Thursday, 27 May 2010

Live Review: Holy Fuck and Sbtrkt

Here's a live review I conducted of Holy Fuck and Sbtrkt's show at The Stanley Theatre in Liverpool as a part of the SoundCity Festival that took place over the last couple of weeks. This is only a draft but luckily I'm lazy and have a sub-editor that will check through it before it goes to print. Hope you enjoy it...



Stanley Theatre


As I arrived at the Stanley Theatre, a series of worries blighted me. Firstly, I worried that I had missed the support acts, as I was running late, and I also was worried that I wouldn’t be able to get in as Sound City gigs are ‘first come first served’ entry. However, at my arrival, all of these doubts were eased; as I walked in, support act SBTRKT’s technical personnel were setting up on stage, and there were sixteen people in the hall; literally sixteen, including myself.

Sbtrkt, coming to the stage covered by flowing locks of hair emanating from an intimidating African tribal mask, looked quite like a contemporary 6 foot totem pole. His set was particularly well thought out, with an even divide between his own productions and a fine selection of remixes and cuts from other DJs. His heavy beats were particularly impressive given the nature of the sound system in the Stanley Theatre, which seemed to have the quality quotient of the average iPod speakers. However, Sbtrkt battled through technical problems and crowd discrepancies to deliver a fantastic display of the ‘future garage’ genre that is on the rise across dance floors in the UK. Sbtrkt solemnly left the stage to a patter of applause from the minimal crowd, which had now raised itself to around thirty or forty.

However, by the time headliners HOLY FUCK took to the stage, there was a decent crowd gathered. An influx of punters had boosted the previously indistinct crowd to a respectable number. The Canadian foursome, fresh from the acclaimed release of their sophomore LP, Latin, took to the stage doused in darkness. Despite their immature moniker, they took to their task with a mechanical unity that was highly impressive.

As the crowd warmed to the band’s sound, so did the band begin to get into their stride. Despite the rapid nature of the band’s set, with minimal gaps left between tracks for applause, the crowd could be heard when greeting key tracks Lovely Allen and Stay Lit, as the band displayed their eye for a big sound early on.

Holy Fuck play instrumental music created by live drums, a bass guitar, keyboards and a sampler which created some glitchy beats which on more than one occasion strayed rather too closely to Radiohead’s Ideoteque. It can be quite hard to find a way to grasp a sound without lyrics to follow. In spite of that, their addictive and well administered melodies ensured that the crowd were given more play than work at tonight’s show.

Holy Fuck brought the night to an end with an epic five minute wall of sound, culminating in a Rapture-like funky break down leading to one of the longest and loudest crescendos that I have ever heard. This was the perfect conclusion for the night’s proceedings, as both artists left the crowd baying for more.

Andrew Hill

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You may be surprised to hear it, but AbandonSilence does actually have some friends. One of these, Nick Asheton, is an aspiring house and techno DJ. His career has been hindered by high flying exploits on one of the longest gap years ever recorded. The mix below has actually been shipped over from Wisla, Canada.
If you like his stuff, unfortunately he's lazy and doesn't actually have Myspace page. So, just enjoy it and keep an eye on AbandonSilence for future updates from DJ Ashmi.

Morena - Mendo
Driving Nowhere - Ricardo Villalobos & Los Updates
2000000 Suns - King Unique
Sonnerie - Roman Lindau
Rupert - Paul Hazendonk
Bloody Hands (Marc Meznit Monster Remix) - Peter Horrevorts
Tarantula - Pleasurekraft

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Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Mele Radio One Guestmix

Last week Mele featured on Mary Anne Hobbs' Radio One show, giving a guest mix. Toddla T, standing in for Mary Anne, praised Mele for his open mindedness and fresh approach to the mix, with such a range of genres and styles encompassed by this one collection. Bright things are certain for this young Merseyside Producer.

The mix is to be found here, give it a listen and support Mele. His Bombay EP came out recently and he is set to headline at the Shipping Forecast in Liverpool this coming Friday before playing at the heavily mentioned show that you will find in the banner above!

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Thursday, 20 May 2010

Caspa LIVE!

Just found this mix from the Rinse website, featuring a live set from Caspa with Flowdan on MC duties. Please download it and listen to it from 39 minutes to 49 minutes - potentially the best 10 minutes of live dubstep I have ever heard, so heavy - if anyone know what the tune is that gets reloaded during that time, please let me know!

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Friday, 14 May 2010

Mele vs Skepta: FRESH!

This is shit hot, brand new off the press, exclusive, whatever you wanna hear, Mele gave me this link himself. Check it out, his new remix of Skepta's next single, Rescue Me. The remix adds layers of synths and bass to the originals heavy styles. Give it a listen, give Mele's new Bombay EP a purchase, check him out live at AbandonSilence01!

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Thursday, 13 May 2010

Summer Anthem Alert!

It may be hard to believe but the Summer is upon the UK! We have a nice fresh coalition in government, my Uni work is over and the sun is kind of shining. Well, despite the rather sad nature of my previously mentioned Summer celebrations, one tune has embedded itself in my head and I just can't get rid of it.

After the mixed reception his debut LP received, Caspa seems to be coming in strong for the big time with new single, Back for the First Time (without even hearing it you could guess that from the title.) Big house synths and the trademark low end wobbles create the first Summer Anthem of 2010.

If anyone can find out when this is being released and where to get a copy of the mp3, it would be appreciated. For now,bask in this shit minute and a half version on Youtube, as there is nothing else available haha.

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Monday, 10 May 2010

AbandonSilence 01

If anyone is within flying distance from Liverpool on Thursday 3rd June, you had better all be getting down to The Magnet for AbandonSilence 01, the launch night of this very blog's own clubnight.

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New Skream FREE download

Slow on the uptake yet again I know, but Skream has recently dropped this filthy banger for FREE download via his Soundcloud.

The track in question is titled Clap Your Hands is recognisable from his live shows - it's the one where everyone in the venue stomps around like some military badmen. It is a big tune and serves to increase the ever-increasing hype surrounding Skream's forthcoming sophomore LP, Outside the Box.

It's free, and it's a LEGAL free download, what's not to lose!

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Thursday, 6 May 2010

Answers on a Postcard



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Wednesday, 5 May 2010

The Dark Side of Dubstep

AbandonSilence here welcomes you into the mind of the wierd and wonderful Antonio Hillandor. Speculation that he and AbandonSilence are one have not yet been confirmed, but rumours are rife. Check it out, it goes pretty deep. Comment if you want, good or bad I don't mind...

Here Goes...

Dubstep. You are probably already sick of hearing about it. Personally I will never grow tired of hearing it. I love it. I love watching it, I love hearing it, I just love the whole experience that the genre has to offer.

However, when you inspect the progression of the sound, a degenerate musical cesspool has been created. A disgusting and embarrassing cesspool that has unfortunately been pigeon-holed along with the quality tunes into being called dubstep.

The higher ground of dubstep has foregone such an extreme makeover over its short existence that it is incredibly difficult to spot the similarities between productions from 10 years ago and today.

However (on the whole) most of the tracks being produced are top notch and feature artists showing their influences on their sleeve. There is Zomby and Doctor P with their rave tendencies, Joy Orbison and SBTRKT indulging in deep house, 6Blocc and Mungo’s Hi Fi with the Dub-reggae, and Instra:Mental, D:Bridge and other luminaries playing with the 2step and light d’n’b sounds.

Despite the existence of these fantastic, forward thinking and progressive producers, there is the formerly mentioned cesspool, let’s call it the dark side of dubstep. This dark side consists of recycled and horribly generic nonsense being played to kids who know no better as a direct replacement for The BlackOut Crew and PleasureRooms or whatever bollocks they used to have as their ringtones. You may recognise “DJ” names (I would definitely recommend inverted commas for them) such as Chrispy, Cookie Monsta or Funtcase.

The path that has been followed to get to this point of embarrassment can be traced back to a precise time a few years. In 2007, Rusko and Caspa released a collaborative FabricLive mix tape that became eponymous with the ‘jump up’ style of dubstep. This genre focused heavily upon the bass wobbles that had previously been just a part of the furniture in dubstep. I appreciate that I may be sounding a bit silly now, but the wobble really is important.

The wobble that was so prominent in that FabricLive compilation formed a basis by which we have observed a musical revolution. These days, almost every artist plying their trade under the dubstep tag creates tracks that use wobbles. I do not hate them, most of the time I love them.

Now back to the characteristics of the dark side. The sounds they emanate usually comes in the form of a remix; which is easier to produce as the beat patterns are already laid out for them. Once they have successfully signposted these patterns, they add an almost undetectable crescendo which leads into some plain ridiculous bass wobbles that a 10 year old could produce if given 5 minutes with Ableton. After their own personal abomination has been ‘finished’, they then turn to their computers and plaster their ‘tunes’ all over the internet. And seen as they have created a remix of a popular (probably also piss poor) track, they then generate a lot of hits as unaware fans of the original will give it a go and then believe that they too are dubstep’s latest fans.

The sad fact of it all is that dubstep’s depressingly crap alter ego has forced the whole genre into the public consciousness. In the last year we’ve had Rihanna and Britney Spears release dubstep tracks. If you were to gaze back at the start, over a decade ago, then that would be unthinkable.

Over 10 years ago in Big Apple Records, Croydon, a group of friends, including amongst them Skream and Benga, found the new sound (Boosh fans). An amalgamation of dub, 2step and UKG; the new sound would be called dubstep. Such legends as the late John Peel and Mary Anne Hobbs were interested and subsequently gave it to a national audience.

Despite the hard work that has geared the progression of the genre, it is incredibly sad to realise that the genre has only gone over ground on the back of the previously mentioned remixes and wobble attacks.

I hope that you haven’t mistaken the last seven paragraphs as me saying dubstep is dead. Not in the slightest. It has been reborn so many times that it is a completely different figure to that that first invaded or national soundscape. It is unrecognisable. But it is still brilliant.

By Antonio Hillandor

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