DAN LE SAC VS SCROOBIUS PIP // DEMONIC COMEDY // HEAVY RAIN DAVID BRAY // HEROINES // FUTURE GARAGE // YES GIANTESS DON MCCULLIN // AN EDUCATION // NUMAN March 2010
Copyright Faux Media 2010
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Logic of Chance // 10
Photo: Steven Dodd
Martyn Cooling sits down with artist David Bray to discuss his influences and style.
This issue was made by: Martyn Cooling, Liam Haynes, Mike Coleman, Tom Brodrick, Faye Isaac, Robert Smith, Michelle Huynh, Eddie Whittingham, Chris Wheatley, Eleanor Doughty, Shaun Bloodworth, Steven Dodd, Xavier Meese, Sarah Quirk, Fred Thomas, James Arnold, Graham Cooling, Chris Ensell, Nicole Paciello, Cheryl Burns, Tom Revell, Jennifer Garrick, David Bray, Hannah Blackwell, Harriet Greenly.
Demonic Comedy // 18
For business enquiries: Martyn.Cooling@ireadfaux.com
Liam Haynes talks to UK spoken word poet Scroobius Pip.
Empty Thought // 14
Tom Brodrick takes a look at Paul W. Roberts’ lost classic, The Demonic Comedy.
Origami Killer // 28
For editorial enquiries: Liam.Haynes@ireadfaux.com For marketing enquiries:
Robert Smith introduces us to Heavy Rain, the Advertising@ireadfaux.com revolutionary PS3 title from David Cage. Any further questions should be directed to:
Future Garage // 30
Mike Coleman explores the fragmented state of the current dubstep scene.
She’s Lost Control // 34
Faye Isaac catches up with the man behind Heroines, Matthew Fry. VOL 1.1 CORRECTION Cover image should have been credited to Lucy Bridger.
Faux Magazine is published monthly by Faux Media. All content (unless otherwise stated) is copyright of Faux Media. Any opinions expressed within do not neccessarily represent the opinions of Faux Media. MAGAZINE PRINTED AT JOURNAL PRINT MEDIA. ENVELOPE PRINTED AT APS PRINTERS. DEVELOPED AND CREATED BY FAUX MEDIA.
For the third time I got the dreaded Red Ring of Death on my Xbox 360. Don’t know what that is? Well, when Microsoft built the games console, they decided to cut some costs and forgoe some extra testing on parts (apparently,) therefore at any given moment for no reason your Xbox 360 might get these flashing red rings on the front and become unusable. This just happened to me again. Yes it blows, but Microsoft is fixing it. However, it means two weeks away from distracting worlds, fancy CGI and overblown storylines.
As we go to print talk is rife regards BBC 6 Music being discontinued by the BBC. This is mostly due to a report currently being considered by the BBC Trust which was penned by a guy called John Tate. I’m sure there’s nothing in it, but his previous role was in the Conservative party policy unit, co-creating the party’s 2005 manifesto. An early signal of the direction a Conservative goverment would take public service broadcasting in? Quite possibly.
Director of Faux Magazine
It got me thinking - I don’t remember a time since I was 10 when I didn’t have a games console of some sort. From my old Amiga to my first Nintendo through to my Playstation and Dreamcast, then two generations of Xbox. Yep, bit of a nerd. I worked out I’ve owned 14 different consoles over the years, and estimated that I’ve seen over 200 games through to the end. My main concern is how the hell I ever had to time to play all that, let alone afford it. Seriously ,where did the cash come from? Where did I find hour after hour to push through the Halo universe, guide Sonic through some casino worlds, blow stuff up with Mr Bomberman, or put time into building a house with insanely stupid characters in the world of The Sims?. What? There’s a new Halo out this year? Oh, and Fallout has a sequel? God, there goes another 20 hours of my life...
Editor of Faux Magazine
Ignoring any political issues, it’s clear to see that across the music industry 6 Music has incredible support. The online magazine This Is Fake DIY is drawing together industry contributors to create a print zine explaining, through a series of impassioned pleas, why 6Music is so loved and so essential to our radio landscape. Bands like Fleet Foxes, Mumford & Sons, Marina & The Diamonds, Passion Pit, and so on all received strong support from 6Music DJ’s before making it anywhere near the Radio 1 playlists. Put simply, 6Music is an essential part of the way ‘alternative’ music makes its way towards the mainstream. Not that John Tate cares, obviously. To support the cause and make your voice heard visit: http://bit.ly/bbc6music
We all enjoy those little victories in life don’t we? You know the ones; splashing innocent bystanders as you parade through a huge puddle in your car, or better still when a chav contracts Chlamydia. This week I had my very own moral victory over nature, fellow man, and my inferiority complex.
If the ‘music industry’ was a person, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it’d be a drug dealer. Perhaps that’s a bit of a harsh indictment, but a swift rifle through my Beatport account gives fairly strong indication as to why there only seem to be moths in my wallet at the moment - pretty hungry moths at that. There are few things on the internet that would keep me up at 4am, clicking, twitching and spending, but finding new music for me - as it is for many people - is practically a compulsion. As damaging as this particular nervous twitch is to my sleep patterns, at the rate that the electronic music world is producing at, I’m going to be there for a few more nights yet.
Calm Down Dearest
It is a medical fact that I have the world’s smallest bladder. After one too many at the pub this week, I stood at the urinals grappling with the oldest problem known to man - ‘stage fright’. I’m not afraid to say that the guy next to me literally flopped it out. It was one hell of a penis. But for all his meaty weight could he pee? Could he buggery. I was faced with the ultimate David and Goliath situation. The race was on. I stood strong. I composed myself and summoned up the soul of a Squirtle. The Japanese heavens opened. In your face floppy cock man! I turned to him triumphantly, only to decorate my trousers with splatters of wee as I grinned like an idiot. As I suspected all along, it turns out that even in small victories it pays to be humble. You can check out Eddie’s column ‘Calm Down Dearest’ every Wednesday on ireadfaux.com.
Faux // Fact Magazine
Thankfully, it looks like there’s a break on the road ahead. Taking the pressure off the wallet for a brief moment, this month sees the joyous birth of Faux’s brand new mixtape series. Bringing you exclusive ten minute mini-mixes, available for download at www.ireadfaux. com, business begins with hotly-tipped dubstep youth Numan, whose kick-snare soul will hopefully give you that fuzzy 3am-download feeling inside. With these exclusive mixes arriving every two weeks from a different fresh DJ, it looks like it’s time to put down the credit card and pick up your headphones – rehab is in session. www.ireadfaux.com || 05
LOST & FOUND SPEECH JEWELERY Speech is the brainchild of Michael Mercanti, whose industrial inspired jewelery is taking the fashion world by storm. Described as being influenced by piracy, true events, the unknown, the aboriginal, the rock stars, the streets and the romantiscm of life. To quote the artist himself, “...this isnt just a jewelery line, it’s a lifestyle”. Mercanti’s Jewelery can be found online or in various boutiques around the world. www.ssspeech.com
MONOCHRON Monochron is a unique clock and here at Faux we’re a sucker for special time pieces. The clock plays pong constantly and everytime a player loses time ticks over another minute. Is your inner nerd glowing? Thought so. The Monochron is available now. www.adafruit.com
BABYCAKES Just like you and I , Babycakes was conceived in the bedroom. Just like you and I, Babycakes started small and began to grow. However, unlike you and I, Babycakes was spawned by an orgy of glitter, flashing lights, ice-cream and electro pop. Their clothing is loud, proud and undeniably cool. They have a huge range of tees, hoodies, bags, badges and stickers. If you like your clothing bright and distinct then check out their website. Babycakes is stocked locally at Wildcard, Lincoln. www.bbycks.com Words: Martyn Cooling
BACK TO MONO - COMPETITION Back To Mono, the one-stop shop for all the audiophiles of Lincoln, has offered up what can only be described as an epic prize for this month’s competitions. To giveaway we have a 7” record box filled with a huge selection of goodies, everything from 7” singles, badges, a tshirt and some vinyl stickers. The bundle has a value of over £50 and is a mammoth prize for vinyl fans. For your chance to win, all you have to do is email your name and address to: firstname.lastname@example.org, label your email BACKTOMONO! All entries must be in by 05/04/2010, the winner will be notified by email within 2 weeks of the competition closing. The winner will be chosen at random, employees of Faux Media, Back To Mono and their close friends and family are sadly forbidden from entering. Subject to terms and conditions on ireadfaux.com. Back To Mono is located at Units 8-9, The Mall Shopping Center, Lincoln (opposite Slug and Lettuce). www.back-to-mono.co.uk
FLEXOUT - COMPETITION The biggest Drum and Bass DJ of all time is coming to Lincoln - Ram Records boss Andy C! Last year saw him reign supreme once more as he was crowned Best DJ by Drum & Bass Arena for the 6th successive year; a record for the drum and bass industry. It continues Flexout’s incredible run of massive nights at Lincoln’s Engine Shed. Also on the bill are Spectrasoul, MC Wrec, Midnight Flight and Lincoln’s own Thunderskank. The event takes place on April 16th and is sure to sell out fast! Fancy bagging yourself a pair of tickets? Well we have two to give away. For your chance to win, all you have to do is email your name and mobile number to: email@example.com, label your email ANDYC! All entries must be in by 12/04/2010, the winner will be notified by phone within 2 days of the competition closing. The winner will be chosen at random, employees of Faux Media, Flexout and their close friends and family are sadly forbidden from entering. Subject to terms and conditions on ireadfaux.com. www.facebook.com/flexout
NUMAN Emerging from the considerably over-saturated dubstep scene on a rising wave of glitch-laden polyphony, 18 year old Manchester producer Numan Khan is set to have a prolific year. After cutting his production gums experimenting with grime, his weighty digital sound has begun drawing considerable attention from the dubstep fraternity. Numan, however, is keen to differentiate his sonic approach from the pack; whilst a firm fan of dubstep’s more belligerent luminaries, he is currently creating a thoroughly different atmosphere, concentrating on “making mellower, more melodic material”. Indeed, mood and feeling are etched deeply into Numan’s productions. Digital grit may be well-trodden ground in the world of dubstep, but Numan has imbued his twitching consolestep with remarkable soul. ‘Warp Acid’, from his astounding 2009 Secrets EP, is a perfect demonstration of this – lead by a trilling, infectious horn melody, aching sub bass and loose, celestial synthesizers layer up a hypnotic piece of airy electronica. Numan is finding his muse amongst the “bleepy, dark, experimental, melodic productions” of intangible, shifting artists including Desto, Zomby, and James Blake, describing his own creations primarily as “140ish, versatile and experimental”.
Numan’s lucid attention to detail exalts substance over compromising material to fit neatly to perceived genre standards. Feeling the weight of his prospects in the wake of coverage from FACT and Mixmag, Numan recognises that “there is a bit of pressure, I need to constantly make good tunes to develop a name right now”. These high expectations however, are testament to his production skills. With tracks like the rolling, rumbling ‘Secrets’ garnering exposure from Radio 1’s Mary Anne Hobbs and Toddla T, as well as dubstep dons N-Type and Starkey, Numan has already established considerable presence in the dubstep world. Whether he follows the path razed by the tumultuous wrath of tracks like ‘Virgo’ and ‘7th Key’ or continues into the soulful breach left by ‘Secrets’ and ‘Warp Acid’ , this prodigious youth looks set to offer 2010 the shot of immaculate soul that dubstep really needs. ‘Secrets’ EP is out now on Subdepth Records. Also, check out Numan’s mini-mix on ireadfaux. com as we kick off our exclusive mixtape series. www.myspace.com/numanuk Words: Mike Coleman
YES GIANTESS Yes Giantess make pretty party-worthy jams. They’re like the tequila-fuelled love-child of Iglu & Hartly and Hockey, with a raging doubt that Passion Pit might actually be the father. They’ve practically swallowed a Lego kit of synths and beats before spewing it up again with a scream of intent. Sensible songs these are not, but they are very fun. The same sort of fun as ending up getting it on in the bathroom at a houseparty; edgy and immense at the time but with a distinct bitter taste of regret in the morning. While their early self-produced demos got them heaps of attention, it’s Ellie Goulding’s producer Starsmith who’s working with them on latest single ‘The Ruins’. Drenching Yes Giantess’ bro-pop with dirty synth lines and raw vocal delivery, ‘The Ruins’ is a fantastic jump from his previous work on Ellie’s debut LP. A mass of juddering bass and killer pop hooks, this latest effort cements Yes Giantess as one of America’s hottest alt-pop acts. ‘The Ruins’ is out now on limited edition 7” through Neon Gold Records. www.myspace.com/yesgiantess Words: Liam Haynes
SUNDERBANS Sunderbans, a trio of young English men whose mixture of lo-fi indie, aggressive hooks and melodic shared vocals has ensured a cascade of focus in the run up to the release of their debut single,‘We Only Can Because We Care’. Taking their name from the mangrove swamps of The Ganges, Sunderbans have roots much closer to home, having formed initially in Sheffield with Chris Hutchinson and Maurice Day. Chris and Maurice then headed to the big smoke and soon added the drumming skills of Dave Canning to the line-up. ‘Road Kill’ was the first track to be shared by record label Young & Lost Club back in January, a mellow and unassuming insight into what to expect from the band. It was, however, somewhat of anundersell,‘We Only Can Because We Care’ feels much brighter and more accomplished. Beginning dauntingly, the track truly captures your attention from the offset before fully reeling you in within the first minute thanks to a crescendo of guitar wails and cymbal crashes. These continue throughout, keeping your attention until the final note. ‘We Only Can Because We Care’ is released on limited edition 7” vinyl on March 8th through Young & Lost Club. www.myspace.com/sunderbans Words: Chris Wheatley
www.ireadfaux.com || 09
LOGIC OF CHANCE
Words: Liam Haynes
Way back in the heady days of late 2006 a strange musical coupling emerged from deepest darkest Essex. The spoken word poetry of Scroobius Pip combined with the streamlined, glitch beats of Dan Le Sac converged to devastating effect on ‘Thou Shalt Always Kill’, the first track the duo had written together, which quickly became an underground sensation. After letting loose a few low key releases, the duo signed to Rob Da Bank’s Sunday Best label and released critically acclaimed debut album Angles, combining newer tracks they’d worked on since the release of ‘Thou Shalt Always Kill’ as well as remixed versions of tracks from Scroobius Pip’s previously recorded album of spoken word poetry. Returning now with their second album together, I talked to wordsmith Scroobius Pip about the ideas behind the new album, their relationship with Sunday Best, and the progression in their sound over the past few years. Lead single from the album, ‘Get Better’, is a critical missive of teenage life in young Britain, but why so serious? “I grew up in a small town in Essex, I still live there actually. Touring for a couple of years and that then coming home made me realise that there are a lot of problems in towns like mine. It’s things like teenage pregnancy, unnecessarily casual drug use. It’s depressing, but I wanted to write a song which was a positive about all that. That each individual has the choice and ability to make other choices to get out of it and stuff ”. In fact, the theme continues with other tracks on the album such as ‘Great Britain’, containing the brilliant lines “I’m from a little place called Great Britain / but I don’t know if I love or hate Britain”.
“...THINGS LIKE TEENAGE PREGNANCY, UNNECESSARILY CASUAL DRUG USE, IT’S DEPRESSING” Just from these two examples, it’s clear to see that this is a deeper and far more serious collection of songs from the previously tongue-in-cheek material evident on Angles. “This album is a lot more direct really, I mean there are still stories there obviously and more hidden meanings than on the last album. Songs like ‘Great Britain’ and ‘Stake A Claim’ are all very much addressing the situation directly and saying “look, here’s what I think the issues are”. Just discussing that kind of thing, not trying to say I have all the answers, or saying I’m a politician or something, but just getting something out there and getting it discussed”. Scattered amongst this stronger new material are absolute gems like ‘Cauliflower’, featuring an American singer called Kid A whose EP Dan Le Sac produced. “I’d been working on Cauliflower for ages actually, with everyone from Adele to Peggy Sue. Then Dan worked on it with Kid A and it all just came together that time, which is strange really. It’s actually a homage to a Nancy Sinatra song which has this great split
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between the two collaborators. One side is moody and dark and moving, and then on the other side you have something psychedelic and fairy-like. Although it sounds like a love song, and most people will see it as a love song, it’s actually about falling in love with a song. Those time you first fall in love with a song and play it three days in a row, but then at the end of the day that dilutes the song for you. You can never go back to it in the same way again”. Dan and Scroobius had a lot of early support from Radio 1 DJ Rob Da Bank, eventually signing to his label, Sunday Best. But how did this come about, and why choose Rob’s label over one of the major label offers that must have followed the success of ‘Thou Shalt Always Kill? “He was supporting us early on, from when we’d finished Angles he just came in and said “look, I can’t afford to sign you, but I want to just help you out”. We were very new to the music business; it’s a cruel world with a lot of tricks that can be played. We went backwards and forwards with major labels and stuff, but then thought that at the end of the day if we’re trusting Rob to give us all
“...IT’S A WEIRD ONE, BUT I DON’T FEEL ANY PRESSURE AT ALL. I MEAN WE’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO WRITE ALBUMS...” advice then why don’t we just sign with him? Sure, we wouldn’t get pushed commercially the way we would with a major label, but we’d be able to record the material we wanted”. That freedom to create exactly the album they wanted, without any overbearing label interference or A&R coaxing clearly shows in Logic Of Chance’s biting wordplay and throbbing beats. At times it feels like a dream collaboration between Dylan and DJ Shadow; poignant social commentary alongside thick layers of hip-hop influenced electronic play. “It’s a weird one, but I don’t feel any pressure at all. I mean we’ve always wanted to write albums and after ‘Thou Shalt’ came out we spent like another year working on the album. Obviously there was a lot of pressure to bring something out, ride on the success of the song, but that’s not really how we work. That means there wasn’t any pressure this time based on the song, but maybe just some based on how well received the album was. ‘Thou Shalt’ was the first song me and Dan ever worked on, so it was always a new and exciting thing. The more we develop that and produce that the better things will get”.
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There’s an obvious increasing synergy between the two in their latest material, one that Scroobius explains is just inevitable, after all “on the first album a lot of those songs had been about in other forms before. I think two were productions of Dan’s, and a couple were ones that I’d recorded previously for other projects. They weren’t all specifically written for each other, but they went well together which is I guess what sparked that relationship”. Sitting alongside the ferocious lyrical content of ‘Get Better’ is a fantastic remix package. “I mean the one that’s the most commercial obviously is the Jakwob one, but I’m weird with remixes. There are very few remixes I’m in to actually; I normally leave it more to Dan and the label”. Fair enough. Dan’s contributions to the album are a lot more refined second time round. Compared to the sometimes muddled range of influences on Angles, his work on Logic Of Chance seems altogether stronger.
“...DELICIOUSLY REPRESENTATIVE OF THE BRILLIANT MELTING POT OF IDEAS AND STYLES THAT IS GREAT BRITAIN.”
“Since the last album, just getting about more, he’s learnt some new tricks, heard exciting new stuff. I don’t think he’s gone, “right, I’m going to make dubstep now”, you just hear this range of new influences from here and there. Bits that are more dance, more hip-hop. Not a direct, “I’m changing my sound”, just some organic change”. This is where the key point is, that for a second album Scroobius and Dan didn’t need to change their sound, just grow it organically. Grow on the success of Angles¸ maybe slightly refine and redirect some of that energy and passion, both musical and lyrical, and from it create something that is deliciously representative of the brilliant melting pot of ideas and styles that is Great Britain. Dan le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip’s new album ‘The Logic of Chance’ is out 15/3/10 and reviewed in our albums section. www.myspace.com/lesacvspip
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Words: Martyn Cooling Images: David Bray
In an art world where anyone can beg their parents to buy them a digital SLR and call themselves a photographer, where anyone can hit a torrent site and find an illegal copy of Adobe Photoshop and call themselves a digital artist. David Bray, a 6ft 5 bearded man from Dartford is keeping it traditional. David has worked with a long list of clients as diverse as Harvey Nichols, MTV, Pizza Express, Vodafone, Elle and the BBC. I sat down with David recently to talk about his work and influences. David’s work is drawing, plain and simple. “I do drawing. I draw as an illustrator and I draw as an artist”. Inspiration is drawn from artists like Richard Phillips, the Pre-Raphaelites,Richard Prince, and Allen Jones; from illustrators like Eric Stanton and Charles Keeping; from photographers like Helmut Newton, Araki and Terry Richardson. All must-see names in their respective fields, and although some of the aforementioned influences are obvious when viewing David’s work, he recalls some more personal inspiration. “When I was growing up I didn’t have any posters on my wall, I had 3 drawings by an artist called Gertrude Hermes, a tiger, a gorilla and an elephant. They were beautiful. I didn’t think about this much until the other day, but I guess that’s where the seeds of my animal obsession were sown”. Using mainly basic illustrative tools; pens, pencils and paper from ordinary stationary shops, David creates intense, time-consuming drawings, which delve deep into a world of fantasy and emotion. “I usually tend to work with pen/pencil on paper but I have started
“... I DIDN’T HAVE ANY POSTERS ON MY WALL, I HAD 3 DRAWINGS BY AN ARTIST CALLED GERTRUDE HERMES” experimenting with spray-paint and ink. Last week I completed two 8-foot x 8-foot marker pen drawings on wood. It was a challenge, one I was not sure I was up to, but it was exciting, at the moment I am happy with the results… To the point it’s all I can think about”. Not teased by modern technology and the glitz and glamour of streamlining his art through digital manipulation programs, David talked about how he has “a real fear of being stuck behind a computer – as lovely and necessary as computers are, I think computers take away the chance of those happy accidents”. Many of the works are based on personal adventures, past relationships or existing connections, which is apparent from the titles he gives works such as ‘Seasons of Missed Opportunities 1 and 2’; two stunning portraits of beautiful girls surrounded by flowers. At first look these pictures seem to convey beauty and happiness, but looking deeper reveals a subtle hidden tone to his work. Sexy, often semi naked women partially adorned with fetish gear appear in pretty intertwining gardens
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in compromising positions with stags or birds of prey. David’s work flicks between emotional poles and he isn’t afraid to explore any aspect of humanity in his work. Seeing that an inconsistent tone to his work might affect understanding of his pieces, David created alter egos. “I was always interested in musicians working under alter egos, putting stuff out under other names in different styles. This is my version of that. I am quite a restless individual, so I’m always trying different things out, new things – collage, photography, music. My website only actually showcases about half my alter egos”. A lot of the aforementioned work and themes represent David as an artist, but the other side to him is that of a hugely successful freelance illustrator. David’s work can be seen all over the world; his work on the Harvey Nichols ‘Heaven and Earth’ project led to his work becoming part of a permanent display in The Louvre, Paris. One of the more unique projects David has worked on was the celebration of 25 years of MTV in the UK; each handpicked artist was given a large 3D glass MTV logo and told to go nuts. “You could decorate it and fill it up with whatever you wanted to. I did a drawing for the back part and then filled it up with melted little Smurf figures”.
When asked about his favorite professional job David replied; “that’s a tough question; I wouldn’t want to offend anyone, so I should probably say all of them. I can feel that splinter in my arse. Using the term client in a loose fashion, I would say the stuff I do for Various Production. I have pretty much a free reign – and get the chance to take each project in the direction I am feeling at the time. Some work better than others, but it’s good to put the mistakes out as well – it’s a good way to learn, and it retains a warm human feel”. What does 2010 have in store for David? “I have a show at Stolenspace (Gallery, London) early next year, so I am starting to collate ideas, sketches and materials for that. I really want to do more large scale drawings. There is a zine on its way with the great Word to Mother. I have started a music site, information free, just one track a month – with a compilation released January 2011 in some great packaging. Doing some tattoos, some tees and hopefully still allowed to play”.
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David creates some of the most unique illustration coming out of the UK at the minute and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. His client list may be long but it’s only getting longer and his alter egos keep growing and moving into different genres and mediums, whilst tackling bigger and bolder projects.
MONDAY’S AT SCREAM FR EN EE TR Y
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THE DEMONIC COMEDY
Words: Tom Brodrick Photos: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division
There’s a couple of points within this book at which the author, Paul W. Roberts, on his travels through Iraq and its neighbouring countries, is practically begged to report on and expose the grim truths and circumstances of regular Iraqi folk under the rule of Saddam Hussein. That can’t be an easy burden to carry with you, you’d imagine. Perhaps the greatest pity of all, though, is that those stories have been told in this book, first released back in 1997, and it would appear that not a great deal changed because of them. Perhaps that won’t surprise you much; thankfully though, the same can’t be said of the contents of The Demonic Comedy. A travelogue spanning three separate visits to Iraq, it’s fair to say that the gamut of emotions is run ragged throughout. The author’s first trip to the country was taken in 1990, and it seems to have been by far the most consistently ‘fun’ journey of the three. We’re introduced to the Iraqi secret police during this section, granted, and left with little room to doubt that they’re very much the opposite of nice people (I think the perpetually recurring ‘broken glass in your colon & meat hooks in your back for no obvious reason’ threat is probably what hammers home that message most effectively; apparently this sort of thing was just handy for keeping the citizens permanently crippled by terror). On the whole, though, it’s a surreal and extremely entertaining part of the book, mainly because most of the characters that Roberts meets are presented as parodies of themselves, and many aspects of Baghdad life seem completely absurd.
“...GRIM TRUTHS AND CIRCUMSTANCES OF REGULAR IRAQI FOLK UNDER THE RULE OF SADDAM HUSSEIN” The most obvious vehicle for Roberts’ ultra-cynical humour is the way in which he writes various different accents, first demonstrated by his lovable and extremely lapsed Muslim friend Ahmed, from the Egyptian embassy. “Iraqi womans all are wars...they making always zigzig with men-not-thehusbands”, for instance. In fairness to the author, he does include a disclaimer saying that virtually anyone’s broken English is likely to trump his own floundering attempts at Arabic, but there are times when it becomes a little irritating trying to work out what exactly people are saying, and Roberts does seem almost cruelly patronising in how he responds. It’s a shame, because he’s clearly adept enough with words and socialising to extract a lot of humour from both mundane and dramatic situations, without resorting to so much of this. By the way, it’s also worth mentioning that the book adheres closely to the structure of its near-namesake, Dante’s Divine Comedy, except that the parts are in reverse.
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This first part of the book is entitled ‘The Paradise’, the second is ‘The Purgation’ (covering Roberts’ next trip to Baghdad a year later, during the Gulf War) and the final part is called ‘Inferno’, which details his 1995 return to the city. It’s quite fitting, really – although it sounds like you could only call the Baghdad of 1990 a paradise compared to what it looked like a year later. The purgatory stage from 1991 sees the author taking a pretty remarkable Ross Kemp-meets-Florence Nightingale approach to war reportage, including a lot of extremely desperate amateur first aid performed on bombing victims, and a terrifying account of roughly an hour spent in a pitch-black freezing underground shelter, stripped down to his boxers and with no knowledge of exactly who had thrown him in there and why. This section of the travelogue tends to have a much more earnest tone, which is all the more affecting because of all the preceding bravado and the sense of carefree adventure, which suddenly seems a million miles away. ‘Inferno’ might appear to document an ostensibly pointless visit, which was only made in order to attend the Babylon International Festival 1995 (and at no small cost, either, due to the epic insurance rates). However, the festival does turn out to be one of the funniest events in the book, albeit amidst a generally desolate portrait of Baghdad’s broken spirit.
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“...STRIPPED DOWN TO HIS BOXERS AND WITH NO KNOWLEDGE...” The Demonic Comedy is a sprawling, chaotic affair, and nowhere near perfect. The very concept is quite unusual; you almost wonder why Roberts kept returning to a city which he found to be tacky and incredibly sinister in the first place, and for quite tenuous reasons, only to be unbearably sarcastic to perfect strangers and drink himself into oblivion. However, there’s an altogether more human and caring side to the author once you get past the pseudohostility and world-weary cynicism, and his efforts to engage on a human level with “the sort of people they don’t want you to talk to in Iraq” should be considered absolutely necessary reading for anyone who wants to understand that region of the world better. Something else that it’s easy to forget amidst the farce and the brutality of Saddam’s Iraq is that a great deal of Roberts’ anger is directed towards George Bush Snr. and the Americans’ 1991 bombing campaign which claimed to be much more ‘surgical’ and ‘precise’ than it really was. Reading about a pile of rubble which was recently “a high-tech death factory, cunningly disguised as an elementary school” is about the grimmest example of gallows humour I can think of.
Furthermore, there are long and often devilishly complex accounts of various stages in Middle Eastern history, stories which Roberts tells with a mix of man-on-thestreet informality and extremely comprehensive knowledge of the subject. It’s the kind of writing which made me wish he’d written all the prescribed texts for my old International Relations degree course, actually. If you’re not so fussed about reading an overwhelming and fairly dense regional history, in which grudges and alliances are sometimes as petty and changeable as kids in the playground, then I suppose you could skip past these occasional long digressions; they’re completely separate sub-chapters from the main travel diaries. I’d recommend reading them though, personally. I picked this book up in a second-hand junk shop, somewhere in Roberts’ adopted nation of Canada. Since writing this, Roberts has also penned A War Against Truth – a sort of sequel in which he returns to cover the 2003 invasion of Iraq, again from a hair-raising ground level perspective.
“...A GREAT DEAL OF ROBERTS’ ANGER IS DIRECTED TOWARDS GEORGE BUSH SNR. AND THE AMERICANS’ 1991 BOMBING CAMPAIGN”
Sadly, it appears that that may be the last we hear from him on the subject, since he has cut off all contact with the outside world since going blind in 2007. Worse still, he mentions going completely deaf in his left ear in the course of The Demonic Comedy, from the shockwaves of nearby bombings. You can only hope that his other ear is still working, for his sake. It may be that the works of Paul W. Roberts never reach the size of audience they deserve to, but I’d recommend that you at least try to find a copy of this online – or indeed a copy of A War Against Truth, which is also excellent. It’s a perspective on a third-world country that you may never read again, and one which certainly changed some of my own perspectives. It’s certainly the only time you’ll find out what it’s like to interview Saddam Hussein whilst under the influence of E. The Demonic Comedy: Some Detours in the Baghdad of Saddam Hussein by Paul W. Roberts. For more information visit: http://www. paulwmroberts.com www.ireadfaux.com || 21
Photographer: Michelle Huynh Male Model: Xavier Meese Female Model: Sarah Quirk
Dress: Zimmerman Shoes: Doc Martens
Leotard: Lost & Found Vintage Blue Shorts: Modelâ€™s own Sandals: Fat
Outerwear: Mink Pink Dress: Sportsgirl Shoes: Doc Martens Socks: Dangerfield
Top: American Apparel Jeans: Dr Denim Shoes: Vans
Top: Modelâ€™s own Skirt: Sportsgirl Shoes: Doc Martens Socks: Dangerfield
Outerwear: Mink Pink Dress: Sportsgirl Shoes: Doc Martens Socks: Dangerfield
Sarah – Outerwear: Mink Pink Tights: Sportsgirl Dress: Model’s own Shoes: Doc Martens Hat: Model’s own Xavier – Grey Top: General Pants Jeans: Dr Denim Shoes: Vans
Words: Robert Smith Additional Writing: Liam Haynes
It’s Tuesday, 00:06am. It’s pouring down outside and freezing cold. The atmosphere’s not that much warmer in the apartment block I’ve just entered though. I ask the guy at the office where I can find Lauren Winters. He’s coy with his information; $10 seemed to help so I went upstairs and find her apartment at the end of the dimly lit corridor. She answers the door cautiously and tells me that she only sees clients with an appointment. She changes her mind and tells me that it’s $50 but that she doesn’t kiss or do any “weird stuff ”. I oblige and enter the apartment. Being the kind of guy that I am though, I stick to my morals and decide that I’m there strictly on business. Feeling sorry for her, I give her the $50 anyways and tell her that I merely want to talk. She thinks I’m a cop and want a freebie. I correct her, telling her that I’m a private detective wanting to obtain some information. I get straight to the point and ask her about her son who was found dead. This understandably provokes her emotions to be unleashed and she starts crying, I offer her a tissue that I notice beside me. I sense that my time is running out so I hurry things along by asking her who she thinks could be responsible. She’s about to answer when the alarm goes off. Time up and she asks me to leave. I decide to do as she says as I don’t want to piss her off. I tell her to contact me if she remembers anything and place my card on the table on the way out. Okay, I confess. My life’s not that dramatic, I’ve merely just played a segment of the eagerly anticipated Quantic Dream developed title Heavy Rain. Like their previous games, Heavy Rain presents an incredibly mature, moving, and enthralling story to the player in a pretty unique way.
“... AN INCREDIBLY MATURE, MOVING, AND ENTHRALLING STORY...” Not content with the current calibre of ‘adult’ titles, Heavy Rain director David Cage stresses the title’s immersive storytelling, innovative control system, and film-like use of audio/visual cues. Boasting a story that constantly adapts to and reflects the choices that you make; I found myself genuinely concerned for the fate of those surrounding me, the consequences of my actions bearing heavily on my conscience. Heavy Rain literally drips with atmosphere; a strong art style coupled with devastatingly detailed environments setting a new standard in how gorgeous a title can look. One thing is for certain, Heavy Rain is the step forward that games have needed for a long time. It might not boast a cover system, addictive multiplayer, or endless levelling up, but rest assured that Cage’s masterpiece needs none of those to make itself one of the finest titles of this generation. It’s like all the best things; effortlessly executed, eternally relevant. For a full review of Heavy Rain check www.ireadfaux.com Heavy Rain is out now through Sony Computer Entertainment exclusively for PS3.
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Words: Mike Coleman Photo: Copyright www. shaunbloodworth.com
Evolution is a strange business. Scientists, religious fundamentalists, put down your pens and calm yourselves; this is not the start of an argument. To clarify - musical evolution is a strange business. Specifically, I’m talking about dubstep. For many people 2009 (and most likely 2010) will probably be remembered principally as the year that the stomping throb of this particular genre became an unavoidable presence in UK music. Since it’s phoenix-like emergence from the remnants of the dying UK garage scene on the back of bass-laden 2-step productions from ElB, Horsepower Productions and Zed Bias (to name but a few), the sound of dubstep has undergone some serious progression. Developing over almost a decade and fragmenting into several notable variations, 2009 saw dubstep’s titanic sound materialize as a crowd-friendly favourite of DJ’s up and down the country with the emergence of a series of particularly mainstream remixes. Tracks including that La Roux remix, as well as palatable dubstep re-workings of tracks by Adele, The Prodigy and Kid Cudi saw the eyes-down sound make its way to the masses. Whilst dubstep sadly attained this mainstream success mostly with wobbling, mid-range commercial productions rather than the cerebral minimalism of scene architects like Loefah or Digital Mystikz, this was inevitable and ever since the scene has developed in a palpable flux. Dividing and evolving, the genre has sprouted a notable variety of offshoots, including an exciting progression, a potential pretender to dubstep’s throne; currently (and rather loosely) termed ‘future garage’.
“...THE SOUND OF DUBSTEP HAS UNDERGONE SOME SERIOUS PROGRESSION” With a moniker as loosely applicable as that, it (thankfully) becomes fairly difficult to throw lazy generalizations around. A quick hunt around the internet reveals the framework of a growing community of future garage aficionados on FutureGarageForum.com, and a slew of talented underground producers, expanding and developing a sound both inherently progressive yet subtly nostalgic for the heyday of UK garage. Well-established, Mercury-nominated producer Burial is arguably the most famous of future garage’s young innovators, adopting a combination of chopped and skewed vocal samples, jittery garage drum loops and haunting synthesizers to create immersive works of mournful nostalgia. Dubstep’s prevalent bass and garage’s loose 2-step drums essentially typify the genre’s structural skeleton, although every individual production from the scene’s developing artists varies considerably. From the taut synthesized modernity of Untold’s brilliant ‘Sweat’ to the heart rending soulful minimalism of Pangaea’s wondrous ‘Memories’, the open-ended soundscapes of this post-dubstep milieu are impossible to capture with a single all-encompassing piece of terminology.
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Whilst these artists and their ilk (see: Ramadanman, Martyn, 2562, Scuba) have begun to carve out individual niches for their atmospheric, powerful productions, few have yet developed a hype quite as palpable as Burial’s. There is however, another rapidly rising star. Currently warranting a similar level of ‘genius’ labels and hysterical hipster devotion is 22 year old producer Joy Orbison (pictured below), whose anthemic ‘Hyph Mngo’ cemented the sound of future garage as a genuinely notable evolution in electronic music last year. A swelling, dense piece of euphoria, Hyph Mngo was recognised with near critical-consensus as being a distinctive, landmark production in an otherwise swamped dubstep scene. Rated as the track of the year at electronic music specialists Resident Advisor, pundits lauded the way in which he abandoned the knuckle-dragging ‘wobble’ and plodding rhythms favoured by most new producers latching on the scene. Instead Orbison favours a sound comprised of precisely chopped and layered vocal samples, powered forward by a tight mix of post-garage drumming and winding synthesizer melodies. Neither formulaic nor derivative of garage, Orbison’s shimmering, euphoric production warrants adulation by the woofer-load.
“... HE ABANDONED THE KNUCKLE-DRAGGING ‘WOBBLE’ AND PLODDING RHYTHMS FAVOURED BY MOST NEW PRODUCERS ” Orbison is by no means a one-off in this fledgling musical bracket. Similarly lifeaffirming productions have surfaced in the shape of Deadboy’s skittering ‘U Cheated’ and Floating Point’s shimmering remix of Sebastian Tellier’s ‘L’amour Et La Violence’. The range of sounds is astonishing; a vast plethora of influence and thought has seen droves of individual sounds twist and snap the sinews of conventional garage beyond recognition. Untold blurred the lines considerably between genres with his shatteringly low-end remix of Toasty’s ‘The Knowledge’, whilst Von D’s joyous skip through trance-flecked garage on the euphoric ‘Berlin Call’ offers a more straightforward amalgamation of dubstep and garage. On the other hand, labels like Kode 9’s prolific Hyperdub have been offering more mind-bending pieces of experimental music. Whether in the wilting colour of Ikonika’s ‘Please’, the circuit-board sorrow of Darkstar’s ‘Aidy’s Girl is a Computer’ or in the technicolour stepping of ‘Stash’ from Joker & Ginz, releases on Hyperdub have celebrated the potential for aural progressions in dubstep’s lumbering lope. Whilst dubstep may have taken more than a few years to gain momentum worldwide, the various snaking offshoots of postdubstep electronica are untouched by geographical boundaries.
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This rogue genome of electronica is developing fast, and is by no means limited to the urban sprawls of London, Bristol and the like. Overseas artists like Dutchman Martyn (pictured right) or New York’s FaltyDL (pictured main) are pushing the boundaries on all continents with a tumultuous mix of tech-scattered garage wizardry. Tracks like Falty’s scuff-edged remix of The xx’s ethereal ‘Islands’ demonstrates yet another gloriously disparate variety in the spread of these sounds as he fashions the typically melancholic track into a rolling woofer-shaking groove. It’s impossible to pin these post-dubstep soldiers into a particular bracket; perhaps it’s easier to clarify that it isn’t the drooling stomp of ‘brostep’ or the poppy skitter of traditional garage. Even if they’re just finding their feet and establishing an identity, their music warrants extensive celebration. Traditionally, the tempo of dubstep sits at a rolling 140 beats-per-minute, but variations even beyond ‘future garage’ are beginning to warp and deform its foundations. Notable genre-bending admissions include efforts from ‘Night Slugs’ – the London imprint of Bok Bok and L-Vis 1990 - whose mutant-funk collective has almost claimed this sort of niche-defying electronica as their own. Building on the foundations of their acclaimed London club night, the Night Slugs roll together notable influence from garage, dubstep, house and UK funky. Recent releases like Mosca’s Square One/ Nike release on Night Slugs typifies the way in which amalgamation offers us not only an exciting prospect, but a stellar contribution a to the development of the electronic music landscape. The talent in these misshapen strains of electronica is formidable. Rolling casually between dubstep, garage and house with impeccable beatmatching, DJ’s like Hessle Audio’s Ramadanman, Pangaea and Ben UFO are paving the way for serious mainstream exposure. This escalating exposure is even more apparent with the release of Fabric’s recent Elevator Music compilation.
The mix – a celebration of these (mostly) 140bpm abstractions – contains profound offerings from the likes of Martyn, Starkey and luminaries from Glasgow’s prolific LuckyMe collective. A frenetic collection of atmosphere, oddity and straight-forward dance, the collection lays waste to any doubts that these producers offer a new wave of digital splendour with a bright future. Whether ‘future garage’ or any other these other offshoots develop into fully-fledged genres or demonstrate themselves as a limp journalistic attempt to catalogue and file a handful of tracks remains to be seen, but the seeds have been sown. A considerable framework is there, but the generation of producers that promise so much must deliver and grow to ensure any sort of future for future garage. However it seems that with labels like Orbison’s Doldrums Records and Ben UFO’s Hessle Audio establishing themselves with considerable presence, that these young pretenders to electronic music’s crown have the potential to bring their beautiful, ethereal sound to the forefront of electronic music. Long live innovation. For more information and to check out some of the artists visit: www.hyperdub.net www.myspace.com/hessleaudio www.myspace.com/nightslugs www.thisisluckyme.com www.mysapce.com/bluntedrobots www.ireadfaux.com || 33
SHEâ€™S LOST CONTROL
Words: Faye Isaac Photos: Eleanor Doughty (lead), Fred Thomas (p36), Graham Cooling (p37)
“Why do people shoot women with the intention to delete all imaginary possible flaws? Why not shoot them in such a way the result looks like a celebration of women? A picture that looks like a party for your eyes and everyone is invited”. So says Matthew Fry, founder of the blog Heroines. This happy accident occurred last year when the 33-yearold from Echo Park, California, was posting pictures on a blog which had no obvious function; more of a personal interest publishing platform. Now, these images of ordinary women, warts and all, are tastefully organised into a gallery of natural beauty to aid the realisation that imperfections comprise individuality and are unique blessings. I delved deeper into the functionality of the blog and interviewed Matthew on females, photos and Heroines itself.
“...IF YOU SIT BACK AND ACTUALLY SEE THINGS AS THEY ARE, YOU WILL BEGIN TO SEE BEAUTY EVERYWHERE.” My wife said that she loved the photos but she didn’t feel that it was “safe for work”. Thus began Heroines. Now Heroines is not only me, but also Taylor and Jennavev. They are two amazing girls with enormous hearts, and thanks to them Heroines can keep going long into the future.
What was your aim initially?
Heroines is a Tumblr blog where we post photos and letters from women.
There really wasn’t a plan. I just wanted to post photos that I loved. It’s funny, I remember posting; “I would like to help people, I just don’t know how to go about doing it”.
How would you best describe its function?
Would you say the site adopts an ‘agony aunt’ role?
It’s a place without judgement, where no one should feel like an outsider. Where you can see and read about other beautiful women just like you. Here’s a quote I like; “The definition of a gentleman is someone that makes sure everyone around him is as comfortable as he is…” This is what I want to do.
Ha, I just had to Google agony aunt... Yes, you could say that. In the past, when woman would open up to me I would try and “fix” them, now I work on trying to just be there for these women and listen to them. I want to show them that someone cares and I try to treat each and everyone like they are a dear friend. Whether it’s the first time I have heard from them, or a close friend, I care just the same. So, do I think of Heroines as an advice column? I don’t know, but I do know that I want to be there for them and I hold each and every person dear to my heart.
So what is Heroines?
When did you start the website? I started Heroines in June of last year. I originally had just my photo blog and posted a few photos of women that were a little risqué.
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What is your opinion of fashion magazines’ representation of women? I don’t really read a lot of fashion magazines, so any judgement I make would be a generalisation on the whole industry. So I’ll just say this. I would love to see a magazine brave enough to show women as they are, and not have it be just some themed special. Or, have women of all types on a runway together. Or maybe stop calling women of colour “urban” or bigger women “plus sized”, maybe just call them models. It really inspired me years ago when I saw a shoot with Kate Moss. The photos were so raw it was amazing. The fact that she was brave enough to show herself as she is and to accept what most people would hate. That was amazing, and a big inspiration for “show me you”.
What effect do you think this has on society? I think the effect is horrible. Almost every girl you meet hates her body. Many times being something that brings her to tears just by looking in the mirror. No matter what the size, odds are she isn’t happy with her body. Girls that are so beautiful hate themselves and try to force their body into being something it’s not and it’s never-ending because no one can look like the airbrushed photos.
“...BECAUSE NO ONE CAN LOOK LIKE THE AIRBRUSHED PHOTOS ...” .
A lot of the time we also try to make bigger girls feel better about themselves by ridiculing thinner girls and vice versa. What is wrong with us, why can’t we accept the way we are and see beauty for beauty? We are always told what is beautiful, but if you sit back and actually see things as they are, you will begin to see beauty everywhere.
How do you think Heroines helps the common negative attitude women have towards themselves? I think girls go on Heroines and see all of these beautiful women that look like themselves. They see the “flaws”, but now as beauty, and they think, if that is beautiful then maybe I am too.
Where do you think this negative attitude stems from? I think it stems from our constant pursuit for perfection and constantly being shown images of what we are supposed to think is beautiful. If I constantly praise the small purple flower, and all you see every day are images of a perfect purple flower, that yellow flower will probably begin to hate itself. So we tell it that it needs to be purple to be pretty. We sell it dye so that it can look purple, and cut the petals to be smaller, and make every flower desperately want to look like that small purple flower...
What kind of photographs do you expect to receive? I expect to get photos of girls embracing who they are, or at least making a small step towards being ok with themselves. I think that is what “show me you” is all about. When my dad first saw Heroines he said this, “Most people would see you posting girls showing skin and think that they are being exploited... But it’s actually empowering them”.
What do you hope to achieve with Heroines? I hope that if a girl comes to Heroines and she sees that someone cares about her, and accepts her, she will begin to see that she is beautiful too. I thought you might like this… It’s a letter that was sent to Heroines. “Hello there, I stumbled upon your blog today, and the first thing I read was this quote: “I don’t get it. Women are gorgeous, the female body a feast. Why do people shoot women with the intention to delete all imaginary possible flaws? Why not shoot them in such a way the result looks like a celebration of women? A picture that looks like a party for your eyes and everyone is invited!” I loved it. Then I thought of myself, of how I am always looking at the “flaws” of my body. What I could do to make this look better, what I should do to make that look nicer, but after reading that quote, I thought to myself, they are not flaws, it’s just the way I am. It’s funny how just a simple quote changed my mind. There are three things about my body I’ve never really liked. When I was five years old, I was diagnosed with cancer. They operated me, and I was left with a scar on my stomach. I’ve always hated it; despite the fact my family has always told me it looks beautiful. My nose is another thing. I’ve never thought of it as horrible, but I’ve always hated it. I’ve always hated that little annoying bump on the top.
And third, my breasts. I am a woman that matured really fast and my breasts show it. I have these stretch marks on them, and I’ve always thought of how ugly they look. I have been almost scared to show them to anyone, just because I think they might think it looks bad, or just plain ugly. It’s taken me years to get used to those three things, but I’m finally accepting it. They are beautiful. That scar shows how someone saved my life, and I’ll always appreciate it. My nose, well, it’s just how it came out, and I shouldn’t be ashamed. And my stretch marks, almost every girl has stretch marks, at least one, on some part of their body. And so after realizing those three things, I realized something even more important, I AM BEAUTIFUL. Thank you for making this blog. - Angie” For more from Matthew and the team at Heroines visit: heroines.tumblr.com www.ireadfaux.com || 37
Band: Friendly Fires Photographer: Fred Thomas
Band: Bloc Party Photographer: James Arnold
Band: Blackhole Photographer: Chris Ensell
Band: White Lies Photographer: James Arnold
Band: O Children Photographer: Nicole Paciello
Band: Foals Photographer: Fred Thomas
Band: Bombay Bicycle Club Photographer: Eleanor Doughty
Ellie Goulding Lights (2010)
Out now on Polydor Although there are already many buzzwords attached to Ellie Goulding’s debut, to me the triumph of the album revolves around very simple things done well. Granted Starsmith’s production is so polished you could almost see your face in it, but that shouldn’t detract attention from her ability to write an excellent pop song. It’s a welcome rarity to hear choruses that really distinguish themselves from verses, and Goulding seems to have managed this by perfecting something which is notoriously difficult to get right; a ‘happy/sad’ balance and contrast between the music and the lyrics. It’s evident in the vast majority of the songs featured here. One of the finest efforts in this regard is surely ‘Wish I Stayed’, which perfectly conveys the deep regrets implied in the title, mainly thanks to a really lovely chord progression in the chorus. One of her other great assets is her voice, which sounds oddly and charmingly Scandinavian – slightly fragile, angelic in its uncomplicated sense of melody, doesn’t always sound like English is her first language, that sort of thing. Although lyrically she rarely strays far from the well-worn subjects of love and sex, she doesn’t need to;
the maturity and self-assurance of her words comes through in songs like ‘Starry Eyed’and the beautifully sad, fatalistic ‘This Love’; two songs which document very different shades of the most complex of human feelings. Although this is very much an album which is in keeping with the musical zeitgeist of the past two-or-three years, Ellie Goulding is, on this evidence, good enough to transcend any attempt to define her in such a way. Although I think some of the electronic flourishes in production are an unnecessary distraction (especially the dreaded auto-tune effect and looping of vocals) there’s essentially nothing wrong with relying more on synthesisers and programmed percussion than on ‘real’ instruments. Besides, the album still has soul, attitude, catchiness and emotional power to spare, regardless of all that. I challenge you to listen to a lyric as plaintive and heart-wrenchingly matter-of-fact as “I tried to smile, and I aimed it at you / you probably missed it; you always do” and not feel a little bit heart-broken yourself. Words: Tom Brodrick
Talking Heads once told us that as we get older, we “stop making sense”. What they didn’t tell us was that the less sense you make, the better you sound. That particular lesson we get from Californian hip-hop experimentalist Gonjasufi, whose A Sufi and a Killer emanates enigmatic nonsense and time-travelling, genrespanning brilliance in equal measure. Produced by fellow L.A. residents Flying Lotus and Gaslamp Killer, the influence of their loose, lopsided glitch-hop is substantial.
Gonjasufi A Sufi and a Killer (2010)
Out 08/03/10 on Warp Records
Whether in the grizzled Dan Auerbach-blues of ‘She Gone’, the Stooges-esque proto-punk of ‘Suzie Q’, or the mournful, shambling album highlight ‘Ancestors’, Gonjasufi’s hoarse and paranoid croon acts as a fierce lynchpin for the album’s flow. Delivering his soul-penetrating lyricism with thick psychedelic nuances, Gonjasufi’s cosmic hip-hop sound defies tradition or limitation. As the album skirts through the loose waltzing blues of ‘Ageing’ and the celestial sitar-groove of ‘Klowds’ it quickly becomes apparent that the entire LP encapsulates a sort of spiritual tour through the living soul of the trio’s native L.A. – maybe circa 1970; perhaps via an intense peyote-hazed spell in the nearby Mojave Desert. Sadly, the trip seems overlong. Towards the end of its slightly excessive 19-track run, the will to stomach Gonjasufi’s creaking vocals and curious production may stop short. Although it will inevitably be greeted by less adventurous listeners with a monumental “what the fuck?”, A Sufi and a Killer owns a quality genuinely rare in LP’s today; it’s a bona fide aural exploration, and though it’s not all plain sailing, it’s a hell of a journey. Words: Mike Coleman It’s fair to say that Joanna Newsom’s new album Have One On Me is a great feat for her in itself. Being three discs, eighteen tracks and just over two hours long it’s a huge contrast to previous album Ys, only averaging about fifty minutes. However, maybe its most striking difference would be in Newsom herself, her voice has lost the childlike cry and progressed into something far more mature and beautiful, which hopefully will not be a turn off for too many listeners.
Joanna Newsom Have One On Me (2010) Out now on Drag City
Her harp is once more central to the album, especially in ‘Esme’, a beautiful eight minute long masterpiece. She has also managed to branch out in other songs by adding elements of bluegrass, gospel, folk and country into the epic mix, giving a deeper element to her work. Stand out tracks would include ‘Good Intentions Paving Company’, possibly Newsom’s most upbeat and accessible song to date and ‘Easy’, first track on the album and composed to exquisite proportions. Although it could be questionable if this album can keep your concentration for the duration, it’s certainly an adventurous target which Newsom managed to get just right. Listen and then listen again, you will find new depths to occupy your mind each time you hear it. Have One On Me is very much worth it. Words: Cheryl Burns
In 2009 jj produced one of the sleeper hits of the year in the form of their debut album no. 2, its mix of heavenly vocals and sample heavy tracks provingpopular on the blogosphere. Fast forward to 2010 and jj are carrying on where they left off with no. 3. Promotion has stepped up and jj have managed to become more apparent thanks to preview material, mini mixes and videos in the run up to the album’s release. no. 3 opens with the beautifully tranquil ‘My Life’. The twinkling piano keys are the only backing apparent, complimenting the stark lyrics with their simple yet effective implementation. It’s a combination which is used throughout, subtle backing and pronounced vocals leading to a real emphasis towards the beautifully crafted lyrics. jj no. 3 (2010)
Out 03/04/10 on Secretly Canadian
‘And Now’ and ‘Let Go’ follow the opener and prove amongst the highlights of the album. Their distinct sounds and the stunning vocals in each ensure that even though the tracks have been around a while you’ll not want to pass up another listen.’ You Know’ recaptures attention after a somewhat forgettable midsection to the album with its upbeat subject matter and backing. At a mere 28 minutes no. 3 perhaps falls a song or two short, however the subtleness of the album ensures a fresh listen upon each needle drop. My only other gripe would be towards the track arrangement; splitting up ‘And Now’ and ‘Let Go’, the two already previewed tracks, would have lead to a less top-heavy track listing. Words: Chris Wheatley Two years since the release of debut Angles, Logic of Chance begins affairs where its predecessor left off, with opener ‘Sick Tonight’. Intelligent lyrics and brilliant relentless beats laid down by Dan Le Sac. The duo remains as hard to label as before, but the eclectic samples and indie angle of the previous album are replaced with the influences of dubstep and sub-focus drum and bass.
Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip The Logic of Chance (2010) Out 15/03/10 on Sunday Best
Logic of Chance does however lack the immediacy of their debut, and nowhere is this more obvious than lead single ‘Get Better.’ It is by no means a bad song, as one of the album’s softer moments it is a thoughtful and tender commentary on today’s youth culture, but it does not demand popularity in the way that ‘Thou Shall Always Kill’ did.
The whole album is a grower. With each listen the duo’s lyrics and intricate arrangements will bury themselves deeper into your consciousness. Speaking of lyrics, Scroobius Pip’s political rage is as fantastically sharp as ever before, as shown on ‘Great Britain’ and ‘Stake a Claim’, but this is not to say Logic of Chance is not fun. ‘Snob’ and the heavily dubstep influenced ‘The Beat’ bounce along with all the energy you could hope for. As Scroobius raps on ‘Great Britain’, our little island “makes the best music in the world.” Clever and fresh albums such as this will make you believe it. Words: Tom Revell
Southern Frontiers Don McCullin (2010)
Southern Frontiers contains some undeniably beautiful imagery yet it smacks slightly of a self indulgent whim gone awry. Having made it half way through the book the feeling that you might scream if you have to look at another landscape shot of some columns and sand sets in and subsequently the remaining half feels contrived, pointless even. It feels as though McCullin has been over indulged in his selection of images and that someone should have pointed out that less is more; that never has a truer word been spoken. McCullin is without doubt an excellent technical photographer but it is his courage in the exploration and documentation of war that made him extraordinary. The subject of his latest book is an exploration of the Southern fringes of the Roman Empire, which seems like a dull one from the start and for the most part it is as dry as a school history lesson.
Out now via Jonathan Cape ISBN : 0224087088 As with everything Don McCullin does his latest book, Southern Frontiers, is riddled with both good and bad. For decades McCullin has been a leader in the world of photojournalism, taking exquisitely beautiful photographs of some of the most appalling scenes on earth. Softening the blow for an audience more accustomed to digesting world news with their breakfast than stomaching the cold hard truth. That is not to say that McCullin has subjugated his work rather that his beautiful juxtapositions have a unique power in a western society living with ‘sanitised’ modern warfare.
Barnaby Rogerson, McCullin’s erstwhile companion for the project, provides historical context for each location, ranging from Lebanon to Syria and beyond. This is where the delicate balance of the “coffee table book” is thrown off kilter. Rogerson’s succinct and easy to understand history of the Roman Empire becomes the most fascinating part of the book, leaving McCullin’s photographs relegated to the realm of pretty supporting material; lacking in the depth and power that a photography book should have and that has become synonymous with McCullin’s usually incomparable work.
Don’t misunderstand, Southern Frontiers is not a bad book by any stretch of the imagination, but unless images of the architectural footprints left by an ancient civilization are right up your ally you may want to hold off on buying (wise considering its £50 RRP) and instead take a trip to your local library’s photography The photographer’s trademark images have the section. unmistakable grain of film photography whilst maintaining a crisp clarity to rival any modern Words: Jennifer Garrick digital technology. At his best even McCullin’s often sickening images of starving children, emaciated beyond recognition, look startlingly Check out ireadfaux.com for a look at Don dignified. There is no escaping the fact that un- McCullins recent book ‘Shaped By War’, a colcovering the mysteries of war-torn countries is lection of his little known colour work comfar more fascinating to the average person on bined with reprints from magazine features and the street than a book which is best described as personal documentary work. a confused travel/history hybrid.
AN EDUCATION Lone Scherfig An Education (2010)
Out on DVD 08/03/2010 An Education follows the misadventures of private schoolgirl Jenny Mellor (Carey Mulligan) as she falls a little too hard for the appealing older rogue David Goldman (Peter Sarsgaard). The film is closely based on an autobiographical memoir of the same title written by the British journalist Lynn Barber, it's a collaboration between Danish director Lone Scherfig and British writer Nick Hornby (High Fidelity, About A Boy), which is where my first interest in the film first peaked; High Fidelity being one of my most treasured books. Jenny, full of promise and expectation, is ploughing through her private school teaching to try and earn a place at Oxford; the prize student of her teacher Miss Stubbs (played by the excellent Olivia Williams). Jenny, seemingly bored and uninspired by education, looks for any excuse not to fulfil her teachers and parents wishes of 24 hour studying; instead losing herself in dreams of Paris. The only child of conventional, lower middle class parents, Jenny is a protected soul and the film’s title takes a double meaning, one academic, the other alluding to her coming of age, outgrowing her previous values and forming her own. After meeting the charming David; when he
offers her and her cello a lift home, Jenny falls behind on her education and develops a heavy crush on the life of excess she has been introduced to. This of course is much to the dismay of her parents and teachers, but she is jeered on gallantly by her school pals who sadly are portrayed as either giggly admirers or dim-witted and shy. Once in with David, Jenny meets his dubious friends Danny (Dominic Cooper) and the gorgeous but morally ambiguous blonde Helen (Rosamund Pike). Jenny’s parents warm to David through his charming demeanour and soon buckle to his every request, seemingly blinded by his wit and charisma and failing to see his true character, revealed slowly to the audience as a con-man and liar. This is backed up by his association with Peter Rachman, the infamous Polish property racketeer. Her adventures lead her through the adult world of concerts, nightclubs and restaurants. Things quickly fall apart and cracks start to form in David’s character. Jenny soon comes to heavy realisations and is presented with hard moral decisions after taking a fateful trip to Paris in which she naively loses her virginity. The film is an astounding piece of work and a definite Oscar contender come March 7th. Scherfig captures 60’s Britain perfectly, all the actors put in some of their best performances to date. An Education is a huge achievement for all involved and will fill the hearts of anyone with a genuine taste in brilliantly considered cinema. Words: Martyn Cooling
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