Aug 23, 2006

Fatbelt: notch 1

Like a concrete-booted dwarf at the wrong end of a swimming pool, I may be getting in over my head here.

I'm going to attempt a
Greenbelt Festival blog. I tried it when I DJed for Manchester's Refresh FM (see the last post I did here), but I fizzled out at the end of the first week.


I've been addicted to Greenbelt since 1992, when a hurricane destroyed my tent and the main Sunday service went seriously belly-dancy.

This year will be different because I am helping run two events and also working on the on-site Greenbelt FM radio station (read more on my Fat Roland website).


I fear two things.

Firstlibold, I will be too busy to blog. This officially makes me un-geeky, but I would like to keep you, my fine-feathered reader, updated on my weekend.

Secondifically, I'm worried I'll miss out on the potential highlights, which include but are not limited to The 17, Daniel Bedingfield (well, I might as well), Blindside, John Bell on homosexuality, various writing workshops, The Ukulele Orchestra Of Great Britain (no, seriously, they're unmissable), The Seven Basic Plots Of Storytelling, Candi Staton, comedian and magician John Archer, and anything by Steve Stockman.


Watch this space. Or not, depending on whether I can get to a computer. And the intertubenet. And a seething bag of furry parsnips, I must have my seething bag of furry parsnips.

Aug 22, 2006

Web gloopiness: Final Destination

Keep your beadies peeled for me on the first night of the Greenbelt Festival on Friday.

I'll be helping out Gloopy Music for an event called Final Destination, an alternative act of meditation led by Stephen Devine.

See the main website for details.

Aug 21, 2006

Filter: Beckett & Taylor, Luke Abbott & 000

Filter the good stuff, cut off the rest...

>Filter: Beckett & Taylor - Hired New Hands (single)

I interviewed Mr C of Shaman fame once, and he vibed in my face like no other man could. He was pimping his London club The End to the press. I kind of shared his taste for The End's smooth tech Layo & Buskwacka! electro, but wished the shiny production was a little more, er, dented. Thanks to Beckett & Taylor, I finally have what I want. Some of this is like Prince in rehab, but it's mostly Very Interesting Techno (TM).

>Filter: Luke Abbott - B,b,b,b,b,b,b,b,b,b,b,b,b,b,b,b (single)

Stick a bunch of synths into your washing machine and press record. The result is manic atonal silliness from a man who probably has square wheels on his car. Luke Abbott is a circuit bender of some distinction, extracting from his machines the kind of sounds that only happen When Something Is Going Seriously Wrong. This is a great 1980s Spectrum work-out and is enough to raise the terror alert to r,r,r,r,red.

>Filter: 000 - Aether Dynamic (album)

O, Triple O, shall I compare thee to Future Sound Of London's Lifeforms? Yes I shall, for two reasons. Reason alpha: a beautiful sonic explosion leaps from the cover, prompting us to buy the vinyl because the design is a thing of outstanding scrumptiousness. Reason mu: this album's sonic strata is a rich and complex update on Lifeforms; play it from start to finish and you'll have the best coma you've ever had.

>Cut off: Keane - We Might As Well Be Strangers DJ Shadow Remix (single)

Let's be clear about this. We are fighting a force of evil and his name is J*mes Bl*nt. But his messenger is Keane, and we should be no less wary. We must unite against this new terror. I stand on the battlefield, flanked by Autechre and LFO - but what's this? One of ours has defected to the other side. DJ Shadow, what are you doing? Please tell me it was just for 30 pieces of silver, and not for any artistic reason. Come back, Shadders, rejoin the winning side.

Aug 15, 2006

Web updatingness: urban is the new urban

I'm going urban, and no I don't mean grime, R Kelly or concrete schoolyards.

The urban experience is the theme of an event called Shameless taking place at this year's Greenbelt Arts Festival.

Yours fatly will be providing an electronica soundtrack to the whole proceedings. You can read more about when, where, why, what and huh on my freshly updated website here.

If I bump into R Kelly wiping grime from concrete schoolyards, I'll let you know.

Aug 12, 2006

The Herberts between my Hardys and Heller

I've been tagged by James with something called a Book Meme.

That means I have to answer the same ten questions already answered by my tagger. I hated tag at school. I kept drainpipes up my sleeves so I could batter to death anyone who tried to touch me. Ever.

I was a very lonely child.

Anyhoo, here are the ten questions, ending with the five people I'm supposed to tag. It's like a chain letter which is a bit like chain smoking which is a bit like smoking which kills you much more slowly than being pummelled with piping.

>One book that changed your life: Dave Tomlinson's Post-Evangelical.

>One book you've read more than once: Hitchhiker's Guide trilogy.

>One book you'd want on a desert island: Stephen King's The Stand.

>One book that made you laugh: Stephen Fry's The Liar.

>One book that made you cry: Anthony Burgess' Clockwork Orange (pictured).

>One book you wish had been written: Mine.

>One book you wish had never been written: most celebrity biographies.

>One book you're currently reading:
Warp's Labels Unlimited.

>One book you've been meaning to read: I've a stack of James Herbert to be read. I tried one and didn't like it, and now my collection stands unloved between Thomas Hardy and Joseph Heller. Yes, I collect books I don't read and yes I store things alphabetically, albeit not that strictly as Herbert should be after Heller. What am I, a librarian? No. I'm a bookshop manager and that's, er, a totally different thing.

>Now tag 5 people:
James Henry, Sarah Contrary, MQ, Blonde Janet, Lee.

Aug 9, 2006

All bound for Mu Mu land

An unlikely place to discover new electronic music is the BBC, that bastian of starched moustaches and social snoozery.

At the moment, they have gone all moist over
Mike Paradinas by giving his legendary Planet Mu label a whole page [link broken]. On the site, you get to listen to full tracks with your left ear and your right ear at the same time, which puts DJs like me out of a job. Barstewards.

>Gentle squelch

So behold the gentle squelch of Wergle The Proud by µ-ziq and the relaxing robot birdsong of 0=0.

Get grimy with dubstep saviour Boxcutter and Manchester's own Virus Syndicate. Jiggle your shizzle with some great Kate Bush trimming by Chevron.

There's the usual excellence from the godlike Aaron Funk as Venetian Snares and some old skool rave-arse courtesy of Bizzy B.

>Mentalist staff

Planet Mu kind of holds things together in electronica/IDM, more so than Warp I reckon. Without them, the scene would be like B&Q without mentalist staff or the Tories without gays. So set your sail for Mu Mu land and get some of this good shit down your ears. Not literally; that would be disgusting.

But Fat Roland, you whisper into my ear, forwhere do I purchase such items? Despite PelicanNeck Records having no Venetian Snares last time I went in, buy all of it
from them.

Aug 6, 2006

Filter: Wisp, Luke Vibert & Jackson AHCB

Filter the good stuff, cut off the rest...

>Filter: Wisp - Honor Beats (album)

Beadumaegen, t
he opening assault on Wisp's album, is an insistent bagpipe riff bedded against a booming alpine horn and catapulted into space by souped-up rave breaks and a monstrous techno bass beat. You'd think this album could break your head in half - and you'd be wrong, because it's infused with gorgeous melody and huggable arrangements. This is breakcore with mittens, not a classic album, but very likeable.

>Filter: Jean Jacques Perry & Luke Vibert - Moog Acid (single)

I won't linger on this release because (a) it smells of custard and (b) if you like Luke Vibert, you'd buy this anyhoo. Moog Acid is a playful track brought to you by the master of the Moog (Perry) and acid's greatest squelcher (Vibert). It's as fun as it sounds. You already know Jean Jacques Perry because a Fatboy Slim remix of his classic E.V.A. track was used to advertise (I think) a fizzy drink.

>Filter: Jackson & His Computer Band - Smash Up Megamix (single, kind of)

Where do you go next after your music has become famous all over Europe for advertising phones (see previous post here) and all the signposts point to chart success and kid's TV appearances? You feed your successful album through a shredder, that's what. This is a megamix nip and tuck of JAHCB's Smash album with extra fluff thrown in too. It's a clever idea and you can only get it from Bleep.

>Cut off: Plaid & Bob Jaroc - Greedy Baby (album)

Well poke my eyes out with a slightly irritated badger, I'd never thought I'd criticise Plaid who, in my humble pie, are the successor's to Orbital and their ear-stroking techno layerings. But this is a DVD project with visual arteeeest Jaroc which worked perfectly well on DVD but has now been transfered to normal CD. And it doesn't work for me. Without the viddy stuff, it borders on the dull. There, I've said it. You can get the badger now.