Issue two January 2010
ISSUE TWO THE COLLABORATION ISSUE This months theme, Collaboration, has brought our styles together and produced pieces inspired by each others ideas. Also in this issue you will find a photographer in Columbia, a 3D artist from South Africa and plenty more from those who are based in the north west of England. If you’re interested in being involved please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.onefiveeight.co.uk
Contents 4 Collaborations Throughout this section you will find poetry, illustrations, photography and stories created by the members of OneFiveEight. 18 OneFiveEight Records For issue 2 our musicians have worked together to make special pieces for the collaboration theme. 20 Stories In Pictures This month Helen Peart sends us her pictures from Bogota in Colombia. 22 Featured Artist Roache7 talks to us about his 3D piece ‘Skream’ and other aspects of his creative life. 26 Gooniverse H.S Wilsy takes us on a journey into the gooniverse, illustrated by Dave Healy. 30 Raikes Parade James Bestall interviews the Manchester based producer. 34 Album Reviews This month Tom reviews ‘De´ livrance’ by A Hawk And A Hacksaw and ‘What we all come to need’ by Pelican.
This month the members of OneFiveEight decided that we have had enough of floating around alone in the infinite ocean of our individual imaginations. So we decided to dive right into each others ideas and collaborate on projects that we might not have usually done. Throughout this section we see poets joining forces with illustrators, photographers getting doodled on and typographers squirting their ink in unison with artists. We are constantly looking for new ways of working and each issue of this magazine will have a theme that helps us to do this. If you are interested in getting involved you can contact us via the web site or email us on email@example.com
Winter... J - “Face and I both appreciate type and chose 2 short quotes to collaborate on. I initially arranged the type on this piece whilst drinking red wine and swiftly sent it to Heather to elaborate on“ F - “When I initially recieved the type from Jude I focused on communicating the tail aspect of the quote, this formed the main focal point of the piece. I then decided to change the font used for the word ‘Winter’ as the original type didnt inspire any imagery that I could use for the piece”
Collaborations between Judy Ward and Heather Fitt.
Imagination... F - “When we picked this quote, I originally could only focus on how I would illustrate it so with that in mind I decided to create a constant within the type which would help form the imagery in the latter stage of the design.” J - “Heather had arranged the type with the idea of the kite trail going down the page. I didnt want to add to much to overshadow what she’d done so emphasised the meaning of the quote with visuals to suggest imagination being there to be set free.”
Collaborations between Judy Ward and Heather Fitt.
Collaboration between Joe Smith and Mike Newton.
Collaboration between Judy Ward and Suzie Jackson.
“Soozi Jackson draws simple beings that ooze character. I wanted to bring these to the attention of others so assembled ‘All Aboard’ from her doodles. The group are all excited to climb aboard Blue’s back ready for their trip - it’s all they’ve all been talking about all week. Only one of them has noticed that Big Chicken wants to climb on too”. Jude Ward
‘For Lexx Weasel’
e r u t Na Edward, the bird found it hard to make allies. Other birds, when they saw him would fly off with shrill cries. Edward, bemused, could not comprehend. Why a nice bird like him, could not make a friend. He stayed out of trouble, and kept his beak clean. But Edward, the bird, had no self esteem. You wouldn’t either, if you’d seen what he’d seen. Tourists feeding other Seagull, Chips, kebabs, and even ice-cream! But what he didn’t know, was that he was an Eagle.
Written by Ian Hartley. Illustrated by Luke Breen.
e r u t r u e n o N t r a r P , d e r i ov of Edward the B The Saga
He had no chance, poor Eddie. Fucked from day one, when his mum dumped his egg, in a nest on the prom.
Patrick, the bird, was the talk of the town. The acrobat seagull that flies upside down.
He was a mistake you see, unplanned. Sandra (his biological mother) didn’t know who the father was, she’d had that many lovers. And her new boyfriend (a rabbit catcher of note) said “it’s one or the other” An ultimatum. Him, the egg. He was quite a catch. So she chose him instead.
Patrick, the bird, had no shortage of fans. The people would cheer as he flew over the sands.
And off they both flew, not looking back as the egg Sandra laid, started to crack.
But he wasn’t a nice bird. Not nice at all. He’d set his own Grandmother up for a fall. See Patrick was born with a chip on his shoulder, much smaller than his brothers (though he was much older). He had ‘little-bird’ syndrome. A proper right cunt. Shitting on tourists, down on the sea-front.
Every hour (on the hour) He’d sit atop of Blackpool Tower to choose his next victim. who would be next? Women and children, they were the best. Or some young fledgeling, yeah that would be fun, and easier too (could get two of them done). But one fateful Wednesday, whilst trying to be clever. He flew into the tower, and a net got him tethered. His wing broke on impact. up there all alone. and Patrick, the bird, had no mobile phone. (Of course he bloody didn’t, cos he was a bird. All he had was his ‘squawk!’ to get himself heard)...
This Issue’s cover artwork was conceived, cut, pasted, burned, “Gazing out of the 5th floor flat we were working from obviously influenced our artwork - looking out onto industrial North Manchester in mid-December isn’t a particularly heartwarming activity. A sense of poverty, tension and even dislocation creeps over you as the winter days drag on. We wanted to channel some of these feelings into our artwork; a drab dystopian aspect bubbling under the panoramic skyline. We decided to go a bit apocalyptic with the imagery ‘cos, you know... it was fun. Our collective strength lies in image-based artwork and photo manipulations so we decided (naturally) to take the Photoshop route to completing our cover design. It took more than 40 images to comp this baby together and probably about 15 hours work, and surprisingly only three brews each and a hefty chunk of strong cheese. For those who really care, this will be available in all it’s high resolution glory as a limited edition gloss print. Just drop us an email.” firstname.lastname@example.org Jim & Tom
, blended, cloned and realised by Jim Bestall & Tom Richards.
R t h g i E e v i OneF ’ K N U F F O S E T U ‘50 MIN oes. x is by Johnny Cruel Sh This months free DJ mi th oo sm k’ takes you from a His ‘50 minutes of fun s. dance floor funk killer lounge vibe through to
regular hnny Cruel Shoes’ is a Kris Holyhead AKA ‘Jo ol. r, Preston and Blackpo at nights in Mancheste t modern, nd all that is great abou His multi genre sets ble . dance floor filling music r club night at OneFiveEight’s regula Kris is also a resident north west out for our parties in the Herbal Sessions. Watch throughout the year. s mix from our website You can download thi www.onefiveeight.co.uk
‘COLLABORAT ION As part of this
months them e our produce special piece rs have also b s. Raikes Para een working to de & Relic pre gether on sent ‘Collabo ration Dub’. Raikes P arade and Rel ic are musicia ns from relativ but together ely different d have made a isciplines, track that boun ces like a hip on a trampolin po skanking e. You can re ad more about Relic in this m Raikes Parad e& onths artist in terview on pag e 28. You can listen to ‘Collabora tion dub’ on the music pag es of our web site www.onefivee ight.co.uk
‘Unfold’ have Jude and Outpost (Rob Henthorn) ’ which collaborated on the track ‘Unfold ic mus will be available to stream on the page of our website soon. www.onefiveeight.co.uk Outpost explains; e for years. So with a the desire to do so had been ther but re befo d rate abo coll er nev “We had sunny Bury, Jude sung and I makeshift stand in a bedroom in g, microphone resting atop a wobbly lb came on. A story just unfoldin scratched my head until the lightbu blossoms of days to come.”
Stories in pictures from
South America This month OneFiveEight photographer Helen Peart began her trip around south America. We will be featuring her inspirational photographs in each issue, starting with this collection from Bogota, Colombia.
â€˜Libertaiâ€™ (liberty obviously) is a political protest tag against the corrupt government but also echoes the fight against Spanish colonial rule back in the 16th century when these buildings were built. The policeman represents the person in power and crows usually represent death which I believe there was quite a lot of in the history of Bogota.
FEATUR E D ARTIST
ROACHE7 Garth Mc Intosh, AKA:
Each month we will be asking some of our favorite modern creatives to feature some of their artwork and answer some questions which will give us a greater idea about how they like to work. This month Mike Newton asked the digital Illustrator and photographer Roache7 some questions about his beautifully, macabre style. Location: Johannesburg, South Africa Deviant Art Account: http://roache7.deviantart.com/ http://garthmc.daportfolio.com/ Tools of the Trade: Maya, Mudbox, Zbrush, Photoshop, Artrage (mostly sketching), After Effects. How do you like to work: An interesting question, as I have had to develop a way to get around my personal demon. Procrastination. Something far to many of us artists suffer from. What I have found that works so far as getting rid of all possible distractions before I even open up my relevant applications. I usually find that I’m most creative at night, so I find myself settling in to work at around 9pm, depending on how much of a creative flow I’m in, it can end from anywhere between 2am to 5am. Fortunately lectures only start at 1pm for me so I have time to get in a few hours sleep before heading to work. I start by turning off all means of communication, Cellular phone, any chat applications I have open on my computer gets shut down. Get a hot pot of Chinese tea going (keeps me awake without the craziness) so I
don’t have to get up all the time to refill my cup. I will choose some music to go with the piece I am working on, I find by choosing the right music it can get you into the creative zone alot faster and sets the mood for whatever the piece I am working on at the time. I also have a bunch of audio books, which are great if your not in the mood for music and just want some other small distraction while your working. I recommend a short history of nearly everything, by Bill Bryson. A great way to brush up on your dinner conversation facts. As for my work horse, I run on a laptop as I am always moving around either giving lectures or traveling. I run on a Dell XPS m1730 with 4 GB, apart from being a kick ass gaming machine it has handled pretty well with my 3D apps. Bit slow on the rendering though. But that is what one needs to sacrifice if wanting to be on the road. For zbrush/mudbox and PS I use the new Wacom Intuous 4. A duel Screen is a must. I have a growing library from Gnomon workshop and it’s great to be able to follow along or reference as opposed to alt + tab fu’ing your way between vids/reference’s and your working application. A good set of headphones or travel speakers and digging deep.
Your influences: So many, but I will start with the Masters. Da Vinci, Michaleangelo, I think subliminally Daii has had some influence on my work, current active artists are Aaron Sims, J.p. Targete, Loic Zimmerman to name but a few. What do you like to do when your not being creative: Photography has been a great way to get me away from the computer however that still falls under being creative eh? Is getting pounded in the face a creative outlet? I have been training MMA for the past year, Muay Thai and San Da (Chinese kick boxing) 8 years, otherwise as much travelling as I can get in. What do you do for work: At the moment I am a 3D animation lecturer and will soon be a student again where I will be doing my masters in animation. I started lecturing about 4 years ago in Shanghai, China and just recently became a certified Maya instructor at Siggraph, Louisiana. I’m currently working at an Autodesk training center in Johanesburg. www.learn3d.co.za
Tell us about Skream, the piece you have provided: How Skream started, I had just finished teaching a class to the guys in China on how to model a standard male head. They had a few hours to work on detailing and finishing off their models. I took the time to work on something myself with what I had at hand, which was exactly that, A hand from a previous lecture I had given and the crappy head. One can’t exactly finesse when teaching, or you will bore everyone to tears however the topology was the main point in my class so it was enough for a work around. I knew I wanted to work in a needle in there some how and to have these hands with minds of their own tormenting its owner in some way. As soon as I reworked the head into a screaming pose it reminded me of Edvard Munch’s - ‘The Scream’. So taking the idea from there and just pushing it a touch further on the surreal, macabre genre. I try to get a reaction out my work, regardless of what that feeling might be to the viewer. Any reaction is good for me. The piece was first modelled in Maya with a basic 3 point lighting set up to get the general direction and feel I was going for. The final image was rendered in mental ray, then a pseudo paint over and colour grade in Photoshop CS2. The best way to contact you: email: email@example.com msn: firstname.lastname@example.org
Have you ever wondered why nobody likes you? ds like a Your voice soun lled pram, rusty, rooster-fi industrial falling down an pical storm. chimney in a tro d. It’s a voice Actually that ba s think about that makes nun ings with doing wicked th handymen in reality TV show . It’s a voice Scottish lay-bys ka curdle. that makes vod There’s a funny little man who follows you around that no-one has told you about. Every time you turn around he whips behind your back like greased diarrhoea before you get a chance to see him, he’s agile as a trapeze artist and silent as an appendix bursting in space. We think he’s called Cyril but only because it’s tattooed on his forehead. When you sleep at night he taunts old ladies with a special taunting pole he made out of an old mammoth tusk. Your odor turns business men into wolves, an animal completely unsuitable for commerce and intensive down sizing. Thankfully big business has adapted in the wonderfully creative way that only capitalism allows, although the original shock of the mass metamorphosis did lead to a 78% increase in office maiming for the first quarter. Ignoring claims that the beasts can be transformed back into human form using enchanted cheesecake the Apprentice’s Alan Sugar has made a killing with his Kent fried wolf burgers and meat and potato wolffles. The Dragons Den’s Theo Pathitis on the other hand has strapped water wings to his pack and sent them out to tackle pirates in the Somali basin.
You tamper with animals in our dreams. Also, you play Vanessa Feltz like a set of bagpipes in our nightmares. We know what you did last summer. Because that’s all you talk about. You urinated in an empty bottle, you threw it up in the air for a lark, the unhygienic projectile struck a rare parrot on its downward arc and then the unfortunate bird hit former prime minister Margaret Thatcher in the skull, enraging her to the point that she ate the animals face off. Yes, it’s hilarious, and yes, it is the sort of thing I could definitely stomach hearing more than once. But hearing it at least fifteen times every time I see you? No thanks. I wouldn’t want to hear ‘come here and diddle it’ fifteen times in one sitting. I mean, I’m all man and everything but everyone has their limits.
In each issue The Oracle will answer the questions that you never thought could be explained. Simply email your question to email@example.com
Who shot Biggy Smalls? Everyone knows that Lee Harvey Oswald didn’t actually kill JFK; it’s just a fact. He did however fire his rifle and the bullet that he released like a thunderous stool of fatality went on to eventually find itself wedged in the soft fleshy centre of the Notorious B.I.G’s skull. But how you gasp? It’s simple really and is the sort of thing that probably happens all the time. To start with the bullet hit a pigeon that was flying past and became lodged in the creatures chest cavity. Normally this would have killed the avian vermin stone dead but this particular vertebrate was completely tweaked on some John Lydon strength amphetamine it had found in a picnic basket. Just as the pigeon was starting to come down of the bad drug it had consumed, it was snatched out of the air by a bald eagle. The dazzling emblem of American fantasticness, who then fed it’s prey to its pretty little chicklets. One of the young eagles ended up swallowing the bullet, which subsequently became lodged behind the poor little mite’s sphincter that was inadequately sized for the passing of a 100% American produced bullet. Despite this the bird went on to live a relatively normal life up until the point of its grizzly demise at the hands of a young Chuck Norris who killed the creature with his bare hands in an effort to prove to a Japanese diplomat that he was “all man”. The Japanese diplomat was so impressed by this that he had a taxidermist stuff the animal and then took it back to Japan where it was used as an educational tool to teach school children about the barbarous insanity of the American male. The tool worked so well in fact that Japanese productivity increased by 428% in an effort to compete with and ultimately put out of business their worrying Caucasian rivals. In 1987 the stuffed eagle (that they had named Big Mac after the revolting American sandwich) was honoured in a ceremony held at the base of Mount Fuji. By this point though the Americans had learnt about the
Japaneseâ€™s secret weapon and decided that a massive public ceremony with thousands of people in attendance would be the perfect chance to snatch away Big Mac (at this point the American army was yet to learn the finesse that was so apparent in the invasion force that visited Iraq in 2003) and return the weapon of mass education back to American soil. In the predictable covert fiasco that ensued the CIA managed to snatch the bird but then got it mixed up with a stuffed condor that a local widow had brought along to the ceremony. The focussed yet ignorant spy men that seized the target failed to notice the mistake and the ornament was taken back to the states where it was decommissioned with napalm by President Bush 1 (aided by President Bush 2 who at that point was yet to attain the rank of President or any form of qualification or worth).
The actual eagle ended up on a Japanese whaling vessel where it was used as bait on the line of one of their massive fishing rods. The fancified bird corpse turned out to be just as successful in this role as its previous one, whales unfathomably having an uncontrollable hunger for eagle. Eventually the bait was stolen by Thoomarlin, king of the whales, who managed to remove the prized bird with his magic. Thoomarlin was then gutted to realise that it was actually a stuffed bird and therefore inedible so he spat it out with all the might of his powerful mammalian lungs. The bird shot out of the ocean, through the spheres of the sky and into the galaxy at large. After orbiting the planet a couple of hundred times the statuette re-entered the planets atmosphere and began plummeting towards the unforgivingly hard ground of the earth below. The force of re-entry heated the stuffed bird up to the point that it burnt away leaving only the bullet that had lain dormant behind the long dead animalâ€™s sphincter for all those years. This was now an active bullet again. Falling downwards towards the skull of a famous American rap star that went by the name of Biggy Smalls. The other bullets they found in him turned out to actually be hemorrhoids.
Who shot JFK? Biggy Smalls. Unfortunately he took the secret of time travel to the grave with him. Stephen Hawking once described him as the single most important physicist working within the American music industry.
Blunted in the bedroom with
Andy Blundell AKA Raikes Parade is a producer/ musician currently residing in Manchester. After spending a couple of years in bands he now produces his own solo projects. Encorporating live instrumentation with digital production and techniques. His debut e.p. Blunted In The Bedroom is the fusion of a multitude of genres and ideas. Its not all that easy to describe without descending into the ever growing world of sub-genres. The overall sound and feel of the e.p is a kind of hybrid chilledout down-tempo psychedelic dub indie. Which I know upon first reading doesn’t appear to make much sense or seem all that feasible but upon listening to “Blunted” (which is available to stream from the music section on www.onefiveeight.co.uk). I hope you get a vague understanding of what I’m babbling on about.
most of his work, to talk about; the e.p, his influences, and to find out if there’s anything in the pipeline. Here’s a chunk of our conversation.
For a record produced in a bedroom studio in South Manchester, the music sounds surprisingly well travelled, from the percussive elements in Dregs to the eastern twang of Oriental Slur. The Third and only vocal track Fallin’ is the only give away that this is the product of a lad from the North, with his take on the Baggy/Brit-pop era he’s crafted a progressive trippy indie shoe gazing sound that almost feels like it was recorded underwater. With his production techniques similar to that of dub/reggae Raikes Parade manages to lay down tracks that merge genres softly under hazy reverb, delays and effects, this all ties together to form a sound that is expansive and warm. Textured layers of sound have space to breath and ride over each over keeping the vibe extremely relaxed, the beats are apparent, but never too forceful as this would completely shift the dynamics away from a little bit of foot tappin and a gentle head noddin’ that’s perfect for a sofa in any smoke filled room. I’ve come to the bedroom studio in which Andy produces
The e.p has varied content but at the same time has consistency in its aesthetic, what would you consider to be your main influences for Blunted? In a nutshell it’s a bit of a mash up of all the main sounds and genres of music that have influenced me over the years, with rhythms and textures from all the British bands that got me into music, as well as a mixture of more digital influenced recording techniques from music that’s inspired me later in life such as down-tempo artists like “Thievery Corporation”. One of my key objectives was to make a record that kept the sound as warm and organic as possible, using a subtle fusion of live instruments with flashes of digital sequencing Are you currently working on any new material? Always… got loads on at the moment, the next Raikes Parade e.p is on it’s way, I’m also working hard on some more straight up dub choons with Relic who’s an old friend and local dubstep producer. Nice, what should we expect from the new Raikes Parade material? Well.. nothin to far removed from “Blunted” I’ve up-loaded a tune called “Nowt” to onefiveeight.co.uk that will be one of the tracks on the new record. It’s the same kinda sound but a bit bigger, not as lo-fi and a little bit more up-tempo. Gonna try have it available by summer 2010.
Is working with Relic taking your work in a new direction? In some ways yes, although I am working on very similar style stuff on my own. Wil (Relic) likes to take things a lot deeper and darker where I would probably go more ambient. This can work in our favour taming each of our own preferences and working together to combine them, but also it has it’s down points, where our ideas are that far apart they seem impossible to bring together. This can slow the process right down and we have ended up ditching projects to start new ones. I think we’re both into what we’ve done so far and that this won’t become a problem, and in time will get easier to work through. The music itself is on more of a dub/reggae influence verging on dubstep. Heavy bass and trudging rhythms. I’ve also been working at Cultural Fusion with a UK hiphop artist called ‘Scam’. Mainly recording vocals and mixing down tracks for his new album due to be released in the new year. We’ve also had a few sessions working on music and talked of a “Raikes Parade” style album feat ‘Scam’. Erm… and I just can’t get enough of recording gang‘stars’ at Cultural Fusion What is Cultural Fusion? Cultural Fusion is a recording studio where I work in Manchester. As well as being a normal studio, we do a lot of projects with ‘naughty’ kids from around the area. Most of these kids have been kicked out of school and are pretty involved in gang culture. I mainly record mc’s or rappers or teach them how to make music digitally. Its not a job I planned to get into but I enjoy it and I have felt benefits in my production of music from working with such diverse characters.
What’s next for Raikes Parade? Finish the second e.p! There is still a lot of work to do yet but I’ve got loads of ideas, and as my set-up improves I’m able to create more and more of the sounds that are buzzing around my head. The dub stuff is really important especially working a live element into the music, this has scope to become a big part of our monthly club night Herbal Sessions and our freshly launched label OneFiveEight Records.
So, as Andy mentioned the new track ‘Nowt’ is now available to stream from our website along with ‘Collaboration dub’, a tune created with Relic especially for this issue. Check them out and send your thoughts and enquiries to; firstname.lastname@example.org
So... ...here we are stood proud with a second issue of OneFiveEight and after several years of talking about it all like it actually existed, it now really does! My album reviews are going to be a regular feature each issue and I’ll try to vary it up with new stuff, old stuff and loads of different genres to keep it interesting for you to read. I’ll be doing retrospective reviews of stuff that we love and that is significant to us and also music that I’ve come across that I think should be heard by more people out there. I’m not going to review anything that I don’t like, because that would be utterly pointless. Reading music critics whinging about stuff that they don’t like isn’t my idea of fun so I’m not going to subject you lot to it either. Music is the voice of the soul; whether it conveys aggression like mid80s thrash metal; sun-bleached, laid back goodness of reggae or the otherworldly euphoria of a lovely slice of ambient dub-techno; it speaks to people at a very personal level and should be valued and respected either way. Of course there are exceptions but we won’t get into that... In continuing our theme of “Collaboration”, I’m going to review a couple of very different albums musically yet both are perfect examples of musicians collaborating with one another to produce something much greater than the sum of their parts. Firstly, I’d like to present A Hawk & A Hacksaw. One of the best live bands I’ve ever seen - utterly astonishing musicians and I’ll say no more on the matter here. If folk is your game then you’re up to the plate on this one. Secondly, we have Pelican’s 2009 album; “What We All Come to Need”. They’re a band I’ve been into for ages and still love yet they’re branching out into a different sound and are deserving of recognition by a broader audience, and I don’t mean fat Americans. So... read on...
A HAWK & A HACKSAW - DÉLIVRANCE (2009 - LEAF RECORDS) When describing A Hawk & A Hacksaw’s music to people who haven’t heard them I get a lot of funny looks and upturned noses. They play traditional eastern European folk music and when trying to descibe that, it does sound a bit ridiculous. It’s hard not to cock your elbow & shout “oompah, oompah”. So I’ve given up trying to describe them & just tell people to go find an album & listen. AH&AH are Jeremy Barnes on accordion and Heather Trost who plays violin. Their music is frequently augmented by various traditional eastern european instruments like cimbalom (a bit like an open piano in which you hit the strings with beaters) and bouzouki (like a lute or oud) and more classic instruments like brass and woodwind. They are both, like the musicians who accompany them, unbelivably talented. The compositions are fast, technical yet incredibly melodic, but as it’s traditional eastern European flavoured, which most of us arent used to hearing, it takes a while to get into. The phrasing and tone of everything is quite alien and initialy jarring but it’s so enjoyable that it soon becomes very normal, like you’ve been listening to this type of stuff for years. You can imagine it being played at a party in 1950s Austria, whipping the dancers into a fury - lots of spinning & thigh slapping. It’s energetic, upbeat and a blast to listen to. Yet when they do tone down the pace slightly, it becomes more melodic and lamenting. However, the best way to experience A Hawk & A Hacksaw’s music is seeing them live. I’ve seen them three times now and every time I was in awe at how amazingly talented they are. Not a note out of place anywhere & playing that quickly and technically for an hour solid, was something to behold. Yet, it isn’t just an exercise in virtuosity; there is enough melody and soul in the tracks to stop them becoming stale and boring. At under 40 minutes, Délivrance is the perfect length & if you want more, just stick it on repeat! I recommend this to everyone who loves great music, whatever it may be. There is risk of being labelled an “arty twat” but why should there be such stigma attached to appreciating something different? In the end, great music is great music. Push out that narrow, stuffy corridor of a brain and enjoy something different. So, I’m going to shut up now and you are going to find a copy of Délivrance and hear it for yourself it’s the only way! 8/10
PELICAN - WHAT WE ALL COME TO NEED (2009 - SOUTHERN LORD) Pelican have been around for 8 years now and this is their 4th album. Their sonic evolution from pummelling riffage on the early EP and Australasia to City of Echoes’ more stripped down and textural approach has been topic of discussion of many a heavy music fan. You see lovers of Pelican’s music can usually be separated into two camps; a) the heavy shit and b) the swirly psychedelic progressive shit. I myself enjoy both aspects but tend to lean towards the heavy stuff. The monstrous riffing on early tracks like ‘The Woods’ and ‘Drought’ is hard to ignore.
Original photography - Joe Smith ©
With subsequent albums, Pelican have become masters of weaving instrumental guitar passages in and out of one another: of spiralling intertwining distorted melodies up into the heavens where the God of the Almighty Riff nods his approval. Yet, nothing really seems to happen anymore. There aren’t any tension and release moments - no big buildups into cathartic crescendos. Sure, it’s fun listening to their riffs bob, weave and uncoil for 7mins at a time but us fickle listeners need a reward at the end of it. The early material was so brutally simple and powerful in it’s sheer relentless heaviness that it was cathartic in itself - no crescendo needed - you’re already in one my friend. The newer material - particularly their previous album, City of Echoes, sacrificed the simple, heavy riffs for the (actually quite stunning) intricate guitar interplay that they’re now renown for. The primal factor has been overthrown by sophistication. Whilst it’s impressive and still brilliant music it’s just not as engaging as before.
What We All Come to Need definitely continues in the same vein as City of Echoes - textural, intricate and generally shorter track lengths. City of Echoes wasn’t received particularly well when it was released back in 2007 because of this change. The majority of material on What We All Come to Need is more direct and a smidgen heavier than City of Echoes. The whole album has a lot more impact and whilst it’s not a return to the massive churn of Australasia, it’s a lot more satisfying. Appearances by esteemed musical colleagues also serve to spice up Pelican’s sound slightly. Greg Anderson (Sunn O))), Goatsnake) appears on the ‘The Creeper’ to heavy it up a bit. Aaron Turner (Isis, Old Man Gloom) lends some textural effect-making to ‘Specs of Light’. Allen Epley (The Life & Times, Shiner) adds some - shock horror - vocals to the final track. For everyone wondering what Pelican sound like with vocals, now’s your chance. It actually works pretty well - Epley’s vocals are clean and melodic and compliment rather than impose upon Pelican’s backing. Whilst it’s an interesting experiment I don’t think it will catch on as they’re obviously still an afterthought. What We All Come to Need is a decent album and noticeably more focused, purposeful and also more varied than City of Echoes. If you’re a Pelican fan there’s nothing not to like on here but as I’ve mentioned they’re strongest when they’re pummelling your brain into a fine paste and sadly I can’t foresee any return to such states of high drama. 7/10
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