Archives by month/year

Dame Darcy (live)

The Smell, Los Angeles, California 29 March 2001

The stages faces a room which cages a particular piece of modern art and the reflection is this: levelor blinds painted with barcode marks bracketed by (0) and (1) and a neon word consci divides ousness. White of the eye stares back towards the white of another eye. Yet, is consciousness the answer? Perhaps we’re asking the wrong question. Still – what questions are here to ask? Well, besides that one. A certain level of banter pervades. Keep in mind that this is all pre-game musings on another, less pervasive level of banter.

Now the image of the anti-Haino arises. A figure in white plies the tunes of a faraway place and other time – gently and with tambourines and banjo. Shoes are glued to Dame Darcy‘s and she proffers the two-step (“…or maybe the wah-TWO-si!”). There are recordings of this woman

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Jah Wobble/Jaki Liebezeit/Pole/Burnt Friedman (live)

The Wobble EnsembeQueen Elizabeth Hall, South Bank Centre, London 28 March 2001

Tonight’s Wire Session Live promises to present a few intriguing collaborations, and first up on the scene are Jaki Liebezeit and Burnt Friedman. The latter’s usual live minidisc setup is enhanced with a Korg analogue synth and another keyboard, from which he produces a series of smooth, almost liquidly funky electronic rhythms and grooves. With the added input of Liebezeit’s spare yet enveloping drumming, the short set they work through occasionally sparkles, sometimes wanders but is never dull by any stretch. The combination is almost exquisite, thanks to the percussive dexterity and the smartly-programmed and played electronics. Together they build short but hypnotic stretches of sinuous music out of deceptively simple arrangements, played by two master musicians of differing generations of innovation who are clearly enjoying themselves, as are the spellbound

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The Benelux Circus – Fritware Painted With Lustre

Label: 8-Leggy Delongy Format: CD

Fritware Painted With Lustre - sleeve Basically, The Benelux Circus is a transformed constellation of The Entropy Circus. As always the Circus is centered around Zali Krishna. To get a clearer picture of what is going on do read my other reviews.

When we look upon the development from Entropy into Benelux Circus, we don’t see any radical makeovers. The spirit of Paddington Hard Stare is still not compromised. There is a clear trend that can be spotted: a gradual upward curve. No quantum leaps here, but rather a slow, steady and primarily determined pace. The last disc somehow perfected ‘the sound’, so to speak. This one on the other hand branches out. It explores new sonic territory. This is apparent on two of my favorite tracks, “The Sinking of the H.M.S. Mathilde” and “Come o Come Emmanuel”. “The

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Wesley Willis (live)

The Barbican Centre, LondonWesley Willis/Wes-ley Willis/Rocks a snow-leopard's ass 22 March 2001

“This guy played at The Barbican. About 200 people watched the show. The jam session was awesome. It rocked a snow leopard’s ass. The crowd roared like a lion. WES-LEY WILLIS, WES-LEY WILLIS, WES-LEY WILLIS, WES-LEY WILLIS. Rock over London, rock over” – sorry, is that not enough? Bollocks.

Wesley's bookBut, fucking hell, man, Wesley Willis. Live and direct, in the flesh, huge behind a synth tastefully decorated with an ultra-rare Jack Skellington (from The Nightmare Before Christmas) doll, belting through a set including “Saddam Hussein”, “Rock’n’Roll MacDonald’s”, “Suck A Big Gorilla’s Dick” and (I think) “Cut the Mullet” (always good tonsurial advice, it must be said. Unless you’re Nick Cave, but then few people are. Well, one, to be strictly accurate.) A crowd collectively in

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Damo Suzuki’s Network/Rothko (live at The Scala)

London 21 March 2001

In tow with the usual Krautrock London posse I arrived at The Scala just in time to hear lots of talk about how a lot of people have not been here since it was a infamous cinema. Though I never saw it in its glory, the building is still impressive with its loads of marble and Art Deco swirly tiles not quite lost in the stripped-pine modern re-structure. Other talk in the grand foyer was about the nearly embarrassing quantity of people here to see the magnificent performers on hand. It was true, there was a significant lack of bodies present considering the even to be, but nevermind, the Scala is a big venue, and most crowds might seem small inside it.

RothkoThe nights music began with Rothko, a suprise to me and a pleasant one to say the least. The bass

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386DX – The Best Of 386DX

Label: Staalplaat Format: CD

The Best Of 386DX - sleeve 386DX is proclaimed as the world’s first cyberpunk rock band; what it really is is an ancient Wintel box playing MIDI files complete with song-synth software vocals. Programmed by Alexei Shulgin, the PC has stood alone as a busker, and played live across Europe and America, which seems like a fun conceptual idea, as most of these files (or similar enough MIDI versions) can be downloaded off the internet (without the key ingredient of the vocals though) and played on pretty much any soundcard available. Oh, and the cover is a nice ASCII art version of the Rolling StonesSticky Fingers cover.

Anyhow, hearing it play through a big PA would be quite entertaining, especially to an audience not knowing quite what to expect. Conveniently, the CD includes an MPEG video of the

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Icebreaker International/Man Woman (live)

Icebreaker International18 Kingsland Road, London 7 March 2001

18 Kingsland Road is not a squat, but looks a bit like one, or that it once might have been. It’s now an art gallery and occasional music venue, with steep leg-endangering staircases twisting into the depths of the improvised cellar bar among the salvaged chairs and exposed brickwork, and up to the tiniest of tiny toilets. It really is quite fun going to see a band play in front of a white sheet at the back of a converted Nineteenth Century shop front rather than in the glossy bars and clubs which now populate the neighbourhood. This is also a niftily symbolic location, with Hoxton being fashionable to itself over the way, even next door too at the bijou rag-washed trendiness that is Herbal, and just a few doors along the other side of

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Hellfish – Meat Machine Broadcast System

Label: Planet µ Format: CD

Meat Machine Broadcast System - sleeve detailThis album rocks like a solid gold bastard. This is how Hardcore should be. It’s dirty and brutal to the nth degree. Hellfish will have you bouncing off the walls with this corrosive sonic collage.

Hardcore Techno has it’s origins in Hardcore Rave and Gabba – that wonderful amphetamines-only Dutch creation. The sound has much more of a Rap influence here though. So much for the lesson. I’ve heard me fair share of Hardcore Techno. It’s banging and it’s fast – 180+ bpm up all night Gabba territory – but, well … it isn’t a patch on this. Hellfish sticks his fingers down Hardcore’s throat and makes it regurgitate itself. If anything deserves to be called hardcore it’s Meat Machine Broadcast System. In my opinion Hellfish is up there with Alec Empire

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Rough Trade 25th Anniversary: Max Tundra/Appliance/Karamasov/Pilote/Janek Schaefer/Duplo (live)

Max TundraCargo, London 28 February 2001

It only seems like, ooh, five years since Rough Trade were celebrating their 20th year as the Indiest of Indie shops; tonight’s gig in the cavernous railway arches which are the hyper-trendy Cargo venue showcases some of recent years’ emergent electronic and guitar-droning artists.

DuploFirst up is the geekly-chic Duplo, who continues in jump-cut noise Electro style even through his towered-up PC crashes at the start of the set. How weird it seems now to see an artist using a full-sized chunk of kit on stage instead of a laptop, but the effects are the same; buzzing, funny swatches of distended beats and fractured rhythms made into an enjoyably silly-putty blast. Then the main stage area begins to fill up from the bar side when Janek Schaefer starts his drone set, and even if the crowd

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