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Nils Frahm Crack Magazine | Issue 84


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MORE ARTISTS AND STAGE ANNOUNCEMENTS COMING SOON

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FIRST ACTS ANNOUNCED IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER

ADAM BEYER CARL COX NINA KRAVIZ TALE OF US

ÂME DJ JOY ORBISON LEN FAKI MIND AGAINST SCUBA PRESENTS SCB SONJA MOONEAR

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19 - THE BLAST

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20 - BOOGIE NIGHTS MEETS LOBSTER THEREMIN

ROY DAVIS JR / SPACE DIMENSION CONTROLLER NICKY SIANO / LAKUTI / ROSS FROM FRIENDS / ROUTE 8

26 - THE BLAST

DAVID RODIGAN / ROOTS MANUVA / MIKE SKINNER PINCH / CHIMPO / KENNY KENN / REMARC

27 - MASTERMIX

JACKMASTER / DENIS SULTA / OPTIMO / JASPER JAMES ECLAIR FIFI / DABJ / HARRI & DOMENIC / SPENCER

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16 - SHALL NOT FADE

MALL GRAB / WILLOW / DAMIANO VON ERCKERT DEEJAY ASTRAL / FOLD / LK / KGW

22 - RONI SIZE [ LIVE ]

20 YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF ‘NEW FORMS’

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DJ EZ / SUPPORT TBA

24 - PERPETUAL PRESENTS DANIEL AVERY [ ALL NIGHT LONG ]

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2018

MORE HEADLINE STORIES ISSUE003 REGISTER NOW THANKS TO ALL THE DANCERS, ARTISTS AND PARTNERS WHO JOINED US IN 2017. Abode / Afropunk / Afterlife / Be-at TV / Bugged Out! Galaxxid / Hospitality / Junction 2 / Klockworks Knee Deep / LWE / Melt Festival / Metropolis Mixmag / Paradise / PlayDifferently / RAM Records Resident Advisor / Snowbombing / Some Voices The Hydra / UKF 1991 / 65d Mavericks / 808 State / Adam Beyer Adam Shelton / Alan Fitzpatrick / Aleksi Perala Alex Bank / Alex Celler / Alex Perez / Alinka / Amé Andy C / Ant Miles / Antal / Architectural / Artikal Audio / Avalon Emerson / Bad Company UK / Bella Sarris Ben Klock / Ben Sims / Benjamin Damage / Bicep / Bjarki Black Orchid / Maceo Plex / Booka Shade / Brett Jacobs British Murder Boys / Broken English Club / Butch Camo & Krooked / Caylx & Teebee / Charlotte de Witte Chloe / Chords / Chris Liebing / Claptone / Clark Connie Constance / Corey James / Corrine Bailey Rae Cosmo Pyke / Cousn / Cowboy Rhythmbox / CSGRV Daniel Avery / Danny Brown / Daphni / Dark Sky DC Breaks / Deadline / Denis Horvat / Derrick May Detlef / Devstar / Dimension / DJ Koze / DJ Pierre Dolan Bergin / Dopplereffekt / Drumcell / Dusky Ed:it / Ed Rush / Edward / Ellen Allien / Ellie Cocks Erol Alkan / Etapp Kyle / Etapp Kyle / Extrawelt Fabio Florido / Feed Me / Flaminia / Floating Points Fold / Fort Romeau / Fourward / Frankee / Frieda / Friction Friend Within / G. Walker / Gajek / Geddes / Gold Panda Gorgon City / Guti / GW Harrison / Haai / Hamilton Hannah Wants / Heidi / Helena Hauff / HITO / Holy Goof Hot Since 82 / Inigo Kennedy / Into The Woods Jack Swift / James Ruskin / Jamie Jones / Jazzie B Jeremy Underground / Jimmy Switch / JME / Joe For Joel Mull / John Dimas / Joris Voorn / Joy Orbison Julia Govor / KDA / Kevin Over / Kiah Victoria / Kiasmos Killbox / Kim Ann Foxman / Kiwi / Klose One

Kojey Radical / Kolo & Dyze / Krankbrother / Kryder Latmun / Lauren Lane / Lauren Lo Sung / Laurence Guy Lemmy Ashton / Leo Leal / Leo Pol / Liam Bailey Lianne La Havas / Lindsey Matthews / Linguistics Little Simz / Livio & Roby / Loadstar / Loco Dice Lopaski / Luciano / Luke Vibert / Machine Woman Mahalia / Mano Le Tough / Marcel Dettmann Maribou State / Mark Jenkyns / Martin Buttrich Mathias Kaden / Matthias Tanzmann / Max Cooper Maya Jane Coles / MC AD / Mees Dierdorp / Mind Against / Mind Vortex / Modeselektor / Mollie Collins Monolink Monoloc / Motor City Drum Ensemble / Moving Fusion / Mumdance / Nadia Rose / NAO / Netsky / Nicole Moudaber / Nina Kraviz / NVOY / Ossa Di Mare Paradox City / Pathworks / Patrice Bäumel Paul Kalkbrenner / Petite Noir / Phace Planetary Assault Systems / Pleiades / Point G Pola & Bryson / Prolix / PTU / Randomer / Rebekah Reckonwrong / Recondite / Rene Lavice / Reset Robot Richy Ahmed / Rodhad / Rommek / Rothstein / Russell Haswell / Sagotsky / Sate / Saul Williams / Scott Kemp Session Victim / Seth Troxler / Shadow Child / SHDW & Obscure Shape / Shimon / So Solid Crew / Some Voices SP:MC / Special Request / Steve Angello Sub Focus & ID / Superpoz / Superstition / Taiki Nulight Tale Of Us / Tapefeed / Taraval / Tarek Charbonnier TCTS / Technimatic / Teddy Killerz / The Bots The Chemical Brothers The Heavy / The Internet The Martinez Brothers / The OBGMS / Thundercat Tiga / Tijana T / Tom Demac / Tommy Four Seven Turtle Bugg / Ulterior Motive / Vaal / Vril / wAFF / Wax Wings / Will Taylor / William Djoko / Willow Willow Smith / Woo York / Yotto / Youandewan ISSUE 003 ELECTRONIC SERIES ANNOUNCED JANUARY NEW LIGHTS . NEW SYSTEM . NEW 3K CAP LIVE SPACE PRE REGISTER FOR ADVANCED TICKET ACCESS PRINTWORKSLONDON.CO.UK


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02

Simple Things Presents: Mogwai OUT2018 Saturday 3DFeb SOL Colston Hall, Bristol Fatima Yamaha Wednesday 7 Feb 2018 The Marble Factory, Bristol GoGo Penguin Friday 9 Feb 2018 Trinity, Bristol Kelela Friday 23 Feb 2018 SWX, Bristol tickets.crackmagazine.net


FABRIC JANUARY 2018

06 ROOM 01

AMELIE LENS DJ DEEP TERRY FRANCIS SURPRISE GUEST (LIVE) ROOM 01

PETRE INSPIRESCU ATIPIC AKA PRIKU (LIVE) VLAD CAIA MATTEO MANZINI ROOM 03

ONE RECORDS ADAM SHELTON & SUBB-AN (ALL NIGHT LONG)

13 ROOM 01

CRAIG RICHARDS & NICOLAS LUTZ (ALL NIGHT LONG) SPECIAL GUEST: DMX KREW (LIVE) ROOM 02

27 ROOM 01

THE MARTINEZ BROTHERS (ALL NIGHT LONG)

SLAM CURATES SLAM KOBOSIL JAY CLARKE

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77A Charterhouse Street, London EC1. Opening times: 11pm — 7am. Check www.fabriclondon.com for advance tickets, prices and further info. fabric 95: Roman Flügel, Out Now fabric 96: DVS1, 8th December. fabric 97: Tale Of Us, 23rd February.


015 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 distribution@crackmagazine.net

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31 JANUARY – 10 FEBRUARY 2018

OUMOU SANGARÉ JIMMY WEBB PORTICO QUARTET LEVELLERS NADINE SHAH BETH ORTON GOGO PENGUIN CHIP

+ Roundhouse Resident Artists

Intimate, seated shows that put you closer to the music

Our Resident Artists programme helps propel young emerging artists into creative careers


017

Contents

Priests:

Penny Rimbaud:

28

36

42

IAMDDB:

Kiddy Smile:

48

52

crackmagazine.net

Nils Frahm:

Rising: Buddy – p.23 Reviews – p.65

Recommended – p.20

Discover – p.25

The Update: Terre Thaemlitz – p.27

Retrospective: White Light White Heat – p.69

20 Questions: Yung Lean – p.75

My Life as a Mixtape: Randy Randall – p.77

Perspective: Supporting Indies In The Age Of Streaming – p.78

CONTENTS

Editor's Letter – p.19

Porches 56


January 2018

Crack Magazine Was Made Using

As 2018 begins, we’re looking confidently at the year ahead. But for a lot of people working in the independent media and music spheres, it’s looking like it could be a challenge to maintain quality.

Shy Glizzy Take Me Away Godflesh No Body Cardi B & Offset Um Yeah Asap Fresh Balen Bouji Mellowhype Tisk Buddy 4 The Record ft. Boogie D Double E Better Than The Rest ft. Wiley Björk Blissing Me Hodge Don't Hold Your Breath Buttechno Formanting Charli XCX Backseat Antoni Maiovvi The Dig Equiknoxx Enter a Raffle... Win a Falafel BROCKHAMPTON Saturation III Godflesh Post Self

For those who appreciate a thriving culture press and independent arts scene, last year signed off discouragingly with net neutrality at risk and regular stories about publications sacking entire editorial teams. There was cynicism about the streaming industry, and the fight to keep venues open felt particularly close to home at Crack Magazine’s headquarters in Bristol, where the problems faced by the city’s much-loved spaces have recently intensified. But a number of articles in this issue reflect how creativity thrives against the odds. Nils Frahm gives a tour of the studio he’s built in Berlin’s fascinating Funkhaus building, suggesting the motive behind the laborious process was to deliver a meaningful project in an era where the value of art is often lowered to that of disposable content. Elsewhere, Priests argue the significance of grinding to run their own label, while Penny Rimbaud reflects on enduring a lifetime of struggle in order to spread radical political messages. And in this month’s op-ed, Gary Suarez discusses how streaming giants favour major label releases, but argues that we can adjust our online listening habits to better support independent artists and labels. So maybe this could be the year you do that extra bit to support what you love. Independent journalism and music have never needed your help more than now, and all due to the determination of those who make it happen, a little tends to go a long way.

Nils Frahm shot exclusively for Crack Magazine by James Perolls Berlin – December 2017

Davy Reed, Editor

crackmagazine.net

ThisisDA Atlantis

EDITORIAL

Crass Berkertex Bribe

019

Issue 84


020

Recommended

MeatWave The Lexington 9 February

O ur g ui d e to wh at's goi n g on i n y ou r c i ty

Shackleton Jazz Cafe 26 January

Butterz Royal Rumble Fabric 26 January

It’s fascinating to consider the different paths taken by producers who made a name for themselves with dubstep in the noughties. While Skream’s spent a lot of his time since high-fiving Seth Troxler on Ibiza rooftops, Shackleton – who released prolifically via the seminal label Skull Disco he ran with Appleblim – has burrowed himself into much more esoteric realms. Shackleton’s 2017 releases included a collaborative album with spoken-word artist Vengeance Tenfold and another with Berlin singer Anika, and these records evoked tribal psychedelia, devotional music and ambient trance as much as low-end bassweight. Allow your mind to be taken to a location where only Shackleton knows the way.

This Is The Kit Shepherd’s Bush Empire 25 January

Dama Scout The Waiting Room 31 January The Glasgow-via-London trio haven’t been making music for long, but they’re ones to keep an eye out for. Whilst crafting off-kilter melodies and mixing them with an airy style of production, Dama Scout have a knack for taking listeners down unexpected routes, with sudden changes in harmony and tempo. Make the route yourself down to The Waiting Room and experience the trio’s rich and dreamy sonic atmospheres.

6lack Electric Brixton 18 January

Elevate Festival John Maus, Umfang, Objekt Graz, Austria 28 February - 4 March €66 (Earlybird) Each year, the city of Graz, Austria sloughs off its sleepy image to become a proving ground for political discussion and forwardfacing music. Taking place across a network of subterranean spaces within the Schlossberg, the line-up skews toward the cerebral – although the booking of one Julian Assange, speaking via video link-up, adds a dusting of controversial star power to the panel programme. Come nighttime, a soundtrack of outsider pop, cathartic techno and bracing noise from the likes of Umfang, Ben Frost and John Maus will sate body as much as mind.

Midland Phonox 8 January

Nadine Shah The Roundhouse 2 February

Henry Rollins Slideshow Ondaatje Theatre 9 February

Helena Hauff Phonox 22 January

Moon Duo XOYO 4 February

Moonbow Birthdays 31 January

EVENTS

Henry Rollins is the dude from Black Flag. He’s the dude from Sons of Anarchy. He’s the dude from Jackass. He’s also the dude who’s been travelling all over the globe to do standup, spoken-word and charity projects for decades. And he’s the dude who recently quit LA Weekly after being a columnist for seven years in protest of the publication firing its editorial staff and receiving financial backing from Orange Country Republicans. Henry Rollins is an artist with brains behind the braun, and this is an opportunity to join him as he discusses the photos he’s taken on his travels from Baghdad to Timbuktu.

Nadine Shah had a hell of a 2017. Her album, Holiday Destination, saw the South Tyneside artist use melodramatic postpunk as a vessel for excoriating takedowns of Trump, racism and Islamophobia while birthing a huge radio hit. No less significantly – well, maybe a little less – Shah’s early-doors Simple Things set was one of the highlights of the festival, the between-song polemic almost as compelling as her songs. 2018 is hers for the taking – and this anticipated Roundhouse gig is the perfect start.

Cults The Garage 25 January

Beatrice Dillon The Waiting Room 21 January

Wand Patterns, Brighton 23 January


021

A Grave With No Name The Waiting Room 25 January

Princess Nokia XOYO 31 January

Piano Day Jazz Cafe 29 March Nils Frahm loves pianos so much he's given them their own day. Launched in 2015 by this month's cover star, Piano Day takes place on the 88th day of the year, a reflection of the instrument's 88 keys. Like most of Frahm's work, the project celebrates the piano, aiming to bridge the generation gap in engagement with the instrument specifically and classical music more generally. Want to see what all the fuss is about? Piano Day continues strong into 2018 with a global programme of events, this one taking place in collaboration with London label Float and featuring a piano solo from 4AD’s Bing & Ruth as well as Sebastian Plano, Erased Tapes’ Ben Lukas Boysen and Float’s own Andrea Belfi, who are forming a trio specially for the event. Ambitious projects like this one deserve your support.

Omar Souleyman Oval Space 7 February Omar Souleyman’s story threatens to dwarf his music. A Syrian wedding singer who recorded over 500 live albums, forced to leave his home by the conflict in his home country, and now making a name for himself as a purveyor of passionate love songs and banging dance tracks. He’s been championed and produced by Four Tet, shares a label with Major Lazer and RiFF RAFF, and is influenced as much by Turkish, Assyrian, and Kurdish singing styles as he is by his chosen musical form, dabke, an Arabic folk dance centred around line-dancing at weddings. The good news: his music stands up to the biographical hype. Dance music to electrify.

Craig Richards b2b Nicolas Lutz fabric 20 January Craig Richards may be leaving his post as fabric's weekly resident, but he'll still be part of the furniture. He returns to the club for this all night long, back-to-back set with Nicolas Lutz. As an underground favourite turned globe-trotting DJ, Lutz's trajectory followed a similar path to Richards, and both DJs boast an endless selection of mostly forgotten rare house, techno and electro. Blow off the cobwebs with this classy January outing.

Livin Proof Village Underground 14 January

Kojo Funds KOKO 7 January

Mental Health in Music Panel The Pickle Factory 24 January DJ Sprinkles Corsica Studios 13 January

Wild Beasts Eventim Apollo 17 February

Legowelt’s website is something that has to be seen to be believed. It’s Web 1.0, alive and thriving in 2018. The best bit is that amid the background images, neon colours, and early hesitating gifs lies a goldmine of free samplepacks, Ableton instruments, and programmes from his own software company - including one called SPIRICOM 7, a virtual Ouija board you can use to communicate with the ghosts in your house. It’s an inclusive and brilliant nod from the master of synth wizardry, with new tracks to uncover old styles’ hidden secrets and potential. Head to Phonox and watch the Dutch veteran raise the dead.

Partynextdoor Brixton Academy 7 February

DJ Seinfeld The Nest 21 January

Snowbombing Liam Gallagher, Dizzee Rascal, AJ Tracey Mayrhofen, Austria 9 - 18 April Connecting skiing, snow and frosty atmospheres with a varied line-up of music, Snowbombing provides festival-goers with an opportunity to get pissed on the ski slopes while Liam Gallagher hurls insults into the crowd. There’s no need to fret not being an experienced skiier either, as the festival includes beginners' slopes. And, if you’re looking for thrills, there’s Austria’s steepest one – The Harikiri. If that doesn’t do it for you, more thrills are promised via the line-up, which also includes Craig David, Artwork, Ross From Friends, Bicep and loads more.

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In September of last year Wild Beasts announced that they were disbanding. For followers of British indie-rock post-2000, it was sad news. Their fivealbum catalogue is packed with moments of radiant, theatrical genius – from the subtle shades of Smother to the gorgeously stirring synth-pop of Present Tense, they successfully injected a sense of grandeur into an otherwise largely drab landscape. Before they call it quits for good, they are playing a handful of final UK shows. If you’re a fan of the band already, you’ll know how masterfully they can fill a room when they play live. If you aren’t a fan yet, here’s a final chance to catch one of the country’s finest guitar bands. You never know what you’ve got until it’s gone.

Legowelt Phonox 12 January


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Rising: Buddy

Sounds like: A rap / RnB hybrid bathing in the Californian sun Soundtrack for: Driving around town while contemplating your next move Fun Fact: Buddy once freestyled while Billy Ray Cyrus played guitar at Miley’s house File Next To: Anderson .Paak / Domo Genesis

Words: Davy Reed

Our Favourite Tune: A Lite Where To Find Him: @Buddy

The prodigious singer-rapper entered the music industry as a teenager, signing a deal with Pharrell’s I am OTHER label back in 2011. But you could argue that the 24-year-old has truly defined his artistic vision over the past year, building a steady fanbase along the way. At the tail end of 2017 Buddy made his first trip to London, where he performed on a line-up with IAMDDB and Syd, charmed his way through a press round and ticked off visits to the city’s landmarks. “It was cold!” he remembers, speaking from the warmer Californian climes of his home city, Compton. “But I had a blast.” In conversation Buddy speaks at a rapid pace, and over the sketchy phone line you get a sense of his optimistic outlook on life. How does he maintain such a positive frame of mind? “I smoke a bunch of weed, drink a lot of water, stay hydrated,” he explains. “I pray. God is good. You know what I’m saying? There’s not too much for me to be upset about. I live an amazing life, I have an amazing team of people around me helping me take my career to the next level. And I love all my friends and my family so I’m just always happy.” Rappers like The Game, YG and Kendrick Lamar have documented their experiences of being raised in Compton, and the most common perception of the city is probably influenced by N.W.A’s notorious material. But Buddy’s songs depict adventures where trouble lurks but good vibes can be found with

weed, hook-ups and dancing. “Growing up in Compton, you know, it’s not like everybody thinks,” he explains. “Or at least not when I was growing up. Like [there] definitely was a couple of drive-by shootings or whatever, but it’s not on a daily basis. But I feel like the constant struggle in the city motivated me to really just do what I needed to do for myself and get my own shit going.” Buddy met Pharrell when he was just 15. He was ready for the limelight, having performed in musical theatre as a child and later studying performing arts in Long Beach. At the age of 18, he scored an online hit with the Neptunes-produced single Awesome Awesome, complete with a video that sees Pharrell rapping alongside his young protegé. In 2014 Buddy eventually dropped his first full-length Idle Time. The mixtape was packed with high profile guests – Miley Cyrus, Kendrick Lamar and Freddie Gibbs to name a few – but Buddy has suggested that, partly due to bad management, things didn’t work out as well as they could have. “It’s a blessing and a curse,” he says of having entered the industry at such a young age. “But I learned a lot, you know what I mean? And it really showed me being in the game young, seeing a lot of people with one hit wonders or whatever. It really made

longevity a goal of mine, so I always try to make sure my shit sounds timeless.” Last year, Buddy released two EPs, Magnolia and Ocean & Montana – the latter which was produced entirely by Kaytranada and had no guest vocalists. Sonically and lyrically, the EPs are by far his best records yet, with Buddy at ease as he glides between rapping and singing over sun-soaked production. And now that he's perfected his sound, Buddy is feeling good about 2018. He’s been working on his debut album, which he wants to drop “as soon as possible” – this time, as an independent artist. “I’m solo right now, I got a little company and I’m putting it all together with my team,” he says, with a convincingly confident tone. “It’s cool.”

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With his relentless energy and golden voice, Buddy is one of those people who was destined for the stage.


DJANGO DJANGO MARBLE SKIES 2018

LONDON PRINTWORKS 23 MAR ‘18

tickets: djangodjango.co.uk eat your own ears by arrangement with primary talent present


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Discover

Mina

Orrin

File Next To: Lil Yachty / Travis Scott Our Favourite Tune: Switch Where To Find Him: @RealOrrin

Dead Hero

Clara La San Clara La San has been primed for a breakthrough for a minute now. A member of the increasingly international Gang Fatale collective, the Manchester singer-songwriter and producer collaborated with Mssngno on last year’s XLreleased Fones EP. Now, with the release of her debut mixtape Good Mourning, the secret is well and truly out. Featuring additional production from Jam City, the tape perfects her Soundcloud RnB template that, despite its modest bedroomborne origins, packs an almost cinematic heft. What’s more, for all the scorched-earth sonics and soporific vocals, La San delivers something that precious few do: the tunes bang. File Next To: Kelela / Tinashe Our Favourite Tune: Strangers

Some writers have framed Bogota’s burgeoning punk scene in the context of the conflict which has existed in Colombia for over half a century. Though the music of Dead Hero, a punk outfit from the capital who released the brilliant La Vida Continua LP in November 2015, oozes with an optimistic resolution. Their lyrics are performed in Spanish but delivered with a highimpact, untidy performance style. Singer Paula Suarez holds their sucker-punch sound together with bold, dauntless vocals which pierce through language barriers. Watch out for more action. File Next To: METZ / Priests Our Favourite Tune: Pelear Para Vivir Where To Find Them: deadherooi.bandcamp.com

File Next To: Murlo / Lorenzo BITW Our Favourite Tune: Boing (feat. Nané) Where to find: minamusicuk.bandcamp.com

Naaz Naaz's quirkpop soars with the carefree optimism of a teenager with a bright future. Something of a rising star inthe Netherlands, the 19-year-old is turning heads with a string of videos celebrating diversity, and her track Words has racked up six million plays on Spotify. But it hasn't always been this breezy for Naaz. As a Kurdish teen in Holland, Naaz gives bedroom pop a new meaning – her catchy hooks were originally conceived in secret from her family who didn't see stability in her pursuit of music. According to Naaz, they came around after she collaborated with Kurdish artist Arjan Bedawi to 'create awareness about the Kurdish situation', and she's been flying ever since, turning personal conflict into bursts of emotive sound. File Next To: Mabel / Kehlani Our Favourite Tune: Can’t Where To Find Her: @BitsOfNaaz

Where To Find Her: soundcloud.com/claralasan

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Bushwick rapper Orrin has enjoyed moderate success with a clutch of SoundCloud loosies that could be grouped with the kind of flex-rap associated with Lil Yachty and Playboi Carti. His latest track Switch might have all the lyrical hallmarks of conventional IGera braggadocio, but there’s a paranoia and anxiety laced within which paints a different picture. His Bad Dreams EP, which dropped last year, sounds like what you’d hope to hear if King Krule got in the studio with Lil Pump. Keep your eyes peeled for Orrin’s debut album in 2018.

British DJ and producer Mina is from Leeds and based in London, but her music is decidedly international. Inspired by her travels in Ghana – where she linked up with superlative local MCs and producers Bryte, Gafacci and Cratus – and brimming with dancehall, Afropop and UK funky. Mina’s got an ear for melody and a knack for brilliant beatmaking (check out Ringtone Riddim (feat. Gafacci) for the best use of a Nokia-inspired theme we’ve heard in a while), and a host of excellent featured artists, from the fast-paced Spanish rap of Nané to the exuberant and effortless pleasure of Ghanian artist Bryte. Here’s someone who’ll take you places.


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Terre Thaemlitz Terre Thaemlitz, aka DJ Sprinkles, on the deconstructive motivations behind her new project What can you tell us about the Deproduction project? It's my newest album as "Terre Thaemlitz," being sold as an SD card containing audio (48k/24bit AIFF files), video (HD 1920x1080) and texts with images (PDF). Thematically, it is a response to the ways in which dominant LGBT agendas are increasingly revolving around themes of family, matrimony, breeding and military service. It was produced with support from documenta 14 and Akademie der Künste der Welt, with the audio-visual world premiere at documenta 14 in Athens on July 9, 2017. How does this differ from other work released as Terre Thaemlitz? Actually, it is very much in line with the trajectory of my other electroacoustic projects containing video – Interstices, Lovebomb, Soulnessless... It is not a sequel to Soulnessless, but given the SD card format and heavy data load, there are similarities. In fact, the critique of family structures in Deproduction is an expansion of ideas first mentioned in the "Annotations" text from Soulnessless.

In the readings you tell the stories of various individuals and their experiences with family. What significance do these stories have to the project? Yes, the first half titled Names Have Been Changed presents a series of quite "moralistic" stories about the follies of child bearing, families, etc. They are inspired by people I know, as well as real events. However, often times the characters in the stories have moral systems that do not match the Western Liberal standard. It unfolds quite slowly over a period of almost 45 minutes. The intent is to get the audience to recognise their own processes of morally judging the characters, as well as acknowledging that even the most atrocious familial behaviour tends to be morally justified. This is an important set-up to the second half, "Admit It's Killing You (And Leave)," which asks people to drop their preconditioned pro-family defences in order to hear some of the other ideas discussed as the piece progresses. Can you tell us a bit about how these ideas relate to issues surrounding same sex marriage? To quote the album's text: "Liberal humanist cultures are recognizing they do not need to demand our heterosexuality. They only require our heteronormativity. This is what underlies today’s mainstream 'queer moment.' Business culture understands most of all that sexual orientation doesn’t matter, so long as the collective goals of private wealth, full-time labor, credit-debt, mortgaged home ownership, family, and military service are publicly upheld.... Today, most people see same-

sex marriage as an ethical debate about the right to publicly express one’s love for whomever they choose. In fact, it is an ongoing struggle for access to social privileges.... These days, supporting same-sex marriage just seems like the liberal thing to do. Common sense. Meanwhile, what I would argue to be a more compassionate and ethical 'sense' to dismantle those exclusionary matrimonial institutions altogether is further rendered uncommon.... [As a result,] the anticipated promise behind today's Queer families is nothing more than the egocentric notion that familial abuses will be resolved by this generation being better parents than the previous generation. What is forever absent are discussions of what it means to deliberately not be a parent, and to deliberately abandon family." The reading contains the line, "families make democracy impossible". Can you explain this idea? Well, family structures are inherently hierarchal, and overwhelmingly patriarchal. If equality is an ideal of democratic organising, there is an unavoidable contradiction at the heart of contemporary "democratic societies" insisting their social agendas revolve around families and "family values." Deproduction focuses on that contradiction, and the very real violence it perpetuates and creates. In particular, sexual and gender violence. I am a nihilist, so I do not see family systems as surmountable – thus democracy becomes "impossible." However, that does not mean you lay down and take it (an idiom that literally reflects the issues at hand). Struggles to reduce violence are always necessary, even in the absence of a promise of future peace. Deproduction is out now via Comatonse

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Interview by: Anna Tehabsim


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Nils Frahm:

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Remoulding classical music for this century, Nils Frahm has gained a committed, notably young following. With his new album All Melody, a by-product of unique historical circumstances, Frahm looks forward while preserving the past

Words: Josie Thaddeus-Johns Photography: James Perolls

Head east out of Berlin. Go past the blinking Alexanderplatz tower, through the wide residential blocks of Karl-MarxAllee. Then keep going, past where the tram stops running, past where the last outposts of clubbing chug on, until smoke-puffing factories and stick-man power pylons are the only signs of activity. Here, in a building used as a former broadcast studio in the 50s, is where Nils Frahm has his studio. “It's a little bit like the place found me,” Frahm says, as he leads me through the vast complex of the Funkhaus, the venue that he now calls home. Originally the sound studio of East Germany’s GDR communist state, its endless corridors still display unmistakably midcentury details – modernist, unnumbered clocks and boxy armchairs in pristine condition, even if there are cracks in the walls. It hums with history.

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Here, on the banks of the river Spree, is where the GDR created their radio broadcasts to ensure that their version of events was being reported to its citizens, rather than West Germany’s. In the meantime, these engineers also became some of the foremost sound pioneers in the world, developing state-of-the-art facilities for their endeavours, such as reverb studios, welled concert halls for transmitting the full sound of a symphony orchestra across the radio waves, as well as

countless purpose-built studios for producers and musicians. Like many of Berlin’s most distinctive buildings from the 20th century, the Funkhaus has had a rocky journey into the 21st, changing hands several times since Germany’s reunification. Most recently, Funkhaus’s capacious halls have been occupied as recording studio spaces for Berlin’s diverse population of artists and musicians. One such musician is Nils Frahm – the Hamburg-born composer, producer and celebrated performer, best known for his cerebral works on piano, most notably 2011’s Felt, for which he added felt to the hammers of the piano, creating his signature sound in the process. A consistent innovator, Frahm has continued to stretch the boundaries of the classical genre, often opening it up to a new audience, notably younger than the typical solo piano concert-goers. In 2015, Frahm was even compelled to conceive an annual Piano Day, taking place on the 88th day of the year, which aims to promote a worldwide movement to celebrate the instrument. Frahm got his introduction to the vast red-brick Funkhaus complex when he first moved to Berlin. “I had a mastering session for a record I produced for a band, and thought, ‘OK, this is crazy,

I have to come back,’” he tells me. In 2015, and news of the historical sound studio made it to Frahm’s ears yet again – this time because the newest owners have begun moving people out of their studios to make space for planned renovations, for performance spaces as well as office areas to help the building sustain itself. It was these new owners who then popped up on Frahm’s phone one day: “He said, ‘You're building the greatest piano in the world, right? We need it in Funkhaus. Let's meet.’ The same day I signed the contract for the studio.” This studio is Saal 3, of which the Hamburg-born pianist is now the host. This fleur-de-lis-bedecked space is custom-fitted to meet Frahm’s instrumental needs, having been deconstructed and reconstructed alongside the process of making his new album, All Melody. Everything is crafted from scratch: the mixing desk, a pipe organ. Everywhere you look there are microphones and cables, standing quietly against the 50s woodgrain panels and gold-flecked wallpaper. “I knew the record would happen in here,” Frahm says, of the impetus behind the record. “I had to record the song All Melody, which I played live for a couple of years but never ended up on a record… I thought ‘OK, I need to do something completely new to surround these songs.’”


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“I change the music until I find a point where it feels familiar, but it also doesn't sound like anyone else�

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“I feel like things have a soul, so I think when this space is used, it’s happy”

Filled with synths, drum machines, even trumpets, cello and other orchestral instruments, All Melody is most definitely not a solo piano album. “I always dreamt of making electronic music,” Frahm tells me in his mixing room, surrounded by a thousand knobs and buttons, waving an unlit, hand-rolled cigarette at me. “Making piano music was a weird accident which happened because Wintermusik [Frahm's first album] was a Christmas present for my parents, and my mother doesn't like electronic music!” Once this project is complete, Frahm plans to be open to touring for the next two years. This is part of his interest in creating something substantial, something which will make a long-lasting impact. He laments contemporary consumerist culture, where art is lost in the scroll of the newsfeed and where everything breaks quickly, so that we are sucked into buying newer versions of products as plastic fills up the oceans. “We could have nice products that work well, which would be economically effective, efficient, and beautiful,” he says. “Why don't we just do it?” Perhaps unsurprisingly for someone with one foot in the classical music world, Frahm is disdainful of the mechanisms of the music industry. He's scornful of work that is only ephemeral: a new remix, created just for a headline, or a music video that’s just put together

to remind an internet-addled audience he exists. “Don't clutter up the internet!” he says. “That's why I made this ‘Big Album,’ you know, just to piss everybody off.” It seems clear even after a few minutes of chatting, that Frahm is an iconoclast, whether it’s put to use in ignoring the diktats of contemporary music publishing, or in stubbornly using a drum machine to play a melody line. Undoubtedly, this approach is part of why his music always sounds so distinctive. “I don't like plug-ins, because I can imagine somebody's using the same preset right now, maybe in Tasmania! It makes me wonder, ‘what is original, what is authentic, what is interesting?’” he says. “I will need to change [the music] until I find a point where it feels familiar but it also doesn't really sound like anyone else.” Nils Frahm achieves an original sound partly with custom-built instruments, but recording techniques play an equally significant role. Most notably for All Melody, the use of the Funkhaus's old reverb chambers create the echoing fullness of sound manually, rather than artificially. Frahm’s technical fanaticism took him all the way to Majorca, where a holiday was interrupted by a sound that caught his ear. “I’m staying in a really little old stone house from the 1600s or something, then all of a sudden I heard a water drop falling into water with this 80s, digital, Blade Runner reverb and it sounded insanely artificial,” he remembers. “I thought it was in my head! I went into the corner of the living room and opened something which looked like a wooden toilet seat, and there was this well, inside the house.” Being Nils Frahm, he set to work immediately, gearing up this tiny old house for his recording purposes, placing a speaker and microphone inside the well, so that the microphone picks up the sound to utilise the well’s reverb.

Throughout its lifespan, reverb has always been created manually at the Funkhaus, and its reverb chambers are still extant. We crash through the overflowing boxes of a storage room and open up into a small concrete space that is empty apart from a microphone and speaker. “Previously, there was no artificial reverb. The only way to make the reverb was to put a microphone in a reverberating space and send music through the speaker,” Frahm says, looking around with something like pride. The owner of the Funkhaus was about to knock down the walls in here, to create a bigger storage space – until Frahm explained these rooms’ value as one-off historical recording spaces that could continue to offer interesting sound to contemporary musicians. This appears to be Frahm’s unofficial position at the Funkhaus – as guardian of some of the exceptional architectural features for recording music. And while there are developments in other blocks of the vast Funkhaus complex, Frahm is dedicated to ensuring that Block B, where Saal 3 is located, remains focused on recording music.

happy.” He has faith in the sanctity of the room to induce respect in others: “Nobody would treat this room badly. Nobody.” As Crack Magazine’s photographer begins to rev up for his last few shots of the day, Frahm begins to carefully stroke the keys of a modified Danish pianette, then moves over to a grand piano, clear and strident, then the Juno 60 synthesiser. Instantly, it’s as if we have all disappeared, and he is ensconced, safe within the bubble of his instruments. Ultimately, this is what Frahm was always aiming for. Once the engineers have left, it’s just Nils and his instruments in this incredible space. “They leave in the evening and in the night,” he tells me, finally lighting that cigarette. “I'm alone and just making what I'm best at: music.” All Melody is released 26 January via Erased Tapes Nils Frahm appears at Down The Rabbit Hole, 29 June - 1 July, Gelderland, The Netherlands

Although he is committed to trying to maintain the unique features of Funkhaus for recording music, he is also aware that part of this is keeping the building standing. “I knew my studio only has a future if the whole Funkhaus has one.” His contribution has been to ensure that the area under his control is as close to perfection as possible: “I needed to do something that can't be beaten… If I made a studio which is spot on that I will never need to argue about it. So that secures my future.” You can’t argue with excellence, in other words. Since Frahm is heading out on tour this year, the space is about to be hired out for others to use. Is this something that bothers him, I wonder. Frahm shakes his head: “I feel like things have a soul, so I think when the space is used, it’s

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What is new for this record is the varied and occasionally counter-intuitive use of instruments.Songs feature choral voices (a collaboration with Kieran Brunt and the Barbican’s Chris Sharp) as well as a midi-controlled touring organ – the Peterson-Maus-Hahn that has been with Frahm since 2015, and which he’s used to glorious effect on All Melody as a percussion instrument. He was particularly keen to combine percussion and choral elements, inspired by a Christmas song from Argentina from the 60s.


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037 Words: Katie Hawthorne Photography: Eleanor Hardwick

The Was hing prac ton tice D.C mor . pu e th nk b an t and hey prea ch

It’s a chilly Friday evening and Greer’s sat on the roof terrace at Manchester’s Deaf Institute, joined by bandmates Daniele Daniele (drums) and GL Jaguar (guitar). Bassist Taylor Mulitz is found later, cheerfully running the merch stall. Based in Washington D.C., they have been a band for roughly five years; soon after they started making thoughtful, abrasive punk rock, they founded their label, Sister Polygon. Priests navigate the music industry with a healthy distrust, and their community is clued-up and anti-commercial, believing in the power of music for music’s sake. It’s no surprise that people love to ask Priests about politics. Their debut album Nothing Feels Natural was released the same week that Donald Trump was sworn into office, and the coincidence exasperated them. Priests are angry, yes, but they aren’t prophetic: the inequalities, corporate greed and under-representation that they write about has been present in America for far longer than Trump’s tenure in the White House. “We worked on these songs for years,” Greer explains, “and understandably everything that people were talking about was tied to Trump taking office.” “The problem is when that’s the lens that’s used to look at our album,”

Daniele adds, “because that wasn’t the view from which it was made.” “And it’s not like things were great before, with Obama,” Jaguar reminds us. “You know the saying, the old boss is the same as the new boss? Unfortunately the new boss is exponentially worse. I can understand that Hillary Clinton [was] a terrible candidate, but if your options are a warmonger or a liar? Take your pick.” He pauses. “But this really digresses from the album!” On the song Pink White House – one of the many highlights of Nothing Feels Natural – Priests tear apart America’s flawed two-party system.“Anything you want/ Anyone you want!” Greer chants, saccharine as a cheerleader, before taking a sledgehammer to the American dream’s illusion of freedom: “Sign a letter, throw your shoe/ Vote for numbers one or two.” The song derails itself several times over, Daniele’s drums pinning the chaos down just enough, gathering pace as Jaguar’s guitar and Mulitz’s bass spiral toward a ferocious finale. Nothing Feels Natural was possibly Sister Polygon’s biggest release, and running the label successfully requires a great deal of trust in each other. “There’s no paperwork,” Greer explains. Daniele nods. “You have to have faith that everyone is working as hard as you are.” Juggling the label while managing their own lengthy US/EU tour was an

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“Every single time we say, ‘Oh, we’re so tired of talking about politics.’” Katie Alice Greer laughs, rolling her eyes. “But we feel really passionate about it, so we end up here…”


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“Runn ing a really label i stress s ful. Bu indus t th t fucked ry is incred e ibly up, an d I do want n’t s o m e ownin g my m man usic”

ambitious task, Priests acknowledge; now that they’re back home they can better focus on Sister Polygon’s 2018 calendar. “It is really stressful,” Greer says. “But the industry is incredibly fucked up, and I don’t want some man owning my music. I am so proud that we own our own shit.”

Katie Alice Greer

Their frankness has led to Priests being praised as a band with capital-M morals. A non-corporate approach and eloquent political lyrics help bolster this reputation, but they refute it. Or, more specifically, they find it contradictory to boast about conducting yourself with decency. “You should lead by example, but you shouldn’t be bragging about it,” says Jaguar.

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“You’ve got to take your ego out of it,” Daniele agrees. “There’s a certain currency to the virtue signalling of ‘I am moral’ and I think a lot of those words are divorced from peoples’ actions. If you have a diverse roster and you make sure your artists are adequately compensated, awesome. That should show up in your operations, and if other people want to talk about it, fine.” For Greer, this kind of performative positive action ties in with the dubious

theory that tough times make better art, or that music should be judged by its contemporary relevance. “I’ve been thinking lately how our Western culture really devalues art in and of itself – we don’t consider artists unless we have sculpted an easily digestible narrative around them. Or your music is not ‘valuable’ unless you’re an educator about systemic infrastructure or injustice. What else is your music being used for? Why can’t we just think something is beautiful? These things are harder to talk about.” So instead, they back up their politics with action: their US tour raised almost $11,500 for Casa Ruby, a bilingual charity which assists vulnerable people in DC’s LGBTQ community. Greer actively ensures that the atmosphere at their shows is inclusive, and Manchester’s audience applaud when she calls for consideration. “Think about how much space you’re taking up,” she urges one extremely vigorous dancer. A week after our interview, at a show in The Hague, she responds to another incident via Twitter. Her statement describes how, in six years, she has “lost count of how many times I’ve been heckled by men.” That night the Deaf Institute is a warm, welcoming place. Opening musician No Home, aka Charlie Johnson, plays

her first ever show to a packed room, whilst Priests whoop encouragement from the sidelines. Johnson’s zine Hungry and Undervalued is stacked on the merch stand, next to tote bags promoting Spark Mag – the culturalpolitical site run by Joey DeFrancesco and Victoria Ruiz of incendiary punk band Downtown Boys, who’ve often shared a tour with Priests. They’re alumni of Sister Polygon, and the two bands have a long friendship. Ruiz takes a second to acknowledge this, announcing to an enthusiastic crowd: “Priests have allowed so many bands to bloom and blossom, so that we can protect our energy and we can fight the right fights.” As independent artists continue to struggle in the era of streaming and the industry battles a wave of sexual assault allegations, it’s clear that we all need to reassess how we participate in the scenes that we love. Priests’ work is an antidote to a frenetic, consumerist music culture, and the clickbait rush to brand a band as timely. They’re here to show you, rather than tell you, that your choices are always political – and that’s an attitude we’ll need to get through this new year. @PRIESTS_TWEET


Produced exclusively for Crack Magazine by soft_copy


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Penny Rimbaud:

For over 50 years, the radical punk philosopher has been resisting the grip of authority MUSIC


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044 Words: Davy Reed Photography: Alex de Mora

A trip to Dial House takes you through the Essex town of Epping, past a veterinary surgery and an old village hall, down windy country roads and through a number of creaky farmhouse gates. On a bright afternoon, the atmosphere in the garden is of pure tranquility: a swing hangs from a tree by a wooden guesthouse, freshly picked apples are laid out across a picnic table and at the entrance there are Buddhist prayer flags with messages of love, peace and acceptance which are believed to travel with the wind that passes through. But for over 50 years, Dial House has been the hub of some of the most radical countercultural activity in musical history. The doors of the house are open. And they have been ever since Penny Rimbaud moved in.

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Rimbaud is most famously known as the drummer, lyricist and organiser of Crass – arguably one of the most significant punk bands to ever exist. Since the turn of the millennium, much of his output has orientated around poetry and jazz. His most recent

project, What Passing Bells, sees him reciting the poetry of Wilfred Owen to music performed by cellist Kate Short and pianist Liam Noble. The album came out last November via One Little Indian. By joining One Little Indian’s roster, Rimbaud’s path has crossed once more with a few old associates from the enormous network spawned by Crass between the late 70s and mid 80s. The label’s owner Derek Birkett was the bassist of prominent anarcho punk band Flux of Pink Indians. And the label has always been home to Björk, whose early band KUKL played their first gig supporting Crass in Reykjavík, and later released two Penny Rimbaudproduced LPs via Crass Records. At the age of 74, there’s still an intensity to Penny Rimbaud. He keeps up piercing eye contact, and whenever the subject of a social injustice comes up he’s immediately enraged. But generally, he is gentle and warmly hospitable. He invites myself and our photographer into the Dial House kitchen for tea, where we’re joined by a young poet and artist visiting

from Camden as well as one of Dial House’s permanent residents – a plump black cat called Big Boy. As the conversations and debates flow, there’s the feeling that we’d be welcome to hang around all night. Despite his unhurried demeanour, Penny Rimbaud claims he’s never been busier. “The tempo's always been very demanding and that's why it's here – it’s here to create and inspire radical thought,” he tells me. At this point we’re chatting in a cosy outhouse, where war poetry fills the bookshelves, a small coal fire glows beside us and the bright winter sunbeams pour through the window, penetrating the vapour clouds Rimbaud exhales while toking on an e-cigarette. “What I want to help people to do is to find their own desire – outside of the promoted concepts of desire that the mainstream poses.” Penny Rimbaud is most commonly associated with intense punk rock, the confrontational political statements and the all-black outfits of the Crass era, but his artistic

journey began in the colourful fringes of the hippy movement. After being expelled from a number of public schools, dropping out of a philosophy course at Oxford and then delivering coal for a living, in the early 60s he took a teaching job at the South East Essex School of Art. During his time there he declined an invite to Andy Warhol’s Factory, and in 1964 John Lennon presented him with an award for a Beatles artwork competition on national television. But, most importantly, at the School of Art Rimbaud connected with other radical thinkers, including Gee Vaucher, who would go on to establish herself as a renowned political artist and create Crass’s iconic record covers. In 1967, Rimbaud and Vaucher moved into Dial House together (Vaucher is tending to the gardens on the day of my visit), establishing an anarchic/ pacifist “open house” policy and creating waves of countercultural activity – including the free-form music group EXIT, which consisted of a loose, rotating cast of bohemians.


In 1975, Wally Hope was arrested for possession of LSD, labelled a schizophrenic and incarcerated. When he was released a few months later, Rimbaud and Vaucher discovered that he’d become physically and mentally disabled. His death a few weeks later was declared a suicide, but after eighteen months of obsessive research, Rimbaud reached a conclusion that he’s always maintained: the state murdered Wally Hope – either directly, or by the brutal overprescription of psychotropic medication. Rimbaud was consumed by rage. The embers of the hippy dream had faded away. He’d been pushing people away and he was alone at Dial House, until a disenfranchised working class kid called Steve started making frequent visits. And this was where Crass really began. Not many punk records from the 70s and 80s still have the power to shock, but after all these years Crass’ music still packs a punch. Driven by Rimbaud’s militaristic drumming, the band’s unusual guitar-bass interplay seems inspired by an avant-garde attitude and a lack of conventional talent, while vocalists Steve Ignorant, Eve Libertine and Joy De Vivre delivered unsanitised fury. From the start, Crass attracted constant controversy and police monitoring. Workers at the pressing plant refused to produce their 1979 debut LP Feeding of the 5000 due to its blasphemous content, a major incentive to set up their own label. Along with Flux of Pink Indians’ second album The Fucking Cunts Treat Us Like Pricks, in the mid 80s copies of Crass’s radically feminist LP Penis Envy were seized by police from Manchester record shop Eastern Bloc. The band subsequently fought a court case where they were charged under the Obscene Publications Act – a prosecution also encouraged by Conservative MP Tim Eggar, who deemed their anti-Thatcher, antiFalklands War single How Does It Feel (To Be The Mother Of A Thousand Dead)? “the most revolting and unnecessary record I have ever heard”. Of all Crass’s controversies, perhaps the most high-profile was the “Thatchergate” hoax. The band’s bassist

The band’s imagery was frequently bleak, but Crass were actively trying to inspire communities based on love and compassion. On tour they’d perform in church halls or scout-halls in economically disadvantaged areas, donating profits to causes such as striking miners’ organisations, rape crisis centres and the legal fees for anarchists accused of plotting a bombing campaign. Their homemade leaflets promoted vegetarianism, environmentalism and nuclear disarmament. They had a complicated relationship with the anarchy label, but

I ask if he feels at least a degree of excitement about the popular, compassionate movements led by left wing politicians like Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders. The answer is a firm no. Instead, Rimbaud is excited about the the current US government’s potential of self-implosion. “Please don't get the idea that I'm a supporter of Trump – I'm not,” he emphasises. “But I do like the fact that he's broken the mould. And if, for example, the Oxbridge mould here could be broken, we'd start moving… I think what Trump is doing is exposing the gap. Do we seriously think that people like Obama or Clinton or anyone else before [were] not pulling the same tricks? The thing with Trump is he's either arrogant or stupid enough to not care if someone knows. He's so much more transparent.” It’s a controversial stance, and I feel it’s necessary to point out the unsavoury phenomena of right wing figures cloaking hateful movements with a sense of anti-establishment panache. In March last year, former Sex Pistol John Lydon was interviewed

“What I want to do is help people find their own desire – outside of the promoted concepts of desire that the mainstream poses” they adopted the symbol to distance themselves from both right wing and the left wing punks who sought violence with seig-heiling skinheads. In the Crass song White Punks on Hope (the title a play on The Tubes’ single White Punks on Dope), Steve Ignorant declared: “Left wing violence, right wing violence, all seems much the same/ Bully boys out fighting, it's just the same old game.” It all seems very distant from the Penny Rimbaud who sits before me, sage-like, among the idyllic surroundings of Dial House. But almost four decades later, his political stance hasn’t softened. “What has socialism ever done for working people except further their slavery?” he asks, indignation rising in his voice. “Talking nonsense about ‘Workers Unite’. Workers unite about what? Further slavery? Our message was, ‘Workers: just say piss off and walk out. Find a life.’ Not, ‘Oh, well, you know, let's go for better conditions.’ Better conditions are always a tiny little concession.”

on UK television by Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid. After describing his meeting with Nigel Farage as “fantastic”, Lydon argued that Donald Trump isn’t racist, before calling him a “possible friend” and chuckling with his hosts. “That's why I was saying I say this with caution.” Rimbaud frowns slightly. “I don't expect to hear anything particularly socially responsible – and when I mean socially responsible, I don't mean that in some bourgeois sense, but in the sense of kindness or compassionate views – to stem out of Lydon's mouth, frankly. So it wouldn't surprise me he did say things like that. Wherever his information comes from, it's certainly not a pool in which I’ve bathed.” The Sex Pistols and Crass weren’t necessarily contemporaries – Feeding of the 5000 came out the same month Sid Vicious died, and Crass marked the beginning of a different wave of punk. But if comparisons are drawn between the two acts, it’s one of image versus authenticity: the Pistols with Richard Branson’s Virgin Records and Malcom McLaren’s media-savvy shock tactics,

and Crass’s staunchly DIY methods of creating actual social change.

045

Pete Wright edited recordings of Thatcher and Reagan to fake a private conversation in which Thatcher admits to purposely starting the Falklands War and Reagan suggests Europe would be targeted in nuclear conflict between the US and the Soviet Union. The tapes were reported by major newspapers. Before The Observer eventually worked out that Crass were behind the them, the US State Department had declared that they were in possession of KGB tapes, and Thatcher was made aware of the project.

But these days, Penny Rimbaud doesn’t seem to feel much obligation to the underground. Quite the opposite, in fact. “What interests me is getting worthwhile socially helpful, culturally helpful, useful messages out into the mainstream world,” he explains. “I think the wing of punk that Crass belonged to suffered greatly through ghettoisation.” One of the most radical political musicians of today, he argues, is Beyoncé: “I'm sure we haven't heard the end of what she's got to say. She's playing a very clever game, I think. And it seems to me she's doing considerable good for Black America. Although I haven't had the opportunity to talk to black radicals because I haven't been to America for about four years now, to sort of catch on as to where their feelings are about all that.” There’s the sense that, in his eighth decade, Penny Rimbaud has reached a stage of equilibrium. Within moments, he seems able to transition between serenity and the rage required for political protest. He tells me it's Zen – something he discovered as a teenager, and began practicing seriously in later life – that’s taught him how to “passionately engage with things without effectively doing my psyche and my deepest self any damage.” Since surviving lifethreatening illnesses as well as a heart attack, he’s adopted a clean lifestyle (hence the vaping). But his attitude to death is exemplary of someone who's been studying eastern philosophies. “I remember being in the ambulance during the heart attack, and just saying to the really wonderful medic who was looking after me, ‘Look, don't get worried if I die, I'm perfectly happy to die. Life's been great, and the last thing I want is for you to feel concerned that you didn't succeed.’” It is with Zen, and its concepts of detachment, that the world’s most principled punk rocker achieved inner peace. These ideas have inspired Penny Rimbaud to liberate himself from the suffering of attachment, of conventional romantic relationships, of unnecessary arguments, of monetary desires. “To be free of that, is nothing but beautiful,” he tells me. “And I am free of it. It’s been hard work. It has to be. One has to maintain it.” What Passing Bells is out now via One Little Indian

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At some point, Wally Hope showed up. Here was an underground leader with an aura so magical that, according to a couple of sources, he once summoned a snow blizzard in the Dial House garden with the power of his mind, before dismissing it moments later. Hope and Penny co-founded The Stonehenge Free Festival, which first took place in 1974 (the festival ran until 1985, when it was violently shut down in a major police operation dubbed the Battle of the Beanfield).


The Manchester singer-rapper makes swagger feel like self-love


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Words: Niloufar Haidari Photography: Jackson Bowley

“I wanted to make something that the mandem can feel, and the girls can feel it. It has to be for the club, for the hood”

Diana Debrito, aka IAMDDB, has just arrived on set straight from Amsterdam. Despite only catching a few hours sleep, she is positively bouncing off the walls of the London studio, rapping along to the songs she’s playing off her phone and screaming in appreciation at her favourite bars. In the age of Instagram and Snapchat stories, it’s become almost cliché to describe an artist as being authentically themselves. But IAMDDB is the real deal. Make no mistake: IAMDDB is a star whose rise has been powered by social media, with her personality naturally shining through the iPhone lens. Her Instagram is built with photos of her looking incredible while jet-setting around Europe, inspirational quotes about positivity and loved-up couple shots with her boyfriend of three years, fellow Manchester artist Sleazy. “Having the internet, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, whatever, has helped me connect with so many people across the world. People in Italy, Russia, Switzerland – how the hell would I ever have known them if it wasn't for the internet?” she concedes. “But with everything it’s yin and yang. Living up to expectations and portraying a life that isn't true to your actual real life, that can cause a lot of insecurities and self-doubt, which is what we're trying to avoid.” IAMDDB has achieved a great deal in a short time. Her come-up has been, in her own words, a “crazy journey. I’m just trying to keep up with the pace.” Having studied performing arts at college, she took a series of retail jobs before focusing seriously on music just two years ago. Last year finished with a string of accolades – from the BBC Sound of 2018 longlist, to support slots for Bryson Tiller alongside headline dates across Europe. At the

age of 21, IAMDDB is a force to be reckoned with. In terms of genre, IAMDDB has described her debut EP Waeveybby Volume 1, as “urban jazz”; songs with a spiritual leaning that you can jam at home and smoke a joint with your friends to. But many of the songs on 2017’s Hoodrich Vol 3 – including breakthrough single Shade – had trappier leaning for the turn-up. “I wanted to make something that the mandem can feel it, the girls can feel it, but it has to be... not mainstream, but for the club, for the hood.” What inspired the switch in vibe? “I just reached a point in life where I had had enough, and I was like ‘if one more thing falls apart I'm gonna fall apart, then we've got a real problem!’ It wasn't a nice time in life so instead of just wallowing and feeling sorry for myself I was like ‘nah, you're gonna use this, you're gonna talk about it, you're gonna manipulate it into something positive’, and here we are.” IAMDDB grew up listening to a lot of Afro-soul, Afro-jazz and kizomba – her dad is also a musician and is in a band in Angola – along with the likes of Nat King Cole and Whitney Houston. Now, she mostly listens to US rap, citing Jay Critch, Future and Rich the Kid as current playlist favourites. Her musical hero, however, is somewhat unexpected. “Bob Marley was my inspiration,” she reveals. “Lyrically, in harmonies, in rhythm, in everything he did and represented. His music to me is almost higher powers saying it's fine to have emotions, it's fine to be emotional, it's fine to fall apart but you've gotta forget about that and come back stronger.” And although their music might be worlds apart – “Bob Marley weren’t out here shouting ‘bad bitch no underwear’,” she laughs – IAMDDB hopes her fans

will have the same soul-stirring feeling she experienced when listening to her biggest influence. “I hope they just feel and hear honesty for starters, and then to just be content with the person that you are,” she tells me. “I've done been insecure, I've been put down so many times and told I'll never make it, and now I just catch joke – look at me now! We all go through intense feelings and intense experiences and shit, and if my music can help somebody get through something, then my job's done. I'm just a vessel to make people feel better.” @iamddb

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Lanzarote

01—17 MOTH Club Valette St London E8

lanzaroteworks.com #lanzaroteworks

Programming

Thursday 25 January

GREAT NEWS

Thursday 25 January

A GRAVE WITH NO NAME

mothclub.co.uk Friday 26 January Friday 12 - Saturday 20 January

LONDON SHORT FILM FESTIVAL Wednesday 24 January

SNAPPED ANKLES Thursday 1 February

JAWS OF LOVE Tuesday 6 February

SHOPPING Wednesday 7 February

SEXTILE Thursday 1 February

QUAL Friday 2 February

MOONWALKS Saturday 3 February

MR. AIRPLANE MAN Thursday 8 February

LINA TULLGREN

PEACH PIT Tuesday 13 February Friday 9 February

CHICOS DE NAZCA

LUST FOR YOUTH Friday 16 February Monday 12 February

DRAB MAJESTY

THE MYRRORS Saturday 3 February

Tuesday 20 February

GUN OUTFIT Wednesday 7 March

HERE LIES MAN Friday 9 March

LAZY DAY

MR. AIRPLANE MAN Saturday 17 February

DEATH PEDALS

The Waiting Room 175 Stoke Newington High St N16

shacklewellarms.com Monday 15 January

PAUL JACOBS

BAWRUT Saturday 27 January

PHILIP BERG Wednesday 31 January

DAMA SCOUT Thursday 1 February

KOBI ONYAME Thursday 8 March

MARTHA FFION

The Lock Tavern 35 Chalk Farm Rd London NW1 lock-tavern.com Saturday 27 January

EASTERN BARBERS Friday 9 February

LUCY AND THE RATS Friday 9 March

THE VAGABONDS 77 Friday 13 April

THE BLUE CARPET BAND

waitingroomn16.com

The Montague Arms

Shacklewell Arms 71 Shacklewell Lane London E8

Friday 26 January

Friday 18 January

CURSES Wednesday 24 January

BENIN CITY

289 Queen’s Rd London SE14 montaguearms.co.uk Wednesday 31 January

OSCAR JEROME


052

Kiddy Smile: The Parisian performer is fanning the flames of ballroom culture

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“Everybody should experience queer culture. Just know where it comes from – and give back” Words: Douglas Greenwood Photography: Kate Bones

Kiddy Smile, the Parisian DJ, musician and dancer, was meant to meet me for lunch, but four hours later we’re in the back of an Uber on our way to a Voguing Ball instead. It’s a slight change of plan, but when you’re spending 24 hours in London – doing photoshoots, tearing up ballroom dancefloors, then DJing to a sold-out crowd at Ministry of Sound – there’s barely time for sleep, never mind a sit down meal. “I had high expectations of London the first time I came here,” he says, entranced by the hectic Saturday evening streets of Soho. “I was picked by George Michael to dance for his music video – but I never got to see [the finished product]. Afterwards, he took us to the Burberry store and we got to pick out one thing each. I still have my jacket!” That kind of anecdote is one of many this man – birth name, Pierre Hache – has under his belt. Having been around for over a decade, Kiddy’s a gem in the Parisian dance music crown. Standing six feet five inches tall and regularly decked head-to-toe in designer clothes, his presence is proudly queer and powerful. During his live shows – of which he’s only done a handful so far – he appears on stage wearing a rainbow print leotard, flanked by voguing dancers who swarm him for a sweaty, glitter-filled hour. His music, a limb-jolting style of discohouse, was inspired by his upbringing as a queer black boy in the Parisian suburbs. Whether the tracks call out the snaky behaviour of those that surround him, or ask the listener to put their sadness aside and feel free for a second, they all have one common thread: Kiddy Smile has designed them with dancing in mind.

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Having done just that for the best part of a decade, performing with the likes of LCD Soundsystem and Beth Ditto, Kiddy’s transition to making his

own music has been peppered with naysayers – many who, at one time, claimed to be his closest friends. His circle might be smaller now, but the people he’s around today mean more to him. Kiddy singles out Rouge Mary, the lead vocalist of Hercules and Love Affair, who’s sat up front in the taxi we’re speaking in. “Rouge was the only one to say ‘Don’t listen to other people. Work hard and we’ll make it happen!’ So many of my friends thought I was crazy,” he smirks, “but they’re not here anymore.” As a teenager, he found nights in Paris that catered to queer people of colour like the legendary, long-running BBB. “You were free to dance, express yourself, and your femininity through your moves,” he recalls. “Everybody from the suburbs came and, for once, they had the space to be themselves.” From that came his long-running DJ career; Paris’ ballrooms were calling soon after. “I was asked to [get involved] by Lesseindra Ninja and Steffie Mizrahi – two pioneers of the scene in Europe.” He’s now a member of the latter’s legendary House of Mizrahi. “They asked if I could help them set up a space for the dancers, and I knew I had to, [because] I wish that I had something like that when I was 15.” Right now, there’s a trend of artists adopting the aesthetics of queer culture while hesitant to take note of its dark history. Honey Dijon, Kiddy says, has summed up his own thoughts on the issue perfectly: “‘You want to go to McDonalds and eat the burger, but don’t want the calories that go with it’,” he quotes. “If you get to enjoy [queer entertainment] right now, that’s because others suffered. Cultural appropriation is never about love, it’s about profit. And who profits? Never the people at the roots of that culture.” It unravels from Kiddy’s mouth as if it’s been on his mind for a while, but he insists that these joyous scenes birthed by queer, black minorities

aren’t just there for that community to enjoy. “Everybody should experience it, just know where it comes from – and give back.” I wonder what it meant for him, a man whose career has been shaped by the sequestered queer club scene, to appear on a giant billboard plastered across central London. Recently, Kiddy was chosen by Smirnoff alongside Honey Dijon and British model Luzy Fizz to be one of their voices for the We’re Open campaign, which sets out to educate bar and club staff in non-binary issues and the importance of LGBTQ+ inclusivity. “It means a lot,” he says gratefully, “especially for people like me. I dreamt of [doing this], but deep down I thought it wouldn’t happen because it was always the same people getting chosen. I didn’t think I was beautiful enough for it, or that I had the right body, or that I was the right colour.” Kiddy Smile – a symbol of the progressive future of Parisian dance – makes a point of placing emphasis on that last part. He’s part of the reason the club crowds are now understanding where the disco movement came from: somewhere deeper, queerer and more black than they might’ve thought. It’s taken Kiddy some time to get to where he is now (over ten years, to be precise) and he's the first to admit that the hustle’s been hard, but he’s learned to make things work in his favour. “If a door is closed,” he smiles, “then I’ll go through the window!” @Kiddysmile


FRI.12.JAN.18

DAVID RAMIREZ

ST PANCRAS OLD CHURCH

THU.25.JAN.18

CULTS

WED.07.FEB.18

PEACH PIT MOTH CLUB

FRI.09.FEB.18

WILL VARLEY

THE GARAGE

O2 SHEPHERD’S BUSH EMPIRE

THU.25.JAN.18

JORDAN KLASSEN THE ISLINGTON

SAT.27.JAN.18

TO KILL A KING

ISLINGTON ASSEMBLY HALL

FRI.02.FEB.18

HOT SNAKES THE DOME

SAT.10.FEB.18

PETIT BISCUIT

O2 FORUM KENTISH TOWN

TUE.20.FEB.18

HUSKY LOOPS THE LEXINGTON

THU.22.FEB.18

THE BABE RAINBOW SCALA

THU.01.MAR.18

CASSIA

BORDERLINE

FRI.09.MAR.18 SAT.10.MAR.18 SUN.11.MAR.18

ROCKET RECORDINGS TWENTY THE GARAGE

SAT.10.MAR.18

REWS

THE LEXINGTON

TUE.17.APR.18

GRANT LEE-PHILLIPS BUSH HALL

WED.18.APR.18 THU.19.APR.18

NERINA PALLOT JAZZ CAFE

THU.24.MAY.18

CIGARETTES AFTER SEX

O2 ACADEMY BRIXTON

THU.24.MAY.18

TURNOVER KOKO

SUN.10.JUN.18

ANGUS & JULIA STONE ROYAL ALBERT HALL

UT FRI.14.SEP.18 SOLD O SAT.15.SEP.18

GARBAGE

O2 ACADEMY BRIXTON

THU.20.SEP.18

TASH SULTANA

O2 ACADEMY BRIXTON

FRI.09.NOV.18

FAT FREDDY’S DROP

O2 ACADEMY BRIXTON

UT SAT.03.FEB.18 SOLD O

GUS DAPPERTON COURTYARD THEATRE

UT MON.05.FEB.18 SOLD O UT TUE.06.FEB.18 SOLD O

THU.08.FEB.18 FRI.09.FEB.18 SAT.10.FEB.18

THE RIFLES THE GARAGE

TUE.13.MAR.18

POKEY LAFARGE KOKO

TUE.20.MAR.18

PALACE WINTER SEBRIGHT ARMS

THU.22.MAR.18

MARIE DAHLSTROM SEBRIGHT ARMS

WED.07.FEB.18

MARTIN LUKE BROWN

THU.22.MAR.18

SAM FRANKL OMEARA

BORDERLINE

ALTTICKETS.COM | FB.COM/ALTTICKETS | @ ALTTICKETS


057 Jacket: Xander Zhou Trousers: Xander Zhou Trainers: Nike

On first impression, Aaron Maine is a textbook introvert. He muses on every word he speaks aloud — thinking deeply before committing to any one answer. Some paint him as an outsider, a musician obsessively creating insular work that he hopes chimes true for his listeners. But that portrait might be slightly romanticised, in his own eyes at least. “There is this funny image of me living my life in solitude,” he says, “which is really not the case.” In reality, Maine lives in New York City — a place where it is arguably impossible to ever exist in isolation. He spends his days writing or recording alone, and his evenings hanging out with friends and his girlfriend — seeing shows, attending events, and re-aligning himself socially. His version of solitude is perhaps one many city-dwellers can relate to. Under the moniker of Porches, he creates music perfect for exploring lonely-but-not-alone cityscapes; taking solitary cab rides while listening to his cold sub-bass frequencies, walking streets late at night to the beat of sharp drum sounds, and feeling like an observer where you live as opposed to a participant.

Having made music as Porches since the age of 21, Maine has also released under numerous monikers to acknowledge the “more dramatic shifts in content and style” of his output. Ronald Paris, Sex God, Ronnie Mystery and most recently Ricky Pepsi, in his own words, “stand for me as chapters in Porches catalogue as a way for me to separate myself from previous work.” For Porches' third studio album The House, Maine says he was less interested in creating something “cosy” and more interested in challenging both the listener as well as himself. While these characters may not crossover into Porches in an aesthetic sense, Maine does enjoy playing with his own image. In his day-to-day, he treats clothing “like a costume almost. I kind of put on whatever vibe I want out into the world on any given day. I guess that’s sort of role-playing; if you’re feeling low you can try and dress up to counteract a certain emotion or the opposite.” Feeling under no pressure to maintain a specific image, on any given show night you’re just as likely to watch Maine perform in baggy jeans and a hoodie as you are to spot him wearing heels or a bright handbag. “My dress

sense is just a collage of everything I’m interested in and see walking around, and trying to recreate that in my own way.” Growing up in New York State, Maine isn’t one for romanticising his immediate environment or creating an idolised version of New York City through his sound. His music videos have made nostalgic references to early 00s mall-rat culture and suburban living. He sees beauty in the mundane, attempting to draw attention to the little things that make up most of our days, as opposed to the large, dramatic events that may dominate our thoughts. “You can really wait around for these bombastic, blow-out, dramatic moments to happen,” he says. “I often find that there is a lot of drama and emotion in the smallest tasks or interactions you have with people or your surroundings.” The House is released 19 January via Domino

STYLE

Porches

Words: Ione Gamble Photography: Mike Chalmers Styling: Jake Hunte


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Jacket: Joseph T-Shirt: Beams X Champion Trousers: Napa X Martine Rose Jewellery: Model's Own Belt: Dickies Trainers: Supreme x Nike


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Hoodie: Champion Jeans: Liam Hodges


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Blazer: T.M. Lewin Polo: Napa X Martine Rose Jeans: Levis Belt: Levis Boots: Timberland


LORD HURON TUES 23 JAN O2 SHEPHERD’S BUSH EMPIRE MARY EPWORTH TUES 23 JAN OSLO HACKNEY

TONY NJOKU THURS 1 MAR DIY SPACE

RINA SAWAYAMA WED 28 MAR THE BORDERLINE

LUCY DACUS WED 25 APR OMEARA

INSECURE MEN THURS 8 MAR SCALA

HANNAH EPPERSON TUES 10 APR SERVANT JAZZ QUARTERS

KATIE VON SCHLEICHER THURS 26 APR THE ISLINGTON

ARCADE FIRE WED 11, THURS 12 & FRI 13 APR THE SSE ARENA, WEMBLEY

LOW ISLAND THURS 26 APR SCALA

THIS IS THE KIT THURS 25 JAN O2 SHEPHERD’S BUSH EMPIRE

SOLOMON GREY THURS 8T SOLD OU & FRI 9 MAR ST PANCRAS OLD CHURCH

A.SAVAGE (PARQUET COURTS) FRI 2 FEB THE GARAGE

MARTHA FFION THURS 8 MAR THE WAITING ROOM

MARTIN KOHLSTEDT THURS 7 FEB SERVANT JAZZ QUARTERS WILD BEASTS SAT 17 FEB EVENTIM APOLLO SPINNING COIN WED 28 FEB THE VICTORIA

SIR WAS WED 14 MAR THE LEXINGTON THE GARDEN WED 21 MAR ELECTRIC BALLROOM HOOKWORMS SAT 24 MAR ELECTRIC BRIXTON IDER TUES 27 MAR RICH MIX

GWENNO THURS 12 APR HOXTON HALL AIR TRAFFIC FRI 13 APR KOKO JAMES ELKINGTON SUN 15 APR THE ISLINGTON GOAT GIRL TUES 17 APR THE GARAGE

MADELINE KENNEY SAT 12 MAY SEBRIGHT ARMS EZRA FURMAN WED 23 MAY O2 ACADEMY BRIXTON ROSTAM MON 14 JUNE SCALA JOSE GONZALEZ THURS 20 SEPT ROYAL ALBERT HALL

PARALLELLINESPROMOTIONS.COM


065

Live Kelela Berghain, Berlin 7 December

! Rachel Grace Almeida

Alex Cameron Tolhuistuin, Amsterdam 28 November “I lost my job in Hong Kong, trading against the pound,” is how Alex Cameron opens both his debut EP Jumping The Shark and his sold out show at Paradiso Noord. The Australian’s live act is committed to perpetuating the washed out persona he’s created. Tonight, he does so very convincingly. The slick hair, even slicker posturing, and sleazy gyrations all feed into the mythology, as do the tall tales between each song. Dry as ever, Cameron introduces his “good friend and business partner” Mr. Roy Molloy to the stage; Molloy gazes into space, rising for the occasional saxophone solo. Cameron’s recent work is a departure from earlier material, featuring co-writing from The Killers’ Brandon Flowers. The new songs, while not as loyal to his original concept, have an undeniable appeal, garnering a group singalong at the front. Cameron tells us that he was playing in Florida to a crowd of six people when Flowers stumbled upon the band and invited them to come record in Vegas. The closer Cameron pulls you in, the more every plot twist involves some degree of smoke and mirrors. Part of what makes the experience so enthralling is trying to discern how much poetic license is being implemented. Watching the five-piece on stage it’s easy to picture them playing a muggy American dive bar to a crowd of six disinterested locals, Cameron’s singular vision so potent you find yourself embellishing it for him inadvertently. Cameron’s songwriting dances between tongue-in-cheek one-liners and strikingly poignant poeticism. Repeated references to failed relationships and financial turmoil are narrative devices, of course, but also clearly draw on some real life experiences. Cameron’s ability to breathe real emotion into his own dense mythology is precisely what makes his music so infectious and his shows, like this one, such a joy. ! Jack Dolan

Unsound Dislocation Barbican, London 8 November The London event curated by experimental festival Unsound explores the theme of dislocation with three commissions by NIVHEK (Grouper’s Liz Harris) & MFO, The Caretaker (Leyland Kirby) and Soft Power, a London-based electronic musician working with traditional Polish dancers. Each performance explored a different aspect of the theme, with Harris presenting 'After its own death', an ambient dreamscape about a town in the Russian Arctic, and Kirby citing dislocation as an alienation from the self by drawing on a collection of concepts that reference dementia, memory loss and time. Dedicated to Mark Fisher, the late cultural theorist, Kirby’s set was characterised by vintage analog synthesisers and bygone waltzes, akin to the haunted ballroom scene in the 1980 film The Shining from which the name 'The Caretaker' was taken. His outlook is visualised through images projected onto a screen by Aphex Twin collaborator Weirdcore: of dancing couples blurred to appear like ghosts. Around the 2011 album An Empty Bliss Beyond This World, Kirby spoke of how his music was inspired by Alzheimer’s patients, the recollection of memories and their connection to people and places. During the set, this was achieved through a combination of old ballroom samples slowed down to 78rpm and distorted vinyl jazz records that, combined with sounds of static and looping, convey the illusion of familiar distance in the listener. It is the inherently repetitive nature of looping that plays a part in the familiarity of Kirby’s sound, which plays heavily into Fisher’s theory of hauntology, which he once described as a “nostalgia for lost futures”. In the current context of dislocation – Brexit, for example, has changed the course of 'British identity' – Kirby’s performance is representative of collective British mourning for a future that will inevitably be different to the one we envisioned. In contrast, the second performance by NIVHEK & MFO looked at dislocation through the lens of landscape and isolation. Commissioned by Unsound, the Barbican and Goethe-Institut, the pair used minimalist compositions in parallel with moving images of snowy landscapes and individuals – appearing as both dreamlike and harsh. By exploring the nuances of dislocation, Unsound Dislocation revealed layers of identity, loneliness and alienation through the medium of experimental music. The festival, which started in Krakow in 2003, has expanded to many different locations in the past few years while continually highlighting the interconnectivity of artists from around the world, in the face of what can be seen as a shifting and troubling climate. In exploring these various fragments of time and space, tonight Unsound brings various musical outliers together to make a whole. ! Gunseli Yalcinkaya N Tom Ham

Gorillaz live was always going to be an experience. With their back catalogue and penchant for cinematic visuals, we were in for a treat, whether the performance was a physical or virtual one. Somehow – with screens packed with signature characters and a stage of unobscured, talented musicians – the band, collective, movement or whatever you might call them, were able to deliver both. The set was surprisingly generous, classics weaved seamlessly with songs from latest album Human. Little Simz collab Garage Palace and We Got The Power featuring Jehnny Beth of Savages got the entire stadium on their feet. Saturnz Barz may have lacked Popcaan, but made up for it with full instrumentation – and a huge projection of the dancehall superstar on screen. The display helped bring the album’s apocalyptic theme into focus; it felt like a party at the end of the world. Ultimately, the show served as an ode to collaboration, innovation and diversity. Getting Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def), Vince Staples, Pusha T, D.R.A.M., Zebra Katz, De La Soul, Shaun Ryder, Noel Gallagher and Little Simz all onstage begs the question, how do they do it? And the answer is relatively simple: Damon Albarn – the antirockstar, a humble hero. Aside from a few mumbled thank yous – and his earnest bewilderment at the sight of thousands applauding his work – Albarn stuck firmly within the world of his musical creation. But it’s there that he thrives: disappearing into corners to tinker on keys, strumming at guitars, morphing his voice into wacky background ad libs. All before returning intermittently to centre stage to provide nostalgic crowd favourites like On Melancholy Hill, Kids With Guns and Clint Eastwood. His genius touch (and psychedelic dad dance moves) were felt on every track throughout the tremendous two-hour setlist. ! Natty Kasambala N Mark Allen

Polaris Verbier, Switzerland 7 - 10 December Arriving at snowy Polaris on Friday morning, I am unexpectedly reminded of Bloc’s legendary Butlins weekenders. As with Bloc, there’s an overwhelming sense that we’re about to be let loose in a location entirely inappropriate for our purposes. But in stark contrast to that 1960s holiday camp in Minehead, Polaris takes place in one of Switzerland’s most elite ski resorts: the impossibly beautiful toy-town of Verbier, nestled on a snowy terrace 1500-meters up in the Swiss Pennine Alps. Known for its dramatic offpiste slopes and bourgeoise apres-ski lifestyle, Verbier is home year-round to many of the world’s premier professional skiers. Across the Polaris weekend, these are replaced by a host of top-tier DJs spanning the upper echelons of house and techno, this year topped by Derrick May, Nina Kraviz, Seth Troxler and Young Marco. During the day, the pistes are open for punters to ski, snowboard and get lost in. By mid-afternoon, the main stage opens: a transparent, domed structure located at the foot of the slopes overlooking the dramatic valley beyond. At sunset, golden winter sun floods the dance floor – a phenomenon that happily coincides with many of the weekend’s musical highlights (Larry Heard and Omar S, unsurprisingly, top our list). On Saturday night, half a meter of snow falls in the space of a few hours, turning the entire village into a pillowy snowscape. The weather on Sunday morning is so severe that the main stage is forced to close. But what should have spelt disaster, in fact, paves the way for the weekend’s highpoint: Nina Kraviz, who’s headline set is forced to relocate to one of the intimate apres-ski bars in town. Sweaty, enthralled ravers rub shoulders with Moet-wielding richlings to the tune of wiggy electro, jacking house and uptempo IDM. It’s a magical climax to a weekend that is at once opulent, over-the-top and beautifully surreal. ! Oscar Henson N Wolf Mike Photography

REVIEWS

“I’m going to try not to cry during this song, because it’s hard for me to sing this song about love and pain,” Kelela whispers to a sold-out crowd in the main room of Berghain. “But here we go.” Soon after, the opening chords to Better begin to creep in through the speakers – arguably her most direct, mournful song on her long-awaited debut record, Take Me Apart. As she gets through the song – with the help of two newly added live backing vocalists – she begins to choke up. The stage fills up with a cloud of white smoke – her face obscured by it – and everyone in the room is completely silent. The space she creates was one of mutual understanding, of mutual respect; if she feels, you feel, too. Kelela’s development as an artist has been a slow, brooding journey; since her Cut 4 Me mixtape in 2013, she’s been garnering a fan base within underground RnB and queer circles, and quietly collaborating with artists like Solange, Gorillaz, Danny Brown and Kindness along the way. Her unique blend of RnB vocals, tight electronic production and downtrodden trap beats is mostly incalculable and difficult to pin down; her music sounds like the past, present and future. Take Me Apart is a barefaced break-up record, and she makes sure that the emotional atmosphere during her live show doesn’t brush over that fact. This time, though, she confidently stands in the face of tenderness and pain, soaring through a set spanning over her entire musical output thus far, with standout reactions to All Night, Rewind and LMK. As the set comes to a close, she speaks about how the main floor in Berghain is the ideal space she imagined her live show to thrive in, mostly due to its harsh, industrial surroundings. It is where she felt most at home. As she thanks the crowd for sharing her experiences with her, the beat of Bank Head fades in. Soon, Berghain is lit up with strobe lights and the alreadyfamiliar white smoke while she takes her final bow. Kelela has taken her time to get where she is now – building, nurturing and losing relationships along the way – but with each live show she performs, it’s clear that the most important relationship she has is between herself and her music.

Gorillaz O2 Arena, London 4 December


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Releases

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08 Hookworms Microshift Domino

NVPR 33 33 Editions Mego

REVIEWS

NVPR is comprised of Factory Floor’s Nik Void and Peter Rehberg, head of underground record label Editions Mego. Both artists typically operate in the spaces between techno, experimental and the avantgarde. 33 33 could be described as the latter. The five-track release starts with Meantime (Part 4). Bad-tempered robotic life communicates over fractured rhythms; what sounds like a squash ball gets leathered into a wall, repeatedly, while some notes phase in sporadically and a bass drum pulses like a heartbeat. This intriguing, disorientating start is followed by Twin Cases, a tinnitus-provoking listen. Meantime follows; more subdued, but more menacing, the sounds of organic decay splitting apart. Free Founder sounds like an old computer that’s not so much reading a floppy disk as chewing it. It’s somehow one of the more accessible tracks on the album. 33 33 wraps up with DEABG. Describing the track is difficult, but try imagining several modular synths having a fight in a metallic cage full of stainless steel dustbin lids, scrapping then trash-talking, while distorted white noise starts to build and synth lines compete for dominance. And it crescendos. Several radios try to hack your ears at once, the thin, glassy attack of the synths layering over an increasingly hyperactive melody. It’s an incredibly difficult listen, and it’s the culmination of two artists’ body of work in sonic experimentalism, the spiked sign-off of their latest discombobulating creation. !

Rob Bates

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08

In their early records and live shows, Hookworms became a totemic presence in modern psychedelia. They weren’t reinventing the wheel, but in their hands, the old unrelenting weapons of organs and feedback sounded as vital as ever and I would eagerly slurp up any recording of their catatonic swell. Imagine my excitement then, when I heard that Microshift – their first album in three years – was complete and ready for release. Less than a minute in, it’s clear this is a very different Hookworms. Gone is the deafening din that characterises most of their work to date. On Negative Space, the sevenminute opening track and lead single, singer MJ’s voice stands bare and dry, and squelchy analogue synths replace the screechy howl of their guitars. As the track erupts into its second act, it becomes a sort of euphoric release of tension, bright and emotional. It’s a brave shift. This airy pallet is the album’s prevailing mood throughout, while the lyrics are unequivocally wistful and confessional. On Ullswater they reach Springsteen levels of uplift while pulling off that magic trick of great pop music: a blank canvas onto which the listener can project the objects of their own emotional tussles. “30 years and 30 questions/ But now you can’t reply/ I hate that this is done,” MJ sings. But at this point, Microshift feels too saccharine. I ended up wishing that the squealing rattle of Boxing Day or the sombre tones of Reunion, had been given as much time as the sweeter-sounding tracks. Others, like album closer Shortcomings, just fail to land. There are moments on this record that are genuinely thrilling – particularly in the first half – and bands should be encouraged to try something new. But ultimately, Microshift’s bright sound might leave you pining for shadier textures. !

Theo Kotz

Godflesh Post Self Hospital Productions

Miguel War & Leisure ByStorm / RCA

Trepidation lingered in the buildup to Godflesh’s comeback in 2014. Would a 13-year hiatus mar the working relationship between industrial metal defilers Justin Broadrick and G.C. Green? But their seventh studio album, A World Lit Only By Fire, was a success, the sound of a band reinstating their mark as extreme music’s foreboding revisionists. In the same vein, Post Self is an obtrusive reconstruction of lo-fi industrial minimalism. While A World Lit Only By Fire was a sustained buttressing of soundscapes and distortion, we now bear witness to Godflesh in a state of metamorphoses. The opening title track is a typically tenebrous affair, propped up by atonal guitar lines and gnarled sub-bass. Similarly, Parasite’s fudged percussion dredges along to Broadrick’s Nails-esque vocal grunts. It’s a form of fine-tuned aggression that the group have standardised since their birth in the late 80s; one that remains both familiar and alien in equal measure. Yet the duo veers away from their archetypal dissonance nearing the album’s midpoint. Instead, tracks like The Cyclic End and Be God ante up the Jesu-indebted textural ambience, applying voluminous bass tone beneath high-frequency power electronics. Mortality Sorrow recontextualises aspects of synthwave and necromantic dream-pop, while In Your Shadow meddles with rasping guitars and bass that chug in similar ritualistic ilk as that of Raime’s darkly sensuous post-techno. It’s this perverse fission of styles that embodies Post Self’s design. By channelling Broadrick’s experience exploring the boundaries of industrial dub as JK Flesh, Godflesh have provided an extremely potent mix of hellish punk and electronics. And while Post Self’s opposing concoctions may, at times, be difficult to consume, it’s an addictive realm of extreme music seldom explored with such emotional dexterity.

Charli XCX had a busy 2017. Her Number 1 Angel was a critical darling in spring; the gauzy dreamboats-in-waiting video for Boys throttled its competition for the year’s Song of the Summer and Twitter pored over the internet’s newest 60 boyfriends in pastel. Her work was messy, it was dramatic and neurotic and aloof – it’s what we needed in this nosediving trashcan-cum-dumpster-fire of a year. But with the dust clearing and End of the Year lists already sent off to print, XCX pitched a proper curveball and dropped Pop 2 on the December 11 – and what a way to end the year. Bouncing off the backboard of 2014’s Boom Clap, a straightforward chart-pop single that led her sophomore album Sucker, XCX returned in 2016 with an of-the-moment PC Music mixtape (2016’s Vroom Vroom) that felt cold and underdeveloped. Number 1 Angel was far better: the impish brattiness of Charli’s feature on 2012’s I Love It with Icon Pop was more refined, and her lines rode comfortably over SOPHIE and A.G. Cooks’ aestheticised power pop production, not the other way around. Pop 2, however, is her chef-d’oeuvre: it’s whole, it’s complete, and it’s perfect. The mixtape is written like a live setlist, with each song flowing into the next seamlessly. The trappy belter Delicious with Tommy Cash builds into a Cascada-esque fist pumper to preface XCX trading lines with Kim Petras and Jay Park on Unlock It and, later, the squeaky hipswinging Porsche. Part of the project’s success is that Charli’s found her voice. Known for her talky-singy vocals, Pop 2 sees XCX matching a cast of formidable vocalists including ALMA, Tove Lo, and MØ and she’s hardly punching above her own weight. Indeed, her voice lights up in the scorched-earth opener Backseat alongside pop heavyweight Carly Rae Jepsen and they wail mournful ad libs together over a grimy Berghain beat: “All alone, all alone, all alone, all alone”. The hard knocks and soaring synths that once drowned Charli out are now fully under her thumb. She navigates the high-paced slapper Femmebot with a a preternatural ease, and strikes a surprisingly soulful chord on the closer Track 10. PC Music and the fingerprints it has left on pop music are often dismissed for an infantilisation of verse-chorus pop songs – Vroom Vroom included. Led by Charli XCX on Pop 2, we catch a glimpse of electropop reaching adulthood..

During an album playback at a London hotel, between sips of tequila, Miguel Jontel Pimentel explained that his fourth LP is political, but not overtly so. As the son of a Mexican immigrant father and a black mother, the LA artist is eager to inject some political discourse into his style of psychedelic, sexuallycharged RnB. Tackling a boner-killing topic like the current political climate does seem like a risk – 2015’s lauded album Wildheart came dripping with carnal desire. But rather than sounding like a BBC news anchor has entered the bedroom, on War & Leisure Miguel strikes a balance between the political and the personal. The album’s two Colin Kaepernick references are made by featured artists – Rick Ross and J. Cole – while Miguel’s own allusions are less specific. His politicising feels most powerful on Caramelo Duro where he licks out his lines in Spanish, given the context of him connecting with his Mexican roots and recently protesting LA’s controversial Adelanto Detention Centre. Another track, Now, is an imagined conversation with Trump about hurricane victims, dreamers and immigrants. “It’s plain to see a man’s integrity/ By the way he treats those he does not need,” he says to the “CEO of the free world”. And if we put ‘war’ to one side, the ‘leisure’ aspect of the album isn’t neglected – there’s still enough sex metaphors, drugs and gloss to please the Miguel fans who’ve been there from the start. War & Leisure reinforces the idea that we should cling to our identities and freedoms more furiously now than ever. If the world needs a musical mouthpiece for social justice, it could do a lot worse than the man currently vying for the title of Prince or Michael Jackson’s successor.

Tom Watson

! Nathan Ma

! Felicity Martin

!

Charli XCX Pop 2 Asylum


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Visible Cloaks Lex RVNG Intl. Irritation isn’t a reaction that music usually attempts to engender. OK, sure, the needly skronk of Arab on Radar or US Maple probably is meant to annoy, and Devo seem to get a kick out of making your teeth itch when they get the chance, but more often than not, the last thing artist’s want to do is irritate the audience. Lex is an irritating record. That isn’t to say that it isn’t enjoyable, but Portland based duo Spencer Doran and Ryan Carlile’s follow-up to last year’s hazily subdued Reassemblage finds itself constantly teetering on the edge of annoyance. There’s a push and pull to the whole experience, a kind of unsettling dynamic that leaves you more and more unsure with each listen as to whether or not you’re enjoying the disorientation. Bookended by two bona fide ambient classics—the misty-morning “Wheel”, and the 14 minute “World” are both pristine pieces of queasy pastoralism straight out of the vintage new age playbook—Lex falls slightly flat in the middle. At times there’s too much going on (“Transient” flits between unsatisfying and utterly stunning in under two minutes), at others too little (the title track is like a barely-there demo from James Ferraro’s Far Side Virtual). It is knotty, bitty, jarring. It sounds alien and uncanny. Which, it’s creators would like you to believe, is the point. They’ve stated Lex is an attempt to “create a projected language that was a fusion of many,” as a means of interrogating the entho-ideologies of so-called fourth world music. On that level, they’ve succeeded, to a certain extent. As a listening experience, I still can’t quite get my head around it. !

Josh Baines

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Eminem Revival Aftermath Entertainment

tUnE-yArDs I can feel you creep into my private life 4AD We kind of know that personal privacy is a thing of the past when Alexa’s always listening and we’re logging in to hand out data and be told what we want. Lyrically, I can feel you creep into my private life explores some of these issues, also offering broad critiques of white feminism, the privatisation of natural resources, and the impact of global warming on American soil. Since 2009, Merrill Garbus has used her tUnE-yArDs moniker to grow a welldeserved reputation for chaotic indie-pop and colourful live shows. Her 2009 debut Bird-Brains was inventively lo-fi, supposedly recorded using just a Dictaphone, and each record after has been richer and more complex. In some ways, this fourth album follows the curve: the band-member count has doubled as long-term collaborator Nate Brenner becomes official, and I can feel you… reveals an unexpected, but possibly, misplaced ambition to fill the club floor. Honesty sees Garbus’s heavily manipulated vocal tracks compete with each other over a thick kick drum and bassline, while on Coloniser the duo maintain a 4/4 beat as the song condemns the passive violence in white feminism’s attempts to hijack a narrative, with Garbus singing, peppy and faux-innocent, “I smell the blood in my voice”. The track builds towards a big drop that feels at odds with the song’s subject matter. Should I dance to this? For an act as adventurous as tUnE-yArDs, it makes sense to experiment with digital manipulation and to tap into the political zeitgeist. But although I can feel you creep into my private life is a thematically ambitious record, tUnE-yArDs have come off sounding slightly out of touch. !

Katie Hawthorne

The very first voice you hear on Eminem’s new album is Beyoncé's. Yet before uttering a word of his own, Marshall Mathers finds a way to undermine his distinguished guest, her semisacrilegious Walk On Water hook interrupted by sounds of crumpled pages and performative scribbling. Apparently burdened by outsized expectations of greatness, he spends the track narcissistically labouring over his ostensible conundrum. His vivid imagination sends the sometime Slim Shady down the path of doubting rap game doomsayer, a less seen yang to the genre’s far more common braggadocious yin. Revival chooses conservativism over comeback. Despite revitalisation plans for Shady Records that include dealings with Boogie, Conway, and Westside Gunn, Mathers bypasses rebuilding his rap empire by leaving them off in favour of safer bets Alicia Keys, P!nk, and Ed Sheeran. He makes multiple assuredly cynical plays for the pop charts with millennials like Kehlani in tow, hoping their relevance will refurbish his own. Over these 77 minutes, Mathers proves unsure of his place as one of the few rap veterans with a substantial audience. He tries to use his platform for social commentary, lambasting Donald Trump and hailing Heather Heyer on Like Home while Keys’ chorus tosses off motivational pablum. A wellintentioned attempt, Untouchable engages directly with white privilege, a for-profit feat of elite mental gymnastics coming from the rapper who benefited – and continues to benefit – the most from it. So he slinks back into the scatological for The River, rehashes well-trod relationship drama with Bad Husband, and returns to T&A titillation on the Blackhearts interpolation Remind Me. Trotting out his handful of two-dimensional characters as he does on the regressive Framed will no doubt appeal to his base, even as he undoes all that antiTrump work in seconds on Heat. Still, one can only upchuck Mom’s spaghetti so many times before it resembles puke more than pasta. In keeping with the thematic alliteration scheme of 2009’s Relapse and 2010’s Recovery, his latest might’ve more accurately gone by the title Regurgitation. !

Gary Suarez

Erol Alkan ReWorks Vol 1 Phantasy In the mid-late 00s, Erol Alkan explored the middle ground between the populist guitar music of the era and the re-emergence of a number of exciting new electronic music movements. These movements were driving the young’uns of the time away from super clubs and back into fields and more credible clubs. This music made in the fertile scene was dubbed “blog house”. The term referred to the first swathe of remixesthat were passed around the internet, intentionally bypassing traditional outlets. Alkan’s remixes remained the most sought after, his ability to spot exciting new acts first and warp original pieces that retained elements of the artists' stylistic quality into standalone works that took on whole new existences. This package is a collection of his finest moments. Alkan’s punk-indebted sensibilities from running his Trash club night at The End served as the breeding ground for much more of his frayed, ragged work. Remixes of DFA 1979, Franz Ferdinand and Justice are examples of this and perhaps remain the best-loved on this package. These pieces alone were fuel for a generation of guitar-loving kids to discover clubbing and ecstasy. It was this unexpected avenue that propelled Alkan to new heights as a DJ and producer but also allowed him to explore further strands of his musical palette. Connan Mockasin is given the full dream-pop treatment, his extension of Hot Chip’s Boy From School became a meandering set-closing classic and Chilly Gonzalez’ Never Stop ends up in scuzzy techno territory. On a retrospective listen it’s the variation of Alkan’s source artists and remixing styles that make this package so engaging. Despite many of the original acts falling from grace as far as critics are concerned and a couple of remixes feeling a tad bloated with time, it’s still a great reminder of when guitar populism clashed wonderfully with the credible electronic music world. !

Thomas Frost

Porches The House Domino

Django Django Marble Skies Because Music Marble Skies, the third album from Edinburgh art-rockers Django Django, starts at a gallop. There’s a ringing buzz and a voice echoing, and then the first demanding synth beat kicks in and never really lets up. The album is suffused with a driving rhythm, one that pushes on ever forward. “Where’s everybody gone/ This used to be the place,” Vincent Neff wonders on the guitar-led Further, where the pace suffers itself to slow to a quick march. But if this is an album that does look back and around, they are only occasional glances thrown from a fast-moving vehicle. Marble Skies’ tempo is breathless, Champagne is a cheery pop song with a whistling trill of a melody, while the band are joined by Czech-born jazz-fusion artist Jan Hammer on Sundial for a surprising burst of jangly piano chords and Neff’s voice floating above. Other tracks require a little more focus. Real Gone dwells for two and a half minutes on electro-pop synths and an anxious, pattering beat before Neff finally shows up to announce laconically, “See no sign of life round here.” He’s not wrong. Second single In Your Beat fails to reach the same heights as the cohesive energy of comeback track Tic Tac Toe, as psychedelic synth-led squelch leads only to an oddly disappointing chorus. For the most part, though, this is a satisfying new addition to Django Django’s catalogue, a series of expertly crafted songs that translates in almost all respects except, perhaps, sincerity. Marble Skies is cleverly constructed and full of hooky choruses, but the art-rock quirkiness makes for a general feeling of a lack of feeling, and the songs here are easy to listen to but hard to connect with. It’s a fun record. Just make sure it doesn’t run away without you. !

Mikaella Clements

The latest project from Porches, aka Aaron Maine, feels more sincere than ever. With deeply emotional lyrics, the 14-song tracklist is packed with themes of goodbyes, inner conflicts and uncertainty, as the New York musician croons over everything from silence to experimental pop to straight-up dance tracks. While The House feels like a reinvention of Porches in many ways, a few elements remain the same. The imagery of water that defined 2016 album Pool still seeps through Maine's lyricism. The sounds of the album are still bound to trigger a nostalgia with its dreamy, ticking 80s compositions. And tunes like Find Me and Goodbye help to further cement Maine as the reigning champion of electronic melancholia. Over pounding beats and thumping synths, Maine's voice breaks through in cries of anxiety and vulnerability, pulling at the heartstrings whilst you tap your feet subconsciously. But amongst the usual sad boy dance anthems, The House triumphs in Maine’s experimentation. keren, the mysteriously whispered interlude, sees Porches in almost unrecognisable form. Where Pool so successfully sought to create an intricate and lavish wall of sound, the sonic landscape of The House travels through vastly different worlds, not always focused on creating a coherent aesthetic. And with contributions from the likes of (Sandy) Alex G, Dev Hynes and Kaya Wilkins, as well as live band members Maya Laner and Cameron Wisch, the diversity of the project makes total sense. It’s a testament to Maine's flexibility that – much like the jump from Porches' debut project Slow Dance In The Cosmos into the glossier world of Pool – The House somehow feels exactly like a return we expect from the Porches we know and love; just refreshed, and ever so slightly reconfigured. !

Natty Kasambala

REVIEWS

05

06


NOW WAVE, DOLLOP AND SIMPLE THINGS PRESENTS:

18 FEBRUARY - ACADEMY 2 MANCHESTER 22 FEBRUARY - ROUNDHOUSE LONDON 23 FEBRUARY - SWX BRISTOL

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ARTWORK XOYO RESIDENCY JAN - MAR 2018


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White Light/White Heat The Velvet Underground’s sophomore provokes mixed feelings in today’s context

I like to compare Velvet Underground’s White Light/White Heat to Kanye West’s Yeezus, with both albums taking pleasure in violently ripping apart the script of a magnum opus. But while the abrasive music of VU’s second album remains exhilarating 50 years on from its release, the record’s supposedly subversive lyrics leave me cold. After disappointing sales of their 1967 debut The Velvet Underground & Nico, Lou Reed’s relationship with manager Andy Warhol soured, with the legendary artist reportedly calling Reed a “rat” after being fired. Yet this decision was cathartic for the band, which no longer had to accommodate Nico’s lush melodies and could instead further explore the dark territory of songs like Venus in Furs. No longer confined to the populist tag of ‘Andy Warhol’s music project,’ Reed and John Cale went full avant-garde. And the raw, feedback-ravaged guitars of White Light/White Heat, an album created in just 48 hours, are the complete antithesis to the crisp production present on previous songs such as Sunday Morning.

In a later interview, guitarist Sterling Morrison would admit that he quit the band for a few days after feeling that I Heard Her Call My Name had been ruined by the roughness of the mix. But this act of selfmutilation was completely intentional by Reed and Cale, with producer Tom Wilson and engineer Gary Kellgren instructed to create uncomfortable levels of distortion. Take Cale’s distorted electric bass outro on the title track, which replicates the abrupt rush of a methamphetamine high. It’s an unflinching thrust and takes you into a nightmarish dimension whether you’re listening for the first or 600th time. Or the feedback from Reed’s atonal guitar two minutes and fifteen seconds into I Heard Her Call By Name. It is so coarse and intense, it feels like your head has been split open with a crowbar – a moment piercingly out of step with the flower power vibes of its era. When the record was released in January 1968, its subversive lyrics failed to captivate critics or mainstream audiences – White Light/White Heat briefly touched the top 200 in the Billboard charts, peaking at 199. Reed and Cale were inspired by the underworld literature of authors like William Burroughs and Hubert Selby Jr. wanted to re-create the same visceral imagery in their songs. However, you could argue the record’s reliance on provocative lyricism has dated. On The Gift, a deadpan Cale recites a short story Reed wrote in college about a paranoid and possessive young man called Waldo Jeffers who mails himself to his long-distance girlfriend,

who, in turn, accidentally kills Waldo while cutting open the delivery box. I’m sure the next song – Lady Godiva’s Operation – was a very personal song for Reed, who was attempting to mirror his own experiences of electroshock therapy as a youth. The first half of the song gives the impression of being a conventional psychedelic number about Lady Godiva, a woman who seduces boys away from their mothers. In the second half, Godiva is revealed as a transwoman and is forced to go through surgery that ends in her death. But lyrically, it feels detached. Lady Godiva seems more like a punchline than an actual human being and Reed borders on the voyeuristic with his descriptions of gender-altering surgery (He wryly sings: “Doctor arrives with knife and baggage, sees the growth as just so much cabbage”). Sister Ray, meanwhile, depicts an orgy between a group of transsexuals and sailors, with heroin use heavily implied. I’m sure in 1968, these lyrics sounded transgressive. Unfortunately, in 2018, they sound like a Carry On film via distorted organs and guitars. As Reed chants: “She’s busy sucking on my ding-dong, you’ll stain the carpet!” – it makes you question whether this was a genuine insight into the LGBTQ community of the late 1960s or just a crude joke at their expense. While the band’s literary hero Selby Jr. shed a sympathetic light on taboo subjects with 1964’s Last Exit to Brooklyn – such as drug use, gang rape and transvestites – among New York’s working classes, Reed’s lyrics fail to do the same. The daring nature of the music on White Light/White Heat means it’s still the blueprint for radical rock ’n’ roll reinvention. But while the raw production is impossible not to admire, the suspect lyrics make it a record that’s a lot harder to love. Perhaps that was the aim all along.

Original release date: January 1968 Label: Verve

REVIEWS

Words: Thomas Hobbs


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071

Film

08 09 07 08 Happy End dir: Michael Haneke Starring: Isabelle Huppert, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Mathieu Kassovitz

! Lara C Cory

The Disaster Artist dir: James Franco Starring: James Franco, Dave Franco, Ari Graynor James Franco directs and stars in this laugh-outloud comedy, inspired by the making of the 2003 cult “bad movie” classic The Room by Tommy Wiseau. In it, Franco plays Tommy, the real-life auteur and bona fide eccentric whose frankly weird character propelled him to become one of the most notorious figures in outsider art. The film is shot from the perspective of Greg Sestero, played by Dave Franco, an aspiring 19-year-old actor who meets Tommy in a San Francisco theatre class. The unlikely pairing represents the all-too-common trope of the Hollywood hopeful trying to “make it” – and failing. In one scene, Greg blunders through a scene from Waiting for Godot, while in another, Judd Apatow – in a cameo role as a producer – says to Tommy, “Just because you want it, doesn’t mean it’s going to happen.” Tommy goes to extreme lengths to maintain his delusions. He's thwarted when – among other scenes – Greg gets a girlfriend, Amber, and the egocentric possessiveness of Tommy becomes apparent. Although Tommy’s motivations for pursuing the film are never fully resolved, James Franco’s interpretation of Tommy is compelling – from his vampiric appearance to his eastern European accent and arrhythmic intonation. Tommy is undeniably a difficult man, and the audience shares in the frustration of the film’s other characters. There is, however, a method to Tommy's madness and desire which drives the film. One thing that The Disaster Artist shows us is that, even with no talent, there is beauty in chasing one's dreams, even if they are a bit crazy.

Acerbic, venomous and comical are just a few words that describe Martin McDonough’s third feature film, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Detailing life in small-town America, the plot focuses on the foul-mouthed Mildred (Francis McDormand) who is grieving from the death of her daughter, Angela (Kathryn Newton) who was raped and murdered. Frustrated with the local police force’s incompetence, she opts to rent three disused billboards writing, “RAPED WHILE DYING,”, “STILL NO ARRESTS, and “HOW COME, CHIEF WILLOUGHBY?” . The focus of Mildred’s ire is Willoughby, delivered with world-weary charm by Woody Harrelson, and his junior, Dixon – a racist homophobe and mummy’s boy, who abuses his badge at every turn. Dixon is played by Sam Rockwell, who worked with director Martin McDonough on Seven Psychopaths and here, his performance is expertly judged. At once loathsome and pathetic, the perfect product of little America and a bullying mother, in what is Rockwell’s most authentic performance since Moon. McDormand’s performance is acid-tongued, causing your jaw to drop to the floor with her withering take-downs of everyone from the local priest to her dentist, only then to knock the wind from your lungs in scenes of utter despair. McDonough navigates these tonal shifts with ease, shifting from compelling drama to outlandish violence in a heartbeat. The film is laced with McDonough’s trademark peevish, taboo-ridden humour, but here McDonough is more interested in the drama – and it is the better for it. ! Joseph Walsh

Star Wars: The Last Jedi dir: Rian Johnson Daisy Ridley, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher Unable to coast on the hysteria which comes with the return of a much-loved franchise, the challenge facing director Rian Johnson was to make the anticipated follow-up to The Force Awakens exciting in its own right while paving a future for the Star Wars series beyond reminiscence. The Last Jedi rejoins the story as the Resistance – led by General Leia Organa – is forced to evacuate their main base when they are tracked through hyperspace by General Snoke’s First Order. Meanwhile, Jedi heir-apparent Rey has tracked down her hermit sensei Luke Skywalker to urge him to help restore balance to the force. Though these narrative threads might sound familiar, The Last Jedi is confidently one of the most creative chapters in the entire saga Johnson strikes the perfect balance between generous bursts of nostalgia and future-facing plot points, with stylistic sequences which defy a lot of expected Star Wars hallmarks. Silence and space are used to carve out room for drama and action; humour and lightness counterpoint the emotional weight. The quiet poignancy of Carrie Fisher’s Leia confronting mortality is impossible to miss while John Boyega and Daisy Ridley feel more developed and settled in their roles as would-be Jedi Rey and reformed Stormtrooper Finn – finding a charming, warm rhythm as performers which could only work in a galaxy as far away as this. But it’s the narrative development which makes The Last Jedi soar – the political shades which have always underpinned the saga are brought closer to the fore and the macro-level questions about good and evil edge closer to a finale. Without divulging any spoilers, you’re reminded that certain things must move on in order for other things to move forward. But you’re also reminded of what this series has always taught us – that nothing ever really goes away. ! Duncan Harrison

! Gunseli Yalcinkaya

REVIEWS

An examination of suicide, murder and betrayal disguised as a domestic drama, Happy End by Michael Haneke is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The film’s poster and ironic title lures with the promise of continental sophistication, but Haneke’s film is raw and deliberately unpolished, utilising the joyless tedium of daily life to offset the spectacle that unfolds. Sidewalks, car parks, suburban streets and living rooms set the scene for ordinary life and the emotionally disconnected portrait of the Laurents, a family destined for misery as they repeat inherent errors of behaviour and judgement. Several narrative techniques are used to obfuscate but ultimately achieve the momentum, intrigue and estrangement of the characters’ emotional experiences. There are many conversations that go unheard over traffic noise or barking; non-sequiturs like the hilarious karaoke scene and smart phone footage; and a camera perspective that shifts between first person, shadowy stalker and disconnected observer. You never really know whose side you’re supposed to be on and with no underscore to influence your understanding, that is no doubt Haneke’s intention; he is known for his penchant for moral ambiguity. In contrast to the cinematic treatment of the material, the exceptional performances of the ensemble cast including Isabelle Huppert, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Mathieu Kassovitz and especially young Fantine Harduin are highly polished and truly drive the narrative which leaps at times, and lingers at others, mischievously tugging the viewer along to either reflect or play catch-up.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri dir: Martin McDonagh Starring: Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell


073

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A free zine based in New York for dance music fans, don’t be fooled into thinking that the publication’s format lends itself to a compromise in quality. Featuring long-reads with figures who’re shaping New York’s club scene, Love Injection has an impressive roster of artists and writers on board. A publication for those who like to keep their finger on the pulse.

Fifty50 Poster Lo Tides 19 Boardshort Billabong €20 A dream collaboration that no one asked for, the Godfather of punk Iggy Pop connected with Billabong for a limited edition collection of boardshorts. Need to buy something for your dad but stuck for ideas? See above. SZA Air Freshener fayeorlove.com $10 The RnB singer experienced a breakthrough last year with her brilliant debut Ctrl, which acted as a powerful accelerant to stardom. As well as perching atop plenty of end of year lists, SZA also leads 2018’s Grammy nominations for women. Oh, and Kendrick Lamar described the album as a “masterpiece”. Basically, SZA is awesome – get this air freshener as a constant reminder.

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REVIEWS

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Dilara Findikoglu first power walked her way into the media’s spotlight with a guerilla fashion show staged at Central Saint Martins. Usurping the establishment, the show championed the revered institution’s highly selective end of year showcase, and provided a more inclusive platform for designers who didn’t make the cut. Findikoglu's designs have since been worn by Rihanna and Björk. Now, she’s dropped a comic illustrated by Benjamin Filby. Flick through to see one of the most exciting designers on London’s fashion circuit transform into a warrior queen with magical powers.


074

Crossword Across 2. A bad seed 5. Leather-clad bearded dudes / not actually that cuddly 7. Type of knife / deceased hero 8. Ostgut reincarnated 10. Winner of the 2006 Best Foreign Language Oscar Down 1. Classic femme fatale, early Hollywood star 3. Cult energy drink / good friend 4. Isherwood-inspired / frequented by polyamorous couples 6. Cute communist car 9. Don’t mention the

Answers Across: Nick Cave, Bear, Bowie, Berghain, The Lives Of Others Down: Marlene Dietrich, Mate, Cabaret, Trabbi, War

Self Portrait Call Super

Pharrell or Orwell? Who said it, the N.E.R.D star or the iconic British novelist? 1) “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” 2) “I love when things are transparent, free and clear of all inhibition and judgement.” 3) “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.” 4) “The choice for mankind lies between freedom and happiness and for the great bulk of mankind, happiness is better.” 5) “I only entertain very close friends.”

Answers: 1) Orwell 2) Pharrell 3) Orwell 4) Orwell 5) Pharrell 6) Pharrell

DIGRESSIONS

6) “It's not possible to experience constant euphoria, but if you're grateful, you can find happiness in everything.”


075

n a Yung Le Words: Davy Reed

Favourite member of Slipknot? The clown. What was the first record you truly fell in love with? Dookie by Green Day. Last movie that you watched on a plane? Beetlejuice. What was the name of your first musical project? I had a band in fourth grade. We called ourselves The Ice Cubes. And what was the vibe with The Ice Cubes? It was very embarrassing. We had one hit which was called Södermalm, which was the area where we grew up. And, it was basically about very middle school activities, like skipping school. I kind of jumped off the band right before we were the opening act at a show in IKEA for this rapper called Adam Tensta, who was kind of big at the time. We were all like 11, 12-year-olds. It was weird. What’s the worst hotel you’ve ever stayed in? I remember one in Dallas that was haunted. Yung Sherman was on the fourth floor, and he read on the internet that someone was killed there in the 60s or something. Someone knocked on his door so he came and slept in the same bed as me. We met this, like, old hotel lobbyist and asked him if he was a ghost and he just said in this really bored and scary voice, “The question is, am I real or not?” and then he vanished. We looked for him. There was no way

for him to escape that quickly. What’s your signature recipe? I’m very good at making homemade meatballs with feta cheese inside and mashed potatoes and like a super nice gravy and pickled cucumbers. Do you make the meatballs from scratch or do you buy them readymade? I make everything from scratch. I buy the meat and then I roll the meatballs and I make it with egg-yolk, pepper and red onions. And then you slather them in butter. Who’s most famous person you’ve ever met? Charlie Sheen. I was in LA doing a Calvin Klein thing. I was standing outside and I asked him for a cigarette. He pulls out this little bottle out of his jacket and he says, ‘Hey, do you wanna? Boozin’ at work?’ I was just about to go in and take photographs, so I said, ‘Hey, Charlie, how about you and me go on a bender sometime?’ and he said, ‘That’s my boy, that’s my boy,’ and then his manager comes out. I’m like ‘What’s Charlie doing here?’ And she’s like, ‘Oh, probably his worst film yet, it’s called 9/11’. And have you ever taken acid? Yes I have. Did you enjoy it? I’ve had good times on acid, I’ve had bad times on acid as well. Once, in Canada, I thought that I could like choose my own voice. It was like a jukebox in my head with different buttons. One was like a barber’s voice, one was like a policeman’s, one was like a bus driver’s. I chose the barber man’s voice.

“What advice would I give to myself ten years ago? Don’t become a rapper”

Sounds like some good gear. It was.

an account and I upload photos but I don’t really watch other people.

Do you have any regrettable tattoos? Maybe I will regret them in a couple of years. But right now I’m still young and dumb.

If you could give a piece of advice to yourself ten years ago, what would it be? Don’t become a rapper.

What’s the best song to walk on stage to? I’d love to walk onstage to The Final Countdown by Europe. What’s your favourite emoji? Probably the one that blows out smoke, the smoky face. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had? One summer I worked for an outdoor swimming pool in the countryside of Sweden. I sold swimwear and towels, and then I would have to clean the saunas, the changing rooms and all the toilets. One year there were these sad Danish women who would to stay at the end when it was already closed. I had to get them out. They were always naked and laughing when I came into the room. Who’s your favourite person to follow on Instagram? I’m not really on there too much. I have

What would you like written on your tombstone? That’s kind of a serious one. You got real. I always end this with a death question. Okay, I’ll just have a quote from The Final Countdown. Stranger is out now via YEAR0001

DIGRESSIONS

Swedish rapper Yung Lean has matured artistically since the divisive sad boy aesthetic went viral back in 2013. If you want to listen to Yung Lean’s most honest and emotive work to date, you can listen to his latest album Stranger. If you want to read a conversation with him about haunted hotels, acid trips and meatball recipes, then please read below.


EW SHOWS NEW SHOWS 18

Rural Alberta Advantage

SCALA

Trudy & The Romance THE LEXINGTON

Songhoy Blues

Songhoy Blues Alela Diane O2 FORUM KENTISH TOWN

O2 FORUM KENTISH TOWN

Trudy & The Romance Trudy & The ST PANCRAS OLD CHURCH

THE LEXINGTON

Oscar Jerome Romance THE LEXINGTON MONTAGUE ARMS

Alela Diane

ST PANCRAS OLD CHURCH

Ben Frost

HEAVEN

Rural Alberta Rural Alberta Advantage Dream Wife

Advantage

SCALA

HEAVEN SCALA

Ben Frost

Baths Ben Frost

HEAVEN

JAZZ CAFE HEAVEN

Dream Wife

NEW SHOWS

Songhoy Blues

O2 FORUM KENTISH TOWN

Dream Baloji Wife HEAVEN

HEAVEN OMEARA

Baths JAZZ CAFE

MØ Baths

Oumou Sangare Baloji Alela Diane Oscar Jerome Cosmo Sheldrake Baloji MØ Faber Social: Oscar Jerome Oumou Sangare Willy Vlautin MØ Sunflower Bean Cosmo Sheldrake Oumou Sangare Faber Social: Meat WillyWave Vlautin Cosmo Sheldrake Blitzen Trapper Sunflower Bean OMEARA

MONTAGUE ARMS

MONTAGUE ARMS

O2 ACADEMY BRIXTON

18

VILLAGE UNDERGROUND OMEARA

18

ROUNDHOUSE - INCHURCH THE ROUND ST PANCRAS OLD

O2 ACADEMY BRIXTON JAZZ CAFE

ROUNDHOUSE - IN THE ROUND

CECIL SHARP HOUSE

O2 ACADEMY BRIXTON KOKO

VILLAGE UNDERGROUND

ROUNDHOUSE - IN THE ROUND THE LEXINGTON

CECIL SHARP HOUSE

Faber Social:

Anna Of The Willy Vlautin Meat Wave North CECIL SHARP HOUSE THE LEXINGTON XOYO

AnnaWave Of The Meat North Boniface THE LEXINGTON XOYO

BERMONDSEY SOCIAL CLUB

Anna Of The Boniface The Soft Moon North BERMONDSEY SOCIAL CLUB

THE DOME XOYO

The Soft Moon

Puma Blue Boniface THE DOME

OMEARA BERMONDSEY SOCIAL CLUB

Puma Blue

Nabihah The Soft Iqbal Moon OMEARA

ARCHSPACE THE DOME

Nabihah Iqbal ARCHSPACE

Polica Puma Blue & Polica Stargaze OMEARA

OVAL SPACE

& Stargaze

Nabihah Iqbal OVAL SPACE

ARCHSPACE

Typhoon Typhoon Polica & Stargaze Melt MeltYourself Yourself Down Down THE LEXINGTON

THE LEXINGTON

OVAL SPACE

GHOST NOTES

GHOST NOTES

Typhoon

VILLAGE UNDERGROUND HOXTON BAR & KITCHEN KOKO

Sunflower Bean Blitzen Trapper The Orielles

KOKO BAR & KITCHEN HOXTON THE GARAGE

The Blitzen Trapper AlelaOrielles Diane

THE GARAGE

HOXTON BAR & KITCHEN UNION CHAPEL

Alela Diane The Orielles

Fil Bo Riva

UNION CHAPEL

THE GARAGE SEBRIGHT ARMS

Fil Bo Riva

Alela Diane Courtney Marie Andrews

SEBRIGHT ARMS

UNION CHAPEL

Courtney Marie Andrews Fil Bo Riva ISLINGTON ASSEMBLY HALL

ISLINGTON ASSEMBLY HALL

Crooked Colours

SEBRIGHT ARMS XOYO

Crooked Colours

Courtney Marie Iceage Andrews

XOYO

Iceage

SCALA ISLINGTON ASSEMBLY HALL

SCALA

Visions Festival Crooked Colours

Visions Festival HACKNEY XOYO

HACKNEY

Iceage

By The TheSea Sea By Festival Festival SCALA

MARGATE

MARGATE

Visions Festival

HACKNEY

THE LEXINGTON

Melt Yourself

By The Sea


“With making mixtapes it’s like there’s something you wanna tell somebody but you can’t, you don’t have the words to say it”

No Age built themselves a reputation around 10 years ago as LA’s best noise rockers, founded on their relentless touring, idiosyncratic visual imagery, and a raging, joyful sound that combines hardcore punk with melodic shoegazing. They’ve been quiet for too long – but the drought is ending with their new album Snares Like A Haircut out this month. In anticipation, we caught up with guitarist Randy Randall to discuss the music that set him on his way.

The track that taught me how to write a pop song Up The Junction by Squeeze [A&M Records, 1979]. One of the ideas we had when we started No Age was to create a perfect pop song with the harshest noise sounds. Sounds that, if you heard them by themselves, you’d be like “God, this sounds like a car crash,” but made into an awesome pop earworm. We knew the noise side, but we didn’t really know how to construct a pop record. The band Squeeze was something that Dean [Spunt, No Age drummer/singer] and I both hit on at the same time. It was the first dawning of our non-ironic appreciation of pop music. We weren’t looking down our nose at it, we were like, “Wait, this band is writing amazing, thoughtful songs, and doing it in a way that’s really catchy.”

The roadtrip track I had some friends that drove crosscountry to LA from Massachusetts, and Mission of Burma's Academy Fight Song [Ace of Hearts Records, 1980] was on their mixtape. I would get in their car and that song was always on. It reminds me a lot of being in college, driving around in a crappy Honda Civic, going to shows or house parties. It was always a goal to get out of town and go somewhere, do something. Something more interesting than whatever I was doing. The track about a break-up I got Chesterfield King by Jawbreaker [1992, Tupelo] on a mixtape from a girl when I was going on tour. She said, “Here, take this!”. I wasn’t really that familiar with Jawbreaker at the time, but I heard it and thought, oh, man, I wish we could figure this out. I think I even said, “Well, I’ll be home in a month!” And she said, “Yeah, I’m not waiting for you. But here’s this tape, take this tape with you.” It was like, what? It was kind of brutal. The track that makes me miss people Murphy Bed by Mirah [K Records] came out in 2000 – I hadn’t really been touring yet, but I wanted to be

touring. I really loved this record, it’s beautifully produced and recorded and engineered. The song is about longing for somebody that’s on tour, and missing them. The idea of a mixtape, for me, is so associated with girls or people who make a mixtape for you before you go away. It’s like there’s something you wanna tell somebody but you can’t, you don’t have the words to say it, so you make them a mixtape. Then you take it with you, and you listen to it, and you think aww, I miss this person, I wish they would have given me this tape earlier, I wish I could have done something different. All these songs have that kind of longing because that’s how mixtapes got used, in my life at least. Snares Like A Haircut released 26 January via Drag City Records

MUSIC

Words: Mikaella Clements

The track that always reminds me of someone When people would put a song on their MySpace page, every time I went to this person’s page to check in on them, in the pre-Instagram days, The Orchids by Psychic TV [Some Bizzare, 1983] would automatically play. So I always associated the person with the song. I thought it was beautiful, it’s so haunting and melodic. It influenced a song we did on Nouns — Things I Did When I Was Dead. And when I hear it now, oh my god, goosebumps. It’s amazing how music is like that, like a smell. It gives you a full body memory.

077

My Life as a Mixtape: No Age’s Randy Randall


Supporting Indies In The Age Of Streaming:

Illustration: DR x ME

While debating which oligarchy has the most power in today’s industry – content deliverers versus content providers – deserves its own article, it remains fairly clear that independent artists and labels still operate from positions of tremendous weakness and competitive disadvantage. Perhaps even more so now than before, the economies of scale that separate a major label record’s success from an indie’s become more glaring when faced with the relatively meagre royalty realities of streaming.

Gary Suarez is a New York-based music critic and industry expert. Here, he argues it’s time we adjust our listening habits online to support independent artists and labels. With more than 140 million active users worldwide and an official presence in 62 countries, Spotify pretty much owns streaming music.

OPINION

A data powerhouse, the platform not only tracks its users’ music consumption and habits but, in practice, seeks to guide and direct them. Curated, frequently updated playlists with global followings in the multi-millions like Rap Caviar and Viva Latino serve the function that terrestrial radio once did, delivering the latest genre hits and driving charts. It also provides personalised playlists and recommendations daily, all driven by complex algorithms. With option paralysis – what should I listen

to? – systematically eradicated by computational convenience, Spotify users need to do very little to find the music they’re interested in. Not surprisingly, these easy options tend to favour major label content. In December 2017 the widely shared ‘My Spotify Wrapped’ feature revealed the striking conformity of listener’s top played artists. And that’s hardly limited to Spotify. With over 30 million subscribers, Apple Music emblazoned its apps with the declaration that 2017’s most streamed artist on the platform was Drake. Global SoundCloud figures show that Lil Uzi Vert had the top hip-hop track and album of the year in XO Tour Llif3 and Luv Is Rage 2 – both released via Atlantic. Of the site’s non-rap material, the most played RnB song was SZA’s Love Galore (RCA) and the top rock cut was Linkin Park’s Heavy (Warner Bros).

Beginning with Napster and peer-topeer file sharing, the digital revolution was supposed to make music more democratic, with a levelled playing field for music discovery devoid of payola and handshake deals. Yet that little bit of online anarchy shook up the music business just enough for it to reappropriate those illicit models into serving the profit motive. Simultaneously, as listenership shifted away from retail record stores, indies suffered disproportionately with the emergence of industry-sanctioned streaming platforms, where it takes an exceptional number of plays to match the revenue earned from a single CD or vinyl purchase. Generally oblivious of the economic impact on indies, consumers have little incentive to change their behaviour to compensate for the disparity. While the best thing anyone can do for an indie is buying the music outright, most simply won’t.

With its normalised ease of use and low barriers to entry thanks to free and low-cost tiers, streaming rules the day. Yet Apple Music, Spotify, and Tidal all depend on usage to ensure their platforms stay current, recognising patterns and trends. Making it a point to stream indie releases – especially advance singles and new albums – at these places can feed the algorithms and prompt the decision makers to take notice. As such, labels that direct their social followings to pre-release content are potentially improving their artists’ profiles on those platforms, which may have a lasting effect for subsequent releases. Despite fundamental flaws, there are ways to use streaming to promote real music discovery, none perhaps more powerful than playlisting. According to Nielsen Music, 74% of streamers utilise playlists and 58% create their own, making it one of the most viable ways for an artist to generate the plays payout. Spotify sees when songs are added to playlists, even private ones created for personal use, and won’t pass up the chance to feature music gaining momentum that way. When fans opt to be active participants driving conversations instead of receptacles for major label marketing content, indies win. And that’s precisely the kind of positive result a new year’s resolution ought to achieve. @noyokono

Taking all of this into account, an ethical responsibility looms over those who care about supporting artists and labels. Paying for downloads and physical formats, direct from the source or via middlemen like Bandcamp whenever possible, is the most straightforward way to materially support indies. But with the dawn of a new year, now seems a great opportunity to do a little more in a time of increasingly passive consumption. Though streaming income can look quite incremental on an indie label’s balance sheet, that’s no reason to not stream these releases.


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Crack Issue 84  

Featuring Nils Frahm, Priests, Penny Rimbaud, IAMDDB, Kiddy Smile, Porches and more

Crack Issue 84  

Featuring Nils Frahm, Priests, Penny Rimbaud, IAMDDB, Kiddy Smile, Porches and more