Little Simz Crack Magazine | Issue 86
T H E
MMM 6 M
GMMMMM IM M6 M
W A R E H O U S E
P R O J E C T
P R E S E N T S
GM 6 M M
GM MM M MMM MMM 6
M M M
M M *** MMMM
M M M M M FM M MM M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M MM M M M M M MM M MMM MMM M M M M M M M M M MM M M M M M M M M M M@M M M M M M M M# M M M MM M
M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M MMMM M M M M M M M
M M $4$MM MM@M M MM M MM M'MM M M M M M M M M M M M M M M MM M M M@M M I M M MM 'M'M 'M M M@M5 M M
M M MM1 2 M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M
M M & M M M
M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M MM M M M M M M M MM M M M M M M M M M M M M M M
M M M M M M M M M M M M M M M@M M M M M@M M M M MM M M M M MM
M @M M M M M M M M M M
THE XX ▂ FLORENCE + THE MACHINE FEVER RAY ▥ TYLER, THE CREATOR ▁ NINA KRAVIZ ▀ MURA MASA ▂ ODESZA ▃ JON HOPKINS LIVE ▄ BEN KLOCK ▌ MODESELEKTOR DJ ~ APPARAT DJ ▂ CIGARETTES AFTER SEX ◊ LITTLE DRAGON ▄ THE INTERNET ▃ BADBADNOTGOOD ▄ PRINCESS NOKIA ▀ THE BLACK MADONNA ▂ RIN ∞
MOUNT KIMBIE ∞ ALMA ▃ FATIMA YAMAHA ▥ PARCELS ▄ FISCHERSPOONER ▀ THE BLAZE ◊ ELLEN ALLIEN ▁ WESTBAM ▀ WHOMADEWHO ▂ AMELIE LENS ~ SEVDALIZA ▄ IAMDDB ▥ REX ORANGE COUNTY ∞ ANDHIM ▁ ADANA TWINS ▥ ADRIATIQUE ▃ GEORGE FITZGERALD LIVE ◊ HUNDREDS ∞ TUNE-YARDS ▄ EROBIQUE ▀ ROMAN FLÜGEL ◊ ROBAG WRUHME ▁ THE HACKER PRESENTS AMATO LIVE ▂ NASTIA ▁ HONEY DIJON ▀ ZHU ▂ KALI UCHIS ▀
ANNA HALETA ▂ ANSWER CODE REQUEST LIVE ▥ ANTIGONE ~ BINH ▀ CARLOS VALDES ▁ CEM ◊ CLAIRE MORGAN ▂ CLEVELAND ▄ COELY ~ CORMAC ∞ DANA RUH ▂ DJ SEINFELD ◊ EFDEMIN ▁ FAKA LIVE ▃ FATIMA AL QADIRI ▥ GURR ▁ HAAI ▃ INGA MAUER ▀ JAYDA G ◊ JON HESTER ▂ JUNGLEPUSSY ▃ KEDR LIVANSKIY ◊ KID SIMIUS ▁ KIM ANN FOXMAN ▥ KLEE ▄ KUSO GVKI ▂ LA FLEUR ▃ LANARK ARTEFAX LIVE ▀ LAYTON GIORDANI ~ LEO POL LIVE ◊ LUCY ▁ MARC MIROIR ▥ MAVI PHOENIX ∞ MIRELLA KROES ◊ MOSCOMAN ▁ MOSES SUMNEY ~ Ø [PHASE] LIVE ▂ OLIVER HAFENBAUER ▀ OR:LA ∞ ORSON WELLS ▥ PROJECT PABLO ▄ RONE ▂ SEDEF ADASI ▁ SIRIUSMO ◊ SMERZ ~ SOMEWHEN ▀ SUPERORGANISM ▂ TIJANA T ▄ TOMMY CASH ~ VICTOR ▥ VINCENT NEUMANN ▀ YELLOW DAYS ▂ ZENKER BROTHERS ∞ AND MORE
13—15 JULY 2018 FERROPOLIS, GERMANY GET YOUR TICKETS NOW: WWW.MELTFESTIVAL.DE
Opening Concert Performing in a 2,000 year-old Roman amphitheatre:
Moodymann, Nubya Garcia, Josey Rebelle, Debora Ipekel (more TBA) Main Festival – Initial Line-Up:
Aaron L Alessandro Adriani Alex T Alexander Nut Alfa Mist Alleged Witches Amp Fiddler Anastasia Kristensen Ariwo Ash Lauryn Azymuth & Marcos Valle Bambooman Batu Ben UFO Billy Nasty Bjarki Bonobo (DJ)
All Night Long
(In Dub – DJ Set)
Central Processing Unit Champagne Funk Children of Zeus Church of Sound The Comet Is Coming Conor Thomas Cosmic Slop Courtesy CPSmith Craig Richards Daisy Moon Darkhouse Family dBridge Debora Ipekel Detroit In Effect Dimensions Soundsystem DJ Labud DJ Lag
Fort Punta Christo 29 Aug — 2 Sep 2018 Pula, Croatia
DJ Python DJ Stingray DMX Krew Eda Eddy Ramich Electrix Records The Exaltics (live) Ezra Collective Fixate Gilla Harri Pepper Heels & Souls Heinrich Dressel & Teslasonic (live) Helena Hauff Hessle Audio Hunee Ilija Rudman James Holden And The Animal Spirits Jan Kincl & Regis Kattie (live) Joe Armon-Jones & Maxwell Owin Jon Hopkins (live) Jon K Julio Victoria K-HAND Kerem Akdag Kiara Scuro Kwasiba Savage Lena Willikens Leo Leal Lexis Love Muscle Lucy Locket Mala Marcellus Pittman Mark Turner (The Orbit) MXMJOY : [maximumjoy] Michael Upson
Milo Mimi Nicolas Lutz Nina Kraviz Open Mike Eagle Oyvind Morken Palms Trax Pangaea Paula Temple Peanut Butter Wolf Pearson Sound Peggy Gou Petar Dundov Ploy Red Greg Sam Hall Saoirse Sean OD Shy One Silicon Scally aka Carl Finlow Skee Mask Skeptik Skeptical SNO Sonja Moonear Sons of Kemet Tom Hannah Total Refreshment Centre Underground Resistance present: Depth Charge
Umfang Vladimir Ivkovic Volruptus Volvox Will Lister Yazmin Lacey Yuri Plus many more TBA
SATURDAY 9TH JUNE 2018 12:00PM — 10:30PM BOSTON MANOR PARK, LONDON ARTISTS IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE
ADAM BEYER B2B CARL COX ADAM BEYER CARL COX ENRICO SANGIULIANO LA FLEUR
NINA KRAVIZ TALE OF US MAYA JANE COLES MIND AGAINST
THE WOODS HOSTED BY
IN ASSOCIATION WITH
DIXON B2B ÂME 6 HOUR SET MARCUS WORGULL TRIKK
LEN FAKI SCUBA PRESENTS SCB DENSE & PIKA JAY CLARKE
IN ASSOCIATION WITH
JOY ORBISON SONJA MOONEAR B2B NICOLAS LUTZ WILLIAM DJOKO
8-15 august 2018 budapest, hungary
go ril la z dua lipa
k kendric lamar
Mumford & Sons
Liam Gallagher • Bastille • Lykke Li • Stormzy • Parov Stelar The War On Drugs • The Kooks • MØ • Nick Murphy fka Chet Faker Kaleo • Zara Larsson • Gogol Bordello • Clean Bandit • Blossoms Milky Chance • Wolf Alice • Lianne La Havas • Desiigner King Gizzard & the lizard wizard • Little Dragon Cigarettes After Sex • JP Cooper • gorgon city live Goo Goo Dolls • Fink • Seasick Steve • Above & Beyond Petit Biscuit • Nothing But Thieves • Slaves • kshmr Everything Everything • Borgore • Lewis Capaldi • Lemaitre The Living End • La Femme • Sofi Tukker • Scarlxrd • Joe Goddard live Ummet Ozcan • Sam Feldt live • Jay Hardway • Delta Heavy The Him • seven lions • Alle Farben • Yellow Days bilderbuch • WhoMadeWho • Shame • My Baby • Perturbator facebook.com/szigetfestival
7-17 JUNE 2018
VOICES THAT MOVE VOICES THAT SOAR VOICES THAT HOLLER VOICES THAT ENLIGHTEN VOICES THAT HEAL VOICES THAT YEARN JOYFUL VOICES RHYTHMIC VOICES UNHEARD VOICES MIGHTY VOICES GENTLE VOICES
11 DAYS VENUES ACROSS CARDIFF BRINGING TOGETHER MANY VOICES
BLISSFUL VOICES FIND YOUR VOICE
TO HEAR AND BE HEARD
The eclectic programme brings together many voices from music and the arts. To explore our full festival programme, visit
festivalofvoice.wales Artists Pictured PATTI SMITH / GRUFF RHYS WITH BBC NATIONAL ORCHESTRA OF WALES / PASSENGER / VOICES OF PROTEST: BILLY BRAGG + NADINE SHAH / LAURA VEIRS AND MANY MORE!
CARDIFFâ€™S INTERNATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL
CROSSTOWW N CONCERTS
P R E S E N T S
Belle and Sebastian PLUS
16 & 17 March 2018 TOUR 2018
30 M AY
BY ARRANGEMENT WITH X-RAY
Presentation by Arrangement with X-RAY
The Triumphant Return of
UK - MAY JUNE 2018 WEDNESDAY 06 JUNE
ROUNDHOUSE - LONDON BY ARRANGEMENT WITH X-RAY
NEW ALBUM TELL ME HOW YOU REALLY FEEL OUT 18 MAY
The Worldâ€™s Number One Entertainers MONDAY 02 JULY 2018
O2 ACADEMY BRIXTON
THIRD SHOW ADDED TUESDAY 26 JUNE 2018
T T SOLD OU 27 SOLD OU 28 JUNE
TUESDAY 27 MARCH
UK TOUR 2018
B OA R D I NG H OUS E RE ACH AVAILABLE 23.03.2018
NEW ALBUM THE DECONSTRUCTION OUT APRIL 6 EELSTHEBAND.COM
T H E W O M B AT S . C O. U K
BY ARRANGEMENT WITH ITB
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Gomez SATURDAY 14 APRIL 2018
20 YEAR CELEBRATION OF BRING IT ON
VOTED FAVOURITE MERCURY PRIZE WINNER BY BBC 6 MUSIC LISTENERS
THURSDAY 03 MAY
OLD OUT ROYAL ALBERTSHALL EXTRA DATE ADDED DUE TO OVERWHELMING DEMAND
LO N D ON
SATURDAY 05 MAY 2018
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O2 FORUM KENTISH TOWN LONDON
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T I C K E T S AVA I L A B L E F R O M
SEETICKETS.COM - GIGANTIC.COM - STARGREEN.COM - ROUNDHOUSE.ORG.UK - TICKETMASTER.CO.UK - EVENTIM.CO.UK @CROSSTOWN_LIVE -
VICTORIA PARK LONDON, E3
FRI 25 MAY
SAT 26 MAY
SUN 27 MAY
Lykke Li > Popcaan BADBADNOTGOOD > Rhye Stefflon Don > Rex Orange County Omar-S > Hunee > Sevdaliza DJ Richard > Call Super Shanti Celeste > DJ Python Kojey Radical > Beatrice Dillon
Friendly Fires > Tom Misch Flying Lotus 3D The Black Madonna Django Django > Mashrou’ Leila Sylvan Esso > Khruangbin Alexis Taylor > Yellow Days Mr G Live > Agoria Live Allie X > ItaloJohnson Byron The Aquarius
Yeah Yeah Yeahs Phoenix
Glass Animals > Richie Hawtin CLOSE Dixon > Nick Murphy fka Chet Faker Chromeo > Young Fathers George Fitzgerald LIVE Hercules & Love Affair > Roman Flügel DJ Tennis > Gerd Janson Superorganism > Hookworms Oscar and the Wolf Confidence Man > Eclair Fifi Fort Romeau > Knox Fortune > Lo Moon
Lorde Justice Sampha
Beck Father John Misty
PLUS MORE TO BE ANNOUNCED
FRIDAY 01 JUNE VICTORIA PARK LONDON, E3
SATURDAY 02 JUNE VICTORIA PARK LONDON, E3
EXCLUSIVE 2018 UK SHOW
SUNDAY 03 JUNE VICTORIA PARK LONDON, E3
Nick Cave � The Bad Seeds
VERY SPECIAL GUESTS
THE WAR ON DRUGS FUTURE ISLANDS THE HUNNA > BLOSSOMS FRANK CARTER & THE RATTLESNAKES THE NEIGHBOURHOOD > THE AMAZONS PLUS MANY MORE TO BE ANNOUNCED
WARPAINT POWER THE HUNNA> >CAT BLOSSOMS
PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTING FRANK CARTER & THE RATTLESNAKES BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE > SPOON THE NEIGHBOURHOOD > THE AMAZONS AMBER RUN > THIS IS THE KIT PLUS MANY MORE TO BE ANNOUNCED THE DISTRICTS > ROSTAM PLUS MORE TO BE ANNOUNCED
Subject to Licence. Line up subject to change
+ very special guests
PATTI SMITH AND HER BAND ST. VINCENT COURTNEY BARNETT Plus many more to be announced across 3 stages
March – April 2018
presents The Writing Robot with Raoul Sanders
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Ash Koosha (VR set) Ben Frost with Marcel Weber No spot colours Charlotte Gainsbourg E.M.M.A CMYK colour space Fatima Al Qadiri presents Ja7eem with Emmanuel Baird
300 DPI John Cale (2018 – 1964) with London Contemporary Orchestra
Kamaal Williams 5mm bleed all sides Nonclassical Rise Of The Machines #2 No printers marks (crop marks Barbican etc) Simian Mobile Disco Village Underground with Deep Throat Choir
Wyles & Simpson Visionist with Pedro Maia convergence-london.com
Richmix Heaven The Curtain Citizen M
The Main Stage supported by BBC MUSIC
Nile Rodgers & Chic BASTILLE ° JON HOPKINS
KAMASI WASHINGTON ° BAXTER DURY !!! (Chk Chk Chk) ° IAMDDB ° palace
JOY CROOKES ° DAN OWEN ° MY BABY ° BILLY LOCKETT ° MAHALIA CONFIDENCE MAN ° CARMODY ° Freya Ridings ° STEREO HONEY And featuring an afternoon with
Late Night Parties & Revelry
PEGGY GOU ° SEVERINO MIKE PICKERING HACIENDA
DOM CHUNG ° COUSN ° HOT BLOOD THE HEREAFTER
BBC MUSIC INTRODUCING After Sunset
EXPLORE THE NIGHT REALM
THE HUSTLE LATE-NIGHT DISCO WITH SECRET SPECIAL GUESTS THE SKILAMALINK RIOTOUS MERRIMENT AROUND THE HOUSE PIANO
Cabaret, Comedy and Variety Introducing… The Be All & End Hall
THE TRAVELLING BARN
Woodburner Presents KABARETT VERBOTEN JIM JONES & THE RIGHTEOUS MIND WITH MISSY FATALE AND GUESTs CHELOU ° BEARCUBS
The Great Brain Robbery Presents
HENRI HERBERT & THE FURY SON OF DAVE TOM MANSI & THE ICEBREAKERS BLACK KAT BOPPERS ° ANNIE BEA FRED STITZ ° JOAO MELLO NATTY BO ° LADY KAMIKAZE GUS ROBERTSON ° WALTER CHINASKI THE PEOPLE PILE ° SENORITA SCARLETT Returning favourites
The carousel with Shangri La Superstars Continental Drifts & Global Local
THE SWEET LIFE SOCIETY CUT CAPERS ° WARA ° HENGE
BOURGEOIS & MAURICE
HACKNEY SHOWROOM presents LUCY McCORMICK & TRAVIS ALABANZA PECS DRAG KINGS ELLE & THE POCKET BELLES SOLE REBEL TAP ° STUMBLE TRIP CLOWNS SWING PATROL THE WILDERNESS CHORUS LINE WITH THE BEE’S KNEES Live Musical Celebrations
RONNIE SCOTT’S PRESENTS: THE PEE WEE ELLIS FUNK ASSEMBLY AFRIQUOI ° MY BABY ° HENGE THE WILDERNESS ORCHESTRA PRESENTS ‘GOD’S JUKEBOX’ HIP HOP KARAOKE / OH MY GOD! IT’S THE CHURCH
MEADOWLARK ° SAM GREEN RUM BUFFALO ° AGBEKO DON KIPPER ° SOUNDS OF HARLOWE JALEN NGONDA ° AILBHE REDDY
GRACE LIGHTMAN ° JOE DOLMAN ° FELIX M-B FELLOW PYNINS ° WAAJU ° THE DYLEMA COLLECTIVE PYAEN ° PATCHWORK JAZZ ORCHESTRA GABRIELA EVA ° CHIMINYO Front Room Songs Presents
KEFAYA ° DAVID KEENAN MOBIUS LOOP ° TOMMY HARE Cut A Shine’s Sunday Hoedown
FOREST OF FOOLS HOLY MOLY AND THE CRACKERS CUT A SHINE ° THE RELATIVES
TICKETS Â£49.50+BF THE ULTIMATE SUMMER SUNDAY
CHILDISH GAMBINO SKEPTA N.E.R.D VERY SPECIAL GUEST SZA
DIPLO ANNIE MAC ANDERSON .PAAK VINCE STAPLES MURA MASA ACTION BRONSON THE INTERNET BIG BOI DAVE BICEP LIVE JACOB BANKS KALI UCHIS JON HOPKINS DJ BLACKBEAR MABEL THE BLAZE LOCO DICE GREEN VELVET FLOORPLAN JACKMASTER & NUMBERS PRESENT MASTERMIX UNDERGROUND KAOZ : KERRI CHANDLER X JEREMY UNDERGROUND MOTOR CITY DRUM ENSEMBLE SHY FX SOLARDO BELLY MHD DENIS SULTA PEGGY GOU MALL GRAB B.TRAITS CAMELPHAT MELLA DEE CASHMERE CAT TENSNAKE MIKE SKINNER & MURKAGE MOXIE CASISDEAD KRYSTAL KLEAR DJ ZINC B 2 B SPECIAL REQUEST D DOUBLE E DJ Q PREDITAH MS BANKS JAMZ SUPERNOVA FT STUSH SAOIRSE STEEL BANGLEZ BLACK PARTY HAPPY MEALS JUST JAM TAKEOVER SKRAPZ SUSPECT K TRAP M HUNCHO BIG ZUU MOWGLI AMY BECKER KENNY ALLSTAR TIM & BARRY SIAN ANDERSON STAR.ONE ANDREW HILL JANE FITZ CICI & THE FREE NATIONALS
STAGE PARTNERS NOISEY JACKMASTER & NUMBERS PRESENT MASTERMIX CORONA SUNSETS KOPPARBERG OUTSIDER MIKE SKINNER & MURKAGE PRESENT TONGA SHY FX PRESENTS CULT.URE ODDITIES & EXPERIENCES HIP HOP K ARAOKE THE CHAPEL OF LOVE(BOX) THE SWEET SPOT COCKTAIL BARS & STREET FOOD BEAUTY PARLOURS VINTAGE MARKETS
JORIS VOORN DEETRON ROBERT JAMES
FABRIC MARCH 2018
DAVE CLARKE CURATES DAVE CLARKE REBEKAH JAY CLARKE
HELENA HAUFF CRAIG RICHARDS (ELECTRO SET) TERENCE FIXMER (LIVE)
17 ROOM 01
CRAIG RICHARDS & MARGARET DYGAS (ALL NIGHT LONG) ION LUDWIG (LIVE)
UMFANG UMWELT JAY CLARKE
ANTHONY PARASOLE EFDEMIN TERRY FRANCIS
MARCEL DETTMANN FRANCOIS X SECOND STOREY ROOM 03
UGANDAN METHODS SUNIL SHARPE FAUX NAÏF
BEDROCK 20TH ANNIVERSARY JOHN DIGWEED CHELINA MANUHUTU GABRIEL ANANDA (LIVE) GUY J JULIAN JEWEIL MARC ROMBOY
25 ROOM 01
DIXON (ALL NIGHT LONG)
JEFF MILLS CRAIG RICHARDS JP ENFANT ROOM 02
MARCEL FENGLER FJAAK (LIVE) THOMAS HESSLER
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MICA LE VI HANNAH PEEL
HOLLY BL AKE Y
| ABSTR ACT ORCHESTR A
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| YO L A TENGO
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| TALVIN SINGH
Editor's Letter – p.27 Discover – p.33
Infinite Coles 68
Recommended – p.28
Rising: Yugen Blakrok – p.31
The Update: Tessa Pollitt – p.35
Retrospective: Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We? – p.93 My Life as a Mixtape: DJ Storm – p.101
Reviews – p.77
20 Questions: Brix Smith Start – p.99
Perspective: When the mainstream steals art – p.102
15 – 24 JUNE 2018 DEFTONES | THE LIBERTINES | MANIC STREET PREACHERS | MOGWAI M Y B LO O DY VA L E N T I N E | N I N E I N C H N A I LS | P L AC E B O | T H E P SYC H E D E L I C F U R S 6 5 D AY S O F S TAT I C | A L C E S T | T H E A N C H O R E S S | T H E C H U R C H | K AT H R Y N J O S E P H KRISTIN HERSH | MONO | THE NOTWIST MANY MORE TO BE ANNOUNCED M E M B E R S G E T P R I O R I T Y B O O K I N G . FO R YO U R B EST C H A N C E T O S E C U R E T I C K E T S , J O I N N O W. # M E LT D O W N F E S T
Robert Smith © Andy Vella
Crack Magazine Was Made Using
Back in 1991, on A Tribe Called Quest’s single Check The Rhime, Q-Tip established industry rule number four thousand and eighty: record company people are shady.
Wooden Shjips Eclipse Lena Willikens Neue Obakel Lil Wayne Big Bad Wolf P'ierre Bourne Hacked My Instagram Kendrick Lamar All The Stars ft. SZA Jay Som Pirouette Young Moose Murder ft. Boosie Badazz Hookworms Opener M.I.A. Bad Girls Kinlaw Corfe Omni Trio Together VIP Novelist No Weapons / See Me Juvenile Ha Sevdaliza Soul Syncable
To be honest, a lot of the record company people I’ve met haven’t been shady – they’ve been passionate music fans working hard for their artists. But stories of shelved projects and curtailed creative freedoms persist. When we hear the industry is dishing out bad deals, we like to applaud the artists who raise a middle finger and risk the DIY route. This month’s cover star is the widely respected, proudly independent rapper Little Simz. In her interview with Yomi Adegoke, Simz clarifies that she’s not shunning the industry as a statement, it’s just that she hasn’t yet found a deal that doesn’t require compromise. Elsewhere in the issue, rising artist Infinite Coles embraces the opportunities given to him by XL Recordings co-founder Richard Russell, indie veterans The Breeders recall being on MTV during its 90s peak and South African altrapper Yugen Blakrok celebrates her feature on the star-studded Black Panther soundtrack. As I’m writing this, the internet is still reeling from Stormzy’s BRIT awards performance. Having manoeuvered his way through the mechanisms of the mainstream, Stormzy had the world watching as he delivered one of the most courageous political statements a UK musician has made in my lifetime. So it’s my opinion that as long as labels respect an artist’s integrity, there should be no moral qualms about playing the industry game. Just keep an eye out for the characters Q-Tip warned us about.
Little Simz shot exclusively for Crack Magazine by Jack Bridgland in London, February 2018
Azura Paraíso ‘89
Davy Reed, Editor
Frank Ocean Moon River
Recommended O ur g ui d e to wh at's goi n g on i n y ou r c i ty Andrew Weatherall Phonox 2 March
Regis & Ancient Methods fabric 24 March
Fever Ray Troxy 20 March It’s been over seven years since Fever Ray donned the druid robes and graced the UK with her steely, strange presence. Quite a bit has changed in the interim, including the surprise release of Plunge, the ambitious, shocking follow-up album which sent us reeling one day last October. Don’t expect the aftershocks to die down anytime soon – although we’re not sure how the album’s anarcho-queer spirit and BDSM basement aesthetics will play out in the live setting, we’re excited, and a little scared, to find out.
Floating Points (All Day Long) fabric 1 April
It's not often we use the word 'swag', but it's probably fair to say that Andrew Weatherall has buckets of it. For over 30 years, Weatherall has existed on the fringes of the music industry bubble, the moustachioed master of twisted dub, house and disco. One constant in his vast career is a sense of timelessness, a persistent sense of cool in an unsteady electronic music landscape – an authenticity and depth of musical experience that most can only scratch the surface of. Put simply: he's a class act. From seductive openers to blissed out mid-tempo chugs and irresistible, fizzing house and electro, this all night long set should illustrate why he is one of the most respected figures in leftfield dance music.
Chynna Camden Assembly 20 March
Intonal Festival Avalon Emerson, Courtesy, DJ Lag Malmö, Sweden 25-30 April Intonal is the smaller sister event of Berlin's Atonal festival. Though much cosier in size – Atonal takes place at the colossal former factory Kraftwerk – Intonal still carries the scorching curatorial vision of its mothership. The main venue is an international arts centre housed in an old chocolate factory and this year the line-up is comprised of underground darlings. Former NIN synth guru Alessandro Cortini, Replhex producer Aleksi Perälä, Gqom mainstay DJ Lag, New York avant-garde producer Charlamagne Palestine, Japanese band Goat and Avalon Emerson make up the bill. Malmö is fast becoming one of Sweden's most interesting hubs for experimental culture – and events like this help nudge that influence ever further into bold territories.
Caprices Festival Ricardo Villalobos, Sonja Moonear, Ben Klock Crans-Montana, Switzerland 12-15 April
Django Django Printworks 23 March
Suuns Scala 5 April
Sure, Caprices is another festival set up some ski slopes with a slew of European house and techno DJs. But what sets the award winning event apart from the competition is its showstopping MDRNTY stage. The greenhouse-like structure sits 2,200 meters above sea level, teetering high on the Swiss Alps. The daytime space boasts crisp, clean sound, plus a staggering 360-degree view of the snowy mountain vista. The line-up is pretty star-studded too, with acts like Ricardo Villalobos, Sonja Moonear, Äme, Ben Klock, Adam Beyer and Henrik Schwarz joining the ranks. Fans of sleek techno and anxiety-inducing heights rejoice.
Helena Hauff fabric 10 March
Roy Ayers Barbican 3 March Rina Sawayama Borderline 28 March
tUnE-yArDs Roundhouse 20 March
SOPHIE Heaven 13 March
It’s no secret here at Crack Magazine that Hauff is a dancefloor favourite. On the darker end of the electronic spectrum with her unique blend of EBM, post-punk and industrial textures, each set packs a punch with Hauff masterfully stomping her way through the night via unpredictable manoeuvres. But what can be predicted is the frazzled, frenetic energy of the crowd when Hauff steps up for the decks. A backs against the wall complacency is a no-go when Hauff effortlessly lights up the floor with a searing energy. If she’s on the lineup, it’s guaranteed to be an exceptional night. But what do we know, really.
Palms Trax Patterns, Brighton 17 March
029 Brent Faiyaz Hoxton Square Bar + Kitchen 14 + 15 March
Mist o2 Forum Kentish Town 15 March Of all the breakthrough British superstars who’ve emerged over the last two or three years, Birmingham rapper Mist exists truly in a lane of his own. In terms of numbers, his hits like Madness and Hot Property are pulling in streaming figures which rival some of the country’s biggest names. His husky tone and Brummy intonation make him instantly recognisable on a track and high-profile collaborations with artists like J Hus and MoStack have shown that his Midas touch works further afield than just the 0121. On this tour, he’s playing some of the biggest shows of his career. Go along and see why he’s earned it.
Convergence Festival John Cale + London Contemporary Orchestra, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kamaal Williams Various venues, London 9 March - 4 April Now in its fifth year, the Convergence Festival schedule always stands out on London’s gig calendar. With an ethos that seeks to celebrate the technological developments in music and art, this year’s selection of A/V sets includes Fatima Al Qadiri’s and Emmanuel Baird’s Ja7eem project as well as the pairing of Visionist and Pedro Mala, who will visualise the themes of masculinity and vulnerability explored on the London producer’s album Value. Elsewhere, the London Contemporary Orchestra will assist John Cale in playing material ranging from his Velvet Underground era to his forthcoming studio album and Charlotte Gainsbourg will perform her first London concert since 2013. Book yourself a night out that’ll ensure your mind is racing on the way home.
Dinosaur Jr Roundhouse 23 March More than ten years after the legendary alt-rock band’s reunion, Dinosaur Jr have beaten the comeback curse. They’ve released four solidly brilliant albums, embarked on a series of excellent tours, and confirmed a general intention to climb on ever upward rather than rely on ancient hits. It’s rare to find musical gamechangers not content to sit on their laurels, but Dinosaur Jr are refreshingly down to earth, more interested in proving their eternal willingness to shred than in rehashing any past glories.
LA Witch Oslo 30 March
Yasiin Bey Troxy 8 March Let’s Eat Grandma Lightbox 8 March
Beatrice Dillon Bloc 16 March
Porches Village Underground 16 April With musical monikers such as Ronald Paris, Sex God, Ronnie Mystery and Ricky Pepsi alongside his main project Porches, it’s clear there’s something New York musician Aaron Maine needs to get off his chest. 2017’s sophomore Porches album The House saw Maine go deep and personal with his distinctive sound – which could be described as fey indie rock reimagined with aquatic synths, house beats and vocal flourishes of AutoTune. The music of Porches may be a little divisive, but credit is due to Maine for trying to do something original.
Playback 2018 Institute of Contemporary Arts 21-25 March
Young Fathers Roundhouse 21 March
With their greasy sound and sinister lyricism, fans of the Fat White Family and The Moonlandingz probably see the South London movement as a necessarily grim respite in an era when woke culture is sanctioned and The 1975 are the biggest band in the UK. But it’s probably fair to say things escalated quickly – the dentally impaired Saul Adamczewski, in particular, has suffered intensely from addiction. Now sober, Adamczewski has teamed up with old schoolfriend Ben Romans Hopcraft (also of indie band Childhood) and borrowed a hand from Sean Lennon for the more wholesome lounge rock act Insecure Men. Enjoy some unlikely moments of tenderness from a musician on the the mend.
Rapsody Jazz Cafe 7 March Rich Brian Islington Academy 3 + 4 March
Powder Corsica Studios 9 March
We may have been dubbed the snowflake generation by our closed-minded elders, but the 300 films showcased at the ICA's Playback succeed in challenging the stereotype. Hosting a range of boundarypushing shorts from 16-24 year olds, the topics covered will range from gothic fantasies to chicken shops, club bouncers to musicals and hand-drawn animations. The showcase is designed to be a launch pad for emerging artists from our generation. Who’s saying all we do is moan about impossible house prices now?
Insecure Men Scala 8 March
Rising: Yugen Blakrok Sounds Like: Hard-hitting alternative rap with a psychedelic flair Soundtrack For: Searching for a higher self File Next To: Cannibal Ox / Lauryn Hill
Words: Davy Reed
Our Favourite Tune Secrets of the Path Fun Fact: Yugen Blakrok rapped onstage with Public Enemy in Johannesburg while Flava Flav played drums
Tomorrow Yugen Blakrok and her friends are going to see Black Panther, which premieres in South Africa that day, and the underground rapper can’t contain her excitment. During an exhilarating car chase scene they’ll hear a snippet of Opps – an adrenaline-powered track which sees Blakrok rap alongside Kendrick Lamar and Vince Staples.
Despite no prior knowledge of the context, Yugen Blakrok’s Opps verse is perfect for the project, with surreal battle posturing (“Roar like a lioness/ punch like a cyborg”) comic book imagery – a reference to The Riddler bleeped out, possibly to avoid licensing issues with Marvel’s rival DC – and a namecheck of Kathleen Cleever, a professor and prominent member of the Black Panther party. You can imagine TDE’s excitement when they came across Yugen Blakrok’s 2013 album Return of the Astro-Goth for which she took inspiration from ancient world cultures, spirituality, space travel and astronomy; orating profound lyrics over vibrant beats to channel Afrofuturistic vibes.
In terms of hip-hop influences, Blakrok credits the robust poetry of 90s American artists like Organized Confusion, Def Squad and Wu-Tang’s RZA and GZA. “As much as they were talking about different things, the spirit was the same,” she argues. “You always got the sense that all these cats – as different as they are, as competitive as the field is – had some kind of unified vision that they could all represent in their own different spheres.” While Yugen Blakrok is loyal to the spirit of the old school, Blakrok insists that South Africa’s small-but-dedicated alternative hip-hop scene is forwardthinking. “We like to break boundaries and experiment,” she says. “As much as there is that [90s] influence, cats
aren’t stuck there. We can evolve it to the next level to make it relevant in 2018. It’s an energy that you can’t really destroy.” Yugen Blakrok is overjoyed to have been involved with the Black Panther soundtrack – a project which has promoted sonically-adventurous music to the masses – and she’s looking forward to presenting the long-awaited follow-up to Return of the Astro-Goth to a bigger audience. But she won't be shedding the ethos of her alternative scene any time soon. “We come through with stuff that challenges the status quo,” she says. “I enjoy that rebellious spirit of the underground in South Africa, much more than I enjoy the mainstream or whatever’s being played on TV.”
Over a Skype call from her home in Johannesburg, Yugen Blakrok tells me that the collaboration started with an email from Top Dawg Entertainment – the label home to artists like Kendrick Lamar, SZA and ScHoolboy Q. They asked her to lay down a verse on an instrumental, to which she obliged without asking too many questions. “At the time I had no idea Marvel and TDE were even thinking up a project,” she laughs. Once it had transpired the track was for one of the most highly-anticipated, culturally significant blockbusters of this era, Blakrok discovered along with the rest of the world that she was one of the five South African artists on the Kendrickcurated soundtrack that also boasts US heavyweights like Future, The Weeknd and Travis Scott.
Where to Find Her: @YugenBlakrok
The hazy state between sleep and waking is said to be a fruitful gateway to creativity. Named hypnagogia, it's a strange web of consciousness giving rise to dream-like visions. This space feels like a spiritual home for Cera Khin, who regularly turns out heavy-lidded mixes for NTS and Bristol-based Noods radio. Her new label LazyTapes has a similar sedative effect – its concept even came to her in a lucid dream. With forthcoming releases from Christoph De Babalon and Peder Mannerfelt, LazyTapes was brought to life with the Guided Meditation tape, featuring solo material from Cera Khin alongside a collaboration with Young Echo member Ossia. Including field recordings from Tunisia, where the Berlin-based artist was raised, it slips in and out of obscurity; elements appear before submerging into ambient murk, like an idea that slips through your fingers before its fully-formed. Forget your mindfulness app – this is music to put you in a trance. File Next To: Dedekind Cut / Mica Levi Our Favourite Tune: Frogs In My Bed Where To Find Her: @CeraKhin
Our Favourite Tune: Nasty Woman ft. Matias Aguayo Where To Find Her: @_valesuchi_
Puma Blue For those who are lovelorn, an elegant soundtrack is needed to complement those low-lit evenings spent alone. Southeast London artist Jacob Allen, aka Puma Blue, captures the vibe with a Jeff Buckley-inspired falsetto, delicate guitars, subtle hiphop drum programming and the occasional saxophone lead which drifts along like smoke flowing from an ashtray. Following some Bandcamp bedroom recordings and last year’s Swum Baby EP, recent Puma Blue single Only Trying 2 Tell U is a silky tune about tentatively making that first move. Pour yourself a glass of red. File Next To: inc_no_world / King Krule Our Favourite Tune: Only Trying 2 Tell U Where To Find Him: @pumabluemusic
Sugai Ken Sugai Ken is a familiar name to those who keenly follow a certain strand of Japanese ambience, having released his debut, ToKiShiNe, back in 2010. However, 2017 – the definitive year of ambient music’s resurgence – saw Ken shift away from releasing via Japanese imprints to being signed to Brooklyn label RVNG Intl. Based in Greater Tokyo’s Kanagawa, Ken’s latest release on the NY imprint, entitled UkabazUmorezU, sees him use field recordings from his home prefecture to recontextualise Japanese customs and folklore. Sewing strange abstractions into a sparse fabric of experimental shapes, Ken constructs the “subtle and profound ambience of night in Japan” via sounds of running water, ghostly vocals that stutter and gasp into a dense fog, ticking clocks, drone sounds and much more. Dark, solemn and rich with negative space, Ken’s deep explorations make for an intensely emotional listen.
We first encountered Evitceles on Opal Tapes’ recent The Harvest Of A Quiet Eye, a compilation skewed towards the marginal and odd. But there was something about the Bulgarian producer’s chalky, distorted interpretation of post-club music that stood out: his Seagrave released album, Anuket, is steeped in the physicality of noise and dub, sure, but there’s also grainy samples, trance pads and synth runs that shimmer like MDMA eye wiggles, too. Unsurprisingly, Eviceles is part of Sofia’s Amek Collective, an enclave of producers and bookers nurturing the city’s nascent DIY scene and who seem insistent on crushing boundaries between ambient, noise and club music. Strange, and very compelling. File Next To: Huerco S / Andy Stott Our Favourite Tune: hllf Where To Find Him: soundcloud.com/evitceles
File Next To: Hiroshi Yoshimura / Pan Daijing Our Favourite Tune: Wochikaeri to Uzume Where To Find Him: soundcloud.com/sugaiken
Born in Chile and now based out of Rio de Janeiro, Valesuchi is a DJ and producer searching for “saudade” – a Portuguese term which refers to the feeling of love, melancholy and longing that remains after someone has gone. Having cut her teeth on indie dancefloors, she eventually found a home for herself at Matias Aguayo’s Cómeme stable, where her evocative productions and deep, precise mixing has bloomed. She recently delivered a mix for our online mix series and it perfectly captured her knack for creating moments that carry a serene beauty, but never lose focus of the dancefloor. Now immersed in Rio’s small but supportive party scene, she’s busy in the lab working on new music to unveil later this year. Fingers crossed we get something in time for summer. File Next To: Courtesy / Matias Aguayo
Interview by: Davy Reed
The Slits bassist discusses a new film about the pioneering punk group
Why does now feel the right time to release the film? We were not given the credibility back in the day, constantly receiving negative reviews. Now perhaps in hindsight, people may finally recognise the influence we have had on future female artists, although to me it seems a more commercial, watered down version.
How did The Slits influence punk culture for women and what challenges did you face? As young girls (Ari was at the tender age of 14 when I joined), we did not behave like girls were brought up to behave. We had fire in our bellies, we could not be labelled, and we relied on our instinct. We were not about to accept what society had demanded of our gender, to be perfect housewives or secretaries. We were a feral, non-manufactured, unstyled, honest, comical, fearless group of four very different creative girls who faced violence verbally and physically as a band and individually on a daily basis. Those were violent times indeed and we were not alone in our experiences. The film's tagline is 'hidden from history' – why? This is a quote from the prolific writer and Punk Professor, Vivien Goldman. For me this refers to all the creative females over the centuries, for example the fabulous unique artist and writer Leonora Carrington, the Black American blues singer and electric guitar player from the 1930's Sister Rosetta Tharpe, who influenced the likes of Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley, and the highly individual classical cellist Jaqueline Dupree. And what
about the Bronte sisters, who had to publish their writings under a male name to get recognised as talented writers of their time... Do you get my drift?! Things are changing for women in the music industry. What's left to change? There is still a lot to change. To me, it is all about how you carry yourself, what you write about, how much control you have creatively. It is so different now, the whole music business. I am sure there are numerous talented female artists and musicians that do not break through because they are not commercial enough. Hang on to your creative integrity. I would not enter this music world now, but if I did I would avoid dealing with corporate, greedy companies, ripping the artists off, same as it ever was. Here To Be Heard: The Story Of The Slits will be screened across the UK from 29 March - 22 April. The documentary will be released on DVD on 20 April
What can you reveal about Here to be Heard: The Story of The Slits? It has been a labour of love on a shoestring budget. We relied on unique archive super 8 footage from the infamous Don Letts who filmed everything from 1976 onwards. Bill [director William E. Badgley] has worked tirelessly for five years – he told me at one point it was like "wrestling bears”. I totally got it; there have been battles along the way, but we defeated them. Initially, our US tour manager [six-week reformation tour 2006] and friend Jennifer Shagawhat [producer] upon Ari Up’s request filmed us using DV cassettes. It was Ari’s wish to film everything. We could not predict that Ari would come to her untimely death five years later. Jennifer and I could not rest until we completed this doc. The film is honest, brutal and full of raw emotion.
Full Look: PE Nation
Words: Yomi Adegoke Photography: Jack Bridgland Styling: PC Williams Styling Assistants: Misty Dee Griffiths + Amie Wolfe Make-Up: Chloe Botting using Bleach London
From North London to Wonderland, Simbi Ajikawo paints vivid pictures of her headspace. On the precipice of mainstream success, she's looking to turn her fantasies into reality. “I’d never had that experience before, where I’ve felt like ‘yeah – this is one for us, this is one for me.’” Little Simz is talking about the film Black Panther, of course, and her natural nonchalance is cut through with fizzy excitement. It's been out a week and a half and she’s already seen it twice. Once at the starstudded European premiere at the Hammersmith and again in her low-key, local Vue in North London, with a group of close friends. For Simz, real name Simbi Ajikawo, the film is even closer to home than the swathes of the black diasporans now defecting to Wakanda. She narrowly missed out on a starring part as the younger sister of the titular character Shuri, hailed as the film’s standout role. It went instead to her friend, Letitia Wright who like Simz is British, baby-faced and impossibly down-to-earth.
And like Letitia, Simz is an experienced actress too. At 14-years-old, she landed a role on BBC children's adventure series, Spirit Warriors, which followed a band of teenage Avenger types transported to a spirit world.
Three years later, she was cast in Youngers, an E4 youth drama depicting a group of south-east London friends hoping to make it big in music. In both series, Simz was a best friend to the protagonist, but her move to music soon revealed her as a natural lead, her gift for performance lending itself well to her career as a rapper. For instance, Simz couldn't be further from the character she spits as in Tainted, a standout track on her first album, where she effortlessly emulates the rap braggadocio so prevalent amongst her peers (“Just got here and I'm running this shit/ I could buy your life if I wanted to, bitch”). In real life, she’s all grace and all humility; ambivalent until given the opportunity to gush about something or someone else. “Letitia got it, which is still a win for me,” she says, audibly beaming. “Because again, another young black woman from ends that’s just fucking made it work. That helps me, still.” She’s right; Letitia’s gain was hers too. While filming took place for Black Panther, Simz ended up going on tour with the Gorillaz instead, an experience
she describes as one of the highlights of her life. “I understand the majority of the people are coming for the Gorillaz – I’m not a fool, I know this. But to know that I’m able to be on a stage and tell my story to thousands is still a trip to me.” Simz's story is one characterised by silver linings. Today is her birthday, a day she’s so-far spent ‘chilling’ and doing early-morning press. Although she’s just turned 24, she’s racked up wins rivalling artists who have been in the game for her entire life-span. Following the release of four mixtapes (the last of which premiered on Jay Z's Life + Times blog), seven EPs and two albums, she has been inundated with critical acclaim. She has supported one of her oft-cited inspirations Lauryn Hill on tour, embarked on a world tour herself and landed on Forbes' prestigious 30 Under 30 list at just 21; becoming the first independent UK rapper to do so. Her ever-expanding list of co-signs is littered with the crème de la crème of the music world: Kendrick Lamar, Mos Def, J.Cole, Zane Lowe, Dizzee Rascal, Andre 3000 amongst others.
Patent Navy Jacket: MSBVN T Shirt: PE nation
Full Look: PE Nation
043 “Of course it gets to me. Of course it annoys me,” she says. “It’s like, don’t put me up for the award! Or don’t make it seem like you’re about that when you’re not really about that. It’s psychological – you start doubting yourself, like ‘am I doing something?’ You take it personally. I’m trying to remove that element, though. It’s not personal; it’s just the way it is.” Simz does not like to dwell, especially on the downside. It’s easy to see why she has no time to navel gaze – hers is truly a game of two halves. In the same year that saw her overlooked for awards in Britain, she was the only UK artist nominated for the XXL Freshman class (despite a huge year for male urban music acts) and the only British act featured on that year’s BET cypher. Smirking under a customary flat cap and from behind shades, she kicked off the cypher by paying homage to her city (“Posted in North side of that London/ Where fed is always a paigon, keep it quiet don't trust them”). If Simz is slept on in the UK, the US is wide awake to her talents. And her story is hardly a new one; Britain’s inability to catch on leaves black British talent in its droves draining to the states. “People are so fascinated with trend and whatever is trendy, whatever is cool, whatever everyone’s talking about [in the UK]” Simz argues. “As opposed to ‘no, this is dope, this is what I fuck with and I want people to hear it’. It just so happens Americans are that way inclined. And it’s annoying that it's not
until they do it that all of a sudden we want to – we got to stop all of that. It’s silly.” It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but rapjuggernaut Drake’s affinity for grime and UK rap can’t be divorced from the meteoric rise of artists like Dave, Skepta, and Giggs in the mainstream. And while a continually confused UK press still lump Little Simz with grime artists, the current ‘British sound’ being championed isn’t one she fits into. It has been said time and time again that she sounds “nothing coming out of the UK right now” – marrying trippy, soulful psychedelia with her machine-gun flow. This is both a USP and penalty for the genre-defying artist, who has been shaped by the same ends as many of her musical peers (for Nike’s Nothing beats a Londoner advert, she shot her cameo at a barber’s shop near Sobell Leisure Centre on Hornsey Road, a stone’s throw from her childhood home). Like many inner-city youth in the early noughties, Simz was writing bars and spitting them for eager audiences locally at age 11. But her craft was honed by attending and performing at St Mary’s Youth Club, a community centre that counts Leona Lewis and Alexandra Burke as alumni. She says she sees herself as much as a product of her area as she is a “product of arts funding”, as British actor Daniel Kaluuya referred to himself in his BAFTA acceptance speech. And she worries what cuts to those services means for an upcoming generation of access-starved, opportunity hungry artists. “Like Daniel said, we’re all products of this,” Simz says. “When you take those things away, it’s disheartening. It’s like okay, now what? And then that’s what leads to people getting in trouble because they feel like there’s no other options, which to me is the saddest thing. That’s why I get involved in places like the Roundhouse, because I was going to Roundhouse when I was 16, 17. After college I would go there, save up my money, go get a membership, use the facilities and now
years later I’m able to put on a festival in that very same place. All these things – I don’t think people realise how important they are for us.” The festival she is organising at Camden Roundhouse, ‘Welcome To Wonderland: The Experience 2’ is giving a platform to "beautiful, talented women of colour”. Complete with three stages alongside food, drink, installations and an exhibition, its side attractions include broadcaster Reggie Yates in conversations with the actors Riz Ahmed and Will Poulter. And while it's a mixed line-up in terms of the gender of artists, female acts such as Ari Lennox, Junglepussy, Cleo Sol and Lioness dominate. Its predecessor was a spectacle of nearly equal proportion – she curated a eclectic roster of performers for two stages including all female jazz group Nerija to Californian RnB singer/songwriter/producer Tiffany Gouché. Meanwhile, Mckay Felt, the illustrator responsible for her album artwork, created live art. The timing of its sequel couldn’t be more pertinent. Where Wireless festival has been widely criticised for only featuring three female artists across three days of music, similarly, Green Man’s line-up features no women at all in its top 14 headline acts. In 2017, a BBC study of 14 major UK festivals for the last decade found out of 660 headline appearances, only 37 were all-female acts. But Simz insists industry inequality wasn’t on her mind when pulling the event together. “It came about by me being fans of these women, of these people and feeling like damn, just as a fan, if I were to put together an ideal festival of who I’d want to see perform, who would it be? And those were the names that came to mind. “These are artists and women that represent a time that we’re in now, and
Despite all her achievements however, Little Simz has perhaps unwittingly become the patron saint of the criminally slept on. She is yet to receive a single major award despite several nods. When it was recently revealed that this year’s Wireless festival lineup only features only three women across the entire weekend, Little Simz was the name commentators urged organisers to swap with one of the several male acts. When the MOBO’s only awarded a single female artist last year (Stefflon Don, and in the category of ‘Best Female’), many cited Simz as an overlooked winner.
“People are so fascinated with whatever is trendy and whatever everyone’s talking about in the UK. As opposed to, ‘this is what I fuck with’. It’s silly”
Hoodie: Roberta einer Bomber Jacket: Roberta einer Trousers: Nike ACG Trainers: Nike
“If I’m in a position where I’m able to create more opportunities for women then I’m going to. If I can do it at this level, these major festivals are able to do it – it’s not a far reach”
represent things I stand for and that I’m proud to be a part of,” she continues. “And I think it’s important to shed a light on that, especially with how the festival circuit is these days, with it being majority men. It’s not something I've necessarily done intentionally but I’m not going to sit and complain about the fact that festivals don’t have as much women. If I’m in a position where I’m able to create more opportunities then I’m going to do that. If I can do it at this level, these major festivals are able to do it – it’s not a far reach.” Unintended or not, Little Simz’s female focus may come as a surprise to some, given her rejection of the label ‘female rapper’ earlier in her career. Her stance has softened since however (“The fact I’m a woman has nothing to do with my ability or my talent. But I don’t walk into interviews and make it a point now.”), as has an apparent aversion to labels of the ‘major’ type. It amuses her that she’s become an unintended figurehead for artist independence, as she she’s never been against signing, she just hasn’t yet been offered the “right deal”.
“I’m not trying to go against the grain to be this rebel, to be unorthodox, nah,” she says. “At the points I was being offered these deals, I would have had to compromise a lot which is not appealing to me. Now, I’m bless enough to be in a position where if I get into a situation like that everything’s on my terms. And I’m just so happy I held out. It’s not a race, it’s a marathon.”
Both her prior albums were released on her own imprint AGE 101 and she has amassed her increasing following on grassroots platforms such as SoundCloud and Bandcamp. With her third offering however, which she has just announced she has completed, her main priority is doing what works best for her most “honest” body of work to date. On her 2015 album A Curious Tale Of Trials + Persons, Simz’s multiple personas blurred the lines between her personal truths and the perspectives of ‘persons’. On her second, her coming of age was as much about reality as it was fantasy, woven into a whimsical, fictional, Alice in Wonderland backdrop. This album however, is about honesty. Last year Simz says she booked a ticket to LA and while out there, met up with her childhood friend, British producer Inflo, who has worked with The Kooks, Michael Kiwanuka and Tom Odell. The pair spent days in the studio together where they had conversations that were deep – at times uncomfortably so – for the majority of the time. “I realised what those conversations were doing were opening me up more to myself because I’m very introverted,” Simz explains. “I don’t really talk much. He said to me if you were a guitarist, I would be sitting down with you for four, five days going through guitar chords. Your voice is your instrument, so lets tap into that as much as we can.
“I’ve been vulnerable. It’s not been easy to talk about the things I talked about on this album. It’s like, am I really trying to put my business out there like that? And I’ve just been like fuck it. This is my release, this is my therapy. I’ve been through a lot in the past 12 months and I’m just going to say it. That’s me pushing myself. Some people don’t want to get better. I’ve clocked – some people don’t like to be pushed. And I realised in order to get better I need to do these things. If I’m happy to stay at the same level and make another album like Stillness In Wonderland, I could have done that within a week. But that’s not growth to me, that’s not evolution. With that mindset, I was able to make some of the music I’m most proud of.” Her voice is tinged with the excitement she usually reserves for the projects of others. She catches herself; “Sorry if I’m talking bare,” she laughs. “But we’ll see, you’ll hear it and you’ll have your own judgement.” As self-effacing as ever, Little Simz’s pride at her latest work can’t help but slip through, just this once. It is her birthday after all. @LittleSimz
After their classic line-up came to a tumultuous halt, the indie legends have reassembled for their first album in a decade
049 Kim Deal
“A lot of serial killers come from Ohio. Presidents and serial killers”
Words: Gemma Samways Photography: Ellis Scott
Certainly, the twins cut low key figures in 4AD’s offices today, clad in black and muted stripes respectively, trading quips with The Breeders’ bassist Josephine Wiggs and drummer Jim Macpherson. “I don’t know about rock star at all, but I know I don’t feel I’m super leather jacket-y,” Kim concurs jovially. Kelley continues: “There aren’t any rock stars in Dayton, south western Ohio. Except for Bootsy Collins. And he’s from Cincinnati.” There’s always been an unpretentious vibe to The Breeders. Indeed, Kim famously joined her former band Pixies by replying to a newspaper ad for musicians that specified “no chops”. Unwittingly or not, the Deal sisters became integral figures in the 90s alternative rock scene – alongside famous fans Kurt Cobain and Steve Albini – infiltrating the mainstream with their 1993 masterpiece Last Splash and its juggernaut of a lead single Cannonball. The band has featured a revolving cast ever since, but today’s configuration revives the classic Last Splash line-up, which was put on hold following a gruelling Lollapalooza stint in 94. “It was 30,000 weeks long,” Kim recalls of the tour, with a sigh.
Putting The Breeders on hiatus, Kim began working on a solo project. But she soon enlisted Kelley to help her focus during her addiction battles. The project evolved into The Amps, for which Deal also recruited her Breeders bandmate Jim on drums. Kelley was arrested for heroin possession in 1994 and subsequently entered rehab. Kim was struggling with alcoholism, and when The Amps eventually disbanded, she and Jim weren’t on speaking terms. “It wasn’t really acrimonious,” Kim reflects, and Kelley interjects in a mock stage whisper, “It was repressed.” “It was more like, ‘Oh, I think Jim’s mad at me.’ I was drinking…” Kim continues. Jim concedes: “I was my own worst enemy back then too.” Seeing the Pixies and Dinosaur Jr reforming for anniversary shows, Kelley suggested the band regroup in 2013 to celebrate 20 years of Last Splash. The idea was met with no resistance and – with everyone now sober and getting along – the reunion tour was so successful it subsequently spilled into 2014. “I realised how much I like playing loud rock shows,” smiles Josephine, who now creates film scores and soundtracks to art installations outside of The Breeders. At the beginning of 2014, Josephine began commuting to Dayton from New York one week out of every four, to complete recording sessions for what would become The Breeders’ first album in a decade – and fifth in total – the aptly-named All Nerve. Kim self-deprecatingly cites the process as them “writing in the hope that we might perhaps have enough songs that didn’t suck.” The power balance within the band is summarised by Kelley as, “Whoever wears the others down
enough is king for the day.” Alongside nine original Breeders songs, the record features a cover of Archangel’s Thunderbird by pioneering Krautrock collective Amon Düül II, and a new version of Walking With The Killer, which was originally released as a limited edition 7” solo single by Kim in 2013. The latter’s breezy guitars, mellow vocals and rolling percussion, are at odds with a tale of homicide, sung from the perspective of the victim. “I feel like a creep,” Kim says of the song, laughing. “It’s so psycho-sexual, isn’t it? It reminds me of the cornfields in Dayton, just walking down the side of the road and having someone drive past, screaming out, ‘RAPE VICTIM!’ A lot of serial killers come from Ohio. Presidents and serial killers.” Also striking is MetaGoth, which finds Josephine intoning the ominous mantra, “Can’t come closer, might fall and drown,” with clipped diction over scorched guitars and a pulverising bassline. The menacing lyrics are taken from a poem her mother wrote about her father, which Josephine and her sister discovered shortly after their mother’s death. In its juxtaposition of gallows humour and real-life trauma, muscular riffs and the Deal sisters’ cooing harmonies, you could say All Nerve picks up where Last Splash left off, even if the industry surrounding them is practically unrecognisable. “I feel like the early and mid 90s was the apex of popular music,” Josephine explains of the disparity between then and now. “The breakdown of the mainstream versus the alternative, and it becoming more fluid; all of a sudden bands like us could be in heavy rotation on MTV. I
don’t know, I feel like it’s been a slow decline since then.” “I do sense that stuff changes, but it never occurs to me that the scene’s changed,” Kelley muses. “I remember when we first started doing this together – even then, people were romanticising the past, like, ‘Oh, back in the 80s man…. Everything’s over now; punk rock is all over now.’ So I don’t think I’ve ever put a lot of stock in that attitude.” Is All Nerve a one-off reunion, or can we expect a follow-up? “No clue,” Kelley retorts, cheerfully. “This album’s not even out yet!” chides Josephine, laughing, “But it’s been really great, I have to say.” Certainly, there’s no trace of the simmering tensions or substance-fuelled drama that derailed The Breeders at their 90s peak. “I haven’t had a drink since 2002,” Kim confirms. “And as the group of us four, it’s nice. There’s a better word for that, sorry… But I’m having a good time.” All Nerve is out now via 4AD
In Meet Me In The Bathroom – Lizzy Goodman’s book on the early 00s New York rock’n’roll resurgence – Aaron Dessner of The National discusses how the image-conscious bands of the era contrasted with the more humble musicians he’d admired while growing up in the Midwest. “In our little corner of Ohio there’s a self-effacing tradition in indie rock. I think of Kim and Kelley Deal, who were accidental rock stars as opposed to intentional leather-jacket rock stars. Those were the kinds of bands we idolised.”
As Paris carves out a new underground scene, this selector is uncovering the strange sounds of the city
“When you're in a club it’s really boring to have your super clever friend lecturing you about rave in the late 80s. Shut up, we're having a party”
“When I wake up in the middle of the night to have a piss, I'll check Discogs,” says Quentin Vandewalle, sipping a mug of black Costa coffee on a damp and dismal Friday evening in Hackney. “I don't find the time to look for records. I don't take time, either – I just do it.” Anyone who’s ever sunk their teeth into one of Vandewalle’s absurdly eclectic NTS shows, seen him rearrange a club, or delved headfirst into the bulging back catalogue of the Antinote imprint he runs out of Paris’ 10th arrondissement won’t be surprised to discover that the Frenchman’s passion for music borders on the obsessive. Better known as Zaltan, Vandewalle’s ear for the weird and the wonderful has seen him edge himself into the consciousness of more discerning dancers out there, and in an age where everyone and their pet axolotl is desperate to be seen as a genredefying selector, coming across a DJ as genuinely fearless as Vandewalle is more important than ever. That ability to avoid the obvious is the direct result of a laborious process. “I used to be a kind of guerilla digger, hanging out with friends in Paris record shops every day,” he says. “We’d spend two or three hours a day in dusty basements.” The result was stiff joints and a record collection that’d turn oddity-obsessives like Young Marco green with envy. In a Zaltan set, tropically-infused balearic chuggers run into weatherworn digi-dub deep cuts; avant-hard soundscapes drift in and out of bargain basement 80s boogie-notboogie; dreamy acid house barges into clatteringly lo-fi minimal wave material that sounds like it’s been beamed straight out of a Soviet numbers station. Songs that shouldn’t, and in
the hands of lesser DJs couldn’t, work together become perfect bedfellows. In the last two or so years Zaltan’s made the transition from Parisian bar DJ – he’s been playing regularly for just over a decade – to the kind of selector who has shows on Red Light Radio and plays at Dekmantel. But it is the French capital, and its abundance of decent second hand record shops, where his distinct sound germinated. If you believe Zaltan, and frankly why wouldn’t you trust a DJ as louchely charming as he is in the flesh, Paris is undergoing something of a club culture renaissance. DJs like Raphaël TopSecret (“The sickest digger I've met”) and Low Jack (“A great, great DJ, and someone who must go to the barbers at least once a week”) are finally finding spaces, in both city-centre clubs and dingier venues on the outskirts of the city’s central belt, to ply their wares properly. “Paris is a bit posh,” Zaltan explains. “So it’s new to have a good soundsystem in a venue and to see people actually dancing. And not hear them talking over the music. For a long time we had beautiful old clubs but the sound was shit and no one cared about the music.” That shift in attitude is perfect for the Antinote boss. “I don't like to just play for straight, white people in their 20s. That's super boring,” he says when we discuss the social openness of Paris’ contemporary warehouse party scene. “It doesn't make sense either because what I'm playing is super mixed. It's mostly gay music.” For all the depth of knowledge stuffed into every single groove of every record in every set he plays, Vandewalle refuses to see clubs as environments
for history lessons. While he acknowledges that any half-decent DJ should be attempting to find a balance between knowing where they came from and where they are now, a night in a club should be, first and foremost, actually, you know, fun. “When you're having fun in a club it’s really boring to have your super clever, super cultured friend lecturing you about rave in the late 80s. Shut up, we're having a party,” he says, laughing into his coffee. “Even if I'm extremely hungover, I want to meet new people, do some sightseeing,” he says when I ask if his new life as a label-running, globetrotting DJ is taking its toll on him. The one thing that has changed, as it does for so many selectors, is that his experience of clubs as a punter has been reshaped, remoulded. “Because I tend to know a lot of people in clubs I'm chit-chatting all night,” he says. There’s a note of sadness to the statement, as if he can’t quite believe that he’s had to adapt to a new reality. And then he smiles again. “If I'm in Paris, well, I'm fucked. You'll find me at the bar, fucked, smoking cigarettes and talking shit to my friends.” Crack Magazine hosts Zaltan all night long at Garage Noord, Amsterdam, 23 March
Words: Josh Baines Photography: Leo D'oriano
Produced exclusively for Crack Magazine by Pete Sharp - petesharp.art
: o i h o l
The rising UK rapper has everyone shook
“If you’re not confident the crowd will sense it. It’s like being thrown into shark-infested waters when you have a cut – they can smell that blood from miles away”
Words: Yemi Abiade Photography: Lillie Eiger Styling: Holly Macdonald
I pull up the video on my phone for us to watch together. The session – which sees her rap along to her new track Bands for the increasingly popular Colors platform – is quickly attracting praise. “I’ve always battled thoughts in my head that people don’t fuck with me, so to see the responses be so positive...” She smiles in disbelief. Hype is not something the down-toearth 25-year-old, born Funmi Ohio, really subscribes to. But on mic Flohio is the brazen, unapologetic MC and fierce representative of South London, whose intense energy leaves an instant impression. Her music is difficult to categorise; to label her a grime artist is inaccurate given her taste for unusual beats and the sprawling nature of her music. At the same time, Flohio combines lyrical punches with frantic, urgent double-time flows that would make even the most technical MCs nervous. After debuting in 2016 with her Nowhere Near EP – a record of sparse, crackling hip-hop beats and gripping self-discovery – Flohio has selective been with her output, only appearing on the L-Vis 1990’s collab Yeah Yeah and her track Fights with London production duo God Colony in 2017. The latter is a call of action for whoever wants to engage in lyrical warfare, boasting the razor sharp hook: “They reminisce like this, but bodies that I’m dropping always sound like hits”. Intense, fearless and grounded are words that instantly come to mind when hearing Flohio's work, but what has inspired this aspect of her arsenal? “What I write about is where I was in the past, where I am now and where I see myself in the future,” she tells me. “So, in my future, I’ll rap about what
I want for myself, my friends, my family. And the present is the bullshit and happiness I’m going through at the moment. I can’t rap about cars because I don’t have one, I don’t bust guns. I’m from south London so I rap a lot about my community. I’m true to who I am and writing about what I’m living.” Her childhood memories are of her family settling in Bermondsey, south east London, after migrating from Nigeria. With her pilot father rarely around, her mother always working and her older sister in boarding school, the then nineyear-old Flohio was left to her own devices. She developed a passion for watching music videos from the golden era of Channel U and her idol, Lil Wayne. “When I came here I was in the background adjusting, and I just wanted to fit in,” she reflects. “So, it was a phase of me trying to figure out what my life was at the time, when I was 10-12.” Music was the perfect escape from the daily toils of this transition period, and she began writing lyrics at the age of 13. Until recently, she had a job as a graphic designer at record label Ninja Tune, which she left last year. “I just wanted to be happy making music, it allows me to be so free,” she says. “Plus, I hate waking up early; after performing abroad one night, I can’t be going back to work the next morning!” Both solo and with God Colony, live performance has given Flohio an opportunity to thrive, and she’s shared stages with the likes of GAIKA and Princess Nokia. While she continues to adjust to her frequent inner conflicts, delivering her lyrics onstage has installed in her an enduring selfassurance. “Music has forced me to
be confident, even from being in front of an audience,” she says. “You don’t really prepare for it and if you’re not confident [the crowd] will sense it. It’s like being thrown into shark-infested waters when you have a cut – they can smell that blood from miles away.” Having found her happiness through her music, Flohio is ready for what the future holds, with clear definitions of what the word ‘achievement’ means to her. “I want my music to take me all around the world – end of,” she concludes. “I want to get paid to make people happy and love each other. I want to be a promoter of peace and love, that’s the only thing we can give, man. I don’t want my nephew to grow up in a messed-up world where it’s all hate. I get a big buzz off making people happy and giving. That’s the shit I live for.” @flohio16
Flohio is excited today. As she enters an East London studio, the MC is eager to watch a live session of hers which has just dropped on YouTube. She scrambles for the Wi-Fi code, releasing a wave of emotions as she bounces up and down, squealing in jubilation.
Words: Alice Nicolov Photography: Cian Oba-Smith
Battle of the Flexes
Brooklynâ€™s Flex Dance Music ambassadors contort their way around the world
“If we can’t dance to it, it’s not good FDM”
061 hi hats and the crucial reggae riddims. They laid the foundation for FDM and were instantly lapped up by the community.
To understand the spirit of FDM, you have to experience it. As Hitmakerchinx, one of the genre’s pioneers, declares when we meet in London to talk about the music he’s spearheading. “It’s just energy music. It's not something you can speak about. You hear it and you don't know what it is but it makes you move.” Currently touring Europe alongside fellow FDM pioneer DJ Aaron ‘The Mix King’, the pair will have played Stockholm, Berlin, Gothenburg and Madrid by the time they get back to their native Brooklyn. Today they’ve arrived wearing matching BAPE hoodies, ready to give a masterclass in the genre’s history. While FDM is hard to describe and impossible to contain, its birthplace is specific to Brooklyn and the vibrant West Indian community living there. The genre didn’t spring fully-formed into life, however. Instead it’s the result of an evolving, symbiotic relationship between the music and a style of dance called flexing, which, until recently, was accompanied by flex tunes, FDM’s predecessor. Essential to FDM today, flexing sees people contort their bodies, serpentlike, through a series of fundamental moves – pausing, bonebreaking, connecting, gliding, get low, hat tricks and punchlines. Both Aaron and Hitmakerchinx are flex dancers and within moments of meeting them, you can tell that they’re athletes at the top of their game. The duo are built like ballet dancers – elegant in their movements, perfectly poised and gently expressive as they talk. Flexing’s foundations lie in the 90s, when a new dance style arrived in Brooklyn from Kingston, Jamaica. Dubbed bruk up, a name taken from its loose-limbed, broken movements, it set the community on fire. Brooklyn parties were soon overrun with bruk up dancers, and the style quickly transitioned onto people’s screens via local access cable show show Flex N Brooklyn. A showcase for
neighbourhood talent, rappers, singers and dancers would take to the stage to perform. But bruk up began to metamorphise, becoming immensely popular as dancers added increasingly intricate movements. And so flex was born, its name taken from the West Indian term ‘flex’. “We say ‘flex’, just like that Mad Cobra song, you know? ‘Flex, time to have sex’?” Hitmakerchinx laughs. With the dance came a new culture. An entire scene of DJs emerged, creating long, simple mixes of riddims for flex teams to battle to. These gradually shortened but remained basic instrumentals until a new wave of DJs, many of whom were dancers themselves, blew onto the scene. Aaron, one of the most revered creators of flex tunes, rode the crest of this new wave in the early 2000s, birthing a fresh sound that was uptempo with harder beats. His blends still mixed reggae riddims but added raw samples stripped from songs.
The first of his tracks to take the sound outside of its locality was Earthquake. “Earthquake was the difference,” Chinx says. “Because it had the bass that everybody loved.” Drum heavy and club ready it was featured on 2014’s Step Up 5 soundtrack, where it was picked up by Total Freedom who recognised how perfect it was for the dancefloor. Hitmakerchinx’s sound soon spread throughout club collectives like GHE20G0TH1K and Night Slugs – the latter who released Hitmakerchinx's lauded Shades and Monsters: FDM Classics alongside Fade To Mind in 2017. “Fade to Mind and Night Slugs really inspired us dropping FDM mainstream for the world to enjoy – it was just on SoundCloud and for the dancers before,” Chinx says. In 2015, Aaron dipped his toe into FDM. “A guy in my dance group was like, ‘Yo man, you should really try that
Since its official naming, FDM has blossomed. Outside the flexing community, the music is embraced. Hitmakerchinx and Aaron have been joined by Uninamise and Epic B and, together, the four are at FDM’s centre, thrusting the sound forward. Chinx and Aaron still use flexing as the foundation for their work. Both continue to flex and the dancer’s physical body remains at the core of every FDM track. The two are inextricably woven together and the strength of their music comes from their strength as bone-bending dancers. Hitmakerchinx says, “If we can’t dance to it, it’s not good FDM.” While others are now trying to make FDM, the genre’s pioneers aren’t worried. The sound can only be mimicked by those who don’t come from the culture. Hitmakerchinx breaks it down simply. “It’s spiritual for me and it’s embedded in my life. I'm West Indian, I grew up watching Flex N Brooklyn, I grew up in battle fests, I grew up around flexing and flex dancers. It moulded my style and changed me as a person. The music does a different thing for me – it makes me happier, it takes care of me. It's a different type of energy.” soundcloud.com/ hitmakerchinx
Aaron explains this magpie approach with the example of mixing the throbbing Volume Riddim, FDM’s foundational riddim, with Madonna’s Frozen. “It was me taking the dancehall aspect and breaking it down for people to understand. I would take any riddim and mix it with what was hip. It would still be dancehall but whatever we mixed it with would add a different energy.” The new sound swept the flexing world. Then Hitmakerchinx arrived. Already dancing and making beats, it was after hearing DJ Flava’s remix of Rihanna’s Cry that he turned towards flex. Unlike the first spate of DJs, Hitmakerchinx produced his tracks from scratch using FL Studios. Structured and complex, his tunes were built using precise layers of 808s, bass, kicks, samples,
If EDM is electronic dance music, then flex dance music is just an easier way to explain it than saying, ‘We’re a subgenre of dancehall and reggae’,” Hitmakerchinx says.
sound Chinx has been doing.’ So I tried it.” He remembers putting out his first FDM track, Street Fighter Tune. People loved it, so he just kept making it. The two came together to name the new genre which blended island sounds with urban landscapes. “We needed to change it from flex tunes to FDM.
There’s been a visceral new sound seeping out of Brooklyn in recent years. The music is dark, bassheavy, intertwined carefully with the irresistible strains of reggae and dancehall and tinged with New York attitude. This is flex dance music – FDM – and it’s taking over.
062 Words: Rachel Grace Almeida Illustration: Andrew Cunningham
MUSIC + CULTURE
MUSIC + CULTURE
MUSIC + CULTURE
MUSIC + CULTURE
MUSIC + CULTURE
MUSIC + CULTURE
Top: Liam Hodges
Words: Davy Reed Photography: Jack Grange Styling: Luci Ellis Make-Up: Rachel Shepherd
Tucked into the second half of Everything Is Recorded – a starstudded project from XL Recordings co-founder Richard Russell – are three songs featuring the soul-stirring vocals of Infinite Coles. It's a name you might see around more often in the near future. Over a FaceTime video call the rising artist already looks like a star, with his hair pulled back in a bob to accentuate a face framed by flamboyantly styled eyebrows. He also bears a striking resemblance to his father Dennis Coles – known to the world as Ghostface Killah, the WuTang Clan’s surrealist storyteller. Having starred in Gang – a Dazed commissioned short film described as “like Saturday Night Fever for the vogue-tumblr generation” – in 2015, doors have been swinging open for Infinite Coles. He’s since starred in an Apple advert, had a track featured in a Fenty Beauty campaign and made bold strides in the fashion world.
“I really, really appreciate designers who have no gender to their clothes,” the 24-year-old says of his personal style. “It’s like anyone can wear whatever you want, and you can feel comfortable, and you can look fab.” He lists Nicopanda, Gypsy Sport and Hood By Air as some of his favourite brands. Lamenting the current hiatus of Shayne Oliver's label, he proudly pulls up his HBA hoodie – one of the many items Oliver himself gifted him after he helped shift their stock to a new warehouse.
The story goes that the first time Infinite Coles sang for an audience was at the Wu-Tang house in New Jersey, where the family had gathered to celebrate Christmas. A 14-year-old Infinite performed a rendition of O’ Holy Night, impressing RZA – the group’s visionary leader and primary producer, who is also Infinite’s uncle. While Infinite Coles' aesthetic is far from the hardcore hip-hop of the Wu-Tang style, being in the bloodline of the most mythologised group in rap history has had an influence. “I’m not really close to my real dad like that – my uncle has been taking care of me as long as I can remember, so he is definitely one of my biggest inspirations,” Infinite explains, pointing out that he’s calling from RZA’s home. “He had me listening to a whole bunch of throwback music, from Luther Vandross, Marvin Gaye, Patti LeBelle. That’s what I like to listen to, especially when I’m around my family. If I’m alone I go off a vibe, so for the new singers I’d probably say like SZA, [FKA] twigs, The Internet,” he smiles. “The list could go on, I love music.” When we’re discussing the Everything Is Recorded project, Infinite beams with gratitude. The link-up came via producer and engineer Alex Epton, who soundtracked the Gang film and swiftly recommended Infinite Coles to Richard Russell. With sessions in New York and London, Russell weaved Infinite’s voice – which brings to mind comparisons of Shamir and Jeremih
– into the Everything Is Recorded LP. The project also features artists such as Kamasi Washington, Giggs and The Internet’s Syd, and he’s since become a central part of the project’s live show as a singer and dancer. “I was basically in awe,” Infinite remembers of first working with Russell, who he credits for helping improve his self-confidence. “And then meeting all the other artists he introduced me to like Giggs and Sampha and the Ibeyi twins – it’s like a family. They make me feel comfortable. I never thought anything like this would happen.” Our call takes place shortly before Infinite flies to London to perform as part of Everything Is Recorded alongside the likes of Sampha, Ibeyi and Warren Ellis. Having struggled with insecurity and loneliness, Infinite Coles is beginning to thrive. On top of nudging him further into the spotlight, these accomplishments are benefiting his spiritual well-being too. “I don’t have many fans, but people who are fans of mine, they give me a reason to keep going and they make me love myself,” he says. “After I started loving myself, a whole bunch of opportunities started knocking at my door.” Everything Is Recorded is out now via XL Recordings
Top: Marharishi Trousers: Marharishi Boots: Sorrel
Top: Alex Mullins Trousers: Alex Mullins Trainers: Nike
Jumper: 3.Paradis Trousers: Marharishi Boots: Dr Martens
CTM 2018 Various venues, Berlin 26 January - 4 February
Turmoil, is far flung from the flashy escapism promoted by so many large-scale music events. Alongside Pure Imminence, this year’s CTM exhibition favoured anxietyinducing digital art which explored themes of artificial intelligence, claustrophobia and post-humanism: one space, full of suspended construction tools, resembled a fallout shelter gone wrong. Tuesday night at CTM crystallised this vision with a line-up comprised of artists seeking to confound preconceived perceptions of rhythm and tone. One of these was London-based musician Klein. Arrive at Berghain on any given weekend and you’re usually welcomed by the relentless familiarity of a thrumming kickdrum. Tonight was different. Klein’s performance followed no traditional narrative – long unbroken loops of dissonant, disemboweled and disembodied RnB either floated or pummelled their way
around the room while her voice flitted from back to foreground and back again. The whole thing stank of a confused and melancholic kind of euphoria, which if you’ve ever spent a double-digit amount of time on Berghain’s dancefloor is a feeling you’ll know well. Housed in a nondescript part of the enormous Funkhaus complex that sits over the river in a nondescript part of eastern Berlin, MONOM’s 4DSOUND system also makes it difficult to get your bearings. With the sound seemingly coming from everywhere and FIS tucked away in a corner of the darkened room, the event deviated from the traditional performer/audience dynamic. As the first sounds began to emerge from beneath, the crowd collectively decided on facing towards the centre of the room, towards a focal point that didn’t exist. It’s an incredibly visual experience – shutting your eyes makes you feel as if you can almost see the sound as it rockets from under your
feet and into the ceiling, while the star-gazing optimism from FIS’ closing synth lines did little to bring us back to Earth. As well as suggesting that the experimental world would benefit from lightening up, a few acts promoted the collective spirit often summoned in response to turmoil. Rashaad Newsome’s performance art piece FIVE saw five dancers deconstruct the building blocks of vogue. First one by one and then as a team, they spun and flexed impossibly gracefully to the backing of a seven-piece jazz band, which included an operatic singer and an MC. The result was a joyous display of defiance – both jazz and vogue thrived as an outlet for marginalised communities, and the piece was deeply cathartic. Indeed, CTM’s most striking performances were defined by a celebration of the human spirit. The most significant example was the Holly Herndon Ensemble. Herndon has long used music as an outlet to pull apart our relationship with
machines, so it’s interesting that she now chooses to amplify human voices as opposed to computers which simulate them. A collective of vocalists joined Herndon and Mat Dryhurst on stage. Led by Colin Self, they reproduced the heavily processed, syntheticsounding choral elements in Herndon’s work, switching between this and more traditional harmonies. Dressed in muted colours, and with Herndon nailing a future cult leader look, they buzzed with enthusiasm, singing gleefully at each other and often embracing post-song. At one point during the performance, a heavily pregnant woman draped herself on a platform at side of stage, a spotlight illuminating her bare bump. She disappears but returns for the encore, where all performers dance wildly around the stage to Herndon’s track Fade, conjuring something close to a rave scene that could have appeared in the 90s movie Hackers. It felt like a
pointed rebuke to experimental music’s pale, male and stale image, and it certainly made you feel something. Like much of the performance, it captured a blissful energy – showing that the avant-garde doesn’t have to be stripped of light and joy. !
Anna Tehabsim + Graeme Bateman N Camille Blake + Udo Siegfriedt
Critical Mass: Pure Imminence is an artwork by Anne de Vries which simulates the epic intensity of large scale dance music events – the ones so geared toward mass euphoria they’re unintentionally hilarious. The video depicts arenas plucked straight from the Tomorrowland school of design, as dancers form ant-like dots in the vast space. Strobes pulse and descend. Buzzwords like ‘ecstasy’ and ‘imminence’ are delivered with movietrailer vigour, punctuating an EDM-style soundtrack which builds and builds, driving up adrenaline levels like a rollercoaster that never drops. Playing as part of the exhibition at CTM 2018, at first glance the artwork sits in stark contrast to the long-running Berlin festival. CTM typically celebrates the dark corners of experimental music and art, as fiercely experimental acts join darlings of the electronic music underground for events spread across the city’s industrial club spaces. This year’s theme,
Wild Beasts Hammersmith Apollo 17 February
Kendrick Lamar Genting Arena, Birmingham 9 February Like the Wu-Tang Clan before him, Kendrick Lamar has incorporated kung-fu aesthetics into his art. Last year’s DAMN. album spawned the alias Kung-Fu Kenny (aka Black Turtle) and its tour is tied together by a three-part short film that blends influences from blaxploitation and vintage martial arts movies. When the Compton rapper emerges onstage for opener DNA in black robes tonight, he’s soon joined by an agile sword-swinging ninja. This is an arena rap show masterclass. With flame throwers, art house visuals, intense energy and clear vocal delivery, Kendrick Lamar commands the emotions of 15,700 fans. The setlist is centred around DAMN., but tracks from previous LPs provide a lot of highlights – Money Trees, for example, is performed from an illuminated second stage that elevates from the middle of the arena. That said, the gig isn’t without flaws. Lamar’s three-piece band are tucked away, ground-level, on the right of the stage, deliberately out of sight for the majority of the audience. It’s presumably to keep eyes on Lamar and the minimal visuals, but 90 minutes is a long time to watch one performer – even a great one – and the sight of an energetic live band would have been welcome. Tonight’s gig also takes place on the release date of the Black Panther soundtrack – a cohesive, adventurous project that essentially qualifies as a bonus Kendrick Lamar album. Considering the significance of the soundtrack, a celebration seems in order. But this is the DAMN. tour. It’s a tightly-rehearsed show with a carefully-curated concept, and Lamar is sticking to the script. Clearly, his fans have rehearsed for this too. During the penultimate track Humble, Kendrick Lamar cuts the beat after a couple of bars so that the fans can rap the rest of it, then he wheels back the tune for another rendition. We’ve seen rappers let their audience finish off their best punchlines before – but an entire song? Only Kung-Fu Kenny could such achieve such a thing. ! Davy Reed N @wowpeej
Fever Ray Columbiahalle, Berlin 28 February As Fever Ray and in The Knife, Karin Dreijer has embodied many characters, but she’s never looked like she’s had this much fun doing it. When Fever Ray’s Plunge crash-landed last year, its gleefully shocking antics left us gasping for air. A world away from the steely presence of her Fever Ray debut, a series of videos saw Dreijer inhabit a wide-eyed, genderless body to flesh out the album’s anarcho-queer vision, and employed a cast of characters to toy with its BDSM basement aesthetics. These characters appeared again in the visuals for the Plunge tour, introduced to us in a series of Top Trump cards, looking like Mortal Kombat fighters from an alien planet ruled by women. These characters comprise Fever Ray’s band, and they appear tonight at the sold out Berlin show. Seems like someone’s been watching Glow – a purple hue descends on the stage and the band members arrive one by one with all the camp ferocity of a wrestler entering the ring. As they stomp to the front of the stage they each work a kind of Street Fighter goes to Berghain look: sporting whips, lycra, day-glo flowers, head-to-toe PVC and – a personal favourite – a body builder muscle suit, bright orange and cinched at the waist by pink glitter pants. Karin Dreijer follows, sporting the demonic baby look from her videos, the light reflecting off her bald head and Vaseline-smeared make-up. Her t-shirt, which says ‘I love Swedish Girls’ (with ‘Swedish’ crossed out in black tape), is a not-so-subtle reminder of the themes fizzing through the album. Indeed, the whole show drips with lust. While The Knife’s farewell tour had an element of stage school theatrics, tonight is pure joy. The women take their places – two on percussion, one on synths and two singers joining Dreijer at the front – as they rattle into new material, embellishing tracks like An Itch and A Part of Us with earthy live percussion, thick bass and choreographed dance moves. In between bounding round the stage, the three singers move in unison, with armpit whiffs, finger sniffs, and fists up for This Country’s rally cry: “This country makes it hard to fuck”. This biggest reaction of the night is, unsurprisingly, to their quite literal illustration of the album’s lyrical trigger switch: “I want to run my fingers up your pussy”. It’s a punishing -10 degrees outside tonight but it's pretty steamy in here. One demonstration of Plunge’s carnal pulse sees the three act out a ménage à trois, taking it in turns to sub and dom – hair is pulled, legs are hoisted over bodies, faces pushed toward the floor. These intoxicating moments are harshly contrasted with material from Fever Ray. Pivoting between extroversion and introversion, the suffocating domesticity of the debut is reflected in stark, low-lit performances. The singers huddle motionless in a corner of the stage, singing about TV and concrete walls. For Red Trails, one singer twirls with silver wings billowing around her, like a phoenix rising from an oil spill, and we are brought back up to the heavens again. The pink and purple haze of the strip lights turns into rainbows for the encore of If I Had a Heart and Mama's Hand – one song about lovelessness and one about longing – before the band gather at the front, resembling a depraved Spice Girls. In a show packed with joy and strength and pride, their collective presence feels truly nourishing. More than anything, tonight traced the scale of Fever Ray’s journey – stepping out from claustrophobia into the wild unknown; from domesticity to a new kind of family. ! Anna Tehabsim N POP-EYE / Wengel
Endings are strange. They can hurt, but when done properly they can carry you to places you never touched when the thing was still alive. After a career spanning the best part of 15 years, and five studio albums, Kendal four-piece Wild Beasts have managed exactly that, closing the door in such a way that will forever elevate their memory. For a band who have never had a commercial “hit”, their final gig was a staggering reminder of just how many untouchable tunes they have written. Tracks like Mecca or Loop the Loop are proof that despite always being filed under “esoteric”, they were a group with pop sensibilities. Yet it was also a reminder of the darkest, strangest corners of their psyches – the apocalyptic feminism of Daughters springs to mind, with “the pretty children sharpening their blades”. That said, the evening was far from solemn. Returning to the stage following an interval, the strutting Get My Bang brought with it confetti cannons and streamers: one of a few unexpected but entirely deserved moments of real ceremony. If there was a thematic “song of the night” – in any obvious sense – it was the closing track from 2011’s Smother, End Come Too Soon. Printed in bold letters on t-shirts in the foyer, the song title felt like a mantra. It was, of course, the final song the band played on stage; a song about the finality of all things. As the song reached its mid-point ambient lull, we watched the group lay their body of work to rest with a midsong bow and a lasting group hug. Then, with the rush of drums that builds to the song’s crescendo, a curtain fell to reveal a women’s choir, cloaked in black veils, to accompany them – a fitting moment of winking melodrama before they drifted into darkness. We have to ask: why don’t more bands do this? Deciding to supernova, just as their star was about to wane, is surely always preferable to dribbling away if you can help it. As Wild Beasts said themselves in their break-up note: “We’re caretakers to something precious and we don’t want to have it diminish as we move on in our lives.” This finale was the ultimate act of artistic control. ! Angus Harrison N Aino Väänänen
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The Breeders All Nerve 4AD
08 04 Mist Diamond in the Dirt Sickmade
Mist came through in a major way on this nine-track EP. Running like a movie with Rick Ross-level cinematics, the project sees the Birmingham rapper operating in second gear, matching slick, bassheavy production with stone cold lyrical steez. Intro Dreams to Reality is the calm before the storm, brewing with passion and demonstrating an audible improvement in Mist's trademark flows. As he strives to make the world a better place for his daughter on the Jessie Ware-assisted Wish Me Well and repress his anguish with honesty on Display Skills (“You know I’m the realest, my pain so deep you can feel it, I won’t tell you what I’ve seen but I seen it”), Mist continues to make gold with producer Steel Banglez. The same can be said for Screw and Brew teammate MoStack, who waltzes past a star turn on the slow-burning bop of Uber. Closing track Moshpit, also featuring Stack and produced by Swifta Beater, is an intense curveball from Mist; out with the smooth beats and in comes a visceral grime instrumental with frantic vocals to match. Featured vocalists Nines, Fekky, Mr. Eazi and WSTRN’s Haile contribute a sense of variety to the project without overshadowing the main star. Expect more health and wealth for Mist this year, with Diamond in the Dirt at the heart of it all. !
The Garden Mirror Might Steal Your Smile Epitaph The Garden have managed to avoid strict categorisation in the seven years that they’ve been together so far. Still only 24 years old, for this third album the Californian twins don’t hold back when it comes to indulging their creative whims. The irony is that the curveballs almost become predictable as a result. On the back of the last two LPs, you’d expect Mirror Might Steal Your Smile to place moments that genuinely thrill alongside some badly-advised missteps. Sure enough, that’s what we get. This is an erratic piece of work that works better when it sticks to power pop on tracks like Call the Dogs Out and No Destination (credit where it’s due, too, for the furious psych punk of Voodoo Luck). Elsewhere, the dalliances with Busdriver-style alternative hip-hop – Make a Wish, A Message for Myself – are both garish and fall flat, whilst the less said about the messy, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink experiment Shameless Shadow, the better. You very much get the sense that The Garden are their own favourite band. You wonder, though, whether they’re anybody else’s. !
The Breeders have been a shape-shifting pillar of underrated alternative rock since the early 90s. Conceived by Kim Deal while touring with the Pixies – and at the time also including Throwing Muses’ Tanya Donelly – the band’s second album Last Splash achieved crossover success, in part thanks to their 1993 hit single Cannonball. But in 1995 Kim’s bandmate and twin sister Kelley was admitted to rehab, and The Breeders subsequently went on hiatus. When The Breeders eventually returned with a different line-up for 2002’s Title TK album, Kim’s deft song writing style and talent for a droll melancholy was given space and resonance. The formula of sideways, screeching pop, muted guitar distortion and vocals buried in effects that so defined The Breeders’ college rock days gave way to the scaled-back harmonies supported by engineer Steve Albini’s famously hands-off process. By 2008’s Mountain Battles, the band's embrace of elemental, dancefloor rhythms made it clear that their fraught history of yearsdelayed releases was small but impeccable. Reunited for the 20th anniversary of Last Splash five years ago, All Nerve sees the original cast of that iconic album establish The Breeders as a project of a quality comparable to PJ Harvey’s always developing, ever-evolving oeuvre – only at a fraction of the output. A theremin opening leads into the heavy breathing and cracked vocal of opener Nervous Mary, while Josephine Wiggs’ British accent delivers spoken word poetry carried on an insistent storm of bass and scratchy guitar pitches for MetaGoth. Meanwhile, Dawn: Making an Effort is perhaps the subtle standout, and part of the unsung aspect of The Breeders’ key strength. "Bursting flowers/ one wild sprawl/ untethered." It’s one where a mournful instrumental arrangement acts as a vast cushion for the raw and stripped back words of a world-worn life of loss and regret. !
Dabrye Three/Three Ghostly International
Frankie Cosmos Vessel Sub Pop A new Frankie Cosmos album can feel like picking up a lost thread of conversation. The band’s founder and leader Greta Kline is prolific – over the last six years she’s released 52 projects – and Vessel is the third studio album from Frankie Cosmos. Kline’s short songs, often seizing on one concept for under two minutes before moving on, have the effect of a meandering night in, drinking wine and batting back and forth ideas, circling around to the same topics but loving the detours. Frankie Cosmos’ bedroom indie sound remains similar to 2016’s Next Thing album and it’s easy to find Vessel a continuation of a vibe rather than something entirely new. But when you’re doing the quiet, certain loneliness as Kline does so well, why bother mixing it up? With Vessel comfort and anxiety track along side by side. The 30 second track My Phone feels like a 60s love song reimagined in the social media era, with Kline crooning sweetly, “Throw my phone out/ I know you’d be around/ you’re easy to be found/ I’m easy to be found”. It’s swiftly followed by Cafeteria, where Kline frets and backtracks: “I never look back/ It only hurts my head… Okay sometimes I look/ But only for a sec”. Greta Kline’s world is one of both grand potential and selflimitation. “And I knew,” she sings on excellent lead single Jesse, “if I thought really hard about flying/ I could probably do it/ I’m just too tired for trying.” Nothing is ever easy in Frankie Cosmos territory; nothing, as she sings on the title track, comes natural. Kline has a keen, quick grip on the back-and-forth of modern uncertainty, swinging high from triumph to low-lit sorrow. It’s why she’s such a comfort to return to, keeping you company in the long nights, laughing with you again in the morning over breakfast. !
Under a manifold of aliases, Tadd Mullinix has tinkered with genres from glitchy acid house to raw-boned industrial. But the Michigan beatmaker is most known for his electronicainfluenced hip-hop as Dabrye. Dabrye has been quiet since 2008’s Get Dirty, but time has gifted Three/Three, Mullinix’s final instalment of his trilogy of albums for Ghostly International, with a greater perspective. Whereas Two/Three was heavy handed with the intersecting of angular electronica and sparse Dillabound hip-hop, Dabrye’s latest sharpens his tracks’ structural trajectories for the record’s myriad of MCs to lyrically doodle over. The kinetic flows of La Peace in Fightscene, Fatt Father’s Detroit-endowed story-building on Stranded, Jonwayne’s playful “Ain’t you learned how to knock?” refrain on Pretty have all been meticulously delegated to a beat that compliments their inimitable styles. Three/Three’s exclusively instrumental tracks, Electrocutor, Sunset (with Shigeto) and Vert-Horiz, are where Dabrye flags. Regardless, the amalgam of Clear Soul Forces’ plaited flows above perverted G-Funk on Sisfo Ridin’ and the irregular verbal discharges from Doom on Lil Mufukuz certifies Dabrye’s return to hip-hop production as not only welcome, but essential. !
Appleblim Life in a Laser Sneaker Social Club David Byrne American Utopia Nonesuch / Todo Mundo Bishop Nehru Elevators: Act I & II Nehruvia There’s been a lot of love for 21-year-old rapper Bishop Nehru among hip-hop cognoscenti. Nas, DOOM and producers like Premier and 9th Wonder are among the elder statesmen who’ve given him their blessing. But his 2014 collaborative album with DOOM didn’t make as much impact as it could have. And in a hip-hop scene in which boombapfixated grandads have plenty of new talent to get excited about (Conway, Westside Gunn, Hus Kingpin) it might seem like Nehru’s moment as reanimator of rap’s potential for depth and intrigue has passed. But that’s not the case. The New York rapper has called Elevators his "attempt at a hip-hop Pet Sounds" and fortunately it’s much better than that rather worrying ambition might suggest. Production duties are split evenly between Kaytranada (who produces side A, or Act I) and DOOM who takes over for Act II on the flip. Conceptually, Act I is a portrayal of Nehru’s artistic ambition to ascend from a world determined to derail that ambition, while Act II is an engrossing portrait of his freefall back to lurid reality and the artistic negotiations necessary for him to struggle on and survive. At no point does Elevators feel like it’s trying too hard to find a hot track or fall into step with so many of hip-hop’s current dwindling returns. Tracks like the stunning Game Of Life and Potassium achieve a miraculous balance between sounding cutting edge and yet unconcerned with the clichés currently boring mainstream rap to death. Whether the world notices how great Elevators is shouldn’t dissuade you from investigating it immediately. Not the stateof-the-art, but the state the art could be in if it tried harder. !
Like all of us, David Byrne is living through a traumatic chapter in American history. Given the daily agony of the Trump Presidency, American Utopia will likely strike many as an ironic, embittered title for his first true solo LP since 2004’s Grown Backwards. However, the sunny opening chords of I Dance Like This quickly establish that in spite of everything, Byrne’s heart is still warm, and filled with hope. “I’m working on my dancing/ This is the best I can do” he croons. Far from despairing, American Utopia’s many-faced art-pop sincerely entertains the possibility of better worlds, even on the verge of the superpower’s collapse. This sincerity won’t appeal to everyone. For such weighty subject material, some of Byrne’s lyrics can seem irreverent. “Doggy dances doing doodie/ Doggy dreaming all day long” we hear on Dog’s Mind, a line delivered in two part harmony over cinematic sweeps of choir-like synths. Other times, his musings seem awkwardly random, such as the references to chickens, roosters and donkey dicks on Every Day Is A Miracle – an otherwise uplifting track with tropical overtones that recalls the eccentric joy of the Talking Heads. Combined with a rich choral arrangement and a typically off-kilter break, the result is strangely tasteful. What rubs some up the wrong way will doubtlessly be enjoyed by others, particularly those already familiar with the childlike charm which has always featured in Byrne’s music. On times, it remains his best quality – Everybody’s Coming to My House bristles with naive excitement and anxiety, driven by upbeat percussion that swings over the top of a mournful drone of woodwind. It’s a standout moment on an otherwise pleasing body of thoughtful song-writing. !
There’s a case to be made that Laurie Osborne’s musical output – as Appleblim, and as the founder of the Skull Disco and Apple Pips labels – is seriously underappreciated. He’s well-respected, for sure, but a glance at his discography shows Osbourne’s fingerprints all over a plethora of directions that the post-dubstep landscape has taken since the early 00s. Notably, this includes giving Ricardo Villalobos’ ghoulish 20-minute remix of Shackleton’s Blood On My Hands to the world via Skull Disco, at a point where this kind of dub-techno crossover was still a pretty radical proposition. His own work has evolved from snappy, stealthy bass music, through jittery house compositions, to increasingly experimental undertakings that have included remixing Brian Eno. The arrival of his debut album – Life in a Laser – marks a crescendo to this wideranging trajectory, although it isn’t quite Osborne’s best work. There’s some strong material – the opening title track is a punchy, restless start; the swirling Chrome Mist sounds like Falty DL’s best work, and the brutishly weighty Pyramirror is an uncompromising finale. Elsewhere, the album contains clues to some of the constituent styles that have shaped the Appleblim aesthetic over more than ten years: NCI is a lush, blissed out junglist gem. But at times it feels a little too in hock to the ‘ardcore continuum influences it seeks to weave together. On I Think We’ll Let The Gas Sort This One Out’ a fragile balance is struck between throwback nostalgia for a time when breakbeats ruled the dance floor, and the slightly tedious mythologising that comes with much of this jungle-era romanticism. Given the breadth of styles and sounds that have carved out the eclectic Appleblim back-catalogue, a slightly less derivative approach might have catapulted this into the realms this artist is absolutely capable of reaching. !
Tyga Kyoto Last Kings / Empire Yo La Tengo There's a Riot Going On Matador Records When Sly and The Family Stone released the first record called There’s a Riot Goin’ On, it was part of a worldwide, furious resistance against criminals like Nixon, Kissinger and Hoover. Nobody knew that the generation who fought so hard against the Man in the 60s and 70s would go on to be the bastards that they are today. Even hardcore Yippies like Jerry Rubin went corporate and started prospecting real estate in the 80s. As is common knowledge, they’re why we’re all fucked. Yo La Tengo’s 2018 album of the same name is the millennial’s response to the cruel follies of our parents’ generation, as gifted by officially the most sensitive generation X bedroom indie band ever, self-recorded from their practice space. It may lack the heat of its forbear, but sums up its backdrop, and its audience, with similar insight. This is a fragile, resilient record; it sounds as if underneath a deep layer of snow, hinting upon spring without the might to fully herald it. Yo La Tengo are capable of upbeat bangers – Ohm, Sugarcube etc – but such tunes are absent here. This is the band at their most reflective; writing songs of fuzzy, gentle beauty. Shades of Blue and What Chance Have I Got are some of the most perfect and succinct tracks yet written by the band, harkening back to classics like Big Day Coming and Autumn Sweater in their romantic simplicity. Esportes Casual sees a Stereolablike sojourn into lounge and bossa nova, and You Are Here kicks off the record with the indistinct, meandering found throughout. Typically diverse in style, what links the record is its sense of inclusive melancholy. It’s a record with a gentleness that urges you to try and be less anxious, with a fragility that acknowledges that it probably hasn’t worked. !
At his best, Tyga is the hole in the donut, surrounded by more compelling collaborators and paramours. Whether as the voice of DJ Mustard’s career-making hit Rack City, as one half of a duo with Chris Brown, or as the ex-boyfriend of Kylie Jenner, Tyga has never been quite been talented or charismatic enough to hold his own. Now, for his sixth commercial album the ex-Young Money artist has thrown something of a curveball with Kyoto – a self-described “singing album” that finds him tackling AutoTuned rapwarbling. Whereas Rack City set the tone and sound of West Coast rap (and large swaths of pop) for half a decade, Tyga hangs onto the coattails of other artists on Kyoto. Alongside a handful of vaguely “tropical” tunes du jour, Tyga spends most of the album trying out slow-motion trap&B and making songs that sound like Drake’s filler tracks from 10 years ago. For all his talk of “singing,” Tyga sometimes struggles to sustain the melodies, sounding unsure himself about whether or not this was a good idea. Never particularly skilled as a lyricist, here he provides plenty of cringe-worthy moments. “I been unfaithful, I been lyin’ like the king of the jungle”, the artist, named after a tiger, croons on one chorus. The theme of trust comes up again on Faithful, where he raps “sensation, communication, penetration, stimulation, ventilation, innovation”, making the case for someone confiscating his rhyming dictionary. Across the album, Tyga tries his best to evoke millennial memories of the TRL Era, naming a song Ja Rule & Ashanti, crafting an unworthy successor to Diddy’s I Need a Girl series and building a song around a faraway sample of R. Kelly’s Feelin’ On Yo Booty. On previous albums Tyga undermined himself by enlisting A-list collaborators, and on Kyoto he does it by referencing RnB that people used to love. !
Answer Code Request Gens Ostgut Ton The LPs released on Ostgut Ton have often defied the tough, austere techno stomp that those less familiar with its output might think of as its defining characteristic. This second album from Patrick Gräser, AKA Answer Code Request, isn’t conventional techno in any way and falls well between the cracks of the label’s vital contribution to the sound. Musically what is displayed on Gens is Gräser’s ability to shift fully away from techno as a genre to somewhere broken, vivid and entirely independent. Varied tempos are present throughout, but Gräser maintains careful control of the record’s flow. Sensa’s brooding electro stomp doesn’t invoke the energy associated with its pace due to the bass rumble that underpins it and similarly Audax has the teeth gritting intensity of an Aphex Twin off-cut, but the core of the track is the soft ethereal scape that reigns in its ferocity and gives it a minimalist feel rather than being hostile to the ears. knbn2’s broken beat feels like it could’ve been written by Special Request on a brighter day and the three beatless pieces (Mora, Orarum and An Unattainable Distance) do not feel like filler but superbly crafted soundscapes in their own right. An essential and refreshing electronic full-length. !
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Derrick Carter Derrick Carter Presents: Derrick Does Disco Presents: Derrick Does Disco
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Hieroglyphic Being The Red Notes Soul Jazz
Most people’s first introduction to Nathan Fake was 2004’s The Sky Was Pink – a uniquely epic piece of sparkling, progressive techno. Rather than make a dozen not-quiteas good follow-ups, Fake chose to diversify, making M83-esque soundscapes and, more recently on his 2016 Providence album, turning towards more pastoral compositions (with wellselected remixes delivering more dancefloor-focused versions). This new EP takes a slightly different tack again, and shares in common with collaborator James Holden’s latest album an organic sound captured in single takes with very little post-production. The title track and opener is a twitching, chugging slab of techno, the lo-fi recording method so prominent that you can almost hear the switches being flicked and dials being rotated as the track stumbles to frazzled completion. Serotonin Drops whips an initially soothing melody into a series of fizzing, discordant crescendos, that fully evidence the title’s sentiment. But in a strong five-song set, probably the best track is Cloudswept, and it also happens to provide the closest link back to Nathan Fake’s earliest releases. Synths dance around, spluttering in and out of focus; organ chords rise and fall; melody merges into syncopated rhythm and a majestic noise is coaxed into life and then disappears again. Nathan Fake has been around for some time, and Sunder is arguably up there with his best work. !
Marine Fable Electric The Vinyl Factory Fable Electric hovers in that hazy space between deep sleep and near-consciousness. Like the haunting dreams which surrounds the characters in The Tempest, the debut album from London quartet Marine is spectral, yet wise and controlled in its approach. As a concept, Fable Electric re-tells mythological stories of old through the mouthpiece of 21st century musicians with access to guitar pedals and handfuls of grit. Opener Sirens sways with an age-old sensuality, at first charming and then all at once dark and stormy, just apt for a tale of seductive creatures who lure sailors to their death amongst the waves. The sirens’ temptation is their song, and Marine’s re-telling seduces just the same. Together, lead vocalists Cara Sebastian and Ruby Jack attack vocals with the richness of Nadine Shah and the operatic magic of Kate Bush. There’s a formidable ache to their voices when they both sing at once. “Creature made of stalagmite/ You took the form of glass that night,” they sing on Mount Olympus, amongst whispered chants. On earlier recordings of the burgeoning Anima, Sebastian and Jack sing “We are made of stronger stuff than you.” On Fable Electric, the second repetition of this phrase ends with “books,” not “you,” as Marine begin to resist the tenacity of the tales they tell. Still, they end the phrase as they always have done: “We are made of stronger stuff, and in our dreams we conquer you.” Marine won’t let up on the power of dreaming as a means of embracing influence, no matter the tempest that falls upon them. !
Various Artists Centrifuge One: New Dance Sound of Moscow PG Tune
Migos Culture II Quality Control Music / Virgin / EMI Ever since the chart rules were adjusted to count streams alongside sales, commercially-minded artists have been padding out their albums with filler to get those numbers up. And in the realm of hip-hop, the strategy of being relentlessly prolific to stay relevant precedes these new incentives from streaming giants. While serving a 24-month prison sentence from 2014 to 2016, Atlanta rap figurehead Gucci Mane released countless street mixtapes. This leftover material tended to be mediocre at best, but the projects succeeded in keeping Gucci Mane’s name constantly on the timeline during his absence. Migos manager Coach K – who played a huge role in Gucci Mane’s rise – has confirmed that the increasingly popular trio are also shrewdly generous with their output. Late last year, Offset’s Without Warning project with 21 Savage and Metro Boomin was soon followed by a 30-track compilation from Coach K’s Quality Control label – on which a Migos member appeared on 22 of its songs. Two weeks later, Quavo dropped a collaborative LP with Travis Scott. A great Migos track requires close listening to admire the precision with which they spray the pockets of a beat with slapstick ad-libs, choppy syllables and Quavo’s autotuned purrs, and there just wasn’t enough time to digest all this music. But Coach’s plan had worked: at the beginning of 2018, Quavo was on 11 of the top 100 tracks in the US Billboard singles chart. While Migos’ Culture album was a concise effort, propelled by the viral hit Bad and Boujee and backed up with slow-burning fan favourites, its 24-track sequel runs at 106 minutes, rendering the Quality Control name slightly ironic. It’s easy to spot the disposable tracks (the sleepy intro Higher We Go and the instantly forgettable Post Malone collab Notice Me spring to mind) but the Migos are galvanised when the production digresses from their standard template of minor key trap beats. The fuzzy synths and whistles of the Pharrell-produced Stir Fry wake them up from a mid-album slumber, the sentimental Made Men sees the trio adjust their bow ties in the mirror for a slick ode to the good times, while Too Playa 2 is decorated with an epic, melancholic saxophone lead which brings out an inspired performance from 2 Chainz – a considered guest, as the track would have fit snugly on his vibrant 2017 album Pretty Girls Like Trap Music. While Offset and Quavo sometimes sound fatigued on Culture II, Twitter has been applauding the efforts of Takeoff, the trio’s gruff-voiced underdog, who goes extra hard throughout – perhaps in an effort to fix his reputation after being unfairly clowned for being “left off Bad and Boujee”. His groupmates and label would do well to take a leaf out of his book, as it’s one thing to have everyone listening to your music, but it’s another to have them listening for all the right reasons. !
Philipp Gorbachev’s PG TUNE label turns three this May. With an extensive discography and a fiercely DIY approach, the Moscow-raised producer has demonstrated an indomitable spirit – a useful quality coming from a city which doesn’t always take kindly to the underground, as would-be attendees of 2016’s cancelled Outline festival know only too well. Now Gorbachev brings us Centrifuge One, which collects fresh techno cuts from like-minded artists with a connection to the capital. His own contribution D-scription sets the tone well with a bassline that bubbles with seductive menace, conjuring visions of stone-faced raves in run-down spaces. Like all tracks on the compilation, it has the rough and ready feel of a track made on the fly. If the new dance sound of Moscow has a unifying quality, it’s this confident, unfussy approach. Newcomers DEKA provide a highlight with Rush, a fiery, two-minute micro-belter with tasteful big-beat undertones. Interchain’s XTC is the other big moment, with an icy, reverb-heavy synth that slowly unfolds over a factory floor grind. Elsewhere, Dolphin Spy from ushi333 is a particularly primordial workout – a backto-basics acid jam which goes full Detroit electro on the edit included after. Overall, Centrifuge One suggests the Moscow underground is in rude health. Considering it’s such a raw body of work, it will be interesting to see if and how its featured artists will evolve next. !
Nathan Fake Sunder EP Ninja Tune
After last year’s A.R.E Project with saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings and percussionist Sarathy Korwar, (not to mention past dealings with Marshall Allen of the Arkestra) Jamal Moss aka Hieroglyphic Being’s entanglement in jazz is plain to see. Now, with The Red Notes, Moss pays homage to the giants of Blue Note: Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane and Herbie Hancock, and filters their legacy through the house music style of his home city of Chicago. Although in actuality, it’s the melodic techno explorations of Detroit that are felt most keenly in the result, especially as the album settles in to its groove with The Seduction Syndrome, a track that rests on a piano loop that recalls Derrick May at his most transcendental. Moss’ “cosmic bebop” has always had a spiritual edge too, as the full title of last year’s Association for Research and Enlightenment will attest and some of the track titles here (see Awake and Energise) indicate the LP’s desired effects. The Red Notebook, in particular, is underpinned by a respiratory rhythm like that of a deep sleeper, and its teased piano melody and drum fills imbue a kind of wholesome calm. The album centres around the 14-minute title track. Its hisses, bleeps and popping bubbles initially conjure some galactic factory as a scenic background. At the track’s fever pitch everything falls away, leaving the shimmering lead turned to a lament, like a lonely piper in an Irish folk song. Simply put, it’s devastating – a track that demands your attention no matter what context you play it in. It feels that Jamal Moss is on a roll at the moment, putting out varied and ambitious work at a remarkable rate. Plus, for all his prolificacy, The Red Notes feels vibrant and vital. A remarkable record from a man tapped into something real right now.
Everybody Else is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? The Cranberries’ debut captured the raging, bittersweet romance of Irish adolescence
The Limerick band emerged from a line-up switch, a name change, and a label bidding war, with their debut album in 1993. It’s a testament to youthful love and loss, with an unrelenting toughness even in vulnerable moments, a raw beauty behind its bared teeth. Though I was still a baby when they were in heavy rotation on early 90s MTV, the teenage girl angst that’s so intrinsic to its narrative feels enduring. While I had been sharing it on MSN, plenty of girls, Irish or otherwise, have made cassette tapes and pasted The Cranberries’ lyrics to bedroom walls across these 25 years.
Dolores’ Sean Nos singing style unleashed the Celtic on contemporary pop. On the album’s lead single Dreams, the ‘R’s are hugged close and ‘T’s are stomped. There was something inspiring about being so unapologetically Irish-sounding, particularly at a time when home was ravaged by conflict. “Oh, I, thought the world of you,” the layered voices reach out in Linger, catching twinkling rhymes and rhythms no other diction could achieve. Whether rallying crowds at Woodstock or hushing a late night American talk show, it was always done with a Limerick accent.
Cranberries’ first album has proved the perfect soundtrack to teen movies and films, capturing infatuations and anxieties. The savage How plays out as Liv Tyler’s character rails off after a disastrous encounter with her famous crush in Empire Records. My So-Called Life’s Angela Chase blasts Dreams’ from her bedroom stereo, illustrating teen-ennui, awkward romance, and the lust for liberation.
The powerful, moody neo-noir music videos that accompanied Everybody Else Is Doing It… spawned a legion of Doc Marten-booted young Irish women with pixie hair and buzzcuts – youth keen to denounce the suffocating Irish social systems facilitated by the Catholic church and Troubles. The
With this record came big emotions, and even bigger plans for the band. Linger and Dreams barely touched the UK charts, but America’s enthusiastic embrace of The Cranberries and the singles’ British re-release gave their first record the push it needed, eventually bagging around eight
million sales. And while their second album No Need to Argue refidirected their anger and emotion towards a more political consciousness, it is on Everybody Else is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? that the ballads bite, as rage and vulnerability meet within an Irish lilt.
During these years Patti Smith was a confidante, I drove my mum mad with The Cure, and Babes in Toyland set the groundwork for unbridled teen rage. Experiencing these cultures through LastFM scrobble-lurking and a two-sided portable CD player, it was The Cranberries’ debut, Everybody Else is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? that brought me back home. The fluorescent spirit that shone through Seattle riot grrrl or English dream pop had a wild, Irish strain.
The album opens with the haunting I Still Do, introducing the misty melancholia with pulsating urgency. Dolores O'Riordan wrote Linger, the album’s second single, about her first kiss and a soldier she fell for. Not Sorry is tear-stung rebellion, while skinprickling insecurities are peeled back in Pretty. Produced by The Smiths, Blur and Psychedelic Furs collaborator Stephen Street, album’s luscious, jangly pop is driven by Noel Hogan’s exquisite guitar and Fergal Lawler’s pounding percussion, which soars into the painful peaks of Wanted and mellows out in ghostly hollows of Put Me Down.
Original release date: 1 March 1993 Label: Island
I lived my teenage years on the north east coast of Ireland in the mid-00s, when bomb scares were met with the same bemusement as the school bell but a slight from the boy across the road could define the worst day of my life. Like any mopey teenager stunted by small-townisms and yearning for greater things – London, New York, even Belfast 20 miles up the motorway – voices from far away offered a spark.
Words: Anna Cafolla
09 07 10 Black Panther dir: Ryan Coogler Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o
You Were Never Really Here dir: Lynne Ramsay Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Dante Pereira-Olson, Larry Canady We Need to Talk About Kevin director Lynne Ramsay brings Jonathan Ames' psychology-thriller to the screen in a searing adaptation which will leave you gasping for air. The story focuses on a hammer-wielding hitman named Joe, played by a grisly, hulking Joaquin Phoenix, who is almost unrecognisable with a thick beard and hoodie. Joe has been hired to rescue the wayward teen, Nina (Ekaterina Samsonov), a daughter of an ambitious US senator who has been kidnapped by sex traffickers. On what should be a routine job, things go terribly wrong, and Joe realises he's caught in the middle of a much bigger conspiracy. Rather than creating a standard potboiler action flick, Ramsay uses the plot as a canvas to explore the psychological traumas of her characters with scalpel-sharp skill. Phoenix gives a masterful performance as Joe, the product of an abusive childhood driven into an army career, whose PTSD is compounded by his inability to break away from a life violence. It makes for a harrowing watch – yes, the violence kept is out of frame, but Ramsay renders in a way that's as traumatic as if we’d seen every blow from Joe's hammer. An unnerving score from Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood – pitched at a vastly different register to his work on Phantom Thread – complements the tone of the onscreen action. You Were Never Really Here is a masterful study of the how deep psychological scars can run; brutal, outstanding filmmaking. ! Joseph Walsh
The first black-led superhero movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther feels like an entity unto itself; a cultural monument that has only been gaining anticipation in the lead up to its release. Thankfully, with extremely accomplished direction from Coogler, Black Panther shoulders this burden with ease. It’s a resounding success; an Afrofuturist spectacle that’s extremely thoughtful and empathetic about what it means to be a black person both in Africa and America. The set design, costumes and Rachel Morrison’s photography are as breathtaking as the film’s cast, and helps to make the fictional technological paradise of Wakanda the most fully realised setting Marvel has ever had. It’s a beautiful marriage of otherworldly technology and real-world African tribalism – for starters, the all-female king’s guard, the Dora Milaje, wear Masai-influenced neck rings, but also pilot flying saucers. What’s even better is that the film takes care in interrogating the very presence of Wakanda, the negative side spawning the MCU’s greatest villain in the tragic figure of Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan). But it’s not just Killmonger and protagonist T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) who get the spotlight: the film does absolutely right by its women of colour, figures like Shuri (Letitia Wright), Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o) and Okoye (Danai Gurira) getting as many moments to shine as Black Panther himself, in displays of strength that feel crucial and satisfying. All put in powerful work, conveying the royalty of these characters in a way that isn’t often afforded to black people onscreen. Michael B. Jordan unleashes palpable rage as well as charm as Killmonger, in a performance unlike any of his before it. His character’s fury is so clearly borne of suffering that we can’t help but sympathise, this is compounded by the fact that a lot of the time, he isn’t entirely wrong. Handling its world building, characters and plot with as much grace as its titular character, Black Panther is rock-solid proof of the richness that diversity can bring to blockbuster cinema. ! Kambole Campbell
A Fantastic Woman dir: Sebastián Lelio Starring: Daniela Vega, Francisco Reyes, Luis Gnecci Phantom Thread dir: Paul Thomas Anderson Starring: Vicky Krieps, Daniel Day-Lewis, Lesley Manville Paul Thomas Anderson has claimed that Phantom Thread began as a study of tenderness and the invalid/nurse dynamic, but these themes are buried deep in ascetic production values that define the constitution and aesthetic of the director’s eighth film. Anderson’s first-ever production shot outside the USA, Phantom Thread is set inside a fictional 1950s couture house led by Daniel Day-Lewis’ haughty Reynolds Woodcock. There was speculation that Day-Lewis fashioned the character on “America's first couturier” Charles James, but the actor insists that the character was a blend of 50s fashion icons including Balenciaga, Hardy Amies and Norman Hartnell; routine-obsessed, superstitious, egoist, perfectionist. Though the film has occasional scenes set outside of the Woodcock house, ultimately the story unfolds as a closet drama between Woodcock, his supercilious sister Cyril (Lesley Manville) and his most recent muse and lover, the impenetrable Alma (played by Luxembourgian Vicky Krieps). Day-Lewis might have garnered attention for his creative dedication, but Krieps and Manville contribute equal if not greater performances, where all three are locked in an emotionally tangled power struggle. However, the black depths and furtive layers of the gradual disentanglement never fully materialise; viewers must mine the laconic dialogue, arctic stares and drawn-out silences for meaning, which might feel like heavy-lifting, but results in a tremendously rewarding cinematic experience. And though Jonny Greenwood’s score is lusciously overwhelming and the cinematography indulges in sumptuous food, fabrics, lighting and textures, the fevered passions between devastatingly handsome Reynolds and Alma, his blank slate, are – tantalisingly – never shown. As with many of Anderson’s films, the audience is given plenty of room to ponder and interpret myriad meanings. While it might look like a harmless period drama, this film has a gothic veil, where love is the villain that haunts its victims and disrupts the status quo. Superstition and industry mythology bear down on a film that pitches the decorum of routine, discipline and creative asceticism against the disruptive, inconvenience of love. The suffering trio must painstakingly learn that comfort is not found in control, but in the humility of knowing one’s limits. ! Lara C Cory
After a romantic night out, a woman's boyfriend collapses in their apartment. Worried, she rushes him to hospital. Within an hour, she's told he has died. Unable to process the information, she runs, and is dragged back to the hospital by security. They're not only suspicious of the circumstances surrounding the man's death, but also who the woman was to him, and what she might be hiding, because the woman doesn't look exactly like other women, and when they look at her ID card, it has a man's name on it. It's with a slow and steady hand that Chilean director Sebastián Lelio guides us into the world of Marina Vidal. A transgender woman, Marina lives in a time when LGBTQ+ rights have never been more talked about but, as we quickly discover, that doesn't mean the fight's over. In her first lead role, transgender actress Daniela Vega affords Marina a quiet dignity that belies her daily struggle as she's ritually humiliated by bigots and businesswomen alike. The tragedy of her tale is expertly handled by both Vega and Lelio, who never overplay their hand, and frequently look for the hope hidden in the horror. Flashes of surrealism leaven the mood, including a glittering dancefloor segment and a telling moment in which Marina struggles to walk down the street as she battles a gale that keeps pushing her back. These surreal flourishes aside, A Fantastic Woman forgoes a traditional narrative (its McGuffin leads nowhere; there's no grand victory for Marina) which might flummox some viewers, but as a portrait of a woman fighting bigotry and prejudice with quiet self-belief, it's gripping stuff. ! Josh Winning
2018 OPEN EAR IS AN ANNUAL FESTIVAL THAT TAKES PLACE ON SHERKIN ISLAND, IRELAND. WE AIM TO TRAVERSE A MULTIPLICITY OF MUSIC LANGUAGES & LANDSCAPES, AND TO HAVE A DANCE.
31 MAY — 03 JUNE OPENEAR.IE
THURSDAY OPENING CONCERT Roger Doyle Áine O’Dwyer Dreamcycles WEEKEND PERFORMANCES Autumns Barry Lynn Barry Major Problems Breen Byron Crevice Danny Deepo Davy Kehoe Don Rosco & Stacks Eamonn Doyle Endrift Eoin Flowers At Night From The Bogs of Aughiska Gavin Prior LAIR Lakker Lerosa Little Movies Mikron Minos Now You’re Swingin’ Rainfear Robert Curgenven Sectionfive Shane O’Meara Soft Stone
Somadrone The Cyclist Tonnta Tuuun Vicky Langan Whirling Hall of Knives Who’s The Technician Wino Wagon ¡No! ...plus more TBA
Ableton Live 10 £69-£539 ableton.com The 10th edition of Ableton’s all-encompassing Live DAW arrives with the aim of enhancing workflow and easing production admin, helping you craft sounds more intuitively and naturally. This is bolstered by the new introduction of a wavetable synth (aptly named Wavetable) that bursts with so much life you can almost see it self-oscillating on screen. New audio effects have been added including Echo, Pedal and the personal favourite: Drum Buss, which never fails to bring the beats to life.
Bokeh Versions Black Long Sleeve Tee £24.99 bokehversions.com A regular NTS show and label exploring the cosmic, experimental leanings of dub, Bokeh Versions also has a shop of stylish picks, with outstanding wiggy graphics to match. For this collaboration, they’ve enlisted the help of Londonbased graphic designer Patrick Saville, who’s created covers for the likes of Pop Magazine and Print Isn’t Dead.
AIAIAI TMA-2 Wireless 2 Headphones €295 aiaiai.dk AIAIAI are a fantastic audio design company releasing innovative wireless designs of modular headphones, meaning that you can swap different components and customise your headset to your own particular needs. Perfect for everyday listening and for DJs, there’s a range of TMA-2 presets to build upon. Our standout favourite is the Wireless 2, which comes in a stylish matte black finish and allows you to listen to your tunes without a manual wire connection, whilst enjoying a long battery life.
Bluesound Pulse Mini £499 bluesound.com Throwing a party next weekend and in need of some new speakers to impress your mates? This Bluesound Pulse Mini is a powerful speaker that boasts hi-res audio and a wireless connection. Though this one’s a mini speaker, don’t underestimate it as it boasts 60 watts of tri-amplified stereo sound.
Kanye Prayer Candle £11.07 etsy.com
Future Fantasy by Vinca Petersen £29.99 ditto-london.com Published via independent London studio Ditto Press, Future Fantasy is an archive of previously unseen images lensed by photographer and model Corinne Day. Mixed with Ben Freeman’s surreal, experimental graphics, the pages contain photos of illegal raves from the 90s and the freedom of the open road contrasted against the expectations imposed upon Day in the modelling industry. Immerse yourself in nostalgic rave ephemera.
Kanye made his momentous return to Instagram last month, flooding the feed with nostalgic photos of celebrity couples (Paris Hilton with Sum 41’s Deryck Whibley was among the highlights). But, much like your average romantic Tinder spell, the Instagram spree was brief, sweet and fleeting. He’s since deleted his account, so here’s a prayer candle of Saint ‘Ye to fill the Kanye-shaped void in our lives until he drops his next material.
Crossword Across 4. Come to steal your girl, clothes, boots and motorcycle 6. Two and a half minutes to midnight 9. Kanye-referenced 80s sci-fi movie 10. synthetic; counterfeit; man-made 11. Arthur C. Clark's sentient camera Down 1. Domo Arigato ... ! 2. Pair of helmets, also French 3. Part military technology, part musical instrument favoured by Kraftwerk 5. Welcome, our new overlords 7. Fame hungry humanoid who once said she would 'destroy humans' 8. Sent car into space; definite super villain
Answers Across: Terminator, Doomsday, RoboCop, Artificial, HAL9000 Down: Mr. Roboto, Daft Punk, Vocoder, Robot, Sophia, Elon Musk
Self Portrait Chimpo
James Blake or Solid Snake? Who Said It: the post-dubstep crooner, or Metal Gear Solid’s poignant protagonist? 1) “Suddenly I’m hit, it’s the starkness of dawn” 2) “I don’t have any more tears to shed” 3) “I’m a shadow, one that no light will shine on” 4) “Have I got a cloud in hell of mind?” 5) “All this time, I've been searching for my past. And now I know that I don't have one”
7) “We can leave behind much more than just DNA. Through speech, music, literature and movies... what we've seen, heard, felt... anger, joy and sorrow... these are the things I will pass on” Answers: 1) Blake 2) Snake 3) Snake 4) Blake 5) Snake 6) Blake 7) Snake
6) “When things are thrown away like they are daily, time passes and the constants stay”
Words: Davy Reed
t r a t S
“Favourite emoji? Obviously it’s the black heart”
Who’s the most famous person you’ve ever met? Princess Diana.
For someone who was raised in a pink mansion in the Hollywood Hills, moving into a flat in Prestwich, Greater Manchester with her new husband Mark E Smith and “about 10 cats” in the 80s might not be the most conventional fairytale narrative. But it was here that Brix Smith Start wrote herself into music history, playing with The Fall from 83-89 and later during a stint in the mid 90s. Following careers in fashion and TV, in recent years Start blew the dust off her guitar to form Brix & The Extridated, who released their debut album Part 2 last year. Please take a bow for a bona fide rock ’n’ roll legend. What was your favourite cartoon when you were a kid? The Flinstones. What are you currently reading? Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem. What's your best tour survival tip? Antibacterial hand gel and meditation. Who's the best person to follow on Instagram? For various reasons, including hilarity, depravity and sheer artistic content, it would probably be my friend, the
photographer – @scarlettcarlosclarke. What was the first record you truly fell in love with? Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars. What's your favourite emoji? Obviously it’s the black heart. And what’s the worst hotel you’ve ever stayed in? It would be the hotel connected to Larry’s Hideaway venue in Toronto. When I was in The Fall we played there a number of times. We were always given a room in the hotel as a dressing room/day room. I can only describe this hotel as a shithole and a crack/ whorehouse. Once Marcia Schofield and I shared a room where we found an open container of rat poison in the closet, pubic hairs in the bed (not ours) and a bloody glass, used syringe and rubber tubing in the bathroom, left behind by a junkie. Needless to say we did not spend the night there… never. The hotel is legendary for its scuzziness and there is even a Wikipedia page about it. Now the ground on which it stood is an offleash dog park.
to my mother and say “Look There’s grandpa!” Have you ever been arrested? Ummm, kind of. I was 17 – underage – in a club in Chicago. The police raided the club, and I was thrown into the back of the “paddy wagon”. Somehow, I don’t know how, I used the gift of my silver tongue and talked my way out. The other kids who were round up got taken to jail and booked. What was the last movie you watched on a plane? I can't remember! Since the creation of Netflix I download whole series, and binge. My last plane binge was Stranger Things 2. Have you ever taken LSD? No. Do mushrooms count? What’s the worst job you’ve ever had? Filing.
What music would you play if you were trying to seduce a potential lover? My own, live unplugged and in their face.
If you could give yourself a piece of advice 10 years ago, what would it be? I am a strong and powerful creator. I am safe and loved.
What was the name of the first ever band you were in? Banda Dratsing.
What would you like written on your tombstone? “Well Played.”
If you could pick a surrogate grandparent, who would it be? Louis Armstrong. When I was little, around four-years-old, I actually believed that Louis Armstrong was my Grandfather. I felt such a deep connection with him and his music. Every time he was on TV I used to turn
Brix & The Extridated's new single Valentino is released 27 April via Blang Records
Name an overrated artist… Coldplay.
MALTA • 3-6 MAY BANK HOLIDAY 2018 IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER
ANNIE MAC DENIS SULTA JOSEY REBELLE THE MARTINEZ BROTHERS MONKI
THE BLACK MADONNA DJ TARGET DJ Q DUB PHIZIX & STRATEGY FOUR TET HAAI THE HEATWAVE HEIDI JAMIE DUGGAN JAMIE XX LOTTO BOYZZ MIKE SKINNER MELE MS BANKS NORTH BASE PAUL WOOLFORD SHOLA AMA TIGA TODDLA T TS7 VIRGO
ANNIE MAC ARTWORK CLARA AMFO DIPLO THE HEATWAVE JACKMASTER J HUS KYLA MIDLAND MELÉ MOXIE NOVELIST ONEMAN OR:LA PATRICK TOPPING PEGGY GOU SHANTI CELESTE WILLIAM DJOKO
ANNIE MAC A.G BICEP CAMELPHAT DONAE’O THE DREEM TEAM HOT SINCE 82 KÖLSCH LAUREN LO SUNG MABEL MALL GRAB MELLA DEE MIST MOXIE MY NU LENG NOT3S SHY FX RAMPAGE ROSKA WILLIAM DJOKO
RESIDENTS & CLUBBING PARTNERS: ABANDON SILENCE ¬ CARL BEE ¬ CARL LAUTIER ¬ DANIEL BLADE HACKETT ¬ JJOY ¬ JIKA JIKA ¬ LORD OF THE TINGS ¬ MASON COLLECTIVE ¬ NORTH BASE ¬ PILLU ¬ POCCI PORTAL ¬ SIAN BENNETT ¬ SPONK ¬ ZIGGY
My Life as a Mixtape: DJ Storm
“Me and Kemistry started out playing jungle on pirate radio. Goldie was the MC”
A track that sparked my passion for dance music It's All Right by Sterling Void [DJ
International, 1989]. I'd heard it being played by Fabio & Grooverider and I needed it. Meanwhile, my partner Kemi was buying the ones she'd heard. We're in the record shop hunting them down – sometimes you had to go in and sing the tunes, it was really embarrassing! It was the start of my DJ buying career. A track that reminds me of pirate radio Me and Kemi started out playing jungle on pirate radio. Goldie – who was the MC on our show – had his first EP pressed up [Ajax Project, Whitelabel, 1992] and we gave it away as a competition. Somebody phoned up and answered a question and we sent it in the post. Goldie had enough money to press it up but not enough money to get a label. We got potatoes, got inkpads, and we pressed them up. They're really famous now.
A track that has never left my record bag Deadline by Digital [31 Records, 2000]. It's just brilliant, it's a perfect tune. There's a point where Digital takes everything out and just drops the bass and my knees go every time, and I feel it. The feeling never changes for me. A track that got me through a bad time When Kemi passed away I harboured on a couple of tunes. One tune was Joga by Björk [One Little Indian, 1997], because I felt so much like I was in a “state of emergency”. That's the thing I've learnt about grief, you want the world to stop, and it doesn't. I could feel all this angst that Björk was feeling. It was so perfect for me to feel it in music because music is so important to me, it kind of healed me. I needed
to feel the pain she was feeling with her voice. Even when I get tense now I have to draw it out, I need a Björk moment! The label that reminds me of this new era It's interesting playing right now – where I'm usually the only drum 'n' bass DJ on the line-up. I'm a drum'n'bass purist, but people like Mumdance, who I played with on the Different Circles tour, he can really do that merging of styles. To a certain extent that's an artform in itself. When I play at those events I can throw in leftfield tunes, because the crowd's minds are open. @djstormdnb
Words: Anna Tehabsim
They say behind every great man there's a great woman. This rings particularly true for DJ Storm, though it's more like two women. Storm, real name Jayne Conneely, introduced Goldie to jungle in 1991 alongside her DJ partner Kemistry. The two will go down in history as some of drum 'n' bass's most important figures; driving forces behind institutions like Metalheadz and the storied London sweatbox Blue Note. Following Kemistry's tragic passing in a freak road accident in 1999, Storm continued to carry the torch for drum ’n' bass. Now she's enjoying a career resurgence as the weight of her influence dawns on a new generation. Here, Storm takes us through the ages with a selection of tracks that act like a full body blow.
A Blue Note club anthem Spacefunk by Digital [Timeless, 2001], which has just been remastered. It was the most shocking thing we'd heard in a while. All of us were hungry to play it on this dirty system in this basement in this dirty corner of Hoxton Square. The soundsystem in Blue Note was ridiculous, people would be carried out and we'd clap [for] them, y’know, 'well done for lasting this long'. It did the whole thing, it pleased your mind body and soul down there. Spacefunk does all of that – and more.
Perspective: When the mainstream steals art Illustration: DR.ME
Emily Gosling is a journalist specialising in art and design. Here, she considers how artists feel when their work is plagiarised for high-profile campaigns. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But is it really so flattering when your work – your livelihood – has been co-opted, repurposed and repackaged for way bigger bucks than it had garnered in its initial incarnation?
Hugo, for instance. Hugo, already a highly sought after and established artist, had a distinctive body of work called The Hyena & Other Men. One image was that of a man leading a hyena on a leash; a motif more recognisable to most as a scene in Knowles’ video for Run the World
Hugo’s response asked interesting questions about how artists might feel when their project is imitated. He’d suggested that if he likes the work that seems to reference his own, then that’s ok. In a Guardian article discussing the furore over The Shape of Water – which has been accused of
Nothing is created in a vacuum. Ideas in music, film, photography, visual art and writing are born of a complex miasma of individual impulses, art historical reference points and the billions of images and clutter that proliferate online. It is, of course, more than possible that in the rapid consumption of imagery we all partake in that an idea or visual snippet enters our frazzled, overwrought brain; then later finds itself as part of our own, new, “original” composition, its origins having been promptly forgotten about. A little like telling someone a joke, only to find that the person we’re telling it to was the one that told it to us in the first place. Commissioning design and artwork for music is a long process. Labels and acts often work with the same studios or designers. Ghostly International (Com Truise, Matthew Dear, Gold Panda) collaborates extensively with Michael Cina, for instance; Chris Cunningham is famed for his suitably warped Aphex Twin videos; Stanley Donwood for his eerie, German Expressionistleaning works for Radiohead. But the commissioning process is still lengthy and carefully considered.
Few accidents happen in mainstream industries. There are vast creative teams, scrupulous legal departments and many stakeholders. No shortage of eyes have pored over every nuance and storyboard cell before a project comes to completion. And it’s with these larger commissions that accusations of plagiarism become more problematic. Take the 2011 case of Beyoncé and South African photographer Pieter
distinctive gilded geometric forms in grid-like arrangements on a black background – appears to be blatantly pilfered in the video for Kendrick Lamar and SZA’s All the Stars video, rather ironically part of the soundtrack to the Marvel blockbuster hailed for celebrating black female empowerment, Black Panther. According to The New York Times, Viktor is currently seeking “a minimum of a public apology for the unauthorised use and a license fee.” In another recent occurrence, Drake’s Scary Hours EP artwork (featuring the two words displayed vertically as one bold sans serif overlayed with a Blackletter style font) appear to borrow from Collin Fletcher’s 2015 tour poster for leftfield producer Rabit. While they are certainly similar, it’s easy to see how a reasonably familiar graphic design trope is likely to be used more than once; and it’s hard to make the case for straight-up theft. On the other hand, last year Skepta’s clothing line MAINS was accused of purloining Moroccan photographer Ilyes Griyeb's work without permission. Here, this isn't just a recreation or a likeness: Griyeb’s exact image is being used, with the MAINS workmark emblazoned across the bottom. “More than plagiarism, this is a personal matter: this work I’ve done in Morocco is about some family members and their struggle to succeed in a thirdworld country,” Griyeb told The Fader. “He came to Morocco with his team, did what he had to do, and left the country. This is new-age colonialism.”
(Girls), in which she sports a towering bouffant and a white Givenchy gown, a chain with a hyena at the end of it in each hand. Such strange and distinctive iconography seems beyond the realms of accidental borrowing. Hugo told the New Yorker that he’d previously seen his images used in a Nick Cave promo, but that he’s a “huge fan” of Cave, so he found it “flattering.” However, he was no fan of Beyoncé’s work: “It all seems so derivative—the music, the imagery… I’m sure the Hyena Men are wondering if they’re going to get paid!”
copying everything from a Netherlands Film Academy stunted project to a production by late playwright Paul Zindel – screenwriter John Wrathall offered a calm perspective on the subject: “My attitude is like that line in The Red Shoes: ‘It is much more disheartening to have to steal than to be stolen from.’” But what about the artists who don’t have the resources to fight plagiarism, or those who’ve had their work pinched wholesale? One striking case is that of BritishLiberian artist Lina Viktor. Her Constellations series – featuring
So should artists just be flattered that their work is so great it’s been plagiarised? I’d say no. They should fuss and fight until the day that flattery is accepted currency for paying the rent, and a widely accepted route to recognition for creativity and hard work.
AVALON EMERSON / BEN UFO / BICEP / CALL SUPER CRAIG RICHARDS / CRAZY P SOUNDSYSTEM DANIELE BALDELLI / DJ TENNIS / FLOATING POINTS FOUR TET / GERD JANSON / HORSE MEAT DISCO / HUNEE JOB JOBSE / JOY ORBISON / MIDLAND / MOVE D OPTIMO / PALMS TRAX / PARANOID LONDON PROSUMER / ROMAN FLÜGEL / RUB N TUG / SHANTI CELESTE / THE UNABOMBERS / YOUNG MARCO A SAGITTARIUN (LIVE) / ADAM SHELTON / ALEX DALLAS / ANDY BLAKE / APIENTO ARTWORK / ASTROCAT (LIVE) / ATA / BALEARIC MIKE / BANOFFEE PIES / BEGIN BENEDIKT FREY / BILL BREWSTER / BRADLEY ZERO / CHRISTOPHE / DAN BEAUMONT / DARSHAN JESRANI / DAVE HARVEY / DICKY TRISCO / DJ DIE / ERIC DUNCAN / FANTASTIC MAN / FELIX DICKINSON / FRANCIS INFERNO ORCHESTRA GATTO FRITTO / GEDDES / GIDËON / GINA BREEZE / HAMMER / HEIDI LAWDEN HONEY SOUNDSYSTEM / HOT BLOOD / IDJUT BOYS / IL BOSCO / IGOR TIPURA / ILIJA RUDMAN / INTERGALATIC GARY / JAIME READ / JAMIE BLANCO / JAMIE BULL / JAN SCHULTE / JANE FITZ / JASON BOARDMAN / JONNY ROCK / JOSEY REBELLE / KELVIN ANDREWS / KENNETH BAGER / KICKIN PIGEON / KIWI KRYSKO / LAUER / LEXX / LO SHEA / LOVEFINGERS / MAN POWER / MARVIN & GUY / MOSCOMAN / MOXIE / MR PRICE / NEIL DIABLO / NICK THE RECORD / NOT AN ANIMAL / OCTO OCTA LIVE / PARAMIDA / PBR STREETGANG / PEAK & SWIFT PHAT PHIL COOPER / POWDER / RAY MANG / REBOLLEDO / ROI PEREZ / SAOIRSE SEAN JOHNSTON / SECRETSUNDAZE / SOLAR & GALEN / SPACE DIMENSION CONTROLLER (LIVE) / TELEPHONES / TOM OF ENGLAND / TRISTAN DA CUNHA WILL TRAMP / ZOMBIES IN MIAMI (LIVE) ALISON SWING / ADRIATIC COASTING / ANTONIO ZUZA / ANTHONY MANSFIELD / BOBBY BEIGE / BOBBY PLEASURE / BORUT CVAJNER / CLOSET FREAK / COLIN PERKINS / CRAIG CHRISTON / CYRANOTAURUS CORTEX / DAN WILD / DEAN SMITH / FEEL THE REAL / FRANK BROUGHTON / FRANK TOPE / FUTURE GARDEN / HELEN BURNIP & NADIA / HELLIE BERRY / HESSELTIME / ITCHY RICH / JAKE MANDERS / JAN KINĆL & REGIS KATTIE (LIVE) / JENNY JEN / JESS FARLEY / JETHRO / JOE MOSS / JOHANNES ALBERT / KOFI TARRIS / KRYWALD & FARRER / MAGNIER MATIJA DUIĆ / MAKE ME: RUBIN, RUPES, NIC BAIRD / MISLAV BOBIC / MR SOLID GOLD / NATURAL SUGARS / NVWLS / OK JONES / OLI SILVA / PETE LEUNG / PYTZEK / RANDY BRUNSON / RASTANILS & OLAF UHLIN / SEBASTIAN SPRING / SIANDI SONOFAPIZZMAN / SIMON MORELL / TAYO / TEAK / THE BAT / TOM RIO / WAYNE HOLLAND.
PLUS MANY MANY MORE.
Spring sounds at the Barbican Sat 17 Mar
Sat 14 Apr
with Skengdo x AM, Murlo, Kamaal Williams and more
Mon 30 Apr
Just Jam Reloaded
Wed 4 Apr
Simian Mobile Disco present Murmurations
Thurston Moore: 12x12 Alessandro Cortini + Sarah Davachi 11â€“14 May
with Deep Throat Choir
Sounds and Visions
Fri 6 Apr
A weekend curated by Max Richter and Yulia Mahr
Carl Craig Synthesizer Ensemble Sat 7 Apr
Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein perform the music of Stranger Things
Fri 25 May
Field Music with the Open Here Orchestra