Lovers of ESG, Liquid Liquid and Tom Tom Club listen up: UK punk funk four-piece Gramme are set to release their debut album Fascination on February 28 via Tummy Touch Records, the independent label which launched the careers of Groove Armada, Tom Vek and The Phenomenal Handclap Band. What makes this event a little more remarkable is the fact that this isn’t the first time Gramme have been on our radar, their Pre-Release EP was released all the way back in 1999. Back then their stilted rhythms and elastic guitars effectively foreshadowed the likes of !!!, The Rapture and LCD Soundsystem—but they didn’t stick about to see it. Now that they’re back (and hopefully hanging around this time) we’re going to seize the moment to reacquaint ourselves.
1. Your most memorable show?
The Rough Trade in-store.
2. Is any aspect of fame important and if yes, why’s that?
The most important aspect of fame is the cause; if the cause is genuine then fame is simply a consequence of popularity and critical acclaim.
3. If you were still in high school, which clique would you belong to?
The arty fuckers
4. An album that changed the way you thought?
ESG – ESG (buy)
5. What does underground and mainstream mean to you?
Underground is a term used to describe specialist users and mainstream describes general use.
6. Latest find on Soundcloud?
7. Name three essential artists.
Piccaso, Matisse, Miles Davis.
8. Write a non-promotional paragraph.
Gramme has four members and reformed three years ago. The first songs we wrote after reforming were fairly noisy but didn’t end up on the new album. We thought it would be easier than it was but soon realised that making good music was bloody hard and would take time. In truth, the best stuff took about 2 years to find.
9. Indispensable outfit?
Sailor trousers and a classic stripy top… Possibly a jaunty hat to set it off.
10. A film or book that greatly influenced your music?
Stop Making Sense by Talking Heads.
The internet is good for a lot of things; culling time when you’re at home with your parents over Christmas is undoubtedly one. This usually means being sucked into a click-through vortex which, after a vertiginous spiral into the trivial and banal, eventually pops you out the other side in the realm of abstract esoterica, furnishing the burnt-out brain with a bunch of facts (and fictions) which then largely evaporate when you have a kip or, I dunno, go outside.
I discovered this compilation from 1994 while embarking on a post-midnight quest into jungle tekno—the earliest proto drum’n’bass that kicked around before the name was shortened to jungle. I, of course, bought it. It’s subtitled “Intelligence + Technology” —pretty much the core mantra of these pioneering beat-chemists; the oh-so-period cover art makes plain just how much they were huffing Detroit’s space-age output alongside the overt Jamaican influences that would separate these renagades from the rest of the hardcore/ardkore pack. It’s a history lesson from a particularly fecund and experimental period in British electronic music (note the ardkore “K” in techno). Anyone into the dry, percussive minimalism of Hessle Audio or Livity Sound or was intrigued by Lee Gamble‘s experiment in jungle excavation Diversions 1994 – 96 would do well to explore this point in history. Yes, often the breakbeats feel feathery and thin, the synth pads often spring from the most cursory one-finger motif; but there’s something genuinely magnetic about these tracks. They sound so brittle and percussive, especially in the age of steroidal digital compression, and the timestretched vocals sound just like they sounded in ’94 when I was at school: damn cool. Sadly, I can’t find much info on the label Jumpin’ and Pumpin’, which put out a series of these compilations documenting the rapid changes and divergent factions of the sound that would come to be known as jungle. It has, like many of the artists featured here, disappeared into the ether—even if their influence didn’t.
Head over to Discogs to pick up the CD for around the 8 euro point.
You can find all previous editions of Kaufen here.
We’ve got a video camera and we’re gonna use it—to make screen tests! 38 years after Andy Warhol started to shoot Factory regulars, Warhol superstars, celebrities, guests and friends on film, we’ve decided to do the same. The first person to star in our series of screen tests is Mark Reeder, who recently contributed his ABC to Electronic Beats’ Fall issue 2012. Our screen tests know only one rule: They are around one minute long—and anything can happen. Stay tuned for the second screen test next Monday—again directed by Luci Lux. ~ Photo: Luci Lux
Hudson Mohawke‘s career can be traced back to his teenage days in Glasgow when he was known as DJ Itchy—the name he went under when he became the youngest ever UK DMC finalist.
Having attended the Red Bull Music Academy‘s scholarship program, the now 26-year-old Scottish producer went on to build a diverse discography, putting out a number of EPs as well as his well-received debut album Butter on Sheffield’s Warp Records. However, he’s remained closely connected to the underground via Glasgow’s LuckyMe collective. Most recently, HudMo has seen his profile sky rocket, collaborating with producer Lunice as TNGHT, getting Twitter shout outs from Stateside producer Jus Blaze and working with Kanye West. Before his live set at Electronic Beats Festival Vienna 2012, we sat down with HudMo to discuss his latest projects, his connections to the world of high gloss pop and the simple joy of musical discovery, from Discogs to Soulseek.
I read that when you recently recorded with Lunice you finished the TNGHT EP in four days! That’s impressive.
That record was done with the idea of making something simple and direct. What we’ve both done in the past is, to some extent, very rough electronic music. The intention was not to focus too much, we pretty much did it for fun.
When making music under Hudson Mohawke, are you working in the studio alone? Your final output is pretty much club music but I imagine that it feels different when you’re working on the track beforehand. Are friends hanging out at your place when you’re at work?
Sometimes there are some people stopping by. But I kind of like to work alone. It can be a bit distracting with too many people around. I like the collaborative feel, but even more so when I feel I’m in my own zone.
What about when you work with other people? The Kanye West collaboration for instance…
Well that’s a whole different thing again. I don’t talk about that too much because they don’t like their creative process to be discussed, but they’re not so different from other people. On that level there’s nothing that couldn’t also been done with a laptop—but that’s the beauty of it. You can keep things very simple.
How’s your new album on Warp getting on?
I’ve been working on that for the last year or so but I don’t want to rush these things. The TNGHT project was intended to be a quick one-off release, an opportunity to throw out a fun record and maybe do some shows, then just leave it. But this project has taken off a bit since, so we’re focusing on it a little bit more than we originally thought.
Have you been playing live shows together? Since you and Lunice don’t live too close to each other, I guess rehearsals are difficult…
He’s based in Montreal, but he’s in London probably twice a month, so we see each other a lot. The TNGHT shows have been amazing so far. I mean, I really enjoy my own shows because I can show a full spectrum of what I do and the different directions I’ve got. With the stuff we’ve worked on together, it’s much more club-oriented. It’s just so much fun to play real hard music to 5,000 people—it’s very refreshing!
Are you still connected with Red Bull Music Academy? You attended their scholarship program a couple of years back.
I went to their Toronto workshop in 2007. I had to fill out this outrageous 40-page application, but that was a kind of life-changing opportunity. And if making music is your dream, then I’d say go for it!
As someone with strong connections to the underground, did you hestitate before agreeing on a branded commitment?
It’s easy to get a bad impression of a brand, but when you take a look under the surface you realize that although it might be funded by a corporation, the people behind it on the creative level are generally people that know their stuff. You don’t work with a marketing executive. The people involved on the creative side are creatives themselves.
On keeping things fresh: you’ve produced a number of pop and hip hop bootleg edits over in recent years. How do you pick the material you’re touching?
It needs to be an original song I really like. It’s also important that nobody else has really tackled or reworked the tracks. The Pleasure EP was similar to the Ooops! vinyl—we obviously couldn’t clear them, so they had to be kept under the radar. The Pleasure EP was very limited.
It sold out instantly! Are you still buying records? How much does the Pleasure EP sell for on Discogs?
I can’t tell, I think the Ooops! vinyl goes for 60 or 70 euro. Yeah, I use Discogs, most of the stuff I buy there are old breakbeat, rave, hardcore and jungle records. Stuff that I used to have on mixtapes but never owned an actual copy of, stuff that was hard to track down.
It’s like a kind of well-stocked convenience store nowadays, a place where you get what you need even if sometimes ridiculously overpriced.
I didn’t used to buy that many when I was DJing more often. However, I want to get my hands on as many records I can before people start rediscovering vinyl. At the moment you can still buy for decent prices, but that might change. I’m starting my collection all over again.
Do you have a ‘real-life’ record store where you stop by now and then?
Not so much. Rubadub in Glasgow is very good, but I tend to just look for second-hand stuff from a charity shop. I don’t buy a lot new.
What about streaming services such as Spotify or Deezer?
I think Spotify is excellent! I mean, they don’t offer everything, but often enough I’m surprised by how much obscure stuff you can find there.
The only problem with streaming platforms is that they lack black metal music, for instance, or congeneric styles. The only places where you can put your hands on these is old-fashioned record stores, mail order or, going back a bit, within the Soulseek network.
I used Soulseek years ago! Is it still going? I found out about so much music only through Soulseek! Also the community that built up around the service was amazing! It was very encouraging to discover new music based on the people’s libraries, or though their direct recommendations.
The weird and great thing about Soulseek was its anonymity in comparison to today’s social networks—although you knew about the other person’s library, you didn’t know who he was. It’s quite different to today, where you couldn’t care less what your Facebook friend is listening to right now.
You’d know the people through chats or the radio stream though. But you needed the urge to discover new things. You’ve searched for artist x, found it, but discovered a to z, too! Amazing! ~
Catch up with Hudson Mohawke:
26.10. SA Johannesburg – TBA / 27.10. SA Cape Town – TBA / 31.10. FR Paris – Social Club / 02.11. DE Berlin – Gretchen / 03.11. DE Munich – Rote Sonne / 15.11. UK London – Oval Space (as TNGHT)
The author on Twitter: Follow @wwwacht
Gerald Simpson is inarguably a visionary; his 1988 record Voodoo Ray has been lionized as one of the defining tracks of Manchester’s acid house scene. However, he’s also one of the few artists who has, despite his legendary aura, managed to stay ahead of the pack. In 1992 he helped shape another sound, this time drum’n’bass, with his 28 Gun Bad Boy full-length. Today we’re pleased to have the premiere of the trippy, time-stretched video to “The Dip”, directed by Macedonian artist and director Marija Bozinovska Jones. To accompany the video she was kind enough to answer a few questions.
How did you come to know A Guy Called Gerald?
My first contact with Gerald was around 2003 in London during my VJing days. After being repeatedly booked to play together, we finally progressed with conversation. Solid friendship has developed since and we have collaborated on various projects few times in the past.
Are music videos dead?
How I see it is that they’ve transmuted. If the material world undergoes constant change, then media and technology are galloping forward at a tearing pace. It is self-evident to start visualizing and promoting music in new ways whether through specifically created apps or live hologram visuals. It’s been this way since the music video substituted the television format for the internet. The internet medium plays a large role in presenting interactivity – the audience isn’t satisfied with passively watching music videos any longer. Today’s music fan is a proactive internet user with short attention span, high expectations and desire to engage.
What’s your motivation shooting music videos?
I have always been fanatical about music, having attended classical music school since I was 5, learning notes before the alphabet. As a teenager, what followed was the experience of moving across all possible musical subcultures. During my studies at Saint Martins I received the opportunity to shoot my first music video for Alan McGee (of Creation Records fame) promoting a new band and the visual arts took precedence.
Furthermore, my art projects always somehow connect to music, even when highly politicized. It is bizarre that I’ve never become a musician myself … However, a few weeks ago I performed an audiovisual set in a gallery in Norway manipulating material belonging to a particular music genre from the Balkans called turbo folk, so who know what the future brings!