Saturday, 13 March 2010

I thought I aught to say...

What a cracking album the self-named title by Modey Lemon is. An absolute corker! I had the misfortune to miss these guys when they had a gig in Cambridge a couple of years ago.

If you like your rocky-punky stuff, well worth a listen:

So there!

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Jaws of Victory

Pity him as he snatches defeat from the jaws of victory.
Relentlessly persuing what is lost,
Embracing failure, furiously rushing towards ruin,
His determination to feel sorry for himself.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

News & Radio

Sorry for the lack of updates on my part - there's been plenty of great music out there including the Bop album, shitloads of great dubstep, and a new Vibert lp on Mu i'll try to cover soon - but this is because i've been moving house. Again. Now settled in a new abode with Dom Oxynucid, i've also restarted The Centrifuge Radio Show, this time on Facebook group for the show is here, the show is fortnightly Thursday nights 10-12pm gmt, next show on August 20th, Tracklisting below - and the show is archived on Brap under 'Downloads'.

Neutek - Molecular Structure (Centrifuge CF001)
Instra:mental - Thugtronik (Exit records)
Kill_Ref - Melancolica ClassM (Centrifuge CF026)
Formication - What you don't know won't hurt you (Centrifuge CF021)
Antipop Consortium - Apparently (Ninja Tune)
TV Youth - Timboblip (Netlab)
Scrubber Fox - Alien Storm (Wire My Hurumpf LP - Centrifuge CF025)
Bop - Rovor ('Clear your mind' LP - Medschool)
Mark Swift - £7.99 Trainers (Melodynonstop V ep - Centrifuge CF014e)
Oxynucid - Mrs Jynx's Martian (Centrifuge CF027)
Mrs Jynx - Knitting Sheep (Centrifuge CF027)
Moderat - Rusty Nails (BPitch Control)
Kode9 & Ld - Bad (Hyperdub)
Wisp - Flat Rock (The Shimmering Hour LP - Rephlex)
Joker - Digi Love (Hyperdub)
Oxynucid - Harpstep (Supernatant Sampler - CF012)
Compound One - Space Oddysey (Compound One)
iTAL tEK - Massive Error (Massive Error EP - Planet Mu)
John Kameel Farah - Uprising (mp3)
Communicon - Keep (Supernatant Sampler CF012)
Instra:mental - Futurist (Naked Lunch)
Ursa - Mistaken For Strangers (Centrifuge Unreleased)
Jakes - Rock the Bells (Hench)
Idiron Soundtrack - Goodnight (Centrifuge CF009)
TVG hates TVG - Rusted Instruments [Fracture Rmx] (Pinecone Moonshine)
Equinox - Vivid Dreams (Planet Mu)
Bop - Chaosmos ('Clear your mind' LP - Medschool)
dBridge - Wonder Where (NonPlus+)
Dub One - Murder Sound (Scientific Wax)
Fanu - For those who dream [Vector Burn rmx] (Lightless)
4 Hero - Mr Kirk's Nightmare [Randall & Vapour rmx] - Stepback
Kid606 - Mr Wobble's Nightmare [Cycheouts Ghost rmx] (Dancehall of the Dead ep - Tigerbeat)
Moderat ft Busdriver - BeatsWaySick (BPitch Control)
Sadistician - 7 Layers of Gabba (unreleased)
Squarepusher - Illegal Dustbin (Numbers Lucent ep - Warp)

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Faith No More - Brixton

Not rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail, nor tube strikes, nor hangovers from the night before were gonna stop me getting to this gig. I've been going to shows for nearly 13 years, and a good 12 of them i've waited to see Faith No More. After a day off spent irritating everyone of facebook with far too many updates, two hours trekking across the city and a cheap chicken burger from across the way, I met Jim outside and wandered through to take my rightful spot in front of the stage.

Or I would have done, had the helpful security guard not pointed out that my ticket was for the upstairs seats.


Grabbed a hoody and a beer, and took my seat to watch Selfish Cunt. It's always fun to watch a support act the 90% of the crowd don't want to be there, and I wondered quite how their two-person synth noise nonsense would go down with rock fans, even those as open minded as FNM fans. However, it seems that they've metamorphosised into a 4 piece, and were considerably more rock than I remembered. Did it make a difference to the rabid FNM fans waiting? No. The frontman clearly loved himself in a 'spent too much time at Goldsmiths' manner. He had Adele's face on Brett Anderson's body, and an air of 'look at me' self satisfaction you could spot from row J. Despite promises to play for longer they were done by 8.15, and the tension began to build.

After a between bands CD clearly put together by Patton (An acapella version of the theme from Bullit? Come on...) the band FINALLY appear. Decked out in coloured suits: Blue for Jon, White for Patton, Pink (obviously) for Roddy, and Bill in a black t-shirt because he has to be different. I'd had many thoughts as to what their opener would be - a big single? something old for the fans?. In the end, they started with a cover of "Reunited" by Peaches & Herb, before finally bringing the rock with "The Real Thing". The setlist was heavy on Angel Dust era tracks, with a surprisingly large number from King for a day. I must be honest, the band weren't tight - Roddy in particular fluffed a good few notes, and the bass intro to Evidence was non-existent, although that may have been down to the soundguy taking a while to sort his levels. That said, when they got in the groove, no amount of bad sound could effect it. "Cuckoo for Caca", "Surprise you're dead" and in particular "Midlife Crisis" were HUGE, and really made me regret not getting standing tickets.

The band came back for two encores, including seguing the Chariots of Fire theme into "Stripsearch", and left the stage to the adulation of everyone watching. Okay, there was no "Everything's Ruined" or "Digging The Grave", or "We Care A Lot, but really, who cares? My 18 year old self is sated.

- Mal

Reunited (Peaches & Herb)
The Real Thing
From Out Of Nowhere
Land Of Sunshine
Chinese Arithmetic
Surprise, You're Dead
Easy (Commodores)
Last Cup Of Sorrow
Midlife Crisis (+ 'Popcorn' interlude)
Cuckoo For Caca
Gentle Art Of Making Enemies
King For A Day
Be Aggressive
? (Didn't recognise this - B Side?)

Encore 1:
Theme from Chariots of Fire
Just A Man

Encore 2:
I Started A Joke (Bee Gees)

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Dissident Dubs III (Dissident Island benefit gig) - Peckham

Dissident Island is an online radio station, broadcasting bi-monthly at
with a mixture of interviews, political reportage, live debates, vegan recipes and so forth, usually finishing off with a DJ playing breakcore, dnb, dubstep, reggae, punk or some other form of underground - frequently politicised - music. As a fundraiser for the Drax 29, they put together a benefit at the London & Brighton in Peckham, and having played for them before on a couple of occasions I was happy to come along and play a set. It did mean missing Plaid at I Love Acid, but having seen them at Cafe Oto a few days before I wasn't too upset.

I dragged myself out of Queens Rd station, found my way into the pub, not entirely sure what to expect. It was still relatively early, and a few small groups of people were milling around listening to the Dubstep from Hobocop. The venue gradually filled, and with Neil playing a shitload of Compound One and Art recordings tracks, I was enjoying it myself. Whether through fortune or good timing, the pubs seemed to kick everyone out just as I was about to go on, as ten minutes beforehand the dancefloor almost doubled. I'd been asked to play some jungle to break up the dubstep/dnb of the other acts, so after mixing in a Komonazmuk track to get in the groove, I started with Trace's rmx of Babylon - Splash. I tried to mix it up a little, some jungle (Capone - Massive, Equinox - Make You Flex), some newer choppage (Nucleus & Paradox - Love Her, Dom - Come to Conquer), some classic DnB (Titan, Deadline VIP) and some other odds and sods. I wasn't planning on playing quite so many old tracks, but when someone requests it, and it's in your bag, it's hard to say no.

Afterwards I hung around, grabbed a few beers and watched the rest of the acts. Deapoh played some more dubstep - very well mixed, and he's younger than me (bastard), and I even slipped in another Compound One track before Kovert stepped up with some techno. Mr Hyde brought it up to DnB again, and some one else (possibly Serifrat?) was dropping some vicious breakcore (including Dylan & Limewax's Cleansed by a Nightmare - filth) before I dragged myself away. And despite the protestations of friends, I didn't even get mugged on my way home. Okay, so I lost my Oyster card and Headphones (sum cost approx £200), but hey, can't complain right?

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Plaid & Will Dutta / Leafcutter John & Heritage Orchestra

Ahhhh, Cafe Oto - favoured home of beardstrokers and muso geeks. The Blank Canvas guys managed a bit of a coup getting a name like Plaid in such a small venue. Sadly, they chose an evening where the overland trains to Dalston weren't running, meaning a bus from Aldgate, meaning a delay. I got there just in time to get pissed off at a queue jumper and take my seat (yep, seat - we're a classy bunch) before the evening started.

Will Dutta started off with a brief rundown of the evening's programme before a couple of solo piano pieces (he did say who, but I didn't note it down - Schubert and Liszt?). I didn't know the pieces, but he The man can obviously play, but for some reason when I hear the piano I expect it to be faultless, and there were a few bum notes and dodgy slurs. That said, it's hard to criticize someone playing at that level too much. A couple of tracks from what sounded like the new Plaid album then filled in while the four members of the Heritage Orchestra set up in front of a set of screens, and the wiry indie-boy frame of Leafcutter John got ready to introduce everyone.

And then his phone rang.

"Hello?... Oh, Hi Maria ... yeah, i'm okay ... yeah, I'm just about to go on"

This drew a small chuckle from the assembled throng.

"Yeah, I should go ... okay ... yeah, I'll see you soon"

[insert perfect timed comedy pause]

"Yes, you're on the guest list."

The screens were there for a reason - they showed a plain black background with lines like a very wide music notation - 5 horiztonal, and one vertical at the far left. As we watched, two thin coloured bars drifted in from the right of the screen, Tron-style. As they met the vertical bar, the Baritone Sax and Violin burst into life, but with no defined note, the result was a dissonant moan. Within a few seconds it was clear how the score was working - each colour coressponded to a different instrument, with a 'Cello and I think a Shamisen alongside the other two, all accompanied by John on what appeared to be a toy accordian. Pitch was conveyed by how high the line was, while width conveyed volume. After a few seconds, we saw a huge incline appear onscreen, and another chuckle went through the audience; how would the players traverse this obstacle? Over the next few minutes, we saw alternating blocks of colour, gentle gradients of shading, patterns, sharp slashes and stabs - at times it felt like watching the 100m sprint being done by gymnasts and reimagined by Kandinsky. To say the result was melodic, pretty, or easy to listen to would be a lie, but it was fascinating to watch. Having a beard helped, as I could blend in with all the others furiously stroking theirs.

The crazy experimentalism/fucking about continued with a brief Leafcutter John solo set, in which his main instruments appeared to be a metal bowl from the kitchen and a guitar played with chopsticks, all fed into a laptop running MSP. By looping the sounds he made and running them through a host of granulizers, pitch shifters, delays and such, he built up a wall of noise, butin comparison to the cacophony of the earlier piece, this was more reflective, placid, even pastoral in places. The inventiveness in his creation of sounds led to a slightly mad scientist feel, and yet for his final track he gave a surprisingly powerful bluesy vocal over some gorgeous shifting drones - it was something like Jeff Buckley's 'You and I', only sung by the bloke from Kings of Leon. Despite that description, it was actually very good.

I then popped up to get a drink, and sat down to what I presumed was the between acts dj - Ed from Plaid. At some point, possibly before I even sat down, it turned out this was the Plaid live show. Always a problem when your act is two blokes sat behind laptops: at what point does setting up finish and playing begin? Unless you've got some Westwood-style intro dubplate of various shit rappers proclaiming your genius, it's difficult to tell. Then again, I don't suppose there's an electronica equivalent to Eminem. Hearing "Er, 'ello, i'm Richard D. James, but i'm not playing, it's those two blokes there, that's Plaid. Err, right, that do?" wouldn't have the same gravitas.

It was clear the set had been tailored to the event - there was a distinct absence of beats, and even for an outfit as willfully dismissive of 4/4 as Plaid, the choices were fairly abstract. Yet the familiar choices of sounds - bells, 'cellos, violins and all manner of natural and unnatural noises - were both incredibly detailed and craftily manipulated. These were not 128kb/s mp3 samples nicked off soulseek, every single noise you heard was at once lush and deep, crystalline in their clarity. It was an audio equivalent of seeing something on a VR headset - despite the minimal PA and some slightly off acoustics, you could easily suspend your disbelief that this was all coming from laptops. They were joined after a while by Will Dutta, and in this setting, given the freedom to play off another source, to fit in and around the existing melodies and suggestions, the live piano fused with the electronics - a perfect symbiosis between acoustic and electronic, physical and mathematical. All of which inspired one bloke to get up and start dancing in what can only be referred to as a Tai Chi fashion. I'd love to think it was because he was inspired by the congress he was witnessing, but I fear he reckoned he was getting techno and got trashed beforehand.

Still, a lovely evening, another gold star for Cafe Oto, and any night where I can get the bus back afterwards is a good one. And barely a month till I see Plaid again. I wonder if they'll play any techno next time.

- Mal

Friday, 15 May 2009

An inconvenient truth

For you to succeed, others have to fail.