LA Priest Lakuti Logos Lone Live AV Lonelady Midland Mike Skinner DJ set My Nu Leng Nathaniel Ratelift & The Night Sweats No Joy Andrew Weatherall Nothing But Thieves Bicep Oneman Born Ruffians Damiano von Erckert Palms Trax Pangaea Denis Sulta Peverelist & Kowton DJ Richard Pinch Ducktails Ryan Elliot Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes Seven Davis Jr Friend Within Slimzee B2B Noodles Galcher Lustwerk Special Request Gerd Janson Spector Girl Band The Black Madonna Head High B2B The Coronas Prosumer Todd Edwards Henry Wu Tove Stryke Heretic Volte Face Horse Meat Disco Waze & Odyssey Italojohnson Jackmaster Kahn & Neek
29TH JUNE - 6TH JULY 2016 THE GARDEN, TISNO, CROATIA “The brand new Adriatic adventure brought to you by Team Love and The Garden Family” Early bird tickets now on sale at
SLEATER-KINNEY No Cities to Love CD/LP THEESATISFACTION EarthEE CD/LP DOLDRUMS The Air Conditioned Nightmare CD/LP ROSE WINDOWS Rose Windows CD/LP METZ II CD/LP THE HELIO SEQUENCE The Helio Sequence CD/LP DAUGHN GIBSON Carnation CD/LP STRANGE WILDS Subjective Concepts CD/LP DEAF WISH Pain CD/LP LOW Ones and Sixes CD/LP (OUT SEPT 11th)
OUT NOW FROM
COLLEEN GREEN I Want to Grow Up CD/LP CHASTITY BELT Time to Go Home CD/LP LA LUZ Weirdo Shrine CD/LP GRAVE BABIES Holographic Violence CD/LP SHANNON AND THE CLAMS Gone by the Dawn CD/LP (Out Sept 11th) PROTOMARTYR The Agent Intellect CD/LP (Out Oct 9th)
heavenlyrecordings.com illustration by Hugh Cowling
Highlights Highlights Exhibitions Exhibitions Adam Service No. No.3: 3:Some SomeRiding Riding AdamLinder: Linder:Choreographic Choreographic Service 8 Sep 2015 – 13 Sep 2015 8 Sep 2015 – 13 Sep 2015 Upper Gallery Upper Gallery
Prem Side On On Prem Sahib: Sahib: Side 24 15 Nov Nov 2015 2015 24 Sep Sep 2015 2015 – – 15 Lower Galleries Lower & & Upper Upper Galleries
Everything fromthe the60s 60sand and70s 70s EverythingisisArchitecture: Architecture: Bau Magazine Magazine from 29 Sep 2015 2015 29 Jul Jul 2015 2015 – 27 Sep ICA Room ICA Fox Fox Reading Room
Events Events Artist Self-Publishers’Fair Fair(ASP) (ASP) Artist Self-Publishers’ Sat Sep, 11am Sat 1212 Sep, 11am The inaugural ASPFair Fairfeaturing featuringover over The inaugural ASP and internationalindependent independent 5050 UKUK and international artists selfpublishers. artists selfpublishers.
Gallery Tours: Tours: Gallery
Cinema Summer Sale: 22 JulSummer – 20 AugSale: 2015 / Every Wednesday Cinema 2-4-1 on selected screenings after 6pm 22 Jul – 20 Aug 2015 / Every Wednesday 2-4-1 on selected screenings after 6pm
Institute of Contemporary Arts The MallofLondon SW1Y 5AH Institute Contemporary Arts 020 7930 3647, www.ica.org.uk The Mall London SW1Y 5AH 020 7930 3647, www.ica.org.uk
Onwards Onwardsand andOutwards Outwards ICA 1 Sep – 10 Thu 3 Sep, 6.30pm ICA 1 Sep – 10Sep Sep2015 2015 Thu 3 Sep, 6.30pm And until December 2015 Writer and curator Jo Melvin gives a tour Writer and curator Jo Melvin gives a tour And until December 2015atat nationwide through the the Bau Bau exhibition. exhibition. nationwidevenues venues through AAunique programme made byby unique programmeofoffilms films made British over thethe last 5050 Wed 30 30 Sep, Sep, 6.30pm 6.30pm Britishwomen womenfilmmakers filmmakers over last Wed years. talks and events, ICA Associates:Blackest BlackestEver Ever ICAHead Head of of Programme Programme Katharine years.Includes Includessreenings, sreenings, talks and events, ICA Associates: ICA Katharine Stout Stout which draws attention to the conditions of of Black Present gives aa tour tour through through Prem which draws attention to the conditions Black Present gives Prem Sahib’s Sahib’s exhiexhi- production for women working in the UK’s Sat 26 Sep, 12pm production for women working in the UK’s bition Side On. Sat 26 Sep, 12pm bition Side On. film industry, and establishes a dialogue film industry, and establishes a dialogue Performances, talks and screenings by Performances, talks and screenings by about these key issues. Ashtray Navigations, Stefan Jaworzyn, about these key issues. Culture Now: Ashtray Navigations, Stefan Jaworzyn, Culture Now: Dalhous & more. John Miller | Fri 4 Sep, 1pm Pasolini: Poetry & Politics Dalhous & more. John Miller | Fri 4 Sep, 1pm Sat 26 Sep, 8pm Pasolini: Poetry & Politics 12 Sep – 16 Sep 2015 Sat 26 Sep, 8pm An evening of performances by Jac BerAdam Linder | Fri 11 Sep, 1pm Sepof–screenings 16 Sep 2015 A12 series to mark 40 years Anrocal evening of performances by Jac BerAdam Linder | Fri 11 Sep, 1pm trio, Officer!, Af Ursin & Raime DJs. A series of screenings to untimely mark 40 death. years since Pier Paolo Pasolini’s rocal trio, Officer!, Af Ursin & Raime DJs. since Pier(12 Paolo untimely death. John Roberts & Peter Osbourne Accattone Sep)Pasolini’s The Gospel According to John Roberts & Peter Osbourne Symposium: Utopian Realism Accattone (12 Sep) The Gospel According to Fri 18 Sep, 1pm Matthew (15 Sep) and Pigsty (16 Sep). Symposium: Utopian Realism Fri 18 Sep, 1pm Today, the Aesthetics and Politics Matthew (15 Sep) and Pigsty (16 Sep). Today, the Aesthetics and Politics of Hope Juliet Jacques | Fri 25 Sep, 1pm 10 Years of Second Run of Wed Hope30 Sep, 11.15am Juliet Jacques | Fri 25 Sep, 1pm 10Sep Years ofSep Second 19 - 24 2015Run Wed 30 Sep, 11.15am Exploring notions of ‘utopian realism Artists’ Film Club: Sebastian Buerkner Sep celebrating - 24 Sep 2015 A19 season ten years of Second Exploring notions of ‘utopian realism today’ to question the politics and poet- Artists’ A season celebrating ten years of Second + Q&A Film Club: Sebastian Buerkner Run, featuring films chosen by a variety of today’ to question the politics and poetics of hope. +Wed Q&A Run, featuring filmswill chosen by a variety filmmakers. All films be presented by of 16 Sep, 6.45pm ics of hope. the filmmakers and writers with choices filmmakers. All films will be presented by Wed Sep, 6.45pm artist and filmQ&A 16 with London-based from Pedro Costa, Mark Cousins, Morand writers withCarol choices Symposium: Architecture: Spaces Q&A with London-based artist and film- the filmmakers maker Sebastian Buerkner. ley, Joshua from PedroOppenheimer Costa, Mark (among Cousins,others). Carol Morof Information / Part 1 Spaces Symposium: Architecture: maker Sebastian Buerkner. ley, Joshua Oppenheimer (among others). 15 Sep, 11.15am of Tue Information / Part 1 Tue 15 Sep, 11.15am
The ICA is a registered charity no. 236848
The ICA is a registered charity no. 236848
Contents Features 22
BATTLES While digital technology promises infinite revolutions in sound, the humanity of music is often lost in the era of the bedroom producer. Tom Waston meets with the band who champion the thrilling intersection between live performance and electronic innovation
EAGLES OF DEATH METAL Who better to interview Josh “Baby Duck” Homme and Jesse “The Devil” Hughes than each other? We set the pair at each other’s throats – but they weren’t to be tamed by our questions
DAM-FUNK Damon Riddick refuses to be stigmatised. The modern ambassador for funk schools Henry Johns on the genre’s artistic merit
40 50 46
MICACHU AND THE SHAPES Despite Mica Levi’s recent spell under the spotlight, Micachu and the Shapes remain defiant in their DIY attitude. Amelia Phillips catches up with the band in their natural studio habitat JULIA HOLTER After being floored by her immaculate new LP Have You In My Wildness, Angus Harrison speaks to the LA artist Julia Holter about storytelling, the art of the love song and being an unlikely Sting fan
Battles shot exclusively for Crack by Tom Andrew London: August 2015
OBJEKT The ascendent DJ talks frankly about resisting uniformity with Thomas Frost. 50
ROUGH MUSIC With many prominent artists embracing the physicality ceramics, Augustin Macellari considers the craft in comparison to Post-Internet art JAMES LONG Cassandra Kirk-Gould meets with the highly-rated menswear designer to talk intuition, rule-breaking and rockstar influences
TURNING POINTS: LOGAN SAMA The fresh faced DJ is a staple of grime. Here, he approaches the genre with academic rigour as he breaks down his journey for Tom Watson.
AESTHETIC: D DOUBLE E The unique and striking grime emcee flaunts his charisma for our styled fashion shoot
DIGRESSIONS Baines’ World, Tall Order with Mariah Carey, the crossword and advice from Denzil Schnifferman
20 QUESTIONS: WAVVES We asked the unspeakably chill Wavves frontman, Nathan Williams, twenty of our dumbest questions. “Boo-ya”?
PERSPECTIVE Jamie Stewart's band Xiu Xiu have been performing the Twin Peaks soundtrack on tour. In this column, Stewart celebrates the music's staggering beauty
fabric September/ October 2015
19/09 — Room One Craig Richards Seth Troxler William Kouam Djoko
12/09 05/09 — Room One CND ‘Basic Colour Theory’ Album Launch Catz 'N Dogz Craig Richards Richy Ahmed Tom Demac (Live) — Room Two Wiggle Terry Francis Nathan Coles Eddie Richards Sebo K
— Room One Minus Richie Hawtin Julian Jeweil (Live) Fabio Florido Marc Faenger — Room Two Nonplus Boddika Eduardo de la Calle Somne
— Room Two One Records Adam Shelton Subb-an Ed Davenport (Live) I0 Jack Wickham — Room Three air london Birdsmakingmachine (Live) Burnski Samuel Deep Albion Forever
— Room One Craig Richards Deetron Tama Sumo
— Room One Craig Richards Gerd Janson Juju & Jordash (Live) Lauer
— Room Two Terry Francis Surgeon Marcel Fengler Truss
—Room Two Terry Francis Blawan Cosmin TRG London Modular Alliance (Live) —Room Three NGE Clive Henry Mark Jenkyns Michael Yumé B2B Golesworthy
Executive Editors Thomas Frost firstname.lastname@example.org Jake Applebee email@example.com Editor Davy Reed Marketing / Events Manager Luke Sutton firstname.lastname@example.org
Deputy Editor Anna Tehabsim Online Editor Billy Black Junior Online Editor Sammy Jones Editorial Assistant Duncan Harrison Creative Director Jake Applebee Art Direction & Design Alfie Allen Graphic Design Yasseen Faik Marketing / Events Assistant Lucy Harding Staff Writer Tom Watson Film Editor Tim Oxley Smith Art Editor Augustin Macellari Intern Gunseli Yalcinkyaa Fashion Emmet Green, Luci Ellis, Will Dohrn Words Josh Baines, Denzil Schnifferman, Angus Harrison, Amelia Phillips, Henry Johns, Thomas Frost, Robert Bates, Adam Corner, Gunseli Yalcinkaya, Ellie Harrison, James F. Thompson, Aine Devaney, Steven Dores, Alex Gwilliam, Jason Hunter, Akash Chohan, Gabriella Otero, Francis Blagburn, Tamsyn AureliaEros Black, Jamie Stewart
Photography Tom Andrew, Theo Cottle, Tom Johnson, Alex De Mora, Bex Day, Marc Sethi, Alice Rainis, Júlia Soler, De Fotomeisjes, Renato Santos, Mathias Løvgreen Bojesen, Alex Gwilliam, Aine Devaney, Adam Sutherland, Robert Rush, Aaron Angell, Adam Sutherland, Jessie Wine, Laure Prouvost, Mark Essen, Paulina Michnowska Illustration Toby Leigh, Edward Chambers Advertising To enquire about advertising and to request a media pack: email@example.com CRACK is published by Crack Industries Ltd © All rights reserved. All material in Crack magazine may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of Crack Industries Ltd. Crack Magazine and its contributors cannot accept any liability for reader discontent arising from the editorial features. Crack Magazine reserves the right to accept or reject any article or material supplied for publication or to edit this material prior to publishing. Crack magazine cannot be held responsible for loss or damage to supplied materials. The opinions expressed or recommendations given in the magazine are the views of the individual author and do not necessarily represent the views of Crack Industries Ltd. We accept no liability for any misprints or mistakes and no responsibility can be taken for the contents of these pages.
CRACK WAS CREATED USING: DEJ LOAF We Winnin’ DJ RICHARD Vampire Dub APHEX TWIN Cliffs DEAFHEAVEN Brought To The Water USA Nails The’d Name An Age TINK H20 BOOSIE BAD AZZ I’m Wit Ya ADAM OKO Diet of Germs SLEATER KINNEY Good Things
I’d always wanted to write for a magazine like Crack. A few friends had said they’d put in a word, but nothing ever materialised, and the CVs I’d sent out presumably never made it out of the unread folder. The real working world wasn’t going so well for me at this point, and after I’d been sacked from a frozen yoghurt parlour on my very first day, I’d decided enough was enough. I picked up a copy of Crack, found the office’s address and pressed on the buzzer. By the time I’d managed to get a seat in the office, Crack was taking off. We’d been given an exclusive UK cover with Flying Lotus and the magazine was all over London. But still, times could be pretty tough. A hard week of work would lead into a long weekend of being behind the kind of bar which requires you to wear an “Are You 21?” badge. On a few occasions, PRs would only let us feature a band if we interviewed the drummer. That was exactly three years ago. Since then, we’ve had to move to a bigger office to fit our new staff, and then literally knock a wall down to make space for more new staff. The magazine is now stocked in hundreds of places across the UK, the launch of the Berlin issue has been a major success and our online presence is growing rapidly. So it’s an honour to be taking over from Geraint Davies as Editor. He’s the one who taught me pretty much everything I need to know for this job, and so there are a couple of his principles I’m going to have to stick to. Crack has to stay dedicated to the music, art and fashion we believe in, the magazine needs to always to provide smart, insightful content but never take itself too seriously and – perhaps most importantly – I can never turn into one of those shady music industry guys who probably never calls their mum. And on a final note, I’d like to thank my former manager at the frozen yoghurt parlour. Without you, I might have never pressed that buzzer. Davy Reed, Editor
SLIPKNOT Wait and Bleed IPMAN Gravity WORRIES Most Space DUB SYNDICATE Over Board HELEN Motorcycle GOLDEN TEACHER Shatter DANNY NEDELKO Restless HONOR BLACKMAN Kinky Boots DEERHUNTER Snakeskin FKA TWIGS In Time FRANK OCEAN Swim Good DJJ Just A Lil KEMBACK Awaken BICEP Carmine THE BREEDERS No Ahola SEER Hive Mind SONIC YOUTH Death Valley ‘69 SPARKLEHORSE Pig THE MEMBERS Sound of the Suburbs
Issue 56 | crackmagazine.net
Respect Sue Johnson-Newell Peter Dunlop James Barrett Chris The Limo Driver Estelle Morphine Saoirse Ryan Shanti Celeste Zeina Raad Hodge's Dad
O ur g uid e t o w ha t 's g o ing o n in y o ur cit y
PHARRELL WILLIAMS Roundhouse 26 September
THE BL ACK MADONNA XOYO 5 September
TOK YO WORLD Submotion Orchestra, Jeff Mills, FunkinEven Eastville Park, Bristol 26 September £30 Ever since they got started at the turn of the millennium, the minds behind Tokyo World have been catering to Bristol’s love of partying while representing the city’s deep-rooted soundsystem culture and bass-leaning history. For their flagship event of 2015, they’re returning to Eastville Park, a spot they moved to when expansion was the only option. The line-up sees their music policy broaden to include Panorama Bar and Berghain resident Ryan Elliott, the astral wallop of Jeff Mills and the veteran reggae DJ David Rodigan among many others. 12 hours of wide-ranging, topquality sounds from a Bristol institution.
MOTOR CIT Y DRUM ENSEMBLE XOYO 25 September
XIU XIU PL AYS THE MUSIC OF T WIN PE AKS St John At Hackney 8 October £16.50 GERD JANSON fabric 26 September Prices Vary
Over the years, Jamie Stewart’s experimental band Xiu Xiu have been consistently ambitious, subversive and repulsive – a high-concept mesh of bizarre human outpourings, harsh noise and wonky, depressive pop music. For their forthcoming tour, Xiu Xiu will reinterpret the Twin Peaks soundtrack – which Stewart once described as “romantic,” “terrifying,” “beautiful,” and “unnervingly sexual” – in their own inimitable style. It’s sure to be a unique and spellbinding show. Read Stewart’s Perspective comment piece about the Twin Peaks soundtrack on this issue's backpage.
Over the course of his career, we’ve seen Gerd Janson play the role of DJ, label owner, producer, academic, RBMA curator and record store dude. He is also well known for once belonging to that curious breed, the DJjournalist, but after years of writing for the likes of Groove and Spex, he’s since put down his pen and put the full weight of his creative energies behind the label and his selection. It shows – in the past few years, Janson’s importance as a DJ has grown exponentially, gaining notoriety for that sets span decades and genres and never let a crowd down. Catch Gerd alongside Juju & Jordash live, Lauer, Blawan and Cosmin TRG this month.
PANTHA DU PRINCE FT. THE TRIAD Village Underground 5 September
YOUTH L AGOON XOYO 24 September
CLOCK STRIKES 13: BOXED X LOCAL ACTION Khan & Neek, Darq E Freaker, DJ Q Corsica Studios 3 October We’re hyped for this. Stretching from October to December, the recently-announced Clock Strikes 13 event series is set to host a string of label and artist takeovers across venues in London – and the schedule is absolutely mouthwatering. Our first favourite in the series is this team up between forward-thinking instrumental grime collective Boxed and the Local Action label. It’s an inspiring era for bass-orientated club music, and with a line-up featuring the likes Bristol duo Khan & Neek, DJ Q, Houston producer Rabit, Slackk, Deadboy, Oil Gang, Mr Mitch and Logos; here you’ll see many of its innovators flourish under the roof of Corsica Studios.
SECRETSUNDA ZE CLOSING PART Y Galcher Lustwerk, Kai Alcé, Wbeeza (live) Village Underground 26 September £14.50 + BF ARCA Corsica Studios 11 September
JESSICA PR AT T Bush Hall, Shepherds Bush 8 September £13.50 We hate to remind you of summer’s brevity, but let’s be honest – soon those green leaves on the trees will start falling to the ground. If you missed Jessica Pratt’s second album On Your Own Love Again when it was released earlier this year, then we’d strongly recommend it as an autumn soundtrack. With her delicate finger-picking and other-worldly vocals, the San Franciscan songwriter captures a warm feeling that’s soothed many a dreary Monday morning in the Crack office. Highly recommended.
BL ANK RE ALM Shacklewell Arms 1 October
Like the White Material label he’s associated with, the initial hype around hypnotic house producer Galcher Lustwerk was so overzealous that some listeners doubted it could be sustained. But while his revered 2013 mixtape 100% Galcher was followed by a casually thrown-together RA Podcast, this year Lustwerk has followed through with two excellent 12”s (including a Juno No.1 bestsetller), both released on his newlylaunched label. For the final event in secretsundaze’s summer series, Lustwerk will be joined by the revered Kai Alcé (who’s released on Omar-S’s label FXHE as well as Moodymann’s Mahogani Music), secretsundaze regular Wbeeza as well as residents Giles Smith and James Priestely.
FARLEY “JACKMASTER” FUNK Corsica Studios 18 September BE ATRICE DILLON Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club 10 September
BL ACKEST EVER BL ACK ICA 26 September £8 Blackest Ever Black are celebrating five “wretched” years of operation this October. In the lead up to this occasion, the London-based label is teaming up with the ICA for a series of events exploring its gothically dark aesthetic. The daytime event sees Phil Todd’s stargazing psychedelic project Ashtray Navigations, Stefan Jaworzyn of Whitehouse, Skullflower and Shock fame, and BEB affiliates Dalhous and F ingers perform, while the evening session features live performances from Jac Berrocal, David Fenech & Vincent Epplay and Officer!, with DJ support from Raime. And if unrelentingly bleak, existential unease is what really gets you off, you can also check out a screening of Jane Arden & Jack Bond’s1979 austere ‘avant-garde science fiction’ film Anti-Clock.
MAC MILLER The Garage 29 September
LOW Roundhouse 10 October £25 + BF
NICK HÖPPNER Dance Tunnel 19 September
GOD DAMN The Boston Arms 7 October £8 God Damn are among the best of many, many two-piece rock bands currently doing the rounds. They play furious doom and modern grunge from the depths of hell via Wolverhampton. They screech through layers of fuzzy distortion and killer hooks like an amped up Soundgarden or Stone Temple Pilots. They’re so much more than just another derivative pair of noisy young punks from the north of Enlgand though – they’re the real deal. Go check ‘em out immediately.
PETITE NOIR The Lexington 15 September
This is a Low, but it won’t hurt you. In fact, you might even enjoy it. Sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves – and now that’s out of the way, we can tell you about these Minnesotan slowcore saviours and the glistening, harrowing minimalism they make simply to ‘please themselves’. It’s an attitude that’s kept them together through twentyone years, ten studio albums and various line-up changes, and now they’re on they’re making a short tour of the UK in support of their eleventh effort, Ones and Sixes. It’ll be a heartfelt one for sure.
ZEBR A K ATZ Oval Space 24 September
GIRLPOOL Scala 15 September
GILLES PETERSON Phonox 18 September
ACTION BRONSON Roundhouse 13 September £22.50 + BF “Smoke good, fuck, eat, drink,” once said everyone’s favourite food-loving, G-pen toking rapper Action Bronson. The former chef is a true online sensation, charming the online world with his culinary expertise and outlandish onstage antics. On record, Brosolino’s lyrical palette ranges from boasts about seedy sexual narratives to taking acid for ten days straight in the mountains. Prepare to be entertained.
LUST FOR YOUTH Birthdays 22 September
HORSE ME AT DISCO Patterns, Brighton 12 September £12 GIRL BAND 100 Club 6 October
OPTIMO Oval Space 26 September
You just can’t go wrong with Horse Meat Disco. The collective of disco disciples have gained a reputation for throwing parties that shatter the conventions of gender and sexuality, all in the name of fist-pumping festivities. As true torchbearers of the disco renaissance, expect to hear an onslaught of obscurities alongside the odd classic during the group's ultimate Saturday night soundtrack.
DJ SPRINKLES Bussey Building 25 September
MIK AEL SEIFU
G .L .O. S. S “GIIIIIIRLS! LIVING OUTSIDE! SOCIETY’S SHIIIT!” So opens the visceral and spine-shattering Demo from G.L.O.S.S, a trans/ genderqueer/femme hardcore band from Olympia, Washington who love feedback. With song names like Outcast Stomp and Masculine Artifice you can see where this is going – G.L.O.S.S have had more than enough of patriarchal bullshit and none of us are going home without learning a lesson. The band shouts loud for their “outcasts of society” who haven’t found their place or never will. And G.L.O.S.S say that’s okay. They’ve got your back, with a self-admittedly “fucked up and from the heart” voice from the outliers that more than deserves to be centre stage.
BL ACK JOSH
O G.L.O.S.S. Limp Wrist / Charles Bronson : girlslivingoutsidesocietysshit. bandcamp.com
PALM Over the last couple of years, North America has spawned a network of bands that just ooze oddness. It might be a reaction to the straight-laced, Airfix rock music that’s dominated the country’s musical horizons for the best part of a decade. It might be the result of too much high-sugar cereal and dangerously fast-paced cartoons. Whatever it is, we like it. Palm hail from Brooklyn via the UK and they play slow, fast, tight and loose all at the same time. If that sounds like all kinds of wrong to you, just wait till you hear the record. They’re currently making their way along the East Coast supporting the equally weird Boston outfit Krill and apparently their live show makes their recorded output seem pitifully normal in comparison.
O Crank 1 Ought / Krill palmnewyork.bandcamp.com
Under the heavy weight of human smog and surging bodies in Gottwood Festival’s indoor Barn is where I first discover Black Josh. Giggling as he beelines from group to group, he embraces passers by in sweaty hugs and kisses. This ganja-smoking, mushroom tea-brewing rascal is the youngest member of Manchester’s infamous arts and music collective Levelz. “Levelz is like the first McDonald’s you had, mixed with the time you found out it’s bad for you, but you’re still eating it,” says Josh via email. A cheeky clamber through the group’s social media profiles gives but a twee snapshot into the lives of the Manchester medley; fried chicken, spliffs and Fifa litter their Instagram and Twitter feeds, and are reflected in their lyrics; “I need some weed and some dragon stout”. “I get my influences from happenings around me,” he explains – we wouldn’t have guessed. Black Josh dropped his first EP #blahblahblackjosh in 2014, shortly followed by the aptly named Blosh EP, on Blah Records. From playful bars to clever twists on nursery rhymes, Josh demonstrates a wide knowledge of hip-hop, grime and trap that puts him on par with more seasoned pros. Josh’s most recent EP, Smoking Kills, was released in July this year. Produced by Pete Cannon, the EP features an array of soulful sounds and catchy hooks, and while he remains vague about the details, it’s revealed that a Levelz mixtape is also in the works. Though it was the release of last year’s Escape Music by The Mouse Outfit that pulled the Blah Records star and Manchester ambassador out of the city’s scene and propelled him to wider attention. As the city's hip-hop and grime scenes continue to thrive, and with collectives like Levelz championing this exciting new talent – this fresh faced recruit will surely continue to reach new audiences. Yet despite his newfound fame, he’s remained loyal to his roots. “My favourite venue has to be Antwerp Mansion,” he explains, “because even though it smells bad, it’s my local venue and where I’ve grown as a performer.”
O Know About It 1 Trigga / Bionic : @BlackJoshAPE
Mikael Seifu caught our attention by achieving something very few bedroom producers do – sounding brand new. His new single The Lost Drum Beat – released on the Washington DC based 1432 R imprint – is a perfect introduction. The A-side is a choppy cut with swollen vocal samples and fluid production. That track is backed up by Brass, a 13-minute mini-opus folding Ethiopian folk influences in with UKG and the kind of murky, UK-centric beats that could find a home on Hyperdub. It’s part of a larger emerging scene called Ethiopiyawi electronic where artists mould street musician sounds and folk samples in to twitching, alien rhythms. Like we said, it sounds brand new.
O Brass 1 Four Tet / Kode9 soundcloud.com/mikaelseifu IMRE KISS There’s plenty of goodness to be found among the depths of Bandcamp, and though the sheer amount of releases can be overwhelming, meaning some get left on the ocean bed. Imre Kiss’ debut album Midnight Wave has been lurking on the DIY platform for some time now. It was quietly propped on the site in 2013, and after being found by Jimmy Asquith, founder of tastemaking label Lobster Theremin, he got Kiss on board for last year’s Raw Energy EP. The heavy lidded dancefloor fodder turned a few heads, but Asquith was clearly still enamored with the original work, so much so that he’s now reissuing Midnight Wave. Due out on Lobster Theremin in October, the album marries soft focus and sluggish techno with 80s industrial influences. Its foggy sprawl of dark sound might finally get the attention it’s deserving of.
O Gray’s Legend 1 Route 8 / Daze : @imrekiss
Turning Points: Logan Sama Words: Tom Watson
Logan Sama has been instrumental in grime’s endurance and success. The genre’s self-instated ambassador and former Kiss FM resident forged his voice on pirate radio stations such as Deja Vu and Pulse FM in the early 00s, before landing a primetime slot on Rinse. It was here that Sama immersed himself in the scene, forming early allegiances with London’s pioneering MC crews. In light of his FABRICLIVE mix, which compiles 24 unheard instrumentals and features 66 MCs, we asked Sama where he sees himself in the growth of grime. Late 90s to 2001: Pirate Radio and Steve Jackson Garage was a product of the environment I was in: I went out clubbing and garage was in the clubs. Growing up in Essex there was all manner of club nights playing underground garage music, and pirate radio was a catalyst to that. Hearing someone like Steve Jackson play garage music on the Breakfast Show on the way to school made me discover Tuff Jam, DJ EZ, Heartless Crew and Pay As U Go. There was a real thrill hearing records on pirate radio. It just enticed me in.
“Grime is the abandoned child of garage. We learnt everything ourselves like estranged children”
2001: Rinse, grime and the death of garage By the time I started DJing, I didn’t care about the technical aspect, I just wanted the same kind of reaction EZ got from a crowd. And I just wasn’t afraid. By the time I got on Rinse it was the height of Pay As U Go’s Champagne Dance era. I knew things were shifting away from garage and I can identify three important instances. One: the disillusionment with the saccharine, commercial conveyer belt garage that was being made. Two: the discovery of an underground garage movement that some people refer to as proto-grime, grime’s dark precursor. This movement was about experimentation; mixing Busta Rhymes instrumentals with a breakbeat track from Zinc. Anything went as long as you got a reaction. And that’s what grime is – taking influences from everywhere and making it work. Which leads to three: Boy in Da Corner. It became a realisation that I wasn’t playing a sound anymore; I was playing a culture, a reflection, a voice. That demo sounded like it was made on another planet. That’s the beautiful thing about grime; it sounds like nothing else in the world. 2005 - 2015: Residency at Kiss FM I didn’t want to leave Kiss. I was comfortable doing the weekly show. It was really a thing of being marginalised too much. When I joined Kiss, it was such an honour. I felt like I was part of a pantheon of talent: EZ,
(David) Rodigan, DJ Hype, Hatcha. The station wasn’t making the most of these incredible DJs. I was trending number one in the country. I had more listeners than Radio 1 and Capital combined for my time slot. But they started moving us over to a digital strand of the station that was going to have zero marketing budget. I was in my tenth year, and it was the right time to leave. I took it as an opportunity to challenge myself again. 2015: Founding Keepinitgrimy Keepinitgrimy is intended to be a hub for grime. The genre is so disparate, it needs a site to keep track of what’s going on. That’s the main problem: it’s become harder for people to keep track on who’s good and what’s coming out. I want to make it easy for people to stay in touch with music they feel something for. I came from an era where people would tape radio sets, go in to school the next day and get hyped on a new MC. It’s not about building a community, it’s about building resources. Skepta said something like, if people go through the door and learn all the secrets and cheat codes and don’t tell the people behind them: fuck them. They’re snakes. Grime is the abandoned child of garage. We had no business savvy, no experience. We learnt everything ourselves like estranged children. But I want to work with the next generation. And big up platforms like Radar, Rogue FM, Flex, Deja and NTS for helping these kids discover that pirate spirit. These platforms maintain the ethos of grime. Present: The release of FABRICLIVE 83 I’ve always felt more like a curator or librarian than a performance DJ. There may be better grime DJs out there technically, but when it comes to the full package, I’m the best. That’s reflected on this FABRICLIVE set. No one else could’ve done it. I’ve created nothing on this CD but I’ve curated everything. It’s 24 tracks made specifically for this project. I wanted to retain the spirit, the raw feeling of grime, but up the quality of the sound. I mastered all the instrumentals and the MC acapellas are arranged like a pseudo-grime set. It’s a coffee table piece of grime. Grime as high art. FABRICLIVE 83 is released 25 September via fabric
Battles: Through Limbs and Wires Words: Tom Watson Photography: Tom Andrew
“That was a joke. Seriously.” John Stainer surveys the table. Opposite him sits Ian Williams and Dave Konopka. The afternoon sun braids around pockets of grey cloud. Stainer quickly rubbernecks his bandmates before returning his attention back to the question. It’s early June and practically no information on Battle’s third studio album La Di Da Di has been released. All that was made available was an unbroken private stream of music entitled I Remember When I Was 26; a playful prod at their manager’s age. “We had no idea what to call the stream so I suggested that name not knowing it would be sent out.” Ian and Dave, previously unaware of the gaffe, release barks of laughter. John, unmoving, sneers with an air of menace. This is Battles. The power trio. They’re infinitely facetious, stop-starting sentences and allowing clumsy pauses between each other’s responses. Together, they find it almost impossible not to joke, most likely fatigued by the doldrums of music press monotony. It’s one week away from the fourth year anniversary of their breakthrough album Gloss Drop and the band are already having to field the same hackneyed question over and over: where have they been? Face scrunched, Dave starts, “We never left Battles. It’s just been a slow simmer…” John interjects. “It took four years. Big deal. Our marketing aspect doesn’t have to rely on the ‘comeback record’ angle. We’re not back, we never left.” It’s true. In the interim of touring Gloss Drop, both Dave and Ian were tirelessly recording variation after variation of synth loops and guitar lines. “We’d work for a while and then take a break from it,” John continues, “and then we’d repeat the process over a block of
time before the blocks got more intense. Personal things happened over the years but it’s not like we rely on that to make an album interesting. We don’t rely on tragedy to sell a record.” Since their inception in 2002, Battles have been eulogised for marrying the physicality of live instrumentation with advanced production methods. Through the chaos of experimentalism, the group maintain a knack for finding offbeat harmony. Originally a four-piece, they released their debut album, Mirrored, on Warp Records in
analogue with a ride cymbal perched above his head like a pendulum. Dave eases forward. “Our most valuable asset is our ability to be a really good live rock band,” he argues. “As generations become more self-reliant on making music exactly how they want, collaborations will dwindle. We’ve gone in the other direction. Being a rock band is the bare essence of who we are. Individually, we have our own ideas of how we want to technically make the music, but when we come together it’s really just about being a unit. And I think
“A lot of music today has a very individualistic approach. We find strength in being a trio”
2007. With the inclusion of their iconic, wild-haired band member Tyondai Braxton, the record fidgeted between malformed, machine pitched vocals, pedal plagued guitar lines and computer trickery. Yet it wasn’t until Braxton’s departure and the release of Gloss Drop in 2011 that Battles made their metamorphosis from estranged indie radicals to production pioneering multi-instrumentalists. It was during this time of flux where John, Ian and Dave re-evaluated their roles. As individuals, they each had a clear-cut polemic function. Ian; the human computer, manipulating multiple synth patterns to the point of incomprehension. Dave counteracts Ian by wielding an expansive board of amplified pedals. And John; fully
that collaborating is valuable today. When you think about music today a lot of it has a very individualistic approach. For us, we find strength in being a trio.” Over the four years of writing multiple versions of every fibre of La Di Da Di, which has emerged as a purely instrumental record, it wasn’t until the group’s time in Pawtucket studio Machines with Magnets that the album was fully formed. Dave ruminates on time spent lost in their haphazard construction process. “Sometimes, working the way we work and piecing each individual part together, it’s puzzle-like. For me, I’m asking "how do we pull this off live?" No one’s going to go apeshit bananas if we could never be able to play a certain part again, but I’m always
thinking what we need to do to play it live.” To translate the material to a live setting, the band must harness the privileges of advanced production software. “We’ve played four shows this week and included three or four new songs and I’m still learning how to play it live,” Ian explains. “It’s already stretched out so much for me, at least in the way I am able to make sounds with Ableton Live.” Dave nods in agreement. “That’s always been the unspoken mission statement of Battles. It’s the dichotomy of man vs. machine and even within the machine category there is analogue vs. digital. I’m at the analogue pedal end of the spectrum - the guitar guy, trying to bring stuff out of simple guitar lines. Ian has more and more, throughout the development of the band, become entrenched in using Ableton, and he’s done some incredible things. It allows him to go in to a mad scientist’s lab and come out with some mutant form of what really is a simple, original line. Once you incorporate John, who is 100% analogue and hasn’t changed his drum setup since the early EPs, it becomes awesome alliance. John is the constant and we are the variables. “But technology does fail on us … like all the time,” Dave continues. “I think the worst situation was when we played at Wireless Festival one year and we had a power surge after we plugged in all of our amplifiers. I blew up a couple of pedals and our amps just turned into alarms. It was like electricity amplified.” It’s the benefits of production software and the increasing potential of machine power that has aided in Battles’ capacity to prosper, or even exist. “We’re a band that physically couldn’t have success in the
90s,” Ian concedes. “This is mainly due to the maturation of the internet. So when we came out in 2006 we were able to find a small sect of respect in every country. But at the same time, we don’t care about the fast cycle of the internet. We take our time. In a way it’s a counterpoint to the internet but another example of analogue vs. digital.” John’s ears prick up. “We’re the three man answer to the bedroom producer. Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally into that, but there’s so much more. I’m not even that sure that it’s statistically accurate to say there’s more music in 2015 than there was in 1995 but it certainly seems like there is.” “Does it? I’m not sure. It seems like there are less bands…” Ian retorts. “I don’t think bands in general have slowed down. Maybe just quality bands,” John says, laughing. “There’s the argument that kids would rather buy an MPC today than a guitar but rightfully so,” Dave goes on. “There’s more options at your fingertips now so it’s probably more interesting to work with than to sit and figure out chords. But then the live setting is sacrificed. “If you can recognise a weakness in the market then run with it. I’m not saying that as a businessman. Technology is something that has existed with us naturally over time. And we’re almost displaced in time. We have the luxury to be able to use new technologies as tools – it just works for us very well. But sometimes I think that there’s a long dark empty wormhole of technology that you can get caught up in that makes for something not that interesting. I think that there’s a lot of options and a lot of options create a lot of misdirection.” Our interview is cut short as the trio are running an hour behind schedule. At such an early stage of La Di Da Di’s promotion, it felt as though Battles had more they wanted to say but were embargoed by time. All they could say was the then undisclosed album title was “controversial to say the least” and “most likely censored in some countries”. Cut to two months later and Dave answers the phone. “It’s a different beast,” Dave is now talking freely about La Di Da Di and the contrasting processes the band went through. “La Di Da Di is about making music. The medium is the message. It sounds a little bit corny but our ideas are
spawned from the experimental process. Sometimes you write a part that inspires a visual or mood or some sort of time period or some part of the world and you play into that theme.” But it’s out of this creative diversity that Battles achieve innovation. Within their singular ideas comes a dissonant synergy between the three of them. “Sometimes we‘re not on the same page,” Dave accepts with pride. “It’s like a Venn diagram with three overlapping circles and the songs are somewhere in the centre. Sometimes a song can be redirected but that’s naturally part of the weird process we’ve developed. “Gloss Drop was heavy handed so we wanted to give La Di Da Di more space to breathe. But even having that general concept in mind we realised my approach to minimalism is completely different to Ian’s approach to minimalism. Ian’s was to go crazy for a few seconds then ease up then go crazy again. My version of minimal from a techno perspective, building around layers with a lot of space to play off of. So we realised we have a totally different approach to minimalism, but were still able to find the overlap of what interests us.” Somewhere in the calamity of miscommunication, mistakes and miscues, Battles function. Through the practice of process, they have this unyielding ability to evolve; something Dave seems eternally thankful for. “When we started, John and Ian had a lot of experience. John lived entrenched in the rock world since he was 20, touring, playing MTV, really big stuff. Ian was successful with his old band Storm & Stress. And then there was me who had only played in Lynx. So I think we thought we’d just see how it goes. Of course, the first couple of times we ate shit live. “And even to this day when we step out on the stage there’s always this risk it could all go wrong,” he admits. “It’s such a visceral process for us that any given show may not be as great as we hoped for. And other times we unexpectedly have an incredible show. It’s all based on how we’re communicating together. There’s a lot of tangibles, and intangibles, that play into us actually being a great band.” La Di Da Di is released 18 September via Warp Battles headline Simple Things, Bristol, 24 October
Josh Homme reunites with Jessie â€œThe Devilâ€? Hughes for Eagles of Death Metal Photography: Alex de Mora Words: Gunseli Yalcinkyaa
30 Sugar daddy sleaze, endless sideburns, garage-punk scuzz and crotch-grabbing inappropriateness – that’s the Eagles of Death Metal in a nutshell. Comprised of Queens of the Stone Age founder Josh “Baby Duck” Homme and Jesse “The Devil” Hughes, the band formed in 1998 as a means to realise the pair’s most depraved hard rock fantasies. With a swagger that’s littered with cocaine kisses, winks and nudges, they're like a pair of sexy UPS men, delivering a twofold package of rawness and showmanship, then inviting themselves in to take a look around. Now, seven years on from the muck-drenched diamond Heart On, the impresarios of innuendo are back with their fourth full-length, Zipper Down. We pinned Josh and Jesse down backstage at London’s KOKO, handed over a couple of sheets of questions and asked them to fire away. Did they like the questions? No, they hated them. Did they ask them anyway? Well, sort of – but they kept on truckin’. Ladies and gentlemen, you’ve heard of Frost/Nixon. It’s time for Hughes/Homme. Jacuzzi! Josh: So, Jesse Boots, were you stoked to be back in the studio with Eagles Of Death Metal? These guys want me to say ‘back
in the studio with me’, but I wanna keep it more general. Jesse: Of course I was, any opportunity I get to hang out with you Baby Duck. It’s a dream job, for one, and you also have a wonderful studio to visit. It’s like a respite for me – it’s really, truly an escape. Josh: Now – you’re supposed to ask me some stuff. Jesse: They want me to say why did we leave it so long since Heart On and did you miss me, but… Josh: Well, I don’t think we miss each other because we see each other all the time. People think we don’t see each other when we’re not making a record, but we hang out all the time. Jesse: I call you once a day. Josh: We live like, three miles from each other. Jesse: Actually I think it’s two-and-a-half miles, as the crow flies. Josh: So it’s not a situation where we miss each other cause we see each other all the time.
Jesse: The only thing we miss is the opportunity to make music together, y’know.
it’s deep. It’s a desert phrase. OK, next. Do you … [sighs deeply] … believe in aliens? – God, I hate this question.
Josh: But that’s just because life gets in the way, things take however long they take. But this album’s right on time.
Jesse: No, no – let me answer the question. You would have to be fucking moron to not understand that aliens are simply near airforce bases – so if you want to keep the Russians from knowing what you’re doing, you neither confirm nor deny aliens. What kind of fucking dipshit believes in aliens anyway? Unless you’re talking about illegal aliens or Hispanics or those types of aliens – I believe in them 100% and I support them.
Jesse: It’s like Jurassic Park, y’know – “life will find a way”. Josh: Yeah, and we like to give each other those T-Rex hugs with the little arms. Jesse: Like, ‘I can’t reach all the way.’ Josh: ‘Can you pick up my glasses?’ Jesse: ‘I can’t get them, my arms are too small!’ [laughs] Josh: OK, the next question is going to blow your mind. I don’t love this next question but: is this the best Eagles of Death Metal record yet? Jesse: I really don’t think we compete with the albums amongst themselves. Each album is unto itself and we just try to make the best record we can make. Josh: I don’t play this game. Y’know, like: ‘uh, I’m gonna show that other record who’s boss!’ Jesse: [laughs] Yeah – ‘that other record’s going to be sorry it ever came out!’ Josh: You’ll be sorry, song number six! So, next one – hit me. This is gonna be a good one. This one’s going to go deep. Jesse: How are my guitar chops on this album? Josh: What I like about your guitar chops is that they’re served bone end, and they’re cooked perfectly and seasoned properly. Jesse: Have you ever tried to bone out? Josh: I’ve definitely tried to extract the bone, but it’s always too late. OK, next question: why do we have the Star Trek artwork for our single Complexity?
Josh: OK, next. Do you believe in London? I’m mixing some of the questions. The questions were ‘do you like being in London’ and ‘do you believe in aliens’, but I’m asking ‘do you believe in London?’ Do you believe London exists? Jesse: I believe that what’s done cannot be undone – not here and not in Lon-don. That’s what I believe. Josh: I think that’s a fine answer. Jesse: That’s from an ABC song, by the way, from the album How To Be A Zillionaire, with the hit Be Near Me. Do you remember, that was a sixth and seventh grade dance song? [sings] Come on, you know it! We’re gonna listen to it after this. Josh: In the jacuzzi [laughs]. ‘We’re gonna go to the jacuzzi room and we’re going to listen to this song till you get it.’ Jesse: Hey – y’know, back when I waited tables, I waited on the Jacuzzi family. Josh: The original? Jesse: Yeah, the actual Jacuzzi family. They were bubbly, the whole time they were bubbly, and very hot, very fevered. Josh: That’s cool, anyone else of note? Jesse: Yeah – [basketball legend] Julius Erving, Dr. J. Josh: Ooh.
Jesse: Well, we wanted to do this thing, like, dynamic duos, and that was just one of the dynamic duos we thought of. But I wanted to shake it up and turn it on its ear. Cause everyone would always do Kirk and Spock, but I wanted to do the red shirt guy – like, is he an incidental character? Is he Scotty? What the shit is going on? Are we giving it all we’ve got, Captain?
Jesse: And I waited on Clint Eastwood and the wife that played the redhead in Unforgiven, I waited on them … Oh, and I waited on Ruby Keeler. That was amazing – Ruby Keeler was one of the original showgirl dancers, she was in that film Gold Diggers of 1933, and she has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She came in in her wheelchair, she was really old. When I recognised her she started to cry because no one had recognised her in years.
Josh: I love that you like to shake up the box, turn it on its ear and examine the tortoise. I don’t know if you guys have ever heard the phrase ‘examine the tortoise’, but
Josh: Oh, you do that. You tug on the heartstrings of many a peep. You’re notorious for yanking a string. An inappropriate string.
Jesse: An inappropriate string yanker. Josh: OK, next: who’s the fastest runner between us? Jesse: Well I ran track, and I ran the 400m and 800m which is the longest in sprint. But I don’t think, out of the gate in a quarter horse race, I think your legs are longer than mine and they would just trump me. Josh: Primarily now, I only run if I’m being chased. In an attack situation. Jesse: Yeah – by police in Scotland. Josh: Our guitar tech got arrested in Scotland last night. He was having a heated discussion with a security guard, and the other guy opened a metal door into his head, so our guitar tech punched him, and the security guard was like, ‘I’m gonna press charges’. That’s the type of world we live in now, where you get your butt kicked and you’re straight away talking about pressing charges. Jesse: Which is foreign to us because when we were kids, the first time I got in a fight in third grade and I went and told my Mom, she looked at me with this incredulous face and said ‘Do you want to wear one of my bras? What do you want
from me? Get tougher or find a new way to get to school.’ Josh: Sometimes you get your butt kicked, that’s how it goes. I’ve had my ass whipped before. But you don’t say ‘Oh, I’m gonna press charges cause that guy was tougher than me.’
Jesse: Oh, I like this question. Josh: Thanks, I came up with it all by myself. Jacuzzi!
Jesse: OK next, what’s your favourite death metal song. Do you have one?
Jesse: Bernie Worrell from Parliament, Clyde Stubblefield from James Brown. Jaco Pastorius on bass, and erm … I love The Strokes guitarist – Nicky. So Nick would be on there, and George Harrison, because he would be alive in the dream.
Josh: I don’t think I know any death metal songs by name, although I’ve heard tons of death metal. I like the over-doing-it-ness of death metal. Everything is the most it can be. The cookie monster vocals. Kind of a meat grinder sound.
Josh: OK, guys, this has been a lot of fun – well, it hasn’t been that much fun, but it’s been a certain amount of fun. But I don’t like some of these questions, they’re putting us at odds. I don’t think we should arm wrestle. So let’s get into the Jacuzzi!
Jesse: It’s kind of robotic. Duh-duh-duhduh-duh.
Jesse: No, I have one question left: does my dick make me look fat? That’s my new question for the day.
Josh: Yes, but played by very dedicated Swedes and Scandinavians – I dig that. Jesse: What I love about death metal is, on stage they look like Kabuki monsters, but when they come off, they wear clogs. They’re the nicest guys. Josh: I’ll say that. Next, what would your dream band-line up be that you’d be the frontman of?
Josh: It makes you look happy. Jesse: My dick makes me look happy. Josh: Just as long as you don’t look it in the eye.
Zipper Down is released 2 October via T-Boy/Universal Music
“Funk to me is like a smile with the tears. It has sadness and happiness, and that’s the way my life is”
Dam-Funk: the Trailblazing Boogie Cat of Pasadena Words: Henry Johns Photography: Tom Johnson
1000 miles an hour, a motorcycle strikes a red line through the Los Angeles cityscape. The tarmac so hot. Pink and green lights wavering in the heat, turquoise swimming pools, all passing in a blur. Shades on, his head gently bumps to some Prefab Sprout B-Side groove through the wireless headset in his helmet. Beep-beep, incoming call. ‘Invite the Light’, he says carefully, slowly, softly. Invite the Light. That’s his new record, out around about now on Stones Throw. Invite… the Light… hmm... It’s time to open to the windows and cross our legs for the 21st century’s sage of funk. ‘Telephone calls are making me sick, just let me do my music, that’s all I wanna do,’ said a boy called Damon Riddick on an old track called The Telephone Call. That boy became Dam-Funk. We’re on the telephone to him right now. Hopefully telecommunications with the press swallow down a little easier these days. “I don’t mind because you have to always remember that instead of acting like a diva and being unappreciative you have to understand that a lot of people cut off their left ball to participate in something where somebody’s actually paying attention to creativity.” Like all good sages, he is humble. Riddick's DJ sets and mixtapes are often overdubbed with introductions to bands and artists, much like a radio DJ. Throughout his interviews, he outwardly pays homage to the artists that shone light onto his sound. “With me, I acknowledge people who came before me and give
them props. These days no one really does it unless they do it in private in a DM… but they never do it in public. That’s the difference between the generation of now, it’s like ‘me, me, me’ it’s like ‘I did this. I always give it up to the generations who came before me, because that’s the way I was raised.” If there is one thing that’s old fashioned about Dam-Funk, one thing that sets him apart from the trend, it’s not the old synths or Lynn drum claps, it’s that unwavering sense of loyalty to the ancestors of his sound. The concept of funk becomes his cause and not just a description of his music. He is a Funkster through and through. “With funk, it’s just been the music that’s in my blood,” he tells me. “I can’t feel comfortable sleeping at night if I just all of a sudden start throwing trap beats just because it’s popular right now. I just feel more comfortable about sticking to something and standing for something, because funk saved my life – it gave me a lot of joy when I was growing up, it really kept me out of a lot of trouble and any trouble that I did get into, funk even saved me through that. You know, I wouldn’t say it’s a religious thing, but it’s more of a spiritual thing.” This is a nod to his early exposure to violence and gang culture, a topic which doesn’t come up much in conversation, but was glanced into briefly during a 2012 lecture with Red Bull Music Academy, where Riddick mentioned the feeling of being at a great party where shots are being fired amongst the sound of Funkadelic playing in the background.
It’s this strange kind of harmony that funk seems to create in a lot of people and situations. That punch which is married so seamlessly with those lovely, shining chords. There's that assertive attitude, but that strange beauty too. Funk contains these antagonistic characteristics, and it’s the way in which they intermingle so beautifully which allow it to suit so many people’s situations. The club, the lounge, beer, champagne. P-Funk to G-Funk to Dam-Funk. “Funk to me is like a smile with the tears,” he says. “The music that I make, the type of funk I make, it has sadness and happiness and that’s the way my life is.” ‘Modern Funk’ is the self-prescribed label for Riddick’s own strain of the genre, a term he coined in response to the caricaturing that funk has been subject to. “Over the years, funk became like a comedy type thing with the fuckin’ platform-like shoes and lame afros and the commercials and Dave Chappelle with the Rick James jokes ... Whereas with other genres it can be the most intellectual tag. Like “hoohohohohoo the beat music scene!” You know, there are so many funksters that are intelligent, that read books and are into conspiracy theories and all types of stuff, but you wouldn’t hear that side because people are so drowned out by the cartoonist imagery of funk that was in its past. “I’m giving people another chance to re-evaluate their take on funk music as a whole and respect it,” Riddick declares. ‘It wasn’t a bunch of jokesters, man, these were people who really knew how to play their instruments, they were serious cats.”
Riddick stuck to funk without great exposure for years when he could have adapted to the innumerable waves and flows that have passed through the LA music scene – including the aforementioned beat scene, which has been showered with critical praise. “There’s an avalanche from the intelligentsia’s take on things,” he argues. “Especially me being from LA, where I had to battle from being squashed. For instance, my vibe at the Funkmosphere, the club night I have, we’re almost still like an underground vibe and word-of-mouth. Because the media covers a certain part of Los Angeles. It’s only bigging up the knob-twiddlers, the gadget guys, you know what I’m saying? There’s just so much more to the Los Angeles music than people would imagine. That’s why I had people like Ariel Pink on the album. Different cats. Because it gives them a chance to show what else it happenin’ instead of the same old stuff that these people try to make, this intellectual end-all be-all of Los Angeles-based music.’ But as an artist who’s carried a decadesold genre across generations, Riddick has been faced with the decision of rejecting digitisation and sequencing, or accepting it. “I just use the technology now as a tracking device,” he explains. “I haven’t really ventured into sampling and sequencing things because my particular style is played more from a human perspective – giving people nine minute songs and I’m playing all the way through. It feels more human even though you’re making things with synthesizers. I’m still working in the way I worked when I first started making music on cassette tapes in my bedroom in 1988.
This whole experience is still the same kid, making music in his bedroom. That has still translated, all the way to this album.” Our conversation draws to a close, and off he goes to meditate. In his manner and careful contemplation, it’s not surprising at all that he meditates. The sprawling keytar solos around the world during his coming tour probably require it too. It was nice talking to you, Damon. “You too, brother, take care.”
A dust settles thinly over the office here; out there in LA the red dot rapidly shrinks at the vanishing point of the highway and the sirens dissipate. A kid in yellow dungarees resumes his yo-yoing just over the road. The music of a supermarket is heard faintly in the background. And that’s that, back to normality ... there goes 2015’s spirit-of-funk incarnate, trailblazing. What a gentleman. Invite The Light is out 4 September via Stones Throw
Issue 56 | crackmagazine.net
Micachu and The Shapes: The Art of the Happy Accident
There’s a catch to having ‘and the’ in your band name. People will infer that the named individual holds more influence than the rest. More often than not they do. Bob Marley and the Wailers. Prince and the Revolution. Ian Dury and the Blockheads. So, seeing as Mica Levi is the songwriter, vocalist and guitarist in Micachu and the Shapes, you might forgive people for jumping to that conclusion. But if having a front-woman was ever their intention, it doesn’t seem to be the case now. They refer to themselves as “we”. They cue up each others’ stories. They take turns in making the teas and going out for cigarettes. “I’m looking at everyone’s eyes to check I’m saying the right thing,” Mica says at one point. There’s a sweet moment where keyboardist Raisa Khan leans in to pick up Mica’s mug, and Mica thinks she’s going in for a hug.
Words: Amelia Phillips Photography: Alice Rainis
When it comes to the band, they’re a trio – adamantly so at times. Following the widespread praise of her BAFTA-nominated soundtrack for Under The Skin, there has been a considerable increase in attention around Mica Levi’s projects, which range from classical performances at London’s Southbank Centre to producing lo-fi beats for her close friend Tirzah. I make the mistake of asking about their personal projects early on. “You sound like you work for the government,” Mica says. Even with the half laugh that accompanies it, there’s a defensive tone in her response. But deflecting attention away from her solo success and towards Raisa and drummer Marc Pell must get tedious. I’ve met the band in a dimly-lit rehearsal studio one door down from Haggerston station. Mica’s on the sofa, Marc is sitting by his drums and Raisa is on the floor by the door. The three met at Guildhall School of Music & Drama, where Mica was studying composition and Marc and Raisa electronic music. “It was all quite solitary,” Mica says. “I think we enjoyed being away from the computers, which is probably why we still end up together."
Jewellery, Micachu and The Shapes’ first album, was produced by Matthew Herbert and released by Rough Trade in 2009. The record was playful, yes, but not a mess. Underlying their DIY approach (much has been made of the band’s use of household appliances and homemade instruments) was an acute understanding of composition and care for detail. Each song was like a passing comment from someone much wiser than they realise. In 2010, the band released Chopped and Screwed – an ambitious collaboration with the London Sinfonietta Orchestra – before returning to a hyperactive art-punk mentality for 2012’s excellent album Never. Considering the potential for a 'breakthrough' record following Levi's recent accolades, you might expect Good Sad Happy Bad to be more polished but in fact, it's possibly their rawest work to date. Marc recorded the bulk of album on his Roland Edirol during an impromptu band get-together in this exact studio. “It was basically just a two-hour jam,” he explains. Thinking that what he’d recorded might be worth something, he sent the material to Mica. “It was the sound of the recorder that I liked,” says Marc. “It was as much about the recorder as the music.” “It does feel really different to what we’ve done before,” Mica adds. “Instead of bringing a song into the studio like we’ve done in the past,” she says, “we just started playing then cut what we had into instrumentals.” She wrote some songs, added some vocals – black metal pig squeals on Unity, too – and that was that. They didn’t tamper with the original recordings at all. “We did everything backwards, basically,” she says. “It was all about hanging out in Raisa’s living room with the mic doing karaoke.” Some of the tracks, like the beautiful and brief Peach, don’t have lyrics at all. The result is their most unassuming, laid-back offering yet. It almost feels like a demo, complete with the glitches that would conventionally be worked out during the production process. “We’re a live band,” Mica argues. “For us, capturing
“We’ve got our own musical language, and every time we play it’s like we’re honing it”
that is the most important thing.” Marc agrees. “This wasn’t particularly planned. That’s the nicest thing about it. It feels like we’re a three-piece punk band but instead of playing bass, Raisa is playing electronics. We’ve got our own musical language and every time we play it’s like we’re honing that language.” As with Jewellery and Never, it’s quotidian detail rather than abject personal tragedy that makes it onto Good Bad Happy Sad. On Sea Air Mica leaves the drudgery of London and heads to the beach, where “all that crap means nothing to me.” Their albums have an unmistakably British sensibility. “I reckon that comes mostly from the lyrics,” Raisa says. “The phrases and expressions.” Mica has other ideas. “Marc,” she says. “It’s Marc.” He laughs. “My family have been looking into our family tree and apparently I’ve got a long chain of English heritage that goes back to pre-census,” he explains. “I think to the 1600s. So that might be what you can hear. I’m very three lions, or is it four?” This summer, Micachu and The Shapes have dates played in various countries to promote the record. In late July, I caught them at Bold Tendencies, the disused Peckham car park that’s transformed into a music and arts venue every summer.
Rather than being directed to the rooftop where the sunset was setting in, we were shunted into a circular room on the next floor down, where hay bales had been set-up for makeshift seats. The event’s low attendance was somewhat disheartening considering the hype that had surrounded the event online, but the band were great, exuding the tight chemistry I witness during our conversation. Critics might see Good Bad Happy Sad as a move in the wrong direction, but there’s something to be said for honouring the lo-fi. It has taken three years for Micachu and the Shapes to bring a new album out, but it’s one driven by a joyful simplicity. “There’s no pressure,” Mica says. “We like hanging around together and we like making music together.” It really is as simple as that. Good Bad Happy Sad is released 11 September via Rough Trade
Julia Holter: Another Kind of Love Song Words: Angus Harrison Photography: Marc Sethi
What is a love song? It’s a label we tend only to slap on the schlocky and overtly cloying. It is outpourings, long walks after teary phone calls. It is a first dance. A karaoke performance. Only it isn’t. If a love song is a song about love, then it is a song about countless experiences, infinite moments and every possible imaginable feeling. If a love song were about love then it would have to incorporate the rhythms and movements of people all day, everywhere. Confused,
"Things that are scary can feel good, things can be contradictory and complex”
complicated, opaque and unknowable. A love song should, in all truth, be impossible to sing. Perhaps Julia Holter’s most immediate and simple, yet somehow far-reaching and unclear record, Have You In My Wilderness is an album presenting something closer to this weird concept. The album moves through heartbreak and attraction, connect and disconnect; yet in such a way that refuses to settle for direct response. There is hurt and joy, but not as we’d easily recognise. Each track offers, in a number of shapes, another kind of love song. “I’d call them love songs,” she concedes. “Which is confusing to me because they’re not all about love, even if they are about love and emotions. I suppose I’d call them ballads.” Over the phone, and
“Take an example like Sting’s Every Step You Take. People always think it’s a love song because of how it sounds, but they don’t realise it’s about a stalker. I think that’s so cool — it’s what is so fun about music,” she enthuses.
the craft of story-telling still exists vividly on her fourth record. Greek tragedies, as smothered by academic analysis as they might now be, are essentially lurid evocations of morality. Simple tensions and human experiences, blown up and played out across bizarre and garish scenes. While her palette is far subtler than the often monstrous events of ancient Greek playwrights, the method Holter pursues remains similar on each album — creating episodes and scenes that exercise human experiences via wild narrative. Expressions of life in theatre.
While The Police’s 1983 paean to possession might seem like a strange name-check, the comparison holds up. She’s not deliberately dodging meaning, yet with Have You In My Wilderness, Holter is more than prepared to pervert logical conclusions. “Things that seem so obvious just aren’t. Things that are scary can feel good, things can be contradictory and complex.”
Allowing the stories to present themselves massively benefits the ultimate tableau. Have You In My Wilderness is more like a songbook, a collection of shorts, an approach Holter has wanted to pursue for a while, describing the album as a record she has “known I wanted to make for a long time.” The resultant success, as with so many paperback parallels, is how the disparate stories pull together.
There is a notable change on this album, which is Holter’s fourth, that contributes to the decidedly more obscure, but in turn personal tone. Retracing her previous records, each has a grounding in established narrative, finding inspiration in the work of other storytellers. 2011’s Tragedy employed the classical dramas of Euripides’ Ancient Greek tragedy Hippolytus, 2012’s Ekstasis was based in part on the writing of Virginia Woolf, and most recently Loud City Song, released in 2013, turned to Collette’s 1944 novella Gigi.
Take, as a demonstration of this, waiting. Not quite love, more like the silences in between, longing or holding on for something to happen or someone to arrive. It is something that, inconspicuously at first, presents itself on a number of occasions on the album. The “standing watch for hours” on Night Song, the mentioned character Lucette “marooned” on an island, or the opening track Feel You and the realisation that “it’s impossible to see who I’m waiting for in my raincoat.” Each passing image, in isolation, is simply a component in the course of the particular ballad, yet by the record’s end they have all conspired to achieve an aching whole. Holter might not want excessive analysis of her lyrical content, and it doesn’t require it, the power here is in the sensory play. The small stories that build to the last.
graciously entertaining questions despite an overwhelming tour-induced tiredness, the LA-based artist and Cal Arts electronic music alumni is attempting to best describe exactly what it is her songs are about, and largely concluding that she doesn’t want you to know.
From a string of lauded records that found modern confrontation in the literary past, this album has forced Holter to discover more immediate stories of her own. Yet it would be a mistake to consider the guiding hand of established literature completely absent on Have You In My Wilderness. Her utilisation of Euripides on Tragedy makes for an illustrative example of how
The question then is whether, without the functional structure of a finite source, this album has become Holter’s most personal,
or in some ways true album to date. “It depends what ‘true’ means. I guess for me there is a cathartic aspect to making songs that I don’t necessarily talk about very often. What I put to the page is never really explicitly personal, I just don’t work that way.” Such is her enveloping use of stories, even a record that has drawn on spontaneous ideas and immediate experiences in her life is still expressed on terms both abstract and colourful. “Even if I’m going through something, it doesn’t help me to write about it directly. It’s not a journal, if it was a journal then I could write about it directly, but it helps me to dig into something deeper, beyond what I’m aware of, and let things come out. “The most important thing for me was to make sure I loved the lyrics,” Holter continues. “For me they feel very honest. When people ask if I edited them a lot to make them less personal, or did I change them to make them more arty, or less cliché, I don’t know. It’s possible but I don’t remember that experience. I try to make the most intuitive music that I can.” This intuition, and vulnerability, also feels closer thanks to the production. Previously most recognisable drenched in reverb, Holter’s vocal performance parts through the instrumentation with clarity and pronounced precision. “That was the producer, Cole Greif-Neill,” she explains. “He really pushed me to let the voice come out in this way I usually don’t want to. I normally want it to blend into everything. It was a good choice, because I think on this album it’s important that people hear the lyrics. It should feel intimate.” Which really, as a parting thought, is an appropriate note to accompany Have You In My Wilderness. Ballads, or love songs, stories, or spontaneous recollections; every track is a close, sensory encounter. Perhaps not one that will always be immediately understood, but an encounter all the same. Collected thoughts, moments and episodes that reflect the complication, mystery and mythology of a real love. Or, to put it better, in the words of the album’s fifth track Sea Calls Me Home: “I hear small words from the shore, no recognised pattern.” Have You In My Wilderness is released 25 September via Domino
b ellauni on . c om
FATHER JOHN MISTY
Produced exclusively for Crack by Jack Sachs - www.jacksachs.co.uk
When form becomes protocol, Objekt’s instinct is to resist
Objekt’s official website describes his musical wanderings thus: “adventures in machine music built to make subs rattle and feet wiggle; a convoluted mess of elektrology and teknology, 3-step, bass-core, post windmill, proto-minimal wankstep, gondola, shithouse, acid wonk, no more, no less. Constructed by TJ Hertz in Berlin.” Within this melee of mindless genre babble – and after the tongue has been removed from his cheek – there resides more to this choice of musical description than the visible joke. TJ Hertz’s music as Objekt is constantly in flux, flexing and spring boarding acrobatically around conventional genre tropes. Though his style falls in line with the original application of the term techno as a genre, as in being ‘from the future’, he couldn’t be further, sonically and ideologically, from its straighter, less ambitious developments. Using fragments of classic electronic influences and transforming them with extraordinary attention to detail, Hertz came to prominence through his unplaceable production (as such, it’s still surprising that he originally made his name through self-confessed ‘copycat’ dubstep, with 2011’s breakthrough Tinderbox and The Goose That Got Away both pastiches of
the genre). In the years since, his singular approach to sound design has earned the devotion of both hardware obsessives and casual clubbers, while the wealth of musical mutation at his fingertips has also brought him sharply into focus as a selector. In April, I caught Hertz at Berghain, the home of contemporary techno. It’s hard here. No ‘bass-core’ or ‘shithouse’ mindyou, but the institution’s commitment to transcendentally brutal techno means the soundtrack is traditionally hard, even on Sunday afternoons. Objekt isn’t conforming. Electro, broken beats and what could be loosely described as thrilling, hybrid transformations of techno are slickly presenting themselves. The pace changes frequently and there is no ‘Berghain techno’ to be heard. Over the course of five hours, it unravels as the most musically diverse set I’ve ever experienced on that dancefloor. “I get quite anxious before pretty much whenever I play there,” he confesses, sipping his coffee in Berlin’s Melbourne Canteen. “But especially Saturday/Sunday. It’s not so much there is a pressure to conform to the sound of the place for aesthetic reasons or respect, but more a case of I’ve seen what goes down well and it is kind of a room that is built for that toughness. On the other hand, the energy
47 of the person playing the room is always going to come through, so ultimately if I play four hours of loop techno it’s not going to sound like I’m having fun.”
“The techno scene has re-solidified into something quite established and monolithic again, which makes it a lot less interesting”
It’s 10am and Berlin is absolutely sweltering in the heat. Our breakfast meeting fills me with relief at no longer having to move. There is also an inertly calming presence to Hertz that manifests itself in the pace he answers my questions. There is a consistent, considered lapse between my questions that never veers into discomfort or the kind of silence that causes conversations to end; it’s more of fail safe designed against getting caught short. Much like his DJ sets, describing him as an intelligent reactionary would be an apt portrayal. Therein also lies a small suspicion of the interview as a form of communication. He suggests he’ll “become more lucid after the first coffee” and confesses to not particularly enjoying the interview scenario. “I often come away feeling like I haven’t particularly articulated what I wanted to say. If I don’t need to do them, I don’t.” In turn, I direct his mind back to the aforementioned Berghain set. In particular, a beefed up version of Unfinished Sympathy that got an extremely potent reaction. “It was kind of a statement of intent, I mean it was 3pm on a fucking Sunday afternoon, if you can’t have a bit of a play around at that kind of time when can you?” It seems that ‘playing around’, or more precisely experimenting, has always been at the core of Hertz’s existence. Having graduated from Oxford University with a degree in Electronic and Information Engineering, his intensely complex approach to production should come as little surprise. Afterward, while working in the Berlin office of electronic music creation giant Native Instruments, Hertz initially tried his hand at producing functional techno, but nothing quite stuck.
Hertz has previously spoken out about his distaste for the more austere forms of the genre. It's a topic that rears its head repeatedly in interviews, including this one. “I have a massive love hate relationship with techno,” he admits. “The time I was getting involved with this kind of stuff was quite fertile for people of my age. The techno scene in the last four or five years has resolidified into something quite established and monolithic again, which makes it a lot less interesting for everyone, except people that want to make loads of money.” His current production ethic involves a self-confessed slow pace of work. Hertz has previously stated that a new piece could pass through as many as 80 different versions until deemed complete. This makes the fact his 2014 debut album Flatland was released at all a minor miracle. It was released on PAN records, a perfect home for the synthetic, dystopian sound that is so prevalent throughout. Reviews were universally positive in the praise of the cohesiveness of the sounds, as elements of techno are twisted and turned into new imaginings of form and presented in panoramic HD. Since the album it’s no coincidence Objekt’s production output has heralded just one remix. He explains: “In the last couple of months, the production side of things has fallen by the wayside due to personal things going on. After the album I was working on a lot of amorphous sounding, more cerebral productions that didn’t have any space in clubland at all. The trouble is, me writing an album is always going to take me a minimum of a year-and-a-half or two years because of how slowly I work. I don’t know if I can hold my interest in a singular enough concept for the whole time in order to see it through to competition instead of just writing and seeing what comes out. At the moment I’m not feeling the pressure and I think that’s fine.”
Words: Thomas Frost Photography: Julia Soler
48 It’s perhaps this relaxed approach to production that has allowed his credentials as a DJ to currently take centre stage. Far from taking any old party on offer, a glance at his listings shows a considered approach to gigging. “A lot of it is trying to work out where I enjoy playing and what I always come back to is the fact I just like doing a mix,” Hertz explains. “When I first started out I felt really keen to establish myself as a credible techno DJ, but the idea of playing on techno line-ups in warehouses week in week out fills me with dread and fear.” Techno as a source of struggle plays a huge part in the manifestation of Objekt, and it’s within this extremely malleable boundary he has found his musical voice. Yet he seems to have been more focused on its stylistic restraints of late, and fans will have noticed him using Twitter to vocalise his frustrations. ‘Life’s too short for techno,’ he stated in May, while a recent, more damning rumination tackled techno crowds’ increasingly uniform visual aesthetic. While the relative merits of the ‘techno uniform’ – all black everything – are debatable, it’s a reflection of an ongoing evolution in Hertz’s own aesthetic. “I’ve become more colourful in my musical selections. I’d worked myself into a little bit of a techno rut towards the end of last year in that I was listening to way too much of it and not enough of everything else and realised that forcing myself to go out and buy albums was better,” he admits. “Doing
that is more than just finding a new act I’m into, it’s more of a sustainability thing. It would be pretty easy to hate what I was doing if all I exposed myself to was the tools of my job. Buying albums stops that.” Though there is positivity to be found in Hertz’s feed. Recently, he described the intimate Welsh festival Freerotation as a ‘profoundly beautiful experience’. It’s easy to see why. The intimate members-only event is fertile ground for the kinds of genre-blasting styles favoured by Hertz. Stories of his set this year are sure to be passed on through electronic music folklore, telling of the sweltering heat – Hessle Audio’s previous three hours broke the fan system in the beautiful yet boiling Baskerville Hall – and relative chaos of the entirety of the festival attempting to bulldoze through the last of their energy with Hertz. To the salve of the attendees that weren’t able to get in the room (crowds spilling out onto the hotel’s grand staircase were quickly dispersed by security), the set was uploaded online to mass praise. Freerotation also feels at home with Objekt’s nearest and dearest who push at the seams of house and techno. It’s a festival that resonates with many of his peers, who often use it as their choice summer festival to hang around and party: the likes of the Hessle Audio trio, Blawan and Pariah. It’s a cluster of producers who, despite emerging under the ‘post-dubstep’ umbrella, have carved their own paths individually since. “I don’t know if this group of producers is as cohesive as it was four or five years ago, or even if it exists as such anymore,” Hertz wonders. “A lot of these people came of age as professional musicians together and there is a camaraderie I guess.” He lets out a self-effacing chuckle as his mind wanders the past. “It’s nice looking back at how it was possible to get so far knowing so little!” Objekt appears at Simple Things, Bristol, 24 October
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With the cold detachment of PostInternet art leaving a desire for collective experience, Rough Music gathers artists around the warm physicality of the wood-fired kiln
“It’s just mud; it’s only mud.” The intrusion of the digital into art, and of art into the digital realm, is neither a problem nor news. Internet art is a hat old enough now to grant the term ‘PostInternet’ legitimacy. The relative speed with which both the internet and the accompanying technology – much of which exists almost exclusively to support it – have taken up occupation in our lives has left a kind of deficit; how do we reconcile our sudden (and quite extraordinary) reliance on tools against the knowledge that they were, within living memory, science fiction? Plus, how do we make sense of the space of the internet which, until recently, was the site of utopian visions of democracy, community and solidarity but is now an effective tool of control and surveillance? Issues like this are both profoundly complicated and profoundly relevant. It’s no wonder, then, that a sizeable contingent of contemporary art is dedicated to their interrogation. As ‘Internet Art’, which uses the internet and its initially novel modes of communication as medium and message, segues into ‘Post-Internet’ art – which sees the cessation of internet as novelty and engages with it as a fact of life (and which comes with its own increasingly well developed visual and sensory language, think Parker Ito and PC Music), another set of materials, concepts and ways of making have simultaneously developed. The past few years have seen a [re] surge[nce] in ceramics as sculptural medium. Pioneered most famously by Grayson Perry (whose use of pottery was more punk than anything else) clay has firmly elbowed its way out of the marginalised realm of the craft and into the established art institution. Concurrently, artists like (but by no means limited to) Andy Holden, Bedwyr Williams and Jeremy Deller have used their practices to investigate and, in Deller’s case,
memorialise facets of the recent past or present that exist beyond the relevant – but also cold – digital realm. This field of research, or set of concerns, could in some senses fall under a kind of ‘folk’ umbrella. However, with the exception of Deller, who has in the past explicitly engaged with folk art, I suspect that the artists I’m attempting to identify would resent this labeling, or at least find it problematic. The folkiness in these types of practice stems from an idea of contemporary tradition; of contemporary developments in culture or social interaction that have themselves developed in a uniquely British way, and whose origins can, perhaps, be traced back to traditions, rituals or social habits of the past. In the same way as Post-Internet art can be characterised by certain aesthetic tropes – digitally rendered images, modes of making divorced from direct human interference, a preoccupation with highly synthetic materiality – so this field of enquiry comes with a visual language of its own; this other practice, with its more directly human concerns, can be characterised by a more tactile material engagement, a more ‘handmade’ aesthetic through which the presence of the artist, and the artist’s intentions, can be more viscerally or emotionally felt. This visual language expresses a less cerebral engagement with its audience that its digital counterpart. While context remains important, and critical discourses remain present, the works also lend themselves to a kind of fundamental reading, of emotional response and human warmth that is very often absent in the cold, intangible and intellectual post-internet discourse. Ceramic presents itself as natural medium for artists looking to engage with things on this more human level. Opening at the Cass Sculpture Foundation in Sussex at the end of August, Rough Music stands out as an almost archetypal showcase of contemporary ceramics, and the set of concerns it has come to represent.
The show takes its name and starting point from an old English folk tradition, one which sounds funnier and less threatening on paper than it almost certainly was in real life. The custom was, in essence, a ritual humiliation; the visitation of a mob to the house of a person perceived to have failed to uphold the standards expected by a community. A racket was made, jeers were jeered, effigies were touted, tormented and burned, etc. A kind of punishment of revelry, gleeful for the participants and deeply unpleasant for the offender. The show’s press release describes the practice as a kind of “vernacular form of vigilante satire,” although it could be argued that more contemporary parallels can be found in the mob mentality of Twitter outrages and houndings (the subject of a new-ish book by Jon Ronson, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed). The show has been co-curated by artists Alex Hoda (whose quote starts this piece) and Robert Rush. With the notion of Rough Music functioning as a kind of conceptual hook, the more salient feature of the show is the permanent installation of a woodfired kiln, a kind of functioning sculpture, by
the artists in the grounds of the sculpture foundation. The kiln was inspired by the artists’ travels in Japan, where a firmly artisanal and traditional ceramics industry continues to occupy an important place in local communities, and shared kilns provide a practical and social gathering point. Hoda tells me over Skype, “You get groups of ceramicists – artists and ceramicists – producing work, and then they all put it into the one kiln and they fire the whole thing together. It’s much more of a kind of community-based project. They’ve got this thing, this machine, which they all use, and it brings them together as artists.” The sustained value of these kilns, afforded by the commitment of these Japanese artisans to their craft, and by the wider communities which presumably support their continued viability through consumption and promotion of the commodities produced therein, manifests something Hoda and Rush feel is lacking in the contemporary British art scene. “There used to be such a big industry in
Words: Augustin Macellari
this country of producing ceramics, and it just got decimated in the eighties, with the influx of Chinese porcelain. Robbie and I frequently went to the V&A and you just have to wander around the ceramics department; there are incredible pieces in there. I think a lot of that heritage is being lost.” While the mediums and specific concerns of ceramicists such as Jesse Wine and Aaron Angell, Turner Prize-winner Laure Prouvost and Bedwyr Williams, may vary, a common thread runs through them: an elevated level of emotional engagement, an awareness of the past and a sense of humour. “All the artists we chose are very, very considered people,” says Hoda. “But through that consideration comes a lot of real, raw emotion” Though it would be wrong to argue that either Post-Internet art or art of the type that Rough Music represents define themselves in opposition to the other, there’s no doubt that some aspect of the rise of ceramic manifests a desire by artists and audience to see art as a mode of real human expression, as opposed to a solely intellectual exercise. There is, as Hoda says, “An interest in bringing something tactile into the gallery.” In the instance of Rough Music the tactility is reinforced by the artists’ shared physical experience of the production of the work; a sculptural practice that would normally be conducted in isolation is here made, if not collaborative, at least collective through the firing process. “There’s a kind of bonding between people that drives the work forward, as a group. I never
really experienced that before; a shared experience to make work.” The irony of an artistic engagement with folk traditions comes from the paradox that has led to the same traditions’ marginalisation; in a world with such readily available tools of connectivity, the importance of traditional events as social opportunity, and as a means of sustaining cohesion in a community, has dwindled. Conversely, the success of the internet as a tool of international communication facilitates collaboration across continents, between international communities of artists. Consequently, the artist dealing with more fundamental human ideas and needs – of expression and ritual – finds themselves operating in a kind of isolation folk traditions were developed to preclude. Perhaps ironically, the artist whose concern is colder and less human, engaged instead with the implications of the internet and modes of production totally removed from actual physical human engagement, finds themselves highly networked, through shared google docs, social media and image boards. In Rough Music, Hoda and Rush have maybe found a way to authentically establish a kind of contemporary tradition, in a shared production of individuals’ work, and through this help promote, in a contemporary and non-fetishistic way, some of the benefits of cultural practices that would otherwise find themselves outdated. Rough Music runs at Cass Sculpture Foundation, Chichester, until 8 November
In the eyes of James Long, there are no rules in menswear. And that's the beauty of it Words: Cassandra Kirk-Gould Photography: Bex Day
55 James Long is arguably one of London’s favourite designers. He’s been the recipient of sponsorship from Fashion East, NEWGEN and Fashion Forward; he’s a hit on the high street, with Topman, River Island and Kurt Geiger collaborations, and he’s received international recognition with a nomination for the prestigious International Woolmark Prize. It sounds tiring, running through his many accomplishments and projects, but the man himself is a picture of calm, quiet confidence. Is his approach to fashion intuitive? “It’s definitely intuitive,” he insists. “That’s all you’ve got, your intuition, your eye.” Long credits Ike Rust – his former tutor at the Royal College of Art – several times over the course of our conversation. Incidentally, the RCA has recently been crowned as the world’s best design school and Long is part of a wave of menswear design talent that includes Astrid Andersen, Matthew Miller, Aitor Throup and Sid Bryan of Sibling, which has revolutionised London’s menswear scene, boosting the London Collections: Men event to its now highly respected spot on the fashion calendar. The James Long brand gained a reputation for excellent knitwear and fabric innovation early on, winning praise from Lulu Kennedy at Fashion East and Lucas Ossendrijver, creative director of Lanvin Homme. Over the seasons, punkish threadbare knits with trailing threads have been interspersed with chunky jumpers with chaotic patches and varying weaves. His finer cardigans and belted jackets are reminiscent of Missoni classics.
“A tailored suit scares me. I see that as an older generation thing and that’s why we started this – I knew that people didn’t want to dress like that”
Pattern has been equally important. Camouflage evolved over time to blend in with art-studio ink blotches; fine, palm tree weaves were layered effortlessly with faded florals and reptile was rendered in sequins to recreate the sheen of animal skins. Layers of zig-zagging lines on shirts, polka dots, primary coloured squiggles and embroidery on mesh demonstrate the continuation and evolution of key ideas over the years. “It’s often about matching things up and clashing things together,” he says, “taking elements of certain styles or designs and putting them together and that really comes
from trying and experimenting. Those are the best collections, where I’ve done a lot of that – a lot of fabric, a lot of knitwear sampling.” The James Long man is louche, occasionally scruffy and sexily unkempt. A perfect example comes from his AW11 show, a beautifully soft collection of dusty pink, purple knits and checks that featured glossy black trousers and rich textured coats. A shawl neck jumper’s collar droops so low it appears at first glance to be a cardigan, and it’s worn over a dark blue silky shirt with white dots and a t-shirt beneath. It’s the epitome of nonchalant style. Long cites the pencil-mustachioed John Waters as an inspiration and a recent interview with the controversial filmmaker comes to mind, in which he recalls a New York Times magazine cover featuring JeanMichel Basquiat splashing paint on his Comme des Garçons suit as being the first radical suit moment. This image resonates with the James Long man’s spirit. “When we see something too proper, if it scares us, we’re going to wreck it basically. That’s where the ruining, the destroying starts. If we see something and we’re like ‘Oh that’s not us, that’s terrifying, that’s not the menswear we’re trying to create,’ or if we look at it and we feel like we’ve seen that before, it’s ‘let’s change the silhouette’. As the head tutor of RCA always said, it’s about training your eye, that’s all there really is to it.” Is perfection, say a tailored suit, something that scares him and his team? “We were talking about that the other day, it does have its own place. When it’s our own brand it has to be about what we we’re trying to do and what didn’t exist when I first started. If I’m honest yes, a tailored suit does scare me. I sort of see that as an older generation thing and that’s why we started this – I knew that people didn’t want to dress like that.” Other influences include Patti Smith, Edward Scissorhands, David Bowie and Kurt Cobain. “In every collection there’s a Kurt Cobain reference,” Long says. “There’s people that always make it on the board somehow. David Bowie always used to get on there somehow.” Sure enough, Kurt Cobain in striped top, red shades and torn jeans is striking a pose on the mood board. Sportswear became a key element in the James Long look for a couple of seasons, with spring/summer 14 ushering in an ice-cool reincarnation. Zip-up mesh jackets, toggled hoodies and cycling tops came with lightweight, loose-fitting shorts. Horizontal-striped knits and crisp white shirts featured rows of woven plastic wire in black and royal blue. The sporting
theme was then pushed into darker, more experimental territory for autumn/winter of the same year with loose-fit mesh joggers, sweatshirts with satin inserts and head-totoe puckered and quilted tech fabrics in primary colours. Skater boys and beach bums in worn-in denim strapped with primary-coloured tape, loose-fitting striped hoodies and socks and sliders followed for summer 2015, and for winter – the season hitting the shops right now – look out for grey marl joggers with blue paisley-style embroidery, panels of black mesh and strips of black haphazardly attached and wrapped around the leg, shearling on denim and leather jackets and jumpers undid from neckline to bicep – a feature to expect more of next summer. With such an array of styles and fabrics, pinpointing singular influences is hard for Long. “Everything I do is so mashed up, a bit of this and that, denim, some Victorian frill, the spirit of the 60s mixed with the 90s, or embroidery with sports references from the 80s to make it new and modern. We try and make things modern, otherwise you’re just doing pastiche.” What’s clear is that creating, designing, making – these things are a way of life for Long. He doesn’t seem to have an off switch. “It’s constant,” he admits. “But in a really great way.” Find out more at jameslonguk.com
56 D Double E is synonymous with grime music in its present state.
Aesthetic: D Double E Stylist: Luci Ellis Words: Akash Chohan Photos: Theo Cottle
The scene owes a lot to him. In many ways, he is London’s most evergreen MC. What makes his style so timeless is that his work has influenced at least three generations of artists over the course of his career, starting with an extremely talented teenage Kano, who started to attend D Double’s N.A.S.T.Y. Crew radio sets in the early 00s. Having humble beginnings in jungle, he’d transition to grime, keeping that breakneck pace in the chamber for whenever the situation demands it. He would form Newham Generals alongside Footsie, taking grime instrumentals such as Woo Riddim and, in his own words: “give it the love it really deserves”. His freestyle over that beat, together with the rest of his upper tier verses (of which there are many) over the course his career, would set the bar for future MCs. “I can definitely see my style in kids coming up,” he tells me at our shoot location in Bethnal Green, “it’s more clear now, before it used to be kids taking mine and twisting it a little bit, now people are more free to use different flows.” Originality is key for D Double, yet he’s used to people copying him (and other giants like Dizzee Rascal) and sees it in the scene today. “Right now, it’s happening more,” he explains, “but it’s less talked about.” His inherent energy, unpredictability and idiosyncratic lyrical tendencies are however, unmatched. Whenever he touches mic in a rave, it’s his verse that detonates the crowd.
Growing up as part of the Jamaican diaspora, D Double, born Darren Dixon, knows his roots are incredibly important to his current style. “It’s all embedded man, my whole style, the way I am, I’m Jamaican to the fullest.” He cares about how Britain is viewed, too, to children growing up here and to people now discovering grime overseas. “I pump the UK fully, I’m like the best of both worlds, and the music gives me an avenue to push that.” Grime is under the magnifying glass arguably moreso than it’s ever been; and it’s crucial to Dixon that people understand the origins in each line, instrumental, and aesthetic. In particular, old instrumentals are currently being revamped now to sound more polished by mercurial producers such as Spooky. “Exclusive beats and bars have another life to go through” in grime in 2015. Dixon has always stayed true to streetwear, and our shoot sees him decked out in all black Nike Air Max 1’s, sporting an immaculate fade which he gets daily, and wearing wan Billionaire Boys Club Varsity jacket. Entwined in London-born fashion, he recently enjoyed a collaboration with ascendant designer Nasir Mazhar, along with spitting a few bars to celebrate Vans’ collaboration with Eley Kishimoto. Throughout the course of the shoot he emanates calm integrity; never rushed, but ready to switch for whoever mentions him again in a clash. Your favourite grime MC’s favourite MC. Visit crackmagazine.net to watch our Aesthetic video with D Double E
This Page Jacket: Model's own Opposite Page Coat: James Long Jumper: Stone Island Chains: Model's own
This Page Coat: James Long Jeans: Stone Island Opposite Page Coat: Cav Empt T-Shirt: Cav Empt
This Page Jacket: Billionaire Boys Club T-shirt: Money clothing Opposite Page Jacket: Joyrich T-Shirt: Levi
This Page Jacket: Joyrich Jeans: Levi's Opposite Page Jacket: James Long Jumper: Stone Island
DEKMANTEL Amsterdam Bos 30 July - 1 August As soon as you enter Amsterdamse Bos – the expansive national park at the South-Western edge of Amsterdam city centre, it’s easy to see why Dekmantel has sold out every year. The festival is compact, tidy, beautifully constructed and, most importantly, houses a number of monolithic Funktion One soundsystems unfettered by decibel ceilings. This means that whatever time of day, however dark and heavy the music, however long you’ve been up, there’s little choice but to get down to the expertly curated selection of DJs and live performers over the three long days and nights that make up the festival weekend. Before the festival starts proper however, we’re treated to an impossibly rare performance of Manuel Göttshing’s seminal proto-house anthem E2-E4. Named after the popular opening chess move, it proves to be a popular opening move for Dekmantel too – the concert hall is very much sold out when we arrive at the clear and breezy shores of Amsterdam’s waterfront. Like chess however, it proves to be a long, mesmerising and often tedious thing to witness, with Göttshing sat on stage clicking away at his laptop while that classic, effervescent loop tumbles around the expansive hall. The following pummeling from Autechre makes more sense – after plunging the room into complete darkness
(and putting up signs asking people not to leave for the duration), they assault more than one of our heightened senses with pure, glitching, heaving sound. The following day as we arrive on site for the first time, we’re snapped rudely into life by Shed, Berlin’s resident breakbeat-mangling genius. Performing live in the expansive UFO tent, he tears the place to shreds with his trademark blend of Bagleys euphoria and Berghain wallop. The rest of the day was spent witnessing superb sets from IRL bezzie mates Call Super and Objekt, who rattled through hi-NRG, good vibes house and techno over in the cosy confines of the Boiler Room stage. This year, Dekmantel By Night has been expanded to become arguably as important as the day portion of the weekend. Taking place in the warren-like expanse of the multi-purpose Melkweg center, the Friday night saw a rare back-to-back set from Tessela and Untold – two of the UK’s most forward-thinking producers presenting a focused selection that drew from the weirder edges of techno and experimental club music. Saturday felt like the weakest line-up of the days events, but even then, witnessing killer sets from Anthony Naples, Palms Trax, Shackleton, Thomas Martojo, DVS1 and The Wizard (you know, Jeff Mills) makes that seem
like quite an absurd statement to make. Martojo proved to be the surprise standout, as the Dekmantel founder delivered a speedy, tight and insanely fun set under the sweltering roof of the Boiler Room stage. Saturday’s By Night was filled-out entirely by the inspired pairing of Livity Sound boss Peverelist and Dave Huismans aka A Made Up Sound (aka 2562), as they took over the Theatre for a five hour all-nighter. The extended set meant they spread out the inevitably enviable selection of bangers (Pev’s tripping remix of Hodge’s Amor Fati being a notable highlight) with some deeper than deep cuts before closing the session with a belting 45-minute run through proto-hardcore history that concluded in the absurd, Francis Lai sampling Lighter by Sound Of The Future. Sunday was an absolute heater, and as the temperatures tickled the 30c mark it was a pleasant coincidence that almost all the music we wanted to see was taking place at The Lab – the greenhouse-stage overrun by tropical foliage. There we watched the place get absolutely laid to waste by the heavyweight run of Minimal Wave’s Veronica Vasika, Actress, Helena Hauff and the Hessle Audio trio of Pangaea, Pearson Sound and Ben UFO.
Hessle’s closing three hours proved to be the most enjoyable set of the weekend, ripping through a +130bpm workout of fruity house bangers and off-kilter techno. As Pev and A Made Up Sound did the previous night, the music took a turn towards the spirit of 90s rave in it’s final moments as Pangaea provided the final tune of the day with the Reinforced classic Feel Real Good. From all accounts, this year’s edition of the ascendant festival was the best yet, and it’s easy to see how in such a short period it’s become regarded as one of the essential destinations for those who appreciate the finer things in electronic music. In a world of seemingly endless dance music festivals, Dekmantel has once again proved itself as one of the finest in the game.
Words: Steven Dores Photography: De Fotomeisjes
WILL JOSEPH COOK THE LEXINGTON LONDON MON 14 SEP
MIKKY EKKO OSLO LONDON THU 17 SEP
15/16/17 January 2016 – Butlins, Bognor Regis New names announced! (in alphabetical order):
ANDHIM / ARTWORK B.TRAITS / BICEP BODDIKA / CATZ ‘N DOGZ DEETRON / DJ BARELY LEGAL DJ EZ / DUSKY EATS EVERYTHING / EROL ALKAN GEORGE FITZGERALD GERD JANSON / HANNAH WANTS HEIDI / JACKMASTER JASPER JAMES / JULIO BASHMORE LEMMY ASHTON / LIL SILVA MUMDANCE / NOVELIST PARANOID LONDON (LIVE) SKREAM / THE BLACK MADONNA TODDLA T
GORILLA MANCHESTER THURS 03 DEC BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB LEEDS SUN 06 DEC RESCUE ROOMS NOTTINGHAM TUE 08 DEC
SOUND CONTROL MANCHESTER MON 28 SEP SCALA LONDON WED 30 SEP
NEWCASTLE UNIVERSITY SUN 25 OCT O 2 ACADEMY BOURNEMOUTH SUN 08 NOV
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O 2 SHEPHERD’S BUSH EMPIRE TUE 20 OCT
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LEADMILL SHEFFIELD SAT 31 OCT TRINITY BRISTOL MON 02 NOV LIBRARY BIRMINGHAM TUE 03 NOV
O 2 ACADEMY BRISTOL TUE 10 NOV RITZ MANCHESTER WED 11 NOV THE FORUM LONDON SAT 14 NOV INSTITUTE BIRMINGHAM SUN 15 NOV
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THE BREWHOUSE LONDON THU 24 SEP
MANCHESTER ACADEMY 2 THU 19 NOV MARBLE FACTORY BRISTOL TUE 24 NOV O2 SHEPHERD’S BUSH EMPIRE THU 26 NOV + 4 MORE DATES
BODEGA NOTTINGHAM THU 10 NOV
3 Nights / 3 dance floors / Pool Parties / DJ competition / Pub Quiz / Rave Karaoke (and you’re only ever metres away from your bed) Accommodation included Tickets available from £169pp / Book in groups of 2/3/4/5/6/7/8
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CONCORDE 2 BRIGHTON THU 24 NOV O2 SHEPHERD’S BUSH EMPIRE WED 25 NOV
@ L N S o u rce BUGWKNDR16_CRACK_AD_123x322mm.indd 1
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O 2 ACADEMY BRISTOL TUE 08 DEC ALBERT HALL MANCHESTER FRI 11 DEC O 2 ACADEMY BRIXTON MON 14 DEC + 5 MORE DATES
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EZRA LONELADY FURMAN 7.10.2015 HEAVEN
O2 SHEPHERDS BUSH EMPIRE
CURTIS HARDING VILLAGE UNDERGROUND
RALEGH LONG WED 2 SEPT ST PANCRAS OLD CHURCH GRACE LIGHTMAN THURS 3 SEPT THE WAITING ROOM NIMMO THURS 15 SEPT OSLO HACKNEY HOLLYSIZ WED 16 SEPT HOXTON SQUARE BAR & KITCHEN CRUSHED BEAKS TUES 22 SEPT DALSTON VICTORIA WYLES & SIMPSON WED 23 SEPT THE WAITING ROOM LAIL ARAD THURS 24 SEPT ST PANCRAS OLD CHURCH MADE VIOLENT THURS 24 SEPT THE ISLINGTON
LADY LAMB MON 28 SEPT THE LEXINGTON
BEACH BABY THURS 8 OCT BOSTON MUSIC ROOM
JOHN JOSEPH BRILL MON 9 NOV DALSTON VICTORIA
SURFER BLOOD WED 30 SEPT TUFNELL PARK DOME
ALEX G TUES 20 OCT 100 CLUB
+ RADICAL FACE
PLASTIC MERMAIDS THURS 1 OCT OSLO HACKNEY
ROYCE WOOD JUNIOR WED 21 OCT ELECTROWERKZ
RAKETKANON THURS 1 OCT THE LEXINGTON
EZRA FURMAN THURS 22 OCT O2 SHEPHERD’S BUSH EMPIRE
GIRL BANDLD OUT SO TUES 6 OCT 100 CLUB LILIES ON MARS TUES 6 OCT ELECTROWERKZ LONELADY WED 7 OCT HEAVEN ROZI PLAIN WED 7 OCT ST JOHN ON BETHNAL GREEN BARLI THURS 8 OCT ST PANCRAS OLD CHURCH
HABITATS THURS 22 OCT THE LEXINGTON PALACE THURS 22 OCT SCALA CURTIS HARDING WED 28 OCT VILLAGE UNDERGROUND THE PHOENIX FOUNDATION MON 2 NOV OSLO HACKNEY
WED 11 NOV O2 SHEPHERD’S BUSH EMPIRE ASTRONAUTALIS WED 18 NOV SCALA ELVIS PERKINS TUES 24 NOV DALSTON VICTORIA MERCURY REV TUES 24 NOV OVAL SPACE LA FEMME TUES 24 NOV KOKO THIS IS THE KIT WED 25 NOV SCALA EL VY
(MATT BERNINGER & BRENT KNOPF) T
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Live STANDON CALLING Hertforshire, England 29 - 31 July
FLOW Helsinki, Finland 14 - 16 August “We don’t want to be the biggest, we want to be the best.” This was a standout soundbite of the conversation we had with Tuomas Kallio, the artistic director of Flow Festival. Every day, when we arrived at the disused power station located close to Helsinki’s Senate Square, that simple maxim was hard to ignore. The aptly titled Bright Balloon 360° stage setup was the platform for one of the undisputed highlights of the weekend: one hour of explosive electronic Shaabi chaos from Islam Chipsy and EEK. With Islam Ta’ta’ and Khaled Mando firing up a percussive tempest in the centre of the dome, they proved themselves to be one of the most electrifying live acts on the planet. The Black Tent was rattled by the strobe-heavy trance intensity of Evian Christ and a typically moshpit-stirring show from Skepta and Shorty. We ended our weekend at the Black Tent for Future Brown’s set with the help of Ruff Sqwad’s Roachee. Flow really isn’t in the same realm as British festivals. It is a wholly different experience. The distinct lack of noticeable debauchery are just two of the countless differences. For British festival-goers, it is a taste of something different which is definitely worth trying out. A major festival that isn’t too fussed with expanding but focused firmly on improving. ! Duncan Harrison N Jussi Hellsten
ØYA Olso, Norway 11 - 15 August
BOOMTOWN FAIR Winchester, England 13 – 16 August Pirate wenches with dreadlocked hair hurl abuse from their perch on the Jolly Dodger’s deck. An alien autopsy is carried out on an unsuspecting passer-by in Distrikt 5 while sex-bots act out the fantasies of their rebel leaders in the streets. Haughty Lord and Lady Funkington dance a debauched Lindy Hop to Brixton five-piece Brass Funky’s New Orleans swing, while a crowd of grinning onlookers caked in glitter watch in awe. This is BoomTown Fair, a fictional town installed inside of a wooded valley in Winchester. The festival’s wild and garish music policy, although extensive in breadth and scope – covering ska, folk, punk, reggae, bass, trance, swing and hip-hop – is secondary to the spectacle and immersive performances that have kept people returning to this festival for seven years. From the depths of the Trenchtown valley to the throbbing techno dens of China Town, activity and sound rages at BoomTown Fair from sunrise on Wednesday to sunrise on Monday, and doesn’t stop for a break on the Sabbath, even for the funeral services at the Church of the Sturdy Virgin in Old Town. A fair warning to any comrades planning to go to BoomTown Fair next year; go, only if you think you can handle it. ! Emilee Jane Tombs
Everything is so easy at Øya. Wandering from furthest stage to furthest stage takes you five minutes at the very most, and it’s all put on in Oslo’s beautifully leafy Tøyenparken that naturally provides a handy slope outside every outside stage, meaning you’ll be able to see the action from any angle. And what action: Kathleen Hanna proved she’s riotgrrrl till she dies with a life-affirming, constantly whirring set from The Julie Ruin, Tyler, the Creator caused the usually ice-cold Norwegian crowds to actually scream and Flying Lotus’ lightbox show induced slack jaws and wide eyes from an unbelieving crowd, If you wanna go somewhere where people watch black metal as if its Eastenders, sip on chilled glasses of white wine in the front row of a hip-hop show as if its a matter of course, and generally see how Scandi-cool a festival can be, check out Øya. You’re pretty much guaranteed the line-up will be totally on point, and as long as you’re not filled with as much existential guilt as we were about small children picking up your beer glasses after you, you’ll have the best time. ! Sammy Jones N Johannes Granseth
MILHÕES DE FESTA Barcelos, Portugal 23 - 26 July Milhoes is an adventurous festival. The Portugese event launches underground acts from the toilet circuit to a big stage with a novel approach to programming where no two performances overlap, as a result of being split between two stages. Situated on the surrounding area of a river in Barcelos, near Porto, it makes great use of the town’s surroundings. By day, attendees are lounging by the pool stage, a bundle of Disney blue swimming pools with a soundtrack that alternates from homegrown acoustic upstarts to the fieriest sounds coming from Portugal’s dance music-minded capital. The nighttime programme mixed sounds from the periphery with old favourites. Friday’s line-up saw Subpop signed soul-rap duo THEESatisfaction charm the crowd with their melange of psychedelia, hip-hop and choreography. Golden Teacher brought a similarly infectious energy, with their heady fusion of acid house, dub, post-punk and theatrical onstage antics. Saturday’s highlight was undoubtedly komische pioneer Michael Rother, who played a selection of Neu and Harmonia classics. The Bug closed Sunday with sonic warfare that set off a symphony of car horns and burglar alarms in the surrounding area, with the notoriously hard-to-please Kevin Martin concluding in his Facebook report that Milhoes was “organized professionally, perfectly and most importantly lovingly”, which is about as high as praise gets. It’s also justly reflective of the passion put in from everyone involved in this little Portuguese gem. ! Anna Tehabsim N Renatos Santos
Despite the fact that it’s a relatively small festival, Standon Calling had no trouble whatsoever in bringing in the big names for their 10th anniversary event. And with Little Dragon, The Dandy Warhols and Basement Jaxx for headliners, we were in no way surprised by the rumours festival sold out its 8,500 tickets in record time. But make no mistake, this is a friendly boutique festival. The kind that encourages wild, unpretentious fun with a dog show, a trapeze and a ‘Town of Two Faces’ dressing up theme that saw thousands of festival goers strut around in fake cowboy hats and mustaches. Our musical highlights included Brooklyn indie rockers The Antlers, whose mellow Saturday set warmed the soul, and Mancunian duo Bernard + Edith, who kicked off our Sunday with ice-cold electronics delivered that were delivered with a mystic stage presence. The Horrors’ Sunday night set was high up on our itinerary. And while they proved that they’ve concocted their own sound of the years – a blend of shoegaze, psychedelia and Birthday Party-eque moans – the flatter songs from last year’s Luminous suggested they’re a band slightly past their prime. But the greatest fun, in my opinion, was to be found at The Cowshed stage, where the party entertainment was provided by the likes Sink The Pink crew and Horse Meat Disco’s Severino until silly o’clock. Well done Standon Calling, you’ve impressed us once again. Oh - and happy anniversary! ! Jason Hunter
14 15 SL AYER Repentless Nuclear Blast
“I didn’t like it. It wasn’t good. The record, it just wasn’t good … I worked my ass off on it, and I don’t think I did a good enough job.” So that was that. After teasing the album for around 15 years, Dr. Dre abruptly stamped out the final embers of hope that Detox would ever see the light of day. But the world had moved on anyway. By this point, even the potential Detox singles Kush and I Need a Doctor seem like a distant memory. Having felt a sudden rush of inspiration when the principle photography for the Straight Outta Compton biopic began, Dre forefieted the end-goal of radio play for a rawer, more experimental project. This is the man who sold Beats Electronics for three billion dollars – there is little incentive for him to be making rap music. There’s the thrilling suspicion that Dr. Dre made Compton primarily because he wanted to. If you were to think of Compton as a movie – and it’s a record that insists you recognise its cinematic qualities – then it’s a post-modern work. While Dre’s never made much of a secret of his use of ghostwriters, here the voice of the relatively unknown rapper King Mez – who provided reference tracks for every Dre verse on the record – can be heard somewhere on pretty much every track. Rather than establishing a simple a ventriloquist and puppet dynamic with the album’s many contributors, it’s as if Andre Young has acknowledged that Dr. Dre is a construct, and he’s harnessed a large roster of guests to put him together. With its grand love-letter-to-Compton theme, erratic instrumental switches and elastic hooks, the most prominent influence here is Dre’s former protege Kendrick Lamar – whose appearances are expected highlights. Breaking away from the nonchalant bravado of Dre’s former persona, Compton is an intense – and often ugly – record. The album is packed with growls, grunts and screams; Snoop completely looses his cool on One Shot Kill, a grim drowning analogy is stretched out on Deep Water and Loose Cannons ends with a skit during which a woman is murdered following a fit of male rage – which is especially hard to stomach considering the recently reprised stories about Dre’s real life history of violence towards women. We eventually get some time alone with Dre on the album’s dramatic final track Talking To My Diary. While stumbling through his verses, he pays a heartfelt tribute to his former N.W.A group mates, yet somehow gets through it without really saying anything. And for an album that’s full of exhilarating theatrics but never maintains focus, it’s a fitting finale.
It may not seem clear to ears not tuned into Slayer’s particular brand of ferocity, but the thrash icons have been extremely adept in the art of subtle reinvention over the years. But Slayer’s recent output has often borne the brunt of a tension. Their status as elder statesmen plunges them between a rock and a hard place: attempts to modernise have been greeted with cynicism, while sticking to their genre-establishing template leaves them seeming stagnant. Factor in the 2013 death of guitarist/songwriter Jeff Hannemann and the recent departure of drummer Dave Lombardo, and it’s not an easy time to be Slayer. The real challenge of Repentless, then, is in Kerry King shouldering the crushing mantle of sole songwriter without playing it safe. And while King may be a pioneer, he’s no miracle worker: there's a linearity to this album, the songs revolve around a brutalist structural integrity – a bruising bluntness. Repentless can be roughly divided into two categories: chugging half-time slammers and rollocking thrash gallops. On Vices, King’s knack for cataclysmic grooves pays off in huge and unholy spades; the up-tempo Atrocity Vendor, meanwhile, is insatiably confrontational. It’s intriguing how obvious Hanneman’s composition is: his superb Piano Wire’s fluttering, palm-muted verse recalls the downtuned, post-metal atmospherics of Isis. Lyrically is where Hanneman’s absence is hardest felt. Robbed of his partner’s wild creativity and narrative flair, King’s declarations can seem clunky: “A little violence is the ultimate drug – let’s get high!” At its core, Repentless has achieved what it set out to. It’s defined by defiance; a document of a personal and creative situation that could have caused the band’s extant half to wither, but instead served to galvanise. It’s a more than worthy preface to a new chapter for the greatest metal band of them all.
! Matt Cole
! Geraint Davies
K AHN, COMMODO + GANTZ Volume 1 Deep Medi VARIOUS ARTISTS Musik For Autobahns 2 Rush Hour As commercial deep house continues to plough headlong into aesthetic irrelevance, DJs seek different sounds. The reverbladen but glassy, atmospheric and melodic strains of krautrock and kosmische have long inspired club music producers (ambient house being an obvious descendant), but there have been few self-consciously ‘retro’ allusions. In 2013, Gerd Janson released Musik For Autobahns, a compilation of new productions that drew on these genres, and organised it around the theme of driving. This second iteration follows a similar template, and Janson has enlisted massive support Bicep, Joy Orbison, Lauer, and so on. It’s all pretty solid, but a couple of tracks stand out. AKSK’s Breaking, for example, retains just enough machine funk to balance the woozy Grimes-style vocals, and Disco Nihilist’s Melancholy, while not being very ‘melancholic’ in the ‘gloomy’ sense, is soothing and introspective. Fort Romeau’s Seleno is the sort of thing that should have soundtracked the Tron remake, and Joy’s A213 is by the far best mimesis of a South London road you’ll hear in 2015. But it occasionally slides into silly pastiche. Conga North’s162 North combines schmaltz and plod in a way few will appreciate, and Shan’s Awakening sounds like Basic Channel Does Xmas, dub synths in unholy matrimony with twinkly Ableton presets. Mass culture is often depressingly derivative these days, and sometimes this compilation echoes those broader tendencies. For the most part, however, it doesn’t, and these producers seem to understand that past music should inspire and provoke rather than provide a blueprint for whatever comes next.
La Luz are back from the dead and better than ever. Well, not literally back from the dead, but after surviving a near-fatal car crash in Boise that wrecked their car and their gear, the Seattle surf-rock outfit have unsurprisingly been left shaken and self-admittedly “obsessed with death”. You can hear it on Weirdo Shrine from the start: a sense of inevitability husks and shimmers across seedy dancefloors, appearing in smoke, mirrors and evil incantations against double-crossed lovers, only stopping to dazzle with breaks soundtracked by Ty Segallproduced fuzz. The album works two ways: when you’re listening closely, and when you’re not. Traditionally surfrock doesn’t try too hard to make you think, but with La Luz, you can’t help it – doo-wop harmonies and recognisable riffs entice you closer, and the whisper-in-your-ear vocals make you stay. The lyrics flip from naïve (“I’ll be true to you / Just as long as you want me to”) to something closer to what you’d expect from a 2015 band (“Nobody can tell me / I can’t do as I please”), fortifying the narrator as something between someone made of flesh and blood and what is simply a ghostly apparatus. You might not have thought surf-rock is as versatile as La Luz make it appear. In Weirdo Shrine, they bend between sultry and lovelorn to defiant and angry, but they lose none of the charm of the genre in doing so. The band have said that after their crash they’ve gained a “new perspective” on what it is to live a life – and, it seems, what surf-rock can really be.
There’s this cursive revolution of responsibility meditating in the bass heavy stems of Volume 1. These three producers – Kahn, Commodo & Gantz – each regarded as doyens in their own sonic field, take it upon themselves to circulate in unanimity. They become a singular instrument. A constantly whirling incubus of aural taunting. Almost intangible; taking their individual statuses and fusing them together. Kahn, the Bandulu Records founder. Commodo, the JME beatmaker. Gantz, the Turkish tribalist. Separately, they overshadow their contemporaries. Together, they overshadow themselves. Mala’s Deep Medi Musik label has been the home of prototypical bar setters for up to a decade with Kahn, Commodo and Gantz as frequent contributors to the directory. Now collaboratively, the trio remove the presets and unshackle themselves of trademark dubstep routines. Volume 1 instead camouflages the audience from the producers’ respective identities. As Deep Medi attest, “with shared production credits on all but one of the album tracks, it's impressively difficult to identify either one with 100% confidence.” This is 100% accurate. AMK seesaws from lo-fi brass and strings to low-swung flutes sprouting scales over crunchy snare rattles. Kibosh’s arabesque sampling belies bottomless sub fuzz. Bitchcraft cuts’n’pastes grimey violin stabs with distant vocal cries under woofer choking percussion. In these six fleeting tracks, Kahn, Commodo and Gantz somehow find the space to allow one another to traverse ideas. They become this triad of change, mutating from one form to another. Unbelievably, it isn’t messy. It isn’t a chasm of clutter. Rather Volume 1 is a 1000 piece puzzle completed in a mere 23 minutes.
! Robert Bates
! Sammy Jones
! Tom Watson
L A LUZ Weirdo Shrine Hardly Art
DR . DRE Compton: a Soundtrack by Dr. Dre Aftermath / Interscope
DARKSTAR Foam Island Warp Records Darkstar have never really fitted in, and there’s no doubt that they’d take that as a compliment. Stylistically, their musical output has waxed and waned – from the digital, dub-led beats of their first singles, through the ice-cool synths and gloomy pop-noir on debut album North, to the pastoral, ephemeral washed-out beauty of follow-up News From Nowhere. Probably the one constant has been a low hum of uneasiness – an unsettled aesthetic that seeps through the pores of whatever they are doing. Foam Island sketches a cleareyed and unflinching portrait of a nation numbed against the casual dismantling of the social contract that has kept Britain gaffertaped together for half a century. Returning repeatedly to a series of snippets from interviews with young people in North Yorkshire, captured by the band, Foam Island is part social commentary, part musical eulogy to a country and culture hung out to dry. Strange, then, that it contains some of their most upbeat work. Stoke The Fire nurtures a mutedCalypso beat. Go Natural feels playful and whimsical, accelerating towards a gentle cacophony of bells and steel drums. Elsewhere on the album there are soft, fuzzy, Kompakt-esque melodies, post-rock leanings, and even the odd track that invokes the earliest Darkstar material. The spoken word interviews provide the narrative, often with savage effect. A council worker, skipping jovially through an announcement about the scale of the cuts they face, sounds like she is grinning with a gun held to her head. Foam Island is not the zeitgeistdefining masterpiece that something as ambitious and politically engaged as this could have been. There are moments when it seems to lose focus; minutes that pass without note. But Darkstar sound comfortable with themselves, and their uneasy equilibrium. You won’t hear another album like it this year, and that alone is a reason to grimly raise a glass and be thankful for a band with a disdain for smiling sweetly, and who remain on the outside looking in.
Deafheaven have long owed as much to glacial post-rock and the magisterial screamo of Funeral Diner as they have Mutillation and Hate Forest. But the inspired creative tangents of New Bermuda, their third full length and first for Anti-, threatens to throw the few KVLT / troo black metal vanguard with any post-Liturgy energy left into further throes of apoplexy. Whatever the naysayers claim, New Bermuda is a solidly extreme metal record, down in no small part to Dan Tracey's increasingly ridiculous drumming and George Clarke’s more prominent, theatrical vocals. But it's the sonic curveballs that are of particular interest. The much-discussed nods to Sixpence None The Richer in record opener Brought To The Water are especially conspicuous given that the familiar arpeggiated chords come straight off the back off an intro that channels both 80s thrash and classic Darkthrone. From the laconic slide guitar of Come Back to the washed-out Oasis-isms of Gifts for the Earth, Britpop is an influence previously cited, though it still comes as a surprise that it's been followed through on, and with any success. The rest of New Bermuda continues to hone Deafheaven's existing strain of undulating, climactic black metal to fine effect. It doesn't top 2013’s Sunbather (duh) and lacks the sonic consistency of 2012's Roads to Judah, but New Bermuda is a singular, expansive record that seriously threatens to blow the genre into the (relative) mainstream. A cliché of a sign off perhaps, but where Deafheaven will go from here is, genuinely, anyone's guess.
Dream Lover, the lead single from Destroyer’s Poison Season, owes a massive debt to Bowie’s classic album Young Americans. Wailing saxophones underlay wailing vocals which underlay wailing guitars. It’s a very soulful and brilliantly written track, one fitting of an evolutionary Dan Bejar – a Dan Bejar who has been eclipsing his role in The New Pornographers with this project. Poison Season is as big a statement as any Bejar has made in the past. Its orchestral instrumentation, twisted pop and crooned vocals echo John Lennon’s more out-there moments. This Beatles influence rings through very loudly in the strings of Hell and the soft piano of The River, while loungey saxophones and muted trumpets permeate every other corner of the record. The brass lends an air of noirish, smoky jazz to tracks like Bangkok, which build on Destroyer’s primary elements of solid indie rock and intelligent lyricism. It’s all testament to Bejar’s undeniable craftsmanship. Poison Season is a clever record, it’s big and bold but at the same time it has some offensively grandiose moments. So much so that the record’s extravagance ends up feeling bittersweet. At times you could be forgiven for thinking you’re listening to a Disney soundtrack or the cast recording of a Broadway show. Just take a listen to Girl In A Sling and see if you don’t picture a lost cartoon dog singing to the moon as he wanders his way back to the family home.
! Adam Corner
! Tom Howells
! Billy Black
MASAYOSHI FUJITA Apologues Erased Tapes DE AFHE AVEN New Bermuda AntiDESTROYER Poison Season Merge Records
BE ACH HOUSE Depression Cherry Sub Pop
On-U Sound is a massively important label for British music. In the early 80s, label boss and producer Adrian Sherwood positioned On-U as the conduit between the sonic experiments of Jamaican dub and the nascent post-punk / experimental scene. The political context couldn’t have been less hospitable. Thatcher, realising culture could provide fertile grounds for dissent, slashed public funding for the arts. Instead, celeb-worship was encouraged in an attempt to warp ‘culture’ to fit their marketised worldview, one where worthiness was determined solely by economic utility. This release, compiled by the ever-esoteric Trevor Jackson, demonstrates the sheer breadth and ambition of an avowedly avant-garde label, one that eschewed the flattening blandness (but lucrative success) of contemporary pop. While most of the artists picked are unfamiliar, there are a couple of early works from big names. Neneh Cherry lends her vocals in expressive, up-down 80s rap manner to electro work out Dead Come Alive, and Shara Nelson (who later sung on Massive Attack’s Unfinished Symphony) & The Circuit’s Aiming At Your Heart is worth the price alone. Elsewhere, a track ID query for Theo Parrish fans is solved in African Head Charge’s Stebeni’s Theme, and there’s a surprisingly italo version of Atmosfear’s When Tonight Is Over. Most of these tracks were avant-garde when they were made, and remain so now. This is exciting, oppositional music demanding of respect - and for the most part, worthy of it.
From the legendary triad of Glass, Reich and Riley to the electronic and immaculately intricate sounds of Boards of Canada and Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works I and II, minimalism has slowly been creeping down the mainstream trajectory and into the ears of the music loving masses for some time now, though the style hasn’t felt this prevalent for years. Released by Erased Tapes (Nils Frahm, Winged Victory For the Sullen etc.), Apologues sees Berlin-based Fujita and his well-loved vibraphone incorporate an array of brass, strings and percussion into a finely layered score. The album consists of eight self-contained tracks and although generally pleasant listening, fail to go further than second gear, as Fujita’s pulsating rhythms and repetitive harmonies tiptoe coyly from variation to variation. You need only to listen to the hollowed-out harmonic tone of the strings and rippling resonance of the vibraphone to see why Fujita intended Apologues to be a sonic representation of nature. There is a purity to the album which makes it altogether satisfying; however, what Fujita lacks is the tugging emotion crafted by the aforementioned ambient stalwarts. If the former are to be considered the pinnacle of ambience, then Apologues errs on the side of simplicity. Nevertheless, there are some tracks – notably Flag and Puppet’s Strange Dream Circus Band – that do pull on our emotional threads. Quaint string motifs flow smoothly into a neo-romantic wave of yearning, and shyly recoil back into a state of introspection, but although these scratch the emotional surface, the album remains but a pretty sheen on what is otherwise a fleshless beast.
Sometimes it’s hard to believe Victoria LeGrand and Alex Scally aren’t a couple. Certainly judging by nearly a decade’s worth of music as Beach House, the pair seem to exist in a state of permanent somnambulant lockstep, roaming across the horizons of one another’s dreams by way of swirling vintage organ melodies and breathy, lovelorn harmonies. On Depression Cherry, Legrand and Scally have narrowed their field of vision slightly but increased their sense of focus. Where Bloom was a widescreen, lush suite of songs, each effectively acting as a movement within a greater whole, Depression Cherry sees the two opt for sophisticated electronic minimalism and individual song craft. It’s a record that feels at once colder but more intimate, the sterile rigidity of the rhythm underpinning a song like Beyond Love actually serving to isolate and so magnify the impact of couplets such as: “Vision spun into dreams / of a world left without it.” All of which isn’t to say the music’s not characteristically gorgeous. Six-minute bookends Levitation and Days of Candy are both wondrous slow-burners, with LeGrand and Scally parlaying their predilection for droning layers of keys into the production of a pair of outright miniature epics. Meanwhile PPP lasts another half-dozen minutes and sounds closest to a Bloom cut, replete with a properly bombastic coda. Of course there’s ultimately a pervasive sense of melancholia to all of this that tempers any elation but then, nobody would have it any other way. Yet again, Beach House make sadness sound endlessly alluring.
! Robert Bates
! Gunseli Yalcinkaya
! James F. Thompson
VARIOUS ARTISTS Trevor Jackson's Science Fiction Dancehall Classics On U-Sound
17 05 NILS FR AHM Late Night Tales Night Time Stories
Edition 1 is the first of four collaborative albums between Kevin Martin’s King Midas Sound and luminaries from the murkier depths of electronic music, the opening gambit from Fennesz that cultivates a haunting attraction. Opening track Mysteries could initially mistaken for a morphine-laced Death in Vegas track. But instead of erupting into chuggy disco, it swirls around solemnly, before dissipating into something altogether more sinister – the following eight tracks on this beautiful, epic but unsettling album. Edition 1 is a sprawling, dystopian distillation of King Midas Sound’s sub-aquatic sonics and Fennesz’ swirling soundscapes, as vocalists Roger Robinson and Kiki Hitomi sprinkle forlorn melodies on to phantom rhythm and bass from the dark side of dub. The 13 hypnotic minutes of Above Water are transcendent; a cracked and broken anthem for a stroll through the afterlife, while We Walk Together is actually terrifying, the nightmarish cascade of a chorus coming courtesy of Hitomi’s otherworldly vocal melody. Relatively speaking, tracks like Lighthouse offer a kind of light relief – discordant but soothing waves that lap against a shore not a million miles away from Dean Blunt’s gentler creations. But for the most part, this engulfing and enigmatic album is a masterclass in delicate desolation, and a beautiful merging of two restless electronic innovators.
Darwin Deez is your mentally unhinged boyfriend. “You wanna play games? Kill your attitude, girl,” he chatters, one eye twitching. “I’m concerned about your health - the way you prostitute yourself,” “Get the fuck out of my face. No, I don’t care to meet your parakeet,” he babbles. These are real-life lyrics from the strange and laughable third full-length effort from Darwin Deez. Amongst the cacophony of all too straightforward metaphors that last entire songs (Last Cigarette, for example, uses hilariously blatant, tooth-achingly sweet lyrics to clumsily compare an ex with a nicotine addiction) he outs himself as an overgrown child, lashing out at anything he doesn’t understand, fascinated yet enraged by women with sexual agency, and yet unable to string a song together without inserting nonsensical rhyming couplets that are unintentionally hilarious when they’re not utterly baffling. The ringleted Brooklynite has built such a solid armour of cutesie-pie ad-friendliness around himself that it’s no wonder we haven’t seen it before. Just because his mindless trilling pairs nicely with a contrived quirky image and Pabst Blue Ribbon doesn’t mean he can’t be a killer.
Somewhere between moody jazz edits and the hollow pling of a piano key is the comforting crackle of a spinning record. It is the sound of Nils Frahms’ addition to the Late Night Tales series, a collection of records, mixed, edited, over-dubbed and remastered to give a soundbite into the Berlinbased composer’s mind. The matted feel that unites the whole album is perhaps best encapsulated by the nostalgic echoing of Gene Autry’s You’re the Only Star (in My Blue Heaven), whose twanging strings take you back to the seediness of a midwestern diner circa 1947. This is seamlessly transitioned into the sluggishly warped sounds of Boards of Canada’s In a Beautiful Place Out in the Country, which Frahm slows down to a lethargic 33rpm. From the creaky fairground feel of Victor Silvester’s It’s the Talk of the Town to the wholesome remaster of Nina Simone’s Who Knows Where the Time Goes, there is a fantastical detachment to the collection that is reminiscent of the spaced out mirage of an insomniac. And although a few personal touches creep through the filter – a nine second clip of his girlfriend’s cat Cleo and Frahm’s Them, taken from his recently released film score – it remains altogether tantalisingly out of reach. With its fine balance of classical, contemporary and electronic frills, the listener is pushed to the stark and sobering finale, In the Morning, a spoken word piece recited by Cillian Murphy. “To sleep through life, to forget so easily the wonder and effort of how your life is pulled around you,” speaks on both a practical and figurative level. There is a weightiness to Frahm’s tales that, instead of dream weaving sweet nothings into our ears, has a whiskey-swirling heaviness that leaves the listeners contemplating and reevaluating those sleepless, late nights.
! Adam Corner
! Sammy Jones
! Gunseli Yalcinkaya
KING MIDAS SOUND + FENNESZ Edition 1 Ninja Tune
DARWIN DEEZ Double Down Lucky Number
LIT TLE SIMZ A Curious Tale of Trials and Persons AGE 101 Music
Back in March, Cosey Fanni Tutti, one third of Carter Tutti Void, expressed in an interview with Wire that she “finds solace in doing really normal things”. Her husband, Chris Carter (the Carter of Carter Tutti Void…) nods his head, adding “the normality and mundanity of normal life works as a kind of safety net for us.” This more than anything reveals the fragility of these two artists whom have spent over four decades debasing the immaculate design of sound, tearing down the industrial infrastructure with their reckless pluck. Throbbing Gristle, a collective so hellbent on digression you’d think they’d practically invented the concept of noise, disbanded in 1981. Since then, amidst temporary reformations, Cosey and Chris went on to perform as Chris & Cosey. Four Rough Trade records and a spew of collaborative releases later, the duo took a break from touring to concentrate on studio work. At the turn of the 21st century, they celebrated a reinstatement to the stage, performing under the name Carter Tutti. In 2011, the pair collaborated with Factory Floor’s Nik Colk Void at Mute label’s Short Circuit Festival. A live recording was released entitled Transverse under the name Carter Tutti Void. Thus completing the crass and abbreviated prologue to this, f(x), the trio’s first proper studio album; something that feels like an endless inhale, like the sound your lungs would make as you slowly hyperventilate. Back on Throbbing Gristle’s own Industrial Records imprint, Carter Tutti Void structure six long moments of caustic discovery through muted percussion and heavily processed vocals. It surmounts to something akin to if the Replacements were slowed down by 4000% and accompanied by a reevaluation of a Tangerine Dream film soundtrack. Specific track names are obsolete, opting for that familiar mysticism synonymous with Chris and Cosey’s artistic output over the years. There is no order, no formation, no regimen. Instead, Carter Tutti Void ask for your brain to leave its shell and yield to the jump scares of electronic nihilism. And there is a curious therapy to this sort of misrule. Around the 30-minute mark, you seem to forget your surroundings. The group’s use of heightened reverberations and industrial rhythmic patterns almost becomes a husk of lead that rattles your perception of certainty; an audacious claim, which out of the safe hands of Carter Tutti Void would be just a sprawl of inept ataxia. They wield the abrasion of Factory Floor, filtering it through a masonry of metallic guitar work. They dismantle roles familiar to previous Chris and Cosey records, reforming one another to align with the inclusion of Void. As a three-piece, their contributions are mammoth yet the sounds are overtly minimal. With Transverse, the group were almost restricted by their desire to entertain a live audience. With f(x), they are able to play upon their restrictions, shattering constraints, changing the studio space in to a core of dissonance and (dis)harmony.
Little Simz is no wallflower. A 21-year-old rapper from North London, she’s caught the ear of Andre 3000 and Kendrick Lamar, and she releases music via her own label Age 101 – a testament to the sense self-determination that defines this album. A Curious Tale of Trials and Persons swells with attitude. At times her rhymes crawl while at others they sprint, and the production ranges from smooth RnB to rock. Transcending genres, she tells the story of her journey, as a woman, to success in the music industry. It is no secret that hiphop and grime are male-dominated genres. Yes, there are quite literally “Too Many Man.” Yet Simz has managed to elbow her way onto our airwaves. The album’s opening track, Persons, alludes to the sexualisation of female artists and addresses how women are discouraged by society. Simz retorts that “women can be kings” and her emphasis on the neutral word "person” states that gender should not matter. This track is a middle finger up to patriarchy, and a glimmer of hope for women in the industry. On God Bless Mary, the line "started from my bedroom many years ago” evokes Drake’s infamous litany and she raps over a grimier production on Dead Body - which is a sinisterly playful song about compromising her humanity in the pursuit of greatness. As the album draws to a close, the mighty Little Simz’ cracks begin to show: she is fragile and melancholy. This Is Not An Outro is purely instrumental, and serves as a pause for breath, allowing her message to linger before easing into Fallen. This final track responds to the rest of the album and, with its Chance the Rapperlike rhymes, Little Simz comes to a sobering realisation that it’s over – and reluctantly, so do we.
! Tom Watson
! Ellie Harrison
CARTER TUT TI VOID f(x) Industrial Records
Film While the dying embers of blockbuster season clogs up the multiplexes, we’ve been keeping things classy. As part of David Byrne’s Meltdown festival, we experienced Jonny Greenwood’s score to Paul Thomas Anderson’s classic There Will Be Blood at the Royal Festival Hall. Winning. We’ve also deconstructed, for your pleasure, the intriguing but ultimately lacklustre documentary The Wolfpack as well as Salt of the Earth – which is an opportunity to experience the photos of Juliano Ribiero Salgado through Wim Wender’s vision. Mistress America is yet another solid effort from Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach and we were also charmed by the refreshingly honest nature of Diary of a Teenage Girl. Don’t worry, there’ll be big explosions covered in next month’s reviews.
SALT OF THE E ARTH dir. Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, Wim Wenders
Salt of the Earth is an ode to the remarkable life of Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado. Directed by legendary documentary maker Wim Wenders and co-directed by Salgado’s son Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, the film skips between past and present, looking in detail at every one of Salgado’s projects. From the Boschian chaos of the Brazilian goldmines to the blazing oil wells of Kuwait, Salgado takes the role of a passive god, observing and shedding light on many of the world’s major events in the past 40 years. The photographs alone evoke a yanking awe that can only be replicated by a man with a deep empathy for the human condition. Salgado is by nature a storyteller, and this is made more apparent by Wenders’ use of a one-way mirror to project photographs into a soundproof room, leaving Salgado to recount for himself his photographs. Not only does this trigger an authentic response, but also takes you back to the very moment behind that monochrome screen. The result is magnificent. Between the passionate narration and tactile visuals, one thing in Salt of the Earth is made clear – Salgado doesn’t merely take life but runs with it. ! Gunseli Yalcinkaya
DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL dir. Marielle Heller Starring: Kristen Wiig, Alexander Skarsgård, Bel Powley An indie film decorated with animated cartoons might suggest a slightly outdated aesthetic – a throwback to the ukulele soundtracks and wooly-jumper-wearing, bottom-lip-biting protagonists of mumblecore hits such as 2007’s Eagle Vs Shark and Juno. But there’s nothing twee about Marielle Heller’s morally complex coming-of-age story: this a film which feels distinctly 2015 despite its 70s wallpaper. Based on Phoebe Gloeckner’s graphic novel, the film charts the treacherous path to sexual liberation of Millie Goetze – a teenage Lolita for whom the validation of others is as essential as it is out-ofreach. Guided by her powerful libido and a deficit in self-esteem, she successfully manages to seduce her mother’s partner Monroe – a boy in a man-suit for whom a 15 year old is a suitable partner in all but a legal or moral sense. Learning as she goes, she soon outgrows him and his quaalude-guzzling peers, developing into an emotionally intelligent woman and an ever-more compelling lead character. Part of the pioneering Women Make Movies initiative, the film has sex-positive feminist answers to questions concerning the objectification of women and sexual equality, and manages to deliver them without ever feeling preachy. Due to expert performances from Wiig, Skarsgård and newbie Bel Powler, it’s a richly entertaining watch doused in the bizarre power-dynamics of a dysfunctional but instantly recognisable collection of human beings. While some commentators have mourned the absence of “this year’s Boyhood”, we’d suggest it might be worth looking at Heller’s take on girlhood if you’re looking for 2015’s best indie effort. ! Francis Blagburn
MISTRESS AMERICA dir: Noam Baumbach Starring: Greta Gerwig, Lola Kirke, Michael Chernus A Noam Baumbach picture is typically relatable – if you’re comfortably middle class, that is. With a highly respectable body of work behind him, his latest offering (and second co-written with partner and star Greta Gerwig), seeks to make sense of a few more of our first world problems. Mistress America tells the story of soon-to-be stepsisters Brooke (Gerwig) and narrator Tracy (Kirke), a creative writing sophomore who’s recently moved to New York. When she meets Brooke – an ‘ageing’ socialite and transient renter – Tracy finds writing inspiration through her, making Brooke her an unaware muse and portraying her into the tragic romantic, addicted to the city that keeps chewing her up. The cast, Gerwig especially, play-out with oodles of improvised fun, all which is accompanied by a perfect synthy score. It’s an honest depiction of creative process, and a comforting story about about what happens when immature adults don’t get their shit together. And thankfully, it has a happy ending. ! Tim Oxley Smith
THERE WILL BE BLOOD - LIVE Scored by Johnny Greenwood The one thing this review doesn’t need to do is throw any further superlatives at There Will Be Blood. By now, we surely all know that Paul Thomas Anderson’s sparse and brutal melodrama is a contender for the best film of the past ten years — if not a wider bracket — and that every single component, from the towering performances to the bizarre, burning screenplay, are note perfect. So let’s talk about the music. As part of the David Byrne curated Meltdown festival, There Will Be Blood enjoyed a return to cinematic screening at the Southbank Centre, this time with the might of the London Contemporary Orchestra beneath it. Also present was the score’s composer, Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood. From the harrowing, string ascents that accompany the barren opening shots, to the imploding, cartwheeling percussion that chases Daniel Plainview’s frantic rush to protect his son after an explosion, watching with the live score was not unlike experiencing it in 3D. An already taut, tense film was able to fill the room with new-found ferocity. As an experience, it is possibly too intense as a first time watch of the movie itself, yet for those already enthralled by it — the violence of it all became more vivid than ever. ! Angus Harrison
THE WOLFPACK dir: Crystal Moselle
The Wolfpack are six brothers who are entrapped in a Manhattan high-rise by their overbearing father, and their perception of the outside world is shaped the films they watch obsessivey. They exist between extremes of escapism through weirdly convincing in-house productions of their favourite movies, and the brutal reality of their father’s control. The documentary encourages us to admire the brothers’ dedication to their art, as they proudly show-off their bat-suit made out of cereal boxes and their cardboard armoury of props. With the gauntlet set, director Crystal Moselle senses the potential of the situation, and the much stronger first half lets the story tell itself. Eventually, it falls guilty of relying on the subject matter too much. The structure is sloppy and Moselle’s subjectivity and affection for the brothers prevents any meaningful course the film could have taken. Primarily, The Wolfpack lacks any transformative journey from the characters or the filmmaker herself. It’s a fascinating and unique story of course, but as the film ends, it feels as though the right questions haven’t been asked. ! Tim Oxley Smith
INVADA Records Forthcoming Releases
• 4 brand new tracks written, arranged, produced by Geoff Barrow / Billy Fuller / Matt Williams • Limited edition (400 copies) ‘River Avon Blue’ coloured vinyl 12” EP • Standard black vinyl (1600 copies)
• The sequel to the popular Record Store Day ‘EP I’ • Limited edition Red & White splatter vinyl (200 copies exclusive to Invada store) • Standard version Solid Red vinyl (800 copies)
ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK BY JAMES NEWTON HOWARD • Released with two different artwork sleeves • Coloured vinyl • More details to follow
Far Cry 4
The KVB Mirror Being
ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK BY BEN SALISBURY AND GEOFF BARROW
ORIGINAL GAME MUSIC BY CLIFF MARTINEZ
10 TRACK INSTRUMENTAL ALBUM FROM BERLIN BASED DUO
• Double LP/CD includes bonus material unavailable on digital version • White vinyl Double LP (1500 copies) • Includes Download Card
• BAFTA Award Winning Soundtrack from the composer of ‘Drive’ / ‘Spring Breakers’ / ‘Solaris’ • Triple LP includes unreleased bonus material • Solid Green/Blue/Orange Vinyl • Includes Download Card
• ‘Blue Moon & Frosted Clear’ pressing sold out • Now available on White Vinyl • Includes Download card
Distributed by Invada
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
180g double gatefold LP (tip-on jacket) LP 1 is white/LP 2 is red Feat 12x12 insert & download card
Releasing Vinyl LPs, Collectable Editions, CD & Digital since 2003 www.invada.co.uk
WOES SPORTSCAP October’s Very Own $45 octobersveryown.com We’ve never tried running through the 6 with one of these incredibly enigmatic snapbacks strapped to our bonce but we’re willing to bet it’s a life experience that simply cannot be bettered. If you’re not going to do it right, don’t do it all.
CHUCK TAYLOR ALL STAR ‘70 Comme Des Garçons £95 doverstreetmarket.com In July, Converse announced that they’d redesigned their iconic chucks for the first time in 98 years (why they didn’t wait until 100 is beyond us). They’ve also launched a new collaboration with Comme Des Garçons, which includes these low All Stars, embellished with the brand’s unmistakable heart logo.
THE DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILISATION Decline Movies $60 declinemovies.com
Penelope Spheeris’ three-part documentary The Decline of Western Civilisation documents the LA music scene across three generations. Part one features Black Flag, Fear, Germs and documents the hardcore punk scene, part two focuses on the mesmerisingly idiotic antics of LA’s hair metal bands before part three takes a sobering look at the gutter punks that populate the city. It’s getting released on DVD for the first time ever this August. Go grab it now. GIRL COLLAGE BOXY TOP Opening Ceremony £290 openingceremony.us
ISSUE THREE Polyester Zine £5 polyesterzine.com
Opening Ceremony have collaborated with famously innovative director and photographer Spike Jonze on a tee that melds never-seen-before candid shots of celebrated women into something very stylish. Who wouldn’t want to invoke some Kim Gordon, Björk, Kathleen Hanna or Karen O to into the room? Don this and be infused with the power of legends.
We wouldn’t be bigging up a publication other than ourselves unless we thought it was totally worthy, and Polyester is just that. Made by girls for girls, and full of filthy frilled fun, its tongue-in-cheek tagline (“have faith in your own bad taste” – implied winky emoji) suits it down to the ground. Grab the third edition now.
ELEMENT 003 Print Isn’t Dead™ £19.99 element003.com We’ve never owned one of these beauties ourselves, but we strongly agree with its sentiment. Plus, the aptly named Print Isn’t Dead™ magazine is granting readers the opportunity to design one of their own high quality covers. Designs can be up to 250 characters and can convey any number of messages, no matter how creative, crude or personal. The magazine also features a number of flashy collaborators, including Hort head honcho and Crack favourite Eike Konig.
DRINK TEA GET RAD SHIRT Lovenskate £59.99 lovenskate.com It’s a simple message, delivered with class. Chug down some hot beige liquid, don one of these and glide into the sunset. Alriiiiight.
The Waiting Room Thursday 3 September
GRACE LIGHTMAN Saturday 5 September
Wednesday 23 September
WYLES AND SIMPSON Thursday 24 September
Friday 25 September
FLY HIGH SOCIETY Monday 7 September
MARIO LOTTARI Friday 11 September
DIGITAL TSUNAMI Saturday 12 September
Deep fix with JOE SPURGEON DJ (THE HORRORS) Saturday 26 September
ALEX BANKS Saturday 19 September
BUTTER SIDE UP Monday 21 September
Monday 21 September
Wednesday 2 September
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SONNY & THE SUNSETS
THE UNDERGROUND YOUTH
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THE LOCK TAVERN Thursday 3 September
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“It’s actually a vintage gimp-suit...” Friday 18 September Sunday 6 September
“I had this tune ages ago...”
JACK GRELLE / GOLDEN SPIKE / DAVEY JAMES
Saturday 19 September
CARNIVAL DU FREAKUPTOWN HALLOWEEN PARTY Wednesday 9 September
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KAI ALCÈ GALCHER LUSTWERK WBEEZA - live JAMES PRIESTLEY GILES SMITH
Friday 11 September Saturday 26 September KASSEM MOSSE - live
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35 Chalk Farm Road London NW1 8AJ
UPSTAIRS TIL LATE FRI & SAT — ALWAYS FREE ENTRY
+ CLEAN CUT KID & ROSEAU 17.09.15 BRIXTON ELECTRIC
plus special guests
SEPTEMBER Saturday 26
MANCHESTER THE RITZ GLASGOW QUEEN MARGARET UNION
15.10.15 BUSSEY BUILDING
JP COOPER 15.10.15 KOKO
21.10.15 LD OUT SO OSLO HACKNEY
+ DRENGE & MADE VIOLENT 26.09.15 LD OUT BRIXTONSO02 ACADEMY
+TRUST FUND 21.10.15 DOME TUFNELL PARK
NORWICH THE WATERFRONT
21.10.15 OVAL SPACE
+ THE MIGHTY STEF 02.10.15 KOKO
OCTOBER Thursday 01
NEW ALBUM ‘LITTLE VICTORIES’ OUT NOW
LONDON KOKO Saturday 03
BIRMINGHAM RAINBOW WAREHOUSE
Tickets available at GOLDENVOICE.CO.UK | AXS.COM
23.09.15 SEBRIGHT ARMS
ALL WE ARE
+ THE MAGIC GANG 22.10.15 ROUNDHOUSE
+ CATHOLIC ACTION 06.10.15 BOSTON MUSIC ROOMS
YEARS & YEARS
06.10.15 THE LEXINGTON
A Goldenvoice and Friends presentation in association with 13 Artists
13.10.15 EVENTIM APOLLO 14.10.15 ROUNDHOUSE
+ THE STAVES 21.09.15 LD OUT SO ALEXANDRA PALACE 22.09.15 LD OUT SO ALEXANDRA PALACE 24.09.15 LD OUT SO ALEXANDRA PALACE 25.09.15 LD OUT SO ALEXANDRA PALACE
+ PROTOMARTYR & SPRING KING 01.11.15 SCALA
FLORENCE + THE MACHINE
2 7.1 0.1 5 LD OUT VILLAGESOUNDERGROUND 27.10.15 LD OUT SO O2 ACADEMY BRIXTON 28.10.15 LD OUT SO BRIXTON O2 ACADEMY
03.11.15 OSLO HACKNEY
09.11.15 THE LEXINGTON
VAULTS 11.11.15 KOKO
LUCY ROSE +FLYTE & C DUNCAN 18.11.15 FORUM
+ MICHAEL KIWANUKA 18.11.15 SOLD OUT BRIXTON O2 ACADEMY 19.11.15 LD OUT SO BRIXTON O2 ACADEMY
JOHN NEWMAN 23.11.15 LD OUT KOKO SO
LION BABE 24.11.15 HEAVEN
PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTING
29.11.15 BRIXTON 02 ACADEMY
+ JOHN MORELAND 22.01.16 O2 SHEPHERD’S BUSH EMPIRE
MURA MASA + GUESTS
MON 19 OCT TUE 20 OCT WED 21 OCT THU 22 OCT
BRIGHTON PATTERNS LONDON VILLAGE UNDERGROUND LEEDS HEADROW HOUSE GLASGOW SUB CLUB
GIGSANDTOURS.COM / SONGKICK.COM / STARGREEN.COM A METROPOLIS MUSIC PRESENTATION BY ARRANGEMENT WITH PRIMARY TALENT
11/10 12/10 13/10 16/10 17/10 19/10
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Seetickets.com Ticketmaster.co.uk Ticketweb.co.uk A Metropolis Music, Live Nation & One Inch Badge presentation by arrangement with Echo Location Talent
DEMOB HAPPY + BLAENAVON
Debut album ‘Love + War’ released Fri 11 September kwabsmusic.com T/kwabs C/kwabsofficial
WEDNESDAY 11 NOVEMBER
LONDON ELECTRIC BALLROOM GIGSANDTOURS.COM TICKETMASTER.CO.UK STARGREEN.COM THEDISTRICTSBAND.COM A METROPOLIS MUSIC PRESENTATION BY ARRANGEMENT WITH ATC LIVE
THU 03 DEC TUE 08 DEC WED 09 DEC THU 10 DEC FRI 11 DEC FRI 18 DEC
LONDON HEAVEN BRIGHTON GREEN DOOR STORE BRISTOL EXCHANGE LEEDS HEADROW HOUSE GLASGOW BROADCAST MANCHESTER WAREHOUSE PROJECT
gigsandtours.com ticketweb.co.uk ticketmaster.co.uk thisnao.com /thisnao A Metropolis Music presentation by arrangement with Primary Talent International and CAA
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AUG – JAN
BIRD ON THE WIRE PRESENTS
/ WEDNESDAY 21ST OCTOBER
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Tuesday 1 September
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DESTRUCTION UNIT Tuesday 29 September
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SONNY & THE SUNSETS
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GIRLFRIEND (MURKAGE DAVE)
Empire Fri 11 Sept.
Mon 14 Sept.
Wednesday 16 September
NIGHTSHIFT UNKNOWN [PIAS] Thursday 17TSeptember Saturday 5 September GIRLPOOL MORTAL NI ES SHARK DENTIST SOUL FOOLISH The Lexing ton O2 Shepherd Bush SCAL A Tues 15 Sept.
29 Sept. Friday 18Tues September
Empire Weds 23 Sept.
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CLOCKWORK JACK GRELLE / GOLDEN CRISTOBAL BORN SPIKE / DAVEY JAMES Saturday 19 September & T HE SE A RUFFIANS BOXED IN UPTOWN Wednesday 9 September
Bir thdays Fri 02 Oct. HOT GOTHIC
The 100 Club Sat 10 Oct.
The Victoria Thurs 15 Oct.
Electrowerkz Weds 21 Oct.
XOYO 15 Oct. 25Thurs September
THE VENUS LYX PAID IN FULL CHASTIT Y THE SOF T Friday 11 September Saturday 26 September BELT MOON U.S GIRLS RIDDLES / CLAW MARKS HIGH FIDELITY Corsica Studios Weds 28 Oct.
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Oval Space Weds 04 Nov.
Wednesday 16 September
TIT US ANDRONICUS
Thursday 17 September
Village Underground Thurs 05 Nov.
KOKO Weds 04 Nov.
MARICK A HACKMAN Union Chapel Fri 06 Nov.
Friday 18 September
ZOL A JESUS
MICACHU & THE SHAPES Oval Space Thurs 05 Nov.
JOSH T. PEARSON St. John at Hackney Sat 07 Nov.
ONEOHTRIX POINT NEVER
Saturday 19 September
Islington Assembly Hall Sat 07 Nov.
Bir thdays Sat 07 Nov.
Village Underground Sun 08 Nov.
Friday 25 September
ALEL A DIANE
The Victoria Tues 10 Nov.
Bush Hall Weds 11 Nov.
Oval Space Fri 13 Nov.
SCAL A Sun 22 Nov.
Moth Club Mon 30 Nov.
KOKO Mon 30 Nov.
PAID IN FULL
Saturday 26 September
DANCING UPSTAIRS TIL LATE FRI & SAT — ALWAYS FREE ENTRY
get tickets and full info at www.rockfe e dback.com
The #clickbait music news rounded up by Josh Baines IN FLANDERS FIELDS I hate The Simpsons. I hate everything about it. I hate Bart Simpsons’ voice. I hate Lisa Simpsons’ hair. I hate Moe. I hate every single fucker out there who posts Simpsons screenshots on social networking sites. I hate the fact that I understand all the allusions and references. I hate this fucking band who dress up as Ned Flanders and play metal tunes because a metal band dressed as Ned Flanders is apparently so inherently funny. I saw you share an article about it on Facebook and I fucking hate you too. LOVE AND FAITH The term ‘sex act’ has always creeped me out a bit. It’s too broad, too all encompassing. Can a handjob be compared to whatever it’s called when someone gets sucked off while shitting? Is rubbing a girl’s boob in the same league as pegging? I don’t know. I just don’t know. A couple have recently been fined £1000 for committing a sex act at a Paloma Faith gig. Now, the obvious route to go down here is to be like “hurr hurrr she is rubbish how did the man get an erection while Paloma Faith was singing?” But then I remembered I got an erection this morning because it got a bit windy while I was walking to the bus stop.
Can’t afford tickets for Dismaland mate, fucking skint. I’ve heard you’ve got bare connections in the South West, can you hook a brother up?
I certainly cannot. I remember when Banksy was all the rage. My step son got suspended from school for spraying painting a stencil image of Osama Bin Laden with a KFC bucket on the astro turf. Bloody nightmare.
Seb, 33, Camden
Denzil Schniffermann Love, life and business advice from Crack’s esteemed agony uncle
The other day at work, I noticed by boss’ hair is gradually growing into mullet, and the very next day I saw a train inspector with one too. I think they’re quite lovely. I’m considering trading my long, willowy locks for a mullet. It doesn’t look like they’re coming back in fashion any time soon, but it’s good to be ahead of the curve isn’t it?
Along with leg-warmers, post-punk and ecstasy, the mullet was one those 80s trends that I was wise enough to avoid. I think you’d better avoid this one Sally, it’s highly unlikely that the kids are going to start trying to emulating the the look of a squirrel-eating wresting fanatic.
Sally, 20, Bristol
PRESIDENTIAL PLAYLISTS There’s something a bit desperate about Obama these days. He’s trying too hard and it shows. The fucker is everywhere, clogging up verticals willy nilly. Frankly, I’m sick of it. Stick to the politics mate. Look at Jeremy Corybn: he’s not putting together really bland playlists just to ensure that music websites have to tag “POTUS” “President” “Obama” “Barack Obama” “President Obama” “Playlist” “President’s playlist” “President Obama’s playlist “Obama playlist” for SEO reasons, is he? No. PINK PAWPRINTS A few years back now, a friend of mine, very stoned at the time, sat in awed silence watching the video for Superbass by Nicki Minaj. He had never seen Nicki Minaj before and he was convinced, utterly convinced, that she wasn’t real, that she was just a really good bit of CGI in a music video. It was great. How we laughed at him. She’s real mate! Yeah, really fit! There is a now a real-not-real Nicki Minaj out there and she’s made of wax and she’s on all fours and sad keep miming shagging her and that, according to the internet, is even funnier than a Ned Flanders-themed metal band. @bain3z
Problems? email firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm spending more than half my wages on a damp one-bed with a dilapidated boiler and no working locks. The thing is, I'm also in the throes of lust: my landlord is so hunky that whenever I try to dispute all this, one look into his eyes and I melt into a mumbling stupor, He's the strong silver fox type, like Richard Gere meets Don Draper. I'm so besotted that I'm pretty sure I'd let him get away with all manner of violations to the Landlord and Tenant Act (1985). How do I handle this?
Whilst I’d never advocate violations of statute law, this is sounding remarkably like a film I once watched online after searching “trusty landlord needs female tennants” to try and fill my property with the right sort. I couldn’t sleep for weeks after. You don’t want to get yourself in the awful workalike/private life tangle those two actors got in, trust me. I’ve been in the process of divorcing my former solicitor for three years, and the plot is still thickening.
Farah, 25, Hackney
83 C .r . o . s.s.w.o.r.d Across 04. The only genuine banger in Phoebe Buffay’s largely underwhelming back catalogue (6,3) 09. Joey starred in this soap opera (4,2,3,5) 10. Joey and Chandler’s favourite TV show (back in the 90s when it was OK to be a bit sexist on TV (8) 12. Coffee shop manager hopelessly besotted with Rachel, to the extent it’s actually pretty creepy but they don’t mention that (7) 13. What Ross and Rachel may or may not have been on (1,5) 14. Every episode name starts with these three words (3,3,4) 16. Recurring annoyance Janice’s catchphrase (2,2,3) Down 01. Chandler’s dad’s all-male burlesque show is called Viva Las ______ (6) 02. A name for a moving vehicle in which you can get a massage (6,4) 03. Ross’s monkey (6) 05. ‘The Joey Special’ (3,6) 06. The unattractive nude gentleman across the alley (4,5,3) 07. Phoebe changed her name to Princess Consuela ______ (13) 08. The colour of Rachel and Monica’s apartment (6) 11. Phoebe’s identical twin sister (6) 15. Ross and Rachel’s baby (4) Solution to last month’s crossword: Theme: Nautical. ACROSS: 03. LIGHTHOUSE, 05. AQUATIC, 07. BILLY-OCEAN, 08. FRANK-OCEAN, 09. OCEANS-ELEVEN, 10. NORTH-SEA, 13. OCEAN-COLOUR-SCENE, 16. PLANKTON, 18. IN-THENAVY DOWN: 01. CROWS-NEST 02. GREAT-BARRIER-REEF, 04. TITANIC, 06. MERMAID, 11. ANCHOR, 12. SCALLOPS, 14. NARWHAL, 15. SUBMARINE, 17. JAWS
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20 Questions: Wavves
“If you search “Wavves worst interview ever?” That’s me on acid”
Nathan Williams is Wavves. Nathan Williams is king of the beach. The kid’s got more slacker points than a surfboard shaped bong. Like, this is the dude that once went skateboarding with an alien on acid while singing about skateboarding with an alien on acid. Ok so maybe that was a music video, maybe not, but in the words of Lisa Simpson, “Like, y’know whatever”. Dude, if you don’t dig Nathan Williams you’re basically denying our right to coexist with the ocean. When we called Nathan at 11am he’d just woken up. He was at home in LA, probably surrounded by a thick cloud of smoke and putting the finishing touches to Wavves’ upcoming fifth album V. As he stirred from his late morning slumber we found out about his hatred of Subway, his love of Spurs and the time he got addicted to shoplifting. What was your favourite cartoon when you were a kid? Probably Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I like Michelangelo. What’s your signature recipe? Cereal. Cinammon Toast Crunch. What’s the worst hotel you’ve ever stayed in? It was on a Wavves tour last time we were in Europe. I think somebody had died in it recently. It was bad. Who do you prefer: Gary Oldman or Gary Numan? I’m a Numan guy. Have you ever been arrested? Yes. For possession. I was in Germany on tour. German jail is not tight. If you could pick a surrogate grandparent, who would it be? Liam Neeson. Favourite board game? On the tour van, we used to gamble playing Monopoly. Is there a piece of advice you wish you’d give to yourself ten years ago? Be more patient. Everybody could exercise a little more. When is the last time you sprinted as fast as you can? I just played an Adidas celebrity soccer thing, I’ve played soccer my whole life. My team mate, who is my PR in America, was terrible so I was running the whole time.
interview ever?” That’s me on acid. What’s your worst habit? Burping. Who’s the most famous person you’ve ever met? Seth Rogen. He was really cool. He’s famous as fuck and, yeah, he is funny in real life. Would you go for a beer with Kanye West? Yeah, of course. Out of all the songs/tracks that you’ve recorded, which is your least favourite? I Wanna Meet Dave Grohl just for the question. Every interview I do it’s always “Have you met Dave Grohl?” I did not anticipate that. What’s your favourite drunken snack? Is pizza a snack? That’s a full meal huh? You could just have a slice… Ok then yeah. That’s my favourite snack. Have you ever shoplifted? Oh yeah, I used to shoplift a lot. There was a mall near my house that had all these expensive jeans that were like $150 each. I’d go in there with some baggy pants on and put three pairs on in the dressing room. I literally used to pay my rent with that. Ever get caught? I’d moved back in with my parents – I was a teenager at the time – and my mom found some of the tags from the jeans I’d stolen. She took me to the department store and said they could arrest me if they wanted to. They said no. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had? I worked in a Subway when I was sixteen. That was really bad. I was joking with a friend that if I made enough money, I’d buy that Subway and burn it down. What would you want written on your tombstone? What’s the last thing I’d say in the world? Maybe “Boo-ya”? Who’s your favourite person to follow on Instagram? This rapper Plies is probably my favourite. He does a thing called “Sweet Pwussy Saturday”. You gotta look it up. V is released 2 October via Warner Bros. Records
So do you support a team? I like Tottenham. Have you ever taken acid? There’s a really bad interview you can watch if you search “Wavves worst
Words: Billy Black
Perspective: The Staggering Beauty within the Music of Twin Peaks Jamie Stewart is a writer and musician who, among his many projects, is perhaps best known for his work with the experimental band Xiu Xiu. The band are performing the music from the Twin Peaks soundtrack on tour. Here, Stewart discusses the genius of the soundtrack and the way in which it affects viewers emotionally.
Badalamenti and David Lynch are operating on another level. They graced the regular old network TV stratosphere with confidence in us all as a listeners. They knew we were able to be moved by music that is ambiguous, dramatic, melodramatic and unbearably fraught. It is their belief in us, I think, that is so much a part of what rouses our own devotion to them.
If you know and have lived the music of Twin Peaks, I think there will be nothing new here, as it will have already scorched, fingered, brutalised and colonised your little heart into a grim, delighted and understanding servant. If not, perhaps, onward...
The opening theme (also reworked to varying degrees as Love Theme Farewell, Falling, Laura’s Palmer’s Theme and other variations) holds in it the fateful spring reverb, tremolo-laced baritone guitar riff – root / 4th / root / 2nd. How they wrapped so much longing, so much 1950s post-war trauma, so much romance, so much fear and so much mystery into such a simple refrain is the definition of genius in music.
This year, through a friendship with sound artist Lawrence English, a fortuitous turn of events and good luck, my band Xiu Xiu had been asked by Master Curator Jose DaSilva to perform the music of Twin Peaks at the GOMA Museum in Brisbane. As deep fans since our childhoods, all three of us knew how stunning the main works were. But it was not until we learned to play them and were faced with the challenge of trying to arrange them that their even deeper greatness emerged from behind the trees. But even without playing them, it is apparent right away that Angelo
All of the pieces operate in this way. We had no idea how simple they were. It stupefied us that the songs were generally just two or three repeating chords with very basic inversions. But they are placed and juxtaposed with each other in such as way as to be unlike anything else. There is almost nothing happening technically in that phrase or most of the others, but you feel it so deeply.
The lyrics are almost not there at all. They reprise lines or offer up only one non-linear central image, yet cause your heart to bloom in a sorrow and a plangent anxiety that would otherwise take 700 pages of your grandmother’s fading colonial-era teenage diary. “Falling, Falling, Falling, Falling, Are we Falling in Love?” That is it. The chords, melodies and lyrics with the slightest, gossamer gestures are magnificently effective from an emotional standpoint. In its technical simplicity, the music also does something very complex. Unlike nearly all television and most film music, it never tells you to feel one overriding emotion in overblown or blandly direct ways. It does not really tell you anything, but rather it challenges you to feel many things all at once. It allows you to be you and never coddles or insultingly guides you to a single destination. But at the same time, it remains relevant to the penetration, confusion and bizarreness of what is happening in the story. Finally the timbres they chose, the synth strings, the twanging chorus pedal guitars, analog noise generation, lounge jazz rhythm sections and quasi-classical piano WITH the unique singing voices of Julee Cruise and Jimmy Scott. MAMMA MIA!
Illustration: Ed Chambers
The creativity behind these choices is staggering. None of this should fit together but essentially, they created a genre. You could write your own records now with this sound and say you were a Twin Peaks band in the same way you could say you are a post-punk or synth-pop band. It would be a valid artistic direction and with certain ebbs in tide now and then but still, a timeless one. TV soundtracks never and movie soundtracks very, very rarely succeed beyond bolstering the plain or filling in the gaps of a beginning, middle and an end. To have written one that became in its own right as powerful, touching and terrorising as one of the most powerful, touching and terrorising series of all time is such an accomplishment. Angelo and David, thank you for changing us, thank you trusting our own imaginations and thank you for teaching us what art can be. The UK dates of the “Xiu Xiu plays the music of Twin Peaks” tour begin at The Lantern, Bristol, 3 October.
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Simple Things Festival
Skepta & JME Battles Savages
Live Lone Romare Vessels Vessel Speedy Ortiz Liturgy Jam City Lower Dens Nicole Willis The Soft Moon Oliver Wilde Chastity Belt Mild High Club Slime Long Arm Spectres Grumbling Fur Sex Swing Khruangbin Giant Swan
DJ J-Cush Barnt Galcher Lustwerk nd_baumecker Avalon Emerson Discodromo Moxie Futureboogie Studio 89 Pardon My French Gramrcy Darwin Strange Fruits Malestripper Kokoro The Quietus DJs The Blast DJs
Live Lee Scratch Perry Penguin Cafe Wire Factory Floor Dean Blunt Holly Herndon HEALTH DJ Funk Ruff Sqwad Danny L Harle DJ Ron Trent Mike Skinner Objekt Untold Hunee Eric Duncan Helena Hauff Hodge b2b Tessela Moxie
Saturday 24 October 12pm - 6am Various Venues, Bristol Tickets from £29.50 + BF simplethingsfestival.co.uk tickets.crackmagazine.net
Featuring Battles, Eagles of death metal, Dam funk, Micachu and the Shapes, Julia Holter, Object, Rough music, James Long and more