F r e e
Future of the Left | Funkinevil | Bob and Roberta Smith
John Lydon | Dixon | Connan Mockasin | Genesis Breyer P-Orridge
Ar t . M u si c . R em i t.
HOUGHT S, RI GHT : RIGHT T WO AND N I RD D R S E
JUL A RG
JON HOPKINS IMMUNITY
MONKEY MINDS IN THE DEVIL’S TIME
E : CU PID D E LUXE
B ILL RYD E R -J O N E S
BONNIE ‘PRINCE’ BILLY & DAWN McCARTHY
WHAT THE BROTHERS SANG
CASS MCCOMBS BIG WHEEL AND OTHERS
DE V IL’S T IME S IN IND
ANNA CALVI ONE BREATH
C K TA I L S : T H E
A cC NM
Q UA S I : M O L E C I T Y
UT ED O
LOUD CITY SONG
KINS : IMM
ST TH E PA
WA S H
B O N N I E P R I N C E B I L LY
OMAR SO ULEYMA
WE .W H
,R IGH T
M AT T H E
CA S S M CCOM
THE FLOWER LANE
RIGHT THOUGHTS, RIGHT WORDS, RIGHT ACTION
A BAD WIND BLOWS IN MY HEART
Hear all these artists at dominorecordco.com/spaceistheplace2013 dominorecordco.com doublesixrecords.com ribbonmusic.com weirdworldrecordco.com OMAR SOULEYMAN WENU WENU
WASHED OUT PARACOSM
MATTHEW E. WHITE BIG INNER
W i C h i Ta R e C o R D i n G S
Waxahatchee CeRulean SalT ouT noW
Sky Larkin moTTo ouT noW
Q: 4/5 “An intimacy and directness which will surely make Cerulean Salt one of 2013’s biggest albums… a lethally brilliant concoction.”
nme: 8/10 “Where Sky Larkin were once winsome and breezy, ‘Motto’ pounds ahead with heartpunching defiance and desperation to be heard. Listen up.”
SWearin’ SWeaRin’ ouT noW
SWearin’ SuRfinG STRanGe ouT noW
Pitchfork: “It’s the kind of record that reminds you of why you were drawn to indie rock in the first place.”
Peggy Sue ChoiR of eChoeS 27- 01 -1 4 The call and response of the cruelest and the kindest of words. Choruses, duets, whispers and shouts. Their best yet.
nme: 8/10 “The perfect balance between fragile melodies and tornadoes of noise.”
Wichita Recordings became a teenager this year and to celebrate that fact, as well as celebrating a year that has seen fantastic releases from FIDLAR, Cheatahs, The Cribs, Frankie & The Heartstrings, Spectrals, Waxahatchee, Sky Larkin and Swearin’, we are giving away a 13 track sampler CD, including an exclusive Meg Baird & Jesse Trbovich cover of Big Star’s “Thirteen”, with every purchase of a Wichita Recordings album.
cheatahS CheaTahS 10-02-14 The highly anticipated debut album from London’s Cheatahs. Here to show the new breed of shoegazers how it should really be done.
(WhilST SToCkS laST, anD SuBjeCT To availaBiliTy. GRaB ‘em While you Can!)
a l l a l B u m S ava i l a B l e o n l P ( W i T h C D ) , C D a n D D i G i Ta l D o W n l o a D . W W W.W i C h i T a - R e C o R D i n G S . C o m www.crackmagazine.net
Exhibitions Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2013 27 November – 26 January 2013
FOX READING ROOM
Ibiza: Moments in Love 27 November – 26 January 2013
Berlin Alexanderplatz 16 – 17 Nov, from 11am
ICA Quickfire: Urs Fischer and Jessica Morgan Tue 12 Nov, 6pm
All This Can Happen Tue 19 Nov 7 – 8 Dec A Nos Amours: Chantal Ackerman 2 Thu 28 Nov, 7pm Iain Sinclair & Colin MacCabe Present: Le Mépris Wed 7 Dec, 7pm Artists’ Film Club: New and rarely seen film and moving image by up-and-coming and more established artists. Aurélien Froment + Q&A Wed 13 Nov Anja Kirschner & David Panos: The Empty Plan Sat 16 Nov Jon Rafman + Q&A Thu 21 Nov Katarina Zdjelar + Q&A Wed 27 Nov
Culture Now: Lively Friday lunchtime conversations for the culturally curious.
Intermediality: Exploring Relationships in Art Sat 16 Nov, 2pm
Peter York in Conversation with Michael Bracewell 15 Nov
Installation Art Now: Theatre, Site, Object Thu 21 Nov, 6.45pm
Akram Zataari 29 Nov
Friday Salon: Production - To Outsource or Not to Outsource? Fri 20 Nov, 3pm
Channel 4 Commissioning Editor for the Arts, Tabitha Jackson 6 Dec
Iggyfest: Blah Blah Blah 22 - 23 November Copyright/Copywrong: The Ethics of Intellectual Property Wed 4 Dec, 6.45pm Degrees of Freedom BNNT Tue 3 Dec, 9pm Unique ‘sound bombing’ performance by two-man art group BNNT.
Institute of Contemporary Arts The Mall London SW1Y 5AH 020 7930 3647, www.ica.org.uk
The ICA is a registered charity no. 236848
Join us for a 5 day alpine adventure and celebration of music, brought to you by Alfresco Disco. Set in and around the picturesque town of Sรถll, Austria, Alpfresco features some of the most exciting artists and brands in electronic music, including: AXEL BOWMAN / ITALOJOHNSON / SESSION VICTIM / MARCO BERNADI HYPERCOLOUR RECORDS / FUTUREBOOGIE / JUST JACK JANE FITZ / GREYMATTER / WAIFS & STRAYS / THE KELLY TWINS / LUKAS PARDON MY FRENCH / ALFRESCO DISCO DJS / REMOVE ME PLUS MORE TBC... For more information and booking go to www.alpfresco.com
Photographer | Elliot Kennedy elliotkennedyphotography.tumblr.com Julio Wears | Carhartt WIP Sheffield Jacket Available @ goodhoodstore.com
Respect Lou Reed V Cars Elm Tree Recycling Microsoft Excel Jon Snow Barbara Allen Lowri Beth Davies Samir Tehabsim Lee Foss Mia Zur-Szpiro Leo Thompson Andy Lewis Sony Discman Executive Editors Thomas Frost firstname.lastname@example.org
24 26 28
Jake Applebee email@example.com Editor Geraint Davies firstname.lastname@example.org Marketing / Events Manager Luke Sutton email@example.com Junior Editor Davy Reed firstname.lastname@example.org Art Direction & Design Jake Applebee Alfie Allen Design Assistant Graeme Bateman Film Editor Tim Oxley Smith Editorial Assistant Anna Tehabsim Fashion Marija Vainilaviciute Hattie Walters Keiko Nakamura Andrea Martinelli Contributors Christopher Goodfellow Josh Baines Billy Black Duncan Harrison Celia Archer Tom Howells Adam Corner Joshua Nevett Augustin Macellari Robert Bates Leah Connolly Phillip James Allen James Balmont Steve Dores Alex Gwilliam Alex Hall Jack Lucas Dolan Andrew Broaks Angus Harrison Henry Johns Kane Rich Elliot Kennedy Tom Parker Illustrations Lee Nutland James Wilson CRACK is published by Crack Industries Ltd Advertising To enquire about advertising and to request a media pack contact: email@example.com
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.
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has been struck down by our annual bout of a cold we insist is flu, and it’s been tough. Lying feebly on the sofa, we found ourselves staring vacantly at the TV screen for days on end. Oh, the things we saw. Particularly when our self-pitying fingers carelessly led us to a digital channel called TLC. M
For those who are cracked let the light in:
The sights contained therein are difficult to comprehend. Thought the hysterical pitches Alan Partridge flings out during his cheese-related breakdown – “Youth Hostelling with Chris Eubank ... Monkey Tennis?” – were far-fetched? Well, you’re in for a ghastly fucking treat. TLC offers a broad and varied palate of a particular kind of shit. The channel’s marquee show features Holly Valance off Neighbours looking at frumpy women in frumpy frocks with withering looks, like these poor buggeres should feel ashamed for having the affront to stand in front of her, even though them standing in front of her is the point of the show. There’s also a show from the makers of Desperate Housewives called Devious Maids. Honest. Then there’s Cake Boss, where a yappy New Jersey Sicilian called Buddy barks pidgin Italian at Mauro, a booming, burlap sack of a man, for being unable to churn out sugar begonias at an acceptable rate. There are three adverts on TLC, on rotation. Two are for Superdrug, and the other is for a late-night series in which Jodie fucking Marsh takes to the streets in an immersive display of investigative journalist, judging people for doing things which are a degree of separation from what she’s famous for doing. But the real horrifying glimpse into the underworld comes from Toddlers in Tiaras. A reality TV depiction of the staggeringly tasteless American phenomenon of beauty pageants for kids, it was just too much, the final straw. In our fit of appalled moral outrage, just like that ... just eight episodes later we summoned the strength to change the channel. So, when the fever passed, we resolved never to let our eyes be cast upon that forsaken channel again. What’s more,we gained a newfound impetus to keep doing things which are categorically, definably, not shit. Cheers. Geraint Davies
CRACK has been created using: Daniel Avery - New Energy [Live Through It] JME - Integrity Tiga vs Audion - Let’s Go Dancing Mazzy Star - Seasons of Your Day DJ Dog Dick - Dried Old Leaves The Zombies - Time Of The Season Blood Orange - Chamakay Slayer - Seasons in the Abyss Komon - Cosmic John The Black Angels - Young Men Dead Brassica - Everything (Gavin Russom remix) The Dodos - The Season Arcade Fire - Here Comes the Night Time Sky Ferreira - Omanko Arcade Fire - Here Comes the Night Time II Benjamin Damage - ETI Rework Ten Walls - Requiem Barnett + Coloccia - Bird’s Eye Kylie Minogue - Slow Bastardgeist - Coast Deafheaven - Vertigo The Charlatans - How High Shellac - Crow Tropic of Cancer - Children Of A Lesser God DJ Rashad - Drank Kush Barz A Made Up Sound - After Hours Barnett + Coloccia - Retrieval Bikini Kill - New Radio Tim Paris - Minireich The Cure - Disintegration Future of the Left - Donny On The Decks Laurel Halo - Chance of Rain Hardway Bros - The Flesh Connan Mockasin- I’m The Man, That Will Find You Modeselektor - Berlin Linear Movement - Way Out Of Living Foals - Late Night Mount Kimbie - You Took Your Time (Lee Gamble rmx) The Gun Club - Mother Of Earth Womack and Womack - Teardrops Tim Hecker - Stab Variations Fredo Santana ft Kendrick Lamar - Jealous www.crackmagazine.net
Action Bronson - The Don's Cheek Potty Mouth - The Spins James Blake ft RZA - Take a Fall For Me Meat Puppets - Up On The Sun Time Zone - World Destruction Kurt Vile - The Ghost of Freddie Roach Joey Anderson - Head Down Arms Budda Position Kel - Irritant Raime - Your Cast Will Tire Kyle Hall - Crushed Heatsick - No Fixed Address Gunna Dee ft Skepta - Music Therapy Wolf Eyes - Born Liar Peverelist & Asusu - Surge A Sagittariun - The Mojo Odyssey The Men Of Porn - Succulento MC Ren - Same Old Shit Petar Dundoc - Moving Parquet Courts - He’s Seeing Paths Coco Brown - Make Me Nut Darkside - Freak, Go Home
3 RECORDS // CONTENTS J U LIO BA SHMORE - 1 4 Spa ce Di m ens i on C ont r ol l er Wel com e To M ikr o se c t o r- 50 Kowton A nd What Lil Lou is I’m H ot For Yo u ( O rigin a l N o O f f e n se M ix)
CRACKMAGAZINE.NET THE BEST Of OUR WEBSITE THIS MONTH
J OHN LY DON - 1 8 Fra n k Za ppa H ot Rats Ca n Tag o Mag o Roxy Mus i c Vi rg i ni a P la in CONN AN MOCKA S IN - 22 An d re 3000 The Love B e lo w Serg e Ga i ns bour g H i stoi re d e M e lo d y Ne ls on Tonet t a 777 FUTURE OF T HE LEF T - 2 4 P is s e d Jea ns H one ys MET Z METZ Ta lkin g H ea ds More Songs Ab o u t B u ild in gs a n d F o o d OM AR SOULEYMAN - 2 6 Umm Kul t h um Enta Om r i Björk Cr ystal l i n e ( O m a r So u le ym a n R e m ix) Sa ba h Fa k h r i Ya Tei ra Tiri
S O N G D R O P // SV E N G A L I S G H O S T I N T H E M IX // So we’re obsessed with L.I.E.S., alright? We admit it. Ron Morelli’s fearless label is turning out some of the most exhilarating electronic music on the planet right now, and we can’t turn it off. Whilst putting together our recent label profile, one figure who really stood out was Svengalisghost, real name Marquis Cooper, who beguiled us with tales of taking acid in Mexico, a process which he claims “opened up some forbidden neural pathways”. So, naturally we asked the man for a mix. You should definitely check out the results.
We’ve been really getting into a nifty tool called Songdrop. It’s an ingenious app which gathers music from YouTube, Soundcloud, Bandcamp and Vimeo, creating an insanely convenient platform to assemble playlists and mixes – whether that’s purely audio, or throwing together some videos – which you can access across a range of devices. Check out the new widget over at our website, where we’ve got a playlist from our recent Simple Things event as well as a collection of tracks which have been floating around the office this month. And if you keep an eye out over the coming weeks you’ll start to see some of our End Of Year lists getting an airing as the debate rages on.
BOB AN D ROBERTA S MIT H - 28 T he F a ll S i t Wi l l i am Wra y T he Eyes i n t h e H ea t S l i g ht Re t u rn Ha p py Monda ys Bob ’s Yer Un c le GENESIS BREYER P- ORRIDG E - 38 De a th i n J une Pe aceful Sn o w Ca ba ret Vol t a i r e In The Sh a d o w Ps ychic T V Godstar
S T R E E T C A S U A L S C O M P E T IT I O N / /
DIXON - 40 Tricky Nothi ng Ch a n ge d G u y Ger ber a nd Di xon No D i stan c e Te n s Wa l l s A nkari s FUN KIN EVIL - 42 G reb Bea t o Who’s The Licho In Charge Ovaa Here De lroy E dw a r ds Unti tl e d Ja y Da n i el Bubb l e Co u ga r
A S A G I T TA R IU N J O I N S T H E C R A C KC A S T //
Street Casuals have been catering for our sartorial needs since 2010. If it wasn’t for them, we’d be freezing right now. As it’s their third birthday they’ve been kind enough to offer you, the Crack reader, a massively generous winter package of garms, just ‘cause they like you. It includes a Navy Parlez x Elka Topsail Jacket, a Parlez Squared Crew Sweat, a Parlez Fisherman’s Knit Beanie and an African Apparel x Street Casuals tee. To enter, simply head over to the Street Casuals Facebook page and drop them a ‘Like’, then send your answer to this question to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject heading ‘CASUALS’. Easy. As well as being a premium streetwear brand, what does ‘parlez’ mean in French?
An intriguing and mysterious figure, not much is known about A Sagittariun; just that it’s a Bristol-based producer releasing exclusively through their own Elastic Dreams label since 2011. What we do know is that, with their debut full-length Dream Ritual dropping on November 23rd, they’ve taken time out to deliver us a typically slippery mix of textured techno, from dense and atmospheric to dustier, darker beats interspersed with surprises along the way. Preconceptions left at the door, this one’s a killer.
a) Talk b) Twerk c) Jamie Jones Entries close on November 20th.
Pulled Apa rt By Ho r ses Electro werk s 12th No vem b e r
D eep Vally Electric B a llro o m 13th No vem b e r
Sweet Ba b oo I slin gto n A ssembly Hal l 14 th No vem be r
L . I . E . S . R oom Two Tak eover
Lanzaro te C h ristma s Pa rt y w / Ja cu z z i Bo y s
Fabric November 11th £10-£20
Corsica Studios December 5th £3
These days Crack is all L.I.E.S. this, L.I.E.S. that; it seems like we’ve got something new to say about Ron Morelli and the gang every day. Or maybe it’s every other day, we’re not too sure; our brains are pretty much ravaged by all the L.I.E.S. we’ve been listening to. Either way, their showcase in Fabric Room Two features aforementioned label boss Morelli, Dutch legend Legowelt and L.I.E.S. staples Marcos Cabral and Svengalisghost. If this doesn’t take your fancy, Room One offers the traditional Saturday night/Sunday morning soundtrack from Craig Richards, Laura Jones and Guti.
“Sugar in my hair, melting everywhere in the sunshine...” If you haven’t heard those words accompanied by a gently palm-muted guitar in the opening bars of the title track from Jacuzzi Boys’ 2011 album Glazin’ – or better still, seen the words being emitted by a seemingly endless string of crudely-decorated ladies’ parts in the X-rated video – then you either aren’t into breezy, jangly pop-garage modern classics, or you’re in for a treat when you get home. As a long-time pet band of the Shacklewell crew, the Miami three-piece are a natural choice to headline the Lanzarote Christmas bash at Corsica. Oh yeah, and they’ve got loads of other great songs too. After us: “Yeah I’m glazinglazinglazinglazin...”
Th e Fall C lapham G rand 15th N o ve m b e r
Kar enn Stu dio Spaces, Wa pping 16 th N o vem b e r
East India Yo uth Sebrigh t Arm s 20th No vem be r
Da n ce T unnel I s One wi th I tal oJ ohns on
AT P P rese n ts: Wo lf Eyes
Dance Tunnel November 30th £10
Netil House November 25th £10 + BF
All anyone really knows about elusive trio ItaloJohnson is that they’re three dudes who run a record label of the same name, with a strong commitment to playing vinyl back-to-back for hours and hours. And hours. Not only are this enigmatic lot playing all night long here, but this event also marks Dalston’s Dance Tunnel celebrating one whole year of discerning bookings and firmly reliable events in an unreliable city. Bring your party pants, if you own any.
Nate Young’s US noise poster boys bring their inimitable rabble to the UK as part of ATP’s Netil House takeover. In the wake of their performance at ATP’s sold out End of an Era Part One at Camber Sands, the Midwestern icons’ latest reshuffled line-up will bring with them the slightly more restrained sound (that’s restrained compared to the battering cacophony of tracks like Stabbed in the Face from 2004’s canonical Burned Mind) of latest, millionth record No Answer: Lower Floors. Support comes from Tim Moss’s reformed Porn, with a line-up shorn of erstwhile member, Melvins’ Dale Crover, but now featuring Bill Gould of Faith No More, Balázs Pándi of Merzbow, and Thurston Moore of ... well, y’know. All in all, a noise-connoisseur’s horrifying wet/fever dream.
S cout N i bl e t t Church of S t Johns 2 1st Nov ember
No c t u r n a l p re s e n t s: T h e F i el d Oval Space November 29th £15 Nocturnal presents an album showcase from Kompakt mainstay The Field, whose latest collection of intoxicating, ambient loops Cupid’s Head we recently described as ‘powerful, unnerving and sublime in the way that only a handful of artists are’. Alongside this performance from the Swedish producer, there will be live sets from Detroit electropunk pioneers ADULT and appropriately hyped Brainfeeder wonderboy Lapalux, as they join Holy Strays and some more very special guests at Oval Space. As we said back in September – and after witnessing his live set at Bristol’s Simple Things, now believe more than ever – ‘this is music to wrap yourself up in and drift away.’
Ke r r i C h andl e r XO Y O 2 2 nd Nov ember
Os c ar Murillo South London Gallery Until December 1st Free Columbian-born Oscar Murillo is a hotly-tipped young artist whose canvases are fetching in excess of £200k at auction. Wow. Previous exhibitions have included art-world bingo nights and dance competitions with high-end prizes, as well as transforming galleries into yoga studios with punters using his paintings as mats. Debuting his first major solo exhibition in the UK at the South London Gallery this month, if I was to draw a line, this journey started approximately 400km north of the equator empties Murillo’s studio to expose every element of his work, which typically exists to expose contradictions and complexities across socioeconomic boundaries.
Joh n Tal abot Corsi ca S t udi os 2 3 rd Nov ember
Ca te Le Bo n Bush Hall November 27th £11
Destro ye r Bush Hall 2nd December
This Welsh songstress has been playing the long game since first emerging back in 2007, nurturing her undeniable talent across three albums of increasing assurance and haunting avant-pop quality. While dipping into shameless, 80s-indebted fare through appearances alongside Neon Neon on the likes of Mid Century Modern Nightmare, her own sound builds around slow-burning and thoughtful narratives and distinctive melody, and as you’ll see if you direct your beadies towards our album reviews, we think her latest full-length Mug Museum might be something very special indeed. This set at Bush Hall will see the album realised in its unadulterated glory.
Crystal Stilts Carg o 2 8t h Nov ember
981Heritage Son Estrella Galicia presents: Baths w/ Dirty Beaches Oval Space November 22nd £12.50
BEAK Net i l H ouse 4t h D ecember
After suffering a case of E.Coli which left him bedridden for months, 24-year-old Will Weisenfeld, aka sound architect Baths, returned this year with Obsidian, a much darker tinged follow-up to his stunning 2010 debut Cerulean. Also on the bill is another curiously eccentric figure – the Taiwanese-born Canadian-based musician Alex Zhang Hungtai, whose music as Dirty Beaches has transformed from lo-fi, Lynchian doo-wop to experimental electronic soundscapes, all the while presenting his ideas with wildly unhinged live performances. You could argue that these two are some of the most unique solo artists in the landscape of alternative music. Strongly recommended.
A y se Erkme n : In te r v a ls The Curve, Barbican Until January 5th Free
Factory Floor A Cel ebra ti o n o f B e r t J a n s c h South Bank Centre 3rd December
I g g yf e s t : Bla h Bla h Blah ICA November 22nd-23rd £50, prices vary for individual events If there’s an individual who deserves a two day festival at the ICA dedicated to him, it’s Iggy Pop, the self proclaimed street walking cheetah with a heart full of napalm. Over the course of the two days there’ll be screenings of movies Iggy’s appeared in (Jarmusch’s cult classics Coffee and Cigarettes and Dead Man plus John Waters’ Crybaby to name a few) assisted by talks from those who’ve worked with him, plus a participatory Iggy-oke session and a live rendition of his album Blah Blah Blah from all star band The Passengers.
Heaven December 3rd £12 + BF
Turkish artist Ayse Erkmen distills her long-running interest in backdrops and stage decor used for theatre and opera into this intriguing collection. Here, the backdrop is brought starkly into the foreground, moving independently and utilising mechanics, usually at pain to be hidden from the viewer, as key elements of the visual effect. As informative as it is haunting in its separation from context, Intervals invites the backdrop to become the spectacle itself.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Factory Floor are one of the best live bands in the country. With relentless arpeggios, gothic guitar slashes, ghostly moans and Gabriel Gurnsey’s awe-inspiring, ferocious drumming, they’ve been blowing the minds of everyone lucky enough to attend their shows since evolving into their true incarnation in 2010. This year’s self-titled debut album had its fair share of great moments, but it’s under the force of a juggernaught sound system that Factory Floor’s formula truly comes to life.
H e s s l e A udi o Fabri c 6t h D ecember
L os C am pe s i nos ! H eav en 9t h D ecember
RP R Fabric 7th December
Fat W h i t e Fam i l y 100 Cl ub 10t h D ecember
Dolfin z H i g h Wa t e r If you’re looking to soundtrack this seasonal transition from autumn to winter, then we’d recommend The Beautiful Moon, an amazing release from NYC-based experimentalist Will Epstein. The EP is out on Nicolas Jaar’s Other People imprint, and Epstein speaks of Jaar’s support with illuminating passion. “Musicians need to fortify each other in order to survive and I can’t imagine anybody I’d rather be working with.” Epstein has assisted Jaar in his live shows, performing saxophone, keys and programming duties, and it was he who introduced Jaar to Dave Harrington, who would go on to be the other half of the stunning prog-dance project Darkside. While Epstein was a freshman at college, Harrington scouted him to play with his band called, erm, Spank City. “Spank City was an amorphous beast with a strong midnight power”, he explains. “We played almost exclusively late night parties in dewy basements espousing a strange mix of psych-rock and free-jazz – all instrumental. The best thing we did was a version of Heart of Glass and frankly, I think it put Blondie to shame.” While High Water’s music sounds nowhere near as ... well, as balls-out crazy as Spank City presumably did, the expansive, texturally rich songs feel contemporary and truly innovative. So does he propose we write about it in a more figurative way rather than resort to restrictive genre tags? “I get why people use genres to talk about music, and shit, I do it all the time myself. Everyone’s just trying to communicate! But yeah, I guess I’d be happier if someone wrote about how my music reminded them of their girlfriend’s hair at 10am on a Sunday.”
Bish o p N e h ru
Ever since Nathan Williams made it cool to like surfboards for the first time since Home & Away moved to Channel 5, bands have been appearing in every corner of the globe proclaiming their love for bongs, beaches and babes. Dolfinz, who list their interests as 'touring, girls' and make videos with lots of Yin Yangs and skateboards, are an archetypical example. What sets them apart from the majority of these bands, however, is the fact they make no bones about being from Kent, and their tongue-in-cheek approach to being extremely hip is a refreshing change from the ‘look how hard we’re not trying’ approach of their peers. Oh yeah, they also make some pretty great music.
Last time we saw a whirlwind of hype surrounding a 16-yearold hip-hop artist it was all about Odd Future member Earl Sweatshirt, who rapped about stuff like eating out a werewolf and putting a baseball bat through his mum’s face. Refreshing, then, that Bishop Nehru’s flow is remarkably smooth and light-hearted. With harks back to the 90s, a bunch of J.Dilla produced tunes alongside his own beats and a potential future collaboration with DOOM on the cards, it looks like 2014 could be a big year for this in-demand New York youngster.
Tune: Elder Blossoms
Tune: Resonate Darkly
File Next To: Jurassic 5 | Rejjie Snow
File Next To: Wavves | Joanna Gruesome other-people.net Tune: Railroad Song File Next To: Baths | Nicolas Jaar
N o r t h A me rica n s
Per fec t P ussy
Ga lch e r Lust werk
North Americans, believe it or not, is just one man. Patrick McDermott has been creating sonic visions of his newly adopted Los Angeles home for a year or so, and his aesthetic is nothing if not an embodiment of 2013. Using artwork inspired by the internet collage art movement to compliment his dream-like ambient output – occasionally wandering into unbearably harsh and confrontational territory – he’s developed his own brand of gleefully disorientating future music.
It seems like everyone who matters is talking about this don’t-Google-at-work outfit, and for good reason. The female-fronted noise rockers throw distortion and speed into their four-track demo and come on like a snarling, fuzzed up combination of 80s hardcore and the truly modern sound of punk sound that has been working itself out over the last couple of years by the likes of Fucked Up and METZ. Perhaps these young upstarts can help solidify what is rapidly becoming the shape of punk to come.
Although Galcher Lustwerk is a new alias, the man behind it appears to have been making music for 10 years. It’s highly improbable, of course, that this is his real name, and there’s an overarching element of intriguing mystery that shrouds him and his labelmates on White Material. The Brooklyn-based producer, who blends hip-hop and house with ‘working man’s techno’, is also keen on rapping and has been known to drop a few bars during his live sets. After cutting his teeth on proper gritty techno, Mr Lustwerk seems to have his mind firmly focused on bringing the DJ/audience relationship to new and interesting dimensions.
File Next To: Oneohtrix Point Never | Brian Eno
File Next To: Lovvers | Bikini Kill
Ra in e r You may have already heard Rebekah Raa’s voice opening the Daniel Avery’s excellent new LP Drone Logic. Raa also one half of London-based duo Rainer along with Nic Nell aka Casually Here, and the pair have been creating atmospheric pop music that utilises Raa’s angelic vocals alongside Nell’s ethereal production. The delicately crafted mountains of textures and tightly wound beats cement Nell’s production on the tracks released so far are a recipe for some seriously accessible pop. Rainer, however, don’t stay close to the middle of the road and while their music is hardly challenging, it's their combination of smooth production and edgy tempos that makes them stand out. thisisrainer.com Tune: Hope
File Next To: Terekke | Ron Trent File Next To: Chromatics | Glasser
www.crackmagazine.net W ORD S Th o ma s Frost
TUN E T he H orn T hat T i me Forg ot
PHOTOS Ellio t K enned y
S I TE jul i obashmore.com
The sounds are reverberating around Crack’s office. The holistic masseuse has already moved downstairs, she couldn’t hack the volume. It’s time to have a word. “Matt! The beats are decent mate, but can you turn it down a bit? We’re trying to get some work done.” This conversation repeats itself over the next six months. The track being muted to workable volume was Au Seve by Julio Bashmore, and the setting it was being created in was Matthew Walker’s hardware scattered studio on the top floor of Crack Towers in central Bristol. The residence that others may have called the Bashmore Building, if we hadn’t got here first. Having Julio Bashmore, although we still called him Matt back then, along the corridor exposed us first hand to his meteoric rise. From producing records in his parents’ house, playing some of our earliest parties and knocking together the first ever Crack mix, to DJing on festival main stages, his own Radio One show and producing the tune of the summer for two years running, the curve has been steep and remarkable. There’s an innocence to the Bashmore story that is symptomatic of any bedroom producer gradually finding their way. A period of seclusion from the wider world, mastering programming, crate-digging and self-educating defined the period before his first release. Surfacing on Dirtybird at the tender age of 21, the self-titled EP was a typical slice of off-the-wall house perfectly at home on the San Franciscan, bass-led label. Taking the comedy vocal from a classic piece of 90s advertising and naming your first release after an artificial fruit juice drink, Um Bongo’s Revenge was indicative of a wry sense of humour – something the more diligent Bashmore fan would have noted from the off – but also the infectious, slow-paced heft of his sound. Having never been attracted to the late-night culture which acts as a right of passage for so many participants within his hometown’s scene, much of Walker’s education came wholly as a result of sifting through the internet vaults rather than experiencing the music in its natural club environment. Eschewing the premise that all DJs survive on a diet of vodka and cocaine, when a shy and reclusive, ginger kid from South Bristol was suddenly thrust into the limelight there was a preconception that his withdrawn demeanour and media-shyness was a sign of arrogance. That prodigious rise was completed by the first track from his 2010 Everybody Needs A Theme Tune EP, his first release on PMR, called Battle For Middle You. A shimmering, soaring exercise in build-and-release, it became a definitive moment within a burgeoning new generation of UK producers, as well as a renaissance in wider club culture. Subsequent releases on Futureboogie and Martyn’s 3024 label cemented his reputation as a top-end producer, before he became affiliated with one of the UK’s most intriguing pop starlets, Jessie Ware. His production (and sterling guitar work) on Running and 110% (later renamed If You’re Never Gonna Move after a sampling dispute) gave him a taste of chart success, while contributing an air of underground credibility, as well as irresistible tracks, to the vocalist.
A Radio One In New DJs We Trust show allowed him to project his favourite music onto a wider audience as he continued to snowball into popular consciousness. Then Au Seve happened. A tune so simplistic in structure and tone, but so utterly devastating in its vocal and drop, it became even bigger than Battle... the previous summer, and in the process made him a household name in electronic music. Au Seve found its way into every club across the country, good and bad. The backlash was inevitable. Earlier this year Bashmore almost absentmindedly uploaded Duccy online to keep his fans supplied with music. Having played it out to strong reaction, the outpour of online venom towards a track he saw as a warm mid-set builder took him totally by surprise. But as we get down to a few frames and a catch-up in a Bethnal Green pool hall, we find him in a buoyant and positive frame of mind. Having recently curated a sold-out night at The Warehouse Project and with Peppermint, his new release with Jessie Ware set to cause some real damage, this blip seems for now consigned to being just that; a blip. His reassuringly dry and honest stance on where he’s come from and where he’s heading shines through loud and clear – even on the relative merits of Bristol and London’s fried chicken outlets.
So let’s begin with those two years in which you learned your craft. If we hark back, I guess the year would be 2008/2009 and dubstep is everywhere in Bristol and there aren’t many house nights taking place. I was listening to house music, and I’m from South Bristol – that’s not the trendy bit where they were filming Skins with a dubstep soundtrack. I’m from Knowle. It was all North Bristol: Gloucester Road, Rooted Records and stuff. I was aware of it going on, but it wasn’t until Joker came onto the scene that I started to take notice of dubstep. When Joker started doing his thing it was very melodic. I could relate to it. And your tastes in house became quite US focused, right? My brother Greg, aka Mr Juicy, aka Mystic Greg, aka Phileas Thugg, aka Greg Walker had been buying American imports since the early 2000s. So for most of my teenage years, I was playing computer games while he was DJing house in the background. So obviously something went in and when it came to my mid-late teenage years I wanted to find some girls. Good idea to DJ, obviously! Greg is probably the main reason I’m into house music. There was definitely a point where no one was really aware that you were upstairs with all this hardware. We had no idea where you’d gone. I do not know of a producer or someone who creates music who hasn’t gone through a period of their life when they’ve been locked in their room for at least six months. In fact, maybe that’s the magic six months. www.crackmagazine.net
Social sacrifice? It was a weird thing to do at my age. I was 18. Once you’d broken through, it felt like there was a real contrast between your personality and a lot of the people involved in Bristol’s house scene. There are a lot of party heads, but you’ve never been that way inclined. I find it so much easier now. I’ve met a lot of really good people who are that way inclined and enjoy that lifestyle. I consider them good friends, I’ll hang out and party with them. But I won’t be partying with them the night after! This is the thing – Bristol is a very hedonistic place! Was moving away from Bristol a result of any particular aspect of the scene you wanted to get away from? There were many reasons, one of the main ones being when I turned 18, most of my mates moved away to go to university and at that point I chose to stay in Bristol. So when I did move to London a year ago I felt ready. Unlike London the scene is a little bit incestuous, and that’s the great thing about it with all the collaboration going on, but it also creates tensions and it did get a bit tense. My career was going on this trajectory and it was hard to keep everyone happy, so by taking myself out of the equation it took a lot of pressure of that. You’ve maintained a strong relationship with some people who produce in Bristol. Dave Corney (Hyetal) and Joe Cowton (Kowton) being two examples. They’re two of the people whose music I rate more than anyone in Bristol, and they’ve both just moved to London, which is great for me because I want that Bristol thing. That’s so important to me and we’ve always got that thread between us. When firstly Battle..., then Au Seve became massive, did you find the speed of your rise overwhelming? When you’re putting out tracks and everyone’s just loving them it’s a great feeling, but at the same time there is this other element where you feel this needs to slow down. It was pretty crazy. Those tracks were always gonna do what they were gonna do, I guess. Say you have teeny clubbers walking down the street chanting the melody to Au Seve, do you look at that and go ‘ah, fuck off!’ or are you happy that most guys in the industry might kill for one of those tracks once in their life, let alone two summers running. There are people who sit in their studio trying to make that happen every day. I felt no pressure with those tracks at all and I wasn’t writing them to be anthems. Do you still enjoy playing them out?
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I still play those tracks now and the crowd still goes nuts. I don’t see how you couldn’t enjoy it. When tracks get that big, like those two, people sometimes view them cynically. But there was never any promo on those tracks, no marketing teams. I just put them out and people played them.
Absolutely. I’ve got my guitar at the ready in the glass cabinet! 100% it will take a fall. It just cannot continue at this pace. DJs are getting paid a lot of money and in a lot of cases they’re keen to keep that fee. They want to keep receiving that kind of money, and that might mean they’re less keen to take risks in their music.
Has the impact of those tunes influenced your attitude to production and DJing?
Do you think the success fosters an arrogance in the DJ community?
Well I have lots of projects on the go and often they all get mixed together. It’s kind of like this Frankenstein approach. Maybe it’s changed my performances? Maybe it could have changed them more? The point is, I still want to play some downtempo soulful records and I don’t care how many people want to listen. If you try something different it can end up with a lot of people being like, ‘this is shit’. For example, I probably shouldn’t have played Billy Idol at Parklife this year! [laughs].
It could do. But I think the main problem is the money could end up cutting the creativity.
There is that element of you not taking yourself too seriously. Maybe you’re misperceived in this way? People do take this too seriously! Maybe I’m responsible for not doing enough to get my sense of humour or what I’m about across. I guess people view me as a bit cynical. Didn’t you tweet Miss Millie’s asking for 140 pieces of chicken for your Love Saves The Day set? Yeah, I did. Is it still your favourite fried chicken place? Do you even need to ask? Miss Millie’s for life. I haven’t eaten fried chicken since moving to London, cause it’s not Millie’s. It’s just not as good. There’s a lot on offer, but we’re spoilt in the South West. On the subject of being spoilt, the Radio 1 show was massive too, right? Did you feel like you were running a risk getting into bed with them? Obviously, you know, their output ranges from utter garbage to great. Not at all. It felt like a chance to play a lot of the house records I love on the radio. The best thing about In New DJs We Trust is that it gave a platform to stuff like, say, the Rush Hour Records music that would never normally be heard on the radio. It was really good, but I don’t think I could find time. I think maybe an NTS show would be something I’d like to do in the future.
You’ve already experienced a backlash with a couple of your recent tunes right? How did you deal with that?
Definitely. I’ve got so much lined up already. Projects like Velour (with Hyetal) and work with Joe, and I want to do some more work with Funkineven. He’s just, like, the best dude. I’m gonna put a lot of hard work into it next year. There is so much good music still out there in dance music and in house music, and I want to get that across. You have access to such a big audience, you’re in the fortunate position of being able to give exposure to all this music. Although I play to a much bigger cross-section of society, I can say hand on heart that I’ve never compromised with the music I play out. I still play what sounds great to me. I play L.I.E.S. records for god’s sake! Is the next year more about getting to the root of Julio Bashmore’s music and presenting your version of house as opposed to any pop collaborations like you’ve done in the past? Yeah, basically. For sure. Nailed that, didn’t I? You did. [laughs] Do you miss Crack HQ? I do. I miss the camaraderie. That was an important. I also miss my view of the Wills Building. I’ve named a track after it. What’s it called?
I’ve been on this upward trajectory for so long, so when I put Duccy up, my reaction was shock. The reaction blew my mind, because in my head it was this inoffensive tune I’ve been playing out for a couple of years. Joy Orbison called it his favourite tune and I’m like ‘yeah, cool’. Ben UFO is playing it too, so I thought I’d stick it up and then like, bam! Trolls everywhere. I hated it.
The Wills Building.
You’ve been making an album since we shared office space. What’s the update?
Storage! What a fucking waste!
Getting there. The past couple of months have seen me in one of the best creative spaces I’ve been in for a while working in Red Bull Studios, and also in my space in White City. I have a little log cabin-esque studio by Westfield shopping centre, it’s bizarre. It was great with all the shit with Duccy going on to get away from it all and lock myself away. I’m really excited about the album, and I feel like it makes sense as an album. Are you prepared that some members of your audience might be expecting one thing and they may be presented with something totally different? The thing I took away from Duccy is you can’t just stick a track out. I used to be able to do that when I was on MySpace. I’d just put one up. But you know, I’ve matured in the sense that it’s important how you get it out there. When you’re bigger it has to go through the right channels in order to make your message clear to people. From day one people have been trying to label it. That’s what was so brilliant about that scene in 2009 when me, Joy Orbison, Mosca and the Hessle guys came through and everyone was like ‘what is this shit?’ Now we’re bigger there is even more pressure. Is your aim to make people go ‘what is that?’
At this moment you could argue that proliferation of electronic music is reaching heights it’s never seen before. Are you ready for the inevitable backlash?
Does Broadwalk take a bit of pressure off you as an artist, so you can put out some more interesting interpretations of the music you feel strongly about?
I think with an album and a bigger piece of music you can do that. I feel with it coming out on Broadwalk I’m building this bigger picture. It’s not this handbag house music that is everywhere at the moment.
Oh. That makes sense. Do you still have your expensive and highly luxurious sofa? It’s in storage.
It’s all gone to shit. Are you still listening to old metal records? Yeah man! Faith No More, Sabbath. You were responsible for showing us the best music video of all time: Motorhead’s Killed By Death. It’s incredible. It’s an all-time favourite. And Star Trek novels, are you still into that? You used to have a fucking box full. I read a lot of science fiction and I’m proud to admit it. You’ll notice on my old Julio Bashmore MySpace it explicitly said my profession was erotic science-fiction novelist, and there was a point when I was at least a quarter serious about that. It was an ambition. Does Julio Bashmore sound like an author of erotic science fiction to you? Totally. Sexy sci-fi Broadwalk perhaps?
I think it’s going to happen. ---------Peppermint is out soon via Broadwalk Records
OVAL SPACE MUSIC JANUARY - MARCH 2014
ROBERT HOOD / JEROME SYDENHAM / LUKE SLATER SHIFTED /RICK WADE / PANTHA DU PRINCE LIVE DENNIS FERRER / JOZIF / LAWRENCE / DJ QU JOHN ROBERTS / CARSTEN JOST / FRITZ ZANDER EVIAN CHRIST LIVE / WHITE COLLAR BOY LIVE KOLLEKTIV TURMSTRASSE LIVE. Tickets
29 - 32 The Oval // E2 9DT ovalspace.co.uk
N H JO
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agitators divisive down most the to settle of ne O refuses Lydon J ohn
WORDS Davy Re e d
LIVE P HO T O Kane Ri ch
It’s 1975, and pop-art provocateur Malcolm McLaren has heard rumours of a 19-year-old prowling King’s Road with dyed green hair and the words ‘I HATE’ scrawled at the top of his Pink Floyd t-shirt. McLaren invites the kid to audition for the frontman role with a group of deviants who’d been hanging around SEX, the notorious boutique shop he’s running with Vivienne Westwood. With a psychopathic glare, a twisted sense of humour and no intention of mustering up a fuck to give about singing in tune, John Lydon – soon to be known to the world as Johnny Rotten – passes the test. But McLaren’s big experiment would become much more than a mischievous postmodern prank. The Sex Pistols would jerk England out of its bleary 60s hangover, causing an earth shattering eruption that would change popular culture forever, before they rapidly perished barely a year after the release of their debut single. But Lydon’s metamorphosis into Rotten had, in fact, begun well before this. Raised by Irish parents in what he describes as a multicultural, working class Finsbury Park estate, he contracted meningitis at the age of seven. The illness sent Lydon into several comas, leaving him with severe memory loss and spinal curvature. In reaction to the hostile and condescending attitudes experienced on his return to school, he learnt how to adopt a ferocious persona to resist bullying and what he saw as oppressive authority.
TUN E Careeri ng
butter advertising campaign. Yet despite all this, the current incarnation of PiL have enjoyed a surprisingly ‘credible’ comeback due to the fact they’re sounding impressively energetic onstage, and 2012’s This Is PiL felt like a sincere continuation of the band’s legacy. With this premise in mind, it’s understandable why he sounds so chipper when he picks up the phone from his LA home.
There’s been some flattering reviews of the stuff PiL have done in your current incarnation. What qualities does a musician need to possess in order to tour with you? There’s a criteria with me; it’s not musicianship, it’s personality. To me, this is a highlight of my entire life, I’ve never been in a band that’s put so well together. There’s no jealousy and the respect is quite overwhelming. Your Glastonbury set seemed particularly triumphant, did it feel special to you? I really enjoyed my gig there. It was a warm healthy reception from the audience, and it was fun to be on the same bill as The Rolling Stones! I was very disappointed with them, I thought that was their big opportunity to remind everyone what all the big fuss was about in the first place. No – it’s show business gone wrong that lot. What didn’t you like about it?
As an adolescent, Lydon found himself squatting in Hampstead, aligning himself with three other individuals also called John. Two of the Johns would later play bass for Lydon. The first was John Beverly, the narcissistic Bowie fanatic who later became Sid Vicious, and soon died from a self-inflicted heroin overdose at the age of 21, becoming immortalised as an icon of lustful nihilism. The other was John Wardle – i.e Jah Wobble – whose propulsive freeform dub style was the driving force behind the first two albums by Public Image Ltd., the band for which Lydon applied the radicalism of punk ideology in a literal, musical sense to exhilarating effect. During the years leading up to Public Image Ltd.’s 2009 reunion, John Lydon has become a prominent TV personality, appearing on Judge Judy, I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! plus a cluster of his own nature programmes to name a few, and those who resent such self-parody-for-cash tactics were particularly disappointed with 2008’s Country Life
The stop-starts, the three different camera regimes going on, the costume changes. I’ve never been a big fan of men in tights. Do you think there was more gender equality in the initial punk movement than the traditional rock’n’roll culture that preceded it? Listen, I’ve stated this in me book, there was no equality at all until punk came along. Punk broke down all those prejudices and barriers. And all female bands, all mixed sex bands, or whatever, all stood on equal footing. You know, some of us knew fuck all, but we all had the bottle to stand up and try. And in that, you know, brothers and sisters in arms. It’s a shame that the squabbling crept in. But not amongst bands like The Raincoats or The Slits or The Pistols, we viewed it a bit differently. We didn’t all feel the need to be standing at the bottom of the barrel pulling each other down.
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Right, so would you say that the scene generally lacked a sense of camaraderie? To me it never should have ended up the way it did, all this ‘we’re the best punk band’ stuff, it turned out to be quite revolting. There were some things that The Clash said that really, really challenged my sense of good nature. I mean talk about class war, Joe Strummer was living in a mansion. No. Fuck that. Look, he pretended to hop off buses, you know, like in his studded leather jacket. It’s nothing personal, I liked Joe. But you can’t be a champagne socialist, you’ve got to be more honest with us than that. Are you saying that the competitive attitude was due to insecurity? Yeah, and a bit of resentment. He was basically from a pub rock background and when The Pistols came along he felt the need to compete with that. A shame.
and they’re good offers. The National Health Service – do not be rubbishing or dismantling that – and education. And if you’re going to turn all these things into a profit making situation, then you have to face what America has become: greedy, stupid, illiterate and with people dying unnecessarily. I live in America, I’m constantly raising this issue and being called a communist or a socialist or whatever. I don’t take any of that as an insult. They’re all ways of trying to deal with the world’s problems. That sounds nice doesn’t it? You can see why I like being alive. I don’t let life get me down, I’m glad to be alive, thank you very much. You know, the common perception of you probably doesn’t see this much optimism. Well, you’ve got a media there who were out to manipulate, destroy, shatter or submerge or smear or tarnish in any way they could, and we pretty much let
the release of God Save The Queen, you injured your hand, preventing you from being able to play the guitar... Yes, I got stabbed in the wrist with a stiletto blade. It went in one side of the wrist and came out the other, it severed a tendon on my big finger, I’ll never play the guitar again. I’m left handed and with it being on my left hand, it’s very awkward. So would you agree that in a way, your inability to play the guitar prevented a reliance on traditional rock chord structures and riffs, making you take a more radical approach to writing music for PiL? That might be what helped me out of being a cliché. It might well be. But I’ve never over considered it. For me songwriting is a series of happy coincidences, rather than a pre-planned agenda. It’s the one thing I truly love, I’ve found my way.
punk, but the history of music period, or history in any shape or form! When the record company got hold of them, they must have really known they’d found some dummies, that they could lead them in any direction they wanted. And they’re more than willing. Was there a time with the Pistols that you were happiest? Umm ... the pressure was overwhelming, relentless. Being public enemy number one sounds like fun and all ‘oh yippie, headlines’ but there were violent challenges with that. If you were caught alone on the streets, it was pretty intense, endless attacks. I can hardly say I enjoyed all that. The violence was real. We were there declaring a social change. That, we learnt from the alleged hippie generation, was unacceptable. And in fact, the alleged hippies were the most resentful to change.
To you did he seem comfortable with himself in his later years?
Well there was the Christmas Day benefit gig you played ...
No, because those mohawks never looked right! It was really upsetting to a lot of people when he died, because none of us had any idea that was going to happen. And that’s the thing, death is only around the corner, so let us be nice to each other. Cause I tell ya, if you’re having bitter arguments with people and they go and die on you, you don’t want that guilt on you for the rest of your life. No, it’s not worth hating, anger is an energy, it shouldn’t resort to hate. Unfortunately there is that hate element in there. The old punks, to this day, they’re so resentful, they will not see the truth.
Yeah, in Huddersfield. It was a Christmas party for the children of the firemen that were on strike. We went to the club on Christmas Day, did two gigs, one for the youngsters in the afternoon and one for the older lot later. It was one of the most amazing gigs I remember. To see the children understand the lyrics, much better, much clearer, and understanding the sense of fun. We had a brilliant cake fight that day. The photos and footage show a more tender side to Sid. Well, Sid was a great joker, and a very friendly, open chap. But the drugs of course altered that. He was feeling inadequate and the drugs covered that up, that completely changed his personality and he became practically unbearable. But I kind of blame myself for that, for bringing Sid into the band. I thought he could have coped with the pressures, but I soon realised that he wasn’t quite equipped for that. The fact that he couldn’t play and had no hope or potential of ever learning was beside the point!
Do you think the punk ethos has been misinterpreted as a dead end ideology? Don’t be thinking this is about violence, it’s not. It’s about serious social change, always has been. You’ve only got to read the lyrics or listen to them once to know better than that. OK, so how does the anger become misdirected? Well you can go and smash up a McDonalds and think that you’re saving the universe, you’re not. All you’re doing is smashing up a McDonalds, there’s no bigger issue involved. Violence and destruction never really gets anyone anywhere. As we know with wars, the result of any war is not a victor or a loser but an ongoing war therein after. Because the resentments become deeply entrenched, and on and on and on and on. Do we need the government to lead us into these affrays any longer? I don’t be thinking so. What I’m talking about is beyond anarchy. Anarchy to me is a joke, that’s just posh kids spending mum and dad’s money and trying to be rebels. How did you feel about something like the Occupy movement in the States? Wonderful. The Wall Street movement I thought was fantastic. It was peaceful, and there was so many different challenging concepts thrown about, but somehow they all managed to band about together. It kept the brains sparking. But of course, the way the media presented it, they tried to joke it down, to make it seem pathetic or silly and squalid. And how about UK politics, did you keep an interest in the student riots? Yeah, it was fun wasn’t it? One of Pink Floyd’s sons was running around there! [laughs] But it doesn’t matter if your dad’s a billionaire or lives in a trailer, these university fees are too fucking high. The end. And this is what Britain had offered to its subjects,
But there’s live recordings, he wasn’t as bad as everyone said he was, was he? Oh yes he was! The best gigs were when we turned his amp off, and Sid would never know the difference! No bass at all, it was quite enjoyable that way. Well, I suppose he looked alright. them have a field day with that. And absolutely in the Pistols’ case, they profiteered from it. Actually they made us famous! But the image they were projecting was not the correct one. There was a sense of irony in the Pistols and in PiL too, this is important. It was fun listening back to the Time Zone track you did with Afrika Bambaataa. Did those early hip-hop records excite you? Well, that was really the beginning of it, working with Bambaataa. And yeah, of course, I had a very enjoyable time in New York, there was all sorts of interesting cross cultural things going on which were both thrilling and inspiring. But ultimately, rap got sucked up into the system, and it’s now the devil it was supposed to be in opposition to. I find the stuff right now rather pointless, it just seems to be people shouting at me over stolen back beats. I want to ask you about moving forward musically. The time between The Sex Pistols splitting up and you forming PiL was a matter of months. After being attacked by a mob around
I’m interested about the Capital Radio show you appeared on while you were with the Pistols, when you confused the punks by playing stuff like Captain Beefheart and Can. You could argue that in a sense, an artist like Captain Beefheart is actually more punk than many of your original peers... Oh absolutely, I totally agree. Completely. And that’s what I was trying to tell these wannabe punks. We weren’t selling you a rigid uniform here and a series of musical clichés, but that we come from a rich musical background and want to progress that way too. The army that hitched onto us was actually an enormous negative. So these bands who are still playing a version of that old fashioned ‘punk’ sound... It’s really all rather horrible isn’t it? It’s karaoke really. And Green Day have to be the worst karaoke band around [laughs]. You know I met them in Russia? They were bitter and twisted. And they were amazingly ignorant, not only about the history of
He thought so! Poor thing. I miss him very much. I miss all my friends who died stupidly, or any way at all. I’ve never come to grips with death, the loss is too overwhelming for me. When I perform a song like Death Disco live, that breaks my heart. Different elements of it keep cropping up. But it’s a healthy way to clear your mind, rather than hold all of these things in. Shout therapy, scream therapy, whatever you want to call it. That’s the way it works, how you relate to an audience or how an audience relates to a band, a communality in there. OK, thanks for your time John. Cheers. May the roads rise and the enemies always be behind you. May they scatter, batter, flatter and shatter!
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P rior to the release of his second L P Caramel , we talk to the cosmic Kiwi who doesn ’t listen to music and disdains major record labels
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TUN E I t ’ s Your Body 5
PHOTO Jen C a rey
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It is with great and grave expectations that a music careerist will strive for a level of celebrity and affluence unobtainable by conventional methods. The dilemma is one of artistic integrity versus the desire and necessity for financial and personal gain.
on a park bench for the first six weeks. Eventually I found somewhere to live, but still, it was a tough decision to make because all that baiting just seemed dumb to me. That depressed me quite a bit, so I returned home to move back in with my parents and didn’t really do anything for a bit.
Participants of the centralised music economy are at the behest of major record labels, haters might say, and with good reason. But it’d be impertinent to suggest that all major labels are innately evil, corporate carrot danglers, regardless of which ideological mast your beliefs are bound to. To snub such lucrative means of career advancement would surely be counter intuitive to the cause. Unless of course, you’re Connan Mockasin.
How do you perceive the current business models of the industry and the role of major record labels in the UK?
New Zealand’s Connan Tant Hosford is most definitely not a careerist, nor does he harbour any aspiration to become a posturing celebrity. In truth, we’re not even certain he’s of this world. Formerly of Connan and The Mockasins – the now defunct blues-pop band which he fronted until 2007 – he departed his native Wellington to relocate to London in 2006, before returning shortly after following ill-fitting fraternisations with EMI’s mostly pig-fodder indie auxiliary Regal. In spite of this false start, his relative eminence circa 2013 – which he meditatively rejects as a “happy accident” as he talks to Crack pre-gig in Belgium – can in part be attributed to his Andy Warholian yarns of peroxide blonde hair and an imitable style of submerged warbling awash with made up words borrowed from decadent dreams and far away galaxies. Oh yeah, his mum (who implored him to record his debut solo LP, Forever Dolphin Love) and Phantasy Sound label boss Erol Alkan (the producer of aforementioned debut LP, released in 2011) are deserved of props too. Not to be reductive, but Forever Dolphin Love is redolent of an evening spent trapped in an underwater isolation tank with a heavily sedated Syd Barret. Immersive yet beset with a capricious incohesion, the anthemic psych-funk odyssey Please Turn Me Into the Snat is the bat-shit crazy opus that Floyd never penned. By virtue of him being bothered enough to write more songs, he’s recorded album number two. It’s called Caramel, and it’s a clusterfuck of derailed electronics and wah-wah jazz chords siphoned directly from Prince’s libido. It’s unnerving, albeit extremely sexy, like Jeremy Paxman’s beard or malformed fruit that resembles a woman’s shapely buttocks. Lest he be beholden to a deeper understanding, what’s most otherworldly (the oft used adjective synonymous with his description) about Mockasin is that his actions seem to be dictated by an odd disposition for arbitration and enigma. This much we do know, as he purrs down the phone and imparts sage-like pearls of wisdom in his mercurial Kiwi brogue.
Having had a fleeting dalliance with EMI’s subsidiary label Regal during your previous incarnation as frontman of Connan And The Mockasins, what deterred you from working with the imprint for your solo endeavours? When I first came to the UK, no one knew who I was, so no one was ever going to trust me to do my own thing. It’s nothing against EMI or anything, because there were other labels that were talking to me at the time, asking me to make this type of record, or write this type of song. Their motives were very corporate and business-driven. Basically, they just try and dangle loads of money in front of you and expect you to take it. It was very difficult for me when I first came to England. I had to sleep
What puts me off is the way some of the bigger labels try and assume control of the creative process. For me, it just feels like businessmen trying to make as much money as possible. As much as it’s about monetising music, I think [major labels] use their artists as puppets. That model dumbs the music industry down and patronises the audience, but I try not to be too negative about it. I think a lot of people involved in music are choosing to ignore industry giants, partly due to boredom with everything being so processed. It’s almost like they’re offering record deals out to people who just want to be famous, and that didn’t interest me at all. The people who want to be famous get to be famous, and then the businessmen makes stacks of money, which is what they want, so it keeps them happy. But it’s reductive of the music industry as a whole and it’s been happening for a long time. We read somewhere that it wasn’t until the intervention of your mum that you decided to release your debut LP. Why were you so disinclined to release Forever Dolphin Love? Once I got a tiny taste of what the industry was about, I immediately felt like I wanted to do something else instead. Like I said, I was trying to figure out what I wanted, so I’d just hang out at the beach and not do a great deal. This is until my mum suggested that I should make a record. At first, I was like, ‘bah, I don’t know about that, I wouldn’t have the first clue how to record a solo album’. So ultimately, it was my mum’s perseverance and Erol [Alkan] I have to thank for its release. My career is just one big happy mistake. Can you explain your rationale behind signing to Erol Alkan’s primarily dance music oriented label Phantasy? As soon as I met Erol, I felt like I could trust his direction because he has a genuine passion for music. He’s into all types of music y’know, so I wouldn’t read too much into that choice. He came across my record by chance, got in contact, invited me to his home, we hung out. It was an altogether more personable experience, and I’m really quite close with Erol now. You’ve been quoted as saying you’re not an active listener of music, is it not indicative of a musician to consume as much music as possible in order to feed into your expressionism? That’s true, I’m certainly very lazy at collecting music and I don’t embrace technology. I don’t have an iPod or an iPhone or anything like that; I tend to turn a blind eye to it. There’s just so much music out there that I can’t be bothered sifting through to find the stuff that I like. I do love music, and I do love hearing it, but no, I’m not an active listener. The last record that really excited me was [Andre 3000’s] The Love Below and that was released about a decade ago. I feel like I succumb to the creativity when I’m doing something completely separate to music as well. Like taking a walk on my own, or doing the dishes. I listen to Ricky Gervais, Karl Pilkington and Stephen Merchants’ podcast on YouTube every night before I go to bed, those guys put me to sleep. Then it happens – I write songs when I’m least expecting it.
If it’s not listening to music that compels your creativity then what did you draw inspiration from when writing Caramel? The new record is evocative of the name; basically, I liked the name Caramel. I’m not sure if the name has been used before, but I wrote all the music as to what I thought a record called Caramel would sound like. To me it sounded saucy and simplistic; relaxed, y’know, just what I thought a record called Caramel would sound like. I couldn’t pinpoint any tangible inspirations, just the mental imagery of the title which is reflective of the tone of album. Is it true you holed yourself up in a hotel room in Tokyo for a month with nothing but a tape recorder and a guitar? I like working with small amounts of gear and I don’t like studios so much because they make me anxious, there’s just too many options. I just feel really flustered, it’s better when there’s a limited amount of options to choose from. I enjoyed making the new record, taking a month out and staying in a hotel in Tokyo. [The record] just came out of me; I can’t even remember much about making it now. You’ve described Caramel as a quasi-concept album, involving the paraphilia of a dolphin by a fictional character by the name of the Boss. How does this concept tie in with your previous LP, and what’s with the dolphin fetish? There’s a goodbye from the [characters involved in the] last record, and an introduction [from those characters] to the new record, I think. It’s really quite a flirty record, because I’m not very good at that stuff, I get very shy. I’m not very good at flirting in real life so it was quite enjoyable to vent my flirtation in the record. This record’s definitely a goodbye to the dolphin fetish though; the dolphin has swum off now. Can you tell us more about your recent collaborations with Charlotte Gainsbourg and label bedfellow Sam Dust of Late of the Pier? Charlotte and I have been doing some writing together recently, we wrote one song [Out Of Touch] and that’s how we met, but we’ve been talking about writing more. If we both find the time it’s possible we might make a record together. Next year I’ve got a record coming out with Sam, which is really exciting. We did some shows together and now we’ve become really close friends. It took us a long time to hit it off musically though, we were so shy of each other, but I’m really pleased with the way it’s turned out. The record’s called Soft Hair. A girl once told us that we both have soft hair so we thought: hold on, that’s our name right there. You’ve expressed doubts over the longevity of your career as a musician, where do you see yourself in say two years’ time? To be honest, I really don’t know. Right now I’m having fun, it just depends whether I have any more bright ideas. If I don’t, I’m not going to try and make a record because there’s demand for it, providing I’m lucky enough to have any. I’ll just play it by ear I think. There’s other things I’d like to try as well. If there was ever an opportunity, I’d like to make movie soundtracks, that excites me, I think, but we’ll see. --------Caramel is out now via Phantasy
W ORD S Gera int Davi es
LEFT “Don’t listen to me”, he announces. “I’m a miserable cunt.” We’re easing into our conversation with Andy Falkous – the notoriously cantankerous fucker who has torn a peculiarly shaped hole through the underground as frontman of both Mclusky and Future Of The Left – on the subject of football. He’s so far referred to the players representing his hometown club Newcastle United as “a bunch of ill fannies”, before revealing that he’d “wank off a ghost squirrel” to see them finish fourth. A miserable one of them the long-time Cardiff-based Falkous may be – when it suits him. It’s a reputation far too established to ever disintegrate; one garnered from cutting eager hecklers down to size from behind the mic in the momentary lulls between the savage and charming slabs which make up his bands’ output. Yet despite the years spent churning out some of the most consistently startling rock music in the country, of establishing himself as one of the foremost sages in alternative guitar battery, something feels different about latest – frankly incredible – offering How To Stop Your Brain In An Accident. That’s probably because something is different. Quite a few things are different. This is the fourth Future of the Left album, the second with the now established line-up of drummer and Mclusky cohort Jack Egglestone, former Million Dead bassist (and Falco’s wife) Julia Ruzicka, and guitarist/certified lunatic Jimmy Watkins. It feels a million miles from the band who turned out 2007 debut Curses, never mind 2002’s blistering Mclusky Do Dallas, a still-flawless masterpiece of indie noise that, in another time and in another place, prompted its producer Steve Albini to declare them the only band in Britain worth listening to. From those gnarled roots blaring out of Cardiff to Chicago and beyond, Future of the Left have blossomed into a unit with more light and shade than Mclusky, for all their bite and bile, could have dreamed of. On How To Stop Your Brain..., the jerky, murky and decidedly un-twerky post-hardcore squall is present and correct – perhaps better than ever on I Don’t Know What You Ketamine (But I Think I Love You). But this album also dips into downtuned, sandblasted stoner riffs; a hazily thrummed, Waits-evoking shuffle, and even, on Singing Of The Bonesaws, a surreal, tumbling narrative delivered in the style of a public service announcement. “In terms of variety, we couldn’t have done those things in Mclusky” Falco confirms. “That’s partly because of the personnel, but part of that is myself as well. I just wanted to make loud noises when I was in Mclusky, whereas now I only want to make loud noises 94% of the time. “It’s always meant to be pop music”, he continues. “It’s always meant to have tunes. You’re meant to be able to sing along to it, even if it’s smashing you in the knee and trying to steal your Motorola. And I’d suggest that if you have a Motorola you might deserve to have it stolen.” The band’s previous release, The Plot Against Common Sense, showed a lyrical departure from Falco’s usual freeform tirades; more openly satirical, even pseudo-political. But How To Stop Your Brain... gathers melodramatic and irresistible snapshots of ideas; more mature maybe, but less specific. Fourth track The Male Gaze might be presumed to be a product of touring in a band with his partner, witnessing the nightly leers of largely man-made crowds upon her. Yet close listening reveals a more complex mindset. “With The Male Gaze I’m thinking about the male gaze on the man
FUTURE OF THE
himself ” he explains, “looking into the reasons, or more pertinently the excuses for the male gaze. For me it’s very important, as somebody who sits within society, to be aware of the excesses of misogynist males – of which there are many – but also to be aware of the occasional, slightly hysterical reactions at the other extreme. It’s not claiming to have answers, it’s all just swimming around in the confusion. It’s about setting up a situation and saying ‘what the fuck are you gonna do about it?’ You can bring me the balls of every male, and that would be a solution in the first place, and it’d be a solution a lot of people would be happy to partake in.” His voice takes a turn for the severe. “But I can say that if someone has shouted something along the lines of ‘get your tits out’ to Julia whilst she’s been in the band, then I haven’t heard it. And I can guarantee that I haven’t heard it, because I’m not in prison.” As time has gone on, Falco’s ire has become less scattergun. He practices a very personal form of politics; one of general dissatisfaction and relentless piss-taking. He’s not an apolitical person, or an apolitical writer. But he also has no intention of utilising his limited, grubby pulpit to purport to offer answers to not having answers in the grimly answer-free landscape of political discourse. “I don’t think about party politics”, he reflects. “I perhaps did at one stage, and I’m of the slightly simplistic notion that the Conservatives are worse than the others, but truth be told, I think the lot of them are, to coin a term, like a carriage full of pricks waiting for the fucking buffet. It’s an archaic institution that works in an increasingly bizarre way, it’s so bad it’s almost beyond cynicism or satire, and I think the only way to sort it out is probably revolution. But I’m afraid I have neither the organisational skills nor the necessary love of violence and sedition, so you’ll have to count me out of being involved at the planning stages.” The band’s position to the left of acclaim and acceptance fell into pleasant crisis last year when The Plot For Common Sense was awarded the Welsh Music Prize – the Welsh version of the Polaris prize, which is the Canadian version of the Mercuries, which just got awarded to James Blake’s ambient chillax odyssey Retrograde. It’s intriguing to know how a Geordie who’s been presumed Welsh by osmosis, simply by living in Cardiff for well over a decade, as well as someone who craves validation like a vegan craves corned beef, reacted to such relative glittery praise. “Being presumed Welsh is fine” he laughs. “I’d just as happily be presumed Welsh as English, or Swahili. It was very nice to win that thing. It’s important to receive something like that in the spirit it’s intended, not to be a total hypocrite because you can’t spend your whole life saying things like that are shit and then when you win one say it’s OK, but similarly not to be too cynical about it. It doesn’t change my view of the record, I still think it’s a very good record, and it was a very good record before we won that prize, and it’s a very good record after. I did resent people then taking the record more seriously, because the notes on the record have not been fundamentally changed in some way or made more significant by the fact there’s now a trophy attached to it.” But the praise wasn’t universal, and a review from Pitchfork’s Ian Cohen provoked prolonged discussion. Despite the caveat of declaring Falco to be ‘something of a personal hero’, he proffered a particularly vindictive display of flailing snobbery: singling out lyrics and affixing misleading thematic tropes, accusing the band of ‘corporate-slick production’, pining limply for the days of Mclusky, and even calling into question the motives behind the band’s continued existence. He ain’t exactly the most sensitive soul, but it struck a chord with Falco. “The thing is”, he insists, www.crackmagazine.net
“an individual’s opinion is of no consequence to me whatsoever. If they don’t like it, then hey, join the fucking queue, lots of people don’t like it. But I genuinely had hopes of that record helping to take us to a slightly wider audience, and the moment I saw that review it effectively put an end to that. So it was important for me a) to lash out like a fucking child, but b) also, to levy it. If you’re hanging these negative opinions and assumptions in a review which was probably read by tens of thousands of people, certainly more than actually bought the album, then I reserve the right to fucking reply.” And reply he did, in an open letter to Mr. Cohen a few days later. It
TUN E I Do n't K now What You Ke tam i n e ( B u t I Th in k I Lo v e Yo u )
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Falco has long nurtured. As such, the process behind the making of How To Stop Your Brain..., as surprising as it was, made sense. Because after years of putting up with the logistical nonsense which accompanies the making of any record, Future of the Left chose to embrace the trend for crowdfunding and release the album independently under their own Prescriptions imprint. It was a brave move; you might even call it a rare display of vulnerability. Yet for a band who have stuck so staunchly to traditional values of making music with no compromise, of touring tirelessly, and of connecting directly with their audience, it was actually a very potent opportunity to transfer their fans’ dedication into something tangible and immediate. The total was reached within five hours, and it kept growing. “It was fantastic” Falco beams, allowing himself a little – just a little – sentimentality. “The amount of faith and – I don’t use this term loosely – love it showed. It was fantastic sitting there for those five hours and watching it hit 100%. I can honestly say I fell asleep that night agog at the wonders provided by the human race.” See, it’s this kind of talk which makes you wonder: did he always have this streak of underlying positivity coursing through him? Can it all have been a masterful ruse? Is Falco actually not in fact a massive angry bastard, but a nice bloke? The answer is ... maybe. “Well, sometimes you meet people you don’t like and who don’t like you, and they’re a prick to you, and you’re a prick back” he says. “There are things that make me miserable. Getting the train up to Newcastle gets on my tits, and I hate playing venues with shit soundsystems. I hate it when venues can’t effectively refrigerate beer and make me feel like Axl Rose because my demands include, and end, at a cold beer. But I think I’ve probably got that reputation because people see what they see onstage, and assume that’s an extrapolation of the actual character. And I suppose it’s because a lot of people in the music industry are outrageous, galloping twats and if you don’t immediately say yes to every stupid fucking idea they come up with, you become a curmudgeon and someone who’s grumpy. ‘Oh, why don’t you dress up as a penguin for this photo shoot?’ Cause it’ll make me look like a cunt, fuck off. So yeah, I can definitely be grumpy, but you know what, apart from the occasional day, I’m actually an alright guy and I get on with people just fine. Some people aren’t gonna like me, but that’s alright, I don’t like most people, so we can all agree not to go on holiday together.” Hearing him speak of the mythical ‘industry’ in such terms is no surprise. Future of the Left have been stung, which makes becoming independent all the more satisfying. Having released their debut on Too Pure, for Travels With Myself And Another they were passed on to one of the world’s most respected labels, 4AD. But it wasn’t so simple. “Being on Too Pure was always fine” recounts Falco. “Being on 4AD was a horrible experience.” He’s clearly agitated. “It felt like we didn’t even exist. We were told through friends of ours who knew people there that they were going to drop us a week after Travels... came out. I’m not bitter about that, I don’t want to imply some petty agenda that slowly eats away at me; I’m fucking angry about it, y’know. But then again, some people go to prison. I was on 4AD.” To this day, Falco aspires to be a full-time musician. But he’s not. He’s an office temp. He’s not asking for sympathy – he’s simply asking to be shown the same levels of dedication and respect for stupid fucking rock music that he’s shown throughout his career. “Don’t get me wrong”, he stresses. “Nobody asked me to make those sacrifices. I made them off my own back and, occasionally I punch myself in the balls in reproach.
was a humdinger, a distillation of all those years spent kicking against the pricks, expressing his displeasure at what he felt was an unbalanced piece which favoured hits over fairness. Opening with the disclaimer that ‘rebuttals of unfavourable album reviews are lame, self-serving and immature – this one is no different ...’, the letter goes on to systematically deconstruct Cohen’s review (or, as Falco puts it, ‘efuckidate in an easyto-understand fuck-by-point manner’). Taking particular affront to the allegations of ‘corporate’ rock, he drops the bomb that, ‘It must indeed be tough to attempt to write from the perspective of the anti-corporate outsider when you are, apart from the mastering engineer (Sean, who did a really good job) probably the first person involved in the whole
process of making and releasing the album to get paid because of its existence.’ While he in no way regrets his actions, Falco seems reluctant to overegg the incident. “The thing is”, he says, “you shouldn’t underestimate with me how much I fucking love an argument. Particularly a written argument. I honestly believe that if there were Top Trumps for human individuals, I wouldn’t score that highly in most, but if there was one for ‘written argument capability’ then I’d do alright.” This was just one example of a wider engagement with his audience that www.crackmagazine.net
“But it’s the person I am. I was the person I am and it’s probably the person I ever will be. I’m very lucky that my beautiful wife doesn’t just play in the band, but also understands, and is addicted to the idea of rock music as much as I am, perhaps stupidly. It’s something we both feel about passionately and without compromise. The dream is always to do it on a full-time basis, it really is.” He doesn’t sound resigned. In fact, he sounds enthused. “I’ll never stop making music, it’s simply not an option. Whether anyone wants to listen to it or not is a different question, but it’ll never stop being made.” --------How To Stop Your Brain In An Accident is out now via Prescriptions
TU NE Wen u Wenu
IL LUS TR ATIO N J am e s W i l s on
WO R D S A n n a Te h absi m
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W ith help from F our Tet, O mar S ouleyman’ s relentlessly positive voice is drifting toward W estern ears
You might have heard the near-fabled story of Omar Souleyman, the wedding singer who has accumulated over 750 releases from the thousands of parties he’s performed at around his home in Northern Syria. He’s famed for his relentless take on a style of rural Arabic dance music named ‘dabke’, and characterised by his poker face expression as he chain smokes cigarettes under his aviators and his traditional jalabiya/keffiyeh dress. But if you hadn’t heard of him, Omar Souleyman is basically the coolest guy on the planet, and his story is as intriguing as it sounds. “I could have never imagined what would happen to my singing career in Syria and our region and further in the West” Souleyman relays from Turkey over a crowded Skype connection including him, his manager, and a translator. While growing up in his rural hometown of Ra’s al‘Ayn in North Eastern Syria, Souleyman started singing when he was seven, but it wasn’t until 1994 that he started performing professionally. Souleyman admits that he would’ve continued to be a farmer – the staple profession of his hometown – if drought hadn’t crippled the trade and music not led him down a different path. “I have met many people from different parts of the world, and been influenced by many people throughout my life, but music and in particular ‘love music’ is my passion. I can’t see myself doing any thing else.” The ‘love music’ that Souleyman mentions is referring to the romantic songs he has been performing at weddings for the past 20 years. His hometown’s cultural melting pot of Kurdish, Ashuri, Turkish and Iraqi nationalities is what led to the amalgamation of Arabic styles which form his bespoke and ‘technofied’ style of ‘dabke’. Specifically, he merged Iraqi-style Choubi music with Kurdish lyricism and upped the tempo dramatically. “It was a trend throughout our region that started with keyboards replacing the live instruments, because they could all have samples and exist within the keyboards. Mine is different in that I wanted the speed raised to the maximum possible dance speed.” Performances are a simple set up. Souleyman’s revolving crew of musicians currently include keyboard player Rizan Sa’id, who effortlessly commandeers the disorientating synth from behind his Yamaha with seamless precision, alongside Ali Shaker on electric saz. As they carry a whirlwind collection of influences, Souleyman weighs in over this frenetic sound with his signature yearning vocals. Throughout his expansive collection of works, Souleyman sounds at once like the most self-assured and the most heartbroken man in the world. “In the beginning, I would get 10 minutes to sing at a wedding. And I
did many of those, but soon enough I started to receive offers to sing the entire wedding party, and that way my fame in the region grew.” From then until 2000, Souleyman found he had a party gig literally every day. As demand grew, his meteoric rise saw him ascend to fame throughout his region and throughout the Middle East, until he had recorded over 750 cassettes. Or so the press releases say. “I have done more than that. I recorded a cassette at every wedding. Sometimes two. All new and original songs, all about courtship, love and marriage, and I work with many poets to get new words all the time”. These tapes are recordings – or dubs – from weddings, to be given as a souvenir to the bride and groom. When Mark Gergis stumbled across some of his tapes in a bundle picked up at a Damascus market, he was particularly impressed by Souleyman’s signature dizzying, beat driven brand of dabke. Gergis approached Seattle label Sublime Frequencies in 2006, and by introducing him to the radical imprint that released lo-fi ‘world music’ collages such as Choubi Choubi! Folk And Pop Songs From Iraq and Radio Pyongyang: Commie Funk And Agit Pop From The Hermit Kingdom – both during the Bush administration – Gergis has since admitted that while he passed on the tapes for their musical merit, he also felt the release called to humanise a nation that has suffered years of demonisation. Releasing Highway To Hassake: Folk and Pop songs of Syria through Sublime Frequencies showcased Souleyman’s music to a new, Western audience. Remix work with Bjork and Four Tet quickly helped generate a large fan base – one that some might accuse of cultural tourism (and perhaps reductively describe as ‘drunk white hipsters’ or ‘Brooklyn’s pot-smoking alt kids’). In the midst of this, Souleyman sees himself as something of an anomaly; “This type of Arabic music, it is new to the Western audience.” He diverges, “The West did not used to listen to Arabic music. I was introduced to the Western scene while singing in festivals to much praise, and sometimes I was asked to do more songs on stage. This proves that they like Arabic music.” Souleyman recently released Wenu Wenu, his first album to be recorded in a studio, which sees production work from revered British electronic musician Kieran Hebden (aka Four Tet), who subtly adapted the chaotic style to the Western ear. “I did not know Kieran before I was introduced to him by Nina (Tosti, Souleyman’s manager), but Kieran was excellent with using modern technology in ways that were new to me.” Wenu Wenu presents seven tracks of tender love songs channeled through wildly colourful techno. The album’s title track, which translates as ‘Where is she, where is she’, tells of a lost love who “kills with her beautiful eyes”.
Through intricate whirlwinds of nasal synth and pounding rhythms on warp speed, the album encapsulates the trance-inducing, hypnotic energy that forms the bedrock of Omar Souleyman’s music. With only the most gentile of touches from Hebden, the end result is a delightfully endearing pandemonium that it’s hard not to love. Although letting a producer he had no prior knowledge of arrange the building blocks of his Domino Records debut seems like a leap of faith, Souleyman is quick to praise their collaboration; “I would like to thank him and wish him well. I hope we can do more of the same again.” Despite his impenetrable stance, the thread running through Souleyman’s guise is one of endless positivity. And after touring extensively and performing at some of the world’s largest festivals, the experience all seems a bit of a blur. “I can’t think of any specific ones, but I enjoy a big, happy audience.” When asked what makes his voice so tender yet so powerful, he simply claims, “I sing my songs always from the heart.” Souleyman is wary of talking about the devastating ongoing situation in his home country. What he does relay, when asked how the situation at home has affected his experience as a performer, is “Yes it has influenced and affected my work in Syria. But moreover it has influenced the lives of many people in Syria and beyond. Because the situation has reached a terrible state of affairs.” As Syria’s increasingly complex sectarian conflict continues as the backdrop to our lives, Souleyman ensures us that he wishes to spread music’s universal tenets alongside those of love and kinship, as his music finds its way to larger audiences. “The Western audience are dancing to the music and know I am singing about love and marriage.” He continues, “I do not sing about hate nor politics; only love.” ---------Wenu Wenu is out now via Domino Recordings
BOB AND ROBERTA SMITH
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WORDS Ce l i a A rch e r
Bob and Roberta Smith has been making waves in the art world for decades. The creative persona of Patrick Brill, his work is explicitly political and uses studied craft letter-writing techniques to produce signs, banners and posters which convey his ideas. Yet for an artist who is widely perceived to be anti-establishment in sentiment, you could argue he’s surprisingly orthodox in his approach. On first glance, these phrases might seem too reasonable to be polemic activism and too polite to ‘stick-it-to-the-man’. Statements such as ‘I Like Art Being Taught in Secondary School’, or ‘Do You Want to Hold On to a Few of Your Ideals?’ aren’t particularly strong-worded. But the power of Smith’s slogans is in making you realise just how ridiculous and extreme the established laws and ideologies he is working against must be, if his work is seen as a protest against it. Some of Bob and Roberta’s most notable works came when, in 2006, The New Walsall Gallery in Birmingham acquired the archives of early 20th century sculptor Jacob Epstein. From 2009 to 2012, Smith helped the gallery delve into this material. The residency culminated in a number of different projects, not least with Smith devising a new system for proportional representation from every constituency of both genders in parliament, which he then presented at the ICA in London. Although Epstein is a celebrated sculptor, he’s renowned for his turbulent personal life and complicated relationships with his wife, mistresses and children. Smith chose to fixate on a sculpture made by Epstein of his daughter, Esther, with her breast exposed, belying an uncomfortable relationship between father and daughter; artist and subject. Smith then enlisted a group of talented female artists to explore these relationships in the New Walsall’s exhibition The Life of The Mind. One of Smith’s slogans reads ‘Let People Do Their Thing’, and what he is advocating is as simple and as complicated as that. His works are a call to arms, only he believes that the weapons should be creative rather than destructive. His maxim ‘Make Your Own Damn Art’ is one of his more forceful instructions and is at the centre of his agenda. It’s a step further from the idea that everyone should have access to art and culture, towards one that demands that everyone is able to represent themselves.
Firstly, who are Bob and Roberta Smith? Well, that’s me! Really the idea behind Bob and Roberta Smith is that anyone can be Bob and Roberta Smith, a bit like 007 or Doctor Who, and the essential idea is that people make their own damn art. That’s great! So you’ve got your show on at Plymouth Contemporary Arts at the moment, would you like to talk about it? Yeah, that’s called Art Makes Children Powerful and the show is three works – a banner on the outside of the building that says ‘Art Makes Children Powerful’, a painting which is about the Arts Council and the other work is this letter to Michael Gove. At the opening I read the letter to Michael Gove and sang the work about the Arts Council. Basically, the show is about education and how to take art more seriously. If you teach the arts properly to children in primary schools you improve their cognitive learning and fill them with self-confidence. In secondary education, I think it becomes more problematic. Since 2010, 14% less children have chosen to study art because they’re being told that it’s not important as it’s not in the EBacc selection of subjects. With the show I’m trying to exhort that this is the wrong move by the government and that they should give art the same parity as any other subject. Public galleries like the Walsall in Birmingham and the Baltic in Newcastle have very dedicated education sections for young people. Do you think the job of arts education is shifting into these kind of public gallery spaces, and do you think that’s a good idea? The reality is they’re not geared up to teach art in the way schools are, because school is a compulsory activity whereas going to art galleries isn’t. Also physical access to galleries across the country is not universal whereas school access is. A gallery’s mission is about getting people to understand and appreciate culture, which is a great thing, but it’s not about practical activity and making culture. I think the art world, and art generally, should be made by as broad a group of people as possible, from all walks of life. But my fear is that certain groups of society won’t think that art is their thing at all. If you’re a kid from Brixton and you’re being told about the Avant-garde, that’s great, but you’re also being told that your culture is shit. There’s always been this issue with the art world about ‘Whose culture is it?’ but the current debate around education flags this up again. I think it should be everybody’s culture, it should be a big conversation about who we are.
A lot of the works you make are signs and adopt that style of vocabulary. How do you utilise that to compete with the advertising images, slogans and billboards that people see all around them? People feel that they have to approach art, whereas advertising comes to you. I suppose on some level I could be accused of preaching to the converted a lot, but what I try to do is genuinely open up a space that is different to those that have been thought about before. I’m interested in this idea of art as a bit of a campaign. I like things which try to gently awaken people to the idea that they are powerful and that they have a certain kind of power. A lot of power structures are set up to remove power from human beings. The exam system is set up so that you have some people who get power and some who don’t, and it tells them the reason that they don’t is because they’re stupid. Advertising tells them they haven’t got power because they can’t afford any of this stuff while they’re completely bombarding you with a lie that somebody can. A lot of religion is set up to tell women that they will never be the head of whatever organisation, and actually they don’t deserve power. I think art is key is telling people that they do have power. I don’t really want to browbeat people with my ideas and thoughts really, I just want them to think ‘Actually, I could come up with my own.’
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It’s great that you do things in regional locations. The art world is so London-centric it’s ridiculous, and it’s important that across the country everybody gets to do their thing and have their voice. Where I grew up in Yorkshire is a completely, radically different culture from the South East and actually our visual culture doesn’t reflect those things. I want art to be a genuine reflection of what Britain is like. We’d like to talk about your residency at the Walsall Gallery and your work with the Epstein Archive. Was it only when you started looking into the archive that Esther became your focus? I was delighted to do it, but I didn’t know on earth what I would do to begin with. It really was a journey through this amazing archive and coming across this rather grim story about his children. One of them committed suicide, one died of a heart attack and although some of that information had been out there, sort of fleshing out the reality of it was in this archive. You put the dates together, begin to find things out and it makes you think ‘My God! What was he thinking?’ He made this sculpture of his daughter Esther and we worked out that she wouldn’t have known at the time that he was her father. It just seemed to be a really unequal relationship, with him as an artist doing this thing and her as his daughter being sculpted by him. It seemed strange and uncomfortable, although it is an amazing piece of sculpture. It really reflects his genius in revealing something about her, even though the thing he brings out doesn’t show him in a particularly positive light. We then did this show with a larger group of female artists who have made work about the relationship with the inner world and the relationship between women and men. We had this really incredible cell sculpture by Louise Bourgeois alongside work by Helen Chadwick, Yayoi Kusama, Tracy Emin and Sarah Lucas. It was a great show to make. You have a Twitter account, do you think that’s a better, or maybe a more universalising way of communicating? The downside of it is that you’ve got 5,000 people looking over your shoulder, and I think that can mitigate against creativity. However, it does bring people together and certainly in terms of campaigning for the arts it’s been enormously useful. Loads of people have been trying to stop Tower Hamlets council selling this Henry Moore sculpture and that was very interesting because I did a flash mob where we all went down, and I did a lot of tweeting about it in the run up. When the event happened, half of the people were my students but the other half were genuinely people who had found out about it via Twitter. I think it’s good. Do you see your role as a teacher at The Cass [part of London Metropolitan University] as separate to your role as an artist? Art education is very important to me, partly because my dad used to run the Chelsea School of Art in the 60s and 70s. I grew up in art schools, so in that sense I’ve had an extremely privileged upbringing. The Cass actually is a really unique institution, and I’ve taught at Goldsmiths and the Royal College, because we have a really broad range of students. It’s pretty wonderful. It has this tradition, which comes from when it used to have huge departments for furniture making and teaching tradespeople and craftspeople, of broadening education and who makes culture, so I really like it in that respect.
“ I f yo u ’ r e a k i d f r o m B r i x to n a n d yo u ’ r e b e i n g to ld a b o u t t h e A v a n t- g a r d e , t h at ’ s g r e at, b u t yo u ’ r e a ls o b e i n g to ld t h at y o u r c u lt u r e i s s h i t. ”
How do you split your time? I do about a day and half teaching, and then the rest of the time I spend in my studio trying to make my work. I live in London, but I also have a studio in Ramsgate which I go to once a week and I work there sometimes for three or four days and then I’m charging around doing exhibitions and things. But you also have a studio in London? Yeah, I wish I could show it to you. I’m sitting in it now. It’s completely bonkers. It’s a shed that I built that’s called the Leytonstone Centre for Contemporary Art. We used to do exhibitions in it but I haven’t done one in it for a while. At the moment it’s looking a bit sorry. It used to have all these grapevines in it but now it’s just full of spiders and sultanas hanging around. You have more affordable works that you sell through the iThink Gallery. We know you want people to make art, but how do you feel about people being able to buy or own art? I like the idea of art being an economy, I’m not somebody who eschews commerce at all. I do think there’s something intrinsically entrepreneurial about making art. If you’re trying to campaign you’re trying to come up with ideas that people understand and resonate with, and if you make art objects you’re trying to make images which do that as well. You can have a visual art campaign and a political campaign and it’s the same thing. If you make your own money selling things, it allows you to advance things which you couldn’t advance in other ways. I’m very pro trying to sell stuff, but I try and do it on a fairly reasonable level if I can. What’s amazing is that there are people who have bought my slogan for £150 or £250 and then there’s somebody who’s paid an awful lot of money for a much larger slogan, when actually it says the same thing. IM AGES All ima ges courtesy of H al e s Ga lle r y, Lo n d o n . C o pyright Bob and Robe rta S m it h
Art Makes People Powerful is on at the Plymouth Arts Centre until 1st December 2013. You can get your hands on some Bob and Roberta Smith at ithinkgallery.com, but he’d rather you made your own
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ON THE W I N T E R E DI T I
Saturday 7th December Fire, London ROOM 1
TODD EDWARDS KRYSTAL KLEAR APPLEBOTTOM B2B WALTER EGO HORIXON TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB DJ GIGAMESH BEATAUCUE LOG0 LIVE MAZE & MASTERS ROOM 2
10.30pm til 5.30am at Fire - 6 South Lambeth Road, London SW8 1RT Adv Tickets £10 & £15 available from: residentadv isor.net / firelondon.net / theransomnote.co.uk www.kitsune.fr / facebook.com/maisonkitsune twitter.com/maison_kitsune / www.magicandm edicine.com
WORDS A ug usti n M a c e lla ri
This magazine recently reviewed Keep Your Timber Limber (works on paper) at the ICA. The conclusions eventually drawn were that, while interesting, it was – reassuringly – outdated. The deliberately provocative homoerotic works had played their part in the “recalibration of societal bigotries”, the work had rendered itself funny. It had become simply documentation of social protest. We should clarify that we don’t at all one bit think that homophobia is a thing of the past. We’re aware that for many the ridiculous taboo still stands, but it does seem obvious that anyone whose interests take them to the ICA, to spend some hours looking at art, will, for whatever reason, not be the sort of person that hates gays. Perhaps, if this exhibition was to be successfully sensationalist, it should have been staged in a gallery in Moscow, or maybe Malawi. The same is not true of Sarah Lucas’s new one-woman show SITUATION at the ICA. A YBA, Lucas made her name co-opting the latently (and not so latently) misogynist language of the 90s lads’ mag, creating confrontational and witty sculptural one-liners. Subbing fried eggs, melons and lemons for boobs, kebabs and kippers for fannies, her works critiqued sexism with their crude visual signifiers of the female (and occasionally male) form. Whilst critical, the work almost invariably contained a dark humour. Aggressive, it was never preachy. This exhibition channels that perfectly; packed with works (Alastair Sooke, writing for the Telegraph counts a weirdly non-specific “at least 55”. He’ll come up more in a bit so this isn’t just like, a gratuitous aside, ok?), it’s dead wry. The works aren’t, by the way, limited to the stained mattress/manky table/buckets and cucumber forms mentioned above. There’s far more to see. Spanning her entire career, works hang from the ceilings (concrete zeppelins; cheaper than lead balloons) and walls. Works on paper, text, image, ready-mades, and her absolutely far-out new NUDS. The downstairs gallery is so crowded it’s a little daunting. Luckily, the artist has offered seats to those brave enough to ask the gallery attendants whether “it might be ok to sit on that, please?”. So much of Lucas’s work is seated, whether on chairs or toilets, perched on tables or breeze-block plinths, it almost seems as though the artist thought it was only fair to let us take the weight off too.
S I TE w hi t echapel g al l er y.org
Reclining on these benches – only slightly less comfortable than your average park one – you are suddenly immersed in her world. Perhaps this isn’t solely an act of generosity on the part of the artist; perhaps you too have been co-opted like a bit of builders’ banter. This sense serves to highlight the conceptual span and development of the artwork on display. From punchy macho hyperbole and grainy 90s bric-a-brac aesthetic, Lucas has refocused the cross hairs of her interest. The most interesting works on display are the aforementioned NUDS. Downstairs, stuffed tights contort and flex, as evocative of the human body’s interior as they are of the exterior, they are wrapped, provocatively, around chairs. They bend on plinths. Upstairs they are more magnificent. Cast in bronze, their anthropomorphic qualities are highlighted, legitimised somehow. They suggest at once obscenity and grace. These are not so sexual politick-ey as her earlier works, but her change of focus should not suggest that these other pieces have lost their relevance. Writing in the Telegraph (here it comes!) Alastair Sooke suggests that their wit critiques “the incipient lad culture of the Nineties, when it was OK for men to boast about sexual conquests as though their partners were as throwaway as fast food.” It sure does, the pieces sure do, but Sooke’s implication is that this is a culture passed; as we hope that the works of Keep Your Timber Limber… have lost some of their resonance, he seems to suggest that perhaps this lad culture is behind us. Clearly, this is not the case. With Facebook timelines inundated by (righteous) indignation at the deplorable use of a language of rape and objectification as a means of promotion for student nights, and calls from all corners to ban lads’ mags, many of these works feel relevant as ever. Curatorially the show is a controlled jumble, but this unwillingness to offer the viewer respite or to segregate the works according to period works to its advantage. Individually, much on offer could be dismissed as two-dimensional. Certainly, many of these pieces function as punch lines. Presented together, though, volume conspires in the exhibition’s favour. Weaker pieces are supported by stronger ones; connections, tropes and in-jokes are allowed free reign. Most importantly, the issues many of these works explore are still unresolved; it might be aesthetically distanced from Tumblr-glossed designer tits, but the subtext, and criticism, is not. Go and see it. ---------Situation runs at the Whitechapel Gallery until December 15th
W O RD S Bi l l y Bl ack
W e speak to the T hrobbing Gristle founder ( s ) as they attempt to assemble their life within the confines of a coffee table book that ’ ll make you spill your coffee
TU NE Disciplin e
Neil Megson was, at some point, born a baby boy to proud parents. Neil Megson has not died, at least not in the traditional sense. Neil Megson simply stopped existing. We’re told that “Genesis has basically assimilated and erased Neil from existence”. Every word Genesis Breyer P-Orridge – electronic music luminary and voice of the disenfranchised – speaks is drenched in sighs of conviction, and perhaps exhaustion, from a life lived so far off the beaten track that s/he doesn’t even know where to begin. Good thing the fine people at First Third Books have put together a visceral, soul searching, life-spanning book of portraiture to help us better understand the meaning of Gen’s life and, in turn, help us to examine the banality of our own. Confronting his/er own identity his/erself has always been at the heart of Genesis’s being. In the mid 90s s/he began a personal transformation along with his partner and bandmate in the third incarnation of Psychic TV – known as PTV3 – Lady Jaye Breyer P-orridge. The pair decided to assimilate themselves into one being that was neither Lady Jaye nor
Genesis, but a single entity named Breyer. The Pandrogyne project, as they called it, was their attempt to build a new gender through a series of surgical procedures. Tragedy befell the pair in 2007 when Lady Jaye sadly passed away due to stomach cancer. Genesis refers to Lady Jaye’s passing as her dropping of her body. As an extremely, overtly spiritual person s/ he firmly believes in the soul carrying on beyond the body’s confines. The events surrounding the forced dissolution of their project has clearly devastated Genesis.
Genesis P-Orridge is in no way similar to 99% of the earth’s population. S/he’s so confrontational and unique that it’s impossible to know what aspect to probe first. Fortunately for us, Genesis themselves – that’s one vessel, two souls, got it? – take the lead. “How do people learn anything?” they muse. They pause to reflect on their own question. “By example”, they conclude. “So we were prepared to sacrifice a normal life to make the point that everyone can have a more satisfying, creation-based existence where they maximise their potential. Where they’re not afraid to go against the status quo.”
If it sounds like a trip, well heck have it, maybe that’s because it is. Most will know Genesis P-Orridge as one of the founders of electronic noise pioneers Throbbing Gristle, however that’s something s/he’d rather not discuss these days. In fact, when the matter of the band or Industrial Records (the seminal label started by P-Orridge which gave its name to industrial music) is raised, we’re met with no more than a roll of the eyes and the wearily exhaled words “the albatross around my neck.” Nothing more is said. It’s clear Genesis would rather project their vision through art and aesthetic than be remembered or revered for past musical impact. www.crackmagazine.net
There’s something pleasing about the way Genesis phrase their thoughts, an almost hypnotic gaze, as if speaking from another dimension, one of invented vocabulary and mystical thinking. “My parents wanted me to go into advertising”, they say. “We answered ‘We did, we just advertise ourselves.” So is Gen a human link between ideas? In a sense. “With very little finance, with very little support, we can actually make things happen. We can actually have an influence on culture itself. That’s why we came up with that phrase: ‘cultural engineering’”.
“ I ’ v e t u r n e d i n to s o m e w e i r d , w i l d p r o p h e t, wan de r i ng desert
S I TE g e n e s i s b r e y e r p or r i d g e .c om
The conversation drifts, somewhat morbidly, to the matter of self-doubt. Without hesitation Genesis smile, recalling a recent experience giving a lecture at the Andy Warhol Museum in New York where a nine-year-old girl told how she’d been waiting her whole life to meet him/her/them. “People are hungry for new ways of looking at the world.” Their face lights up. “The book is another way of doing that which people can access even without coming to a lecture. If they read it and really think about the implications, then they can say ‘there are other ways to live that can be very satisfying and have a positive effect on society’. I’ve turned into some weird, wild prophet, wandering the desert of society”. From an outsider’s perspective, we get that this could all seem a little, dare we say, cultish. But dig deep and what you discover is a human being seeking to reintegrate and unify the disenfranchised among us, to help society as a whole come to terms with its collective goodness. “For 10 years”, Gen tell us “we did rituals and experiments with out-of-body experiences and so on. Something about that process of being absolutely intimate and vulnerable, it seems to resonate beyond language. Genesis Breyer P-Orridge is really just a concept and that allows me to explore
the mysteries of society. Bigotry, violence and so on – but also to look for a more spiritual, mystical way of trying to make sense of this weird thing called existence”. P-Orridge’s new book contains photographs from a wide variety of time periods, ranging from their childhood through to their days in the feminist activist collective COUM and later their time in Psychic TV and Throbbing Gristle, as well as their process of physical transformation in unapologetically vivid detail. It was while collaborating with COUM that Genesis met continual police harassment and raids which were conducted on several of the homes and communes where they lived through the 60s and 70s. “Scotland Yard took every photograph they could find but they obviously missed some nooks and crannies,” Genesis tells us. So what about the rest of the photos? “After Lady Jay arrived in my life we took photographs every day. And then people we knew who had pictures sent them to reconstitute the archive. My mother, before she died, gave me all the family photos.” You can call it a cult of personality, you can call it genius or idiocy;
there are many words you could use to describe the concept of Genesis P-Orridge – “a neurosis” being one which they coyly suggest themselves. The fact remains, whether you choose to gaze from a distance, follow closely with ear pressed against glass, or decry the whole concept as an abomination, Genesis P-Orridge will always stand for individuality, and as we part ways we’re left with more wise, if somewhat far out, words. “We know this is a dream and none of this is real, so having doubts is neither here nor there. If it feels likes something we believe should be done then we’ll do it. Whether anyone will get it, however…” She and he laugh to themselves, perhaps contemplating humanity’s uncanny ability to connect unconsciously. “We’re always surprised when they do.”
Genesis Breyer P-Orridge is available now via First Third Books
D I X ON W O R DS R o b e rt B a t e s
S I TE resi dent adv i sor.net /dj/di x on
DATE S Mot i on, Bri st ol | Nov ember 2 2 nd Warehouse Project , Manchest er | D ecember 12 t h Bug g ed O ut Week ender, S out hport | March 7t h-9t h
Dixon’s real name is Steffen Berkhahn. He was born in Berlin in 1975, had a promising football career cut short by injury, chose music instead and became one of the best house and techno DJs in the world. He is married with one child. Do you have access to the internet? Then all this information is easily available to you. Berkhahn lives what we might (pretentiously) call an ‘examined life’; profiles of and, obviously, music by Dixon are just as Googleable as anything else. Perhaps this is why, over recent years, Berkhahn has tended to decline interview requests – maybe he feels he’s been ‘examined’ quite enough. After being told Crack was one of only a handful of magazines granted interviews, we were given a number to call and time-slot to work in. He then graciously took time out of his holiday to talk to a stranger who, armed with the internet, had a mixture of earnest and ‘zany’ questions to ask. How he feels about this kind of odd interaction – a conversation where one participant already knows (or thinks they know) so much about the other – was what we started on. He was in a reflective mood, talking in telegraphic, staccato bursts. We discussed Innervisions, the label he co-founded and helms, DJing, why he won’t be advertising nights on Facebook and, of course, football. There is always a question on football. Berkhahn has had a long and successful career. That’s one reason why there’s now a corpus of information on him in the public domain. More importantly, though, this is a man who really thinks about his craft, is honest about it, and cares about both educating and entertaining his audience. Few do his job as effectively as he does, and that’s what continues to hold people’s interest.
There’s a lot of biographical information about you on the internet. How does it feel to live an ‘examined life’? It’s definitely strange. When I’m doing an interview, I tend to open up. But afterwards, often I feel it’s just ... strange. For instance, Resident Advisor wanted to travel with me to South America, base a feature on me being a father now, and the clash between family life and DJ life. We were talking about it and I thought, ‘actually, I don’t want that’. For the first time, I stepped back from that openness and said, ‘alright, wait a minute – having my wife and my kid in this? I don’t feel good about that’. When you do interviews, the first thing they usually ask is, [mock-earnest tone] “So: how did you get started?”. And usually I say, “well, check one of the other million interviews I’ve done”. The information’s out there already. And you can only say so much about music, or clubs, your past or whatever, and once you’ve done that, it’s out there. So two or three years ago I decided to stop doing so much press because it was the same thing over-and-overand-over-again. The rapid rise and sustained success of Innervisions suggests you’ve got a handle on the press. Everything I’ve done in my music career has been learned by doing. Everything was first driven by extreme enthusiasm – you might make millions of mistakes, but you learn from them and you survive them. That’s what we did with Innervisions. Over the years we carefully defined for ourselves what we wanted Innervisions to be. After a while, you start to really think about why you like that track – why now? Why this artist? Why not that artist? So I think the fact we truly care about the release policy, the presentation, and how we sell the records from our own shop are the reasons behind this success. The past few years have seen you concentrate on running Innervisions and touring. 2013 has seen you produce again, will that continue? I’m actually feeling much more comfortable in the studio now. There’s a couple of things to come: one with Guy Gerber, a remix for Mathew Jonson, I just released the remix for Mano Le Tough and I’m working on some inter-Innervisions things. I tend not to do too much though, which is based on one simple fact: I’m extremely slow when it comes to productions! When DJing, you usually play at least one ‘curveball’ track. Is this to ‘test’ the crowd? Or to keep things interesting for yourself?
Both. Even if I love a record, after playing it 10 nights in a row, I might get sick of it. I want to entertain myself. This is the first and most important rule [of DJing] for two reasons. First, I don’t want to be standing there like some machine. Second, if I entertain myself, I play the records I really believe in. Then I transfer a message that may be more authentic than otherwise: you should always be honest and only play records for yourself. It sounds very selfish, but actually it’s not. If you do this, the crowd gets the best out of you and then, you make a difference. As a DJ you should only play what you really love, otherwise you’re just like 90% of all the other DJs out there. Also, in my normal two hour sets, I try to have two ‘memorable’ moments. And I don’t want to create them with big hits; I want to make that ‘strange’ record I love into a big track on the night. So I prepare my set on the night – not before – so that in 30 minutes, I can play this one ‘strange’ track I really love, and have the crowd react not just in a ‘oh, this is abstract, let’s go to the bar?’ way; I have to find a way to make it work so everyone’s like ‘woah!’ Does the above change much when you play with Kristian of Âme? Yeah. When I play alone, I very much have a masterplan for the next hour. With Kristian, it’s about me getting rid of my ‘German behaviour’. Your Boiler Room set with Âme really is a journey: pillow fights, torn pillows, feathers, Paul Simon. Was it fun to go a bit sillier than perhaps the media image of The DJ normally allows? Yeah! You know, for a long time, I thought DJing was about teaching people what great music is. I forgot the entertainment aspect to it. I realised after a couple of years that you have to balance the two. You have to adjust to the situation, touch different emotions. It’s like, I don’t want to have cereal every morning for breakfast. I wanna have cereal two mornings then maybe I want eggs or something. So we played Frank Ocean in the middle and everyone was like ‘oh, in a Dixon/Âme set?!’ There seems to be a particular backlash against the burgeoning popularity of house and techno music at the moment. Why do you think an industry largely based around entertaining people is so prone to sniping? First of all, when I started to go out, I saw people I thought were super cool, and I wanted to be a part of that. But when something gets bigger, the crowd is no longer special. So people distance themselves from that. They want to have that one thing – even in times of Facebook! – that one party that only they knew about, and it was amazing. This is the ideal everyone is looking for. That’s where the criticism comes from – no one feels special any more. And then, these days you only hear the people that bitch. Most of the time, people that bitch do it faster than people that say something good. I can see it on my Facebook thing: if I get criticism, I get it on the night. People are actually on Facebook, saying ‘Oh this is shit’ already at the club. The people that actually like it react two or three days later. It’s a kind of sign of the times. That’s why for our parties in 2014 we will go completely under the radar. No Resident Advisor, no Facebook, none of that. We will do parties that you have to find out about. People will have to search for it, to create that ‘special’ feeling again. We won’t do that for all of them, but for some of them at least, you’ll find no information online, nothing: you’ll either hear about it from your friend, or you won’t. To link back to the opening question on biographical details, how many times have you been asked about the injury that halted your promising football career? [laughs] You know, there is a moment when you ask yourself [in interviews] if the answer you give now is the reality, or just a version of a version ... you’re doing interviews and you don’t want to say the same thing all the time, so you change it a bit. Not making it up, obviously, but giving a different aspect of the story. After a while you’re like, “hmm, did it actually happen the way I just said it did?!” Wait – has anyone asked you about that injury? No! Actually, everyone talks about the football; I always come up with the injury. They’ll ask me about playing for the East German national team, playing for this club, blah blah blah ... there’s never a specific question on it, but I like to finish the story with that: [in diva voice] “you know what? I was injured, and that’s it ... then I fell in love with music”.
WORDS An na Tehabsi m
“Everyone’s got a good and a bad side”, Kyle Hall explains. He’s sitting in a hotel lobby with Steven ‘Funkineven’ Julien, talking about the schizophrenic nature of their collaborative releases as Funkinevil. For a moment, Hall talks animatedly about the synergy found in the precise interchange of certain variables. “It’s that saturation and, essentially, that’s harmony. Intervals that are equivalent, things that are exponential are beautiful” he elaborates, describing the rough, slightly meaner sound palette which emerges from their work together. This particular interplay of musical minds, one that at points combines Hall’s Detroit toughness with the smoother side of Funkineven, and at others violently clashes their eclectic styles into a bipolar 12”, is an amalgamation that births a particularly snarling brand of harmony. The moniker for the collaboration between Detroit wonderboy Hall and London producer Funkineven is actually pronounced “Fuckin’Evil”. Hall spells it out for us. “The name came about because I’m Kyle Muthafuckin’ Hall, and he’s Funkineven. We fused that shit together, and that shit was real evil sounding.” The altered spelling is used so as “not to be so vulgar”, equally reflected in the sound. “It works because the funk is there in the music too, along with the darkness.” In our time together, our conversation spans hotel smells, liberal Dutch festivals and Tony Hawk Pro Skater soundtracks. Around three hours later, the
FUNKINEVIL two walk off stage minutes into their headline gig at a Bristol venue due to an accusation that the equipment was inadequate. Late last year, Funkinevil released their inaugural Night/Dusk EP, following it up with their latest Ignorant/In The Grid release. Throughout each EP runs a thrashing, impulsive momentum, so it comes as no surprise that their first collaboration was a spontaneous one. As Julien says, “We were at my friend’s house – Alex Nut – and he was like “guys, I’ve got this MPC and I’ve got this other thing, I want to sync the sounds via MIDI … and we were like ‘OK, you do this...’ Then we were like, ‘oh shit!" he laughs. "We ran into something, we pressed record, and then we made Night.” The song in question is an analogue techno track that shatters with its mutating percussive stabs and cluttered acid basslines. The B-side to the EP, Dusk, is a warming, more soulful take on their raw sound. Keeping to this no frills method, Hall stresses that was the equipment which formed the bare bones of their production. “[Night] was made of all the shittiest things possible. The MPC 2000 was probably the most expensive thing that was on it.” Julien concurs, “the most essential piece in the whole works.” With both artists putting out work of a similar watermark for years now – Hall on his Wild Oats imprint, and Julien’s frequent releases on Eglo and his own Apron Records, through which he’s also put out two EPs from Greg Beato as well as his own collaboration with Delroy Edwards – the synchrony
of their collaboration makes sense. And although the sonic markers of ‘Detroit’ and ‘London’ might surface when comparing their influences, Julien is keen to stress that their working relationship doesn’t mark a geographical cross pollination of sound, but that it’s a cultural affiliation rooted in the history of “black music.” “That’s what you’re looking at. It’s not ‘Detroit’ and ‘London’. It’s a black thing.” Kyle elaborates, “and just how we perceive music. Our approach and how we relay music to other people is what people hear. It’s that flavour, its not really a geographical location. It’s like a general understanding of where the music originates. White people; as long as they have the same general basis of where their music originates, you’re able to communicate.” No stranger to utilising various monikers, Hall’s output as KMFH is yet another avenue through which to present his range of musical personalities. As Hall digs deeper into Funkinevil’s sonically psychotic inclinations, we’re brought back to that harmonising conflict, that satisfying clash of elements; of ‘good’ and ‘evil’. “I don’t even think it’s exactly ‘good’ per se, it’s just more like another perspective. Kind of like a person. A person can be good at heart, but they may not be perfect. Because this shit is still raw, it’s still conflicting and challenging. But at the core of it, it’s positive.” This leads us nicely back to that idea of harmony. “Just seeing interesting symmetry, that’s essentially what you’re hearing in the sound. It’s just weird in the way it’s so nasty but it’s actually harmonic. It’s like bringing it to life, in a sense.
P H O TO Tom Park er
Ejecting some energy into it. It’s textured. It’s soul.” When we move towards the marked nod toward all things lo-fi in electronic music at the moment, Hall speaks positively of the trend; “I think it kind of allows people to give it a chance, in a sense. Because other things are going on, it might democratise it for other people whose ears aren’t prepped for those kinds of sounds.” Julien enthusiastically recalls a time when crowds weren’t as familiar with the approach. “It’s like when [Kyle] used to play one of my tracks, the first EP on my label, Beat Crash – it’s deliberately distorted.” Hall jumps in, “Their ears weren’t prepped!” “Sound engineers used to run up to [Kyle] like ‘what the fuck you doing, you’re going to kill the system!’ It’s like ‘no, look, it’s in the green, this is how the track sounds! Get used to this.” “Exactly”, Hall chirps: “‘cause this is the shit!”
Ignorant is out now via Wild Oats. Funkineven plays Dance Tunnel NYE on December 31st
NOVEMBER 2013 THURSDAY 14TH
FWD>> LOEFAH / ZED BIAS / PALEMAN / CHUNKY
THUNDER RICK WILHITE / MILES SIMPSON / JOSEPH APTED / RICK HOPKINS
DREAM STATES BIG STRICK / JASON SPINKS
WAY BACK HERE A MADE UP SOUND / LAIZI / SHANGO / ANTHONY MOONEY
MISTER SATURDAY NIGHT MISTER SATURDAY NIGHT (EAMON HARKIN & JUSTIN CARTER)
FWD>> UNTOLD / DARQ E FREAKER / CURSES / JOE
PRINCIPALS BRADLEY ZERO / CHARLES DRAKEFORD / NIC TASKER
DANCE TUNNEL IS ONE ITALOJOHNSON
DECEMBER 2013 THURSDAY 5TH
FMB XMAS PARTY BICEP
TRAILER TRASH STEFFI / HANNAH HOLLAND / MIKKI MOST
FWD>> HUXLEY / XXXY / LEFTWING & KODY / SAM RUSSO
WAX’D SVEN WEISEMANN / NICK P WARREN / GEORGE GREGORY
FWD>> KODE 9 / DJ RON / RIP PRODUCTIONS / SLACKK V MR MITCH
PRINCIPALS BRADLEY ZERO / CHARLES DRAKEFORD / NIC TASKER
NONSENSE MR WONDERFUL / BENNY BLANCO / JUDAH
DANCE TUNNEL PRESENTS TAMA SUMO / LAKUTI
WAY BACK HERE NYE FUNKINEVEN / SEMTEK / CAPRACARA / TOM LEA / DAN BEAUMONT / LAIZI / SHANGO / ANTHONY MOONEY
DANCE TUNNEL 95 KINGSLAND HIGH STREET, LONDON E8 2PB WWW.DANCETUNNEL.COM
CRACK FASHION NOVEMBER 2013 Photography | Marija Vainilaviciute Stylist | Hattie Walters MAKE UP ARTIST | Keiko Nakamura using MAC Hair Stylist | Andrea Martinelli using ALTERNA Models | Sterling at Elite / Val at Nevs
Val wears Jacket | Sparks Box Shirt | Moschino Trousers | Forgotten Future
Sterling Wears Jacket | Yayer Swim| Adidas Trousers | Vaccine Hat | Stylist's Own
Val wears Polo | Fred Perry Chino | Izzue Jacket | Vintage
Sterling wears Dress | Bill Blass Bomber | Style Staker
Val Wears Jacket | Sparks Box Shirt | Moschino Trousers | Forgotten Future
Shirt | Son Of Wild Coat | Asos Pant | Commes Des Garcon
RalPH Lauren Sport Jacket Tommy Hilfiger Top Sterling Wears: Style Stalker Bomber
Goodhood X Universal Works Windchester Coat
Son Of Wild Bora Beach Crew
Norse Projects X Hestra Ivar Glove
Another piece in their ongoing series of collaborations, this coat takes inspiration from a classic bomber jacket silhouette. This iconic style gets a revamp by Goodhood alongside kindred spirits, UK-centric brand Universal Works. In subtle polka dot, this update on a classic piece follows the Goodhood philosophy. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – but maybe add some polka dots.
Son Of Wild marks the collaboration of two British designers, whose inspiration comes from Middle Eastern textile design and vintage garments, merging ideas from high fashion and streetwear. Their latest drop includes a range of Moroccan inspired geo in maroon and deep indigo, but our favourite is this dip-dye piece in Ribena-berry-purple.
These deep chestnut gloves are a product of the ongoing collaboration between Norse Projects and high-end glove makers Hestral, with a deerskin shell and 100% wool lining. Hestra usually make gloves for extreme temperatures experienced when skiing or other outdoor activities, so you can be sure they’ll keep the elements at bay.
Nike Air Huarache
African Apparel Yolo Ono Tee
Fjallraven Kanken Laptop Bag
Conceived in the early 90s, the Nike Air Huarache Men’s Shoe originally took inspiration from Native American sandals. Designed by legendary Nike designer Tinker Hatfield, the shoe infiltrated the status quo with a sock-like neoprene sleeve that conformed to the foot for secure, custom-made fit. Now over two decades later, this re-mastered version utilises modern technology in its unique cushioning and impact protection for incredible flexibility and comfort. We also think they look like transformers.
T-shirt of the month award goes to … African Apparel, once again. The Bristolbased label regularly collaborates with new artists on each design. In addition to this new, plainly brilliant Yolo Ono tee, their previous products include similar mash-ups of popular culture references from Christopher Wright’s naughty take on Joy Division to that Hendrix/Marley tee. Our bet is that this is soon to be iconic in its own right, so get one while you can.
The original Kanken backpack was designed for Swedish school children back in 1977, and the design has since earned a cult following for its simplicity and European styling. Fabricated from the hardwearing FjallRaven G-1000 waxed fabric, the Kanken Laptop bag also features a padded compartment to securely hold your precious 15” laptop. Also available in green and a variety of colours, our favourite is the acid yellow.
DIANA MON 11 NOV ELECTROWERKZ ASAF AVIDAN TUES 12 NOV O2 SHEPHERD’S BUSH EMPIRE GLASS ANIMALS TUES 12 NOV CONCRETE JAMAICAN QUEENS MON 18 NOV SEBRIGHT ARMS AUSTRA MON 25 NOV KOKO
NIGHT BEDS TUES 3 DEC SCALA ROSIE LOWE TUES 3 DEC BIRTHDAYS FAT WHITE FAMILY TUES 10 DEC 100 CLUB WHITE LIES TUES 10 & WED 11 NOV THE ROUNDHOUSE SIVU + MARIKA HACKMAN WED 11 DEC THE LEXINGTON
The New Experimentalists Bill Callahan
XENIA RUBINOS WED 11 DEC SHACKLEWELL ARMS ANDY SHAUFF THURS 16 JAN THE WAITING ROOM HATCHAM SOCIAL TUES 18 FEB THE LEXINGTON LA FEMME WED 21 MAY SCALA
1965 (C) BMG Chrysalis All Rights Reserved
A Celebration of Bert Jansch
CATE LE BON WED 27 NOV BUSH HALL CRYSTAL STILTS THURS 28 NOV CARGO LA SHARK THURS 28 NOV ELECTROWERKZ THE BELLE GAME THURS 28 NOV ST PANCRAS OLD CHURCH THAO & THE GET DOWN STAY DOWN FRI 29 NOV DALSTON VICTORIA
Tuesday 14 January
Friday 7 & Saturday 8 February
A night of the UK’s best emerging avant-garde featuring Richard Skelton, Lina Lapelyte, Rie Nakajima and Jennifer Walshe.
Bill Callahan celebrates the release of his new record Dream River, his first new material since 2011’s Apocalypse.
Queen Elizabeth Hall
Royal Festival Hall
Isabella Rossellini: Green Porno
Tuesday 3 December Celebrating one of the most influential guitarists of all time, Bert Jansch. Line-up includes Bernard Butler, Mara Carlyle, Martin Carthy, Eric Clapton, Terry Cox, Donovan, Gordon Giltrap, Roy Harper, Wizz Jones, Lisa Knapp, Beverley Martin, Jacqui McShee, Ralph McTell, Robert Plant, Martin Simpson, Danny Thompson and Paul Wassif.
Royal Festival Hall
u sold o 24 & Saturday 25 January Friday
One of the UK’s foremost bands return to perform tracks from their new album Rave Tapes.
Royal Festival Hall
Sunday 9 February Actress Isabella Rossellini and screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière perform a mind-blowing show about the sexuality of insects.
Queen Elizabeth Hall
0844 847 9910 southbankcentre.co.uk
FI LM WORDS: Tim Oxley S m i th
The Selfish Giant
Dir. Paul Greengrass
Dir. Clio Barnard
Dir. Jon S Baird
Starring: Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, The US Navy
Starring: Conner Chapman, Shaun Thomas, Sean Gilder
Starring: James McAvoy, Jamie Bell, Jim Broadbent
Was Tom Hanks Captain Phillips, or was Captain Phillips Tom Hanks? That’s the question we asked, and quickly answered, after watching this movie. No matter how much people love him, not even Hanks could prevent it from capsizing.
The acute splendour of British realism comes around every now and again. There’s an unerring charm and a resolute connection to be found within the simplistic presentation of the real. If it’s well done it gets us every time, and The Selfish Giant is no exception.
From the brutal and critically-acclaimed hand of Irvine Welsh, this is the inevitable adaptation of Filth transported from the pages of the late 90s to the screens and teens of the new millennium. Filth is a distinctive discourse of masculinity, echoed by the disorientating morality of crime and passion; escapism and drug abuse.
Respectable documentary filmmaker turned blockbusterer Paul Greengrass (Bourne Identity/Ultimatum) oversees this tale of the captains of two very different vessels. Hanks’s Phillips is in charge of sailing a humongous cargo ship through the treacherous Somali basin, which is subsequently hijacked by Muse (Abdi), the leader of a small troupe of armed pirates. The first half includes a thrillingly realistic lead up to and highjacking, of the ship. There’s also an interesting and all-too-brief insight into the motives for the pirates to commandeer these ships, with a focus on Muse, the only character which we feel an inkling of a connection to. But the second half degenerates into a mind-numbingly bland examination of US Navy counter piracy procedures – undoubtedly the price Greengrass had to pay to get the US to lend their ships and uphold his priorities of factual accuracy. Hanks bundles through another masterfully mediocre performance with brave but wholly inadequate attempts to breathe life into Greengrass’s repetitive and uninventive direction. The film well and truly grinds to a halt when the hero turns out to be a navy seal commander, spurting out more phonetic alphabets than full sentences. Just thank god good old Tom made it out of the whole episode unscathed so that he’ll be able to charm us on chat shows when his next film comes out.
The film resolutely ventures down the B roads of the North, lost and forgotten by a lack of government funding into British film. It takes elements of the potential simplicity of story telling and tactfully depicts a part of Britain that has been irregularly explored in recent years. A sombre undertone, running throughout the film, relates back to the overbearing inevitability of the story’s ending. Director Clio Barnard successfully harnesses Oscar Wilde’s tale of the same name, utilising his giant’s failure to be good and his humbling punishment, to present a typically bleak message synonymous with British cinema. The film is adequately shot, while a subtle soundtrack supports the story’s wonderfully realised characters and their affinities. The compelling natural relationship between the two leads, though, is the film’s most significant attraction. Perhaps guilty of being too reliant on the classical ingredients of a critic-friendly genre, it still goes to show the importance of a well-told, well-acted story.
James McAvoy inhabits the role of Bruce, epitomising every terrible male stereotype imaginable, exploring right and wrong through the contradictions of law and order. From the very first frame the Scottish setting is thrust into the foreground, the bewilderment of a nation and a time displaced. Bruce recollects the accomplishments of Scotland, only to reflect upon them via his own contradictions. He will continue to playfully avoid confronting these flaws until the narrative and his character cruelly creeps up on him. Filth could be described as a noir, with themes being set around crime and morality, but with shadows and trench coats replaced by neon and coke. But it equally incorporates the uncertainty of modern times. McAvoy exhibits a distillation of a (and the) modern man brilliantly. Director Baird sets the action in sarcastically rich arenas and whirlwind set pieces, though it does lose its way in the last third. This is comfortably the second best Welsh adaptation, and it’s fascinating to observe the contrasting levels of optimism between this and Danny Boyle’s interpretation of Trainspotting. See this for McAvoy, and for an emphatic decapitation of lad culture.
Solutions to last issue’s crossword:
3. Aroma; load of flowers (7) 4. Thrower; twat (6) 7. Flame-haired professional widow (4,4) 10. The equipment for a particular activity (13) 13. First Minister of Scotland (4,7) 18. A rough push (5) 19. Dial 100 (8) 20. Desert spread across China and Mongolia (4) 21. London superclub; material (6) 22. Old-fashioned shooter (6)
ACROSS: 3. BOVINE, 5. FANNY PACK, 7. TIRADE, 9. SEINE, 10. BLACK FLAG, 12. SEMIDETACHED 14. HAMLET, 16. TANKARD, 17. RED TAPE 18. FLARES, 20. RED EQUINE, 21. NEWT,
Down 1. Frilly ballet skirt (4) 2. 888 (9) 5. Scottish breakfast (8) 6. 999 (9,8) 8. Italian horror master (5,7) 9. Long for; conifer tree (4) 11. Pixar tale of a rodent with a flair for the culinary (11) 12. Lauren Laverne’s pretty good old band (8) 14. Kangaroo, wallaby, koala etc (9) 15. Leave in a hurry (5) 16. Little flying fella who likes eating coats and bumping into lights (4) 17. Infuential Irish modernist writer James (5)
RADICAL FACE THE FAMILY TREE: THE BRANCHES OUT NOW Nettwerk.com | RadicalFace.com | Facebook.com/RadicalFace
DOWN: 1. MAGENTA, 2. MUTTER, 4. BIG BIRD, 5. FORMALDEHYDE 6. ECLIPSE, 11. LOCKET, 13. IAN FLEMING, 15. CARIBOU, 17. AVIAN, 19. LUGE
Wa re h o u se P ro ject: Cura te d b y Fo u r T e t a n d C a rib o u Victoria Warehouse, Manchester | November 2nd Pissing wet, drunk and cold, our night begins standing in a carpark, being sniffed at by (pretty cute) dogs and tossed around by men who could have knocked out Stone Cold Steve Austin. Once we’d negotiated our way inside the Victoria Warehouse, Crack got down to the sounds of small town trainee teacher-turned-rap beat pioneer Evian Christ. As Christ climaxes a high octane set with Kanye’s Bound 2, the ‘Testudo’ – a behemoth metallic light installation hanging from the ceiling – illuminates the room, bathing the crowd in a golden glow. Not bad. Next up, Thom Yorke arrives behind the decks with a miscellaneous pal. Wait, shit – isn’t that Nigel Godrich? The pair run through a rhythmically intricate (albeit haphazardly mixed) selection, before Yorke proceeds to perform live vocals for Atoms For Peace’s Default as well as a rendition of Radiohead’s Reckoner. We nearly cried. While alt-hip-hop legend Madlib would have provided the perfect warm-up for DOOM, the masked enigma found the prospect of turning up to his own gig too challenging. But Madlib has the rap nerds’ mouths watering, showcasing tracks from his anticipated joint album with Freddie Gibbs, and any feelings of disappointment are blown away by the techno blaring out of Room Two during Ben UFO and Pearson Sound’s b2b set.
© Sebastian Mathes
Back in Room One, Four Tet confirms his evolution from bedroom-focused experimentalist to forwardthinking club DJ. Decorating a techno pulse with drum and vocal sounds plucked from across the globe, Kieran Hebden throws out contemporary bangers (Orbison’s Big Room Tech House DJ Tool), crowd pleasing garage (T2’s Heartbroken) and even The Bug’s radioactive dancehall/dub classic Skeng. He then passes the baton to Dan Snaith, who as Daphni, revs up a set of chugging afro-house as the victory lap to one of the most exciting events in the UK’s most important dance series. --------Words: Darren Pearson
D J Spr i n kle s
Ju n g le
Deaf Institute, Manchester | October 10th
Oval Space, London | October 25th
Berghain, Berlin | October 10th
Roadhouse, Manchester | October 10th
Opening up tonight’s double bill were Yorkshire obliterators Wet Nuns. And as their final ever Manchester show amidst this farewell tour, the tattooed terrors took a no-holds-barred approach in bringing the carnage to an early crowd.
In the unlikely event that anyone reading this needs reminding, deep house is having a moment. We live in an age where your dad’s probably suddenly versed in Moodymann, and everyone with a Macbook and a snapback is droning on about ‘vibes’ and ‘soul’ and ‘authenticity’.
As anyone who’s set foot inside the notorious club will tell you, the Berghain soundsystem is a thing to behold. And if you’re to seek out something different from the usual 72-hour stints of 4/4 techno worship, as we did at this gig, you’ll finally experience the full potential of this behemoth. With posters around the venue proudly proclaiming this will be a 75-minute performance, our eardrums are already shitting themselves.
In a classic video interview, Werner Herzog described the Jungle as a cursed land, a place of growth, overwhelming fornication and collective murder. A place which time forgot; the birds, asphyxiated, howling in agony over a cursed and forgotten land. While we’re bummed not to have tasted Herzog’s jungle torture chamber, what we did manage to catch was the debut performance of the outrageously hyped band of that name, and damn, was it a blast.
Launching straight into the gargantuan wash of Brainfreeze, opening track to the pair’s hugely acclaimed third album Slow Focus, bodies in the crowd begin to ebb and sway as the trancelike layers of synth gather in pace and intensity. With projected visuals spanning the entire wall behind, the effect is nothing short of complete sensory overload. And when the climactic curtain of Hidden XS is eventually drawn, it’s a truly epic finale that feels at once to have lasted a lifetime, yet is over in a heartbeat.
If you’re unaware of the sonic palette on offer here, it’s a blend of neo-soul and throbbing, discoscented grooves all wrapped up in harmonies that would make your grandma’s face melt into her Lonnie Donegan record. Launching into The Heat, all Herzog’s perceptions of the jungle were smashed. No curses or murder here, but a lavish kingdom of indulgence, extravagance and decadence, painting an image of a disco ball rotating in the canopy, wild hallucinatory tree top parties, undulating, and sex – lots of it. If Mowgli has been airdropped a crate of Chic records and some 70s MDMA then formed a band with the vultures, you’d be getting near.
With their fail-safe combination of thoroughly unpleasant riffs and boisterous booms, they make the biggest racket of any homegrown duo we know, and the numerous attendees with vinyls tucked under their arms snapping pictures alongside drummer Alex Gotts seem to agree. With a commendable act to follow, Sub Pop’s scuzzy sweethearts No Age rattle through their extensive recordings, leaving barely a moment between tracks to catch their breath. Among a blistering performance of Eraser over to the paradoxical Teen Creeps, with its tip-toeing twangs, droning vocals and wall-to-wall reverb, the undersold audience in attendance slam and mosh themselves into oblivion, completely under the command of every unruly chord and rhythm. The observing collection may be littered with bleachedout student hipsters rather than seasoned rock’n’roll oldies, but it’s not as if anyone is complaining when these youngsters are hurling limbs. Summoning a celebratory commotion, not a single crowd member remains stationary come No Age’s rapturous peak.
As such, Crack stepped into Bethnal Green’s still lovely Oval Space just in time for Ripperton’s set with a feeling of anxiety about the whole thing. Would it be a sea of club-virgins waiting for drops that were likely to come? Or would it be a chin stroker’s paradise? Luckily for us, it was a bit of both. The Swiss DJ took things nice’n’easy, punctuating his smokily low-slung house with vocal heavy cuts that left the throng standing on the verge of getting it on, before the gears changed when DJ Sprinkles, aka Terre Thaemalitz, stepped up to the decks. Never giving the crowd too easy a time, she made them work for their rewards, crafting something which tugged at heartstrings and every so often made things explicitly bodily, switching the focus from head to feet, with the crowd lapping it up. This was a deep house set as an educative tool – a timely reminder that the sound doesn’t begin and end with whatever Waze and Odyssey have remixed this week.
Ears ringing, we stumble toward the nearest strong drink. There aren’t many gigs that could effectively soundtrack the apocalypse, but Fuck Buttons at Berghain might have just been one of them. Thankfully, we survived to tell the tale.
It seems inevitable that Jungle are going to be massive. ----------
Words: Alex Hall Words: Alex Gwilliam
---------Words: Josh Baines Words: Leah Connolly
LIVE S h a n g a a n Ele ctro + He a tsick The Exchange, Bristol | October 23rd For part two of their Out Of Place series of adventurously roaming events, Qu Junktions and the Arnolfini constructed a dizzyingly technicolor evening of body music. Arriving about 10 minutes into Heatsick’s Casio-keyboard extravaganza, the main room of The Exchange is already full of an enthusiasm rarely seen on a Wednesday night. With an endearing level of sloppiness, Steven Warwick is in the midst of bashing out one of his psychedelic house constructions, like a Fisher Price Omar-S. It should also be noted that he’s sporting an excellent bootlegged Chanel / Climate Change T-shirt. And then for the headline act. When the dancers/singers take to the stage and Nozinja – creator of the Shangaan Electro phenomenon and tour DJ – plays the first track, the shock of a 70bpm jump in tempo is palpable. If the thought of listening to dance music at 189bpm fills you with a nameless dread normally reserved for accidentally walking into the gabber room at a rave, the HI-NRG A/V explosion of joy that is The Shangaan Electro Show will quickly abate your fears. The enthusiasm of the individuals onstage eclipses that of the already buzzing crowd, and from that point on we’re in it together for an hour or so of relentless motion and colour. Limbs flail as if suspended from above and the smiles are real and permanent. It’s so removed from our culture in every way that it would be easy to write it off as an imported spectacle for Western eyes and ears, but the sincerity from audience and participant alike ensure it’s one of the most joyous sights this town has ever witnessed.
© Steve Dores
----------Words: Steve Dores
The Mountain Goats
Oneohtrix Point Never
St George’s Hall, Bristol | October 7th
Scala, London | October 16th
O2 Academy, Bristol | October 24th
Islington Assembly Hall, London | October 3rd
People like John Darnielle are few and far between. The Mountain Goats frontman can open hearts, reducing grown men to tears with just a few bars. We’re not even exaggerating.
As archetypal indie rock journeymen, Sebadoh’s appeal – aside from the fucking great tunes – lies in their consistent lack of frills, a workaday stoicism remarkable for its unremarkableness.
Of all the current crop of reunions clogging up gig venues around the country, Suede’s victorious saunter through Bristol Academy feels self-assured and glorious; an invigoration and education in equal measure.
St George’s is bursting tonight and Darnielle’s famously adoring fans, excluding the one guy reading Tolstoy in the front row, are staring with uninterrupted lust at the stage before them. As the lights dim and The Mountain Goats take the stage the room erupts in a torrent of enchanted claps and ecstatic uproar. When Darnielle sits at the piano, he quips that he’s heard the church wants to replace the old Steinway and he feels it should probably be donated to him. The audience couldn’t agree more, as he starts to play Samuel 15:23 and crowd members start smile-crying. It’s a beautiful sight.
In Lou Barlow they have a fascinating lynchpin; originally the browbeaten wingman to J Mascis’s surly auteur in Dinosaur Jr, he instigated Sebadoh as a necessarily lo-fi creative outlet. They produced several perfect full-lengths of scratchy, genre-defining rock music as good as anything their peers and contemporaries in Guided By Voices, Archers of Loaf or (whisper) Pavement put out in the course of the late 1980s and 90s.
The music that Daniel Lopatin makes as Oneohtrix Point Never is so entwined with the corporeal realities of life lived in, literally within, the digital age, that prior to this performance the transition from being a listener to a viewer seemed a problematic one.
They end with Best Ever Death Metal Band In Denton, and what better way to end a gig in an ancient house of God than having the entire crowd shouting the chorus of “Hail satan, hail satan, hail satan!” repeatedly at the top of their lungs. Long may Mountain Goats continue to blaspheme in our churches and make our young men weep on their girlfriends’ shoulders. -–-–-–-–--
After a 13-year creative hiatus, occasional touring notwithstanding, the trio have returned to writing, and it’s recent single I Will that’s chosen as an opener. It’s intensely melodic and sighingly resigned even for Barlow; a downbeat way to kick off, especially given the band’s ambling entrance and laconic introductions. Still, exuberant grandstanding never having been Sebadoh’s strong suit anyway, the set picks up quickly. Weighing on selections from the classics Bakesale and Harmacy, it’s almost galling just how good Barlow’s songwriting is. It’s tough to think of a more salient example of a positive avoidance of change than this.
Words: Billy Black
Gone are the drugs and the arrogance, replaced with a mature album about the rigours of a tumultuous relationship and a carefully selected presentation of what made them so special in the first place. Pantomime Horse from the band’s self-titled debut, though a grungy guitar gem, is a strange opening choice with recent single Barriers providing the ignition for a slightly older crowd – some in couples, some draped round their mates – to go a bit batshit. This is glam-pop theatre and nothing is left in the locker. Filmstar, Animal Nitrate, Trash and Heroine dispense with any self-indulgence and even B-sides Killing Of A Flash Boy and The Big Time don’t feel like filler in the slightest.
In the gorgeous confines of Islington’s Assembly Hall, these preconceptions, these worries, dissipated. Opening with Still Life, one of the recently-released R Plus Seven’s undoubted highlights and constructing a set that consisted largely of tracks from that record, it was a masterclass in tension, in the relationship between restraint and release.
A closing montage of Metal Mickey, So Young and Beautiful Ones all get the en masse sing-along treatment. Yet far from ending on their most contrived slice of gorgonzola, the single song encore of New Generation provides a perfect close to a gig that showcases what happens when a band plays for 20 years and returns with a little more substance than making a quick buck.
There are points when the intentional disconnect of the ever-present-on-record massed banks of wordless, pre-language, choral voices, of digitized chirrups, of groaning synth washes are replaced by lucidly rigid arpreggios and swinging kicks, taking us into almost-techno territory, recalling Pete Swanson’s continued explorations of the divide between Noise and the dancefloor. Though the selfish part of you wishes that things would go full throttle, that Lopatin would whack out a nice, clean flat 4/4 and a 303 bassline and get fully acidic, the rational, sensible part of you appreciates that these moments of controlledflailing working because they’re limited, not in spite of that.
Words: Thomas Frost
Words: Josh Baines
--------Words: Thomas Howells
LANZAROTE EVENTS & BAD VIBRATIONS IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE QUIETUS PRESENT Tuesday 12 November
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BY Thomas Frost, Davy Reed, A ngus Harrison, A dam Corner , Duncan Harrison, A ndrew Broaks, Josh Baines, Anna T ehabsim , Steve Dores, P hilip James A llen , Henry Johns, James Balmont
BLOOD ORANGE CUPID DELUXE Domino
CASS MCCOMBS BIG WHEEL AND OTHERS Domino
We follow Dev Hynes on Instagram. He posts regularly, always in aspect ratio, from New York City; books in the East Village, sculpture in the Met, drinks with Alexa Chung in Williamsburg. It looks great, much better than the greyness outside our window. Yet there’s something strangely staged about these images. Who is taking the photos? How do they all look so good? Hynes’ most recent record as Blood Orange suffers from a similar syndrome. It sounds so sleek, so gorgeous, but somehow lacking; somehow disingenuous. Hynes’ focus has clearly shifted since his work with Solange – he’s now writing clean pop, with his voice at centre stage. Only it seems moving away from the guitar has left his production swamped in the endless possibilities nostalgia afford. He is Prince on Uncle Ace, Serge Gainsbourg on Chosen and then A Tribe Called Quest on Clipped On. It’s as if Hynes is simply collecting vibes, lost in his own self-awareness. He doubtless remains an excellent producer, and Cupid Deluxe is often enjoyable; but closer inspection reveals a shallow, forgettable experience. Hynes is applying an Instragram filter to his album – tracks are recorded in ‘Controversy-Era Prince mode’ or ‘After-Party 1988 setting’. Imitation is important, ask any artist ever, but only in its truest form – influence, not reproduction. AH
Cass McCombs is one of the old guard, a musician with a deft touch whose songs contain whole narrative worlds. His stories are not always linear or lucid, but are always full of character and heart, a canyon away from anything written to bother the charts. After releasing two albums in a year (Wit’s End and Humour Risk) in 2011, Big Wheel and Others is another double-length record, this time presented in one go. Yet, as the incidental title suggests, there is no grand prog-esque ‘theme’ or ‘message’ being ostentatiously expounded. Rather, this is another collection of songs from an enigmatic artist who channels his everyday existence into music which is by turns touching, dark, and joyous. For nigh on 90 minutes Cass wanders through folk and country-tinged numbers formed from slide guitar and soft, yearning vocals. Amongst these are surreal conversations with four-year-old Sean about dreams, police and smoking grass, a shuffling rock song with the brilliantly glam title Satan Is My Toy, and a nine-minute centrepiece which channels the late Lou Reed, Everything Has To Be Just-So. Cass McCombs is an understated talent, but it’s difficult to think of a contemporary artist who makes songwriting such an effortless craft and plays with such delicate and consummate musicianship. AB
TIM PARIS DANCERS My Favourite Robot
PETER VAN HOESEN LIFE PERFORMANCE Tresor
Tim Paris’s debut album, Dancers, is a stunningly diverse and accomplished dance music set. Paris (who contributed a Crack mix to accompany the release of his album) has spent the last decade slowly building up an impeccable collection of singles and remixes – both under his own name, and with Ivan Smagghe as It’s a Fine Line. And this album – 11 tracks of purring metallic electro, slack-jawed new-wave disco, and shimmering, bewitching, house – is the astonishing end result. Dancers opens with the teasing, aloof Golden Ratio, a rippling synth melody, garage band bassline and the soft vocals of George Levin. Minireich features the fabulously monikered Sex Judas, and is every bit as camp and twisted as that sounds. From glass-eyed electronica to dark, voyeuristic disco, this is a superb album – but the standout track is the woozy, slo-mo Outback, Stones & Vinyl, a digital Lali Punaesque lullaby that near enough drips out of the speakers. Huge, unconditional recommendation on this one: discover it before someone else discovers it for you. AC
There's something innately reassuring about techno artists who play with a table full of hardware in front of them. It's something which those at the tougher end of the spectrum have excelled in, from the likes of Planetary Assault Systems, Shed, Skudge, Karenn and the more noise-centric Pete Swanson proving to be standout live machinists of late. Belgian Peter Van Hoesen’s contribution to techno’s live canon has been captured on Life Performance, a recording of a special show in the original Berlin techno den of debauchery Tresor. Harnessing almost every cliché in hard techno at the moment, the music is singularly paced, 4/4, the cover displays a bleak, austere landscape and the tracks have stern, elemental titles such as Carbon, Turmoil and Force Withdrawn. And herein lies the problem with creating a lasting chronicle of a tough techno club set designed for peak time Tresor; it probably wouldn’t be the most fertile space for breaking fresh techno interpretations. That said, the techno on display is industrial, tough and the transitions are fast-paced and varied, encapsulating the experience of clubbing to this kind of music in that kind of place. TF
EMINEM THE MARSHALL MATHERS LP 2 Aftermath Entertainment / Shady Records / Interscope
MOUNT EERIE PRE-HUMAN IDEAS P.W. Elverum & Sun
There are 22 tracks on this LP. Almost all are over four minutes long and there are few collaborations. For a major label rap record coming from someone who has been relentlessly accused of commercialisation, it’s pretty fucking exciting. On second proper track Rhyme Or Reason, Eminem does a Yoda impression, has a go at his dad and talks about murder in that squirrelly, overwrought voice that’d concern your parents while you were glued to Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. There’s an overtone of nostalgia to MMLP2 which gives ammo to his critics, but lifts the record with an undeniable sense of fun. On Brainless, the chainsaw-bearing bleached-blonde screwball from 1999 jitters and snaps off a theatrical and hammy production. Yet the main problem Eminem now faces is his difficulty to assimilate with the modern day. Rap God sounds like some kind of mash-up where an old Eminem vocal recording is uncomfortably placed on top of a more contemporary beat, and he doesn’t help himself by referencing Monica Lewinsky. Despite this flaw, there's a feeling after listening to MMLP2 that whatever Marshall Mathers had in the first place remain – at some level – intact. DH
Straight up: this may be the worst record released this year. Phil Elverum, for reasons that aren’t, and probably never will be, clear, has re-recorded some Mount Eerie staples (largely drawn from the Ocean Roar and Clear Moon LPs) and ... smothered everything in autotune. But not good autotune, like the autotune that gives Believe by Cher its gorgeously melancholy melismatic shimmer, or the autotune that turned numerous T-Pain songs into 10/10 club bangers. A horrible, mewling, plasticky, hard-on-the-ears autotune that strips previously doomy, elemental songs of any pull and power and turns them into utter shit. On the first few listens this writer was searching for conceptual clues, attempting to work out Elverum’s intent, trying to assess why he thought it was worth making the effort to release it into the world. In kinder moments we wondered if, maybe, it was meant as a cousin to the kind of hyperreal jams that James Ferraro and Oneohtrix Point Never have been exploring on recent records, a reclamation of maligned sounds. Perhaps there’s potential for admiring the creator’s perversity in putting this out. Then the reverie dissipated, and it was still as bad as we’d thought. Pre Human Ideas has all the gravitas of a novelisation of Inbetweeners the Movie. It’s an embarrassment, a travesty. JB
ARCADE FIRE REFLEKTOR Merge 17/20 The clues were there in The Suburbs’ glorious and disco-infused Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains), and Arcade Fire’s transition was completed by the acquisition of James Murphy on primary desk duty. Reflektor sets out to reposition Arcade Fire both musically, but also as participants in wider popular culture. This record is a victory for ambition; a cohesive double-album despite clocking in at only 85 minutes. The separation between the pomp and bravado of the first half is tethered by the emotional resonance of the second. Disc One starts with the much-played title-track, and feels like welcoming back a friend who has just had a fucking good night in Las Vegas and met David Bowie. Its seven-and-a-half-minute radio time is wholly justified by its drama, piano breakdowns and disco length groove elongation. As the disc unfurls we’re treated to Flashbulb Eyes, a dubby slice of rock groove that ends without the full hypnosis taking effect, while the rush and carnivalesque drama of Here Comes The Night Time pitch shifts between Grace Jones and Goat, resulting in the kind of rush that might correct any previous accusations of Win Butler et al being po-faced. Normal Person, though lyrically a little obvious (“Is anything as strange as a normal person?”) is pushed through with passion and a clenched fist. Disc Two’s highlights include the Brian Eno ...Warm Jets style climax on Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice) and the basslinetastic It’s Never Over (Oh Orpheus), where Murphy’s influence leaves it feeling like a lost LCD Soundsystem special. Disc Two also sees the lyrical themes leaning towards the melancholy, with Régine Chassagne becoming a more prominent feature. The simplicity of Porno and particularly the glorious second single Afterlife bears witness to the band’s wonderful multi instrumentalism, proving the euphoria of previous records can be transferred to an entirely different canon. The new-found sense of playfulness alongside the severity of ambition shown on Reflektor reeks of an unerring confidence in their own ability. Arcade Fire can now be considered one of the great bands. TF
LAUREL HALO CHANCE OF RAIN Hyperdub
A SAGITTARIUN DREAM RITUAL Elastic Dreams
In The Wire’s cover feature this month, Laurel Halo discussed how she breathes through music as a form of transcendent expression, seeming unenthusiastic about seeing her work so meticulously pinned down and analysed by ‘the Internet’. Unfortunately for Halo, with latest Hyperdub release Chance Of Rain, she’s made something that people rushed to write about. Despite shrinking back from her vocal driven debut Quarantine, Chance Of Rain still feels like a deeply personal piece of work, bookended by two fleeting piano-led tracks that remind us of Halo’s classical training. The album’s artwork was illustrated by her father in the 60s; an intricate piece of work that manifests through subtlety and perseverance, much like the album. Across the nine tracks resembling hardware improvisations, Chance of Rain is an echo chamber of weaving structures, of metallic clangs, of thick, smoggy synths then lighter, airy textures and a fleeting array of thrashing elements that are increasingly hard to pin down. In the interview mentioned above, Halo states there were points while producing the album where she numbed herself as a ‘nonentity’, statements that feel palpable within Chance Of Rain’s fluidity. As it melts in and out of your subconscious, you find yourself suspended alongside Halo as she clutters through chaotic processes, to meditate in the headspace she’s provided. AT
So, this is what A Sagittariun has been working towards. The series of assured and varied EPs issued through the Elastic Dreams label since 2011 were, in hindsight, a statement of intent designed to prepare listeners for Dream Ritual, the project’s debut album. Every element of their universe, from the name to the artwork and the choice of remixers, drips with confident psychedelia. It’s refreshing to see something come to fruition with such total conviction, and though the person behind the mask wishes to remain anonymous, it’s clearly the work of someone with a deep involvement in electronic music. Being this far down the rabbit-hole works both ways though. The record occasionally dips too close to pastiche, and the 4x4 moments seem oddly out of place. But for the most part it’s a satisfying mediation on (to paraphrase Peverelist) the ‘immersive and psychedelic medium of electronic music’. The influence of 90s IDM is evident, from the Shed-at-hismost-pensive opener Sundial to the claggy electro of Network Restoration, but it manifests itself as an archaeological tool, digging up the often-maligned genre and shooting it over our heads and into the stars. It’s true that we know the real identity of A Sagittariun, but we’d rather we didn’t. Music like this is best attributed to a celestial body of unknown quantity and left to float free. SD
ACTION BRONSON & PARTY SUPPLIES BLUE CHIPS 2 Self-Released
WOODEN SHJIPS BACK TO LAND Thrill Jockey Records
It came as excellent news that the Queens-based, rhyming culinary expert Action Bronson was teaming up with Party Supplies, real name Justin Nealis, once again. The pair had struck up a friendship after hanging out in Nealis’s Williamsburg apartment, getting obscenely high on weed oil turned into wax and watching trashy movies while Bronson cooked up the snacks and Nealis cooked up the beats. The results were arguably Bronsolino’s finest work, 2012’s Blue Chips mixtape, and as soon as the heroically goofy beat of the sequel’s first track Silverado drops and he’s reeling off quips like “Why the fuck would I have a bodyguard, if I look just like the motherfuckin’ bodyguard?”, you know it’s going to be hard to suppress a smirk. It’s worth noting recent accusations that a subtle but significant drop from gleeful crudeness into mean-spirited misogyny in Bronson’s schtick has put him at risk of forfeiting his indie-rap fanbase for the frat boy demographic, and here he’s still digging in the gutter for lyrical inspiration. But what can’t be denied is Bronson’s ability to hook you in with absurdly vivid rhymes delivered in his neo-Ghostface whine: “The rap Dennis the Menace with Dennis Rodman in Venice, inventive/She took a bump then started dancing like Elaine Benes”. DR
Wooden Shjips’ fourth full album is the first to be recorded outside of San Francisco, and the influence of this move is more evident than one might expect. Flailing drones and fuzzy tentacles of whispering feedback reach far beyond the realms of many others who choose the device of freaking out through repetition, but more than any other Wooden Shjips album, this is firmly grounded on Earth. There’s no denying passages like the Close Encounters-whirr of Ghouls, but the untamed, organic guitar solos of the title track recall such vintage artists as Neil Young, and the use of the electric organ and even acoustic guitars give a hazy, sandy flavour. This is no more evident than on album closer Everybody Knows, which on some other planet might be considered a tender pop ballad. Other highlights include These Shadows, a solemn and downbeat centrepiece of droning chords and tearful licks. It ranks amongst some of the most beautiful pieces the band have ever conceived. The flaw with Back To Land is in its very nature: set out in such a natural flow of spacedesert spiralling it’s easy to get lost, and some tracks drift past as mere mirages. As always, though, it’s the adventure you’ll remember. JTB
Tim Paris debut album feat. Georg Levin, Coco Solid, Forrest, Sex Judas, Ben Shemie...
M.I.A. MATANGI N.E.E.T. / Interscope 11/20 With a fascinating backstory, a radical attitude and an exhilarating style of politically potent, crosscultural party music, there was a strong argument to be made that Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasm was one of the greatest pop stars of the last decade. But when 2010’s divisive third album /\/\ /\ Y /\ dropped, the sour backlash ensued, with the New York Times’ ‘Trufflegate’ profile highlighting what her fans would call a ‘dichotomy’ and what her detractors would call shallow posturing and hypocrisy. The latter opinion wasn’t exactly discouraged by lyrics like “economics eat the poor like a Twix”. But in a year when M.I.A.’s NFL Superbowl scandal has continued to swell her profile, Julian Assange appeared at her concert (via Skype, of course) to declare her “the most courageous woman working in music, without exception” and Kanye’s unfiltered political rage and has been applauded by the music press, surely it’s time to start taking M.I.A. seriously again? The problem with Matangi is that it doesn’t feel like she’s taking her own music seriously enough these days. While the inclusion of her incredible single Bad Girls – nearly two years old – reminds you how she can pack a powerful implicit political message without losing her cool, lyrically the rest of the album consists mainly of rhymes so lazy and clunky that they’d make 2 Chainz raise an eyebrow. Instrumentally the record’s as colourful as you’d expect, but too many times the production team have tried to mask Maya’s audible disinterest and dated post-Diplo aesthetic with an overly cluttered and erratic selection of beats. As a result, listening to Matangi feels akin to indulging in an internet binge with 17 tabs open. You’re perpetually curious and never truly bored, but nothing’s actually sinking in. And and once the laptop’s off you’re left with a craving for something more substantial, focused and coherent. DR
MILEY CYRUS BANGERZ RCA
CATE LE BON MUG MUSEUM Turnstile
The magnum opus from twerk paragon Miley is a peculiar affair. The sensationalised promotional rally has reached the finish line in spectacularly underwhelming fashion, proving that, essentially, there’s no reason whatsoever to listen to Miley Cyrus. Bangerz’ opener Adore You is a really bad pop song, all gaudy production and pseudo-tender lyricism, and while Mike Will Made It’s production on We Can’t Stop renders it club-friendly, any hope of that continuing is obliterated on SMS (Bangerz), where Cyrus sounds like Daphne (or Celeste) manically talk-rapping over a polyphonic ringtone (circa Nokia 3220). We live in an age where pop can be smart, even thrilling, and Bangerz is a surefire nadir of when it’s not. But the deeper concern here is what it says about pop music culture. The lasting memory left by the album and its surrounding circus is still Miley Cyrus performing a song that wasn’t even hers at an awards show. Dwelling on the rights and the wrongs this late in the game is like pissing in the wind, but there’s truly nothing worth celebrating. If the enduring image for the year’s most talked about pop star is a 20-year-old girl bent over with her tongue hanging out, it has to be time to re-evaluate. DH
Cate Le Bon has gone Cali. It seems the sun-slicked streets are having quite an effect on these songs, written in little South Wales but recorded in super-sized LA. Mug Museum opens with the sunshine pop of I Can’t Help You, an effervescent song that flicks the switch inside your head like a good cup of coffee. Embracing the wry smile as rays of light touch the skin, it’s a fine opening track and raises the bar on anything she’s written before. I Think I Knew sees her in conversation with Mike Hadreas, otherwise known as Perfume Genius, like an underground version of Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers. It’s a melancholy unearthing of a revelatory pairing. Cate’s opinions on herself, her gender and her family are felt throughout, even though she is in mid-discovery, re-evaluating her role within the life play. Lines like “Lay still on the ground, exhale the sound of symphonies” give this music a timeless, moving context. The closing title track sees Cate at a lonely piano, the creaks of the stool she sits on becoming part of the track. Drenched into the sunlight of Los Angeles, these songs have been illuminated beyond their darker beginnings into shining jewels, and will surely propel Cate into a different musical league. PJA
SÉBASTIEN TELLIER CONFECTIONS Record Makers
TRIPTIDES PREDICTIONS Stroll On Records
Nearly 10 years have passed since the release of his ‘perfect song’, and Sébastien Tellier has brought the band of that timeless masterpiece La Ritournelle back together for the first time. Confections is no doubt partly a reminiscence on the French lothario’s back-catalogue. First single l’Amour Naissant matches La Ritournelle’s travelling jazz drum beat, helping along a bold, repeated expression on the piano in the same manner as its older brother. The track is the only real pop song on the record, demonstrating Tellier’s knack for elevating a golden riff with evolving instrumentation. Confections plays out like a Godard film soundtrack, with musical themes and characters such as ‘Coco’ recurring, creating a tenuous frame for the listener to fashion a tale around. The intrinsic narrative which spans the album allows tracks like Waltz (a squeaky, horn-drenched three-minute merrygo-round of Ween proportions) a rare sense of belonging, actually providing the backing to this particular event in the narrative. This is an album of scenes and phases; it’s truly beautiful, but moves passively and demands the effort of the listener’s imagination to be made whole, with closing track La Delta Des Amours seeing Tellier fingerpick his way along orchestral strings toward a hopeful but uncertain end. HJ
The crystalline arpeggios and washy vocals that open Set You Free forecast Predictions as an album of nostalgic, earthy psychedelia. Indiana’s Triptides display a sound that harks back to a place amidst the British invasion of the 60s and the LSD-nourished summers of love, and it’s a delight to hear. As the opening track shifts into mach speed it bursts with momentum, erupts, and satisfyingly collapses into a climax of twinkling, pillowed sighs. It’s a cushy release. And this is an album full of them. Prediction re-states the mood with a jovial harpsichord that recalls Love, while the beachy surf of Night Owl has a subtle swagger, marrying the plastic smiles of early TV-show performances from bands like The Shadows with the nonchalance of garage rock. The 12-string jangles of The Byrds, too, are found in full-swing on Tapestry. This is where this album succeeds best. Despite occasionally succumbing to the heady riffs, gloopy production and snare-heavy drums that have signposted the similarly-motivated Tame Impala, Triptides enjoy the closeness with which they mimic their influences. They’re derivative of those who came before them, for sure, but while the record is one that does sit slightly better with the Nuggets crowd than the nu-psych movement, it’s still a sweet, pleasant trip. JTB
Problems? C p
Dining Al Desko with ...
Denzil Schniffermann No sooner had Crack advertised for a
new agony person than we received a very
I’ve just completed GTA V and now I’ve found myself at a bit of a loss. I can tell by your hair that you’re a gamer so you can probably understand my woe. Any suggestions for a man on the brink of a video game withdrawal based implosion? Should I just go back to playing Call of Duty or is there something else people my age do to kill time? I’m admittedly getting a little tired of spending my Saturday afternoon’s pwning n00bs.
I have everything Godspeed You! Black Emperor have ever released on cassette, vinyl, CD, MP3, .WAV and VHS. Thing is, I’m kind of struggling to find any new music that really pushes the envelope. Could you recommend some of your favourite avant-garde noise bands who really explore the hidden depths of the subconscious?
Thx in advance,
Sarah Burroughs, 26, Leeds
A local hairdresser was lucky enough to have my custom for around five years. And you know how it is when you’re in the chair, it’s like being on the therapist’s couch. I told them things I’d told no other, and we developed a strong, mutual sense of affection. However, when I’d revealed that I’d started seeing someone, they sabotaged my hair in what I suspect was a jealous rage. Now my look could be accurately described as ‘Danny Brown meets Bruce Foxton of The Jam’. Do you think this warrants me pursuing legal action?
KILLSHOT309, 32, Milton Keynes
Mike, 24, London
A quick internet search informs me that these Godspeed chaps make music primarly targeted at bearded and bespectacled vegans. If you’re really looking for a group who pushed boundaries, let me suggest a certain Genesis. None of that early tripe mind – those boys really hit their stride in the early 80s. And if you fancy something a little more cuttingedge, a pal of mine recommended something called Jeff Wayne’s War Of The Worlds the other day. It’s pretty out there, but I always think it’s important to keep up with the trends if possible.
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.
One phone call later, and Denzil had put our finances in order, had the workforce thought-showering like lunatics, and we were in possession of one motherfucker of a two-year development plan. We knew we’d found our man. Denzil Schniffermann: business guru, motivational speaker, life-coach,
I’m afraid you’ve grossly misjudged my character. There’s no way you’d catch Denzil Schnifferman staring vacantly at a screen, with one hand coordinating simulated mass murder while the other grazes a family size bag of an illuminous orange, corn-based snack. I don’t approve of this Grand Theft Auto nonsense, although I do hear my friend Gilles Peterson is involved (we recently debated the merits of bongo-infused house music over a chilled bottle of Pinot in the south of France. A good man is Gilles). My recommendation is that you now focus on maintaining a relationship with a member of the opposite sex. You can ‘Thx’ me later.
Mike, I can totally empathise. I used to let my ex-wife give me my fortnightly trim and let me tell you, if Denzil was in the dog-house then my barnet suffered. I once forgot our anniversary (fully justified, I was at a conference – in Barnet, funnily enough) and she left me with a secret rat’s tail. But if I’ve learnt anything from 30 years in business, it’s that a frivolous lawsuit never ends well. Pop a hat on and get over it, pal.
sexual athlete, and above all ... friend.
// any problems? Contact Denzil@ crackmagazine.net
Politics? c m
The Big Pipe Theory
Illustration: Lee Nutland www.leenutland.com
What’s the difference between the decimated hulk of newspaper and CD businesses, and broadcast television? Couch potatoes and bandwidth, probably. You know the future’s arrived when describing technology from your childhood makes you sound like a 19th Century chimney sweep: “My documents were saved on 3.5 inch floppy disks, which stored less than half a five-minute song. We only had one phone line in the whole house and I made calls using a rotary dialler. And when I was 16 I used to smoke roll ups in pubs.” That’s how it feels to describe broadcast television in the internet age. It’s amazing we haven’t kicked the habit.
students, calling The Banker on exactly the type of phone described a moment ago. The next channel’s showing non-stop episodes of Ted ‘punch me in the face’ Mosby making 20-minute soliloquies about how someday he’s going to ruin the life of a perfectly nice woman with a yellow umbrella that have me frantically trying to break the safety guards off my BIC razor. In the meantime, the internet has become a multifaceted thing of media beauty that costs next to nothing to use and has unimaginable depths of content. Looking at the TV guide and choosing something to watch on a Saturday night seems about as relevant as walking into Blockbuster and renting Speed 2: Cruise Control on VHS.
It’s a medium where a quarter of the content is nontargeted advertising. The rest is a mind-numbing 24-hour entertainment spiel over some hundredodd channels that you can scroll through for hours without ever quite landing on something you want to watch when it’s about to begin.
I’m not saying there’s nothing but bad content on broadcast television. Episodic drama, led by the likes of The Wire, Breaking Bad and The Sopranos, has been taken to unbelievable new heights. And I suppose there’s an argument that some people choose to watch the shows from the last few paragraphs, too.
Right now I could tune into a rerun of a prime time show in which contestants guess the contents of red boxes based on absolutely nothing. The ‘jeopardy’ factor is introduced by a man who looks like the 6th form philosophy lecturer that’s always hitting on
What I’m saying is that broadcast television is a terrible content delivery system. It doesn’t learn, it’s old and it needs to be quietly retired. It’s the John McCain of electronic goods.
We already know what the alternatives are. Streaming services hit another new high-tide point when Netflix announced it has more subscribers than HBO last month, and more TVs are being built to work with streaming services, albeit they still promote regular channels and lack the right kind of interface. When you have an internet connection faster than 20mbps, there’s no more reason to pay for phone line rental and a satellite package. Everything will come through the same pipe via a platform that’s interactive, on-demand, intelligent and utilises peer recommendation, and your friends will be there to talk to and play with. When this happens the old gatekeepers like Sky and Virgin will be decimated. Signing up to a satellite provider will make about as much sense as paying for the AOL-content-only internet the now-defunct ISP peddled in the 90s. Existing channels will try to adapt, but most will fail. Broadcast television will go through the same structural change that newspaper businesses are struggling with. They might be able to sell some content and operate big draw live events like the X Factor, but the monopoly will be smashed. We just need to reach the tipping point in what I’m going to call the Big Pipe Theory (the name comes from a discussion about the future of television and ‘High Resolution Home Graphic Centres’ that took place in
the 80s). When enough households are connected, multimedia companies which are building huge audiences online – think Vice and TMZ – will explode. Sure, some will need companies like YouTube to wrap adverts around their content, but imagine what’ll happen when a company like BuzzFeed plugs directly into the living rooms of millions of households. Will Dave really be able to compete? It’ll take about 10 years, but the coach potato habit will be chipped away piece by piece until the Big Pipe audience gains real traction. Then broadcast television will be all but killed off. In 50 years, explaining a fivechannel television to a 20-year-old will be like trying to explain a microwave to a cowboy.
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