Thursday, November 23, 2006

GoatLab Radio Show

I finally made it into the studio last night to record a long overdue GoatLab radio show. We somehow managed to miss the month of October! Must have been recovering from the last GoatLab party. Anyway check out the latest radio broadcast. This months features tracks by Drumcorps, Warst, Jahba, an exclusive unreleased track by Venetian Snares (doing dub a version of Black Sabbath!!!) and a new Prodigy mashup by Soundbites coming soon to Death$ucker Records! Theres also Part 1 of 606's Personal History of Breakcore, and of course all the ususal nonsense and musical eclectivity from Anakissed, Parasite and 606. Follow the link - download the show!

The GoatLab @ Timbuk 2 - Friday 1st December 2006
Drumcorps (aka Aaron Spectre) / Tim Exile / Monkey Steak / Robot Ninja Dinosaur Bastards & Residents

Laptop Battle 2

This looks like fun (Note: I think this blog needs a calendar like the Bristol Indymedia one that stays up-to-date and we can post to with gigs and all that!)...


THURSDAY 30th NOVEMBER 2006 @ The Croft, Bristol

Laptop Battle UK is an elimination style laptop music battle. 8 producers, 3 judges, 2 VJs, and an MC.

After the blinding success of the 1st Laptop Battle UK event in June 2006, Laptop Battle returns to The Croft to expose the raw talents of the underground electronic music scene in Bristol and from around the UK.

Laptop Battle is focusing on innovation in music not rivalry.
Promoting new electronic music artists and independent record labels.


One of the reasons for running this blog is to give a focal point for all that is going on breakcore wise in Bristol, in particular to give one point of reference for all of the gig listings that are normally scattered around various forums. So, without further ado...

Tonight 23.11.06

Monkey!Knife!Fight! @ Timbuk2, Small St
Less of a breakcore line up than usual but worthy of a mention:

Tomorrow 24.11.06

The mighty GlitchNight at Arc Bar, with Spaghetti Machete, Shoutput, Bzode, Ollspin + Star Delta:

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

"Rave: The party that never ended"

The free-party (née rave) scene seems to be alive and well, with plenty of action in warehouses, out in the woods or deep inside caves around and about. Even the broadsheets (article form The Independent) seem to have noticed. The Bristol based DMT crew are quoted in the article. What it doesn't go into much depth about is the variety of music you'll find at these events. Generally it seems to be pretty much an anything goes, as long as its any good, king of vibe, and breakcore is up there every bit as much as jungle / gabba / techno / psy-trance / dub-step or anything else you might name.

These free-for-all events have allowed outsider music and views to gain an audience and move into the traditional gigging arena and in some cases on again towards the mainstream. It's an important breeding ground. I don't want to get all preachy about the need for people to express them selves in this sort of way without interference, but we can see historically that many amazing culture shifting artistic forms, social mind sets and political ideologies have been nurtured in such atmospheres. Breakcore is one of those. Long live the free-party.

A Personal History of Breakcore

I had been looking at creating a personal history of breakcore and what might be considered 'must-have' breakcore albums:

Delete Yourself! - Atari Teenage Riot (1995)

I don't really listed to Atari Teenage Riot (ATR) much these days, but back in the day – they were rarely of the stereo. I tended to listed to more bootlegs of band member Alec Empire's DJ sets that their studio albums, but their first album, Delete Yourself! Is great. The opening track 'Start the Riot!' with its totally OTT super-fast drum sample was a clear announcement that this sound was going to take no prisoners. The album was a tour-de-force for it's time, and while it sounds a little tame by todays standards, it set a benchmark of mashup that would, for me, open the story of breakcore. It was not just the sound I identified with, I was also taken with their strident anti-Nazi stance and the mixture of punk/metal/techno sounds. It was punk with electronics and I liked it and wanted more. When I finally got the see them play live (in the Bristol Bierkeller supported by Lolita Storm) it was amazing. The band gave it their all and the gig was not only loud and proud, but was as full on as I had imagined. My ears were ringing for days afterwards. I now have tinatus – thanks ATR!

Bomb20 – Field Manual (1998)

This is a definitive album in the evolution of the breakcore sound. Keeping with the punk vibe, its young, angry and rough around the edges. More that rough around the edges, its rough through and through. At the time of creation, Bomb20 was 19, angry and it shows in his sound. A lurching mishmash of samples, beats, breaks and turns - great stuff! I feel it began to define the breakcore sound by establishing the broken beat structure, the frenetic jumping from one break to another that is at the center of true breakcore. Its a great album and an essential part of any breakcore collection.

Parasite – Baby 9mm (2001)

Ok, so the guy is a mate of mine, but that does not diminish the impact of his sound. I pick this on it's quality and nothing else. Period. This was Parasite's first 'proper' album (as in not a CDR) and was released by Peace Off. Until now, the breakcore sound was quite a blunt instrument - it was a big sound that came at you pretty fast. What Baby 9mm shows is that it can be subtle, yet distorted. It can sound almost laidback while still being broken. Parasite brought a lot of hip-hop and jungle influences into the mix while aided the evolution of the sound.

Venetian Snares – Higgins Ultra Low Track Glue Funk Hits 1972-2006 (2002)

So I was listening to breakcore and pretty much exclusively listening to DHR to get my fix. But after a while it stopped giving me the same buzz. It was as if the sound, while dynamic and exciting had stopped moving forward. Then I heard Snares – and boy, was it a revelation. Track one of Higgins Ultra Low Funk... begins with an opera singer effusing, "Junglist!" while the breaks crash and smash around her. This sound was a revelation. It took breakcore to a new level. Set it fully apart from other forms of dance music. It also meant that the sound was still alive and had plenty of places left to go.

Various Artists – Ballroom Blitz (2003)

Not the work of one artist, but a compilation of many. There is a tendency to look down on compilation albums as a lesser work than the original setting. Not so here. The whole was definably greater that the sum of the parts. Death$ucker (Parasite's label) gather together some amazing performers – some know and some unknown, and crammed them together. Its got lots of different styles, the anthemic sound of Parasite's own 'Strong Like a Lion' to the irreverent and wonderfully OTT 'Bohemian Crapsody' by Sickboy. I think it set a strong standard for the scene that, as a result, forced to to rise higher in response. Plus it's great to masup to!

I posted this to the Choke and Hijack forums, where lots of vital suggestions were added:

* DHR's Harder than the Rest compilation
* Bomb20 - The Flip Burgers or Die!!! 12"
* DJ Scud & Nomex's "Total Destruction"
* Bloodclaat Gangsta Youth's "Kill or Be Killed"

All good stuff and worth considering. DJ Sarah Wilson added an additional slant on the debate:

I quite like breakcore; it would've been difficult not to when I lived with Mr. Punksi (the breakcore Tony Wilson). However, I get the feeling that the elements of the genre that I enjoy are completely distinct from those praised by Mr. Six-Hundred-And-Six. My impression is that he is partial to its intensity and noisiness, while I am more fond of its intricacy and comedic potential.

Thusly, to redress the balance, I present a further five alphabetised records that you should "must have":

Jason Forrest: "Shamelessly Exciting" (2005)

It's disco, but made out of prog rock samples. David Grubbs plays piano on it, Maja Ratkje sings like a woman possessed, and there's a quasi-country song about John Peel. There's a two-minute track called "My 36 Favorite Punk Songs" which totally Ronseals. Jason Forrest should still be called Donna Summer, 'cos that's a great name to give yourself. He is stocky and bald, has a manky laptop-cosy, and dances like an uncle.

Hrvatski: "Swarm & Dither" (2002)

Keith Fullerton Whitman has a degree in computer composition, and did a residency at Harvard with Matmos. He seems to quite resent making dance music. This record includes cover versions of "Paint It Black" by the Rolling Stones and the theme from "Marble Madness", as well as some thoroughly excellent krautrock and a sixteen-second dictaphone journey from his studio to the street. Also, a computer does ragga toasting about Kid 606's Hyperprism mods.

Shitmat: "Full English Breakfest" (2004)

Absolute proof that breakcore is the musical equivalent of "I <3 the 1980s"; an unfulfilling snippet from some half-remembered pop cultural nugget followed by an unnecessary deconstruction thereof, and repeat. Henry Collins was the first person in a long while to make me stop thinking and dance. The title is a funny pun. Actually, I reckon Shitters can do better than this: hopefully, now I've taught him about musique concrète and serialism, he will.

Venetian Snares: "Rossz Csillag Alatt Született" (2005)

Aaron Funk is really called Aaron Funk. He is the king of seven-time rave music. He's made ridiculous versions of the theme from "Coronation Street", "Herbie: the Love Bug", that "One Two Three Four Five Six Seven Eight Nine Ten Eleven Twelve" song from Sesame Street, and "Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want" by the Smiths. All very well, but then he goes and samples Billie Holiday's version of the Hungarian Suicide Song, and loads of wonderfully mournful string ensembles, and makes perhaps the only coherent modern classical breakcore album that will ever exist. SJ Esau likes it, I think.

Otto Von Schirach: "Escalo Frio" (2001)

"Are your musical instruments frustrating you? Would you like to be a superstar without any hard work or fuss? And wouldn't you like to be on the cutting edge of mainstream music innovation? Only on this special TV offer, you have the opportunity to have your very own Mr. Otto Von Schirach microchip. This authentic Mr. Otto Von Schirach microchip not only gives you the power to unleash your inner musical genius within, it also lets you tell time, takes call waiting messages, balances your chequebooks; also with built-in nosehair clippers and make-up kit. This is no hoax, folks, this is the official, authentic Mr. Otto Von Schirach microchip. Don't take my word for it, folks, just ask some of our satisfied clients: 'Like, yeah, I ordered my authentic Mr. Otto Von Schirach microchip, and, like, not only is my music on the cutting edge, my personal life is great. Before, I used to sound like this — [wailing, mouth-fart] — now, I sound like this — [Max/MSP squelchfest].' And here are some others: 'Oh, he does wonders for life: wonders, wonders.' 'He's the real McCoy!' 'If it wasn't for him, man, I don't know where I'd be [shorter mouth-fart].' With everything you just heard, Mr. Otto Von Schirach will also throw in a lifetime's supply of McDonald's Happy Meals [another fart] free of charge with proof of [squeaky fart] microchip implementation, if you order now." Fucking genius.

There are also lots of aaahhhs and ooohhss from the old-skool for the days of ATR:

Image (above) ATR's Nick Endo


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Bristol's Breakcore Scene

It struck me last night as I was head-nodding to the wildly intense sounds of Xanopticon @ Plummet, that Bristol has no real central point for it's thriving Breakcore scene. Sure, there are forums like Hijack Bristol and Choke who feature a wealth of information on a broader musical spectrum, but with so many nights going on, there's no way for artists / promoters / punters looking for gigs in Bristol to find out what's going on. So, I've taken it upon myself as a pusher of this extreme brand of musical madness to inform and connect the scene via this here blog:

I've added a few extra links on this page for crews / sound systems throwing parties in Bristol and also a bunch of artists, DJs and VJs who are based in Bristol. If you'd like to be added to the list, or have a suggestion for a night or band from Bristol, just add your comments to this post!

Back to Plummet...I arrived late due to a babysitting crisis, so missed Atki2 doing his live dubstep thing, but got there just as breackore legend Xanopticon was warming up the few people who braved the dancefloor for his sonic assault. What followed was a mind-blowing gabba-fied breakcore set to make Venetian Snares quake in his loafers! I have heard Ryan's stuff before on CD and meet him at last year's Wasted 2 party, but was not expecting the adrenaline rush or the unrelenting energy that he brought to the dancefloor. Unfortunately his laptop crashed just before he got a chance to play his last two tracks, which according to him were the best yet!

It's a real shame to experince such wonderful music without the crowd and atmosphere that it deserves. A Bristol debut like this should be packed out with people bouncing off the walls! Hopefully this blog will do just that! So spread the word, and let me know what's going down.