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Eurovision 2016

Eurovision 2016It’s that time of year when Kev Nickells undertakes his annual mammoth hatchet job feature-length review of every entry in the Eurovision Song Contest. Let the ritual ruination and Eurotunnelvision enthusing literally begin.

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Various Artists – Eurovision 2015: Building Bridges

Universal Music

Eurovision 2015 - Building BridgesHas it been twelve months already? Twelve months since Conchita Wurst swooped into our hearts and planted a big blue, pink and white flag in the heart of Europe for the second time in Eurovision‘s history. I realise that for a lot of people Eurovision is some chintzy, end-of-the-pier nonsense, but when you can have someone advocating trans* politics in front of millions of people across the world, that is quite literally a big fucking deal.

Eurovision has a reputation for being ‘camp’ but I think it’s pretty important to emphasise that it’s not a camp that’s worthy of humiliation and denigration – Conchita Wurst in 2014 meant a lot for LGBTQIA politics the world over and was a beacon of “FUCK YEAH”. There wasn’t any global gender revolution and trans* folk still have it astonishingly

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Kontakte’s These Machines track by track

Kontakte – These MachinesLondon-based duo Kontakte‘s 2014 release These Machines brought a blissfully blistering end to their silence of two years between albums. Here, Ian Griffiths and Stuart Low give a detailed breakdown of how and why each of the album’s tracks came into being.

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“Shut Your Eyes And You’ll Burst Into Flames” These Machines – Limited Edition CD by KONTAKTE

Stuart: This track was birthed over a number of years, the original bare bones were written in 2005 – 2006 and it existed in that form for a few years until 2009 when I started recording bits and pieces as a home demo. It was during this time that the idea for a ‘desert’-sounding lead guitar came to me, along with the extremely droney guitars

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Bearded Theory festival 2013

Mark Chadwick of The Levellers at Bearded TheoryKedleston Hall, Derbyshire 17-19 May 2013

Bearded Theory is, pretty much by definition, a party that got out of hand. It started out as a birthday bash, and is now in its sixth year as a music festival. Somewhere in among this tangled web of history is an obsession with beards, and on the Sunday they have an attempt at the world record for the most fake beards gathered in one place. Which is… definitely a thing. It’s also a sign that it doesn’t take itself too seriously – although everything’s handled incredibly professionally and there are few problems, there’s never a sense that anyone, including organisers and security, aren’t actually enjoying themselves at the same time.

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Harmonic Rooms guitar diary (November 2012)

Harry Wheeler of Harmonic Rooms spends a week in November in the company of some of the current greats of the acoustic guitar, and reflects on the enduring legacy of John Fahey and Robbie Basho.

Steffen Basho-Junghans and Cam Deas in OuseLast November, I spent over a week in and out of the recording studio with my trusty video camera and two explorative guitarists, Cam Deas and Steffen Basho-Junghans. Part of the appeal of getting these two guys together was the cross-over in their respective styles and approach to their instruments (primarily 6 and 12 steel-string guitars), combined with their difference in age. With Cam being in his early twenties, his playing has a youthful passion and vigour to it which also contains high energy and real sparkle, while Steffen, being in

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