Friday, August 26, 2011

Electric Picnic 2011 preview: 10 must-see international acts and 10 must-see Irish acts

1 - John Talabot

The Barcelona-based producer has kept a low profile since he emerged, letting his music do the talking. Dealing in hypnotic, vibrant house that has a similarly Balearic-tinged vibe to friends and frequent collaborators Delorean (but with a much more dance-floor-oriented aesthetic), Talabot has turned in superb remixes of the xx, Blue Daisy and Glasser as well as his own material - this year's infectious 'Families' following on the heels of 12"s like 'Sunshine' and 'Matilda's Dream'. This could be the highlight of the weekend. Although I think I said that about Primavera and ended up missing his set. Festivals, eh?

Saturday, 23.00, Earth Ship stage

JOHN TALABOT / Families (Ft Glasser) by Young Turks

Shelter (John Talabot's Feel it too Remix) by John Talabot

Raindrops (John Talabot's Cosmic Rework) by Black Acre Records

2 - Flying Lotus

A long-awaited first Irish show for the founder and figurehead of LA's Brainfeeder collective/label. One of the most talented producers around, he followed 2008 masterpiece Los Angeles with the dazzling, all-over-the-shop Cosmogramma, an album that completely revamped his sound and captured a restlessly inventive vision.

Saturday, 00.45, Little Big Tent

Flying Lotus - ...And the World Laughs with You by greenplastic

3 - Julio Bashmore

The Bristol-based producer has released a string of excellent 12"s on labels like Dirtybird, 3024 and Futureboogie. He offers a unique, infectious take on house/UK funky influences, with bass-heavy floor-fillers such as 'Battle For Middle You' mixing with the Balearic-tinged 'Ribble to Amazon'.

Sunday, 17.45, Little Big Tent

Julio Bashmore - Footsteppin' by TenThousandYen

Julio Bashmore - BATTLE FOR MIDDLE YOU by abeano

4 - Star Slinger

Mainly known for his (numerous) remixes, he's re-interpreted tracks for everyone from Deerhunter to James Vincent McMorrow, as well as releasing his own material and collaborating with Teams. His hip-hop-influenced productions are frequently psychedelic, glitchy and playful.

Friday, 18.15, Little Big Tent

The Go! Team Apollo Throwdown (Star Slinger Remix) by Star Slinger

Small Black - Photojournalist (STAR SLINGER REMIX) by Star Slinger

5 - Onra

As Pitchfork put it, "broken beats, woozy aural effects, and the lush sounds of vintage funk and R&B, all filtered through hip-hop's rhythmic, lyrical bounce". The Parisian's Long Distance album features the glorious summer jam 'High Hopes', as well as plenty more tunes that achieve just the right balance between slightly-cheesy retro elements and fresh production techniques.

Friday, 17.00, Little Big Tent

High Hopes ft. Reggie B by Onra

Onra - Long Distance by Hypetrak

6 - Yuck

They've admitted that their show at Cork X Southwest was a bit of an offday, so they have something to prove. Yuck are a thrilling throwback to vintage alt-rock bands like Pavement and Dinosaur Jr, along with the mellower strains of Teenage Fanclub. 'Rubber', 'Get Away' and 'Georgia' - yes please.

Saturday, 20.00, Cosby Stage

Rubber by Yuck

Get Away by Yuck

7 - Rainbow Arabia

Somewhat similar in style to Gang Gang Dance, if not quite (yet) at their level of genius, Rainbow Arabia are a duo who craft electronic pop with notable African and Eastern influences. This year's Boys and Diamonds album encompasses catchy pop moments as well as pulsating dancefloor-leaning workouts with tribalistic percussion and garish synths.

Saturday, 15.35, Little Big Tent

Rainbow Arabia - Without You by Kompakt

8 - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

I fear the worst for this one, given that they're clashing with Pulp, Mogwai and Zola Jesus, but hopefully CYHSY still have a loyal enough following to withstand that. Their set at the Picnic a few years back was one of those classic festival moments, their debut album remains one of the finest of the last decade (despite the silly backlash) and they've some new material to test out. Also: The Skin Of My Yellow Country Teeth.

Sunday, 23.00, Crawdaddy Stage

9 - Underworld

A gateway band for me - and I'm sure a lot of other people - when it comes to electronic music, Underworld have absolute stone-cold classics like 'Rez/Cowgirl', 'Dirty Epic' and 'Jumbo' to call upon. A superb live act, as documented by the classic Everything Everything

Sunday, 20.30, Main Stage

10 - Arcade Fire

Their set at the 2005 Picnic has gone down in legend, and contributed greatly to the then-young festival's growing reputation. This should be a triumphant return, on the back of their very impressive third album The Suburbs.

Saturday, 22.00, Main Stage

Irish Acts:

1 - Toby Kaar

The Cork-based producer is probably the most exciting newcomer of 2011: his amazing remix of Nouveaunoise's 'Cinnte' took an already great tune and made it his own, while further productions as well as a string of dazzling live sets (including support slots with Gold Panda and And So I Watch You From Afar) have kept his star in the ascent. Encompassing a diverse range of styles - from trippy, glitchy hip-hop-influenced sounds to the more mellow, atmospheric likes of 'Bread' and the almost-post-rock tones of his Ten Past Seven remix - he's playing three times over the weekend: see him at least once.

Friday, 00.00, Love Letter Stage
Saturday, 13.30, Little Big Tent
Saturday, 22.15, Earthship Stage

Nouveaunoise - Cinnte (Toby Kaar's Cloudy Mix) by TobyKaar

Heart of Gold by TobyKaar

2 - Le Galaxie

Arguably the finest live band in the country playing songs from one of the albums of the year. A no-brainer. Le Galaxie's live sets are glowing sci-fi party affairs with neon body paint, freak dancing and glow-sticks - and tunes to match: the kaleidoscopic DFA vibes of 'Midnight Midnight', the electro-pop bounce of 'Solarbabies' and the dramatic, swelling 'Victory' to name but three.

Saturday, 13.30, Electric Arena

03 - Midnight Midnight by Le Galaxie

01 - Earth by Le Galaxie

3 - Patrick Kelleher & His Cold Dead Hands

A scintillating live act; the dark, gothic synth-pop of recent album Golden Syrup may be somewhat disorientating but it's also danceable.

Sunday, Body & Soul Main Stage, 21.00

Patrick Kelleher and His Cold Dead Hands "Miracle Candle" from sophie gateau on Vimeo.

4 - Catscars

Earlier this year Robyn Bromfield released the shadowy, new-wave-tinged Construction - the shape-shifting, spooked-sounding textures of her songs should make for a fascinating late-night set.

Saturday, 02.45, Love Letter Stage

5 - Katie Kim

A live performer of quiet intensity, Katie Kim's songs tend to be hushed and subtly atmospheric, with beguiling vocals that convey unnerving depths. Songs from her excellent upcoming double-vinyl release Cover & Flood are sure to feature.

Saturday, Body & Soul Main Stage, 20.15

6 - Tieranniesaur

One of the jewels in the Popical Island crown, Annie Tierney's gang deal in exuberant, irreverent lo-fi funk-pop. Songs like 'Sketch!' and 'Here Be Monsters' are guaranteed to bring the fun times.

Saturday, Body & Soul Main Stage, 18.00

7 - Adebisi Shank

Adebisi Shank's live brilliance almost goes without saying at this stage - furious, frenetic performers, last year's This Is The Second Album... saw them develop their sound into something bracingly unique, combining gargantuan riffs and infectious hooks with dazzling, Battles-esque experimentation.

Saturday, Cosby Stage, 15.15

Adebisi Shank - Genki Shank by Richter Collective

Logdrum by Richter Collective

8 - Visionair

Gaining attention from the likes of Altered Zones, Visionair's music is both evocative and rhythmic, their songs pulsing and swelling with vintage-sounding synth-tones. Live, tunes like the hypnotic, expertly-paced 'HYPNOM' sound even more muscular and forceful than on their extremely impressive brace of EPs.

Saturday, Love Letter Stage, 01.15

03 HYPNOM by VisionAir

03 TOTEM by VisionAir

9 - Great Lakes Mystery

Citing influences such as Arthur Russell and John Carpenter, Gareth Averill's project is characterised by atmospheric, dramatic synths and mesmerising ambience.

Sunday, Love Letter Stage, 18.00

Lemmings by Great Lakes Mystery

Organo Moderato by Great Lakes Mystery

10. Soil Creep

New project from Aidan Wall (of Porn On Vinyl and the now-defunct Hipster Youth). If the pretty-amazing 'Where (n) Meets Infinity' is anything to go by, expect trippy, inventive lo-fi electronica along the lines of Lorem Ipsum. Then again, it could be something else entirely! Should be interesting.

Friday, Love Letter Stage, 20.00

Soil Creep - Where (n) Meets Infinity by LongLost

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Mogwai interview

Interviewed Stuart for State:

The new Earth Division EP is out in September and sounds very interesting. Provided there's no nasty clashes, I'll be seeing them for the 4th time this year at Electric Picnic. You can never get enough.

Maria Minerva - 'Ruff Trade'

"When you can deconstruct the music of others so easily-- and your own-- then it's kinda hard to make it at the same time. But this sounds annoying only in theory; in practice, it's something you can actually forget about. Because the best thing about music is that it's beyond words. It's on the level of sensations, and it's very easy to forget everything I've learned when I'm listening to or making music. That's why I love it so much."
- Maria Minerva, interview with Altered Zones

Cabaret Cixous is the latest excellent release from Estonian-born, London-based Maria Minerva, following her Tallinn At Dawn cassette and 'Noble Savage' 12". Released on Amanda Brown(of Pocahaunted/LA Vampires)'s Not Not Fun label, she fits right in with its prevailing aesthetic: this is smudgy, reverbed, hypnotic not-quite-dance music with a skewed h-pop sensibility. 'Ruff Trade'is the superb closing track; other standouts include 'These Days' and 'Pirate's Tale'.

She also contributed a mix to FACT.

Some older tunes:

Maria Minerva - Disko Bliss by

Maria Minerva - Hop Hop Gone In Spring by

In general, there really is an amazing amount of great music coming from both Not Not Fun and its sub-label 100% Silk.

The Gorgeous Colours - 'It's OK To Be Normal'

Have been meaning to post about this for a while - the song was released back in May, but this video is relatively new. The Gorgeous Colours occupy a unique position on the domestic scene - they make pop music with hooks aplenty, but it doesn't really fit in with the lo-fi, charmingly ramshackle efforts of the Popical Island gang. The Gorgeous Colours are more reminiscent of bands like Grizzly Bear or Super Furry Animals, making lush, deceptive, intricately melodic tunes. This may well be their finest so far.

It's Ok To Be Normal by The Gorgeous Colours

The band will be kicking off Friday's Body & Soul Main Stage action at Electric Picnic, and I intend to catch their set.

Another thing I meant to post about before - their full-length self-titled album is available as a free download from their Bandcamp, where you
can also find last year's The Creatures Down Below EP.

Laura Sheeran / Katie Kim - split 7" launch, Galway

Two fascinating musicians combine for a split 7": 'A Wake', taken from her excellent
Lust Of Pig & The Fresh Blood album, is Laura Sheeran's contribution; while Katie Kim contributes 'Heavy Lighting'. The Galway launch takes place this Friday (August 26th).

'A Wake' was one of the standout tracks on Lust Of Pig, with its menacing electronic/vocal loops giving way to a dramatic vocal climax (I reviewed the album here).


'Heavy Lighting' is a hushed, atmospheric, gradually swelling number that demonstrates Katie Kim's meticulous songwriting craft. Her upcoming double-vinyl release Cover & Flood is an outstanding record, with beguiling vocals that may be softly-sung but convey unnerving depths, backed up by nuanced, layered instrumentation.

Heavy Lighting by KATIE KIM

Both musicians are superb live performers, as they demonstrated at their Dublin launch the other week: Sheeran brings an added element of dark theatricality to her already-vivid compositions, and brings out hidden layers to the hypnotic 'I'm Sorry Son'. Similarly, Kim's songs demand to be heard in a live setting.

It should be an amazing gig, and they've even done a promo trailer:

There's also an EP of 'A Wake' remixes that's available for free download from Sheeran's Bandcamp page. Here's SertOne's interpretation:

The music doesn't start until ten on the night, so there's also time to catch the Stop/Run performance beforehand.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Bitwise Operator remix Hands Up Who Wants To Die ; Stop/Run Galway

Incendiary Dublin-based band Hands Up Who Wants To Die have previously been remixed by the likes of Legion Of Two and Melodica Deathship; now it's the turn of Bitwise Operator, aka Galway's Simon Kenny, who also makes music as part of Bitwise + Madek.
He's re-interpreted 'Nothing Added But Boom' ( a track from their split single with I'll Eat Your Face) with his own unique, warped sound.

Hands Up Who Wants To Die - Nothing Added But Boom (Bitwise Operator) Remix by Richter Collective

Bitwise Operator's excellent Samurai Hack album is still available for free download from Bandcamp. (As the title indicates it's partly inspired by the Samurai Jack cartoon). Chiptune-influenced music tends to be very hit-and-miss a lot of the time, but this is easily one of the best records I've heard that operates within that general sphere, as infectious 8-bit grooves mix with hip-hop influences and abrasive electronic textures. Highly recommended.

Bitwise Operator, as part of Bitwise + Madek, will be one of the musicians taking part in the Stop/Run performance in Galway this Friday (August 26th). Stop/Run is a project conceived by Ed Devane, and consists of an ensemble of experimental, electroacoustic musical instruments. The musicians will use the instruments - designed by Devane himself - to create their own unique pieces. Other musicians involved include Tony Higgins, DeclanQKelly and Jimmy Penguin : "Whereas the first concert drew from musicians from the musical fields of improv, experimental and contemporary composition, Stop/Run:Galway will have an altogether different flavour. A diverse selection of acts were chosen, and yet for their differences they have one thing in common: all are from Galway, and their music reflects this. From the tight-knit hip-hop and electronica communities to the ancient Sean Nós tradition, Stop/Run:Galway promises to bring together musicians and audiences who might not otherwise find themselves in the same place at the same time." Further details here.

Stop/Run takes place at 33 Dominick Street from 8-10pm, admission 5 euro: the good news is that the Laura Sheeran/Katie Kim double-bill that takes place in Roisin Dubh the same night doesn't start until ten, so there's room for both - it promises to be a great night of music overall

Speaking of DeclanQKelly, he's just uploaded this track to his Soundcloud, check it out:

Borborygmi by DeclanQKelly

And speaking of Ed Devane, i reviewed his Room Full Of Empty People EP for State earlier in the year. I liked it.

Squib by Ed Devane