Just before the Dank Morass event featuring Flying Lotus, Gaslamp Killer and Hermitude early last year, our good friends from the art and food collective Bookery Cook cooked up a big middle-eastern feed for our artists!
Check this video depicting the dinner, event and after-party. A great reminder of a great night. Footage courtesy of Megan Cullen.
Read the full story HERE @ Bookery Cook’s brand new website!
No one could have guessed in 1985 when Radiohead formed that they would find themselves at the vanguard of cutting-edge, bass-heavy electronic music. They enjoyed moderate success off the back of their first single ‘Creep’ from their 1993 debut album Pablo Honey. Two years later they released The Bends but it wasn’t until 1997 when the band released OK Computer that Radiohead became a household name around the globe. The record’s sweeping, cinematic vibe and lyrical musings on modern alienation were enriched by their first subtle flirtations with electronic music. The album – now often considered among the best of the decade – topped charts globally and spawned a massive two-year tour.
Upon their return home the band quarrelled over where to take their music next. DJ Shadow’s debut album Endtroducing….. had been in high rotation during the OK Computer recording sessions and Thom Yorke jumped at the chance to write and record a song with him that ended up on the 1998 album Psyence Fiction by UNKLE. Yorke had been a DJ and even dabbled in techno production when he was at university and at this point was almost exclusively listening to electronic music. When Radiohead re-assembled in early 1999 to record a new album, Yorke pushed for a more rhythmic, electronic sound with treated vocals, synths and drum machines. Their next two albums Kid A and Amnesiacwere comprised of tracks from these sessions and the radical change in sonic direction caught many off-guard. For every critic and fan that hailed the new material as genius, there were many others left cold by the lack of guitars and traditional rock elements.
In 2006, Thom Yorke unveiled his solo album The Eraser – a pure electronica album. The uniquely raw and layered textures of the record were well received, nominated for both a Grammy and the Mercury Prize. The Eraser was released in the middle of a groundswell in the UK underground scene. The first wave of dubstep and bass music had blown up and none of this was lost on the Radiohead vocalist. An early champion of ethereal and elusive producer Burial, Yorke decided to commission a remix project for the tracks from his solo album. Across three 12s, bass producers such as The Bug, Various Production, Surgeon, Modeselektor, Four Tet and Burial put their spin on Yorke’s tracks.
Thus began Thom Yorke’s tight relationship with the bass music scene. Among much collaboration, he leant vocals to the 2007 track ‘The White Flash’ by Modeselektor, sang on ‘…And The World Laughs With You’ from Flying Lotus’ 2010 LP Cosmogramma, and earlier this year released a 12 inch record with Four Tet and Burial. Yorke has often confessed his love in interviews of the Los Angeles-centred beat scene – home to Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder collective and beat night Low End Theory, where Yorke has played a couple of surprise DJ sets.
The influence of all this can be felt somewhat in Radiohead’s latest album The King Of Limbs – an experiment in aesthetics and rhythm. Like The Eraser, Thom Yorke commissioned remixes of the new Radiohead album – the fruits of which will be released next month on TKOL RMX 1234567. Mark Pritchard (aka Harmonic 313), Illum Sphere, Jamie XX, SBTRKT and Caribou have turned in remixes alongside Yorke favourites Modeselektor and Four Tet. Many of these have been aired on Mary Anne Hobbs’ radio show on XFM. Hobbs has long been a fan of Radiohead and Thom Yorke – even more so when his path and that of the bass music underground started going the same way. Last week she featured a brand new DJ mix from Yorke on her show. The mix featured some of the TKOL remixes as well as new bits from Yorke himself and can be streamed on Mixcloud.
Electronic music purveyors have long recognised that watching someone on a dark stage twiddling knobs or mixing records isn’t the most thrilling concert-going experience visually. Over the years electronic acts have deployed light shows, lasers and projected visuals to accompany and compliment the music in a live setting. This month in Subdetritus we look at bass music’s dichotomous relationship with live visual stimulus and it’s relationship with multimedia art at large.
From the earliest days of rave culture back in the late-eighties, parties were something of a visual spectacle – ravers dressed in fluorescent colours, warehouse spaces decked-out in UV décor, strobes, lasers and all manner of mind-altering lighting displays. This wasn’t necessarily the blueprint that all electronic music parties followed in subsequent years, particularly bass and sound system culture. Many drum’n’bass and dubstep parties were, and continue to be, very conscious of a certain “hoods up, heads down” mentality towards the music and how it should be enjoyed in a live setting. One of the most famous of the original dubstep parties – Mala, Loefah and Coki’s mighty DMZ night in Brixton – would pride itself on being no more than a dark room with one sparse blue light and the mother of all sound systems. No flashy visuals or strobe lights, just: “Come meditate on bass weight”.
This has been a staple of many bass gigs around the globe: spare no expense on the sound system and the rest should be simple and raw. It’s a cry back to original Jamaican sound systems and a statement that the music itself should be the primary focus. It was an ethos that one-time smoked-out jazzy junglist turned innovative sound artist Amon Tobin employed on his 2007 tour of Europe supporting his album The Foley Room. “Fuck visuals,” he was famously quoted as saying. “We’re sinking every last penny into the sound system!” And from all accounts he wasn’t fronting – the music was loud, bass-heavy, crystal clear, in your face and inescapable. Fast forward to the last few weeks, and Amon Tobin has just kicked off his latest tour in support of brand new album Isam. The album itself has received mixed reviews as Tobin continues to push his challenging sound manipulations into new and less familiar territory, but in an interesting flip, the live show he has assembled for this record could go down in history as one of the most unique multimedia performances of our time.
The first show of the tour was in Montreal on June 1st and is currently being staged in select cities across Europe. Videos have since been uploaded to www.amontobin.com of the performance and its design, and scores more have surfaced from fans on YouTube. Described in a press release as featuring a “stunning 25′ x 14′ x 8′ multi-dimensional/ shape shifting 3-D art installation surrounding Tobin and enveloping him and the audience in a beyond 3-D experience”, the footage has to be seen to be believed. The marriage of his dense electronic compositions with such a jaw-dropping visual accompaniment is light years ahead of its time and makes his contemporaries who seek to offset the visual boredom of DJ sets by wearing giant mouse heads look frankly ridiculous. On top of all of this, Tobin teamed up with respected artist Tessa Farmer whose unique visual style based on reconstructions of organic material has been the centerpiece of an art installation that has been on display in galleries in London and Paris to coincide with the launch of the album.
Flying Lotus is another that has been pushing the visual element harder than most in terms of cover art, live performances, interactive web applications and film clips. There are plenty of others in bass music who are embracing other media in an attempt to compliment and enhance the sensory experience of their music, including crews here in Brisbane. The future looks bright and flashy in the murky world of bass.
This month in Subdetritus we take a look at an influx of amazing, long-awaited releases from the world of bass music that are hitting record stores and headphones at the moment. I can’t remember a time in recent years where there has been this much good music stirred into the cosmic soup all at once. Pens and wallets at the ready…
The big one that has just been unleashed is the brand new full-length album from the head of Hyperdub himself – Kode9 & The Spaceape’s Black Sun. A lot has changed in bass music since their first collaborative album dropped back in 2006, but Kode9 is still hailed as a visionary leader of the movement. The album holds all the ominous might and menace you’d expect from this pair but the beats are teased out in slightly different directions. The collaboration with Flying Lotus is as killer as it should be.
Another Hyperdub legend recently gave a rare treat – new music from the elusive and iconic Burial. The three-track EP Street Halo holds its own after an agonizing four year wait for fans on any new solo material from his hallowed studio. It comes straight off the back of his stunning collaboration with Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and Four Tet. Speaking of Radiohead, there are very serious rumours of a remix project of tracks from their incredible The King of Limbs album. Thom Yorke has made no secret of his love affair with the new vanguard of bass producers having previously collaborated with Flying Lotus and recently spinning a surprise DJ set at Gaslamp Killer’s night Low End Theory. Names being mentioned as possible remixers for Radiohead include bass wizards Mark Pritchard and Illum Sphere. Watch this space for more news on this exciting project.
Other amazing albums with a drum’n’bass slant that are shaking up the detritus right now include the eagerly anticipated Instra:mental album Resolution 653 on Nonplus and d’n’b-heads-turned-steppers Kryptic Minds with their third album Can’t Sleep. Dutch producer 2562 has also lifted the lid on his third full-length Fever which heads in a decidedly more housey direction.
The king of them all right now for this bass head though has to be the brand new album from Mr. Amon Tobin. Entitled Isam, this record builds on the dense compositions, moody sound design and disorientating rhythms of 2007’s Foley Room with a more urgent and harsh electronic edge to it. Head to his website here for a free download from this amazing record and details of an incredible art installation to celebrate it’s launch. Also, be sure to check a full track-by-track commentary of the album by the man himself on his Soundcloud. It’s a good time to be alive!
Almost three years ago, we hosted a little Thursday night party in the small room upstairs at the Step Inn. The headliner was a young producer called Flying Lotus who had just signed to Warp and released his first EP on that label. We had no idea if Brisbane was going to come out to see this cat, we just really wanted to witness his show ourselves. As it turned out, quite a few people felt the same and the dancefloor didn’t know what hit it. That show set in motion the last three years of Morass madness.
In that time, the instrumental beats scene has flourished, exploded and cross-pollinated wantonly with the UK-focused dubstep and bass scene, which we’ve also represented at our shows and in our sets. More importantly, Flying Lotus has released two stunning boundary-defying albums that have informed, influenced and driven electronic music into new territory. We’ve always known that Lotus deserves a big audience, and last Sunday at The Tivoli he returned to prove the point in what feels like the beautiful culmination of everything we’ve worked towards since his first show in Brisbane. Everything was bigger: the venue, the stage, the sound, the screen, the supports and the crowd.
I don’t want to get all Oscars on you, but a lot of people put in the yards to make this thing happen, including a few last-minute saves without which the show wouldn’t have gone on. As Lotus mentioned on stage, his trusty laptop died just 24 hours earlier in Perth. He managed to play a second Perth show by building a new set on someone else’s computer, but he was flying into Brisbane without a working machine, mere hours from his set. A few phone calls later and our boys Sam and Jay were in his hotel room conducting some frantic data recovery.
Some of the other people we’d like to single out are Tones and Kane for the very prompt emergency cymbal supply; Elgusto, Dubs and Tim at Elefant Traks for hooking up Hermitude as a crowd-pleasing last minute replacement for an erstwhile Hudson Mohawke (hope that foot heals quick!); Jessie, Bob, Hugh, Mish, Jake, Lara and all the cool Tivoli crew; Christian, Sean, Liam and the rest of the warehouse crew for supplying an amazing afterparty venue and vibe, Georgie and Science Project for rocking said party and Brews Brothers for supplying refreshment at same; Megs, Tammy and Tania for the great pics; Jerry and Nam from The Operatives who undertook the herculean task for touring these cats in NZ and Australia; all of Brisbane who came down to see what we think is a historic show of cutting-edge, game-changing music in the city’s most beautiful venue; our VJs ATLASt and Archi Lancaster who tirelessly mashed the big screen visuals and added a whole new dimension to the entire night, and last but not least Flying Lotus, Thundercat, Ron Bruner Jr and The Gaslamp Killer for bringing amazing energy to the stage in the face of jetlag, technical nightmares and a missing tourmate. Salute!
Check out Tammy’s entire gallery of the night, including the afterparty, here at InTheMix. There’ll be more photos and videos to come.
Even if Flying Lotus hadn’t put out a single tune this year, his contribution to the musical landscape in 2010 via his label Brainfeeder would have been enough to cement his reputation as the figure-head of an entire musical movement. Having already released the amazing Lorn album earlier this year and EPs from Daedelus and The Gaslamp Killer, Brainfeeder returns with an album two years in the making – Ardour, by visual artist and beatsmith Mtendere Mandowa (better known as Teebs).
Mandowa created his own gorgeous artwork for this record and at one stage shared an apartment block in Los Angeles with Flying Lotus and Samiyam. All the Brainfeeder elements are there – psychedelica, experimentation and eclecticism wrapped in a head-bobbing hip hop framework. But there is something about this album that’s all of its own. Ardour is defined as “great intensity and warmth” which goes someway in describing the beauty of this album. From the opening track ‘You’ve Changed’ there is a depth and lushness to the atmospheres on Ardour that are perhaps more subtle yet just as intense as some of its label-mates. Repeated listening reveals how much is truly going on these tracks.
The almost ambient vibe of ‘Burner’ contains layers of what sounds like bells and hammers being dragged on concrete. Even a seemingly straightforward beat like ‘Why Like This?’ contains intricate synth washes and samples of loose change. ‘Long Distance’ features bird-like sounds and a sticky beat built around the genuinely affecting vocals of Gaby Hernandez. One of the real highlights on the album is the simply titled ‘Moments’. The track oozes with textures falling almost like rain over a side-chained r’n’b beat that turns on a simple drum fill. Mandowa’s greatest trick is making such lush and beautiful music so intense and challenging by mean of traditional sampling and chopping. A truly unique album.
Before the dust has even settled on the crater that Cosmogramma left on the musical landscape, Steven Ellison (aka Flying Lotus) keeps the pressure on with a thrilling new EP on Warp. Far from an aftershock or out-takes from his LP, Pattern + Grid World sounds like an artist at the absolute top of his game. Having firmly established his own kaleidoscopic vision of what music should sound like in 2010, Ellison lets go of the reins a little and has an absolute blast across these seven tracks.
Opener ‘Clay’ serves up his signature woozy textures that flow underneath a complex rhythm while synths joyously explode around it. ‘Time Vampires’ is absolutely gorgeous with its melodies sounding like a happy, childish accident with an unrelenting, neck-snapping beat. The tune is perhaps his most direct nod in a minute to fallen hero J Dilla. The real mind-bender here is ‘Camera Day’ that on the surface sounds like Lotus’ most accessible tune in recent times but on repeated listens reveals a wizardry of the synth that is simply unparalleled right now.
The second decade of the new millennium opens with a bass-heavy deep impact when three of the most acclaimed artists in modern electronic music play Brisbane’s historic theatre venue The Tivoli on Sunday January 2.
*** Click each artist’s photo for a downloadable mix ***
Flying Lotusreturns to Brisbane for the first time in two years, and for his first show here since the release of his explosively epic album Cosmogrammaon Warp Records. Bringing a frenetic live audiovisual performance, Steve Ellison will show why he has ascended to the upper echelons of the global electronica movement. With Cosmogramma receiving universal praise for its psychedelic jazz beat tapestries featuring Lotus’ admirer Thom Yorke and his cousin Ravi Coltrane among others), this artist embodies the best of experimental electronica packed into a tight, danceable package. Ellison brings the special visual element of his show to Australia for the first time.
Lotus’ right hand man in the LA-based Brainfeeder clique and one of the minds behind legendary LA weekly club night Low End Theory, William Bensussen, aka The Gaslamp Killer receives praise as one of the best DJs in the world, with his relentless recombinations of psychedelic rock, dusty breaks and heavy dubstep. A producer, as well as a DJ, he has released two EPs on Brainfeeder and produced haunting vocalist Gonjasufi’s debut LP A Sufi and A Killer(Warp Records). Having already laid waste to Brisbane’s Step Inn in March this year, The Gaslamp Killer returns to Brisbane to again prove his lofty credentials.
Young Glaswegian Ross Birchard, aka Hudson Mohawkeis a former child turntable prodigy who turned his talents to blindingly fluorescent synth-lines combined with organic drum programming and a million ideas a minute. A core member of the Glasgow-to-global collective LuckyMe, he is one of the new generation of artists signed to pioneering UK label Warp. With numerous EPs, beats and remixes already under his belt, his debut LP Butterwas a technicolour sonic flash bomb that The Guardian compared to “eavesdropping on the future”.
In support, Dank Morass DJs will serve up a heady brew of diverse music, including the debut of original beats from Walrii and live visual manipulation from Archi Lancasterand ATLASt.
In the wake of the recent sonic assault of Ras_G and following The Gaslamp Killer earlier this year, Dank Morass presents the next artist from Flying Lotus’ mighty Brainfeeder clique to reach Brisbane. From Los Angeles via Ann Arbor, Michigan, Samiyam is a lover of soul, beats, hip hop and donuts with sprinkles. He’ll be bringing his live, fuzzed, future funk to the chilled surrounds of the Valley’s x&y bar on Sunday September 12. (more…)