May 2009 Archives
The fifth edition of SonicRecycler series of events curated by the ever-so-lovely Sprawl folk runs on Saturday 9th May at Brentford Watermans Centre. There'll be performers, musicians, films, installations and interactive presentations. I recommmend you catch Bill Wells Trio and Steve Beresford. I'll also be there in a DJ capacity. Having suggested to them that I'll doing an off-the-cuff mix of acid house and arabic music, they've decided to partner me up with Deborah who'll be belly dancing. Live stuff starts at 7.30pm but I'm on at 5.30pm.
You can get more information here: http://www.last.fm/event/1011526
A belly dancer....yesterday.
I've already mentioned this before, but you all have very busy lives (probably on bloody Twitter) so here it is again. I'll be playing on the Touch night as part of the excellent Short Circuit Festival on Saturday 16th May. Playing live will be Norway's Biosphere; who's recent 'Wireless' live album plays out like a greatest hits collection. BJ Nilsen and Hildur Gudnadóttir; Hildur's latest album 'Without Sinking' is fucking amazing. Full Stop. Philip Jeck & Gavin Byars; Jeck rules, his 'Sand' album still knocks me for six.
Chris Watson (he's mates with Bill Oddie don't you know), is doing some installation thing that will probably be all nature-like and ambient. And there'll be me who'll probably ruin it all by playing Enya or something totally ill-judged.
You can get more guff here: http://www.last.fm/event/898929
Also the rest of the festival looks seriously spiffing. I mean look....Holger Czukay from Can (ask your Dad), Jeff Mills, Plaid, Tim Exile and and and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop!!! Link? Yes. Here: http://www.roundhouse.org.uk/whats-on/series/short-circuit
Moritz von Oswald of Basic Channel. He actually wasn't there that night. The other one was.
Honest Jon's presents Sleeparchive, Mark Ernestus, DJ Pete
Thursday 7th May 2009
Plastic People, Shoreditch, London
Having a bunch of Germans turn up and remind us of how great techno still is, within the confines of what is arguably one of the best sound systems in London was just something I couldn't afford to miss. You know, it almost seems a novelty now to go out and listen to some "proper" techno. Not that I ever go out at all. But the word amongst the London massive had spread and by the time I turn up just after opening, the club is filled with surly looking males.
Initially creaky but soon settling into an inventive mix of piercing rhythmic numbers, DJ Pete's first set ran through the style folders with consummate ease. From overtly melodic abuse of the 303 to bassline-rich Chicago house. The highlight for me was an extended re-jig of Surgeon's 'Whose bad hands are these'.
Sleeparchive confirmed my worst suspicions; his live set was as dull as his records. I never understood the appeal of this particular Berliner. Safe, by-the-numbers, mid-tempo techno that sounded like the sort of demo tunes that you'd get with audio composition software. Comparisons to early Plastikman are valid, needless to say those tunes came out way back in 1993....I've moved on since then.
I tried to hold out for Mark Ernestus' usually reliable 45's set (he's one half of the massively influential Basic Channel duo), but my patience was severely tested by DJ Pete's second appearance of the night. By ditching their own lineage and embracing South London's greatest musical contribution: dubstep. The genre's feverous grip on Berlin is evident, step into any dance record store and prime spot is given to the bloody thing.
But to hear it in Plastic People in 2009 felt like I was stuck in some sort of weird time trap. It wasn't even the interesting stuff either (the 5% that is actually worth anything). No, it was the really rubbish stuff; the ones where basslines wobble and do little else and the ones that sound dangerously close to digi-dub.
I bet Mark played dancehall and it was really good.
Alva Noto: Unitxt (Raster Noton) - CD
Tend to prefer his more pastoral circuit board excursions or when he decides to have a proper boogie. Here we get the angry, angular version of Carsten Nicolai's long running audio / visual project. Maybe on a monolithic system with their trademark eye-popping visuals, it might have had a bigger impact. But on headphones or on home-listening, it just sounded a bit annoying. Especially the tracks with Anne-James Chaton's slightly pretentious narration (first time I heard those I broke out into laughter). The second-half of the album switches tack entirely and just goes for piercing digital noise. Whilst I'm one of the few that might welcome such extremities, I just don't think it sits comfortably alongside all that went on before. I'd probably recommend his Xerrox series for a more wholesome digital experience.
DJ /Rupture: Uproot (theAgriculture) - CD - Originally released October 2008
This mix is so good (as memorable as his earlier 'Minesweeper Suite' and 'Gold Teeth Thief'). I stole it....Let me explain.
So wanting to have a good dance AND perform the task of being a DJ simultaneously (as well being really lazy) at a recent Shoreditch-located event. I cued up 'Uproot' on the Macbook, positioned myself in amongst the crowd and let it rip. The perfectly pitched blend of dancehall, dubstep, grime and hip-hop soon took their ass-quaking hold. Occasionally someone would come up to the laptop to ask what a particular track was (I think it was during the second contribution by Clouds). But once they worked out the fact that there wasn't a 'person' manning the controls, the focus seemed to shift to the music.
So my advice: buy Uproot, play it out, make new friends.
FFWD & Peter Schumann: Permanent Initio Remix EP Part 1 (Catenaccio Records) - 12"
Three superior remixes of original's I've yet to hear. Despite being generally rubbish, Justin McNulty turns in two half-decent mixes. One in his more recognisable 'Jay Haze' alias and a ever-so-slightly less impressive effort as 'The Architect'. The brilliantly named Falko Brocksieper is the clear winna though with a confident take that just crashes the party, necks all the alcohol and swaggers off with your other half.
Terrae And Defrag Sound Processing: Mutter EP (Defrag Sound Processing) - 12"
No getting away with the subtle but evident disco influence on this record. The overwhelming optimism that seeps from every track on this really rather fine 12" I'll put down to their Italian origins. I liked the emotive chord changes on the opening 'Sechs Acht'. Just about everything else on this most anonymous of house labels is also equally excellent.
Louderbach: Autumn (M_nus) - CD
'Neo-Romantic', anyone? Gibby Miller's monotone delivery evoking shades of deadpan electro. Which is, bizarrely enough, popular with the kids these days. It can be offputting on first listens, but stick with it and its unique charm will eventually reveal itself.
The way 'Seems like a static' turns sinister 3/4 of the way through when the chords start to rasp and the vocals are stripped of their reverb. I like that. They should do that more often. Troy Pierce's knack for punchy 4/4 and crisp percussion is evident on 'Notes'. Generally I like the beats, but have no idea what the vocals are about. But that's more a fault of me than them.
The mood maybe a tad too dour for this time of year; as I write this, the first complete day of sun has just ended in London. Maybe it'll make more sense come mid-October. But I liked it.