SAT 01 OCT SKEPTA
SAT 15 OCT PARADISE
FRI 28 OCT NINJA TUNE
SKEPTA GIGGS CASISDEAD ZOMBY FRISCO PLASTICIAN MAXIMUM MUMDANCE MURLO RICH REASON JONNY DUB
JAMIE JONES DUBFIRE MATHEW JONSON LIVE PATRICK TOPPING b2b RICHY AHMED CATZ ’N DOGZ GUTI LIVE wAFF LUCA CAZAL JEY KURMIS
BONOBO DJ SET JON HOPKINS DJ SET GILLES PETERSON ROMARE DJ SET MARIBOU STATE DJ SET LONE SOULECTION
—————————————————————————————————————— —————————————————————————————————————— ——————————————————————————————————————
21:30 – 04:30 | STORE STREET | £29.50 / £35.00
FRI 07 OCT WHP & RELENTLESS PRESENT THE METROPOLIS BIRTHDAY
FRI 23 SEP WHP16 LAUNCH PARTY
M.I.A. MURA MASA DAVID RODIGAN SECTION BOYZ GOLDLINK JUNGLE DJ SET NOVELIST SG LEWIS DJ SET SIAN ANDERSON JOSEY REBELLE MADAM X WILL TRAMP NOW WAVE DJS
21:00 – 05:00 | STORE STREET | £29.50
SAT 24 SEP WELCOME TO THE WAREHOUSE
ADAM BEYER JOSEPH CAPRIATI EATS EVERYTHING BEN UFO SAN PROPER FATIMA YAMAHA LIVE MATTHEW DEAR JASPER JAMES MOXIE KRYSKO & GREG LORD ZUTEKH DJS LAUREN LO SUNG HACKETT
18:00 – 05:00| STORE STREET | £29.50
WED 28 SEP MODERAT AT THE ALBERT HALL
MODERAT LONE NOW WAVE DJS
19:30 – 23:00 | THE ALBERT HALL | SOLD OUT
FRI 30 SEP BUGGED OUT!
DUSKY LIVE JACKMASTER B2B JOY ORBISON DANIEL AVERY JEREMY UNDERGROUND JIMMY EDGAR PAUL WOOLFORD ARTWORK AVALON EMERSON MELLA DEE LEMMY ASHTON HOLLY LESTER 21:30 – 05:00| STORE STREET | £28.50
ANDY C w/ TONN PIPER LETHAL BIZZLE TQD (Royal T, DJ Q, Flava D) DIGITAL MYSTIKZ: MALA & COKI YUNGEN DELTA HEAVY CULTURE SHOCK MJ COLE CHAMPION BARELY LEGAL MURLO NORTH BASE RICH REASON
18:00 – 05:00 | STORE STREET | SOLD OUT
THU 20 OCT RAM JAM FOUNDATION SESSIONS
DJ EZ DAVID RODIGAN GOLDIE: INFLUENCES DJ MARKY w/ MC GQ ZINC w/ MC TIPPA SPECIAL REQUEST RANDALL w/ MC GQ CHIMPO BANE RICH REASON VENUM SOUND
21:30 – 03:30| STORE STREET | £25.00 / £28.50
FRI 21 OCT HEIDI PRESENTS THE JACKATHON
LAURENT GARNIER BLACK COFFEE HEIDI 21.30 – 05.00 | STORE STREET | £29.50 THE BLACK MADONNA JOB JOBSE SAT 08 OCT JASPER JAMES YOUSEF PRESENTS... CIRCUS MIKE SERVITO —————————————————————————————————————— MOXIE THE MARTINEZ BROTHERS | LOCO DICE GREG LORD STEVE LAWLER ZUTEKH DJS YOUSEF 21:30 – 06:00 | STORE STREET | £29.50 B.TRAITS SAT 22 OCT SOLARDO WHP & FOUR TET PRESENT ACID MONDAYS —————————————————————————————————————— LEWIS BOARDMAN NINA KRAVIZ CIRCUS RECORDINGS PRESENTS FOUR TET DAVID GLASS FLOATING POINTS LIVE THEO KOTTIS BEN UFO KI CREIGHTON THE BLACK MADONNA 18:00 – 05:00 | STORE STREET | SOLD OUT LEON VYNEHALL AVALON EMERSON THU 13 OCT KAITLYN AURELIA SMITH GORGON CITY — KINGDOM EAT YOUR OWN EARS DJS LIVE AT THE WAREHOUSE PROJECT NOW WAVE DJS —————————————————————————————————————— 21:00 – 04:30 | STORE STREET | SOLD OUT
GORGON CITY LIVE PLUS SPECIAL GUESTS CLAPTONE DISCIPLES KIDNAP KID NVOY ELDERBROOK
21.00 – 02.00| STORE STREET | £19.50
FRI 14 OCT WHAT HANNAH WANTS
HANNAH WANTS MY NU LENG REDLIGHT SONNY FODERA MONKI SAM DIVINE MAK & PASTEMAN BRAM FIDDER TOM SHORTERZ ELLIE COCKS JACK SWIFT DEVSTAR
21:30 – 05:00| STORE STREET | SOLD OUT
THU 27 OCT KURUPT FM PRESENTS CHAMPAGNE STEAM ROOMS
KURUPT FM BIG NARSTIE MY NU LENG b2b ONEMAN TODDLA T MIKE SKINNER & MURKAGE PRESENTS TONGA P MONEY GENERAL LEVY AJ TRACEY CASISDEAD SLIMZEE WOOKIE BARELY LEGAL STRIPES RECORDS TAKEOVER KLOSE ONE MYSTRY TRUE TIGER SUKH KNIGHT MONKEY WRENCH CHUNKY
21:30 – 04:00 | STORE STREET | £22.50 / £25.00
PRESENTS THE SOUND OF TOMORROW
FAKEARLIVE THROWING SHADE DJ SET JON K NOW WAVE DJS PLUS SPECIAL GUESTS MORE TO BE ANNOUNCED
21:30 – 04:30 | STORE STREET | SOLD OUT
SAT 29 OCT ELROW DAY & NIGHT
EATS EVERYTHING PAN-POT SKREAM SOLARDO TONI VARGA MARC MAYA BASTIAN BUX ROBERT JAMES LUKAS ADAM SHELTON TOM CRAVEN KRYSKO
14.00 – 02.00 | STORE STREET | SOLD OUT
WED 02 NOV DJ SHADOW AT OLD GRANADA STUDIOS
DJ SHADOW THE MOUNTAIN WILL FALL PLUS SPECIAL GUESTS BONDAX & LAPALUX NOW WAVE DJS
19:30 – 00:00 | OLD GRANADA STUDIOS | £19.50
FRI 04 NOV MK AREA 10
MK KENNY DOPE SHADOW CHILD DANNY HOWARD A*M*E DOORLY TCTS JAX JONES KC LIGHTS SIAN BENNETT LEE DRAKE
21:30 – 05:00 | STORE STREET | £29.50 / £35.00
SAT 05 NOV JACKMASTER & NUMBERS PRESENT MASTERMIX
SAT 19 NOV CHANCE THE RAPPER AT MANCHESTER ACADEMY
RICARDO VILLALOBOS b2b SETH TROXLER MARCEL DETTMANN JACKMASTER BICEP GERD JANSON LEON VYNEHALL b2b RYAN ELLIOTT DENIS SULTA SPENCER KRYSKO
CHANCE THE RAPPER JAY PRINCE SAMM HENSHAW
18:00 – 05:00 | STORE STREET | SOLD OUT
FRI 11 NOV THE APE BIRTHDAY
DANNY BROWN WILEY SECTION BOYZ CLAMS CASINO BENJI B PREDITAH ONEMAN D:BRIDGE WOOKIE AMY BECKER BANE CHUNKY RICH REASON JUICY DJS
21:30 – 05:00 | STORE STREET | £29.50
11 NOV KNEE DEEP IN MANCHESTER
HOT SINCE 82 STEVE LAWLER CRISTOPH
22:30 – 05:00 | THE ALBERT HALL | £25.00 / £28.50
SAT 12 NOV ADAM BEYER PRESENTS DRUMCODE
ADAM BEYER GREEN VELVET SCUBA ALAN FITZPATRICK IDA ENGBERG DENSE & PIKA NICK CURLY JULIA GOVOR GREG LORD ANTON FITZ
18:00 – 05:00 | STORE STREET | SOLD OUT
SAT 12 NOV CHANCE THE RAPPER
19:00 – 23:00 | MANCHESTER ACADEMY | SOLD OUT
SAT 19 NOV CIRCOLOCO
(DYED SOUNDOROM, SHONKY & DAN GHENACIA)
NICOLE MOUDABER DAMIAN LAZARUS WILLIAM DJOKO BORIS WERNER KRYSKO PIRATE COPY PETE ZORBA ADAM ROSS
PLUS MORE TO BE ANNOUNCED
18:00 – 05:00 | STORE STREET | £19.50 / £35.00
FRI 25 NOV ABOVE & BEYOND
—————————————————————————————————————— ROOM 1
ABOVE & BEYOND JEROME ISMA-AE OLIVER SMITH UNIVERSAL SOLUTION ROOM 2 — ANJUNADEEP
WAY OUT WEST LIVE CUBICOLOR MARTIN ROTH DOM DONNELLY
21:30 – 04:30 | STORE STREET | SOLD OUT
SAT 26 NOV MOSAIC
MACEO PLEX TALE OF US MANO LE TOUGH ROMAN FLUGEL TREVINO OR:LA KRYSKO GREG LORD PLUS SPECIAL GUEST
20:00 – 05:30 | STORE STREET | £29.50 / £35.00
SAT 26 NOV AUTECHRE LIVE AT OLD GRANADA STUDIOS
CHANCE THE RAPPER SAMM HENSHAW JAY PRINCE 19:00 – 23:00 | SOLD OUT
FRI 18 NOV CURATED BY FLUME
FLUME JULIO BASHMORE TOURIST LIVE BONZAI LIVE SG LEWIS LIVE MOXIE MSSINGNO KRYSTAL KLEAR JON K NOW WAVE DJS WILL TRAMP
20:00 – 05:00 | STORE STREET | SOLD OUT
AUTECHRE LIVE LEE GAMBLE LIVE RUSSELL HASWEL LIVE ANDY MADDOCKS LIVE
21:30 – 02:00 | OLD GRANADA STUDIOS | £16.50
FRI 02 DEC ANTS
GROOVE ARMADA DJ SET JORIS VOORN KÖLSCH DJ SET ANDREA OLIVA WAZE & ODYSSEY ELI & FUR FRANCISCO ALLENDES LAUREN LO SUNG KRYSKO AUSTEN / SCOTT
21:30 – 05:00 | STORE STREET | £29.50 / £35.00
SAT 03 DEC DJ EZ
FRI 16 DEC WHP VS THE HYDRA
DJ EZ TQD (ROYAL T, DJ Q, FLAVA D) MISTAJAM SPECIAL REQUEST AJ TRACEY BARELY LEGAL JAMZ SUPERNOVA SIAN ANDERSON GOTSOME RICH REASON
RICHIE HAWTIN BEN KLOCK BEN UFO ANDREW WEATHERALL DANIEL AVERY OBJEKT SHANTI CELESTE JAY CLARKE DOLAN BERGIN SHENODA TASHA (NEIGHBOURHOOD) MEANS & 3RD b2b KERRIE
PLUS MORE TO BE ANNOUNCED
21:30 – 04:30 | STORE STREET | £29.50 / £35.00
FRI 09 DEC OLIVER HELDENS PRESENTS
OLIVER HELDENS BLONDE DJ SET CHOCOLATE PUMA CHRIS LORENZO LOW STEPPA THROTTLE SAM GRAHAM FONO PRESENTS FOR THE FUTURE FONO KARMA KID KIWI JOE HERTZ PAN:INC 21:30 – 05:00 | STORE STREET | £29.50 / £35.00
SAT 10 DEC FEEL MY BICEP
JEFF MILLS RØDHÅD BICEP MOTOR CITY DRUM ENSEMBLE JOY ORBISON MIDLAND LEON VYNEHALL HAMMER BRASSICA LIVE OR:LA SWOOSE & CROMBY HOLLY LESTER 18:00 – 05:00 | STORE STREET | SOLD OUT
SAT 10 DEC FATBOY SLIM AT THE ALBERT HALL
19:30 – 05:00 | STORE STREET | £29.50 / £35.00
TUE 27 DEC TUSKEGEE
—————————————————————————————————————— ROOM 1
SETH TROXLER & THE MARTINEZ BROTHERS BAS IBELLINI ROOM 2
RICHY AHMED KRYSKO
21:30 – 05:00 | STORE STREET | £29.50
FRI 30 DEC CARL COX & FRIENDS
CARL COX NIC FANCIULLI PATRICK TOPPING JON RUNDELL LAUREN LO SUNG ELLIOT ADAMSON GREG LORD ABODE
21:30 – 05:00 | STORE STREET | SOLD OUT
SAT 31 DEC WHP & RELENTLESS PRESENT NYE AT THE WAREHOUSE PROJECT
FULL LINEUP TBA
21:30 – 05:00 | STORE STREET | £35.00 / £39.50
SUN 01 JAN NYD — THE CLOSING PARTY
FATBOY SLIM SHADOW CHILD SOLARDO SAM GRAHAM
22:30 – 04:00 | THE ALBERT HALL | SOLD OUT
THU 15 DEC LVL25: LEVELZ 3RD BIRTHDAY
LEVELZ LIVE FEATURING: BIOME / BLACK JOSH BRICKS / CHIMPO / CHUNKY / FOX JONNY DUB / METRODOME RICH REASON / SKITTLES / SPARKZ T-MAN / TRUTHOS MUFASA DUB PHIZIX, STRATEGY & DRS ZED BIAS w/ TRIGGA CHILDREN OF ZEUS CRITICAL SOUND: IVY LAB / KASRA / SAM BINGA EMPEROR / HYROGLIFICS
FULL LINEUP TBA
17.00 – 05.00 | STORE STREET | £35.00 / £39.50
SUN 01 JAN KALUKI PRESENTS NYD AT THE ALBERT HALL
FULL LINEUP TBA
21.30 – 05.00 | THE ALBERT HALL
PLUS SPECIAL GUEST
ALIX PEREZ HIT & RUN vs DUB SMUGGLERS DUB SMUGGLERS DJ SET K1 + SLAY BURST GANG CUL DE SAC RED-EYE HIFI + FREE WIZE MEN + MORE HYPHO b2b X27 KYDRO + DEEPO 21:30 – 04:00 | STORE STREET | £15
THE FUTURE OF FESTIVALS, NOW.
DUSK TILL DAWN SPACEPORT RAVING, PSYCHEDELIC ADVENTURING, SLOW MOTION REVITALISATION & MEXICAN WRESTLING AT THE GREATEST PARTY THE FUTURE HAS EVER SEEN MIND EXPANDING MUSIC THURSDAY (BIG TOP)
THE WIZ KHALIFA CURE SEAN PAUL
BASTILLE YEARS & YEARS SKEPTA RICHIE HAWTIN
DAMIAN “JR. GONG” MARLEY LEFTFIELD CRAIG DAVID’S TS5 KATY B ODESZA KREPT & KONAN RIDE DAVID RODIGAN PRES. RAM JAM KURUPT FM: CHAMPAGNE STEAM ROOMS SHY FX’S PARTY ON THE MOON
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DIPLO CARL COX FATBOY SLIM
SKREAM EATS EVERYTHING ONEMAN B2B MY NU LENG DJ YODA SCI-FI SET NORMAN JAY MBE BENJI B DESTRUCTO DUB PISTOLS SOUNDSYSTEM JAMES ZABIELA MOUNT KIMBIE DJSET
NRG FLASH: MELÉ & MONKI
CANDI STATON & MANY MORE
INVADERS OF THE FUTURE
ARTWORK GRECO-ROMAN: GOLDIE JOE GODDARD, KARMA KID, LXURY & GRECO-ROMAN DJS MJ COLE SHADOW CHILD ANNIE NIGHTINGALE KIKO BUN & MORE
ESPA NEW DESERT BLUES TOO MANY T’S TIGGS DA AUTHOR HINDS MOOSE BLOOD PC MUSIC ALL STARS DANNY L HARLE ROYCE WOOD JUNIOR THE WYTCHES & MORE
OLD SCHOOL HIP HOP SET
SINK THE PINK DYSTOPIA PRES. BY JODIE HARSH SCOTTEE’S CAMP GREG WILSON’S SUPER WEIRD IN THE WOODS THE SATIN LIZARD LOUNGE & SO MUCH MORE MINDBLOWING ARENAS & COSMIC SOUNDSYSTEMS
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FUTURE ESCAPISM INCLUDING
THE WORLD’S BIGGEST BOUNCY CASTLE
SLOW MOTION THE LOVE-BOT & SO MUCH MORE
THE WILD COPSE FULL LINE-UP & TICKETS
HOSPITALITY CAMPING TIPIS YURTS
BELL TENTS & MUCH MORE
BEST MAJOR FESTIVAL
UK FESTIVAL AWARDS 2015
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SPECIAL GUEST RICHY AHMED RUSS YALLOP SOLARDO DENNEY DETLEF WAIFS & STRAYS
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F R I D AY 1 0 D E C E M B E R CRACK MAGAZINE
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Reviews - 67 Our verdict on the latest releases in film and music 20 Questions: Car Seat Headrest - 89 Will Toledo takes a short break from life on the road to answer our everimportant and always challenging questions Turning Points: Flava D - 87 The grime polymath recalls the formative stages of her career so far with Will Pritchard Perspective: ‘Undies’ – youth, police and race in Brixton - 90 As hostilities between black communities and the police reverberate from the States across to protests in London, Brixton-based youth worker and writer Ciaran Thapar considers how perceptions about race and the police force have affected the course of his community work
In a world of overflowing exposure, Larry Heard continues to move upstream - 50 Where others fade into the footnotes, house music pioneer Larry Heard remains enduringly influential. He unpacks his legacy with Tom Watson
Elysia Crampton: Tectonic Force - 38 Elysia Crampton’s provocative meditations on landscape and identity form part of a defiantly placeless movement in electronic music. The producer discusses the importance of creating your own narrative with Niloufar Haidari
Back On Road: AJ Tracey’s Transatlantic Takeover - 34 From Ladbroke Grove to Long Island, AJ Tracey is positioned to capitalise on the growing appetite for London talent. Grant Brydon finds him in Queens, NY, taking stock of the hype thus far
Editorial - 23 Pack your bags
Warpaint: Breathe Out - 28 Where trends have swelled and burst, Warpaint have continued to fix their audience’s gaze by expanding their fluid, spaced-out sound at a steady pace. As they hide from the Los Angeles heat, Marissa G. Muller explores the band’s enduring connection
Made You Look: Ekow Eshun explores the subversive power of dandyism - 52 Radically stylish, magnificently subversive and timelessly provocative – the Made You Look photography exhibition explores the many incarnations of black dandyism. Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff speaks to curator Ekow Eshun about the ways in which flamboyance became a force for social assertiveness. Preoccupations regroup and forge forwards - 42 FKA Viet Cong, the Canadian postpunk antagonists tell Gemma Samways about summoning strength from turbulent times
Nao: Homegrown Soul - 48 Gunseli Yalcinkaya meets the Hackneyraised singer in an East London cafe to talk identity and community in an evolving landscape
Aesthetic: Kelsey Lu - 58 Through both modelling and music, Kelsey Lu embodies a philosophy of authentic expressionism. Lakeisha Goedluck surveys her creative vision
THE NEW ALBUM AUGUST 5 wild-beasts.co.uk
Aug 6th Room 01
Craig Richards Scuba Phil Kieran (Live) Shall Ocin
Sept 3rd Aug 27th
Terry Francis Sterac AKA Steve Rachmad Mr Jones
Aug 13th Room 01
Apollonia Dan Ghenacia Dyed Soundorom Shonky Stephane Ghenacia & Thomas Roland Room 02
Terry Francis Ron Morelli Anthony Parasole Low Jack (Live)
Craig Richards The Martinez Brothers Phil Moffa (live) Jesse Calosso
Rumors Label Showcase Guy Gerber Thugfucker Acid Mondays Echonomist (Live)
10 Years Of Souvenir Tiefschwarz Locked Groove Cyrk (Live) (Sierra Sam & Pascal Hetzel) Cesare V Disorder
Divided Love Daniel Avery Abdulla Rashim (Live) Lucy Volte-Face
Cuttin Headz Gabriel Torrez Patrick Grooves Jesse Calosso
Petre Inspirescu Premiesku (Live) Dan Andrei Matteo Manzini Room 02
Terry Francis Ryan Elliott Stephen Brown (Live)
Sept 10th Room 01
Craig Richards Nina Kraviz Objekt Room 02
tINI Frank & Tony Oskar Offermann
fabric 87: Alan Fitzpatrick → Out Now. fabric 88: Ryan Elliott → Out Now. fabric 89: Gerd Janson → 19th August www.fabriclondon.com
023 It’s been around five years since I first started writing for this magazine, and I’ve never quite managed to fathom the superhuman powers required to survive as a frequently touring artist. Admittedly, in the past I’ve rolled my eyes when an artist complains about life on the road. If being a successful musician – which involves travelling the world and being met in every city by a crowd of people who’ve paid to see you perform – feels like a chore, then it’s maybe worth having a think about the kind of jobs a lot of people your age are doing to pay the rent.
Crack Was Made Using Gucci Mane Multi Millionaire
Japanese Breakfast The Woman Who Loves You
Aphex Twin CIRKLON 1
Caina Torture Geometry
Pure Disgust Potential Criminal
Manu Dibango Echos Beti
Tonga Balloon Gang ft. Jaykae x Mayhem NODB CCTV
The Square Defeat Us
Grace Jones Pull Up The Bumper Darkstar ft. GAIKA Black Ghost Mister Wallace It Girl Jefre Cantu-Ledesma Love’s Refrain AJ Tracey Leave Me Alone Wyclef Jean Perfect Gentleman Protester Mindless Acceptance The Lowest Form Dropping Bad Boys Rakta Raiz Forte
Camisra Let Me Show You Fango Rectum T.Wiltshire #2 Seahawks Escape Hatch Accidente Pulso
Press opportunities are often squeezed into tight tour schedules, and so I’ve almost come to expect musicians to be knackered. I remember a guitarist from a US indie band actually falling asleep as I interviewed them in Barcelona. A seriously jetlagged LA rapper spoke with his hand over his mouth to conceal his constant yawns when I met him after a radio freestyle on the afternoon of his 22nd birthday. “Do I look tired?” an extremely drained-looking electronic producer asked me at a pre-show dinner, having just been driven from Paris to Bristol. “No,” I lied.
It’s hard to tell if things are going to get easier or more difficult in the near future. On one hand, the conversations about mental health in the music industry are becoming much more progressive and considerate, and so hopefully we’ll see more support, empathy and resources for those who are struggling. On the other hand, Brexit hovers like a dark cloud – if individual visas for each EU country and expensive carnet documents are introduced, it could be financially impossible for upcoming or underground UK artists to tour Europe. So, in consideration of all this, let’s give it up for all our hard-working, sleepdeprived, constantly touring musicians. We appreciate every fans’ living room floor, every brutal hangover and every service station meal you endure to keep the show going. Davy Reed, Editor
Camp Cope Jet Fuel Can’t Melt Steel Beams GØGGS She Got Harder Jamila Woods VRY BLK PWR BTTM Projection
Midland Final Credits
But, of course, the attitude is shifting – and rightly so. Months-long cycles of long flights and sleepless nights pose much more serious hazards than a bad mood.
This month’s cover stars are Warpaint, a hugely in-demand band who I’ve seen on particularly relentless tour and press schedules. With a new album on the horizon, they’ve just begun the cycle all over again, and it’s good to see that the band’s mutually supportive attitude and relaxed humour are very much intact in our feature. Elsewhere in the issue, Preoccupations’ Matt Flegel professes his peculiar love of slogging it out on tight budget tours after many years, and London MC AJ Tracey offers a refreshingly inspired perspective to gigging: “People take drugs to get their thrills, my thing is live performance. Standing in front of a massive crowd and having them say my lyrics – it gives me purpose.”
Issue 67 August 2016
Recommended O ur g ui d e to wh at's goi n g on i n y ou r c i ty MINISTRY O2 Forum 20 August
GODSPEED YOU! BL ACK EMPEROR The Coronet 18 August OBONJAN ISL AND Šibenik, Croatia 28 July – 6 September Prices Vary After the team behind Unknown festival announced that they had bought an actual island, pledging to turn the Croatian landmass into a sort of utopian getaway, people freaked out. It all seemed too good to be true. But, coming through on their promise, the full time recreational paradise has already swung into action. The Adriatic Eden offers excursions, workshops and a wellbeing programme as well as some of the best sunset soundtracks around. Achieve ~wellness~ through reiki, yoga, and meditation classes, get whisked away on off-island adventures and dance all night to the likes of Anderson .Paak, Floating Points, Jessy Lanza, Roy Ayers, Gaussian Curve, Horse Meat Disco, Maurice Fulton, Optimo and Shanti Celeste. For those who get nervy off grid, there’s a fine selection of restaurants to keep you from foraging and Wi-Fi included with the accommodation, which starts from €59 per night.
TR AVI$ SCOT T O2 Shepherds Bush Empire 24 + 25 August £22.50
JOSEY REBELLE fabric 12 August
LOUIS CK SSE Arena 12 August
BESTIVAL The Cure, Skepta, The Black Madonna Robin Hill Country Park, Isle of Wight 8 - 11 September £190
There’s been a shift in what rap shows look like across the last five years or so. To put it bluntly, things have gotten a little crazier. Of all the troublemaking, riot-luring paragons of the modern day, few come close to Travi$ Scott. In the past, his shows have been shutdown by police and festival security staff because of the feverish energy he brings about in a crowd. As the man behind some of the biggest singles of the past few years, his anthems justifiably provoke an untameable sense of mania. See it for yourself but don’t go down the front if you value your possessions / trainers / face.
AVALON EMERSON Varkala Festival, Wokingham 12-15 August
NOVELIST XOYO 18 August
Bestival has long been a jewel in the UK festival scene’s crown. As the big players go, the event has succeeded in building an extremely loyal following. It’s easy to understand why. The colour, the line-up, the fancy dress – the second you step off the ferry the fun begins. This year they are taking your brain to another dimension and transforming the rolling hills of the Isle into a futuristic paradise. The line-up ranges from the politically charged ruff-sound grime of Novelist to the psychedelic excursions of Animal Collective via ragga dancehall immortal Sean Paul. As events of this size go, Bestival sits among the very best on the continent. A place where style, music and adventure light up the skies. Aled Jones is also jungle MCing on the main stage.
ODYSSIA FESTIVAL DJ Harvey, Discodromo, Josey Rebelle Cariocas Beach, Greece 30 August - 5 September 90€
THEE OH SEES The Coronet 2 September
EK ALI Oval Space 17 August
Timed nicely at the closing stretch of summer, the brand new Odyssia festival in Greece is, well, kind of your last chance for 2016. Your last chance to bathe in crystal-clear seawater and post one of those “Take me back!” statuses on Facebook once you’re home. It’s your last chance to make the most of Europe’s sunnier climes and reframe your understanding of the modern festival experience. The line-up includes trusted selectors like DJ Harvey and Kyle Hall. It’s also been organised by an ensemble cast of promoters who’ll all be in attendance hosting stages. Take your last chance of the summer and get in early on this new belter.
CHANGING LONDON: BAT TLE OF SOHO ICA 9 August £3 - £6 Gentrification is rampant in all of the world’s major cities and London is no exception. As capitalism digs its claws into all aspects of culture, communities are torn apart and people’s livelihoods are left in the dust. In Changing London: Battle of Soho, director Aro Korol points his lens at the quickly transforming community in Soho and traces the effect of gentrification on the area’s once thriving LGBT scene. What he discovers is a network of people fighting against a system that is too big to fend off and a culture on the verge of collapse at the feet of greedy corporations.
WILLIS E ARL BE AL The Forge 9 August
025 COLLEEN GREEN Moth Club 22 September
EXPLODED VIEW The Shacklewell Arms 23 August
FR ANKIE COSMOS The Dome, Tuffnel Park 8 September £10 SECRETSUNDA ZE Oval Space 28 August £9.50 - £19.50
TODD TERJE Ministry of Sound 3 September
Ever since Secretsundaze’s inception, Sunday afternoons have never been the same. Instead of roasts and brisk dog walks, the event series encourages you to don your dancing shoes and join a mob of end-of-week ravers. Now 15 years old (but never a surly teenager), Secret Sundaze are celebrating with a trio of heavy hitters – Chicago house expert Prosumer, Panorama Bar resident Nick Höppner and one of London’s finest DJs, Jane Fitz – plus a freestyle set from the SS DJs and a b2b set from a pair of mystery guests.
OASIS FESTIVAL Hunee, Helena Hauff, The Black Madonna Marrakech, Morocco 16-18 September £150 Oasis Festival takes place in the gorgeous surroundings of The Source, an indulgent and stylish hotel complex set in the exhilarating, overwhelmingly beautiful section of the Atlas Mountains bordering Morocco. The multiple stages and full wellbeing programme (which includes yoga, live painting and a menu of local food) are lovingly sprinkled throughout the striking settings of the hotel’s pools and villas. This year’s line-up includes sets from Derrick May, Job Jobse, Margaret Dygas, Objekt, Midland… it’s a tough call, but we’d say this line-up is even more impressive than the location.
22 year-old Frankie Cosmos constructs tiny, perfectly relatable universes out of her many albums of lo-fi indie pop. Since 2009, she’s been letting people in a little per record, and it’s been an absorbing experience for loyal fans and critics alike. Her intimate live shows have gained similar rave reviews. If you need an introduction to Frankie’s world, scores of her songs are available free online – go get lost in your own little cosmos.
SHARON JONES & THE DAP KINGS Brooklyn Bowl 23 August SER ATONES The Lexington 1 September
E AGLES OF DE ATH METAL O2 Forum 26 August FIELD MANEUVERS Secret location 1 hour from London 2 – 5 September £89
DANIEL BELL & BRUNO SCHMIDT The Pickle Factory 26 August £12.50 Stellar midsummer line-up at London’s Pickle Factory for this one, featuring a bona fide legend of US techno. Accelerate and Seventh City label-head Daniel Bell plays a bill alongside Bruno Schmidt, the programmer for Bulgaria’s hugely celebrated Meadows In The Mountains festival. Expect a caustic mix of unapologetically Detroit techno and minimal breakbeat curiosities. They’ll be joined by Pickle Factory resident Toby Nicholas to cap off a line-up of bare-bones electronic partying. The record collections of these individuals will know no bounds so venture to the Pickle Factory and see what they pull out the crate.
Field Maneuvers – a young, intimate festival that takes place in an obscure Oxfordshire location – gets just the right balance between educated bookings and pure, unadulterated fun. They’re back this year with a bigger, better and more diverse line-up, taking in moodenhancing disco from Al Dobson Jnr, The Black Madonna, Studio Barnhus and Honey Soundsystem, full throttle sounds from Pariah, Randomer and rave legend Mark Archer, and FM residents and regulars Jane Fitz, Jade Seatle, Throwing Shade and Ryan Elliot. Staunchly independent events of this scale are increasingly hard to come by. If you’re searching for a non-corporate rave haven, look no further.
DANIELE BALDELLI Patterns, Brighton 13 August
PERE UBU Corsica Studios 25 August
GEORGIA O’KEEFFE Tate Modern Until 30 October
DJ HARVEY XOYO RESIDENCY XOYO, London 6 - 27 August £20 25 years since his debut London residency, disco voyager and infamous party crusader DJ Harvey returns to London to play all night long every Saturday in August at XOYO. There’s very little we can say here to make this appealing to you that isn’t in the title. Harvey plays all night long with the sound from his turntables beamed into room two – the club is fully his. It’s a return to a kind of clubbing not seen so much in London anymore. A time where a DJ belonged to a club and vice versa. Nobody is better suited to take you back to that time than Harvey.
HARVEY SUTHERL AND Jazz Café 12 August
Bristol-based producer Burl (AKA Joanna Pucci) recalls the sounds of the past to imagine a more enchanting present. Organs, chimes, and disembodied voices are layered to create palpable visions of misty moors, twilit skies, and last rites cast over a bubbling cauldron, and the live show adds even more sorcery. Shrouded in veils and clad in black, Pucci lets her vaporous productions (sometimes presented with help from the talents of vocal sound artist Ellen Southern) diffuse under the sound of live bells, rung as if by an unseen force. Pucci’s choice of artwork is also significant: figures are tossed upside-down, medieval villagers dance, and her face is always abstracted, as if hiding. Burl’s work is a meditative seance for increasingly dark times.
O Circle 1 1 Grouper / Katie Gately : soundcloud.com/ inga-orsa_burl
O Footprints In Solid Rock 1 Vessel / Kowton : @DJ_Ploy
SALUTE Channeling the glowing productional tropes of UK forefathers like Rustie and HudMo with a knack for universal pop melodies, young ascendant Brighton producer salute looks perfectly poised to flourish into headline status across the coming months. Having already clocked in studio time with recent Crack cover star Abra, salute’s My Heart mini-album drops on 19 August and features a guest spot from hopelessly charming Hampton rapper D.R.A.M. He’s clearly moving in the right circles and teaming up with the right vocalists to fit his liminal, bassy sound. With the skill set of a hitmaker and the objectives of a genre-shunning experimentalist, salute is only just getting started.
“Growing up in South London, I don't think I could have escaped listening to grime,” says Flohio, the Bermondsey MC whose recent single, SE16, was a murky dissection of her surroundings set against the visceral productions of beat-making duo God Colony. The fittingly lo-fi video for the track was directed by London-based Mixpak-signed artist GAIKA. “He’s such a boss,” she told us over email. “I would like to interact with him more on a chilled level 'cause he is a very smart guy.” GAIKA captured Flohio’s home borough through a grainy lens, flickering with emulsion and malfunction. SE16 is a truly addictive listen, where Flohio’s hook rings out like an infectious mantra of fury and aspiration. She’s one of those remarkable MCs who makes the whole operation look totally effortless. She’s part of the TruLuvCru, a South London collective of young talents who are growing together and supporting each other at every milestone. “It’s a family, we all grew up together. There's a rapper, producer, photographer, videographer and graphic designers. We are always around each other if we need that extra support, whether we are at shows, videoshoots, in the studio, we make sure the love is always around.” This cross-disciplinary approach to music-making has brought about an eclecticism in Flohio’s sound which can’t be missed on Nowhere Near, her debut EP. On some beats she’s practically flown off the grid – spitting with a reload-chasing fever which can only be traced back to the grime she grew up on. Elsewhere in her music she’s got a laser-sharp focus; an intimidating level of unfazed concentration. “‘I’ll go on a beat that sounds subtle yet so edgy and raw, or a beat that sounds grounded and gives me the opportunity to run loose on it.” As it stands, Flohio doesn’t see herself as part of London’s rap scene. “Next year if you ask me this again I'll probably say yes though.” She’s still firmly in the early, exploratory stages of her work. Heads have been turning in her direction because of the energy she exudes on record, a kind of indefinable hyper-confidence. She’s got a handful of shows lined up and plans to record and tour as we head into next year. “While creating the track we knew others would get the same vibe we did while listening to it for the first time,” she says of the ferocious God Colony collaboration, unaware of her own transfixing flow. “I didn't know it would get this much love though."
O Deniers of the Root 1 Cannibal Corpse / Cursed : pigsblood.bandcamp.com
O SE16 1 Novelist / GAIKA : @flohio16
O One More Chance ft. D.R.A.M. 1 Cashmere Cat / Kaytranada : @saluteAUT
Bristol's Batu has been lighting up the city's electronic music scene with his thoroughly focused label and event series Timedance. Through these outlets, the Livity Sound affiliate explores current movements in bassheavy, syncopated UK techno, Bristol’s new school, and beyond. The latest release fixes its futuristic gaze on Ploy, the producer previously known as Samuel. Timedance 005 follows Ploy's Hessle Audio debut last year, expanding on a gripping, simmering sound that slinks and contorts across the EP's three tracks and shows the producer shining a light on the ethos of Timedance – constantly moving in a new direction.
Pigs Blood are your new favourite extreme metal band from the great state of Wisconsin, USA. All we really know about them is that they feature two members of Midwest hardcore mainstays Enabler and that they’re poised to make punishing, unlistenable death metal very, very cool. Well maybe very, very cool is a bit of a stretch but their first demo, Command More Blood, is possibly the genre’s most promising debut since Cannibal Corpse ground out Eaten Back to Life in 1990. Command More Blood was first released by Impious Cassettes on tape back in March to applause from those in the know, and the band are slowly starting to pick up some momentum around the web. With a debut this strong it’s hard to imagine where Pigs Blood will go next but we’re willing to bet it’s going to be pretty flipping gory.
Warpaint drifted to the top. Having formed on a Valentine’s Day in Los Angeles, in 2008 their nocturnal sound emerged from the shadows – a serene séance characterised by free-floating, egoless interplay. Allowed time and space to gestate, their music has continued to mature at its own pace, providing the soundtrack to a life of grace and meditative sadness. As they ready the release of their third album, Warpaint remain bound by their laidback charm, relaxed humour, and an affectionate sense of loyalty.
“With our other projects it’s like going out and fucking other people and coming back and saying, ‘I love you so much more!’”
033 Not that they serve those here. The spot the ladies have chosen is a downtown outpost of the Los Angeles upscale sushi empire Sugarfish, where imitation crab meat is as forbidden as cream cheese, spicy mayo, and anything tempura. It’s an institution best known for asking its customers to trust them with their selection – by way of a prefix literally called “Trust Me” – and to pay a premium for fresh fish that’s delivered daily and paired with melt-in-yourmouth rice. “Any time there’s a little celebrating I can make an excuse for it,” admits bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg, in between sips of sparkling water – her fizzy beverage competing with the shine coming off the pink crystal affixed below her right eye. By now, 12 years into their career, trust has become second nature to Warpaint. The band, which was born out of a friendship between Lindberg, her sister Shannon and childhood choir classmates Emily Kokal and Theresa Wayman, has uniquely weathered over a decade without a front person, eschewing typical band hierarchy for a democratic approach. “It’s a four-way street,” as Kokal puts it. “We can rely on each other’s strengths and part of the dynamic is leaving room for people to explore. There’s a payoff to being open to each other and sharing.” In this moment, Kokal is sharing her plate of uni with the table, offering a piece to Lindberg, who is one course behind everyone else but unphased, distracting herself by playing with one of Wayman’s braided pigtails. The way they interact and dine together is an inspiring display of selflessness. Impressively, Kokal, Lindberg, and Wayman have managed to maintain their open structure through a series of personnel changes that eventually replaced Lindberg’s sister with Aussie drummer Stella Mozgawa in 2009. They’ve also shown plenty of people along the way – specifically pesky male journalists – that being in an all-female group is not a recipe for drama. “We’re a microcosm of coexisting with other people,” says Kokal, before her words are playfully piled on by the other girls. “We’re a science experiment,” quips Mozgawa. “We’re a petri dish
of menstruation and art combined,” concludes Wayman, politely, in between courses. Jokes aside, there is something undeniably progressive about how they divvy up songwriting duties and instrumentals. In the past, they’ve each been slotted to specific instruments, with Kokal and Wayman handling guitar and everyone pitching in on vocals. Those roles will continue to blur when the band’s third LP Heads Up arrives next month. Beyond their signature woozy guitar hooks and gauzy vocals is an au courant post-genre exploration of the sounds they grew up hearing. As Lindberg explains, “one half of the album has more emphasis on guitar and the other has less.” “We used to do a lot of all three of us playing guitar at the same time,” remembers Emily. “Now it’s like maybe I’ll play piano – we don’t just go to our station and do one thing.” The result is a reflection of the times, when musicians are multi-hyphenates dealing in moody atmospherics and left-of-center reworkings of mainstream trends. For Warpaint though, their expansive new sound isn’t just trendy. Depending on your level of cynicism, it’s either a case of being consciously or unconsciously inspired by the music around them or an organic growth that began gestating well before their last album. “We all listen to dance, hip-hop, and RnB a lot so it makes sense that it would creep in there,” explains Kokal. “It’s not as subtle as it used to be.” The rap-referencing song titles could become something of a running theme. “Biggy was the last album and Dre is this album – East Coast, West Coast,” she says of the dreamy standout track named after the hip-hop producer, where her croons evaporate into breezy guitars. “This album is so rhythmic, I wanted to float on the top and belt less,” says Kokal, nearing the end of her bowl of tuna sashimi. “I knew that would be fun to perform because it’s really intense to be doing heavy belting live.” The last time Kokal did any heavy belting was a few weeks ago when Warpaint opened for Massive Attack in London, which has become a kind of second home for the group. Their UK following is a serious rival to that of LA. Why? “I think our music has certain sensibilities – drone-y, ethereal post-punk – that’s typical of UK music, which we’ve been influenced by,” offers Kokal. “Whereas in America, we need something flashy – a lot of people who are really big in the US have a strong image, style and personality. It’s a whole package.” What they lacked for in flash
at their Hyde Park gig, they made up for with a double rainbow that formed in the sky as they treated the crowd to a taste of Heads Up. “You want to see a photo?” asks Wayman. “Before my phone dies.” She whips out her iPhone and flashes a picture of their packed set, revealing one of the sharpest sets of rainbows ever taken on a camera phone. “Will you send me that?” asks Lindberg. If a rainbow is an omen of good things to come, surely a picture of two carries some fraction of that luck, at least for the superstitious. For a band often described as Californian, there is nothing overtly sunny, or rainbow-filled, about Warpaint’s music. Moreso, they fit into the continuum of Los Angeles artists who make music that’s as complicated as it is brooding, à la the Doors, Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez and N.W.A. “When we come home, instead of being hometown heroes – which we aren’t really – it’s a rest,” says Emily of being based in Los Angeles. “It’s not like we get recognised [here], which we do in London.” The band are just about to attract a great deal of attention though. Our meeting today marks the beginning of their soon-to-be-life-dominating promo cycle for the release of Heads Up, which houses a handful of crossover alt-pop potentials like New Song, So Good, and Dre, to name a few. Up until now, Warpaint have never been a band of big moments (when asked about their best known song, the group takes a few moments to think before answering with 2010’s Undertow, a track that became a favorite among fashion designers like Preen and Doo.Ri, who sampled it in runway presentations). Rather, Warpaint have built their career on patience, trickling out an EP and a few albums over a period of time in which many bands buzzed brightly and then burnt out, giving them the rare chance to actually grow in private. “By the time we started playing shows,” remembers Kokal, “we were a really uniquesounding band because we spent a lot of time playing with no audience.” In one way, Heads Up goes back to the beginning when shows were still new and exciting for Warpaint. “When we walked into making this album, we knew we wanted to play something dancier, faster and fun,” says Kokal. “A lot of times, people find our live shows to be exciting and our albums to be different – this album has the spirit of our live show.” The lead single New Song was quite literally born out of a live set: “We were singing about playing a new song
and that’s where the line ‘You’re a New Song baby’ came from,” adds Kokal. Like By Your Side, an anthem about being with your girls, “they’re sing-alongs.” “I definitely wanted to be more inclusive on this album,” says Kokal. It’s notable that Heads Up is the fastest Warpaint has ever written and recorded an album. “The album mixing process was a lot less painful than other albums,” says Kokal. “If the roots come from a good place, then the tree is going to be healthy.” Trite or not, a tree is a fitting metaphor for the band, since each member has increasingly branched out on their own over the past couple of years: Lindberg has been splitting time between her own solo project and a supergroup with Lolawolf called Crewshade, Mozgawa has lent a drumming hand to Kurt Vile and Jamie xx, Kokal released a stunning duet with Saul Williams entitled Burundi, and Wayman is in another band called BOSS. Like in any relationship, part of the recipe for keeping things healthy and exciting is finding your own independence within it. “It’s really important to have our own outlets so when we come together it’s not like ‘This is my only chance to express myself creatively.’” says Lindberg. “The other avenues help.” For Mozgawa, the relationship analogy is even more specific: “It’s like going out and fucking other people and coming back and saying, ‘I’m so much happier.’ I love you so much more! I have so many new diseases to share with you!’” she says, cracking up the whole table. “But, whether it’s music or painting, having your own time to do whatever you want contributes to being a happy person.” “I think everyone is happier,” concludes Lindberg. “That’s a classic thing to say when you’re doing press – ‘everyone is better’. But it’s genuinely true.” “I don’t know if most bands genuinely become better friends,” questions Theresa. “No, but they say they are,” says Mozgawa. “And they take separate tour busses, and can’t stand the sight of each other.” Heads Up is set for release 23 September via Rough Trade. Warpaint perform at Simple Things Festival, Bristol, 22 October
Raw fish. That’s how Warpaint have chosen to celebrate the wrap of their cover photoshoot. It’s a flat 100 degrees outside – a fact made impossible to ignore by the brutal sun, which sufficiently melted everyone’s makeup off during the block-long walk to the parking lot – and we’re packed into a wooden booth as tight as a California roll.
Tracey is holed up in Queens, New York when we catch up with him. It’s the final day of a two-week trip to the States, and he’s ramming all of his belongings – including a bunch of new purchases – into a suitcase while he takes in Gucci Mane’s freshly released album, Everybody’s Looking. “I listened to Gucci for the longest time while I was waiting for him to come home,” he says of the Atlanta veteran, who was incarcerated until May. AJ’s life for the past couple of weeks has been soundtracked by the likes of French Montana, Drake and iLoveMakonnen. “I’m quite influenced by American rap,” he admits. “When I’m out here, everyone else listens to it as well. I like garage too, but that’s more nostalgic. I keep up to date with the US rap that comes out.”
Tracey begins stuffing his suitcase with the $100 worth of American sweets that he’s bringing back home for his crew, MTP, which he started with his cousin Big Zuu alongside fellow West Londoners Wax, Dee and Ets. “They don’t deserve it,” he laughs. “They’re pricks!” During his stay in New York he’s been recording with longtime grime fans Ratking, as well as hitting Mixpak Records for sessions with Cadenza and Sir Spyro. “The vibe was all different,” he says, comparing it to studio time back home. “It was quiet, relaxed and everyone was happy to have me there, which is different! Back home I’m there all the time so nobody cares too much.” This trip saw him perform shows in Los Angeles, New York, Washington D.C and, less predictably, Denver. “They know about grime in Denver! That’s what’s actually funny. There was a couple of hundred people there and it was very responsive.” Performing live is AJ’s favourite part of the job, and he aims to release music that will allow him to continue interacting with audiences directly. “They have to be bangers,” he says. “You put out bangers, you get the shows. It’s as real as that. People take drugs to get their thrills, my thing is
live performance. Standing in front of a massive crowd and having them say my lyrics – it gives me purpose. There’s people that actually want to hear what I have to say.” Over the past six months, Tracey has summoned an appetite for his sound, proving himself to be a master of supply and demand. While his name constantly arises in conversations about grime and new British music in general, it’s interesting to note that he has only dropped one solo single so far in 2016, Leave Me Alone. “If you put out too much music, or you put it out too fast, then you’re saturating the market,” he states. “If you drop too much music then it won’t get the chance to hit home.” As a result, Tracey sets his gaze on the reception that a track receives. “You’ve got to be watching,” he expounds. “Demand for a tune could die out way before it’s meant to die, it could lose its momentum instantly. The same way, a tune can outlive your expectations.” It’s this insight that has given tracks – like Naila, which saw him tearing up Zeph Ellis’ XCXD BXMB, and the bass-heavy Spirit Bomb – the space to take on a life of their own.
Words: Grant Brydon Photography: Teddy Fitzhugh
As grime continues to seep into American soil, AJ Tracey seems like the next logical step for a US audience who have soaked in Skepta’s Konnichiwa album and are thirsting for more. With a trap influence in his beat selections, and clarity in his flow patterns, it won’t be long before the West London MC’s tracks are being rinsed from Laylow Ladbroke Grove all the way to the streets of LA.
“I care about Black Lives Matter, I fucking hate Brexit, but my music is an escape from real life. I want people to enjoy themselves” MUSIC
037 Most recently, he appeared on Cadenza’s remix of Thinking Of You by rising RnB star Mabel – a fellow West London dweller and daughter of Neneh Cherry and Massive Attack’s Cameron McVey. He takes to the romantic jam with ease, dropping a smooth verse in which he tells his lover: “You’re breathtaking like Gucci Mane’s Cartiers.” It’s a glimpse at the versatility that will allow him to transcend the core grime audience and reach the masses. “That’s where I show people I’m actually an artist. You can’t box me in,” he says. “Cadenza is my mate anyway, dancehall and those vibes are in my background, Mabel lives around the corner, so
I said ‘lets link up.’ If you pick the wrong collaborations though you’re going to look like a prick. I’ve got a very good sense of what’s correct and what’s wrong.” As he forces the zip around the edge of his suitcase, AJ begins to consider the space in which he sees himself occupying artistically. Known for barring out on energetic instrumentals, his intention is to entertain. “The topics I spit about always vary,” he offers. “The things I want to get across via tweets and interviews often differ from the topics I deal with in my music. I care about Black Lives Matter, I fucking hate Brexit, but my music is an escape from real life. I want people to enjoy themselves.” He pauses for a moment, looking at his luggage, ready for his return home. “My only fear is not being able to support my mum anymore. I want her to be able to relax, play Candy Crush or whatever. I just care about making the music I want to make and supporting my mum, that’s all that matters. As long as they’re ok, then I’m happy.” AJ Tracey performs at: Bestival, Isle of Wight, 8-11 September Simple Things Festival, Bristol, 22 October
Between releases he’s kept fans fed with freestyles, live shows, remixes and collaborations – notably with the likes of Jammz, P Money and Last Japan. His link up with West London representative Dave, entitled Thiago Silva, has had a phenomenal reaction so far, with the video racking up well over a million views in just two months. “We’re friends first and foremost so the chemistry is already there,” he reflects. “We could have made a tune way before that, but we wanted to wait for the right beat.” Producer 169’s bass-heavy reimagining of Prince Rapid’s classic Pied Piper instrumental turned out to be exactly what they’d been waiting for. “We heard that like, ‘this is it isn’t it?’ and just banged it out.”
Words: Niloufar Haidari Photography: Grace Pickering
Elysia Crampton is a drifter. At the moment she’s in Sacramento, California. Since living between Southern California, New Mexico and Bolivia, she spent the last year or so in the rural town of Weyers Cave in Virginia, population 2,500. “At the time it was exactly what I needed,” she says of the experience. “Dating there was different. Having lived in LA as a sex worker, and the access to privilege that got me from the amount of money I made, really made me into a type of person I didn’t want to be. So it was nice to just re-calculate.” Crampton’s music is a reassessment in itself. On her debut American Drift, an album that helped define the sound of electronic music in 2015, Crampton dealt with the idea of finding home while in flight. The idea of drift also brings to mind tectonic shifts, and in many ways Crampton
and her sound are emblematic of this. Her output is in line with the placeless, personal and highly political music from the likes of Arca, Lotic, and the borderless collective NON – an increasingly difficult to define but radically vivid, visceral and assured force that’s changing the landscape of electronic music. Crampton’s new album, Elysia Crampton Presents: Demon City, is described as an homage to such artists – likeminded friends from around the world and the record’s collaborators, Chino Amobi, Why Be, Rabit and Lexxi. Demon City is an ‘epic poem’ that is melodic and harsh, violent and calm, and ornate and ominous all at the same time. Inspired by her Bolivian and Native American heritage, it is an album concerned with collective solidarity. “In my original material there is still the labour of the others before me,” Crampton elaborates. “Ancestors and sisters and comrades and interests and other cultures I reached out to when I was younger because the society I lived in gave me no language to access my own fantasy space, or gave me narrow narratives for that.” In the past year, Crampton has been dealing with her
grandfather’s death and caring for his widow Flora, an experience that has led to a sharing of her oral histories and femme legacy. The album is dedicated to her, as is Flora’s Theme, a track she wrote for Adult Swim’s singles series that sounds like an alternately benign and threatening underwater alien abduction. Demon City is almost entirely instrumental, a conglomeration of sounds that split and shatter through the violence that has informed Crampton’s political and personal history. As a trans woman, this is further heightened for Crampton, as trans identities have often been tied with increased violence as a result of transphobia. As an artist, Crampton acknowledges violence as part of the queer experience, and puts this back into her work. “I think I was making trans music even before I willfully identified as trans. Coming from a Native American perspective, I use the term ‘two-spirit’ now more than I use trans because of the narrowing in what trans has come to mean, specifically in the United States. What I like about the term is that it recognises the ‘already-was’; the indigenous pre-colonial legacy that my own queerness comes out of.”
When I call Elysia Crampton on Skype it’s 9am on a Monday morning, possibly the least desirable time to conduct an interview. Crampton, however, is looking and feeling fresh. “I love waking up early,” she gleams. “I’ll stay up all night just to be awake in the early morning.”
“I just hope that whatever I put in, we can arrive further along, somewhere I can’t necessarily even imagine yet”
Applying a narrative to her own homogenous sound, Crampton defines her work as ‘folk music’. Crampton’s use of the term is closer
to its original meaning, in the sense that it involves the construction of a common identity that is constantly being made. For her, the term ‘folk’ ties in to ideas of narrative, history, community and the past, and is related to the future as it transfers from generation to generation. The concept of the future is something that Crampton finds hope in. Musings on deep future influenced the making of Demon City, something that she says was difficult but “a beautiful challenge.” She continues: “I try to think of a future where we survive. The present already makes no space for indigenous and black life but also in a wider sense [the future] makes no space for any of us, logically and scientifically speaking. The sun will die. We’re going to be gone. But I’m hoping that because I push myself, others will push themselves too and we can arrive somewhere really cool.” In her own future, Crampton has tour dates coming up in Italy, the UK and Scandinavia, and is also going to be teaching classes on queer indigenous
and pre-colonial history from Native American perspectives in Oslo and Barcelona. She hopes the project will be a means to repairing the violence that disproportionately affects queer people of colour. Asked where she sees herself in five years, she is optimistic but modest. “I’m hoping this will be working out,” she concludes, “and that everything I’m surrendering to gain the agency that I think I need will pay off in some way, in terms of being a bridge to something that keeps on getting better.” Elysia Crampton Presents: Demon City is out now via Break World Records
In a larger sense, the impetus behind Crampton’s work is survival and liberation. In her words, it’s “a way of coping with the anxieties that were produced out of the compromises and the terms of survival, which have to do with huge things like structural racism and historical erasure. Liberation is the project, and I just hope that whatever I put in – even if I’m criticised for being pretentious – that we can arrive further along, somewhere I can’t necessarily even imagine yet. Despite everything we’re moving forward. I never thought I’d see a time when Pitchfork are writing about Bartolina Sisa!” she exclaims, referring to the 18th century Aymaran revolutionary explored in Demon City track After Woman [For Bartolina Sisa]. “And they’re doing that because we created these narratives and put them in our work. Creating your own narrative is so important.”
043 Words: Gemma Samways Photography: Holly Fernando
It’s 11am in Montreal, and Matt Flegel has just woken up. Last night, he was out drinking “till the wee hours” with Preoccupations guitarist Scott “Monty” Munro, and now he sounds slightly dazed, if not a little, well, preoccupied. “This is, like, the most boring shit ever,” he interjects, as I attempt to press on, “but there’s meant to be a guy that came today, to come spray our couch? I’ve just bought a new couch, and there was supposed to be a guy that came today to put a seal on it or something. So that’s my domestic nonsense…” Having the luxury of lying-in at home – let alone the time to fret about upholstery – is something of a novelty for Flegel. By his own account, his band played over 200 shows in 2015, under their then-moniker Viet Cong. Yet, when probed about the period, Flegel has no complaints about being under pressure or over-worked, and he seems philosophical about, and accepting of, the realities of the life he’s chosen. “It’s what we’ve all done since we were young,” he reflects. “Like, I’m 34 now, and we’ve been playing in bands since we were teenagers: for better or for worse, it kinda just seems to be one of those things we’ll do, regardless. I don’t know why we put ourselves through this bullshit, but we definitely seem to think it’s worth doing. Like, it’s hard to maintain relationships when you’re on the road, but I’m in a fresh one and we’ll see how this goes. I’ve already fucked up the couch thing, so…” In the past five years, Flegel has weathered more than most musicians. Formerly the bassist with cult art-rock outfit Women – playing alongside his brother Patrick, guitarist Christopher
Reimer and Preoccupations’ drummer Matthew Wallace – the group disbanded under acrimonious circumstances in 2011. Shortly afterwards Reimer suffered a heart complication and died suddenly in his sleep, aged 26. Flegel and Munro formed Viet Cong the year after, bringing in Wallace and guitarist Daniel Christiansen to complete the line-up. Viet Cong’s self-titled debut was recorded with Holy Fuck’s Graham Walsh in rural Ontario. Capturing the harsh chill of their surroundings, and variously inspired by personal tragedy, WWII propaganda films, Naked Lunch, and Flegel’s heroes Swell Maps and This Heat, it proffered a visceral, grayscale strain of experimental post-punk, characterised by industrial synth drones, heavilyprocessed guitar feedback and brutal percussion. It received almost universal acclaim but, shortly after its release, controversy began to rumble around the band’s name. Denounced as culturally insensitive by Vietnamese and American communities for their use of the name given by Western sources to the National Liberation Front during the Vietnam War, criticism snowballed online, promoters began pulling shows and the band started receiving hate mail. They have since publicly apologised for the offence caused, and for their own naivety, and are now forging forward under the Preoccupations banner. “It was a strange thing,” Flegel sighs, reflecting on the period. “I’m not really on social media or anything like that, so I didn’t really grasp what was going on until we were getting actual humans protesting at our shows… We never intended to be at the centre of an online controversy. When it comes down to it, we’re four dudes playing in a band and we never intended to piss
anyone off or hurt anyone. It sucked though. Honestly, it really did.” Running in tandem to the furore they faced on tour, members of the band were dealing with the collapse of long-term relationships and setting up new homes in different cities, all the while attempting to record their eponymous second album. In light of the difficult circumstances in which it was created, it’s unsurprising that the lyrical tone of Preoccupations is every bit as dystopian as its predecessor. As listeners, we’re repeatedly dislocated from reality, drawn into the action through Flegel’s use of personal pronouns, and instilled with a creeping sense of dread through violent language and disturbing imagery. “Lyrically, this one’s maybe a little bit more personal,” Flegel explains. “There’s definitely less inspiration from the outside. I think it’s kind of terrible how heavy-handed some of the lyrics are but I just went for it, you know? I wanted to just lay it out as blunt as possible.” Of all the tracks on the record, Fever appears the most obviously drawn from personal experiences (in particular, the lyric, “Waking up to watch you walk away”), but Flegel can pinpoint Anxiety to a specific moment: “I was dropping my girlfriend off at the airport in Toronto, and on the drive back to the studio I wrote the lyrics. It’s about being in a situation that you don’t necessarily want to be in, or you’re not necessarily comfortable with being in, but you still have to do it.” As a self-proclaimed “studio band”, Preoccupations were very much out of their comfort zone writing on the road. Though they returned to Walsh’s studio for a session, Flegel refers to the recording process as
“scattered”, and recalls “five or six different sessions, in different places, in different cities.” In hindsight, Flegel believes this approach was beneficial: “We definitely didn’t have a vision when we first got in [the studio], so we just kept writing and recording.” In addition to fresh recordings, they pulled ideas from their formative period. And though they were ruthless in scrapping material this time round, Flegel hopes some of the discarded sketches can be repurposed further down the line. “I like having things on the back-burner and things you can revisit and re-edit,” he explains. “We definitely have a good arsenal of that kind of stuff at this point.” The result is an impressively varied record that extends from the three-part sprawl of Memory – which boasts an eerie, This Heat-esque outro – to the twitchy, muscular Stimulation – which is reminiscent of The Cure circa Boys Don’t Cry. When I infer that – in light of the past 18 months – they might not tour this record as heavily as their first, Flegel is quick to correct me. “We’re not completely jaded yet,” he laughs. “I came into this band being used to volatile projects – people lost their minds, and people died. When we put this band together, we knew the sort of people that we wanted to have in the band. We all still get along. Like, we’ll get off a three-month tour and then go on vacation with each other. It’s a strange life to have when you’re in a different place every single day. But I still love it.” Preoccupations is set for release 16 September via Jagjaguwar
“No, it’s totally fine. I’m awake. I’m ready.”
“We’re four dudes playing in a band and we never intended to piss anyone off or hurt anyone. It sucked. Honestly, it really did”
AUg 30 hoXton BAR & KitchEn lond0n
Sep 06 hoXton BAR & KitchEn lond0n
Sep 14 KoKo lond0n
Sep 26 MAnchEstER AcAdEMy 3 Sep 27 london ElEctRic BAllRooM
OcT 10 VillAgE undERgRound london
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August / sEPtEMBER 2016
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The beST iN New Live MUSic
Produced exclusively for Crack Magazine by Delfina Venditti - www.delfinavenditti.com
Words: Gunseli Yalcinkaya Photography: Juan JosĂŠ Ortiz
049 “Hackney used to be associated with people who were struggling,” says Nao, “and that was reflected in the way people acted.” We’re holed up in a small, converted warehouse-style café, where the waiters bring over a sand timer with each coffee. The location, as the Hackneyraised singer explains, represents a trend in her home borough. “I grew up on the cusp of East London and Essex so it was two very different cultures thrown together. East London is very diverse; it’s a different energy. People are on the hustle in general, and there’s lots of music around. Hackney’s changed so much now. It means a lot of those communities have moved out.” It’s clear that diversity is close to Nao’s heart. From the way she dresses (monochrome basics paired with traditional African-influenced garb), to her eclectic music taste (a heady combination of 90s RnB and jazz heavyweights, herself a former jazz student at London’s prestigious Guildhall School for Music), the musician – real name Neo Joshua – seems drawn to contradictions. Nao’s sound feels like the extension of this – a spontaneous collision of hooky pop and body-moving beats that she calls “wonky funk”. Earlier this year the emerging artist’s profile grew significantly with the release of her second EP February 15. A bolshy advance on 2014’s So Good, on which she collaborated with producer A. K. Paul, the EP presented a bolder Nao; a step away from the smoother sway of her previous work and into lurching avant-soul that incorporates elements of house and
funk. “I’ve been learning about myself quite publicly,” she tells me. “In the two EPs that I’ve released, you can hear my sound has changed quite a bit. I’ve been learning about myself while writing and putting out music." Personal growth has clearly fueled Nao’s creativity. With neon-illuminated sounds and soaring falsetto peaks, her latest single Girlfriend reached for stunning new heights. The track is featured on her upcoming full-length For All We Know, and it seems that much of the singer’s lyrics centre around the turbulent conflicts of broken relationships. “I was a fool to love you / We could have had it all”, she cries in the catchy hook of Fool to Love, but when asked about the personal potency behind lyrics like these, Nao is vague. What is most important though, as she explains, is the development of her “sonic base”, a term she uses to describe the sound that most characterises her. “I want my own world, so people are like, ‘yeah, that’s Nao’,” she explains. Her reluctance to discuss her personal life appears to extend to her approach to social media. Scrolling through her Instagram and Twitter, you notice a distinct lack of activity. “I have a funny relationship with social media, because as a person, I don’t really involve myself in it,” she admits. “It’s a lot to give away.” Instead, the young artist prefers to spend her time engaging with fans in person after shows. Asked how she thinks people perceive her, she responds with humility: “I’m always astounded when people turn up.” This modesty translates into the way she sees herself in relation to her fans, too.
“I don’t want to portray an image. I’m a normal looking person – I’m tangible. People can say, ‘She’s doing it and kind of looks like me; maybe I can do it as well. I don’t need to be an extreme beauty, I don’t need to be skinny or overcurvaceous, I can just be a normal chick.’” Nao’s appreciation of the underdog is also the lifeblood behind her label, Little Tokyo Recordings. “I know so many wicked musicians, so many talented people who might not get a look in because they’re not in the right place at the right time,” she explains. “Hopefully, if I build myself to a big enough level, it will help other artists.” As well as the altruistic intentions behind the imprint, Nao speaks ambitiously of her plans to expand it. If one day her voice is to fall short, she will have a safe foundation beneath her. “I always wanted to be more than a singer, anyway. My mum always made sure to say ‘have a plan B’,” she laughs. It’s sound advice, but I’m not sure she’ll need it. Nao’s A-game has worked out well so far. When we meet she’s fresh from the studio having put the finishing touches on her album – a record that acts as a pindrop of her singular artistic vision up until this point. “I feel like no matter how everything goes, even if people don’t like it, you have to stand by it yourself,” she says. “The journey I’ve been on in the past year, trying to find my sound, I’ve zoned it all in on the new album. I’ve found my voice, really. It’s not just one thing; it’s got so many different colours and moods. I’m,” she pauses, finding the words, “I’m proud of it.” For All We Know is out now via Little Tokyo/RCA
“I’ve been learning about myself quite publicly”
In a world of overflowing exposure, Larry Heard
Words: Tom Watson Photography: J. Louis Tucker
“It’s humanly impossible for all of it to be consumed,” Heard says. “So many of us just go along taking in connected yet disconnected information and hearing a name or two making the headlines. But I am and always will be a supporter of the underdogs. You’ve got to root for your own team.” As one of the innovators of house music, Heard’s team has accumulated considerable weight since his years spent studiously producing tracks in Chicago while the culture pulsed forward in clubs. Many of them, including Can You Feel It and Mystery of Love, would evolve into anthems. He may be iconic in the genre, but Heard has always remained self-effacing, bashfully shrugging off such accolades throughout our conversation. Despite his creative accomplishments over the past three decades under aliases including The Gherkin Jerks, The It, Fingers Inc. and most notably Mr. Fingers, Heard has remained resiliently private, opting for the confines of his studio space at his home in Memphis, Tennessee over the club circuit. This is by no means a recent development. As the likes of Frankie Knuckles and Ron Hardy were cultivating classics at Chicago’s historical venues The Warehouse and Music Box in the late 70s and early 80s, Heard spent his time flitting from one instrument to the next, far removed from late night clubbing. “Maybe it was a cultural thing or maybe it was some rite of passage but everyone in my family either learnt how to play an instrument or some form of dance like ballroom,” he reflects. “With playing in bands and holding down a job, I didn’t really have the time to go to the clubs.”
Soon after establishing Alleviated, Heard's popularity blossomed. Having made three acetates of a Mystery of Love instrumental (one for Frankie Knuckles, one for Ron Hardy, and one for himself), the Mr. Fingers brand began to germinate and Heard eventually found himself immersed in what he now regards as a community of likeminded producers, DJs and label heads. “The form had an audience that was visibly interested in homegrown things,” he says. “And that’s the important part because everybody felt closer to it – it’s a community thing. For Chicago, we could really say, ‘here’s something’. And that ‘something’ just grew.” The lucrative business deals that followed with the likes of DJ International or Trax Records were an exercise in common sense for Heard, who used them as a springboard for his illustrious career. “When we got involved with the natural commerce line, which was already set in place by our predecessors of disco and early electro, we started to see a global effect. The next generation inherits the structure that is already in place. Where to go with it was up to us.”
“ I am and always will be a supporter of the underdogs. You’ve got to root for your own team ”
Heard started out playing drums in a jazz-fusion covers act. Leaving the group after its restrictive nature stifled his experimentalism, he purchased a drum machine and synthesiser so that he could document his compositions. With this renewed focus, Heard began to produce tracks that would eventually prove seminal to the development of Chicago house. Three of his earliest tracks were Mystery of Love, Washing Machine, and Can You Feel It. Today, this trio of releases are eulogised by audiences and DJs alike. Yet, due to Heard’s initial indifference with Chicago’s club scene, he didn’t have the means to distribute them to popular resident DJs. Instead, Heard established his own label, Alleviated Records, in 1985, as a vehicle to get his recordings shared between radio personalities and ultimately broadcasted in the clubs.
Heard poses himself as the introverted composer; an exception to the hedonism of the genre he spawned. But his work is unavoidable. More recently, Mystery of Love was sampled by Kanye West on The Life of Pablo track Fade, something that Heard attributes to luck as he shrugs it off with a laconic sigh: “By the time the record finally came out, I had been inundated with so many versions, the magic of the moment was lost. I haven’t even heard it in its entirety yet.” At the age of 56, you could assume that Heard would opt to ignore the trend-centric demands of today’s music industry. Again, this couldn’t be further from the truth. His output remains unyielding. But, Heard admits, his relationship with DJing live has always been somewhat tumultuous. Having contracted hearing damage in 2012, he took a hiatus from performing. “Occupational hazard, right?” he jokes.
It will be the first time Heard has performed live as Mr. Fingers for fifteen years. When asked about the headline show, he’s as humble as ever. “How many performances can you even do to prepare you for something like this?” Yet, in a scene that changes rapidly for the dancers and industry heads alike, Larry Heard continues to shine. This could be attributed to his ongoing commitment to expand on Chicago house’s veritable heritage, or simply his ability to never lose sight of the end goal. “Clubbing has changed so vastly over the years, but I still want to entertain and be entertained while doing it,” Heard concludes. “I hope people see that. Otherwise everything will just get so boring.” Larry Heard aka Mr Fingers appears at Dimensions festival, Pula, Croatia, 25 - 28 August
It was assumed by fans that his condition would mean his further output would be muted. However, four years later, Heard is as productive as ever. Not only has Alleviated reissued the commercially lauded Fingers Inc. debut Another Side, we have witnessed the return of Heard’s Mr. Fingers alias for the first time in over two decades. Why now? “Instead of going from airport to airport, country to country, club to club, I’m back in the studio,” he explains. “I’ve always expressed to people around me that I feel like that’s where my talents and abilities benefit. I like DJing, it’s great to get out, but after a while it can strip you of your duties in the studio.” Regardless of Heard’s aversion to regular appearances, he is set to headline Croatia’s Dimensions festival.
We live in a time where music, as Larry Heard attests, is like Niagara Falls. Successful navigation of this perpetual flood of new releases is something that Heard has felt compelled to grasp over the past few years.
Words: Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff
053 Colin Jones The Black House, 1973-1976 © Colin Jones Courtesy of Autograph ABP
Malick Sidibé On the motorbike in my studio, 1973 © Malick Sidibé Courtesy CAAC The Pigozzi Collection, Geneva
054 Tucked away on the second floor of the Photographers’ Gallery, a quiet, white space near the hot bustle of Oxford Circus, a collection of black men stare out from picture frames in near-uniform stoicism. Most of their mouths are closed, unsmiling; some have high cheekbones and shining eyes. But what’s really interesting about the men is the way that they are dressed. Their styles are striking but complimentary in their deliberate conception – from flamboyant, colourfully patterned suits to wellpressed, flared jeans. These images summon a collective strength within the Made You Look exhibition, which examines dandyism “as a provocative response to the stereotypical portrayals and physical objectification of black men”. Ekow Eshun, the 48 year-old Ghanian-British curator of the exhibition, is well known as a successful journalist, artistic director, and broadcaster for institutions like the BBC. He’s a busy man. When we first attempt our interview, Eshun is caught up in a meeting, but his voice is light and bright on the phone. “The meeting wasn’t about anything interesting,” he laughs, before launching into his explanation as to why he decided to curate the exhibition. “It seems to me that black men are at a very peculiar position at the moment, of heightened visibility and vulnerability at the same time,” he says. “I was interested in thinking about how, as a consequence, black men negotiate their position in public space, their position in society. One of the ways they do that is through trying to take mastery over their own self-image.”
The dictionary definition of a dandy is “a man unduly concerned with looking stylish and fashionable”; a way of being practised by the likes of Oscar Wilde, Lord Byron and Charles Baudelaire. But as Eshun explains, black dandyism is far from unduly. Rather, the style is constructed in response to a society, which “at large still spends time demonising black men, viewing them as a threat, as sexual predators.” The exhibition, therefore, features work from colonial times, when this myth started to become pervasive. Photographs from the Larry Dunstan Archive, thought to be taken in 1904 by an unknown photographer in Senegal (then a French colony), show black men looking as unthreatening as they could be. Pristine white suits contrast with dust-covered feet and sun-kissed skin. A cane is held at a jaunty angle, brushing the ground near laced-up boots. As the caption beside it reads, this particular look represents “response or possibly resistance to archetypal colonial imagery”. Some of Eshun’s favourite work in the exhibition is by Malian photographer Malick Sidibé, who passed away in April. Eshun likes Sidibé's work because he says his subjects “insist” on being seen. Sidibé's portraiture contrasts with brusque shots by British photographer Colin Jones of the marginalised, stylish boys on Holloway Road’s Harambe housing project in the 1970s – a hostel which aimed to rehabilitate young, troubled black people who had suffered from prejudice and problems in education. Eshun’s past as a style journalist is reflected in a box room which has shots of defiantly flamboyant rapper Young Thug, known for his penchant for “women’s clothing”. The brightest and most eyecatching images – taken by Moroccan photographer Hassan Hajjaj – are reminiscent of The Society of Elegant Persons of the Congo, or ‘sapeurs’; probably the most ubiquitous imagery in the modern arena that people would relate to black dandyism.
Kristin-Lee Moolman Wayne Swart (from the OATH lookbook), 2015 Â© Kristin-Lee Moolman Courtesy of the artist
056 Hassan Hajjaj Afrikan Boy, 2012 ÂŠ Hassan Hajjaj Courtesy of the artist
“The investment people put into their dress and deportment is a very personal politics” Ekow Eshun
“I don’t worry too much about appropriation because I feel that if something has a life and style and an identity to it, it can actually survive being taken by someone else,” he says. “Solange is a particular example in as much that some people wouldn’t have been aware of the sapeurs before her video. I’m less interested in feeling that somehow one thing belongs to one set of people and should only stay there and only be defined in those terms because I feel creativity doesn’t really work that way.” Eshun’s confident answer on the question of cultural appropriation and creativity is indicative of his intimidatingly impressive CV. Born in the late 60s, he began his career as a magazine journalist, working as deputy editor of The Face, before taking over as editor at Arena. In 2005 he published a well-reviewed memoir, Black Gold of the Sun, and became the artistic director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA). “At Arena I was the first black editor of a mainstream magazine, at the ICA I was the first black director of a major arts organisation,” he says. While, as he noted in an interview with the Guardian in 2010, his final year with the ICA was
“tough” as he dealt with a mounting deficit, his broadcasting career has kept him almost continually in the public eye – he was a regular contributor on BBC’s The Review Show between 2000-2013 and has written and presented various documentaries. Made You Look, he explains, is another “another iteration, another chapter in the same trajectory”, for someone whom race isn’t the “only” thing he’s interested in, but it’s a “pretty big thing”. In his memoir, Eshun recanted the horrific racism he faced growing up, and it is clear that he is keenly aware of the current political issues facing black men, even if he – throughout his eminent career – seems to have overcome some of the more obvious racial barriers. Although he says that he hasn’t been directly involved in the “deeply inspiring” Black Lives Matter movement, which has recently sprung up in the UK following the cruel and untimely deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile at the hands of the American police, he does believe it’s a critically important campaign. “Arguably, things have been getting worse rather than better and I think that all you can do is not let that go by without protest, not let that go by with mute acceptance,” he says. “That’s one of the reasons why I wanted to do the show. I’m quite aware that dealing with dandyism on display may feel like quite a trivial response, but I think of the investment people put into their dress and deportment as a very personal politics. As a way to assert your identity in a society where otherwise there is
a constant rush to judgement of black men in particular. So for me, those issues of dress and style actually aren’t trivial at all.” Hearing this, I’m reminded of the hoodies movement, which took place after Trayvon Martin’s death. Martin was a black 17-year-old whose shooting by George Zimmerman was the catalyst for the Black Lives Matter movement in the US. Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly, in a fit of stereotyping, claimed “the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman is” because he looked like a “gangsta” wearing it. Instead of heeding the anchor’s words, young black men across America rushed to dress in solidarity with Martin at protests, showing their power in carefully constructed outfits with hoodies, which, while not being quite as glamorous as traditional black dandyism, still conveyed strength. As Eshun says himself: “across continents you see similarities, not so much of pose, but of expressions, possibly of posture, possibly of will and desire that come to the surface. So if dandyism is about anything, it’s about how you carry yourself.” Made You Look: Dandyism and Black Masculinity runs at The Photographers’ Gallery, London, until 25 September
I was first introduced to the concept of dandyism through Solange Knowles, I tell Eshun, who featured the sapeurs in the music video for her hit Losing You. But, as a result, Solange has been accused by some groups of appropriating Congolese culture. What does he think about the appropriation of dandyism?
Words: Lakeisha Goedluck Photography: Steph Wilson Styling: Charlotte James Styling Assistants: Asha Hai + Ella Self Make-up: Chloe Botting using NARS Cosmetics
It’s the last look of the day and Kelsey Lu is propped up like a priceless porcelain doll on a large, vintage sofa. There’s a hint of electric blue on her eyelashes and eyebrows. Her hair is spiralling away from her scalp, neatly framing her face. Her expression looks calm and collected – surprising, given that her debut EP Church dropped only a few days prior. When she speaks, that coolness still lingers. With just her cello and a loop pedal, she recorded the EP live in a single take in a church in Brooklyn. It’s an assured move for a debut release, and she seems characteristically unfazed by the process. “I didn’t think of it as being scary,” she states. “It wasn’t until I heard the masters for the first time that I was like, ‘oh my God – this is live, I did this.’”
Originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, the musician-meets-model left home at the age of 18 to study to become a classically trained cellist. “It was sitting propped up against a window,” she says, recalling how the
instrument instantly seduced her, “and I was like ‘what is that thing?! I must have it, it must be mine.’” Explaining that it was “love at first stroke,” the singer says that her cello is “like an extra limb” – and she plays it as such. Within her music there’s a discernible congruity between the haunting tone of her voice and the resonant sound of the strings. Lu’s striking talent has led her to collaborate with some of today’s leading avant-garde creatives. She has recently worked alongside Dev Hynes on his Blood Orange project and lent her cello to Kelela’s upcoming LP. The singer has even extended her expertise to the world of fashion. Grace Wales Bonner, Lu’s close friend, has quickly made a name for herself with her designs, which regularly draw upon the African diaspora. For Bonner's SS17 show, Lu was asked to create an accompanying soundscape. Delving into the rich history of Ethiopian and Caribbean music for inspiration, she found the process enlightening. “There was music that I’d heard and that I’d known, but I’d never gotten to the roots
of before – and that’s so important,” she explains. “There’s also something important about supporting women, and especially women of colour,” she adds. Opportunities to work with other women are instances that Kelsey Lu seems to hold in high esteem. At the end of last year, she featured in the 'For Women, By Women' lingerie campaign for the Scandinavian retailer & Other Stories. “I didn’t feel like I was just this flesh, or this skin walking into this shoot. It wasn’t like ‘look at all these people who are thin and tall and I’m the ‘eccentric’ one’,” she says of the experience. In the images, she can be seen embracing natural beauty and an unapologetic approach to body hair – a choice that she has received criticism for online. “Some people are just still set in society’s ways of telling you ‘that’s not hot, that’s not cool, that’s not sexy’,” she says. “People will always have something negative to say, but you’ve just gotta keep strolling.” In regards to the way she dresses, her parents can be held partly responsible.
Childhood trips to thrift stores in Philadelphia gave her the foundations, but it’s her dad who plays the role of unlikely style icon. “I found a photo a couple of years ago that I had never seen, of him in high school and he had on these flared pants and this really cool hat – I was like, ‘fuck yeah, I know where I get it from.’” It’s the free-spirited grace of the 70s that Kelsey Lu draws upon most for inspiration and she can regularly be seen donning a pair of flares or standout shades. From the way that Lu herself communicates, it’s clear that this is someone who knows their identity in terms of not only style and sound, but also standpoint. “It was such a powerful time,” she remarks, “statement wise, for black people and such an important time for fashion – so that’s why I like to pull from it.” Church is out now via True Panther / Matador Records
Coat: Sophie Cull-Candy Trousers: Paula Knorr
060 Dress: Sophie O'Raghallaigh Top: Sophie Cull-Candy
Trousers: Sophie Cull-Candy Shoes: Swedish
Top and trousers: Sophie Cull-Candy
Hat: Sophie Cull-Candy Top: Nicopanda Trousers: BACK Socks: Model's own
Earings: Sophie Cull-Candy Dress : Teatum Jones Sleeves: Xander Zhou Gloves: Stylist's own Shoes: Attribute Socks: Model's own
08—16 MOTH Club Valette St London E8 mothclub.co.uk
Wednesday 10 August
TOY Sunday 14 August
Saturday 6 August
Wednesday 10 August
GRACE LIGHTMAN Friday 12 August
VISIONS FESTIVAL Tuesday 23 August Monday 15 August
EXPLODED VIEW Wednesday 24 August
Tuesday 23 August
ST. TROPEZ Thursday 25 August
Thursday 1 September
THE GARDEN Friday 2 September
COLD PUMAS Tuesday 6 September
THE CULT OF DOMKELLER Thursday 22 September COLLEEN GREEN + CASSIE RAMONE Friday 23 September
LOOSE MEAT Saturday 24 September
LA LUZ Monday 26 September
THE WEATHER STATION Wednesday 14 September
LIONLIMB Saturday 24 September
Saturday 13 August
OMA DORIS Tuesday 16 August
EKKOES Tuesday 30 August
SZUN WAVES Wednesday 7 September
The Lock Tavern 35 Chalk Farm Rd London NW1 lock-tavern.com
Tuesday 27 September
THE GOON SAX
Wednesday 3 August
NANCY PANTS Friday 7 October
Friday 5 August
MURKAGE DAVE Thursday 14 October
The Waiting Room 175 Stoke Newington High St N16 waitingroomn16.com
Saturday 6 August
ABJECTS Sunday 7 August
Shacklewell Arms 71 Shacklewell Lane London E8 shacklewellarms.com
Friday 5 August
Friday 5 August
GARY TODD Tuesday 9 August
Friday 19 August
SWIM DEEP DJS Friday 26 August
067 LOVE INTERNATIONAL Tisno, Croatia 29 June - 6 July
Words: Thomas Frost Photography: Khris Cowley / Here & Now
It doesn’t carry the usual components more commonly associated with festivals. Love International is hedonistic but comfortable, with its gorgeous surroundings and carefree atmosphere soothing the usual morning-after woes. The programming, spread across seven days, is characterised by a sense of seamlessness. In fact, the whole action of partying has many of its unsavoury outcomes removed by the sun, the sounds and the setting – probably the three things that any outdoor event strives to perfect. Love International is the fresh incarnation of the esteemed and pioneering
festival Garden. Garden ran in the same location – the fishing town of Tisno on the Dalmatian coastline – for 10 years. Across that time it sparked a trend in Adriatic partying while gathering an incredibly loyal following. Its final goodbye last year was a fitting curtain call, rolling in a new era for the event. The involvement of Bristol-based events production crew Team Love had gradually evolved up until that point, and the promoters continued its legacy this year with Love International – widening their gaze in terms of booking policy while keeping the structure and the ethos of the Garden festival intact. Based on the first edition of Love International, it looks like its future is in safe hands. With music running the best part of 18 hours a day, it’s impossible
to say that your experience was definitive of the festival, but there were some stand out performances this year. Discodromo’s Cocktail d’Amore party in the newly reimagined Olive Grove stage was a perfectly pitched mix of modern Italo and electrically charged house. Hunee’s no-bullshit set on the Beach Stage was also a highlight, mixing classic disco cuts with the odd banger… and Phil Collins. Similarly a boat party with Ben UFO was honestly amongst the most enjoyable four hours of partying I’ve ever experienced (with one of the festival’s more senior organisational members describing it as “the best boat party [they’ve] ever been on”, who are we to judge?). It’s possible that Ben UFO might have been the first person to
be granted a rewind at Garden/ Love International courtesy of MD X-Spress’ God Made Me Phunky. The subsequent foray to Barbarellas (the offsite nightclub of Garden) to watch Ben DJ alongside Craig Richards under the stars was picture perfect too. It was evident that they are two of the most studious protagonists in the game, with Midland’s Final Credits – arguably the tune of the weekend if not the summer – doing the damage in the final stages. Khruangbin’s sunrise session in the woodland area was arguably the festival’s peak. Unfurling their swooning low-slung guitar jams at 9am to around 100 people, it was a beautiful contrast from the frenetic club atmosphere. A much-appreciated change of pace, it was another reason
that staying up all-night at Love International is somewhat easier than most other festivals. The Futureboogie party at Barbarellas also proved a hit, with Felix Dickinson continuing to affirm his rising status with a set that managed to push hard but also retain groove, while mainstays Dave Harvey and Christophe provided a similar mantra, with Late Nite Tuff Guy’s ecstatic I Get Deeper getting a special reaction. After the highs of Glastonbury and the lows of Brexit, coming to a quaint, sun-soaked stretch of Croatian coastline was a much-needed chaos free haven. With this year’s slightly younger audience, and word about the festival set to reach new ears in time for next year, Love International isn’t going anywhere. While moving to some of the finest across-
the-spectrum selectors and reconnecting with friends in and around some of the most ludicrously picturesque scenery a music event could offer, you’re constantly reminded why this is one of the most beloved events in the festival calendar.
Love International is about as idyllic as festivals get. It’s so idyllic that even calling it a festival seems disingenuous.
Day & Night Birthday Party · 28th August 2016 2pm - 6am Oval Space
Prosumer 3 hour set
Nick Höppner 3 hour set
Jane Fitz 3 hour set
?? b2b ?? 4 hour closing set
Secretsundaze 3 hour freestyle set on the terrace
SEPTEMBER 2NDD4TH 2016 700 PEOPLE, 3 NIGHTS, 1 FIELD
THE BLACK MADONNA
AXEL BOMAN PARIAH
AUNTIE FLO ELGATO E
THROWING SHADE PHOTONZ
GHETTOSPHERIC JOEL KANE
MAKE ME: RUPES & RUBIN
MIRO SUNDAYMUSIQ RICK NICHOLLS
STUDIO BARNHUS BAKE
HIGH FASHION TECHNIQUE LOCAL GROUP
BANANA HILL: CERVO & JVC COBBY
AIDY WEST CHRIS SEDDON
DANCE TUNNEL SOUNDSYSTEM JEROME HILL
AL DOBSON JNR DAN BEAUMONT
HONEY SOUND SYSTEM KORNÉL KOVÁCS
GOLESWORTHY JOHN HANLEY
DAN HARRINGTON HECTICK LEAH FLOYEURS
MEAT FREE DJS
NORMAL BEHAVIOUR: JOHN HANLEY, CARL H AND JANE FITZ STU CROSBIE
TRULY MADLY TRU
TICKETS FROM £69 60 MINS NW OF LONDON F I E L D M A N E U V E R S .C O M
TERR AFORMA Villa Arconati, Milan 1 - 3 July
You’ll find an event to attend every weekend if you want this summer, especially in London. But booking a big name line-up doesn’t guarantee a good party. So many other factors are needed: the crowd, the sound system, basic logistics like enough places to piss and sit down. And that’s before you factor in the often-draconian council regulations surrounding sound levels and kicking-out times. The team behind Sunfall acknowledged the pressure they faced in putting a new festival proposition before jaded London festival-goers. They promised a new approach. Equal attention would be dedicated to day and night programming, with tickets for the daytime festival being sold alongside curated evening sessions. The approach largely paid off: while there were a few minor issues, Sunfall’s inaugural edition was a mostly a triumph. The people at Sunfall are sound: maybe it’s just the fact we’ve finally got a sunny afternoon in this god-awful summer to enjoy, but it is easily the best crowd of any UK day festival I’ve been to this year. Hunee – despite the blistering heat inside the tent – serves up a rollicking, disco-heavy set. Next up, Ryan Elliott, who delivers exactly what everyone expected: a stripped-back hour of pounding techno. By the time Ben Klock comes on I’ve wormed myself to the front of the crowd and although it’s impossible to achieve Funktion-1 perfection in a tent, it came pretty close. As I stumble out of Klock’s set, it’s weird to think that there’s still a whole other party to go to. I dance my exhausted legs away until 4am at Peckham’s Bussey Building. As I leave, the crowd’s cheering Joy Orbison as he drops 90s classic Cape Fear. While throwing a new event in London must seem like a daunting proposition, the Sunfall team had nothing to fear: they pulled it out of the bag on this one.
! Sirin Kale Mike Massaro
! Emma Robertson N Michela Di Savino
NOS ALIVE Passeio Marítimo de Algés, Lisbon 7 - 9 July
HIDEOUT Novalja, Croatia 26 June - 1 July Upon arrival in Novalja – a coastal town on the Croatian island of Pag – the political lunacy we’d left behind in the UK somehow seemed to melt away as the sweltering sun set the backdrop for an array of boat parties, vibrant beachwear, and long summer nights. An early highlight for us was the Kalypso club. Bright, colourful flags adorned the stage as Artwork’s booming house set the pace. Hideout’s small scale meant that we only needed to stumble a few yards down the beach to find Zinc’s jungle set tearing out before another short stroll brought us to Gardens of God and Alan Fitzpatrick rolling out a techfocused vibe. The following night, the mighty Skepta caused bedlam. His non-stop supply of hits attracted the largest crowd of the week. As chaos ensued, a mere 50 metres away Midland and Bicep were busting out sets that managed to draw a few heads away from the grime kingpin. In particular, Bicep demonstrated why their upcoming album is so eagerly anticipated, playing euphoric yet pounding house mixed with a splash of trance. The looming end of the festivities was eclipsed by a two hour from spectacle Heidi. Her energetic and stylish set paid tribute to the best of British dance music (including an outing of Underworld’s Cowgirl). As the sun rose, it heralded the final hours of Hideout 2016. For the few who strived to party until the music died, us included, Joy Orbison’s always eclectic sounds proved to be the perfect farewell for our blissful escape.
! Tai Kolade © Hideout Festival
While Lisbon's NOS Alive festival succeeded in piecing together a glur of world-class support, the weekend was anchored by the two biggest acts on the bill. By the time we left Lisbon on the Sunday – sunburnt and sad to be missing out on Euro celebrations – we were reminded to never underestimate the main attractions. This isn’t to belittle the efforts of the supporting bill. Pixies were brilliantly anthemic, and Tame Impala pulled in one of the weekend’s largest crowds, while Lisbon DJ Branko showed us that the distinctive Principe sound, which has come to define the city and its surrounding barrios, has a glossier, cleaner counterpart. On to the headliners, then: if intimacy has always been one of Radiohead’s strong suits, then the closeness of A Moon Shaped Pool makes it more of a necessity than ever. Unsurprisingly, they played a set that unfolded with all the dreamy intensity one could possibly hope for. Their setlist opened with new material before unravelling into a generous run-through of favourites and hidden gems. Their connection with the crowd was palpable throughout an immersive set which surpassed the hopes of first timers and raised the expectations of longtime fans. Arcade Fire’s Win Butler passionately sung Bowie’s lines of Reflektor before moving into Afterlife – a poignant touch, if only unintentional. A line from Nirvana’s All Apologies was then interpolated into We Exist before Butler took us to church and rolled out the Funeral. NOS Alive is an affordable festival, in a city fast becoming the most popular destination for young people in Europe. What this event offers is a superbly reliable and immensely enjoyable cornerstone for a visit. Rediscovery never gets old. ! Duncan Harrison N Arlindo Camacho
SUNFALL Brockwell Park, London 9 July
Terraforma Festival is a force of nature. Set in the lush forest of the Villa Arconati outside of Milan, the festival champions experimental music and eco-mindfulness, bringing together a crowd that made for an unforgettable atmosphere. We arrived late on Friday evening, but the festival was running on Italian time. Everything was half an hour late, yet no one, us included, seemed to mind. This set the stage for the weekend: sit back, relax, and enjoy. There was only one music area with one-off performances taking place during the main stage’s down time, meaning that there was little necessity to run around. When a torrential downpour tore through Milan on Saturday evening, the promoters were unfazed as the site was stripped and then set back up in remarkable time. The heat – 30 degree scorchers on all three days – was waved at lazily. Friday’s program began with Charlemagne Palestine, a silver-haired performance artist from New York who played a striking piano set in the middle of a field outside the Villa’s main building. Meanwhile, in a soundstage tucked away in the trees nearby, Rabih Beaini, better known as Morphosis, and video artist Vincent Moon collaborated on an audio-visual production that married Beaini’s interest in world music with Moon’s compelling visuals. The result was almost trance-inducing, as the mostly vocal-based soundtrack chanted in time with images of people in prayer and ritual. The weekend’s magic culminated when Italian producer and DJ Marco Shuttle played a surprise after party in the festival’s campgrounds by the lake. Among candlelight and fireflies, Shuttle allowed himself a few moments of slower cosmic weirdness — right at home in the lakeside breeze — but kept his path mostly to techno and pounding rhythms, winding down with a syrupy, almost sentimental number that was greeted with minutes-long applause. While security guards tried to contain the crowd’s pleas for more, it seemed inevitable that Shuttle would pick it back up for one last tune, and so he did. A force of nature, indeed.
LOVEBOX Victoria Park, London 15 – 16 July
FRESH ISL AND Novalja, Croatia 12 - 15 July UK grime, hip-hop and RnB have appeared overnight in Croatia’s Novalja. Cue Mad Maxstyle scenes as hundreds of mopeds carrying amped Brits tear across “East Europe’s Ibiza”. It’s over 40 degrees. Visibility past a hundred or so feet is hindered by heat vapour rising off of melting tarmac. As the rest of the Western world goes collectively nuts searching for repurposed Pokémon characters, here a 5,000-strong crowd are tearing from boat, to beach, to pool party looking for repurposed samples. This year was the slickest yet. We kicked off with the Faded boat party featuring Shorty Bless, Masterstepz and a whole lot of rum. A short stagger up to main venue Zrce beach three hours later – where superclubs Kalypso, Papaya and Aquarius hosted the festival’s stages – saw us watching Shorebitch go in on spinbacks, Tazer Black go in on Snapchat and Slovenian heavyweight DJ Dey on MC duty. Later on, it got dark but it stayed hot. Westwood stayed on point, playing a series of upfront and reworked classics. Come 2am and Wiz Khalifa takes the stage in a sea of roars and weed balloons. We’d had four jugs of Long Island. It got hazy after that. Snapchat says we left around 4am. Croatian festivals are at risk of becoming formulaic, but Fresh Island is ambitious, bringing a new sound, a new crowd and a new dynamic to a saturated but narrow festival market. It represents the energy level that Croatia needs to stay at – like so much of the music at this event: on point, current and fun.
Gunseli Yalcinkaya N Chloe Rosolek
BILBAO BBK Kobetamendi, Bilbao 7 - 10 July Bilbao has been revitalised. Since the mid-90s, the de facto capital of the Basque Country has become a tourist destination boasting a world-class art museum and many streets full of delicious food, drinks, and incredibly friendly people. Bilbao BBK takes place at the peak of the Kobetamendi mountain. After scavenging for something that bears resemblance to the delicious pintxos we’d eaten that day, what becomes clear is that we’re wasting our time concentrating on the food. Drinks, on the other hand, are completely delicious and fairly priced – we took a particular liking to the local tipple of Kalimotxo, a crude cocktail made with equal parts cheap red wine and cola. Hinds are on first. Framed by an enormous neon sign, they’re completely at ease chatting in Spanish to the crowd, who go nuts after every song. Hinds represent the opposite of macho posturing onstage – we’ve never seen a band have so much fun. Headliners Arcade Fire charge through their biggest numbers, leaving no hit behind. They push the avant-garde edge of their aesthetic to its limits with ribbons, mirrors, and the band’s signature huge-headed masks, leaving us beaming. Saturday’s headliner Grimes arrives to a barrage of eager fans. While she used to hide behind her equipment, she’s now front and centre, absolutely raining it down on an exultant crowd alongside her backing dancers. When she finishes, gleeful, with the Pride flag around her shoulders, she looks every inch the 2016 popstar. The last day brings beautiful weather and lots of Australians. Courtney Barnett’s garage rock is greeted by a panorama of moshing Basque dudes, and Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker has taken on his new role as stadium-filler with aplomb. Bilbao BBK is just one of the reasons you should visit Bilbao – and from where we’re standing, it’s a pretty persuasive one. ! Sammy Jones N Javier Rosa
! Ally Byers Marko Delbello Ocepek
In 2002, Groove Armada began collecting a box of records which they adorned with notes written on heart-shaped Post-its. This ‘lovebox’ – as they called it – became the name of their first party, thrown in an old strip club off Tottenham Court Road. Over a decade later, Lovebox has become one of London’s leading festivals, with over 50,000 attendees every year soaking up its eclectic soundtrack and boozy family fun. With no age restrictions, families are encouraged to attend, with children under 12 going in free. Friday’s highlights include a grime spree from London-bred heavyweights Kano and Stormzy, whose high-energy sets attract a horde of dedicated followers, with the crowd thrashing mindlessly to Know Me From. Run the Jewels deliver cartoon raps featuring political and crude slurs between tracks. “I want to apologise to all the people in the first 15 rows with expensive, extendable selfie sticks. Put all those things away before we fuck things up,” quips ElP, who is also keen to remind the crowd that “we live in a world run by assholes.” Cue a strictly flawless version of Lie, Cheat, Steal. Rolling onto the Saturday, the festival sees a shift in tone. Saturday’s headliners LCD Soundsystem were greeted by a dedicated fanbase, opening with a lively performance of Us v Them and transitioning to Daft Punk is Playing in My House. James Murphy delivers a show energetic enough to rival any frontman; from cowbell solos to psychedelic breakdowns, the Brooklyn band provide an enigmatic blend of chorus-less pop, dynamic vocals and raging guitar riffs. The night ends on All My Friends, a unifying piece of music at its greatest. The camera cuts to a heavily tattooed man at the front of the crowd, sobbing, and with that, the night is over.
Releases 07 07
TRIM 1-800 Dinosaur Presents Trim 1-800 Dinosaur
Avant-garde electronic music is frequently in thrall to the spiritual abandon and healing resonance of sound. Even then, Chicago producer Jamal Moss operates on a higher plane. Though ostensibly an experimentalist working within the parameters of techno, abstract house and jazz, his music is even more singular than that would imply. Moss prefers to describe it as ‘synth expressionism’ and ‘rhythmic cubism’ shot through with a cosmic take on Nubian heritage. In practice, his music is a kind of danceable noise; highly melodic but mesmeric in its stilted structures and proclivity for blown-red distorted kicks and frequency abuse, as evinced in his euphoric, occasionally difficult live sets. The Disco’s of Imhotep is, in part, one of his more accessible recent releases, a concise ninetracker indebted to the spirit of the titular Egyptian demigod and healer. As with almost everything Moss throws out – and there’s a lot of it – …Imhotep is great, and frequently sublime. The languid temple shimmer of The Shrine of the Serpent Goddess quickly gives way to Sepulchral Offerings’s arpeggiated backbone and iridescent stabs of synth. From there on in we’re served a consistent offering of acid squelch, 4/4 ballast and harmonious flutters, drifting down from the firmament and up from the Delta. Crocodile Skin and the title track’s superlative muddling of these are highpoints, but Nubian Energy, with its louche, barely comprehensible vocal samples and lo-fi sub-bass, rounds things off on a gloriously unnerving note.
When Pill released their squawking, berserk single Misty Eyed Porno Reader on Andrew Savage of Parquet Courts’ label Dull Tools at the beginning of last year, it was instantly impressive. Veronica Torres’ deadpan, sarcastic tones taunted, Ben Jaffe's saxophone shrieked as a counterpoint, and it sounded implacable and new. The EP that followed was similarly accomplished, taking the sounds of late 70s New York and repurposing them into a Sonic Youth-style soup of ideas. Unfortunately, Pill’s debut album takes these ideas and mashes them into near meaninglessness. Interest starts to wane around spooky spoken word inserts like J - E - N - O - V - A, which is parked next to seemingly improvised instrumental sections like Sex with Santa, creating an unsatisfying length of sound. It’s not all beyond reach. Speaking Up is an affecting glockenspiel-driven protest chant against masculine power structures, and Love and Other Liquids is a languorous and disturbing stream of consciousness: “body consent, body control… chaos is swallowing your love… I am your smily happy girl” murmurs Torres over the squeals of that omnipresent free jazz saxophone. Fetish Queen and Vagabond, though heavy-handed and occasionally inaccessibly atonal, showcase overt female sexuality, a welcome remedy to typical cock rock dick-swinging. Though Pill mostly go off the deep end with Convenience, Torres’ lyricism adds an emotional complexity that bangs down at least a couple of markers of familiarity in the discordant haze.
“I am Trim, who is he?” the former Roll Deep member spits on the hook of RPG. The line is comically self-aware – despite being a key figure in early noughties grime and beyond, Trim has always operated on his own terms, lurking within the fringes of the genre. Whether intentionally or otherwise, Trim has dodged the limelight throughout his career; favouring eclectic flows and experimentalism over commercial success; languid over rapid fire. It’s a trait that has earned him the title of the ‘producer’s MC’, with the playful, layered nature of his bars allowing space to let the production shine, and vice versa. Trim had left Roll Deep following a fallout with Flowdan, and went on to drop a prolific slew of Soulfood mixtapes on his own Secluded Area of Music label. But he leapt back into the public consciousness in 2012 on the James Blake-produced Confidence Boost (Harmonimix), where he suspended his “strike a pose” lyrics in zero gravity. 1-800 DINOSAUR Presents… builds on that R&S/ Blake allegiance, calling on a cavalry of affiliates: Airhead, Happa, Bullion, Boothroyd, Klaus, Blake, and Blake’s manager Dan Foat. Spacious and raw, the productions draw on 05-era dubstep, UKG, techno, and diced up Fire Hydrantesque Wiley productions. Trim’s bars are hyper-aware (“My album cover’s perfect”), showcasing that most silver of tongues and free-associative command of the English language. His mischievous wordplay is there too – Trim’s references range from Dorothy Perkins to obscure 80s animatronic bear Teddy Ruxpin. Final cut No Manners descends into orchestral chaos as Boothroyd’s grime strings go haywire, spiralling into disarray. It fittingly demonstrates the essence of Trim that the 1-800 crew amplify here: taking the bare bones of grime and flipping the game on its head.
! Tom Howells
! Sammy Jones
! Felicity Martin
HIEROGLYPHIC BEING The Disco’s of Imhotep Technicolour
PILL Convenience Mexican Summer
VARIOUS ARTISTS Mambos Levis D’Outro Mundo Príncipe
The hype surrounding Devonté Hynes’ timely release of Freetown Sound, under his Blood Orange moniker, is unsurprising. Landing at a peak in the urgency of the Black Lives Matter movement and just sixteen days after the Orlando nightclub shooting, Freetown Sound is Hynes’ most personal and most political release to date, presenting a searing and sensitive portrait of the struggles faced by black and LGBT communities. In an essay preceding the release, Hynes dedicated the album to “everyone told they’re not black enough, too black, too queer, not queer the right way… it’s a clapback.” Building on Hynes’ signature blend of 80s-indebted pop, RnB and funk, Freetown Sound is more instrumentally adventurous than anything he’s put out before. It’s more emotionally charged, too – romantic melodramas are woven into narratives about racially charged conflict, police brutality and living under the weight of hatred and prejudice. This marriage of personal and political themes is at its most powerful on album highlight Hands Up, in which Hynes’ vocals lay out a grave message referencing the shooting of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin: “Are you sleeping with the lights on baby?/ Hands up, get out, hands up, get out/ keep your hood off when you’re walking cause they.../Hands up, get out, hands up, get out”. Samples from an array of radical black voices pepper the album. Feminist slam poet Ashlee Haze appears on By Ourselves, MacArthur grant award winner Ta-Nehisi Coates on Love Ya, rapper Vince Staples on Hands Up, and South African religious missionary Nontetha Nkwenkwe on Augustine, to name a few. Amidst these fragments, Hynes fashions a multi-faceted tapestry that blurs the lines between imagined scenarios and real-world anecdotes. There are points where his heart-on-sleeve sincerity seems likely to divide opinions. There’s the hook “You are special in your own way” on But You – a Man in the Mirror-esque ballad that critics have pointed out could have been laughed off as overly derivative of Michael Jackson had it come out 20 years ago. However, these shortcomings somehow don’t stop the track from being an album highlight, and the sound feels refreshing, if only because we haven’t heard it in a while. His most ambitious project to date, Freetown Sound is undoubtedly Hynes’ opus, albeit an imperfect one, and cements his position as one of the most distinctive figures in leftfield pop.
To accompany the release of this landmark 23-track compilation, Príncipe shared an excerpt from a 1973 interview with Cape Verdean political thinker and activist Amílcar Cabral. “As to strategy," said the anti-colonial radical just months before his assassination, “we learned in the struggle; some people think that we adopted a foreign method, or something like this. But we bettered our struggle in the culture of our people… supported by our people which is the first and main condition: the support of the people.” Cabral’s ideals of interdependent support and ground-up social change help to illustrate the Príncipe picture. For this, their debut compilation, founders of the scene like Marfox and Nervoso present work alongside newer figures like Safari and Dadifox. The tightly locked grooves, clipped Afrobeat syncopations and raw cut-and-paste sampling are all emblematic of “the Príncipe sound”, but the stylistic range on display here paints a more rounded picture – an ensemble cast of outsiders no longer defined by hallmark idiosyncrasies, growing into their own ever-evolving method and dismantling influences to form a culture which is theirs. Take the minimal stutterings of K30’s Hora do FL, the heavy tarraxinha shuffle of Babaz Fox and DJ Bebedera’s collaboration, the typically euphoric clomp of Marfox’s Swaramgami – there is a diversity on show which represents an evolution in the ethos and a broadening of the Príncipe palette. It’s calmer at times, and the sequencing plays out in a way which makes the upper limits of the sound far less jarring than it can sometimes be. Essentially though, the widening of the sound’s radius with such a continually high quality is a reflection of their main condition – the support and representation of the people.
! Duncan Harrison
BLOOD OR ANGE Freetown Sound Domino
WILD BE ASTS Boy King Domino
In 2005, when the original Dinosaur Jr. trio of Mascis, Barlow and Murph reformed, fans were stunned, delighted, and maybe a little apprehensive. Was it only for the money? Would Mascis and Barlow even be able to look at each other? Now, with Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not, we’re album four into the reformation, and only the most cynical would argue it’s down to nostalgia and cash alone. It opens with Goin Down, a sharp, superior blast of the poppier sound that’s been dominating since the rebirth. There’s a nice little solo in it, but it’s not until single Tiny that we hear Mascis really let loose. It’s incredibly difficult to make a solo sound ‘rock’ in a major key, but somehow he manages it. Love Is... and Left/ Right, both sung by Barlow, tack towards Lou’s solo material with Sebadoh. They aim to be more cerebral and melodically complex, and mostly achieve it, but given the context, they feel like concessions, from Mascis’s ego to Barlow’s, rather than something the band all had coherent input on. This album will please fans and won’t give any ammunition for people looking to trash their reputation. But it’s not as urgent and compelling as their earlier work. It feels like Dinosaur Jr. continue to have interesting, things to say, but none of it is particularly new.
Wild Beasts have always been an ideas band, and that's what makes Boy King so confusing. The premise of this, their fifth album, is really hammered home in their press release: it's a deconstruction of “that phallic character, the all-conquering male,” as Hayden Thorpe explains. Conversations about prescriptive gender roles and restrictive, damaging ideals of masculinity are still far too necessary – especially as we share a planet with Miles Kane – but on Boy King, Wild Beasts handle the discussion with all the tact of a low hanging spade. Big Cat has been dubbed “the song that set the sonic brief” by the band on Twitter, and this explains plenty. Wild Beasts sound rougher, brasher and newly confident, with wheezing synths and a rolling, old-school bad-boy swagger – and set about establishing a simplistic, Lion King battle of “big cat / top of the food chain” vs. “house cat / are you okay with that?” As a sign that this'll be a record about instincts, urges, lust and greed, this one's a pretty phallic flag-pole. Much of Boy King is littered with “come to bed eyes,” “virgin killers,” wanting to “watch the world burn” and, on Eat Your Heart Out Adonis, the downright intimidating “You've had your fill girl, but I'm still hungry.” Savage insights into a hypermale discourse, definitely, but in the context of crotch-grabbing rock anthems they feel more like slutty winks – too unsubtle to be labelled innuendo. It's frustrating that John Congleton's typically incredible production and Wild Beasts' confidence to strip back to those weird, grating guitar lines (check Ponytail) makes most of these tracks sound great when, lyrically, the record comes off like a cheap, dated action film. No matter how ironic or discursive Wild Beasts' intentions, imagine a line like this at a supposedly safe gig space; “You can stuff your chastity, your 'wait and see', your 'not ready.'” We've got enough shit to deal with this year.
! Robert Bates
! Katie Hawthorne
Dinosaur Jr . Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not Jagjaguwar
JACKMASTER DJ-Kicks !K7
When Delroy Edwards stormed the dance scene with his rough and ready anthem 4 Club Use Only, he became one of the most hyped producers of the time. Edwards has since strayed far from the template of his early releases, with 2014's mini LP Teenage Tapes digging at menacing post-punk noise. Teenage Tapes now acts as a bridge to his latest album Hangin' at the Beach. Presented as his debut album proper, Hangin’ sees Edwards assemble his bare bones lo-fi sound across 30 tracks. The album is jolting; a beguiling tapestry of coarse audio collages that quickly shift from ominous, crap cop show ambience, dusty techno, library music and blown out noise. Much like his chopped-and-screwed Slowed Down Funk mixtapes, this mercurial montage of post-punk, EBM and darkwave presents Edwards at his spontaneous best. Sounding like a lost 80s tape that’s been buried under stacks for decades, there is a raw aggression and impulsiveness here that triggers memories of Throbbing Gristle, Thomas Leer and The Normal, with jabbing synths and shredded drums jilting your cerebellum. Feeling hastily thrown together and sounding purposefully low budget, Hangin' sees Delroy mining the freaky, worn down sound that has always been essential to his work. With sleazy Hollywood as the backdrop and Delroy’s fuzzy hardware setting the scene, Hangin’s cinematic quality is the glue that binds these rough-hewn sketches together, projecting a gloriously pulpy Bmovie montage of schlock and debauchery.
16 years in the making, a perfect storm of health issues, sample clearance and good old-fashioned perfectionism conspired to keep The Avalanches' second album from the public until now. On one hand, you can’t expect a record meticulously constructed of such a broad blend of samples to involve any kind of quick turnaround. But on the other, the more time dragged on from 2000’s Since I Left You, it became increasingly uncertain as to whether the Australian trio might be able to bring a sense of cohesion and freshness to the project. It’s hard to think of too many direct points of comparison for Wildflower. It certainly feels like a piecemeal affair; sonically, the blend of woozy psychedelia and colourful electronics is probably most easily comparable to the likes of Animal Collective, but without the sense of wellthought-out cohesion that’s defined the Baltimore outfit’s recent work. Instead, The Avalanches run the gamut on Wildflower, in terms of both sound and quality. Because I’m Me is a glorious, windows-down sing-a-long, and Danny Brown’s typically off-kilter turn on The Wozard of Iz provides another standout moment. Brown is actually one of the few contemporary artists making the cut here, along with Chaz Bundick of Toro y Moi – take, for example, the fact that vocals on Stepkids come courtesy of Jennifer Herrema of the long-defunct Royal Trux, or that Jonathan Donahue of Mercury Rev and 90s hip-hop staple Biz Markie contribute elsewhere. That’s the feeling about Wildflower that’s difficult to shake – for all its energy, its long gestation has left it feeling a little too stale.
It’s already been a strong year for !K7 and the DJ Kicks series, with star turns from Dam-Funk and Moodymann bringing a solid soul injection to the long running compilation institution. There has always been a sense that a DJ Kicks mix has to reach beyond the average whip-around of contemporary bangers and deliver something with home-listening appeal, or at least a dose of the unexpected. Jack Revill’s opening gambit for his own entry is indeed something of a curveball, as LNRDCROY’s ambient jam Freedom For Antboy II lilts to life with a slow-release subtlety you wouldn’t predict from the Scottish upstart. It’s reassuring to see that Revill isn’t aiming for some lofty departure from his established reputation as an energetic spinner, and from track two onwards there’s a clear clubready instinct on display. On this occasion the party manifests in colourful splashes of house, acid, techno and electro, but there’s plenty of cult tracks that nod to Revill’s credentials as a long-time fixture in the Glasgow scene rather than his reputation as a marquee festival booking dropping sing-a-long anthems. There is of course bags of personality in these selections, from the classic Mike Dunn jam A Groove through to the audacious break down of Dubelle Oh XX (JVIP) from Denis Sulta. Like many of the DJ Kicks collections that have come before, the flow occasionally feels more like a mixtape rather than a typical club mix, but there’s still a sense of cohesion that transcends the eclecticism even as the likes of Tessela and Ricardo Villalobos are sparring on their way into the final techno runthrough of the session. Revill has been quoted as wanting to reach to his Glaswegian techno roots for this compilation, but he’s managed to do so while still keeping a firm grip on what’s happening in the here and now, and more importantly he’s kept it fun.
As 2016 continues to spew out a relentless stream of oppression, division and outright tragedy, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that we live in fragmented and fragile times. The fractures in today’s society are products of contemporary disputes and dynamics, but struggle, insecurity and conflict are depressingly recurring themes. The new two-track collaboration between the composers Woodkid and Nils Frahm shines an all-too-resonant spotlight on one migrant’s story, as he prepares to enter the United States for the first time in the great European inward migration of the 20th Century, via the infamous immigration inspection point at Ellis Island. The collaboration is the score for a short film, ELLIS, starring Robert de Niro. The first track is a delicate, heartwrenching suite of piano cascades, rippling outwards from a gentle core, and climaxing in a crescendo of strings. The second track, Winter Morning 2, overlays a poignant, evocative monologue from de Niro on to Woodkid and Frahm’s delicate, weary, wheezing harmonium. It is as crushingly, compellingly beautiful as you would expect from artists of this calibre approaching a topic of this depth. All proceeds from the album go to the migrant-rescue charity Sea Watch. In Frahm’s own words, “We are not facing a refugee crisis. We are facing a crisis because we do not embrace, we do not sympathise and we cannot give up fear”.
! Aine Devaney
! Joe Goggins
! Oli Warwick
! Adam Corner
DELROY EDWARDS Hangin' At The Beach LA Club Resource
The Avalanches Wildflower XL Recordings
Woodkid & Nils Frahm Ellis Erased Tapes
Adrian Utley (Portishead), Will Gregory (Goldfrapp) and award-winning conductor Charles Hazlewood, with Hauser & Wirth Somerset PRESENT
T H E PA S S I O N O F J OA N O F A RC A LIVE ORCHESTRAL PERFORMANCE IN THE MAGNIFICENT MEDIEVAL SETTING OF WELLS CATHEDRAL
Friday 7 October 2016, 8 pm Wells Cathedral, Cathedral Green, Wells, Somerset BA5 2UE
TICKETS £40 / £35 / £30 / £25 Restricted view seats: £15 / £10 Available from the Hauser & Wirth Somerset website www.hauserwirthsomerset.com/Crack
08 06 07 Elysia Crampton Elysia Crampton Presents: Demon City Break World Records
In its quieter moments, MJ Guilder’s Precious Systems – Melissa Guion’s second release proper and first for Kranky – sounds quite startlingly like Grouper, especially in its spectral vocals and hypnagogic fug of thumb-strummed guitar. As an evangelical champion of Liz Harris’ output, one shouldn’t complain, but it’s borderline uncanny and impossible to ignore. In spite of that fact – or perhaps because of it – Precious Systems is an immediate runner for record of the year: a slowburn, oneiric gem, inspired by the juxtaposition of the landscape around New Orleans and the man-made industrial and commercial embellishments therein. Sonically, the record jumps between half-awake exercises in ambient pop and more austere gothic rumblings. Opening track Lit Negative is relatively ho-hum, but Triple Black is a revelation, albeit a slight, understated one. Little snaps of ersatz snare spiral out into nowhere over a simple, heavily delayed guitar pattern; an irresistibly vague vocal hook appears nearly a minute in. Repeat and that’s that. It’s imagined LA highways at night, a headlit journey into the dark, equally eerie and elative and really good. De facto centrepiece Evencycle is ten minutes of absorbing, buried techno – effectively two loops starting out of time and peaking in a cumulative hypnosis that Axel Wilner would be utterly chuffed with. It’d be hard to tag Precious Systems as completely original – but it is disarmingly gorgeous, and utterly evocative.
The mesmeric allure behind Factory Floor's music can be quantified by their harmonious balance between restraint and anarchy. For their 2013 DFA Records-endorsed self-titled debut, the group exhibited a sort of sonic paradox of uncontrolled order. Their performances ached with an air of mass destruction; pandering to techno’s formulaic decadence before reeling away in disgust and exposing its man made facade. It was a truly important moment for Factory Floor, proving that minimalism inspires invention (and visa versa). So to strip back a sound based around this cryptic ‘club-notclub’ ideology even further, as they present here with 25 25, seems like the only logical form of progression the band could take. Now a two-piece consisting of Nik Void and Gabriel Gurnsey, the duo have actively explored the cavities of acidsaturated techno from their debut and enhanced its percussive thump. Here, the structural inconsistency finds a greater stability, giving the record a vigorous pulse that palpitates under gluttonous basslines and spectral vocal samples. Tracks such as Dial Me Up, Relay and Slow Listen are abnormally austere yet play upon the perversions of a late-night club peak; absent-minded yet enraptured by the marriage of drum and melody. By doing so, 25 25 is less human than its predecessor; a transition most likely inspired by Nik Void’s decision to move from guitar to modular synthesiser. But that is not to say that Factory Floor’s improvisationled playing is totally abandoned. Void and Gurnsey have rechartered their boundaries. Here they allow each other to approach their hardware with a sense of utilitarian simplicity – plunging into the confines of their previous successes and rewiring the inner workings of their unrelenting machine.
Elysia Crampton presents: Demon City feels like a sonic reinterpretation of Bosch’s Dante’s Inferno – a landscape of complete and nightmarish chaos. The album, written in the ‘Severo style’ – a philosophical term coined by Donna Hathaway to describe the process of ‘becoming with’ – looks at the experience of breaking boundaries between cultures and identities. ‘Becoming’, for Crampton, is the term used to describe the pull of music to resemble something more than just beats on a screen. Instead, Crampton’s work acts as a techno-futurist vessel into a realm that is both political and ontological. The track After Woman (for Bartolina Sisa) follows the tale of an abolitionist revolutionary whose lead in an indigenous uprising against the Spanish resulted in her being publicly raped and hanged, her body cut into pieces and exhibited in different villages across South America. In effect, the album is an ode to Sisa, and like her, Crampton’s work is keen to push the boundaries of activism. A self-proclaimed transvangelist, Crampton’s work pushes gender politics and questions notions of identity, nationality and race, much like her contemporaries Arca, Lotic and Rabit. Her 2015 debut American Drift, that questioned the concept of otherness through a steady aural analysis of skin colour, racism and colonialism, took inspiration from her own Bolivian-American heritage. Demon City takes this idea further. Polyrhythmic drums and maniacal laughs-turnedpercussion create a sphere of sonic discomfort that conveys Crampton’s own alienation as a Bolivian transgender artist in a world of homophobic, transphobic and racist predispositions. Is it easy to listen to? No, but then again, Crampton’s work challenges the listener, and much like her E+E moniker – through hip-hop beats and quotes accompanying each track – layers level upon level of texture, sound and meaning.
As seen in recent releases Syro, Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt2, and the AFX-affiliated Orphaned Deejay Selek (2006-2008), Richard D. James is finally cataloging his database of unreleased work after years of procrastination. On top of the enormous Soundcloud dump of older demos, these sudden releases suggest that James is experiencing a reform in work ethic and public awareness. It was fresh Aphex that sounded new. Now, Cheetah offers us yet another deviation of form from previous records. It's notably decelerated in pace; meditating around the practically sluggish realm of 100 BPM. It's down pitched techno in a state of dulcet R.E.M. It's groove friendly with an abrasive air of unfamiliarity, deconstructing the fundamentals of acid and muffling them. The sound here is typically unpredictable, yet it seems atypically accessible for Aphex Twin. The EP’s title alludes to a discontinued synth from the early 90s. The MS800 instalment of the Cheetah has been dubbed one of the most difficult, most bizarre, and most technically combative to ever appear on the market. And while James's Cheetah is more of a tamed and endearing beast than the machinery it references, there's something distinctly lo-fi and challenging about its direction. CHEETAHT2 (Ld spectrum) and CHEETAH7b in particular pay a conscious homage to the MS800's awkwardly boisterous character, while CIRKLON3 (Konxo3har mix) and CIRKLON 1 reference features of hardware sequencer, Sequentix Cirklon. While the esoteric nods to terminated technology are highbrow, Cheetah remains relatively straightforward and unimposing. What's clear is that Richard D. James is currently stock taking his compendium of sonic clippings, snippets and drafts; revisiting the catacombs of his past and polishing up unkempt recordings. As was the case for Cheetah's CIRKLON3 (Konxo3har mix) and CHEETAH7b, James's recent Soundcloud dumps contain original unmixed versions of tracks that are intended to be revisited and not to be denounced as throwaway doodles. Along with Cheetah, these impulsive bouts of nostalgia are providing us with an almanac of electronic works to reassess and revisit all over again.
The first thing that strikes you about this major label debut from Clams Casino is the title. It’s peculiarly self-referential, a nod to a specific lyric on Lil B’s I’m God, the track that saw the New Jersey producer announce his arrival on the rap stage. Back then, that song – which sampled Imogen Heap’s Just for Now, a decidedly un-hiphop ode to the stresses of a family Christmas – came over more like an online oddity than a track that would mark the start of a successful career. Ever since, the man born Michael Volpe has been a key player in shaping that darkly atmospheric sound that has come to define big hitters like A$AP Rocky, Ferg and Vince Staples, and for the most part, he’s yet to truly receive the credit he deserves. That might change on the basis of 32 Levels or, more specifically, its A-side, which represents the ‘rap’ half of the record. Lil B pops up on four of these cuts, including on the murky menace of Be Somebody and the intimidating thump of Witness. It’s the near-telepathic bond between Volpe and B that defines this side of the album. On the flipside, Volpe leaves hip-hop behind and gravitates much more towards poppier territory. Unlike his previous forays into it, on such cuts as The Weeknd’s The Fall and FKA twigs’ Hours, he doesn’t tap into the downbeat feel of his rap work. Accordingly, what we get is a mixed bag. Future Islands frontman Samuel Herring pops up on Ghost in a Kiss, but his predisposition for vocal dramatics jar, while Into the Fire’s lurch towards synthpop is a misstep. Still, there’s enough here to both cement Volpe’s position at the vanguard of gloom-driven rap, and suggest that he has enough ideas to branch out beyond it, too.
! Tom Howells
! Tom Watson
! Gunseli Yalcinkaya
! Tom Watson
! Joe Goggins
FACTORY FLOOR 25 25 DFA Records
MJ GUILDER Precious Systems Kranky
CL AMS CASINO 32 Levels Columbia
APHEX TWIN Cheetah Warp
JOHN CARPENTER: LIVE
23.10.16 SUNDAY 23 OCTOBER, 7PM - 12PM COLSTON HALL, BRISTOL SIMPLETHINGSFESTIVAL.CO.UK
TICKETS AVAILABLE AT TICKETS.CRACKMAGAZINE.NET COLSTONHALL.ORG
03 THE NEON DEMON dir: Nicolas Winding Refn Starring: Elle Fanning, Karl Glusman, Abbey Lee
ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS: THE MOVIE dir. Mandie Fletcher Staring: Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley, Julia Sawalha In the age of sequels, prequels, remakes and reboots, we have come to learn that nothing is sacred. The original Absolutely Fabulous (the cult BBC sitcom written and created by Jennifer Saunders) ran from 1992-95. It was revived in 2001, and spread out across three hour-long specials in 2011, before reaching its inevitable conclusion of life on the big screen with Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie. Perhaps some things are better left alone. The opening scene shows us that, thankfully, very little has changed for our booze-filled leading ladies as Eddie (Saunders) and Patsy (Lumley) stagger around a LFW show causing general mayhem and embarrassment. Once they realise they’ve run out of champagne money they embark on a series of ill-advised plots to get-rich-quick, leaving a trail of disaster and designer clothes in their wake. Despite its frills, there is a bleak undercurrent to the film: the superficiality of the fashion industry, the pressure of ageing and the fear of becoming irrelevant are all glanced upon but quickly forgotten in the face of ongoing escapades. At times, the combination of seemingly endless cameos and a haphazard plot veers Ab Fab into trainwreck territory. At least there is plenty of joy in rediscovering the ultimate aspirational duo, and that they look absolutely fabulous in the process, sweetie. ! Tamsyn Aurelia-Eros Black
Roland Emmerich doesn’t make films, he makes movies. Big old popcorn-guzzling blockbuster movies. He dazzles his audience with destruction while coddling them with the familiarity of 1990s action movie flair. Independence Day: Resurgence fits the mould. 20 years after the aliens were first defeated, peace reigns on earth and a poster of war hero Captain Steven Hiller (Will Smith) adorns the walls of the White House. However, peacetime collapses when it turns out the aliens had sent out a distress signal in defeat that has since been picked up by more aliens, who are bound for earth. It falls to Will Smith’s son and a motley crew of shaggy haired old blokes to bring about another Independence Day and defeat loads more aliens. It’s as heavy handed as they come, but then again nobody goes to see Independence Day: Resurgence to educate themselves on Rawlsian international relations. The film is propelled by its sheer enormity: a fishing boat is swept up into a 150 foot tidal wave; Jeff Goldblum’s dad is chased over the salt flats of the Mojave desert by a 300 foot alien while driving a school bus. The structure is circuitous, saggy, and the whole thing is only loosely propped up by lacklustre performances from Goldblum and Charlotte Gainsbourg. Yet, by delivering on some spectacular set pieces, Emmerich essentially gets away with it. Resurgence is a lot less clever than the majority of blockbuster films these days, but maybe it’s actually made better as a result. ! Francis Blagburn
! Gunseli Yalcinkaya
GHOSTBUSTERS dir. Paul Feig Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones As if in a parallel dimension, where leading roles were filled entirely by women, Ghostbusters has been rebooted with an all-female leading cast. If any of the film's trolling haters actually went to see it, they’d probably be even more annoyed at the fact it's pretty good. Looking beyond gender, Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters positions itself a fair distance from the original, partly because the two movies were made 32 years apart. Back in 1984, Hollywood was releasing Gremlins and The Terminator; films which tapped into the supernatural with the entrepreneurial vigour of the 80s. Compared with the relentless reboots and unjustified sequels of contemporary Hollywood, the lack of originality in today’s major movie landscape is stark – take the slightly disappointing ghouls from Ghostbusters 2016, which lack the stop-motion charm of the first two films. The most genuinely terrifying thing about the reboot was probably the dubstep version of the theme tune. But this film’s appeal lies in the barmy performances of McCarthy, Jones, Wiig and McKinnon, who take on genre and gender boundaries by completely ignoring them. Chris Hemsworth, essentially playing a man from a Diet Coke advert, nullifies any masculinity to hilarious effect, while director Feig lands some well-played blows against those sad individuals who put this movie down during the time of filming. Technically, it’s nothing on the original, but this reboot proves that looking forward is as exciting as looking back. ! Tim Oxley Smith
THE HARD STOP dir. George Amponsah Starring: Marcus Knox-Hooke, Kurtis Henville Mark Duggan was shot and killed by armed police in Tottenham in 2011, an event that ignited riots evolving into nationwide civil unrest. For The Hard Stop, documentarian George Amponsah follows the lives of Duggan’s close friends Kurtis Henville and Marcus Knox-Hooke, exploring the continued impact Duggan’s death has on their lives. Much of the film centers on Broadwater Farm Estate in North London, which has a history of disturbing events between law enforcement and residents. As the duo respond to tragic events by leading the change they want to see in their community, the audience gets a personal and at times bitterly sad glimpse into Henville and Hooke’s journeys trying to break the grim cycle of violence that has loomed over the estate. Amponsah makes it clear that he has not set out to offer further insight into what took place on the night Mark Duggan was killed, but allows those who would usually go unheard to tell their side of the story and declare what they see as injustice. Hopefully they are not forgotten. ! Lee Fairweather
INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE dir. Roland Emmerich Starring: Jeff Goldblum, Jessie Usher, Liam Hemsworth
“I believe there’s a 16 year old girl in every man,” said director Nicolas Winding Refn about The Neon Demon. Unlike his 2011 film Drive, which looks at the super masculine atmosphere of an icy Hollywood stuntman, The Neon Demon is a psychologically twisted and troubling study in femme fatale. The film, a vicious portrayal of the modeling industry, feels like an attack on Western ideals – a culture obsessed more with the surface of one’s skin than what’s under it. The Neon Demon has been compared to the likes of Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan and Lynch’s Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. However, where the latter appears deeply psychological, Refn’s project concerns purely the superficial. An unconventional narrative style, undeveloped characters and drawn-out scenes give the film a shallow feel. At times this is frustrating and dragging (the dialogue is over-deliberate and slow) but it also perfectly mimics the vapidity of Refn’s world and the people in it.
JOHN THE CARPENTER TEE turbo-island.co.uk £25
HARTLEY WORK JACKET parlez.co.uk £100
Seminal director and composer John Carpenter is portrayed as an actual carpenter for the latest drop in Bristol’s premier semi-legit bootleg tee company Turbo Island. Genius.
Zeroing in on clean design and straightforward styles and palettes, the Parlez range is a minefield of crisp, subtle menswear options for every season. This work jacket is a choice pick of their current spread. Ideal garb for woodchopping, tenpin bowling and dates to the drive-in cinema with bae.
Everyone knows it's very cool to exude the fact that you’re into the wacko art movies of David Lynch. You might not know, however, that it’s even cooler to exude the fact that you like the music that soundtracks those wacko art movies. Place this sizeable, handsome, hardback book on your coffee table and exude away.
AREAWARE CONCRETE TAPE DISPENSER goodhood.com £35 The tape dispenser game has changed. Gone are the days of flimsy plastic houses for your adhesives, all wobbly and insubstantial. Norwegian product designer Magnus Pettersen has collaborated with AREAWARE for a sturdier range of desk supplies. Grow up, step up, look after your tape you wasteman. Go concrete.
TRUMP CUSHION trumpcushion.com £5 Rather than cashing in on the pun-baiting mouthpiece, the proceeds from the Trump (whoopee) Cushion go towards supporting a variety of causes that stand to be affected should the Republican nominee become the next POTUS (*shudder*), including Greenpeace, International Medical Corps and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Put your rump on Trump.
GOLDEN RETRIEVER DAD CAP doglimited.com $28 At first glance, this may look like a mere cap with a dog on it. One of many. Just one single, unassuming dog cap in the enormous collection of dog caps there are in the world. But this isn’t just any dog cap. Oh, no. This is a Golden Retriever dog cap. The Golden Retriever is a noble beast. An energetic, fun-loving member of the family. One of the most popular dogs in the world. Basically, the Golden Retriever is a really, really nice guy. And now you can wear it on your head. Great.
BEYOND THE BEYOND: MUSIC FROM THE FILMS OF DAVID LYNCH hatandbeard.com $46
WILLIS EARL BEAL
VARIOUS, HACKNEY Saturday 06 August.
THE FORGE Tuesday 09 August.
THE LEXINGTON Monday 17 August.
KIR AN LEONARD
COLLEEN GREEN & C ASS I E R AMONE
100 CLUB Wednesday 24 August.
SCALA Thursday 15 September.
MOTH CLUB Thursday 22 September.
CHAD L AWSO N
WO L F A L I CE S U P E R F U RRY A N I M A LS W I L D B E ASTS & M O RE
KAMIO Thursday 29 September.
THE FORGE Thursday 29 September.
DREAMLAND, MARGATE Fri 30 Sept & Sat 01 Oct.
THE DOME Tuesday 04 October.
ISLINGTON ASSEMBLY HALL
ROUNDHOUSE Wednesday 19 October.
MOTHERS XYLAROO & FIL BO RIVA
BY T H E S E A F E ST I VA L
THU.01.DEC.16 FRI.21.OCT.16 THU.22.SEP.16 FRI.02.DEC.16 MON.24.OCT.16 TUE.27.SEP.16 SAT.03.DEC.16 WED.26.OCT.16 THU.29.SEP.16 FRI.30.SEP.16
THU.08.DEC.16 MON.03.OCT.16 SAT.29.OCT.16 FRI.09.DEC.16 MON.03.OCT.16 TUE.04.OCT.16 FRI.04.NOV.16
Thurs 13 & Fri 14 October.
MOTH CLUB Thursday 20 October.
ROUNDHOUSE Saturday 22 October.
MOTH CLUB Thursday 27 October.
THE BUG “
KOKO Friday 28 October.
AUTUMN STREET STUDIOS Friday 28 October.
OVAL SPACE Sunday 30 October.
LUBOMYR MELNYK & MURCOF A N D VANESSA WAGNER
LET’S EAT GR ANDMA
FEAT. Shye Ben Tzur, Jonny Greenwood and the Rajasthan Express
BARBICAN Monday 31 October.
OVAL SPACE Wednesday 02 November.
TROXY Friday 04 November.
RUN LOLA RUN
MICK’S GARAGE WAREHOUSE
ISLINGTON ASSEMBLY HALL
Thursday 03 November.
Tuesday 08 November.
ELECTRIC BRIXTON Friday 11 November.
ALEXANDRA PALACE Thursday 17 November.
CECIL SHARP HOUSE Thursday 17 November.
THE DOME Thursday 17 November.
R ADICAL FACE
BUSH HALL Sunday 20 November.
SCALA Tuesday 22 November.
KAMIO Thursday 08 December.
PANTHU DU PRINCE
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FATHER MURPHY. HOWES. FLAVOR CRYSTALS. COOL GHOULS. CAIROBI. THE HANGING STARS. MAN OF MOON. TREMENTINA. BRAHMA-LOKA. HELICON. MUSCLE & MARROW. OLIVER COATES. COWTOWN. MDME SPKR. GO!ZILLA. DEJA VEGA. CELLAR DOORS. THE LOVE COFFIN. BANTAM LYONS.
S A T U R D A Y
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MOTHERS TEMPLE. THE WYTCHES. ERN OF ANTI-MATTER. EAGULLS. MOONLANDINGZ. LA HELL GANG. D GROSSKOPF. ULTIMATE PAINTING. THE LUCID DREAM. SPECTRES. PURE PHASE ENSEMBLE 4 MARK GARDENER (RIDE)
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THE OSCILLATION. THE EARLY YEARS. POP.1280. ACID WASHED. GUADALUPE PLATA. YETI LANE. METHYL ETHEL. ULRIKA SPACEK. TAU. EARTHEATER. FLOWERS MUST DIE. CHUCK JOHNSON. TOMAGA. YE NUNS. ASHTRAY NAVIGATIONS. PLANK. IN ZAIRE. THAT FuCKING TANK. VANISHING TWIN. ELECTRIC EYE. SADDAR BAZAAR. RATS ON RAFTS. NEW CANDYS. TAMAN SHUD. WOODEN INDIAN BURIAL GROUND. 10 000 RUSSOS. DESERT MOUNTAIN TRIBE. TANGERINES. PURE JOY. VAYA FUTURO. HAS A SHADOW. BABA NAGA. BRAIN WASHINGTON. SILVER WAVES. WEEKEND, DAY TICKETS + ACCOMMODATION BUNDLES AVAILABLE AT: SEETICKETS.COM. TICKETS ALSO AVAILABLE ONLINE AT SKIDDLE.COM + TICKETQUARTER.COM + SONGKICK.COM - AND IN STORE AT PROBE RECORDS, PICCADILLY RECORDS + JUMBO RECORDS.
Crossword Across 1. Quick as you can now, we've got a mafia to run! 3. …”but that’s how it goes.” said Ozzy 4. The reigning male monarch of any given country 5. Godard, Chanel, Daft Punk etc 8. Categorically not old 9. Phil’s sister off Rugrats Down 2. I’m no good at crosswords *blushes and hides in loo* 3. Native American top dog 6. Well known… For all the wrong reasons 7. You know! The one where Tom Hanks dances on the giant piano!
ASAP, Crazy, King, French, Young, Lil, Shy, Chief, Notorious, Big Answers:
Self Portrait This month's self portrait is by Ryan Wyer, the prodigious 12 year-old Aphex Twin enthusiast who directed the video for RDJ's latest release, Cheetah
Rick Ross or Kate Moss? Who said it: The entrepreneurial gangsta rap god or the Croydon-born supermodel / icon?
1) “Going to the gym wouldn’t be on my list of favourite things to do” 2) “Am I really just a narcissist, ‘cause I wake up to a bowl of lobster bisque?” 3) “Forget yesterday, live for today. Tomorrow will take care of itself” 4) “Jam! I love my jam. I’ve just had a batch of it come through, I’ve been making it” 5) “I eat pears now and shit like that, shout out to all the pear”
Answers: 1) Moss 2) Ross 3) Ross 4) Moss 5) Ross 6) Moss
6) “Calling all the basic bitches”
This month's artist takeover was created by Willem Purdy, reacting to the word 'home'.
If you'd like to contribute to the series in the future please email email@example.com
BIRD ON THE WIRE PRESENTS
Visions Festival SAT 6TH AUG HACKNEY / LONDON FIELDS
The Weather Station + Gun Outfit THU 25TH AUG THE SHACKLEWELL ARMS
Szun Waves TUE 30TH AUG THE WAITING ROOM
Imarhan MON 5TH SEPT THE LEXINGTON
Laura Gibson MON 5TH SEPT THE COURTYARD THEATRE
Basia Bulat TUE 6TH SEPT OSLO
Amanda Bergman WED 7TH SEPT THE LEXINGTON
Frankie Cosmos THU 8TH SEPT THE DOME TUFNELL PARK
WED 14TH SEPT THE SHACKLEWELL ARMS
Grandbrothers THU 22ND SEPT CORSICA STUDIOS
The Goon Sax TUE 27TH SEPT THE SHACKLEWELL ARMS
Ulrika Spacek TUE 27TH SEPT ELECTROWERKZ
NZCA LINES WED 28TH SEPT VILLAGE UNDERGROUND
TUE 6TH SEP
THU 8TH SEP
THE DOME TUFNELL PARK
TUE 18TH OCT CAFE OTO
WED 19TH OCT OSLO
Emancipator Ensemble THU 20TH OCT OVAL SPACE
MORE INFO AND TICKETS BIRDONTHEWIRE.NET
MORE INFO AND TICKETS BIRDONTHEWIRE.NET
MON 24TH OCT THE DOME TUFNELL PARK
TUE 25TH OCT RICH MIX
WED 2ND NOV THE FORGE
WED 2ND NOV 100 CLUB
FRI 4TH NOV BARBICAN CENTRE
Preoccupations MON 7TH NOV OVAL SPACE
MON 14TH NOV O2 SHEPHERDS BUSH EMPIRE
TUE 15TH NOV THE DOME TUFNELL PARK
WED 16TH NOV MOTH CLUB
THU 17TH NOV ISLINGTON ASSEMBLY HALL
Keaton Henson FRI 18TH NOV LONDON PALLADIUM
The Color Bars Experience plays Nick Drake
MON 5TH DEC ISLINGTON ASSEMBLY HALL
THU 6TH OCT ISLINGTON ASSEMBLY HALL
Angel Olsen MON 17TH OCT KOKO
MORE INFO & TICKETS BIRDONTHEWIRE.NET
Turning Points: Flava D
"Hold On was the tune that changed everything for me" Words: Will Pritchard
Flava D – a quiet veteran of the midnoughties school – embodies that DIY spirit entirely. She’s not one to chase on the coat tails of others or wait for somebody to pick her up and steer her in the right direction. The highs of her career to date stem almost entirely from a focused dedication to her craft. She’s proven herself as one to watch through her output alone, rather than waiting for someone else to co-sign her. And in that sense, she typifies another common motif that’s rolled out frequently in the street tales of the MCs who flock to her beats: hard work, grinding. We caught up with her to track the key points of the story so far. Early Years: The Casio keyboard I’ve always been musical. I remember being six years old with one of those small battery keyboards, the mini Casio, sitting on the kitchen floor when my mum was cooking dinner. I would just be there on my keys trying to make a song, soundtracking dinner. I never
really had one of those points where I thought ‘yeah, I want to do this for the rest of my life’ – it was just something that was always in me. I always knew what I wanted to do. I remember just before Year 11 when you talk about what you want to be in life, and people there wanted to be hairdressers or plumbers or policemen or whatever. I stood up in front of the whole school and was like, ‘yeah, I want to make music.’ 2008: MySpace days and Wiley A big step was when I started working with Wiley. I messaged him twice on MySpace but didn’t get a reply, and then one day he actually got back to me and said ‘send me some tunes.’ At first I was like ‘this can’t be the real Wiley,’ and then just ‘holy shit, Wiley’s interested.’ So I made a big folder of twenty-odd beats and one night he ended up calling me to tell me he wanted a load of them. He started paying me decent money. At this point I was living in Bournemouth but had always wanted to move away, so I ended up moving to Kent for two years with the money that he’d bought those beats for. It was when I moved to Kent – a whole new place, didn’t know anyone, just wanted to focus on
my music and learn a lot more – that I started thinking about bigger plans. 2011: The release of Hold On A lot happened in those years [after working with Wiley]. I’d built a big name for myself as a grime producer, having worked with some of the best in the scene, but around 2011 I took a different route. That’s when I started coming off the grime a bit and making more UK garage. That’s what caught [Butterz label owners] Elijah & Skilliam’s attention; that’s the sound that they heard that really drew them to me and eventually led to me signing to Butterz. The Hold On tune that I made, that pretty much changed everything for me. 2012: Butterz and bookings The first day I ever met Elijah & Skilliam was at a Boiler Room. By then I’d had a few things on 1Xtra and people knew about Flava D – but I’d never played any gigs and wasn’t really DJing. That was the first time I ever actually played out live. I had no idea what Boiler Room even was! After that I said to the [Butterz] guys, ‘look, I don’t really know what I’m doing right now, I don’t know how to work a CDJ.’ So they invited me on their Rinse FM show and ever since
then I was regularly going on the show, practising my skills and getting more familiar with it all. 2016: FABRICLIVE 88 The fabric mix is probably the biggest thing in my career so far. The guys at fabric approached me last December. At the time I obviously had a rough idea about the series, but I didn’t really realise how much of big deal it was. After they asked me, I did my research and checked out the previous ones and then was like ‘oh shit, this is big.’ That made me think of what I could do to make mine stand out and be a real ground-breaking thing. I thought that, rather than doing a DJ mix, I’d produce most of it myself and rather than just getting tunes from producers that I support, I thought let’s link up, do a track together and put it on the CD that way. I like the whole exclusive thing, and having a CD full of things that people haven’t actually heard. FABRICLIVE 88 is out now via fabric
Grime has always been a fiercely independent music scene, from Wiley selling white labels out of the back of his car to the homemade videos of Channel U and Smokey Roadz.
20 Questions Car Seat Headrest
Rate these in order of how much you like them: Danny DeVito, Danny Glover, Daniel DayLewis? Why not just say Fuck, Marry, Kill!? Kill DeVito, Fuck Day Lewis and marry Glover. Have you ever had a nickname? Yeah, I don’t want to talk about it. What would you want written on your tombstone? Hopefully my name. Metal or EDM? EDM, the wave of the future. Favourite EDM artist? Justin Bieber (<3 Where Are Ü Now)
Words: Billy Black
What’s your worst habit? I often point my finger at things which require verbal explanation of their significance. The people that I am attempting to communicate with are often baffled when I expect them to know what the fuck I am trying to convey.
If you could pick a surrogate grandparent, who would it be? David Lynch could make a good grandpa. Describe yourself with three words beginning with A… Apathetic. What’s the last book you read? The Brothers Karamzov. I highly recommend the first 800 pages. What’s your favourite drunken snack? Several slices of pizza.
Have you ever shoplifted? As I said before, I’ve never committed a crime. You should have really read my last answer before drafting this question… Sorry. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had? Working at Guess as a Sales Associate. Do you have a number 1 fan? Yes, God.
Would you go for a pint with Kanye West? Yes, if he’s buying.
Describe the worst haircut you’ve ever had. It was pretty bad.
Have you ever been arrested? No. I have never committed a crime.
Who’s your favourite person to follow on Instagram? Andrew Katz.
Is there a piece of advice you wish you’d give to yourself ten years ago? I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong from the age of 13 onwards, so...
"David Lynch could make a good grandpa"
What’s the first thing you’re going to do after this interview? I’m already doing it. Teens of Denial is out now via Matador
Just as they were on the cusp of releasing Teens of Denial, their phenomenally good new record, Car Seat Headrest discovered that thousands of copies of the record had been recalled to be destroyed due to an unauthorised sample from The Cars. It’s not the ideal way to begin any rollout, but fortunately for the band the album they were sitting on was so good everybody forgot about the whole thing pretty quickly. The magic was delivered in no small part from Will Toledo, the moody vocalist whose slacker delivery and stream-of-consciousness lyricism demonstrated an inimitable way with words and a smart wit that we couldn’t put to waste. So we thought it best to ask him about tombstones and haircuts.
090 Illustration: Ed Chambers
Perspective: ‘Undies’ – youth, police and race in Brixton Ciaran Thapar is a youth worker and writer living in Brixton, south London. With Black Lives Matter protests increasing in the UK, here he describes how perceptions about race and the police have shaped his experiences “It’s going to take time,” said Ira, CEO at Marcus Lipton Community Enterprise – a community centre in Loughborough Junction, Brixton, which rests in the shadows of Loughborough housing estate’s huge, white towers. “They’ll think you’re feds at first.”
My flatmate Rory and I were in the staff office talking for the first time to Ira: a warm, firm realist, who has lived and worked in Brixton his whole life. He was welcoming our intention to volunteer, but warned that because we are (or would be seen as) white men, the young people at the centre – who are mostly male, from Caribbean and East and West African households – would assume we were undercover policemen. He was right. In the first few months, on entering the building we were glanced at by pairs of frowning eyes. I was asked several times if I was an “undie”. Fast-forward eleven months, we now run a successful discussion group for the younger boys, called Hero’s Journey. Every Friday night we sit round a coffee
table and debate topics like money, school and gentrification. In all this time, Ira’s initial words and the reality reflected in them have bugged me. Being half-Indian, I have never self-identified as ‘white’. Yet there I was, entering a new binary world, being told that I belonged on the other side of a rigidly-defined line. Then there is the bigger picture: that my perceived racial identity (as well as being middle-class, 24 and male) meant that it was reasonable to assume that I belonged to their most hated tribe of public servants. What made them think like this? Placed in the reinvigorated 2016 ‘Black Lives Matter’ context, this question is especially interesting. On both sides of the Atlantic, the whiteness of abusive police officers and blackness of their subjects in cases of drastic injustice, relating to gun use and treatment while in custody, is becoming an ever-crystallising dichotomy in the Western world’s imagination. It later became clear to me. On a warm afternoon in May, I popped into MLCE to debrief with Ira about the previous week’s Hero’s Journey discussion, where Rory and I had talked with the boys (who are all under 15 years old) about their ‘stop-and-search’ encounters with police. The consensus
was a feeling of being “powerless”; all of them had experienced altercations where a policeman had unfairly demanded to search them. The screech of a hatchback pulling into the carpark interrupted our conversation. Three police cars followed, blocking the entrance. Out of the hatchback hopped three older MLCE boys, and within seconds two more police vehicles had arrived. There was a total of roughly fifteen police officers. Two of them were female, all of them were white. The MLCE staff tried to calm the three panicked boys down and reason with the police. Some of the police officers were being defensive and aggressive like the boys. Some were perfectly calm. Others stood awkwardly, watching. They had outnumbered even themselves. One policeman pointed in Ira’s face: “Who are you? Are you in charge here?” It was painful to watch. Ira – a pillar of the local community, who has advised Lambeth council about youth activity for years, and seen police forces come-and-go – had to bite his tongue in service of peace. I could tell that he had done this before. The boys’ car was searched, nothing was found, and the officers all left, one vehicle at a time. Let’s be clear: I doubt the police would have chased the boys for no reason, and
hostility was flying from all angles. The boys had apparently driven away when asked to stop, which led to them being chased to the safe-haven of the centre, which they shouldn’t have done. Why were they asked to stop? I don’t know for sure. Maybe they had a criminal history. Maybe the police had seen three black boys driving a shiny new hatchback and fancied their chances. The point is that whichever backdrop is true, it is impossible to deny that the number of police officers present was excessive. What’s more, the way they handled themselves as a group – disjointed and unapologetic – made the episode appear more like a demonstration of power than a proportional response. If episodes like this are commonplace for black boys in Brixton, whereby a police force of almost exclusively white men act impulsively on their unqualified suspicions, it is no wonder Rory and I received raised eyebrows back in September. Or, to put it differently: if the only attention the boys receive from white men in the public sphere is from bullish figures of authority, who can blame them for assuming that we were from the same ilk? Get involved with Hero’s Journey by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Featuring Warpaint, AJ Tracey, Elysia Crampton, Ekow Eshun, Preoccupations, Nao, Larry Heard, Kelsey Lu and more