Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category
In anticipation of 2011’s festival, we partnered up with Sonar to offer a series of exclusive MP3s give-aways from some of our favourite artists playing at the festival. We hope that you didn’t miss out on them but if you did, be sure to be quicker on the mark next year.
Anyway, the annual pilgrimage to Barcelona now over, recuperation almost achieved, we look back over those magical few days that was Sonar 2011…
Since its inception in 1994, Sonar has been steadily amassing a considerable fan base of clued-up music aficionados attracted like buzzing flies to Sonar’s illuminated orb of inspired programming and gentle summer vibes, set to the backdrop of one of the most exciting cities we know; Barcelona. Sonar’s beauty lies in its contrast of venues and schedules. Sonar by day, a spirited affair that loosely unwinds as the hours go by, is a visual and sonic delight. The minimalist lines of the MACBA contemporary art gallery perfectly frame Barcelona’s deep blue skies and blazing sun. Sonar by night, on the other hand, is a whole other beast. Set in the cavernous space of what can only be described as an aeroplane hanger, the sheer scale and enormity of the whole affair is undoubtedly the most impressive attraction.
However, although Sonar is the real draw here, the plethora of off-Sonar parties and events provide endless distractions and temptations for the music hungry festival goer. This year’s proceedings kicked off with the annual Red Bull Music Academy BBQ delightfully located on the terrace of the Barcelona yachting club with a port-side backdrop. Free drinks, meat fresh off the grill, surprise appearances from Jackmaster, Benji B and Space Dimension Controller, and the prospect of four incredible days ahead, made for content industry peeps who on any other occasion would surely be a whole lot harder to please. Less chin stroking, more getting down to classics such as Midnight Star’s ‘Midas Touch’ and Prince’s ‘Erotic City’.
Nicolas Jaar @ Sonar Hall / 16.06.11
A gloriously sunny Thursday afternoon was the perfect way to shake off the night before with outdoor sun-soaked sets from the likes of Floating Points, Little Dragon, Toro Y Moi and one of the most hotly anticipated performances of the weekend from Nicolas Jaar. Playing to a packed out crowd, he did not disappoint with a jazz-infused journey through his latest album offering. Off-Sonar, poolside preening came thanks to Hotflush and Aus Music and their hotel-rooftop soiree which saw respective label bosses, Scuba and Will Saul sound-tracking gentle poolside toe-tipping alongside Appleblim, Sigha, Midland and Deadbeat.
As day blurred in to night, Thursday night traditions were re-lived at Barcelona super club, Razzmatazz. The intimate confines of the Lolita room played host to London’s Hessle Audio and Hemlock Recordings who filled the club with a mass of punishing bass lines and futurist rhythms from the likes of Ben UFO, Untold, Pangaea, Pearson Sound, Girl Unit and surprise guest Jackmaster.
Friday’s Sonar by Day was prime example of Sonar’s exemplary programming, showcasing one of the most consistent and exciting new labels of recent times, Tri Angle. oOoOO and Bleep favourite Holy Other took us on a tour of their haunting downbeat rhythms, but it was How To Dress Well (aka Tom Krell) who stole the show. Performing on stage without a band, laptop, backing singers or any sort of pretence of a live-show – simply an invisibly operated backing track, a microphone and himself. Laid bare in sincerity, Krell’s falsetto vocals were vulnerable and unashamed, like watching a man singing in the intimate confines of his shower. Highlights included a R. Kelly cover and tracks from his performance punctuated with Michael Jackson-esque grunts and vocal hiccups.
How To Dress Well @ SonarComplex / 17.06.11 / photo by Juan Sala
Another highlight came from Shangaan Electro – first brought to our attention by the incredible Honest Jon’s compilation – performing a brilliant showcase of the energetic and visceral new wave of marimba infused native dance music coming from South Africa. They took their eager crowd on an ascending journey through BPMs, starting at around 150bpm and exploding with an ass-shaking finale at destination 184 bpm!
Shangaan Electro @ SonarVillage / 18.06.11
As usual and throughout the whole weekend, the Sonar Dome stage curated by the Red Bull Music Academy was the place to be for avid followers of the most cutting edge and exciting artists in the current electronic sphere. Hosting appearances from the likes of San Soda, B.Bravo, Teebs, Illum Sphere, Cosmin TRG, Kidkanevil and a particularly energetic disco finale from Tiger & Woods.
Tiger & Woods @ Red Bull Music Academy Stage / SonarDôme / 18.06.11
Friday night saw Ramadanman and Scuba both delivering excellent sets, however the night was always going to belong to one person, and one person only. All excitement and buzz concerned Aphex Twin’s arrival at the world’s leading electronic festival. Never knowing what to expect, Richard D. James delivered an incredible set live face-mapping visuals and a sound spectrum that both pummels and massages your aural senses at the same time. Incredible beyond explanation.
Aphex Twin @ SonarClub / 17.06.11
The following night, Bleep threw a little warm-up party with Smalltown Supersound with DJ sets from Bleep staff, Diskjokke and Annie. Later that evening at the main event, we were treated to an excellent showcase from the French label InFine, with a particular stand out set from Rone. Africa Hi Tech took to the stage to rightfully play what was perhaps the most ubiquitous track of the whole festival, the absolute killer Out in the Streets VIP mix. However, once again it was those audacious Scots who seemed to be running the show. Following in the footsteps of LuckyMe and their 2010 Sonar showcase, fellow Glaswegians, Numbers, took charge of the Sonar Lab stage on the Saturday night to host the likes of Redinho, Spencer, Deadboy, Lory D and their poster-boy and DJ of the moment, Jackmaster, with a surprise appearance from vocalist Jessie Ware nestled in between. The UK continued its complete Sonar domination with London’s finest, Night Slugs, taking over the Sonar Car stage, presenting Egyptrixx and one of the highlights of the festival, a super-tight set from label heads, Bok Bok and L-Vis-1990, played out to a backdrop of screaming dodgem car sirens. Surreal to say the least.
Nursing sore heads and shattered egos all that was left was Sunday night and the Lucky Me x Earnest Endeavours Sonar after-party where our insatiable appetites for more beats and more whisky were sated with the sounds of special guest Gaslamp Killer, Machine Drum, one to watch Lando Kal and the definitive beat wizard Hudson Mohawke. He finally took us to the end of our limits with a hip hop heavy set featuring tracks from his eagerly anticipated new EP, Satin Panthers.
Another Sonar, done and dusted. See you next year.
Words: Laura Humphries / Raj Chaudhuri
Photos: Margot Didsbury (unless stated)
To mark the release of ‘ISAM‘, the much anticipated seventh album from electronic pioneer Amon Tobin, the vaults of the Crypt Gallery underneath St. Pancras Church have been transformed into a fantastical underworld made up of unnerving yet beautiful scenes of alien-like life forms. The installation, part of a collaboration between Tobin and the British artist Tessa Farmer, unites elements of the forthcoming album together with Farmer’s detailed sculptures made from dead insects, bones and other natural materials to create an immersive experience that questions our preconceived ideas on how familiar materials can be used. The concept speaks as a response to Tobin’s explorations in to the synthesis of field recordings, acoustic modelling and multi-sampling techniques.
Farmer’s delicate creatures hover mid-air suspended from the ceilings whilst tracks from ‘ISAM’ play out to create a bewildering atmosphere. Various rooms depict tracks from the album, such as ‘Kitty Cat’, a track in which Tobin’s voice has been radically distorted to resemble that of an elderly lady and where Farmer responds with her interpretation of a cat’s carcass that has been invaded by an army of creatures including tarantulas and sea urchins to form an arresting image.
BLEEP Q&A WITH AMON TOBIN:
Bleep: How did the collaboration with Tessa Farmer come about?
Amon Tobin: She came to me in a dream. Like Joan of Arc towering over me, her flaxen locks fluttering in the wind against a glowing backdrop of molten lava. she spoke to me in a voice like thunder and said “hey like we should totally get together and do a show or something”. I was all like “totally”.
Bleep: The organic element and ideas such as situationism are themes that arise in both yours and Farmer’s works, can you explain in more detail what relation her work has to your new sound explorations?
Amon Tobin: We both try and make impossible things from ordinary materials. there is a great deal more to Tessa’s work but this is something I think we have in common and is why it made sense to me to collaborate. Aside from that, I just find what she does to be very beautiful.
For my part I see a lot of potential in building something unfamiliar from familiar materials. It’s what first got me into sampling when I first started making music. this album takes things further out along those lines. The instruments and sounds are made up into things you can play. They are grounded in traditional models for instruments but they often do things real instruments can’t do. e.g. I took my own voice and modified it for the harmonies and vocals on the record to sound female.
Bleep: In ISAM you have moved on from sampling to focus more on the synthesis of field recordings. Can you tell us a little more about the production process behind the album?
Amon Tobin: It’s all still sampling to me really because sampling was never about the source material as much as it was about the new role a sound or a break played when put in an alien context. There is this conflict between where the sound wants to go and where you take it that produces a strange dynamic and this is what I’m really interested in.
ISAM is music first but also a combination of ideas on how to make new sounds. one process was based on spectral synthesis. An audio source is analysed into it’s spectral properties then assigned various morphing, pitch and timbre variables that react to cc events on a midi controller.
It’s not all about synthesising my own recordings though, I used a range of things. Sometimes I used multisamples instruments which preserve the tonal quality of sounds far better than when you synthesise them. Sometimes I used plain old synthesisers and plug ins too. I usually get the best results when I mix different approaches to anything together.
BLEEP Q&A WITH TESSA FARMER:
Bleep: Amon Tobin and yourself share much common ground, for instance in the way you both explore how familiar materials can be put to different uses aside from what we are accustomed too. In comparison with much of your past work what elements have you had to adapt in order to imagine this collaboration with Tobin?
Tessa Farmer: Myself to an extent- i am a bit of a control freak, very protective of the world i create and was nervous about letting other people in! I developed a narrative in response to the album, which is not something I’ve done before/ in advance – this normally happens and evolves as I make the work- i try not to plan too much ahead, as materials (mostly found, scavenged) so often influence what happens.
Bleep: Aside from the collaboration with Tobin what forms of music inspire you and your work?
Tessa Farmer: When i work i listen to Joni Mitchell, Nina Simone, Leonard Cohen, Ella Fitzgerald, Queen and ABBA.
Bleep: The majority of your work is so minuscule that only a magnifier can show the viewer the depth of detail and craftsmanship that has been carried out. Can you talk us through a little about the process that brings your creatures to life?
Tessa Farmer: I actually don’t use magnifiers in the exhibitions any more- I like the viewer to work! I think close close inspection provides a deeper engagement, and i want the viewer to see beyond craftmanship, that’s not what the work is about – i want them to engage in the story, in the world of the fairies.
But on a practical level, I build the fairies out of plant roots, using tweezers, scissors and superglue- much like a 3D jigsaw- the skulls are made from bits of earth, soaked in glue, carved into a cranium shape with facial bones made from roots stuck on.
Bleep: Can your work be seen as a conscious comment on the relationship between nature and humans and therefore a statement on the neglect and destruction of nature or is it purely fantastical?
Tessa Farmer: For me it’s purely fantastical- the reality is the wonder of the natural world, not a comment on our destruction of it… nature is wonderfully, beautifully harsh and shocking at times- my work reflects this and the struggle for survival that it an alien concept for most humans – i am fascinated by how life has evolved to adapt to every niche on the planet… there is simply so much to learn it is mind boggling and truly engaging.
ISAM: Control Over Nature installation runs from 26th May – 5th June at The Crypt Gallery.
ISAM is available to buy now on Bleep.
Words / interview by Laura Humphries
Photos of exhibition by Laura Humphries / Margot Didsbury
We noticed when we looked at a couple of recent releases on the Bleep homepage today that a lot of sleeve artwork was paying homage to the beautiful (and sorely missed) aesthetics of video synthesis and processing (see above).
With this in mind, we asked our good friend / artist extraordinaire Konx-om-Pax (aka Tom Scholefield) to pick out some examples of work, and the equipment used to create these techniques… Here’s what he gave us.
SCAN PROCESSOR STUDIES are a collection of works by Woody Vasulka & Brian O’Reilly.
“This is piece from my mate Brian who now teaches in Singapore with another friend from my art school days. Its simply mesmerising.”, Konx-om-Pax
Fairlight CVI (Computer Video Instrument)
“This was one of the first commercially available video synths… you can spot the effects a mile off!”, Konx-om-Pax
EVL Lab – Sandin Analogue Image Processor
“A very early example for analogue video synthesis”, Konx-om-Pax
Sunsetcorp – Nobody Here
“Cheeky Oneohtrix Point Never audio visual bootleg”, Konx-om-Pax
Our good friend Shaun Bloodworth is this week having his first solo exhibition. Containing Photographs and Film, documenting the UK and US electronic bass music scenes, since 2005, with over 200 pictures from FWD>>, DMZ, Low End Theory, NYC and Sonar . There will be collaborative work from GiveUpArt, Humanstudio, Peter & Paul and of course the NSEW project that he completed with our good selves.
The exhibition ‘UNDERGROUND‘ will open 28th April until May 14th, in Sheffield UK, with a special ticket only event on May 7th, with DJ sets from MaryAnne Hobbs and Grievous Angel .
In the words of Shaun himself:
“Most of the subjects are of a different generation to me, a group who are much maligned by the media – accused of being lazy, consumer-driven and selfish. However, I consistently find the opposite to be true – they are hardworking, talented and driven by personal experiences, living their lives to the full.
I fell into their world by chance, a returned favour creating a new path for me, and now find myself bizarrely and happily part of it. Over the past twenty years I’ve been lucky enough to travel the world , see incredible things and meet amazing people, but nothing has inspired me more than those featured in ‘Underground’.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this journey, its never to judge a book by its cover.”
Last Thursday, we had a little Bleep x Bloc warm-up party in Paris with Joy Orbison, Lone, Boxcutter and Max Cooper… This was merely a taster for the weekend we were about to embark on…
Surreal does not even begin to describe the lunacy that is a weekend spent at Bloc festival in Butlins. From the utilitarian-esque rows of chalets to the noisy games arcade and the culinary options that extend no further than a Pizza Hut buffet; we’ve never had so much fun dancing around on garishly decorated carpets. One thing is for sure, no other festival on our British shores represents the best of underground electronic music, big and small, and past and present, as well as Bloc does. We were thrilled to present our Bleep Showcase on Sunday evening over on the Jak:Bloc stage this year where some of our favourite artists played to a packed out crowd.
Our Bleep Competition winner, Leighton, kicked off proceedings warming the stage up for Planet Mu’s Boxcutter who played the difficult early slot to a completely packed out room. To have a queue extend from the Bleep stage right through to the amusement park is no mean feat at 5pm. Following this, Luke Abbott delighted the crowd with his blissful electronic melodies, which left things to Jacques Greene to switch things up a level or two, delivering some pumping future bass rhythms. What followed was a full on 90’s rave with Lone skilfully dropping some gems, such as Adonis’ Trax Records classic, No Way Back and his own Pineapple Crush. Kyle Hall then stepped in to close the stage with some hands in the air moments with the 90’s club jam, Show Me Love and Moodymann’s Freeki Mutha Fucker.
Elsewhere, Rustie rocked the Numbers showcase with his trademark aqua-crunk beats and some particularly choice cuts such as an (as of yet) unreleased Hudson Mohawke gem. Space Dimension Controller stole the show at the Resident Advisor showcase with his distinctive boogie-infused house beats. Jimmy Edgar worked his excellent live show with improvised vocoder, seamlessly switching from electro to funk to all out jungle within the blink of an eye. Alva Noto represented the Raster-Noton camp, bringing us a performance that balanced between the experimental and the club experience perfectly, pleasing a dedicated crowd as well as converting some new devotees.
Aphex Twin pulled out a brilliant (and suprizing) set that journeyed from beautiful ambient harmonics to dubstep (even dropping Ramadanman and Night Slugs’ Jam City!) to an incredible crescendo of drilling beats and white-noise… The previous night, one of the standout moments of the festival perhaps belongs to LFO and the rapturous reception that Freak received from the Centre:Bloc crowd.
We shall see you there next year…
Words: Laura Humphries I Photos: Margot Didsbury
For more info on Bloc: http://www.blocweekend.com/
Each week we send out an e-mail newsletter to thousands of happy customers. In this newsletter is a round-up of the latest music releases, merchandise and specially featured items, as well as charts, exclusive give-aways, podcasts, competitions, editorial, label features, interviews, written articles and reviews. If you haven’t subscribed to the Bleep newsletter already, we strongly recommend YOU DO SO NOW…
However, our favourite thing about each newsletter is the artwork header that we select to lead the e-mail. Sometimes, we pick it according to our favourite album of that week and want to draw this to your attention. Sometimes, we just simple really love a particular artwork. Here is a round-up of our favourite e-mail headers of 2010:
Artwork taken from: Bleep Exclusive Kyle Hall / Wild Oats Digital Catalogue
Artwork taken from: Limited Offer DFA Label Sampler / Mailout: 20.04.10
This week sees the welcome return of Horsepower Productions with their new album Quest For The Sonic Bounty. Unanimously recognized as some of the key figures in creating the signature sound-styles of Dubstep, we decided to speak to Benny Ill about the new album and their production techniques.
BLEEP: Who is the entire Horsepower Productions crew and what does everyone do now? Who features on this album?
BENNY ILL: In alphabetical order:
Benny ill, Clive GT, Jay King, Joe “the culprit”, Mango 1, Matt HP, Merlin, Nassis, Sam W, Simon D
Everyone is actively doing various things including Music Production, DJ’ing, Art projects, Event promotion, and Label Management to name a few..
On the new album we have the combined talents of Benny ill, Jay King, Matt HP, Nassis plus collaborations with Loefah and Orson.
B: So what spurred on you guys to reform and start put out a full length album?
BI: We never split so we didn’t really reform as such. After our second LP was released in 2004 we found it hard to make a living doing that music so we all concentrated on different sides of the music industry, although we continued to write new material for eventual release. Tempa requested a new album back in 2007 and a lot of people, other producers and Dubstep afficionados had been encouraging us to make another LP for a while so we eventually obliged them..
B: How do you feel your music stands in todays dubstep era, as opposed to 10 years ago?
BI: Well it is much better received now, partly due to the popularity of Dubstep music as a whole and partly due to the much more widespread promotion possible now via the internet, which has become much more popular since 2004. From a musical point of view we have not really changed and it seems that our production methods give us a particular style which remains popular today and enables us to provide good variety between the different tracks without totally alienating our audiences.
B: What is your studio set-up and can we see a picture of it?
BI: We currently operate a total of 4 studio facilities, soon to be 5 and all studios are differently equipped. In general we use a combination of analogue and digital equipment, to the best standard we can acheive with the little we have to work with. Software used includes Cubase, ProTools and Live and hardware includes drum machines, samplers, tape units, FX units, various keyboards and synths, live instruments and percussion. Mostly all tracks are mixed on analogue consoles to some extent, although equipment limitations force us to use digital audio in some cases.
In January 2010 we picked our top 100 tracks of 2009 and offered them to you as a unique download offer.
We are currently compiling the Top 100 Tracks of 2010
100 high quality 320 Mp3’s
Over 8 hours of tracks
Over 1 GB of music
For those early birds, we have a Limited Edition 100 Tracks Gift Card w/ embossed download code + clear plastic card holder + 2 silver foil stickers. This is the perfect gift for any music fan.
We will start shipping these tomorrow, we strongly recommend getting your card straight away to get in time for Christmas
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