RIZ AHMED // KATE NASH // 65DAYSOFSTATIC // SKATE 3 // HERVÉ, CRYSTAL CASTLES // MOONSHINE MADNESS // JAMES BLAKE FOALS // GRIZZLY RECORDS // CATHERINE A.D. May 2010
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People Like People // 14
Photo: Tonje Thilesen
Martyn Cooling chats to one of the UK’s most experimental bands, 65daysofstatic.
This issue was made by: Martyn Cooling, Liam Haynes, Mike Coleman, Jennifer Anne Simpson, Chris Wheatley, Dan Smyth, Fred Thomas, Scott Kershaw, Andy Von Pip, James Arnold, Joe Muggs, Harriet Greenly, Kayleigh Ashworth, Melissa Owen, Tonje Thilesen, Sophie Stones, Danny Payne, Mel Baxter, Charles Darkly, Rosie Ramsden, Joly Checketts, James Edwards, Paul Cook, Peggy Sue.
Mowgli’s Road // 24
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Mike Coleman talks to Riz Ahmed the star of Chris Morris’ debut film, Four Lions.
Default This // 20
James Arnold shoots Harriet Greenly in our monthly fashion shoot.
Caroline’s A Victim // 30
Liam Haynes interviews Kate Nash on the eve of her short UK tour.
Cheap Thrills // 32
Mike Coleman chats to Joshua “Hervé” Harvey about his up and coming releases.
Moonshine Madness // 38
Sophie Stones talks to Mel Baxter about her unique artwork and what influences her.
For editorial enquiries: Liam.Haynes@ireadfaux.com For marketing enquiries: Advertising@ireadfaux.com Any further questions should be directed to: Info@ireadfaux.com 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. DEVELOPED AND CREATED BY FAUX MEDIA.
By the time you read this, there will likely be a whole new government in power (unless of course Labour pulls off a miracle). I feel like I should use this space to talk intelligently about the election and its impact on the publishing industry and small business in general. But I’m not, I’m going to pick on the Irish. More accuratley, IMRO (Irish Music Rights Organisation). They have started to demand that Irish music bloggers pay a ‘limited online exploitation license’ for any promotional material that is sent to them by artists, labels and promoters. What’s the big deal? So only Irish music bloggers will be affected? Nope, the law includes all blogs available to be viewed in Ireland. Basically, any music blog/site ever! There is huge amount of protest over the law and bloggers are up in arms about how stupidly short sighted the whole thing is. 800 Euros a year with a download limit of 20,000 per site...
So mephedrone got illegalised the other week; a good thing, right? I guess so. I mean, it did allegedly contribute to the deaths of a bunch of teenagers who’d taken it alongside a bundle of other actually illegal substances and a bucket load of booze. Sure, it was a hastily rushed through decision based on some devastatingly knee-jerk tabloid reporting, but whatever your stance on actually using legal or illegal drugs to enhance your night out or in one thing is certain; mephedrone was a whole generation’s “gateway drug”.
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Luckily, the chance of it working are slim, as it’s virtually impossible to police. Much like the ill-advised “Digital DJ License” that was introduced a few years back for anyone playing out MP3’s. It will cost them more to police than it will earn and lets not forget the most important thing - where does the money go? Not back to the artists who the IMRO are apparently fighting to protect, but into their own pockets.
Over the past summer, and I guess the past couple of university semesters, a huge amount of people have dabbled in and become rather hooked on mephedrone. For most of them, it was their first experimentation with anything harder than cannabis; encouraged partially by its legality, partially by its availability, and partially by the incredible buzz that developed around it. Filling the vacuum left by mephedrone are a plethora of new legal highs from the Far East, but the most striking is NRG-1. Requiring less than half a line to have night-long effects, it is clearly set to have devastating effects on inexperienced users unsure of quantity/quality/effect. Perhaps the deadliest thing about mephedrone is the hunger left in its wake.
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We are midway through our first European tour. Originally this was going to be a column about the joys of life on the road in a caravan – the beautiful campsites, the lakeside days off in Switzerland, the lazy evenings cooking pasta on a stove, watching episodes of The Inbetweeners huddled up in our sleeping bags. Until two things went wrong; first we opened the box of the second series of The Inbetweeners only to find the DVD was absent; second, our van, Arizona, broke down on the way to Rome.
Genre is a real problem in club music at the moment, for some. Funkstep, brostep, future garage, wobble, post-dubstep, purple wow, tropical, global house are all flying around, while the more established areas of grime, dubstep, funky, electro etc appear to be increasingly fraying at the edges and getting tangled back up with one another. And of course there was the joystep fiasco (Google it). Commentators are clinging on to one term or another to try and indicate that tendency X in music is cooler or more authentic than tendency Y, but with each attempt the terrain shifts again under them, leaving these attempts looking inevitably foolish. When this happens, there can be a tendency to think that there’s insubstantiality to the music. People think that because the music is not as easy to pin down as, say, jungle or garage were that it must be flimsy or faddish or a pale imitation of the past. This is defeatist. This weekend just gone I was at Rinse/ FWD at Matter and saw the most racially- and socially-mixed club crowd I’ve seen since the jungle days, all going crackerdog to not only dubstep, funky and grime but also the mutant psychedelic R&B (or aquacrunk to use another silly genre tag) of Rustie – and it’s this convergence of crowds and styles that 2010 is really about. It’s Wiley’s “wot u call it” writ large, and the fluidity of genre should be cause for real celebration.
There we were happily trundling along the Italian motorway listening to the Beatles’ White Album when Ben – our tour manager – broke off from the happy go lucky chant of ‘Obladi Oblada’ to exclaim ‘It’s stuck, it’s stuck, the accelerator’s stuck!’ Black smoke. Loud Bangs. Skidding wheels. There followed much multilingual confusion. Now we are stranded in Florence whilst Ari gets fixed. We’ve looked at some churches, bought some postcards and drunk lots of coffee but now it’s raining and the batteries in our Gameboy have run out. On the plus side, we left our collection of French cheeses in the broken fridge so when we are reunited with Ari they’ll hopefully be nice and mature. Peggy Sue’s debut album Fossils & Other Phantoms
Mixmag // Wire // Fact
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LOST & FOUND OLYMPIA LE TAN - BAGS Olympia produces one of the most unique products we have seen in a while, she re-creates first edition classic novels as clutch bags. Each piece is individual and hand made. She has been making bags for years but this is the first major collection she has produced. Olympia Le-Tan’s collection is available now at Colette, Paris and soon Browns, London www.olympialetan.com
PLAYLIST PLAYER Martin Skelly is a digital product designer who makes working products for real people. Skelly’s Playlist Player takes digital music away from the dusty old PC. It is based on the rich interactions of vinyl records and turns digital playlists into physical objects for you to touch, treasure, drop, lose and spill beer onto. The playlist player is more than a concept piece. Prices, details etc. available on request from: www.martinskelly.co.uk
NOKIA 3G BOOKLET The Nokia 3G Booklet is Nokia’s first foray into the PC market. It’s a welcome change to usual “Mini Laptops” that are on the market at the minute as this feels built from the ground up by a company that has no previous experience in the field. Instead of mashing together components and interfaces from previous larger models - as it seems like alot of the larger companies have done - Nokia have built a unique machine that defines what a netbook should be. The 3G Booklet is out now. For more info check out: www.nokia.com
Words: Martyn Cooling
GAGGLE TOTE - COMPETITION One of the UK’s most hotly tipped bands at the moment have kindly given us some of their limited edition tote bags to give away! Describing themselves as “an alternative to burlesque, shit TV and bad boyband watching” it’s impossible to have any idea what you’re letting yourself in for by listening to Gaggle. The 20 piece all female choir are a tour-de-force of fags, booze and anger and one of the most unique acts around at the moment. For your chance to win 1 of 5 bags we have to give away just email your name and address to: email@example.com and label your email GAGGLE All entries must be in by 05/06/2010, 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, and their close friends and family are sadly forbidden from entering. Subject to terms and conditions on ireadfaux.com. For more info visit: myspace.com/gagglespace
HANDSOME CLOTHING - COMPETITION Handsome Clothing Co. is a lifestyle brand made to answer the question “What does it mean to be handsome?” Looks are undoubtedly important, but it goes far beyond aesthetics. Being Handsome is about being well-rounded and living life as authentically regardless of sex, race, religion or any of the other words and labels used to divide humanity. They have chosen the discipline of clothing and vow to make the world Handsome and feel good. We have two of their latest tee’s to give away here at Faux. For your chance to win the gear, all you have to do is email your name and address to: firstname.lastname@example.org, label your email IMHANDSOME! All entries must be in by 05/06/2010, 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, Handsome and their close friends and family are sadly forbidden from entering. Subject to terms and conditions on ireadfaux.com. For more info visit: www.handsomeclothing.com
CATHERINE A.D. It’s rare to stumble across something so haunting, so incredibly poignant and fragile as the voice of Catherine A.D. She’s been around for a while now, but it’s her most recent release, Skeleton Songs EP, that cements her as a crucial new talent. Music Week called her “ethereal, brooding and untameably crucial listening”, I just call her the dangerous shadow of female alt-folk. Starting off with the slow finger-picked guitar of ‘Missiveh’, Catherine’s latest EP is a gorgeous body of work. As her voice slowly cuts across the cautious instrumentation, it’s clear that she is a talent to be reckoned with.
corporating multiple layers of Catherine’s vocals, eventually working up into a shearing & shifting mass of ramshackle anti-pop. Special stuff indeed. Of course, Skeleton Songs is not Catherine AD’s first release; she previously gained considerable attention with the stunning ‘Carry Your Heart’, a remix of which is included here. Alluding to the kind of hype and attention that surrounds other more pop female acts emerging at the same time as her, ‘Carry Your Heart’ seems to relate to the hype-and-destroy nature of the music industry today. “Today, just a number, don’t think you fall from favour so fast”; has anyone so succinctly demonstrated how flawed those never-ending new-bands lists are? Here today, gone tomorrow in a breath. However, Catherine AD has the inept talent, the sharp identity, and most importantly the gorgeous music to transcend all that surrounds her. A true gem indeed.
The most instant reference point is the equally fragile tones of fellow female songstress Polly Scattergood and her debut self-titled record. At other points on Skeleton Songs, Catherine harks back to the dulcet tones of artists such as Vashti Bunyan or Joni Mitchell, painting a haunting yet viscous collage from carefully orchestrated instrumentation and penetrative Skeleton Songs is released 7th June on limited riblyrics. bon-wrapped CD. At no point is the variation in her work apparent than on the gorgeous ‘Populah-la’, contrast- www.myspace.com/catherinead ing brilliantly with the earlier tracks on the EP. Words: Liam Haynes Starting with a simple chanted refrain and in
OCELOT Ocelot, are without a doubt, worthy of yours, and everyone else’s attention. The pair, consisting of Cory Kilduff from Dallas Texas, and James Welsh from Keighley, Yorkshire, have been on both the British and American radars for quite some time now. After forming just over three years ago from the ashes of their Austin based hardcore band The Rise, the two of them began remixing various local Texas based hardcore bands tracks, to a very excited response.
ords. A perfect blend of catchy electro, and thumping house, the new single is guaranteed to propel the trans-Atlantic duo to international success. The new single includes five sweet remixes by acts including house DJ Louis La Roche, Blende - another duo from London, and Seismal D, an electronica producer from Italy.
With new festival appearances being announced every week, including a mainstage appearance at this year’s Creamfields alongside Deadmau5, Audio Bullys and David Guetta, expect to be hearAfter this initial excitement they continued to ing a lot of good things about Ocelot over the remix tracks using the skills they had honed summer, if not before. in the time in their previous band, where they both were in control of on stage electronics and Both this new single and previous single ‘Our vocals. Gradually the duo began to gain the in- Time’ are incredibly catchy dance tracks, that will terest of the blogging world, and it was at this no doubt be loved by avid fans of the genre, and time I first came across them. After playing impartial listeners alike. Our Time is available to countless shows, DJing in hundreds of clubs all buy on iTunes right now. over the US and being asked to remix tracks by esteemed acts including Röyksopp, Robyn, and ‘Beating Hearts’ is released on Wall Of Sound on The Killers, Ocelot slowly but surely were mak- June 7th, with debut album No Requests to follow ing a name for themselves. in the summer. Three years on Ocelot are based in the UK in Leeds, and are preparing to release their new Words: Joly Checketts single ‘Beating Hearts’ on Wall Of Sound Rec-
HARRYS GYM Listen to the self-titled debut album from Norwegian quartet Harrys Gym, and be prepared to feel well and truly emotionally wiped-out afterwards.The diverse album, recorded, produced and mixed by the band themselves in none other than derelict fitness studio, Harrys Gym, in which lies their own professional recording studio, and created with the help of Emil Nikolaisen of SerenaManeesh, is set to better expectations. Sensitively evocative sounds are developed by a mass of flickering keyboards, drums, guitar and a thriving, pulsing bass, and emerge in this earthy and pumping collection of inspired indie-pop. Both woefully fragile and powerfully energetic, the band’s intrinsically paradoxical breed of prog-pop screams success and a level of charming originality often missing in an ever-growing crowd of pop artists. But, love them or hate them, the sweet and spiritual air Harrys Gym exude is impossible to ignore, as is the composed edginess that brings the album to a close. Above all, it’s not often that commonplace indie-pop oozes such poignancy; but charmingly raw vocals and a high level of gentle intensity make this group of Norwegians prominent new faces on the scene. Harrys Gym’s self title LP is out now on Hype City Words: Rosie Ramsden
Everything Everything have been teasing us with snippets of their capabilities for way too long now. From first single ‘Suffragette Suffragette’ to latest track ‘Schoolin’’ the Manchester based band have etched out an extremely unique sound thanks to a wide range of instruments, vocal styles and the audacity to combine it all in a way which may sometimes feel overwhelming but always manages to impress.Granted, upon first giving Everything Everything your listening attention you may feel let down, their sound is of an acquired taste and may feel tacky and over the top to begin with. However it’s a feeling which soon disperses when you find yourself with a longing to listen to the band once again. ‘Schoolin’’ is the perfect example of this, the band have found a blend of sounds to call their own which treads perfectly along the fine line of catchiness without slipping up and becoming annoying. Everything Everything are currently putting the finishing touches to their, as yet untitled, debut album which is due out in the Summer. The band are currently co-headlining the NME Radar Tour alongside Hurts and Darin Deez and will be heading out again on tour with Delphic then Keane, followed by performances at a number of festivals over the Summer months. ‘Schoolin is out June 13th on Geffen Words: Chris Wheatley // Photo: Fred Thomas
With a string of revered releases, a Radio 1 essential mix (recorded alongside long-time musical partner Hervé), a radio show on Kiss FM and a residency at London’s much-celebrated Fabric under his belt, UK electronic music producer Graeme Sinden is looking to expand his scope further still with the creation of his new record label; the sharply named Grizzly. Of the name, Sinden explains that “I’m a rap fan so the name derives from the saying “on my grizzly” - describing a hustle mentality or hard work ethic. So I took that and shortened it to Grizzly. Also I think it has an attitude about it which I like”.The label’s opening release ‘Midnight Marauder’/ ‘Kind of Familiar’ seems to distil a sort of voracious attitude of independence. Boldly strutting a fine line between stripped back and raucous, the release – co-produced with long-time friend SBTRKT – offers distinctive, stirring sounds without any hint of gimmickry or cliché. Other forthcoming releases on the label include‘Arnold Classics’ by French DJ Brodinski, as well as debut releases from WAFA and Bassanovva and a host of other up-and-comers.
label changing and evolving all the time. The sound is not confined or restricted by genres or tempos or anything. The label is about attitude and just signing great music. I’m trying to bring back what I loved about buying 12’s and dance records when I started collecting music. Things like stripping back the content on the single limiting it to only a few tracks per release and only having one or two remixes is important. I think the idea about having a B-side is pretty lost now.These days it’s all about packing the release with second-rate remixes that all sound the same as the original”.
In an electronic music scene where the blog is king and homogeneity often seems to be both the smoothest and most direct path into the industry, Grizzly looks set to offer fertile soil for a blend of new producers and their joyously incongruent sounds - linked by little more than a requisite amount of innovation and quality. “Grizzly is simply a platform for music that I buzz off and get excited about. It’s about grey area sounds, music that doesn’t fit in boxes and a cross pollination of styles. If remixes do feature, they’ll all be disparate and interesting. I’m sure if there are people that think I have a sound then the label Whilst Sinden himself is often unfairly branded will surprise a few”. with the bloggers-favourite ‘fidget house’ tag, he is keen to establish that the label’s release To join the labels debut release, Brodinski releases schedule isn’t governed by a particular sound. “Arnold Classics” Through grizzly on May 17th. “I’m inspired by what’s around me so I see the Words: Mike Coleman
PEOPLE LIKE PEOPLE
Words: Mike Coleman
Terrorism might not traditionally be the go-to subject matter that comedies deploy for those big belly laughs, but what else would you expect from the first feature film outing from sovereign of satire Chris Morris? After riding out the waves of knee-jerk tabloid controversy in the late 90’s - generated by his infamous news-spoof series Brass Eye (which featured everything from a paedophile dressed as a school to a fictional drug called ‘Cake’) - Morris has more recently delved into sitcom projects including co-writing hipster send-up Nathan Barley and starring as eccentric businessman Denholm Reynholm in the I.T. Crowd. For his next project however, he’s turned his attention on the big screen, directing the audacious new UK comedy Four Lions. Starring multi-talented actor/ hip-hop MC Riz Ahmed as the ringleader of a band of would-be martyrs, the film marks another exciting role in Ahmed’s career. Following on from starring as a young drug dealer in the exceptional UK drama Shifty and a detainee in the uncompromising docudrama Road to Guantanamo, Four Lions looks set to be the film that should give this talented 28 year old the attention he deserves. With the release just round the corner, Riz talked to Faux about working with Chris Morris, balancing careers and the comedy of terrorism. “Four lions is a Jihadist-comedy, about a group of guys who want to set themselves down the road to glory and martyrdom. The only problem is they’re really crap at it. “The idea of a small group of extremists planning an attack on UK soil may not instantly glow with comedy, but Riz is keen to explain where in such a potentially provocative subject the laughs are rooted. “You know, if you get a group of guys together
“...If you get a group of guys together to organise anything, they can fuck it up” to organize anything, they can fuck it up – whether it’s a Barbecue or a fivea-side football match - so, a jihadi mission would be no different really.” Initially conceived after Chris Morris read about an incident where five would-be jihadists planned to ram a boat stacked high with explosives into a US warship – only for the boat to sink under the weight, leaving them embarrassed and treading water– the comedy seems derived from a humanistic element; drawn from the inadequacies and relationships between Riz’s character and the rest of the bumbling group. “I guess my character, Omar, is the leader of the group - the one who’s got his stuff together the most and is kind of leading the others and keeping them together but it’s difficult when effectively they’re just a shambles.” “ Ahmed met Chris Morris following the release of his song ‘Post 9/11 Blues’, a biting piece of tongue-in-cheek satire that ended up temporarily banned from the airwaves due to its sensitive subject matter. Clearly sharing similar styles of wit, political cynicism and intellect, the combination has made for an easy working environment. “In terms of what it was like working with Chris as a person, it was just a hell of a lot of fun. He has an infectious sense of www.ireadfaux.com || 15
fun, he’s very generous. There’s no ego, he’s not pretentious – I’ve never met anyone who works in the media with less of an ego.” Describing the atmosphere on set as “a very kind of liberating atmosphere to work in”, Riz admits that he wasn’t instantly intimated by Morris’ fairly totemic reputation in the media. “To be honest when I first started the project, to my own ignorance I wasn’t aware of just how revered Chris Morris was, and the sort of comedy status that he had. So, I just kind of got to know him and got friendly with him over a few years, I just kind of thought he was just an amazing guy. I was kind of aware that loads of other people worshipped him but I hadn’t really fully checked out his stuff, and it was only when I was filming that I started checking out his stuff and I was like ‘Jesus Christ what’s going on?’ I knew he was a genius just from conversations with him but I was like ‘What?!...this is insane!’ Morris isn’t the only satirical genius Ahmed has worked with though, having appeared as delivery driver Riq in Charlie Brooker’s excellent Channel 4 horror-drama Dead
“...i’m not really a grime act, my lyrics are of a different flavour really. musically i don’t really belong to anything.” Set. “I think Chris Morris actually mentioned me somewhere down the line to Charlie Brooker, because when I first met him he said “Oh are you working with Chris?” But Yann Demange, the director, was the guy who got me in, he’s a great friend and a phenomenal director and he’s up for a BAFTA next year. He saw Road to Guantanamo, loved it and said he’d always wanted to work with me. What was really cool about that was it was just a role that was written and intended to be played by a white guy. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it was really cool that it ended up played by me because it was a non-stereotypical, unconventional bit of casting, that kind of broke things out of their boxes a bit.” Dodging stereotypes and assumptions is something that Riz has already made himself quite vocal about. Released last year, his incisive single ‘Radar’ addressed the cultural obsession with preconceptions in aneloquent, blistering, 3 minute rant. As an MC, Rizhas built a reputation for his unconventional, cerebral and sometimes intentionally comedic approach to UK hip-hop. On his track ‘Don’t Be Silly’ he instantly separates himself from traditional, bling-laden MC stereotypes with lines that appeal to “anyone who feels embarrassed / that their only bit of ice is peas and carrots.
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”Whilst this doesn’t sound like the usual fare of the UK grime scene, Riz himself admits he’s not sure where exactly his sound would be placed on the musical spectrum. “Sometimes I wonder ‘Where do I fit in?’ I don’t really think I’m a political rapper like Low Key, I think musically it’s very different. I’m not really a grime act; my lyrics are of a different flavour really. Musically, I don’t really belong to anything. That’s something I’m proud of, but equally it’s something I’m wary of, because it can be difficult to connect to people if you don’t exist in clear boxes or under a clear banner. Wiley said something that was really encouraging to me actually, he phoned me up out of the blue and said ‘You’re pushing things forward to the next level, and you’ve made me reassess my writing.’ I was like ‘What? Wiley’s saying this to me?’and he was like ‘People might not get you, but that’s because what you’re doing is bigger than the game.’ “ With Four Lions only just being released, you’d think Riz would have been too busy over the past year or two to be planning any advancement in his music career, but his new album MICroscope – due out in June – demonstrates the sheer flexibility of his career-juggling skills.
“...Four Lions is a jihadist-comedy, about a group of guys who want to set themselves down the road to glory”
“MICroscope is tied together with a conceptual live show, so it’s not really a concept album - but I think the album has a very distinctive style and flavour. I think (previously released singles) ‘Radar’ and ‘People like People’ set the tone of the album in lots of ways. There’s definitely a consistency of sound, but most of all I’m proud to say that I think that it’s totally different to anything else out there, which is something that I feel like, if you’re able to say that, even if you end up sending ten copies you can still say that - you can put your balls on the line and do it.” Riz’s concept live show seems to have ruffled a few feathers in the music world, earningimpressivefinancial support from a series of investors and sponsors with its fascinating premise. “My live show for this album is an interactive, immersive, sci-fi thriller. Kind of like if you went to Alien Wars - plus the red button on your TV remote. It’s kind of like a next-level live show, that doesn’t really exist yet and should be the first kind of show or concert that’s like that. Because of that, it’s attracted investment from some amazing people like Festival Republic -who run Latitude Festival, and Metropolis music – who do all the live stuff for Amy Winehouse, Oasis and Coldplay.” Working with a career ethic that extols quality and standards over wealth and status has allowed Riz to nurture two career paths with equally impressivelevels of freedom, flexibility and quality. “In terms of how I juggle them, one compliments the other, it means that I’m never going to do an acting job for the hell of it, because every time I do that’s taking time out from being able to make tunes or do gigs. Similarly, I’ve never thought “right, I’ll record a shit track and put it out to try and make money” because I can earn a living from acting, and also because there’ll be times I decide to do a random gig or whatever, it’ll mean I’m unavailable for filming. It creates a healthy balance; you get to be pickier about both, because I know every time I’m doing one I can’t be doing the other because you’ve got to focus on them both.”
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Selecting roles with a discerning eye obviously allows for a healthy compromise between professional integrity and public exposure, offering Ahmed some of the best written and intriguing roles available.” A good role is going to be one that makes people think twice. I think that’s true of anything. If I’m playing a character that doesn’t question anything, then you’re playing a caricature, you’re playing a stereotype and you’re in a comfortable zone for audiences to digest.”Four Lions is a film that revels in this assumption-slaying style of characterization. By dismissing the tabloid legend of deadly, thoroughly-trained Jihadists and unmasking them simply as confused, voiceless young man, Chris Morris has brought us a group of complex characters who serve as an important political snapshot of our times. “The interesting characters and the really interesting roles are the ones that make you sit up and go ‘oh shit, that didn’t really fit with my idea of what someone like that is about.’ So it’s not that I go out looking to evangelize and change people’s minds are like, whether it’s what a drug dealer is like or what a Guantanamo detainee is like or anything. It’s that, I’m interested in really great, great roles, and great roles are the ones that inevitably, will ask questions and might be enigmatic or might challenge your assumptions, because that’s what great drama is about. 18 || www.ireadfaux.com
It’s about questioning your audience and questioning yourselves.” Riz however, is clear to establish that Four Lions is a film without agenda or political intent. “I don’t think he’s really trying to create a message... generally I’m kind of suspicious of anything that attempts to put across a clear message, and I think Chris is even more so. I think it’s about finding the unexplored areas and making us question ourselves and offering some insight and some jokes and ultimately lots of comedy. You’ve got to remember that this film does have a lot to say and it does have a lot of insight, but the way it does it isn’t by transmitting explicit messages. The way this film communicates and offers a fresh view on this whole area is through laughter, which is a very visceral, very raw, very instinctive way of communicating, it’s not about wrapping up your bullet pointed message in the film - it kind of communicates on a different level.” When with Brass Eye Chris Morris managed use subjects like paedophilia, drugs and crime to satirize media hysteria to the point of being dubbed “The Most Hated Man in Britain” by several tabloids, he ensured controversy would become nearly synonymous with his brand of satire. A subject as inflammatory as suicide bombing is always inevitably going to find itself at odds with at least a hint of controversy, but Four Lions seems to have generated a smaller outcry from the Daily Mail contingent than most people would expect.
“If there was going to be an outcry, then there would have been one already.”
“A good role is going to be one that makes people think twice” “It’s weird because people say that but I think that if there was going to be an outcry then there would’ve been one already. I read something in the Evening Standard where an ex-soldier who’d survived a suicide bombing in Iraq had seen FourLions and he’d loved it. He said something that was quite interesting which was – ‘Any howl of outrage will be people speaking on our behalf –you’re talking about what would you say to the victims or the family members of the victims, well thank you very much, but let us speak for ourselves.’Me personally, as someone who has lost friends, I think it’s just a masterful film, it’s hilarious and it’s much needed.
changed, Four Lions looks set to offer a similarly dark look at an inflammatory subject, but perhaps this sort of healthy political cynicism is exactly what both the country and the comedy world needs.“I think Chris Morris has changed the way we think about things. I mean, he really has with his body of work. If you look at the Brass Eye Paedophile special, at that time, maybe people weren’t ready for it, but that’s happened - eleven years ago, -and now you’ve got Four Lions coming out. People are accustomed to that level of satire, so I think because of the work Chris has done in the past, people are ready for the work he’s doing now.” Four Lions is out at all good cinemas now. The MICroscope live show goes to Fabric London on the 17th of June. For more information on the project check out: www.fabriclondon.com The First Single from MICroscope - ‘Hundreds and Thousands’ is on 14th June. For more info on Riz check out: www.myspace.com/rizmc
That’s just one persons response but the point is that I don’t think you can second guess people’s reactions, or assume that there’ll be a mass reaction of controversy or outrage, really from in the press so far there hasn’t been one, so I don’t know if there will be.” Waiting for a kneejerk reaction is an almost natural reaction when working on a project with Chris Morris, but Riz observes that “It’s the potential of controversy that seems appealing to the media, rather than any controversy that actually exists. It’s always a problem in films that people make up their minds without actually seeing it.” Perhaps, though, the critical silence is a sign of the times. Whilst eleven years ago some sectors of Britain may have found itself in uproar at the black comedy of satirist Chris Morris, it seems as if times have www.ireadfaux.com || 19
Words: Martyn Cooling
65daysofstatic, a 4 piece experimental/ instrumental rock band from Sheffield who have been breaking boundaries and tearing up speakers for 3 albums, are about to release their 4th full length album ‘We Were Exploding Anyway’. I caught up with the Paul from the band as they embarked on their European tour and sat down for a chat.
“... MuSIC THAT CAN SOMETIMES BE CALLED EXPERIMENTAL OR NOISY CAN ALSO BE PLEASANT”
Experimental is a term used to cover up a whole host of musical tripe, from a band’s desperate to attempt to re-invent themselves, to Pink throwing guitars on her latest abortion of an album because her label said “guitars are so in right now”. Luckily 65daysofstatic don’t fall into any of the aforementioned scenarios and basically define what the nature of an experimental band should be. They’re a music lover’s band and an audiophiles dream, their albums are thick with layered guitars, sampled and live drums, intricate use of synthesizers all interspersed with offbeat samples. Constantly compared to Aphex Twin, like the aforementioned the band have carved a niche few will ever fill.
can have”. The band’s debut although well received wasn’t the most accessible of albums and it took a certain type of listener to enjoy the rapid-fire time changes and noisy erratic sounds that laden the album. We Were Exploding Anyway seems like the band set out to create a more accessible version of their debut and mature their original sound. “One thing we’ve always said in interviews is that we’ve always wanted to be as accessible as possible and that music that can sometimes be called experimental or noisy can also be pleasant. It doesn’t have to be challenging to listen to”.
The bands first full length The Fall of Math was critically well received and became a milestone for the both the bands studio work and for their live output. There latest offering We Were Exploding Anyway feels like the band has come full circle and is more similar in style and energy to their first album than anything they have produced in the 6 years since its release. “I definitely think we have improved on the production of The Fall of Math, and I think we know a lot more about what we’re doing. On the first one we didn’t even know we were making an album, we had planned an EP and suddenly it became an album. I think it was infused with that rawness a band’s first album
Some of the band’s first forays into music consisted of dance remixes and mash-ups of mainstream pop artists such as Christina Milian, Natasha Beddingfield and Justin Timberlake. One such mash-up, ‘White Noise Christmas’ gained notoriety on the internet because of a fan created video that became heavily circulated before appearing on one of their later DVD releases. The sound present on their latest release harks back to their dance music roots and certainly feels like yet another reason to describe the band as coming full circle from their first album Was it an organic shift in tone or a more conscious decision? “A bit of both really, it wasn’t that we chose. www.ireadfaux.com || 21
to be more dancey, but we did choose to approach the new record in a very different way to our previous one”. The Destruction of Small Ideas was the bands 3rd full length and in their own way, the most experimental of all as the band chose to introduce specific production techniques to further layer and space out their sound to avoid the dreaded ‘dynamic range compression’ that haunts many a modern release. “Our last two albums went down a particular route and I’m glad we tried out the production techniques that we did on The DestructionOf Small Ideas, but by the time it was done, we had learned so much in the somewhat painful process that we wanted to do something very different and leave destruction as an end”. Always a band that has toured heavily and pushed the virtues of touring, Paul instilled another inspiration for the new record. “We wanted to push ourselves to only using instruments and gear we could use live and move away from things that we weren’t able to do ourselves. For instance on The DestructionOf Small Ideas we had a lot of grand pianos and string sections but on the new record we wanted to just have a back-line, drum kit and our electronics”. Expanding on the band’s wish to maintain accessibility, the push for a more standard live set-up and to have their recording reflect that actually helped create a cleaner sound. “Whereas in the past we have been very glitchy and very Squarepusher-like, when you remove your options you make the most of what you have. On the new record we have stripped back and become more direct”. This is not to say the band have watered down the unique sound they have carved, its an evolution of their vision and a tribute to their increased interest in music production as a whole. On the way to this new album the band released an EP, The Distant and Mechanised Glow of Eastern European Dance Parties, on which the band felt around and tried to find the new direction in which to take. It’s on the EP that the band take the first and only foray into using vocals. “It wasn’t that we abandoned it after that, the EP was the best way to test new sounds as we knew our new full length had to be a world away from we had done before. We tried to put ourselves outside our comfort 22 || www.ireadfaux.com
zone and for the vocals we ended up having about 16 different people all record harmonies. None of us are singers and the day after recording we spend hours on Cubase autotuning every little bit. It wasn’t that we threw it out straight away, but it was simply an experiment”. With the band’s more dance orientated sound on the new record and their keenness to strip down to a purely live ready set-up, I was keen to find out what influenced that and what music and movements the band had immersed themselves in. “One major thing that happened to me was that I started listening to more house music and music that resolutely works inside its own genre. I started listening to house music and reading up on its strict rules, tempo, structure etc and I found it interesting that two different producers can be following strict rules and can produce something so different. That may be an obvious realization to some, but it took me a while to get there and fish out the people like Felix Da Housecat and Daft Punk that although have been around a while and have produced some outstanding stuff ” The band are championed by a huge variety of publications and artists, one of the most prevalent has been The Cure’s Robert Smith, inviting the band to play on their recent tour. “It was a massively positive experience, it was hard sometimes with the length of it but it was great and the band was amazing. They could have so easily picked a major label band to do the tour, but they picked us and we thank them greatly”. One of the major things that came of the tour was an opportunity to record a live album at the famed Madison Square Gardens. “It wasn’t something we planned, but when it came off it was like we had stumbled onto something great and the CD became sort of a greatest hits of all our previous output. That’s something which really helped draw a line and move onto the next stage”. The band’s latest album, in my opinion, is their most complete and the album I have enjoyed the most since their debut. For more info on 65daysOf Static visit: www.65daysofstatic.com
Photographer: James Arnold Model: Harriet Greenly
Dress: Zimmerman Shoes: Doc Martens
Coat: Topshop Shoes: New Look
Dress: Laura Ashley Shoes: Asos
CAROLINE’S A VICTIM
Words: Liam Haynes
Now, the issue people have with Kate Nash is that she’s seen in two different lights, based mainly on the way she emerged as an artist. On the one hand, people blame her for the dirge of female quasi-pop artists flooding the charts at the moment, or for anything a little bit twee and cute. She’s name-dropped in sentences that make it sound like she’s a stain on music, becoming a synonym for musical girls with too little talent and too much attention. But with her second album having arrived last month, she’s keen to prove that she’s so much more than a cute faced kook with a knack for the piano. I think pretty much everyone was blown away by the first slice of Nash’s new album back earlier in the year, ‘I Just Love You More’, but is Nash worried that the change in direction might scare her loyal legions of Polaroid-toting wannabe hipster girls away? “Not really worried because I think that things being different is a good thing. I think it’ll take people a while to get used to it but I’m not really worried about that”. Of course, Nash’s latest album is produced by Bernard Butler, compared to the Paul Epworth production on her debut, perhaps contributing to her more refined sound. “I mean they’re different people, so I guess their approaches and stuff are going to be like, pretty different”. Sure, Epworth has discussed the way that he tries to mould his production style around the needs and sound of each artist he works with, from Jack Penate’s sophomore album to Bloc Party’s stunning debut way back in the heady days of 2005. In contrast, Butler’s production has a more consistent feel to it, working in the opposite way to Epworth’s, bringing the artist to his side of the world instead of vice versa.
“...I think it’ll take people a while to get used to it but I’m not really worried about that.” “I was just trying out new things actually and I guess, this is just where I am at the moment” states Nash when asked how the change in direction came about. “I’m really in to acts like Pens at the moment, think they’re really fantastic actually”, well that explains that then. No matter which way you cut it, Nash album is a change in direction that could go some way towards silencing her critics. But where she’s moved forward with her influences and certain album tracks, others feel like she’s still pandering to those who let ‘Foundations’ soundtrack their first crush or lyrically adorn their Facebook page. Crucially though, it seems as though Nash has realised how important it is that she moves forwards to remain relevant. From her choice of producer to her choice of boyfriend, she’s an “independent woman of the 21st century. No time for nits, I want sex and debauchery”. My Best Friend Is You is out now on Polydor. For more from Kate Nash, check out : www.myspace.com/katenashmusic
www.ireadfaux.com || 31
Words: Mike Coleman
as “a reflection of my DJ sets and a way to represent thesounds that I’m into, dancefloor wise”.
Multi-monikered DJ Joshua Harvey , perhaps better known to you as Hervé, The Count of Monte Cristal,Voodoo Chilli, Speaker Junk, Action Man, Dead Soul Brothers – the list is pretty lengthy – has just curated the second of his frantic Ghetto Bass compilations. I caught up with the man of many faces just before it dropped to discuss Ghetto Bass 2, the Hervélive experience and just what his problem is with ‘fidget house’. Ever since producers Jesse Rose and David ‘Switch’ Taylor jokingly coined the term ‘fidget house’ to describe the sound of their hyped-up brand of house music, the expression has always been a point of contention. Spreading like wildfire across the internet, the quasi-serious term has become the go-to bracket to describe the sort of crunked-up party music made by DJ’s including Crookers, Jack Beats, Stupid Fresh and Sinden. Despite often being lumped into the ‘fidget’ bracket, Herve seems less than fond of the terminology. “My music is about many things; fidget is just a stupid termthat was forcibly latched onto a few tracks that Trevor Loveys, DaveTaylor and I did over 4 years ago and that people seem to enjoyrepeating”. Progressing far beyond the much-mimicked sort of dance music he co-created in previous years, Hervénow seems at home moving through a broader range of sounds, reflected in last year’s mixed Ghetto Bass compilation, which adopted a wide sample of the sounds of electro, dubstep and house. “I play and make all kinds of music; I have an overactive imagination sosticking to one style is not possible - I’m trying to make that anadvantage.” Exploring a variety of genres, tempos and sounds, Hervé describes the forthcomingGhetto Bass 2
Juggling commitments as aDJ, Producer and A&R man for his Cheap Thrills label, the back-end of 2010 looks set to be a pretty hectic period for Harvey. With Ghetto Bass 2 about to drop, the compilation will be closely followed by the debut album from his long-standing musical partnership with producer Graeme Sinden – under the name The Count and Sinden. A new Hervé album is to follow in the autumn, as well as a release from his “folky,psychedelic” Dead Soul Brothers project. With such a wide spread of sounds at his fingertips, it’s unsurprising that Hervé prefers to change up the tempo a few times in his sets. Then, factor in the singles and collaborations due on his Cheap Thrills label - including forthcoming releases from Voodoo Chilli,Speaker Junk, Jack Beats, Fake Blood and Detboi - it’s probably wise to expect the unexpected when listening toGhetto Bass 2. The tracklist weaves through the wobblybounce of Jack Beats, onto the proto-house of Joy Orbison and through horn-driven dubstep of Sukh Knight before ending on Sub Focus’ frantic drum and bass workout ‘Last Jungle’. Ghetto Bass 2 seems to offer a genuine sample of the tunes that have been troubling dancefloors nationwide in recent months, with no regard for genre boundaries. But the question remains; If not fidget house – why Ghetto Bass? “I called my compilations Ghetto Bass to give an umbrella name for what Iplay; not so much a genre, rather a way to describe a style of playing andgrouping of sounds. When people hear my compilations they will understand”. Ghetto Bass 2 is out now on Cheap Thrills. You can read the full, extended interview with Hervé online at www. ireadfaux.com www.ireadfaux.com || 33
Photographer: Kayleigh Ashworth Model: Melissa Owen
Dress: Zimmerman Shoes: Doc Martens
Dress: Yumi Scarf: Vintage Shoes: Mantaray Tights: Topshop
Skirt: Paul Smith Shirt: Model’s Own Shoes: Faith
Shirt: Jack Wills Jeans: Asos Shoes: Asos Necklace: Model’s own
Dress: Topshop Necklace: Model’s Own
Dress: Yosshi Belt: Asos
Words: Sophie Stones Images: Melissa-Jane Baxter
When Mel Baxter dubbed her artwork Moonshine Madness she was in no way being ironic. Using painting, graphics and photographs within her images Mel shows incredible diversity. A running theme throughout her work is multiple mixed-material layers, meaning that in the same image you can see both reality and fantasy ,allowing her to create images that are strikingly retro and yet similarly forward thinking. You call your work art for music;how influential is the music you’re creating for on your art?What kind of music do you generally create pieces for? Art for music is a sub-header to Moonshine Madness-my design businesswhich specialises in creating artwork for musicians.Generally the work produced is a culmination of collaboration between the musician and me. I see the artwork on an art album cover as a form of identity for the music within. The work should reflect the vibe and direction of the music, the personality of the musician and a common idea of what looks hot; that’s the goal anyway.I’ve always tended to create work with the corresponding tunes blaring through my headphones. I think listening to the music is definitely an integral part of the process. Recently I did a piece where I incorporated visual representations of the main topics covered in all the 11 songs on the album- I guess that’s more of a literal way of ‘visualising’ the music- but yeah- I think I do that to some degree with most of the album covers.Generally I do work for indie musicians: a touch of folk, a slathering of pop rock.
“BASICALLY ANYONE CAN TAkE A PHOTO, THROW OvER AN EFFECT AND DuB THEMSELvES A PHOTOGRAPHER AND SHIT, GOOD ON THEM” Where do you take your influences from? I’ve got an ‘images’ archive on my computer containing about 300 images that I’ve stolen, burned, downloaded- these are images that have really made an impact on me (and no one particular artist), plus about a thousand fashion, art, photography magazines/books (slight overstatement). Just an eclectic mix of great art and photography; this probably acts as my main source of inspiration. I hit it up through dry spells. Which pieces did you/do you enjoy working on the most? Any jobs where I’ve had full artistic licence or where the brief was very specific and imaginative.One of my recent jobs was to recreate a Bladerunnerstyle poster incorporating all the members of the band. Now that was fun! Do you feel that it is the photography or graphics that play a greater part and importance on the end image? In terms of illustrating over photos, the graphics sort of act as a mask.I think photography is becoming- or has become one of those mainstream creative www.ireadfaux.com || 39
mediums where basically anyone can take a photo, throw over an effect and dub themselves a photographer - and shit, good on them, that’s pretty much what I do.But I think in order for a photo to really make an impact on a larger audiencethe image needs to contain multiple layers or a type of edginess. I guess my attempt to create this ‘edge’ was to apply illustration.Ultimately, take away the photo and the illustration stands a bit lifeless. Many of your posters have a retro feel to them is this something that you feel is fluid through your work?Is it important on the end image? Great question, I was just wondering recently about these underlying retro tones.I think there’s always been this constant attempt in most creative industries (through different times and trends) to combine a modern/ trendy aesthetic with retro- and when it’s done well, I think it’s timeless. It’s not good when a vintage look is appropriated and then ‘goes out of fashion’ 6 months later.I’ve always been interested in retro/vintage typography and illustration- I attempt to mix those old school design aesthetics with current universal design codes to hopefully create something that resonates for longer than 6 months... Fingers crossed. What technology do you find is the most important in your creative process? Well my Wacom tablet really beats sketching with an index finger on a laptop pad by tenfold- but it’s not integral - just convenient. Most of the work I’ve created was thanks to the trusty computer - though without it I don’t think my creative process would have suffered, it just would have taken another path. You’ve worked quite closely with Dan Parsons. Could you please explain a little bit about the process behind those pieces? Dan’s been great to work with, as he’s allowed me to really test my creative ability. There haven’t been any restrictions on what I can and can’t do- he’s been open to all ideas and has tried to build on or meld any concepts
“I’m pretty much set for nose jobs and free drugs this week” I’ve thrown at him.When I started working with him- he was trying to make the transition between a folk artist to more of a pop rock outfit. I think he wanted to rid himself of the old school woody vibe, with the deep browns and neutral tones accompanied by a photo of him holding an acoustic guitar. He wanted a new vibe, so we tried to create a form of visual identity incorporating the past warmness/wood tones of the folk with some edgy black lines and bold colours of the new rock pop. Who would you describe as your main customers?Are they all musicians or do you have a wide range? I tend to sell out with some commercial work here and there. At the moment I’m creating a branding package for a herbal drug company as well as re-designing all stationary artwork for a plastic surgeon. So I’m pretty much set for nose jobs and free drugs this week. Having said that, the bulk of my work does come predominately from the music industry. What artists and musicians inspire you at the moment? I never really have a set artist or musician that inspires me consistently throughout a set time, it’s always come down to what I see/hear around me; on random blogs and books, in streets, or sitting at a party stoned enjoying a random someone’s iPod on shuffle. I guessthat’s where my true inspiration comes from-- those fleeting moments of pure appreciation. For more info on Mel Baxter visit her online at: www.moonshinemadness.com
Band: The Drums Photographer: Dan Smyth
Band: Doves Photographer: Jennifer Simpson
Band: Darwin Deez Photographer: Fred Thomas
Band: Lies Band: White Delphic Photographer: Arnold Photographer: James Dan Smyth Band: Ellie Goulding Photographer: Danny Payne
Band: Hurts Photographer: Fred Thomas
Foals Total Life Forever (2010)
Out now on Transgressive After giving us 2008’s toe-tapping debut album Antidotes, Foals proved themselves to be the energetic breath of fresh air the indie genre was crying out for. Their live shows cemented their talent further as they performed a seemingly endless string of European, Asian and American dates with the same high-tempo and electricity every time. Amidst much anticipation, the Oxford-quintet now return with their second album, Total Life Forever, eleven brand new tracks that deliver yet more intricately layered indie rhythms and electro-experimentation.
a fantastic time recording this album. The staple element of Antidotes hassurvived the two year gap between debut and sophomore efforts as the intricate layers of drums, keyboards, electronics and guitars remind the listener of the band’s phenomenal production talents. Total Life Forever goes one step further with dual vocals creating yet more depth to an already rich, fulfilling sound. The fun, funk sounds that were only fleetingly experimented with on tracks like ‘Hummer’ are fully realised in the new album and will add a whole new element to the band’s live shows. The two singles ‘This Orient’ and ‘Spanish Sahara’ demonstrate two of the newer styles at work in TLF. On the one hand ‘This Orient’ exhibits the band’s concerted effort to concentrate more on vocal variation whilst ‘Spanish Sahara’ displays a change in instrumental pace.
The opening track ‘Blue Blood’ throws you into immediate doubt as to whether you’ve accidentally received a Fleet Foxes follow-up as the vocal harmonies and calming instrumentals are dead ringers for the Seattle-based band. Nevertheless, the track progresses into more-notable Foals fare with a soaring chorus of jagged guitars, break-neck drum riffs and the album instantly feels set to engage you back into the infectiously catchy world of Foals.
The album continues to impress throughout with ‘After Glow’ and ‘Alabaster’ displaying yet more melancholic, contemplative sounds. By the end of the fantastic ‘2 Trees’ it’s hard not to begin admitting that perhaps Total Life Forever is superior as a successor to Antidotes. Total Life Forever is both more consistent in its quality and more varied in its styles and pace than Antidotes, making for a more satisfying album experience all-round.
‘Miami’ and the title track ‘Total Life Forever’ follow and it’s soon obvious that Foals have had
Words: Paul Cook
Summer is finally approaching and across the UK those of the folk-rock persuasion are digging out their old Neil Young records and lying around in open chequered shirts, chewing corn and enjoying a crisp cider in these rare British Spring-time rays. But if you find yourself growing tired of Harvest, yet completely out of touch with the modern charts, then fear not you shoeless wonders; grunge may be dead, but from its ashes Seattle has begun to breed a new trademark sound, largely pushed by plaid-pioneers Sub Pop and created by such bearded chaps as Iron and Wine, Fleet Foxes and the ever magnetic Band Of Horses. Band Of Horses Infinite Arms (2010)
Out 17/05/10 on Columbia
Band Of Horse’s new release, Infinite Arms, has prompted a UK tour and an appearance at Reading and Leeds Festivals at the end of the summer, and the album is sure to provide the soundtrack to plenty of serene sunny moments this year. Throughout this record the increase in production values is blatantly obvious, creating a thicker, richer and more dynamic sound without becoming some all too recognisable comedic attempt at arena rock. Instead the album maintains the delicate grace of predecessors Cease To Begin and Everything All The Time, while successfully adding another dimension to the much loved sound. Overall Infinite Arms makes for a purely pleasant album, perfect for wasting some petrol and enjoying a long, solitary drive on a warm sunny evening with the windows down and the stereo up. Be sure to catch the record performed live this summer. Words: Scott kershaw
James Blake CMYK EP (2010) Out now on R&S Recordings
The varied brigade of the so called ‘post funk experimentalists’ continue to claim their stake as the ‘Future Sound’. This new avant-garde has cast a hasty, yet influential spell on the UK’s leftfield electronica scene, rendering what we knew of low end frequency to be inverted upon it’s head through a bruised speaker cone. Amongst this new school, James Blake has quickly reserved his right in leaving his laurels resting on the cluttered mantle of future music, cementing another triumph of the blogosphere. His inbred manifestations of R&B, dubstep and garage, have landed his most recent release on legendary techno imprint R&S Recordings; a bold statement by the Belgian label, who have hosted many of techno’s finest such as Joey Beltram and Aphex Twin.
Blake’s CMYK EP release continues to pave its way through unfathomable territory, described by various urban thesaurus’ in a multitude of ways, however the most succinct remark to date claims Blake to be “one dubstep beyond”. Tracks such as ‘Postpone’ endeavor to realise the limitless boundaries open to dubstep syncopation, as the staccato jitters cut loose a choir of interwoven gospel harmonies, like a raid on R Kelly’s recording studio. The staple Blake club crunk is brought to us through ‘CMYK’, where he lends his grainy crushed organ to a skippity high hat, keeping in line with past remixes of ‘Untold’ released on Hemlock Recordings. As a whole the EP satisfies to maintain Blake’s status, as he bridges the haunting sentiments of Motown with the indulgence of 90’s r&b; re-marketing a tried and tested formula in a wholly original light. Words: Charles Darkly
Stornoway Beachcomber’s Windowsill (2010)
Out 24/05/2010 on 4AD
There are some cynical critics who may dismiss Stornoway as yet another band attempting to emulate the recent success of Mumford & Sons, Laura Marling et all in dragging folk music out of real ale tents and into the mainstream. For these young troubadours have proven that folk is no longer purely the preserve of epically bearded gentlemen clad in Aran sweaters and misguided trousers, ever ready to insert a finger in one ear and break into song. However to accuse Stornoway of scrambling aboard any perceived nu-folk bandwagon would seem somewhat churlish given the genuine quality displayed throughout their excellent debut albumBeachcomber’s Windowsill. True, it does have a definite folksy vibe and all the usual instrumental suspects are in evidence,butStornoway manage to produce a sound that is quite unique, due in no small part to the pitch perfect, cherubic vocals of lead singer Brian Briggs. It’s the sheer wide eyed exuberance that makes this debut album impossible to dislike, brimming with tunes that manage to wistfully evoke childhood memories of good old fashioned, ruddy faced outdoor fun. Tracks such as ‘Zorbing’, ‘Fuel Up’ and ‘I Saw You Blink’have an unstoppable sense of wanderlust, freedom and adventure, whilst ‘The Coldharbour Road’ twinkles and shimmers like a midsummer sun glinting off a gently undulating sea. Beachcombers Windowsill ultimately triumphs because it contains songs which are unpretentious and imbued with a joyous giddy sense of youthful optimism which is quite infectious. Words: Andy von Pip Let’s get this out of the way first (because otherwise I’ll end up smashing my face into my laptop screen in a hipster rage, and that will never do, I need it to check my emails); naming this album Crystal Castles too was a huge dick move. Self titled second albums are clearly the refuge of the perennially obnoxious; from Peter Gabriel to Weezer and erm, Elton John, the music world is full of pricks who thought it would be ‘rad’ and ‘totally breaking new ground’ to y’know, do the same album over and over again. Newsflash – if Fleetwood Mac did it, you shouldn’t. And they did, I checked on Wikipedia.
Crystal Castles Voluspa (2010) Out 24/05/2010 on Polydor
Despite what the name seems to suggest, this album represents a clear evolution of the faux-chiptune sound which they steadfastly peddled on their first LP. ‘Suffocation’ is a particular highlight, the shimmering chorus pointing towards, shudder, a more commercial direction. Now, I’m not saying that Alice and Ethan have become the Coldplay of electro (well, when was the last time you saw Chris Martin cave in a fan’s skull), but it’s certainly a step into a domain far more listenable. Of course, it’s not all light and loveliness. For the most part, the record is business as usual, Glass working herself up into a spitting, bawling fury. There are just a few more hooks to hum on the bus. Words: James Edwards
SKATE 3 EA Games Skate 3 (2010)
Out 14/05/10 There was something utterly brilliant about the first Skate game when it came out a couple of years ago, emerging into a genre rendered horribly stale by the Tony Hawk series. Don’t get me wrong, the first few Tony Hawk titles were great fun, but great fun on a grey Playstation in 1999. Keeping those clunky and simplistic controls rolling through three generations of consoles did no good to anyone, particularly the people who, you know, just wanted a rad skating game. That’s where Skate came in, completely reinventing how glorious skating could be on a console. Forget all that erroneous junk that Hawk’s series of games had chucked in to keep rolling along, Skate went back to basics and focused on what’s most important about skating and that which makes it so sublime to watch; crafting elegant lines from simple tricks. Skate 3 continues the great groundwork laid down in the previous two titles, carefully expanding the unique control system and keeping focus for racking up points on stringing together tricks in lines. Where it differs most majorly from the previous two titles is in two ways; firstly by placing the action in the entirely fresh location of Port Carverton, but also by completely reinventing the multiplayer aspect. Yeah, the new city is great to skate around, finding new lines and secret areas, and it does have a much stronger vibe than the previous two
cities. It teems with atmosphere, from the billboards that change to reflect your progression through career mode, to the screams and shouts the pedestrians let out as you weave through them towards an unachievable grind spot. The real focus here though is on Skate 3 being a much more social game. While the multiplayer aspect of the previous titles wasn’t flawed, it also wasn’t particularly polished. Games could quickly become pretty lacklustre, failing to fully translate the elegance and vibe of the singleplayer experience. In Skate 3, the overhaul of multiplayer makes it a much more integral part of the package, seamlessly blending in to the singleplayer game, much as Grand Theft Auto IV’s multiplayer does. You get better tailored group challenges, the ability to link different players together and create your own in-game skate team, as well as a refined voting system for choosing game modes. Putting all this together, Skate 3 is a well calculated step forwards for a series with a solid pedigree. The city of Port Carverton is well executed while the new modes in both online and offline multiplayer and the refined career mode all combine to make this the most solid entry in the franchise yet. If you enjoyed the previous two games, you will be just as enthralled with this release, and if you’ve finally given up on Mr Hawk and his plastic wedge. Team up, throw down. Words: Liam Haynes
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