Convergence 2015: Tricky, Gazelle Twin, Rival Consoles

The Convergence Festival in London is hoving into view, and we’ve got tickets to give away! It’s 10 days of events, seminars and workshops across several central London venue that kicks off on March 12th with an opening party at Village Underground with Clark, Vessels and Rival Consoles.
What makes Convergence particularly interesting it its remit to focus on ‘visual art and music pioneers, people who deploy technology in diverse and innovative ways’, making it a festival about ideas as much as it is about music.
There are quite a few highlights, and many former Electronic Sound interviewees are playing including Gary Numan (Royal Festival Hall on March 20th), Gazelle Twin (March 14th with Tricky, see below), and Herbert (March 17, Village Underground).
In the run up to the opening night, we’re going to be giving away one pair of tickets for each event we preview, so keep checking for the next competition on our Facebook Page. Go there now for details on how to enter. It’s free!
Tricky, Gazelle Twin, Rival Consoles (live)
Sat 14 March 8pm, St John-at-Hackney Church
Tricky has always used music to explore the different, sometimes contradictory facets of his background and personality. This is the reason why his 11th album is eponymously titled ‘Adrian Thaws’. “Calling it ‘Adrian Thaws’ is saying you don’t really know me,” says Tricky. “So many times people have tried to put a finger on me and every album I go to a different place.” This Convergence performance will spotlight his work as a producer as well as a constantly shifting musician never content with resting on former glories but instead pushes forwards with startling honesty.
Gazelle Twin is the creation of producer, composer and artist, Elizabeth Bernholz.
‘Unflesh’ is ther second album, a dark and depraved journey into the remote cells of her subconscious. “The idea of ‘unflesh’ is like a shedding of skin,” she says of the record. “It’s a tearing out of your body down to your skeleton and breaking free.”
The reason why London-based producer Ryan Lee West, aka Rival Consoles, sounds so human is because the tracks don’t start life solely locked in synthesisers. West often composes early ideas on piano, violin and guitar long before the electronic layers are added, creating a great texture and depth to his work. With ‘Odyssey’ (2013) and ‘Sonne’ (2014), West gained a reputation for making thoughtful electronica that spans a wide spectrum of musical ideas. As an accomplished sound designer, he has repeatedly performed at the Tate, and recently created a bespoke audio-visual performance for Boiler Room at the V&A. Ryan has also produced remixes for New York based composer Nico Muhly and UK producer Jon Hopkins, and composes original music for dance, film and television.
Free 19-track Convergence sampler here:
And here’s a Spotify playlist for the event:

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Devo Hardcore Live talk

Devo’s ‘Hardcore Devo Live!’ Album is out about now. People who pledged on the campaign are starting to receive their packages of signed double vinyls, blu-rays and CDs and the like, and the CD and DVDs are on general sale too.
It was the tour that all hardcore fans wanted to see, the one where they didn’t play ‘Whip It’, but pulled out the weirdest of the weird; the songs they wrote in Akron basements before they were signed to Warners and Virgin. Out of the spotlight and isolated from the hip cultural centres of New York and Los Angeles, they churned out song after song of twisted mutant Devolution, most of which didn’t see the light of day until the cache of demo tapes was buffed up and got a limited release on Rykodisc in the early 1990s, a time when Devo’s stock was at its nadir.
The 2014 Hardcore tour was planned and ready to go when Devo founding member Bob Casale, aka Bob 2, suddenly died. Despite this bombshell the band decided to play the scheduled dates, dedicating the tour to their fallen brother and donating money to his bereaved family.
The tour was a raging success, solidly sold out and delighted audiences across the USA. A few weeks ago, the band premiered the film at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, and took to the stage for an extended Q&A. Also there to answer questions were the film’s director and producer, Keirda Bahruth and producer/editor, Rick Ballard. The video was shot by Devotee Mrslapyourmammy.
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Oreo's electronic ad

Brands these days, we’re told by Adweek, are “all about distilling their essence down to a single basic universal theme.” Coca-Cola is all about happiness, for McDonald’s it’s love. And Oreo are going for fun. And how better than to soundtrack your new international biscuit advert that’s all about fun than Yelle, the French electronic pop star and Electronic Sound favourite (and recent interviewee).
The ad is being shown in 40 countries, so it’s going to be good payday for Yelle to say the least.
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Martin Hannett's ARP Odyssey for sale!

If you can’t wait to get your hands on the Korg ARP Odyssey reboot, maybe you’d like to investigate the alternatives currently on the market. Those alternatives are exclusively second-hand vintage models, of course.
But here’s one that might just push the avid synth collector and 1970s music fan over the edge. It’s the whiteface (first) model, the one with the cute multi-coloured slider caps, and it belonged to Martin Hannett, the much-missed Manchester-based producer who made his name with his work with Joy Division and New Order. The story goes that while researching the film of his life, the film producers found a cache of his gear, and it’s being sold off via eBay.
The price is a relatively reasonable £3100, But It Now. That’s about £1000 more than you can pick up a pretty tidy model, or what a near mint refurbished model might set you back, but those won’t have that sticker on the back.
Let us know if you buy it…
It’s here.

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DJ Food Aphex Twin Mix

He cares because you do…
DJ Food has done what we feared to, he’s gone through the mass of GRAMMY AWARD WINNING ARTIST (TM) Aphex Twin material that has been uploaded recently and put together a mix of the more outstanding moments, and cut in snippets of interview material with Mr James himself. The result is probably one of the best ways to access the treasure trove (155 tracks so far) and is certainly the most efficient in terms of your time.
As the upload blurb on Mixcloud puts it:
“Unless you’ve been living under a rock recently you’ll have heard the news that Aphex Twin unexpectedly uploaded 155 of his old and unreleased tracks and made them downloadable for free. Starting from his earliest demos through to known live tracks, later jungle experiments and beyond, this is the motherlode that his fans have always wanted. DJ Food, a long-time Aphex fan, has been through the entire collection with a fine-toothed comb and selected his favourites for the first half of the show this week. The hit rate was high but he’s has managed to cram 31 tracks into 85 minutes to mark this unique occasion and peppered the mix with vintage interview clips of Richard James talking about his music.”

Solid Steel Radio Show 13/2/2015 Part 1 + 2 – DJ Food by Solid Steel on Mixcloud

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Kraftwerk and Devo Knitwear?

We all love jumpers, right? And we all love electronic music, too. Imagine if those two things could be combined somehow. Wouldn’t that be just peachy? Well, it just so happens that someone is ahead of us, and they’ve made what might be the perfect knitwear for the electronic music fan.

Computer Woolled (Yes, we know it’s the wrong album, but we couldn’t think of a better pun)

Wool Sakamoto (woolsack… geddit? Oh forget it…)

Buddy Horinouchi, aka Tatsuya Horinouchi, from Kanagawa, Japan, is a knitting artist. Actually, he’s a guy who knits amazing jumpers. He doesn’t call himself an artist, but we do.
He’s knitted creations featuring Kraftwerk and Yellow Magic Orchestra, as well as Japanese icons like Yasushi Yokoyama (a famous comedian, he’s the face with the glasses on the red jumper) and the notorious 1968 bank robber who disguised himself as a policeman and got away with three hundred million yen (£1.6 million). The image has been distributed around Japan ever since and is well-known, but he was never caught.
The video was shot at an event at a hairdressing salon in Fukuoka, where he was invited to show off his work. The jumpers aren’t, unfortunately, for sale, but he did knit some coasters to give away at the event, including the cute Devo one and the cover to CD1, the 1986 Throbbing Gristle album.
We know you want them. We feel your pain. You can’t have them.
Are We Knit Men?

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 13.01.40
There’s that Throbbing Gristle coaster

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Steve Strange RIP

Steve Strange, the new romantic archetype and star of the Blitz club, has died.
The official statement on the Visage Facebook Page reads:
“We are extremely saddened to announce that Steve Strange died at 11.15 local time on Thursday 12th February, in Sharm El Sheik International Hospital, Egypt. Steve died in his sleep, of Heart Failure. Steve’s family, band members and friends are all distraught at this sudden news of his untimely death. Steve’s family request privacy at this extremely difficult time.”
Steve Strange was a pivotal figure in the new romantic movement, fronting Visage, a band who perhaps more than any other embodied the spirit of the Blitz kids. He famously appeared in David Bowie’s ‘Ashes To Ashes’ video, and had recently revived the Visage name for a new album and some live appearances.
When we interviewed him last year, he gave us a typically hilarious account of the making of the classic Visage track, ‘Fade To Grey’.
“I was in a band called The Photons. The revolutionary idea the manager had to break away from punk was to play power pop and have us all dress in different colour suits; mine was bright blue, the drummer’s was green, the guitarist’s was red, and the bass player’s was yellow. We did about 10 UK dates. When it came to the big London show, it was like a who’s-who of punk, Don Letts, the Pistols, the Clash were there.
“I’d got bored with the coloured suit, so I made this outfit, with ruffles and slashed trousers with alluring see-through patches in the arse, so you could see I had no underwear. Midge came up, who I already knew, and he knew the Rich Kids were over, and he said to me, “I want to use this studio time, will you come and sing on some tracks?” So I did. I remember I got into it so much that when we did that cover of ‘In the Year 2525’, I was literally acting as if the world was coming to an end. I was holding on to the vocal booth bellowing it out. All the tracks we were recording, we would play them at Billy’s, and later at the Blitz, and that’s when the hordes of record companies started coming to the club. We were getting a lot of kids from St Martin’s, not just bands and musicians, but all these designers, milliners like Stephen Jones, Galliano, John Linard, Melissa Caplan who did the costumes for the ‘Fade to Grey’ video and went on to do costumes for Toyah.
“I knew we had something with the album. In the studio Midge taught me that Bowie technique to create lyrics by cutting up newspapers, and shuffle those cards like Eno, ‘Oblique Strategies’, that sort of thing.
“When the album came out, I was like, “Why haven’t I got a credit on ‘Fade To Grey’?” And they were like, “Because Chris Payne wrote it.” He didn’t really, it was my idea to put the French girl in and it was supposed to be a five-way split. Our first pay cheque from that was £350,000, every one of us. And that was because of me getting out of bed and going to five countries in a day, and all they were did was moan about me going to too many fucking parties. [laughs].
“I was pissed off. I was the only one not signed to a record contract. I didn’t know how these things worked, I was pretty naive. But I was the one going to five fucking countries in one day while everyone else got to lay in bed, nobody did anything to help me promote the album.
“The thing is, I would never have dreamed of telling Midge how he should play or anything like that, and once my vocals were recorded, done and dusted, it made much more sense to me to be out at a party. I mean, why should I be locked in a fucking studio, when I can be photographed out and about? Midge would be like, “Oh, you’ve done your vocals now, I suppose you’re fucking off to a party.” I went, “Yeah, I am actually, to get us more press, to sell us more records!” And then what really blew it with Midge was when we were in New York. We were going to be at this event, and there was going to be Andy Warhol, the Talking Heads, the B52s, Blondie, and I thought, “Right, I’ve got make an impact at this super cool party.” So I decided I wanted to come in on an elephant. I said to the record company, “I want an elephant!” “What?!” they said. “I’ve got to blow all these people away! I want an elephant!” “Where the hell are we going to get a elephant?” they asked. “Well there must be zoos in New York,” I said. Later I get a call: “We can’t get an elephant, but we’ve got a camel.” Anyway, it did the trick, it was on every TV station and newspaper! But Midge blew his top, he said “I’m getting on Concorde if you come in on a bloody elephant!” I said “Oh get on fucking Concorde then, they can’t get an elephant anyway, I’m on a camel,” and I put the phone down.’
“It’s great that people like Goldfrapp and Fischerspooner, La Roux and Little Boots all say we were important, that if it wasn’t for us there wouldn’t be this electronic scene now. ‘Pleasure Boy’ and ‘Frequency 7’, those have been sampled so many times. It blows me away! But Kelly Osbourne did that ‘One Word’ and claimed she’d never heard ‘Fade To Grey’! I can sing ‘Fade to Grey’ along to fucking ‘One Word’! There’s even a French bit! ”
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Blancmange gig

Blancmange, whose new album ‘Semi Detached’ is due out on March 23rd on Cherry Red have just announced a special one-off show at London’s Red Gallery on Friday May 15th. It’ll be the first time songs from the new album will get a live outing, and they promise they’ll also be playing some rare early material.
More information here:
Tickets are £22.50, and there are only 200 available.

New Underworld track announced – ltd 1,000 12"

Underworld have just announced the release of a limited edition 12-inch single of a new track to commemorate Frankie Knuckles, to be released on March 31st, the one-year anniversary of his passing. The release is raising money for the Frankie Knuckles Fund, which is part of Elton John’s AIDS Foundation.
The record, a collaboration with Heller & Farley, is a cover version of the Chicago classic ‘Baby Wants To Ride’ and is available for pre-order from 13:00 GMT, February 12th (that’s today) here:
You can hear the track streaming over at the AIDS Foundation website here:
Frankie Knuckles had a huge influence on house music, and on a great deal of electronic music beyond house of the late 1980s and 1990s. “As the creator of house music we owe Frankie a huge debt,” says Underworld’s Rick Smith, “Karl and I have always seen Frankie as the source and, as Underworld, we’re always swimming in his river.”
“My relationship with Frankie goes back a long way,” says Terry Farley, of Junior Boys Own. “Twenty-five years ago, Frankie championed the early music Pete Heller and I made and many of the first releases on Junior Boys Own. He helped turn a group of suburban London music fans into DJs and producers who could travel the world, simply by his patronage.”
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