A good access to all kinds of new and interesting electronic music offer the website, the magazine and the DVD series Slices by the Electronic Beats editorial team, an annexe of the German Telekom. Additionally, the project provides an own festival series for all fans of such music. For instance, 2010 saw The Human League, Róisín Murphy and Bon Homme visiting Berlin under the EB banner. And at Cologne’s E-Werk, where two years ago Phoenix and Fever Ray among others created an impressive night, followed by Moderat and Major Lazer last year, now, Animal Collective (Photo), Nouvelle Vague, Planningtorock and Holy Ghost! are awaited for the next reissue.
So the evening promises a mixture of the spherically psychedelic sounds of the AC quartet with the tender voices and new waves remakes from France’ Nouvelle Vague and the synth pop of Holy Ghost! from New York City. Also not to forget is the outlandishness that is Janine Rostron’s show as Planningtorock, who recently cooperated with The Knife and Mt. Sims for the modern opera (and album) Tomorrow, In A Year and is soon releasing her new solo full-length W, from which you can take the last week’s “The Breaks” as introduction. And there are still some good news left over, since this big electronic night will be ended by a DJ set by the two messieurs Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary, who are no other than Modeselektor.
„I don‘t want to be the future of „L.A. Hip Hop“ I want to be the future of music“, Tyler, The Creator wrote on his Twitter account last month. And the consent between music press, listeners and other rappers such as Mos Def, Kanye West or Pharrell Williams demonstrates that he’s by now not only the future of the local scene anymore. Much more, it suggests that the 19-years-old has successfully refreshed the hip hop culture with his dark to ironic approach already.
Tyler sits on a bar stool . He wears a patterned shirt and a cap, looking just like the cute(?) post-pubertal skaterboy he probably is. But it’s not cuteness, which you would associate with him, when the sharp sounds of „Yonkers“ and Tyler’s deep, blurred-by-darkness voice come on. He’s angry, uses fuck in exorbitantly high number, eats a cockroach, which makes him puke, wears black contact lenses, turning him into a sociopath in a patient chair, from which he hangs himself off at the end. This as lyrically as visually brilliant work earned him more than 7m clicks on Youtube. But he doesn‘t give a shit. He just wants to make music to conquer the whole universe with.
I’m feeling like the Bulls, I’ve got a Gang of Wolves Odd Future is children that’s fucked up on they mental Simple but probably not, fuck them („Bastard“)
That Tyler’s favourite English word seems to be fuck, is not hard to guess from his lyrics or tweets. And yes, this might not be unique characteristic in the rap business, but seldom it’s embedded as viciously as the FUCK in his (con)texts. In the music of Tyler, The Creators dark thoughts and insults just culminate into an alter ego that is his Mr. Evil.
The diabolically lyrical genius becomes visible between rapes and a fatherless childhood, both main themes of his first album Bastard, the genesis of the hip hop collective Odd Future (Wolf Gang Kill Them All), short: OFWGKTA. Here about ten artists from Los Angeles, or more precisely: the deprived area of Crenshaw, where Ice Cube was born and raised and Ice T grew up, collaborate, while presenting their talents via an own Tumblr, from which you can download free mixtapes and productions. But the free number of which might decline soon, since just this week, the collective sold its distribution rights to major label Sony RED. And while still earning complete artistic freedom, this should earn them lots of money from now on. Also May 6 will mark the official release of Tyler, The Creator’s next album Goblin via XL Recordings / Beggars. So the creator is already busy ironising the probable changes the undoubted future success might have on him with the fictional golf playing character of Thurnis Haley.
Odd Future includes video artists, rappers, djs and skaters, declaring intensity and viciousness to their constitutive features. They not only write about raping and bitches, but with their extroverted TV appearances, such as on the Jimmy Fallon Show, and the personification as wolves they collective turns into a permanent extreme. Extremely loud, extremely musically and sometimes even extremely funny, like when being portrayed by Terry Richardson. It shouldn’t get boring with them soon.
On May 6 Tyler, The Creator and OFWGKTA will play at Cossiopaia, Berlin, alas, the gig is already sold out. A good overview on the Odd Future works offers the feature Youth And Young Manhood by The Quietus.
The album is out there and so is the consent: From the big music magazines to newspapers and blogs, everyone is more or less impressed by the young Englishman James Blake and his debut full-length. Between piano sounds and spheric melodies Blake once again puts his fragile voice, causing a relentless melancholy. With some listeners it may appeal to their reflexive temper, while with others’ it addresses their depressively melancholy vein as “Limit to your love” does.
As the last and third previous EP Klavierwerke (R&S Records) the now on major label Polydor / Universal released album is a stroke of genius, which can be surely breathtaking for one or the other of its guests when played out loud and live. So because of Mister Blake’s brilliance we recommend the four upcoming German gigs and point you to the first early live impressions from the UK meanwhile.
Here‘s also a BBC video interview with the artist.
A two-year run-up paved with lots of advance praise is now finished in 2001 by next British ace, Esben and the Witch, with the release of their debut album Violet Cries. But the Brighton three-piece of Daniel Copeman, Thomas Fisher and singer Rachel Davies – named after a Danish fairytale and here portrayed by Jonathan Hyde lost in the snow – looks daintier than its music actually is. So the style is shaped by a darkness constituted by an again bizarre complexity.
Not seldom the music squeezes our chests and throats. But again and again the individual erupts from the tight corner and revolts. However, it’s not direct agitation, with which the band’s binding the zeitgeist recently bringing the UK’s student on the streets in protest, but reference to author James Joyce and ancient Greek myths. And then again the album is also offering in a modern dichotomy lovely, well auguring passages.
We reflect all of this and more with them. Please, also find their new tour dates at the end:
People were labelling you as ‘goth pop’ in 2009 and stealthily lumped you together with all the arising ‘witch house’ acts in 2010. Also there was the self-created’nightmare pop’. How important is it for a band like yours to sail under a certain, vivid flag and what conclusion do you draw from that? We don’t feel any particular affinity with any musical sub-genres or labels. Nightmare Pop was a term that we once felt described our music quite effectively but it was never intended to be anything more than that and it’s something that feels a little outdated to us now.
The fairy tale you are named by is a story with a happy end and hence a bit ambivalent to your music, isn’t it? Because your music sounds so dark, dramatic and magical. It seems not to implicate a denouement. It would be a thankless task to mirror the story and its sentiments in their entirety. Instead we chose to name the band after the tale because we were drawn to the more general imagery and themes it contains and felt the words themselves were a good fit for our musical endeavours. Having said that we also certainly don’t think that all of the songs are exclusively fixated upon the darkness. We feel that there are strong illusions to love, hope and happiness in the album also.
A song of yours (which didn’t make it on the final record) is “Lucia, at the Precipice”. Lucia was writer James Joyce’ daughter and got diagnosed with schizophrenia. She also struggled for the love of her mother and the attention of her father and during her whole life – as, I think, many of us do, more or less. Do these aspects somehow mirror the band itself or yourselves in your personal lives? Absolutely not. As with many of the themes and ideas in the album, the inspiration behind “Lucia” was a story that captured our imagination and felt compelled to explore. Inevitably people will read into the inspirations for our songs and the references we make in a personal way. There are emotional elements involved but they are not directly signified by the context.
And Joyce leads us further: You are well-known for your devotion to reading and books. What could in your eyes be the ideal story of the ultimate book that still needs be written? No worries, I don’t want the copyrights. We couldn’t possibly say… that is the beautiful nature of literature we suppose.
Thanks for that, it brings us to the album again. What’s story behind the album title Violet Cries? The album title was conceived during the same period as the artwork and as the album was coming together. It actually connotes less towards the meaning than the song titles do. The real relevance towards the album was the imagery it evokes and the colours involved in the creation of violet. This coupled with the word ‘Cries’ we felt would set the appropriate mood for the listener.
The album comes in many songs with an overwhelming wall of sound and since you are also referring to war and battles in the corresponding lyrics, what’s your opinion on music as a force in general? Music is definitely an incredible force and its importance and influence on people is unquestionable. It’s something that people tie to memories and moments and is intrisically linked to the way people lives.
Whilst listening to “Marching Song” I read “Le Horla” by Guy de Maupassant. It’s about a man who’s possessed and dominated by some sort of hallucination (the Horla), who seems to take the man’s life. And then again, you sing, “lost in the blackness/they’re losing their sights,” to this background of blurry and dread sounds. So, would you identify your music with this kind of story referring to insanity, darkness (and the fear of losing existence)? That sounds fascinating and is in keeping with the sort of literature we are drawn to. Having not read the mentioned work we could not identify our music to this individual piece. Insanity, darkness and the fear of losing existence do enamour and fascinate us though and it would be fair to say they are explored throughout the album.
You also sing about diseases as “Argyria” or “Chorea”, and the original myth of the “Eumenides” might have a happy ending, but it’s a long way until then, while you seem to make no effort to change the picture. Is Violet Cries as a whole ergo one of Cassandra’s calls, a prophecy of doom? Well as we stated earlier we feel there are moments of hope and happiness within the album and this may be that our idea of hope and happiness is skewed compared to the general populace. We find beauty in subject matters that many may find terrible and grotesque. It would be rather grandiose of us to call our album a prophecy of doom.
This takes up the previous question: Recently, London saw its students revolting in protest, the economy is in a pretty bad shape, the European Union is full of squabblers. In these times, what agenda do you have apart from the purely musically one? It’s impossible not to be aware and concerned by the various ills surrounding the world of late. It’s an interesting and dangerous time as many of the elements of modern life the majority of our generation have grown up with are being undermined. Further to this there are very real and pressing concerns relating to the entire condition of the environment we live in. How these issues will be accepted first and tackled second are of paramount importance to us.
You are from Brighton. Some journalist once wrote about this town: Brighton is full of people from London, who wanna escape from the metropole and noise. How do you feel about this proposition? We certainly appreciate the fact that we live relatively close to London, whilst still being able to enjoy a slightly slower pace of life in Brighton. London is a fantastic city, however can be quite overwhelming!
In my younger years days I’ve been to Brighton a lot of times and I adore this city with the pepple beach and markets. I also loved the pier which had sadly burned down. Well, the point is, it’s quite unusual to listen to dark and dramatic-experimental sounds like you do. We all know Blood Red Shoes, The Go! Team and The Kooks – who are all from Brighton and who are all influenced by Pop and Rock. They sound happier and more adapted to the young culture of Brighton – as I remember them. Did we got the wrong impression (and Brighton has just become like every other place mentioned above) or do you just experience things differently and more critically in general? Brighton is a very young and vibrant city still and your impression of it is fine. It’s not a conscious decision to be at odds with this view and hopefully the residents of the city do not feel we are misrepresenting them. We can only make the music that comes naturally to us and currently it appears to be of a reasonably dark nature.
And finally, besides all the darkness and sorrow – what was the funniest situation in 2010? There was an incident where Daniel left the stage during the set and had some severe difficulties getting back on to finish the set.
Esben and the Witch Violet Cries will be released on January 28 in Germany / 31 in the UK via Matador / Beggars. Subsequently the trio will go on a tour through Great Britain, the Benelux, France and Germany:
31.01. The Louisiana, Bristol
01.02. Pavillion Theatre, Brighton
03.02. Other Rooms, Newcastle
04.02. Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh
05.02. Rescue Rooms, Nottingham
07.02. The Harley, Sheffield
08.02. Hare and Hounds, Birmingham
09.02. XOYO, London
11.02. Botanique Rotunde, Brussels
12.02. Paradiso, Amsterdam
13.02. Gebäude 9, Cologne
14.02. Molotow, Hamburg
16.02. Loppen, Copenhagen
17.02. Comet Club, Berlin
19.02. La Route Du Rock, Saint-Père
21.02. Point Emphemere, Paris
We listen to many good things and write about far too few. Hence, there was one or the artists anno 2010 whose voice we didn’t make heard by our writing, although it would have been more than deserved. So instead of some half-baked top-of-the-year charts, we try to catch up for you and start with… James Blake:
A barely enlightened flat. Weightless fruits are floating around. Dreamy eyes wander through the room. The video to James Blake‘s most recent single, a cover of the Feist ballad “Limit To Your Love”, pictures despair and melancholic confusion. His mimic’s reduced, all in all the 22-year-old dubstep artist plays the distanced. But his voice is all the more intense, when it’s correlates with the piano.
The Brit knows, how to use his talents. Emotions are epically instrumentalised though his voice in connection with the sub-bass and the same piano. Besides fellow genre acts Mount Kimbie, Joy Orbison and Scuba, it’s also Blake, who’s letting vocals become a relevant sound device (again). (Mostly) left aside by the likes of Rusko, Rustie or Benga, they are now culminating in the works of Mount Kimbie (f.i. “Maybes”) and Blake (“Limit To Your Love”, “CMYK”). And the vocals as emotive extension do make the music more accessible for the listener. So you are even close to empathise with Blake, when he’s singing from his bed, “there’s a limit to your care.”
Whether described as post-dubstep, ambistep or post-classicism (?), the producer nourishes a fascinating potential of musical captivation (find the proof in “I Only Know (What I know now”), not easily letting the empathic listener go. Consequently, Blake is currently featurednot a few2010charts.
First remixes as Harmonimix of Lil’ Wayne and Destiny’s Child and a first single “Air & Lack Thereof” under his real name were followed in this year by three extraordinary EPs. Before the both, Internet and music culture, polarising Klavierwerke EP (R&S Records), which with its blurry sounds recalled narcotic conditions, Blake already showed on The Bells Sketch (Hessle) and CMYK (again on R&S) his less emotional side.
Where he’s still orientating on r’n’b-like and rapider basslines on the predecessors, the Klavierwerke puts forward piano, bleeps and hushed vocals, suitably described with unexplainable dream sequences. And for his eponymous debut album, which will be released on February 7 by ATLAS/A&M Records (see artwork above and track listing at the bottom), one can expect more hazy sound elements vocal shreds. Furthermore, Blake told Pitchfork that the production was inspired by Bon Iver, Laura Marling and Joni Mitchell’s Blue.
And a first foretaste’s already promising: “Wilhelms Scream” is about nescience and sorrow, leading to pure hopelessness (“I’m fallin’, fallin’, fallin'”). Here Blake poetically arranges his voice with piano and ambient sounds again. The song is full of poetry and vulnerability. Once more, we reach a music therapeutic level though the artist:
Creative playing with one’s own voice, basses, synths plus piano (Blake) or guitar (Mount Kimbie) did and do characterise England’s young and rising dubstep artists. So one can be anxious to see what happens in 2011, as for instance the allegedly first live gigs by Blake on January 12 and 14 at Dutch EuroSonic Noorderslag Festival in Groningen and London’s Plan B – pre-sale is on. However, there was already a first and surprising live performance by the wunderkind in last week’s Manchester support slot for Everything Everything – watch the played beauts below (via The Fader):
One typical problem of philosophical studies can occur, when one get’s lost in his (or her) own treatise way too much, unable to put it aside, while reality is slowly moving away from you. It’s only a short while ago, when musician and former philosophy student Darwin Deez found himself in this very awkward situation, explicitly studying the work of Nietzsch. Unfortunately the monster-moustachioed German mastermind of the late 19th century, a great free thinker himself, back then vegetated until mania. And it was then again Deez, who consequently got infected as well and fell into the big black holes that are heavy depressions.
Luckily, he found a way out and is now – in opposite to Nietzsche, who died exactly 200 years ago as a broken man – a performer full of verve and vitality. With his band he’s bringing us a wave of jazzy, harmonic sounds, euphoria implying and happiness encouraging. Best example therefore is of course the hit single “Radar Detector”.
And there we are with the ‘music therapy’ again, or better, creating music as a therapeutic remedy, as antidepressant. Of course, Deez is digesting his darker days in his lyrics, but is aligning them with lo-fi-sounds and hippie elements instead of melancholic sound structures. Sometimes this makes a quite ironic listening, but all in all Darwin Deez’ music is constantly evoking a feeling, that’s literally best described with the happily agreeing outcry: yeaaah!
Not for no reasons whole collectives of people with their hands swinging above their nodding heads followed Darwin through his sets at f.i. Melt! festival and so many other events. And while DD are currently touring the UK again, there are already new dates for the country and Germany for February and March 2011. Until then you can spent you days with both, the Lucky Number (Rough Trade) released debut album Darwin Deez or the single “Constellations”, which was just re-released today with remixes by the highly appreciated SBTRKT and Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs (who once again prove here that we do it for good reasons) by the same imprint. T.E.E.D. will also support Darwin on his 2011 dates.
After (accidentally) meeting Austria’s aspiring art rock act Ja, Panik (German for: Yes, Panic) and getting signed by the band’s very own, just-founded Berlin label Nein, Gelassenheit (No, Tranquillity), Hans Unstern and his music have attracted the vivid attention of more and more people. His lyrical texts with a touch of Poetizität (a poetic use of language) deal with escaping, with escapism. But he himself is unsure of whether he would describe himself as an escapist or not. “Maybe as a little one,” Hans Unstern says. And there’s not a lot he’s saying about his lyrics. Overall it takes him a lot of time to think and reflect – and he allows himself plenty of it.
Then again, he looses his conservation’s introversion in the moment of entering the stage. Here he fully devotes himself to his music. Hans Unstern is standing on the stage with his guitar, with his band, but in fact on his own. His long beard, a slight memento of the Robber Hotzenplotz, is covering his face. And beyond that, there’s not much one can learn about the singer of Berlin domicile. At least not through verbal communication. Perhaps, everyone needs to analyse Unstern on his or her own, interpreting, reading the music. Or just listen to it and fall for it.
We are sitting in Cologne’s best, small venue, the Gebäude 9. The club is located beneath some S-Bahn rails not far away from the opulent cathedral. It’s an old, rundown building of various passages and tiny rooms, crooked low-rise ceilings. Despite his interview-crammed schedule, Hans Unstern takes himself some time. Jovially he sips Germany’s anti-cola, a bottle of Afri Cola with cherry flavour, while his eyes are wandering all over the room’s walls. Is he listening to urban life while he’s thinking?
Today, Unstern writes his own songs and creates, not only with his voice but numerous other instruments, real chanson works. Interesting and intensely forceful the lyrics‘ metaphoric hereby is, while the question, whether this figure of speech is a figure of art aesthetically effective art as well, gets merely answered by him, “I just think it sounds good.” His musical concept is nothing to put into words easily for him. “There’s a certain or as well uncertain, vague but important need, to say something or to raise a complaint. And I’ve found the way of music to convey this.”
Hans Unstern “San Simon” (ZEIT Online Rekorder Video)
For Hans Unstern this way was an important and long journey, on which he could take his music. Some of his texts were written on this small trip through Europe, where he sat down with his guitar on various, public places covering old classic tunes. That’s a form of communication, a form of freedom. Just playing on the street and pursuing one’s passion, the music. His steady, for satisfaction looking companion on the road, his wanderlust, can now be found in Unstern’s lyrics. ‘Ich würde mich gerne auch so winden, so finden, so verschwinden,’ (I would like to wind, find, disappear thus.) reads a verse of thesong “Endlos Endlos” (Endless endless). To disappear from a world of égalité between economy and love? Yes, “in certain circumstances, at certain times,” Hans Unstern would call himself an escapist, too. “But I hardly concretely refer myself to things.” Well, there’s still nothing reprehensible about that.
Too, to Hans Unstern it’s way more interesting, what over people have to say about his music than him. And even less he enjoys talking about himself and his persona. Sitting over on the couch, he seems like a shy genius surrounded by walls and inconspicuousness. One likes to find out, what’s going on in his mind and so much more, but this wish gets denied. ‘Du willst die Welt vergessen gehen. Es ist dir egal was sie spielen. Du willst einfach nur spielen.’ (You want to forget the world. You don’t care about what they play. You just want to play.) – “Endlos Endlos”.
Please, see below for Hans Unstern’s upcoming, mainly German tour dates and a stream of the entire album Kratz Dich Raus (Scratch Yourself Up) , which is out via Nein, Gelassenheit / Rough Trade.
Hans Unstern & Band live
24.09. Köln, Gebäude 9
25.09. Hamburg, Reeperbahnfestival
26.09. Potsdam, Waschhaus
02.10. Hannover, Feinkostlampe
05.10. Frankfurt, Mousonturm
06.10. München, Kranhalle
08.10. CH-Luzern, Treibhaus
09.10. Leipzig, UT Connewitz
10.10. Stuttgart, Theaterhaus
21.11. Berlin, Sophiensaele
PHOTO: Tanja Pippi (All rights reserved by the photographer.)
ENGLISH TRANSLATION: Thomas Vorreyer
Oooooh! No, oOoOO! That’s the name of a new, interesting New Band on the Blog hailing from San Francisco. And actually that’s already quite everything that we know about them, except that it has probably turned from a one-man project into a proper duo, since oOoOO only seldom openlyappear(s) in public. They (he) is a mystery finding its completion in highly symbolic artworks and promiscuous non-pop-but-pop songs. Mystical, hazy, somehow strange. Attributes, that awaken one’s interest. Too, there’s even something quite frenetic in oOoOO’s tracks. For instance, the female voice of his song ‚Seaww’ appears as a ghost sailing in from the off, battling with the mighty bass.
Then again, pop elements cut their figure as well, temporarily reminding of the glory days of the Pet Shop Boys & Co. But it’s the apparent improvising with elements of the music’s meta level oOooO accents himself the most. And it’s what leads us to associations with Fever Ray, Demdike Stare and Salem, to the inscrutable term of ‘goth electro’.
Currently the band’s working with the labels Emotion and Bathetic Records. For the latter they recently participated in the cassette mini compilation Dark As Night, the first released a split single of them and White Ring. Current news are that on September 27 oOoOO will release their debut EP of the same title via Tri Angle Records. We’ll keep an eye on it.
oOoOO oOoOO EP track list:
2. Burnout Eyess
5. Plains Is Hot
6. Burnout Eyes (Visions of Trees Remix)
Ambient ambition against complexity: Just ten years old he began to play drums, piano and percussion, which lead him into the electronic music business at first, now, Canadian producer Mathew Jonson presents his solo debut album Agents Of Time after another more than another ten years of numerous collaborations (f.i. Cobblestone Jazz) and singles and EPs.
The track list reads itself like a book, built on different chapters on avant-garde subjects (Thieves in Digital Land, New Model Robots), which can not really leave the presence of modernisation behind (Agents Of Time). Hereby Mathew Jonson begins calmly sedating. But the indulgence of “Love In Future” in its inherent atmospheric shape is only temporary, since he’s already showing this track’s antithesis with “Girls Got Rhythm”. As bass-heavy, almost club orientated and crowned with vocals Jonson elaborates his oriental sounds even stronger on the albumsnoch verstärkter.
On Agents Of Time his will is primarily focused on the relation of happy and sad emotions, which shall carry the compositions. However, the tracks appear not as completely produced as his earlier ones (except “Marionette”, ironically an already in 2004 as single released song, which is here represented in an edited rough draft).
Hence, Jonson’s compositions own a kind of co-hyponyms, which lacks a greater hypernym, the perfected sophistication.
At least one, with rising sympathy, needs to emphasize the recurrently meditative structure, which became Mathew Jonson’s significant characteristic on his way to one of the world’s most popular producers. Now he can be even prouder on the release of his first ever solo album on his own Wagon Repair label, which recently also put out the second full-length of his collective project Cobblestone Jazz (together with Tyger Dhula, Danule Tate and The Mole) in April.
01. Love in the Future
02. Girls Got Rhythm
03. Thieves in Digital Land
04. Sunday Disco Romance
05. Marionette (the Beginning)
06. Night Vision
07. Pirates in the 9th
08. New Model Robots
09. When Love Feels Like Crying
10. Agents of Time
11. Too Late to Change
Agents of Time was released by Wagon Repair and is digitally available f.i. at zero”.