Page 1

ABRA


SIMPLE THINGS

JOHN CARPENTER: LIVE

23.10.16 COLSTON HALL, BRISTOL


SIMPLE THINGS

WARPAINT BEN UFO METRONOMY DJ SET JESSY LANZA POWELL LIVE SUUNS TIM SWEENEY HELENA HAUFF VERONICA VASICKA CRAZY COUSINZ RIVAL CONSOLES LENA WILLIKENS BORIS COURTESY EVAN BAGGS THROWING SHADE MASSIMILIANO PAGLIARA PLATTENBAU

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DJ SPINN TRAXMAN JACKIE DAGGER FELONEEZY


A JOINT CELEBRATION OF CREATIVE CULTURES FRIDAY 17TH JUNE GOLDSMITHS

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SCHOOL HIP HOP SET ARTWORK GRECO-ROMAN: GOLDIE OLD JOE GODDARD, KARMA KID, LXURY & GRECO-ROMAN DJS MJ COLE SHADOW CHILD ANNIE NIGHTINGALE KIKO BUN & MORE

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FULL LINE-UP

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SUNDAY 17TH JULY

VICTORIA PARK

THE ULTIMATE SUMMER SUNDAY

COMEDY PRESENTED BY UNDERBELLY BEARDYMAN

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LIANNE LA HAVAS

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W/ ARCOLA THEATRE & THE NIGHT SWEATS ART WORKSHOPS BY THE INDYTUTE

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PARC FLORAL, PARIS WEDNESDAY 13 JULY LEN FAKI & RØDHÅD — KERRI CHANDLER JOHN TALABOT PANTHA DU PRINCE presents THE TRIAD RARESH — FUNCTION live JEREMY UNDERGROUND VIRGINIA ft. STEFFI & DEXTER live

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KIASMOS – EVIAN CHRIST dj set — BUSY P b2b ECLAIR FIFI MYKKI BLANCO — LOTIC — POINT POINT — MUMDANCE & LOGOS MARK FELL — SIMO CELL — MEZIGUE — AZAMAT B

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CRAIG RICHARDS

RICARDO VILLALOBOS / ZIP / MAGIC MOUNTAIN HIGH LIVE ROOM 2

TERRY FRANCIS / JACKMASTER / ROBERT JAMES FABRIC 2300 – 1100


Tickets available from www.sunfall.co.uk

Dimensions Festival Bussey Building

Deviation Corsica Studios

Studio 89 Brixton Electric

Outlook x Metalheadz Fire London

Glasgow to Detroit Phonox

Jamie & Friends The Coronet

A Taste of Afrobeat Vibrations Effra Social

10pm - late

Sunfall are proud to announce we’ll be hosting an Independent Record Fair in partnership with Thirty Three Thirty Three on the day.

£55 Day & Night tickets include entry to our day festival in Brockwell Park as well as a night session of your choice:

Anthony Naples Ben Klock Benji B Boxed dBridge Digital Mystikz Donato Dozzy Fatima Yamaha Goldie Hunee Jamie xx Jeremy Underground Job Jobse Josey Rebelle Joy Orbison Kamasi Washington Mind Against Mister Saturday Night Moodymann Omar-S Om Unit Ryan Elliott Sam Binga Sassy J Shackleton Yussef Kamaal Trio Zomby

Night Sessions:

11am - 10pm*

Brockwell Park:

A new festival for London Saturday 9th July 2016

Rhythm Section x Mister Saturday Canavans Peckham

Young Turks OTC Bar


THE F E S T I VA L THREE MILLS ISL AND LONDON E3 3DU S AT U R D AY 3 R D S E P T 2 0 1 6 1 2 -11 P M TICK ET W EB.CO.UK ROBOMAGICLIVE.COM T H E12 3 4 F E S T I VA L . C O M FA C E B O O K . C O M / 12 3 4 F E S T I VA L POWERED BY ROBOMAGIC

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THE LUCID DR E A M GA RY THE TA LL (NTS) D/R /U/G/S DJ SEX CELLS


43.681111° N

15.786389°E

JULY 28 — 6 SEPTEMBER 2016


Highlights Exhibitions Judy Blame: Never Again 29 Jun – 4 Sep 2016 Lower Gallery

Artistic Differences 29 Jun – 4 Sep 2016 Upper Gallery

Olivetti: Beyond Form and Function 25 May – 17 Jul 2016 ICA Fox Reading Room

Closing this month... Martine Syms: Fact & Trouble, 19 Jun 2016 Guan Xiao: Flattened Metal in association with K11 Art Foundation, 19 Jun 2016

Film

Events Mårten Spångberg: The Internet Wed 1 Jun, 6.30pm

Presented by Block Universe in partnership with ICA and Dance Art Foundation, Mårten Spångberg’s The Internet pushes the boundaries of performance, intertwining music, dance and sculpture.

Ash Koosha + Live Support Sat 4 Jun, 8pm

With the release of I AKA I on Ninja Tune, Iranian-born, London-based electronic musician Ash Koosha unveils his new live show in the UK for the first time. Working closely with long-time visual collaborator Hirad Sab and Dalena Tran, Koosha’s performance will incorporate virtual reality and other ground-breaking technologies.

Artists’ Film Club Coco Fusco Sat 4 Jun, 2pm Peter Tscherkassky Sat 11 Jun, 2pm Institute of Contemporary Arts The Mall London SW1Y 5AH 020 7930 3647, www.ica.org.uk

Artist’s Talk

Open City Documentary Festival 22–26 Jun 2016

Guan Xiao Fri 10 Jun, 6.30pm Arseny Zhilyaev Thu 23 Jun, 6.30pm

Open City Documentary Festival creates a space in London to nurture and champion the art of creative documentary and non-fiction filmmakers, as well as providing a platform for emerging talent within documentary film.

Workshop: [Re]presentations, with BORN n BREAD Sat 18 Jun, 2pm

Come and create your own hand-made magazine with zine-makers, DJ collective and NTS Radio hosts, BORN n BREAD.

The Legacy of Bas Jan Ader Sat 25 Jun, 2pm

A screening of four of Bas Jan Ader’s Falling films, followed by a discussion examining the enduring legacy of this influential Dutch artist.

STOP PLAY RECORD: A Conversation with Talent Managers and Film Distributors Fri 20 May, 1pm

Embrace of the Serpent + Q&A with Director Ciro Guerra 5 Jun 2016

Nominated for Best Foreign Language film at Oscars 2016, Embrace of the Serpent centres on Karamakate, an Amazonian shaman and the last survivor of his people, and the two scientists who build a friendship with him.

Fire at Sea (Fuocoammare) Preview Screening + Discussion 9 Jun 2016

A documentary on life on Lampedusa, an island which has become the symbolic border of Europe, crossed by thousands of migrants in search of freedom.

Guan Xiao in association with

The ICA is a registered charity no. 236848


19

Contents Features 28

ABRA As a core member of tight-knit Atlanta collective Awful Records, Abra’s private kingdom of soft focus future pop left audiences spellbound. As she gazes toward the next step of her career, Alex Russell tells the story of the Darkwave Duchess preparing to take her throne

36

BORDERLAND Juan Atkins and Moritz Von Oswald are two artists who define the Berlin-Detroit axis. With the release of their latest Borderland project, they expand on a cultural exchange that shaped the path of electronic music. By Ben Murphy

48

LUCA LOZANO Welcome to Planet Luke, where Klasse Recordings boss Luca Lozano creates intentionally crude artwork to match his labels’ gnarly sounds

46

FELIX DICKINSON In the midst of a career renaissance, Dickinson divulges the origins of his dedication and indoctrination into the cult of house music with Rob McCallumn

42

FRANKIE COSMOS Through 40 albums and a number of celestial aliases, Greta Kline maps out microcosms of teenage anxiety. Katie Hawthorne digs deeper into the minute details of her universal musings

Abra shot exclusively for Crack Magazine by Tyler Mitchell Atlanta: May 2016

Regulars 23

EDITORIAL What’s it Worth?

27

NEW MUSIC From The Periphery

54

AESTHETIC: STEVEN JULIEN As FunkinEven, Steven Julien’s unpolished vision carves a unique figure in raw club music. Alongside our extensive shoot, he tells Anna Cafolla about ditching his moniker and mapping the demise of a fallen angel for his debut album

63

REVIEWS Gig reports, product reviews and our verdict on the latest releases in film and music

83

TURNING POINTS: SHIRLEY MANSON Shirley Manson’s fuck-it attitude propelled her from Edinburgh’s punk scene to the top of the charts as the lead singer in Garbage. Speaking to Sammy Jones, Manson connects the dots between her Cinderella moment and 21 years of musical marriage

85

20 QUESTIONS: A$AP FERG A prominent figure on the contemporary rap landscape and Harlem’s very own Trapking, Ferg gave us some insightful thesis on LA hotels, DJ Khaled’s snapchat and the prospect of eternal life

86

PERSPECTIVE: KATHY IANDOLI In a culture bound up with political perspectives and identity politics, the history of hip-hop’s relationship to Republican ideals is a conflicted one. In her article Hip-hop vs. Trump, New York-based writer Kathy Iandoli explores how rap’s hive mind has turned against a certain Republican figure

34

42

46

48

36


11 / 06 ROOM 01

Craig Richards Eats Everything Route 94 ROOM 02

Terry Francis Luke Slater Black Asteroid (Live)

18 / 06

25 / 06 ROOM 01

Crosstown Rebels Damian Lazarus Craig Richards Serge Devant Magit Cacoon ROOM 02

Terry Francis Slam

02/ 07

ROOM 01

Craig Richards Joris Voorn Kรถlsch

ROOM 02

Downwards Regis Samuel Kerridge (Live) Talker (Live) Simon Shreeve

ROOM 01

Craig Richards Ellen Allien Agents of Time (Live) ROOM 02

Superfreq Mr. C Jay Tripwire Jay Haze (Live) Noel Jackson

www.fabriclondon.com

fabric June /July 2016


23

Issue 65 Respect Seb Burford Jo Cheney John Paul Dowling Geoff Bennett Ro Murphy Claire Murphy GammaGoblin Sam Boother Executive Editors Thomas Frost tom@crackmagazine.net Jake Applebee jake@crackmagazine.net Editor Davy Reed Marketing / Events Manager Luke Sutton luke@crackmagazine.net Deputy Editor Anna Tehabsim Online Editor Billy Black Junior Online Editor Sammy Jones

CRACK WAS MADE USING: GUCCI MANE First Day Out Tha Feds BANKROLL MAFIA Hyenas NAO Girlfriend WILD BEASTS Get My Bang ETHEREAL Treat You Right ft. Coodie Breeze & Abra DAVE & AJ TRACEY Thiago Silva WOLF MÜLLER & CASS Aiolos COMPANY FLOW 8 Steps To Perfection THE UNKOWN CASES Masimbabele 89 (Adrian Sherwood Remix) METRONOMY Old School

Editorial Assistant Duncan Harrison

STEVEN JULIEN XL

Editorial Intern Tash Smurthwaite

CHANCE THE RAPPER Mixtape ft. Young Thug & Lil Yachty

Creative Director Alfie Allen Graphic Designer Yasseen Faik Design Intern Willem Purdy Deputy Marketing / Ticketing Ben Horton Staff Writer Tom Watson Film Editor Tim Oxley Smith Art Editor Augustin Macellari Fashion Luci Ellis Words Alex Russell, Ben Murphy, Anna Cafolla, Katie Hawthorne, Rob McCallum, Ali Gitlow, Nathan Westley, Ian Ochiltree, Nikki Blaylock, James F. Thompson, Adam Corner, Aine Devaney, Gunseli Yalcinkaya, Jack Law, Thomas Painter, Daniel Cole, Tamsyn Aurelia-Eros Black, Lee Fairweather, Steven Fitzpatrick, Kathy Iandoli Photography Tyler Mitchell, Jack Johnstone, Theo Cottle, Juan José Ortiz, Ben Price, Ulla C Binder Illustration Ed Chambers Advertising To enquire about advertising and to request a media pack: advertising@crackmagazine.net 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.

INC. NO WORLD The Wheel WEAVES Coo Coo MODERN BASEBALL Everyday KAYTRANADA Drive Me Crazy ANOHNI Why Did You Separate Me From The Earth CHARLI XCX Secret (Shh) KING GIZZARD AND THE LIZARD WIZARD People-Vultures HOODED FANG Tunnel Vision XENO & OAKLANDER Topiary DEUX FILLES The Letter BUMBLEBEE UNLIMITED Lady Bug (Larry Levan Remix) TRAUMPRINZ 2 Bad (Metatron’s What If Madness Is Our Only Relief Mix) RED AXES Hope XTC Making Plans For Nigel JENNY HVAL Female Vampire DINOSAUR JR Tiny GARBAGE I Think I’m Paranoid

As streaming services battle over megastar exclusives, have you, in a moment of temptation, found yourself dangerously close to a Tidal subscription? It’s hard to remember a time before everyone was freaking out about the financial state of the music industry, but with labels still struggling and (some) streaming services cashing in, are we stumbling towards a new system? If so, it kind of feels like everyone’s making it up as they go along. And with a hybrid of streaming stats and sales informing a confused charting system, it’s harder to figure out what really qualifies as “commercial success”. Two records that have been on my mind while we’ve been working on this issue are Skepta’s Konnichiwa and Chance The Rapper’s Coloring Book. At the core of both these LPs, I think, is the idea of success. But in both cases, the first week figures aren’t the most interesting part of the story. The appeal of Skepta’s meteoric rise is that integrity is working for him. The more he takes pride in his realness, the more he succeeds, which is fucking cool. Coloring Book’s anti-label rhetoric, on the other hand, has attracted some suspicion. Although Chance is technically unsigned, it’s not like his deal with Apple Music will have left him fending for himself. But then Chance is a free-spirited, eccentric artist; one who might not have met the pre-internet industry’s guidelines of commercial viability, and so I’d argue that Coloring Book’s success is a triumph for creative freedom. In this issue of Crack Magazine, you’ll find an eight page feature with Abra. She is one of the 17 members of Atlanta’s Awful Records collective, whose prolific release schedule of home-brewed music seems to be motivated by passion before profit or publicity. As Abra’s profile continues to grow and she gears up for the Princess EP – her first release with a label other than Awful – she's still in control of her sound and close to her fans. For an artist like Abra, integrity is everything, business is a distraction. And so if she stays true to herself, then she really can’t fail.

Davy Reed, Editor


24

Recommended

JOANNA ROBERTSON Servant Jazz Quarters 22 June

O ur g uid e t o w ha t 's g o ing o n in y o ur cit y

NINA KR AVIZ Fabric 4 June MAC DEMARCO Electric Brixton / KOKO 27/28 June

FIELD DAY James Blake, PJ Harvey, Skepta Victoria Park, London 11-12 June Prices Vary If you’ve browsed the pages of Crack Magazine in recent years, you’ll have guessed that Field Day has a line-up we wholeheartedly endorse. Saturday will see performances from the likes of mythologized Ghanaian singer Ata Kak, Deerhunter, Dean Blunt, Skepta, Novelist and Little Simz alongside dance-orientated offerings from The Black Madonna, Special Request, Roman Flügel and Motor City Drum Ensemble. We’d encourage you to pay us a visit at the Crack Magazine stage too, where we’ll host performances by Rejjie Snow, ferocious no-fi duo Sleaford Mods, Gold Panda, LUH and Shock Machine – the new project from ex-Klaxon James Righton. In terms of day two, it’s possibly the best Field Day Sunday line-up we’ve ever seen: PJ Harvey, reformed sample collage artists The Avalanches, Beach House, Swedish psych freaks Goat, Empress Of, Parquet Courts and Mbongwana Star will be there to eliminate your hangover in Victoria Park. We defy you to find another London festival with a line-up this diverse.

BEN SIMS Patterns 24 June

SUNFALL Kamasi Washington, Mala, Josey Rebelle Brockwell Park, London 9 July

MORITZ VON OSWALD TRIO Jazz Cafe 11 June

Brand new for 2016, Sunfall is taking over Brockwell Park for a one-day celebration of the underground. From the organizers of XOYO, Dimensions and Outlook, it’s clear that the festival is out to impress, with a host of late-night club sessions after the main event. As a self-proclaimed “reflection of London and beyond”, the line up varies from jazz, electronica, house, techno, soul, drum’n’bass and disco. This hot and heavy eclectic mix includes the likes of Goldie, Hunee, Jamie xx, and Sassy J. Whether you want to appreciate Moodymann and his usual blend of Detroit referencing deep house, or just fancy a shakedown to Shackleton in the sunshine, it looks like they’ve got something for everyone.

London label The Neighbourhood are venturing to the coast for their next party in Brighton’s Patterns club. UK techno veteran Ben Sims will be heading up the line-up, bringing along his unique blend of tough funk and hard grooves. He’s supported by Randomer, Metrist and Tasha, and if Randomer’s recent EP Real Talk is anything to go by, a melting pot of techno, funky house and jungle can be expected on the dance floor. Join them for a night of bass over-indulgence and powerfully percussive grooves.

MATMOS Oslo 7 June

ASH KOOSHA ICA 4 June

JULIANA BARWICK The Pickle Factory 8 June

AME (DJ SET ) Patterns, Brighton 11 June DEKMANTEL FESTIVAL Holly Herndon, Moritz Von Oswald, Theo Parrish Amsterdam Bose + Various Venues, Amsterdam 4-7 August Prices Vary TOMORROW ’S TULIPS Shacklewell Arms 17 June

TERR AFORMA Villa Arconati, Milan 1-3 July 70€

PRINS THOMAS Phonox 17 June

Terraforma is among an increasing number of events concerned about reducing the environmental impact of festivals. As well as reducing their eco-footprint, offering meditation and sustainability-focused art installations, the festival’s soundtrack places emphasis on artists who experiment with new ways to reduce the distance between art and life. The new experimental festival is bringing its sustainable practices to the woods of Villa Arconati, just outside Milan. Among those announced are pioneering minimal/continuum producer Charlamagne Palestine, who has extended his work into film and art installations shown at New York’s MOMA and at the Whitney Museum, as well as beloved Italian techno producer Donato Dozzy, PAN regular Lee Gamble and dub obliterator Adrian Sherwood. Guilt free absorption of mind altering sounds.

“One who is consumed with details and perfection is called meticulous,” said the organisers of Amsterdam’s much loved label and event series Dekmantel while introducing this year’s festival. “2016 is about fine-tuning small, yet imminent details, careful and precise.” We might raise an eyebrow at the grandiosity if it weren’t for the event’s reputation as one of the most expertly programmed and skillfully produced electronic music festivals to exist, probably ever. Since its inception, the event has been praised for its compact, tidy and beautifully constructed woodland setting, its scrupulous attention to sound, and the wide spectrum of artists on offer across opening parties and three full days and nights of programming. 2016 continues in the same vain, with regulars like Jeff Mills, Moodymann, DJ Harvey, Ricardo Villalobos and Motor City Drum Ensemble alongside impossibly rare performances from cult acts like Cabaret Voltaire and Black Devil Disco Club. The Netherlands’ serious approach to clubbing undeniably has its merits, and they are proudly on display here.

FE AR OF MEN St Pancras Old Church 10 June


25 CAT’S EYES The Lexington 14 June

SHOCK MACHINE The Pickle Factory 9 June TRUST FUND (SOLO SET ) DIY Space for London 27 June

BECK Brixton Academy 28 June

K APPA FUTUR FESTIVAL Ben Klock, Nina Kraviz, Ricardo Villalobos Torino, Italy 9-10 July 56€ Since its humble origins as a new year’s party back in 2010, Kappa Futur Festival has grown, moved and transformed into one of Italy’s leading summer festivals. The Turin based weekender takes place in a disused post-industrial warehouse space in Parco Dora, seemingly the perfect venue to house such an impressive bunch of muscular dance heavyweights. Heading up the two-day lineup are the likes of Ben Klock, Nina Kraviz, Sven Vath and Marco Carola. As well as Ricardo Villalobos bringing his distinctive, unfurling minimal sound to the crowd, the festival boasts after parties on each night with yet to be announced secret special guests. The futur is bright.

POSSIBLY COLLIDING: A WEEKEND CUR ATED BY NILS FR AHM The Barbican, London 1 - 3 July “What happens in the space where genres, sounds and ideas collide?” Don’t worry, we weren’t eavesdropping on your 7AM chats last weekend. This rhetorical question forms the conceptual crux of Nils Frahm’s weekend-long takeover of The Barbican. This is a carefully programmed celebration of collaborative spirit featuring performances from artists who Frahm has worked with, sought inspiration from and performed alongside in the past. The full list of the various “Sessions” taking place can be found over at The Barbican’s website but its worth noting that this weekender also features an outing from Nils himself which he’s describing as “a most ambitious concert”. If, like the rest of us, Nils Frahm has become a huge part of your music library, then this series of events is worth looking into.

E ARTHE ATER Cafe OTO 25 June New Yorker Alexandra Drewchin has been making her mark on the noise world for a minute. As a member of Guardian Alien she collaborates with Liturgy drummer Greg Fox to create psychedelic rock and as Eartheater she conjures a brilliantly warped world that draws on pastoral influences and new age spirituality. Drewchin’s music is littered with oblique references to folk but at the same time remains completely withdrawn from the genre’s traditional signifiers. Eartheater is both wildly experimental and completely compelling – a vivid excursion into the gentler side of noise.

SANTIGOLD Shepherd’s Bush Empire 21 June

JEREMIH KOKO 26-27 June

BUSTA RHYMES Indigo at the 02 10 June

D∆WN XOYO 15 June MARTINE SYMS: FACT & TROUBLE ICA Until 19 June Martine Syms' first solo show at the ICA combines video, original images and found photography to create commentary around what it is to be a black woman. Home videos and family photos taken by her hobbyist father are placed next to blurred video and wall-high typography, the artist herself shunning “a rarified type of art”, instead preferring to take her art to her audience via the internet and public lectures. Judging by the word-of-mouth success of this show, it’d be wise to check it out before it closes its doors.

Who is D∆WN? Your more trendaware might friends roll their eyes if you asked them, and so many music journalists are declaring her to be underrated that the statement has become slightly ironic. But with the New Orleans artist having such a transient identity, it’s not such a silly question. Having been a member of the reality TV-formed pop group Danity Kane during the mid-late 00s, Dawn Richard then formed a short-lived group with Sean “Diddy” Combs before going solo and releasing the ambitiously experimental curveball of 2015‘s sophomore album Blackheart. Once commercial and now staunchly DIY, D∆WN’s music asks us if the mainstream/ underground binary still really exists.

FREDDIE GIBBS Village Underground 5 June

CR ACK MAGA ZINE LOVE INTERNATIONAL BOAT PART Y WITH BEN UFO The Garden, Tisno 3 July £20 The Garden festival ended and a hazy era of a sun-kissed dream sequences went with it. But its successor, Love International, looks set to build on the legacy. The new Croatian festival will be taking to the high seas twenty-five times over a week-long string of beach-front parties. We’re thrilled to be throwing our own party on the trusty Argonaughty vessel with an equally reliable DJ. Former Crack cover star Ben UFO will play a four-hour set with Bristol duo Pardon My French on warm-up duties. If you’re going to Love International, you won’t want to miss this. If you aren’t, there’s still time to put that right.


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New Music

ROSS FROM FRIENDS

POLEDO Hailing from Oxford’s quaint outer-villages, Poledo mix heartsick teenage melody with rich swathes of shoegaze influences to piece together an overexcited concoction made out of their collective record collections, and the collective record collections of their dads. Having released on the recently-abandoned UK DIY stable Reeks Of Effort, the band put out a great EP on Oxford indie label Deadbeat And Down last summer and they are gearing up to tour the UK throughout July. Embracing pastiche with a grin and refusing to fall into a swell of self-importance, Poledo are worth familiarising yourself with.   JOE FARR Joe Farr’s music is adventurous. Perhaps inspired by the ideology of IDM and classic Warp releases, the Bristol-based producer explores the deeper recesses of the mind with a melodic, but gritty sound palette. And yet, he’s fully capable of compacting it all into the template of tough, functional techno. Such a style makes Farr feel at home with Leisure System, the experimentally-inclined label that’s held a residency at Berghain for eight years. Following the release of his debut LP Sense of Purpose via Bloc.’s record label back in March, Joe Farr recently returned to Leisure System to release the Spectate EP for their Gridlock series. The lead track is made of pummelling acid, distorted vocals and euphoric synths, and the subsequent Max Cooper remix totally tears it apart, forming something beautiful and distorted with the remaining debris.

O Spectate 1 Truss / Objekt : @thejoefarr

O Phoenix Fire Protection 1 Ought / Archers of Loaf : poledo.bandcamp.com

OHAL Ohal Grietzer is your new favourite dream pop composer. The Israel-born, Brooklyn-based political activist and writer just released her debut LP Acid Park on NYC label Styles Upon Styles. It’s one to get lost in – a tangled pool of hazy, compelling synth compositions with soaring layers of vocals. This vivid, wandering sound is influenced by a wide spectrum of references, including the likes of Fairuz, DJ Screw and Brigitte Fontaine. As Grietzer tells us over email, they are each artists who “let dissonance and harmony, intentionality and spontaneity, kitsch and disruption, coexist in perfect balance.” These juxtapositions fuel her work as Ohal. Born from balancing a love/hate relationship with song structure, baroque music, and sound art, the feeling created in Acid Park comes from the merging of dichotomies and mixing of contrasts. Following her score of German/Korean film Cancelled Faces, by Iranian director Lior Shamriz, the album sees Ohal finally introvert into her own world. “My focus has always been on my solo work, but there were many years when this was a recluse endeavor,” she explains. “With Acid Park it was such an insular process”. The insular nature of Ohal’s music could be attributed to her musical upbringing. Though now based in Brooklyn, Grietzer grew up in Ashkelon, Israel, crediting the Andalusian and Middle Eastern music of her childhood to her strong and long lasting interest in composition. “Coming across new music that excited me felt like finding gemstones excavated on a faraway star,” she divulges. “Making music, even in its most insular moments, for me was a pathway to connecting to places and people with whom I felt I shared an imagined language.” Designed as a cyclical listening experience, Acid Park’s tracks grow and fold into one another, communicating this language in an endless labyrinth. Grietzer’s background has also affected her outlook where politics meets music, having recently collaborated with Brian Eno on an article supporting the cultural boycott of Israel. However, for Ohal, political engagement does not necessarily translate into her music. “For me, it doesn’t have anything to do with being an artist or one's creative output,” she explains. “We have a social responsibility as human beings to stand in solidarity with any struggle for equality and liberation from oppression.” Whether it’s her celestial vocal force or passionate views on social responsibility, expect to hear more a lot more from Ohal.

South London-based artist Ross From Friends has received a multitude of online hype for his long awaited new EP Talk To Me You’ll Understand. Released on Lobster Theremin sublabel Distant Hawaii, his unusual and eclectic brand of house is dizzyingly disorientating, encompassing a tasty cocktail of soft chords, soothing vocals and questionable samples that somehow want to make you move. Layered with floor thumping bass, this interpretation of house wouldn’t be out of place on the soundtrack of an 80s American TV show. His aesthetic is equally varied in influences, suggesting Ross From Friends’ pastiche persona and music are as ironically cool and self aware as his name suggests. Postmodern music at its most infectious.

O Donny Blew It 1 George Michael / Le1f : @russfrumfrunds

ABYSS X Abyss X has found a home on Extasis Records, an “Internet located record label based on UnderWeb Micro-Comunities” which boasts of having “No borders [and] no genders.” The collective has the look and feel of something that any normal human is simply not supposed to understand, and if we can’t get behind that then we might as well just give up. The London-based producer utilises hyperactive shifts in time and texture to soundtrack what’s shaping up to be a pretty bleak, dystopian existence. Flitting nonchalantly between gabber, noise, trance, footwork and everything in between, her music is just as mystifying as her aesthetic and her chosen cohorts. We’re sold.

O Nüshu II feat. Mya Gomez 1 Vuurwerk / Jlin

: soundcloud.com/abyssxxx

O Wintertime 1 Nico / Julius Eastman : @ohalg

O Track 1 File Next To : Website


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ABRA: Wishes Granted Words: Alex Russell Photography: Tyler Mitchell

Abra has her rent paid for the rest of the year. She just moved into a one-bedroom apartment in Midtown, Atlanta. The place looks like one of her music videos. Dim, coloured mood lighting paints the walls in every room with a blend of muted blues, reds, and purples. Skylight trickles down from a ceiling window. Her kitchen is a child’s paradise, populated primarily by popsicles and cookies. Cartoons are on in the living room. Needless to say, Abra likes to maintain a relationship with her childhood self, who she describes as curious, eager to please, and intense. “I would have ideas and get so excited about them and just try to project them on everyone else,” she recalls. “Not like bossy, just very passionate... I spent so much time fantasising or plotting. I liked to plan a lot. I was just very excitable. Everything was a new frontier, I felt like there was so much at my fingertips.” I ask if she ever stopped feeling that way. “No,” she responds, flatly. “Everything is still always at my fingertips. I have so much under my sleeves. It never stops,” she insists. “I’m always fantasising and plotting like... I could shake shit up.” For Abra, these new digs represent a landmark sigh of relief. And after years of struggle and self-discovery, she finally has something concrete to show for it. Abra belongs to Awful Records, the label and diverse collective of artists that has also spawned the music careers of Father, iLoveMakonnen, Playboi Carti and Tommy Genesis. But in their hometown, Atlanta,

Awful is outcast. They participate only peripherally in the ever popular trap sound that characterises the region. They are the weirdos in the city, and their weirdness allowed for the UK-born Abra to feel at home with them. Inspired in equal parts by Gucci Mane and Phil Collins, no one in Atlanta is making music like her. Not too much longer than a year ago, Abra was still working part-time at Department Store, a rowdy Atlanta bar known for cocaine usage. She had gone through the motions of college, but had all the while been showcasing her musical inclinations. As Hurricane Gabrielle, she recorded acoustic covers of rap songs like Gucci Mane’s Beat it Up and Ludacris’ Youz a Ho, uploading them to her own YouTube account. Such kinds of acts, of course, have proven to be both common and popular on the internet because a dulcet, melodic take on a given song strikes a contrast with the explicit nature of its lyrical content. This often results in not much more than a laugh. In Hurricane Gabrielle’s case, yes it was funny, but it almost always carried a beauty that transcended the gimmick. The covers took place in modest, domestic settings such as her bathroom, and she maintained an intimate back and forth with her small-scale audience. That type of artist-fan relationship is something she holds dear to this day – she often stays later than necessary at shows to take every last picture, while half of her Twitter timeline shows her interacting with fans. She did, however, have to curtail her own part in enabling it at a certain point. One time, she

gave her iMessage account out on Twitter so her fans could FaceTime her, only to be barraged by anonymous naked men on the other end. When I ask her to describe the quintessential Abra fan, she begins by saying “someone who’s lonely but loves people.” After thinking about it for another moment, she continues, “someone who used to do too much and has been hurt, so they back off but they have a lot of love to give.” This sounds very specific. I ask if, perhaps, she’s projecting. “Maybe a little bit,” she laughs. “Yeah, well, that is me, I guess.” What was evident from those early YouTube covers was that she had a voice that could hold its own, an ear for sparse instrumentation (in this case, her guitar), and she was decidedly not ugly. After a series of on and off interactions with Father, Awful Records’ de facto leader, she became threaded into the the collectives’ quickly weaving, miscellaneous quilt just before their steady rise began. Living with her parents, quite a drive north of Atlanta proper, Abra wasn’t always around for the we-all-sleep-on-the-floor collaboration approach of Awful’s headquarters at the time: an apartment set-up called, by its inhabitants, ‘The Barrio’ – the Spanish equivalent of the ‘hood’ – in East Atlanta.


Those dingy floors provided the space for a barebones studio set-up and not much else. At one point, potential operation of the only toilet in the place required manually filling it up with a bucket of water from the sink. Abra’s visits were often single day affairs, always with purpose. She would come, make music, hang out for a bit, and go home. At the same time, the Awful diaspora was happening. Some members started to have money and could afford to travel around the country, trying to live off of what other cities could provide. KeithCharles Spacebar had moved to New York. Father was touring regularly. Other members focused on jobs to supplement the unpredictable flow of music checks. Meanwhile, everyone is on drugs, falling in and out with each other, but holding on desperately to the idea that the group had something to offer as a whole – that Awful as a team was or could be greater than the sum of its parts. In the middle of all this, Abra was able to capitalise on the group’s attention. As iLoveMakonnen had helped shed light on Father as a solo artist in the summer of 2014, Father used his platform to trickle down his shine on Awful. Once the light hit Abra, she was able to flourish. She was producing, writing, and performing all of her own music, and it was time to strike while the proverbial iron was hot, utilising the battery Father had put in everyone’s back. At the top of 2015, Abra released the Blq Velvet EP, her first effort as an allin-one recording machine. In retrospect, it fits right into her progress as an artist, a prototype for the kind of homemade, synth-heavy bounce sound that has come to be her signature ­– this nostalgic ethos that, in general, permeates both the sonic palette and thematic content of her music. On a later song called Pride, she sings: “I lost all the pride that I thought I could keep / can you see me? / say you feel me,” gasping over drums that seem to echo from far away. Listening to her songs can sometimes feel like watching someone desperately try to hold onto the hand of their former self as it slips away and disintegrates.

A few months after the release of Blq Velvet, Abra went to New York to perform in an Awful Records show and shoot a music video. Her career was still in shaky territory, and she was still, in her own terms, fucking up. She ended up accidentally sleeping through that New York show. She calls those days, appropriately, “the Xan era,” describing the time as a trial for a lot of people in Awful, and the root of a lot of mistakes. As the year went on, she admits to having gotten her act together as the stakes began to increase. She had appeared by herself on Father’s breakthrough LP Who’s Gonna Get Fucked First?, with quick-tongued, bubble gum-chewing, schoolyard sass— rapping on a petty anthem called Gurl. Leveraging this, but withholding the raps, she released her full-length debut, Rose, in June 2015. Abra describes all of her work as catharsis. She recalls recording the track Roses – one of her most popular songs to date – after her grandmother passed away. In a quick fit of desperation, she found herself “word vomiting into the computer” in a dramatic purge of emotional and psychological build-up. “I made Roses in ten minutes, and that’s all I remember. I remember laying down the bass line and then all of a sudden this poem I wrote like a year and a half back hit me in the head.” She doesn’t attribute her creativity to some greater power within herself, rather to something she’s channeling through herself: “It’s almost like a possession, like a conviction that’s so overwhelming that I couldn’t stop it if I wanted to,” she explains. “Sometimes it scares me.” It’s becoming harder to believe, but there was a point last year when Abra was a nervous wreck. She couldn’t get on stage sober, and relied on an MPC controller that she brought out as a performance crutch, something to help her divert from pure contact with her audience. But after much practice, she now considers performance to be the core aspect of her life as a musician, as well as the most rewarding. “It’s like the one thing that’s still sacred to me now,” she tells me. Today, she’s strictly sober on stage. It takes a lot out of her, she says, but it is important to her that she’s “fully present” at her shows, if at no other time.


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“I’m always fantasising and plotting, like I could shake shit up”

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35 In person, Abra isn’t always fully present, at least ostensibly. She carries a sort of a unearthly disposition, an air about her that suggests that her mind is elsewhere, or only partially in the room with her given interlocutor. She’s quick to admit having had trouble focusing. When it's time to actually sit down and make music, she enlists the help of attention aids like Vyvanse. Most of her work comes from binges with these substances, sleepless nights dedicated to the song-making process. “I lock myself away and lose weight and don’t sleep and don’t see my friends and my friends don’t fuck with me because I don’t see them,” she starts, catching her breath. “I make all these sacrifices so I can make music the way I do.” Now, Abra is releasing her third solo project, an EP entitled Princess, to be released in a limited distribution deal with boutique label True Panther. It’s the culmination of the sound she’s been perfecting with her first two releases, with danceable jams and tear-worthy emotional ballads in a concise, six-song package. Princess opens with a one-minute track called Come 4 Me, which bears some resemblance to the ways rappers flex their own confidence. It’s a “You can’t fuck with me, I’m bulletproof” introduction, a shield in front of what is otherwise an exhibition of her inescapable flaws and vulnerability.

Last month, Abra shot Come 4 Me’s music video in a well-equipped, wellstaffed studio in Brooklyn. This type of situation is still virgin soil for Abra: that is, when everyone in the room is designated with a specific purpose that befits her needs – kind of like an actual princess. Her manager, the video’s director, the lighting guy, the stylists and makeup people – they were all there because of Abra. They were at her disposal, down to whoever was going to fetch her a bagel from the corner store. More and more, such situations characterise Abra's day-to-day activity. She is the director of her surroundings, engineering her life with the people and environments available to her. As she said, since childhood, she has always felt the power in her fingertips. The same way she turned her apartment into a softly-lit sanctuary, Abra will remain in charge of her career as it continues to blossom. She will be the one to curate her own stardom. Abra appears at: Outlook, Croatia, 31 August - 4 September Simple Things, Bristol, 22 October


Borderland: The Cross-Cultural Bond Between Two Techno Pioneers


Words: Ben Murphy Photography: Jack Johnstone

“The first German tour of Underground Resistance, at Tresor, I will never forget. It was really dark and, like the name says, underground.” Moritz von Oswald, widely acknowledged as a dub techno pioneer, is reminiscing about a formative experience. Not only did this live performance from Detroit’s key electronic collective inform many of Mortiz’s later musical excursions, it also helped spark a musical dialogue between two cities that continues to this day. Detroit and Berlin, the latter Moritz’s hometown, are recognised as the twin cities of techno. Though geographically distant, they’re connected by certain socio-economic similarities – both hugely affected by political and social upheavals (post-war divisions in Germany, the crumbling of motoring manufacture in North America), each of their cultural scenes have since flourished in spite of hardships. When it comes to electronic music, their alliance has been predicated on an enriching, sonic cultural exchange. The connection feels very much alive when you talk to Moritz von Oswald and his sometime studio partner, the Motor City’s techno originator Juan Atkins. “Have you been to Berlin?” Moritz says. “Art is created by social tensions and social elements, and that is something which happens in Detroit too. There’s a similar economy.” Juan agrees, arguing that when the German capital and the 313 first musically collided at the beginning of the 90s, there were many striking comparisons. “During that time when it first started, Detroit and Berlin definitely had a kinship for each other,” he claims. “The landscape was real similar, the weather is similar. I think Berlin has

progressed by leaps and bounds lately, so it’s a little bit ahead of Detroit, but [back] then, it was like parallel cities.” These two artists – who’ve arguably done more to shape techno music over the last three decades than almost anyone – have come together to reform their Borderland project with a new long-player, just the latest iteration of a link-up that began way back in 1992 with their classic album alongside Thomas Fehlmann as 3MB (3 Men in Berlin), 3MB featuring Magic Juan Atkins. Juan is famously known for being a member of the Belleville Three, the triumvirate of DJs and producers from the Belleville suburb on the outskirts of Detroit. Alongside Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson, many credit Juan as one of the first to make the disco, house and European synth-pop-influenced style that was delineated as techno. As half of the duo Cybotron (alongside Richard Davis), Juan made seminal electro cuts such as Clear in 1983, before striking out on his own as Model 500, cutting classics like No UFOs (1985), and many timeless tunes that fuse machine soul, funk and jazz with the more austere, mechanical synth work, naked emotion and beats of Düsseldorf’s pioneering group Kraftwerk. Moritz von Oswald has a similarly impressive résumé. Alongside production spar Mark Ernestus, he’s been responsible for a cascade of beautiful techno records, like early 90s classics Dominas, Quadrant Dub and Phylyps Trak under the names Basic Channel and Maurizio, later dub fusions such as King in My Empire (2001) as Rhythm & Sound, and collaborations with Max Loderbauer and

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Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen as Moritz von Oswald Trio. Drawing inspiration from many sources, his material has practically spawned a genre of its own in dub techno, though Moritz’s body of work is far broader than that appellation allows. A classically trained musician, it was Karlheinz Stockhausen, Arnold Schoenberg, Anton Webern and other contemporary classical composers of the 1950s that first drove Moritz von Oswald’s creative energies, Stockhausen’s experiments with electronica particularly. But dub reggae, the studio tricknology of King Tubby and Scientist, would become a key component of his recordings with Mark Ernestus, and dub finds its way into records with Borderland too. Sparked by Moritz’s first visit to Detroit and the wide-open canyons of the downtown avenues, their sense of space and the architecture also found their way into his dub-informed techno, his sound influenced as much by the landscape as by the sonic identity of the place. “I was amazed by the empty space that I found, that is present,” he says. “That’s something I found attractive [about Detroit]. It was something I missed in European cities, where everything is very compact.” Moritz von Oswald and Juan Atkins released their first record with the ‘Borderland’ title in 2013. The new companion piece Transport, for which they’ve embraced Borderland as the name of the project, is a captivating meld of their unique approaches to techno. Each has shared touchstones and influences; you can detect Juan’s electro-funk in the playful bassline of Odyssey, while its ice floe pads,


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“Art is created by social tensions” Moritz von Oswald

and the psychotropic delays and reverb effects of 2600, seem tailor-made by dub technician Moritz. The name of the duo is apt: a sonic landscape born from the intersection where one brain is merged with the other. Ranging from armchair techno to broken beat, via more club-built fare, the new album is released through Berlin’s long-running Tresor stamp. Also one of Berlin’s most important clubs, Tresor had a serendipitous role to play in Moritz and Juan’s first collaboration. “How did I meet Moritz? They came to Detroit, Moritz von Oswald, Mark Ernestus, and Thomas Fehlmann,” Juan remembers. “They were hitting the pawnshops to buy up a bunch of gear. Old synthesisers, and they were taking them back to Berlin and retrofitting them with MIDI. I met them through Mike [‘Mad’ Mike Banks of Underground Resistance] actually. They came to visit me at my place and invited me to come to Berlin ‘cause I hadn’t been on the European continent yet, only to the UK. I ran into Thomas Fehlmann later in London. He said, ‘Hey man, why don’t you come over to Berlin and do a session? We’ll get you a gig at Tresor to pay for the expenses’. The session was the 3MB session, with Moritz and Mark [Ernestus] and Thomas at Moritz’s studio. That must have been 91, 92.” From early 1991, Tresor was a vital club space in Berlin that occupied the disused bank vaults beneath the Wertheim department store. It shut its doors in 2005,

before moving to a former power plant, also in the area of Mitte, in 2007, where it remains today. In its beginnings, the club was especially influential. Owner Dimitri Hegemann was one of the first to bring over Detroit’s techno DJs and artists to play in Berlin, something that helped kick-start the back-and-forth between the conurbations. If Detroit’s young dreamers had been heavily influenced by Kraftwerk, the influence was reciprocated and bounced back in Berlin, where many local techno heads discovered the Detroit sound through the touring acts visiting a post-reunification city. Moritz von Oswald, normally measured in his responses, is effusive in his praise for the key role played by Tresor. “I like the creativity of Dimitri. He’s one of the inventors… he gave so many Detroit artists the chance to come to Germany. Which was good. It really pushed the whole electronic music scene. Tresor gave many people the chance to have a good time in Berlin. At the time Tresor started, things became really commercial. It became a techno world at that time. People tried to make some money out of the whole movement. But Tresor did it completely differently.” “It had this reputation because it was this old bank vault,” Juan says. “Aesthetically it was a great place to play.” Tresor not only affected the pair significantly in their own ways, and helped sow the seeds for the cross-pollination of European

and American dance music, it was also the fulcrum by which Moritz and Juan first collaborated in the city. After the success of 3MB’s first tracks, the pair would continue to create in Berlin over the years, including working on Juan’s solo material, like 1995’s classic, cosmic house album Deep Space. “Eighty per cent of my Deep Space album was recorded at Moritz’s studio,” Juan recalls. “He was the engineer on the project. We didn’t really collaborate, but as the engineer I guess he was the ghost collaborator in a way. He didn’t just engineer, he leant some ideas and things he’d been working on. Tricks of the trade, what have you…” That they continue to collude, and have increased their output, is testament to their ease of working together. They both agree that in the studio, the ideas simply flow. “The Borderland project continues the influence of the first 3MB record we did a long time ago,” Moritz says. “It was defined by jazz, and a good conversation between the players. One is saying something and then the next is responding, as it should be in the studio. It works really easily. It’s always nice to get in touch with Juan, because he’s really easygoing, a very relaxed person.” “It’s just natural, it’s not forced,” agrees Juan. “Even the first time we got together, I guess that’s why we’re still making music now. I actually like working with people more so than I do myself. It makes me work harder when I do it with somebody else.”


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As we talk, Moritz is due to return to Detroit at the end of May, 25 years after his first visit, to play live with Borderland. It’s something that he’s clearly excited about. “I’m always excited to go to the Motor City because of friendships I have there,” he says. “I have all these different influences too. You can feel these different vibes. This is something I’m always looking for, to feel this kind of thing in Detroit. I’ve been hungry for this feeling.” Years on from his first glimpse of Underground Resistance, live performance is still something that compels Moritz. Solo, he’s scheduled to play live in the central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan, a place not only obscure to most in the West but hardly known for a vibrant electronic music scene. It’s this sense of adventure and sharing his music that Moritz finds alluring. “Wouldn’t you do it?” Moritz smiles. “It came through this guy who organises the Unsound festival in Poland. He’s doing different events

in New York, in Australia. I haven’t followed his path for so long but I know he’s very active in the field of doing things that are not so obvious. That’s something I want to be a part of, and I want to support this.” As to the future for the musical pairing, it seems that Borderland will be an ongoing project. Both Moritz and Juan predict more music soon. “We’ll probably always work together in some capacity,” Juan confirms. Looking ahead, it’s certain that whatever these pioneers create — producers that have made so much vital music, pushed artistic boundaries and forged creative links between continents — it will be another crucial addition to the techno canon, talked about for years to come. Let’s hope the cities, and their artists, keeping trading ideas. Transport is out now via Tresor Moritz Von Oswald Trio appears at Dimensions, Croatia, 25 – 29 August


“Tresor always had a reputation. Aesthetically, it’s a great place to play” - Juan Atkins

Issue 65 | crackmagazine.net

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Frankie Cosmos: Dear Diary don’t know if anyone wants to revisit their teenage experiences. But my experience has been that, as I age and mature, I’ve been looking back and kind of changing my perspective, or having new feelings about the past.

Words: Katie Hawthorne Photography: Juan José Ortiz

Although Greta Simone Kline’s songs are often hyper-specific to her city, her friends and her family, she’s always had a way of making you feel as if you’re in on her secrets. Dig into any one of her forty online LPs, and you’ll find bubble bursts of songs filled with observations so astute that they somehow become universal. “I’m the kind of girl buses splash with rain,” she sings, tongue in cheek. Aren’t we all? Seven years ago, Greta began recording songs in her bedroom, sharing them on Bandcamp through a variety of monikers. Once she became Frankie Cosmos, her private musical universe started to take definite shape and welcome other people in. Out of a songwriting career that’s now

Yeah, they are kind of secret, and part of me feels like they’re just for me. I mean, I definitely thought at first, ‘Oh shit. I never thought anyone would hear that,” Greta laughs. “But I never really felt tempted to take anything down. I like that it’s there as an archive? You can watch a teenager learn how to write, over time, in real time. Which is kind of cool. So I’m down for people to hear it. “But I also definitely don’t care if people haven’t heard most of it,” she insists, and you can almost hear her shrugging down the phone line. If you do choose to dive in, you’ll find a world of tiny, weird pop songs like POV of toothbrush, a surprisingly devastating bathroom ballad. Fall on any record within this archive, from Greta’s first as Frankie, much ado about fucking, or fan favourite im sorry im hi lets go, and you’ll find her obvious, poetic ability to touch upon internal secrets and capture the pulse of transient anxieties and skyhigh joys. In-jokes between songs become building blocks for a self-contained world, and Greta intends for them to stay that way.  “If you look really hard, you can find the first time I wrote some idea, and then hear the finished song on the new studio album,” she enthuses. “I’ll often reuse an idea or a theme or whatever, and I hope to always do that.”

“Through my discography, you can watch a teenager learn how to write, over time, in real time”

hundreds of songs deep, earlier this year the 22-year-old native New Yorker released the album Next Thing, which opens up years worth of work to a brand new, eager audience, and has sent listeners on detectivelike spirals through Greta’s extensive online discography. Surely a world of strangers rooting through your recorded adolescent thoughts could feel a bit intrusive?

By necessity, this process of re-visitation sees Greta re-explore adolescent memories. It’s a brave task by anyone’s standards. “Yeah, I

“I think everyone probably does that,” she continues. “But also I know it’s really weird, because, in a way, it’s almost like Blink 182?” She bursts out laughing. “I know I am an adult, and it’s almost creepy to be singing from the perspective of a teenager. I mean, I definitely don’t feel like an adult, so that’s part of it. Also, I’ve been meeting a lot of teenagers who are listening to my music, and every time I meet someone who’s sixteen I think about myself at sixteen, from a new perspective, and it’s had a really weird effect on me.” I tell Greta that I feel similarly about reading Tavi Gevinson’s trailblazing teen-focused website Rookie, and she jumps on it. “Oh my god, same! It makes you freak out, because you’re so happy that teenagers have that. It’s like, what the fuck. Why did I not have this resource?” The great thing about Greta’s enthusiasm for Rookie’s home-baked life advice and confessional, supportive community is that, for many, the world of Frankie Cosmos holds the same special powers. After embarking on a Reddit Q&A it became clear that Greta has some of the most compassionate, thoughtful fans on the internet. “I thought I was gonna get trolled,” she admits. “But there were so many questions that were really thought out. People had listened to a lot of music, and had

really specific, interesting questions that I’d never had in an interview. I was so surprised. It was really special.” Our conversation takes place on the eve of Frankie Cosmos’ first ever UK show. The recent success of Next Thing has seen Greta thrown into international tours and festival schedules, now performing as a band with David Maine on bass, Lauren Martin on keyboard and Luke Pyenson on drums. As a result, her quiet, observational writing style has undergone some shake-ups. “Yeah, so, a lot of the writing is now about tour,” she deadpans. “It’s a really weird emotional thing that many people can’t relate to, so that will be, uh, different. I’ll be writing on my phone, when everyone’s asleep.” Luckily, Frankie Cosmos’ ability to connect with people, to find that universal spark within a story so specific, clearly doesn’t depend upon its subject matter. And, best of all, tour has converted online friendships into IRL connections. “I’ve got to meet some really amazing people who listen to my music and get it and relate to it. A lot of times people feel like they already know me,” she muses, “and so I feel like I already know them.” Next Thing is out now via Bayonet Records Frankie Cosmos appears at Pop-Kultur, Berlin, 28 August – 2 September


Produced exclusively for Crack by Ben Arfur - www.benarfur.com


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Felix Dickinson: Go With the Flow

It’s mid-summer, 1990, and Felix Dickinson is standing in his mum’s back garden in Plumpton, East Sussex, on a Sunday morning at 2am. Due to a seven-year unfulfilled promise of an 18th birthday party for his stepbrother, Tonka Sound System has been in full swing since sundown. It’s a teenage Dickinson’s first rave. And the beginning of an ever-evolving education in dance culture. “Although I was already aware of electronic music, it doesn’t have the same power unless you’re surrounded by people moving to the same beat," Dickinson remembers, 26 years later at his Bristol home. "So that’s when I fell in love with it.” As we speak, Felix is rummaging through his 10,000-strong record collection for music to play during what’s set to be one of his biggest summers yet. It will see the selector close Genosys at Glastonbury’s Block 9, spin at the inception of Croatia’s Love International, play Panorama Bar for the first time and return to CircoLoco at DC-10. But his journey here has been long and winding. Two years after his first rave, Dickinson moved to Brighton after becoming involved with the crew behind Tonka; his step-brother’s friends. During this time, he’d also started throwing his own parties. The first, a week after Castlemorton in 1992, saw 4,000 people raving on the South Downs. “The police weren’t into it,” he remembers. “They had roadblocks and helicopters overhead, but the Criminal Justice Bill wasn’t in place, so they couldn’t shut it down.” In Brighton, Dickinson formed his first label, Ugly Music, in 1996. Through the imprint he’d later release music by artists including K-Alexi and Da Posse. The same year, while

looking for a place to throw a rave, he’d also meet Gideon Berger, who was known to put on free parties on a site in Patcham. The resulting event was a success and, with Berger starting Glastonbury’s late night, electronic music-dedicated Block 9 field many years later, the meeting would prove instrumental in Dickinson’s increasing success in later life. Almost 20 years after, he became a Block 9 resident, something he says is a highlight of his packed calendar. “Dancing amongst nature is the best,” Dickinson smiles. “That’s why I loved the free party scene. There’s something almost spiritual about it.” Before moving to the South West, and after ceasing work through Ugly Music, Dickinson relocated to Brixton in 2000. Here he started work on his own productions under aliases including his Foolish moniker, and started Cynic Music to release his material. Over the following 14 years in south London, he became a resident for east London party Bad Passion, and also shared a studio with Tonka affiliates, Idjut Boys, with the trio throwing parties under Brixton Arches as Bring It! Here, Dickinson played the mix of house music while weaving in elements of Balearic, Chicago, Detroit, 90s West Coast and techno that he’s loved for today. When he was 23, Dickinson travelled to America to see the birthplaces of the music he plays. “It was a fact-finding mission,” he explains. “I had to see it there first-hand.” In San Francisco, he went to Burning Man. It wasn’t typical of the West Coast scene at the time, but Dickinson continues to be a regular feature at the festival today. He’d also party at The Warehouse in Chicago, where house music was originally nurtured from disco, and spend time amongst a burgeoning New York scene. And this all still lies at the heart of Dickinson’s music.

“To move forward you have to understand your past,” he says. “The experience definitely broadened my horizons.” The result of this education is that Dickinson spins tracks according to whatever party’s in front of him. “DJing around the world has made me more eclectic as I’m usually unfamiliar with the crowd," he explains. “But I’ve always felt it’s important, as hearing one genre all night is deadly boring.” And it’s this ability, alongside a continuing passion for new music, that keeps him relevant after 26-years on deck. “A DJ has two jobs: to make people dance and introduce them to new music,” he explains. “There’s so much music out there, but I still have a hunger to dig. That keeps my sets interesting.” There’s been no, single, breakout moment for Dickinson. His music has been released on goliaths like DFA and Eskimo, but it’s the fragments of his career that show how continuing to be immersed in underground music has persistently opened doors for him. “I fucking hated Harrow,” he says with audible disdain for the boarding school he left at the birth of his romance with dance culture. “I’d have fallen in love with any cult the week after leaving,” he smiles. “So thank God it was house music.” Felix Dickinson appears at Love International, The Garden, Tisno, Croatia, 29 June - 6 July


Issue 65 | crackmagazine.neT

“I loved the free party scene. There was something almost spiritual about it�

Words: Rob McCallum Photography: Ben Price


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Welcome to Planet Luke: home to the raw artwork of Luca Lozano

Issue 65 | crackmagazine.neT

Words: Ali Gitlow

Lucas Hunter, aka Luca Lozano, is the man behind the Berlin-based imprint Klasse Recordings, a label known for its roughand-ready approach to techno, house and other sounds from the underground.

to Cornwall to study photography at Falmouth College of Arts, which he did for seven years. “I’m not doing anything with photography whatsoever now,” he admits, “so that was, in a way, wasted.”

He is also a producer and DJ, having put out releases on labels including Optimo Trax, Sex Tags UFO and Unknown to the Unknown. He runs Klasse with Mr Ho while overseeing their imprints Grafiti Tapes and Zodiac44. Crucially, he’s in charge of the graphic design for all three labels, creating artwork under the name Planet Luke.

It wasn’t until he left the UK for Berlin in 2008 after a stint in London that he started to settle into his own skin, both as a musician and a designer. “With uprooting yourself and moving to a new country, there’s this period of re-adjusting and aligning yourself with certain things,” he tells me. “Looking back on it, I was kind of lost in something and I didn’t really know where I was going.”

At first glance, his output can appear crude: it’s a mish-mash of 90s acid house aesthetics, dot matrix printing vibes, janky Mickey Mouse-esque characters, nonslick typefaces, photocopier accidents and classic graffiti writing. However, as Hunter asserts, “A lot of the stuff I do is imperfect and it looks wrong and it looks unfinished and it looks naïve and it looks innocent, but I also spend a lot of time making it look like that.” As a teenager, Hunter attempted to get a formal graphic design education at Norton College in his hometown of Sheffield. He quickly became disenchanted with how limiting the briefs were, and he’d dropped out after just nine months. He then moved

Currently, a typical day for Hunter entails spending mornings at home creating artwork for forthcoming releases and club night flyers. Around 2pm, he heads to the music studio he shares with Mr Ho, where he’ll spend the rest of the day experimenting with all manner of sounds. Music, of course, is an inspiration for his design. “The atmosphere of the music, or the impression of the music that’s given definitely affects me,” he says. “If I listen to some weird Memphis rap tape track that sounds really gnarly and fuzzy and underproduced, that personality of that sound affects my artwork somehow.”

One of Hunter’s biggest all-round influences is Ian MacKaye, the architect of Washington, DC’s 1980s hardcore punk scene and the founder of Dischord Records as well as the bands Minor Threat and Fugazi. “I’m just a bit obsessed with him as a character and how strong he was with deciding to pursue the independent path,” Hunter says. He draws parallels between his own work and MacKaye’s DIY ethos, looking to the musician as a perfect measure of the sort of success he himself hopes to achieve, gained through years of creating music and not compromising on his vision or ideas. Hunter also sees a link between his art and punk’s rough visual language. “With recopying things, scanning things, giving things a bit of an analogue edge, you can definitely compare that to the punk thing.” In founding Zodiac44, the all 12” vinyl label he co-runs with Johanna Knutsson, Hunter was determined to establish a recurring identity. Each record, by the likes of Cardopusher, DMX Krew and Hermans, features the label’s name written in a different loud typeface atop a sickeningly bright background colour with a distorted pattern and includes a sign of the zodiac. “I realised that all my favourite labels are the ones that keep it exactly the same for every release,” he explains. “If you look at a Trax


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Issue 65 | crackmagazine.neT

"I try and use fonts that aren’t done by a designer, stuff that’s just done by a normal guy who wants to advertise that they’re selling ice cream for two euros"


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release you know it’s a Trax release. If you look at a Strictly Rhythm release you know immediately it’s a Strictly Rhythm release.” By employing these specific visual devices, Hunter feels he’s able to channel the aural language of Zodiac’s techno output: noisy, weird and dark. In contrast, his art for Klasse’s releases vary wildly. On his own recent trip-hop and broken beat-inspired Visions of Rhythm EP, made with Mr Ho, beady eyes peer out menacingly (or, is it sexily?) from atop the label’s name. For Phran’s electro house-tinged Bad Format EP, Hunter has drawn an unpolished, two-headed figure wearing a cap. Here, as on many other Klasse releases, track titles and other text appear to be degenerating in quality, having been copied and recopied ad infinitum. “Each time, I try and make something that resembles a weird record I’ll find for 50 cents in a record store,” he states. “You have all these regular labels and you’re so used to seeing some Detroit stuff, or some Chicago stuff, and then there’s these weird things that pop up in between made by people who have probably never made a record before. So with Klasse, I’m trying to emulate that in some way.” A common thread running through all of Hunter’s designs is an interest in

nontraditional typography, whether it resembles classic blackletter fonts, retrofuturistic pixelated 80s type, or juicy 70s bubble letters. There are a handful of typefaces he uses regularly, including the ever-popular Helvetica, which he likes because “it’s very easy to project ideas onto it; it’s such a boring, plain font.” He also researches type by digging around online as well as taking pictures of street signs and storefronts, which he’ll then adapt to his liking. “I try and use stuff that’s not so pre-packed and readily available,” he says, “stuff that’s not done by a designer, stuff that’s just done by a normal guy who wants to advertise that they’re selling ice cream for two euros, stuff that’s not intentional, it’s all accidental.” This attention to typographic detail has also manifested in Hunter’s life by way of graffiti, which he got into in the early 90s when he was just 13. Though he doesn’t write much himself these days, he created Klasse’s Grafiti Tapes imprint as an attempt to stay involved in the scene. The cassette-only series sees him releasing tracks by graffiti writers who also create sleeve art. The first tape, put out in March 2014, featured a throwback-y electro track and imagery by Swedish artist Luke Eargoggle; it’s clear from its deep yellow sleeve and streetwise handstyles that Hunter seeks out kindred

spirits for this pet project. He thinks the graffiti lifestyle imparted some crucial lessons about work ethic on him, too. “With what I’m doing now I’ve definitely taken a lot of influence from that, just in the kind of determination and pigheadedness,” he describes. Hunter doesn’t care about achieving perfection, preferring to keep things moving constantly. By pushing new ideas both sonically and visually at all times, he’s ultimately able to be quite prolific. “As things are getting busier and more people are asking for work, I’m trying to complete stuff satisfactorily but also to be less precious about things.” “I think that you can’t really force creativity,” Hunter argues. “When it’s good, it’s really quick. You can make a track in a day or a flyer in a couple of hours. That doesn’t mean it’s any less in comparison to things that have taken weeks. For me, when it comes naturally is when it comes fast – when you’re in the moment, just to wrap it up and then move on.” Find more of Hunter’s work at planetluke.com


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“In the beginning, it was a rushed decision to use the name FunkinEven, but it was cool then,” he explains. “It made sense for me growing up, but now I’m getting a bit more mature in the music game, I wanted to get more personal as I emerge as a proper adult.” When I call him, he’s in LA, a few days away from his City of Angels debut, following a string of shows in Miami and Toronto. “You really understand hip-hop’s place in New York and funk in Cali when you’re out here among it,” he tells me. But despite drinking in the culture of his US surroundings, the Acton boy’s home city is still integral to his identity. “I’m a Londoner through thick and thin,” he says, “I’m really proud of it.” While feeling his way as a dancer and would-be rapper, Julien remembers joining a group called The Dungeoneers in his early youth. “We were kind of dark and gloomy cause we were from London, about 14, and really into Dungeons & Dragons.” While Julien has smoothly intersected his sound and style during adulthood, he admits that The Dungeoneers made some questionable style choices: “I’ve seen some pictures from friends of what we

Aesthetic: FunkinEven

looked like. I’d hate for that to go on the internet. I look about 50-years-old, with greasy hair and whack glasses – not even sunglasses – glasses I didn’t need. And bad leather coats, bad jeans, everything. Bad,” he asserts. “Those fake gold chains and shit too.” Pushing past the pleather and gloom-hop, Julien began experimenting with electronic music, and as a trained barber, he was slowly finding his own musical and visual aesthetic. “I was surrounded by boogie, reggae and soul,” he remembers. “The first things I made would just be recorded on drum machines and shit we got from Argos. My first two tracks were hip-hop and dance tracks, I’ve still got the cassettes. Maybe I’ll release them.” His uprightness shines through from such a spectrum of aural influences, and manifests itself in his contemporary look. “My style’s kind of natural, and definitely more relaxed. I don’t really dress to see the logos and stuff, my preferred aesthetic is clean. At the moment, I like baggy white t-shirt, khaki trousers and a pair of Cons or a pair of Reebok Classics Workout. That’s my steez.” Julien’s imprint, Apron Records, shares this sense of simplicity and realness, spelt out for us in the slogan: “honest electronic music”. It’s a label cresting the waves of cross-genre, releasing works from the likes of Seven Davis Jr, Delroy Edwards and his own industrial-inspired moniker St. Julien. Explaining the label’s aesthetic, Julien says: “It definitely can’t be polished and I hate anything with a drop. I call that seal music,

‘cause everyone’s like seals waiting for the drop. I don’t feel that. We’re all different style-wise. Some of us are more hip-hop: then that comes with the Jordans, baggy trousers and nice jackets.” There’s a concept of duality that runs deep in his debut album, Fallen. Using his birth name is evidentially a declaration of a new stylistic era, he explores two parallel narratives of a fallen angel. The first half is ethereal, introspective electronic, the other more assertive and dark. He affirms that it’s not religious, nor a specific personal story, but a narrative that came out quite organically. “I just made the tunes and the story was there. I thought the first tracks had a nice progression and a mellow sound. And then another half is aggressive, more evil sounding. I like the yin and yang concept, light and dark. We all have two sides to us, and it’s a balance that everyone needs to explore.” The album’s artwork features a sprawling view of the ocean, which was shot at Southend-on-Sea by Julien’s girlfriend – on film. The orange ember skyline cutting the blue sea, which then meets the grey concrete seaside. The other cover art is the exact opposite, more “bad boy”, with Julien blowing smoke rings in the studio. “I don’t like albums that could easily be 10 separate singles. The story and the visuals are so important,” he explains. “Maybe my next one will have a whole new story, I just gotta keep moving.” Fallen is released 17 June via Apron Records

Photography: Theo Cottle Styling: Luci Ellis Words: Anna Cafolla

Issue 65 | crackmagazine.neT Under the alias of FunkinEven, Steven Julien makes the dancefloor his musical mosaic, melding together funk and acid, jazzy explorations, pounding techno and smile-cracking house. So having built up a credible reputation with the alias, as well as the Funkinevil moniker for his pondcrossing collab with Detroit’s Kyle Hall, why’s he now chosen to step out under his given name?

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Jacket: Soulland T-shirt: American Apparel Jeans: Steven's own


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Shirt: Life’s a beach T-shirt: Steven’s own


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Jacket: Carhartt T-shirts: Steven’s Own Trousers: Dickies


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Jacket: Soulland T-shirt: American Apparel Trousers: Dickies


new this month

Karl Blau

Strangers

Introducing

‘o ne o f t h e m o st d i st i n ct i ve voi ce s i n Ame ri ca n mu s i c ’

‘on e of America’s great indie heroes’

Record C ol lector

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Fiona Brice

Jambinai

Postcards From

a Hermitage

03.06.2016

17.06.2016

CD LP Digital

CD LP Digital

coming soon

Marissa Nadler

bellaunion.com


Words: Thomas Frost Photography: Jake Applebee

RADIOHEAD The Roundhouse, London 26 May

When Radiohead announced their world tour back in March, supply and demand was out of sync. The scramble for tickets to witness their return to the stage resulted in a buzz akin to when Prince was sporadically dropping gigs whenever the urge took him back in 2014. In the lead up to their three consecutive London dates at The Roundhouse, the anticipation was palpable – homemade signs by those buying or selling tickets had been erected and phone numbers were pinned to underground stations.

new material. Radiohead’s setlists are continually amorphous, the band granted a unique freedom by fans infatuated by their entire discography (apart from the fan screaming for Fake Plastic Trees next to us, who didn’t get his wish).

As we arrive at the first gig, the pavement is flooded with urgent fans negotiating with touts to the backdrop of a queue that feels disproportionately large at 7pm. It's evident from the offset that Radiohead still make people’s cogs turn unlike any other band.

Tonight that creative licence is exercised with gusto. In a setting of considerable intimacy for an act this size, tracks from eight albums are explored with wild abandon. The opening medley of new material climaxes with Ful Stop. A subtle snarler of a tune and a standout on the new album, the track’s malevolent build provides the first of many gut-moving moments. We've analysed the subtleties on A Moon Shaped Pool to death, yet seeing the full band produce them here reveals the group effort that goes into crafting even their most personal, fragile material.

Laptop-pop auteur Holly Herndon is supporting tonight. With a vision and sound that's adventurous, hyper-emotional and progressive, it's easy to see why Yorke is a fan. When the band does emerge, the only certainty is that they’ll play

Tonight’s brilliance lies in the contrast between Radiohead at their most abrasive and their most beautiful. My Iron Lung is predictably gnarling. Myxomatosis, arguably one of their most underrated tracks, sees Yorke

maraud the stage, asking, “Why do I feel so tongue tied?” in-between its crushing sonics. The re-imagining of Idioteque is predictably compelling and remains the pinnacle of their powers for many. 2+2=5 sees a mosh-pit break out. Planet Telex is unexpected but very welcome. Talk Show Host is another welcome surprise early in the set and clearly still retains great affection among Radiohead fans. Its distinctive intro lays the pace for a tune that doesn't feel dated in the slightest. Separator, Reckoner and Exit Music (For a Film) are all very moving and each track is observed with reverence from a respectful crowd. Considering a number of these tickets were sold to fans in a pre-sale, it’s the quiet-whennecessary atmosphere that makes the show work. You get the feeling that the band is reveling in the intimacy of playing a venue of this size. Communication feels easier here. Yorke is on jovial form tonight, even when a wrong synth setting means Jonny blunders

Nude. “You’re not going anywhere are you?” Yorke jokes. Dressed in black and as relaxed as I’ve ever seen him, Yorke moves with typically energetic contortions around the stage and sings with heart wrenching force when required. He’s as convincing as ever. “We’re going to play a new one now as it was all getting a bit hit parade there,” he says when the band emerge for their second encore. Closing out with Paranoid Android, the atmosphere feels utterly joyous. Two and a half hours after they started, and after a satisfyingly unpredictable and sprawling journey through the dark corners and brightest highs of their discography, we have no doubt they will provide a completely different experience for those others lucky enough to get a glimpse.


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Live

X JA ZZ FESTIVAL Various Venues, Berlin 5 - 8 May

SKEPTA Old Granada Studios, Manchester 12 May

THE GRE AT ESCAPE FESTIVAL Various Venues, Brighton 19 – 21 May With over 400 acts playing across three days, it’s little surprise that this seaside festival is often pegged as being the UK's answer to SXSW. The original bedrock of The Great Escape, when launched in the mid-noughties, seemed to be landfill indie. However, in the past few years the range of new acts showcasing themselves has diversified to incorporate an eclectic mix. This includes the likes of grime MCs such as Stormzy and D Double E, desert-punk band Songhoy and soulful blues-pop from Rationale. Choices like these saw festival-goers enter a three day cycle of venue hopping. On Thursday, The Haunt played host to the eccentric indie folk of sisterly duo Let’s Eat Grandma, heartfelt pop from ex-S.C.U.M frontman Thomas Cohen and pent up punk angst from the fiery Nova Twins. Friday night offered the gritty grunge of Toronto punk band Dilly Dally, who were hosted on the Crack Magazine stage alongside ascendant rapper Rejjie Snow, who delivered deftly constructed flows within an upbeat and energetic performance. Difficult choices had to be the closing day, on which we caught the futuristic synth pop of NZCA Lines, The Big Moon's unpretentious indie rock, the orchestral tinged works of classical composer and pop artist Anna Meredith and Jagwar Ma's danceable shoegaze. It was yet another day that showed that, while some still mourn the demise of the music business’s glory days, there is still much to get excited about in its future.

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! Nathan Westley Jason Richardson

Skepta’s victory lap around the UK following the release of Konnichiwa was brilliantly Skepta from start to finish: meet-and-greets in branches of Sports Direct, surprise guests in every city and a well-earned sense of achievement displayed on each stage. As we’ve seen across the past two years, the impelling force of his rise has been an unflinching commitment to what makes UK grime unique. As he touches down in Manchester for a show that sold out in minutes, his album is warring with Beyonce and Drake in the charts (only to be usurped at the last minute by Radiohead) and the culmination of two years of intense hype has materialised. Those first bars sound even more potent in this context, “By now you should know I hate waiting, I got no patience.” Despite rubbing shoulders with Queen B in the charts, Skepta – donning a customised Sports Direct staff polo shirt – still passes the mic to Jammer for Murkle Man and the BBK crew, even taking time to FaceTime JME as the crowd went insane to Man Don’t Care. New cuts like Corn On The Curb and Crime Riddim are treated like vintage classics, the latter prompting the biggest pit of the night. The younger crowd meant that some of the genre's nuances may have gotten lost in translation, but it's hard to disapprove of their enthusiasm. As the visceral riff of Man rings out and the stage is filled with gang, Skepta’s mission (or at least this chapter of it) feels completed – a modern odyssey of selfbelief, purpose and keeping the family close. !

Duncan Harrison N Tash Bright

WIKI AND SPORTING LIFE The Exchange, Bristol 2 May Kids these days, eh? Focused, hard working and breathing new life into established genres. What’s the world coming to? Ratking are no exception. Emerging in 2012, the NYC rap group have fleshed out their experimental sound across an album and two EPs, toured relentlessly and formed their multidisciplinary company, Letter Racer. Currently in solo project mode, two thirds of the trio embarked on a European tour. Producer Sporting Life goes first. A couple of songs in, he puts on a Zhu Wen-style Beijing Opera mask. His raincoat and rucksack stay on. A mangle of cheers, chants and squeaking basketball floors play backdrop, over which he constructs and dissolves tracks to weave a continuous mix. Though hip-hop at the core, dense, genre-agnostic layers of samples and twinkling breaks make for a strange, mellow sound. Wiki, one the group’s two vocalists, climbs onto the stage and hangs his signature Irish-coloured Puerto Rican flag from the DJ table, before blasting through of highlights from last year’s Lil Me mixtape. He fidgets around wide-eyed, monobrow raised and gapped smile exposed, while sometime Wiki/Ratking collaborator Black Mack plays hypeman. Living With My Moms and Seedy Motherfucker are delivered with an energy that’s matched by the crowd. Sporting Life returns to the stage to perform God Bless Me, shouting-out the absent guest Skepta, whose verse is rapped by Wiki and the crowd as if he’s in the room. Old Blocks New Kids provides the highlight – almost completely wiping out Wiki, who takes a breather before finishing with the trippier Whole Half. Adventurous, exhilarating stuff. ! Ian Ochiltree N Mark Dearman

“Can you envision it?” sang Osunlade alongside collaborative duo Henrik Schwarz and Frank Wiedemann at the festival’s opening concert. A thriving, international jazz festival in Berlin’s clubbing district was once hard to envisage. Now in its third year, XJazz has become one of the most eclectic events in Berlin’s brimming cultural calendar. The opening event was an indulgent foray into vibrant, disparate depths of jazz. Schwarzmann twiddled their electronic jazz buttons, while renowned percussionist Kahil El’Zabar and Norwegian pianist Bugge Wesseltoft also gave brilliant performances. This was jazz of our time; a synthesis of neo-classical, funk, hip-hop and electro; a programme in which the more classically inclined artists performed next to contemporary contextualized producers. The festival was awash with acts normally unaccustomed to the city’s Kreuzberg district, showcasing esoteric talent throughout venues more associated with techno and punk. Vijay Iyer Trio played to a near sold-out Lido, wooing the crowd with their imposing rhythm expertise, Afro-Caribbean funkpioneers Cymande turned heads at Bi Nuu, while Squarepusher reformed his Shobaleader One collective to slay the crowd with his bass, shedding proficiency. And yes, it wouldn’t have been a Berlin showcase without a little helping of techno, with Watergate hosting Jerome Sydenham, Rainer Trüby and J.A.W. Wrapping up the week was Pantha du Prince’s The Triad, who whipped up a smoky, metaphysical ambience, keeping the kicks loud and sinuous for those who had given-up on a trip to Berghain. In a city dominated by electronic music, XJazz is recognised as a purveyor of classical and contemporary musical hybrids. Look no further Osunlade, your vision has come to life.

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! Daniel Cole Ulla_C_Binder


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STEVE GUNN Eyes On The Lines Matador

CHANCE THE R APPER Coloring Book Self-Released

R AIME Tooth Blackest Ever Black As we gulp down stream after stream of music online, trying to stay afloat the deluge content overload, it’s hard to appreciate the nuances of the sounds we’re consuming. London duo Raime, in this context, adopt a healthily restrained approach, mastering the art of slow-burning music. Rather plod an easy 4/4 onto your plate, their gloomy mutation of dub and post-rock presents an ominous space that can scare the living shit out of you. With their debut full length Quarter Turns Over A Living Lin, Raime created expansive clouds of noise that were anchored by live instrumentation, and under their shadowy disguise, dove deeper into post-rock, placing preference on distorted guitar drones and sparse, syncopated drums over electronics. With their sophomore Raime album Tooth, they’ve stripped it right down to bone marrow, and their sound is more physical than ever. Dead Heat ’s wiry guitar slyly wriggles around a thick bass line, while the negative space pulls you deeper inside the album’s perverse undergrowth. The chilling melancholia of tracks like Front Running and Cold Cain could soundtrack introspective, ultimately hopeless November nights. There’s a suggestive restraint in each track, which wants to explode but never does, and Raimes’ prolonged tease only enriches its draw. ! Aine Devaney

Chance The Rapper’s determined verse on Kanye West’s Ultralight Beam was the prelude to Coloring Book. While TLOP failed to sustain itself as a gospel hip-hop album, Kanye redeemed himself by passing the torch to Chance, allowing him to create an excellent project staged upon the same theme. But Chance’s down-to-earth persona is a stark contrast to the Yeezus God complex, and Coloring Book is a relatable record, especially for the youth growing up in his native Chicago, many of whom may face potential danger every time they step outside. The definition of what makes an artist “independent” is blurring, but nevertheless, Chance The Rapper is still controlling how he creates, distributes, and promotes his music. On the song Mixtape, an experimental, poignant-sounding track featuring Young Thug and Lil Yachty, Chance asks: “How can they call themselves bosses, when they got so many bosses?” Aside from Chance bragging about his artistic independence, Coloring Book celebrates his personal triumphs. Loving references to his baby daughter and her mother appear on All We Got and Blessings, which are guided by gospel undertones. With songs like Juke Jam, Chance is unafraid to share the elementary innocence echoed by the project’s title as he sings, “'I found out all the shorties with cooties was cute/And realised what booties can do.” Coloring Book is a calendar of growth for Chance, who shares memories from the past that shaped the man he is now. Sonically, this LP gathers the warmth of a Sunday choir at a Baptist church into forwardthinking hip-hop production, and feels like the gospel for the non-domination: come as you are, leave your burdens at the altar, and be thankful to witness another day. Coloring Book is an inspiration for younger generations, one that tells them to create from the heart, and to not allow rejection to become a permanent maker of where you are headed. !

Nikki Blaylock

R ADIOHE AD A Moon Shaped Pool XL Recordings

With a wash of static, eerie chimes, and an unsettling voiceover about the faded suburban glamour of ‘everybody’s favourite fairy’, the opening track of Monsters and Fairies sets the tone perfectly. This is an odd, wonky, but warm album, one where machines are mangled and vocals are vapourised into clouds of melody. Coming from the reliably weird Marc Nguyen Tan (aka Colder) in partnership with poet Craig Louis Higgins Jnr, and released on the reliably weird Ivan Smagghe’s label Les Disques de la Mort, there are still some techno tropes to be found in amongst the psychedelic electronic emissions. From the garbled, hazy nonchalance of Feel So Good, where a warbling voice intones ‘nobody told me there’d be days like these’, to the gently demented slo-mo electro of The Light, this is the album playing at the party you aren’t sure you if you went to or just had a weird dream about. Higgins Jnr’s spoken insights occasionally veer into the knowingly ‘madcap’ territory, but there’s enough depth in the rambling (and the soundtrack is strong enough) that this mostly doesn’t detract from Monsters and Fairies’ hypnotic appeal. A unique record of discombobulated electronic pop for discerning daydreamers.

In 2010, music critic Mark Beaumont wrote a defence of the 1.5/5 mark he awarded Kid A upon its release, rather awkwardly standing by his scathing review of an album which would become a generation-defining record. “They’ve created a monument of effect over content, a smothering cataclysm of sound and fury signifying precisely fuck all,” he’d argued. You’d have assumed that Beaumont had a tight deadline – you need to allow time for Radiohead records to properly sink into your consciousness after all – but there he was, sticking to his guns. Kid A was, I’d argue, a masterpiece, and a curveball that redefined who Radiohead were, leaving any subsequent album efforts less susceptible to en masse shock and awe. 16 years from Kid A’s release, and Radiohead’s sonic palette has expanded into areas other bands don’t tread. A Moon Shaped Pool has seemingly again pushed them into fresh territory. The album’s nuances, the subtly twisting textures and imagination of the whole musical construct is pure Godrich/Greenwood, yet the majesty that oversees the whole of this affair is Yorke – who has never surrendered himself on a record in such a manner as this. A gnarling Yorke this is not. This is a man whose 23-year relationship has ended and who is pondering, restarting and relearning. Certainly the band’s decision to delete their entire Internet presence hinted at new beginnings giving way to the single Burn The Witch. Yorke expels the lines: “Stay in the shadows / cheer at the gallows.” In an age where people are strung up online with the eager aggressors hidden by the safety of their screens, having no internet presence that can be feasibly shot down leaves Radiohead free from a generation of keyboard warriors. A self-preservation exercise, or a comment on those who like to throw stones? Daydreaming is Yorke at his most ponderous. The line, “it’s too late the damage is done” and “this goes beyond me / beyond you” has been paired with a video that depicts him elevating upwards before finding solace at the top of a mountain. Theories that Yorke is walking through his life, a life that’s punctuated by Radiohead’s discography, have circulated. The wondrous use of strings, the delicacy of the rewound vocal snippets and soft layering of effects tethered by the heart breaking piano line leaves it as one of their most poignant pieces since Pyramid Song. The menace on Ful Stop, with its impending waves of synth malevolence and the repetition of “truth will mess you up”, is the most arresting arrangement on the record and will surely transfer live into a National Anthemesque favourite. It sounds like an invading force, like something awful is due to strike. Depending on whether Yorke is applying his lyrics to his personal situation or society’s crushing apathy, the lyrical content on Present Tense is either a barbed commentary or unbearably sad. “I won’t get heavy / Don’t get heavy / Keep it light and keep it moving / I am doing no harm / As my world comes crashing down / I’m dancing, freaking out / Deaf, dumb, and blind.” The arrangement here is soft again, almost dreamlike. The music sedates the anxiety of the lyrics, as if the reality itself would be too painful. Radiohead are lost in their own wonderful world of sonics while things tumble around them, and this juxtaposition has made for a record that leaves A Moon Shaped Pool sat alongside some of their finest work. They’ve never felt closer.

! Adam Corner

! Thomas Frost

SAVE! Monsters and Fairies Les Disques De La Mort

Throughout Steve Gunn's career, his solo works have been exhaustively likened to other artists' material. It's near impossible to source a critique or dialogue about his fret-sweeping, finger-picking style without some mention of John Fahey, Fairport Convention, Jack Rose, or Michael Chapman. And despite him being vicariously influenced by all of the above, we should be cautious of accusing Gunn of resting on his laurels, of performing some kind of faux-Americana, saccharine, retro impersonation act. If Eyes On The Lines, Gunn's fourteenth studio album to date (and Nth instalment amongst a seemingly never ending string of releases) proves anything, it’s that he’s just too passionate about his artform to be accused of insincerity. Gunn’s previous solo album, 2014's Way Out Weather, swelled at Gunn's typically breezy pace. It moved like the long exhalation of air from lungs, but ended with Tommy's Congo, a track with a comparatively heavy groove. On Eyes On The Lines, as intended, Gunn delves further into Tommy's Congo's bluesy guitar work, seamlessly continuing where Way Out Weather signed off. With more cocksure pluck than previous offerings; electrified instrumentation is cushioned by Gunn's dulcet, breathy vocal purrs. The steady chugging of Full Moon Tide and Ancient Jules sets a hasty, almost hubristic measure to the record's opening; one only hinted at by Gunn in the past. While collaborations with the likes of Mike Cooper and Black Twig Pickers have further enhanced Gunn’s reputation as a masterful guitarist, Eyes On The Lines is testament to Gunn's burgeoning confidence as a songwriter. Lyrically, he eases further towards the abstract, with lines such as The Drop's 'Landscape of repetition, drowned out at the service station,' and 'A field guide from the other side, beyond the path you know,’ from Conditions Wild – a song inspired by the writer Rebecca Solnit. And it's this pensive daydreaming, these verbal snippets of reverie, that make Eyes On The Lines such a pleasing record to escape with.

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HAILU MERGIA & DAHL AK BAND Wede Harer Guzo Awesome Tapes from Africa

Wede Harer Guzo will sit nicely as an offshoot for listeners familiar with the prolific age of Ethiopian Jazz from the 70s. Hailu Mergia was a frequent collaborator with godfather Mulatu Astatke and a member of seminal jazz and funk outfit Walias Band. This album, put together at the upmarket Ghion Hotel in Ethiopia’s capital city Addis Ababa, was Mergia’s opportunity to delve deeper into more experimental arrangements. It is full of atmospheric instrumentals and hushed delicacies, swerving popular tropes of funk and RnB. By collaborating with the Dahlak band – who at the time of recording were the in-house outfit for the swanky hotel and nightspot – Wede Harer Guzo exudes a kind of youthful sophistication. Tracks like Anchin Kfu Ayinkash and Minlbelesh paint a vivid picture of diplomats and visitors arriving in Addis Ababa, soaking up the city’s variations on popular music that were so ubiquitous in this decade. Blissfully carefree instrumentals, which flourish in the background and then effortlessly ease into focus. Credit is due to Coast Mastering for the renovation of these sounds. The tracks are presented with enough warm fuzz to make them feel authentic, but not so much that the record is treated as a kind of museum piece. The idea of these recordings fading away into obscurity forever is tragic, and it’s good to know that, with a worldwide release on Awesome Tapes, Wede Harer Guzo will attract the late-night listeners it deserves. ! Duncan Harrison

DAM-FUNK DJ-Kicks !K7 Kick off those slippers, slide into some sleazier footwear, and prepare for some low-slung stepping to DJ-Kicks from Dam-Funk as it unfurls like a super-slow-motion orgasmic howl. Stylistically, this mix veers voluptuously between the sequins and spandex of coked-up 80s pop (Nicci Gable’s Close To Who?), straight up disco heat (Starlight by Index) and pristinely presented slabs of dreamy boogie (Randell & Schippers’ Love Jam). Take Three’s Tonight’s the Night (All Night) is smoother and softer, and heralds a shift away from the soft-focus boom-bap of early tracks and towards a more straightforwardly disco heartbeat. Perhaps it was inevitable that Egyptian Lover would make an appearance on a mix like this, but he arrives in the form of Dial-AFreak , a sideways tribute to the freak-aholic from his affiliated LA collective Uncle Jamm’s Army. By the time the mix hits its stride, it's like an Optimo set in full camp mode: effortlessly sexy and funny at the same time. But there’s shade alongside the blinding disco lights: Stand Up by Nexus is a subtle Tom Tom Club type affair, and Dam-Funk’s own contribution, Believer, is a melodic, down tempo and nostalgic cut as the mix winds down. 50 shades of funk: lap it up, lap it all up.

! Adam Corner

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SKEPTA Konnichiwa Boy Better Know Grime loyalists have been reluctant to celebrate the genre’s revival for fear of discrediting those who kept the torch burning when the media lost interest. That said, it’s pretty much impossible to not feel inspired by Skepta’s glorious comeback. Following a toxic concoction of industry bullshit, bad decisions and (often unsuccessful) attempts at mainstream success, by 2012 Skepta’s spirits were dampened. So to see the Tottenham producer and MC rewarded for returning to his roots, regaining his integrity and raising a middle-finger to the major label snakes has been exhilarating. It was disappointing, however, to find that a third of Konnichiwa’s tracks have already been in heavy rotation. Who actually wants to keep hearing That’s Not Me or Shutdown at this point? There’s the owl logo of Drake’s label OVO Sound scribbled inside the “o” in Shutdown on the artwork, and you could suspect that the album has been marketed towards his legions of new fans – many of whom are on the other side of the Atlantic. The good news is that Konnichiwa is front-loaded with four new bass-heavy, back-to-basics tracks that summon the raw energy of grime’s formative years. Lyrics features a dexterous verse from Novelist and a hook that’ll hopefully be blared from London’s car stereos for the entire duration of the summer. Crime Riddim sees Skepta play roadman raconteur, and the anti-authoritarian resentment of its chorus is delivered with precision: “The feds wanna shift man / Wanna put me in the van / wanna strip a man / Fuck that, I ain’t a Chippendale / Wanna strip a male / Put me in a prison cell / Got me biting all my fingernails”. Konnichiwa’s least inspiring track has got to be Numbers, where Pharrell’s guest appearance is so lazy it’s hard to believe he was properly informed of how many people might end up streaming it. Grime rarely flourishes with the LP format – its spontaneous magic is best captured via sketchy footage and radio broadcasts. But Konnichiwa is the sound of an artist winning after his genre has been ditched by the industry and stigmatised by the media. And despite the album’s flaws, it tells a story in which you’ll find yourself firmly on the protagonist’s side. ! Davy Reed

JULIANNA BARWICK Will Dead Oceans Records Despite its ethereal qualities, Julianna Barwick’s music has always emulated a personal significance that weighs each track with intention. Her debut album, 2011’s The Magic Place, was a take on choral music with a sound palette of hymnal ambience that lulled listeners with its vocal fragility. 2013’s Nepenthe, a collaboration with Sigur Ros producer Alex Somers and string quartet Aniina, was a more polished feat, taking elements of the former and refining it into something more technically sophisticated and smooth. In a way, new album Will is a step back from Nepenthe’s intricacy – it feels more personal, more untouched. Recorded using only a piano, synthesiser and a looping pedal, the album projects outward, both sonically and emotionally. Written between Lisbon, New York and North Carolina, Will is a mirror for its surroundings; the spacey reverberations of St Apolonia echo the Lisbon underpass in which it was recorded, while Big Hollow, written in a state of self-made isolation in New York, conveys emptiness and loneliness. It is these varying states – freedom, seclusion, and so on – that gives the album movement and a sense of journey. Barwick has described her music as “pure emotion”, and given its discordant harmonies, Will certainly merits a sense of turmoil. “Like any human,” she has said, “there were parts of last year that were very sad”. Barwick’s music has often been compared to the alienated sound of Grouper’s Liz Harris; but unlike the latter, whose challenging, mournful melodies divorce itself from any easy accessibility, Will emulates a feeling that is emotionally available and open. The album’s closing track ends on a cathartic note; an assertive synth line marching against the crashing of symbols with the two-word instruction, “see, know”. It’s a fitting end to Will, an album that gently, persuasively, commands passion.

Toronto noise-pop quartet Weaves emphasise the present moment. Their songs are constructed from vocal melodies sent via iPhone by singer Jasmyn Burke to band mate Morgan Waters to work on, and then, as soon as possible, the band meet to add their own touches in the studio. This direct approach seems to have influenced the energy of Weaves, their confident, bombastic debut LP that was, of course, recorded live from the floor. There’s an authentic riotousness here: by combining pop hooks, attention-grabbing riffs, and pleasing injections of skronky noise that max out all the dials, Weaves are succeeding in creating their own distinctive sound with the guitar/bass/drums format, and in turn channeling an energy could be compared to The Hives fronted by tUnE-yArDs’ Merrill Garbus. If that sounds fun, it is: sunny, urgent opening kicker Tick devours pop chords and prescriptive guitar parts and spits out something infectious and free from pretension instead, and guitarist Waters plays in such an joyously obnoxious way (listen to the opening riff of Candy for proof) that it’s almost offensive. However, his sometimes whiny, sometimes crunchy tone balances Burke’s smooth alto vocals, and reflects the duo’s sparkling natural chemistry, often the only thing controlling the chaos. Occasionally, Weaves rip the piss out of guitar band tropes so much that it comes across as laziness – Two Oceans, for example, is boasted to have improvised lyrics, but the narrative is so simplistic that it’s ruined by flippancy. But Weaves are a reminder that, not only can bands be great fun, but they can still innovate.

Spending too much money on everything from your rent to your ride. Nightclubs closing down at an alarming rate. Relationships building up and breaking down. Cabs. Mates. The rave. Pagan – Benjy Keating’s debut album as Palmistry – is an earnest reflection on London’s lost youth. Through stark, tender RnB he pitches a calm strip of shade in an insufferable heat wave. The album opens with Club ASO, a track that not only directly references Palmistry’s early material (“She love it when I sing Protector”) but also sees Keating return to familiar scenery. Club ASO is a post-club anthem that incorporates dulled laser shots and skittering dancehall-inflected beats over hyper-emotional lyrics. This concentrated, unmuted emotion plays out to great effect on Sweetness. Lyrically, Keating eschews the sexist tropes of many commercial artists, telling tales of passionate love and slow dancing over misogyny and graphic sexual imagery. It’s refreshing, for example, to hear “sweetness” used as a pronoun where you’d potentially expect to hear “bitch.” The album’s three instrumental tracks are less inspiring, with Great Shall Be Your Piece in particular failing to back up Keating’s obvious ambitions as a producer. It’s a shame made greater considering how bright these ambitions can shine when Keating lays down his tempered vocals on tracks like the brilliant LDN shout out Paigon. Between collaborations with Brooklyn label Mixpak and London fashion house Cottweiler, Palmistry is an artist on the cutting edge, and ultimately Pagan reflects this with its incessantly modern sound. If Keating can keep on top of the wave then album number two could be an earthmover.

Gunseli Yalchinkaya

! Sammy Jones

! Billy Black

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WE AVES Weaves Memphis Industries

PALMISTRY Pagan Mixpak Records


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HAVOC & THE ALCHEMIST The Silent Partner Babygrande Records

DJ SHADOW The Mountain Will Fall Mass Appeal Although DJ Shadow has kept active with his conceptual live projects and regular collaborative work, this new LP is only his fifth proper solo album, arriving twenty years after he revolutionised instrumental hip-hop with his pioneering sample collages on Endtroducing...,his now-classic debut. Comments made in a recent interview with Pitchfork might go some way to explaining why he tends to leave such long gaps between releases: “It's like being at base camp and looking up at an unconquerable mountain; can't dwell on the difficulty, you have to just start the journey.” While the aptly-titled T he Mountain Will Fall sees Shadow stick to his guns, in comparison to 2011’s The Less You Know, The Better, here his inspiration feels fresh once more. Bergschrund, on which he hooks up with Nils Frahm, pairs skittering beats with deft synth work, and the hi-hat trills of Three Ralphs proves he’s not ignoring the dominance of Southern rap styles that so many 90s hip-hop nostalgists complain about. Ghost Town suggest he’s been keeping an eye on the new guard, too – it brings the likes of Shigeto and Flying Lotus to mind while playing around with Chicago footwork drum patterns. In 2016 DJ Shadow risks sounding a little cheesy, and here he often references his past – turntable scratches are in abundance, and the Run The Jewels collab, Nobody Speak, sounds like a reunion of elder rap statesmen. But rather than seeming like he’s out of ideas, on The Mountain Will Fall it feels like DJ Shadow is comfortable with his own trademark sound.

! Joe Goggins

In 1995, Mobb Deep’s Prodigy declared that: “I’m only 19, but my mind is old”. And who could disbelieve him? Both Prodigy and Havoc started out as kids (the duo’s first album was entitled Juvenile Hell), but their deep voices and ruthless lyrics made them sound not just fully-grown, but overgrown. They had seen too much―and we couldn’t get enough of them. Twenty years on, and The Silent Partner suggests a case of arrested development. For fans of The Mobb, this is good news. And while Prodigy’s health problems seem to have damaged his once-peerless voice (as evinced by his guest appearance here on The Gun Holds The Drum), both Havoc’s voice, and paranoid principles, are still standing. Known as a talented beatmaker (Kanye recently had him help out on The Life of Pablo), here Havoc vacates the producer’s chair and lets The Alchemist sit in it. The Alchemist, needless to say, occupies it like a reclining leather throne. Sonically, the laid back soul of Maintain is a brief vacation in the sun on this otherwise very gritty, very anxious, very New York album. This is apt, since lyrically Havoc rarely ventures out of his comfort zone. The brutal irony here is that Havoc’s comfort zone is a war zone. Growing up amidst lawlessness and desperation, wisdom is hard won, from hard men, and makes for hard reading: “You can say I’m paranoid, I don’t give a fuck, though / I don’t trust a motherfucker, everybody cut-throat.” Havoc, however, continues to make such bleak words sound easy, and persuasive, to listen to―fit to be chiselled into stone, in fact, just as they were chiselled into him: “I was told, never trust a motherfuckin’ soul.” DMX once proclaimed: “I trust a snake to be a snake”. The Silent Partner confirms that we can trust Havoc to be Havoc. And at the age of 41, that’s no small achievement.

If you Google the title of Max Graef and Glenn Astro’s new LP on Ninja Tune, you’ll soon find yourself engorged by the obsessive yet comfortingly familiar world of Simpsons trivia. It’s a reference to a yard-work based virtual reality game enjoyed by Bart as he ironically ignores his actual, IRL chores.      This premonition to Farmville perhaps demonstrates the sense of comfort and comedy that the two Berlin producers were trying to infuse their release with. The excellently entitled Where The Fuck Are My Hard Boiled Eggs?” is yet another comedic reference, in the form of a knowing nod to Arrested Development’s Tobias “Buy-Curious” Fünke. This second track of heavily muffled swung house gets the album thoroughly kicked off thanks to its mid-00s jazz-house vibe, littered with crowded percussion. The postmodern pastiches don’t stop there, as the next and arguably best track Money $ex Theme is a self referencing homage to their label, featuring a more melodic, Floating Points-esque take on their glitchy aesthetic. There’s a big dip after halfway though. China Nr.04 tries to emulate Theo Parrish intricacy, but becomes a polyrhythmic mess. Luckily, Magic Johnson sees the return of the expected upbeat jazz and hip-hop indebted house, and this rescued vibe continues with Jumbo Frøsnapper (named after a kind of Danish pastry) acting to remind us of the pair’s capability to bake a sweet progression. Although it’s a shame Graef and Astro couldn’t sustain the quality, The Yard Work Simulator often feels like a brave, bouncey, and jocular LP.

The concept of Views is to represent the changing seasons in Toronto. Drake is a master of capturing the atmosphere created by weather – the moonlit mahoganies of Take Care, the fresh breeze of Nothing Was The Same, the overcast greys of last year’s If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. He works best when he’s trying to build an overarching feeling. Views, then, would ideally have been the union of these tonal textures – embodying the full spectrum of Toronto’s cycle from winter through to summer. The hope was that Drake would emerge from the decidedly bitter climes of If You’re Reading… and present something diverse and rounded. His mode of operation for the last couple of years made this look feasible. He’s gained a reputation as a stylistic curator for the mainstream – pop’s canny magpie, accumulating sounds and styles from across the world. Unfortunately, Views is more of a flatline continuation of Drake’s tried and tested modes. The record is wearyingly long. Take Care and Nothing Was The Same felt generous, as if he was giving us a tour of every room in a suite he’d put together by hand. Here, it just sounds as if there’s been a lack of quality control. Drake seems to be trapped in a continuum where he can only fall back on his default settings, and all the lamentations about the perils of fame, the game and the heart eventually blur into one introspective fog. While you could argue that these are the trademark lyrical themes many of us love him for, Views felt like the moment Drake needed to present something new. His knack for coining technically atrocious, but strangely entertaining one-liners is starting to lose its charm, and the quantity of dud punch lines here can’t be ignored. I can just about take “My wifey a spice like David Beckham” but I draw the line at “You toying with it like Happy Meal”. There are great moments, of course, just not enough of them. One Dance, With You and Too Good are all outstanding pop songs – fresh, propulsive and full of life. It’s no coincidence that these three tracks feature guests, the handful of visitors Drake allows in do provide much needed variation. Drake has always seemed like one of rap’s most ingenious strategists. His tactics up until this point have been smart setups – forming the right allegiances, picking the right fights and striking at the opportune moments. In the lead up to Views, it felt like he was about to make another winning manoeuvre. It is this elaborate warm-up that makes Views disappointing. A great album artist turning in an overly long and largely unimaginative extension of things we’ve already heard. Where his other works have triumphed as crisp expressions of atmospheres and timeframes, Views finds Drake lost in a kind of hinterland. If there were a single weather captured on Views, it would be the one depicted in the artwork. A kind of half-lit grey casting a shadow over Toronto’s CN tower with Drake superimposed in the middle, somehow not quite present. He’s made himself visible to everyone, but he’s staring off into the distance.

Industrial techno is dead. Right? No? Fashions may come and go, but balls to the wall techno, it seems, is here to stay. Throughout the changing seasons, Blueprint has been a mainstay of fast and muscular dance music. Now, they’re celebrating their twentieth anniversary of releasing club bangers with the compilation Structures And Solutions. Structures And Solutions could be considered a microcosm of the state of the techno nation. Crunchy hardware jams rub up against slick, hi-fidelity tracks, and there's even a nod or two to the current vogue for modular synthesis. The diversity of the tracks plays well. As catchy, dancefloor-ready bangers segue into moodier moments, such as Blawan's excellently menacing Passer By, the listener gets the sense of a label that has been able to move with the times without compromising its principles. As with all subcultures, what was once confrontational becomes part of an established vocabulary, but this is an inevitable part of growing up, and Blueprint seem comfortable with their elder statesman status in techno, able to enjoy the rude health of the genre. Original speed techno head Oliver Ho delivers a restrained master class in subdued aggression, whilst Regis' Party Spoiler Too sees the producer returning to the singleminded repetition that made his name two decades ago in style. While not ground breaking or revolutionary, Structure And Solutions is a solid compilation, and a colourful snapshot of techno in 2016. Industrial techno is dead. Long live industrial techno.

! Jack Law

! Robert Bates

! Duncan Harrison

! Thomas Painter

MA X GR AEF & GLENN ASTRO The Yard Work Simulator Ninja Tune

DR AKE Views OVO / Young Money / Republic

VARIOUS ARTISTS Structures and Solutions: 1996 - 2016 Blueprint Records


71

Film

02

08 X-MEN APOCALYPSE dir. Bryan Singer Starring: James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender

SON OF SAUL dir. László Nemes Starring: Géza Röhrig, Levente Molnár, Urs Rechn Jean Luc Goddard once spoke of cinema’s failure to portray the Holocaust. For Goddard, all attempts at depicting the atrocities fell into misrepresentation, and even potential exploitation, of the Holocaust’s victims. Earlier this year, the New York Times critic Manohla Dargis took this notion and applied it to Lázló Nemes’ film Son of Saul, where she dismissed it as a “radically dehistoricised, intellectually repellent” work in which the film’s cinematography risked distracting the audience from the “misery on screen”. Dargis has a point. The film’s shooting style, an arrangement of long, subject-centric panning shots where the camera remains on Saul (played by Géza Röhrig) pushes the horrors happening around the protagonist into the background. However, Nemes – whose family lost members at Auschwitz – zooms in to capture the emotional intensity of one man’s attempt at survival within the godless pandemonium that is Auschwitz. Saul is a member of the camp’s privileged Sonderkommando, who are given special privileges for aiding in the maintenance of the gas chambers. Convinced that one of the bodies is that of his dead son, he embarks on a mission to find a Rabbi to give the body a proper burial. When accepting the Oscar for best foreign film, Nemes spoke of his hope to show that ‘even in the darkest hours, there might be a voice within us that allows us to be human.” If this was his objective, then he has succeeded. ! Gunseli Yalcinkaya

08

X-Men Apocalypse: the end of the world? Or just the end of creativity for the superhero blockbuster? The latest in the strung-out franchise feels like a new low. The eighth X-Men film since 2000, the storyline is still toiling with the infuriatingly dull philosophy of mutants protecting humans – even if they don’t want protection from them. While the film makes an effort to include what seems like more garish product placement than any previous X-Men film, it’s left to news bulletins summarise the vaguely connected scenes of the barely-existent plot. Director Bryan Singer does, arguably, succeed in creating a subtextual apology that runs throughout the film. It’s in Michael Fassbender’s eyes. We can see it – he’s ashamed to be wearing that Magneto outfit. When will Hollywood realise there’s hardly anything left to marvel at anymore?

! Steven Fitzpatrick

EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!! dir. Richard Linklater Starring: Blake Jenner, Glen Powell, Zoey Deutch Linklater is no stranger to celebrating the transience of youth. The director first made a name for himself with cult favourite Dazed and Confused, and more recently won over a new generation of fans with acclaimed critical/commercial success Boyhood (filmed over 12 years, it’s currently the only film to score a perfect 100 on Metacritic). Everybody Wants Some!! is no exception. Set in 1980, it follows freshman Jake and his college baseball team through the first heady days of carelessness before term starts and college life begins. Refreshingly, Linklater avoids conventional clique boundaries, with the team embracing a disco, a country-western club, a punk gig and a theatre student party – reflecting the musical eclecticism and cultural volatility of the time. Despite fulfilling a range of stereotypical ‘jock’ characters, the cast are likeable throughout, with their lesser qualities tempered against their – and our – growing awareness that their sports careers may have already peaked. Everybody Wants Some!! carries an inherent joy which is apparent in everything: the endless absurd conversations, the too-tight short shorts, the exuberant dancing, the flagrant rule-breaking, the Rappers Delight bro reprise. Admittedly, the relentlessly machismo frat culture will grate for some, and at points the danger of one-dimensionality looms. But when you’re having this much fun, who cares? !Tamsyn Aurelia-Eros Black

07

GREEN ROOM dir. Jeremy Sauliner Starring: : Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Patrick Stewart In 2013’s Blue Ruin, director Jeremy Sauliner explored a dark, animalistic void between revenge and the law. And with Green Room, a similar directorial mercilessness combines with a rock’n’roll textuality and is delivered in the style of a cult slasher. Like all good slashers, it’s unbelievable bad luck and even worse timing for the main characters; a punk band who play a show in a neo-nazi bar in a remote part Oregon, who upon seeing something they shouldn't, are contained in the green room against their will. And, well... out comes the Stanley knife. And it really is that simple. Patrick Stewart as the skinhead head-honcho is strange casting, but Green Room’s director and PR team alike exploit Stewart’s stardom and gravitas to blind-side the audience. So don’t expect a Shakespearean neo-nazi masterclass from Stewart. Instead, he'll muck-in with the rest of the low-key performances to provide the perfect climate for the laissez-faire brutality. Woven between the violence is some neatly bleak comedy that provides the icing on the cake of this highly saturated, liberal American head banger.

! Tim Oxley-Simith

08

MUSTANG dir. Deniz Gamze Ergüven Starring: Günes Sensoy, Doga Zeynep Doguslu, Tugba Sunguroglu Mustang tells the story of five orphaned sisters in a Turkish village. Following concerns about their perceived licentious behaviour, it follows the sisters as they are driven into arranged marriages, with the base for their tight-knit sisterhood slowly becoming a ‘wife factory’. Although it suffers from an intense but ultimately unrealistic third act, director Deniz Gamze Ergüven has made an impressive debut, stirring up controversy and cleaning up at award ceremonies. Mustang is full of dark, gloomy moments, but Ergüven gives the film life. Energetic camerawork and vibrant colours create visual warmth that provides an uplifting sense of hope. The film has received an onslaught of comparisons to Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides, however, it has just as much in common with the prison film genre, and it cleverly uses those same devices to make a comment on female empowerment through unity and womanhood. The sisters don’t give in to their surroundings, but instead react to them. Though strong performances are abound throughout the cast, Gunes Sensoy's performance as the rebellious youngest sister Lale is nothing short of fascinating as we witness her journey from wanting freedom to creating her own; becoming a heroic force taking charge of the situation and plotting her breakout from the mental and physical prison she is confined in.

! Lee Fairweather


73

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KLEIN – ONLY USB Howling Owl Records £10 We've been banging on about Klein to anyone who'll listen recently, so you can imagine what direction our jaws went when we saw this super fancy USB packed with her debut album Only. Don’t even try and act like you’re too cool for a heart shaped, diamonte encrusted, silver USB full of obscure experimental noise. You’re just not. OK?


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Bird on the Wire presents

olga Bell

WEd 15Th JUn

OVAL SPACE

destroyer

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destroyer + ryley Walker Wed 15th JUn oVAL spACe

the tallest Man on earth + damien Jurado tUe 21st JUn roYAL ALBert hALL

preoccupations Wed 22nd JUn Ut the shACKLeWeLL ArMs do thU 23rd soL JUn the oLd BLUe LAst

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Wed 29th JUn the WAitinG rooM

Little scream tUe 5th JUL seBriGht ArMs

the Very Best tUe 5th JUL XoYo

Weaves

thU 14th JUL shACKLeWeLL ArMs

Visions Festival

sAt 6th AUG hACKneY / London FieLds

Frankie Cosmos

thU 8th sept the doMe tUFneLL pArK

Grandbrothers thU 22nd sept CorsiCA stUdios

Ulrika spacek tUe 27th sept eLeCtroWerKZ

porches

daniel norgren Wed 2nd noV the ForGe

tim hecker

Mac deMarco

Alex Cameron

Wed 7th sept the LeXinGton

Mon 24th oCt the doMe tUFneLL pArK

Mon 27th JUn hoXton sQUAre BAr & KitChen

Wed 29th JUn the LeXinGton

Basia Bulat

Wed 28th sept ViLLAGe UnderGroUnd

+ SPECIAL GUEST CIAN NUGENT

Moonface and siinai

she drew the Gun

Mon 5th sept the CoUrtYArd theAtre

nZCA Lines

Wed 22nd JUn the doMe tUFneLL pArK

Mon 27th JUn Ut eLeCtriC BriXton do tUe 28th soL JUn KoKo

Laura Gibson

Amanda Bergman AS PART OF THE ALBERT SESSIONS

Joanne robertson Wed 22nd JUn serVAnt JAZZ QUArters

thU 25th AUG the shACKLeWeLL ArMs

tUe 6th sept osLo

PLUS VERY SPECIAL GUEST

+ SPECIAL GUEST RYLEY WALKER

the Weather station + Gun outfit

Fri 4th noV BArBiCAn Centre

YOUNG FATHERS ANNA CALVI LINDSTRØM ESG LIGHTNING BOLT MYKKI BLANCO GENGAHR JD SAMSON BLEACHED JESSY LANZA THE JAPANESE HOUSE SHOW ME THE BODY DREAM WIFE LET'S EAT GRANDMA BAD BREEDING JAPANESE BREAKFAST ELF KID PUMAROSA ULRIKA SPACEK ALDOUS HARDING KELLY LEE OWENS IGLOOGHOST DRONES CLUB BABEHEAVEN BABA NAGA STREET FOOD CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL ACROSS SIX HACKNEY VENUES

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Lanzarote

06—16 MOTH Club

lanzaroteworks.com #lanzaroteworks

presents

Monday 6 June

XAVIERS

Thursday 7 July

NOVO AMOR

Valette St London E8 mothclub.co.uk

Tuesday 14 June

YUNG Saturday 4 June

HAR MAR SUPERSTAR

35 Chalk Farm Rd London NW1 Thursday 16 June

MOON DIAGRAMS

Monday 6 June

NO JOY

Friday 17 June

TOMORROW’S TULIPS

Wednesday 8 June

ELVIS DEPRESSEDLY Tuesday 14 + Wednesday 15 June

EMPRESS OF Friday 17 June

SWEAT Saturday 18 June

COLD PUMAS Tuesday 21 June

YUMI ZOUMA Tuesday 28 June

DESTRUCTION UNIT Friday 1 July

BEYOND THE WIZARDS SLEAVE

Tuesday 21 June

AUDACITY Thursday 23 June

RADAR MEN FROM THE MOON

The Waiting Room

PAWS

Shacklewell Arms 71 Shacklewell Lane London E8 shacklewellarms.com Friday 3 June

GENTLEMEN

lock-tavern.com Thursday 2 June

UNKLE FUNKLE Friday 3 June

THE MEMORIES Saturday 4 June

WHITE FANG Wednesday 8 June

MAGIC POTION

175 Stoke Newington High St N16 waitingroomn16.com

Friday 10 June

HOTGOTHIC Saturday 4 June

HOUSEWIVES

Friday 24 June

LESS WIN Monday 6 June

FRAN LOBO

Field Day 11—12 June MOTH Club Stage:

Friday 10 June

GAIKA Tuesday 14 June

Saturday 2 July

The Lock Tavern

OLGA BELL Wednesday 15 June

THROWS Monday 20 June

WEDDING Wednesday 29 June

ALEX CAMERON

DEAN BLUNT MOON DUO MOLLY NILSSON ANNA MEREDITH Shacklewell Arms Stage:

BEACH HOUSE METZ GIRL BAND FAT WHITE FAMILY GOAT


14.15.16.17 July 2016 Ferropolis, Germany

Follow us: #wearemelt

Disclosure, Deichkind, Tame Impala, Jamie xx, Two Door Cinema Club, Chvrches, M83, Solomun, Boys Noize (live), Maceo Plex, Ben Klock, Modeselektor (DJ-Set), Skepta

Acid Arab, Andy C, Andy Stott (live), Benjamin Damage, Black Coffee, Black Cracker, Blind Observatory, Bob Moses, Bomba Estéreo, Boris, Circa Waves, Coma, Cormac, Cosmin TRG, Damian Lazarus, Dekmantel Soundsystem, Digitalism, DJ Koze, DJ Phono, DMA‘s, Dr. Rubinstein, Drangsal, Ed Davenport, Ellen Allien, Fatima Yamaha (live), Floating Points (live), Freddy K, Fritz Helder, George FitzGerald, Gold Panda, Graham Candy, Gunjah, Hard Ton, Heidi, Helena Hauff, Hi Fashion, Ho99o9, Honey Dijon, Horse Meat Disco, Illesnoise, Isolation Berlin, Jamie Woon, JD Samson, Josh Wink, Kim Ann Foxman, Klyne, Kobosil, Kode9, Kollektiv Turmstrasse (live), Kuriose Naturale, Kytes, La Fleur, Lady Leshurr, Laurel Halo, Lea Porcelain, Leon Vynehall, Liss, Magdalena, Makam, Mano Le Tough, Marco Resmann, Matthias Meyer, Maya Jane Coles, Mind Against, Motor City Drum Ensemble, Muallem, Mura Masa, Niko Schwind, Noah Kin, Oddisee & Good Company, Oliver Koletzki, Pan-Pot, Partok, Peaches, Peak & Swift, Peggy Gou, Pev & Kowton (Livity Sound), Renato Ratier, Roosevelt, Sango, Sarah Farina, Say Yes Dog, Several Definitions, SG Lewis, Shed, Shifted, Sleaford Mods, Sophie, Stephan Bodzin (live), Still Parade, Stimming (live), The Black Madonna, Tiga (live), Tijana T, Tom Trago, Vater&Sohn, Vessels, Virginia (live) feat. Steffi & Dexter, Vril (live), Woman, Zed Bias, Zomby, Ø [Phase]


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PRESENTS

MON.06.JUN.16

LET ’S E AT GRANDMA

AM BER A RC A D E S

MATMOS

ELECTROWERKZ Wednesday 01 June.

THE LEXINGTON Tuesday 07 June.

OSLO Tuesday 07 June.

THE MYSTERY CASS ANDRONICUS LIGHTS M c CO M B S SHACKLEWELL ARMS Thursday 09 June.

FRI.28.OCT.16

WED.02.NOV.16

TITUS

THE DOME Thursday 09 June.

THU.01.SEP.16

THU.09.JUN.16 SAT.17.SEP.16

FRI.10.JUN.16

THU.10.NOV.16

THU.22.SEP.16

THE LEXINGTON Monday 13 June.

THU.10.NOV.16

XOYO Wednesday 15 June.

HANA BIRTHDAYS Tuesday 21 June.

TRU DY

N EON INDIAN

YU M I ZO U M A

OVAL SPACE Thursday 16 June.

MOTH CLUB Tuesday 21 June.

PIAS NITES with

COSMO SHELDRAKE

HAPPYN ESS WARHAUS & J CH U RCH ER THE LEXINGTON Wednesday 22 June.

Wednesday 13 July.

MOTH CLUB Friday 15 July.

TIM B U RG E S S

VISIONS F E ST I VA L

WI LLIS EARL BEAL

CECIL SHARP HOUSE Tuesday 19 July.

VARIOUS, HACKNEY Saturday 06 August.

THE FORGE Tuesday 09 August.

FABER SOCIAL PRESENTS: an evening with

Andrew Weatherall, Pete Paphides & Sharon Horgan

KI R AN LEONARD 100 CLUB Wednesday 24 August.

WOLF ALICE SU PER FU RRY AN I MALS WI LD BE ASTS & MORE

MON.13.JUN.16 THU.29.SEP.16 FRI.30.SEP.16 FRI.18.NOV.16 TUE.14.JUN.16

MON.03.OCT.16

WED.23.NOV.16

TUE.21.JUN.16

SERVANT JAZZ QUARTERS

THE VICTORIA Tuesday 12 July.

FRI.18.NOV.16

BUSSEY BUILDING Wednesday 06 July.

TH EM E PA R K

ROMANCE

FRI.30.SEP.16

And The Impromptu Ensemble

ODET TA H A RT M A N

And The

SUN.12.JUN.16

GREEN SUNFLOWER COLLEEN & CASSIE BEAN R AMONE THE DOME Thursday 15 September.

MOTH CLUB Thursday 22 September.

OSCAR

SWANS

DREAMLAND, MARGATE Fri 30 Sept & Sat 01 Oct.

THE DOME Tuesday 04 October.

ISLINGTON ASSEMBLY HALL

SWANS

POLIÇA

ISLINGTON ASSEMBLY HALL

Friday 14 October.

ROUNDHOUSE Wednesday 19 October.

ROUNDHOUSE Saturday 22 October.

HALE Y BONAR

KE VI N M O R BY

FLU M E

MOTH CLUB Thursday 27 October.

ISLINGTON ASSEMBLY HALL

MON.03.OCT.16

THU.24.NOV.16

TUE.04.OCT.16 THU.30.JUN.16

FRI.07.OCT.16

FRI.25.NOV.16

WED.12.OCT.16

FRI.25.NOV.16

WED.12.OCT.16

FRI.02.DEC.16

MON.17.OCT.16

FRI.09.DEC.16

TUE.12.JUL.16

THU.21.JUL.16

FRI.22.JUL.16

FRI.22.JUL.16

By The Sea Festival

Tuesday 08 November.

Thursday 13 October.

ALEXANDRA PALACE Thursday 17 November.

THU.15.DEC.16 SAT.30.JUL.16

THU.20.OCT.16

SAT.28.JAN.17 THU.20.OCT.16 WED.31.AUG.16

FRI.21.OCT.16

WED.26.OCT.16


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83

Turning Points: Shirley Manson

"I want to say to young women now that it’s who you are that counts, not how you look"

Words: Sammy Jones

Shirley Manson has been setting new standards for frontpeople since 1995 as the flame-haired singer of Garbage. After being recruited to join the band by Nevermind, Dirty and Siamese Dream producer Butch Vig, Manson would go on to become an alternative icon, combining her stonecold coolness with a rebellious attitude and feminist principles. Having endured intense touring, in-band fighting, hiatuses and Manson’s vocal surgery, Garbage are now preparing to release their sixth studio album, Strange Little Birds. Looking back on an inspirational career, Manson pinpoints the focal points of her journey so far, explaining why success still comes as a surprise after 21 years.

Early years: Starting out in Edinburgh I was fascinated with theatre. I had no aspirations to be in a band. I didn’t believe I was a good enough musician. But, my theatre group needed some help with musical production, so one of the members of the group brought in the front singer from a rock band to help and he was looking for a keyboard player. For want of anything better to do, I went along to rehearsal, and thus started my career with Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie, the first band I ever played in. I was young, I was bratty, and I was loud. I just wanted to be heard, in any way.

were full of it. But the promotion of that record was so intense. It went to number one in an insane amount of countries and toured for another two years. At the end I was beginning to lose my peace of mind. I was having a lot of trouble with my selfimage, and looking back, I was a monster to myself. I want to say to young women now that it’s who you are that counts, not how you look. Our culture doesn’t encourage women to believe that, because that makes us a hell of a lot more dangerous.

1994: Being recruited for Garbage There was a terrible snobbery back then about producers – at least from my scene. We thought they were dictators to be fought on every level. So to be honest, when I first got the call about Butch, I was only interested because once again, I really needed something to do. Of course, after checking out the records he was involved in, I realised this man was involved with a lot of music that I loved. Then I got really excited. I was like, “holy fuck, how can it be possible that someone this cool would want to call me?” It was incredible. A real Cinderella moment. We stuck like glue. And now they can’t get rid of me!

2003: Vocal surgery and recording Bleed Like Me My vocal surgery couldn’t have come at a worse time. I was unable to contribute in the way that I wanted to, and things had got really bad between us. I didn’t go into the studio for a while because it was making me literally sick and I couldn’t stomach it any more. We were pulling in all sorts of different directions, and we thought that if we brought in an outside producer, he or she would know how to fix the problem. It couldn’t have been further from the truth. We’re like wild pigs – you can’t herd Garbage, because we’re used to herding ourselves. We sort of miraculously stumbled through. We really wouldn’t have made it without our record company.

1997: Approaching Version 2.0 after the debut LP’s unprecedented success When we approached the second record, we were brimming with confidence. We’d had our arse licked for two years, so we

2008: Getting back together after a long hiatus It’s a pretty sad story how we all ended up back together again. Friends of mine and Butch’s lost their six-year-old boy, and I

had been asked to sing Life on Mars at the funeral because it was his favourite song. It was a terribly sad day. After I sang the song, I walked outside and bumped into Butch. Everyone was very emotional. As we were hugging each other, we decided to fix it. We all got back together again in Los Angeles about a month later, and that was us back on track. We laughed ourselves sick back in the studio, and wrote a new song that would appear on [2013 album] Not Our Kind of People. It all fell back into place. 2016: Strange Little Birds I don’t know if it speaks of a low IQ, but I never get tired of talking about our albums. It’s such an incredible thing to do in your life. Strange Little Birds is a different record for us as a band. This is probably the heaviest record we’ve ever made, sonically and lyrically. One of the reasons we’ve endured such a long career is that we excite each other with ideas and we share a very similar view of the world. We work well together. They still bring in ideas that thrill me, and you can’t ask for much more after 21 years of a musical marriage. If someone’s still bringing you something new after 21 years, you hold onto that. Strange Little Birds is released 10 June via STUNVOLUME


Patterns July Aug Sept 2016

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20 Questions: A$AP Ferg Words: Billy Black

After New York’s A$AP Mob emerged from the trendiest depths of Tumblr at the beginning of the decade, Darold Ferguson Jr – known as A$AP Ferg or Fergenstein to his friends – has become a colourful and increasingly prominent figure on the contemporary rap landscape. You’ve heard Shabba, you’ve probably heard Work, and you’ll definitely be impressed by the star-studded tracklist of his recent album Always Strive and Prosper. We called a croaky-voiced Ferg just after he’d climbed out of bed to bombard him with our trusty set of stupid questions.

What was your favourite cartoon when you were a kid? Tom and Jerry. Who’s your favourite Wu-Tang Clan member? Damn, I’d have to say ODB. What’s your signature recipe? Grilled cheese.  Metal or EDM?  Heavy metal.  Favourite video game? Crash Bandicoot. What’s the worst hotel you’ve ever stayed in? It was The Standard in LA. It was always under construction and the bar is whack. You’d think in LA the bar would be poppin’.

“Danny Brown’s barber messed up my hair”

If you were trying to seduce a potential lover, what music would you play? When I’m having sex with girls, I play Bryson Tiller’s album because he sets the tone. Who’s the most famous person you’ve ever met? Probably Missy Elliot, Busta Rhymes or Shabba Ranks. Who’s you favourite person to follow on Instagram? I like Khaled man. Khaled’s Snapchat. Have you ever been arrested? Of course, who hasn’t? For littering and hopping turnstiles on the train. Describe the worst haircut you’ve ever had... It was actually in Chicago. Danny Brown’s barber cut my hair. Danny Brown always has fresh hair, but his barber must just didn’t like me. He messed up my hair. What are your feelings towards the concept of brunch? I think it’s cool. You get to enjoy lunch and breakfast at the same time. Two-for-one! Have you ever taken acid? No. I don’t do drugs. I just think I’m high off life. What’s your worst habit? I think that sometimes I drag my feet on things.  Describe yourself with three words beginning with the letter A... There’s no way I could do that. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had? Working at UPS lifting heavy, heavy, heavy boxes.  What’s the furthest you’ve ever run in one go? When I was in LA going to the Adidas headquarters to pick up some clothes. I jogged for about an hour.  Must have been some good clothes? It just some fly shit, some fly Adidas shit. Some Trap Lord Adidas collab stuff.  Trap Lord or 6 God? Trap Lord, always. Shout outs to the 6 God though. Shout outs to the six, shout outs to the world!  What would you want written on your tombstone?  I would never have a tombstone cause I’m never gonna die.

Always Strive And Prosper is out now via Columbia Records. A$AP Ferg appears at Wireless, London, 8-10 July


Perspective: Hip-Hop Against Trump Kathy Iandoli is a New York-based music journalist. Here, she discusses hip-hop’s tumultuous relationship with Republicanism, discussing contemporary rap’s widespread resentment towards Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign. For a very long time, Americans who weren’t fluent in the political process would equate political parties with respective tax brackets. So, in essence, a Democrat was poor; a Republican was rich. Maybe it had something to do with the value systems firmly set in place (liberal vs. conservative) or maybe it was really just a Black and White thing. In the 80s, when hip-hop was still finding its footing, the distrust for the system had reached an all-time high, and that “system” was a Republican’s system: the Ronald Reagan administration. The crack cocaine epidemic was heating up on Reagan’s watch, and in 1982 a nowclassic example of rap’s social commentary hit the pavement with Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five’s The Message, which waxed philosophical on “junkies in the alley” and “broken glass everywhere,” comparing city life to a “jungle.” The legacy of the crack epidemic would, of course, outlive Reagan's administration by many years. Still, as rappers’ wallets expanded, the notion of where their money fit loomed overhead. In 2006, Nas and Jay Z would collaborate on the song Black Republican, which featured Jay’s lyric: “I feel like a Black

Republican, money I got comin’ in.” Here, Republicanism is equated with success. Rappers have arguably been in a weird predicament. Reagan, many would argue, theoretically invented the crack game, which turned neighbourhoods impoverished and violent while making aspiring rappers entry level wealthy through drug dealing. They would obtain record deals, making music that discussed that crack game, putting even more money in their pockets and encouraging dreams of becoming part of the 1%. But things changed with the Obama administration, where the onus was placed on race in the face of our first Black President. Jay Z had the crowd chant “Fuck Bush” in 2008 before Obama took the seat. In 2011, on Watch The Throne track New Day, Kanye West foreshadowed having a son, rapping: “I might even make him be Republican, so everybody know he love white people.” But while hip-hop has always resented the system’s oppressive forces, the opposition to Republicanism became more pronounced as Obama reached his second term. On Kendrick Lamar’s 2011 Section.80 cut Ronald Reagan Era (His Evils), he would vent about 80s Reaganomics wrecking his generation. Killer Mike shared a similar sentiment in his 2012 track Ronald Reagan, as he sampled a speech by Reagan and chased it with “the end of the Reagan Era / I’m like eleven, twelve, or old enough to understand the shit’ll change forever / They declared the war on drugs like a war on

terror / But it really did was let the police terrorise whoever”. And in more recent times, the media has turned its attention to police brutality and racially motived violence: Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Mike Brown, Freddie Gray, and Sandra Bland are just a few of the many black victims. With the Black Lives Matter movement gathering momentum as Obama’s second term comes to a close, political preference is no longer about money in the eyes of hip-hop. It’s about racial justice, and it’s about staying alive. In 2016, multi-billionaire and Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump is hip-hop’s greatest enemy. Rappers used to use Trump’s name as a goofy reference to financial aspiration: see Gucci Mane’s Donald Trump (“Donald Trump! I made Forbes list this month!”), Mac Miller’s Donald Trump (“Take over the world when I’m on my Donald Trump shit”) or Rae Sremmurd’s Up Like Trump. But as Trump plans to build walls, rob ovaries, deport Muslims, and pass out guns like Halloween candy, hip-hop is, finally, speaking out on a widespread scale. And it’s not about the money. This time it’s personal. Some of the pundits are the least likely in theory. In the recent video for 2 Chainz’ 100 Joints, the clip opens with anti-Muslim quotes from Donald Trump, before detailing the everyday peaceful lives of a Black Muslim family and showing 2 Chainz rapping while wearing an agal and keffiyeh. On YG and

Illustration: Ed Chambers

Nipsey Hu$$le’s FDT (Fuck Donald Trump), they chant “fuck Donald Trump” while promoting racial unity: “It wouldn’t be the USA without Mexicans / And if it’s time to team up, shit, then let’s begin.” Across the board, rappers are voicing their anger. Raury’ performed with a crossed out Trump Mexican football jersey on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert last year, Young Thug called Trump a “fucking punk” in a French interview and T.I.’s Instagram message to Donald Trump was a not so polite “Fuck You.” Rae Sremmurd denounced Trump onstage at SXSW, and Mac Miller called him a racist on The Nightly Show. Metro Boomin then got in on the action, when he exclaimed he didn’t trust Donald Trump. And well, if Young Metro don’t trust you… It’s all coming together, and some rappers who may have never uttered a political preference before in their lives are speaking out against Trump. Sure there are some trolls—Azealia Banks’ Trump endorsement as a call for an evil empire—but for the most part hip-hop understands now more than ever what a Trump breed of Republican can do to the already tattered fabric of America. It’s a crack that can’t be bottled or sold this time. Rather, it’s in dire need of immediate removal. Kathy Iandoli is the author of the forthcoming book Commissary Kitchen with Prodigy of Mobb Deep, which dissects cooking within the meager conditions of the prison system


03/06 ROOM 01 PAR EXCELLENCE FOREIGN BEGGARS FT SKINNYMAN ED RUSH B2B THE UPBEATS ALIX PEREZ B2B CHIMPO PRESIDENT T PROBLEM CHILD TIM PARKER B2B NONAMES SKANKANDBASS ROOM 02 UNIIQU3 AMY BECKER RIZ LA TEEF CAPO LEE COYOTE RECORDS SHOWCASE FT: LAST JAPAN SILK ROAD ASSASSINS OH91 TARQUIN

10/06 ROOM 01 02:31 MATRIX & FUTUREBOUND TC B2B THE PROTOTYPES B2B BROOKES BROTHERS (2 HOUR SET) DIMENSION (SPECIAL GUEST) KOVEN MOB TACTICS BMOTION SIXBLADE B2B INSOMNIAX MCs: JAKES RHYMESTAR AD ROOM 02 BLACK SUN EMPIRE PHACE NEONLIGHT PRESENTS MY GALACTIC TALE ULTERIOR MOTIVE PYTHIUS STEALTH MCs: LOWQUI 2SHY, REMIDY

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JUNE /JULY 2016

17/06 ROOM 01 AN EVENING WITH GDC GENTLEMAN’S DUB CLUB (LIVE) BENNY PAGE GORGON SOUND UNCLE DUGS B2B RANDALL PRINCE FATTY RAGGA TWINS SWEET IRIE ROOM 02 HATCHA & FRIENDS HATCHA GROOVERIDER CARTIER JAKES (DJ SET) JACK SWIFT (UKG SET) B LIVE CRAZY D

24/06 PLAYAZ 20TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR DJ HYPE (2 HOUR SET) HAZARD SASASAS (SPECIAL GUEST) BREAK ED SOLO B2B BROCKIE ANNIX CRISSY CRISS SUB ZERO POTENTIAL BADBOY D*MINDS TYKE PASCAL MCs: IC3, DET FATS, FUNSTA CARASEL

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Crack Issue 65  
Crack Issue 65  

Featuring Abra, Borderland, Luca Lozano, Felix Dickinson, A$AP Ferg