Friday, June 29, 2007

Thursdays can be great too

Last 2 Thursdays some good things were happening in Luxemburg, so I couldn't help myself but go out and check 'em.

1) Black Devil Disco Club @ Fete de la musique

I didn't know about this project before, so it was a nice surprise. The history of Black Devil is rather unusual and worth telling. Bernard Fevre — the man behind this moniker — together with Jacky Giordano released an record called Black Devil "Disco Club" back in 1978. That was an absolutely fabulous and innovative music for that time — a spooky and dark but truly original masterpiece of electronic disco without using any computers and MIDI. However, at that time the record didn't succeed to get attention it deserved. Until the Rephlex guys Luke Vibert and Richard James got a copy and found it so good that re-released it on Rephlex. Eventually, 26 years after the original release Bernard Fevre got back into recording and released a new album on Lo Recordings.

So, there they were — kind of fancy looking Bernard Fevre and his assistant performing at Exit Café. Both leaning over their macs, and Bernard singing with a slight French accent and his finger stickedinto his ear in order to hear his own voice better. Everything together looked and sounded a bit naïve but also true and enchanting. There was the element of originality and spirit that sometimes temporary electronic music lack. If you haven't heard of them, go and check immediately.

Tracks from the Disco Club record on Myspace.

Black Devil Disco Club - I regret the flower power

2) Coldcut @ Kulturfabrik

No doubt Coldcut are living classics of electronic and hip-hop music. As you likely know, these guys are also creators of Ninja Tune — one of the most successful and innovative independent record labels. They've been in this broken beats sampling crossover scene for 20 years, still being in avant-garde when it comes to music and technology. Their new show A Journey by VJ (do you still remember their A Journey by DJ mix series?)involves art-of-state technologies and is truly mind-bending, first of all because of the great video and sound sync. There was a guy (was it Coldcut's Jon More or somebody from Hextatic - creators of these videos?) simultaneously scratching videos and sounds. The result is a kind of post-modern meta-language with profound references to hip-hop/sampling and pop culture in general and Ninja Tune's history as well. Anyway, it makes sense to buy their DVDs instead of CDs.

They played some songs from their last album Sound Mirrors. When it came out, I had mixed feelings about it. Some pieces were just great, having that unexpected crossover approach (Boogieman, Aid Dealer etc.), whereas some others I found a bit too pop or too much leaning towards "the British club sound", for instance, the rocky "Out of Control" (with Jon Spencer) or "Walk a Mile in My Shoes" that owes much to UK's garage/soul thing. However, together with videos songs were entertaining. And it was funny that the video stream sometimes was so intense that people were just staring at screen instead of dancing along. "True Skool" made me think of UK music traditions again, this time particularly about bhangra music influence on London's scene. The artists like Asian Dub Foundation, Talvin Singh and all the others related to "Anokha/Asian Underground", and more recent MIA and Punjabi MC came to my mind. That was damn groovy music! I remembered my ass dancing off during ADF concert in 2004, or while Asian Equation explosive performance with live drummers and dancers at Arte Riga '99.

Apart from the entertaining aspect, Coldcut's music and videos contain a big amount of political criticism and the sense of social responsibility, employing technologies and multimedia as tools for contra-propaganda. In this sense, visuals are more effective than plain music. So, for instance, for me their old classic Timber made bigger sense when seeing the video — contrasting images and sounds of motor-saws cutting out the rain forests and peaceful chanting of a native Indian woman.

Or a fast motion mush-up in "Revolution" using the war related quotations from G.W.Bush, D.Cheney , T.Blair and the other suckers showing how absurd and amoral the war in Iraq is and the double-standards of the Western "democracies".

There were also some old-school hip-hop cuts in da mix — the classics from Erik B. & Rakim, Run DMC, NWA, House of Pain etc. Oh, what a trip!

And here comes a funky ninja bonus:

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