Mar 30, 2009

My Warp top ten: it's not all Warp and there aren't ten of them

As most electronica-headz know by now, Warp Records (famous website navigation pictured above) are asking for your favourite top ten tracks to go towards a bespoke album release later this year.

You can keep abreast of the voting further down this page on the right. No, a bit further down. No, the other right, yes, you got it.

Here is a list of my personal choices, which tragically exclude the likes of Leila Arab, Req and Richard H Kirk, whose albums I rate but I couldn't pinpoint individual "choons".

There is a slight failing in my top ten Warp list. There aren't ten, and not all of it was released on Warp. So it's as useful as fibreglass facewash.

What tracks would you choose? Why not leave a comment below? Comments cost £1.50 a minute, mobiles may vary, and not all comments will be read but you may still be charged.

- Aphex Twin - Ageispolis (I think I actually made love to my speakers the first time I heard the supersonic bass)

- Autechre - Arch Carrier (it's criminal to boil Ae down to single tracks, but this one has the nod)

- Battles - Ddiamondd (just sums up Battles' intensity and obstinate refusal to make any sense whatsoever)

- Boards Of Canada - In A Beautiful Place Out In The Country (just plain spooky)

- Clark - Ted (one of several Clark tracks I could pick, but I chose this for the sheer head-noddingness)

- Higher Intelligence Agency - Ketamine Entity (one of the first electronica tracks I was obsessed with)

- Hudson Mohawke - ZooO00oO0m (I still get excited about all those little Os)

- Jamie Lidell - A Little Bit More (Luke Vibert remix) (give a soul singer a laptop and you get this)

- LFO - LFO (at last, a techno track with easy-to-remember lyrics!)

- Link - Arcadian (an absolute all-time stonking ambient dub classic of the highest order)

- Luke Vibert - I Love Acid (yes, it's a crowd pleaser, but it's Vibert at his most Viberty)

- Nightmares On Wax - Les Nuits (commercial trip hop that I'm inexplicably fond of)

- Plaid - Get What You Gave (steel band electronica - nuff said)

- Polygon Window - If It Really Is Me (released in 1826 or something, this is epic Aphex Twin)

- Rustie - ZigZag (I could have chosen a few Rustie tracks, but this one hit me between the eyeballs)

- Sabres Of Paradise - Theme (I bought this purely because of the graffiti-style cover artwork)

- Squarepusher - Red Hot Car (the only singalonga-Squarepusher track until 2008's A Real Woman)

Mar 28, 2009

Monthly mop-up: simmering Super Furries, dribbling confusion and net-loafing twazmuppets

Play with this cute flash synthesiser. Go on, have a play. Finished? Right then, stop faffing about and read my monthly mop-up for March.

What did I miss in March?

Probably quite a lot.  I should have mentioned Seeland, who are the blessed offspring of Broadcast (website graphic pictured) and Plone, and were tipped for great things in the second part of my 2009 preview back in January. Their music is bright, simple and gently experimental, like a simmering Super Furry Animals. Their debut album Tomorrow Today sounds like the 60s, the 70s and the 80s all at once.

I also ignored the Mark Pritchard single ? / The Hologram. It's his first release on brand spanking fresh Ho Hum label, and it's had some backing from Mary Ann Hobbs. ? is a dark drone that seems to momentarily peer at you from around the corner. The Hologram is a stolid slice of trip-hop that doesn't quite catch the spirituality of ?.

I also need to give you the latest goss on Luke Vibert.  The playground rave mentalist has stopped bathing in acid, and instead has lit up a massive doobie with some hip-hop inspired tracks - but that's for another post.

Can you recommend me some video action?

Yes. The massive, garguantuan, behemoth video superstar of March 2009 lived up to the hype. We've had mash-up vids before, but none has been as nose-breakingly effective as a collection of songs called Thru-You

Jerusalem-born Kutiman grabbed entirely unrelated snatches of other people's YouTube videos, cut them up, stretched them, sliced them, diced them and made love to them. The result is a collection of brilliant tracks that are so unlike their original source material, it renders all copyright arguments into a dribbling confusion. Watch the videos here.

And there was me thinking Radiohead on Mario Paint Composer would be the bestest video I saw this month.

Can I have an animal-themed link, please Mr Roland?

Grizzly Bear's impassioned plea, mentioned in my blog piece from a couple of weeks ago, reminded me of an interview the band did with Pitchfork last month in which Ed explained a shock Animal Collective leak and offered his thoughts on the death of the record buyer.  Read the short interview here. Album Veckatimest is out in two months.

What is a twazmuppet?

Tim Footman is a twazmuppet. Comment Is Free writer and Radiohead biographer Mr Footman had asked his Twitter friends to remind him to get on with some work and stop dabbling with social networking. It seemed like a sensible thing to do. So a few hours later, I messaged him:

"Get some shitting work done, you net-loafing twazmuppet."
'Twazmuppet' was a word I invented in my head months ago, but never had chance to use. So I yelled it at a poor defenceless author. Read Tim's reaction on his excellent blog here.

Tim Footman is anything but a twazmuppet. At least, I think he isn't. Can someone ring the OED to see if they've decided on a definition yet?

What's your favourite Warp track?

This is a question Warp Records are asking you, the general public. Go to their Warp 20 voting site and help celebrate the 20th birthday of the best record label of all time.

Mar 26, 2009

Oh Venetian Snares, hold me in a tender embrace, and whisper to me these magic words: "Splooj Guzzlers"

I'm knackered and broken like an old shoe without laces nor soles nor... well, basically I'm like two strips of leather that just drop off your foot because there's nothing to hold them together.

So anyways, that's my excuse for not writing anything this morning*, and instead I'm posting a couple of videos courtesy of a damn fine YouTube channel called Expert Knob Twiddler.

It's a paradox that the exciting new kid on the scene, Spotify, has bugger all decent electronica, whereas Old Man YouTube, which was full of Rihanna and Janet Jackson and Leona Lewis crap until they killed a lot of it off, is bursting with futuristic bleepy beat combos.

Here are the videos.  The first has audio snippets from Venetian Snares' new album Filth (my favourite track name: Splooj Guzzlers), due out in a couple of weeks on Planet Mu.  One of the cuts is about Mr Snares' cat.  And below that are excerpts from a Venetian Snares 12" called Horsey Noises, a quite different animal from the album, and due to hit the streets in June. (Adapted cover of a 2007 single pictured above.)

If you followed me on Twitter, you'd already know about these videos, of course. Oh and while I'm plugging, my little exhibition thing at the Green Room is only on until this Saturday, after which I start a month-long radio project. Meanwhile my other little exhibition thing that I helped curate at Nexus continues for a couple of weeks.

*Oops. I seem to have written a full post after all.

Mar 24, 2009

Shut up, just shut up, shut up, shut up, just shup up, shut up

Will you please, please just shut up?

Some people need to learn less is more. One of those people is Tim Exile (photo: Stephen Pariah), whose new album Listening Tree is out in a week or two.

Exile, when he was just known as Exile, had a fearful reputation as a god of techno. Debut album Pro Agonist raged with killer snares and beat-pummelling Squarepusher-ness.

Fast forward to 2009, and Tim Exile's Listening Tree is crammed with bizarre rants about spiders webs (When Every Day's A Number) and one-way streets (Bad Dust). The "dreams of a lifetime wrapped in plastic" line on Carouselle is pure Mighty Boosh.

Squish the fussy vocals underfoot, and Listening Tree is beautiful, intricate, thrilling and theatrical. I just wish he would tone it down. The analogue ferocity is here, but it's on a leash and it's wearing those annoying white glasses worn by people like Sam Sparro.

Another album now. And just to show I'm over my grouchiness I displayed on Sunday, let me be sparkly and fairy-like for a moment.

Röyksopp's Junior is a magical world of glittering synthesisers and heavenly vocals. It chuckles where other albums growl, and soars o'er melody and harmony where other albums grate and scrape.

The album is as middle-of-the-road as you'd expect from the Bergen boys, and it is all yay-and-light where Exile is boo-and-dark. But the production is as pristine as Exile's in its own way: it sweeps you up on a giddy, unscary rollercoaster especially designed for princesses.

For example, the sawing synth line on third track Vision One is the most delightful thing I've heard for ages. I could just do without the Air-style cutesy vocals.  Which, of course, brings me back to the theme of this post...

Mar 22, 2009

BPA's album is a trouser-fiddling mess of buffalo proportions

Bless my Aunt Fanny's hairy knees: what has Fatboy Slim done?

I Think We're Gonna Need A Bigger Boat is the first album by BPA, otherwise known as Brighton Port Authority, otherwise known as Norman 'Pizzaman' Cook (pictured) and his trusty engineer Simon. And it is a total disaster of buffalo-sized proportions.

The album is a vom bucket of ska-dance-funk trouser-fiddling dressed up in a tweedy construct about a rediscovered 1970s rock band. Which is funny, because I wish I'd never discovered this godforsaken record at all.

David Byrne seems out on a (be-suited) limb set against the chirpy horns and childhood rapping of Dizzee Rascal on Toe Jam. Think of Musical Youth copyists back in the 80s. Think of the Mavericks meet Boney M. Think of Dizzee's disastrous turn on that Band Aid single.

Seattle is a track that wouldn't be out of place on Woodstock's smoke-hazed fields. But this isn't Woodstock. Nor is it Seattle. It's meant to be bloody Brighton.

He's Frank (Slight Return) is more than a slight return. It is a wholesale Tardis ride to 90s Fatboy, although tragically more Brimful Of Asha B-side than Rockafeller Skank A-list. Island with Justin Robertson offers some cozy Vienna-style spaciousness, and it's a blessed relief to my punished ears - except Norm and Si insist on hammering on a clumsy chorus. With bent nails.

Cook can't remember recording all of the tracks according to this Rolling Stone interview. Sounds like denial to me. Like a werewolf who tears and gouges his way through a village, then pretends not to remember it over melba toast the following brunch.

BPA give a bad name to DJs beginning with 'Fat'. Oh dear me. I'm off to douse my ears in battery acid.

Definitely 12-inch new almost Dan music!

What is the Fat Roland blog all about? I have the answer. I used Wordle to cook up this image of the most used words on the front page of this site.

'New', 'music' and 'album' seemed obvious, but do I really talk about shoes that much? And I'm delighted with some convenient neighbours: 'adventure collection', 'mismatched Roland' and 'orange grouse'.
I'm so cutting edge, I could slice pizzas.

Have a go with your site and summarise your results below. I love shoes, me!

Mar 20, 2009

Aphex Twin's new album does exist, my lying mouth be damned

Update: read my March 2012 update on Aphex Twin's new album here, including an exclusive comment from Grant-out-of-Rephlex.
Lies plume from my rotting mouth like farts from a knackered horse.

I thrilled at the sound of my own knowledge when I claimed Aphex Twin's new album didn't exist in this piece last month.

The rumours of an album called Konklaver were "absolute guffballs," I said. "There is no Konklaver," I said.

"Wild speculation," I said.

If I was on fire, I wouldn't piss myself out. How wrong could I be? Aphex Twin is in the process of writing a new album, and it could hit the shelves this year.

Steve Beckett, founder of electronic label Warp Records, said this week there will "definitely" be new material. He told BBC 6music:

"We’re definitely going to be putting out a new album by him. Hopefully it will be this year, if I can prise it out of his hands. It’s definitely on its way.”
Don't expect any leaks, though. Beckett has no idea what the Twin has up his techno sleeve, so us mortals in the blogocube won't be getting any sneaky advances.
“I don’t know a single note or anything about it. It will be as much of a surprise to me as anyone else. Basically, I find out what it sounds like when we go into the mastering room and he puts it - well how it used to be, he'll put the DAT player in and there it’ll be - so that’s the first time I’ll hear it.

“Then I’ll go onto my knees and thank him and then we’ll put it out.”
It may not be Konklaver, which was mooted for a March release in various fake forum postings around the interwebble. So I was right about that. But it is a new album.

Aphex's first album proper since 2001's Drukqs. Hush my yellowed, bile-billowing mouth.

Ever-so-slightly related blog post: Aphex Twin's new album does not exist. Now can we just stop worrying and enjoy our knaves-- er, I mean-- lives?

Update: read my December 2009 update on Aphex Twin's new album here.

Update: read my March 2012 update on Aphex Twin's new album here, including an exclusive comment from Grant-out-of-Rephlex. 

Mar 18, 2009

I've discovered this new thing called CDs / Still time to spend time with Fat Roland

Fopp in Manchester is flogging some cheap Warp CDs

I got each of the following for £3 each (see pics below). Plus the glorious moviefilm Sunshine for a handful of groats too.

That and Max Tundra's Parallel Error Beheads You for £1.99 and a squids postage from Manchester Vinyl Exchange's ebay site.

The joy of it all sends a tingle through my happy hat. I can afford more expensive albums, but the cheapness makes it fun. I'm into CDs. Recorded music is alive: Bill Drummond is wrong.

Of course I haven't played any of these. I've been too busy with Spotify.

Are you still here?

Don't forget that you can still see me in an exhibition at Manchester's Green Room. We Were Spending Precious Time tracks a journey I made through the city on the theme of silence within live music events. I'm on a video which is streaming as part of the whole thing. I was forced to watch it, and my bits are a bit windy (ahem) so you have to listen up to hear me. Which fits my silence theme nicely.

The full text of my exhibition piece will go on this site when the run ends. We Were Spending Precious Time is on for another week and a bit, after which me and Lindow Man are going on a long post-exhibiting holiday together.

Mar 16, 2009

Do you pay for your record collection?

Do you pay for your record collection?

Following YouTube's decision to kick the pop stars off its screens (leaving the architect of Kylie Minogue's success in terrible poverty), you took one of two views. One: we internet-savvy media whores deserve all the free entertainment we can get, and we intend to stream our eyeballs out. Or two: "free" doesn't earn a living for struggling musicians; we should be paying for what we watch.

It has raised an interesting diversion in the battle between the internet autobots and the record industry decepticons. The debate is no longer about file sharing and illegal mp3s. In fact, Music Think Tank sounded the death knell for file sharing this week, arguing that illegal downloads are going the way of the mullet.

No. It's about streaming. Which bypasses the old debate about paying for transactions in which a piece of music comes into your ownership. It's a new debate about what you watch and what you hear through the power of Spotify or Last FM..

Independent writer Rhodri Marsden put up a staunch defence of the Performing Rights Society, insisting we should be forking out for our music consumption.  I agree with him, especially when you get the kind of impassioned plea from Grizzly Bear where hard-working artists have their new album leaked three months early.

So why, then, do I have a large stockpile of illegally obtained mp3s?

Well, almost all are single tracks swiped from blogs and file-sharing sites. I treat these downloads as tasters, and often do the old-fashioned thing of either buying the £6.99 download from Bleep or the £2.99 not-for-resale promo CD from Vinyl Exchange.

My streaming habits are different. Spotify spins me into a world of nostalgia; I listen to old albums I would never buy again. The past turns round and bites you on Spotify in the same way it does on Facebook (and noticeably doesn't on Twitter).

Last FM is another kettle of bunnies. It's the opposite of Spotify, in that it's totally about new music for me. It does, however, lead me into the cycle of sampling illegal mp3s, then eventually buying an album.

So maybe, my streaming habits feed my older-fashioned downloading habits. I don't think either habit costs the record industry a penny, though. I still pay for the bit of my record collection I really want to keep, and I would suggest this is true for a lot of music consumers.

Downloading can lead to disappointment.  The statistic that the dreary new U2 album was downloaded illegally over 400,000 times proves that, sometimes, you really can get nothing for nothing.  But overall, downloads serve as a valuable way of promoting promising musicians.

Get it wrong, and there's much to lose. Dave Allen, post-punk bassist and the proprieter of Pamplemoose sounded a warning that "what's at stake are the livelihoods of people who work at labels, big and small, and of artists who actually make a living recording and performing music."

No pressure, then. Do you pay for your record collection? Should you? Am I trying to justify behaviour which you think is harmful? Is streaming the new black? How will Pete Waterman get through the recession?

Post your thoughts (for free) below.

Mar 14, 2009

Bullion's trundling, Mount Kimbie's clonking, while Dan Deacon does the splits

I'm not one for sweeping statements, but...

The single is dead. Downloads beat it in the face with a hammer until it was reduced to a bloody, single-flavoured soup.

So let me pop you a few quick reviews of, er, two EPs and a 12-inch. They're definitely not singles. They are two EPs and a 12-inch.

The first EP can be filed under 'psych soul'. Bullion's Young Heartache EP grabs recognisable, commercial soul sounds and gently caresses them until they're a wobbling wreck of half-hip hop.  It's smooth house that's been put on rollers and trundled into a river. Disorienting currents, courtesy of some nifty compressor work in the studio, spin the music from one side of your brain to the other. It's almost too commercial for me, but it's somehow so addictive. Grab a copy from your local independent internet shop.

Secondly, the spacious Maybes EP is definitely by Mount Kimbie (picture above adapted from their MySpace page). Combining the darkness of Burial and the spaciness of Battles, this debut singl-- er-- EP is probably the smartest opening salvo I've heard for a while. Drones and drips and clonks and warm, luscious pads build into something that is quite ominous. Just please don't call it dubstep. Although I'd made a lazy note to write about Mount Kimbie some time ago, thanks to Anclove for properly turning me onto this duo.

Finally, the 12-inch. And it's the most beautiful 12-inch you have ever seen. (If you think 'day glo' is beautiful, that is.) Dan Deacon and Adventure took one side each of a garish yellow slab of vinyl and called it the Dan Deacon Adventure Split 12", Dan goes for speed drumming over a busy vocoder, while Adventure turns in a jaunty arcade game synth workout. It's all pretty ho hum, and not as exciting as Dan Deacon's album Bromst, which you can stream in its entirety here. (Edit: this link no longer has audio - get an up-to-date Dan Deacon link here.)

The single is dead, although with those sort of efforts from Mount Kimbie and Bullion, the corpse is looking pretty sexy.

Mar 12, 2009

Dorian Concept's When Planets Explode is a sumo wrestler with smiley faces tattoed on his ample buttocks

Dorian Concept's album When Planets Explode is a sumo wrestler with smiley faces tattoed on his ample buttocks. He's here for serious business, but he's not afraid to be playful either.

Let me explain.

Oliver Johnson is an Austrian producer with a microKORG under one arm and John Coltrane records under the other. As Dorian Concept, he slapped us across the chops with a couple of neat singles recently, including the head-noddery The Fucking Formula as chronicled on these pages here.

Concept's absorption with detail steals your breath. This is only his debut album, but he sounds like a master. Not hanging around on any one loop for too long, he dives straight into the morphing experimentalism that made Autechre's name.

Johnson must spend decades in the studio. Every week. Literally.

The formula doesn't always work. Mesh Beam Splitter has more noodling than an eating contest in a Wagamama, and after a while it's tiresome and your beard smells of peanut sauce.  Meanwhile, Her Marshmallow Secret sounds like Prefuse 73 waiting for a bus.

However, when the playfulness kicks in, it's a different record.  Clap Beep Boom nicks its cue from The Fucking Formula, where the beats are so crisp, they should have a Walkers logo. Color Sexist's bassline has more fuzz than Fozzie the bear watching Hot Fuzz whilst listening to Fuzzbox on a de-tuned radio.

The playfulness makes up for the seriousness. Whether you like it jazzy like 4hero or super-sawing like Dabrye - or you just have some bass bins that need testing - When Planets Explode is worth wrestling with.

Mar 10, 2009

A Satirikul Cartoon By Fat Roland: this website's equivalent of 'hold music'

I am in my bed of sick at the moment.  Blogging will resume as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, please make do with this satirical cartoon about the bitch-slapping between YouTube and the Performing Rights Society (PRS) (above).  This took seconds of really hard work, which is why it works on hundreds of different levels.  Do they give Oscars out for really great cartoons, I wonder?

Meanwhile, have some Vimeo videos of blokes twiddling knobs in the dark. They vary in quality, but each make me leap for joy inside my plague-ridden hovel. The third one is, as some of my younger contemporaries would say, "sick".

Dorian Concept, Miss Libertine's, Melbourne, 1/2/09 from frogstar on Vimeo.

The Crystal Method in Action from Corina Writer on Vimeo. : scanner live at kvitnu fest from The Kult! TV on Vimeo.

Mar 8, 2009

Syntheme's winsome shit, Kompakt's ambient 'shosts' and Circlesquare's dullness

I'm not sure if Lasers N Shit is the best name ever, or a lukewarm sigh of a title. Either way, it's the debut LP from Syntheme (pictured).

The acid overlord, who has been squelching her trousers off on a series of 12"s, doesn't pull any rabbits from any hats. Instead she sticks to familiar ground: 4/4 drum sequences, a Roland 303 going ninety-to-the-dozen and, er, apart from a couple of downbeat diversions, that's it.

But that's the trick with Syntheme. It sounds simple, like the spirit of Phuture channelled through Squarepusher's cheerier side. Don't be fooled. It's well-programmed, gurning, glitterball techno that's as much for the bonce as for the tootsies. It's magic.

Other releases now... This year's slab of smashingness from Kompact Records hit recently. Pop Ambient is a blissed-out electronica series ideally suited for curious music lovers unsure of where to start in ambient's sweeping, sprawling, snoring pantheon.

It's both uncompromising and accessible, from the opening fanfare of Klimek's swooning True Enemies And False Friends, through the insistent underwater iciness of popnoname's Nightliner, to Tim Hecker's shimmering epic Shosts in Silver. Yes, "shosts". This album is recommended for late nights snuggled up to your headphones, your pet goldfish and a bucket of benzodiazepine.

Finally, and I'm really late writing about this, I wanted to mention Circlesquare's Songs About Dancing And Drugs. This collection of melancholic electropop took five years to arrive, and some of it (but not all) is worth a listen - especially single Dancers' hesitant funk and pining guitar.

"I'm not sure why you should listen to it. But I think it would be a good idea if you did." Not my words, but that of Circlesquare on this slightly dull YouTube interview.

Snoring pantheons? Benzodiazepine? Slightly dull? I've ended this piece on a downer. Bring back Syntheme, with her jolly lasers and her, um, winsome shit.

Mar 6, 2009

A History Of The Prodigy For People That Can't Be Bothered Reading The Wikipedia Article


In the 1970s, thousands of children were killed or maimed on Britain's roads. A cutesy animated kid and his cat warned us to take more care. The Prodigy turned this innocent bairn into a drug-hoovering club gibbon with debut hit Charly. Rave was born, and Kenny Everett, who voiced the cat, died of shock.


While Sesame Street and Trumpton birthed kids 'n' drugs anthems photocopied from the Charly original, the Prodigy retreated into the studio to record an album. Experience was a crap name, and the music, although iconic, became a joke in grunge-obsessed Britain. Still, they proved techno bands could turn out a decent album.


Experience was beaten to the Mercury Music Prize by Manchester band M People: the repercussions of this were felt 15 years later when the B Of The Bang sculpture fell apart. Alex Garland, who designed the Experience's cover, went on to write the screenplay for 28 Days Later in which Manchester was burnt to the ground. M People have won nothing since.


On mid-90s follow-up Music for the Jilted Generation, the Prodge sidled up to sweaty crusties Pop Will Eat Itself to stamp their feet against the Criminal Justice Bill. So many voodoo people bought this album, they became the same establishment they so hated. They goaded people with "the poison" and "the remedy" simultaneously, which seems like a pretty toothless threat to me.


After D:Ream won the election for "New" Labour, the Prodigy did wonders for the sale of Stella with abuse anthem Smack My Bitch Up. The video for this single used lesbianism in a way that only Katy Perry could wish for.  Parent album The Fat Of The Land turned band member Keith into a spiky-haired firestarting freak. It was quite the in-thing to be "psychosomatic addict insane". Fat Of The Land was the sixth most successful LP of 1997 in the UK, sandwiched between Celine Dion and the Spice Girls. There are so many potential jokes here, but I'm ignoring every one of 'em.

Between 1997 and 2008, the Prodge did quite a lot of things that precisely nobody cares about.


So there it is. All you need to know about the Prodigy. They have come a long way since what is offically known as their 'Kenny Everett phase'. The dear old Prodders have returned with an album of nuanced ballads called Invaders Must Die. Like a flesh-eating disease, it has grown on me, and I fear I was a little harsh in my review last week.

If this scant biography was too long for you to read, settle for this even briefer biog posted by a friend on my Facebook page:

"Band formed, did stuff, went away, did more stuff a bit later. Shouted a lot."

We Were Spending Precious Time

Come and say ahoyhoy tonight at Manchester's Green Room. I will be popping on a few CDs for your listening endurance. I have ripped an okay-ish CD and called it Harmonics For Quiet Dogs. I have used orange felt-tip on the cover. If you followed me on Twitter, you'd already know this of course.

Here are the event details as published on the Green Room website. I'm also one of the 20 volunteers and, if you're unlucky, you'll see my fizzog on a video. I don't like the idea of being on a video.
"Sometimes…Co gathered over 20 volunteers this February to create the We Were Spending Precious Time installation. People were ‘bought’ out of work, college, shopping, sleeping… (whatever it is they do), and asked lead a journey around Manchester that means something to them. This installation documents the experience.

"The exhibition opens with a launch event on Friday 6 March, featuring special guest DJ Fat Roland."
I'm really looking forward to seeing what other people did for the exhibition, especially Mr Heroes Of Lego. Feast your surfin' eyes on more exhibition details here.

Mar 4, 2009

Art exhibitionism: swarfega meisterwerks, Dutch prostitutes and-- oh sack being clever, just COME SEE ME DJ!

I am going to become a piece of art.

I will be suspended in an Elmo costume sixty feet above Picasso's grave, whence I shall be painted by 14 naked monks using only humous and swarfega as paints. (Elmo is pictured above, comforting a friend with an eating disorder.)

The actual real truth is a tad mundane. I was followed around Manchester by some dodgy art types, who then documented my journey. The result can be seen in We Were Spending Precious Time, exhibiting in Manchester's Green Room from Friday.

Because I'm not one to pass up a chance to slowdance my ego, and because the dodgy art types are my wonderful chums at Sometimes, I shall lend some twisted ambience to Friday's launch night with my first city centre DJ slot for a while.

Expect a smattering of Flying Lotus, a sniffle of Squarepusher, and a splatter of the new Growls Garden track by Clark, released at the end of this month but yours for the hearing on Friday night. Do come down, from teatime onwards at the Green Room.

While I'm talking art, check out an exhibition I've had a hand in creating.  From today, Nexus Art Cafe will play host to 40 Days Of Public Solitude, where we lock up 40 people over 40 days, one day at a time. They will be isolated and alone, but entirely in public view because they'll be locked up in a window - like Dutch prostitutes.

See a live video stream of the space here. Clever, huh?  I'll be writing more about both exhibitions as the next couple of weeks drag their relentless way toward the budding hell of spring.

Mar 2, 2009

All that Ritornell jazz trumped by a wonky Shitkatapult

This week's award for the jazziest electronica to come out of Austria goes to Ritornell, whose debut album Golden Solitude is out in a few days.

The duo comprise a jazz pianist called Richard and a sound experimentalist named Roman, the latter most famously having drummed with Patrick Wolf. It's a CV that doesn't pump my purist electronica heart.

The album is sparkle full of mellow washes, sparse drumming, and sound structures that refuse to be rushed. I'm less enamoured with the ladles of jazz saxophone that dominate the album toward the beginning, and more impressed with the found-sound metallic echoes of later tracks like Disappearing City.

Ritornell sounds like the kind of music Nightmares On Wax ought to be making, and I guess I'm too much Roman and not enough Richard to thoroughly enjoy the record.

Wonky techno label (and John Peel favourite) Shitkatapult have churned out their 100th release, and it's the best thing since sliced eyeballs.

Strike 100 is a triple-vinyl collection of the best of Shitkatapult, and it's all rather mellow. Which is astonishing, considering the craziness this label has released in the past. A number of artists have written stuff especially for the album, including T Raumschmiere (pictured: photo by Kika Da Silva) in a rumbling minor key mode, and The Orb on remarkable form with some serious big fat chords.

The stand-out for obvious reasons is Apparat's shimmering remix of Johnny Cash's I Heard The Lonesome Whistle Blow. Not the best track, but most def the coolest.

Listen to bits of the whole dang album on the Shitkatapult website - you'll notice one of the tracks is by Felix. I'm pretty sure it's not this Felix.