Cygnus – Cosmos

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Cygnus (real name, Phillip Washington) is an electronica artist who hails from Dallas, Texas. He has recently released the album ‘Cosmos’ which is available to purchase from Bandcamp, for $10. Click here to view/purchase.

The album opens with the track ‘Cosmos I’ and an unusual chord sequence which immediately conjured up images in my head, from Ridley Scott’s, fabled ‘Blade Runner’ movie. I also felt that, if played on a piano, it wouldn’t have been out of place in a free-form jazz arrangement, at least until the track develops, adding an arpeggio reminiscent of the type of melody lines used by Plaid (Warp Records).

A few seconds into the next track, entitled ‘Shuttle Launch’, it became obvious that the influence of science fiction was not only inspiring the artwork, but was firmly woven into the music as well. This one starts with much more of a retro sound, which is quickly accompanied by another interesting and slightly bizarre chord sequence, this time reminding me of Max Tundra (Domino Records).

‘Global Satellite Network’ is the name of the third track, which, when the beat kicks in sounds akin to some of AFX’s Analord series. I expect this is partly due to the use of an analog drum machine which may well be a Roland 909. The first, longer track on the album, this one definitely takes you on a journey, seamlessly altering trajectory between sections.

As well as a clear Sci-Fi element, there is also a strong retro feel to this album, not dissimilar to certain 16bit video games, especially some I used to play on the Sega Megadrive/Genesis. And although ‘Cosmos’ may wear its influences on its sleeve, this is in no way detrimental to the finished product, which appears to me to be the alien love-child of IDM and Electro. Whilst it is neither exclusively, a sense of both genres is apparent throughout. Listen out for the fantastic vocoder part in ‘Cosmos II’ and the beautiful synth work in ‘Cosmos III/Laniakea Supercluster’, which makes for my personal favourite on the album.

My only criticism is that the end is so abrupt, but it did leave me wanting more and certainly didn’t affect my overall enjoyment of this great selection of tracks.

Cygnus has also released music through Icasea Records, Central Processing Unit Records and Radical Symmetry Records. I also thoroughly recommend checking out his release ‘Tesseracter’ on CPU [CPU00001101D].

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Life’s Too Short

Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant are at it again, writing and directing their latest situation comedy for the BBC.

Life’s Too Short combines elements of The Office and Extras, but with a new slant on proceedings. This series features Warwick Davies (Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi, Willow) as the lead role and all the things he gets up to in order to raise his profile and drag himself out of the massive tax debt he has run up. It transpires very quickly that this is due to his incompetent accountant who he can’t get rid of, as he considers him a friend.

Warwick Davies is a brilliant actor and although he has obviously taken influence from Gervais for this role, he performs as if he has been in comedy for years and should not be overlooked….. no pun intended!

Whereas The Office is a full on Mockumentary, Gervais and Merchant have cleverly designed this sitcom to feel a lot more like an actual documentary, as everybody plays themselves (albeit characterisations of themselves) and includes references to actual events which makes for great comedy and even more cringe-worthy situations than you have seen before. The correlation with Extras comes from the inclusion of film stars, although because of Ricky Gervais’ Hollywood status he is now able to incorporate the likes of Liam Neeson and Johnny Depp, both delivering outstanding comedic performances in very different ways.

I did notice a few people on social networks being quite negative about the show after the first episode, with the main criticism being; it was just more David Brent but out and about and played by a dwarf, however I personally think there is much more to it than that and with the self referential jokes included in the second episode, it is clear that the potential for public opinion swaying that way was not lost on the creators.

In conclusion, I highly recommend this to anyone who hasn’t seen it yet and/or enjoyed any of their previous work. Gervais and Merchant are two of the best comedy writers around at the moment and long may their careers continue.

Click here to catch up on BBCiPlayer.

Autechre – Gantz Graf

This is one of my favourite videos of all time and the best syncing of visuals to music I have ever seen. This track is taken from the 3 track EP of the same name and was directed by Alex Rutterford. It appears on the Warp Vision DVD release containing music videos from 1989-2004, by various artists on the label.

http://warp.net/records/releases/various-artists/warp-dvd-compilation

Autechre are an electronica duo, who have released on Warp Records and Skam and are consistently pushing the boat out when it comes to experimental, cutting edge music and sound design. Anyone who likes electronic music and has not yet delved into their back catalogue should immediately do so. They are at the top of their game and have been instrumental in the cultivation of experimental music across the world.

http://warp.net/records/autechre

Make sure you play the HD version and in full screen mode for the best experience.

Grawl At The Whole Thing!

New UK hip-hop video produced by Roach Productions for the track “Grawler”, which is forthcoming on the “Good For Nothing EP” produced by Organised Mess. This track features the awesome vocal talents of Mnsr Frites, Fourny P & Jester Jacobs.

Attack The Block

In light of the recent rioting in London and various other places around the UK, I urge anyone still under the dillusion that the kids involved were just a bunch of criminals, set on destruction and terror to watch this film with an analytical frame of mind, as you may learn something about how the youth of today are feeling and why they are capable of such acts. The messages are subtly displayed, usually through the use of extremely well conceived dialogue, but anyone with an ounce of intelligence will be able to see where the film-makers are coming from. Attack The Block was written and directed by Joe Cornish, an English comedian, writer and television presenter, best known for Channel 4’s, “The Adam and Joe Show“, which ran from 1996-2001, consisting of 4 series and with co-writer and presenter, Adam Buxton.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yh9GEvMzA6I&feature=related

Since 2007 they have presented a radio show together on BBC 6 Music, however, Cornish took some time out during 2010 to direct this film.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00876k2

The best way for me to describe Attack The Block, is a cross between Kidulthood and Alien, but with some solid, dark comedy in the mix too. I was pleasantly surprised at the gore content as well, considering the 15 certification attached, however I imagine this was discussed at length when taking into account the ages of the majority of the actors and actresses involved. The film includes a number of debut roles including the main character, Moses, played by John Boyega, who takes to the lead with finesse and believability from the outset. It also stars Alex Esmail, Franz Drameh, Leeon Joes, Simon Howard, Luke Treadaway, Jodie Whittaker and Nick Frost (Spaced/Shaun of the Dead/Hot Fuzz) and is produced by Edgar Wright, Nira Park, James Wilson and Mary Burke.

Unsurprisingly, it was made in conjunction with Film 4 as well as Big Talk Productions, Studio Canal and UK Film Council. The original score was written by Steven Price, Felix Button and Simon Ratcliffe although the soundtrack also includes the Basement Jaxx track, “The Ends”. The movie was shown at the South by Southwest Festival (SXSW), Austin, Texas in 2011, where it won the Midnight Feature Award. It also won the audience award for Best Narrative at the L.A. Film Festival 2011.

I consider this feature to work on multiple levels, comparable to that of Shaun of the Dead and can be watched simply as a cool Sci-Fi, Action film, a Comedy or as an insight into youth culture in 2011. There is a scene including an exchange between two wannabe gangster kids, Props and Mayhem that is absolute comedy genius and again, this is down to the brilliant dialogue, consistent throughout the whole movie. The design of the creatures is unbelievably simple, but very striking and the reference to their colour by Moses is not only steeped in irony, but extremely funny and yet another example of the quality of the writing.

I am almost 100% sure that the majority of people who watch this will simply not get it, “Ya get me?”, but if you understand what I did there, you should definitely give it a try!

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Attack-Block-DVD-Nick-Frost/dp/B004TQOVP6

“Robots of Brixton” by Kibwe Tavares


Amazing anime depicting the future for the downtrodden area of Brixton, London. This truly is a masterpiece and something which people should really try to take a message from. “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.” – Karl Marx

Kibwe Tavares – Direction, animation, modeling, lighting, texturingetc…
David Hoffman – Photographer Brixton riots archive.hoffmanphotos.com/​
Mourad Bennacer – Sound Designer designsonore.tumblr.com/​
DJ Hiatus “The Great Insurrection” hiatusmusic.net

Headcleaner Blog

Headcleaner

For those of you that liked the video we posted from “20 years of Braindance”, you will be glad to hear that you can keep up to date with Headcleaner’s movements on his new site:
http://headcleanersound.com/

It includes live videos, information and even some videos demonstrating the devices he has been building recently. Check it out!