Archive for May, 2011

Not Laughing Anymore

I’ve uploaded a new track made with a sample of an old gramophone recording and an iPad app called Curtis. Curtis is a granular synth that allows you to mangle audio live with a touch screen. You can alter the grain size and playback by pinching and swiping.
It comes complete with some interesting texture from Richard Devine. There is also a free version, Curtis Lite which is worth giving a spin if you like strange digital grit, squawks and moans.


Big Black were / are my most favourite band ever, and this is a not half bad cover version of their paeon to immolation, Kerosene

I’m uploading half a dozen or so video clips from last weekend. I’ll also very quickly go over some of thne acts I saw on the final day. There wont be much detail because at this point in the festival my critical faculties had been somewhat compromised. I now realise that chewing gum and haribo are not foodstuffs conducive to optimal mental functioning. So….he here goes.

Oneohtrix Point Never – another static laptop performance, a bit meh to be honest. I didn’t really have the patience to see how it unfolded.

Atlas Sound – I was quite suprised when I played back the clip because it didn’t look like how I remembered the gig. I remember seeing Atlas Sound completely sillhouetted against beams of bright red light while he teased out beautiful songs from his guitar and loops.

Micachu and the Shapes – wonky guitar pop somewhat reminiscent of Elastica, Wire or The Raincoats. accompanied by toytown keyboard noises. Micachu’s guitar was ran through some sort of effects which pitched it down into a skronky tone. Interesting.

Ear PWR – at this point I freely admit that I was worse for wear. I enjoyed Ear PWR despite their lead singers flat, nasal vocals and awfully naff and twee lyrics. Even the sight of Dylan Booze and his ginger afro, pounding out of time rhythms on his drum kit like a kid peaking on tartrazine didn’t alert me to the fact I was watching a sherbet fuelled ADHD carcrash. My colleague Spooky Fruit dragged me protesting out of the gig before the end because he feared that I had lost my mind. Since the gig I’ve read reviews of Ear PWR which are mostly vitriol – that’s only made them more endearing to me. They’re crap and they know it but evenso I enjoyed their awful vision.


I caught the last half hour of Gang Gang Dance’s Set and have been kicking myself ever since that I didn’t see the whole set. They were blisteringly good – their last song kept crescendoing to ever high levels of insane funkiness.

Before calling it a day I saw Animal Collective who pretty much repeated the set from the night before. They were fantastic and set me to bed with a fuzzy glow and tinnitus.

Lee Scratch Perry

The Brothers Unconnected

The Brother’s Unconnected played on Saturday. They’re the surviving members of the Sun City girls, so I think that means they also play in The Master Musicians of Bukkake. They interspersed songs about infanticide and racial stereotypes with banter where they castigated the audience for clapping cot death and told unspeakable anecdotes about Henry Kissinger’s sex chimps. I recorded some footage but my iPhone is shit so you can see pock all, it’s orientated wrong but the sound is good.

The next act I saw was Vladislav Delay. He played moody textures with ominous, slowly shifting percussion. Unfortunately I was in the mood for something more energising so I couldn’t warm to it.

I watched Ariel Pink  next – didn’t really warm to his act. He also seemed a little off key and static. Spectrum in Reds was much better – it started off with some theremin spookiness and in common with a lot of acts this weekend relied on riff repetition, but still managed to keep one’s attention. I suppose having a front man and band to focus on helped. It had an element of Johnny Cash country noir to it which was more interesting than watching a guy behind a laptop.

At some point between acts we checked out the “history of sound art” installation in the cinema. We were greeted with the sight of a dozen or so people either sleeping or monging out to random soundeffects while a digital counter ticked away on the screen.

I mentioned earlier that I was not a fan of Animal Collective, I hadn’t much liked the little I’d heard. However, after having seen them live (twice) this weekend I am converted. I know they opened with a song called “changes” (is this a new song or is it off an album, where can I get it) which is still playing on a loop inside my head. I liked the soaring proggy vocals and the harmonies, I liked the deft use of samples and electronics, I liked the feeling of joy and celebration that their songs evoked. I was impressed and glad I took time to check them out.

Ariel Pink played later in the day.

First band I saw on Friday was Black Dice. I’ve seen them before and enjoyed their racket at the GYBE event last year. This time around they didn’t really do much for me, not sure why because the material this time didn’t sound appreciably different from before.

Lee Scratch Perry was the next act I saw. I’d seen Scratch before at the Custard Factory and so I knew that he has a tendency to play looooooong sets, which is even more impressive when you realise the guy is in his seventies.Because of the strict timetable he had to play a truncated set. He came on after a cheesy call and response skit, dressed in a napoleonic tunic with brocade and gold epaulettes. He wasn’t happy with having nto keep to a timetable and kept muttering about having the shorten things. He did a cover of “Pappa was a Rolling Stone” which morphed into dread chanting about the banks. Towards the end he blessed his children like some amiable schizophrenic shamanic uncle. A legend who should have been give more time to play. Thinking about it, I think if Scratch were to be invited to curate an ATP that would be very interesting.

Mr Perry Specifies the Minimum Length of his Rollups

Next up The Actress.  To begin with it sounded like a mix of murky loops and noise, but the patterns would morph very gradually and lock into a trancey, syncopated vibe. Interesting to listen to but it suffered from the difficulty in making a laptop performance interesting. A bloke came up to me and asked when The Actress was coming on. I had to point out that the bloke in the hoody who’d been standing behind a Macbook for the last half hour was the act.

I think this was the last act I saw on Friday, things get a little hazy after this so bear with me 🙂

I seemed to have survived the last spring ATP hosted at Butlins Minehead. It’s a shame that they will just be offering the “Nightmare Before Christmas”  events in Winter, as the bright sunshine we had over the weekend made me feel very bright and healthy despite the diet of potnoodle and haribo. I would have posted some pics and videos, unfortunately I didn’t realise what a piss poor camera the iPhone has, so sorry.

I’m not a fan of Animal Collective (who were curating this year) but that’s not important as there is always a good variety of acts so it’s hard not to find something interesting. I was a little pissed of with the accomodation this year, we had a basic room, no shower just a bath and sink but no plug. Obviously Butlins were trying to imbue a little festival spirit by removing the option to wash, or maybe they were trying the Ryan air business model and are gonna start charging for toilet paper next. My chalet’s seem to be getting progressively crapper with each visit, I’m worried that next time I’ll book I’ll be given a wheelie bin and an empty milk bottle to piss in.

This year seemed to be a little quieter than previous one’s I’ve attended, I can’t remember queuing for any acts for the whole time I was there. For some reason the Main Stage wasn’t used at all, a shame really because having an extra venue may have allowed some of the acts (Lee Scratch Perry for example) to play a full set rather than the truncated one.

Before I talk about the acts I’d like to give a big shout out to Captain Underpants (whoever he may be). He was housed 5 – 6 chalets down from mine and he peaked far too early into the festival. For most of the festival he lay on his bed, windows and door open playing the same Revolting Cocks cd on repeat again and again and again. Most of the time he was comatose and dead to the world but once (late at night) I saw him sitting up on his bed in just his underpants (door and curtain open of course), glassy eyed and slack jawed.

Maybe it was actually some sort of performance art or Butlin’s budget version of  Big Brother. Or maybe he was lonely and just needed a hug.

"Yeh, the room's fine but any chance of a plug for the bath?"

Exxy Dental

I’ve uploaded a new track onto soundcloud, mostly made from processed audio sampled for a kaossilator. I’ve been a bit too busy to keep the blog updated but at the beginning of next week I’m hoping to post some reviews of this weekend’s ATP curated by Animal Collective.

I’m especially looking forward to catching Lee Scratch Perry again. I last saw him about 8 years ago at the Custard Factory in Digbeth. He played a long set, the sound was amazing, really low pant quaking bass. Scratch jogged around like a homeless shaman seemingly immune to the passive dope smoking. Happy times…

Anyhow, I’ll let you know how it goes.

Exxy Dental