Update: The contest is now over! We’ll be selecting and contacting winners throughout the day, so keep an eye on your inbox. If you don’t hear from us, we’re truly sorry, but we hope to see you at the show anyway.
There’s only one week left until the release of Alt-J’s latest album, This Is All Yours, and our thirst has never been stronger. The British band has been drip-feeding singles and videos from the LP all summer, including the Cyrus-sampling “Hunger of the Pine” and the gendered videos for “Every Other Freckle,” which we’ve included below, along with the Spotify stream of the album itself. Now that our excitement has reached a fever pitch, it seems like a perfectly fitting time to announce that we’re hosting an Alt-J live set on October 1 at Lido in Berlin, and we’re giving away 50×2 free tickets to the event. The raffle starts today and ends on the 22—the day before the album drops—and you can enter using the form below. And if you’re not in Berlin, fear not—we’ll be recording the set for EB.TV.
Ahead of Matthew Herbert’s appearance at EB presents Jazzfest Bonn, we compiled a list of five records—long players and stand out tracks—which demonstrate the British producer’s characteristically off-beam excursions into the world of jazz.
The output of British electronic musician and pathological innovator Matthew Herbert is as broad as any musician working today. Covering the realms of classical, house, the BBC Radiophonic Workshop (Herbert was appointed creative director in 2012) and jazz, he skewers existing musical orthodoxy through his will to experiment. It’s a will embodied within his own manifesto, the P.C.C.O.M where self-imposed limitations (no drum machine, no sampling from existing music, etc.) encourage a climate of inventiveness throughout his work. Now, with his project Matthew Herbert Big Band gearing up to perform at EB presents Jazzfest Bonn in June, the time seemed ripe to pick our favorite jazz-informed moments from his oeuvre.
Bodily Functions (2001)
It’s hard to choose a single cut from Herbert’s 2001 masterwork Bodily Functions—so we didn’t. The samples, many of which sourced from the human body (blood flow, laser eye surgery, the noises emanating from an unborn baby), make up the record’s palette. While that sounds weird, it doesn’t sound weird; from this organic palette Herbert architects a kind of middle point between deep house and swing, with lilting grooves and longtime collaborator Dani Siciliano’s unhurried vocals finding perfect rhyme in the unorthodox textures.
“Meaning of Love” (Matthew Herbert remix) by Karin Krog (2002)
Matthew Herbert’s version of “Meaning of Love” by famous Norwegian jazz singer Karin Krog demonstrates the producer’s originality. The addition of a 4/4 kick and the close cropping of the instrumental flourishes—reapplied as cut-up percussion—should hamper the original’s free flow. Instead, the rhythmic detailing provides a center of gravity around which lounge-y chords and Krog’s voice are allowed to orbit, to gorgeous effect.
“Fiction” from Goodbye Swingtime (2003)
Goodbye Swingtime was the first full-length under the Matthew Herbert Big Band moniker. The implicit jazz influences that had hitherto informed his work were pushed to the fore thanks to the deployment of a full jazz band (as opposed to Bodily Functions’ combo). On record, “Fiction” is a collaboration with singer, guitarist, producer and EB contributor Arto Lindsay with hints of the Brazilian music he grew up with, Tropicália. The video above is an instrumental version taken from the live performance at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall.
“Brother, Where Are You” (Matthew Herbert remix) – Oscar Brown Jr. (2003)
Unlike his rework of Karen Krog, Herbert’s re-edits to this piece from 1973 are comparatively subtle. Herbert samples the piano refrain and loping beat at the heart of the song and loops it throughout, providing a tighter, more driving groove. Proof that not all Herbert’s work is bound to concepts—the most exciting thing about this track is its simplicity.
“The Story” from There’s Me and There’s You (2008)
The opening cut from 2008’s There’s Me and There’s You, the follow-up Matthew Herbert Big Band album. As with so much of Herbert’s work, there’s a strong political charge running through it, should you wish to look for it. Here, the record as a whole dealt with the abuse of power, while this track in particular took the sound of rustling newspapers as its concréte basis (a somewhat prescient gesture in light of the Leveson equiry). Eska Mtungwazi provides the vocals. ~
Hot on the heels of our hosting the video premiere for Depeche Mode’s new single “Heaven” we’ve yet another piece of big news for you. Some of you may remember that back in October we hosted the Depeche Mode press conference live from Paris in which details for the band’s huge European tour throughout the summer emerged. Now we are very pleased to reveal that Deutsche Telekom will be partnering with Depeche Mode for a series of 16 dates across nine countries as part of their European Summer Tour 2013. You can get tickets through www.telekom-streetgigs.de and also enter a competition to win a meet and greet with the band.
Wolfgang Kampbartold, Vice President of International Marketing Communications & Sponsoring by Deutsche Telekom, speaking on the partnership had this to say, “Our tagline ‘Life is for sharing’ is at the heart of our activities when supporting music events. Depeche Mode are global music icons, famous for their incredibly loyal and communicative fans and of course for their fantastic gigs. We are pleased the band backs our vision and be working with Deutsche Telekom as tour partner. Together with the Depeche Mode community we want to create a unique fan experience using our technology, products and services.”
Dave Gahan echoes Kampbartold’s views: “It’s always been important for us to harness innovative technology to make each tour bigger and better than the last. With the support of Deutsche Telekom we’ll be able to allow more people than ever before to share and take part in our upcoming European tour, no matter where they are.”
There will also be the chance for you, the fans, to get involved. Followers of the band are called to participate in a unique exhibition by contributing personal memorabilia and artwork. A virtual show will then be curated on here at www.electronicbeats.net, while selected cities such as Berlin, Warsaw, Budapest, Zagreb or Prague will each host an exhibition of the greatest items.
The Twitter, Instagram and Google+ hashtag is #DEMB13.
The full list of dates can be found at the bottom of the page. Head to Musicload or Telekom Music Shop to download their new album Delta Machine released via Sony from March 22. International Readers can head to Spotify. Their first single to be taken from the album, entitled “Heaven”, has been available to buy since February 1. Watch a video of Dave Gahan talking about the much anticipated album here.
Athens, Fr. 10.05.13
Sofia, Su. 12.05.13
Bukarest, Wed. 15.05.13
Budapest, Tue. 21.05.13
Zagreb, Thu. 23.05.13
Bratislava, Sat. 25.05.13
Munich, Sa. 01.06.13
Stuttgart, Mo. 03.06.13
Frankfurt, Wed. 05.06.13
Berlin, Su. 09.06.13
Leipzig, Tue. 11.06.13
Hamburg, Mo. 17.06.13
Dusseldorf, Wed. 03.07.13
Dusseldorf, Wed. 05.07.13
Prague, Tue. 23.07.13
Warsaw, Thu. 25.07.13
For most artists it doesn’t matter where they come from, but where they want to go… And that’s almost always either the Big Apple or Big Ben. For Andy Butler, nevertheless, it has been the other way round. Originally from NY, where he recorded his first self-titled album Hercules and Love Affair, he moved to Vienna a few years ago. To the surprise of all, he decided to stay.
David Bogner caught up with Andy Butler in Vienna ahead of his Hercules and Love Affair Soundsystem gig in Warsaw this Saturday to talk about the new album, the latest members of the extended Hercules and Love Affair family and how he finds Vienna, the city he currently calls home. Tickets are still available for Warsaw and Zagreb by clicking here. Those who can’t make the Zagreb leg of the tour.
Andy Butler: People always ask me, “Why are you living in Vienna?” and one answer could be because it’s beautiful and a great city to live in, but for me the answer is something different: it’s the fact that there are really creative, relevant people living here. There is Patrick Pulsinger, who was the reason why I came to Vienna in the first place, and of course Wolfram, who has a thing completely of his own going on. You go up to the top of a pretty, old building and there in the attic there is this crazy studio with tons of weird old gear, stuff that I had never seen in person before. And five minutes from here there is another old and funny building with a little apartment and a super duper recording studio. But that’s not the whole story.
I met Philipp—half of the formidable producer duo Microthol who I’m currently working with on my new album—during a photo shoot for my last record on top of Patrick Pulsinger’s studio without knowing who he was. It was only when Wolfram brought me over to the studio a few weeks later that I finally put two and two together. Wolfi had just done a track with Constantin, the other half of Microthol, which I had put out digitally on Mr. International. It was a very KLF-sounding acid song and even though it’s a great track that I still like to play, I think it was a bit too pedestrian and easy for them. They are more interested in intellectual pieces and like to let the technology speak for itself instead of getting in the way too much. I, on the other hand, work differently, being more the traditional pop structure guy. So when I started working with them I was a bit hesitant at first, even though I had fallen in love with the studio right away. The early digital samplers here especially worked to inform the sound of the record a great deal. I had worked with Mark Pistel in San Francisco before, and he had been operating with E-mu Emax., using Akai and early samplers like that for a long time—then I came to Vienna and there were these two dudes who had the same obsession, even though the two studios were almost 10,000 km apart. This is the reason for the consistency of the album, if you happen to wonder upon listening to the album later.
And even though the Microthol guys and I have two completely different approaches, aesthetically we are very much in tune. We just like to listen to the same dance music. It’s the thing you find out when you are sitting in front of a record collection with someone and start playing tunes for each other. Of course there was a fair amount of crossover in our collections, but far more important was the stuff they introduced me to and that I didn’t know, and the other way around. It’s a regional thing: them coming from the Austrian techno scene and therefore having been heavily influenced by Detroit techno, even more so than me, as I’m coming from a Chicago/New York background. So when I’m dropping a reference, thanks to their vast knowledge they know exactly what to do. I can even go out, fall away for a minute or have a coffee, and when I come back they have created something that essentially evokes just the sound I was looking for.
The other thing is that they are passionate and true artists who love what they are doing. They aren’t trying to sell, they aren’t showing off. The most important thing for them is the sound and the music. Exactly like it is with John Grant and Crystal Warren who I’ve been working with on this album.
Collaboration is always a fine line, it’s a good challenge. It makes you learn how to talk to people. And you have to acknowledge when you make a mistake and step back and apologize for being an asshole. But during the whole process you learn who you are and become more whole.
For this record, apart from Philipp and Constantin, I’ve been working with four vocalists thus far. One is John, who is actually here right now. He produced his last record in Iceland with the GusGus people and has been in the music industry for a long time. His lyrics are very intelligent and witty and his voice is just tremendous and full of emotion, and, let’s not forget: he is a really great pianist.
Then there is Crystal Warren, who also has a phenomenal voice on the one hand and is a gifted songwriter on the other. What is really interesting about her is her presentation of gender identity and her vocals. Her voice has an unusual range for a female and it extends almost to a baritone area but her picture presents something completely different and you ask yourself: how is that coming out of that person? She is one of the best voices on the planet right now. The thing is, she usually sings in a traditional acoustic folk and rock setting and we put her into a house music track and it worked super well.
The third guy is Rouge, who used to sing and perform in churches with gospel quires. And again, he sounds right on house tracks the same way Crystal does.
Gustaph is the fourth singer and he has already been putting out music on labels like We Play House and had releases on Eskimo. I met him at a soundsystem show that he was doing with the We Play House crew and they were doing covers of classic house songs, which I hadn’t known they were planning to do. So when I was walking out of the room to get a drink and heard a version of E.S.P.’s “It’s you” coming through, I was blown away because I didn’t know there was a version with a female and a male. I walked back in, and of course there wasn’t another version, it was live, done by him and someone else. And it was better than the recording. I stayed for about an hour and took his information afterwards and now he has part of the touring band and has recorded a couple of songs with us. One of the tracks, a song called “Be With You”, has recently been selected as the closer for the Chanel runway show, despite the fact that it hasn’t even been mastered yet. Karl walked out to this track!
The last person I hope to work with on this album is a guy who is currently on tour with Azealia Banks whose name is Zebra Katz, and I’m pretty sure you know who that is. ~
Last week we were very excited to announce that Electronic Beats were presenting Hercules and Love Affair Soundsystem across a string of European dates. Alongside stop-offs in Amsterdam and Zagreb, we can now reveal that the third date will take place in Warsaw, Poland on December 8, 2012. This isn’t the full band line-up but rather a stripped back affair featuring Andy Butler accompanied by a select group of vocalists.
To find out more about what’s been happening within the H&LA camp check out our recent interview with Andy Butler. Not sated? Find live videos from past Electronic Beats Festivals below—they might just tide you over until December.