Thursday, January 28, 2010

Southbank's festival looks like a blinder

Dingy clubs will always have a place in my heart but there's something very special about gigs in grand halls. The sense of space, the architecture, the ceremony, the acoustics!

So it's very exciting to see the line-up that the Southbank Centre have put together for this year's Ether festival. Check it out below and find out more on the Southbank's website.

ETHER 2010
FRIDAY 16 – SUNDAY 25 April 2010

· VARÈSE 360° (16-18 April)

Southbank Centre Ticket Office: 0871 663 2500

Monday, January 25, 2010

James Murphy "vlogs" on vimeo

James Murphy, inventor of the last decade, has made a video of the recording of the third, possibly final LCD Soundsystem record, out in March. "I like to be out of control and free ...I like to work out parameters and do whatever the fuck I want."

clip 1 from lcd soundsystem on Vimeo.

[via Stereogum]

New band of the whenever – Spirit Spine

Spirit Spine is a 19-year-old American that makes expansive music on Garage Band. The single Crashers (Highs And Lows) is released 15th Feb 2010 on MAKE MINE, worth tracking down and keeping an eye on.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Ikonika album announced

Just picked this up from Kode9's twitter – HDBCD004 IKONIKA - CONTACT, LOVE, WANT, HAVE - Release date - April 6th 2010, which we're taking to mean that Ikonika, heartstoppingly good dubstep producer, has an album called 'Contact, Love, Want, Have', and it will be on Hyperdub and relesed on the 6th of April 2010. Please above, more news and gushing when we get it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

These New Puritans on tour with the xx

These New Puritans, amusingly austere (and throughly excellent) dubstep band, have been announced as the support for the xx, sexy and sad UK garage band, on their UK tour. Below are the dates, above the battle begins.

These New Puritans were interviewed HERE; the xx HERE

Tue 23 Feb - ITALY/ROME
Wed 24 Feb - ITALY/MILAN

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Video: Gil Scott Heron – Me And The Devil

In which skaters wear face paint and drunks shadow box and the King returns.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Autechre announce new album

Heroically stern electronica duo Autechre are releasing their new album, Oversteps, on Warp on the 22nd March. Paul Morley wrote a heroically pained "blog" about them, pasted below their forthcoming live dates.

Mar.11 Manchester @ Pure - /
Mar.12 Birmingham @ The Rainbow -
Mar.13 Minehead @ Bloc Weekender -
Mar.15 Nottingham @ Stealth -
Mar.16 Glasgow @ Sub Club -
Mar.17 Leeds @ The Wardrobe –
Mar.18 Brighton @ Pavillion Theatre -
Mar.19 Lille @ Tri Postal
Mar.20 Paris @ Locomotive
Mar.21 Nantes @ Olympic -
Mar.28 Ljibulana @ Kino Siska -
Mar.29 Budapest @ A38 -
Mar.30 Vienna @ Flex -
Mar.31 Brno @ Fleda -
Apr.02 Copenhagen @ Concerthall -
Apr.03 Oslo @ Park Teatre -
Apr.04 Gothberg @ Nefertiti -
Apr.05 Aarhus @ Voxhall -
Apr.06 Hamburg @ Uebel & Gefährlich -
Apr.07 Amsterdam @ Melkweg -
Apr.09 Brussels @ AB (Domino Fest) -
Apr.10 London - venue & tickets announced Feb 1st -

What do Autechre mean ? What are they ? There are many questions to ask about the group . . . who they are, where they come from, how they (re)produce/manipulate/exhibit their sliced split folded selected fused mingled occult wordless music, what they are looking for when it comes to imagining and hearing/hallucinating/capturing sound, are they intent on replacing space with rhythm or rhythm with space or is rhythm and space all the same to them, how many pieces of music they have created, do all their musical pieces connect to each other, or should they be kept apart. What is the sense of it all?

Wh? aRe th(e)ir ti.tles s o crypt-ic andOR incomplete oRand a little tonginchikk-the driest sense of humour o/r a private game celebrating the necessarily vague and open-ended/a hygienic emptying of connections/typographical errirs3/spell check resisisting. Or the often unprecedented combinations of vowels and consonants, and punctuation marks, gaps and numbers, which can seem like anagrams, or jokey, convenient, short cut abbreviations, or a taunting secret code, or splinters of unknown sentences, reflect the volatile, enigmatic weight, the unknown sources, the perforated otherness of their music.

I like that what Autechre mean, to themselves or to their listeners, is not an easy thing to find out, and that even though there are plain answers to some of the questions about the group . . .

1.Sean Booth (audio engineering and electronics school) and Rob Brown (art school/architecture) ; then again, their could be many, invisible and scattered, and part of the fascination of listening to Autechre, of savouring their enlightened ways with beat and pressure, force and precision, breath and void, solid and liquid, mass and light, is working out the relationship between the two, and then between the two individually and collectively and the group they belong to, the group (with a mind of its own ) they have invented using brain, persistence and machine. Autechre is the changing, challenging result of the “brutally co-operative” relationship between Booth and Brown and their own views of what being Autechre enables them to do as they continue to extend the idea of what Autechre actually is, as a spiralling combination of the two of them and the group itself. This means there are, in a way, three individuals, or units, Booth, Brown, Autechre, and from there, once the technology, the machines, the data, their shared history, the common conditions, the drive, the complicated associations have been factored in, the three become one thing, a single mindbody operating through particular actions, a solemn unyielding mechanical assembly device fully under conscious control.

2. Mental dance: if it is music to dance to, and there has always been shattered, shifting, ruptured hints of a supple, repetitive, compulsive instrumental music explicitly made for clubs and dancing, a toiling, receding ghostly-melancholy electro/thread, then ultimately it is danced to inside your head, where there is potentially something the size of the universe, and no limit to the movement, and motion, and dark agile stillness.

3. A great name, pronounced however you want to pronounce it, within reason, and made up, possibly, of automatic, technical, replicated, or audio technology research, or author technique resonant, or a random of bashing of letters whilst working using an Atari on a track featuring a defined “au” sound.

4. a. The sublime embodiment of rigorous organisation. b. An independent means of exploring reality. c. Suddenly as from nowhere some vital detail hitherto ignored will come into view. d. Conscious and unconscious mental functionings are harmoniously integrated in a singular way. e. cubist dub degenerate psycho-spatial drug cult funk. f. these organic distortions of rhythm cannot be taught, nor achieved by conscious control. g. each stage of composition imposes upon the group new choices and decisions that they could not have foreseen at an early stage. h. imagining brightly a common goal in the world and in the quietness within each human being. i. To feel the submerged depth coherence we must, almost with an effort, abandon the conscious need for logic, order and sequence. Then the superficial fragmentation will not be felt and will be replaced by a feeling of inner necessity far more potent than the needs of conscious reason and logic. j. Throughout history important new music has been blamed for its lack of melody. k. We may feel trapped and lost in the infinite at the same time. l. different ways of organising the shape and motion of a piece of music, of rotating, reframing, replacing the usual order of events, of delaying, or accelerating, or cancelling out, the arrival, or promise, or consolation of a beat, of radically reconsidering what a chorus, or a verse, or a coda, or the beginning, middle and end of a piece of music actually is. But never losing acoustic sight of the practical nature of how certain techniques and traditions must be maintained in order for the piece of music to still be contained inside some sort of skin, or pinned around a kind of spine, so that it doesn’t just bobble off into farcical incoherence. m. in isolation.

5. The extraordinary revolution of their music evolves from album to album. There are changes and no changes as one named and numbered collection becomes another, and eventually, once Autechre are done, no more, over and out, it will not necessarily be obvious in which order their music was produced and released, even considering the moves across and inside rhythm, texture and s( )pace they've made as they withdrew further and further from any kind of obedient dance stream, getting, so to speak, stranger and stranger, and yet more and more themselves. The pure depths and serial surfaces played, placed and projected during their truly astonishing new collection Oversteps (WarpCD210) certainly reminds me of their earlier music, repeats/reforms some ideas, echoes specific loops, absences and grains, reprises calculations, develops various moods, connects similar stresses and symptoms, perfects certain systems, but at the same time bravely invents new possibilities, resist bad habits, penetrates new uncontaminated areas, and demonstrates that . . .

6. It remains the music of tomorrow/still new places to go/still music that hasn’t been heard/silence, and the reality that fills it, has changed at the end of a piece of Autechre music/you are not where/what/who you were.

. . . these answers - though to a point comforting, and suggestive that there is indeed a recognised avant-pop ensemble called Autechre, late 80s teenage fans of breakdancing, tagging and hip hop, northern disc jockeys plunging into weird wired post-house dance, signed to the visionary Warp label since 1992, temporarily part of some kind of cerebral post-acid movement, legendary sonic step-relations of Aphex Twin, Oval, LaBradford and Squarepusher, virtually inventing experimental IDM, the Led Zeppelin of electronica, unGodparents of Radiohead, remixers of Neu! Tortoise and Skinny Puppy, up to some sort of austere, astounding good, part of a trail, an order, that bites, calculates and throbs, mixing mathematics and the mystical, from, say, Johann Bach, Anton Webern, Pauline Oliveros, Jimmy Giuffre, Steve Reich, Alvin Lucier, Captain Beefheart, Spontaneous Music Ensemble, Tangerine Dream, King Crimson, Throbbing Gristle, This Heat, Art of Noise and Mantronix - don’t help much in understanding their music, and the ways that this music is concerned with various mysteries – about space, time, substance, sound, motion, thought, harmony, scale, truth, reality, memory.

These answers might explain how many records etc they have released, and in what order, during what period of time, connected or disconnected to whatever sequence of pop-culture fads and fashions happened to be passing by. There is a sense of location, of local colour – from Lancashire, to Yorkshire, from the cold, unclubby outside of Madchester to the electronic heart of Sheffield, then to other places, inside and out, and beyond. There is a suggestion of personality, of something surprisingly down to earth, of the everyday, of the moderately helpful, of even the instructional, especially when it comes to equipment used, programmes favoured, machines accumulated, studios built, but also of perversion, of avoidance, of reluctance, of reclusive even superstitious separation from the music, where any explanations ultimately lie, as though it is nothing to do with them, or too much to do with them, and requires a certain protective emotional distance. They might occasionally appear to engage in some form of conventional self-promotion, but before you know it, they’ve slipped through a trap door, dropped out of sight, turned out the lights, moved elsewhere, returned to base, to a black box or two, unknown, but, relatively speaking, known.

There is, indeed, mounds of biographical material and discographical details readily available, these days just the other side of a quick search, that can help safely fix Autechre into the final decade of the 20th century and the first decade of the 21st century, where, to some extent, given their interests, age and technological obsessions, they belong. This search will reveal various ingenious/frustrated/enthusiastic approaches to writing about, describing, understanding and analysing the puzzle, geometry and processes of Autechre, and various arguments, debates, squabbles, speculations, annoyances about how their music has progressed, or not, and how ecstatically alert it is, how mindblowing, or frustratingly opaque, or stubbornly difficult, or totally pointless, or casually random, or not what it was, too dry, too wet, more accessible, less accessible, too this, too that, too sterile, too what. In a way, the shame is that standard definitions, limited terms and conventional expectations culled from reviewing constant humdrum rock releases are applied to what are a fluctuating sequence of meticulously conceived, beautifully engineered works of art that piece by piece relay highly charged, uniquely personal ideas about creativity, thinking, sound, environment, planning, transmission and (self) image and the incredible ways technology can summon up and represent even entirely be the purest, strongest of emotions.

As far as my personal version of Autechre goes, this – now, then, next - is exactly where they belong, at this end of various stories that exist because of a number of cultural, technological, political, ideological, social and musical changes that took place during the 20th century, some of them heating up as the 20th took a turn for the 21st century, some of them slowing down and thwarted, some of them spiralling out of control, some just moving forward following their own glorious, imperturbable momentum. Autechre take their rightful advanced place in various histories of music that have formed in my mind, following, part of, involved with, on one hand something that was known as serialism, which fell through radio, tape and edits into musique concrete, which resulted in the relief of what was known as minimalism, which puts them on the quiet, eternal shores of Morton Feldman, Arvo Part and LaMonte Young, and then they draw from the immense results achieved by Can, Kraftwerk and Eno in using exploratory electronic means to sensitively generate sadness, sensation and sensuality, and a whole host of abstract surprise, and they filter earvisions of Xenakis, Stockhausen and Varese through a privately cultivated handmade machine-smart post-hip hop sensibility. They make the music that has responded the most accurately and inquisitively to the uncompromising strangeness and unsettling changes of the times.

What do Autechre mean ? What are they ? All of the above – it could be. Something else? Undeniably. There is, fantastically, no end to wondering.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Vampire Weekend play ice rink

Vampire Weekend, whose 'Contra' may be very well be XL's tenth number one this Sunday, are playing a free gig at Somerset House at 5.30pm on Thursday. There are no tickets, just turn up. The first 50 fans to arrive will be given the chance to ice skate for free.

M.A.N.D.Y. vs Booka Shade

Have a listen to the new song from M.A.N.D.Y vs Booka Shade, Donut. It's pretty nice, and out on new label Living The Dream.

Othello Woolf free gig for single launch

We like Othello Woolf. You might have noticed. He makes good music. And he was nice enough to ask us to come and play records at his launch party. We get excited about things like that.

Othello Woolf 'Stand' launch party

Othello Woolf - live

+ DJs
Mystery Jets
Golden Silvers
DUMMY Magazine
A Love Supreme
Ronojoy Dam (Real Gold)
Lambrini Girls
Young & Lost Club

Thursday 21st January
The Legion, Old Street, London
From 8pm

Beach House play Heaven on 1st June

As the Bush Hall date sold out a while ago, but Beach House (who we like) have announced another date, at Heaven, on the 1st June.

You really should buy tickets for this. “Teen Dream” is released 25th January on Bella Union records, it's a really smashing record, and you should buy it and love it, and call anyone who mentions Fleet Foxes with reference to them a lying toerag.

Wednesday 10 February – GLASGOW – King Tuts (£9)

Thursday 11 February – MANCHESTER – Islington Mill (£9)

Friday 12 February – LEEDS – Brudenell Social Club (£9)

Saturday 13 February – DUBLIN – Whelans (18 euro)

Sunday 14 February – BELFAST – Speakeasy (£9)

Tuesday 16 February – CARDIFF – Arts Centre (£5)

Wednesday 17 February – LONDON – Bush Hall **(SOLD-OUT!)**

Monday 8 March – NEWCASTLE – The Sage (with Grizzly Bear)

Tuesday 9 March – EDINBURGH – Queen's Hall (with Grizzly Bear)

Thursday 11 March – BRIGHTON – The Corn Exchange (with Grizzly Bear)

Friday 12 March – COVENTRY – Warwick Arts Centre (with Grizzly Bear)

Saturday 13 March – LONDON – The Roundhouse (with Grizzly Bear)

Sunday 14 March – LONDON – The Roundhouse (with Grizzly Bear)

Blood Red Shoes return

Blood Red Shoes, bare boned Brighton band are back. We've had a soft spot for them since we were in three dimensions and they announced details of their new album and single earlier today. Listen to lead single 'Light It Up' at their myspace and think about either buying their album, Fire It Up, out March 1st, or seeing them live at the below dates, underneath this other track on the album.

MARCH 2010

02 - Birmingham, 02 Academy 3
03 - Nottingham, Rescue Rooms
04 - Bristol, Thekla
05 - Brighton, Komedia
06 - Leeds, Cockpit
08 - Edinburgh, Electric Circus
09 - Dundee, Doghouse
10 - Glasgow, King Tuts
11 - Newcastle, 02 Academy 2
12 - Manchester, Academy 3
13 - London, Garage

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Good Shoes Stags Heads

Excellent rock band are hosting a mini-festival at the Stags Head to launch their album, 'No Hope No Future.' Over four days, 20th-23rd, Good Shoes will be playing the Dalston venue with very many of our heroes, including Othello Woolf, Fiction, Is Tropical and Hatcham Social. This is a very good idea for an album launch. Head over to their website (or double click the image above) to find dates, times, book tickets and so on and so forth.

The Knife announce Darwin opera CD release

Breaking news – the Knife (superb Swedish terror-trance musicians) are releasing the music from their opera, 'Tomorrow In A Day' as an album on Brille Records, in collaboration with Mt Sims and equally excellent musician planningtorock. The opera was commissioned by a Danish performance group, and deals with Darwin thematically. As we share an office with Brille, we've had the honour of hearing it. First reactions? It's fantastic. It's out on the 1st March.

If you sign up at their website,, then you get a free song called The Colouring of Pigeons.

Here's the full, actually very interesting, text from the release –

Commissioned by Danish performance group Hotel Pro Forma to write the music for their opera based on Charles Darwin and his book ‘On the Origin of the Species’, The Knife decided to make this a collaborative process, working with artists Mt. Sims and Planningtorock for the first time, to capture the huge width of the Darwin and evolution theme. They extensively researched Darwin related literature and articles, with Olof attending a field recording workshop in the Amazon to find inspiration and to record sounds.

‘Tomorrow, In A Year’ is a unique musical project. Richard Dawkins’s gene trees have formed the basis of some of the musical composition, artificial sounds have been mixed with field recordings, with the music inspired by everything from the different stages of a bird learning its melody, to a song based on Darwin’s loving letters about his daughter Anne. These are compositions that challenge the conventional conception of opera music.

Pushing the experimental process further still, composer, choreographer, costume designer and set designer worked separately, only coming together 3 and a half months before the first performance of ‘Tomorrow, In A Year’ in Copenhagen on the 2nd September 2009. Described as “shifting the position of operartic art in a single leap”, further performances of ‘Tomorrow, In A Year’ are confirmed to take place in Athens (8-9 Jan), Stockholm (29 Jan-1 Feb), and Munster (5 June), with further dates to be announced.

Olof Dreijer says: “At first it was very difficult as we really didn’t know anything about opera. We’d never been to one. I didn’t even know what the word libretto meant. But after some studying, and just getting used to opera’s essence of pretentious and dramatic gestures, I found that there is a lot to learn and play with. In fact, our ignorance gave us a positive respectless approach to making opera. It took me about a year to become emotionally moved by an opera singer and now I really do. I really like the basic theatrical values of opera and the easy way it brings forward a narrative. We’ve approached this before in The Knife but never in such a clear way.”

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Night Slugs starts label, first release = Mosca

Night Slugs has been running incredibly bass-garage-whatever nights since 2006, and a pretty good blog, they've waited this long to start bringing out 12"s.

First up is Mosca's Square One EP, with the dark, housey title track backed by the 8 minute epic _Nike_ and a few remixes. It's out on the 25th.

Head here to download the Geena mix.

Swanton Bombs album & tour

I saw Swanton Bombs support Girls at The Lexington last year. (LAST YEAR. That's the first time I've written that this year. It feels weird.) They were tight, ferocious and very loud. Largely due to drummer Brendan Heaney's relentless energy, as displayed in the neighbour-riling video above.

Anyway, they're ace and their album Mumbo Jumbo and Murder is out on February 15th on vinyl and digital download.

I thoroughly recommend checking them out live too. Invigorating to say the least. Here's where you can catch them:

Happy Huw Year 2010 tour (Swanton Bombs, Frankie and the Heartstrings & Islet)

Jan 22 – 60 Million Postcards, Bournemouth
Jan 23 – Start the Bus, Bristol
Jan 24 – Lock Tavern, London

Los Campesinos! & Swanton Bombs:

11 – Central Station, Wrexham
12 – Evol, Liverpool
13 – Fibbers, York
15 – Tunnels, Aberdeen
16 – Dog House, Dundee
17 – Bongo, Edinburgh
18 – The Venue, Derby
19 – The Musician, Leicester
21 – The Junction, Cambridge
22 – Arts Centre, Norwich
23 – Audio, Brighton
24 – Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth
25 – Koko, London
26 – Princess Pavillion, Falmouth
27 – Thekla, Bristol


1 – The Rainbow, Birmingham
2 – Roadmender, Northampton
3 – Plug and Play, Reading
4 – Banquet New Slang, Kingston

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Oh hello

Happy 2010!

On with the job. Yeasayer's Ambling Alp video. Ft. Don Quixote, El Topo + the fierce urgency of NOW.

Yeasayer - Ambling Alp from Spy Films on Vimeo.