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Benjamin Damage | Brandt Brauer Frick | Bonobo

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MIGUEL CAMPBELL / HOT SINCE 82 ROSES GABOR / ANDY DANIELL HAT CLUB RESIDENTS PLUS MANY MORE TO BE ANNOUNCED

HIGH DEFINITION FESTIVAL 2013 SATURDAY 29TH JUNE 11AM - 11PM FOREST FARM, ILFORD WWW.HIGHDEFINITIONFESTIVAL.CO.UK

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Subject to licence

Over 100 of the world’s finest house and techno acts including…

3 days & 2 nights of electronic music Knebworth Park, Hertfordshire 30 minutes from Central London 2pm —6am on Friday and Saturday 2pm –10pm on Sunday

Âme Anja Schneider Ata Ben UFO Blawan Catz N Dogz Chris Liebing Claude VonStroke Climbers Clockwork Damian Lazarus Dave Clarke Deetron Dixon DJ Koze DJ Sneak DJ Tennis Droog Dyed Soundorom Eats Everything Ellen Allien Felix Dickinson Francesca Lombardo Futureboogie DJs Gavin Herlihy Geddes Giles Smith Guy Gerber Heidi Huxley Infinity Ink James Priestley Josh Wink Joy Orbison Jozif Justin Martin Krankbrothers

Laura Jones Levon Vincent Luca Pilato Maceo Plex Magda Masters At Work Matthias Tanzmann Maurice Fulton Maxxi Soundsystem Maya Jane Coles Michael Mayer Miguel Campbell MK Moderat Nick Curly No Artificial Colours Pan-Pot PBR Streetgang Planetary Assault Systems Prosumer Ralph Lawson Raresh Robert James Richy Ahmed Roman Flügel Ryan Crosson Sasha Seth Troxler Shadow Child Soul Bros: — Soul Clap — The Martinez Brothers Subb-an Tama Sumo Theo Parrish Tommy Four Seven Waifs & Strays

Tickets available at easternelectrics.com

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Blond:ish HunterłGame

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Derri�k �arter Terry Fran�is Kruse & Nürnberg LIVE Severino  ROOM 2

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Ben Sims Norman Nodge Skudge LIVE

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�raig Ri�hards Levon Vin�ent Delano Smith LIVE Yossi Amoyal  ROOM 2

Terry Fran�is Mar�el Dettmann OłVłR LIVE  ROOM 3

One Re�ords Adam Shelton Bloody Mary Javier �arballo & Han�ry Martinez

Terry Fran�is Slam Psy�atron LIVE  ROOM 3

TOI TOI Audio Werner LIVE James Dean Brown Ni�olas Lutz Voigtmann Lamâ�he

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Visionquest Seth Troxler Lee �urtiss Ryan �rosson Shaun Reeves  ROOM 2

�urators o� Te�hno Kevin Saunderson Kenny Larkin Kyle Hall  ROOM 3

Kevin Saunderson B2B Seth Troxler Patri�e S�ott Kyle Hall B2B Patri�e S�ott


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Photographer: Elliot Kennedy elliotkennedyphotography.tumblr.com/ Featuring: Yannis Philippakis // Foals

For those who are cracked let the light in: Respect Digsy David Moufang Angie Towse Turbo Baby Hannah Hodsman Jyoty Singh Jason Denyer Ken Rice Jesus Jon Snow

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Jake Applebee jake@crackmagazine.net Editor Geraint Davies geraint@crackmagazine.net

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Marketing / Events Manager Luke Sutton luke@crackmagazine.net Art Direction & Design Jake Applebee

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Staff Writers David Reed Lucie Grace Fashion Fabian Frost Rebecca Maskell Isabel Kibler Felix

has been negotiating its way through

Some have taken to it better than others. Yeah, our belts have moved down a notch, we’re exuding a certain ruddy-faced wholesomeness and we’re no longer wheezing our way up the Crack Towers staircase like Benson-puffing OAPs. But although pea soup and Ryvita for lunch might be well intended, abstinence from the allure of Greggs’ hot parcels of arteryclogging goodness even during mid-week hangovers has admittedly dampened spirits. And our hamstrings are in tatters from Spinning class. Have you ever been Spinning? Brutal. Properly brutal.

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Executive Editors Thomas Frost tom@crackmagazine.net

the early-year health drive.

40 43

But from dry times has come a sense of workplace solidarity. We’ve united like never before, in the spirit of not turning into mid-twenties, world-weary before our time wrong’uns. This has been encapsulated by the latest office creation: The Left Wing Fruit Bowl. That’s right, our office fruit bowl operates with a system based on socialist ideology. The slogan is as follows: contribute what you can, take what you require. So if someone’s feeling flush, sure, they’ll donate a bunch of grapes or half a dozen kiwis on a Tuesday morning. But that means three days down the line, if their pockets are a little lighter, they’re free to guiltlessly pluck from a punnet of plums. It’s fair, it’s functional, and it crushes the argument that humans are inherently individualistic. It’s George Osbourne’s worst nightmare. Sure, it might sound trivial to some, but heed this message. These neo-Marxist practices have cut the sugar-craved bickering by half, and we’re firing on all cylinders. If you feel a certain self-satisfaction when allowing a pal to dip a paw into your pack of Wheat Crunchies, believe us; that feeling will simply never compare to the fuzzy inner warmth of knowing you’ve provided a comrade in need with a timely nectarine.

Contributors Christopher Goodfellow Tim Oxley Smith James T. Balmont Josh Baines Adam Corner Duncan Harrison Billy Black Alex Hall Augustin Macellari Jack C. Bolter Gareth Thomas Gwyn Thomas de Chroustchoff Alison Nation Rory McKenna Aled Simons Matt Ayres

Geraint Davies

Interns James Ratcliffe Emily Waddell Illustrations Lee Nutland Tom Mead 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: advertising@crackmagazine.net

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:

Radiohead - All I Need Adesse - Supernal Krystal Klear - Addiction Midland - For (Yacht) Club use Only The History Of Apple Pie - See You Locked Groove - Do It Anyway George Fitzgerald - Thinking Of You Citizen - Glastique The Flaming Lips - The Terror The Black Dog - Bleep Five Barnt - Tunsten Daniel Avery - Drone Logic (Factory Floor Gabe Gurnsey Remix) Triple Six Mafia - Now I’m High, Really High Eric Arc Elliot - Almost Forgotten TOPS - Diamond Look The Underachievers - T.A.D.E.D. Archers of Loaf - Web in Front Only Real - Cadillac Girl Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Kiss Kiss Umberto - Initial Revelation Parquet Courts - Master of my Craft Kilo Kish - IOU The Men - Bird Song

Action Bronson - Sylvester Lundgren The Small Faces - I Can’t Dance With You Snoop Dogg - Pump Pump The Bee Gees - To Love Somebody Ride - Seagull Vivaldi - Four Seasons The Arteries - Bleed Away Julia Holter - Goddess Eyes I The Bronx - Shity Future Mind Spiders - On The Radio Gloria Estefan - Dr. Beat The Oblivians - Mad Lover Julia Holter - Our Sorrows The Shocking Blue - Send Me a Postcard ELO - Strange Magic Ray Wylie Hubbard - Snake Farm Cut Hands - Black Mamba Robin Guthrie Trio -­ Lisa Tama Sumo & Prosumer - Rarified The Cramps - Goo Goo Muck Earth - Engine of Ruin Desaparecidos - Greater Omaha Siouxie And The Banshees - Hong Kong Garden

Boris - You Will Haven - Finest Hour Lapaulux feat. Jenna Andrews - One Thing Sebastian - Greel Violetshaped - cX310 Grace Jones - Demolition Man Matthew Jonson - Panna Cotta Atoms For Peace - Stuck Together Pieces Creed - With Arms Wide Open Konstantin Sibold - Madeleine Foals - My Number Haywoode - Single Handed The Dead Rose Music Company - Shake Grouper - Dragging The Streets Daughter - Shallows Twin Shadow - Slow Space Dimension Controller - You Can’t Have My Love Velour - Dial Mogwai - Jaguar Junip - Line Of Fire Emerson Lake & Palmer - Tarkus Yes - You & I King Crimson - The Court Of King Crimson


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FLOW 2013 HELSINKI,FINLAND

FESTIVAL

7.–11.8.

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3 R E C O R D S // C O NTE NTS

CRACKMAGAZINE.NET

FOA L S - 16 Goat R un To Your Mama Pe t i t e N oi r D i sappear Jagwar M a T he T hrow YOUTH L A GOO N - 2 0

THE

BEST

Of

OUR

WEBSITE

THIS

H ar ol d B udd T he Pav i l i on O f D reams S pi r i t ual i z e d S w eet H eart S w eet L i g ht Th i s H e at D ecei t

MONTH

B ON OB O - 2 2 L apal ux W i t hout You Ty pe s un T he PL Ge or ge Fi t z ge r al d Feel L i k e D O L D RUM S - 2 6 M agi cal C l oudz U nrel eased B l awan Bohl a E P D e at h Gr i ps T he Money S t ore

T H E C R A C K B L O G // BAR NT I NTE R V I E W // Exploratory, spacious techno; that’s how we’d go about describing Cologne’s Barnt. We’d also say that he’s given us a concise and honest interview, providing some valuable background to his quality music which is making increasingly large waves with releases on Kompakt and his own rather healthy Magazine label. Check, check.

A N GE L A W I L L I A M S - 2 8 P i nk Fl oy d Bi k e B ar br a S t r e i s and T he Way We Were Ki ng C r i m s on I Tal k To T he W i nd

Crack’s resident blogging badman Billy Black likes his axe sharp and his women sharper. We also really enjoy the fact that he brings to our attention who has been behaving like a complete cock, even if we knew already. He’s like our walking bullshit defence. Our protector, if you so will. So read him, digest him and then read him some more.

B E N JA M I N DA M A GE - 3 6 B odh i Cul t ure (Bambounou R emi x ) A ut e ch r e Bl adel ores B oddi ka & Joy O Mercy (Boddi k a VI P) B RA N D T B RAUE R FRI C K - 3 8 Vol t a C ab D on’ t Gi v e U p M ax Gr ae f Am Fenst er E P D ar ks t ar New s From Now here

P s y c h e m a g ik + T h e I nvi s ib l e C rackca s t s / / B R A N D T B R A U E R F R I C K // Do you like your techno live, percussive and with a whole load of jazz and classical influences thrown in? Want to win a pair of tickets to see the amazing Brandt Brauer Frick (who are featured on page 38) do that kind of damage at XOYO on March 21st? Answer this question then, yeah.

TH OUGH T FO RM S - 40 E s be n and t h e W i t ch S mack ed t o Pi eces i n t he S t i l l of t he Ni g ht B i g Joan T he Creat ure Kul l S i l ence

We love a good mix and trust us, we’ve got a shit load of them. About 40 in fact, but who’s counting? Actually we’re counting, cause we love our not so little Crackcast collection. Add to the already burgeoning list these two little contrasting gems by The Invisible and Psychemagik, bringing the broad-range, big hitting mixtape and the goodtime house and disco edits respectively.

ON E M A N - 43

Which of these people is in Brandt Brauer Frick? a) Paul Frick b) Richy Ahmed c) Jamie Jones Send entries to competitions@crackmagazine.net

www.crackmagazine.net

B oddi ka x S om e poe U nt i t l ed (O neman E di t ) C h i e f Ke e f Kobe Desto 550


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Caj m er e XOYO 2n d M a rc h

Co ncr ete Kniv es L exingto n 5 th Marc h

Dime n sio n s Model 500, Daphni, Pantha Du Prince, Mala In Cuba, Dixon, Ben Klock, Moodymann, Portico Quartet September 9th Fort Punta Christo, Pula £135 + BF

F lo w F es ti val Ko de 9 F abric 8th Marc h

Th e J o y Fo r m idable Ro un dh o u s e 8th Marc h

Ch r istia n M ar clay C a fe Oto 13th M a rc h

Now in its second year, Dimensions has managed to pull together a line-up of the finest exponents of electronica and put them all in the intimate surroundings of a fort near the Adriatic peninsula’s bustling town of Pula. The classic juxtaposition of the old fort, intermingled with the most contemporary electronic sounds acts as a wonderful visual backdrop to the party. The personnel involved this year is of an exceptional standard with a number of leaders in their field alongside unparalleled quality right down the long list. Expect electronic music aficionados from all over Europe to make this one.

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Kraftwerk, The Knife, Solange, Goat Suvilahti, Helsinki August 7th-11th £115-150 Held in Suvilahti, an architecturally intriguing former power plant just outside the centre of Helsinki, Flow Festival takes pride in hosting art house cinema screenings, lectures and displays as well as music performances. However, the extraordinary first wave of acts they announced should provide enough incentive to plan a Scandinavian expedition. We’re talking about Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Solange, electro provocateurs The Knife, Disclosure, Kendrick Lamar, Todd Terje, Swedish psych-rockers Goat, Maya Jane Coles, Blawan and Pariah’s techno taskforce Karenn, and a fair few more. And then there’s the headliner: Kraftwerk. After the pandemonium surrounding their recent Tate Modern performances, Kraftwerk don’t require much of an introduction. However, it’s worth mentioning that Flow will be handing out over 20,000 pairs of 3D specs to enhance the experience of the German

Ea ste rn Ele ctronics

S m it h sfes t

Moderat, Dixon, Michael Mayer, Guy Gerber, Maya Jane Coles, Theo Parrish, Raresh August 2nd – August 4th Knebworth Park £115 + BF

ICA £TBA March 29th – March 30th

Th em e Pa rk Hea ven 14 th M a rc h

Don’t like Morrissey? Yeah, well fuck you, he doesn’t like you either and he’s about 3,000 times more interesting, witty and intelligent than most of the planks that make the so-called provocative music you’re into. And he’d dick you at Scrabble. In the spirit of all things aMOZing about arguably the best band of the 80s, the wonderful people at the ICA are putting on a two-day Smithsfest. Highlights include: rock photographer Tom Sheehan’s exclusive collection, a Q&A with uber fan and Morrissey academic Mark Simpson, an evening of music (with no DJ hanging) in a Smiths-inspired disco, and an opportunity to indulge your fandom and become a handsome devil by getting a Morrissey quiff.

You like techno right? Yeah thought so. You like stately homes too? Who doesn’t. Well just call Eastern Electrics the weaver, because they’ve gone and bagged the techno line-up of the year, but at the same time also scored themselves Britain’s primary stately home to play host. So many stages, party brands, beats and characters that we have in no way space to get them all down on this page, this one is shaping up to be the credible dance music three-dayer missing from the UK’s festival circuit. With some absolutely killer names still not announced, the image of Robbie Williams’s three night stretch at Knebworth can finally be banished from our minds in favour of something altogether more desirable.

www.crackmagazine.net


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DJ EZ Fabri c 15 t h March

Th e M e n Garag e 19t h March

E a t Yo u r O w n E a t s p re s ent Handpi c k ed NZCA Lines, Teleman, Dark Bells Roundhouse March 22nd £5 If we’d trust anyone to handpick an array of the most relevant new acts currently knocking about, EYOE would be right up there. And the enduringly exceptional London promoters are putting their rep on the line by backing these chosen few. We know all about NZCA/Lines. Michael Lovett’s slippery synthetic jams and machine R’n’B has been a fixture on our stereo since his debut album dropped 12 months ago, and we can vouch for them as an enthralling live act. Also on show are Teleman, fresh from showcasing their lovinglyprepared classicist pop on debut Moshi Moshi 7” Cristina, Aussie post-punk duo Dark Bells, and quite a few more. Oh, and it’s a fiver mate. Seriously.

The Pl a yg round P re sent ...

We Fe a r S ile n ce 4th Birth d a y

Vitalic, Yuksek and Etienne De Crecy Koko March 28th £13.50/£15

Boddika, BNJMN, Dexter Cable March 23rd £11/£13

Those in favour of electro say aye! And then promptly mosey on down to Camden’s Koko for a night with three of the best in the business. Headlined by Vitalic, his live show has become the stuff of dance music legend. Expect crashing breakdowns, fist-clenching moments and pulsating beats from DJs who’ve remained at the top of their particular fields for the last 10 years.

After four years in the game, We Fear Silence at Cable has become one of the UK’s most respected nights through the simple, inspired logic of booking people that are very, very current. Their 4th birthday is no exception. One of the men of the moment Boddika, one half of beat revolutionists Instra:mental fresh from collaborations with Joy Orbison: expect UK house sounds with touches of bass and two-step. Supported by electronica experimentalist BNJMN, anyone with an ear to the future should have one eye on this one.

Yo L a Te ngo Barbi can 2 0t h March

Seams XO Y O 2 1st March

H e e ms Vi s i o n q u e st

N Z C A /L i ne s R oundhouse 2 2 nd March

Birthdays March 18th £9

Fabric March 30th £18 Visionquest: our favourite Detroit four-way DJ collective is getting all immersive on us. That’s right, we’re not fidgeting around here. At the turn of the month, fabric will be transformed into an all encompassing musical space though production levels never witnessed there before. Intruiged? Well even if you’re not, Kevin Saunderson and Kenny Larkin will show you exactly why Detroit has such a reputation for the strands of techno we love round these parts, with rooms two and three being dedicated to the ‘curators of techno’. This one will definitely overrun in the best way possible.

J ac k m as ter fabric 28th March

Brooklyn alt-rap group Das Racist’s dissolution last year may have been a messy affair, but fortunately for fans, key member Heems’ solo career looks set to produce many fruitful results. His recent Wild Water Kingdom mixtape featured contributions from some of contemporary rap’s most in-demand producers such as Keyboard Kid and Harry Fraud, and Heems continues to breathe life into Das Racist’s manifesto – to celebrate hip-hop’s stereotypes while simultaneously subverting them. Thought-provoking without resorting to intellectual party-kill, and witty but not a joke, Heems will raise a smirk with his likeable persona and unique brand of indie-rap.

Devia tio n Benji B, Floating Points, Mala In Cuba XOYO £12.50/£15 April 5th

Radio 1 experimentalist and all round purveyor of the most excellent tastes in beats, oddities and everything in between, Benji B, brings two of our faves to XOYO for some choice action. Mala’s much-lauded album foray into Cuban musical culture managed to retain enough vintage dubstep Digital Mystikz-ness to make it, quite frankly, amazing, and for that reason his live show is not to be missed. On a similarly high level, Floating Points is pretty much our favourite DJ at the moment with ample crate digging skills making his jazz-infused house/soul/funk sets a guaranteed arse wiggler. That’s even before the aforementioned host gets on the decks. One for the heads, or anyone with excellent taste for that matter.

Rai m e T he Wai t i ng R oom 2 9t h March

Pa r q u e t C o u rt s Shacklewell Arms March 20th £5 Discounting the limited cassette release of American Specialties, debut LP proper Light Up Gold has got people really giving two, or more, fucks about New York née Texas vagabonds Parquet Courts. It’s a pitch-perfect meeting of puckered hihats, reluctant melody and interweaving lines which is somewhere between the smartass alt-rock of Pavement and the hardass garage of The Carbonas. So on the evening following an appearance with nasty-turned-country trailblazers The Men, they’re an odds-on bet to tear The Shacklewell a new one. Get there early, cause as supporting casts go, it don’t get much better than Cold Pumas and Sauna Youth.

M or gan Ge i s t XO Y O 2 2 nd March

Daughte r

Ho me b o y S a n d ma n

Rough Trade East 19th March

Cargo 7th March

Bra n d t Bra u e r Frick XOYO 21st March

Te e n S hack l ew el l Arms 3 0t h March www.crackmagazine.net


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15

NEW MUSIC

Oliver Wilde Z yn a H e l Zyna Hel is the new avant-pop project from leftfield musician Elizabeth Oswell, who colours her lyrics with a melancholic tone and conjures up imagery that radiates poetic potency. Oswell’s sonorous voice drives the words to the forefront, and her restrained soundscapes leave her with little to hide behind. “There’s an atmosphere I want to create around my words and my voice doesn’t lend itself to fuller instrumentation” she explains. “I listen to a lot of doom metal, drone, Stars of the Lid, Earth; artists who have a minimalist approach, and perhaps this has subconsciously influenced me”. She also boasts collaborative work with the revered underground musician Andrew Liles. “Andrew and I met for the first time in Italy when I was playing with a band called Hush Arbors”, she tells us. “A little later I sang for him on Mind Mangled Trip Monster. We recorded in his studio next to the graveyard where Sylvia Plath is buried, and although I usually can’t sing someone else’s lyrics, it felt very natural to me”. Aside from music, Oswell has dipped into visual and performance art, and admits she’s got a tendency to get sidetracked by her creative instincts. “I could get into crochet next month and end up playing gigs wearing knitted catsuits”. We feel assured she’s channelling plenty of energy into this project, because Zyna Hel’s music feels like it’s erupting.

Although Oliver Wilde’s music has an unmistakably DIY feel – there’s his novice approach to looping, the bursts of tape hiss and an acoustic guitar mic-ed so close you hear each fret swipe – we’ll refrain from describing his music as ‘lo-fi’, in case the term misleadingly insinuates that Wilde takes a lacklustre approach. Rather, Wilde’s music instantly reminds us of the fuzzy but delicate budget perfectionism of the late Mark Linkous. Last year, Wilde and friends recorded Perretts Brook, a perfect indie rock song which might never get the appreciation it deserves. It’s also worth checking out Wilde’s new single Curve, which will trigger autumnal memories and initiate an itching desire to hear his forthcoming album.

M e n ’ s A d v e n tu re s This new London band’s name is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the commie-hating, cartoon pin-up adorning American men’s magazine that was immensely popular during the 50s and 60s. It’s a cultural epoch they’re wholly dedicated to. These guys rock wayfarers, brylcreem greased quiffs and most probably have soft packs of Marlboro reds tucked in the rolled up sleeves of their tight white tees. And it’s not just the aesthetics that Men’s Adventures have nailed, their sound is deep and seductive, heart-wrenching Americana with a Spaghetti Western feel and unhinged Mike Bloomfieldesque blues licks. We’re awarding them bonus points for the dramatic song titles too, which all sound like the titles of prospective Cormac McCarthy novels.

oliverwilde.tumblr.com mensadventures1.bandcamp.com

soundcloud.com/zynahel

Tune: Curve

Tune: David’s Song

File Next To: Sparklehorse | Yo La Tengo

Tune: The Underwater Angels File Next To: Jimmie Rodgers | The War On Drugs

File Next To: Beth Gibbons | Zola Jesus

N u S e n sa e

DyMe -A - DuZiN

Andre Ob in

nusensae.tumblr.com

On Wednesday 14th November 2012, Boston based musical plutocrat André Obin’s apartment caught ablaze in an electrical fire, which resulted in all his equipment being reduced to a pile of ashes. His buddies among Boston’s underground all chipped in to record a fundraising compilation, and Obin seems determinedly unhindered, with his debut LP, brilliantly titled The Arsonist, set for a release this month via Sky Council Recordings. Under his solo moniker he’s making uplifting yet melancholic song-based electro that’s kind of reminiscent of the neon Gallic chic of Kitsuné but underlined by a sturdy thud that may have been inspired by his previous dalliances with ‘Soviet bloc techno’. Keep your chin up, André.

Tune: Throw

andreobin.bandcamp.com

File Next To: METZ | Bikini Kill

Tune: The Arsonist

Ok, so this Vancouver-based, confrontational noise punk band have actually been putting stuff out for a couple of years now, but since gaining an extra guitarist and releasing the exhilarating Sundowning LP late last year, it seems Nü Sensae are gathering momentum. We’d like to declare our support. Lyrically, vocalist Andrea Lukic is a menacing agitator, howling furiously in a way that recalls Courtney Love’s finest performance on Violet. Having recently thrown out another 7”, we can’t wait for more remorseless, abrasive punk bangers that’d install fear in the hearts of the bigoted creeps at your workplace.

This 20-year-old rapper teeters on the periphery of New York’s Beast Coast movement. To all the dyslexics out there, Beast Coast doesn’t involve lo-fi surf-pop or Instagram pics of Snacks the cat, rather it’s a tag used to describe NYC’s new hip-hop generation which is so comprehensive that everyone from the boom-bap conservative Joey Bada$$ to the leather-clad, ‘molly’ popping A$AP Mob have gathered under the same umbrella. As a member of the Phoney Ppl collective, and therefore close affiliates of Mr. Bada$$’s Pro Era crew, DuZin is enthusiastically nostalgic for NYC’s 90s golden era. But this bowtie wearing MC also has a tendency to lean towards much glossier, hook-oriented material which is unashamedly aimed at the mainstream. It’s hard to get a good sense of DyMe-A-DuZin’s identity at this stage, but he’s just inked a deal with Warner Bros, so this might not be the last time you see his name in print. iamdyme.com

File Next To: Delphic | Cold Cave Tune: New Brooklyn File Next To: The Underachievers | Kid Cudi

www.crackmagazine.net

C a simir Among the diverse palette of sounds which appeared on Fear Of Fiction’s vinyl compilation last year was a song called Lucid, a track which projected the emotive charge of peakera Interpol out into a vast post-rock soundscape. They’ve just dropped their EP Not Mathematics via Fear of Fiction’s imprint, and it sees their sound swell and intensify, exuding a level of confidence that should be inconceivable for a band this new. casimirband.com Tune: Balancing Act File Next To: Interpol | Explosions In The Sky


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www.crackmagazine.net

F O A LS An enduring and uncompromising force , foals e xceed expectations once again


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W O R DS T h o m a s Fro s t & Ja ke Ap p le b e e

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S ITE f oal s .c o.u k

The fact people still want to talk about Foals is complete justification of the survival of the fittest theory. Bands of this ilk who manage to release a third record of any distinct notoriety, let alone come 1,000 copies from scoring a number one album, are an anomaly in today's comfort zone of a chart. It reflects well on the masses.

TUN E Prov i dence

simply a long overdue catharsis of pent up tension for a band who have never allowed themselves to fully shed their cool exterior. But this is a necessary venting of steam beyond what anyone expected. Yannis howls: “Don’t throw your fortune away / and I can’t get enough space” before guitars in the mould of Rage Against The Machine, for want of a more obvious comparison, tear into the track in a downtuned, meaty, hulking onslaught of power. It’s an absolute fucking belter.

This is clearly your moment.

It’s in direct contrast to Holy Fire’s opening that we find Foals’ lead singer in more pensive, reflective and perhaps mellower frame of mind than previous meetings. Writing trips and reflective downtime in Greece, lighter more air-filled recording sessions and a creative relationship and

Compared to many of the hype bands who might have been considered your contemporaries – Klaxons, Late of the Pier etc – none of them have shown anything like your level of longevity. Do you have any idea why you’ve stood the test of time so well?

Yannis: I guess so, but I think partly because of what happened on the first record, we’ve learned not to totally lose our heads when things are feeling effortless like they are right now. I mean, we’re already thinking about things like the next record. At times like these it’s important to keep things in perspective.

“There’s alchemy in making records,

you’re conjuring something from nothing”

No doubt the initial boom will pass and sales will plateau as more Mums lap up a few Emeli Sande units, post Brit awards. But my God, Yannis Philippakis and his cohorts, perhaps the finest band to emerge from Oxford since a certain Radiohead, continue to impress by yet again fucking with the formula. The album rebuffs any preconceived notions of math rock tendencies that were present in Foals’ utterly astounding debut Antidotes, or any sombre conceptions of a band in constant turmoil that perhaps characterised their second effort Total Life Forever. Enter Holy Fire, and much like the other albums’ introductory curveballs, the assault laid bare by the opening two tracks is something to behold. The opening Prelude is an industrial alt-rock builder, all muffled vocals and tension with a low-slung bassline and multiple guitar assaults. Then Inhaler. Perhaps an effort to sidestep and confound their fanbase, or

understanding with bandmates thriving, perhaps as a result of shared struggles and tensions over a 10 year period, have resulted in this subtle change. Gone are the scowl and the one-word answers, and in its place a more genial outlook. But when you’re creating music with this much bite, it’s easy to argue the balance has been maintained. Other album highlights include Providence, perhaps the track most reminiscent of anything from Antidotes, but rougher, heavier and more distorted. Also see the utterly insatiable My Number, an early contender for pop record of the year. The album exudes confidence, a variation in style and a complexity that have consistently gone into making Foals one of the most interesting bands in the country. As we speak to Yannis, drummer Jack Bevan and guitarist Jimmy Smith, they are in the final stages of preparing to spread Holy Fire across the world.

Congratulations on the album. You guys survived the wave of hype after your first album and now your third only missed out on number one by 1,000 copies. Has that surprised you at all? Yannis: I can’t say I’ve quite absorbed it yet. Jack: Yeah, it was really overwhelming, the response to Inhaler was bigger than anything we’ve had in the past or that we’re used to. Jimmy: From the first album it was so unreal, I don’t think we ever even got to terms with the fact we were in the charts. Total Life Forever was the same, and now it just feels like it’s not actually happening. It’s amazing to see our band up there, but it feels like someone’s made some terrible calculating mistake.

© Steve Guillick

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Yannis: I don’t know, because I don’t know the internal situations of those bands, but I think we all get on. Staying in Oxford for a long time was a good thing to do, it meant we avoided the more ... transient types of temptation that can exist when you’ve got success around you. Jimmy: We’re strong within the band, we’ve always had this mentality where it’s the five of us against everyone else. We’re not being arseholes, but we have a protective instinct, over our music and especially the creative process. So I think that’s kept us going, being strong within the band and not letting anyone inside the workings to crowbar us apart. That way we can survive anything.

Jack: A lot of bands do well on the first record because that’s a real band that’s written these songs over a long period of time. But especially in the UK, where there’s a lot of pressure, I think bands can be tempted to rush second records to make sure they don’t lose their momentum. When that happens, bands can turn out weaker records. It’s much more important to take your time and put out a great record rather then half the record in half the time. Yannis: I think of being in our band as kind of like a boxing match and you’re fighting. Sometimes I feel like I’d like to get out of the ring and stand looking though the ropes at what’s going on in the ring, and I could decide on the footwork and get that bit of perspective. I don’t know, I just feel like we haven’t allowed ourselves to get stuck in the tar, the tar of success. Yannis, you’ve spent a lot of time in Greece over the years. How valuable have you found that time of, as you put it, stepping out of the ring. Yannis: I think it’s been invaluable in terms of being able to draw upon an entirely different culture and an environment which doesn’t have any of the same cultural mores, its own artistic language and customs. I think that’s been helpful. When I go to Greece I almost have this second skin, like a whole different sense of who I am. I don’t know if that’s going to lead to mental illness in the future, or if it’s just allowed me to inhabit a different side of my brain.


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© Steve Guillick

“ I t ’ s n o t l i k e w e ’ r e d e l i b e r at e ly t r y i n g t o

t h r o w P R c u r v e b a l l s , b u t i t ’ s d e f i n i t e ly good to bash some heads together.”

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Do you get recognised in Greece? Being one of the most recognisable UK bands at the moment must encroach on your social life, especially living in London. Yannis: Yeah, in Greece I go to the village my father is from. There are no cars, no internet or wi-fi, there’s only regional TV, there are no shops, there’s no cinema. I feel lucky to have access to a place like that. It’s like it’s been kept in a time capsule, it’s very, very traditional, a lot of archaic customs. It’s a perfect antidote to 21st century, relentless media exposure infiltrating your eyes. That viewpoint ties into the lyrics, particularly on Moon, this bleak, end-of-the-world concept which defined Total Life Forever as well. How do you view this march towards an apocalyptic kind of world, especially with the speeding up of technology? Yannis: I don’t really think it’s going to happen, it’s more like a twisted fantasy. I feel attracted to the idea of everything being gutted and starting again, and the idea of entropy seeping into the huge achievements of man. It's always been a concern, even going back to the 1960s, there was a different idea of apocalypse then, there was concern about the Cold War leading to extinction, definitely of the American way of life. I think there’s always a concern, man is always concerned about whether he’s going to survive when the end time is near. So that’s just one particular context, one of technological potency. I guess it’s like an inbuilt death wish in people. You released a mixtape through !K7 records last year, was that a sign of your musical horizons broadening? What are you listening to right now? Yannis: I’m listening to this Mediterranean composer called Angel Rada, he was around in the 70s, he makes these weird kind of film scores, everything’s mixed wrong. I like some new bands like Petite Noir and Jagwar Ma ... Can ... I’ve been listening to folk music, African music … In terms of how you’ve moved and progressed as a band, you seem intent on making very different statements with the first release off each record. Jack: When we put out the first track on a new record, as with Spanish Sahara after Antidotes, we were very much aware of the way we were perceived. Some of criticisms we got of that first record was that it was a little bit one taste, so when we made the second record a lot of it was a response to what we missed out on with the first record. And Inhaler, well it’s a pretty bold, brash track, so I guess we wanted people to know we aren’t going to tread water. If we’ve got a track on the album that is going to surprise the most people possible, that’s the one we like to go with, to take a risk and cause a stir. It’s not like we’re deliberately trying to throw PR curveballs, but it’s definitely good to bash some heads together. Also, so many bands have taken influence from you, does it feel like you need to almost react to the sound that people have been mimicking, to stay ahead of the game? Yannis: I don’t know how much of a conscious influence that is, but we definitely feel that when we’ve made our definitive version of something we want to achieve, we don’t feel like we need to repeat it. It’s like, if you have your own little undiscovered place, your own personal realm, and then one day you go to that little spot in the park and it’s filled with people, you might want to find a new area [laughs].

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Jimmy: I don’t think it’s that calculated. We keep changing anyway, because we get bored easily and I think the time where we make an album that bores us, it would probably be the day we knock it on the head. That’s just the natural process of wanting to progress and evolve. I don’t think it’s a reaction to people stealing our shit.

Didn’t you put your foot down?

Before the album came out you toured a range of small towns around the UK. What was that reason behind that?

We’ve heard stories of recording outside and lighting candles.

Yannis: We just hadn’t played live for a while, and we felt it might be the only time where we could play back in the venues we’d cut our teeth in. It just seemed like a no brainer, a good way to get familiar with the songs and understand how to play them in a set without too much pressure.

Yannis: Yeah, we did a bunch of stuff. We like to ritualise recording. I think it was something which made us appreciate the pseudo-spiritual element. I like to believe in some kind of bigger force when we’re recording, I’m not talking about God or anything. I think it’s important to go to extreme and often terrifying extents to try and capture some type of magic. There’s alchemy in making records, you’re conjuring something from nothing. There’s a ‘boys getting lost in the woods and making up mythical creatures’ type adventure to making a record. So we recorded outside and collected bones to try and make percussion out of them, we played in the dark, we had Ouija boards. Y’know, even if it was just to trick ourselves, but to make something that’s more than just twanging your guitar in front of an SM7 [microphone].

Do you feel like your sound is more suited to that bigger stage now? Yannis: The bigger venues are going to present a certain challenge to us, but that also makes them more exciting in a way. Also, I think for our own self esteem, if we were stuck playing tiny venues it would probably bum us out. It was always our ambition to play to a lot of people, to do the big show. Like, playing to a big festival crowd you get this euphoria that you get from a mass of people that you can’t ever experience at a smaller show. Having said that, I do like mingling sweat, I like getting in people’s faces. To tread that tightrope is like having our cake and eating it. I wouldn’t really want it any other way. Jack: I guess it’s what we’re most used to, even though the last three or four years we’ve been playing pretty big venues in the UK. It’s a very comfortable, intimate environment. The only downside with those venues is that you can’t have any sort of production and it’s not sonically as strong, but you can make up for that with the atmosphere and the vibe. We’re kind of just splashing cold water on our faces. Jimmy: And I think overall everyone had a better experience anyway because you fall back in love with playing live. You’ve got a massive touring schedule ahead, will it change you? Jimmy: Yeah, probably, I think every tour changes you a little bit. Whenever we’re about to go away we’re like ‘I’m going to do half an hour’s exercise every day, I’m gonna go sightseeing everywhere we go’. In reality we actually wake at four in the afternoon, drink a Red Bull and sit in an Academy backstage room. Just that same smell, every day. With this album you’ve taken that live approach and used it far more in the studio, is that right? Yannis: We’ve had some problems in the past where we felt like we’d overworked or overcrafted songs in the studio, then they became impossible to play live. This was just a way of remaining faithful to the five of us making music as humans, without relying too much on the possibilities that modern studios give you. Jack: As soon as we got into the studio, the producers Flood and Moulder told us that we were going to demo for four or five weeks to get the songs together and work on the structures. So we ended up playing all the songs as demos, a lot of them almost totally live. When it came to the end of that period it was basically unveiled to us that we had recorded the majority of the instrumentals for the record. Doing it that way we were a lot less precious. We weren’t playing like we didn’t give a shit, but at the same time when the red light’s not on you can loosen up and it’s a lot more natural and organic. In the past we’ve approached recording as this definitive statement of what we do, and I think sometimes if you’re too aware of that the grooves can end up losing out a bit because it’s too rigid or clinical.

Jimmy: That’s when the trouble starts, everyone starts putting their foot down, and then it’s all over.

It’s interesting to observe the impact of Holy Fire’s commercial success. For example, we saw that Yannis was interviewed by GQ magazine, a publication that probably doesn’t appeal to the demographic you were reaching out for when you started the band. It must be strange seeing Yannis being asked where he buys his clothes? Jack: Really?! [laughs] God, it’s a horrible shop, it should get shut down. Yannis: Well, I didn’t mind that interview specifically, but things happen so incrementally that you’re not aware of moving from A to B, and then sometimes you stop and realise that you’re doing things you’d never have done a few years ago. Jack: It’s great talking to all those different slices of UK consumer culture or whatever. I guess it’s flattering that these more mainstream magazines are interested in us. It’s something that we’ve always wanted, to be able to make pop music without compromising our integrity. To be fair, I never get to do those sort of crossover interviews in case I say something silly. Yannis: I don’t do anything I don’t want to do, but maybe what I want to do has changed over time.

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Did you enjoy these secret takes? Holy Fire is available now via Transgressive Records. Jimmy: Yeah I did, it was just a really productive atmosphere. I mean, I was a little bit irked by some of the secret ninja recording that they did! Because there’d be parts that I’d dwelled on or just tried to work out loads of different sounds, then when I was ready to record they’d be like ‘nah, it’s cool, we’ve got it already’. It was like ‘Fuck! I’ve been waiting six months to do that!’


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YOUTH LAGOON

© Youth Lagoon

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W O R DS G e r a in t Da v ie s

TUN E D r op l a

As our phone call to Boise, Idaho connects, there’s a part of us expecting the voice at the end of the line to be a distant, tuneful murmur. So distinctive is the delivery of Trevor Powers as he purrs and mumbles over Youth Lagoon’s enthralling soundtracks to invisible pictures, it’s hard to image the physical individual behind it all.

Were Dropla found at the heart of Year of Hibernation, there’s no doubt it would gradually expand around a muffled vocal and swelling atmospherics. Yet here, on Wondrous Bughouse, the change is palpable. It strides boldly into a rhythmic stomp, and before the song is one of its six minutes old, vocals are intoning, “you’ll never die, you’ll never die” in momentous, triumphant fashion.

What’s more, our preconceptions suggested someone timid, reticent to share, forcing words about himself through a pursed mouth as his face flushed beetroot. Yet we encountered a young man of increasing confidence and assurance, finding his place in the world.

The album is fleshed out, richer and grander in a more conventional fullband sense. The idiosyncratic worldviews are as clear as ever, but instead of being expressed by a barely-there focal point, to be coaxed out, it comes overflowing with psychedelic flourishes. From Mute’s encompassing expanses, where unplaceable sounds whirr around your head, to the surreal Syd Barrett-esque fairground waltz of Attic Doctor or the woozy, morphing lullaby Sleep Paralysis. Youth Lagoon Mark II inhabits a bolder and more immediate space in which Powers can express his thematic depths. “I’ve been focusing on trying to build a sonic world I could see myself living in”, he agrees. And where the first album’s juxtaposition was between the insular and the expansive, here, the clash comes from the most real and human of emotions being expressed in such surreal fashion. “It’s that struggle between humanity and our problems, and getting a hold of that” he says, “and at the same time making something that sounds like it’s from another place.”

Powers is still helplessly self-deprecating. “I’m not the best at using my words to describe things”, he insists. “I focus on making my music, and it’s weird that after it’s all done you have to go back and try and explain why you did what you did. I know I’m not good at this, but I guess I’m used to not being good at it.” These sentiments are something of a hangover from the Pitchforkindebted rush of attention that greeted the wholly unexpected success of Year of Hibernation in late 2011. Powers was suddenly in demand from all and sundry. Considering he’d written it by himself, recorded it with the help of friends and was expecting to post it online for free, it’s fair to say he wasn’t prepared to have to explain. The album was a document of a period in his life, a period which it’s now impossible to recapture. “I think that’s why I’m so happy with both records” he suggests. "There’s nothing I would change. Even going back to Year of Hibernation, I see that music as a timestamp. Sonically, that record speaks for who I was and where I was at that time.” One of the most intriguing aspects of that release was the alternate world captured on tape. It was the voice of someone looking out from a deeply unique viewpoint on a wide world around them, the vocals as indecipherable as the exact emotions behind them, yet still somehow relatable; intense yet ephemeral. Songs glittered, glowed and swelled, noses pressed against the window. “I think it’s very much where I was at that point in my life” is Powers’ response to this juxtaposition, “but that was of course massively influenced by Boise. It’s a place where if you want to disappear, it’s easy to. There are so many remote places, I like going hiking “How up to the mountains, and if I want to be alone it’s easy not to see anyone.” He on in continues. “But that record was a very inward record, where the whole sense of hibernation wasn’t a physical thing, it a pp e a r was a mental hibernation, an isolation. You can be surrounded by people but still have that sense of feeling lonely.” A record built around such loneliness, indelibly marked by Powers’ struggles with anxiety, served to make him a very popular figure. And whether an increase in confidence, or experience, or simply the passing of time is the cause, follow up Wondrous Bughouse is defined by a distinction in assurance as pronounced as that between the figure we anticipated speaking to, and the one we did. The first sample for most came in the form of the sublime Dropla, an ideal microcosm of the progression from one album to the next. As its chimes and droplets fill the air, the first reaction is how familiar it sounds, how immediately evocative it serves to be. “I take that as a compliment”, is Powers’ reply. “A lot of the themes I’m expressing, the idea of mortality, they’ve been wrestled with since the beginning of time. The themes I explore and the universe they’re being explored it, anyone can relate to them, they’re endless.”

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When it’s put to him that due to the relationship between Youth Lagoon and the ‘Youth’ of its name – its focus on innocence, formation, uncertainty, discovery – it could become increasingly difficult to maintain as a concept as his youth becomes more distant, Powers sharply puts us straight. “It’s not an idea about being young or wanting to stay young or any of that”, he insists. “To me it’s purely an idea of exploring, it’s not something that ever ends. It’s the opposite, actually; it’s an idea that however old you get, even way later on in life, there’s always things which appear that you never knew existed. You can never stop exploring. It’s not something that could ever feel dated.” There’s no ignoring an increased level of instrumentation on the current album. While there was the air of a bedroom project innate to early Youth Lagoon material – albeit an extraordinarily ambitious one – Wondrous Bughouse feels like the sound of a band moving forward as one. Despite

S I TE f acebook .com/y out hl ag oon

This is made particularly challenging by the fact much of Youth Lagoon’s music stems from a visual mode of thinking. Of “seeing things in my mind and trying to translate that into a piece of music.” As such, the visual element of each album is of utmost importance. While his first album sported a photograph taken by himself on the cover, a rainbow in a valley shot whilst on holiday, Wondrous Bughouse has a vivid, surreal image on its front. It presents a colourful, topsy-turvy world where the land, sea, sky, the universe and the human body form a glorious collage. It’s beautiful, and very, very apt. Powers’ enthusiasm peaks when the subject is raised. “I’m so excited about this cover,” he says. “I stumbled on it. I’d been doing research into 70s and early 80s art. There was this book published in West Germany back in the 70s, where this guy had been researching teenage drug patients, people who’d been taking lots of psychedelics. None of them were professional artists, and he had them do artwork to see where their minds were at. I saw a few pieces by a lady called Marcia Blaessle. At the time I was finishing the writing of the record and I saw this piece and it just fit so well, I couldn’t believe it. So I started tracking the image down. It seemed that she had passed away, and I finally found the publisher who released the book, but they had folded and passed the rights on, and finally over a period of months I got hold of the right people. I was freaking out cause it almost felt like the album wouldn’t be complete without that cover. It was crazy how something created by someone so distant, so long ago, spoke to me so much.” This determination to perfect his vision is a reflection of Powers’ emotional investment in each record. With his albums tackling such deeply personal themes, can he truly lock into these feelings at the drop of a hat? “I can switch it off and have a good day, but there’s something weird that happens when I write” he says. “Because the things that inspire me most are the things that are haunting to me or things that are darker in feeling, it can be hard to snap out of it sometimes.” It certainly involved a degree of sacrifice, as well as release. “When I’m writing or recording and getting stuff out of my system it’ll almost be therapeutic, but at the same time it’s saddening, because that’s a part of you that you’re putting down, something you’re taking out of yourself and placing somewhere else. So, I’ll go through these periods of ... I guess you’d call it depression, shortly after I get something out.”

e v e r o l d y o u g e t, e v e n w a y l a t e r l i f e , t h e r e ’ s a l w a y s t h i n g s w h ic h t h at y o u n e v e r k n e w e x i s t e d . Y o u can never stop exploring.”

this, Powers insists the album-making process wasn’t actually all that different. “With the first record I hired in some people I knew to do certain things”, he says. “And this was similar, but to a higher degree.” One individual who surely played a key part was producer Ben H. Allen, whose previous credits include Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion and Deerhunter’s Halcyon Digest. Whereas before Powers called in a friend to help with a certain sound or technique, Allen was on hand to make Powers’ more sonically zealous visions a reality through broader musicianship. “Ben’s just marvelous to work with” he states, “He was totally onboard with my vision from the beginning and made it so easy to communicate what I wanted.” When forming such distinctive visions, communication became the key. “I think it’s something that can take time,” he elaborates. “These things can’t necessarily be explained away in a sentence, but even emotionally, or through hand gestures or whatever, you learn to understand each other.” www.crackmagazine.net

It’s this ability to plumb the depths of honesty, which speaks so clearly to an ever-expanding audience. In an early interview, Powers spoke of his ambition to one day visit New York. He now gleefully shares anecdotes of his favourite international destinations, pinpointing Amsterdam, Byron Bay in Australia, and regaling an evening spent in Tokyo with the now-defunct Wu Lyf. What’s more, this June will see him supporting The National at New York’s Barclays Centre, a monumental event on the horizon which has Powers and his newly formed four-piece live band working to become “not just tight, amazingly tight.”

With each new enterprise, the extremities of Trevor Powers’ mind grow broader. Every time he witnesses places that “I knew existed, but never thought I’d see with my own eyes”; every time he thinks, “at that moment, I wish everyone I know could see what I’m seeing.” With each shared experience and exploration of the world, the view from his bedroom window keeps on expanding.

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Wondrous Bughouse is available from March 5th via Fat Possum.


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DATES Ro un dh o u s e , Lond on | May 1 8 t h Ro ck C ity, Notti ng ham | May 20t h Ritz , M a n cheste r | May 22nd L o ve Sa ves The Day, Bri stol | Ma y 25t h

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W O R DS T h o m a s Fro s t

S ITE b on ob om u s i c .c om

If you’ve stepped out of your house and into somewhere with any kind of atmospheric resonance over the last three years, there’s a good chance you’ve been struck by the music of Simon Green, aka Bonobo. This is in no small part due to the majestic and soaring success of Black Sands, a record that gradually embedded itself into the consciousnesses of the wider public. Green’s new album The North Borders sits beside Black Sands in its richness of texture, while it also sees him step closer to his associate Four Tet in terms of dancefloor/experimental crossover appeal, suggesting Bonobo’s popularity could be further enhanced still. Green’s commercial success has arrived at a time where perceptions regarding his music have shifted. Early efforts Animal Magic and Dial M For Monkey were gratefully received, but were, perhaps rather harshly, grouped in the commercially slick, Ministry Of Sound propelled ‘chill out’ bracket that dogged a large group of artists. An Ibizan sunset can be a lovely thing, but having connotations of the polarising Balearic isle applied to Green’s music acted as an indelible branding that in all likelihood caused more harm than good. The good news for Green is that there are many of who believe he’s one of the most talented and unique producers operating today. Despite the ‘chill out’ rubber-stamp, much of the music Green was producing in his early years was extremely relevant for its time. Jazzy, downtempo breaks rubbed against meticulous production, a sound that was a very big deal at the turn of the century and won him a legion of fans. What lifts Bonobo and Green above many other contemporary producers is the level of instrumental competence and musicality present on all his records. With Green recording, producing, layering and carving all the sounds himself, perhaps the biggest compliment he receives is that people frequently mistake Bonobo for a full band. The fact he’s managed to transform these composite parts into a fully working and technically awesome live show is further testament to a commitment to seeing his music realised in the fullest sense. The North Borders is maybe a touch less ambient than Black Sands. First single Cirrus, is strikingly forward dancefloor material in the vein of the aforementioned Four Tet or Pantha Du Prince. Opening track First Fire is a brooding, bassy SBTRKT influenced head-nodder that sets a wonderful tone. Vocalist Szjerdene’s contribution is particularly prominent, and she’ll play the role of lead vocalist on the forthcoming tour. However, the most striking collaboration sees Erykah Badu taking the vocal reigns for Heaven The Sinner, a juddering stepper of a tune which immerses Badu’s distinctive charisma in languid dreamlike instrumentation, all harps and violin strings, that will inevitably draw comparisons to Flying Lotus. While many of the signature elements which go into making a Bonobo record may have remained intact, when you’re dealing with a musician who can turn his hand to almost anything, you’ll see it’s impossible for Simon Green to make the same record more than once. The North Borders sounds a lot more production-led, less like it was made directly for the live arena. Are we right in assuming that you’ve been listening to music from artists like Four Tet and Floating Points? Yeah, I always have been. I know those guys personally, they’re friends of mine. But I suppose I’d been DJing before I did any of this and I used to do a weekly down in Brighton. I’d always come from that world, and I don’t think it had been represented to that large an extent. Those sounds might seem like a new direction for some people, but for me it’s always been there, I just wasn’t representing it as much as I have done in the © Bonobo

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TUN E Ci rrus

past. I wouldn’t particularly call it club music, I’d just suggest it’s more in line with where I’m at now. Was there a point where you felt people wanted you to make the same album again and again? I’m still proud of those records I made at the beginning – Animal Magic and Dial M For Monkey – but there’s always a contingent of people who want you to keep doing the same thing over and over and never change. Everyone’s tastes develop and mine have developed. But the tastes of people who liked my first two records might not be in line with or have the same trajectory as mine. I shouldn’t, and don’t, need to worry about that. The relationship between your really dynamic live show and the recording process has always been of interest to us, as you record almost every part yourself. It’s a massive misconception, as a lot of it sounds like a band, but it’s just me in a room, playing all the parts. I still approach it like I would sample-based music. Even though it sounds like a room full of people, it’s still very loop-based. I’m still just making these little sketches and going into them with the sampler. The way that came about was that I wasn’t just comfortable with DJing as a way of touring. I also wasn’t comfortably with the nodding into a laptop thing, as that’s not how the music is made and it would feel dishonest for a live show when the music is made by playing instruments into machines. I couldn’t play it all myself, so the idea was to re-create the studio process and multiply myself five times. Do you think considering how saturated the market is with producers at the moment, there is a distinct lack of artists transferring their music into the live arena? I think it’s a hard thing to do with music that isn’t made in that respect. I think a lot of electronic music is made with a mouse and a laptop. I’m lucky in that a lot of the sounds going into my music are from acoustic sources and real keys. It makes it easier for me to deconstruct that back into live music. It’s difficult for other people that are into making track music, it would almost feel forced if you were gonna play that live. It’s always down to what kind of music you’re creating. Little Dragon, in my opinion, sits on that balance between the production and the live show really well. How do you see yourself then? Do you see yourself as multiinstrumentalist live musician, or a producer/DJ? I guess these days as a producer/DJ, but I never thought it was that unique to be playing lots of instruments in the production, as there were always people I knew who were doing that. But the live show has really reinforced that and, to a lesser degree, changed people’s perceptions of what Bonobo is. There is always a wealth of world music in your DJ sets. When you go away, do you hunt down a particular strand of world music? How do you go about informing yourself? A lot of it is old and a result of digging in the crates. With something like African music you just dig it out, but I get help from collectors. People like the Soundway guys – there’s people like that all over the world. I would love to go on one of those really involved month-long digging trips, but there are also so many archivists who are bringing it to me, so I’m just tapping into it really. But I appreciate it and what these archivists are doing.


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© Bonobo

We read somewhere that you suffered from synesthesia? I wouldn’t say I suffer from it, but I guess I can relate to it in terms of sound having character and seeing this sort of space full of colours and personalities all interacting with each other. I don’t know whether it’s technically synesthesia. It would definitely make sense, as there is a sense of colour and light running though a lot of your work. Yeah, I guess that’s what I aim for. It’s good that it comes across. Some of the stand-out moments on the last record came from the vocal tracks. Could you talk us through the vocal offerings on the new album? Well Erykah Badu is on there and a lady called Szjerdene. Erykah came around when we were in New Orleans last year. She was working on a project with Mos Def, Mark Ronson and a few others, so we met there and I ended up doing a remix for that project. Then we met again a few times later and I said I wanted to send her some music. Her approach is very much the same as mine in that it’s very music-led, it’s not the concept, it’s whether she’s feeling the tracks as to whether she’d be down to do something. With Szjerdene, I’d seen her playing a show with guys from London who’d recommended her to me, they told me she was just

ridiculous. She’s going to be coming out on the road with us and be our main vocalist. There is another lady, Cornelia, whom I know through good friends of mine Portico Quartet. She did a track called Steepless with them and I was kind of blown away by her presence. The fact you’ve managed to get to work with Erykah Badu must be another reinforcement of how well Black Sands went for you. It’s crazy the way that record still has this presence three years later. Some records are around for the season they are released and then they disappear. It’s crazy, you never know what’s going to happen with it. You go into a period of studio isolation, making this music and then you go ‘oh, actually people are going to be listening to this now.’

get out of that constant association. Black Sands is still downtempo and quite chilled, but if you listen to Mount Kimbie for example, that’s way more chilled, but that’ll never get called chilled or downtempo. No, it just gets called something even more stupid like post-dubstep. It’s the same with the James Blake album, but because of when those artists emerged, they are gonna be post-dubstep. Even though James Blake’s stuff now is pretty much electro-soul, for want of a better word, he’s still going to get called dubstep, because that’s where he came from.

It’s that uncomfortable or scary at all? Yeah it is, especially after Black Sands was so well received, people are going to be like ‘well I really liked Black Sands, so this one better be good.’ Do you think you’ve finally been able to shake the whole ‘chill out’ tag that dogged you for a while? It was really hard to get rid of that. When you emerge, it’s all about the scene you are associated with. That ‘chill out’ thing was kind of happening at the time and I got swept along with it. It’s really hard to www.crackmagazine.net

The North Borders is released on April 1st via Ninja Tune. Catch Bonobo headlining Bristol’s Love Saves The Day festival on May 25th


D O L D R U MS a world of warped , androgynous pop from an inherited laptop

Š Aaron Stern


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W O R DS Lu c ie G r a c e

Airick Woodhead is the cosmic cluster of creative energy known as Doldrums when he takes centre stage. And as Crack caught up with him ahead of his long awaited debut album Lesser Evil, we found this Montreal-based experimentalist is anything but down. Bands and solo artists, whether synth or guitar-wielding, are fast emerging from Montreal’s close-knit community. Within this network, twenty-three year old Toronto-born Airick has found his own personal utopia and a deal with the local imprint Arbutus Records, who are putting out gems from his friend Grimes, Braids and the silky indie poppers TOPS. So we can’t help but ask Airick from the off, what’s it like living in Montreal? Is it the artistic holyland it’s portrayed to be? He laughs. “I think I’m doing a lot to propagate that, but I try to because I’m so stoked on it. Maybe if you “It’s went there you wouldn’t feel the same way at all, but for me Montreal is a community. eth The people I’ve met are very, very devoted to their own artistic works and efforts. I’ve been traveling so much and not every time I get back there it’s like, ‘Yes! Fucking inspiration!’”

S ITE e n d l e s s d ol d r u m s .c om

and I just started recording like that.” Touring with Grimes and Purity Ring gathered Doldrums some swift momentum and before long, what had started out as solely bedroom recordings blossomed into a much bigger project. “Yeah, things have been going well and I’m happy to have opportunities now to do it more professionally. I ended up going to a studio in LA and going to a studio in London. It’s cool because it’s still very much my production, but it’s also touched so many different places and been through so many different states. By the end I was in some multi-billion dollar recording studio in the mountains.” Quite the journey then? “Yeah, I know that the album sounds pretty scattered in a way, but

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TUN E Anomal y

effortless as all that, surely? He’s happy to reveal his process. “Basically, the way I work is I ‘mine’: I intake materials, which in my case means going through iTunes and finding tons of loops. Then there’s the ‘play’ aspect, which is the really inspiring part, where I start shoving different things inside each other and get lost in my process. Then there has to be this perspective thing, so I curate out of my own stuff what goes together and what I want to present as part of my aesthetic. It’s kind of interesting having this schizophrenic process.” What we’re presented with are snippets of a dreamy world, where chaos rules and the beat is king, all the while narrated by Airick’s awesome vocals.

Much has been made of Airick’s high soaring falsetto; you’d be forgiven for assuming he’s employed a female guest vocalist on some tracks. “I love vocals that are completely androgynous”, he states. f u n n y t h at i t g e t s c a l l e d a D I Y “Like My Bloody Valentine – it’s just air blowing in your ear, but it’s human. But ic a l l t h e t i m e , b u t I t h i n k i t ’ s I also just love it when people just rip themselves up and go for it. There are a lot of really good vocalists like Sean Nicholas r e a l l y a b o u t d o i n g i t y o u r s e l f, Savage from Montreal – he sounds like Roy Orbison – Raphi from Braids, and it’s about not compromising.” Claire (Grimes) is such a good singer.” “I mean the funny thing is that it’s so Even among his illustrious Montreal peers, utopian that I just don’t want to leave, Airick’s voice is truly distinctive. So how did ever,” he muses. “If I was a visual artist he find his own vocal modus operandi? “I it wouldn’t be a problem, but because used to be in a band called Spiral Beach, I’m a musician I’m obligated to tour where I shared lead vocal duties with a and stuff. But then I’m also addicted to traveling. I’m only saying that I think that’s what’s nice about it; it’s more of a narrative. Like the way girl, so I started singing really high with her all the time. I did that for because I miss Montreal.” And just as Airick’s not mad keen on being that Bjork’s early albums have a personality that changes through it.” We years and years and wrote songs with her in mind.” Early releases from away from his beloved home, he’s not mad keen on doing the press point out some definite Bjork sounds in Lesser Evil, particularly the ear Doldrums like I’m Homesick Sitting up Here in my Satellite featured a far rounds. “I did this performance on Pitchfork TV, on my own, and I was walloping single Egypt. Was the Icelandic faerie queen a big influence? louder and feistier style, though there’s little shouting on Lesser Evil. “I just singing a song into the camera and thought ‘woah this is crazy!” he Airick owns up. “When I was in high school the triumph of music was still shout a lot live, but I think it’s because I was recording a lot of this laughs. “There’s just this big green screen and really bright lights, it was Bjork, Radiohead and Beck. Which is funny, because now when I look at in small rooms or bedrooms and I never really felt comfortable shouting. kinda awkward.” what I’m making musically it’s like, “Oh, it’s a combination of Bjork, Beck But with …Satellite, I did it in my Dad’s basement.” So did he have a and Radiohead!” he laughs. You could do a lot worse than those three vocal engineer assist with those complex vocal loops? “No, I do all that Woodhead’s media shy attitude is hard to fathom if you’ve ever seen though; all acts who’d do anything before releasing two albums alike. stuff myself, I have a Kaosspad, this crazy box you play with your hands. him onstage. He totally goes for it, arguably stealing the show at last Airick agrees. “Yeah those artists were huge for pushing boundaries, It’s a very intuitive gestural device and I’ve been using it for years.” year’s Iceland Airwaves and The Great Escape festivals, and no doubt obviously. And I really like how every one of them loses all limitations on many more Crack didn’t make it to. He owes his energy to Coca-Cola their projects. Like, Radiohead wanted to do live stuff on OK Computer, We note our surprise no one has warned him to take it easy on his voice. apparently (“Have you tried that stuff? It’s crazy!”) and despite his and wanted to record it themselves. That’s fucking DIY.” Too much shouting and wailing could do him some damage. “I do have soaring electronic soundscapes being largely laptop produced, he utilises a vocal condition from shouting to much. It’s called muscular tension a full band when recreating the songs live. Would it not just be easier to The ethos he mentions is hugely prevalent in the music coming out of dysphonia: I actually have a song called Dysphonia, it’s the B-side of She tour alone? One man and his MacBook? He protests. “I’ve never done Montreal right now. Some would have you believe that the contemporary is the Wave. I lose my voice because it’s not very strong. It’s an anxiety that. I’ve always just jammed with rotating casts of my friends. I’m very definition of DIY equates to having no fancy producer hauled in, the rise related problem, when I’m really freaking out about something, my vocal lucky to know so many talented people. I’ve always kept Doldrums as of Ableton and the tech savvy musician who’ll stay up all night to record chords don’t work and connect properly. But it’s been fine recently,” he open as possible. It’s easy to confine yourself to only doing a certain thing, their own EP and release it on Soundcloud the next morning. Airick sets laughs. So it should be, as this lad has nothing to be anxious about. With but I don’t see naming a project or branding it as limiting at all. I’m us straight. “It’s funny that it gets called a DIY ethic all the time, but I his album released last month and a seemingly endless tour on the cards, trying to create something that’s completely at my whim.” think it’s not really about doing it yourself, it’s about not compromising. his star is on the rise. You can still work with tons of people. You can have something larger Capturing the release of live performances on an album can prove to than a home made artifact, but the tools we have now are so competent be an unmanageable quest for some. Not Doldrums. Lesser Evil is a at replicating larger productions that you can also just make it at home. rollercoaster of different energies, sides and styles. This may be because It’s really sweet.” His disregard for big production in his own music he recorded the album himself (mostly captured on a laptop gifted to extends to the music he’s into now, as we are hit with a burst of what’s him by his old pal Claire ‘Grimes’ Boucher) or perhaps because after currently floating his boat. He cites Blawan, Moon King (from Montreal, Lesser Evil is out now via Souterrain Transmissions. 18 months in the brewing, he’s had enough time to make it just right. obviously) and Daphni as current favourites, explaining that “I like stuff One thing’s for sure, you can hear Airick jumping four feet in the air that seduces you into it, rather than pushing itself on you. So much music on every track; his heart pumps through each beat. And he still seems is just ‘LIKE ME, LIKE ME’, whereas I find the good techno stuff likes pretty amazed that he’s made an album at all. “I’d just been really itself enough that you want to like it, which is a much nicer feeling.” into live performance and song by song recordings and different kinds of projects, so to come back and do something more traditional was, Unknowingly, Airick sums up why we find him and his music so like, novel to me”, he explains. “And I didn’t really have any resources appealing. He’s really not trying to win you over. He’s intently doing his or time to do it. I was travelling and my backpack had my sampler in it, own thing, and that thing is good. But making a great album can’t be as www.crackmagazine.net


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PINK FLOY D -

Ri c k Wr i g h t

ANGELA W I LL I A MS WO R D S T h om as Fr os t

Ni c k y M as on

Angela Williams is preparing herself to receive guests, and Crack is so deep into the heart of Somerset that, despite native West Country knowledge, we’re totally lost. After finally locating her abode, a stunningly preserved church, we enter the building’s grand open-plan kitchen. Angela’s archivist Michael Hewett brings the coffee; we are sat around a wooden table with the smell of burning wood in the air, the light filtered by the stained glass window’s religious depiction. It’s grandiose, yet homely and comfortable. There’s something quite special about exploring the wilds of your locality, and something calming in knowing that your interviewee has retired to this tranquil rural spot after a career that pretty much defined the zeitgeist of the 1960s. Angela Williams’s photographic journey began after graduating from The London College of Printing in 1962. Showing an aptitude far beyond her years, Williams was taken on by Norman Parkinson, an esteemed photographer and revered personality among the burgeoning fashion photojournalistic world. His style was playful and at the same time effortlessly elegant, and it was through Parkinson that Angela Williams found herself behind the lens photographing some of the most prominent characters of the sixties. Trips to America to snap everyone from Audrey Hepburn, to Paul Newman, to Bobby Kennedy were mingled with prominent photographic projects and commissioned shoots from the UK, not least some of the earliest images of Pink Floyd. After a distinguished 10-year career, Angela moved to Somerset in 1970 to start a family and lead a life detached from the excesses of the era and the pressures of work. And it’s in Somerset, over a delicious lunch and a portfolio of images that would make any culture lover swoon, that Crack digested some of the

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Rog e r Wat e r s

prime figureheads from the era that formed the basis of photographic diversity and iconic imagery we are able to enjoy today. Retaining a quintessentially English manner that surely formed much of her charming demeanour in her heyday, Williams concedes that a part of the egos of her male subjects were massaged by the simple fact there was a pretty young lady making them the focus of attention. Yet in the subject/photographer relationship lay a wonderful level of professionalism forged by Williams’ tender years and her commitment to her profession. This is something that continued into her formative years and her latter career, when she diversified into alternative photographical practice, teaching and more recently revisiting her work in the sixties by exhibiting in Bristol, Bath and London. Her latest exhibition is a collection of photographs of Audrey Hepburn from her 1964 shoot entitled An Hour With Audrey Hepburn at the Heartbreak gallery in London. Alongside this collection comes a more comprehensive exhibition of her 60s images featuring Barbara Streisand, Pink Floyd and Paul Newman among others.

S y d B ar r e t t

one of the biggest selling poster painters around. I didn’t realise how big he was. He’d basically seen my Audrey Hepburns from another source and was really interested; they’re going to do an exclusive of all the Audrey Hepburns in silver prints. So before any of these famous people were photographed, where did your first dalliance with popular culture take place? Where did it all begin for you? I’m not very cultured actually. I met all those people after I’d been working for Norman Parkinson. I got to work with Norman after studying medical photography, and then I did a photography degree. After I completed that I got a job with Parkinson and that lasted about six years. He left his working base with me after he sold his house and moved to Tobago in the West Indies. He introduced me to a journalist called Jeremy Banks, and he took me on as a young 22/23-year-old photographer. One of the first assignments he gave me was to photograph Audrey Hepburn in Paris. I hadn’t been to Paris before, so for me it was a huge cultural experience.

Crack’s time with Angela and Michael is fun and informative, as her affable personality, enhanced by life experience, shines through during the interview. Anecdote after anecdote opens a portal to a vivid world we are lucky to still have such access to. Tell us about the exhibition at Heartbreak. We’ve done a platinum of the Audrey Hepburn photos which we didn’t show at The Square Club in Bristol because we’re going to show it exclusively in London. It’s a much more sophisticated and well-produced gallery than perhaps I expected. Jack Vettriano, a painter with a slightly raunchy edge who often paints pictures of couples dancing, sells his original paintings for £250,000. Heartbreak is his own gallery, and he’s

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Pau l Newman

J an e F on d a

Audrey H epburn

Were you familiar with Hepburn at that point?

she'd heard Peter Fonda was talking about his new film Ulee’s Gold and she had some tickets for a showing where he would be in attendance at The Barbican. She suggested that I get some of the old photographs together and see him afterwards. At the end of the film everyone was asking questions. They were all ageing hipsters, and I stood up and asked if I could show these pictures of when he was in New York. They were all quite intimate pictures of him. He said “how fantastic, I’ll give them to Bridget, she’d love them”. Then I told the Easy Rider story that I just told you and the whole audience groaned in unison.

You may have been exposed to some of the notorious excesses of the 60s. How separate was your work and lifestyle during this period?

I’d seen some of the films, they were all ‘cute’ and ‘fantastic’ and she was an icon already by that point. She was stunning – breathtaking, in fact – and very sweet. When we went to Paris we were actually photographing Monsieur Georges and Madam Claude Pompidou (the president and first lady of France at this point). Madam Pompidou was quite a dishy blonde, she was incredibly stylish. I’ve got a lovely photo of them that I’m not showing in the exhibition, but next time I will. It’s of them walking away as an older couple holding hands. It was very romantic and quite moving. That’s a hell of a first assignment. It was one of the very first. After that we went to America and one of the first people I photographed there was Peter Fonda, who was there in his Ivy League outfit, which I didn’t think was very cool at all. He hadn’t done Easy Rider yet and I didn’t know him as an actor, but he was very charming and good-looking. He obviously quite liked me wriggling around and photographing him. He said “if you like you can come and do some photographs for us in LA, we’re doing a film in about a month about motorbikes”. I said I had to go back to England to photograph Harold Wilson in Bristol because he was about to campaign to be elected as Prime Minister, and that I wasn’t terribly keen on motorbikes. That film turned out to be Easy Rider! That was a big mistake… a big mistake. To be honest, that’s quite a luxury dilemma between taking photos of the future British Prime Minister and on the set of Easy Rider. You’re joking! The Wilson job was an official assignment. Imagine the scenario if I hadn’t gone back. I probably wouldn’t be the clean living girl I am now! It’s quite funny though, in 1997 my daughter told me that

Did you take many photographs of Paul Newman? He seems to appear quite a lot in the collections we’ve seen? I took quite a lot. My sad story is that one man offered to syndicate my negatives and I never got them back of him. They’re out there somewhere. It’s only really since my exhibition at Chapel Row in Bath that we were invited by the gallery owner to show my pictures, and with Michael’s help we got the pictures out. I’ve got lovely pictures of Bobby Kennedy as well. Because you’ve taken photographs of such a diverse range of people, collating them all and placing them in a gallery must be quite difficult. My thoughts as regards to putting them together are getting more specific now. In Chapel Row it was just a case of putting up a whole selection. It went to a local gallery in Frome and we sold a lot there. I think these photos are very right for this moment in history, people have nice memories of all those films. It’s all happening again with your generation. Michael: What Angela captured was like the zeitgeist of the early 60s. A girl, in a man’s world, breaking the mould. Her agent was a complete huggermugger, he could do all sorts of things. He painted things out of nothing. He’d phone up President Kennedy’s office and say ‘I’m doing a series on heads of government, and I’ve already got the head of Russia”, and he’d build on nothing. www.crackmagazine.net

They were completely detached. Because of the character I am and my age at the time, I just felt like I was taking it in my stride. I wasn’t phased by the fact I was photographing Paul Newman, I just saw him as this chap I was photographing. The relationship was between whomever I was photographing and this 22-year-old girl. I was just a nobody and they were relating to me and giving me what they gave me. People have since looked at them in that way and thought that’s part of their quality. They’re not set up, I’m not saying “I’m going to take great pictures of you cause you’re Paul Newman”. I was saying “you’re coming to spend 20 minutes with me for some snaps, we’re just capturing this moment”. I think that’s the naivety of them and the uniqueness of them in retrospect. It was all I could do at the time. How did you initially get round to photographing Pink Floyd? We’d moved from Twickenham, where Parkinson was letting me live above his darkrooms, and in 1964 we had a great big rambling basement flat in Earls Court. My partner’s brother knew them at Camberwell Art College, it was that early. I saw them at the Arts Club in Baker Street when they were trying out their new light show. It was very loud. That blasting of sound wasn’t a regular thing, so when they came to the flat I said I wanted to do some experimental stuff with them. All I could do in the flat was photograph them against a white wall and I was going to do double exposures with the negatives. Syd Barrett came round again to collect the negatives. He was a darling, and obviously the prettiest one.


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AB OV E C ol l ag e of Ang el a’ s neg at i v es f rom her phot o shoot of S y d Barret t L E FT Pi n k F l oy d , Pi per at t he Gat es of D aw n

Roger Waters was the taller, more flamboyant one, but he was more into himself, wearing shades ‘n’ all. Syd Barrett though, he was very chatty. Before I moved away from London in 1970, Syd Barrett came round again and I gave him some prints and contact sheets. Michael: We never thought these pictures had ever been committed to print and then all of a sudden, we were on the internet and Angela’s pictures appeared in this Italian magazine article on Pink Floyd. They could only have come from the contact prints that Syd had. Was that a shock to you? Well I’ve never been particularly possessive about any of my work. It was a big number doing all this and after that I had to opt out for a while. I stopped doing photography and came to the country to be quiet. Michael: Bear in mind we’d given Syd the contact sheet. I’ve mocked together three images. [Pulls together the three images of the photographs taken by Angela and they make an almost perfect stencil of the image used on the reverse sleeve of Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, Pink Floyd’s debut album, see above.] Having travelled lots and met all these prominent figures, that transition to the countryside must have been quite the switch?

Living, because we’d been living that life and we had sheep and chickens and we knew lots of people who did. I had re-invented myself. I called myself Coombs then because I was married. I photographed people like Lucie Rie, who is a very famous potter, Fay Weldon the feminist writer who was doing all her work in the West Country then, and those were taken by the National Portrait gallery. So the polar opposite of the world in which you’d previously been working. Yes, The National Trust was quite a photojournalistic thing. At the time when this happened I was also offered some teaching at Bath Academy Of Art, which had a fantastic reputation. It was a marvellous place for art and photography. I was invited to set up a darkroom for the ceramics department, then the Fine Art people came in and it became bigger and I was teaching a whole band of students. Also Norman Parkinson came and had his 75th retrospective, so we reconvened. It was fantastic seeing him again, very emotional. I only saw him once after that – he died in 1990 – and that was at the Alternative Miss World Contest. He said ‘I’m going to be judging along with Janet Street-Porter.’ He suggested that some of my students might like to come. It was wild, all the crazy dresser-upper’s go along. Andrew Loog Oldham (former Rolling Stones manager/producer) was dressed as one half man and one half woman. We once did that once at Bestival!

It stretched me, yes. But I had to stop. I was 30 and I wanted to opt out. It was too much. And at what point did you pick the camera back up? It was 1985. It was funny, because it was almost self-imposed. We found a completely derelict cottage in the woods with no electricity, so we didn’t watch TV for four years. When my daughter was 12, I got a hankering for work again, so I approached people like the National Trust and Country

Yes, you are rather pretty, aren’t you! How have you in photography?

coped

with

the

changes

in

technology

I’ve always kept to analogue photography for professional work. If I go to a party I’ll take a digital camera, but never for serious work. But when I’ve got some money, I’ll get some bloody lovely equipment and do it.

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So when you moved into this wonderful church in the early 90s, how did your work progress? I floundered slightly at the direction of my photography. I enjoyed teaching and planting the seeds of ideas into students’ minds, but it led to me adopting a mindset of “you could do that”, rather than “I can do this”. I continued doing holography, which was fun. I did a hologram of a gold apple and that showed at Hamilton’s gallery and was successful. But because I’m quite a greedy personality, I was putting my fingers into lots of different pies and didn’t develop myself quite as much as I should have. I did enjoy photojournalistic challenges though. I’ve never done a book, so one day before I pop off, I will do a book and put all the work together. It’s been fun looking at these early pictures, working on them, and remembering when I was young, and people enjoying my work.

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'An Hour With Audrey Hepburn and Icons of the 60s’ by Angela Williams will be exhibiting at Heartbreak Gallery until April 7th.


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Pe t e r F o n d a

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This poster was made exclusively for CRACK by Long Fox longfox.co.uk

To have your design featured for our poster send entries to crack@crackmagazine.net www.crackmagazine.net


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P H OTO Cel y n S my t h

in heliosphere, benjamin damage has produced a powerful realisation of his insatiable ambition .

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B E NJAM I N DAMAGE © Celyn Smyth

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WORDS Geraint Davi e s

GIGS TB A , Lo n d o n | M ar c h 2 8 t h

TUN E E n d D ay s

It’s not so long ago that the successful ‘dance music album’ was a hugely elusive thing. Time and time again, producers would believe their ability to produce excellent 12”s would translate seamlessly into a full-length collection. Yet over the last year or two, a palpable tidal shift has occurred. Artists such a Nicolar Jaar, John Talabot and Ital have established themselves as genuine artists, proving that a grip on the dancefloor can be transferred to making an ‘album’ worthy of the name. And for the second time in just over 12 months, Berlin-via-Swansea techno producer Benjamin Damage has done the same. This time last year, his They!Live project alongside the fellow Swansea born, Berlin-based Doc Daneeka was bedding in, with a slew of favourable reviews piling up. A conscientious, listener-aware piece of work, it startled many with its assurance, patience and craft, as well as its genre-hybridising nature, taking techno and house framing, filtering it through their relative backgrounds in UK bass-leaning styles and coating the entire piece in an emotive shimmer.

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S I TE benjami ndamag e.com

name from the canine cosmonaut who became the first animal launched into orbit aboard the Sputnik 2 in 1957. “Man, I feel sorry for that poor little dog”, he says. Despite its linear, progressive quality, Heliosphere also hits a potent range of extremes – its comparisons to such diverse artists as Plaid, Jeff Mills and Boards of Canada reaffirm that. The relatively tranquil troughs of the shuffling, eerie Spirals, or the eked-out ambience and subtle whispers of closer Heliopause are tracks which doubtless benefit from a late-night walk and a decent pair of headphones. The album hits roaring peaks in the form of big-room assault Swarm and, most fiercely unrelenting of all, Delirium Tremens (“Yeah, that’s a pretty hard one” Ben smiles knowingly. “I love playing that out.”) It’s in these latter, more driving moments where the techno provenance of his chosen hometown becomes most apparent. While in its nature, They!Live was a merging of attitudes and influences, Benjamin Damage’s solo work seems more accepting of its categorisation as techno, albeit in the broadest terms. The aforementioned are examples of the genre in its purest form, fixing their gaze on a set point and bludgeoning their way through all comers; other tracks meander, go around the houses, picking up nuances en route. Ben is conscious of the Berlin factor. “When you live in Berlin, you are just surrounded by techno”, he states. “It’s always in the background, people are constantly playing it to you: you absorb it from the atmosphere.”

A further theme is that of space travel and astronomy. The title itself refers to an area of space governed by the sun, a bubble containing our solar system and solar winds. “It’s always been a big interest of mine” he reveals. “During the making of the album, I began reading stories about the Voyager programme. That got me thinking about where those probes were going.” Its influence is certainly felt in some of the album’s more stratospheric scapes, where grandiose themes are realised in sheets of crackling atmospherics, industrial rhythms and capacious reverb. Laika, the album’s dense and oppressive opening, takes its

And like that, we’re back to the obsessive nature in everything Benjamin Damage does. The determination, the dedication, the nights spent alone. But it’s been worth it. With its eyes set skyward, Heliosphere is the pay off. --------Heliosphere is available now via 50 Weapons.

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Having found his way into the full-length game via collaboration, Damage wasted no time taking on the format alone. You need only glance at its cover – sporting his face from a range of angles faded into one – to see that Heliosphere is a profoundly personal record. Ben found He was originally drawn to the city from his previous home of London by the offer to create the process of working alone a They!Live in the studios of none different experience altogether. other than Modeselektor. The “When you’re working alongside notorious techno giants were first someone else, you don’t have that struck by his productions thanks time to experiment with things to 2010 single Deeper as part of which may or not work but are Venom & Damage, an irresistible going to take hours”, he tells us, as slab of classic house keys and “ MY P ERSONAL I TY AND MY MUS I C ARE THE we speak to him during a return syncopated rhythms which to his Welsh hometown. “You have became a staple of their set. This SAME TH I NG . I T ’ S AN OBSESS I ON ” another person sitting there slowly led to an affiliation with the duo’s getting bored. This record gave me 50 Weapons label which has since a chance to get more involved in served him exceptionally well, that way.” releasing the Creeper/Infamous 12” alongside Doc Daneeka, as well as This aspect of experimentation They!Live, and now Heliosphere. also relates to a long-standing Damage was also chosen to passion of his: hardware. Always in possession of a head for the technical, the opportunity to compile 50 Weapons’ Best Of 2012 compilation, and has accompanied Modeselektor delve further into this realm was key. “It meant a lot of time locked away alone making new on numerous bills around Europe. Damage is quick to acknowledge their impact both sounds”, he recalls. “But it’s not all from hardware. Computers are getting to a stage now professionally and creatively. “The best thing they taught me was just to be yourself and where you can do really interesting things. I think people have really managed to capture the not worry about what’s going on around you, to experiment. If you do what you like, there’s essence of hardware, although you still have to work to earn the best sounds. a good chance someone else will like it. If you second guess what people might like, it’s not going to sound genuine. Don’t worry what anyone thinks.” Apart from Modeselektor “But it always helps to have physical things to work with”, he continues. “As much as themselves, presumably? Ben laughs. “Of course! They never said anything too directed, anything, it helps you to understand how these sounds are made.” He fondly remembers one but at the same time they’re quick to say they won’t put it out whatever, they can be pretty particular piece of kit. “I’ve got this one massive analogue synth that the label very kindly blunt. Gernot [Bronsert] said to me ‘I don’t put shit records out. If it’s not good, it’s not sent over from the repair shop, this pretty crazy homemade synth that my grandfather built coming out.’” in the 70s.” He smiles. “These things, they might get you to the same place, but you’ve arrived in that place in your own way, and it gives you a completely new appreciation.” That he has become such a strong representative of the Berlin-based label is a huge show of confidence. There’s a sense of full-circle that the likes of him and Addison Groove will be That Heliosphere forms such a stunning, cohesive whole is, in many ways, a reflection representing the imprint to a London crowd at the forthcoming Ostgut Ton x 50 Weapons of what Ben refers to as ‘obsession’. When asked whether the album is about him as an night in London, a sense of acceptance. Featuring on a bill including Shed and Marcel individual, or about his attitude to music, he’s quick to point out that the two are inseparable. Fengler as well as a special appearance from Robert Hood has Damage working ferociously “Well, they’re entwined, aren’t they? My personality and my music are the same thing. It’s to complete his live set to the highest standard. The capacity to play live is something that an obsession.” he feels strongly about. “You can’t be a one man band, but the way I do it is to have sections lined up with a controller so you can structure a track on the fly, if something’s going well This became the defining factor of the recording. “The process is a little hazy”, he relays, you can extend it and change it and puts filters on, it really gives you freedom to react to a “but those last few weeks, every waking moment was spent in the studio. I was completely crowd.” It’s also a reflection of Heliosphere’s creation. “Some of the tracks on the album were obsessed, thinking of nothing other than this music. But when you’re making an album, that structured like that, bits set up in one long loop and recorded live. I’m not very patient”, he level of speed and dedication has to be a good thing; that headspace becomes a theme and says, “moving blocks around just doesn’t feel very musical, it doesn’t feel like me. It’s a lot creates this running thread through each track.” of effort, but it’s worth it.”


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Š Nico Stinghe & Park Bennet

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W ORD S Adam C o rner

PHOTO N ic o St in ghe & Par k B e n n e t t

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TUN E B r ok e n Pi e c e s f e at . J am i e L i d e l l

DATE S I sl i ng t on Mi l l , Manchest er | March 2 0t h XO Y O, L ondon | March 2 1st

BRANDT BRAUER FRICK with bodies not wires , the berlin trio conjure a hypnotic pulse.

If you were to tap a passing boffin on the shoulder, and say ‘Prof, give it to me straight, no bullshit, what’s the mathematical opposite of Skrillex?’ their answer would be Brandt Brauer Frick. Their Unique Selling Point used to be that they were a classicallytrained techno act that made dance music using acoustic instruments rather than machines. But now they don’t even really make techno. They just loom at the boundaries of whatever musical genre they felt impelled to create that day, like a digitally enhanced town band tuning up before marching through the streets of your suggestible mind. Their incongruently named second album Miami combines truly organic instrumentation (piano, brass, percussion) with the mechanical precision of electronic music, but it’s much, much more than a ‘band’ playing ‘dance music’. In fact, as Crack found out when we intercepted them while preparing a music video in their hometown of Berlin, Brandt Brauer Frick have a relentless drive to take their music in every possible direction, preferably all at the same time. “We’re a big mess, basically” smiles Paul Frick. “We thought it was so great that we were in Berlin for two months without playing shows, but now we have so much work that we’ll be happy to get back on the tour bus! We’re making a video with Om’Mas Keith, and he’s also playing live with us, but we still have to figure out how that is going to work. But he seems like a great musician, we really like his music, he really likes our style, so I guess it will just work.”

b

created a great tension. In the end these experiences were always good for us and they led us to something that we wouldn’t have thought could work, but somehow did. Like, in Sweden we played in an Opera House, to a seated audience, but everyone got up from their seats and came to dance on the stage around us. It’s funny when that kind of thing happens because it turns the concept upside down. “We’ve also played with the ensemble late in the night for a dancing crowd, which was not the way it was intended, but it usually creates great moments somehow. It’s always a social experience, not just about people making music.” The new album’s opening track Miami Theme features the Alison Goldfrapp-esque vocals of Erika Janunger plus ball-shaking tuba bass notes, and is reprised several times over the course of the album. “It’s like a concept album, but it wasn’t planned like that,” explains Paul. “We

blended together. That’s true of Berghain maybe, but all the other clubs are still mostly into the straightforward four-to-the-floor party music.” “And also in Berlin”, continues Daniel, “a lot of the clubs work through tourism, which leads to many clubs reproducing an image that people already have of Berlin, which is kind of boring and doesn’t take the scene forward. Most weekends we are away playing shows, so we see a lot of other places, and I guess we are not a typical example of an act from the Berlin scene.” Not taking things forward is unlikely to be an accusation levelled at BFF any time soon. With a seemingly insatiable appetite for morphing between genres, live venues and line-ups, their work ethic speaks for itself. But can they really be bored of Berlin?

“50 Weapons is a cool label. Modeselektor are really at the front now of what’s going on, and they have a really good catalogue. And when they DJ they play everything, not just techno. They’re good for the city because they’re seen as really typical for Berlin, but on the other hand they’re some of the few people that are really forward thinking. It’s certainly a different “For us it is about machines, thing to what we do but we respect them for it. Because Daniel is into Chicago footwork, ut it’s also about humans, it’s stuff like DJ Rashad, we tried to play a show in that style in Berlin but it just doesn’t work about rooms and spaces and here. Our stuff was a bit different to normal footwork I guess, we didn’t have vocals going a b o v e a l l t h e m u s ic n e e d s t o ‘suck my titties, suck my titties’!”

leave the laptop”

Hmm. Maybe for the next album, eh?

basically wanted to go back to the studio, just the three of us and jam around. But then after a couple of months we felt like there was a good collection, so we added some more songs to make them hold together.” If the album itself is coherent, the recording process for it was anything but, with live shows interrupting the flow of the album creation, as Daniel Brandt explains:

An hour with your ears wrapped around Brandt Brauer Frick leaves you happily paddling in a whirlpool of influences. But more than anything else, the BBF handcrafted approach creates a feeling, an atmosphere or an ambience, that is more than the melodies and rhythms that comprise the songs. Like the unsettling, spectral soundscapes created by artists such as Ben Frost, there is something visceral in the building blocks of the BBF sound – a view, which seems to resonate with the band themselves.

“The insane amount of travelling we did has reflected a lot on the music, because we didn’t really have normal lives over the last year. But it did mean we felt a strong connection between the songs, we had made an atmosphere between us, maybe a more dark and rough mode of living. It was maybe more than we could cope with, a sort of overload or schizophrenia. We wanted to include all the experiences that we had, which is why the music is maybe less linear. We went away from the clean, club aesthetics. Just from playing live so much, the music changed.”

“There are certainly some common points” says Paul, “like the love of raw sounds that are really dirty and elementary. For us it is about machines, but it’s also about humans, it’s about rooms and spaces and above all the music needs to leave the laptop … too much music these days never leaves the laptop. When we start making music we try to forget everything we know. It’s like we live our lives filtering what is interesting, but then at the moment of making music it is about forgetting it all, and the rest happens on a subconscious level.”

Take note: this isn’t just any old trio of art-house techno pioneers. Where most bands would commission a couple of remixes, BBF whip up ensemble versions of their tracks. And where most acts would be pleased to play Glastonbury, Berlin’s techno hub Berghain, or a Swedish Opera house, BBF has played ‘em all.

Now that the boundaries between previously distinct strands of dance music have been well and truly blurred by the post-dubstep free-for-all, audiences are more receptive to the sort of wanton genre-bending that BBF like to indulge in.

But for all their technical proficiency, it’s these subconscious impulses that Brandt Brauer Frick’s live sound unleashes. Their music is the glorious sound of a digital wrecking ball careering into an orchestra, and for that we should cherish them.

“We’re lucky that we seem to fit in so many contexts – we can get booked at a jazz festival, a classical music concert, a techno club or a rock festival. Sometimes promoters confuse the ensemble and the trio, they expect the ensemble, but then they just get the three of us. We’ve performed as a trio for a seated audience, which is absurd but it also

“In the last few years there has been a lot of exciting new music, I think everybody was bored of the 4/4 thing all of the time, interesting new ideas came out of the UK bass scene, from new artists like Pearson Sound” says Paul. “Actually, soon there will be the last UK-bass oriented party at Berghain (Scuba's SUB:STANCE event) because they say now it has

The LA based musician Om’Mas Keith, who has just bagged a Grammy for his production work with Frank Ocean, is just one of a glittering list of collaborators who BBF have brought on board for Miami. The Keith track – superbly titled Plastic Like Your Mother – is a snaking, gothic slab of atmospherics that breaks into an industrial gallop halfway through. Elsewhere, vocal duties are handled by Warp star Jamie Lidell, whose tracks are a contrary treat. But despite completely reconfiguring the structure of the live show, with vocalists playing a much more central role, BBF don’t seem fazed. “Not everything is completely new for this tour”, says Paul, “we’ve already performed some of the songs over the past six months. For three of the new album tracks we have already created ensemble versions, and we’ve already performed the two tracks with Jamie Lidell in London and Berlin, so the new material has started to filter into the live show.”

---------

Miami is released on March 11th via !K7 Records.


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W ORD S B illy B la c k

TUN E O n l y H ol l ow

S ITE t h ou g h t f or msband.bl og spot .co.uk

T H O U G H T

F O R M S

© Thought Forms

It’s a surprisingly mild February evening in the wonderfully hippy-ish Wiltshire town of Devizes. Nestled among the shabby chic boutiques and crystal skull emporiums, Crack finds the courtyard of The Lamb Inn, a friendly local pub with no pretensions, just spit, sawdust and real local brews. We’re sat with Deej Dhariwal and Charlie Romijn, guitar-wielding taskforce of the now Bristol-based noise mongers Thought Forms. This is the pub where the band played their earliest shows, and though they may be at home, they’ve definitely come a lot way. Thought Forms recently toured the US with Portishead and have also released their second album Ghost Mountain on Invada Records, the label run by Geoff Barrow of the aforementioned West Country legends. They’re here tonight to play a gig in a pub which is more inclined towards soft acoustic sessions than trance-inducing onslaughts of shoegazing acid rock. The band’s sensationally talented drummer Guy Metcalfe is initially absent and we’re told he’s held up at work. When he eventually arrives, he comes clad in a full Asda uniform, a telling reflection of the band’s ongoing commitment as much as the music industry’s troubled climate. The band tell us that it was in Devizes where they first picked up a 13-year-old Guy after seeing him smash ten shades of shit out of his kit with local post-metal titans Caldera.

Since releasing Ghost Mountain, Thought Forms tell us they’ve been rehearsing incessantly while still somehow making time to work on their side-projects (Charlie plays with Silver Stairs of Ketchikan, while Deej performs under his own name) and appear in a guitar ensemble orchestrated by American avant-garde composer Terry Riley. “There’s fifty three phrases and you have to stay within three of everyone else. It was a total headfuck, time travel through music”, Charlie explains. Deej reflects that recently they’ve been coming up with some more relaxed material, including latest single Only Hollow (a direct My Bloody Valentine reference); that’s relaxed relative to their older songs, which could last up to 20 minutes and kinda sounded like a diamond cutter entering the side of a cow. Only Hollow has received radio play due to Radio 6’s Tom Robinson, apparently stumbling across an unmarked CD-R and falling in love with its lush sound, created under the guidance of Barrow and engineer Jim Barr holed up in Barr’s Bristol studio. And although Only Hollow may be almost radio friendly, its live incarnation is uncompromisingly loud and drenched in sonic deviance. Upstairs at The Lamb, Thought Forms rattle though a set primarily built of tracks from Ghost Mountain, absolutely teeming with auditory pandemonium, vibrant feedback, colourful noise and indulgent effects. As the aged building shakes it becomes crystal that Thought Forms are a band just as at home when they are literally at home as they are in front of 10,000 people in a country thousands of miles away. Whatever comes next for this bunch of kaleidoscopic post-rock heavyweights, we’re sure it’s going to be both brilliant and ambitious. Here’s hoping they sparkle and glimmer their way to the top of the noisy scene they so resolutely adore.

--------As we soak up the evening air in this charming courtyard, Charlie tells us about the “sickeningly large crowds of 10,000 people plus” they played to in the U.S. But she’s particularly excited about tonight, not just because the gig will be intimate and full of old faces, but also because her Dad will be popping in to catch the set. Deej also comes across as endearingly down to earth, giving off a horizontal, laid-back aura while becoming visibly excited when sharing tour anecdotes. “I got a speeding ticket in New York and I’ve been banned from driving in the state for life. I’ve got this picture with a certificate saying ‘The State of New York Vs Deej Dhariwal’”, he tells us. “And Mike Patton played my keyboard!” he grins, emanating respect for the Faith No More frontman/experimental metal luminary.

Ghost Mountain is available now via Invada Records.

DATE S R oug h Trade E ast , L ondon | March 8t h Pow er L unches, L ondon | March 2 8t h T he E x chang e, Bri st ol | March 3 0t h


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W ORD S Dun can Harri son

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S I TE f ac e b ook .c o m/t hedjoneman

O N E M A N As an inspired selector with a dextrous knowledge of all things beat related, Oneman is fast cooking up a reputation as one of the hottest party DJs in the country. Oneman is a figure synonymous with Rinse FM, the station with origins in illegal broadcasting and guerrilla tactics that has spawned a dynamic counterculture and an unmistakable sound. Having grown up in Streatham during the original impact of UK garage, the part Oneman plays in the landscape now is twofold. It’s not as if he’s attempting to initiate a full-on renaissance of the UK garage scene, but it’s DJs like Oneman who help reprise these sounds in the consciousness of a clubbing generation who narrowly missed it. He also stands alongside the likes of Ben UFO and Jackmaster as the respectable face of DJs who don’t dabble in production themselves. “My earliest experiences as a DJ were with my friends in school, just messing about and buying records in a shop that only sold records and tapes. And my early gigs were usually in pretty empty places”, he admits when talking us through his formative years. “I’d play dubstep mixed with older two-step records, fusing what I started with against stuff I was picking up at the current time.” Having previously conjured up mixes for Rinse FM as well as a FABRICLIVE installment, Oneman’s new Solitaire Vol. 1 mixtape is a well-hyped and unaffiliated offering.  Conglomerating tracks from Dizzee Rascal, Machinedrum and Chief Keef, Solitaire Vol. 1 is an indicator of Oneman’s predilection for intensity, dabbling with the trap sounds of TNGHT and Waka Flocka Flame and funnelling these cuts into more stripped-back beats, while also harking back to the zenith of UK garage and grime. “Unlike the Rinse and Fabric CDs I did, I really wanted to make Solitare Vol. 1 my own, showcasing all styles you would hear me typically play in a club rather than just one direction. The first 30 minutes is more broken house stuff, the middle part is 70bpm grime, dubstep and rap stuff and the last part 80bpm jukey shit”, he reveals. So where does he stand on the debate surrounding trap rap and its influence on dance music? The trap genre, an 808-driven and remorseless cousin of crunk, has seen a sudden rise in popularity among UK audiences, largely due to TNGHT re-moulding the sound and

straddling a position between underground credibility and daytime radio play. But trap’s trademark post-lyrical monoflow is winding up hip-hop traditionalists, while the chinstroking beat heads are suspicious of its aggro essence, eager to avoid a trend which could potentially suffer a dubstep-style backlash. “It’s just a style. You have to take it for what it is”, comes the reply. “There’s been the dark, minimal ignorant rap stuff coming out of Memphis since like ’94, and Three Six Mafia won an Oscar for It’s Hard Out Here For A Pimp in 2006. So it’s not really a new thing, but I love it. It’s super simple and it works in clubs. Just like grime really, some tracks have that same energy for sure. And I think in doses it’s ok, but a whole set of trap is too much for me. I’ve heard a bunch of tapes that are too epic with the synth work etc, but some tracks are great. The more ‘grimey’ tracks can be powerful stuff.” The fact that remixes for the likes of The xx share the same YouTube channel as sinister re-workings of JME and Tempa T show both diversity of taste and creative elasticity. The year ahead is also looking increasingly good for Oneman. He’s been confirmed to play the new Pleasure Principle festival, where he’ll share the bill with established heavyweights like Rustie, Levon Vincent, Joy Orbison and Jackmaster, as well as number of other festivals including Sonar. With so much to come, what was his highlight of the last year? “Beacons Festival was awesome, can’t wait for it again this year! Real small festival close to the Peak District, great line-up with guys like Pearson Sound, Lunice and Koreless playing. I played at Solange Knowles’ birthday party in an East London pub. It was a tiny gathering and Jay-Z & Beyoncé were there, it was a trip. The Young Turks party in Sydney last February was also amazing, with SBTRKT, Caroline from Chairlift, John Talabot and Bullion. It was in this tiny club-slash-restaurant and I got myself a kangaroo burger before the show. Good people, good music, that’s what it’s all about!” It’s a mantra that anyone who has seen Oneman in recent times will adhere to. ---------Solitaire Vol. 1 is available now. Catch Oneman at Hideout on July 3rd, Farr Festival on July 19th and Beacons on August 16th.

© Oneman


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W ORD S Augustin Mace l l ari

S I TE i ca.org .uk

L E FT B jor k & S on , I c e l an d 1993

A B OV E RI GH T Fat her & S on

B O TTO M RI GH T Kat e Moss No.12 , Gl oucest er

J U e R G E N T E LL E R Entering Juergen Teller’s exhibition, Woo, at the ICA, one is struck by three monumental photographs. The (arguable) centrepiece of the show, they feature iconic punk-fashion designer Vivienne Westwood pulling shapes, in the buff, on a luxury sofa. As an opening statement, these images pack a punch. Golden and gaudy, she poses like a naughty Victorian; unabashed, in the central picture of the triptych, she opens her legs. Hands on thighs, she grins at the camera. These pictures are not seductive, though she looks coquettish in the third. Nor are they some Lucien Freudesque exploration of the unconventional beauty of the human form (a la the notorious Benefits Supervisor Resting). Rather, like many of Teller’s pictures, they are a bit of fun. The images in this show oscillate in tone. Rude absurdity jousts with intimate, loving family snaps. The seediness, or maybe discomfort, of fashion is laid bare. Throughout them all, though, is a tenderness – or as Juergen Teller himself would have it, “curiosity.” The relationships he shares with his subjects are invaluable; audience distanced from subject through the photographer’s mediation, Teller puts us a step closer than we’d normally be. Through his friendships, the audience is invited to experience a candidness not normally found in fashion photography. Also, his unwillingness to distinguish between the personal and public, commercial and artistic, creates in this show a sense of contiguity. Still lives here are presented alongside high fashion advertising campaigns (over the years his work for Marc Jacobs has yielded the most interesting, and diverse, results), but nothing seems incongruous; the tonal consistency remains steady. Of course, this consistency is not solely down to Teller’s ability to engage on a personal level with his subject, but also to his distinct, overexposed aesthetic. He approaches his subjects with a camera in each hand, bombarding them with flashes. It seems like an aggressive approach to a kind of hypnosis, but it works; through his overexposure he exposes everything. The show itself is split fairly evenly across the two main galleries at the ICA, the aforementioned Westwood photographs (alongside a rather special portrait of Kurt Cobain, and a vast photo of a startled looking kitten)

downstairs, and two more rooms full above it. The real heart (or ‘brain’) of the exhibition though, lies in the reading room in the café. This small space is – literally – plastered with images from Teller’s career; the range is stunning, both because of its volume and because of the array of shots on offer. In this room the pictures range from the graphic, to the familial, fashion, to self-portrait. Many of them are repeated in the upstairs gallery, but the contexts seem worlds apart. It is in this room that Teller’s practice is most comprehensively documented, the themes and consistencies in his work most apparent. Perhaps because of his unusual approach to the commercial versus the artistic, there are times when it’s hard to take in exactly what Teller is driving at, other than the image itself. But this is not without its own value, as is perhaps illustrated best by his incredible portrait of Bjork and her son, swimming in a natural pool in Iceland. A beautiful image of mother and child, it is as relevant as the pictures of a contorted Kristen McMenamy, writhing as if possessed, or the melancholic and understated photo series Irene im Wald. Teller’s abilities lie in his self-professed curiosity, and his ability to expose honesty in any circumstance. There is no great divide between his commercial work and his art – the two, in fact, inform one another. It is Teller’s ability to capture the right image that unites and motivates them. Dissecting each picture may not always yield satisfactory results, but as a catalogue of images the exhibition is three-dimensional and generous. The potential tension between art and commerce is neatly dismissed, as under Teller’s eye each becomes the other. The whole, here, is probably greater than the sum of its parts, but that’s fine.

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Woo runs at the ICA until March 17th.


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CRACK FASHION: MARCH 2013 ~

credits photographer | FABIAN FROST Stylist | REBECCA MASKELL & ISABEL KIBLER Make up | KERRIE ANN MURPHY using MAC Face & Body Hair | FELIX Model JOSINA | seeds managment ~

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JOSINA Cardigan | Malaika Raiss Shorts | Malaika Raiss Turtleneck | Topshop

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52

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Problems? C p

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Dear Denzil,

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Dear Denzil,

new agony person than we received a very

I’m 23 and I’m big news. Just call me a man for all seasons. Promoter, party goer, photographer, dawg. If there’s a VIP section and I haven’t been in it, well it’s probably shit. Ibiza, The Marcy, The Brits – I’ve done the lot mate. But I’m bored. The thrill of the velvet rope and the green room just doesn’t get me going any more. I want that exclusivity; I want to be hanging out with the untouchable crowd. Denz, can you get me into North Korea?

A bitter feud has ensued between myself and my brother-in-law. My recently deceased mother left me a rather large sum of money after she passed away last year, and now my aforementioned relative – who I haven’t seen in years – has hired a solicitor in an attempt to take a disproportionate sum of money from me. I’m finding the situation highly stressful, should I just give up? After all, there’s so much more to life than just money and material possessions, isn’t there?

I’ve just started a new job in the city, but my social life is shamefully stagnant. Although I’ve attended a few house parties, I just can’t seem to make any mates. Any tips for facilitating social interaction?

significant e-mail. What we found within were a collection of words which were confrontational, straight-talking and downright inspiring, capped off with the most impressive e-mail footer you’ve ever seen. Seriously, it was massive.

Ken Rice, 23, Bristol Michael Chamberlain, 46, Surrey Denzil says: Denzil says:

One phone call later, and Denzil had put our finances in order, had the

Me and old Kim Jong-il were tight back in the plutonium days, exchanging fashion tips and weapons grade knowledge. Not sure about his son’s game, but who am I to judge? No problem, do you need a + 1?

workforce thought-showering like lunatics, and we were in possession of one motherfucker of a two-year

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I run a B&B and I’m struggling. I’ve got empty beds, no marketing strategy and my only regular customers are ladies of dubious moral quality. A little bird told me that you used to be in the B&B game. Can you help me out?

sexual athlete, and above all ... friend.

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development plan. We knew we’d found our man. Denzil Schniffermann: business

Denzil says: I certainly was in the B&B trade during my glory days and I’m telling you, it can be quite the rollercoaster. My place was a complete dive until I had the light bulb moment of changing the name to the Aardvark B&B. Two As guaranteed my business was the first one in the Yellow Pages. Thinking out of the box son, that’s what separates the Denz from the menz.

Listen Mike, where there’s a will, there’s a relative. I’ve been in a complex legal battle with my extended family (a bunch of bloody snakes in the grass) since 1997. I’ve got cousins who wouldn’t have crossed the road to piss on me if I was on fire, but as soon as they realised my old man had made an absolute killing in the property market during the 80s, they suddenly slithered out of the woodwork. Stay strong Mike, you can’t let this bastard win.

Sam ‘Skibzy’ Kilburn, 26, Norwich Denzil says: Skibz, my advice is to invest in a hefty bag of the devil’s lettuce. Now, you might’ve presumed that a slick looking fella such as myself says ‘no’ to vices that are tragically associated with chord-wearing, dreadlocked degenerates. But let it be known: Schniffermann’s dabbled. Christ, during my brief stint as a roadie for Sting I was pretty much chugging on a jazz fag 24/7. Offer up the prospect of a postpub bunning sesh at your place and you’ll soon be talk of the town, trust me.

// any problems? Contact our Denzil@ crackmagazine.net

//


57

CRACK

THE

CROSSWORD

Across 4. John, the mind behind Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath (9) 5. The belief that all existence is pointless (8) 9. Biggest mountain in England mate (7,4) 13. To wander from place to place, or a homeless individual (5) 14. The lettuce what sunk the Titanic (7) 16. Unable to sit still (8) 17. From 70s boogie-prince to Scientologist oddball (4,8) 18. Sugary, pink fairground snack (5,5) 20. To do with ships and that (8)

Down 1. A chap who chucks a bit of moisturiser on (11) 2. Drum / Trap (5) 3. Boozy Westcountry tipple (7) 6. The group of countries freed from Russian rule after WWI (6,6) 7. A shallow pool of water (6) 8. The upper house of the UK Parliament (5,2,5) 9. Bob Dylan’s Homesick Blues (12) 10. Notorious English criminals Ronnie and Reggie (4) 11. Prince’s band, formed in 1979 (3,10) 12. Island off the southeast coast of Africa famed for its wildlife (10) 15. American offshoot of The Thick Of It (4) 19. A shameful incident made public (7)

Solutions to last issue’s crossword: ACROSS: 2. PEACE, 4. DETROIT, 8. GAUDI, 9. JACKMASTER, 14. LITTER, 15. EMERGENCY EXIT, 16. TAEKWONDO 17. BIC, 18. CHANDELIER, 21. ARMSTRONG, 22. SYNONYM, 23. MINIDISC, 24. DAVID DOWN: 1. TARRANT, 3. SPONTANEOUS 5. WHITEBOARD 6. VASELINE, 7. WEETABIX, 10. SHETLAND 11. BLUEGRASS 12. JE NE SAIS QUOI 13. BEN SHERMAN 19. HANDYMAN, 20. FERAL, 23. MEDIUM


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59

FILM WORDS: Tim Oxley S m i th

Cloud Atlas

Wreck-It Ralph

Side By Side

Dir. Tom Tykwer, Lana Wachowski, Andy Wachowski

Dir. Rich Moore

Dir. Christopher Kenneally

Starring: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent

Starring: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Martin Scorsese, David Lynch

10/20

15/20

16/20

Adapted from David Mitchell’s revered novel of the same name, Cloud Atlas tells the tale of one love, woven through a tapestry of past, present and future. A film about the reincarnation of passions, performed by an all star cast playing different but strangely connected characters, it sounded as intriguing as it did ambitious.

This may look like a Pixar movie, but it ain’t. This is a Walt Disney Animation Studios picture, dummy. So there’s no sign of that delightful little desktop lamp we’ve grown to love over the past 20 years, but there’s still plenty of heart-warming modern day fairytale magic to be enjoyed in Wreck-It Ralph.

It’s only fitting that we embark on the journey to find out the impact digital film has had on celluloid with Hollywood’s dumbest actor, Keanu Reeves ... OK, that was a bit harsh. Keanu’s great and so is this documentary.

The task of realising the novel’s stratospheric vision was bestowed upon the Wachowskis (The Matrix Trilogy) and Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run), and it was never going to be an easy feat. Frankly, judging by how badly the Wachowskis fucked up The Matrix, it’s not surprising they couldn’t figure this one out either. The six different time periods between which the story darts – without pointing out the blatantly obvious – do not mingle well. The cumbersome interjections between scenes are met with mostly bland and obvious Tom Hanks-esque performances, none more so than from Tom Hanks himself. There are some shimmers of hope however, with Ben Whishaw – who you’ll most likely know as the new Q from Skyfall – as a libertine composer in an elegantly portrayed 1930s. Also worth noting, is Bae Doona’s beautifully vulnerable depiction of a renegade clone, which is set in a futuristic totalitarian Seoul. These two performances also represent the best parts of the film – but the fact we have ‘favourite parts’ demonstrates how fractured the overall film is. As admirable as its sprawling nature may be, it joins the ranks of books which should have been left to the mind’s eye. Top marks for effort, but not quite worth a shiny sticker. More like a post-it-note with a smiley face on it, or just a tick to indicate that we’ve seen Cloud Atlas and we don’t have to see it again.

Like Toy Story did all the way back in 1995, Wreck-It Ralph injects some magic into the contemporary world. Then, it was Andy’s toys coming to life, allegorising small town America in the immediate world of the modern day kid. Now we get a look at the secret life of computer game characters. The loveable John C. Reilly provides the voice of Ralph, the hero of the story (but the bad guy of his particular computer game) and after decades of getting beat, he decides to defy his programming and become the good guy. This isn’t a Pixar, remember, but much like a Pixar film, strong grownup motifs run throughout and the first half which deals with Ralph’s 8bit midlife crisis. We follow him to bad guy therapy sessions chaired by Clyde, the orange Pac-Man ghost. As Ralph opens up to Bowser, Dr Robotnik and M.Bison, we become swept away by Disney’s intertextual charm, successfully portraying a mediocre middle-American existence through the turmoils of a frustrated video game villain. Not to mention a cameo from a certain Grammy-winning ‘EDM’ musician ... However, the second half veers into standard Disney formula: break the norm, suffer the repercussions of breaking the norm, make a friend, betray the friend because of your own selfish goals, a bit of fighting, then it’s all OK in the end. It simply never reaches the levels of that vibrant, brilliant first half. We know it’s meant to be fun for all the family, but they can piss off – we want to see Sonic again. Still, this is a highly entertaining kids’ film. Just turns out the adult bits are a lot, lot better.

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Side By Side takes an informed look back through the camera lens to the immediate, and more profound effects of the introduction of digital film to the film industry. And when we say informed, we mean informed – the likes of Martine Scorsese, David Lynch and Danny Boyle share their views, and your brain will reward you with rushing chemicals of cerebral joy for going to see this movie. The film starts with a history of celluloid, running through the 20th century in film while Keanu talks us through how celluloid film captures its images. Later, we find out how the digital camera works. The technical aspects are interspersed with opinions from directors and producers, which is where the real enjoyment comes from, aside from Keanu’s constantly morphing haircuts, which change from interview to interview. However, as Side By Side moves towards its end, and we’ve snapped out of being transfixed by George Lucas’s swinging chin, the academic format becomes a little testing. The tech-heavy ‘which digital camera has more pixels’ section, for example, proves particularly hard work. Ultimately though, this is a fascinating, well-balanced investigation into the future of Hollywood, and a perfect little intellectual walk in the park.


IF YOU LEAVE

THE DEBUT ALBUM OUT NOW


61

Live Music

Nick Ca ve a n d the Bad S e e d s Her Majesty’s Theatre | London February 10th Crack hasn’t reviewed a Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds show before. It’s been five years since their last tour, and Crack Magazine wasn’t born then. We’re a tad excited. Having put Grinderman to bed, Nick and his boys are back – minus founding member Mick Harvey – with their 15th studio album, Push the Sky Away. Three tour dates were announced and Crack pounced. Not down the front for this one, but placed rather nicely at the heart of Row P. Up comes the curtain and on glides Nick. Before the music commences, Cave tells us that the new album will be performed in order “as it has a narrative, a certain surge”. He’s backed by the Bad Seeds as well as two drummers, a full string section and a choir, which includes two of his kids. As they pour into the beautiful new material, the choir provides a haunting ache and Warren Ellis’s conducting of the string section adds a wild and unyielding flavour. Push The Sky Away’s title track brandishes the wounded pride of Cave’s mission statement: “Some people say it’s just rock ‘n’ roll / but it gets you right down to the soul.” The band take a break before returning to deliver a devilishly brilliant set of classics: From Her to Eternity, Red Right Hand, Deanna, Jack the Ripper. Ellis commands the string section during The Mercy Seat like a man possessed, Nick is the Daddy for The Ship Song, checking his kids in the choir are paying attention: “Are you ready kids? We’ve got to do a song. No texting.” With the band’s dabbling in raw, garage guitars discarded, this band close on the definitive, illustrious note of Stagger Lee. This is The Bad Seeds at their glorious, histrionic best.

© Steve Gullick

--------Words: Lucie Grace

W H P + Dro p t h e M u s t a rd: SB TK T

D uc k tails

V illa g e rs

Savages

Victoria Warehouse | Manchester January 25th

The Lexington | London February 25th

Trinity | Bristol February 16th

Electric Ballroom | London February 21st

The Warehouse Project season officially ended on New Year’s Day, but as per tradition, the heads behind the hugely successful events teamed up with Manchester club night Drop the Mustard to host one of several more intimate nights at the Victoria Warehouse.

On this year’s The Flower Lane LP, Real Estate’s Matt Mondanile swapped the swirling hypnagogic stew of his Ducktails project for something sleeker. Tonight’s sound was a winning combination of what made Ducktails’ older records so charming - the languid guitar runs, the dislocated ambience, the looseness of it all, the plasticity of its interlocking parts and the gorgeous hooks.

You know within minutes if it’s going to be ‘one of those’ gigs: when you’re watching an artist whose star is not only in the ascendance, but is leaving a trail of scorched earth behind them.

The description of Savages as akin to a female Joy Division is already a little played out. If you look past vocalist Jehnny Beth’s Curtis-esque hairdo and arm flailing, there’s a wealth of guttural originality that you could be convinced hails from 1978, but is definitely rooted in the now.

Since WHP’s move from Store Street there’s been much debate about the new location. At the rear of this complex, Rooms Two and Three emulate the togetherness and the ‘underground’ feel of Store Street. Without the openness of Room One, the 1,500-strong crowd are funnelled together. Following warm-up sets from Drop the Mustard residents, the roof was lifted by Trevino and Koreless. Much of the audience seemed to have primarily come to see SBTRKT, so it was fortunate he dropped more than a few of his own cuts during a vibrant and energetic headline DJ set. Best of all was Actress, whose intelligent, minimally–styled experimentations and dynamic contortions provided the most invigorating rhythms of the night. Meanwhile, in an outrageously crowded Room Three, Bicep offered a selection of timeless house, perfect for the dense audience of wired hip-swingers. As the night drew to a close, what was clearest of all was that on top of the music, it was the intimacy and lack of pretension that had made the event so special.

After the solo-guitar-and-voice of Spectrals’ opening set, the fullness of Ducktails’ sound is a delight. Thick chords slide seamlessly into extended duelling solos between Mondanile (indie-rock’s most unassuming-yet-legitimate heartthrob) and his co-guitarist, with the pair coming on like The Feelies if they decided to become a wigged-out psych group for a night. Songs like Assistant Director are extended into Chicstyle disco, their cover of Peter Gutteridge’s Planet Phrom morphs into a mirrorball-on-prom-night slowdance, and Ivy Covered House twists itself into the kind of song you hope never ends. There’s a sense of classicism about the band, a continuation of that buttoned-up jangly power-pop lineage. It’s a refutation of the idea that everything has to be new, but it’s stated with a sense of panache which makes for a gig that reminds you why nights spent in dark, dank, beer-drenched rooms are sometimes really worth it.

----------

----------

Words: James Balmont

Words: Josh Baines

Conor O’Brien – the central force and sole songwriter behind Villagers – is a vocalist as unassumingly accomplished as Bon Iver, and Villagers now have two albums of off-kilter, swirling alt-folk for him to play with. As he begins a lengthy, languid set with My Lighthouse, the gentle ballad that opens new album {Awayland}, a man eating a bag of crisps too loudly gets shushed. People glare at the bar staff for clinking glasses. The audience are in awe of the band in front of them. On paper, they could be another plodding folk-rock act, but with the same deft touch for arrangement and melody as a band like Other Lives, Villagers rise resolutely above the fray. As well as recent singles Nothing Arrived and The Waves, the best cuts from 2011’s Becoming a Jackal are offered up, including a show-stealing encore of Ship of Promises, a hypnotic, softly sinister and muscular piece that remains their finest moment. O’Brien is master storyteller and Villagers are a soulful, restless, chamber-folk delight.

After a droney, moodily lit build up, Savages emerge in a gothic mist to Shut Up. Their post-post-punk pushes on with razor sharp guitar stabs punctuated by primeval grunts and a 1000-mile stare. There is almost a subtle underlying aura of parody, a parody of themselves perhaps, a deadly serious nihilistic over the top-ness that doesn’t distract but serves to draw you in further. I Am Here, the title track of the live EP recorded on last year’s July UK tour, acts as a mantra which is emblazoned on most of the merch. Having defiantly declared that they are, in fact, here, stand-out track Hit Me summons a goth-rock stomp reminiscent of Nick Cave during the heroin years. Jehnny Beth tries to locate their agent in the crowd before Flying To Berlin kicks off. Swathed in bass, it forms an atmosphere that feels somehow familiar. We’re left feeling as if we’ve always listened to Savages. ----------

---------Words: Aled Simons Words: Adam Corner


62

Live Music

A to ms fo r P e a ce Oval Space | London February 22nd 20 years to the day since Radiohead released Pablo Honey, what better way to commemorate the landmark than an evening in the company of Thom Yorke’s Atoms For Peace. The band’s heavyweight line-up assembled for shows in London, Berlin and New York to mark the release of debut album AMOK. Support came from Werkdisks/Honest Jon’s producer Actress. With his third and finest album R.I.P. in the bag, he took full advantage of this high-profile slot with an engrossingly beaty showing. A short break and Nigel Godrich was first to appear, wringing tones from his laptop for Thom Yorke to follow. Three projectors provided audiovisual composer Tarik Barri’s creations, forming constellations and darting triangles. Atoms opened with Ingernu, and the instant those unmistakably haunting vocals kicked in we felt part of something special. A shoegaze instrumental led into Black Swan from Yorke’s solo album The Eraser. While AMOK has been criticised for its similarity to that record, here the material fleshed the set out perfectly, while Dropped’s fierce electronic riff brought the dancefloor bubbling to a head. The opening notes of The Eraser’s title track saw the crowd – many of whom seemed too preoccupied with arms-crossed focusing to actually enjoy themselves – lighten up a little. The warehouse-ish Oval, along with the support, was surely selected to create the aura of a club experience rather than a gig, yet this seemed lost on many, despite the 12:30-2 a.m timeslot. With album opener Before Your Very Eyes…, Reverse Running and S.A.D. (B side to Judge Jury and Executioner, surprisingly the one track from AMOK not performed) retaining impressive momentum, AFP finished with a stunning encore of Default. Yorke’s closing statement to the crowd was “Thanks everyone, we don’t know what the fuck’s going on, but we hope you do”. For man who doesn’t know what’s going on, Thom Yorke’s staggering track record for defining the forefront of contemporary music with each step looks pretty safe to us. --------Words / Photo: Alison Nation + Rory McKenna

F o u r Tet

NM E Awa rds T o u r

T he Histo r y o f A pple P ie

De sa p a re cid o s

The Exchange | Bristol February 22nd

O2 Academy| Bristol February 19th

Thelka | Bristol February 17th

Electric Ballroom | London February 11th

Whichever way you look at it, Four Tet’s transformation from purveyor of twinkly electronica to bonafide dance music heavyweight is complete. In an inversion of the typical progression from DJing to production, Four Tet’s DJ career has blossomed late, broadening his profile a good ten years since he started releasing records.

The alumnus of NME Awards Tours gone by makes for an impressive array of solid indie heroes. This year Django Django, Miles Kane, Palma Violets and Peace are the package sent to represent an odd microcosm of where indie music is at.

When we arrive at Bristol’s Thekla there’s no sign of a queue, or even a gig. Criminally, History of Apple Pie are still lurking beneath most people’s radars.

Of Conor Oberst’s many musical factions, Desaparecidos pack the most immediate punch. Even compared to the anguished yells and trembling whispers of Bright Eyes’ most emotive material, the ferocious bite of ironically-titled The Happiest Place On Earth signals the beginning of a set that’s post-hardcore proper; coarse, frantic and unyieldingly tight.

Fans who joined the Four Tet party in recent years may expect a lot of things tonight – afro-infused beats, looping garage, chiming techno – though probably not the shuffling broken beat he first made his name producing. But if his DJ sets now outnumber his live shows by 5:1, then a set of his own material is all the more satisfying. In a small, packed and sweaty venue, the scatter-shot rhythms and bubbling melodies are a sharp contrast to the amped up crowd. It’s great to see such a raucous reception, but there’s something slightly incongruous about the fist-pumping audience and Four Tet’s careful, cerebral style. Tellingly, it’s Plastic People, the track that directly references his detour into, ahem, ‘clubland’ that gets one of the biggest responses. It marks a merging of cultures which continues to sound fresh: majestic melody welded onto intricate, experimental techno. As the ethereal but resolutely pounding Love Cry closes the gig, one sentiment floats above the crowd in a collective thought bubble: it’s a genuine honour to hear such an important artist in a venue this size.

Singles Bloodshake and California Daze are testament to Peace’s radio-friendly songwriting. The band’s slurring between-song banter seemed a little staged, but went handin-hand with the offhand, leather clad get-up the band have adopted. Then came Palma Violets, who outshone their contemporaries. Guitar stabs paired with impeccably upbeat organ melodies made for a distinctive sound, while lead single Best Of Friends is a nigh-on flawless modern pop rock song. Bafflingly, “MILES, MILES, MILES” was the loudest chant of the night, but while Palma Violets’ unruly bassist Chilli Jesson gave his all to a half-failed stage dive, Merseyside boy Kane’s offers of high-5s and shouting “’ave it!” seemed a little less rock ‘n’ roll, a little more cringe. Finally, Django Django brought their blend of tribal sounds and airtight synths to an evening that was in need of a proper dancefloor filler. This was tight, clean and full of superhuman energy and in a year when the band's reputation has bloomed, this headline performance defiantly proved why.

Since the London five-piece recently dropped their debut album, we’ve been totally gushing over their sugary, retro indie-pop. So we’d be seriously disappointed if they played a really boring set and looked as rough as Shane McGowan after a two month speed binge. But much to our delight they were young, they were sexy and they looked absolutely ecstatic while chugging through their undeniably awesome riffs. We didn’t get to hear single You’re So Cool tonight, but they did play the equally glossy, future indie classic Mallory while doing a lot of smiling and generally looking fucking rad. With a debut worth shouting about and a dreamy live set full of dreamy, dreamy young people, there’s really no limit to how much blush-inducing praise we want to chuck at The History of Apple Pie. -------Words: Billy Black

Until last year, these songs were a nostalgic memory for the majority of early noughties basement show dwellers who pack out the Electric Ballroom. So it’s no wonder that every song plucked from 2002’s Read Music/Speak Spanish feels like a rare, raucous luxury. The band’s newer songs strike down upon current affairs with ruthless lyrical fire. Before firing out MariKKKopa, the band suggests that lawmakers in Arizona should be ‘hung by their fucking necks’ before bursting into an outraged anthem of political injustice. After a twin encore of a ravenously received cover of The Clash’s Spanish Bombs and album-closer Hole in One, we’re cast outside exhausted. The reunion of Desaparecidos hasn’t killed the fervent aggression that marked them out in 2002. In an age when even DIY punks seek quality production values, it’s a thrill to see such experienced musicians crash the party, complete with battered guitars and broken cymbals.

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Words: Duncan Harrison

Words: Matt Ayres

--------Words: Adam Corner

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16/20

11/20

Following the announcement of Atoms For Peace’s formation, the music press seemed largely preoccupied with the trepidation that we should supposedly feel about the line-up of this ‘supergroup’. Maybe it was the Flea factor, and yes, as a concessionary nod, that one did look a little strange on paper. But, beyond that, did anyone notice that this collective had Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich in it? Have you heard some of the music they’ve been responsible for? It’s like starting with Messi and Ronaldo upfront mate, use your common sense. That said, AMOK is admittedly flawed, but it is a wonderful progression of the electronic zeitgeist for which Yorke has established such a fondness. Tonally, the record’s opening doubleheader of Before Your Eyes… and Default immediately recall The Eraser, harnessing the shuffling rhythms, falsetto and a woozy array of effects. Some would argue that the record strays a little too close to Yorke’s aforementioned solo effort, but then we return to the original point. Can anyone remember what a bolt-from-the-blue record that was? If AMOK seems a little inert to those expecting more bombast, a headphones listen should open up the rich and varied world of sound that’s been carved out. TF

The Bronx continue to gradually distance themselves from their fierce roots, having emerged back in 2002 in a flawlessly-distilled explosion of raw punk action. It’s not to say they’ve mellowed, per se. Songs are still largely brash and confrontational, and if you see them live next week they’ll still kick you in the bollocks and hock a loogie in your Stella. It’s just that they can never recapture the rawness of those desperate days. Too Many Devils and Under The Rabbit are good songs, no doubt, but there’s something missing. The buckets of hardcore punk viscera have been replaced by a cocky strut and multitracked harmonies, and at times it’s a little more Cheap Trick than Minor Threat. The listless Pilot overreaches in its attempts at a hook, and more anthemic moments feel a little bit high school romcom. Interestingly, the balladic Life Less Ordinary works, soft and heartfelt, like Dirty Leaves from 2006’s The Bronx II. But as much as we’ll always love The Bronx, their recorded output seems lost between their past and an increasingly populist future. All too often IV comes off a little .. well, polite. And that was never the plan. EW

DEAD GAZE DEAD GAZE Palmist

FOOTPRINTZ ESCAPE YOURSELF Visionquest

14/20

11/20

Under the Dead Gaze moniker, Mississippi resident Cole Furlow creates happygo-lucky distortion-pop which sounds like fuzzy, toothy smiles. He drowns his simple but lush pop songs in a swamp of muddy, lo-fidelity nastiness – imagine a kitten playing with a ball of white noise and you’re halfway there. The mood is immediately set with the festival-sized indie vocals of opener Remember What Brought Us Here, and Furlow later proves a knack for penning a bona-fide pop hook on the addictive I Found The Ending. The heavier tracks are amongst the album’s biggest highlights and the punky You’ll Carry On Real Nice could be straight out of a Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater soundtrack, while There’s a Time to be Stupid commands at least a mild measure of head-banging. The omnipresent haze of the record never quite clears, and as such, the limited palette of sound does become pretty exhausting. Fortunately, the quality of song-writing beneath will make you feel compelled to return to these songs again and again. JTB

We’ve been looking forward to a debut album from Montreal duo Footprintz for so long that we’d pretty much forgotten about the idea by the time it finally dropped through the letterbox. With appetites fully whetted due to a Footprintz track providing the highlight on no fewer than three of our favourite mixes in recent years, the timeframe waiting for a full-length proved frustrating. Harnessing a inert sense of futuristic chic, borrowed but not stolen from the likes Japan, Dépêche Mode and OMD, the palette is slow burning 80s synth dramatics with an underlying sense of cool. In Footprintz’ case, suited cool as exemplified by Clarian North and Adam Hunter’s debonair attire. It’s a really strong look. But herein lies much of the problem. The scene is set, the product is slick, the synths are wonderful and there’s even a dystopian concept floating around somewhere, but the record rarely gets beyond the point of docile. Standout track Fear Of Numbers still sounds haunting and exemplifies the relative perfection Footprintz are able to conjure, but much of the record barely gets out of first gear. TF

FUNCTION INCUBATION Ostgut Ton

MANO LE TOUGH CHANGING DAYS Permanent Vacation

14/20

16/20

After roughly 15 years on the scene, NY techno producer Dave Sumner finally delivers this debut album via Berghain’s imprint Ostgut Ton. And despite tracks like Against The Wall perfecting techno barks in a feat of technical mastery, some become immobile. Counterpoint is a cinematic masterpiece, whose optimistic passages suggest a sci-fi theme, a drumless fresco and the atmospheric high of the album. The title track and Psychic Warfare, meanwhile, barbarously slug it out for the top dance track. Incubation builds and builds until it swallows the listener whole, while the heady latter reinterprets the classic 303 acid sound, taking it to new emotional levels. 2011 Sandwell District release Inter is revised and extended, and opening track Voiceprint is later mutated into a kick heavy dance floor banger, both pieces of Sumner’s work benefitting from their additional attention. But although Incubation often achieves a good balance between a bedroom listening vibe and dance floor designated tracks, at times the album drifts in a space belonging to neither the former nor latter. GT

Having impressed over the last few years with a slew of melodic and melancholic house 12”s on labels such as Buzzin’ Fly, Internasjonal and Permanent Vacation, Dublin’s Naill Mannion has presented us this cohesive LP of gorgeously textured and thuddingly sad contemporary house. It’s Mannion’s deft stylistic appropriations which elevate Changing Days above the standard rag-tag bag of singles and aimless filler that make up 90% of dance LPs. The Sea Inside is a queasy nautical sway (yachthouse?) and Please is imbued with vapor-trail deep house pads and plaintive, thick, chewy vocoder lamentations. Nothing Good Gets Away simmers with the kind of abstract-house fizzles that bring the wonderful DJ Koze to mind and Dreaming Youth could quite happily soundtrack a volcano-based level in a videogame with its intoxicatingly woozy arabesque synth melody warping that weaves its way around a hushed minimal pulse. There’s a tenderness and emotional openness at the heart of Changing Days that means as undoubtedly great as tracks like Moments in Truth would sound deployed at the perfect point in a club set, the listener is delighted to share a domestic space with Mannion’s manipulations. JB

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65

SPACE DIMENSION CONTROLLER WELCOME TO MIKROSECTOR-50 R&S 18/20 This tongue-in-cheek concept album is everything which Space Dimension Controller’s most ardent fans could have hoped for. Welcome To Mikrosector-50 throbs with ideas. A B-movie-inspired sci-fi odyssey, combining a pastiche of the techno-capitalist futures of Blade Runner and The Fifth Element with 80s movie and computer game soundtracks, and a majestic blend of sleazily gyrating electrofunk and astrally conscious Detroitism. As you join our fantastic protagonist Max Tiraquon, or Mr 8040, on A Lonely Flight to EroDru-10, the weighty chunks of analogue bass and space junk drift past the spacecraft windows through nebulous arpeggiation, before the pilot’s landing request is accepted, and we hear him pass into a glamorous interstellar cocktail bar. This scene/song, You Can’t Have My Love, is a catchy mix of Aphex Twin and Warren G, all blurred and beautiful machine synths with sultry cyborg choruses. Through the last section of the song, a dejected Max Tiraquon is accosted by a shady extraterrestrial nightclub manager, who coerces the playboy astronaut into taking a chemically-enhanced visit to his establishment. His apparent immersion in the dancefloor is soundtracked by Rising, a warm, early-90sstyled acid techno cut that bangs with trancey pleasures. We won’t ruin the story any more, but know that the following scene is raunchy ... GTC

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MY BLOODY VALENTINE MBV Self-released

THE MEN NEW MOON Sacred Bones

18/20

17/20

When you sit down to listen to the first new My Bloody Valentine album in 22 years, the weight of history and anticipation threatens to overwhelm. Are you listening to a new My Bloody Valentine album or a simulacra of one? Well, it sounds like a My Bloody Valentine album, that’s for sure: vocals weave in and out of the mix, submerged under washes of guitar gauze, and from the second she found now hovers into view, the aforementioned question no longer matters. From the pummelling nothing is, a Colm Ó Cíosóig-driven stomper that sounds more like Lightning Bolt or Mick Barr’s hypnotic avant-metal group Orthrelm than you ever thought MBV were capable of, to the oddly-bouncy new you, with its soft, cushioning chords and faltering tremolo lines. m b v ends with wonder 2, built around the simulated sound of a jet taking off, joined by swirling Skullflower-circaExquisite Fucking Boredom style guitar skronk and skree. It rises and falls, falls and rises, and then…m b v is over. You try to be distanced, to step back and let those thoughts about history, temporality, and context creep back in your head … but it’s impossible. The record is too good. JB

We’ve celebrated The Men as one of the best garage punk bands on the planet since they arrived in our lives a couple of years ago and the Brooklyn outfit’s fourth LP contains some of their best moments yet. While the band had hinted previously that they were a little bit country – having a song called Country Song on their second album was probably the biggest hint of all – we now have confirmation. New Moon’s opening track Open the Door represents the biggest step away from the urgent, thrashing guitars and feedback that initially helped bring this band to our attention. Instead, we find a piano that sounds like it’s being gently tinkered with in some Deep South saloon and the only guitars you can hear are either acoustic or lap-steel. But New Moon is a varied record too, and it’s clear that The Men are not going soft any time soon. The Brass slams with trademark duelling guitars, while psychedelic album closer Supermoon is one of the most exciting moments they’ve produced to date. Appreciated it’s only March, but New Moon has made an early bid for 2013’s best guitar records shortlist. JCB

LAPALUX NOSTALCHIC Brainfeeder

VONDELPARK SEABED R&S

17/20

14/20

Stuart Howard, aka Lapalux, is the latest wonder boy to emerge from the Brainfeeder roster and arguably the label’s most exciting newcomer in recent times. To this day, Lapalux is the only British artist who’s found a place on Flying Lotus’s imprint, and he’s crafted a wonderfully textured, colourful and comprehensive record. The smoky plod and sexy vocal distortion of first single Guuurl is an immediate attention sucker rather than seeker, and like much of the record, the track is set at a brilliantly languid pace. This is due in part to the expertly deployed R’n’B consistency that runs through the album. On the super sensual One Thing, there’s a rich interplay between the layering of the slow broken Brainfeeder-esque beats running up against the dreamy and sensual vocals of Jenna Andrews. Another highlight is Swallowing Smoke, which sounds like Hudson Mohawke swallowing a whole load of melancholy – no bad thing. Like an ideal partner, Nostalchic is a close and personal listen that keeps you hooked, but never dominates or invades. TF

It’s justifiable at this point to posit that we don’t really need another band combining brittle indie with YouTube-hopping snatches of R’n’B, and then Seabed – thanks to its pretty, glimmering palate of heard-through-floorboards piano, crisp percussion, taut slicks of guitar and Lewis Rainsbury’s delicate, quavering voice – comes along, and you have to reconsider your stance. There’s nothing startlingly original here. It’s indie rock for the versed in Rinse.fm generation, but there’s a good deal of pleasure to be found in the record’s aptly undulating, sub-aquatic feel and its occasional trips up to the surface. See the half-step and widescreen Balaeric twang of Quest, the phased waft of harmonica on California Analog Dream, or the end of the night UKG vocal sample of Bananas (On my Biceps), which sound all the sweeter for their surrounding submergence. Seabed isn’t perfect, but in terms of capturing a post-club sense of slightly-distanced intimacy, it does the job well. While we don’t need every gaggle of boys clutching guitars professing their love for early-00s slowjams, it’s good to be reminded that every so often, the feminine weight of R’n’B can be extrapolated and interpreted in other genres to good effect. JB

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66

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Illustration: Lee Nutland //// www.leenutland.com

B

y raising the prospect of increasing the US federal minimum wage, President Obama’s State of the Union address has instigated the kind of left-right pissing contest that constitutes serious political debate in the world’s largest economy. Progressives argue that employees deserve a living wage, conservatives berate that it’ll reduce employment levels. Lawmakers have increased the hourly rate just three times over the last 30 years and these increases haven’t nearly matched inflation, therefore the spending power of the nation’s poor has fallen dramatically. It’s gotten so bad that in 2012 someone working 40 hours per week on minimum wage falls below the poverty line if they try to support a child or out-ofwork partner. In the 60s, when the minimum wage peaked in real-income terms, a single adult could support two children, and afford the basic goods and services needed to get by. “When you raise the price of employment, guess what happens? You get less of it,” retorted John Boehner, Republican House Speaker and basis for the House of Cards’ dog-strangling psychopath Frank Underwood. Higher wages mean fewer jobs, so we’re doing the

people a favour by forcing them into the breadline, he argues.

reason why a fixed price system operated by the government shouldn’t reflect this.

It could seem logical on first read, but a large number of economists think a reasonable minimum wage increase would have little-to-absolutely-no negative effect on employment. There’s empirical evidence both ways though, apparently; the cat in the Queensbridge flat is either alive, or has run out of food and starved while its gas-pumping kitten nurtures a crack habit.

On top of that, these businesses benefit monetarily in ways that are harder to quantify. Increased employee retention reduces hiring costs and employees’ sense of self worth encourages them to work harder. And, unlike the Bush-era tax breaks which are lavished on the mega rich and can end up either in savings accounts or pumped into property bubbles, the increase in spending power is pretty much guaranteed to go straight back into the country’s GDP.

But let’s try to counter the “price of employment” argument another way. The real cost of hiring minimum wage workers is considerably lower than at any point in recent history and overall worker productivity is way up, roughly doubling over the last 40 years. This suggests that labour, as a commodity, is dramatically underpriced. The likes of the fast food restaurants and supermarkets that employ the majority of these workers have had to deal with above-inflation price increases for other commodities that affect their businesses – fuel/oil, energy and food stuffs etc – for decades. Businesses adjust to meet these costs, it’s the key trait of the free market you so adore, Boehner, and there’s no good

There are economic reasons and free market reasons for increasing the minimum wage, but most importantly there are humanitarian reasons. What President Obama has proposed — an increase from $7.25 per hour to $9.00 dollars over three years – doesn’t go far enough. This needs to happen now and it needs to be around $10.00 to match previous historic levels, to ensure the US economy and the country’s poor get the impetus they desperately need.

---------In fact, there are some analogies here. These are two very different ideas, but both the “trickle down” effect and the “price of employment” arguments perpetuate the same lizard-tailed Republican reasoning. They both play on tenuous, bordering on downright fictitious, economic arguments about jobs and they both seek to make rich people richer and poor people poorer.

Christopher Goodfellow

twitter.com/MediaSpank

mediaspank.net It stinks. Labour isn’t a homogenous product, like a commodity. It’s the opportunity to improve the quality of real people’s lives that Boehner and co. are attacking.

Send rants to media@crackmagazine.net


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