+ SKEPTA RØDHÅD GHOST CULTURE DOUBLE STANDARDS JIMMY EDGAR COLLEEN GREEN JANE WEAVER EROL ALK AN
THE CRIBS HANK SHOCKLEE
MYKKI BLANCO RØDHÅD GHOST CULTURE DOUBLE STANDARDS JIMMY EDGAR COLLEEN GREEN JANE WEAVER EROL ALK AN THE CRIBS HANK SHOCKLEE
AZEALIA BANKS JESSIE WARE AME•BARELYLEGAL•BODHI•CHAMPION•CHRISTOPHE•CRAIG RICHARDS CRAZY P•DANIEL AVERY•DARK SKY•DAVID RODIGAN DAZEE•DISCIPLES•DISMANTLE•DYED SOUNDOROM•EROL ALKAN•EZ FELIX DICKINSON•GEORGE FITZGERALD•FABIO & GROOVERIDER FLOATING POINTS•FOUR TET•FUTUREBOOGIE•GHOST CULTURE GORGON CITY•GOTSOME•GRAND MASTER FLASH HANNAH WANTS•HODGE•JOHN BARERA•JOKER•JULIO BASHMORE•JUS NOW INDIANA•K15•KELELA•KIKO BUN•KLOSE ONE•LEON VYNEHALL•LOYLE CARNER•MATT 'JAM' LAMONT•LAPSLEY•MAXXI SOUNDSYSTEM MY NU LENG•NEWHAM GENERALS•NEW YORK TRANSIT AUTHORITY•P MONEY PATRICK TOPPING•PINCH•RAE MORRIS•RAT KING•REDLIGHT SESSION VICTIM•SHAMIR•SHANTI CELESTE•SHY FX•SKEPTA•SLY ONE SOUNDSTREAM•STORMZY•TALE OF US•TAYO•TCTS•TOURIST•TYPESUN WAIFS & STRAYS•WILL MARTIN•WILEY•WORK IT•WOZ ALFRESCO DISCO DJS•BLAST DJS•BANOFFEE PIES•BILLY DISNEY•BODYWORK DJS•CEDRIC MAISON•COEXIST DISCIPLES•DUTTY GIRL•ELA 303•GREG SHAWE•HALFNAKED DJS•HANNAH MULVANEY•HARRY BUGGE JAMBO•JAM THE CHANNEL•JETHRO BINNS•JOEL FISHER•JOHN BARERA•K15•KEMBACK•LUKE LANGSON MR BENN•MR GORDO•ORIGINS SOUND•PATO•PEOPLE LIKE US•PURSUIT•SAM MOLE•SEKA•SHANTI CELESTE SHENK•SIDE A•SIP THE JUICE DJS•SLY LOGIC•SLY ONE•SOULWORKS DJS•STAMP THE WAX•TAYO•THIRD SON THRILOGY•TIGHT LACES•TOMAS MOOR•WULFPACK•YANIS•PIFF ALFRESCO DISCO APEX•BANOFFIE PIES•BINARY VISION•CRACK MAGAZINE•DIRTYTALK•DRAMA•DUTTY GIRL FALLING UP•FOUNDATIONS•FUTUREBOOGIE•GET BORN•HALFNAKED HYPERCOLOUR•JAM THE CHANNEL•JUST JACK ORIGINS•PIFF•PLU•PSYCHED•ROOM 237•SANCTUARY•SHAMBARBER•SHAPES•SIP THE JUICE•SOULWORKS•STAMP THE WAX•STUDIO 89•TEACHINGS IN DUB•TEAK•THE DANCE OFF•TIGHT LACES•TRAP MAGAZINE•WHO CARES?•WIDE EYES
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Barcelona 18.19.20 June
the chemical brothers, autechre, kindness, evian christ, fat freddyâ€™s drop, daniel avery, ten walls, lee gamble, sophie, holly herndon, pxxr gvng, kiasmos, kate tempest, tourist, vessel, helena hauff, mans o, niĂąo and more to be announced. www.sonar.es an initiative of
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Exhibitions Viviane Sassen: Pikin Slee 3 Feb 2015 – 12 Apr 2015 Lower Gallery
Dor Guez: The Sick Man of Europe 3 Feb 2015 – 12 Apr 2015 Upper Gallery
First Happenings: Adrian Henri in the ‘60s and ‘70s 27 Jan 2015 – 15 Mar 2015 Fox Reading Room
Events Educators’ Tour led by Matt Williams and Juliette Desorgues Wed 4 Feb, 5pm Artist’s Talk: Dor Guez with Simon Grant Wed 4 Feb, 6.30pm Talk Series: Where Theory Belongs: Camiel van Winkel Wed 4 Feb, 2pm Parallax 05: Trinity Laban Composers at the ICA Fri 6 Feb, 6pm
Artists’ Film Club: Nevin Aladag + Q+A Wed 18 Feb, 6.45pm Talk Series: Where Theory Belongs: Yuko Hasegawa Wed 18 Feb, 2pm Culture Now: Marjetica Potrc Fri 20 Feb, 1pm Talk Series: Artists, what is your value? Wed 25 Feb, 6.30pm Culture Now: Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi Fri 27 Feb, 1pm
Artists’ Film Club: Derek Jarman Super 8 Sun 8 Feb, 6pm
Gallery Tour with View Festival: Dor Guez led by Juliette Desorgues Fri 27 Feb, 5pm
Artists’ Film Club: Ilha de São Jorge Wed 11 Feb, 6.45pm
Talk: Anatoly Osmolovsky Fri 27 Feb, 6.30pm
Talk Series: Where Theory Belongs: Andrew Copson Wed 11 Feb, 2pm
Adrian Henri: Performance, Environments and Happenings Sat 28 Feb, 2.30pm Institute of Contemporary Arts The Mall London SW1Y 5AH 020 7930 3647, www.ica.org.uk
Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 30 Jan – 5 Feb A Nos Amours: Chantal Akerman 17: Three Short Works 12 Feb Inherent Vice From 13 Feb Cinemania: School of Babel Wed 18 Feb, 4.30pm The Anderson Tapes: A Weekend of Movies by Paul Thomas Anderson 20 – 22 Feb Maidan From 20 Feb
The ICA is a registered charity no. 236848
DOUBLE STANDARDS Design just got political: Louis Labron Johnson meets Chris Rehberger, founder of the acclaimed Berlin studio
COLLEEN GREEN The Californian pop-punk artist discusses her earlylife crisis record with Billie Monnier-Stokes
MYKKI BLANCO The avant-garde rapper’s fearless attitude has led him to art galleries, catwalks and a prison cell. With an international army of supporters behind him, Blanco tells Davy Reed about his plans to seize 2015 Shot exclusively for Crack by Dave Ma Los Angeles: January 2015
EDITORIAL Going postal
RECOMMENDED Our guide to what’s coming up in your city
NEW MUSIC From the periphery
TURNING POINTS: EROL ALKAN From trading tapes to DJ superstardom, the Phantasy boss runs Thomas Frost through the definitive moments in his remarkable career
JANE WEAVER The longstanding songwriter embraces science-fiction to reveal uncomfortable truths about the music industry. By James F. Thompson
GHOST CULTURE James Greenwood has won over indie/dance aficionados with his intimate debut album. He talks extended family and fighting superficiality with Adam Corner
REVIEWS Gig reports, product reviews and our verdict on the latest releases in film and music
DIGRESSIONS Baines’ World, Sold Out! with Snoop Dogg, the crossword and advice from Denzil Schnifferman
20 QUESTIONS: THE CRIBS We woke up Ryan Jarman. He made us laugh.
PERSPECTIVE Public Enemy producer Hank Shocklee on sampling controversy and sonic innovation
SKEPTA With the world’s attention turned towards grime once again and a new album looming, the UK’s most revered MC meets with Tom Watson to reveal his past insecurities and exhilarating optimism Shot exclusively for Crack by Leonn Ward London: January 2015
RØDHÅD The new DJ heavyweight inverts bleak modern society with powerful melancholy. Barney Khan talks tower blocks, functional techno and finding optimism with Dystopian's unstoppable force
JIMMY EDGAR Detroit-via-Berlin wunderkind, Edgar has expertly summoned a cross-section of art and music with his Ultramajic label. The techno shaman opens his third eye for our Aesthetic fashion shoot
Bicep Point G (Live) Nick Höppner Joey Anderson
Craig Richards Steve Bug Detroit Swindle (Live) Vakula
Kyle Hall Funkineven Borrowed Identity (Live) K15 ROOM 03
Warm Tim Sweeney Ali Tillett Ollie Seaman Myles Mears
Machine Ben Sims Marcel Fengler Kirk Degiorgio ROOM 03
Just Jack 9th Birthday Terry Francis John Barera & Will Martin Tom Rio & Dan Wild
Craig Richards Joris Voorn Steve Rachmad ROOM 02
fabric 80: Joseph Capriati Launch Joseph Capriati Phil Kieran (Live) Terry Francis ROOM 03
Retrofit Jay Shepheard (Live) Jacques Renault Namedrop
— 28 ROOM 01
Craig Richards Maya Jane Coles Kim Ann Foxman ROOM 02
Terry Francis Surgeon Regis ROOM 03
7 Years of mUmU Bill Patrick Clive Henry Lee Rands Chris Maran
Issue 49 Respect Dorian Dave Ma Leonn Ward Hayley Kerridge Grace and Radha Lucy Burke Nina Scott Sam Toy Penny Warner Jenny Duffy Gavin Heineken Executive Editors Thomas Frost email@example.com Jake Applebee firstname.lastname@example.org Editor Geraint Davies email@example.com Marketing / Events Manager Luke Sutton firstname.lastname@example.org Deputy Editor Davy Reed Junior Editor Anna Tehabsim
GIRLPOOL Blah Blah Blah LITURGY Quetzalcoatl JAM CITY Proud BJÖRK Lionsong L7 Pretend That We're Dead RUSS ABBOT Atmosphere FELIX K Tragedy Of The Commons NICK HÖPPNER Mirror Image BARNEY KHAN Despot
Crack’s gone postal. Five years ago we released our first ever issue, all crafted in a boxy bedroom in Bristol by a couple of well-meaning souls. We started it because we thought there was space for a magazine which covered bold, often unheralded music, art and culture in an unpretentious, approachable way. We printed it on newspaper, and we gave it away for free. 49 issues on and we’ve grown into something that quite a lot of people read, and hopefully most of them like. Over the past five years we’ve been lucky enough to feature some of our most beloved heroes in our pages, and we’ve grown to welcome people from all over the world into our web of contributors. And now we’ve decided to expand to what we consider a city of kindred spirits, a city defined by bold music, art and culture, a city we visit at every opportunity, and a city we now inhabit. Issue 49 is our first official Berlin issue. We’ve always taken a perverse pride in the fact we deliver every issue of Crack by hand, hauling our reluctant selves into a fleet of grubby vans at dawn and disappearing over the horizon across the UK, to return two days later, ragged but sated. Well, we can’t make that claim anymore. It’s a strangely unsettling, but amazing prospect. There were 48 issues before we made the choice to head Berlinwards. Who knows how many more will follow now we’re there, we’re hoping we'll be given a chance. But this is one of the most exciting things we’ve ever done, and we’re thrilled about continuing to push further and wider towards what we’re trying to ultimately achieve. This is a fucking exciting time, and we’re massively grateful to everyone for helping us make that a reality.
CLAP RULES Eterno
So yeah. Thanks or whatever.
ROUND Lucky Star
Geraint Davies, Editor
Editorial Assistant Duncan Harrison Creative Director Jake Applebee Art Direction & Design Alfie Allen Design Graeme Bateman Film Editor Tim Oxley Smith Art Editor Augustin Macellari Fashion Tom Andrew, Mary Lees, Rebecca Maskell, Florence Nettle Higgs, Vicky Lees, Kamila Forini Contributors Josh Baines, Denzil Schnifferman, Tom Watson, Angus Harrison, Louis Labron Johnson, James F. Thompson, Barney Khan, Henry Johns, Rachel Mann, Steven Dores, Ruth Wiley, Adam Corner, Tamsyn Aurelia-Eros Black, Suzie McCracken, Xavier Boucherat, Ellie Harrison, Alex Gwilliam, Billie Monnier-Stokes, Aine Devaney, Gareth Thomas, Jason Hunter, Hank Shocklee Photography Dave Ma, Leonn Ward, Fabian Frost, Jens Paulsen, Elinor Jones, Dan Steinberg, Gayle Laird, Luke Dyson, Tom Horton, Gary Brown, Ben Price, Stephanie Elizabeth Third, Theo Cottle, Kane Rich, Tom Andrew Illustrations James Wilson, Colleen Green Advertising To enquire about advertising and to request a media pack: email@example.com 0117 2391219 CRACK is published by Crack Industries Ltd © All rights reserved. All material in Crack magazine may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of Crack Industries Ltd. Crack Magazine and its contributors cannot accept any liability for reader discontent arising from the editorial features. Crack Magazine reserves the right to accept or reject any article or material supplied for publication or to edit this material prior to publishing. Crack magazine cannot be held responsible for loss or damage to supplied materials. The opinions expressed or recommendations given in the magazine are the views of the individual author and do not necessarily represent the views of Crack Industries Ltd. We accept no liability for any misprints or mistakes and no responsibility can be taken for the contents of these pages.
JOHN CARPENTER Fallen YO LA TENGO Sudden Organ LOWER DENS Your Heart Still Bleeding CABARET VOLTAIRE The Set Up UNTOLD Breathe GRAMRCY Ruffian (Bruce’s Resynth) DAS DING H.S.T.A. PETER REHBERG ML3 QUIRKE Break A Mirrored Leg DEMDIKE STARE Patchwork LEVON VINCENT Anti-Corporate Music FUTURE BROWN Big Homie MUMDANCE & LOGOS Hall Of Mirrors YOKO ONO Kiss Kiss Kiss RAE SREMMURD Unlock The Swag KRILL Torturer SHABAZZ PALACES Ham Sandwich GUCCI MANE My Kitchen WAXAHATCHEE Air
Issue 49 | crackmagazine.net
Head Of Digital Content Billy Black
O ur g uid e t o w ha t 's g o ing o n in y o ur cit y
CHRIS + COSEY Heaven 15 February
T V ON THE R ADIO Roundhouse 21 February
VIET CONG Oslo 4 February
FLOWERS Sebright Arms 7 February
LE AF Modeselektor, DJ Harvey, Nile Rodgers Tobacco Dock 6 + 7 March Prices vary
RØDHÅD Radio Slave, DJ Deep, Fjaak (live) Oval Space 14 February 2nd release: £15 + BF
A multimedia, multi-sensory electronic music behemoth, London Electronic Arts Festival was a heady breath of fresh air upon its 2013 debut, sprawling across the capital’s musical landscape. Having taken stock last year, it now returns with a static home in the cavernous Tobacco Dock. Focusing on the three Cs – Conversation, Concert and Club – highlights come thick and fast across its two day duration. Friday’s talks include the irrepressible Nile Rodgers tracing disco from day dot to the day today, followed by a centrepiece concert boasting 808 State performing their 1989 masterpiece Ninety in its entirety and one of those endlessly entertaining live sets from techno overlords Modeselektor, who return on Saturday to spin at the closing club event alongside the godlike DJ Harvey, progressive hero Sasha and a whole lot more. Utterly essential stuff for even the casual electronic music bystander.
If you decide to boycott Valentine’s Day, your other half might be secretly gutted. But on the other hand, if you actually find yourself sharing a bottle of merlot and cutting into a Pizza Express calzone on the night, you’re probably going to feel like a total doofus. Since it lands on Saturday this year, the non-cheesy option is to do something low key during the week and remind each other that you’re still cool by heading to Oval Space, who’ve got a line-up that includes the unstoppable force of nature that is Rødhad, French legend DJ Deep, Panorama Bar resident Radio Slave, a live hardware set from Berlin trio Fjaak plus Dial Records’ RDMN, who was hand picked by Rødhad himself. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? Check out our interview with the man himself on p. 24.
FUTURE BROWN ICA 19 February £11.50 PROSTITUTES Cafe OTO 4 February
BARNT Dance Tunnel 6 February £8-10 Master of off-the-wall dance music, Barnt’s queasy breakthrough hit Tunsten was a weird and wonderful slice of wired electronic gibberish. Like most of the Cologne producer’s output, it was driven by his urge to create something new, something alien for the club; as he told us in early 2013, he’s “always look[ing] for a space in the void”. This off-centre ethos was summed up in recent track Chappell. Released late 2014 by Hinge Finger, reaching number three in our tracks of the year, it was geared for maximum impact on the floor, a militant mechanical hook maxing out a handful of elements to create something so jarring and blunt, yet undeniably slamming. In true Barnt style, expect wonky goodies and satisfyingly severe peak time weaponry.
Solomon Chase, co-founder and editor of exploratory online platform DIS Magazine, reportedly came up with the concept of 'future brown' while on mushrooms in upstate New York. As Chase explained to us last year, 'future brown' was initially the idea of a synthetic representation of nature, a "hyperreal, high gloss, ultra-saturated brown." Now the moniker for the production outfit of conceptual grime producer Fatima Al Qadiri, Fade To Mind duo Nguzunguzu and J-Cush, the founder of New York's Lit City Trax label, together they make hyperreal, high gloss music, spanning melodically rich, grime-anchored beats and raucous club rhythms. Their highly anticipated album lands 23 February via Warp, enlisting a rotating cast of vocalists, Kelela, Tink and Ruff Sqwad among them, making for a series of transatlantic collaborations par excellence. Catch them at ICA this month.
BLOC Jeff Mills, Moodymann, Clark, Levon Vincent, ESG, Karenn, Ben UFO, Robert Hood Butlins, Minehead 13-15 March From £199
The weekender occupies a special place in the heart of British culture. The immense charm of the holiday camp retreat; the luxury of mini-fridges, mental music and clean chalets, has never felt so alluring as now, with the return of Bloc to their spiritual home of Butlins, Minehead. Having slowly built up the brand from the ruins of their 2012 London event with their series of Autumn Studios parties, Bloc's official re-embrace of the weekender is eagerly anticipated. And what a return it will be; headliners Jon Hopkins, Jeff Mills and Autechre join New York funk pioneers ESG, Crack favourite Dean Blunt, Moodymann and a small army of DJs and club partners including Ostgut Ton, Boiler Room and Crack, where we'll be hosting Blunt, Helena Hauff, Millie and Andrea, Traxx, Ron Morelli, Lee Gamble, Cut Hands and Samuel Kerridge.
EARTH Islington Assembly Hall 20 February £18 FK A T WIGS Roundhouse 19 February
K ASSEM MOSSE fabric 6 February
PÉPÉ BR ADOCK Corsica Studios 20 February
Earth's legacy is one of loud, bass heavy terror. They'll happily drag out a single note far longer than is generally deemed sensible or necessary. We look to Dylan Carlson and his band of notso-merry men for a positively noise-drenched experience that transcends any of the convenient tags like 'drone' or 'stoner' that so often plague bands that sound like they do. Their punishing live shows are notoriously one of the closest things to torture a person can willingly endure, and we seriously can't recommend it enough.
ROUNDHOUSE RISING Roundhouse 16-22 February
CULT OF YOUTH Shacklewell Arms 22 February
The Roundhouse's festival of emerging musical talent returns for its fifth year. Over a week's worth of workshops, panels, and masterclasses fill up the days, while live music from the likes of Girl Band, Shlohmo and Gwilym Gold populate the evenings.
BRUCE ASBESTOS: A /B TESTING Hayward Gallery Until 1 March Free
SEVEN DAVIS JR Corsica Studios 21 February
THESE NEW PURITANS Oslo 13 February £15.60 When bands brag about the ‘progression’ of the sound, it’s often shorthand for self-indulgence. But the evolution of These New Puritans has been genuinely exciting. From starting out as an admittedly pretentious post-punk outfit, they later achieved excellence with 2010’s Hidden – an album that featured Timbaland-esque production, kids choirs and the sounds of swords clashing – and released the neo-classic masterpiece Field of Reeds in 2013. They’ve hinted that this gig will see new music performed by a new line-up, and we’d love to know what they’ve got coming up next. Oh, and this is an NME awards event by the way, so don’t be surprised if you see Jamie T chuck a rum and coke at the singer from Peace or something.
Bruce Asbestos' latest show A/B Testing takes its name from a marketing practice developed to test the effectiveness of online mailing lists. The technique involves sending different versions of the same content to two different groups of a large audience before measuring interaction and sending one of the versions to the rest of the group. Asbestos employs this technique in his latest exhibition – which draws on his practices of highbrow vision through low-culture medium – to keep his YouTube based installations constantly updated and evolving. Plus it's like, about the internet and shit. Such modern.
STEALING SHEEP Chats Palace 10 February
DANNY KRIVIT (8 HR SET ) Plan B 28 February
MUMDANCE & LOGOS Dance Tunnel 26 February
RINSE Todd Terje (live), Legowelt, DjRUM Ministry Of Sound 28 February 3rd release: £22 / £5 off for students and members Rinse is usually associated with the tougher, bassier side of the musical spectrum, but the brand’s diversity is properly showcased by this night at Ministry of Sound. At the top of the bill, genius goofball Todd Terje is booked to perform his impressive live show, and across the venue’s numerous rooms there’ll be sets from the likes of Dutch techno wizard Legowelt, Bristol innovator Appleblim and the excellent Stockholm producer Baba Stiltz, whose Studio Barnhus-released album Total got plenty of plays in the Crack office last year. You can’t really go wrong, is basically what we’re trying to say.
KIM ANN FOXMAN fabric 28 February
THE GARDEN 100 Club 9 March £8
OL AFUR ARNALDS Barbican 22 February Sold Out
We'll never forget the first time we heard The Garden's ultra-creepy garage rock anthem Surprise. We were driving down the M4, careering through the Welsh countryside and found ourselves drugged by the incessant chorus “I'm gonna drink, drink, drink your soul tonight.” Initially we found ourselves scared and slightly disturbed by the seemingly twisted brothers' take on goth rock but it was only a matter of time before the repeat button was completely fucked and we couldn't help but shout along all day.
Hardcore drummer turned neoclassical prodigy, Iceland’s Olafur Arnalds has made his name by investigating – creating, even – a balmy, dense middle ground between sophisticated, widescreen classical breadth and contemporary electronic sound design. His ’07 debut Eulogy for Evolution, released when he was just 21, set out the stall for his staggeringly ambitious vision, and his subsequent releases and live realisations under his own name, as well as last year’s collaborative album as Kiasmos, has seen his journey continue in engrossing fashion. This packed out Barbican show is wholly deserved.
ALEX G Chats Palace 3 March
PANDA BEAR Electric Brixton 4 March
L AURENT GARNIER Oval Space 20 February
Issue 49 | crackmagazine.net
BRITNEY Edinburgh based Britney describe themselves as a Buff Scottish Beef Combo but trust us, there’s more to them than that. Their sound sits somewhere between the abrasive, disjointed hardcore of fellow scots Take A Worm For A Walk Week and the angular, futuristic grindcore of The Locust. Their aesthetic, meanwhile, borrows from gaudy Anime, ironic logo appropriation and the sort of digital rendering that’s more akin to the East London art set than a band of burly Scots who chuck out earfuls of pummelling, jagged, avant-garde, unlistenable oddness from every possible angle.
Cleo and Harmony, the ridiculously awesome duo who make up Girlpool, achieved teengirl utopia with their self-titled debut EP on Wichita last November. Drum-free since circa ’96, the LA-via-Philly band’s confessional misfit indie is built around interweaving guitar and bass and voices which merge with uncanny ease, inhabiting nonemore-bratty, no-fucks-given bullshit detection and tender ruminations on adolescent woes. The recent, 25-minute road movie Things Are OK captured the band’s first US tour in all its shrieking glory, as well as serving as an intriguing document of a burgeoning friendship solidified by creative telepathy. We love them. You’ll love them too.
O American Beauty 1 Hunx / Skinned Teen : girlpoool.bandcamp.com
O Gaping Maven 1 Holy Molar / Drive Like Jehu : britney.bandcamp.com
TRUST FUND Last month the internet got acquainted with Trust Fund via a pooch-strewn music video for their new single. What some people may have failed to notice (among the maelstrom of “aww cute” comments) is that Cut Me Out – the song beneath the loveable furry creatures – is impossibly good. “I think every song I write is a hit,” Trust Fund’s mainstay Ellis Jones jokes coyly, “I write for the canon.” While his tongue may be stuffed inside in his cheek at this point, Trust Fund’s upcoming album is, we can confirm, something pretty special; a collection of building, buzzing lo-fi pop that flits between resonant acoustic tracks and breezy, feedback-driven pop with delicate precision. We quizzed Ellis on his recording technique for an insight into the album’s loud-quiet dynamic. “Some was full-band, and some was solo overdubbing,” he told us, “so there’s a wide scale in terms of size.” Size is the right word – Ellis’ songwriting sometimes towers, rushing into blissful oblivion; other times it lays low, bubbling just beneath the surface. Each song balances skilful songwriting with poetic, relatable lyrics. “Sorry if I definitely, deliberately lied/Every night for 18 months of your life/I don’t know why I did that” Ellis sings on Cut Me Out. It’s thoughtful, everyman lyrical insight, something which propels virtually everything he writes to a level that trumps his peers. With Trust Fund Ellis Jones is still finding his feet, and it remains to be seen what will become of the Bristol musician and his rotating cast of friends. Early signs are looking good though, and he sweet-talks us when we ask about his career highlights thus far, “I never thought that I’d get famous enough that Crack Magazine would want to interview me.” Modest, charming. Sure to go miles.
O Cut Me Out 1 Weezer / Elliot Smith : trustfund.bandcamp.com DESERT SOUND COLONY Known to nurture artists from the ground up, Brooklyn-based label Scissor & Thread have some fresh talent on their hands with newcomer Desert Sound Colony. Their debut EP The Way I Began, released on the label run by Francis Harris and Anthony Collins, is a gentle introduction to their enticing style; chugging basslines, soft vocals and rich, cushioned electronics. Throughout the EP’s four tracks its organic, velveteen sounds will win over fans of Caribou’s charming intensity, the melancholic drag of Warpaint and the bright flourishes of early Four Tet. Dreamy pop fluff which is subtle, hypnotic, and at times, truly blissful.
KACY HILL As co-signs go, they don’t get much better than Kanye West. Rising star Kacy Hill’s fragile, lofty aural oddities have recently been blessed by the power of West, who snapped up the singer for his G.O.O.D Music label, where the LA based Hill now rubs shoulders with the existing roster of Pusha T, Q-Tip and Big Sean. Disparate in style from those acts, the freckle-faced former American Apparel model’s debut single Experience is stripped back future pop about the subtle nuances of human consciousness, fresh from the FKA twigs school of falsetto. Expect big things from this pop-star in waiting.
Snootie Wild has got off to an excellent start. After T.I. appeared on an unofficial remix of the Memphis singer-rapper’s 2013 debut single – the infectious cocaine anthem Yayo – Yo Gotti decided he wanted a slice of the pie, and subsequently signed Wild to his CMG label while contributing a verse to the re-release version for good measure. There’s not much music in Wild’s catalogue that precedes his breakthrough, and only a few autobiographical details have surfaced: he gave up his teenage dreams of being an athlete after being stabbed in the knee, he embraced rapping after four years of incarceration and his pretty looks have earned him an appearance on VH1’s reality show Love & Hip-Hop. But considering his unforgettable hooks take influence from Rich Homie Quan, Future and bootyeating genius Kevin Gates, there’s a good chance that we’ll be learning a lot more about Snootie Wild in 2015.
O Made Me 1 Future / Kevin Gates : @SnootieWild
O Experience 1 Kelela / Jessie Ware : @kacyhill
O The Way I Began 1 Manitoba / Junior Boys : @DSColony
Issue 49 | crackmagazine.net
O Listen 1 File Next To : Online
Words: Davy Reed Photography: Dave Ma
“One of the things they tell you in entertainment is that you always want to be what people don’t know they want yet, you always want to fill a space that’s not been filled,” Mykki Blanco tells me over the phone. It’s a motto that’s seen the fearless, radically progressive artist remain two steps ahead of the cultural curve. There have been right-wing bigots who’ve wanted to intimidate him, narrow-minded journalists who’ve tried to pigeon-hole him, but Blanco is too strong to be deterred. And while he’s primarily known as a rapper, you could make the case that Mykki Blanco is a punk rocker in the truest sense.
– might seem like the natural medium for Blanco to execute his swag, he insists that rap was a second choice. “I never wanted to be a rapper, I wanted to be a conceptual artist! I’ve wanted to be in that world, but you have to be an ass-kisser and you also have to be a little boring,” he claims, letting out a mischievous chuckle. “Well, maybe not boring. But, like, if I’m going to be fake, I want to be entertainer fake, you don’t have to have some 30 minute conversation about a sculpture you don’t actually care about. It’s like in the art world you have to form all these long term ‘relationships’, I don’t have time for that shit,” he says, laughing again.
Late last year, Blanco dropped his latest release – the raw, intense and sharply witty Gay Dog Food mixtape. Inspired by the inhibition-eroding impact of his live shows and time on the road with the semi-defunct noise-rap outfit Death Grips, the tape saw Blanco spit, sing and scream over crunchy, lo-fi electro beats. While Gay Dog Food featured some of Blanco’s most ferocious rapping to date (“I fear no man nigga, fuck your judgement / hatin’ ass bitch, yeah I fucked your husband,” he declared in the opening bars of Moshin’ In The Front), this time round Blanco’s vocal experiments were harder to define. There was some eye-catching collaborations on there too, including the deliciously-titled, yet-to-beheard bonus track Solange in the Elevator with Chicago drill MC Katie Got Bandz and A Moment With Kathleen – a conceptual track featuring the perpetually-inspiring Riot Grrrl pioneer Kathleen Hanna.
But whether or not Blanco is cut out for the schmoozy chin-stroking of the white wall galleries, he’s always been synonymous with the art world. And the story of Michael David Quattlebaum Jr.’s evolution from creative North Carolina teenager to crossdressing, gender-bending underground star is one that’s punctuated by encounters with New York’s cultural trailblazers. After running away from home at the age of 16, Quattlebaum took a Greyhound coach to New York, where he’d explore his sexual identity at East Village bar The Cock and meet the likes of Alexander McQueen and photographer Ryan McGinley. After returning home for a brief period and flunking a degree at the Art Institute of Chicago, Quattlebaum returned to New York in 2008 to enrol at Parsons The New School for Design. While he only completed one semester, Quattlebaum had already established a network of art dealers, publishers and gallery owners, and began performing a confrontational spoken-word project called No Fear. So how did this act become, as Blanco once described it, “a mixture of Riot Grrrl and ghetto fabulousness”?
Hanna’s work as the frontwoman of Bikini Kill, Le Tigre and now The Julie Ruin has seen her embrace music as a progressive, empowering form, so it’s no surprise that she’s struck up a bond with Mykki Blanco. And as an artist who’s spent a couple of decades dealing with an industry disproportionately dominated by white, heterosexual males, Hanna recognises some of the obstacles Blanco has faced from her own career. In an e-mail exchange, I asked Hanna why she thinks Blanco plays an important role in the context of the contemporary music industry. “I think Mykki is valuable in terms of contemporary art more than ‘the music industry’,” she replied. “Though she has clearly busted down some barriers in that world, she also went out on the fucking street and confronted a bunch of homophobic teens by freestyle rapping them out of their silly slumber. That’s art. That’s someone who is talented, who gives a shit, and who was born to be creative.” While Mykki is a gifted rapper, he’s equally a poet, a performance artist, a radical style icon. And despite hip-hop – with its confidence-enhancing braggadocio
“I just had this idea right around the time Nicki Minaj and Lil Kim were having that famous beef, to start this videoart character of a female rapper in high school,” he tells me. With ideas generated by his book of poetry published by the OHWOW gallery, Quattlebaum first performed as Mykki Blanco at one of the trend-starting, mythologised Ghe20G0th1k parties in downtown New York. “When I combined the performance art style I’d been doing with No Fear with Mykki Blanco raps, that’s when it became actually interesting,” he recalls. “Because doing this punk performance as a guy, that had already been done before, you knew what to expect. But when you start rapping in drag, people are kind of surprised by it.” In January, Mykki was shot for Italian fashion house Iceberg’s SS15 campaign alongside Kim Gordon, and also modelled for Hood
By Air’s subversive collection at the Pitti Uomo menswear trade show in Florence. That trip saw him roam the grandiose Fattoria di Maiano estate with HBA’s Shayne Oliver, Venus X, singer Ian Isiah, Fade To Mind producer/DJ Total Freedom and Arca – who crafted the menacing beat for Blanco’s early track Join My Militia (Nas Gave Me a Perm) long before Kanye, FKA twigs or Björk’s teams had him booked in for sessions. “Xen is an amazing album, and [Arca] was obviously always going to be a breakout star, and twigs is now a fucking superstar!” he says with affection. “It’s crazy how many people in our friend circle have literally skyrocketed.” Following the 2012 breakout of his club banger Wavy, Mykki Blanco has released the excellent Betty Rubble: The Initiation EP (which spawned some mind-blowing music videos) and a cluster of singles. But you could argue that in the last two years, a major focus of his mission has been his life on the road. Blanco claims to have spent around nine months touring in 2013, and a major chunk of 2014 was spent taking his intense, lascivious show around the globe. During our correspondence, Mykki’s fluctuating schedule involves him travelling to Moscow, performing across South America, modelling for HBA in Florence, then giving a university lecture in Denver, Colorado before moving to LA. As you can imagine, pinning him down for a photo shoot becomes a logistical nightmare. Known to document his adventures on social media, Blanco shares intimate photos and notes about his wild, debauched and beautiful experiences with his followers. And, of course, he doesn’t hesitate to report on the battles he faces either.
“Mykki went out on the fucking street and confronted a bunch of homophobic teens by freestyle rapping them out of their silly slumber. That’s art” - Kathleen Hanna
In May 2014, Blanco posted images of the inside of a Portuguese jailhouse, where he was arrested after apparently telling a brazenly homophobic and discriminatory
policeman to ‘go fuck himself’. In November that year, Blanco embarked on a tour with producer and frequent collaborator Gobby which saw them play in Israel, Austria, Italy, Poland and Russia. The latter two countries presented challenges. “We went to Poland on literally the worst day we could be there,” Blanco recalls. “Our show was on 11 November, which is Independence Day, it brings out all these fucking neo-Nazis and right-wing nationalists. We kind of had to stay in the hotel the entire day because they were marching down the street and parading in Warsaw, that even affected the type of people who came to my concert.” And on the day of the Moscow gig, a group – either private security officers hired by the authorities or anti-LBGT activists, depending on reports – shut down the Solyanka club where the show was scheduled to take place. Dimitry Enteo, the leader of extremist group God’s Will (who’ve been linked to harassment of LGBT protesters and supporters of Pussy Riot), later tweeted his praise of the club’s closure: “The perverts of Solyanka thought they can get away with everything? It’s important for everyone to understand that without respecting Eastern Orthodox faith and the family, you cannot work in Russia.” Mykki Blanco’s immediate reaction was to downplay the direct link between his show and the Solyanka’s closure, suggesting that, as something of a countercultural hub in Moscow, the club already had a troubled relationship with right-wing groups and the authorities. Alongside this, Blanco posted a series of various photo albums and video clips documenting happier times he’s enjoyed in Russia on Facebook alongside a lengthy, heartfelt note which expressed his love for the country without shying away from the cultural tensions he’d experienced. Since the country’s federal law banning the “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relationships to minors” was passed in 2013, the Western media has heightened its interest in the prevalent intolerance towards LGBT communities. I ask Blanco if his Facebook note was partially motivated to prevent Western fans developing stigmatising perceptions. “I just feel like the more educated people become about [Russia], the more they’ll understand that it’s not some like crazy villainous place,” he tells me. “People don’t know shit about Russia, and they’ll be like [adopts condescending voice] ‘Oh, you stay safe out there’. It’s like, safe from what? What are you talking about? Save me from these horrible Soviets who’re gonna have some data chip that’s gonna know I’m gay and shoot me with 12 rounds in the back? What are these situations that you’ve created in your head that are not real?
“But as I said in what I wrote about Russia, I’m not gonna pretend that this country is a fucking walk in the park,” he continues. “A lot of these places, I’m going to because of my male privilege, I’m going because I can be a guy there. These people would not be so accepting if I was more outwardly queer or cross-dressing in the street there.” And while Blanco appeared unfazed by the Solyanka shutdown, announcing the gig’s new venue alongside a picture of himself pouting in a long blonde wig and smudged, pink lipstick, anxiety still loomed that evening. “The people in this other club were just not into the kind of people who were at my show. And the security were giving me crazy dirty looks and shit,” he says. “Honestly, from this last trip in Russia ... it’s like I kind of don’t fuck with Moscow,” he admits. “Like, I fuck with Russia, St. Petersburg and all the other places I’ve been to, I don’t think I’ll have any reservations of going to any other part of Russia. But Moscow? They’re a liiittle too hung up for me. The fact that the government’s there means that they are just so much more conservative. And it’s funny because it’s such a big city but everybody’s kind of watching their back ... I’ve had so many good experiences with Russian people and Russian culture, but now that I’ve experienced that, I’m like ‘OK, Moscow – I’m going to keep you at arm’s length.'” But despite all the negativity, all the hateful energy that threatens to restrict his
creativity, Mykki Blanco remains as one of the most defiant and free-spirited music artists working today. And while he’s understandably tired of critics ignoring his art to analyse the specifics of his identity (in particular, the ‘queer rap’ tag applied to him, Le1f and Cakes Da Killa back in 2012 seemed pretty reductive), he accepts that a lot of his fans will probably always be fascinated by it. “I used to kind of try and shift the narrative around that. But honestly? I think with me, people are always going to try and include that in the storyline because it makes it so much more interesting for them, and I think that’s fine ... But, like, if a song bangs and you can turn up to it, why do you have to write some stupid review which starts with the words ‘queer icon’?” With the recent announcement that he’s signed with !K7 Records, Mykki Blanco hopes to release his debut studio album in 2015. The quality of Blanco’s previous two EPs have seen him improve as a rapper and Gay Dog Food proved just how wildly experimental he can be. And yet, he feels his definitive statement is yet to be made. “You know what it is? I’ve been out here for two years, switching up my styles, but I still haven’t really told people what the real deal is with Mykki. And that’s why my album is so important. There’s an honesty that I still haven’t conveyed to a lot of people and that’s definitely what I’m going to do with this next batch of music. It’s like no one wants
to make angry music, but at the same time, certain shit needs to be said.” At this point, he’s won a legion of fans and an endless barrage of haters. He’s established a certified cult status but still has a lot to prove. So, comes my final question: does this feel like a good time to be Mykki Blanco? “Oh my god, are you kidding me? This actually might be the best stage yet. Because now I feel like I have an audience, I have attention. And now that people finally realise the things I’m not, I can really swag the fuck out.” Gay Dog Food is out now via UNO NYC. Mykki Blanco’s debut album will be released via !K7 Records
â€œIf a song bangs and you can turn up to it, why do you have to write some stupid review which starts with the words 'queer icon'?â€?
Turning Points: Erol Alkan
Whether he’s creating the biggest alternative weekly club night the UK has ever seen, or positioning himself as the antithesis to the superstar DJ while at the same time conquering the same mountain on completely his own terms, there’s something inherently uncompromising about Erol Alkan. His Phantasy label continues to push his typically rounded taste in unexpected directions with the likes of Connan Mockasin and Dan Avery exemplifying his diverse and adventurous character. With a career in music now stretching 20 years, Crack spoke with Erol about his most defining moments.
“Trash was about finding the music, the bands and the records that worked in harmony, whether that be electronic, guitar, or disco records. I missed one in 10 years”
1984: Being bought a Spectrum I always had an interest in technology: I always wanted to take things apart and put them back together again to see how they worked. All we had was a record player and that was the thing that kept me engaged when I was young. When I was 10 I got bought a Spectrum and it opened up everything. I got really into programming and hacking into games and I became so well versed at computers I was helping the teachers at school with them. It just satisfied all my creative urges including making music as there was a programme on there where you had to programme the length of each note and the pitch. My uncle would be like ‘can you do the Knight Rider theme?’ So I’d spend an afternoon working it out. Circa 1991: Taking things into his own hands The way I got my break was by going up to a local promoter and saying ‘me and my friends go to these clubs, but we wish you’d play slightly different music, everywhere we go everyone is playing the same records.’ I was 17 at this point, still at school and making these tapes for my friends. When I started going to clubs I realised that the guy who was on the turntables was pretty much pushing his taste on a whole room of people at one time, and I thought to myself, that’s what I should be doing instead of recording tapes. So I said to this promoter, ‘If you give me a gig, my friends will come’. Back then, the DJ was only one step above the glass collector on the social ladder. I was still in school or sixth form, so I didn’t stick around and went home early, but he invited me back next week to do it again. Within six months I was playing every single night of the week. 2000: Trash moving to The End Trash moving to The End was a chance for us to stake our claim and prove that what we were doing was as good as what other people were doing. Mixing guitar music one track after another to create something cohesive is quite a challenge. It’s not just the timing issues or the rhythmical issues,
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it’s the character and personality of the music. Being able to do that somewhere like The End where you had this incredible soundsystem which was maintained weekly made it so much greater. It was the first time our kind of music was allowed into a real nightclub. It was great to see bands that could play through the system and on that stage instead of being on toilet circuit. Trash was about finding the music, the bands and the records that worked in harmony with each other, whether that be electronic, guitar, or disco records. I missed one Trash in 10 years. 2007: Life After Trash After we closed Trash and I’d been awarded DJ Of The Year by Mixmag in 2006, other people might have run with a business strategy to take their career to another level. Instead, two weeks later I produced the second Mystery Jets record, which isn’t what the best DJ in the world is supposed to do but it’s what I always wanted to do. I’d never produced an album before so I read a couple of books: All You Need Is Your Ears by George Martin and Caught Behind The Glass, where producers talk about their theories. I’ve never had a manager or any of those things that generate success, but I just wanted to get my head down and make the best record I could make and that still stays with me. It was a real education. 2013: Building The Phantasy Sound studio We just wanted to make records for the right people. One of the things we’ve tried to do on the label is to find a purpose rather than just furthering people’s careers. In the case of Dan (Avery), we’ve been really proud of everything he’s done, and building the studio was the key to actually signing him, it was like, ‘we’re here to give you whatever you need to make the best record possible. I’ve got the equipment and I’ve got some knowledge so lets do it.’ For us it was defining values in culture and presenting them in the form of music. Erol Alkan plays Snowbombing, Mayrhofen, Austria, 6-11 April
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Words: Barney Khan Photography: Fabian Frost
For most people, living with the bleakness of daily modern life – dismal youth unemployment stats, an impenetrable capitalist regime, persistent global unrest – creates a sort of omnipresent millennial anxiety. But it’s precisely this socioeconomic climate which fuels Rødhåd’s DJing, production and involvement in the collective run event series-turnedlabel Dystopian, inverting the numbing mechanical sprawl of his surroundings with sleek, hypnotic sounds. It might be a cliché to think of techno in terms of its environment, but the structure of Berlin is instrumental to Rødhåd’s journey. Widely regarded as an archetypal Berlin DJ, Rødhåd – meaning ‘red head’ – went from putting on open air events in the city’s suburbs to cutting his teeth at the city’s notorious Golden Gate club. In 2009, Rødhåd began putting on regular parties with two other Berlin natives as Dystopian, branding their dark approach to music and programming with great success. As enthusiasm for the parties grew, so did the praise surrounding Rødhåd’s notoriously extended sets, allowing him to hone the six hour plus closing sessions he has become known for, and present them at Berghain not long after. The label, which takes inspiration from “a mechanist present, an industrial era, warehouses … noise”, has captured a style that’s precise, powerful and melancholic, finding freedom in a world running on empty with music that turns nights into days. Last year, Rødhåd went from juggling his DJ career with a job at an architecture firm to becoming one of the most in demand DJs on the international circuit. This, along with the rise and consistent strength of the label and Rødhåd’s own hypnotic, dancefloor-focused production style, has led Dystopian to become one of techno’s most distinguishable collectives. It’s on a grey Berlin afternoon that we meet the new techno heavyweight in Kreuzberg’s Milch & Zucker cafe. Much like his DJ sets, once Rødhåd is given a good amount of time to find a groove, the Dystopian ideologies began to flow deep, dark and heavy.
You were born in 1984. To what extent do you think being born in such a symbolic year has shaped who you are? You called your first release 1984, and there’s your track Newspeak [the fictional language taken from Orwell’s novel]. It’s a good question. I read the book of course, but until this point I never thought about any influences from the year. The 1984 EP is just one release in our whole
Dystopian catalogue. We always try to transport a certain feeling with the releases, the idea is to get people thinking about the names, the titles, the artwork. And in a way 1984 is actually now – we’re living in a dystopian society. That’s maybe the best thing to take from it, because things in the book are becoming real now. Like the internet, you know everybody is ... Dystopian is watching you. [laughs] Moving onto the Spomeniks EP, the track titles are rooted within architecture, with Spomeniks and Buzludzha conjuring up imagery of forgotten history. Could you explain what they are and your fascination with them linguistically and historically? I mean the thing is about the track titles for the Spomeniks EP ... the inspiration actually came from Facebook! There was a post about 10 buildings from the time of the Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia and I suddenly got inspired by the pictures and the names. The monuments were built and placed in Yugoslavia in the 70s at historical places from the Second World War. Now they are abandoned and people forget the historical meaning of these monuments. How do you feel about the way Berlin is moving right now in terms of gentrification? Yes, I am a little bit unhappy as some great options and a bit of freedom is gone. But I’m also a bit tired of people complaining about it because a city like Berlin has changed a lot since the wall has come down. It’s changed so much, for me it’s interesting because there’s nothing still standing ... I remember at Hackescher market all the buildings were fucked up, there use to be boarded squat houses there. When you go there now, you can’t imagine it ever being like this! How quickly did that change happen? Over the last 20 years I would say. Areas like Prenzlauer Berg – when I was born my parents lived there and it wasn’t a part where you’d want to raise your kids. There were toilets on the floor outside and there was no heating in the flats, that was the reason my parents moved out of the area to find other housing. They moved to Plattenbau tower block areas, they had six or twelve levels of compact concrete but for them it was really good, they had windows and heating, and the bathroom and the toilet in the flat. You have a history in architecture. Do you consider architecture to be an art-form, a mode of expression in the same way techno is? Of course, architecture is an art by itself, but as a construction drawer, for me it’s more to see the technical things behind it, to find solutions, to build things.
Techno has always been about the future of sound and exploring machines. Some people think modern day techno is slightly obsessed with the past, with people clinging onto the 808 and the 909 etc. Do you think techno is looking more to the past or the future at the minute? That's an interesting question. For me it's always a mixture of things from the past and things informing the future. At the moment we have the instruments alongside the computer and you can do so many other things. In the 90s, for example, you had the 909. The 909 is a classic drum machine and I also use those sounds for the music I make. But in a way, at the moment it's as if it's stopped getting more futuristic. At the beginning of 2000 we had this pretty hard techno, it was difficult to have a lot of sounds in your tracks. Since 2005, the sound of modern techno we're talking about, often people call it "the sound of Berghain", is this stripped-down techno. But it’s coming to a point where the style of music has to change because everybody's doing the same. Everybody is using the same sounds again, you can hear everyone is doing the same tricks and working with super compressed sound. Whenever I get promos, I see this big flat waveform. There’s that pressure to be loud in the club though. Yeah, of course. [laughs] You’re known for playing very lengthy sets. Do you think an extended set is needed to get the true potential of the techno experience? Yeah, of course! And it’s also difficult for me now – I’m used to playing long sets, but I’m playing a lot of gigs with only two, three hours now. Last year was the first year I played a lot of festival sets. In the beginning I was struggling with it because I had the feeling you have to be on a higher energy level with your performance at festivals to get the crowd moving. Of course it’s been a process of learning to deliver in a short time and to keep people still interested in your set. When you see 4000 people standing in front of you, you’re under pressure to make them dance. You are the person that has to bring the good time … quickly! [laughs] For me, you need a bit of time to get into a mood, and into a groove. If the DJ is really moving you, you can't stop dancing for six or eight hours because it’s just so amazing, you’re closing your eyes and standing in the middle of the dancefloor. As a DJ I normally need to really get into the sound tunnel – I don’t know how to describe it, to get into the mood I need like two or three hours to get really into it, then you get to a point where you don’t
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have to think about what you’re playing, it’s just what you’re feeling, creating ups and downs. You just released Soliloquy, the tenth release on Dystopian and a compilation of the label’s artists. A soliloquy is speaking your innermost thoughts regardless of who’s watching. Is that a suggestion that, despite your growing audience, you’re going to carry on doing what you’re doing? You’ve become a cover star over the last year, for example, is that affecting you? It’s not affecting the way we think about the music we’re releasing because there is still an idea in our mind which holds everything together – the melancholic, Dystopian vibe. But we also want to surprise ourselves and our followers. We’re looking forward. We’re exploring. The review from Resident Advisor for the Soliloquy EP says we are ‘uncompromising’ techno music, and that’s something we’re trying to change a bit now. Every kind of music can work with the Dystopian idea.
So do you think you’ll still be doing this in five years? Being healthy is an important thing for myself. Of course I hope I will be still around, but I don't want to stand still, I'll be doing other music and projects next to techno in the future. Hopefully you can ask me the same question again then. Rødhåd appears at BLOC, Butlins Minehead, 13-15 March and Time Warp, Maimakthalle, Mannheim, 5-6 April
And what do you think about labels like Drumcode that are making functional music for the rave. Is that still techno to you? Yes, of course it’s techno, but let’s maybe call it ‘working techno’. It’s functional. Sometimes not my cup of tea, but they have their own idea of the Drumcode concept and they have their own vision. In a way, Drumcode was always a functional label. I remember when I started DJing, I had a lot of Drumcode records from the old times – and it was always loopy, tribal style techno. But I also play the newer stuff, Alan Fitzpatrick, Ben Sims, some Adam Beyer stuff. I have a lot of the Drumcode catalogue, from one to 50 or something. I don’t know what number they are on now, maybe 200 or 300... [laughs]
“W h in su en yo o c st f tr h a u li b r v a an ong vel ubb e op d li l e ini als mo ng, e o t o t Ot o be ns, str ions yo on he o p u g rw t n i yo ise mi ee ur d y st m ou ic. in d” lose
And finally, whether in techno, the world, your personal life – what are you optimistic about? I’m always optimistic. When you live in such a bubble of travelling, strong emotions and also strong opinions, you need to be optimistic. Otherwise you lose your mind and the respect of the privilege you have.
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With towering expectations for 2015, Skepta rises to the challenge and vows to reclaim grime’s history for its true authors
Words: Tom Watson Photography: Leonn Ward
“Mistakes?” Skepta pauses. Fully decked in Nasir Mazhar, he lounges against the studio wall, shifting weight from one heel to the other. Kush vapours wheel around his low slung cap. He stares fiercely at everything and nothing. “I’ve made bare mistakes. But some of us who have been at the bottom aren’t afraid of being there. It never scares me when I’m down there.” Skepta, aka Joseph ‘Junior’ Adenuga, maintains a lionised philosophy that seems infinitely honest. He’s effortlessly assertive and has a particularly brazen way of fielding answers. Earlier in the day, we found the UK’s most revered MC at the front of a picket line outside of London’s High Commission of Nigeria, peacefully campaigning and raising awareness over the thousands of lives taken by Boko Haram. A few hours later, Skepta’s mood is meditative, passively basking in the glacial Sunday afternoon air. It’s an interesting mindset to find him in. 2014 witnessed the Boy Better Know co-founder cause a gaping rupture in the cultural zeitgeist. Countless heads fell under the spell of That’s Not Me, and still haven’t truly escaped it. Now, the overhanging drop of his forthcoming album Konnichiwa is expected to meet the towering expectations that Skepta set himself early last year. “I’m not going to lie, I feel pressure,” he admits with a perceptive smirk. “It’s the album of the world. It’s now. It’s today. But my intention is to spin the globe in another direction. While everyone will think I’ll be going one way, I’ll make it go the other. That’s my kind of chaos. I never plan for shit. “And that’s what That’s Not Me personifies. It was a freestyle at first. I just wanted to put out a video that made people feel like it was made back in the day. That’s why we shot on VHS with UZI. But the reaction to it was mad. I couldn’t believe it.” The video featured a green screened Skepta and brother JME bawl into a pair of headphones as crumbly archival BBK footage crudely hovers behind a mixer. Directed by grime’s go-to creatives, Tim and Barry, each grainy cut-rate clip is in line with the lo-fi aesthetic of the duo’s long-standing Just Jam nights. It cost £80 to produce and KO’d the competition for Best Video at the 2014 MOBOs, lambasting big budget entries from the likes of FKA twigs and Rudimental. The vintage prevalence of the track and its video resonated instantly, sparking puffy industry types to play their ‘resurgence’ cards. International ears pricked up, galvanising a certain Canadian to crib Skepta’s bars in a verse featured on Lil Wayne’s recent mixtape. “Drake reached
out to me and let me know what he was going to do. To me, that was like lyrically sending me a bottle of champagne in a restaurant. But then people started asking me what I was going to do as a response. “It’s funny, because now I’m standing here thinking there would’ve been a day where I would’ve been stupid enough to respond in a verse. But I’m in a place where I don’t need to think about that. Whoever doesn’t know my lyric is going to think it’s his, I understand that. I’m just focused on what I’m doing.” Today, he seems wholly amicable and earnest; comfortable with the ladder he’s chosen to climb. Early in his career, Skepta resisted the financial allure of major labels, opting to pave BBK’s own self-governing path. After accidentally burning his house down in Old Street by setting a teddy bear alight at the age of three, his family moved to Tottenham. There, he and his brother would begin to work on a craft that later made them forbearers of UK grime. As pirate stations such as Rinse FM and Freeze 92.7 crested on the merging sounds of garage, dancehall and hip-hop, Skepta began his career by formulating instrumentals for the Tottenham-based Meridian Crew. Slapdash VHS recordings and impromptu MC clashes in contrasting tower blocks formed the basis of grime’s now-legendary early years. Following the group’s disbandment in 2005 and their brief involvement with Bow’s Roll Deep Crew, Skepta and JME founded their own branded allegiances in 2006 with Boy Better Know. Here, along with crew members Jammer, Frisco, DJ Maximum and Shorty, they began releasing a slew of quintessential mixtapes. From Risky Roadz to Lord of the Mics to the JumpOff, BBK’s battles are cherished as lyrical time-capsules, spitting furiously over fruitylooped edits and dubplates. Skepta charted his success with dignity over capital. Skepta’s prominence seemed to accelerate without interruption, thanks to the noted success of his 2007 debut Greatest Hits and critically applauded mixtapes Been There Done That (2010) and Community Play (2011). Yet, succeeding the release of his Blacklisted mixtape in 2012, North London’s microphone champion seemed oddly muted in output. “I like to let myself live,” Skepta cranks the brass of his lighter. “I don’t like to force music. “You try and make your whole life about music, you stop allowing yourself to experience life. If you wrote your first lyric at 14, which you average MC does, that’s 14 years of your life going in to that lyric. Bare thoughts that you put into your first 16.
“To the mainstream, there’s grime resurgence. But they just stopped listening to it in the first place. I’ve always had grime at the heart”
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That’s hard. When you’re living it onstage all the time, your bars are inclined to be more self-indulgent. I’d end up with nothing to write about. “So I waited,” he explains. “During that time, between 2012 and 2014, I felt myself become real. I focused on being Junior rather than Skepta. And that’s how I ended up with That’s Not Me. I didn’t have to think about who I was. It was an important period in time for me; making Blacklisted. Even when I release Konnichiwa, I think I’ll always love Blacklisted. That was my mid-life crisis album. I listen to it and realise that’s when I became a man. It’s all emotion.” Skepta’s emotional strong-arming gives off an intensely thick-skinned impression. But having large chunks of his adult life uploaded online in the form of clashes and battles, you can track almost every one of his blows and missteps. “I grew up on YouTube. You can view my mistakes. You can see my whole life. Whether you like what I do or not, you can see someone who’s trying. The internet has made everything level. No more fucking mirage. You could spend a million pounds on a video and people won’t care. No one. The video is whack and it has no substance, but it cost a million pounds? So what? It doesn’t matter how much money anyone’s got in their bank account. People fuck with me. People fuck with Joseph Adenuga. “One time, I uploaded this video called Underdog Psychosis,” he recalls. “That was the real turning point for me. It’s like 26 minutes of me just talking to my laptop screen about my life and how I felt. You see every artist in the industry have a breakdown. Britney cut off her hair. Wiley moved to Cyprus. Everyone goes through it in different ways. Underdog Psychosis was mine. After it was released, I felt cleansed. From that point, I told myself that I’m not fucking with anyone that isn’t fucking with me. I don’t have time to try and please people whose platform isn’t made for me. Why was I trying to please Radio 1 for anyway?” This virtual revelation from Skepta caused a potent reaction last year when That’s Not Me came at loggerheads with commercial audiences, heralding a so-called return to form for grime. But was this really the case? Were we really witnessing the genre’s
recovery, or had new audiences only woken up to the its existence? It’s a contentious talking point, one which DJ and Butterz coowner Elijah confronted with a recent blog post in which he dismantled misconceptions and stressed grime’s constant growth. “We, the music community, not just grime, need to ensure our stories are told properly, otherwise you will pay for it in other ways down the line,” he argued. “From 2014’s coverage of grime you would think there wasn’t any music since 2006.” In line with Elijah, Skepta couldn’t be more against the idea of grime’s sudden rebirth. “To the mainstream, there’s a resurgence. But they just stopped listening to it in the first place. No matter what music I made over the years, I was always going to Sidewinders and Eskimo Dance and those shows. Getting mad reloads. I’ve always had grime at the heart. “But everyone’s hypebeasting over it now. The masses are going to take it and rinse the fuck out of it. What goes up must come down, so everyone should just enjoy it while it’s here. This is a beautiful movie. A movie that only a few understand. So now it’s up to me to tell the true story and I get to tell it from first hand. I’m not a fucking reporter trying to talk about it. I was there and I will tell you about what I was doing. “If you were there, you’d know that it was sick. But missing it and wanting to go back? That’s what was holding us back. It happened and now this is happening. So we’ve got to keep writing this history. Thinking about the now and what we’re going to do now.” Right now, with the impending release of Konnichiwa, Skepta is holding fast to the Eskibeat throne. Yet, racing beneath him are grime’s starving young spitters, tirelessly yanking upon Skepta’s robes. But what does the future hold for the Stormzys and Novelists of today and tomorrow? “I almost owe my life to the younger generation coming up underneath me,” Skepta abstains. “They’re like my children in a mad way. I looked to my dad as a youth for direction. Then I found this other legend that was like me. I gravitated towards Wiley. But it soon got to the stage where it was like ‘Rah, I’m the big man.’
“So now I’ve got to show Stormzy and Novelist the blueprint because they don’t have one yet. It’s almost like to become a big rapper in England is to sign to an American. At one stage I wanted to do that. I used to think that was the blueprint. I thought I would go on a support tour with an American, I’ll get signed and that means I’ve made it. I want to show those two that there’s a different way to do it. I want to share what I’ve found out so they can learn from my mistakes. When they’re on the up like I was with Wiley, I want them all to say ‘I want to do it like Skepta.’ And I think they will.” Konnichiwa is scheduled for release in mid-2015. Catch Skepta at Fresh Island, Zrce Beach, Croatia, 15-17 July
A haven of impeccably-imagined, mi the bluster of Berlinâ€™s Kreuzberg, we Chris Rehberger, visionary director o
Words: Louis Labron Johnson Photography: Jens Paulsen
inimalist serenity amidst e spend an afternoon with of Double Standards
On entering the Double Standards studio, tucked away at the end of Wrangelstrasse, one is immediately struck by the intensity of the interior: White, hard, arranged, more white, clean, minimalistic, white again. The studio looks like a cross between the spaceship in 2001: A Space Odyssey, a concrete bunker and an art gallery. This is a good thing. I ask if the students were hesitant to take instruction from such a waifish youth. “Yeah, they were all older than me, mostly between 25-30, and they were kind off stand-offish at the beginning. They looked at me like ‘what could you possibly teach me?’ So I had to start working on the projects to let them know them that I could show, as well as tell. It was fine after that, but to get them to trust me I really had to get down on my hands and knees on the cutting room floor!” Chris is now a part-time professor at HFG Karlsruhe, but he works in a more conceptual, abstract capacity. “I don’t have to get down on my knees so often anymore.”
The space is uncompromising – you must accept the design ethos imposed upon you, or reject it. There is no middle ground, nowhere to transfer your gaze to the bland and everyday. The outside world is full of indifferent aesthetics – walk down any given street and you’re likely to see a lot of bad design. Garish signage, uncomplimentary font choices, badly-photoshopped posters, clumsy photographs or thoughtless council planning on a one-way road system, the list goes on. None of this is acceptable in the world of Double Standards. When you step through the threshold, past the graffiti, rubbish and hubbub, you enter another realm, one where every decision is a very conscious one. You are now entering Chris Rehberger’s head, and design just got political. Chris strongly believes that being a graphic designer is not simply a job, it’s also laden with social responsibility. You as a designer are making a choice every time you create something. How relevant is it? How forgettable? Who do you target it to? What colours do you choose, if any? Perhaps most importantly, how clear and accessible is the message? Chris says, “When you are talking about social responsibility then you are also talking about sending a political message. Even if it’s a flyer for some department store, if it’s badly designed then you are sending out the wrong message. That’s political.” What I think Chris means when he tells me “design is political” is that every choice we make has a consequence. If you are making lazy, inarticulate design choices then you are making a statement that you do not care. This way of thinking can be applied to most, if not all, lines of work. But perhaps it is in design that poor craftsmanship stands out most, as we are forced to confront it everywhere we look.
Chris grew up in a small town near Stuttgart, and studied at Fellebach, the local university. Fellebach was a small school, with only 75 students while Chris was there. The course mostly focused on the technical side of design, leaving students to seek their own inspiration when it came to concepts. After graduating in 1990, Chris almost immediately jumped into the world of work, first trying his hand at a product design company before taking over the reins of art director at one, two, eventually three magazines simultaneously. Although this no doubt gave him an excellent grounding and education in design, it was also exhausting. “You must remember that back then you didn’t have computers to help you do everything. It was much more hands on. We had the layout sheets come in, and then you were on the floor fiddling around with Pritt Sticks and whatever.” With one magazine’s turbulent print week directly following another, Chris was essentially left without any free time whatsoever. “I was literally being sick after each issue came out. It was so stressful, I was really young still, and could not deal with such constant pressure.” Chris left the editorial world, and his home region of Swabia, to move in with his older brother – acclaimed artist Tobias Rehberger – in Frankfurt. There he took up work in advertising, as well as making his first foray into teaching at the Frankfurt School of Art, quite something when you consider that he was now at the grand old age of 23.
37 Although consistent and well-remunerated, the advertising work was quite dry; Chris feels that, particularly in Germany, advertising agencies are often afraid to take risks – even if the client might not be. He decided to leave advertising and launch himself into the uncertain terrain that is freelance work. Initially he started working through Start Advertising, a Munich-based creative agency who didn’t involve themselves in the design process, but found him work and looked after the planning and administrative side of things. This was a good arrangement for Chris, as not only could he focus himself on designing without interruption, but it also enabled him to meet and work with other designers in their stable, including luminaries such as Terry Jones of i-D magazine and John Warwicker, founder of design collective Tomato. course, but it seemed to me afterwards such a disgusting, patronising Western thing to do. I had never experienced depression before, but for about three weeks afterwards…”
In 1995 Chris moved to London, due to his wife landing a place on the City of Westminster’s photography course. He was always interested in England, in part because of the thriving design landscape, but mostly due to the London and ‘Madchester’ music scenes that were bubbling up at the time. The work he did for the British advertising agencies was more interesting than their German counterparts: “With BBA, Mother, Saatchi, the big agencies, it was good work. They were brave then. There was wit; it wasn’t like the irony-free zone I was finding in the Frankfurt agencies.” Chris worked non-stop from their small London apartment and barely got to see daylight, while the upmarket London opticians that his wife was working at attracted musicians like Noel Gallagher and Massive Attack, inducing no small amount of envy. Starting a family and living in stuffy expensive London were not compatible desires for the Rehbergers, so after five years they packed their bags and set off for the city where many of their design friends had started to head to: Berlin. Chris had been there already once, on a college trip before the wall came down, and his memories of East Berlin were not fond. “I was 16, and the field trip arrived in the buzzing, artistic liberal West Berlin", he recalls. "One of the days we took a trip to East Berlin, past the deathstrip, the barbed wire, the stone-faced soldiers. It was horrible. Everything was grey, the people looked grey, there were only two types of cars. I couldn’t wait to get out of there. Our money went so far that we couldn’t actually spend it all in the day. So we gave it to some guy near the border as we weren’t allowed to take it back. He was happy of
Post-Cold War Berlin was very different however, and Chris found a thriving and ambitious city with a much more upbeat atmosphere. He knows and socialises with the rest of the design crowd here, but doesn’t let work and pleasure mix too much. “I cannot think of anything more tedious than going to some designer’s party and spending the whole night discussing design. It’s boring! What’s to discuss? Everybody has their own opinions, and it’s not for me to influence that.” I posit to him that to a certain extent he does that with his students. “Yes, but I just talk to them about concepts and ideas, I don’t judge their work, whether it is good or bad. They are about 20 years younger than me, they have a different approach. I just want to let them know that they design with a personal history, that they need to put something of themselves in their designs. People talk these days about ‘authorless design’. What is this? There is no authorless design. Something of yourself is put into everything that you do, even if you don’t mean it to.” One of the most interesting projects that Double Standards have embarked upon recently was a collaboration with Red Bull and publisher Gestalten celebrating 15 years of the Red Bull Music Academy. The book is called For The Record, and is a
DJ/producer Zip. The label, Chris keeps telling me, really sort of happened by accident: his wife’s old boss in the optician she worked at in Frankfurt (judging from Chris’s experiences, I should probably hang out in opticians more) was really into some designs Chris brought in to show her one day, and asked if he could put some music to them. Chris, slightly bemused, accepted, not realising that the guy was the aforemtnioned Nikolai, an influential player in the Frankfurt music scene. One thing led to another and eventually they formed Pile, and later signed by Sony. Sony did basically nothing for them except take ownership of all the music Pile put out for three years, so when they finally managed to get out of the contract, suitably disillusioned with the industry, Chris and co. were keen not to repeat the experience. “We gathered in a local Apfelwein bar and decided that the best way to make sure our music was put out and advertised in the best possible way was to do it ourselves. Slowly, without any real sort of plan, we met other musicians and started releasing their stuff too.”
series of curated conversations between seminal musicians, elegantly presented. Sample conversations include Lee 'Scratch' Perry talking to Adrian Sherwood, and Erykah Badu chatting with young New York rap duo The Underachievers. “I thought, usually music is written about in magazines, but I was going to create a book, so how could I make a book that was representational of a magazine, or vice versa? I had these huge stacks of NME, you know, so I was looking at those and then … we ended up designing every single conversation completely separately, so that each musician had their own ‘feature’. We had different photographers flying all over the world for each artist, and I still think today that we really chose the perfect photographer for each one.”
Double Standards itself was also kind of accidental. Chris was quite happy doing his freelance thing, but one of his students at the Merz Akademie in Stuttgart asked him, quite persistently, whether he would take her under his wing when she graduated. Chris eventually caved and gained his first employee. “Back then, for her it must have been really frustrating; since I had been working alone for eight years I had no idea how to delegate so I didn’t really give her anything to do at all.” Eventually Chris was persuaded to hand
“People talk these days about ‘authorless design’. What is this? There is no authorless design. Something of yourself is put into everything that you do, even if you don’t mean it to”
Chris doesn’t only design though. He also co-owns the hugely influential record label Perlon, synonymous with Ricardo Villalobos but also releasing the likes of A Guy Called Gerald, Shackleton, and Pile, Chris’s audio-visual collaboration with fellow founders Markus Nikolai and Thomas Franzmann, aka world-renowned
Issue 49 | crackmagazine.net
over some of the work, and they started getting more, and bigger, projects together, slowly adding more designers to the fold. A decade later and Double Standards is 12 designers, plus Chris – and he no longer has issues with delegation: Slightly to his chagrin, one feels, he hardly designs at all any more, but rather sees himself as “the conductor of a band”, gliding sporadically through the room dispensing tips and wisdom, but more or less trusting his designers to work through and complete the projects themselves. Chris has a separate studio across the courtyard of the building. “I didn’t want my designers to have the feeling of ‘the boss’ always around, leaning over their shoulders, pressuring them. I want them to be feeling more or less autonomous and free.” In his own arena he has a play area for his nine-year-old daughter, which, typically, is also immaculately designed, but a bit more colourful than the rest of the space – a sort of ‘My First Studio’, if you like. What’s next for Double Standards? A lot of interesting projects, it seems: Designing the visual identity of an exhibition at the Vitra Design Museum called Making Africa, as well as work for the Munich Kammerspiele Theatre, and a colourway for a Lacoste trainer, to name but a few. Many of Double Standards’ clients tend to come from cultural institutions, again, by chance, rather than design. If it’s a pigeonhole, then it is one that many design studios would be happy to be crammed into. Chris asserts that there is no masterplan for the future of his businesses, no grand scheme, but rather that he is taking things as they come, letting events happen naturally. I can’t help but think he is adopting a slightly laissez-faire nonchalance when he says this, but he says that although he has dreams and ideas, he holds onto them, and doesn’t try to force them. He is confident that everything he wants to achieve will be achieved, but at its own pace. Looking at what has happened so far, you’d have to believe he’s right. For more information about Double Standards and Chris Rehberger visit doublestandards.net
FEBRUARY 2015 THURSDAY 5TH
COME OUT THE DANCE DISORDA / CHARLIE DARK / HIPSTERS DONT DANCE
MONO_CULT BARNT / MATT LONG / BRAD MERCER
COMM•UNE BRAIDEN / MINOR SCIENCE / SYNAMATIX / BILLSON
FWD» PANGAEA / HODGE / BENEATH / BRUCE
NEIGHBOURHOOD DJ PETE / SPECIAL GUESTS
DANCE TUNNEL PRESENTS TAMA SUMO & LAKUTI
VENT REZZETT / OBBE / SIAS AKA FRANK B
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43 Of all the most outlandish album concepts in the annals of pop music, the inspiration behind Jane Weaver’s The Silver Globe probably ranks somewhere in the middle. Released last year on Weaver’s own Finders Keepers label, the record takes many of its cues from Polish director Andrzej Żuławski’s obscure sci-fi flick Na Srebrnym Globie (On the Silver Globe). The film was shot in the mid-70s, but was suppressed by the communist Polish government until 1988 due to its subversive anti-totalitarian plot, which centres on building a new society on an unknown planet and ultimately overthrowing its oppressive indigenous occupants. As if Żuławski’s communist-bashing sub-plot isn’t convoluted enough, Weaver then performs her own act of subversion in reinterpreting the filmmaker’s work as a metaphor for the changing state of the music industry, both aesthetically and on a narrative level. “The post-apocalyptic theme definitely struck a chord with me, the way I’ve been involved in the industry for donkey’s years,” she says with a soft Mancunian accent down a crackling phone line from her home. “I’ve seen so much change and it’s had a big effect on me as an artist too. I’m thinking, where is it all going to end, you know? How are people going to hear our music and how are we going to trade? Are there still going to be gold, platinum records or what?” Weaver also sees parallels between the allegorical tale of the protagonists looking for a better life on a new planet and her own real-life experience of seeing artists chasing the nirvana of record deals, and the broken promises and relationships that often follow. “There have been a few bad seeds along the way in my time who’ve just said: ‘I’m going to use this template of yours’, or ‘I’m going to take all this that you’ve given me and I’m going try and do this somewhere else’ or whatever,” she says, alluding to her experience of running a label. “The grass isn’t always greener.” The 42-year-old might have recorded an album partially indebted to the vagaries of life in outer space, but she’s spent the best part of her 23-year music career flying under the radar back here on Earth. Liverpool-born but Manchester-raised, she began her career fronting Britpop foursome Kill Laura in the early 90s before forming folktronica outfit Misty Dixon in 2002. That same year Weaver released her first solo album Like an Aspen Leaf and a further six have followed. Critics tend to bung her into the psych-folk section next to the likes of Joanna Newsom, Meg Baird and the rest of the New Weird America gang, though Weaver herself has always distanced herself from the scene, stressing that she considers herself “a recording artist first and foremost.” Still,
you’d be hard-pressed to argue that Linda Perhacs didn’t cast a sizeable shadow over the mystical reveries of Weaver’s previous album, The Fallen by Watchbird. That was four years ago. Since then, Weaver’s nascent cosmic interests have been dovetailed by a stylistic pivot towards the kosmische sounds of krautrock. The singer’s breathy, classically English voice still floats above it all but where before there might have been an acoustic guitar or glockenspiel underneath, this time there’s a hulking motorik beat or a Hawkwind sample rumbling away. It all makes for quite a contrast, albeit an immensely enjoyable one – it may even be Weaver’s most satisfying release to date. Is it fair to see the shift as a bit of a rebellion against type? “I was getting a bit bored with the singer-songwriter folk tag,” Weaver concedes. “But when I was doing gigs live as well, I wasn’t really enjoying trying to represent and do a whole album just by myself; I didn’t have a band at the time.” So Weaver assembled a solid supporting cast of collaborators. Working with soundtrack composer David Holmes and becoming inspired by his wealth of analogue equipment, the new LP also features guest appearances from pianist Suzi Ciani (who used to soundtrack old Atari videogame commercials), Damon Gough (Badly Drawn Boy) and her husband, DJ and producer Andy Votel. “The community we’ve got at Finders Keepers and all over the world really is brilliant.” All the plaudits have come at a cost, though. Weaver has suggested her next release might need to be on a smaller scale than her recent bombastic turn. “After the new record was done I was exhausted,” she laughs, wearily. “I couldn’t imagine doing this kind of thing again. Next time might just be something quite stark and minimal and me alone, not necessarily acoustic…” But less stressful? “Yeah, because it will literally have an effect on my health if I do anything like that again!” Either way, Weaver’s continuously evolving vision guarantees another beguiling listen. The Silver Globe is out now via Finders Keepers Records. Catch Jane Weaver at Field Day, Victoria Park, London, 7 June
Back to earth: having embraced her inner space cadet, Jane Weaver’s creative thirst remains unsated
Words: James F. Thompson Photography: Elinor Jones
Weed, zines, and heartache: let’s hang out with Colleen Green
Words: Billie Monnier-Stokes Photo: Dan Steinberg
On the title track of her new album I Want to Grow Up, Colleen Green presents a woman frustrated by comingof-age difficulties, the transition from young adult to Real Life. It’s an alarming loss of blissful ignorance that can lead to many rash, regrettable decisions. Fortunately, Colleen Green has been able to channel these anxieties into something at once amusing and relatable. Released by Sub Pop’s baby Hardly Art Records, I Want to Grow Up sees the California-based artist continue to pay homage to her adolescent inspirations. While Green’s approach remains youthful (in the past she’s cited The Ramones, The Descendants and early Blink-182 as influences), the album sees her mature musically, this time trading her drum machine-powered, trashy DIY set up for additional musicians before going into the studio. The album’s lyrics, fans will be pleased to know, still have have that street-smart, slacker edge alongside personal growth. “It’s an insight into my life goals,” Green explains. “I just want to be the best person I can be. My lyrics are a reflection of what’s going on in my brain during a given time in my life, and this is what I’ve been thinking about the past couple of years.” Green recently declared that none of the songs on I Want to Grow Up are love songs. On first listen, the song Some People might initially sound like just another song about a woman losing out on a man, straight from the Taylor Swift school of pop hits. But when pressed on the meaning of
the melancholy tune, Green reveals that “Some People is about being out of love, feeling unlucky in love, and wondering why some people seem to be able to find love and happiness so quickly and easily while I’m still alone and sad”. Green’s confidence and ability to address the isolation we all feel at one point or another is another example of what makes her such a universally appealing lyricist. The one time bearer of the ‘Stoner Girl of Spring’ title (awarded by stonergirlsguide.com in 2013) also has other creative skills outside of music that help her create the world of Colleen Green. In line with her DIY aesthetic, Green is known for making zines under the Real Shit Daily tag, including an upcoming Celebrity Encounters edition which documents tales of inadvertent star spotting around LA complete with haikus and drawings, all presented with a deadpan manner grin and just enough childlike wonder. Green has created a refreshingly alternative realistic image of a girl in the industry to aspire and relate to. However, when we ask about her experiences as a female in music, she only has good things to say. “I love being a woman and being free to do anything that I want in this life,” she responds. It’s just that care-free confidence that made us fans of Colleen Green in the first place. I Want To Grow Up is released 23 February via Sub Pop / Hardly Art
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A taste of Dimensions 2015 Mount Kimbie Lil Louis Daniel Avery Goldie Delano Smith Max Graef Dele Sossimi K15 Josey Rebelle Lexis
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Words: Geraint Davies Photography: Gayle Laird Picture a bridge disappearing in front of your eyes in an impossibly dense flood of fog, an eerie natural phenomenon made synthetic. Picture the sheer visceral power of a storm – the the sensory overload, the emotional signifiers – all captured in a tangible, indoor space. Not quite a teacup but still, not bad. Since 2001, In Between Time, with their series of events and near-enough-biennial festivals, have strived to turn Bristol into a conscious, writhing, singularly creative organism. Demanding nothing but utter immersion of their audience, refusing to be shackled by medium, this production company delve from human performance to visual art; theatre, music, live art, dance, theatre, physical works. From a grain of vision in a single imagination, 14 years on IBT can proudly declare itself a truly international entity. Up until 2009, Helen Cole and the team at Bristol creative hub Arnolfini worked tirelessly to build a concept, a brand and a series of events with a festival at its core. Dr Anna Rutherford is Executive Director at IBT, an individual of boundless ambition but equally a voice of vital pragmatism. We spoke to her in the build-up to this year’s centrepiece, musing fondly on some of the definitive moments in her relationship with IBT. “There are always a few moments that catch you,” she said. “Our work is quite unusual, so sometimes these are exhilarating, sometimes they’re devastating and sometimes you’re propelled into a strange contemplative state, where all concept of time disappears. “Fake Moon, artist Simon Faithful’s installation on College Green during our last festival in 2013 had a strange, gentle but eerie quiet to it. Commuters, shoppers,
passers-by were caught by its simplicity, pausing for a moment to look up into the night sky, before slipping back into their lives again.” Amidst the treasures on show this year, two internationally invited contributors have the city’s artistic community on tenterhooks. “Our Senior Producer Joon Lynn Goh first encountered images of Fujiko Nakaya’s work in architectural archives,” revealed Rutherford when we enquire as to IBT’s first experience of the prolific, world renowned fog sculptor at IBT15’s heart. “We were struck by these visceral interventions into daily spaces – flooding carparks, hovering over summer fields and rising up skyscrapers.” Nakaya’s output is staggering; her use of pillowing floods of silvery fog, fleeting yet physical, has swamped everywhere from the Guggenheim in Bilbao to the Australian National Gallery. “For 40 years Fujiko has worked with fog as a sculptural medium” Rutherford continued, “and we’ll be showing a retrospective of her work alongside Fog Bridge.” The most convenient route across the narrow expanse of water separating Arnolfini from the string of bars, restaurants, arts spaces and market stalls adjacent, Pero Bridge is a comfortable, familiar staple of Bristol’s Harbourside. Its transformation – disappearance? – will be a disarming spectacle. “Bringing an artist of this quality to Bristol as a UK premiere, is really quite something for the city”, stressed Rutherford. “In the year of European Green Capital, Fog Bridge allows us all to think more widely about climate disruption, and on a smaller scale, the artist’s own working methods – her collaboration with the elements, with water and wind currents – is a reminder of
our own need to collaborate more with the natural environment.” The pensive relationship between these arresting works of art and the global ecological crisis is vital to understanding Fog Bridge beyond its – admittedly considerable – aesthetic effect. Having reached out to Nakaya via email to expand on this element, she replied: “Magical and instant transformation of fogscape is a probe of the delicate state of atmosphere. Fog environment, on the other hand, by awakening our bodily senses and freeing imagination, offers a primary experience of the wondrous Nature around us which many of us have long forgotten. Can an artwork induce a new meaning in our relationship to Nature? My answer is yes. Let the Nature speak!” At the opposite end of the IBT15 spectrum from Nakayo’s enveloping, meditative fog comes The Storm, the festival’s official party. Taking over one of Bristol’s most idiosyncratic venues, the Old Bridewell Fire & Police Station, in a deluge of cutting-edge electronic music and dynamic visual art, the event’s focal point is a world exclusive commission from innovative Barcelona-based audiovisual research studio Playmodes. “Our ingredients are not water and clouds, but sound and light, so we represent the concepts and emotions,” the collective explained via e-mail. “The audience feels like they’re in a storm, but inside the realm of sound and vision. We interpret the idea of a storm in a broad sense, not just in a climatological sense, but in a more abstract way, as a metaphor of today, of social, of media or conceptual bombing.” If there’s one theme that appears to
underpin much of IBT’s output, it’s this friction between nature and technology. “We’re definitely inspired by the world around us,” acknowledged Rutherford, “Nature, science and incredible people all feed into our thinking. Often friction or conflict, between man and environment, between minority and majority, between cultures, draws us into a story. But as an organisation we’re interested in what happens after conflict, or instead of conflict, in voices lost in the polarising effect of conflict.” But as ever, attempting to pin down IBT to anything so restrictive as a theme is as futile as … I don’t know, trying to contain a thunderstorm. The festival and its unerringly dedicated team see visual art and performance as a springboard for infinite possibilities, and that’s what makes it such a frequently inspired, and inspiring prospect. “We try not to be constrained by the idea of ‘art form’”, concluded Rutherford, “so dance, performance, theatre, live art, talks, installations and objects all find their way into our programme. I suppose IBT champions the ‘live encounter’, whether that’s between a performer and an audience, or a small child and a bridge of fog. We’re passionate about creating encounters that leave a trace behind them, whether that’s a new idea, a new perspective or simply a new experience.” In Between Time takes place across Bristol, 12-22 February. For tickets and information, visit to inbetweentime.co.uk
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Aesthetic: Jimmy Edgar
Jimmy Edgar’s work has always possessed a certain charisma. Since experimenting with electronic music at the tender age of 10, the prodigious Berlin-viaDetroit producer has been developing his glossy, erotic machine funk and percussive workouts at raves since he was 15, famously signing to Warp Records at 18. He has honed his sweaty, shape-shifting style on a variety of labels and under a plethora of pseudonyms, and though he’s moved on from the distinct, 90s-referencing sound that marked early productions such as I Wanna Be Your STD, a sense of eccentricity continues to inform his music. In 2013, Edgar and longtime associate Machinedrum began the Ultramajic label as a collaboration with creative partner Pilar Zeta, who worked on 2012’s Majenta. A visceral playground, the visual approach to Ultramajic was, as Edgar tells us, “Integral. It was the grand vision.” Indulging a fascination with the occult, esoteric philosophies and the Law Of One works – a series of transcripts claiming to be of extraterrestrial origin – Ultramajic’s carefully curated design takes inspiration from surrealism, symbolism, and the profane. Factor in Edgar’s extensive history of fashion photography, and you have an ideal candidate for our Aesthetic feature; one who understands and explores the relationship between music, image and artistic vision.
Photography by Tom Andrew Art Direction by Mary Lees Styling by Rebecca Maskell Assisted by Florence Nettle Higgs Props by Vicky Lees Grooming by Kamila Forini Interview by Anna Tehabsim
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Can you describe the relationship between the art and music of Ultramagic? For me, art meets music when you simply convince people that they are joined, otherwise nobody would ever think of it. We simply say ‘this is Ultramajic’ and people suspend their disbelief and say “yes, this looks very Ultramajic and fits with the music.” I find that fascinating because we simply made this up from nothing. I was inspired by a psychic who told us we were bringing the knowledge back from Atlantis. I did a a lot of research on the potential of this implication and decided I was really going to do it. And whether the psychic was telling the truth or not, we decided to adopt this mentality for ourselves anyway. What are the direct inspirations for your artwork? We are inspired by everything and anything. The Metaphysix covers are inspired by a sort of spiritual version of Kraftwerk. A lot of our work is influenced by Masonic, Egyptian and Rosicrucian ritual or philosophy. We feel that we can re-mould the meaning of symbols if we put it out in the open and include it with music. We are simply taking two ideas and bringing them together and opening up a new domain of knowing. Whether or not people get into the philosophy behind the artworks, I feel they’re fun to look at. This is done on purpose, the world of mystery and magic needed a fun remake.
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What reaction do you want to provoke with your art? Fun, mystic, magic. I like to create something that makes people think, ‘what is going on?’ So, we strive to tell a very interesting story through objects that we choose. For instance, the cover we did for Chambray’s Rub EP has an egg with the wrong shadow on it, this creates a confusion as to the light source. In the background, there is the same egg floating and broken which merges ascended life and descended death and puts it in a frame for the misaligned egg to consider. All the while, an African mannequin watches the scene unfold in a very nonjudgmental way.
Can you talk us through the idea behind last year’s trio of EPs, Hot Inside, Mercurio and Saline? We wanted to launch the label with these three EPs because they related to the alchemical process. The idea is that the fourth EP will be the golden illumination from the three elements. Hot Inside – fire, Mercurio – water and Saline – earth. They would ideally come together and create something next level with the fourth. It was more of a mental idea for myself to prepare the ascension of my music. Talk us through your artistic process, is it close to the process you use for making music? We generally start with a word or a phrase. Then we put on some music and go through my library, Google images, and find ideas we can merge together. We save lots of images and start making collages and from there we have an idea what software or medium we want to use. We choose 3D design, collage, photography, drawing and painting. We work and work until it’s perfect, changing small things and, if we get sick of it, changing the big things. We normally document our evolution to the final piece too, because it’s quite funny how it starts and ends!
Who are some of your ideal subjects for fashion photography? There are so many frequencies of people that can make for a good photo, it’s hard to sum it up. I used to shoot a lot of fashion models in New York, but I found they were not always the best subjects. To be honest, I like shooting children the best because they are so carefree, in an interesting way. Otherwise, it’s always best to shoot confident people with interesting looks. Someone willing to move and change is good because it makes my job easier. I don’t shoot much anymore though, I like very contrived studio work and it’s a big deal to do this, so only once a year is fine for me. Otherwise, I shoot my friend on disposable cameras to capture any moments. Looking forward, how do you plan to expand your visual identity? We are beginning to broaden our inspirations and luckily Pilar and I both get really bored if we have done something already, and especially if other people start copying our vibe. But we love it, we’re flattered! Friends always send us artwork that seems to be inspired by us, and whether it is or not, we get really excited because now it’s our chance to improve and change what we do, ascending to the next level. It’s very challenging but we love it. Jimmy Edgar’s FABRICLIVE.49 is out now via fabric
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Issue 49 | crackmagazine.net
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From the outside looking in, the circumstances of Ghost Culture’s debut album might suggest a degree of careful cultural calculation. Released on Erol Alkan’s consistently impressive Phantasy label, endorsed by tastemakers Daniel Avery and Andrew Weatherall – a cynic might argue that Londoner James Greenwood made a bee-line for the heart of a group of artists with a firm grip on the zeitgeist. But as the affable and selfdeprecating Greenwood explained when we meet following his set at Bugged Out Weekender, his story is, at least in part, one of good fortune – of a rise from unassuming studio technician to indie/electronic manof-the-moment.
From studio hand to ferventlyreceived debut album, we talk love, luck and Ghost Culture with James Greenwood
Words: Adam Corner Photography: Luke Dyson
“I was lucky that a really good friend of mine introduced me to Daniel Avery,” smiles Greenwood, perched on the dressing room sofa following his set. “We started making stuff, and he needed someone to press the buttons … the only reason Erol heard it was because Daniel played it to him. I wasn’t expecting anything. Erol hadn’t even heard all of the tracks on the album when he was getting the deal together … it’s mad. It’s been a process, but a process that I’ve loved.” Chance encounters perhaps but still, it helps to have a pocket full of stone-cold killer material: early electronic and newwave influenced techno lullabies which soar in a monotone kind of way. “I had Erol telling me it’s really good, friends telling me it’s good, but when you’ve spent so long with something, you don’t know how other people are going to react.” The songs on his self-titled debut are delicate, romantic even – an assessment with which Greenwood is firmly in agreement. “I think they are romantic songs, yeah. Apart from two tracks, they’re all about one thing, one person,” he reveals. “The way the music came out was: ‘I feel this, I need some chords to go with it’.” Despite a self-effacing lack of ego, Greenwood has the air of a person who’s become accustomed to working with people of high calibre – and who is quietly confident in his own abilities. No wonder, given that his ‘work experience’ learning the ropes in the studio involved interacting with some of the most respected names in leftfield dance music. “I didn’t want to go to university, I just wanted to get experience in the studio,” he explains. “But I soon discovered that wasn’t my thing either – being really technical and helping people plug microphones in. I started working with Daniel, and it was terrible to start with! But you’ve got to start
somewhere. It takes time … I spent a lot of time in the studio with Richard Fearless on the last Death in Vegas record. Weatherall was in the next room, with Tim Fairplay and a load of synths, that’s how he made his music. For me, that’s where I got obsessed with synths. “I’m lucky enough to be doing what I want to do every day now. I haven’t set out to make a difference or anything – I’m just doing my own thing and I’m very lucky to be able to do it.” If statements like these suggest someone with their head in the clouds, then the explanation Greenwood gives for the ‘Ghost Culture’ name points to a deeper connection with the world around him: “Ghost Culture is a metaphor for superficiality – for the culture I think we’d end up with if we all made music for profit instead of for ourselves. You’ve got people like Disclosure doing what they do, making loads of money, but I’d want to encourage a kid leaving school to make music that satisfies themselves. We need more people with ideas, otherwise we’ll end up with no ideas and lots of money, and that would be a sad place to be. That’s the ‘ghost culture’.” Greenwood’s Bugged Out performance was a DJ set – although he’s clear that live shows are where his heart lies. “I’m starting from the basics with my live show, I’m not coming out with a full shiny production just yet. I went through a process of thinking ‘how am I going to do this?’, because technically it was quite difficult, really I need six people in the band. But I’m happy with where it’s got to. At the moment it’s just me and four lamps that are synched-up with the music – they’re my band members!” Reinterpreting the recorded material for a ‘solo’ live show also means that the songs have stayed fresh. “Because I’m playing it live and learning the songs all over again, it still feels new.” And there’s little prospect of Greenwood’s enthusiasm for his craft dulling any time soon. “I think I’ll work on music until I’m 80. I’ll do it whenever I’ve got a spare moment, because there’s not any moment when you shouldn’t.” Ghost Culture is out now via Phantasy. Catch Ghost Culture at Field Day, Victoria Park, London, 6 June
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NO FEAR OF POP: INGA COPEL AND Kantine am Berghain, Berlin 3 December
WHP: CUR ATED BY JAMIE X X + JON HOPKINS Store Street, Manchester 12 December
In the dimly-lit hall of Berghain’s Kantine, a red hue suffused a scattered crowd on a Wednesday night. The peeling paint on the ceiling and red, almost brothelesque curtains draped around its edges, signalling an eloquent decay whilst a lone crucial disco ball flickered above gathering heads. Behind a smoke screen, Inga Copeland clutched her mic and played around with her machines, at one point turning her back to the crowd and disappearing beneath the gear for a suspicious amount of time. The familiar industrial sounds – humming synths and fussy clanks and claps – of Insult to Injury from her 2014 album Because You’re Worth It set a flurry of excitement through the crowd. The former Hype Williams member continued to make her way through most of the album, a highlight being the growling and stuttering synths of her Actress collaboration Advice to Young Girls. Not one predominantly known for her live performances, at times it did feel as if she was slightly jilted from the comfort zone of her secluded studio, as her music often reflects such intimate emotional territory. But what hit home was the bravery of Copeland, baring herself so nakedly and honestly, and so a sense of respect for the one-woman show was felt.
It was a bittersweet affair – ending our string of weekly visits to Store Street’s unique centre of indulgence was never going to be easy. John Talabot opened up proceedings in room one with a typically faultless DJ set, then came the star turn for the curator and headliner to bring his live show to the fore. Jon Hopkins’ glassy compositions rang out across the brickwork and the accompanying visuals perfectly captured the honesty and purity of his still-vital last LP. Considering Immunity came out almost two summers ago, its enduring quality was proved in the hypnotised faces of Store Street’s patrons. While Jamie xx brought his super-hits to the main arena, we ventured to room two to catch Pangaea and round off our season at the Warehouse Project in style, sticking with the Hessle stalwart until the lights rose. As promised, Store Street’s doors are now shut and Warehouse’s spiritual reawakening seems to have ended as quickly as it started. Whatever shape it takes next, Manchester’s principal night-series will always come out on top.
! Aine Devaney
BUGGED OUT WEEKENDER Butlins, Bognor Regis 16-18 January It is both completely logical and a singularly mad tradition: filling out-ofseason seaside resorts with thousands of ravers. But the Bugged Out Weekender has carved out a hilarious niche of its own, and it serves a reminder that an indoor festival without a two mile hike to pitch the nylon coffin in actually has a lot going for it. The line-up was seriously strong across the weekend. Among Maya Jane Cole’s all-female roster on Friday the standout act was J.Phlip, playing a set of upmarket house music fizzing with energy, bounce and swing. Todd Terje’s glorious main room live set kicked off with the gorgeous rippling melodies of Snooze 4 Love, later surviving a powercut and providing the inevitable mass sing/bounce-along with Inspector Norse. Kicking off Saturday with a pool party hosted by Mike Skinner was as daft as it sounds, with watery ravers leaping around to ‘classics’ like R Kelly’s Ignition while launching over-sized inflatables at each other’s heads. Saturday’s line-up was particularly huge – as well as a DJ set from the Chemical Brothers in the main room, the Hydra hosted Four Tet, Ben UFO, Jackmaster and Optimo. Sunday was all about two things. Firstly, a very strange round of mini-golf at 9am with Jackmaster, Skream, Simian Mobile Disco and a trail of confused-looking leftovers from the night before; and secondly, Erol Alkan’s Phantasy acts who impressively rounded off the weekend. As well as a peak-time set from Erol, his young upstarts Ghost Culture and Daniel Avery both put in impressive stints on the decks. Logistically, these seasoned promoters got everything right: no queues, no over-bearing security and just the right mix of bookings. The venue’s infrastructure – giant carpeted spaces with bars at either end – is perfect for partying. Bugged Out at Butlins is exactly the way the otherwise woeful second weekend of the year should be spent: hoisting a swaggering two fingers up to ‘dry January’.
! Duncan Harrison N Gary Brown
! Adam Corner N Tom Horton
Issue 49 | crackmagazine.net
SNOOP DOGG 02 Academy, Bristol 11 December
BEHEMOTH The Forum, London 9 December Between two cobra heads stands a bronzed Unholy Trinity triangle. Light Bearer symbolism is planted from stage left to right. A sheet of pagan etchings dress The Forum’s dark exit points. Horned pariahs caped in black cloaks drip blood from their obscured faces. They scream like the cries of Cain. Their organised Black Mass enraptures us all, vying for the claws of Lucifer to drag the building into the dominion of demigods. Like all Behemoth shows, the overstated necromancy is unavoidable. Opening with Blow Your Trumpets, Gabriel, light illuminates Nergal’s paint crusted face. Hands oscillate and mouths ajar. The Polish ogres hardly stray from the setlist performed with Cradle of Filth earlier in the year, yet this time round there is a greater sense of camaraderie. “You know the words,” barks Nergal, and we do. Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer, Christians to the Lions and As Above So Below maintain this unbridled malevolence unmatched by their peers. Siekiera’s Ludzie Wschodu is covered with deep, ruminating bass tones while Chant for Eschaton 2000 sees Behemoth drool and fling blood from their saturated bodies. O Father O Satan O Sun! ends Behemoth’s set. It’s a netherwordly mammoth finale. It’s totally over-the-top and outrageously garish. But this is where Behemoth deserve to be at this stage of the career; swimming in a pool of human plasma, roped in faux-medieval dress with only the hand of Satan himself to judge them. ! Tom Watson
It’s no wonder that this gig sold out within seconds. Everyone wants to see Snoop in the flesh, right? With a charisma that’s simultaneously humorous and eerie, the 43-year old’s career has gone from being accused of participating in a fatal drive-by shooting, to launching an iPhone app that allows you to decorate photos with cartoon spliffs. All the phoney alter-egos and profoundly uncool product endorsements have just enhanced his appeal as a surreal cultural phenomenon. And after making the crowd wait for a measly 50 minutes, Snoop arrives onstage. Strutting with an effortless swagger, his voice is so clear and precise that he could almost be miming, and with a medley that draws heavily from Doggystyle and 2001 material, the first half of the set is basically flawless. Then comes all the goofy shit – which, to be fair, is pretty funny at times. “Y’all like rock music? Snoop asks the crowd. It looks like we’re getting a cover of Joan Jett’s I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll. And as he closes with hilariously corny anthem Young, Wild and Free, it feels like there’s nothing Snoop can do to spoil the feeling that an adolescent fantasy was fulfilled in that first half. ! Davy Reed N Ben Price
ALFRESCO DISCO: ENERGY FL ASH NYE Welsh Back Squash Club, Bristol 31 December CL ARK ALBUM L AUNCH Berghain, Berlin 3 December
NEW YEAR / NEW NOISE 2 Arnolfini, Bristol 17 January It had been one year since Howling Owl inaugurated the annual New Year / New Noise event. And once again, the label sold out the Arnolfini’s expansive auditorium with a defiantly underground line-up. Missing the opening performance from Salope (which, intriguingly, translates as “slut” in French) was a real shame, but Wenonoah’s warped abstractions on the lineage of English folk proved to be a captivating introduction. Killing Sound then took to their heaving desk of hardware back in the main performance space. The group – which on this day included Young Echo members Vessel, El Kid and Jabu – summoned dense clouds of noise, while close comrade Chester espoused stream-of-conscious narratives about sex and despair. Vision Fortune followed, channeling a modern take on the disjointed, dubbed-out post-punk pioneered by the likes of Jah Wobble and Holger Czukay. And with their aggressively experimental new direction – recently showcased with the track 2HGS – The Naturals' set was powerful enough to justify their headline slot. To sell out such exploratory and forward-thinking events two years in a row is an impressive achievement, testament to the trust that Howling Owl’s audience has in its curation and the faith that the Arnolfini has in the lot of them. New Year / New Noise is a Venn diagram with ‘Brave Music’ at its centre.
! Steven Dores Stephanie Elizabeth Third
J MASCIS Marble Factory, Bristol 7 January It’s a sodden, early-January Wednesday, but an impressive throng have gathered to bask in the presence of alt-rock royalty. As Dinosaur Jr’s arch guitar mangler, J Mascis has been at the forefront of slacker fuzz for 30 years and – with an impressible solo discography – he’s still an enticing prospect on his own. With nary a mumble to herald his arrival, Mascis slips into the opening tracks from his last two solo albums – 2011’s Several Shades of Why and the recent Tied To A Star. While the songs sound gorgeous, Mascis remains slouched on his stool, meaning that no one beyond the front rows can see anything other than the tip of his baseball cap, or the occasional twinkle of his glasses. Mostly performing DJR deepcuts, the set settles into a rhythm of subtle murmur/squalling deluge/ screeching solo. And just as the show begins to meander a little towards the latter half, in comes the highlight of the evening, the incredible Alone. After what seems like hours of soloing, endless runs and pinpoint shreds, the sound drops to nothing and the stage is empty. As the room begins to disperse, Mascis appears again, glides through his signature cover of The Cure’s Just Like Heaven then leaves, this time for good.
As anyone who’s heard Clark’s eponymous seventh album will attest, the chance to experience those ominous, orchestral doomscapes unleashed from the almighty bassbins of Berghain sounds like a fairly exciting prospect. So, it’s perhaps not unreasonable to express a little disappointment that Clark’s recent album launch party felt a little light on the apocalyptic grandeur of his hugely acclaimed LP. Bypassing the almost tailor-made opportunity for spinetingles offered by album opener Ship Is Flooding, the Warp mainstay launched straight into the bass-heavy Winter Linn, using it as the catalyst for an hour-long set of what turned out to be largely peaktime club fodder. With barely a pause for breath in the entire 60 minutes, this was a performance whose only gear was full steam into oblivion. And when a room full of people have assembled at a reasonable hour to hear an album that is – more so than anything Clark has ever produced – a true listening experience, it felt like a bit of an anti-climax to be pummelled with such a relentless string of party music. ! Alex Gwilliam
WORLDWIDE AWARDS KOKO, London 17 January This was the 10th Worldwide Awards event, and with 16 acts on the bill, the line-up was as adventurous, on-point and culturally diverse as you’d expect for such a landmark anniversary. By 10pm, music enthusiasts were spilling out over KOKO’s balconies and, might I add, gyrating against the banisters. An early highlight was London producer Lil Silva, whose set was based around the kind of alternative, creeping RnB vibe heard on Mabel and Don’t You Love. Kelis and André 3000’s classic Millionaire wasn’t a bad way to finish either. The next couple of hours, however, were to take a slightly chaotic turn. Don’t get us wrong, the acts were brilliant, and their miniscule 10 or 15 minute time slots wasn’t actually a problem, rather it was the sequencing of artists that felt a little erratic. French producer Nikitch, played a fantastic electro-trap set evoking Evian Christ, with his track Radiated Light bringing the place to life. But with his high-octane sound hitting a peak around 10.30pm, it was something of a premature climax. Then we were strangely teased back down with a dreamy, ambient performance by the earnest Taylor McFerrin. Finally, just as the night began to feel a little overwhelming, Gilles Peterson introduced the most anticipated act of the night: Fatima. Performing with her Eglo Live Band and nabbing the ‘Album of the Year Award’ for Yellow Memories, she genuinely glowed under the spotlight, establishing her status as a colourful breakout star. ! Ellie Harrison N Theo Cottle
! Rachel Mann
Issue 49 | crackmagazine.net
In keeping with tradition, the lineup and venue for Alfresco’s NYE party remained top secret until the 11th hour and tickets sold out instantly. But in contrast to the old-fashioned grandiosity of the previous two years, this time the party had a distinctly retro-futuristic theme, with impressive visuals projecting early computer-style graphics across the many rooms of the Welsh Back squash and health club. With the squash courts open all night and playable, exercise bike-powered video games on show, the night provided unique, interactive quirks. While the inclusion of live performances – most notably the London-via-Paris experimentalist Romare – added depth to the overall experience, it was the upstairs ‘Workout Room’ which felt like the centre of the party, with a packed out, up-for-it room being in the safe hands of respected Bristol DJs such as Christophe, Lukas and Tom Hodgson. Tucked downstairs was the ‘Pumping Iron’ room. Here, selectors such as Jay L and Remove Me preceded DJ October, who spun a heady mix of blown-out house, techno and industrial to a perspiring 4am crowd. In keeping with the theme of the night, one of the last tracks we heard at the venue was Joey Beltram’s 90s techno anthem Energy Flash. Alfresco Disco has established its reputation with things that money can’t really buy – unpredictability, atmosphere, the warm-natured attitude of the crowd it pulls – and their free-spirited approach maintains its firm grip on the hearts, hazed memories and hasty buying power of New Year’s Eve crowds. ! Jason Hunter N Kane Rich
Products *INSERT YOUR STAR SIGN HERE* TEE SHIRT Astrology IRL $90 astrologyirl.com We know how hard it can be to pick a fresh new shirt. However in this case the choice is made for you by those who fly high on the astral plane. Simply cross reference the day you popped out with the mystical calendar from the stars and Shazam! - the universe has just decided on your next purchase. RECORD WASHER MK II Spin Clean £100 phonicarecords.com Now that you’ve been buying all that fresh vinyl that everyone has been buying too, you want to keep yours in better condition than the next man (Discogs). Do just that with this purpose-built vinyl cleaning thing. Playing music that sounds like it was recorded with a frying egg in the room is good for cool points, but bad for fidelity, resale value and sticklers. Rise above.
SILK SCARF Stefanie Biggel €80 stefaniebiggel.com Lovely scarf. Lovely.
KOBE SNEAKER Acne Studios £300 acnestudios.com (You get both shoes for your £300 by the way)
TULIP L ANTERN Snow Peak £83 flatspot.com Big bendy lamp that feels just as at home in a tent as in a real house.
There's absolutely no reason for this to exist, but we're very glad that it does. Just don't open it inside or you'll never ever land that nollie varial you've spent the last three months attempting.
SUPER FLUO WALLET Comme Des Garçons £68 doverstreetmarket.com Losing a wallet sucks. We know this because our Executive Editor did exactly that the other day and he went fucking nuts. Luckily some humans are not terrible, and one of these ones returned it with all money intact. But as we know this is an incredibly rare occurrence, so losing the thing in the first place should be avoided at all costs. Get one of these babies in a colour brighter than the sun and you’ll never misplace your papes ever again.
Issue 49 | crackmagazine.net
DINER UMBRELL A Skateboard Cafe £20 skateboardcafe.bigcartel.com
07 BJÖRK Vulnicura One Little Indian
CARTER TUTTI Plays Chris and Cosey CTI/Cargo
DAN DE ACON Gliss Riffer Domino Records
A brief history lesson for anyone who’s a little confused right now. Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti were one half of Throbbing Gristle, the same TG branded “wreckers of civilisation” by one Nicholas Fairbairn, a Tory MP later arrested for indecent exposure. Despite recent claims he ‘never left the band’, vocalist and general scourgeof-humanity Genesis P-Orridge almost certainly did split from TG in 1981, leaving Carter and Tutti to their own devices under the Chris and Cosey moniker. Since then they’ve renamed themselves Carter Tutti, and have spent the last few years touring the globe, playing the kind of EBM and new wave they were associated with as Chris and Cosey. These shows were so good that demands for a live album prompted the duo to go one better and head back to the studio to revisit the material. Tracks like Driving Blind, Obsession, and Workout all go under the knife. Whilst the originals were characterised by a spirit of close-quarter confrontation, the sleek production on these favours a far wider sound that lends proceedings an almost spiritual intensity, with individual synth-stabs carrying weighty significance. Tutti’s vocals soar throughout, emerging from depths unknown to deliver feel-good lines like “Lay me down on a bed of sin / Lashing, writhing, tasting, dying”. Enormous fun. Extremely worthwhile.
His fifth full album since 2007’s Spiderman of the Rings and his first since the expansive ensemble record America, Gliss Riffer is equidistant from Deacon’s powersurge style and his girthier magnum opuses. That Deacon hads returned to a more solitary style of self-producing on this record is instantly clear. Of course, his favourite themes and the best parts of Bromst and America can still be heard: cycles, nature, death, dreams. When I Was Done Dying is so typically a Dan Deacon song, with its chanted, anthropomorphic narrative, that it would feel at home on any of his previous albums. But here it sits with tracks that feel a little more contemporarily (rather than classically) informed – Gliss Riffer returns to Spiderman’s love of pop, but after having assimilated a post-recession subtlety. Album opener and lead single Feel The Lightning, for instance, kind of sounds like if M83 had heard the Caribou record and just couldn’t contain themselves any longer. Take It To The Max arpeggiates gloriously, and the synth on Meme Generator trembles with such emotion that you can forgive Deacon his insistence on Cool Dad song titles. Gliss Riffer is a very good album; a natural progression in the Deacon canon, best enjoyed during lucid dreaming or while snorkelling.
At the dawn of the 1990s some pompous plonker at Melody Maker coined the term 'The Scene That Celebrates Itself'. The not-sotongue-in-cheek label, which still elicits a cringe, described a bunch of young bands who occasionally shared bills at London's 100 Club. Out of this scene emerged the criminally under-rated girl band Lush who never found the acclaim they deserved and the deservedly lauded Blur who went on to be ... well, they went on to be Blur. At the dawn of this decade some pompous plonker at the NME tried to coin the term ‘BTown’ in a desperate attempt to pool together the 'talents' of four or five Birmingham bands. Out of this scene emerged Peace. To be fair to Peace they're not the worst band to have emerged from their little clique. That's not really an acquittal though, considering the competition pack about as much collective punch as a damp sheet of Andrex. Now we're done alienating ourselves from the rest of the music press you may be interested in knowing how good Happy People is as an album? Let us ruin the surprise. The best bit is the last song wherein the singer raps a bit like Nathan Barley does when he's trying to seduce The Mighty Boosh's sister. That's how good Happy People is.
Beneath the chimerical bombast; the molasses-thick orchestral constructions and the leftfield pop perfection; the unerring need to push forward, technologically, even illogically; the bottomless source of pop-cultural idiosyncrasy … beneath all that, there has always existed a core quality in Björk’s output, the thing which keeps listeners returning time and again, decade after decade. It’s her ability to capture snapshots of pure human intimacy. It’s there in the joyous overstatement of Big Time Sensuality (1993); the anatomical, almost voyeuristic vulnerability of Possibly Maybe (1995)’s closing lines: “since we broke up I’m using lipstick again / I’ll suck my tongue as a remembrance of you.” It’s steeped in the grand statement of Bachelorette (1997) and the sticky interior dialogue of Desired Constellation (2004). More than any lust for sonic experimentation, it’s this ability to make each emotion feel more real, more powerful, newer and fresher than ever before, which assures Björk’s continued appeal in 2015. Vulnicura is Björk’s most explicit statement of intimacy yet. Its carnal levels of microscopic detail, its open deconstruction of the personal, sexual, maternal disenfranchisement which tracks the evisceration of heartbreak – that’s what made its premature leaking so jarringly evasive. Vulnicura should have been afforded the dignity of being shared on its own terms. By this, Björk’s ninth album, there’s a curious sense of calculation in the way these memories, however painful, are used to inform the album’s themes; a mastery of how to turn feeling into art. A self-aware, narrator’s voice emerges early in opener Stonemilk – “Moments of clarity are so rare, I better document this.” It’s a mission statement of sorts. Accompanied by the liner notes’ chronological mapping of the songs’ relation to the break-up which inspired them (nine months before, eleven months after and so on), it’s an almost unparalleled hyper-specificity of feeling. It’s disarming to pinpoint heartbreak into such systematic formality, but it’s staggeringly effective. Acquiring the bleeding-edge talents of Arca and The Haxan Cloak has, unexpectedly, heralded a return the late 90s/early 00s golden age, of Homogenic and Vespertine. The young pairing show admirable restraint in enforcing their brand of future shock into the landscape, allowing Bjork’s flawless string arrangements to take precedence. Arca takes glee in the prospect of contributing to music that sounds like Björk, enforcing his whims in bursts. It’s collaboration of the sweetest kind, one which allows the focal point to crackle and spark. Such is this sense of an individual platform that the arrival of Antony Hegarty’s pining vocal – even on the comparatively breezy, autumnal pluck of Atom Dance – feels almost invasive, unwelcome. Lyrically, the juxtaposition of world weary to almost naively overwhelmed, the bathos of the impossibly grandiose to the minutiae of everyday existence, results in perhaps Björk’s most complete set of words. Lionsong revels in the discovery of ever new emotions and History of Touches draws on a physical, spatial sense of absence, phantom limbs brushing in the night. Most poignant of all is the maternal ache of Family, which ruminates explicitly on the devastating collapse of the supportive unit of parenthood. That the portentous, shuffling closer Quicksand, co-written with the relatively unknown Spaces, provides a slightly unsatisfying ending is partly testament to the exceptional work of Arca in the body of the album; its attempts to merge glitchy intensity with one of the most optimistic melodies on the album jars, and not necessarily in the good way. But it barely matters. It’s an imperfection on an otherwise near-perfect album, and the best in two decades from one of a handful of the greatest artists of their era. Vulnicura is a truly significant achievement.
! Xavier Boucherat
! Suzie McCracken
! Billy Black
! Geraint Davies
PE ACE Happy People Columbia
GANG OF FOUR What Happens Next Metropolis In no particular order, the Gang of Four is Jon King, Andy Gill, Hugo Burnham, Dave Allen (with an honorary mention for Sara Lee). The Marxist chanting, John Peel teasing, feedback forcing, war weary mercenaries of the alternative were made up of these crass agitators. Only Andy Gill remains. In 2015, we tolerate Gill, the novel and rudimentary musician who once played with enough attack to depose an army of critics. Almost too similar to the (Black) Flag reformation in 2014, the initial vigour and vitality of the band seems replaced by a swathe of fill-ins and famous fans. The embryonic zeal of Gang of Four has wilted away. What is left is Frankenstein and his monster. This monster, What Happens Next, trudges over eleven songs spanning over 40 minutes in total. One leads into another with the same air of sad, sorry acerbity. Underneath the sheen and glazing of post-production is Gill’s trademark guitar work. The staccato chording, the dissonant runs, the amp-humping feedback. You can hear nuances of Gill’s talents in Broken Talk and The Dying Rays. Yet the reggae tinted, Pere Ubu nudging, Parliament-worthy funk lines pinpointed in 1979’s Entertainment! are totally void. Where once the narratives of Capitalist intolerance scored the sounds of pre-80s post-punk, this new gang croon with mettle but no anarchic stamina. There was something so intangible about Gang of Four. They seemed more like an action or disorganised coup d’état. What Happens Next sounds all too physical, too tactile, a little too mortal. Gill clearly sees life in a group that defined and defiled the sensory notions of protest music throughout the 80s. Nowadays, we have The Pop Group governing the dialect of abstract punk philosophy in the 21st century. Gill’s Gang of Four are merely the support act. ! Tom Watson
JAM CIT Y Dream A Garden Night Slugs
A natural evolution from the thriving Berlin event series of the same name, Contort is a new label run by promoters Samuel and Hayley Kerridge, aiming to provide a fearless platform for new and old talent. And as a first release, this is a solid statement of intent. Most tracks on this release are moody, half-time chuggers – those looking for an up-tempo 4/4 track for sets should take their search elsewhere. But the direction is expected, given that Kerridge has always occupied the ‘noisy techno’ space. The influence of recent work with Oake is evident, although the use of his own vocals and guitar adds a distinct, personal touch. The title implies confrontation, and given press encounters Kerridge clearly revels in a ‘fuck you’ attitude. But hostility has long been an affectation of techno producers, though not a pre-requisite, and Kerridge wears it better than most. The words ‘grainy’ and ‘dark’ will be doubtless used in reference to Always Offended Never Ashamed, and are not strictly incorrect; but elements are brought together in such an uncanny, affecting way that, as ever, Kerridge continues to furrow his own distinct nook in an increasingly saturated space. If this is what Contort has to offer, then their focus on experimental electronic music at events like Atonal festival is welcome, and we look eagerly forward to its next release.
It was hard to resist the charm of Joey Bada$$’ debut 2012 mixtape. Entitled1999 (the year that supposedly marked the end New York rap’s golden era), the tape was unashamedly retro, seductively conjuring up images of 40z beers being guzzled in the sweltering heat, yellow cabs cruising the streets of Brooklyn and the sound of boom-bap beats echoing down the stairwells of graffiti-smothered housing projects. Bada$$ and his Pro Era crew may have been lukewarm lyricists – mostly paraphrasing their influences rather than carving out truly original thought – but their adolescent energy encouraged repeated listens. And despite an absence of breakthrough hits, Bada$$ has since found himself in high demand, satisfying more conservative-minded rap fans and unwillingly becoming a reference point for unhelpful arguments about the so-called “realness” of the old school in comparison to the alleged shallowness of the contemporary rap. B4.Da.$$ (pronounced “Before The Money”) mostly sees the 20-year-old stick to his guns, flaunting his syllable-packed rhyme patterns over throwback beats made with piano loops, jazz samples and prehistoric sounding turntable scratches. To his credit, Bada$$ sounds more confident than ever, occasionally deviating from his trademark laid-back delivery to adopt a ferocious tone (“Motherfuckin’ microphone eater / Spittin’ hot shit, hit ya dome with the heater,” he growls on Christ Consciousness). But when Bada$$ quotes Biggie Smalls in Belly of the Beast, it reminds you that this rapper hadn’t even been born when Ready To Die was released. Joey Bada$$’s chosen aesthetic is based on a fantasy, an image of a New York that existed two decades ago. And while it might be pleasing on the ears, we should be expecting more from 2015’s key hip-hop releases.
The globally-informed and borderless ethos of Future Brown has been the focal point for the bulk of the attention that surrounds them: Fatima Al Qadiri’s upbringing in Kuwait and her own global stereotype-baiting work, Nguzunguzu’s ears to the ground in Los Angeles and J-Cush’s NYC hub. On their debut LP, the collective bring these sounds (and countless others) together. From wispy interpretations of grime to Latin reggaeton to space-age RnB, the Future Brown hybrid exists through a constant traffic of ideas but arrives in the fashion that all things do in the online age: compressed, compact and finite. The nucleus of the album is a hyperreal, glossy presentation of hybridised club sounds in various contemporary mutations. From the dancehall syncopations of No Apology with a starring turn from virtual unknown vocalist Timberlee, Future Brown move to Prince Rapid’s Alsatian flow on Asbestos, snapping off the kind of sino-grime productions that have become synonymous with Al Qadiri. The conveyor belt of collaborators gives the Future Brown laboratory space to explore. Their intercontinental sound palette is what breathes life into the icy vocals of Kelela and Ian Isiah on Dangerzone; it’s what adds a streak of unfamiliar terror to DJ Victorious’s warbled flexing on Talkin Bandz. Jetting from South Side Chicago to E3 in London via Kingston Jamaica is all part of the Future Brown blueprint. From all the diversity comes something complete. The story goes that “future brown” was a metallic brown colour that didn’t exist in nature, envisaged in the peak of a magic mushroom trip. This debut is that brand new hue manifested: a kind of club music crafted under quarantine where elements are distilled and fused to create brand new shades.
John Carpenter once said his scores were like carpets; that’s to say they seemingly disappear into the mis-en-scene of the narrative, rather than drive it. Here, Carpenter has kicked a bunch of carpets out of the back of a lorry and expected them to dash into the wild like released tigers. But instead they’ve just uncurled a bit on the concrete and some of them have fallen in puddles besides old comics. In short bursts and at extended intervals, this album is brilliant and enthralling. Heartbreakingly, it’s ultimately uninspiring for those not acquainted with the films of Carpenter and unsatisfying for those who are. Nine tracks run, each supposedly a mini-score to a narrative never written: a ‘Lost Theme’, so to speak. The wind behind its course is the familiar, synthetic, comic book, arcade pulse which overlaid Carpenter’s 80s cinematic classics such as Assault on Precinct 13, Halloween and Escape from New York. Each seems to have a go at stuffing the various stages and emotional shifts of a whole movie into what is called a song. Vortex, an exception, evolves excellently, while particular sections of Fallen, Domain, Purgatory and Night are emotional and succinct, but they’re dampened by the flatness comes before and after. These themes really are lost. There’s no way of telling whether this is an album or a soundtrack or a compilation. It exhausts itself in attempting too much in too little time, and the grooves themselves mostly fall short of the eye-patch-motorcyclist gusto of his other soundtracks. Really, it’s just a shadow of a stack of comic books. Just some old carpets out on the street. Worth a listen, but one of the many misses for the famously obstinate ‘pornographer of violence.’
Menace Beach are one of ‘those’ bands – a roll-call of members from other underground acts (Hookworms, Pulled Apart by Horses and Sky Larkin), its almost as if they were custom-built to make indie-bores like Marc Riley salivate. But don’t let that put you off: they’re great. Album opener Come On Give Up is art-pop that doesn’t leave you feeling frustrated and fidgety. Drop Outs is sexy and swaggering in the same way that the Dandy Warhols were for a bit: raucous but with super-slick guitar sounds. Ratworld is mostly pitched somewhere between shimmery surf-noir and gonzo Britpop-era squalling guitar/pop-hook vocals, providing a clever contrast for shoegaze tracks like Blue Eye (Liza Violet’s soft and sultry vocals set over a wall of guitar drone). The closing track Fortune Teller is the pick of the bunch: sneering pop gold-dust under a valiumtinted veneer. If their reference points sound a little retro, that’s because Menace Beach wear their cultural influences firmly on their sleeve. This can occasionally mean that their style sounds somewhat affected: a coded message about their record collection, rather than a free expression of new ideas. But hey, it’s a post-internet world, and there ain’t nothing wrong with an homage. Ratworld is a tour de force of premium 90s influences that is all the more vital and compelling for its grounding in the past.
It's 2015, and Jam City feels suffocated by the world. Having released the first single from his anxiously awaited second album through a site that requires users to click through various 'popups', he's outlined reasons for his pervasive unhappiness; under 25 depression, nauseating capitalist ideals, faceless drone attacks. While his era-defining debut album Classical Curves, one of the most influential dance albums of the past five years, was a reconfiguration of the avant-garde club space, Dream A Garden sees Jam City abandon its chrome-plated, gleeful hyperventilation with a collection of tracks that feel like a deep, long sigh. This stylistic U-turn was teased mid-last year, when Jack Latham swapped the searingly sassy vogue and grime of his Earthly mix series for the dust-laden third instalment, a warped montage of tracks and obscure vocal snippets that sounded like it'd been left out in the sun for too long. Where Classical Curves had been constructed, from an architectural perspective, of disembodied and isolated synthetic sounds, Dream A Garden expresses Latham's contemplative concerns for humanity, looking above the dancefloor to those on it, those using clubbing as escapism, those "struggling to live and love beneath the chrome-plated, vacuous and superficial machinery". "And so it is then, this is a record about love and resistance." Expressing his quiet despair in the essay accompanying it, Latham's summed the vibe up pretty well. Its overarching sense of longing is bogged down with industrial elements. We're brought in with scraping, jumbled metallic sounds that fight through the chaos to unravel themselves, forming ecstacyflecked post-punk. Undulating guitar leads and soft, bloated chords are cut through with destructive, crunching percussion. Vocals about love and life sound like they're constantly being chewed up and spat out by a crane, coming out distorted, warbled, lost. Latham certainly took us all by surprise by releasing a second record that sounds more Blood Orange than Bok Bok. But if in 2015 the most radical thing you can do is believe in something, then Jam City has given us another essential effort.
! Gareth Thomas
! Davy Reed
! Duncan Harrison
! Henry Johns
! Adam Corner
! Anna Tehabsim
JOEY BADA$$ B4.Da.$$ Cinematic / Relentless
KERRIDGE Always Offended Never Ashamed Contort
FUTURE BROWN Future Brown Warp
JOHN CARPENTER Lost Themes Sacred Bones
MENACE BEACH Ratworld Memphis Industries
& MC ID PERFORMING SUNDAY 5 APRIL ALPHABETICAL LINE UP 2MANYDJS (DJ SET) . A-SKILLZ . AARTEKT . ALEX METRIC . ALEX NIGGEMANN . ÂME . ANJA SCHNEIDER . APEXAPE . ARTIFACT ARTWORK . BENJAMIN DAMAGE . BREAKAGE . CADENZA . CAPULET . CASSY . CARL CRAIG . CERI . CITIZEN . CRAZY P (DJ SET) CRISTOPH . THE CUBAN BROTHERS . DADDY NATURE . DAMIAN LAZARUS . DANNY BYRD . DAVID RODIGAN MBE . DENSE & PIKA DEREK MARTIN . DISCIPLES . DJ CHEWY . DOC DANEEKA . DOORLY . DUBFIRE . DUB PISTOLS . EATS EVERYTHING . ED NORRIS EJECA . EROL ALKAN . ETHERWOOD . EWAN PEARSON . FRICTION . GAZ ULTRA . GOTSOME. GUTI (LIVE) . HANNAH WANTS HEIDI . HENRIK SCHWARZ . HOT SINCE 82 . HUXLEY . IDRIS ELBA . JACK BEATS . JACKMASTER . JACQUES ADDA . JAMIE ROY JAMES ZABIELA . JENNIFER CARDINI . JOB JOBSE. JUSTIN MARTIN . KONSTANTIN SIBOLD . KRAFTY KUTS . LAURIE NEIL LELI SACCHI . LEWIS BOARDMAN . LOADSTAR . LONDON ELEKTRICITY. MARC ROBERTS . MARK CRAVEN . MARIBOU STATE THE MARTINEZ BROTHERS . MAT PLAYFORD . MAX POWA . MEFJUS . METRIK . MJ COLE . MODESELEKTOR . MR DORIS . MY NU LENG NORTH BASE . NU:TONE . OLI HACKETT . OLIVER DOLLAR . PAUL WOOLFORD . PBR STREETGANG . PEDESTRIAN . RAFAEL DA CRUZ RALF KOLLMANN . RANDALL . RE.YOU . RODRIGUEZ JR . RUEDE HAGELSTEIN . RYAN MONAGHAN . SAM DIVINE . SASSE . SEB CHEW SEBASTIAN SPRING . SECONDCITY . SHY FX . SONNY FODERA . STAMINA MC . STANTON WARRIORS . STEPHAN PORTER . STEVE LYNAM TENSNAKE . THE FARM YARDIES . TIEFSCHWARZ . TODDLA T . TOM DEMAC . TONN PIPER . TIPPA . T WILLIAMS VENUM SOUND . WAX WRECKAZ . WAYWARD . WAZE & ODYSSEY . WILL SAUL . YOUSEF
A FESTIVAL FILLED WITH FRESH AIR BLUE SKIES AND WHITE-HOT PARTIES
1 WEEK . 17 VENUES . 5 MOUNTAIN STAGES 5 IGLOO RAVES . AUSTRIA’S LARGEST FANCY DRESS STREET PARTY 1 AWARD WINNING SNOW PARK . 20 SPAS & SWIMMING POOLS 650KM OF PISTE . COUNTLESS LAUGHS . MILLIONS OF MEMORIES ONLY 1 SNOWBOMBING
"SNOWBOMBING IS ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE" - KERRI CHANDLER
R AE SREMMURD SremmLife EarDrummers / Interscope
ARMAND VAN HELDEN Masterpiece Ministry of Sound
If it weren’t for their not-so-wholesome lyrical content, Atlantavia-Mississippi brother duo Rae Sremmurd (pronounced “Ray Shrimerd”) could probably score their own Nickelodeon series. Swae Lee and Slim Jimmy flog a mischievous but non-intimating image, and their style of ADHD-friendly brat rap – which involves them yelling every lyric like it’s hashtagged and spelled with capital letters – has made them something of a “sensation” among “the kids”. As the brainchild of ATL rap producer and lucrative hit-maker Mike WiLL Made-It, it only took a matter of months for Rae Sremmurd to become huge, with their largely unnoticed debut track We being followed up last year with the instantly anthemic bangers No Flex Zone and No Type. While most of the tracks here don’t quite match the irresistible brilliance of those aforementioned hits, Mike WiLL’s production is exceptional throughout, and SremmLife proves that these little rascals are certainly no fluke. This Could Be Us captures the pettiness of unrequited puppy love, Throw Some Mo commissions Nicki Minaj for the kind of catchyas-hell hook that The Pinkprint arguably lacked and Unlock The Swag sees Rae Sremmurd repeatedly screech a nonsensical catchphrase with so much audacity that it’s almost punk in essence. It’s totally juvenile, and there’s every chance that you’ll hate this record. But Ultimately, Rae Stremmurd’s victory feels a bit like being woken up by a house party next door. You can either lie awake and groan with resentment, or you can roll out of bed, raid the cupboard for booze and go join in on the fun.
Ministry Of Sound’s Masterpiece series continues to bolster the more mature end of the electronic spectrum with its now established triple disc series pushing the outer musical limits of the protagonists they deem worthy. Previous notable contributors have included Andrew Weatherall, Carl Craig and Francois K. Whether Armand Van Helden, who hasn’t exactly been immune from musical mishaps (Duck Sauce’s Barbara Streisand anyone?) immediately fits this illustrious canon is a cause for debate. But it’s precisely this double-take which makes the most engaging feature of this compilation the fact Van Helden has presented a retrospective of influences that have defined his various Stateside musical walks, rather than a focus on anything too contemporary. The first disc is a typically soulful US house affair based around the sounds that defined The Loft club in Boston where he cut his teeth. The second is a yacht rock selection of the kind of ilk which finds itself increasingly the retro penchant for people who want to identify exactly what their dad played on those long journeys, though that does a disservice to the music on display. The CD’s undoubted high-point is certainly the third disc, which takes a longoverdue retrospective glance at freestyle. Freestyle was a fastpaced style incorporating breaks and electro but with a soulful edge, which never really broke the UK. Its failure to ever ignite outside the underground has often been a bit of a mystery, and so seeing it resurface in such style on this final CD serves as a real education. Thanks Armand.
! Davy Reed
! Ruth Wiley
THE POP GROUP Citizen Zombie Freaks R Us
MUMDANCE & LOGOS Proto Tectonic
Throughout the halcyon days of krautrock in the early 1970s, a clutch of seminal bands like Can, Faust and Neu! stared into the endless horizon of the avant-garde as they redefined the terms of popular music. Pivotal to all this was the invention of motorik, the genre’s famed propulsive rhythmic style. Fast-forward to the present and here we are with Moon Duo (Wooden Shjips’ Ripley Johnson and Sanae Yamada), who have worn one of krautrock’s most celebrated tropes as a sort of self-imposed stylistic straitjacket ever since getting together back in 2009. It's a conceit that's gradually grown increasingly debilitating and now on album number three, it’s no surprise that the twosome – recently augmented by drummer John Jeffrey – have nowhere left to go (although ironically enough Jeffrey is probably the most exciting thing about the record). Relative highlights like Night Beat and Ice superficially recall the likes of Suicide, Spacemen 3 and the Warlocks, though ultimately the organ is overbearing, the guitars are bloodless, the tunes aren’t strong enough and we’ve heard all of this many, many times before, not least from Moon Duo themselves. If Johnson and Yamada ever had aspirations of making it to the moon, now they’ve come hurtling back towards earth at a rate of knots and the question is whether to try and change course, or abort mission altogether.
“I don’t analyse what I do, I just do it,” says The Pop Group frontman Mark Stewart. And unlike most of history’s contrary cavaliers, Stewart’s claims are undisguised and penetratingly sharp. Like a gang of bawdy Dadaists, these anti-musicians held a mirror up against the world, revealing a ticking social time bomb of smut and prolapsing politics. Back in 1977, The Pop Group were a polymorphous sprawl of post-punk-funk who lost themselves in their own dubbed out leftist psychodrama. Stewart himself was like the Kenneth Anger of modern music; no wave before no wave, new wave before the originators had even begun. Disassembling their previous releases, from Y (1979) to the recently reissued We Are Time (1980), you plummet into this manifold of aural disorder. It all sounds like a nightmarish caricature of entertainment that was almost too abstract to support itself. So they disappeared for over three decades only to reemerge again in 2010. Succeeding last year’s rambunctious yet typically self-aware Cabinet of Curiosities compilation, The Pop Group release this, Citizen Zombie, a glorious monstrosity of industrial dub and panicky pop. Everything about Citizen Zombie is perfectly unreasonable. The nihilistic quiver that molests Stewart’s voice throughout these eleven songs has this deeply traumatising presence. His hysterical recital of activist organisation Anonymous’s mission statement during the opening of Nowhere Girl is equally as satirical as it is rabble rousing. Shadow Child’s primitive Gang of Four guitar clanks chase cheapened drum presets, Stewart oscillates between whisper and carnal yelping. He moans as if lost in the throb of an ever-tightening cock clamp. The discordance of his delivery is purely another tool in dismantling the conventions of art. Oddball synth-pop follows spazzed out funk follows dub follows punk. Box 9 carries as much off-kilter sci-fi capriciousness as Spizzenergi’s desire to change their name. Stewart rambles about technological slavery and “speaking the language of snakes before it’s too late”. Where your garden-variety 70s radical will croak about the capitalist swell of coffee shops in southern England, Stewart’s existential yapping is wholly unique and genuinely divisive. What remains a drawback to nearly everyone that permits The Pop Group to excite and frustrate them is Stewart's Daedalean irregularities, splurging one ideology with another movement and this faith with that axiom. It has taken the control and patience of British producer du jour Paul Epworth to piece together Stewart’s primal mess of ideas. Somehow, Epworth melds 11 puzzles that maintain infinite sonic outcomes. The pseudo-calypso picking of Mad Truth transmutes comfortably into the Irvine Welsh-worthy rancour of Nations. What could potentially have resulted in a consumable binge of shouting at walls ends up being something open, ambitious and somehow reluctantly accessible. The Pop Group have this slogan: ‘We’re the explosion at the heart of the commodity.’ Citizen Zombie is the sound of a flare that sparks sporadically, burning cultural preconceptions to cinders. These ballsy Bristolians are just as chaotic and system-defiling today as they were when they first set the world on fire three decades ago.
Ripping on the press release isn’t particularly big or clever, but expressions like ‘future-licked’ can be troubling at best, because what a cop-out, right? Unlike, say, sticking a few gunshots over your lukewarm synthscape and calling yourself Grime 2.0, you can’t just casually lace a track with future-sound. When something arrives genuinely sounding like someone sent it back through a tear in space-time, it’s an unsettling, disorientating experience, as likely to upset and offend as it is to captivate. That’s not quite where Proto takes us. Instead we encounter a preoccupation with the concept of the future. Many of the 10 tracks make a heavy reference to points in the history of UK dance music where time really did appear to slip out of joint. Title track Proto tethers down the duo’s trademark weightless sound to a mutant-jungle vibe. Dance Energy’s overdriven breakbeats lurch across the floor with menacing, late 80s intent. It’s not that they’re bad, they’re great, but the resulting incoherency betrays insecurity about the challenges modern producers face when it comes to staying fresh. That said, there’s some excellent club weaponry here. Tracks like Move Your Body and Hall of Mirrors bristle with an unflinching, hyper-modern energy. Others like Chaos Engine carry an ice-cold grimey swagger, as you might expect from Mumdance. It’s a good effort, there’s just this strange sense that it’s unwilling to recognise itself as a product of its day. Perhaps it’s time we stopped conflating the modern with the future so readily.
! James F. Thompson
! Tom Watson
! Xavier Boucherat
MOON DUO Shadow of the Sun Sacred Bones
THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING dir. James Marsh Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, David Thewlis It’s hardly surprising when a high profile biopic sees the gritty details sanded down for popular consumption, but washing away the bad behaviour entirely leaves The Theory Of Everything little to cling on to. This dilution of feeling may have been done to keep the Hawking estate happy, but the result is an emotional vacuum between the truth and the palatable. ‘Quintessentially British’, in cinematic terms, is often a euphemism for bland, and Theory… is for long stretches left to languish in a rose-tinted Oxbridge fantasy. Its only validation is the two lead performances: Redmayne, as Hawking, avoids the pitfall of sentimentality and succeeds in delivering an honest-feeling portrayal. Felicity Jones plays Jane, wife of Stephen (who wrote the book that this film adapts), with a subtle, natural control and a silver screen elegance that combines well with Redmayne’s physical performance to salvage the film’s only real essence. Despite these performances, by the end the characters beneath become pallid and vague. The script offers only allusions to Jane’s affair and encounters are whittled-down moments ended by one-liners as nauseating as a gone-off Ferrero Rocher. How could a film about a man with a story so unique be so clichéd? If we were you, Stephen, we’d go and see The Imitation Game instead. ! Tim Oxley Smith
19 BIRDMAN dir: lejandro González Iñárritu Starring: Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Emma Stone
EX MACHINA dir. Alex Garland Starring: Alicia Vikander, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson
There are moments watching Birdman when you could be watching the best film of the year. Searing visions of strange celestial objects descending upon strewn jellyfish, clattering jazz drums polluting streetscapes and a breathtaking one-shot take of Michael Keaton tiptoeing through Times Square in his underwear, all sing of clarity, quality and innovation. It is borderline tragic, then, that a film with seemingly so much to offer falls so frustratingly short. The film is tangible proof that as many tricks a director or writer may have in their repertoire, without also having a solid and complete idea a story cannot truly achieve. It is almost amazing that Birdman doesn’t reach the heights it should, not only given its sparkling script, but also its cast of familiar faces giving many of the best performances of their respective careers. Perhaps the best that can be said of the movie as a whole comes in the form of the film’s sub-heading, The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance. It is a film that just doesn’t say as much as it perhaps thinks it does, and so despite its surface pleasures, simply cannot be considered truly special. ! Angus Harrison
Garland the screenwriter is no stranger to uprooting the prerequisites of genre – making zombies run in 28 Days Later, for example, was all his idea. In Ex Machina, which he’s directed as well as written, there isn’t the chaos of an apocalypse but instead, the unnerving serenity of utopia. The film is set up wonderfully, like a gothic novel but with face recognition watching on through your webcam rather than spying from the eyes of a portrait. Gleeson plays Caleb, our hapless hero invited out to the secluded home of his boss, Nathan, the creator of a Google-not-Google company – channelled superbly by Oscar Isaac as a sociopathic nu-age alpha nerd. Caleb is subsequently tasked with testing the emotional capabilities of Ava (Vikander), an artificial intelligence being of Nathan’s design. Bad things inevitably happen in homes with minimalist interior design and this retreat-cum-research facility is no exception. Garland’s fazed direction gives just the right amount away at just the right time and, enhanced by a searing soundtrack, climaxes with Caleb and Nathan jostling for supremacy channelled through the possession of Ava. As their ideological reactions to her existence clash, Ava seeks out her right to live and furthermore, to be a woman. Her redemption illuminates not only her creator and captive’s misgivings, but also Caleb’s unfounded right to liberate her. As this twist hits us, the allegory fulfils our expectations of Ex Machina, complete with more heart and brains than sci-fi is usually at liberty to offer. ! Tim Oxley Smith
WHIPLASH dir: Damien Chazelle Starring: Miles Teller, J. K. Simmons, Paul Reiser, Melissa Benoist Chances are you’re aware of Whiplash, and not just in the neck injury sense. After claiming both the Audience and Grand Jury prizes at Sundance the buzz was noteworthy; a heft of well-deserved Golden Globe and Oscar nominations raised it to frenetic. Precocious talent Andrew Neiman (Teller) is a jazz drummer studying at the Shaffer Conservatory, the ‘best music school in America’. One late night practice session leads to a somewhat unconventional audition for the school studio band, an outfit presided over by the masterful and sociopathic Terence Fletcher (Simmons). What follows is an uncomfortable yet captivating examination of the cost of perfection; a cost that rises exponentially on collision with Teller’s untempered ambition. Simmons’ performance is faultless, his physiognomy by turns a landscape of volatility and then, suddenly, destitute of all emotion. Shot in just 19 days and only the second film proper from writer/director Chazelle, it is a remarkable feat. From the second those first slow, steady drumbeats reach your ears, the nervous anticipation begins to build. It will build and build until it devours you in a delirious, painful, satisfying climax. Satisfying enough that it caused the entire cinema of jaded weeknight Londoners surrounding me to break into a rampant bout of spontaneous applause as the credits rolled and they stumbled to their feet dazed, disconcerted and slightly overwhelmed. ! Tamsyn Aurelia-Eros Black
FOXCATCHER dir. Bennett Miller Starring: Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Vanessa Redgrave In this year’s sausage-fest of an awards season, from boyhoods to birdmen, there is one film that can surely claim to exercise the ultimate parade of masculinity. Directed by Bennett Miller, who is continuing his trend of punishing biographical dramas, Foxcatcher is a movie of wrestlers, brothers, fathers, blood, sweat and tears. Despite being ‘based on a true story’ it is as unbelievable as any other currently inhabiting cinemas, delicately unravelling from start to finish. From the offset, Channing Tatum’s Mark Schultz lurches in the shadows of his dominant and commanding older brother Dave, portrayed by Mark Ruffalo, both giving performances that, whilst not redefining them, certainly shed light on the enormous promise they both offer as credible actors. The medal-winning brothers are then subjected to the hospitality of John E Du Pont, played by Steve ‘wtf is that Steve Carell?’ Carell. It’s a dangerous performance, one that could easily have been swallowed in prosthetics or, worse, turned out a little boring, but fortunately proves a risk worth taking. From here the wrestling takes shape in all forms, as the three male leads grapple with each-other’s egos and anxieties, to a shattering conclusion. It may be a film that grunts, but it does so with precision and efficacy. ! Angus Harrison
Issue 49 | crackmagazine.net
So The Academy’s selections have provided a fair representation of a great 12 months. Boyhood, Crack’s film of the year is the bookies’ frontrunner for Best Picture – a pleasant unsurprise having garnered ubiquitous praise from critics, movie goers and internet forums alike. Then there’s the expected inclusion of the biopics and, more specifically, the British entries: The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything. Both had their releases funnelled together for awards season despite sharing some remarkably similar themes and Theory… – a hyper ‘British’ film hoping to conceal the country’s unease through pastiche of its own national identity, came off second best. On the opposite side of Britain’s cool spectrum, Ex Machina shows sophistication doesn’t just come in the form of Cucumberbatch sandwiches, and we also cast our eyes towards the relentless, performance-led Foxcatcher and a couple more in the running for The Best Film: the seemingly instant classic Whiplash and the so-nearlyspecial Birdman.
Winter Warmers 2014
WaRning Sign (CD/2xLP)
Unreleased Vinyl Session 09-013
Original Soundtrack by Cho Young-Wuk
Original Soundtrack by Craig Safan
Limited edition (of 750) orange/white swirl vinyl and (750) black/white splatter variant / DL card
Limited edition orange vinyl (of 500) / DL card Artwork by Laurent Durieux
Limited edition (of 750) red/white splatter vinyl includes Download Card
Limited edition (of 1250) orange vinyl / DL card Limited edition (of 1250) yellow vinyl / DL card
Original TV Soundtrack by Brian Reitzell
Original TV Soundtrack by Brian Reitzell
Original TV Soundtrack by Brian Reitzell
Original TV Soundtrack by Brian Reitzell
Season 1 Volume 1 (2xLP) Black Vinyl and ‘Tannum Brown’ variant includes DL Card (1000 of each pressed)
Season 1 Volume 2 (2xLP) Black Vinyl and ‘Amarone Grape’ variant includes DL Card (1000 of each pressed)
Season 2 Volume 1 (2xLP) Black Vinyl and ‘Travertine Grey’ variant includes DL Card (1000 of each pressed)
Season 2 Volume 2 (2xLP) Black Vinyl and ‘Hemochrome Red’ variant includes DL Card (1000 of each pressed)
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Thurs 5 Feb MIMI & THE MAD NOI SE FACTORY GALLOWS GHOST CI RCUMN AV IG AT E Fri 6 Fe b THEE MVPS MELAH MA S S DATUR A Sat 7 Feb THE SOUL FOOLS Sun 8 Feb Countrier Than Thou HARRY MUNDY BAND TOUT Fri 1 3 Fe b E AT ING OUT Sat 14 Feb ASBO RORY PHILLIPS RIOUTOUS ROCKERS A LV I N C T h u r s 19 Fe b HIDDEN CHARMS S Y LV I A M W EN Z E
Fri 2 0 Fe b H O LY T H U R S D AY ANT I- MAT TER PEOPLE DJS Sat 21 Feb MOHIT MOTHER THE SIRENS Wed 2 5 Feb WYLDEST SINGLE LAUNCH Thurs 26 Feb Countrier Than Thou GEORGE FRAKES Fri 2 7 Fe b I NEED A RHYTHM Sat 28 Feb SLOTHBOOGIE EARL GREY Thurs 12 Mar DRESSMAKER Fri 1 2 Ma r A S TR A L PAT TERN
The last’s month’s #clickbait music news rounded up by Josh Baines RiFF RaFF Will Take You to the Prom. For $28,000 Prom is as central to the American identity as Red Lobster, PBR and blind nationalism. What could be more American than asking a parent or guardian to donate their year’s salary to a bulked-up, fading Vine-rap star’s protein shake and hair-dye fund? For nearly 30k, your child can stand in a school hall with a confused celebrity who won’t talk to them all night. Spiritual Leader Might Sit in Field Glastonbury – acid, diarrhoea, a Sunday afternoon set by Tom Jones. It really has got it all. This year, it’s rumoured that the assorted welly-wearers are joined by a man of vast spiritual wealth. Yes, finally, the Dalai Lama might be on a bill alongside Alt-J and Speech Debelle.
Denzil Schniffermann Love, life and business advice from Crack’s esteemed agony uncle
The Avalanches’ Comeback Track Was a Hoax Things that have happened since their last album came out: - 9/11 - Celebrity Love Island - Blackpool in the Premiership - Hashtags Kevin Gates: Booty Eatin’ Cousin Lover The Louisiana rapper eats the booty and he doesn’t give a fuck who knows about it. Which is great. It’s now transpired that he’s also inadvertently been fucking his own cousin. Which, while legal, is arguably less great. But look at it like this: we all loved the George Michael/Maeby will-they-wontthey plot in Arrested Development, right? Gates insists that there’s no shame in his game. Fair play.
I’ve doubled the traffic of my forward-thinking dance music website just by posting random pictures of student poster-esque music icons on Instagram. Sid Vicious, Jimi Hendrix, Tupac, John Lennon, Dr. Dre, Bob Marley – they’ve all gone down an absolute storm. I mean, it’s not exactly ‘on-brand’, but it works. I’m tempted to branch out – might do Pulp Fiction. Or maybe Che Guevara, he’s #throwbackthursday as fuck. What do you reckon? Kat, 30, Hackney Wick
I was once ran a restaurant which had a ‘hall of fame’ featuring framed pictures of celebrities such as Cilla Black, Peter Beardsley and Paul Heaton from The Beautiful South in the establishment. The photos were actually taken elsewhere, but the customers didn’t notice and it gave the illusion of prestige. However, I see gaping flaws in your promotional strategy. How are you going to flog trendy techno records to a crowd who’d rather be buying stencil art in Camden Lock?
I got a job in a premium streetwear shop recently, and even though I quite like hip-hop, some of the tunes they play are savage. We had the new Lil Wayne mixtape on the other day, and every time he makes a weird dick metaphor everyone acts like they can’t hear anything, but I can tell they all feel really awkward. Should I ask them to tone it down a bit?
Listen pal, I’m no stranger to controversial lyrics. In ’74 I played fretless bass on a soft rock album under the pseudonym ‘Clint Fox’. There was some seriously edgy stuff on there – songs with titles like Between The Sheets, Baby I Just Wanna (Do The Wild Thing) and The Devil’s Lettuce. It was so raunchy that every Woolworths branch in the UK refused to stock it, which created an air of notoriety that actually boosted sales. Crazy. I’d image that me and your store manager would see eye-to-eye.
Lee, 23, Manchester
Dr Dre Now Richer than God Forbes, a business brand designed to make us normal wageslaves feel like dark age peons, reports that the man who gave the world Ass Like That by Eminem earned $20 a SECOND last year. I just spent 10 minutes struggling to work out how long it’d take him to buy Gareth Bale, which means if I were the broad-shouldered headphone peddler, I’d have just wasted $6000. I think. BBC Sound of 2015 Winners Announced Again? Right. OK. Yep. Who? Not heard of them. Any good? Really? Christ. OK.
Hello Mr. Schnifferman,
I’m in the early stages of courting a new chap. He’s a little younger than me and, it turns out he’s a bit of a ‘foodie’ and – worse – a vegetarian. Well, I don’t know anything about that. I’ve never had ‘couscous’ or ‘celeriac’ or ‘rogan josh’. Will he eat mushy peas? I don’t want to show my age, so I’ve turned to you for help. Help. Yours,
My love, we’re reading off the same hymn sheet. I don’t buy into any of that faddy nonsense. I took a lady out for dinner the other day, ordered the lamb, well done. I said ‘don’t worry about the ‘jus’, I’ll just have some gravy’. Turns out it’s the same thing. Why don’t they just call it gravy then?. Long story short – I ended up at home, alone, eating a cheese and pickle sandwich. Which, it turns out, is vegetarian. So there you go: cheddar and Branston – a British classic and 100% meat-free. Bob’s your uncle.
Mrs. D, Hampshire
Dan Snaith Thanks Fans with 1000 Track Playlist Ever been stoned in front of YouTube? There’s a real art to it. @bain3z
Problems? e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
The Crack Magazine Crossword Across 01. Tread firmly on something; without one of these your letter’s going nowhere (5) 04. Batman’s no.1 mate (5) 05. Talking Heads concert movie. If you haven’t seen it, see it (4,6,5) 13. Legendary Italian film direction (7) 14. “LIKE A ________ COWBOY!!” :) (10) 16. Polish festival of drone and techno and noise and all that other good stuff (7) Down 02. My Neighbour _____, timeless 1988 animated film (6) 03. From Sweden, Norway, or Denmark and maybe Iceland and Finland (12) 06. Legendary New York band who recorded Marquee Moon (10) 07. Remember that time Ross from Friends dressed up as a potato/Russian satellite hybrid? (7) 08. Mr Oizo’s funny little mate (4,4) 09. _____ Pryor; Little ______ (7) 10. Macklemore’s horrible mate (4,5) 11. Tasteless cube of vegetarian despair (4) 12. I read somewhere that a Hippopotamus is more dangerous than one of these, but I don’t believe it for a fucking second (5) 15. Mexican food that’s impossible to eat but people seem to really like it. Weird (4) 16. East African country, capital Kampala (6) 17. A perfect society (6) Solutions to last month’s crossword ACROSS: 02. QUINOA, 03. OVAL, 04. OCTOPUS, 06. LACKLUSTRE 07. SENSE, 08. NEVERLAND, 12. PINATA, 15. PARTY-POOPER, 16. NEPAL, 17. NIGELLA DOWN: 01. NAUTICAL 03. ORDINARY-BOYS, 05. NANNY-STATE, 09. LIGHT-YEAR, 10. NEVERMIND, 11. OMNIPOTENT, 13. OPULENT, 14. PRIUS
‘Hack Is Wack!’ declared the slogan behind one of the most ill-advised celebrity endorsements of all time – presumably because ‘Hacking is Wack’ doesn’t quite rhyme, and ‘To Hack Is Wack’ doesn’t sound street. In an almost-impossible-tobelieve attempt to align ethos, the blunthuffing, low-riding, gang-banging Cordozar Broadus Jr encouraged kids to ‘upload your anti-cybercrime rap video’, to be judged on ‘originality and creativity’ and to, of course, ‘have fun fo’shizzle!’, all in a press release which couldn’t be more clearly written by an old white man if it was the US Bill of Rights. Christ, they must have paid him so much. Think about it.
20 Questions: The Cribs' Ryan Jarman Shit, it’s been 11 years since The Cribs released their first album! From the beginning, the brotherly trio from Wakefield were an appealing prospect: catchy-as-hell pop songs delivered with lo-fi punk grit, a keep-it-real attitude (they used to play anywhere for petrol money and a slab of beers) and an encyclopedic knowledge of the best DIY guitar bands that has always elevated them way above the landfill indie which surrounded them. Ahead of the release of their sixth studio album, we woke up their crowdsurfing, dodgy haircutchampioning riff machine at 1pm to hassle him with a bunch of silly questions.
What was your favourite cartoon when you were a kid? Thundercats. Who’s your favourite member of Slipknot? Any of them apart from the clown. I remember reading an interview where he was talking about groupies and he was being a total douchebag. There’s one who’s got nails coming out his face, right? Yeah that’s Craig, he does the samples. Maybe him. But none of them are as cool as Marilyn Manson. Do you support a sports team? I don’t like any sports at all, but Gary’s really into boxing so I’ve started watching that. There’s a few people I get behind. There’s a guy called Andy Lee who’s just won the middleweight championship, and he’s a Cribs fan. Most overrated album of all time? Maybe What’s The Story (Morning Glory). What’s the worst hotel you’ve ever stayed in? The Marco Polo in Seattle. It’s super scummy and it’s smelly and it’s cold. But whenever I got to Seattle, I always stay there. I like it, it’s kind of creepy. Who’s the most famous person that you’ve ever met? Johnny Depp. I think I met him in some kind of VIP section at a premiere of a movie. He seemed like a nice guy, but he did seem really famous. What’s your favourite gameshow? Brett Michael’s Rock of Love. If you could pick a surrogate grandparent, who would it be? Charlie Manson. He’s just cool. Not everything about him is cool, but I’ve read a lot of interviews with him and the things he says really make a lot of sense. Some of the things he did were senseless, but I can look through that. Interesting choice. When was the last time you ran as fast as you possibly can? Quite recently, I think it was in an airport.
Issue 49 | crackmagazine.net
Would you go for a pint with Kanye West? I probably owe him a pint. In 2004, he actually supported us in Amsterdam and his name on the poster was spelled ‘Kayne West’. He showed up with loads of security and they were acting, like, gangster or whatever. So when he was onstage, we went into his dressing room and stole his champagne because he was kind of acting like a jerk. So yeah, why not? It’d be nice to put the past behind us. Do you ever send post second class? Never. I had a bad experience with it once. Generally if I send stuff now, I go for recorded delivery. What’s the most treasured possession that you’ve broken or lost? A 70s Fender Mustang guitar. I tried to do that pop-punk thing of throwing behind your body and making it swing back round. It immediately hit the floor and broke the neck right down the middle. Rate these actors in order of how much you like them: Danny DeVito, Danny Dyer, Daniel Day-Lewis? I’d put Danny DeVito at the top, he’s that 80s guy right? Then Danny Dyer at number two, purely because I don’t know who Daniel Day-Lewis is. Have you ever been arrested? I’ve talked my way out of a few situations, they haven’t got me yet. Have you ever taken acid? I used to take it quite a bit when I was a teenager, I don’t think I’d take it now though. Why, you think it would mess with you too much? I feel like I got what I needed out of it. And finally, what would you want written on your tombstone? “https://www.itunes.com/thecribs” For All My Sisters will be released 23 March via Sonic Blew/Sony Red
Perspective As a founding member of Public Enemy’s production unit The Bomb Squad, Hank Shocklee was behind some of hip-hop’s most radical sonic developments. Here, he recalls the initial controversy surrounding sampling, and celebrates the limitless future of musical innovation. I don’t think The Bomb Squad ever had a musical vision. From my perspective, it was more of a thing where I wanted to give each artist an identity. I didn’t want any other group to have the same sound as Public Enemy. So that’s why when you listen to the Ice Cube record, the Slick Rick record or the Kings of Pressure records we did – all those records sound different. If I had it my way, all of our records would have come out like Fear Of A Black Planet . But if you understand where things were going at the time, you can’t shock people that much – just doing Yo! Bum Rush The Show  was a departure from the entire rap scene at the time. Those albums were important to me because each one was a progression. Yo!.. was the introduction, It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back  was second gear (where Yo!.. should have been but couldn’t, because it was trying to speak to the musical genre of the time). And then Fear... was a departure, because now the sound had become accepted. And once the sound is accepted, now you can take it deeper. I had an incredible library of music, I’d been collecting records since I was five years old, and I wanted to show that off in my production style. And so we came up with collages, creating them with all kinds of samples. The Bomb Squad was basically coming from a DJ’s perspective, and not from a musician’s perspective, which made us different from a lot of other artists. Musicians are always looking for a sample that’s pretty much in key and in context of what’s already going on. And very rarely do they use samples which convey a message that they want to get across. There were two schools of thought when sampling started happening. One was from the musician’s perspective – and I’m talking about the “classically” trained musicians. They looked as us as if we weren’t creative, because we were taking bits of stuff from other places. However, there was also a progressive community of musicians who were looking at what were doing as daring. They could see that not only were we using records, but also look into how we were
using them: the techniques, the clashing, the dissonance of melody that was happening. And then there was the streets. We were doing something that everybody who was into hip-hop wanted to do, but had thought they didn’t have the resources or the opportunities to be able to do it. So that kind of re-invigorated the hip-hop community. Our production was done in a pre– production studio that we had out in Hempstead, New York. We just had our drum machine, some turntables and a four track tape machine. We learnt how to get eight to ten tracks out of it by constantly re-sampling. In 1985, before Public Enemy even had a deal, I’d swore in Eric “Vietnam” Sandler to form The Bomb Squad because I had this incredible collection of records and I wanted to create the vibration of sample-based music. Back then, I had to have different people to be responsible for different paths, the equipment just wasn’t there. Today, one person can work as ten people. The things that you can do today, it’s just out of this world. Now you can pretty much hear sounds that have never, ever been heard before. Let’s look at things from a 1960s standpoint, for example. You could only get so many combinations of sonic flavour. Then when the sampling came in, it offered a new type of timbre to listen to. Now, not only could you listen to the instruments that were being played, but you could hear the instruments being played from a phonograph, that were recorded onto tape, that were run through an equaliser. All different types of flavours. With the computer, you can take that to extremes, and almost to infinity. You’re going to hear a revolution in the future with sound. To me, it hasn’t even begun yet. The deluxe editions of It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back and Fear of a Black Planet are out now via Def Jam
Two days of electronic & live performances, parties, installations, masterclasses, screenings and happenings across London Tobacco Dock, London E1 Individual or weekend tickets available from:
Friday 6th 10.00am–7.00pm —
+ More to be announced
Friday 6th 7.00pm–10.30pm —
Tickettannoy.com | Gigsandtours.com Residentadvisor.net | LEAFLondon.net 0844 811 0061
Nile Rodgers: Unmoderated/Uncensored/Unlimited The Rise and Rise of Black Butter Records The Rob da Bank Interview: DJ Harvey ELAM (East London Arts and Music) Explained Charlie + Will Kennard from Chase & Status B.Traits: State of Mind Meet Team RAM Records Point Blank Music College: Performance Masterclasses The Ambient Revival
Kate Simko & London Electronic Orchestra + More to be announced
Saturday 7th 12.00pm–10.30pm —
In alphabetical order
Anja Schneider | Chris Liebing DJ Harvey | Luciano Modeselektor (DJ) | Pan–Pot Rob da Bank | Sasha | Tale of Us BEC | Clint Stewart | Enzo Tedeschi | Stephan Hinz (live)
@LEAFelectronic @LEAFLondon #LEAF2015
Find your flow.
Published on Feb 6, 2015