+ Schoolboy Q | George Clinton | Jeremy Deller Angel Olsen | DJ Rashad | Porter Ricks | Ratking Eats Everything | Steve Powers | Neurosis
A BUMPER WEEKEND OF LOVE A BUMPER WEEKEND OF LOVE
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+ Philip Sheppard
Goldie & Heritage Orchestra: TIMELESS (Sine Tempore)
Urban Archaeology: 21 Years of Mo’Wax
ESG + 23 Skidoo
Acid Brass By Jeremy Deller performed by Fairey Band
Mark Lanegan Petite Noir
John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme
Meltdown Sessions Max Richter: Waltz with Bashir with the Philharmonia Orchestra Keaton Henson
Sunday Come Down And more acts to be announced
DJ workshops, opportunities to get involved and free gigs
Edwyn Collins & Guests
Radkey Under The Skin: Screening and Live Soundtrackwith Mica Levi Neneh Cherry with RocketNumberNine © Will Bankhead
MELTDOWN 13 – 22 JUNE 2014
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GEORGE CLINTON Dr. Funkenstein shares his wisdom with Robert Bates
JEREMY DELLER From covering acid house with brass bands to passing around 300,000 year old axes, Deller is conjuring up some old English Magic. By Celia Archer
SCHOOLBOY Q Speeding down the road to rap royalty, Schoolboy Q recalls having to hit rock-bottom on his way here. By Davy Reed 13
Recommended A guide to what’s happening in your area
NEW MUSIC From the periphery
TURNING POINTS: DJ RASHAD The Chicago footwork mainstay breaks down five pivotal moments in his career with Anna Tehabsim
PORTER RICKS It’s been 18 years since Porter Ricks’ seminal debut, and now the underground eagerly anticipates dub-techno pioneers’ return. By Anna Tehabsim
Crack Fashion 242 Flamingo Drive
NEUROSIS Stripping back the spectacle, Jack Bolter speaks to the post-metal juggernauts about flourishing in blank space
Reviews Gig reports, product reviews and our verdict on the latest releases in film and music
Digressions DJ Nicknames, Every Day You Love Me, the crossword and advice from Denzil Schnifferman
20 QUESTIONS: EATS EVERYTHING The unstoppable party machine opens up about Danny Dyer, run-ins with the law and, erm, shopping in Sainsbury’s
MediaSpank In light of the government’s growing collection of webcam dick pics, Christopher Goodfellow considers the severity of the digital invasion of our privacy
PIXIES As the indie rock behemoths prep their first album in 23 years, Geraint Davies uncovers the tensions behind the band’s explosive creative chemistry
Pixies shot exclusively for Crack Magazine by Doug Coombe
ANGEL OLSEN Suzie McCracken finds the indie-folk-grunge songstress dodging distractions and longing for a pseudonym
STEVE POWERS The outspoken painter takes Billy Black to Art School
aPril / May
Craig riChards MiChael Mayer Tone of arC (liVe) Terry franCis Konrad BlaCK dewalTa & shannon (liVe) MiKe shannon
77A Charterhouse Street, London EC1. Opening times: 11pm — 8am. Check www.fabriclondon.com for advance tickets, prices and further info. fabric operates a 24HR drinking license. A selection of recordings from these events will be available to hear again on www.fabriclondon.com/fabricfirst. fabric 73: Ben Sims — Out Now. fabric 74: Move D — Out Now fabric 75: Maya Jane Coles — 21st April.
3aM reCordings roB Mello al Bradley Phil Towers Ceri
Craig riChards JaMie Jones PBr sTreeTgang Terry franCis Paul woolford funKineVil: Kyle hall B2B funKineVen rOOM 03
wild oaTs Kyle hall Jay daniel Mgun
Craig riChards Cassy shaun reeVes Terry franCis Joris Voorn ChrisToPhe rOOM 03
you are we finneBassen wildKaTs ashley wild ToM roBerTs
Craig riChards The MarTinez BroThers life & deaTh CloCKworK dJ Tennis Mind againsT Clarian (liVe)
Craig riChards riCardo VillaloBos Paranoid london (liVe) rOOM 02
one reCords suBB-an adaM shelTon MaTThew sTyles (liVe)
Terry franCis More TBa
deMo Terry franCis eddie riChards weiss
Respect Frankie Knuckles Alex Hales Stewart Lee Suzie McCracken Salewa Fawehinmi Heidi Ellen Robinson-Fitzgerald Lucy Dance-Matthews Khris Cowley Matty J Tom Ham Kathryne Chalker Dominika Kovacs Geoff Barrow Stuart Matthews Turning 30 in 2014
CRACK WAS CREATED USING FATIMA AL QADIRI Wudang MARIA MINERVA Wolves and Lambs CHRISTOPHE All I Need FUCKED UP Paper The House SWANS Kirsten Supine WHITE FANG
Executive Editors Thomas Frost email@example.com Jake Applebee firstname.lastname@example.org
Pass The Grass THOMASH Calango Fumando Palha CHEMICAL BROTHERS
Editor Geraint Davies email@example.com
Marketing / Events Manager Luke Sutton firstname.lastname@example.org
Junior Editor Davy Reed Editorial Assistants Anna Tehabsim Billy Black Creative Director Jake Applebee
VERMONT Rückzug Vino Rosetto KEVIN GATES Bet I’m On It TIRZAH
Crack got pub. Let us clarify. Crack has got a pub. We’ve bought a pub. We’ve got a pub now. Yeah, we’re pubsmen. Pubsmiths, landfolk, whatever it’s called. Give us a break, we’re new to this. Imagine a pub that is also a magazine, or a magazine that is also a pub. Imagine a pub’s pages turning, or a piece of paper than quenches your thirst. Sorry, that was a shocking analogy. OK, imagine a pub that holds the same values and ideas of what is good and what is fundamentally not good as this bundle of paper. That’s a little bit closer to what we’re talking about. It’s located at the bottom of a bunch of lovely steps which features a top-notch barber a specialist cider shop, and a shop called Shop. You’ll never guess where it is. Oh, right, you have. Yeah, it’s in Bristol. In fact, it’s on an amazing little corner in the centre of Bristol, right next to an excellent fish and chip dispensary. It’s gonna have radical music flowing through the premises from dawn (aka 11am) till dusk (aka midnight, 1 on weekends). It’s gonna look and smell like a pub, but a very good pub. It’s gonna be called The Christmas Steps. That’s right, like the Mogwai song. Yep, Christmas is coming early. There will be an incredible jukebox, and there will be vibes. So many vibes. There will be Crack’s editor, and executive editor, and assistant editor, and maybe even junior editor (he can get a bit shy) doing weekly music quizzes, where we ask you questions about Morrissey and Mark Morrison and My Chemical Romance, and if you get them all right we’ll shower you with prizes. It’s gonna serve the best meal of the year – yeah, Christmas Dinner – every Sunday. It’s gonna be open on May Bank Holiday Weekend. You’re invited. We’ll pull you a pint. You’re gonna be our favourite customer. It’s gonna be the best pub in the world. Geraint Davies
No Romance FUTURE ISLANDS Escape Artist INTERPOL Obstacle 1 AALIYAH
Design Graeme Bateman Film Editor Tim Oxley Smith Fashion Hattie Walters Anna Dobos Contributors Christopher Goodfellow, Josh Baines, Duncan Harrison, Robert Bates, Celia Archer, Jack Bolter, Suzie McCracken, Thomas Howells, Adam Corner, Steven Dores, Leah Connolly, James Balmont, Gareth Thomas, Henry Thomas, Sarah Tew, Joe Goggins, Nathan Westley, Joe Hatt, Jack Losh, Henry Boon Photography Doug Coombes, Tom Weatherill, Teddy Fitzhugh, Rebecca Hughes, Mike Burnell, Theo Cottle, Martin @ Allyourprey, Taylor Kalambayi, Phil Sharp, Garry Brown Illustration Lee Nutland Christopher Wright James Wilson Advertising To enquire about advertising and to request a media pack: email@example.com 0117 2391219
We Need A Resolution TORN HAWK Damage With Jeremy Irons CLOUD NOTHINGS Now Hear In PAUL BARIBEAU Never Get To Know A.G COOK ft HANNAH DIAMOND Keri Baby BLACK LIPS Boys In The Wood EASYFUN Easy Money COIN Inside Palace MDMC How About It DAMIANO VON ERCKERT Hollywood JOEY BELTRAM Energy Flash REEL 2 REAL I Like To Move It TINASHA 2 on (Murlo refix) DARK0 Karmmm P. MORRIS
CRACK is published by Crack Industries Ltd © All rights reserved. All material in Crack magazine may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of Crack Industries Ltd. Crack Magazine and its contributors cannot accept any liability for reader discontent arising from the editorial features. Crack Magazine reserves the right to accept or reject any article or material supplied for publication or to edit this material prior to publishing. Crack magazine cannot be held responsible for loss or damage to supplied materials. The opinions expressed or recommendations given in the magazine are the views of the individual author and do not necessarily represent the views of Crack Industries Ltd. We accept no liability for any misprints or mistakes and no responsibility can be taken for the contents of these pages.
Turtle Lounge HODGE Amor Fati FINN My My ANGEL OLSEN White Fire LUST FOR YOUTH New Boys
Issue 39 | crackmagazine.net
Art Direction & Design Alfie Allen
Our guide to what's going on in your city
SOHN 17 April Village Underground
DJ EZ fabric 11 A p r i l
KURT VILE St James Church 12 April
THE 2 BEARS XOYO Every Saturday
FABRICLIVE: RINSE EASTER SPECIAL fabric 17 April £14-19 DENOVALI SWINGFEST Village Underground \ Cafe Oto 18-19 April
STEPHEN O’MALLEY Shoreditch Church 11 April
DIMENSIONS LAUNCH W/ PATRICE SCOTT Dance Tunnel 11 April
CRACK STAGE AT LOVE SAVES THE DAY Castle Park, Bristol 25 May Sunday Day Ticket £39.50 / Weekend and Saturday Tickets sold out We’re hugely proud of our Sunday stage at this year’s Love Saves The Day weekender. The Crack Stage will see sets from Chicago footwork kings Rashad and Spinn, Sherwood & Pinch, Paul Woolford (playing jungle under his Special Request alias) the Bristol-based but globally respected Livity Sound collective, Tessela and the mysterious experimentalist A Sagittariun, while sunnier 4/4 vibes will be provided by the likes of Fantastic Man b2b Francis Inferno Orchestra and Pardon My French. Elsewhere that day there’ll be shows from Jamie xx, John Talabot and Neneh Cherry. We strongly recommend moving fast with this one, because at the time of writing, tickets are well on their way to selling out.
Everyone knows that Rinse know how to mirror the most exciting cultural developments in beats, bars and roughneck bass, and for this seasonal bash they’ve put together an eclectic bill that includes grime revivalists, genre-blenders and unlikely breakthrough stars. Across the three rooms there’ll be sets from Meridian Dan, Route 94, Evian Christ, RnB vocal masher MssngNo, one-to-watch grime producer Wen plus Total Freedom of the Night Slugs-affiliated LA label Fade To Mind and loads more. Oh yeah, and Big Narstie is going to be there too, which might just sway it for you.
CHRIS GARNEAU The Lexington 15 April
TIM HECKER + MERZBOW Oval Space 14 April £16.50 Oval Space present a mouthwatering double header featuring two titans of the worlds of sound design, noise and ambient music. Canadian Hecker finds a kindred spirit in the form of Japan’s Merzbow, with his dense, claustrophobic gloam meeting a perfect counterpoint in a true master of aural extremity. A pairing whose respect for each other matches that held within the wider community they inhabit, this is sure to be a devastating and euphoric exercise in sonic capabilities guided by a couple of visionaries.
THE PRISMATIC ROOM - A BAD VIBES WEEKENDER Shacklewell Arms 11-13 April
FEAR OF MEN Birthdays 16 April £7
GOTTWOOD Appleblim, Craig Richards, Artwork Anglesey, Wales 19-22 June £105 The hugely revered festival set in Anglesey, the small island sticking off the top of North Wales, pairs rising underground DJs alongside some true veterans of the scene, backed by the strength of some of the UK’s biggest labels and promoters. Charmingly boutique and firmly unpretentious, this remote and beautiful setting has played home to the festival for the last four years, and their fifth sees the likes of bass maven Appleblim, fabric’s Craig Richards and Hotflush techno duo Dense and Pika alongside Running Back boss Gerd Janson and drum and bass hero Calibre. Get lost in the woods with this diverse and enchanting festival.
We have a good time in this office, we really do, but sometimes the abrasive reality of a cold Monday morning after a near-sleepless weekend requires some antidotally pleasant music to see us through. While Fear Of Men’s new album Loom is much deeper and more emotionally resonant than anything that could be dismissed as coffeetable chill-out, those sweetly melodic vocals and C86-jangle guitars have been able to save us every time we’re so feeling so mardy that the prospect of doing the post qualifies as a bona fide day-ruiner. How can we thank them? By printing this very event preview, that’s how.
THE EX XOYO 16 April
PEGGY SUE Oslo 15 April
MADLIB Koko 19 April
TAUBA AUERBACH: THE NEW AMBIDEXTROUS UNIVERSE ICA 17 April - 15 June Entry with Day Membership A startlingly assured young artist, San Fran-born, NY-based Tauba Auerbach is a heralded painter, actively attacking and manipulating her canvas in a range of unorthodox ways, embracing texture and the 3D, and integrating photography and design into her practice. For this, her first solo exhibition in the UK, Auerbach muses on themes of symmetry and reflection, suggestive of a parallel, mirror universe.
LATITUDE Mogwai, Damon Albarn, The Black Keys 17-20 July Henham Park, Suffolk £187.50 + BF While some festivals claim to cover ‘Music, Art & Oddities’ despite the fact they’re basically offering 72 hours of techno in a car park, the great thing about Latitude is that the film, comedy, art and literary arenas are as enthusiastically populated at the music stages. So while the likes of Mogwai, Goat, Damon Albarn, The Black Keys, Nils Frahm, Eagulls and Koreless are obviously a major encouragement to attend this year’s festival, you’re likely to find yourself lying horizontal at a poetry reading or clutching your stomach at a stand-up gig at least once over the course of the weekend. If this appeals to you, we suggest you take a look on the festival’s site to have a thorough gander at the line-up. FUCK BUTTONS Barbican 25 April
THESE NEW PURITANS Barbican 17 April
BO NINGEN Heaven 7 May
We’ll never forget the first time we crossed the bridge to our first Eisteddfod. Since then we’ve been all about the foreign festival vibes, soaking up the sun and drinking exotic lagers until we feel comfortable enough with our pasty British guts to whip our tops off. We hit BBK last year and it was absolutely idyllic, and this year again promises a guitar-heavy line up coupled with all the glorious UV rays you can handle. Heading the bill are The Black Keys, Franz Ferdinand and Phoenix, and with sets from Conor Oberst, Future of The Left and John Talabot lower down the bill they’ve got you covered across the board. Plus, tickets are the right side of a ton. Season.
DEMDIKE STARE Waiting Room 17 April
Madrid-born indie-folk artist Lourdes Hernández has drawn comparisons to Feist thanks to her potent yet delicate vocals and incredibly assured compositions. Though she writes exclusively in English, her Spanish roots bristle through in everything she produces, and recently-released third record Agent Cooper is a total one-off. If you can listen to her cover of Leonard Cohen’s So Long, Marianne without feeling a little twinge of the heartstrings, then you need to stop acting so hard and buy some moisturiser or something. The first night has sold out already, so look smart.
MILEY CYRUS The O2 6 May
TIM SWEENEY Dance Tunnel 11 May £5+ Tim Sweeney has upheld a reputation from the helm of his New Yorkbased radio show Beats In Space whilst simultaneously being an ambassador for all things wonderful in (mostly) electronic music, as well as being just about the nicest guy ever. Alongside his zealous interviews and commentary – we’d happily describe his tones as ‘waspy’ – Sweeney is a renowned DJ in his own right, which makes sense given he’s soaked up the best in music from the last 15 years (on air since 1999, early BIS shows include regular guest slots from James Murphy, Simian Mobile Disco and… Diplo, long before his faux-bashment-peddling all-roundsleazeball days). One of electronic music’s most cherished assets.
BILBAO BBK LIVE The Black Keys, Future of the Left, John Talabot, Conor Oberst Bilbao, Spain 10 - 12 July From £88
RUSSIAN RED The Lexington 6 + 7 May £10
AXEL BOMAN Dance Tunnel 17 April
Issue 40 | crackmagazine.net
SONUS Dixon, Seth Troxler, Ricardo Villalobos Pag Island, Croatia 18-22 August 129 Euro Among the now festival-dominated areas of Croatia is the Northern Island of Pag, on which the picturesque Zrce beach – also the location for Hideout – now hosts Sonus. This year’s line-up features CLR boss Chris Liebing, the outstanding dance figure of 2013 Dixon, techno pioneer Richie Hawtin and the ever-eccentric Seth Troxler. Other such electronic visionaries as Henrik Schwarz and Ricardo Villalobos and a host of big hitters join them for five days and nights.
THE WAVE PICTURES Islington Assembly Hall 18 April
New Music YEN TOWERS Despite being named after a Belle and Sebastian lyric, Copenhagen blog-turned-label Posh Isolation has released some brutally confrontational electronic music. Yen Towers is Simon Formanns, one half of drone techno outfit Age Coin and a quarter of Denmark’s foremost hardcore band Lower. The first we’ve heard from Yen Towers is a noisy, industrial techno track called Stack of Three: tightly crafted, bold, straddling the gap between digital noise and organic experimentation. And if the rest of Formanns’ new release Safety is anything like as strong, we’ve got a lot to look forward to.
SHRIEKIN’ SPECIALIST Last month everyone was talking about London-based instrumental grime night Boxed. Making waves for a year now, their free compilation Boxed Vol.1 is a glorious 17-track effort that cements their feat in building a community around the sound as it enjoys a serious renaissance. The monthly night is the brainchild of resurgence figureheads Mr. Mitch, Slackk, Logos and Oil Gang and nestled within tracks from spotlight producers like Mumdance and Murlo are some of the scene’s brightest newcomers. Among Dullah Beatz’ TNGHT-esque horn bursts, glimpses of stringled sinogrime from JT The Goon and Mr. Mitch’s wheezing Beach Boys edit is Shriekin’ Specialist’s particularly boisterous 4x4 rhythm Bananas. Irish producer Jack ‘Shriekin’ Sheenan is our pick of the bunch and at only 19 he’s a figure of prodigious promise in a burgeoning scene.
O Bananas Dexplicit, Danny Weed soundcloud.com/shriekin
While it’s such a desirable formula, the fusion of electronic music and organic instrumentation is a difficult thing to pull off. However, some bands can embrace the limitless possibilities of technology, the psychologically thrilling effects of repetition and the adrenaline-fuelling nature of beat-driven music without alienating those who consider the future of laptop-dependent solo acts a dystopian prospect. Factory Floor, LCD Soundsystem and Brandt Brauer Frick make for fine examples, and now Circuit Diagram are channelling mechanical pulses through a live setup and a warm soundscape. The Berlin/Hamburg duo are compromised of Kris Alert, who takes care of synths and sampling, and drummer Nicolas Sheikholeslami. Their onstage jamming, they tell us, is designed to make the audience feel “physically locked in a groove, with their minds in a state of trance”. Circuit Diagram’s recent Motown EP blends ambient techno, neo-psychedelia and ultra percussive, galloping beats that remind us of NY post-punk/ disco pioneers Liquid Liquid. And, of course, it’s difficult to discuss Circuit Diagram without referencing the pioneering Krautrock forefathers from their country’s past. “Of course we dig artists like Neu!, Harmonia and Can, but that ‘Kraut influence’ is rather some kind of philosophy about length, repetition and meditation”, they explain. “We’d say that the German artists of the 70s only transferred that kind of approach which artists like Steve Reich and Phillip Glass explored around ten years before”. It’s the kind of statement which suggests there are intellectual musings behind the project, but when listening to Circuit Diagram’s music, the analysis has to wait till after the gut reaction: an instinctive desire to dance.
DARK0 Another solid introduction to instrumental grime’s thriving community of upstart producers is North West London-based Dark0. Between playing essential London night Boxed, NTS shows and posting relentless face-to-camera vines, Davor Bokhari is frequently hailed on ‘one to watch’ lists and set to release material this month via Visionist’s Lost Codes imprint. The Sin EP follows last year’s six-track effort I Aint A Sweet Boy and features lead track Chaos, where brittle, shuffling rhythms and sweeping synth-strings act as a mile-marker for this upcoming producer. Grab the EP on 25 April and head to Boxed London to find out more.
O Stack of Three Lust For Youth, Throbbing Gristle soundcloud.com/eurondurance/stack-of-three 1
O Amanar Liquid Liquid, The Field facebook.com/crct.dgrm
PERSONAL BEST Listening to Personal Best is a bit like we’d imagine going on a date with Courtney Love if Courtney Love wasn’t such an all-round bad egg. The Bristol-based three-piece have only released one EP so far, but that EP is all perfect choruses and barefaced enthusiasm for 90s distortion. It makes them hard to ignore – it’s not that often we find ourselves jumping around our bedrooms, full whack karaokeing to a song after just two listens. Maybe it’s an echo from our teenage years, maybe it’s just great songwriting. Either way, we’d like to apologise to our hairbrush for the aural battering.
O Don’t Let Them Touch You :
1 Vivian Girls, Dinosaur Jr personalbest.bandcamp.com
A name which will ring a bell to those who keep a close eye on the UK house underground, Welsh producer Ratcatcher snuck his way onto a wealth of end-of-year lists in 2013 with a feature credit on longtime collaborator Doc Daneeka’s ubiquitous (and excellent) Walk On In release on Numbers. A staple of Cardiff’s club scene as part of the C.R.S.T collective, and with past releases on Catapult and his mate the Doc’s Ten Thousand Yen imprint (under his Rodski moniker), his output under this latest guise is set to see him step deservedly into the spotlight. Latest EP Somehow / Motion has emerged on the evergrowing Brooklyn-based imprint Peach, and offers two propulsive, throbbing house workouts with a firm grasp on nagging melody, also including a crafty Leon Vynehall translation and a suitably pummeling rework from 50 Weapons techno gent Benjamin Damage. Get to know.
O Somehow 1 Leon Vynehall, George Fitzgerald facebook.com/ratcatcherhaus
THEE MEAN REDS Perusing garagepunk.com with your headphones on and a four-pack, searching out your new favourite downstroke warlords (© John Reis); there are far worse ways to spend a Thursday evening. And now and then you might come across something that hits you just right: in this case, a seemingly unmarked bandcamp page for Thee Mean Reds’ EP, Holidaying In The Psychotropics. It’s a deliciously lairy four-track, sidestepping well-tread garage rock tropes for an exercise in brash, chugging psych, half almost instrumental apart from a distant moan permeating their groggy jams, and the other characterised by the kind of hooky stomping trash that befits their ‘Thee’ prefix. So we e-mailed them, and turns out they’re a two-piece from Toronto called Jay and Linda, who’ve got another EP done and an album on the way. They were really nice too.
O Sang Sideways 1 Thee Oh Sees, Fuzz theemeanreds.bandcamp.com
O Chaos JT The Goon, Murlo : @Darko_LDN 1
O Track File Next To : Online
Issue 40 | crackmagazine.net
The stop-start legacy of the Pixies comprises one of the greatest canons in alternative music. Shorn of the none-more-iconic Kim Deal, it’s a legacy now nursed in the rock-calloused hands of “the three dudes” No band has dragged the lake of weirdness, dysfunction and the human condition’s relation to fiction like the Pixies. No band has captured such unknowable glimpses of imagined worlds, all in three minute splinters of Lynchian Surrealism, Old Testament brutalism and glassy-eyed ruminations on extraterrestrial life. No one else has forced a mass of voices to howl along to lyrics about slicing up eyeballs, or the environmentalist dread of millions of pounds of sludge enveloping the oceans. No one has even come close. “There was a guy...” Joey Santiago remembers like glue the first time he laid eyes on Charles Thompson IV. They were 18, freshmen at UMass college just outside Boston, sharing digs (along with a certain J.Mascis). It was a couple of years before Charles would reconstruct himself as Frank Black, irrepressible vocalist and central songwriter of the Pixies. “There was a guy across the hall playing guitar”, Joey recalls. “I’d always wanted to be in an original band, but I didn’t bring my guitar for the first semester, I wanted to study hard and get good grades. He was this cool, jolly guy, and he wrote original songs. He was jamming his acoustic along with another guy, and he was spitting on
a mirror. It was cathartic for him, I guess.” From such disarming first impressions, Joey soon retrieved his guitar and took the place of Charles’s jamming partner, finding his role weaving skewed top-lines over those jerky acoustic numbers. One of the first things they wrote together would become a classic: The Holiday Song. Pixies drummer – and part-time magician – David Lovering is equally forthcoming on the first meeting with his future bandmates. After Charles had returned from a couple of months in Puerto Rico, he and Joey had decided to make a go of it, and by serendipity had recruited a girl who’d recently moved from Dayton, Ohio called Kim – a guitarist by trade – to play bass via an ad in the Boston Phoenix. “I was in college and I got a call from John Murphy, Kim Deal’s husband at the time who I worked with at Radio Shack, saying they were looking for a drummer” David relays. “I went to John and Kim’s apartment and there were Kim, Charles and Joey. Charles had an acoustic guitar and he started playing. I’ve got to say, it really didn’t do anything for me!” he laughs. “I’m a guy who listens to Rush and Steely Dan, so it didn’t hit me at first. It wasn’t until we started doing gigs that I started to really understand Charles’s songs, and soon it became an obsession.”
Charles Thompson, Black Francis, third but first in this oddball triumvirate, sticks fast when quizzed on first encounters. “No. It was so long ago. I don’t have some kind of anecdote like, ‘I remember when he walked into the room’. Memory doesn’t work like that.” We’re speaking to the Pixies via three separate phone calls to a Vancouver hotel on the morning of a sell-out show, zigzagging our way through the building en route to an astronomical phone bill. We’d shot them on location at The Fillmore, Detroit, a couple of days previously. Another sell-out. The trio posed for photographs together, and only together, presenting a resolute, staunchly united front. Cut to three after the loss of Kim Deal in startling fashion last summer, the remaining members’ relationship has become galvanised. “The dynamic of the foursome isn’t there”, confirms Charles. “It’s the dynamic of the three dudes. Frankly, in the past, especially because I broke up the band the first time, and I was the frontman so to speak, I probably bumped heads a lot more with Kim than I did the other two guys. But I think there was a natural dynamic that developed in certain situations of me on the one side and the three of
20 them on the other. Now that Kim isn’t in the band, it’s much more about the three of us.” Earlier, David had treaded a similar line. “We all got a little more onboard with our goals. We’re all on the same page now.” There’s a theory about the Pixies’ welldocumented past failures to forge personal relationships as potent as those heard on record: that it stems from the lack of the bonding process which occurs in any band’s upward struggle. The shared experience of those early trials is a key aspect of a band’s mutual growth. Yet with the Pixies, that simply didn’t exist. Having formed in 1986, their early demos were remixed, repackaged and released by British indie institution 4AD as ’87’s mini-LP Come On Pilgrim. Their first show in England came in ’88 at the Mean Fiddler (previously the Astoria 2, now a whole load of nothing). They were supporting fellow Bostonites Throwing Muses, but received an unprecedented reception. One of the first songs they ever wrote was The Holiday Song, for fuck’s sake. And other than Joey and Charles, these people barely knew each other when the journey began. Those well-documented internal tensions didn’t half make for a thrilling cacophony of sound. Just like the on-off switch from Charles Thompson to Black Francis (and to Frank Black for his later efforts sans-Pixies), the songwriter would switch frequently between characters, voices, modes of performance; from benevolent sweetheart to malevolent sociopath in the blink of an eye. “Hey! Been trying to meet you!” he grins flirtatiously to usher in the yearning Hey. Then, instantly: “Must be a devil between us, or whores in my head. Whores at the door, whore in my bed.” Such a lust for progression and diversity is symptomatic of a band whose key formative influences straddle pious folk, unhinged punk and technicolour art rock: Christian singer Larry Norman, who Charles was exposed to as a boy by his religious parents, Iggy (to this day Thompson will still tell you that Lust For Life is the greatest rock ‘n’ roll album ever), and Joey informs us one of the main reasons for the band’s desire to acquire a female bassist was because “we thought Talking Heads were charming”. In fact, the advert which attracted Kim (and only Kim) to audition requested a fan of Hüsker Du and Peter, Paul and Mary of Puff The Magic Dragon fame. Between 1987 and 1991, across four albums proper, Black Francis was on a hot streak of biblical proportions – some might argue one of the hottest streaks in rock history. The standard of records released and the seemingly profound spontaneity of it all is still difficult to get your head around. From the first he and Joey sat side by side nursing guitars, it seemed as if nothing
could stop the Pixies; an unprecedented force of nature. But the squabbling, the breakneck creative pace, the surge to prominence at such a young age; it was unsustainable. In 1992, with their reputation swelling, the band’s tendency towards self-immolation came to a dramatic head. In part, Black Francis had become frustrated at the attention being garnered by his wingwoman Kim; it was, after all, his band. Their debut studio album Surfer Rosa dribbled with notes of affection amidst Deal and Francis’s interplay, in the between-track banter and even within the songs. You can hear Kim smiling through the verses of Gigantic. But that connection had already begun to wane by the band’s 1989 masterpiece Doolittle. By their swansong Trompe Le Monde the four rarely
particularly hard-up, both personally and financially, when the call came in 2003. It had always been Charles’s decision. As he’s said: it was a band, but it was never a democracy – at least back then. Kim and Charles hadn’t spoken in 12 years, so she took a little extra persuasion, but the band gradually rekindled. When quizzed on the financial element to the reunion, of finally getting his dues, Charles becomes defensive. “Sure, there was a financial aspect, but there’s a financial aspect to being a musician” he barks. “As soon as you don’t have the finances to be a musician you’re back at your fuckin’ day job.” Reformed, finally making money, and seemingly refreshed, Pixies embarked on a series of tours; from an initial greatest
“We said ‘enough is enough’. We wanted to be a band, and what does a band do besides tour? They make new music” - Joey Santiago
came to the studio at the same time. The story goes that after a period of inactivity, Charles sent a fax to manager Ken Goes informing him that the band was done. He later declared it public via a solo interview on Mark Radcliffe’s Radio 5 show. While seemingly dead, the Pixies name began to be uttered in tones of reverence. Doolittle continued to sell solidly for 20 years, creeping its way towards a million sales. They became recognised as, yeah, pretty much one of the best bands ever. As Ben Sisario, author of the Doolittle installment of the 33 1/3 classic album series, puts it: ‘They became gods in absentia’. So their reunion stunned everyone, including the band themselves. The royalties had waned, and David was
hits affair, all the way through to a 2011 tour celebrating 20 years since the release of Doolittle. A blink, and the Pixies had been back together for pushing a decade. They’d released a single song in that time, 2004’s Deal-penned Bam Thwok, intended (weirdly) for the Shrek 2 soundtrack, and (weirdly) rejected. But around the Doolittle tour the question of entering the studio began to raise its head. “We said ‘enough is enough’”, explains Joey. “We wanted to be a band, and what does a band do besides tour? They make new music.” This Pixies material was destined to be unlike any other. In June last year it was announced Kim Deal was no longer in the band. It would have seemed unimaginable, at one time, for Boston’s alt rock heroes to exist without the girl at stage left who you
spent the whole set staring at. But with little mourning period, a new track was released. It was called Bag Boy, and it was fucking great. It defied all logic – particularly as the glittering female chorus vocal sounded eerily Deal-esque – but the Pixies were back making music, and they’d pulled it off. The band had quietly slinked off to a studio in North Walian town Monmouth, believe it or not. It seems incredible that they could so effortlessly slip back into ‘Pixies’ mode. But all three are unanimous that the process came totally naturally. “It felt right, just like old times” claims Joey. “Everything was the same, it was like riding a bike” chips in David. And Charles confirms, “We’d been playing live together for nine years. It’s not like we felt like we were on the moon, just cause we were in a recording studio.” Being reunited with Liverpool-born superproducer Gil Norton, who so impressed the band with his work on 1989’s Doolittle that he subsequently manned the boards for all subsequent albums, was key in recreating the Pixies spirit as they retired for seven weeks at Rockfield Studios. “I think Gil probably guided me along certain lines to come up with material that would be more suited to the band” Charles thinks aloud. “But y’know, what is more suited to the band? I could write a country and western song and it would sound like the Pixies playing a country and western song.” Charles has unintentionally posed an unanswerable question: what makes a Pixies song? What is it that comes so naturally to Charles when he becomes Black Francis, and that his once three, now two bandmates act as such perfect conduits for? And how do you harness the spirit that has lain dormant for a couple of decades; how do you grasp the faint wisps of dwindling silver from the smoking gun of that late 80s/early 90s period? The producer of the band’s vicious first album proper, 1998’s Surfer Rosa, Steve Albini (who, in true Albini fashion, went on to say very mean things about the band, then in less Albini fashion later retracted them) talks about Pixies songs having ‘a degree of density and a degree of complexity ... a kind of a loping verse and then the shouting part’. The aforementioned Ben Sisario offers ‘bitingly melodic miniatures, little spasms barbed with noise and Surrealistic lyrics”. Charles himself is more modest. “It sounds like I’m being self-deprecating, but I’d say we sort of specialise in ‘ditties’. It’s just that some of those ditties end up becoming powerful, and some of those ditties remain their small, quirky selves. What is a ditty? Well, I’d say a ditty is kind of a whimsical, brief piece of music, that’s what I would define a ditty as. I think that pretty well sums up most of the material.”
Issue 40 | crackmagazine.net
22 Lean, strange, innately loveable, and always worth a whole lot more than the sum of their parts, we might suggest another identifying factor: Pixies make massive little songs, written for four; no less, no more. Because for all the darts of definition that can be thrown at the ‘Pixies Sound’, perhaps most pertinent is the impeccable interplay between those four members; pure alchemy. Lovering’s playing is total machismo, careering his way through the first eight bars of Bone Machine and colliding with Deal’s tough-meets-feminine smarts. Francis’s off-beat, off-wall holler ‘n hum often comes underpinned by a wash of acoustic strums which betray these titanic rock songs’ humble acoustic beginnings. He is nothing and everything, a devoted weirdo to the end, a chubby silhouette morphing from preacher to wretch to clown, while Santiago’s roving, bent leads are a third voice, carrying equal melodic burden. So when Deal announced she no longer wanted to be a Pixie at the Monmouth branch of Caffe Nero (at once both a criminally anticlimactic and fittingly surreal setting for the severing of this seemingly inseverable cord), how was that Pixies amalgam, that Planet Of Sound, expected to survive? Symptomatic of their united front, Joey is somewhat dismissive of Kim’s contribution, or what it would’ve been. “The three of us still had a style, and the guitar is an important part of that, and Charles does his thing, and David does his thing”. He sounds confident. “So with Kim, what we really missed were her vocals. She would have had input, sure, but at the end of the day, a bass part is kind of like a bass part, y’know?” In fact, Kim’s initial touring replacement, Kim Shattuck of The Muffs, has already seen herself ousted after just three months, her place taken by Paz Lenchantin. The songs kept coming. “We weren’t gonna work on four fuckin’ songs for seven weeks!” announces Joey, “that’d just beat the shit out of the songs”. At the time of our conversation, these songs had been rel xwe push for confirmation of a third, none of the band are forthcoming, Dave purring “I’m a magician, I like to keep an element of surprise.” And, predictable in their unpredictability, a couple of weeks after our interview it’s revealed that not only will EP3 come to pass, but that the three EPs will merge to form a de facto full-length, their first since 1991: the modestly-named Indie Cindy.
Words: Geraint Davies Photography: Doug Coombe
Hearing the tracks properly sequenced affords them space to breathe that the EPs couldn’t, which begs the question why they couldn’t wait it out in the first place. The album lunges typically between extremes, the rockin’ sections – the metallic crunch of What Goes Boom through the cowbell-
heavy slasher Blue Eyed Hexe – more upfront than ever, the emotive gasps cleaner, with Greens and Blues and Magdalena shimmering with vulnerability. And good old Bag Boy, which matches jagged guitar flails to hip-hop swagger, of all things. Many of the elemental factors remain, but it feels very, very different. Joey Santiago digs that. “We’ve taken a little bit of criticism from some people” he says. “Some people will slap us with ‘ah, this sounds different’, and all I can say to that is: ‘thank you.’” And as David puts it “Trompe Le Monde never sounded like Come On Pilgrim, and Surfer Rosa never sounded like Bossanova, and Doolittle doesn’t sound like EP1 or EP2, so it’s a natural progression”. The band could never – and would never – attempt to capture the carefree, barrier-free, expectation-free wilderness of those early records. But Charles has a way of going close, and it’s tied into rediscovering the thrill of performing new material live. “We’re playing a lot of shows and I would say at least half of the audience isn’t aware of the new songs. But I get just as much of a charge from playing a song that is yet to be released. I like the intensity of demanding attention when doing a song the crowd have no reference to at all. It’s the closest thing we have to going back to the beginning. You can’t be naive again, you can’t be unknown again, but I can go out to my audience and play a song they’ve never heard before. There’s a certain kind of awkwardness and tension. I’m not softserving them, I’m not holding their hand through it. I rather enjoy that awkward tension.” It’s also refreshing that these tensions are being exorcised onstage, rather than back on the bus. As a live entity, the Pixies juggernaut continues to weave its way around the world much as it has since ’04, selling out and enrapturing arenas with rapid-fire 30 plus song sets without a word uttered to the audience. Playing live is Pixies’ go-to setting. And what a 30 plus songs it is; powerful enough to draw thousands of people to gather at Field Day this summer, to howl along to lyrics about slicing up eyeballs – many of whom weren't even born when these songs were written. Impeccable, untouchable, a collection of ditties that changed music forever. Pixies remain the ultimate indie rock band. It’s the 30 years, the 30 songs, the fire and brimstone and the worlds beyond worlds; the winding, knotted yarns of mythology, and the simple story of the three dudes.
Pixies headline Field Day, London, June 8. Indie Cindy is released 28 April via Pixiesmusic
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“Funk is anything you need it to be to save your life. You can take something bad, apply funk to it, and make it good” Words: Robert Bates Illustration: James Wilson
Born in an outdoor toilet (no, really), George Clinton is responsible for all sorts of funky shit. As the main force behind Parliament/Funkadelic, Clinton blended acidic psychedelia, gritty funk and swaggering rock ‘n’ roll to create P-Funk during the 1970s and 80s. Sampled extensively by hip-hop artists, his sound was later recycled and re-packaged. Now, George is being re-re-discovered by those looking to bring some theatrics to their playlists and festivals. We called the 72-year-old icon in his studio to talk about the funk, sampling, litigious record companies, the drugs and, of course, the music.
Hi George. So we hear you got a Doctorate in music from Berklee? I did. I’m Dr. Funkenstein. Nice. Does that mean you can now define the funk, once and for all? Let me put it this way: funk is anything you need it to be to save your life. And you can take something bad, apply funk to it, and make it good. Say for instance, ‘bad’, like ‘that’s a bad shirt you got on’. You apply funk to it, bad means good. Like hip-hoppers – they use bad words, but flip them – ‘that’s my motherfucker’, ‘that’s my nigger’ – they do it on purpose, as opposed to just letting it happen; then you’re being funky about it. Your music has been sampled a lot by hiphop artists... Yeah, they did it with us, with James Brown ... we didn’t even realise how funky James Brown was when we were growing up. But when hip-hop guys came, it was all... [James Brown voice] “HUH, GOOD GOD, HA”! We just took a combination of James Brown, Horn Players, Bootsy
[Collins], Catfish, Sly Stone, took the funky psychedelic and rock ‘n’ roll elements together and called it P-Funk. Would you say there’s a dialogue here? You took influences from one generation, then a newer lot were influenced by you. And they’re making more funk! That’s the way it’s always been. But now they’re trying to make [sampling] against the law with all the lawsuits. You don’t copyright the bass line, just the melody of the lyrics. Now you can get sued for creating new music that just sounds like a sample – that’s not right. So you’ve got a pretty relaxed attitude to people sampling your music? (Clinton sued Black Eyed Peas for sampling infringements in 2010) Yes, as long as they pay for it. The problem is record companies don’t pay the people who get sampled. They sue people who sample, but keep the money for themselves. It’s ruining hip-hop. [Record companies] don’t want to get caught with all that money, they want the genre to die down so no one will investigate this. People are afraid to sample because they think they’re gonna get sued. That’s why I put out (sample CD series) Sample Some of Disc, Sample of Some of D.A.T. so people could sample and not worry about getting sued. One thing that stands out from your career is a sense of humour. During the 60s, it was about being as absurd as possible. As long as your music was good, you be any kind of character. People get older, they lose their sex appeal – but a character, that lasts forever. So I’ll be Mr Wiggles, Dr Funkenstein, Sir Nose, Starchild ... all those characters can come out 20-30 years apart and still be fun. Yeah we wore diapers, wigs; theatrics! I’m wearing some [army] fatigues right now ... and some other stuff – I’m colourblind so
I don’t even know what colour this shit is! [laughs] You’re often quite open about your past drug use. Well in the 60s, everybody got fucked up in music, that was the idea. But for me, acid ended at Woodstock, soon as the [Vietnam] war as over. After that it was just another substance that people sold for money. But I was still looking for that same ‘peace and love’ shit. I spent a long time smoking crack, snorting coke, and I didn’t even realise it wasn’t real anymore. I did that for a long time, ‘til I got messed up fighting the record industry in court, and realised you have to be sober-minded to fight them. So I did what I had to do – I quit. I didn’t do rehab, I didn’t do shit. It’s so important for my family, kids, grandkids too. And when I did, I felt real good. It was like making music fresh, like I just got started. Now I don’t need it. Actually, hell, I’ve got medical marijuana. Well if the doctor says so... Yeah I’ve my digital pipe, I can download me a blunt, e-mail myself a joint...[laughs] Is digital something you’ve embraced then? Well I do both – I cut it analogue and sample it digital. That’s the era we’re in right now. I want that warm sound of the board, tube amps, sample it, cut it on tape, then put it back together. You’ve produced some massive acts – Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Bobby Gillespie – who’s been your favourite? Sly Stone is probably my favourite musician, period. Hard to get stuff out of him, but he’s on this new album I’m doing. I told him – ‘give me the parts you don’t like. I’ll make something out of it.’ And you’ve been recognised by several prestigious institutions: Berklee, NAACP,
Motown. What’s been the best? Probably the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. That was cool. I mean the Jackson 5, Mavis Staples, Jim Morrison, a lot of people I like went through. I inducted Sly in there. Prince inducted us in there. We saw Prince play in London a month ago... I was there too! With the three girls? Aw man, he was atrocious there! I’ve always known he could play guitar, but now he can play guitar for real. Before he was pop star – now he’s rock star. What was it like growing up in New Jersey in the 1950s? Well, it got me into the music. After Frankie Lymon, everybody wanted to be in a singing group. We went to Motown. Then after the ‘English Invasion’, it was all about bands. So we took all the good kids from the neighbourhood and made Funkadelic and Parliament. I’m real thankful for it. Even through the drugs and everything, I was able to realise, ‘I can stop this shit when I feel like it’. I learnt that from Detroit, and New Jersey. Having taken all the drugs you can possibly think of, when it became time to me to straighten things out, it was easy for me. I don’t think it’s all that easy for other people, but the music means more to me than anything else. You can only tell the story if you’re clear-headed. And I don’t think being sober takes anything away – on stage, we still kick ass.
George Clinton appears at Caprices Festival, Crans-Montana, Switzerland 11-19 April
SATURDAY SATURDAY 5TH 5TH JULY JULY 2014. 2014. 11AM 11AM -- 11PM 11PM ERIDGE PARK, WELLS, SATURDAY 5TH JULY 2014. 11AM -TN3 11PM9HS ERIDGE PARK, TUNBRIDGE TUNBRIDGE WELLS, TN3 9HS ERIDGE PARK, TUNBRIDGE WELLS, TN3 9HS RANDOM ARENA CARL COX & FRIENDS CARL COX & FRIENDS CARL COX & FRIENDS
MARCO MARCO CAROLA CAROLA MARCO CAROLA GEORGE FITZGERALD (CARL COX & MARCO CAROLA B2B LAST HOUR) (CARL COX & MARCO CAROLA B2B LAST HOUR)
(CARL COX & MARCO CAROLA B2B LAST HOUR) GEORGE FITZGERALD
JON RUNDELL • CHARLIE HEDGES JON RUNDELL FITZGERALD • CHARLIE HEDGES GEORGE JON RUNDELL • CHARLIE HEDGES TOOLROOM KNIGHTS TOOLROOM KNIGHTS TOOLROOM KNIGHTS
MARK KNIGHT MARK KNIGHT PROK & FITCH •• WEISS MARK KNIGHT PROK & FITCH WEISS MIKE MAGO • GEORGE ANDREWS MIKE MAGO • GEORGE ANDREWS PROK & FITCH • WEISS PETE GRIFFITHS • BEARCUBS PETE GRIFFITHS • BEARCUBS
MARK MAC • SKYHIGH MIKEDICKSON MAGO&•MIKE GEORGE ANDREWS MARKJACQUIN, DICKSONJAMES & MIKESTEWART MAC • SKYHIGH LUKE & GW HARRISON PETE GRIFFITHS • BEARCUBS LUKE JACQUIN, JAMES STEWART & GW HARRISON MARK DICKSON & MIKE MAC • SKYHIGH LUKE JACQUIN, JAMES STEWART & GW HARRISON
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GORGON GORGON CITY CITY ONEMAN MS GORGON ONEMAN ••CITY MS DYNAMITE DYNAMITE ZINC ONEMAN MS DYNAMITE ZINC B2B B2B•ARTWORK ARTWORK B.TRAITS SHY ZINC B2B••ARTWORK B.TRAITS SHY FX FX MISTAJAM B.TRAITS • SHY FX MISTAJAM HANNAH WANTS • ALL ABOUT SHE HANNAH WANTS • ALL• ABOUT MISTAJAM ROSKA • MY NU LENG DJ DIE SHE ROSKA • MY NU LENG DJ DIE SHE HANNAH WANTS • ALL•ABOUT ROSKA • MY NU LENG • DJ DIE
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THE THE MARTINEZ MARTINEZ BROTHERS (6HR THE MARTINEZ BROTHERS (6HR SET) SET) ROUTE 94 •• (6HR FILSONIK BROTHERS SET) ROUTE 94 FILSONIK TRISTAN INGRAM • EMESKY TRISTAN INGRAM • EMESKY ROUTE 94 •• SAM FILSONIK ADAM NEENAM SUPPLIER
ADAM NEENAM • SAM SUPPLIER TRISTAN INGRAM • EMESKY ADAM NEENAM • SAM SUPPLIER
AUS MUSIC AUS MUSIC AUS MUSIC
DUSKY DUSKY •• BICEP BICEP HUXLEY MIDLAND DUSKY HUXLEY• ••BICEP MIDLAND WILL SAUL •• TOM RIO HUXLEY • MIDLAND WILL SAUL TOM RIO & VERY SPECIAL GUEST: WILL SAUL •GUEST: TOM RIO & VERY SPECIAL JOY & VERYORBISON SPECIAL GUEST: JOY ORBISON JOY ORBISON EPIDEMIK: THE SEVEN AGES OF RAVE EPIDEMIK: THE SEVEN AGES OF RAVE EPIDEMIK: THE SEVEN AGES OF RAVE
RATPACK RATPACK MAMPI RATPACK MAMPI SWIFT SWIFT & & IC3 IC3 SLIPMATT MAMPI SWIFT & IC3 SLIPMATT & SLIPMATT & SAM SAM SUPPLIER SUPPLIER BROCKIE & DET & SAM SUPPLIER BROCKIE & DET SHOTTA DJ PHANTASY & HARRY DJ PHANTASY & HARRY SHOTTA BROCKIE & DET (THE HARRY SHOTTA SHOW)
(THE HARRY SHOW) DJ PHANTASY & HARRY BILLY DANIELSHOTTA BUNTER & SHOTTA MC CUTTER BILLY DANIEL BUNTER & MC CUTTER (THE HARRY SHOTTA SHOW) UNCLE DUGS & MC FEARLESS UNCLE DUGS & EKSMAN MC FEARLESS BILLY DANIEL BUNTER & MC CUTTER LOGAN-D & MC LOGAN-D & MC EKSMAN UNCLE DUGS & MC FEARLESS 20 YEARS SHOWCASE OF VIBES 20 YEARS SHOWCASE VIBES LOGAN-D & MC EKSMAN & LIVELEE • TERRY-M & OF WHILEYONE & LIVELEE • TERRY-M & OF WHILEYONE 20MC YEARS SHOWCASE VIBES & ELEMENT & SLOFFEE & MC ELEMENT & SLOFFEE LIVELEE TERRY-M & WHILEYONE EDDIE ESP•B2B JASON JAY EDDIE ESP B2B JASON JAY & MC MC STRICT ELEMENT & SLOFFEE & & MC STRICT EDDIE ESP B2B JASON JAY & MC STRICT
Turning Points: DJ Rashad Footwork ambassador and all round gent DJ Rashad is a figurehead for the infectious, sample-flipping, BPM-blasting style. Though 2010’s Planet Mu compilation Bangs & Works Vol.1 acted for many in the UK as an introduction to the sound, it was last year’s glorious solo LP Double Cup that cemented his position at the forefront of a wider movement. Through spates of humbled laughter and shout outs to his peers (Addison Groove, Mike Paradinas, DJ crew and state-of-mind Teklife; this one goes out to you), the man himself explains how saving to buy decks and breaching Chicago’s frenetic dance crews at age 12 led to operating within the apex of a genre’s trajectory. here’s how DJ Rashad became footwork royalty.
2013: Release of Double Cup LP via Hyperdub We met Kode9 at Boiler Room around 2011. From there he invited us to play a Hyperdub night, and from there he invited us to play Hyperdub radio. He was like ‘would you be interested in releasing some stuff for us?’ I was like ‘yeah!’ [laughs] Then, ‘do you want to do an LP?’ ‘Fuck yeah!’ I’m a big fan of Hyperdub, everybody over there is so safe and it’s an honour to hang out and collab with so many geniuses out there. For Double Cup I wanted to introduce the Teklife guys and do different takes on other genres that we like: trap, jungle, acid house. That’s why I called it Double Cup, because my first album was more uppity or hyper, and this one more relaxed, screwed up, like the drink.
1994: Meeting Teklife member and frequent collaborator DJ Spinn I got involved with the house music scene at a young age. DJ Gant-Man and I used to do a Saturday morning radio show for teenagers called Soundwaves, we were 12, 13 at the time. I met Spinn officially in school but we were formerly introduced in ’94 and he told me he was a DJ. I’m like ‘oh really? You a DJ huh? Let me hear some of your stuff.’ But he wasn’t a DJ at the time, back in the day people used to make tapes of other people’s tapes and I called him out on it. But after that I took him under my wing, showed him the ropes and we grew together.
September 2013: Forced to cancel European tour after debilitating car crash I’m blessed to even be here today. Even though it wasn’t my fault it told me slow down, count your blessings, appreciate life and do what you got to do ‘cause you never know. The funny thing is I had no idea how serious it was until I left the hospital because I was so pumped up on drugs and shit! [laughs] I had a fractured hip and two bruised ribs and I’m like ‘I’ll be okay I can go on tour!’ Nah, that wasn’t happening, I had to sit down for a couple months. But I’m back and better than ever, feeling great!
1996: Joining Chicago dance crew House-O-Matics Ronny Sloan from House-O-Matics, the president of the dance group that me, RP Boo and Spinn were in together, used to book us for these parties. Man, the parties was wild back in the day! We were so young though. A lot of these parties were successful but a few fights and shootings happened after the party, which made a lot of these spots close down, it sucks. But y’know, my main goal at that time was just to gain respect from the DJs that I admired so much; Chicago ghetto house pioneers that made me say, ‘oh shit, I have to get involved with this’.
Present Day: A figurehead for footwork’s wider movement My proudest moment has been the intake on everybody else outside of Teklife that’s been doing footwork, such as artists like DJ Fulltone, Machinedrum, Addison Groove, Booty Call Records. Everybody who’s embracing it and not widening it but taking it and doing their own style with it and flippin’ it and making it go further. To see that happen and to see it grow is a feeling that I can’t even explain. To hear and see other people react and take it on, it feels good! As for Teklife, we’re busy. Everybody’s got something coming in 2014.
Rashad and Spinn appear on the Crack Stage at Love Saves The Day, 25 May
"To see everybody embracing it, doing their own style with it and flippin’ it and making it go further, it's a feeling that I can't explain"
Issue 40 | crackmagazine.net
On the side of Angel: Angel Olsen keeps a firm grip amidst the worldwind Words: Suzie McCracken Photography: Tom Weatherill
Angel Olsen is chewing a Drumstick lolly as we walk through Camden. Following the February release of her second full-length album, Burn Your Fire For No Witness, Olsen has been interviewed by countless journalists on both sides of the Atlantic, all seeking to unravel the story of the St. Louis girl with the voice that shimmers and stuns. She’s just begun what is to be a full year of touring. She “barfed” after getting food poisoning on the plane on the way to the UK. And now we’re asking her to pose for a photoshoot. “It’s a little bit exhausting”, she admits, “but the more I do it the more I get the hang of it. I definitely don’t want to be too distracted from the actual thing that I’m doing, which is playing music.” The process of touring is set to be a battle against distractions, whether they be past or present. When we sit down to discuss recent goings on, her frustrations with Interview magazine, who profiled her at the start of the year, burst out. “They changed my eye shape – it doesn’t even look like me. I straight up look like Avril Lavigne. “They wanted me to wear a wig. My PR woman was yelling at them: ‘NO! Just let her be a person!’ And they were like: ‘Whatever, we’ve already decided who she is.’ I thought, ‘Just take someone else’s picture. I don’t even want to be in your magazine.’” This spiel is delivered in a laconic tone, but Olsen’s eyes blaze with ferocity. She clearly feels betrayed. “It’s really weird how people wanna know your opinion on everything. But if I say one thing, a few months from now I could change my mind. If I express an insecurity now, later on I could have dealt with it but I’ll still be asked about that every time. The information is just always there.” I glance down at my list of questions, all constructed around things Olsen has said in the past. She laughs to reassure me. “I think in common-day interactions with people, who aren’t even recording what you’re saying, there are still misconceptions and misinterpretations. So I try not to get too upset about it. “It’s all just image anyway. The deeper I get into this, the more I kind of wish my personal name wasn’t attached to it. That I had a name like Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy. Because it doesn’t feel like me.”
Olsen’s stint playing for Will Oldham (the American singer-songwriter behind the Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy moniker) in his band is well documented – she’s often cited, fairly or unfairly, as his protégé. She speaks about him as though reminiscing about an estranged, eccentric uncle. Now she has her own band to help project the fuller sound on the new album, but she’s thankful she watched Oldham so closely. “There’s certain things I didn’t understand. I could see sometimes he was frustrated and I’d be like, ‘we’re in Europe right now, it’s beautiful’. And now I’m with my band for the first time, there’s all these things that go wrong – I got food poisoning, the GPS doesn’t work. I’m like ‘fuck’. Everyone else is like, ‘This is so cool! They have different kinds of candy bars!'” It doesn’t seem like the transition from band member to leader has been natural for Olsen. “It doesn’t mean I’m ungrateful, it’s just that you really have to be mama bear. And on top of directing everyone you have to save all this energy every night to perform like it’s the first time you’ve ever performed and it’s the best show you’ve ever had and it’s just like being in paradise.” Paradise. That’s certainly where her fans seem to be taken by her voice – both smooth and warbling, she ushers listeners ever-closer to the speakers. She’s got the vocal version of ‘come-hither’ eyes. I ask if she thinks much about her voice when performing. “I definitely don’t think. The moment you start to think about anything, that’s when you fuck up.” In the studio, Olsen also tries not to overanalyse. She recorded the album in Asheville, North Carolina, in an old chapel named Echo Mountain Studio. Olsen describes it as a “religious spaceship” which they filled with crisps, beers and the sound of Freaks and Geeks reruns. “But when we first got there I lost my voice,” she says. Thankfully there was a plan in place. Before the band went into the studio, they knew how they were going to play and exactly how the drums and guitars should be mic'd. “At first I thought I was being too psychoanalytical about the specifics but [producer] John Congleton actually found it really helpful.” Olsen has previously spoken about being protective of her songs, almost to the point
of stubbornness. After bringing a new band and new label (Jagjaguwar) on board, she worked on creating simple but concrete plans so everyone would know exactly how things would sound. “Stuart and Josh, who play with me now, understood where I was going. I felt really happy that I met them. They really added another layer. They dressed the songs up in their own personalities.” Is there anyone in whose hands Olsen would be entirely malleable? “I’d probably work with [French filmmaker] Agnès Varda. That would be a dream. I’d say ‘just go with your thoughts and I’ll be in there somewhere.'” Collaboration came naturally while recording Burn Your Fire For No Witness. The album feels harmonious despite the way songs leap from folkish and lonesome to anger-driven and grungey. These surprises have led to a music mag dichotomy: is she a folk star or a grunge musician? “I feel like each song of mine is representing a different kind of personality. Forgiven/Forgotten is like a bullet. It’s straight up anger and frustration. And then there’s Iota which is sarcastic and ‘well, who cares? That’s life.’ I feel like those two songs are not in the same category. “You hear four songs on a record and someone says ‘that’s grunge’ because people don’t listen to the whole record any more. They just choose their favourite tracks and buy them on iTunes.” And yet onstage Olsen can hold a crowd for far longer than three singles. Which songs does she enjoy playing the most? “I go back and forth between Hi-Five, Forgiven/Forgotten, and High and Wild. And ultimately that’s probably why we chose them as singles. But I really like to play Hi-Five. Hi-Five has a country twang and lyrics of heartbreak, punched through by the central hook that’s genuinely funny. Olsen sings quietly, “are you lonely too?” before the bold retort: “Hi-five! So am I.” So do people give her hi-fives now? “No, but I really want them to.” I grin and put my hand in the air. She meets it and laughs.
Burn Your Fire For No Witness is out now via Jagjaguwar
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Almost two decades after their seminal album, Porter Ricks hang their experimental plaque on new tools Words: Anna Tehabsim Photography: Philipp Virus
When Porter Ricks released Biokinetics they couldn’t have predicted it would come to be hailed as one of techno’s pivotal albums. Impacting fundamentally for its meticulous and innovative sound design, this essential LP set the benchmark for dub techno and remains for many an album to sink into and breathe in. The album was released on Basic Channel offshoot Chain Reaction in 1996 and reissued in February 2012 by Type Records. With Biokinetics, mastering and cutting engineer Andy Mellwig and ambient producer Thomas Köner took the ‘Basic Channel sound’ of label bosses Mark Ernestus and Moritz Von Oswald and veered deeper into subtle, mutating experimentalism. They took their name from a character in the 60s TV show Flipper where, as Thomas Köner relays down the phone from his home in Siberia, “as a recurring theme, a kind of heroic character appeared when things looked really bad and turned them into a good situation”. They saw this as a metaphor for their production together, work critically acclaimed for its intense, immersive feel. “There is certainly an aspect in music that is completely pure and without any distractions, this is something that I am very aware of” he says. “It is not polluted by anything other than the sound, because somehow it connects immediately to whatever the person constructs.” On surface level Biokinetics is straightforward, barely holding together any melody. But as the muffled 4/4 pulse pulls you in, it’s in the swirling, unpredictable details that the album resonates. “The
common ingredient is to start from a very centric, core element and process and as the system is going, it just gets bigger”, Köner reveals. These fizzling synths and submerged bass warbles set a precedent for experimental techno that seeps with sonic imagery. Though many processed Biokinetics as a rusty submarine ride through the deep, its aquatic legacy wasn’t necessarily intentional. “The aesthetic, and your personal impression that you have from calling this aquatic, is because it is more like a fluid experience compared to, say, walking barefoot on broken glass, which would also have a certain sound quality in production. It’s this subtle emotional tone which underlines much of Köner’s work as a dark ambient pioneer, as well as a constant feature in the art world, commissioned for installations and live soundtracks at The Hayward Gallery and The Louvre. Musing on his approach to this prolific audiovisual work, Köner expands on his use of music as a dialectic tool. “I also see the music as a language and a response to the world, and as such it is, of course, also in the dialogue and it appears together with other things, and that is very interesting to me.” Köner’s latest solo album, 2012’s Novaya Zemlya, was a journey through sprawling Arctic Russia; “the remoteness of the nature has a quality of purity and a certain detail and crispness”, he explains. The same notion that embodies that album’s impact is found here; that even the minutest of mutations in sound can connect to imagery, colour, currents, earth. “In the end it’s only a sound file that is completely disconnected from the situation when it was recorded.
Where it is listened to and where it enters your quality of life and your memories and your emotions – this is the moment when the sound matters.” Both Köner and Mellwig have continued to work with experimental techno long since their initial emergence, the latter as Continuous Mode and ambient drone project Audio Experimental Research with Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine, Pete Kember of Spacemen 3 and Kevin Martin aka The Bug. Though almost two decades have passed since their first work together, Köner is not all too convinced changes in technology since have pushed music forward. “Of course you have access to a bigger variety of tools, but if you want to write a text and you have a choice of a hundred pens or only one pen, this would not affect the quality of your text. And the same is true if you are a producer.” While we will soon be able to judge how such advancements impose on their
catalogue – Köner confirms Porter Ricks are making a new album, with half the tracks in the bag but no working title – the duo are playing a string of shows in which they’ll road test some exciting new developments. “Andy is writing on a software that is supposed to be very sophisticated, allowing us both to improvise and mix, master and equalise and other things. Like two pilots”, he pauses, and says, coyly, “driving one boat.”
Porter Ricks perform at Denovali Swingfest, Village Underground, 18 April, and Thomas Köner appears solo at Cafe Oto on 19 April
Words: Davy Reed Photography: Renata Raksha
â€œI was getting good grades in school even when I was gangbanging and shit, so they started calling me Schoolboyâ€œ
‘Black Hippy are the new Beatles and I’m Harry Nilsson’, Danny Brown tweeted in 2012. When later asked to elaborate on the comment in an interview, the wildly charismatic Detroit rapper broke it down like this: ‘Kendrick would be Paul McCartney, Schoolboy Q would be John Lennon, Ab-Soul would be George Harrison and – [laughs] – Jay Rock would be Ringo. I’m like the fifth unofficial member’.
Q’s running theme of moral conflict further, broadening and blending griefstricken introspection and arrogant street anecdotes from the perspective of a cold hearted thug. The drug-addled, orgy-loving Q is also present on a couple of tracks, including the single Man Of The Year, a Chromatics-sampling party banger tailored to be a hit with festival crowds and wasted college students.
that – as an ex-con with the words ‘FUCK LAPD’ tattooed across his shoulders – his prospects were severely limited. “You’ve got a song like Blind Threats [on Oxymoron], where I’m in the streets and I’m feeling so bad. At the time, not like now of course, I was in this depressed state of mind, and I was almost losing faith in god. My whole thing was, ‘If god won’t help me, my gun will’”, he reflects.
It requires a pretty grand stretch of the imagination to compare a Los Angeles hiphop collective to the Liverpudlian four-piece who ignited pop culture over five decades ago. Although after a little consideration, it kind of makes sense. Kendrick Lamar – the good kid in a m.A.A.d city – is the altruistic guy who keeps his head amidst the insanity. Like Harrison, Ab-Soul is the group’s most stoic and tripped-out personality, and while there are surely fans declaring Jay Rock to be Black Hippy’s most underrated member, it doesn’t seem like he’s going to overshadow his groupmates any time soon.
“But this album is way more street”, he insists, “I put my whole life into it, everything”. One of Oxymoron’s bleakest – and best – tracks is Hoover Street, which recounts a loss of innocence which resulted in his affiliation with the 52 Hoover Crips by the age of 12. The track’s lyrics include a childlike account of his uncle’s crack addiction (“He sweats a lot, he’s slimming down/I also notice moms be locking doors when he around/ But anyways, his wife done left him and now he’s living with us/My bike is missing, Grandma like to hide her cheque every month”), and the confession that it was his grandma who showed him a firearm for the first time. “She was just keeping it real, like ‘I have a gun’”, he says, with an audible shrug. “And I was like ‘Wow, let me see it!’. So she’d take the clip out, empty the bullets, and then I’d be in the living room, shooting that motherfucker”. The track also references the recurring character Rat Tone; an older, corrupting influence. “He’s from my block”, Q explains, “My grandma showed me my first gun, but he was the first one to show me, like, a big ass gun, like the ones you see on TV”. So what became of Rat Tone, are they still in touch? “Yeah, yeah, that’s my big homie... But he doesn’t do that type of stuff now, he’s legit.”
Funnily enough, it was these desperate circumstances which drove him to try his hand at rapping: the art form which would rescue him from poverty, eventually securing him a membership in arguably the most exciting collective in contemporary hip-hop. So when did things start to look up? “In, like, 2010, when I was Kendrick’s hypeman, I started making some money. I mean, I was only making $200 a show, but I was motivated. And Kendrick put me in the spotlight with him, every time we came out he’d introduce me, like ‘Yo, this is Schoolboy Q!’. And then we rocked a couple of songs together and shit.”
While the rap world turns the spotlight towards ScHoolboy Q, the Black Hippy hedonist is filling the script with tales from his murky past
So what about the Schoolboy Q/John Lennon thing? Well, Q’s penchant for circular sunglasses is a visual cue for a start. Him and Kendrick are the group’s most prominent members too. And there’s also that comparable antagonistic nature, the focused ferocity that’s sharply articulated in lyrics and interviews. When we ask Schoolboy Q to define the essence of his style, his response is typically unapologetic: “There are details in my music, telling you where I come from. There’s the aggressiveness and the carefree, that’s gangsta rap. And that’s what I represent, for people who don’t give a fuck and are just gonna say what’s on their minds.” His speaking voice (which is often interrupted by a gnarly smoker’s cough) sounds low and husky down the phone, a stark contrast to the elastic, nasal sneer that he raps with. Maybe he’s tired. After all, he’s right in the middle of a lengthy tour to promote his album Oxymoron, one of 2014’s most highly anticipated hip-hop records, which was delivered in February following numerous fan-frustrating delays and impressive pre-sale figures. Following Kendrick’s 2012 masterpiece, Oxymoron is the second joint album release between Interscope/Aftermath and Top Dawg Entertainment, the latter of which Black Hippy make the core roster.
Due to Schoolboy Q’s brutally honest approach of storytelling, there’s moments on Oxymoron that could shake up even to the most desensitised rap fan. “I grew up on Figueroa street, that’s known for prostitution”, he relays. “I say on Break The Bank: “On Figueroa, close your eyes, might be ya mommy”. Homies would be going to the store, and they see they’re momma walking around that strip. I seen that, I grew up with that, and I grew up with it in my music ... I’ve never been a pimp, but my name comes from it, the real Schoolboy in my hood, he used to be a pimp. But it also comes from me getting good grades in school even when I was gang banging and shit, so they started calling me Schoolboy.”
Schoolboy Q’s 2012 album Habits & Contradictions packed a near-immaculate selection of beats, and it broadcasted Q’s unpredictable flow, bizarre hooks and his ultra explicit, no-holds-barred lyricism to a wider audience. Oxymoron continues
But despite Q’s academic potential and ability to hold down a regular, low-income job, the temptations of criminal life got the best of him, and he found himself locked up in 2007. While finishing off the sentence under house arrest, he realised
And with Schoolboy Q’s ongoing ascent, it looks like his troubles are becoming an increasingly distant memory. There’s a sweet voice that appears intermittently throughout Oxymoron, acting as the album’s moral anchor. It belongs to Q’s young daughter Joy, his primary motivation for battling an addiction to prescription drugs and striving for success. While the album helps explain why he did all those bad things, he admits that it might be a few years until she’s old enough to truly understand. “She doesn’t know that part of me, the guy I used to be. She was too young when I was doing that. She doesn’t think I’m anything like that, she only knows me as a good daddy”. But despite her age, he argues, she hasn’t failed to recognise that her father is doing very, very well. “She’s happy that her daddy’s album’s out”, he says tenderly. “And she’s proud of it, just like I am.” Oxymoron is out now via Top Dawg Entertainment / Interscope
20 years ago Steve Powers wrote the word ESPO on everything he could find. He’s expanded his vocabulary a bit since then Steve Powers – whether he’d have you believe it or not – is a graffiti writer. In fact, he’s one of the most famous and divisive graffiti writers of his generation, his tag ESPO plastered around New York for the best part of a decade. He’s been criticised and resultantly defamed for being a careerist. He’s even been derided simply for being an outsider, aspiring to transcend the deeply engrained codes of his chosen medium. His art speaks for itself though, defies all criticism, breaks from type and has evolved into one of the most recognisable and evocative styles on the planet. We first heard about ESPO in the 2008 documentary Beautiful Losers which details the rise and rise of a group of young creatives, among them Shepherd Fairey, Ed Templeton, Harmony Korine and, of course, Powers himself. But he surged further into our consciousness last year. The striking murals he created in Philadelphia for the artwork of Kurt Vile’s Wakin on a Pretty Daze album led us to discover that Powers spends a large amount of his time spreading happy messages in enormous letters on buildings, bridges and all manner of outdoor canvases. After a brief stint in installation art his return to the walls is both uplifting and bold. His art sticks a finger up to the increasingly disconnected society, a ‘fuck you’ to the unabashed culture of deprecative humour, and his new book A Love Letter To The City gathers together a selection of photographs of his bold, iconic murals. Crack wanted to know why, when arrogance and irony reigns, Steve Powers spends his time trying to make people smile. He was on endearingly spiky form.
We first came across your work in the documentary Beautiful Losers. At that point you’d decided to go full time in the studio. What brought you back to writing on walls? I stopped writing ESPO in 1999 because I had been writing for 15 years and, being 32 years old, I felt it was time to learn some new skills. So I started making art. I never stopped writing on walls, I just expanded my vocabulary from one word to all of them. Much of that film is about the virtues of ‘selling out’ or at least underground artists monetising their output. I’ve never seen the movie, I thought it was based on the Leonard Cohen book. Today in 2014, I’m painting epiphanies in the basement of the Strand book store on Broadway for free. In 1997, right across Broadway, I painted my first roll down gate, also for free. Is there anything about my career trajectory that would suggest that I am anybody but who I’ve always been? I think that’s true of [artists] Chris [Johanson] and Jo [Jackson] and everybody in that movie, certainly everyone believable and belovable. Words: Billy Black Photography: Adam Wallacavage Lula Rae Matthew-Kuborn
Do you feel that underground culture being appropriated to sell products has contributed to the recent rise in – and in turn death of – ‘hip’ culture? What are you talking about? Like rock and roll selling soda in the 60s? Like “soul” selling malt liquor in the 70s? Bob Dylan sells lingerie, and now Billy Black, whose name and the name of his magazine sells edgy druggy cool is going to talk about the selling of “hip culture”? Do tell. My job is to make thoughtful, original visuals, then as they get “appropriated” by other artists and art directors, I make new thoughtful, original visuals. In my line of work there are no endings, just beginnings. How did you come to collaborate with Kurt Vile? I’m a fan from (2009's) Childish Prodigy on, and I was reaching out to him to ask if he would license some music for a project. Instead, Kurt hired me to paint a wall for him. Kurt always poses in front of great walls in Philly, sometimes with graffiti, sometimes just crumbling plaster and brick, but always with some nice guitar in his hand. Mike, Dan and I painted it and we were proud to do it. Are there any other musicians you’d really
love to paint or design for? I’m looking to work with Jack White, Prince and Bob Dylan. They know where to find me. A Love Letter To The City features a very distinctive style and taps into a sloganistic aesthetic that echoes artists like Jenny Holzer and Lawrence Weiner. Was that nod intentional? Jenny Holzer and Lawrence Weiner are great but gimme a break, I look and read completely different from either of them. I really love Jenny and I really respect Larry. The murals are full of love and the message seems to be one that harks back to a time before it was considered normal to hook up with strangers using an app on a phone. It’s sad that young people feel so disconnected that they can’t communicate with or meet new people without using their phones. Do you feel that society on the whole has lost touch with real love? Do you think technology has played a part in that? No.
“What is this “graffiti world” you speak of? Is it in this galaxy? Wherever it is, I don’t think the inhabitants can see me with a telescope”
Waterboard Thrill-Ride (an installation at Coney Island featuring a bound Guantanamo Bay style dummy being tortured) was a very confrontational piece of art. Your writing now is much more playful and less overtly politicised. Is there any particular reason you decided to lighten the tone? There was a lot of playfulness in the Waterboard Thrill-Ride – remember the painting on the front of the ride of Squidward waterboarding Spongebob Squarepants and Spongebob saying “It don’t GITMO better”? Guess you had to be there.
In the graffiti world you’ve been viewed as something of an outsider… What is this “graffiti world” you speak of? Is it in this galaxy? Wherever it is, I don’t think the inhabitants can see me with a telescope. Did you focus your attention at university on street art or was that something that came later? I made it through foundation year, barely, and left after a semester studying graphic design. In my time at school I kept my graffiti and my schooling separated. Street art isn’t really street and it really isn’t art. It’s done by people that are too scared to write graffiti and too scared to make art. After I dropped out of school, I spent six years writing and publishing a magazine and writing graffiti after I got an issue off to the printer. Any plans to send a love letter to the UK? There’s a mash note from me in Shoreditch if London wants more she only has to ask, not even nicely. What else can we expect from you in the future? You can expect what you want and I’ll defy those expectations.
A Love Letter To The City is out now via Princeton Architectural Press
Created exclusively for CRACK by Joe Evans. flickr.co/perfectlyshoddy
When Turner Prize winner Jeremy Deller was selected to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale, he did so by attempting to harness that old English magic
Words: Celia Archer
If you’re a frequent reader of this magazine’s art section (hey guys), you might remember that we were lucky enough to attend last year’s Venice Biennale. However, what we didn’t mention in our original review was the fact it rained solidly for our entire stay, meaning that, though we had visions of leisurely sipping Aperol Spritzes in the sunshine with the glam international art set, this ended up being far from the case.
In reality we squelched around the city, drenched yet eager, whilst trying to cram in as much work as possible. In the midst of all this particularly English weather, Jeremy Deller’s show English Magic at the British Pavilion was a haven filled with Vaughan Williams, David Bowie and a tea stand. So after thanking the London-born, Turner Prize winning artist for – unbeknownst to himself – providing us with shelter in a time of need, the first question we asked was whether that soothing nature was part of the exhibition’s aim. “It was a way of keeping people in the pavilion!” he answers. “But it was also meant to be a moment when people could sit down. Venice is quite a stressful environment, lots of running around and not enough sitting down.” We agreed on that.
Away from the bustle of the world’s foremost contemporary art exhibition, there’s now plenty of time to enjoy the show, with English Magic being toured around three UK public arts spaces. Starting at the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow, it opens at the Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery from 12 April through to September, before moving to the Turner Contemporary in Margate for four months from October. “The Art Fund wanted to tour it”, Deller tells us about his
motivation for a national, almost year-long tour of his work. “And I jumped at this, because Venice, however popular as an exhibition, is still in Venice so most people will not see it. It was offered to a number of institutions unseen, as it were. They didn’t really know what it was they were getting, and then they chose me.” It’s fitting that the show began its UK tour at the William Morris Gallery, as one of the most imposing images of the show is a
We sit starving amidst our gold, painted by Stuart Sam Hughe
41 Still from the film English Magic, 2013 nstallation view British Pavilion 2013, La Biennale di Venezia
mural depicting the British arts and crafts designer from which the gallery takes its name throwing Roman Abramovich’s yacht into the Venetian waters. This work was produced in reference to the last Biennale, in 2011, where Abramovich’s obnoxiously large yacht blocked the view out to the lagoon as you walked along to the main area of the festival. It was a statement: when it comes to art, some people are allowed in and others’ views are restricted; Abramovich’s buying power on the international art market allows him to do whatever he wants. Morris, though far from a formidable figure, passionately believed that art, along with education and freedom, belonged to all, and turning him into this giant, powerful force was Deller’s attempt to redress the balance. One way in which Deller works to open his art up to a wider audience is by engaging with a plurality of voices when putting his exhibitions together. One of the rooms in the pavilion contained pictures drawn by inmates from UK prisons who used to be soldiers. The drawings ranged in both subject matter and skill level, depicting everything from Rupert Murdoch to an image of distant Basra seen close in the cross-hairs. We ask how the idea came about. “I knew I wanted to have prison art in the pavilion as I have been involved in art made in prisons for a few years now, and eventually I narrowed down the idea to be specifically about soldiers who find themselves in prison.” The drawings themselves are incredibly affecting, yet they resist being overly sentimental. He tells us, “I was there when the work was made, I knew exactly what I wanted and I wanted it displayed in a very specific, neutral way”. The fact that these works do not become something trite or tokenistic is testament to the way in which the artist works closely with his collaborators. Perhaps Deller’s best known work is 1997’s Acid Brass. Thought up in a pub, the work is based around live performances of a traditional British Brass Band playing covers of acid house tracks alongside a large-scale, sprawling spider diagram showing the ways in which these
two musical genres interconnect. It’s been nearly 20 years since the first Acid Brass performance and the William Fairey Band are still touring, playing at the TATE as recently as last December. We ask what his connection is with it now. “It still happens, and it hasn’t changed much. I turn up when I can, but it’s like a child that has left home.” It’s the way in which Deller sees through his ideas which gives them such potency. He maintains an important connection with the process whilst at the
same time empowering those involved and allowing it the space to develop and grow. Deller’s devolvement of power and trust drips down right the way down through English Magic, to the gallery attendants. In part of the show, a steward stands behind a table with a neolithic axe head. They hand it to you and explain that it dates to around 6,000 years ago. They then open a drawer in the table and pull out another axe head, which to the
Issue 40 | crackmagazine.net
“All exhibitions are in a sense sharing of information, and art is an opportunity to do something that might not happen otherwise”
untrained eye appears identical, before revealing that this second weapon was actually made and used over 300,000 years ago. The idea that, in touching this axe, you are touching something that was made by a lesser evolved version of ourselves was particularly striking for the artist. “It was about an interaction with prehistoric culture, you hold a hand axe made hundreds of thousands of years ago and that’s as close as you will ever get to the people of that time. They are also objects of great beauty.” And there is something magical about the whole process, not least because the ‘reveal’ of the second axe head feels like it deserves an ‘Abracadabra’. With English Magic, Deller offers his audience a number of ways to get involved with the show, and to subsequently take something home with them. As well as the storytelling element of the axe heads, for example, there was also a stand where visitors could make their own prints of a hen harrier clutching a Land Rover in its talons, another important visual from the show. Though Deller dismisses this as just “a souvenir thing”, it feels like more. The participative process, being able to leave with something physical, allows for a different kind of connection to the show, in the same way that the prehistoric axe head leaves something with you when you actually get to hold it in your hand. Deller tells us he thinks that “all exhibitions are in a sense sharing of information, and art is an opportunity to do something that might not happen otherwise”. For the duration of English Magic you always have the sense that you are being shown something special, sharing in a secret, and
ever becoming closer to the stories and histories that are unfolded around you.
St Helier on fire 2017, painted by Stuart Sam Hughes Installation view British Pavilion 2013, La Biennale di Venezia
English Magic can be seen at the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery from 12 April – 21 September 2014, and then at Turner Contemporary, Margate from 11 Oct – 11 Jan 2015. Jeremy Deller also presents a new commission as part of Art Across The City, Swansea, 12 April - 1 June
Exhibitions Tauba Auerbach: The New Ambidextrous Universe 16 April - 15 June 2014 Lower Gallery
David Robilliard: The Yes No Quality of Dreams 16 April - 15 June 2014 Upper Gallery
Paperwork: A Brief History of Artists’ Scrapbooks 1 April - 11 May 2014 Fox Reading Room
Events ICA Book Launch Tue 8 Apr, 7pm Amiri Baraka: Conference & Performance Sun 12 Apr, from 10am Anthony McCall and Anne Wagner in Conversation Thu 24 Apr, 6pm Culture Now: Victor Burgin Fri 25 Apr, 1pm Art-Information: Editorial Strategies, Text-based Formats, Publishing Contexts Sat 26 Apr, from 11.30am
Film Artists’ Film Club Ei Arakawa & Henning Bohl Wed 9 Apr, 7pm Steven Claydon + Q&A Wed 23 Apr, 6.45pm How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Queer the Internet: Jack Halberstam & Zach Blas in Conversation Tue 29 Apr, 6.45pm
Breadcrumb Trail From 6 April Birds Eye View Film Festival 11-13 April Yoshitaro Nomura Film Season 18-23 April Man From Tomorrow + Q&A with Jacqueline Caux and Jeff Mills Sat 19 Apr, 6pm Institute of Contemporary Arts The Mall London SW1Y 5AH 020 7930 3647, www.ica.org.uk
NTS Present Dean Blunt’s Urban Wed 30 Apr, 8pm The ICA is a registered charity no. 236848
44 Glasses | Sheriff & Cherry Shirt | Son Of Wild Tie | Kenzo Jacket | Burberry
242 Flamingo Drive
Art Direction & Styling | Hattie Walters Photography | Anna Dobos Hair Styling | Daniel Rymer Using Fudge Model | Hal @ Gingersnaps Location | wearebigchill.com
Glasses | Sheriff & Cherry Shirt | Peter Werth Belt | Alberto Guardiani Trousers | Nicole Fahri
Olwen Wears Red Lace Top | Hermione De Paula
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Hat | Fred Perry @ Cooshti Sunglasses | Polaroid T-shirt | Hentsch Man Shorts | Son Of Wild Bag | Mi-Pac Shoes | Onitsuka
Top | Lacoste @ RePsycho Trousers | Ralph Lauren Belt | Ralph Lauren
Naya Wears Dungaree Dress I Hermione De Paula Olwen Wears Red Lace Capri Pants | Hermione De Paula Vintage Shoes | Tom Ford For Gucci
Jacket | Barneys New York Polo | Topman Shirt | Moschino Trousers | Paul Smith Shoes | Soulland
Hat | Fred Perry @ Cooshti Jacket | RePsycho T-shirt | Hentsch Man Shorts | Son Of Wild Bag | Mi-Pac
50 New York is a city of corners. It is an angular cosmos of sidewalks that come together and form the biggest artistic playground on the planet. At a glance, it’s inflexible. Yet the cover-art for Ratking’s debut full-length, So It Goes portrays it as a looser, bodily structure; a labyrinthine network of channels that bend and twist to make an intricate and unpredictable island rather than a rigid infrastructure.
With youthful energy and twisted beats, NY rap group Ratking capture their city’s essence through a grainy lens
“It’s a representation of what our New York is. It’s almost like an alternate view, I wanted it to be about the history. What New York means on a deeper level rather than just ‘Oh yeah! This is some New York City shit!’. I wanted it to be the feeling of being in New York or living in New York. That world we created.” This is Wiki, the gap-toothed pied piper of the city’s rawest hip-hop export in recent years. Crack called him up to find out more about the city, the album and the future. This record has been a long time coming, with Ratking gaining momentum off the back of their intense, highenergy live shows and becoming the second ever act to sign with XL Recordings’ offshoot Hot Charity (also home to Willis Earl Beal) back in 2012. For So It Goes, Ratking called upon the help of high-profile rap engineer Young Guru to mould the LP into shape. The group’s in-house beat-maker Sporting Life (Eric) takes the phone from Wiki to shed light on that collaborative effort. “Working with Young Guru was dope. He’s pretty quiet, but he had a lot of input on where the sounds should be placed and making sure the vocals were really audible.” While Guru might be famed for giving Jay Z his glossy uptown shimmer, he’s succeeded in smothering So It Goes with a layer of dust. While the group might hail from different areas of NYC or elsewhere, they succeed in creating a synergy that paints the city in a refreshingly undecorated light. “That’s important to New York in general”, Wiki explains. “Having different personalities in one place. It was pretty natural, we’ve been working together for a long time. Sometimes I won’t get it exactly my way, or Hak’s way or Eric’s way, but it comes out as a cohesive piece of work. Mine and
Words: Duncan Harrison Photography: Teddy Fitzhugh
Hak’s flows are very different but I feel like we are coming from the same perspective and the same level”. Hak is Wiki’s 19-year-old Harlem-raised counterpart, whose Andre 3000-esque style acts as the tonic to Wiki’s feral streetpreaching. Neither play the voice of reason, but that’s what makes the record so exciting. Their disobedience to the New York City paradigm shines through when Wiki raps about “shitting” on the kids at New York University. “I’m not, like, against kids who go to NYU, but it’s my high school angst when I’m walking around Washington Square Park. That park at one point was an ill place, and it still is, but it sometimes looks like a college campus.” This adolescent ethos is one of the many things that got heads turning in Ratking’s direction. “I’m not scared of growing up, it’s fun to be young but I’m always gonna be who I am. I’m excited to keep ruling my life and keep learning. I’m not the most angry person, but music is where you let those emotions out, so that’s where it comes into play.” For many, Ratking seem like a tripartite of contradiction – breaking rules with a plan. “My heroes are, like, Firoello La Guardia who was mayor of New York, and Goku”, says Wiki. This is the 99th mayor of New York City who reshaped the representation of Italian Americans, and the protagonist in the Manga Dragon Ball Z series by Akira Toriyama. So It Goes isn’t revivalism, nor is it a futuristic portrayal of a tired idea. Ratking pair self-proclaiming lyricism, experimental beat-making and unapologetic attitudes to convey exactly who they are while reminding us where they came from. “Sometimes you can be nostalgic about stuff, but in the end it’s all a cycle.” However turbulent the cycle becomes, it resonates with the timeless tenor of fake IDs being swiped, trashing 40oz bottles and jumping turnstiles in the middle of the night. It reminds you that Ratking are growing up, but never growing out. “It’s always going to be our city.” So It Goes is released 7 April via Hot Charity
Issue 40 | crackmagazine.net
Across a 30-year career, post-metal titans Neurosis have been among the most influential bands in the consistent progression of heavy music. So why did they decide to rip it up and start again?
Words: Words:Jack Billy Bolter Black Photos: Tim Bugbee Photos: Hannah Godley
Forming as a hardcore band in mid-80s Oakland, California, Neurosis would soon metamorphose into pioneers of doom. With their 1992 release Souls at Zero the band created an album many cite as the starting point for the post-metal genre, though it was 1993’s Enemy of the Sun where they established their trademark blend of industrial soundscapes, deathly folk trip-outs and thrash roots. With 1996’s Through Silver and Blood and 1999’s Times of Grace Neurosis created their two seminal moments, and they’ve maintained a lofty status over four subsequent releases. Their influence in post-metal spheres cannot be underestimated; the indelible mark Neurosis have left on kindred spirits Isis, the wider industrial experimentations of Justin Broadrick, and, more recently, the surging dynamics of last year’s revelation Deafheaven is enduringly evident. When we speak to vocalist/guitarist Scott Kelly, he’s quick to stress the role of tireless collaboration in allowing himself and his bandmates to fulfill their collective destiny. “We just had our heads down, grinding away. There’s never been a time for us to look up and see what we’ve done. We know the sum of our parts is greater than the five of us individually. There has always been more at work here than just us. We felt it from the very beginning.” Kelly values nothing higher than the collaborative bond with his bandmates. He formed Neurosis in 1985 alongside Dave Edwardson and Jason Roeder, before adding stalwarts Steve Von Til and Noah Landis in 1989 and 1995 respectively. That classic line-up has remained in place since, and Kelly recognises it’s a rare and artistically valuable thing to keep a group together for that length of time. “We are in contact pretty much daily in one way or another. Having the band intact for this long has been a miracle and an incredible gift. It helps us in every way imaginable to have this eternal band of brothers. We are the family that we all dreamed of having one day – we created it with our own flesh and blood and it will stand forever.” In 1990, the band invited visual artist Adam Kendall into the fold in an unprecedented role, projecting dark, often psychedelic backdrops to their live set. His place would later be taken by Pete Inc., then at the turn of the millennium, Josh Graham. “Our original intention was to bring a show into any club and completely transform it into our space,” Kelly explains. “It, in conjunction
with the sound, would create a vortex. As time progressed, Adam left and was replaced by Pete Inc. He was with us when we toured around 250 days a year. Josh joined around 2000 and brought the visuals into the digital age, which at the time made all the sense in the world.” However, upon the release of 2012’s Honor Found in Decay, Neurosis revealed that they would be amicably parting company with Graham and reinventing their live aesthetic, starting from point zero. In an age of constant inundation of image and information, Kelly and his cohorts felt live music should offer an antithesis. “By 2012 we had decided that we were completely done with visuals”, he tells us. “We felt that all we were doing was contributing one more screen for people to drone out on instead of being in the moment. We are totally enjoying the stark live experience we are bringing right now. We use a subtle light show and let the music do all the talking”. As this live appropriation redevelops from its foetal state, Kelly confirms Neurosis will be starting work on new music this year, but “who knows where it will take us”. He's also been busy contributing to an upcoming LP from the most critically acclaimed metal band of the last decade, Mastodon. Having already collaborated on four previous albums, that Kelly is continuously asked back is testament to his status. “I’ve always admired them for being the best guys out there”, he says. “They made a conscious decision to exist in the mainstream and I think they’re finding their way in it while still making vital and intelligent music. The new song is fucking great. It’s the best one yet. Well, it’s hard to fuck with (2009’s) Crack the Skye, but it’s right up there!” Though relatively strong sales for Through Silver and Blood attracted Neurosis some attention from the mainstream earlier in their career, Scott is resolute that this brief flirtation with broader appeal was no more than that: a momentary distraction. “The mainstream flowed over our way for a minute, but we never jumped in. The water was too polluted to swim in. We never make conscious decisions towards the audience, we just do what we feel like doing in each moment as it goes. It’s a very selfish artistic path we are on.” Selfish in nature the path may be, but it’s won legions of avid followers, waiting patiently to witness Neurosis’s next emphatic step. Neurosis headline Temples Festival, Motion, Bristol, 2-4 May
8th - 12th September 2014 Rovinj Croatia
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Product MANUEL FERNANDEZ POWDER T-SHIRT Études €140 etudes-studio.com A LOVE LETTER TO THE CITY Stephen Powers $24.95 papress.com His murals adorn the walls of cities worldwide. His works are giant, poignant and witty. Sloganistic commentaries for generation Y. Stephen Powers' new book A Love Letter To The City brings together photographs of some of his most striking murals from across the globe. The book also features a foreword from newly appointed MoMA curator Peter Eleey as well as commentary from Powers. It’s the perfect introduction to one of the most eccentric, divisive figures in outdoor typography.
ANX LONG SLEEVE T-SHIRT Cavempt $101 cavempt.com
EVERYDAY SEXISM Laura Bates £14.99 simonandschuster.co.uk
MESS ON A MISSION Liars £18 rise-music.co.uk
MUSETTE Bridge UNLTD £20 donutsthestore.co.uk
Don’t want to sound melodramatic, right, but this may be the most aesthetically pleasing piece of wax we’ve ever laid eyes on, a masterpiece of vinyl engineering. It’s clear, which is always cool, but it also has a piece of STRING inside it. It’s like, a ship in a bottle or something. And the slab of postindustrial oddness nestled in the grooves is pretty amazing too. A Record Store Day exclusive, grab it on 19 April.
When journalist Laura Bates started her Everyday Sexism project to collect stories of nagging casual sexist encounters, she had never anticipated the level of response – 20 months after the project was launched it had 50,000 entries. Logging personal accounts of street harassment, discrimination and assault, the project amassed 130K Twitter followers within two years, and the book of the same name offers an insight into the vibrant movement sparked by this anecdotal call to arms.
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FROM HERE WE GO SUBLIME The Field £18 rise-music.co.uk CLASSIC LAPTOP BACKPACK Adidas Originals £21.99 surfdome.com
Another Record Store Day tip, the Field’s definitive debut, 2007’s From Here We Go Sublime, was the introduction to Axel Willner’s brand of warm, looping, hypnotic techno. The CD came with a threetrack 12” sampler, but the full album has never been released on vinyl before. It’s a criminal oversight from the usually flawless Kompakt, but that’s about to be corrected with this full double LP release. Blood will be spilt over this one.
17 13 16
MARK E Product of Industry Ghostly International
It now feels like a long time since Flying Lotus shimmied onto the scene, bringing his dislocated beats and the Brainfeeder label with him. Teebs was right there from the outset, with his debut album Ardour ticking some of the right boxes but somehow coming across a little floral and noncommittal. Behold, then, Estara – a quantum leap forward in confidence and a masterly set of sparkling, winsome electronica. Album opener The Endless is a gurgling beauty, while the ghostly, psychedelic Holiday (featuring Sydney-based artist Jonti) is a welcome progression for an artist who has previously eschewed vocal collaborators. The core of the album, though, is a pair of tracks – Shoouss Lullaby and SOTM – that Jon Hopkins would be proud to call his own. Intricate, looped acoustic guitars and twinkling, rhythmic bells nestle in the crackling fissures produced by machinery being bent to the emotional will of its operator. Although this is unapologetically gentle music, it takes balls to make tunes this reserved and refined. Dreamy and delicate, Estara elevates Teebs from Brainfeeder B-team to label leading light.
Last time we listened to Melbourne group HTRK it was on 2011 album Work (Work, Work), and they left us with the unnerving prospect that life is “only business baby, there’s nothing personal about it”. The sound on Psychic 9-5 Club is still sultry, impersonal and distant, but within more prominent vocals and instrumentation that occasionally borders on tropical there are glimmers of optimism. A HTRK album without the deceased, founding member Sean Stewart has a certain structure: Jonnine Standish’s breathy vocals, and Nigel Yang’s down-tempo, electronic soundscapes. And while Feels Like Love and The Body You Deserve are particular highlights, few individual tracks manage to make a strong impression due to the album’s consistently restrained formula. It’s surprising that a band who’re so self-conscious would release an album that feels like a collection of ideas or sketches rather than finished material. Maybe the sentiment of insecurity and instability created by something unfinished, unstructured or incomplete fuels this album. But given how far HTRK have come in the past few years, we’d hoped that they’d take this opportunity to push a little further.
Crown prince of the West Midlands dance scene Mark Evetts came to most people’s attention with his deft, floor-filling edits and remixes. Since the bountiful bundle compiled on the twin 2010 compilations on his own Merc label, the Birmingham based DJ/producer has pumped out exquisite material for imprints like Running Back, Spectral Sound and Needwant, each indelibly stamped with his signature blend of detail-heavy disco-suffused house. The PR puff that accompanies this full length debut for Ghostly International trumps up Evett’s geographical positioning, connecting the dots between Black Sabbath and the decline of the manufacturing industry and hinting at a record that thumps, pumps, and clumps along solidly. They’ve got it spot on, Product of Industry is just that: nine deep, dark, solid, ossifying groove-chassis’ that bask in the joy of repetition. It’s an essentially sturdy album, a set of low BPM rollers that chug through the fog of dry-ice cannons. A liminal space where innately euphoric piano house one-two chords mingle with spacey pads and ice pick sharp percussion; a heads down stomp of a record that, sadly, occasionally slows down into a plod. Happily, the highs like Kultra Kafe’s clubkosmische or the nearly-schaffel stomp of Myth of Tomorrow, just about outweigh the lows like the corny vocals that derail Being Hiding or the meandering weariness of Egamix.
! Adam Corner
! Gareth Thomas
! Josh Baines
TEEBS Estara Brainfeeder
HTRK Psychic 9-5 Club Ghostly International
FATIMA AL QADIRI Asiatisch Hyperdub
HERCULES AND LOVE AFFAIR The Feast of The Broken Heart Moshi Moshi
‘Sinogrime’ is a particularly ‘Asian’ – namely, Chinese-sounding – strand of grime. Pioneered by East London producers in the early 00s, sinogrime was defined by unhinged basslines and dramatic synth-strings, evoking images of the sound removed from its spiritual home of post-industrial London and placed in wildly exotic and whimsically ‘Other’ terrain. It’s remembered for being a genre that scarcely existed, passed on through early Wiley/Jammer tracks and later attributed the title by Hyperdub boss Kode9. While the sound is experiencing a renaissance of sorts in the UK due to the increasing level of hype surrounding a cluster of instrumental grime producers, this year none have endorsed the sound more than Kuwait-born multidisciplinary artist and musician Fatima Al Qadiri, who similarly channels the genre’s looming-yet-dreamy palette as she explores her own distant Asia. Following her vocal-led production as Ayshay (for which she twists Sunni and Shiite Muslim worship), the video game inspired gulf-futurism of Fade To Mind EP Desert Storm and the genre-busting Genre Specific Xperience, Al Qadiri presents a new exploration of musical lineage with debut album Asiatisch. Through Asiatisch’s warped orientalisms and distorted, faux-gerontogeous sounds she creates a vast and vivid world. Or, as she puts it, ‘a virtual roadtrip through an imagined China’. Whereas sinogrime arguably places its imagined China in the post-industrial future, Asiatisch nestles right into the clumsy re-appropriation of Asian motifs pervading Western media. As an album which weaves through the fabric of a fabricated mythology, Al Qadiri dissects the intricate tapestry of the Chinese musical world as seen through the ubiquitous Western lens. Dragon Tattoo, for instance, explores Hollywood’s muddled representation by spinning lyrics from Lady and the Tramp’s We Are Siamese into cooing RnB. Wudang – titled after the region from which the Kung Fu-indebted Wu-Tang Clan got their name – samples classic Chinese poetry, and the glistening Shanghai Freeway drives you through the city’s distant futurism. Haunting opener Shanzai, a cover of Sinead O’Connor’s Nothing Compares 2 U that features nonsensical Mandarin lyrics, is as strangely addictive as it sounds. The album is at its very core an album to do with, and comprised of, cultural misrepresentation and sonic assimilation through various falsifications and mishaps. Yet by crafting her own enchanting and worryingly recognisable faux-oriental world, Asiatisch is Al Qadiri’s most insatiable statement yet.
Sometimes we think about 2008. Bianca came back to Eastenders, there was that weird new Indiana Jones movie and everyone thought the world might end because of that fucking massive scientific tunnel thing. DFA Records also released the thrilling self-titled debut from US disco/house project Hercules and Love Affair. Times have changed since then, and the group’s follow-up to 2011’s Blue Songs is now here. The nuances and intricacies that got people so excited six years ago are hard to find on The Feast… Any glimmers of raw sexuality or melancholic depth are overpowered by a senseless quest to see fists pumping. Melodies are stacked on top of lurid production in an on-to-the-next-one fashion that misrepresents the band and the genres they hold so dear. Hooks on tunes like Do You Feel The Same? and Think could work in a climate where they were hard to come by, but they aren’t. These kind of lifeless but easily digestable disco-house earworms crop up on the radio every single day. Hercules and Love Affair have shut down the party they started in 2008, and now it sounds like they’ve arrived late to one that’s been going on for a while.
! Anna Tehabsim
! Duncan Harrison
MILLIE & ANDREA Drop The Vowels Modern Love
To really feel the power of Rick Ross’s music, you’ve got to subscribe to the fantasy. You’ve got to believe that Rozay’s the boss. On Mastermind’s initial promo single Box Chevy, Ross bragged that he’d bought a female acquaintance her very own salon. Very boss. But after a few poorly-charting singles and that grim UOENO lyric, Ross lost a multi-million dollar endorsement deal with Reebok, and Mastermind’s release was repeatedly delayed. It seemed like even Ross was feeling insecure about his boss status. But Mastermind is primarily a deliciously lavish rap blockbuster that sees Ross reel off boasts about Versace slippers, kilos of coke, armoured vehicles, remarkable fellatio and – throughout the album – the lemon pepper chicken wings at the four Wingstop restaurant franchises he owns. There’s some seriously wobbly religious imagery here, plus a half-baked theme of 90s referentiality (complete arbitrary tributes to Biggie and ODB) that’s too smart for its own good. It’s a flaw which calls to mind a scene in the Coen Brothers movie Barton Fink, in which the protagonist has his Hollywood movie script rejected with the following criticism: “This is a wrestling picture. The audience wants to see action, adventure, wrestling. They don't want to see a guy wrestling with his soul... Well all right, maybe have some of that for the critics.”
FENNESZ Bécs Editions Mego
Upon receipt of this record, this reviewer listened to the first two tracks approximately 10 times without moving further into the album, mainly due to the fear it couldn’t match the dizzying heights scaled by them. As albums openers go, Under Pressure and now solid 6Music mainstay and first single Red Eyes revel in the kind of swagger, euphoria and pomp that will leave fans of the band's first two albums drooling. When the low-pitched, brass aided, rhythm guitar line beefs up the whole of the former before the whole thing meanders into wonderful American summer haze, you’re fucking lost. Similarly, the metronomic drumming and sheer addictiveness of the guitar lick on the latter could continue for roughly half an hour and still have you dancing like your parents in 1978. The fact is the Americana stylings of Philadelphia’s favourite retro sons predictably doesn’t reach the zenith of those first two tracks over the full distance of Lost In The Dream. An Ocean Between The Waves falls on the wrong side of recycled classic American bar rock and Eyes To The Wind fully belongs in the dusty corner of your parents’ ballad collection. But on the whole, the positivity and the wonder present on this record conjures the roads, the dreams and the magic of this modern take on a classic American sound.
Prettiness is nice. A refreshing reminder that things aren’t uniformly drab and depressed. Prettiness is the G&T on a summer’s afternoon of aesthetics. But prettiness isn’t always enough – as we find out when joining Danilo Plessow of Motor City Drum Ensemble and Innervisions mainstay Marcus Worgull on their debut album as Vermont. ‘Prettiness’ needs contextualising: Vermont sounds undeniably lovely. It arpreggiates with the gorgeous peal of a set of singing bowls. It pulsates like the good Tangerine Dream records you listen to while high. It’s got the necessary sense of hazy, sad propulsion that’d lead a more charitable reviewer than this one to drone on about ‘honing in on the actualities of trance’. It’s just that surface prettiness is just... that. There’s nothing going on underneath it. It’s a bland painting whose only selling point is its likeness to its subject. It’s a novel that thinks chucking ‘errs’ and ‘um’s into the dialogue makes it seem like life. It’s a curiously lifeless record, a slog. Damningly it’s the one thing that’s worse than a bad album: Vermont is a boring album. It provokes nothing more than a state of unwelcomed nothingness. Not the transcendental nothingness of transcendance, not the blissful plateaux of new age explorations of detuned consciousness. It’s the nothingness of a small town department store’s DIY section on a wet Sunday.
When Compton rapper YG dropped Toot It and Boot It four years ago, we shrugged, faced with another easily dismissible party rapper. It wasn’t until last year when You Broke – his collaboration with Nipsey Hustle – hit that it became apparent he had some serious potential. Now, the DJ Mustard cohort’s debut My Krazy Life – yes, that’s Krazy with a K – has arrived. The Rich Homie Quan-led, tight trap anthem My Nigga has been doing the rounds for a while, and it still sounds as good as ever. The album’s bonus edition ends with the track’s remix, featuring Cash Money affiliates Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj, who deliver some of the record’s tightest verses. The Cash Money/CTE World crossover isn’t the only surprising hook up on My Krazy Life though, and it’s certainly not the most important. I Just Wanna Party sees former Crip Schoolboy Q take the mic for a verse alongside YG, who happens to be a member of the Bloods. The track has also got one of the best hooks on the record and opens with DJ Mustard’s bouncy, 70s funk influenced bass stabs before his machine gun beats drop. The downside of My Krazy Life comes in the form of the narrative interludes. It’s great that YG is trying to inject some humour into an inherently sinister genre but it’s more than slightly reminiscent of our least favourite bits on the Marshall Mathers LP, and just feels a little strained. But despite these mishaps, YG has delivered what’s probably the best rap record of 2014 so far.
Releasing under their collaborative female pseudonym since 2008, Andy Stott and Miles Whittaker of Demdike Stare’s string of production together had always been a place to abandon the austerity of their individual projects for hedonistic dance-floor constructions, be it gritty, adrenalised drum and bass or delirious pitched down trap. Sitting somewhere between their darker, dub dappled sounds and something more visceral is Drop The Vowels, the long delayed debut album from the Modern Love associates. While it seems arbitrary to call this album a bit of ‘light hearted fun’, with its blistering breaks and patches of undeterminable sound, Drop The Vowels serves as a perfect introduction to the pair’s dizzying, more gleeful vices. Opener GIF RUFF’s gamelan-style drumming segues into echoed, woody percussion, while Stay Ugly’s scathing, scratching sounds are left suspended in mid-air by unexpected Jai Paul-esque chords. The arresting Corrosive feels like a definite highlight here, swirling rapidly out of control then blasted to pieces with its heady behemoth of tittering trap and thick smoggy breaks. Drop The Vowels is an LP that harks back to the golden era of jungle and hardcore; early Metalheadz, Reinforced Records, Photek, Moving Shadow, all dusted off with modern synth work and lighter touches of house, techno and trap as each track swerves rapidly into unexpected realms. Closing track Quay is an emotive composition of field recordings, all burnt and frayed beyond recognition into beautifully decaying embers, showcasing two producers working together in their absolute prime.
Christian Fennesz is a singular artist. Skirt past his numerous and multifaceted collaborative material with the likes of Ryuchi Sakamoto and his stint as one third of experimental electroacoustic supergroup Fenn O’Berg, and you’ve got a consistent run of high quality investigations into the limits of combining the intimacy of live recording with the disorientating impersonality of digital manipulation. For those of us who found 2008’s Black Sea a tad too austere, a bit too bleakly reflective of its taken-literally-title – those of us who patiently, quietly prayed for a return to the sunnier climes of the superlative Endless Summer/Venice double bill – will be delighted to know the Viennese Powerbook mangler’s back on Peter Rehberg’s legendary Editions Mego label, and he’s sounding pleasantly poppy. That’s ‘poppy’ in the way Wire magazine would use the term, but Bécs is nonetheless awash with gorgeously rich moments of melodic clarity. Witness the skyscraping desert guitar that pierces through the centre of Liminality, or the gently percussive strums that waft over Static Kings. The latter is the most overly Fennesz-y track on the album, a crystalline clarification of the man’s MO; it fizzles, it cracks, it hisses, it leaks, it degrades and rots, all while sounding pristinely gorgeous. Darkness occasionally threatens to rain on this parade-of-the-sublime (the title track is full on capital ‘N’ Noise), but you take the rough with the smooth. And when the smooth is as spectrally wonderful as the majority of this album is, that’s a small price to pay.
! Thomas Frost
! Josh Baines
! Billy Black
! Anna Tehabsim
! Josh Baines
YG My Krazy Life CTE World \ Def Jam Recordings RICK ROSS Mastermind Maybach \ Slip-n-Slide \ Def Jam
THE WAR ON DRUGS Lost In The Dream Secretly Canadian
VERMONT Vermont Kompakt
C R A C K M A G A Z I N E S T A G E A T F I E L D D A Y 2 0 1 4
BLOOD ORANGE DANNY BROWN GHOSTPOET JAGWAR MA JOHN WIZARDS NENEH CHERRY ONLY REAL SIMIAN MOBILE DISCO SOHN TOURIST S A T U R D A Y 7 T H V I C T O R I A P A R K -
J U N E L O N D O N
VARIOUS ARTISTS Bleep:10 Bleep It’s always a bit disconcerting when a record’s very first track turns out to be its best. And here, on Bleep’s 10-year anniversary compilation, that’s exactly what’s happened. Opening with the heavy and hypnotic Die Wand by Wolfgang Voigt’s revered GAS project, its oppressive rhythm punctuated by operatic strings straight out of the Peter & The Wolf score (but not really), you feel it admirably carrying the weight of expectation that precedes this compilation. But as the track fades away and we are thrown headlong into the aggressively euphoric sound of Lone’s Lizard King, it becomes apparent that this is an overtly broad record. And while within the disc most people will almost certainly find something to enjoy, many will struggle to appreciate it as a whole. Personal favourites include Untold’s visceral and terrifying That Horn Track (you can imagine this being blasted out of a helicopter in a twisted update of Apocalypse Now), and the usual polyrhythmic excellence from Shackleton in the form of Ganda Rising, plus special mention must also go to Modeselektor, whose contribution starts off as a completely unnecessary throwback to ‘06 electro but in the last two minutes transforms into a bizarre bleep-Spastik-horrorshow hybrid. Unfortunately, other moments on this 14 track compilation either sound like they are trying too hard or not trying at all. Multifariousness is clearly Bleep’s remit, and one that across a superb 10-year run has made complete sense. But trying to represent such a varied and inspired discography with 14 brand new tracks proves patchy, and ultimately unsuccessful.
The transition from actor to musician is fraught with difficulties; for every Kylie Minogue, there’s a handful of Holly Valances. So often they aim to dine at pop’s luxurious table but end up hidden out back, in the alley, begging for scraps. That Matt Berry is better known for his role as Douglas Reynholm in The IT Crowd and the person behind Channel 4 sitcom Toast of London is largely irrelevant – with this record he isn’t striving to join this line, but rather carve out another piece of his peculiar puzzle. Berry’s previous musical endeavours have included the Snuff Box soundtrack and music for the Steve Coogan comedy Saxondale, while the last of his four previous albums Kill The Wolf was folk prog leaning. Now Music For Insomniacs sees him turn in a whole different direction and firmly embrace synth based musical experimentalism. Born out of a period of sleep deprivation, it’s a record that encapsulates two long form musical pieces that can be broken into several distinct sections, with the rich overhanging influence of electronic pioneers Mike Oldfield and Jean-Michel Jarre at their core. And it’s an admirable attempt. Music For Insomniacs may not be for all, but it’s no laughing matter either.
From the first shuffling beats and interweaving synths it’s obvious that Zoetrope – the debut album by Working for A Nuclear Free City songwriter Phil Kay – is going to be more than a simple saunter through well tread electronica territory. Sounding something like a less hyperactive Dan Deacon, or Caribou with the playfulness lever fully deployed, King of the Mountains squashes 10 effervescent and luxurious tracks into less than 35 minutes. The sloping Animal Attractions is pure Slugabed territory, lolloping along like a sedated beast prowling the urban jungle, while title track is a Gold Pandaesque shimmy through pensive, melodic house. ELA has a more reflective, subtler feel – something like Dam Mantle’s gentle undulating rhythms. If there’s a criticism of Kay’s debut solo effort at all, it’s simply that it could have pushed a bit further, at times feeling more like a collection of almost finished ideas than a coherent album. Still, precious few artists have the ability to distill something so organic sounding from their gadgets and machines. And despite the fleeting quality of some of the material, this is a beautifully crafted electronic ephemera.
Max Graef probably hates people talking about his age. And comparing him to Motor City Drum Ensemble: he was 19 when first picked up by Melbourne Deepcast a little under a year ago, is German, and makes samply, dusty deep house and hip-hop. The release notes for his debut album ask the listener to enjoy with a ‘good bottle of red’. Frankly, it’s all a bit Oye Records, we know. But on the basis of this album, Graef does seem like someone who'd be able to recommend a good bottle of red, give a brief history of its origins and casually drop in the fact he’s been a vintner since he was six. Born and raised in Prenzlauer Berg, Graef has carved out a space for himself in the MCDE/Andre Lodemann spectrum of critic-friendly deep house. But on Rivers of the Red Planet, label Tartelet have given him space. While we already knew about his prodigious talent for house music production, so self-evident on his releases for selfrun Box aus Holz, here Graef has been allowed to experiment and create contemporary house/hip-hop montages based on some seriously esoteric jazz and early electronic music. (Good luck sample spotting.) Rivers… is structured in a comfortingly familiar way – ease-in, peak around the middle, gentle ease-off towards the end – but feels welltailored to a home listen. The intro is an exposition in Graef’s production style: dusty samples, analogue synths, all manner of 60s era sci-fi bleeps. We’re then straight into Itzehoe, which maintains some of the sci-fi snippets of the intro, but slaps up a driving 4/4 beat. Superswiss is the first of several hip-hop interludes, and while pleasant enough, adds relatively little to the album as a whole. Running demonstrates Graef’s aptitude for woozy slo jams with shades of Eglo Records, and Vino Rosetto is a track that uniquely combines the bleepy-ness of Mort Ganson with the rhythms of DJ Koze. This is an extremely impressive debut from a young artist who’s clearly listened to a hell of a lot of music. The shorter hip-hop interludes are fairly skippable after a few listens, but these misgivings aside, Graef looks set for a promising career in entertaining audiences both in Oye and out.
A messenger dismounts a camel and rudely disturbs the grape feeding in our Saharan desert branch office/oasis/disco. A CD tucked into his turban reflects a sunbeam and he looks at us seriously before carefully popping it in the hi-fi. Prins Thomas is a bit on the catch-up job following Todd Terje and Lindstrøm’s erupting contributions to the disco revival over the past few years, although they’re all still Scandinavian space disco buddies at heart. III marks a footprint away from the crisp disco of Thomas’s counterparts and another step toward the Krautrock inclinations of his previous efforts. It cycles more softly, and sounds more organic in its gradual progressions. The delay-laden flow is given a stimulating new dimension as phasing Arabian Nights-esque solos carry it along. All the while, Prins Thomas acts the hypnotist. BPM limit is 120, and the producer has moved to now be the master of his computer, rather than working around its flaws. By avoiding a theme and succumbing to his own fancy, III is genuinely unified, maybe because each track shares a sense common how he felt at the time of writing – a diary entry never professes great insight but still might hold it. This is subtle yet engaging, utterly immersive. It’s very rare that a record manages to simultaneously lull you whilst maintaining your focus so carefully. And this is a rare album.
! Steven Dores
! Nathan Westley
! Adam Corner
! Robert Bates
! Henry Thomas
PRINS THOMAS III Full Pupp MATT BERRY Music For Insomniacs Acid Jazz
KING OF THE MOUNTAINS Zoetrope Melodic MAX GRAEF Rivers Of The Red Planet Tartelet
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BACK TO JACK: LEVON VINCENT + PORTABLE The Coroners’ Court, Bristol 1 March Greeted by illuminated Tudor gothic architecture, the Coroners’ Court immediately demands our attention, luring us to enter this back-to-basics affair from Bristol promotion institution Just Jack. Once inside the decoration is minimal, and it soon transpires that this night is really all about what’s happening behind the decks and on the dancefloors. In recent years, Portable (aka Bodycode) has gained an increase of widespread recognition for his music, and a sense of anticipation was palpable. Portable delivered exactly what his crowd were hungry for: innovative, experimental electronic music which built and swelled before retreating and reflecting, teasing us throughout. Unsurprisingly much of his set fell fresh on our ears, but it was great to hear his track Onward with Johannes Schön so well received by the crowd. Portable made for an excellent prelude to the intensity of Levon Vincent’s raw yet hypnotic set, which provided three hours of unadulterated, stripped back techno. A unanimous highlight was hearing Vincent’s highly praised Late Night Jam release on Ostgut Ton. As the party drew to a close in the main room, the warmth of piano and jazz in the form of a white label by Jacques Renault cut through the aggressive beats, and refocused the energy for a move to the smaller second room where frivolities continued. What made Back To Jack special was the fluidity and interconnection between the sets, how each built with the energy of the crowd, many of whom kept dancing until long after the sun came up. ! Sarah Tew N Theo Cottle
INNERVISIONS ÜBERBALL Berghain, Berlin 23 March
INTERPOL Brixton Academy 28 March
You can’t win at the door in Berghain. The girls in front of us were politely informed that the club was not for them, so we sat tight dressed in black not saying jack, looking moody, slightly worse for wear at 6am, thinking, ‘there is no fucking way I want to go to bed now.’ We slip past the black bomber-jacket clad security guard who says: “You can grin you know!” See? Can’t fucking win. We ventured inside for a healthy dose of the Innervisions Überball. Like any 12-hour stint in one place it’s good to mix things up, so Crack nestled in for a good old deep and meaningful on the bottom floor while numerous men clad in Adidas short shorts and nothing else scuttled past us, which, considering our surroundings, seemed perfectly normal. We proceeded to the belly of the Berghain beast to catch the last two hours of Surgeon – a man whom we revere as much as anyone associated with British techno. His set is far from Berghain’s distorted kick staple and contained a splattering of melody, yet it still punished as one could only hope. Unless you’re ‘ardcore (and we’re nearly 30 so we’re not ‘alf as ‘ardcore as we used to be), spending 24 hours in a nightclub is quite a feat, so we picked the 12 hours that best suited us, and what suited us was Dixon in Panorama Bar. His depthy set saw the Innervisions sound that so characterised last year deployed to perfection. Final set of the weekend went to young gun Alex.Do who again bypassed the stereotype of things being too tough, with a set that claimed a progressive territory as much as any. When we left there was still roughly 13 hours to go and it was heartbreak to leave it all behind. The queue was huge.
The nigh on 20-year-old NME Award Tour jaunt has seen the headline slot gather a reputation as a sometimes poisoned chalice; some incumbents could be labelled as a couple of flashes in a few pans (Casey Chaos’s hardcore jesters Amen supported by JJ72, anyone?), but others have gone on to grace the publication’s cover for years to come. So it was a surprise to see true indie greatness heading this year’s bill: Interpol’s sharp, thoughtful, even mournful post-punk cut through at a time when a whole host of ‘The’ bands were jangling themselves into a cokey frenzy. But about five years ago, Interpol lost bassist and focal-point Carlos Dengler, released an ambivalently received fourth LP, toured with U2, and went on hiatus. The band’s decadently voiced frontman Paul Banks made a solo record, and a hip-hop mixtape called Everybody On My Dick Like They Supposed To Be. No, he did. So, credit where it’s due to the NME for a change in policy which allows icons of the movement to sit atop the bill which rolls into Brixton Academy. Whilst the publication struggles to find a great deal to champion in terms of new music these days (see the rest of tonight’s line-up: Circa Waves, Royal Blood and surely most insipid of all, Temples), it’s commendable to present a band who have a potent influence on the NME’s musical worldview, and who are now hoping to retrieve the position of strength they held seven or so years ago. And from the moment they take the stage, Interpol carry themselves like a band with a point to prove. They are a striking collective on the eye, as ever, clad in dark suits and emitting a brooding, dramatic aura. They play with a purposeful slickness too, kicking off with an acute rendition of Say Hello To The Angels before Dengler’s replacement Brad Truax leads with the growling bassline of Evil. The band carve their way through a barrage of brilliant, meticulously arranged songs; C’mere, The Heinrich Maneuver, PDA, Slow Hands and Obstacle 1. It’s a masterclass, a mature and measured performance which drives the young crowd into raptures. New material was certainly scarce, so it’s difficult to say where exactly Interpol go from here. But on tonight’s evidence, they might be the NME’s best tip in ages.
! Thomas Frost
FRANZ FERDINAND The Dome, Brighton 17 March For a time during the mid 00s it was near-impossible to leave the house without being greeted by either the sound or image of Franz Ferdinand. They, along with musical comrades The Futureheads and Bloc Party, were key motivators in a British guitar explosion that saw lopsided haircuts and angular riffs pushed to the fore. In monochrome themed outfits and with a backdrop of projected images flickering behind them, tonight the foursome power through a set that twists and turns its way through their four album catalogue. While material from last year’s Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action including Evil Eye and Right Action are met with a warm embrace, it’s no surprise that glimpses of that decade-old debut herald the best connection with tonight’s varied crowd. The foot-stomping chorus of Take Me Out and the lively Michael have soundtracked thousands of drunken fumbles and many more hazy nights spent at indie discos, so it’s little surprise that these three minute bursts of sharp guitars and sharper melodies hit hard. Just like the band’s equally angular singer, the material has aged extremely well. Alex Kapranos and co. may not reach the heady heights of past successes, but there’s little doubting that these now musical veterans possess a timeless appeal. ! Nathan Westley N Mike Burnell
! Jack Bolter
REPEATER MINI FESTIVAL Shacklewell Arms 16 March It’s another beautiful summer’s day in the middle of March, and the Shacklewell Arms has duly provided a shelter from the blistering sun with a brand new bi-monthly music festival: Repeater. “Come one come all” they sang, “drink from a selection of fine ales as you browse our extensive fayre of zany zines, imprudent illustrations, and crass cassettes, and hole up in the back room for a line-up that will make your sun cream turn sour.” Crack got the call and cancelled the picnic. At barely 5pm the weather-powered pints were already flowing with such magnitude as to dishevel any notion of this being a minor event. Americanaflavoured three-piece Blueprint Blue were first to the fore with a compelling set full of doe-eyed Neil Young-isms performed with the tightest solidarity. From the tenderly melodic rhythm section that backed sprawling opener The Cabin is Cold, to the furious blues stylings that flailed and corrupted each Down By The River chord that followed, the melodic trio were every bit the band to rival The Band. Carpark Records’ Popstrangers followed with dreamy reverbed guitars playing ode to ‘80s indie champions like The Smiths and Felt, with tracks like Rats In The Palm Trees offering up a picturesque companion to the warm lights of red and blue that adorned their stage. Later, Autobahn blizzarded through a fierce set that recalled post-punk potentates such as Joy Division for colossal tracks bearing such repellent titles as Force Fed and Seizure. Brighton bedroom-baron-slash-pillow-punk producer Theo Verney followed in what was easily one of the best sets of the evening: 30 minutes of giddy-up grunge riffs and the kind of green-brained head banging that would make Dinosaur Jr.’s Sludgefeast cry tears of fairy liquid, and even paid his dues by bursting into a few bars of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Freebird solo in a climactic finale. Four more freebirds followed up for a headline performance worthy of the 5,000-odd miles they had travelled from Portland, Oregon. Nefarious lo-fi fiends White Fang were the guys in coloured shirts and beady glasses making the smoking area feel like Wayne’s World all afternoon, and it translated spectacularly to the stage. With new album Full Time Freaks on the brink of inciting Andrew W.K. levels of partying, the four-piece spewed a mixture of punk acrobatics and Ariel Pink-esque lunacy across the floor for a hugely fun set. With a soggy pair of shorts and far fewer brain cells than we had arrived with, Crack peeled itself away from the triumphant opening weekend of Repeater festival, and take our word for it – this one goes all the way up to eleven. ! James Balmont N Rebecca Hughes
CRACK LIVE SESSIONS: EAGULLS A NEW LIVE SERIES FILMED EXCLUSIVELY AT INVADA STUDIOS WATCH NOW ON CRACKMAGAZINE.NET
WILD BEASTS O2 Academy, Bristol 30 March
BANKS KOKO, Camden 31 March Worst choice of song for a TV ad? Banks’s Waiting Game for lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret must be a strong contender. Not because it’s a bad tune – far from it. But rarely have an adman’s visuals clashed so diabolically with a backing track’s lyrics. The commercial’s brash sexuality could not jar more with a song of such vulnerability, of such emotional rawness, its barrage of supermodels simpering in bras and panties at complete odds with Banks’s confession of a broken relationship racked by insecurity. If you really want to see how to marry Waiting Game with sensuality, watch Banks sing it live. It’s mesmerising. At her first of two nights at KOKO, she was pale, clad in clunky stilettos and a black dress extending below her knees: the opposite of pop’s cookie-cutter sex kitten. She was utterly hypnotic. It began with Banks emerging through a dazzling expanse of sound and white strobes, rendering the stage a ghostly monochrome canvas of silhouettes, intoning her ominous tale of break-up woe in Before I Ever Met You. Her stunning 2013 single This Is What It Feels Like followed, shaking off her initial nerves with pitch-perfect vocals, sweet and high above a roaring sub-bass that reverberated deep from nose to guts. But her talents were most on show when she stripped down the pageant of backing tracks, bass, dry ice and flashing lights and delivered an alternative, soulful jam of Warm Waters, and one of the few songs that chart the optimism of first love rather than its painful end, offering some welcome light amid the tenebrous wall of synths. She repeated this with Fall Over, featuring just her voice and keyboard, and again with her brilliant cover of Aaliyah’s Are You That Somebody. But, inevitably, the darkness descended again with a powerful rendition of Waiting Game, perhaps Banks’s most harrowing song. One encore closed the hour-long set with a stunning cover of The Weeknd’s stirring lament, What You Need. As voyeuristic as it feels to listen in on her unguarded lyrics of angst, abuse and obsession, Banks’ live shows are a cathartic spectacle. Sexy, striking and seductive too. Just don’t go there expecting an extended Victoria’s Secret ad. ! Jack Losh
METRONOMY Brixton Academy 28 March In the company of one of Britain’s best, the occasion is made all the more special by the wonderful setting of the Brixton Academy. And the venue’s vast scale is certainly appropriate for Metronomy’s current tour. 2011’s beloved The English Riviera rightfully boosted the band’s profile, and now Joseph Mount and his band have returned with Love Letters, a record that feels more organic in comparison. But this ‘feel’ proves to be rooted primarily in the album’s production. Live, the contrast falls away, everything melts together with maximum charm and efficiency, and the distance between the songs of old and the newer efforts are hardly, if at all, noticeable. The set begins with Monstrous, a new track featuring a wonderfully skewed synthesiser reminiscent of the Walter Carlos soundtrack to A Clockwork Orange. It’s this element of retro-futurism, delivered with Mount’s impeccable pop sensibility, that gives Metronomy such character and immediacy. Single Love Letters soon erupts, testing everyone’s high notes before we’re straight onto The Look, the 2011 anthem that boasts one of the most singable synth hooks composed in recent years. The audience are hyped, clapping in rhythm to an extended rendition of Boy Racers which sees the stage lights flashing in a hazy Top of the Pops fashion. After the well-balanced set of old and new, Metronomy encore with Some Written and Heartbreaker, eventually closing up with The Most Immaculate Haircut. And with that, we bid a bittersweet farewell to a band we’ve managed to fall in love with even more. ! Tim Oxley Smith N Phil Sharp
Amongst most discerning lists of this year’s best albums so far, you’ll find the names of East India Youth and Wild Beasts. With the Kendal foursome’s latest effort drifting into more electronic-leaning experimentation, inviting rising auteur William Doyle to open their tour is an inspired choice. Doyle quickly sets about showcasing the fact he is so much more than a laptop musician, bringing Total Strife Forever’s startling sonic variety to life. Livening things up with pulsating, manic bass solos and subtle changes to mesmerising album tracks, Doyle turns one man, a laptop, some knob twiddling and a bass into a hypnotic live show. Opening with an unfortunate false start caused by some synth issues, new album cut Mecca soon takes its vivid form. The challenge faced by a post-Present Tense Wild Beasts is to blend what is a complete transformation in sound into a cohesive set. It’s done perfectly. Flowing effortlessly from the simple, tropical sounds of Reach a Bit Further and The Devil’s Crayon into the deep, emotional complexity of tracks from Present Tense, they construct a stunning display of their progression without detracting from the quality of their earlier work. This transition is beautifully enhanced by impressive lighting; flowing from the blacks and whites of early Wild Beasts to the vivid complex colours of Present Tense, a spectrum which juxtaposes its much darker sound to create a powerful mood. Capping things off with an epic four-part encore of both old and new, the night ends on a slightly sour note as the long build towards climax with End Come To Soon culminates in a heartbreakingly painful screech of feedback, instantly dispelling the anticipation so masterfully created. This is not to detract from Wild Beasts as a band; simply an unfortunate end to a brilliant show. ! Henry Boon N Martin @ Allyourprey
EVIAN CHRIST WATERFALL EP LAUNCH Oval Space, London 21 March Last November, Evian Christ self-curated his ‘Trance Party’, an event which felt like end-of-year victory lap. Tonight, he’s followed it by assembling a line-up to launch the Waterfall EP, a record which sees him intensify his ambient/ contemporary hip-hop formula into something abrasive and extreme. It’s a move inspired by the pulverising noise experiments of Vatican Shadow and Pete Swanson, and this direction makes Millie & Andrea’s appearance on tonight’s bill a fitting choice. The duo – compromised of Andy Stott and Demdike Stare’s Miles Whitaker – are known to fuse hyperactive trap beats, murky jungle and derelict warehouse drones. But maybe the rhythmic switches of their set are too abrupt to sustain the dancefloor, or maybe it’s just that everyone is saving their energy for tonight’s biggest talking point: the flamboyant, Kanye-affiliated Houston rapper Travi$ Scott. Scott’s set is probably the most balls-out crazy rap show we’ve ever seen. After a disconcertingly long wait, he arrives on stage with DJ Semtex, glaring into the crowd with an expression that makes us wonder if he’s just ingested London’s entire supply of cocaine. “I need to see niggas crowdsurfing, I wanna see niggas throwing their motherfucking shoes!”, he yells. And while we see no one part with their footwear, Scott’s unhinged charisma is certainly contagious. He climbs the stage’s platforms, stage diving repeatedly, and ordering Semtex to wheel the track every time he’s dissatisfied with the sweat-drenched crowd’s energy levels. He does, however, fail to actually rap much amidst all the chaos. Evian Christ eventually gets to start his set. The tracks from 2012’s Kings and Them are settling as classics, and nearly every audience member can be seen mouthing the Tyga vocal sample of Fuck It None Of Ya’ll Don’t Rap. By the end, he’s fully loosing his shit, headbanging behind his desk to the lightning bolt synth stabs of Salt Carousel. Gone is the modest, spotlight-reluctant producer who’d rather be teaching primary school kids. Evian Christ is now a boundary-pushing, big time artist, and he knows he has the power to summon artists from the most distant margins to gather under one roof. ! Davy Reed N Taylor Kalambayi
ADRIAN UTLEY’S GUITAR ORCHESTRA Trinity, Bristol 8 March We enter the Trinity Centre’s newly renovated second floor hall in time for the first wave of Adrian Utley of Portishead's Guitar Orchestra to unfurl over the hushed and huddled audience. Every eye and ear in the room is directed towards the 20 or so strong, seated army of guitars; a Swiss army of sorts as opposed to Glen Branca’s sonic annihilations, but every bit as effective. Terry Riley’s In C was and still is a groundbreaking piece of minimalism, endlessly interpreted and revisited; the original had no set duration and was designed with versatility of numbers in mind, and no two shows ever the same. The church’s newest gem proved to be the perfect setting to witness Riley’s work as a live piece. Made up of an impressive cast of musicians, the orchestra’s output tentatively grew before locking into the first of many seismic grooves. Melodies ebbed and flowed, leaving us transfixed, fruitlessly attempting to navigate exactly what sound was emerging from which guitar. Some moments recalled Godspeed! at their most melancholy, others verged on triumphant. A few weeks previous, Fuck Buttons had aurally battered Trinity’s main hall with their glacial slabs of electronic noise, which should in many ways represent the antithesis of tonight’s show. Yet, remarkably, we’re left with much the same dumb smiles as the Utley directed lullaby envelops the space. A wonderful and enchanting welcome to a new chapter in the Trinity’s rich history. ! Joe Hatt
oval space music 64
CHAPTER #2 24/05/2014
14:00 −→ 06:00
O VA L S PA C E.C O.U K 29–32 THE OVAL E2 9DT 020 7183 4422
ALL DAY // ALL NIGHT
AGORIA TEN WALLS LIVE // KiNK LIVE BOB MOSES LIVE // MATTHEW DEKAY FRITZ ZANDER
LONDON PREMIERE LONDON PREMIERE
How do you become Wes Anderson’s friend? Probably by pulling some outrageous stunt like arriving at Cannes film festival on a Da Vinci screw aircraft whilst playing the jazz flute. It’s hard to define an auteur, or anything indefinite these days. But what Wes Anderson has achieved is something. He’s making magic and what more can we ask from a filmmaker? We love you Wes. Gushing tributes to The Grand Budapest Hotel aside, Crack has enjoyed a sumptuous array of films this month, reflective of what 2014 has had to offer thus far. We also went to see Muppets Most Wanted, which would have been hard for us to slander even if it had been terrible. Which it wasn’t. Terry Gilliam wallows in his own past genius in The Zero Theorem, while Scarlett Johansson takes the lead in our two other selections this month; intriguing superhero effort Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the much-vaunted post-sci-fi flick Under the Skin.
THE ZERO THEOREM dir. Terry Gilliam Starring: Christopher Waltz, David Thewlis, Mélanie Thierry
There are many charming discrepancies in Gilliam’s creative output, yet one miscalculation lingers; is it us or him that has lost the plot? Are we too wired into our own pragmatic nightmares to comprehend his homegrown brand of sci-fi sociopolitical lampooning, or is Gilliam burning out? In The Zero Theorem (possibly the most conspicuous dead ringer to his faultless Brazil yet), a hermitic number cruncher undertakes menial corporate tasks in a pre-Blade Runner dystopia, resignedly awaiting a phone call from an unknown celestial deity. Limited yet chromatic set designs coupled with adroit acting bring taste to the affair, with Christopher Waltz purveying the crazed computer serf Qohen Leth with exemplary control while David Thewlis resuscitates a perfect caricature of the semi-maniacal worker bee figure. But with the resolute importance of Brazil eclipsing his vision, Gilliam has once again failed to escape from his own allegorical fantasies.
! Tom Watson
MUPPETS MOST WANTED dir. James Bobin Starring: Kermit The Frog, Miss Piggy, Ricky Gervais
UNDER THE SKIN dir. Jonathan Glazer Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Paul Brannigan Under the Skin is adapted from the novel of the same name, which tells the story of an extraterrestrial seductress scouring the roads of Scotland, abducting a multitude of wanderers and eventually slaughtering them for food on the alien’s homeland. In Glazer’s interpretation none of this is particularly apparent – which actually works in the film’s favour, cutting what would otherwise be classed as science fiction into a mythological form. In loosening the original text’s sensibility, Under the Skin explores a strange earthy folk-tale quality, its meaning perhaps reinterpreted for the sake of superficiality. The story undoubtedly threads too far into ambiguity, but it’s that superficiality that kept us interested. A superb score is layered over soundscapes of deafening shopping malls and car tyres on wet tarmac interlaced with lingering long takes which are as enticing and menacing as Johansson’s character. Challenging for anyone, she inhabits the role well, utilising the little offered to her by the script with aplomb. But despite a few rapturously surreal scenes and its aural delights, Under the Skin doesn’t rove anywhere near as deep beneath our epidermis as we were prepared to let it. Still, it’s a solemn refraction of British realism, and British surrealism is well worth celebrating. ! Tim Oxley Smith
Apart from the really naff Pixar Monster’s University short (to aid DVD sales, no doubt) that precedes Muppets Most Wanted, there is absolutely shit all else aimed at children in this movie. Which is great. Those brats get to have all the fun, waking up their parents before dawn, pissing on car seats and demanding to be taken to see Rio 2. This is some serious payback; there’s little chance kids will really appreciate Ray Liotta, Jermaine from Flight of the Conchords and Danny ‘Machete’ Trejo singing a broadway musical number together in a Russian Gulag. Nor would they fully understand the hilarious stereotyping of the countries The Muppets visit on their world tour. There’s even a bit where Ricky Gervais sings ... but we didn’t like that bit much either. Muppets Most Wanted is the follow up to Disney’s 2011 rehash, and it’s so wonderfully self-aware that the first musical number named Doing A Sequel tells you all you need to know about where Flight of the Conchords writer/director James Bobin is coming from. One line even bluntly states that the film is technically the seventh sequel they’ve done. Brilliant. In contrast to its more cuddly, Disney-fied predecessor, Most Wanted moves back to that subtle comedic brunt of The Muppet Show, not to mention the range of ridiculous cameos. So put some gin in your kids’ milk so they fall asleep and you can enjoy that Ingmar Bergman, Seventh Seal ‘hurdy gurdy’ gag in peace. And if you don’t have kids, well – you’ve got nothing to worry about. ! Tim Oxley Smith
THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL dir. Wes Anderson Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, Willem Defoe What ever happened to the caper? Wes Anderson’s eighth feature length applies all the charm of a comical adventure and, along with his schoolboy sense of humour and established auteurship, has delivered him to whole new mesa in his career. Anderson’s work has heralded nigh-on hero worship round these parts since forever. We look over his career and remember those head-rushy, wonderful, neurotic life moments invariably underlaid with a perfectly chosen Kinks record (remember Herman Blume bombing into the pool in Rushmore?). It seems Anderson’s now become less reliant on his kitsch, poppy devices, and in doing so he reaches a more seasoned form of storytelling. And Grand Budapest is actually funny, embellished by the brilliant Fiennes who – channelling Peter Sellers’ Clouseau – leads the gobsmacking troupe of actors Anderson has collected like prized game over his career. An Anderson has never looked so good either, exercising that knack for finding satisfying symmetry, now against the grandiose backdrop of European architecture, entwined with fantastical storybook animations. Grand Budapest is everything we’ve come to expect from the director, turned up to 11 – with a polite consideration for the neighbours, of course. ! Tim Oxley Smith
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER dir. Anthony Russo, Joe Russo Starring: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson There seem to be two prevailing schools of thought when it comes to converting superhero comics into blockbuster smashes. The first is to go full-stupid; embracing the camp, theatrical, ostentatious nature of the genre and just generally ham it all the way up. The second is to suck away all of that, and reformat everything as a deadly-serious, po-faced character study that portrays the hero as a flawed, troubled human (hey, just like the rest of us!). Both have their merits when executed with conviction, but now Captain America: The Winter Soldier makes a strong case for a third approach; melting the comic cheese over a hard-edged plot that touches on heavy issues such as genocide, the dissolution of privacy, pre-emptive action and loneliness. In fact, everything about this movie that could so easily cause eyes to roll clean out of your head seems totally natural. The dialogue is stereotypical and the fight scenes are decidedly forced into being, but it feels right, and that’s a rare thing to achieve in a movie so overtly fantastical. The plot mines the same rich seam of first-world paranoia that Iron Sky so memorably (and badly) instigated by revealing that those pesky Nazis never actually went anywhere after all, and this time they mean business. The ins and outs are actually quite hard to grasp at first, which is a bit of a misstep for a big, catch-all film such as this, but luckily there are at least a couple of moments where everything is explained in a Storylines For Dummies style and order is restored. The fight scenes, while incredibly fluid and satisfying (Captain America’s shield makes a very agreeable thud upon impact with both steel and flesh), suffer from the same hyperactive chop-chop-chop editing that has marred every Michael Bay film ever, and there’s some very creepy uncanny-valley facial CGI to look out for, but these issues are easy to overlook as the film races along with a page-turning urgency befitting its origins. The filmmakers have managed to create a very real and believable world for these characters, one rooted firmly in our own but ultimately existing to house the supernormal that inhabit it. And though Captain America: The Winter Soldier could’ve done with a bit more of The Winter Soldier, it’s a very effective presummer b-buster. ! Steven Dores
Upcoming London Shows www.rockfeedbackconcerts.com
JOHNNY FLYNN & THE SUSSEX WIT
THE WAVE PICTURES
Koko Camden 9th April
Islington Assembly Hall 18th April
Sebright Arms Bethnal Green 23rd April
Birthdays Dalston 28th April
The Lexington Islington 6th & 7th May
OSLO Hackney 12th May
Oval Space Bethnal Green 21st May
Scala Kings Cross 22nd May
Union Chapel Bethnal Green 23rd May
Scala Kings Cross 27th May
Electric Brixton 27th May
The Garage Islington 3rd June
Dingwalls Camden 5th June
Koko Camden 10th June
VISIONS FESTIVAL Multiple Venues London Fields 2nd August
MØ O2 Shepherds Bush Empire 1st November
Get tickets and full info at: www.rockfeedbackconcerts.com
WILD BEASTS TUES 1 APR O2 ACADEMY BRIXTON
OLIVER WILDE THURS 3 APR THE LEXINGTON
MO KOLOURS TUES 1 APR THE WAITING ROOM
JESCA HOOPOUT LD MON 7 APR SO SEBRIGHT ARMS
LAW TUES 1 APR SERVANT JAZZ QUARTERS
FEAR OF MEN WED 16 APR BIRTHDAYS
THE AMAZING SNAKEHEADSOUT THURS 3SOAPR LD BETHNAL GREEN WORKING MEN’S CLUB HOWLER THURS 3 APR OSLO HACKNEY
ELEPHANT WED 7 MAY BETHNAL GREEN WORKING MEN’S CLUB EZRA FURMAN MON 19 MAY 100 CLUB ROSIE LOWE MON 19 MAY XOYO
ARCHIE BRONSON OUTFIT WED 21 MAY ISLINGTON ASSEMBLY HALL LA FEMME WED 21 MAY SCALA T JUNGLE OU FRI 23 MAY LD SO OVAL SPACE
CROCODILES SAT 24 MAY THE LEXINGTON HOSPITALITYOUT MON 26SMAY OLD SEBRIGHT ARMS
SIVU WED 4 JUN ROUNDHOUSE STUDIO JUANA MOLINA THURS 5 JUN ROUNDHOUSE STUDIO GIRL BAND WED 11 JUN SHACKLEWELL ARMS PARQUET COURTS WED 25 JUN ULU CATE LE BON THURS 11 SEP KOKO
The Waiting Room Friday April 11
Monday May 5
GAP DREAM BOOGARINS THE PROPER ORNAMENTS
ZZZ’S A DEAD FOREST INDEX GEMMA THOMPSON (SAVAGES)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Saturday April 12
LUMERIANS THE WANDS BLACK MEKON
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Sunday April 13
THE BLUE ANGEL LOUNGE LORELLE MEETS THE OBSOLETE
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Friday April 25
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Monday April 28
BAT & BALL
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Thursday May 15
(Underneath The Three Crowns) 175 Stoke Newington High Street, London N16 0LH waitingroomn16.com facebook.com/waitingroomn16 • twitter.com/waitingroomn16
Thursday 10 April
Saturday 19 April
TROPICAL WASTE -------------------------
Friday 11 April
Friday 15 April
MARK SEVEN (PARKWAY RECORDS)
BULLION GASIUS -------------------------
------------------------Saturday 3 May
Saturday 12 April
------------------------Thursday 17 April
Thursday 8 May
Saturday May 31
NIGHT BEATS COSMONAUTS
DEMDIKE STARE RAIME
Friday 15 May
FOLLAKAZOID THE LUCID DREAM
STANDARD PLANETS HARALD GROSSKOPF (RVNG/SKY) (ASH RA TEMPEL)
Tuesday May 27
Sunday June 1
Friday 18 April
VERTICAL SCRATCHES FACE + HEEL WILLIAM ARCANE Tuesday 3 June
% 100 É SUN
KIT SU NÉ
Easter Special Saturday 19th April Village Underground, London
DIGITALISM BEATAUCUE JERRY BOUTHIER vs PUNKS JUMP UP (10 0% Kitsuné set) TOBTOK LOGO (LIVE)
Advance Tickets £14.5 9.30 pm – 4 am sidentadvisor.net 54 Holywell Lane, EC2A 3PQ www.re nsomnote.co.uk www.ra e.com medicin agicand www.m nd.co.uk http://villageundergrou
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Paying the cost to be the boss with...
I know there’s nothing peculiar about being in love with Bill Murray, but I feel that my infatuation is getting out of control. I need to meet him in the flesh, to stroke that wispy hair, to caress that crinkly face. It’s no secret that you’re a man with A-list connections, can you put me in touch?
I’ve made a ruddy fool of myself and it looks like my political career is ruined. As a compassionate gesture of selfless good will, I launched a campaign which would reach out to the decent, hardworking, arguably dignified proles by trimming the costs of their beloved pastimes: drinking lager and gambling. But it backfired, and now the entire country unanimously believes that I’m a patronising, bumbling prick. Denzil, the people love you, can you give me some tips of winning back public favour?
For some reason all my mates think it’s cool to say that they hate reggae music now, how can I convince them otherwise?
Sarah, 33, Cardiff Denzil says: Ahhh Bill! We were once good friends, as it happens. We hit the treadmills together when he needed to get in shape after Ghostbusters. When he was feeling anxious about playing Polonius in Michael Almereyda’s adaptation of Hamlet, we tirelessly rehearsed Act I Scene III in his penthouse. We’ve also jammed onstage at his restaurant many, many times. But these days, sadly, it seems like he’d rather be comparing ironic bow-ties with Wes bloody Anderson.
Every Day I Love You Less And Less
by Josh Baines
Saturday night. The taste of battered sausage mixing in his mouth with Golden Virginia smoke and Kronenbourg. On the table in front of him there’s a grinder, some empty Jaffa Cake jackets, and the pork pie hat which probably got him the job. Peanut takes his drag, hunches his free hand down the side of the sofa and unhooks the remote. Fuckin’ Peanut, man, he thinks to himself. Fuckin’ Peanut.
Eight O’Clock. He flicks over to BBC1. Tom Jones’ scrotal face fills the screen. He’s saying something and Will.i.am is agreeing with him and so is Kylie Minogue. Ricky is there too. Ricky from college, Ricky from The Kaiser Chiefs, the man who’s kept him behind that keyboard for 10 years. Peanut sighs and he thinks about playing on the second stage of V last summer. He died that day. He lives on though,
Frank Schnapps, 45, Welwyn Hatfield
Sean, 21, Guildford Denzil says: They’re probably not in touch with the true source of good reggae Sean. Judging by the ‘ska’ gigs I’ve supervised my sons at, it’s all about full-grown men wearing shorts and running round in circles these days. My advice is to pour yourself a glass of rum, have a toke and zone out to Wings’ C Moon or, of course, Clapton’s rendition of I Shot The Sheriff.
Denzil says: You’re right, the people do love me. In fact, due to my alluring charisma and innate leadership skills, I became the figurehead of an international (and highly profitable) motivational group in the 70s. But, I digress. I can’t see you making new mates any time soon, however I feel there might be a bright future in tax-deductible charity activities ahead of you.
out of hope, out of being brave enough to tell Ricky that he’s only done this to fund his boundary-pushing side project, and that he’s fucking off and you can all get fucked when Editions Mego put out his next record. He’ll be in Brooklyn bars with Oneohtrix Point Never gossiping about Laurie Spiegel and the guys in Wolf Eyes, you just watch. Nine O’Clock. Peanut turns off the telly and puts
on Far Side Virtual. He texts Ricky. Hopes he’s good, mate. Does he fancy a drink? No worries if not, mate. Ricky is pouring champagne into Kylie’s glass. When his phone buzzes, he looks at it, rolls his eyes, cocks a brow. Kylie asks him who it was. Nobody, he tells her, just some bloke I went to college with. Just a fucking hanger on. Glasses clink. Bubbles pop. Kylie laughs.
The Crack Magazine Crossword Across 02. Patronise (8) 04. Draughts (8) 06. Blue + Red = (6) 10. Insect/Dinosaur Jr. album (3) 11. Endeavour (3) 13. Western Northern American mountain range (7) 15. Person from Merseyside (12) 18. Rick Ross (5) 19. Free time (7) Down 01. Rubber ball of air (8) 03. Trance epic from Fragma (5,7) 05. The noise you make when you eat crisps and, sometimes, biscuits (6) 07. Heavily synthesised, groove-laded hip-hop pioneered by Dre, Snoop etc (1-4) 08. The kind of slope you really don’t want to find yourself on (8) 09. University living quarters; Dirty Room (anag.) (9) 12. Little dog or something (3) 14. Not into intercourse (8) 16. You take something off the internet, right, then you put it on your computer or something (8) 17. Not a consonant (5)
Solutions to last issue’s crossword: ACROSS: 02. CORRUPTION, 05. NYMPHOMANIAC, 07. RECAP, 08. RYE, 09. MOBY DICK, 10. WALLFLOWER, 14. COCTEAU TWINS 18. PUSSY, 19. SEINFELD DOWN: 01. MARZIPAN, 03. PENNYROYAL TEA, 04. FLATBUSH, 06. PRANK, 11. WACKY, 12. DIVERSIONS, 13. GUTTER, 15. TRIUMPHANT, 16. SENSATIONS, 17. PANACHE
Amongst the most studied and respected collectives in dance music history, The Belleville Three compromises Juan ‘The Originator’ Atkins, Derrick ‘The Innovator’ May and Kevin Saunderson, who is known as ... ‘The Elevator’, presumably due either to the uplifting quality of his sets or his lofty stature. Ok, so your name being cemented in history as a pioneer of Detroit techno is obviously pretty cool and all, but we can’t help but wonder if Saunderson pulled the short straw. “OK guys, I’ll be The Originator, oh man the girls will love it. Derrick, you’ve pushed this shit to another level, you can be The Innovator. And Kevin... erm, you’re the tallest, you can be ... I dunno, The Elevator?”. You’d be slightly miffed, we reckon.
Simple Things 2014
Saturday 25th October
20 Questions: Eats Everything
“I was the third person in UK law history to be banned for driving under the influence of a Class A substance. Now that’s one hell of an accolade” When Crack’ s executive editors were 18, we witnessed Dan Pearce, aka Eats Everything, tear Bristol nightclubs a new one with his boundless enthusiasm as an immensely skilled DJ. Years later, we’re still watching Dan Pearce, aka Eats Everything, tear up nightclubs up and down the country with his boundless enthusiasm as a a big name act and RA’s 11th best DJ on the planet. Why? Because the man from Kingswood exudes a contagious passion for his craft: chunky house and techno, chunky basslines and general chunk. Oh yeah, and as you’ll see below, he’s a pretty funny guy to boot.
What was your favourite cartoon when you were a kid? Ren & Stimpy. Who’s your favourite Wu-Tang Clan member? That’s ODB (RIP). What’s the most overrated album of all time? Anything by The Killers. Dreadful wank.
Favourite board game? Monopoly. What’s your favourite sitcom? Sadly, it’s probably Friends. Happy hardcore or jump up drum’n’bass? Neither. Old Skool Hardcore or Jungle. Favourite cereal? Cheerios. Wayne’s World or Bill & Ted? Bill & Ted. What are you wearing? Skin tight, skin coloured, human skin, a skin suit. Where do you do your big shop? Sainsbury's. If you were trying to seduce a potential lover, what music would you play? Bed of Roses by Bon Jovi.
Have you taken acid? More times than I’ve had hot dinners. It was the best thing ever till I got to a sensible age. After over-severe, prolonged use, my mind is weakened and I can no longer do it. Sad times. If you could pick a surrogate grandparent, who would it be? Sir Alex Ferguson. He’d bring the little fucker up right. Have you ever worn a fancy dress costume you later regretted? I was forced to wear a nappy and walk round Brighton on my stag do. I’ll say no more. Have you ever been arrested? I’ve been arrested a number of times. The most poignant was whilst driving under the influence of a Class A substance. I was the third person in UK law history to be banned from driving for it. Now that’s one hell of an accolade... Who’s the most famous person you’ve ever met? Gene Wilder.
At what age did you lose your virginity? 13. Would you go for a pint with Kanye West? Tough one. Probably not as I think he’s a bit of a bell. Could be quite interesting though. Maybe. Rate these actors in order of how much you like them: Danny Dyer, Danny DeVito and Daniel Day-Lewis First, Danny Dyer – I think he’s mint, but that’s taboo I know. Next Danny De Vito – because of Twins. Then Daniel Day-Lewis. He’s an over actor. Is there a piece of advice you wish you’d given to yourself ten years ago? Don’t get so battered all the time you numpty, and then you’ll have a career.
Catch Eats Everything at Love Saves The Day, Bristol, 24 May, The Garden Festival, Tisno, Croatia, 2-9 July and Unknown, Rovinj, Croation, 8-12 September
The future of the internet is on the line and it could come down to who’s got their hands on your cock shots. We knew government agencies were hoovering up metadata, but it looks they might have your finest O-moments on file too. The contempt for our personal data is causing developers to question how they think about the future of the internet. The transition from anonymity to sharing by default has helped define the web’s big bang moment, and now that shift is being brought into question. This particular hack has to do with Yahoo webcam chat, which GCHQ’s been taking screenshots from by tapping directly into internet cables. The spooks estimated that up to 11 percent of the pictures it took of millions of “unselected” users (this wasn’t a targeted operation) were sexually explicit. The contents of the illicit images reads like a Turkey Twizzlers ingredients list. We think 56% of them had breasts in, 12% bum and 54% genitalia (according to news stats site Ampp3d, which compared them to an internet rule of thumb). Collecting metadata from phone calls felt uncomfortable, but knowing they barely
paused for thought when they discovered the immensely personal nature of these images demonstrates a different level of disdain. It’s important to remember the metadata collected by default provides a surprisingly detailed picture of our lives. They can map our social networks and movements, and potentially know our age, marital status, occupation and sexual orientation. Entire banks of our internet history are available to build “pattern-of-life” profiles. And that’s what we know they have on hand right now, before they even choose to actually target someone. This provides the infrastructure for what Edward Snowden called “turnkey tyranny” in his first interview; imagine what would have happened if the Stasi had the NSA’s tool box. It might be far fetched to consider how history’s most effective secret police service would have used this infrastructure, and I don’t want you to imagine me writing this in my mother’s basement, face covered by a Guy Fawkes mask and voice disguised by a mouthful of Haribo Tangfastics. But history’s taught us to be cautious, and the post-9/11 decade saw a huge grab for our civil liberties.
What happens when Bush Jnr Jnr is in power and there’s another terrorist attack?
price we’ve paid, largely without knowing it, for letting these services use our data.
Even if you ignore the theoretical arguments on state surveillance for a moment, I think we still have an innate desire for privacy; we care about protecting our data. That’s why a lot of people got annoyed about Facebook changing its privacy settings and the reason Snapchat achieved such meteoric growth, to name just two glib examples.
It raises questions over the faith we’ve placed in the large US firms that handle our information and the US’s role in governing the internet. What will European companies and governments do to protect themselves and their citizens and customers? When are we going to start breaking down the near hegemony America’s established over the English-speaking internet?
We’re at a point where we’re going to have to figure out whether we tolerate this kind of no-holds-barred invasion of privacy (and you can bet the US and UK aren’t the only two countries trying to do this, never mind private interests) or re-think the way we use services online and whether we pay for them. Preventing mass surveillance requires end-to-end encryption that will stop companies like Google selling targeted ads around content. No adverts means no free stuff.
Words: Christopher Goodfellow mediaspank.net @MediaSpank
On some levels the revelations about stolen webcam images is the worst surveillance scheme Snowden’s exposed, but it’s unlikely to be enough to crystallise that creeping sense of outrage into out-on-thestreets sedition. What it has done is add weight to the wider argument about the
Illustration: Lee Nutland leenutland.com
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