Next year The Quietus is putting on a series of events celebrating the work and legacy of COUM Transmissions, as part of Hull City Of Culture 2017. The events – including “new works…using sound, imagery and the human voice” from Gen and Cosey – coincide with the first retrospective of COUM, on show at the new Humber Street Gallery from February 3rd to March 22nd.
“Closing proceedings at The Polar Bear on Spring Bank on Sunday 19 March will be a free showcase of Hull-inspired sets from some of the city’s underground exports; cultural innovators who grew up in the area and can just about still recall a youth spent loitering on Queen’s Gardens and mainlining toxic green Spiders cocktails.
“Heading up the bill will be Kiran Sande of Blackest Ever Black, an underground record label that has been bringing sonically dark mischief to our ears since 2010, and whose mix CD-Rs Id Mud and Dream Theory In Haltemprice have touched upon Hull in more than name alone. Also appearing will be Alex Wilson, who co-runs Public Information, a label that has released a fascinating survey of electronics from the last seven decades, and who will also be presenting a paper entitled: Thee Fabulous Mutations: Film and Video in Yorkshire after COUM in Hull as part of a separate Hull 2017 event. They’ll be joined by the Quietus’ Sophie Coletta, who, after spending many teenage years staring longingly down the mouth of the Humber, fled and returned to Hull’s clutches multiple times in the 2000s.”
Of all the places I thought I might find myself DJing next year, The Polar Bear was not one of them. My parents go to their weekly bridge class next door.
For more information, click here.
Blackest Ever Black returns to London’s Corsica Studios this Saturday 15th October for the first time since 2013, with an all-nighter across both rooms of the venue.
It also marks the label’s possibly foolhardy relocation back to the UK after three years of self-imposed exile in Berlin. A homecoming, a funeral, a Hard Brexit special if you will.
DJ sets from Felix K, Pessimist, Dynamo Dreesen, Ossia (Young Echo), DJ Benetti, Andrew Ingram (Tabernacle Records), Chris Farrell (Idle Hands) and Kenny White. Live performances from Carla dal Forno, Chain Of Flowers, Tarquin Manek and AD Jacques. The time of your f***ing life, la.
Advance tickets, priced £12.50+BF, are available here.
(HIDDEN HAWAII / BLACKEST EVER BLACK)
Berlin’s foremost drum ’n bass/techno innovator, co-founder of the peerless Hidden Hawaii label and the brains behind more incognito projects than anyone even begins to suspect. In his DJ sets, as in his productions, Felix explores the spaces between techno, DnB and abstract electronics…effortlessly bridging tempos and time signatures, creating hybrid forms on the fly, opening up wormholes in the dance – beats aren’t so much broken as smashed to smithereens, smothered in gloriously oppressive industrial textures and shot through with a battery of third-eye-opening dub FX. Ahem. Having made his Blackest Ever Black debut in 2015 with the Tragedy of the Commons EP, he closed out the label’s fifth anniversary at Berghain, and this London date is long overdue.
CARLA DAL FORNO
(BLACKEST EVER BLACK – LIVE)
Solo live performance from this major new singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Having previously contributed to Blackest Ever Black as a member of F ingers and Tarcar, the Australian CDF opened her solo account earlier this year with the instant classic ‘Fast Moving Cars’ single. Debut album You Know What It’s Like, out later this month, is a future classic of dub-disoriented, post-punk-inflected pop, variously channeling the deadpan DIY whimsy of Flaming Tunes and Call Back The Giants, lo-fi Chicago house, the eldritch moon musick of Coil, and the gothic intensity of Nico.
(ACIDO / SUED)
The man behind Acido…Berlin’s most free-form, trippy, no-fucks-given house/techno stable, with a typical 12” offering detours into dub, ruff-cut hip-hop, meditative soundscaping, musique concrete and whatever else takes their fancy that day. Their house is not your house. Avant-garde but unpretentious, dead simple on the face of it but totally mind-scrambling, and home not only to Dynamo Dreesen productions but also cuts from PG Sounds, DJ Sotofett, Madteo, Porn Sword Tobacco, Convextion, $tinkworx and more. Dreesen also makes music with SVN as Dresvn, with releases on Sex Tags Mania, Wania, Honest Jon’s and SVN’s closely affiliated SUED label. Special 3-hour set, not to be missed.
(RUFFHOUSE / UVB-76 / SAMURAI / BLACKEST EVER BLACK)
Hands down one of the most exciting young producers currently operating in the UK, and a member of Bristol’s Ruffhouse crew, – who through their own releases and their recently launched label UVB-76 represent the techno-savvy vanguard of contemporary UK drum ‘n bass. Pessimist’s own uniquely brooding, minimalist sound was showcased on his recent ‘Balaklava’ 12” for Blackest Ever Black’s A14 series – where you can hear the influence not only of vintage Photek, Dom & Roland and Doc Scott, but also Chain Reaction, T++, Regis and early dark garage.
All the way from Rimini, we welcome one of italo’s unsung pioneers, DJ Benetti. Conqueror of dancefloors all over the world, Benetti’s sets routinely blow the minds of first-timers and hardcore Italo & hi-nrg cognoscenti alike. His first gig was at a Mafia-controlled pizza restaurant in Vigevano (Northern Italy) in 1980, a restaurant famed for its special aphrodisiac “spaghetti a la slinguata”. He’s also big in China —where he lived for 18 months as paid guest of the Communist town council. More than 50% of his income is spent on D&G clothes and accessories. A rumour persists that Benetti is the alter ego of William Bennett (Whitehouse, Cut Hands), but this seems altogether unlikely.
CHAIN OF FLOWERS
(ALTER – LIVE)
Cardiff four-piece who channel their hardcore backgrounds into epic, ultra-heavy, shoegaze and goth-inflected post-punk that brings to mind early Creation and Factory fringe operators, The Sound, Birthday Party, Chameleons’ Script Of The Bridge, Sound, Blitz’s Second Empire Justice…all the good stuff. Their brilliant debut LP came out on Alter Records last year.
(YOUNG ECHO / BLACKEST EVER BLACK / BERCEUSE HEROIQUE)
Ossia hates being called a lynchpin of the Bristol scene but that’s exactly what he is. A member of the Young Echo collective, he runs the RWD>>FWD shop and distro, and has a hand in pretty much all of the key labels to come out of that milieu: No Corner, Hotline, Peng Sound, and of course the recently minted Young Echo imprint. He’s also emerged as a quality producer, with 12”s of raw, free-form soundsystem techno to his name on Blackest Ever Black (2015’s ‘Red X’) and more recently Berceuse Heroique. His DJ set at the Idle Hands x BEB party back in January knocked us out.
(BLACKEST EVER BLACK – LIVE)
Melbourne’s Tarquin Manek is the architect behind some of the finest records to come out on Blackest in the past couple of years. He’s one third of the band F ingers, and half of Tarcar with Carla dal Forno, whose upcoming solo album You Know What It’s Like he also co-produced. He released a solo record of his own in late 2015, Tarquin Magnet, a remarkable blend of DIY concrete, chamber jazz and tripped-out hypno-electronics that no self-respecting, contemporary-minded record collection should be without. His live performances fall somewhere between crooning synth-pop, improv, and dubbed-to-all-fuck techno-splack.
Co-pilot of the redoubtable Tabernacle Records, home to the likes of Lost Trax, John Heckle and The Connection Machine, Andrew knows a thing or two about space travel – in fact for our money he’s the best techno/electro selector in our grubby little solar system. Heads down, closing out Room 2.
Special reggae set from the venerable Idle Hands bossman, all the way from Stokes Croft, Bristol. Anyone who heard his No Vampire mixtape for BEB will know what to expect… proper stake-through-the-heart business.
(BLACKEST EVER BLACK)
Avant-garde electronics from the mysterious ADJ, who contributed to our Low Company cassette compilation and has an LP (eternally) forthcoming.
+ KENNY WHITE
Some bloke I met at the pub.
Raime embark on a short tour of the US this week, playing dates in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
First off New York on Thursday 13 October, for a show at ANALOG_BKNY presented by Quo Vadis Productions. Fantastic line-up also featuring Alessandro Cortini and Lussuria. More information/tickets here.
On Friday 14 October, it’s over to L.A., for a show hosted by Mount Analog at the Masonic Lodge, Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Support from Daniel Higgs (Ideologic Organ) and Noveller. More information/tickets here.
They finish up in San Francisco on Saturday 15th, at the Gray Area Foundation For The Arts with Grebenstein, Stave and more. Information/tickets here.
On Saturday 15th October, Blackest Ever Black returns to Corsica Studios for its first London party since 2013. Live performances from Carla dal Forno, Chain Of Flowers, Tarquin Manek and AD Jacques; DJs: Felix K, Pessimist, Dynamo Dreesen, DJ Benetti, Ossia, Andrew Ingram (Tabernacle Records) and Kenny White.
A small quantity of £10 early bird tickets are available now.
Raime play a 5-hour set – which will apparently cover ““post-punk, no-wave, drone, avant, cold wave, electro, techno, hip-hop, garage, techno, house, hardcore, jungle and various gaps in between” at DIY Space For London this Saturday 20th August, in aid of feminist anti-austerity group Sisters Uncut and the fight against UK government cuts to domestic violence services. “Simple, informal affair: 6 – 11pm, £4 in advance or OTD”.
And in other Raime-related news, they participated in a “Fireside Chat” interview with Red Bull Music Academy Radio, in which they talk in-depth about their approach to music and production. I don’t think I’ve read, seen or heard any interview with them that explores this thoroughly their ideas and motivations, and as such it’s an essential listen for fans of their work:
On Friday 12 August, Blackest Ever Black bids a fond and sweaty farewell to Berlin, its home of the past three and a half years, with a party at our favourite club in the city, OHM. Music comes from William Bennett in his lesser-spotted, italo and hi-NRG-evangelising DJ Benetti guise; the brilliant Dynamo Dreesen; and Golden Pudel regulars and Vis label heads Nina and GoodNews.
Following their incendiary performance for the Five Wretched Years of Blackest Ever Blackevent at London’s ICA last year, we’re pleased to bring Jac Berrocal, David Fenech & Vincent Epplay to Berlin for a show at Kantine am Berghain on Thursday 26th May.
Support comes from Tarquin Manek, his first show in Europe since the release of his Tarquin Magnet LP in December, and Silvia Kastel, who has work forthcoming on the label. DJ support comes from Orson, who runs the brilliant Version label with Hops.
Raime play an intimate live show to launch their new album, Tooth, at Birthdays in London on June 14, 2016. Doors 8pm, tickets available here.
Night School Records showcase at West Germany, Berlin, on Saturday 25 June: CC Dust, Liberation (electronic pop solo project of Rat Columns’ David West) and Apostille, plus Blackest’s own Carla dal Forno. More info here.
Very excited to be DJing this Saturday at my favourite night in Berlin: Version, hosted by Orson and Hops. Expect sub-zero grime, dancehall, breakbeat and wave stuff from me, and all manner of impeccable, post-dubstep fwd business from the main men. Ohm, Berlin, 11pm-7am on Saturday 19 April. More information here.
Carla dal Forno live at Hugs & Kisses, Melbourne, on March 31, with Primo and Perfume. More information here. News and pre-order of CDF 7″ on Blackest Ever Black coming next week.
March 2016 sees the arrival of a new album by Dalhous, The Composite Moods Collection Vol.1: House Number 44, the first of a new trilogy of releases from Marc Dall’s Edinburgh-based project. Following initial taster ‘Methods of Élan’, you can now listen to another song taken from the forthcoming LP, ‘End Of Each Analysis’.
Dalhous will be performing live as part of The Long Now, a special event curated Berno Odo Polzer, Laurens von Oswald and Harry Glass in association with the Berlin Festspiele. It takes place at the formidable Kraftwerk venue – home also to the Berlin Atonal festival. Dall and longtime co-conspirator Alex Ander will play an extended 90-minute set, on a bill that also includes Moritz von Oswald & Rashad Becker (premiering their new collaborative work, fathom), Dan Vincente (Acronym), and Manuel Nawri conducting a performance of John Cage’s 1992 work Fifty-Eight. More information and tickets can be found here.
Happy new year. We begin 2016 as we mean to go on – impulsively? – with a party in Bristol co-hosted with our friends Idle Hands. It takes place this Saturday 9 January at the one and only Take 5 Cafe, with music from Rhythmic Theory, Ossia, Idle Hands bossman Chris Farrell, and yours truly. If you’re in the area, hope to see you there.
Mailorder customers, thanks for your patience while we catch up on things this week: we’ve a huge backlog of orders to ship and emails to respond to after three weeks off, and we’re working our way through it as quickly as we can.
Since we first announced Tropic of Cancer’s European tour dates, there have been a number of additions, changes of venue, and so on. The revised poster above features the final and confirmed listings.
Tropic of Cancer are touring Europe this year, for the first time since 2013, and for the first time in their new three-piece live configuration: Camella Lobo will be joined on-stage by Taylor Burch (Dva Damas) and Joshua Eustis (Sons of Madgalene, Telefon Tel Aviv).
The dates are listed on the poster above, and include the now sold-out show at Berlin’s Berghain as part of the Five Wretched Years of Blackest Ever Black showcase there. Please note that while the early concert part of the evening (Tropic of Cancer + Diät) is completely sold out, and advance tickets are no longer on sale, there will be plenty of tickets available on the door for the second part of the event, which commences at midnight and features Raime (live), Prurient (live), Regis and Felix K.
Before they head our way, Tropic of Cancer will play a send-off show in Los Angeles – their only remaining US date of the year. Presented by Werkartz and Mount Analog, this intimate gig will take place at Werkartz, Arts District, 927 S. Santa Fe Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90021, on Saturday 17 October. More information here.
Tropic of Cancer’s new EP, Stop Suffering, and their Archive: The Downwards Singles reissue 12″, are both due to be released at the start of November. A limited edition, tour-only cassette featuring both releases on one tape, with exclusive artwork, is currently being prepped.
F ingers‘ sublime Hide Before Dinner LP is due out on September 4, and the band will be touring Europe in support of it this Autumn, including dates with Cured Pink and Rat Columns, and an appearance at the Five Wretched Years Of Blackest Ever Black event at London’s ICA (with Jac Berrocal, Officer!, Ashtray Navigations, Stefan Jaworzyn, Af Ursin, Dalhous and more). Full dates are below.
If you have any bright ideas for the dates marked ‘???’, drop us a line.
A limited edition F ingers tour tape containing all-new material, Trilogy: They Got The Best Heart, will be on sale at the gigs (we also have a few copies available now from the BEB webshop).
30 AUG SUN – PRAGUE @ OUTDOORS @ Štvanice w/ Rat Columns
8 SEP TUES – POZNAN @ CENTRUM AMARANT w/ Cured Pink
9 SEP WED – WARSAW @ MOZG w/ Cured Pink
10 SEP THURS – BYDGOSZCZ @ MOZG w/ Cured Pink
12 SEP SAT – COPENHAGEN @ MAYHEM w/ Cured Pink
13 SEP SUN – AMSTERDAM @ OCCII VS HAPERENDE MENS FESTIVAL @ OT301
14 SEP MON – ROTTERDAM @ ROODKAPJE w/ Cured Pink
17 SEP THURS – PARIS @ OLYPIC CAFE w/ Cured Pink
18 SEP FRI – BRICQUEBEC @ Le REAUME w/ Cured Pink
20 SEP SUN – BARAKALDO ??
21 SEP MON – BILBAO ??
22 SEP TUES – PONTEVEDRA @ BAR LABRANZA w/ Cured Pink
23 SEP WED – PORTO @ SONOSCOPIA w/ Cured Pink
24 SEP THURS – LISBON @ ZDB w/ Cured Pink
26 SEP SAT – LONDON @ ICA Event – Five Wretched Years of Blackest Ever Black
28 SEP MON – BERLIN @ TRICKSTER w/ Rat Columns
Perth-based Rat Columns are touring Europe in late August and late September, celebrating the release of their Fooling Around E.P. on Blackest Ever Black, and their Do You Remember Real Pain? EP on Adagio830. The tour kicks off in Berlin at Bei Ruth this Friday, 28 August, and includes a couple of shows with BEB’s own F ingers. Below is a full list of dates as they stand; if you’ve any help or suggestions to offer for the shows marked ‘???’, get in touch.
28 AUG FRI – BERLIN @ BEI RUTH w/ Future Punx
29 AUG SAT – HALLE @ Hühnermannhattan w/ Future Punx
30 AUG SUN – PRAGUE @ OUTDOOR SHOW @ Štvanice w/ F ingers
31 AUG MON – GRAZ @ SUB
1 SEPT TUES – BUDAPEST @ Müszi w/ F ingers
2 SEPT WEDS – VIENNA / MUNICH / NURENBERG / BRNO???
3 SEPT THURS – DARMSTADT / OETTIINGER VILLA w/ Solids
4 SEPT FRI – LUZERN @ KLUB KEGELBAHN w/ Thee Irma & Louise
5 SEPT SAT – BASEL @ HIRSCHENECK w/ Thee Irma & Louise
6 SEPT SUN – BERN @ CAFETE w/ Thee Irma & Louise
7 SEPT MON – OFF
8 SEPT TUES – ???MARSEILLE???
9 SEPT WEDS – MONTPELLIER @ UP AND DOWN
10 SEPT THURS – BARCELONA @ ALMO2BAR w/ Zephyr Lake, $SDVORE & Heather
11 SEPT FRI – VALENCIA @ CSA LA RESIDENCIA
12 SEPT SAT – MADRID @ WURLITZER BALLROOM
13 SEPT SUN – BORDEAUX @ TBC (GENRE! SHOW)
14 SEPT MON – PARIS @ L’ESPACE B w/ Blank Realm & Kitchen’s Floor
15 SEPT TUES – BELGIUM? / LILLE? / AMSTERDAM? KOLN???
16 SEPT WEDS – BRIGHTON @ THE HOPE AND RUIN
17 SEPT THURS – LONDON @ MONTAGUE ARMS
18 SEPT FRI – LEEDS @ TEMPLE OF BOOM
19 SEPT SAT – MANCHESTER @ FUEL CAFE (WILMSLOW RD) w/ Apostille, Slowlight & Gut Model
20 SEPT SUN – OFF
21 SEPT MON – ANTWERP @ TBC
22 SEPT TUES – KASSEL @ NORDSTADT
23 SEPT WEDS – GRONIGEN @ DE GYM
24 SEPT THURS – NORTH OF GERMANY? BREMEN? HAMBURG? HANNOVER???
25 SEPT FRI – KOPENHAGEN @ Spillestedet Stengade w/ La Luz, Moon City Boys, Munnen
26 SEPT SAT – AARHUS
27 SEPT SUN – HAMBURG
28 SEPT MON – BERLIN
Tarcar will be playing an extended 2-hour live set at Berlin’s Ohm club this Wednesday, 19 August, for one of the Atonal festival’s official afterparties, sandwiched between DJ sets from Healing Force Project.
Carla dal Forno and Tarquin Manek debuted their duo project on Blackest Ever Black last year with the Mince Glace EP; their instant classic ‘Eija’ features on the upcoming I Can’t Give You The Life You Want compilation; and new material is on its way. Meanwhile dal Forno and Manek’s other band, F ingers, are due to release their Hide Before Dinner LP on Blackest at the end of this month, with a Manek solo album arriving before the year is out.
Also performing at Atonal this week: Chra, which is the current solo incarnation of Shampoo Boy’s Christina Nemec, plays the Main Stage on Thursday (a good recent interview with Christina here); and Regis, both on his own and as part of Ugandan Methods (Friday).
RAIME (live) | PRURIENT (live) | TROPIC OF CANCER (live) | REGIS (DJ) | FELIX K (DJ) | DIÄT (live) | DEATH DISCO DJs
October 30, 9pm. Tickets €20.50 (concert from 9pm + party) / 15€ (party from midnight)
Following the announcement of the first of Blackest Ever Black’s fifth anniversary celebration events, at London’s ICA, we’re now ready to share details of the second: a major offering at Berghain in Berlin, on Friday 30 October.
Like the ICA showcase, the Berghain event is split into two parts. The earlier “concert” part of the night, presented with Death Disco, features a live performance from Tropic of Cancer. Camella Lobo’s LA-based project, now expanded to a three-piece for live performances, first appeared on BEB with The Sorrow Of Two Blooms back in 2011, and has remained a fixture of the label, releasing debut album Restless Idylls with us in 2013; a new Tropic of Cancer EP is due out on Blackest in October. Support for TOC comes from Berlin punks-on-wave Diät (whose debut album, out in September on Iron Lung/Adagio 380, is one of 2015’s finest), and Death Disco DJs.
The second (ahem) “party” part of the night commences at midnight, and features live performances from Raime and Prurient. Raime and their music – a minimalist but emotive, highly original synthesis of such disparate influences as jungle, post-punk, dub, doom metal and post-hardcore – have been synonymous with BEB since its inception. This Autumn they release the eagerly awaited follow-up to their 2013 album Quarter Turns Over A Living Line, and this live show in Berlin will be the first of unveiling of new album material, and of the group’s new live configuration. Prurient is of course the alter ego of Dominick Fernow, founder and figurehead of Hospital Productions. His 2013 Prurient LP Through The Window, a visionary meeting of techno and power electronics, was released on Blackest Ever Black in 2013, and Fernow has contributed to the label before and since under numerous aliases, among them Vatican Shadow, Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement and Exploring Jezebel. This live performance will be Prurient’s first in Berlin since the release earlier this year of what is arguably his masterpiece, the double-album Frozen Niagara Falls.
DJ sets come from Regis and Felix K. Regis, aka Karl O’Connor, was one of Blackest Ever Black’s earliest supporters, and quickly became one of its key artists, not only releasing his own work (2011’s In A Syrian Tongue EP) but lending his remix and studio skills to releases by Tropic of Cancer, Ike Yard, Dalhous, Vatican Shadow and Raime. This September sees the release of Manbait, a compilation of the Downwards boss and Sandwell District co-founder’s production work for BEB. The roots of Berlin native Felix K are in drum-and-bass, and he has repeatedly advanced and invigorated the genre with his own sparse, dub-centered productions, making important lateral connections to austere Hard Wax-school techno and more abstract electronic realms. As well as being one of the faces behind the Hidden Hawaii label, Felix released an EP of his own productions, Tragedy of the Commons, on BEB earlier this year.
You may also be interested to know that PAN are hosting Panoramabar that same night, with M.E.S.H., Bill Kouligas, Lee Gamble, Objekt and more. As usual, once inside the club you can move freely between Berghain and Panoramabar. To reiterate, tickets for the earlier concert part of the evening (featuring Tropic of Cancer) cost €20.50, and of course these tickets grant you entry to the party beginning at midnight. Those wishing to attend the party only (Raime, Prurient et al) can buy tickets on the door at €15, but for obvious reasons, and to avoid disappointment, we’d strongly recommend advance concert ticket purchase. Buy them here.
Some more information here.
Blackest Ever Black will mark its fifth anniversary this year with a two-part event at the ICA in London, on Saturday 26 September, and a two-part event at Berghain, Berlin, on Friday 30 October. We’re now ready to announce some details of the ICA two-parter; details for Berghain will follow later in the week.
A 2015 ICA Associate, Blackest has been given free rein over the venue’s main theatre space, and will present both a daytime and evening programme of performances on September 26. Tickets for these day and evening sessions can be bought separately, or together at a discounted price.
The evening session features live performances from Jac Berrocal, David Fenech & Vincent Epplay, Officer! and Af Ursin, with DJ support from Raime; the daytime session features live performances from Ashtray Navigations, Stefan Jaworzyn, Dalhous, F ingers and AD Jacques, plus a screening of Jane Arden and Jack Bond’s 1979 film Anti-Clock. Full details are as follows.
Evening: JAC BERROCAL, DAVID FENECH & VINCENT EPPLAY (live) | OFFICER! (live) | AF URSIN (live) | RAIME (DJs)
September 26, 8pm. Tickets £7-£8 (day+evening tickets also available at £12-£14).
The evening session features the debut UK performance from the trio of Jac Berrocal, David Fenech & Vincent Epplay, who whose album, Antigravity, Blackest Ever Black released earlier this year to considerable acclaim. “Trumpeter” is hardly an adequate epithet for avant-garde legend Berrocal, a 1946-born musician, poet and sometime film actor who came of age in the ‘70s Paris improv scene. Inspired by bebop, chanson, free jazz, beat poetry, early rock ‘n roll and myriad Eastern influences, and with an anything-goes approach to instrumentation and technique that would later align him with post-punk sensibilities, Berrocal blazed an eccentric and unstoppable trail across the underground throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s. His uproarious performances routinely wound up jazz and rock audiences alike, but earned the admiration of plenty of others: Steven Stapleton invited him to perform on two Nurse With Wound albums, and other notable collaborators include Sunny Murray, Lizzy Mercier-Descloux, Lol Coxhill, James Chance, Pascal Comelade and Jaki Liebezeit. Now Berrocal has found the perfect foil in David Fenech and Vincent Epplay, two fearlessly inventive composer/improvers who create challenging, acutely modernist yet historically aware settings – wrought out of synthesis, guitars, computer processing, field recordings and unorthodox percussions – for Berrocal’s unmistakeable voice and breathtakingly lyrical horn sound to flourish. Antigravity is the trio’s first album together: a lugubrious mise-en-scène in which ice-cold outlaw jazz meets musique concrète, DIY whimsy and dubwise studio science. Do not miss the opportunity to catch one of the most uniquely brilliant musicians in his element.
Another cult hero of the ‘70s and ‘80s DIY/art-rock underground, Mick Hobbs, will perform at the helm of Officer! for the first time in “decades” (we estimate 25 years), with a group assembled from collaborators past and present, including Flaming Tunes’ Mary Currie (you can vouchsafe you’ll hear one or two Flaming Tunes songs in their set). Londoner Hobbs’ musical roots are in the fecund RIO scene of the late ’70s and early 1980s, initially as guitarist in The Work, and related groupings The Lowest Note, The Lo Yo Yo, and The Momes; over the course of the decade he became closely associated with This Heat and their Cold Storage studio in Brixton, working with the likes of Flaming Tunes, Family Fodder, Catherine Jauniaux and Zeena Parkins. The Officer! project formally surfaced in 1982 with a cassette, Eight New Songs By Mick Hobbs, which marked the arrival of a singular writer and improvisor, with a gift for plangent melody, ingenious arrangement and lyrics at once caustic and courtly, playful and profound. The Cold Storage-recorded Ossification LP arrived a year later, and Megaphone Records, responsible for its recent reissue, describe it as “one of the most unusual, pleasurable and character-filled ‘pop’ records anyone has heard…a timeless anomaly in the history of recorded music.” In 2014, Blackest Ever Black released Officer!’s “lost” album, Dead Unique, recorded in 1995 but inexplicably shelved for 19 years. It’s a bona fide classic of English song-based experimentation, one that addresses the biggest themes: love, loss, commitment, independence, the mutability and inconstancy of all things. “You lose, you learn, you advance…but you always go back.” What a true honour it is to welcome Officer! back to the stage.
Af Ursin is the alter ego of Finnish autodidact composer/improviser Timo van Luijk. He began his musical activities in the mid-1980s, founding the Noise-Maker’s Fifes collective with Geert Feytons in ’89. During the ’90s he developed his solo work under the name Af Ursin, providing music/sound for dance, theatre and film projects, before establishing his own record label, La Scie Doree, in 2001. This became the main platform for his own music and related projects, including regular collaborations with Christoph Heeman (as In Camera) and Andrew Chalk (as Elodie). His work mainly uses acoustic instruments (strings, wind, percussion) and various sound objects in order to create free-form arrangements through combined structured improvisations; the intuitive and poetic aspect, and the unique timbre of each instrument, forming the core of his musical approach. Af Ursin’s live performances usually consists of applied mechanics from an old sewing machine and motorised percussion combined with a variety of acoustic instruments, objects and tape manipulation. In early 2016, Blackest Ever Black will release new LP and CD editions of Af Ursin’s 2005 masterpiece, Aura Legato: a visionary, profoundly psychedelic synthesis of acid-folk, musique concrète and ceremonial drone currents that has earned telling, if inadequate, comparisons to Third Ear Band, Nurse With Wound and HNAS.
Evening DJ support comes from Raime, the duo of Joe Andrews and Tom Halstead whose work has been synonymous with Blackest Ever Black ever since its inception. Raime’s first release, their self-titled EP, was Blackest’s first also, and the duo have since release two further 12″s – If Anywhere was here he would know where we are (2010) and Hennail (2011) – as well as an EP and split 7″ as Moin (their post-hardcore-influenced side-project). In 2013 they released their debut album, Quarter Turns Over A Living Line, and Autumn 2015 will see the release of its eagerly anticipated, full-length follow-up.
Day: ASHTRAY NAVIGATIONS (live) | STEFAN JAWORZYN (live) | DALHOUS (live) | F INGERS (live) | AD JACQUES (live) | JANE ARDEN & JACK BOND’S ANTI-CLOCK | MORE TBA
September 26, 12 midday. Tickets £7-£8 (day+evening tickets also available at £12-£14).
The daytime session is headlined by Ashtray Navigations. Operating out of various basements in Stoke-on-Trent and Leeds since the early ’90s, AshNavs occupy a uniquely important, idiosyncratic and bloody-minded role in the global psychedelic underground, with a sprawling, countless catalogue of LPs, tapes and CD-Rs (both self-released and on labels like Siltbreeze, VHF and Golden Lab) to their name. Centered around Phil Todd, their inspired, improvised, ever-mutating sound is impossible to satisfactorily pin down, but suffice to say it touches on psychedelic rock ’n roll, ecstatic drone, molten electronics…In the words of Todd, “I always imagine myself and Ashtray Navigations going through and shovelling up all types of music. Everything gets thrown on the furnace to some extent.” Ashtray Navigations’ members and collaborators over the years have included the likes of Alex Neilson, Neil Campbell, Stewart Keith and Phil Legard; they currently perform as a two-piece with Todd (described by David Keenan as “a trashcan antidote to LaMonte Young”) joined by Mel Ó Dubhshláine on various instruments/devices. The Wire: “This is music stripped free of song into a perpetual crescendo by someone who loves music so much, he has to destroy it so no one else can have it. Welcome to the psychedelic mess that is Phil Todd and Ashtray Navigations’ universe.”
Writer, musician and misanthrope Stefan Jaworzyn will also perform live. Following a brief stint in Whitehouse, Jaworzyn formed Skullflower with Matthew Bower in ’86 and remained the band’s guitarist for four years, before establishing the Shock label (home to releases from the likes of Lol Coxhill, Coil, The Dead C and Ramleh), which, like the annual Shock Around The Clock film festival, grew out of Shock Xpress – the seminal horror/exploitation zine he edited. Jaworzyn rejoined Whitehouse in 1990-91, and around this time was also invited to participate in a roundtable discussion about serial killers on Channel 4’s After Dark programme: it ended with him vehemently debating the meaning of the word “integrity” with fellow guest Michael Winner. Despite having supposedly renounced the guitar, in ’91 Jaworzyn returned to it with some venom, forming Ascension (later Descension) with Tony Irving; the band’s turbulent brand of free music famously incited an audience riot when they supported Sonic Youth at Kentish Town Forum in ’96. In the second half of the decade Jaworzyn retired Shock and largely withdrew from music, choosing to focus on drinking and cursing (although his The Texas Chain Saw Massacre Companion was published by Titan Books in 2003). After some 17 years off the grid, Jaworzyn recently reappeared with a series of new and archival releases, including Drained Of Connotiation (Blackest Ever Black, 2014) , a document of raw, sociopathic electronic music created in early/mid-’82 using a Korg MS10 or 20 and his beloved Dr Rhythm drum machine.
Dalhous is the brainchild of Edinburgh’s Marc Dall, joined for live performances by regular studio collaborator Alex Ander. Their most recent release, a limited cassette of selected 2009-13 demos notwithstanding, is 2014’s Will To Be Well: a double-LP of highly lyrical, sublimely melancholic electronic music inspired, like Dalhous’s An Ambassador For Laing (2013) and Will To Be Well EP (2014) before it, by the life and arcana of R.D. Laing, but also alluding to more universal and enduring mysteries: the relationships between body and mind, illness and wellness, the physical and the metaphysical. Dalhous perform at the ICA ahead of the release of their third LP, The Composite Moods Collection, by some distance their most complex, ambitious and personal offering to date.
F ingers is a Melbourne-hailing group which includes Tarcar’s Carla dal Forno and Tarquin Manek in its ranks. Their brand of sleep-deprived, synth-daubed death-folk – like some suburban dream-meeting of Nico and Dome – is powerfully documented on new album Hide Before Dinner, due out on Blackest Ever Black in August/September 2015. Dal Forno and Manek have quickly become key members of the Blackest Ever Black family, with a number of solo and collaborative projects in the label’s pipeline.
London-based Northerner A.D. Jacques spent fifteen years selling avant-garde LPs and recording his own music in secret before spending another ten years as a recluse. He made his live solo debut at the 2012 BEB showcase whilst disguised as a DJ, and his first release for the label is due in 2016.
The daytime session opens with a screening of Jane Arden & Jack Bond’s Anti-Clock (1979, 105min). Actress, playwright and filmmaker Arden (1927-82) was the author of Vagina Rex and the Gas Oven (1969), the first play to emerge from the Women’s Liberation Movement, and founder of Holocaust women’s theatre company. Her collaborations with Jack Bond – who would later earn much praise for his run of terrific South Bank Show documentaries (on the likes of Patricia Highsmith and Werner Herzog) in the ’80s, and his pop films for the Pet Shop Boys and Adam Ant – include Separation (1968) and Anti-Clock (1972). Anti-Clock, Arden and Bond’s last work together, is often described as an “avant-garde sci-fi”, but that phrase, though not exactly inaccurate, scarcely does justice to its unforgettable imagery, the bleak poetry of its script (much of it derived from Arden’s radical social and psychological manifesto You Don’t Know What You Want, Do You?), and the deep sense of existential unease which the whole picture conveys. The film opened the was never picked up for British distribution: its only other public British screening was at the NFT in 1983, as a tribute to Arden, who had committed suicide at the end of the previous year. However, it had a modest theatrical release in the US, where it received notable critical acclaim – Newsweek applauded “a complex and fascinating experimental exploration of time and identity…a film of authentic, startling originality”, and Warhol and Chabrol both gave their seals of approval. Following Arden’s death, a grieving Bond suppressed further distribution/release of the film, until a 2005 restoration and DVD/theatrical release from the BFI. In 2016 Blackest Ever black will issue a vinyl edition of the Anti-Clock soundtrack, including dialogue cues: this soundtrack has never been available before on any format, and features two extraordinarily haunting, synthetic folk/pop songs sung by Jane Arden herself.
One or two more artists yet TBA for the daytime session, schedule allowing.
Buy your day tickets here and evening here (and remember to take advantage of the discounted multibuy if you wish to attend both day and evening concerts.
Jac Berrocal, David Fenech and Vincent Epplay mark the release of their trio album on Blackest Ever Black, Antigravity, with a live performance at the REWIRE festival in the Netherlands this Saturday, 2 May. Unmissable, really. For more information and tickets, click here.
Due to an unforeseen delay with pressing (insert moan at RSD here), official physical and digital release date for Antigravity has been pushed back to May 11. For those of you who have pre-ordered the album direct from Blackest Ever Black: CDs have already shipped earlier this week; the LPs are due in on Monday, and we expect to have them all dispatched by Wednesday (May 6).
Raime have a trio of DJ appointments lined up for May 2015. On Saturday 2 May they play at Bristol’s The Exchange for TILT, alongside live performances from Karen Gwyer, Blood Sport and Giant Swan.
On Saturday 16 May , Logos and Mumdance have invited them to play a “’91-’92 set” in support of DJ Vibes’ “’93-’94 set” at their Different Circles night (taking place at The Queen of Hoxton, London); the hosts, meanwhile, will be playing a “bleep set”.
Finally, on Friday 29 May, they travel to Barcelona for Primavera Sound festival, where they’ll be DJing in the Electronic Tent.
May 2 – The Exchange, Bristol, UK – TILT w/ Karen Gwyer, Blood Sport, Giant Swan
May 16 – Queen of Hoxton, London, UK – Different Circles w/ DJ Vibes, Mumdance & Logos
May 29 – Primavera Sound, Barcelona, Spain
This Thursday at N.K. in Berlin, Blackest Ever Black presents a release show for Shampoo Boy‘s new album, Crack. Peter Rehberg’s trio are supported by Silvia Kastel (Control Unit) and Tarcar. Doors 19:30, more information here.
This will be the debut German outing for Vienna’s SHAMPOO BOY (Rehberg, Christina Nemec and Christian Schachinger). Their new album Crack – A powerful alloy of extreme electroacoustic music, noise, luminous ambience and the mineral fundaments of rock and black metal – is the follow-up to 2013’s similarly pulverising Licht, and is due to be released on BEB next week. Epic in scale, complex in mood and dazzling in technique, the LP is a momentous achievement from three improvising musicians at the height of their powers.
As one half of Control Unit (with Ninni Morgia), vocalist and multi-instrumentalist SILVIA KASTEL has worked with the likes of Smegma, Factrix, Gary Smith, Aki Onda and Gate (Michael Morley of The Dead C); their collaborative album with the latter is due later this year. Hailing from Italy but with a predilection for the bleak and jarring sounds of the UK’s first industrial wave, Kastel’s confrontational yet sensual work incorporates voice, rhythm, synths, tape echo and dub influences. Following a series of 7″ and cassette offerings, many released through her own Ultramarine label, she is currently at work on her debut LP.
First ever European peformance for Melbourne’s Carla dal Forno (Mole House) and Tarquin Manek (LST, Bum Creek) aka TARCAR. Their debut EP of dub-damaged DIY,Mince Glace, was issued on BEB in late 2014, and they have a number of further works – solo and collaborative – coming out on the label in 2015, beginning with a new LP, Hide Before Dinner, by F ingers (the latest iteration of dal Forno, Manek and Samuel Karmel’s group project). Manek also records as LST, whose Th Duo LP is out this month via Berlin’s Another Dark Age, and will release a solo LP on Blackest under his own name later this year. Tarcar also contribute to the upcoming BEB compilation, I Can’t Give You The Life You Want.
This Thursday, 2 April, the tenth edition of Before My Eyes takes place at The Waiting Room in London, with the usual back-to-back DJ sets from Demdike Stare and Raime. More information and advance tickets here.
Raime will play a DJ set at Tresor in Berlin this Saturday, 28 February, for the launch of the Contort label. Also on the bill: Kangding Ray (live), Russell Haswell (HDJ set), Beneath, Andrea Parker, Senking (live), SØS Gunver Ryberg (live), Samuel Kerridge (live), TM-404 (live), and Ascion & D. Carbone. More information here.
Blackest Ever Black presents a release show for Shampoo Boy‘s new album, Crack, at N.K. in Berlin on Thursday 23 April.
This will be the debut German outing for the Viennese trio of Christina Nemec, Peter Rehberg (Editions Mego) and Christian Schachinger. Crack, the follow-up to 2013’s pulverising Licht, is due to be released on BEB in early April. Details will be announced next week.
Support comes from Silvia Kastel of Control Unit, and recent additions to the Blackest family, Tarcar, playing their first ever show in Europe. Early bird advance tickets are available at the heavily discounted price of £4.50 GBP (approx €6 EUR).
Doors open at 19:30. More information soon.
Blackest Ever Black presents a concert from Shampoo Boy – the trio of Peter Rehberg, Christina Nemec and Christian Schachinger – at NK, Berlin, on Thursday 23 April. It’s the release show for their new album on Blackest, the follow-up to 2013’s Licht, details of which are due to be announced later this month.
Support comes from Melbourne’s Tarcar, who recently debuted on BEB with their Mince Glace EP, and others TBC. More information soon.
Dalhous will be performing at Roskilde 2015 in Denmark, which takes place June 27 – July 4. The festival organisers have so far only announced a handful of the expected 169 acts – these include Deafheaven, Pharrell Williams, St. Vincent, The War On Drugs, Rustie and Goat as well as our own Marc Dall (pictured) and Alex Ander.
More information and tickets here.
This Thursday, 4th December, The Waiting Room in London hosts the ninth edition of Before My Eyes, with DJ sets all night long (9pm-2am) from your hosts Raime and Demdike Stare.
Earlier in the day, 3pm-5pm GMT to be precise, Raime and Demdike will be DJing together down the road at NTS Radio. Listen live at ntslive.co.uk.
Last week’s Blackest Ever Black label night in Berlin, as photographed by Camille Blake.
This Saturday, 15 November, Blackest Ever Black celebrates its fourth birthday with a party at Urban Spree in Berlin. Live performances come from Cut Hands, Black Rain and Diät; DJ sets from Raime and Nina.
We have previously alluded to several secret guests, and while we’re still not at liberty to announce all of them, we can confirm that our Powell, whose Diagonal label is enjoying a vintage year, will bring his romper-stomping DJ style to bear on the early hours, both solo and back-to-back with Raime.
We must take this opportunity to reiterate once more that there are no advance tickets available for this event, so early arrival is essential if you want to be sure of entry. Doors open at 10pm. More information here.
Blackest Ever Black’s association with Krakow’s Unsound festival dates back to 2010, when Raime gave their debut live performance there. This year’s festival, which commenced yesterday (October 12), features two groups affiliated with the label: Killing Sound, who’ll be appearing as part of the Young Echo showcase on Saturday 16 October, and Ksiezyc, who perform at St. Katherine’s Church on Friday 15 October. Additionally, our friends Diagonal host a showcase on the Saturday with Powell, Russell Haswell and more. Also looking forward to seeing Richard Pinhas, DJ Funk, Zs, Deathprod and one or two others. More information here.
Blackest Ever Black’s fourth annual label party will take place at Berlin’s Urban Spree venue on Saturday 15 November, 2014, presented in association with UnReal.
This is the first time the label has celebrated its birthday in its current base of Berlin, and follows last year’s two-room blow-out at Corsica Studios in London, which featured Prurient, Tropic of Cancer, Regis, Source Direct, Horsepower Productions and many more.
For this more intimate gathering on German soil, William Bennett will perform live as CUT HANDS, celebrating the release of his new album for Blackest Ever Black. Festival Of The Dead, due out in October, is the most potent distillation of Cut Hands’ delirious polyrhythmic energy to date, in which the spirits of santería and vaudou come together for a final rapturous celebration of oblivion. The indefatigable Bennett, pioneer of extreme electronic music and founder of Whitehouse, has refined and intensified Cut Hands’ percussive assault across two previous albums (released on his own Susan Lawly imprint) and a trio of 12″ singles for BEB and Downwards; his live invocations are always psychologically gripping, physically overwhelming affairs; in the nowhere-to-hide environment of Urban Spree, this one has the makings of a classic.
Another sub-cultural trailblazer and stalwart of Blackest Ever Black, Stuart Argabright, will also be joining us from New York to play his first BLACK RAIN live show in Europe since 2012 – back when he was touring in support of Now I’m Just A Number, BEB’s compilation of his visionary soundtrack work from the mid-90s. Most famously leader of post-punk minimalists Ike Yard, Argabright’s improbably eventful career has seen him fashion dystopian hip-hop in Death Comet Crew and erotic electro as Dominatrix, among numerous other ventures; but it’s Black Rain – which began life as a death metal band before mutating into the cyberpunk techno project it is today – that remains his most vital and compelling undertaking. New album Dark Pool is awork of hard-edged sonic fiction influenced by the writings of K.W. Jeter and Paolo Bacigalupi; musically, as well as conceptually, Argabright’s futurist impulse remains razor-sharp and indomitable.
DIÄT is a Berlin-based band with a hardcore background, who were brought together by their enthusiasm for bleak UK punk but ended up something closer to what they describe, perhaps not entirely seriously, as “tough new wave”; fans of Crisis, Killing Joke and The Mob will certainly feel at home with Diät’s unlikely synthesis of depressive drift and cranked, accelerated energy. One of the finest bands currently active in the German capital’s rudely healthy scene – a scene for which drummer Iffi’s Static Shock shop in Kreuzberg is an important hub – they will play live for us ahead of their debut LP release on Iron Lung.
RAIME‘s redoubtable Joe Andrews and Tom Halstead will also be joining us to DJ throughout the night, taking time out from intensive recording sessions for their sophomore album, due to be released on Blackest Ever Black in 2015. This duo’s tastes and influence have of course been central to the label since the very beginning, and as those who’ve attended our Before My Eyes nights and previous BEB showcases in London will attest, their carefully wrought and invariably head-cracking sets run the gamut from gothic abjection, brutalist punk and outsider electronics through to the seamiest grime, dancehall and jungle-tekno.
DJ support comes from NINA, who runs the Nina Trifft nights at the Golden Pudel in Hamburg, and who was responsible for the recent, riveting No Observable Effect Concentration mix for our Krokodilo Tapes imprint. Expect pure darkwave fire from this peerless selector.
Additionally, there will be some “SECRET” SPECIAL GUESTS dropping in to play some records and possibly some instruments – among them a notable Berlin-based artist whose Blackest debut is due in the coming months.
UPDATE: We can tell you that one of the no-longer-secret special guests will be POWELL. The Diagonal boss will bring his romper-stomping DJ style to bear on the late shift, both solo and back-to-back with Raime.
We don’t plan to make advance tickets available for this party, so please arrive early to avoid disappointment. Doors open around 10pm, and festivities will run all night; there will be a merch table, including one or two small items only available at this event.
This year Blackest Ever Black’s annual label party will take place in Berlin – for the first, and possibly also the last, time. The event is scheduled for mid-November 2014; precise date, venue, guests and all other details will be announced in the second week of September.
For the latest edition of Before My Eyes, Raime will be joined by guest DJs Powell (Diagonal) and Luke Younger (aka Helm). As usual, BME takes place at The Waiting Room, 175 Stoke Newington Rd, London N16 0LH. Tickets are £5 advance, £7 on the door. More information and pre-sales here.