The much anticipated release from Brainfeeder affiliate Captain Murphy (rumoured to be Flying Lotus himself, as well as Tyler the Creator or Earl Sweatshirt) has just been released as a 35 minute video that can be streamed via his website. Alternatively some kind soul took the time to cut up the video into its separate tracks which can be downloaded here.
November is the cruellest month: it’s cold, wet and involves the first slew of essay deadlines of the academic year. Since coming to university, I’ve been on a mission to find the best music to soundtrack those Lemsip-fuelled sessions that inevitably take place in the wee hours of the morning before a deadline. Here, I present to you a selection of my favourites.
The Rainbow - Talk Talk
A hazy, shimmering piece with a wonderfully restrained refrain. Let its climactic raucous harmonica solo wash over you and massage your synapses as you grapple with your essay.
Remedios the Beauty – Oren Ambiarchi
Fifteen minutes of crackling, melancholy ambient.
Homemade Mountains – Christina Vantzou
Celestial neo-classicism in a similar vein to Grouper’s work. Orchestral strings well up and fade away – beautiful.
Huntington Ashram Monastery – Alice Coltrane
Jazzy harp-oriented mysticism from Flying Lotus’ great-aunt. It’s easy to track the influence she had on Cosmogramma’s mutant bass.
First Floor Metaphor – Theo Parrish
For those times when freeform ambience doesn’t quite fit the bill. Provides a lovely rhythm to match the beat of your typing to.
Xtal – Aphex Twin
Kind of goes without saying, really. ‘Alberto Balsaam’ is another of my favourites from Aphex Twin.
Odottava – Uusitalo
Offkilter techno from one of the Finnish maestro Vladislav Delay’s many monikers.
E2-E4 – Manuel Goettsching
Released in 1984, this hour-long piece based around a single two chord riff has proved very influential in the development of techno and house.
Imagine (Blue Potential Version) – Jeff Mills
A glorious marriage of minimalism and Detroit techno. Soaring instrumentation, driving beats – what more could you want?
Music for Eighteen Musicians – Steve Reich
The godfather of essay-writing music. I return to this again and again.
SPOTIFY PLAYLIST HERE
When I was a young lad I hated onions, really despised them, would not go near any foodstuff that looked as if it might have come into contact with an onion at any point in time. These days I love onions, cook with them all the time and can’t imagine a barbecue without them. The point is that as we age our tastes develop and change, normally in the way that we are better able to appreciate subtleties. But still life is, and will always be, the most tedious and dull attempt at expressing beauty ever witnessed, capable of reducing rooms of schoolchildren into wishing they were in a maths lesson instead. I get why some people appreciate it, don’t get me wrong: being constrained by what is essentially a set formula and using that to show your true artistry that comes through years of persistence and practice is one of the many reasons I adore German minimal techno, but with still life it’s always just a drab, brown bowl of fucking fruit.
A worrying thought for me then, is this current school of thought with regards to playing in a band live. It’s along the lines of ‘practice as much as possible, become as tight and honed as a band that it’s possible for you to be and then gig relentlessly until you become even more finely-tuned’. The problem with this approach though, which is evident when you see one of these types of bands play live, is that the enjoyment and spontaneity of playing live has long since gone and what you have instead is a group going through the motions, possibly with a few examples of pre-rehearsed flair.
Of course, I’m not slagging off every band that takes this approach, because when a band gets it right the results are spectacular, as anyone who’s ever been to a 65daysofstatic gig will testify to, and with certain genres and types of bands it’s the only real approach you can take: nobody wants a see a sloppy and badly rehearsed funk band. It’s just that when it comes to smaller rock gigs, gigs where I’m not paying ten quid to see a band I adore, I personally would rather a band be able to have fun whilst playing live. Sure they’ll probably play a couple of duff notes, and the drummer might not be perfectly in sync with the rest of the band, but who gives a flying fuck? Not I. It sure as shit beats watching a band with expressions on their faces like they’re watching a Terry & June marathon on ITV3.
It’s certainly more in touch with the spirit of rock & roll at any rate.
By Chris Bollington
A free compilation from Vase (label owned by Jacques Greene) was released earlier this month to say thank you to the fans (what a sweetheart!). It shows off the variety of artists on the label and features a free track from the owner, one not to be missed. Download it here!
Photos from our show at Dada yesterday featuring Algiers, Pjaro, Che Ga Zebra, Brazinskas and Jupiter In Jars. Photo Credit: Will McEntegart.
Edinburgh-formed, London-based art rock quartet Django Django stopped over at Plug on Monday night for their UK autumn tour. 2009`s driving single “Storm” (Think Metronomy by way of Devo) had not been followed by an album release until the band`s eponymous debut this January. Huge critical acclaim for the album recently led to nomination for 2012 Mercury Music Prize shortlist and an age-wise rather varied crowd came down for their second Shef visit to see what the fuss is all about.
Super Furry Animals bassist Guto Pryce`s latest side project Gulp duly prepared the stage with a couple of tipsy, hypnotic pop tunes. As the drums backed off in this psychedelic journey, Lindsay Leven`s voice reminded me of a spooked Nancy Sinatra, while touring guitarist Gid Goudry seemed to enjoy shoegazing.
Drums provided by band mastermind David Maclean however kept it all together, when after almost an hour neatly-nerdy uniformed Django Django entered stage, proudly introducing their much thought-through light show and setting an exotic mood with crickets, shouts and synths. Kicking off with “Hail Bob”, they brought about a jingle jangle with a guitar twangy enough to provide the ground for a catchy tune, carried away by Vincent Naff`s seemingly passionless surf vocals. Uniting a relaxed, joyful West Coast mindset and rather snappy indie rock seems to be their success story (“Zumm Zumm”, “Life`s a Beach”), and of course there are echoes of the MacLeans Brothers’ Beta Band like the clattering “Love`s Dart” and the rattling “Firewater”.
It all got incredibly eclectic: bouncing electro took over in “Default”, a likely matchup between Battles and Hot Chip. And it goes without consulting Pitchfork that stomping, clapping, alarming “WOR” steals from a Pulp Fiction motif, while “Hand of Man” remembers the Shins’ bane that is “New Slang”. This influence however was less obvious given how much the multi-instrumentalist boys engaged in at the same time. Synth operator Tommy Grace and Naff did some percussion, a ubiquitous tambourine got passed around and soon they left it all for synths and oriental grooves (“Skies over Cairo”).
The audience enthusiastically joined the band on this neo-psychedelic journey. Although their appearance must have lacked the excitement of early days, as people don’t really seem to fall for the danceable stuff, this band`s complex repertoire is still to be discovered in full.
By Malte Hakemann
Ambient composer Christina Vantzou has just released this video of her performing with six cellists. Very sombre stuff, perfect for the dying days of autumn. Her album No. 1 was one of my favourites of 2011 - it’s well worth a listen if you’re a fan of Steve Reich, Philip Glass or Grouper.
MEETING #3 @ The Union Gallery 6pm
GALAXY’S GARDEN LAUNCH PARTY @ Bungalows and Bears 8pm-1am
DADA’S FIRST BIRTHDAY PARTY with Algiers, Pjaro, Che Ga Zebra, Brazinskas, Jupiter in Jars and more @ DAda 6pm-1am
It’s going to be a big old week.
Clearly no one told TOY that the snapback is in vogue. Clad in flamboyant coats and wearing eyeliner, the band may have learnt some fashion lessons from recent touring partners, The Horrors. Fortunately they also share an ability to write interesting songs that are tinged with woozy psychedelia. TOY’s first single, ‘Left Myself Behind’ is a seven minute cacophony of music with a sound reminiscent of The Psychedelic Furs. Live it sounds magnificent, each band member really going for it.
There is a lot of hype around TOY, with publications like NME eager to proclaim them as the new indie heroes. There is a danger with building bands up before they have actually released their first album and although TOY possess a couple of brilliant tunes you can tell they are still finding their feet. As a band they are familiar with the pitfalls of exposure too soon. Three of the members were in Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong, a band that were crushed under the weight of expectation. Sheffield was the first stop on their nationwide tour and some of the songs felt self–indulgent, but this is to be expected from a band who only recently released their debut album.
‘Motoring’ was a tune that hinted at the band’s promise. The tight structure of the song was a welcome break from the meandering pace of the previous tunes. The audience seemed suitably impressed with the set. The mix of old and young gig-goers were dressed as extravagantly as the band and seemed a far departure from the usual clientele of Plug. It was really refreshing seeing a live band again: since coming to Sheffield, I’ve only gone to Techno or House nights. I enjoy listening to that type of music, but watching a DJ twiddle on their laptop for hours lacks the excitement of a live band. It’s a shame the bouncers at Plug didn’t share my enthusiasm for TOY. I was thrown out for being too drunk after the show, but I still had a brilliant evening listening to a band that has a lot of promise.
By Ciaran Davis
Since early 2012, the anthemic-indie five piece Spector has captivated the UK music scene, building an ever greater fan base upon the release of their successful debut album, ‘Enjoy It While It Lasts’. So, choosing to stop off for their current tour at the recently award-winning Leadmill was always going to make for a memorable evening.
First to hit the stage as supporting act were Swim Deep. Having emerged from the recent Midlands ‘B-Town’ scene, they brought with them their dreamy surf-pop and harmonic melodies, which warmed the hearts of the crowd. The quartet finished with their latest single ‘Honey’, due to be released this November; the title certainly did not disappoint, as they left the stage on a deliciously sweet vibe. Splashh continue the aquatic theme, with their Californian grunge, reminiscent of the 90s with songs such as ‘Washed Up’. Think Beach house meets Wavves.
After two incredible support acts, the crowd wait in anticipation for Spector. After finally taking to the stage, the band is greeted with a roar of delight. This roar only becomes heightened when front-man Fred Macpherson enters; he has become something of an icon in the past few months, probably due in no small part to his now famous flamboyant shirts and chunky glasses, not unlike those of 70’s pop icon Elvis Costello. The set begins with the uplifting ‘Twenty Nothing’, and the mood is thus established for the rest of the evening to come. The charisma and charm of Macpherson shines through, as he manages to get everyone in the crowd to sing along to ‘Grim Reefer’, creating a beautiful moment for Spector’s fans. Intermittently the showgoers chant ‘Yorkshire’ for what seems like the majority of the night, showing that Sheffield really does have immense spirit and are not afraid to share it with London-based Spector.
Whilst making their way through the rest of the crowd pleasing album, the gig is temporarily put on hold for an unexpected marriage proposal. Macpherson allows a woman to propose to her boyfriend on stage, and much to the audience’s delight, he agrees. To commemorate this special moment Spector dedicate their next song, all-time favourite ‘Chevvy Thunder’, to the couple, allowing the crowd to let go for one last time. Finishing the set, Macpherson employs some classic audience sing-along participation, with the more tranquil but much appreciated ‘Never Fade Away’.
To top it all off, Swim Deep, Splashh and Spector later reconvened at The Great Gatsby for an after-party DJ set, which provided a more intimate feel for the dedicated follower. The crowd were certainly in for a treat as they were played an eclectic mix of 90s house and 00s indie. For all the pressure of their quick-paced rise to fame this year, Spector were able to show their down to earth side at this special after event, as they mingled, talked and danced amongst the small crowd of devoted fans. Whilst their rise in popularity will continue to be on the up, Spector fans can be reassured that their early indie magic will ‘Never Fade Away.’
By Lucy Amos