K F r e e
Ben Klock METZ DJ Spinn & DJ Rashad Mala Main Attrakionz Theo Gennitsakis
Ar t, M u si c , S e aso n
Hot Chip IN OUR HEADS
Deluxe 2xLP / 2xLP / CD / DL Out Now
2xCD Out 26 November
Clinic FREE REIGN
LP / CD / DL / Special UFO Edition Out 12 November
Dirty Projectors SWING LO MAGELLAN
LP / CD / DL Out Now
Fránçois & The Atlas Mountains PLAINE INONDABLE LP / CD / DL Out Now
John Cale SHIFTY ADVENTURES IN NOOKIE WOOD 2xLP / CD / DL Out Now
Melody’s Echo Chamber MELODY’S ECHO CHAMBER LP / CD / DL Out Now
www.dominorecordco.com www.doublesixrecords.com www.weirdworldrecordco.com
BLOOMBERG NEW CONTEMPORARIES
27 November 2012 – 13 January 2013 This year’s selectors: Cullinan Richards, Nairy Baghramian, and Rosalind Nashashibi. Participating artists 2012: Jennifer Bailey, Jack Brindley, Jamie Buckley, Anita Delaney, Bryan Dooley, Freya Douglas-Morris, George Eksts, Natalie Finnemore, Nicola Frimpong, Salome Ghazanfari, Lauren Godfrey, Sarah Jones, Suki Seokyeong Kang, Piotr Krzymowski, Tara Langford, Tony Law, George Little, Evariste Maiga, Jan May, Nicole Morris, Oliver Osborne, Jennifer Phelan, Polly Read, Emanuel Röhss, Max Ruf, Simon Senn, Jackson Sprague, Samuel Taylor and Tyra Tingleff.
The number one show of defining work from UK art schools returns to the ICA. www.newcontemporaries.org.uk
E VENTS & FILMS THE TROUBLE WITH POPULISM Wed 28 Nov, 6.30pm Panel discussion on the challenges facing our public cultural institutions in attracting and stimulating audiences.
ARTISTS’ FILM CLUB Screenings and discussions of new and rarely seen work by artists in the medium of film. £5 / Free to ICA members
THE TROUBLE WITH DIVERSITY IN THE ARTS (BSL SIGNED) Wed 12 Dec, 6.30pm This talk focuses on issues of equality and diversity in relation to entry barriers within an artistic context.
ON LANGUAGE & CONTEMPORARY ART: PERFORMANCES & FILM SCREENING Sat 8 Dec Performances and talks on the subject of language, devised by Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2012 artists.
TOURING TALKS Join curators, artists and other cultural practitioners on Thursday tours through our exhibition Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2012.
Become a member today for £40 a year and just £10 for students: www.ica.org.uk/membership
Keep up to date with our programme by signing up to our newsletter: www.ica.org.uk/subscribe
OPEN FILE Sat 12 Jan Open File present an evening of performances and screenings investigating the relationship between humankind and technology. FILM SALONS Thu 29 Nov, Thu 6 Dec, Thu 13 Dec, Thu 17 Jan: 8.30pm Special screenings and discussions curated by artists exhibiting as part of Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2012. www.ica.org.uk/events
Institute of Contemporary Arts The Mall London SW1Y 5AH www.ica.org.uk
The ICA is a registered charity, number: 236848
Craig Richards Terry Francis Adam Beyer Adam Shelton Alan Fitzpatick Alex Niggemann Answer Code Request (LIVE) Anthony Parasole Anthony Rother (LIVE) Baby Ford Barker & Baumecker (LIVE) Brennan Green Bruno Pronsato (LIVE) Burnski CTRLS (LIVE) Dan Andrei Danuel Tate (LIVE) Demo Desolat Doc Martin dOP (LIVE) Droog Drumcode Eddie Richards Edu Imbernon Efdemin Guti (LIVE) Hector Heiko Mso Hesseltime Horror Inc. (LIVE) John Digweed Jozif Karotte
Loco Dice Marcel Dettmann Marcel Fengler Margaret Dygas MDR Morphosis (LIVE) Nick Hoppner Norman Nodge Pearson Sound Petre Inspirescu Prosumer Raresh Rhadoo Ricardo Villalobos RPR Sound Shaun Soomro Shifted Sieg Uber Die Sonne (LIVE) Slam Steve Rachmad Subb-An Superpitcher & Rebolledo Swayzak Presents SwzK (LIVE) Tama Sumo The Mole The Pachanga Boys tINI Tobi Neumann Victor Rosado Virgo Four (LIVE) Voigtmann zip
fabric NOV — DEC 2012
77A, Charterhouse Street, London EC1. www.fabriclondon.com fabric 65: Matthias Tanzmann — Out Now. fabric 66: Ben Klock — Out Now. fabric 67: zip — 3rd December.
Visit fabriclondon.com/crackmag for Exclusive fabric giveaways open only to Crack Magazine readers
Photographer: Charles Emerson charlesemerson.co.uk Assistant: Chris Field Featuring: 3D // Robert Del Naja
For those who are cracked let the light in: Respect Gill Loats Tim Westwood Richard TNT Dan Chandler Michael Fish Emma Piercy Kyle Parsley Julian Smith Paul Whitfield Chuck D Greg Walker
Jake Applebee firstname.lastname@example.org
Marketing / Events Manager Luke Sutton email@example.com
has been repeatedly advised never to M A G A Z I N meet our heroes. True enough, it’sE a pursuit riddled with potential pitfalls. If they’re just too normal, then it might irrevocably damage the mystique-shrouded pedestal they’ve been unfairly placed upon. If they’re cocks/ladycocks, then how are you supposed to immerse yourself in their work, knowing the mind behind it is that of someone who doesn’t give two hoots if someone admires, or even adores, what they do?
Executive Editors Thomas Frost firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor Geraint Davies email@example.com
Art Direction & Design Jake Applebee Staff Writer David Reed Lucie Grace
And never mind them, what about you? What if you act like a complete and utter plum? What if you can’t get any words out, or accidentally call them Mum, or have indulged in a droplet too much Dutch courage and end up feverishly dry-humping them as they signal for security. “But it’s all out of love!” you cry. They know it’s out of love. But it’s bad love, incorrectly expressed love. The love of a moron. Then you’ve got berks like that Armstrong fellow ruining the very idea of hero-worship. This man, a totem for physical human endeavour, a symbol of what this species can achieve with our humble bodies if we truly apply ourselves. And it turns out even he is a cheat. And while he’d probably have been a bit fitter than us without all them injections and things, that doesn’t make Dad feel any better about reading his autobiography twice. But now and then there’s a meeting that makes the anxiety and the let downs worthwhile. When this magazine began life in Bristol three years ago, we would have taken some persuasion to believe that one day, Robert Del Naja of Massive Attack would adorn the cover. And as you will find out in a couple of pages’ time, sometimes it really is a good idea to meet your heroes.
Interns Emma Piercy Fashion Alexander Jordan Sarah Barlow Valerie Benavides Anna Gibson
Contributors Christopher Goodfellow Mystic Greg Hulio Bourgeois Matt Riches Tim Oxley Smith James Balmont Josh Baines Tom Howells Rob Bates Claude Barbé-Brown Bee Adamic Teleri Glyn Jones Adam Corner T. C. Flanagan Jon Wiltshire Elinor Jones Charles Emerson Illustrations Lee Nutland Tom Mead Chris Wright Crack Magazine Office 1 Studio 31 Berkeley Square Clifton Bristol BS8 1HP 0117 2391219 CRACK is published by Crack Industries Ltd Advertising To enquire about advertising and to request a media pack contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
0117 2391219 © 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: Duran Duran - A View To A Kill Adele - Skyfall Piano Interrupted - You Don’t Love Me Yet John Talabot - When The Past Was Present (Pachanga Boys Purple Mix) Dense & Pika - Coil Bobby Champs - Steve Martin Carousels - Stay With Me Waze & Odyssey - Love Attack Eskimo Twins - Akashic Indians - Cakelayers Alan Parsons Project - I Wouldn’t Want To Be Like You Dinosaur Jr. - Don’t Pretend You Didn’t Know Paws - Jellyfish Kendrick Lamar - Money Trees Devo - Freedom of Choice Miguel - Kaleidoscope Dream Mellowhype - 65 Christopher Owens - Here We Go Lewis Parker feat Jhest - Communications Gucci Mane feat Birdman - Get Lost The Rolling Stones - Doom and Gloom
Public Enemy - Can’t Truss It Pure Bathing Culture - Ivory Coast Crass - Banned From The Roxy Action Bronson - The Symbol Rick Ross feat Pusha T & Curren$y - Clouds Sonic Youth - Empty Page Can - Vitamin C Kilo Kish - Navy Mac DeMarco - Ode to Viceroy Beak> - Mono Sleater Kinney - Good Things Michael Mayer - RA Podcast Meat Puppets - Up On The Sun Shirley Bassey - Don’t Cry Out Loud METZ - Rats Zombie Zombie - Illumination Beyonce - Sweet Dreams Ty Segall - The Tongue The Everly Brothers - All I Have to Do Is Dreams Savages - Give Me A Gun The Field - Leave It Boston - Cool The Engines
Ella Henderson - Missed Bo Ningen - Ten to Sen Neurosis - The Tide Isis - Ghost Key Cult of Luna - Echoes Entombed - I For An Eye The Fauns - Lovestruck Toro y Moi - Say That Daniel Johnston - Worried Shoes Heart - Alone Tyondai Braxton - Platinum Rows Hangmen - Black Mamba Blues Lindstrøm - Rà-àkõ-st Public Service Broadcasting - Spitfire Poliça - I See My Mother The Cut Ups - The Gold War Kutosis - Battle Lake Neutral Milk Hotel - Three Peaches Velcro Hooks - A Love Song for For T.S. Eliot Turbowolf - Bag O’ Bones PINS - Say To Me Vatican Shadow - Church Of All Images
THE SHACKLEWELL ARMS
71 Shacklewell Lane Dalston E8 2EB shacklewellarms.com -----------------------------Thursday 1 November
-----------------------------Friday 2 November
CHARANJIT SINGH : 10 RAGAS TO A DISCO BEAT (LIVE UK DEBUT)
-----------------------------Saturday 10 / Sunday 11 November
-----------------------------Friday 16 November
EL PERRO DEL MAR
THE REVERB CONSPIRACY PSYCH WEEKENDER
THROWING SNOW / WIFE
-----------------------------Wednesday 21 November
-----------------------------Thursday 22 November
-----------------------------Saturday 24 November
PUMP UP THE VOLUME
-----------------------------Sunday 25 November
-----------------------------Thursday 29 November
-----------------------------Saturday 8 December
-----------------------------Wednesday 19 December
JAMES YORKSTON CHRISTMAS SHOW
The Lock Tavern Forthcoming Guests Friday 26 October
Sunday 28 October
Earl Gateshead (Trojan Sound System) Chucks (The Correspondents) Sunday 11 November
DJ IQ (Professor Green) Sunday 25 November
New York Transit Authority & Ben Pearce Wednesday 28 November
Stephanie O’Brien (Ex Puppini Sisters) Thursday 6 December
Sunday 9 December
Fake Blood Mickey Moonlight Deadstock 33’s Sunday 16 December
Andrew Weatherall (Rockabilly Set) Special Guests 35 Chalk Farm Rd London NW1 8A J • lock- tavern.com • @thelocktavern
WED 7TH NOVEMBER | ST PANCRAS CHURCH
MON 12TH NOVEMBER | VILLAGE UNDERGROUND
TUE 13TH NOVEMBER | VILLAGE UNDERGROUND
WED 14TH NOVEMBER | THE GARAGE
WED 14TH NOVEMBER | THE LEXINGTON
MON 19TH NOVEMBER | HOXTON SQUARE BAR & KITCHEN
MAC DEMARCO MON 19TH NOVEMBER | BIRTHDAYS
OUI LOVE TOUR WITH JUPITER
& JUVENILES & YAN WAGNER WED 21ST NOVEMBER | THE SHACKLEWELL ARMS
GREAT LAKE SWIMMERS MON 26TH NOVEMBER | BUSH HALL
TWISTED FOLK WITH THE
REVIVAL HOUR & SERAFINA STEER THU 29TH NOVEMBER | VILLAGE UNDERGROUND
FRI 30TH NOVEMBER | BIRTHDAYS
WED 5TH DECEMBER | VILLAGE UNDERGROUND
SUN 9TH DECEMBER | BIRTHDAYS
MON 10TH DECEMBER | SHACKLEWELL ARMS
THU 13TH DECEMBER | HOXTON SQUARE BAR & KITCHEN
POLAR BEAR SAT 15TH DECEMBER | RICH MIX
ADVANCE TICKETS WWW.BIRDONTHEWIRE.NET
3 TU N E S // C O NTE NTS
3D - 14 Th e I nvi s i bl e Generat i onal Fl y i ng L ot us Get t i ng T here S pi z z E ne r gy S ol di er S ol di er M E TZ - 18 S i c A l ps S i c Al ps M oon D uo Ci rcl es S i l ve r Je ws Tang l ew ood Numbers D J S P I N N & D J RA S H A D - 2 0
C R A C K C A STS // B l a c k L ips in I r a q / / We have an exclusive interview with film maker Bill Cody, who documented Atlantan garage-rock icons Black Lips on their highly controversial tour to the Middle East. Having caught the band’s show in Iraq, sharing some words with the band and Cody gave a fascinating glimpse into this remarkable series of events.
Our mix series keeps expanding, with two recent offerings continuing to push the standards onwards and upwards. Firstly, Numbers man Deadboy brought us the distinctive cross-pollination of urban flavours which took the roof off at our recent party at Dalston’s The Nest. He’s been swiftly followed by Duke Dumont, who has weighed in with a hefty offering, centered around a selection of bass-driven house, with a couple of his own excellent productions thrown in for good measure.
D J S pi nn & D J Ras h ad S he Turnt U p D J Ras h ad D on’ t D rop I t D J S pi nn D ey Comi n TH E O GE N N I TS A KI S - 2 2 Th e Th e Gi ant M al col m M cL ar e n Madame But t erf l y C ar l y S i m on W hy MAL A - 30 Robe r t o Fons e ca Yo S e xt o S e nt i do Bossa Cubana M al a T he Tunnel
C O M P E T IT I O N S // B E N KLO C K - 3 2
E X C L U S I V E S U R G E O N I NTE R V I E W / /
Look, the thing is, we at Crack Towers aren’t about personal gain. We’re about trying our best to make your day that little bit better. That’s why we’re offering a chance to win another lovely prize, with a copy of the award-winning, criticallyacclaimed documentary Searching for Sugar Man to give away. The film is based around celebrated American folk musician Rodriguez, and with the man himself soon to embark on a European tour including a string of UK dates – one at Bristol’s Colston Hall on December 1st – it’s well worth investigating this intriguing story. Just answers a simple question:
You can’t underestimate the role of Anthony Child in the current UK techno resurgence. Constantly experimental and sonically bold, he has stood as a symbol for the genre’s place on these shores since the early 90s. With new material from his British Murder Boys collaboration on the horizon, we shared a brief
Where is Rodriguez from?
chat with Surgeon.
Tr e vi no Forg ed Fl oor pl an Chord Pri nci pal E m m anue l Top T he Tunnel M A I N ATTRA KI ON Z - 3 6
b) Glasgow c) Ibiza Send all entries to email@example.com
M ai n A t t r aki onz L FK S quadda B am bi no U ncl e R i ck y M ai n A t t r aki onz I E at Green O v a
I t al T he Wa itin g Room 7 t h N o vember
Fr ank ie Knuck les XOYO 9 th No vembe r
Futu rebo o g ie Maxxi Soundsystem, Waifs & Strays, Ron Basejam East London Warehouse Location December 1st
P h o n ica R ec ords 9 th B i r thday
Vir go Fo u r F abric 10th No vember
Omar-S, Bicep, Ivan Smagghe
The boys from across the hall (from us, maybe not from you)
are returning to that pesky secret east London location for their
follow-up to the absolute road-block which was last year’s
capital bash. Bringing you the lion’s share of the Futureboogie roster in all its glory – Maxxi Soundsystem, Waifs & Strays,
As London’s leading vinyl specialists, the team behind Phonica are people we trust implicitly to harness all
Ron Basejam, Behling & Simpson and more – this is sure to
M e lo d y ’ s Ech o C h a mb e r
the most exciting and relevant beatmakers under one roof. For their 9th birthday, they’ve recruited motown
be a celebratory showcase of the definitive house sound they’ve
minimal champ Omar-S alongside analogue fetishist Ivan Smagghe and retro-inclined, bare-torsoed duo
championed for ten years.
Bicep, an especially suitable booking since their classy vintage house hit Vision of Love has been Phonica’s best selling record of the year.
D iiv T he Ga rage 14 th No vembe r
Destro ye r Village Underground November 13th
Lo co D ice F abric 17 th No vembe r
K it s u n e Cl ub Ni ght: The W i nter Seas on Pa rt y
Hyp e Willia ms
Étienne de Crécy, Nancy Whang, Deep Shit
Tufnell Park Done (Boston Arms)
£12.50/£14 Although their Hyperdub released album Black is Beautiful was met with general critical appreciation this The perpetually chic Parisian label and fashion brand Kitsuné have booked a nine-deep bill of artists to
year, the elusive London deconstructionists Hype Williams didn’t exactly leap at the opportunities the wider
celebrate the year’s conclusion. Time-honoured Gallic electronic producers such as Etienne De Crecy and
wave of intrigue opened for them. Considering their set up as pop culture obsessed lo-fi laptop practitioners,
Fred Falke sit at the top of a line-up which also features LCD Soundsystem’s Nancy Whang, uplifting
their output hasn’t been as prolific as you’d expect, and this one-off show demonstrates that they’ve resisted
disco producer Beataucue and DJ unit Deep Shit, a duo comprised of members from Foals and Friendly
a conveyor belt tour schedule which might dampen their enthusiasm or iron out their curves. Last time we
saw Hype Williams, they played at an ear punishing volume as an oiled-up body builder flexed in the strobe
Beak > L exin gto n 2 1st N o vemb e r
lighting. Just saying.
O m ar -S XO Y O 2 3 rd Nov ember
P u rit y Rin g Scala
Fa c t o r y F lo o r & Ha n n a h Sawtel l
ICA 17th November £8/7/5 It’s a well known fact that Factory Floor are one of the most powerful live forces of
Crack Ma g a zine pre sents DJ Ra shad & DJ S pin n , Doc Da n e e ka , Face +Heel , Reg a l S a fa ri
the moment. Crack was totally astounded by the industrial techno trio’s on stage
collaboration with legendary New York composer Peter Gordon a few weeks back,
D i r t y Th r e e S hepherd’ s Bush E mpi re 2 8t h Nov ember
and this performance with artist Hannah Sawtell is the second event of the four scheduled Factory Floor shows at the ICA. It’s hinted that the performance will
So, we gather you all had a pretty good time thanks to Deadboy at our last bash? Yeah, us too. So we can’t
interplay digital and analogue techniques. That’s not much of a giveaway, but with
wait to get back down them stairs to host another enormous evening. Straight from Chicago we’ve got
Factory Floor, it’s the guarantee of surprise which keeps us coming back every time.
footwork’s original duo Rashad and Spinn bringing their unique brand of high-speed beats and general air of party mayhem; from Berlin we’ve got the irresistible house sounds of one of the most hotly-tipped
Ju lio Ba sh mo re
boys on the circuit, Doc Daneeka; and bringing live sounds we’ve got pure atmosphere from the superb
Face+Heel and Regal Safari. Our strongest line-up yet? We couldn’t possibly say ...
M y s t e r y Je t s R oy al Fest i v al H al l 2 9t h Nov ember
Zip Fabri c 1st D ecember
r A n d o m I n t e rn a t io n a l Rai n R oom Barbican
Ricard o V illalo b o s Fabric November 24th
Until March 2012 Free Amidst the flurry of fascinating events and exhibitions which make up the Barbican’s Autumn/Winter schedule, this offering from contemporary art studio rAndom International particularly struck us, and from the hype being banded around, we’re not the only ones. The interactive experience invites you into the heart of nature, to discover what it’s like to actually control the rain. Immersive and sensory, this isn’t to be missed.
Ice a g e Hoxton Bar & Kitchen November 29th
Ye as ay e r S hepherd’ s Bush E mpi re 4t h D ecember
£8.50 It seems weird that adolescent Danish punks Iceage’s debut album New Brigade was released over a year ago because when we play it today, the razor sharp intensity hasn’t diminished one bit. They’ve spent a lot of the year establishing their notorious live reputation in the US, inspiring chaos, bloodshed and flogging some potentially lethal merchandise. Iceage are a punk band who’d still terrify your parents, even if your mum lives in a squat and your dad used to be a roadie for Crass.
S uuns Vi l l ag e U nderg round 5 t h D ecember
B u g g e d O u t We e ke n d e r
Holo g rams
M ono Vi l l ag e U nderg round 8t h D ecember
Scuba, Maya Jane Coles, Julio Bashmore, Ben UFO, Eats Everything, Chemical Brothers (DJ)
Butlins Bognor Regis
January 18/19/20th Stockholm-based Holograms’ winter Euro tour is quite the victory lap. By grafting at industrial warehouses After an enormously successful debut event early this year, Bugged Out! are once again bringing one of
they managed to scrape together enough Krona to create a debut album. Channeling the frustration and
the UK’s most reliable and long-running party brands to Butlins. There’s nothing quite like the sense of
playfulness of late 70s/early 80s post-punk, it was released via Brooklyn label Captured Tracks this year and
misbehaviour that comes from a weekend of debauchery at a holiday camp, running riot around the 2p
it features ABC City, a wounded summer anthem that sounds like a tragically overlooked 7” buried at the
machines, and our plans for this particular event are already well underway. With a line-up taking shape
back end of a new wave compilation. We get the impression that life on the road for Holograms is all about
including Andrew Weatherall and Ivan Smagghe, Gesaffelstein, Scuba, Maya Jane Coles and Julio
dirty sofas and freezing cold vans, so it’s nice to see dreams fulfilled.
RP R S ounds y s t e m Fabri c 8t h D ecember
Bashmore, yours should be too.
18/19/20 JANUARY 2013 BUTLINS BOGNOR REGIS
FULL LINE-UP SO FAR:
JUST ANN OUNCED
ANDREW WEATHERALL / ANNIE MAC BENGA – LIVE / BEN UFO / BICEP / BLAWAN BOYS NOIZE / BRODINSKI / DANIEL AVERY DAVE CLARKE / DISCLOSURE – LIVE / DUSKY EATS EVERYTHING / EROL ALKAN / FAKE BLOOD FRANKIE KNUCKLES / GESAFFELSTEIN / HEIDI PRESENTS THE JACKATHON / IVAN SMAGGHE JACKMASTER / JOY ORBISON / JULIO BASHMORE / KRANKBROTHERS / LOEFAH & MC CHUNKY / MACEO PLEX / MARCUS NASTY MAYA JANE COLES / MOSCA / ONEMAN REDLIGHT / SCUBA / SKREAM / THE TODDLA T SOUND / UNION & MORE TBA 3 NIGHTS, 5 DANCE FLOORS, 70 ACTS. PLUS POOL PARTIES, DJ COMPETITION, PHONICA PUB QUIZ, MUSICAL BINGO, RAVE KARAOKE (AND YOU'RE ONLY EVER METRES AWAY FROM YOUR BED!). PARTNERS: JUNK DEPARTMENT / JUST JACK / KRANKBROTHER / UNION / URBAN NERDS ACCOMMODATION INCLUDED. NUS DISCOUNT. GROUP OFFERS AVAILABLE. CRACK MAGAZINE / FACT / MIXMAG / NOISEY / RESIDENT ADVISOR / TRAP MAGAZINE
Velcro Ho o ks E d wa rd S c iss o rt o n g u e During the early-to-mid noughties it seemed as if UK hip-hop was at its peak in terms of national recognition. Labels like Low Life were pushing artists such as Skinny Man, Lewis Parker and Jehst towards radio play, media coverage and the CD players of casual rap tourists. But any true British hip-hop head will tell you that the underground continues to thrive, and an artist by the name of Edward Scissortongue has blown our minds. Scissortongue earned his stripes as a member of the respected Contact Play collective and he’s now signed to torch carrying label High Focus, who are set to release solo album Better Luck Next Life on November 26th . “I only care for what my gang are really up to and they’re utterly inspirational. The UK scene is on the up and I feel we have been instrumental in its resurgence”, he tells Crack. The single Please Say Something sees Scissortongue spit gruesome analogies and wrap his mouth around complex strings of syllables to a moody beat from a producer named Lamplighter, who’s produced the entire album. “He’d make a killer movie score writer. When he sent me the instrumental for this tune Wastewater, I literally found my mind travelling through a strange Blade Runner-esque cityscape”. We can’t wait to hear how that one turned out.
There’s a deranged, dirty feel to this four-piece’s scuzzy indie pop which gives us the impression that they’re quite the little miscreants. But despite their reckless vibe, Velcro Hooks pull off erratic structures and sharp tempo switches which also reveal some pretty good musicians. The Hooks drop their Gymnophoria EP via gatekeepers of Bristol’s ‘microscene’ Howling Owl Records this month. It’s a record that contaminates outrageously catchy tunes with overdrive crunch and absurd yelps reminiscent of Frank Blank. The perfect soundtrack to a night spent sippin’ White Ace and making regrettable decisions, catch their EP release at Bristol’s Diving School on November 17th.
Although he/she may have surged into the attention of many with last month’s RA podcast – and deservedly so, as it’s a stunningly ambitious and thoughtful collection which varies from Can to Eno to Robert Hood to Killing Joke, divided into four, progressive stages – Bristol’s enigmatic A Sagittariun has been releasing exclusively on their own Elastic Dreams label since 2011. Releases such as the Carina EP showcase an artist equally comfortable with hypnotic, loopy house, harder-edged techno and even dabbling in his hometown’s signature triphop sound. With only that intriguing name, a series of Mickey Mouse-referencing images and a location to mark their identity, A Sagittariun might struggle to remain anonymous for too much longer.
Tune: Grandpa, No Tune: Wind Tunnel
Tune: Please Say Something
File Next To: Les Savy Fav | Pixies File Next To: October | The Field
File Next to: Jehst | Farma G
Cl o s e
A S a g g ita riu n
Am us ement
Wo lf Alice
The ever versatile Crack favourite Will Saul has revealed new project Close to be his own, having until recently been shrouded in mystery. After what has been a quiet period for Saul, it is clear that this project is where his time has been spent, with remixes for Little Dragon, FINK and Scuba. K7! Records have also put out his tripped out space jam O.S.C.A.R on the free download flex. The general vibe of Close thus far harks back to old school electro sounds, utilising classic drum machines and dreamy synths. The project is set to drop an album, due next year and featuring rumoured appearances from Scuba, Ewan Pearson and Appleblim.
Already commanding hefty crowds in and around their Dalston hunting ground, Amusement seemingly have the tools to go very far indeed. Having started life as a production duo (and developed the skills which serve them extremely well in their sideline as remixers for the likes of Stealing Sheep and Disclosure), Amusement now stand out as an exciting, full-formed band. Last release King of the World displays a remarkable knack for electronic techniques and genuine dynamic breadth, leaping joyfully into a double-time chorus, and throwing a blanket of levity across the whole thing that feels somehow very British.
T o rch e s With single Someone Needs a Ritual available just about now on Heart Throb Records, Torches are rising hard. Showcasing a gloomy, new wave-flecked indie sound, presented through crisp production, this is a band with a range of strings to their bow. Through their limited output to date there have been glimpses of a knack for hypnotic, rhythmic soundscapes, synth atmospherics, and a certain air of sombreness which harks even at the grandeur of chamber pop. Frontman Charlie Drinkwater, meanwhile, is a definite keeper: from his reassuringly powerful vocal performance, to his jagged shapes adding a sense of occasion at the band’s apex.
Wolf Alice have taken strides since gifted veteran Joel Amey took up the sticks for them at the beginning of the summer, transforming the band from a sweet acoustic hobby to major players by introducing them to the gold-plated concept of regular gigging. Since this invigorating move, Wolf Alice have grabbed the live scene by the horns, and following a trickle of folk-tinged nuggets, their latest release, Leaving You, finally discloses their full manifesto of harmony-laden pop to the world, immediately making its point of placing the band’s greatest asset up on a pedestal in Ellie Rowsell’s stunning voice. It’s great to see this band, who have been so consistently charming from the off, push themselves out into the open – they’ve got a lot of heart to share.
Tune: King of the World
Tune: Sky Blue & Ivory
File Next To: Space Dimension Controller | Will Saul
File Next To: Chromatics | Everything Everything
Tune: Leaving You
File Next To: Editors | O Children
File Next To: Beth Orton | Mazzy Star
Crack goes one-on-one with the M a s s i v e A t t a c k m a i n s t a y.
ÂŠ Charles Emerson
WORDS T ho mas Fro s t S c o tt Ja mes Geraint Da vi es
PHOTO C h a rle s Em e rso n
TUN E S af e Fr om H ar m
Setting foot in Robert Del Naja’s studio space is, in itself, enough to take you aback. Located in Bristol’s Bedminster area, a passer by wouldn’t begin to imagine the significance of the processes taking place in the midst of this unassuming setting. As we’re shown to the open plan loft area on the top floor, we’re surrounded by artwork and memorabilia. Notable are a 1986 Wild Bunch poster and a Hail To The Thief-era Stanley Donwood piece. The building is buzzing with activity, with the likes of collaborator Tim Goldsworthy milling around freely. As an individual, Del Naja is accommodating and energetic. Art – his own, and that of others – is perhaps the topic which sparks most vividly, and at one point he darts off mid-interview to show us a piece which had been run off the printer the previous night. For a man who’s been at it for nigh on 30 years, there’s no dearth of creative passion on show here. It would seem inappropriate to meet the man known as 3D in any city other than Bristol. His multi-faceted output has come to represent the city to a wider world, becoming synonymous with its expanding and diverse musical heritage. First finding his way in the early 80s, he became part of The Wild Bunch, a collective of graffiti artists, musicians and enthusiasts that included the core of what would come to be Massive Attack. Informed by the sense of emancipation and self-expression innate to punk music, he quickly became engrossed in the rapidly expanding phenomenon of soundsystems, one which blurred lines of race and cultural grounding.
3D’s actions are endlessly entwined in a system of self-referentiality. His latest project, a series of events in Bristol’s abandoned Old Crown Courts and Prison Cells at the heart of the city, speaks in every way to that tendency. Describing it as “a way to reengage” with Bristol – musically, politically, artistically – the significance of the space is of prime importance. Beginning life on 12/12/12 and titled the Battle Box, the opening event will be based around a three-day soundclash between a deconstructed version of Massive Attack alongside two other, as yet unnamed but significant acts. From these will spring a series of debates and political discussions, at some point planned to include hugely respected Human Rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith and his not-for-profit Revive organisation. The prison cells themselves will be co-curated by Del Naja and London’s Lazarides
Also we’ll only put a bit of rehearsal into it because of time anyway, and we haven’t got a giant budget. It’s good because we’ve got so many limitations in terms of what kit we can put in there, what lighting, what PA, how many people can perform and how much time they’ve got to rehearse. All those parameters are going to make it completely different.
But as much as this surge to international prominence continued, Del Naja has always called Bristol home. While never reluctant to engage with politics on a national level, notably in his involvement with the Occupy movement, his focus on more local affairs was recently thrust into the spotlight with an open letter to mayoral candidate George Ferguson. Publicly questioning Ferguson’s involvement with the Merchant Venturers, a resolutely private entrepreneurial organisation in Bristol which has existed since the 13th century, Del Naja cast doubt over a figure regarded to have Bristol’s cultural and historical wellbeing at the very core of his belief system. Having received a prompt and sympathetic response, which Del Naja stresses he “appreciates”, there still seems an element of doubt in his mind. “I still find it slightly strange why he’d want to be in an
mi l l i o n
It’s fair to say that over the years, you’ve been a symbol of leftleaning common sense. Or scattergun leftyism! [laughs] Where does that side of you come from?
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This benchmark record has recently been scheduled for a remastered rerelease. Given a dynamic retouching from the original tapes, the version presented sparkles with life. Not one to dwell on nostalgia, there is certainly no lack of pride on his part concerning the album itself, or it’s shiny new rebirth. Yet ever the reluctant figurehead, there are far more immediate issues to address above something which happened over two decades ago. That’s not to mention the four albums which came in its wake: 1994’s sublime Protection, the masterpiece which was 1998’s Mezzanine, 2003’s turbulently-realised and oft underrated 100th Window, and the flurry of creative energy and diversity which was the band’s last release, Heligoland, in 2010.
DATE S Bri st ol O l d Crow n Court s | 12 -14t h D ec
Obviously, the nature of your live sets are quite large scale compared to that, it’ll surely be one of the smallest, most intimate things you’ve done in a long time?
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From the embryo of The Wild Bunch, Massive Attack blossomed. Working with a stark clash of seemingly disparate musical ideologies, by 1991 the group had crafted the era-defining, game-changing Blue Lines. It’s an album referenced freely to this day, and indeed, one of the first things to catch our eye as we entered 3D’s studio space is a newly packaged, 12” copy.
S I TE d e l n aja.c om m as s i v e at t ac k .c om
organisation that has been so non-transparent about their dealings, and haven’t seemed willing to reconcile their negative history with the AfroCaribbean community”, he says.
“ W h at
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Gallery, brimming with a range of thought-provoking artwork. Exclusive Battle Box releases are also to be expected, 12”s including collaborations with Guy Garvey and Tim Goldsworthy, as well as the physical release of the Massive Attack vs. Nas 12”, available exclusively from Bristol record shops, to be bought with the Bristol pound. With this initial burst of life sure to cause an eruption of interest and discourse within the city, and six events scheduled over an 18 month period, the mutual influence of Robert Del Naja on Bristol, and vice versa, is as powerful as ever.
It probably comes from the pub, and if you see me sat alone in the corner it’s probably because everyone’s sick and tired of hearing it [laughs]. I think it’s informed by the music of my era, that sort of punk, hip-hop era. It was very much a background to all the issues of the day throughout my upbringing. And the Bristol riots?
And the Bristol riots, yeah. I think when the riots last year happened, it just became apparent that it solved nothing, that romanticising of rioting seemed to be over. All it’s doing is getting kids put in jail, it’s destroying people’s businesses, it’s terrifying people, it’s nearly killed people and yet, the next day, no bankers had been locked up, nothing’s changed, it’s the exact opposite. In fact, it’s quite mad how justice was delivered to the rioters. If you look at that kid who attacked the Sheffield Wednesday keeper the other day, he was jailed within two minutes. Yet a lot of these perpetrators, whether it’s media crimes or banking crimes, are gonna drag this shit through the courts for the next decade. You see the lack of balance between everyone’s civil and legal rights quite blatantly.
Surely it just comes down to who can afford a good lawyer? Holding this project in the courtrooms, can that be attributed to your inner rebel? It has massive appeal. We’re doing something in a space you would never normally enter unless you were there for all the wrong reasons, or the right reasons. We’re also creating an opportunity to work in a space where the economic factors aren’t key, where you’re not trying to put a festival on for 10,000 people, with tickets at 50 quid to cover it, and then hope to sell 1000 gallons of cheap lager to make profit. In the era of austerity, we thought it would be more fun to go into a smaller space, more contained and be able to make decisions based on quality as opposed to quantity. From a musical point of view, what exactly have you got planned? When myself and Jules [Smith, a respected Bristol promoter who is partnering Del Naja in the organisation and curation of the event] went in there, one thing we originally agreed on was, let’s not try to just install a conventional stage, let’s work with the space we’ve got. Straight away, you’ve got to change a lot of stuff, which is cool. I thought that a great way to deconstruct the live show would be to have the central part as more of a DJ studio, keyboards and a bit of instrumentation and then start there, as opposed to basing it around a full live performance.
Exactly. You’ve seen on a local level the same things you’ll see on a national level, all the people who can’t afford representation go down and people who can afford it stay out of jail. And if we’re talking about democracy, something which the British like to export to the world militarily, then we have to stand by it. Look at the presidential election, we’re talking about both candidates trying to make America the most powerful and greatest democracy on the planet. But how can you stand by that if you’ve got Guantanamo Bay open? You’ve actually rendered prisoners to another country in order to break your own laws; how can you stand by an idea of democracy when that completely negates it? While we’re in this situation, it’s very difficult to really stand up to the next generation and say “this is how it works, this is the law you should believe in, this is democracy, it really is gonna work for you”. There are so many holes in it. You were quite influential in pushing the Occupy movement. There’s a video of you and Thom Yorke, obviously you felt compelled to go down and put some weight behind that. Direct action has always been something of interest to me and I think, coming from Bristol in the 80s as a youth, and the Bristol riots in 1980, I was only young and it was like this mythological moment. Growing up - - - - ->
in punk and White Riot and The Clash, the idea of chucking bricks and breaking things seemed to be the way forward. That was something you related to? It seemed to be the only way to create change. It had to be through some violent act. To create a change, you had to come up against authority in such a violent way that you could somehow force change. I think, over the years, you realise that isn’t the case, and the better way to do it is to engage politically with different, smaller groups. The Occupy movement started to represent a very rational way of discussing the problem with the global economy and local economy. But the Bristol Occupy movement, as much as its presence needed to be felt, the idea of having a permanent camp didn’t seem to be any point to me. Once people saw one of the most picturesque parts of the city being trashed a lot of the initial good will kind of petered out.
The white guy. Someone’s got to be the fucking white guy [laughs]. Do you think you did your bit for the multiculturalism of Bristol, almost by accident? As much as we represented that part of Bristol, which I guess was mostly a minority back then, we were given that opportunity because of the places we went out, such as the legendary Dug Out club. You had that multicultural mix where people would go and listen to each other’s music. You went in there and it was a complete mix of people from throughout the whole class/race/gender spectrum, you never knew what to expect. Some nights were more hip-hop, more soul, more reggae. It had the first video bar, maybe, in the country, that showed the first music videos: Sunsplash from Jamaica, hip-hop from New York and old punk videos, that was just mental. People would go down to Dug Out at nine o’clock at night to watch videos, and then by midnight they’d be on the dancefloor. It was a really crazily unique time, you’d never get that again. You’ve now got all that shit piped into your house 24/7. At that time, you had to go there to meet people that shared your tastes, so the social network was a more physical one
There was a far more pronounced hip-hop element to that first record, in the overall sound and also in your vocal delivery. Do you still listen to hip-hop? Yeah, absolutely. I mean, in more recent years Flying Lotus, Odd Future, Death Grips – and that’s a brilliant record, because it brings back all the best of punk and hip-hop in a complete package, totally mad. As well as Gonjasufi and The Weeknd. It’s got interesting again, and the world needs that. There’s always been tension at the heart of the band’s dynamic. Do you need conflict, be it personal or political, to make music? I think the conflict mostly comes because you end up being insecure about what you’re doing. There’s always a sense of insecurity about it: is it good? Is it running out? Is that moment passed, can you recapture it? What am I doing now? What the fuck’s happening next? There’s a million insecurities, and I think that’s where the tension comes from. There’s also lots of limitations. Limitations have to be overcome on every new record, and imagination becomes the antidote for insecurity.
Exactly, it evaporated. And the problem is that direct action is meant to be a moment which is thoughtful and poignant and has a purpose that you can talk about and debate and you can stand by as a point. When it’s just placing a camp outside the council houses without any idea of Was Blue Lines essentially a musical representation of everything The visual element has always been key to Massive Attack, be it in terms of artwork, videos, live shows. engagement, I couldn’t see the point. Where’s the engagement? The you’d sucked up as The Wild Bunch at that point? longer it went on, the less effective it was. Whereas, occupying the UBS Some people have said to me, if you bank was a coherent idea which I stop fucking around with music understood, because the banking you’d be a better artist. You know, it’s crisis created joblessness, it created true, and sometimes I think I end up house repossessions, thousands of slightly underachieving on both levels people have been put out of work and [laughs]. Y’know, not concentrating lost their homes, yet this bank stands “ I t ’ s q u i t e m a d h o w j u s t ic e w a s d e l i v e r e d on one or the other and just fucking empty. So let’s take this bank over flicking between the two and then not and try, as a point, to squat this bank to the rioters ... you see the lack actually doing a great job of either. to try to hammer this point home. Whether it’s the ‘99%’, or it’s more like of balance between everyone’s ci v i l How is your working relationship the people who couldn’t afford their with G now? Obviously its changed mortgage, or got kicked out of work. a lot over the years, how does it and legal rights quite b l a t a n t l y. ” The ‘99%’ as a global ideology is neat, work when you start work on a but this is the reality. new Massive Attack record? In terms of Bristol as a musical It’s very different. On Blue Lines we inspiration, most people feel that were thrust into a studio by Cameron McVey, Neneh Cherry’s husband. the city has had a real musical resurgence of late, with a huge deal Yeah, but only a small part of what we’d been listening to and absorbed. of predominantly electronic music coming to the fore. How do you And ‘absorbed’ is the right word, because that’s what people who are We were sleeping on the floor of his house and were making a record with see the landscape right now? into music do, you absorb it, don’t you? You take it into yourself, whether Johnny Dollar, who sadly died last year. you’re DJing or whether you’re just listening at home on your headphones. What I think is interesting is that it’s developed, there’s been a total sense What was interesting about it was, all the elements that it was made up The reissue of Blue Lines is dedicated to him. of progression, but at the same time it’s very much still about doing it of worked seamlessly together even though there was a conflict of ideas. He was a really lovely guy who died, tragically young. He was the glue yourself, about not trying to compete in a curve but doing your own thing. Bristol’s always had this sense of independence. After the punk era and the It wasn’t all plain sailing at that point, there was conflict between us. But then when it came to Protection, we were left to our own devices and that fell apart again. Mushroom was in his studio, me new-wave era ebbed away we had the reggae soundsystem, which was and tension? and Tricky were living together and working. We started a collection, really informative for us. It all became about the soundsystem/DJ culture, between Mushroom and myself, in separate spaces and together built up the studio/ bedroom culture, and that’s stayed and really has continued to Yeah, there was always conflict. The thing with The Wild Bunch was, it be the primary musical thing in Bristol. was made of a bunch of people who were all ... not selfish, but ... stubborn. a collection of tracks, then G got involved at that point. On Mezzanine, we had a similar issue in terms of dynamic, because at that point Mushroom They came together and jammed, literally jammed their music into one had a very different set of opinions about music and we weren’t seeing eyeSurely you guys must have set a blueprint for that. The whole night. Everyone had their own way they wanted to do it and the result was culture which continues to exist today, that’s your legacy. quite an eclectic flow of music. Even though we didn’t make Blue Lines to-eye. A lot of the time it was me and Mushroom up at Christchurch with with the idea to try and create a party record, by any stretch, there was an Neil Davidge trying to mediate between us. Me and Mush jamming things together that were complete opposites, which is what made Mezzanine You can say there’s a legacy attached to that without a doubt, but to be element of trying to draw on our influences through the samples, through interesting, a million battles about what we fundamentally disagreed with totally honest, all the individual musical moments, particularly in the last the ideas, and to try and encapsulate that on vinyl. each other on. Through a lot of that, G didn’t want to be around. G got five years, have been nothing to do with us. That’s been an independent scene which has just grown out of its own creativity, it has its own Why now, over two decades on, did you decide to revisit it and involved later on when we had a bit of a blueprint. Cause also, G’s always been kind of an elder statesman. And I say that cause he’s an ageless man, momentum. I think we have a place in the story of music in Bristol, but retouch it? do you know what I mean? He’s always had this attitude of ‘let them fight everyone else has got their own place now and no matter how we look at the dateline and go ‘well yeah, we did it first, we were there’, it’s just Initially we didn’t want to do it, to be honest. We missed the 20th it out and I’ll come in and tell them what I think afterwards’. That’s the good to be a part of it as opposed to feeling we were a benchmark or anniversary deliberately, because everyone does that 20 years thing, relationship we’ve built up over the years. I mean, it didn’t work for 100th catalyst. When we came out with our first album, then three years later landmark nostalgia. But we have this really great mix engineer, Bruno Window because, after the really sad falling out with Mushroom and everything that followed that, it wasn’t a fun time. with Protection and Portishead had made their record, and Tricky made Ellingham, who suggested “well, it’d be worth getting those tapes up, all his record, there was suddenly a group of artists, not just us three. There those stems and putting them on the board again”. Rather than tweaking But that’s made for some amazing music. were other bands on the periphery too, and there was this big Bristol a master, actually rebalancing it back on the desk so that it was rebuilt. ‘scene’ and the A+R men were flooding to Bristol every day, they were Even when we were doing it, we said to EMI, ‘look, this isn’t a guarantee Indeed. really mining this scene. We didn’t want to be part of a scene, we wanted this is going to go out’. But when it started to sound good we thought, to be recognised as being ourselves and being absolutely unique in our why not put it out there? We’re not doing any promo, we’re not touring own identity. So when I look at bands now, that’s what they want as well, it. We’re just putting it back out there, out into the world in a more y’know? Having an identity and being completely unique. dynamic fashion. With added volume! The fact that we’re a year late is - - - - - - - - - quite Bristol anyway [laughs]. It was also an opportunity to reach back In terms of the sense of identity, one thing that’s incredibly out to Mushroom, who I coincidentally met at Love Saves the Day [Bristol striking about The Wild Bunch and Blue Lines is this supreme festival held this June]. We hadn’t spoken for over 10 years, and that was a The three-night Battle Box event begins in Bristol Court Rooms on December representation of Bristol’s multiculturalism. You had the black guy, constant sadness in me. Life is too short to lose good friends and brothers, 12th. Keep an eye on crackmagazine.net for further details. Blue Lines: 2012 Remix/Remaster is out on November 19th via EMI. the mixed race guy, yourself. it’s been like a happy dream communicating with Mush again.
Â© Charles Emerson
M WORDS G era int Da vi es
E PHOTO Elin o r Jo n e s
T TUN E Was t e d
S I TE f ac e b ook .c om / m e t z
“Man, this week we’ve played four shows and I’m already sick.” A glance across Toronto noise-punk luminaries METZ’s touring schedule is enough to make you feel a bit ill yourself. As we speak to guitarist/vocalist Alex Edkins, the trio (completed by bassist Chris Slorach and drummer Hayden Menzies) are in the van headed for four sets in as many days in Brooklyn in the name of the CMJ Music Marathon, before hopping on a flight for their first ever UK date in Leeds, a brief jaunt around the country including a muchanticipated set at Shoreditch’s Old Blue Last, a hop across the channel to Paris, then back US-wards for an extensive run seeing them through until late November. It’s a hell of a jolt into the limelight, a sudden introduction to life as one of the bands of the moment. “We don’t know how it’s gonna turn out, to be honest”, Alex honestly reveals. “It’s a whole bunch of firsts for us; the first time we’ve ever toured for this long and done so much bouncing around. We’re really excited, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a little terrifying too.” If the band’s selftitled debut revels in a raw, live sound, then that’s because this is a live band in every way. As well as embracing life in the van (seemingly a far more amicable place than many bands report, where everyone splits driving duties and “whoever calls shotgun gets to be DJ”), METZ’s writing process is one of collaboration, and of creating music in a ‘live’ environment. The hours spent in the rehearsal room smashing ideas into each other has crafted a sound where bass and guitar pummel as one in an assault of three chord riffs and driving, single note downstrokes which plough into skewed, bent strings. You can almost hear songs taking shape, parts allowed to develop and grow in accordance with each other. “It’s whatever time we can make for it”, is Alex’s simple description of METZ’s writing process. “Usually we have to work in the days, or we just do stuff on weekends, but we go in there for three or four hours and half the time we walk out with nothing and go get a beer.” He continues that “it’s trial and error. When we do have something, it tends to have that particular sound, with that live energy and cohesion to it, which is why we do it the long way.” He paints an intriguing picture of the practice room where so much of what makes METZ special takes place. It’s a space they share with fellow revered Torontans Fucked Up, pioneers of far grander, though no more vital, contributions to the punk rock canon. “We’ve been in the same building for almost as long as we’ve been in Toronto. It’s just the worst!” he laughs. “Walls of amps and carpets on the ceilings and shit everywhere, it’s pretty gross.” That one of the most celebrated and one of the most rapidly rising bands of their ilk share a rehearsal space is a microcosm of the consistently surprising and ripe musical breeding ground of Toronto. While it seems trite to comment on the wealth of music coming from a city with a population of over two-and-a-half million – it’s a big place – there is something about the variation and quality of output which is striking. We’re talking about Holy Fuck, Crystal Castles, Peaches, Azari & III, Broken Social Scene, Drake, DFA1979/MSTRKRFT, The Weeknd, as well as the aforementioned. Alex cannot place a common thread running though the city’s sound. “I can’t put my finger on it”, he says. “I would definitely agree there’s amazing stuff coming out of Toronto right now, and a lot of those people are our friends, but I don’t think musically there’s necessarily anything in common. I think people are generally happy to focus on their own thing. They’ll come out and support other bands and will take influence from other bands, but as far as a scene or a type of music coming out of Toronto, I can’t pick just one.” METZ are an embodiment of an embracing attitude which goes beyond genre working with Holy Fuck’s Graham Walsh and Crystal Castles-affiliated engineer Alex Bonenfant on the album. There is no reason to associate these acts beyond the Toronto connection. “It’s just a pretty welcoming community”, says Alex. “There’s a lot of collaboration and hanging out.” That’s not to say life in Toronto is all shits and giggles. In fact, much of what turns this charming fellow into the howling, endlessly frustrated frontman of METZ stems from the occasional grind of life in such a vast, at times faceless city. “I definitely think a certain amount of it comes from that”, says Alex. “I’m originally from a smaller city, and I moved to Toronto five years ago. I think, like with anyone, on a good day you love it and on a bad day you can really pick out the things that start to piss you off. You can blame it on whatever you want, but I would sometimes blame it on the size and the speed of the city and those aspects of the modern way of life that I sometimes find a little overbearing.” The often tough-to-decipher content of his desperate yells cannot, though, solely be attributed to the trials of city life. “Another thing with the lyrics and the theme of the record is I write them after the music, and I think the music in a lot of ways dictates the subject matter and the tone. Whenever I sit down with the tunes there’s no way in hell I can sing a love song over something like that. Because it has a certain aggression and a certain darkness to it, it calls for a certain type of lyric.”
© Elinor Jones
It’s an aggression which has at turns been compared to the likes of the twisted noise-punk of Texan legends The Jesus Lizard, the dissonant clang of Steve Albini’s Shellac and the jagged stomp of Ohians Brainiac, a commendable yet ugly lineage to be placed amongst. But despite this form of expression, the band is in no way seeking to present something violent or negative. “No, never”, is the sharp reply. “I think it’s more cathartic. All of us enjoy playing so much; we could never look at it as a negative thing. We’re not about that, we’re just so excited about music.” As brutal an impression as the band’s live and recorded work might make, Alex stresses that “we’re a bunch of softies when it comes down to it. It’s just one of those things that when we get in a room, this is the music that naturally comes out. We don’t deny it, we just go with it and hopefully people can get off on that energy.” METZ’s surge to national acclaim has seen them appearing on the same line-ups as such legendary names as Archers Of Loaf and Hot Snakes. “That was a real treat for us, to be able to meet people who have been responsible for some of our favourite music”, is Alex’s thrilled summary. “Not only meet them, but share the stage and have a couple of beers. Totally amazing. We really never anticipated anything like that.” It’s something the band has doubtless found intimidating, though not overwhelming. “You definitely don’t wanna blow it, y’know. You wanna put your best foot forward for sure, especially if there’s someone who you highly respect in a musical sense.”
To be sharing the stage with Rick Froberg and John Reis seems particularly apt, and Alex confirms, “we think the world of them.” From Drive Like Jehu’s extraordinarily powerful, extended post-hardcore jams to the more focused, melodic and driving sound of Hot Snakes, their influence is certainly pronounced. And indeed, listening to METZ’s earlier releases, which often revel in an atonal darkness, and its progression to a more structured, honed vision on the full-length release, perhaps even the band’s evolution mirrors that development. “I think it’s us just really getting better,” is Alex’s assessment. “Just slowly evolving into better songwriters. And also knowing what we like to do live, what we like to play. I think sometimes when we wrote these kind of sprawling, convoluted songs, they weren’t even that fun to play. Sometimes you’d get up there and just be like, ‘oh god, do we have to do this whole thing again?!’ So we tried to hone it down and do something really from the gut, that’s what feels best for us.”
“We’re a bunch of softies when
i t c o m e s d o w n t o i t. I t ’ s j u s t o n e of those things, when we get in a r o o m , t h i s i s t h e m u s ic t h a t n a t u r a l l y c o m e s o u t. W e d o n ’ t d e n y i t, w e j u s t g o w i t h i t a n d h o p e f u l ly p e o p l e c a n g e t o f f o n t h a t e n e r g y. ”
METZ’s debut has also garnered significant attention for its release on Seattle’s god-like Sub Pop imprint, the turn of events that truly heralded their arrival at the top table. When it came to looking for labels, there was only ever one for the trio. “I think it was sort of our teenage hearts and minds acting, to be completely honest”, says Alex. “When we were talking about who we’d love this to come out on, we all simultaneously said it because we all grew up obsessing over that label. There are so many great labels doing great stuff, that’s for sure, and we’d be honoured to work with any of them. But luckily for us, it never got that far.” With the backing of one of the world’s most esteemed alternative labels, METZ continuous rise seems almost inevitable. The first UK visit that followed our conversation was purely a glimpse; a chance for a lucky few to witness what has heralded such unanimous praise and left venues in tatters on the other side of the pond. General reports are that they were phenomenal, recreating the stunningly explosive basement shows which have made them so valued in their native city, summed up as “around 150 people, just totally crazed and fun. That’s what we’re into”. The short saunter across the Channel also felt appropriate. Alex reveals that a visit to a certain North Eastern French town sparked the band’s eyecatching monicker. “I mean, it’s a nonsense name, but it definitely came on my radar after a memorable drunken evening in that city, and I think the name stuck with us.” With word spreading about a more substantial UK run in 2013, and an album that has flung the celebration of noise firmly back onto the wider agenda, it’s a name we should all get used to hearing.
METZ is out now via Sub Pop
DJ SPINN & DJ RASHAD //
Â© Spinn and Rashad
Rashad And Spinn are the foremost characters behind
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W ORD S T ho ma s Fro s t
T U NE DJ Sp in n - Sp a c e Ju ke
DATE S Nov e m b e r 1 6 t h | T h e Ne s t , L on d on
// SPINN & Rashad play at the nest for crack magazine nov 16th
Crack is on the roof of a hotel gazing over Barcelona’s slightly rugged skyline. It’s with this beautiful setting as a backdrop that Crack is sipping on a cold mojito with two of the coolest personnel spinning at Sonar this weekend. Rashad And Spinn are headlining Friday’s activities as part of the Red Bull Music Academy Presents Sonar By Day stage and it’s going off. Breakneck footwork is the order of the day and despite an incredibly knowledgeable crowd there is a good chance this could be the first hard exposure to the genre for a considerable percentage of people here today. With their dancer pushing his way through a punishing selection of body popping extremity, the other essential element of the footwork performance, he acts as a hype man to the hyperactive, stuttering speed-house beats that come through the speakers at a varied and quick-fire pace.
Drenched in house lineage, the manner of both Rashad and Spinn is every bit as cool as the Chicago electronic music tradition they are representing so well. Laid back, shades on brows, Rashad continues: “We grew up on house music and then there was ghetto house and that’s where we fit right in, in the ghetto house scene. Slowly but surely it progressed into what we’ve got now, and that’s juke and footwork.” Speed up house rhythms with a repetitive vocal loop and an underlying sense of madness, parallels can be drawn between the urban ghetto roots of jungle and drum and bass music in the UK and the footwork scene in Chicago. This is something of which Rashad is acutely aware. “Guys who were in the jungle scene were telling us there were loads of parallels, and we knew about jungle and drum and bass but we didn’t know where it came from. We thought it came from Seattle. Once we got to travel we saw it first hand. Now we know what’s up.”
The footwork sound was brought brilliantly to a wider audience on the Planet Mu releases Bangs And Works Vol.1 and the subsequent Vol.2 with label owner Mike Paradinas taking it upon himself to present his Chicago findings to the world. Reviews were glowing as people keen to garner a piece of this new culture were forced to take a look. The jittering steps of a footwork dancer adorned the front cover. It was a perfect starter pack for all things footwork. When asked about Planet Mu, Rashad is overwhelmingly positive. “It’s one of those things we always hoped would happen. Spread the dancing and in the same way spread the music too.” When asked the future for the genre Rashad said: “We’ve got loads of new people coming through, they all our little brothers. That’s how we started off, mentoring a couple of others like DJ Earl and introducing them to the footwork sound maybe three years ago. It just keeps going.” With a swathe of UK producers seemingly very strongly influenced by the Chicago footwork sound such as Pearson Sound/Ramadanman, Girl Unit and Ikonika, there seems little let up in the underground quality using the footwork staple as a basis for their music. On a personal level, Rashad and Spinn’s solo records have just dropped, adding more to their status as the premier purveyors of the footwork sound on this side of the pond. So finally what of the more comedic elements of their sound such as their remix of Holiday by Madonna? Spinn explains: “We just fucking around with a tune we used to listen to as kids. Some people need to throw some Madonna down to get down. We get flashbacks to songs we used to listen to. Always interesting to see if it’ll work.” With footwork yet to become a commercial entity over here, Crack jumped at the chance to invite them to our monthly club nights at The Nest in Dalston where messieurs Rashad And Spinn will be showcasing on November 16th exactly whey they’ve become one of the most hyped propositions in electronic music. We can’t wait.
Spinn and Rashad appear at The Nest for Crack Magazine on November 16th
Spinn explains: “It all came from house, and in Chicago there’s a dance group scene. Loads of dance groups. That was the thing to get into as an alternative to playing sports. If you weren’t playing basketball you were dancing. The dance groups in Chicago were actually big things back in the day and it involved lots of shows and travelling. Why wouldn’t you want to be a part of that? Dancing with girls an’ all that. From the dance groups, it branched off into just dancing to house and letting your foot work in a battle click.”
The scene which also features footwork contemporaries such as DJ Nate, DJ Earl, DJ Roc and Traxman as well as fresh blood such as Young Smoke, has begun to found legions of fans over here, in part thanks to the work of RBMA, but also one native Bristolian who has been heavily influenced by the Chicago footwork sound. “Addison Groove was one of the guys that got us in with Red Bull in the first place”, says Spinn. “They asked him where his sound came from and he was like “ask Spinn And Rashad” and then they flew us out the next week. Big shout to Tony Addison Groove.”
T H E O G E N N I T S AK I S GETTIN G
PA R I S- B A SE D
A RTI S T
S ITE t heo gen nits ak i s.com
WORD S G eraint Da vi e s
However you look at it, Theo Gennitsakis’s work is impossible to ignore.
You’re originally from Greece, when and why did you move to Paris? Is Paris a big influence on your work?
Revelling in a highly-stylised meeting of kitsch, sensual, risque, the garishness of the 80s, the vibrancy of disco and the downright odd, the Paris-based, Greek-born artist has applied his distinctive style across a wide range of disciplines. A multi-faceted, stylish and eccentric individual, with his increasing prominence achieved entirely off his own back, there is much to be admired.
I come originally from Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city. I moved to Paris when I was 15 years old because I wanted to work as an ‘artist’. In my city at the time it was impossible for me to find something good, and so I moved. Paris influences my work, but so do many other cities: Thessaloniki, New York, Lisboa, London, Kabul. Every city has its influence, I think. Paris influences me for the fashion. Paris is very classy.
With output filtered through ideas grounded in pop culture, and often a fascination with the female body, Gennitsakis’s work is always easy on the eye. See his branding work with huge companies – daubing both a bottle of Desperados and a pair of Puma trainers in all manner of his signature, jubilantly coloured adornations – or phenomenally creative typography, vivid, shapely and often given a certain unattainable glamour by both its indecipherability and its varied linguistic content. But it’s perhaps in his airbrushed images of female figures where Gennitsakis appears to apply his techniques most zealously. Taking cues from pin-up culture and pornography, his ELLES series focuses on ladies in various states of undress, featuring assorted perspectives (and levels of anatomical detail) and, on occasion, a cameo from Theo himself. In more surreal creations, these familar, human curves interact with angular, geometric shapes, extraterrestional landscapes are formed from the female body, and a wolf ’s fierce mouth is clad in lipstick.
Equally, do you still make an attempt to maintain your Greek identity?
While there is an innate sense of fun to everything he does, that is by no means to say this is someone who does not take their work seriously. To truly make a success of oneself without deviating from your chosen path, this can never be the case. While his work may be labelled kitsch, camp or retro in its aesthetic (adjectives he is more than happy to embrace), the application of this style is of utmost importance. And indeed, Gennitsakis is continually in search of further mediums in which to express himself. Moving increasingly away from the illustration, graphic and typography work which initially caught our eye, he now seeks to continue his development as a photographer, as well as garnering his passion as the creative director behind his new, rapidly expanding agency Pressure. Despite his struggles with the English language, it was evident that behind all those puckered lips, feminine curves and sultry eyes there is a man of determination and ambition.
Sure, I don’t have a choice. I’m Greek and proud. We have a big history which is very interesting for an artist. Actually, it’s very interesting to be Greek. I go to Greece every two to three months, I have so many friends there and all my family is in Greece. How would you best define both what you are, e.g. illustrator, graphic designer etc? And how would you describe your style? I’m an artist, because I work with many different materials. I do illustration, photography, painting, art direction and more. My style is a bit kitsch but I know it, a bit sexual, a bit fun, and now my style is beginning to become a bit political with underlying, angry messages. I’m doing a lot more photography now too. Who or what do you base your images upon? Talk us through the process of producing a typical piece. My images are from reality. Every image I do comes from taking pictures. If you speak about the sexual ELLES series, they came from differents places with differents girls I meet. Every image is about a first meeting, an interesting conversation and an agreement of the girl to be involved in a shoot for the series. I take some pictures, together we choose the picture and after that I paint it with an airbrush to give it that kitsch style. Your work is extremely sexualised, is sex important to you? Do you take inspiration from pornography? - - - - ->
“ I n e v e r f i n i s h m y s t u f f. I d o n ’ t
l i k e t o f i n i s h a n i l l u s t r at i o n o r to retouch a photograph. for me it’s like, if something’s finished then it’s over, it’s dead. ”
Yes, it’s very sexualised and sex is very important for me. I take a lot inspiration from pornography, more from old pornography because I find it to be based more on the body. In general, I like everything feminine. I have a big collection of old magazines such as Lui, Zoom and Playboy. I prefer the pictures when the girl are not completly naked … to me, that is more sexy. When dealing with sex and nudity, what’s the key to remaining tasteful without becoming crude? The secret is to never have the legs open. You can make what you want, but if the legs are open, you’re crude! Do you think it’s important to deal with sex in a light-hearted way? Do you try to maintain a sense of humour throughout your work? Hmm, it depends with who. I try to present sex in a light-hearted way most of the time. I try to maintain a sense of humour to give the message of freedom and openness, and not to be too crude for some people. A lot of people are very old-fashioned in their thinking, so I try to put humour in my work to be not quite so serious. But for me, it’s very serious. What is the thinking behind focusing so strongly on the female form rather than the male?
Because I like the female body. With a male it can be less complicated, but I feel like with a woman she has more control and makes the decisions. The male body is not of interest, to me. What is your background in art, your education and training? I have no education, no schooling. I learned everything when I came to Paris and I began to meet people. Paris is a good city to educate you. You have everything in the right place at the right time. Do you think being technically strong is vitally important? It depends. Some artists don’t need a strong technique for what they do, and some others need it. I don’t know how to draw, I was never taught, so for me it has been very important to learn many different techniques in order to make what I want. Now, for example, I am working with photography, and I work a lot with my girlfriend, who is a very talented stylist and knows a huge amount about fashion. But with photography, I’m not at a good enough standard yet technically, and so I can’t make exactly what I want. That’s why I learn every day. I go out all the time and shoot with different cameras. Your work sometimes varies between geometric shapes, such as your regular use of pyramids, and organic, human lines. How do you treat these two ideas differently? www.crackmagazine.net
I don’t know, I do that very naturally because I have always been a fan of the meeting of the real and the unreal, making something surreal. What does ‘kitsch’ mean to you? What is it about that style which fascinates you? Kitsch to me is when you do something cool or beautiful, but you didn’t do it on purpose. That’s why all these things became kitsch, because people tried to make something cool but they didn’t quite know how to do it. Sometimes when you travel, you see a postcard or a shop front and for you it’s art, but they don’t know it! That, to me, is very cool, and that is kitsch. And also, I think I grew up in a kitsch city, so it’s all about melancholia and nostalgia. So I always try to make something a bit kitsch, but to also give the message that ‘I could make this nice, but this way is more fun’. For example, I never finish my stuff. I don’t like to finish an illustration or to retouch a photograph … for me it’s like, if something’s finished then it’s over, it’s dead. Would you agree that Twins, the illustration printed on a china plate, is the height of kitsch? Yes, that is very kitch. And even more kitsch and nice if you put it on the wall of your bathroom. If you want, I can come and recreate that illustration in your bathtub … with all the water it could be cool and funny. - - - - ->
You seem to take inspiration from popular culture, particularly that kind of slick, glamourous 80s-related style. Why do you think that style is currently coming back into fashion once again? I think it’s just that those were 10 years of being cool, fun, free and stylish. But in fashion you always turn ... 80s, 90s, 20s, 50s, who knows. You’ve worked with some big and varied brands, including Nike, Chanel and Desperado. What do you look for when you’re offered a commission? I look to be free, or for someone to call me and ask me to make something with ‘my style’. If not, then I won’t do it because I know that I would become very frustrated. Can you tell us a bit about the series of type designs you worked on? Were any created from scratch? They’re very old, and I don’t work with types anymore for commercial things. I also haven’t worked much in illustration for two years now, just sometimes for my series ELLES. But now it’s more photography, and I do a lot of creative and art direction for fashion brands.
Tell us about Pressure, the creative agency you founded. What is its function, and what is your role within it?
How would you like to see your style, and your career develop from this point?
Pressure is an idea agency. We are 10 people from different backgrounds and approaches. Most of them come from fashion, others come from art, and some from advertising agencies. We have art directors, a project manager, a strategic director, a marketing developer, a technology developing guy, a house stylist. We work for a lot of brands, we do identity, advertising campaigns, movies, websites, brand content. We work with big brands and sometimes with small brands because we like to help young creators. Pressure is not a studio or a space with graphic designers. We are an agency with a strong organisation. My function is creative director. I manage the whole team for the creative part. Sometimes I use myself as a photographer, a creative or an art director, but most of the time I manage the team. I founded the agency with my associate. She came from a very big entertainement company and she knows how to manage the production, the agency, and me! You can see all the projects on the website but more on the Pressure fanpage on Facebook. It’s a new agency – we started in January of this year – but we work a lot and we have already some very cool projects.
At the moment I would like to focus my energy on the agency. I want to develop it and continue to work on very cool and big projects. I travel a lot with the agency now and soon, when I become stronger with photography, I will use the professional travel to take pictures. But always in the same vein as my older works: fun, a bit kitsch and bizarre. If these things happen and we continue to grow, in the future I would like to open a shop in Paris, and later, a creative school, inshallah (God willing).
This piece was designed exclusively for Crack by Chris Wright chriswrightshandcandy.blogspot.co.uk
To have your design featured for our poster send entries to firstname.lastname@example.org www.crackmagazine.net
W O R DS Jo n Wilt s h ir e
S ITE m al ai n c u b a.c om
TUN E C al l e F
DATE Nov ember 17t h | Bri x t on E l ect ri c
Known as one of the eminent originators of dubstep, Mala’s style is deep, dark and meditative, his finessed creations acknowledged as those of a skilful and thoughtful producer .
Known as one of the eminent originators of dubstep, Mala’s style is deep, dark and meditative, his finessed creations acknowledged as those of a skillful and thoughtful producer. Revered as he is, Gilles Peterson, owner of Brownswood Recordings, radio DJ extraordinaire and Cuban enthusiast, became a fan of Mala’s innovative work early on, right as the Londoner’s DMZ nights were achieving notoriety. With Gilles having supported several releases and featured Mala on countless radio shows, we fast-forward to 2011: Gilles invites Mala to accompany him on one of his fabled trips to Havana to meet, talk and record with local (and eminent) musicians. Mala in Cuba, released via Brownswood this September, is the result. It took two consequent trips, a year’s work and a good few weeks of promoting it across the globe. Crack was lucky enough to receive an invite to the unusual surroundings of the London listening event (around lunchtime in a Mayfair members’ club) and to later have a chat with Mala. As we left the back entrance of Low, the intimate setting with a nice soundsystem, mojitos on tap and porcelain urinals shaped and painted like mouths, we wondered about the significance of the event. It seemed something befitting a Brian Eno sound installation rather than a dubstepmeets-Cuban rhythms collaboration on an independent label. Why not the ordinary promotion: press release, CDs, gigs? Mala was keen to point out that he simply hadn’t worked on “a project that had warranted such a thing in the past”. In other words, this was a big deal for both Gilles and Mala; a hugely challenging period incorporating three separate trips to Cuba called for something rather special. Mala had also been burnt when previous work Return II Space was released. “Within about four hours of posting up that the record was coming out, somebody hacked into my Photobucket account, found the artwork and put it up online. Ever since then I was just like ... that’s scary.” He continued, “when we started going through the promo and how we were going to put out the record, I was kind of a bit paranoid about the album getting leaked. I was very lucky that Brownswood were up for it and they held back all the promo CDs until as late as possible. Then Gilles was like ‘I want to do an exclusive listening session’; come down and see the album. We did one in New York, we did one in Paris, we did one in London”. Presenting something at home always has “that added pressure” for a perfectionist like Mala. As a figure so central to such an intimate music scene, the homecoming, full of friends and some familiar journalist faces, was noticeably nervy. At the listening event, Mala mentioned to the small crowd that he had found it difficult to complete the project. At interview, he elaborated that “to get my head around making an album’s worth of material was just something that I never ever wanted to get involved in”. Continuing, he revealed “I was daunted by the prospect that I would be blatantly out of my comfort zone. Not just the fact that I was going to another country and working with musicians ... I’m a very isolated producer and I’m usually in my studio on my own. So just the fact that I’d be working with other people was very different”. That said, Mala had an inkling that this would be something for which it was worth taking the leap of faith. He sensed an element of adventure. For Mala, Gilles is an “incredibly innovative and
creative guy, he’s one of those guys that’s still like a youth, he’s got a youthful heart when it comes to music: he’s always looking for that new angle to present something, or he’s looking for the new guy that’s coming through who can put a spin on something”. Gilles’s judgement and knack for interesting music projects evidently deserves trust. Mala emphasised that he’d been offered a lot over the years, offers that would have benefited him “career-wise, profile-wise, financially”. However, “like everyone, you can only do things when they feel right for you”. This project felt right. At Peterson’s behest, Mala travelled to Cuba for a “foundational” exposition on traditional Cuban rhythms from the revered Roberto Fonseca and his band. Mala took these away to study, returning to Cuba and recording with percussionists, singers and brass players. The album takes a few listens to appreciate the rhythmic nuances, changes and improvisations. But the voice and brass work immediately stands out, by far the most dazzling features of the album. Blending this live instrumentation with Mala’s dub-influenced production, especially his delay work, brings something refreshing. Yes, the tracks are meditations on a rhythm and a bassline, but they are interspersed with epiphanic moments of the Cuban musicians’ improvisations. The album was recorded at the tempos that Mala would later work at, largely but not exclusively 140bpm. The musicians he worked with were at ease at such an unusually fast pace. They would practise for three or four minutes, give the signal to the production booth, and just jam a rhythm for another five. Each instrument or percussive element was isolated during recordings and Mala took the material back and worked through it to explore and find the sound he wanted. “The whole point of me going, in Gilles’s opinion, was to get involved in mashing up those rhythms. All the recordings on the album couldn’t have been made had I not gone to Cuba and worked with the musicians I worked with”. On a first listen, it feels more dubstep than Cuba, with all the production qualities of DMZ: deep bass, heavy snares, syncopated hi-hats. But Mala’s explanation of how he worked through the album helps draw out what the album is actually about. It’s not about replicating Cuban rhythms directly, and neither does it seem to be solely about the influence of the rhythms themselves, though a major feature. Mala’s time in Cuba and the much less tangible influences of people and places is where the true significance lies. “What they gave me left such an imprint, and the album is me trying to express and translate my experience of being around them, and of being in Cuba”. In a bizarre twist, Mala was invited to a gig at the British Embassy. One of his trips coincided with the Queen’s Jubilee and a Britannia week in Havana. “It was crazy, as soon as I landed I got picked up and the woman says, ‘you’ve been invited to the Embassy party, you’ve got to go to the hotel, get changed, and we can go straight away’. I turned up to this place and you’ve got all these naval officers, and me wearing jeans, my t-shirt and my hat!” Although not the usual Embassy fare, Mala was well received. He used to work on music projects for youngsters before Government funding was cut for music studios. He was highly complementary of the UK Ambassador to Cuba and, by his own admission, told of how he was busy networking to get youth music projects on the go. Unexpectedly, he returned home with a wallet full of business cards.
Mala concluded that the best way to surmise his experience is through the metaphor of a ‘magic eye’ optical illusion: it is, at first, just a piece of paper. However, after some time you begin to lock in and an image becomes visible. From that point on, you will always see that image: “I don’t think I can ever have the same perspective that I had. I feel like I’ve come out of it with new ways of approaching creation”. For Mala, the trip was about gaining experiential knowledge. However, forever measured in his approach to life, he emphasised that he sees little benefit in constantly acquiring specific production knowledge. “In the studio, there are two kinds of perspectives: you can look at something from a ‘vibes’ perspective, or you can look at the same thing from a ‘scientific’ point of view. In the studio, sometimes I’m too much of a scientist, and there come these blocks. In science you do certain equations and certain equations should give certain answers. Vibes is just vibes, y’know?” Surprisingly, Mala stated that the making of the album was partly grounded in discomfort, but that this discomfort is the essence of creativity. In the studio, or before a performance, “there are many times when you feel uncomfortable. It’s feeling comfortable with feeling uncomfortable that gets me through in these kind of times, not having fear of the unknown ... it’s actually being free from the known. Those are the places that I like to explore the most”.
Mala in Cuba is available now via Brownswood Recordings. He brings the project to Brixton Electric on November 17th.
“ w h at t h e y g av e m e
l e f t s u c h a n im p r i n t , and the album is me trying to express my experience around them, and of being in cuba. ”
Â© Andolph Quan
WORDS Tho mas Fro st
T U NE B e f o re O n e
S ITE s ou n d c l ou d .c om / b e n - k l oc k
Ben Klock is the foremost bastion of the culture he’s created. And when your culture incorporates the most iconic nightclub on the planet, there is a definite prestige involved when presenting it on foreign soil.
Dettmann and DVS1 anchor the mix in the sound you’d expect to hear come rattling from Berghain’s dark expanse. It was this that provided a convenient starting point for our conversation.
Manchester was one and a half hours of hard, hard, sweaty banging techno. The place was so hot and wet. It’s different yes. It’s also different when I play one-hour sets at huge festivals. I can never deliver what I can deliver in a long set at Berghain.
Crack is in the sweatiest room of the new Warehouse Project location in Manchester and Ben Klock is going in hard for the meagre hour and a half he’s been afforded. This is clubbing as it was intended; bruising, sweaty, disorientating and hot. For a man whose sets have been known to number in the double figures of hours, there is really no time to adventure into anything too removed from the sound for which he has become most associated with; dark, driving techno.
How did the Fabric mix CD come about, and why did it seem like a good idea at this point?
How do you assess the current threat to Berghain from GEMA and to the rest of German club culture? How is the feeling at Berghain from the GEMA proposals?
A couple of weeks before they asked me, I was thinking about the next bigger thing I’d like to do. I’d decided I wouldn’t do an Ostgut mix CD in the next few years, so I thought about which others are interesting to me, and the Fabric mix series was one I’d love to do. Three weeks later they came to me and asked me, which was great. It has a good reputation and every DJ tries to deliver something special.
Ben Klock’s worldwide recognition as a DJ and producer has run in conjunction with two things. Firstly, the proliferation of Berlin as the premier capital of underground and liberal European nightlife, but more importantly the rise in notoriety and popularity of Berghain, the club where Klock has held a residency since 2003. Berghain and Klock are intrinsically entwined. He plays there once a month and nowhere else in Berlin, he’s penned numerous releases on the accompanying Ostgut Ton label, and his legacy at the club, often referenced by his appearances with fellow Berghain cohort and friend Marcel Dettmann, is the stuff of German techno folklore. When a promoter books Ben Klock, they’re looking to transfer some of that magic into their own night.
The mix sees you playing a little differently to the sound people best associate you with, perhaps a bit softer, a bit more melodic and more varied. Was this a conscious decision?
We are aware of the threat and we have a meeting once a month or so to assess it. I’m not too concerned right now that something really bad is going to happen. We’re doing our best at the moment to get hold of the right people and speak to politicians. I still have hope GEMA will change their mind or something because what they want is just so ridiculous. I’m quite sure that if a city like Berlin sees Berghain just close down, they won’t allow it. It’s a cultural institution. I’m quite positive that we will go on.
“ I ’ m q u i t e s u r e i f a ci t y l i k e B e r l i n s e e s
I’m qu The towering old power station that forms the shell of the club is perhaps the most revered electronic music nightspot of them all. As the playpen of the opulent, the techno purists and the hip, the club boasts a roster of residents, a carefully programmed credibility and a music policy in the Berghain main room that reflects the uncompromising nature of the club from top to bottom. The notorious scattergun rejection door policy governed by the facially tattooed, mythical bouncer Sven is one example, the opening hours are another, with most Sunday morning parties rolling over into Monday morning parties and beyond and then there’s the stories of sexual deviancy in the many labyrinthine passages. While much of these facets of the club are open to gross over-exaggeration and hyperbole, one uncompromising strand that remains wholly true is the music championed by Ben Klock and his Ostgut labelmates, who provide the dark, brooding soundtrack to the relative madness taking place on the inside. These sets are now perhaps even more celebrated with the threat from GEMA (a German society for musical performance and copyright) who are looking to charge Berghain more money for the use of the space and are posing a genuine threat to the club’s future. Despite illness, Klock answers Crack’s questions with a sincerity born from pushing a sound which he truly believes in. Yet there is more to Klock’s musical demeanour than pulsating Berghain techno. Much of his production work during the 2008/09 period when he released his debut album One showcases an artist with a firm grasp of melody, structure and, most notably tension. Far from being a one trick ‘bang it out’ merchant, Klock’s fascination with the darker end of the techno spectrum is by no coincidence best brought to the fore within Berghain, usually during marathon sets, something of which he is acutely aware. It’s therefore with a certain amount of irony that the sound employed on his latest effort, his addition to the Fabric compilation series, is perhaps his most rounded to date. Tracks from Burial, Octave One, Mathew Jonson and Floorplan offers depth and progression, while others from Klock himself, Truncate,
Crack loves a trip to Berlin and loves the club culture, so we naturally feel a bit concerned when some Berliners say it isn’t what it used to be there due to the presence of too many foreigners. What do you think?
It definitely changed a lot, but I also have to say I don’t go out a lot because I always play. I play Berghain once a month and that’s it. i t. I t ’ s a c u l t u r a l i n s t i t u t i o n . What we have seen in the last couple of years is bars, cafes and clubs that have English as the t e p o s i t i v e t h at w e w i l l g o o n . ” common language and no one speaks German any more. Especially for Berghain, a few years ago people were like ‘it used to better’ and now I have the feeling that there’s a second wave of such amazing parties there. So it doesn’t matter if people are from My approach was to create a mix that you’d want to listen to more than outside or inside Berlin, as long as the vibe is right. But it’s still important one or two times. A straightforward dancefloor mix is less interesting as that there are enough people who come regularly, that’s important for a CD. It can be really nice to have a hypnotic flow that remains constant any club. There has to be regulars, but we have a great mixture and the throughout the CD. I think Levon Vincent’s Fabric CD was more like that vibe is amazing. and it’s great. The other approach is to show a bit more variation and a story that goes up and down. Do you think Berghain is actively trying to protect the culture with the aggressive door policy, so it’s a special experience each time Do you think your background in played music and piano means you go? you are more drawn to melody in techno than perhaps some of the other Ostgut guys or Berghain residents? Is that visible on the CD? I think so, yeah. Berghain has always followed its own path. No matter how much hype there is around the club, they still go their own way. This I think you can say that. I came from more of a piano and guitar is very important for the club. Though I can understand that if you’ve background. I was always into minimal melodies. The way Robert Hood flown to Berlin from another country, saved up to go to Berghain and then does it or even Steve Reich. Little melodies that change over time always you stand in line for three hours and you get told ‘no’, that must suck. fascinate me. But on the other hand, you can’t just let everyone in for capacity, and it’s important to protect the vibe inside. Sometimes people are like, ‘well this You seem more than ever to be the one that flies the flag for German time I didn’t get in, hopefully I will next time.’ Then you get the haters techno around the world. Why do you think that you more than who say ‘fuck it, never again am I going to go there.’ Once you are inside, others are chosen to represent this sound around the world? you drop all the bad energy and have a good time in there. If the door staff didn’t have their policy, in a year from now it wouldn’t be what it is I think I got my reputation for longer Berghain sets, taking the last slot and any more. doing ten/eleven hour sets and going into deeper moments. My approach is always to try and create some magic. Maybe this is the reason why I What were your first experiences of techno and what were your became quite big. Sometimes at Berghain those sets are just magical. first experiences of discovering the techno you play? Is it difficult to straddle the transition between playing Berghain for X amount of time because the club shuts when it feels like shutting, and then coming over and playing Warehouse Project, for example, when you’re only on for an hour and half?
My first experience of techno was in the late 80s with acid house. ’88, maybe, I don’t really remember. Then in the early 90s after acid house I was going back to other music. I got back into techno around ’94. I met - - - - ->
© Andolph Quan
Marcel (Dettmann) after a couple of times I played at the beginning of my residency in Berghain. He played after me. It was 2003/04. Your partnership with Marcel has become one of the strongest collaborative efforts in techno? How did it start? We have a great base here and a strong community doing our own thing. Everything around at that point when we met each other was minimal tech-house and stuff. We felt like we were the only ones doing that kind of techno at that time and we had the freedom to push it in whatever way we wanted. It was a strong relationship with the club and the owners. We’ve read that at this point you felt musically quite lost. What was it about music at this time that didn’t resonate with you? I almost felt like giving up DJing because I wasn’t enjoying it anymore. Some clubs where I played changed at that time. As soon as I didn’t play any electroclash melodies or cheesy, poppy, electro melodies, people would leave the dancefloor. I had my best times when I played in the old Tresor
and just went for it, you know. There were fewer options to play in clubs like that and what eventually kicked my ass again was the thought of playing at Berghain, or at the old Ostgut. Is your passion for furthering the culture that you’ve helped create as strong as ever? Do you still manage to devote as much time as you need to stay on top of the game and discover new records?
I definitely want to go back in the studio to do some of my own stuff. I have to reject so many remixes at the moment, else I’d just go on doing remixes forever without making my own productions. I would love to do a second album at some point, but right now I’m not sure how I’m going to find time for that. The next goal is to make a new 12”.
----------Yes I do. I spend a lot of time discovering new music and going through demos. As soon as I realise that I might get tired of what I’m playing, I have to dig for new music or else I couldn’t do this job anymore. Of course, I could just say ‘I’ll do it as long as I can and take the money’, but that doesn’t work. I have to feel the passion and discover new music. The problem is I don’t have as much time as I’d like to work in the studio and this kind of sucks. Can we expect some original Ben Klock work in the next six months or so? What is your plan?
Fabric 66 Mixed by Ben Klock is available now. Go to fabriclondon.com/ crackmagazine to win fabric membership, t-shirts and a signed copy of the Ben Klock mix.
Â© Chris Brennan
W ORD S Da vid R eed
TUN E Church
DATE S L ondon | R oundhouse | Nov ember 4t h
S ITE ma inattrakionz.com
M A I N A T T R AK I O N Z Oakland’ s
Main Attrakionz is the unit formed by MondreM.A.N and Squadda Bambino, two 21 year old hip-hop artists who’ve been creating rap tunes together since childhood. Hailing from impoverished neighbourhoods in Oakland, California, their lyrics are both emotive and streetwise, beats hazy and ambient but anchored by punchy 808 sequences. With limited access to resources, Main Attrakionz created an online platform for their prolific series of lo-fi mixtapes. 2011 was the year that they became an online sensation. This year they’ve released their first physical CD, Bossalinis & Fooliyones, taken their music on tour and continued to exhale life into the cloud rap aesthetic.
legal to go to clubs and shit. But we already been drinking and taking girls home since we were young.”
wounded but persistent pride for Oakland shines through on Bossalinis & Fooliyones, notably on the bittersweet single Do It For The Bay.
As children of the 90s, Main Attrakionz already had a multitude of chapters from hip-hop’s fast-moving narrative to discover when they were growing up. And as devoted fans of the likes of UGK, Clipse and Wu-Tang during their childhood, Squadda explains that Main Attrakionz were inspired to start making music before they’d even hit adolescence. “Me and Mondre started rapping together in 7th grade, which I guess was 2004. We were like 12. But we’d been rapping for a hell of a long time before 2004. We thought we were gonna be like Lil Romeos or Lil Bow Wows, but we got too old for that.”
Around a year ago, Main Attrakionz were generating heat on the blogosphere by throwing out tunes produced by of-the-moment beat makers like Clams Casino and Keyboard Kid. Their mixtaoe 808s and Dark Grapes II is considered a cloud rap benchmark, and it remains their most definitive work to date. For the debut album proper they’ve recruited a combination of low-key affiliates and hyped up breakthrough producers like Harry Fraud, who provided the beat for Action Bronson’s Bird On The Wire and has worked with the likes of Curren$y and Smoka DZA, as well as Supreme Cuts, who’ve recently released a murky collaborative mixtape with Haleek Maul. Squadda explains that they’re reaching to outside producers as well as representing their friends. “With Supreme Cuts, they’re our friends, we really do chill with them. But Harry Fraud, he was the only producer who we didn’t pick ourselves, our manager hooked us up. We knew Harry Fraud from his work with French Montana, and I was a big French Montana here fan. I’m glad it happened. That shit worked out great.” One tune that’s got Crack hooked is On it Tour. The beat, as decadent and garishly colourful as a tequila sunrise, is attributed to an obscure individual going by the name of Uptown Greg. eld.” “Yeah, Uptown Greg! Now that’s a new official Green Ova producer you got right there.” Says Squadda, audibly grinning. “He’s a young guy out of Connecticut. He had a lot of faith in us, so we’re definitely rockin’ with him. I hope everyone takes a lot of notice of him because he’s really good. Uptown Greg man, he’s crazy.”
Some rappers might have been eager to brush off the ‘cloud rap’ tag. It doesn’t take too many listens to hear the words ‘Green Ova’ pop up in The bonus of being categorised within a journalistically convenient buzz genre is that those artists undergo a rush of attention. The bad news is they also get stamped with an expiry date. But Main Attrakionz wave “I feel if you can make it the cloud rap flag with pride. The formula is comprehensive: create a melodic and then, s h i t, you can make atmospheric soundscape and balance it out with hedonistic and introspective raps. It’s a term so loose that it could be used anywhere. It’s a good b at t l e f i to describe the output by anyone from Odd Future to Drake to any artist who’s rapped over a Clams Casino instrumental, something that Main Attrakionz have done numerous times. And for Main Attrakionz, the cloud analogy isn’t Main Attrakionz’ tunes. A record label and collective identity, Squadda just descriptive of their sound, it’s appropriate to their opaque lyrical speaks passionately about the form of fraternal solidarity they share. content. Mondre and Squadda express a desire to escape their gritty reality “Green Ova, that’s my life man. That’s our record company, that’s our psychologically, through music or their leisure activities as dedicated weed family”, he explains. “It’s our organisation of people who do music with smokers and codeine enthusiasts. us, people we grew up with man. We wanna keep our side, we don’t want nothing happening to them, so we keep ‘em Green Ova”. So what about the But for the fans who’ve explored Main Attrakionz’ prolific output on dynamics of Green Ova? Are Main Attrakionz the leaders, or are they just their bandcamp page or browsed their low-budget hood videos and the most recognised members? Squadda reveals a manifesto which could interviews on YouTube, it’s known that Mondre and Squadda B have an only vaguely make sense in the depths of an all night smoking session. “I electric chemistry, often shown to be disarmingly funny and optimistic. know this is kinda confusing, but Green Ova is organised in five chapters. And with transnational attention, a modest amount of cash in the bank I’m Chapter One, Mondre’s Chapter Two, Dope G is Chapter Three, LOLO (their mixtapes are free to stream, usually around two to five dollars to is Chapter Four and Shady Blaze is Chapter Five. And it’s really just a download) they’re embracing the good times and giving off good vibes. record label, we’re not a gang or anything, we just make music.” Judging from the level of background noise during Crack’s phone call with Squadda B, life for Main Attrakionz is pretty hectic right now. “Hang on, let me move outta here, there’s too much music”, he says with beats blaring from the background. “Aww man, all these people are super loud, hold on a second I’ll go somewhere I can hear you”. At one point, Squadda’s voice is obscured by the sound of female giggling, “What, you want a picture now? Goddamn!” he quips. A few minutes later, the giggling reprises and Squadda surrenders to the request. “Look I’m gonna have to take this picture so that we can do the interview with no interruptions”, he explains, “very unprofessional man, I’m so sorry”. All pretty impressive considering that it’s just gone 9am in Oakland. “We’ve had a crazy ass year, everyone is being super nice to us all of a sudden”, Squadda tells us of their rise to a prominent, touring act. “I love performing live, but travelling? I hate travelling with a passion man. After the shows I like to just go back and chill. I mean we’re 21 now so we’re
It’s at this point that Squadda decides to share an anecdote about the Green Ova crew’s most agile rapper. “Imm’a tell you a great fact about Shady Blaze. He was actually an original member of Main Attrakionz back in middle school. But then we never saw him for years. So me and Mondre just took the Main Attrakionz name and ran. After I flunked ninth grade I met Shady’s brother and then got reconnected with him. And his little brother has just passed away recently, his little brother who we reconnected through. Crazy story man.” Lyrically, Main Attrakionz confront issues of poverty, mortality and lack of prospects in their environment. Their motivation and desire to transcend the barriers which push down on them is expressed in the poignant tone of the woozy atmospheric beats and their aspirational but depressed lyricism. In conversation, Squadda touches on this duality, explaining that however much Main Attrakionz might want to escape, they remian loyal to the Bay Area. “I feel if you can make it here then, shit, you can make it anywhere. It’s a good battlefield, it prepared us for the outside world. And I’ll stay in Oakland all my life, I never want to move.” Main Attrakionz’
Main Attrakionz have collaborated with high-profile members of rap’s new brigade in the past, most commonly Detriot’s clown prince Danny Brown, who went through a phase of shouting out Main Attrakionz in every interview. Squadda is respectful of the contemporaries he has been so commonly filed next to, but happy that their journeys have gone down different paths. “Shoutouts to Danny Brown, shoutouts to Spaceghostpurrp, shoutouts to ASAP Rocky, they’re cool guys and we fuck with them but we’re doing our own shit. Our music doesn’t really sound the same. I think it’s crazy that we even got lumped into a category with those guys.” 2011 was a landmark year for Main Attrakionz, but they’ve not let themselves get complacent since that particularly wave of hype. They’re working hard, getting progressively better at what they do and morphing their formula while still creating a sound that’s distinctly theirs. And it’s good to know that Squadda and Mondre are enjoying the ride. “Yeeeah Bossalinis & Fooliyones man. Well I can tell you about that. We wanted to have two sides, side A is us trying to be Boss, y’know, the cool guy, that Boss life. Fooliyone is just being a fool man, like how we are in real life. We can be real fools man, we do crazy shit on the regular.”
Bossalinis & Fooliyones is out via Young One Records
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THE W I N TE R S E A S O N P A R T Y
Saturday 24 N ovember FIRE, London ROOM 1
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suppose most of you have been watching Derren Brown’s Apocalypse show. I suppose you think it’s great, don’t you?
Are you mad? He’s bending your fucking mind, you shit stick, and you’re letting him. There’s only two people Mystic fears, one is Delia Smith, the other is Derren Brown. That guy’s mystic, really fucking mystic. Maybe even nearly as mystic as myself. He is truly a mind bender. I’m not saying the sort that you meet in a bar in Corfu that gets you to rub your penis against a cheese grater whilst barking the tune to DJ Otzi – Hey Baby, but the kind that makes you think zombies are real, and that you should rob a bank, or have sex with a horse, or all three in the same day. So where did this Mayan Apocalypse prediction come from? Derren Brown has been sowing seeds for a long time now, and he’s planning world domination. So the next time you go to watch him on TV, or the internet, just ask yourself, is he mind bending me? The answer is yes.
- A sad, scared individual filled with rejection, the Partyboy seeks out the eternal party. Unfortunately for him his party days are long over. Instead he can be found wandering around woods, muttering to Science, his mute fish friend. - Mr Mead mrmead.co.uk
CRACK CROSSWORD Across
Solutions to last issue’s crossword:
ACROSS: 3. KOALA, 4. HITS, 7. LAVA-LAMP 9. CENTIPEDE, 1. Get rubbed up all nice like (7) 10. SCRABBLE, 11. CARLSBERG, 14. WATERLOO, 16. HOUSE, 4. Tell a fib in Burger King (7) 19. ENNIS, 20. HARVARD 6. Gilles Peterson’s esteemed record label (10) 7. Careless; Wet (6) DOWN: 1. HOSTEL, 2. BOGOTA, 5. PARACETAMOL, 6. 8. Setting fire to stuff on purpose (5) ROMNEY, 8. LINEKER, 10. SWN, 12. SONAR, 13. GEOLOGY, 11. Cheap pints! Get your cheap pints! (12) 15. TWITTER, 17. SENSE, 18. FENDER 13, Where you head to get some skiing done (5) 15. Liz Fraser provided the vocals for this Massive Attack classic (8) 16. Ménage à trois (9) 19. Madison ______ Garden (6) 20. The Lone Star State (5) Down 2. Lance, you bastard (9) 3. Kings of the smoothie game (8) 5. Like a tissue, but you put it in the wash (12) 9. Smooth and sexy fabric (6) 10. We’re all out to get each other (3,3,3) 12. A complete and utter mess (8) 13. A man who steals things off you in the sea (6) 14. My Bloody Valentine’s seminal 1991 album (8) 17. George is the master of zombie flicks (6) 18. Not immediately obvious (6)
Carrie © Redbank Films
2 No v–9 De c 2 012
WORD S: T im Oxley Sm i th
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Dir. Sam Mendes Starring: Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Judi Dench
Dir. Rian Johnson Starring. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt
Dir. Benh Zeitlin Starring. Quvenzhane Wallis, Dwight Henry, Levy Easterly
When Bond had to wave goodbye to the 20th century, he was turning his back on a century of materialism and romantic ideologies sold to us by advertising and holiday brochures. By the time Pierce Brosnan found himself hopelessly attempting to make Bond at home in this new scary world of terrorists and computer chips in The World Is Not Enough, it seemed as if Bond had well and truly lost his mojo.
The storyline of Looper is as hard to put your finger on as any similarity between Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. They both play older and younger versions (respectively) of the same person, a person who works for a version of the mob who send people back from the future, to be killed in the past.
Winner at this year’s Sundance Film festival, Beasts of the Southern Wild follows Hush Puppy, a 6-year-old girl trying to make sense of a world that doesn’t actually make any sense at all. With only her dying, seemingly good for nothing father to look out for her, we see a world crumbling through her wide eyes
It’s best not to dwell on these slightly precarious concepts. So if we avert our attention away from the gawping, great big time travel paradoxes, one must remember that your enjoyment of cinema shouldn’t be squandered on such things. If a film can cover up those flaws (hopefully doing a better job than Gordon-Levitt’s make-up team), then can’t they be forgiven?
We’re set in the swamplands of Louisana, a community residing on the edge of a western world which they’ve been pushed away from. As they’re rejected from modern ways, this community in turn rejects modern day stigmas, utilising folklore to make sense of the world around them.
Now, ten years later, Sam Mendes has picked up a franchise that had took a long hard look in the mirror with its reboot in the form of Casino Royale and then later with Quantum of Solace. A franchise which no longer strives to be Bond for the sake of being Bond, Daniel Craig has realised that he has to be a product of his environment. Mendes is lucky enough to inherit a rejuvenated character. He explores what it means to be British and doesn’t shy away from flapping a Union Jack wherever he can. This Bond is playfully sprinkled over a new landscape, while Craig brings an emotional depth by wobbling that stiff upper lip of his. However, the best performances in this film are the briefest. The ever alluring Javier Bardem, who absolutely nails his Bond villain motive-revealing anecdote is notable, while Bérénice Marlohe plays the bad Bond girl who dispassionately vanishes from the narrative halfway through. Skyfall signifies that Bond has ironed out the creases of its leap from the 20th to the 21st century. But although Mendes has successfully stamped his own mark on this movie capturing neon, it still falls below the mark of excellence. But then has any James Bond film really been excellent?
Yes they can. The not-too-distant future created by Rian Johnson (director of Brick) set in 2074 (or 2044 depending how you look at it) is brilliantly immersive, pursuing the rapid moral and social declines that we are witness to today. Here, hookers earn more than shop keepers and even Jeff Daniels is evil. Willis plays the ‘elder’ with a steely disposition, hell-bent on avenging his wife’s death before it’s happened. Gordon-Levitt swoons as the ‘younger’, trying to prevent the revenge of the death of his future wife, who he hasn’t even met yet .... On paper, all this is nonsensical at best. However, that’s why we call it science fiction. With slick performances all round, and set in an impressively gritty dystopia, Looper, despite its loop holes (sorry) is worth buying popcorn for.
If you’re a Bond fan, then you’ll love every minute of Skyfall, as it’s arguably one of the most complete Bond films ever made. However, if you’re not, then you’ll realise that no matter how hard they try, Bond films are and always will be just Bond films.
Beasts ... boasts perfect, honest performances, notably from Quvenzhane Wallis (which must be up there with the best child performances ever), who plays the impressionable Hush Puppy, trying relentlessly to rectify the world she thinks she’s undone. For his debut feature length, director Zeitlin has adapted a play by Lucy Alibar, co-written the amazing soundtrack (think if Beirut hailed from Mississippi) and beautifully captured a fractured, mystical world. He’s also managed to create a fitting testament to the floods which desolated that part of the world, but avoids the pitfalls of obtusity or over-sentimentalism in doing so. Zeitlin has navigated his way through the themes of broken families, global warming and folklore, which in itself is impressive. Demonstrating the aptitudes of an auteur with brilliant direction of the story and of his actors, as well as having an influence over all parts of the creative process, this is not only is a critic charmer but an instant classic. Beasts... has the essence of an enduring fairy tale but manages to place itself within a specific pocket of time. Wondrous.
Red Bull Music Academy Presents: DJ Harvey Oval Space | London October 19th ………………………….
DJ Harvey is a man who needs no introduction. But here’s one anyway: pioneering taste-maker from the mid-80s onwards; walking, talking encyclopaedia of leftfield disco, house and techno; legend of the ‘scene’ for decades. He hadn’t played in London for 10 years, so Red Bull Music Academy-financed his appearance at Oval Space was greeted with huge excitement. The speakers were positioned so that as soon as you walked into the main warehouse you were blasted by an allencompassing loudness; surprising and impressive for a venue of this size. In a smart and unusual move, the DJ booth was placed at the centre of the space at the same height as everyone else. We usually (and literally) place DJs on pedestal, so it was heartening to see someone of Harvey’s stature in amongst the plebs. He was on fine form, high-fiving and hugging punters in between selecting records or mixing, responding to ID requests with a smile and, on occasion, even an anecdote about where he bought it, a biography of the act who made it and a slap on the back. His enthusiasm for dance music of whatever genre was genuinely infectious, and over the course of the night he treated us to a wide range, building from slow, chugging, Andy Weatherall-style disco and house, to faster house of his own Locussolus brand, to up tempo leftfield disco from late 70s obscurities to present day. Most tracks were obscure, although we’re pretty sure he played Pigbag’s Sunny Day at some point, and Tom Noble’s Africa Bump was there too. But watching Harvey play isn’t about train-spotting tracks; it’s about the atmosphere, and on this count, Harvey’s still the man.
© Steve Stills for Red Bull Music Academy
---------Words: Rob Bates
METZ Old Blue Last | London October 24th ………………………….
Donuts 5th Birthday w/ Dam-Funk The Old Crown Courts | Bristol October 12th ………………………….
Blackest Ever Black Corsica Studios | London October 13th ………………………….
Savages Electrowerkz | London October 10th ………………………….
Subpop’s latest signings METZ have been conquering punk rock hearts in their native Canada since 2007, but it’s only since the three piece released their delectable debut last month that the UK has been duly whipped into a frenzy of anticipation.
You’d probably take half a day off to have a look around Bristol’s deserted courtrooms, so the chance to party in there is always too enticing to pass up.
Blackest Ever Black’s showcase at Corsica was one of the most anticipated nights to hit London in months. Kiran Sande’s label has been responsible for a raft of shadowy audio murk, reflected in a bill which featured noise, drone, abstracted post-punk, grinding industrial techno and experimental soundscaping.
Much has been made of Savages this Autumn. Escalating from cult favourites to borderline pop stars at a rapid rate thanks to an appearance on Later… and some very shrewd management, the girls in black had a lot to live up to.
METZ stormed through town leaving a debris of shaken, satisfied attendees and some downright disappointed faces; we knew it would be packed, but never before have we seen a 100 person strong onein-one-out queue at 8pm. But the Torontans did not disappoint. Fronted by Alex Edkins, the band power through a 40 minute long set that sees their linen utterly drenched with sweat. To make any less of any effort yourself would be a scandal; this is music to forget yourself to, and this very quickly became music to get dragged in the mosh pit for. The thundering drum cycles of Hayden Menzies on Headache is when we fell to the floor, Chris Slorach’s punching bass lines on Wasted is when we were picked up and jumping again. Crowd surfers overhead, photographers in our face and the future of punk on the stage, the gig closes with single Wet Blanket. They may be soeaked through, but that really is the last thing METZ are.
Donuts were celebrating their fifth year in the clothing/ party starting/record label business, and had San Francisco’s iconic Dam-Funk in town. Among the handpicked line-up were Bristol slo-mo house heroes Behling And Simpson, who picked up the award for ‘DJs partying most like it’s their last night on earth’. Characterised by a wealth of movement behind the decks, their enthusiasm was instantly transferable, and this before their sub-120bpm house selections set the tone. It was a tone built upon by Dam-Funk, whose set was amongst the most startling we’ve seen all year. Blending house, groove, soul and – of course – funk into a super chic, super slick, super energised hourand-a-half, we were rapidly brought up to speed as to why the Stones Throw Records man is considered the premier funkster on the planet.
After a reassuringly abrasive glimpse of Concrete Fence, we settled in for the live iteration of Cut Hands. Ornery noise antagonist William Bennett is on top form, his use of appropriated socio-cultural and colonialist visuals making for uncomfortable viewing. Sound-wise, ominous clattering segues into Bennett’s trademark polyrhythmic afro-noise via croaking, morphed vocal samples and percussive kicks.
These two sold out gigs were aptly scheduled at London’s largest goth club Electrowerkz, a warren of curiosities with a murky atmosphere, its alcoves and industrial finishings like nowhere else in town. Fronted by Jehnny Beth, the four piece took the stage to howls of appreciation. Jehn’s red lipstick and red plastic jewelry is about the only thing on stage that isn’t black. Cue echoes, reverb and waves of gloom, moreish and appealing. Bassist Ayse Hassan’s speed is only matched by her raw emotion.
Partying in a courtroom is as hedonistic an experience one could hope for. Bopping in the jurors’ rows while the decks are laid out on the judge’s table is as good as it gets for the rebellious child in anyone.
Dominick Fernow clambers onstage clad in a desertcamo suit, lending an air of inadvertent ludicrousness to Vatican Shadow’s 3am set. Veritable poster boy in the world of harsh noise, VC takes elements of static, rhythmic sound and 4/4 techno, aligning them with a middle-eastern military aesthetic while sandwhipped kick drums and jackboot bass convene with processed yells and walls of dissonant strings. The set is a promising signifier of what Vatican Shadow is capable of, and Fernow is an appropriate figurehead for a night perfectly formed to propel us into the depths of winter.
Tunes like Give me a Gun and Shut Up are mighty, full of Gang of Four-esque basslines and howling Birthday Party feedback. People will bleat about Savages’ look, but these are skilled musicians complete with a blinding voice, direct from a humble lass whose parting words were “Thank you, you’re really lovely.” The gig ends with a dramatic drum interlude, beating its way into Husbands, the ‘hit’. The crowd loses their shit. Jehn takes a bow. And we all exhale.
Words: Lucie Grace
Words: Thomas Frost
Words: Tom Howells
---------Words: Lucie Grace
© Pippa Bennett
© Owain Thomas
Swn Various Venues | Cardiff October 18th-21st ………………………….
The sixth annual Swn festival saw its relentless expansion continue apace. Now established as one of the UK’s outstanding inner-city festivals, the breadth of musical offerings and variation of venues meant we entered the fray eager and expectant. We headed to Solus, where Gulp, the latest venture from SFA bassist Guto Pryce kicked off our Swn. It wasn’t going to take much for us to love them, and vocalist Lindsay Leven’s statue of liberty headband made it easier still. Prancing around the stage making nice noises over psychedelic folk, Gulp make a welcome addition to the Super Furry Side Project Club. Egyptian Hip Hop’s set was blighted by an unshakeable feeling that they really didn’t want to be there. For all the promise of debut full-length Good Don’t Sleep, today their tripped-out swagger couldn’t quite emerge from what at times melted into an illegible mash of sound. Django Django, on the other hand, were hugely impressive. Their matching shirts and the biggest tambourine of all time won our hearts from the offset. There’s nothing quite so infectious as a band and an audience joined in having an amazing time, and instant classics Hail Bop and Default rang out as one. Friday was particularly significant as it featured the Crack stage at Clwb Ifor Bach. Jethro Fox, the rising Liverpudlian, provided a quickly filling downstairs with an impressive display of his talent. In the larger top floor room, local boys Kutosis commanded a headliner-worthy crowd as queues began to snake around the outside of the building. Their spiky post-punk-indie-rock has gained momentum over the last 12 months, and here they thoroughly justified their growth to wider prominence. Watching The Invisible went a long way to capturing what makes Swn so special. To see songs from latest album Rispah being crafted a matter of feet in front of us took ‘intimate’ to another level. As layered percussion
bled forth, mingling with electronic beats, even from our vantage point it was difficult to place individual elements of the engrossing, irresistible overall effect. Truth be told, until Liars stepped out onstage we still didn’t quite believe we were going to witness one of the most ruthlessly innovative bands in the world on a stage boasting our name. That was quickly set right with the blast of immediate, pulsating rhythms Brats. Angus Andrew leapt straight into character, his limbs stiff and eyes deadened, approaching the mic and droning monotonously forth. Let’s Not Wrestle Mt. Heart Attack, with its yelped intro and tribal progression, Broken Witch’s wildeyed mania, and the bubbling brilliance of No.1 Against the Rush all sat together seamlessly, while culminating in the feral assault of Plaster Casts of Everything was an exhausting, tangible stroke of genius. For a festival of this size, The Cribs are the perfect headliner. Our sweaty stumble into the Great Hall couldn’t have been better timed, surging into the heart of the crowd and promptly going berserk for a series of modern indie-punk classics. We were promptly treated to Men’s Needs, ChiTown, Hey Scenesters!, a poignant Be Safe, and the guitar-riff-singalong of Another Number. On to Saturday, and the arrival of AlunaGeorge as the evening drew in. It was quickly apparent why there’s such a storm brewing around the act. Beefed out by a live drummer, they emanated the confidence of a band who’ve been told how good they are a lot of late, their soulful, grooveriddled pop nigh on impossible not to be endeared by. You know exactly what you’re getting with Turbowolf. They exploded, smashing relentlessly through the stoner-flecked party-punk of their 2011 full-length, opening with Ancient Snake. Frontman Chris Georgiadis
possesses a natural magnetism, conducting the chaos to a crowd which took a while to loosen up to quite the Bristolians’ expectations, but when they did so, did so gleefully. We made sure we’d found our place for the band recently dubbed the ‘best new band in Britain’ – Palma Violets. The lads dealt with the pressure in the best way: by attacking it headlong. This was a far more visceral experience than many expected, aggressive and impressive, rambunctious and terribly boozy. But that’s alright, so were we. Sunday was a more low-key affair as the wear and tear of the weekend began to show. Splashh, the Hackney/Aussie four-piece, were an impressive stand-out. Their surf/grunge sound is very much of the moment, and harks at their sun-soaked homeland, rather than the more concrete surroundings of their current location. Over at O’Neill’s, Toy were in action. They’re spoken of as kindred spirits to The Horrors, and it’s evident in their psychedelic, overlapping sound, although there is an underlying krautrock element which sets them apart. Ending the weekend in the presence of pint-sized Scouser Laura J. Martin in Dempseys was bliss. Bare footed and shrouded in loveliness, she revived our spirits from the Sunday depths. Holding the crowd in captivation, she switched from flute to mandolin to piano, yet at the press of a button exploding into technicolour splendour, utilising loops with fierce creativity. It was with a heavy heart it was decided that this was a suitable high on which to bring an end to our weekend. Swn 2012, as we knew it would, saw the festival taken up yet another notch. Who knows how far it can continue to grow. ---------Words: Teleri Glyn Rees + Geraint Davies
KENDRICK LAMAR GOOD KID, M.A.A.D CITY Polydor
LINDSTRØM MALHANS Smalltown Supersounds
The hype being shovelled onto Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar’s major label debut is so overbearing that an objective listen might prove tricky. But even when approached cautiously, it’s hard to pick out a flaw. Beats feel luxurious but never overcrowded, and the tone of soundscape flows from soulful to menacing, depending on the chapter of the album’s raised-in-the-ghetto narrative. Lamar has been brought to us by Dr Dre. But unlike Dre’s previous protégé-turned-megastar 50 Cent, whose morally deficient bottle-popping, gun-slinging, womanising caricature ruled as rap’s dominant archetype until the late noughties, Lamar’s stories are embedded with compassion, putting a fresh spin on themes of drugs, sex and gang mentality. In terms of delivery, Lamar’s flow is elastic, even the most technical verses executed smoothly. The album is heavy on hooks, and while Money Trees might be as good as anything Andre 3000 has done, the self-consciously zany chorus of Backseat Freestyle could only be well received in a post-Kanye context, which might scare off casual listeners. Whenever an artist is touted as the next big thing, there’s a clamber to argue otherwise. But the idea of good kid, m.A.A.d city being referenced as a cornerstone in years to come is a genuine possibility.
Norway: home to fjords, Kraken, paradisiacal social democracy and a particularly shiny-happy brand of ‘nu-disco’. Todd Terje, Prins Thomas and Lindstrøm have all worked to push this Norwegian ‘sound’, earning a fair amount of success along the way. As they move towards worldwide disco-domination, the third member of this triumvirate has produced Smalhans, meaning ‘poverty’ in Norwegian. Pretty fitting considering the poverty of variety here. It’s as if Lindstrøm heard Todd Terje’s Ragysh, thought it was the best song ever, and then tried to recreate it six times, with only minor differences. There’s nothing wrong with sticking to a ‘sound’, but these songs all fit a kitsch, spacey, retro-italo-disco template that grates quickly. That said, this isn’t necessarily a bad album. The how-do-I-pronounce-this Rà-àkõ-st is a pleasant, balearic-ish ride through arpeggiated synths and chromatic excursions, and Eg-gedõsis plies a enjoyable, trancier tack, ascending and descending melodies propelled forward by an un-fussy drum track. But tracks like Vã-fle-r and Võs-sãko-rv sound like they were commissioned for a stale anime series, earnest and giddy with their own niceness. All in all, shrug-worthy boilerplate Norwegian nu-disco that should
have been so much better.
TIM HECKER & DANIEL LOPATIN INSTRUMENTAL TOURIST Software Records
ERDBEERSCHNITZEL TENDER LEAF Mirau
In Ravedeath 1972 and Replica respectively, Hecker and Lopatin released two of last year’s finest records, both breaching the midpoint between electronic experimentation, studies in ambient, and noise. Those expecting a composite of Hecker’s organic manipulations and Lopatin’s digital mangling won’t be let down. Utilising a palate composed of “the acoustic resonance of digitally-sourced ‘Instruments of the World’” Instrumental Tourist is a record that swells with a sense of deep sadness, with the duo’s exploratory, improvisational approach to sound resulting in a lonely, haunted sonic field. Ghostly synthetic choral vocals writhe around the deep drones of Vaccination (For Thomas Mann) and Ritual for Consumption, quasi-Oriental-exotica flourishes ripple under the surfaces of Racist Drone and Grey Geisha, distorted, dislodged arpeggios abound on Uptown Psychedelia. This digitisation of the real creates an album that’s more intrusive than Brian Eno’s Music for Thinking series and less abrasive than, say, Blanck Mass, or Wolf Eye’s more pensive moments. Instrumental Tourist burrows deep inside the listener, and deep listening is rewarded with a quietly monumental piece of work. It’s as good as anything the duo have released individually, and that’s high praise indeed.
Tim Keiling – better known as Erdbeerschnitzel (‘strawberry schnitzel’) – had a hugely successful 2010. Releases on 3rd Strike, 4 Lux and Mirau introduced us to his densely-textured and slightly zany broken beat-based approach to mid-tempo and slower house music, garnering favourable reviews. It’s worth acknowledging how difficult it is to produce a consistent dance record in the album format, but now Keiling has pulled it off. Tender Leaf begins with Hello, a lilting, soothing pillow of a song that eases the listener into the rest of the album. Keiling then shifts up a gear for Let Go, an upbeat and whimsical, funked-up ride that leads onto Semantics, a deeper, house-ier workout built around some rough drum programming and chopped vocals. Through the Night is the sort of chugging R‘n’B sampling mid-set house number that Soul Clap wish they could make and Arbitrary Act raises the tempo to technoid levels with clicky and bleepy urgency. This prepares us for Ebdus Ride, a foray into UK bass/post-dubstep territory, all clipped vocals, shuffling beats and plenty of sub-bass. With Jacob Korn, Jam City, Daphni, Actress, John Talabot and now Erdbeerschnitzel all reaffirming our faith in the dance album format, maybe 2012 is the ‘year of the album’ for dance music? We certainly hope so. Strawberry schnitzels forever.
STARKEY ORBITS Civil Music
ZOMBIE ZOMBIE RITUELS D’UN NOUVEAU MONDE Versatile Records
Philadelphia based grime and dubstep producer Starkey maintains a cosmic theme throughout his themes and titles that connotes epicness, and on this occasion he doesn’t always deliver. Orbits gets off to an incredibly strong start and ends that way too, but the filling in the middle lacks consistency. There are moments of note throughout, and you can imagine certain elements could find themselves as choice cuts within a mix, but tracks like G V Star (Part 2) generically rub you up the wrong way and don’t demonstrate what Starkey is capable of. There are occasional journeys into soundscape experimentation, namely Synchronize and Magnet, which demonstrate great skill and creativity. The final track Distant Star, meanwhile, is perhaps the most interesting, metamorphosising across tones and genres in a way which could succeed within the context of both private listening and dance floor rutting. There are a lot of strengths to the album, especially for the would-be DJ, and although there are elements to give or take, enough survives for Orbits to be deemed enjoyable.
French duo Zombie Zombie are an experimental electronic outfit who like to do things a little differently. Their debut release A Land For Renegades played out like a score from a dusty, off-kilter B-movie. They took their concept one-step further with the follow up, Zombie Zombie Plays John Carpenter, which updated the director-cumcomposer’s themes from sci-fi classics such as Escape From New York and The Thing. Two years later, the alien textures and disparate parallels that fill the kaleidoscopic universe of Rituels d’un Nouveau Monde are the duo’s new focus, embarking on a psychedelic pilgrimage through outer space. Forêt Vierge and Black Paradise are two highlights of this cosmic journey, with both successfully intertwining ethereal pads and haunting echoes with skittery percussion and sinuous, interstellar bass lines. Rocket #9, a cover of the Sun Ra classic, is a slow motion trudge through lines of decedent synth patterns and ominous, ritualistic chanting in a far more sinister part of the galaxy. Highly instrumental and a total oddity, Rituels d’un Nouveau Monde definitely risks alienating some listeners, but in Crack’s opinion it’s a voyage worth taking.
ITAL DREAM ON 100% Silk 18/20 In a genre that’s seriously lacking in solid, consistent artist albums, this is as good an electronic dance record that you’re going to hear this year. After witnessing Ital’s dynamic live show in the summer, it’s exciting to see that this record translates the intensity that Brooklyner Daniel Martin-McCormick lays down at his sets. This is exemplified by the variation in live set lynchpin Boi and the intense, brooding Enrique. To rigidly categorize the abstract, insane sound of Ital’s sound samples as techno would be a real disservice. Highpitched screeches collide against warbled, twisted vocal samples and long drawn-out synth lines, often simultaneously. The ironically titled What A Mess in particular sums up the intensity of the sound. Often verging on noise music, but leaving just enough sparsity and melody between the composite parts as not to alienate fans of the dancefloor, the seven tracks on this album make one of the fullest exploration of the electronic zeitgeist in recent memory. Even when Ital breaks into a more accessible house style on album closer Deep Cut, it’s done with a quality beyond many of his contemporaries, and with an array of sound far beyond them too.
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BAT FOR LASHES THE HAUNTED MAN Parlophone
VINYL WILLIAMS LEMINSCATE No Pain in Pop
If you’ve always suspected that Bat For Lashes is just that bit too safe to deserve the critical acclaim and Kate Bush comparisons that are regularly wafted her way, the opening tracks of The Haunted Man, aren’t going to convince you otherwise. But by third song Horses of the Sun, Khan’s indisputably captivating delivery is set against a more layered, adventurous arrangement, and from this point onwards, the album warms. Lead single Laura is fragile, delicate and full of romance. Title track The Haunted Man has a melancholic, almost mariachi feel that’s reminiscent of Efterklang’s more recent offerings. Winter Fields is a sweeping, stylised mini-drama and Marilyn is electronic pop in the vein of previous single Daniel, with some lovely dark corners to explore. But – and there is definitely a but – there are one too many beige moments. While this isn’t challenging music, Bat For Lashes is still an engaging (and all too rare) pop proposition. Khan sounds like an artist in search of a defining identity, and until she finds one, the glimpses of brilliance she shows just won’t
Lemniscate is initially remarkable for the vast amount of influences that it manages to cram under its veil of atmospheric, lo-fi production. Radiohead-recalling bass lines are particularly prominent in the breathy, subverted pop of Higher Worlds. Stellarscope is an enticing jam recalling kraut messiahs Can, whilst pitch-bends reminiscent of My Bloody Valentine crop up in both Grassy and Follow In Your Dreams. There are divine melodies hidden in each and every song of the album – the delicate guitars of Inner Space and harmonious vocal-piano duets in Object of the Source particular highlights. But often the intricacies are hidden so far beneath a muffling blanket that they’re almost out of reach. The final two tracks both dissolve into extended channels of ambient feedback, which feels entirely unnecessary at the end of an album that’s been completely swamped in it already. The lack of a consistent anchor to much of the album leaves it with the constant feeling that everything is teetering on the edge of a vacuum, and as such there is very little to embed the often beautiful passages of this record into the listener’s memory.
elevate her into the league that she hints she could be in.
GALLOPS YOURS SINCERELY, DR. HARDCORE Blood and Biscuits
WOLF + LAMB VERSUS Wolf + Lamb Records
Out of the modest Welsh town of Wrexham, four-piece Gallops emerge with their long-awaited debut LP Yours Sincerely, Dr. Hardcore. They’ve built their usual spacey instrumental creations into something more panoramic and experimental, while also managing to straddle the rock and dance musical beasts. Gallops will take you to the musical periphery, moving freely between textures and sounds. The band first came on the radar for most with their self-titled 2010 EP, having been described as everything from math rock to cyborg soul. But however you want to describe them, these boys are certainly making noise in the right areas. It’s unsurprising to hear that the album was recorded under the watchful eye of Three Trapped Tigers’ Matt Calvert in London as Yours Sincerely, Dr Hardcore shares TTT’s sense of free energy, while weaving minimal rhythms brought to the table by technically stunning drum work, and stratospheric guitar parts at the heart of this creation. This is an album packed with intelligence and fearless musical boundary-pushing, and fans of Fuck Buttons and Battles will find plenty to love about Gallops.
This is the cohesive effort that ties together the disparate strands of beauty that made Crack completely fall head over heels with the slow groove of Wolf + Lamb around four years ago. The slow jams? Check. The sexy samples? Check. The funk? Check. Greg Paulus’s classical trumpet? Check. In Soul Clap, Pillowtalk, Night Plane, Voices Of Black and Mr Paulus himself as guests for six out of eight of these tracks, Wolf + Lamb have created perhaps the most cohesive aural depiction to date of the sound they sought to establish. From the opening vocoder drenched soul of Real Love there’s an unmistakable swagger to this record. This is demonstrated by the loving refrain on second track Weekend Affair, an outrageously sexy and sultry number that could soundtrack any evening you’ve planned with your girlfriend that involves red wine and lingerie. Repeat the same trick for Close To You, where Paulus showcases the reasons he was personally chosen to play with Matthew Dear. Serpentine is a beautifully updated slice of modern R’n’B and In The Morning will be in slo-mo house crates all round the country. It’s truly their best work to date.
What The Nothing Knows About Financial Journalism.
Illustration: Lee Nutland //// www.leenutland.com
inancial journalism is becoming void of real world significance. With coverage consisting of a bland mash of economic lingo and buzz words, British newspapers are forgetting the primary function of journalism. There’s an overabundance of stories that discuss the latest complex financial instruments – activation of the Outright Monetary Transactions programme, fiscal correction etc – without giving any voice to those affected by what’s happening. OK, so the print editions of the broadsheets, and particularly their supplements, fare better. But unless a photo captures someone clutching a Molotov cocktail on the burning streets of Athens, chances are there’ll be no mention of the impact on regular people’s lives in online coverage. Most likely, is that the news and commentary will be limited to abstract concepts like debt-to-GDP ratios, borrowing costs, market sentiment and public company news. What we’re looking for here is perspective. On the business websites this morning it’s possible to find coverage of Amazon’s VAT book scam without a quote from a single author, a piece about local government
pay freeze without the opinion of a public sector employee and several stories about Starbucks’ zero UK tax rate with no response from independent coffee shops competing on an unfair footing. On the same day, in the main areas of The Telegraph, The Times and The Guardian’s business websites, the only person quoted that’s not an economist, government employee, member of a trade body or part of an executive brand, is ex-Goldman Sachs employee and fanatical bridge burner Greg Smith - the muppet whose supposedly scathing book might actually help Goldman more than it damages their brand. The Times speaks to a series of television and sports personalities in an article about phone hacking, but follows with a story about half a million Britons working through retirement without speaking to a single pensioner. Worse still, all of the above talk about the strange thing that convinced governments around the world to make ill-fated austerity drives anthropomorphically. From this morning: “The Market Has More To Worry About Than Just The ‘Fiscal Cliff ’” Is the market worried? It’s like a mythical beast: The Nothing. That void of darkness that consumes
everything and has been getting bigger and bigger, its farcical whims reigning havoc on our continent as the leaders of Europe sit in their ivory tower. Curiously, across the Atlantic it’s a slightly different story. On the front page of today’s CNN Money website there’s a story about Americans heading to China to find work, The New York Times is running articles about small business owners and the effects of tax changes on individuals. Even Fox Business’s commentary section is largely geared toward personal finance issues, with columnists talking about regular folk, regularly.
Perhaps there’s a kind of exhaustion, faintness, fatigue or feebleness setting in among these journalists? Have the Yanks somehow held on to the humanity of the thing through all of this? We’re not talking about ‘churnalism’ on these business websites either. The three newspapers mentioned above go to relatively extensive lengths to research stories, many of which feature a number of sources and are written by experts. It’s just a question of who they reach out to and why.
---------So what’s the difference? Just months after my first full-time writing job as a business journalist started, I headed across London to Canada Square to see the sullen-faced Lehman Brothers employees holding the contents of their desks in boxes as they shuffled away from what would turn out to be the Patient Zero of institutional failures. A year later, Reuters was telling us Ireland was holding on to the fiscal cliff by its fingernails as the sovereign debt crisis began. Somehow, that was all almost four years ago now.
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BRIGHTON - 10TH NOV BRISTOL - 17TH NOV BOOK YOUR PLACE
Featuring 3-D (Massive Attack), Ben Klock, Spinn & Rashad, Mala, Main Attrakionz and Theo Gennitsakis.