Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Ulrich Schnauss: Missing Deadlines (Selected Remixes)

This record begs the question - at what point is something so altered from its original form as to be unrecognisable? Now, you might think this is a question best posed to the likes of the late Michael Jackson or the hideously reformed Sophia Loren, but in this case it is master craftsman Ulrich Schnauss falling under the auspices of the surgeon’s knife.

The ambient German producer is a well-known aficionado of shoegazing, pulsing works and here he applies his touch for warped remixes of contemporary tunes. As chief alchemist he rearranges and restructures pieces way beyond recognition to glorious effect.

Schnauss said of the work: “Essentially what makes me really happy about this album is the fact that it’s a selection of the – in my opinion – best mixes from a musical point of view, rather than a compilation of the commercially most successful ones, or the tracks that have the biggest names associated with them.”

Thus, we get Howling Bell’s Setting Sun becoming an edgeless, lilting wonder more akin to My Bloody Valentine’s abstract waves than the Australian’s usual bruising torrents. Dreamy New York band Asobi Seksu also get the treatment, with Yuki Chikudate’s ebbing vocal over a beautiful wash of sound on their iconic track, Strawberries. Mahogany, The Dragons and I’m Not a Gun all provide particular highs here while the denoument provided by the 10-minute reworking of Mojave 3’s Bluebird of Happiness, complete with ‘found sounds’ and carefully constructed piano-vocal combinations, provides an excellent representation of the album. Meticulous, faraway yet completely, disturbingly full of focus.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Brighton Zinefest

It’s always tough to write about zines without falling into self-referential piffle – we are afterall unsubbed and unvalidated – but events such as this genuinely does remind me why I bother, sporadically, to produce material. There were a number of events, including a gig featuring the wonderful Bobby McGees and a knees up at the Cowley Club, around the festival but I just managed to leg it to the London Bridge train down from London for the main Saturday sale the fest was centred upon.

Having been to similar events in Manchester and London, I had an idea what to expect but it never fails to make me smile how much passion, genuine excitement and creativity can be so immediately evident. Sure, there’s some of the old record shop intimidating-ness about the situation – where self publishing is involved, there’s always a level of pretentiousness and feeling you’re being judged – and there’s some awkwardness to studying, and sometimes rejecting, someone’s wares right in front of them.

But the overwhelming feeling is one of worth. The host of papercuts, the empty wallet, the lack of sleep – worth it to see people enjoy zines. Needless to say I bankrupted myself fairly quickly and there were many zines I would’ve loved to have picked up but the coffers didn’t allow. Of the massive pile I did pick up a number stood out. It’s great to see a new issue of Bubblegum Slut zine, a mere six years after I started reading it, A Call from Karl effectively combined simple drawing with gentle humour, likewise Joe Decie’s What I Drew while The Quick and The Dead was very affecting and tackled the issue of depression engagingly, the list goes on… Emma Falconer also gave an interesting talk on the difficulties and tricks of putting zines together which even opened my realitively zine-wisened eyes to a few things. Honourable mentions go to the lovely people at Shebang, Dead Trees & Die and Beat Motel’s stalls who are always a pleasure to see and I was particularly glad to see Gadgie has been put into a book in the form of Now Then Gadgie – which you can get hold of here.  Love to the zinesters, party for the fight to write, and write on…

Monday, 15 February 2010

Champion Kickboxer: Clouds

To celebrate glory of more impending snow, ShadowPlay would like to post up its favourite weather-related tune ever. Here's Sheffield's finest, Champion Kickboxer playing on our old show, Faces for Radio.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Listening in Tongues podcast: The human voice and the warmth of the machine

So I've pulled my finger out and got back in the studio to record a new podcast you can get hold of here. Trailing the latest Broken Yolk night at the Pangea Project, Tom Bonnett and Alex Lawson look at combinations of man and machine, looking at how they can complement each other and work together in a creative crunch of vocal chords and circuit boards. 
The likes of Jamie Lidell, Scott Walker, Four Tet, Mount Kimbie, Schneider TM and Raymond Scott join Yolkie stars Ryat, Segment and Mataniu to explore the theme and provide a backdrop for cheeky chat and bootlegging banter. 
More info on the night at:  February 20th - Ryat, Mataniu and Segment. Free before 9pm, £4 after, Broken Yolk DJs spinning ‘til late. 
Pangea Project, 72 Stamford Hill, Stoke Newington, London, N16 6XS
Download, subscribe or stream the podcast here: