+ RUSTIE WILDEST DREAMS JOEY BADA$$ CHRISTOPHER OWENS LUST FOR YOUTH MERCHANDISE SUSAN HILLER XENO & OAKLANDER REMOTE MC GRINDAH
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CRACK MAGAZINES 5TH BIRTHDAY BROUGHT TO YOU BY blu E-cigarettes
THEKLA, FRIDAY 10TH OCTOBER 2014 FREE ENTRY. Register at blucigs.co.uk/tickets
HEADLINERS TBA PRINS THOMAS PARDON MY FRENCH Thekla, The Grove, East Mud Dock, Bristol, BS1 4RB
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#BLUFREEDOM E-cigarettes are an over 18s product. This event is for those aged 18 and over. E-Cigarettes contain nicotine.
Liars . Black Lips . Zomby . Evian Christ Nightmares On Wax . The Haxan Cloak How To Dress Well . DJ Sprinkles . Onra Eagulls . Kode9 . DVS1 . Laurel Halo
Mogwai . DJ Harvey
Friday 24 October In:Motion, Bristol
Saturday 25 October Various Venues, Bristol
Svengalisghost . DJ October . God Damn . Mirel Wagner Volte-Face . Thought Forms . Eaux . Menace Beach Pardon My French . Lovepark . Terekke Eugene Quell Cuts . Scarlet Rascal . Gramrcy . Bad Breeding + many more TBA
Hidden Orchestra . Amazing Snakeheads . Rejjie Snow Turbowolf . Max Graef . Ron Morelli . Scratcha DVA Esben & The Witch . Seven Davis Jr . Cooly G Oliver Wilde . Damiano von Erckert . The Fauns
WeTransfer is a file transfer service first and foremost. It was built to get files from A to B with no hassle, no stress and no charge. But it is much more than that. At its heart is a global exhibition of creative talent. In curating the wallpapers and experience you see on WeTransfer today we have built an amazing network of artists, illustrators, entrepreneurs, photographers, shops and artisans. It has allowed us to provide a free tool for our users, but also support the creativity of some incredible businesses and people around the world. And for us, that's a really, really big deal. www.wetransfer.com
25 Jun – 7 Sep – 7Galleries Sep Upper25 & Jun Lower Upper & Lower Galleries
Tove Tove Jansson: Jansson: Tales Nordic Tales from from the the Nordic Archipelago Archipelago 15 15Jul Jul––24 24 Aug Aug Fox FoxReading Reading Room Room
Culture Laura Bates Culture Now:Now: Laura Bates Fri 15 Aug, 1pm Fri 15 Aug, 1pm The writer and activist discusses her new book The Everyday The writer and activist discusses her new book The Everyday Sexism Project. Sexism Project.
Artists’ Film Film Club Artists’ Club
Artist Talk: Marlie Mul
ArtistWed Talk: Mul 20Marlie Aug, 7pm Wed Marlie 20 Aug, Mul7pm presents an overview of her multidisciplinary artistic Marliepractice Mul presents overview of her multidisciplinary artistic as part an of Journal. practice as part of Journal. Gallery Talk: Susanna Pettersson
Gallery Susanna Pettersson ThuTalk: 21 Aug, 6.30pm Thu 21 Aug, 6.30pm Director of the Finnish Institute in London on Tove Jansson: Tales fromofthe Archipelago. Director theNordic Finnish Institute in London on Tove Jansson: Tales from the Nordic Archipelago.
Art Party Thu 21 Aug, 9.30pm Art Party To Aug, celebrate the release of Bob and Roberta Smith & Tim Thu 21 9.30pm Newton’s new film ArtofParty, the ICA hosts Smith an Art &Party To celebrate the release Bob and Roberta Tim of its own.
Ahmet Öğüt Wed 6 Aug, 6.45pm Wed 6 Aug, 6.45pm The artist presents a live performance event: a filmic The artist presents a live performance event: a filmic intervention in collaboration with London-based musicians, intervention in collaboration with London-based musicians, as part of Journal. as part of Journal. Bouchra Khalili
Bouchra Khalili Sat 16 Aug, 6.45pm Sat 16 Aug, 6.45pm artist’s moving image work looks at The French-Moroccan The French-Moroccan artist’s moving image work looks at diaspora and the modern migrant. Part of Journal. diaspora and the modern migrant. Part of Journal. ICA Cinematheque
Terra em Transe Tue 19em Aug, 6.30pm Terra Transe Considered be Glauber Rocha’s most controversial film, Tue 19 Aug,to6.30pm and his most powerful contribution political cinema. film, Considered to be Glauber Rocha’stomost controversial
Newton’s new film Art Party, the ICA hosts an Art Party of its own.
and his most powerful contribution to political cinema.
Russian menswear designer Gosha Rubchinskiy in conversation with Editor-in-Chief of Marfa Journal Alexandra Gordienko.
Mikhail Kalatozov’s 1964 film was originally a propaganda piece glorifying the achievements of the Cuban revolution.
Culture Now: Gosha Rubchinskiy Fri 29 Aug, 1pm Culture Now: Gosha Rubchinskiy Russian menswear designer Gosha Rubchinskiy in conversation Fri 29with Aug, 1pm Editor-in-Chief of Marfa Journal Alexandra Gordienko.
Institute of Contemporary Arts The Mall London SW1Y 5AH Institute Contemporary Arts 020of 7930 3647, www.ica.org.uk
The Mall London SW1Y 5AH 020 7930 3647, www.ica.org.uk
Soy Cuba Tue 2 Sep, 6.20pm Soy Cuba Mikhail Kalatozov’s 1964 film was originally a propaganda Tue 2 Sep, 6.20pm piece glorifying the achievements of the Cuban revolution.
The ICA is a registered charity no. 236848
The ICA is a registered charity no. 236848
WILDEST DREAMS The untouchable disco luminary we call DJ Harvey unveils his sandblasted psych project
RUSTIE The Glaswegian maximalist talks to Charlie Wood about cutting through the clamour with neon slabs of noise
SUSAN HILLER The longstanding artist argues if favour of both rationality and intuition with Augustin Macellari
EDITORIAL The circle of life
Recommended A guide to what’s happening in your area
NEW MUSIC From the periphery
TURNING POINTS: CHRISTOPHER OWENS The former frontman of mythologised outfit Girls guides Billy Black on an eye-opening tour through his remarkable life and career
XENO & OAKLANDER Josh Baines defrosts the Brooklyn duo's frigid synth minimalism
MERCHANDISE As their punk background sinks deeper into the past, James F. Thompson finds Merchandise frontman Carson Cox unapologetically embracing mainstream sounds
LUST FOR YOUTH The prominent figures of Copenhagen’s underground emerge as synth-pop heartthrobs
Reviews Gig reports, product reviews and our verdict on the latest releases in film and music
DIGRESSIONS Don’t Give Up The Day Job, Vince's last laugh, the crossword and advice from Denzil Schnifferman
20 QUESTIONS: MC GRINDAH The Kurupt FM kingpin outlines his distaste for dubstep and the saintly nature of DJ EZ with Duncan Harrison
MEDIASPANK Considering the creepy consequences of “right to be forgotten” laws
CARIBOU After soaking in the positive energy of those around him, Dan Snaith has poured his heart into the forthcoming Caribou album. Tom Watson meets him in London, and encounters a musician who feels he could be reaching his zenith Caribou shot for Crack Magazine by Tom Weatherill
AESHTETIC For the month’s installment of our regular fashion, we styled New York rapper Joey Bada$$ and spoke to him about hip-hop heritage and the definition of ‘Swank’
REMOTE LOCATION As a key member of the Numbers label’s visual team, Adam Rodgers has supplied the vivid artwork for some of the most colourful electronic music in recent years. Here, he discusses the methods of his craft with Steven Dores
The Nothing Special Craig Richards Scuba Deadbeat feat. Tikiman (Live) South London Ordnance
30 aug Room 01
Craig Richards Nina Kraviz Midland Room 02
fabric 77: Marcel Dettmann Launch Marcel Dettmann Byetone (Live) Joey Anderson
5 Years Of Culprit Records Droog Benoit & Sergio (Live) Matt Tolfrey jozif
Danse Club Records Lauhaus Brodanse (Live) Denney
air london Alex Celler Jordan Peak Lauren Lane
Levon Vincent Radio Slave Bob Moses (Live) Anthony Naples
Craig Richards The Martinez Brothers PBR Streetgang
20 Years Of Wiggle Terry Francis Nathan Coles Eddie Richards Just Be (Bushwacka) Dachshund (Live)
Terry Francis Ryan Elliott Agoria Portable (Live)
One Records Adam Shelton Alex Arnout
Hypercolour Losoul Alex Jones & Ste Roberts B2B Cedric Maison
Executive Editors Thomas Frost firstname.lastname@example.org Jake Applebee email@example.com Editor Geraint Davies firstname.lastname@example.org Marketing / Events Manager Luke Sutton email@example.com Deputy Editor Davy Reed Junior Editor Anna Tehabsim Editorial Assistants Billy Black Duncan Harrison Creative Director Jake Applebee Art Direction & Design Alfie Allen Design Graeme Bateman Film Editor Tim Oxley Smith Art Editor Augustin Macellari Fashion Tom Johnson, Gwenaelle Trannoy, Tom Rasmussen, Hatty Carmen Contributors Christopher Goodfellow, Josh Baines, Tom Watson, Charlie Wood, James F. Thompson, Steven Dores, Lucie Grace, Angus Harrison, Robert Bates, Charlie Amos, Thomas Anthony, David Rochford, Rich Bitt, Lewis Lloyd, Jack Bolter, Isis O'Regan, Adam Corner, Joe Goggins, Jack Dolan, Jon Clark, Rachel Mann, Phillip James Allen, Tamsyn Aurelia-Eros Black Photography Tom Weatherill, Liam Jackson, Liz Wendelbo, Tom Johnson, James Staples, Rhythmandphotos, Theo Cottle, Samantha Milligan, Alexia Ward, Hans Tobias Divefjord, Chloe Roselek, Jen O'Neil, Anna Dobos Illustration Lee Nutland Louis Labron-Johnson Advertising To enquire about advertising and to request a media pack: firstname.lastname@example.org 0117 2391219 CRACK is published by Crack Industries Ltd © All rights reserved. All material in Crack magazine may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of Crack Industries Ltd. Crack Magazine and its contributors cannot accept any liability for reader discontent arising from the editorial features. Crack Magazine reserves the right to accept or reject any article or material supplied for publication or to edit this material prior to publishing. Crack magazine cannot be held responsible for loss or damage to supplied materials. The opinions expressed or recommendations given in the magazine are the views of the individual author and do not necessarily represent the views of Crack Industries Ltd. We accept no liability for any misprints or mistakes and no responsibility can be taken for the contents of these pages.
CRACK WAS CREATED USING: MATT DIRT In Deep LIL B No Black Person Is Ugly MR. TOPHAT & ART ALFIE Karlssons Dub SUPERPITCHER Delta KEMBACK Mistake CARIBOU Silver DREEZY Aint For None ft. King Louie ZUSE Pop The Corner
Crack’s had a man waiting in the wings. Hood down, headphones on, swaying on the balls of his feet; pure focus. And when his time came, when the spotlight fell in his direction, when the Editor was in Morocco and the ship needed a rudder, there he was. Pure focus. It was hot in Morocco. Hotter than we’ve ever known. If you sat still for too long, the sweat would trickle and discover crevices in which to pool and sizzle. OK, not sizzle, but y’know. And we wouldn’t have been able to bask there, broiling beneath the beams, chain smoking Marlboro reds and listening to Wildest Dreams, if we hadn’t been safe in the knowledge that he was back home, brow furrowed, fists clenched, just takin’ care of business. Pure focus. See, it’s not that easy to find a competent, eager, fully motivated secondin-command. And even if you do, there’s no guarantee it’ll work out. Who’d have guessed that when Bon Scott passed away there’d be a velvety-voiced Geordie called Brian on hand to step in and lead AC/DC to arena rock glory for the next 400 years. But for every Johnson you’ve got a Gordon Brown; a poor unsuspecting wretch who’s got no idea what he’s letting himself in for, someone who ticked all the boxes, who seemed a no-brainer, only to stumble spectacularly over every hurdle and crash headlong into a botched job. But we’re elated to report our man, our Deputy Editor, was very much the former. We never had a doubt. Returning from our North African escapades, he’d blossomed. Held up to the sunlight and invited to observe the worlds which could one day be his, he Simba’d the shit out of it. Hakuna Matata. Arsene Wenger. This magazine comes courtesy of him. Pure focus. Geraint Davies
STEELY DAN Do It Again GOAT Goatchild BURZUM Jesu død AB-SOUL Closure PISSED JEANS Boring Girls COMMON The Neighbourhood ft. Lil Herb SLINT Good Morning, Captain BOBBY SHMURDA Hot Nigga FKA TWIGS Video Girl WILDEST DREAMS Last Ride FUGAZI I’m So Tired TWERPS Dreamin LOVVERS Teenage Shutdown INC. Black Wings DEREK C. F. PEGRITZ Car Chase INFINITE BODY Carve Out The Face Of My God BEATPORT NO. 1 100 Dicks TRAXMATIC Cleanin Up BRONSKI BEAT Smalltown Boy DELROY EDWARDS Down 4 Tha 3rd Time DEMDIKE STARE Past Majesty
Issue 44 | crackmagazine.net
Respect Nathan Beazer Andy Lemay Elle Sheriff Leezus Mission Zambia Tamsyn Black Feel The Real Dresden Leitner Ed Williams Howling Owl Records Isobel Sullivan Rikki Barlow
O ur g uid e t o w ha t 's g o ing o n in y o ur cit y
BLINK 182 Brixton Academy 6 + 8 August
ESBEN & THE WITCH Oslo 4 August
REGGAE ROAST SOUNDSYSTEM 100 Club 24 August
THEE OH SEES ACE Hotel 17 August
SLINT Electric Brixton 13 August £25 + bf Band reformations, they can be a drag, can’t they? But while it’s often sad to watch them squeeze more cash out of their legacy (while finding it increasingly difficult to squeeze into their Levis), sometimes a band are well and truly entitled to recycle old material. Slint are one of those bands. The post-rock pioneers are currently performing songs from the recently reissued, initially overlooked ’91 masterpiece Spiderland with Sage-like composure, allowing deservedlylarge crowds to bond over songs they’ve probably all listened to during anxiety-induced spells of insomnia. Cool.
ØYA FESTIVAL Outkast, Future, The National Oslo, Norway 5-9 August £229 DE AD KENNEDYS 17 August KOKO
You never get too old for festivals, but a lot of us Brits soon get tired of drink-lobbing uni lads, wacky jester hats and waking up to find your uneaten Nutri-Grain bars floating in a puddle of water that’s inside your tent. A much classier alternative would be to attend Øya Festival, the vibe of which is blessed with the mature, friendly and progressive attitudes of Norway’s youth. The line-up happens to be massive too. Headliners Outkast will see the fruits of their Dungeon Family collective with a set from RnB superstar Future, the recently reformed Slowdive will be gazing at their shoes for a new generation of fans and former Crack cover star Todd Terje will rep his home country alongside black metal titans Mayhem. All that, and you’re not even going to be peer pressured into joining a conga line.
DANIEL AVERY PRESENTS: DIVIDED LOVE Factory Floor, Dopplereffekt fabric 15 August From £10
END OF THE ROAD The Flaming Lips, John Grant, Yo La Tengo Larmer Tree Gardens, Dorset 29-21 August £180
Long time fabric associate and producer of one of 2013’s best albums, Daniel Avery has certainly earned his newly bestowed curator series. His Divided Love sees stark, industrial outfit Factory Floor fill fabric with their unique form of throbbing, heads-down post-punk influenced techno, and the line-up also includes the fiercely ecclectic Golden Pudel resident Helena Hauff and legendary electrotechno outfit Dopplereffekt. If you feel, like us, that Avery was inside your brain when he curated that line-up, maybe you should head down and sweat your kidneys out along with him.
How many festivals can claim to be genuinely on-point while creating an atmosphere that makes it safe to bring your dad along? Built of relevant guitar-based acts who carry an air of class, End Of The Road’s excellent line-up has something of a cross-generational appeal. The Flaming Lips, Wild Beasts, The Horrors and the ever-fascinating John Grant will appear alongside 90s indie survivors Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks and Yo La Tengo. And while the likes of Hookworms, Leeds punks Eagulls and garage-rock badasses the Black Lips are likely to rough things up a little, Creamfields this ain’t.
'SUSPIRIA' SCORED BY GOBLIN Union Chapel 19 August
PROTOMART YR The Lexington 19 August
DIMENSIONS FESTIVAL Moodymann, Juan Atkins & Moritz Von Oswald, Underground Resistance Fort Punta Christo, Pula, Croatia 28 - 31 August £140 The combination of a multinational audience, intimate capacity and cutting edge underground sounds in a one-of-a-kind venue has seen Dimensions grow into a global assemblage of house and techno fans. Back for a third year, launching proceedings in the 2000 year-old amphitheatre are Darkside, who are joined by Dan Snaith as he re-launches his woozy Caribou project and fearless composer Nils Frahm. Not only committed to bleeding edge electronic sounds, the main programme features some of the world’s most revered live acts; Warpaint, Roy Ayers and Theo Parrish’s new live set up. Underground music in an abandoned fort with one of the most captivating atmospheres we’ve ever experienced. Go get. TROUBLE VISION: FUNKINEVEN Corsica Studios 22 August T WIN SHADOW XOYO 20 August
FREDDIE GIBBS XOYO 31 August
PRINS THOMAS Oval Space 9 August
BL ACK MILK Jazz Cafe 21 August
PAUL WOOLFORD Oval Space 23 August
BENJAMIN BOOKER 100 Club 2 September £9 + bf
BOB AND ROBERTA SMITH: ART PART Y ICA 21 August £5 /£3 Students
UNKNOWN Chic, DJ Harvey, James Holden, Jungle Rovinj, Croatia 8-12 September From £227 We’ve all experienced the familiar flunks and logistical nightmares that can plague any effort making its debut. Luckily, these were in no way a reality for Croatia event Unknown’s inaugural installment, which bypassed the aforementioned year of frustration with an immaculately curated and presented festival in one of the most scenic locations in Croatia. Their mix of live performances and big name DJs is once again more than enough to draw you back to its idyllic site for 2014, with the likes of DJ Harvey, Jungle, Wild Beasts, Dixon, DJ Koze, Ten Walls, John Talabot and Prins Thomas providing the perfect backdrop to your end of summer blow out.
THE W Y TCHES Rough Trade East 27 August
Bob and Roberta Smith would prefer it if you made your own damn art. The explicitly political creative persona of Patrick Brill uses signs, banners and posters to carry phrases that might seem too reasonable to be polemic activism and too polite to ‘stick-it-to-theman’. Head down to the ICA for an evening of music, DJs and performances that coincide with the screening of Bob and Roberta Smith and Tim Newton’s film Art Party, which champions the importance of art in education and modern politics.
BABA YAGA'S HUT PRESENTS: R AW POWER WEEKENDER Acid Mothers Temple, Bo Ningen, Flamingods The Dome Tufnell Park 29 - 31 August £50
SEVEN DAVIS JR XOYO 5 September
KURV Jimmy Edgar, Kassem Mosse (live),Mosca Egg London 22 August From £10 Prodigious levels of talent all round at Kurv this month. For a start you have Jimmy Edgar, who started experimenting with electronic music at the age of 10, began performing his glossy, erotic machine funk and shape-shifting percussive workouts at raves from 15 and signed to the legendary Warp Records at 24. Then there’s Kassem Mosse, who realigned the face of dance music with his off-kilter rhythms before recently stepping up with a year-defining LP. Mosca, of course, is another artist extremely secure in his artistic vision. It’s no secret that Egg London is enjoying a bit of a renaissance, so get yourself North of the river for this real treat.
FESTIVAL NUMBER 6 Beck, Jon Hopkins, Pet Shop Boys Portmeirion, Wales 5 - 7 September £50 (day) - £175 (weekend) TINASHE XOYO 26 August
New Orleans singer/songwriter Benjamin Booker is young, handsome and knows a thing or two about the blues. But – wait, before you turn the page – Booker is a more raucous prospect affair than your standard Later... with Jools Holland guest. His punk power chords fizz, his voice growls coarsely and his drummer slaps cymbals like an overexcited toddler. Oh yeah, and he’s signed to Rough Trade too, if that helps twist your arm.
The UK is enjoying a healthy era for quirky boutique festivals at the moment, but not many of them can compete with the eccentric and gorgeous setting of Festival Number 6. Located in the renowned, Italianstyled village of Portmeirion (made famous by cult 60s TV series The Prisoner), the event draws a huge line-up, and this year they’ve harnessed the likes of Beck, Andrew Weatherall, Laurent Garnier, Tune-Yards, Neneh Cherry, Todd Terje and the Pet Shop Boys. We were there last year, and we can confirm that there’s nothing else quite like it.
CANDI STATION Jazz Cafe 8 September
"Dude, so I was like totally on some wavy Jamaican grabbin' a slice with Aidan and then that skeezy Corey bro slides in and he's like scorched on some killer acid dude. So he tells me he's been skatin' all day with this Japanese warrior dude, like surfing transcendental waves of cosmic otherness or some shit. Shit man, dude's crazy", said Kenny. "Dude… where did it go down?" Joey asked. Kenny pulled on his blunt, "Raw Power Weekender dude!" Joey raised his eyebrows, smiled, red eyes glistening in the afternoon sun, "Dude… Alriiiiight…"
IDLES The Old Blue Last 29 August
YUNG LE AN The Garage 14 August
New Music FORMATION
GEORGiA "These digits are bridges so ring it, when you need it”. That’s a fairly point-blank sentiment for a time where schmaltzy emotional attachment is thrown upon a ‘seen’ Facebook message and #FuneralSelfie exists. It’s also the hook for GEoRGiA’s breakout tune, Digits. The no-bullshit snigger of London-based Georgia Barnes’ beatsmithery and lyricism makes for something that sounds just as assertive as it does lovesick. With a background as a session drummer, she puts together beats that knock and ties them together with candy floss chirping synth lines that flicker above. It’s her direct approach to songwriting and production that really set her apart from the rest. She’s unfriendly and gnarly but in a way that’s more playtime sparring than rap-game shot firing. The bold vocal snippets on Be Ache sound fraught but cemented. With her debut EP out now via Kaya Kaya, GEoRGiA is a force to be reckoned with. O Digits 1 Kwes \ Grimes : soundcloud.com/georgia_hb
Ambition is hard to find in a climate of YouTube licensing changes and one-album record deals. Raury is the perfect antidote. The Atlanta based wonder-kid brought the internet to its knees with his hymnal debut single God’s Whisper. He wants to change his city through big ideals and the skywardthinking nature of his songwriting makes him a very exciting prospect indeed. After turning up to play on top of a van outside better established artists’ shows for his ‘AntiTour’ (a mission not taken on since UK rave duo Altern-8 in the 90s) he has now been booked to open for OutKast’s huge Atlanta homecoming show. As well as that his name appeared on the track list for SBTRKT’s upcoming full- length. For somebody younger than Google, he's getting the right heads turning in his direction. He sings like a lost boy and raps like a preacher, a juxtaposition that only works in the right hands. Thus far his rise has been short but prolific and his ascent looks set to continue apace. We can’t wait to see the outcome.
O Cigarette Song 1
Kanye West \ Young Fathers : weraur.com
SIOBHAN While the jury remains out on what’s behind the female moniker micro-trend (see SOPHIE, Karenn, Millie & Andrea, Neana, Daphni, Patricia, Rachael - we could go on) that's currently popular in leftfield dance music, there’s no denying that all of the above are pretty great at what they do. The same goes for Detroit’s Travis Falloway, who has adopted a techno lady label of his own under the guise of Siobhan, and who makes just the kind of stripped back, raw and damaged techno that we're always searching for. An affiliate of lo-fi bathed imprint Opal Tapes, his Luxor Liquor track from their recent Cambiare compilation got us hooked with its squirming machine funk, and we were thrilled to discover his six-track Southgate release is forthcoming on the label. Mixing blown-out techno and foggy industrial dance, with the occasional smothering sheet of noise, it’s like someone putting Cabaret Voltaire through a blender and it’s fucking awesome.
O New Wave Retailing 1
DJ Punisher \ Further Reductions : facebook.com/ siobhanmusicband
Chicago rapper Lucki Eck$ began to infiltrate the radar of the hiphop blogosphere with last year’s Alternative Trap project, but the 18 year old recently became the subject of water cooler conversations worldwide due to his surprise collaboration with the unstoppable avant-garde RnB artist FKA twigs. The lo-fi, VHS-recorded visuals for their track Ouch Ouch feature twigs in a dimly-lit bedroom with a snake for company, and shit gets particularly bizarre after she swallows some jewellery. So what did Lucki make of the clip? “First time I saw the Ouch Ouch video, I was on a lot of Xan. So I don’t remember my how I felt.” Ok then... But the unlikely pair both share a love of adventurous, complexly percussive beats, and Lucki makes sure to express his respect for the English chanteuse: “I like that she knows what she wants in music, she makes the beats and she is the voice”. And while his sunken-eyed, croaky flow reflects his open love for pharmaceuticals, the wit in Lucki’s wordplay proves him to be a sharp-minded lyricist (he originally named himself in reference to Malcolm X, and decided later to spell out the letter due to a friend using a similar moniker). And with a habit for channelling a moody, nocturnal vibe in his music, what kind of frame of mind does he need to be in order to create? “I like it to be quiet and I like to be alone”, he says. It’s a response not so different to what we’ve come to expect from his snake-fondling collaborator.
With nothing to their name but a white label EP that’s had limited release, London duo Formation mix the post-punk vocals of The Rapture with the infectious sundrenched charm of LCD Soundsystem. They have a clearly subtle approach to the art of disco with cowbells and kaleidoscopic swirls bubbling underneath the late night melody. The key focus with Formation is atmosphere - there’s little in the way of bombast or sensation. The South London-based twin brothers use woodblock percussion noises and largely unedited vocals to create a sound that is just as stylish as it is shamelessly enjoyable, channeling the uncut charm of the DFA Studios with the sleazy disco pulse of the NYC streets that surround it. As summer reaches its peak, this could be your soundtrack.
O Waves 1 LCD Soundsystem \ Jungle : frmtn.com
O Everything Outside 1 IBN Inglor \ Vince Staples : @LuckiECKS197
SOFT AS SNOW This Norwegian-bred, Londonbased duo make electronic pop that somehow seems perfectly fitted to fabric imprint Houndstooth. Soft As Snow is Oda Egjar Starheim and Øystein Monsen’s first musical endeavor after collaborating on various art projects, including running their own art and music festival in the Swedish forest. Their ear bug, Scandipop-leaning sound with an underground edge draws easy comparisons to The Knife, but it’s the subtle, morphing, garageflecked heartbeat that lifts the project above the rest. They carry an intriguing mixture of styles that carves a distinctly colourful edge in the label’s roster. For fans of bright, infectious electronic hooks, Soft As Snow are a must.
O Black Birds 1 The Knife \ Saa soundcloud.com/softassnow
It’s no secret that Glasgow clubs are amongst the best in the world, for as well as having one of the most knowledgeable, openminded and seriously up for it crowds you can get, it also churns out world-class producers and idiosyncratic selectors. Duo CEOL are no stranger to the city’s thriving scene. Comprised of Dominic Cappello and Lee Duncan, Cappello co-runs cult label Seventh Sign as well as holding a residency at famed venue SubClub, while Duncan debuted on Seventh Sign under his Leeon moniker in 2012. Bristol-based label Don’t Be Afraid is notorious for championing newcomers, and after releases from MGUN and Mr. G formed the bulk of its output this year, CEOL are the latest to be backed by the imprint. Following Glasgow’s deep techno tradition, we reckon CEOL’s DBA released The Light EP could convey the city’s passion on heaving dancefloors across the globe.
O The Light 1 Omni Trio \ The Black Dog : theirwebsite.co.ck
“Do you know Aphrodite’s Child? 666?” Dan Snaith jerks his body forward. Heat beaten headrests leech to his light pastel shirt. Brief camera flashes flare against his heavyset specs. Before any chance of rebuttal, Snaith explains: “That Vangelis project from the late sixties.” We learn that 666, the third album by Greek psych-prog outfit Aphrodite’s Child, was an illusory retelling of the Book of Revelation; an abstract soundtrack to the End of Days and one of the first concept records ever made. Midway through the LP, the song Infinity features actress Irene Papas growling the words ‘I was, I am to come.’ Her projection is schizophrenic and unsuppressed. “The story goes that the band locked her up in a room and fed her crackers that had been soaked in LSD under the door. They then mic’ed up and recorded the results”, Snaith tells us while his facetious grin emerges, clearly revelling in the folly of the fable. “I don’t believe it for a second. But you won’t sleep after listening. It’s the most out there shit you will ever hear.” Talks away from Snaith’s own musical feat sees the humbled polymath simmer with passion. With Caribou, his chronic modesty seems unique. Drab ballyhoo and PR savvy pitches are totally void. He’s not one for empty exhibitionism. Instead, Snaith nestles himself conveniently on a sagged sofa in the back of a prim Bethnal Green studio space. Despite the tyrannous heat, he carries himself with almost unbothered composure. He shrugs off the day like he has all the time in the world. Snaith is here to talk about his music, but would doubtlessly prefer to discuss Vangelis’s back-catalogue.
Words: Tom Watson Photography: Tom Weatherill
“The criticism I give to my music in the past is the lyrical content”, Snaith begins with castigation. “They’ve always just been fictional sketches that evoke the mood of the music. Sort of like words pasted on afterwards to suit the sounds. I started thinking ‘What’s the point of this? Why can’t I write about me or what’s going on in my life?
“Through Caribou, my confidence has been forced to grow and has actually enabled me to talk about things that are important. My family and friends for example. And thanks to that, I’m more engaged in my personal life. I’m less locked away in the studio all the time. I’m more integrated. I’m closer to everyone.” Snaith’s newfound warmth mirrors the feverish density muddying the midday air. Four years trailing the fruits of the excellent album Swim has done anything but dampen Snaith’s sonic pallet. Aptly titled Our Love, the Canadian-bound producer is hoping for the followup to his 2010 classic to be a tender term of endearment. “The response to Swim was so wonderful and overwhelming that it made me think for the first time about making music for others. “It sounds silly, but the Our Love record is the first time I’ve really considered the people that will be listening to it. I’ve always just done it strictly for myself. Obviously, nobody has a say in what I do exactly, but the goal now is to be warm and generous and share as much of myself as the people that are listening to it. It’s as much for me as it is for them.” Four years is enough for any artist’s reputation to wane and wither. Yet, Snaith’s grindstone work ethic has purely accentuated his rhythmic footprint. Since Swim, the full-band incarnation of Caribou has circuited the globe from club venue, to theatre, to stadium. Side-projects for band members such as drummer Brad Weber’s Pick A Piper, John Schmersal’s Crooks On Tape, and Snaith’s own club-centric Daphni have emerged. A worldwide tour with Radiohead happened. An itinerary as aggressive as Caribou’s has seen time evaporate. “It feels nothing like four years,” Snaith recollects his thoughts, “w`e had so many contrasting experiences during that time. I’ve had Daphni. Also having a child has taken up a lot of my time. And all the touring. “I’m not really interested in any kind of careerist ideology or the concept of moving up a ladder, but every time we go anywhere
Issue 44 | crackmagazine.net
with the sunb ake d masses craving a new carib ou re c ord, dan snaith has taught himself to op en up, face the crowd and share the love
now the experience just intensifies. We’ve done lots of things we’ve never done. The thing that keeps it interesting for me are the people. I don’t think it’ll ever get boring performing to 200 people or 2000 people. Supporting Radiohead is the prime example of this. At first, we were just thinking ‘how do we translate our music on such a large scale for their audience?’ How does it work when you’re playing to that many people who are totally indifferent to you?” A scholarly control over their instruments has remained constant in Caribou's live incarnation. Snaith as the amenable ringleader manifests an opiate of synth runs schlepped alongside his fragile falsetto. His electronic dexterity translates neatly from studio to stage. What’s more problematic, is Snaith’s prolific output. “I find it really hard bringing things together because I record everything. I never make music without the record button turned on. That’s why I generate so much of it”, he confesses. “The problem becomes 800 different half-started projects on my hard drive and trying to get some kind of perspective on it all. It’s overwhelming trying to remember the takes that were good from the takes that weren’t any good. It’s like I can’t see the forest for the trees sometimes. For Our Love, I got to the point where I was halffinished on the album and there was just so much stuff.” Snaith pauses and shakes his head as if comprehending the extravagance of his craft. “It’s like ‘Where is the album within this?’” But, of course, from all the half-starts and blueprints stemmed Our Love; a crisp and compact collage of contemporary electronic music. Intimate RnB overtones smooch up with Detroit techno and scrupulous synth sampling. It sounds like the future, which is exactly Snaith’s intention. “Contemporary RnB and hip-hop production is a fundamental influence on where I started out with making this record. “Mostly the instrumental side of Our Love’s production was coming from that world.
22 That kind of hyper-digital, glossy, glassy, two-dimensional synth sounds and drum sounds. That was the jump-off point. Of course, the addition of strings and analogue synths changed it. And obviously my vocals are different from the contemporary RnB vocal treatments, but they’re inspired from that movement.” The synthesis between previous Caribou albums Andorra and Swim treads a tangible path. For Snaith, it seemed the logical progression from 60s nostalgia to modish electronics. But Our Love is altogether something different. “I just wanted to make a record that sounded like it was from ‘right now'”, Snaith concedes to falling for the current trend, “RnB is the pop music of right now. For example, with Andorra I was looking to the 1960s idea of what pop music was. And looking back at it I was kind of frustrated at times. I was like ‘Why am I making music that sounds like it’s from the past?’ None of the artists I was drawing influence from were doing that. They were looking to the future. If I liked their approach and their conception of how they approached music production, why was I obsessed with this kind of ‘retromania’ in my own work? “To a certain extent, Swim tried to capture the sound of its day. But when it came to Our Love, I wanted to make something explicitly contemporary. If it sounds dated in five or ten years, then that’s fine. I just want it to sound like it comes from where music is right now or where it will be next month or next year.” It’s a precocious move for Snaith; one that outwardly alludes to the dominating gene of dance moniker Daphni being more of a driving force in the future. “The thing that separates Caribou and Daphni for me is the intent. The way of working. Daphni is made specifically to DJ with and always constructed really quickly. It’s never laboured over in any way. I literally just throw it down and see if it works.” As if avowing to a split-personality crisis, Snaith backtracks. “I’m not blind to the fact that musically they’re both me. Daphni is a particular aspect of me. But Caribou overlaps everything I do. There’s going to be some kind of crossover there, but I think it works so far. It’s weird, when I played the new record to our label, City Slang, they asked what I was going to do with the band because it doesn’t sound live at all. But when I played it to the band, they immediately knew what to do. “Our setup is so flexible and we’re so used to living halfway between digital electronic club music and the ‘world of bands’. The guys in Caribou are so versed in both realms so it didn’t really phase us at all. We’ve been the same band for six years now and some of the guys like Ryan [Smith], I’ve known since I was 12 years
old. That’s why it works. Musically, we know each other so well. If we hear a piece of music, be it live instrumentation or digital, we’re going to think about how to construct it live in the exact same way because we’re all on the same wavelength.” A similar sense of solidarity appears to exist between Snaith and Our Love’s featured artists, such as the likeminded Canadian pop doyen Owen Pallet and alt-RnB songstress Jessy Lanza. On Lanza, Snaith beams with high regard. “I’ve never really collaborated with anybody that I’m not friends with personally. That’s a crucial thing for me.
thing so far”, Snaith smiles infectiously. “It’s gone so well and I haven’t had any kind of plan. I meet musicians who wish they were playing in this bigger venue this year or this bigger stadium that year… I’m just like ‘what the fuck are you doing?’ My thing is just do the thing that I love, which is make music and play it for people. Everything else will just sort itself out along the way.” Caribou performs at: Green Man Festival, 14 - 17 Aug Dimensions Festival, 28 Aug - 1 Sept Simple Things Opening Party, 24 Oct Our Love is released 7 October via Merge/City Slang
“Jessy’s from the same hometown as me in Canada. Jeremy from Junior Boys is an old high school friend of mine and he introduced me to her. He’s been playing me Jessy’s music for the last few years. I remember him saying ‘Dan, I’m working on this thing. I need you to hear it.’ Right from the start, I knew she was such an amazing talent. Her song writing, her production, that voice of hers. It was so great working with her.” Snaith’s collaborations are minimal yet vital – see the return of sound engineer, David Wrench, who was entrusted with the final strait-lacing for Our Love. That’s where the aforementioned Aphrodite’s Child comes in. The two producers bonded instantly over the lunacy of the project. “We both love that record. The way it sounds. The way the drums sound. Immediately, you realise this is somebody you can get along with. David’s such a unique person.” What becomes clear as Snaith pours out appraisals is that he is outwardly content. He has discovered fulfilment and seems intent on maintaining it. Maybe it’s his recent fatherhood. Maybe after 12 years of endless touring, he’s found some solace from his opposing aliases. He indentifies the work of Marshall Allen, 90-year-old grandmaster of free-jazz and current leader of the Sun Ra Arkestra. “Marshall is constantly touring. It’s amazing. He is one of those people that you’re not supposed to meet. “Sometimes, you have the chance to work with your heroes and they’ll be jaded or horrible. You forget what you liked about those people. Marshall is one of the warmest, most amazing guys and is still making music for all the right reasons. When we played with him for the first time, he just didn’t want to stop. I hope I can be enjoying music as much as he does when I’m that age. That’s the most striking thing. It’s still the music he loves.” For now, Snaith is following under one of his hero’s instructions, to love what you do. Snaith makes music and that’s his single resolve. “That’s the charm of the whole
“If the new sound s date d in five or ten years then that’s fine. I just want it to sound like it c omes from where music is right now ”
dan snaith on: ...living in London “I don’t feel British in any sense, but London’s just as much a home as anywhere having lived here for 12 years. It’s great, this morning I was just riding my bike and somebody yelled “Get the fuck off the road”. It just puts a smile on your face.”
...supporting Radiohead “Supporting Radiohead made me realise something. Who else would Caribou want to support ever again? They’re such a special case. It doesn’t really get any bigger than that. The thrill of playing in front of 40,000 people is fantastic. But I do look forward to getting back to playing shows where people are there to see us.”
...avant-garde jazz veteran Marshall Allen “Marshall himself is still touring all the time. It’s unfathomable. When we played with him the first time, he demanded to know why the performance was so short. He just wanted to carry on. This is a 90-year-old man.”
Issue 44 | crackmagazine.net
...mixing Our Love with David Wrench “I met him through Kieran [Four Tet], so I knew him more as a resident for a studio in Wales at first. Things are going crazy for him this year. He mixed the Jungle album, the FKA twigs album, my album… he’s got a bunch of other albums I probably shouldn’t disclose, but I’m so excited for him. He’s such a talent.”
Turning Points: Christopher Owens
Anyone familiar with the songs of Christopher Owens will know that he truly wears his heart on his sleeve. Whether it be the tragic romance of the records with his former band Girls, or the courageous honesty of his more recent solo material, Owens is unflinchingly sincere in a way that can seem almost out of place in an age of post-modern irony. Owens eventually started writing songs when he was 28, although he’d experienced a peculiar relationship with music beforehand while growing up as a member of the controversial Christian sect ‘The Children of God’. After making a clean break from the strict cult, Owens embraced a turbulent lifestyle which led to him forming Girls, a band some would consider to be one of the most underrated rock ‘n’ roll groups in recent years. As he readies his second solo album A New Testament, we caught up with Chris to talk about his amazing journey. 1995: Growing up with the Children of God I am considered part of the first generation that were born into the Children of God. I started learning to play guitar around age 12. We would sometimes go out and busk in public as part of a way of supporting our commune, so that was a way of seeing the outside world and it contributed to my desire to leave. I would see kids a couple years older than me doing what they wanted to do. My sister and her boyfriend, who were both also born and raised in the Children of God had moved to Amarillo, Texas and I followed. 2001: Meeting Stanley Marsh Life in Texas was sort of aimless. I didn’t have any kind of ambition apart from assimilating into normal American life. To smoke cigarettes, have friends and be normal. I met Stanley Marsh, a local artist, businessman and multi-millionaire. He offered me a job within about 20 minutes and I said no. I was going to hitchhike to New York to paint oil on canvas on the sidewalk and become a famous painter [laughs]! The fourth or fifth time he asked, “Wouldn’t you rather go to New York with 500 dollars in your pocket?” I said, “OK, good point.” I agreed to take a job for a week, a week turned into four years, he
became my best friend and my source of education. 2004: Playing drums in Ariel Pink and Matt Fishbeck’s band Holy Shit! When I moved to San Francisco [Holy Shit! frontman] Matt Fishbeck just sort of latched on to me at a party. It turned into a three day hang out, which ended with us singing karaoke with our shirts off playing tambourines. By the end of it he said “OK, you know you’re a part of Holy Shit! now?” The next time I heard from him he said “We’ve been booked to play a festival and you’re gonna be the keyboard player.” So I learned all their songs on the keyboard. By the time we got to the festival I was the drummer. I have no idea how that happened. 2008: Forming Girls [In between gigs] I started making demos and they just turned into Girls songs. All of a sudden I’d bought a guitar and a cassette recorder and I had started to record Summertime and Lust for Life, songs which would end up on the Girls album. [Girls bassist and producer] JR came round one night to listen to what I’d been doing and thought it was cool. So we thought we’d just go for it, we just put in a hundred dollars each and bought this half decent eight track recording machine from somebody on Craigslist. We put out a demo and people just assumed we were a band. 2012 - present: Ending Girls and going solo I didn’t want that band to end, we had a good group together recording the second album, but three of them had left by the end of recording. It wasn’t because I had wanted them to leave. Either they wanted out or somebody else wanted them out and that was kinda the last straw for me. I just thought “This is going nowhere.” At the same time though I wasn’t pulling the plug out of frustration. I’d always had a desire to write as my own person. Christopher Owens’ second solo album A New Testament is released 29 September through Turnstile Records.
"My plan was to hitchhike to New York, paint oil on canvas on the sidewalk and become a famous painter"
Disco dynamo DJ Harvey on group love, Garth Brooks and his new psychrock outfit Wildest Dreams
Harvey Bassett - legendary DJ, seminal master of the edit and bona fide rockstar - exudes the kind of warmth that only the perpetually cool are in possession of. We find him sat in the bar of a Waterloo hotel on the kind of evening when a stroll down the Southbank is a snapshot from a picture perfect life rather than spirit-sapping trudge past Spaniards in stunner shades. Coronation Street is quietly seeping out of a wall-mounted flatscreen, Bassett is surrounded by German tourists and theatregoers who’re unaware of the greatness whose presence they find themselves in. He seems completely relaxed, at ease with himself and the environment. Bassett, a British expatriate, is visitng London to play a special Cirque de Bend DJ set as part of the James Lavelle-hemmed Meltdown series of concerts. That set – a set that Harvey promises me the night before to be a “super gay disco experience” – is incredible; four hours of deeplydug dancefloor gold played to a crowd committed to a good time that culminated in Justin Vandervolgen’s intensely tantric, insanely orgasmic edit of Brenda & Herb’s I Who Have Nothing. This wasn’t a man playing records; this was like watching Michaelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel. It was heaven on earth. But the evening preceding the set, we’re hanging out with Bassett to talk about his new record, an album that swaps the sweat-soaked confines of clubland’s labyrinthe darkrooms for the sandblasted, acid-washed landscapes of psych-addled garage rock. Wildest Dreams, recorded in “four days, and with everything done in single takes and left as it was”, is a ride through some far away imagined desert, a sonic bender pushed through battered old amps and caught on a set of beaten up
mics, an album that stinks of the cooked and the raw. Bassett had sat on the album for years, presumably content with touring the world being treated like a 12” toting messiah from Tokyo to Toronto. So what prompted its seemingly-sudden release on Norway’s Smalltown Supersound imprint? “Well, it didn’t have a label deal as such and the Smalltown name was brought up, and they got to hear it and an offer was made. It was a natural progression. They seemed to be a real record label with release dates and distribution and press back-up – the things that real record labels should have in place if you want to actually sell the record. So it was a no-brainer really. They were very excited about the whole thing, and if they’re excited about it, then I’m excited about it.” Excitement is an apt word; Wildest Dreams hurtles along down desert roads in search of the perfect wave, that perfect hit, a moment of crystaline mental and physical clarity. Weirdly, it achieves this through rawness. If the Map of Africa material that Bassett worked on with Rub’n’Tug man Thomas Bullock was a case of, “recording something and then making it into what we wanted, a post-production record,” then this release is, “actually a case of recording what we wanted - nothing was added, nothing taken away. We held up a few microphones and pressed record and that was it.” We’re intrigued to know if stepping up to the microphone (this album is far more reliant on vocals than the Map of Africa record was, or his sunkissed club tracks as Locosolus are) wiped that messianic smile off his face? “I’ve learned to not really give a damn about it. We make mistakes when we sing and when we talk and that
can be the fun of it. My vocal heroes are people like Lemmy, Shaun Ryder, people like that - people who you wouldn’t think of as virtuoso vocalists, but people who get the message across because they’re heartfelt and it feels like it’s meant.” Feeling over technicality then? “Yeah. The other side of it is what I call American Idol singers, ‘you’re going to Hollywood, you can sing!’ Personally that means nothing to me. They’re not singing anything. They’re just singing by numbers. Like, I haven’t yet quite worked out what key I can sing in: sometimes I’ll have something in mind and I’ll try and sing over the chord progression I’ve written and I just can’t do it.” He’s human after all. Given that everyone and their mum has rediscovered the joys of balearic these days, and that it’s pretty easy to stretch the definition of that genre to fit Wildest Dreams’ mellower moments, it makes sense to dip into that imagined Formamentera shore of conversation and ask one of the scene’s kingpins what he makes of all the young bucks dropping Lady in Red at 33 into their sunset sets. “Well, when I invented balearic back in ‘94 I took the spirit of Ibiza, put it an aerosol can and would spray it over unsuspecting gentlemen from the home counties and convince them that New Beat was special, heartfelt music from Formantera. It’s another genre of now and that's OK. I genuinely don’t know what constitutes balearic these days. Balearic to me, or the first way I understood it, was music played in and on the island of Ibiza throughout its long club history – from the mid 60s to mid 80s. Then it was transported to the rest of Europe. "Since then it's been open to interpretation. I think pure Balearic music still exists and
is still being made – and that’s the music being made and played in Ibiza right now. That might be Taylor Swift or Garth Brooks.” Naturally, his ‘tache raises with the smirk on his lips as he drips Garth’s name from his mouth. As the last, plangent notes of the Corrie theme tune fall into the ether, we manage to get a final few questions in. What does DJ Harvey think of Bicep et al turning all those old Strictly Rhythm records we swapped for Scandinavian cosmic disco or industrial techno from the Midlands into en-vouge club bangers? “It's hilarious. It's already over. We’re done with deep house. I want shallow house. I’ve got all those records.” Have your years in America turned you into an EDM aficionado? “Not only are these guys not interesting to look at, they’re not really doing much anyway – so they have to turn up in a spaceship firing out foam or whatever.” More importantly, what’s group sex on ecstasy like? “It's always scary. Someone always misses out. And you never know who’s hand that is on your arse.” A final grin. A handshake. He’s gone. Wildest Dreams is out now via Smalltown Supersound. DJ Harvey headlines the RBMA Stage at Simple Things, Bristol on 25 October
Words: Josh Baines Photography: Tom Johnson
â€œWildest Dreams was a case of doing what we wanted. We held up a few microphones, pressed record and that was itâ€?
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EXCERCISES IN 31 RESTRAINT: BROOKLYN-BASED DUO
GENERATE MINIMAL CURRENTS WITH ANALOGUE MACHINERY Sean McBride and Liz Wendelbo are Xeno & Oaklander. Xeno & Oaklander are purveyors of a perversly brittle, perversely intense strain of electronic music. Xeno & Oaklander are, in the words of Wendelbo, a group who are “into creating dreamy architectures with our songs - our music is an ethereal journey into somewhat austere scenarios and far away places. Our music is an experience that appeals to all the senses at once. It’s warm and cold at the same time.” Crack got the chance to assess the temperature for ourselves. Records like 2009’s seminal Sentinelle, 2011’s Sets & Lights and this year’s Par Avion - released on the glorious Ghostly International label - are experiments in austerity. McBride’s stagey intonations weave in and out of iced arpeggios, melting into Wendelbo’s breathier incantations, resulting in albums that are proudly minimal in the truest sense of the word. So minimal, in fact, that the group are often labelled as being proponents of “minimal wave”, a tag that McBride wanted to delve into fully. “The term Minimal Synth was used most often to classify homespun electronic music from circa 1978-1986”, he explains, “the term itself alludes to the fact that the
music was made with minimal production values or infrastructure and had a minimal commercial footprint – and of course featured, almost exclusively, the use of synthesizers. As the 2000s marched on, more and more labels began to re-release these “minimal synth” groups from all over the world. One of which was Minimal Wave, started by Veronica Vasicka in 2005. The name of this record label has become part of the music journalism parlance and beyond. “When people ask me about Minimal Wave, I can’t help but feel an imaginary parallel to a world where the term 'Jazz' is replaced with the name ‘Blue Note’.” So can we call Xeno & Oaklander a minimal wave act then? “For me, these appellations are irrelevant and signal that the users of these terms have only arrived recently to this music, or better yet, are hostile to it, and use the name of this record label as a kind of catch-all parodic jibe at the groups they seek to lambast. This term is a kind of lexical exonym.” We’ll take that as a no then. Xeno & Oaklander’s music basks in the joy of repetition, so it’s no surprise that the
pair are passionate about how they make the music they make. Wendelbo notes that McBride is “extremely passionate and knowledgeable about gear, he’s been collecting gear and innovating new synth sounds for over 10 years – all that in the service of music, meaning it’s not about the gear, it’s about making music, pushing boundaries and triggering inspiration.” The man himself asserts that, “At the beginning there was naturally a totalising fascination with these old machines and their respective functionalities. But as time wears on, their novelty wears off. Now, I am only interested in a set of processes and tools that offer the appropriate specifications for me to make music and shape particular sounds. Now I use mostly just two cases full of Eurorack modular – mostly Oscillators, VCAs and ENVs – for our live shows, and in the home studio I incorporate the older equipment. As long as the gear is patchable [modular] and conforms to the 1Volt per Octave standard, I can use it.” It was pleasing to see that the intensity which pours out of Xeno & Oaklander’s records, that seeps out of the pair during live shows (which Wendelbo describes as carrying a “sense of liberation – when you
know as an audience how synth music is made onstage: you can see the process, the sequencing, the shaping of the sound taking place in real time”) comes across in the way the group talk about themselves, their music and the processes that make it. When we tentatively ended the conversation by asking how collaborative the act is, they speak of their unity with an intense sense of pride. “Yes, Xeno & Oaklander is a collaborative act: truly. We have been inseparable since the beginning, and have found that this is the best way for us to make music – together.” Par Avion is out now via Ghostly International
Words: Josh Baines Photography: Liz Wendelbo
Words: Charlie Wood Photography: Liam Jackson
Lost In Translation: Rustie paints illegible words with fluorescent aural paint It was back in 2011 that Russell Whyte found himself hoisted atop the shoulders of music critics and gurning 9-5ers alike for his thrilling debut album Glass Swords. Following the progress made from previous releases, the album fused the nostalgic and psychedelic at jaw-breaking speeds. Three years later, it’s time for new album Green Language, and the Glasgow-born producer is waiting for the bell to ring on round two of his bout with the hearts and dancefloors of electronic music. As we sit opposite one another in the well-fed belly of a gentrified east London hotel, surrounded by the refried, leatherplastered contents of a Sutton charity shop, the Glaswegian expresses himself with shy mannerisms and is reluctant to analyse his work too deeply. He speaks slowly and cautiously, eyes hidden from view behind large black sunglasses, “I chose the name for the album because there’s a lot you can read into it. I feel that music can speak to your higher-self and kind of cut through the bullshit of everyday language and get a direct response”. Historically, ‘Green Language’ existed as a description for a perfect language which transcends human speech. It’s a neat metaphor for music in general, but more importantly it seems to reflect Rustie’s own relationship with self-expression. Since his defining Glass Swords album three years ago, Warp Records have handed Rustie a licence to kill. “The way I made this album, I had a bit more freedom, because I guess Warp were happy with the success of the last album and let me do what I wanted”, he explains. And rightly so, Glass Swords was a fixture of 2011’s endof-year ‘best of’ lists, adding yet another bold classic to his label’s back catalogue’. In contrast to Glass Swords’ relentless and hyperactive temperament, Rustie’s new effort plots chaos carefully, with postclimactic moments of clarity, an interlude at its mid-point and a final song suggesting a shifted focus towards storytelling. So why the change of heart? Rustie brings his hand up to shift his cap, before answering;
“I think when I sent the first versions of Glass Swords, the album flowed a lot more than what it ended up like, it had a lot more weird stuff.” He brings his hand down to join the other in his lap, “I thought it was weird that they knocked back a lot of the weirder stuff, it annoyed me a bit”. Regret over missing out on a weirder version of Glass Swords aside, from where we’re standing, any restrictions imposed by Warp worked a charm. The record left a potent taste, and in the three years since
never happened”. However, in contrast to “waiting around for fucking months” to hook up with vocalists, Rustie reveals that it was his Detroitian collaborator who was especially quick on his toes. “Danny [Brown] was really quick actually, he got it back 2 days later or something, I was amazed by that.” Fortunately, talking to creeps like us in hotel bars and touring the world doesn’t seem to restrict Rustie’s opportunities for creativity.
“I feel that music can speak to your higher self, and cut through the bullshit of everyday language”
we’ve developed a sense of dry mouthed anticipation for Green Language. While on Glass Swords, rare fragments of voices were submerged within the synthetic alloy, here vocals are pushed to the foreground. D Double E, Danny Brown and Face Vega of the alt-rap duo Gorgeous Children appear as sharp-tongued MCs whose voices are galvanised by Rustie’s fuzzed-out, neon-lit instrumentals. “I like tracks with vocals on a lot, but I never really managed to make it happen last time”, he explains, “I guess when you’re not as well known, it’s harder to get people to work with you”. Asking if there was anyone who he’d hoped to include on the record but couldn’t make it, he reveals that unspecified members of the ASAP Mob were asked, but “it ended up taking far too long, so that
As is common with modern day producers, finding inspiration while 30,000ft in the air and under the glow of a laptop screen is all part of the job. Indeed, this style of production is something he’s learned to adapt to. “The majority of Green Language was sketched out on planes and in hotel rooms and then finished at home, I rarely sit in front an actual keyboard, which I used to do a lot more. I end up typing things in on the qwerty keyboard”. There’s little to suggest Green Language wasn’t conceived, raised and educated in an expensive studio space. Rustie’s sharp production skills deliver a bold listening experience. After all, it’s been seven years since his debut Jagz The Smack EP surfaced on Stuff Records. That’s a lot of practice time.”I don’t spend as much time
analysing everything and listening over things. I have more confidence so I don’t have to keep reassessing things as much as before”, he explains. And more so than any of Rustie’s previous releases, Green Language sounds as though it would flourish in the live setting. He reacts to the suggestion as though he’s been asked a million times before, as he no doubt has. “I’ve thought about it but at the moment it’s just not something I’m that interested in doing. It would take an awful lot of work, and I just don’t know if I could get the same kind of sound live”. The likes of labelmates Mount Kimbie are known for their live touring, but as Rustie believes his brand of electronica would be a steep logistical mountain to climb. “The instrumentation and all the production that’s needed would make it difficult. I never hear any electronic artists who do it really well”. Speaking on the future of his music, and the amount of old material he has sitting on old hard drives, he says “I’ve got hundreds of unfinished tracks, most of them will end up getting abandoned. But every so often you’ll go back to something you started a few years before and you’ll work on that again”. It could be unlikely that any of the tracks will see the light of day, but then again, it’s easy to imagine Rustie cannibalising something he made in the past and forging it into the sound of the future. As startlingly extroverted as Rustie’s music sounds, every morsel of it was forged from introspectiveness. There are points during our conversation where I try and squint past my reflection staring back from his shades to make eye contact, but fail. His creative expression is most articulate when channelled through the nostalgic amalgamation of sounds blasted into the ears of whoever wants to pay attention. Green Language is the most accurate and complete reflection of Rustie yet. Green Language is released 26 August via Warp. Rustie appears at Warehouse Project, Manchester, 25 October
Issue 44 | crackmagazine.net
â€œI'm bored to death of subcultureâ€?: Merchandise frontman Carson Cox finds freedom in the honesty of radio-friendly rock
Words: James F. Thompson Photography: Chris Brock
A wander through the Merchandise back catalogue uncovers an adventurous dreampop band in thrall to the moody sounds of mid-80s Manchester and Liverpool, from the Chameleons through to the Comsat Angels. But the Tampa, Florida fivesome are also a post-punk band in the most literal sense – having emerged from the maelstrom of the local hardcore scene in 2008. “I’m into a bunch of different shit but when I was young I limited myself to one style [hardcore punk], because I felt like it was appropriate. I was doing limited music because that’s all I could do at the time”, remembers frontman Carson Cox. “Part of that was because we had nothing when were young and bands from New York didn’t even tour down to Florida. We were considered the lamest place on earth. The only bands who ‘came up’ were savage. So we were savage in how we did everything and we didn’t give a fuck”. Initially working as a three-piece home recording project known as Dry County, Cox and lead guitarist David Vassalotti adopted the Merchandise moniker in time for 2010’s full-length debut on Katorga Works, (Strange Songs) In the Dark. It wasn’t until follow-up, Children of Desire, that people began to take notice. “Ultimately the biggest change happened in 2012, when people started coming to our shows”, confirms Cox. “And it’s not really through this band, I think it’s more the years and years of playing music. Just me and Dave alone have done like 12 LPs or something before this record came out, and then way more tapes and shit that just no one ever heard”. Of course, there have been a couple of other reasonably significant developments since then. After 18 months of flirtation with just about every label going, Cox and Merchandise signed up with indie titans 4AD earlier this year. A lot of music industry types weren’t surprised, considering the progression in sound across their earlier releases. Cox reckons it isn’t so simple. “We’re not a classic 4AD band,” he argues. “It’s funny how the stamp of a label affects people’s brains. I guess our second record was probably intentionally the closest to that sound”. So how come Merchandise ended up with 4AD then? “For me, the Scott Walker record [2012’s Bisch Bosh] was the bravest record that came out in the last
year or so. With a label as big as 4AD but no real commercial value to the record; it was purely artistic value. That said a lot. “I also feel like our new record would have been totally different had we gone with somebody else, in terms of production”, he continues. “4AD gave us a list of producers which was basically a who’s who of English production, and I was like ‘Well, I don’t think we’re quite good enough for half of these people’. It was amazing having Gareth Jones [Wire, Depeche Mode, Erasure] produce the record”. The new record in question is After The End, Merchandise’s fourth full-length release and one that pushes some boundaries but retreats from others. Gated drum machines, swirling vortexes of noise and tracks spanning 10-minutes are out; guitar hooks, prominent vocals and bombastic choruses are definitely in. Fans of Interpol, The War On Drugs and even early Doves will be right at home. Anybody looking for something more esoteric, however, might be disappointed. To be clear, it’s a fantastic rock album with lush arrangements and clear pop sensibilities, for which Cox makes no apologies. “Part of the reason I made this choice – and I don’t know, my bandmates also have different views on things – is that I’m just sick and bored to death of subculture. It’s weak, it’s a way for people to wear a mask and for them to appear cooler than they actually are”, he explains. “If you don’t fit into the nonsense of a genre or whatever, [subcultures] will just sort of turn their noses up at you. I don’t really care. I’d rather speak to some open-minded and intelligent audience that has nothing to do with subculture. If you align yourself with a subculture, you’re part of the problem; you’re part of the mainstream. The only way to free yourself is to align yourself with nothing”. Isn’t there still a risk that people will interpret songs like new single Little Killer purely as a sop to the mainstream? “I don’t think we’re afraid to put out any type of music”, Cox responds. “I think there’s this notion of, ‘Oh, you’ll lose some kind of essence when you put out pop music’ but really we’ve been putting out pop music since we started. We’re excited to do stuff in the pop realm that other people don’t seem to want to do, or they used to but don’t any more”.
One element that After The End does share with Merchandise’s earlier albums is its emotional core. This time the lyrical theme is change and distance borne out of the band’s recent success. “Everyone’s different”, says Cox. “Everything’s changed, all the relationships around me have changed and everyone has changed in their own lives. [Merchandise] becoming a band that tours the world has had a huge impact on our lives and when I come back home I feel like I don’t live here, even though I’m in my house and I’m from here”. The idea of dancing to one of Merchandise's earlier releases, for instance, would have been ridiculous. Now, with a spate of festival slots lined up this summer, it’s not only possible but probable. “You have to remember that before 2012 we’d never really been to a music festival”, Cox reasons. “We’d never really used monitors or played to those kinds of crowds. Now that we’ve got the hang of it, it’s like, ‘OK, let’s just push that’. It’s exciting because we’ve never done this; we’ve never exploited this before”. So does that mean a party album is on the way? “I do want to make music that people can just spin at parties, especially now that we’ve played at all these festivals,” says Cox. “We’re playing all these places now where there are tonnes of people and the sun is out. So how emotional do we want to get? Well, not very. In fact, really I don’t want to get emotional at all. We’ve never had this opportunity, so let’s just build up the crowd and have fun.” As Cox reveals, Merchandise are actually planning another release, possibly even before the end of the year. “I don’t know if 4AD knows that”, he laughs. “It’s going to be like a supplement to After The End... Being at home for six months [recording the album] made me absolutely fucking crazy. The point of this next record is: ‘No thought: don’t think’. Everything’s not always just about pulling your heart out of your chest. There are lots of songs that are totally dumb and brilliant because of it”. After The End... is released via 4AD on 25 August
Created exclusively for CRACK by Ott
to Stoneman | www.ottostoneman.com
LIVERPOOL INTERNATIONAl F E S T I V A L OF P S Y C H E D E L I A 26 + 27 SEPTEMBER 2014 Camp & Furnace / blade factory liverpool
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The New Boys of Copenhagen: Lust For Youth have groomed themselves with 80s gloss
In a sun drenched Hackney courtyard, clad in a black Yves Saint Laurent bomber jacket, Malthe Fischer is pressing a craft beer to his lips. He is flagged by a tag-team; two prominent members of Copenhagen’s music scene. Loke Rahbek, sometime member of Vår and Lust For Youth’s former sole member Hannes Norvidde couldn’t look sharper if they were trying. Trust us, they’re not. This intimidating trio have just made one of our favourite records of the year so far. International is a triumphant synth-pop tour de force. It has transformed Hannes’ one man vehicle for noisy self-expression into a fledgling, shimmering pop band. “It’s great that a lot of people will hear us that haven’t heard the band before”, Loke tells us as he draws a cigarette from his carton. “I just hope they can appreciate the old stuff too.” Loke and Hannes have been collaborating together for a while under a number of different guises, but it wasn’t until Oh No Ono guitarist Malthe Fischer recently popped into Loke’s Copenhagen record store and label, Posh Isolation, to offer them his studio that they were able to
realise their full potential and explore a cleaner sound – not too distant from 80s acts such as Depeche Mode and New Order – that we’ll hesitantly call ‘mainstream’. Malthe tell us, “I felt like Hannes wanted to do something different, so I helped” – he pauses – “to make it easier to digest, but keep the narrative the same.” Hannes interjects, “It’s very different but it’s also the same somehow, the project went from being a kid to being a teenager”. He can’t help but smile; clearly he’s created something he feels very proud of, a crowning achievement in his still adolescent career. International opens with an instant hard-hitter. Named after a performanceenhancing drug used by cyclists, Epoetin Alfa details Lance Armstrong’s victory in the Tour de France. Hannes argues that scandal and media lies have been the lyrical foundations for much of the record, “There was a lot of talk about Lance Armstrong and his big apology and it was in the Danish news like all the time with lots of Danish bicyclists abusing drugs. It affected us, it made us think about our place in the world.” Loke adds, “It’s like that Madonna
record Confessions on a Dancefloor, the record is very much about realising your situation, and him doing drugs on a bicycle is maybe not so far from what the record is”. As he stumbles, struggling to articulate through slightly broken English, his bandmates break into hysterics. Their laughter shatters their cool, composed exteriors for a moment. As their camaraderie exposes itself, we jump at a chance to comment on Lust For Youth’s image. But even while their guard is down, their defence is swift. “We’ve never had like a style meeting, it comes naturally”, Hannes laughs. Loke, whose dry, self-aware drollery is as immaculate as the trim white shirt draped over his many hand-poked tattoos, jokes that “everything is somewhat linked I guess. If you’re gonna make pretty things, you should wear pretty things and you should look pretty and sleep with pretty people”, he smirks, “appearance is all that counts”. “Bullshit”, says Hannes, equally well dressed, “I hate pretty bands.” Loke looks serious for a moment, “Ok, ok. It’s like that thing with dogs looking like their owners, it’s a small dog pound we have in Copenhagen so we all end up
looking alike. Even if it’s not a conscious decision.” Strolling around Hollywood in white tuxedos, the band look especially dapper in the recent music video for Illume. It’s a medium they hold in high regard. “That’s how I took in music at first, sitting at home watching MTV waiting for my favourite music video,” Loke tells us. But in an age where MTV is more about Kardashians than music, it might only find a home online. Still, as they are, young, attractive, surging towards stardom, these three young lads sit on the crux of a turning point for pop music where the internet may prove more pivotal than MTV ever could. Where they go next is up to them, but if they play this right, they could well be perching right at the top. International is out now via Sacred Bones
Words: Billy Black Photography: Anna Dobos
Words: Augustin Macellari
While exploring the spiritual and the unconscious since the 1960s, Susan Hiller has climbed the concrete barricades that are placed in every artistâ€™s path
Issue 44 | crackmagazine.net
Susan Hiller’s name may not be familiar to the lay observer of contemporary art, but the strength of her influence is undeniable. Her practice has been consistently visible over the past 40 years; archives and documents of the species unconscious, dreams, near death experiences and alien sightings. Channels, a major 2013 work in Matt’s Gallery saw her fill the space with television monitors, 20th century tubes that fizzed and crackled, running through cycles of stand-by screen, static, interference and oscilloscope. The visual cycle gave way to audio, a polyglottal jumble of narratives describing near death experiences. Elsewhere, Hiller has presented bottle upon bottle of holy water collected from around the world in Homage to J. Beuys (1969). Her oeuvre has also encompassed performance; in Dream Mapping (1973) she invited seven participants to spend three nights sleeping outside in ‘fairy rings’ - circles naturally formed in fields by mushrooms to which significant folkloric tradition is attached. The dreams were documented, discussed, cross-referenced and archived; this residue was the work, the performance was not viewed. The spiritual, paranormal or unconscious remain important touchstones in Hiller’s practice. Her interest in each subject is documented with an intellectually objective rigour, devoid of pre-judgement, each seeming synecdochical to something bigger.
I meet Hiller in her North London studio. Externally unassuming, it’s a beautiful, airy space above a row of shops near Swiss Cottage. The interview follows a slightly fragmented course; reminiscences and nostalgia, observations and grumbles about art today, insights into a life’s work and a borderline-pedagogic interest in your correspondent. Hiller’s career, like those of many (if not most) artists of her generation has been subsidised, over its course, by teaching - explaining her interest in my own arteducated background. This proximity to the front-line of art, a pre-commodity field of research, exploration and development, gives her insights into the art institution all the more resonance. She studied anthropology in the States before permanently relocating herself to Europe, and then London, in the late 1960s. In 1973 she had her first exhibition, and since then anthropology hasn’t reentered the equation, although traces – perhaps related to theory, method or field of enquiry – remain present in her work. “When I came here in the late 60s, early 70s”, she tells us, “theory was just starting to be the thing. Which was very lucky for me, because I’d done all that theory in anthropology, so that worked out well.” She credits the cultural atmosphere of the time, in part, with facilitating her disciplinary transition, “In the 70s, here, the whole thing was so open. People were switching from one thing to another thing, and all the arts were very close to each other.” This atmosphere clearly remains an important high-water mark to Hiller. “When I first came to this country, it was just on an up. Everything was really buzzing and energetic. Social attitudes, compared to the United States, were very advanced. It wasn’t shameful for people to be unemployed. People were trying to develop into the kind of work they were wanting to do, and [the dole] was kind of a step up, really. It was like getting a scholarship.” Since then, of course, conditions have changed no end. Now, Hiller says, “We’re
living with a government that doesn’t value the arts, or any art-related thing, and also doesn’t value people that much.” The difficulties faced by young artists – indeed young people – working today never seem that far from the conversation, and are, for Hiller, as closely related to principle as they are to economic climate (not that the two are mutually exclusive, by any means). An aspect of this is the permeation of celebrity culture into the art world, and the consequent competition – and money. “It’s as though in order to be visible as an artist at all you really need to think about presenting yourself,” she argues, “People are producing work now that resembles 70s work, but without the ethical basis. Seventies work wasn’t for sale, so how can you be doing it now?” The latently – or not – capitalist undercurrent to contemporary art clearly rubs her up the wrong way (not that Hiller thinks people shouldn’t be making any money out of art; elsewhere she says “I know that the internet has supposedly democratised music, but on the other hand it’s taken a livelihood away”), and while it’s obviously political, it also seems to come from something else; a kind of reverence for art and the role of the artist. In a 2011 interview with Rachel Cooke for The Observer, Hiller said that “Artists have a function. It’s our job to mirror back the values of the culture in a way that people haven’t seen before.” The purpose of art and the artist, when looked at like this, seems almost dutiful. Certainly, this attitude (and the mild asceticism that accompanies it) bobs its head above the parapet discreetly, and in different ways, throughout our conversation. She shies away from words like ‘vocational’ – “I don’t like the [word], the history of all that is quite dangerous, I think” – but there’s something of its ilk hanging in the air when she says, “I always tell students that you don’t have to be an artist to express your creativity. If you can find a field where you enjoy what you’re doing, don’t do art.” Her almost-contradictory position on this –
But what are these opposing poles, and how do they manifest? “I always start my work with a cultural artefact of some kind; it’s always something I have a strong feeling about. That feeling could be described as ambivalence; that is, that I’m fascinated by it and I think it’s stupid at the same time.” This feeling goes deeper than the superficiality of “superego judgement”, as Hiller describes it. It’s embracing a conflict between instinct and science, rationality and intuition. “I’m a pretty rational person, and I live my life fairly rationally. But I also think that intuition is a perfectly valid way of reaching a conclusion. Why is it we negate the supposedly feminine qualities? Feminine, romantic, irrational – all these things go together. It’s very personal because I feel I have those qualities as well as, you know, the rational qualities.”
Equally, criticism of art’s relation to celebrity culture may seem a little anachronistic, but in fact it comes from a place of deep integrity, a desire for artists to be doing something that is, in some way, of more than just commercial or otherwise superficial benefit. After all, difficult as making art may be, it’s also a privilege, not afforded to most. “You don’t know where anything is going, so you just keep doing it. I think that’s the difference between artists and people who are working in more conventional fields. It’s that artists allow themselves to explore.” Susan Hiller’s new work Resounding will be on display at Summerhall in Edinburgh until 26 September
This simultaneous embrace of both intuition and rationality allows Hiller access to a third space that she has, in the past, described as “paraconceptual”. It’s a position that facilitates movement “between a very reduced, almost imposed on us world view, and some other experiences which might be open to us if we could be more flexible about our everydayness.” This position also offers insight into the politics of Hiller’s work. Where, as she said, intuition is (or has been) subjugated in its importance as a feminine attribute, her practical use of it is political. It’s a discreet politicism, however, and one which chimes with her stand on art for which politics constitutes subject matter rather than just an aspect: “The problem with so-called political art is that it only reaches people who are interested in art. What’s the point of it? Better to be a journalist, if you have something really political to say and you can analyse it.” Hiller’s principled awareness of art’s position in culture and society is both refreshing and reassuring. To the art student, the suggestion that ‘if there’s something else that can be done, best leave art’ may seem intimidating, or even exclusive. However, it actually speaks of an inclusiveness that is increasingly absent in educational institutions; “The professionalism of art in this country is getting very extreme, I think. Not everyone who goes to art school needs to be an artist, and other people might need to be artists. There’s got to be a flow back and forth.”
Issue 44 | crackmagazine.net
“We’re living with a government that doesn’t value the arts, or any art-related thing, and also doesn’t value people that much”
seeming to manifest a position on the one hand, but taking issue with the tools we have to describe it – could, at a stretch, be seen to reflect a bi-polarity in her method. In a 2007 interview, quoted in Brian Dillon’s frieze article Second Sight, Hiller describes how her practice requires her to “figure out what the poles of your dualism are. Because you can nestle in the middle somehow and create a space there.”
REMOTE's Adam Rodgers works at the vibrant intersection of audio curation and visual creation.
As one arm of the many-limbed Numbers collective, Adam Rodgers is part of the team who’ve unleashed some of the most adventurous club anthems of the last decade from the likes of Hudson Mohawke, SOPHIE and Mosca. As REMOTE, he's responsible for bringing these creations into the visual domain with a vivid potency. We got in touch with Rodgers to gain a little insight into the techniques, practices and intuitions that glue together this vivid audiovisual bond. What got things rolling for you in terms of visual work? Were you doing design before that all kicked off? I was definitely working on stuff before Numbers started, but nothing major, just fun stuff with friends. I was interested in music graphics from a very early age, so my involvement in club culture stemmed from that interest I guess. Numbers has allowed me freedom to explore different approaches and techniques over the years and also collaborate with many different types of artists and designers. That’s definitely influenced the direction of my visual work in other areas. It's well-known that Numbers is a collective of Glasgow-based promoters, labelowners, DJs etc. What's your role within the group, and how did you end up getting involved? I cofounded the original club with 10 friends. Before that I co-ran Stuff Records with Richard. Stuff is one of the labels, alongside Wireblock & Dress 2 Sweat, which eventually combined to form Numbers the label. My role is varied, primarily focusing on the creative and forward-facing side of the business. As a team, we're all actively involved in the direction of Numbers musically and visually. It's always a group effort. Now we have a core team of seven: myself, Neil Morton, Calum Morton, Richard Chater, Jack Revill, Rob Mordue and more
recently Sean Revill. I work closely with all these guys online every day. Together, we have quite a broad range of skills and experience, but we all have really similar tastes which helps when making creative decisions. But that's not to say we don't disagree now and then! Numbers seemed to help define that neon, glossy sound associated with artists like Rustie and Hudson Mohawke as well as Night Slugs' older output. Was that a conscious thing, to visualise the sound through the artwork? Yeah for sure, the sound is always a major factor when I begin to work on a visual. I also like to explore the identity of the artist and how they would like to be perceived through their album art. I like to approach each design differently and I try not to tie myself down to a particular piece of software or technique. A good example would be the first sleeve I created for Numbers, which was the Golden Handshake EP for Lazer Sword. I loved the fact that the group was comprised of two guys making music from opposite sides of the US (New York & LA) and the title of the record was the perfect starting point. We shot the handshake in LA and I collaborated on the art direction with my friend Thomas Traum, who created the dripping gold liquid covering their hands. The end result was a confident, tongue-in-cheek image which visualised the collaborative nature of the project, and also the bright, vibrant and metallic sounds in the music. I'm also really into working with emerging technologies to visualise sound in new ways. The real-time, sound-reactive live visuals we made for the Numbers x Sónar showcase in 2010 is a good example. How do you approach collaborative projects like that? Do you take on the role of art / creative director, and bring in people to realise your vision? For our commercial projects at REMOTE I assume the role of creative director and
work with a variety of specialists - coders, art-directors, writers etcetera - to achieve the end result. For that particular project the process was very organic. Thomas (Traum) and I were discussing our aim to create large-scale live visuals which we could manipulate in real- time. We worked together bouncing ideas around and researched the various tools available to create what we wanted. We discovered the 'Unity' software (which was relatively new at the time in 2010) and asked Mike Tucker of Universal Everything to get involved and collaborate with us. Thomas and I worked on the concepts and direction then worked closely with Mike to realise them in real-time 3D until we had a large enough tool-kit to play live for the six hour showcase at SĂłnar in Barcelona. At this point, we contacted Adam Finlay (who works for Novak Collective). He used his expertise to make the technical setup come to life on the night. Recently, I've started working together with my interactive director Tomomitsu Kanai on Numbers projects, including a series of real-time sound toys we are creating for SOPHIE (in collaboration with MSMSMSM), and a large-scale installation and music video for Redinho. What do you mean by sound toys? SOPHIE is really interested in how his sounds are created, and has very specific ideas about how his music is represented visually. Is it hard? Is it metallic? Is it rubbery? Is it cute? So we're creating a series of interactive online visuals which represent the concept and sounds surrounding each track. Something for users to play in the browser which conveys the essence of each track's characteristics. Weâ€™re also following the same approach for the covers.
How do you approach website construction as a creative act? The Chapman Brothers site in particular makes navigating such a vast amount of material a really enjoyable prospect. I've always been a fan of websites which are very simple and easy to navigate but also feel unique and different. With the Chapman Brothers site I wanted to create an experience which felt familiar for the user and allowed them freedom to explore, so each time they visit they could disappear down the rabbit hole and discover something different, but at the same time they could access this chronological navigation system and go straight to what they are looking for. As much as I like intuitive navigation, I also like to make the user think for themselves and discover hidden navigational elements which will take them somewhere else. Finally, what projects are you working on at the moment? Currently we're working on a sound visualisation iPad app for the composer Craig Armstrong, a new website for Hudson Mohawke, an online music channel for a high street fashion brand and lots of Numbers projects, including forthcoming album campaigns for SOPHIE, Redinho and newcomer Kool Clap. studioremote.net nmbrs.net
Hat | Palace at Present Jacket by Copson
Aesthetic: Joey Bada$$
Bed Stuy in North Central Brooklyn is a place where heritage is impossible to ignore. In the 1930s, African American families left an overcrowded Harlem for the better housing availability of the downtown neighbourhood, where the wooden homes were replaced with affordable brownstone rowhouses. Decades later, the grandchildren of those first residents would play a pivotal role within a culture which played hip-hop and RnB at block parties and from car radio speakers, cementing Bed Stuy’s musical legacy. It was a golden era that introduced Lil Kim to Biggie Smalls; the community that brought Mos Def to Talib Kweli. Aaliyah, Jay Z and Ol’ Dirty Bastard were also among the legends who grew up in the neighbourhood. Whether it’s street corner freestyles or backyard cookouts, the world recognises that this place has a history to be proud of. Balancing revivalism and forwardthinking ideals effortlessly, 19-year-old Joey Bada$$ is part of the community’s new school. His circa-94 flow and youthful approach has won him fans in both old-school purists and enthused teenagers. Along with his Pro Era collective, Joey presents himself with the style of a seasoned pro and the spirit of a ninth grader who can’t stop listening to Ready To Die.
Photography | Tom Johnson Photography Assistant | Gwenaelle Trannoy Stylist | Tom Rasmussen Assistant Stylist | Hatty Carman Words | Duncan Harrison
Issue 44 | crackmagazine.net
Hat | Neighborhood at Goodhood Hoodie | Copson Jacket | Billionaire Boys Club Dungarees | Bethnals
Spending days in the roasting heat skating along sidewalks and winding down to the sounds of MCs from bygone years, the group have cultivated a look that channels youthful exuberance with a 21st century mindset. Bada$$ embraces major streetwear brands of the here-and-now but sports them with thrift store finds to personify his rationale of reintroducing older sounds by juxtaposing them with cutting-edge hallmarks. We met Joey in London and rifled through a few rails with him. With the help of stylist Tom Rasmussen and photographer Tom Johnson, Crack put together this very special Aesthetic shoot. We also spoke to him about the brands he’s into, New York and the definition of the term ‘Swank’. From our conversation, it’s clear that the signature youthfulness which Bada$$ carries runs through his attitude to both music and style.
Issue 44 | crackmagazine.net
Sweatshirt | New Love Club
Describe your personal style. There’s only one word to describe my style, and that word is “SWANK”. Swank to me means elegant and unique style. Street sense with a lil’ added spizazzzzz. That’s me all the way. What labels and brands are you feeling right now? My Pro Era brand about to be on some other shit and you’ll be hearing about it real soon. Right now I’m really feeling Bape, Billionaire Boys Club, 10 Deep and a lot of vintage clothes. Did you enjoy the photo shoot you did with us? Which clothes were your favourite? Yeah it was a great shoot, I liked the stylist and photographer’s vibe. I felt like they got me and my style. It was cool to mix up my clothes with what they pulled. I like the yellow jacket. Do you have an all time favourite brand and sneaker? If so, what is it? G-star jeans and for sneakers, Jordan’s.
Jacket | Fuct at Goodhood Hat | Billionaire Boys Club Tee | Fuct at Goodhood Chain is artist's own Rings are artist's own
If you’ve got some time off from touring, what would your ideal day in New York be like? Definitely hanging with friends and riding my bike, keeping it real chill. Can you tell us about the philosophy of your Pro Era crew – what do you stand for? We stand for the progression and positivity of the youth. Where do you find style inspiration? Would you say you draw from the same 90s New York references that you do in your music? I would say some inspiration comes from NY 90s references from my music. I mix the old with the new. A lot of rappers are experimenting with high fashion these days, would you describe your look as classic hip-hop style? I wear whatever makes me feel comfortable, I don’t like to follow trends. I create my own in a unique manner. Joey’s debut album B4.DA.$$ will be out later this year via Relentless Records / Cinematic Hat | Pro Era Tee | Fuct at Goodhood Jacket | Norse Projects at Goodhood Dungarees | Bethnals
Issue 44 | crackmagazine.net
FRIDAY 17TH OCTOBER
SATURDAY 8TH NOVEMBER
FRIDAY 5TH DECEMBER
–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– CHASE & STATUS DJ SET SUB FOCUS DJ SET SIGMA KOVE KNYTRO GOTSOME BILLON JOSH BUTLER TOYBOY & ROBIN TCTS NORTH BASE MEDIATE
–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– JAMES BLAKE LIVE 1-800 DINOSAUR
–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– THE CHEMICAL BROTHERS DJ SET ANDREW WEATHERALL 3HRS BREACH 3HRS BICEP 3HRS KRYSKO WILL TRAMP
MTA 5TH BIRTHDAY
SOLD OUT : 2130 — 0500
SATURDAY 18TH OCTOBER
SATURDAY 27TH SEPTEMBER WELCOME TO THE WAREHOUSE
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– SETH TROXLER CARL CRAIG TALE OF US JACKMASTER BEN UFO & PEARSON SOUND LEON VYNEHALL HARRI & DOMENIC CAPELLO MR TIES KRYSKO GREG LORD SOLD OUT : 1800 — 0500
FRIDAY 3RD OCTOBER ANJUNA
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– ABOVE & BEYOND GUY J ILAN BLUESTONE LANE8 ANJUNA DEEP LANCELOT JODY WISTERNOFF CUBICOLOUR £28.50 : 2130 — 0400
SATURDAY 4TH OCTOBER DUKE DUMONT
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– DUKE DUMONT LIVE CYRIL HAHN KLANGKARASSELL ROB DA BANK JONAS RATHSMAN & ISAAC TISCHAUER (FRENCH EXPRESS) FRIEND WITHIN PSYCHMAJIK BLONDE KIWI ED NORRIS OLI HACKETT SOLD OUT : 2100 — 0500
FRIDAY 10TH OCTOBER YOUSEF PRESENTS CIRCUS
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– KERRI CHANDLER JORIS VOORN HOT SINCE 82 YOUSEF ROUTE94 CHRIS MALINCHAK SHADOW CHILD ACID MONDAYS LEWIS BOARDMAN SCOTT LEWIS SOLD OUT : 2130 — 0500
SATURDAY 11TH OCTOBER APE VS RAM JAM
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– ANDY C DAVID RODIGAN REPRAZENT LIVE WILKINSON DJ EZ SHY FX JILLIONAIRE (MAJOR LAZER) CHANNEL ONE WOOKIE DJ BARELY LEGAL DUB PHIZIX CHIMPO RICH REASON SOLD OUT : 2000 — 0500
TICKETS ON SALE NOW:
–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– EATS EVERYTHING LAURENT GARNIER SUBB-AN LIVE CATZ ’N DOGZ PAUL WOOLFORD MIDLAND GRAIN MARQUIS HAWKES TOM RIO DROP THE MUSTARD SOLD OUT : 2000 — 0500
FRIDAY 24TH OCTOBER PARADISE
–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– JAMIE JONES RICHY AHMED DAVIDE SQUILLACE WAFF PATRICK TOPPING MARK JENKYNS PIRATE COPY KRYSKO SOLD OUT : 2130 — 0500
SATURDAY 25TH OCTOBER SOUNDS OF THE NEAR FUTURE
–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– KAYTRANADA / HUDSON MOHAWKE JACKMASTER & ONEMAN PRESENT CAN U DANCE RUSTIE PEANUT BUTTER WOLF BENJI B BISHOP NEHRU LONE KRYSTAL KLEAR DARQ E FREAKER KUTMAH POMO JON K JONNY DUB RICH REASON CHUNKY NOW WAVE DJS
(FT JAMES BLAKE, DAN FOAT & AIRHEAD) FULL LINE-UP TO BE REVEALED £25.00 : 2000 — 0400
FRIDAY 14TH NOVEMBER MK AREA 10
–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– MK SKREAM ROUTE '94 SHADOW CHILD SECOND CITY HUXLEY SHIBA SAN KRYSKO PIRATE COPY SOLD OUT : 2130 — 0500
SATURDAY 15TH NOVEMBER BUGGED OUT! 20 YEARS
–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– GREEN VELVET / CAJMERE GEORGE FITZGERALD EROL ALKAN SKREAM ANDREW WEATHERALL PAUL WOOLFORD DANIEL AVERY JUSTIN ROBERTSON MOONBOOTS (FRENCH EXPRESS) BRENDAN LONG JOHNNO SOLD OUT : DAY + NIGHT : 1800 — 0500
FRIDAY 21ST NOVEMBER THE NORTH BORDERS TOUR
–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– BONOBO LIVE GOLD PANDA MOUNT KIMBIE DJ SET LAPALUX WERKHA DAUWD ILLUM SPHERE ABANDON SILENCE NOW WAVE DJS
£22.50 : 2000 — 0500
FRIDAY 31ST OCTOBER
CURATED BY FOUR TET & CARIBOU
–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– CARIBOU LIVE FOUR TET CARL CRAIG JESSY LANZA LIVE FLOATING POINTS JAY DANIEL CHAMPION TERROR DANJAH ANTHONY NAPLES NOW WAVE DJS EAT YOUR OWN EARS WILL TRAMP SOLD OUT : 2130 — 0500
SATURDAY 1ST NOVEMBER RESIDENT ADVISOR
–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– RICARDO VILLALOBOS NINA KRAVIZ HESSLE AUDIO: BEN UFO B2B PEARSON SOUND B2B PANGAEA JOY ORBISON RYAN KEELING
SOLD OUT : 2100 — 0400
SATURDAY 22ND NOVEMBER ENTER
–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– RICHIE HAWTIN RECONDITE GAISER TM-404 MILES WHITAKER MATTHEW HAWTIN FABIO FLORIDO £25.00 / £28.50 : 2000 — 0500
FRIDAY 28TH NOVEMBER ANNIE MAC PRESENTS
–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– ANNIE MAC DANNY BROWN HANNAH WANTS TOURIST LIVE MONKI LXURY KIWI PREDITAH PARA ONE B2B BOBMO NOW WAVE DJS SOLD OUT : 2130 — 0500
SATURDAY 29TH NOVEMBER MAYA JANE COLES PRESENTS
–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– MAYA JANE COLES HEIDI MAGDA TEN WALLS LIVE DENSE & PIKA KIM ANN FOXMAN SOUTH LONDON ORDNANCE ALEX ARNOUT KRYSKO ZUTEKH DJS SOLD OUT : 2100 — 0500
SOLD OUT : 2130 — 0500
SATURDAY 6TH DECEMBER DUSKY PRESENTS THE NEXT STEP
–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– DUSKY BEN UFO & JOY ORBISON DJ KOZE KINK LIVE BODDIKA MIDLAND KYLE HALL MOXIE PALEMAN KLOSE ONE ZUTEKH DJS £25.00 : 2000 — 0500
FRIDAY 12TH DECEMBER
CURATED BY JON HOPKINS & JAMIE XX
–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– JON HOPKINS LIVE JAMIE XX MODESELEKTOR DJ SET JOHN TALABOT LEON VYNEHALL PANGAEA TASKER & JON RUST B2B MATTIS GREG LORD NOW WAVE DJS SOLD OUT : 2130 — 0500
SATURDAY 13TH DECEMBER INNERVISIONS
–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– DIXON ÂME HENRIK SCHWARZ LIVE RECONDITE LIVE GERD JANSON OPTIMO PRINS THOMAS HORSE MEAT DISCO MAURICE FULTON KRYSKO £25.00 : 2000 — 0500
FRIDAY 19TH DECEMBER FATBOY SLIM
–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– FATBOY SLIM SLAM DUNK’D THE 2 BEARS BEN PEARCE MARIBOU STATE ANDHIM OLI HACKETT ED NORRIS SOLD OUT : 2130 — 0430
SATURDAY 20TH DECEMBER –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– LINE-UP TO BE ANNOUNCED
FRIDAY 26TH DECEMBER –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– LINE-UP TO BE ANNOUNCED
SATURDAY 27TH DECEMBER –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– LINE-UP TO BE ANNOUNCED
NYE –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– LINE-UP TO BE ANNOUNCED £29.50
NYD –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– LINE-UP TO BE ANNOUNCED £29.50
JACKMASTER 3HRS MOODYMANN 3HRS UNDERGROUND PARIS 3HRS KRYSKO & GREG LORD
SOLD OUT : DAY + NIGHT : 1800 — 0500
“For twelve weeks this city is ours”
Upcoming London Shows www.rockfeedbackconcerts.com
Electrowerkz Islington Tuesday 12th August
Electric Brixton Wednesday 13th August
Hoxton Bar & Kitchen Tuesday 26th August
OSLO Hackney Saturday 2Oth September
MYSTERY JETS / JOHNNY FLYNN
HOW TO DRESS WELL
The Barbican Tuesday 3Oth Sep
Heaven Charing Cross Tuesday 28th October
summer programme 2014
L o s t. I n . s o u n d Amine edge & dAnCe BontAn Burnski CArnAo BeAts derriCk mAy dJ sneAk doorly grAdes grum HeCtor Couto Him_self_Her JAmes ZABielA
kerri CHAndler kevin sAunderson kove krAnkBrotHer low steppA mArk rAdford mArtin ikin mAsters At work miA dorA morrt niC fAnCiulli noir
oliver $ osunlAde roBert owens ryAn BlytH sigmA sirus Hood stACey pullen stuff tHe golden Boy todd terry uner Zed BiAs
The Box, exclusively aT MinisTry of sound MinisTryofsound.coM/cluB
O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire
Saturday 1st November
Village Underground Shoreditch Wed 4th Nov
The Laundry London Fields Thursday 5th November
XOYO Shoreditch Tuesday 18th November
RURAL ALBERTA ADVANTAGE
Electric Ballroom Camden Thursday 2Oth November
Islington Assembly Hall Friday 28th November
Get tickets and full info at: www.rockfeedbackconcerts.com
LATITUDE Henham Park, Suffolk 17-20 July It’s Thursday night and Inspector Norse is being blasted through the sound system of a £60 per head restaurant in a Suffolk field. We’ve arrived at Latitude: a unique meeting of worlds where top names in contemporary alternative music are dropped amongst a line-up that caters to all families and all generations. You know the sort, like their steak medium rare but want to lose their shit to Todd Terje after dessert. John Wizards began our Friday with a buoyant dose of their clipped South African stylings before Swedish worldbeat acid rockers Goat affirmed their status as one of the best live acts in the world. Their cataclysmic live show features masks, tassels and an animalistic energy which we found impossible to take our eyes off. Glaswegian post rock giants Mogwai opened with White Noise and went on to provide a string of rumbling, stirring crescendos that only a band of their level and experience can achieve. With Lily Allen stepping in to headline the main stage at the same time, it was hard not to wonder why this band still play second stages. Nearly 20
years of gigging under their belt and it shows in the best way imaginable. Seasoned but spirited, experienced but enduringly exciting. Saturday’s set from Rob Beckett, recognisable as an 8 Out Of 10 Cats panelist, consisted of jokes about glasses of squash, his mum getting his name wrong and a really acerbic swipe at “posh people”. The saddest thing was that many docile crowd members have grown so used to watching DAVE that they instinctively laughed at this banal shit with glazed eyes. Fortunately for us, Simon Amstell arrived to showcase a rough version of his new show To Be Free, for which he explored the concept of autonomy through God complexes, archaic traditions and his signature style of vulnerable frankness – a breath of fresh air in a growingly monotonous climate. Hall & Oates offered Latitude’s equivalent of Glastonbury’s now established ‘legends slot’. Under a scorching sun, what felt like most of the festival was packed into the tent to sway, sweat and sing along to Maneater and eventually You Make My Dreams Come True. As the sun grew we disappeared through a woodland clearing and found the theatre. Waiting for us inside was the brilliance of Tim Key’s Single
White Slut, a comedic performance of poetry, dance and musings on everything from Gandhi to Muesli that can truly stake its claim to Crack’s highlight of the weekend. We then returned to the main stage for the headline set from Damon Albarn where a mammoth set of solo material, Gorillaz work and Blur output got underway with Lonely Press Play and a guest appearance from Graham Coxon for a performance of Tender. A victory for one of the country’s hardest working songwriters.
ales and shopping at GoOutdoors, but Latitude really does offer a lot. Yes there are artisan breads available and yes some families were put out about having their tapenade taken off them on the door, but it’s one of the few UK events where you can leave a Hall and Oates gig and realise you’ve missed a talk from Vivienne Westwood. Latitude really is out on its own. Long may it continue.
On Sunday, we headed to seek closure on one of the most buzzbuilding bands of the moment. Content in pretending that none of them have Netflix accounts or postcodes, Fat White Family bundled on stage and brought their ramshackle debauchery to the festival equivalent of the Waitrose deli counter. Opener Is It Raining In Your Mouth? had their legion of former-Libertines fanboys clambering on top of one another and pretty much waiting for front man Lias Saoudi to get his dick out. Eventually he did, via a bizarre self-wedgie, and their mission statement was fulfilled once again. Saying that a major festival isn’t “just about the music” makes us feel a bit like old blokes drinking craft
Words: Duncan Harrison + Angus Harrison Photography: Jen O’Neil
Sat 2 Aug
JOANNA GRUESOME Sun 3 Aug
TRIPWIRES Fri 8 Aug
THE SOFT WALLS (LP LAUNCH) Thur 14 Aug
COURTLY LOVE Fri 15 Aug
THRONE Mon 18 Aug
DZ DEATHRAYS Thur 28 Aug
TRAAMS Fri 12 Sept
MAZES Mon 15 Sept
WHITE MANNA Fri 19 Sept
NATURAL CHILD Sun 21 Sept
AUDACITY The Shacklewell Arms 71 Shacklewell Lane E8 2EB shacklewellarms.com fb / ShacklewellArms tw / ShacklewellArms
Re Est. 2014 adamandevepub.com • @adamandevee9
Sunday 3rd August
L I SBON K I D—L I V E Thursday 7th August
ROSENBLUME ALX CHARLOTTE CARPENTER Frid ay 8 t h
DOUBLE DENIM Saturday 9th August
ASBO Sunday 10th August
COOL FOR CAT S Thursday 14th August
The Waiting Room Saturday 9 August
Thursday 28 August
BEFORE MY EYES RAIME DEMDIKE STARE
-------------------------Thursday 14 August
RAINER VEIL (MODERN LOVE) GIANT SWAN (HOWLING OWL) -------------------------Friday 15 August
Saturday 30th August
Saturday 16 August
EARL GREY Sunday 31st August
BA D V I BR AT IONS Sun 14th September
ANOTHER ISLAND -------------------------Saturday 23 August
-------------------------Sunday 31 August
JUFFAGE -------------------------Friday 29 August
BAD BREEDING -------------------------Wednesday 10 September
BURNT ONES -------------------------Thursday 11 September
MIDNIGHT A GO-GO
Wednesday 27 August
Monday 3 November
Thursday 28th September
T HE LOCK TAV ERN 35 Ch alk Fa rm Ro a d L o n d o n NW 1 8 A J lock-tavern.com • fb: thelocktavern
A LWAY S F R E E E N T RY
(Underneath The Three Crowns) 175 Stoke Newington High Street, London N16 0LH waitingroomn16.com facebook.com/waitingroomn16 • twitter.com/waitingroomn16
LOVEBOX Victoria Park, London 18+19 July Lovebox is a pummelling reminder that however nice it might be nice to spend your time at a festival sat in a deck chair sipping Pimms and quietly anticipating Dara Ó Briain’s hour-long set of maths jokes, you might be better off huffing down whatever’s on offer and condensing a summer’s worth of partying into a single weekend. Victoria Park teemed with Hurrache’d Essex boys and dour tech-house heads alike, voguing and popping to the judiciously chunky Rinse.FM house of Duke Dumont and Route 94. Others decided to let David Rodigan give them another one of his masterclasses in Jamaican music history. Crack went down the festivalflaneur route. There was no final destination – save for ensuring that we caught a typically on-form DJ EZ quick cutting between house and garage anthems under a sky so pregnant with electricity that it was a surprise we weren’t razed to the ground. Every corner turned up a treat: a mid-evening roller skate jam to Janet Jackson’s seminal All For You, a snatch of Theo Parrish’s fantastic live set here, a luckily brief dose of A$AP Rocky’s lumpen performance there, Annie Mac thumpin’ it out like only she does, a peek into Chase and Status’s bigtop jump-up bassfest. As curfew approached, and we trudged over the bodies of over-partied revellers, the heaven’s opened. Friday night don’t ever let it end. We kicked Saturday off with newcomers Juce, who set the bar high with their soulful, 90s-obsessed pop: an ideal soundtrack for your first cider of the day. Next up, we witnessed 4/4 “supergroup” extraordinaire Visionquest's Crack Stage set succeed in getting feet moving good and proper before we dived over to the Red Bull Music Academy stage to check out the joyous Soul Clap and execute some hands-in-the-air-praise-hallelujah dance moves ourselves. It was Mount Kimbie, however, who really blew us away with their infallible set of deliciously moody-electronica. Legend of the day award, of course, went to Nas who performed
Illmatic with ease, charisma and much much skill; giving the album the 20th birthday it deserved and leaving us wishing he’d play it again. M.I.A. wowed the crowds with her disarming energy, dance moves and (wo)man-don’t-give-a-fuck attitude. Love her or hate her, the fact that she is one of the best performers of our generation feels undeniable since that night. Never leaving the politics aside, she asked the crowd who’d been on the Free Gaza march earlier in the day before belting tracks like Bucky Done Gun, Bamboo Banga and Bad Girls out into the cosmos. Inviting the crowd to invade the stage and dance with her for Boys was a classic, but well appreciated move. Sadly, however, her time at Lovebox was blighted by technical problems, and after giving it her best through Paper Planes with failing microphones and then failing speakers, she was ultimately defeated and cut the set short, declaring “Lovebox we gots to go”, before dropping her mic and exiting the stage. Victoria Park takes a real bashing in the summer months. From the double Field Day whammy to this; Lovebox, the bass-generating, neon-waving pop extravaganza that just so happened to fall on one of the hottest weekends of the year so far, it’s a small wonder there’s any grass left for revellers to laze on. We’ll meet you at the same place, same time, next year. Words: Josh Baines + Lucie Grace Photography: Chlóe Rosolek
SECRET GARDEN PART Y Mill Hill Field, Cambridgeshire 24-27 July
METHOD MAN & REDMAN Motion, Bristol 19 July
THEO PARRISH: TEDDY'S GET DOWN Barbican, London 12 July When they interviewed Theo Parrish, the BBC asked five questions. The questions, in their vapid way, functioned like a taxonomising schema of musical pigeonholing - ‘are you, Theo Parrish, “Jazz”? “Conceptual”? “Militant”? “Political”? Part of Detroit’s “third wave”?’ The whole thing was thick with lazy assumptions, galling tweeness and unthinking prejudices. Theo sent a fuckoffagram in response. The BBC, at Theo’s direction, reprinted it unedited, but bookended their part with emboldened, elliptical rubric, as if to say, “look how reasonable our questions were; look how militantly political and conceptual Theo Parrish is!” The ignorant questioning was perhaps forgivable; this framing of Theo’s responses, not. Far from being the mean castigator the BBC implied him to be, Parrish spent most of the night smiling broadly, talking with the audience, even derp-facing during one of Myele Manzanza’s epic drum solos. As Manzana snapped into the familiar rimshot attack of Solitary Flight, Theo looked at the rest of the band, smiled, looked at the audience, and out flowed the opening chords. Stuff like this made it clear that this was not just ‘Teddy’s Get Down’ - it was ours, and we, the audience, were made part of the experience. We were literally dancing in the aisles. Tonight seemed to be a perfect amalgam of live vocals, digital and analogue synths, live bass, guitar and drums, digital FX. But isn’t Theo Parrish meant to be some kind of vinyl purist? Well yeah, but the performance felt like the culmination of a life spent making art, making people dance, and challenging their assumptions so we can't really complain. ! Robert Bates N Barbican
“We believe that if you pay to see a fucking show, then you should get a fucking show”, opines Redman partway through his set with long-time cohort Method Man at a sold-out Motion. It’s no empty sentiment. Judging from the hyperactive response to the short selection of comparatively docile Blackout! 2-era material that opens the show, the audience seem to have decided they’re quite happy to work with whatever they’re given. What they are given, thankfully, turns out be quite a lot. And when Redman announces that it’s high time for some “old shit”, the crowd barely have a chance to process just what a gleeful prospect this is before the first driving strains of Time 4 Sum Aksion kick in. It’s at this point when the already-animated audience go truly apeshit. Hulking Wu-Tang Clan mainstay Method Man stalks about the stage spitting guttural couplets about blunts, 40oz and kung-fu, while Redman bounces around the place with the kind of exuberance which suggests he’s genuinely still having as much fun as anyone else in attendance. There are the How High 2 plugs, of course, and the exhortations to pick up any bags of cannabis we might find lying on the floor and imbibe the contents, but the sense that we’re witnessing something that has been perfected diligently, lovingly even, over the years is totally satisfying.
! Charlie Amos Samantha Milligan
SONISPHERE Knebworth Park 4-6 July People who go to Sonisphere are nice. They come to Knebworth to join together and worship at the altar of metal, with no ulterior motives beyond that. This year is a landmark: 40 years of music at Knebworth, which is reason enough to pack an extra couple of cans. Performing their first European festival show, J-Pop/metal sensation Babymetal are phenomenal. Their set opens with a Star Wars-style intro video explaining that the band were sent from another world to unify metal on earth. Fair enough. The three main vocalists – Japanese teenagers clad in kind of gothed-up tutus – deliver saccharine melodies as the band sear throughout a set of melodramatic metal mentalism. There’s a sense of disbelief amongst the crowd. Slayer are greeted as returning heroes. But while War Ensemble, Seasons In The Abyss et al will always sound incredible, there’s a sense of something amiss here; a hulking great Jeff Hanneman shaped hole. It’s a Slayer show – but it comes with a tinge of sadness. We’ve never seen so many Iron Maiden t-shirts in one place. We’ve never seen so many t-shirts with the same logo in one place. We’re literally talking about one in two here. So as you’d imagine, the band’s three-pronged guitar assault, rollocking, stampeding riffs and man of the day Bruce Dickinson’s air siren pipes are as close to as perfect a match for a time, a place, and a sound as you’ll ever see. One of the highlights of the weekend was always likely to be Mastodon. Their latest studio effort is as batshit mental as ever, though perhaps a little short on the sludgy magic that we love so much – but live, they still slay. They dip through the albums, with Crystal Skull from Blood Mountain and the barnstorming latest single High Road standing out. But as grand a show as they put on, we’re left pining for more Leviathan. It’s Leviathan we really want. And onto the closing set from morally bankrupt metal superstars Metallica. Many people are saying they proved the doubters wrong at Glastonbury. However, if the doubters were a little miffed that their lead singer senselessly promotes the killing for sport of beautiful, rare animals, then the doubters are still present and correct. However, from Ride The Lightning through an elephantine Sad But True, straight through to a spectacular Seek & Destroy to close things off, they are slick, heavy and professional. But still, not cool James. Reluctantly packing up our things and leaving this whirlwind of roaring, raging, hugging, swigging, howling, moshing, crushing, loving metal mayhem, it’s back to the real world. Sonisphere isn’t the real world. It’s a lot louder, for a start. !
Thomas Anthony, David Rochford + Rich Bitt N Sonisphere
When we enter Secret Garden Party on Thursday we’re taken aback at the sheer loveliness of our first walk through the site, and our gaze locks on the glowing Emerald City at centre of the shimmering lake. Each year there's a theme at SGP, and this year's is ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’. You can interpret it any way you want, but we're told that dressing up on at least one of the nights is pretty much mandatory. While one of the main points of difference here is the greater focus on look and feel, the music on offer is in no way compromised: the Temple of Boom - a venue as impressive visually as it is in the quality of sound it delivers from front to back – is a definite highlight, holding stand-out classy house cuts and cosmic disco workouts from Felix Dickinson, Bicep and Midland. With the biggest crowd of the weekend gathered Saturday in preparation for Public Enemy (who deliver a near perfect set), SGP unleash possibly the most impressive firework display we've ever seen, topped off with a hand glider scattering red and blue lights attached to propellors while Goodbye Yellow Brick Road plays over the speakers. We manage to pull ourselves away from The Temple Of Boom to have a mass crowd moment as the legendary Martha Reeves and The Vandellas close with Dancing In the Street before enjoying the ritualistic burning of the lake's centerpiece – this year is of course the Emerald City. At nearly £200 a ticket, some might look at the Secret Garden Party line-up and argue that it's a punchy price given the relatively low number of big name headliners. But that it remains the festival of choice for so many year after year is therefore a testament to the quality of the acts selected, and the fact that SGP offers a truly unique experience. ! Jack Bolter N Alexia Ward
57 BILBAO BBK Bilbao, Spain 10-12 July
NOS ALIVE Lisbon, Portugal 10-12 July Lisbon’s cobbled streets and beautiful estuary provide the back line characteristics to Portugal’s biggest festival experience NOS Alive (formerly Optimus Alive), allowing for a rich cultural exploration for anyone making the trip to explore the former gateway to the New World. Lisbon certainly doesn’t feel like the worst place in the world to suck up some history, as the music at NOS Alive doesn’t start till 6pm every day. Friday sees Pantha Du Prince deliver a DJ set that showcases a mix between edits of his own material and other recognisable techno stompers. But you have to feel for him with his early set-time, which makes it hard to switch your mood in order to face the arrival of Interpol as a force on the Main Stage. Paul Banks’ voice sounds stern and heartfelt and Daniel Kessler pounds up and down the stage. Theirs is a look drawn from the majestic gloom of their music and tonight they push it all the way. We’ve never been into SBTRKT. It’s all felt a bit contrived, a bit obvious and a bit overcooked and bits of it still are. The mask sucks, and the fact there’s a 20 foot, horny-looking inflatable bear on the stage during his Saturday night set is just beyond comprehension. Though whether it’s the crystal clear sound in the tent or the fact we’re enjoying the caipirinhas, his show tonight feels soulful and edgy in equal measure. So on to Caribou. Oh Caribou. Winding the day in with the 3am start time, watching this act live consistently confounds your existing parameters of what possibilities electronic music can present you with. Not enough layers with that loose pop structure? Have a few more. Odessa is ramped up to the absolute maximum and new track Can’t Do Without You is unequivocally the anthem of the summer. Gig of the weekend no doubt. Beers on one of Lisbon’s many out of town beaches (all reachable by train) define our Sunday afternoon. Later that night, our heart is wanting to return to a 19 year-old frame and see The Libertines. It was a collective time warp, the kind of which we may never get again and one we’re thankful for. Time For Heroes is rolled out delightfully early, Horrorshow is every bit as shambolic as you hoped it would be, What Katie Did and Can’t Stand Me Now play the nostalgia card better than most and What A Waster makes beers and fags fly. Onto two of Crack’s faves to close the weekend, Nina Kraviz with her mesmeric, yearning techno and Nicolas Jaar with a solo show that once again is played out with more gusto and reverence to the house and techno canons he often rejects. Both are perfect finales to a festival high on seriously desirable acts. ! Thomas Frost N James Staples
Bilbao BBK is placed carefully in the idyllic northern Basque Country, with the small mountain range swerving as a breath-taking backdrop to the three-day festival. The locals queued diligently outside, donning well-worn band tees while sipping ‘Kaliximoto’, the Spanish delicacy of red wine and coke. The line-up, in this journalist’s opinion, was primarily packed with safe pop-rock acts. However, contradicting this was the Cardiffbased post-hardcore outfit Future of the Left, who kicked things off wildly with a mesh of screams and jagged riffs. The opening act’s sound waves shook the punters violently, marking the start of the festival with a ferocious awakening. That evening, Hercules and Love Affair fucking nailed it with a joyous set of fun-loving New York disco beats, and the vibe was unbeatable. With the next day starting at what felt like an absurdly early time (quick word to the wise, they don’t use any alcohol measurements in Spain), Chet Faker opened day two. Unfortunately, it seemed that many of the punters were busy having a siesta during this slot. By night, however, the atmosphere was quite the opposite, and the sense of excitement from the crowds for The Prodigy was almost overbearing. Amidst all the madness, my hair was literally set alight by a Marlboro-smoking Spaniard moshing beside me in a lion costume. Another round us was quickly in order for recuperation. With giant brands blasting their logos onto your eyeballs from every direction, there was not one stall to be seen selling any festival one-offs like an over priced flower garland or an ugly pair of baggy harems. But if the site lacked the aesthetics you wanted, you could always make a daytime trip to the Guggenheim Museum where you can get all the art you need. Bilbao BBK was an experience of atmosphere and a great insight into the Basque lifestyle and welcoming personality. For that alone we'd like to attend every year.
COMPETITION When was the last time you went to see a musical? Chances are you still needed your mum’s permission to get a pot of ice cream with an included wooden spoon and you believed that cats were female dogs. Well, we’re giving away a pair of tickets to see The Kinks musical Sunny Afternoon, so this could be your chance to revisit the experience and treat your mate/mum/nan/social worker to a wholesome night out without having to cough up any cash. For a chance of winning, all you have to do is answer this question and email the answer to email@example.com with the title ‘The Kinks’. Who wrote the music and lyrics featured in Sunny Afternoon? a) Ray Davies b) Sleaford Mods c) Jamie Jones
! Isis O'Regan Rhythmandphotos
CHAIN AND THE GANG Privatclub, Berlin 18 June
FARR FESTIVAL Bygrave Woods 17-20 July You can tell quite a bit about a festival from its door policy. If they’re hunting for weapons, its probably going to aggy. If they’re searching for narcotics, it’s probably going to be messy. If they’re checking ID, well, you’re probably going to be the oldest person there. But with the festival weather Gods shining brightly on Farr Festival, nestled in the not-sorolling hills of Hertfordshire, it was no time for dwelling on demographics. Crack’s festival began in earnest when the Alfresco Disco crew handed over to our very own Pardon My French with a summertime Bristol double header that got people off their feet and into the beautiful wooded glade where half the festival’s action took place. Out on the Main Stage, there was a distinct lack of punters for many of the festival’s live acts – so while Cardiff’s Face + Heel deserved a hushed adoring crowd for their subtle, melodic electronic duets, they probably hoped it would be comprised of more people. An electrical storm filled the skies above the site at about 9pm, which unfortunately meant that the wooded glade had to be prematurely closed, and the result was to herd more people towards fewer stages, which was no bad thing for the crowd camaraderie. Silliness was the order of the day from that point on, with Optimo and Bicep putting in four hours of disco-based romping. Optimo in particular blew the roof off, teasing the crowd with the instrumental identifying features of classics like Donna Summer’s I Feel Love, only to use them as simply a holding pattern for a new set of mixes. The crowd appreciated the craftsmanship. Saturday began with Caribou’s now ubiquitous I Can’t Do Without You (we counted four plays at least over the two days) and several pints of restorative Pimms. Anticipation was extremely high for Daniel Avery, a DJ who perhaps more than anyone else has gone from zero to hero over the past 12 months. Previous sets that we’ve witnessed have been remarkable: layered ambient textures building into powerful techno plateaus, but his Farr set was strangely disjointed: It was left to Andrew Weatherall to pick up the pace, which he did with aplomb: heads down techno rhythms, spacey overtones and a sense of propulsion that lifted the crowd. As the sun rose again on the Sunday morning scene, the hammered hay bales and haggard faces paid testament to a two-day party that showcased some of best techno, disco and house music around. It was shame that the handpicked afternoon live acts didn’t get more of a look in, but either way, the Farr festival organisers – who have grown this party from humble beginnings – should be applauded for putting together a line-up that was dripping in quality. ! Adam Corner N Theo Cottle
Ian F. Svenonius is a busy guy. He’s been a frequent DJ, published author and online TV talk show host; and all this not to mention being voted the sassiest boy in America in 1990 by Sassy magazine. Since 2009 Svenonius has mainly focused on his latest musical project Chain And The Gang, whom he's toured with profusely and generally gone about the daily business of being a shamanic preacher-man figure in the ever prevalent cult of rock ‘n’ roll. So it was nothing new for him to strut onstage and command everyone’s attention, his all-girl band jumping the rails and grabbing their instruments, all (inc. Svenonius) clad in matching sparkling denim suits. Without introduction they whipped into Chain Gang Theme (I See Progress), and later highlights see them unleash a distorted call for destruction with Devitalize, heat the room up with Detroit Music and lead the sleazy chant of Mum’s The Word. Snazzy dance moves, multiple escapades into the crowd, commanding hand movements and sweeping statements were, of course, bountiful. The girls rocked and kept absolutely straight faces for the duration (most intimidating, perhaps, was newest member Anna Nasty). The audience felt a little subdued at times, with most of the twistin’ reserved for the front rows. Maybe they were transfixed by the towering Svenonius – or, perhaps, by those incredible suits.
! Lewis Llyod Hans Tobias Duvefjord
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There are positives and negatives to having a transparent bag. The right people will get to see your Hermes coin-pouch and iPhone 5s (Gold, obviously). However, the wrong people are just as likely to see these lovely items, meaning you might end up with a transparent bag and nothing to show through it. Though if you fill it full of shit no-one will care either way, which is fine.
If you've got a Facebook account you might have noticed it's Festival Season. We'd recommend getting involved before you're forced to hide your shins for another eight months. A tent is a tent is a tent, but sleeping bags are a more personal matter. Make sure you've got yours on you at all times by wearing this thing which doubles as a gilet-ofsorts. Cool, whatever it is. SIX SHIRT Our Legacy £125 hokoshop.co It's hard to underestimate the importance of a good shirt. If you buy the right one it'll basically last you forever (assuming you don't totally inflate yourself with cake and pints). You can wear that shit to your own funeral man.
COOL WORLD T-SHIRT Worldwide Limited $35 worldwidelimited.net DR. MARTENS COMPETITION If you know anything about Dr. Martens, then you'll know about the 1460. Worn by everyone who ever stood for anything worthwhile (slight hyperbole, but only just), they've been the definitive footwear of subcultures across many generations. You should probably go pick some up from the Lamb Street store, but before you do, we've got five pairs to give away this month, and all you've got to do is answer the following question What do you stand for? Email your answer as either text or a photo to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Dr. Martens”.
It is a cool world. Just look at it. Not the bad stuff, don't look at that. Just the cool stuff. And if anyone tries to tell you any different, well, we hope you're wearing this shirt.
BANKS Goddess Harvest Records
DORIAN CONCEPT Joined Ends Ninja Tune
Breakthrough songstress Banks emerged last year from a gloomy mist, mesmerising us with her debut track Before I Ever Met You. Since unveiling her husky sounds that ooze femininity, she continued to hold our gaze by releasing two EPs and five singles in rapid succession, alluding to what we could expect from keenly-anticipated album Goddess. Dripping with sensual coos and solemn RnB beats, Goddess sees Banks remain consistent with style and topic. The subject matters, of course, sway from heartbreak to dark confessions; the line “solitude fits me like a glove” nicely summing up her sultry motif. Opening softly with Alibi, Banks quickly builds momentum. We're brought along on an emotional journey through Goddess, experiments in those darker realms which categorised her earlier work seguing into sickly-sounding pop which could frankly feel at home on a Rihanna album cut. Moving away from those woozy, seductive tracks that preceded the album – songs like This is What it Feels Like and Drowning – Banks exposes her vulnerability against a tender backdrop of subtle guitar riffs, pining piano and emotional rawness strings. However, not all tracks demonstrate her true potential, and the shining moments in Goddess are the collaborations with the likes of Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Jamie Woon and Lil Silva. At times there are hints of what could become a memorable, resonant ballad, but unfortunately Banks never quite achieves that goal.
There’s been no shortage of alternative hip-hop these past few years, but just because some of the most publicised offerings came courtesy of relentlessly controversial figures and part-time rappers Odd Future, we shouldn’t discount any of their genuinely adventurous contemporaries. That’s undoubtedly the category Seattle duo Shabazz Palaces should be placed in; with Lese Majesty, they’ve made a compelling case for the title of most forward-thinking collective under the alt hip-hop banner. The 18 tracks here are split into seven different "astral suites of recorded happenings", both sonically and thematically. It ticks most of the typical hip-hop boxes; a genuine alternative banger in the form of #CAKE and an impressive flow on Ishamel are let down by some uninspired lyricism running through Forerunner Foray. It really is its own entity however, not so much blurring genre lines; aiming instead to abolish them completely. The beats are complex, eccentric and intelligently constructed. The narrative – while not always entirely easy to discern – is intricate and unusual. And with the progression from 2011’s debut Black Up shining throughout; you get the impression that this duo would rather give up completely than face the idea of repeating themselves.
Dorian Concept has come a long way since “fooling around on [his] microkorg” back in ’06. Those YouTube videos and early beats on MySpace catapulted the Austrian synth wiz to the forefront of the bedroom beatmakers of the late 00s. With that scene now dissipating, Dorian has signed to Ninja Tune with a new album and a new approach. Joined Ends sees Concept focus on loops more than before, with straighter, more layered melodies. The influence of Cinematic Orchestra – whom Concept has been playing with live – is palpable. Gone are the wonky rhythms of Flying Lotus and Richard Spaven; Dorian’s new sound is more mature and developed. Yet we can’t help but miss a touch of that frantic, messy energy, and while the use of his own vocals provides additional layers, they suffer from being a touch repetitive. But this album is not devoid of highlights. Draft Culture is more bass driven and the melodies are more understated, taking on a rawer, analogue feel reminiscent of an early Hyperdub release. The Few builds to a proper crescendo thanks to a slightly wonkier lead reminiscent of the ideas built through his earlier work, while Trophies has a pounding rhythm which carries the melodies a lot further than on other tracks. But unfortunately, as an album Joined Ends takes too long to become interesting. While there are a handful of engaging moments and, of course, extremely accomplished synth playing, rarely does it all pull together cohesively.
To say that LP1 is one of the decade’s most anticipated debuts is no overstatement: the industry hype machine certainly got in a flurry with the arrival of this unique chanteuse. The road to LP1 was forged by a meticulously-crafted series of curiosity-sparking videos, genre and genderexploring tracks and a constant air of mystique only slightly cracked by a series of low key live performances and a handful of carefully-selected cover features that proved twigs to be truly out on her own in the field. The reveal of the album cover, her face a canvas blushed with paint, wasn’t the only statement to suggest who was in control. Known to distort her own image in visual accompaniment to her previous EPs and through conscious allusions to previous figures including Sade and Aaliyah (is that line in Two Weeks meant to sound just like Beyonce’s Sweet Dreams?), twigs played to our relentlessly self-referencing era, and constantly wrestled the industry’s conceptions of her into her own hands. And true to form, much like how the FKA twigs aesthetic arrived fully formed, LP1 sounds like nothing that came before it. In mood and content, LP1 is a constant tease, an exploration of prolonged ecstasy that never offers full relief. twigs’ soft breathy falsetto leads a string of erotically charged nocturnes, weightless bombasts of lust, sex and power struggles that subtly and incessantly flip between passive and dominant roles. Thick smoggy pads, fluttering melodies, off-centre beats and that signature clack-a-lacking pendulum percussion take moody, morphing RnB and obscure it even further. A mixture of frosty catharsis and extended ecstasy, LP1 is very much an internal record: an eyes closed introspective on grapples for power at the hands of a impenetrable lover, or internal abandonment in the absence of one. Final track Kicks is a perfect example of this. Lead lyric “Tell me, what do I do when you’re not here?” is the most flatly suggestive of the album (as she explained in our interview, “I get myself off. And I’m better at it than you!”). Equal parts cold passivity and sexual liberation, it’s a display of authority that sees twigs once again seizing power, quite literally, with her own hands. Sure, LP1’s sometimes cluttered mixture of production doesn’t carry as many catchy hooks or defining moments as the tracks that preceded it, but in today’s over-saturated landscape, the hardest thing you can do as a musician is to sound like yourself. A true original, LP1 sees FKA twigs breaking from the doctrine of the mainstream to hone a style that could reach canonical status.
While Ty Segall mellowed out for a second on 2013’s Sleeper, the prolific Cali musician’s latest record is business as usual: a stomping, sprawling record of fuzzy garage, excellent arrangements, boisterous glam and rushing psychedelia. With his guitar wizardry continuing its dominance, Manipulator sees Segall maintain the excellent form which seems to have been in place since his fucking birth, and the 60s references and ethos even more striking and obvious than ever. The electric guitars are pretty 60s, the acoustic guitars are pretty 60s, the vocals are pretty 60s and, loaded with 17 tracks, the album length is actually pretty 60s too. The Hand, for example, has a mandolin and long, fuzzy guitar solos, falsetto vocals and repetitive, stop-start rhythm guitars. Meanwhile, The Singer pulsates and builds to its chorus; bolstered by strings that add a nice touch of “this is a composition, darling. Not a song”-ness to proceedings. All pretty 60s. However, there are few artists who could write an album as derivative as this and still make it sound like their own work, and Ty Segall is one of them. Manipulator is yet another gem in a thriving catalogue.
! Isis O'Regan
! Joe Goggins
! Jack Dolan
! Anna Tehabsim
! Jon Clark
SHABA ZZ PAL ACES Lese Majesty Sub Pop
FK A T WIGS LP1 Young Turk T Y SEGALL Manipulator Drag City
FALT Y DL In The Wild Ninja Tune
J Mascis is often hailed as some kind of slacker icon. But if that’s really what he is, we'd hate to think how lazy it must make us. Despite an exhaustive touring schedule occupying most of his time since Dinosaur Jr. dropped the excellent I Bet on Sky a couple of years back, he’s still found time to turn out a new solo record. Presumably, his ears were getting sick of deafening guitars too, because this, like his last solo album Several Shades of Why, is an almost entirely acoustic affair. The joy of that, of course, is that it allows Mascis to display an entirely different side to his songwriting; one that’s concerned purely with taking a six-string and building melody, rather than what kind of bone-crushing effects you can lay over it. His playing is the real draw here, too; on the Cat Power-featuring Wide Awake, he turns in a gorgeously-arpeggiated, Nick Drake-esque performance, while setting a gently racing acoustic against a signature solo on the electric to stirring effect. If anything, it’s when Tied to a Star strays from the basic guitarand-vocals formula that it falters a little; Every Morning’s clattering, pots-and-pans percussion is distracting, and the band seem to be operating on different time signatures on the awkward Drifter. For the most part, though, this is a fabulously mellow effort, perfectly timed for a late summer release.
This might be one of the final straws for those that held Richie Hawtin and his Plastikman guise in the highest darkest reverence in techno’s pantheon of overlords. Created for a live performance, EX captures a one-off visual spectacle at the Guggenheim and is another example of Hawtin’s constant need to have some kind of “other aspect” to accompany the music. It’s this that is becoming one of the most tiresome things about his output. From an entrepreneurial rather than a conceptual point of view, Enter – his night in Ibiza – is clearly a huge success. But for those wanting to listen to some fresh music from Hawtin, EX feels like an appeaser, in that it sounds completely inauthentic, a selection of productions designed for a moment that none of us attended. EX certainly feels cohesive, though this might be primarily due to the seamless weaving of the tracks in its live enviornment with opening track EXposed being a fine example of how slow minimalism can engage and draw you in. Rather than being overbearing, the techno is slow and peaks on penultimate track EXpire when the gurgling comes fully out of the shadows in full futuristic synth and rumbling bassline glory. But to be honest, the overarching feel of the record is – dare we say – a tad lazy. A middle-ground record no one wanted, yet there's a hint at why we should stick with him after he’s finished fannying around in his Ibizan Sake Bar.
Falty DL’s last album – the exceptional Hardcourage – set the bar high. A perfect distillation of crisp, summery rhythms, and melancholic, meandering melodies, it was always going to be a tough act to follow. And In The Wild, the next offering from the New York producer who has hovered at the vanguard of the leftfield/jazzified house and electronic scene since his first major release on Planet Mu in 2009, doesn’t quite reach the heights set there. Its not that there’s anything fundamentally wrong with the album – the syncopated shuffle of New Haven, and the skittering drums and butterfly vocal loop of the ghostly Heart and Soul are more evidence of why Falty DL is such a respected artist. The contemplative (even self-explanatory) Grief is delicate and poignant, and the gothic keys of Nine take things in an intriguing new direction, rattling percussion overlaid on a stumbling funeralmarch bass kick. But there’s a sense that this is more a collection of ideas, sketches and noodles than a coherent whole. The daintyyet-dark Do Me is slightly ruined by the annoying ‘do me’ vocal hook, and elsewhere tracks fade in and out innocuously enough … but who’s looking for innocuous in an album? The fact that there are 17 tracks here, when perhaps a super-slick selection of 10 or 12 would have made more of an impact, adds to the sense that this is a work in progress. That said, this is an artist who has a sleight of hand and instinct for subtle constructions that always shines through. Make a playlist of the essential tracks and call the rest ‘outtakes’ – what you’re left with is honest-to-goodness Falty DL gold.
! Joe Goggins
! Thomas Frost
! Adam Corner
J MASCIS Tied to a Star Sub Pop
PL ASTIKMAN EX (Performed Live at the Guggenheim NYC) Mute
K YARY PAMYU PAMYU Pika Pika Fantajin Warner Japan
Never seen in public without a pair of shades obscuring his eyes, it’d be fair to describe Ab-Soul as the most cryptic member of Black Hippy. This third studio album, however, offers him the opportunity to capitalise on the West Coast rap collective’s period of intense scrutiny - ie, pretty much anything that happens in the aftermath of Kendrick’s good kid, m.A.A.d city. “Can’t live without the Benjamins, but I’m interested in the photosynthesis”, Ab spits on Tree of Life. It’s a clumsy but essential lyric, summarising the way he bridges the gap between two potentially conflicting personas: the inquisitively-minded stoner who’s just round the corner from some kind of enlightenment; and the sex-obsessed money-lover whose ego is built with those conquests. Riding over a stylistically diverse bunch of beats, Ab’s restless shape-shifting makes for a wild ride. Hunnid Stax sees him try to match dirty-minded affiliate Schoolboy Q’s brutally explicit innuendo, yet Closure tells the story an amicable break-up in a disarmingly tender tone; Twact is a pill poppin’, panty dropping hyphy anthem, while Stigmata indulges in heavy religious imagery. Throughout These Days..., Ab-Soul seems elated by the prospect of being in the booth, but once you’ve endured the sound of him pulling and pushing in so many directions, you’ll need to muster up plenty of energy before delving into this album again.
Pika Pika Fantajin roughly translates as “sparkling fantasy person”, yet this record in fact sits among Kyary’s discography as her most comfortable work to date. In many ways it’s a shame; this has been the year where the decora iconography of the Japanese district of Harajuku has been appropriated by Avril Lavigne in a desperate comeback bid and the science-pop structures of J-Pop artists have become the blueprint for trendier-than-thou artists like SOPHIE and the PC Music roster. Most tellingly, it also features the track Ring A Bell which is Kyary’s first full-length song in the English language. As the genre she sits atop becomes even bigger across the world, Fantajin isn’t quite the stamp of authority it could have been. It does, however, contain some premier demonstrations of her Japanese bubblegum pop at its most infectious, outlandish and, for the most part, impossible to imitate. The quasi-rock instrumental of Serious Hitomi is juxtaposed brilliantly with her bashful vocal style to create one of the record’s most loveable moments. We’re then treated to the cheerleader chant that opens Kira Kira Killer – perhaps Kyary’s most unforgiving ear worm since 2011’s PonPonPon – which lends itself effortlessly to the traumatic-via-cute aesthetic that she’s become so celebrated for. It’s by no means a travesty that Kyary’s idiosyncratic sound is starting to gain a legacy, but when her outré work stars to become diluted for the sake of global audiences, you can’t help but wonder whether she might end up getting left behind.
Let's be having it straight, Interpol lost their way a bit. A couple of sub-standard records, the most enigmatic member of the band in the form of Carlos D taking his leave and a solo album from Paul Banks that failed to register, and then you realise a decade has passed since Antics. After a summer touring they’re feeling their way back into the live arena, and though performances have been heavy on their seminal first two records, they also featured a smattering of tracks from new record El Pintor (The Painter) woven seamlessly into their set. El Pintor is unmistakably Interpol. Banks’ vocal is unrelenting throughout and Kessler’s guitar shimmers and shines in his distinctive style. New single All the Rage Back Home is pop rock for adults with a neverending crescendo that acts as a re-introduction to the band you fell in love with. The blueprint remains, but fuller, tougher, more steeled. The sadness in Same Town New Story lies in the repetition and the simplicity, but is confident and forthright. Ancient Ways is drowned in guitar and noise but Banks come through with poise and authority and My Desire is softly underpinned with a steadily rising guitar line that envelops you. It’s the solidity of the record, maybe only let down by an effect too many here and a small hint of predictability, that moves it away from the highest echelons.
! Davy Reed
! Duncan Harrison
! Thomas Frost
AB-SOUL These Days... Top Dawg Entertainment
INTERPOL El Pintor PIAS
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“Transports you to the non-stop cosmic beach party in Harvey’s head” (Uncut Magazine) “Music for your road and acid trip” (Mojo Magazine) www.smalltownsupersound.com
A SUNNY DAY IN GL ASGOW Sea When Absent Lefse Records
Eternal slaves to the overblown, embittered paean to demon alcohol, Seattle vets Murder City Devils always imbued their garage gargle with an open-armed, almost gospel-like reverence to skid row depravity. Releasing three albums at the back end of the 90s, the clawing desperation which eked through every utterance from frontman/heartbeat Spencer Moody could never be forced. So between their 2001 break-up, their 2006 reformation, and this, their first record in 14 years, Moody must have plumbed a couple of depths to be able to step out and get blood on his hands, again. Emerging from the battered yet sturdy shelter of Sub Pop, this self-released album ticks all the boxes; the creeping organ, the stomping punch-drunk plundering, the unabashed melodynamics, the bloody scrawled diatribes. In fact, there are even unlikely chinks of light creeping through in the chiming guitars and bluegrass twang of Pale Disguise or the apologetic country sway of closer Don’t Worry. But at its heart, from the opening clatter ‘n’ mulch of I Don’t Wanna Work For Scum Anymore onwards, this is a record of turgid self-reflection and self-rejection. At points it sounds tired, hopeless, gasping for air; and that’s exactly the point.
EX AMPLE Live Life Living Epic “A get-bang-on-it party album built for summer zones” – Loaded Magazine
It’s difficult to describe A Sunny Day in Glasgow’s sound without making some hackneyed reference to shoegaze, which of course invariably summons hazy visions of the early 90s. Yet considering the band’s tumultuous personal circumstances, their fourth album is one that could only exist in the 21st century. The six group members now reside across two continents and thousands of miles, from New York and Philadelphia to Sydney, with usual bandleader Ben Daniels having to remove himself from day-to-day recording duties owing to the fact he was living in Oz. Perhaps by way of compensation, for the first time the sextet have a bona fide producer at the helm in Jeff Zeigler (The War on Drugs, Kurt Vile). Zeigler has shaped the album’s disjointed, transcontinental recording process to his advantage, expertly guiding fragmented soundscapes in and out of focus. Often it sounds as though The Avalanches have finally made a new album by sampling nothing but My Bloody Valentine and M83 songs. The duelling vocals of Jen Goma and Annie Freidrickson have been brought right to the fore, floating above the dreamlike reverie of songs like Never Nothing (It’s Alright [It’s Okay]) and In Love with Useless (The Timeless Geometry in the Tradition of Passing). Elsewhere things are altogether more aggressive, dissonant, even. Be warned, while they sound sugary on the surface, ASDIG are still a complex and challenging listen. They’re also an incredibly rewarding one.
! Rachel Mann
! Davy Reed
! James F. Thompson
MURDER CIT Y DEVILS The White Ghost Has Blood On Its Hands Again Self-Released
SIMIAN MOBILE DISCO Whorl Anti-Records
The component parts of the dark arts of dub(step) never felt so ominous than when placed in the hands of Kevin Martin. The reverb, the colossal clatter and resonance of half-time drops, the vocalists and bleak rush of The Bug's 2008 album London Zoo brought the whole project above dubstep’s parapet and into a league of its own. As the genre finds itself in the mire of moving away from the dub blueprint as a result of the collective bastardisation by EDM clowns, The Bug returns. And fucking hell it feels good. Angels & Devils splits the consciousness of the music into two distinct halves. The first six tracks are brooding, chugging bass-weight laced, smoke-inducing trips, many of which could feel like Massive Attack instrumentals. The ghostly, Burial-esque Save Me, featuring the perfectly deployed Gonjasufi, is unnerving, and Mi Lost is the closest The Bug comes to making a pop track, with a sinister vocal that smiles at you while brandishing a knife. Then the nastiness really starts. What unfolds over the next six tracks is a gnarled exploration of some of the most lyrically visceral, raw themes and sounds ever committed to record. Flowdan’s signature delivery once again takes centre stage. Fat Mac is delivered remorselessly in spoken word with lyrics like “skin graft/skin burnt/I laugh/ they learnt”, underlined by the rumbling bass fracturing and crumbling underneath. Final track Dirty is a lyrical barbwire assault, the chorus of which contains the line “Funktion One, are you dumb?”, which has the potential for true underground notoriety. Death Grips collab Fuck A Bitch is a match made in heaven, with its warbling underbelly and dubstep structure, and Fuck You with Warrior Queen feels like Poison Dart’s ruder sister. No bad thing. Angels & Devils is a bass weight masterpiece, done nastier, colder and with more style than anyone else in the genre by a country mile.
Simian Mobile Disco’s onomatopoeically-titled new album Whorl was recorded live at the Joshua Tree National Park in California, then mixed back at their studio in London; James Ford and Jas Shaw, each armed with a synthesiser and sequencer, performed the album of new instrumentals in the saloon of an old movie set. If that doesn't whet the appetite, what will? The ‘back to basics’ approach finds them moving away from the floor fillers of yesteryear. Opening with the beatless, morphing Redshift and Dandelion Spheres, the undulating sounds and textures provide the warm-up. Heavy on atmosphere, SMD are moving further away from club culture into esoteric landscapes and the transcendental. Yet most tracks delicately unfold to reveal 4/4 at their core. Particularly, Sun Dogs and Hypnick Jerk hypnotise, care of their deep laid-back beats and colliding synths, while Dervish and Nazard take us deeper into techno territory. By challenging expectation and keeping their sound fresh, Whorl is a progressive and bold gesture, making a case for SMD to be considered for a place as pioneers in their field.
! Thomas Frost
! Phillip James Allen
THE BUG Angels & Devils Ninja Tune
Film Since it’s near-impossible to finish an episode of Peep Show without enduring three Hercules trailers on your laptop these days, it feels like we’re being bombarded with blockbusters’ marketing campaigns harder than ever. Not always a bad thing, however. Crack remembers the Dawn of The Planet Of The Apes ad during half time in the Holland – Argentina World Cup match. It was so attention-grabbing and wildly violent that a load of Daily Mail readers complained. We’ve also been getting stuck into some real stuff this month, such as The National documentary Mistaken For Strangers, and I Am Divine, which pays tribute to the late drag icon. And then there's Boyhood, one of the best, realest-feeling realism films to have ever been made – even though it's, erm, kind of fiction. We explain properly below...
HERCULES dir: Brett Ratner Starring: Dwayne Johnson, John Hurt, Ian McShanec
We walk out of the cinema a snivelling wreck, and with our eyes puffy, we text every friend with an opinion we respect to inform them that we've just experienced something unprecedented. During that walk home, we feel like we've just seen the perfect film. Starting in 2002, an eight-year-old Ellar Coltrane begins to play the eight-year-old Mason. He, the cast, Linklater and the production team will film for the subsequent 12 years. It's worth highlighting that Boyhood is based on fiction penned by Linklater. Its many poignant moments, real or unreal, are distilled through the mind of Linklater – typical of his back catalogue. Here, more so than ever, it feels as if he's portraying life as a series of ironic occurrences, each with varying levels of cruelty. As well as this venture into the new realms of realism in film, Boyhood provides the most apt platform for Linklater to explore his philosophies. Instead of the blunt methodology of Waking Life and Slacker, whereby we have to conjure up our understanding through analogies and metaphors, the life lessons are experienced through Mason, meaning you don't have to be a smart arse to get your ponder on. It's this purity of ideas and dedication to art that resonates, and makes us continue to think that Boyhood is perfect long after that post-cinema buzz. ! Tim Oxley Smith
I AM DiVINE dir: Jeffrey Schwarz Starring: Divine, Michael Musto, Mark Payne
! Tim Oxley Smith
MISTAKEN FOR STR ANGERS dir. Tom Berninger
BOYHOOD dir. Richard Linklater Starring: Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke
Unsurprisingly, Hercules isn't very good. Typically, films of this ilk - set in the classical age but lacking in class - are very dumb. They're as dumb as Dwayne Johnson's teeth are white and his pectorals are chunky, and this is by no means an exception. Set against a green screen that is meant to be in ancient Greece, Hercules and his small mercenary entourage are asked to help fight a war for Lord Coyts (John Hurt) - only to find they've been fighting on the wrong side (yes that's a spoiler, but we doubt any one reading this will go and see the film anyway). Pithy oneliners, prominent sexism and the (admittedly pretty good) meathead action scenes fill in the gaps of a script that could have been written by anyone capable of wielding a pencil.
“Being Matt’s brother kind of sucks because he’s a rockstar and I’m not”. For all its rock-doc/ coming of age subplots, Mistaken For Strangers triumphs as a story about two dysfunctional brothers. The documentary sees Matt Berninger (frontman of The National) speak to his younger brother Tom about his inability to complete tasks, his failure to deliver guest list for Werner Herzog and the age-old tour slip-up of “missing the bus”. Fans of the band should know this it’s not much of an exposé of The National’s inner-workings, but there are a few choice moments; rehearsals for Trouble Will Find Me recording sessions and Matt unknowingly filmed belting out Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks acapella while warming up in a toilet cubicle. And from the eyesight of a less successful brother, you see Berninger as a self-made boy wonder that can’t hook his younger brother up with a photo with the president. There is a level of skepticism that can arise when a goofy filmmaker manages to make an incredibly poignant film about a goofy filmmaker, but it’s best to see Mistaken For Strangers as a documentary about documentaries. The winning component however is a tale more compelling: little brother syndrome. ! Duncan Harrison
DAWN OF THE PL ANET OF THE APES dir. Matt Reeves Starring: Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Andy Serkis After dropping the working title, The Rise Of The Beginning Just After The Very First Bit Of The Saga Of The Planet Of The Apes, a marketing team knuckled down to burn one of the summer's most popcorncomplementing movies into the public's psyche. The director of Cloverfield is drafted in to make a film which won’t make the audience feel stupid – a trait most exec producers are looking for in their summer blockbusters. Dawn… is the sequel to 2011's ultimately average Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes (yes, the titles should have been the other way around). Caesar, who's inhabited by Andy Serkis in the same way he played Gollum from Lord of the Rings, lives with his community of liberated apes in the forest surrounding San Francisco. After a fatal global epidemic, only a handful of human survivors remain. As the humans begin to venture out of the city, the question is posed, “Can humans and apes learn to tolerate and live with each other?” No, of course not - it all goes to shit and in very entertaining fashion. It’s silly and unimaginative, sure, but it serves up that flash-bang spectacle worthy of anybody's pocket money. ! Tim Oxley Smith
Divine was born Harris Glenn Milstead to middle-class conservatives in Baltimore and ended his life 42 years later. He had secured the title as the self-proclaimed Queen of Trash and cult icon for misfits the world over. Best pal of John Waters and integral member of the egregious Dreamlanders troupe; this documentary follows his slow-but-steady ascent from bullied oddball to “the most beautiful girl in the world”. I Am Divine’s finest accomplishment is in exploring the delicate balance between Divine the person and Divine the performer, examining the man that lies somewhere in the middle - revelling in the fame and glory of the monster he has created, while struggling to be taken seriously as a character actor. It sometimes feels that the darker moments of his life are skimmed over in favour of celebrating Divine’s glorious excesses, but watching him luxuriate in his grotesqueness is far too entertaining to object to. As the film begins to slide towards the superficial, a well-timed and poignant family reconciliation after years of estrangement keeps you emotionally invested. In a confused age of manufactured cultural ‘icons’, it’s good to be reminded of Divine’s authentic legacy as both underground nobility and the last bastion of all things truly fabulous. !
Tamsyn Aurelia-Eros Black
Blue sky thinking with...
Hello Mr. Schniffermann,
I had a dream that all three members of enigmatic disco troupe ItaloJohnson morphed into actor-turnedgarage-rocker Juliette Lewis. I woke up in a cool sweat. What could it mean?
I’ve started an underground music webzine primarily focusing on disparate strains of the Maltese analogue techno scene and Skwee hip-hop artists. But the only time I get mad hits is when I post something like Coolio releasing music via PornHub or Alanis Morrisette’s dog getting kidnapped. I’m talking Google jumping hits Denz! Coolio’s got shit hair and my mum wouldn’t even be caught listening to Ironic in 2014. It’s tearing me apart, but I’m making paper.
I want a pet but I can’t decide what to get! lol. My friends all like cats but I really want a dog lol. My sisters got a hamster and my best friend Laurens got a tortoise but I want something different. Do you like pets and what pet should I get.
Hannah, 22, Bristol Denzil says: Yeah, and I had a dream that The Brothers Johnson morphed into Jerry Lee Lewis. I think it means you should lay off the steadily matured Double Gloucester.
Kate, 13, London Denzil says: I don’t even ... I can’t even ... I don’t even know where to start. They don’t pay me enough for this.
Stanley 23, York Denzil says: Stan, you don’t control the market and you never will. Picture the scene: a crowded Blackpool Pier on a summer’s day. A 12-yearold Denzil, realising there’s a surplus of Bovril in the house (my old man exported the stuff in the 70s), starts selling at the entrance. No one’s buying hot, meatbased drinks in 29 degree heat. So after some serious consideration, I was out there selling fruit juice the next day. That juice was called Um Bongo, my friend. Um Bongo.
The Next Episode
by Josh Baines
Oh fuck. Oh Jesus. Oh fucking jesus. Oh jesus fuck. Why do I keep putting myself through this. I’m tired. I’m hoarse. I hurt. I feel my age. I don’t want to put that vest on. I don't want to perform. Nobody wants to see Marshall any more. I don’t want them to even see Shady any more.
arms. I’m enveloped. I’m back. “You made it, Dre. You made it.”
“I want to see Shady.”
He passes me a polaroid. It’s us. We look happy. We were happy. I’m dressed as Robin.
I turn. He made it. He’s here. He takes me in his
I told myself he wouldn’t. I couldn’t have taken it if he hadn’t. “Wouldn’t miss it for the world, Em. Hey, have a look at this.”
“That was a great day wasn’t it?” My breathing is easier. He came. He’s here. We’re together. We’ll do this together.
“I did. Thank you. I love it. It fits so nicely. It’s so comfortable. I wear it when I go running.” “Really?”
“Did you get the headphones I sent?”
“Of course I do. Come over here. I want to show you something.”
“I did. Thank you. I love them. I take them out when I go running. Did you get the Call of Duty t-shirt I had sent over?”
I stand next to him. I see us together in the mirror. Back together again. Wembley. We can do this. We’ll do this together.
The Crack Magazine Crossword Across 02. Tome; reserve (4) 04. US Actor/Comedian/Jumper wearer/gibberish speaker (4,5) 08. Coating for fish; kick the shit out of; __sea Dog’s Home (6) 09. Tool for those who can’t be trusted with food (3) 11. ____ Casino, ambient hip-hop producer (5) 13. Crease; elaborate crisp/chip cutting method (7) 14. A man lost at sea or on some sort of island or something (4) 16. Another Level halfwit Dane (6) Down 01. “All together now...” (6) 03. Delicious hot chocolate beverage which is delicious (5) 04. Conor Oberst’s primary project (6,4) 05. Emotional release (9) 06. Baggy dancing man (3) 07. Balkan nation, capital Zagreb (7) 10. Withdraw totally from relations with someone/something; A Yorkshireman called Geoffrey (7) 12. Moesha-by-night (6) 13. Covering for juvenile caterpillar; Papa Sven’s techno institution (6) 15. Muscular contraction (5) Solution to last month’s crossword: ACROSS: 01. TYSKIE, 02. TYRA-BANKS, 04. TOP-OF-THE-POPS, 05. TRANSFORMER, 06. TEND, 08. TREND, 09. TOTALITARIAN, 12. TANDEM, 13.TISSUE, 14. TART DOWN: 01. TASK-FORCE, 03. TIPI, 04. TINCHY-STRYDER, 05. TIFFIN 06. TIMPANI, 07. PTERODACTYL, 10. TINARIWEN, 11. TESLA
After being injured in a motorcycle crash in 1994, Public Enemy DJ Terminator X began to feel as if he’d had enough of fighting the power, bringing the noise and providing the bass for London’s face. Following his release from hospital, X relocated from New York to Vance County, North Carolina where he earned a living breeding African black ostriches on a 15-acre farm. While nurturing his beloved eight foot tall, 300 pound flightless birds, he’d still get behind the wheels of steel for the occasional club set, and despite leaving Public Enemy in 1999, his former group mates respected his new venture (“An ostrich farm is a good move”, Chuck said with admiration). After becoming disillusioned with the ostrich game, X has returned to hip-hop. And despite the farm’s financial struggles, X recently confirmed its recent rejuvenation: “Now they’re raising goats. That’s doing much better for them.”
20 Questions: MC Grindah
“Dubstep is disgusting. I actually find it hard to talk about to be honest. I get a lump in my throat”
Where were you when you first heard pirate radio? How did it feel when those frequencies first burst through the airwaves and out those speakers? For one man, this timeless auditory sensation became a way of life. That man is MC Grindah, the head honcho of Kurupt FM, a West London MC of the highest calibre, and the star of BBC Three’s People Just Do Nothing, which follows Grindah and his Kurupt collective as they keep the radio station alive. As you might imagine, he’s a very busy man. If he’s not tearing up Brentford club raves (there’s a rumour going round that he invented the rewind) then he’s locked in the studio resting comfortably somewhere between 130 and 135bpm. We managed to pin Grindah down for 20 very important questions. Best believe, the rest is irrelevant. What was your favourite cartoon when you were a kid? Cartoons are made by the government to brainwash kids. I remember Captain Planet coming on one day and I was like, rah, hold on… this whole thing is basically just trying to brainwash me into recycling. No way. I have purposefully gone through my entire life and never recycled anything ever. Cartoons are dangerous. What’s the most overrated album of all time? Probably any dubstep album ever made, it’s disgusting. I actually find it hard to talk about to be honest. I get a lump in my throat.
Favourite board game? Monopoly probably cos it reminds me of my life - just gradually taking over the whole of London. It does take ages though. Actually, thinking about it, I always got bored and hated it. Put Kerplunk.
What are you wearing? Moschino pattern shirt, black Versace jeans, black Ralph Lauren hat, black Nike Air Max, Nike socks and, errr let me see…. Primark tartan boxer shorts. Don’t really matter with that bit ‘cause no one sees it.
Happy hardcore or jump-up drum ‘n’ bass? Garage and Jungle. Next!
If you were trying to seduce a potential lover, what music would you play? Probably some ladies’ garage tunes… like that Sticky tune - Things We Do For Love with Shola Ama, something like that to show my sensitive side, and then once they’re relaxed, BANG! Put Get Out the Way on and just pull down my jeans.
What’s your signature recipe? I do a decent fry-up, but I can’t touch raw meat so Miche has to do the bacon and the sausages. To be honest once she’s already doing them I normally just let her do the rest of it as well, but I always stand behind her and direct her how I like everything done. So it’s still my recipe. Favourite cereal? More of a fry-up man to be honest, but if I have cereal it would probably be Frosties with bare sugar on top. What’s in your grocery cupboard? Grocery cupboard?! It’s not the olden days mate! Nah to be honest you’d have to ask Miche. I’m a modern man – I give her all the power when it comes to the flat. She gets to shop, clean and cook whenever she wants. Wayne’s World or Bill & Ted? Ahh that’s a hard one. I love double acts. It’s sort of like me and [Kurrupt’s resident DJ] Beats innit? We’ll probably bang out one of these classic hit films at some point and make bare money and disappear like those lot… You never really see them about anymore…
Who’s your favourite celebrity? Hmm… probably Bob Marley or DJ EZ… Both legendary, but EZ is a DJ and I’m an MC, so I probably relate more to Bob. If you could adopt a grandparent, who would you choose? Probably Patrick from Eastenders. Is there a piece of advice you wish you’d given to yourself ten years ago? No. I gave myself the best advice - never stop doing what you’re doing. And ten years later here I am. I haven’t changed and I am still doing exactly what I was doing ten years ago. What’s the furthest you’ve ever run in one go? I can run from the bottom of Brentford High Street to the rooftop of the block we transmit from in three minutes 38 seconds flat. Shout out to the Brentford filth! I sees ya! By the time you’ve parked your car I’ve
already taken down the station you mugs! Have you ever been arrested? I’ve done a two stretch mate, what do you think? Who’s the most famous person you’ve ever met? Saw Wookie on the train one time. I tried to get a photo but when I stopped him I realised I had a 3210 at the time and there was no camera. But still chatted to him for a while about the garage circuit and that, and then he had to go ‘cause he needed to move down the carriage for some reason. At what age did you lose your virginity? Have you spoke to Beats? Nah? 13 then. Rate these Dannys in order of how much you like them: Danny Dyer, Danny Glover and Danny DeVito. Don’t care. Don’t care. Don’t care. Describe yourself in three words. STRONG, POWERFUL, LYRICAL … GOOD LOOKING. What would you want written on your tombstone? I would want no words, just an engraving of my face screaming into a microphone. And maybe a Moschino background. People Just Do Nothing is showing on BBC Three, all episodes are available to watch on iPlayer now
At some point during the early noughties, we hit Peak Internet. It happened when people were showing off Razor flip phones, using MSN messenger and adding friends with names like >1FOOTiNTHER4 VE< to MySpace profiles, which is amazing because all of those things were shit.
the ‘right to be forgotten’.
At that point, no one published their employer or primary school’s details on social networks. They just wrote “balllin” on the job title “‘cause I make like $250,000+” and then went back to asking for a few more comments on their new profile layouts (yellow text on a background of tiled Magic Eye-esque pictures of dolphins).
Most of the examples that have come to light so far have been pretty petty: there’s the banker who didn’t want people to know his poor performance got him fired; the Spanish newspaper’s notice about a mortgage foreclosure, which kicked the whole thing off; and an article on French workers fighting an “art battle” using multi-coloured sticky notes.
Feeling obliged to provide so much information isn’t the main problem. It feels like there’s a self-indulgent war of attrition that requires us to share more while everyone’s working to restrict what we have access to, which just didn’t exist back then. In the last two years, ISPs started banning websites, PR companies editing Wikipedia, cable companies threatening net neutrality, we’ve found out there’s incomprehensible levels of state surveillance, and now there’s
The latest issue involves people who don’t want us to see stories about them asking search engines to remove links, which they can do now thanks to a recent European Court of Justice Judgement.
Then there’s Referee Dougie McDonald, who lied about the reason for reversing a Dundee United penalty decision, blaming his assistant. It was a career-ender for the linesman who buckled under the abuse and death threats he received and quit the profession. Yet news stories about the event are being hidden from European Google searches. The search engine’s already received more
than 70,000 ‘right to forget’ requests. At the moment though, there’s enough hype to ensure worrying removals are turned into news stories (Google informs websites when content is targeted) and people who want to hide information end up drawing attention to it. But that’ll subside soon and then the public relations industry will go into overdrive ‘cleaning’ up the reputations of bad people. You can just imagine PR executives rubbing their hands with glee, dreaming up packages to de-list the content about an event, edit the Wikipedia page and make it appear like something didn’t happen. Sure the content will remain on websites, but after the fuss dies down no one’s going to remember to double-check their research with search workarounds and you’re going to end up with an Alastair Campbellabridged history of events. At Peak Internet there were little-to-no restrictions in place. It felt archaic and that was essential to making it an effective and enjoyable medium. Now the balance is tipping in the wrong direction and it has been
for some time. This may sound like a rosetinted, ‘everything’s shit now’ argument, like making out VHS are somehow better than DVDs or that it’s fun to collect CDs. That’s not the case, the internet’s way better now than it’s ever been. The point is that if we’re not wary of censorship creep we risk one of the pillars of modern day life slowly losing its value. With a structure dictated by the US government, the world’s spy agencies looking at everything and PR firms eroding the quality of the information that’s available, we could live in a world where everyone forgets Dougie McDonald is a bastard or that Campbell-doctored government releases sent us to war, and that’s not cool.
Words: Christopher Goodfellow mediaspank.net @MediaSpank Illustration: Lee Nutland leenutland.com
‘THIS IS A GREAT, VERY BRITISH MUSICAL ABOUT A GREAT, VERY BRITISH BAND’ 71
MAIL ON SUNDAY
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Music and Lyrics
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Featuring Caribou, Rustie, Wildest Dreams, Joey Bada$$, Christopher Owens, Lust For Youth, Merchandise, Susan Hiller, Xeno & Oaklander, REMO...