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GIG CLU FESTI
GS UBS IVALS
HOW TO DRESS WELL CARE OUT NOW CD | LP | Digital
DRUGDEALER THE END OF COMEDY OUT NOW CD | LP | Digital
SOFT HAIR SOFT HAIR 28.10.2016 CD | LP | Digital
ALEX IZENBERG HARLEQUIN 18.11.2016 CD | LP | Digital
AUTUMN TOUR 03 Nov - The Sage Gateshead with Submotion Orchestra 04 Nov - O2 Academy Glasgow with Kathryn Joseph 05 Nov - O2 Apollo Manchester with Submotion Orchestra & Mr Scruff 07 Nov - Colston Hall Bristol with Jameszoo 08 Nov - Rock City Nottingham with Submotion Orchestra 09 Nov - O2 Institute Birmingham with Submotion Orchestra 10 Nov - Eventim Apollo London with Thundercat & Gilles Peterson 11 Nov - Eventim Apollo London with Thundercat & Rival Consoles New Single TO BELIEVE feat. Moses Sumney out soon cinematicorchestra.com
F R I D AY 3 0 S E P T E M B E R IN:MOTION OPENING PARTY F R I D AY 3 0 S E P T E M B E R IN:MOTION OPENING PARTY
S AT U R D AY 0 1 O C T O B E R IN:MOTION OPENING PARTY S AT U R D AY 0 1 O C T O B E R IN:MOTION OPENING PARTY
IN:MOTION SERIES - SEPTEMBER 2016 - JANUARY 2017 IN:MOTION SERIES - SEPTEMBER 2016 - JANUARY 2017
F R I D AY 1 4 O C T O B E R M TA F R I D AY 1 4 O C T O B E R M TA
CHASE & STATUS [DJ SET] DIMENSION CHASE & STATUS [DJ SET] TARGET DIMENSION RUDE KID TARGET 1991 RUDE KID JAMZ 1991 SUPERNOVA SKANKANDBASS JAMZ SUPERNOVA ID SKANKANDBASS THE ID BLAST DJS THE BLAST DJS
F R I D AY 1 4 O C T O B E R SOULECTION PRESENTS FTRHI DE AY S O1U4N DO SC TOOFB ET RO M O R R O W SOULECTION PRESENTS TJOE H E SKAY OUNDS OF TOMORROW
S AT U R D AY 1 5 O C T O B E R CREAM IBIZA S AT U R D AY 1 5 O C T O B E R CREAM IBIZA
JOSEPH CAPRIATI EATS EVERYTHING JOSEPH CAPRIATI KöLSCH [DJ SET] EATS EVERYTHING BREACH KöLSCH [DJ SET] B TRAITS BREACH CRAIG RICHARDS B TRAITS HORSE MEAT DISCO CRAIG RICHARDS JASPER JAMES HORSE MEAT DISCO SOLARDO JASPER JAMEST OU FELIX DICKINSON SOLARDO LD UT O S FELIX DICKINSON DAVE HARVEY D O L O S HARVEY DAVE
RONI SIZE & KRUST PRESENTS CYCLE RONI SIZEFULL & KRUST CONGO NATTYFULL CYCLE PRESENTS ONEMAN CONGO NATTY RANDALL ONEMAN P RANDALL MONEY ELIJAH & SKILLIAM P MONEY NEED FOR& MIRRORS ELIJAH SKILLIAM DJNEED CHAMPION FOR MIRRORS D DJ PRODUCT CHAMPION D PRODUCT JAMMZ & JACK DAT JAMMZ GUESTS: & JACK DAT SPECIAL SPECIAL GUESTS: GENTLEMANS DUB CLUB GENTLEMANS DUB CLUB
S AT U R D AY 1 5 O C T O B E R C R ISTAT I CUARLDSAY O U1N5DO C T O B E R CRITICAL SOUND
F R I D AY 2 1 O C T O B E R B UF GR IGDEAY D O2 U1 TO! C T O B E R BUGGED OUT!
DUSKY [LIVE] DUSKY [LIVE] JULIO BASHMORE JULIO BASHMORE SIMIAN MOBILE DISCO SIMIAN MOBILE MARQUIS HAWKESDISCO MARQUIS HAWKES LORD LEOPARD LORD LEOPARD ELLIOT ELLIOTADAMSON ADAMSON LEMMY LEMMYASHTON ASHTON COUSN COUSN PUNCTUAL PUNCTUAL SPECIAL SPECIALGUEST: GUEST: EROL EROLALKAN ALKAN
SHADOW CHILD SHADOW CHILD CHRIS LORENZO CHRIS LORENZO FRIEND WITHIN FRIEND WITHIN CAMELPHAT CAMELPHAT ICARUS ICARUSJUDDA HARRY HARRY JUDDA MANT MANT SLY SLY ONE ONE
SHY FX SHY TQDFX [ROYAL T,DJ Q,FLAVA D] TQD [ROYAL T,DJ Q,FLAVA D] BAAUER BAAUER NEWHAM GENERALS NEWHAM GENERALS SIRSPYRO SPYRO SIR CHIMPO CHIMPO HOLYGOOF GOOF HOLY UNIIQU3 UNIIQU3 O UT T KLASHNEKOFF LDD O U KLASHNEKOFF O L S OLATEEF RIZ TEEF&&MORE MORE S LA RIZ
MARCEL DETTMANN MARCEL PRINS DETTMANN THOMAS PRINS MIKETHOMAS HUCKABY MIKE HUCKABY PITTMAN MARCELLUS MARCELLUS PITTMAN PENDER STREET STEPPERS PENDER STREET STEPPERS JANE FITZ JANE FITZ TOM TOM RIORIO DAN WILD DAN WILD
F R IFDRAY 0 4 0N4ONVOE VMEBMEBRE R I D AY H O SH POISTA I TLYI T Y P ILTA
S AT U RU DR AY S AT D AY0 50 5N NOOV VE EMMBBEERR B OBNOFNIFRI ER EN INGI GH HT T
SSUUNNDDAY M BB EERR AY 00 66 NN OO VV EE M MMOOTTIIOONN && HH YY PP EE RR CC OO LLOOUURR 1100YYRR BBIIRRT H D AY
AY 1111NNOOV VE M E MB BE RE R FFRRI DI DAY DDRRUUMMCCOODDE E
S AT D AY V EBME RB E R S AT U RUDRAY 1 2 1N2ONV OE M N :OMT OI OTNI O N B RBI RS TI SOTLOILN :I M P RPERSEESNETNS T S
NETSKY NETSKY METRIK METRIK FRED V &V GRAFIX FRED & GRAFIX DANNY BYRD DANNY BYRD SPYSPY DILLINJA DILLINJA ETHERWOOD ETHERWOOD KRAKOTA KRAKOTA TU T LOGISTICS DO UO LOGISTICS L D L O OSHARDIE SHUGH HARDIE HUGH
BASEMENT BASEMENTJAXX JAXX[DJ [DJSET] SET] GOTSOME GOTSOME JUS JUSNOW NOW S.O.B.A.D S.O.B.A.D MORE & &MORE
LAURENT LAURENT GARNIER MARCO MARCO BERNARDI BERNARDI ALEX ALEX JONES JONES CEDRIC MAISON CEDRIC
ADAMBEYER BEYER ADAM ALANFITZPATRICK FITZPATRICK ALAN DENSE&&PIKA PIKA DENSE IDA IDAENGBERG ENGBERG
KATY KATY BB J HUS J HUS GEENEUS & TIPPA GEENEUS & TIPPA NADIA ROSE NADIA ROSE JUBILEE JUBILEE GRANDMIXXER GRANDMIXXER FISH FISH SHERRY S S SHERRY
S ATSUATR UD RAYD AY 1 2 1N2ONVOEVMEBMEBRE R A N E V E N A N E V E N I N GI NWG I TWHI T H
D AY1 81 8N NO OV VE EMMBBEERR F RFIRDIAY U K F UKF
ATUURRDDAY AY 11 99 N N OO VV EE M SSAT MBBEERR H O T C R E AT I O N S H O T C R E AT I O N S
TTHHUURRSSDDAY B EBRE R AY2 24 4N NO OV EV M EM RROOOOMM 223377
F RFI RD IAY 2 52N5 ONVOE VMEBME B RER D AY R URNU N
ORBISON JOYJOY ORBISON
NERO[DJ [DJSET] SET] NERO FRICTION FRICTION DIMENSION DIMENSION
EATS EVERYTHING EVERYTHING EATS RICHY AHMED AHMED RICHY RUSS YALLOP RUSS YALLOP DENNEY DENNEY DETLEF DETLEF SOLARDO SOLARDO WAIFS & STRAYS WAIFS & STRAYS
AUTECHRE [LIVE] AUTECHRE UT O[LIVE] RUSSELL HASWELL D OUT L RUSSELL HASWELL O D S L ANDY S OMADDOCKS ANDY MADDOCKS
HIGH CONTRAST HIGH CONTRAST DJDJ HYPE HYPE SASASAS SASASAS THE PROTOTYPES THE PROTOTYPES CULTURE SHOCK CULTURE SHOCK GHETTS GHETTS GUV GUV TURNO TURNO EVIL B VS B-LIVE EVIL B2B B VSSILKIE B-LIVE JOKER JOKER B2B SILKIE
S AT U R D AY 2 6 N O V E M B E R S ATNUI GR HD TAY O W2L6 N O V E M B E R NIGHTOWL
BICEP BICEP MIND AGAINST JONAS RATHSMAN MIND AGAINST MOXIE JONAS RATHSMAN JOSEY REBELLE MOXIE COUSN JOSEY REBELLE TTANDOM COUSN PUNCTUAL TTANDOM MARBLE FACTORY: PUNCTUAL SKREAM [OPEN TO CLOSE] MARBLE FACTORY: SKREAM [OPEN TO CLOSE]
F R I D AY 0 2 D E C E M B E R F RTIHDEAYB L0A2S TD EPCRE M S EBNETRS THE BLAST PRESENTS
DJ EZ DJMATT EZ JAM LAMONT CONDUCTA MATT JAM LAMONT THE BLAST DJSU VS CONDUCTA O VST BODYNOD DJS THE BLAST DDJS L O S OFF OUT TAKE DJS BODYNOD D DJS L O S OFF DJS TAKE
S AT U R D AY 0 3 D E C E M B E R SKAT N EUER D EAYE P0 I3N DEELCREOMWB E R KNEE DEEP IN ELROW
F R I D AY 0 9 D E C E M B E R TFHREI DBAY L A S0T9 PDREECSEE M N TBSE R THE BLAST PRESENTS
S AT U R D AY 1 0 D E C E M B E R C RSAAT C KU RMDAAY G A Z1I0N ED E C E M B E R CRACK MAGAZINE
S AT U R D AY 1 7 D E C E M B E R S ATAUNRT DS AY 1 7 D E C E M B E R A N TJORIS S VOORN
S AT U R D AY 3 1 D E C E M B E R NYE S AT U R D AY 3 1 D E C E M B E R N YLINE E UP TBA
S U N D AY 0 1 J A N U A R Y SNUYNDD AY 0 1 J A N U A R Y NLINE Y D UP TBA
LINE UP TBA
LINE UP TBA
MEFJUS IVYMEFJUS LAB IVY LAB KASRA KASRA SIGNAL SIGNALB2B TS2W JAYDROP JAYDROP B2B TS2W MANTMAST MANTMAST REMIDY REMIDY
DJ TENNIS JORIS VOORN ANDREA OLIVA DJ TENNIS FRANCISCO ALLENDES ANDREA YOTTOOLIVA FRANCISCO ALLENDES YOTTO
S AT U R D AY 2 2 O C T O B E R SSUATB US OR DU AY L 22 OCTOBER SUBSOUL
HOT SINCE 82 HOT SINCE 82 MATADOR BUTCH MATADOR CRISTOPH BUTCH UT DE LAOSWING CRISTOPH D O T L U S SWING GEORGE PRIVATTI DE LA D O S O L PRIVATTI GEORGE
SOSUPERSAM JOE KAY THE WHOOLIGAN SOSUPERSAM THEWHOOLIGAN KELLY TWINS THE THE KELLY TWINS
PAUL VAN DYK BENVAN NICKY PAUL DYK ALEX M.O.R.P.H BEN NICKY ANTHONY PROBYN ALEX M.O.R.P.H ANTHONY PROBYN
F R I D AY 2 8 O C T O B E R FTRHI DE AY B L 2A8S T:O CHTAOLBLEORW E E N T H E B L A S T: H A L L O W E E N
S AT U R D AY 2 9 O C T O B E R S AT E RE E N J UUSRTD JAY A C2K9: HO CA LT LOOB W JUST JACK: HALLOWEEN
ANDY C ANDY C BAD COMPANY UK [DJ SET] TC BAD COMPANY UK [DJ SET] LEVELZ TC RICHIE LEVELZBRAINS [FULLCREW] BRYAN RICHIEGEE BRAINS [FULLCREW] SOUL IN GEE MOTION BRYAN JAYDROP SOUL IN MOTION JAYDROP
RØDHÅD RØDHÅD DANIEL AVERY AVALON DANIELEMERSON AVERY DISCODROMO AVALON EMERSON TIJANA T DISCODROMO BANOFFEE TIJANA T PIES PARDON MY FRENCH BANOFFEE PIES PARDON MY FRENCH
M O T I O N & T H E M A R B L E FA C T O RY, 7 4 - 7 8 AV O N S T, B R I S T O L , B S 2 0 P X M O T I O N & T H E M A R B L E FA C T O RY, 7 4 - 7 8 AV O N S T, B R I S T O L , B S 2 0 P X
CHELOU WED 28 SEPT ST PANCRAS OLD CHURCH
PLASTIC MERMAIDS THURS 13 OCT LONDON FIELDS BREWERY
WOVOKA GENTLE THURS 29 SEPT CHATS PALACE
FEAR OF MEN FRI 14 OCT CHATS PALACE
THE MOONLANDINGZ THURS 29 SEPT OSLO HACKNEY
OPERATORS TUES 18 OCT THE LEXINGTON
WILD BEASTS TUES 4 OCT & WED 5 OCT ROUNDHOUSE
MARTHA FFION FRI 21 OCT SEBRIGHT ARMS
BEATY HEART THURS 6 OCT BUSSEY BUILDING
KAITLYN AURELIA SMITH MON 24 OCT THE PICKLE FACTORY
MITSKI THURS 6 OCTLD OUT SO DOME TUFNELL PARK
JESSY LANZA TUES 25 OCT SCALA
SNOW GHOSTS THURS 6 OCT THE WAITING ROOM
GLASS ANIMALS TUES 25 OCT D OUT SOL ROUNDHOUSE
FRAN LOBO MON 10 OCT THE PICKLE FACTORY
EZRA FURMAN MON 31 OCT ROUNDHOUSE
PARQUET COURTS TUES 11 OCT O2 FORUM KENTISH TOWN
THIS IS THE KIT TUES 1 NOV UNION CHAPEL
LAIL ARAD WED 2 & THURS 15 NOV SERVANT JAZZ QUARTERS MERCHANDISE WED 2 NOV THE LEXINGTON THE BIG MOON THURS 3 NOV SCALA GLASS GANG TUES 8 NOV THE WAITING ROOM EASTERN BARBERS THURS 10 NOV OUT THE NINESSOLD SERATONES THURS 10 NOV OSLO HACKNEY STEVE GUNN MON 14 NOV 100 CLUB LA FEMME THURS 17 NOV O2 SHEPHERDâ€™S BUSH EMPIRE BC CAMPLIGHT FRI 18 NOV OSLO HACKNEY
HAZEL ENGLISH MON 21 NOV THE WAITING ROOM ANNA MEREDITH WED 23 NOV SCALA PALACE WED 23 NOV BRIXTON ELECTRIC HIDDEN CAMERAS TUES 29 NOV THE LEXINGTON HINDS FRI 2 DEC O2 FORUM KENTISH TOWN RHAIN WED 7 DEC THE WAITING ROOM GIRL BAND THURS 8 DEC SCALA CATE LE BON WED 14 DEC ISLINGTON ASSEMBLY HALL GLASS ANIMALS THURS 16 MAR O2 ACADEMY BRIXTON PARALLELLINESPROMOTIONS.COM
AUTUMN / WINTER 2016
SUPERSTITION FRI 26TH AUG
FRI 11TH NOV
DAUWD, GHOST CULTURE, POWEL
AFTERLIFE SOLD OUT TALE OF US ALL NIGHT LONG
FRI 24TH SEP
SAT 12 TH NOV
AFTERLIFE SOLD OUT
SAT 1ST OCT
FRI 18TH NOV
ALL NIGHT LONG
DORISBURG LIVE, TIJANA T PATHWORKS
SAT 8TH OCT
FRI 25 TH NOV
22 LIGHT YEARS OF PLANETARY FUNK TOUR
REDSHAPE, HUNTER/GAME, AGENTS OF TIME, PISETSKY
EFDEMIN, INLAND, CASSEGRAIN & TIN MAN, CSGRV
LUKE SLATER, SHIFTED, DASHA RUSH. KAMIKAZE SPACE PROGRAMME LIVE, PATHWORKS FRI 14TH OCT
TALE OF US, ANSWER CODE REQUEST, MONOLOC
SPECIAL GUESTDYSTOPIAN JUST THIS
SAT 26TH NOV
DAVE CLARKE REBEKAH. PATHWORKS
ALL NIGHT LONG
54 HOLYWELL LANE, SHOREDITCH, LONDON, EC2A 3PQ
BUY TICKETS AT RESIDENT ADVISOR
Fri.04.Nov Allan Rayman Courage Ralph Hardy
Coming Soon 808Ink / Daniel Ness / Elderbrook / Makola / More//Night / Noah Slee / Nvoy / PHAM / WiDE AWAkE
Get Burst Every Friday
015 Crack Magazine is a free and independent platform for contemporary culture Published and distributed monthly by Crack Industries Ltd. For any distribution enquiries please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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New Music - 27 From the periphery Reviews - 65 Festival reports, product reviews and our verdict on the latest releases in film and music Turning Points: DJ Semtex - 87 As the unofficial ambassador for hip-hop in the UK, DJ Semtex has seen it all – from parties on the estate in Cheetham Hill to indepth conversations with Kanye West. Duncan Harrison unpacks the landmark stages of his relentless grind 20 Questions: Paz Lenchantin - 89 The Pixies bassist talks AAA road services, coffee with Kanye and by-the-hour motels with Davy Reed Perspective: What Happened to the '24Hour City'? - 90 Following the closure of esteemed London club fabric, dance music scholar Luis ManuelGarcia addresses the diversity of views towards club culture across Europe's nightlife capitals
Aesthetic: Eartheater - 62 Hyper-real photography studio Freel and Gorse shoot the genre-less artist for Crack’s wildest Aesthetic to date
Sir Spyro: Humble Awakening - 52 Tomas Fraser speaks with one of instrumental grime’s unsung heroes.
Powell: En-Counter Culture - 32 The Diagonal Records leader is giving underground electronic music a muchneeded dose of humour. By Xavier Boucherat
Avalon Emerson: Powerful Visions - 36 The rising DJ/producer tells Emma Robertson how memories of the Arizona desert have defined her sound
Cakes Da Killa: With a Cherry On Top - 40 Felicity Martin meets with the New Jersey rapper (and his nan) to find out how post-break up partying lit the fuse for his new album Hedonism
Simon Reynolds: Shock and Awe - 48 Karl Smith calls the esteemed music critic to discuss the proto-post-modern powers of glam rock
The Tough Heart of Luke Slater's Planetary Assault Systems - 44 Techno veteran Luke Slater has shed plenty of skins across his work. Following his latest, personal outing for Ostgut Ton, Theo Kotz finds him in a reflective mood
Honeyblood: Hocus Pocus - 55 Sammy Jones discovers how Buffy the Vampire Slayer and a grizzly painting inspired the indie-pop duo’s new LP Babes Never Die
100th Window: The Visual Manipulations of Massive Attack - 56 Working alongside United Visual Artists, the evolution of Massive Attack's live backdrop mirrors the warping qualities of the information age to carry a potent political message. Robert "3D" Del Naja shares his concerns with Francis Blagburn
Editorial - 23 Turn the Leaves
Nicolas Jaar: Take a Look Outside - 26 Five years ago, the Chilean-American artist raised the bar of experimental electronic music with his seminal debut album Space Is Only Noise. With racial prejudice and negative ideologies gripping the political mainstream, Jaar's new album Sirens sees him voice his discontent
019 I could swear I’ve been hearing talk of tarot cards, new moons and witchcraft more than usual this year. And last month, I became familiar with a phrase I’d never heard before: “Mercury Retrograde”.
Crack Was Made Using
Erykah Badu ... & On Danny Brown Reallly Doe ft. Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul & Earl Sweatshirt Aphex Twin #3 Jubilee Opa-Locka Mulatu Astatke Yefikir Tizita Annette Peacock I’m The One Kim Gordon Murdered Out Björk Charlene Inc. No World The Wheel Travis Scott through the late night NxWorries Lyk Dis Wiley Can’t Go Wrong
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith + Suzanne Ciani Sunergy Nicolas Jaar Killing Time Honeyblood Cruel Les Rallizes Denudes Strung Out Deeper Than The Night András Rebecca’s Theme (Water) Begin Optical Holiday Part 1
It’s easy to be cynical about this stuff of course, to tut and roll your eyes like someone’s narrow-minded dad. But maybe I’ll refrain from dismissing all these cosmic vibes from now on, because considering the state of reality right now, some otherworldly ideas might not be such a bad shout. Davy Reed, Editor
Franćois K Hypnodelic Death Grips Eh Gina X Performance No G.D.M. Prince Buster Freezing Up Orange Street Solange Don't Touch My Hair Scarlet Rascal Last Day Preoccupations Memory
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds I Need You
To be honest, I haven’t previously taken much interest in astrology, the occult, or anything more exciting than the cold logic of trusty old rationality. So with Mercury Retrograde covering much of the time we’ve been working on this issue, I thought I’d look it up on a few astrology websites, which, for some reason, all look like they haven’t been updated since 1997. From what I understand, Mercury is the planet of communication, so when it goes into retrograde orbit around the sun it appears to be going backwards, but it’s not, and this disturbs our mental faculties, making us experience confusion, fall into bizarre arguments, and suffer with failing technology, which all sounds about right.
And when the articles started coming in for Issue 69, I couldn’t help but notice an abundance of quotes encouraging us to think beyond the restrictions of scientific reason. For our cover story Nicolas Jaar had spoken eloquently about the emerging “ghosts” of regressive values, the Avalon Emerson interview included intriguing recommendations of natal charts and “vague celestial vibrations”, and Honeyblood revealed that their new album is inspired by magic, the supernatural and all sorts of spooky shit. Having revealed himself to be a Virgo in his press notes, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for poor Powell, who had to promote his new album while his ruling planet had gone into retrograde.
Issue 69 October 2016
BALLERS! COME OUT TO PLAY...
THE HALLOWEEN MASKED BALL PRESENTS
CONEY ISLAND: FREAKS GEEKS j HUMAN MARVELS 6PM-6AM SAT 29TH OCTOBER ‡ LOS FLAMBARDOS - CORNWALL
europe’s biggest halloween party in a fully operational theme park FEATURING:
hot chip ‡ CAMO & KROOKED ‡ METRIK ‡ DANNY BYRD ‡ NU:TONE ‡ KRAKOTA HUGH HARDIE ‡ SPECIAL GUEST LTJ BUKEM ‡ EWAN PEARSON ‡ DRUMS OF DEATH GHOST CULTURE ‡ DIXON AVENUE BASEMENT JAMMS ‡ BODDIKA ‡ RESET ROBOT LOKIA ‡ DJ YODA ‡ CHEEBA ‡ BOCAWOODY + MANY MORE ACROSS 8 STAGES MASKEDBALL.NET
Recommended O ur g ui d e to wh at's goi n g on i n y ou r c i ty
DAMO SUZUKI The Shacklewell Arms 13 October
ROMAN FLÜGEL Patterns, Brighton 22 October
XENIA RUBINOS Birthdays 24 October
CLUB TO CLUB GAIKA, Powell, Arca & Jesse Kanda Turin, Italy 2-6 November €90
AWFUL RECORDS SHOWCASE St John at Hackney 20 October
Club to Club is famous for curating impressive line-ups of leftfield music, and this is arguably the festival’s most adventurous edition to date. With most of the action taking place at a huge venue in the industrial Lingotto district of the city, at this year’s C2C Arca will DJ while kindred spirit Jesse Kanda provides the visuals, Nan Kolé and DJ Lag will represent South Africa’s thrilling Gqom movement and respected Berlin label Janus will host appearances from M.E.S.H., Kablam and Total Freedom. While this is an opportunity to explore sonic experimentation of the cutting-edge, Club to Club doesn’t neglect its duties of satisfying the party atmosphere, and this year you can expect the likes of Laurent Garnier, Daphni and Motor City Drum Ensemble to galvanise the dancefloor.
JENNY HVAL Oslo 19 October
The ‘Live From Robert Johnson’ don graces the basement at Patterns. Roman Flügel’s 20 years of experience have made him one of the most respected DJs around, having built a reputation alongside some of the biggest names in the game. His sets vary wildly from ambient to electro to techno. Anyone who saw his Boiler Room from earlier this year will attest that this is set to be pure fire. Support from Mr Bongo and J Faro make this one not to be missed.
PORCHES The Lexington 25 October
CALL SUPER Patterns, Brighton 29 October
LET’S E AT GR ANDMA Oval Space 2 November
ANGEL OLSEN AND THE R AINCOATS Islington Assembly Hall 4 November As if getting to see Angel Olsen’s sublime, melancholy pop live in one of London’s most beautiful venues wasn’t enough, Olsen has teamed up with British post-punk icons The Raincoats for this one-off performance. The show is part of a series of live collaborations organised to celebrate Rough Trade’s 40th anniversary and it’s literally only happening once. We know we say ‘don’t miss out’ a lot… but we really mean it this time.
DOCK YARD FESTIVAL ADE 2016 RPR Soundsystem, Surgeon, Oscar Mulero (Live) NDSM Docklands, Amsterdam 22 – 23 October €42.50 Yet another unbelievable line-up at the third Dockyard festival at ADE. Its five stages, set up among the industrial docklands in Amsterdam, showcase select labels like Pole Group, Mindshake Records and [a:rpia:r]. It’s a broad church: the ultra-deep leanings of Raresh and Rhadoo sit opposite techno luminaries Surgeon and Truss, whereas the likes of Daniel Miller and Nicole Moudaber represent from further left of field. Definitely one of the jewels of ADE’s mammoth programme.
BROKEN ENGLISH CLUB The Waiting Room 9 October
PE ARSON SOUND Oval Space 21 October
SIMPLE THINGS Warpaint, Death Grips, Nina Kraviz Various Venues, Bristol £35 + BF We first started working on Simple Things back in 2013, and considering that we’ve been shouting about it as loudly as we possibly can, we’re hoping it’s become obvious that it’s something we’re particularly proud to be invested in. With members of our team handling much of the booking, naturally we’ve always been fans of the festival’s music policy, and this year the notorious noise-rap duo Death Grips, Warpaint, Kano, Squarepusher’s live project Shobaleader One, AJ Tracey and former Crack cover star Abra are just a few of the line-up’s many highlights. In terms of guitar-orientated acts, you’ll also find bands such as Suuns, Three Trapped Tigers, The Big Moon, former Beta Band frontman Steve Mason, Kagoule and local post-punk practitioners Idles performing live, while the dancefloor material will be provided right up until the early hours by Ben UFO, Nina Kraviz, a footwork showcase from Teklife, Helena Hauff, Beats in Space host Tim Sweeney, DnB kingpin dBridge, NTS regular Throwing Shade and many more spread across a diverse network of Bristol venues. And last – but certainly not least – the legendary Charlotte Church will be gracing the festival with her presence, bringing her notorious Late Night Pop Dungeon along just incase anyone’s not lost their shit yet. We’re absolutely beaming.
023 BR ANDT BR AUER FRICK Olso 25 October
PJ HARVEY Brixton Academy 31 October
CLOCK STRIKES 13: NA AFI Jazz Cafe, London 22 October RED BULL MUSIC ACADEMY UK TOUR Various venues, Liverpool/Glasgow/London/Leeds 6 – 30 October From £10 per show
DESIIGNER Heaven 7 October £19.80 Whatever your views are on the artistic integrity of G.O.O.D Music signee Desiigner, there is no denying that the frenetic hook of Panda has made an indelible impact on the sound of 2016. Situations like this arise from time to time, where artists emerge and split opinion so extremely that it can be unclear what to think. Does he sound loads like Future? Yes. Is he is a total lunatic on stage? Yes – his dabs have now degenerated into indefinable convulsions of flailing arms and there’s a clip online of him vomiting mid-flow and carrying on. Head to Heaven for his debut London show and see if you can make your mind up.
Shows, club-nights, lectures and special one-offs are to be hosted by RBMA across the country this month. Club Cosmos, an immersive night with Moodymann, Hunee and Young Marco stands out in Liverpool; Jackmaster’s disco in a Glasgow launderette sounds incredible; Dizzee Rascal gets deep into his story before performing Boy in da Corner in full in London; and in Leeds, a live-scored screening of It Follows promises to blow your head and scare you shitless. So much on offer here.
MONGREL: HARDCORE PUNK WEEKEND DIY Space for London 7-9 October
COSEY FANNI TUT TI: ART SEX MUSIC (RE ADING) ICA 26 September
MEDL AR The Columbian 21 October
AWESOME TAPES FROM AFRICA SHOWCASE Corsica 20 October Brian Shimkovitz spent years in West Africa studying and collecting music, later deciding to share it on his blog Awesome Tapes from Africa. It has since become an essential resource for anyone with an interest in African music. Along with labels like Soundway, Sofrito and Strut, Shimkovitz has done a lot to disseminate African music across the globe. Shimkovitz is taking Awesome Tapes on the road, bringing with him the reason the blog started in the first place – the man behind the original Awesome Tape: the unique, anti-rhythmic flow of Ata Kak’s Obaa Sima. Joining them is DJ Katapila, channelling the Ga heritage of Accra, filtered through more contemporary forms of dance music from across the continent, as well as Shimkovitz, the tape archeologist himself.
The Clock Strikes 13 series stands proud in London’s clubbing calendar as an adventurous alternative to the rotation of the usual suspects who play clubs for the rest of the year. Among this year’s stellar programme, the arrival of Mexican club collective NAAFI is one of the most exciting. Co-founders Lao, Mexican Jihad and Fausto Bahia are appearing alongside NTS DJ and NON Records co-founder Nkisi. Collectively, the selections of these DJs will test the upper limits of Latin American club sounds – transporting listeners into a heady swell of clattering drum sounds and machine-gun rhythms. Get suitably armoured and prepare for battle.
PARQUET COURTS Kentish Town Forum 11 October
ALTERN-8 The Shacklwell Arms 28 October
FLUORESCENT CHRYSANTHEMUM ICA Until 27 November BL ACKEST EVER BL ACK Corsica Studios 15 October MIRRORS FESTIVAL Bat For Lashes, Allah Las, Fucked Up Various Venues, Hackney 29 October £27
K AITLYN AURELIA SMITH The Pickle Factory 24 October
Mirrors Festival have lined up everyone from London’s indie darling Bat For Lashes to Toronto’s sweating, flailing punk mob Fucked Up with heaps more in between. It’s all going down in Moth Club, Hackney Round Chapel, St John at Hackney and Oslo. If wandering around some of Hackney’s finest venues on an October evening to witness some of the most excellent live prospects the world has to offer isn’t your kettle of fish then, quite frankly, it’s time rethink the kind of marine life you’re using to fill your Russell Hobbs.
DJ BONE Phonox 14 October
Fluorescent Chrysanthemum was originally presented at the ICA gallery in 1968. The first presentation of experimental Japanese art, music, film and design in Europe, it showcased a bold and immersive array of art from a selection of Japanese artists never before shown in the UK, highlighting the ICA's place as a historic incubator for radical contemporary arts. This display looks back through archive material from the 1986 exhibition, holding the importance of the immersive, distinctly gleaming show to the light.
JUMPING BACK SL ASH
MURDER When punk emerged in the late 1970s it carried with it an overtly anti-establishment sentiment. It was music designed to shock and confuse the politicians and parents who so desperately needed a wake up call. These days, perhaps more than at any other time in the forty years since, it feels like we need that more than ever. At least in spirit. Murder’s debut six-track demo, a snarling, shredding, peaking punk record with a distinctive London accent is fast, loud and comes complete with a political urgency that doesn’t let up. Over six tracks the band explore white collar crime, the taboos surrounding male suicide and the hopelessness of being young and socially immobile in modern society. Along with bands like Frame of Mind and The Flex Murder, they are part of a new wave of UK hardcore bands with societal rebellion at their heart. We can expect Murder to become a vital part of this rapidly expanding scene.
O Magic Man 1 Sporting Life / Young Male : marq757.bandcamp.com
TAYL A I don’t know if you’ve ever been out in Birmingham, but if you have, the sounds of newcomer Tayla will be familiar. By her own admission, her explosive debut single Call Me Danger centres around a night out in Brum. It’s the kind of immense pop single which caters to the before, during and after of any worthwhile session. Tayla appears to have scope to dominate the mainstream while still showcasing a mode of pop songwriting which belongs solely to her, outside the world of roundtable writing sessions and overly-meddling A&Rs. However much her star rises, we get the feeling she'll remain rooted in the Midlands. Thus far, the single is all we have to go on but it’s a promising start – a fierce, gloves-off anthemin-waiting from a raw, authentic talent.
O Call Me Danger 1 Kehlani / Sia : @iam_tayla
O Love As Fire 1 Felix Laband / Nonku Phiri jumpingbackslash1.bandcamp.com
O Murder 1 Crisis / The Flex : murderhardcore. bandcamp.com
Every now and then, in amidst the suffocating flood of club tracks released, there emerges a producer who cuts through the noise. Sophie Wilson arrived on the Workshop label last year with the sultry Feel Me. Home to the dreamy, playful and left of centre house and techno of Lowtec and Kassem Mosse, debuting on the esteemed German imprint was an impressive hustle that stirred up plenty of curiosity in electronic music circles. Having recently released an EP for the label that maps out soft, dimly lit house, slinking basslines and bluesy vocals (while flirting with dubstep), the Manchesterbased producer – who also holds down a residency at Nottingham club night 808 – continues to intrigue . O Feel Mee 1 Edward / DJ Sprinkles : soundcloud.com/ willowmcr
Jumping Back Slash moved to South Africa from the UK in 2007. He and his wife had initially gone back for five months. Almost ten years later they are still in Cape Town, and he has cemented a place among the players in one of the most exciting scenes on the planet. In the years he's been making music as JBS, he has released several EPs independently, worked with and remixed the likes of Okmalumkoolkat, Card On Spokes and Spoek Mathambo, not to mention gained a couple of production credits on Fantasma’s Free Love from 2015. The upcoming Slow Oceans EP on new label Cotch International is his third to drop this year. When listening to all three, the real breadth of JBS’ palette comes to the fore. The harder, darker sounds on tracks like Tethered To The Edge are a far cry from the smooth, sounded edges of Fall In Luv. Slow Oceans sits somewhere between the two, all the while retaining the broken beats upon which he builds his sonic structures. He recalls how his love of that scene was first established, “I heard a track called Bazoom Base by DJ Sdoko and it blew my mind ‘cause it merged almost tacky Eurohouse progressive sounds into this mad, broken house rhythm. After that I just got very into it. That informed Jumping Back Slash: it was my influences and aspirations before I came to SA smashed together with the music I was hearing here.” It’s fair to say that there were a lot of them: inherent in JBS’ music are hints of classic RnB and jazz, as well as jungle and dub, all refracted through the filter of the sounds of SA. Being from the UK and adopting the flavour of South African music, initially SA house and more recently the darker, sparser sounds of gqom, carries some danger and requires a certain sensitivity. “I've never been interested in straight up xeroxing the sounds here. I've always tried to do something new and attempt to put my own spin on things. I don’t see myself as a representative or an authority at all... if I am anything I am part of the larger SA electronic music scene and what I do is very reflective of and inspired by my life here. I feel very lucky and grateful to be here.” In this age of shrinking musical boundaries, when geographical location hinders the reach of music less and less, these are questions which remain relevant. In his words, “there is amazing, forward thinking, one-of-a-kind music made here by so many different people in so many different ways”. His is one way, and it speaks for itself.
Last year, Galcher Lustwerk told us that part of the motivation for starting his label was to open upcoming musicians’ minds to house and techno. “I want to show young producers, especially young black producers in America, that you can put your own thing out regardless of the genre,” the NYC producer said. “Because a lot of young black producers around here, they just stick with the strategy of leasing out beats to rappers, and seeing whatever sticks.” True to his word, Lustwerk Music’s latest release is the debut EP from Quavius, a twentysomething Floridabased producer who operates without genre constraints, fluctuating between laidback dance-orientated material and hip-hop, the latter for which he raps himself. Billed as an exploration of "energetic deep house, two-stepping astral funk, crispy cloud raps and cascading rollerskate riffs", the EP shows that, just like his mentor, Quavius thrives when he’s roaming freely.
027 Words: Robert McCallum Photography: Teddy Fitzhugh
Having released his seminal debut album Space Is Only Noise at the age of 21, Nicolas Jaar has since scored films, curated his Other People record label and made brooding psychedelia with his duo Darkside. His new album Sirens completes a trilogy of releases that springs from Greek mythology to real world tragedy. Jaarâ€™s most political work to date, the album mimics the beautiful yet dangerous creatures of its namesake, weighing Jaarâ€™s powerful melancholic tones in a new found physicality.
029 Jaar lives just a short walk from where he first rose to prominence playing Williamsburg house collective Wolf + Lamb’s parties at the age of 17 almost a decade ago. After releasing a string of underground dance tracks on their label in 2010, he wiped the slate clean with his first full-length, Space Is Only Noise in 2011. It was an album no 20-year-old has any right to record. As indebted to the skewed house he had been producing up until its release as it was the sonic explorations of composers like Steve Reich, Philip Glass and John Cage, the record introduced an artist pushing the boundaries of where modern electronica can go.
“Old values are being reinstated, and these ghosts are coming back on a very scary and deep level”
Five years on, and Nicolas Jaar has produced a multitude of projects under his own name, including his Nymphs EP series from last year, Pomegranates – an alternate soundtrack to Sergei Parajanov’s 1969 avant-garde film The Colour of Pomegranates – and remixes for artists as wide ranging as Brian Eno, Grizzly Bear and Florence + The Machine. He’s also worked alongside Dave Harrington as Darkside, and produced material under a multitude of pseudonyms including Against All Logic. Up until the news of Sirens earlier today, the only glaring omission over the past five years has been a full-length-proper follow up to Space Is Only Noise. So no pressure. “It’s the first time strangers are going to listen to it,” Jaar tells me over the phone. “Which is scary for me.” Softly spoken and deeply considered, Jaar occasionally apologises before pausing to consider questions. Today he’s been fielding calls from people anxious to make it to tonight’s album listening party. To Jaar, these kind of events have become an important part of launching a new record. “I like it as a ritual,” he continues. “It feels like a physical manifestation of a beginning. There’s not much to the release process these days. It just goes up on iTunes. So all being present in a room feels like we’re
giving birth together. But a part of me is still very afraid.” The album he’s set to play makes up a trio of recordings steeped in Greek mythology alongside Nymphs (the divine spirit) and Pomegranates (the fruit of the dead). But as the name suggests, Sirens feels the most daring and dangerous of the three. The previous projects in the trio were originally earmarked as follow ups to Space Is Only Noise, but Jaar felt they didn’t reach into the right musical territory. “My original follow up was Nymphs. But when I listened to it, it wasn’t right... It’s not that I didn’t believe in the music,” he enthuses. “It was more like there was something missing.” So last year, inspired by the work he had put out, he began investigating that space in his New York apartment. The result, victoriously, is Sirens. The cover art to the album is made of scratch card paper which can be removed with the American quarter that comes with LP, and it reveals a piece of artwork by his father, Alfredo Jaar, entitled A Logo For America. The piece shows an image of New York’s Times Square in 1987 along with a billboard that reads “this is not America”. The statement summates much of what the album is about. A recording steeped in parallels, Sirens is an opaque protest album, as well as a deeply personal love letter to his listeners, all born from concerns over the politics of the modern world. The immediate shift when first listening to Sirens is the presence of a discernible voice throughout, as carefully crafted lyrics jump out of Jaar’s experimental soundscapes. “There’s more songwriting on this album than anything I’ve done before,” he explains. “I’ve always tried to tell stories with sound, and my voice was just an instrument. But by looking at the world around me, and the political situation of the past few years, I felt I wanted to tell a story with words; for the listener to be able to read the lyrics as a poem and decipher the meaning. And that’s really fucking hard, as it doesn’t come naturally to me.” Despite this new focus on songwriting, there’s still the underlying chaos that flows through much of Jaar’s back catalogue. For each carefully constructed verse, delicately placed piano or soaring synth, there’s a drum track going off the rails or a screaming saxophone fighting against it. And that’s what makes Sirens an unquestionably Nicolas Jaar album. “Against all logic is very much my motto,” he explains. “I like questioning why sounds don’t go together, and going against what should
Nicolas Jaar sits in the living room of his apartment in Brooklyn, New York. Surrounded by modular synths, cables, a piano, countless books and records organised neatly on shelves and a vintage mixing desk, the home studio feel defines the space in which he worked for nine months on Sirens, the album he announced this morning. In just a few hours, Jaar hosts a listening party at a warehouse venue in Ridgewood, Brooklyn, where he will air the album to the public for the first time.
“Drake is making house music now. It’s a really cool time for pop music. But it makes releasing dance tracks very complicated” make sense in terms of that. Personally it allows me to be creative. I guess I’m more interested in chaos than cohesion, I believe it’s a little more realistic.” Speaking to Jaar emphasises just how personal an album Sirens is. Despite looking to the outside world, it deals with issues of racial profiling, entrenched conservatism and the parallels between the current political climate – he cites both Donald Trump and Brexit as key to his thought process on Sirens – and the feelings of otherness he experienced in his youth. Born in New York, Jaar’s parents separated when he was three years old so that his mother could return to her native Chile. “I was seen as a gringo there,” he explains. “Even though my Dad is Chilean, because he was still in New York I was seen as an American. Then when I returned to the US, the kids at my French school saw me as Chilean. So I became super American. I’d skateboard, wear Phat Farm and only listen to hip-hop. I had this feeling that if I became really American, I’d finally belong somewhere. But then when I went to college in Providence, I was suddenly seen as a French kid.” Subsequently, Killing Time, the first track on Sirens, was part inspired by the #IStandWithAhmed story that went viral on Twitter last year, when 14-year-old Muslim, Ahmed Mohamed, was arrested for possessing what was believed to be a bomb, after he took a homemade clock into school in Texas to show his engineering teacher. ‘We are just waiting for the old folks to die/ We are just waiting/ For the old thoughts to die/ Just killing time’, Jaar sings, hoping that his generation can outlive racial prejudice while exploring the imagery of Ahmed building his own sense of time.
No is named after the plebiscite campaign that ousted Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1990, who faced various accusations of fascism before his death in 2006. The album’s Times Square cover is adorned with the Spanish phrase “ya dijimos no pero el si esta en todo”, which roughly translates to “we already said no but the yes is in everything”, with ‘Ya dijimons No!’
(‘We said No!’) making up the bombast of Jaar’s vocal throughout. “That was the time of Margaret Thatcher in the UK, Pinochet in Chile and Regan in the US,” Jaar explains of the Chilean No campaign. “I think there’s a lot in that statement,” he pauses. “Especially today. Old values are being reinstated, and these ghosts are coming back on a very scary and deep level. It’s insane that we’re even talking about Donald Trump, but if he does get elected, the last 100 years of America have been tragic, and this is a new low.” Sirens sees release through Jaar’s Other People label, which has also put out Nymphs and Pomegranates, as well as material from William Basinski, Lucrecia Dalt, Lydia Lunch and DJ Slugo, the Chicago veteran who collaborated with Jaar for the moving spoken-word piece Ghetto. The imprint follows Clown & Sunset, the label Jaar founded in 2009 before stopping it in 2013, having taken its sound as far as he thought it could go. “I like the tradition in electronic music of artists putting work out on different labels and the flavour each creates,” he explains. “But the main reason I’ve run them is that the second I started making a living from touring, I felt a tremendous guilt, as I see it as an ecosystem. If I’m making money, it should be going towards jumpstarting other people’s careers onto the same path.” And while many think Jaar left the dancefloor focused material from his Wolf + Lamb days behind, his label has been home to many of the pseudonyms he’s used to continue that work. “I see things like Against All Logic as a continuation of that,” he explains. “I always find it funny when announcements say something is ‘the first Nicolas Jaar single in three years’, as I’ve put out work under many different names.” When he released Space Is Only Noise in 2011, Jaar spoke about how he felt electronic music was going through something of a renaissance, perhaps due to the proliferation of affordable production software which enabled more people able to produce music without the need for a studio. But five
years on, Jaar finds it in a remarkably different place. “Drake is making house music now,” he enthuses. “And so is Justin Bieber. The biggest songs in the US are house. In no way am I shitting on any of these people, as it’s actually a really cool time for pop music. But it makes releasing dance tracks very complicated. That’s one of the reasons I knew Nymphs wasn’t my follow up. It didn’t feel right.” As well as being an imaginative remixer, Jaar is also a notable talent behind the decks, and having previously released one recorded mix per year since 2012 – including his BBC Radio One Essential Mix of the Year winner – Jaar has blown that right open in the lead up to the release of Sirens with his project The Network. The culmination of months of work, it’s a 333 channel online radio, based entirely upon the basis of chance, where a user inputs a channel number to hear the Jaar mix assigned to it – the uppermost channel has also been used to premiere Sirens ahead of its release. “Every time you play a piece of music online now, an algorithm provides you with a recommendation,” Jaar explains. “I had a realisation that chance is being squeezed out of the internet. Capitalism doesn’t necessarily want chance. It wants to give you the feeling like you’re discovering something, but to a certain extent you’re being watched. It’s part of that insane mirror gallery that the internet allows, and that’s why Sirens starts with the sound of them breaking, as the idea of a website built on pure chance excited me.” And this sense of freedom flows through everything Jaar is working on at the moment. Having finished his study of comparative literature at Brown University since the release of Space Is Only Noise, he says it’s since calling a hiatus on Darkside in 2014 that he saw his biggest shift into adult life. But for all his maturity, Jaar is still hugely confused about what it means to be an artist in the 21st Century. “That’s one of the biggest questions for me,” he says. “Are we just creating comfort with art and music? Are we clowns talking in an endless vacuum? Or can we go further
and affect a positive change? If not, should we just down tools and resort to physical labour? Would that be more helpful? I still don’t know the answer to these questions.” Reflecting this sense of curiosity and, perhaps, discontent is the melancholic feel that defines Jaar’s music. He assures me it’s a source of inspiration. “There’s something creative about being close to your suffering,” he explains. “It has to be on a level that’s healthy, as if you’re too close you can’t do anything. But when there’s a latent melancholy inside you, that’s a very creative place to be.” While it’s wise to refrain from describing Jaar’s material as “blue wave”, a term he blurted out early in his career (“That was a joke that ended up biting me in the ass”) it’s clear the 26-year-old pours all his emotion into his work. “Some people speak as if there’s a separation between me and my music,” he says. “As if this is some kind of career. But there’s zero separation between the music that I make and who I am. And that’s why I’m so nervous about playing Sirens out tonight.” And with that, Jaar starts collecting his things, ready to get back out onto the Brooklyn streets and begin his next chapter at the vanguard of experimental electronic music. “I don’t buy it that the only thing culture can do is make people happy,” he concludes as our conversation draws to a close. “I would hope there’s the potential for more. But I guess that’s for us to decide.” Sirens is out now via Other People. Nicolas Jaar appears at Dekmantel São Paulo, Brazil, 4-5 February 2017
033 Words: Xavier Boucherat Photography: Alex de Mora
Oscar Powell likes music writers so much that he provides them with a list of tips for ‘maximising your interview time’ with him. ‘Tell him he looks good’, it suggests, also advising you to refer to him as a London-based EDM producer, 'like Pitchfork did 12 months ago’. It also lists some questions not to ask – chief among them being anything about watermelons. “I’m not gonna talk about it,” he says, when I ask him about watermelons. “There was an incident with a watermelon. I was 14 years old, and the melon theme just stuck.” Notably, there’s his NTS show Melon Magic, so called in joking reference to Magic FM’s Mellow Magic – a joke that’s not so bad given the two shows are polar opposites. A hellish mess of raw, often brutal electronics, broken DJ equipment and terrible patter, each episode embodies the unfiltered chaos that Powell and his label, Diagonal, have brought to club music over the last five years. Diagonal recently celebrated its fifth birthday at Berghain with a party featuring Powell, Helena Hauff, and noise terror and long-time friend Russell Haswell going b2b with cult electro veteran DJ Stingray. One week later at XL Recordings’ London HQ, Powell’s reflecting on how much the night meant to him. “Growing up, Berghain was a temple, and so to be there playing music with my best friends was a great reminder why I even bother,” he tells me. “You need space to appreciate why you love music, otherwise looking after your head gets difficult and you accumulate anxieties. Berghain was perfect for that. I didn’t actually care about my performance much – I’m sure it was the worst of the night – I was just happy to be playing music in an environment it was actually made for.”
Jacket: A.P.C / Other Voices Watermelon: Model’s Own
He’s now on the verge of releasing his first LP, Sport, on XL Recordings – the relatively lucrative independent whose roster has ranged from Zomby to Adele. Powell kicked off his music career in 2010 after approaching UK producer Regis at a gig with a demo and being encouraged to start his own label, and Sport provides the most complete picture of his music to date. Abrasive
and playful in equal measure, the press campaign for the record has seen some appropriately mischievous behaviour. In 2015, Powell emailed alt-rock figurehead Steve Albini to clear a vocal sample for his track Insomniac. Although Albini granted permission without even hearing Powell’s music, his response was typically, hilariously grouchy. “I detest club culture as deeply as I detest anything on earth. So I am against what you’re into, and an enemy of where you come from,” he ranted. Presumably delighted by the hostility of the esteemed producer and musican, Powell and his team decided to print Albini’s email in full on billboards to promote Insomniac. When it came to announcing Sport this summer, the Powell billboards reappeared – and this time he’d put his own email address on them, inviting the world at large to get in touch and shoot the shit. In total, Powell claims he had around 900 conversations with, as he puts it, all kinds of weirdos. “I heard a lot about people’s personal health problems, got sent a lot of stupid GIFs, and was surprised to find out I have fans in Brazil,” he says. “There was no concrete ambition behind it, I just felt now would be a great time to invite myself to be trolled, and in the end, only one person did.” Troll or not, the person in question was incensed by Powell’s seemingly irreverent attitude to ‘something people love,’ dubbing him the ‘electroclash Richie Hawtin’ and a ‘fake ass fuck’ who’d probably never danced in his life. But what some perceive as irreverence, suggests Powell, is just his natural way of showing people how much he loves what he does. “I remember when Skream used to have show called Stella Sessions,” he tells me, “so called because he’d just play dubplates and neck Stellas. You could feel how much he loved what he did. And there’s a lot out there right now which I just don’t get this feeling from. A lot of it is serious and austere – there’s no chaos about it. I love dicking around, and I want that to come through on my music.”
“Sometimes you make something ridiculous because you love how stupid it sounds”
It comes through loud and clear on some of Sport’s skits. One example is Skype, a low-quality Skype call between Powell and ‘Jakbeat’ house don Traxx, in which we hear the influential Chicago selector rant at length on what it takes to be a good DJ. “He’s incredible at what he does, and he’s also capable of saying some utterly crazy shit, particularly if he’s had a few blunts before breakfast,” says Powell. “Sometimes you make something ridiculous like that because you love how stupid it sounds, and I wanted to bring that side of myself to the record.” Other conversations from the email campaign proved to be more, ahem, fruitful. Having collected people’s phoneshot footage of themselves and friends smashing and playing with watermelons, Powell compiled them to create the visuals for Jonny, the second video to emerge from Sport. The track itself is typical of the album – bone-dry drums thunder away beneath stabs of analogue fizz and splintered, deadpan vocals, delivered by Jonnine Standish of the band HTRK. But particularly noticeable on Jonny, and present throughout on Sport, is the abundance of punkish guitar samples. “Last year I made a lot of very aggressive music,” says Powell, “a lot of which didn’t come out because it just wasn’t sounding new or interesting. I like music that’s fun, so things like riffs are a great tool when I’m trying to make fun music that still sounds like Powell. There’s this persistent idea that experimental music needs to be difficult, antagonistic or unpleasant, and as much as I love that, the idea was to dream up new ways to be groovy, stupid and fun.”
It’s not just riffs that help with this – Sport’s tracks are littered with sonic debris incorporating snatched voicememo samples, un-synced drum flourishes and other oddities. In previous
interviews, Powell has said he’ll often work with 60 to 70 samples onscreen at once, mashing as many voices together as he chooses.
Suddenly you’ve got a witch house record, and whilst some of it’s great, some of it comes off a bit lacking in confidence.”
“Some people resist computers, but I love them,” he explains, “because they let me make tracks in the same way you might make a collage – you chuck a load of shit at a wall and chisel something from it. It’s the editing I really enjoy. If I play with tonnes of little ideas at once, I never need to have four bars that sound the same, because every four bars is an opportunity to say something else and move things forward.” If that sounds a little like IDM, it’s partially because figures like Aphex Twin and Autechre, renowned for their micro-editing, are still a big influence on Powell. The difference, he says, is that his main concern is the groove: “I love the type of music where there’s something for your body, whilst on top of that you have things which are pulling your brain in every direction.”
Confidence is key to Powell’s career. Not only does Sport, even when purely instrumental, exude his cocky and antagonistic humour, it also sees XL Recordings continue to earn credibility among leftfield electronic circles. But what about plans for Diagonal? “We definitely don’t have one of those,” he replies. “A lot of Diagonal involves going to the same restaurant in Dalston, getting too drunk and getting no work done.” If things do look more or less professional, he says, it’s because of the polished artwork. “It’s a lot of fun though,” he adds. “It’s just sometimes people send us their bloody CVs asking for jobs – don’t do that, it’s literally just me sometimes.”
Notably absent on Sport, and many of the productions that came before it, is any extensive use of reverb. In Powell’s view, reverb is about placing a sound within a space that people can relate to, like a church, he offers as an example. “For me, the nature of electronic music is that it’s divorced from real life,” he says. “I don’t want to be in a fucking church. So why not embrace the sound for what it is? I don’t like this idea of lending my sound an organic, ‘real-world’ feel. It feels like taking a dog that’s grown up fighting and trying to domesticate it.” “The synths I use have this raw, acidic fizz that I get turned on by,” he continues, “and the same goes for the dull, dead drum hits. If you’re fortunate enough to have access to analogue synths, you should embrace their natural sound. It’s easy to stick a bunch of delays and filters on something, and before you know it you’ve got something really moody.
Diagonal’s next promises to be the label’s ‘hottest and sweatiest yet’ – a Double 12” LP from N.M.O, selfdescribed as ‘military space music and/ or fluxus techno.’ The first 100 copies will come with a battery popper of hot sauce made by sauce maker and visual artist Alexander Krone. This could be the kind of behaviour that Powell is referring to when he speaks of “getting back to doing things that feel natural” in the wake of getting Sport out. “The LP is a format I always resisted. It’s turned out to be a very rewarding experience, but it’s a horrible process. I got very, very caught up in it and when I finished I was pretty depressed for a while,” he concludes. “But now it’s coming out. And now I’m in a great mood.” Sport is released 14 October via XL Recordings. Powell performs live at Simple Things, Bristol, 22 October
Blue Long Sleeve: Diagonal Hat: Whistles
037 Words: Emma Robertson Photography: Julia Soler
“It’s fun to think about extraterrestrial bodies around us, shaking things up when they’re thrown into prograde and retrograde orbits”
Case in point: The Frontier, which was released via London imprint Whities in 2016, was inspired by a childhood spent in the desert of Gilbert, Arizona. “There’s a harshness to the inhabitability of the desert, but there’s also an overwhelming beauty to it,” she says after a long pause. “I think there’s some of the desert in my music, for sure... Heavy, powerful, straightforward – but that can also be really delicate. It doesn’t have to be all grit.” Despite the desert imagery feeling so strong you could almost taste the sand, The Frontier certainly wasn’t all grit. The EP’s title track, propelled by a throbbing 4/4 beat and overflowing with the strains of a deep synth melody, is a love letter to her childhood surroundings. “Try as we might,” she says of the record, “we can’t escape where we came from. You hold a fondness for the place you started out in, even if you
wanted nothing more when you were 16 than to leave that fucking place.” Emerson admits she spent much of her teenage years wishing she could escape her hometown. Instead, she found her escape through music. “Arizona is definitely a very harsh place to grow up,” she explains. “The desert really feels like you’re on Mars sometimes, it’s such a different landscape. The oppressive heat in the summertime when you’re off from school and you’re supposed to be out having fun. Politically it’s also very tense. But it breeds a lot of punk and DIY and noisy stuff, which was super cool to be around.” A child of the millennium, Emerson’s early connection to music was, much like today, through the Internet. “Born in 88, that’s what happens!” she laughs, “Napster, Morpheus, Emule, Kazaa, Limewire… Back when it took you like two days to download a song! Very early on, the Internet was a massive thing for me. I spent a lot of time in chat rooms and ILM (I Love Music, an early Internet chat forum) boards talking about music. There wasn’t any dance music in Arizona that I really connected with… We did go to some sketchy desert raves but they were playing happy hardcore and stuff that I didn’t necessarily resonate with.” After a move to San Francisco for college, she starting DJing out in 2009, playing out at warehouse parties she and her friends were throwing, before eventually taking her craft to Berlin. After moving to the German
For Avalon Emerson, making electronic music has become a streamlined process of bringing the songs and stories in her head to life. “When I picture my music, it’s a lot of shades and patterns. It’s pretty vivid,” she tells me on a hot Berlin afternoon. The fast-rising DJ and producer’s music has the ability to take us from windswept desert vistas to digitised dreamscapes, celestial planes, or the extraterrestrial landscape of her own strange planet.
038 capital, Avalon Emerson’s reputation as an adventurous selector increased significantly, and you can now find her DJing some of Europe’s most coveted clubs, including Berlin’s Panorama Bar and Amsterdam’s De School. A recent trip back to the Bay Area was the setting for the creation of Emerson’s new release Narcissus in Retrograde, a four-tracker set to drop on Spectral Sound in November. Musing on the record’s title, she explains a winking interest in astrology. “My mom is very good at reading tarot cards. Have you ever done a full natal chart or anything like that?” she asks. “As someone who was working as a software engineer for years, whose income relied on applied logic, it’s fun to think about extraterrestrial bodies around us, shaking things up when they’re thrown into prograde and retrograde orbits. I try to pay attention to those vague celestial vibrations and see what needs to change, when to turn those leaves.” Narcissus moves effortlessly on from The Frontier. But the record, like Emerson, hasn’t forgotten where it came from either. Narcissus’ alien terrain is, perhaps, a mirror for the harsh desert landscape we encountered with The Frontier, but there’s a weight to the new release that comes from that the influence of her journey, a movement in flux that works against everything she’s done and been taught in the past; her planet in direct motion. “A couple of the tracks on this release are definitely really strong emotional follow-ups to
The Frontier,” she explains, “But it has more to do with where I was in my life when I wrote it. Not a lot of today’s electronic music is overtly personal. And some of that comes from the lack of lyrical content. You know, it’s harder to glean a lot of emotional weight from kickdrums.” As such, narcissism, a typically negative trait, is suddenly thrown into antithesis under Emerson’s hand as she interprets her own experiences into music. The resulting distillation is a sound that is entirely, uniquely herself: “I’ve had people come up to me and say, ‘It’s kind of crazy… Meeting you and hearing your music, I totally see the connection,’ which is a massive compliment. I hope I don’t lose that!” All things considered, Emerson continues to push forward, both musically and otherwise. “It’s been an insane year,” she says somewhat seriously, but she’s smiling. “Lots of changes, a lot of good things, lots of shedding skin, exorcisms, growth, going against the path that I’ve gone forward on for a long time… And turning that around has been a very positive thing.” Narcissus in Retrograde is released in November via Spectral Sound Avalon Emerson appears at Crack Magazine/In:Motion, Bristol, 10 December
OCTOBER 1st+2nd 9th 17th
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THE DOCTOR’S ORDERS
28th Oct: Stranger Things Halloween Special
Hip hop, R&B, house, garage, bashment & everything in between
90s hip hop and r’n’b knees up for all you cool kids
Explore the funky foundations of underground urban movement
Exploring every year of the 40+ year history of hip hop
Soulful selections across the board
Dates, times & tickets: w w w.hoxtonsquarebar.com
Cakes Da Killa
041 Words: Felicity Martin Photography: Theo Cottle
I’m on Bethnal Green Road with Cakes Da Killa and his grandmother, who looks so gobsmackingly young that she has to flash her ID to prove her 62 years of age. Cakes — real name Rashard Bradshaw — is over in here to play the inaugural Afropunk London festival. In an impressive feat of multitasking, he’s been posing for Crack’s photo shoot while simultaneously getting his hair done (by a barber who’s just finished serving 17 years for manslaughter in Bolivia, no less). It’s not long before the New Jersey rapper is due to be on NTS Radio, but that doesn’t concern him and his mates as they stroll down the high street cackling, his granny dipping into a shop to purchase a jacket she’d spotted. Eventually we arrive at his publicist’s flat, where we sip “talky juice” (i.e. cans of pre-mix G&T) on her balcony and discuss Hedonism, his long-awaited debut album that’s on the verge of release. As its name might suggest, Hedonism is the aural equivalent of jumping from the club to the afterparty; packed with trunk-rattling beats, high-octane rapping and laugh-out-loud punch-lines. “It was a big realisation which I think a lot of people have when they’re 25,” Cakes says of the time period that inspired the record. “I was in New York for two months, getting out of a relationship. It was me completely falling back in love with myself and accepting the fact that I’m a rapper. I wanted to throw a party.”
The album doesn’t take itself too seriously but, equally, it hits hard. New Phone (Who Dis) opens with some cute bleeps before the melody is suddenly undercut by an 808 bassline that threatens to blow your speakers. Single Talking Greazy showcases his playful ferocity (“why these baby fags on my dick like a pacifier?”), Revelations sees him spit dextrous rhymes over a throwback East Coast beat and Up Out My Face sees a true meeting of minds between Cakes and guest artist Peaches. “She’s completely bat shit crazy and I love it,” he says of the Canadian provocateur. “We really mesh because we both have no-fucks-given type of personalities and that trickles into our music… It’s kind of like, no filters.” Hedonism is Cakes’ first retail album but sixth release to date; his charismatic Eulogy mixtape and #IMF EP enjoyed particularly widespread acclaim. Yet the exuberant emcee began rapping, in his own words, as a joke “Not a joke, because I’m talented, it wasn’t a complete joke,” he qualifies. At his suburban NJ school, he was the cool gay kid who’d hang out with a group of straight boys and showcase his lyrical skills, before getting picked up by a certain influential music site. “At the time it was such a big deal for people. They were like, this is so big, and I didn’t even know what the fuck Pitchfork was.”
“Don’t get her gassed up, cause then you’re gonna be interviewing her instead of me!”
042 Journalists have often written about Cakes in the same ink as Le1f and Mykki Blanco, but he’s bored of only being asked about being a ‘queer rapper’. “I mean, I chose this lifestyle so I cannot complain — I could be a garbage man and then I wouldn’t be having a conversation about sucking a dick, I would just be taking out the trash!” he laughs. “But if you were to interview Pharrell, the conversation wouldn’t be, ‘So like, you being straight ...,’ it would be a whole other conversation. I think that’s what shoots a lot of openly gay artists in the foot — all the press is about that.”
“My performance is more orchestrated, more theatrical than a hyper-masculine showcase of testosterone”
In terms of hip-hop, “people that think outside the box and set the trends” are some of the major influences on his style – the likes of Missy, Busta Rhymes and Cam’ron. But in terms of the performative element, he looks to the likes of Joan Rivers for inspiration. “I love Bette Midler, Patti LaBelle too, a lot of the older generation of people where there was a craft to putting a show on the stage. It was an art form as opposed to being like, I’m going to play the song and jump up and down. That’s so lazy to me. I feel like people should have more respect for the stage – not to sound like an old person,” he says, going on to describe a recent CeeLo Green show. “[CeeLo] shocked me. He performed barefoot and it was an amazing show. That was the first thing, like, where’s your shoes? Then he went on stage and I was like, I don’t care about your damn shoes, you’re amazing. Come out naked, CeeLo!”
So would Cakes Da Killa go shoes off at his own shows? He shakes his head. “I don’t have any health insurance so if I get ringworm or something I would be in the hospital forever.” A typical Cakes gig might, on the other hand, see him twerk
or order his fans to only Instagram the cute snaps of him. “It’s not your typical ten-people-on the stage setup,” he tells me of his plans for tomorrow’s Afropunk performance. “It’s more orchestrated… more theatrical than a very hypermasculine showcase of testosterone.” Though he doesn’t see a complete 180 in what’s traditionally been a heteronormative, misogynistic genre (“I’m not ever going to say it’s going to be cool to be an openly gay rapper and be able to perform at Summer Jam, but it’s a lot different from when I was growing up, because this was unheard of”), he’s aware of the younger generation becoming freer in their expression; nongender conformist and more fluid. The Goodie Goodies rapper is someone to whom kids less comfortable with their sexuality can now look. “It’s all about self-love,” he concludes. “It makes people uncomfortable. That’s my brand, too. I’m big on loving yourself.” It goes without saying that Cakes doesn’t answer to anyone. “I had this one girl say, ‘After seeing you perform, you gave me the energy to come out to my mom.’ Just by me being myself. Which, to me, that’s what keeps me doing it. It is so great to me because I don’t give a fuck. I live completely unapologetically, and I want everyone else to.” Hedonism is released 21 October via Ruffians / Thirty Tigers
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Planetary Assault Systems
Words: Theo Kotz Photography: Alex Kurunis
Despite the darkness he inhabits musically, Slater is great company. He’s engaging and at ease with the motions of interview, something you might expect from someone who’s entering their fourth decade at this level. There’s also an aura of mischief about him: after our interview Luke asks Alex, our photographer, to pluck a pink flower from a nearby pub’s garden. He turns to me and confesses gleefully that he feels as though he’s just told a friend
borne of necessity. “I don’t have enough fingers,” he grins, gesturing with ringed hands at me. “20 is better than 10.” The record was made under a set of self-imposed limitations: no more equipment than can fit on a small table. It reveals a playful approach to music making that serves to keep the process fresh and focused. “I love technical stuff, I love electronic inventions, I’m a massive fan of them. But at the same time, it doesn’t make anything better with writing. What do you really need? I thought: imagine you’re in a cave and that’s all you’ve got man, what are you gonna do? You find out a lot more that way I think and I enjoy that… the punishment.” If that seems a little dark, it runs contrary to the feel of the album. On Arc Angel Slater has shifted Planetary Assault System’s focus somewhat, occupying a brighter space and leaning toward melody. It’s another technical
“It really feels like a time, not just in dance music but in society, where we need to try and open people’s minds” at school to smash a window and hide behind a wall. Later, when listening back to his records, I am reminded of the flash of his fanged smile. To put it simply, Luke Slater has been about: playing as resident at Troll at Soundshaft in 1987; running Jelly Jam with Alan Sage and Dave Clarke in 89; unveiling a slew of distinct concepts in the early 90s and even flirting with the big-time under his own name; pushing the envelope of ambient techno as the 7th Plain and defining the hard-as-nails as PAS; releasing under the pioneering Mute Records and the monolithic Ostgut Ton. More recently, Slater has distilled his output down to one or two key aliases, while holding down his longrunning guest residency in Berghain. He is currently getting his set together for upcoming gigs under his Planetary Assault Systems alias, working with Steve Bicknell to translate the new Arc Angel album into a live setting. Though he’s known the veteran UK techno DJ for years now, the collaboration is
detail that I suspect is to keep his attention, but he offers a reason I don’t expect. “It really feels like a time, not just in dance music but in society, where we need to try and open people’s minds, you know? With everything that’s going on in the world there’s a big drive to think in conservative ways, and really at the heart of it, I’m not a conservative thinker.” This theme re-occurs more than once during our meeting. As our conversation develops, I get the feeling that it is inherent in much of what makes up Planetary Assault Systems. The moniker was conceived at the tail end of the halcyon days of conservatism. The explosion of dance music on this island at that time had much to do with a rebellion against Thatcher’s Britain. Perhaps Slater suspects a repeat. Another theme that permeates much of his work, particularly as PAS, is Sci-Fi. As it turns out, this too is a product of that time, when it was much more present in the collective consciousness. “I grew up with this idea that it was
linked together in exploration; that it’s all wrapped up. In the 80s there were these fantastical ideas about technology and that just sunk in. It’s the kind of stuff I think about all the time.” So what drew him to the genre of techno? The wonder he feels in technology is clearly a factor, but I fancy there’s something deeper. “Well originally when you had the very early Detroit records, and rave and Chicago but especially with Detroit, there was a sort of melancholy that drew me to it. There was just kind of a sensitivity to the music, with a lot of rhythm,” he recalls. Here we arrive at the crux of what drives much of his music – a sense of soul and spirituality. Despite the mechanisation, the fixation with technology, there lies a deep humanity in the sparseness. “It’s everything,” he concurs. “I’ve always felt that about records. It needn’t even be a dance record. The writer, the spirit of that person is within that. Whether they knew it was happening or not, you can just feel it.” Slater knows what’s happening. Everything about Arc Angels is considered. The religious title is offset quite deliberately with its postmodernist leanings and the artwork too is a statement. The splurge of colour on the sleeve (and the many-coloured vinyl available on record) is a deliberate rejection of the monochrome palette that so often decorates the world of techno. He is animated on the subject, and his thoughts prove to encapsulate the essence of his new music, and his attitude over the years, far better than I could. “Stripping colour from things is done,” he declares. “In same way I want the music to massage new areas in the brain, I want colour to do it too. To me all senses are intertwined. You’re welcome to explore with me.” Arc Angel is out now via Ostgut Ton. Luke Slater appears at Transient Festival, Paris, 2-5 November
It’s a gorgeous day in London, and I’m sipping overpriced cappuccino beside a café on a small canal boat in Little Venice. There’s the serene waterside; the sun reflecting off the ripples in the river. It’s not the kind of place you would associate with the atmosphere that Luke Slater occupies with his music. As Planetary Assault Systems, he has created some of the most visceral techno ever made: muscular and purposeful, built for the black belly of the Berghain.
Produced exclusively for Crack Magazine by Josh Costar - joshcostar.com
Writer Simon Reynolds Examines the The Rocky Horror Picture Show's star Tim Curry (seated) and its creator Richard O'Brien (Getty)
History is cyclical. Rise, decline, fall; grow, reap, sow. Inevitably, though, it’s the reaping and what springs up immediately afterward that attracts the most attention and stamps itself most authoritatively in the annals. So it goes with music, too: talk about punk, postpunk, or rock ‘n’ roll in the traditional sense and people will most likely know not only what those things sound like, but also what they stood for. When it comes to glam, though, things just aren’t so clear. As a respected music critic and the author of regularlycited titles such as Retromania and the post-punk analysis Rip It Up and Start Again, Simon Reynolds was well placed to write Shock and Awe – a history of and contemporary parallel text for glam in the twenty-first century – and to explain exactly why glam seems to get such a bum deal in the grand scheme of things.
Words: Karl Smith
“I think people slightly dismiss it as just a phase of a couple of years and take the view that only Roxy and Bowie are really of interest – maybe T-Rex as a borderline thing,” he begins, responding to the idea that the perceived “problem” with glam isn’t necessarily the music or the indisputably campy theatricality of it all, but more that people don’t really see what the point of it was or why it existed in the first place. If the great cultural movements of the twentieth century have been reactionary – taking their cues from and rallying against wider social or cultural issues – glam, by comparison, seems on the face of it to cut a fairly solitary, navel-gazing kind of figure.
But nothing, of course, happens in a vacuum. “Decadence was sort of a buzzword – something people were talking about,” Reynolds explains, “a
general move toward theatricality, which Bowie was a prime mover of, and Alice Cooper was coming up with independently. “They were making rock more and more about spectacle and showbiz. There was this epoch with an underlying set of ideas and one of them was that rock is or could be a branch of showbiz. That was such anathema to 60s consciousness.” Glam by that thinking was as reactionary as its punk successor – an incursion of new ideas into rigidly ideological artistic territory with clear, set-in-stone ideas of what 'real' and 'authentic' music looked and sounded like. “That’s actually what interests me, that rock becomes its own point – Ziggy Stardust being an album about an imaginary rock star, for example. It’s a strange thing. David Essex, too – he had songs like Gonna Make You a Star and was in two films about rock‘n’roll. The second one, Stardust, was all about being a star and a star’s downfall. “For rock culture in the 60s, the idea of showbiz was everything that was phony and conservative,” Reynolds argues. “But then, in one of those strange switches, everyone sort of decides that they want to be showbiz or that rock has become a part of showbiz – The Kinks did those albums that were all themed on that idea. Yes, Bowie was a prime mover, but I don’t think he was even the first person to move rock in that way. And this is why it seemed so timely to write Shock and Awe – the 21st century in pop music has got very showbiz. Just look at the MTV award ceremonies – they hardly show the videos and instead they have these Las Vegas or Bob Fosse-style routines with 40 dancers on stage and,
David Bowie's infamous 'Nazi salute' - or was it just a friendly wave - at Victoria Station, London, on 2 May 1976 (Getty)
New York Dolls perform on Dutch TV, 6 December 1973 (Getty)
Barry Langford, producer of pop show Gadzooks, It's All Happening, ruffles the hair of a pre-Bowie David Jones as The Manish Boys watch, March 1965 (Getty)
And this is where things get particularly interesting: as much as glam seems to have its roots firmly planted in a very certain time (and to a lesser extent place), in a vision of David Bowie descending godlike with, and as, Ziggy Stardust, these are fundamental ideas that still echo so loudly as to become overtones of our contemporary musical landscape in 2016. “One of the big things in pop music right now,” Reynolds agrees, “is artists talking about fame. Kanye West is obsessed with it; it’s practically Gaga’s only subject... She’s about to appear in a new version of A Star Is Born – a movie that’s been made and remade; this must be about the fourth of fifth remake of it – how selfreflexive is that?” It’s an interesting take – one which labels glam as a kind of proto-postmodernist movement concerned with the same obsessive study of fame and artifice which contemporary art now practices en masse.
“That’s one of the things that really struck me,” says Reynolds. “In the early 70s I think post-modernism was only a term that a few people in architectural theory and a few other places were bandying around. Long before these ideas had any kind of currency among the intelligentsia, before they reached pop music in the early 80s, glam had sort of invented post-modernism itself. Particularly people like Bowie and Roxy, but it’s there in a lot of the stuff that’s going on in a sort of instinctive way – quotations from earlier music, the pastiches, the replication and the sort of knowing, loving, yet also mocking citations of 50s rock‘n’roll. It’s totally post-modern, but that’s not a word they used – hardly anyone did.” But PoMo isn’t the only thing that glam, Nostradamus-like in its prophecies, managed to predict: the widespread adoption of a gender spectrum over traditional binary terms in recent years is not without foreshadowing – although, equally, not without controversy. “One of the first things that needs to be said about the first-wave glam – the original seventies glam,” Reynolds takes care to define, “is that it was mostly a bunch of straight guys pretending to be gay or bi. Eno was a real ladies man. “At the same time, there’s something that British glam taps into that goes back through English culture – to Oscar Wilde and before that to Beau Brummell; something that’s very English and at the same time a rebellion against that stolid English decency thing.” It may seem a fine line to walk, Bowie trying to “up the ante,” as Reynolds puts it, on Mick Jagger’s ultra-campy performances, a kind of performative
elaborate staging and incredible lights. It’s all very, very razzle dazzle.”
“Long before the idea had any kind of currency among the intelligentsia, glam had sort of invented post-modernism” version of sexuality with its roots more in the world of theatre than anything more tangible. But, as with so much of glam, so steeped in the ideology of spectacle, the reality is almost irrelevant compared to the effect of its influence. “For the young men who were awakening to their own gay sexuality in the early 70s, it was enormously liberating to have these figures so prominent in the pop culture who were really acting gay and in some cases talking about being gay (even if they weren’t actually walking it like they talked it that much). Suddenly the most exciting pop stars of the day are saying not just that it’s okay to be gay, but it’s cool to be gay.” Talking to Reynolds, there’s one term that we keep coming back to: one way or another, glam is and was all about “decadence”. But it’s an idea so fluid in meaning that it swings between being something to be celebrated and something to be derided, probably depending on who’s in government at the time.
RCA publicity shot of Lou Reed, New york, c. 1973 (Getty)
“You’re either deploring it and decrying it and you think it’s a real thing that’s actually happening to society,” Reynolds agrees, our Skype call momentarily bubbling as it connects us between London and his adopted home of California, “– that it’s losing its values and heading into the abyss – or you think it’s sort of fun and naughty, or sophisticated and interesting in an Oscar Wilde way.”
It does seem that decadence as a concept, from the debauchery of the last days of Rome to the sheer opulence of the Titanic, is always doomed to some extent. “People talk about sad rap and it’s like, ‘I’ve got everything in the world and it means nothing – all these trophies are just nothing.’ Kanye West’s last album is kind of an exploration of that – there’s a song called No More Parties in LA which is like, ‘This is paradise and it’s boring or kind of hell.’ Kendrick Lamar is another one, particularly with Swimming Pools (Drank), where you actually have the voice of the conscience saying, ‘What are you doing here, Kendrick?’ It’s very much a concept that seems relevant now.”
It’s hard not to agree and it does beg the question of what our culture’s surely inevitable reckoning will be. If the mid 70s chose punk as their destruction – silently, tacitly, in the same way that Dan Aykroyd nearly condemned 80s New York to a marshmallowy death – what is to be our counterpoint to the escapism of the decadence and superlatives of twenty-first century life? Punk may have saved us from ourselves, but it’s much harder to come back from the possibility of President Donald Trump than from the escapism of poorly-advised wardrobe choices. “I suppose the hope would be that it would be such an unmitigated disaster,” Reynolds begins tentatively, “that everyone would just see sense and would kick [Trump] out after one term and things would go back to normal. But there’s also the fear that this is the way things are going to go. Bowie warned about this – he talked about how a strongman leader would emerge ‘out of the entertainment field.’ I think, in his mind, he meant rock ‘n’ roll – a sort of führer coming out of rock ‘n’ roll, but, you know, nowadays rock isn’t what it was, so it would make sense for it to come out of reality TV.” Perhaps, then, the unceremonious brush-off that glam seems to get compared to other genres is because no one really wants to admit that decadence is a temporary side-effect of puritanical austerity, rather than some kind of senseless depravity. Not selfreflexive after all, but a peak inevitably followed (and preceded by) a trough we just don’t want to believe is coming. “Bowie said that he and Lou Reed were more like symptoms of the collapse of everything,” Reynolds points out. “And what’s funny is how he said it: in such an articulate way, such a neat and tidy way. It didn’t sound like someone who was a degenerate at all, but like a very composed, smart, Englishman in complete command of himself.” Shock and Awe: Glam Rock and Its Legacy is released 6 October via Faber & Faber
OCT 10 VILLAGE UNDERGROUND LONDON
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THE BEST IN NEW LIVE MUSIC
As a long-time grime producer, DJ, radio host and remixer for over a decade, Sir Spyro has never lost the hunger to succeed. Whether you know him from Rinse FM, where he has hosted his own show since 2005, as Tinchy Stryder and Ruff Sqwad’s tour DJ or as the producer behind some of grime’s biggest underground anthems — see Ghetts’ Dun Know Already, Side By Side, Capo Lee’s Mud and latest club weapon, Topper Top — Spyro is one of grime’s most visible, but paradoxically, understated figures. “What else have I been doing? Ah yeah, I’ve just been stuck in the studio to be honest — literally locking myself away,” he says on the phone after getting home from Liverpool, where he’d played the night before. It’s worth noting that the studio hasn’t always been Spyro’s favourite space, particularly since he decided to turn more attention to his radio shows and DJing at the back end of the 00s. It was actually a remix of Bok Bok’s Silo Pass, released in 2012, that rekindled his love of producing. “After a while, I thought to myself I need to flip open Fruity Loops and start making stuff again. That Silo Pass remix was the first thing I’d made in years”, he explains. With instrumental grime quietly bubbling up in London’s clubbing spaces, the remix opened his eyes to how far his music could travel on its own. Four years on, and although still admittedly ‘getting used’ to the acclaim that’s come his way since that point, Sir Spyro remains a markedly humble and appreciative figure. “It doesn’t feel real to be honest. Even at the height of my career, I didn’t expect this sort of thing to happen. The attention I’ve had, especially just because of tracks I’m releasing, has never really come my way before on this scale.”
Words: Tomas Fraser Photography: Cian Oba-Smith
Exactly what has sparked people’s recent frenzied interest in his music is hard to put a finger on, but a shift from more 808-driven beats that used to cater for MCs (see Nightshift with Footsie for example) to the darker, harder club sounds of tracks like Topper Top with Lady Chann & Teddy Bruckshot, have struck a chord with ravers and labels alike. It was through Kahn & Neek — the Bristol duo renowned for lethal club sets and a penchant for dubplates — that Mala first heard the track. “[Kahn & Neek] were the first guys to book me in Bristol in 2008, so I often give them stuff to test out. Mala got wind of it through them playing it and that was it. Deep Medi is such a big deal to me and I [couldn’t] wait for people to be able to buy the
record.” And buy the record they tried, so much so that the pre-order website crashed multiple times before copies eventually sold out in less than an hour. As well as playing nights and releasing music, his dedication to two hours of radio every week is also a notable part of Spyro’s make-up. The Grime Show, which airs every Sunday night on Rinse FM, is generally MC focused and over the past few years in particular, has given next-gen lyricists a much-needed platform to perform. “It’s a really big commitment doing radio every week,” he says, “especially because I’m having to try and find new spitters to come on. Sometimes I’ll throw in the odd instrumental show or just play whatever I like, but spitters are a big part of it.” Of these spitters, North London’s Capo Lee — one of grime’s rising stars — is someone Spyro has invested a lot of time working with. Having provided the beat for Capo’s single Mud, the track peaked at #57 on iTunes with zero PR or label backing, and should end the year as a defining grime anthem of 2016. “That tune nearly never existed you know?” Spyro says with a chuckle. “We were in the studio at midnight going on 1am and I was like, ‘I wanna go home’. Capo was like, ‘let’s give it 20 minutes and if we can’t find anything that works, we’ll duck’. I agreed, started to write the beat and we ended up in there another six or seven hours until it was finished. “Sometimes I don’t know what I’m looking for but when I hear it I just know,” Spyro says. “When I heard Capo for the first time I was like ‘what the fuck is this?’. The thing is, I wasn’t even looking for him, I was minding my own business.” And while minding his own business might be something that Sir Spyro has done for much of his career, people are finally starting to mind his. Armed with his ‘Sounds Of The Sir’ producer tag — a cult vocal snippet that punctuates the beginning of all his beats— Spyro is conquering new spaces, winning new fans and, perhaps most importantly, demanding instant reloads in the clubs across the land. Sir Spyro appears B2B with Mumdance at Clock Strikes 13, Bussey Building, London, 4 November
SAT.03.DEC.16 SUN.09.OCT.16 THU.03.NOV.16 MON.05.DEC.16 TUE.11.OCT.16 FRI.04.NOV.16 TUE.06.DEC.16 WED.12.OCT.16 SAT.05.NOV.16 TUE.06.DEC.16 FRI.14.OCT.16 THU.10.NOV.16 WED.07.DEC.16 FRI.14.OCT.16 SAT.15.OCT.16 THU.08.DEC.16 THU.10.NOV.16 MON.17.OCT.16 FRI.09.DEC.16 THU.10.NOV.16
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055 An unexpected choice, perhaps, but not when you know Stina a little better. She’s obsessed with horror stories, the more “amusingly gruesome” the better. Late 90s cult series Buffy the Vampire Slayer particularly hits the spot, and she’ll even watch “really crap horror like Poltergeist” to get her creepy kicks. Like everyone else, Stina also recently binge-watched the hugely popular Netflix series Stranger Things, though she’s not a fan of one of the internet’s most loved characters: “I’m really not that concerned about Barb,” she deadpans in her Glaswegian twang during our Skype call. “I’m team Eleven. And Winona, obviously. She should have definitely had more screen time.” This excitement of being frightened by film feeds directly into Stina’s songwriting, with new album Babes Never Die riffing off voodoo, midnight, magic, and more. Stina’s “favourite novel of all time” Dracula and Buffy and Angel’s love story inspired the song Love is a Disease, while first single to Ready for the Magic is inspired by the power of the vocals and chord progressions of Astrud Gilberto’s disco bossa nova-era hit Black Magic. Stina admits that the writing retreat for Babes Never Die may have also influenced its infusion of the uncanny. “We rented this old water mill that had just about been made liveable inside,” Stina recalls. “It was the scariest four nights of my life. I was petrified. The
people who lived there had intentionally made it even more creepy, too – in the room we recorded, they had this big massive painting on the wall that had this dead moose on it being eaten by a vulture and a wolf, and blood everywhere. I just stared at that for four days.” While Honeyblood’s eponymous debut album was “very personal”, Babes Never Die sees the duo take a step back from explicitly personal narratives. Instead, it takes on a series of intricately etched narratives that each has a defined “moodboard” of colours, images and signifiers – an approach inspired by Belle and Sebastian’s Stuart Murdoch, the band’s former tour-mate. While the stories switch from song to song, the attitude of the album remains resolute throughout its 39 minutes: defiant, hook-driven and powered by Cat Myer’s no-nonsense drumming. There isn’t a song that doesn’t warrant a fist-pump – while their debut selftitled EP was heavy-lidded, swooning lo-fi, Babes Never Die is an unrelenting rollercoaster of perfectly constructed mosh-inducing indie-pop. The ‘Babes Never Die’ mantra is also tattooed on Stina’s ribs. What is it about this three-word phrase that clicks with her to the extent that she’d have it indelibly inked to her side? “It’s difficult to convey to people as for me it’s very emotional and raw,” Stina admits. Instead, she’s attempted to convey the essence of ‘Babes Never Die’ via the visuals drawn from the album so far. The album artwork shows a girl with matted hair and a dirt-streaked face scowling directly down the camera’s lens from the depths of a wintery wood. The video
for first single, Ready for the Magic, depicts a family of girls gone feral in an abandoned Scottish farmhouse. Filled with the same black humour Stina admires in her source materials, the video ends with the children burning the band, kitted out in “dad camping trousers”, at the stake. “You might assume that a kid is vulnerable, but children can be so super strong, and have this wild emotional side to them,” Stina explains. “I think that ties in with what ‘Babes Never Die’ is – to never let yourself be underestimated. I feel like people think young girls are weak, but I wanted to say, “no, actually”, and totally turn that on its head. Like, imagine if you think that’s someone’s a little quiet weakling – and a small girl is a classic reference of that – and then they go out and kill people!” The amount of consideration that’s been poured into the album is palpable, and Stina describes periods when she was working for months on songs and writing twenty to thirty melodies for
each chorus in order to find the perfect fit. “There were points where I was writing this album as I was thinking, ‘oh, nothing’s good enough’, freaking out, freaking myself out,” she remembers. However, intuition found a way: “When I didn’t think about it and just kind of let go, a song would pop out. Where does that come from? Why can’t I do that on demand?” Fittingly enough, she finds answers in the great unknown. “No one knows where that comes from. It’s bizarre. It is like magic.” Babes Never Die is released 4 November via Fat Cat
If Honeyblood’s Stina Tweeddale were to personify the band’s new album, she would opt for “a creepy moustache man in a smoking jacket, swigging a glass of brandy, smoking a cigar, and reading a horror novel to whoever will listen.”
Words: Sammy Jones Photography: Sean Bell
Words: Francis Blagburn
057 Robert “3D” Del Naja
“There is the evolution between painting statements on walls to displaying statements with light. Both are transient”
058 It’s been over three decades since Massive Attack was born, and Robert Del Naja is preoccupied by power. That’s not to say he’s hungry for it – quite the opposite. He is fascinated by exploring ways to distribute it; of handing over editorial control in order to produce a musical experience befitting the creative democracy of the internet. The most recent output from the seminal trip-hop outfit (centred around Robert “3D” Del Naja and Grant “Daddy G” Marshall) was released via Fantom, their algorithmic sensory app that allowed users to remix material, from which Del Naja created February’s Ritual Spirit EP. More recently, Del Naja’s been touring and developing the visual elements of the live show. The show is the latest
iteration of a longstanding collaboration with London-based art practice United Visual Artists (UVA), a collective founded by Matthew Clark who specialise in the manipulation of light.
Brought together by their shared attraction to minimal aesthetics, Del Naja and Clark have worked on the evolution of the show for several years. It has become an indispensable component of the Massive Attack experience. In essence, it involves the projection of data and headlines lifted from local and international media. Most of these statements are stark human
truths regarding socio-political crises. These are occasionally juxtaposed against headlines taken from celebrity gossip rags, speaking to our culture of distraction. If you’ve been to see Massive Attack in the last few years, you’re as likely to have been made aware that the Japanese military is on alert to shoot down a North Korean rocket as you are that Tiffany from Celebrity Big Brother has eyed up her housemate Scotty’s manhood in the shower and described it as ‘luscious’. When I catch up with Del Naja ahead of Massive Attack’s first Bristol show in 13 years – an enormous outdoor concert which included Skepta, Savages and Primal Scream as support acts – he is in a measured mood. His well-known humility is audible from the moment he picks up the phone, but there’s also a clarity and drive; you can almost hear the furrowed brow. As Del Naja explains, the show harvests information from the news cycle of a local destination at any given moment, but the technical components are months in the making. “The actual writing of the piece will normally start six months before rehearsals at least,” he explains. “I’ll sit down with Matt and [video designer] Icarus Wilson Wright and we’ll start to imagine it almost like a storyboard, and then there’s a period of programming. Ultimately you’re working with some seriously skilled code writers who are taking maybe a one-line concept on the back of a fag packet and turning it into a script that’s going to run a completely bespoke light show to suit a particular arrangement of LEDs for 90 minutes.” “Each iteration of the show is slightly different,” he continues. “We started off with quite a monolithic, single screen, but what’s in front of it is almost like a search bar, like you’d find on any web browser.” The addition of the search
“The truth is rewritten as it’s shared. We can see from the misinformation that was spread around Brexit as a very recent example of how precarious that is”
The Heligoland artwork is an apt comparison. Comprised of paintings by Del Naja himself, the series of works associated with the 2010 album were heavily influenced by his origins as a graffiti artist in early 1980s Bristol. He believes there’s a clear lineage between then and now. “There is the evolution between painting statements on walls to displaying statements with light. Both are transient. Back in the day when we were painting you were lucky if a piece stayed on a wall for more than a few days before it was painted over. Paintings would appear on the sides of trains that were travelling through cities and images would flash before people’s eyes and then disappear again, until they were captured by photographers. With the light show, it travels around, it appears for two hours in someone’s hemisphere and then it disappears again. We’ve never displayed it, we’ve never captured it on video, we’ve never released it. It just comes and goes. So it has that very transient nature and it’s only when other people see it, and they share it and capture it, that it becomes something else. The most basic description of it is that we’re a circus with fireworks passing through a town. There’s this eruption of sound, information and light and then ninety minutes later, it’s all gone.” While many artists might balk at a sea of white screens at a show, for Del Naja
the internet represents opportunity. His inspiration to work with LED came initially from a fascination with the work of Japanese artist Tatsuo Miyajima, but since its inception the show has taken on a life of its own. When I ask if it was designed to act primarily as a cynical critique of the modern media, he’s hesitant. “It started out as that, yeah. But when we started with this show the internet was relatively new, whereas now with everyone so absorbed and interconnected, the nature of it has changed. The danger is that it appears to the crowd as just another newsfeed or another blog. So we continually challenge the show's relevance and update ourselves.”
Robert “3D” Del Naja
Clark concurs. “UVA’s collaboration with Massive Attack spans 14 years now. The distribution of information in the digital age and its consequence has evolved in ways that no one could have imagined since we started working with them. Our work has really been an observational commentary of this phenomenon.” Rather than simply mirroring the world back at the crowd according to a series of preset functions, the show is built to adapt. Translators for various regions feed in the issues which most concern them and the show is re-built for each local context. Eventually Del Naja would like to take this tailor-made approach further still. “The idea is to eventually try and get the show almost working as independent intelligence, using deep learning computation. We’re wondering if the light show could start to create itself not unlike Fantom as it starts to remodel music with its software: can the light show start to remodel itself from the inputs we give it, and if so what form will that take?” Del Naja sees this as a chance to open up a discussion about the editing of information and the destruction of history. “In a sense the question is, is that more legitimate or as legitimate as a human being doing
bar blocks the visibility of other information. “The bar started to feel as if it was redacting information as well as displaying it. It became a negative space. We were using the idea of redacting information all the way back on Heligoland with the graphics on the sleeve, blocking out images and words and asking what would happen if you started to delete statements, say the opposite of statements, remove parts of statements. What would you then be left with that you understood?”
Focusing on modes of communication may feel like something of a step back from an artist world renowned for his activism, who has recently scored documentaries raising awareness about tax evasion, vocally raised awareness about the plight of refugees and stateless individuals, and gained copious attention for his vocal championing of the Occupy movement during its heyday in 2011. When we turn to the subject, a world-weary frustration is just about perceptible in his voice. "Occupy has been described as a constructive failure, in that it taught us lessons about modern social activism, but it changed nothing. There was the argument when we were all protesting against the Iraq War in 2003, that if we’d gone back to Parliment Square week after week maybe it might have worked. The Occupy Movement was the answer to that, it was about staying in one place, to keep applying that pressure to affect change. But Occupy's noble idea of a leaderless movement proved to be its downfall, as it became confused by its own lack of identity and lost its central cause. It became a stereotypical, incoherent lefty protest group and lost all power and support, playing into the hands of the conservatives and the banks. I guess you can argue that unless protest turns into something legitimate it’s hard to see where it can go, and if it does become something legitimate then it becomes conventional and then it has to abide by the rules it may be fighting against.” Does he wonder about the impact of his own political messaging? “You do sometimes wonder about the aim – whether you’re simply preaching to the choir or trying to convert. I don’t want it to feel preachy.” Equally, he’s aware
When it comes to presenting messaging for the show, Del Naja seems genuinely concerned by the idea of his own voice dominating the message, of becoming another editor in that process contributing yet another storyline. Perhaps this explains the urge to collate fragments of other people’s words from around the media to create a collage of other voices rather than penning them himself; trying to subvert the tendency for a singular interpretation. Escaping this singularity forms a part of everything Del Naja does. It’s a fitting vision for a band borne of the sharing of ideas and music under the umbrella the early sound systems in 80s Bristol, the disruptive power of hip-hop at that time and the waning – but still powerful – influence of punk. For Del Naja, it’s simple that a desire for constructive mass participation on a political level should bleed into the artistic. These things are all connected. And yet still the humility comes out.
of the limits of sharing a message to galvanise change. “There’s a track during the show that uses all the flags of the factions fighting in Syria, and you see that these ideological struggles are being sponsored by foreign powers to create a perpetual state of civil war, and ever intensifying violence. In the light of that you understand why people would be fleeing for their lives, it’s not a matter of choice, it’s a matter of necessity and I think we often forget that. It’s editorialised and in a sense you lose touch with the fact that it’s actually life or death. It’s on a completely different level than how we’re actually thinking about it, we’ve lost touch with that idea.”
“The distribution of information in the digital age has evolved in ways that no one could have imagined since we started working with Massive Attack. Our work has been an observational commentary of this phenomenon”
Matthew Clark, United Visual Artists
“Is there anything different in what I’m doing to sharing an article on social media or signing a petition?” The answer has to be yes, but the comparison shows a lot about the unease Del Naja feels about putting himself on a pedestal; of shouting louder than the rest. He wants their platform to be used to amplify the voice of the crowd as much as their own, and more than that he wants it to have a purpose. Occupy may not have brought power into the hands of the 99% all on its own, but the determination to make a difference is still audible in his voice, and any sense of frustration is due only to the scope of his ambition. Ultimately, when the show sets in and the messaging is underscored by a discography like Massive Attack’s, it’s impossible to see it as just another newsfeed. The data may be overwhelming, but there’s truth in there somewhere. For more information, visit uva.co.uk/ work/massive-attack
it, and what’s the difference? We’ve seen that information and culture has been constantly destroyed, burned and edited throughout history. That will now continue digitally, but that could be a positive thing because the democratisation of the internet gives everybody the ability to edit.” He’s the first to acknowledge this new landscape also comes with a risk. “There’s that phrase, ‘the post-factual society’, where everything is shared peer-to-peer and you don’t necessarily have to hear the truth, you just have to hear something. The truth is rewritten as it’s shared. It’s an interesting but scary time we live in; we can see from the misinformation that was spread around the time of Brexit as a very recent example of how precarious that is. You read about Oculus Rift founder Palmer Lucky's Pro-Trump 'shitposting' campaign and you recoil and fear for the information age. Ultimately, our aim is to question information, the sharing of information and our role in it.”
Words: Gunseli Yalcinkaya Photography: Freel and Gorse Styling: Clifford Jago
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. In a collaborative shoot with hyperreal image makers Freel and Gorse, this saying is taken quite literally by Eartheater’s Alexandra Drewchin. For this month's Aesthetic, the 27-yearold musician wears an assemblage of outfits that includes two gigantic sponges ducktaped to her ears and a headpiece comprised of a ripped Sainsbury’s bag and a floppy disk. For Eartheater, this isn’t too out of the ordinary. “The body gets to speak through clothing,” she says, “I love to work with what’s around and try not to make too much waste. Like when the seat finally falls out of the chair, nail the frame to a tree to make a basketball hoop.”
It seems that Drewchin is always looking for ways to expand and grow as an artist. Her mantra is ‘matter over mind’. This not only manifests itself in the clothing she wears, but the way she uses her body. Throughout Drewchin’s typically gripping performances as Eartheater, physical movement is its own form of language. “I find the ouroboric-like shape of a deep back
bend to be uniquely altering,” she says. “I prescribe this shape to myself and find it’s really helpful to unlock deep emotions while performing. When I contort, tremble, chatter or crawl on the floor like a wild dog, I experience something else just as altering.” With Liturgy drummer Greg Fox, Drewchin is one half of primordial drone duo Guardian Alien. But primarily she is Eartheater. Abstraction and symbolism seem to be driving forces behind the Eartheater music. Drawing on pastoral influences and new age spirituality, her sound is both wildly experimental and completely compelling – a vivid excursion into the gentler side of noise. “I feel very polarised in my sonic impulses and desires,” she explains. At the moment, she’s writing a concerto using a free software orchestra, with violin solos recorded on an iPhone. “It’s like licking real whipped cream off of a plastic soft served ice-cream cone,” she says jokingly. Fueled by such contradictions, the Brooklyn-based musician describes
herself as a ‘psychological pendulum’, swinging between chaos and composition. “I love to compose songs that use abstracted classical and pop paradigms that can support intricate lyrics,” she explains. Her 2015 record RIP Chrysalis, an expansive and freeform collision of synthetic sounds and psychedelic experimentation, takes this notion to its post-modern, postinternet extremes. Themes of reality, subjectivity and perfection concern Drewchin in this futurist conception of existence. “I think a sunset is perfect in the sky but I think that the world created by humans is very imperfect,” she says. “In the past, I had a crippling desire to capture the sunset in all its glory, but now I know I never will and I’m fine with that”. Humans are limited in their ability to reach perfection – a concept that is hinted at in the tattoos that adorn Drewchin’s hands, ‘warrior’ and ‘poetry’. It suggests that Eartheater – the warrior – is forever striving for the perfection that is poetry, but is held back by her humanity. Through Eartheater’s brilliantly
warped world, though, Drewchin has managed to unshackle some other persistent obstacles. “I’ve unlocked a lot of inhibiting chains attached to the hooks of the impossible elegance and beauty standards enforced by patriarchy,” she explains. “I think I terrify some cis men.” freelandgorse.com
Bike Leathers: Vintage Suzuki Polygamist: Karl Ekdahl Top: Gaffer Shoes: Model's own
Leather Outfit: Ferrari
Custom Nike Football Top: Kill Squad X Hood: Sainsburys Gloves: B&Q
Jumpers and Trousers: Adidas
068 Hat: W5 Top: Maggi Eye piece: Dealer
Reflective Jacket: Model's Own Bag: Innocent Chain: Model's Own Sponge Headset: Poundland
071 AFROPUNK Alexandra Palace 24 September
Words: Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff Photography: Nadira Amrani
The lead-up to the inaugural festival saw M.I.A discarded as a headliner due to controversial comments she made regarding the Black Lives Matter movement in an Evening Standard interview. It didn’t do much to dampen spirits on the day. Although, perhaps due to this controversy, the festival didn’t quite sell out, Alexandra Palace was packed by the time that replacement headliner (and the
love of every sexually liberated black woman’s life) Grace Jones took to the stage in the late evening. While some artists complained about the church-like acoustics of Ally Pally, an easily navigable layout with a massive ‘SpinThrift Market’ (selling beautiful clothing, artwork, magazines and cosmetics from black-owned businesses) made the size of the space worthwhile. I found myself poring over prints from Kay Davis, who draws colourful, dreamlike images of black women, and buying a hair tie from African-inspired brand, Sapelle. Having also attended Afropunk Paris back in June, I knew I was going to feel underdressed. The “traditional” punk vibes may have dissipated from Afropunk, but adherence to aesthetic still reigns supreme. At Afropunk you will see some of the most beautiful people you’ve ever laid eyes upon, with the most innovative hairstyles and fashion choices to boot. Although the
“hotep” label could well be applied to some of the festival goers (those who peddle the Afrocentric “vibe” and talk a lot about spirituality and being “kings” and “queens”), in the main it was refreshing to be surrounded by a whole bunch of people with similar features to my own, celebrating their natural hair, their bodies, and aspects of traditional African/ Caribbean dress. The first act I caught was Jorja Smith, an artist on the cusp of blowing up. Her dad, a neo-soul singer, has encouraged her from a young age and her voice was strong and expertly pitched at Afropunk. Her best known track, Blue Lights, is played last and blows up the room after she announces an EP will be released in November. Rapper Loyle Carner’s performance was the most emotional and charming I saw, and reminded me of the family nature of the festival. With a nice tone, bars like poetry, and relatable lyrics – chatting about “piff green” and “distraught
youth” – of his deceased father he says, “I take his football top with me wherever I go”, and reads us a poem, Florence, about his “freckle-faced fidgeter” – a soon to be adopted younger sister. He was also wearing an “I love Michelle Obama” t-shirt. How could you not love him? Later on, Scottish trio Young Fathers, flanked by the Leith Congregational Choir, ripped, danced and tore through a set of their most upbeat songs. A highlight was LAW taking to the stage to sing War and Get Up, and their latest track, Only God Knows. Finally, Grace Jones. In one of the most mesmerising performances I’ve ever seen, Jones was a vision, naked apart from a corset, daubed in body paint. Her set, underpinned by deep vocals still strong and luscious, tracked her musical life and saw a host of outfit changes. During Pull up to the Bumper, a perky male pole dancer spent much of the performance being spanked. In Williams Blood she
spoke about her life in Jamaica which, she says, “you never really leave”. The audience were onside as she made us call and return, and people almost cried as she ran to the front of the stage, grabbing hands. And, for a 68-year-old woman, she sure can move her body. The hulahoop may have dropped during Slave to the Rhythm (she usually hulas throughout the whole performance), but the moves were still there. Upon leaving, there was no doubt left in my mind: Afropunk, London has been waiting for you.
Afropunk was first conceived in 2005 as a free, annual music festival in Brooklyn aimed at African Americans – following an eponymous 2003 documentary about the “alternative” black folx who had found their home in the punk movement. Eleven years on, and we have the first ever Afropunk London – which is also a homecoming for Hackney-born Afropunk co-founder Matthew Morgan. It was perhaps one of the most successful celebrations of diversity and blackness the UK has seen in recent years, definitely needed at a time when racial tensions are brewing post-Brexit.
UPCOMING LONDON SHOWS
In Conversation DREAMLAND,MARGATE Fri 30 Sept & Sat 01 Oct.
THE DOME Tuesday 04 October
THE FORGE Wednesday 05 October.
ISLINGTON ASSEMBLY HALL Thurs 13 & Fri 14 Oct.
SCALA Friday 14 October.
VILLAGE UNDERGROUND Saturday 15 October.
MOTH CLUB Monday 17 October.
ROUNDHOUSE Wednesday 19 October.
MOTH CLUB Thursday 20 October.
SHACKLEWELL ARMS Thursday 20 October.
THE LOCK TAVERN Friday 21 October.
ROUNDHOUSE Saturday 22 October.
OSLO Tuesday 25 October.
MOTH CLUB Thursday 27 October.
KOKO Friday 28 October.
MUSEUM OF LOST SOUNDS
FOREST SWORDS & COSMO SHELDRAKE
AUTUMN STREET STUDIOS Friday 28 October.
THE FINSBURY Friday 28 October.
MUSEUM OF LONDON Saturday 29 October.
OVAL SPACE Sunday 30 October.
BARBICAN Monday 31 October.
THE FORGE Tuesday 01 November.
FEAT. SHYE BEN TZUR, JONNY GREENWOOD & THE RAJASTAN EXPRESS
OVAL SPACE Wednesday 02 November.
TROXY Friday 04 November.
MICKS GARAGE WAREHOUSE Friday 04 November.
GENESIS CINEMA Saturday 05 November.
SCALA Monday 07 November.
ISLINGTON ASSEMBLY HALL Tuesday 08 November.
HEAVEN Friday 11 November.
ELECTRIC BRIXTON Friday 11 November.
ALEXANDRA PALACE Thursday 17 November.
CECIL SHARP HOUSE Thursday 17 November.
THE DOME Thursday 17 November.
BUSH HALL Sunday 20 November.
VILLAGE UNDERGROUND Monday 21 November.
SCALA Tuesday 22 November.
MOTH CLUB Thursday 24 November.
OMEARA Wednesday 30 November.
MOTH CLUB Friday 02 December.
KAMIO Thursday 08 December.
GHOSTS OF SOCIAL NETWORKS
(SINGLE LAUNCH PARTY)
(ALBUM LAUNCH PARTY)
15 & 16 OCTOBER
SKY BETWEEN LEAVES
LADIES & GENTLEMEN, THE FABULOUS STAINS
(ALBUM LAUNCH PARTY)
LEON OF ATHENS 28 OCTOBER
BAD VIBRATIONS HALLOWEEN ALL-NIGHTER W/ TRAAMS, DEAD GHOSTS, K-X-P + MORE 29 OCTOBER
MULLETOVER HALLOWEEN SPECIAL
W/ PBR STREETGANG, GEDDES, TRISTAN DA CUNHA + MORE
BUGGED OUT! NYE W/ EROL ALKAN, LEMMY ASHTON, COWBOY RHYTHMBOX, HARRY JAMES + MORE 1ST JANUARY 2017
MULLETOVER NEW YEARâ€™S SPECIAL
THE FIELD & GAZELLE TWIN
LONDONFIELDSBREWHOUSE.CO.UK londonfieldsbrewhouse 369 & 370 Helmsley Place, London E8 3SB
BJÖRK Hammersmith Eventim Apollo, London 24 September
The Source Music Resort is a hotel-cum-concert venue located a couple of miles outside of Marrakech in between the airport and the walled old city. The new venue for Oasis festival, now in its second year, the surrounding landscape is largely comprised of vacant lots earmarked for development and skeletal half-constructed hotel complexes. However, stepping in to the festival on Friday afternoon we couldn’t have been confronted with a more different scene. A picturesque network of paths were flanked on either side by towering cacti and delicately manicured exotic fauna, dotted with shady enclaves where the assembled early-doors crew lounged away from the sun. Oasis’ vibe is one of unabashed luxury, and alongside the usual festival fare there was also a champagne bar, a Jack Daniels-sponsored blackjack table and a miniature souk-style traders area. While the line-up was weighted towards European and American DJs and the majority of dancers hailed from either the UK, US or France, there was a pleasingly international feel to the festival. According to the organisers, people had travelled from over 30 different countries to attend. Perhaps more importantly, there was also a solid local contingent from Marrakech, and those we chatted to spoke positively about Oasis and the rapid proliferation of festivals in Morocco. The weekend’s lineup was split across two stages – The Desert Oasis, an ornate wooden booth opening out on to the pool, and The Arena, a sunken concrete amphitheatre. Musically, highlights included The Black Madonna, who played one of the stand-out sets of the weekend. Seemingly reluctant to linger on one track for more than a few minutes, she deftly cut through a broad selection of classics, even appearing to throw a couple of spinbacks in for good measure. Motor City Drum Ensemble and Massimiliano Pagliara’s masterful early-evening slot set an ebullient tone for the festival’s final night, flowing perfectly into the feel-good combination of Steffi, Dexter and Virginia. While Jeff Mills might seem like a questionable choice to soundtrack the finale to Oasis Festival’s sun-soaked idyll, his searing 909-driven closing set felt poignant, a fitting end to an event that prioritised credibility over accessibility. Oasis Festival’s indulgent atmosphere might not appeal to those who prefer a bit of grit with their festival experience. But with great programming, glorious weather and the benefit of a site purpose-built for events of its type, Oasis set a high benchmark for Morocco’s burgeoning festival scene. ! Ben Horton N Lahcen Mellal
! Davy Reed Santiago Felipe
LIVERPOOL PSYCH FEST Baltic Triangle, Liverpool 23-24 September Liverpool Psych Fest was started five years ago as a bit of a joke – two promoters had booked two psych acts in the city. So as not to split the audience, they decided to put them on together under the ironically grandiose banner of ‘Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia.’ The festival is certainly no joke now. Expanding each year from that first show, there are now five stages, a gallery, a virtual reality experience room and a mini cinema. And while there are a good number of long-haired, grizzled old psych heads in attendance, there’s a large amount of young people milling around with pints too. It’s easy to see why there’s such a varied audience: rather than basing the line-up around psychedelic music as a hard and fast rule, the festival’s offering simply plays with the genre’s ideas instead. Here, psychedelia is forcefully cast into the future. Many things make this festival feel modern, no less the beautifully imagined visuals that adorn each fashionably distressed gig space. Standout eye-poppers include the swirl of falling flower buds for The Wytches’ punishing doomsurf and the throb and scatter of a 1920s political film that frames Eagulls’ rich, intense, shoegazing anguish. One act that needs no additional imagery to make jaws drop is experimental electronic artist Eartheater – her set is a performance art piece in itself. It’s difficult to put a finger on why her set is so moving. Maybe it’s the blend of the human and digital that’s so disconcerting, or that she dedicates her intense set to Planned Parenthood, an American sexual health organisation to which she says she owes her life. Her performance sums up the festival thus far: exciting, adventurous, and thought-provoking. I’d try to predict what they’ll have lined up for next year’s Psych Fest, but knowing this festival, their ideas are probably lightyears ahead of mine.
! Sammy Jones Keith Ainsworth
OASIS The Source, Marrakech 16 - 18 September
There are risks in performing particularly tender or minimal music to thousands of people on a Saturday night. Attention spans waver, drunken bar orders are overheard and the sight of so many iPhone screens can be disenchanting. But if anyone can captivate an inevitably drunken crowd, it’s Björk, who manages to make the vast majority of the audience at her second sold-out London show of the week commit to awe-struck silence. And while 99% of the crowd respectfully refrain from chatting over the music, the applause in between songs is at the kind of volume you’d expect at a football match. With the orchestra settled in their seats and the lights dimmed, Björk first takes to the stage wearing a white dress which responds to UV lighting, and a headpiece designed by James Merry which illuminates her in the darkness like a firefly. Opening with Stonemilker, the order of the first six songs of the setlist is nearly identical to the Vulnicura tracklisting. With the songs presented with a purely orchestral musical set-up, the naked emotion of Björk’s lyrics is intensified, and the trills of her Icelandic accent are ever-soslightly more pronounced than they are on record. Following an anxiety-ridden rendition of Notget, a half hour interval is called. It’s a necessary break – the songs have been almost overwhelmingly intense at times, and the crowd seemed to get restless during the rendition of Vulnicura’s 10 minute-long centre-piece Black Lake, mistaking the gaps in the music for the song’s ending and breaking into premature rounds of applause. The show’s two-song encore climaxes with Homogenic song Pluto, for which the orchestra reinvent the original track’s abrasive electronica by striking their strings with hostility. “Thank you for your interest,” Björk says to the crowd, with almost comical levels of modesty. Like many things with the Icelandic artist, it sounds like a whisper, but the reaction to it is very, very loud.
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END OF THE ROAD Larmer Tree Gardens 2 - 4 September
It’s pitch black when we arrive at Field Maneuvers, and we’re guided by the throbbing bass on the other side of the hedgerow. Having grown up in the backwaters of rural West Wales, this scene felt familiar, driving home the aptness of Field Maneuvers’ ‘dirty little rave’ tagline. The difference here was that instead of psy-trance and King of the Bongo remixes, Field Maneuvers offered up Jane Fitz and Jade Seatle by way of introduction, with the Night Moves pair laying down hardcore stabs and obscure house gems before Randomer’s percussive assault on the Sputnik’s Dome stage, looking like a deflected satellite smashed into the idyllic hillside. Despite its growing reputation, Field Maneuvers is a particularly intimate festival, making it easy to catch a lot of music and make plenty of friends in the process. With few frills to the festival’s site, the Saturday downpours drove many towards the steamy music tents. Mark Archer and Jerome Hill plunged the Dome into raptures, and their liberal splashes of acid hiss and breakbeat made for a definite highlight. Everything was condensed down to the Palace on Sunday, with Mike Servito, Studio Barnhus, Ryan Elliot and The Black Madonna lined up. The Barnhus guys had the tent bouncing and The Black Madonna was as infectiously fun as she always is, closing the party with the kind of enthusiasm that spreads goonish grins across the crowd. Ryan Elliot was the pick of the bunch though, hitting the last-chance-to-party vibe dead on with wall-to-wall hands-up euphoria. This kind of festival keeps gaining traction as dancers want to feel more connected. Mega-parties have their place, but the likes of Field Maneuvers have tapped into a need for a sense of community. By Monday morning it felt like all of the 600 or so in attendance had partied together. It seemed like almost everyone at Field Maneuvers this year had been previously and, in the warm glow of the aftermath, I was already planning my own return. ! Theo Kotz N Alex Kurunis
LIL YACHT Y The Garage, London 23 September Decked out in a yellow Supreme tracksuit, hiphop’s alienating newcomer Lil Yachty bounds on to the stage. Arriving for a debut sold out London show (which counted Skepta and Frank Ocean as attendees) while Broccoli, a chart-climbing single with D.R.A.M still reverberates around America, the air of anticipation is palpable. Immediately, his voice is lost amidst the uncontrollable crowd. But the sound is unmistakably Yachty – a cacophony of ice-cream truck sounds and starry-eyed melodies housing lyrics about young affluence and the perks of being the hottest rapper in the world. There’s no understating how quickly things have happened for Yachty (this show was sold out before he even had proper label representation in Europe). Like many first appearances from fastrising internet sensations, there’s a shambolic element to proceedings. There’s bedlam on stage as Yachty’s red beaded dreads bounce. He’s upping the ante for the live show, swapping the subtleties of his sound for more conventional rap star behaviour – crowd surfing, water spraying and turning up. In some ways it’s a shame as lots of Yachty’s appeal comes from his otherness. In reality though, when One Night rings out across the room, it’s impossible not to jump into the party. Having fully exited the stage, Yachty creeps back on and introduces Skepta, who performs a couple of seconds of Shutdown before announcing the date of his sold out, gargantuan Ally Pally show and dropping the mic. Skepta has long been a London ambassador of new waves of US hip-hop, and new waves rarely arrive with as much momentum as this. The debate surrounding Lil Yachty doesn’t look like it’s going to die down anytime soon. Agitator, luminary, chancer, blagger. He’s all of them, IRL. ! Duncan Harrison N Courtney Francis
! Jennifer Duffy Rachel Juarez-Carr
FIELD MANEUVERS Secret Location, near London 2 - 4 September
What it might lack in grit and, this year, sunshine, End Of The Road made up for in its commitment to addressing the persistent gender imbalance in festival line-ups. Savages, Bat For Lashes, Cat Power and Joanna Newsom all topped the bill and all provided powerful performances. On Friday night Savages rule as hard as ever, treating us to a cover of Suicide’s Dream Baby Dream in the process. On Saturday, Cat Power won the crowd, as ever, with a voice that brims with fragility, soul and courage and a huge back catalogue. End Of The Road is a festival that pays close attention to detail. Set in the beautiful – and this year sadly soggy – surroundings of Larmer Tree Gardens, the festival is made up of several custom built areas, each hosting an extensive musical schedule alongside one off collaborations and guest speakers. This year, they hold tight to their status as one of the UK’s most charming festivals due in no small part to the carefully planned décor that gives the site a unique and irresistible character. The Woods, for example, host the majority of the festival’s late night activities, where you can, if you wish, sing karaoke whilst standing in a bathtub filled with gold streamers. On Sunday, we nurse our heads in the calmness of James Canty's lyrically smart tales of heartbreak and gender confusion. Later on, Thee Oh Sees play a relentlessly high-energy and infectious set in the beautiful surroundings of the Garden Stage. Joanna Newsom, who doesn’t have to play her headline slot against any other acts, delivers a sweet and intricate set in the rain, holding court as her audience listens quietly and attentively. It’s a fitting end for a festival that’s perfectly positioned to ease us gently into the autumn.
06 CR AIG DAVID Following My Intuition Speakerbox/Insanity
At the mention of ‘Craig David’, some people still picture that Bo’ Selecta! sketch: the Avid Merrion caricature complete with marker pen beard, Yorkshire accent and plastic kestrel. It’s full credit to the UK garage crooner that he’s fashioned such a successful comeback for himself over the last 12 months, through hard graft, positivity (he even called the Leigh Francis impersonation “flattering”) and a passion for chart toppers at their most infectious. Having recently moved back to London after a spell out in Miami, Craig took a portion of his performance at this year’s Rated Awards to spit bars over cult grime instrumental Rhythm ‘N’ Gash, making people wonder what musical direction his sixth studio album might take. One of the tracks on Following My Intuition is the one that set the comeback wheels in motion. 16 is a recorded version of the freestyle he performed on Kurupt FM’s 1Xtra takeover: that Fill Me In melody over Bieber’s Where Are Ü Now which promptly went viral. Elsewhere, Craig’s sixth studio album contains fairly bland festival fodder like Ain’t Giving Up ft. Sigala and vanilla d’n’b joint Don’t Go. He’s at his best when he’s doing the garage-meets-RnB sound that popularised him in the first place — tracks like One More Time and What If are remiscent of of the garage posterboy’s Born To Do It heyday. There’s the Big Narstie collab When The Bassline Drops and slinking neo-soul number Got It Good, which also appeared on Kaytranada’s 99.9%. They show that, while Craig hasn't gone fully future-facing here, he's got an eye for picking the right people to work with. Too much can be said for nostalgia, but Following My Intuition is strongest when Craig (re-re-)rewinds it back.
With 2011's Room(s) on Planet Mu or 2013's Vapor City on Ninja Tune, there was an air of hope in Machinedrum’s music that was so brittle it felt like all the bass-loaded percussive rattling would shatter at any given moment. With Human Energy, the message is clear. Delivering a record that bellows warmth without any internal resistance, Stewart's lust for life seems to have been fully reformed. And it's predominantly pretty blissful. While Vapor City's concept concentrated around a chimerical metropolis with each track dedicated to one of its dreamlike districts, here Stewart's approach is to conjure immediate feelings of intense familiarity by utilising the more candied aspects of mainstream pop. What Stewart has done is take his typically perplexing polyrhythms and douse them in a sinkhole of syrupy goodness. It’s like his own deeply sincere interpretation of the pop umbilical cord that currently keeps the PC Music roster well nourished. Tracks like Angel Speak, Isometric and Dos Puertas effervesce like the dispersion of carbon dioxide from a sealed cola bottle. Spectrum Sequence, White Crown and Colour Communicator own a serious spasmodic bounce to them, like sentimental odes to classic footwork conventions. Guest features from the likes of Melo-X, Ruckazoid, Tosin Abasi and RnB futurist D∆WN are periodic throughout the record, yet Machinedrum's archetypal vocal dissections dismantle almost any recognition of a voice that sounds entirely human. If anything, Human Energy succeeds in being indulgent, excessive and occasionally silly. But happily so.
! Felicity Martin
! Tom Watson
MACHINEDRUM Human Energy Ninja Tune
NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS Skeleton Tree Bad Seed Ltd
THE W Y TCHES All Your Happy Life Heavenly Recordings
Next time your uncle / boss / nan asks you what the difference is between a mixtape and an album is, play them Let’s Lurk and tell them it’s a mixtape. Loaded with scene-setting skits and poorly mixed producer tags and – crucially – spilling into an exhausting 18 song track-list, Let’s Lurk is certainly a mixtape. As an introduction to Brixton Hill collective 67, Let’s Lurk showcases enough dynamism to outweigh the roughness. The group’s use of hard-hitting, Chicago drill-influenced instrumentals makes their sound more eerie and their hooks more biting. While their lyrics also have a streetwise grit which might be more commonly associated with Southern US rap, they manage to incorporate this style into a British framework with ease – on Church, the group’s masked member LD juxtaposes the authentic realities of confinement with nods to Albert Square lothario Max Branning. Dealing in a kind of streetstorytelling that balances on skeletal beats and candid lyrics, closer Just Do It is the strongest demonstration of 67’s sound. If they can tighten up their output, their next move could be an interesting progression of UK rap’s commercial prospects.
Nick Cave’s 16th studio album with The Bad Seeds is bookended by tragedy and promise, and within these eight songs is a complete exploration of grief as a human emotion. Like much of Cave’s previous work, death looms darkly as a reoccurring theme, yet in consideration of the tragic context, the album is one the bravest records of recent times. Album opener Jesus Alone begins with the statement, “You fell from the sky and crash landed in a field near the river Adur.” Some of the material for Skeleton Tree, like Jesus Alone, was written before the passing of Cave’s 15-year-old son Arthur, who fell from a cliff in Brighton last year, but this tragedy often colours Cave’s words. Following Jesus Alone’s moody musical palette, second song Rings Of Saturn captures a tender sense of warmth, addressing a female character and exerting a soothing influence on Cave’s inner turmoil. But Cave can’t quite submit the intimacy. “I’m there and I’m also not there,” he sings, “maybe I’m just too tongue-tied to drink it up and swallow back the pain.” Girl In Amber, in which Cave pleads “don’t touch me” repeatedly, and Magneto include some of the album’s most difficult moments. There’s a noise that mimics a ticking clock or a dripping tap in Magneto, invoking a claustrophobia linked to being stuck in the house, and the song sees Cave – a former addict – wander between his own musings and grapple for coping mechanisms, and his ability to function is brought into question. “Oh, the urge to kill somebody was basically overwhelming/ I had such hard blues down there in the supermarket queues,” he confesses. The sound of someone as hardened, weathered and wild as Nick Cave like he’s struggling to suppress his tears on I Need You makes for one of the album’s suffocatingly heartbreaking moments. “Nothing really matters, nothing really matters when the one you love is gone,” is a timeless truth, with Caves’ unfiltered delivery replicating a state of distress, and the Bad Seeds’ warm backing vocals appearing like a supportive arm around the shoulder. It’s the final two songs that finally embrace the idea of peace. Distant Sky is soft and celestial, signaling the breaking of a new day. It’s the introduction of Danish soprano Else Torp’s voice that catches you off guard in the malaise. In a record which often feels bereft of hope, there is a surrender here to the shattering loss. On the album’s title track, Cave muses “nothing is for free”, ending with the repeated line “it’s alright now” and providing a necessary glimmer of optimism to close. Whether Nick Cave has directly addressed the events that have in part shaped this album is not always clear – if he hasn’t there are coincidences in abundance in the lyrical progression and the themes. What is mined here is an exhaustive yet cathartic coalescence of one of the toughest human emotions as musical art. An astounding achievement.
The Wytches’ second LP opens with the starched remains of a gramophone record that strains with nostalgia. On first glance, it seems the surf-doom quartet are still hopelessly enamoured with the pomp of goth past they wrestled with on their debut album, 2014's Annabel Dream Reader. However, album opener proper and lead single C-Side quickly reminds how the trio ascended Brighton’s tight-knit garage rock circles: sparkling with the same technical talent and breadth of imagination that’s made far more practiced psych compatriots like Thee Oh Sees, Tame Impala and Ty Segall so enduring. Showing further promise still, next track Can’t Face It writhes with lyrical revulsion before melting into spooky surf riffs and a doom-laden shouted chorus. Knocked into a blender, it’s these elements that would typify the best of the trio’s material, and later tracks Throned and Ghost House also meld into a freakishly good double-header of the same demonic punchiness the band do so well. However, when paired with the dewy-eyed wistfulness songwriter and lead singer Kristian Bell was unable to avoid throughout Annabel Dream Reader, these ideas fail to land. The last three tracks sound dated and misplaced, and it’s a shame that syrupy lyrics and clanging piano parts are the last reminder of what is otherwise a leap forward for a band that’s still dripping with potential.
! Duncan Harrison
! Thomas Frost
! Sammy Jones
67 Let’s Lurk 6ix 7even
DARK THRONE Arctic Thunder Peaceville
NICOL AS JA AR Sirens Other People
KORN The Serenity Of Suffering Roadrunner
Since his head-turning debut album Space is Only Noise in 2011, Nicolas Jaar has put his name to a lot of different music: partnering with Dave Harrington as Darkside, producing sleek club tracks (last year’s slinky Fight on R&S), curating soundtracks (Pomegranates) and releasing various avantgarde offerings via his label Other People. It’s an impressive body of work, but still, it’s been half a decade since Jaar released a full-length solo album. And so even amongst this plethora of music, Sirens feels like an important milestone; a way of gauging how far this prodigious and prolific Chilean composer and producer has come since Space is Only Noise blew people’s minds with its combination of dark, dappled rhythms and otherworldly melodies. Sirens opener Killing Time continues pretty much exactly where Space… left off: Jaar’s delicate and ghostly falsetto settling into the sinews of an aquatic melody, and shuffling percussion. Next up is a slightly jarring change of pace: The Governor. With an almost gonzo take on a bluesy, rock ‘n’ roll riff at its centre, the track evolves into more familiar territory (squawking saxophones and a dislocated piano melody) but is a slight misfire in an album that is otherwise consistently, challengingly excellent. The simple vocal repetition on No floats ethereally across a gentle, spectral dub under-belly, and the unsettling, looming Three Sides of Nazareth is not a million miles away from a cautious, careful Zomby composition. Sirens is another exemplary album from an artist with a depth, maturity and prolific back-catalogue that confirms Jaar, at the age of 26, has established himself as a significant figure in the world of experimental electronic music.
Blackest Ever Black ties together varying strands of murky and clamorous gloom, releasing the likes of Raime, Regis and Prurient across its five "wretched" years of existence. But it sometimes offers something softer. Having long collaborated on BEB projects, Carla dal Forno has now delivered her debut solo LP on the London-born, Berlin-based label. Originally a Melbourne-based post-punk artist, since arriving in Berlin, dal Forno's sound has slowed down, with her minimalist, lo-fi productions streaked with her own siren calls. You Know What It’s Like is a more tangibly personal release from the label, a woozy, weary album that exists in a state of suspension, like communicating with the world through a thick pane of glass. The raw quality of the album seems almost infantile on Dragon Breath; where simple progressions complemented with hazy synths offer a feeling of waiting in the next room, before The Same Reply brings us back into reality with a thudding immediacy. Introduced by the album's single, Fast Moving Cars, dal Forno's earthy folk vocals echo through the entire album, piecing it together as if narrating a journey for us. Laced with chords equally wallowed in anticipation and despair, it's a record full of intimacy and cinematic melancholy, but its charm stems from its down to earth, honest delivery of emotion – its gentle pace and human warmth managing to keep a layer of hope floating somewhere near the surface.
Artists using clubbing as narrative arcs for LPs rarely works out. It’s a little like artists claiming albums are “based on their record collections” – essentially giving grounds for a disjointed record built from all kinds of sounds with no real impetus. Jubilee is a New York producer who spent her formative years growing up on the Miami club sound before relocating to New York, soaking up the eclectic sounds of the city and putting together this debut for Mixpak. As the title suggests, After Hours revolves around Jubilee’s nocturnal adventures, and although she struggles to stitch them all together, the various chapters of her night sound like parties worth chasing. Wine Up and Opa-Locka channel the colourful Mixpak stylings which Jubilee is perhaps best associated with. Elsewhere, fellow Miami-native Otto von Schirach appears for standout cut Bass Supply – a supercharged eruption of Miami bass. At the end of the record, Snooze Button plays out like a wispy interpretation of UK grime before Sawgrass Highway zones in on a heads-down electro, which is formulaic but not totally unexciting. Jubilee isn’t just halfheartedly giving these styles a go, she's done her homework and she’s pretty much nailing them. It makes for a record which is good fun, if a little indistinct and fuzzy – like any recollection of a worthwhile night out.
The make-up of your average Korn fan might have changed a little with the passing of time, but those still stoking their fire in 2016 will be delighted that the base mantra for a Korn record has returned with The Serenity Of Suffering, their 12th LP. If you’ve been going through a few tissues and issues of late, if life hasn’t been the kindest to you, 14 unrelenting tracks of bruising, break-up, break-down nu-metal from the dreadlocked five-piece might be the tried and tested remedy for die-hard fans. For others, I’d approach with caution. Following the drama of line-up shuffles, religious awakenings and unlistenable EDM collaborations, essentially The Serenity Of Suffering is a throwback to Korn’s early nu-metal template, which is either good news or bad news, depending on whether you feel the genre is something which resembles the fun period of adolescence before you musically graduated, or an extremely upsetting fad. In the lead up to the album, lead singer Jonathan Davis was quoted as saying: “I've got to the point I don't relate with anyone that's normal anymore. I can only relate to people who are going through insanity, or there's something wrong with them.” Solid basis for musical inspiration there, and Korn have always claimed to represent the social outcasts rather than the jocks of nu-metal, but try and get to the end of this album without feeling slightly like the topic of alienation is replicated for pretty much every lyrical theme. And according to the internet Jonathon Davis is worth $45 million, is married to an adult actress, and plays in one of the world’s most successful rrrawwwkk bands. Based on that information alone, I personally don’t think things are actually that bad for him.
Roman Flügel’s legacy in electronic music is complex and varied right back to his earliest forays in the 90s. The Frankfurt-based artist has swerved from abstract electro through to chart-busting mega hits, and yet he still manages to surprise more than 20 years on. These days the focus tends to be on his own name, with the relatively recent Fatty Folders and Happiness Is Happening shoring up his oddball house tendencies in a more consistent flow. All The Right Noises may be billed as a Roman Flügel record but it presents a wholly different sound. As Fantasy opens proceeding the mood is distinctly ambient, darewesay sombre, as lingering notes fill an empty void. While the album moves into many different shades from here, the introspective atmosphere remains. In some ways the likes of The Mighty Suns and Warm And Dewy call to mind classic electronica in their sharp angles and obtuse melodics, while elsewhere you can hear the ghost of Flügel’s more 4/4 minded output. Dust provides a surprising diversion into library disco boogie, as ever revealing Flügel’s dogged eclecticism. That quality fuels an album which seems to summarise his multifarious career in the classiest of ways.
Poor Fenriz. Having endured three decades spearheading the development of Norway’s frost-gnawed black metal community, the Darkthrone founder has now found himself involuntarily elected as a representative of his local town council. His election campaign was a picture of himself with his cat and a caption reading ‘Please don’t vote for me.’ And so everyone did. Hopefully, this newly instated position will not encroach on the productivity of his lifelong project. Alongside multi-instrumentalist collaborator Nocturno Culto, Arctic Thunder is the band’s sixteenth studio album. The name, Fenriz details, is in reference to a typically obscure Norwegian band from the late 80s whom Fenriz directly asked for permission to use. It also works in encapsulating the record’s emotive timbre. In light of Fenriz’s aversion to critiquing or socially deconstructing his art, the musician merely refers to Arctic Thunder as ‘serious’ and ‘primitive,’ with an emphasis on its ‘solemn/ introvert atmosphere’. Ambiguous enough to fascinate. Direct enough to know its intentionally foreboding nature will trump the tone of their previous outing, 2013’s The Underground Resistance. It’s crucial to note at this point in Darkthrone’s history that their trajectory doesn’t parrot the same impenetrably strident black metal sound of their former years. Factually, the band haven’t concentrated on their ‘Unholy Trinity’ style of playing since 2006, having released their final black metal record in 2004 with the rather bromidic Sardonic Wrath. Here, Darkthrone further their pursuit to coalesce their interests, incorporating elements of speed metal, crust punk, and distinctly traditional heavy metal. Astute, tremolo-decorated riffs remain the nucleus for the duo with opener Tundra Leech playing out like a more subdued Bolt Thrower arrangement. Throw Me Through The Marshes is an exhibition of proto-doom akin to the likes of Trouble or early Saint Vitus. Vocal responsibilities lay solely down to Nocturno Culto, delivering a routinely acrid growl but one that is comprehensibly tuneful. A genuinely accessible metal record that endorses all aspects of the genre’s budding conventions.
! Adam Corner
! Jo Kali
! Duncan Harrison
! Thomas Frost
! Oli Warwick
! Tom Watson
CARL A DAL FORNO You Know What It's Like Blackest Ever Black JUBILEE After Hours Mixpak
ROMAN FLÜGEL All The Right Noises Dial Records
10â€”16 MOTH Club Valette St London E8 mothclub.co.uk
Shacklewell Arms 71 Shacklewell Lane London E8 shacklewellarms.com
Friday 14 October
PHUONG DAN Monday 17 October
Friday 7 October
BEYOND THE WIZARDS SLEEVE Monday 10 October
SHAME Tuesday 11 October
GABRIEL BRUCE Wednesday 12 October
MABEL Friday 14 October
SELF DEFENSE FAMILY Tuesday 18 October
DUNE RATS Wednesday 19 October
SHE DREW THE GUN Thursday 20 October
Friday 7 October
MARTIN BISI Monday 10 October
K.I.D Thursday 13 October
DAMO SUZUKI Wednesday 19 October
THE SETH BOGART SHOW Thursday 27 October
HALEY BONAR Saturday 29 October
MIRRORS FESTIVAL Monday 31 October
Wednesday 19 October
OTZEKI Thursday 20 October
FAKE LAUGH Friday 21 October
AVERAGE SEX Saturday 22 October
BONFIRE NIGHTS Thursday 20 October
Saturday 22 October
LEIF Monday 24 October
VADAAT CHARGRIM Sunday 30 October
The Lock Tavern 35 Chalk Farm Rd London NW1 lock-tavern.com
ROUGH TRADE 40TH ANNIVERSARY Wednesday 5 October Thursday 10 November
The Waiting Room Sunday 23 October
175 Stoke Newington High St N16 waitingroomn16.com
Thursday 6 October
SNOW GHOSTS Saturday 8 October
OLIVER HO Thursday 13 October
SURF DADS Saturday 8 October
MURKAGE DAVE Tuesday 11 October
LIFE Thursday 13 October
RAD FRU Sunday 23 October
SCRAPER Saturday 29 October
06 08 08
THE R ADIO DEPT. Running Out Of Love Labrador MARCEL DET TMANN DJ-Kicks !K7
Thirteen years since their utterly brilliant debut Lesser Matters, and The Radio Dept. have made a move towards more polished production with their fourth full length. Running Out Of Love sees more commercially minded electronica come to the fore, with very little emphasis on guitar work. This is no bad thing, but the combination of pulsing beats and a robotic, detached vocal delivery - which often sounds as though the band have hired HAL 9000 to front them - lacks some of the warmth of their earlier releases. But it lacks warmth for good reason. Here The Radio Dept. confront the political, intellectual and moral changes and regression that they deem to be taking place in their native Sweden; things that are becoming common across the western world. Swedish Guns is about their homeland’s arms trade, whilst We Got Game reflects the state’s upholding and protecting of reactionary traditions and figures. The track is as club-ready as you’re likely to hear the band, with stabbing keys, fluttering fills and radio friendly melodies feeling a bit more ‘now’ than you’d expect from these perennial outsiders. Committed To The Cause, meanwhile, could’ve been taken from Foxbase Alpha in its propulsive house, though it is lacking the lift and optimism often found in Saint Etienne’s vocal performances. This Thing Was Bound To Happen allows them to nail the sound that they strive for on the record: an icier beat, with a more insistent melody, structure and bass line. Those optimistic about a return to The Radio Dept.’s shoegazing and dreampop days are in for a shock here. This is a ‘big’ record from a band who have found their success in understatement, and despite their laudable aims, it doesn’t quite suit them.
The formula for a successful DJ-Kicks compilation isn’t always clear. The quality in the series remains consistently high, but the changes in approach is arguably what defines each mix from the next. The last three were particularly on-point. Moodymann’s variation was exceptional with classic soul and hip-hop giving way to house, Dam Funk’s trawl through the funk was as charming as you’d expect and Jackmaster’s rediscovery of his techno roots was a surprisingly upfront and astute selection. The first and most immediate observation is this mix is not a thunderous trail through the latest panel-beating techno to grace the Berghain dancefloor, the stable from which Marcel Dettmann is most frequently associated. In his notes on the record, Dettmann said: “I was listening to a lot of music which is great, music that I hadn’t listened to for ages and certainly wouldn’t have played in a club set.” Though the stall is set out in typical foreboding fashion with his remix of Cybersonik’s 1990 classic Technarchy, it’s not until after his depthy exploration with Levon Vincent that the vision for this mix is opened wide up. His edit of Psychik Warrior’s 1989 acid track War Chant is primitive electronica its finest and the explorations into 90s electro are rarities deep from any vault, Dun Curtin’s Paradise Lost and Sandbender’s Defekt being standouts. The blend veers a particularly wavey course towards the end with electronic abstractions fitting the aforementioned anti-dancefloor mould, but in the main this feels like a very personal insight into what has gone into making one of techno’s heaviest weights the selector he is today.
! Jon Clark
! Thomas Frost
Rap-rock. As a take on its parent genres, at its commercial height it was as straight and tasteless as the chin-strap on cherub-faced fratmare Fred Durst, the poster-jock for a justly maligned sub-genre. In 2016, though, the face of raprock might well have become that of Detroit rapper Danny Brown. Draped in leather and crowned with a detonated afro, since his breakthrough 2011 release XXX Brown has been embracing a rock star image that’s somewhat befitting of the eccentric take on rap, rock and therefore rap-rock found on his fourth album. Named after a Joy Division song, Brown’s latest LP wears its post-punk influences on its album sleeve and the influence of bands like Talking Heads on the album’s production – largely supplied by Lewisham native Paul White. Over White's raucous fusion of guitar feedback, clattering percussion, blasts of trumpet, and what sounds like a mariachi band on fast forward, Brown shouts, Brown squawks and Brown is at times borderline incomprehensible. And unfortunately for those who value Brown as a lyricist, the rapping isn’t as fascinating as the music. The experimental thrust of this album giddies its production with forward momentum. As a vocalist, though, Brown seems to be stuck exploring a rut. Maybe he’s fighting to be heard against the frenetic music. But I can’t help mourning the loss of vocal range, lyricism, and dimensionality that has accompanied these gains in intensity. The substance of Atrocity Exhibition is often substance abuse, which is well-trodden ground for Brown – one of the few rappers willing to juxtapose the ‘turn up’ of drugs with the comedown. But the substance is buried deep. On XXX, arguably his masterpiece, Brown skilfully interweaved insanity and sobriety; on the follow up Old he split them down the middle, across two ‘sides’. Here, neither the clear head nor clear voice get much of a look in. Brown used to exhibit the psychological desecration wrought by hedonistic excess and urban poverty with fierce clarity. But on this album, he's become a different sort of exhibitionist. Not an atrocious exhibitionist, perhaps, but at times, a tedious one.
! Jack Law
PANGAEA In Drum Play Hessle Audio
DOUGL AS DARE Aforger Erased Tapes
In Drum Play may be billed as Pangaea’s debut album, but it’s not the first time we’ve had a long-form window into the Hessle Audio co-founder’s imagination. 2010’s Pangaea EP and 2012’s Release double-packs showcased a producer with a rich palette that reached far beyond the two-track 12” production line of so much dubstep at the time. Since Release, McAuley’s embrace of straight-up techno has been plain to hear. While such influences were always prevalent in his music previously, there was a point where the spirit of loopy, tribal 90s techno a la Ben Sims and James Ruskin seemed to noticeably reanimate in his productions and DJ sets. It was a similar story with McAuley’s peers, as dubstep’s youthful pioneers matured and sought out further musical roots to intertwine with. Of course every musical phenomenon is no more than the sum of its influences, and why shouldn’t the dubstep cognoscenti look back to classic UK techno as much as classic UK garage? However, dubstep’s streamlining into slick, modern 4/4 seemed to coincide with the wider popularity of underground dance music. No longer the preserve of under-attended Sunday night sessions at Plastic People, this sound and the artists carrying it was now filling out spacious warehouses and festival stages. UK, and indeed European, club music has been dallying with this sway between niche innovation and swelling crowds for some time. It’s arguably tougher to take chances as an artist when your nightly audience reaches into the thousands. As a vast, commercial space famed for its uncompromising booking policy, fabric could be considered one of the exceptions to that rule, which makes its recent closure all the more galling. McAuley’s debut album lands at this pivotal time for UK club culture, arriving ten years after he first stepped out on wax. It feels as though the varying tendrils of Pangaea’s sound from 2007 right up to now have coalesced into a many-sided, wholly contemporary piece of work. Part of the appeal of McAuley’s music has always been the flamboyance in his style, and it’s here in abundance. The RnB vocal licks on DNS call to mind earlier cuts such as Why, and More Is More To Burn succinctly captures the evolution of Pangaea with its sparkling surface elements strapped to a traditional techno structure. Overall on In Drum Play it feels like McAuley has gained traction on his penchant for loopy, tribal techno and offset it against his more playful side. One By One dazzles with its potent brew of anthemic grime stabs, swooning LFO strings and militant dubstep soundsystem pressure. Most importantly it feels natural, all the disparate influences gently merged for a personal end result. Part of that aforementioned big room techno proliferation may well turn back inwards now, as the UK struggles to hold onto larger spaces that can provide a haven for underground sounds. In some ways, In Drum Play feels more akin in spirit to the mythos of FWD>> and DMZ, its daring fusions of sounds more likely to delight the select crowd rather than satisfying the masses. The difference for the artist now is the maturity that seals those joins together, making the final body of work a cohesive one.
Having signed to Erased Tapes back in 2013, Douglas Dare has gained acclaim for his resonant songwriting and his classicalleaning composition. With Aforger, Dare’s second LP, he studies the relationship between reality and fiction, often applying these concepts as a way to explore autobiographical tales of heartbreak. Album opener Doublethink begins with the Orwellian notion of reality as something that can be manipulated and changed. “Ignorance is my bliss/ don’t want to fall out of this/ freedom is slavery/ my mind won’t ever help me,” Dare sings to a crescendo of harmonies and marching piano chords. The song is an expression of the pain the singer went through after finding out that his partner had been living a double life, and although Dare claims Aforger is not strictly a ‘break-up’ album, its influence seems to lie at the root of most tracks. Dare’s lyrics are frank and often painfully revealing. Oh Father provides an intimate account of Dare coming out to his dad, “I want you to love him as much as I do,” he pleads. On the stripped-back brass ballad Stranger, he paints the picture of a deteriorating relationship:“Your face has changed/ your body used to belong to me/ now I look away/ if you take your clothes off.” With Aforger, it becomes clear that Dare is first and foremost a wordsmith, and that everything else – the cascading horns, grainy harmonies, poignant pianos – makes the minimal canvas onto which he can convey his unashamedly human emotions.
! Oli Warwick
! Gunseli Yalcinkaya
DANNY BROWN Atrocity Exhibition Warp
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03 Film BL AIR WITCH dir. Adam Wingard Starring: James Allen McCune, Callie Hernandez, Corbin Reid
CAPTAIN FANTASTIC dir. Matt Ross Staring: Viggo Mortensen, George McKay, Kathryn Hahn Captain Fantastic follows Ben Cash (Mortensen) as he raises his six children in the forests of the American Pacific Northwest. They play, sing and laugh. They train, hunt and kill. They miss their mother, who has been hospitalised with severe bipolar disorder. Her absence sets off a chain of events, forcing Ben to either give up his children so they may lead ‘normal lives’, or continue in the wild despite the growing damage to their social and psychological development. Captain Fantastic is an enjoyably watchable vignette of this alternative lifestyle, and the intimacy and intensity of the Cash family dynamic leads to many joyful moments. Mortensen carries the complexities of Ben’s character admirably as he continues down the road less travelled, never shying away from challenging conversations or decisions. He explains rape to his seven year old. He has a frank discussion with his children about their mother’s mental illness. He doesn’t compromise. At least not until the final few frames, which should be honest, or at least believable, and probably quite sad. Instead, Hollywood serves up another happy ending, unfortunately one that leaves the cloying taste of saccharine in your mouth. ! Tamsyn Aurelia-Eros Black
! Tim Oxley Smith
HELL OR HIGH WATER dir. David Mackenzie Starring: Chris Pine, Jeff Bridges, Ben Foster
Hell or High Water is already one of the most critically acclaimed films of the year. Scottish director David Mackenzie has followed up his British prison drama Starred Up with this modern Western, an American tale of two brothers (Ben Foster and Chris Pine) who go on a series of bank robbery heists, and a Texas Ranger (Jeff Bridges) who will stop at nothing to unveil them and their motives. The performances and dialogue are remarkable. Foster does a great job as the loose cannon brother who can flip out at any moment. The dynamic between Foster and Pine is refreshing to see, due to the strong sense of brotherhood between them that drives the film along and becomes the main focus. Unfortunately, towards the end, High or Hell Water spirals into predictable plot devices, lazy characterisation and overwhelming familiarity, and its surprisingly contrived climax builds the sense that you have seen all this before. Disappointing, considering how well other aspects of Hell or High Water are handled. ! Lee Fairweather
07 04 HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE dir. Taika Waititi Starring: Sam Neil, Julian Dennison, Rhys Darby Taika Waititi, the filmmaker and actor behind Hunt for the Wilderpeople, is the creator of the adorably goofy Eagle vs Shark, What We Do in the Shadows and a handful of TV series including The Inbetweeners and Flight of the Conchords. All of these share the shrugged-shoulder humour that is distinctly Waititi’s, who creates characters that don’t seem to care about much. Or if they do, no one seems to be listening. In the case of Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Waititi applies this social awkwardness to the form of a kids adventure, adapted from Barry Crump’s novel Wild Pork and Watercress. 13-year-old Ricky arrives at his new foster home in a remote part of New Zealand. Grumpy old bushman Hec (Sam Neil) and the smartphone-wielding smartarse Ricky embark on this outdoors adventure full of den making and light cursing. Hunt for the Wilderpeople’s modern humour is fueled by Neil and Dennison and set against stunning New Zealand backdrops. Waititi has impressively made something both funny and with broad appeal, where Dennison’s youth-channeling performance and the spirituality of the outback compliment a simple yet effective buddy comedy. ! Tim Oxley Smith
THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN dir: Antoine Fuqua Starring: Denzel Washington, Chriss Pratt, Ethan Hawke It's hard to argue that we needed a new Magnificent Seven. After all, the 1960 original was already itself a remake, or rather a western adaptation, of 1954's Seven Samurai. You know the story; an oppressed village hires seven gunslingers to help protect their livelihoods from a large army of savages. It’s wheeled out again here with an action star-studded ensemble led by Denzel Washington. It's unfair to list everything that the updated film fails to capture from the original, yet there are stark differences that reveal a missed opportunity. Whereas the original had Eli Wallach's bandit preying on a Mexican community due to his army also needing food, Gold Baron (Peter Sarsgaard) is pure capitalist evil incarnate. Wallach played dog-eat-dog in a character looming over every scene, but here Sarsgaard isn't given anything more than a one note murdering monstrosity. The abundance of action here is skilfully choreographed and mostly engaging, with just enough one-liners and eye opening shots to keep it petering along. Unfortunately, this is all signed off with one of the worst closing shot and line from any film in recent memory. The Magnificent Seven should be a fun watch. Yet, as is often the case with Antoine Fuqua's films, this is simply pedestrian genre fair – it understands its heritage yet is never invigorated by it. ! Joseph McDonagh
The Blair Witch Project (1999) feels like the last big original horror. Its strangely prescient handheld camera action and that snot-nosed selfie spawned its own ‘rec. Horror’ genre. Like the Blair Witch herself, this filming style has lingered for 17 years and not aged well at all. It once was an innovative concept, capturing enough imagination to almost make the Blair Witch an urban myth. But now it seems the novelty has well and truly worn off. Blair Witch (2016) throws all of the same conventions back at us without considering how often the original has been copied. We were hoping it would raise the bar for horror once again, but the only advancement was the camera quality, which actually makes the film worse. Captured on some hi-tech ear cameras and a drone, the ‘footage’ lacked the grainy lo-fi quality that brought a layer of obscurity to the original. Here, the bad acting is in high definition. And after spending too long getting to know the characters, like participating in an awkward group training exercise, the only payoff is some – admittedly pretty good – jumps and a very quiet awareness of its own lack of originality. Disappointing for audiences and embarrassing for its creators, Blair Witch should have gone the way of Evil Dead 2 by laughing at itself, or at least tried to be a bit scarier. It did neither.
Bristol In:Motion Crack Magazine
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Motion, Bristol Saturday 10 December 10pm - 6am
Products BREAKING DOWN THE WALLS OF HEARTACHE: HOW MUSIC CAME OUT littlebrown.co.uk £25 Framed chronologically around landmark moments in the intersection of popular music and LGBT culture, Martin Aston explores social and political shifts in visibility and equality which have defined music’s coming out. Having written about popular music for over three decades, Aston is well-placed to celebrate and consider the impact which the LGBT community has had on the course of pop culture since the start of the 20th century.
MAKE IBIZA GREAT AGAIN makeibizagreatagain.com £16 As we hear it, Ibiza used to be a utopian paradise, but now it’s mostly drug busts and €30 drinks. Get behind the noble movement to make the white isle a better place. POLICE ARE TARGETTING LONDON VENUES sportsbanger.com £15 Following their run of NHS tees in the wake of the junior doctors’ protests, Sports Banger continue their line of shirts which resonate with the concerns of young people. With any luck a change will come and this statement about the Met Police will be redundant. For now though, wear this realtalkemblazoned apparel with pride.
PATTA X CARHARTT WIP NIMBUS PULLOVER carhartt-wip.com
Following up on their partnership in 2014, Amsterdam’s finest Patta have got back in the lab with Carhartt WIP for another simple but superbly stylish capsule collection. This purplish pullover is a re-upped model of a Carhartt staple stamped with Patta’s distinctive bright style. Make no mistake, snugness and elegance is key. This will keep you warm and presentable as winter creeps in.
THIS IS GRIME Hattie Collins + Olivia Rose roughtrade.com/books/this-is-grime £20 You don’t need another person telling you that grime is more relevant than ever. Your nan’s mate Pauline probably has a #MERKY-branded case for her HTC by now. That said, scene stalwart Hattie Collins has put together this book, which traces the scene from its E3 origins to the global force it is today. With contributions from key players, this is an essential oral history of an unparalleled British phenomenon.
KEEP SMILIN’ TEE store.testpressing.org £23
The super successful Jiro Bevis is known for getting weird with his bold, tripped out illustrations. He keeps it cheery here on this tee for the excellent Test Pressing, the Balearic-focused blog from Apiento and Dr Rob. Grins all round.
Crossword Across 1. I put one of these on you, because you’re mine 3. An adherent to ancient religions or an unpopular authority figure 4. It’s written in the stars (It’s definitely not) 6. Everybody knows Rivers Cuomo’s got it in him 7. Papa Emeritus, Lady Macbeth, Casper etc 9. Polynesian magic in a manner of speaking 10. Vodka, whisky, gin and the like Down 1. Rhymes with spray tan, properly fucking evil 2. Woven sticks, spelt funny 3. A five-pointed star 5. Tabitha, Sabrina, Wizardora etc 7. Swedish world music enthusiasts, a popular sacrifice 8. The kind of evil that sounds like it might be good for your tummy 10. Mr Black, now known as Corbin
Answers Across: Spell, Pagan, Astrology, Magic, Ghost, Mana, Spirits Down: Satan, Wicca, Pentagram, Witch, Goat, Occult, Spooky
Self Portrait Douglas Dare
Marilyn Manson or Richard Branson? Who said it: the controversial goth icon, or the cheerful British billionaire? 1) “All the seven deadly sins are man’s true nature” 2) “Like getting into a bleeding competition with a blood bank” 3) “I believe in benevolent dictatorship provided I am the dictator” 4) “If Satan wasn’t around, churches would go out of business” 5) “Most necessary evils are far more necessary than evil” 6) “I’m not going to be some kind of PC tree-hugger”
1) Manson 2) Branson 3) Branson 4) Manson 5) Branson 6) Manson Answers:
This month's artist takeover was created by Nick Greenbank, who was responding to the word 'Occult'
If you're interested in contributing to this series, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Turning Points: DJ Semtex Words: Duncan Harrison
“They say you should never talk about religion or politics. I’d probably add Kanye West to that list”
1992: Starting out in Manchester I learned how to DJ through playing at the estates in Cheetham Hill, I’d be going from 9PM at night through till six in the morning. If I was lucky I’d get £20 for the taxi home and it was the best learning experience to have as a DJ. You’ll get bottled if you’re fucking up. You couldn’t learn to DJ in a better environment. I love Manchester and I love the people, it’s what made me who
I am today. It’s still a little wild up there, the people are the salt of the earth. You can’t pay for that experience. 2001: Joining BBC Radio 1Xtra The BBC were at a point where they had to start catering to the needs of what people actually wanted to listen to. There was no internet at the time so it was a very different situation. If there was a station dealing with black music I wanted in. Now I’ve done over 600 interviews and I’ve done multiple interviews with great artists. The only person I haven’t been able to get to is Dr Dre. He’s bigger than radio, he’s gone from creating the oil to creating the pipeline so I don’t know how I’m going to get to him! 2002: Working with Dizzee Rascal I didn’t really care for UK hip-hop too much, I just felt like it was all borrowed from the US. But here was a kid who was crazy as fuck. He was the Public Enemy, he had a live show like RUN DMC, he had a an authority like N.W.A. But he was totally different in the same way OutKast were. He was ahead of his time and he was very English. It was the English experience and it became grime. I had a demo for Boy In Da Corner about a year early and I was
pushing it hard. I never really wanted to do A&R but I believed in him, I could tell he was going to be around for a long time. The labels and radio weren’t ready, the mainstream wasn’t ready and it’s good that it didn’t happen [with me] in the end because, ultimately, I wasn’t ready. 2004: Interviewing Kanye West for the first time They say you should never talk about religion or politics, I’d probably add Kanye West to that list! I’ve learned a lot from him, the main thing is just focusing on the music. The best way to get his attention in interviews is to talk about the music. Forget the hype, forget the bullshit. The first time I met him I was too gassed and played it wrong and got parred. The next time I met him we spoke about drums on Workout Plan, fast-forward to Late Registration and we’re talking about whether Chuck D should have been on Crack Music. Around the time of 808s we’re having deep conversations about the process of making that record. It’s gotten harder and harder to get nearer him because he’s in a different place now – a place most hip-hop artists have never been. He’s turned into a Mozart of our generation we just don’t see it yet. That
doesn’t happen till after you die. 2014 - Present: ARRIVAL gig series in London Music doesn’t sell out any more because it’s on every platform – there’s no rarities or special moments because it’s so available. ARRIVAL is about moments in time, you were there or you weren’t, and that’s it. We did Future at The Nest and the speakers were falling off the walls, I was like “shit, someone might die!”. You will never see anything like that again. 2016: Releasing the Hip-Hop Raised Me book It’s everything that I’ve covered on my show or talked about with hip-hop fans at the cub for hours. Kanye’s whole thing of turning tragedy into triumph is it. That’s it, that’s the reason I’ve done this book. I’ve been through some shit and it took me a minute to realise how to accept it. This is just my hip-hop, it’s my responsibility to the culture to get this right. That’s always been the way I’ve looked at it. DJing will serve the ego, but this a duty. Hip-Hop Raised Me is released 6 October via Thames and Hudson Ltd
When Skepta finally released Konnichiwa, he only agreed to one filmed interview. For those in the know, it was unsurprising that he went with DJ Semtex. As London’s foremost ambassador of hip-hop culture for almost two decades, Semtex has overcome personal struggles and professional obstacles to become an important figure in British urban culture and hip-hop as a whole – from showcasing the talents of a young Dizzee Rascal in the early 00s, to importing hyped US rappers like Young Thug to London for their debut shows with his ARRIVAL series. As he reflects on the sounds and figures that raised him in a new book of hip-hop history with a stirring foreword by Chuck D, we spoke to Semtex about the game he holds close to his heart.
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20 Questions: Pixies' Paz Lenchantin Words: Davy Reed
“I met Sid from Slipknot today. He wants to help the refugees in Greece”
What’s your favourite video game? I used to play Pac Man. What book are you reading? A Dylan Thomas biography. Who’s your favourite person to follow on Instagram? Joey Santiago.
What was the name of your first ever band? Big Milk. Do you have pet? No, but I have a car that I treat like a pet. What kind of car is it? It’s a Dodge Dart Swinger, 1973. Her name is Daisy, because the dot on the “i” in the word “Swinger” is a little daisy. What was the first album you ever fell in love with? Abbey Road. Who’s your favourite member of Slipknot? That’s really weird that you’ve just asked me that because I ran into someone from Slipknot, today, when I was walking in Venice Beach! What are the names of Slipknot? There’s the singer Corey Taylor. Or there’s Shaun, the clown guy... No, it was the other one. Then there’s DJ Sid Wilson, with the gas mask. Yes it was Sid who was walking in Venice! That’s so strange! He was talking about wanting to go to Greece to help the refugees!
What’s the worst hotel you’ve ever stayed in? I was driving between Arizona and New Mexico, kind of in no man’s land, and I was getting pretty tired and just got a motel. I couldn’t tell you the name, but it was pretty shitty. It was, like, by-thehour! Who’s the most famous person you’ve ever met? I mean, I briefly shook Barack Obama’s hand. But he shook everyone’s hand. There was Yoko Ono, I had a brief conversation with her, and I do really just respect her so much. Describe the worst haircut you’ve ever had... My most nightmarish one was when I was like 10 years old. It was the worst I’ve ever had, and the only one I’ve ever had. Traumatising. That’s why I cut my own hair! Would you go for a beer with Kanye West? I don’t really drink beer. You mean like if he asked me on a date? No not necessarily, could just be a coffee or something. Absolutely I’d have a coffee with him. Coffee sounds great!
If you could pick a surrogate grandparent, who would it be? Agnés B. Rate these actors in order of how much you like them, first to last: Danny DeVito, Danny Glover and Daniel Day-Lewis... Danny DeVito, Daniel Day-Lewis, Danny Glover. Do you have any regrettable tattoos? No. Is there a piece of advice you wish you could give to yourself 10 years ago? Time’s the most important thing we have. Spend your time wisely, it’s the precious gold. What would you like written on your tombstone? There’s this AAA service you have in America, where people stop by the roadside if they need assistance. I’ve saved so many people with my AAA, I don’t know why. My name, Paz, means “peace”. So my name on my tombstone should be spelled with three As. “Rest in PAAAz” Head Carrier is out now via Pixiesmusic / Play It Again Sam.
Remember how good MTV2 was back in the day? Remember Zane Lowe casually reclining across that brown leather couch on Gonzo and actually seeming quite cool? If so, chances are you’ll be familiar with the work of Paz Lenchantin – the alt-rock veteran who’s played in bands such as A Perfect Circle, Entrance and Billy Corgan’s short-lived Zwan and collaborated with the likes of Jenny Lewis and Queens of the Stone Age. As if the “Discography” section of her Wikipedia page wasn’t already impressive enough, in 2013 Paz became the bassist and backing vocalist of the mighty Pixies. With the band’s new album Head Carrier to promote, Paz picked up the phone to discuss DIY haircuts, emergency road services and a bizarre coincidence with Slipknot’s turntablist.
Illustration: Ed Chambers
Perspective: What Happened to the ‘24-Hour City’?
Following the closure of fabric, LuisManuel Garcia, dance music academic and Lecturer in Ethnomusicology and Popular Music Studies at the University of Birmingham, explores how other cities in Europe have been moving towards recognising the significance of club culture, while London appears to be lurching backwards.
based on the contents of documents released by the Islington Council after the final hearing, and revelations about an undercover police investigation dubbed ‘Operation Lenor’ (get it? a fabric softener; yes, seriously). To many commentators, the two deaths were a convenient excuse for a longer-term plot to shut down the club.
On September 6, the Islington Council ruled to permanently revoke the operating license of fabric, a central institution of London’s dance music scene. As management wait for a chance to contest the decision, the club remains closed, leaving about 250 employees without their jobs and London’s dance community without a flagship venue. London Mayor Sadiq Khan expressed his disappointment with the decision, noting that in the past few years the city has lost 50 percent of its nightclubs and 40 percent of its live music venues. He warned of a decline in the city’s nightlife sector, which runs counter to the city’s plans to become a ’24-hour city’. This initiative was behind the recent launch of overnight underground services in the city, but what good is a night tube if there’s nowhere to go at night?
Nightlife venues are often caught up in the dynamics of urban gentrification. Scholars have learned from historical examples that nightlife establishments often serve as part of the avant-garde of gentrification, but they’re also some of the first to be pushed out once the neighbourhood gentrifies. Nightclubs initially flourish in disused and overlooked corners of the urban landscape, but once their visibility rises, they contribute to the attractiveness of the ‘up and coming’ district; they become caught in a feedback loop of hype and speculation that attracts waves of increasingly monied, privileged, and conservative residents, and come to be seen as nuisances rather than attractions. Notably (and tragically), in most of the examples of urban gentrification – like New York in the 90s – concerns for health and safety are often used as a proxy for pursuing grievances about nuisances and clearing out potentially profitable property. And so, London’s nightlife communities can be forgiven if they see more than a concern for the safety of young people at play in fabric’s closure.
The review of fabric’s license was initiated at the request of the Metropolitan Police after two deaths that they had linked to drugs bought on the club’s premises. But doubts have been raised about the motivations behind this request,
Not even a week after the Council ruling against fabric, another ruling legally endorsed the status of Berlin’s Berghain nightclub as Kultur, a cultural institution in the same category as theatres and concert halls. This reversed a decision by the city’s tax authorities in 2009, which classified the club as Unterhaltung (entertainment) and applied a tax rate that was nearly three times higher. As part of its appeal case, Berghain argued that the majority of the club’s clientele go there primarily for the music, much like a concert. But the club also diversified its cultural offerings in the years leading up to this ruling, including experimental music programming and workshops throughout the week. In a sense, Berghain tactically transformed itself into a ‘cultural institution’ that was legible to the city’s political and judicial authorities. And yet, the court decision reflects a wider set of attitudes that accepts and values nightlife as an indispensable part of Berlin’s cultural landscape. But perhaps there’s hope yet for London nightlife. Since his arrival in office, Sadiq Khan has been calling for a ‘Night Czar’, based on the Night Mayor system in the Netherlands – a non-profit organisation with a direct advisory link to the mayor and the city council that has initiated new 24-hour operating licenses for clubs across Amsterdam since 2014. The city’s nightlife community has also been galvanised around fabric’s closure; a lot of clubbers are taking an interest in
municipal politics. But will it be enough to push back against the forces in London that would rather turn the city into a playground for investment capital and hyperwealthy elites? Last weekend, after a dance event in Hackney Wick closed at 3 a.m., DJs and dancers were looking for an afterparty. I tagged along to a basement somewhere in East London, flanked on either side by disused buildings. There were maybe 40 people in total down there. No security. Scant ventilation. Cramped. Thick smoke. Overdriven sound system. There is something romantic to this sort of venue but this is hardly what local law authorities and council members imagine when they shut down clubs in the interest of ‘public safety.’ A robust and vibrant nightlife scene – like Berlin or Amsterdam – needs a diversity of venues. From illicit underground dives to large-scale, professionalized clubs. At the moment, London only seems to tolerate anodyne middlebrow entertainment, the kind that is convenient and unchallenging and profitable. If the city wishes to re-establish itself as a bastion of nightlife culture, it has a lot of work to do. Donate towards fabric’s ongoing legal battle at fabriclondon.com/save-culture
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