A·G·C·J

JAMMO’S MUSIC REPORT: OCTOBER 2021

Another month down, and with winter at the door, it’s time for yet another rip-roaring Music Report. At this point, I’m slowly collating music and samples for a new series of Deejay shows I’m doing, so here’s five tunes that have been floating my boat throughout October!

Brian Eno – Shadow 

I’ve been listening to a lot of ambient stuff this last month and an awful lot of Eno specifically. Taken from Ambient 4: On Land (My favourite of the Ambient series), Shadow is an eerie little piece, which relies heavily on long delay noises and spectral breathy vocals which make me jump out of my skin when I’m running around Templehof.

Soccer 96 (feat Alabaster dePlume) – I was Gonna Fight Fascism

An acerbic spaced-out Krautrock banger from Soccer 96, lamenting the ‘real-life’ struggles of well-intentioned modern anti-fascist wannabe, “I was gonna fight fascism, but honestly, I just had so much on”. 

Mrs Jynx – Dinner Dance

Sumptuous velvety electro from Mrs Jynx on CPU records. Nerdy IDM married to sexxed-up hold music with an awkward pop sensibility. The perfect antidote to these long grey German winters.

Şenay – Honki Ponki

Turk-pop-disco of the highest order. I’ve no idea what Honki Ponki means. In my ignorance, I’d hoped it was similar to Hanki Panki but it isn’t. Wikipedia claims it was released as “a protest song” against what? I haven’t found out yet. If you know, mail me!

Toma Kami – BOH–ee

The opening track to Toma Kami’s latest release Speed Oddity is a solid drum workout for the mad heads out there. If your bum don’t move to this, you might be dead.

—/// Bonus Bits ///—

From lowbrow to highbrow, here’s what else I’ve been consuming this past month

Telly: The Voice of Germany: I’ll be honest, no matter how many abstract jazz albums I listen to, clubs or art galleries I visit, I can’t get enough of the kind of pop slurry offered by this show. I wait with bated breath twice a week to watch Mark Forster take the piss out of his fellow judges or for Nico Santos do yet another Michael Jackson song –He’s sweet and I love him. The music is obviously trash, as it should be, but, every so often I can’t help but get emotionally invested. So far, this series saw me openly weeping at Zeynep Avci’s rendition of Tan Taşçı’s – Yalan.

Podcast: Bass Culture UK (Red Saunders): I’ve just started this great series of interviews about the roots of UK bass culture and the impact of Jamaican culture on the British music scene and wider culture. There’s a few to get through, with guests like Dubplate Pearl, Dennis Bovell and Rodney P all making an appearance. On this particular one, Red Saunders talks to Mykaell Riley about his experience of starting out as a mod and later, as a reaction to Eric Clapton’s suggestion that Enoch Powell should be prime-minister, co-founding ‘Rock Against Racism’. 

https://open.spotify.com/show/7tvsceJtuSh43UuWYGGkFT?si=1203ff28e7f94a4c

Book: George Orwell – Homage to Catalonia: George Orwell’s compelling insight into his life in and around Barcelona during the Spanish civil war. From his time in the trenches, fighting with the Marxist POUM miltia, to his leaving an increasingly borgeois state under threat of arrest. Homage to Catalonia is a portal to a time when a largely Anarcho-syndicalist led Barcelona was at it’s peak and how within months that dream was destroyed.

All clips are cropped to one minute and encoded at mega lofi settings. I don’t own the rights to this music, so, If you see my shitty blog as a threat to your being able to buy a mansion, hot tub, gold chain then mail me and i'll take it down x 

Vanishing Twin – Ookii Gekkou

Just as the year begins to go down the toilet, with the onset of autumn and the inevitable slow plod towards yet another ‘Corona winter’, Vanishing Twin return with a blissed-out interstellar excursion to see us through. 

Ookii Gekkou — The group’s third album — sees the quintet channelling ever distant worlds and transmitting a spectrum of far-out sounds. Melding the Moog-funk of Roger Roger, the mechanical soul of Can and the spiritual grooves of Leon Thomas and Sun Ra to incredible effect. 

Though references to fellow retro-futurists Stereolab — Laetitia Sadier plays guitar on Wider than Itself — and Broadcast are obvious, Ookii Gekkou is a tribute to the group’s particular ability to paint their sound canvas with a broad brush. Whether it’s the motorik funk of Phase One Million, the Afrocentric-spirit-jazz of In Cucina or the utterly brilliant space pop of Light Vessel, which sounds like Can re-imagined through the lens of ELO, the sound is unmistakably Vanishing Twin.


Berlin Atonal / Metabolic Rift

Last week, ADC and I visited the Atonal / Metabolic rift exhibition at Kraftwerk Berlin. Billed as “Not a festival, not an exhibition, not a tour, not a performance”, it was all of these things and excellent at that. Taking the form of an expedition through the gloom of the former power station, using lights as cues to guide the viewers through its various installations.

Now, with my brain, wired the way it is, it’s a risk going to contemporary art exhibitions. Flashbacks and anxiety attacks tend to rear up — the last one ended with me paper bagging it through an audio installation of ping-pong balls falling down an uncomfortably tight and bright staircase. So, obviously, while being led into the belly of Kraftwerk through a pitch-black corridor to a sound-bed of spectral “oohs” and “ahhs”, I had my reservations. “This is how cows feel before they’re slaughtered” was a recurring thought. But, to my surprise, the fear lifted quickly as the yellow bulbs guided us through a series of beautiful albeit dark experiences.

The first installation was partially obscured by our fellow travellers photographing the tiny video screens which made up this part of the experience. I have no idea what was on those screens but ADC says she saw a naked man through one of the smartphone displays*. We followed the yellow glow. The sound grew louder and clearer as a series of repeated half-sung mantras filled the air, leading us on to a larger, smoke-filled room. I haven’t been able to find out more about this specific piece, but a slowly melting block of ice sticks in my mind. Juxtaposed against the dark and dirty environment, it took on a life of its own: sweating, reducing, animated but not alive.

Into another larger area, where the fittings rattled along with a growling industrial drone. A soundtrack befitting the monstrous sculpture that lay at the end of the room. Bicycle parts, welded and clamped together to form a behemoth enlarged by the shadows it created. Throughout the exhibition, the building was used to accentuate the connection to the music, giving it a raw ‘rave-like’ feel. Large metal doors left partially open rattled against their hinges while lighting fixtures and metal panels vibrated in turn.

A video installation of Lillian F. Schwartz’s pencil and conté crayon drawings was one of my favourite pieces. Drawn between the ages of 93 and 94, and completed with only 20% vision, these vibrant faces, angular and mask-like are compiled and spliced at speed alongside an incredible soundtrack of bass and glitches by Hyph11E.

At the top of the building, after many flights of stairs, our guide leading us upward with hand movements and machine-like vocalisations, we entered the cavernous room which housed Cyprien Gaillard’s kinetic sculpture. Brought to life by Hieroglyphic Being’s fuzzed-out sound piece and amplified by the Killasan sound system, this was probably the most beautiful thing I’ve seen in an exhibition to date. I won’t lie, I shed a tear watching the colossal air dancer twist and turn way above my head. A homage to the fluidity of movement and those moments which the ongoing pandemic has taken away from us.

At this point, the ‘tour-not-tour’ portion of the exhibition ended and we were led to a larger part of the building in order to take in the rest of the pieces at our own pace.

James Richards and Leslie Thorntons ‘Sheep Machine II’ was a highlight for me: Small housed screens, in sets of two, displayed circular images of sheep alongside kaleidoscopic images, bringing the outside in and offsetting the industrial surroundings. Congolese sculptor Rigobert Nimi’s retro-futuristic cities were a real joy to look at: Employing a retro-futurism aesthetic and brimming with all the light and movement of a city in flux. Finally, MFO’s piece was centred around four car wrecks, in cross formation, their open boots facing each other with large speakers protruding from each of them. Strobes, smoke and detailed flourishes were deployed to create an audiovisual experience evocative of a misspent youth in and around the illegal rave scene.

*I have posted photos here, but only from the larger, lighter rooms

Credit (top to bottom): James Richards, Cyprien Gaillard & Hieroglyphic Being, MFO, Rigobert Nimi