The wait is almost over and between Thursday and Sunday we’ll be in Utrecht running around from venue to venue (how scary/awesome is this schedule?) trying to make the best out of the stellar line up the festival has to offer. Granted, picking up only six names would be ludicrous, so we’ve cheated our asses off and some examples include a bit more than just one name. Moreover, to vary a bit from the black metal / doom / drone love fest this space usually is, two other members of PA’ were invited to present two examples of their own choosing.
Sunn O))) presents
See, I told you we’re going to cheat. Anyway, you gotta give it to Greg Anderson and Stephen O’Malley, not only is a Sunn O))) concert unmissable in its own right (and there’s “Kannon” looming on the horizon), they seem to have a knack at picking line ups. Talk to anyone who’s been going to Roadburn for the last few years and the most likely candidate for the best curated day has gotta be that fucking friday: Winter, Trap Them, Menace Ruine and Caspar Brötzmann Massaker in one insane day. This time around they’ve spread their loudness among the four days of the festival in an event that ranges from prog rock legends Magma, 60’s sensation The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown, Japanese drone heavyweight Keiji Haino and a bit of a who’s who of some of the best contemporary acts in exploratory heavy music, including Greg Anderson‘s cult riff-factory Goatsnake who just returned to recording action this year with the great “Black Age Blues”, Steve Austin and his Today Is The Day, Norwegian avant-garde masters Virus who’s show this year at Roadburn stands as one of the festival’s highlights, the always mesmerizing Om, and the bulldozing machine by the name of Bölzer. Seriously, we could have run three editions of this thing just rambling on about bands on this part of the lineup and we’d still feel bad about leaving something awesome out. [LP]
There’s no way to look at the bill for Le Guess Who? 2015 and miss the fat lettering highlighting Kamasi Washington. The saxman will be performing in Utrecht in support of is latest opus “The Epic”, a new jazz endeavour sealed with FlyLo’s Bainfreeder quality stamp and living up to its title. No wonder, Kamasi as been around the likes of Flying Lotus for years now, carrying the same soul music and Motown heritage and taking it to whole new levels. That’s what “The Epic” is all about: a new take on big band jazz music with the same intelligent and textural, yet groovy approach placing Brainfeeder amongst the must-follow list of record labels, even for the more elitist and stuck up music critic. This guy is a lost bridge between the age of jazz and the age of information and one must expect a big band concert from Kamasi Washington to be both breathtaking and mindblowing. [AF]
Far from the conventional notions of classical violin composition, Laura Cannell‘s work is both experimental and traditional, unsettling and harmonious, wrapped in a veil of apparent deception. The use of a double recorder and a overbowed fiddle – customised instruments to play a polyphonic texture – results in a modern reinterpretation of medieval folk music and is what makes her repertoire so unique and appealing. Listening to “Quick Sparrows Over The Black Earth” or her latest “Beneath Swooping Talons” can be challenging to anyone who was never into instrumental folk music but sure can be the best chance for someone looking for a starting point. So leave any preconceptions at home and rush to get a chair inside Theater Kikker‘s main room. [ES]
Detroit’s Protomartyr were once delightfully lost in the post-punk madness of Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds – and that was not a bad thing. From there and with each new album, we saw them grow into something more than just a post-punk band and the new “The Agent Intellect” is nothing but a reiteration of this development. Joe Casey‘s voice and melancholic yet sarcastic lyrics are the perfect balance for the inquisitive lightness of their instrumental. It’s post-punk and alternative rock at its finest. For fans of The National, Madrugada, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds and Joy Division. Just before our little walk to see Gnaw Their Tongues, it is the perfect aperitif. [ES]
Dancing opportunities everywhere
There’s no party like an open bar/free buffet party. I guess this goes in any language in culture, and probably in any context. The after can be extremely painful, unless you opt for a good combustion solution for all that metal-fuel called beer, and all the colourful delies of pop, punk, rock, drone you’ll be trying on during LGW. Of course, you can argue that it only works for your body, since it’s dance music, but that’s when the likes of DJ Paypal and his Rashad inspired Teklife mojo, Islam Chipsy’s electro-chaabi experience, and Blanck Mass’s violently saturated and mechanically rhythmic take comes to blow it all. We’re proposing waves of electronics layered in complex syncope and hip-hop meets electro meets traditional Egyptian music in a whole new and Eurasian approach to sound. We’re talking about food for your mind, here! Le Guess Who? is, indeed, taking your after-hour planning to a whole new level. First off, DJ Paypal and his footwork music was soon endorsed by the Teklife crew, founded by the late and mighty DJ Rashad, and has taken him through various labels, from the one and only Hyperdub to yet again Brainfeeder for his soon to be released new record “Sold Out”. Don’t be mistaken by the smooth sound of synths: it won’t make his rhythmic progressions less complex, nor it will make it easy for your legs. Good luck trying to stop them from moving — that’s how good Paypal is. Second, there’s Islam Chipsy. He’s the electro-chaabi (or electro-cha3bi) main man and he is taking over Europe. And, you can write this down, the world comes next. Live, the chaabi-magician smashes his keyboard almost as fast as light would, creating fast and engaging melodies over Arabic harmonies and ocidental dance rhythms (thanks to the best drummer duo I’ve seen in some years). Three guys that can either make you headbang with waves of eardrum drilling keyboards and make you dance with the sounds of Cairo. Last and definitely not least, there’s Blanck Mass. One might say he’s the better half of already stellar Fuck Buttons, taking their saturated sound approach to violent new levels of loudness, registering probably the most fucked up distortions in the whole electronic music world. Have in mind he’ll still strike your body with tribal-like drum samples topped with epic melodies and just the right amount of decibels to be absurdly loud, so brace yourself and prepare your legs. Take your ass dancing, you stuck up fuck. You can thank us later [AF]
Terzij De Horde’s “Self” release show
Last and definitely not least, we’ll spend most of our Friday evening ditching the paid part of the bill to not risk missing anything happening at the DB’s, where Terzij De Horde will celebrate the release of their first full-length “Self”, which we’ve recently praised here. The first time I saw them live in 2011, I had no idea who they were, just the first of five bands playing before Urfaust in a one day festival in Hoogeveen. Their show was good enough for me to immediately buy the “A Rage OF Rapture Against The Dying Of The Light” EP right there and then. Sometime during that day two random dudes were talking to me and I asked them about their thoughts on that first band I’d liked so much only to get one of those idiotic rants that went on and on and seemed to include pretty much everything except the actual music. Safe to say I’ve long forgotten their faces or names. The first band on that day, however, I couldn’t be more glad to have discovered them then and to have the opportunity to see their well-deserved celebration this Friday.
One of the things setting the guys from Terzij De Horde apart (pun intended) is their dedication to music, not only in what they write and perform but what they book as Footprints In The void, a sort of promoter consisting on the band together with DB’s and Stichting Ruins, which has routinely booked some of the most interesting acts to come Utrecht’s way – as this text is written they’ve just announced two shows for January 2016: Locrian and Author & Punisher. Yeah, they’re not fucking around.
Back to the show itself, they will be joined by three other forward thinking elements of the dutch black metal scene. First, there will be Nefast, the wild card due to recently announcing their set will consist entirely of unreleased material. Judging by “Discomfort” released earlier this year, it won’t probably be traditional black metal. Then we’ve got Laster, authors of the really good “De Verste Verte Is Hier” and whose live shows we wholeheartedly endorse as usually intense and mesmerising. Then there’s Gnaw Their Tongues and the absurd but thoroughly awesome situation of seeing them a whole bunch of times in a year, not to mention the upcoming shows with Dragged Into Sunlight earlier next year. [LP]