The Wire demo by Lairds of Scunthorpe

Latest demo tune, all one minute of it.

[mp3player width=460 height=80 config=fmp_jw_widget_config.xml playlist=the_wire.xml file=The Wire]

Digging the Ninja

Daedelus and his magic box thing

Daedelus and his magic box thing

Off to the ICA in Pall Mall to enjoy a night of Ninja Kicking madness with VanCam and Marie. When I bought the tickets for Marie’s birthday, I really didn’t know what it was going to be like other than it was a Ninja Tune evening and it was at the ICA. The latter is obviously a big plus point as it was here that I saw Einsteurzende Neubauten doing their now-infamous concert for machinery way, way, way back in the old days (like 1984 or something). They filled the stage with lots of plant machinery (cement mixers and the like) and proceeded to throw milk bottles into the concrete and tried to drill through the ICA floor with a pneumatic drill. When they finished after about 20 minutes, the audience were so excited they attacked the stage, destroying half of it and then escaped and went mad running up and down The Mall for the rest of the evening. It was brilliant and the nearest thing to a beautiful riot you’ll ever see.

So, nothing for the Ninja Tune team to live up to then. And plenty for it to live down because it could have been another two turntables and a cello catastravaganza like the last time.

First up, DJ Food. Pretty fucking awesome. That great mix of really kick ass beats and killer sounds, like the best bits of Pulp Fiction. A melange (and I don’t use the word lightly) of great sounds and rhythms. Sounds to cut shapes to. I was on the floor dancing for the whole hour.

Where to start with Daedelus? Well first off he’s got this box that is reminiscent of my favourite maschine (see past grazillion posts on the desireability of said Maschine), only his looks as though it’s a 16 x16 box, which is kind of like Maschine squared. Fuck knows how it works, but I’m guessing that it’s the same kind of sampler trigger/display thing. Anyway, this is what he plays. And it’s killer. Remember when Chemical Brothers just started and block rocking beats were new and exciting. That’s like child’s play compared to this. This is like bullish, ferocious, beat love. It’s half DJ, half performance, only there are no turntables, no records, only samples and this one guy. He’s like the Johnny Depp of music, half caricature, half genius and completely unlike anything else. I mean remember all those great sampler/synth bands and then remember how rubbish they were live, plinky plonking themselves through their tracks trying to be live bands (Depressed Toad) or DJs (Orbital). This guy is like a maestro in comparison. It’s samples, and beats and live and it fucking rocks.

Bus stop for Ninjas

Bus stop for Ninjas

So, phew. Ninja Tune pull it out of the bag and totally make up for poncing bloody cello woman and her rubbish DJ friend. There was a load of weird synchronicity going round too, something to do with the Plinth in Trafalgar Square or the like. London had gone into one of its collective periods of municipal madness. It reminded me of late nights after gigs when all the real people had gone home and the streets belonged to strange people (and that’s strange in every sense of the word). That kind of magic, this isn’t really a normal city feeling you only get on really special occasions. I got off the bus on the way home and saw this. I stood in the middle of the road taking pictures as the night busses tried to kill me. Never seen it before in my life. Next morning it was gone. I shit you not.

For one night there we were all Ninjas.

More Better Bigger Faster

Beatmaker on the iPhoneCould this be my absolute favourite app yet? Not entirely sure seeing as I’m very attached to Posterize, but it’s a damn close run thing. Only the other day I was thinking about having to have the fantastic Maschine, only to wake up at 4 in the morning and find this on the app store. Admittedly it costs (and at over a tenner it’s at the extreme end of the app cost range), and it’s like some kind of spastic half-arsed country cousin to Maschine, but it’s actually not bad at all. I was able to pull together some bits and pieces and cobble together a new track (all 53 seconds of it) and still have enough time to go back to sleep before morning. 01 First Stab is the result and I’ve got to say it’s pretty bloody good for something put together on a phone in bed at 5am. Definitely something I’ll be spending more time with. I’m not sure if there’s any kind of song sharing community – the BeatMaker community seems pretty new – but it would be great to hear what other people are doing with this.

A small section of the huge mud wall painting at Tate Britain

A small section of the huge mud wall painting at Tate Britain

Something else I’ll be spending more time with is Posterize. A great simple, free app that turns your iPhone pictures into pseudo-polaroids and lets you scribble any message you like on it, as long as it’s 14 characters or less. Simple and potentially stupid, it’s a bit like photo candy or popcorn or crack. Once you’ve done a bit you probably want to do some more. My latest were taken at the Richard Long exhibition at the Tate Britain, which is pretty bloody fantastic too. It’s one of the first exhibitions for ages where the catalogue is genuinely worth having. And you can see what the effect of Posterize is on this too. It just makes the colours look really enticing and I love the stupid writing. You can see more Posterize images in the Posterize group on Flickr and more of my ones on my Flickr pages.

Meanwhile, putting the iPhone and its apps aside for one moment, let me roundly condemn Van Cam for introducing me to Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s Preacher comic. I’d been trying to avoid it for ages, mainly because I’d taken a somewhat irrational dislike to Dillon’s artwork (no accounting for taste), but I got suckerpunched into it when we were inadvertantly browsing through the racks at the Trafalgar Square Waterstones. Now I’ve read the first issue I’m bloody well crack happy on the book and only too aware that I’m going to have to blow hard earned cash money on the remaining 8 or 9 volumes. Bastard.

Finally, I’m loving the new Little Boots album.