Interpol THE BUG
DR. MARTENS BRIGHTON - 15B PRINCE ALBERT ST DR. MARTENS SPITALFIELDS - 15 LAMB ST
OSLO - WHAT’S ON www.oslohackney.com / www.alt-tickets.co.uk
Thursday 11th September T MNEK - THE PARTYO L D O U S
Wednesday 24th September CLAIRE
Monday 15th September CARTER TUTTI VOID
Monday 29th September ÓLÖF ARNALDS
Tuesday 16th September CARTER TUTTI VOID
Tuesday 30th September DARLIA
Wednesday 17th September DUOLOGUE
Wednesday 1st October THE PHANTOM BAND
Saturday 20th September KING BUZZO
Thursday 2nd October UT SYLVAN ESSO S O L D O
Friday 3rd October OFF!
Tuesday 14th October SIVU
+ CEREBRAL BALLZY
Tuesday 7th October JAKE ISAAC Wednesday 8th October SHAKKA Friday 10th October NEW CITY KINGS Saturday 11th October HACKNEY WONDERLAND
Wednesday 15th October HUNDRED WATERS Thursday 16th October LEFT LANE CRUISER Monday 20th October RHODES Tuesday 21st October ALL WE ARE
WIT H DJ MAL I BU & F RIE ND S + WEEKLY SPECI AL GU ESTS E V E R Y F R ID A Y U N T IL 0 3 .00. FR EE EN TR Y B EFO R E 23. 00 WWW.F A C E B O O K .C O M/ V A L H ALLAFR I D AYS
Party classics, curveballs, contemporary sounds and genrespanning anthems upstairs on the dance-floor. Funk, house, jazz and afro-beat downstairs in the bar.
ANDY BLAKE / XXXY / TASKER / DOC DANEEKA + WEEKLY SPECIAL GUESTS / 22.00 - 03.00 / £5 ENTRY
Forward thinking electronic music with monthly residents and weekly special guests. Advance tickets available online. www.residentadvisor.net / www.alt-tickets.co.uk
Oslo, 1a Amhurst Road, Hackney, E8 1LL
AMSTERDAM DANCE EVENT
preSENTS THURSDAY OCTOBER 16 TALE OF US / DJ HARVEY DJ TENNIS / MIND AGAINST TOBIAS. LIVE / SOMNE JOB JOBSE
FRIDAY OCTOBER 17 JAMIE JONES / MAGDA SPECIAL GUEST / DEETRON RICHY AHMED / ROUTE94 PATRICK TOPPING / WAFF MARK JENKYNS
SATURDAY OCTOBER 18 GUI BORATTO LIVE / MICHAEL MAYER KÃ–LSCH FT. TROELS ABRAHAMSEN LIVE BLOND:ISH / SUPERPITCHER REBOLLEDO / DAUWD LIVE NUNO DOS SANTOS / WEVAL LIVE JORN LIEFDESHUIS DGTLADE.COM
Neïl Beloufa: Counting on People 25 Jun – 7 Sep Upper & Lower Galleries
Tove Jansson: Tales from the Nordic Beware Wet Paint Archipelago 24 Sep – 16 Nov | Lower Gallery and Theatre
24 Sep – 16 Nov | Upper Gallery
15 Jul – 24 Aug Fox Reading Room
Whose Gaze Is It Anyway? 2 Sep – 5 Oct
| Fox Reading Room
Artists’ Film Club Culture Now: Laura Bates Fri 15 Aug, 1pm AhmetRoom Öğüt The writer and activist discusses her new book The Everyday 14 Oct – 30 Nov | Fox Reading Wed 6 Aug, 6.45pm Sexism Project. The artist presents a live performance event: a filmic intervention in collaboration with London-based musicians, Artist Talk: Marlie Mul as part of Journal. Wed 20 Aug, 7pm Marlie Mul presents an overview of her multidisciplinary artistic Bouchra Khalili practice as part of Journal. Sat 16 Aug, 6.45pm image work looks at Gallery Talk: Now: Susanna Pettersson Elio Petri: The Forgotten GeniusThe French-Moroccan Alsoartist’s playingmoving in September Culture Sophia Al-Maria & Omar Kholeif Fri 5 – Thu 11 Sep Fri 12 Sep, 1pm diaspora and the modern migrant. Part of Journal. Thu 21 Aug, 6.30pm The ICA celebrates the work of Elio Petri, Manuscripts Don’t Burn Artist, and writer Sophia Al-Maria Director of filmmaker the Finnish Institute in London on Tove Jansson: Tales one of the most fascinating and intriguing From 12 Sep discusses her latest work with Omar Kholeif. ICA Cinematheque from the Nordic Archipelago.
filmmakers in Italian cinema. A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness Talk: The Trouble With Fashion Terra em Transe Art Party Safar: The Festival of Popular Arab Cinema From 12 Sep Wed 17 Sep, 6.30pm Tue 19 Aug, 6.30pm Thu 21 Aug, 9.30pm Fri 19 – Thu 25 Sep A panel examines issues surrounding Considered to be Glauber Rocha’s most controversial film, To celebrate the release of Bob and Roberta Smith & Tim Ballet Boys The Arab British Centre presents Safar, the contemporary art and fashion cross-overs. and his most powerful contribution to political cinema. Newton’s new film Art Party, the ICA hosts an Art Party of its own. From 12 Sep only festival of popular Arab cinema in the UK. Culture Now: Neïl Beloufa Soy Cuba Culture Now: Gosha Rubchinskiy 20,000 Days on Earth Fri 26 Sep, 1pm Tue 2 Sep, 6.20pm Fri 29French-Algerian Aug, 1pm From 26 Sep artist Neïl Beloufa discusses Mikhail Kalatozov’s 1964 film was originally a propaganda Russian menswear designer Gosha Rubchinskiy in conversation his first UK institutional exhibition.
with Editor-in-Chief of Marfa Journal Alexandra Gordienko. With thanks to all ICA exhibition sponsors and supporters
Institute of Contemporary Arts The Mall London SW1Y 5AH 020 7930 3647, www.ica.org.uk
piece glorifying the achievements of the Cuban revolution.
Institute of Contemporary Arts The Mall London SW1Y 5AH 020 7930 3647, www.ica.org.uk
The ICA is a registered charity no. 236848
The ICA is a registered charity no. 236848
THE BUG Rather than swallow the sedative of apathy, Kevin Martin harnessed together a squadron to voice the rage of The Bug’s new album. He reveals the internal conflict that fuelled the project to Tom Watson
GOAT In reference to the work of Jorge Luis Borges, Angus Harrison discusses the purpose of music with the cryptic psych-outfit
AESTHETIC London-based Japanese outfit Bo Ningen explore the link between their wildly flamboyant style and sound
EDITORIAL It's just all so fucking weird
Recommended A guide to what’s happening in your area
NEW MUSIC From the periphery
SIMPLE THINGS OVERVIEW What to expect at the comprehensive, multi-venue music event
TURNING POINTS: ICE CUBE From FBI investigations to feuding with Eazy E, the controversial rap legend reflects on his intense career with Davy Reed
PERFUME GENIUS After years of being marginalised, Mike Hadreas has found himself on the path to empowerment. By Billy Black
THROWING SHADE The NTS host and producer talks Kassem Mosse, muslim jazz and flipping gender stereotypes with Anna Tehabsim
MARK FISHER Have we given up on the future? The author and cultural theorist discusses the ideological danger of Retromania with Andrew Broaks
Reviews Gig reports, product reviews and our verdict on the latest releases in film and music
DIGRESSIONS Don’t Quit the Day Job, Welcome to the Jungle, the crossword and advice from Denzil Schnifferman
20 QUESTIONS: DAVE CLARKE The baron of techno talks crap hotels, seductive Glaswegian punk and airport shopping
MEDIASPANK With the Israel-Palestine conflict intensifying, Christopher Goodfellow questions the integrity of the hastily-assembled think pieces
INTERPOL Refined with age and one member down, the esteemed New Yorkers stride on in their mission to master the art of melancholy. By Thomas Frost Interpol shot exclusively for Crack Magazine by Teddy Fitzhugh New York: August 2014
RYAN GANDER Remaining frank in tone, the prolific artist shares his thoughts on critical theory, intellectual bullying and the nature of switching disciplines with Augustin Macellari
ROMAN FLÜGEL Josh Baines talks inspiration with the celebrated Frankfurt DJ and producer
Visionquest Ryan Crosson Shaun Reeves Lee Curtiss Laura Jones Room 02
Terry Francis Dave Clarke Phuture (Live) Thomas Urv
20 sept Room 01
Craig Richards Rhadoo Premiesku (Live) Livio & Roby
Craig Richards Sasha Subb-an (Live) Room 02
Terry Francis Trade: Surgeon & Blawan
fabric 78: Raresh Launch Raresh Craig Richards Cristi Cons Vlad Caia (Live) Room 02
Machine Ben Sims Planetary Assault Systems (Live) Kirk Degiorgio
Social Experiment Art Department Craig Richards Eric Volta Nitin & Brohn B2B Room 02
Edible Eats Everything Derrick Carter Marquis Hawkes
Colors Guilhem Monin Stephane Ghenacia Remi Mazet (Live)
Jealous God Presents Silent Servant Regis (Live) aka Necklace Of Bites James Ruskin Broken English Club (Live) Room 03
Toi Toi Jan KrĂźger Voigtmann Lamache
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 Adam Goodison, Luke Atkinson, Charlotte James, Kimiko Christian, Lara Perea-Poole, John Maclean Contributors Christopher Goodfellow, Josh Baines, Denzil Schniffermann, Adam Corner, Tom Watson, Thomas Howells, Leah Connolly, Andrew Broaks, Angus Harrison, Robert Bates, Jon Clark, Aaron Z. Willson, Alex Gwillam, Jim Pilling, Helen Fellows, Henry Boon, Catriona Chadderton Photography Teddy Fitzhugh, Nadine Fraczkowski, Charlotte Rutherford, Spike Morris, Alex De Mora, Georg Gatsas, Hannah Godley, RIch Bitt, Radowslaw Kazwierczak, Jen O'Neill, FKA Sillié, Matthew Pontin, Timmy Fist, Markus Thorsen, Annika Berglund Illustration Lee Nutland, Louis Labron-Johnson, James Burgess 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: MANIC STREET PREACHERS PCP MR. MENDEL Freakin' SIMON BAKER Plastik (Todd Terje Mix) IN FLAGRANTI High Pitch O CHILDREN Heels (Mugwump Instrumental Remix) PITTSBURGH TRACK AUTHORITY Visions of Serengeti GARNIER ENCHANTé NOAME Belly of the Beats THE PONYS Double Visions ONDO FUDD Coup d'État REFUSED Coup d'État SCOTT WALKER + SUNNO))) Herod 2014 KATE BUSH Babooshka
Crack is suffering from an overload. There’s just too much to take in right now. Everything’s weird, everything’s fucked. The world is solidly fucked; across the world we are treating one another horrifically. Innocent people are being swatted like flies, by other people. And all we can do is sit and watch and try to understand. The people of Scotland, you beautiful people, are actually considering not taking this opportunity to escape from the gaggle of abhorrent pricks who currently make decisions for them. Yes, all these things are far more complex than this silly, flippant paragraph takes into consideration, but that’s kind of the point. Everything’s fucked, and no one really knows what to think. Apart, that is, from the world’s superpowers, who have gathered in Newport to have chat about it. That’s weird. So as a form of distraction from worldly woes, everyone – like, everyone, except the people in this office cause we’re all joyless fucks – starts pouring cold water over themselves. It’s a grand analogy, sure, but it’s also fucking weird. No one really knows why they’re doing it. Most people are doing it in the name of A/S/L, which as far as we’re aware is how you used to introduce yourself on MSN. It becomes this constant, remarkable inundation of the same action, over and over and over again. Then other people get annoyed at the people for throwing water over themselves, or annoyed that they’re doing it for the wrong reasons. And that becomes another reason for people to be mean to one another. And then the guy who ‘invented’ throwing water over yourself died from drowning. And then the funniest man ever took his own life due to depression. And then ... like ... Aphex Twin decided to release a new album, and is actually doing it, and he won’t do an interview with us, but it’s still actually happening. There are songs and everything. By Aphex Twin. And ... and ... And we sit here, and we work hard, and we make another magazine, and we just act like nothing’s really different, despite the most extraordinary maelstrom taking over our day-to-day lives, personally; politically; culturally. And that’s all we can do, really. Cause it’s all Just So Fucking Weird. Geraint Davies
JOHN GRANT Black Belt GENE CLARK Life's Greatest Fool LEWIS Even Rainbows Turn Blue NICKI MINAJ Anaconda POPCAAN Where We Come From VESSEL DPM PERFUME GENIUS Queen INDEPENDENCE AVE ORCHESTRA Welfare HAND OF DUST Walk In White BLACK LIPS Justice After All NAI HARVEST Buttercups 18+ Crows ROSE WINDOWS Wartime Lovers TRAUMPRINZ All The Things LEE GAMBLE Mimas Skank WHITE WIRES Girly Girly Girly
Issue 45 | crackmagazine.net
Respect Richey Edwards Cris Hearn Angie Towse Katy Brown Charlotte Robinson Amy Nelson Matt Sanger Holly Matthews Simon Taffe & Sofia Hagberg Hugh Taylor Chloe Botting Robbie B
O ur g uid e t o w ha t 's g o ing o n in y o ur cit y
FATIMA XOYO 9 September
#C2C14 X FIELD DAY LONDON PREVIEW Village Underground 18 September £11 CATE LE BON Koko 11 September
THE CRIBS The Garage 11 September
CARTER TUT TI VOID Oslo 15+16 September £12 + BF While it’s hard to resist the urge to dance at Factory Floor gigs, the trio have always achieved emotional transcendence via methods of musical brutality. It came as little surprise, then, that Nik Colk Void was eventually recruited by Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti of industrial pioneers Throbbing Gristle and Chris & Cosey to form a project. These two gigs will see the trio reprise an improvisation-based project that culminated in the 2012 album Transverse. Expect machine-like percussion, fierce bursts of distortion and – of course – the unexpected.
RUSTIE ALBUM L AUNCH Oval Space 18 September £15 We’ve had Rustie’s new album Green Language on repeat in the office, and the Glaswegian heavyweight is launching the LP in suitably hard-hitting fashion, with collaborators D Double E and Gorgeous Children appearing alongside DJ sets from Sampha and Logan Sama. If you really want to nail it, check out the fauxkaraoke music video for his single Attak featuring Danny Brown, and rap along to one of the year’s most addictive and troublemaking floor-fillers. Just don’t try and copy Danny’s dental game.
ARROWS OF LOVE The Barfly 17 September
MICHAEL MAYER Egg 27 September £15 Michael Mayer famously earned his job at Delirium Records – that would eventually lead him to co-found Kompakt – by insulting owners Jörg Burger and Wolfgang & Reinhardt Voigt on their slim choice of stock. More than 20 years later, Kompakt is a German electronic institution, cultivating a distribution wing of over 50 record labels, and Mayer still embodies the evolution of the Kompakt aesthetic through his own emotive output and the distinct narrative in his club sets. Catch his special headline set at Egg London this month.
AFRIK AN BOY Old Blue Last 16 September
FAT WHITE FAMILY Electric Ballroom 18 September £10 While their album Champagne Holocaust initially dropped at the end of last year, it feels like 2014 has been the year that Fat White Family secured their position as Britain’s most notorious band. To their fans, they’re heroically reviving the rawness of rock ‘n’ roll. To their detractors, they’re just appropriating radical music from half a century ago and smothering it with PR-baiting shock-tactics. We’d say you could go to the Electric Ballroom and make your own mind up, but – to Fat White Family’s credit – this isn’t the kind of gig you want to be caught stroking your chin at.
NA AM 100 Club 14 September
Last year saw the Alfa MiTo Club To Club Festival showcase even more in the way of cutting edge electronic music in Torino, Italy. And ahead of the event’s 14th edition, the team behind it are collaborating with our good friends at Field Day for a special preview event in the capital. The line-up includes the genre-eating, stereotype-bating former Crack cover star Fatima Al Qadiri as well as the likes of Laurel Halo, Turinbased analogue enthusiast Vaghe Stelle and percussive duo Ninos Du Brasil. Get a taste for one of Europe’s premier music festivals with the help of one of London’s.
JOHN WAYNE Electrowerk z 17 September
LUST FOR YOUTH 100 Club 26 September £9 Hannes wakes up. A cold sweat breaks a restless slumber. AK-47 in one hand, amyl nitrate in the other. Drowning in Versace, dripping in chains. He'd thought he was dreaming, but he sees Loke and Malthe across the room, still wearing the balaclavas, the neon sign they'd dragged from the strip still shimmering. They made it. Vegas. His breath pools clouds on the floor-to-ceiling window of the Bellagio penthouse suite as he surveys the city below. Its guilt and illness glistens; blood diamonds in a trash can. "Wake up boys, we have to leave." He says, "We're playing the 100 Club tomorrow."
ANGEL OLSEN Electric Ballroom 25 September
OWLS The Dome 19 September
LIVERPOOL PSYCH FEST Goat, Woods, Allah-Las Camp And Furnace + Blade Factory, Liverpool 26 + 27 September £50 weekend \ £30 day
BE ATS IN SPACE Corsica Studios 26 September
GREG WILSON XOYO 19 September
KING BUZZO (THE MELVINS) Oslo 20 September
Sometimes you just need to get psychedelic. Like, for example, you're sitting at home watching Danny Dyer talk about the world's hardest men and you just gotta get up and surf the rings of Jupiter. Or you're eating your fourth bowl of evening Cheerios and you just gotta get out of that chair and tesselate your inner sun child. That's just how it is. So why not get your ass down to this multi-venue weekender to check out the likes of Goat, Woods, Gnod, White Hills and Allah-Las tearing it up in the kaleidoscopic dimension? Go on, make the trip up north, you'll probably come out feeling cosmically awesome.
WHOSE GA ZE IS IT ANY WAY? ICA 2 September – 5 October Whose Gaze Is It Anyway looks at the history of pop culture through printed matter, posters, notebooks, diaries and book covers as well as film and video, celebrating of the complex social histories inherent within popular Arab culture. Including rare film posters to be shown in the UK for the first time and ephemera from the Beirut-based archive of prolific collector Abboudi Bou Jaoudeh, as well as a showing of Domestic Tourism II, a film exploring how the pyramids have been used by the international tourist industry, the exhibition explores symbols of nostalgia as parts of the Arab World spirals further into political turmoil.
CARIBOU Koko 8 October
TROUBLE VISION 6TH BIRTHDAY Motor City Drum Ensemble, Mosca, Fort Romeau Corsica Studios 3 October £17.50
THE R AINBOW VENUES - A DECADE OF MUSIC Happy Mondays, Jackmaster, Mike Skinner, Jamie Jones The Rainbow & Trinity Venues, Digbeth, Birmingham 19 September - 1 January Prices Vary It’s been a whole decade now that the Rainbow Venues of Birmingham (Rainbow Warehouse, The Arena, Next Door) have been the centrepiece of Birmingham’s clubbing culture. To celebrate this 10th anniversary, a 16-week run of events will take over the web of venues to affirm The Rainbow’s place as Birmingham’s premier clubbing supremacy. Culminating at the dawning of 2015, this will be one of the biggest event series the Midlands has seen in years. Clear your diary until next year for this mammoth clubbing event.
Trouble Vision are marking six years of their bi-monthly London knees-ups with six headline acts. By their own motto, they embody all that is good about London clubbing, and their anniversary affairs certainly stand-out from the pack, embodying their precise vision and offering sun-soaked disco and house in Corsica studios at the tail end of a summer’s worth of parties. After drip-feeding the line-up over six weeks, the headliners have been confirmed as Trouble Vision favourites Motor City Drum Ensemble (for an extended three hour set) as well as Damiano Von Erckert, Mosca, Romare, Fort Romeau (and one yet to be announced). Solidifying the strength of their brand, expect to attend Trouble Vision birthdays for years to come.
ALL AH-L AS Oval Space 24 September
DAN SARTAIN 100 Club 25 September
CR ACK MAGA ZINE 5TH BIRTHDAY - BLU MUSIC TOUR Tim Sweeney, Erol Alkan, Prins Thomas, Torn Hawk The Crown Courts, Bristol 10 October FREE THE HISTORY OF APPLE PIE The Lexington 15 October
THE VASELINES Hoxton Bar & Kitchen 1 October
T YCHO The Forum 03 October
Issue 45 | crackmagazine.net
A lot has happened in five years. From putting together the first couple of issues in a garage to featuring some of the biggest artists on the planet, well, it’s been emotional. To celebrate, we’re putting on a selection of some of our our favourite DJs at one of the best venues in Bristol. Beats In Space’s Tim Sweeney will be joined on the line-up by Phantasy bossman Erol Alkan, Norwegian cosmic disco producer Prins Thomas and a live performance from incredible ‘video mulch’-maker Torn Hawk, the vision of 80s masculinity who makes the kind of cascading, not-quite-dancemusic that has drifted the entire office into a melodic haze more times than we’d care to admit. Throw in Crack affiliates Pardon My French plus Housework and you’ve got an absolute family affair. Oh, and did we mention it’s free? Thank us later.
New Music REACTION POWER TRIO
JOEL HOOD Despite the tendency to lazily plaster the tag Balearic over anything that’s light and breezy in tone, Joel Hood’s music certainly does make us want to kick back with a pitcher of sangria and dream of the White Isle. The North Yorkshireman makes spectral disco with a nostalgic nod to the windswept jams of The Avalanches, and it positively reeks of sunshine. The rising producer has also been tipped by Mark Barrott, who is set to release an album from Hood on his influential (and well Balearic) label International Feel in the coming months. Are you tired of sickly-sweet over-cooked art-school pranks? Sink into this refreshing, unassuming, straightfaced summer pop.
O Mark Barrott \ The Avalanches :
1 Gone @_joelhood
CAYETANA While we can’t give our blessing to every new pop punk band under the sun, we’re more than happy to say that Cayetana are the real deal. They remind us of those heady drinking sessions in our bedroom when our only goal in life was to listen to every 7” ever released on Revelation, make actual mix tapes for our girlfriend and start our own mail order distro. Well we’ve grown up now (well, a bit), the mixtapes have been replaced by playlists and our main goals may be more related to actually being able to afford food and stuff – but we’re still in love with emotional punk rock and through scratchy vocals, pounding drums and jangly guitars, Cayatena do emotional punk rock very, very well.
O Get Up Kids \ Swearin’ :
1 Hot Dad Calendar cayetana.bandcamp.com
CLAW MARKS Punk can be a bit of a dirty word these days. In fact, it’s not even dirty, it just sounds tacky rolling off the tongue. It’s in a state, we suggest to East London’s gnarliest Claw Marks, that has become somewhat problematic. “It’s received its own statehood now? The Camden Mohicans will be delighted,” jokes the band’s singer Jack, before guitarist James takes us more seriously. “It’s great there’s venues like Power Lunches, recording studios like Sound Savers and projects like DIY Space existing in London now, and I’m sure around the UK there is similar. It’s good to see bands like Eagulls and Fat White Family break through as well.” Claw Marks, who share members with Human Hair and Boneyards and have recently signed to Sexbeat, summon a markedly raw clatter somewhere between the noisy discord of contemporaries like Iceage and the grumbling moan of Danzig-era Misfits. “It started off as an undefined mash of each others inputs and a desire to get weird” says James before Jack chips in: “I think we started in negative space. Thomas (guitar) and I were (and are) doing Human Hair and we didn’t want it to sound like that. James and Severin (drums) wanted it far from Boneyards’ surf punk. What sprang out was pretty much grounded between those two divining rods.” The band have already toured with Fat White Family and shared stages with Dead Ghosts and Iceage and they’re glad to have not been lumped in with any particular scene so far. We’re just glad they’re making music that makes us feel proud to say we like punk and not feel like we’ve just stepped on someone’s baby.
O Pissed Jeans \ Cheater Slicks 1 Soul Food
Salaciously trampolining between human lust and digital voyeurism, 18+ have been operating since 2011 but are now preparing to materialise from the sordid alcoves of cyberspace to put out a debut LP. Their minimal production style and RnB-stained melodies are the backdrop for explicit lyricism and straightforward steamy subject matter. It sounds like DJ Mustard if he’d never met YG and lived alone in an abandoned bedsit above a strip club in Harrow. Lead single Crows is a trembling post-Rack City anthem for abandoned avatars. Then comes Horn; a spasmodic to-and-fro between the duo where “playing nice” are “pulling knives” are posed as propositions in an equally flirtatious manner. They’ve just put out a single through fabric’s Houndstooth imprint – check them out, but keep them at arms length.
Their SoundCloud claims they’re from Antarctica. Their music belies that fact, but then again we’ll be the first to admit that in the internet age it’s actually quite hard to know the truth about anything and, really, what the fuck did we expect Antarctic music to sound like anyway? While we hate to be the ones to piss all over the mystery party we can reveal that Reaction Power Trio do not hold the answer to that question. They actually hail from Berlin and are, as far as we can tell, a duo. We don’t care that they’re compulsive liars though, because their brutal improvised sonic assault is so jazzy we nearly took our shoes off and started doing a kind of noise rock charleston around the office.
O Made in Mexico \ Jackie O Motherfucker 1 Monday Night Desperate : reactionpowertrio.tumblr.com
ILOVEMAKONNEN OK, he’s got like 12,000 followers on SoundCloud and he’s like bezzie mates with Drake or something but we just really wanted to take this opportunity to tell you all that WeLoveMakonnen. His bizzaro hippop is emotional, lo-fi and about to blow up in a huge way. His demos have been taking the internet by storm and we’re pretty sure he’s about to give the real world a pretty decent shot too. We can only hope that his dulcet tones and heavy heart touch you as much as they’ve touched us because basically if you don’t love Makonnen we’re going to have to have serious words.
O Spooky Black \ Drake 1 Club Goin’ Up On A Tuesday : soundcloud.com/ilovemakonnen
O Tinashe \ HTRK 1 Crow
VEXX Something about Olympia, Washington gets young ladies in the mood to scream into microphones. We’re not sure what it is, but a shortlist of past/present residents includes Carrie Brownstein, Kathleen Hanna, Beth Ditto, Courtney Love, Hysterics’ Stephie Crist and now Maryjane, frontwoman of the ferocious VEXX. With their aggressive, full-force clamour sounding both jarringly raw and refreshing tight it looks like this lot may well be screeching and beating their way out of the city’s musical make-up and into the world’s stereos – just as soon as they’ve released their self-titled debut on Upset The Rhythm next month.
O Bratmobile \ OFF! 1 Strength
O Listen to 1 File next to : Online
And then there were three: Interpol emerge from the gloom clutching their most potent record in a decade
21 be the only thing these two vastly different artists have in common – other than, of course, a recent return to the collective consciousness of their respective fans. A balanced and content Interpol, comprising this duo and drummer Sam Fogarino, has led to unquestionably their strongest record in 10 years. If you’re content in private, maybe it becomes easier to achieve your catharsis through the aforementioned artistic process. The clarity in the band’s output has returned, unmistakably coinciding with the departure of signature bassist Carlos Dengler, the instantly identifiable vampiric member of the band whose prowling of the stage became legendary. This is Interpol’s first long-player as a three-piece. Dengler is universally lauded by all those connected to Interpol, but is also perceived as the primary architect of inter-band tensions. In previous interviews Banks has described Dengler as an “a-hole and a genius” in 2011, and in a recent interview with The Quietus, Banks said: “If Daniel went one degree left-of-centre, Carlos intentionally went another degree-and-a-half left of that.” Banks and Dengler no longer talk. The tension is evident without spilling over. When questioned on the subject, Banks’ responses are earnest and forthright. “The dynamic is different from being a fourpiece to a three piece,” he states. “It makes arguments shorter, and I think if interest is split on our ideas a majority can fall on one side. The best analogy I can come up with is the chemical bond analogy, where there’s a tighter bond between three atoms than four. There is less activity with three and a tighter compound. I don’t feel like we are better, we were just very happy to realise it worked as a three piece and I think we have a whole new voice as a band.”
“I don’t feel all that compelled to express those parts of my personality that are balanced and content. What you usually manifest in art are therapeutic expulsions of feelings and emotions that aren’t so easy to sublimate, or aren’t so easy to hold in a balance,” muses Paul Banks on his way LAX airport. In New York 30 minutes earlier, art of another kind has literally got in the way of our phone conversation with Interpol’s lead guitarist and engine Daniel Kessler. “I’ve literally just stumbled across one of those Aphex Twin stencils in the street”, he gasps. “I’ve been a fan for at least 20 years. That’s unreal. I’ll call you back.” Aphex Twin and Interpol? Unlikely bedfellows, but if the above statement by Banks is applied directly to the expulsion of the uncomfortable, albeit with vastly differing methods, it might
When asked whether Carlos leaving the band has paved the way for a more solidified unit, Banks is less candid. Carlos’s role is never less than firmly acknowledged. “I wouldn’t say that, and I’d be uncomfortable someone else saying that. I just think we’re a different beast now. I’m not gonna say anything … Carlos is a man, Carlos is amazing. I need to acknowledge how much I respect Carlos and his contribution.” Brad Traux continues to fill in on tour duty, but in terms of filling the four-string gap left in the critical rehearsal and recording space, Carlos’s absence was sorely felt. And so it took a solution much closer to home to continue the quality present in Interpol’s invention room. Paul explains, “I spent my career in the band feeding off what [Carlos] was doing on the bass to inform what I was doing vocally. I really felt that lack when I met up with Daniel for the first time in the rehearsal space. So I suggested, ‘why don’t I bring the bass in and nail down the chord progressions?’ So as I was playing bass I
started getting vocal ideas and we were off and running within two rehearsals. The bass unlocked the sessions.” If there was a popular misconception floating around Interpol, it was that Carlos’s departure signalled the end of the band. The history books show Interpol’s third and fourth records stand critically at odds with the adulation poured over their first two efforts, of which Turn On The Bright Lights stands as one of the most remarkable debuts in an already vintage era. If Interpol’s inter-band tensions can be characterised by their musical output, there was perhaps a feeling of tiredness present on those later efforts. Even the intense gloom of the self-titled fourth record felt somewhat forced, with the melodic structure and interplay that characterised the best post-punk moments of the first two lost to grandiose guitar gestures and what felt like a reliance on Banks’ ever sincere vocal delivery. New record El Pintor, the direct translation of which is The Painter and is also conveniently an anagram of Interpol, returns to the hallmarks that made Turn On The Bright Lights and Antics such compelling song-after-song listens. Daniel Kessler’s guitar lines are particularly propulsive even when restrained, relying more on his innate ability to nail a line in repetition as
opposed to wandering too far off piste. “I think the fourth record veered much more to the atmospheric, conceptual side with lots of textures”, Kessler explains. “If I see things going in one direction on one record then there’s a good chance it’ll go in another on the next. I felt on this record we were creating more songs, and the guitaring went in that direction.” From a vocal perspective Banks is in no doubt where the album sits. “I like writing direct, punchy rock songs with the band and I feel we have a lot of that on this album. I think with a song like Twice As Hard we did that monolithic, monumental, ballady, grandiose, moody piece and then on a song like Same Town, New Story we experimented. That was written in a very unconventional way and we came out with something very sincere. That song was a product of feeling fresh and reinvigorated as a trio.” Certainly El Pintor’s first single and opening track All The Rage Back Home is forthright in proudly presenting all the component parts that are so undeniably Interpol. The rest of the record is more varied, but as a selection of songs that utilise their strengths, it’s as compact an album as they’ve ever penned. The aforementioned Same Town, New Story finds the band
22 at their heart-wrenching best, with the simplicity of the rising chord progression a resonant exercise in restraint. Ancient Ways is heavy and hair-raising, and as Banks expels “Be my desire / I’m a frustrated man” on My Desire, you’d struggle not to be convinced. Paul Banks’ tone when interviewed is a direct mirror of his vocal delivery. Sincerity comes with consummate ease; nothing feels forced, there are no emotional facsimiles. There is a clear tension to most things he does, but always firmly rooted in a staunch belief in his work. This could be born out of lack of critical validation for not just his solo releases, but also the mixed response to the last two Interpol LPs. The counter argument here is that the bar was set so high by the first two Interpol albums that any drop in quality was always going to be from a greater height. “I do think we’ve been victims of our own success and it may have worked against us in some ways”, says Banks. “But I don’t get tired of hearing things like “return to form” and “now they’re back” as that’s a positive message and I like that. I also like the fact that people are very attached to our first two albums, though I do think there are people that didn’t give albums three and four enough time because they were of a mindset attached to the first two. If you do spend time with the third and fourth records they are very substantial and worthy successors to our first two. They were the product of a band trying new things rather than a band that were repeating themselves. I completely stand by those albums.” Rewind to July of this year and we’re in Lisbon at NOS Alive festival, getting reacquainted with Interpol – and their suits. Daniel Kessler marauds up and down the stage and live members Brandon Curtis and Brad Traux fill in on keys and bass respectively as we are collectively reintroduced to the band by the way of a set that draws heavily on classic material interspersed with the more immediate moments from El Pintor. On a solid 30 date festival jaunt you felt genuine merit in the band reminding themselves of their validation as
much as the fans. As a live precursor to unleashing new material, it was time well spent. “Touring is something I enjoy,” states Banks. “Though too long on the road kind of annihilates any kind of personal life you may aspire to have. It’s an unconventional lifestyle for an adult. It’s OK in your early twenties but as an adult still living out of a suitcase and on a bus with a bunch of dudes you’ve got to ask yourself ,‘What am I doing here?’ But the shows are what makes it all worth it. The reality of this business is you can’t just do studio records and bank on selling actual physical copies, which may have been the case at one point. So touring is more of a necessity than it’s ever been.” If there is a marked difference between Daniel and Paul, it’s showcased by their attitude to touring. Paul has never shied away from voicing his frustration with life on the road, but Daniel’s fire seems firmly intact. “I remember being a teenager and a kid and being so passionate about seeing a band play and walking down the street in my own little world. I still look back and remember that feeling. That blows my mind, and it’s not something to be taken for granted – it’s special. OK, there is a lot of travelling yadda yadda yadda, but at the end of the day it’s a pretty fucking incredible way to live your life.” Herein lies the crux to Interpol, played out in their conflicting personalities: the interplay between the brooding potency of Banks’ vocal delivery and Kessler’s roving, curious guitar lines. Is that the intrinsic nature to the synthesis within Interpol? “Perhaps”, Banks ponders. “I think I enjoy our aesthetic so inhabiting that gloomy space that we occupy boils down to the fact Daniel has a certain spirit as a songwriter. What he introduces to the band has a melancholy and a yearning to the chord progressions and that speaks to me and draws out certain aspects of my personality and the same with Sam. That’s the genesis of the Interpol sound.” The monochrome of Interpol speaks vol-
“I enjoy inhabiting that gloomy space. That’s the genesis of the Interpol sound” – Paul Banks
23 Words: Thomas Frost Photos: Teddy Fitzhugh
umes. The suits, the gloom, the resonance with the mature indie lover, the Joy Division comparisons, the seriousness, El Pintor’s front cover of red hands against a black backdrop – it all suggests art with a ferocity, emotion on a knife edge. With a band that operates on these terms, burrowing beneath the dense surface can often be the frustration for the fan, but with Interpol this mysticism is perhaps what keeps the crowd loyal. When the subject matter and association is hazed in noir, a true revealing would ultimately be dissatisfying. But Daniel is quick to acknowledge a side to the band that is not too often seen. “There’s a pretty healthy sense of humour in all sides of Interpol, and I think Paul is a very funny person. I think his lyrics have humour too, but people choose not to pick up on that. It’s there though. As a dude he’s extremely quick-witted and not overly serious and heavy. If it was heavy and serious all the time, it would make being Interpol very tiresome. What makes time go by and makes the bumps you hit along on the road easier is joking around and getting loose. It’s understandable why people think these things as you people aren’t privy.” Interpol seem set to continue residing in that liminal space-between, the one that doesn’t sit comfortably, but leaves itself
open. El Pintor is the sound of a band as exposed as they’ve ever been in the face of fans and the critics. It’s the expulsion of their innermost. Facing the period of trial, reclaiming their identity when shorn to three and emerging triumphant, Paul Banks is all too acutely aware of this process. “You get those kind of darker or desperate sentiments coming across because that’s why you make art – to get rid of things in a process. Disillusionment finds its way into the lyrics because that’s the kind of shit I don’t have any other outlet for.” El Pintor is out now via Soft Limit
24 With so many events adopting a profitover-quality ethos by increasing capacity, inflating ticket prices and relying on safe, predictable line-ups; Crack took a large portion of last summer out to consider what we liked and disliked about the ultimately saturated UK festival and events market.
Actress Amazing Snakeheads Bad Breeding With the festival date looming 25 October, Black Lips Simple Things continues to align itself with the music Crack Magazine promotes Cooly G across 12 stages. We’ve tried to marry the breadth of music on display with each CUTS individual venue, ensuring that the Simple Things experience is like no other festival Damiano von Erckert in the country, and that value for money is provided by offering the opportunity to Dark Sky witness over 60 acts across over 16 hours of passionately presented and curated music. Death From Above 1979 This year, Simple Things has expanded Dickon to incorporate more people, more venues and more partners that represent Crack’s DJ Harvey musical vision. The ticket price has remained the same. DJ Nature Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect DJ October from this year’s Simple Things Festival, stage by stage. DJ Sprinkles DVS1 Eagulls Eaux Esben & The Witch Eugene Quell Futureboogie God Damn Gramrcy Greys Happa Hidden Orchestra How To Dress Well Idles Jaakko Eino Kalevi Kode9 Laurel Halo Our focus was simple. Invigorating spaces, a multitude of genres and relevant artists hosted with the commitment to presentation that they deserve. The result was Simple Things 2013, and it was a result which we were immensely proud of.
CRACK MAGAZINE MAIN STAGE
With one of our all-time favourite bands set to light up the Colston Hall’s incredible acoustics with their brand of atmospheric post-rock, the main stage of The Colston Hall will be awash with a the rich variety of music that we hope you’ve enjoyed in Crack over the years.
THE PARDON MY FRENCH TERRACE
Taking advantage of the outdoor space on the Colston Hall’s top floor, the PMF Terrace is the house music, dance floor respite from the intensity which overlooks the city.
Featured Artist: Mogwai
Featured Artist: Christophe
THE INVADA LANTERN The Geoff Barrow-helmed label takes centre stage in the Lantern with a typically experimental and guitar led line-up that focuses on label artists and is completed by a few select guests. The Lantern’s intimate setting will make this a true music connoisseurs stage. RED BULL MUSIC ACADEMY PRESENTS: THE FIRESTATION The Red Bull Music Academy returns to Bristol’s deserted Firestation for another year of electronic brilliance, this year headlined by former Crack cover star DJ Harvey. With a full line-up of DJ-led electronic talent for over 15 hours and RBMA’s signature production values, the Firestation’s unique space will uphold a reputations that has been retained in the hearts of Bristolian clubbers. Featured Artist: DJ Harvey
Featured Artist: The Haxan Cloak
THE LINE OF BEST FIT FOYER The dynamics of The Foyer are completely unique, with the opportunity to watch acts from various levels of the rising staircase above as well as directly in front of the stage. To fit with the multifaceted nature of this space, the music policy of The Foyer will be as varied as your vantage points. Featured Artist: How To Dress Well
Lovepark 25Max Graef Menace Beach Mirel Wagner Mogwai Nightmares On Wax Oliver Wilde Onra Owain K Pardon My French Redinho Rejjie Snow Ron Morelli Scarlet Rascal Scratcha DVA Seka Seven Davis Jr. Shapes DJs SOPHIE Stamp The Wax DJs Studio 89 DJs Svengalisghost Terekke The Fauns The Haxan Cloak The Kelly Twins Thought Forms Turbowolf Twin Picks Volte-Face Zomby
THE ISLAND: THE SHAPES COURTYARD Decorated in Shapes’ inimitable style and assisted by a cocktail bar, last year the Courtyard provided the perfect daytime venue for those with a penchant for partying outdoors. Very few things beat getting your groove on in the fresh air with the sounds of house and techno in your ears.
THE CORONERS COURT IN ASSOCIATION WITH FACT MAGAZINE AND TRAP MAGAZINE
Featured Artist: DVS1
Ever partied in an old coroners court building? No? Now’s your chance, With a soundtrack compiled of some of the darkest and heady music we’ve encountered in recent times, this stage will burst with electronic sounds from the other side.
THE SECOND CORONERS COURT: STUDIO 89
Taking inspiration from New York’s Studio 54, you haven’t been to a party like Studio 89 before. Glitterball disco, slow-mo house, classics, fancy dress and loads of fun – Studio 89 is the kind of party throwback you crave. Open until very late, this is where you will find us early morning.
hings 2014 Featured Artist: Actress
A stage with a little more bite, The O2 Academy will play host to our choice of punk influenced guitar music with the focus on bands whose sound and stage presence will electrify. Expect serious noise and crowd movement
Featured Artist: Death From Above 1979
The Main Room of Lakota’s dark belly will be busting with the tripped-out urban bass weight of possibly the UK’s finest underground label in recent times. Kode 9’s Hyperdub is a benchmark for urban electronic sounds, and the celebration of 10 years of their existence at Simple Things is one of the festival’s key standouts. Featured Artist: Kode9
Featured Artist: DJ Sprinkles
LAKOTA ROOM TWO: L.I.E.S SHOWCASE
THE O2 ACADEMY
LAKOTA MAIN ROOM: 10 YEARS OF HYPERDUB
The prominence of the L.I.E.S. label and is synonymy with lo-fi, gritty, techno from Brooklyn and beyond, and its rise in the consciousness of young minds worldwide has made this a real coup for the festival. The sweaty, dark space of Lakota’s second room will be the perfect place to embrace this. Featured Artist: Ron Morelli
LAKOTA ROOM THREE: STAMP THE WAX Stamp The Wax have found their place promoting the rounded spectrum of electronica. Their room at Simple Things sees some their residents and luminaries taking over a very personal space. Featured Artist: Damiano Von Erckert
Simple Things takes place in Bristol on 25 October Caribou and Jessy Lanza play the official Opening Party at Motion, Bristol on 24 October For more information and tickets, visit www.simplethingsfestival.co.uk
A passionate His hair was his best feature beatsmith from and then he cut it off: it’s the start, the lovely Roman Flügel Roman Flügel’s thirst for inspiration always drives him to where the party is happening
Words: Josh Baines Photos: Nadine Fraczkowski
“I still love to go to clubs. I think that if I lost interest in other DJs, then I’d lose interest in the music itself”
Dance music has always pivoted around the dichotomic relationship between flashiness and function: dancefloor darkness versus narcissism and desire, the track versus the transition, Amnesia versus Berghain. It places physical demands on its listeners, extorts and extols them, simultaneously denying them of agency while reaffirming their status as an individual. It asks you, implicitly, to chose between the two: to out yourself as a glam-addict charlatan hooked on glitz and hits, or to dryly, earnestly sew on a patch of authenticity without irony. We tend to pick sides. DJs tend to pick sides. Producers tend to pick sides. Isn’t it always more fun to straddle the line, though? Roman Flügel does it. The Frankfurt-based producer/DJ co-ran the legendary cerebral house label Playhouse while simultaneously churning out big room electro grinders with Jorn Wuttke under their Alter Ego alias – the minimal and the maximal. He makes house music that can flit between streamlined crystalline clarity and troubled abstraction in seconds. Catch one of his deft DJ sets and you’re as likely to hear Blaze as you are Barnt. We spoke with the DJ and producer just days before his latest album Happiness Is Happening dropped. So, we ask, how does it feel to be on the cusp of that moment when one’s work is taken away from you and thrust into a world where authorial intention means nothing? “It’s the highlight of my year”, he assures us, “I had all the work done, I had the music together, the cover was done, we’d sorted the videos out. It’s a feeling of relief, certainly, but relief mixed with excitement because you never know what people are going to make of it. You can’t tell what comes next and I really like that.” Does he feel like there’s a sense of narcissism attached to the practice, this desire to put yourself out there in some form, some mix of the congratulatory and the flagellatory? “There is, yes. Making music or painting or writing or any art form is always an egotistical thing. You do it because it comes from inside, there’s that urge. I’ve always wanted to be creative and it was always music. Music was the thing that touched me most.” Flügel tells us that this love for music began to manifest with the heavy teutonic fug of disco singles and Kraftwerk albums. Flash and function. He came of age during the acid house boom and has since been instilled with the belief in the transcendental possibilities of clubs. He still takes the odd busman’s holiday, describing Panorama Bar as “such a place of freedom, such a wonderful atmosphere”, and expresses an enduring passion for learning from his
peers. “If I have the time, yeah, I love to go to clubs. I think that if I lose interest in other DJs then I’d lose interest in the music itself. They feed off each other. I’m still impressed by DJs. I played with Midland recently and he was great. I also really like Ben UFO, Joy Orbison and Jackmaster.” There’s a sense of the nomad about house producers, drifting from label to label, release to release. The span of outlets who’ve released Roman Flügel’s tracks is a testament to his innate mutability; from Sven Väth’s Ibiza-centric Cocoon, to the heavily worked cut-ups of Clone Jack For Daze via Tiga’s aptly named Turbo. He seems, for the meantime at least, to have settled on the lovelorn Hamburg lads over at Dial. “When I decided to work with Dial, the labels I used to work with – Playhouse, Klang – were closing. I knew and liked the guys who run it. There’s an almost old fashioned feel to them; in the artwork, in their care over sound. They have a wide range of material in the back catalogue and that open mindedness is really appealing, it’s why I asked to work with them.” And much to Flügel’s credit, Happiness Is Happening sounds like a Dial record in the best way possible: it’s a record to walk with, dream with, subsume and love. We glance at the clock, our scheduled interview slot is coming to a close, but we’ve got one more burning question – how does it feel being one of the few out and proud glasses wearers in house music? “Fuck contact lenses”, comes the reply.
Happiness Is Happening is out now via Dial Records. Roman Flügel appears at Bugged Out Weekender, which takes place in Bognor Regis, 16-18 February 2015.
Invada Studios is a brand new recording studio situated in a historic building in the heart of Bristol. Born from the ashes of Geoff Barrowâ€™s State Of Art Studios, home to Portishead for over 20 years, the new place is also home to the Invada Record Label. A year long design and build has resulted in a great sounding space and a studio packed with quality recording equipment, as well as lots of interesting keyboards, guitars and amps.
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Turning Points: Ice Cube
“At the time, N.W.A didn’t take the FBI seriously”
O’Shea Jackson was born in the South Central area of Los Angeles in 1969. While remaining committed to his education, he began pursuing music as a teenager under the moniker Ice Cube. He later became a member of N.W.A, the highly controversial gangsta rap pioneers who proudly declared themselves ‘The World’s Most Dangerous Group’. Following a publicised feud with the collective, Ice Cube’s subsequent releases saw him continue to fan the flames of discontent among marginalised communities while provoking moral outrage among liberals and republicans in equal measure. He has led a successful acting career since the early 90s, and his 10th solo album Everythang’s Corrupt will be released later this year. 1984: Meeting Dr.Dre, the beginnings of N.W.A I was in a group called C.I.A. with Sir Jinx, who is Dre’s cousin, and Dre ended up moving down the street from me. Dre moved in with [Jinx] because he got kicked out of his house. I started writing records for the World Class Wreckin’ Cru, who he was with at the time. [Eazy E] started getting involved around ’85, he was getting interested in the music business. I wrote a record for one of his groups, but they didn’t want to use it. He ended up using it, and
that record ended up being Boyz-N-TheHood. 1987–88: Recording N.W.A’s debut album Straight Outta Compton We didn’t know these records were going to be big, we actually thought they were gonna be kind of neighbourhood records, because at the time we were just pretty much local LA artists. But then it started blowing up, and we realised we had a style that worked for us. We started to run with it. 1989: Ruthless Records receiving letter of condemnation from the FBI in response to Fuck Tha Police At the time, we didn’t take the FBI seriously, because we were young and naive to what they were all about. We were used to dealing with local police officers, you know, the LAPD – that was our biggest nemesis. But our managers and record label, of course, took it dead serious. They were very concerned that the FBI was worried about our music. 1989–90: Going solo, working with the Bomb Squad I’d planned on having Dre produce my [first solo] record. Even when I left N.W.A,
I thought we’d be able to work it out, money wise. But Eazy E and Jerry Heller, the manager at the time, vetoed that. So I went to New York to meet Sam Sever, who produced for the group 3rd Bass, at Def Jam, and the motherfucker stood me up! On my way out, I saw Chuck D in the hallway. He’d known about my N.W.A situation, because I'd asked him advice about it, and he asked if I wanted to come into the studio with him and Big Daddy Kane and jump on a record called Burn Hollywood, Burn. Then he offered to do my record. That was a dream come true, because [the Bomb Squad] was my favourite producers other than Dr .Dre. So I knew I was in great hands and I knew the record was gonna be the shit. I learnt a lot from just being around Public Enemy. Being in their presence and talking to Chuck D all the time about the influences the Nation of Islam had on him. He really opened me up to a new of thinking. 2009-2015: Making of N.W.A biopic Ah man, I’ve had the idea ever since I started doing movies. It’s been a long hard process to get it together, but we’re here. I’m so happy that we’re filming right now, it’s coming out real good. Getting Universal behind it was a major accomplishment, we’re making the movie we want to make
and they’re giving us the money we need to make it. [The movie] is really about guys from the neighborhood using the power of music to combat the reality of their life. To me, it’s a very important movie dealing with courage, and standing up for what you think is right. Present: New album Everythang’s Corrupt Well, I usually flip a lot of different topics, and Everythang’s Corrupt is like a mixture of timely political messages and hip-hop tracks which are just good fun, which are just about bustin’ good raps and talking about the lifestyle. With me at this point in my career, I’ve just got to do what I feel without really worrying about record sales or radio play. And that’s what I’m doing. Everythang’s Corrupt drops 21 October via Lench Mob Records / Caroline
Perfume Genius is self-therapy for Mike Hadreas; a man who’s constantly in the process of discovering himself Mike Hadreas’s loyal fans are drawn to his honesty, his disarming vulnerability and the heartbreaking effect of his songwriting. The story so far is a story about sadness, self-perceived victimisation and queer introversion. Each time we hear from Mike, we feel his pain in his deeply personal words and his soft, haunting music. A healing process unto itself; defined by itself. So what happens when the music has finally done its work? We caught up with Mike to find out what it means to heal, when it all started and where he is right now. “I put some under eye cream on so I feel like I should really have my camera on.” We’re looking at Mike Hadreas through the camera in his computer. He sits in his kitchen in Tacoma, Washington. His boyfriend and touring band member Alan wanders in and out of shot as we idly discuss their plans for the day. “I don’t think we’re doing anything today.” He sounds relieved, “I’ve been forcing Alan not to make any plans.” Perfume Genius has really only existed for five years, but Hadreas’s interest in music stretches back to a time when he needed it to survive. “I bought an album by Liz Phair when I was 11 or 12 and that switched how I listened to music forever. I didn’t know you could say the things that she said in general, let alone in music. It was the beginning of me realising that you could be as truly weird as you wanted.” Mike is soft-spoken, reflective. His voice creaks as he remembers his troubled, conflicted childhood, “I felt very strange and different growing up and music was a way to not feel so lonely or to feel empowered even if it was just in my bedroom for a few minutes. I mean, I didn’t really feel empowered as a young person at all anywhere else.”
It would be another 15 years before Hadreas would start writing music and realising that not only listening to, but also creating music had therapeutic value for him. “The first two albums are a lot of me healing things that had taken place already”, he tells us, “When you do a lot of drugs and drink, your problems are really clear and big and those were the problems I was sorting.” Since then, however, Mike has cleaned up. “My circumstances are a lot better and things are going really well, so it’s embarrassing to still have anger and issues, and those things feel a lot more complicated now.” The new Perfume Genius album Too Bright deals with that complex mix of emotions through a sonic palette that blends empowering pop anthems with slow, brooding melancholy to mesmeric effect. Lead single Queen is particularly atypical; a loud, rousing call to arms for Hadreas to stop playing the victim and feel empowered in comparison to the people who fear his otherness as a gay man; “The base feelings that song comes from are classically things that would make me feel very victim-y or sort of ashamed and I’m sick of doing that.” He holds back for a moment before talking about a recent statement he made in which he described himself as a ‘Sea witch with penis tentacles’. “I suppose it’s a more real way to process some of those feelings and it’s a little bit playful too. Making this big fuss over it will kind of magnify how ridiculous the themes are.” With this transformation in mind, the Perfume Genius sound has been forced into exodus to make way for bigger production and more instrumentation. Where we were once confronted with an intimate and tortured soul, we’re now faced with a confidence that’s brought to life
through anthemic pop music. “I worked with the right people”, he says of a production team which included Portishead’s Adrian Utley, “I wanted them to make it really harsh and pummelling, I wanted all the icky stuff to be disgusting and I wanted them to make it way more uncomfortable than I was ever capable of making it myself.” Despite not being – by his own admission – a particularly technically minded musician, Hadreas had little trouble communicating his ideas to the team, “I’d be like ‘I want this bass to be really slutty’, and somehow we were able to work together”, he laughs. As Mike’s newfound confidence is beginning to manifest in his live show, he’s even taken to performing without his most valued prop, the piano. It’s a veritable challenge, he admits. “You have to exaggerate things a little bit and it’s weird for me to do that, because I never really thought of it as a performance, it’s more of people listening in on how I would have played these songs if I was on my own in my bedroom. I’m not like Karen O, I’m not gonna jump out and pour diet coke on myself or something.” Perfume Genius’s 2010 debut album Learning was a cry for help, an exercise of personal therapy that helped Mike deal with his own sense of shame about his sexual preferences, and in 2014, Mike Hadreas is a considerably happier person than he was. But, he admits, he’s still got a way to go. “Maybe I’ll be super contented in a year or so and I’ll just make party music or something. But even though my life has got better, it’s still completely nuts, so I sincerely doubt it. Who knows?” Too Bright is released 22 September via Turnstile
â€œI felt very strange and different growing up, music was a way to feel empowered even if it was just in my bedroom for a few minutesâ€?
Words: Billy Black Photos: Charlotte Rutherford Grooming: Terri Capon using Nars and Bumble and Bumble
London producer, DJ and NTS Radio host Throwing Shade soaks up influences from across the globe
Words: Anna Tehabsim Photography: Spike Morris
33 Nabihah Iqbal took her alias from the seminal film Paris Is Burning, a documentary on the gay ballroom scene in 1980s New York. Specifically, to ‘throw shade’ is to publicly criticise or express contempt for someone. In short, it’s a general act of sassiness, though it’s hard to imagine Nabihah Iqbal exercising such disdain when she approaches everything in her field with such open arms. Growing up in London, a hotbed of fractured musical cultures, it wasn’t until Iqbal studied at SOAS that she fully embraced her global ethos. After stumbling across the Kora, a West African harp, Iqbal was instantly drawn to discovering the music missing from many Western palettes. As well as playing guitar in a noise band, she went on to study ethnomusicology, master the sitar and accrue an expansive knowledge in “weird and wonderful music from across the globe”. After finishing university, Iqbal went on to study as a lawyer. Getting the call to the bar in 2012, she travelled to South Africa to work for a women’s legal centre. As she explained, working for women’s rights in the rape capital of the world was “pretty brutal, but an amazing six months”, and of course, a great way to experience Cape Town’s vibrant music scene. Now living in London, Iqbal’s focus is solely on her music. Applying the same openminded approach to production, her playful constructions pluck from elements of grime and techno while exploring a sound that Kassem Mosse has dubbed ‘cosmic RnB’. And with her increasingly popular NTS show applying a systematic approach to disparate styles from across the globe, she’s quickly becoming one of the London scene’s most distinctive voices.
Let’s talk about your NTS show. How did that come about? I went on Thristian’s Global Roots show as a guest, to play the kind of stuff I play on my show really. It was just serendipity because the station manager was listening at the time. As soon as we finished the show he called up and said ‘who’s that girl? We need to give her a show’. It makes me feel really lucky because they get hundreds of requests every day from people who want shows. And to be honest it’s doing really well, it’s become one of the most popular shows on the station. It seems like your Muslim Jazz special was a turning point in terms of listeners. It has gone viral [laughs]! By my standards anyway. I didn’t know how it would go down, every time you hear of Muslims now in the press... well they’re not getting a lot of good press, and people have so many conflicting opinions. It was nice to present things in a different light, and I can’t believe
how well received it was. What’s the general vibe like in the NTS studio? It’s on a square in Dalston called Gillett Square, which is always quite lively. There’s always some other music going on, and probably some drunks, and a lot of Ethiopian men hanging around, and kids. There’s always a lot going on, because it’s in Dalston, which is where everyone always is who’s ‘cool in London’ or whatever is, and you always get people dropping in. Let’s talk about your production. How did the Ominira release come about? That was pretty crazy actually. Ominira is obviously Kassem Mosse’s record label, and I think he found out about me through NTS and went onto my Soundcloud and heard Mystic Places. He sent me a message under an alias asking me to do a release. He sent me a link to the label and when I saw it was Ominira, I realised it was Kassem Mosse. He’s someone that I really respect in music. Everything after that just went really smoothly, he’s a really nice guy. Your work so far has been very visual. How much do you consider the visual element your production? I think that it’s really important to think of
in music videos, and I wanted to objectify boys from a girl’s perspective. So that’s what I did, and it was a whole day of boys just wearing boxer shorts and pouring honey over their heads and stuff. Is this idea of challenging gender stereotypes something that you’re keen to continue exploring? Definitely, because I think it needs to be done more. The fact that I’m a female producer, for me that’s quite an important element of who I am, so I try to be conscious about it. One of the things that I want to do is work with male rappers, I think that’s a thing that needs to be done. Your Happy Skull release seems more dancefloor focused than your previous productions. Everything else I’ve made has been quite downtempo, because that’s what naturally comes out. So I set myself a challenge of trying to make something more upbeat. Also because my mum was nagging me so much about it, she was like ‘you need to make something that people can dance to’, so I was like 'OK fine!' [laughs] But normally her advice is like ‘why can’t you just make music like One Direction, look how successful they are!’
“If I tried to play Siberian throat singing in a club, well, it wouldn’t go down very well”
the way that music is represented visually. All three [EP] artworks are collaborations with different girls, which I like, because as a girl producer I like a bit of girl power. It’s good to link up with other girls and support each other with creative stuff. What was the idea behind the video for Sweet Tooth? Sweet Tooth I guess is a song about a boy, and I wanted to make a music video with loads of hot boys in it, because you never see that, it’s always the other way around. So even though it might seem quite face value when you watch the video, I was really conscious of the fact that I wanted to try and challenge gender stereotypes. You always just see women being objectified
Do you take a different approach to your club sets than you do in your NTS show? If I tried to play Siberian throat singing in a club, well it wouldn’t go down very well [laughs]. I save my NTS show to play all the weird and wonderful music that I’m really interested in and I want to share, because a lot of it is quite rare and I want to talk about it. I DJ a lot around London, my main aim is just to make people dance. It’s always a mix of stuff, I really like mixing unexpected tracks together, in a weird mash up. I’ve been doing this one with Rihanna, Pour It Up over some Arabic dance mix, and everyone’s always like ‘ohmygod!’ Catch Throwing Shade on NTS monthly, Saturday 1pm-2pm
As an impending reality of urban dystopia looms, Kevin Martin channels the dread though his radioactive, bassmutating project The Bug Words: Tom Watson Photos: Alex De Mora
35 Chaos, as Kevin Martin would suggest, is boundless. We live in a cataclysm of neurosis and doubt where catastrophe seems one nuclear drop away. “I was doing an interview at Kode9’s place with a Japanese journalist”, says Martin, recollecting a scene from earlier in the week, “and in the background, over his shoulder, it was BBC 24 hour news. It was just like End Times being signalled out to me continuously.” His summary of current affairs is followed with a stirring chuckle, implying a sense of humour darkened by the feeling that we’re all inevitably doomed. For Martin, chaos can be the catalyst for creativity. His artistic stimulant relies on discord and disorder. He refers to it as ‘friction’. Having relieved himself of the heavy-handed autocracies of David Cameron’s Britain, we find Martin composed and professedly happy at his current base in Berlin. Yet despite his present placidity, there is still extreme disharmony to his craft. Six years since the release of The Bug’s despicably vexed London Zoo, the project’s new album Angels & Devils concentrates on the intense dualities of human emotion. Angels & Devils’ comparatively more tranquil first side gathers the vocals from Liz Harris of Grouper, former Hype Williams member Inga Copeland, Gonjasufi and Miss Red, while the album’s high-octane latter half features the likes of Warrior Queen, Roll Deep-affiliated MCs Manga [pictured], Flowdan [pictured] and Killa P plus the now-defunct rap experimentalists Death Grips. Friction is literally severed straight down the middle; good and evil, light and dark, positive and negative. “For me”, Martin explains, “it’s all about where extremes meet amidst the confusion and beauty of mutation and collision. “It’s about the points where Angels & Devils are indistinguishable. It’s not about black and white. We all would prefer life to be in black and white and easily digestible. But I think life is just one great big kaleidoscopic mess. It’s too fucked to really understand. That’s what this album is. It toys with the idea of contrast, contradiction and the beauty of polar opposite.”
“I like friction. I like cultural collisions. What used to be the hell of inner cities is now becoming the hell of luxury apartments”
early FWDs. There was about 20 people in the crowd, all producers. Guys like Mala, Coki, Skream, Benga were either running around like nutters or moodily standing in the corner. Back then, it was just them and their mates. But the genre became pretty hideous, pretty quick. Then I would be rolling into these parties feeling like ‘what the fuck am I doing here?’ “For me, much like my relationship with London, it’s love/hate. I feel there are some incredible producers within that area. Any genre that can include the likes of Burial, Shackleton, Coki is of worth. They’re true thinkers with strong aesthetics. IDs. And I was very fortunate in one way because I’ve never really been in the middle of a genre appeal and then explode the way it did. I was purely a fan during jungle. Grime never really blew up because the police and the authorities did everything they could to clamp it down and lyrically, it was publicly dangerous for large radio stations. It was a black movement that the industry didn’t want anything to do with.”
Embracing extremes has permitted Martin the freedom to re-imagine The Bug’s sonic palette. London Zoo’s celestial success found the producer ensnared in the congested incline of dubstep; a mutant genre that stifled Martin’s desire to progress. “I already felt like I was trapped inside London. That’s why I made the fucking record [London Zoo]. But I also felt trapped within dubstep.”
Confinement within a pigeonhole, however, is a predicament which Martin has forcibly resisted. “But fundamentally, dubstep parties are the worst parties to play as far as I’m concerned. The audiences that attend always want formula and vocalists aren’t very well received. Early Bug tunes were never about making a track that some DJ could seamlessly fit into their beat-matched set. I wanted the track that DJs would end their set with, completely wrecking the party and make the following DJ shit themselves immediately.”
Martin pauses. He begins to reminisce about a time where London was fraught with disquiet, philandering with the increasing popularity of underground electronics. “Kode9 invited me to go to very
Love/hate seems to be a recurring trope in Martin’s exertions. A lack of comfort and security has led him down paths of apprehension and anxiety. Even with the swathes of rhapsodic reviews ploughing
from one rag to the next, giddy over Angels & Devils, Martin seemingly walks a tightrope without a safety net. It has been widely reported that following the completion of London Zoo, Martin was consumed with dismay by the final product, unbeknownst that it was about to swallow the world with its spacious, bass-centric roguery. “I felt exactly the same about [Angels & Devils]”, he admits, “Maybe it’s just some sort of inferiority complex, but I always think the worst. I think ‘what the fuck is anyone going to make of this?’ Again it’s just totally out on its own limb. Part of my creative process is that, as soon as anything is reminiscent of anyone else, I generally drop it. It’s useless to merit being released under my name or under one of my artist names. So that’s a major challenge to me as well; figuring out what is or what should be a Bug stamp.” Much akin to all Martin’s previous and existing projects – God, Ice, Techno Animal or King Midas Sound – the producer is lionhearted in the art of alienation. But over 20 years in the unforgiving suburban fringes of London can do that to a person. Martin’s affinity with the capital came to an end around a year ago when he moved to Berlin, partly out of a desire for ‘headspace’, predominantly out of necessity. “There are many reasons why I left London. Primarily, my partner is Japanese and was refused a Visa because Cameron and his cronies are essentially right-wing bigots who blame foreigners for the ills of the country. “I wanted to be with her so we left. Aside from that, I’d just had my fill of London. It was no longer the city that I remembered fondly. I’d lived there 20-plus years and it gave me everything I’ve got musically. It was a huge inspiration socially, aesthetically and culturally. But, just like many of the major metropolises around the world now,
“Within extremes are signs of life and resistance, as opposed to pacification in the middle mass”
they’ve become yuppie paradises where any life and energy is being shipped out to the suburbs. “You look at somewhere like Manhattan and it’s fucking nullifying. It’s just chitter-chatter of people spending too much money on their clothes and haircuts with no life to their surroundings anymore. For me, I like dirt under my fingernails. I like friction. I like cultural collisions. I just feel that what used to be the hell of inner cities is now becoming the hell of luxury apartments. It’s a curse. Sure, it’s safer for the rich. But the suburbs are becoming these battlegrounds. I know this is a John Carpenter-esque vision of the future but I think city centres in the future are going to become targets for the disaffected.” It’s a familiar denouncement from Martin. Angels & Devils acts as a confirmation that Martin is still striving to level peace with piqued rage. “What I did with the album reflects how I listen to music, which is to have my head blown off in the best clubs with the best systems on one half and being deeply zoned in my headphones on the other. It’s just an indication of how much I need music. I spend my life with my head between speakers effectively. That’s the happiest I am. It’s like a parallel universe where I reconstruct what I see outside of the window just to keep myself sane. “I think there’s a conspiracy to pacify people, which I wanted to address, hence the polar extremes of Angels & Devils. Within extremes are signs of life and resistance as opposed to pacification in the middle mass. I guess that’s why in the last few years I’ve gravitated towards more experimental, fucked up shit – because there’s an honesty and an imagination at work that isn’t corrupted by formulaic rules.” It seems Martin’s sole intention is to resist
formalism. He is resolutely passionate, yet contradictorily self-deprecating. And having recently become a father has only heightened this anxiety. “Once you’ve got a child, you’re just like ‘wow, this world is nuts! How am I going to help this little being through the madness?’ It becomes even more anxiety-inducing. A friend of mine recently asked ‘do you feel calmer now that you’re a father?’ Do I hell. I feel even more terrorised. “It’s funny, my girlfriend said to me this morning ‘Don’t you ever think fuck, panic! What am I going to do?’ Of course, like everyone, I’ve undoubtedly had times of maximum insecurity. I remember remixing that Thom Yorke track that took me about four months to do. I didn’t listen to anything else during that period and halfway through I really thought I was going give up music. I just thought I was going insane living in that shithole in Bethnal Green. All I thought was ‘I’ve made a big mistake here. I should not be doing this. “But I’m not a negative person. I always try finding positive through negative bullshit. I’m very fortunate to do what I do. Music has always been therapy for me. It acts as my continual fight against the powers that be. There’s nothing else I can do. That’s why I started doing this in the first place. Out of sheer terror.” Angels & Devils is out now via Ninja Tune
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A dialogue with Goat about Goat “Absorbed in our discussion of immortality, we had let night fall without lighting the lamp, and we couldn’t see each other’s faces. With an offhandedness or gentleness more convincing than passion would have been, Macedonio Fernandez’ voice said once more that the soul is immortal. He assured me that the death of the body is altogether insignificant, and that dying has to be the most unimportant thing that can happen to a man. I was playing with Macedonio’s pocketknife, opening and closing it. A nearby accordion was infinitely dispatching La Comparsita, that dismaying trifle that so many people like because it’s been misrepresented to them as being old. . . . I suggested to Macedonio that we kill ourselves, so we might have our discussion without all the racket.” A Dialogue About a Dialogue, Jorge Luis Borges
Words: Angus Harrison, Jorge Luis Borges, Goat O'Carroll Illustration: James Burgess
Crack Magazine spoke to Goat about their forthcoming album Commune. In keeping with their inspirations, we based our conversation on a short dialogue by Jorge Luis Borges, entitled A Dialogue About A Dialogue. Goat have no concrete connection to Borges, but their music holds a mirror to his principles and practices. Marrying spiritualism and ritual with scenes and images from the relics of global cultures, both Goat and Borges’ work build twisted fantasies from the rhythms of our shared histories.
C: Commune evokes shared space and divided responsibilities. Is this an ethos for your band or a wider philosophy?
your albums personally reflect your band members or do they serve a grander purpose?
G: Isn’t that what we all do? What is the society? It is just a big collective or commune where everyone shares responsibilities and space. This is how we all live. In different collectives, family, job, friends, neighbours. So yes, it is our ethos and philosophy. Be aware of that, you are part of many collectives. Play a positive role.
G: Goat is one organism as we see it and the music is the soul of the Goat. If it serves a higher purpose ... I guess it can for some people. At least I wanna think that. You know, to play a tiny part in the great unification of man ... But it is also OK if you just wanna head-bang to the solos.
Splintered text rattling through the keys. Playing Commune and letting the room fall into the swell of night. A low voice on the sixth track spoke: the spirit world is more real than most of us believe. This album is the realness; the world owned by, occupied by, embodied in and throughout by Goat. Crack was in contact with Goat O’Carroll. He assured us calmly, revealing within an email exchange the experiences and motions that inform the group and their albums.
Commune reminds Crack of this positive ritual through its own language, a language similar to our own but a further and more fervent one. Crack (now deep in mysticism) was forced to consider the chapters of Goat. They claim they hail from Korpilombolo - some flung region of Sweden where they collect and feed from bizarre energy and ancient influence. Characters re-spring on both of their records: Goatman/Goathead/Goatlord/ Goatchild/Goatslaves. They gather among light and God and ancient tribes in a body of residual images peculiar to this band.
G: Right now.
C: You draw on such a wide collection of traditions and sounds. How do you create continuity and singularity from such sparse and sprawling influences? G: We let everything we hear and like flow through our systems, and when it comes out, it sounds like this. We try and leave the thinking outside the studio. That is the trick. C: Is your sound informed purely by music? How far does art, literature and environment guide your creation? G: Well, we are no professors, but everything we experience in life goes into our systems and helps us create music. So does art, movies, literature, people, the weather. C: Your first album World Music was hugely acclaimed. Was this a pressure that weighted upon you or did you create Commune as a completely separate entity? G: We just did some music. Nothing harder than that really. It is not brain surgery. Doing some drumbeats, some riffs. Turned out quite cool I think. I don’t think anyone felt any pressure from somewhere. Not that I noticed anyway.
C: Both Commune and World Music share a mythos. Are these figures part of a wider universe or are they simply titles? G: Sooner or later the mystery with the Goat songs will be revealed ... It is a big puzzle ... lots of pieces. C: Your band lore – hailing from Korpilombolo – and guised identity on stage isolates you from the bulk of alternative rock. Do you see yourselves as part of any movement or genre? G: No. Not any movement or any genre. We don’t need to put any label on ourselves. You journalists do that for us anyway. C: How important is your live show to understanding your music? G: There is nothing to understand. It is just music. Either you like what you hear or you don’t. You can like our album, or maybe you don´t, but you enjoy our live show. Or vice versa. Either is fine. It is ok if you don’t like us at all, also. C: Your albums engage with colossal ideas of meaning and ritual. Do you feel
C: When are Goat at home?
C: With all the world’s music do you ever feel lost? C: No. The more positive energy there is in the world, the more home I feel. Knowing they are setting out with new music, Goat are moving to make this home greater. As our emails concluded, Commune rung out. And in a moment, we did the same. Commune is released 22 September via Rocket Recordings. Goat perform at the Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia, which takes place 26+27 September
Do you miss the future? Mark Fisher interviewed Words: Andrew Broaks Photography: Georg Gatsas
In 2002, LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy sang of “borrowed nostalgia for the unremembered 80s” on the band’s debut single Losing My Edge. With that line, Murphy playfully skewered the Brooklynite hipsters in “little jackets” whose instinct to look back to pop’s golden past, instead of forward, exemplified a creeping revivalism and dearth of innovation. As electronic music stumbled into the background to become the banal eurodance backing track for today’s mega pop star, rock went retro with the garage-rock/ post-punk revival. And so it continues. Retromania is everywhere, and like the ouroboros choking on its own tail, the recent past is continually being regurgitated. But don’t blame the hipsters. For author, critic and theorist Mark Fisher, the absence of a culture that can be clearly identified as belonging to the 21st century is best examined in tandem with the major political shifts which began in the 1980s. In his most recent book, Capitalist Realism, Fisher argued that the limiting horizons set by neoliberal society mean it is now easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism, and as our consciousness has been limited by this capitalist realism, the possibility of projecting new futures has diminished. In his latest book Ghosts Of My Life, Fisher argues that cultural time has stalled and that we’ve become increasingly incapable of producing the ‘new’, the ‘now’ and postulating the ‘next’. At the end of history, all that’s left is an endless return of dead forms and failed futures, haunting us from a grave we keep digging up. What follows is an extract from a long conversation with Mark about music,
politics and the progressive possibilities of a blank future.
You’ve said that Ghosts Of My Life and your last book, Capitalist Realism, are two sides of the same project, “revealing the inherent negativity of the times in which we live.” Does the new book compliment the last one, or take it as a point of departure and move forward? A lot of Ghosts Of My Life was written at the same time or before Capitalist Realism, so it’s definitely not taking it as a starting point. On the most simple level, there’s barely any music discussed in Capitalist Realism, whereas there’s a lot of music discussed in Ghosts Of My Life. Music is the site where the major symptoms of cultural malaise can be detected I think. Capitalist Realism is about what it’s like to live now, to live with fully naturalised neoliberalism; then Ghosts Of My Life is about the futures that were lost in order for that capitalist realist takeover to happen. You talk about the lack of “future shock” in popular music and discuss the music of Arctic Monkeys; specifically the fact that they are not positioned as a retro group. Could you expand on the concept of “future shock” and the significance of retro? The thing about retro is very interesting because there have been retro groups for a long time, certainly at least as far back as the early 70s, but the thing is at least then they were positioned as retro. Whereas with something like the Arctic Monkeys, there is no relation to historicity. They’re clearly a retro group, but the category of retro doesn’t make any sense anymore because it’s retro compared to what? And yeah, I think that sense of future shock is what has disappeared, which was in retrospect a very rapid turnover of styles one was accustomed to. I suppose
coming to musical consciousness at the end of post-punk, when there was a more or less explicit intolerance towards the recent past, never mind the deep past of cultural time, that was what created my expectations. And when [post-punk] played out, other areas of music took over, most notably jungle, which when you heard it you thought, “I’ve never heard anything like this.” That’s the simple sense of future shock. We’ve got increasingly accustomed to the idea that we won't really hear anything new again. That’s what I mean by the underlying, inherent negativity. The negativity is there in our expectations whether we admit to it or not. I want to pick up on Burial, who you discuss in the book, because his first album came out in the mid 00s, around the same time as Arctic Monkeys’ first album. What is it that differentiates Burial and Arctic Monkeys, aside from aesthetic differences? One’s diagnosis and one’s a symptom. That is the way I’d like to see it. I don’t think Burial can get us out of it. Nobody could get us out of this. But it is to do with an awareness of time I think. Whereas Arctic Monkeys airbrush cultural time out and appeal to this endless return and timelessness of rock, for me what’s significant about Burial is a relationship to the near past. So, I think Burial highlights the kind of broken time of the 21st century. The crucial thing is, the futures that we expected in the 20th century have failed to happen and the perspective must come from that. The perspective does not come from saying things were great in the 90s and now they’re not. It is to say, there was a trajectory running through post-war culture, a trajectory I call ‘popular modernism’, which created high expectations. That trajectory terminated and it’s the craving for the futures that we projected from the 20th century, that for me is the crucial thing.
“Culturally, things can't carry on as they are forever. But what form the break will take, and when it's going to come, I don't know”
Your critique ties together this flattening out of cultural time over the last 30 years with a political shift – the rise of neoliberalism. But is there a possibility that we could wake up tomorrow and find ourselves confronted with a ‘new’, or is the only hope for new culture to emerge intrinsically linked with a change in the social-political system? I think it is intrinsically linked, but it may work both ways – the causality probably works both ways. Culture can assist in widening the political bandwidth as much as it’s simply an expression of the underlying political situation. There is always the possibility of a ‘new’ emerging. People say that my work is pessimistic, but it’s not – it’s negative. It’s more that it reveals the negativity that is already there, but there’s massive efforts of denial and disavowal. I personally can’t help but be optimistic in lots of ways, but I think we have to avoid eventalism and thinking that sudden ruptures can’t come from nowhere. Things feel like that, but they never really are. But put it this way; things can’t carry on as they are on lots of levels. Politically they can’t carry on, economically they can’t carry on. Culturally they seem as if they can carry on forever but I don’t believe that they will. Quite what form the break will take, and when it’s going to come, I don’t know. I think the key thing in relation to talking about newness is the concept of challenging the mainstream. In that, if what’s new is purely a niche interest, is it negligible as to how much it matters because it doesn’t mount a challenge? Here’s one of the things that people say: “Oh we don’t know if things are new yet, there might be new things, we just don’t know yet.” But that’s just a fallacy, people did know when things were new before. Even if that’s true – and in this age of hyper-visibility it would be slightly odd if there are things that we hadn’t really seen – what’s missing is a popular experience of newness. But I think what’s also missing is this circuit between the experimental, the avant-garde and the popular. It’s that circuit that’s disappeared. Instead what we have is ExperimentalTM, which is actually well established genres with their own niche markets which have no relation to ‘mainstream’. In a roundtable you did with Scritti Polliti frontman Green Gartside, he used the term ‘critical admixture’. Around the music bands made, particularly with punk and post-punk, there was this ‘critical admixture’, which was taking ideas from philosophy and from social movements, and using the whole lot to mount a challenge to the mainstream. Is it that ‘critical admixture’ which has been stripped away? That critical admixture is what formed
me. You know, my education didn’t come from school, which I hated, it came from reading NME. If you want to look at the decline of British culture over the last 30 years, look at what the NME was like then to what it’s like now. Art colleges were a big part of that too, Green went to Leeds, and the re-embourgeoisement of art colleges is significant. It’s what happens with apparently banal changes in funding structures. If you make people pay for their own education, then we will see the consequences of that. One of the things we haven’t talked about is the class domination of things like popular culture and popular music. The absurd number of ex-private school kids who are now dominating the indie scene or whatever. Because only they can afford it; only they can afford to get into the networks where culture happens. I see that critical admixture prevalent in punk as part of a movement towards something. Now, our experience is very different. We are individuals who navigate between styles, we don’t belong to any one movement. Do you recognise that tendency? Increasingly I think that is the case, but the range of options that people have got are so limited actually. Yes, ostensibly there is this kind of infinite fungibility about the self, but what does that amount to? Actually it amounts to choosing from a set of pregiven options really, and the capacity to collectively produce something that didn’t exist before has radically atrophied. I think that’s what’s been underlying everything that’s been said today, that a capacity to make an infinity of meaningless choices has replaced the capacity to actually change things. And underlying this sense of infinite fungibility is that overwhelming sense that nothing can ever happen again. I think this is the key dialectic of the current moment, of capitalist realism, that nothing is fixed, but nothing will ever happen. Part of what I’m doing is trying to bring that underlying negativity to the surface as a means of acknowledging sadness and the causes of that sadness, I think, so that they can be exposed. And then it’s about converting depression into anger. Mark Fisher appears at the music-based literary festival Off The Page at the Arnolfini, Bristol 26-28 September. Find an extended version of this conversation at crackmagazine.net
8–10pm, £10 / An audience with Robert Wyatt in conversation with Marcus O’Dair
/ Aftershow party @ The Cube, 11pm–3am £3/Free (Off The Page ticket holders) Rewired (NTS) DJs + more TBA
11am–11pm, £20 / An audience with Carla Bozulich in conversation with Frances Morgan / An audience with Paul Gilroy in conversation with Tony Herrington / Mark Fisher on the retro fixations of 21st century R&B / Julian Henriques & David Fisher [Papa Roots] on how to build a sound system / Sarah Angliss on the visceral roots of electronic sound / David Keenan on the unthinkable acts of Industrial culture / Richard King, Mike Darby & Pinch on record shops, roots and Bristol culture
Sat 27 Sept
Off The Page 2014
Bristol Arnolfini 26–28 September
Sun 28 Sept
Tickets & information // arnolfini.org.uk
/ The Wire pub quiz @ The Louisiana noon–1pm, free Hosted by Derek Walmsley & Rob Young
2–6pm, £8 / Screening: A Spell To Ward Off The Darkness / Dean Blunt Black Metal: A Reading / Eric Isaacson A Cosmic & Earthly History Of Recorded Music According to Mississippi Records
Fri 26 Sept
Intermission music by Jonny Trunk Rolling film programme in the Dark Studio The Wire book stall Family activities
/ Closing concert @ The Cube 7–11pm, £7/£4 (Off The Page ticket holders) Marisa Anderson + Lori Goldston + Dragging An Ox Through Water
/ / / /
Presented by / The Wire + Qu Junktions + Arnolfini
Created exclusively for CRACK by Aidan Cook \ boner-squad.blogspot.co.uk
“Art for Art’s sake”: discussing freedom from form with Ryan Gander
©Ryan Gander, Courtesy the artist and Lisson Gallery. Image Ken Adlard.
Ryan Gander is very busy. Aside from a practice that turns out over 100 artworks a year, he’s recently been on the judging panel for New Contemporaries, designed a line of trainers for Adidas, and has plans to open an art school. His practice encompasses sculpture, painting, writing, video, and immersive art-theatre. There are tropes drawn on, sustained and then discarded, from piece to piece. The breadth of Gander’s output is so vast, the connections between works so nebulous, that it’s difficult to know where to begin. While there are no exclusive themes explored, in conversation Gander describes an interest in the collision of objects – juxtapositions. Elsewhere he focuses on narrative, as in his series of works modelled on Degas’s dancer, which sees the ultimate Gallerina step off her plinth and take a fag break, look out of the window and then engage – increasingly violently – with her surroundings. Each sculpture constitutes a sequential installment in a static, frame-byframe narrative.
©Ryan Gander, Courtesy the artist and Lisson Gallery. Image Ken Adlard/Dave Morgan.
©Ryan Gander, Courtesy the artist and Lisson Gallery. Image Ken Adlard.
Guardian art critic Adrian Searle, meanwhile, asserts that “noticing things is at the core of what he does”, citing, as an example, Gander’s marble-dust casts of his daughter’s forts. While an unarguable conceptual motif, this again seems too narrow to adequately describe the span of his output. Interviewing him over the phone, I put it to him.
What, if any, is the point of contact between the different themes you explore in your work? Ryan Gander: I think it’s always changing. I think that’s what keeps me interested. I think there’s probably like, five or six different practices, and I swap between them when I get a bit bored. The work is a bit jumpy; it has this kind of spastic energy that’s a bit too highly strung. Maybe you can see that in the variety. There’s a conversation on YouTube between you and [art historian] Rudi Fuchs; you were talking about the Degas Ballerina works, and he said your work was circular – Beckettian. Some of your pieces remind me of an Ouroboros in that way, continuous but
also closed. Do you need a work to have that sense of logical completeness before you make it? RG: Again, it’s different. In a lot of the works there’s a lot of meta-, and there’s a lot of total internal refraction; a lot of circular concept. Only as much as there is leaving things open; missing information, the latent and the ghost and the taking away and providing only the framework and not the content. It doesn’t need to have a complete concept before it starts; I’d say half the works that I make are investigations or trials, because I don’t know what I’m doing and I want to see how these things fall out of me into the world, and see how they look and function.
©Ryan Gander, Courtesy the artist and Lisson Gallery. Image Peter Hauck
Gander admits a degree of evasiveness on this point, “I’m being really ambiguous aren’t I? Half this, half that. Sorry.” But there is a recursive quality to many of his works – at least in how he talks about them. The ballerina, in his sculpture series, is freed from her plinth and liberated from her Degas form, but remains trapped in the dual threads of Gander’s narrative and his
Words: Augustin Macellari
© Ryan Gander, Courtesy the artist and Lisson Gallery. Image Martin Argyroglo.
watertight conceptualisation. The work, in this instance, seems almost closed-off to external critical dialogue and preserved by the artist’s conceptual rigor. The self-assuredness with which Gander discusses his works (another YouTube clip shows a panel discussion during which he blithely describes the “loose associative”, almost nonsense-poetry logic that links the works in an exhibition – search ‘Ryan Gander in conversation with Louise Hayward’) is reflected in the ease, and nonchalance, with which he describes his “five or six different practices”. It’s a refreshing perspective; a departure from what can be a dogmatic loyalty to, or a dependence on, medium.
It seems as though to stand by this multifaceted approach to practice[s] requires a kind of confidence; I can imagine a kind of intellectual bullying happening at art school, for example, about a practice that isn’t committed to a medium or specific field of investigation. Did this confidence come with commercial success, or was it there before?
RG: I don’t make enough profit to say I’m commercially successful; I spend all my money on making art, so I don’t know if commercial success is in the conversation. I think I had that confidence when I was intellectually bullied at college, because I think if you work by the code that I work by, and the morals and the ethics that I personally have about making art, and about contributing to the history of art, then you can’t fuck around with that.
Gander’s sense of the history of art, and the self-awareness he has about his own position within it, is telling. With this he starts to elucidate the “spastic energy” of his output.
When I was asking at the beginning about the points of contact between the disparate conceptual elements that make up your practice, I suppose I was trying to ask you what drives you as a maker. Is this desire to add to the art ‘canon’ the bottom line? RG: Yeah, it’s a bit like collecting. When I saw my new book Culturefield printed for the first time, I had this feeling that I looked
49 like a bit of a collector – “let’s see how many things I can do in my lifetime”. Just try and make the things that I do as obscure from the next thing or as acute from the last. It’s a bit like a self-challenge, a quest. That’s a bit how I feel about it; I really want to do a uniform for a McDonald’s drivethrough attendant, there’s a colossal list of devices that I want to use. I probably won’t be able to do them all in my lifetime, but it’s a way to keep busy...
piercing, exploration into visual language; art for art’s sake.
What becomes clear is that the scale of Gander’s output reflects not a scattergun, throw-it-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks approach, but rather a broad, but no less
With a practice as conceptual as his, so rooted in idea rather than any sort of materiality, it’s a fluency in the language of art that comes through, and that supports
©Ryan Gander, Courtesy the artist and Okayama Kyokuto Hospital. Image Yasushi Ichikawa.
It could be argued that the recursive quality of this approach requires something of a leap of faith; a willingness to see an intrinsic value in art. Without this faith, the whole endeavor could be written off as a waste of time. But that’s really a truism about the whole of contemporary art, and besides, Gander is highly persuasive.
the art-for-art loop. Gander himself brings it up, “I’m really articulate in visual language, I’ve spent 25 years learning about it. If you spent 25 years learning Chinese, you’d be able to speak it pretty proficiently.” Fundamentally, Gander’s loyalty is to art itself; not to the fluff that surrounds it. It’s telling that it’s “visual language” he refers to, not critical theory.
It’s great hearing you talk about your work because you’re very direct. It’s not bogged down in references to Adorno. What is your position on critical theory?
50 RG: My position on critical theory is that it’s easier to speak about things when you speak in examples with solid things in front of you, than it is to speak about multiple possible things at once, like you’re sitting on a cloud. I’m not a big fan of critical theory per se; it’s too ambiguous. I like to speak and think in examples. And it’s easier for people to visualise things in examples. I like critical theory, but I like critical theory with physical foundation. So then your artworks are examples? RG: Yeah, they are. They’re almost like swatches. A lot of artists now are adopting a medium or language that aren’t theirs to use, in a sense. Music, for example, or poetry. Sometimes it’s like art functions as a kind of inoculation against poor quality; that artists are held to a different standard than musicians. Is it less forgivable when they’re using a visual discourse badly, than when they use a different discipline badly? RG: Yeah, it’s much worse. But, you’ve still got to be good. Like that TV commercial I made [Imagineering, 2013]; if you’re going to make a TV commercial and it has to be good, you get the people who make TV commercials to make the TV commercial. If I was to do a project that was a song, I’d work with professionals that understood what they were doing. I haven’t got time to learn about that as well as everything else I need to know; you can’t do everything. ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’ is true. I can’t know about ceramics and bronze casting and architecture and philanthropy. It’s impossible.
While Gander’s visual fluency provides access to a cultural lexicon of imagery and reference, it is his fundamental engagement with the open dialogue of art itself that gives both clout and a kind of generosity to his insights.
RG: I think if you have your own language and practice, and you make something reminiscent of someone else’s work or the crux of someone else’s idea for a singular work, that’s quite interesting. It means the trajectories of your paths have crossed. It’s interesting because it’s mimetic – it’s reflecting everything that’s around you, and the things you appreciate. It’s the same as putting vases on the windowsill that people can see from the outside, or having fluffy dice in your car. It’s all showing, and refracting everything that’s around you that you enjoy. It’s not copying, it’s kind of nice.
Make every show like it’s your last is a major exhibition of Ryan Gander’s work, and runs at Manchester Art Gallery until 14 September ©Ryan Gander, Courtesy the artist and Lisson Gallery. Image Ken Adlard.
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California knows how to party: rap beat mogul DJ Mustard never fails to cook up the bangers
â€œMy neigh was just like the movies: fast cars do burninâ€™ ru types o
hbourhood e you see in : low riders, oing donuts, ubber, all of shit!”
59 A deep, minimal bassline pulsates. 808 drums thud, finger clicks snap and hands clap while G-funk synths hover above. Off-beat ‘Hey!’ chants bounce between the gaps and – just before the first rapper jumps on the track – a sampled voice declares that it’s “Mustard on the beat hoe!”
neighbourhood’s after hours street culture. “Crenshaw was just like you see in the movies”, he smiles, “low riders, fast cars doing donuts, burnin’ rubber, all types of shit! It’s something you can’t explain, it’s like Boyz N The Hood or something, it’s just like that.”
It’s the instantly-gratifying formula of 24 year old Dijon (Dijon – “Mustard” – get it?) McFarlane, and it’s been inspiring hands to raise, hips to drop and asses to shake on an increasingly global scale since Tyga’s mixtape track-turned-breakthrough anthem Rack City blew up in 2011. But 2014 has undoubtedly been DJ Mustard’s biggest year so far. By February, he’d already scored five hits in Billboard’s US RnB/ hip-hop chart, and in April, eight of the top 100 were DJ Mustard-produced tracks. It’s rumoured that, for artists from outside Mustard’s inner-circle, these beats are excruciatingly expensive.
The 90s hood movie reference is apt. Mustard produced the bulk of his Comptonborn rhyming partner YG’s critically and commercially successful 2014 album My Krazy Life, a record which saw the pair wear the influence of gangsta rap’s forefathers with pride. Mustard himself, however, never fell into gang-banging, and having seen so many friends get locked up or lose their lives prematurely, he embraced his talent to help steer him in a different direction. “Yeah, this definitely helped me stay out of trouble, if I wasn’t doing music I’d probably be doing some dumb shit”, he admits.
As a child of the 90s growing up around Crenshaw Blvd in California, Mustard’s deep-seated love for a West Coast groove developed in his early years, with “a lot of Dr. Dre, a lot of Snoop Dogg, a lot of Eazy E” burrowing into his ears. “Everybody listened to it, the whole family”, he explains via Skype. He started playing out while still a child (“I was like 11 years old and my uncle let me DJ at a party. There was that adrenaline feeling you get, and that was really cool”), and it wouldn’t be long before a young Mustard got a taste of his
From the start, the primary function of DJ Mustard’s music has been to make people dance. His sound melts together the aforementioned love of G-funk with inspirations from crunk pioneers Lil Jon and the Ying Yang Twins, and many would describe Mustard’s style as a form of hyphy – the party-orientated genre and scene rooted in the West Coast’s Bay Area. Young artists like Iamsu! and Sage The Gemini of the Heartbreak Gang are successfully flying the flag for the Bay, yet the careers of hyphy pioneers such as Mac Dre, Keak Da Sneak and Too $hort – it’s widely considered – were always criminally overlooked. Of course, there are a few critics out there who accuse DJ Mustard of biting the hyphy style. A few months back, footage emerged (on World Star Hip-Hop, of course) of Mustard being slapped by envious Oakland rapper Mistah F.A.B. mid-DJ set. But Mustard refuses to get caught up in the beef. To him, the Bay is all a part of the West Coast’s rich tapestry for inspiration. He’s even stopped hating on Iggy Azalea mega-hit Fancy, despite the fact that its beat is a shameless imitation of his style that was crafted by London-based production team The Invisible Men. Around the turn of the last decade, the influence of hyphy drifted from the Bay Area to LA and soundtracked the short-lived Jerkin’ movement. Led by adolescent dance crews, the Jerkin’ scene involved groups
of kids taking to the streets to bust elastic moves in tight, often brightly coloured or patterned jeans and retro sneakers. It was here that DJ Mustard began to make a name for himself online after dropping a compilation called Let’s Jerk (for which the low-budget promo videos can still be found online) in 2010. “I wasn’t making beats when jerkin’ came out, I was just around it and I was a DJ involved in it”, he clarifies, “I guess it helped to start the LA thing back up and it gave people a chance to look at us." He starts to chuckle. "But it was kind of a gift and a curse, because they were always looking at us crazy because we was wearing the tight jeans! It was cool though.” So did he squeeze into the jeans himself? “Yeah”, he sighs, “I did”. Fast-forward four years and DJ Mustard has released debut album 10 Summers, a title which declares his intent to dominate the radio well into the next decade. The album features a mix of major league rappers like Rick Ross and 2 Chainz alongside lesser-known artists on his Pushaz Ink label. Certain indicators – such as his involvement with the forthcoming Rihanna album and the rise of close affiliate and dirty-minded crooner Ty Dolla $ign – suggest there’s space under the spotlight for Mustard to share with his peers. While never complacent, DJ Mustard must feel as though he’s already graduated to the same league as his heroes. “I’ve met Dre a couple of times and I always speak to Snoop”, he says casually, “Snoop actually booked me to DJ at his house a while ago for his kids. It was cool, just a group of kids having fun.” And many are eager to list Mustard and YG in the long lineage of classic producer-rapper duos that ranges from Eric B and Rakim to, of course, Dre and Snoop. So how does DJ Mustard feel about it? “Yeah we appreciate that comparison, but we want to be better than them”, he insists. “I got dreams of being better than Dre and I know YG got dreams of being bigger than Snoop Dogg, and I know that Dre and Snoop got dreams of us being bigger than them. Those are two genuine people, so I know they’ll always want us to make history.”
10 Summers is out now via Pushaz Ink / Roc Nation
Words: Davy Reed
autumn programme 2014
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The Box, exclusively aT MinisTry of sound MinisTryofsound.coM/cluB
kove kry wolf krysTal klear low sTeppa MariBou sTaTe Mark radford Mia dora pBr sTreeTgang
rouTe94 ryan BlyTh shenoda sigMa skreaM s-Man The MekanisM Todd Terry
DEKMANTEL Amsterdam Bos 1-3 August After a series of glowing reviews, Dekmantel returned this year as one of the most anticipated danceorientated events of the summer. Founded by one of Amsterdam’s foremost sources for electronic music (they also run the consistently on-point Dekmantel imprint), it once again combined a line-up of credible house and increasingly diverse strains of bleeding edge techno alongside true innovators of the scene. It’s actually pretty hard to believe that Dekmantel festival is only in its second year. Taking place in a forest just 20 minutes from central Amsterdam, a scattering of accommodating stages are held together by lush greenery and incredible attention to detail, meaning you’re never more than a short walk from something impressive. We kicked off Friday with San Proper who played a selection of wigged out everything on the pretty-muchperfect Warsteiner stage with wonky Prince edits and Crash
Course In Science’s Flying Turns providing particular highlights. Decked out with wooden panelling, its long dancefloor centers around a huge sprawling willow tree that drapes over the crowd. Over the course of the weekend it prompted unabashed soul and disco anthems from the likes of Gerd Janson, Prins Thomas and Mr. Ties and provided the perfect backdrop to DJ Harvey’s sleazy, intoxicating selections in his Friday night headline set. With Dekmantel’s relative ease making it possible to see a satisfying amount of the line-up, other brief Friday highlights included Intergalactic Gary smashing out electro from under Boiler Room’s charming set-up (in which either side of the crowd faced each other), an hour of mad percussive workouts from Jimmy Edgar in the mammoth XLR8R tent and Can U Dance fulfilling its no-chinstroking policy by playing Lumidee followed by Dizzee Rascal. Nicolas Jaar closed the truly epic main stage with a selection of unreleased material, stringing out an edit of Jocelyn Brown’s Somebody Else’s Guy for over 15 minutes to a twitching crowd.
Saturday’s surprise set from copeland was a refreshingly low-key performance. Running through some tracks from her recent LP alongside deep, dubbier techno, copeland occasionally took to the mic to channel her particularly arresting brand of insouciance. A day for true originals, Joey Anderson’s weird, warping electronics smothered a vibing afternoon crowd, while Traxx’s insanely jacking rhythms amped up a late night Warsteiner stage. Undoubtedly a highlight, Three Chairs’ six-hour set lived up to the legend that surrounds their tag team excursions through Detroit heritage. As Kyle Hall and Jay Daniel stepped up to the decks after their earlier set was cut short due to severe weather warnings, it felt even more like a family affair. With Rick Wilhite running through milestones of Detroit musical history, Theo Parrish teasing out disco edits, Moodymann throwing curveballs such as Tom Tom Club’s Wordy Rappinghood and Marcellus Pittman jumping on the mic to sing over Flowers, their genuinely elating spectacle had the entire crowd beaming, leaving no
doubt in our minds as to who the most charismatic act in electronic music is today. Indeed, most DJs responded to the favorable weather over the weekend with notably playful sets. Ben UFO’s Sunday slot, for example, was a joyous run from huge, anthemic techno such as DJ Qu’s Undescribed (The Believer) to distinctly UK syncopations with garage classics like Scott Garcia’s It’s A London Thing mingling against grime instrumentals that seemed to genuinely bewilder some of the non-British crowd. Although most DJs had kept it lively to match the mood, Sunday’s barrage of nosebleed techno changed that immeasurably. From Nina Kraviz’s hypnotizing sound to Karenn’s pummeling execution of their live show that improves with every performance and Robert Hood’s biblical mastering of pounding techno, the main stage was the point of call for the day. And as the weekend drew to a close, Jeff Mills’ closing slot was the perfect spectacle to highlight the sheer scale of the event, with
the intense visuals morphing on the screens, surrounding a crowd as they worshipped a true innovator. It felt, in that moment more than ever, like the Dekmantel vision had been fulfilled.
Words: Anna Tehabism Photography: Alfie Allen
BEACONS Skipton, Yorkshire 7-10 August Über hip gatherings on the capital’s durable green spaces. East Anglican, poetry-heavy weekenders that the Dads go crazy for. Surreal boutique festivals with mind-blowing stage productions. It feels like the UK festival market is more competitive than ever, doesn’t it? Beacons, which is in its third year and is set in the idyllic Yorkshire Dales, looks as if it could snatch the driving seat from many of its larger, more corporate contemporaries due to an amazing line-up and its presence in the conversations of many young music obsessives all year round. Evidence of the demand for hiphop acts at UK festivals emerged on Friday, with Irish rapper Rejjie Snow gathering an audience while performing tracks from his Rejovich EP alongside prospective album teasers. Action Bronson’s headline set on the Noisey stage drew one of the biggest crowds of the weekend. And as the Queens rapper delivered on-point, animated renditions of witty Blue Chips 2 tracks Silverado
and the Tequila-nabbing Pepe Lopez to a rapturous response, the decision to host NYC’s biggest man in one of the smaller Noisey tent led to anxieties about safety, with photographers opting to climb the stage rigging rather than shoot in a spewing pit. Switching over to Daniel Avery’s three-hour mission on the Resident Advisor stage, the Drone Logic highlights and stand-out techno stompers such as Ondo Fudd’s Coup d’Etat forbid the audience to stay still. Phantasy head Erol Alkan also swung by to blow-up the stage a day later, with the gnarly essence of Randomer’s Huh calling us into a bottomless pool of uninterrupted bangers, as the acidic tinge of A Hold On Love – transformed with a female vocal not present on his originalIllumination EP – closed the tent in dramatic ecstasy. Under his Daphni alias, Dan Snaith also spoiled us with the track of the summer – the extended mix of Can’t Do Without You, which we heard played out five times over the course of the weekend. Serving up performances from
Joy Orbison, Wayward and Boiler Room’s Tasker, the Red Bull stage – which was complete with bar, couches and was housed in a converted shipping container – allowed DJs to veer away from structure thanks to its intimacy. Reduced to just one member for their Sunday set, Psychemagik treated the multiplying audience to both slowburning (yet brilliantly housed-up) versions of Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams and Everywhere which were made with the intention to light-up these kind of festival fields. As Hurricane Bertha blew in from the Pennines, Have you ever kissed the sunshine on Ditongo’s Walk Between The Rain was contrasted with rumbles of thunder coming out of the speakers, bringing the air-punches high to the sky. As Sunday’s storm progressed, both the Argyll and East Leeds FM stages were cordoned off, and with the punk don of dance Andrew Weatherall’s ‘Love From Outer Space’ project being cut short, morale was dipping by the evening. Ever the professionals when the show must go on, the team rescheduled Cate Le Bon as
Neneh Cherry braved the biblical mud with her Rocket Number Nine band. Cherry’s defiant enthusiasm saw her take the to fangirl side-ofstage position at Darkside – who followed and closed the festival in spectacular fashion for 2014. No matter how much we wish we could stop a classified hurricane dampening our parade, Beacons is one hell of a classy hangout. And despite being in its infancy, the lineup alone confirms that this festival has established itself as the staple of many Northern – and Southern – music fans’ summer.
Words: Leah Connolly Photography: Giles Smith
LIVE LIVE SEPTEMBER / SEPTEMBER /
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Live OFF Katowice, Poland 31 July – 3 August OFF is still pretty much Superdryclad-British-prick free. In fact, the only positively prick British behaviour we witnessed the whole time was a vaguely vulgar display from Belle and Sebastian’s drummer as he ‘did the elephant’ while singing MN8's classic single I’ve Got a Little Something For Ya in our hotel lobby. But, if we’re honest, the whole bizarre ritual was strangely endearing, all things considered. So how were the weekend’s proper performances? The first evening’s real highlights came in the form of the Detroit grot-rockers Protomartyr and headliners Neutral Milk Hotel, whose reverential, engulfing folk-weirdness is perfect live. The Jesus and Mary Chain headlined the following night, but failed to grab us. And so with heavy hearts, we headed to the forest for LE1F, who bounded across the stage with more energy than every member of the Mary Chain put together. Finally, it was time for Belle & Sebastian. There is nothing more heartwarming than the effortless charm of Stuart Murdoch. With a set that included every song we wanted to hear, the hotel lobby scenario was forgotten, and OFF was closed in a graceful and whimsical manner. ! Billy Black N FKA Silliè
FLOW Helsinki, Finland 8-10 August
TAURON NOWA MUZK YA Katowice, Poland 21-14 August
VISIONS Various Venues, London 2 August Back for its second instalment after a highly acclaimed debut, multi-venue escapade Visions nestled itself at the tipping point of high summer, with a hot and heady mix of acts to delight and dishevel. Eagulls’ performance easily justified every good word that can be uttered or written. They’re fucking good at what they do, given that they seem to give so little of a fuck about anything else. Frontman George Mitchell’s presence on stage is steeped in bravado, but the hint of vulnerability in his stance – eminently clearer in the lyrical doldrums he professes – makes him almost impossible to stop watching. Like a self-styled Jesus of Party, Visions’ headliner Andrew WK entered dressed all in white to a sea of raised devil horns to play a ‘very special solo show’ consisting of a hype-man, a backing track and live vox’n’piano. The frequency of crowd-surfing and stage invasions exploded, as anthems We Want Fun and Party Hard ramped up the crowd’s enthusiasm. Security eventually quashed the light-hearted mood, pulling the plug on WK after a centurion countdown to his last song saw one too many reveller join him on stage. They thought they’d stopped the party, but if Andrew WK has taught us anything, it’s that the party will never be truly defeated. ! Aaron Z. Willson N Hannah Godley
RE ADING FESTIVAL Richfield Avenue, Reading 22-24 August For a considerable chunk of the 90-odd thousand people who attended Reading 2014, this was their first festival, and whether they’ve come to paint their faces with UV and freak out in the dance tents or to cling to the main stage barriers for a good spot, they’re here for a weekend to remember. Our first stop was Drenge. Rolling out onto the stage sporting charming ladies’ dresses, the pair tore into a tight set with moments of monstrous noise. As night drew in, Warpaint’s ghostly atmospherics filled up the NME tent with a purple glow, a titanic helping of dry ice, and a celestial swagger only they can deliver. The irony of Sunday headliners Blink 182’s opening track What’s My Age Again? wasn’t lost on the Reading crowd, but cynicism wasn’t an issue as they blasted out their juvenile pop punk to a seemingly ecstatic audience. This kind of booking reflects the sense of variety on show at Reading which, while not always chin-stroker friendly, certainly didn’t go underappreciated by the detribalised kids who’ll happily have it all on shuffle. ! Jim Pilling N Jen O'Neill
Set against the backdrop of an abandoned coal mine in the town of Katowice, a giant pit shaft illuminates crumbling industrial buildings, ensuring that our Tauron Nowa Muzkya experience would be unique from the moment of arrival. Friday night’s highlights included Kelela, whose gorgeous falsetto sounded even more striking live, and the technicolour 189bpm body music of Shangaan Electro pioneer Nozinja. First up for Hyperdub’s Saturday night showcase was Laurel Halo, whose seriously deep, almost dub-techno and fractured rhythms paved the way for Cooly G’s fiery UK funky and grime. Kode9 went in with a workout glittered with his signature Gameboy glitch rhythms, jewels from the recent Hyperdub run of releases and a medley of DJ Rashad tracks. Scratcha DVA was a treat, prepping for his 5am set by getting pretty liberal on the mic and darting about to pour vodka in the mouths of the sparse crowd. Sunday’s wind down came in the form of Nils Frahm playing on the top floor of a derelict factory. And with Frahm joking about a friend of his cutting his head open in the same venue, we found ourselves eschewing the festival’s eccentric setups for the first time to listening to his beautiful neoclassical tones from the comfort (and relative safety) of the pop-up bar downstairs. ! Anna Tehabsim + Billy Black N Radowslaw Kazmierczak
In the shadows of two skyscraping cooling towers, Helsinki’s Flow continued to establish itself as a pure and inclusive example of what a music festival should stand for. Flawlessly clean, sound crisp, the setting – an iconic disused powerplant – is the kind of place you’d visit even if some of the world’s most celebrated musicians weren’t there with you. The Main Stage saw the Manic Street Preachers dip into The Holy Bible to spine-tingling effect, Janelle Monae place herself in the tradition of great American entertainers, and The National justify their rise from indie-oddities to festival headline heroes. With the sun howling down all weekend, tents became saunas of exuberance. Pusha T emanated charisma, while those unlikely heroes Slint were emotionally exhausting, gutturally moving and viscerally rewarding. There’s no such thing as a standard Action Bronson set, and here he maneuvered his way out of the tent, nicked an €8 beer and settled on a bench to accept kisses from fans. The 360° stage was a unique treat; standing inches from Matt Mondanile as the sun harangued the backs of necks and Real Estate delivered a typically balmy set will stay with us forever. And as that sun plunged behind the coolers for the last time, seldom have we experienced such electricity as when Big Boi and Andre 3000 bounded onstage. Their interplay remains one of the most important phenomena in the history of hip-hop, and as they, and we, celebrated the sheer cultural significance of OutKast, Flow came to an utterly perfect close. ! + N Geraint Davies
A Decade Decade O Off T he R ainbow V enues The Rainbow Venues Birmingham B irmingham
Autumn A utumn / W Winter inter Programme P ro g r a m m e 2014 2014
SEPTEMBER. S EPTEMBER. Frii 19 F Fr 19/0 19/09 /09 /0 9 Sp S Spotlight pot otli ligh ligh ghtt & Ne N Nextdoor xttdoor do oorr Blac Bl a kd ac kdott Blackdot G Gu uti tii / A ugus ug gus ustu tus G tus tu Gl loo oop p + Re R esi side si dent de ntts n Guti Augustus Gloop Residents S Sa att 20/0 2 20 0/0 /09 9 All A l Ra Al Rain inbo in nbo bow Ve enu uess Sat 20/09 Rainbow Venues 2 Hour 24 Ho ou ur Ra R ve E ve x errim xp men entt Rave Experiment Frii 26 Fr 26/0 / 9 Wa /0 W are re eh ho ous use & Ga ard den en 26/09 Warehouse Garden Huxl Hu x ey A xl lb bum u T o r ou Huxley Album Tour Satt 27 Sa 2 / 9 Textile /0 Text Te x ile xt ille Fa Fact cttor o y 27/09 Factory Godskitchen TXXENTY Gods Go dski ds k tc ki tche hen he n TX XXE ENT NTY Y P Pa ull V an nD yk k/P ure ur e NR RG Paul Van Dyk Pure NRG J Jo hn n 00 00 Flem F Fl lem emin in ng [Liv [[Live] [L Live] ive] iv e] John Fleming
OCTOBER. O CTOBER. Fri F Fr ri 03/1 03 03/10 3/1 10 Wa Warehouse are reho h us ho use & Ga use Gard Garden rrd den en Seedy Sonics 4th Birthday Se eed edyy So Soni n css 4 ni tth hB irrth t da ay Me M ele e/M ak k&P a tte as ema man Mele Mak Pasteman Artful Dodger A Ar rtf tful ull D odge od ge g er 10 0 Years Ye ea ars of of Sh S hog gun un A u io ud o Shogun Audio S Sa att 04 0 / 0 Warehouse /1 Wa are eho h us use e Sat 04/10 H HY PE HYPE Em mal alk ka ay / Cook C Co ook kie eM onst on sstta / Ep E pti tc ti Emalkay Cookie Monsta Eptic M Me galo ga lo od do on Megalodon
Fri Fri 10/10 10/1 10 / 0 Spotlight /1 Spot Sp otli ot ligh li gh ght ht & Nextdoor Ne ext xtdo door do o or Portal Presents Roush Records Po ort rtal al P rese re sent n s Ro nt R ush us h Re R cord co rdss rd Hector Hect He c or ct o Couto Couto ou uto / Cuartero Cua uart rter rt terro Sat Sat 11/10 1 /10 11 /1 10 Warehouse W re Wa eho h usse & Garden Gard Ga r en rd n 10:31 10:3 10 :31 :3 1 3rd 3rd Birthday Birt Bi Birt rthd h ayy hd Mike Skinner Mss Dy Dynamite M ke S Mi kiinn nner e /M er Dyna nami na m te mi te Shy Sh hy FX X + Residents Ressid i en ntss Fri Fri 18/10 Fr 18 8/1 /10 0 Nextdoor Next Ne Next xtdo doo do door orr Shadow City Shad Sh ad dow C itty Detroit Detr De troi oit Swindle Swin Swin Sw ndl dle e Sat Sat 19/10 19/1 19 /10 Warehouse /1 Ware Wa reho re ho ous use e FACE FAC FA ACE CE 5th 5th Birthday Bir irth rth hda dayy Jamie D’Julz Jef Jami Ja mie mi e Jones Jone Jone Jo es / D’ D Julz Ju l /J lz ef K + Residents Resi Re Resi side dentts de Sat Sat 20/10 20 0/1 / 0 The The Th e Rainbow Rain Ra in nb bo ow FACE 5th Birthday FACE FA CE 5 tth hB irrth ir thda tth hda dayy d Part Part Pa rt 2 Davide D viide Da de Squillace Squ uil illa lla ace Fri Frri 24/10 F 24 4/1 /10 Spotlight S otli Sp ottli ligh igh ghtt & Nextdoor Nex Ne xtdo xt door orr Resonate R so Re s nate nate na Boddika Mali Bodd Bo dd dik ka / LF LFM M & Ma M lii Sat Venues Sa at 25/10 2 //1 25 10 All A l Rainbow Al Rain Ra in nbo b w Ve V nues nu ess The The Haunting Haun Ha unti un t ng Part ti Par artt Three Th hre ee Seedy Face 02:31 Se eed e y Sonics S ni So nics cs / F ace ac e / 02 2:3 31 Fidget more Fiidget F dg gett Friday Fri rida dayy + mo da ore Fri Venues Fri 31/10 31 1/1 10 Trinity Trin Tr init in itty Street Stre St reet re et V et enue en u s ue Nightmare Trinity Street Nigh Ni ghtm gh tmar tm arre on T a riini nity tyy S trree eett Nick Route 94 Samu.l N ck Ni c Curly Currlyy / R o te ou e9 4 / Sa S amu mu.ll
ttherainbowvenues.co.uk/tickets h e r a i n b o w v e n u e s . c o . u k / t i c ke t s
NOVEMBER. N OVEMBER.
DECEMBER. D ECEMBER.
Satt 01/11 Sa 0 /1 01 11 Wa W Warehouse are re reho eho ousse Hosp Ho spit sp ital it alit al itty ity Hospitality Camo Ca mo m o & Krooked Kro rook ok oked ked d / Metrik Met etri rk ri Lond Lo nd n don E le lect eccttri riici c ty ci ty + m o e or London Electricity more
Frii 05 F Fr 05/12 5/1 /12 2 Wa Warehouse are reho housse & Ga ho Gard Garden rden rd e en Se eed edyy So S oni nics ni cs Seedy Sonics S Sh had adow ow wC h ld / K hi r W ry of ol Shadow Child Kry Wolf K Ka srra / Em E Empe mpe pero ror / Hyro ror ro Hy yrro oglif gllif ific ficcs Kasra Emperor Hyroglifics
Frri 07 Fri 7/1 /11 1 Sp pottli ligh ghtt & Ne gh N xtdo xt d or do 07/11 Spotlight Nextdoor Reso Re sona so nate na te Resonate Ge G eo orrge ge F itzg it zger zg erral ald ld / Le Levo vo on Ma M ala la abata bata ba t George Fitzgerald Levon Malabata
Sa at 06/12 0 /1 06 /12 2 Wa Ware reho re hous use us e & Ga Gard r en rd n Sat Warehouse Garden Crea Cr eam ea m B’ B B’ha ’ha am 8t 8th h Bi B rthd rt hd h dayy Cream B’ham Birthday Da D avi v d Morales M ra Mo ale es / Da D ann nny Ra Ramp mpli mp mpli ling ng g David Danny Rampling
S Sa 0 /1 08 /11 1 Wa Ware reho re hous ho use us e & Ga Gard rden rd en n Satt 08/11 Warehouse Garden 1 10 :3 :31 31 10:31 Redlight DJ Zinc Tom Shorterz R Re edl d ig ight ht / D J Zi Z iinc n /T nc o S om h rt ho rter erz er
Fr ri 12 12/1 / 2 Sp /1 Spot otli ot tli ligh gh ht & Ne ext xtdo d o do orr Fri 12/12 Spotlight Nextdoor Port Po r all / S rt peci pe ciial ci all G uest ue sstttss TB TBC C Portal Special Guests
F Fr 14/1 / 1 Sp /1 S pot o li l gh ght ht & Ne ext x do door or Frii 14 14/11 Spotlight Nextdoor A At omic om mic J am Atomic Jam Dave Da ave e Clarke Clla ark rke / Ø [P rke [PHA PHA ASE SE] / He SE] e/a /aT T [PHASE] He/aT S Sa 15 1 5/1 / 1 Th he Ra ain inbo nbo bow Ve Venu n es nu es Satt 15/11 The Rainbow Venues Anni An nie Mac nie Ma ac Pr ressen e tss Annie Presents An nn niie Ma Macc / Ha H ann nnah nn nah ah W ants an ts Annie Hannah Wants Tour To u isst [L ur Livve] e /L xu uryy Tourist [Live] Lxury F Fr 21/1 /1 /11 11 Sp S pot otli liigh ht & Ne N xtdo xt do door oorr Frii 21 21/11 Spotlight Nextdoor G Go rgon rg on n City Cit ityy Al lbu b m To Tourr Tour Gorgon Album G Gorg Go org gon o City Citty + Sp S Spec peccia al Gu G ues ests tss Gorgon Special Guests
S Sa at 13/12 13/1 13 3/1 12 Th The e Ra Rain in nbo bow Sat Rainbow FA ACE / Joris Jor oris riss Voorn Voo oorn r + Guests Gue u st sts FACE F Fr 1 /12 /1 2 Spot S Sp pot otli ligh li ligh ghtt & Ne Next xttdo door or or Frii 19 19/12 Spotlight Nextdoor R Re eso sona nate na te Resonate Pa ale lem ma an / LF L F FM M & Ma ali l +g uest ue stss Paleman LFM Mali guests Sat S Sa at 20/12 20 0/1 / 2 Sp S pot otli ot ligh li ght & N Ne extdo xtdo xt d or Spotlight Nextdoor U Ub er 1 0th 0t h Bi Birt r hd rt day Uber 10th Birthday So S ouldy ulldy dyna nami na m c / An A dyy W ard ar d + mo m re e Souldynamic Andy Ward more Fr 2 /12 /1 2 Sp pec e ia iall Gu ues ests ts T ts BC C Frii 26 26/12 Special Guests TBC
S Sa att 22/11 22/1 22 /1 11 W Wa arre eho h us use Sat Warehouse Port Po r al rt a / Da D riius ri u Syrossian us Syyrros ossi ssi sian an / w an AF FF Portal Darius wAFF
Sat 27/12 Sat Sa 27 7/12 /1 12 Wa W reh re housse & Ga ho G ard r en rd n Warehouse Garden P Po orttal al presents pre rese sent se nts Viva nt nts Viva Vi va Warriors Warrri rior o s or Portal St tev eve La eve Lawl wller / A w nek + mo ne more re e Steve Lawler Anek
Fr ri 28 2 /1 11 Sp pot o li l gh ghtt & Ne N xtdo xt door do or or Fri 28/11 Spotlight Nextdoor Jack Ja ckat ck atho at hon / He hon ho Heid idii + Gu id G essts ests t Jackathon Heidi Guests
NYE NY E 31/1 31 1/1 12 Al A ll Ra ain nbo bow w Ve enu nues uess 31/12 All Rainbow Venues S Show Sh how wca ase s / Special Spec Sp eccia al Guests G esstss TBC Gu TBC C Showcase
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GREEN MAN Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales 14-17 August After 11 years, Green Man feels both reassuringly established (because it has honed its musical programming and cultural ephemera to perfection) but excitingly new (because it is always a showcase for a rich and unique swirl of contemporary music). A handful of acts played early sets amidst the clearing rain clouds on Thursday night, including the hoary but reassuringly irony-free Waterboys, but the festival began in earnest with the endearingly raucous Happyness, who dribbled some fuck-you youthful exuberance on to nicely shambolic slacker-rock material. Dan Snaith’s Caribou, it transpires, can now surely lay claim to being one of the best dance music live-acts in the world, with passion, nostalgia and half-remembered emotion spooling out of every track they perform. The War on Drugs sounded like a cinematic road trip through starry skies soundtracked by Fleetwood Mac and Tom Petty (i.e., bloody amazing) on Saturday night, and the evening’s festivities were capped with the pulsating, sinister and shape-shifting techno of The Field. The last word of the weekend went to Kurt Vile. Laid-back yet anthemic, the crowd bonded over the horizontal charm of Vile’s understated hits, providing the perfect round up to to a weekend spent enjoying one of Green Man’s strongest line-ups to date. ! Adam Corner N Matthew Pontin
L A ROUTE DU ROCK St Malo, France 15-18 August
KR AKE FESTIVAL Friedrichshain, Berlin 4 August
La Route Du Rock has been a beacon of independent musical sunshine on the St Malo coastline for 24 years. Set in an old fort that – in bygone times – used to resist English attacks, the location is easy on the eye and steeped in history. Portishead headlining Friday night 16 years after they last played here was always going to invoke an emotional response. Glory Box has never sounded richer live, and the cathartic stomp of set closer We Carry On sees Beth Gibbons come to the front to address the euphoric crowd. After a day of enjoying the French seaside splendour, the bump back down to earth courtesy of Perfect Pussy’s utterly spellbinding assault was a necessary musical smack. It’s never good to get too comfortable, and Meredith Graves doesn’t want you to recline into your dauphinoise and Chateau Neuf anytime soon. Sunday was funday and they don’t come more playful than one Mac De Marco who, despite being utterly shagged, gives a “rock’n’roll show” of the highest order that incorporates a cover Coldplay’s Yellow and a crowd surf that lasts approximately five minutes. And by the climax of Mac’s set, there are more girls shoulder-mounted than for any other chancer fortunate enough to be booked for this glorious event.
Now in its fourth year, Krake Festival is a celebration of what could be reasonably termed the “higherbrow” of electronic music – if that weren’t such a skin crawlingly egofellating term. What you will find here is an array of mind-expanding producers, musicians, DJs and AV artists – many of whom reside in Berlin – playing everything from avant-garde jazztronica to apocalyptic industrial techno. Crack popped along to the opening night at Urban Spree for a taste of what was on offer, arriving part-way into a performance from experimental jazz/noise quartet The Nest. The group shifts casually from soothing lounge numbers to full earbleeding freeform cacophony, weaving static and white noise into the frenetic tangle of bass plucks and saxophone shrieks. Next up, much-lauded AV outfit Transforma creates a live-action montage of abstract imagery involving the systematic destruction of various perishable items, all while an ethereal, neo-classical soundtrack a-la Godspeed... or A Winged Victory... plays overhead. Last up is one-man electronic singer-songwriter Khan, whose incongruous blend of slightly camp spoken word lyrics and deep-ntough dub techno beats bears scant resemblance to the work of the Gorgon Sound alumnus. It’s very Berlin, and it’s also very, very good.
! Thomas Frost N Timmy Fist
ØYA Oslo, Norway 5-9 August You’re probably a little too young to spend a week sizzling on a sun lounger with a crap crime novel in one hand and a B&H gold in the other, but the slog of UK camping festivals can be so gruelling that you come back feeling like ... well, like you need a holiday. A happy medium is to head out to Norway’s Øya festival, a place where you’ll find yourself gun-fingering under the instruction of a rap megastar before disposing of your cigarette end in a courteous manner a minute later. On first entering the inner-city site, we’re allured by the sound of Brody Dalle, who's struggling due to broken pedals and the airline losing her luggage. By the time her husband arrives on the main stage to front Queens of the Stone Age, however, we get the impression that the pair’s dilemmas haven’t stood in the way of a good time. “We came a long way to get shit-faced with y’all”, Homme slurs, swishing a spirit and mixer in his hand while squinting into the crowd. On Thursday, we secure a front-of-crowd position for New Atlanta star Future. With his voice being barely audible through the speakers, he eventually decides to just punch both arms in the air as DJ Esco drops hits like Bugatti and Move That Dope. Job done. Friday’s highlight is definitely Norwegian black metal titans Mayhem’s show. Candles light the stage, pigs’ heads are impaled on stakes, and frontman Void Ov Voices performs theatrically with a skull and a noose in his hands. We eventually go to bed that night with ringing ears and the strange desire to sacrifice a goat. It’s been one hell of a year for Todd Terje, and Sunday's homecoming show proves he can headline a main stage. Live electronics are enhanced with full band and an appearance of the Bryan Ferry. When Inspector Norse finally drops, dozens of dancers with LED-lit costumes rush the stage perform a goofy, synchronized dance routine. Our one complaint is that it’s all over too soon.
! Davy Reed Markus Thorsen
WAY OUT WEST Gothenburg, Sweden 7 – 9 August The crowd at Way Out West all seem to be blessed with truly dazzling beauty. Not content with throwing on a daisy chain head-dress and getting mucky, instead you’ll find them draped in Moschino and Boy London holding court with vague indecision. Despite the crowd’s composed nature we found ourselves awash with great music. Metz tore a hole in the legendary Gothenburg venue Pustervik, whilst Zebra Katz set at Gothenburg Film Studios was nothing less than dazzling; equal parts, heartwarming and turnt the fuck up. Come Saturday Conor Oberst made his way through some of the greatest moments from his Bright Eyes career which only served to make songs like MOAB – a song that felt particularly poignant considering the recent allegations – sound as strong as anything he ever recorded with the band. The National impressed with effortless alt-rock cool and Bill Callahan made us feel like we should be drinking all the whiskey and smoking all the cigarettes. Way Out West isn’t like a typical festival experience, booze devouring Brits abroad would probably do well to give it a miss, but for the discerning music fan or the party-shy hipster, it might just be perfect. ! Billy Black N Annika Berglund
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
g oa t. SU U NS.
WO O DS. A L LAH-L AS . TH E B ESNA RD L AK ES .
W H I TE H I L L S . S L EEP Y S U N . Z O MB I E Z O MB I E. W O L F PE O P L E . C HR I ST I A N B L A N D & TH E R E V E L A T O R S . AM E N DUN ES . H I L L S . G RUM B L IN G F U R . AL L O V E R ' S SAC R E D D RU G S . A N T HR O PR O PHH. ASTEROID #4. CAMERA. THE EARLY YEARS. GNOD. HOLY WAVE. IS L ET . THE JANITORS. LAY LLAMAS. THE LUCID DREAM. KL A U S J O HANN GR O BE . MAZE S . m ood oid . N U E V A C O STA. PO W ! . Q U I L T . T RA A M S . O R V A L C AR L O S SI BE L I U S. S E P T EM BER G IRL S . S U D DE N DE ATH O F STAR S. S a t el l it i. T E E T H O F THE SE A. THO U G H T FORM S . T H E V AC ANT L O TS. YO U NG H U S B A ND . barberos. BLACK BOMBAIM. BED RUGS. BLACK MEKON. BONNACONS OF DOOM. CANTALOUPE. CHEVAL SOMBRE. DARK BELLS. FORMES. GLASS MOTHS. HALF LOON. JIBOIA. HELLSHOVEL. LES BIG BYRD. ONE UNIQUE SIGNAL. PURPLE HEART PARADE. PETE BASSMAN (Spacemen 3). PLANK. SPECTRES. SPINDRIFT. stRange collective. SUDAKISTAN. TEMPLE SONGS. THEO VERNEY. WHISTLEJACKET. ZENTRALHEIZUNG OF DEATH DES TODES (ZHOD).
T R AN S MISSIO NS PRESENTED BY FT.
N O THIN G
F RO M ROCKET
T HE OUTER R EALMS RECORDINGS
L ittl e
(Ch e r r yS ton e s , C a g e Dir ty, Ch r is R e ed er )
A v i a r y ,
THE CHIMES OF BIG BEN : richard norris. Justin Robertson. Bernie Connor. Richard Hector-Jones. THE CHIMES OF BIG BEN : richard norris. Justin Robertson. Bernie Connor. Richard Hector-Jones. EXCLUSIVE
SONIC CATHEDRAL 'PSYCH FOR SORE EYES 2' LAUNCH HAPPENING. ADVENTURES AT THE OUTER REACHES SYMPOSIUM TUSK FESTIVAL CURATED CINEMA PROGRAMME. PICCADILLY RECORDS WORLD OF PSYCHEDELIC WAX WONDERS. PZYK SKREEN PRINT WRKSHP.
Full details and tickets at LIVERPOOLPSYCHFEST.COM Ti cket s a ls o a va i la b le i n p e r s o n f r o m Pr ob e R e cor d s ( Li ve r p o o l ) , Pi cc a d i lly R e cor d s ( M a nc h e s t e r) + J u m b o R e cor d s ( Le e d s )
Products MOOD BY MICHAEL WILLIS (BUCKET HAT) Mood NYC $38 moodnyc.com Are bucket hats still cool? Not sure. If you're not sure either but you want one anyway, you could do worse than going for this reversible one designed by graphic bad-ass Michael Willis. That way you'll either be twice as cool or twice as lame.
FOR THE RECORD Red Bull Music Academy £25.99 shop.gestalten.com Who is buying all this Red Bull?! Whoever's given up sleep for perma-jitters; thank you, because it means they can keep ploughing all their cash into amazing musicrelated things like this massive hardback book which features the sharpest minds in music chatting to one-another.
ANODE MeeBlip £109.95 meeblip.com Much like how writing things down with a pen is generally better than forgetting to type it into your phone (see that notebook, just down there), turning knobs is generally better than clicking a mouse. This new model from the MeeBlip stable is an analog / digital hybrid synth that combines the best of both worlds with a price that isn't going to scare anyone. Sounds like fun to us.
PRINT ON DENIM Aries £428 goodhoodstore.com Only one pair of these exists in the world, so there's every chance someone got paid a few days earlier than you, had £428 knocking around and now owns them. However, they are £428, so maybe you're still in with a chance.
DOTTED NOTEBOOK Public Supply £12 couvertureandthegarbstore.com It feels like everyone's getting more forgetful. You could probably blame the Internet and the reductive effect it's had on our attention spans. And you'd probably be right. Getting those poems and birthdays written down IRL is a pretty effective way of plugging the holes in your leaky head, and doing so in a lovely little book is the last reason we're giving you. Don't forget.
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DRUNK COP T-SHIRT Concrete Hermit £25 concretehermit.com If only all cops were like this when they're on duty, maybe everything would be a bit more chill and we could all get on with having a good time. Though, actually, they'll probably just step up their subtle civil-war antics and keep getting away with it. Who knows!?
Stones Throw are one of those labels that have transcended the physical world and are now held up as genre-defining bastions of pure quality and relentless vibes. Here they present a documentary covering the life and times of the iconic LA imprint and its band of merry beatsmen. Not only that, but it's bundled with 2x CDs covering the length and breadth of their output to date as well as some exclusive cuts from the one-and-only Madlib. Long live Stones Throw!
CARIBOU Our Love Merge Records Caribou’s summer-munching, soaraway single Can’t Do Without You has finally alerted the mainstream to Dan Snaith’s phenomenal talent. Admittedly, since 2010’s Swim sketched out a whole new realm of serotonin soaked pop-melancholia for the dancefloor (along with Four Tet’s similarly monumental There is Love in You), Caribou has hardly been a whispered underground secret. But the attention (and commercial success) that Can’t Do Without You has received is bait for the inevitable backlash. Is it time to start waving the “I liked him before he was massive” flag? Title track Our Love mangles throwback house and garage attitude with a winsome vocal refrain – classic Caribou. Second Chance is an album highlight: a simmering, simpering vocal from collaborator Jessy Lanza is stretched across a wonky, wandering synth line. It's just one of several clear nods to the strange saccharine production of contemporary RnB. Back Home offers a similar snapshot of modern pop production. But Snaith’s sorrowful vocals mark another key feature of the album: an overt lyrical focus on fixing, cherishing and ultimately losing yourself in love and all its derivatives. Mars is the closest thing on the album to Snaith’s output under his alternative Daphni moniker; all clipped, rotating beats and vaguely tribal aesthetics, while album closer Your Love Will Set You Free is an open-hearted merge of muted pads and swooping synths. Steeped in romance and drenched in the melodic alchemy that Snaith has all but perfected, Our Love is another modern-day classic to add to Caribou’s formidable catalogue. ! Adam Corner
VESSEL Punish, Honey TriAngle
THE GROWLERS Chinese Fountains Fat Cat Records Self acclaimed beach goths The Growlers are breaking free from the tried stereotypes critics have thrust upon them. Chinese Fountains, a concoction of 80s new wave pop and reggae is, for sure, a step in a different direction for the band. Different, yeah, but the seemingly sharp edges which hold the album together sound false – rather than new – and stand in stark, strange contrast to the band's four earlier albums. Chinese Fountains as a whole feels stunted in its imagination; repetitive blues quickly sound stagnant, insipid even. The Growlers used to sing of getting high and living life to the full, but Chinese Fountains is less hedonism and booze, more hangovers and boredom. This release should convey a darker life, a life that drink and drugs can’t mask. Sadly, the light and poppy feel leaves these motifs in the dust and the result is a forced rush of a records. On first listen you might just be taken by The Growlers’ light approach to melancholy, but in the end you'll realise you're just listening to a bunch of lazy dudes who are wholly confused about their intentions. ! Catriona Chadderton
KING TUFF Black Moon Spell Sub Pop
Vessel’s music has always framed itself within physicality. With 2012’s breakthrough debut Order Of Noise, Seb Gainsborough showcased his writhing, concessive skews of techno and dub. With Punish, Honey, the Bristol producer and Young Echo member has strived to move away from electronic sounds to produce something even more visceral. And visceral it is, using a variety of handmade instruments including flutes fashioned from old bike frames and sheets of metal for percussion to create writhing, primitive sounds. Opener Febrile begins with ten seconds of silence, with sparse clashes intensifying into machine gun percussion that sounds like a military raid, and this forceful, industrial feel sets the tone for the album. Within slices of fractured rhythms, brooding passages and blasts of cerebral assassination are moments of seductive physicality; dark, pulsing body music with a glam polish. Even the industrial parts glisten in the chugging stomp of Red Sex, Anima and DPM, carrying the kind of twisted carnal intensity that we can’t wait to hear in a dark, sweaty room. Despite the polished body armour of these stand out tracks, some of the more sparse, experimental passages soon become forgettable and – despite the press release posing the question to us – what Punish, Honey supposedly says about ‘Englishness’, we’re not quite sure. But it’s a tactility that drives Punish, Honey’s most robust moments, crafting genuinely powerful sounds with muscle and metal.
When Flying Lotus first started making waves, there was pretty unanimous critical agreement that he was the figurehead for a loosely defined new era in electronic music, bookended by the syncopated, psychedelic sunbeams and bass emissions of Los Angeles on one side of the Atlantic, and the spiralling derivatives of dubstep on the other. He’s since continued to push ever-further into the realm of the transcendental, and rhythmically ever closer to the experimental jazz aesthetics of his family past. With his fifth LP You’re Dead, we’re now experiencing pure, unadulterated Flying Lotus. Quite an experience it is too. From the astonishing cover design (by the Japanese artist Shintaro Kago, who also illustrated every individual track), to the thorough exploration of the album’s central theme (death, the afterlife and the ambiguity in between, ideas familiar from his previous two long players), this is a piece of work that is designed to be immersive. The portentous opening Theme sets the tone: sweeping and sensual. The album then swings wildly between fast-moving jazz structures, crunching electric guitar flashes and Herbie Hancock’s Fender Rhodes flourishes, before bumping into the first vocal collaborator (Kendrick Lamar) for an intense few verses. The amazingly named Dead Man’s Tetris features a claustrophobic duet between FlyLo (in his Captain Murphy guise) and Snoop Dogg, and the haunting Siren Song plunges the delicate vocals of Angel Deradoorian into a beautiful abyss. The middle third of You’re Dead! is more reflective and less relentless than the first; the calm after the storm of facing up to mortality, perhaps. Throughout, there is a fluid relationship between the rhythmic, vocal and melodic elements of the compositions: a staccato beat picks up where a rapper’s verse leaves off; a bassline lurches into the foreground to give the percussion a break. There are distinct tracks, but large chunks of the album could easily be considered sprawling yet coherent wholes. As FlyLo puts it, he wanted to make “a jazz record that feels new”. By the time Thundercat’s now familiar falsetto enters the fray, the theme of the album’s final section is signalled: spooky, sedate and serene. And as the final collaborator Niki Randa whispers sweet nothings over a swaying saunter towards the light at the end of the tunnel, the journey is complete. A 38-minute soundtrack to meeting your maker, courtesy of the one and only Flying Lotus.
“God and The Devil actually have very similar interests. They both love electric guitars and they both want you to listen to Black Moon Spell and freak the fuck out.” The words of King Tuff himself accurately set the tone for this record. Tuff believes that music flows out of him in a Donnie Darko-esque supernatural manner; he also cites his influences as fire and meatball subs. King Tuff is no ordinary man. His third album, therefore, is no ordinary album. From the moment Black Moon Spell surges into life through shudderingly distorted, powerful guitar riffs and hauntingly aggressive vocals, it's clear that Tuff means business. From ridiculous, tongue-in-cheek solos rooted in glam rock to angsty basement punk, King Tuff carelessly chucks everything in the mixer, curating a showcase of every subgenre rock ever touched in one fell swoop. While Black Moon Spell doesn’t necessarily flow and could be perceived as disjointed, indecisive or jarring, we're sure it's intentional. Tuff leaps from the brutal frenzy of Madness to the near-romantic folk of I Love You Ugly, never letting up to consider if what he’s doing is actually any good. It’s an endlessly fun ride and that is, essentially, what King Tuff is all about. So while Black Moon Spell may not necessarily, as King Tuff claims, lead to experiences of euphoria, demented visions and bouts of backwards laughter, one thing is certain, it’s a blast.
! Anna Tehabsim
! Adam Corner
! Henry Boon
FLYING LOTUS You're Dead! Warp Records
ICE AGE Plowing Into The Field of Love Matador Records It's been five years and three albums since we first heard Iceage, and though their music has changed a lot, there's one glaring constant that refuses to die: Iceage love pissing into the wind. Their commitment to playing by their own rules, potentially at their own expense, could be as foolhardy as it is admirable, but if it is their undoing, then at least they'll be undone by exploration and not stagnation. When lead track The Lord's Favourite dropped a few weeks back, it divided the band's fans. The rockabilly-punk formula baffled at first, and not least because it sounded like they'd been listening to a holy ton of Libertines records. But gently, slowly, it crept up and hit us; they'd written a career-crowning track that didn't sound like anything they'd written before. On the whole, the band's greatness lies in their ability to write raw, emotive songs that stab and hack but actually remain catchy and listenable. Abundant Living, arguably the album's highlight, is a perfect example of their shapeshifting, switchblade attack. Plunky strings and groaning, throaty moans tear into one another and carve a visceral punk anthem. Admittedly there are moments of pure, confrontational nonsense on the record, but what would Iceage be without cacophony? The trembling, toosharp strings on Stay, the strained vocals on Plowing Into The Field Of Love or the hostile, drunken warmth of Against The Moon only add to the brevity of Iceage's mythical status. They are imposing guardians of an ever-evolving scene providing a blueprint to a headache for a new generation of adolescent, jumped-up, snotnosed punx. ! Billy Black
KIASMOS Kiasmos Erased Tapes Records
WEEZER Everything Will Be Alright In The End Universal
It really is depressing, some of the utter, utter shit that people consider ‘decent’ modern hardcore. Trash Talk, we are peering squarely at you: bro-mosh for those who look to Noisey for actual music tips and think Metz are a ‘punk’ band for the ages but who’ve never bothered to listen to Void. What you probably won’t, but should, be listening to is Mob Rules. Nothing Left is the much anticipated follow-up to 2011’s blistering The Donor, itself a classic of pessimistic, power violence-laced hardcore. Sonically, there’s still some of that here – Needles, Pricks and Goads for instance – but, generally, the nods to bands like Mind Eraser and Sex Vid have been sidelined for a sound more reminiscent of My War-era Black Flag – an easy reference, we admit – not least in the raw production. The Leeds-based group have explicitly cited both Flag and the recently reunited Bl’ast as key signifiers for the record, which is pretty spot on; Nothing Left comprises a heady mix of righteous power chorddriven riffage, narcotic sludge, discordant micro-leads and a blown-out, cricket-bat-to-the-head of a rhythm section, frontman Thomas Campbell roaring half incomprehensibly in the midst of it all. Top that off with some truly bleak lyrics and cover art, and you've got one hell of a punk record on your hands. Nothing Left, sits alongside recent releases from The Lowest Form, No and Perspex Flesh, as proof that the UK hardcore scene is in grimily good health.
If our crudely worked out (read; Googled) estimates are to be trusted, Rivers Cuomo already has around 30 million dollars to his name. That makes him what most normal people would consider "quite rich." He's not like Jay Z rich but still, he’s got enough money to sit around and do nothing for the rest of his life if he wants to. Clearly not content with kicking back in a solid gold hammock, eating bottomless bags of Doritos and listening to that song about Piña Coladas on repeat for the rest of his life, he's chosen to write and release another sub par record. Addressed to the legions of fans he's let down over the years, Everything Will Be Alright In The End is Cuomo's formal apology for releasing a string of successively disappointing albums after releasing one really, really good album 20 years ago. This could well be the beginning of a never-ending cycle. Because this album is, for want of a better phrase, absolutely fucking horrific. There's one good track on the whole thing and it's the one that Beth from Best Coast wrote. To be honest if, in a parallel universe, Rivers had just been chilling since The Blue Album and dropped in on a one-off collab for a Best Coast album, we'd probably be drooling ourselves into a stupor over it. Trust. We're not. Don't get us wrong, we're huge fans of Cuomo's optimism, and perhaps everything will be alright in the end. But for now everything is just an embarrassing, selfdeprecating mess that's crying itself to sleep over a career that's maintained about as much forward trajectory as a wingless aeroplane.
When we saw SBTRKT in Europe earlier this summer, his stage show included a giant inflatable creature; a monkey or something. It wasn’t lit, it didn’t move and the man himself never really acknowledged its presence. The creature in question is now the cover star of his new LP. The creature just sits. The creature looks nice and that, but the creature just sits. The creature is the perfect mascot for Wonder Where We Land, an inoffensive vision of colour that can divert your attention for three quarters of an hour. Ezra Koenig’s brisk oration on NEW DORP. NEW YORK, the breathless flow of newcomer Raury on Higher and the delicate vocal of Caroline Polachek on Look Away all work well against SBTRKT’s flickery production. These tracks sound novel – the vocalists bounce and climb along backing tracks that have been crafted with them in mind. These newer voices act as revivers for SBTRKT’s blueprint. When Sampha’s hollow bleating spreads itself across the beat, the infrastructure sounds a little more drained and these moments of over-familiarity belittle the more enterprising moments. You won’t be left wondering whether SBTRKT’s success is some kind of glitch in the mainstream dance matrix. These are good songs, a few of them – NEW DORP. especially – are great songs, but the flashes of inspiration aren’t quite as frequent as they could be.
A new Erol Alkan mix album in 2014? Dubious? You shouldn’t be. But if you are, just ask yourself some questions: Is UK house ruining your life without you even realising it? Is Eton Messy your benchmark for quality electronic music? You’re doing it wrong. Good thing there’s an old hand here to guide you back onto the yellow brick road. Erol Alkan, admittedly, disappeared for a period of time, but a man who – alongside a handful of other likeminded innovators – introduced an entire generation to acid, techno and disco certainly knows his way around a genre or two, and when the aforementioned genres on this mix are as potent as acid and techno we are truly in business. Call FABRICLIVE 77 a realignment, a dance floor-igniting trip through a host of the freshest meat available including Erol’s own timely return to the production canon. The mix weaves through a structure that could loosely be described as maximal techno with standouts coming from Erol’s own twisted re-work of The Emperor Machine, a contender for full-fat tune of the year from Crack favourite Andre Bratten, a lo-fi punchy piece of acid-wonk from Claro Intelecto and a superb Alkan reinterpretation of St Etienne’s pop classic Only Love Can Break Your Heart. Sorry what are Hot Since 82 and Route 94 up to again?
While fellow Erased Tape signee Nils Frahm only strayed recently into electronic pastures, Kiasmos – the debut album from BAFTAwinning Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds and electro-pop Faroe Islander Janus Rasmussen – arrives a full four years after the pair first teased fans with early material. As such; it carries a weight of expectation. All the building blocks are here for something pretty special: Arnalds fingers the ivories with real gravitas and coaxes some truly luscious moments from his string quartet, while Rasmussen eschews dull drum samples in favour of a smorgasbord of organic sounds recorded live at the duo’s Reykjavik studio. Album opener Lit gets off to a very promising start, all breathy melancholy and disconsolate ambience, before a weighty kickdrum ushers things into a piano-filled breakdown – like emerging from thick mist into a tranquil clearing. Looped is another strong moment, subtly menacing in its use of ponderous build and clicky percussion, and the stuttering two-step lurch of Burnt is nothing short of outstanding. However, there are moments when the pair’s clear aptitude for production is let down by a propensity for dated progressive house of the kind that plodded the scene to its grave in the mid-’00s. It’s a real shame, when artists like Jon Hopkins have proven just how well a piano can complement the darker sides of electronic music. But if you want something shamelessly emotive to soundtrack your impending winter walks in the snow, you could do a lot worse than snap this up.
! Thomas Howells
! Billy Black
! Duncan Harrison
! Thomas Frost
! Alex Gwillam
MOB RULES Nothing Left Quality Control HQ
SBTRK T Wonder Where We Land Young Turks EROL ALK AN Fabriclive 77 Fabric
Last War H A L E Y
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06 LEE GAMBLE Koch PAN
The topics powering Last War are fairly archetypal keynotes: motherhood, the financial tribulations of being a working musician and perennial heartbreak. In the wrong hands, these lyrical vignettes would be wearisome recreations of hardships that we’ve heard a thousand times before. Fortunately, as a result of Haley Bonar’s 13 years of assorted musical output and refreshing lyrical candour, she adds a sense of human exasperation to the adversity which takes her in to the realms of daydreaming, mundanity and indignation. It’s these flashes of upfront consequence that triumph on Last War. The garage rock scowl that occasionally creeps in on No Sensitive Man is contrasted by the shoulder-dusting recuperation of Bad Reputation. The autobiographical elements of her songwriting are most prominent on closer Eat For Free, where Justin Vernon’s backing vocals provide an undercurrent for a chronicle of “putting on a show for everyone”. Having worked on music almost solidly since the age of 19, there is an element of reluctant coming-ofage in these songs as Bonar gets settled in her 30s. This separation from youth sounds slightly mushy when placed against the open freeway power pop of Kill The Fun and Heaven’s Made For Two which lets the straightforward lyrical content down. Bonar is clearly at a place where the intricacies of her life make sense and the record sounds best when she lets them take her wherever without worrying about the finished product.
For those of you who weren’t already bored of the mere memory of The Drums’ insipid indie pop, they are back and have gone seriously fucking experimental on our ass (or at least tried to). Possibly as a result of one of them getting a copy Merriweather Post Pavillion in their stocking last year, Encyclopedia is largely a record of abortive, lofty ideals and botched attempts at innovation. While some of the songs are fine, you get the sense that these arethe ones where The Drums aren't really trying, and have instead reverted to their default style of hardly earth-shattering but occasionally pleasant surf and indie. Where the absurd Magic Mountain is a flapping, landed carp of a track, praying for rigor mortis, I Hope Time Doesn’t Change Him is free from jittery histrionics and cut-and-paste structuring, and is all the better for it. The Drums are perfectly entitled to experiment, but Encyclopedia truly is a case study in the benefits of sticking to what you know.
“There is”, states PAN’s press release for Koch, the sprawling new full-length from the increasingly magisterial Lee Gamble, “a sense of the seen and the unseen, an honest tension between music as function (for this world) and as artistic exploration (for another world) as cracks in the surface appear to reveal the odd and alien minutiae within.” Lofty cosmic assertions they may be, but Koch is indeed defined by the rift between organic tangibility and more impossibly precise angles, made joyously – unexpectedly – traversable. In Koch, Gamble follows the dug-up jungle and techno excursions of his previous PAN releases Diversions 1994-1996 and Dutch Tvashar Plumes. Drifting effortlessly across a remote sonic spectrum, Koch factors, in part, propulsive floor-ready cuts (Motor System, Gillsman, Jove Layup, HMix); barely embellished studies in fractured oscillatory looping (Oneiric Contur, OrnithMimik); and the kind of noiseleaning ambient constructions which, if rendered as ghosts on Diversions..., are repositioned here as drifting wisps of cosmic dust. If Autechre’s classic Parallel Suns represented enveloping, crushing sonic implosion, then Koch is the iridescent fallout. The result is a resolutely foreign soundscape, so it’s no great surprise that the one overwhelmingly human element – a brief spoken word sample in You Concrete – feels so distant from what surrounds it. Given the woozy disparity of timbre, texture and disjointed rhythm throughout, it’s to Gamble’s great credit that Koch feels like such a coherent body of work. A hugely intriguing set, and yet another triumph for PAN.
! Helen Fellows
! Jon Clark
! Thomas Howells
HALEY BONAR Last War Graveface Records
THE DRUMS Encyclopedia Island Records
TORN HAWK Let's Cry and Do Push-ups at the Same Time Kemado
PERE UBU Carnival of Souls Fire Records
Luke Wyatt creates music and video art under a few pseudonyms, the best-known being Torn Hawk. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, which is presumably where he met the L.I.E.S. crew (he released a few tracks with them back in 2012). Over the years, he’s cultivated a dualistic, goodweird, ironic-sincere persona, also presumably borne of Brooklyn, New York. In a recent interview, for example, he said “William Wyler's The Best Years of Our Lives is a movie I like to have potential friends watch to make sure they are for real”. He also co-founded something called TeamFILO, the Friendly Intervention Liberation Organisation, which sought to ‘positively disrupt’ the staid, unfulfilling lives Wyatt thought some of his peers were persisting with. He calls his video work ‘video mulch’. These competing tendencies, towards irony and earnestness, are present in everything he does. Even the title of this new album is a parody of worn, clichéd ideas of masculinity – what’s more manly than a push up? Don’t we say “big boys don’t cry”? The bleak humour immanent in the juxtaposition is probably a satisfying outcome for Wyatt. Out of this complex web of pose, #feels and actual, raw emotion comes this album, one of the most compelling releases of the year so far, and appropriately one that can be enjoyed (or perhaps more accurately, ‘read’) on as many levels as the listener has time for. We’re hazily eased in with I’m Flexible, a hazy, fuzzy downtempo track of thwarted reverb and emotion. The record remains melancholic until Return to the Pec Deck, an appropriately fastpaced guitar workout, replete with frenzied drum machines compressed to fuck. Album closer There Was a Time reduces the pace, a soothing composite of fragments stitched and roughly hewn together, the tone ill-defined but still emotionally satisfying and aesthetically congruent. This is a complex listen. The confused and confusing output of much of the Brooklyn-based music and art scene won’t do much to dissuade sceptical onlookers they’re not just soothing the egos a bunch of art-school tossers. But it’s also a rewarding listen. This is the kind of doublethink-y, smart album that benefits close and repeated hearings – and with society increasingly saturated in cheap, easily assimilable and commodified art, we need as many of those as we can get.
“I live on the moon. I live in a box on the moon” begins the third track of Pere Ubu’s 18th LP. These are apt lyrics. Pere Ubu have hacked themselves such a bizarre path through the shady nether-regions of rock music over the last three decades that they barely seem to exist within it. Carnival Of Souls bears witness to a strange mix of fantastical prog, metal, punk and ambient: the serious Malignant Sorcerer/ Foggy Heath shit that the bands of post-punk’s first wave would have detested, including, perhaps, Pere Ubu themselves. The uneasy, discordant chug of Bus Station; the crashing guitars and buzzing textures of Golden Surf II... make moments of this record truly menacing; one heightened all the more by a perfect storm of ritualistic vocals, demented lyrics and the generally monkish persona of founder David Thomas. In a month where Radio 2 listeners should have won awards for Safest Choice Ever of Greatest Ever Guitar Riffs, this album is a satisfying antidote, and Pere Ubu remain band for those of us who enjoy a little ugliness in our music.
! Robert Bates
! Jon Clark
Gigs Mulatu Astatke Saturday 13 September Royal Festival Hall Part of Africa Utopia
An Evening with Joan Baez 17, 18, 20 & 21 September Royal Festival Hall ONLY UK SHOWS IN 2014
John Cooper Clarke Saturday 4 October Royal Festival Hall
FTH10: Full time hobby TENTH ANNIVERSARY SHOWS Featuring The Leisure Society Tunng Diagrams Erland & The Carnival Smoke Fairies The John Steel Singers Samantha Crain
Thursday 16 – Sunday19 October
Angélique Kidjo Friday 14 November Royal Festival Hall
part of EFG London Jazz Festival
jon hopkins John Grant underworld yann tiersen marianne faithfull moon duo
0844 847 9910 southbankcentre.co.uk
Film Proving yet again their ability to turn the banal into the extraordinary, this month we witnessed the Dardenne brothers turn an HR conundrum into something intriguing. Anyone who’s worked in HR will be aware that there’s always someone in the HR department who revels in being inhumane, so considerable congratulations to the Dardennes for putting the humanity back in Human Resources. The thoroughly godly God Help The Girl fell flat despite being led by a bona-fide genius. Sin City returned with the kind of drab sequel that makes you wonder whether the first one was actually that good, whereas the fantastic Night Moves and The Rover provided examples of how to balance thought-provoking question with the kind of pure entertainment that could teach Sin City's schlock-noir a thing or two.
18 06 NIGHT MOVES dir: Kelly Reichardt Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning, Peter Sarsgaard
SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR dir: Frank Miller & Robert Rodriguez Starring: Mickey Rourke, Eva Green, Josh Brolin Hollywood claims a good sequel is about being true to its predecessor whilst somehow being more. Apply this ethos to Sin City. With the original adaptation already highly saturated and bulging with confidence, it’s no surprise that A Dame to Kill For is overkilled, overdone but still undercooked. Co-directors – the graphic novels’ creator Frank Miller and big budget B-movie maker Robert Rodriguez – have trodden on the proverbial garden rake of postmodernism. Consequently, the wooden handle to the face they deservedly receive is derived from the transferal of its core noir stylistics from the graphic novels to this movie sequel. Miller successfully regurgitated noirisms into his original works, then transposed these tropes into the previous film, and now again into A Dame to Kill For. But with the additional pressure of its nature as a sequel, it all proves one step too far. The format drags and it seems there’s more emphasis on Eva Green’s breasts than there is on a plot; those lusty, primordial moments so key in the first now seem tacky and embarrassing. The whole affair is about as sexy as a pole-dance fitness session at the local leisure centre. A Dame to Kill For still retains the original’s swagger but for all that self-awareness, it fails to get anywhere near the original. In keeping true to the graphic novels – something that was celebrated in the first – A Dame to Kill For brings nothing new to the table. ! Tim Oxley Smith
Centering around three eco-activists who destroy a hydroelectric dam, Night Moves benefits from a refreshingly simple structure consisting of the lead up to the explosion; the explosion; and the aftermath. Such tangibly stark design allows the director and actors scope to create something that strikes below the surface, pushing themselves as artists. Reichardt’s direction is vibrant and illustrative, contrasting with brilliantly subtle and naturalistic performances from the three lead roles. Eisenberg, playing Josh, delivers as a dislikeable but alluring underachiever – familiar yes, but nonetheless effective. Peter Sarsgaard is Harmon, Josh’s explosive-toting accomplice, and manages to seamlessly blend nonchalance and intensity. But it’s Dakota Fanning who really connects with her role and the film as a whole. As Dena, Fanning embodies the youth culture undertones of the futility of anarchy which underpin Night Moves, allowing Reichardt’s high-brow/low-key direction to take centre-stage. Night Moves has all the traits of a slow and brooding crime thriller; it feels classy, choosing subtlety over cheap tricks. It’s easy to compare any good film to Hitchcock, but as the characters and audience alike are teased and manipulated with a cool resolve, it really is the only fair reference point. An instant indie hit. ! Tim Oxley Smith
TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT dir: Jean-Pierre Dardenne & Luc Dardenne Starring: Marion Cotillard, Fabrizio Rongione, Pili Groyne The Dardenne brothers' award-baiting formula, perfected over decades, consists of seemingly bland and unsuspecting scenarios inhabited by invariably exceptional performances, creating masterful chronicles of modern life. Here, Marion Cotillard takes up the challenge of filling those prestigious boots as the lead, playing a woman whose work colleagues must decide between a hefty bonus or to save her job after she’s been absent suffering from a bout of depression. This premise demonstrates a typical Dardenne dichotomy between the ordinary and the dramatic, but Cotillard acts as a pivot rather than the anchor to the excellent support performances.The film is threaded through a series of breathtaking, perfectly-judged encounters. Cotillard’s performance is notable, though perhaps lacking the depth the close camera shots are searching for. But the Dardennes' effortlessly sweeping majesty is enough to make even this tale of laissez-faire HR a compelling one. ! Tim Oxley Smith
GOD HELP THE GIRL dir: Stuart Murdoch Starring: Emily Browning, Olly Alexander, Hannah Murray We think Stuart Murdoch is a genius. That’s our official line on the man behind Belle & Sebastian, as well as the 2009 album God Help The Girl, which featured a promenade of female vocalists. We love him, we loved God Help The Girl. Sadly, he probably shouldn’t have turned it into a film. The loosely spun narrative weaves itself around a handful of songs from the album and the result is a contrived, semi-autobiographical film that crushes a nice concept with clumsy application. While the film is full of fun quirks, decent performances and fantastically executed new versions of great songs like I’ll Have To Dance With Cassie and Act of The Apostle performed by the cast, the narrative itself stumbles. That’s mainly due to amateurish and ill-thought-out direction, while Murdoch’s treatment of the lead roles is thin and one-dimensional. The whimsical characters mimic all of the kookiness of Wes Anderson’s cutesy, antiheroes but ultimately lack any of their depth. As the film closes vague spiritualist themes emerge, the story falls flat and we’re subject to a confusing, literal, deus ex machina twist involving a faith healer. God Help The Girl is a disappointing film, made all the more disappointing in light of its origins. ! Billy Black
THE ROVER dir: David Michôd Starring: Guy Pearce, Robert Pattinson, Scoot McNairy It’s Australia and it’s the future. No it’s not Mad Max. No, we won’t be seeing any Rover themed dorm parties any time soon. The Rover is firmly set 10 years after an incident known as ‘the collapse’. Director Michôd’s world is at once unknowable and unnervingly familiar. Following his well-received crime drama Animal Kingdom, Michôd again provides unique insight into the psyche of his homeland. He suggests that the Aussie outback ground into an arid, lawless apocalypse onscreen isn’t far removed from the position it finds itself in today. Michôd’s subtle touch throughout complements the film’s bursts of brutality and its staggered pace beautifully. Guy Pearce, playing a man who just wants his fackin’ car back, delivers a typically enunciated performance, while an impressive Robert Pattinson puts his Twilight years behind him. Along with the film’s delightfully neat narrative form, Michôd comments on issues like globalisation and the state of modern pop culture, all funnelling into the depletion of our morality. But what he accomplished most poignantly, is the suggestion of what could happen when those invisible social rules we live by no longer apply. ! Tim Oxley Smith
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Blue sky thinking with...
Me and my mates go clubbing all the time, but I’ve realised that I’m a terrible dancer. I spill my pint to drum ‘n’ bass, I can’t tell which parts of house I’m supposed to get excited about and RnB just highlights my lack of confidence with girls. Is it worth getting lessons of some kind, or should I just try and be one of those guys who stands behind the decks all night?
I’ve been nominated for the Ice Bucket Challenge, and I’m not sure what to do. I read an article which said that it’s just really vain and a waste of water, but if I refuse I’m going to look really grumpy and self-righteous. What do you think of the whole thing?
I’m vexed. These meddling types in the office of the independent publication I work for keep messing with the rules. I don’t mean the basics, like locking up or having a Friday tidy – I’m talking about goddamn brand consistency. They mix fonts up, they change the design style every month and when I was distributing with one of the worst offenders the other day, he wanted to put the magazine in Café fucking Nero. Do they even care about the independent spirit?
Paul, 20, Leeds Denzil says: Now I’m no Sherlock Holmes, but I’ve combed through your e-mail carefully, and I think I’ve discovered the source of your problem: the pints. Think about it, has any man has ever looked stylish with a pint of lager on the dancefloor? The answer’s no. Next time you go to one of your Rhythm and Blues discos, switch to bottles or – if you want keep it really slick – no drink at all, and your two left feet syndrome will begin to cure itself. Thank me later.
Welcome To The Jungle
Clothes litter the room. Snakeskin bras mingle with PVC night watchman caps, Gucci loafers stomp over Versace heels. Nothing works. Nothing will work. None of it. She’s got to be ready in five minutes. Her phone rings. Her manager. She hangs up. Thank fuck for that, Nicki thinks, Thank fuck I got out of that.
by Josh Baines
Ambling to the fridge, she
tries to recall the last time she did this, the last time she shut the door on the world, reheated a half-eaten takeout, cracked open a Coke. She can hear her phone vibrating with fury in another room. She relents. Checks it. She doesn’t want to read creepy texts from Abel Tesfaye. She doesn’t want to join DJ Khaled for a chilled glass of rosé wine in his condo at 8.30pm.
Anushka, 30, Brighton Denzil says: I understand the pressure Anushka; in the last month I’ve been nominated by Bryan Ferry, Jools Holland and Robert Kilroy-Silk. But to be honest, the idea of me participating is just laughable, I haven’t left the house dressed in anything cheaper than a Marks & Spencers Luxury Sartorial suit in years. Do I feel guilty about refusing? Not so much, when it comes to the charity business, I’ve had my finger in many pies – I’ve lost count of how many ribbons I’ve cut over the years. Safe to say, I’ve done my part.
Cigarette ash on her sweatpants, Chinese grease on her chin, Dog the Bounty Hunter on the television. Happiness. Stillness. Peace. Three episodes and a pint of ice cream go by. She showers and gets ready for bed. Amongst the ignored texts is one from Drake. She feels guilty, she knew it was a bad idea to invite him to the video shoot. She opens it. “Nicki. Those feelings were real. Give me
Allen, 23, Northamptonshire Denz says: When I was overseeing the rather tricky transition period when Opal Fruits turned into Starburst, we had one thing at the forefront of our minds in order to keep the handover sweet: the kids. And last time I checked, I didn’t see too many of the cool kids ducking into Nero to get their daily dose of cool. I could do with a strong minded cat like you on my team.
a chance. Just one more chance. Please. Come on baby. I wanted that ass. Please. Just once.” Nicki rolls her eyes. She switches the phone off, tosses it onto the pile of clothes. She has the best night’s sleep she’s had in months.
The Crack Magazine Crossword Across 01. A trend, like Tamagotchis or UK Funky (3) 03. Where’s everyone going? (6) 05. You say something and then it like, bounces back at you (4) 07. Iggy and Charli’s top-class smash (5) 08. Well-spoken (8) 09. Main man in the Four Seasons (7,5) 10. Group of states ruled over by a single person/Film mag/Kasabian’s least-shit tune (IMHO) (6) 12. A perfect example (7) 14. Seeing shit, lost it, not really all there (9) 16. Hang loosely, sometimes in a rude way (6)
Down 01. A hearty mint that lingers on the tongue (10,6) 02. Pop something into a substance for a second, like Danny Brown encourages you to do (3) 04. A fancy man; comic with Desperate Dan in it (5) 06. ___ Quaye, who sung that song that was like “Sun is shining, the weather is sweet...”, you know the one (6) 07. A special sort of pipe with a big top so you can pour stuff into something e.g. a bottle (6) 11.Someone who does all the shit jobs; a canine torso (8) 13. A cute hole in your cheek (6) 15. Self-esteem (3) Solution to last month’s crossword: ACROSS: 02. BOOK, 04. BILL-COSBY, 08. TOP-OF-THE-POPS, 09. BIB, 11. CLAMS, 13. CRINKLE, 14. CASTAWAY, 16. BOWERS DOWN: 01. CHORUS 03. COCOA, 04.BRIGHT-EYES, 05. CATHARSIS 06. BEZ, 07. CROATIA, 10. BOYCOTT, 12. BRANDY, 13. COCOON, 15. CRAMP
When the Boston alt.rock weirdos’ fractious relationship came to a head in 1992, Pixies went their separate ways. Frank Black formed The Catholics, Kim Deal The Breeders, Joey Santiago moved into soundtrack work. But prog-rock loving drummer David had a more far-flung career path in mind. Having been captivated by a trip to a magic convention, Lovering had a lightbulb moment and soon became ‘The Scientific Phenomenalist’. Utilising seldom-seen scientific experiments, blurring the lines between physics and magic, he Abracadabrad his way around the rock circuit, even appearing at All Tomorrow’s Parties, before he sadly ran dry. As he stated in our cover feature: “you think it’s hard making a living in music? Try being a magician.” So he was elated when, in 2003, he was asked to become a Pixie once again. But we’ll bet he doesn’t need much of an excuse to show off a few tricks – you know the saying: once a Scientific Phenomenalist, always a Scientific Phenomenalist.
20 Questions: Dave Clarke
Everyone knows Dave Clarke is the baron of techno. Everyone also knows that his anarchic approach, searing passion and seminal Red series earned him the John Peel-bestowed title back in the 90s. You may also know that, since his famed breakthrough, Clarke has steadily developed a reputation for having one of the loosest tongues in dance music. So it seemed only natural to pose the ever outspoken baron pertinent questions about happy hardcore, seductive soundtracks, and where he does his big shop. What was your favourite cartoon when you were a kid? Probably Rhubarb and Custard, or Dangermouse. Who’s your favourite Wu-Tang Clan member? ODB, he took Biz Markie to the next level. Do you support a sports team? KNVB, a Dutch football team. What’s the most overrated album of all time? Hmm, something by Pink Floyd perhaps, Roger Waters thinks he’s Richard bloody Gere. What’s the worst hotel you’ve ever stayed in? Adelphi hotel in Liverpool in the 90s, had to put 50 pence in to operate the TV, which was chained down so it couldn’t be stolen – it was an old CRT that weighed a ton anyway – and when I got on the bed it collapsed. Happy hardcore or jump-up drum ‘n’ bass? Neither, holy crap. What’s your signature recipe? Wagyu and Summer Truffle. Favourite root vegetable? Wasabi, it gives you secret powers. It has to be Japanese though. Where do you do your big shop? Airports.
What are you wearing? Old Rick Owens jeans, bought before the C list of minimal techno found ‘fashion’. If you were trying to seduce a potential lover, what music would you play? The Amazing Snakeheads. Who are you stalking on social media? Absolutely no one, have no time for that. If you could pick a surrogate grandparent, who would it be? John Peel. Is there a piece of advice you wish you’d give to yourself ten years ago? Don’t get married (in the UK). What’s your favourite sitcom? The adventures of Richie Hawtin in Bangkok Hilton Who’s the most famous person you’ve ever met? Omar Sharif. At what age did you lose your virginity? To a much, much older woman when I was 15. Would you go for a pint with Kanye West? Who is he? Sorry haven’t a clue. Do you ever send post second class? There is no class system in Holland, all post and people are treated the same. What would you want written on your tombstone? 'Thank fuck for that' Dave Clarke Presents celebrates its 10th anniversary at the Melkweg venue on 17 October as part of the Amsterdam Dance Event. ADE takes place 15-19 October, more info can be found at amsterdam-dance-event.nl
“What would I play to try and seduce a potential lover? The Amazing Snakeheads”
In a horrible month of news there was nothing like the Gaza conflict to polarise the world’s army of armchair journalists. Whatever side of the West Bank barrier they sit on, the temptation to weigh in with their opinion has been too strong to resist. It’s hard to look at the TV or Twitter without seeing images of dead children and distraught mothers. And it’s impossible to find an opinion section without enough accusations of ‘isms being banded around to have Ferris Bueller gobbling down handfuls Xanax. While The Guardian was talking about Israel’s new tactic of toppling high-rise towers, Melanie Phillips – we’ll get back to that particular highly-strung, librarianlooking attack dog in a moment – was tweeting about Hamas rockets being launched from the medical facilities of a refugee camp. The level of vitriol is understandable. The hopelessness palpable. But that doesn’t excuse the commentary on the subject from degenerating into a prejudice-enforcing mess.
These articles normally start with a paragraph levelling an accusation at a particular political group, blaming Hamas, Israel, Arab nations or the Tories (even Tony Blair’s been under the cosh). Next is the quintessential disclaimer; note the scale of atrocities taking place and give yourself the freedom to pass trivialising judgement on them in a few moments time. Then construct the premises of your argument around a list of events that support your particular world view, whether that’s rocket launchers in schools, targeting of UN schools, forcing civilians to use UN schools by failing to build shelters or whatever. Finally the summary; this is a travesty and here’s who’s to blame. Maybe they’re right, I’m no expert and it’s difficult to construct a meaningful narrative from the kind of coverage we’re getting (what do you actually know about Hamas’ activities or how many locals are involved?). But then most of the people writing these columns aren’t doing any original research either. “People don’t realise, however, how
their emotions are being manipulated” Melanie Phillips wrote in The Times, reporting from a suburban townhouse somewhere in Kent (probably). The strange thing about Phillips is that she used to be angry for money for left-leaning titles, but now she’s on the right, a shift she gleefully describes as moving “from darling of the left to champion of the moral high ground”. Bravo! Anyway, it seems rich for someone who writes words for money to argue against other columnists whose basic job description is to vehemently oppose something. I’m not saying I’ve never had the twinge to take a strong stance myself either (it’s a kind of righteous indignation that led me, regretfully, to tweet “too far away to completely understand the situation in Palestine, but the pit of my stomach tells me what #Israel’s doing is borderline evil”.) The problem is; Phillips, James Delingpole, Katie Hopkins, and their ilk are pedalling polemics and profiteering from tragedy. It’s crucial to have these debates, not least because our country, our leaders
could have a big impact, but let’s not amp up what’s going on for the sake of cheap clicks and headline-making opinions. What I’m asking people to do is measure their opinions, to calm down and not get drawn into thinking you can decide who’s right from an armchair 5,000 km away from a conflict, which has its roots in hundreds of years of history. And that’s important when you’re sat there absorbing the news from whatever bias-filled outlets you prioritise. There’s no way you’re getting a complete picture of what’s going on. There’s no real way to decide who’s right and who’s wrong in this situation, and people should gauge the strength of their opinions cautiously.
Words: Christopher Goodfellow mediaspank.net @MediaSpank Illustration: Lee Nutland leenutland.com
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