We will start this live review from the end, just because punk music has always done things ‘upside down’. What a great gig! It felt like a punk gathering, it had an (almost ‘lost’ from the scene) kindness in its overall atmosphere, it was fierce and rich in terms of its sonic output and it lifted our spirits… in my opinion, this was a feeling that was genuinely shared. It had everything: poetry, a daring attitude, and music that had an essence. It was a different punk gig than the other recent ones we have attended and it only enriched this year’s overall mood and vibe. However, we should really stop comparing punk gigs and just declare this whole year, ‘the best for punk music in a while.

 


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New Model Army has been a favourite band of ours for many years but it has also been a band whose worldview, as it has been reflected through their music, weLogo interview respect and feel connected to throughout the years. We listened to their great latest album ‘From Here‘ , we shared our thoughts about it but we also had the pleasure of discussing this album and many more things with Justin Sullivan over the phone, a few days before the band’s Autumn tour begins. This interview almost closes the circle that the process of listening to an album opens up. There is nothing on the planet, that this interview does not talk about and we sure hope that you enjoy reading it.


Blauerosen:  Hi Justin, thank you for joining me in this interview and congratulations on the release of another great album. You are about to start your Autumn tour from Southampton in a few days and you have spent your summer doing festival appearances. What was the best moment of these festivals so far?

Justin: We did quite a lot of festivals but the last one was in New Model Army tourthe North of Germany in the bit that you think is Denmark but it isn’t. It was on a farm, in the middle of nowhere and some of the buildings on this farm were medieval. People had just put together this festival where chickens and ducks were running around and it was everything that a festival should be.

Blauerosen: One of these festivals was the 28th WGT in Leipzig. I don’t think you have ever performed at this festival before. This is one of the very few in the world that has a very strong character. What did you think of it? How was your experience there? Did you have the time to see any other bands while you were there?

Justin:  I really liked the vibe of the festival. The venue we were playing was a bit out of town so we didn’t see that much.

Blauerosen: The new album ‘From Here‘ was recorded at a studio in a Norwegian island and its sound was inspired by the setting there. I wonder, what came first, the choice of the place or the desire to create a new album? Why did you pick that studio? Was there something specific you wanted to explore in this last album sonically?



Justin: We decided to do a new album with the same team that we did ‘Winter‘ with, Jamie and Lee. We thought about the new album quite a lot. In terms of sonics, we decided that we wanted to go for the New Model Army album coverNew Model Army big pounding sound but we also wanted the album to sound quite open and big. We decided to take the guitars away from the rhythm section so that their sound was ‘clean’ and this created this big ‘space’. Obviously the album was made in the context of everything that was happening in the world, but when I was writing the lyrics for it, I just wanted to take a step back from this whole thing of everybody screaming at each other and look at the bigger picture. We’ve written a lot of songs about ‘us and them‘ and I didn’t want this album to be full of ‘us and them’, I wanted this album to be full of ‘us’. With both these things in our heads, Jamie and Lee had this little studio where we recorded ‘Winter’ and this made that album sound like a very loud band in a very small room. This time we wanted the album to sound very big and we looked at various studios in Britain and it was Lee and Jamie who discovered this place in Norway so when we looked at pictures we said ‘we have got to do it, it has to be there‘. It is in a spectacular place but it also a brilliant studio in itself.

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When I was heading towards Paper Dress Vintage for this gig, I chose to listen to a mix of coldwave and modern classical music. In that way, I was preparing myself for whatever a ‘typical’ punk gig entails. Just how far away from reality would this assumption (about what to expect) would turn out to be, was something I could not have predicted. Below, you will read about the gig that numbed my brain for at least two hours after it finished.

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We had been waiting for this gig ever since the debut album of Whispering Sons was released in October 2018. The initial line up for this gig included Ice Baths, the debut album of which we also loved and were looking forward to listen to it live. Ice Baths were not included in the line up after all but this meant that we got to know the music of Ilia Gorovitz instead. Humble and without engaging too much with the people that had already arrived early at The Lexington, Ilia took his place at the Ilia Gorovitz livefront of the stage behind the drums and for the next 30’or so, created an improvised industrial sound which became more dynamic through the live drums that he had incorporated. The set did not have any vocals and Ilia often had to reprogram the pitch of the drums in between songs which became a bit distracting. His debut album entitled ‘The Noble Rot‘ was self released a few days after the gig and it is the first recording of an improvisational set. His EP entitled ‘A Dose of Uncertainty’ also contained recordings of improvisational sets and we had the unique chance to enjoy glimpses from both during this gig. Despite the fact that the sound in this debut album is very ‘dry’, during Ilia’s live set, his sound had much more depth, giving a captivating power to the beats. This is a promising musician and we will definitely have more chances to enjoy his music in the future.

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Let me go to hell, that’s all I ask and go on cursing them there and them look down and hear me, that might take some of the shine off their blissSamuel Beckett

Chaos Theory collage visualsThis gig took place on an ordinary Tuesday when this gig took place and it wasn’t just a great one but one that left its mark on this year’s performances. because it was perfectly organised, it could transcend its expected aims. The story that was narrated through sound in 3 ½ hours was one that was rooted in personal experiences. For the sake of this text, let’s compare this gig to the walk of a character on a path with different surfaces.


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Re-Textured Festival

Year 1, Day 1

retextured_festivalIt was about time for a new festival to present itself in London. Re-textured is an ambitious endeavour that has been inspired by the underground electronic parties of Berlin and festivals such as Berlin Atonal and Unsound Festival in Krakow. An important part of this festival’s aim is to draw attention to architecture, therefore it is not an one venue festival. It is scattered all around the city in carefully selected buildings. This first Re-textured festival has been the brainchild of the team behind Krankbrother who wanted to draw attention to lesser known or less represented electronic music styles. Blaue Rosen attended the first day of this festival because its highlight was the return of Cabaret Voltaire to London after 20 years!


A gig that was the equivalent of reading at least three art books, watching at least two social documentaries and listening to at least 10 different albums

Trevor Jackson, a multidisciplinary artist who has done design, audio and visual work and has also been inspired by the work of Keith Breeden for Scritti Politti and that of Neville Brody for Cabaret Voltaire, started his set respecting fully the announced stage times. The piece he created for the next 90′ not only ‘warmed us’ up in the best way for what Cabaret Voltaire had prepared, but also managed to alter our perception of time. Suddenly, after 40′ I had the feeling that it was dawn, I had spent all night dancing and I had listened to enough of music for one day. 90′ later, a installation_retexturedset without vocals which only had a minimalist light installation to accompany it, had managed to make almost everyone dance. Trevor himself, was in front of us, manipulating sounds and pre-recorded vocals. Apart from the overall mood created by the rhythms, what I really loved was that his set had a lot of different elements. Within these captivating rhythms, there were sonic snippets that appeared and faded away so seamlessly that the overall effect was similar to the creation of waves in the sea. All one had to do was to close their eyes and listen to the way a few synth melodies that nodded to Jean Michel Jarre, gave their place to harsh industrial beats that brought to mind the early releases of Front 242, just before the theme of ‘Warm Leatherette‘, gave way to machine-like sounds that brought to mind the industrial sounds of SPK and Kraftwerk. The energy of this set was unique and the transitions that were made from psych trance to industrial, to IDM without allowing any of these styles to fully develop within the set, was something I haven’t experienced before. This was not a cubistic approach to sound, but one that was aesthetically closer to the osmosis attempted by artists such as ROTHKO when it came to colour. Just where part of the painting almost seems to be of one or two colours, something happens at the boundaries of them and both seem to be completely different than we originally thought. This is how I experienced this set and I am already looking forward to the next time, this rather elusive musician will perform live.

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It was an ordinary Tuesday evening, the day after Scott Walker had passed away and we went to Islington Assembly Hall prepared to experience something similar to the last gig of Xiu Xiu. We were spectacularly wrong as this live performance was different in many ways and even more powerful.

The one hour of waiting time until John Bence came on stage passed really quickly as we were lucky enough to enjoy great ‘warm up’ music that JB_1 live photoincluded songs by The Cure, Nico and Bauhaus. This was, by far, the greatest and more fitting (to what would come next) set of songs that we have been able to listen to before a gig. The evening started calmly and in a rather uneventful way, which of course was hugely deceitful for the performative storm that was just about to ‘hit’ us. John Bence appeared and for the first 3-4′ was seating calmly in front of his laptop…


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A band ‘guided’ by the light of the European stars-Music that was guided by the energy of consecutive dreams

Experiencing the magic of Scratch Massive’s music live, was on my ‘to do’ list for quite some time now. Maud and Sébastien’s gigs are sold out in France but the duet had never performed live in London before so, we were incredibly happy that our wish to see this band live, came true.

Polygrains a gentle, electronic and experimental opening

Polygrains_1A few minutes later than the announced stage times, Polygrains, a.k.a Dimitris Moschas, a talented singer, songwriter and producer, filled the stage with electronic, synthpop and techno soundscapes. Polygrains has released his new album entitled ‘Future Endeavours‘ in January 2019 and we got a nice glimpse of it during his live set. Dub rhythms enriched with vibrant sonic samples, gave their place seamlessly to synthpop melodies which were, sometimes transformed into funky ones and other times they were dressed with an air of mystery filled with blasts and pulsating sounds. On top of these melodies, the vocals appeared intermittently only to deliver a few verses and add one more dimension to the sound, before giving their place to a new set of sounds and melodies that had a different energy and flow than before. Experimentation, improvisation and a nice rhythmic flow characterized the sound of this solo project that was a great choice as an opening act for Scratch Massive. There were no visuals this time to accompany the set but this only made us focus more on the rhythms. If the music of Polygrains was a painting, it would have been a cubist one, where the image can only be synthesized by acknowledging all the parts and shapes that form it.We noticed and we appreciated the good communication with the audience and we look forward to enjoying Polygrains live again in the future.


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“…there is never a destination, destinations are boring!”

Chris Connelly, the man with a thousand (and more) musical faces, released his latest album entitled ‘Bloodhounds‘ through Armalyte Industries. As has always been the case with Chris Connelly’s work, the songs are much more than great music with great melodies and a beautiful performance. They give an attractive, soul/blues/rock form, to many sources of inspiration, ranging from paintings to books and landscapes. Inspiration is a malleable concept and it can mean different things to different people. It is evident, if one takes a deep look into the details of the albums (artwork, music, song titles) that Chris Logo interviewhas created that, what motivates him is a great personal and spiritual ‘calling’ that transforms even every day experiences into dreamy, poetic and disquieting melodies. Whether you love more his industrial/dark side as has been revealed through his work with Cocksure and Revolting Cocks or his more lyrical Sylvian/Bowie inspired side more evident in his solo work, you must admit that, since the 90s Chris has created an artistically rich sonic universe.There have always been visual artists who were inspired by music but rarely have we encountered musicians being inspired by visual art. To us, translating a static image and its emotional impact into sound, is one of the most challenging tasks an artist can undertake. And yet, here we are, with an album and a musician that does exactly that.

We were delighted to be given a glimpse into the artistic mind of Chris Connelly and talk with him about the new album, his future plans, his previous work, Cocksure,Ministry, Revolting Cocks and anything in between. We would like to shout out to promoters in London in particular, to arrange for us to enjoy him perform live next year.

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Soft Cell gig poster

Soft Cell sang a sassy, gothic, pop, rock, shambolic, inappropriate (in the politically correct term), funky, techno, occult, seductive, ceremonial and psychedelic goodbye to their devoted fans and audience with a 31 track set, beautiful sound production and visuals that were consistent with their past and present characters.

You could of course, stop reading this text right here if you are just interested in a headline but we would like to say a few things about why this was an evening we are still struggling to ‘let go’ three days later.

I hate goodbyes that are pre-arranged but above all, I hate the idea of a band’s last ever show. I hate the fact that I understand all the reasons behind this and I hate the day after this last gig, where I have to find a way to let time settle the emotions experienced during this performance.

Soft_Cell_live_photo_O2


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