Donning a swift alter-ego for a heavyweight re-rendering of a pair of Black Sabbath classics, Aaron Funk proves that he’s as adept at the dub(step) as he is at splattery digital grinds when the Venetian part is elided from his Snares moniker. It also comes as no surprise that the record should appear on Bong-Ra‘s label Kriss, given his penchant for mashing up old-school grindcore in a breakcore style himself.
One for stoners of both the rock and dub variety everywhere, the lovely marbled green 10″ vinyl heaves with heaviosity, the splicing of “Black Sabbath” with wobble-bass is one reggification which works on so many levels, and it sounds like the tune was made for splicing into a dubstep haze of clattery drums and earth-shuddering low end. Funk’s bassline follows the original so closely that it’s difficult
Continue reading Snares – Sabbath Dubs [...]
Label: Planet Mu Format: CD
Bringing together a selection of 12″ tracks and a scattering of remixes by DJ Hellfish, One Man Sonic Attack Force showcases his penchant for mashing together Hardcore Techno and Gabba with HipHop and making the results bleed. “U Don’t Quit”, with its rumbunctious MC extolling the vitues of party-busting breaks demonstrates just how much better the uptempo beats of chart-friendly acts like … could be when the right amount of weighty distortion is applied. Hellfish’s “Steelfinger” remix of “Iron Hand” does similar to the over-familiar trick of sampling “Kung-Fu Fighting”, so that those seminal “Woh hoh ho ho” quotations introduce a tune which proceeds to wreak havoc on The Speed Freak‘s original plundering. The BPMs rack up woozily against the fragmented vocal snippets, radio-chatter threats colliding with the tinkly faux Orientalism of the
Continue reading Hellfish – One Man Sonic Attack Force [...]
This is one of those albums which goes on forever, but with the pleasant companionship of days passing and the changes of the quality of light and temperature on one side, and the intensity of a nightmare storm battering on the other. The title is German for Keep Cool, and the long slow unwind of electronic tones is certainly chilled out to a specific degree of mellowness – at least at first it is. The circling high pitches of “Ruhig Blut A” take their twenty minutes (one side of the vinyl edition) to swap stereo channels, swooping and diving through the sound picture with tranquil ease as teensy synth pulsations make their entrance and meander in concert with sundry squeaks and gentle sputters. Calmness is achieved. Rhythms are hinted at, pass though almost imperceptible bass phases; calmness never
Continue reading Reuber – Ruhig Blut [...]
Electrowerkz, London 4 May 2001
Noise and gunge and digital Punk Rock descend on paintball hall Electrowerkz, and even if the night is also a launch for the No More Rock N Roll compilation, it really does have some stomping moments to put a writhe on the dead face of Sid Vicious and perhaps Kurt Cobain too. Why? Because the kids jump up and down, make temporary mosh pits even, in front of the selection of electronic soloists (plus guests) who, despite the proliferation of laptops and boxes of tech’n’DATs , really give it some, and put on a show while they’re about it.
So after a few hours of previews of the new DHR video compilation (well worth checking out for the expected bunch of vids from Atari Teenage Riot via
Continue reading Bomb20/2nd Gen/Zan Lyons (live) [...]
The Spitz, London 26 April 2001
The I/O event at The Spitz was a little bit of a nerd-fest (meant in the best possible way), as several generations of audio technophiles opened up their various laptop computers and let rip with the best in glitchry they could muster for the occasion. To a shifting realtime backdrop of manipulated visuals, the fizzes, pops and rumbles of digital experimentation shuffled around the venue like so much modem download noise.
Three chaps and their PowerBooks and mixers were on, with the screen helpfully identifying them as Crowd Formation, and it’s a good thing there was some visual stimulation too. As exciting and innovative as software music can be, without the techno-psychedelic projections, the experience would once again have been as interesting as peering through the windows
Continue reading I/O: Aidsbot 2000/Bourbonese Qualk/Nish/Crowd Formation (live) [...]
The Fridge, London 12 April 2001
Autechre play in the dark to an audience bursting the seams of The Fridge. The auditorium is packed, the crowd heaving without much dancing going on, and the beats are fractured into shapes that would make rhythmic movement something of an exacting chore. People seem slightly nonplussed, but no-one’s scratching their chin; or at least not in full view.
The sounds which are emanating from the chunky speaker rig are made in such a way that the ticking percussive parts, the bass rhythms and the stabs of once-keyboards and analogue synth spasms tumble over each other. Undulated snare shapes make collisions, the propulsive sway of loops and precisely-placed polyrhythms even twisting backwards into a regurgitative lurch of a gear change across the entire mesh of interlocked pulses. Software drum and bass turned upside down, techno twisted through a grinder; HipHop in absentia, yet present
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Label: God*Factory Format: CD
How to make a milk shake, the Laboratory Of Sonic Discovery way:
Ingredients: Milk, soya or otherwise as preferred; Vanilla ice cream or non-dairy substitute; Soft fruit such as bananas or strawberries; 1 litre jug (preferrably non-shatter or plastic); CD player; Amplifier; The largest speakers available, preferably with a rating of 100 watts per channel or more; 7 Songs/77 Frequencies CD Method: Warn neighbours that a milkshake is being prepared; Place CD in player connected to amplifier; Place milk, ice cream and fruit in jug on top of one speaker, or both stacked together for faster results. Make sure the speakers are connected to the amp! Stir the contents of the jug together briefly; Press “play” on CD player and keep a safe distance from the sound sources as there is some danger of hearing impairment in extreme situations; Bring the volume of the amp to
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Sonic Boom Live Queen Elizabeth Hall South Bank Centre, London 4th May 2000
Presented in conjunction with the excellent Sonic Boom exhibition of sound installations at the Hayward Gallery, the line up for this event features three groups and artists who have also been selected for inclusion in the gallery. Project Dark are the first onstage, lurking behind a bank of samplers and sundry equipment, with the audience decked out in 3d-glasses for the presentation of the Disc Continued film – and handily, that universal promoter of all things vinyl and experimental, John Peel pops up in the movie’s intro to remind everyone to slip on the red and blue filters. The film and soundtrack are used by the three members of Project Dark as a template on which to build a really quite slick presentation of their various works of deconstruction meted out to the very idea of needles,
Continue reading Scanner/Pan Sonic and FM Einheit/Project Dark (live) [...]
Kosmische @ Upstairs at The Garage, London 25 March 2000
When consumer electronics expanded sufficiently to include musical instruments at relatively affordable prices for the average band to use in the Eighties, the result was synth pop, unfortunately with some quite dire results. Then came the Techno revolution, and sampler-based bedroom cookups, and eventually everyone who once would have formed a garage band was in on the electronica act. Now that the original Mini-Moogs and Stylophones, DX7s and SH-1s have become collectors’ items after years on the second-hand shelves at bargain basement prices, their place in the battery of instrumentation available to those who started out as indie rock bands (in the loosest possible sense, covering a variety of pleasures and sins) soon eclipsed the treasured varnished sheen of a vintage Fender Jaguar or a Rickenbacker semi-acoustic guitar as objects of desire. The sounds if not the hairstyles of Eighties
Continue reading Oh (live at the Kosmische Club) [...]
Label: Touch Format: CD
Richard H. Kirk is one of those electronic music producers who seems content to have found his groove, and stuck with it to good result for years, refining, developing, tweaking his sound palette into variations on themes he long ago helped pioneer in the justifiably lauded Cabaret Voltaire. As the title indicates, LoopStatic cycles its way though as many permutations of ring modulation as Kirk can imagine, and he’s had more experience than most with making a groove unwind itself and reform into something else along the way for good measure. Given the resonant properties of his chosen instrumentation, the ecstatic tones generated throughout are sinuous whorls of analogue synthesis, at once familiar and open to the additions and subtractions of beats and pieces, breaks and burbles. Phasing washes of pink noise, cluttered undertows of samples
Continue reading Richard H. Kirk – LoopStatic (Amine ß Ring Modulations) [...]
The Water Rats, London 2nd November 1999
The Water Rats seems like a broken place, barely still pulsing with the life of the twenty or so people inside. I wonder if it was once posh, evidence: rubbed-off velvet on the too few bar stools, forgotten glass cases built into dingy walls, and a mid-size double paned front door, spread wide and chained open. It lets in the chill November night air which is perhaps all that save us from being assaulted by the smell of age and decay. I wonder who would know this is here, but apparently they do; people file in and I’m fascinated with the creative ways people in London find to keep warm, all the while avoiding looking like eskimos.
Zan Lyons comes to play, and it is easy to get up front to see what he is about. The man stands like a spider figure,
Continue reading Faultline/Zan Lyons (live) [...]
LA2, London 25th October 1999
Prepared and hyped for Atari Teenage Riot, I was ready to hear loud fast music. What a treat it was that the fun started long before ATR ever came on. Other girls have done this, face it, MANY other boys have done this too, but something just chimes right for Lolita Storm.
I can’t tell a single song title from Lolita Storm’s set. Indeed I can claim to know pretty much nothing about them at all. From my bad vantage point behind hordes of too tall men all I could see was a blonde girl and a brunette girl, singing, flailing, screaming at a sea of shell-shocked boys, and I could only see these girls as they caught vertical uplifts and some air. What I could hear was a divine speed beat of lovely female driven throb. So good for girls to do this. So
Continue reading Atari Teenage Riot/Lolita Storm (live) [...]
Po Na Na’s, London 2nd November 1998
Po Na Na’s is a bit of a new venue in London, emerging from underneath a pub on the increasingly busy (musically as well as with traffic) Highbury Corner, and decorated in a faux-Moroccan style which actually suits the sounds emerging from The Third Eye Foundation‘s DAT player and mixer quite nicely. Matt Elliot tweaks levels and twiddles knobs to suit the unfavourable acoustics, setting out a stream of juddering Drum & Bass breaks overlaid with increasingly unsettling noises. These range from the (by now, Elliot himself having done much to establish the form) conventionally drilling screams to unnerving looped moans, reaching a peak with the Eastern flavour on the still-powerful “Semtex” before its transition into the loping Latin version “Galaxy of Scars,” Elliot hunched over his console as the audience steadfastly refuses to dance in the face of his increasingly rolling breaks.
Continue reading To Rococo Rot/The Third Eye Foundation (live) [...]
Label: Asphodel Format: CD
Love Is The Devil is a reasonably arty film about the traumatic love-life of painter Francis Bacon in the early Sixties, whihc despite may flaws is an engaging and occasionally powerful depiction of an alcoholic artist and his relationship with a young stranger who appears from the roof of his studio one night. Sakamoto‘s soundtrack, heard in the context of the film, is a key ingredient in depicting mood and time in both a claustraphobic affair and era, within the limitations of a constrained budget. As such, in its specificly intended setting, the soundtrack is one of the best parts of the film, never too intrusive, reflecting the slowly degenerating lives of the characters.
Out of the cinematic frame, Love Is The Devil builds in a slow arc
Continue reading Ryuichi Sakamoto – Love Is The Devil OST [...]
Label: Disko B/V2 Format: CD,2LP
Adopting an international playboy persona to rival Yello‘s for its ridiculous embrace of the notion of artist as fantsatic sportsman, Bond-age lover and all-round suave entertainer, DJ Hell bundles together a collection of tunes which restore the front to upfront. From the paen to its author from a West Coast American female voice of “This Is For You” to the bizarre cover of “Warm Leatherette,” Hell(mut Geier) brings the sound of Munich Techno into the Nineties – by incorporating pastiche, humour, covers and as many other genres as possible. There are vocoded vocals on the stomping heavily phased Electro grooves of “For Your Love” and the noirish, sleazy “Dominatrix”; there’s tacky Disco too, from Hell’s own Housey “Berimbau,” which shows that at least the influence of Giorgio Moroder lasts forever, to
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