Played Out: Young Echo’s Killing Sound Trolls Dance Floors
Putting together this edition of Played Out, the series in which we ask DJs to deconstruct and explain their mixing methods and approach to the craft, was a bit like herding cats. Most of the difficulty can be attributed to the sole fact that there were four individuals involved in the set described below: Sam Kidel, the musical “rover” we spoke to last year, Amos Childs of the Jabu outfit, FuckPunk label co-pilot and Tri Angle Records alumnus Vessel (identified here as Seb Gainsborough) and Chester Giles, the newest addition to the Killing Sound quartet. The group is a subset of Bristol’s hotly tipped Young Echo collective, which has turned heads interested in innovative sounds by recombining UK bass sounds with…well, whatever they want. As you can see from the imaginary b2b2b2b DJ set they describe below, the Killing Sound boys pull from any genre with verve and a laugh, and the result is a very special and rather silly edition of Played Out that was definitely worth the extra effort. We wish it was real life.
PLACE: On a cruise ship harbored at Portsmouth, UK.
1. Sam Kidel: Frank Sinatra, “It Was A Very Good Year TIMESTRETCHED” (Unsignedhypenl)
One time, Killing Sound got asked to support Squarepusher in Bristol about three hours before the show started in exchange for a four-pack of beers. This was before Chester joined the group, but the rest of us thought Squarepusher’s grandiose laser-lit bass solos had gone too far, so we accepted the gig with the intention of making the audience want to go home before his set. We played two hours of slowed-down lounge music; we’re all suckers for a good crooner. We got hate mail from his fans, but we thought it actually sounded pretty great—and it was fun.
*1.5 seconds of awkward silence*
2. Seb Gainsborough: The Shadow Ring, “I Am A Lighthouse” (Swill Radio)
This is classic Shadow Ring: spannered and charming. If Chester was a little more fruity, we might sound a little bit like them. Whenever I play any SR records at a gig, people either look bored or perplexed and either leave or start laughing, which is reason enough to keep playing them.
*track ends confusingly*
*Amos hits play on next track*
3. Amos Childs: Blossom Dearie, “I’ll Only Miss Him When I Think Of Him” (Fontana)
The embed for this track is disabled, so you can hear it by clicking here.
This reminds me of a time I was at my friend’s mum’s house drinking brandy and waiting for some food to cook when I realized that I was already late for a gig. We ran there with open tupperware boxes full of chicken, and when we got there I realized how pissed I was. The place was almost totally empty except for about five of us, including Chester, going mad to jazz ballads. My overriding memory of the whole evening is the weird blue light that was coming in from the street behind me.
Also, I already sampled it—so don’t bother, chumps.
*feedback of Hamster Baby opening offers relief to the crying crowd*
4. Chester Giles: Bikini Kill, “Hamster Baby” (Wiiija/Kill Rock Stars)
I think this song is fairly perfect. It sounds kinda furious and antisocial; you can’t work out anything they’re saying, but it’s all nonsensical and makes you want to move.
*Chester has found a microphone and is screaming into it as the track ends*
*Seb plays a bagpipe solo*
5. Sam Kidel: Moondog, “Moondog Monologue” (Prestige/Esquire/Honest Jon’s)
Killing Sound was once asked to play at Berlin’s notorious techno tourist destination, Tresor. We played a live set that people got down to, but then we came back on to play a DJ set later in the night, and by that time everyone was off their tits. When we played this one a few tracks into the set, the promoter asked if we’d like to stop playing and go back to our hotel before the song was even over. Banger, though.
*As Moondog’s monologue gets a bit tiresome, Seb takes his top off and perfectly beat matches into “Continuum For Harpsichord”.*
6. Seb Gainsborough: Gyorgy Ligeti, “Continuum For Harpsichord” (WERGO)
Vibrant and hypnotic. I love how you can feel how far the performer is being physically pushed to cram all of the notes in. Although this was written a long time ago, it still sounds totally modern to me.
*Seb takes the record off the deck and smashes it, but the track continues. A curtain suddenly rises to reveal a live harpsichordist, who finishes and takes a bow.*
7. Amos Childs: Hopeton James, “Going To The Cemetery” (Rockers Master International)
Wicked soundboy-killing tune—I love how sweet and yet deadly the vocal is.
Chester and I have had many conversations about how sugary tunes are often the most dangerous, and this one definitely supports that theory. If you like this, I’d highly recommend checking out top Bristol selector Andy Payback’s Computer Rule mix series. *Airhorn*
*As the track fades, Amos puts on his best school disco DJ voice and says, “Thanks for coming. This is our last one!”*
8. Chester Giles: Killing Sound, “$ixxx Harmonie$ Version” (Blackest Ever Black)
The guys made this and put it out before I was involved in Killing Sound. The first time I heard it, I lost my shit completely and still have a hard time holding it down if I even get it stuck in my head. Amos started killing off soundboys with “Going To The Cemetery”, but this really leaves everyone for dead.
Killing Sound are part of the ever-compelling SHAPE program this year, and you can catch them live at Skaņu Mežs festival in Riga (October 13-15) and Budapest’s UH Festival (October 2-9). They also want you to know that Jabu (Amos and Alex Rendall) & Seekersinternational have a 7″ out on No Corner in the next few weeks and Sam Kidel has a new piece on the EBM(T) site in July. Read more Played Out columns with Why Be, Borusiade, Hieroglyphic Being, and more.
Published June 28, 2016.