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fabric AUG / SEPT — 2013

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CrAiG riChArDS GEorGE FiTzGErAlD JUJU & JorDASh (liVE) WAzE & oDySSEy — ∑ ROOM 2

10 yEArS oF DArKrooM DUBS SiliConE SoUl KlArTrAUM (liVE) oF norWAy (liVE) — ∑ ROOM 3

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∂0 yEArS oF 3AM rECorDinGS GioM PETE DAFEET Al BrADlEy Phil ToWErS BEn CliFForD

77A Charterhouse Street, London EC∂. Opening times: ∂∂pm — 8am. Check www.fabriclondon.com for advance tickets, prices and further info. fabric operates a 24HR drinking license. A selection of recordings from these events will be available to hear again on www.fabriclondon.com/fabricfirst fabric 69: Sandwell District — Out Now. fabric 70: Apollonia — Out Now. fabric 7∂: Cassy — ∂9th august. Art Direction and Design by plusyes. Photography by Mads Perch.

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Photographer | Elliot Kennedy Featuring | Josh Homme

For those who are cracked let the light in: Respect Nile Rodgers Sarah Miles Anastasia Filipovna Resting Chef Gary Chattz Elliot Kennedy Oli & Ivano Trail Of Press Shane Mano Gemma Mano Leena Sharma The We Love… Crew Marcel Dettmann William Yates Jack Bolter Mark Broadcast Jess and Alicia SMS Joe Root Deep Sharma Executive Editors Thomas Frost tom@crackmagazine.net

has spent most of the summer stripped to the waist. You might have noticed. There’s no two ways about it, it’s been a Taps Aff couple of months. M

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Junior Editor David Reed davy@crackmagazine.net

Film Editor Tim Oxley Smith Editorial Assistants Anna Tehabsim Duncan Harrison

CRACK is published by Crack Industries Ltd Advertising To enquire about advertising and to request a media pack contact: advertising@crackmagazine.net

0117 2391219 © All rights reserved. All material in Crack magazine may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of Crack Industries Ltd. Crack Magazine and its contributors cannot accept any liability for reader discontent arising from the editorial features. Crack Magazine reserves the right to accept or reject any article or material supplied for publication or to edit this material prior to publishing. Crack magazine cannot be held responsible for loss or damage to supplied materials. The opinions expressed or recommendations given in the magazine are the views of the individual author and do not necessarily represent the views of Crack Industries Ltd. We accept no liability for any misprints or mistakes and no responsibility can be taken for the contents of these pages.

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It doesn’t require a large-scale musical event to get the taps aff treatment. Potato waffles for dinner? Taps aff. Dog for a walk? Taps aff all round.

So peruse the issue, gander at the features, enjoy your read. And if you come across one of your favourite artists, a particularly appropriate metaphor, or even just a bit of real talk – you know what to do.

Fashion Charlotte James Elise Rose Jo Williams

Illustrations Lee Nutland

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Not everywhere welcomes such brazen exposure though. You’ve got to pick your moments. Ibiza über-club DC10, for example. There we were, at surely one of the ultimate taps aff venues in the world, and aff they came. A very stern bouncer stepped forward. “Get your taps ahn” he said. “But it’s taps aff ” we replied. “Taps ahn” he insisted. And back ahn they went. It happened three times. So there you go. Sometimes, even when you might least expect it, taps aff is not to be.

Art Direction & Design Jake Applebee Alfie Allen

Contributors Christopher Goodfellow Josh Baines Adam Corner Billy Black Lucie Grace Joshua Nevett Rich Bitt Jack Bolter Robert Bates Augustin Macellari Leah Connolly Phillip James Allen Thomas Hawkins James T. Balmont Jon Clark Angus Harrison

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We’re becoming quite an authority on the matter, we know what’s what. Love Saves The Day actively encouraged taps aff. Field Day, not so much. Glastonbury was more of a timing issue, but when that time came, the boys, the girls, the crew, the DJs – they all had their fucking taps aff. The entire coastline of Croatia has been perma-taps-aff since some time in mid-May.

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Marketing / Events Manager Luke Sutton luke@crackmagazine.net

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The country, even the continent’s major festivals haven’t been complete without the sight of Crack’s pallid torso, a shirt carelessly swung around the head, and a joyous shriek of ‘TAPS AFF’. It was Belfast’s finest house revivalists Bicep who really taught us the ropes. As their sets drift into hour two and the classics make themselves evident, you know it’s a matter of time before the cry goes up and the taps come aff. Our boys at Futureboogie have also got it down to a fine art. They may tell you their taps aff days are over. They’re lying.

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

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Geraint Davies

Crack has been created using: Octa Octa - Come Closer DJ Nature - Let It Ring Greg Beato - Gimme A Light Seams - Rilo Plattenbau - Sassy Cubes John Grant - GMF Queen - Friends Will Be Friends Deftones - Minerva Tina Turner - Nutbush City Limits Pat Benatar - Love Is a Battlefield Oblivians - Do The Milkshake MC5 - Borderline The Keggs - To Find Out The Strange Boys - Be Brave Ty Segall - Girlfriend Pixies - Bagboy Lungfish - Friend to Friend in End Time Bikini Kill - Rebel Girl Heatmiser - Pop in G Pavement - Summer Babe Modest Mouse - Bukowski

The Walkmen - Blue As Your Blood Ricardo Villalobos - Waiworinao Karenn - Clean It Up Dubatech - Nonagon Vril - UV Benjamin Damage - Spirals Blondes - Elise Funkineven- Mars Asusu - Rendering Samantha Vacation - Samantha’s Vacation Funkinevil - Ignorant Marcos Valle - Estrella Evelyn Champagne King - Love Come Down SOPHIE - Bipp Chance The Rapper - Cocoa Butter Kisses Astronomyy - Things I’d Do For U Drenge - Let’s Pretend Earth Wind and Fire - My Promise Drake ft. Migos - Versace Gunplay - Bible On The Dash Sufjan Stevens - Chicago www.crackmagazine.net

D’Angelo - Chicken Grease The National - Sea Of Love The Doors - Cars Hiss By My Window Portishead - Roads The Howling - Shortline (Frank Wiedemann remix) Sven von Thülen - Universal Mind Nico Murman - Slow Burner Die Vogel - Mesmerize Chemical Brothers - Saturate (El Harvo edit) Paul Woolford - Untitled DJ W!ld - Shape U The Portillo Moment - St. Catherine’s Destruction Unit - God Trip Islet - Citrus Peel PINS - Girls Like Us Mr G - Day After B Typesun - Last Home (DJ Nature Remix) These New Puritans - Organ Eternal Splashh - All I Wanna Do Marcel Dettmann - Linux Omar Souleyman - Wenu Wenu


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BANK HOLIDAY SUNDAY 25TH AUGUST 2013

JUAN ATKINS & MORITZ VON OSWALD PRESENT BORDERLAND {Live} OMAR S · MARTYN PORTABLE {Live} · TAMA SUMO FLOATING POINTS · PETER VAN HOESEN RON MORELLI VS WILL BANKHEAD {L.I.E.S.} {The Trilogy Tapes} TRUS’ME · DJ QU · BRAWTHER ANDREW ASHONG · MOXIE GILES SMITH · JAMES PRIESTLEY secretsundaze – Studio 338, Greenwich / 2-10.30pm Go Bang! – Coronet Theatre, Elephant & Castle / 10pm-7am www.crackmagazine.net Untitled-15 1

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3 RECORDS // CONTENTS QU EENS OF T HE S T ONE A G E - 1 0

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CRACKMAGAZINE.NET THE BEST Of OUR WEBSITE THIS MONTH

Me tron om y The Eng l i sh R iv ie ra W ire Pi nk Fl ag George Mi c h a el Care l ess Wh is p e r NO AGE - 1 4 Obits Re ce p tor Nick Lo w e Mari e Prov o s t T he Velvet U nder g r ound Rock & Ro ll DJ SPRINKLES - 1 6 S ou n d M ec h a ni x I Can’t Fo rge t Du ckta il s Letter of Intent (DJ Sprinkles Post Script) F in g ers I nc . Never No M o re Lo n e ly J EFFREY LEWIS - 1 9

S A N SOD A C R A C KC A S T //

C R A C K’ S E U R O P E A N F ES T I V A L O P U S / /

Mike Ol dfi el d The rise of San Soda kicked off late last year with his delightfully stripped back a capella remix of FCL’s Tubul ar Be lls It’s You. Now he’s treating Crack to a brand new mix, where he provides us with an upfront selection of Chicago house throwbacks, timeless acidic textures and deeper techno cuts that features tracks from the T he F a l l likes of Omar S, Fred P and DJ Duke. Get involved. Noi se S cott Wa l k er SDSS1416+13B (Zercon, A Flagpole Sitte r)

We’ve been absolute international party people, visiting some of the most talkedabout festivals on the continent. Exit, Open’er, Worldwide, Bilbao BBK, Stop Making Sense, Slottsfjell and more have so far had the treatment. We’ve got reports of performances from the likes of Arctic Monkeys, Todd Terje, Atoms For Peace and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. There’s also a comprehensive breakdown of Miguel’s jeans.

THUN DERCAT - 20 Ra y Pa rk er J r & R a ydi o You Can’t C h a n ge Th a t Ale xa n d er O ’ Nea l If You Were He r e To n igh t Fra n k Za ppa S t. A l fonzo ’s Pa n c a ke B r e a kf a st SIR QUENT IN BL AKE - 2 4 Ja mes B l a k e Ove rg rown Ve rdi Obe rto Sca rla tt i A l l eg ro

L .I .E .S, L .I .E .S, L .I .E .S //

L.I.E.S. - 40 Hu e rco S. A phel ei a’s T h e m e Cha rles Ma ni er Charl es M a n ie r LP Ha n k Jac k s on Pal e e H i t

Head to p.40 to find our profile of Ron Morelli’s Brooklyn-based imprint L.I.E.S., amongst the most exciting electronic labels to emerge from the underground in recent years. While Ron talks frankly about the rise of his DIY machine music, its influences and intentions, we also spoke to four L.I.E.S. alumni: Terekke, Delroy Edwards, Steve Summer and Svengalisghost. But we just couldn’t squeeze everything in, so hit up the site for more extensive features, recommended listening, LSD anecdotes and mix action.

www.crackmagazine.net

JI Y EO F E AT U R E / / Crack delved into Ji Yeo’s Beauty Recovery Room – a photographic documentation of the brutal reality of Korean women’s obsession with perfection. The images are as harrowing as they are remarkable: heavy bruising, puffed faces, bandaged bodies and blood stained pyjamas. This online article looks at Yeo’s overall work as well as the subject matter she so staggeringly chronicles.


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Th e Po lyp hon ic Spr ee Village Unde rg round 8th Au gu s t

Co ld Cave Electro werkz 8th Au gu s t

Nin a Krav iz fabric August 31st £19 adv.

Be s t iv al Sir Elton John, Snoop Dogg, Richie Hawtin, Flaming Lips, The Knife, Wu-Tang Clan Robin Hill Country Park, Isle of White September 5th-8th £190

Ho r se Mea t D isco XOYO 10th August

Everyone was perfectly entitled to think Bestival may have peaked last year with Stevie Wonder singing Happy Birthday under a giant owl with laser eyes. But know what, Rob Da Bank has upped his curating game yet again – this time to the echelons of Sir Elton John. Elton’s middle stage name is literally Hercules. It literally is. On top of that you’ve got Snoop Dogg, M.I.A, Belle and Sebastian, Wu-Tang and a host of acts, many of whom can’t be found at any other UK weekenders. It’s also their 10th anniversary, so why not celebrate in the Channels? After all, Elton John’s middle name is Hercules.

Any thorough 4x4 aficionado would have had to make a concerted, and pretty stupid, effort to escape Nina Kraviz’s presence over the last few years. From an early obsession with Dance Mania records to her current status as contemporary techno figurehead, the outspoken Siberian temptress finds herself proudly at the helm of a scene. With a knack for mesmerising fans with her blend of seductive techno with an acid edge, Kraviz brings her charismatic persona to fabric along with fellow electronic icon Josh Wink and resident Terry Francis.

Neil Yo un g and Cr azy Ho r se The O2 19 th Au gust

Fr anz Fer dinan d Electric B ri xton 20th August

Cer ebr a l Ballz y Old B lu e Last 20th August

S e cre t sundaze x Go B ang!

Fe stival No . 6

Omar S, Floating Points, Juan Atkins + Moritz von Oswald Studio 338 / Coronet Theatre August 25th From £14.50

Manic Street Preachers, My Bloody Valentine, Neon Neon, Andrew Weatherall Portmeirion, Wales September 13th-15th £170 + BF

Among the most eye-catching one day line-ups of the year, Secretsundaze are back with their Bank Holiday mini-festival. In collaboration with Go Bang!, the all day / all night event runs from 2pm to 7am, with the daytime hosting Omar S, Portable Live and Floating Points. Take to the Coroners Court for the nighttime affair, with Juan ‘The Creator’ Atkins performing as Borderline alongside fellow techno innovator Moritz Von Oswald, as well as Tama Sumo, Martyn and L.I.E.S co-ordinator Ron Morelli b2b with The Trilogy Tapes' Will Bankhead. We’re talking big guns across the board.

If ever a festival was curated with its setting firmly in mind, it’s Festival No. 6. The sonic assault of MBV, a near-enough hometown show for the Manics, and the sheer joy of Chic: all these acts in the sublime Mediterranean-style village of Portmeirion will be straight-up lush. It’s without doubt one of the most unique and breathtaking locations in the landscape of European festivals. There are also further live sets from Tricky, James Blake and Daughter, plus as night draws in you can get down to Frankie Knuckles, Horse Meat Disco, Daddy G and Carl Craig to name a few. If No. 6 can build on last year’s inaugural success story, it’ll be very special indeed.

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E ar l Wol f KO KO 2 1st Aug ust

Se a ms

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Servant Jazz Quarters

Village Underground

7th August

10th August

S ue de Kenw ood H ouse 2 3 rd Aug ust

O we n Pa lle t J ul i a H olter

Village Underground August 11th £15 Owen Pallett won the 2006 Polaris Music Prize (like the Canadian Mercuries, but loads better) for his violin-looping genius under the moniker Final Fantasy. That was on top of recording and touring with Arcade Fire. Since going under his own name he’s put out 2010’s critically acclaimed Heartland while also contributing to records from Taylor Swift, Robbie Williams and Mika. Gulp. But let him off, because he also played strings on the last The National LP which blatantly made you cry. He’s most probably your favourite musician’s favourite musician, and his live show won’t disappoint.

Cecil Sharp House August 20th £14.50 adv. F R O M E U R I P I D E S T O LO S A N G E L E S : W I T H LO U D C I T Y S O N G , J U L I A H O LT E R D R O P S T H E FA N TA S Y F O R C AC O P H O N O U S S O C I A L R U M I N AT I O N A N D A N I M M E R S I O N I N T H E C I T Y

There’s pretty much nothing wrong with Julia Holter. Her first full length Tragedy was so great it had to be repressed earlier this year because so many people wanted to own it. This is a record based around an ancient Greek play. This show comes in support of her new record Loud City Song, an equally beguiling piece out via Domino this month. It’s her first original release on a label of their scale, so this intimate London date may well document the start of Holter’s unlikely rise to a whole new level.

T h u rsto n Moore

H awkwi nd S hepherds Bush E mpi re 2 4t h Aug ust

A ctre ss St. John’s’ at Hackney Church August 29th £14 adv Darren Cunningham has been building up both critical and commercial acclaim since 2004 when he released his first 12”, and 2010’s Splazsh and last year’s R.I.P have only served to confirm him as a producer who’s got us in the palm of his hand. There’s just no name for what he does. We’re now anticipating the release of his new effort Ghettoville, which is coming out through his own Werkdiscs imprint. This live set in such a unique and striking location should shed a little light on an elusive force in contemporary dance music.

Mala & Jackmaster H eav en 2 5 t h Aug ust

Cafe Oto 20th August

G e ra l d C in a mo n : C o lle c ted Wor k s i nc e 1 9 5 8 XXYYXX T he Garag e 2 8t h Aug ust

ICA September 4th - October 6th Free It’s not really fair. There are quite a few of us here at Crack, but sometimes it feels like only us writers get to have their say. So this one goes out to the design team. Because while we’ve got license to tell you how much we like Julia Holter’s new record, those poor buggers are sat there exchanging e-mails about this exhibition from a truly game-changing typographer. We’re assured this display in the ICA’s Fox Reading Room, documenting Cinamon’s evolving style including his iconic early work with Penguin, is genuinely top-end stuff.

M e rch a n d ise The Hive Project, Yard Theatre August 17th

Simple T h ings London La u n ch B j or k Alexandra Palace 3rd September

B o s n i a n Ra in b o w s Old Blue Last August 12th £10 + BF If you can stand up and say ‘I was in Texas post-hardcore game-changers At The Drive-In, then I got bored of that and formed the salsa-prog-punk maelstrom The Mars Volta’, chances are you’re pretty awesome. When Omar Rodriguez-Lopez put the latter on hiatus last year, this side-project with the outrageously nimble sticksman Deantoni Parks was founded. Their debut LP came out late June, an 11-track record made on analogue equipment. Without sounding like your uncle, this is authentic, raw, experimental rock which you should probably check out.

Line-up TBA Shacklewell Arms September 6th £7

People have been getting all hot and bothered over this Florida-based outfit’s evocative indie sound for some time. They accumulated a phenomenal following with critics and fans through a string of intriguing releases, and we’re anticipating this clutch of UK dates will be the definitive proof it hasn’t all been one big fuss over nothing. If their Totale Nite EP, released earlier this year, is anything to go by they’re ready to prove us right.

S t r and O f O aks S ebri g ht Arms 5 t h S ept ember

Celebrating the launch of this October one-day spectacular in Bristol, we’re taking over London’s Shacklewell Arms to showcase some artists performing at Simple Things. We'll be bringing together a collection of our prized acts – they'll all be announced soon enough – while Crack DJs will be on hand to play at least three Cramps songs. It’ll set you up real nice for that October mega-bash which features Moderat, No Age and These New Puritans.

M ika l C ro n in The Lexington 19th August

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Th e D r e am KO KO 4t h S ept ember

Eels S hepherds Bush E mpi re 7t h S ept ember


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28 TRACKS AND 2 MIXES AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD THIS SUMMER’S UPFRONT ELECTRONIC MUSIC STRAIGHT FROM THE BALKANS. FEATURING DISCLOSURE, TORO Y MOI, BONOBO, FOUR TET, JUSTIN MARTIN, JOHN TALABOT, CLAUDE VON STROKE, JACK DIXON, MARIBOU STATE, DAPHNI, EATS EVERYTHING, LETHERETTE & MORE.

OUT 19TH AUGUST

BLANKET PROMOTIONS PRESENTS

' J O HN TA U G H T ME EVERYTHING A B O U T P L AY IN G T HE G UI TA R ' PJ H A R V E Y -Performing music from his 'Screenplay' album of film soundtracks with his full band-

JOHN PARISH WED 4TH SEPT EXETER PHOENIX 8PM

SUPPORT FROM AIDAN SIMPSON & L IE S A VA N D E R A A

'AN EXTRAORDINARY EVENING FROM A D E VA S TAT I N G LY HONEST PERFORMER'

*****

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JOHN GRANT

W E D 16 T H O C T EXETER LEMON GROVE 7:30PM

Blanket Recordings presents

AIDAN SIMPSON 30/08/13 Moseley Folk Festival 04/09/13 Exeter Phoenix, with John Parish 12/09/13 La Lune Des Pirates, Amiens, France 13/09/13 4AD, Diksmuide, Belgium 'Night Falls With Rosemary'

B l a n k e t 0 01 E P l t d 3 0 0 p l u s d o w n l o a d s , produced by John Parish

blanketrecords.com/aidan-simpson www.blanketrecords.com www.john-parish.com johngrantmusic.com www.liesavanderaa.be

CRACK MAGAZINE IS ONE OF THE FASTEST GROWING, WIDELY-READ FREE PUBLICATIONS IN THE COUNTRY CATERING FOR A TRENDSETTING, VIBRANT AUDIENCE OF CULTURE CONSUMERS. IF YOU WANT YOUR BUSINESS TO BE SEEN BY THOUSANDS OF OF THESE OPEN-MINDED INDIVIDUALS AND YOUR BRAND AFFILIATED WITH CRACK'S LOYAL COMMUNITY OF READERS, THEN DON'T HESITATE TO ENQUIRE ABOUT OUR RATES OF ADVERTISING.

LUKE@CRACKMAGAZINE.NET TEL: 0117 2391219


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NEW MUSIC

Glass Gang Th e Po r t illo M o me n t Here’s a Bristol-based four piece who rustle up riffage with a perfect fuzz/jangle ratio, resulting in a sound that blends the mumbling charm of the old Matador Records roster with the perky eccentricity of C86-style indie groups. And true to their influences, The Portillo Moment’s debut EP Demonstration Tape is a proudly micro-budget affair. “We recorded it in a friend’s bedroom and the process was pleasingly DIY”, lead guitarist Henry Rees-Sheridan tells Crack. “The pop shield we used for the vocals was made out of an unwashed t-shirt stretched over a coat hanger”. Lyrically, the band depict typically Anglicised accounts of the naïve thrills and crushing insecurities that define adolescence, with bassist/vocalist Celia Archer’s subtle, carefully annunciated tones depicting an overarching thematic narrative. “We have ten songs which, taken together, form a non-linear concept album based around the BBC, Mini Cheddars and fingering” they promise, “but you’ll have to wait for the record to come out to get the full story”. And while this is all in progress, the band have been getting impressively tight on stage. “We’re getting to a point now where Henry doesn’t have to have a pint of room-temperature Ribena and a lie down in order to calm his nerves before facing the public”, they boast. If they can maintain this level of swagger, there’ll be no stopping them.

With their half-body press shots and constant efforts to remain nameless, Glass Gang are doing a fine job of ticking the boxes marked 'elusive' and 'intangible'. The good news is, these age old ploys aren’t actually in place to hide lack of ideas or songs. Their first offering Waves sounds a little like Foals getting production help from Hudson Mohawke: clean, tight drum lines resting on top of hazy, misty melodies. The Brooklyn trio are playing their cards close to their chests, and though they’ve promised more free downloads we’re yet to hear anything about live shows, or see their names and their faces. Don’t sweat. Waves and the recently released Time will certainly suffice for now.

Re jjie S n o w

Tune: Time

“Money, bitches, hoes, greed, pussy, Lord knows” – the refrain of Rejjie Snow’s track Loveleen certainly makes the familiar, generic statement of the hip-hop hegemony. So what does this hotly-tipped Irish rapper bring to the table that we haven’t heard a million times before? A whole lot, it turns out. On his outstanding recent EP Rejovich, Snow’s lyrics range from yarns about ‘the illuminati’ to bizarre lustful stories between a pre-pubescent narrator and an 86-yearold femme, building personality through the hypnotic use of inspired metaphorical lyricism and intricate wordplay. Likewise, the backing instrumentation pumps the record with spirit: chopped piano medleys are played beneath a mixture of slight and subtle hip/trip-hop beats. It’s Odd Future without quite as much overt joking around. Instantly affective and persistently memorable, Rejjie Snow looks to be an exciting prospect.

File Next To: Purity Ring | Rhye

rejjiesnow.com

glass-gang.tumblr.com

soundcloud.com/the-portillo-moment Tune: St Catherine’s

Tune: Lost in Empathy

File Next To: The Shop Assistants | Helium

File Next To: Vince Staples | DOOM

S a m a n t h a V a ca t io n

H owes While you might be tired of seeing the word ‘prodigious’ being applied to pretty much any artist under the age of 23, if you heard the music of Howes prior to knowing any context, you’d struggle to believe this Mancunian artist is just 19 years old. Taking inspiration from 90s era Warp Records, Border and Krautrock forefathers Can, Howes’ new Leazes EP is a deeply absorbing listening experience, with the title track – a dark, shuffling house beat that erupts into an afro-infused, nocturnal carousal – being our personal favourite.

Lil Herb & Lil Bib b y

Kiw i

With King L and Chief Keef landing guest spots on 2013’s biggest blockbuster hip-hop album Yeezus, and Chi-town lioness Sasha Go Hard being taken under Diplo’s wing, space at the top of Chicago’s drill rap hierarchy has been made for a second wave of artists. Enter Lil Herb & Lil Bibby. Although these two run solo separately, they often collaborate, with influential local blog Fake Shore Drive compiling their best respective bangers together. They both sound older than their years for two reasons: the depth of the voices, and a cold streetwise mentality that mirrors the bleak crime statistics of their city. While there’s been strong rumours of Drake and Three 6 Mafia’s Project Pat jumping on a remix of My Hood, for the moment the two seem to be prioritising underground street cred over bank rolls.

Having bagged gigs at Field Day, Ibiza’s Space and Croatia’s Stop Making Sense, it’s not been a bad year for up and coming London producer/DJ Kiwi. And we’re sure he’s handling the pressure just fine, because judging from the vibe of his tracks, this guy definitely isn’t lacking in confidence. With a style that fuses disco, funk and techno, his most recent EP includes a metallic juggernaut of a bassline tucked away on the B-side, while lead single Llama is a Tequila Sunrise-hued, hands-inthe-air banger that a DJ would only dare drop if shit was well and truly kicking off.

soundcloud.com/samanthavacation

@LilHerbie_Ebk/@lilbibby_

File Next To: Hot Mix 5 | Andrew Weatheral

Tune: Samantha’s Vacation

Tune: My Hood

File Next To: Xosar | Mark Fell

File Next To: King L | Gino Marley

Samantha Vacation, another intriguing artist on the L.I.E.S. roster, was picked up by label boss Ron Morelli through connections at All Day records in North Carolina. Supplying the typically genre-defying production that has come to characterise the label, her first 12” release was described on the L.I.E.S. SoundCloud as ‘free jazz techno of sorts’. While she personally describes herself as ‘nonsense house’, her white label release includes an A-side which jitters with pop textures that descend into twitchy vocals wrapped up in warping footwork and twisted techno. Vacation’s sound can be lighter than much of the L.I.E.S catalogue, but these challenging tracks make for a solid entry into the label's enigmatic line-up. Listen to Postcards from Mssr Perdu. If you can find it. Anywhere.

soundcloud.com/melodic-records Tune: Leazes

facebook.com/kiwidj Tune: Llama

File Next To: Mount Kimbie | Cluster


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W hy the death of J osh H omme was the best thing that ever happened to Queens of the S tone A ge

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WORDS Ge rai nt D a v ie s

P HOT OS El l i ot Kenne d y

QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE

Josh Homme is aiming a particularly graphic air blowjob directly into his inner cheek as the photographer lurks. He stops sharply as our man takes aim, a dangerous grin flashing across his face. “You really think you’d make it out that door, down those stairs and into a cab with that shot?” he rasps. Homme leans forward. “Maybe you haven’t heard about me?”

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TUN E My God I s T he S un

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It’s Berry who introduces the band onstage at Rough Trade. Once again, surreal is the operative word, as we gather among the racks of vinyl to watch them rattle through a range of new tracks alongside classics such as Go With The Flow and Monsters In The Parasol. A band who that week have narrowly missed out on a number one record in the UK while proudly topping the US charts for the first time; a band who that weekend would play to 40,000 baying metallers at Download Festival.

He’s joking, of course. We fucking hope he’s joking. This is Josh Homme circa 2013. This is Queens of the Stone Age circa ...Like Clockwork. While assembled within this Soho hotel room – several hours later than planned – they form an intimidating wall of man flesh, there’s no ignoring the sparkle in every vaguely bloodshot eye, the palpable sense of refreshed momentum. Later that evening, at Rough Trade East, Josh Homme stands onstage in front of around 300 people. He steps up to the mic and declares “All I used to wanna do was fuck, fight, and get high”. He sucks deep from a beer. “Now all I wanna do is fuck and get high.” Josh Homme is grateful, he’s buoyant, and he’s bullish. Josh Homme bears the look of a man who, perhaps for the first time in his life, knows exactly what he’s got to lose. It’s fairly common knowledge that Homme almost – or even did – die on the operating table following complications during knee surgery in 2010. He subsequently spent three months in bed, and several more attempting to rebuild his strength, his confidence and his self-belief to a point where Queens of the Stone Age could come to life once again. These events go some way to explaining the six year gestation between 2007’s Era Vulgaris and this latest effort, and a long way to explaining the record’s tone. From the moment the lolloping, growling bassline of Keep Your Eyes Peeled becomes punctuated by Homme’s howling vibrato, there’s a sense of mournful self-reflection at play. As with so much of Homme’s work, the record feels ‘of ’ the desert. But while past work crafted an enviable, romanticised scene – the magisterial, grandiose fuzz-blanket of Kyuss, or the top-down propulsion of 2002’s Songs for the Deaf – here there’s a sparseness, an impenetrable loneliness. It encapsulates another aspects of that unforgiving landscape; that the desert can make you feel like the smallest, most insignificant thing in the universe. But vitally, the record also acts as a document of overcoming these trials. The rediscovery of the joys of making music, of the importance of a group of people coming together to make something tangible. If I Had A Tail’s monumental layers are triumphant in the highest. Smooth Sailing is a sexed-up funk rock jam with a raised eyebrow and a wink to the camera in each line, a nod to the lubricated hips of Homme’s libidinous alter-ego Carlo Von Sexron. Despite the seemingly insurmountable obstacles ...Like Clockwork was forced to scale, the catharsis of its creation and its exultant release contribute to far more than just a record. The core of Queens of the Stone age, as fluid as it has often been, now feels concrete. We interview Homme, guitar and lap steel player Troy Van Leeuwen, a staple of the band since 2005’s murky, Brothers Grimm-evoking Lullabies To Paralyze, and multi-instrumentalist Dean Fertita. Bassist Michael Shuman and recently employed drummer Jon Theodore, formerly of The Mars Volta, hover nearby. It’s an incredibly powerful collection of seasoned, accomplished musicians. But as has been Homme’s inclination ever since inaugurating his Desert Sessions series in 1997, the process of collaborating and embracing a range of musicians and friends played its part. While some were to be expected – Dave Grohl, Alex Turner, Trent Reznor – few could have predicted Sir Elton John offering an impressively snarling vocal to Fairweather Friends, while in the wake of a some fairly public disputes, the inclusion of erstwhile partner-incrime Nick Oliveri raised its fair share of eyebrows. As did the band’s collaboration with Matt Berry, bold-voiced staple of so much superb British comedy, on Secrets of the Sound. A highly amusing studio mockumentary which sees all five members more than happy to thoroughly tear the piss out of themselves, it demands to be seen. When we raise the subject, it’s surreal to see members of one of the most important bands of their generation waxing lyrical about Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace and re-enacting scenes from The IT Crowd.

It’s also strangely appropriate for a group who’ve been forced to go back to their formative, atavistic state, to reassess everything, and to remerge as a grateful, voracious entity. They’ve emerged from the greatest challenge in the checkered, 17-year history of Queens of the Stone Age, and you can’t help but think they’d play to 300 every night, so long as they’re back making their music, without that clock ticking in the background.

Do you feel you’ve had to explain the context behind ...Like Clockwork more than any previous Queens album? Josh: Not really, everyone’s just copy pasting. We’re in a copy paste world, where everyone thinks their blog is so important, that what they had for breakfast is crucial to everyone’s knowledge. It’s mostly bullshit. Perhaps the main difference is that there’s been a huge amount made of the thematic ideas which make up this record? J: Well, that’s the difficult thing. By our standards we haven’t done a huge amount of press, and that’s because it’s not an easy discussion, y’know. We’re not complainers or anything, but this record starts in a dark place and gets darker ... what you gonna do? Of course, the title is a wry comment on the lengthy process which went into the making of this record. J: Well, it was going to be called Unicorn Party Sweetheart Kiss, but that was already taken. But another idea which comes from the name is of the clock as a memento mori, a reminder of your own mortality and the inevitability of death. J: The goal is to have this multi-level significance, this lateral movement and multiple forms of correct interpretation. Because there’s a certain amount of irony to it, but also a certain amount of optimism to the words ‘...Like Clockwork’. The timeframe that became this immoveable object, and also the focus on time lost and time spent, especially for a bunch of guys where time has never been an issue, and all of a sudden is. And the realisation that you’re not quite as invincible as you thought you were in your 20s. J: ... and your 30s, and right up until 40 ... but the other addition is that sometimes the best thing you can do is go away, because then it becomes about timings again, and about when it might be the right time to reemerge. It’s wonderful to make an entrance, I’ll leave it up to everyone else to decide if that’s what we’ve done. For the rest of the band, it must have required a certain degree of patience to wait for Josh to get back to that right place? Troy: Whatever amount of time it takes to get things right, that’s the way it is. That’s the way it happened this time, and that’s the way it happens every record for us. It’s never gonna be predictable, that’s what’s so exciting about it. Dean: We get to make our favourite music, that’s really the goal. J: It became obvious that we needed to start. I spent a good six, seven, even eight months just sitting around waiting for something to happen, for the first time in my fucking life. And it became painfully clear that when you wait, you’re agreeing to become a victim of circumstance, you hope that what you’re waiting for will be good. It might be bad, but since

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you didn’t have any application of trying to make things happen you have to take whatever you get.. In the midst of such an intense and personal record, Smooth Sailing is an anomaly. You’ve always shown a tendency to mix up humour and sex, why is that?

I’ve known that motherfucker since I was 11, we don’t need to explain ourselves to an outsider, mostly because it’s none of their business, but also because it’s none of their fucking business. Nick and I have been bros for so long ... he made his new record at my studio. And he was dropping off vinyl and he jokingly asked “yo, you need some background vocals?” and I thought, what a great way to put a knife in a balloon that’s been building up pressure.

J: It’s ‘cause fuckin’ and funny are awesome, except when you’re fuckin’ funny.

T: He’s our friend, he’s Nick. He’ll always be Nicky Peeps.

T: Well, I’m not into clown sex, unlike some people.

J: It’s Lemmy’s fucking kid. It’s the most rock ‘n’ roll motherfucker that exists out there, I’m fucking serious. Nick is badass, and I know it. Do you?

J: Man, clown sex is just silly. Isn’t it silly? Does that good will extend to (Kyuss drummer) Brant Bjork? Po-faced songs about fucking are a very difficult art to execute, it’s often better to address it with a bit of comedy. J: There’s a way to do all things, and you sing about your interests, you sing about your perversity, and you sing about how to heal yourself, and as long as it’s honest it doesn’t matter. If it’s honest it finds its right footing for you. There’s nothing we can do about whether it finds the right footing for someone else, but we have no chance unless it finds the right footing for us first. Is having a sense of humour important in music? Do too many musicians take themselves too seriously?

J: No. He's just a contrived little piece of paper. Was there not a danger of the sessions turning into a load of guys hanging out and partying? It’s lucky Elton’s off the powders. J: [laughs] That’s really what it was, honestly. The ‘guests’ were like this willful mental distraction away from what was kind of a tough record to make. It was like, ‘come over, we’re stuck in here, come dance a little and we’ll juggle some, we’ll entertain you.’ And by proxy it’ll take our minds away. Did using three drummers make it difficult to achieve any kind of continuity?

J: We take the music seriously, don’t get me wrong, but we don’t take ourselves seriously. That’s where the distinction is. I don’t think any of us are claiming to be the coolest motherfuckers in the world, that’s not in my mantra, but we care about the music and hopefully people can feel that intuitively, instinctually, because then we have a chance of being someone’s favourite band. We ain’t trying to make singles, we wanna be someone’s favourite band.

J: At the end of the day, continuity is whatever we put out. If you worry about continuity, you’re making a continuity error. Because these songs are disparately different. What we heard a lot from our close friends was ‘let’s see you try to sequence this thing’. But the sequence only goes one way, actually, in other orders it feels really bizarre. In terms of picking a permanent drummer, you pretty much nailed it with John.

This album has more of a sense of the desert than anything since Songs for the Deaf, is that fair to say? J: I’m born and raised in the desert. That’s the connection. For other people that place might be more romanticised or mythologised, and it’s still very romantic for me too, but in a completely different way. Someone else goes there to fulfill a vision of what they perceive something to be, and I just go home and see my Mom, know what I mean? I don’t think about the desert, because I ... [laughs] I am the desert! But seriously man, Dean don’t think about Detroit, Troy don’t think about Gardena in that way. And the desert doesn’t lose that sense of majesty when it’s commonplace? J: No, I use it for the reason I’ve always used it, and that’s to empty out my head and to feel small and ... and to do laundry, and get in touch with my home. I still use it for that exact same reason, I still love it for that reason, but I know it’s different for me than it is for someone else. Both those things are just fine. I can honestly say I didn’t think of the desert at all when we were making this record. It’s certainly good for driving through the desert to. That’s an overtone I can’t help but bring. Everyone brings their own overtones, it’s gestalt. T: I think there’s a little piece of everyone in these songs, sure, because we spent so much time working on them and making them what they are.

T: We toured a long time ago with the Chili Peppers and The Mars Volta. They opened up and played four songs in 40 minutes. All I could do was watch him. He’s the kind of guy who’s learnt all that technical stuff, and forgotten it. He’s just naturally this ... this force. D: That’s a musical drummer right there, he understands how to play. So you missed out on number one very narrowly, does that disappoint you? Surely you’d have liked to have a UK number one record? J: Of course. But it doesn’t matter until it gets close, and it becomes a thing. But we got number two and that’s pretty fuckin’ awesome. We got number one in the States, I mean, how fuckin’ awesome is that? But we never expected it. When you expect anything from music, you’re expecting way too much. Do you know anything about Disclosure, who beat you to number one? J: They’re fuckin’ dead men, that’s all I know. So tonight you play at Rough Trade to about 300 people ... J: No man, tonight we’re playing at a gym called Buff Trade, didn’t you hear?

So having played together so much, does inviting these guests add a sense of chaos and unknowability to the process? J: I love chaos. But I also love collaboration. I love the positive friction of having your direction suddenly altered. In many cases it’s maybe something that the other person doesn’t even notice, but by the same token, this ain’t a hip-hop group where we pay someone to stand in the centre and we’ll shine a spotlight on them. Y’know, ‘featuring Akon’. We integrate somebody into our world and they become an ornament on this Christmas tree, and what’s taken from it is more what we take from it than what they do. It’s about the experience we have with somebody. So there’s a marquee value to an outsider, but that’s of zero significance on the inside.

[Everyone laughs] J: What’s so funny? Shut the fuck up. Scruff Trade is the barber shop next door ... ... and this weekend you play to about 40,000 ... J: Yeah, at Snuff Trade. That’s where they kill everyone after the set. T: And then Bluff Trade, where we never actually turn up. So which set are you looking forward to most?

Obviously it’s a two-way influence, you look at someone like Alex Turner before he started spending time with you guys. J: Yeah, he was fuckin’ awesome. He still is fuckin’ awesome. When you care about somebody and they care about you, the influence on each other is mandatory. Alex has been a huge influence on me, he’s smart and he’s crafty, he never gets ruffled, he’s a truly great artist. And Matt Helders is just an incredible drummer, just incredible. That’s a sly motherfucker right there. And Jamie is like, eternally the young boy. Rosy cheeks, still?

J: Well I’m really excited about Enough’s Enough Trade, where we play the same track until everyone leaves. [Everyone laughs] J: And just so you know, this is all Off The Cuff Trade. I ain’t saying this shit again.

It was interesting to see Nick Oliveri back on a Queens record. Have you missed his – mostly bad – influence?

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J: No, because I still see him all the time, so I’ve never stopped experiencing Nick’s influence.

...Like Clockwork is available now via Matador Records.

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NO AG E WO R D S D av i d Re e d

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T UNE C’m on S ti mm u n g

DATES K ok o, L on d on | O c t ob e r 2 n d D e af I n s t i t u t e , M an c h e s t e r | O c t ob e r 1 0 t h S i m p l e T h i n g s F e s t i v al , B r i s t ol | O c t ob e r 1 2 t h

Always proud practitioners of DIY ethics, Californian ambient punk duo No Age are back with a self-recorded album that's presented in handmade boxes. And with a totally re-constructed sound plus an eagerness to instigate debate, it’s thrilling to hear their melodic feedback leaking from speakers once again. We’re sitting with Randy Randall, the duo’s guitar wielding, pedal stamping noise merchant in a café next to London’s Corsica studios, where the band are playing tonight. Now in his early thirties, he recently got hitched and moved from LA to the suburbs. Maturity doesn’t seem to have hindered his energy though. Maybe it’s the black coffee he’s sipping (along with drummer/vocalist Dean Spunt, Randy is vegan), or maybe it’s because he’s so hyped to be back on the road. Either way, he speaks quickly with the wide-eyed passion that his Black Flag tattoo would imply. Following tonight’s gig, No Age are doing a stint of festival shows before they embark on a three month tour which sees them play a different city every night across America and Europe. So with the band’s reputation for cranking it up to ear-punishing levels and possessing bespectacled indie kids with the sweat-soaked, stage diving spirit of US hardcore, does he feel a slight sense of dread when he sees that list of gruelling tour dates in front of him? “To be honest, I haven’t even looked at it. I just know when the tour starts and when it ends. And I like the idea of it,” he grins. “I don’t know what it is. I don’t know if I like the punishment, but I get excited about the preparation, packing the right amount of socks and the right amount of guitar strings. And with the shows I like the ritual of loading in, setting up, performing and breaking down. It’s very much a daily routine, it’s not boring, it’s actually comforting. So when I get back home from touring, I get this feeling at about 5pm where I feel like I should be loading up for soundcheck. And when the sun goes down, I get this real urge to play the songs.” No Age first emerged from the highly mythologised DIY noise scene at The Smell, an allages, alcohol free venue located in downtown Los Angeles. Their name was painted onto The Smell’s shabby exterior, with the mural forming the cover of 2007’s Weirdo Rippers, a compilation of raw EP tracks that also put the words No Age on the radars of overseas music journalists and onto the t-shirt of Radiohead’s Colin Greenwood. At a time when the UK’s stale indie scene was becoming increasingly assimilated into the soundtrack of Hollyoaks, residual fans of guitar bands became excited by the new American crop of scuzzpoppers, slacker-surf-punks and shit-gazers warping 80s and 90s influences and adopting faded Polaroid aesthetics. Rightly or wrongly, No Age got filed alongside the likes of Sic Alps, Wavves, Times New Viking and Vivian Girls, and in 2008, The Guardian enthusiastically described No Age’s single Eraser as “dreamy pop-punk for all the kids conceived to My Bloody Valentine”. Fast forward half a decade, and now No Age are about to drop An Object, their third ‘proper’ album and the follow-up to the excellent sophomore Everything in Between. Three years seems like a long wait to the digital generation that most No Age fans belong to, but Randall insists the band have put in a hard grind. “The last album came out in October 2010, but we toured right up until we started writing this record in 2012” he says. “But there was a short break, y’know, we did get to sit on the couch for a while, I think we did watch a movie at some point! And the writing process took a lot of time. Because when we plugged in the guitar, it sounded the same, and we were like ‘you know what? We’ve made that record already’.” The band’s compulsion to evolve comes welcomed, because despite the consistent quality of No Age’s discography, it was admittedly time for them break out of the fairly narrow template of their prior two albums: punctuating four-chord bangers with shoegazey interludes of melodic distortion. One of the first things you hear on An Object is the previously absent sound of a bass guitar, followed by the yelled lyric “Who do you think you are?” It’s an introduction which boldly declares No Age have fucked with their formula, a pre-cursor to an album that’s built with unorthodox song structures, cellos, detuned guitars and rewired amps. “We mixed a lot of it in headphones, but then we tried listening to the mixes on a phone, or in the car, or on crappy laptop speakers”, Randall explains. “We’d be working on the mix

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intensely all day and then I’d get home, put it on, walk into the next room and close the door to hear how it’d sound then. It got pretty geeky.” When we ask Randall about An Object’s artwork (the record comes in an orange box adorned with the kind of bold typography typically associated with the band), he seems to take a similar sense of pride in No Age’s DIY practices. “We had this concept really early on, to physically manufacture the packaging ourselves. We did it with an offset printer then we redesigned the shape. And there’s no glue on the inlay. Me, Dean and close friends and family all folded each one by hand for 5000 CDS and 5000 LPs and then stamped it. Even the name, An Object, it’s physical. Not that we’re against downloading, the record is for everyone, and we don’t want to exclude anyone. But why make something physical if it’s just going to get thrown away and no one will care about it? “And I can understand why someone wouldn’t feel like they have to pay for something that’s digital, it just doesn’t seem real … like it’s on your phone”, he admits. And, of course, the truth is a lot of people don’t feel obliged to pay for music these days. This has indirectly created problems for bands who are expected to maintain an element of punk sentiment. Bands like No Age, for example. In an era when it’s almost impossible for a band to scrape a living wage by selling their recorded material, when the alternative music industry is increasingly dependent on the financial input of brands in order to survive, a rebellious, anti-corporate ethos seems less sustainable than ever. At the end of last year, No Age stirred up controversy at a Converse-sponsored show in Barcelona, where they halted their set halfway through to project a video they’d made which showed footage of Christmas shoppers, crying babies, sweatshops and excerpts of text accusing the company of using foreign factories with poor working conditions. When pushed on the subject, Randall opens up, advocating debates on these issues and arguing against short-sighted sloganeering. “I take it at a case by case basis. I think for me growing up skateboarding, I experienced a similar situation. There were a lot of skate companies who really did care about the culture. I think it’s possible to run a record company or whatever and to really care about the music. So it’s not like we’re anti-capitalist, know what I mean? Make as much money as you need to make, but you need to ask yourself about how you relate to the culture. Are you a culture vulture? Is it vampiric? Some of these companies want to come in and exploit a trend. I don’t feel like music is a trend, to me it’s my life. “If anything, something like the Converse show was just us calling all of this into question. And we didn’t even have an answer for it, we weren’t saying Converse is fucking evil, we were just asking ‘Why are we playing this show? Why have we been invited to play?’ We didn’t say if it was wrong or right. It’s not that simple. And I think in today’s Twitter style, 140 character arguments, the room for grey areas is disappearing.” By this point of our conversation, we realise that we’ve had twice as long with Randall as we’d previously agreed. But there’s also a feeling that we could sit here chatting all night, and right before we slip off the dictaphone, our circular discussion about the post-modern clusterfuck of being an ‘ambient punk’ band in 2013 is lifted by his instinctual sense of optimism. “I like punk from the 70s and 80s. The people who played that music are now parents or even grandparents. I wasn’t even born when those records came out. There’s a kid now who was born in 2008 when our album Nouns came out, in five years that record will be ten years old and they might hear it ten years later”, he muses. “I feel that since 2000, everyone has been making it up, like no one really knows what the fuck is going on, no one really knows what the culture is supposed to be. But there are songs and genres which stand out, that communicate a feeling honestly with the audience. I turned 19 in 2000, I didn’t know what the fuck to do, but I just thought I’d try and do something the best I could, and then pass it along to the next generation.”

--------An Object is out on August 20th via Sub Pop. No Age play Simple Things Festival, Bristol on October 12th.

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SITE co mato nse .com /thae m l i tz

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WO R D S J os h B ai n e s

DJ SPRINKLES “ P e op l e w h o a r e r e co n ci l e d w i t h t h e i r g e n d e r a n d

s e x u a l i d e n t i t i e s g e t e n o u g h d i r e c t e d a t t e n t io n f r o m t h e m u s ic i n d u s t r y a s a w h o l e , a n d d o n ’ t n e e d m o r e from someone like me.”

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TUN E Grand Cent ral , pt . 2


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Steering clear of kick drums and drug chat, deep house head D J S prinkles opens up about sexuality, sonic semiotics and shopping - mall background bangers

Thinking about dance music, and by extension talking about it and writing about it, isn’t easy. One can get lost in the idea that it’s nothing more than a functional tool for a willed-into-being sense of transcendence. Some interviews with DJs and producers propagate these ideas, reinforcing the belief that it strives for nothing more than danceability. Then there’s the tendency to instill certain records, certain labels and certain artists with a sense of over-reverential mythology. At times we end up lost in dry descriptions of sounds that turn the 12”s into checklists, or meandering through a semi-gonzo write up of a club night, leaving with little more than the knowledge that someone, somewhere, was in a nightclub watching someone else play records and that they half-remember it. Dance music – even the phrase is instantly reductive, almost infantilising – can be difficult to elucidate, tricky to modulate into prose, so at once full of stories worth retelling, as socially and culturally important as any other form of music, yet ultimately viewed from afar as little more than a soundtrack to mindlessly repetitive hedonism. The same names, the same clubs, the same records trickle down from interview to interview, from thinkpiece to thinkpiece, review to review. Not many musicians are willing to talk at length and in depth about the issues that arise from the production of music. To confront the fact that records aren’t just records, that we encode and decode them in accordance to their prominence in various social, racial, and sexual groups: a disco song isn’t just a chintzy dancefloor hipswayer, a house track isn’t just an inert 4/4 beat. It’s easy to view all these things as inconsequential sounds, songs that recede in the memory, as physical or digital remnants that exist in a vacuum and mean nothing when not being played. All of which made talking to Terre Thaemlitz such an unbridled pleasure. Thaemlitz – despite years and years of DJing, releasing records that run the gamut from house to electroacoustic composition via expansive solo piano works and ambient experimentation, running his Comatonse label, written texts that usually accompany audio releases, and educational engagements that promote the discussion of matters such as nonessentialist transgenderism and queerness – is probably best known for the material released under the DJ Sprinkles guise. Indeed, it was 2009’s critically adored deep house stormer Midtown 120 Blues (voted Resident Advisor’s #1 album of the year) that brought her name to the lips of even the most casually discerning clubber. This year has already seen the release of the gorgeous, sensually-minded mix of deep house gems Where Dancefloors Stand Still on Tokyo’s fantastic Mule Musiq, and the fact Queerifications & Ruins: Remixes 2010-2013 has recently arrived on the same imprint makes it the perfect moment to talk to Thaemlitz about deep house, identity politics and not knowing who Disclosure are.

How did you go about compiling Queerifications & Ruins? Why those tracks in that order? The track order was actually suggested by Toshiya Kawasaki (Mule Musiq boss), based on flow, and I liked it. I mostly look at this release as a DJ tool. They are all totally unrelated remixes, so this compilation is not like an album with a clear narrative or something like that. In regards to the recent Where Dancefloors Stand Still mix, is Resident Advisor’s Will Lynch right when he says, ‘It’s a rare instance of Thaemlitz simply having fun, preoccupied with nothing except mixing records’? Does the mix’s title stretch no further than highlighting an issue that the intrigued listener might research into? You’re right. Certainly, compared to most of my solo projects, there is an absence of text, video or other information delving into the theme. But Where Dancefloors Stand Still is not a DJ Sprinkles album. It is a compilation on Mule Musiq for which they hired me to make the track selection and mix. But I was really glad that Mule went public with the theme in their press release, and generated some discussion of the issue that way.

However, one of the common mistakes I see in the press is that everyone focuses on the 1:00AM club curfew [Where Dancefloors Stand Still was presented as a protest against Japan’s restrictive ‘fukozu’ laws], but that actually only applies to big clubs holding official dancehall permits to begin with. Most Japanese clubs do not meet the official open-floor space requirements to obtain a dancehall permit. They are officially just ‘bars’ where dancing is always illegal. So beyond the curfew problem, there is this larger problem of dancing in small and underground clubs being illegal all the time – which means those clubs can be raided and shut down at any time of day or night. The fuzoku laws are really more about regulating sex work than dancing, so I do worry the way the topic has been reduced to an easily sellable notion of the ‘right to dance’ may end up resolving the dancehall zoning and curfew laws while leaving other aspects of fuzoku in place, possibly even recrystalised and stricter. The topic does warrant a lot of research. I feel like I still haven’t done all my research, either, to be honest ... but for sure, the actual issues at stake are deeper than a bunch of middle class kids agreeing they should be allowed to dance whenever and wherever they want. And the fact that it continually gets portrayed as that kind of trivial problem is alienating for me. It’s one of the reasons I am not directly involved in the pro-dancing campaigns. To be blunt, most of those people are the class enemy. When bigger issues get boiled down to a liberal sound bite about the universality of dance or whatever bullshit, it makes me very aware that I don’t give a shit about dancing at all. Not on that level. Would you mind telling us a little about how you perceive identity formation in relation to the dance music world? I think one has to first acknowledge that most dance music – like the majority of other genres of music – functions in very predictable and uninterestingly heteronormative ways. Even a release like Queerificatons & Ruins gets distributed through standard channels, and I have to assume the majority of people buying my records are not my actual target audience: that is, people – possibly queer or transgendered – with complex relationships to both dominant straight and LGBT cultures. And the fact my target audience is only one small segment of the broader consumer audience is not a surprise – it’s a precondition. However, rather than trying to appeal to that broader audience, I make a conscious effort not to give them directed attention. People who are reconciled with their gender and sexual identities – whatever they may be – get enough directed attention from the music industry as a whole, and don’t need more from someone like me. The audio’s movement within a predominantly heteronormative distribution network parallels the movement of our own queer and trans bodies within dominant heteronormative cultures. Within that domination, I do believe there are places and situations in which audio functions differently, through more precise resonances with the actions of typically ostracised people, and how and where they assemble, or how and where they become socially isolated. And for me, it is only on this more precise micro-level that discussions of identity become vital – if only because it is at these micro-levels that identity actually has consequences. I mean dangerous or negative consequences. And it’s on this micro-level that something as familiar as, let’s say, ‘disco’s relationship to gay culture’ – which everyone has at least heard of, gay or not – can suddenly become a discussion about histories of communal organising around sexuality. The real discussion about ‘disco’s relationship to gay culture’ is about what happens when groups of gay men of the ‘70s came together in a common space, often with some odd combination of both secrecy and pride, and the threat of police raids. In England and many other countries, there was an enormous policing of gay sex, and imprisonment. So it’s not about music, but about spaces and situations. I think it’s really important – and far more interesting – to probe into what acts of resistance to domination lurk behind various genres. This is in direct opposition to populist ways of looking at the relationships between identity and audio as a question of ‘How does the music liberate us?’ I suppose we all need that moment of revelation in our lives where we experience that there is ‘something else out there.’ But to get trapped in the excitement of that revelation, and forever focus on a kind of juvenile and self-indulgent feeling of club ecstasy – clichés like the feeling of coming into one’s gay male self while walking through a dancefloor of www.crackmagazine.net

foam in Ibiza – seems to stop most people from learning from that new found awareness and asking, “Now, what do I do with this information?” For most people, clubs are holidays from standard work days, but there are also all these other histories behind certain types of clubs that absolutely shatter standard work day life. Not in some crazy, fun, club-kid way. I mean, clubs as spaces where people who have been systematically excluded from that standard work life come together in unexpected ways, through unemployment in more ‘appropriate’ businesses, or through addictions, or sexual release, or sex work, or not having a place to go home to, or so many other things ... again, I’m not speaking of all clubs, but about micro-specificities. And within music cultures, these are the contexts I believe are most capable of generating real cultural changes of consequence, because these are the contexts where people are drowning in actual consequences. Think of Stonewall and the modern LGBT movement coming out of a riot of drag queens who were tired of constant police raids on their club, until they finally fought back. That is a very different way of associating a club space with gender and sexual identity than walking through the foam in Ibiza. Some people may say, ‘Hey, that was the past’, but considering every year I end up rejecting offers to DJ in countries with legal prohibitions on both homosexuality and transgenderism – not only out of fear for my own safety, but for the safety of the organisers after I return home – I can tell you first hand these issues are not things of the past. And I have a real disgust for DJs who fly into those countries, take the money and run. That’s DJ culture’s participation in a legacy of imperialism, plain and simple. Here in the UK we’re living through a moment where ‘dance’ music (be it imported American EDM, lower-rung relics clinging to the last vestiges of UK funky, or an example like Disclosure: two teenagers making something akin to traditional deep house and getting to number one in the charts) is straddling the mainstream and the underground. Has a similar thing happened in Japan? I’ve never heard of Disclosure ... Fuck, I’m old [laughs]. Let’s blame it on the fact I live in Japan. I mean, house – including deep house – has been used as background music in shopping malls, department stores and airports for years now, so I’m not surprised by what you’re describing. But I don’t follow the names of producers in that stream of the genre. I know very little about contemporary house producers. Clearly. I’m more interested in the cultural movement of media than in individual producers. Here in Japan, I think most people’s exposure to house music happens while shopping. They don’t even know it’s called ‘house.’ They don’t care. Not at all. And I would argue the fact most people don’t care is one of the few things working in favor of house, because it keeps house from being 100% socially coopted – despite being 100% commercially coopted. There is still a little grey area between the two that I’ll be sad to see fade away some day when your average shopper can actually classify the various styles of house tracks being played in department stores [laughs]. That would be a really sad day for me. But I don’t think it will come. I think shopping music will move on to something else before that could happen. There are a lot of house maniacs here in Japan, but they are precisely that: maniacs. This has been the case for decades, and they always seem to operate in a sphere outside of truly mainstream music. Still, you can’t buy a Daft Punk album today in the same way you did 15 years ago – the social codings and relations around it are totally different. So, in a way, every time there is some kind of ‘breakthrough’ in the charts, I think it makes the real maniacs dig deeper in other directions, tunneling underneath those breakthrough acts and undermining the foundations they stand on. When an act goes big, it leaves its original audience behind – if only because the initial audience is outnumbered by a completely other audience. And simultaneously, many members of that initial audience tend to deliberately leave the act behind, so as to disassociate from that larger mainstream audience. In that way, I don’t think ‘underground’ scenes ever get destroyed. They get damaged, for sure. But they also mutate and thrive in unexpected ways. ----------Queerifications and Ruins is available now via Mule Musiq.


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TU NE The L ast Ti m e I Di d A ci d I Went In s a n e

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JEFFREY LEWIS

S I TE t hejef f rey l ew i ssi t e.com

T he N Y folk figurehead and cartoonist explains why acoustic is the new punk.

WO R D S B i l l y B l ac k

Jeffrey Lewis is spending Independence Day indoors. He’s working on the latest installment in his low-budget films series. It’s a biography of the great comic book artist Alan Moore, who has been one of his heroes and greatest influences since he started putting his illustrations on paper. Lewis has been a prolific artist for years. He’s found the time to churn out dozens of brilliantly vivid comics alongside his musical output with bands The Rain and The Junkyard, becoming a definitive figure within the loose New York ‘anti-folk’ movement thanks to his deeply idiosyncratic acoustic narratives, delivered in a reluctant, nasal croak. And that’s partly because he does things like spend Independence Day indoors. The fact the sun is shining over Manhattan and he “might head over to a barbecue later” shows a commitment to his art far stronger than most of the uninspired indie rockers that permeate many facets of popular music today. What really gives Jeffrey Lewis a few inches over his peers, though, is the fact he’s not afraid to be frank. He admits he wouldn’t consider himself overtly political as an artist, even though his opinions inevitably seep into his work from time to time. He has recently contributed to a collection of creative responses to the trial of Pussy Riot entitled Let’s Start A Pussy Riot, which was released through Rough Trade Books earlier this year. “I don’t remember when I heard first about the whole case” he attempts to recall, “must have been the same time everybody else in the world did. Maybe a year or so ago. I found it an immediately compelling story. There are people in Russia who are engaged against the current power structure. That could lead one to argue that the transfer to capitalism might not have been a good thing. That someone has managed to convey that through this colourful, over the top punk rock is an incredible thing.” When it’s suggested that genuinely potent politicallymotivated songwriting is become an increasingly lost art, he agrees, arguing

that while people might still care, “the quality has diminished. The idea that a song having good morals makes it strong is not true. Artistic quality has a lot to do with it. If people are making protest music and not getting noticed for it, it’s not so much that the sentiment of protest is dying, it’s that it’s not coming from the greatest artists. I think the public and the mainstream are numb to music that doesn’t interest them, regardless of what the content is.” For his latest release Lewis has collaborated, for a second time, with oft ignored but highly influential folk rocker Peter Stampfel of the Holy Modal Rounders on Hey Hey it’s ... The Jeffrey Lewis & Peter Stampfel Band. The pair met in Brooklyn some years back and discovered a mutual interest in comic books – what else – and so decided to record and release some songs together. We’re a little confused as to whether the record is actually out or not, so ask Jeff to elaborate. “It’s out to the extent I’ve put it out myself ” he clarifies. “Nowadays the pros and cons of going through a label are completely different. In some ways you get more exposure, but then you end up splitting the licensing and you don’t have control over the manufacturing, so every time I wanted to print more I would have to go through the label at a substantial mark up. If I get it manufactured myself I can do it much cheaper for the audience than I could going through a label. CDs are like 15 dollars in stores but they cost two dollars to make.” It’s a refreshing sentiment, which makes so much sense when you consider today’s audience: mostly cash strapped, mostly young and mostly pissed off with the people at the top taking off with their hard earned wedge. While Lewis’s forthcoming London date for Visions festival will be under his solo guise, there’s still a sense of intrigue around his bands The Rain and The Junkyard and the constant fluctuations of Lewis’s collaborative itch. “With The Rain,” he tells us, “I have a couple of new recordings which will be coming out shortly. With The Junkyard ensemble?” He pauses. “It’s hard to get work done with Jack [Lewis, Jeffrey’s brother and bassist] living in Oregon, I’m still

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living out East and the drummer Dave is still living in England, so it’s kind of impossible to write and record. I’m intending to work with them again in the future. But right now I’m planning to work with different musicians that are here in New York City.” New York is, of course, a city with which Lewis has become intrinsically associated. Born and raised there, he took his tentative first steps in music by spending days at the East Village’s legendary SideWalk Cafe, playing open mic nights alongside contemporaries like The Moldy Peaches and Devendra Banhart. “Without the SideWalk” he tells us, “I probably would never have ended up making music at all.” The venue was, in many ways, the birthplace of the confusing, meandering genre referred to as anti-folk. “Through [being involved with the SideWalk] people were like ‘Oh, you’re part of the anti-folk scene’ and I’m like, ‘what’s anti-folk?’” he exclaims. “I kind of feel like I’m the only one who gets labelled with that, anyways. I don’t know if that description makes sense or not. There’s an underground acoustic scene around America. In a lot of ways acoustic has become the new punk. It’s more of a DIY approach, because it’s so much easier to set up a show when you’re not dealing with amplified equipment. “You can have house shows and shows in thrift stores and wherever else,” he continues. “I feel a kinship for those bands, because they are people figuring out ways to make it work without having other people making it work for them. It kinda became more punk that punk itself.”

--------Jeffrey Lewis headlines The Brewhouse for Visions Festival on August 10th. For more information visit visionsfestival.com.


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T H U N D E R C AT WO R D S J ac k B ol t e r

Thundercat recently returned with his second solo LP Apocalypse, a powerful blend of synaesthesia-inducing soul and addictive astral funk. As we spoke to the LA songwriter and bass virtuoso on the week of the record’s release, he talked us through his rich musical upbringing, segueing from thrash to soul, and delivering his new record in the wake of a tragedy.

looking for a new bass player and my brother suggested me. It was kinda nerve-wracking, I’d never been put in a position to play with a band like that. But it was one of those things where I picked up very quickly on it, it became second nature to play with Suicidal and I didn’t think much of it. It pushed me further along in my career and it was a lot of fun. They were kinda like older brothers, y’know?”

We’re catching up with Stephen Bruner (Thundercat’s somewhat less exotic given name) on what should be a happy, untarnished day. He’s just returned home following a successful tour of Australia, and Apocalypse is rightfully receiving acclaim in spades. Yet, poignantly, the record is dedicated to the memory of the alternative jazz piano prodigy Austin Peralta, who passed away last November aged just 22. Peralta’s solo album Endless Planets had been released by Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder label in 2011. He also played keyboards on Thundercat’s debut album and appeared on FlyLo’s 2012 effort Until The Quiet Comes. More importantly, he was a close friend to both Bruner and FlyLo, and a central member of the Brainfeeder family.

While still in his teens, Bruner would go on to tour Japan with influential jazz bassist Stanley Clarke, and over the course of his career he’s found himself playing with everyone from Snoop Dogg to Erykah Badu. But undoubtedly his most significant partnership of all has been that which he holds with his close friend Steven Ellison, aka Flying Lotus. Such has been the influence of Thundercat that when Crack spoke to him later last year, Ellison told us that these days he thinks of Thundercat as being pretty much ‘part of Flying Lotus’. In turn, Ellison co-produced Thundercat’s album back in 2011, and on Apocalypse, he appears on the credits once again under the title of executive producer.

Sweetly, Bruner becomes particularly enthusiastic when the subject turns to his friend and The loss is understandably something that Bruner is still grappling with. “A lot of the album’s collaborator, recounting his realisation that he and Ellison shared a special bond upon feel was spawned by that specific thing”, he tells us. “It’s about heartbreaks and setbacks. their very first meeting. “We met years ago at South By Southwest. I was introduced to It’s kinda like the reality we deal him by a friend from a group called with on a consistent basis. And J*Davey. When we met, we could sometimes you’re well equipped to kinda see it was like the beginning of deal with something, but then for an adventure. It was like, ‘OK, cool, whatever reason you may not be. we’ll hang out sometime’. And we “It’s about heartbreaks and And the truth is most of us aren’t. did. Sure enough we started creating You experience it either sitting down, all kinds of shenanigans! I’m sure setbacks. It’s kinda like the standing up, walking backwards or we both hold it very sacred, the fact walking forwards, y’know? So the we work together so well. So it’s a album is me expressing how things very interesting place to be when reality we deal with on a can be sometimes – that coupled you get to that point with a person. with the emotions that were going I’ve enjoyed every last bit of me and co n s i s t e n t b a s i s . ” on about one of my closest friends. him working together. It never gets And it was a very, very disheartening old. Any time we’re sitting together thing for me to deal with, and it still in front of a computer, when we’re is to this day.” listening to music or we’re playing something, it’s cool to be able to But while Apocalypse is at times understandably melancholic, there’s also a clear sense share sentiment and emotion creatively. Me and him do that very well, we’re always in of overcoming difficulty in the wake of loss. First single Heartbreaks + Setbacks is an that mindset. I joke that we’re always sitting in front of a computer”, he laughs, “... but we inspirational and forward-looking, almost sanguine piece. The force of Bruner’s bass takes really are!” a naughtier, funkier direction on the magnificent Oh Sheit, It’s X!, as he enjoys a party in full-flow while flaunting his immense bass dexterity, and his falsetto croon of “I just wanna “In my opinion, Lotus is an electronic genius”, Bruner continues, excitedly. “He’s a guy that, party/You should be here/And in this ecstasy, baby” is one of the most joyous choruses in whatever scenario you put him creatively, and with whatever electronics, he’ll dominate you’ll hear this summer. It’s an album that delivers a bittersweet fusion of emotions, and it. So a lot of the time when I say ‘sitting in front of a computer’, it’s like ...”, he begins to Bruner claims its personality is something he allowed to bleed through naturally. “A lot of laugh. “Him touching a computer is just hilarious! It’s like, who knows what’s going to the time it’s instinctual. Y’know, even when it comes to listening to somebody play when happen? He might have figured out some way to make a Transformer! It’s like an adventure we’re recording, a lot of the time I feel like the first idea was the right idea. So I chose not every time I go over to his house – when we get heading down that path, we never know to look at it like ‘I coulda, shoulda, woulda’, and looked at it more like, ‘this is just how it’s where we’re going to wind up. And, y’know, we try to stay in that space all the time.” supposed to be.’” While it’s a creative collaboration that seems certain to endure for a long, long time, there’s As the son of respected sticksman Ronald Bruner Snr (who played for The Temptations, no doubt Stephen Bruner is carving his own musical identity, wholly separate from any Diana Ross and Gladys Knight to name a few) and the younger brother of Grammy-winning high-profile associations; one of a songwriter, a unique personality, and among the most drummer Ronald Bruner Jr, Stephen Bruner comes from excellent stock. “It was a very innovative and technically remarkable bass players of a generation. And if there’s anything nurturing sort of environment creatively”, he tells us of his background. “I was just kinda Apocalypse has proved beyond a doubt, it’s that nothing sounds quite like a Thundercat blessed to grow up like that. Everybody in my family is a musician, so it was interesting record. to watch everybody in the house express their emotions at the same time but in different ways.” --------After selecting the bass as his weapon of choice at a young age, Bruner’s gift led him to join the line-up of LA thrash punk legends Suicidal Tendencies at the tender age of 16. “My older brother had started playing with them first”, he explains, “and this was right around the Apocalypse is available now via Brainfeeder. time that Robert Trujillo [now of Metallica] had moved on to Ozzy Osbourne. So they were

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T UNE Oh Shei t, I t ’s X!

DATEw C r e at i v e C om m on , B r i s t ol | A u g u s t 2 5 t h

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S I TE t w i t t er.com/t hundercat

W ith his second L P Apocalypse , Thundercat once again partners up with Flying Lotus to create a fitting tribute to a departed friend

Š Thundercat

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ICA

August

Exhibitions Keep Your Timber Limber (Works on Paper) Curated by Sarah McCrory 19 June - 8 September 2013

FOX READING ROOM

The Grantchester Pottery: Artist Decorators 19 June - 14 August 2013

Gerald Cinamon: Collected Work Since 1958 4 September – 6 October 2013

Film

Events

ICA Cinematheque: Consider the Fugue Throughout August the ICA Cinematheque is hosting a series of Tuesday night screenings exploring the concept of the psychogenic fugue state and its relationship to classical cinema narratives. Mulholland Drive Tue 13 Aug, 7pm The Wizard of Oz Tue 20 Aug, 7pm Jacob’s Ladder Tue 27 Aug, 7pm

Icy Gays Icy Gays returns with another evening of genderfuck performances from the UK and beyond. Thu 8 Aug, 8pm

ICA Cinematheque: Daddy and the Muscle Academy This documentary follows gay artist Tom of Finland, and includes interviews with the artist’s models, associates and intimates. Wed 14 August, 7pm ICA Off-Site: Cinema on The Steps: Contemporary Middle Eastern Film Join us on the Duke of York steps for special outdoor screenings of contemporary Middle Eastern cinema. 20 – 22 August, 7.30pm FREE ENTRY

Bend Over I’ll Drive: Sex and the Stereotype Artist Marlene McCarty presents her work, followed by a discussion with Catherine Grant, Lecturer in the Department of Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths. Thu 22 Aug, 6.45pm Friday Salon: Research Through Drawing In this Salon, the Directors of TRACEY / DRN outline some of the big issues in drawing today. Fri 30 Aug, 3pm

Artists’ Film Club New and rarely seen film and moving image by up-and-coming and more established artists. Neil Beloufa Sat 17 Aug Cara Tolmie + Q&A Wed 21 Aug Keren Cytter + Q&A Wed 4 Sep

Institute of Contemporary Arts The Mall London SW1Y 5AH 020 7930 3647 www.ica.org.uk

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WORDS A ug usti n M a c e lla ri

KEEP YOUR TIMBER LIMBER

Much has been made of the work that greets you as you enter the ICA’s latest exhibition, Keep Your Timber Limber. It’s a massive knob, with an American flag sticking out the bell-end. It seems like a pretty bold start, but as you take in the rest of the exhibition it becomes clear that nothing else could really have been used. Because this show is blue. It’s blue, and rude, and probably not quite as reactionary as may first appear. The big flag-waving dick in question is a reworking by Judith Bernstein of her 1966 Vietnam War protest Fuck By Number (which is also on display). An expressionist scrawl (on the wawl), it lists grim Iraq War statistics and tells us, in no uncertain terms, that war and masculinity are linked. Bernstein has, throughout her career, co-opted macho-masculinity’s symbols and modes of expression as tools of criticism against itself; while this was surely quite a statement back in the heady days of late-modernism, this type of angsty scrawl has found a kind of ubiquity now. That said, these are the real deal and a vibe of bitter, biting humour emanates. In fact, Fuck By Number is more resonant, probably, than its slightly sensationalist placing in the gallery gives it credit for. A deeply unpleasant (and underreported) fact of the War in Iraq is that the majority of IEDs are placed on the ground. When they explode, they propel rocks and shrapnel upwards, into the groins of the unfortunate servicemen trying to defuse them. Consequently, quite apart from losing the obvious body-parts, hundreds of men are being flown back literally emasculated. In light of this, the giant vandalistic willy suddenly seems grotesque, and what could be dismissed as a slightly outdated piece of protest art is thrown into relief. Outdated, though, does describe a lot of the other works on offer; that’s not necessarily disparaging, but it does seem to suggest that perhaps the exhibition might carry a little more weight if it were billed as a kind of retrospective. As it stands, the exhibition seeks to juxtapose a ‘traditional’ medium with ‘transgressive’ content – to highlight the impact of (for example) a man in the throes of a rather messy orgasm, when rendered in an immaculate hand-drawn ballpoint line. The medium, as Marshall McLuhan would say, is definitely the message.

S I TE i ca.org .uk

at least). His stylised, fetishistic images of big naked men in leather and uniforms, casting knowing looks left, right and centre whilst getting extremely fresh with one another were hugely significant and progressive. His was the first erotica to present homosexual love[making] as joyous and sexually functional; it contributed to the re-calibration of societal bigotries. Now, though, these drawings have a slight air of the ‘naughty postcard’ about them. Fortunately, they’re still funny, rude enough, and charming. But these are, for those with their heads screwed on, historical documents. Cary Kwok is the youngest artist in this show, and, perhaps as a consequence, his drawings feel the most contemporary. Hugely detailed, they depict an ethnically diverse range of men spunking. The men are diverse in ethnicity only, though; much like Tom of Finland, Kwok only seems keen to depict hunky guys with throbbing whatevers and deeply intimidating torsos. These images are idealised in the extreme and it’s unsettling. It rather distracts from the ‘message’: that all men come and that the male orgasm – la petite mort, as it were – is something of a leveller. It’s not problematic though. It’s much more fun and interesting to forget all about that and look at them at face value. Once you get used to the gouts of jizz, they’re quite funny and a bit absurd. They link nicely to Tom of Finland, and it’s in connections of this kind that the show is at its strongest. Technically, of course, all the drawings here (with the possible exception of Bernstein’s, and hers are meant to be like that – it’s kind of the point) are impeccable; a broad range of styles are presented, with discernible roots firmly in commercial drawing. Though they might not (still) be as radical as we’re told they are, there’s no doubting they will offend some people. No one who reads the Daily Mail is going to like it, and the exhibition has to be worth something for that alone. But it’s good for far more. While it doesn’t necessarily sustain the political impact it offers in the blurb, it’s an intriguing documentation of social change (for the better) across the second half of the 20th century. It’s nice that these pictures aren’t shocking; it’s good to see how far we’ve cum.

--------The issue is that much of the content is no longer transgressive; works like those of Tom of Finland have done their (very admirable) work too well (for the purposes of this exhibition,

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Keep Your Timber Limber runs at the ICA until September 8th.

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SIR QUENTIN BLAKE

WORDS & P HOT OS Geraint Davi es

S I TE quent i nbl ak e.com

A n hour in the studio with the greatest children ’ s illustrator of all time

Standing in Sir Quentin Blake’s studio, housed on the park side of his stunning West London home, drinking in the peace; in amongst the endless quills of varying shapes, lengths and genus, the ramshackle array of books tumbling from the shelves – it’s quite disarming.

Rosen, Dr. Seuss, and more recently, David Walliams. In 1999 he became the first Children’s Laureate, an award which he states gave his career a new lease of life. In 2002 he was bestowed the Hans Christian Anderson award for Illustration, the highest honour available to a creator of children’s literature. Earlier this year, he became Sir Quentin Blake.

To be surrounded by this array of physical manifestations of something so key to our understanding of creativity, or imagination, or the function of fiction. We’re in the company of – in the home of – an individual who had a profound effect on our ability to relate words to images. This wonderful man, with his eminently generous spirit and his signature white daps, so humble, so seemingly unaware of his significance. He sits us down in a creaking wooden chair with a glass of water, and he enquires “So, please let me ask. Whatever made you think of me?”

Yet one of Blake’s most admirable traits is his refusal to remain static. In 2012 he caused quite the stir with his series of nudes Sporting Girls, while recent years have been defined by his philanthropic work, particularly several groups of images for a range of institutions and hospitals, designed with those locations and their patients specifically in mind. Many of these are gathered in his superb book, Beyond The Page, which documents his work since 2000. His work with The Folio Society has seen him revive literary works of the past, with a particularly striking appropriation of Voltaire’s bitter 18th century satire Candide – sparing us none of the gore. In 2007 he was commissioned to design a vast mural, spread across a disused building opposite St. Pancras Station. Blake’s lighthearted visual welcome to travellers from the continent added another captivating landmark to the city of London.

We splutter out words, somewhere along the lines of him being the best person ever, about a wildly ambitious e-mail which received a wholly unexpected reply. Our benevolent intention when sending that e-mail was one of reintroducing this artist to a generation who may not have engaged with his work since childhood. For many, his inimitably scratchy, animated technique, where sounds and smells and movement leap up to meet the eager reader halfway to the page, will forever be ingrained in the mind. Yet it’s important to remember that these visual narratives retain the power to resonate with the adult eye. Blake’s work is intrinsically, inescapably associated with Roald Dahl, for whom he illustrated 18 books. Blake grasped Dahl’s imagination keenly, beginning with The Enormous Crocodile in the mid-70s. Their collaborations were an unrivalled meeting of minds. Both would, no doubt, be considered truly great in their respective fields had they worked a century apart. Yet their alchemy, their mutual understanding, Blake’s ability to distill such ebullient worlds from Dahl’s boundless words, created something even greater than the sum of their parts. It results in the most extraordinary illustrator/writer partnership there has ever been. Picture The Twits’ jagged, thorny hair, wicked eyes and palpable, nostrilstinging odour; The BFG’s clumsy, lovely features; Matilda’s doe-eyed simplicity pitted against the neckless, barrel-chested Miss Trunchbull. Who knows if we’d imagine these characters in such vivid, distinctive terms without the influence of Blake’s quill? And while Dahl remains arguably the definitive children’s author, there’s little doubt Blake is the greatest children’s illustrator of all time. But of course, there was Blake before Dahl, and there was Blake after. His career comprises a remarkable list of achievements. He has illustrated over 300 books, writing 35 of these himself. He has illustrated for Michael

Talking to Sir Quentin is a soothing, captivating education. At 80 years of age his love for his art burns brightly, with a particular enthusiasm for literacy and any role he may have played in nurturing and encouraging readers. And when we’ve finished dissecting the innumerable facets of his illustrious career, he takes a seat at his desk, and begins to draw us a picture ...

What’s fascinating about interviewing you for our publication is this idea of re-introducing your work to a generation who will have had their imaginations shaped by your work. Do you ever think about your influence on culture as a whole? The older I get, the more I think about it. When you first do books you hope that they sell, that people like them, and then they leave you. And it’s 20 years later that people come back and say ‘I read that, I have copies of it and I read them to my children’ and so forth. But what I particularly cherish is when, for instance, I was in Coventry last week and they gave me a ‘Lifetime Inspiration Award’. There was a young man there who showed me a picture from Matilda, and he said to me “it was when I saw that picture I knew I wanted to be an illustrator”. Occasionally things like that touch you. I’ve given talks to undergraduates at Oxford and Cambridge and various other places, and some people come up to me and say “that was the first book I ever read independently – because of the pictures.” It’s a thing that very much interests me, because it happens at different www.crackmagazine.net

age levels, but drawings speak to you, don’t they? That motivates people. You can read pictures before you can read words. So they’re reading it in pictures and they want to read words, which is a great motivation to read. It’s a thing that people who are ‘in charge of education’ – and I don’t mean teachers – don’t understand. They think literacy is a skill which you ‘learn’, that it’s a neutral skill, which of course it isn’t. It’s a skill which is emotionally motivated, a skill born from curiosity and adventure, where you want to understand something, you want to know what’s going on, you want to be able to say what you feel about things. It isn’t just about reading; it’s about books and pictures and the mass of the thing. You understand the interaction between author and illustrator better than anyone. How important is a mutual understanding? Can something positive come without a shared vision? You do need that, you need to have to have a certain rapport. But I’ve been very fortunate. I’ve worked with Michael Rosen, for instance. We have very much the same sort of educational background, our opinions aren’t necessarily the same but we have that. But you have to recognise that the book is your guide, in a sense, and you try to adapt. I know the way I draw is recognisable, but it’s also adaptable in various ways. That was one of the interesting things about working with Dahl. His books, they’re very rarely a series, the next one might be more realistic or it might be more bizarre or may challenge you in a completely different way. But it’s not just a question of the rapport existing already. You don’t simply get two people who fit together. If you’re illustrating that book, then it’s part of your job to find the rapport. So with Roald, we both liked humour, we liked comedy, we liked caricature, and so we could build on that even if we weren’t directly comparable as individuals. I think it’s part of the job to find a way of doing things, so that you’re giving the writer what he wants. Roald had a reputation for being somewhat difficult, was there ever a point where you two were at odds? No. We didn’t disagree, although I’ve seen him being difficult with other people! That said, I’ve seen more recently in his biography that when The BFG came out I was only commissioned to do a certain number of drawings – a dozen or so – but in a letter he wrote to our publisher he thought I was being lazy! Old Quent couldn’t be bothered! It wasn’t that at all. Our editor thought The BFG was a book of words that would only require a few pictures. But that was a good thing about Roald, he liked a lot of drawings! I think Matilda has a hundred drawings or so. He was terribly pleased with that fact. He knew the words were the most important part, but he wanted you to do some of the job. And if there


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was something he thought should be done a different way, well, I took it onboard. I’m not temperamental, you know.

Mr Stink was adapted for TV last Christmas, how do you feel about seeing people re-imagining a world you helped create?

Do you feel like his legacy would be perceived differently if it wasn’t for you?

I actually don’t mind it. A lot of the Dahl things have been done again, but I sort of know mine is the real one, or at least to me it is – that’s what they really look like! But I never think ‘oh, they got that wrong’. Of course, they’re in different media, so it’s not as if they cancel the book out. I wouldn’t be too pleased about that!

Well ... I hope it would! [laughs] After he died there were six books which were done before our collaboration began, and Penguin bought them and asked me to illustrate them afterwards, which gives a certain continuity. Roald’s books were his imagination. I think they’d have been tremendously successful without any drawings at all, I really do. But not in quite the same way. That’s the advantage of illustrations. You see them before you start the book, which welcomes you to the book, and then when you’ve read the book and been through those experiences, you can look and remember. It doesn’t make the book, but it helps the book. You recently worked with David Walliams. How did that unlikely collaboration happen? He was very charming about it. The publisher asked who he would like and he said ‘well, I’d like Quentin Blake, but of course he’d never do it’. But I read the book and was taken with it, and knowing a bit about what he does on television, I was intrigued. I thought ‘what’s this going to be like? Where’s the projectile vomiting?’ But they’re very sensitive books. It was interesting to me, in that it was a similar kind of school life to the one I’d lived 60 or so years before. Sadly, I couldn’t keep up with David. I did The Boy in the Dress, then Mr. Stink, which I was very pleased with, and then I realised he was going to do one a year. I decided a younger man was going to have to take this on, but I was jolly pleased to have done it.

You also illustrated a Dr. Seuss book, the first he didn’t illustrate himself, is that right? Not quite, it’s a curious thing. It was done a long time ago, but it still sells, I’m pleased to say. Dr. Seuss used to illustrate his own books under that name, and he also wrote books illustrated by other people under the name of Theodor S. Geisel. The curiosity of this book, which is called A Great Day For Up, is that it’s the only book under the name of Dr. Seuss, illustrated by somebody else. Are there any writers over time who you’d have liked to have illustrated for? Lewis Carroll, Tolkien? Tolkien – you know, I’ve never read. Lewis Carroll I wouldn’t have minded. There was a chapter in an anthology somewhere, a chapter to one of the Alice... books called The Wasp in a Wig, and Carroll left it out because Tenniel, who illustrated the books, said “a wasp in a wig is altogether beyond the appliances of art”! So they’d published this and asked various people to illustrate it. I did two or three illustrations, and I would have been very happy to illustrate that book.

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I’ve done several things for the Folio Society, and I suggested the Voyages to the Moon and ... the Sun, by Cyrano de Bergerac (17th century French dramatist). It’s a sort of Gulliver’s Travels, full of crazy things. He was very alert to ideas about science and morality and so on, and I was attracted to it because there were so many things which I would like to draw. But Cyrano would probably have killed me, he was a very contentious person! The book I’ve done recently is Voltaire’s Candide, and I think he might have liked that. It’s a kind of brutal farce or caricature, and nobody would have been allowed to illustrate it like that in the time he wrote it. He could write the text like that but the illustrations, which are very beautiful, aren’t in the same style as the book. Somebody said that Candide was a character waiting to be illustrated. It’s very savage in various ways, the same style I use in books which are generally benevolent, but these use comedy of a very bitter kind. Do you enjoy drawing for an older audience? I like it. I’ve always felt the difference between one children’s book and another is equal to the difference between a children’s book and an adult book. I started off as a cartoonist for magazines and so on. I thought children might like my style of drawing, and it turned out they did. Was there anything in your formative years that led you into having this innate understanding of how children think? I don’t think so. I’ve always been interested in teaching and I have a teacher’s certificate. But I don’t know anything about children, really, any more than I know about anyone else. I think it’s a thing you can do


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“ Ro a l d ’ s b oo k s w e r e h i s i m a g i n a t io n . I t h i n k t h e y ’ d h a v e

b e e n t r e m e n d o u s l y s u cc e s s f u l w i t h o u t a n y d r a w i n g s a t a l l , I r e a l l y d o . B u t n o t i n q u i t e t h e s a m e w a y. ”

when you’re drawing: you imagine you’re that child, or that dog or that ... assassin! We’d be fascinated to know some more about your techniques of working. You’ve stuck quite staunchly to traditional techniques, things like the scratch pen and the quill. Yes, well I used to draw almost entirely with a scratchy pen made for writing. There’s a nib called a Waverly nib, and I like that because it’s scratchy. I’ve gradually expanded. I still use those, but I also use quills and reed pens, brushes and various kinds of black pencils, so depending on what kind of thing it is, as the job gets more various I use more techniques. What are the benefits of the ‘scratchy’ style you’ve become best known for? It feels like people moving. If you’re drawing with scratchy things you can actually feel it on the paper, and you draw some bits fast and some slow depending on the scene ... I can’t entirely explain it. You’ve also expanded into presenting your work in public spaces, with the installation outside St. Pancras being a case in point. Do you enjoy this idea of brightening up people’s everyday lives? It was very exciting. They had this building, the Stanley Building, which

was outside the new part of St. Pancras station waiting to be refurbished. I worked with a graphic designer, and this small drawing became 50 feet, five stories tall. I just drew people you might meet if you’d just arrived in London. You’ve also begun presenting your work in a range of hospitals and institutions, what does that process involve? I’ve got a show going around at the moment, which is four different clutches of drawings I’ve done for that purpose. The thing about the hospital drawings is they’re technically speaking in public spaces, but they’re in private public spaces. So I’m pleased to have this show, because people don’t have the opportunity to see them unless you’re in a mental health institution or a maternity ward, or a child going to see a doctor. If you’re illustrating a book you have a guide and you adapt to that, but in a hospital you’re doing something for those particular patients, and you have to develop by talking to them: that’s the brief, it’s not written down anywhere. There’s one, for instance, which is a set of pictures for an eating disorders unit, and I talked to a few people in that situation. With anorexia, they know they’ve got it, but they can’t do anything about it because it’s a part of their mind which is in charge, somehow. So I made pictures which are easy and relaxed – which the patients are not – and they’ve got discreet bits of food in them, or they’re feeding birds or someone else. Those are drawn with a quill as they’re slightly more approximate somehow, a certain scruffiness about them. A woman, www.crackmagazine.net

an artist who had also been anorexic, wrote a very nice commentary on them and said they made you feel better about yourself, which was wonderful to hear. It must be very satisfying that with the new book and the exhibitions around the UK, people don’t simply want retrospectives. It’s very nice to be offered these exhibitions, because I don’t want to do retrospectives, I still work every day ... Has there even been a period where you’ve struggled to become motivated? Sometimes it’s better than others, of course. I was very fortunate in that I taught for 20 years or more, and I enjoyed that very much, but I gave it up at the right moment, and I found I could put a bit more energy into books. I think that really started when I became Children’s Laureate. I’ve been terribly fortunate in that I’ve had new ideas and projects come to me. For a very long time I was just a book illustrator, and as time has gone on I’ve been able to expand in so many different directions. It’s wonderful that people still have an interest in my work.

--------Quentin Blake: Beyond the Page is available now via Tate Books.


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Š Anastasia Filipovna, Welcome To The Room

L.I.E.S. WO R D S A n n a Te h ab s i m

fusing electronic audacity with punk defiance, the l . i .e . s . label emerges triumphant from the increasingly lawless underbelly of american dance music

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RON MORELLI Raw. Rough. Rugged. These are the kind of words that have been regularly thrown at L.I.E.S. since its emergence in 2010. And sure, such terms are harmonious with label boss Ron Morelli’s gritty DIY approach, tying together a series of white label releases of unwavering quality spanning nervy lo-fi, lawless techno, unhinged acid and beyond.

The label’s refreshingly frank aesthetic is based less on perceived obscurity, more on Morelli’s avant-garde principles. “When you say underground, it’s really more of mind-state and an attitude – an approach to how you do things. Rather than ‘selling out’ or becoming commercial, it’s a mindset of how you work and how you choose to conduct your business, to present your ideas and your music.”

These releases all have one thing in common: the L.I.E.S. mystique. Helped in part by wordof-mouth tip offs and his day job at New York’s A1 records, the label grew organically out of Morelli’s ability to tap into a wealth of previously unheard producers of lo-fi insouciance.

Within this approach, Morelli expresses an inherent distaste for polished, normalised electronic sensibilities, having previously reflected on growing up when techno was for the kids who ‘had orange hair and wore JNCO jeans and went to raves in Burger King’. Now, with the present day proliferation comes the increasing intellectualisation of the genre that just doesn’t sit right with the intrinsic principles of ‘dance’ music.

Championing a new wave of weirdo electronics with an attitude that has seen L.I.E.S. dubbed ‘insider dance’, ‘outsider house’ and ‘graffiti techno’ in a single breath, as we speak to him from his Brooklyn home Morelli admits it’s been less complex development than it may appear. “Essentially there were no initial ideas or goals for the label, it was actually really simple. I was around a certain bunch of people who had music lying around that wasn’t being released, and it ended up being the right place at the right time. There was no real goal other than to just get some music out and see if there was a reaction or not.” At once humble and radical, L.I.E.S. has demanded attention since day one, but most notably turned heads in 2012 with 21 inimitable releases. An essential body in the current vogue of faceless machine jam techno fronted by the likes of The Trilogy Tapes and PAN labels, the L.I.E.S. catalogue reprises hazy memories of the uncompromising hardware-generated sonics pioneered by industrial royalty such as Joey Beltram and the Crème Organisation imprint. It offers grass roots level electronica and a retrospective gaze on the halcyon days of an early underground scene that, perhaps unintentionally, embodies a certain defiance to electronic music’s increasing tirade of polished production and pampered ego. Morelli admittedly takes aesthetic reference from Bunker Records and the infamous 90s Hague squatter scene, whose endless acid-fuelled raves and mean machine techno taped on broken cassette recorders is embodied by the pounding and paranoid sounds of the seminal Unit Moebius. So why were they so influential to Morelli’s approach? “It was really just the same thing as if you start a garage punk band. You just plug the stuff in and you play a couple power chords and there you go. And essentially that’s what they were doing when they started making electronic music as Unit Moebius. It was ‘use whatever’s around you and just make music’. There was no pretension.” And it’s that visceral spontaneity the L.I.E.S. foundations were built on. “They were coming from a 100% musical stamp, where they just wanted to have an outlet and do something creative that resonated with them. They just did it because they love to do it and they wanted to do it, there was no notion or idea and that’s, y’know, really punk”, Morelli relays. “They created something of their own from something around them, and that to me really made sense.” The L.I.E.S. premise was equally simple. Morelli created something of his own by tapping into a seemingly endless stream of artists, usually shrouded in mystery, always as relevant as they are refractory. From the disorientating techno of Steve Summers to the swirling visual psychedelia of Svengalisghost and the nightmare sounds of Vereker, the catalogue as easily harbors the spirit of 90s rebel acid and techno culture as it does soundtrack a dystopian vision of the future. Aligning this jagged industrial spirit with the relentless ghetto houseinspired tracks of Delroy Edwards, Xosar’s glistening techno and the quasi-tribal nature of Bookworms, all these releases carry an intrinsic, unplaceable L.I.E.S. quality. Uncompromising at its worst and snarling at its best, this eclectic, even alienating sound palette has come to characterise the imprint. In the same way they channel punk rock sensibility through electronic music, L.I.E.S. has become immune to limitations. “There are no boundaries for it at all” insists Morelli. “It’s what you want to make of it, it really is. You do what you want to do.” With a rugged approach to production that comfortably sits on the edges of house, techno and experimental, Morelli opens up further about the label’s mantra of commitment to pushing onwards into unexpected directions. “There’s plenty of music that is quote-unquote ‘underground’ that I would not consider underground. It’s just faceless, cookie cutter, boring music but it still exists in the underground.”

“I’m just not from that world” Morelli stresses. “It’s machine music: plug in, play, jam. I’m not trying to make this stark statement and say this is something it’s not. It’s a bunch of people who are music aficionados and lifelong musicians who are committed to music. But other than that, no one’s trying to say it’s something it isn’t. Like, in New York in the 90s, that’s what it was: it was a lot of misfit kids getting together and just partying. Maybe more so overseas than here – because over here no one really gives a shit about it – too many people are really, really thinking about this stuff. It is what it is. It’s club music. If it’s not club music then you have the wrong idea about it.” Though seemingly unhindered by the current musical climate, Morelli opens up about the changing face of New York’s club scene. It seems clear the city, transformed by gentrification, is hardly the dance music stronghold it once was. “There’s plenty of promoters and there’s plenty of people that want to do stuff. It’s just like ... in the 90s there were raves under the Brooklyn Bridge. That would never, ever happen now. And that wasn’t so long ago, you know what I mean? That would be impossible to happen now. Everything is relegated to stale clubs or crappy underground spaces that don’t really work. “There’s a lot of good music that comes out of the city right now, but as far as a place you can go out and party and have a supportive scene, that doesn’t really exist and that’s because the climate of the city has changed. There’s more interest in electronic music than four or five years ago for sure. It’s just that the avenues to play live or to DJ are not really there in a way that’s conducive to supporting the people that are around. And it’s just because the city is a city for rich people. It’s not a city for artists and musicians on any level. It’s not a city for the working class. It’s just transformed. And that’s life. That’s how it goes. Things evolve or devolve, that’s just how it is.” And the evolution of L.I.E.S.’ worldwide reputation has been seemingly relentless; see the constant demand for each successive vinyl release and a non-stop L.I.E.S. tour which received a rapturous reaction from European crowds. Although the type of acclaim that saw it top RA’s labels of 2012 and certain L.I.E.S. alumni play their first ever overseas gig at Panorama Bar implies an increasing momentum that may threaten the label’s esoteric pull, Morelli sees no such issues. “I’m not opposed to it. If people like the music then that’s cool with me. The objective is not to stay obscure and for no one to hear the music. The point is for as many people to hear the music as possible.” Because L.I.E.S.’ resounding focus on the underground is not from a place of snobbery, but a prerequisite of holding no prerequisite at all. One that carries their punk sensibilities, one of no bluffing, no boundaries, and no preconceptions. “I think a lot of people have misconceptions about the label, that it’s just this traditional premise. That’s definitely not the case” Morelli is eager to emphasise. “That’s the whole thing. The label’s not opposed to digital, it’s not opposed to using soft synths and being in a computer. I don’t care about any of that. I care about the end result: that the music is good.” ---------Find profiles and interviews with four L.I.E.S. artists on the following page. Ron Morelli plays secretsundaze at London's Coronet Theatre on August 25th, and Dimensions Festival, Fort Punta Christo Pula, Croatia, September 5th-9th.

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L.I.E.S. ARTISTS

DELROY EDWARDS

STEVE SUMMERS

SVENGALISGHOST

TEREKKE

You’ve said that your early relationship with electronic music was heavily influenced by dancehall. Does this still influence what you do as an artist?

Much of your productions come as a result of a live jam or are recorded in a live take, how does that work?

You’re revered for your passionate live shows, what approach do you take to your sets?

While a majority of L.I.E.S. releases are hard hitting and slightly chaotic, yours are more refined and at times ambient. Is this a true reflection of your work?

I’m defiantly influenced by dancehall, because it’s the music I grew up on. But I take influences from everywhere. So what other artists are inspiring you right now? Greg Beato, Lee Gamble, Kareem, Vereker, Three 6 Mafia, Russell Haswell, Parliament, DJ Rush, Nursing Home / Pom Pom Records, Aaron Dilloway, Funkineven ... too many more to name. Your releases are notably raw, what approach do you take to production? To be honest my knowledge of recording is limited, so I just go with the formula I know. I do what sounds good to me at the time. The tracks are raw because I don’t really edit my stuff or dress it up with effects and shit, I try and keep it to the point: no frills. In terms of releases, what do you have coming up this year? A lot of stuff planned for this year. I got a few projects about to hit streets, more details on those soon.

PHOTOS Kan e R ich An a stasia Fi l i p ovna

We hit record on the ZOOM [handheld recording device], play for a while and then stop. You and other L.I.E.S. artists get together to jam quite a lot. How do you go about it? It’s pretty casual. We’re friends so we just hang out like normal and then sometimes when we’re in the mood or the neighbour’s router needs to be reset, we make tracks. We hear Ron Morelli has banned the 707 from production. How has this affected what you produce? It was actually very helpful if you understand what he’s really getting at. I think what Ron was trying to do was say that the days of using the 707 in a more traditional way are over, for us at least, and that we need to keep pushing ourselves to experiment.  I heard a great recent live recording of [L.I.E.S. artist] Jahiliyya Fields where he is only using a 707 for drums, but in a way that feels different. You are also releasing on Confused House, can you tell us a bit about the ethos behind it and what we can expect from the label. Production-wise it’s more of an in-house thing and as such won’t be functioning as a label looking outwards for new material. Everything will come from within. We view it as an open-ended work in progress, where each release stands on its own but also ties into a larger whole. Confused House 3 will be out in September or October and it explores a different, somewhat darker palette, but still feels connected to the other releases.

It’s sometimes important for me to see the evolution of the party, where the energy of the night begins to sweep me up into a sort of altered state of consciousness so that I can become a conduit for this cosmic energy. I wear the shades so that I can totally lose myself, and become one with the music. Occasionally I come out of the trance and realise ‘fuck, I’m onstage now’. Your productions carry a futuristic and at times psychedelic nature, while retaining some of that gritty Chicago house sound. Is this a conscious decision? Most definitely, I feel like Chicago in the mid-80s was a really experimental time for producers. Chicago was a lot grittier as a city which I feel was a petri dish for the music that was produced at that time. The futuristic aspects come from the writing of William Gibson and Aldous Huxley. These proponents of this dystopic future where the high technology is commandeered by the low lives! And maybe the psychedelic nature comes for the many acid trips I took while living in Mexico. That time definitely opened up some forbidden neural pathways. My main goal is to induce a trance or some type of hypnotic state within the listener or dancer. I guess seven months of daily acid consumption turned out to be a positive thing after all. Which other artists are influencing you right now? I’ve been digging this cat Gunnar Haslam, Dungeon Acid, Frak, Nicobus Tase, Greg Beato, The Sun God, Jahiliyya Fields and many more.

SITE so u ndclo ud .com /l -i -e -s www.crackmagazine.net

I’d like to imagine my work is still chaotic, it has no pre-formulated song structure. I enjoy jamming on a sampler, synth and drum machine, there is a master clock. There are loops and patterns, filters and envelopes, sequences come and go but nothing is kept forever. I sometimes provide sonic accompaniment for a friend and yogi when she teaches her practice in NYC. She is profoundly inspiring and a lot of ideas sprout from this environment. From there rhythm is added, bass and drums interplay, samples get ripped from vinyl or cellphones. It’s all recorded to tape or computer and sent to Ron. From an artist/producer perspective, what’s exciting about releasing music through L.I.E.S.? Ron Morelli is zero BS, very respectful, always honest and sometimes funny. He lets the vision thrive. Which dance tracks are inspiring you right now? L.I.E.S. - Comeback Dust (Legowelt Remix), Svengalisghost - Hidden Cities, Sade - Paradise, Laurel Halo - Throw, Marcos Valle - Estrelar ... What more can we expect from you this year? There is a good chance I will be in Europe Fall ‘13 to play some live dates. Maybe I will put out some more music if it feels right but someone wise once said to have no expectations, just be kind.


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Thursday 15 August

Thursday 12 September

F.U.R.S. SINGLE LAUNCH

SHANNON & THE CLAMS

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DIE! DIE! DIE!

TRAAMS ALBUM LAUNCH

Saturday 17 August

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DARK BELLS

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BAD VIBRATIONS PSYCH ALL DAYER

Friday 20 September

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DEAD MEADOW

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Wednesday 25 September

WHITE MANNA

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MEN’S ADVENTURES

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Thursday 29 August

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TALIBAM!

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Friday 9 August Nonline Live :

SPECIAL GUEST NEW JACKSON (UK DEBUT) ------------------------------------------------------Thursday 15 August BleeD presents Before My Eyes DJ :

RAIME DEMDIKE STARE BLACKEST EVER BLACK ------------------------------------------------------Friday 16 August Prang DJ :

BLACKFOOT PHOENIX PRANG GANG + GUESTS -------------------------------------------------------

Thursday 4 October

NATURAL CHILD Saturday 9 November

A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS

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Friday 23 August Inverted Audio Electronic Explorations Live :

RONE THROWING SNOW ROCKETNUMBERNINE ------------------------------------------------------Friday 30 August Plex Basement Sessions DJ :

SECRET GUEST (2-HOUR SET) SECRET GUEST (2-HOUR SET) LUKE HANDSFREE JAMES TEC -------------------------------------------------------

Saturday 31 August Special Request Residents Session DJ :

CHARLIE BONES (NTS RADIO) SPECIAL GUEST

TK (NTS RADIO) SCIENTIST (FLEX FM) LOUIS NOT LEWIS (NTS RADIO) PERCY INGLE (NTS RADIO)

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Thursday 22 August DO!!YOU!!! DJ :

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FI LM

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WORDS: Tim Oxley S m i th

The World’s End

Pacific Rim

Only God Forgives

Dir. Edgar Wright

Dir. Guillermo del Torro

Dir. Nicolas Winding Refn

Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman

Starring: Idris Elba, Ron Perlman, Charlie Hunnam

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas, Vithaya Pansringarm

2/20

18/20

6/20

The distinctive charm of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz (ignoring the Edgar Wright-less aberration Paul) led to well deserved anticipation for The World’s End. The Wright/Pegg/Frost axis’s comedies had previously brought together a zombie film homage and action buddy movie respectively to form uncanny and hilarious insights into British culture. With The World’s End, the focus turns to getting absolutely rat-arsed and facing midlife crisis whilst seemingly being in a Doctor Who episode.

All summer long Crack’s been whinging about this summer’s blockbusters being a bit shit. And we’re not just being mardy: they really have been especially underwhelming. But Pacific Rim has arrived to finally shake up the placid state of this glut of bighitters. Emigre director del Torro (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth) applies all his class and geeky passion to this big, loud and colourful action film.

The mediation between art and pornography has always lured filmmakers hither: contrasting highly stylised and meaningful ‘art’ with the substandard production values and debauched ideologies (if any) of ‘pornography’. Only God Forgives, the second collaboration between Gosling and Refn (the first being Drive) takes the recipe of lo-fi ultraviolence from the streets of LA to the streets of Bangkok.

Pacific Rim evokes feelings of sitting too close to the television early on a Saturday morning, or sliding on your knees across the floor of school discos. It’s an encapsulation of fun which has been dearly missed from the ‘blockbuster’ for far too long. With fuck off massive robots vs humongous alien-dinosaur-monsters, any attempt at taking itself too seriously would have hindered Pacific Rim’s appeal. But thanks to brilliantly thought-out action sequences, fist-pumping cheese ball one liners and Idris Elba, it hits us with all the signifiers associated with an 80s cult classic.

Gosling plays Julian, brother and reluctant avenger of his recently murdered rapist brother. His actions are spurred on by his mother, played by Kristin Scott Thomas with Lady Macbethian malice, who attempts to exact the family’s revenge via the clenched fist of Gosling. Scott Thomas’s performance, though strong, gets lost amongst a mucky and ineffective story. Gosling, meanwhile, is hardly there to be seen let alone heard.

And this really isn’t a good thing. After trying really hard to laugh at the first couple of gags in the movie, we began to realise we weren’t actually going to laugh at any of them. It made us very sad. We began to think of Spaced, and how funny and clever that actually was. How cool Shaun of the Dead was, the batshit craziness of Hot Fuzz. Then our mind began to turn to when on earth The World’s End might actually end. Despite assembling a seemingly enviable cast of British actors, Pegg and Freeman taking a step out of their super stardom and Paddy Considine attempting to be a little silly, it really doesn’t gel. From what was once a fresh and exciting British collaboration serving an irresistible blend of action, comedy and geekdom, The World’s End feels it should have been premiered on BBC Three after that Russell Howard programme.

Even some confusingly bad attempts at Australian accents and Charlie Hunnam’s lead character having a really strange walk couldn’t hinder the film’s momentum. The tone is set in the first sequence, the silly boat sets sail and with del Torro at the helm, prepare to forget your age, any impending tax complications and the effect of E-numbers in your food. Idris Elba’s rousing soap box speech is also one of the best you’re likely to hear. You can cancel my apocalypse any day of the week mate.

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Sure, it looks good in parts, but with its seedy lighting and slow, sideward tracking shots, the cinematography might be better suited to a Mystikal hip-hop video than a feature length film. There’s also some excellent blood, slices and punches too, notably in a thrilling showdown between Gosling and a cop. But all in all, Refn’s attempt at low culture, aiming to appeal to our less developed senses, is resoundingly unsuccessful. If Cameron wants to ban this he can be our guest. We won’t be opting in.


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WORDS David R eed + Bi l l y Bl ack

P H O TO D anny Nort h

L AT I T U D E

H e n h am Par k , S u f f ol k | J u l y 1 8 t h - 2 1 s t

“Meet me to buy coke by the dumpster behind McDonalds at midnight”, said Thurston Moore. After missing numerous trains, hopping in a cab with two people we met in Colchester and inadequately assembling tents in the sweltering heat, we take shelter in the shaded Poetry Arena, where the former Sonic Youth frontman is delivering profound dudeisms such as “I’m not a cop … I hate cops… To the max” in his deep, sardonic moan. We’ve heard Latitude takes pride in its surroundings, that the site makes you question whether a UK festival experience necessarily has to be a test of physical and mental endurance in an anarchic cesspit. It’s true. After walking through the woodland and crossing an idyllic lake, we arrived to a site full of toddlers rocking bucket hats, amiable security, and those little green parcels for putting your fag ends in (people are actually using them here). We’d go and check out what’s going in the Theatre or Film marquees, but they’re packed. So over to the main stage it is, where New Jersey indie legends Yo La Tengo begin with mellower acoustic tunes from their recent album Fade just as a mercifully cool breeze kicks in. Then come the shoegazey jams, for which Ira Kaplan proceeds to go nuts. He frantically shreds the skinniest frets of his Stratocaster, waves it above his head, bangs it against the mic stand and dives to his knees like a Jewish Jimi Hendrix – and yet somehow, all the feedback sounds strangely beautiful. The I Arena tent is shrouded by gorgeously lit woodland, and every band who take the stage seem genuinely chuffed to be here. Yet for all the location’s tranquillity, things begin to get rowdy once the sun goes down. The vibe is warmed up by Diiv’s thrashing, assumedly an attempt to inject their dream pop with some of the punk rock sentiment they’ve been known for due to Zachary Cole Smith’s recent ‘fuck the industry’ gestures. Later, Canadian anthem-makers Japandroids instigate a moshpit populated by an equal ratio of boys and girls, and The House That Heaven Built gives us a feeling of euphoria which could only be equalled by hi-fiving a hundred people after scoring a goal on your birthday.

Saturday morning starts well with Cardiff ’s Joanna Gruesome playing on the Lake Stage. Guitars twang and bass feeds back as the hippest crowd we’ve seen so far at Latitude sings along to every word of every catchy chorus the band can squeeze into their short set. Bo Ningen deliver on every level. We get the distinct urge to text everyone in our phone book to tell them we’re doing something far better than they are right now, even if they’re licking ice cream from Zooey Deschanel’s inner thigh. They flail wildly about the stage like ADHD stuntmen, and we find the smiles on our faces becoming increasingly hard to hide. Normally such noise is the preserve of chin strokers, but Bo Ningen have something more to offer: extremely high entertainment value. Opening with a ropey rendition of their 2009 single Zero, Yeah Yeah Yeahs look and sound exhausted, with Karen O’s sad clown style make up and glittery Michael Jackson t-shirt emphasising a sense of faded grandeur. Having said that, her crowd interaction during Cheated Hearts is definitely a hit with the bemused kids on their parents’ shoulders, and the gloriously sleazy art-rock glamour of Date With The Night makes the crowd go insane. We head back to the woods, where Purity Ring play a set which consists of all the highlights from their debut and end on the awesome Fineshrine before retreating, we imagine, to some kind of computer generated haven of electronic peace and harmony. And then it’s over to the main stage for the most anticipated set of the weekend: Kraftwerk’s 3D show. Over the last four decades or so, endless column inches have championed the German collective for the seismic shift in popular culture they’re responsible for. In 2013 however, Kraftwerk are an aurally and visually retrofuturstic act. But with the 3D show, have they created a sensory trip unlike anything before? What unfolds is anything but anticlimactic. Gigantic doll-like figures in red shirts reach into the crowd, radioactive logos hover above our heads, and at one point, we’re peering from the window of a spaceship as it floats over planet earth. We’re initially bothered by some cynical concerns. Is this comparable to the deceased rapper hologram gimmick that threatens to become www.crackmagazine.net

a trend? Could the success of this show create future difficulties for festivals and acts with a smaller budget, like the impact 3D has had on mainstream cinema? And how many people here would actually enjoy listening to a Kraftwerk album from start to finish? But after a drunken debate, we reach the conclusion that it fucking ruled. Eager to embrace our last day, The Bots lure us in by sounding like some kind of futuristic power-noise band, playing discordant guitars over layers of abrasive synth to what seems like completely random drum patterns. They look like the rock n’ roll contingent of some kind of new age cult, dressed head to toe in white with matching wacky headgear. At Hookworms’ early evening set we find ourselves instantly drawn in by their plodding, hypnotic melodies. The set showcases the band at their best: a loud, psychedelic wall of noise punctuated by creepy, effected vocals. If you’d told us in 2008 that Foals would be killing festival headline slots in 2013, we’d have spluttered our drink all over our Datarock t-shirt. But this was really something special. Anyone who caught their incredibly energetic Glastonbury show would have trouble believing it could be bettered, but the headliner status clearly galvanises the band, with Yannis passionately thanking the crowd between every song. Shit, at one point he’s almost smiling. From opening with the OK-to-like party banger My Number to the monster riffage of closer Inhaler, Foals provide the ultimate final night climax. After that, it’s frolics in the woods until the stewards arrive. And, true to Latitude’s ethos, they boot us out of the main arena in the friendliest way possible.

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W ORD S Dun can Harri son

49

LOV E B OX

P H OTO L ov ebox

V i c t or i a Par k , L on d on | J u l y 1 9 t h - 2 1 s t

Lovebox is surely one of the most high-profile events to go down in London year-on-year. Famed for their exclusive bookings, eclectic curation and notoriously ritzy Sundays, expectations are always high. Amidst the endless hordes of vibrantly-clad revellers there was an unmissable feeling of anticipation for this three day run. If you were to scan the UK charts at the moment you might come across Breach nestled comfortably in the top 10. His smash Jack is a perfect example of the underground/overground integration spearheaded by the likes of Jessie Ware and Disclosure and his early-doors reflected this. Then came an early afternoon live set from John Talabot, whose LP ƒIN still emanates a sense of fragility while maintaining the ability to get people moving. The moving hit full swing when Charlie Wilson arrived on the main stage with a show featuring dance routines, a truckload of sequins and a mid-set costume change from a dangerously reflective shiny black suit to a modest turquoise number, all accompanying cuts like Beautiful, You Are and You Dropped The Bomb On Me. Contrary to popular misconception, Wiley (@WileyUpdates) is a solid live performer. If by solid you mean 20 minutes of radio-clingy halves of singles, then this guy is solid. Granted, his set was preceded by a tweet confirming he was doing this string of shows to avoid being sued (update: he’s just been sued) but his heart was in it, right? Equally irresistible is the indomitable rise of Julio Bashmore, whose crowd at the Noisey tent outstretched the big top and generated one of the best atmospheres of the day. The upbeat vibes were elevated to the point of ridiculousness when Jurassic 5 did their thing. Probably the happiest and nicest men ever to be this happy and nice, listen to What’s Golden played live in the sweltering East London sun and try and be turbo-observant and introverted – you’ll flop it, just like we did.

Flying Lotus headline the Noisey tent. Playing tracks from all four studio records, raising the pitch of Rick Ross’ vocals on Hold Me Back and slinking round from behind the turntables on occasion to spit ferociously as his rap alter-ego Captain Murphy, Lotus was on true top form. Saturday was an equally spirited affair, with proceedings opened by Darq E Freaker, the grime revivalist treating the crowd to Ace Hood’s unadulterated colossal radio plaguer Bugatti as well as playing a cut from Danny Brown’s upcoming full length. Then the current addiction to ‘turning up’ was satisfied once more by Atlanta mixtape host, DJ Drama. All the molly-popping degeneracy you could ask for came together in one slightly manic DJ set. This was a more positive demonstration of the joys of rap music that many think is misleading the youth. The lavish, sensationalised lyricism and production was matched by an overactive and feverish crowd. For a change, we caught the much hyped Mancunian Bipolar Sunshine. His hazy melodies and misty production translated well and the crowd he pulled for such a tiny tent signalled big things afoot. D’Angelo’s oneoff UK festival appearance had girls crying and people only slightly older than us talking like they were well old, just because they saw him the first time around. The show was hard to fault. Chicken Grease and Devil’s Pie were executed with world-class showmanship, while his vocals were flexible, distinctive and smooth. So, so smooth. With any luck these shows will travel the UK, because the D’Angelo live experience is one worth chasing. Sunday arrived, and we got hypnotised by the light show and clean-trap beats of Purity Ring. Then came Moko’s set over on the Crack stage. This girl’s immense hype and distinctive image compliments her bonerattling industrial soul-pop perfectly. Her tracks sound like a hybrid of

To have witnessed equal levels of glee you’d have had to check out www.crackmagazine.net

Grace Jones and MIA: impossible not to dance to, yet you wouldn’t want to hear them alone in the dark. After Kelis ran through her bangers, the wait began for Lil Kim’s first London performance in over a decade. The kit was ready, the crowd was there and people were ready to bounce to Put Your Lighters Up in the summer air. Half an hour after her set was scheduled to start, a stage-hand grabbed a mic and announced it wasn’t happening. A major blow, and the fallout could well continue. But still, Kelis brought it, Goldfrapp were perfectly charming, and DJ Harvey’s RBMA-presented Discotheque was a constant source of hedonistic satisfaction. Jon Hopkins’s headline set over at the Crack stage demonstrated that his forerunner for LP of the year, Immunity, is just as chilling, powerful and breathtaking live as on record. His set proved a pitch-perfect culmination to a line-up which saw Idles deliver their clenched post-punk assault, Joey Fourr’s dreamy alt-pop hooks, and Hyetal thrive with the help of his hugely refreshing new three-piece live set-up. Due to a fortune of errors, Mykki Blanco was moved to an evening set, also on our stage, and made up for the lack of Lil Kim; bitchier, ballsier and with some of the tightest hooks in the game. Across three vivid and memorable days, Saturday stood out as truly exceptional. D’Angelo, the relentless vibes of Drama, and the fun-loving positivity of the Jurassic 5 reunion made sure of that. As three-day innercity affairs go, Lovebox maintained its reputation as a brash, colourful knees-up with a diverse, contemporary and frequently thrilling bill. Props to sequins, Rick Ross and being hella happy.

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EXHIBITIONS

Yorgos Sapountzis The Protagonists Until Sunday 15 September

Ian Hamilton Finlay

MUSIC

Vatican Shadow Friday 6 September

Until Sunday 8 September 11am – 6pm Tuesday – Sunday, free Exhibition tours 2pm every Saturday, free

PERFORMANCE

Doug Fishbone & Friends Adventureland Golf

Thursday 12 – Sunday 15 September

Until Monday 26 August 11am – 6pm, £2/£1 An artist designed crazy golf course

Supported by

4 Days

Plus boat tours, talks and courses, Bookshop (NUS 10% off on Wednesdays) and Café Bar (open daily from 10am) Arnolfini 16 Narrow Quay, Bristol BS1 4QA arnolfini.org.uk @arnolfiniarts (Image left) Yorgos Sapountzis (Image right) Vatican Shadow

MaDa Music Presents: AUGUST Thursday 8th August Lock Tavern, Camden #BESTKEPT Talk Show Ghost + Zack Ford + Kerri Watt + Martin Andrew + MaDa DJ Wednesday 21st August Lock Tavern, Camden #BESTKEPT Hunter The Bear + Komodo Krimes + A Girl Called Ruth SEPTEMBER Wednesday 4th September Queen Of Hoxton, London #BESTKEPT Deer Chicago + We Were Frontiers + Katie Coleman + Ben hood Thursday 5th September Rattlesnake, Angel #SecretCircle Live Music and DJ’s Thursday 12th September Queen Of Hoxton, London #BESTKEPT The Phantom Light + Liam Modlin + The Shades + Kerry Watt Thursday 12th September Lock Tavern, Camden (Free Entry) Habitats + Black Sands + Special guest + MaDa DJ. Thursday 26th September Proud Galleries #BESTKEPTGETLUCKY (Free Entry) Delooze + Blackfoot Circle + Massmatiks + The OutFits + Special guest DJ’s OCTOBER Wednesday 9 October Lock Tavern, Camden #BESTKEPT (Free Entry) Last Of The Light Brigade + Cortes + Katie Coleman Friday 11th October Rattlesnake, Angel #SecretCircle Dance Al A Plage + Massmatiks + Special guests + MaDa DJ’s Friday 18th October Rattlesnake, Angel #SecretCircle Mutineers + The Cadbury Sisters + Matt Belmont + Harriet Jones + MaDa DJ’s

MaDaMusic.com #BESTKEPT

All tickets: WeGotTickets.com

#SECRETCIRCLE

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Red Bull Mu sic A ca d e my S o u n d sy ste m St. Paul’s Carnival, Bristol | July 6th The absence of St. Paul’s Carnival in 2012 left a gaping hole in most self-respecting Bristolians’ summer calendar. Its return was greeted as fervently as you’d expect, and the sun-drenched streets were teeming with bodies, the air alive with those distinctive odours and sounds, from early morning. A more structured alternative to the joyous mayhem came within St. Paul’s Park, where Red Bull Music Academy was conducting the first of its nationwide Carnival Soundsystems: the music was carefully programmed, you didn’t have to pay people to nip into their bathrooms, and the beers came from fridges, not bins of lukewarm water. But any doubts as to the authenticity of the experience were swiftly dismissed, thanks to an obscenely up-for-it crowd, a smartly-curated selection of largely Bristol-based music, and the crispest of systems. The likes of Buggsy, Throwing Snow, and particularly T. Williams nurtured that early sense of momentum, straddling the event’s traditional values with a refreshingly contemporary edge. But it was Joker’s set which truly lit the touch paper. An audacious mash-up of bass, dubstep, house and grime, you were given seconds to compose yourself, straighten your sunglasses, wipe your brow and take a sip of your drink before being propelled upwards by yet another monumental drop. With collaborator Javeon McCarthy stalking the front of the stage bringing the crowd to a raging head for the likes of a dubstep remix of Darude’s Sandstorm (honest), it was just the best fun ever and the culmination to a perfectly-pitched set.

© Red Bull Music Academy

It was left to the brash bottom end of Redlight and the more organic edge of Bristol royalty DJ Milo to keep moods sky-high. But as we were propelled back into the Portland Square sensory fever pitch, there was no doubt who’d been the star of the day. --------Words: Rich Bitt

Pi s s e d J e a n s

Iggy Aza lea

Mogwai pres. Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait

L C M F: G le n n Bra n ca

Electric Ballroom, London | July 5th

Fabric, London | July 9th

Barbican Hall, London | July 26th

Bold Tendencies, Peckham | July 27th

Ferocious Pennsylvania sludge-punk maestros Pissed Jeans, back in the UK after a five year hiatus to tour their excellent 2013 album Honeys, brought deafening noise to a sold-out Ballroom.

Since the releases of her Glory and Trap Gold EPs, the peroxide persona of Grand Hustle’s first lady Iggy Azalea has not only infiltrated the radars of the hip-hop underground, but also propelled her to prime time radio play and A-list populated red carpets.

The Barbican Centre is the perfect setting for Mogwai’s music. The arches overpasses, uniform in their concrete pebbledashery, seems made for Glasgow’s finest post rock outfit.

Three things it’s rare to experience when stood in a car park in Peckham on a night when the rain is lashing down so hard you forget summer could ever exist: a feeling of genuine ecstasy; a sense of almost physical abandonment; and an overwhelming desire to transcend whatever it is it means to be what we are.

The four-piece might have aged a bit, but calmed they most certainly have not, thrashing out their awesome brand of antagonising punk to a sweaty, noise hungry audience. While delivering taunts to the crowd, frontman Matt Korvette had a wicked glint in his eye. “Last night we played in Leeds, and I was positive that Leeds was the best. And you know what, I was right. Leeds is the best. I only played here because someone told me it was Leeds. I was fucking confused, alright?” The sociopathic Bathroom Laughter came at twice the speed as on record, Vain in Costume pounded violently and the slimy menace of Cafeteria Food was enough to churn any stomach. The track which really sent everyone batshit, though, was the King of Jeans opening track False Jesii Part 2, with crowd surfers passing overhead at a rate of one per second. As Korvette’s insults continued – “Last night we drove past Manchester, past some Marks and Spencers and I thought, this is better than London” – we couldn’t help but smile. No band pushes your buttons quite like Pissed Jeans.

As illuminated circus-themed features sparkle across the miniature stage, Iggy dives right into the firing line with the snare-laden opener Beat Down, demanding attention thanks to her lightning delivery and pristine clarity in the midst of the adrenaline. As a vivacious quartet of metallic hotpant-clad dancers twist and twerk around Iggy, an impressive a capella freestyle of D.R.U.G.S. is distributed, before her selfassured snarl comes into play for MurdaBizness. As the performance progresses on however, it becomes obvious that her craft isn’t as tightly perfected as first thought. Backseat is half-heartedly paraded, and Pu$$y spins speeches of “If you like pussy, you gotta like cheeks” that are followed by a brazen exhibit of gluteal slapping.

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Obviously a woman is totally entitled to flaunt her sexuality as and when she chooses, however tonight it feels like Iggy Azalea’s undeniable talent becomes slightly overshadowed. This show doesn’t see her sitting comfortably, but neither does it indicate a definitive direction for a fresh artist tipped so highly.

Words: Lucie Grace

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The Barbican played host to a multi-disciplinedand-exquisitely-executed event which saw Mogwai resurrect their score for Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait and give it the live treatment to a sell-out crowd. The film is a pretty tricky watch outside of a cinema setting, but these issues dissipate when presented in a cinema, and the compelling portrait of Zidane’s footballing genius only grew in stature when accompanied by Mogwai’s live score. Like any good soundtrack, Mogwai accompanied and accentuated the footage but never crossed the line to take precedence. There were only two or three occasions where Mogwai really tested the PA. You could see it coming as well; guitarist John Cummings drops to his knees and starts punching pedals and bassist Dominic Aitchison turns to the speaker stack to be fully in tune with the chaos. These are the moments that stuck with us both physically and emotionally. An hour after the show we sat covering both ears in an attempt to calm the tinnitus we had inherited. It was truly horrible, but we love Mogwai for making it happen. ----------Words: Thomas Hawkins

Words: Leah Connolly

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Glenn Branca made this happen and more. Beneath the trendy environs of Peckham’s carpark-rooftop bar Frank’s, a crowd gathered for what was arguably the star turn at the inaugural London Contemporary Music Festival. The performance began slowly. Then things switched up; open chords began to be played with greater intensity, the groove made its presence known. It didn’t feel like having songs played to or for you. It was as close to perfection as a live perfomance could be: bodily, visceral, powerfully real. The performance ended abruptly. Ten minutes into Twisting in Space Branca grabbed his microphone and chastised the soundman. “Eric”, he began, “fucking asshole. Turn off the goddamn feedback, the only thing I can hear now is the fucking snare drum!” Before Eric had a chance to work things out Branca had kicked over his music stand and stomped off. The rain carried on unabated. We made the slow incline down the multiple ramps, mouths grinning. ---------Words: Josh Baines


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B Y LE AH C O NNO L LY, A D A M C O RNE R , J O S H U A NE V E T T, J O N C L A RK , J O S H B A I NE S , RO B E RT B AT E S , D U NCAN H AR R I S O N, JAME S T. BAL MO NT, BI L LY B L A C K , A NNA T E H A B S I M , A NG U S H A RRI S O N, P H I L I P J A M ES AL L E N

POND HOBO ROCKET Modular

SEAMS QUARTERS Full Time Hobby

6/20

18/20

Aussie psychedelic collective Pond have come close to elevating above underground status due to having common members with the widely loved neo-psych outfit Tame Impala. But, as Pond/TI member Jay Watson once told us over a cigarette in Manchester, “Tame Impala is the pussy version of Pond. This is what we produce when we don’t have limits.” And with the album’s opening waves of unadulterated scuzz, it initially seems like this really is Pond’s big, bold statement. But then the more tranquil second track O Dharma falls flat amongst its clichéd reveal. It’s a noticeable, reoccurring flaw which makes Hobo Rocket feel less like a progressive journey and more like a strenuous trek of epic proportions. Guest vocals from friend of the band and little-known character ‘Cowboy John’ on the title track are nothing more than uniform churns strewn out across their trademark pointers of rough and ready riffs. Giant Tortoise meanwhile presents itself as anything but freshly produced, with one foot planted firmly in the past. For such an apparently energetic band, Hobo Rocket is an unsatisfactory release that lacks excitement, originality and dynamism in equal measure. LC

You’re unlikely to hear a bolder, more confident start to an album of electronic music this year than the juddering, opening drums ‘n’ chords of ClapOne, the track that launches Seams’ debut album Quarters. Complete with cascading synths, and a jagged, raw, percussive heartbeat, the track sets the tone for a muscular but delicate set of electronica and techno. Like early Gold Panda productions, Quarters is dripping in energy and passion. Echoing some of Panda’s timpani-flavoured chiming production, in places the album offers just a hint of the trance aesthetics that acts such as Nathan Fake have made their own. Elsewhere, it’s the squelching, jittery but melodic punch of Moderat that is a more suitable reference. But it’s undoubtedly in this rarefied category of elite producers that Seams deserved to be placed, chiefly because he’s succeeded at that most tricky of tasks: translating the adrenaline, ecstasy and abandonment of the dancefloor into a studio recording, without compromising for a second on subtlety or sophistication. And when, as on the pensive Hurry Guests, the drama dial gets cranked to eleven, it’s difficult to think of a producer with more compelling credentials for brooding, ballsy electronic music than Seams. AC

ALUNAGEORGE BODY MUSIC Island

THE DODOS CARRIER Polyvinyl

12/20

16/20

Body Music casts London-based producer/singer duo AlunaGeorge as explorers of a turn-of-the-century R&B wormhole. George Reid – the control room operator – tightens the bolts that Timberland left unscrewed, while Aluna Francis – the pilot – veers their spacecraft towards the populist via her Aaliyah/Kelis-isms until they crash land at their desired destination: the forefront of commercial UK bass music. It’s often said that relationships are a two way street, requiring both parties to work in tandem in order to succeed. The dynamic of AlunaGeorge, however, is one of sole trouser wearing that rarely challenges the conformability of their more regularly visited gloss-pop sensibilities. Such is the case with single Your Drums, Your Love, where Reid attempts to conjure shape shifting, androgynous belches only to be drowned out by Francis’s infantile coo of one of the catchiest choruses this side of Disclosure. Sure, the two-step swag of Lost And Found hovers close to Hudson Mohawke’s flashy go-apeshit delinquency, and the bubblegum refrain of single You Know You Like It ensures that there’s just enough bite to chew the fat. But too many times, Body Music falls flat on its face due to a deficiency in AlunaGeorge’s formula: the succinct lack of banger-mongering on the part of Reid. JN

Following the death of The Dodos and Women guitarist Nick Reimer last year, the former band’s latest LP is by no means a subdued one. Instead, Carrier is an album that has imbibed the spirit of their short-lived collaboration. The Dodos’ usual open-tuned guitar-pickery is in parts replaced by a thinner, tenser sound – an apparent product of Reimer’s brief tenure as a live guitarist with the band. Carrier has lost none of the usual polyrhythmic tomfoolery you’d expect. What it has gained, however, is a focus that, while tragic in its nature, has paid dividends in its significance. First single Confidence is a perfect example. While retaining The Dodos’ warm, folksy songcraft in the first section, it comes underpinned by a minimal, irregular guitar line, laying the foundation for the very un-Dodos guitar thrash in the second. Meanwhile, Family keeps things comparatively simple in its straightforward dreampop – however the layered, fuzzy guitar solo lends itself to the song’s coda of “Success is failure / Failure’s assured”. Whilst this may not be a restrained record, it’s certainly a reflective one. It’s not often bands pay tribute to someone in music rather than lyrics, but on Carrier, The Dodos have pulled this off with real flair. JC

BLONDES SWISHER RVNG Intl.

PET SHOP BOYS ELECTRIC X2

18/20

16/20

It seemed like this New York duo wouldn’t ever be able top the majesterial Lover, one of the truly transcendental moments in early 21st century dance music history. On Swisher, they’ve done it. One of the most consistent dance albums of recent years, it situates itself somewhere between 100% Silk’s retromaniac house abstractions, the sublime strangeness of early acid tracks and the sharpened, sleek sophistication of endless contemporary German labels. Swisher abounds with a sense of retrofuturism: we hear past-cliches mutating into new forms: Bora Bora falls into the kind of ketamine-house rabbit hole so beloved of Ricardo Villalobos, but swaps his queasily-intimate live-seeming percussion for an intimately-queasy disorientated clank’n’slide down into a new age industrial pit; it clicks, whirrs, rushes, swoons, jets by and crawls to a standstill. Poland is another deep analogue soundsystem banger, all gloopy 303 basslines scuttling under gorgeously flourescent, brittle synth lines and stardust nu-disco arpeggios wrapping themselves around recontextualised dub-techno chords. Closer Elise could just be a contender for song of the year; built around a delicate, melancholy faux-oriental melody it grows into a Balearic stormer and a peak-time destroyer. A triumph. JB

One year on from their last effort Elysium, Pet Shop Boys have lost none of their energy. If anything they’ve gained a tad, substituting the pompous, self-righteous, bombastic pop of their previous effort for heavier beats, better songs and more instrumental, dance-oriented fare. This being Pet Shop boys, however, Electric is still pretty pompous and bombastic. But it’s also a stunning return to form from a band reinstating their love for pop and dance music. It even has a track featuring Example in which he’s not being an utter dick. Imagine that. He’s still on it though. Opener Axis is an absolute belter, a dancefloor-buckling, glitchy and surprisingly modern track which prove that although the boys are in their fifties, they’ve still got their finger near the pulse. Elsewhere Love Is A Bourgeois Construct is rooted in more familiar Pet Shop Boys territory – witty, incisive and utilising sampling with a selfaware ridiculousness that works extremely well. All the tracks here are excellent, and combined bare witness to a band remaining innovative without losing their identity. If Elysium saw them disgruntled, this is a record from a band who’ve never sounded so excited. It’s just annoying Example can attach his name. JC

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HOT NATURED DIFFERENT SIDES OF THE SUN Hot Creations / Warner 5/20 When Hot Natured’s Benediction breached the UK’s Top 40, band member Jamie Jones felt compelled to defend himself. They’d been accused of “selling out”; of making some Faustian pact with The Major Labels. Some even claimed Jones planned to collaborate with Akon.  Hot Natured haven’t ‘sold out’. For that to be true, they’d have to be making music they didn’t like purely for money. They are making music they love; music that, it just so happens, is popular. Consequently, some of Hot Natured’s critics seem less motivated by protecting the integrity of True Underground House and more by an anger that ‘their’ music has become more mainstream, less esoteric and, therefore, less cool. This isn’t the problem we have with Hot Natured. Dance music that is also pop music is fine with us. What is not fine, however, is releasing tracks of such complete, ket-laced insipidness it’s difficult to know when they stop being boring and start being offensive. Album opener Operate starts promisingly with some Detroit-esque pads and choppy, filtered guitar. Then the vocals start, the lyrics those of a high-schooler aiming for snappy poeticism, but instead barfing-up clumsy banality. Then, Isis (Magic Carpet Ride). Apparently, the fact that Isis is an Ancient Egyptian goddess can be represented sonically by ‘snake-charmer flutes’, and lyrically by the imagined sensuality of an enigmatic woman. The first and last minutes have just about every stereotypical ‘Egyptian’ sound there is. You’d have thought Egyptians have enough to worry about at the moment without their history and culture being patronisingly appropriated in this way. There are then 13 other songs. Reverse Skydiving sees singer Anabel Englund mistake laziness for insouciance; Different Sides has a decent clap, a more intricate beat, but the same bass sound they use in everything and some truly nonsensical lyrics; and so on for most of the rest, apart from Forward Motion and Benediction. These are both decent dance tracks that deserved the airplay and plaudits they’ve received. But they’re already old in dance-music-terms, and they can’t salvage this. Hot Natured have not sacrificed True Underground House upon the altar of Commercial Success. The Hot Creations camp have always released music that skirted around the poppier edges of house and techno. But Different Sides... is a bad album. Hot Natured sound spent. What are they delivering that’s unique anymore?Nothing, because they themselves did it years ago. This is what dance music sounds like when the industry’s ‘fresh new sound’ is used first as an incubator, then a mausoleum. RB

JAY Z MAGNA CARTA HOLY GRAIL Roc Nation

CASSY FABRIC71 fabric

6/20

18/20

It’s never a good sign when the pretext of a record can be summed up in three bullet points: Jay Z used to deal drugs in Brooklyn. Jay Z now has lots of money. Jay Z is married to Beyonce. It’s tough not to be frustrated by almost every aspect of the Magna Carta Holy Grail experience, from him allowing Justin Timberlake to sing like Bruno Mars on the opening track, to the fact he effortlessly persuaded Billboard to change their age-old rules just so his partnership with Samsung could lead to another stat that he can rap about in a year or so. The album’s pop culture references – take the lyrics about Miley Cyrus twerking or Instagram, for example – feel a bit like the efforts made by those educational films that are tirelessly trying to be down with the youth. With Timberlake and Kanye constantly helping to reignite his name, Hova has maintained a position at the top, and it can’t be denied he can rap when aptly inspired. However, there’s an overriding problem seeping through Magna Carta Holy Grail: the staggering lack of ideas on offer can only be thinly veiled by Jay Z’s increasingly shallow and unconvincing bravado. DH

A few weeks ago, Maceo Plex contributed to an ignominious tradition of men telling women how to make & market dance music when he criticised Nina Kraviz. In apparent contrast to Kraviz, Plex held up Cassy Britton as one of a few women he deemed to be ‘doing it right’. Kraviz was quick to post the cover for Cassy’s Panorama Bar mix, where she appears nude. Cassy didn’t get involved, perhaps because she didn’t care. Based on the new instalment in fabric’s long-running mix series, she doesn’t need to either. fabric71 starts with Arttu’s Tune In, propelled by a chest-perforating broken beat and soothing pads. Kuumba Project’s Black Thoughts meshes in nicely, lifting the tempo before Livio Improta’s Mare010 kicks the mix into heads-down territory. Until the mid-section it’s all fairly deep, with intricate rhythms and looped melodies, slick transitions and smart selections. The sandwiching of Pachanga Boys’ John Talabot remix between two Basic Soul Unit cuts is a particular highlight, and you’d be hard pushed to pinpoint where one begins and another finishes. Closing on Duster Valentine’s Against the Wall is a particularly soulful and satisfying touch. We can easily imagine Cassy stood behind the decks, smiling, packing up her records – not giving a fuck about Maceo Plex. RB

WASHED OUT PARACOSM Sub Pop

HOLOGRAMS FOREVER Captured Tracks

16/20

11/20

With the heavenly ascent into It All Feels Right, complete with harp brushes, choir voices and birdsong, Ernest Greene, i.e Washed Out, makes a bold statement of where he stands on his comeback. The figurehead of chillwave may have had to endure the slow death of the genre’s prominence, but he certainly seems to be enjoying a cosseted afterlife on Paracosm, as there’s been an injection of analogue sounds, fevered percussive rhythms and bubbles of psychedelic splendour that breathe life into his dreamy aura. Don’t Give Up is an infectious example of this, with a throng of vibrantly arranged instruments crisply converging around a central vocal hook. The pumping All I Know stands out with its cannon-like synthesizer beams, and the title track features oozing slide guitars beneath a nauseating swirl of tampered harps. While the heavy glue that saturates the record could make for a somewhat exhausting listen if digested whole, sharply cut beats, the living, breathing guitars, and the chimes of closer All Over Now remind you that there’s some magic hidden under that downy blanket. JTB

Last year Swedish upstarts Holograms released a highly assured record, soaked in teenage sweat, attitude and unlikely hooks. It made 99% of more established musicians look like a bunch of fassies. There was a sense of excitement surrounding the youngsters as they hit the road and made anyone who got in their way very aware of their presence with rabid live sets and a relentlessly disdainful attitude. A little over a year later and the release of second record Forever sees the band staying unremarkably, disappointingly still. There are a few great noises, like the scratching, twangy guitar of Blaze on The Hillside, but nothing comes within a mile of being as fulfilling or instantly moving as the likes of ABC City from their debut. If Holograms had made the same record twice we’d at least have been happy to hear new songs, but the sad truth is it sounds like they’ve tried to make the same record twice and failed. Perhaps they just needed more time, possibly they were exhausted and a little overwhelmed. Either way, it’s early days for the boys, far too early to write them off, and far be it from us to accuse Holograms of being little more than a balloon that’s burst before its time. But we can’t help feeling that, for what might yet be a very special band, Forever falls short of the mark. BB

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Solutions to last issue’s crossword:

Across 2. Sexy (6) 5. Robin Hood’s missus (4,6) 8. Former farming vehicle supporter removes odours (9,3) 9. An incomplete portion (8) 11. A type of shirt which exposes the midriff (4,3) 12. Toss it, eat it (7) 14. Directorial dynasty of Francis and Sofia (7) 17. Dave Stewart’s fellow Eurythmic (5,6)) 19. A platform on which to present a sculpture (6) 21. Search for your supper in a field (6) 22. A bodily vibration caused by seeing something horrible (7) Down

ACROSS: 2. MUSTER, 3. CONCH, 7. MASQUERADE, 11. TRAP, 12. THE KINKS, 13. ORANGUTAN, 15. MISS MARPLE 17. BON IVER, 18. JAY, 19. BASQUE, 20. FATAL DOWN: 1. SHEFFIELD, 3. CHI TOWN, 4. CLAP, 5. VAUXHALL 6. EDWINA CURRIE, 8. PAGE TURNER, 10. PRIORITY 14. TOMBOLA, 16. MSTRKRFT, 21. TIPI

1. Greek dip made from yoghurt and cucumber (8) 3. Declare (8) 4. Parisian techno titan (7,7) 6. The things a horse rider puts their feet in (8) 7. Cockney rhyming slang for face (4,4) 10. The Fresh Prince of Bel Air’s intimidating patriarch (5,4) 13. Presidential building at the heart of Moscow (7) 15. Species of large black cat (7) 16. Quentin Blake’s most treasured collaborator (5,4) 18. Musical style from which Drum & Bass derived in the mid-90s (6) 20. Wear away (5)

MACHINEDRUM EYESDONTLIE Ninja Tune

DRENGE DRENGE Infectious Records

12/20

13/20

Machinedrum’s first album for Ninja Tune, undoubtedly a pindrop moment for the eclectic producer, is also dense with revivalist reference to jungle influenced beats. It’s a sound palette increasingly brushed over by an air of nostalgia, the infantalising of an entire genre into reminiscence over renaissance. You could be forgiven for targeting Machinedrum for channeling this stance, made twofold by the dub MC vocal cuts and rolling amen breaks of opener Gunshotta. But the approach never feels fully committed. U Still Lie harbours warm synth work which settles in alongside depthy vocals, while Baby Its U opens with muted Africanisms morphing into an R&B-kissed voice. The album’s overbearing theme is that of swathes of atmospheric synth washing over chopped up jungle samples, and the full length takes a conscious dip into deliberately murky and melancholic Burialesque waters. Seen as Machinedrum’s contribution to Ninja Tunes’ persistent D’n’B-aware tendencies, Eyesdontlie makes sense, but for fans of his more recent work (think Sepalcure and JETS) there is little to hold onto. In hindsight, it’s an alltoo-cautious input into an electronic landscape that increasingly belittles the scope of progression for such production. AT

There’s something thrillingly bad-ass about Drenge, and in the current landscape of UK guitar music, that’s something of a rarity. Unfortunately, what the Yorkshire siblings' debut boasts in character and ego, it lacks a bit in actual songs. Drenge’s outlook is wedged between cynicism and angst, and this attitude is epitomised on Dogmeat, where they shout “West Street girlies dance like this” in reference to the Vegas Strip of Sheffield. There’s an overwhelming sense that these were the two guys laughing at drunk girls and clearing the dancefloors with their iPod Shuffles tucked into their ears. Over the course of the LP, this disillusioned temper communicated through fairly forgettable melodies begins to feel a little small-minded. However, the riff on Gun Crazy and the bracing crescendo that signs off Let’s Pretend are proof you’re not listening to a wholly apathetic band. The failures of this album come through no fault of the musicians. Give it a few years and maybe a messy divorce, a short-lived drug problem or some kind of bankruptcy would give this pair the ammunition they require. Drenge’s anger is wasted on trivial matters, but you sense that if armed with some actual issues, they might muster up something even dingier, even beefier and more ferocious. DH

KIRIN J CALLINAN EMBRACISM Terrible Records

ZOLA JESUS & JG THIRLWELL FT. MIVOS QUARTET VERSIONS Sacred Bones

15/20

13/20

Kirin J Callinan’s debut album Embracism couldn’t be accused of lacking personality. The album is a brutal assault of character, conjuring wild atmospheres and wrenching sentiment whilst hardly stopping to take stock. Callinan utilises his snarling Australian accent to threaten as well as lament, his vocals wobbling somewhere between Cave and Bowie. At times the sheer scale of growling intent in Callinan’s voice threatens to descend into maniacal spoken word. When he resorts to more conventional territory on Victoria M and the main body of Chardonnay Sean, he carries all the wistful swagger of Morrissey. These are full bodied songs, where Callinan has muted his brutish concepts of misguided masculinity and built them into melody rather than sheer ‘voice’. It might not fit with the progressive nature of Callinan’s intentions, but in many ways the album succeeds when it tries to do less. Make no mistake, the power is palpable and Callinan shows he has some serious muscles to flex. Chris Taylor’s production recreates much of the sonic atmosphere explored on his solo effort as CANT. Yet the moments of rest and reflection indicate a much more attractive prospect, a fresh voice for the disillusioned, a suffering soul for the millennial generation. AH

Experimental chanteuse Zola Jesus and industrial music pioneer JG Thirlwell, better known as Foetus, joined forces with the celebrated Mivos Quartet last year for a performance at New York’s Guggenheim. This new album presents studio versions of these appropriations. Stripped to their skeletal forms, Jesus’s songs are built around tender orchestration, minimal drum machine patterns and that delicate but soulful voice. The results carry an emotional weight that transforms into a heady, but ultimately intense experience. Both artists may be renowned for their unorthodox approaches, but there is very little out of the ordinary going on here. Essentially a classical record, a rich melodic vein runs throughout. Gone are the synths which make up the backbone of Zola’s back catalogue, strings taking the lead. But the tone still remains playful, occasionally hitting bum notes for kicks as heard in the epic Fall Back and the last note of opener Avalanche (Slow) with its brooding cello blanket and violin arpeggios. At her best Zola can come over like Kate Bush at her most ethereal, yet an entire album of preening melodrama becomes somewhat wearing. Despite standout tracks Run Me Out and Sea Talk hitting real highs, an overall absence of genuine character abounds. PJA

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Denzil Denzil Schniffermann Schniffermann No sooner had Crack advertised for a NO SOONER HAD CRACK ADVERTISED FOR A new agony person than we received a very NEW AGONY PERSON THAN WE RECEIVED A VERY

Dear Denz, Dear Denz

Hello Denzil, Dear Denz After ten years of smoking, I’ve finally kicked the habit. I’m withI the whole scene. was Butdisenchanted to help me quit purchased a top When of the Irange e-cigarette, then the it’s love beenand outfinding of the frying growing up itand wassince all about a new pan getting and intointo the the fire.spirit I just of can’t the thing down, way, theput music and finding I’m spending £26I see a week on bubblegum flavoured yourself. Now all is Italians wearing low cut Vs nicotineoncartridges timekids I toke on it I look wasted ketamineand andevery bloody ‘shuffling’. The aboutthing as cool Peanut fromWhere the Kaiser it whole hasasgone to shit. wereChiefs. you inIs‘92 time toI was give up up? Denz? justgiving feeling the love.

I need marketing advice, pronto. See, I was a big deal I’mnot anthat aspiring house producer and of I’vethegot all tour. the long ago. I was the darling NME significant e-mail. What we found within ingredients forwith a great tune. did Bubbly head-nodding I hung out Carl Barat, that thing where you SIGNIFICANT E-MAIL. WHAT WE FOUND WITHIN bassline, killerwhite synthjeans hook, melodic keys and a– great wear tight and act like a prick people were a collection of words which were lapped it up Don’t judge me, judge the kids. breakdown. Butmate. I’m missing the vital ingredient. Hot,So WERE A COLLECTION OF WORDS WHICH WERE told to the band to fuck andcount went of solo, obvs. But hotI female vocal. I mean I’veofflost how many confrontational, straight-talking and it’s tracks eight years on been and ruined no one by gives a shit. made a house haven’t a real sassyI female CONFRONTATIONAL, STRAIGHT-TALKING AND record and aitbit sold copies. And I know Carl bought adding of 18 spice to the whole operation. downright inspiring, capped off with the vocal DOWNRIGHT INSPIRING, CAPPED OFF WITH THE two. Work your synergising magic on my career, for Brian, Wrexham most impressive e-mail footer you’ve ever the love of god. Ryan, 24, Northampton Paul, 45,27, Kent MOST IMPRESSIVE E-MAIL FOOTER YOU’VE EVER seen. Seriously, it was massive. Denzil says: Johnny B, 33, Sutton SEEN. SERIOUSLY, IT WAS MASSIVE. Denz says Denz says I’m going to be honest, smoking is a sign of weakness Denzil says: andpeople I don’t havethat an make ounce me of mad sympathy to You’ve come to the right place Ryan. I’ve been hanging It’s likereally you Paul with all One phone call later, and Denzil had offer you. Now don’t get me wrong, no one knows Young man, I heard that third Razorlight record. I’m out with these young upstarts of the old house music your ‘it was better in my day’ nonsense. In 1992 I ONE PHONE CALL LATER, AND DENZIL HAD how to party like the Schniffmeister, but I just can’t a business guru, a ruddy worker. If you’re put our finances in order, had the scene and we’ve gotnot a nice littlemiracle contra-deal going on. was a young buck making my way in the wholesale not putting the effort in, then I’m not synergising understand what’s so rock ‘n’ roll about having to PUT OUR FINANCES IN ORDER, HAD THE They can’t churn out their beats quick enough and I’ve distribution of alarm clocks. Was that fun? No. Are leave the table every 15 minutes to chug on a Lambert diddly squat. workforce thought-showering like started my own agency where you can hire a generic things better now? You betcha’. After staging a in the pissing rain. Having said that, I do relish the WORKFORCE THOUGHT-SHOWERING LIKE house vocal from one of my lovely soulful ladies. I’ve hostile takeover of that business, I took things to the lunatics, and we were in possession taste of a Hamlet after I’ve achieved a lucrative called it Denzil’s Divas. They ring up and play me the next level and moved into stationery. And I can tell business deal or a particularly gratifying erotic LUNATICS, AND WE WERE IN POSSESSION beat and I get one of the girls to sing an appropriate you something for free, Denz’s Penz are making me of one motherfucker of a two-year conquest. But nothing cramps the style quite like a vocal. It usually goes something like: “Ooooooo baby I happier in 2013 than those dark days. Maybe you OF ONE MOTHERFUCKER OF A TWO-YEAR Robosnout, Brian, get yourself back on the real fags. development plan. We knew we’d found want your loving, all night and every day. Ooooooo.” should have a go at shuffling? There’s probably a few Guetta and Avicii got me on speed dial. I am EDM. pennies in it. DEVELOPMENT PLAN. WE KNEW WE’D FOUND our man. Denzil Schniffermann: business

Dear Mr. Schniffermann, Dear Denz Can you remember your previous for intimidating you raving or behaving? aAre Norfolk village shop-owner in the mid-90s? You thought you were some kind of small time Tony Soprano and tried charging my old man’s vacuum Lottie, 25, Andover cleaner repair shop protection money. Protection from what? Your dodgy dress sense? I remember what happened. Denz says, The whole village pulled you out of bed, strung you up over the local canal bridge and lobbed apples at you. And here you giving out advice to I’ve been behaving forI afind while now. You don’t end the You should ashamed. up general with a public. time-share in ThebeAlgarve by staring at

the bottom of a bag of loopy dust do you Lottie? Paul, 35,itNorfolk But let be known, old Schniffermann used to rewire Kraftwerk’s modular synths in the 80s so I’ve Denzil says:about the glow-sticks and all that bleepy never been nonsense, more about the hardware and the beat The name of Don Schiffermann will forever strike fear construction y’know. Having said that, in 1994 I did into Norfolk hearts. All’s fair in love and retail, and accidentally end up passed-out topless on a hay bail my legacy continues to this day. Did I sometimes play at this party just off the M25 with my tie round my dirty to make my mark? Sure I did, but my portfolio head and some blonde tramp called Pinky asleep in of solid poultry investments in the area tells you it was my lap. I was only trying to find a car boot sale. worth it. How d’you like dem apples?

OUR MAN. DENZIL SCHNIFFERMANN: BUSINESS guru, motivational speaker, life-coach, GURU, MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER, LIFE-COACH, sexual athlete, and above all ... friend.

//

SEXUAL ATHLETE, AND ABOVE ALL ... FRIEND.

// ANY PROBLEMS? any CONTACT problems? DENZIL@ Contact CRACKMAGAZINE.NET Denzil@ crackmagazine.net

// // www.crackmagazine.net


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Politics? c m

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On MPs’ pay

Illustration: Lee Nutland www.leenutland.com

The independent body in charge of MPs’ pay has announced they’re in line for a 10% pay rise, which would give them an annual salary of £74,000 if approved later in the year. In a slightly confusing read, Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority argues that it’s not about the quality of recruitment, it’s about what they deserve. Increasing pay isn’t going to improve the quality of our politicians. If there’s money available to improve politics we need to spend it helping candidates from groups that are underrepresented in parliament – women, ethnic minorities and workers from lowincome backgrounds – get elected. There are too many rich, old white people in parliament, including the first all white, all male cabinet in over 15 years. First let’s tackle the argument for a pay increase. IPSA says it can’t match MPs’ salaries to a job in the private sector because there isn’t one that’s comparable (after all, they don’t need to have any qualifications or demonstrate any particular aptitude for the job). Instead they think we should give them the increase to make up for historical inaction. MPs deserve more, but no one had the guts to give it to them, so they’ve been left out in the cold with their second home

allowance and expenses scams to fend for themselves. It’s pretty obvious that this line of reasoning is about as tenable as a Ramones reunion. There are countless private sector workers who aren’t getting paid what they deserve and it’s easy to blame historical inaction. At the moment public sector workers can only hope their pay keeps up with inflation. Why try and fix one profession, but not another? And why try and fix that profession in particular?

It’s too easy for the three main political parties to dominate elections (although they’re being so fantastically shit at the moment that a party led by an Embassy fag smoking, grey-haired common water frog might get in on the action). These parties generally recruit from their own ranks, and this is a big factor in why a quarter of MPs come from political background and 6% of Tory’s ministers went to a single, fee-paying school, Eton ... and why they aren’t very good at what they do.

levels of dissatisfaction toward somewhere other than right-wing fringe groups or sheer apathy.

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Christopher Goodfellow

twitter.com/MediaSpank The kick in the nuts of the whole debate is that we’re only having a review because of the expenses scandal. If the Telegraph hadn’t exposed the extent to which MPs were getting creative with, misclaiming on, and outright cheating the expenses system back in 2009, IPSA would never have been created and the pay review never set up. Obviously I agree with the establishment of an independent body, but we need one that can at least stick its head out into the real world long enough to catch a whiff of the stench coming from parliament. The report admits there’s no evidence that pay is putting off potential candidates, telling us selection policies and procedures of the political parties are far more important factors.

So this is the suggestion: if we’re looking to spend an extra £500,000 per year on politics (which is what the suggested reforms would cost), why not funnel the money into the election campaigns of independent candidates? Why not identify candidates that better represent their constituents, increase diversity and get someone in power with a bit of real-world nous? We could offer scholarship-type schemes to independents who’ve been identified through some kind of online petition system. Maybe we could call it the We’re Fed Up of Your Lot Fund or the You’ve Been Shit, Politics Isn’t Working bursary. Maybe these independents could bring something new to politics that would help funnel the record

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SHORT FILM AND ANIMATION FESTIVAL 17 – 22 September 2013 Bristol, UK Short Films. Bold Ideas. Join us at Watershed and Arnolfini for six days packed with screenings, talks, workshops, networking and special guests in a dazzling line-up spanning film, art, animation, performance and music.

FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS • Franz Treichler (The Young Gods) Plays Dada • Late Lounge: explicit content guaranteed • Music Video Showcase • Master animator Richard Williams’ Desert Island Flicks • Cult favourite ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’

FRINGE EVENTS

SOLAR CINEMA (FREE ENTRY)

• Wed 28 Aug / Skwigly Animation Magazine

• Sat Sept 7 / St Georges Park

• Wed 4 Sept / CineMe

• Sat Sept 14 / Victoria Park

• Thurs 5 Sept / Christmas Steps Arts Quarter

• Sat Sept 21 / Greville Smyth Park

• Mon 9 Sept / Knowle West Media Centre • Tues 10 Sept / The Birdcage • Wed 11 Sept / Bristol Radical Film Festival • Thurs 12 Sept / Rise Music

POP-UP SCREENINGS AT THE PARLOUR SHOWROOMS (FREE ENTRY) • Tues 10– Tues 17 Sept / Projection Heroes • Wed 18 – Sun 22 Sept / Cine-Chalet

Full programme information and tickets released mid-August at encounters-festival.org.uk. •

TICKETS BETWEEN £7.50-£10 / £6-£8 CONCESSIONS • SCREENING PASS £25 @EncountersSFF

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CRACK Issue 33  

Featuring Queens Of The Stone Age, No Age, Sir Quentin Blake, DJ Sprinkles, Thundercat, Jeffrey Lewis and L.I.E.S.

CRACK Issue 33  

Featuring Queens Of The Stone Age, No Age, Sir Quentin Blake, DJ Sprinkles, Thundercat, Jeffrey Lewis and L.I.E.S.