Simple Things Festival 20 - 21 October, Across Bristol
Metronomy (Opening - Fiday night)
Wild Beasts Clark Omar Souleyman Shackleton Nadine Shah (Sandy) Alex G Marie Davidson Cakes Da Killa Carla dal Forno Intergalactic Gary Willow Roi Perez Noga Erez Dave Harvey & Christophe
The Bug ft Miss Red Dekmantel Soundsystem Diet Cig Klein
Japanese Breakfast Gramrcy Studio 89 DJs Coco & The Nutmilk
HMLTD Downtown Boys Marco Bernardi Strange Frequency
Mixpak Showcase ft. Dre Skull and special guests www.simplethingsfestival.co.uk
A city-wide, two day programme of musical diversity and innovation
Leftfield performing Leftism live
Daphni (4hrs) Juan Atkins John Maus GAIKA IDLES Kahn & Neek Lorenzo Senni Childhood Sassy J TRAAMS Kelly Lee Owens Ă“ Children of Leir Shapes DJs Don Loudo
Jane Weaver Shanti Celeste Binh Patten Priests
Inga Mauer Warmduscher Spinning Coin Musu DJs Boy Azooga
Oliver Wilde Insecure Men The Early Years + Many More
London Astrobeat Orchestra performing Talking Heads www.simplethingsfestival.co.uk
£35 — EARLYBIRD (£40 THEREAFTER)
NO BOUNDS FESTIVAL
( MUSIC + ART + TECHNOLOGY + DANCING )
PHASE 2 LINEUP
13 —— 15/OCT.2017
JEFF MILLS/ MR G /DJ STINGRAY313 TERRE THAEMLITZ DEPRODUCTION LAUREL HALO (LIVE)
(LIVE AV)+ Q&A
OM UNIT/ KID ACNE / RASHAD BECKER MARK FELL— SENSATE FOCUS BATU + GIANT SWAN / IKONIKA SAOIRSE /SWING TING + MCFOX
ROSS FROM FRIENDS (LIVE) / LUCA LOZANO / DJ SEINFELD / NKISI JULIANA HUXTABLE / LO SHEA / ANASTASIA KRISTENSEN / GQOM OH! FT.DJ LAG + NAN KOLE CPU SHOWCASE FT. MORPHOLOGY (LIVE) / MICHAEL SERAFINI INGA / COPELAND / DEBONAIR ECLAIR FIFI / CHRIS DUCKENFIELD / STEEVIO + SUZYBEE (LIVE AV) / KARA-LIS COVERDALE (LIVE) PREQUEL TAPES (LIVE) / MINOR SCIENCE / SWIFTA BEATER / DJ SS / OFFMENUT RECORDS DEADBEAT UK / DARWIN / BLOOD SPORT (LIVE) / RIAN TREANOR (LIVE) / MINIMAL VIOLENCE (LIVE) / DJ PIPES ALGORAVE FT.YAXU + HEAVY LIFTING + MIRI KAT+ JOE BEEDLES + DAMU / GRAHAM DUNNING (LIVE) MATTIAS JONES / MEMORY DANCE / WET SOUNDS / LINNEMANN / JONATHAN WARING / USSL / YSWN + MORE.. + TALKS + WORKSHOPS + EXHIBITIONS + INSTALLATIONS + SPOKEN WORD 3 DAYS OF CELEBRATION —— FEATURING 12+ STAGES ACROSS MULTIPLE VENUES IN SHEFFIELD... TALKS / WORKSHOPS/ ETC... BY DAY —— TRANSFORMING INTO WAREHOUSE PARTIES AT NIGHT.
WWW.HOPE–WORKS.CO.UK NO BOUNDS IS A HOPE WORKS REALISATION
Push Music at your fingertips Ableton.com
CROSSTOWW N CONCERTS
P R E S E N T S
12 | 09 | 17
19 | 10 | 17
SATURDAY 03 FEBRUARY 2018 02 SHEPHERD’S
- ELECTRIC BALLROOM -
12 | 09 | 17
THE DISTRICTS - THE GARAGE -
13 | 09 | 17
JAMES LEONARD HEWITSON
- OVAL SPACE BETHNAL GREEN
- SEBRIGHT ARMS HACKNEY
- EVENTIM APOLLO HAMMERSMITH
26 | 11 | 17
25 | 09 | 17
- DINGWALLS -
- SHAW THEATRE KING’S CROSS
29 | 11 | 17
MARIAM THE BELIEVER
T SOLD OU
EXTRA DATE ADDED
- THE LEXINGTON -
30 | 11 | 17
02 | 10 | 17
09 | 10 | 17
- BUSH HALL -
22 | 11 | 17
- SHACKLEWELL ARMS DALSTON
- ELECTRIC BALLROOM -
T - 21 T OU | 09 | 17 20 09O|U17 SOLD SO|LD 22 | 09 | 17
ANNIE HART (AU REVOIR SIMONE)
- OLD BLUE LAST SHOREDITCH
- THE LEXINGTON -
24 | 10 | 17
04 | 11 | 17
14 | 09 | 17
- THE WATER RATS -
27 | 10 | 17
BY A R R A N G E ME N T W I TH U N I TE D TA LE N T A G E N CY
- THE WAITING ROOM STOKE NEWINGTON
25 | 09 | 17
SOUND OF THE SIRENS
SLEEPTALKING - THE VICTORIA DALSTON
WITH SPECIAL GUESTS - THURSDAY 28 ONLY -
- FRIDAY 29 ONLY -
BY ARRANGEMENT WITH PRIMARY TALENT INTERNATIONAL
NEW ALBUM ‘TI AMO’ OUT NOW
30 | 11 | 17
TOM WILLIAMS - BUSH HALL -
- MOTH CLUB, HACKNEY -
01 | 12 | 17
09 | 10 | 17
- UNION CHAPEL ISLINGTON
- ST PANCRAS OLD CHURCH -
10 | 10 | 17
FRIDAY 13 OCTOBER 2017 O2 SHEPHERD’S
THE PREATURES - MOTH CLUB, HACKNEY -
10 | 10 | 17
JOLIE HOLLAND + SAMANTHA PARTON
- UNION CHAPEL ISLINGTON
BY ARRANGEMENT WITH PRIMARY TALENT INTERNATIONAL
PLUS SPECIAL GUESTS
07 | 12 | 17
BERNARD FANNING - THE GARAGE -
28 | 02 | 18
THE FRONT BOTTOMS - ROUNDHOUSE -
OKOVI EUROPEAN TOUR 2017
MONDAY 16 OCTOBER 2017
TUESDAY 07 NOVEMBER 2017
OKOVI, THE NEW LP FROM ZOLA JESUS, OUT ON SEPT 8 ON SACRED BONES
BY ARRANGEMENT WITH CODA AGENCY
BY ARRANGEMENT WITH EARTH AGENCY
A L L T I C K E T S AVA I L A B L E F R O M
SEETICKETS.COM - GIGANTIC.COM - STARGREEN.COM - ROUNDHOUSE.ORG.UK - EVENTIM.CO.UK - TICKETMASTER.CO.UK @CROSSTOWN_LIVE -
Single page ad No spot colours CMYK colour space 300 DPI 5mm bleed all sides No printers marks (crop marks etc)
TodaysArt 2017 Festival for digital art and trans-disciplinary creativity The Hague, NL 22 + 23 September Performance + Club
- Hauschka - Ata Kak - Laurel Halo - Legowelt - Christian Löffler - Inga Mauer - Aleksi Perälä - Tomasa del Real - Ron Morelli - NAAFI
Exhibition + Context
- Chris Salter + TeZ Dissense - LP Duo Quantum Music - Evelina Domnitch + Dmitry Gelfand Force Field - Aram Bartholl Greenscreen
Info and Tickets: todaysart.nl
PINEGROVE L OS CA MPE SI N O S ! ULTIMATE PAINTING JOSEFIN ÖHRN & THE LIBERATION AXEL FLÓVENT BAYWAVES BOY AZOOGA DANIEL ALEXANDER GOLD CONNECTIONS LOMELDA PHOEBE BRIDGERS SAM FENDER SORRY TOM ROGERSON & MANY MORE
ST JOHN AT HACKNEY OSLO HACKNEY MOTH CLUB PAPER DRESS VINTAGE MIRRORSLONDON MIRRORSLONDON MIRRORSLONDON.COM
BICEP(LIVE!) FEEL MY BICEP 18.11.17 BICEP – LIVE
DETROIT LOVE PRESENTS
CARL CRAIG & MOODYMANN RØDHÅD KiNK – LIVE KYLE HALL AVALON EMERSON T&P (TIM SWEENEY & LAUER) JANE FITZ JAYDA G HAMMER SANDBOARDS OR:LA KRYSKO & GREG LORD SWOOSE & CROMBY THEWAREHOUSEPROJECT.COM
16.09.17 – 01.01.18
SATURDAY 30 SEPTEMBER CURATED BY
DAPHNI. JON HOPKINS (DJ) FLOATING POINTS (DJ). MADLIB JEREMY UNDERGROUND. ROMAN FLÜGEL BENJI B. SASSY J. ALEXANDER NUT WILLOW. JOSEY REBELLE. DANUKA RIKKI HUMPHREY. NOW WAVE DJS EAT YOUR OWN EARS DJS
The Warehouse Project returns to beneath the streets for a 12 week run across Manchester. Full listings — www.thewarehouseproject.com
fabric Presents Fridays Oct Sept 2017
1st Sept fabric presents Kaluki Room 01
Dubfire B2B Art Department (5 Hour Set) Pirate Copy Pete Zorba
6th Oct Room 01
Detlef B2B Latmun De La Swing Paolo Francesco Calvin Clarke
22nd Sept FABRICLIVE 94: Midland Launch
Booka Shade Theo Kottis Artist TBA Room 02
Bontan B2B Melé Doc Daneeka Punctual
15th Sept Room 01
Âme (Live) Culoe De Song Marcus Worgull Room 02
Trust Nick Curly Anja Schneider Steffen Deux
Midland Tama Sumo Debonair Room 02
Karenn (Live) Shifted Setaoc Mass
13th Oct Room 01
Four Thirty Two Richy Ahmed Mathew Jonson (Live) Archie Hamilton & Rossko Room 02
Vatos Locos Hector Chad Andrew David Gtronic Randall M
019 Crack Magazine is a free and independent platform for contemporary culture Published and distributed monthly by Crack Industries Ltd. For any distribution enquiries please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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Words Caroline Whiteley, Hamda Issa-Salwe, Amelia Phillips, Sirin Kale, Emma Robertson, Mike Robertson, Maya-Roisin Slater, Natty Kasambala, Oli Warwick, Felicity Martin, Adam Corner, Gunseli Yalcinkaya, Katie Hawthorne, Jon Clark, Angus Harrison, Sasha Geffen, Joseph Walsh, Josh Winning, Tracy Kawalik, Tirhakah Love Photography Samuel Bradley, Kasia Zacharko, Naomi Wood, Mike Chalmers, Vasily Agrenenko, Bart Heemskerk, Jake Davis, Isabel Janssen, Ogarev, Mustafa Mirreh, Caroline Faruolo, Rui Soares Fashion James Pearson-Howes, Luci Ellis Illustration Steph Dutton, Lunice, Ed Chambers Respect Jon Wilkinson, Keong Woo, Kathryne Chalker, Jacek Plewicki, Joe Parry, Joss Meek, Michelle Kambasha, Neil Bainbridge, Kitty Lester, Iris Herscovici, Erin Kubicki, Team Maffia
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Selected Stockists Carhartt WIP Worldwide
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X Records Bolton
Rough Trade East London
Rush Hour Amsterdam
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The Christmas Steps Bristol
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Hard Wax Berlin
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FA B R I C
SEPTEMBER 2017 SATURDAY
A L A N F I T Z PAT R I C K PAT R I C E B Ä U M E L MIKE DEHNERT (LIVE) T E R RY F R A N C I S SATURDAY
M A N O L E TO U G H HUNTER/GAME PHIL KIERAN (LIVE)
B E N K LO C K ( 6 H O U R S E T ) R YA N E L L I OT T J AY C L A R K E
S OL I D . G R O OV E S DENNIS CRUZ PAWS A MICHAEL BIBI R E E LOW RAMIN REZAIE
SIGHA ANCIENT METHODS (LIVE) PERC
D U S K Y ( DJ S E T ) DEETRON B WA N A
CRAIG RICHARDS T R E AT M E N T : ONUR ÖZER & BINH C OL I N C H I D D L E ROOM 02
A D R I AT I Q U E ( A L L N I G H T LO N G )
77A Charterhouse Street, London EC1. Opening times: 11pm — 7am. Check www.fabriclondon.com for advance tickets, prices and further info. fabric 93: Soul clap, Out Now. fabric 94: Steffi, Out Now. fabric 95, Roman Flügel, 13th October.
LCD Soundsystem: Dancing with Discontent - 28
Editorial - 23 Five Years Deep
By infiltrating disco with punk and vice versa, James Murphy's epochal band defined a generation. But Murphy always distanced himself from youth and coolness, so much so that he stepped away from the project altogether. Resurrecting LCD Soundsystem six years after their supposed final show, Murphy is using his piercing introspection to project bold tales of love and death in America
New Music - 27 From the periphery Reviews - 63 Gig reports, product reviews and our verdict on the latest releases in music and film Turning Points: Tricky - 87 After whirlwind success via the 90s trip-hop scene, the Bristol mainstay is finally working at his own pace again 20 Questions: Lisa Mafia - 89 So Solid Crew's First Lady answers our monthly questionnaire Perspective: How politics infected the meme, and vice versa - 90 As we watch the world going crazy through social media feeds, Tirhakah Love looks at how meme imitates life and life imitates meme Retrospective: Björk's Homogenic - 79 Sasha Geffen looks back on one of the Icelandic maverick’s brightest sparks of genius
Mist: Blow off the Pain - 42 The rising Birmingham rapper has turned around hardship and a stint in prison to live his dream. He tells Hamda Issa-Salwe why you shouldn't underestimate him or his city
Ariel Pink: Can't Rewind - 50 Ariel Pink is a truly unique voice in guitar music, but not always in a good way. Amelia Phillips finds him veering wildly off topic
Carla dal Forno: Fleeting Moments - 48 Propelled from her Melbourne home courtesy of her intimate, nocturnal sound, Tom Watson finds an artist inspired by the intensity of her new London base
Brutaż: Warsaw's radical party collective goes against the grain - 36 The event collective is working hard to fight the trolls and invite weird nightlife into Poland. In Warsaw, Caroline Whitely sees its progressive drive in action
Aesthetic: Moses Sumney - 54 Moses Sumney's compelling vision has him on the verge of a breakthrough. He expands on subverting expectations with Gunseli Yalcinkaya alongside our extended editorial
8 & 9 SEPT 2017
Erased Tapes is ten. KIASMOS / DAWN OF MIDI / PENGUIN CAFE PETER BRODERICK & FRIENDS / LUBOMYR MELNYK M A S AY O S H I F U J I TA / R I V A L C O N S O L E S MICHAEL PRICE / DOUGLAS DARE
Issue 80 September 2017
Crack Was Made Using Lil B Bad MF
Aphex Twin get a baby
LCD Soundsystem Tonite
Skee Mask Kappelberg Chant
Hardy Caprio Super Soaker
Bjørn Torske & Prins Thomas On U
Daniel Caesar Take Me Away (ft. Syd)
Trina B R Right ft. Ludacris
Stas THEE Boss Found Parking
Rae Sremmurd Perplexing Pegasus
Miguel Sky Walker ft. Travis Scott
Tim Dog Fuck Compton
Gina X No GDM
Dungen Aladdin och lampan
Bruxas Selva Cósmica
John Maus The Combine
Big Thief Mythological Beauty
Tyler, the Creator See You Again (ft. Kali Uchis)
Patrick Cowley Hot Beach
During my first few weeks, I vaguely remember some discussion about Shut Up and Play The Hits, a film documenting LCD Soundsystem’s epic farewell concert which was set for UK screenings in early September. LCD seemed to be considered at the height of credibility among the thentiny team in the office. They were a band who naturally appealed to fans
Fast-forward half a decade and we’re publishing an LCD Soundsystem cover story. Like a lot of people, I was dubious about the band’s reformation. But I’m pleased that this interview – conducted by Thomas Frost, who co-founded this magazine – provided an opportunity to tackle some of the criticisms with James Murphy, and I’m confident that their new album American Dream marks an interesting chapter in their story as a band. But mostly I’m satisfied that, due to all the hard work and support over the years, a Crack Magazine cover featuring one of the world’s biggest and best bands feels like a natural fit.
James Murphy shot exclusively for Crack Magazine by Samuel Bradley London: July 2017
Like when an old photo of your freshfaced former self creeps up on the timeline and jolts you into a period of reflection, in August it dawned on me that it’s been five years since I started working in the Crack Magazine office, and that I’ve overseen 57 issues of this publication. The time has flown by, but I’m happy to confirm that – except for the occasional midweek hangover – I haven’t woken up and not felt excited about work since I started here.
of guitar bands as well as committed club-goers and encouraged the two groups to open their ears, and so I got the impression that LCD Soundsystem were pretty emblematic of what Crack Magazine had set out to achieve.
Davy Reed, Editor
So we’ve now reached Issue 80 of Crack Magazine. And, to me, at least, this one feels like a milestone.
Recommended O ur g ui d e to wh at's goi n g on i n y ou r c i ty
ENCOUNTERS FILM FESTIVAL Various venues, Bristol 19-24 September Prices Vary
ALV VAYS Thekla 9 September
MOVEMENT TURIN Jeff Mills, Nastia, Derrick May Lingotto Fiere, Turin 28-31 October Combo ticket: £47.55
With so many filmmakers beginning their career in short film, Encounters – an animation and short film festival – is an important date within the UK film calendar. At the heart of the schedule is the Encounters Festival International Competition, a showcase of the best new short films from around the world (and first step to consideration for big prizes like the BAFTAs and Carte d’Or – no biggie). Elsewhere, Q&As, family events, a dedicated horror strand and a Colston Hall date for Adam Buxton’s Best of BUG: The Evolution of Music Video give you ample excuse to give the Netflix subscription a break.
AN EVENING WITH RØDHAD Motion 7 October Second release: £16.50 An Evening With invite you to get your stomp on with Rødhad, whose special extended set will allow plenty of time for his pummeling, intoxicating techno to take a hold of you. The German DJ/producer's event series-turned-label Dystopian began in Berlin and have become one of techno’s most distinguishable collectives. Bulldozing his way through apathy with precision and heft, Rødhåd’s extended sets and sleek, hypnotic sounds are a favourite in the techno capital. It's sure to be a night with music to lose yourself in.
BANOFFEE PIES Motion 2 September
The Northern Italian city Turin, like Detroit, is a former industrial hub, albeit one that has staged a push back against post-industrial stagnation through a burgeoning festival scene. Movement Torino – a decade-plus institution and sister event to the Motor City festival of the same name – has long made explicit the connections between the two cities, and this edition brings together the likes of techno godheads Derrick May and Jeff Mills, alongside such Detroit-indebted DJs like Chris Liebing, Sven Vath and Len Faki across two techno-fuelled days. Oh, and it takes place in the decommissioned Fiat factory, too.
O’FLYNN The Love Inn, Bristol 14 September
PEGGY GOU Motion 29 September
MURLO Motion 6 October
L . A . WITCH The Crofter’s Rights 18 September
SHELL AC The Fleece, Bristol 7 October Maybe it’s because the band are well into their third decade, or maybe it’s ‘cos the line-up is two thirds acclaimed sound engineer, but Shellac have got their terse, astringent sound down to an art. Live, Steve Albini’s power trio is the stuff of legend, a coruscating cult favourite who you’ve either seen a dozen times at ATP or not at all. If you fall into the latter camp, this UK tour, a surprisingly rare occurrence, provides an excellent entry point into their sardonic din.
LE GUESS WHO? Perfume Genius, Gas, Aldous Harding Utrecht, The Netherlands 9-12 November Four Day Festival Pass: €110
Each year, Utrecht’s Le Guess Who? invite artists to not only play their festival, but have a pop at playing curator, too. This year, Perfume Genius’ Mike Hadreas, Shabazz Palaces and Grouper – among others – are charged with filling out the city’s venues, engaging in the kind of creative virtue signalling where everyone wins (Hadreas put in calls to Julianna Barwick and Weyes Blood, among others). Add to this sets from Ben Frost, Liars and a new performance from James Holden and you have the kind of forwardthinking, lane-crossing line-up that leaves some of the more rote international festivals in the dust. Now, about that name.
The self-titled debut album from Los Angeles garage-rock trio L.A. Witch arrives at the start of this month. Soaked in reverb and bolstered by gravel-grazed drums, the band deal in a dark, addictive rock sound which is completed by singer Sade Sanchez’s woozy Del Rey-esque vocals. Like all good desert rock dreamers, they are brilliant live and they are celebrating the new record with a tour that takes them from Palm Springs to London and back again.
O’Flynn manages to blend luminous disco tropes with glorious samples and styles from across the world – delivering the kinds of kaleidoscopic dancefloor euphoria moments which selectors like Four Tet and Floating Points have long been celebrated for. It’s a style and attitude which he also brings to his DJ sets – digging deep and drawing for deep cuts which cover stylish house, afrobeat grooves and irresistibly radiant disco. He’ll probably throw a couple of his own tunes in there too, which are pretty much impossible to stand still to.
CL AP YOUR HANDS SAY YE AH Thekla 13 September
LOWKEY SWX 14 September
DJ SHADOW O2 Academy 6 October
GARY NUMAN Colston Hall 5 October
MABEL Thekla 6 October
SAOIRSE The Island 22 September
In an era where the music industry’s conceptions of “credibility” are constantly morphing, Mabel McVey wears her love for pure pop music on her sleeve. With her no nonsense approach, steadily, the vocalist is becoming a ubiquitous presence. Her debut single Know Me Better was an infectious, upbeat invitation to look past her famous parents (Neneh Cherry and Massive Attack producer Cameron McVey), juxtaposing candid lyrics with huge pop choruses and she made her first TV debut with Jools Holland earlier this year. Catch her before she becomes a household name.
WHP L AUNCH: LCD SOUNDSYSTEM Store Street, Manchester 16+17 September The prospect of a brand new LCD Soundsystem album in 2017 is exciting. The prospect of seeing the band play two consecutive nights at Warehouse Project’s Store Street warehouse space is positively electrifying. On this string of dates in support of their new LP American Dream, they’ve specifically chosen to play spaces that can do their show justice. We don’t want to speak too soon, but a weekend spent underground in the centre of Manchester is a frontrunner for a tour highlight. Check out the WHP website for an impressive event calendar that climaxes on New Year's Day.
TR AILER TR ASH TR ACYS Louisiana 24 September
THE DRUMS Thekla 2 October
LEE "SCR ATCH" PERRY Fiddlers 1 October
Bristol-based producer John Parish has been enjoying a fruitful career for decades, and he’s perhaps best known for the creative bond he’s had with PJ Harvey since the late 80s. This year has seen the release of two particularly charming records Parish has produced – Aldous Harding’s Party LP and Moonshine Freeze, the new album from Paris-via-Bristol musician Kate Stable’s project This Is The Kit. Moonshine Freeze is an LP of energetic indie-folk that bursts with life and unkempt charm. Go see Stables and her band recreate it in the live arena.
MY NU LENG Motion 30 September
CHASTIT Y BELT Exchange 11 September
MACHINE GUN KELLY O2 Academy 30 September
GIRLPOOL Thekla 6 September ICA PLAYBACK Watershed 19-24 September
SUZ ANNE VEGA Colston Hall 24 September
ICA's Playback project paints a vision of Britain's youth. A celebration of young artist filmmakers from across the country, Playback launched at London's ICA gallery in March. The 145 films featured as part of the project have since toured the UK and the interactive exhibition lands in Bristol as part of Encounters Film Festival. The voice of a generation which is notably absent from mainstream media, these bold and innovative short films find a home in the Watershed. Let them provoke, entice and entertain you.
D DOUBLE E Motion 30 September
KIASMOS / RIVAL CONSOLES Colston Hall 12 September
NE-YO Colston Hall 21 September
THIS IS THE KIT Colston Hall 7 October
Although their strange name conjures up images of questionable American cliches, Trailer Trash Tracys don’t make country music. Conversely, the London band made a mark around 2012 with sensual shoegaze, non-western guitar tunings and claims to have been inspired by Sufi poetry. Back after five years with their second album Althaea, this time round Trailer Trash Tracys have incorporated influences of Filipino carnival music, Latin rhythms and Japanese tropical music from the 80s into their dreamy sound, so if any misled punters show up to the Louisiana with cowboy hats and confederate flags, they’re going to be sorely disappointed.
NEW EP ‘KEWALI’ OUT 26 T H MAY ON MOSHI MOSHI
Manchester soloist IAMDDB is one of those artists who makes the whole thing look easy. Her blissfully unbothered brand of caramel-smooth neo-soul exudes a kind of laid-back energy that eludes a lot of newcomers. In short, she doesn’t sound like she’s trying too hard but the tunes are still phenomenal. On Vibe, Volume 2. – a stylish suite of understated bangers which she unveiled in May – she demonstrates a vocal flexibility and lyrical dexterity that belies her young age. She tucks complex lyrics into short phrases and sings with a cool vibrato that some spend years perfecting.
O Pause 1 Kelela / Bryson Tiller : @iamddb
O Teeth ( & a handbag) 1 Siouxsie and the Banshees / King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard : weepingicon.bandcamp. com
Snapped Ankles Snapped Ankles make most bands seem a little dry by comparison. Even label-mates The Comet Is Coming, with their intense, knotty cyber-jazz and intergalactic shaman dress, seem vanilla next to the East London four-piece. The band perform dressed as ‘woodwoses’, mythical wild men of medieval Europe – essentially walking hedgerows. They build their own instruments, including what they call log synths. Paddy from the band describes how they recently created a ‘forest’ of them in a sort of electrified drum circle: “Essentially percussion synths and individual amps [were] attached to old logs, and then we held a workshop that worked a bit like a bell ring peal, with random people that had signed up for it”. The shows they play happen anywhere, rocking up as they do with their own rig. “Our favourite has to be Epping Forest car park where we serenaded the doggers one night,” reckons Paddy. “The people in the cars weren’t our warmest audience, they just sat there chain-smoking, and fiddling with their head lights.” Of course all of this would be pointless if they were a shite band. But they’re not, they’re fucking great. Post-punk grooves spiral into synthesised tangents with a free energy palpable even on record. You might expect music made jamming on synths made of logs, recording everything and flinging as many ideas at the wall to be po-faced and impregnable. Not so, melody and a pop sensibility are present throughout their upcoming debut album Come Play The Trees. Of the tracks available to listen before release, I Want My Minutes Back is tight, fuzzy, lo-fi pop, and Hanging In The Room a polyrhythmic stomper; while on album centrepiece Johnny Guitar Calling Gosta Berlin, a grubby motoric bassline and impish synths lead a nine-minute wig-out conceptually based on a Jean-Luc Godard film. Costumes and pagan mythology, epic live shows and homemade instruments all contribute to the band’s performance-artbased conception of what bands are for. On the subject of the woodwoses, the Paddy the Snapped Ankle sums this up nicely: “Woodwoses, or Krampus and Trolls, or even Christian Angels, all bore similar relevance to people back then as today’s fertile popstars, outrageous celebrities and rowdy (old) rockstars. They represent the same hopes and fears of the past and the costumes go back to idea of what makes a pop band, and what people expect a pop band to be: something magical, otherworldly and sexy…. like a hedgerow!”
O Fool If 1 ANOHNI / serpentwithfeet : soundcloud.com/j-a-b-u
LIL WOP Lil Wop loves Gucci Mane so much he went and got his own ice cream tattoo on his right cheek. Seemingly impressed, Guwop recently announced that he’d signed the young Atlanta-via-Chicago rapper to his Eskimos 2017 label. Lil Wop is part of a new generation pushing the sound of hardcore rap music to new extremes. His style is like a reckless, codeine-spiked concoction of Chief Keef’s deadpan menace, 21 Savage’s pained croak and the horror movie aesthetics championed by artists like Ohio’s Trippie Redd. Lil Wop’s put out two projects this year, and while the Wake N Bake EP – reportedly recorded in six hours – was too messy for repeated listens, the Wopaveli 2 mixtape proved that Wop has got plenty of gas in the tank.
O Safe House 1 21 Savage / Lil Silk : @LilWop17
O Johnny Guitar Calling Gosta Berlin 1 Animal Collective / Devo
O Track 1 File Next To : Website
Weeping Icon are a Brooklynbased four-piece that spin wide, fucked-up, webs of noise that crash and squeal in a chaotic maelstrom, equal parts abrasive punk and coagulated psych. On their first EP, Eyeball Under, these harsh, confrontational tunes are marked by groove, to the point of incessancy. Individually veterans of the New York scene for years, the four women that make up the band channel their live nous into one of the city’s most revered shows. Tracks are drawn out to epic lengths and their cacophonous squall has recently enveloped famous spots like the Brooklyn Bazaar and ALPHAVILLE.
RnB isn't the first genre you would associate with Bristol's Young Echo collective. The Bristol crew's 11 members and multifarious collaborative projects, including grime producers Kahn and Neek and Björk favourite Vessel, are known for taking what could loosely be classed 'soundsystem music' and blowing it up, producing reggae, dub, ambient, noise and techno along the way. The latest project to toy with this formula is Jabu, made up of members Amos Childs and Alex Rendall as well as vocalist Jasmine Butt. Their debut album Sleep Heavy, which finds a home on London-based label Blackest Ever Black, weaves tripped-out, post-rave murk and vocals with soft gravitas fit for moody, introspective listening. An autopsy of RnB.
James Murphy has always recognised the transience of cool. At the turn of the millennium, his band LCD Soundsystem revolutionised the alternative dance scene. With propulsive disco-punk and the sharp wit of Murphyâ€™s lyricism, they dissected the fiercely hip, before bowing out at a dramatic, calculated farewell show in 2011. But Murphy could never sit still, and LCD Soundsystem are back with a new edge to infiltrate the perceived shallowness of this era.
031 Words: Thomas Frost Photography: Samuel Bradley
This moment in Shut Up and Play the Hits – the 2012 film which charted the band’s finale at the peak of their success – is interesting to revisit today. Murphy’s acute self-consciousness dominates the narrative – the film hones in on his demons, rather than presenting a solid reason behind dismantling the era-defining band in their prime. Indeed, across the film there's a sense that a band who put such incredible effort into orchestrating their break-up probably had deep-seated reservations about breaking up in the first place. In January 2016, LCD Soundsystem announced they would be performing at Coachella, which was followed by a world tour. Now, there's a new album – American Dream. There are very few artists in music whose world is painted so vividly through their lyricism, and LCD Soundsystem’s new material has not deviated from this form. Nor has James Murphy's ability to communicate. “I’ve always had a good relationship with the press,” Murphy muses as we sip away on a summer afternoon in a slick East London bar. This press cycle is no different, it seems. The night previous to our interview, I join Murphy's friends alongside members
of other cultural publications for the listening party of American Dream. Before the music starts, sushi is served to the small crowd which includes musical luminaries Win Butler and Jarvis Cocker. Murphy insists that this is a gathering of friends rather than a session of chin-stroking. As he symbolically sets the album free, drinks flow and the air is celebratory. The process of presenting the new record seems casual, but the decision to actually start working on it was wrought with conflict. “When I was working on Black Star [Murphy played percussion on David Bowie’s final album], I was talking to David Bowie, which is a luxurious thing to say. I said to him, ‘I’m really freaked out as I’ve started writing music, what am I going to do? What if I come back after we quit so perfectly?’” Murphy’s voice quietens. “David said to me, ‘does it make you feel uncomfortable to come back?’ I said ‘yes.’ He said ‘good, you should be uncomfortable to do something. You need to be uncomfortable.’ It was a funny thing to hear from him, because I always assumed he was comfortable all the time.” Conflicted, Murphy told band members Pat Mahoney and Nancy Whang that he was making music again. “They were like, 'look man, this is LCD. Let's do it.’ So my wife thought it was a good idea, Pat and Nancy think it's a good idea and David Bowie thinks it's a good idea, so I really don't care what anyone else thinks!”
American Dream was recorded over a two-year period starting May 2015. The album feeds into multiple narratives, many of which tap into Murphy’s obsession with self-examination. The azure sunshine of the album’s artwork (a homage to the artwork of David Foster Wallace’s novel Infinite Jest, a text lauded by Murphy) plays with an idea of optimism and a brighter future for us all. However, the real mood is turbulent. Murphy's tense internal conflict feeds into everything from the band’s return to America’s political nightmare. The opening line, “oh baby, oh baby you had a bad dream here in my arms”, encourages us to take the journey, to be carried along in the dream, or, as we realise, the nightmare. Other Voices is a potent insight into a mind overloaded with distress. As Nancy Whang’s spoken word verse spells out for us: “Who can you trust and who are your friends? Who is impossible and who is the enemy?” But it’s the title track that exposes the full meltdown. Murphy muses, “You took acid and looked in the mirror/ watched the beard crawl around your face/ oh the revolution was here/ that would set you free from these bourgeoisie/ in the morning everything’s clearer/ when the sunlight exposes your age.” This is Murphy confronting himself in a postObama comedown of titanic proportion. And then there is How Do You Sleep – arguably the most menacing piece of music LCD Soundsystem have ever released. It's the sound of Murphy
James Murphy is moved to tears as he gazes across a room full of packed down equipment. After LCD Soundsystem's supposed farewell gig at Madison Square Garden, Murphy is contemplating exactly what he’s giving up, and his emotions finally get the better of him.
wailing out, bemoaning loss, bemoaning greed and bemoaning better times. As Murphy tells me, Al Doyle described it as “Dance Yrself Clean for the worst year ever.” “Calling anything American Dream right now seems insane which I really love,” Murphy says before revealing a flip-side to the title’s irony. “It’s not purely ironic. I mean if I have to review myself, my father was quite a humble working class Irish guy from Boston. Pretty quickly it went from my family being very far from any artistic or cultured place, to me being a well-read, 47-year-old who travels the world and makes music. I do believe it’s a kind of an exceptional American dream.” The genesis of James Murphy’s dream began very close to our interview location in 2002, when LCD Soundsystem performed their first gig at the hipster paradise Trash, Erol Alkan’s weekly event at The End nightclub in London. The band melded disco, punk and witty social commentary, channeling everything from ESG and Liquid Liquid’s dance punk blueprint to the The Fall at their most physical. By the time their self-titled debut album had been released in 2005, LCD Soundsystem had encouraged a generation of tight jeaned indie kids to step inside nightclubs – a real progression after a stale era for dancing. But with Murphy's impending middle-age on full display, it was his honest awareness of subculture and inert self-analysis that really turned heads. "I'm losing my edge/ To all the kids in Tokyo and Berlin/ I'm losing my edge to the art-school Brooklynites in little jackets and borrowed nostalgia for the unremembered 80s," he sang on LCD Soundsystem’s 2002 debut single. Murphy kept the writing and construction of the songs as his personal project but pooled a union of
session musicians and live performers, many of whom have remained integral family members, including the metronomic drumming of Pat Mahoney (formerly of Les Savy Fav), Nancy Whang of the Juan Mclean who provides synths and keys, and Al Doyle of Hot Chip. Doyle was a fringe member to begin with, soon graduating to full-time and, eventually, a pivotal production figure on the new album. Murphy had achieved his goal of recognition among the trendy elites on their first record, but their stunning second album Sound Of Silver took them into new territory. Melding dancefloor fuel with a maturity of songwriting, as well as leaving a trail of hits (Someone Great, All My Friends), it reached a whole new audience and took the scope of the band further from the nightclub. Even after the trick was repeated on third album This Is Happening, a record where Murphy viscerally addresses his new demagoguery, the band hadn’t scaled the heights of their friends and noughties contemporaries Arcade Fire. Despite their success, they still had an aura of underground credibility. Your dad wasn’t listening to LCD Soundsystem, but it was only a matter of time. This didn’t rest easily with Murphy.
sound system as Despacio, worked on David Bowie’s final album, produced Arcade Fire’s dancefloor-focused change of direction in Reflektor and fathered a child. Murphy's time away hasn’t tempered his ability to capture the zeitgeist through his music. If Losing My Edge was for the studious hipster, American Dream track Tonite could be perceived as a kind of sequel, taking aim at the nihilism of live-for-the-moment hedonism. “Right now, almost every song on the radio is a very cheap version of that,” he argues. “The attitude is ‘we’ve only got tonight, lets get shitfaced!’ The song's not about: 'we only have tonight maybe we should review the way we live our fucking lives'. Like maybe if we die today would we be proud of what we accomplished?”
“I knew what was going to happen next with us. I knew we were poised to make a very big record, like we could make a mediocre record and people that already really liked us might not like us after, but it would definitely be our biggest record. I hated that feeling of being set up to win. I don't know why, I just... something about it just felt too fucking empty.”
Over the course of our conversation, Murphy riles against the pre-packaging of subculture and authenticity ever present today. “It’s part and parcel of the short-cuttings of and commodification of alt-culture,” he says. “So once it was like oh 'You look a bit crazy', now it's like 'Oh I'm just a type of guy. I could be in Lisbon or Los Angeles or London and I have this haircut and a beard and yeah I make pickles and I have all the Television albums?’ No. You're just some fucking guy and you look exactly like everyone else that looks like you. People are no longer in a sub-culture where they're slightly marginal and as a result the way they look, act, the music they listen to and what they do at night is a representation or a manifestation of their otherness, instead it's like there is a way you can look, act, dance and dress to seem like something.”
So they didn’t make that record. Instead, Murphy orchestrated one of the most iconic break-ups in recent music history. In the intervening period he produced his own coffee, opened a wine bar, created and toured a 360 degree
Like people who present themselves as personal brands? “Oh my god that fucking word ‘brand’. People aren’t ‘brands’. 'Brand' is like a fucking sneaker company, the amount of artists who are like 'Well my brand, the value of my brand is...' And I’m like 'you're a fuck,’” he vents.
“I hated that feeling of LCD Soundsystem being set up to win, I don't know why, something about it just felt too fucking empty”
“Calling anything American Dream right now seems insane, which I really love”
The sense that Murphy has no one left to idolise hangs over our conversation. Death and the passing of age are topics that continually rear their heads. He tells me about the passing of his parents in 2001, and expands on the subject with his trademark openness. “During the making of Sound Of Silver someone really close to me died, so that was like a note within the record [Someone Great]. Then making the third record, another person really close to me who played with us died and so it’s like a tone, a colour in the record, you can hear some of it on Home. Since the last record to now there’s been this fucking massive die-off of musicians I admire and people that I care about.” Bowie? I ask. “Yeah he was a friend of mine. I worked with him, he was my email buddy and it was the craziest thing in the world, and Lou Reed died, Alan Vega died, I mean, like you know Prince died but Prince was actually more relevant to a lot of my childhood than almost anyone. The attachment I have to some of these people was massive, people I really care about that were…” He stops talking to analyse. “It’s just like... it’s just a lot of fucking death and it’s a hard thing to make music without feeling or thinking about them, but this time it was like, fuck.” He pauses again. “Leonard Cohen died too.”
“When I worked on the last song of the record [Black Screen, a 12 minute-long Lynchian ode to impermanence that could be written about Bowie] I said I wanted a spoken word bit done at the end. I said it would be amazing to have Lou Reed on the end of that song but he’d died. But then I said ‘I feel like I could talk to Leonard Cohen, let’s call Leonard Cohen and maybe he’ll do it’ and then he died like three days later and I’m like... ‘fuck off’. I’m not going to ask anybody else because they’re just going to die.” The darkness present on American Dream is under-pinned with a sense of loss. Loss of friends, loss of political stability, but also to a certain extent the loss of LCD Soundsystem as an entity. For those who’d invested so much into the band, those who’d spent three hours with them at their 2011 finale at Madison Square Garden, those who’d gone through the tribulations of James Murphy’s mental state in the lead up to their final gig in the documentary Shut Up and Play The Hits, and for some of those who’d given in to the dismantling of one of the only truly era-defining bands in recent memory – five years just wasn’t long enough. “I thought the backlash was appropriate and not that terrible,” he tells me. “I know what it meant for me as a young person and what the music I listened to meant to me. It was literally fucking life and death. It just meant so much to me that if I felt betrayed it really hurt,” he rails. “If you look at the history of LCD and DFA and you think quitting my incomegenerating thing for myself and my best friends, and then no longer making any money, and then coming back was an economic decision that was in any way cynical, you don't understand how things work, and secondly don't like my band. If you think I'm capable of that as a person, I'd prefer that you just like somebody else.”
One of the final shots in Shut Up and Play the Hits is that of a fan utterly distraught. Not tears of joy, just painful sobbing at the thought that LCD Soundsystem had played their last note. It might be the eternal image of the film. For those who, like Murphy, shed a tear over the split, he has another response. “If you're hurt and you feel betrayed then that's different,” he tells me, catching his breath. “That means you expected me to care and what I did didn't align with what you expected. And I feel like that deserves to be acknowledged and respected.” Murphy’s agitation regarding the turmoil he’s caused his own fanbase rings true and honest. And from the friction of reforming, to the political situation in America, the passing of friends and his own personal demons, American Dream vibrates with anxiety. But what is most pertinent from our time together is that unease and discomfort are the conditions in which James Murphy's artistry thrives. For this, the current climate couldn’t be better. American Dream is out now via DFA /Columbia LCD Soundsystem appear at Warehouse Project, Manchester, 16+17 September
Murphy’s intense cynicism continues when discussing the current musical landscape. “I was talking to Nick Zinner from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs about this book that came out called Meet Me In the Bathroom. It's this really great chronicle of New York and that era – the decade of 2001 and 2011 kind of starting with 9/11 and ending with our Madison Square Garden concert. Nick and I were talking about it and we were like 'Are we old and don’t know what's going on?' At the moment I don't feel threatened. I like to feel threatened, like 'Wow that's is fucking amazing, I maybe hate this, I don't know.’”
038 Words: Caroline Whiteley Photography: Kasia Zacharko
It’s 3:35am in Warsaw, about an hour into Discwoman member UMFANG’s peak-time set. Suddenly, the dancing crowd picks up feminist and antiracism protest signs, waving them around like rave accessories. Brutaż, the Polish party series and label that showcases techno and experimental electronic music, has invited the Brooklyn-based Discwoman collective back to the city. The event they’re co-hosting involves a free workshop, followed by a party at Pogłos, an important community space and club that opened this year. Before the party, I meet with RRRKRTA – one of Brutaż’ leading organisers – and his friends in a nearby cafe, where they’re sharing a bottle of wine. The event, they explain, has already received pushback in the form of an aggrieved Facebook commenter. “They’re saying this workshop is sexist because it’s for girls,” says Brutaż regular Ania Rozwadowska. She’s visibly irritated. Apparently Brutaż regularly have to fight off trolls. “Most of the parties aren't too political here,” explains DJ Earth Trax. “They don't take a stand.” He argues that a lot of people “prefer parties to be just about partying. But when you look closer, you get lots of sexism, racism [and] homophobic comments at parties.” Brutaż are actively opposed to these things, though openly discussing issues like gender diversity in club culture hasn’t been the only reason they’ve faced criticism from the outside.
Brutaż began in 2012 as a free-form night, hosted all over Poland but primarily at Eufemia, a now defunct bar located in the basement of Warsaw's Academy of Fine Arts. “It wasn’t even primarily a dance party,” RRRKRTA recalls. Returning to Warsaw in 2015 after working at Berlin’s Recordloft for a few years, he now organises Brutaż alongside friends and collaborators such as Wiktor Milczarek, Ania, Kamil Abu Zeneh and Martyna Maja, who
performs under the moniker VTSS and is set to release a record on the Brutaż label later this year. “In the last few years most of the club scene in Warsaw has been really into big room everything – big room techno, big room tech house,” Maja says. “Smaller, underground initiatives that focus more on distorted electro, weirder techno, underground house or even some fresh post-genre electronic sounds are still not appreciated enough by Polish audiences.” Aside from the Discwoman night, Brutaż never advertises their line-up beforehand. “Even now [when I play] sometimes RRRKRTA won’t tell me his secret guest, which is a bit annoying,” Maja jokes. Generally speaking, club nights are marketed in a way which emphasises the most well-known artist as the headliner, establishing an unspoken but clear hierarchy between artists who share the bill. “Skirting around that was always the coolest achievement of Brutaż,” says Maja, “at a Brutaż event you’re not just showing up to club a 2am because ‘someone [in particular]’ is playing. It’s about the whole experience.” Or, as RRRKRTA puts it, “When the music is strange and so are you.” There’s a strong sense of egalitarianism that acts as a common thread for everything they do, and Brutaż also provides a platform for Polish artists to experiment and hone their craft. “It wouldn’t be uncommon for [Brutaż] to invite a popular underground artist from Berlin or elsewhere and put them on with a newcomer who had just learnt how to play records,” Maja assures me. Unfortunately, such adventurous and inclusive programming provokes meanspirited criticism. Maja says she still experiences “hate and complaints about Brutaż parties”, particularly online. “They ironically call [our] DJs and live acts ‘the musicians’, make jokes about us not beat matching tracks, using effects, needle crackles or some weird distorted live music that they don’t understand.”
“The ultimate function of dancing in the club is to give others the comfort to move freely”
“It wouldn’t be uncommon for Brutaż to invite a popular underground artist from Berlin and put them on with a newcomer who had just learnt how to play”
041 Brutaż' generosity even extends to hostile Facebook commenters, who RRRKRTA tries to engage in a conversation. “I'm coming to terms with a certain type of outspokenness that's absolutely crucial if you want to be involved in the world of techno and to be able to look at yourself in the mirror,” he says. “I would like to show everyone attending that I'm ready to listen and interact and that others should be ready too. That's why we're trying to expose people to all kinds of odd music and why we’re doing various workshops around the party. But that's also the ultimate, secret function of dancing in the club. To give others the comfort and invite them to feel vulnerable enough to move freely.” Though Brutaż doesn't explicitly interact with the wider political climate in Poland, the context is hard to ignore, especially in recent years. On our way
to Pogłos, we walk past a roundabout with a huge flag commemorating the Warsaw uprising, which has become appropriated by far-right nationalists as a place to march under the slogan “Poland for the Poles, Poles for Poland”. “We hate this thing”, Jakub says, referring to the so-called ‘Mast of Freedom’. Since coming to power in 2015, Poland’s leading Law and Justice Party has emboldened ultranationalist, anti-immigrant sentiment and allowed it to spread from the margins into mainstream political consciousness. “The government won’t do anything because they are supported by these people,” Jakub explains. With this polical backdrop, the Brutaż party feels particularly liberating. On the second dancefloor below Pogłos’ main room, everyone goes ballistic to hits like Eiffel 65’s I’m Blue or Fergie’s Glamourous. Fast-forward about an hour into UMFANG’s pounding techno set, the crowd is a mix of Varsovians of all ages, non-binary kids, mothers, and even members of the “żubrzyce” (shebison) activist group, who represent the fight against turning Poland into a rightwing authoritarian state. They’re also the ones who brought the protest signs to the party. It’s a heartwarming sight. @brutaz
In a time when socio-political issues are at risk of being shallowly appropriated for branding or woke marketing campaigns, it’s inspiring to realise that when it comes to equality, Brutaż walk the walk. To RRRKRTA, gender equality (every line-up includes at least one female-identifying artist) and economic equality are both important. The first ten parties were free of charge, and even now he makes a point to ensure that whoever wants to come to the party can come, regardless of their income. “He even pays for some guests if they can’t afford the cover fee,” says Jakub, a friend of the Brutaż collective.
Words: Hamda Issa-Salwe Photography: Naomi Wood
Mist – or M, I, S to the fucking T to some – has enjoyed a rapid ascent to the top of the UK rap game. Last year he was ranked as one of the most viewed rap/grime artists in the country, with YouTube stats resembling those of Stormzy and Skepta, and 2017 has also been good to him. “It was kinda weird making that transition from normal life to travelling the world,” the Birmingham artist says wistfully as we start our interview. “I’ve had to take on everything that comes with this lifestyle.” After kicking off a series of freestyles and DIY music videos in 2015, last year Mist released his official debut, the M I S to the T EP, from which two singles stood out – Karlas Back and Ain't the Same. Off the back of the hype, he sold out two country-wide tours. “Last year I had a few bookings but nothing was as intense as this year,” he tells me. “I’ve been flying around to places I never thought I’d ever even visit. But music brought me to these places and it’s been such a great experience”. He then starts listing off the many places he’s touched – Marbella, Napa, Santorini, Kavos, Malta. The list goes on.
Everything about Mist is unmistakable. The Brummie twang, cheeky swagger, neck often full of gold chains and generous sprinklings of Punjabi in his lyrics – “old tight all my apnas, karlas, gouras all of that yeah”. “Basically, it all comes from the Punjabi language meaning Asians, Blacks and Whites” he divulges. “That lingo’s always been around me from young, I grew up with a lot of Asian mates. It’s been part of the way I talk for a very long time.”
“Where I grew up, there were a lot of different cultures,” he continues. “Having Caribbean parents there was reggae always playing in there house, also there was the whole UK garage scene. If you listen to my music you can probably hear a little bit of that sound.” Another distinctive element of Mist’s music is his lyricism, which is often filled with pain and is vividly autobiographical, telling tales of jail stints, high-speed police chases and the crushing loss of his parents. Take his song Madness, where he raps “pain in my chest/ still hurts that my mum can't see my success”. So where did he find the courage to deal with such themes in a very public domain? “Well, to start off I didn’t really have the confidence to share these things,” he pauses. “I’ll tell you who played a big part in me finding the confidence to speak – you see Jamal [Edwards] from SBTV? Before I did my warm up session for them, he said to me ‘you’ve got a story to tell, so tell it’. I was kinda in a place where I didn’t really wanna put it all out there, but Jamal let me know that this was what people wanted to hear – people who’ve lived through similar experiences and can relate. “With rap I can really let people know how I’m feeling,” he says of his therapeutic writing process. “It’s all facts. Whatever I have in my head goes straight onto the track. The pain and lyrics come from experience – life experience. Before fame and success I’d seen a lot of bad things. If it wasn’t for the things I’ve been through, I
“Before fame and success I’d seen a lot of bad things. But if it wasn’t for the things I’ve been through, I wouldn’t be where I am today”
One of the recurring themes in Mist’s music is his time in prison. On his debut P110 freestyle, Mist vented about missing his young daughter from behind bars, a time that the rapper describes as one of the worst yet most significant periods of his life. “It was my first time in jail. Before that I’d never visited anyone in prison or ever even been near one,” he explains. “It was an eye-opener and such a weird experience. I had to adapt and get to grips with prison life. With all of that I stepped out of the box and looked at it from a different angle and asked myself, ‘Is this how I really wanna be living my life?’ “I did a little course in prison, it was a resettlement course and the first thing they asked us on the first day of that course was ‘who are you?’. They didn’t want us to answer with ‘I’m a brother or I’m a father’, you know what I mean? They wanted me to actually tell them who I am, me as a person,” he trails off, contemplative for a moment. “I was sat there for ten minutes and wrote not one thing. That messed with my head, I was thinking how can I not even answer something as simple as ‘who are you?’ I knew I had to find an answer for that question. “In that period of time I got to enjoy my own company for a while and work out who I am as a person. I had all these thoughts and things weighing on my
chest so I started writing,” he adds. “That there became bars, it was all the pain I was feeling and things I’d seen. I just started writing it down. Everything in my first real freestyle, I wrote that in my cell. It was my mate Shadow who told me ‘Mate, you’ve gotta get this out there’. From there things just grew.”
The video of the P110 freestyle is now approaching five million views on YouTube, and Mist’s rise doesn’t show any signs of slowing. But as a rapper from Birmingham, what where the odds of Mist achieving this level of success, when it has always been notoriously difficult for artists who aren’t from London to breakthrough? “People took a while to get used to the accent, the lingo and get used to the whole thing of someone coming through from out of town, but the industry and fans have accepted that we make good music over here” he explains. “When it’s good music I don’t think anyone can turn their nose up at it.” Never settling for mediocrity, Mist is amongst the set of Birmingham talents who have smashed through that glass ceiling. Alongside artists like Jaykae and Lotto Boyzz, Mist is proving that Birmingham can hold its own weight in this country’s London-centric rap game. “People now know there is talent in Birmingham. My biggest fan base is all in London.” Mist’s penchant for flash and cinematic visuals, often in exotic settings, have also added to the rapper’s appeal. “Growing up I’d watch the maddest music videos,” he says. His first big budget video was for the single Ain’t The Same and saw Mist fly out for the Dubai experience – high-rise hotels, yachts and all. The video for Hot Property was shot in snowy Iceland and serves as an antithesis of Ain’t The Same – hot versus cold, desert lions versus arctic wolves, quad bikes on sand dunes versus snowmobiles on white capped mountains, and so on. “It was a deliberate thing,” Mist explains, “I know what I want my videos to look like long before anything. It’s my vision. We haven’t even scratched the surface in terms of music and visuals. There’s so much more to come.” @tweet_mist
wouldn’t be where I am today. It’s part of my journey and it’s all a part of my life.”
Produced exclusively for Crack Magazine by Waldemar Stepien - waldemarst.com
a l d F o a l r r no a C :
Words: Tom Watson Photography: Vasily Agrenenko
“If I feel vulnerable, it’s a sign that I’m getting in touch with something that’s authentic”
During a two year period spent in Berlin, dal Forno tells me her address changed at least five times, while her latest relocation to London involved transporting a priceless cargo of synthesisers and amplifiers once again. Living in suitcases, dal Forno tells me, has been essential to her survival as a functioning artist. Despite the constant upheaval, she has just signed a 12-month lease for a new apartment. “Hopefully I’ll stay out for a while this time,” she sighs, closing her eyes in silent protest. Like so many breakthrough musicians, Carla dal Forno's move to Europe was a practical necessity. “Logistically, if I wanted to continue playing, the expense of having to travel from Australia to Europe to perform was entirely nonsensical,” she clarifies. But beyond these logistics, dal Forno’s compositions mirror the mirk of Europe’s colder climes; her glacial sounds beckon for the iciness of the Northern Hemisphere. Something of a permanent fixture for Kiran Sande’s Blackest Ever Black label, Carla dal Forno’s career trajectory spans the fields of improvisation, dub and lo-fi post-punk. Early recordings with Melbourne-based indie outfit Mole House in 2010 saw her develop her skill for multi-instrumentation. With her solo work, alongside collaborations
with Samuel Karmel and Tarquin Manek for the Tarcar and F ingers projects, her vision was solidified. Her records capture a kind of shamanic gloom. Dal Forno’s softly phantasmal vocals and abstract approach to synth and drum machines create a simmering, dimly lit moodiness. Her partially conversational vocals sound weightless. Like smoke, her sound itself feels transient, intangible. Despite not having seen her family for over a year, dal Forno is right where she needs to be. “The infrastructure that’s connected to my music is all based here. Kiran and the label. And now this,” Carla gestures away from where we are sitting and towards Hackney’s recently opened record shop, Low Company, where she currently works. Managed and owned by Sande, it’s an unassuming space stationed amidst cafes and work studios. “I really don't think I would be working there if not for my experience in radio,” dal Forno tells me. “Don't ask me anything about the techno or jazz sections.” Despite her modesty, track selection clearly comes as second nature for dal Forno, whose monthly slot on London’s NTS radio careens wildly through stylish psychedelia, post-punk and art rock. “Once you start listening to music, you start joining the dots. It becomes a history lesson based around connections. It’s also helping me position my own music. Everything I play on the radio I admire something about it. I feel like there’s a connection with my own sound there, however tenuous that might be.” While she sponges up the sounds of her peers through radio and in the
record store, Carla’s sound is wholly her own. Her debut solo album, 2016’s You Know What It’s Like, was a swell of skulking pop and revised cold wave. It’s both sensual and chilling in equal measure. Her latest project, The Garden EP, toys with this emotive approach to songwriting, and is built with angular instrumentation. “I enjoy being able to express myself in ways I might not by just having a conversation with someone,” dal Forno explains. “It’s intuitive. I’m in awe of the process of making music because I’m not entirely sure exactly what I’ve done. There’s just this lapse of time. If I feel vulnerable, it’s a sign that I’m getting in touch with something that’s authentic.” By succumbing to this impulsive drive, dal Forno allows The Garden to grow wild with opposing states of consciousness. Fear, anger, lust, vulnerability, melancholy all coincide with one another as she sings. As it happens, dal Forno's current residence provides a fitting spiritual home for these powerful undercurrents to her sound. For now at least. “London too is a very passionate, emotional place. It suits me,” she concludes as she walks away from Low Company and surveys the rest of her working day. “Now I’ve got to go home and pack. Again.” The Garden is out 6 October via Blackest Ever Black Carla dal Forno appears at Simple Things, Bristol, 21 October
Carla dal Forno isn’t used to feeling settled. In the past three years since leaving her home in Melbourne, she’s moved more times than she can put a figure to with certainty. Even when she has a space to call her own, the musician seems to be everywhere and nowhere at once.
I’ve gleaned from previous press that Pink can be candid but also very guarded, part-performative and partly just taking the piss. It seems only right to toss the perfunctory questions and angles aside and let him take the lead – which he does with pleasure. “It really keeps the cranks greased up if I’m able to stand and think as opposed to being sequestered in a dated dog park without any way out,” he says. “It’s like being interrogated for some crime I didn’t commit and then basically having to come back to the same question every half an hour. If I have to answer like a parrot every single time, you may as well just put a muzzle over it, why don’t you?” We’re here to talk about Pink’s new album – his first in three years – although conversation only drifts this way for a matter of minutes before we’re back to Pink’s tapestry of immediate thought. The album, Dedicated To Bobby Jameson, is named for another outspoken Hollywood musician who, presumed dead for 35 years, resurfaced to write about his life with on a blog in 2007. He eventually passed away in 2015, having never enjoyed the success he'd hoped for.
The album was recorded with the help of “cohorts” Alle Norton and Kenny Gilmore at Ariel Pink’s home in Highland Park. Musically it stays true to Pink’s idiosyncratic variety of wayward pop, combining nostalgic references to garage rock, psych-folk and 80s synths with a dark and surreal use of irony. Love song Feels Like Heaven seemingly references The Cure, and there’s a nod to 80s punks The Queers on Bubblegum Dreams. Time to Live is a warped take on The Buggles with a heavy metal breakdown, while Another Weekend calmly reflects on reckless hedonism, and is perhaps the closest to guileless introspection on the album. With no immediately noticeable reference to Bobby Jameson besides the title track, you might suspect the concept of the album is little more than a homage or a thinly-veiled decoy. So is there a deeper story to it? “There’s no story,” Pink claims. “I don’t know how to tell a fucking story. You got it right the first time. The story is about my sheepish and transparent attempt to derail any scrutiny on me, and that’s all it is about.”
It’s mid-morning on the West Coast and somewhere in LA, Ariel Pink is pacing the streets with a phone to his ear. “I’m doing something that I’ve never done here, you’re getting a first. I’m actually deliberating the interview process as I do it. I’m just thinking out loud right now.” On the other end of the phone, from a rain-beaten parked car in the UK, I’m bracing myself for a tumultuous conversation. Over the years, Ariel Pink (born Ariel Rosenberg) has become almost as famed for his provocative offhand remarks as his music.
“I’m sure I’m a total fucking idiot. They’re right about a lot of things, but they’renot right about me being a misogynist. I have an equal amount of disdain for everyone”
Despite his desire for privacy, Ariel Pink is more open than I might have expected when discussing his personal life. Now on the cusp of 40, he lives a relatively unchanged and humble existence in a rented house in Northeast LA. “If you come to my house, you’ll see a very lived-in bachelor pad,” he says. “There’s just a bunch of used furniture and there’s lots of people’s art on the walls. I’m not that materialistic. I’ve been taking care of myself for a long time so I don’t think about the money.” He enjoys close relationships with a number of fellow musicians, many
Words: Amelia Phillips Photography: Mike Chalmers
His home, he says, is filled with magazines on science, astronomy, politics and current affairs among other more trivial matter. “I’ll read anything. I’ve got a very curious mind. I like music, I love movies. I’m a movie fanatic. I’m a junkie for things I’ve never seen or heard before. YouTube is the only website I like in the world. More input, more! The whole fucking thing. I like to butt into everybody else’s business, giving my opinion where it’s not welcome. ‘What are the chances of it lasting? Just break up now!’ I’m totally annoying. Any opportunity to not be the focus of attention. But it ends up backfiring. I end up making it about me!”
trying to get a piece of me somehow.” Is there any truth to the criticism? “I don’t know how much of a stupid idiot I am, I’m sure I’m a total fucking idiot. They’re right. They’re right about a lot of things. But they’re not right about me being a misogynist. I have an equal amount of disdain for everyone.” This particular scuffle came just a few months after Pink made headlines after an interview where he claimed he was “maced by a feminist”. Does he regret saying such things? “I don’t need to start double-backing on statements I’ve made and I don’t need to stand by anything either. It’s just something I’ve said. What I hope is that people will listen to my music because they like it and not because I’m a ham in interviews. Besides, the situation worked to my advantage. It means there are still things that are private and that the world shouldn’t know. I’m as real as I have to be and only as real as I pretend to be.”
In a moment of direct interrogation, I ask Ariel Pink how he feels about the backlash to certain comments he made around the release of 2014’s pom pom LP. Having claimed to have been asked to work with Madonna by her label, Pink described the artist’s career as a “downward slide”, and he was subsequently accused of “delusional misogyny” by Grimes. Then, in an interview with The Guardian, Pink called Grimes “stupid and retarded”, suggesting that she may have been “angry that I’m the male version of her, who was at 4AD before her.”
Opinionated, abstruse and at times nihilistic – these aren’t qualities that translate so well on the page. But throughout our conversation he is committed to an uncontrived stream of consciousness, even as he considers the consequences this openness might have. Ariel Pink always seems to be in the driver’s seat, but always out of control. “I suppose someone should be telling me to do some damage limitation or check myself into rehab but that’s not going to happen with me because I don’t have any managers or PR. I’m not even trying to make it. I challenge the world to put me out of a job. Just don’t pay attention to me, I dare you.” He laughs. Even so, it doesn’t get much clearer than that. Does he think his cynicism might sometimes be to his detriment, career or otherwise? “I’ve been cynical all my life which makes me as innocent as I ever was, and it’s not even real cynicism. It’s just a cheeryeyed impasse that’s got lost in the world of intention.”
"That was almost amusing,” Pink tells me, “it was like having a conversation with an android or a giant schizophrenic five-year-old with 20 tentacles that is
We get on to the matter of judgement, and how people’s fixed moral judgements can sometimes be needlessly reductive. Older generations,
for example, might find it hard to adjust to a rapidly changing value code. “Maybe we should wait for them all to shuffle off and die and then we can have a party,” Pink suggests with enthusiasm. “You don’t know what it’s like to be an adult. I’m old-fashioned so I defer to authority and respect my elders. You wanna get deep now? Let’s get deep now. Is somebody racist if someone comes up to their window in a bad neighbourhood and they feel afraid? These people may have been children – slaves – who have been conditioned to feel the way they do and then we are taking their fear, whether irrational or not, and saying they can’t have it.” It’s on that salient note that the phone goes dead. 10 minutes later I get a text. “Phone died!” it reads. I remember that early on Ariel Pink said he had 45 minutes to talk, and I realise the phone cut out almost to the minute. I ask if he’d like to continue the call. “Yeah… um… Who really wants to hear that bs ? anyway. That was a solid dose of me at my insufferable worst, let's be happy the universe stopped us mid-sentence for extra dramatic effect.” Dedicated to Bobby Jameson is released 15 September via Mexican Summer
of whom he has collaborated with time after time. His work and play are impenetrably intertwined. In 2016 he appeared on Michael Collins’ Drugdealer album The End of Comedy, at the beginning of the year he released a collaborative EP with Natalie Mering, aka Weyes Blood, and Dedicated To Bobby Jameson sees him work with LA producer Dam-Funk once again. The night before our call, he has been “lounging around at home” making music with friend and collaborator Ben Brown. He has a long-term girlfriend who lives close by. Although, briefly vulnerable, he admits, “I’m not really relationship material, to be honest. I’m damaged goods. They just have to be crazy about me. That’s the requirement.”
Coat: Topman Glasses: Model's Own
Words: Gunseli Yalcinkaya Photography: James Pearson-Howes Styling: Luci Ellis
In a crowded Italian restaurant in Hackney, Moses Sumney turns heads as he moves across the room. The Los Angeles-based musician has just finished his Crack Magazine photo shoot, and he's wearing a sharp ensemble of drapey black fabrics and small, round sunglasses. He's immediately striking and as we speak his softly spoken demeanour commands attention. At the same time, he possesses an instant warmth, an aptitude for listening intently to what others have to say, and a dry wit. Recently, Sumney has been capturing attention on a much larger scale, partly thanks to some high profile affiliations – featuring on Solange's A Seat at the Table, touring with James Blake and working alongside Beck, Sufjan Stevens and Karen O. With his solo work, you could make the case that it is Sumney’s intensity that makes his music so enticing. The abstract notions of love, fear and loneliness that structure his tracks evoke feelings that we all feel at some point in our lives. “It’s the 2am sweat you wake up in, fearing that lonesomeness might not just be a transitionary hallway that you’re passing through on the way to inevitable partnership,” reads the bio of his debut album, Aromanticism.
On its cover, Sumney hangs mid-air alone in the midst of a white room,
headless and with both arms tied behind his back. The image, a surreal and uncomfortable composition, is a reference to Plato’s Symposium, where it is said that humans were originally four-legged, four-armed and doublesexed. Fearing that human beings were becoming too powerful, the deity Zeus sliced them in half, making their heads face inwards. As a result, the only way a human could feel whole again would be to find their other ‘half’. Aromanticism isn’t a concept album based strictly around the Ancient Greek text, but it does seek to subvert the suggestion that romance is normative and necessary. “Obviously people have talked about loneliness and heartbreak since forever, but I was interested in something deeper: the idea that it isn’t in everyone’s constitution to be able to fall in love romantically,” Sumney tells me. “I think society in general doesn’t acknowledge enough ways to be. There are many ways to exist on this earth and there are only a few that are accepted and acknowledged.” In the song Plastic, Sumney sings a stripped-down ballad to a backdrop of simple guitar chords, before barely whispering, ‘can I tell you a secret?/ My wings are made of plastic’. Adopting the role of a humble Icarus, he flirts with notions of fragility and vulnerability, qualities that are not commonly
associated with his identity. “I think my expectation as a black man is to not express softness and sincerity,” he begins. “It affects the way people speak about the album and it affects people’s ability to accept it. It changes the way people speak about my music in general, because it places me into certain categories. I get put into a box.” “What we allow black men to do and the way we allow them to perform in terms of the way they dress, talk and express themselves is more limited compared to the ways that other men are allowed to perform,” he says.“There are things about the way I dress that would be more remarkable to people if I looked different, but I just don’t let that influence my style”. Instead, Sumney values personal freedom and liberation. “I’m trying more and more to get to a place where I do whatever I want. If I feel like wearing baggy pants, I’ll do that. If I feel like wearing something that looks like a dress, I’ll definitely do that.” For Sumney, he's not so much dismantling people’s expectations as he is opting out of societal expectations entirely. “It’s about deconstructing gender rules and going against the grain,” he explains. “I’m going to express softness and curiosity, honesty and sadness.” The relationship between the seen and the unseen is a reccurring theme in
Sumney’s aesthetic, and it seems to be the uniting factor in both his music and style. “I think that everything that we don’t understand with clarity is worth investigating,” he tells me. This mantra is apparent in his day-today aesthetic: he prefers clothes that ‘catch the air’, shapes and sizes of fabrics that leave a feeling of mystery and secrecy. “Church clergy and drapey choir robes are a huge influence,” he says. “My dad’s a pastor and he used to wear these crazy outfits on stage – well, it’s not a stage, but whatever. It’s the same aesthetic my dad’s into, except instead of wearing Kente cloth and purple, I wear black”. I ask Sumney why it is important that some things are left unseen. “I want people to fill in the blanks of the story with their own mind,” he replies. “Like, what is beneath that photo that we’re not seeing?” Aromanticism is released 22 September via Jagjaguwar
Top: Edward Critchley Trousers: Edward Critchley Scarf: Nico Panda Sunglasses: Model's Own
058 Top: Wan Hung Trousers: Wan Hung Boots: Redwing Sunglasses: Model's Own
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T H U R S DAY
M ANC HE S T E R AC A DE M Y L O NDO N RO UN D H O U S E L O NDO N RO UN D H O U S E BR IS T O L O 2 A C AD E M Y G L AS G O W O 2 A B C
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W E DN E S D AY 01 NOVE MB E R TICKETMASTER.co.uk
A Metropolis Music presentation by arrangement with CAA
DEKMANTEL Amsterdam, Netherlands 2-6 August
gramme of panels and interviews at the EYE institute produced in partnership with Resident Advisor, many of which were free and open to the public. Robert Hood’s wide-ranging career retrospective touched on divining spirituality from dance music and the fearsome extent of Mike Banks’ militaristic drilling of UR, while Hunee and Nina Kraviz’s ‘Art of DJing’ discussion saw them offer up candid takes on the ambivalence of IDing culture and the myriad factors that can shape the course of a set. Kraviz divulged that she’d returned to Moscow to dig deep through a long-neglected collection of italo and electro records for her opening set on Friday afternoon, and there was an undeniable sense of being in on the surprise as she warmed up the Selectors stage with Charlie’s Spacer Woman and The Dirtbombs’ Shari Vari. Byron The Aquarius’ feel-
good house drew us to the Greenhouse stage where many lounged on deckchairs and danced barefoot, while Omar-S continued in a similar vein on the Main Stage rolling out a soulful-but-tough set peppered with his own productions. Robert Glasper’s hybrid experiments provided a neat change of pace, creating space for Dekmantel mainstay Joey Anderson to launch into an exploratory set of looping techno and acid before Tony Allen and Jeff Mills’ virtuoso live set. Dekmantel is replete with small touches that elevate it above many of its contemporaries. Extra speaker stacks are dotted thoughtfully beside stages for those content to lounge around, and when a torrential downpour sent many running for the trees there were elated scenes as bar staff tossed free ponchos into the crowd. The second day brought
curveballs in Jameszoo playing Benga’s 26 Basslines into Migos’ T-Shirt before dropping Super Sharp Shooter, while Jon K and Joy Orbison’s riotous back-to-back saw them bounding from dancehall to garage via Nativ’s Shifty and Wookie classic Down On Me. Arca, not a natural fit for Greenhouse, checked any misgivings by strutting the stage, blasting a punishing mix of gqom and high-BPM techno, pausing only to egg on the crowd and douse them with champagne. Back at the main stage Ben UFO delivered a highlight, dexterously weaving through styles before closing out with Overmono’s gorgeous reworking of Nathan Fake’s Degreelessness. Come Sunday, Shanti Celeste made short work of energising the bleary early-afternoon crowd, segueing through a mix of timeless house, setting the
stage for the euphoria throughout Palms Trax. Opening with the unmistakable chords of Mystery of Love, Larry Heard and Mr. White guided us through live iterations of Mr. Fingers classics, perfectly timing Praise to coincide with the sunset dipping behind the trees. The final hours of the festival posed arguably the biggest dilemma in terms of clashes with Hunee and Antal, Call Super and Objekt, and Helena Hauff all closing out stages across the site. We opted for the latter, witnessing Hauff thunder through searing acid techno. Musically, the vibe was austere, but people cheered with every new track, some even crowd-surfing their way around the mist-enveloped stage. It felt like an apt finale. The festival’s rep as a paradise for heads is fully deserved – DJs and attendees alike both bring their A-game throughout the weekend
– but the event never strays too far towards snobbishness or stuffy dogmatism. This is the Dekmantel collective’s tenth year in operation, and the fifth edition of the festival, and it’s this innate balancing act of forward-facing programming and a truly inclusive atmosphere that’s ensured their longevity. ! Ben Horton N Bart Heemskerk
“I’ve heard the rehearsals and these guys are burning. They’ve got this piece together, and if you don’t like it, it’s your problem!” We’re at the opening night of Dekmantel 2017, and Steve Reich is introducing Slagwerk Den Haag’s rendition of his seminal composition Drumming. He’s not joking – the Haguebased orchestra adroitly phase marimbas, bongo drums, and vocals into a rich melange of sound which spirals upwards, falling in and out of sync. The performance is a testament to Dekmantel’s far-ranging influence and curatorial ambition. The following evening included live sets from Robert Henke, Marcos Valle and Wolfgang Voigt – the latter plunging Muziekgebouw into darkness for an affecting performance of his GAS material. Thursday also saw attendees hurrying to take in the pro-
Reeperbahn Festival 2017 Invitation to the annual Dutch Impact Party at Reeperbahn Festival 2017 / Thursday / September 21st / 2017 / from 13:00 – 18:00hrs Live performances by eight top acts from the lowlands. Free drinks and bratwurst for delegates.
The Cool Quest 13:30 - 14:00 / Club 14:00 - 14:30 / Skybar Loren Nine 14:30 - 15:00 / Club Naaz 15:00 - 15:30 / Skybar Dakota 15:30 - 16:00 / Club Navarone 16:00 - 16:30 / Skybar Sue the Night 16:30 - 17:00 / Club My Baby Iguana Death Cult 17:00 - 17:30 / Courtyard
Venue Molotow / Hamburg
Dutch shows @ Reeperbahn Festival 2017 Wednesday / September 20th Loren Nine / 20:00 / Sommersalon Sue The Night / 20:00 / Sankt Pauli Museum Thursday / September 21st Naaz / 20:00 / Moondoo Iguana Death Cult / 22:10 / Molotow SkyBar The Cool Quest / 22:30 / Headcrash My Baby / 23:20 / Knust Navarone / 23:20 / Kaiserkeller Friday / September 22nd Dool / Markthalle / Hamburg Metal Dayz Kuenta I Tambu / 21:45 / Mojo Club Saturday / September 23rd Dakota / 21:30 / MS Claudia Paceshifters / 21:40 / Grüner Jäger
Brought to you by Dutch Music Export, powered by Eurosonic Noorderslag, Dutch Performing Arts and Buma Cultuur.
HOUGHTON FESTIVAL Houghton Hall, Norfolk 10 - 13 August
non-stop too, with curator Craig Richards playing for more than 20 hours over the course of the festival. That summed up the direction of the programming in general, with average sets around four hours in length, and plenty of DJs playing multiple sets over the weekend. The result was a glut of choices: do you see Joy Orbison or Midland? Andrew Weatherall or Nicolas Lutz? Of course, it didn’t matter. The beauty of the place was you did it all. Apart from, well, the actual beauty of the place. Anyone who has experienced Gottwood, which has the same behind-thescenes team as Houghton, will tell you that the level of care and attention paid to that festival’s setting is unparalleled. Until now, perhaps. There may not have been anything that looks as
iconic as the Tricon at the Anglesey festival site, but between the woodland Pavilion and the Quarry – a cauldron of a dancefloor situated at the base of a subterranean bowl – there was plenty of charm to the stages. Then there were the sound systems. I have honestly never been to a festival where the sound was so good. Bar Hunee’s closing set at the Quarry on Sunday night, when either the speakers blew or – depending on who you believe – an environmental group’s complaints meant the organisers turned them down, it was loud and crisp at every juncture. Particularly special was the Brilliant Corners stage, where the Analogue Foundation’s outrageous Giant Steps system encircled the wood-panelled dancefloor and lush green foliage framed the old BBC Technics turntable
and mixer unit. Here, sets from Hunee, Danny Bushes and Floating Points seemed to take off to another level. The site’s obligatory warehouse stage was likely the least interesting aesthetically, but still played host to sets by Raresh and Rhadoo, stacked with mind-bogglingly intricate mixes. On the main outdoor stage, live sets from Tony Allen, Kamaal Williams, and Vilod delivered a welcome change of pace, as did Nicolas Jaar’s two hours of celestial curveballs on Saturday night. The set of the weekend for me though, belonged to Optimo. With the sun rising again over the Quarry, the Glaswegian duo dragged the willing crowd through to the final day, Nathan Fake’s sublime The Sky Was Pink unleashed a wave of emotion for the final ascent, culminat-
ing in Nina Simone’s Feeling Good. Shell-shocked ravers then retreated up the hill, most making their way to the festival’s centrepiece, Craig Richards’ eight-hour b2b with Ricardo Villalobos. By that point, with sleep so often trumped by whatever stand out moment was happening at any given time, I was surprised at my own willingness to continue into the morning. But with the duo turning out leftfield breaks and a crowd captivated in unison, the party didn’t slow. Like so much of Houghton Festival, it was incomprehensibly fun. If I could level one complaint at the festival it would be the lack of diversity in the line-up. There are wider problems in the scene that make it hard but the onus must be on festivals to try and rectify this and it should be food for thought.
When we left the site, mobile phones sparking back to life and the outside world looming into view, no-one could quite believe what had taken place, as if everyone had shared some lucid dream. The UK has been crying out for a dance music festival of this kind, and in Houghton it finally feels like we have one to compete with the giants of Europe. ! Theo Kotz N Jake Davis
Arriving at Houghton Festival, excitement levels ratchet with each passing landmark. First, there’s the long, straight, tree-lined approach, humped and stretching just a little beyond a clear sightline, creating a vague sense of unreality. Next, walking the short stretch down to the festival gate, you pass the imposing Houghton Hall on your right, with a great sweeping channel cut into the landscape away to the left, the sheer size of empty land driving home how remote the site is. For the entire weekend, that dreamy spell never lifted: there was no phone signal at all, and the lake, dense woodland and breezy plains all felt straight out of C.S. Lewis’ imagination. What you’re left with is a sort of utopian playground soundtracked by one of the most impressive line-ups in recent memory. With a 24-hour license it was
FARMFEST Bruton, Somerset 28-29 July
The story goes that Appelsap began as a series of block parties in 2000. Welcoming fans of hip-hop, RnB and soul, it’s now a major one-day fixture in the Dutch festival calendar. Situated among the trees at Flevopark in the East of Amsterdam, a well-dressed, diverse crowd arrive for a day of celebratory partying. The programme brings together local favourites with UK artists and blockbuster US names. Dutch rapper Bokoesam inspires a huge response with a pop-leaning sound and a hyperactive show which sees him surf over the crowd. As a British writer, it’s always fun to see a superstar you’ve never heard of. The Noisey stage played host to most of the UK names – with Dave and J Hus holding the fort as two of the year’s most exciting exports. Brooklyn rapper Young M.A appeared on the festival’s main stage. Although her breakthrough hit Ooouuu got great responses from the many DJs who dropped it, her live performance fell slightly flat, and M.A.’s attempts to get the crowd going by criticising their low energy levels had the opposite effect. The festival was headlined by Lil Wayne, an undeniable rap icon. Opening with Mr. Carter from 2008’s tripleplatinum selling Tha Carter III – Wayne went through a set of hey-day favourites (Mrs. Officer, Got Money, Go DJ) and guest verses from more recent hits he features on. Weezy seemed happy to be there, his trademark gooey croak loud and clear. Brixton drill group 67 buzzed off the energy of a massive crowd, instigating huge mosh pits. Meanwhile Lunice treated the crowd to a nostalgic blast of TNGHT’s Higher Ground. During an after show interview, a giddy local rapper gatecrashed the conversation to force his mixtape CD into Lunice’s hands. “No! No mixtapes!” Lunice laughed. “But seriously, shout out to Appelsap – every time.” ! Duncan Harrison N Isabel Janssen
LOST VILL AGE Lincolnshire 24 - 27 August Lost Village, nestled deep in the Lincolnshire forest, offers an immersive, wellbeing-centred experience. You could visit a spa; chill out in a hot tub by a beautiful lake; even eat a “tribal banquet”, if you had the appetite for it. Arriving at the site, I’m struck by the care and attention that’s gone into the staging. There’s the Burial Ground: with enormous, imposing scarecrows towering above the sound rigs; the Junkyard, featuring wrecked classic cars you can sit in or even dance on; and the Abandoned Chapel, comprising a derelict replica of a church. Unlike the exceptional staging, programming this year was solid, but fell down on diversity. Multiple stages hosted practically all-male lineups, and there were barely any female headliners (excepting Nina Kraviz and The Black Madonna). That said, most of my festival highlights involved women, or even girls. Teen experimental pop duo Let’s Eat Grandma were a Friday afternoon highlight: channelling Kate Bush at her best, they rolled around on the floor and twisted into abstract dance moves. Saturday’s standout set comes from Avalon Emerson, who delivers a pounding techno-flecked session with just enough squelchy acid to keep this reviewer happy. A real highlight came on Sunday afternoon, as up-and-coming Hotflush artist Or:La played an intimate set at the semi-hidden Bureau of Lost stage. Over at the Burial Ground, the mood was euphoric as Fatima Yamaha closed out his headline set while fireworks exploded on the lake in time to the bass. Although Lost Village may not appeal to more headsy dance music lovers (there were few left-field or really underground bookings), if you’re here for good tunes, a beautiful location, and a fun, non-sleazy crowd, Lost Village is the festival for you. Words: Sirin Kale N Caroline Faruolo / Fanatic
SUPERLONGEVIT Y Berlin, Germany 4-6 August Perlon has always been for those who know. From their headsy releases to their minimalist artwork, their unique parties and their lack of promo, the German-born label thrives on being aloof, understated and exclusive without being ostracizing. The label, founded by Markus Nikolai, Zip and Chris Rehberger in Frankfurt, boasts artists like Ricardo Villalobos, Binh, Mayaan Nidam, Baby Ford and Daniel Bell in its core crew; all of whom gathered at Berlin’s legendary Funkhaus to celebrate Superlongevity – the label’s 20th anniversary. Although billed as an extended party – a Perlon classic – the weekend was more like a small festival running non-stop from Friday 4 to Sunday 6 August. The timetable was unavailable before the event, and though it was posted around the venue, it was easy to miss. As such, the weekend remained a bit of a mystery, with attendees arriving without knowing quite what to expect. The nighttime schedule took place indoors. DJs playing inside were challenged to make use of the space’s towering concrete pillars and vast expanse that played acoustic tricks. Friday night’s sets were safe in the hands of Margaret Dygas and Binh, both playing harder than usual. After a night dancing to bangers indoors, Zip’s low-key morning set was welcome. Unfortunately the weather took a bad turn, and a sound complaint meant the rest of his set was underwhelmingly attended and annoyingly quiet – a problem that plagued the outdoor stage for the rest of the weekend. Soulphiction, James Dean Brown, Kalabrese and a strong live set from Mayaan Nidam followed inside Saturday night. The next morning began with a perfect DJ set from the Montreal-born minimal artist Akufen. Fumiya Tanaka, a Japanese producer and DJ known for his stripped back sound, played one of the weekend’s highlights. DBX, the live moniker of Daniel Bell was moved indoors which was a blessing in disguise; we missed the sunshine but his set was by far the best of the weekend, the percussive beats and growl of his vocals right at home in the concrete warehouse. Ricardo Villalobos closed things out in the way that only he can, starting out minimal and exploding into poppy tunes like an edit of Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s Relax. A fitting end to a weekend that proved that Perlon isn’t for everyone – and that’s the way they like it. ! Emma Robertson N Ogarev
The growing longevity of Farmfest can be attributed to its tasteful balance of local and international acts, and its family-friendly roots. The two-day festival in Somerset has just celebrated its 12th year, but its growing popularity hasn’t affected its quality over quantity ethos. Enclosed in just two fields and five tents is an eclectic spread of music and performing arts, with one eye focused on the local community and the other dedicated to unearthing some true musical gems. Friday afternoon boasted a high quality assortment of UK acts under looming dark clouds. Welsh trio Castles provided off-kilter psych grooves on the main stage, straddling simplicity and finesse. Memorable sets by local acts Port Erin and Goan Dogs also shone through. A particular highlight of Farmfest’s curation was the impressive late-night bill over at the acoustic tent, running concurrently with Late Night Tales’ euphoric disco in the Den. Label manager Peter Malla and his stablemates delivered rare disco, dusty grooves and chugging love jams, paving the way for Bill Brewster. The promise of free Bloody Marys led us into the Palladium tent on Saturday. While the weather wasn’t great, the music carried on unnervingly. Bristol rapper Dizraeli set the social conscience alight, while later This Is The Kit’s delightful melodies were enhanced by the dreary backdrop. Farmfest’s diversity shone through with 47SOUL, an electro-dabka band from Jordan. Hyped up with analogue synthesisers and hypnotic guitar licks, their set moved the body while calling for freedom in a continuing struggle. The unwavering attention to quality is ultimately what makes Farmfest shine. Gilcombe Farm may’ve been left as an absolute mud bath after this weekend, but all festival-goers’ could reasonably regret were shoddy tents or a lack of wellies. ! Mike Robertson N Mustafa Mirreh
APPELSAP Amsterdam, Netherlands 12 August
LEIF ERIKSON THURS 7 SEPT OSLO HACKNEY THE KVB TUES 19 SEPT OSLO HACKNEY PALM TUES 19 SEPT THE MONTAGUE ARMS A HOUSE IN THE TREES THURS 21 SEPT BERMONDSEY SOCIAL CLUB THE MANTIS OPERA FRI 22 SEPT THE MONTAGUE ARMS THE NATIONAL T TUES T MON 25, 26, SOLD OU SOLD OU T WED 27T & THURS SOLD OU SOLD OU28 SEPTEMBER EVENTIM HAMMERSMITH APOLLO PENELOPE ISLES TUES 26 SEPT THE NINES WYLDEST WED 27 SEPT THE WAITING ROOM
OTZEKI WED 27 SEPT, 25 OCT & 22 NOV ELECTROWERKZ BECKIE MARGARET THURS 28 SEPT THE WAITING ROOM MICAH P. HINSON MON 2 OCT SCALA TONY NJOKU TUES 3 OCT THE WAITING ROOM LITTLE CUB WED 4 OCT OSLO HACKNEY AIR TRAFFIC WED D4OUOCT T SOL SCALA MON 9 OCT ISLINGTON ASSEMBLY HALL MADONNATRON FRI 6 OCT THE MONTAGUE ARMS BEDOUINE MON 9 OCT THE ISLINGTON JERKCURB WED 11 OCT THE LEXINGTON
DEAD PRETTIES THURS 12 OCT BOSTON MUSIC ROOM
FUTURE ISLANDS mon 20 nov 2017 o2 academy brixton tues 21 nov 2017 o2 academy brixton + 3rd and final london show wed 22 nov 2017 o2 academy brixton fri 24 nov 2017 o2 apollo manchester sat 25 nov 2017 o2 academy bournemouth sun 26 nov 2017 norwich, uea
RALEGH LONG THURS 12 OCT THE LEXINGTON SIVU, FENNE LILY, PAUL THOMAS SAUNDERS & SIV JAKOBSEN THURS 12 OCT CECIL SHARP HOUSE MELANIE DE BIASIO MON 16 OCT SCALA EASTERN BARBERS TUES 17 OCT THE LEXINGTON ST VINCENT TUES 17 OCT O2 ACADEMY BRIXTON YOWL & LICE TUES 17 OCT SEBRIGHT ARMS MARY EPWORTH WED 18 OCT OSLO HACKNEY KELLY LEE OWENS THURS 19 OCT OSLO HACKNEY
the new album ‘THE FAR FIELD’ out now futureislands.com
THE BIG MOON FRI 20 OCT KOKO
WOVOKA GENTLE TUES 7 NOV RICH MIX
(SANDY) ALEX G TUES 24 OCT SCALA
INSECURE MEN WED 8 NOV SCALA
DIET CIG T LD OUOCT TUES 24 & WEDSO25 MOTH CLUB
LOW ISLAND WED 8 & THURS 9 NOV CORSICA STUDIOS
IDER WED 25 & THURS 26 OCT ARCHSPACE
GOAT GIRL MON 13 NOV CORSICA STUDIOS
YANN TIERSEN MON 30 OCT SOLD OUT ROYAL ALBERT HALL CHRISTIAN LOFFLER & MOHNA TUES 31 OCT VILLAGE UNDERGROUND
MY O C T 1 7 0 2BARCI XADE TON 0 2 A PO LL O O C T 18 M A N C HES T ER I L OVE S T VIN CE N T. C O M
P R E S ENT E D B Y PA R A L L E L L I N ES A N D DH P
ANGELO DE AUGUSTINE WED 15 NOV ST PANCRAS OLD CHURCH ANNA MEREDITH THURS 16 NOV OVAL SPACE
FRAN LOBO WED 1 NOV CORSICA STUDIOS
LUKE HOWARD FRI 17 NOV ST PANCRAS OLD CHURCH
ANDY SHAUF THURS 2 NOV ISLINGTON ASSEMBLY HALL
FUTURE ISLANDS OUT TUES OUT MON SOLD20, SOLD21 & WED 22 NOV O2 ACADEMY BRIXTON
PERFUME GENIUS SUN 5 NOV ROUNDHOUSE
DINNER MON 20 NOV MOTH CLUB
KAITLYN AURELIA SMITH TUES 21 NOV SCALA MOONLANDINGZ WED 22 NOV BRIXTON ELECTRIC WOLF PARADE WED 22 NOV O2 FORUM KENTISH TOWN CURTIS HARDING WED 29 NOV SCALA LORD HURON TUES 23 JAN O2 SHEPHERD’S BUSH EMPIRE THIS IS THE KIT THURS 25 JAN O2 SHEPHERD’S BUSH EMPIRE ARCADE FIRE WED 11, THURS 12 & FRI 13 APR THE SSE ARENA, WEMBLEY JOSE GONZALEZ WED 20 SEPT ROYAL ALBERT HALL
BERLIN ATONAL Berlin, Germany 16-20 August
PERCOL ATE OPEN AIR Three Mills Island, London 29 July Tucked in a meander of River Lea, trees lining the waterside against the metallic backdrop of Stratford and Bow, Three Mills Island feels, basically, perfect. To match the spot, the line-up here befitted Percolate’s biggest party to date. The late addition of Ryan Elliot, Leon Vynehall and Evan Baggs, plus DEBONAIR and Paranoid London, all playing before 7pm, avoided the trappings of a thinly attended afternoon. I should mention it rained. A lot. There’s something about the British dedication to partying in the face of relentless gloom that you just can’t help but admire. With the surroundings looking sad, the punters were uncaringly ridiculous in purple ponchos, defiantly raising hands to the falling sky. There were problems with the sound. At The Face, the party’s bigger stage, it was beautifully tuned: really loud with zero discomfort. The Unit was a different story. Unless you stood no more than four people from the stage, the sound from The Face way was clearly audible, to the point of distraction. Saoirse’s excellent set was marred by this, frustratingly dispelling the sense of connection. The staging though was top-notch. For the first half of Sonja Moonear’s set, laser beams hazily bisected the swirl of smoke and droplets, framed by shiny green boxes that shuddered to her concussive march. Headliner DJ Koze’s set opposite was typically playful, spinning tracks like Radio Slave’s Feel the Same and his own remix of Låpsley’s Operator. Percolate say their aim with this party was to create something worthwhile, and for the most part they did: it was stripped to the essentials in a setting that felt great. There were a few teething problems but, in filling the bill with absolutely no filler, a statement of intent was made. ! Theo Kotz N Here & Now
If you’re a techno fan, Neopop may just be the best festival you’ve never heard of. If you’re not a techno fan, Neopop is not for you. Held in the port of the Portuguese town of Viana Do Castelo, Neopop is barely known in the UK – which, depending on how you feel about the British invasion of the European festival scene, is either a good thing, or a very good thing. Arriving in Viana Do Castelo, I’m surprised by how much the town embraces the festival — leaflets pepper the bars and there’s even an Art of Techno exhibition in the town museum. Moderat played one of their final live performances before their upcoming indefinite hiatus early Thursday night. Opening with Ghostmother, the set was a moment of relative calm before Neopop thundered into full swing. Everyone was there to see one woman – and Helena Hauff did not disappoint. With exceptional visuals and rich, clear sound, Hauff stormed through a predictably electroheavy set, with a few squelchy acid bangers thrown in. The crowd ate it up. For me though, the standout performance of the entire festival was Dr. Rubinstein’s intelligent, layered performance on the Anti Stage. When she dropped Regal’s Rem, the crowd erupted and it was the most packed I’d seen the Anti Stage all weekend. Slightly dazed and confused, I enjoyed Kraftwerk’s solemn, occasionally uplifting 3D performance on Saturday night. While energy levels were somewhat flat, there’s no denying Kraftwerk’s incredible contribution to dance music. At one point, behind Kraftwerk was a spaceship window opening to reveal the turning earth and the image of a UFO landing on the Neopop festival site. A cheer went up from the crowd. It was a fitting end to a weekend that put Neopop firmly on the international festival map. ! Sirin Kale N Rui Soares
Øya Tøyen Park, Oslo 29 July Øya seems to be one of Norway’s most renowned music festivals, bringing outrageously good line-ups to Oslo’s city centre Tøyen Park and hosting stylish club nights across the city. It’s a slickly-organised, pricey event which swerves the grimier aspects of most European festivals for good, clean fun. Despite Norway’s widespread love for metal, by and large the Norwegians don’t mosh to rock genres – but they do go wild for a trap beat. Thousands of fresh-faced teenagers gathered at the mainstage for Migos, opening up a massive pit for the trio’s intense 2 Chainz collab Deadz early in the set. Over at the Sirkus tent, Young Thug took a little longer to warm up. British collaborator Millie Go Lightly joined Thugger on stage to sing her parts of the country-tinged Family Don’t Matter and the uncharacteristically conventional track She Wanna Party from his pop-orientated Beautiful Thugger Girls LP. Quavo then came on stage to perform his Pick Up The Phone verse before Offset and Takeoff emerged for another go at Bad and Boujee. Guitar bands, trendy Scandinavian pop acts and rappers tend to fill the larger stages at Øya, but there’s still a lot of love for electronic music. Wednesday afternoon saw Discwoman represent with sets from Umfang and Volvox, while on the sunny Saturday Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith cooled down a mature crowd with ambient synth textures and soothing new age visuals. The Øya night programme was also an incentive to explore Oslo’s clubs. It’s probably worth mentioning that – aside from the very occasional waft of weed smoke – there’s little evidence of casual drug use among the Norwegian crowds. Presumably, naughty substances cost a fortune too. Øya’s line-up took a blow back in May when Chance The Rapper pulled his Europe summer dates due to “scheduling conflicts”. That said, with Lana Del Rey, The xx and Pixies headlining Wednesday, Thursday and Friday respectively, Chance was hardly missed. Anyone who’s attended a major UK festival will be familiar with the discomfort endured to get a good glimpse of a big headline act. In comparison, Øya’s mainstage feels intimate – with a reasonable capacity making it easy to slip into the crowd mid set and the grassy hill opposite offering those of a shorter stature a decent view. Perfect. ! Davy Reed N Erik Moholdt
! Maya-Roisin Slater N Camille Blake
NEOPOP Viana do Castelo, Portugal 3 - 5 August
The Kraftwerk, which holds the majority of Atonal’s activities, is a truly astounding venue. Bathed in distorted noise, the entire space is scarcely lit. Save for a few piercing spot lights, fog obstructs your vision, visuals from apocalyptic to grotesque are projected sporadically among the three floors. The hypnotic enveloping nature makes you feel as if you are a part of something dangerous and exciting. Being an event of such a feasible size it is no surprise that Atonal had both moments of brilliance and missed opportunity. MNML SSGS cofounder Chris SSG delivered one of my favourite moments, dropping a paired down cover of Prince’s When Doves Cry in his set. A move so unexpected for an event that leans quite heavily to the deeply alternative, it had the whole audience grinning, and dancing as only a Prince song can inspire. The highlights from here go on, with beautiful performances delivered by Demdike Stare and visual artist Michael England – a surreal optic journey from Japanese Butoh to smiling tourists cheesing it up at Niagara Falls – LCC, Pan Daijing, and many more. The most surprising performance came from producer Powell and renowned photographer Wolfgang Tillmans. To the chorus of Powell’s irreverent techno, Tillmans recited poetry presumably intended to be profound, thought-provoking, even a little tongue in cheek. As Tillmans aggressively over annunciated lyrics like “Eating your ass, feeding your mind, filthy as fuck” between vague existential musings I began to wonder if the whole show was an elaborate rouse, an intentionally bland performance done to prove a greater point. Sadly it seemed dated and somewhat out of place at an event dedicated to exploring new forms of musical experience. For those unfamiliar, when words such as new forms, experimental, and avant-garde describe music, they might picture a parodic performance like that of Powell and Tillmans. I only wish they could see, as I did at this year’s edition of Atonal, the light at the end of the dark electronic tunnel.
AUTUMN 2017 ~ LIVE ~ 01.09
Rachel Foxx / 15.09
Ine Hoem /
Vita and The Woolf / 13.10
Bare Traps / 30.10
ItstheReal with DJ Semtex / 22.09
J Bernardt /
Cameron Avery /
Cassia / 31.10
Only Sun /
Welshly Arms /
Kirin J Callinan / 27.09 The Aces /
Glass Caves /
Amy Shark /
Tom Figgins /
Dark Rooms /
Icelandic Hip Hop in London
The Vryll Society /
Left Lane Cruiser /
~ LATE ~ 01.09
THE DOCTOR’S ORDERS
Exploring every year in
A proper old school
80s and 90s disco designed
An immersive experience
Exploring every year in
hip hop’s history
to keep you dancing
in dance music
hip hop’s history
Dates, times & tickets: hoxtonsquarebar.com
| HOXTONSQUAREBAR 2-4 HOXTON SQUARE, LONDON, N1 6NU
Aisha Devi & Emile Barret AV Live Ben Frost AV Live Clark AV Live Dné & Gabriela Prochazka AV Live HRTL Live Jacques Greene AV Live Jlin Live Laurel Halo Live Lorenzo Senni AV Live Lumisokea & Legoman present Nibiru AV Live M.E.S.H., Novi_sad & Ryoichi Kurokawa present Sirens AV Live Pantha Du Prince AV Live Robin Fox presents RGB AV Live Roots in Heaven AV Live Second Woman & Pfadfinderei AV Live Visionist & Pedro Maia AV Live Gqom Oh! showcase: DJ LAG, Nan Kolè, Diagonal showcase: Powell presents New Beta AV Live Not Waving Live Stroboscopic Artefacts showcase: Lucy, Pact Infernal & Cycles AV Live Visceral Minds AV: Sinjin Hawke b2b Scratcha DVA, b2b Zora Jones & Killa P www.lunchmeatfestival.cz
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MOUNT KIMBIE Love What Sur vives Warp
After emerging as one of the brighter lights in the embryonic post-dubstep landscape, Mount Kimbie (in a trajectory which closely mirrors that of kindred spirits Darkstar) signed to Warp, went a bit prog, and, to be honest, lost a bit of their edge. It wasn't the pastoral/avantgarde turn that was problematic – this kind of leap has been the making of many acts. But where Mount Kimbie’s seminal debut album Crooks and Lovers felt vibrant, weightless and unaffected, 2013’s follow-up Cold Spring Fault Less Youth felt flat in comparison. But their third offering Love What Survives has recaptured the deftness of their debut while retaining the more experimental tropes of Cold Spring Fault Less Youth. The energy and emotional intensity is back from the first track with low-slung guitars and a motorik rhythm, which blends into a raw vocal performance from long-time collaborator King Krule on lead single Blue Train Lines. Vocal collaborators are plentiful, in fact. Both Micachu and James Blake feature, with Blake lending his distinctive falsetto to two tracks. The first – the playfully psychedelic We Go Home Together – gives Blake a wobbly platform to soar over, and is up there with the best of his own material. Towards the album’s conclusion, Delta – again with a motorik nod – provides a rush of adrenaline, before the beautifully constructed T.A.M.E.D unfolds in a whirl of understated romanticism. Sure, the bar may have been set lower this time, but there’s no question that Love What Survives reinstates Mount Kimbie’s reputation as credible musical innovators.
Living life on permanent caps lock, Jordan Cardy aka RAT BOY is an Essex kid who bangs out baggy beats and saggy half-raps about fake IDs and bunking school. As if fuelled by a steady diet of Monster energy drinks, SCUM zips through 25 tracks and skits of cartoony Brit-pop hooks and chimpunk backing vocals without a single drop in pace. Dodgy rhymes like “When you hear the groove that makes your legs move”) deserve an eye-roll, but Cardy tells stories of an underprivileged upbringing – from the holes in his shoes to the doom of the dole – which are rare in an industry still dominated by the privileged. When he’s not rapping, Cardy’s choruses sound like concoction of The Kooks, Oasis and Jamie T – fit to soundtrack a mid-noughties indie clubnight. Each catchy track feels like you’ve heard it at least ten times before, and in the case of LAID BACK you probably have – since Cardy signed to major label Parlophone, the single has become the scourge of sponsored YouTube ads. Recently the Evening Standard dubbed RAT BOY “the anarchic voice of his generation”, touting him as “best placed” to lead a guitar music comeback. Considering that guitar bands still headline most mainstream UK music festivals, that kind of hype is off-putting – but, to be fair to Cardy, he claims to be totally unconcerned about the industry: "Everything's free if you want it to be/ take my MP3 illegally".
Before trip-hop, jungle and dubstep, Bristol already had a strong heritage of unusual variations on musical phenomena in the heady post-punk years – just look at the sonic chaos of bands such as The Pop Group and Rip Rig + Panic. Maximum Joy were a product of this wildly creative environment in the early 80s, but for all their daring qualities, they were a far more approachable concern. Chris Farrell, of Bristol’s record shop and label Idle Hands, and Blackest Ever Black’s Kiran Sande recognised the brilliance of this seminal band, even naming their new label after one of the finest songs Maximum Joy ever recorded. In line with this declaration of affection, the first release on Silent Street is a collection of the singles Maximum Joy released on Y Records between 81 and 83, and it opens with the haunting perfection of Silent Street (Silent Dub). Janine Rainforth’s vocals never sounded better than on this beguiling ode to the quiet hours between the hurried pace of city life, floating out atop dubby bass, off-key piano stabs and straining brass. Elsewhere, Rainforth could be raucous on punk party-starter Stretch, and sweetly uplifting on In The Air. The emotional range of Maximum Joy was surely one of their greatest strengths, and this collection gives you every shade of their impeccable repertoire.
“There’s a new thing happening,” says a woman’s voice in Rainbow Edition opener Madting, “new and beautiful.” True to form, confusion and intrigue surrounds this “new” incarnation of Hype Williams. It was generally thought that Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland ended the project years ago. But last year new Hype Williams material surfaced, with the band’s (possibly fictional) manager Denna Frances Glass insisting that “dean nor inga are in hype williams anymore, but the ting continues regardless with other cats.” Now, the Rainbow Edition press release claims that all Hype Williams music released since 2011 is fake, and that this new LP is actually the work of two men going by the names of Slaughter and Silvermane. The pair look slightly awkward in the press shot, like teenagers being photographed by an older relative. There is some evidence that Hype Williams is, as claimed, a relay project passed down between members. Silvermane has previous credits, having been featured as a collaborator on London-based artist / nutritionist Nina Cristante’s Complications LP. Strangely, two tracks on that record appear on Rainbow Edition. On The Whole Lay (entitled brown on Cristante’s album) an out-of-tune, auto-tuned voice warbles above dense layers of dreamy synth-flutes and stuttering kicks, while on Baby Blu a bass guitar climbs up and down a gloomy scale, beneath swells of dry keyboard strings. Like most of Rainbow Edition, these tracks are brief, and rife with melancholy. At one point we blast through eight tracks in under ten minutes, and the effect is like that of someone rifling through bundles of old pre-sets on a battered sampler. #Blackcardsmatter is vintage Hype Williams, with ghostly piano chords following a sluggish, down-tuned beat. Ask Yee’s syrup-thick trap hi-hats bristle like a cheap speaker turned up full. On Percy, we get a peek at something sublime – bells descend from clouds, lit up by sunset, and among the lo-fi hiss and grit, we find something majestic. Through the years, Blunt and Copeland have expertly distilled the thrill and fatigue of inner-city burnout. If, as is claimed, their music isn't really on this record, it has been mimicked extremely well. Touching, beguiling stuff.
Much has been made of the painstaking process behind Benedikt Frey’s debut album Artificial. The line goes that the time and care the German producer took over the two years to create the record set it apart from current trends, in which producers, particularly of electronic music, churn out tracks and paint by numbers. This seems a bit of a stretch. A collection of moody, chuggy rollers don’t feel all that revolutionary, nor ‘abstract’ as the press notes claim. Saying that, it’s pretty great. There’s the odd miss-step where a vocal falls flat (see lead single H is for Hysteria) but generally this is a collection of tunes that are satisfyingly meaty, dripping with sleaze. With just enough variety to allow each track to take on its own significance, Artificial functions well as an LP – something which always warrants congratulations with dance music. Some of the highlights include the pounding acid and insatiable kicks of Push, a delightfully loose bassline and nods to The X Files on Roads of Jazz, plus the hollow dubstep and Gregorian chants of Private Crimes. Best of all is the mournful saxophone slithering all over Hang Loose A menacing, sexy and robust debut.
! Adam Corner
! Katie Hawthorne
! Oli Warwick
! Xavier Boucherat
! Theo Kotz
R AT BOY SCUM Parlophone
MA XIMUM JOY I Can’t Stand It Here On Quiet Nights Silent Street
BENEDIK T FREY Ar tificial ESP Institute
HYPE WILLIAMS Rainbow Edition Big Dada
05 07 07
08 NOSA J THING Parallels Innovative Leisure
MOSES SUMNEY Aromanticism Jagjaguwar HITMAKERCHINX Shades & Monsters: FDM Classics Night Slugs / Fade To Mind
For an album titled Aromanticism, Moses Sumney’s debut is bizarrely intimate. As his dulcet falsetto laces together delicate acoustic structures, you might be under the impression that you’re listening to classic love confessionals. But as the lyrics creep through the honeyed instrumentation, the opposite becomes true. With each unexpected turn, the album's platonic vision nudges further into focus. The tranquil single Plastic warns that things are not always quite as they seem. On Make Out in My Car, the singer repeats sweetly with a Smokey Robinson-esque husk: “I’m not trying to go to bed with you, I just wanna make out in my car” and as the harmonies build hypnotically, you almost start to believe him. The revelatory interlude Stoicism avoids cliché as Sumney recounts plainly telling his mother he loves her, only for her to reply with a sigh and a ‘thank you’. The album dips sporadically into the worlds of jazz and experimentation, with tinkering keys and teasing percussion, but for the most part Sumney's voice is the boldest and most breathtaking element. The most hair-raising tracks centre around his two favourite instruments: guitar and his trademark timbre. As such, Aromanticism is a pensive journey through dreamlands but also incredibly candid. Sumney succeeds in constructing a distinct conceptual space for his audience, one that finds a new home for sentimentality and tenderness. The only question would be whether that space, that sound, is expansive enough to occupy without beginning to feel a little claustrophobic.
There’s a comforting certainty that lingers around the arrival of a new DMX Krew LP. Ed Upton’s electro-oriented project reaches back to 1994, and Strange Directions, his 21st album, is true to form. Such a description could risk seeming a little reductive, but Upton’s version of consistency is actually immensely satisfying. It’s all about simplicity – the DMX Krew arsenal is crammed full of vintage gear, and Upton tends to let these instruments sing on their own with a minimum of crafty effects processing and post-production. Hence the warmth and punch of his music feels instantly familiar, while the compositional ideas themselves are loaded with wit and flair. From the low-riding acid funk of Hip Hopeless via the cosmic robo-disco of Nice Portal and on to the wriggling 2-step of Thin Hype, it feels like Upton’s on a mission to show off the different styles he can tackle with his merry band of machines. The winsome electro strains of Soft Networks is a clear highlight, while slow protohardcore opener Snowy Blue harks back to early Production House records, albeit with some starry-eyed synth weirdness rubbed into the mix in a manner that, ultimately, could only come from the DMX HQ.
The genre FDM (‘flex dance music’) is perhaps better experienced than it is written down: ‘FDM is to dancehall as EDM is to pop’. Don’t let that put you off; it’s a style of music that was born in Brooklyn – high-energy mashups created specifically for dance battles. The bone-breaking genre is a distant cousin to reggae or 90s RnB but at dangerous speeds, jumping furiously from one style to another. Rafael Martin, aka Hitmakerchinx, has the right CV qualifications to pioneer this style - the LA-based producer was a backup dancer on Rihanna’s ANTI world tour, and flexed his muscles on the promo video for Andy Stott’s Butterflies. Now, on the first collaborative release between Fade To Mind and Night Slugs since Dat Oven’s Icy Lake, Shades & Monsters: FDM Classics is an array of tracks he’s produced from 2010-17. As such, it doesn’t flow in the way that a normal album would; and especially given how much drama each cut boasts - you have to take each track at face value. Thanks to Hitmakerchinx’s ability to loop sounds inventively, nothing is off limits to sample. There’s everything from pitchedup Desi vocals (Black Dalia) to stadium rock drums (Different) and emo melody lines, all careering at 100 miles per hour. While Shades & Monsters was designed to go in tandem with performance, that’s not to say the tracks aren’t enjoyable on their own, or as tools worth their weight in gold for any discerning hip-hop DJ.
! Natty Kasambala
! Oli Warwick
! Felicity Martin
DMX Krew Strange Directions Hypercolour
Matt Edwards has always straddled the various outcrops of dance music. He’s as known for running the headsy Rekids label as for mashing up New Order and Kylie Minogue with the cheesy smash Can’t Get Blue Monday Out Of My Head. His early gigs were at Aberystwyth Football Club as well as London’s Milk Bar, and in the 90s he frequented the muddy Welsh countryside as much as the spongey dancefloors of the Ministry Of Sound. The picture painted is a man unconcerned with cool, or at least with a single notion of it. Over the years and monikers, he’s tossed out oddball pop, cheesy electro, agitated funk, moody ambience, wiggy disco and mechanical house tools. One thing he hadn't released until now was an album as Radio Slave. The result is suitably eclectic, but there are threads that run through the record. An atmospheric intro in Second Home hisses and splutters with a definite sci-fi feel, echoes of which appear in the ghostly siren of Feel The Same and among the acid breaks of Geisterstadt. There’s also a general moodiness that’s most apparent with the glittery chants wrapped up in Forana or the excellent centrepiece Axis – a muted roller transformed to smoky trance with rushes of flighty strings. Most apparent is a nod to rave. Album standouts Trans – a murky horror-score roller with smokiness counterbalanced by a mantra of “transparency” – and With You, which is loose downtempo jungle threaded with Detroit melancholy. At 81 minutes, the album begins to drag and some of the weaker tracks perhaps shouldn’t have made the final cut. That said, with Feel The Same there’s a discernible sense of a true veteran flexing his muscles.
10 years since their classic fourth LP Boxer, The National deliver what is perhaps their most atmospheric and selfindulgent music to date. Lead single The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness Loop set the marker for a record that is both personal in its references to Matt Berninger’s marriage (the lyrics were co-written by Berninger’s wife, Carin Besser) and abstract in its cryptic depictions of the future. Like most of The National’s work, the beauty is in its familiarity. I’ll Still Destroy You observes the all too recognisable dependency – whether weed or wine – towards substances to dull our daily troubles. The dry mastery of lines like, “The molecules and the caplets/ They all have something against me/ Nothing I do makes me feel different,” are typical of the livedin ennui of middle-class guilt. The narrators of Sleep Well Beast are creatures of habit,and perhaps hint at a broader social dilemma – an avoidance of responsibility in light of an age of Trumpian political upheaval. The group have always been outspoken liberals, so maybe it’s not such a far stretch to see the links between the beast’s desire to hibernate and our own attempts to ignore the implications of a rightswinging climate. As Berninger sings in the chorus of The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness, ‘We’re in a different kind of thing now’. The National’s backcatalogue steps the line between matter-of-fact realism and existential dread, and Sleep Well Beast succeeds in pushing past the narcissisms and ironies of their previous album Trouble Will Find Me into a more expansive realm of abstract thought.
! Theo Kotz
! Gunseli Yalcinkaya
THE NATIONAL Sleep Well Beast 4AD
R ADIO SL AVE Feel The Same Rekids
Nosaj Thing, real name Jason Chung, rose to prominence on the same wave of lopsided rhythms that washed Flying Lotus into the public eye, but his musical palette has always been wider than the distinctive LA beat sound, embracing more ambient and ethereal aesthetics in his remixes and own material. Along the way, Chung has established a respectful reputation among his peers, demonstrated in the calibre of artists (Jon Hopkins, Jamie xx, Dorian Concept) queuing up to remix his 2009 debut, Drift. His next album, Home introduced vocal collaborator Kazu Makino on the beautiful Eclipse/Blue. Makino also features on Parallels, Chung’s fourth album. Her sorrowful lament to a disenfranchised relationship on How We Do is, unlike her previous collaboration, pretty unremarkable, with Chung’s melody and production sounding worryingly generic. Chung has described this album as the result of a personal and musical ‘identity crisis’. But if the melancholia that takes centre stage flows from a place of genuine turmoil, the execution is at times disappointingly lacking. There are some striking moments: lead single All Comes Back To You (a collaboration with vocalist Steven Spacek) is a menacing ballad and deeper in the album, Get Like is powered by a funeral-march rolling rhythm. But because of the simplicity of the vocal collaborations and the gentleness of the material, the album as a whole feels contemplative to the point of becoming grating. Another vocal collaboration (Way We Were with Zuri Marley) befalls a similar fate: Marley's general-purpose emoting is paired with soft-focus production, and the end result is beige and bland. Nosaj Thing material has always walked a nuanced line between subtle aesthetics and killer hooks, but despite some flashes of brilliance, on Parallels there’s an absence of both.
2 20/ 0 / 110 0 20/ 10
MAYAJANE JANE COLES COLES MAYA MAYA JANE COLES HENRIKSCHWARZ SCHWARZ [LIVE] [LIVE] HENRIK MAYA JANE COLES HENRIK SCHWARZ [LIVE] KINK[LIVE] [LIVE] 路 AGORIA KINK 路 AGORIA [LIVE] HENRIK SCHWARZ KINK [LIVE] 路 AGORIA JASPER JAMES & KINKJASPER [LIVE] 路 AGORIA JAMES &
JASPER JAMES & CINNAMAN JASPER JAMES & CINNAMAN CINNAMAN WILLIAM DJOKO WILLIAM WILLIAM DJOKO WILLIAMDJOKO DJOKO WOUTER S. S. WOUTER WOUTER WOUTER S. S. TSEPO TSEPO TSEPO SCOTT FRANKA SCOTT FRANKA SCOTT SCOTTFRANKA FRANKA
HOT SINCE SINCE 82 HOT 82 HOT SINCE 82 KERRI CHANDLER CHANDLER KERRI KERRI CHANDLER HOT SINCE 82 NIC FANCIULLI NIC FANCIULLI KERRI CHANDLER NIC FANCIULLI BUTCH BUTCH NIC FANCIULLI BUTCH DINKY BUTCH DINKY DINKY JOEY DANIEL DINKY JOEY DANIEL JOEY DANIEL JOEY DANIEL PRUNK & PRUNK PRUNK & & CHRIS STUSSY CHRIS STUSSY CHRIS STUSSY CHRIS STUSSY LUUK VAN DIJK LUUK VAN DIJK LUUK VANALFIERI DIJK ROMANO ROMANO ALFIERI ROMANO ALFIERI ROMANO ALFIERI
KROMHOUTHAL AMSTERDAM KROMHOUTHAL AMSTERDAM KROM HOUTHAL KROMHOUTHAL AM S TERDAM AMSTERDAM
07 08 08 08
BICEP Bicep Ninja Tune Bicep have occupied the higher echelons of house music for a minute now. Having spent nearly a decade building the Feel My Bicep brand, they’ve impressively added a new string to their bow almost yearly. This release marks the next: their move to becoming album artists. Throughout this gradual climb, the Belfast duo’s reference points have been plain to see, neatly listed in the records featured on their blog, in the left-field tracks they edit into big-room weapons, and present in the list of heroes they attempt to emulate here. Take Vespa: the chill-outroom poignancy of the spoken sample could slot into an early Boards of Canada record. Or Rain, where Indian microtones and plodding, purposeful, proghouse evoke peak Leftfield. Even echoes of Burial linger over the skittish 2-step and haunted vocals on Spring. Most obviously though the record nods to Aphex Twin: the pared breakbeat of Glue; playful, choral keys on Ayaya; the beatless coasting of Drift. None would sit uncomfortably alongside tracks from Selected Ambient Works. With such luminaries in view, it feels like a concerted effort to be taken seriously. Not to mention the usual tell-tales, which include a self-titled album, obtuse, one-word track-titles, and highminded artwork. The tracks themselves are sleek and considered and for the most part they succeed in delivering the emotional punches they’re looking for. I took a lot of enjoyment from the reverential nods to IDM and trance in particular. Then again, it’s a little long and the consistency of tone can start to drag – over repeated listens I often didn’t get to the end. Ultimately, Bicep doesn’t quite manage the feat of the records it references, to genuinely captivate from start to finish. The duo have a strong grasp of building songs and there aren’t really any bad tracks here, they’re just a little short of the heights they’ve admirably reached for.
Existential dread, elusive truths. Fear of moral decay, fear of corporate self-interest, the fear of leaving nothing behind of worth. Protomartyr tackle this territory better than any other band we have. Relatives in Descent picks up where 2015’s The Agent Intellect left off, skewering modern anxieties with wit, dignity and thunderous fury. The Detroit band’s fourth album was recorded in LA by producer Sonny DiPerri (Animal Collective, Dirty Projectors), and he’s teased out an even greater complexity from their sound. Details shine through the haze, and the gut punches hit harder than ever. Greg Ahee’s giant, metallic guitar on My Children is ferocious, and lights sparks on Joe Casey’s bone-shaking baritone as he spits, “Good luck with the mess I left, you innovators.” Here Is The Thing’s bulletpointed, newsroom listings grow more insidious at every turn, from surveillance to comic sans, to choosing between “necessity and health” and the human cost of profit. Partly inspired by the Flint watercrisis, this record is a vital missive from isolated, post-Industrial America. Casey’s surrealist lyrics fall between poetic spoken word and scrambled frustration, and drummer Alex Leonard and bassist Scott Davidson knit together each story with relentless, time-ticking propulsion. Still, Protomartyr have a rare skill in finding a single star in a murky, polluted night sky. Theirs isn’t a glamorous kind of optimism, but they believe that goodness persists. The album concludes with half a warning, half a promise: “Truth is the half sister/ that will not forgive/ She is trying to reach you.”
! Theo Kotz
! Katie Hawthorne
07 PROTOMART YR Relatives in Descent Domino
LEE GAMBLE Mnestic Pressure Hyperdub
24-7 Rockstar Shit was a fan favourite before it was even released. Planned but then abandoned as a punk flipside to 2015’s relatively poppy For All My Sisters LP, the very existence of the tracks dropped from the project had long been the source of debate within the more committed corners of the band’s fanbase. Now, the “the long-lost punk record DOES exist” camp can sleep soundly. 24-7 Rock Star Shit is a solid collection of songs; far better than a collector's item for the The Crib’s hardline supporters. The welcome sludgy hallmarks of engineer Steve Albini run right through it. Noisy, raw and packed with solid riffs, whirring feedback and whining vocals, it’s an authoritatively heavy record from a smart band often who’ve always been too credible to be so regularly filed alongside postLibertines nonsense. Tracks such as Partisan and Give Good Time likewise have some satisfyingly frayed edges, and such ramshackle charms are similarly present and enjoyable on more delicate offerings such as Dead at the Wheel and Sticks Not Twigs. Not that it’s all noise and no nous, of course: these are well-structured songs that lend themselves well to Albini’s raw recording techniques but don’t rely on them. Arguably their best album since The New Fellas.
James Murphy was refreshingly plain-speaking as to why he was bringing LCD Soundsystem back from the dead, barely four years after he’d rolled its still-warm body into the Hudson. While he offered a sincere apology to fans who felt betrayed by the reprisal, he explained he had more songs than he knew what to do with. As ready as people were to speculate about Coachella pay cheques, the reunification was always about this record. So was it worth it? Well, if the usual disappointment with comeback albums is in hearing a once youthful band sounding worldweary and tired, then Murphy is uniquely positioned for success. After all, he’s sounded world-weary and tired from the beginning. This is a band who broke through with a song about losing your edge to the kids “coming up from behind”. LCD Soundsystem have always partied in the past tense. Yet if the Murphy of 2002 was nervously eyeing the generation below him, then American Dream finds him bewildered, gawping from another planet. “Standing on the shore getting old, you left me here with the vape clown,” he laments on the menacing how do you sleep? With nods to “triggered kids” and the “questionable views” of the “old guys”, he doesn’t sound particularly at home with either generation, and perhaps not at home in America at all. His perplexion with the state of things occasionally touches on dull misanthropy, but mostly Murphy’s wit saves him from himself. Just before his judgements get a bit much, he refers to himself as “a hobbled veteran of the disc shop inquisition”, and you’re inclined to forgive him his trespasses. That said, the album’s preoccupation with ageing clings to it like a shadow. Murphy often sounds like he’s picking drunken fights with his memories: “You warned me about the cocaine, then dove straight in,” he jabs, surrounded by a wall of bickering synths. “So where’d you go? You led me far away,” he wails on I used to. Album closer, Black screen, is a heartbreaking finale, delivered to a friend of Murphy’s who’s no longer around. Given the references to saving email trails and the admission “I had fear in the room so I stopped turning up”, it seems the subject of the song is probably David Bowie. Murphy was supposed to be co-producing Blackstar before he pulled out, and over the years the pair had become friends. The pangs sound real and sore. As Murphy sings on tonite: “Man, life is finite, but, shit it feels like forever.” American Dream isn’t necessarily a riot to listen to – the average pace sounds more like a slow procession than it does a rave. It is, in all honesty, unlikely to be anyone’s favourite LCD album. Yet for this record to mean anything it had to be more than a recapitulation of the band’s previous anthemic heights. Murphy had to earn our trust back with something meaningful; something worth the upset. With this poignant portrait of ageing and ennui in post-satire America, he has.
Few artists mine past styles with as much flair as Lee Gamble did in 2012 with his breakthrough album Diversions 1994-1996. His distillation of classic jungle samples into a dense, decidedly digital terrain was celebrated as a conceptual and sonic triumph. Gamble has since proven himself to be at the vanguard of genuinely futuristic music, both as an artist and as head of the ever-fascinating UIQ Records. Now he debuts on Hyperdub with an album that reaches beyond his hauntological past to create a more immediate personal expression. Mnestic Pressure is a wonderfully dualistic listen, rejecting a linear narrative path in favour of scattershot ideas that leap gleefully between tones, timbres and tempos. You might have a handle on the close quarters of metallic percussion flex-out Swerva, only for the track to disassemble into a pool of hi-res synth meanderings. If this sounds like hard work, herein lies the duality – it actually isn’t. For every ounce of avantgarde thrown about the place, Gamble’s deft touch and playful bouquet of ideas goes down surprisingly easy. As with his past endeavours, on Mnestic Pressure he proves that the future of experimental music doesn’t have to be difficult – for the listener at least. The sublime Ghost holds back his prior abstractions of jungle in favour of something bordering on a straight up roller, and it’s nothing short of spectacular.
! Jon Clark
! Angus Harrison
! Oli Warwick
THE CRIBS 24 -7 Rockstar Shit Sonic Blew / Red Essential
LCD SOUNDSYSTEM American Dream DFA / Columbia
US music critic Sasha Geffen remembers Björk’s landmark album as a pioneering fusion of the ancient and the futuristic
Original Release Date: 22 September, 1997 Label: One Little Indian In the fourth most haunted bar in Chicago, I am watching my bandmate cover Björk’s Unravel. He has his guitar, a Microkorg, and a drum machine; he’s perched on the shallow stage toward the front of the bar, but most people aren’t listening. It’s a quiet, slow song, not exactly the type that calls a room full of buzzed college kids to attention. We’re across the street from DePaul University, and the bar has a feel of dorm room run-off, the place juniors and seniors go once they’re old enough to order neat whiskies and Old Styles, to feel like part of the world for the first time. All of this is happening, plus the ghosts under the floorboards, and my bandmate is singing Unravel, ignored. Some months ago we’d listened to Homogenic, Björk’s third
album, on the drive back to Chicago from Austin, where we’d played a handful of unofficial SXSW sets in bars and parking lots. It’s a long drive and we were on edge, having been stopped by a Texas police officer on a power trip for going four miles over the speed limit. There’s listening to an album, and then there’s listening to an album at 75 miles an hour on the endless flat highways of middle America, light falling through the open sunroof, after days of hauling gear and playing 15 minute sets and packing everything up and doing it all over again. We were exhausted and Homogenicwas a haven, a womb, a space for rejuvenation, propelling us home in a leaky Honda we weren’t sure would clear the last two hundred miles. Twenty years after its release and still there are few albums as ambitious and fully realised as Homogenic. Several of Björk’s proteges, like Arca and Anohni and Grimes, have come close, but there is nothing I’ve heard
since that transports me so completely. In a documentary about the making of the album, Björk stomps over Icelandic ground with a sampler, stealing volcanic crunches for the hectic beats of 5 Years and Pluto. She oversees string sections as they play the staccato notes on Hunter, mimicking the drum machines that flutter in the right channel. Violins pulled from the symphony and beats pulled from a Berlin rave mesh together, high and low culture pulsing in the same vein. Most of these songs are love songs, whether they’re about a friend (Jóga) or a longtime partner (Unravel) or an object of unrequited affection (All Is Full Of Love) or the whole human race (Alarm Call). The technical feats of the album’s production are astounding, but they weren't accomplished for their own sake. Björk wove together all that incongruous instrumentation to hammock her voice, whose polyvalent longing tends to overpower simpler accompaniments. Her love,
as she sings it, takes strange shapes. It’s not undying or ethereal; it’s material, prone to decay. “When you are away my heart comes undone / Slowly unravels like a ball of yarn,” she sings. “So when you come back, we’ll have to make new love.” On All Neon Like, her love’s a razor blade, cutting open skin to fill her beloved with healing light. Neglected love, violent love, love so encompassing it becomes an environment – these are the tricky forms Björk renders fearlessly, with a voice that could split atoms. Twenty years after Homogenic’s release, it’s strange to see men doubt that women produce their own music, to see men wonder if women are even capable of programming computers. More men have followed Björk than she has followed men – it’s impossible not to hear her influence on contemporaries like Radiohead, who released their own alien planet Kid A three years after Homogenic and have kept drum machines
in their arsenal ever since. Kid A’s often credited with pulling popular music from the 20th century into the strange new landscape of the 21st, but Björk had already envisioned that landscape in clear, uncompromising detail. The world we’re in now is the one she shaped to make a home for a love too big to fit anywhere else.
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Film 08 08 07
A GHOST STORY dir: David Lower y Starring: Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara
Geremy Jasper, late of NYC rockers The Fever, turns his hand to film directing with feel-good feature debut, Patti Cake$. Patricia Dombrowski (Danielle Macdonald) is an overweight, white, working-class 23-year-old who dreams of becoming the next queen of rap. Patti is aggressive in her ambitions, but her life is far from easy. Her mother, Barb (Bridget Everett) is an abusive alcoholic who still reels over her fumbled career as a musician. Then there’s Patti’s cantankerous grandma (Cathy Moriarty, of Raging Bull fame) whose medical bills are skyrocketing, meaning Patti has to put in overtime as a waitress. Fortunately, her fellow rapper and friend, Jheri (an impressive debut from Siddharth Dhananjay) always has her back, and when they meet the brooding and self-described anti-Christ (Mamoudou Athie), they form a musical trio. Then comes their big chance: the opportunity to perform in front of Patti’s hero – OZ (Sahr Ngaujah). The narrative blends elements of 8 Mile with the tenacity of Precious, but Jasper’s lighter touch draws on his own experiences of growing up in New Jersey before being signed. He also demonstrates his credentials as a former music video director with a series of neon daydreams that look like an MTV generation version of The Wizard of Oz, contrasting with the saturated grey of New Jersey. Then there are the 19 original songs Jasper wrote for the film, all of which feel authentic to the world he’s created in a story that hits all the right beats. Patti Cake$ is raw, and a little rough, but there is a lot of joy. Most of all it is refreshing to see a talent like Macdonald emerge, who is undoubtedly destined for great things. ! Joseph Walsh
ATOMIC BLONDE dir: David Leitch Starring: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, John Goodman I found the experience of watching David Leitchdirected spy thriller Atomic Blonde oddly calming: like watching a giant octopus pulse through a reinforced aquarium wall. Sure, I didn’t have a clue what was going on, but that’s OK – why demand an intelligible plot when you can watch Charlize Theron beat people up? As my understanding of what actually happened in Atomic Blonde is about as surfacelevel as Paris Hilton’s DJing ability, here’s a plot summary I cribbed from Google: Theron is an undercover MI6 agent sent to Berlin during the Cold War to investigate the murder of a fellow agent and recover a missing list of double agents, before it falls into the wrong hands. Based on the Oni Press graphic novel series The Coldest City, I enjoyed the depiction of 1980s Berlin, a place of grey buildings and once-futuristic hotel suites where Theron broods in ice-cube filled baths. But let’s be real, we don’t care about the plot. You watch Atomic Blonde for three things: the fight scenes, the soundtrack, and Charlize Theron (Vetements fans will also enjoy the outfits.) The fight scenes are excellent: one particularly brutal seven minute scene in which Theron fights off multiple attackers on a Berlin staircase is reminiscent of the famed knife fight from The Bourne Identity in sheer ferocity. The soundtrack, featuring Depeche Mode, George Michael and David Bowie, is exactly as it should be. And Theron is note-perfect: cool and statuesque, but still, crucially, humane. If Mad Max: Fury Road introduced us to Theron as an action heroine, Atomic Blonde cements her firmly in the genre. Let’s have more of the same, please. ! Sirin Kale
! Louise Brailey
GOD’S OWN COUNTRY dir: Francis Lee Starring: Josh O’Connor, Alec Secareanu, Gemma Jones You'd be forgiven for thinking that windswept Yorkshire isn't the most obvious setting for a steamy love story, but there's nothing obvious about God's Own Country. A remarkably restrained debut from director Francis Lee, it centres on young farmer Johnny (Josh O'Connor), who toils alone on the family farm under the watch of his sickly father (Ian Hart) and stern grandmother (Gemma Jones). At night, he has meat, potatoes and a tinny for dinner, then drinks himself unconscious. There's a shot of a caged magpie. Within minutes, it's clear this is a man suffocated by duty and desolation, and newcomer O'Connor etches an extraordinary portrait of an individual in emotional arrest. Seven minutes in, he's rutting another guy in the back of a trailer. He doesn't smile for nearly an hour, brooding and antagonising and pushing every button he can find. “We?” he grunts when his rutting partner suggests a date. “No.” Recalling the novels of Harper Fox, particularly Scrap Metal, Lee's film excels at exposing the cracks in life at this remote farmstead. Even before the arrival of Alec Secareanu's chiselled farm hand, Gheorghe – a quiet Romanian who strikes up a clumsy romance with Johnny – God's Own Country rivets as a study of human frailty and family tension. In a landmark year for LGBTQ rights, God's Own Country shuns 'gay movie' cliches – there's no 'coming out' melodrama here – as, in the harsh wilds of Yorkshire, Lee uncovers affecting tenderness in the unspoken and the understated. ! Josh Winning
PAT TI CAKE$ dir: Geremy Jasper Starring: Danielle Macdonald, Bridget Everett, Siddharth Dhananjay
A Ghost Story opens with a quote from Virginia Woolf’s A Haunted House: “Whatever hour you woke, there was a door shutting”. David Lowery’s extraordinary work is, like Woolf, concerned with exploding ideas of time, and particularly, those personal hauntings that tug at the threads of the past and unravel the present: memories. Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck play an unnamed couple, from whose bookshelves (Nietzsche!) and vocations – he writes melancholy, fragmentary pop – we deduce their status as hip, but sad. When Affleck’s character is killed in a car crash, he returns with a sheet over his body. A crude idea of a ghost – eyeholes and all. Given the film’s tiny budget, quite the gear change after Lowery’s last film Pete’s Dragon, the device is deeply affecting. Beneath the dirtied sheet, Affleck’s stature grows increasingly crumpled as he observes his partner move through the stages of grief and beyond. Some people will find the pacing infuriating (Lowry cites Asian ‘slow cinema’ directors like Tsai Ming-liang as inspiration). But there’s something compelling in how the audience is implicated in the meditation: decades pass in a jump cut or else minutes stretch on forever, as is the case where we’re condemned to watch Mara eat an entire pie in one, drawn-out scene. The thesis continues in both the screen ratio, a Polaroidesque square – hey, I said they were hip – and most effectively, the score. Snatches of aural jetsam augment the rasping drones, or motifs return, altered, like half-remembered dreams. Sure, A Ghost Story has tendency towards an almost cosmic pretentiousness, but Lowery channels a substantial emotional charge from very human anxieties: of being alone, of being forgotten. After all, what could be scarier than that?
Products Pan Daijing – L ack 惊蛰 T-Shirt p-a-n.org €30.00
Hold Tight: Black Masculinity, Millennials and the Me aning of Grime by Jeffrey Boakye influxpress.com £9.98
Berlin-based experimentalist Pan Daijing released her debut album Lack 惊蛰 earlier this year, and her complementing merch comes in a black and red colourway, silk screened onto eco-conscious materials. The shirt has been designed in collaboration with Berlin-based and Chineseborn Korean designer Ximon Lee, who won the 2015 H&M Design Award and was sponsored by GQ China for his AW17 show. This beats those stiff merch tees you wore when you were 16.
Brixton-born author and English teacher Jeffrey Boakye studies 55 key grime tracks to explore the conditions and context of grime. Extending beyond the musical genre, Boakye examines the way masculinity is portrayed, and being born black in Britain after 1980.
Cba To Pretend phone case by Polly Nor stringberry.com £29.99
Supreme/Fender Stratocaster Supremenewyork.com TBA Ideal for some stylish shredding. Comes complete with a custom case, picks and a strap.
London-based illustrator Polly Nor recently launched her exhibition It’s Called Art Mum, Look It Up at Protein. A humorous look at “women and their demons”, Nor’s unabashed illustrations defy the glossy, conventional standards of femininity we see by portraying women as sexual beings dressed in hairless skins. Celebrate the multifaceted nature of women, and their many guises, with this phone case of a demon unzipping her skin in an armchair, cold can in hand.
Undefeated x Nike Air Max 97 Nike.com $180
Having been announced for the NEWGEN initiative earlier this year, Virgil Abloh disciple Samuel Ross is one to watch on London’s scene of designers. With a brand that pays homage to the walls of Britain’s council estates, Ross’ politically-charged designs address class divisions and echoes a Thatcherite dystopia. A staple item, this monochrome utility holster is created from steel hardware and heavy-duty canvas.
Anticipation has been running high for this hot collaboration, which features an all-black upper and patent mudguard. The Gucci-esque red and green side panel is contrasted with white Undefeated branding, while the medial and tongue includes a contrast red Swoosh. Rumoured to be dropping this month, be quick to cop this one.
A- COLD -WALL* utility holster a-cold-wall.com £165.00
Crossword Across 5. cosmic rhythms, WNYU89.1 FM 7. ecstacy and the house of jealous lovers 8. freestyle; breast; back; butterfly 9. liquid crystal display rig Down 1. borderless law enforcement 2. Kathleen Hanna's big French cat 3. popular 2005 love-making soundtrack / famous war movie slogan 4. agreeable NYC band 6. insomnia city
Answers Across: Beats in Space, The Rapture, The Strokes, LCD Soundsystem Down: Interpol, Le Tigre, Death From Above, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, New York
Self Portrait Lunice
Young Thug or The Bug? Who said it, the eccentric Atlanta rapper or bassweight explorer Kevin Martin? 1) “I feel like there’s no such thing as gender” 2) “They just found another planet. It looks just like earth though, so they call it earth. I’m probably from there” 3) "Let's appeal to the freaks across the board – and I say 'freaks' in a positive way. Originals." 4) “Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game”
6) "For me, music and bass synchronise with my heartbeat, it’s a transmission of electricity and energy" Answers: 1) Thug 2) Thug 3) Bug 4) Thug 5) Bug 6) Bug
5) "The music I like has that carnal intensity, it has that moody seductiveness, and for sure I love that shit"
This month's artist takeover was created by @steph.dutton, who was responding to the word 'Dreaming'.
If you're interested in contributing to this series, please email email@example.com
Upcoming London Shows 30 &
The Islington Angel
The Garage Highbury
05 SEPT additional date added.
Courtney Marie Andrews Bush Hall Shepherd’s Bush 05 SEPT.
Boston Music Room Tufnell Park 07 SEPT.
Mauno 05 OCT.
Ben Frost Electric Brixton 06 OCT.
Omeara London Bridge 07 OCT.
Village Underground Shoreditch 08 SEPT.
St. John at Hackney 09 OCT.
Omeara London Bridge
Sebright Arms Hackney 13 SEPT.
Old Blue Last Shoreditch 14 SEPT.
Henry Green The Lexington Angel 14 SEPT.
Chastity Belt The Garage Highbury 20 SEPT.
St. Pancras Old Church Kings Cross 20 SEPT.
The Waiting Room Stoke Newington 17 OCT.
Johnny Flynn Roundhouse Camden 18 OCT.
Crooked Colours The Pickle Factory Hackney 18 OCT.
Frankie Rose Moth Club Hackney 19 OCT.
Elder Island The Lexington Angel
Bir thdays Hackney
Village Underground Shoreditch
French Psych Music Night
With Jacco Gardner Moth Club Hackney 26 SEPT.
Omeara London Bridge 28 SEPT.
Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club 29 SEPT - 01 OCT.
By The Sea Festival Dreamland Margate 02 OCT.
The Waiting Room Stoke Newington 03 OCT.
Dream Wife Scala Kings Cross 25 OCT.
Ace Hotel Shoreditch 26 OCT.
Corsica Studios Elephant & Castle 27 OCT.
The Garage Highbury 27 OCT.
Heaven Charing Cross 27 OCT.
O2 Academy Brixton
31 OCT additional date added.
The Dream Syndicate The Lexington Angel 31 OCT.
Electric Ballroom Camden 01 NOV.
The Orielles The Lexington Angel 02 NOV.
Electric Ballroom Camden 03 NOV.
Francobollo Moth Club Hackney 06 NOV.
Shabazz Palaces Oval Space Hackney 07 &
08 NOV additional date added.
Father John Misty Eventim Hammersmith Apollo 08 NOV.
The Pickle Factory Hackney 10 NOV.
Union Chapel Highbury 11 NOV.
Electric Ballroom Camden 17 NOV.
Cristobal and the Sea Moth Club Hackney 19 NOV.
Lost Horizons 100 Club Oxford Circus
XOYO Shoreditch 23 NOV.
Marika Hackman O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire 23 NOV.
Sebright Arms Hackney 23 NOV.
Alice Phoebe Lou Oslo Hackney 24 NOV.
O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire 30 NOV.
Corsica Studios Elephant & Castle
for tickets and more info visit rockfeedback.com
Turning Points: Tricky
Words: Tracy Kawalik
“Back in the 90s, it wasn’t cool to be on every radio channel and every TV screen. I didn’t want all that”
1980s: Bristol soundsystem culture Music was the only thing in my life really. Being half Jamaican, sound systems played a big part. My granddad Hector Thaws founded ‘Tarzan the High Priest’, one of the first major Bristol sound systems that ignited the scene.
I watched him mixing records on the street as a kid all the time. Then, being in Wild Bunch, it wasn’t by choice really. One day me and my mate Whitley were walking down the street and there was a Wild Bunch poster with my name on it. I was like 'Oh fuck, I guess I’m with the Wild Bunch then!' 1995: Maxinquaye I never thought it was going to blow up like it did. I was a pop star for a minute! I always thought I was going to be an underground artist. Coming from hiphop culture back then, it wasn’t about being 'seen' or 'known', it was about this sort of punk feeling, like you had to search to find the good shit. It wasn’t cool to be on every radio channel and every TV screen. I didn’t want all that. All of a sudden I was nominated for six Brit awards. Once I was in a club in New York and Jay-Z was there. This girl came up and asked to take my picture with Jay-Z. He looked at me like he didn’t know who I was, and she goes “That’s Tricky, the kid from MTV!” I was on MTV a lot back then and at that time rappers weren't on TV like that.
Especially being a black English rapper. That was a big deal. Late 90s - Mid 00s: Living in LA I didn’t do an album for five years while I was in LA. I love LA but as a musician it’s fucking dangerous. I’d go meet for a mate for sushi at 2pm... the next thing you know you’d order a bottle of sake, suddenly it’s 7am two days later! Coming from England you feel like when it’s sunny you have to be outside. It took me years to realise it was going to be sunny in LA every day. Like fuck, it’s going to be like this tomorrow Tricky, you can’t be out partying every day! 2017: ununiform I'm totally in love with music again. The tracks are on another level, people will be surprised. A few years ago I had two massive tax bills. Not that I was desolate or living in the fucking street or anything, but every time I did an album or toured or made a film the money was going to this fucking tax bill. Looking back it’s funny because I didn’t even realise I was under any pressure until now that it’s all paid off and the stress
has been lifted. So with this album I had the ability to take my time and finish when it really felt finished. I’m going on tour and then just keep hitting the studio and making music because I love doing it. Sometimes you get so busy that it all feels like work, but you have to go back and realise that it’s what you love doing, and that’s the only thing that’s important. Not many people can say they even know what they love to do, let alone get the chance to fucking do it. ununiform is out 22 September via False Idols / !K7
Born in Knowle West, a working class area of Bristol, at the break of the 70s, Adrian Nicholas Matthews Thaws would go on to disregard any perimeters put in front of him. After being initiated by the Bristol-based soundsystem collective the Wild Bunch (which also included future members of Massive Attack), as Tricky he became a pioneer of trip-hop, releasing his seminal debut album Maxinquaye in the mid 90s. His passionate rejection of the media attention that accompanied this would fuel a brooding fire that earned Tricky another name: the Dark Prince. Having lived in the US – New York, and then LA – for many years, he has recently relocated to Berlin. Now stepping back into the spotlight once again with his 14th album ununiform, Tricky recalls a life at the vanguard.
08—17 MOTH Club Valette St London E8
Saturday 16 September
The Lock Tavern 35 Chalk Farm Rd London NW1 lock-tavern.com
mothclub.co.uk Sunday 17 Septmber Monday 11 September
Wednesday 6 September
Wednesday 20 September Tuesday 12 September
ROLLING BLACKOUTS COASTAL FEVER
NONN Thursday 21 September
FIRST HATE Wednesday 13 September
THE SURFING MAGAZINES
Friday 22 September
DIE WILDE JAGD Wednesday 20 September
The Waiting Room 175 Stoke Newington High St N16
Thursday 21 September
THE MURLOCS Saturday 9 September Friday 22 September
W.I.T.C.H Tuesday 12 September Tuesday 26 September
GOLD CLASS Saturday 16 September Wednesday 27 September
MARIE DAVIDSON + NOT WAVING
Shacklewell Arms 71 Shacklewell Lane London E8 shacklewellarms.com Friday 8 September
THE BUTTERTONES Tuesday 12 September
WARBLY JETS Wednesday 13 September
Wednesday 13 September
THE NINTH WAVE
BATU Wednesday 20 September
PALM HONEY Thursday 21 September
LIZA OWEN Tuesday 26 September
JOAN Wednesday 27 September
WYLDEST Saturday 30 September
Thursday 14 September
GAYGIRL Tuesday 19 September
LINN KOCH-EMMERY Friday 22 September
IAN SWEET Saturday 23 September
TWIN SUN Tuesday 26 September
The Montague Arms 289 Queen’s Rd London SE14 montaguearms.co.uk Thursday 7 September
BARBUDO Saturday 9 September
COURTS Thursday 14 September
GREAT CYNICS Monday 18 September
AND YET IT MOVES Tuesday 19 September
Words: Davy Reed
20 Questions: Lisa Maffia
"I always the only girl among all the boys, and they had the utmost respect for me"
What was your favourite cartoon when you were a kid? Thundercats. Favourite Wu-Tang Clan member? ODB. What was the first record you truly fell in love with? Marvin Gaye – Let’s Get It On. If you’re getting ready for a night out, what’s on your playlist? Fekky, he’s so hype. Any of the tracks of his new album El Classico.
Who’s the most famous person you've ever met? Whitney Houston or Diana Ross. I met Whitney in Miami, I ate with her and Bobby Brown. I met Diana Ross at the MOBOs.
Favourite video game? Call of Duty: Black Ops.
Have you ever had a nickname? When I was young, like 13 or 14, the boys called me Mini Maff. Because Maffia is my [real] name and I held my own. I was always the only girl among all the boys, and they had the utmost respect for me.
If you could pick a surrogate grandparent, who would it be? For the Grandma I’d say the Queen. And for the Grandad I’d say Samuel Jackson to make her more hip.
What Netflix series are you bingewatching? I’m watching Queen of the South now and it’s absolutely brilliant. Girl bosses all the way! Who would be your dream collaborator? Future. What’s your signature recipe? Curried goat with rice and peas. Heavy Metal or EDM? EDM, definitely!
Best live music performance you’ve ever seen? Bruno Mars.
What’s the worst job you’ve ever had? Working in Iceland.
Is there a piece of advice you wish you’d given to yourself ten years ago? Just go for it, don’t look back and be brave. What’s the first thing you’re going to do after this interview? I’m going to the gym. What’s your least favourite question that journalists ask you? “Is Maffia your real name?” Lisa Maffia’s new single Wah Gwarn is out now
What’s your worst habit? Rubbing my feet in the sheets to the point that it aches, I can’t stop doing it. Do you read your own YouTube comments? Nope! Do you have a number one fan? Yes, I do and I work with him! He’s my PA, he calls himself Sam Maffia. Brilliant. He keeps my life in order.
The day I call Lisa Maffia just so happens to be the 16th anniversary of So Solid Crew’s single 21 Seconds – the era-defining garage tune which was so massive that even your nan probably remembers it. To be honest, Maffia (real surname incase you didn’t know – her mum’s Italian) groans slightly when I point out that’s in been 16 years. But generally, So Solid’s First Lady is in great spirits. Having spent recent years running a fashion label and a film production company alongside performing with So Solid, now Maffia is back with new solo single Wah Gwarn.
Illustration: Ed Chambers
How politics infected the meme, and vice versa Tirhakah Love is a Philadelphia-based culture writer. Here, he observes the way internet humour has become increasingly politicised, discussing the responsibilities we should consider when addressing serious socio-political issues with memes. On the edition of Saturday Night Live's ‘Weekend Update’ broadcast on 20 August, a wry smile glimmered across Tina Fey's face as the comedian reacted to the racist melee in Charlottesville the week previous in a meme-thirsty "Sheetcaking" monologue – suggesting audiences protest neo-nazis by staying at home and yelling into an American flag adorned cake.
Complete with side-eye inducing racialsexual ineptitude, Fey sliced through any notion of a "united liberal front" against white supremacy. "Part of me hopes these neo-nazi's do try [to rally in New York] and get the ham salad kicked outta them by a couple drag queens,” she quips, that smile creeping back onto her face, "cuz you know what a drag queen is? A 6'4 Black man." The camera zooms out to catch Fey’s Black costar Michael Che nodding in agreement (yes, Caucasians, you may laugh at this joke), quietly acquiescing to a punchline where not only is the term "ham salad" used unironically, but the teller effectively ostracises the very people white supremacists target; people that look like him. Bring on the patriotic pastries!
But Saturday Night Live is, like much of today's pop culture programming, hungry for Internet virality – even at the expense of its core message. The easiest way to do that is by creating a well-conceived, but not obviously contrived, meme. Jokes, like memes, prioritise their targeted in-group above all, so, naturally, minorities might be the first to experience some discomfort. But unlike memes, jokes tend to die quickly – especially the bad ones – whereas, quite often (like in Fey's case) a bad joke can turn into a good meme and endure longevity online. More than any singular joke ever could, memes tell a much broader story about our sociopolitical climate. Memes are not just a screengrab of a particular event, they often become a method for audiences to reflexively comment on that event using found visual language. Since the waning days of the Obama administration, the reigning heavyweight champs in the political meme division has been the fascist-leaning right. The long-running theme of the meme has largely been for #jokes, but in the wake of the 2016 US election, things started to skew more political. In a study conducted by Forbes investigating the most persistent topics within meme database, Me.me, the last calendar year has seen an uptick in politically-minded memes with conservative tags owning the most
dramatic changes over time. In the US, terms like "MAGA," (from being used once in January 2016 to over 12,000 times a year later) "Donald Trump" and even "libertarian" outrank Democratic numbers by a mile and, as they conclude, "Trump's rise seems to be indicative of a wider increase in general memes about conservatives." These numbers shouldn’t be surprising but they do have some liberal platforms alarmed. Quotes like “we memed the alt-right into existence” from white nationalist Richard Spencer – who became a meme himself after being punched in the face by a protester – aren’t helping either. Prior to their use in white nationalist back channels the idea that memes could negatively impact politics was largely speculative. With hindsight and the rise of rightwing extremists in positions of power, talks have definitely changed. Memes “warped modern politics” not because of the perspectives shared but by a particular audience's inability to differentiate the meme’s humorous escapism and political reality. In 2015, the international refugee crisis compelled anti-refugee users to create false photos depicting European refugees as members of the Islamic State. That is not to say that memes are inherently flawed or tailored for the right. They’re simply spreadable ideas, and a way for young people to discuss
political topics using a language they developed themselves online. In the UK, the Labour Party’s leftwing leader Jeremy Corbyn enjoyed a dramatic surge in popularity after prime minister Theresa May called a snap general election for April this year. During the election campaign, May’s Conservative Party reportedly spent £1.2 million on Facebook advertising. But it’s believed Corbyn – whose policies are highly appealing to young voters – performed surprisingly well in the election partly thanks to memes organically shared by his young supporters. As long as memes remain the Internet’s most ubiquitous form of communicative currency, there will be a politician, a celebrity, or a celebrity-politician looking to exploit it. But the growing seriousness of memes and the events they portray requires an increasingly more thoughtful and considerate perspective. While the underground meme-makers aren’t known for their genteel, popular people like Tina Fey and platforms like Saturday Night Live could save themselves a public flogging by simply being vigilant enough to ask the extra question – who does this joke serve? And even larger, for the rest of us in this particular moment – who are we willing to step on just for lolz? @tirhahkalove
James Holden & The Animal Spirits Thurston Moore Mount Eerie tUnE-yArDs Gonjasufi
Moor Mother Pharmakon
Grouper & Paul Clipson
The Bug vs Earth Prurient
Kelly Lee Owens
& many more
9 - 12 November 2017 Utrecht, Netherlands leguesswho.com
Featuring LCD Soundsystem, Ariel Pink, Mist, Carla dal Forno, Tricky, Moses Sumney, Brutaż and more