A sonic trip through the decades

Where were you the past 40 years? How many things changed in your life while New Model Army were releasing 20 albums? Which of these albums hit a nerve? How many of their gigs have you attended over the years? What does their 40th anniversary mean to you? How did you experience the streaming of this gig last year during lockdown? No matter what the answers to these questions are, I am sure that you have found (or are planning to) your place in the audience at one of the gigs celebrating their 40th anniversary this year and next.


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Logo interviewThe world might still be in shock while the pandemic is developing or even approaching its next (less menacing) phase, but artists have kept their creative minds on alert. Sukie Smith, a multifarious musician whom we have met through her band MADAM. is a artist who has always approached the world, sound and the audience in truly open, always thought-provoking, dynamic and passionate ways where an exchange of energies and ideas is happening with honesty. We caught up with Sukie Smith following her appearance in the four-day long multimedia event on Gallery 46, curated by Johny Brown in February ahead of the release of Band of Holy Joy’s new album ‘Dreams Take Flight’. We talked about art, about future plans and about this unbelievable year!


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Katy and Nick, a.k.a Katy Cotterell and Nick Carlisle have mesmerised us with their debut album made up of psychedelic sonic stories entitled ‘What I Did For You‘; and when we feel that way about an album, we want to learn more about the people behind its sound. While each of them is involved Logo interviewin at least 3 projects, they have joined their creative forces in order to write a mind-altering sonic recipe for us, which  comes from a place of misophonia where a fascination with the work of E.A Poe and H.P Lovecraft meet ASMR and This Mortal CoilWe have talked with them about art in the time of a pandemic, about self determination and the sonic stories that inspire them. Have a listen to their album and support it.

 

 

 


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I am writing this review on a plane, having taken with me, the energy from last night’s powerful gig of The Chameleons at 229 the venue. This was the first of the two last gigs of 2019, which started with an electronic gig and ended with an experimental one.

Time he’s on my side…she said…” (lyrics: ‘Less than Human’)

Despite not having seen any familiar faces in the audience at this gig, it felt as if I was among friends.The Chameleons live photo There was strong anticipation in the air, people were discussing their experiences from other gigs of the band in other cities and others were just voicing their desire to listen to specific songs. There were two generations of fans in the venue and it was very evident that they all shared an adoration for The Chameleons.


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On an otherwise normal weekday evening, we gathered at this intimate theatre in Athens in order to listen to the new sonic offering by OTHON and Owen Pratt. Little did we know, that what we were about to witness would be a sort of personal procession through sound that both musicians would be creating for all of us.


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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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