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Holland’s Roadburn: a very different kind of festival


 
So Coachella is happening. Everyone with even a passing interest in live music knows this (and most likely from the holographic Tupac performance that has become quite the meme already.) And yeah, Coachella looks cool and all, but what if that’s not your kind of thing? What if you want music that’s a bit darker, a lot heavier, basically more extreme? Well, while you are definitely in the minority there, don’t worry because you are not alone.

Happening over the same weekend as the first part of Coachella, but thousands of miles away (both literally and metaphorically) Holland’s annual Roadburn Festival is a celebration of all things doom, drone, experimental, noisy and heavy. This years festival saw performances from Michael Gira, OM, Voivod, Doom, Sleep, Kong, Yob, GNOD, Bongripper, The Obsessed, Jucifer, Black Cobra, Urfaust, Electric Orange and the very fun-sounding Mount Fuji Doomjazz Corporation.

Roadburn takes place over four days in the Dutch town of Tilburg, and has been steadily attracting a growing fan base over the last few years, enough to start its own record label (affiliated with Burning World Records.) Next year’s headliners have already been confirmed, and it will be industiral legends Godflesh performing their classic album Pure in its entirety.

Here’s a statement taken from the Roadburn website (which also features details on travel and booking tickets):

Holland’s very own Roadburn Festival has become Europe’s leading underground festival for psychedelic, avant-garde, doom or any other variation of leftfield sonic pleasures that push the boundaries of music.

Originally a spin-off of the Roadburn website, the Roadburn Festival has emerged as an event in its own right. It brings together bands, fans & media from around the world. Despite it’s international acclaim, Roadburn Festival retains an underground vibe and ethics, but with seriously big-league production values.

In addition to the music, Roadburn has earned a reputation as having a unique camaraderie between the festivalgoers, bands, organizers and staff, and ranks as one of the best and most laid-back festivals to be experienced. It is one of the festival’s primary goals to make the Roadburn experience second to none, not only for the fans but for the artists as well.

Check out the Roadburn website too for video and audio streams of past performances, and details on travel and tickets.

And while, ok, an extreme music festival is definitely not going to be to everyone’s taste (I think I’d have trouble listening to non-stop doom and drone for four days solid), it warms the cockles of the heart to know that something like this exists. Or maybe chills the cockles would be a better phrase?

Super 208 Productions have uploaded a series of video reports on the festival, one for each of its four days. Here’s part one, featuring music from Aggaloch, Michael Gira, OM,  Red Fang, and Voivod:
 

 
After the jump, Roadburn video reports parts 2-4 featuring live music from Sleep, Celestial Season, Bongripper, Purson, Kong, Valiant Thorr, Barn Owl, GNOD, Wino & Conny Ochs, Nachtmystium, Urfaust, Black Cobra, more Voivod and many more…

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
The Flaming Lips meet Lightning Bolt (in space)


 
This is one for the noise cognoscenti out there. Two of the best modern rock bands in America come together for a collaboration (full title: The Flaming Lips With Lightning Bolt EP) and the results are pretty unusual - though not necessarily more than you’d expect. ‘Cos let’s face it, it’s highly unlikely that the genesis of this project was a desire to push either of these acts further up the charts. I’d like to think it had more to do with a shared love of acid-burnt neon psychedelia.

The clue may be in the song titles. “I’m Working At Nasa On Acid” and “I Want To Get High But I Don’t Want Brain Damage” are the first two tracks and the Flaming Lips’ main contributions, being the kind of bass driven psych-garage we’ve come to expect, but now with a whole extra layer of fuzzy noise on top. The remaining two tracks are reworks of the first two by Lightning Bolt, which feature even more noise and, of course, the furious drum chops of Brain Chippendale. These reworkings are called “NASA’s Final Acid Bath” and “I Want To Get Damaged But I Won’t Say Hi”.

The EP has been released on 12” mixed-color vinyl (some copies feature translucent vinyl mixed with black) but because of its limited nature was only shipped to some shops a few weeks ago. It’s likely to have completely sold out. If you really want one, I say get in touch with your local decent independent record store and ask if they can get it - failing that it has already turned up for sale on eBay. In the meantime though, here is the lead video introduced by Wayne Coyne, and the other 3 tracks:
 
The Flaming Lips and Lightning Bolt - “I Want To get High But I Don’t Want Brain Damage”
 

 
The Flaming Lips and Lightning Bolt - “I’m Working At NASA On Acid”
 

 
Lightning Bolt and The Flaming Lips - “NASA’s Final Acid Bath”
 

 
Lightning Bolt and The Flaming Lips - “I Want To Get Damaged But I Won’t Say Hi”
 

 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Guest Editorial: Enter The Witch House


 
Bram E. Gieben (aka Texture) is the editor of the Edinburgh-based fiction/non-fiction website Weaponizer, and also co-founder of the net label Black Lantern Music. I asked him to write DM a primer on the genre “witch house”:

The Niallist (aka Niall O’Conghaile) asked me to write something about witch house, summing it up, providing a genre overview, and talking about some of the artists I’ve discovered over the last year or so. The problem is witch house is nothing like a traditional genre. It is not defined by a tempo, a style of production, a specific group of artists, a region or country or city, or any of the things one could use to pigeonhole, say, shoegaze, dubstep or hip-hop. Even the pool of influences from which it draws are so diverse as to stagger the mind of even the most ardent avant garde completist: witch house can (and does) sound like everything from experimental noise and drone to EBM and darkwave and aggrotech, from hip-hop to punk rock and black metal, often all at the same time.

Witch house is perhaps the first anti-genre, in that it has always actively resisted not just definition, but also detection. Much mockery has been made of artists spelling their band names with strange typographic symbols, but in the early days of witch house this had a specific intent: namely to create a ‘lexical darknet’ (to quote Warren Ellis, the comics writer and novelist whose blog posts led me to my first discoveries in the field), whereby fans had to use the specific symbols in the band names to locate their music online.

Witch house has incubated and mutated on free music sharing platforms such as Soundcloud and Bandcamp, and survives and breeds on private forums like www.witch-house.com, and on invite-only Facebook groups like Witchbook and Dior Nights, which use Facebook to run miniature secret societies and covens. These technologies (or services, however you want to define them) are core to the distribution of the music, but equally important have been the Tumblr and Vimeo platforms. The cut-and-paste ethos behind many witch house projects extends to their visuals, and the gifs, music videos and photo collages that populate artists’ feeds and channels are as much a part of the aesthetic of witch house as the music is.

The equal importance of visual and audio material helps us get closer to a definition of witch house: it is a mood or a feeling, the kind of atmosphere generated by the seminal Goblin’s soundtrack for ‘Suspiria,’ the creeping, schizophrenic suspense of the Laura Palmer mystery, or the Red Room at the heart of Twin Peaks, the final twenty minutes of The Wicker Man, or a basement rave in the house at the end of The Blair Witch Project. In repose, it generates an aura of ritual, darkness and suspense. In motion, it combines the glamour of fetish clubs and serial murder and hard drugs into an amoral dystopia of sound and vision.

Excited yet? You should be. Witch house is almost completely free from the constraints of mainstream hype - aside perhaps from the majestic witch pop of S4LEM, the mysterious feedback glyphs of WU LYF, and the luxurious electronic experimentation of Balam Acab, the three artists closest to crossing over into mainstream consciousness.
 

 
After the jump, the bands including Gummy Bear, Ritualz, Skeleton Kids, Fostercare, Gvcci Hvcci, Mater Suspiria Vision, oOoOO and many, many more.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Wishing the happy couple all the best with Ultimate Thrush
04.29.2011
06:14 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Glasgow
rock
noise
Ultimate Thrush
alt-rock

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It would be silly of me to introduce Divorce to a brand new audience, I feel, without also pointing people in the direction of the other relatively new Glasgow band that absolutely slays (in a punk fashion) - Ultimate Thrush. Being the day that’s in it, this can act as another special dedication to Kate and Harry. Perhaps this is a suitable soundtrack to the conjugal rituals that will take place in Buckingham Palace tonight?

Ultimate Thrush come from the same Glasgow School Of Art-influenced noise/d.i.y. nexus as Divorce, but have a very different approach. Comprising just one guitarist, one drummer and a lead screamer, they too make one hell of a racket but this time sound like a more math-rock take on the better bits of the Jesus Lizard. It should be noted that the drummer and guitarist are brothers, and are both incredibly good and incredibly tight.

Another band who have a dedicated mosh-pit following, Ultimate Thrush usually take to the stage dressed only in white sheets, and have been known to crucify their fans for the benefit of spectacle. Their stated aim on forming was to piss people off, but this backfired majorly as they are now one of the most popular live acts in the city. They have toured the UK and released a split tape with Divorce on Milk/Winning Sperm Party, and their debut 10 track EP on Winning Sperm Party is one of the best rock releases I have heard in the last 5 years. If you like punk/noise/thrash/Black Flag/Melvins/Sonic Youth I really can’t recommend it highly enough. As a taster, check out these two rehearsal clips:
 

 

 
You can listen to and download (for free) the debut Ultimate Thrush EP from Winning Sperm Party. If you want to hear more, I guess you could go to their MySpace.

 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Screw the Royal Wedding - listen to Divorce instead
04.29.2011
05:32 am

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
Glasgow
rock
feminism
noise
Divorce
alt rock

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What a beautiful day. The sun us shining, birds are singing in the trees, flags are fluttering in the breeze. It is, indeed, a nice day for a white wedding. And down in old London town, ancient rites of passage are being replayed as we, the British Nation, stand as one in mind, body and spirit to salute the dawning of a new era, the start of a new chapter in how we the common people are governed over by ancient power elites. 

As the future king takes his bride-to-very-shortly-be up the aisle, I too would like to do my small (but perhaps significant) part in helping write this page of history. Tonight I shall be dressing as a priest and singing “Gett Off” at a gypsy wedding reception in Salford, but until then I will turning the volume up, banging my head, and revelling in the girl-powered noise glory of Glasgow’s Divorce.

Inspired to form at a gig by modern noise legends Aids Wolf, Divorce launched in 2008 with a core ratio of four girls to one boy, and a run of chaotic but highly energised gigs around the city. The mosh-pits they inspire are instantaneous and legendary, with as many women being thrashed about as men. The group released their first (self-titled) 10” single on the Optimo label in 2009, to considerable acclaim, and have gone on to release split singles with Comanechi and Ultimate Thrush. A full album was recorded and mixed for release in 2010, but was put on indefinite hold after the departure of the singer Sinéad and guitarist Hillary.

While this may seem like a career-ender for anyone less committed, Divorce have taken it in their stride, moved on and hired a new singer called Jennifer. There have been some new demos floating around on the net of this new line up (that sound great) and having seen Divorce mark II play I can confirm that they have lost none of their energy and connection with the crowd. Now, if only they can get their fingers out and finish another album, then we’d really have an excuse for the country to take a day off work, get blind drunk, and beat up anybody perceived to be even slightly different.

Divorce - “Amuse Bouche”
 

 
Divorce - “Pipe Down”
 


 
Divorce (mark II) - “Love Attack”
 

 
 
For more information on Divorce, visit the Divorce blog, or if you are really desperate, here is their Myspace. The “Divorce” 10” on Optimo Music is available to buy here.

Divorce play live in Glasgow tonight, as part of Optimo’s “TIl Death Do Us Part(y).”

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Inside the home studio of Chris & Cosey with Electric Independence

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A new episode of Electric Independence has gone online at VBS.tv, and it features an excellent interview with Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti (aka Carter-Tutti/Chris & Cosey) seminal electronic musicians and one half of Throbbing Gristle.  We find out how the couple met, how they were introduced to electronic music and their life in (and after) Throbbing Gristle. Gear heads are also in for a treat as the duo talk about the synths and equipment they use and have used, including some rare home made synths by Carter. It’s also heartening to see them keeping bang up to date with technology, including the use of Kaoss pads and BC8 synths, and recording their music with Ableton Live on a MacBook.
 

 
Previously on DM:
Happy Birthday Chris Carter: ‘The Spaces Between’ LP re-issue

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Collapsing and building: Blixa Bargeld documentary and “bloopers”

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Few artists personify the spirit of demoralized post-‘60s Europe like Blixa Bargeld, the frontman for legendary German post-industrial music outfit Einstürzende Neubauten. Born in Berlin two years before the Wall went up, Bargeld leveraged his destroyed looks and singular voice—which Nick Cave likened to the sound of strangled cats or dying children—to make Neubauten the key progenitors of Western machine-age art.

As brought to our attention by TwentyFourBit‘s esteemed Peter Henry Reed (and fortunately for us English-speaking-only dopes), YouTuber Nevaree has seen fit to add English subtitles to Birgit Herdlitschke’s fascinating 2008 Blixa doc, Mein Leben. It traces Bargeld’s journey from young, torn-up Berlin musician to cosmopolitan middle-aged avant-garde artiste, actor, and gourmet, and features both answers to the heroin question and a visit with his charming mutti.
 

 
Mein Leben part 2 | Mein Leben part 3 | Mein Leben part 4
 
After the jump: Blixa grimaces at Neubauten live mistakes…

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment