MIRO PAJIC’S ‘RESET RESET’ OUT TODAY
ITEMS & THINGS LABEL HEAD TROY PIERCE RETURNS WITH HIS FIRST SOLO EP FOR THE LABEL SINCE OCTOBER 2011ʼS “VOODOOVOODOO”
Review: Tosca, Gilles Peterson & Jazzanova
Koko – 16/11/13
Saturday’s event hosted by Soundcrash featured good performances from the three headline artists – each held in high esteem within the electronic music community in their own way.
The pre-event advertisement, despite being listed as ‘triple headline,’ seemed to me to be geared towards Tosca’s ‘exclusive, debut, live performance.’ The downtempo Austrian duo (Richard Dorfmeister and Rupert Huber) released their first album sixteen years ago, so their first live performance here in the UK has been long awaited by many fans. However, their set – beginning at 10:15 – seemed both a little early in the night and a little short perhaps..
Joined by guest vocalists Cath Coffey and Earl Zinger, the pair received a great reception from the crowd (which grew considerably during their time onstage), and played material encompassing the wide spectrum of sounds, layers and ambiances that can be heard in their extensive discography.
Whilst I greatly enjoyed Tosca’s show in terms of the music (which is, of course, the most important thing), I did feel a bit disappointed that there wasn’t more of a visual element – as this would have been a great enhancement to the overall atmosphere during the set. Although I don’t think that it is necessary for audio-visual performances to be such a staple for many live electronic artists, I imagined Tosca would have something a little more, in that department.
Conversely, Gilles Peterson had a series on animated sequences playing throughout his set that were quite stunning. His set was diverse, fun and constantly evolving – much like the images that were serving as his backdrop. Peterson effortlessly mixes styles from jazz and funk, to latin and tribal house – everyone I could see, spread across Koko’s many levels, was absorbed. Whilst caught up in the whirlwind of musical genres, I also fascinated by watching Peterson behind the decks – pulling some pretty funky moves, and clearly enjoying his set, as were we!
The final set of the evening belonged to Jazzanova – Alex Barck DJing, featuring a live vocalist, whose name I unfortunately didn’t catch. Whilst I enjoyed the presence of a performer on stage, I found the set to be slightly too minimal for my tastes, and there was a sparseness about it that I hadn’t expected. Although it was a decent set, and certainly a nice touch to have improvised vocals to bring soul to the performance, ultimately, there wasn’t enough to keep me fully energised for the final hour of the night.
I think the ‘triple-headline’ listing was a bit ambiguous, leading expectations of the evening to vary quite significantly for different people. However, overall the night had a fantastic vibe from both the audience and the performers, and was lot of fun.
Words: Lara Greening (email@example.com)
You would think there wasn’t really much else Annie Mac could achieve what with her outstanding career so far, oh you know what I’m talking about, the sell out tours, her own Friday night radio show on BBC Radio 1 and just generally being known as a music connoisseur. But it seems she’s once again pushing the boundaries by partnering up with Jay Z’s, yes that’s right, JAY Z’s Life + Times blog to produce a monthly mix that will feature a selection of her favourite new tracks.
I guess if Jay Z approves were all in for a monthly treat, you can listen to her first exciting edition below, along with track list, or you can sign up to her mailing list to receive it directly to inbox each month.
1. Mapei – Don’t Wait (Kingdom Remix)
2. Cajmere – Satisfy featuring Dajae
3. Solution – Feels So Right (Friend Within Remix)
4. Bicep – Satisfy
5. Pional – Invisible/Amenaza Dub
6. Rory Phillips – Circuit
7. George Fitzgerald – Magnetic
8. Kwabs – Last Stand
Words: Meliz Houssein
Following last month’s announcement that Neneh Cherry will release her first solo album in 16 years – a collaboration with RocketNumberNine, produced by Four Tet, and featuring a guest appearance by Robyn – Neneh is now ready to share further details of this forthcoming record with the world.
The 10-track album, recorded and mixed over a 5-day period, will be titled Blank Project, and it will be out February Monday 25th (UK/Europe) Tuesday 26th (US) 2014 on Smalltown Supersound. It follows 2012’s The Cherry Thing, a collaborative record with free jazz, noise collective The Thing, which featured new versions of songs by The Stooges, MF Doom, Ornette Coleman, amongst others.
While her energy and demeanor may not have changed since the days of Rip Rig + Panic, musically, Blank Project is a departure from anything Neneh has previously done, initially written as a means of working through personal tragedy. What stands out upon first listen is the album’s sparseness: loose drums and a few synthesizers are the only accompaniment to Neneh’s wildly poetic, sometimes-spoken, sometimes-screeching, soul-flooded and raw vocals. The space created by this minimal aesthetic leaves room for occasional pistes and flurries of rapid, yet throbbing and thunderous instrumentation. Featuring combined elements of beat poetry, avant-electronica and beautiful vocal melodies, it’s a record that uses simple ideas to create something entirely original. And despite the personal struggles Neneh was working through in writing this new material, the songs are far from introverted.
As many are aware, the stories from Neneh’s early years are astonishing. She spent her childhood living 50/50 between a loft in New York and in the South of Sweden with her mother and stepfather, the legendary jazz musician Don Cherry. She’s been lifted onto Miles Davis’ lap, Allen Ginsberg regularly passed through their home in an evening and as she got older, she could pop in on Arthur Russell, Talking Heads and The Modern Lovers who all lived in the same loft complex in Long Island City, New York.
At 14, she started taking trips to Harlem with Ari Up of the Slits at a time when few would venture so far uptown. Soon after, she left home and moved to London, and spent the next 20 years inside the crucial developments in British subculture. As post-punk became the site of 80s Britain’s artistic and political resistance, she helped form the anarchic multi-ethnic, multi-genre Rip, Rig + Panic, and she was one of the first to bring hip-hop culture to a British audience with “Buffalo Stance” and Raw Like Sushi. Although at points her career had brushes with the mainstream, Neneh remained staunchly counter-culture.
Through post-punk’s adherence to mixed-race line-ups and anti-government stance, to UK rap’s refusal of the conventions of pop, trip-hop’s connection with the politicized elements of rave culture and, through 1996’s Man, where Neneh introduced elements of Senegalese language to mainstream audiences for the first time via the mammoth “7 Seconds” single featuring Senegalese singer Youssou N’Dour, and now, with Blank Project, Neneh continues to arrive at moments in musical history when there is an opportunity to subvert ideas of popular culture. She is subverting once again, only this time, although this record is musically bold, Neneh sees the stasis she’s challenging isn’t musical or societal, but her own.
01. Across The Water
02. Blank Project
04. Spit Three Times
08. Out Of The Black (featuring Robyn)
Greetings! Thanks for having me.
I loved your performance supporting Ghost Poet at Hackney Empire. How was it for you?
Thanks. I’m glad you enjoyed it – we had a good time too. The live set-up is gradually growing with each show we do, so it stays inspiring but still comfortable. Still pretty surreal for me to even be on a stage in the first place, but it’s nice to be asked to share your thoughts, feelings and sounds on that scale in such a space. Particularly as the Hackney Empire is such a beautiful and historic venue, from Charlie Chaplin to Oliver Samuels… legendary stuff. These types of spots always have great old school show-business names too… Empire, Grand, Forum, Apollo, Palais. Can’t beat ‘em! Pure class.
There was a very relaxed, natural vibe when you were playing – Do you get to sit and jam with the rest of the band often?
I try not to push or force anything too much, and I suppose we’ve ended up pretty relaxed since our formation was a natural one. We’d only been performing like this for a month or so, but we’re also all very good friends. We’ve all shared moments, memories and music with each other in various different ways. I guess we’re all on sympathetic wavelengths (before we even pick the instruments up). Actually, now that you mention it, for years I’ve used the word ‘jamming’ to mean hanging out anyway… so yeah, we’ve done plenty of ‘jamming’ in that sense, but the playing and performing part is pretty new (but natural).
Unfortunately you had to wind up your set quite abruptly – what were you trying to say when your mic stopped working?!
Oh yeah… that was funny! I had done the whole show without mentioning my name…then as we were leaving, a couple of people yelled out “what’s your name?!” so I was just shouting my name back out into the crowd. It’s actually surprisingly tricky having to project your voice, after being amplified for an hour!
You have quite a diverse range of styles in your music – some of your tracks are downbeat and soulful, and others are pretty funky! What is your musical background, and what/who are your main musical influences?
Wow, that’s a hard question… there’s too many answers…plus it’s constantly in evolution! It’s hard even for me to keep up with what I’m being excited and motivated by. I stay inspired by all the different elements, styles and disciplines present in the world of music. From song structure, chord progressions, lyrics, rhythms, instrumentation and arrangements… to production techniques, the engineering aspects and all of the technical decisions taken when recording. From the physical vibrations to the spiritual vibrations. It’s like walking to the ends of the earth, and falling in love with and being amazed by each landscape you encounter. And then remembering that there’s also a seascape and a sky-scape to marvel over. From the grass and sand to the rain and waves or sun and clouds. Like a kid in a candy shop. So much to see and so many ways to feel it. Endless beauty. I might be listening to the leaves and end up singing of trees or looking at the river, but thinking of the sea.
You collaborated with Theo Parrish on some of the tracks from your ‘Flowers’ EP – will you be working together again on any future material? Or are there any other collaborations on the horizon for you?
We’ve got plenty of pots bubbling away with various tasty dishes in store, but haven’t really had the chance to plate up much. There’s things we’ve started and other things to be started. I’m always working with a range of people though, so there’s no time to sit still really. Probably best not to reel off a list… we’ll see how they develop, but there’s a few very interesting projects coming up for sure.
Amongst others, I see you were at Soundwave festival this summer – were there any particular highlights for you?
We had a few nice gigs this summer, but Soundwave was definitely a highlight for us. It was truly beautiful – the people, the music and the location. Pure goodness… Met so many good folk… real warmth all round (not to mention the actual temperature!) It was our first ever festival performance. So much more chill than we expected, proper family vibe. And since they’re sooooo cool, the beautiful Soundwave crew kindly looked after us as we didn’t particularly want to leave in hurry. Good times!
Have you got any plans or shows lined up for the rest of 2013, and next year?
Yes indeed… we’re doing a few U.K. dates in early December and Giles Peterson’s Worldwide Awards in January. Some festivals in the summer, and plenty of stuff in between. At some point I need to get back in the studio. I’m pretty much bursting, having taken a break. I haven’t had any time to get lost (or found) in the playground for a while, and all this talking about music and playing live gigs etc inspires me hypes me up and reminds me of the future!
Thank you so much for speaking with me!
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