is it that elevates such simple branding to give it authority and strength?
What was the story behind the Fragment publication and what were you hoping to achieve with that?
My work tends to stick to the classic rule of less is more (the Dieter Rams philosophy), most of the time. A piece of good graphic design work, as much as it needs to look nice and fancy, needs to do its job most importantly. If you can get that rule in your head when you’re working on things, you can’t go too far wrong.
The plan was pretty basic when we started it up. I had a huge urge to design for newsprint after getting sucked into the argument of the future of how we digest news. The whole concept was to produce a really nice little paper as a one off, with potential to expand later on. We worked hard and got some really good content, interviews, features, and just made it how we wanted. There was a lot we hadn’t delved into like distribution and how we were going to afford it all, but we managed somehow to pull it off. We then had a masterplan for a second issue but as we refused to include advertising we very quickly became scared of the project possibly killing us. Fragment has now developed quite far from its original format and runs as a club night around London and as an umbrella brand for other experiments for myself and friends outside of work.
Even though Digital Art and much of what you do is such a decidedly modern practice, do you believe there is still plenty to learn by looking back in time? Absolutely. Classic graphic design heroes such as Wim Crouwel, Saul Bass, Paul Rand, Rob Janoff, Peter Saville, Paula Scher to name just a few, have such an enormous bible of work that as a practitioner you cannot ignore them. It’s vital for me to look at as much new design work as I possibly can and over the last few years talents like Matt Maitland and Jasper Goodall always reach a level that impresses. But design from the past is still what inspires me to better myself way more than the new.
Having worked extensively on establishing brands and identities, it must be thrilling to begin a brand from scratch and have the freedom to apply everything you’ve learned however you see fit?
Yeah, it’s always really excited to get started on new branding work. Seeing the final product in use is far more rewarding than you can imagine. It’s a really important part of our field and being good at it takes years of consistently good work, so every new identity project is important to me. Readers may be familiar with the centre page poster you designed for Crack last year, what can you tell us about the process and the thinking behind that piece? That piece was a lot of fun to work on. I was allowed complete freedom to go a bit wild and try out some new ideas which was great. It’s always nice to have something like that to just take you away from your more structured work Your 1ina100 collaboration saw you incorporating elements of classic oil painting into modern t- shirt design; what is it about that which appeals to you, and what lends it to being reused/recreated in the way you did?
YOUTH MARKET IDENTITY 2011 DEVELOPMENT
DOUBLE DENIM IDENT 2012
SECONDARY FONT DIN REGULAR BLOCK CAPS
Youth Market Youth Market ~
Left - Clockwise Outfit 1ina100 Jumeaux Double Denim Youth Market © James Kirkup
I’m no fine art quiz master, but I got into it a little at college, studied it and – to no personal surprise – hated learning about it. I just loved the enormous paintings you see hanging up in galleries, their ‘epicness’ and the depth of colour they can achieve. I’ve also got a little thing for big old war ship paintings ... I can’t really explain this one, they just look fucking cool. Smashing that style with quite a harsh, bulky graphic was something I had been working on for a few months, and when the collaboration came in I just thought it’d work perfectly in that format. What do you have to take into account when designing for clothing? For me it’s all about personal buying preference. I’m always questioning myself on whether I’d wear and buy the design myself, and being quite picky this can make for a pretty slow process. The manufacturing and tailoring of the clothing should always be the highest priority. There’s nothing worse than a shirt that has lost its shape after a wash, and reaching that quality elevates the print or graphic being featured.
JAMES KIRKUP HELLOIMJAMES@GMAIL.COM
You’ve been described as a ‘one man news source’, constantly ingesting information for inspiration. Are you the kind of person who would still be able to work if left alone in a room alone, or do you need to feed off other sources to be creative?
you won’t regret it. Bar that though, online I’d say DesignInspiration. net and Twitter have a big impact on discovering new influences and designers. Then the top 5 blog network of It’s Nice That, Creative Review, FormFiftyFive, Brand New and AisleOne.
Put me in my own space any day. I’m much more into relying on myself, but working with the right people is also important to me. You can learn so much in design teams, not just technical aspects of how to design but vital design etiquette.
You show a love of discussing and studying design as well as practicing it. Do you think being an artist of your ilk requires one to have a thorough understanding and a love for the medium?
Are there any specific, reliable resources that you turn to for inspiration? Any websites, or particular artists, musicians or films etc ...?
If you love what you’re doing then I reckon you kind of just fall into constant discussion and discovery. That whole passion thing doesn’t really give you an option most of the time. If you plan, like me, to be doing this for the rest of your life then constantly gaining knowledge within your field is essential.
I’d say publications are probably a bigger tool for me. Not specifically design publications, just any printed matter that’s well designed. There’s some really important publications that I’ve either discovered through friends or natural hoarding that together have formed an essential library in my house. Go out and spend all your money on good publications,
This poster is part of a forthcoming series of characters designed by Mr Mead www.mrmead.co.uk
To have your design featured for our poster send entries to email@example.com www.crackmagazine.net
ÂŠ Justin Martin
WORDS T ho mas Fro s t
TUN E Ru f f S t u f f
S I TE di rt y bi rdrecords.com/just i n-mart i n
// Download OUR EXCLUSIVE JUSTIN MARTIN mix @ crackmagazine.net
J ustin M artin is step p ing out, and in t h e p rocess h as crafted an album of di v ersity and h is “best mix e v er”
Crack’s entourage is in the process of watching what we like to call the ‘Dirtybird effect’.
big body of work I was happy with was if I expanded my horizons. In that respect, what were the inspirations for the record?
Guys and girls are jacking around to the array of good time beats and bass being supplied courtesy of the seminal San Francisco label’s roster of artists. We’ve eaten BBQ – lots of BBQ – and the sun is out. Later on in the evening, Justin Martin is tears through some new productions and the vibe is nothing short of scorching.
Some of the albums I’ve been listening to over the last year, like James Blake, the SBTRKT album, The xx record. I’ve been into a lot of deeper, emotional stuff that would still be considered electronic music, but a lot more out there. I didn’t go as far leftfield as these albums, but I wanted to have a healthy balance of the ying and yang, the light and the dark.
Fast-forward two months and Crack is jacking its way round the office in some impromptu dance troupe-esque party, we’ve just eaten BBQ chicken (this time from Sainsbury’s), and Justin Martin is tearing through some new productions, this time on the latest Crackcast mix. The vibe is nothing short of scorching.
Have you ever felt the fact you and Claude are so closely associated with the label has had a negative effect?
Justin Martin is stepping out. Heir to Claude VonStroke’s Dirtybird crown, esteemed producer in his own right and one of the most likable guys you’ll ever meet, there is a swathe of momentum behind Martin at the moment. Latest album Ghettos and Gardens will surely see many realign any preconceptions associated with Martin being solely an artist in the trademark Dirtybird ilk. While the odd, smile inducing samples and the sense of fun are still very much there, there’s an underlying sense of house music cool and a slickness to the production that sees Martin reverting away from a back catalogue that could probably act as a dictionary definition for the word ‘banger’. From initial breakthrough production The Sad Piano, Martin, while fully representing the Dirtybird imprint, has been a force in his own right, influencing a whole range of producers; not least Julio Bashmore, who describes him as “a major influence on my career to date”, and Eats Everything, both of whom have released records on the label. Add to that consistent and unwavering support from Radio 1 jacking house tastemaker Heidi, and the support is in place. Crack caught up with him a couple of weeks before a hotly anticipated gig at Love Saves The Night at Motion, Bristol.
How was the process of getting Ghettos and Gardens down? The sound is a lot more housey than normal. You know what, it was actually quite enjoyable to write. First of all it was cool because I got to write a load of music I don’t normally get to write. Usually I’m more focused on just making a track for the club. Each single I do normally has one thing in mind, and that’s the dancefloor. Whereas with this I wanted the project to work as a whole, so if I went hard on one track, I wanted to balance it equally by going a bit lighter on the next. I got to expand my horizons a little bit and work on music that typically I wouldn’t. Is it less ‘Dirtybird’ sounding than previous productions? Was there a conscious decision to create something removed from that signature sound? I realised very, very early in the writing of this album that if I were to try and make 13 Dirtybird sounding tracks and put them on the album it wouldn’t be the most enjoyable thing to listen to. A real goal of mine was to make an album similar to the albums that don’t leave my iPod that you can listen to from start to finish. I also realised the only way I could have a
You know, not really. I used to produce a lot of stuff for Buzzin’ Fly records and I used to have this split personality back then. I was doing the more quirky stuff for Dirtybird and some deeper stuff for Buzzin’ Fly. Working with Barclay (Crenshaw, Claude VonStroke’s everyday alias), he’s always left it up to me. He’s said: “Whatever things you want to turn in to me, I’ll support.” In Dirtybird we’ve always tried to create music that blurs the genres. I’ve been able to more recently explore my sound further and do stuff that isn’t a peak-time banger. So to answer your question, I’ve never felt limited at all. If anything, I’ve felt like Dirtybird has allowed me to push the envelope further and experiment with new things, new sounds and not be pigeonholed. So are you and Claude as close as ever? He’s one of my best friends, lately I see him every weekend almost, and y’know what, he’s been my mentor throughout this whole process and pretty much my whole career. The amount of support and love he’s shown me is amazing. I feel blessed to have someone who I can bounce ideas off and he’s got a great ear for music as well. It’s a really good relationship we have. When I’ve finished a song I put it through him before anyone else. I can really get some honest feedback and he’s not going to blow smoke up my ass, he’s going to tell me what he really thinks about it. Every artist needs someone like that in his or her life. Obviously there’s a couple of guys close to Crack’s heart in the form of Eats Everything and Julio Bashmore that have released on Dirtybird and become close to the label. I just got Julio’s new track Au Seve. That thing is awesome, I played it this weekend at it went off! And Eats Everything, I love that guy, he’s always had such a good sense of humour. In our business, you see DJs that are way too into themselves and way too serious. I’m more attracted to people that just want to have fun in life and are doing this stuff for the love and enjoyment. You can really tell that’s where it’s coming from with Dan (Eats). He’s just a great guy and a really, really talented producer.
Ah thanks, I had a real pleasure making that one. You described it as your “best mix ever”, what made it so good for you? What are the ingredients? The music I stumbled upon making this mix has so much emotion to it. I really love the music on there that’s really deep, but still has the elements that really work for the dancefloor. These tracks still have the rawness and the bass and the grit that means they really work there. Some of the tracks on there are so incredibly emotional. When I set out to make a mix, I don’t want to just put together a bunch of tracks I’m playing at the moment, I want to put together something I will want to listen to when I’m on the road, or when I’m on the airplane that helps an hour of my life go by. I’m putting music on there I want to listen to again and again and again and this mix just clicked and came together nicely. You guys at Dirtybird are legendary for your outside parties and your BBQs. What goes down at these summer activities with the Dirtybird family? That’s where it all began pretty much, with the outdoor parties. We started the Dirtybird crew before we started the Dirtybird label and it started with our outdoor party where we probably had about 20 people there hanging out outside, renegade style, with no permits or whatever. We never thought we would grow to this size and be doing them on this scale. We’ve taken the spirit of those early BBQs and taken them on the road to Miami and to London. One of the craziest parties I’ve ever been to was the one in London. Unfortunately right now we are in a bit of a hiatus where we can no longer use the location in San Francisco where we’ve been for the last nine or ten years. We’ve just outgrown it and the park and the rangers have said we need to find a bigger location. We throw a party and basically it shuts down traffic, the last one we did there was well over 2,000 people there. It’s my favourite way to spend an afternoon. My parents come down and my Dad gets on the BBQ grill. All of our friends come out and bring their parents and kids. It’s not like a rave where you have to watch your stuff, it’s basically just a really, really positive vibe where we can get together with our friends and family and play some great music in an outdoor location. Right now we are looking for a new spot and taking the BBQ on the road and documenting it so we could put together a nice video and get some sponsors so we can afford a more expensive permit package. So far everything is looking up, we’ll definitely be back in full effect by mid-Spring. Everyone we know who went to the London party says it was incredible. I think there were 11 different Dirtybird artists, and including the after party it went for like 16 hours or something. It was mental!
Is your brother Christian someone you still look for in terms of production advice and to work with? ----------I actually did a track with him for the new record under his new alias Leroy Peppers. Working with Chris is awesome. He’s another person I use for quality control as he gives me honest feedback. Sometimes you can be really into a tune, but you have a little bit of doubt and need someone to smack you down and say ‘you know what, this really is a piece of shit!’ The mix you’ve made us for our Crackcast series has gone down so well.
Ghettos and Gardens is out now on Dirtybird
T I N A R I W E N
ÂŠ Thomas Dorn
WORDS T ho mas Jo ne s
TUN E Te n e r e Taq q i m Tos s am f e at . T V O n T h e Rad i o
S I TE t i nari w en.com
T inariwen’s efforts to highlight th e struggle of the Tuareg people is the one constant in all their lives.
Malian guitar heroes and psych-rockers Tinariwen have one of the most dramatic histories in music. Formed at the tail-end of the 1970s in the southern Sahara, this collective of musicians were also militant rebels who, after receiving training in Libyan camps, took the separatist fight of their Tuareg people to the Malian government. Having long since been considered the voice of their people, Tinariwen rose to global acclaim a decade ago and have spent much of the time since taking their dusty, politically charged sound around the globe. In February 2012, their recognition hit new heights as fifth studio album Tassilli won a Grammy. Yet the fight for their people has never been stronger or more important. The Tuaregs recently declared an independent homeland in northern Mali which has since been met with much resistance. As dedicated to their music as they are to their struggle for independence, Tinariwen are the ultimate rebel rockers. One of many turning points in Tinariwen’s career came when the band members decided to leave the military and devote themselves to music full-time following the Tamanrasset Accords peace agreement of 1991. At first the band’s appeal was local, initially impacting Tuareg communities but then spreading throughout the Sahara region and later Africa as a whole. As international interest came beckoning, Tinariwen began performing in London, Paris, New York and beyond. Their debut album The Radio Tisdas Sessions garnered more support and the band thus entered a period of intense global interest. In the last ten years Tinariwen have played all around the world making notable appearances at festivals like Glastonbury, WOMAD, Coachella, Roskilde and Festival In the Desert in their Mali homeland. 2004’s Amassakoul, 2007’s Aman Iman and 2009’s Imidiwan highlighted their unique sound which, when merged with their near mythical back story, has made them one of the biggest forces in world music today. Tassili, released in mid-2011, saw the band put down their electric guitars and return to the more natural acoustic sounds of their desert home. Only a few months after the album won the band a Grammy, Tinariwen finished off their spring world tour with a show at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire. With iconic front man Ibrahim Ag Alhabib back in Mali defending his newly independent home, the rest of the band filled in to put on one hell of a show. Wearing their usual headdresses and long, colourful robes, the lack of the band’s leader was tangible as they rallied through the show’s opening section with tracks taken from their earlier albums. But the band soon settled in and the energy was ramped as they hit their stride, proudly rolling out their inimitable fusion of acoustic and electric guitar work. Pieced together with funk-laden basslines and indigenous percussion, their sound was as intoxicating and modern as it was spiritual and traditional. Having already provided the support on the night, José González joined Tinariwen on stage to sing the English sections of Tenere Taqqim Tossam, supplied on record by TV on the Radio. Following a climatic ending in which colossal guitar licks and powerful vocal performances prompted scenes of sheer adulation from an increasingly rapturous crowd, a visibly humbled John Snow appeared onstage to present the band with their Grammy and Songline awards for Best World Music Album and Best Group respectively. It was a fitting end to a joyous occasion to see such a respected journalist and commentator in genuine awe of both Tinariwen’s musical and political efforts.
Speaking to CRACK from his home, Ibrahim gave an insight into what it is like to represent an entire culture with your music, and the responsibility that goes hand in hand with that.
First things first, you must have been delighted to win a Grammy Award? Yes, it was great news for us. We’ve been touring the world for ten years now and to get this Grammy is a kind of recognition for our work. And this is good for the Tuareg culture also, because it pushes it in the American media which raises awareness. Do you know much about the people you were up against in the Best World Music category? Or the other categories for that matter? Our manager told us about the other acts in the world music category. Of course we know Toumani Diabate and Femi Kuti as they are great African artist as well. But we didn’t know anything about the artists in the other categories I’m afraid. Was the feeling of winning marred somewhat by the fact that you were in exile at the time? Or did that give it an even more special feeling? We were not really in exile. At the beginning of 2012 a new rebellion raised in Mali, a lot of our people and families needed to leave the villages and the country because they were afraid of the army. Tinariwen have chosen to go on tour to make the world aware of our problems in our country.
Is the fight for the Tuareg people still strong today? Has you resolve diminished over the years at all? This year is a special year. Although the first rebellion started in 1963, we have never been as strong as the rebellion has this year. The MLNA is controlling 2/3 of Mali in the North, and we need to stay strong and fight for our autonomy, we want to find a deal with the international community and with the Malian government. Do you consider yourselves to be global ambassadors for the Tuareg people and their plight? If so, do you feed off that responsibility? We are because we are the best known Tuareg band around the world. So we need to use this chance to talk about and share the experiences of our people and culture. How do you acclimatise to bustling cities like London, New York and Paris when you are on your travels? It is very difficult for us; it is like a ‘military mission’. The good moments are when we are on stage or off in the countryside, but travelling, planes, hotels, food are just some of the things that are really difficult for us. Are you proud that you are spreading the sound of your homeland around the world with integrity? We are not proud; for us this is our mission to do this, this is a question of life for our people and our culture and we simply must do it. Would you say your message is more musical than political?
Was the return to more stripped back, acoustic musicianship on Tassilli a deliberate return to basics following the last ten years of global acclaim? Yes, we wanted to present the way in which we used to make music in our lands before touring the world. So we just recorded our music outside in the desert, around a campfire, with a few friends. This is where we feel is the best place to make our music as this is where it originated from. Does recording in the comfortable surroundings of the desert help breed creativity amongst the band? For sure. There were no restrictions on time or anything. Everything was set up so we could record day time in the tent or during the night outside. The silence, the nature and the blanket of stars above your head is great for inspiration. What problems does recording in the desert present? The only problem is the wind and also getting electricity. But everything else is great. Just perfect. Were you proud to show off your homeland to TV On The Radio when they joined you for a session in the desert? Yes, we always try to bring our friends to the desert because this is the best experience for people in terms of understanding our music and our culture. We don’t talk a lot, so it takes time to understand our rhythm of life. Kyp and Tunde totally understood this, and they really enjoyed being part of the process out in the desert.
Our message is about who we are as people. We are doing music that comes from our ancestors with electric guitars, but with the lyrics, the rhythms and the ambience from our heritage. So we are musicians first, but the voice of our people at the same time. Do you plan to keep the band touring as long as possible, or will moving back home for good remain the ultimate goal? We need to come back to take care of our families, but we will be back on tour in June in the USA, so we don’t have a lot of time home. This is sad, but sometimes you need to make a choice ...
// Download OUR EXCLUSIVE Maria Minerva mix @ crackmagazine.net
ARTIST: I tal
A R T I ST: M a r ia M in e r v a
AR TI S T: M ag i c Tou c h
A RTI S T: L A Vampi res
LISTEN TO : F i rst Wa ve Queen s Only F o r To ni g ht
L I ST E N T O : G lo ria R u f f Tr a d e Disko B lis s
L I S TE N TO : I C an F e e l T h e H e at C l u b H ou s e
L I S TE N TO : Freedom 2 K A Woman i s a Woman w /It al
WORDS: David R eed
S ITE l i s t e n t os i l k .c om
DATE S June 8t h | T he Mot orcy cl e S how rooms, Bri st ol June 9t h | S ecret East L ondon L ocat i on
100% Silk is the dance-orientated offshoot of LA based underground label Not Not Fun. Led by Amanda and Britt Brown, this month 100% Silk showcases a cluster of artists who epitomise the ethos, aesthetic and essence of this label by taking them on tour across Europe. The music that’s released via 100% Silk is in love with its own heritage, yet each artist on this tour is committed to breaking barriers.
In recent years, there’s been a wide trend of US based underground indie and musicians with punk and art-rock backgrounds who’ve been incorporating various fragments of dance music into their sound. When the idea of 100% Silk began to buzz around in Amanda’s mind, it turned out that she wasn’t the only one in her network that was feeling a similar instinct. Many of the artists she’d become affiliated with on the underground circuits had been experimenting with beats for bedroom projects. Amanda liked what she heard and it made sense to give it a platform. “I was hearing a new strain of electronic music that seemed under-represented to me, and I felt compelled to support it”, she tells Crack. “I believed deeply this type of label was lacking. Mix that with the semi-know-how from previously running a label and a real passion for the vibe, art, and sound, and 100% Silk presented itself to me like a blessing.”
collaborations capturing a feeling of floor-filling pop and a hands-in-theair atmosphere that’s deliberately attractive and as inclusive as it gets. So we ask Amanda what she thinks; are those old distinctions between underground/mainstream and credibility/commerciality slightly less defined in the sphere of club music? “In some ways I think that’s true”, she replies. “With dance music there’s just an aspect that’s a practical agenda – your goal is to make a track that will move people’s bodies and make them feel connected to themselves rhythmically. In the most obscure esoteric realm, this is true; and at the most famous, expensive, big money level, this is also true. With more experimental music, like the NNF roster, this divide is more defined.”
The torchbearers of the tour will be LA Vampires, Amanda Brown’s versatile project that features her partner Britt and fellow LA avant-garde musician Nick Malkin in its live guise. LA Vampires melt dark psychedelia, dub and drone and rough it up even further with that chopped n’ screwed tape sound. Amongst a list of notable collaborations, they released a murky witch-dub album with Zola Jesus and an EP of fuzzy, warped and fucked up beats with fellow Silk artist Ital. LA Vampires and Octo Octa’s recent Forever 2K album sees Brown emerge from the distortion to embrace a euphoric classic 90s house feel which delivers on 100% Silk’s early promise. Then there’s the music of Ital – a unique kind of rugged but emotive techno composed with a deconstructive, art-rock sensibility. Also on the line-up is Magic Touch, whose hyperactive and hedonistic disco-house bathes in irresistible 80s references with a manner of postmodern mischief. Finally, Maria Minerva is a 23 year old London-by-wayof-Estonia producer who makes glossy and fluid lonely-girl bedroom pop and no-fi disco. She’s also cooked up this month’s Crackcast mix. Speaking to Crack, Amanda Brown expresses her passion for hearing the music in a live context. “On the 100% Silk East Coast tour there were some nights where I danced through all six sets, non-stop, in front of the monitors, through DJs and all. I do it sober, so I’m absolutely engaged, present and aware of the artist and audience around me.” There’s this perception of the American club scenes; that in terms of underground dance music, us Europeans are comparatively ahead of the curve. It’s impossible to make such a claim without generalising (a lot of the evidence seems to be based on hearsay about tighter drinking laws in the US, ludicrous street prices of ecstasy, that whole bottle-service thing and the overwhelming popularity of Skrillex). But whether it’s true or not, Amanda feels it’s important to communicate with European audiences and the responses of a UK crowd is something she buzzes off. “UK audiences are thrilling. There are stereotypes that the English are stiff, but I’ve seen far stiffer and much less welcoming Americans throughout my musical journey. On one side, I see an intelligence, a depth, and a academic response to what I do. On the other side, I see a sort of spirited, hedonistic club culture that really embraces nightlife and dancing.” 100% Silk emerged at the beginning of 2011 with release Ital’s Theme signalling a transition to more beat-focused music than the fodder Not Not Fun had been putting out. To leftfield music fanatics, Not Not Fun is considered something of an underground institution. Since kicking off back in 2004, the label has been putting out the weirdest, most experimental indie, lo-fi garage, ambient and drone, releasing the likes of Abe Vigoda, Sun Araw, U.S. Girls as well as Amanda’s now defunct transgressive dub outfit Pocahaunted. With an open-demo policy and a diverse catalogue, Amanda and Britt have never had a problem attracting interesting artists, but despite the label’s open-minded reputation, for some reason there was an absence of dance-orientated demos amongst the piles of mail. Amanda had been on a dance tip for some time, having this burning passion for classic house and disco and she felt a drive to create and release euphoric beat-driven music that people would want to dance to til sunrise.
100% Silk is a label that invites artists to experiment with variations of dance music without imposing the strict templates that might limit their expression. And because a lot of the artists on the label are from hardcore, noise, experimental and art-rock backgrounds, 100% Silk gives them a chance to escape the expectations of their native scenes, which might treat the perceived care-free hedonism or the mass-crowd appeal of rave culture with suspicion. Amanda agrees that putting stuff out through 100% Silk can be a liberating experience. “This label is a great place for artists who want to alter their image, transform, or try something they’ve never tried.” A close friend of Amanda’s who has been a driving force of 100% Silk since its inception is Daniel Martin-McCormick, known as Ital. McCormick’s work is informed by his fixation with Detroit heroes such as Omar S and Theo Parrish. In addition to the 12” he’s put out on 100% Silk, he released an album this year with Planet Mu (how’s that for a ‘legitimising’ gesture?). He’s also one half of noisy dance-punk band Mi Ami, who he formed after the dissolution of his Dischord-signed post-hardcore band Black Eyes. McCormick’s deranged cover of Rhythm Of The Night, recorded for his Sex Worker project, unexpectedly aroused the attention of Scuba, who ended up sticking it on his DJ Kicks mix. Ital is present on the 100% Euro tour alongside Magic Touch – aka Damon Palermo, the other half of Mi Ami. Mi Ami’s last album Decade saw the band incorporate elements of four to the flour deep house to their raucous sound, and under the Magic Touch pseudonym, Palermo embraces a much sexier disco vibe. Amanda explains that she’s been behind these guys every step of the way. “Damon and Daniel have evolved significantly over the seven years they’ve been in a band together. I’m not sure everyone supported their transformation away from disco-punk into experimental house, but I sure did. They’re close friends in addition to being some of my favourite musicians and I’ve loved watching them grow and change. I was beyond honoured to release their recent album, which I think is brilliant and a good fit for the ethos of 100% Silk.” Not Not Fun has a commitment to the underground which is admirably ideological. In the post-internet struggle of the music industry, the stigma attached to corporate sponsorship is diminishing, but let’s not forget the classic subculture ethos: if music is too marginal and uncompromising to be snatched up by the big evil corporate machine then it’s free to exist as an authentic, dignified expression of human emotion. So how do these values transfer when making that crossover to the world of ‘dance’ music? Alongside the subversive experimentalism that 100% Silk’s been putting out, they’ve also been messing with a 90s commercial house sound with tunes like Magic Touch’s Clubhouse or LA Vampires and Octo Octa’s
So the 100% Silk ethos doesn’t seem to hold those elements of elitism or snobbery that certain underground subcultures might have and neither does it seem concerned by the templates of established genre categories. What 100% Silk artists intend to do, and what they achieve, is to evoke the sensual ecstasy of a deep house rave, the sexy groove of Italo-disco or the intense adrenaline of techno, whether it be by creating these sounds in their literal form, or connecting us to the essence of that music in unorthodox ways. But a characteristic that’s particularly unique and inspiring about the personality of 100% Silk is the way they’ve retained the DIY ethics which earned Not Not Fun such a credible reputation. The artwork and videos are created by an in-house team, the shows are often self-organised in unconventional venues and the music itself is self-released, recorded and produced. Even getting in touch with the artists for this interview involved a direct line of communication with the artists themselves – no negotiations with managers or a PR team. So what motivates Amanda to such a commitment to this DIY culture? “What else is there but doing things yourself? I don’t know that we could live a day of our lives without that simple ethic”, she responds. “And yet when it comes to our art we look to big business and corporate commerce to help us along. If they want you, I don’t see any problem with it. But if they don’t, or if they don’t know they want you yet, then you have to propel yourself forward. You have to find innovation, passion, inspiration, joy, rewarding hard work, and push it – make your own momentum. I’m proud and ready to do it myself if necessary. And for those of my artists who feel that way but want the support, and a bit of cash, then I’m here to travel the road with them.”
Read an extended interview with all the artists and download an exclusive mix from Maria Minerva at crackmagazine.net
C RA C K FASH I O N : J UNE 2 0 1 2
CREDITS // MODEL - JESSE BURGESS @ STORM MODELS PHOTOGRAPHY - ALEXANDER JORDAN www.alexanderjordan.co.uk STYLING - SARAH BARLOW assisted by STEPHANIE GILKS www.sarahemilybarlow.com HAIR AND GROOMING - ALEXIS DAY using Bumble+Bumble and Kiehls www.alexisday.co.uk
COAT | WON HUNDRED BAG | D.S.DUNDEE SUNGLASSES | LUXE FOR LINDA FARROW ~
LEATHER JACKET | SCHOTt JEANS | LEVIS BAG | HERSCHEL AT STREET CASUALS RING | JESSE’S OWN ~
LEFT SHIRT | MAKAHIKI SUNSET AT STREET CASUALS DENIM JACKET | TOPMAN CHINOS | WON HUNDRED SHOES | TOPMAN BAG | AMERICAN APPAREL ~
DENIM SHIRT | AMERICAN APPAREL SCARF | EASTIE TOP | EASTIE TROUSERS | EDWIN SOCKS | HAPPY SOCKS SHOES | POINTER BELT | BEYOND RETRO ~
CREDITS // Photographer - PAUL WHITFFIELD Stylist - MARINA GERMAN Model - EDDA OSCARS (SELECT) HAIR - VALARIE BENAVIDES MAKE UP - Maddie austin
WHITE VEST | SUNSPEL BRACES | BEYOND RETRO NECKLACE | BJORG ~
highlighting the best brands and products we’ve had our eyes on this month.
Adidas Originals- 2012 Retro Football Shirts £45 Available from
Adidas - adidas.co.uk
Motel Jordan Skinny Jean in White and Mint Stripe £48 Available from
Motel - motelrocks.com
Supreme - The Alton - Dark Green
African Apparel - Acid Wreath T Shirt
Supreme - supremenewyork.com
Donuts - donutsthestore.co.uk
Herschel Claim Cordura Backpack Camo £89 Available from
Street Casuals - streetcasuals.com
American Apparel - Boyfriend Short. Dark Wash. Indigo £52 Available from
American Apparel - americanapparel.co.uk
// Searching for shrimp in the rock pools of your mind
Someone in work really has the hots for you, and all they can think of is putting a Mikado up your bum and having sex with a Xerox machine while you watch.
This month try to avoid conflict. That GBH charge from beating people up last month has got you into a right mischief. Hey, you only wanted a Spam fritter, and didn’t have the money to buy some Spam from the shops, and obviously the only other way to get Spam is by mugging people, or going on too many pornography sites, but that’s a different sort of spam. Don’t hurt people.
I see you riding a mythical beast. Yes, it’s a three headed dragon. Yes, you are Princess Danerys Targaryan, you’re well fit, and the would-be Queen of Westeros. Yep, you did it. You wanked so hard over Game of Thrones that you actually became one of the characters. Seriously though, it’s just a programme, don’t get too sucked in. Mystic did and they haven’t even finished writing the books.
One Friday over the next month you will find yourself in a swish, sustainable, modern, contemporary, self-heated flat that looks like a modern hobbit hole. Yes, you are in the home of Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud. Despite being a sustainability ambassador for the Olympics, he has stolen the Olympic torch and has coaxed you into smoking PCP using said torch as a lighter. Not fresh.
This month move to a low cholesterol diet otherwise you are going to explode. Your heart’s a ticking time bomb. Five more steak bakes from Greggs and you’re through.
Whilst celebrating the Queen’s jubilee this month you will consume so much Pimm’s and so many cucumber sandwiches you will turn into Hugh Grant and have sex with an ugly prostitute. The sad thing is you will never have sex with Elizabeth Hurley in her prime again, but you can always buy hit ITV series Sharpe on DVD and look at those boobs in high definition.
This month you will find yourself alongside Pat Sharp and the twins. Yes, you are in Fun House and you are a child again. Not only can you gunk someone and ride a go kart around a super cool race track, you can also go back and correct all the things you’ve ever done wrong. Nope, it’s just a dream, and you still clean the tables at McDonald’s. Tough break champ, one day you’ll get that customer service gold star and move to the cashier desk.
This month you will watch The Iron Lady, and you will enjoy it. It’s basically a parallel story to the hit Marvel films, and comic, Iron Man, and it’s about this lady that fucks everything up.
Somehow you are going to end up on a date with Gordon Ramsay this month. He’s going to be a rude, annoying twat, and you’re still – for some weird reason – going to ask to see his old chap, and the other two hairy chaps that dangle below aforementioned chap. He has a cocktail sausage for a penis, and two scotch eggs for testicles. Don’t worry, he’ll provide the chutney.
Try cooking an all butter croissant, filling it with boursin and some nice honey roast ham.
You will wake up feeling dizzy and sore, your skin is red, and your crotch sweaty. It’s been hot, so you may think it’s simply sun stroke, but in fact, you’ve been ‘stroked’ by the sun. Cheeky fellow he is, and don’t be flattered – he’s not fussy.
Why do you keep crying? Why do you keep blowing an endless supply of mucus from your nose? Haha, you have hay fever.
Bruce Nauman La Brea/Art Tips/Rat Spit/Tar Pits (1972) © ARS, NY and DACS, London, 2012. ARTIST ROOMS Tate and National Galleries of Scotland. Acquired jointly through The d’Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
RAW MATERIALS: JENNY HOLZER ED RUSCHA BRUCE NAUMAN LAWRENCE WEINER
Bristol Museum & Art Gallery Queens Road Bristol BS8 1RL Tel: 0117 922 3571 bristol.gov.uk/museums
ON TOUR WITH THE
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8tH NIGHt tRAIN ThE BEST In vInTAgE DAnCE muSIC - ThIS mOnTh FEATuRIng mC ChAmpIAn pluS ThE DOWnBEAT mElODy SOunDSySTEm Plus in the Study - Idle Hands
THURSDAY HUSTLE DISCO
FUNK // SOUL // BOOGIE // HIP HOP wItH FELIX JOY // SILVERFOX // PEAZY-E // PEtER StORM // DUKE BOXERS // GRAM RCY // tOM D
£3 PINTS AMSTEL & £3 HOUSE SPIRIT + MIXER SATURDAYS
2ND COSMIC BOOGIE wItH SPECIAL GUESt ANDY ASH DJ/pRODuCER & REmIxER FOR lABElS InCluDIng DISCO DEvIAnCE, mORE ABOuT muSIC, BOOgIE ORIgInAlS & WOlF muSIC Plus in the Study - Funk from the Trunk
9tH NORMAN JAY MBE RARE gROOvE, SOul & DISCO FROm OnE OF ThE mOST RESpECTED DJ’S In ThE gAmE! Plus in the Study - Boogie Cafe
16tH SPACE INVADER RADIO tAKEOVER wItH SPECIAL GUESt BRAD BALOO (tHE NEXtMEN) hIp hOp, SOul, hOuSE & mORE - ‘ThE BEST lITTlE RADIO STATIOn In ThE gAlAxy!’ 23RD BOCA 45’S HIP HOP tHROwDOwN wItH SPECIAL GUESt DJ FORMAt STRICTly vInyl! - COlD ChIllIn, TOmmy BOy, DEF JAm & mORE WITh An ExCluSIvE DJ FORmAT SET!!! Plus in the Study - Western Soul
30tH tHE BIG CHILL LONDON PRESENt #BANGERS ThE BIggEST pARTy BAngERS In ThE STRATOSphERE COvERIng DuB, REggAE, hOuSE, DRum n BASS, R’n’B AnD BEyOnD... Plus in the Study - Lukas (alfresco disco)
15tH FLAME GRILLED FUNK DISCO, hOuSE & RARE gROOvE On BOTh FlOORS In AID OF ThE AIR AmBulAnCE ChARITy 22ND PARDON MY FRENCH hOuSE, DISCO, TEChnO, ACID, pOp & ITAlO Plus in the Study - Bedmo Disco 29tH HOt BUttERED SOUL 60S, 70S & 80S DEEp Funk, CROSSOvER, mODERn SOul & BOOgIE Plus in the Study - Ratattat
JUNE 3RD LOvE SAvES ThE NIGHT AFTERPArTY WITH GrEg WIlSON PlUS FeEL ThE ReaL SOUNDSYSTEM, WESTERN SOUL & SIp ThE JUICE
After party for the amazing ‘love Saves The Day’ featuring one of the festival highlights - greg Wilson
We will be showing all the major matches on big screens both downstairs and in the Study, plus we will be offering great deals on heineken and DJ’s after the matches. Also! you and your friends can hire the study for FREE subject to minimum spend and watch the match in your own private bar...
m e t r o p o l i s
m u s i c
p r e s e n t
WEDNESDAY 13 JUNE OUTJune - bristol cooler friday 01 SOLD 0117 929 9008
altjband.com by arrangement with primary talent international
0844 811 0051
DEBUT ALBUM ‘LOVEBLOOD’ OUT NOW KINGCHARLESUK.COM FACEBOOK.COM/KINGCHARLESOFFICIAL BY ARRANGEMENT WITH THE AGENCY GROUP
Jesca Hoop Wednesday 20 June
Bristol Colston Hall 2
BY ARRANGEMENT WITH 13 ARTISTS
MONDAY 25 JUNE
0117 922 3686
0117 929 9008
SATURday 21 JULY
BRISTOL BATH FORUM COLSTON HALL 2
01225 463 362
By arrangement with Primary Talent International
0117 922 3686
RICHARD HAWLEY PLUS GUESTS
FRIDAy 21 SEPTEMBER
SATURDAY 22 SEPTEMBER
BRISTOL COLSTON HALL
01225 330 304
‘Standing At The Sky's Edge’ the new album out now richardhawley.co.uk
PERFORMING THEIR ENTIRE NEW ALBUM ‘ONE DAY I’M GOING TO SOAR’ AND OLD CLASSICS
by arrangement with X-ray
0117 922 3686
THE NEW ALBUM OUT JUNE 4TH A METROPOLIS MUSIC PRESENTATION BY ARRANGEMENT WITH THE AGENCY
THURSDAY 11 OCTOBER
SATURDAY 6 OCTOBER
O 2 ACADEMY BRISTOL
O2 ACADEMY BRISTOL 0844 477 2000
BY ARRANGEMENT WITH CODA
0844 477 2000 SUBMOTION.CO.UK
Thursday 25 October
O2 ACADEMY BRISTOL
0844 477 2000
thuRSAy 8th November
New album ‘@Reverend_Makers’ out 18 June Pre-order from: iamreverend.com
New album ‘Stereo Typical’ out now
OUT SOLD COLSTON BRISTOL HALL
by arrangement with Coda
By arrangement with Primary Talent International
Orbital Tuesday 27th November
O2 ACADEMY BRISTOL
Metropolis Music by arrangement with VAT proudly presents Orbital in concert
0844 477 2000
The new album Wonky 14 + out now orbitalofﬁcial.com
By arrangement with The Agency Group F o r
e x c l u s i v e
l i v e
a n n o u n c e m e n t s
a n d
p r i o r i t y
Monday 3 December
O2 Academy Bristol 0844 477 2000 b o o k i n g
// any problems? Contact our mavis.botswinga@ CRACKMAGAZINE.NET
Mavis Botswinga. //
When Crack was having luncheon in its favourite sandwich eatery, we stumbled across Mavis. Two hours later she’d told us how to sort things out with our girlfriends and had given us advice on sex, drugs and how to survive this mean game called life. She sorted us right out. We promptly asked her whether she fancied helping THE COUNTRY with its problems. This is what she's got to say.
Someone told me that you are actually Maeve Binchy, that woman that writes the books what are always on my Mum’s bedside table. Truesies?
I’ve been listening to Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds on repeat all week. That, in my eyes, is the ultimate summer jam. What’s your favourite concept album/ rock opera? Neil, 46, Dundee
I spend my days trying to chance people’s perceptions of dance music. I want people to see EDM as the celebratory, contemporary medium I know it can be. But everyone keeps talking about pills and drugs and shoving poppers up their hooters. C’mon mate, spread the word.
Dead Mau Five, North America
The Who - Tommy Rick Wakeman - The Six Wives of Henry VIII Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Tarkus Jethro Tull - War Child Iron Maiden - Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
Sorry bruv, you won’t get no help from me. Mavis gets mashed up at a Neil Young gig. When I go, I go hard.
Sarah Watts, Hull Mavis: Nah way, Crack locked Botswinga down to an exclusivity deal way ago. My writings is here and here alone. Say what you want bout dem Crack kids (I reckon dey talk a load o’ breeze), but they shrewd in the boardroom. They do pay me time and a ‘alf on Bank Hols tho. TIME AND A HALF.
Mavis Your place or mine?
Kevin, 36, Derby
I can’t get my eye shadow right. I’m going for that ‘smoky eyes’ effect but I always end up looking like a miner. You’re a fashion guru, hook a sista up. Big hearts,
Your place. Mine’s a pigsty.
Laura-Lee, 20, Littlehampton
If you have any problems that need addressing please get in contact and drop our Mavis an email:
Mavis: email@example.com Babe, Mavis is 90% natural. I go wid’ Boots No7 on me cheeks, Chanel fa di odour. Spend nuff cash on me extensions tho.
François and the Atlas Mountains Clwb Ifor Bach | Clwb Ifor Bach May 9th ………………………….
François has been an on-off Bristolian for nigh on a decade, and his numerous musical collaborations with the indigenous music scene have made him quite the local sensation. On a miserably drizzly night in this fickle spring, he and his Atlas Mountains bandmates crossed the Severn. As the four-piece set up shop their eccentricities exist in the details. Each microphone, keyboard and guitar lead is painstakingly covered with coloured ribbons, and as your eyes follow these winding shades you’re drawn to a drum set-up including such African obscurities as a calabash and dounoumbas. Beginning proceedings in percussive fashion, reverby guitar and François’s gallic vocals create a pleasantly nostalgic atmosphere. As the set continues to progress, a series of loops is met by two of the Atlas Mountains meeting behind the kit to form ever faster and more compelling beat. As the quartet begin to push their electronic leanings, suddenly we’re confronted with something akin to live house music. The transformation is extraordinary, relentless and joyful without ever being overbearing. From haunting to funky, the repertoire is eclectic but seamlessly so. The set finishes, but the cries for an encore can’t be ignored. With smiles and shrugged shoulders the band surge back in to serenade the crowd one last time. Truly entertaining.
© Emyr Glyn Rees
---------Words: Emyr Glyn Rees
Graham Coxon The Trinity Centre | Bristol April 28th ………………………….
Krush presents: Âme & Clockwork The Victorian Vaults | Shoreditch May 19th ………………………….
Patrick Watson St. Stephen’s Church | Shepherd’s Bush April 30th ………………………….
Trembling Bells and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy Trinity | Bristol May 3rd ………………………….
Observing the stage before Graham Coxon’s arrival, a considerable amount of bald patches pepper the audience in front of us. Not a problem. Just worth noting that in a short while we’d be watching these balding, fully-grown men screaming like 13-year-old blind girls at a One Direction concert. The start of the show is heralded by a flashing light, reminiscent of an ambulance (the new album being titled A+E, this would make sense) and in truly nonchalant Coxon style, it looks a bit silly. In fact, it looks like it’s been picked up from the mobile disco section of Maplin. The band walk on with Coxon, plastic pint in one hand and a salute to the crowd with the other. From the clanging opening of the new record’s first track Advice, we’re happy to admire Coxon’s nerdy majesty as it jostles with humongous riffs for the remainder of the set. It’s easy to forget among Coxon’s envious list of familiar pop songs just how good he is on guitar, summoning all manner of glorious noises and brushing through countless dimensions of British popular guitar music. As an audience and artist together we couldn’t be further from the operas and trilbies of Albarn, the cheeses of Alex James and the Labour party of the other one.
One of the most intriguing double acts in techno descended on Shoreditch underground venue of the moment, The Victorian Vaults. Innervision bods Âme are an interesting concept; creating together as a team, but playing separately as DJ and live act. The latter is what we were treated to with a crowd in awe and a minimal setting far from your bog standard warehouse. Though not the initially intended venue, the Vaults added to the atmosphere of the night, lampshade-clad lighting rig flashing in metronomic time and walls dripping with perspiration. Âme’s set was short but perfect, playing a host of hits in a style which only a live mixing desk and Launchpad can deliver. Any warehouse set that ends in rapturous applause shows two things: that it more than delivered, and that Âme was playing to an educated crowd. Support came from Italian duo Clockwork, who have straddled the boundaries of techno and the new wave of deep house in a way which has kept the deep-V tangerines at bay for now. Far from being full of obvious drops and delay-laden vocals, they maintain a sense of deserved credibility. Another great advertisement for the underground scene from Krush with no issues, just good music.
There are certain things in this world that defy rational explanation. Few are more bewildering, however, than the conundrum of Patrick Watson; or, more specifically, why he’s not more famous here in the UK. Tonight, however, this perplexing state of affairs is the country’s loss and our gain. Here, in the reverent and acoustically robust chamber of St Stephen’s Church, Patrick’s wistful piano mingles with his featherlike falsetto to spine-tingling effect. Taking his lead from new album Adventures In Your Own Backyard, opening track Lighthouse has the crowd spellbound from its first tentative notes. All this depth is thanks to the fact that Patrick Watson is – paradoxically – far more than just one man. An equal measure of praise must be levelled at his exceptional troupe of musicians. From the slinky, string-backed sass of Morning Sheets, to a particularly cacophonous rendition of the album’s title track, they never once miss a beat, binding themselves to one another through flurries of organised chaos. Given the strength of the new material it’s hard to see how more widespread success could continue to evade Patrick Watson. Then again, given how memorable tonight’s up-close-and-personal show was, we’re not sure the big time is really what he needs.
Glasgow’s Trembling Bells have been involved in many celebrated collaborations, but few have felt more cohesive than this alongside American alt-folk legend Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy. Opener, the Robin Gibb-penned Lord Bless All, has all the epic and odd qualities to begin proceedings, while I Can Tell You’re Leaving is imbued with the necessary anxiety and jumping tempos to leave us hotfooted and keen. Lavinia Blackwell’s voice dominates the 60s garage of Ain’t Nothing Wrong with clarity and charm, whilst Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, all lopsided dancing and hand gesturing, brings Appalachian intensity to the Fairport Convention-esqe wistfulness. The psych-rock qualities of Mike Hastings’ guitar, meanwhile, lift the medieval folk tones above and beyond their limited appeal. The crowd, largely made up of 40-something folkies and what seems to be a young Christian prayer meeting, lap it up. The pianoled reading of Dorothy Parker’s poem, Excursions Into Assonance sounds especially regal in this environment and My Husband’s Got No Courage In Him cuts to the core of masculine inadequacies with Billy playing the part of the woeful male. The fact that this show was a sell-out only deepens the feelings that folk in all its facets is finding its way back into people’s hearts, and rightly so with such unique quality on offer.
Here’s to life’s little conundrums.
Words: Tim Oxley-Smith
Words: Jon Wiltshire
---------Words: Philip Allen Words: Bear Gwills
// YOU CAN NOW BUY TICKETS FOR GIGS AND EVENTS @ crackmagazine.net
© Dan Medhurst
Land of Kings Dalston, London May 4th & 5th ………………………….
Simple Things Various Venues, Bristol May 6th ………………………….
Now in its 4th year, Dalston’s Land of Kings grows stronger and stronger each time it hits the Kingsland strip (Kings-land = Land of Kings, geddit?). Like the ugly duckling amongst the ducks, LoK has grown into the swan, and other London based street fests can only bask in its well-planned, well-designed, excellently-programmed glory.
Expectations around Simple Things 2012 were dangerously high. With last year’s headline set from Jamie xx still talked about, this second installment represented a bold step up, and the potential for this young festival to go through the roof was clear.
We began our adventure with Toy. Singer Tom Dougall’s Suicide-esque vocals are monotone but heartfelt, matched eloquently by cascading drum beats and trippy guitar riffs. Their songs, like debut Left Myself Behind and most recent outing Motoring are hypnotic and rather bloody lovely, but it’s a shame that the massive banqueting suite Magnolia, great venue thought it is, was yet to fill up. On to box fresh new venue Birthdays for Virginia Wing. They play their third ever show to a packed out room giddy from the fumes of Birthdays’ newly painted walls, their brand of psychelic pop rock infectious. They bash out Hungry for Love, debut single Divination and a twee cover of Billy Idol’s Eyes Without a Face, closing with favourite Worn Path and leaving the audience riled up and ready for Male Bonding, who storm the Birthdays stage and rampage through their set. Thrashing out their songs at twice the album speed, the melodies transcend the superfuzz – old favourites like All Things This Way and the newer Tame the Sun keep the sweaty, happy crowd bopping. Two great shows at a great new spot. Our last port of call was the new Arcola Theatre for the illustrious Connan Mockasin, who made our night with his dreamy jazz psych sounds. Connan’s docile tones fill the room, crooning and swooning Megumi the Milkyway Above and It’s Choade My Dear. He announces that the last song will be for Sophia, a friend he met on the Eurostar two years ago, as it’s her birthday. The whole place bellows ‘Happy Birthday’ before being rewarded with all ten minutes of 2011 album title track Forever Dolphin Love. Electric. Crack stumbled to bed grinning in a cloudy, tinnitus-riddled haze. Rested and recuperated and just about able to hear again, we kicked off day two back at Birthdays with oddball dream pop from the gorgeous Maria Minerva whose dark dub-esque disco swerved us into a trance. Playing tracks Ruff Trade and the sultry Honey Honey from last year’s LP Cabaret Cixous her voice resonate around the venue. We then dash next door to the Magnolia for some space age techno mash goodness from Factory Floor, who belt out massive jams to shake you about. We resolve to leave just before the end, mental perhaps, were it not for the need to sprint to The Vortex Jazz Club to catch some Speech Debelle, now promoting her second album Freedom of Speech. The Vortex is intimate at the best of times, let alone when hosting a Mercury Prize Winner, and the snug venue was packed to the rafters. But Crack is nimble, and squeezed in to catch the lady wordsmith in action for the gnarly (yes – gnarly) Elephant in the Living Room, dedicated to Tupac. No holograms tonight, no need for gimmicks. Speech smashed it, the Vortex left quaking. The only possible complaint about Land of Kings was there was just too much great music, forced to miss out on Kwes, Slow Club and countless others. But that also served to add to the greatness of the weekend’s infinite musical possibilities.
It seems churlish not to get involved early with an afternoon showing from local four-piece Scarlet Rascal and the Trainwreck, whose self-assured strut and guitar wail ensures that their set is an engrossing spectacle. Across town at the more spacious O2 Academy Young Magic produce a victorious performance with the multinational three-piece exuding a greater authority and directness than on record. “We’re Wet Nuns and we’re going to play songs about women and death”, the Sheffield duo’s guitarist declares. It seems their mission is to inspire sweat-soaked debauchery, but the band are onstage at The Fleece around 6pm so it’s way too early for a bar brawl. Still, the crowd seems to love their meaty tunes that sound like Lemmy fronting Kyuss. Crack’s got no shortage of love for Tall Ships, but tonight, upstairs at the Academy, they excel themselves. Kicking off with the jerky guitar riff of T=O, it’s apparent their set is going to be crunch-your-bowels loud. There’s plenty of time changes and knob twiddling and the result is a pulsating performance. If ever an artist has grabbed the zeitgeist and popped it in her top pocket it’s Grimes, making everything from skulls to severe fringes essential in the process. Admittedly, the amount produced ‘live’ is minimal, but what we are given is exciting, energetic and so ‘of the moment’ that a flick of the hair feels iconic. Rave and reverb hold hands quite naturally in unashamedly euphoric beats and saccharine vocals Grimes solidifying her position as this year’s definitive artist thus far. Coming from the other end of the spectrum, underrated stalwarts Death In Vegas fill the space with immaculately thought-out expertise, locking into grooves which are rich, sensory and powerful, imbuing classics including Ayesha and Dirge with fresh life. A dash to the Thekla provides a healthy reward. Factory Floor have reached a point where they exude a reputation. It would be difficult to argue against them being the most exciting live act in the UK at the moment, and by their ideal midnight slot there’s a palpable energy bubbling through the boat. As they churn out a grinding sample, the floor has turned to a swirling mass before drummer Gabriel Gurnsey has even found his groove. Growing to piercing levels, serving to increase the physical impact of Factory Floor’s sound, it’s difficult not to feel a swell of pride in these young, fearless and genuinely important British musicians. A man of notoriety for levels of creativity and technical accomplishment maintained over a staggering period, Squarepusher’s live show has always been a mixed affair, and whether he’s ever fully done himself justice in a single live experience is debated. It’s therefore with a sense of restrained excitement that we approach this audiovisual representation of latest full-length Ufabulum. And it’s wonderful. The wall of LEDs which has lurched over acts all day springs vividly into life along with a spruced-up altar and a screen on the front of ’Pusher himself ’s mask. Exploding in frantic, glitchy fashion, the album immediately makes sense. Simple Things proves that with confident, fearless booking and a city prepared to meet you there, an event like this can open your eyes, be fun and incredibly eclectic. What they achieved is close to staggering.
--------------------Words: Lucie Grace Words: Geraint Davies + David Reed
LONE GALAXY GARDEN R&S Records
SAMANTHA FOX SAMANTHA FOX (REISSUE) Cherry Pop Records
Listening to Galaxy Garden is an exercise in submitting to a purity of aesthetics: the sounds that Matt Cutler, AKA Lone, utilises, the palette he works from, the tones and timbres that make up the record all seem geared towards a widening of the pleasure receptors. It’s a record that abounds in haltering arpeggios, mutating trills, washes of aquamarine and seafoam green synth, the odd snatch of footworkinspired percussive clatter, disembodied voices mapped up and down the length of a keyboard and lilting post-rave stabs. It operates outside of the confinement of genre, content to map out an individualist topography of sensorial activity. Cutler seems to reject the current vogue of obscuration in which murk and gloom dominate, as popularised by acts ranging from Actress to Hype Williams, in favour of crystalline melodic clarity – even when the songs themselves don’t stick in the mind, the myriad components do. Constantly evolving, constantly enjoyable, Galaxy Garden is a maximal melange of the sonic sublime.
Sam Fox is probably best known as a trailblazing figure among a slew of 1980s tittietitans. Back then a mechanic’s wall wasn’t worthy of the name unless it boasted her beaming mug, and your dad almost certainly harboured a soft spot. But she was also a pioneer in the world of mindless risqué pop, and now a quartet of her finest releases are being given the deluxe reissue treatment. We’ve decided to focus on her largely overlooked, self-titled sophomore record (it peaked at #22 in the UK, faring slightly better among our German friends). It saw her expanding her sonic boundaries, merging an arsenal of the ploppiest beats imaginable (in 1987 ‘ploppiness’ was considered quite the virtue) with stadium rock guitars resulting in an invigorating ‘Kylie-meets-Whitesnake’ effect and, on Naughty Girls (Need Love Too) a hip-hop intrusion which will leave you open-mouthed. Other highlights include Satisfaction, only Fox’s second finest Rolling Stones cover after a 1993 collaboration with space rock gods Hawkwind on Gimme Shelter. Look it up. But it’s unfortunate to report that ballad The Best Is Yet To Come is based on a premise of lies. Seeing as this is a reissue review, we’re gonna award half a mark per additional track, alternative version and instrumental. Seems only fair.
GHD LAUREL HALO QUARANTINE Hyperdub
FRIENDS MANIFEST! Fat Possum
Laurel Halo is a much-feted experimental producer and singer whose cerebral, electronic abstractions place her in the company of highbrow artists like Christian Fennesz or current beau Daniel Lopatin (aka Oneohtrix Point Never). Her debut album is sublime and sinister – Laurel Halo’s distinctive vocals swooping over a fizzing, static-laden cacophony of electronic laments. Quarantine provides both moments of serenity (MK Ultra weaves a subtle spell with its softly modulated synth and a waterfall of melody), and moody dystopia (Carcass pitches her sinister vocal squeal against the muffled industrial clanging of a distant Berlin afterhours party). Holoday – teasingly short at less than two minutes – is a perfectly executed piece of static ‘n’ samples. A word of warning for the uninitiated though: her vocal delivery is divisive, and it takes centre stage across the album. At times cracked, beautiful and Bjork-ian; at others dangerously close to the crescendo of a sixth-form ‘interpretive theatre’ performance. But beneath the occasionally melodramatic stylings, this is a subtle and satisfying album.
Brooklyn’s Friends have been garnering palpable levels of hype since the release of I’m His Girl, a sassy ode to feminine swagger and confidence. The basics are certainly in place with two fashionista, great looking female vocalists and a sound that borrows musically from Alala era CSS, and vocally from Santigold (the singing style comparisons are inevitable). They look the part and in the main, the pop is scruffy enough to not come across too contrived and dreamed up in a record company office. The delivery is also assured and cute, with enough edge to attract ‘real’ music fans. Lead singer Samantha Urbani’s intermittent wails, screeches and sighs poke as something a little less safe than their band name would suggest and it’s instantly likeable sweet-pop, all bouncing, danceable percussion and great production. But like forerunners CSS, you get the impression the timescale for this uber-fashion pop is somewhat limited and you just wish a few more of the tracks stuck in your head. You also wish they’d leave the inane, silly lyrics at home in favour of something with slightly more substance.
ACID PAULI mst Clown And Sunset
SIGUR RÓS VALTARI Parlophone
German producer Acid Pauli’s debut album release is perfectly at home on Nicolas Jaar’s Clown And Sunset imprint and comparisons with the sound the label boss single-handedly created last year are likely to be strong. The track structure on mst is perhaps a little more straightforward than Jaar’s debut, but the building blocks that made Space Is Only Noise so game-changing are certainly present. Beautifully spacious down-tempo sonics, are morphed and twisted into jazz and house music infused rhythms and Jaar’s penchant for using natural sounds within the track is another recurrent feature. The whole thing moves along with such a wonderful ambience and the sparing but potent use of piano gives the whole album a feel of class and elegance far removed from any house music mash-up. This is electronically produced music, but only extremely loosely, and although you can’t help but think it
It’s nigh on impossible to discuss Sigur Rós without resorting to cliché. In fact, that sentence was a bit of a cliché. But the band have earned almost mythical status, rising above any number of thoroughly excellent post-rock soundscape forgers to create a genre unto themselves. The prospect that they might reach the heights of ( ) and Takk... seemshighly unlikely. But then, why shouldn’t they? Of late they’ve shown a means of not necessarily expanding, but certainly adjusting the palette from which they draw, and while we’re not exactly expecting an R’n’B record here, it’s interesting to see where new these phenomenally talented gentlemen have left to take us. The first thing to strike home about Valtari is an air of overwhelming serenity. Much on offer is beatless, ambient and very pretty indeed. The closing three tracks drift by in a gorgeous, almighty haze, bereft of the genderless, ageless vocals which define so much of the band’s output. But the glittering swells of Ekki múkk are a wonder to behold, while Varúð’s deafening crescendo proves that, when they put their minds to it, they can still cave your chest as well as whisper sweet nothings. There’s still no-one out there to compare to this.
could well be Jaar behind the whole operation, you aren’t really complaining.
JAPANDROIDS CELEBRATION ROCK Polyvinyl Record Co. 17/20 The last four years have seen bands like Japandroids garnering praise on an astronomical level, and while there may be many bands like Japandroids there are none that could conceivably call their album something as potentially career destroying as Celebration Rock and live to tell that tale. Their latest effort represents a renaissance for the band in terms of their ability to write songs and sound like the two man unit they have been waiting to become for the last few years. The album starts with a belter in The Nights of Wine and Roses and builds to the sensational cover of The Gun Club’s For The Love Of Ivy, before coming down softly with a collection of garage pop so well crafted there’s barely a duff vibe in the house. The album’s first single The House That Heaven Built, should be number one (but won’t) and contains some of the best sing alongs ever committed to record. Japandroids have already shown everyone who matters that they are on to some next level shit and with Celebration Rock a more polished, fully formed affair, it’s certain that everyone else will be sold as soon as they get it in their tiny little ear holes. BB
// new free weekly Downloads @ crackmagazine.net
FLATS BETTER LIVING One Little Indian
GUY GERBER FABRIC 64 Fabric
OK, so if the Flats hype has passed you by, here’s a synopsis; they don’t like Paul Weller, Morrissey likes them, the singer’s old man was in Oasis or something. For some, the band are a vehicle of vaguely extreme music for those who can’t stomach the real thing, but it’s difficult to argue with the integrity of Better Living. Admittedly, the originality meter is about as low as the general narkiness meter is high, but no matter their motivation or credentials, there is a heartfelt malevolence of spirit about this full-length that’s impossible to fake. Despite being heralded as UK punk saviours, opener Foxtrot revels in a doomy riff more akin to early Kyuss than Crass. This sluggish brutality is a frequent theme, punctuated with stabs of sparse, atonal, lo-fi hardcore which remains the band’s strongest suit, Shuffle’s thrashy, jolting rhythms probably the best two minutes of the record. On the other hand, for an album that’s seemed a while in coming, how something as ordinary as Frostbite made the cut is mystifying. But when all is said and done, this divisive group of lads have made the
This is the best CD Fabric have released since Shackleton rearranged our perception of what techno was over a year ago. By no coincidence, that release was also a record full of his own productions deployed in a full length album/mix CD style. However, unlike Shackleton’s unique delve into fresh territory, Israeli Guy Gerber’s 16 productions are less trailblazing and more an acute affirmation of a producer who has been placed in the highest regard by house and techno royalty for well over a decade. This is Gerber’s first commercial mix, and if a decade producing records lauded by everyone from Visionquest, to Sasha, to Ricardo Villalobos has led to this, then we should have been happy to wait. It is a rarity to find a mix CD so voraciously loaded with emotion, soft yearning synth textures and a relentless flow that don’t deviate suddenly or surprise, but yet also keep a richness and depth. New layers are introduced sparingly and subtly, and peak moments are counterbalanced by introspective ones that keep a balance to the whole record. Gerber’s early leanings towards a progressive sound are primarily responsible for mix’s electric continuum, with mid-record standouts coming in the form of his collaborations with Footprintz vocalist Clarian North. Utterly engaging from start to finish.
record they really wanted to make, and that is to be admired.
TE OSCAR MULERO BLACK PROPAGANDA Warm Up
THE TALLEST MAN ON EARTH THERE’S NO LEAVING NOW Dead Oceans
Anyone completely mesmerised by the bleakness of the 2006 remix by Ricardo Villalobos of Shackleton’s Blood On My Hands with its dystopian connotations and inert darkness, should be crashing Beatport’s servers in order to acquire this harder, but nonetheless equally sinister and troubling slice of techno from Spanish star Oscar Mulero. Thematically he doesn’t leave much to the imagination in alluding a politically false world and corrupted system of control in the album title as well as tracks such as Intentionally False, Disinformation and To Convince For The Untruth. Musically, it’s pounding 4/4 techno layered with lashings of echo, suspense, whirs and dark noise from techno’s dirtiest chambers. The front cover depicts a boy with black eyes set in front of a backdrop of a crumbling city and as this reviewer basks in 27 degree heat, Crack would suggest consuming this record at night in a quarry or in the club at the start of Blade as opposed to a summery roof terrace. That said, it’s an absorbing, powerful listen which will intentionally alienate many and engage others
Swedish folk singer songwriter Kristain Matsson, aka The Tallest Man on Earth’s latest album There’s No Leaving Now is a beautifully crafted piece of work. A finger picking genius with a voice and writing style not a million miles from Dylan, his strangely brewed metaphors and poetic style are beautifully pleasing on the ears. With his previous album On The Wild Hunt, Matsson scaled down his style for a more refined, studio clean sound. This latest offering manages to re-introduce his more familiar crackling folk elements, raw emotions bleeding through quite naturally. It’s brilliantly thought-provoking stuff, with deeply compelling lyrics and arguably his best work yet, with track after track of enchanting lines. A stand out comes in the shape of 1904, perfectly combining Mattsson’s vocal cadence and guitar playing style. The track focuses on a strange turn of event, which you never can fully quite understand. Who needs to understand, when it’s this good?
with the concept and the sheer darkness of the whole sordid affair.
We Need To Talk About Dave.
Illustration: Lee Nutland //// www.leenutland.com
ou can just see him in the briefing room, rubbing those scaly-skinned palms together, a gleam in his eye. Cameron’s about to walk into Prime Minister’s question time with positive news for the first time in months. Employment’s up … although the UK’s growth forecast has been revised down, and sooner or later Ed’s going to bring up that Lots Of Love thing. The problem is, David’s been bumbling through a perfect storm of prejudice-enforcing dilemmas for three months now. The head boy is at his lowest point in the polls ever and the Tories took a drubbing in the recent local elections. It’s not the individual events that are going to hurt him in the long run, but the relentless nature of the narrative; he’s rich, out of touch and hangs around with a network of cronies. It’s the same process that made us think Gordon Brown was tired, Labour caused the recession and Mel Gibson is an antisemetic xenophobe. And believing Cameron favours the rich, at a time when we’re all feeling very poor, is dangerous. For him we mean. For the country, the NHS and the unions, it’s probably a good thing. Underneath all this there are some pretty serious questions to ask about the government’s performance.
Not least why the UK is in a double-dip recession when the eurozone as a whole isn’t? But what we’re more interested in here is the rhetoric of the press and the sea-change in public opinion. For the first time, he’s less popular than Milliband and even the Torygraph columnists have turned on him. Just how bad a politician is he? Let’s look at the Prime Minister’s question time mentioned a moment ago. Unable to cope with Rebekah Brooks’ blissful ‘lots of love’ revelation, Ed managed to last 1 minute and 53 seconds before he took a shot. A cheap gag indeed, but it was just one joke in a plethora of material he could have played upon. We don’t want to get sidelined into a discussion about the behaviour of MPs in the House during PMQT, which is quite frankly disgusting, the point is the level of opposition is this poor and Cameron’s still not coming off well. From time to time the façade slips and he becomes outright obnoxious. In April, for example, he scathingly told long-serving MP Dennis Skinner to “take his pension”, rather than answering a perfectly reasonable question on workers’ rights. When it transpired that Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s aide had shared commercially confidential information with News
Corps during the BSkyB bid, rather than deal with the situation he kicked it into the long grass with the ‘wait-til-after-Leveson’ excuse. The ministerial code is nothing to do with the Leveson Inquiry and the decision will haunt him. What about the budget? Did he really think they could slip in the third biggest revenue-generating announcement – now infamously know as the Granny Tax – as “…doing away with the complexity of the additional age-related allowances.” Or convince us the 50p tax rate might have actually cost the treasury money when there’s less than a years data available on its effects? Plus there have been so many U-turns. We’re waiting for the free parenting lessons to turn into dole queuebased condom giveaways; the forests were going to be sold, VAT wasn’t going to be increased, they would be no top-down re-organisation of the NHS, we weren’t going to lose any front line police officers etc. etc. Sir Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England, was reported to have said that the new government’s cuts would have to be so severe that whichever party won the election would subsequently be out of power for a generation. For a while there Ed’s ineptitude
meant the narrative was running contrary to that statement. Now though, it’s right back on track.
Christopher Goodfellow Twitter.com/MediaSpank mediaspank.net Send rants to firstname.lastname@example.org
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