Derby Festé 2008

Derby Festé 2008

WOW!

What an absolutely amazing night the opening of Derby Festé 2008 was!

Giant insects:

Derby Festé 2008

Fireworks:

Derby Festé 2008

And the enchanting Heliosphere pictured at the top.

We got into town around eight and were just in time to see the Sarruga insects marching past Bold Lane. I think my fave was the mantis, I loved the way it nibbled on vegetation it was passing. 🙂

Then the assorted giant creatures met in the market place and ambled around for a while before the Heliosphere rose into view like a multi-coloured moon. The crowd was all ‘ooohs’ and ‘aaahs’ as the graceful dancer swooped and soared, sometimes just touching hands with the audience:

Derby Festé 2008

Finally, some very lovely fireworks (more ‘ooohs’ from the crowd) and the launch of Festé 2008 was over. A perfect way to introduce Quad Derby to the 4,500 people who passed through the doors last night.

It was marvellous to feel such a positive, friendly vibe in Derby and be surrounded by thousands of people enjoying the show. Honestly, it’s the best thing I’ve seen in Derby since… well, probably the dragons last year. 🙂

Here’s to Festé 2009!

(Click any of the pics for a gallery from last night!)

Big Blue Playlist 24/9/08

Braintax
Braintax

Tonight’s best new track was ‘The Beast Is Us’ by Braintax. This track sums up why I love hip hop so much more than any rock, indie or other song-form music. It’s so powerful, it’s the perfect meld of brain and body. The lyrics are ferocious, intelligent and funny and the beat is undeniable. How can you go wrong with shit like this? :

“Spit ’bout crimes we forget for the sake of our own little tragedy’s
Incidental maladies
Irrelevant like a fucking Akon ballad is
The biggest shame of this society we live in
While we act all spiritual when we’re money driven
It’s the way we forget in a hell of a rush
Like ‘If it ain’t affecting me, then I ain’t too fussed’
Then there’s bombs on the street and us Brits get shaky
But how can we be shocked – Check our leadership lately?
They’re rattling the sabres, talking ’bout Jesus
Fundamentalist believers acting like crusaders
Memories are short over here
The zeitgeist is a truck that the media steer
So we ain’t on the streets protesting – We’re stuck in front of TV sets digesting
Forgetting about the lies and the unfound weapons
Suggestions, the questions we should be asking journalists a second
I’m (BRAAAIIIIN) taxing – the opposite of aspirin
Blood is on the streets and the East End soaking it up
Bush making me a target – and I’m not too pleased
There’s no peace when the beast is us”

There’s more going on in that one verse from Braintax than a decade’s worth of mewling indie kid slop. I really hope that Braintax isn’t quitting hip hop as has been reported. We need more artists like him, not fewer.

The Vaselines
The Vaselines

The best old track was The Vaselines’ ‘Son Of A Gun.’ What a stunning band and what a perfect pop song. Ace.

Tonight, you heard:

Raine Maida – Careful What You Wish For
System of a Down – Suite Pee
Lil’ Wayne – Dr. Carter
Elemental – Bleep
Les Savy Fav – The Equestrian
13 & God – Perfect Speed
The Medic Droid – Tease
Cardopusher – Everything Is A New Surprise
Misery Index – We Never Come In Peace
Napoleon IIIrd – Defibrillator
Hüsker Dü – Don’t Want To Know If You Are Lonely
IRS – The World Is Theirs
The Hold Steady – Stay Positive
MGMT – Electric Feel (Justice Remix)
Laura Marling – Cross Your Fingers
All That Remains – Relinquish
The Presets – This Boy’s In Love (Lifelike Remix)
Benga – Roller
Baroness – Coeur
Errors – Salut! France
AFI – He Who Laughs Last…
Marv Ellis – The Grind To Paradise
These New Puritans – Swords Of Truth
Keepin’ 6 – Step Back
Kardinal Offishall – Set It Off
The Morning Light – Wake Up!
ScareCrow – Moonlight
Mastodon – Seabeast
Braintax – The Beast Is Us
Travis Stewart – Machine Drum Remix
Throw Rag – Hang Up
Russian Circles – Harper Lewis
mc chris – Fett’s Vett
Bon Voyage – Monster
Pete and The Pirates – Mr Understanding
Audrey – Northern Lights
I Heart Hiroshima – The Cover
Distance – Mount Zion (Remix)
The Vaselines – Son Of A Gun
Vim – Purple GBC Fights Boredom AKA
Black Nite Crash – Falling Down
Pavement – At And T
Maxx Brannslokker – Solar Trip Feat. Katya Tyukova
Toxic Holocaust – War Game
Late of the Pier – Focker
Rabbi Darkside – Hors La Loi
Chromeo – Call Me Up
Propagandhi – Nation States
The Grates – Carve Your Name
Alias – Death Watch
Jenny Wilson – Let My Shoes Lead Me
Change of Ideas – Believe
Sébastien Tellier – Sexual Sportswear
Circuits – Pistols At Dawn
King Cannibal – Badman Near Dark (Komonazmuk Remix)
Destruction – Offenders Of The Throne
John Barry – Fight At Kobe DockHelga
Nas – Get Down
Gorilla Biscuits – Start Today
The Get Up Kids – How Long Is Too Long
The Parson Red Heads – Out To Sea
Lykke Li – Little Bit

Why I Love CD Baby

CD Baby Cheque
Look! I’m RICH! Well… it’s a start…

Ahhh, look at it. Money I’ve made from music, posted directly to me. No label, no accountants, no expensive audits to see how much money the label has “forgotten” to pay me this time… bliss!

I think this is the fourth cheque this size I’ve got from CD Baby. There were two or three earlier, smaller ones before I raised the payment limit to make the conversion more economical (banks charge to convert because, ummm… they can).

Notice also that most of the money is from digital downloads. In actual, physical CDs, I’m selling a piffling amount. This is the reality for musicians nowadays – nobody really gives a crap about physical product. Sure, I’ll keep on releasing CDs but this is because I’m an old bloke wot likes to hold a lyrics booklet, likes to see artwork. Obviously, that isn’t how most buyers of my music feel. Logically, I should stop manufacturing physical products. But I won’t because I’m nostalgic and illogical and love the feeling when a new album of mine arrives in shrinkwrap. Releasing an album only as an mp3… it just wouldn’t feel as real to me.

Also, the bulk of that digital income is from iTunes. I tried to get on iTunes for around a year with no joy, even got my lawyer to email them. CD Baby got me on there in about a month. That income is money that, if I’d left it to Apple’s iTunes Store admin team, I would never have earned.

If you’re an independent musician who hasn’t ever tried CD Baby, check them out. Having been a musician for 25+ years now, I can tell you it brings a tear to my rheumy old eye to actually get paid for my work.

How Piracy Helps Independent Musicians

Modcam

If you were to be looking at my Last.fm page now, at 20:56 on 9/20/08, you’d see the below pic:

Modcam

The artist I’m listening to is Modcam. About a fortnight ago, I found his album on the internet and downloaded it. I’d never heard of him before: that’s what I use the net for, discovering new artists who I then play when I DJ. Artists who I can’t hear on radio or TV since they don’t have major labels behind them, buying them airplay.

When I heard the album, I immediately loved it. It’s very melodic, flowing electronic music. There’s some glitchiness, some stuttering and futzing but nothing gets in the way of the actual harmonies and melodies. At times it feels like I’m listening to a classic soundtrack like Blade Runner, at others it’s very obviously 21st century music. Weaving acoustic guitar into the synthetic sounds masterfully, there’s a lovely variety here from ambienty washes to gently dubby journeys. Really, if you like stuff like Boards Of Canada, Air, Ochre, Kettel, Mrs. Jynx or Frog Pocket, you’ll probably love Modcam. I think this album is going to be one of my faves of 2008.

And I would never have heard of it if it wasn’t for net piracy.

You see, I liked the album so much that I bought the CD from CD Baby. And, what do you know, a little while later Modcam himself (Cameron Gaut) emailed me to thank me and also give me access to a high-quality digital download for free.

How great is that? Makes me feel a bit embarrassed and rubbish that I don’t email everyone who’s buys my stuff off CD Baby.

As always, I told the artist how I’d found their stuff, just to check whether they’d uploaded it themselves. Turns out Cameron hadn’t but has a very robust, pragmatic attitude towards fans spreading the word about his stuff.

You see, he now as an extra fan – me. All thanks to whoever it was who illegally uploaded his music.

Isn’t it amazing? How else would I have heard Modcam apart from the net? No DJs round here play this kind of stuff (apart from me, now I’ve heard it). I didn’t hear him on the radio or telly – the net was what brought me his music.

ollygoply

All of the above is why I believe there is a hidden agenda behind the record industry and its enforcers like the BPI and RIAA trying to sue filesharing out of existence. Their true agenda isn’t capturing evil music thieves who rob artists (they’d have to turn themselves in first), it’s about preserving their control of the mass media.

If you want to get on radio or TV, here or in the US, you basically have to be immensely keen on sucking corporate cock. Yeah, every once in a while, a genuine fat, unattractive weirdo like me slips through the net and manages to have a hit record. But that is immensely rare. The majors prefer that you buy their glossy products, or, if that’s not to sir’s indie tastes, how about some fake lo-fi, complete with a dodgy video.

BUT

The one thing they don’t control yet is the net. It’s the one place where all artists compete on a nearly equal footing. An mp3 of an indie artist doesn’t look any worse as a data file than an mp3 of a major label artist. When I’m illegally downloading music, I see no ads, I see no reviews by magazines who are pally with the label’s PR staff

On the net, we’re free to search out whatever music we like, independent artist have equal access unlike any other arena. I mean, come on, how often have you switched on MTV and started swearing because it’s the same fucking bands yet again? Listening to daytime radio and watching MTV, one would think there were only a handful of very bland, dull bands making all the music in the world.

Enjoy it while it lasts. The big corporations who run music hate your freedom to listen to whatever you want. They want only their product to be available, a one-size-fits-all shabby tabard of shiteness.

If they shut down our access, we will miss out on some truly gorgeous music. And independent artists like Modcam may lose their best way of bypassing the industry and getting to the ears of new fans.

US Kills Yet More Iraqi Women & Children

USA Kills More Iraqi Women & Children

The US military says seven people, including three women civilians, have been killed in an air strike in Iraq.

Witnesses are quoted as saying the attack happened after US troops had surrounded a compound in the village.

Reports quote Iraqi officials and neighbours saying that the family whose members were killed in the air strike had no connection to the insurgency.
(Source BBC News)

Oh, they were after “insurgents,” were they? Well, we all now know what the US means by “insurgent” – it means lie after lie after lie.

But let’s stop for a moment and praise the heroism of these brave US forces. Without a thought for themselves, they surrounded a compound and then called in a lethal air strike on women and children. Really, isn’t that uncommon valour?

I mean, they could have actually gone in and tried to shoot any “insurgents” (carefully planting guns on them afterwards) perhaps sparing the lives women and children.

But no. They just decided, very bravely, to blow the whole fucking lot up. Indiscriminately. It was those evil “insurgents” what caused it. If they hadn’t been so evil, then the USA wouldn’t have to slaughter those Iraqis.

Kind of reminds me of the way Al Quaeda talk about all the people they murdered in the WTC attack. Those Americans had ceased to be human to Bin Laden’s insane followers.

It appears the US government and Al Qaueda are reading from the very same tactics book. Oh, apart from one thing: Bin Laden only managed to murder 3,000 innocent Americans whereas the USA has managed to murder over one million Iraqis.

They’re clearly beating Bin Laden in the numbers game. But then, who’s counting? Not the USA.

Let’s just add the bodies of these dead Iraqis to the top of the pile of and then wave the jubilant flag for Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Bar Lisi Playlist 17/9/08

The Presets
The Presets

Best new track tonight was the Lifelike Remix of The Preset’s ‘This Boy’s In Love.’ A fantastic tune augmented by a deft remix that brings out the bass harmonies. Lovely!

The Human League
The Human League

The best old track was ‘Empire State Human’ by the Human League. Pounding, melodic, witty electronic dance music – everything the Human League were absolute masters at.

Tonight, you heard:

Modcam – Photon Pulse
Man or Astro-man? – The Powerful Fully-Transistorized Dick Tracy Two-Way Wrist Radio
The Elected – Go On
Dead Meadow – Ain’t Got Nothing
The BoomBap Cats – Step In The Alley
Young David – Deep Contact
Stereolab – Neon Beanbag
The Morning Light – Wake Up!
Cardopusher – Everything Is A New Surprise
Pissed Jeans – I’ve Still Got You Ice Cream
Fakts One – The Showstarter Ft. The Perceptionists
Maxx Brannslokker – Solar Trip Feat. Katya Tyukova
Converge – Death King
Seabear – Libraries
Bluetip – Salinas
Lykke Li – I’m Good, I’m Gone
Broder Daniel – Luke Skywalker
The Insomniaddicts – Brown Boxes
Someone Still Loves You Boris – Glue Girls
King Cannibal – Badman Near Dark (Komonazmuk Remix)
Throwdown – Step It Up
Pinback – Good To Sea
The Presets – This Boy’s In Love (Lifelike Remix)
I Heart Hiroshima – The Cover
Roots Manuva – C.R.U.F.F.
ScareCrow – Moonlight
Herman Düne – Not On Top
Shorthand – Give You Up
Toxic Holocaust – War Game
Dot.AY – Default To Paranoia
A Wilhelm Scream – Jaws 3, People
Elemental – Bleep
Russian Circles – Harper Lewis
JME – Boogiedown Bass
All That Remains – Relinquish
The Grates – Carve Your Name
The Human League – Empire State Human
The Hold Steady – Stay Positive
Minor Threat – Minor Threat
Braintax – The Beast Is Us
Austrian Death Machine – Get To The Choppa
The John Steel Singers – Evolution
Sondre Lerche – Modern Nature
Method Man & Redman – Blackout
The Locust – Moth-Eaten Deer Head
Plastique De Rêve – Lost In The City Feat. Ghostape
Future Of The Left – Suddenly It’s A Folk Song
Cyne – Elephant Rome
The Shins – So Says I
Dennis Naidanow feat. Tyree Cooper – Wonderland (Original Mix)
Smashing Orange – All Girls Are Mine
Untold – Purify
These New Puritans – Numerology (AKA Numbers)
Malajube – Le Robot Sexy
The National – Blank Slate
Aphex Twin – Windowlicker
Mystery Jets – Veiled In Grey
Madvillain – Great Day (Four Tet Remix)
The Vaselines – Dying For It
Late of the Pier – Heartbeat
Portishead – Machine Gun
The Weakerthans – Watermark
Jenny Wilson – Let My Shoes Lead Me
Maxilla Blue – Unbelievable Grams Of Pure
XTC – Are You Receiving Me
Rabbi Darkside – Hors La Loi (Outlaws) (Feat. Raid’n & Mista Mayday)
Portugal. The Man – Never Pleased
François Virot – Not The One
Daedelus – Freeze Frame Credits
Why? – Sanddollars
A Hawk and a Hacksaw – Serbian Cocek
Sufjan Stevens – Chicago
Lalo Schifrin – Nunzio In Love

Quadness

Derby Quad

Yesterday, I went for a meeting at Derby’s new centre for the arts and film, the Quad.

I’ve been invited, along with around with a few other peeps, to be a Quad Ambassador. Sadly, this doesn’t mean that I can embark on a crime spree and then scuttle to sanctuary in the Quad. What it actually entails is spreading the word about Quad and also passing any ideas or criticisms back.

We got a little tour of the new building and it’s very impressive. There’s a large space for exhibitions, two cinema screens, the first BFI Mediatheque outside of London and a bright, airy cafe. To see this kind of initiative in Derby is inspiring. And I’m not just saying that because the cinema seats are far more comfortable than the bum-destroying ones at the Westfield.

I really hope that Quad can kick-start new art in Derby in the context of its friendly, inclusive space. It’ll also be wonderful to have a purpose-built environment for art and film rather than somewhere adapted to those functions after the fact. Looking out of the Quad’s windows at the Market Place felt strange, like a whole new era in Derby had arrived.

The Quad officially opens on Friday, September 26th so you can pop down yourself then and have a look around. In the mean time, if you’d like a sneak peak, just click on the pic above for a little tour!