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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

“Time For Tabula Rasa” Springtime. Nature’s very own rebirth. The arrival of the year’s most yearned for season makes one wish there was something like personal metamorphosis; a process whereby the ugly and irritating layers of life lived so far could be simply shed after a cosy cocooning period, allowing one to start anew with fresh perspective, no excess baggage. Alas, reinvention and transformation as a human is not so straightforward, making it instead an eternal source of fascination and inspiration. Already, in Metamorphoses (8 AD) Roman poet Ovid describes creation and history of the world in a series of narrative poems where characters get mixed up in love and are transformed into anything from a spider or a tree or a cool pool of water. Fast-forward a couple of millennia and there’s the brilliant Claude Cahun of the Surrealist movement subverting gender constructs in her polymorphic portraits (page 24). Just how open the subject of metamorphosis is to interpretation is best seen in the Visual Take On Metamorphosis featuring the artwork and photography of some of our favourite designers, illustrators and photographers. Does the idea of being preserved upon death in the hope of being resurrected by technologically advanced future generations send a chill up your spine? It does most people I guess. But in When The Sleeper Wakes writer Michael McCanne takes a shrewd look at the reality of cryonics and talks to the people for whom the chance of a second life in a completely unknown future is an irresistible opportunity. This compelling and sensitive account goes beyond the eccentricity of this ultimate ‘new beginning’. Then we have the story of Black American soul music that didn’t quite make the grade of Motown success, but instead spawned a most vibrant sub culture across the Atlantic in Northern England. EB’s music editor Gareth Owen – a guy who knows his mods from his teddy boys – traces the evolution of the Northern Soul scene setting a few facts straight on exactly who, what, when and where. And from the fickle field of fashion, style bandit Jan Joswig brings us a cautionary tale of fashion transformations in The Road To Ruggedman.

Other must-reads include the English art duo Gilbert & George, themselves a living artwork, trading anecdotes on art and society with journalist Johannes Bonke. And, on the eve of their great European and North American tour, Paul Sullivan speaks to Hot Chip, creators of “euphoric synth pop” and – as you might recall – a driving force in the reinvention of the concept of ‘nerd’. But back to the topic of reinvention or personal metamorphosis: as humans, not concepts or caterpillars, I guess we have to settle for gradual transformations and developments. Which leaves us with what exactly? Well, a serious spring clean might help. David Lynch is all about transcendental meditation. Detoxes are still all the rage. And though change may be as good as a holiday, it’s got nothing on the real thing! See you in June – Viktoria


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CONTRIBUTORS

People PUBLISHER PRODUCER EDITOR-IN-CHIEF ART DIRECTOR FASHION & STYLE EDITOR GRAPHIC DESIGN & ILLUSTRATION MUSIC EDITOR PROGRAM MANAGER PROJECT DIRECTOR ONLINE PRESS EDITORIAL INTERN CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

ARTWORK / PHOTOGRAPHY

WEBSITE

Toni Kappesz Commandante Berlin Gmbh, Schröderstr. 11, 10115 Berlin, Germany Viktoria Pelles (viktoria@electronicbeats.net) Lisa Borges (lisa@electronicbeats.net) Sandra Liermann (sandra@electronicbeats.net) Dörte Lange (doerte@electronicbeats.net) Gareth Owen (gareth@electronicbeats.net) Claudia Jonas (claudia@electronicbeats.net) Carlos de Brito (carlos@electronicbeats.net) Tim Brandt (press@electronicbeats.net) Paul Schlosser (paul@electronicbeats.net) Emer Grant, Jan Joswig, Giulia Pines, Paul Sullivan, Ari Stein, Johannes Bonke, Rachel Doyle, Ali MacLean, Neale Lytollis, Michael McCanne, Hana Yanetski Hyun-ji Lee, Studiofolk, Lars Borges, Sharmila Sandrasegar, Rachel de Joode, Rebecca Miller, Kasper Hemme, Ali MacLean, Alex McLeod, Baysan Yukesl, Violeta Leiva Martinez, Emma Löfström, Luciano Scherer, Julia Bruderer, Ditte Haarlov Johnson, Michael Mann, Nuno Henriques, Anthea Bush, Monja Gentschow, Yves Borgwardt, Falko Ohlmer, Marc Schuhmann & Carsten Lang, Alex de Brabant, Bevis Martin & Charlie Youle, Jason Evan, Jurek Durczak, Guy Aroch www.electronicbeats.net

HYUN-JI

MARC

ALI

MICHAEL

LEE

SCHUHMANN

MACLEAN

MCCANNE

Hyunji Lee was born in Seoul, studied

Inspired by the flair of fashion shows,

Ali MacLean is a writer and a TV and radio

Michael McCanne currently lives and

illustration, photography and graphic de-

fashion photographer Marc Schumann aims

host in Los Angeles. She has been on-air

writes in London. Before that he lived in

sign at Ensad de Paris. She loves visiting

to record the special moments to create a

talent, written, and produced for MTV, VH-

Brooklyn and once owned a large wooden

museums to discover archeological objects,

photodiary of snapshots that give a personal

1, ABC, Fox, Indie 103.1FM radio, Little

boat but what that counts for has yet to

the forest and the Scandinavian countries.

view of the spectacle on and around the run-

Radio, Vlaze TV and Sirius Radio. Ali was

be revealed. On the other hand Michael

Her artworks represent the world which

way. For Electronic Beats Marc collaborated

a recurring player on HBO's Mr. Show and

recently discovered a natural talent for

stands between reality and imagination

with Carsten Lang producing a picture

wrote for several TV comedies, including

the game Wolves and collects typewriters

throughout her collage, photography and

story that has been shot analogue and solely

Kathy Griffin's So Called Reality, Celebrity

(although so far only has two).

painting. She is currently working in the

with the rangefinder cameras Yashica T4/

Death Match, MTV's Buzzkill and VH1's

artist’s residency, Cité Internationale des

T5 and the Olympus XA.

Random Play. She has a popular blog called

Arts in Paris.

WWW.MARCSCHUHMANN.COM

Ali On The Air .

WWW.HYUNJILEE.OVER-BLOG.COM

WWW.THEPHOTODIARY.DE

WWW.ALIONTHEAIR.WORDPRESS.COM


INDEX

5

A New Beginning TUNE IN

FEATURES

FOCUS

06–19

20–27

28–53

COVER ARTWORK

NEWS.. ................................................... 8

COME ON IN /SAM SPIEGEL.. ............. 20

WHEN THE SLEEPER WAKES.. ............ 30

HYUN-JI LEE »VICTORY« 2009

YEASAYER.. ................................................ 10

CLAUDE CAHUN.. ................................ 24

MOVING COUNTRY............................. 34

TOM PRICE . .............................................. 12

A NEW BEGINNING............................. 38

LONELADY................................................. 14

NORTHERN SOUL............................... 50

LITTLE DRAGON.. ...................................... 16 TURBOWEEKEND...................................... 18 ELECTRONIC BEATS.. ............................... 19

FASHIONATING

INTERVIEWS

JET SETTING

HEAR THIS

54–67

68–81

82–89

90–99

THE ROAD TO RUGGEDMAN.. ............. 54

GILBERT & GEORGE.. .......................... 70

CITY GUIDE TO ATHENS..................... 82

THE COLLECTOR’S GUIDE.. ................ 92

THE BERLIN WAY................................ 56

HOT CHIP............................................ 74

MUSIC REVIEWS.. ................................ 94

OH, I JUST CAN’T WAIT....................... 66

FOUR TET............................................ 78

MY MUSIC MOMENT: NIC ENDO......... 98


H Y U N - J I L E E » L A N D S CA P E W I T H VO LCA N « 2 0 0 9


Tune In Welcome to the where the action is! Yeasayer are positively On Fire, Tom Price is practically Melting Down The House, LoneLady is spouting Warped Poetry while Maison Martin Margiela quietly defines Recession Couture. If you haven’t yet, meet Little Dragon and Turboweekend and visit the Villa Villekulla studio of Sam Spiegel. Finally, marvel at the stunning works of Claude Cahun.


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EB TUNE IN

MAISON MARTIN MARGIELA

Recessional Couture Martin Margiela is a true stand-out designer of his time. His inspirational artisan line of reconstructed clothing has been a part of the conceptual Belgian’s establishment for many years. One of Maison Martin Margiela’s most innovative designs, the Artisanal collection is characterised by unique creations, each consisting of simple, everyday items. Rare pieces made from the most prosaic yet surprisingly unusual materials feature, for example, interwoven rubber bands of various widths, shoelaces strung together into a dress, a jacket made of tinsel garlands, or hundreds of small plastic price-tag fasteners woven together into a vest that from a distance looks strikingly like fur. These everyday garments and objects are given a second – and by comparison far more glamorous – life. By respecting and maintaining the traces of the passage of time and use, they remain a keynote of the Maison’s artistic expression; each garment is reworked entirely by hand at the Parisian atelier. In times of financial hardship, the designer is truly pushing the boundaries of economically viable recession wear. WWW.MAISONMARTINMARGIEL A .COM TEXT

PA U L S C H L O S S E R


GREEN MUSIC

It’s Getting Hot In Here Unless you’ve been trapped under something heavy for the last ten years you will know that tackling climate change is the biggest challenge of the 21st century. Any solution will necessitate adjustment to every area of life, and it’s a fact that even big business is waking up to. Having learned from the devastating effects of the digital revolution, the industry is not going to be left behind as the rest of the world innovates this time, hence a couple of interesting initiatives are emerging throughout the business. Loosely labelled Green Music, the collective mission of a multi-faceted movement is to build a sustainable and environmentally friendly music and entertainment industry. Not only is the music industry energy-intensive in all the relevant areas (production, distribution, playback, performance), but it is also in a unique influential position to inspire the rest of society towards a climate friendly future. To find out more about who is doing what and what you could/should be doing yourself, check out these sites for further reading: W W W . G L O B A L O B S E R V AT O R Y. N E T W W W . G R E E N M U S I C I N I T I AT I V E . D E W W W. M I L L I O N E N - FA N G E N - A N . D E

MYKITA & MARIOS SCHWAB

Industrial Allure Berlin-based Mykita is known to be an exceedingly friendly bunch. Which is part of the reason why so many talented and exciting designers want to do cooperations with them. After the stunning Bernhard Wilhelm for Mykita collection, the ever forward thinking eyewear brand has now teamed up with Marios Schwab, the 21st century fashion talent known for a strong, individualistic and sexy aesthetic with immaculate detailing. Attention to detail is something that Mykita know all about too; all their frames are hand-assembled on-site in Berlin. And so in this holy union, individuality meets functionality, resulting in two fabulous models for the 2010 season: Hamilton and Jane. The Hamilton is inspired by Terminator heroine, Linda Hamilton, and is industrial but sleek. The Jane softens things up a little with slightly bigger lens diameter, recalling perhaps the style of John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Both models feature tone-on-tone lenses with slightly mirrored glass which give off just enough of a robotic vibe to keep you cool this summer. W W W . M Y K I TA . C O M


»ONES TO WATCH«

YEASAYER

On Fire TEXT

RACHEL B. DOYLE

I M AG E

GUY AROCHE


»A NEW BEGI NNI NG«

11

When Yeasayer released their debut record, All Hour Cymbals, in 2007, it already sounded old. Not out of date, but faded and fuzzy, like a dusty recording found in the back of an ethnomusicologist’s rucksack. The stunning album made ample use of choral and Appalachian vocals, African sounds and Middle Eastern rhythms, but was recorded “in the dark, in a f looded, mouldy basement” in Brooklyn, discloses lead singer Chris Keating. “And there was trash everywhere.” For their highly anticipated second album, Odd Blood, “We didn’t want to keep doing the same thing, or repeat any of the heavy concepts from the first record. We didn’t want to have it sound as bound to Earth, and the past. We wanted it to sound a little more futuristic and otherworldly,” he says. “We set out simple goals, like making shorter songs with dancier rhythms and cleaner production.” “On the first record, we were trying to make it sound as if the entire world was somewhat homogenised, and country borders were broken down. Like remnants of individual cultures that were left over and pieced together in a Rorschach kind of way,” Keating explains, from the sunny and spacious loft he shares with his new wife. “I don’t think I was very happy at all, in hindsight. I had a girlfriend I didn’t like at the time, we were breaking up and stuff. I think everybody was. I’m happier now.” But some fans might miss the spazz-outs and shamanism. Given the praise heaped on the Baltimore-bred trio in experimental music circles for their eclectic and off-kilter aesthetic, it’s surprising to learn that Yeasayer entered their Woodstock recording studio with the express purpose of recording a pop album that sounded like a contemporary club record. The result is a neatly produced ode to tropicality, full of synthesisers, catchy hooks and thumping bass. “I just got tired of dealing with hand drums and bells and shit,” Keating admits, laughing. Aptly, their MySpace describes the new sound as: “ENYA with BOUNCE”. But contrary to that tagline and the style of many of the album’s tracks, Odd Blood was actually informed by dancehall production, industrial music, and artists like Portishead, Tricky and DJ Shadow. “I don’t like being shy of production techniques I’ve always been a fan of that I thought we maybe couldn’t pull off. Like the really thumping early nineties electronic music and ambient stuff that I grew up with,” Keating says. “Or the sound of Nas’ first record.” Perhaps the album sounds enthusiastic because the whole band quit their day jobs. Both Keating and guitarist Anand Wilder – who is also a trained cellist – were set designers, and bassist Ira Wolf Tuton sharpened his skills woodworking. Now, they’re professional musicians with no qualms about spending money on, say, customised pedals from Australia or synth filters from Belgium. “If we wanted to buy a piece of musical equipment, we did. We just ordered it and it would show up at our house. That’s pretty fun. We’d just spend the day messing around with ideas and then at the end of the day, if that didn’t work out, ‘oh well, try again tomorrow’,” reports Keating. “What’s not fun is trying to collaborate on different ideas, being like ‘we’re really getting our message across!’ and overanalysing all the songs. You get

tired of them and you don’t even know if you’re doing the right thing and it’s all kind of stupid by the time it’s done,” he says. “John Lennon later hated everything he did with the Beatles, and said he wanted to redo it all. What!? No one’s happy with anything, really. If they are, they’re setting their sights too low,” he adds. Despite the band’s enriched circumstances, Keating claims that Odd Blood is not a sunny album; that it instead alternates between dark lyrics and light textures and light lyrics and dark themes. “It’s more body-oriented”, he concedes, but “sometimes thumping bass can make you think that something is positive. ‘Griselda’ is about a mass murderer, a notorious woman who ran a drug empire. Anand wrote her a letter, I don’t really know why.” He cackles. Now that he seemed comfortable, I had to ask the question that gets writers kicked out of interviews. “So, are you nervous about people thinking that Yeasayer sold out, since you created a pop album?” I squeak. Keating sits up and gives me what can only be described as an indie rock glare. He takes a sip of his coffee. “I don’t really know what that means. Selling out. We just made a record that we like; we don’t deal with any major label corporate structure. We’re not going to be played on the radio any time soon. I don’t think there’s a concept of ‘selling out’ anymore. We’re on independently owned record labels. I would sell a song to a commercial if it were a good thing, and wasn’t some shitty, gross company. But I’m not afraid of any juvenile notion – I think I’m too old for that,” he answers. From here, the interview takes a decidedly different turn. Keating begins talking about his reservations: “I kind of hope that people like it but if they don’t, there’s nothing I can do, you know? I just made what I liked, but tried to do it in the format of popular music, working within the confines of hooks and harmonies and melody in an under four-minute structure,” he explains. “We knew we were definitely going to alienate some people, but that’s fine, because I don’t think they really got what we were doing in the first place. The first album still exists and they can listen to that. But that’s not really where I’m at anymore,” he adds circumspectly. “When you look, historically, at musicians that changed their style, they always alienated some fans. Bob Dylan did, David Bowie did too, but in five years, it was all forgotten. Three albums later, it’s ‘oh, they were going in that direction’. Instead of just doing the same fucking thing. I don’t want to have the same small group of fans my whole life. I’ve moved on,” Keating says with emotion. If people dig it, that’s great, if they don’t, fuck ’em.”


»ONES TO WATCH«

TOM PRICE

Melting Down The House TEXT

EMER GRANT

I M AG E S

COURTESY OF THE ARTIST

With names such as Zaha Hadid and Ron Arad becoming more notorious than some of the decadent artists of yesteryear, it seems as though design has entered a golden age, where we are more likely to find a pair of Marc Jacobs shoes in a museum vitrine than a piece of contemporary sculpture. The young stars of design seem to be stepping up, clearing away the old and redesigning the new. One bright spark in particular to keep an eye on is Tom Price, the RCA graduate who’s making us literally sit up and pay attention with his phenomenal sculptural masterpieces that make up the ‘Meltdown’ series collection of chairs. Following the revolutionary designs that he created in college, he was asked to design the façade of the Metropolitan works in London, amongst other eyebrow raising offers that are quickly making him become a household name in design, it would certainly make households a hell of a lot more interesting if he does. Tom Price is a designer, artist and interior decorator from London that looks at furniture design as part function, part sculpture. He graduated from Bath College of Higher Education in 1996 with a degree in Fine Art, Sculpture. He then spent several years running a decorating business before enrolling on the HND Furniture Design and Realisation course leading to a Masters in Product Design from the Royal College of Art in 2007. Price finds unusual materials such as plumbing tubes, rope, plastics, straw, PVC, fleece jumpers (to name a few) and using the traditional shape taken from a mould of the famous Eames chair, then sculpts, welds and melts his chosen materials to create a dramatic new design. The results are astonishing, making him the new name that you want in your collection. (Kanye West was promoting Price’s work on his blog before he had even graduated). The Meltdown Chair was one of his final pieces for his degree show, the chairs are formed by pressing a heated metal seat-shaped mould into an array of plastic products to melt them into comfortable seating surfaces. There is a nice video on YouTube that shows the chairs being made. The series is part of a body of work that shows an obvious fascination with using chance as a tool for creativity and design.

Price explains that he is interested in the transformation of materials from one state to another and wants to “exploit the qualities of each material to make familiar products behave in unfamiliar ways”. One of the most known examples is the tube chair that is made from a starburst array of common white plastic plumbing pipe. In September last year, the original prototype was named a highlight of the Phillips de Pury NOW auction, selling for just under 9,000 pounds – not bad for a newcomer! Headlining IMM Cologne, designing the Metropolitan works, stealing the show at Tent London exhibition as part of London Design Festival 2009, exhibiting at the New York Museum of Modern Art, and launching the Oliver Sweeney window gallery at London’s Oxford Street are just a handful of achievements that Price can boast to date. The Meltdown series has gone global, and it’s exciting as it’s bringing design to a new audience and making the traditional realms of sculpture a bit sleeker with the infiltration of new and competitive design. The pieces are a statement and expression all at once, and pioneering in a direction that I hope many designers of the future are destined to follow; one to watch, absorb and admire.


your personal music television. 24/7 and everywhere you go. check it out on www.tape.tv. it’s free.


»A NEW BEGI NNI NG«

15

»ONES TO WATCH«

LONELADY

Warped Poetry TEXT

GARETH OWEN

There is no place in England outside of London that has such a proud and rich musical history as Manchester. Liverpool may have had the Beatles, and Sheffield may have had bleep and the Human League, but it is the ghost of Manchester that haunts much of what we hear today. From the Smiths to the Happy Mondays, from Joy Division to Mark E Smith and The Stone Roses, Manchester’s boisterous swagger looms large in the collective mind of Britain and beyond. Now, much of that swagger has gone. As the urban decay is cleared to make way for offices and retails parks, the waste grounds that inspired some of the most well-loved pop music of the last 30 years become fewer and fewer. The musical history of this once great city is going the way of the workhouse and the mill. Julie Campbell looks set to buck that trend. Or perhaps she is the exception that proves the rule. Campbell could not be from anywhere else but Manchester. Possessed with a single-mindedness on the one hand, and nonchalance towards the exposure being signed to a label like Warp brings on the other, she strikes the figure of someone who stands alone. Using a drum machine to help her write songs that are often gilded with poetic flourishes, it is no surprise that before she was a full time musician she published a poetry magazine, even though there was no artistic influence, or even interest, from her family. This led to experiments with writing songs whilst studying for a fine arts degree, locking herself away into in a hermetically sealed world of her own creation. “I was using a drum machine to help me write, and I was reluctant to get other musicians involved because I liked the privacy. Writing the parts, playing them myself and creating a world. The lack of resources forced me to be creative and that shaped the sound of the music. I like the economical use of instruments.”

I M AG E

REBECCA MILLER

However don’t make the mistake of thinking that this experience informs the name LoneLady, “names are difficult. I don’t like the idea of coming up with a band name – it’s an unsatisfactory thing. For me, there is absolutely no meaning to it whatsoever.” Angular, sharp, and layered with misinformation and contradictions, her debut album Nerve Up strike a chord that resonates from the boom of a 909 drum machine in the hacienda all the way to Patti Smith in New York. Possessed with energy and studied lethargy in equal measure, this is power pop underpinned with a sharp wit. She also has simple hooks and catchy riffs aplenty; somewhat of an oddity at Warp, her record label. But what seems confident and at times brash (in the best possible way) on record is not necessarily going to be delivered live. Just because she makes music doesn't mean Julie Campbell wants to stand on stage and have everyone look at her: “I don’t find performing comfortable in any way.” Vulnerability and lack of desire to perform is usually the reserve of artists of a more ethereal nature, not creators of riff-driven, bassheavy pop music that will be enjoyed by fans of Cabaret Voltaire, Antony and the Johnsons and The Gossip. And that makes this particular LoneLady all the more an interesting figure, and without doubt, one to watch.


LITTLE DRAGON

The Year Of The Dragon TEXT

ARI STEIN

I M AG E

COURTESY OF THE ARTIST

Gothenburg is a small but clean city, almost 500 km SE of Sweden’s capital Stockholm, swallowed up by an immense harbour/port soaking up inf luences from all across the world. This inspirational setting must have been a catalyst in forming Little Dragon’s unique but worldly sound. We got access to exclusive audio-footage from our Slices colleagues (check their latest issue for the Little Dragon video feature), and listening to members Yukimi Nagano and Erik Bodin speak to an interviewer who sounds remarkably like Werner Herzog, you get the feeling you could speak to Little Dragon about absolutely anything, which is probably why the group have proven such a success on an organic level.


But you don’t follow trends?

Not really. Sometimes our manager kind of insinuates things, because we are in our own bubble. He kind of says things like, “Well you know dubstep is popular right now, and there’s that person and this person, and you should start doing dubstep.” And we’d be like, “What is dubstep? So we’d YouTube it. I mean, we just find it hard to stay in the loop; to stay up-to-date on what’s going on in the world, especially because we are absorbed with our own world and working on that. YUKIMI

To me you guys are successful, because everyone is talking about you now.What does success mean for you?

I think being successful is kind of not to have a day job, basically to have all the time to make music and not to worry about money. To just to sort of have control and be able to say no to a gig one day because you’re tired. But now we have to do everything because the opportunity is there, so it’s a great place to be, but I mean, you’d love to feel more secure. E R I K Success is to not be stressed with bills. If I know bills will be paid, then I can afford to have a car. I mean, now I have a car, but it’s stealing all my money because it’s not in good shape. Simple things will make me happy. It doesn’t mean we have to be super big, but if that’s the price we have to pay, then so be it. YUKIMI

Sometimes when you reach a certain level, everyone around says you have to be strong or tells you different things to influence you.

There are so many artists I have met who’ve had attitude problems. Maybe that’s what’s expected because they’re famous. There are a lot of people who are also successful famous people who are also normal like your neighbour, so it’s sort of choosing if you want to be an asshole or do you want to be just a nice person, it’s your choice how you want to live. YUKIMI

Word of Little Dragon’s infectious, grounded music reached the highest echelon of pop, with Damon Albarn’s Gorillaz recently asking the group to appear on their latest album Plastic Beach. A fantastic way to introduce this sweet like saccharine four-piece to a much wider audience. With three members of the group meeting in high school, the band formatively held jazz, hip hop and soul as their platform; now the group have exploded with their own brand of commercial untainted pop music. Yukimi’s voice is definitely the key here; she soars above the Scandinavian clouds, shuffling back and forth between her meek but very soulful vocals. Besides singing she and her three compadres have some humorous and unconventional things to get off their chest. Tell me about the more experimental side of Little Dragon …

I think our sound is a mix of pop and experimentation. Experimenting with sound is something that is important to us and the guys are real sound nerds. They play with everything and that is part of our identity, but not in a commercial style, we want to twist it all up, we are influenced by pop music and classic songwriting. YUKIMI

What would you say you all have in common?

We all really like Thai food. We all love it, we all love to eat vegetarian, we are not strict and we all love Kraftwerk, I’m not saying that in the right German way, am I? It’s the perfect touring music. Whenever we have arguments in the car about what to play, we always say let’s play Kraftwerk. YUKIMI

So is there any image you want to create, or anything your management made you do?

I remember at some point our record label (Peacefrog) boss was giving us a hint; “You know you read about Amy Winehouse because she’s in and out of rehab, I don’t know, maybe that’s something you should consider.” But I think that was just a hint. We were thinking: What!? (sarcastic). You want us to spoil our bodies with drugs? Is that the formula? ERIK

SEE MORE OF LITTLE DRAGON ON THE CURRENT ISSUE OF THE S L I C E S D V D & AT T H E U P C O M I N G E L E C T R O N I C B E AT S F E S T I V A L I N C O L O G N E O N M AY 2 0


TURBOWEEKEND

Get Set for the Weekend TEXT

PA U L S C H L O S S E R

I M AG E

KASPER HEMME

After playing a showcase gig for Electronic Beats in late 2009, we have been massive fans of the appropriately named Turboweekend. Since the release of their debut album; Night Shift, they have ridden a wave of commercial and critical success in their home country. Night Shift’s follow up – Ghost of a Chance – further builds on the template of guitar-driven club music, and is set to reach an even larger audience with a re-release later this year prior to a third full length album from the Danish trio. Originally founded by school friends Silas Bjerregaard, Morten Koie and Martin Petersen in 2006, the three band members have been friends since junior school and been playing together for most of their lives. We caught up with lead guitarist Silas to see what the trio have been up to and what we can expect from Turboweekend in the next few months. Be sure to catch their show at the Electronic Beats Festival in Graz on May 12. What can we expect from your upcoming record? Has anything been recorded yet?

Well actually, what we are working on right now is an EP project with some guest vocalists from Denmark, hopefully one from Sweden and maybe also one from Germany. We wanted to do this project before we start on the new Turboweekend album to kind of move ourselves in a new direction and get some inspiration. And can you tell us who they might be?

Maybe. Yes. We know for sure that Casper Clausen from Efterklang and our friend Nikolaj Manuel Vonsild from When Saints Go Machine will take part in the project.

don’t like that sound, let’s do something else” and then we’d spend a lot of time finding out what that something else was. This time is more, like, “OK, maybe I don’t really understand what is going on ,but let’s try it and see where it goes.” What’s your favourite moment while working?

I think probably the moment is when we are jamming, and we suddenly start playing the same thing. It’s spontaneous, and out of nowhere you get this groove that sounds cool. It’s amazing because it’s not a completely conscious thing that this is happening. It kind of surprises you – that’s a very cool moment. What’s the least fun part?

Yeah, I do. I mean, one of the reasons why we are doing this EP is because it’s not an official Turboweekend album. We can play around more and try a lot of different things out. It’s a fun thing for us to do.

The least fun part is when you’ve been working on a piece for too long and it doesn’t go anywhere and you can’t see any solution. Maybe you once liked it when you made it, but now it just doesn’t work anymore and you feel stuck in the process.

You have mentioned before that there’s a lot of individuality in the band. Do you struggle in any way to combine all of your different styles?

What about the Danish music scene? How do you see it and is there a newcomer that you are really excited about?

We have worked together for twelve years, so of course there’s a lot of individuality but we also know each other very well. We just know when to stop the discussion and get some sleep instead. I feel like in this process now that we are working on new songs, we are more open towards each other’s ideas. Earlier on there was a lot of, like, “Oh, I

I think that the Danish music scene has been quite interesting in the last couple of years. A lot of young bands from our generation have been doing some really good stuff. I think that we agree that it’s our generation of people of our age who are defining the music scene right now in Denmark. This is really cool. Personally, I really like Choir Of

Do you feel the weight of expectations this time?


»A NEW BEGI NNI NG«

Young Believers. Jannes is a truly good songwriter and an amazing singer as well. When Saints Go Machine are really good, too. What is it about Copenhagen, and Denmark in general, that has made it such a fertile ground for music?

It’s funny you say that, because I think that Sweden has a much more fertile music scene. I think for a long time an attitude prevailed in Denmark that Sweden has so many great bands and everything that Denmark does, Sweden does it even better. I think that in the younger generation it’s evolving to a kind of “Let’s show them that we can do cool music as well!” attitude. How do Danish audiences react to Turboweekend? Are there noticeable differences between your audiences in different countries?

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Here, we have a huge fan base that we’ve established these last couple of years. So when we give concerts, of course they are filled and people know the albums because they have been listening to them for two years. So, of course, the vibe is very different. When we come down to Germany, we’re still this new band that nobody really knows. What do you consider to be your biggest achievement so far?

Maybe when we played at Skanderborg Festival. Our Danish agent booked us to the big stage. At first we were very scared because we thought it would be way too empty in the end. But then 6000 people showed up and the number of audiences is steadily increasing. I think we were all very happy that we were able to play that kind of stage. Who would ever have thought that we would manage to milk the situation perfectly and deliver a great concert?

I think there are, but only because we’ve been out longer in Denmark.

Win Tickets Wear Your City for the Festival with Pride Season It’s springtime in Electronic Beats land, which means you need to get yourself ready for a ridiculously rockin festival season. Already confirmed is the Cologne event at E-Werk on May 20 featuring Moderat, Miike Snow and Electronic Beats’ favourites Little Dragon (others to follow). An equally killer programme is planned for Graz on May 12 and yet to be confirmed. For these details and other festivals, potentially Prague on May 7 for example, keep your eyes and ears glued to www.electronicbeats.net where you’ll find all the up-to-the-minute information. The celebrations are putting everyone in a generous mood, so look out for the event ticket sweepstakes. W W W . E L E C T R O N I C B E AT S . N E T

Show your loyalty to your hometown, or your unfaithfulness for that matter, in the new Electronic Beats t-shirts or sweatshirts. The much loved American Apparel merchandise is available in ‘Köln’, ‘Berlin’ and ‘Praha’ styles and comes in ash-grey, heather-grey and other classic colours. Available now via the online shop. W W W . E L E C T R O N I C B E AT S . N E T / E B S H O P


The Kitchen

“The box on the fridge is a Sage piece too. I can’t remember what happened but he brought it over one day. It’s funny when I wear it on my head because it’s a box of my face.”

COME ON IN

Sam Spiegel aka Squeak E. Clean aka NASA I N T ERV I EW & PHOTOGR A PHS

ALI MACLEAN


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Music Producer and DJ Sam Spiegel, aka Squeak E. Clean is in high demand these days. Coming off a wildly successful NASA tour (his project with DJ Zegon), and a spot on the new DJ Hero game, he’s now working on the new Kevin Smith film, creating new NASA tracks and about to go back on the road. He invited us down to his Crack Alley Studios, which is a cool art and music oasis, hidden in the middle of Los Angeles crack hell. Take a look! Throughout Crack Alley Studios and Sam’s living quarters, there are several themes, one is the artwork of Sage Vaughn. The studio is almost a Age museum with murals, installation pieces and little sketches and drawings hidden on walls. Each trip to the studio will reveal another piece of art that might have gone unnoticed the first time around.

The Office

“What happened with Sage was, before I moved in, I told him I wanted to paint the whole inside of my house, so he and my friend Acorn came in for a couple weeks and just painted all this shit in the office. They called it the Ghetto-f lage. It’s all four walls of a cityscape and a huge blue sky with clouds on the ceiling.”

The Bathroom

“A year later it was my birthday and my house was infested with ants, so I asked Sage if he would paint a giant ant in the bathroom.”


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Another prevalent theme in Sam’s space is outer space. It’s no wonder that he named his duo NASA – he must have been aching to put that jump suit on for years. There are gadgets, toys and memorabilia that would even excite a young Skywalker.

The Studio

I’m really into Sci-Fi so there are a lot of sci-fi things around, R2D2, the storm trooper head, but really it’s just too much junk collected in the studio…but I do love Star Wars.


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Even though the area in Hollywood where Sam lives and works is sketchy, the house and studios itself are a little respite. Once inside the gates, it’s a different world. Aside from a helicopter here or there, one complete forgets the ghetto dramas going on right outside. With so many different people coming by, collaborating, and lending their talents, Sam’s studios give off an art collective vibe.

The B Room

“The B Room. I love checkers so I asked Acorn to paint big Checkers. I like all checkers, they don’t have to be big. The mustache was also a gift from him. The nose was actually a Halloween costume and was given to me by Sage and another friend Henry because my birthday is on Halloween. Then it sat in Sage’s backyard for a few years and I asked him to fix it and give it to me one year so I could hang it on my wall. He put it on a mount so it’s kind of like taxidermy. It’s a model of my adolescent nose as you can tell by the acne.”


CLAUDE CAHUN

The Quiet Surrealist


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Gegen Jede Vernunft (Against All Reason), a comprehensive Surrealist exhibition in the modest town of Ludwigshafen, recently devoted the Kunstverein Ludwigshafen exclusively to Surrealist photography from Paris and Prague. The photographic medium played a major role in this most momentous artistic movement of the twentieth century; up to that point photography primarily served to depict reality and Surrealists were the first to appropriate it for the exploration of life’s hidden mysteries, turning the everyday into something magical. In an extensive exhibition encompassing 180 works by artists like Dora Maar, Lee Miller and of course Man Ray, the images of one woman undeniably stand out. TEXT

VIK TORIA PELLES

PHOTOS

C O U RT E SY O F T H E J E W I S H M U S E U M / N E W YO R K , C H R . B E LS E R AG F Ü R V E R L AG S G E S C H Ä F T E & C O . KG

On first coming across the work of Claude Cahun you can’t help but be struck with disbelief. Disbelief that an artist with so much expressive, original work (as a photographer, writer and activist) can go largely unnoticed for close to fifty years. It’s astonishing to think that her photos with their quirky cast of characters – a sailor, twoheaded Siamese twins, a puppet, a pilot, an Egyptian queen – precede by more than 50 years the work of modern female photographers, perhaps most notably Cindy Sherman, also well-known for her elaborately staged ‘self-portraits’. As the first encounter with her arresting expression will assure you, Lucy Schwob (1894-1954), who settled on the sexually ambiguous ‘Claude Cahun’ as her artist pseudonym around 1919, is one of the most fascinating creatures of the avant-garde movement. With an aesthetic quality entirely comparable to Man Ray or Germaine Krull, Cahun’s work offers another level of complexity through the impact of her own piercing stare as well as the progressive – even by contemporary standards – commentary it offers on gender and identity as a whole. Being a woman, a lesbian, a Jew and an artist would generally impose some societal confines. Cahun manages to transcend all of these by manipulating her appearance in her art. While her photos essentially revolve around her own face and body, she eschews the obsession with the female image ‘l’amour fou’ of her surrealist colleagues. As a context, consider the perfectly staged and stylized Hollywood diva portraits so popular and prevalent in the day to understand the subversive brilliance of the portraits. Cahun’s direct and piercing look – a genuine rarity in any female portraits – displays an unforced confidence that dissolves the convention of the female figure as an erotic symbol to be marvelled at, and simultaneously dismisses any notion of cross-dressing, transvestism or problematic sexuality that such ‘subject matter’ might otherwise suggest. The intensely focused and confident gaze also manages to demolish our ritual of voyeurism – or indeed exhibitionism on part of the model.

Not nearly enough is known about the way in which Cahun worked and why her work didn’t receive the acclaim it warranted until the early nineties. The systematic disregard of women in art history and the male-dominated Surrealist movement is partly to blame of course, but it’s also possible that Cahun made the majority of her photographic work as an exploration of herself and the ideas of her life-partner, Marcel Moore (née Suzanne Malherbe), never really intending it to be publicly viewed. In 1937, Cahun and Moore settled in Jersey where, after German occupation in the war, they were active as resistance workers and propagandists, always using an artistic slant to undermine the enemy. In many ways, Cahun’s life and work was all focused on undermining a certain authority. While the exhibition in Ludwigshafen will have finished by the time of publishing, we recommend the official exhibition catalogue, which ranks as a new standard work on Surrealissm. The book is richly illustrated and contains essays by Reinhard Spieler, Didier Ottinger, Barbara Auer and others. Published by Belser Verlag.

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT WOMEN IN SURREALISM WE RECOMMEND: G E G E N J E D E V E R N U N F T. S U R R E A L I S M U S PA R I S - P R A G , E D T. B Y BARBARA AUER ETC., CHR. BELSER AG VERL AGSGESCHÄFTE & CO. K G , S T U T T G A R T, 2 0 0 9 K Ü N S T L E R I N N E N I M S U R R E A L I S M U S , E D T. B Y K A R O L I N E H I L L E , C H R . B E L S E R A G V E R L A G S G E S C H Ä F T E & C O . K G , S T U T T G A R T, 2 0 0 9


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P I C T U R E S F R O M L E F T T O R I G H T: 1 . C L A U D E C A H U N , S E L F P O R T R A I T [ R E F L E C T E D I N M I R R O R ] , A R O U N D 1 9 2 8 , S I L B E R G E L AT I N E , N E U A B Z U G , 1 8 X 2 4 C M , © C O U R T E S Y O F T H E J E R S E Y H E R I TA G E C O L L E C T I O N 2 . C L A U D E C A H U N , S E L F P O R T R A I T, © 2 0 0 9 B Y C H R . B E L S E R A G F Ü R V E R L A G S G E S C H Ä F T E & C O . K G , S T U T T G A R T, PA G E 6 1 3 . D O R A M A A R , S A N S T I T R E ( M A I N - C O Q U I L L A G E ) , 1 9 3 4 , S I L B E R G E L AT I N E , N E U A B Z U G , 1 8 X 1 6 C M , C E N T R E P O M P I D O U , PA R I S , M U S É E N AT I O N A L D ' A R T M O D E R N E / C E N T R E D E C R É AT I O N I N D U S T R I E L L E , © V G B I L D - K U N S T, B O N N 2 0 0 9 4 . C L A U D E C A H U N , S E L F P O R T R A I T, © 2 0 0 9 B Y C H R . B E L S E R A G F Ü R V E R L A G S G E S C H Ä F T E & C O . K G , S T U T T G A R T, PA G E 6 0 5 . C L A U D E C A H U N , A V E U X N O N A V E N U S , P L . I , 1 9 2 9 / 1 9 3 0 , G E L AT I N E PA P I E R , N E U A B Z U G , 2 8 , 3 X 1 9 , 7 C M , M Ü N C H N E R S TA D T M U S E U M , © E S TAT E O F C L A U D E C A H U N 6 . C L A U D E C A H U N , S E L F P O R T R A I T [ A S W E I G H T T R A I N E R ] , 1 9 2 7 , S I L B E R G E L AT I N E , N E U A B Z U G , 1 2 X 9 C M , © C O U R T E S Y O F T H E J E R S E Y H E R I TA G E C O L L E C T I O N 7 . C L A U D E C A H U N , S E L F P O R T R A I T [ W I T H S H A V E D H E A D ] , 1 9 2 9 , S I L B E R G E L AT I N E , O R I G I N A L A B Z U G , 2 3 , 6 X 1 4 , 9 C M , © C O U R T E S Y O F T H E J E R S E Y H E R I TA G E C O L L E C T I O N 8 . M A N R AY, U N T I T L E D ( S E L F - P O R T R A I T W I T H C A M E R A ) , 1 9 3 0 , P R I N T E D 1 9 3 5 / 6 , S O L A R I Z E D G E L A T I N S I LV E R P R I N T. T H E J E W I S H M U S E U M , N E W Y O R K , P U R C H A S E : P H O T O G R A P H Y A C Q U I S I T I O N S C O M M I T T E E F U N D , H O R A C E W . G O L D S M I T H F U N D , A N D F U N D S P R O V I D E D B Y J U D I T H A N D J A C K S T E R N . © 2 0 0 9 M A N R AY T R U S T / A R T I S T S R I G H T S S O C I E T Y ( A R S ) , N E W Y O R K / A D A G P, PA R I S .


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Focus Don’t let cryonics spook you; levelheaded Michael McCanne will take you beyond the science fiction to see the hope and humanity in When The Sleeper Wakes. Think you know something about Northern Soul? Check your facts in It’s Soul Up North. And before starting a new life overseas take heed of the Ten Commandments Of Moving Country. Pictures speak more than a thousand words as we all know, so the Visual Take On Metamorphosis needs no further introduction – just enjoy!


INSIDE THE COOLING BOX

TEXT

MICHAEL MCCANNE

I M AG E S

THE CRYONICS INSTITUTE / WWW.CRYONICS.ORG

CRYONICS

When the Sleeper Wakes During a tense period between the Soviet Union and the United States in 1984, the West German band Alphaville released what is now their most famous single: ‘Forever Young’. It was a song that would become iconic of the eighties, a longing for youth beyond the drudgery of the Cold War. Despite the sense of irony that surrounds it, the song grasps at something that runs deep in our collective psyche. Nearly two decades earlier the American statesmen and inventor Benjamin Franklin wrote to a friend, “I wish it were possible to invent a method of embalming drowned persons, in such a manner that they might be recalled to life at any period, however distant.” He lamented that the era he lived in was not advanced enough to fulfil his dream. This fantasy – that life could be extended beyond the grave – has bewitched the minds of writers and scientists since the rise of industrialised technology­. The idea that in some imaginable future a frozen person could be resurrected by more advanced civilizations is curiously appealing. In essence, it offers a scientific answer to the afterlife. From H.G. Wells to the futurist poet Vladimir Mayakovsky, suspended animation became a popular theme in fiction and drama, one that is still present today. Science fiction paperbacks, television series and films like Forever Young and Abre los Ojos (later remade as Vanilla Sky) all explore the topic – suspended animation and resurrection seem to hold a timeless appeal. And yet the question remains: why would anyone actually want to try it?


C O N F E R E N C E R O O M A N D P H O T O S O F PAT I E N T S

Awaiting Resurrection

For The Love Of Technology

For all of these dreams and fantasies, suspended animation remained exclusively science fiction until The Prospect of Immortality was published in 1962. Written by Robert Ettinger, a college physics teacher from Michigan, the book claimed it was theoretically possible to freeze a person for resurrection in the future. He proposed studying how this could be accomplished and implementing the findings. This book brought an idea that had been fictional imaginings into the realm of scientific possibility. And so the cryonics movement was born. Cryonics, often mistakenly called cryogenics, is the actual preservation of a dead body to near-freezing temperatures, in the hope that soon to come technology will be able to revive the person and repair any damage. This is clearly a long shot, and most cryonicists, as they are called, admit it. Dr. James Bedford became the first cryonic preservation after he died in 1967 and has remained frozen ever since. What began as a crude, and somewhat morbid, home science experiment has expanded into a field of research and several holding facilities across the United States. At present, working through several non-profit organizations, cryonicists focus on improving the freezing process and caring for their ‘patients’ already in storage. Although no cryopreserved person has ever been revived, an estimated 1,100 bodies are currently held awaiting just such a resurrection. Additionally several thousand people have made arrangements to be cryopreserved once they die.

Cryonicists make up a small subculture that, in attempting to defy death, combine an interest in science fiction and a faith in technology. They are mostly men and often work in technological fields including medicine and science. Their reasons for getting involved are varied but seem rooted in a fear of dying and/or an insatiable curiosity about what will come next in human history. Mark Walker, an automation engineer in Ireland, falls into the latter group. Now forty-eight, he first heard about cryonics on a morning television program in his twenties. He knew right away that he wanted to do it but assumed the procedure cost too much. Nonetheless he took down the number and somehow held on to it for several years. One day, looking through his contacts, he came across the number again and called. The person who answered was Barry Albion, a traditional mortician in London who also acts as a proxy agent for the Cryonics Institute in Michigan. He explained to Mark how cryopreservation could be financed inexpensively through a life insurance policy and Mark signed up then and there. He later helped form a cryonics group in the United Kingdom. The group wanted to set up a European facility and even looked into buying an abandoned missile silo but has since tabled the idea. For now they limit themselves to outreach – they don’t think that cryonics is for everyone but want to spread the word so that those interested can get involved. Mark signed up for his love of technology. When he allows his imagination to roam, he marvels at the innovations that might await him.


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He accepts that in the future everyone he knows and loves will be gone but adds with a chuckle, “all of that technology is something I would just hate to miss out on.” He is also cheerfully aware of the slim chances for success but sees it as a nothing-to-lose gamble. “After all,” he points out, “if it doesn’t work, I’ve still only died.”

Are We Dead Yet? One of the intriguing aspects of cryonics is that it is as much about the definition of death as it is about freezing people. Current cryonics is based on the concept of “information-theoretic death”. The premise is that true death only occurs when the information that makes up an individual, encoded in the brain, is destroyed. According to this theory, so long as the brain is preserved, extending the life of a person may become possible even if the body no longer works. At first, this may seem hard to believe, but recall that as late as the turn of the twentieth century, placing a mirror in front of a dead person’s mouth and looking for condensation often determined whether they were alive or not. Since the invention of brain scans, the defibrillator and life support (machines), this definition has been expanded significantly. Given this, it seems possible to foresee more ‘extensions’ beyond what we now define as death.

technology exists to revive it or the organization runs out of money. The initial procedure, transportation, preparation and storage can run anywhere from $28,000 to $150,000 and is usually paid for by life insurance policies. Vaguely reminiscent of ancient Egyptian burial rights, most cryonics facilities provide a small locker in which to store personal things for future use. They also do pet preservations – currently the Cryonics Institute has sixty cryopreserved cats and dogs. Outside of the freezer rooms, cryonicists try to spread the word about their beliefs and discredit rumours. One popular myth going around was that Walt Disney’s body was frozen after his death and is hidden under one of the rides in Disneyland, but this is fortunately not true. He was actually cremated in 1966, a year before the first cryonic preservation, but stories like this are what people most often associate with suspended animation. Excluding urban legends and sci-fi novels, it is only recently that modern cryonics has become known outside of its committed subculture. ,Most sensational of course is the practice of neuropreservation, which means keeping only the head on the assumption that future scientists will be able to produce new, younger bodies. The idea of rooms packed with frozen heads caused a backlash against cryonicists and their facilities. Many states initiated investigations or passed laws in an attempt to regulate their activities. Ironically, this backlash caused cryonicists, who are primarily concerned with ending death, to register their facilities as morgues or cemeteries.

Avoiding Freezer Damage That is not to say that cryonicists believe in bringing back the dead, only in bringing back those who are carefully preserved. This is, of course, easier said than done. Anyone who has found something forgotten in the back of freezer knows, freezing does not guarantee perfect preservation. And as the human brain is not a bag of peas, cryonicists must go to great lengths to prevent any damage. This involves flushing the body with something to prevent freezing minutes after death. Benjamin Franklin suggested a fine Madeira­ but modern cryonicists use something akin to anti-freeze. Once at the cryonics lab, the body is placed in a super-cooler, chilled with a steady supply of liquid nitrogen. The body will stay there until the

Dealing With Post-Freezing Angst In art as well, cryonics has not always been portrayed favourably. In Woody Allen’s 1973 film Sleeper, a health-food store owner accidentally dies and is put into suspended animation until the year 2073. Upon his reanimation, the main character – of course played by Allen himself – gripes, “This is terrible! My doctor said I’d be up and on my feet in five days ... he was off by a hundred and ninety-nine years.”


»A NEW BEGI NNI NG«

F L O W E R B O X F O R PAT I E N T S

He goes on to discover that the world has become an automated police state – albeit more Keystone Kops than Nineteen-Eighty Four. The film is based on an H.G. Wells novel entitled The Sleeper Awakes and, like the book, explores a familiar tale of post-freezing angst. In fact, most depictions of a person being frozen and revived in some future time are cautionary tales. Often the heroes discover that the future is not what they expected, but instead a dystopian world with no resemblance to the one they left behind. Writers and filmmakers seem to suggest that the desire to experience the future does not mean it will be better on the other side. However, despite negative portrayals, scepticism from the mainstream scientific community and scrutiny by governments, the number of people signing up for cryopreservation is growing. One explanation might be the incredible advances in technology that have occurred over the past few decades. Things that were once technologically inconceivable are now everyday conveniences. Still, just because we now have cell phones and digital cameras doesn’t exactly mean that the future will be able to revive a person that has been dead and frozen for two hundred years. To say that there will be freezer damage would perhaps be an understatement. Nanotechnology is one of the advances that cryonicists hold as an answer to all of these criticisms. Nanotechnology is like the Fantastic Journey without the shrinking and unshrinking. It is the idea that microscopic machines could navigate inside the body to perform incredible feats. These nano-robots, as they are called, could swim around the cell structure, undoing freezing injuries, terminal diseases and even the effects of aging itself. While this technology is now only being developed at the conceptual level, it could drastically expand the abilities of medicine. However, this does not mean that, if developed, nanotechnology will allow for preserved bodies (or their heads) to be reanimated into a new life. Until nanotechnology – or another equally miraculous breakthrough – proves viable, the prospects of cryonics are only speculative.

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CRYONICS INSTITUTE BUILDING

Cryonics – A New Religion? In spite of these limitations, modern cryonicists hold a belief that, at times, borders on the religious – a scientific journey to the afterlife. Saul Kent, one of the original proponents of cryonics in the sixties, spoke about it in one of Errol Morris’s First Person documentaries where he passionately describes what will come thanks to radical advances in technology. He talks about the future the way Christians describe the rapture, a paradise on Earth for those who have chosen to embrace it. Perhaps this is an underlying paradox of cryonics – that its proponents are almost living to die, dedicating their lives to a certain way of dying in the hope of something better the second time round. Robert Ettinger, whose book essentially started the modern cryonics movement, is now ninety-one and will most likely be cryopreserved himself in the coming decade. At this point he is laconic about his own motivations. When asked, he simply replied, “Being alive is more interesting than being dead.” Mark, on the other hand, thinks less about dying and more of reawakening to experience the wonders of the future and the wild adventure it could all be. Maybe, in this way, cryonicists are the last group of true optimists. While the rest of the post-Copenhagen world seems to have an evergrowing sense of gloom about the future those who pursue cryonics must believe that the future will be better. Whatever the motivation, cryonicists have embraced a process that cannot be tested. It is not blind faith but it is close, and it serves to bring them together in a small community – one that will always be on the margins of society. For even if cryonics becomes successful through scientific progress, the very technologies that could allow for resurrection will render the need to freeze people obsolete. It is foreseeable that, like religious orders of old, cryonicists and their successors will carry on, watching over their frozen patients and waiting for science to bring them back. For the rest of us, cryonics remains a strange footnote, fascinating because it is as much fantasy as a scientific possibility, to be tested in the decades to come. Until then, it belongs exclusively to our imagination and, for some, an unshakeable faith in the future.


SO YOU WANNA BE AN EXPAT?

Ten Commandments of Moving Country TEXT

GIULIA PINES

PHOTO

LARS BORGES


»A NEW BEGI NNI NG«

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150 years ago, a little boy in a novel was told he had “great expectations”. He moved to London and his life began. Most young people don’t have the money or the means that were so suddenly given to this boy, Pip, in Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations. Yet just like him, they strive for reinvention, becoming part of a myth that stretches back to the time Homer wrote the Odyssey, the most famous book of travel and transformation. Since then, humans have travelled around the world and back, just like the hero of the Greek epic, in search of a place to call home. Nowadays, moving to another country can seem like one of the easiest ways of achieving personal reinvention. But with the apparent ease of expatriation comes a willful ignorance of its difficulties. Culture-sampling and countryhopping can be thrilling, but they will never be easy – neither will leaving your friends, family, and all things you’ve come to accept as normal. So perhaps some directives are in order. Or call them ten helpful observations. Don’t leave home without them!

Don’t offend the locals by trying to speak their language.

People may say that the best way to feel at home in a foreign country is to learn the language, but actually the best way to feel superior in a foreign country is to learn the language. Ordering food in the waiter’s mother tongue may impress the other dinner guests, but what it does is create a false sense of pride when in fact you haven’t really accomplished much. If you feel you must attempt fluency, it is often best not to reveal you know a single until you are indeed fluent, as you will inevitably mispronounce everything, and your conversation companion will simply switch to English. A Catch-22 I know, but keeping the locals from switching into English can be a losing battle – conversations in which the local speaks English while the foreigner continues in the local’s mother tongue can go on indefinitely, each side refusing to budge in this linguistic showdown. Still, for those who have the patience and time to make a commitment, learning the language does have perks. You won’t get cheated by the guy who fixes your bicycle. You won’t accidentally buy body lotion when you need shampoo. And most importantly, when you visit home, nothing will suggest an advanced ‘Weltanschauung’ to your hometown friends more than the odd ‘lebensmüde’ or ‘schadenfroh’ dropped into casual conversation.

Don’t be a scrooge! Celebrate the holidays!

If you’re away from home during important holidays, it can be tempting to pretend those holidays don’t exist. Finally, no inane gifts for cousins who can’t remember your name. At last, no feigned displays of gratitude for yet another hideous sweater. But despite the obvious perks of ignoring all aspects of celebration, getting into the holidays can be a great way to mix with the locals, learn new traditions, and of course, pick up some vocabulary to try out on your friends back home (see Rule #1). If you live in Italy, get into the spirit of Epifania by dressing up as the old witch La Befana and scaring the kids. If you live in Germany, set things on fire for May Day. If you’re in Britain on November 5, blow up Parliament for Guy Fawkes Day (yes, this might land you in jail, but what an authentic local experience!). Most of all, use the holidays as an opportunity to spend time with friends. They are, after all, your new family. One day you’ll be buying hideous sweaters for their kids.


Appreciate the differences! (The secret advantage to no decent peanut butter).

It’s important to let the locals know what you gave up to come to their city. That way, it’ll seem like you’ve been through a harrowing journey of sacrifice and pain, instead of a fairly pleasant plane flight. If your drug of choice is bagels, complain they’re only good in New York. If you live for Marmite, whine about the excess luggage costs you go through just for tasty toast?” In short, talk about the things you miss, but not enough to really miss them. This will ensure that the cultural divide remains between you and your local friends just enough to make you seem exotic. Clearly, if there is no decent jar of peanut butter in your adopted city, locals can’t really argue with you. They can only marvel at your self-sacrifice.

Press 1 for real life. Press 2 for an unending vacation.

No matter what your previous idea of ‘real life’ was, you’ll have to rethink it when you leave home. After all, in your childhood you considered whatever your parents did for a living to be ‘normal’. Tweaking your concept of the everyday and realigning your definition of what it means to be successful can be hard. There will always be people at home wondering when you’re going to ‘grow up’, which is their way of telling you that you will never be an adult until you move back home. If you value your sanity and self-respect, don’t listen to them. The comments are usually borne out of jealousy, conscious or otherwise. That said, it can be easy to fall into the trap of seeing your life abroad as a neverending vacation. Unless you have moved to pursue a new job or study, it can take time to start feeling like a real person. Of course when you do, and the ‘honeymoon period’ starts wearing off, you may find your new city begins to look and feel a lot like your old one. Find things unique to your city that you know you will always love, even if you do them a hundred times in the next ten years. Eventually, your initial excitement over the differences between your old and adopted homes will give way to a resigned normality, but there will always be adventures. Like trying to find a decent jar of peanut butter.

Get a job. Or don’t. But don’t complain about it.

Nothing is more irritating than hearing a fellow expat complain about money and bemoan the difficulty of finding work. Of course it’s difficult: you’re in a foreign country. If it were easy then everyone would have moved along with you, and you wouldn’t be special anymore. Finding a job in a foreign country can be extremely hard if you don’t have citizenship or speak the language (see Rule #1). Be advised, however, that should you decide to take that path, this is roughly the equivalent of “pressing 1 for real life” (see Rule #4). If you’re lucky enough to find employment, you will be surprised how fast your sense of pride and your ability to brag to friends leads to the mind-numbing dullness of routine. After all, if you’re in an office every day, you could be in an office anywhere. That said, you’ll be surprised at the many inventive ways expats have of making money, be they working illegally in bars, doing stand-up comedy about (what else?) being an expat, or scraping by writing articles about their time abroad. Joblessness is no excuse for laziness. If you don’t have a job, or don’t have the job you want, use all that free time to do the things you always wanted to, like writing a novel (as you know, everyone writes a novel abroad)

Surviving Visitors.

When you live in a place that’s more exotic than home, people will want to visit you just to make sure all the stories are true. Don’t panic. Even if nothing you told them was true. Still, prepare for visitors like you would prepare for small children: tread carefully, put plastic on sharp corners, and hope no expensive objects are broken by the time they leave. Remember: The trick isn’t showing them a good time. It’s showing them a good time while pretending that you “do this all the time”. That means partying until 5 every night, and then crawling out of bed three hours later to go to work while they snooze blissfully away. If you’ve never experienced this kind of extreme living, don’t worry: that throbbing sensation in your head will leave when your friends do … or a month later. If you’re a practiced partying professional and really do “do this all the time” then skip Rule #6 and give me your number: I need your advice on how to stop the throbbing in my head.


Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Vary your friends and friend-making techniques. You’ll thank yourself for it later. The DJs and fashionistas may be the most fun at first, but soon you’ll wish you had somewhere to go for an intelligent conversation and a nice bottle of wine. While it may be tempting to hang out with people from home or your old university, you’ll find yourself recreating exactly the social atmosphere you wanted to leave behind. Worse, they may all decide to leave in the same month, and then you’ll have to start all over again. Don’t just stick with other expats, but don’t stress if these are the people you’re meeting at first. Great if you’re meeting locals, but they have the uncanny ability to recognize when you’re trying too hard. No one wants to be friends with someone who is simply filling a quota, just like no one wants to have a friend who only values him for the language practice he provides. Like Rule #5, meet who you meet, but don’t complain about it.

Know the Rules. Playing dumb won’t get you out of trouble forever.

Part of the fun of moving to another country is figuring out what obscure things you can and cannot do. In the USA, you can get arrested for enjoying a beer on the street. Hilarious. In Germany, drinking in the great outdoors is fine, but cross the street on red and you’re likely to get slapped with a fine. Hysterical. Actually learning the rules and knowing when to follow them can give you a sense of fitting in. Perhaps when you first moved to Germany, you crossed the street as long as there were no cars coming because you simply didn’t know about the rule. Then you learned that what you were doing was wrong, and you made sure only to cross when the light was green, even at 3 o’clock in the morning without a single soul around. Then after a year, you realized there were in fact people crossing the street against the light. But they didn’t have the ambling gait of a tourist who doesn’t know what he’s doing. They had the determined step of one who breaks the law deliberately. And they looked cooler than you. So you went back to what you were doing before. And it was exactly the same, but it felt different. You had become a rebel. Disclaimer: Before attempting, always look over your shoulder for the police.

Fall in love with a city first, a person second.

Decide early on whether you want romance to be a part of your life abroad, and acknowledge that, for all its perceived benefits, it can drastically alter your view of the place you’ve decided to call home. Moving with a partner can be helpful: you have an automatic social safety net, and two heads instead of one solving the problems of expat life (see all previous Rules). But it can also label you prematurely when you realize that you’re seen as a package deal. Suddenly you can’t go anywhere without people asking after your other half. Moving by yourself can offer far more scope for reinvention, so if you’re searching for an immediate romance, you may want to slow down. Consider this: being single in a foreign country can be one of the surest paths to finding true self-fulfilment and happiness. Suddenly, you have to allow your confidence to spring from your own actions, not from the admiration of someone you may be sleeping with. Then again, love makes us all do irrational things. So if you find yourself falling in love your first week in a new country, just go straight to Rule #10.

Know when you’re a local .

Sometimes it can seem like you spend weeks, months, or even years feeling like the outsider. Then one day you wake up and realize this is your hometown now, and everywhere else (including the place you grew up) is where you go on vacation. It can be discouraging at first, but remember this: every great city became great because it was international. It welcomed people from all over the world who felt like they didn’t fit in. You were one of those people too. Remember when you were twelve and unpopular in school and thought you would never have any friends? Practically everyone you’ll meet here shares that past with you. No one in New York is actually from there, and yet they call themselves New Yorkers the day they set foot on the city’s soil, and immediately share their knowledge on what real New Yorkers do. Follow their example and act like a local even if you don’t feel like one. Maybe your friends will know the difference, but the only person who should care is you. So when in Rome, do as the Romans do. When in Paris, proclaim your Parisian loyalty. And when in Berlin, be a Berliner. Just make sure to look over your shoulder for the police.


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»Freedom« ALEX MCLEOD (WWW.ALXCLUB.COM)

»A New Beginning« A VISUAL TAKE ON THE THEME OF METAMORPHOSIS, TRANSFORMATION, REINVENTION AND THE LIKE.


»Untitled« B AY S A N Y U K E S L ( W W W . B AYA N A N D E R S O N . C O M )


ÂťThe Pig PrinceÂŤ V I O L E TA L E I V A M A R T I N E Z

The tale tells the story of a Prince born as a pig. As he grows up, he informs his mother of his desire for marriage. She orders a poor shoemaker to make one of his three beautiful daughters marry her son. The bride, however, does not like him. The pig prince, feeling rejected, kills her on their wedding night. The same thing happens again when he marries the second daughter of the shoemaker. But he keeps insisting and finally gets married again to the youngest sister, called MarthĂŠsie. On their wedding day, she is very kind to him, and returns all his caresses. The two photos represent their wedding night scene, when the prince reveals a secret to her: he takes off his pigskin and becomes a handsome young man in her bed.


»Running Cats« E M M A LÖ F ST RÖ M ( W W W. E M M A LO F ST RO M . S E )


»Yesterday / Today / Tomorrow« STUDIOFOLK (WWW.WWW.STUDIOFOLK.COM)

»Christmas Day, on the roof of the new Shopping Center downtown Maputo« 2008 D I T T E H A A R LOV J O H N S E N ( W W W. D I H A J O . C O M )


»Milagro« LUCIANO SCHERER (WWW.FLICKR.COM/INCRIVEL)

»Agata« JULIA BRUDERER (WWW.JULIABRUDERER.COM)


»The End of Now« January 1st, 2010 MICHAEL MANN


»Rabbit« NUNO HENRIQUES (WWW.ALL ABOUTNUNO.COM)


» Icarus I« ANTHEA BUSH (WWW.ANTHEABUSH.COM)


»The Shapeshifting Silence« 2009 RACHEL DE JOODE (WWW.RACHELDEJOODE.COM)

»Fred und Martha« MONJA GENTSCHOW


»Fever Ray« Y V E S B O R G W A R D T ( W W W . Y V E S B O R G W A R D T. C O M )


»Untitled« FA L KO O H L M E R ( W W W. FA L KO - O H L M E R . C O M )


NORTHERN SOUL

It’s Soul Up North TEXT

GARETH OWEN

PHOTOS

C O U R T E S Y O F N E I L R U S H T O N / S O U LV AT I O N P U B L I S H I N G , I P S O F A C T O F I L M S


»A NEW BEGI NNI NG«

51

From Italy to Australia, from Bournemouth to Dundee, across the world, people are dancing to the beat of northern soul music. But what is northern soul? How is it different to soul music and why is it northern? The history of what started as a regional sub culture is potted and multi faceted. There are few scenes that involve such passion, suspicion, militancy, and claims and counterclaims of authenticity. However, beyond those things, it is obscurity that is the germ of northern soul. If northern soul music was not obscure it would not exist.

In the swinging sixties the world was a very different place. No Internet, not much TV, and America was a distant and exotic land. Across the United Kingdom as the post war baby boom came of age, the teenager came into being and youth movements and sub cultures began to form. The advent of pop music gave a generation of young people a music to call their own. But then, as now, different groups wanted to stand apart from the larger crowd. Mods, rockers, teddy boys and trads – the first of these tribes developed in the late fifties and early sixties. How did these tribes define themselves? By the music they listened to. And mods, they listened to black American r&b and soul music. By the late 1960s, the power of the mod was waning. It was no longer a sub culture, more a fashion watered down by the emerging power of psychedelica and the birth of the hippie. Nights of amphetamine fuelled dancing and hanging out in coffee bars were giving way to love-ins and LSD (or at least it was in London, and to a lesser degree Manchester and Liverpool) and so the music changed too. Bands such as the Kinks and The Who moved away from the raw sound of their mod days and sailed into gentler waters. However, r&b and soul music, the underpinnings of the mod movement, were still popular. In clubs and cafés across the country, teenagers still drank coffee, still took amphetamines and still danced all night to r&b and soul. History likes to make neat start and end points for fashions and trends, but as anyone who has ever been a teenager knows – these things overlap, suffer mini revivals and are often geographically influenced. And these facts are exaggerated on the tiny island that is the United Kingdom. In the north of England, being a mod never really took off. Maybe it was a tougher northern attitude, less in thrall to the beat of a swinging sixties London, but soul music was always popular. Blues & Soul magazine sold just as well in the north of the country as in the south, and one of its writers, Dave Godin, was an influential figure further afield than just the northern climes. His unwavering support for black American soul music, particularly Motown, led to him being appointed the Tamla Motown UK consultant, helping them gain distribution through EMI and bringing soul to the British charts in the form of Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, The Supremes and Smokey Robinson. What seems like an obvious, even quaint business deal now, should be seen in the context of 1960s America. Motown was a black-owned, black-run record label in a racially segregated country, producing music that was fetishised by legions of pale skinned soul

boys across the Atlantic. It is no coincidence then, that in later years a popular symbol of the Northern Soul scene was the clenched fist of black power.

Motown was a black-owned, blackrun record label in a racially segregated country, producing music that was fetishised by leg­ions of pale-skinned soulboys across the Atlantic. Godin also owned a record shop and label, Soul City, specialising in imported American Soul music, and it was in that shop that the phrase ‘Northern Soul’ was coined. Derived from – of all things – football. Fans from northern towns would come to Godin’s shop after seeing their teams play in London. However these ‘Northern’ soul fans didn’t want the latest imports of the newest, freshest sounds. They wanted the fast-paced, hard-edged funkier sound of a few years earlier. This was the kind of sound they were hearing in places like the Twisted Wheel in Manchester, certainly the first club to draw crowds of soul fans from other parts of the country to their all-night parties. However, it is when this club closes that the real story of northern soul begins; a story of £15,000 records, talcum powder and a social scene dominated by music to dance to. It is also the story of a club – in the provincial, former mining town of Wigan, being proclaimed the best in the world by American Billboard Magazine. This was at the height of disco fever when Studio54 was at its peak. This club, the Wigan Casino, became synonymous with northern soul, attracting a membership of some 20,000 people, but it also became the curse that haunted northern soul. Every week, thousands of young men and women, boys and girls crammed into clubs like the Wigan Casino and Top of The World Club, with the sole purpose of dancing. And maybe to trade a seven-inch record or two. But almost the whole focus was on athletic, energetic dancing, performed on a talcum powdered area, and often competitively. Viewed in retrospect – a clear forerunner of break dancing.


52

As the regional popularity of northern soul continued, records that fitted the musical aesthetic – a fast, syncopated beat – were needed. The Wigan Casino moved into one direction, and by the late seventies, the club was playing any kind of music that fitted the tempo, including glam rock and novelty hits. The true soul fans were not moved by this carnival-like display of cheap music. So they moved to other venues, such as the Torch in Stoke on Trent (my hometown, incidentally). Here the DJs were feverishly playing the rarest and most authentic soul music that they could lay their hands on. A network of record dealers had sprung up around the country, with many travelling to America to pick up records from tiny local labels; recordings by bands that had tried to emulate the chart-topping Motown sound but had failed to make a mark. Pressed in tiny numbers and waiting to be found across America, these records fuelled the northern soul scene. It was not unusual for DJs to rent rare records to other DJs for them to play, and the ever-decreasing number of ‘new’ songs began to drive the prices up and up. As the seventies moved into the eighties, the northern soul scene began to fragment. Some of the people involved, such as DJ Ian Levine, went on to have successful music careers elsewhere. Levine is credited with creating the Hi NRG disco sound. In the charts, Soft Cell covered the (northern soul) club favourite, Tainted Love, a minor hit for Gloria Jones, who later went on to become the girlfriend of Marc Bolan. As the original Wigan Casino closed and the majority of the clubbers grew up into parents, the northern soul scene looked like it was beginning to die away. However, as one generation began to leave, a new one began to take over. Inspired by the revival mod, and scooter scenes, and fuelled by re-releases and compilations – often by more mature collectors from the original movement, a new generation of fans opened nearly a hundred northern soul clubs open across the country during the eighties. Increasingly rare records

were traded and passed around, and prices started to reach unimaginable levels. The rarest example of a ‘northern soul’ record is Frank Wilson’s ‘Do I Love You, (Indeed I Do)’ with only three copies believed to be in existence.

But almost the whole focus was on athletic energetic dancing, performed on a talcumpowdered area, and often competitively. Viewed in retrospect – a clear forerunner of break dancing. And now it seems that things have come full circle. The Twisted Wheel in Manchester recently reopened and is again hosting northern soul ‘all nighters’. Except they are now ‘all dayers’ as many of those who attend are in their fifties and sixties. But why, like the mod revival scene and modern day punks, do people carry on the torch of a previous generation’s youth movement? What continues to drive the northern soul movement, one that has chapters and clubs set up across the world, is the music. Apart from the patches that people wear to identify their favourite club, there is no look or dress code. It is equally enjoyed by both sexes. There is no colour barrier, and the only reason to be involved is the music. I have a deep affection for northern soul music. I get a kick out of hearing music that was made in America and was never heard or loved. Music that is frequently as good as, if not better, than the Motown that inspired it. Music that had the power to change people’s lives in industrial wastelands, far from London.


FIND OUT MORE: BOOK: NORTHERN SOUL STORIES, ANGST AND A C E TAT E S B Y N E I L R U S H T O N , S O U LV AT I O N 2 0 0 9 A V A I L A B L E O N : W W W . S O U LV AT I O N . B I Z F I L M : S O U L B O Y, U K R E L E A S E J U N E 2 0 1 0


FASHION TRANSFORMATIONS

The Road to Ruggedman TEXT

JAN JOSWIG

I L L U S T R AT I O N

DÖRTE L ANGE


»A NEW BEGI NNI NG«

55

We, the young and restless, we love transformation for the sake of it. It’s like a magician’s trick, having a red checked handkerchief that – ta-daa! – turns blue checked. Whether it transformed into anything good or bad is secondary. We love to be surprised, even if we wear a black suit jacket that doesn’t match with blue at all. But sometimes it is only too obvious that the situation has gone from bad to worse.

A recent transformation that I most saluted was the one of the pyjama. It changed from the armour of the night time sex enemy to the official suit alternative of the smartest daytime leisure boys. Artist and film director Julian Schnabel started it nearly single-handedly (with some assistance from his wife Jacqueline Beaurang, a fashion designer). It hit a wider crowd with Lucas Ossendrijver’s version, the Lanvin men’s designer, who reinvented the slim suits of the Dior epoch as pyjama-like pieces. This complemented the metrosexual man with the soft colours and the soft silhouettes and the lip-gloss instead of hair wax. Even soccer players encountered their soft side at the beginning of this century, which is virtually equivalent to the myth of biker gangs turning wimpy under the influence of ecstasy and ring-a-ring-o’ roses to four quarter beats at the beginning of early nineties’ UK rave culture. And now man’s identity heads in the opposite direction again. It’s all about the bloke, the buddy, the one who asks: “Ma’am, may I fix your sink?” instead of “Ma’am, may I try your body moisturizer?” Tons of hair wax and exact inches of jeans cuffs dominate the spearhead of men’s fashion again. It’s not about the androgynous cat anymore, but the masculine Taurus. But don’t mix up the neatness of the look with the ‘Neue Bürgerlichkeit’ (‘New Bourgeois’) that was discussed in recent years accompanying the Berlin Mitte phenomena of all the Boogaboo buggies. What we face is the ‘Neue Proletenkult’ (‘New Plebeian Cult’) which has sneaked in through the backdoor. Not the sensitive version like James Dean, who combines a wife beater with glasses, but rather the one who knocks the glasses off James’ face.  The Japanese and their Americana craze started it all. Strange enough because they are the most androgynous of people; hiding their sex behind loose fitting clothing for centuries, from the kimono to the capes of Yohji Yamamoto. But in Japanese street-fashion magazine Free & Easy, the ‘rugged man’ is the new role model. And the Swedish guys, who are the most unashamed when it comes to adopting any new hype bloody seriously and bloody quickly, are walking around in baggy jeans with wide suspenders, pencil-thin Menjou moustaches and baggy shoes. YES! Baggy shoes. Everything has to be big and solid and oily. Exaggeration of this style can be a lot of fun and an emancipatory irritation. And perhaps that’s what the average slimmer and smaller Japanese guys have in mind when they imitate the US-American pioneer. Obviously, it is what a queer activist like JD Samson of Le Tigre has in mind when she invents herself as a rough and rugged ‘butch lesbian’ in her annual publication JD’s Lesbian Calendar. But that’s an exception. The women’s answer to the butchy bloke is not

the boyfriend jeans (as it seemed last season) but the bodycon dress (like those Marios Schwab favours). Woman is a thin stroke in the landscape, man is a massive rock. That’s the distribution of power between the sexes (again).

Tons of hair wax and exact inches of jeans cuffs dominate the spearhead of men’s fashion again. It’s not about the androgynous cat anymore, but the masculine Taurus. If real men dress like real men again – and if that happens in a period of increasing war engagement, it tends to lose its playfulness. Then it’s serious. Don’t get me wrong. Not that everybody in blokes’ jeans and baggy shoes is crying out for war. But they are setting the conditions. There is only one step from the rugged man to the man with a gun. (Oh my, I sound like my father asking me if I’m preparing to wear a helmet when he first saw my New Wave undercut hairstyle in the eighties.) But, hey, someone has to read the signs and warn ya! Everybody’s talking about the renaissance of violence in western societies. And you are being confronted with the appropriate look. So if you’re a regular heterosexual white male, don’t play with fire and surrender to this fashion. Because this fashion is much more than just a fashion. It makes you feel comfortable with the worst part of your character: the arrogant dominator. Transformation is a backlash, baby! Being conservative is the only way to stay progressive these days. One possibility for willing dropouts from this inglorious track could be Dickies chinos in pastel colours: the trousers themselves are close partners of the fifties’ jeans, but with the pastel colours like light blue or bright yellow they are a link to the softness of the metrosexual veteran. And with their straight cut and bright colour they are, above all, an evocation of the typical English gentleman’s trousers. And as such they could lead us not to ‘Neue Bürgerlichkeit’ or ‘Neue Proletenkult’ but ‘Neuer Innerer Adel’ (‘New Internal Aristocracy’) which is all about the emancipated, elevated soul instead of the big purse or the big dick. The only problem: The Dickies in this colour range sold so badly, you will only find them on flea markets these days. But the Holy Grail wasn’t that easy to discover either …


PA T R I C K M O H R

FASHION WEEK JANUARY 2010

The Berlin Way PHOTOGR APHERS

MARC SCHUHMANN & CARSTEN LANG PRODUCTION

SANDRA LIERMANN


PA T R I C K M O H R


5 8

MONGRELS IN COMMON

EB TUNE IN


PERRET SCHAAD

KILIAN KERNER

S T I N E G O YA


PA T R I C K M O H R »A NEW BEGI NNI NG«

61


ESTHER PERBANDT

A.D. DEERTZ


JULIE EILENBERGER


STRENESSE BLUE


A N JA G O C K E L


Oh, I just can’t wait Ladies (and gents) it’s high time to rid yourself of that dead and dull winter skin. So, scrub up! Soaking, peeling and polishing your way to a radiant spring.

PRODUCTION

SANDRA LIERMANN

PHOTOGR APH Y

LARS BORGES


»AROMA WHITE« BRIGHTENING CLEANSING FOAM BY DECLÉOR

»TOPSLIM« FAT-BURNER BY OENOBIOL

SICILIAN LEMON, SEAWEED & EUCALYPTUS BODY SCRUB

»MICRODERMABRASION« EXFOLIATING FACE CREAM BY DR. BRANDT

»ACAÍ« DAMAGE-MINIMIZING CLEANSER BY KIEHL'S

BY THE ORGANIC PHARMACY

»ANTI-OXIDANT WATER BOOSTER« BY DR. BRANDT

»BIOSOURCE« DERMO-SOOTHING CLEANSER BY BIOTHERM

»GOMMAGE P50 CORPS« BY BIOLOGIQUE RECHERCHE

»ENERGIZING BODY CLEANSER« BY AVEDA

RARE EARTH DEEP PORE DAILY CLEANSER BY KIEHL'S

»GLAMTOX PEEL« BY RODIAL

»SOOTHING AQUA THERAPY« BATH SALTS BY AVEDA

»CLEOPATRA'S MILK BATH« BY THE ORGANIC PHARMACY


H Y U N - J I L E E » C O N V E R S AT I O N « 2 0 0 9


Interviews Suits? Check. Unconventional anecdotes? Check. Completely captivating? Check. Gilbert & George always give a killer interview and this is no exception. We also meet with Four Tet, a man whose heart quite literally beats for his music. Paul Sullivan chats to Hot Chip and gets the absolute low-down on this bright-eyed bunch and their latest album.


»A NEW BEGI NNI NG«

71

GILBERT & GEORGE

Being Art TEXT

JOHANNES BONKE

From the microcosm of London’s East End, artistic duo Gilbert & George are the “living sculptures” that continue ‘being art’ and reinventing their own version of unorthodoxy. Looking a little like one’s old-fashioned European uncles, Gilbert the Italian and George the Englishman still don the coordinated suits that first garnered them attention in the sixties and seventies. The impeccably dressed, mid-60 year old pair managed over their forty-year career to communicate beyond the confines of an inaccessible art world. Today more relevant than ever, they stay fresh through the years because their art is centred on themselves and their occurrence within their own environment. With often brightly splayed images touching on themes from sex ads, taboos and gritty London to religious fundamentalism, Gilbert & George adopted the slogan ‘Art for all’ in the spirit of becoming a household name and fitting for art that is provocative, current and accessible. “Our art is capable of bringing out the bigot from inside the liberal, and the liberal from inside the bigot.” We met with Gilbert & George on the occasion of their first solo show in Berlin at the Arndt & Partner Gallery where they spoke to us about freedom from materialism, the use of digital technology and the transformation of their work over time.


7 2

EB INTERVIEWS

Gilbert, George, Berlin is a city that seems to always find a way to reinvent itself without falling prey to the common offences of gentrification. Is it just a side effect or is it actually very important which city you choose when you open an exhibition?

It’s quite interesting we actually never had a show in Berlin. It’s amazing because everyone seems to have had a show here before. Berlin at the moment is probably one of the most important cities in Europe for art. London and Berlin, I would say that’s about it. G E O R G E Any city that we visit with an exhibition is filled with people, and very, very few people in any city visit an exhibition. We are always campaigning; we believe that culture is more important. Everyone knows the result of the latest football match, which is beautiful and sexy, but art should also be important.

public, but in the media and within the profession there is always a slight problem. G I L B E R T Even in England. G E O R G E And all over.

GILBERT

“I mean, why do we need money? We don’t have babies. We don’t have bicycles, we don’t have a car, and we don’t have a mobile phone.” Looking back at the very beginning, how difficult was it to find the balance between putting yourselves in front of your art pieces, becoming embraced by your own actual art project and looking like ego-centric maniacs?

It was an amazing adventure in the beginning. We had to find our way through this jungle because it was totally unknown what we did: this whole idea of making ourselves the centre of our art and also trying to leave something behind that was totally unusual. G E O R G E In fact, most people think when they see our pictures that they are talking about themselves rather than us. They see their own lives in relation to the pictures. G I L B E R T And that’s what we like, because we like an art that asks questions, that provokes questions, that’s what is important for us. We don’t want to do an art that everybody comes and says, “oh, wonderful” and then they go out and forget it forever. GILBERT

Your own personal personas continue to be anomalies of themselves, and yet you are accepted by the whole industry… GEORGE

No, no, we are not accepted!

Oh, but you are, or whoever you talk to here in Berlin thinks so at least.

We never had a museum show in Germany where there was a German director. GEORGE

So why do you think that is the case? GEORGE

You have to tell us. We have a huge following in the general

What could be the reason for that, do you know?

Because I think our art is sometimes pressing the wrong button. It’s maybe too much sex, or too much against religion, or too much against what someone might call nationalism, or all combinations that some people… G E O R G E Or maybe not enough sex! (laughs) GILBERT

It’s interesting because when you talk to artists there are basically two approaches. One half says that art can stand on its own. They don’t need an audience. They don’t need people to watch it.

We don’t believe that. We don’t do art for the few. We need the feedback from the audience. G E O R G E We only believe in art for all. We believe that the artist should use a language that can reach people in any part of the world, roughly. GILBERT

But how does it work when you are only here for the opening night? How do you get the feedback beyond the industry and that degree of exclusivity that is present at a private opening?

Yes, but this is the first time that the people of Berlin and its visitors can see pictures of ours. Football they can see every weekend. Opera, ballet … everything is available. G I L B E R T It’s to help persuade people to come see the show. I think we would like to do a museum show one day, I think that would be more for the public. GEORGE

Do you believe that a true artist has to be poor? GILBERT

And we are still poor.

You are not, probably.

We are very. I mean it’s very simple; we only pay ourselves a salary. We have a company and we have a salary where we get very little money, only like forty thousand pounds a year. GILBERT

And the rest you invest into your art?

The rest we spend making shows. We never have anything left over. We did big shows in China; we did big shows in Russia – we paid for them. And we recently did a big catalogue that we subsidised with 300,000 pounds. G E O R G E Even the catalogue here in Berlin is subsidised by us. GILBERT

So would you say that this freedom from materialism is a personal conscious decision in order to remain flexible?

I mean, why do we need money? We don’t have babies. We don’t have bicycles, we don’t have a car, and we don’t have a mobile phone. G E O R G E We don’t have a holiday house, we don’t have a yacht, we don’t have anything. We need very little for ourselves. GILBERT

Do you have your own art in your own apartment?


»A NEW BEGI NNI NG«

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No, we never did. Why should we do that?

On the one hand you embody a little of that traditional and romantic persona of the starving artist, and in the past you worked mostly by hand. Is it true that now you’ve started working more digitally?

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press it, they look at it and that’s finished – once. G E O R G E We are not doing that. We are doing something entirely different. But has your work changed over time with the development of new techniques?

But we are always developing our work, we are always thinking how we can improve what we are doing to make it richer. G E O R G E With the technique and material, but also with the content: the thoughts and the feelings, the happiness and unhappiness, the disasters, the hope, the fear, the death, the life. All those things are part of the same thing, it’s not just technique. G I L B E R T The morality, we want to change the morality. You know our parents felt completely different. They believed in something completely different than us. And only we as artists, philosophers, writers, etc. managed to create a different kind of world. That’s what we believe. Not the politician, but the artistic thought, free thought is able to change, you don’t even see the change but it is happening. G E O R G E The moral dimension, we say. GILBERT

“Not the politician, but the artistic thought, free thought is able to change, you don’t even see the change but it is happening.” It always was a hand job and it still is a hand job. Even when you take a negative image, when you have a camera, you press a button, you don’t take a photograph, you take a negative, you take the reverse. G E O R G E It is exactly the same because we are trying to eliminate the artistic hand from our work already at the beginning. In art, we use lenses to make our artwork even larger. And that seems exactly what the computer is designed for us to do.

“After a half hour, if George is not there, I feel like one of my legs is missing.”

Have the latest techniques and technologies helped you to revitalise or redefine your expression?

I mean, if you distance yourself from that world which you just described, if you are not working on a new project for quite a long time, are you missing something?

GILBERT

When we started working with computers it was like a continuation of the dark room process, because the language is the same: levels, layers and things. Long before we had a computer, young people said, which computer are you using? Even when we were not yet using one. G I L B E R T And now it is just extraordinary. It’s opening up new ways of expressing ourselves that we could never have done before. And it’s very simple, everyone has a computer with which they are not doing what we are doing with it. G E O R G E The young people who were so excited about computers, they are not able to design one postcard that they can sell. GEORGE

Much change and reinvention of art in the last two decades is due to the digital age. Do you see computers responsible for less interest in art, or the way we now view and produce images?

You have to realise that in the 19th century, everybody could sketch, everyone could paint, and it was completely normal. Every lady was able to sketch. And then in the 20th century, every tourist from all over the world was able to take photographs, but it meant nothing. No one wants to see the photographs of a tourist. G I L B E R T Everybody is taking images with their mobile phones, they GEORGE

GILBERT GEORGE

But we always work. We always take images all the time. It’s always research, always continuity, non-stop.

Since you’ve worked so much together, how is your relationship as a friendship? Is it very difficult since you spend so much time together?

Why should it be difficult? Very often journalists ask us, do we argue or do we fight? We think anyone that we know that argues or fights should be ashamed of themselves. G I L B E R T It’s very simple because after a half hour, if George is not there, I feel like one of my legs is missing. (laughs) GEORGE


I N T ERV I EW

PA U L S U L L I V A N

I M AG E S

BEVIS MARTIN AND CHARLIE YOULE

Hot Chip Not Cold Fish Hot Chip are back with a new album. Reining in their quirky side, they’ve created a coherent record full of glorious, euphoric synth-pop. Not bad for a bunch of nerds …


Hot Chip are nerds. Geeks. A quintet of white coat-wearing eggheads who lollop around in their ‘lab’ all day concocting intellectual pop and quirky electronic chimeras. At least that’s the way the music media seem to have portrayed them since they (presumably) goofballed onto the scene with 2004’s (alleged) ‘dorkfest’ Coming On Strong.

Life Stand’ – a coruscating club thumper that matches an infectious synthesized backdrop to Alexis Taylor’s soulboy croons. “I only wanna be your one life stand / tell me do you stand by your whole man?” he sings, blithely undermining dance culture’s unwritten manifesto of sexual abandon with a song about the virtues of longterm commitment. How very, very Hot Chip.

It’s true there was something a bit nerdy – or at least self-conscious – about the way their debut weaved elements of hip hop, soul, thugpop and electro into a winking, knowing neon tapestry. And it’s true, too, that the band seemed to deliberately position themselves slightly above (or more accurately to the left of) the media’s relentless cool-ometer, adopting an impenetrable mien that suggested equal amounts of sincerity and satire.

This single’s subject matter, the album title itself, and the fact that Alexis is now a papa has led some to declare the band’s fourth outing as the inevitable ‘grown up’ offering. It’s true that One Life Stand lacks some of the ‘krayzee’ edge of its predecessors, but it’s hardly a pipe and slippers affair.

But nerd and geek are slangonyms for less disparaging words like brainy and technically-minded – adjectives that are liberally applied to any current dance music artist who still has more than one brain cell left to rub together. And Hot Chip are nothing if not an unashamedly bright bunch of chaps. Nerds or not, Hot Chip have spent the last few years perfecting their kitschy sonic compounds, and along the way have gradually replaced some of their earlier tendencies to lampoon with a more warmhearted, sincere approach. 2006’s The Warning and 2008’s Made In The Dark both spawned crucial, sound-defining smashes for the band like the zany ‘Over and Over’, the jerky ‘Ready For The Floor’, and the oddball ‘The Warning’ – but these were balanced by heartfelt hits like “‘The Boy From School’” and an increasing number of ballads and slower, more sensitive tracks. Thus positioned somewhere between the languid discofunk of Junior Boys and the more boisterous genre-blending of Basement Jaxx, the five-some embarked in 2008 on an intensive Made In The Dark world tour, after which they took some much needed time off. Alexis became a parent during this hiatus and it wasn’t until later in 2009 that they huddled back in the studio – alongside drummer Charles Hayward from This Heat and Camberwell Now, Leo Taylor, drummer from London-based band The Invisible and the Trinidadian steel pan player Fimber Bravo – to create a fourth album, One Life Stand. “Our last gig was over a year ago, in January 2009,” says the band’s frequently topless band member Al Doyle. “So, yeah, we’ve been away a little while but not as long as Oasis or anything [light snigger]. We were all happy to take a break for a while. It had been a busy year. Alexis had a baby and a few of us had side projects going on, but it felt good to be back in the rehearsal studio. It reminded me how much fun it is to be playing together. It was pretty good to get some steel pans going …” Said steel timpani can be heard at various points throughout the album, but are put to particularly effective use on lead single ‘One

Take the opening quartet of tunes: the pounding beats and brimming disco bleeps of ‘Thieves in the Night’, with its ‘Fade To Grey’-esque melodic breakdown, the plangent piano and punchy drums of ‘Hand Me Down Your Love’, the sawing strings / soaring synths of ‘I Feel Better’; the afore-mentioned title track, all of which kick like speedfuelled mules with the requisite euphoric choruses, catchy synth-pop sheen and Taylor’s distinctive falsetto. “People said the same thing about Made In The Dark as well,” laughs Al, referring to the album’s supposedly ‘mature’ sound. “It’s true that Alexis having a daughter has affected him as much as any new parent, but we don’t really think about it too much in the studio. We didn’t think: “Right, we’re going to make our mature record now”, but it was one of our aims to see if we could make a proper studio album that has some unity. I think the reason it did come out more coherent or ‘all of a piece’ is simply down to the band leaving the songwriting to Joe and Alexis whereas before we always had some kind of input from the whole band. Also, it was all recorded in eight weeks during April and May last year, which probably lends the album a certain space.” It may also have something to do with the fact that Hot Chip used an outside professional studio for the first time. The bulk of the tracking on The Warning and Made In The Dark was created in Joe’s bedrooms (on pro equipment), but One Life Stand was created in Al and Felix’s East London Lanark Studio, and was strangely aided by a minor disaster in a neighbouring kebab shop. “We had a bit of a catastrophe as we share one wall of our studio space with a kebab shop next door,” explains Al. “They had been pouring fat down the sink and the pipes burst, pouring rotting, fatty kebab water under the wall. It flooded the whole studio. It was a total nightmare. No kit got damaged, thankfully, but we had to rebuild it from the floor up. By April last year we pretty much had a brand new studio, rebuilt to our specific tastes. Which actually helped, as did the fact it all came from a deeply traumatic place ...” One Life Stand dips mood-wise with the more sombre ‘Brothers’ and the remarkable ‘Slush’, a heartfelt 6/8 rhythm & blues ballad that could have been written by The Righteous Brothers or even Elvis.


“It does feel like a long time ago when we were carrying our keyboards in rucksacks and had no crew at all, trying to get from Munich to Stuttgart on our own.” Taylor’s elegant falsetto sails soulfully over the Memphis-style tune, mingling effectively with Joe’s deeper vocals. While not generally shy of ballads – Made in the Dark had four – this could be the band’s bravest yet. “The album is hopefully more narrative overall,” says Doyle. “We wanted it to be full of songs that are uplifting and powerfully rhythmic, but also have that sense of closure, of something coming to an end. We wanted it to be a bit euphoric, not in the sense of Dance Euphoria Vol 2, more that sense of release you get at the end of the night on the dancefloor. We also didn’t want to put too much pressure on any of the songs to assert themselves. It feels like every song on Radio 1 these days wants to be biggest thing in the room and we don’t feel we need to do that with our music.” The album perks up again with the disco pop of ‘Alley Cats’, a kind of kindred spirit to the mellow classic ‘The Boy From School’, and the tense ‘We Have Love’. Things slow again for the electronic chill out tune ‘Keep Quiet’, and end with ‘Take It In’, a terse, dark tune that breaks into a wide-as-the-sky chorus that’s more or less a definition of ‘euphoric’ in all the best senses. “We all feel very proud of the album,” states Al. “Some songs are real culminations of what the Hot Chip sound is about. One Life Stand has everything that we always wanted in a song – a classic pop structure and all that normal stuff, but within that all the odd bits, the musically strange bits and the different instrumentation. Lot of the songs play around with contrast, switching between major and minor, which is all quite simple stuff but it’s about the execution of those tricks. We felt we have managed to do it pretty well.” Indeed, One Life Stand seems to usher in a new era for Hot Chip. It reins in the quirky (and ironic) extremes of the band’s earlier sound in favour of a more balanced, coherent vision while remaining sonically diverse and decidedly punchy. It establishes them finally as an album band, whereas before they have been judged primarily by their singles. As for being nerds, their ‘cool’ status has been underlined by remixers like Drums of Death and Detroit-based legend Carl Craig who take One Life Stand deep into the club underground.

Aside from this, Al and Felix have also been busy producing artists for DFA at their Lanark Studios, where drummer Rob Smoughton has been putting the finishing touches to his new Grovesnor side project. Meanwhile, the next Hot Chip tour is imminent, with dates at a host of major venues in Europe and North America. The days of hawking CDRs around the London streets must feel very far away … “It does feel like a long time ago when we were carrying our keyboards in rucksacks and had no crew at all, trying to get from Munich to Stuttgart on our own,” chuckles Al. “That era feels like looking back on our school days or something. We’re lucky because we’re not one of those bands that exploded onto a scene and went straight from tiny gigs to playing big arenas. I feel for the bands in their early twenties who don’t have time to get a handle on what the business is like, as it can be exploitative and nasty, especially if you don’t have good people around you. Every step we’ve made we were ready to make, so we’ve been able to develop with very little pressure.” “I’m happy we’ve stuck to our guns and been ourselves. We’ve always been a pop band and we’ve never been very precious about obscurity or keeping underground. We want as many people as possible to hear our music and if we can get that exposure in a good way, without compromising things we don’t want to compromise, then that’s perfect.”


FOUR TET

Bliss Through Music I N T ERV I EW

H A N A YA N E T S K I

PHOTO

JA S O N E VA N S


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Kieran Hebden is the musical genius behind the Four Tet project – perhaps his most well-known moniker. After ten years of releasing digitally manipulated albums of all enveloping sonic drones, cut-up melodies and abstract musical landscapes, he is about to release his fourth Four Tet album. Influenced by his recent DJ residency at London’s Plastic People club, There is Love in You is the most noticeably club influenced album the Londoner has produced to date. It is also probably his most highly anticipated album – the album preview on Soundcloud attracted nearly 150 000 listens only 48 hours after being uploaded. Electronic Beats contributor Hana Yanetski caught up with Kieran in a salubrious corner of London’s East End to probe a little deeper.

So how are you feeling about the new album, you must be pretty excited about a new Four Tet release after four years?

Yeah, this is the first full-length album in a while but it’s not like I have just had four years doing nothing! There was an EP last year with four tracks, which came in at about half an hour or so close to an album, but this is the first new thing that is properly full-length. I have been doing lots of other projects and working a lot with [ jazz drummer] Steve Reid. We put out four albums, and I also put out an album with Fridge, the band I was in. It’s just that the Four Tet stuff gets the most attention, so everybody is, like, “First album in four years; what have you been doing?” I don’t see the other things I have been doing as side projects; it’s continuous, a music narrative through it all. It must be amazing working with a drummer like Steve Reid.

Yeah, he is a musical legend! He is in his sixties, grew up playing with James Brown, people at Motown, he played in Africa, he played with all the great jazz musicians in the seventies and eighties – Miles Davies, and all these people. A very forward-thinking musician – not stuck in the past as he is always pursuing something new. I met him and we just hit it off straight away. I had this idea of doing improvised electronics combined with his live drumming, and he was totally open to that. We started on a project that might normally have been a weekend long collaboration, but we both loved it so much that we spent four years or so recording albums and touring all over the world, and I think there will be more in the future. Every one of your albums has a different vibe to it. There is a definitely bassy up on your feat vibe to this one. How would you compare it to Everything Ecstatic?

Yeah, it’s definitely more clubby. I hope it’s different as it’s important to me that the music is always moving on. The stuff I did in the past was more hip hop influenced, and then when I started doing the stuff

with Steve Reid he played with a different rhythm, much faster, more African rhythms and four-four type sounds. I also started DJ’ing loads. I went to Ibiza and did this night with Timo Mass, and he invited me to do these nights in London off the back of that, playing techno and that was a totally different world for me. I did a residency with James Holden after that at the End, and I’ve been doing a residency at Plastic People. I think that because of the combination of Steve Reid and the DJ’ing, when I sat down and worked on the new album it had a very different rhythmic feel, coming from house music rather than previously where the rhythms were coming from hip hop and jazz. One of the tracks on the album is called ‘Plastic People’ – is it dedicated to your times there?

More of a nod of respect, because the residency I had at the club ran parallel with the making of the record. Loads of the tracks I was making, I would try out in my sets there, seeing how they sounded on the sound system. It’s somewhere I have always loved in London, a little sanctuary purely dedicated to sound and music, there aren’t even lights, and the concept is that you just stand there completely absorbed in the music. Through trying out tracks in there, the spirit of the record in a lot of ways came out of the experiences that I had there. One of the underlying ideas of this record is the concept of bliss, especially bliss through music. ‘Plastic People’ is made for that moment when you are standing there surrounded by complete darkness and you hear a record that touches you in a way that you lose yourself in it to a point that all there is in you is love, because the music just sounds so damn good. Tell me about the track off the album ‘Pablo’s Heartbeat’. I liked it a lot.

Pablo is my godson, and that was his heartbeat when he was still in the womb, recorded from the ultra-sound. It was just recorded on a


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mobile phone and sent to me as a text message. I was doing some live shows at the time and was using it in the shows. You knew it was a heartbeat probably about the size of a peanut and it would be pounding away, the littlest sound ever being amplified through enormous PAs in big venues, making it sound like this mad synthesizer – it was great! I put little personal sounds and things all over the records, when I listen back to the records they are kind of like a diary of what was happening in my life during their making. That I put that sound in and called it ‘Pablo’s Heartbeat’ doesn’t explain to anybody what it is about unless they ask me. For me this music is my life, although I think that people can understand that there is something there through me putting myself into the music, it’s not just some kind of technical exercise. There was a heartbeat on one of my other records, and that heartbeat was a dog’s recorded heartbeat. I found this record when I was travelling around America and it was the sound of dogs’ heartbeats that was used to train vets, the fact that a record of dogs’ heartbeats existed blew my mind. But I hear that heartbeat and I don’t care if it’s a dog, it makes me think of travelling America at that point, finding weird old records and what was happening to me then. Are you still working just on a computer?

Yeah, with the Four Tet the whole creative thing for me is about editing and sequencing, so the record is very much about using the computer and using it as an instrument. You’ll hear guitars and vocals and all sorts of normal sounds you are used to on a record, but rather than sitting and working out a melody, I’ll record a few random sounds and vocals and then create the vocal melodies in the computer by manipulating the sound. I try and work in that process because if I use the computer as the instrument I find that I come up with more interesting, unique ideas. If I sit down with a guitar, I find it so hard to come up with something that hasn’t been done before. It is such an explored instrument whereas computers are wide open for all sorts of new innovations. Are there any individual sounds or samples that you used for the album that you have a particular fondness for?

For me, the absolute magic is about things coming together in unexpected wonderful ways, which can make something powerful. When I did the second track on the album, ‘Love Cry’, I had the drums first. I knew that they were definitely powerful drums, but finding what was going to happen with those drums was the difficult thing. I ended up putting in this spiralling vocal, just two words repeating over again on top of it, it was the least obvious thing for me but when it happens, this magical moment, it’s like – wow! I didn’t predict that at all, but it made the sound so exciting! And will the shows still have as much of an improvisational aspect to them?

Always. I’m kind of bored about how people are so obsessed nowadays with recreating their album when they do their live shows. I think it’s a bit of a tract that live music has got itself in for this huge

demand of audiences, they hear the record and there is this expectation to hear those musicians recreate the record live. I remember this DVD by Led Zeppelin from when they were at the peak of their power; they were playing 20-minute versions of songs, taking their most popular songs and doing interesting things to them. I can’t imagine going to see Oasis and them playing a 25-minute fusion of ‘Live Forever’, it’s just not on anybody’s agenda anymore, it’s a totally different mentality. I like the idea of people coming to a live show and getting a chance to see where that musician is at today. If you go and see a band and they play the same set list a hundred times that year to the same backing track, it seems less inspired to me. So when I am doing my live music I always try and bring in elements of improvisation, I never have a set list. I get up there with maybe an idea of where it is going to start. I’m in a place where I have made so much music that I can now pull from loads of different albums and try different things, and I hope that from the start of the tour to the end I will be doing something different. I have started tours and by the end of them the seeds have been sown for the beginning of the next record. I always wonder how musicians play the same sets without going mad.

Imagine if you were the bass player in The Killers. You are just going through the same thing again and again every night on one instrument. I couldn’t do something like that. I remember, when I was a teenager, going to see Prince and he did a fifteen-minute ‘Purple Rain’, and he would be changing the set and mixing in all that showmanship at the same time. The real great performers, Prince, James Brown, all these people, they all do it. People don’t strive for that greatness anymore. They just want to get themselves in a comfortable place where they can sell themselves all over the world. Maybe the musicians do want to do something better, but the concert promoters and the record labels and powers that are making all the money out of this are keen to keep things in a very organised controlled set up. Have you got any more collaborations coming up?

The focus at the moment is I’ve got the record coming out and I am going to start the tour, so I don’t know if I have the time to take on anything much. I’ve got a couple of remixes and things like that at the moment. I have just done something for this guy, Eluvium, which is this kind of ambient piano music from America, and I have just done something for Babe Terror, a guy from Brazil who makes these mad vocals through guitars and effects peddles. Erol Alkan has just signed him to his label, and I have done the remix for his first single. Finally – if you had 30 seconds to explain your new album, how would you describe it?

As I was saying about the record being wrapped up in my life, it is almost impossible for me to listen to it in any kind of context that anybody else would hear it. If you/I(?) listen to any records that I made in the past, it is like going back to a diary, that was my life at that moment and there are things in the records that remind me of stuff, I feel like I am on a musical journey.


PICTOPLASMA BERLIN FESTIVAL 2010

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9 & 10 APRIL KINO BABYLON BERLIN: MITTE 2 DAYS OF SELECTED ANIMATION SCREENINGS AND INSPIRING TALKS BY INTERNATIONAL ARTISTS, DESIGNERS AND FILMMAKERS WWW.PICTOPLASMA.COM IMAGE BY: FONS SCHIEDON


Athens TEXT

VIK TORIA PELLES

PHOTOS

SANDRA LIERMANN

MANY THANKS TO

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SHARMILA SANDRASEGAR

ANNA MOERSCH

The cradle of western civilization. The birthplace of democracy. Few cities in the world are as loaded with history as Athens, yet in recent times it seems Athens has become merely a pit-stop for people en route to more idyllic Aegean destinations. However, resist the urge to head straight for the surf and spend a few days discovering the Attica basin; you will be unexpectedly seduced by a vibrant inner-city scene, where old and new mix in a random charm and, with any luck, close a few embarrassing gaps in your general knowledge.


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1. Plaka, thissio, Monastiraki 2. Psyrri, Gazi, Votanikos 3. kolonaki, Syntagma 4. Pangrati, Ampelokipoi 5. Vyron, ymittos 6. Southern Suburbs 7. Agia Varvara, egaleo, Peristeri 8. Northern Suburbs

The heritage of classical Athens’ cultural and political achievements in the fifth and fourth centuries BC is still evident in the city today, the most famous, of course, being the Parthenon. This key landmark of early Western civilization sits atop the Acropolis of Athens, rising, like so many other ancient monuments and remains, like an island from an otherwise fairly chaotic urban sea. The best way to get to grips with the city is by doing a lot of walking: start by sauntering down the shiny marble in the Acropolis through the little streets of Plaka (the old city) and on to the flea market at Monastiraki. As one of the most high-profile cultural projects undertaken in Europe in the last decade, the Acropolis Museum that opened in June 2009 is not to be missed. Located on the south-eastern slope on the ancient road that led to the ‘sacred rock’ it houses every artefact found on the Acropolis (and a cool canteen with views to the Parthenon!). The imposing structure designed by Swiss ar-

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chitect Bernard Tschumi and his Greek counterpart Michalis Fotiadis straddles the categories classical and modern, and in that way fits its hometown to a tee. At the moment, the Athens art scene is really taking off and Psyrri is leading a new and interesting movement. Hence it is also here you will find a number of innovative galleries, as well as a number of cool bars and clubs for nighttime revelling. Equally central Kolonaki is the landmark of modern Athens with swish restaurants, designer stores and private member clubs. Despite the steep Lycabettus Hill, Kolonaki, with its many pedestrian zones, is an area made for walking, and with its many cafés the ideal area for that other very, very Greek pastime – sipping frappe and bitching about the passersby. Get a glimpse of multi-faceted Athens over the following pages, as we introduce four Athenians, who give their – be it brief or comprehensive – impressions of the city.


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BLACK ATHENA Charming duo Black Athena are a prolific pair, who are bringing quality and diversity to the Athens music scene. Whether online, in print, on the air or at the decks Black Athena provide – in their own words – the “upfront outergalactic funk, futuristic soul, f loating beats, abstract hip hop, vintage boogie, bass business and more joyful noise!” to Athenians with discerning taste. Busy with their own concept nights (Cloud City) and their twice weekly FM broadcasts (Athens International Radio) Black Athena, who are one part English, took time out to give their insightful impressions on their home and adopted city. L I S T E N T O B L A C K AT H E N A L I V E E V E R Y S AT U R D AY & S U N D AY, 1 - 3 P M O N AT H E N S I N T E R N AT I O N A L R A D I O 1 0 4 . 4 F M O R V I A : W W W . AT H I N A 9 8 4 F M . G R W W W . M Y S PA C E . C O M / B L A C K AT H E N A G R E E C E , W W W . F A C E B O O K . C O M / Y O U K N O W W H AT L O V E I S

Explain how you see Athens.

Athens feels more cohesive than other European cities; in London or Paris you’ve got neighbourhoods dedicated to certain communities, most of Athens has the same face (only muddied slightly in certain areas by the poverty and neglect). Athen’s character is distinct – factually, it is part of Europe, but by character it isn’t. It’s got f lourishes of Eurasian culture, and it’s a very unique melange of the post-modern past and the now. What are the top things to do while here?

Greek people’s favourite pastime is eating, so to get into the local spirit by snacking on Meze in the sunshine with good quality Ouzo to wash it all down, eating gargantuan portions of meat in an old-fashioned taverna and, of course, soaking up the alcohol following a night of bar hopping with a greasy souvlaki. Another must is a leisurely stroll around Monastiraki’s f lea market, including the tucked away basements and warehouses overf lowing with second-hand vinyl.

aesthetic, all continuing to make headway with their myriad projects. In what neighbourhood do you live and why?

Kipseli because it’s cheap and cheerful! It has the best open air vegetable markets, an abundance of organic shops as well as loads of great ethnic food stores. It’s also next to one of the few parks in the centre of the city, plus you can walk everywhere very easily, whereas in the suburbs you are heavily reliant on public transport or driving. Describe a scene/setting/moment that sums up the spirit of the city?

Personally for me, being on a rowdy roof garden/bar on a summer’s night, enveloped by loud music and the dull roar of conversation and being able to look a few hundred metres into the distance and see the Parthenon lit up in all its ancient glory – it never fails to impress! What do you find the most photogenic/picturesque area of Athens?

What is a defining characteristic of the Athenians?

Loudness! Athens is super noisy on every level, from the car horns that constantly blast around the streets, the many, many souped up cars driven by boy racers, the rag & bone men with their loud hailers, the bars and shops blasting music at top volume, and the people themselves who are well-known for liking to make themselves heard!

It really depends on taste – for me, some of the dilapidated buildings around Psiri/Monastiraki, where a lot of the warehouses and junk shops reside, have a certain charm, especially on a hazy summer’s day. The image of the old men that congregate in those narrow streets, sitting on porches and offering their wares is quite appealing! What is your personal icon for Athens (person, place, event, thing)?

How is the city changing?

On a social-economic level, downtown Athens is becoming a neglected slum that desperately needs money to regenerate the area as well as some social welfare improvements to help the deprived, the migrants that need work and the drug addicts that need help. As is often the case in times of crisis however, the creative side of Athens f lourishes with independent businesses, conceptual spaces, novel collaborations and a firmly rooted DIY

This may sound really weird as many people actually never even go to the area due to its reputation, but I think the square in Exarchia is a perfect symbol of everything Athenian – it is an area popular with anarchists and students who manage to live symbiotically side by side, and it is an area marked by regular protests against anything and everything. But despite its vulgar surface, it has a spirit and wears its heart on its sleeve!


Shops and Galleries ( C LO C K W I S E F RO M TO P L E F T ) M A N O LO B L A H N I K VINYL MICROSTORE (WWW.VINYLMICROSTORE.GR) FREE SHOP (WWW.FREESHOPLIVE.COM) BREEDER G ALLERY (WWW.THEBREEDERSYSTEM.COM) K O R R E S , AT T I C A S H O P P I N G C E N T R E ( W W W . K O R R E S . C O M ) T H E P O E T & A R T I S T S A N D A L M A K E R ( W W W . M E L I S S I N O S - A R T. C O M ) BALENCIAGA (CHARITOS 8)


Hotels ( C LO C K W I S E F RO M TO P L E F T ) T WENT YONE HOTEL (WWW.T WENT YONE.GR) S E M I R A M I S H O T E L ( W W W . S E M I R A M I S AT H E N S . C O M ) PERISCOPE HOTEL (WWW.PERISCOPE.GR) FRESH HOTEL (WWW.FRESHHOTEL.GR)


Bars and Restaurants ( C LO C K W I S E F RO M TO P L E F T ) NIXON (WWW.NIXON.GR) MAMACAS (WWW.MAMACAS.GR) VA R S O S ( W W W. VA R S O S . C O M ) R E S TA U R A N T AT T H E A C R O P O L I S M U S E U M F A G A P O T I O N ( 5 6 P. I O A K I M , K O L O N A K I ) S CA L A V I N OT E CA ( S I N A 5 0 , KO LO N A K I ) H O X T O N ( 4 2 V O U TA D O N S T R E E T, G A Z I )


8 8

EB JET SETTING

FILEP MOTWARY Born in Cyprus and of Syrian nationality, Filep Motwary lives in the suburb of Pagrati, Athens. After completing his fashion studies and work experience at John Galliano, Dior Couture and ChloÊ, Motwary continues as a women’s wear designer in Athens together with high-profile jewellery designer Maria Mastori, devoting much creative energy also to Un nouVeau iDeal, his inspirational fashion blog recently voted among the top ten in Europe by Dazed & Confused, as well as editing the bi-annual fashion issue of Isterografo. Having interviewed some of the most important names in fashion like Lacroix, Juergen Teller, Rick Owens, Viktor & Rolf, and Galliano, Filep got on the other side of the questions for EB to shed some light on Athens and the Athenians. V I S I T W W W . U N N O U V E A U I D E A L . T Y P E PA D . C O M F O R M O R E M O T W A R Y M A G I C .

Explain how you see Athens?

I see it exactly as Troy was in the Grecian ancient years. What is a defining characteristic of the Athenians?

Their ego and good sex From a fashion perspective, is there a distinctive Athenian style?

For women to keep their hair natural coloured and for men to grow it a bit longer... What is Athens like to live in?

Frustrating. How is the city changing?

Slowly. What if anything is Athens lacking?

Trees, parks and European ideals Describe a scene that sums up the spirit of the city?

The traffic and the noisy streets of central Athens What is your favorite building?

The Bauhaus War museum building A typical meal in Athens is what?

Souvlaki wrapped in pitta What is your personal icon for Athens?

The Parthenon of course.

PHOTO BY JUREK DURCZAK


» AT H E N S «

HOLY MUSTACHE Holy is a vintage collector, stylist & producer and – last but not least – dashing party host of the Holy Mash dress code parties. A passion for vintage clothing sits at the heart of these various guises and vocations, for Holy is a collector first and foremost, with Athens and its surrounds providing him particularly rich hunting grounds. Those with less time and not so keen a fashion eye can get their hands on these select wares at the monthly Meet Market events, and quite conveniently kit themselves out for the regularly hosted Holy Mash parties at the same time. With his hands in many (100% organic) pies, Holy is the ultimate go-to man for all things fabulous in Athens. C H E C K W W W . M Y S PA C E . C O M / H O LY E M F O R A L L T H I N G S H O LY. W W W . M Y S PA C E . C O M / P O P U P. B O U T I Q U E , F A C E B O O K G R O U P : A D O R E H O LY M U S TA C H E V I N TA G E

Explain how you see Athens?

As a long time visitor. Why should people visit?

Unique sunlight, unique contrast (ancient Greek high-quality culture vs. contemporary trash culture), unique opportunities (breaking the law and getting away with it) What are the top 5 things to do while here?

Make love, enjoy food, explore art, dance all night, buy Holy Mustache vintage. What’s the best thing to see from a cultural perspective?

Ancient temples & street art. How would you describe the nightlife?

Endless. What is a defining characteristic of the Athenians?

Less work, more fun. How is the city changing?

Holy remains optimistic. Days of glory are coming. What if anything is Athens lacking?

More creative and open-minded people from all over the world. Describe a scene/setting/moment that sums up the spirit of the city.

2004 Olympic games opening ceremony. What is your favourite building/street/space/place?

All around the Acropolis (Plaka). Old Athenian style.


HYUN-JI LEE »APNEA« 2009


Hear This Our music editor Gareth gets in touch with a more feminine side to compile the ultimate ten tracks for a fresh start. The result is highly listenable and, of course, completely suitable for both sexes. In reviews our experts cover the most covetable releases of late and the impossibly cool Nic Endo shares her Music Moment.


9 2

EB HEAR THIS

THE

’S T OR LEC L O C E GUID TO

Songs To Start Again TEXTS

GARETH OWEN

ILLUSTRATION

DÖRTE L ANGE


COLLECTOR'S GUIDE

93

A selection of songs to soundtrack a new beginning, a fresh start or a total reinvention. From sublime pop to acerbic punk, we have a song for every type of transformation. Some are great, some are questionable, all of them scream out with the power of rejuvenation. So sit back, fire up YouTube and enjoy our selection.

RICHIE HAVENS

NINA SIMONE

An introduction that cannot help but bring me joy every time I hear it, making me want to run onto the street, beat my chest and head to Africa. “Ooooh, ooooh ahhha … fixing up ma boots, dum dum”. The ultimate song for getting back to basics and starting again. (And possibly the best song on this list)

“A new dawn, a new day”. Says it all really. Originally written for the musical The Roar of the Greasepaint – the Smell of the Crowd which must rank as one of the campest titles ever, Feeling Good has been covered by literally dozens of people. However it is Simone’s emotionally charged rendition that is the most powerful by far.

MONKS

SEX PISTOLS

2.15 minutes of post-Beatles, pre-punk, barely contained energy, which conversely is one of the longer songs in the Monks’ repertoire. So desperate are they to get to the point, the only lyrics consists of a 5-second countdown. “5-4-3-2-1, blast off”. Sung once.

What better way to signal a new beginning and a fresh start than penning a swansong to your previous partner – as the Sex Pistols did here, after moving from EMI to Virgin Records in less than harmonious circumstances; “I can’t stand those stupid, useless fools”.

JIMMY CLIFF

M PEOPLE

“I can see clearly now the rain is gone”. When I was a child I thought that Tight Fit were the musical geniuses behind this song. Alas, it turned out to be some bloke called Jimmy Cliff. Not sure what else he’s done – this must have been his one hit wonder. A pretty good one though, and perfect for a new beginning too.

For recently single women of a certain age, on that first night back on the town, this song is the soundtrack of their make-up application. My girlfriend told me this.

JOHN LENNON

One of my favourite songs, from a treasured band. Penned by Lindsey Buckingham, the song refers to the end of his romantic relationship with Stevie Nicks – “You can go your own way” surely the ultimate kiss off?

GOING BACK TO MY ROOTS

BLAST OFF

I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW

STARTING OVER You’ll not often find me perusing John Lennon’s back catalogue when I want some inspiration, but I couldn’t really write about songs for a fresh start without including this schmaltzy slice of soft rock from 1980. HONEY CONE

THE DAY I FOUND MYSELF Makes breaking up sound like the best thing that you could do with your life. Delivered under the guise perfectly orchestrated pop, with an obvious nod to a certain Mr Bacarach, this usually induces false memory syndrome where I believe it's 1972 and I'm a 17 year old girl humming this song as I wait for bus.

FEELING GOOD

EMI

MOVE ON UP

FLEETWOOD MAC

GO YOUR OWN WAY

CANNED HEAT

ON THE ROAD AGAIN Perhaps not the most joyous sounding of songs – all moody riffs and heavy bass, but contained within is a positive message of just getting out there and living life, and who can argue with that? “Goin’ places that I’ve never been / Seein’ things that I may never see again / And I can’t wait to get on the road again / On the road again”.


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EB HEAR THIS

MUSIC REVIEWS

OUR E T URI O V FA

REVIEWS

G A R E T H O W E N / N E A L E LY T O L L I S / A R I S T E I N

KIDDA

SHY CHILD

GONJASUFI

Go Up to Get Down

Liquid Love

A Sufi And A Killer

BJORN SVIN Browen

(Skint Records)

(Wall of Sound)

(Warp)

(Rump Recordings)

Kidda’s acidy big beat debut Going Up was a bit of a sneaky sunshiney hit back in 2008, ensuring that the Brightonbased DJ and producer earned the rather clichéd mantel of One to Watch. Roll on two years and I have my suspicions that a new LP is all but ready to be released as we’re now treated to a rather tasty filler record in the form of Go Up to Get Down, which sees his first collection of tracks rather snazzily remixed. I can’t help but be reminded of 1996 when everyone had perfect skin, we all listened to Rezerection compilations and summer would last forever. NL

Sometimes, I just want a bit of MOR pop music. That's why on occasion I want to hear Pat Benatar, Hall & Oates, and Tango in the Night-era Fleetwood Mac. And so it would seem do New York’s well established synth poppers Shy Child, who rather cheekily whip out the arpeggiated intro from ‘Lies’ and use it on the album title track. Not quite up there with the pop heavyweights of my youth, Liquid Love is still an enjoyable listen in the right context. The musical counterpoint to Autechre, that’s for sure, a light touch in pop music is an underrated skill. GO

Gonja might be a sufi but he sure is a killer of tunes. I appreciate the ever-so-trendy psychedelic/ worldly throwback, but c’mon, rambling & screaming your way through tracks like ‘She Gone’ and ‘SuzieQ’. The only thing that resembles a decent tune is ‘Duet’, because it contains a voice and a melody. Gonjasufi’s surely one of three things: a Mary Jane lover, a heavy crate digger or former member of a 13th Floor Elevators cover band. Which reminds me: ‘sixties-surf-psychedelicacid-drenched-pop-poetry’ has already been done. AS

A riot of sounds, noise and feelings that has been nine years in the making. Probably better known for his fierce techno, Bjørn Svin has created a playful second album that manages to incorporate practically every electronic sound you have ever heard into a hour long trip. At turns dubby, at others melancholic, then, such as on ‘RowmOR’, it is jump-up exciting. Not relaxed enough to be abstract, too weird and ethereal to be just techno, Browen exists in pleasing middle ground of oddness. Which, I reckon is exactly where it belongs. Great. GO


MUSIC REVIEWS

THE LOVE SUPREME

95

New Millennium Freaks

THE KNIFE + MT. SIMS + PLANNINGTOROCK

Best of Time, Worst of Times

(Tirk Recordings)

Tomorrow, In a Year

(Music For Freaks)

THE FREAKS

(Brille Records)

Those Italians have certainly got the funk. After a courtship that saw their first 12" released by Tirk four years ago, we finally have the debut album from the Milan based progressive band and my, was it worth waiting for. Fusing precise Teutonic rhythms with slippery electronics, this is the sound of a band who are not afraid to go deep. With guest vocalists (a smart move) appearing on about a third of the tracks, the rest are instrumental freakouts that are hell-bent on proving that you don’t need computers and samplers to make crazy dance music. Hell, they even pull off a cover of the classic Bella Luigi’s dead; something, in my opinion, even Bauhaus didn’t manage to do. GO

It is surely a sign of the times when I can review a CD without actually listening to the CD, and neither likely will you. In the time it takes you to read my review, you could go and find the stream, take a legal listen and form your own opinion before you have even digested mine. However, when said album is a collaboration between artists who have come together to create an opera based on Charles Darwin’s life, I can’t help but put finger to key. If only to say how bizarre, and frankly, brilliant it is. Quite literally a shade away from genius. Not unlike Mr Darwin himself then. GO

THE SOFT PACK The Soft Pack

Ah, what can you not love about The Freaks? This slightly strange mix of the old and new signals a return to the fray for the live house band formed by Justin Harris and Luke Solomon. Weirding out boompty house with more diverse sonic elements into something that has depth and humour, brushing the whole thing down with a taste of pop sensibility and taking it to indie kids was a stroke of genius that in retrospect was probably more influential than they get credit for. But, The Freaks have been one of my favourites for like, ever, so my view is not an impartial one. However, if the idea of weird monologues over skanky mid-tempo house funk does not sound like fun to you, we probably don’t have much in common anyway. GO

(Heavenly Recordings)

DELPHIC Acolyte (Kitsuné Music)

Licensed from Polydor by Kitsuné for the European market, Delphic, along with Two Door Cinema Club, are proof of a label maturing, gradually moving away from the sound which made them famous, and venturing into new territory. While Delphic seem very much at home on the ueber hip French label, they bring some welcome new blood. Originally from Manchester, their epicscale, spacey electro anthems are already causing waves in the UK. Expect imminent Euro invasion. NL

This band were originally called The Muslims but oddly enough this name didn’t prove popular. In fact, only The Paedophiles could’ve been a more inflammatory moniker. So they rebranded themselves as The Soft Pack which admittedly sounds a little like a porn movie. Anyway ... naming issues aside, they decamped from San Diego to LA (where else?) and have an interesting approach to making music; throw the drums down the stairs, chug the guitars underwater and sing over the top of it all. Needless to say, it’s excellent. NL

TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB Tourist History (Cooperative Music)

Irish rockers Two Door Cinema Club ditched uni to follow up on the buzz their tracks generated on MySpace and rapidly signed a deal with Kitsuné. The album zips along with the kind of youthful energy typical of a bunch of university drop-outs who have just discovered that gigs and groupies are slightly more fun than Double Chemistry. A promising debut. NL


9 6

EB HEAR THIS

KISSY SELL OUT

ALEX SMOKE

JESSE

Youth

Lux

Tum Tum Tum

(San City High)

(Hum and Haw)

(Gaea Records)

Admittedly, we are still in what could be called the formative months of 2010, so it’s still rather too early to start shouting from the rafters about what 2010’s best record will be. Surely such decisions should be made this time next year. UK-based DJ/producer Kissy Sell Out (apart from having one of the coolest names since ... err ...Dave) has put together an incredibly endearing LP here; all heavy bass, hipjerking riffs and teenage mockCockney vocals dressed up to the nines with some neat electro blips. Mixmag hailed him “one of the most exciting, charismatic and entertaining DJs of the decade” ...quite whether they’re talking about the current decade or some indiscriminate ten-year period sometime in the future is anyone’s guess. NL

Alex Smoke's third full length on his own Hum and Haw label is about as much fun as you can have whilst being introspective. Slowing down the pace and adding even more texture to the sounds in his musical arsenal this is some pretty heavy listening. Taking as liberally from his classical music background as he does from techno or dub it is the musical approach to textures and tones, and the addition of real instruments at unexpected junctures that makes this such an enjoyable listen... Don't be frightened, there's plenty of beauty in the darkness if you're prepared to look for it. GO

Thus far, Finland’s major contribution to popular music has been the abysmal Lordi, (Ed –and the not abysmal Luomo, and Kiki) a faux-goth collection of Addams Family wannabes who triumphed at that yardstick of music quality and credibility; Eurovision. Hmmm. Mercifully, along come Jesse, two guys who you’d never trust with your car keys (it must be the suspicious Scandinavian moustaches) who know a thing or two about abusing a synth to the extent that it produces some of the most energetic electro-disco the world has ever heard. Added to which, I love an album where I can’t pronounce a single track name. NL

BOB BLANK The Blank Generation – Blank Tapes NYC 1975 – 1985 (Strut Records)

OK GO Of the Blue Colour of the Sky (Capitol)

HADOUKEN! For the Masses (Surface Noise)

James Smith and co. return with their second long player, For the Masses; an appropriate title as this record is sure to build on the slightly left-of-centre buzz they generated with Music for an Accelerated Culture, and bring them wider appeal. Less snarling and bleak than its predecessor, the record nevertheless retains Hadouken’s penchant for schizophrenic synths and heavy basslines. Polished by Danish drum and bass producers Noisia, they bring a dancier element to the music. NL

Not many people know this, but it is actually written into the United States Constitution that any compilation which features the word NYC in conjunction with the time period 1975-1985 legally must be fantastic. Disco producer Bob Blank is clearly a law-abiding citizen as this collection of rarities doesn’t disappoint. It’s thirteen completely unknown tracks which Blank produced at his Blank Tapes studio, all of which incorporate that delicious late disco, early funk sound. Added to which it sounds like Chaka Khan is singing on every song and that isn’t a bad thing either. NL 

Everyone is sure to r-r-remember OK Go’s first album way, way back in 2002 and tasty hit ‘Get Over It’ which featured an affected stutter more commonly associated with Junior Senior. Despite catchy singles and a couple of clever video clips, the Chicago band seemed to sail off into territory which, on old maps, would be marked by “Here be dragons”. Well, eight years later they’re back. The heavy, old-school rock is supplemented with crunchy synths and yummy Prince-esque vocals. A welcome, and indeed surprise, return. NL


MUSIC REVIEWS

97

MARINA AND THE DIAMONDS

COBBLESTONE JAZZ

LONELADY

The Family Jewels

Modern Deep Left Quartet

Nerve Up

(!K7)

(Warp)

Created over a three-week period last summer, Modern Deep Left Quartet is the second album from the threesome that is now a foursome, following the edition of our favourite Canadian comedian – The Mole. There is certainly something to be said for the creative methodology adopted for this album – circling banks of equipment and jamming out the tracks, though I have to admit that my attention was not really arrested until the third track started. I felt like I was listening to very well produced, but readily available house music. However, when a bass sound I would more associate with jungle started wafting out of the speakers I nudged volume up and started muttering “fuck” a lot under my breath. Mr Polite should have been named Mr Polite No More. ‘Cromagan’ sounds like the bastard child of Patrick Cowley and Mike Banks, and ‘Fiesta’ made me want to leave my house at that very moment and find a party. Talented, experienced musicians jamming out musical dance tracks was once the norm, and if some people are to believed, it is a dying art in a computer obsessed, anyone-cando-it world. I beg to differ. (Also see – The Love Supreme) GO

According to some, the future of pop is female, which seems in some contexts a strange statement. I can imagine it is the sort of comment LoneLady would give pretty short thrift to, and I wouldn’t blame her. To be an amazing pop star has never been a gender specific achievement, and although she is being marketed as one and being proclaimed as such by the likes of ueber scribe Paul Morley, I am not sure that is what Julie Campbell even wants (see Ones To Watch). However, for good or bad, that is what she is set to become. Hooks aplenty, oblique lyrical references and choruses you can sing along to, there is just enough contemporary-retrofuturism on Nerve Up to give it the air of timeless pop music. And though I hate to say it, probably more likely to strike a chord with girls than boys. GO

(679 Recordings)

Marina Diamandis is something of a typical 2000s success story; early tracks produced on Garageband, self-made promos sold on MySpace which caught the attention of Warners, gigs for the Beeb and appearances at Glastonbury. Usually such a clichéd rags to riches story is more commonly associated with someone utterly undeserving of the attention; not so in Marina’s case. She’s one of a kind but to simplify, you can hear elements of Kate Bush and Planningtorock with the structural and lyrical complexity of songs augmented with a liberal dash of disco-danceable beats. Are You Satisfied? she asks. Oh yes. NL

AUTECHRE Oversteps (Warp)

242nd album from the masters of Sheffield glitch, who show no signs of ever getting bored with the scratchy electronic sounds that are in evidence on much of their work. Abstract atmospheres and intense sounds crash together to make me feel as if I have got trapped inside the The Large Hadron Collider. And that is actually pretty exciting. Unlikely to win them many new listeners, but certain not to disappoint their extensive fan base either, this is British conservatism at its best. The IDM equivalent of a nice orderly queue. GO


MY IC MUS T EN MOM

EB HEAR THIS

Nic Endo

The word ‘enigmatic’ is one which is applied nonchalantly to far too many musicians; however, in Nic Endo’s case, the tag is well deserved. Not only has she proved her mettle as a solo musician (her debut LP Cold Metal Perfection was a critical sensation) but she also looks the part; cold and aloof, clothed in black, her ghostly white face punctuated by striking Japanese symbols. And unlike many of her peers who never seem to want to shut up, Endo is somewhat publicity shy, adding to the appeal of this engaging yet solitary character. Rumour has it that a new album is on the way this year, but since Endo first rose to prominence in the late nineties as chief programmer for legendary hardcore noise outfit, Atari Teenage Riot, she turns the clock back (and breaks the silence) to tell Electronic Beats about her music moment. I N T ERV I EW

N E A L E LY T O L L I S

The key moment in my career was when I played with Atari Teenage Riot for the first time. We didn’t have much time to prepare and the show was at the Beastie Boys label night in Austin, Texas, at South by South West, the annual music convention. Alec Empire and Carl Crack got me into the band as they needed a person with the right skills to control the machines and synths. Previously, Alec had been doing this part, but the band really started to buzz internationally and he became the focal point on stage as he was singing a few of the popular ATR songs. Even though it was easy for me to do, I was nervous about how their fans would accept me. Back then it was the show to be at, the hottest night, and we went on stage at this sold-out gig and it blew my mind. It wasn’t the fact that the whole place was going insane, but I suddenly saw that it was possible to do something against all the logic of the music industry. ATR had created their own sound, something so unique that it got worldwide attention. I met musicians like Beck, the Beastie Boys, or

PHOTO

COURTESY OF ARTIST

Rage Against The Machine, and I felt they all had this respect for this band simply because the music was so unique. That was something I had never witnessed in Germany at all. Alec and Carl had believed in this band and its sound since they started in 1992, and how, against all the critics and cynics, they had followed their own vision. I understood the beauty of art and music right there on stage; you can create anything, despite all the rules, all the opinions, the statistics, no matter what people might think or say about you. And this is very powerful. I grew up learning classical piano where you basically just reproduce music that other people have written in another time long before you were born. But since then I’ve approached my own music in such a different way. Suddenly, everything changed for me. It felt very liberating.


Electronic Beats Magazine Issue 01/2010  

A New Beginning - The Transformation Issue

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