Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Arts, Music & Events Preview, February 2011 (Part Two)

It’s been a revolutionary month so far but largely one for the armchair supporters in this country. I don’t foresee a fortnight’s worth of protest in the cotton capital over here but there’s plenty to sink your political teeth into, as well as gigs, exhibitions and all the rest.

This evening (Tuesday 15th) there’re a couple of gigs worth a look; This Is The Kit bring some lo-fi folk to the Night’N’Day Cafe while Debt Records signees Red Tides add more of the same in support. And Darkstar return to the Deaf Institute after their support slot with Matthew Dear last year, this time headlining.

Wednesday 16th shapes up in a similar vein with a pair of Now Then endorsed shows to sample. The Night’N’Day again plays host, this time to Animal Collective semi-copyists Fixers, a band who equally invoke Coldplay. Confused? Intrigued? Both fair reasons to check them out. Ryan Francesconi is on down the road (Oldham Street) at The Castle Hotel and if you need any further encouragement for that one, Hey! Manchester, who don’t often put a foot wrong, have organised his return following a stage-sharing with alt-folkie pin-up Joanna Newsom last year.

Also on Wednesday is a socio-economic discussion put on by Manchester Salon, entitled China’s Economic Growth: What Should We Celebrate? Alan Hudson and Berthold Schoene are the guest speakers, respectively focusing on the social possibilities of Chinese urban centres given rapid recent development and planning, and the west’s mentality towards globalisation and cosmopolitanism as factors in the relative stagnancy and decline of western society. Those waxing lyrical can be found in the Shakespeare Pub just off Market Street.

Or, finally, put your feet up for a Wednesday film upstairs at Trof Fallowfield. Shock Doctrine will be beamed onto a screen, pre-Cool Runnings, and it’s guaranteed to be more enjoyable than straining your ears through a barrage of popcorn crunchers at any given Orange Wednesday theatre.

While your political head’s screwed on you might appreciate a trip to the University of Manchester on Thursday 17th to look back at the 1990s opposition to Manchester Airport’s second runway. Joining will be guest speakers, including legal experts, who’ll be armed with a shedload of photographic slides while evaluating your, and humanity’s, carbon footprint.

Carefully Planned take their all-day gig a stage further; this is their 8th on Saturday 19th and the usual varied genres apply, broadly under an independent umbrella. Halifax’s Battles-esque prog troupe Wot Gorilla? and Huddersfield’s jazz-sampling hip-hop duo Imranimal with DJ Illas are just two of the diverse mix.

Art Corner launches its latest array of artistry, featuring twenty-odd easel-wielders, shape-sculptors and paint-merchants interpreting the title Desire & Repulsion: Grotesqueries. Monday 21st is the opening date, which is a date shared by MIE Music and their show at Islington Mill. They’ve talked the Flower/Campbell duo into another appearance (following last November’s Fuel gig) and the eardrum obliterating Our Love Will Destroy the World headline.

As you may or may not have heard, off-kilter MuseRadioheadPortishead summoners Kin will disband after this month and Thursday 24th is a final chance to catch the four-piece on the same stage. Interested collaborators Mr Heart and Veí support.

On the same evening BlankMedia freshen up the decor at their new BLANKSPACE abode. Freedom From Selection invites artists to introduce a biological slant to compositions, which will no doubt provoke some responses worth viewing.

Closing in on the end of the month, I’ll finish with a trio of gigs; Friday 25th sees Yuck at the Night’N’Day cranking up the level of 80s/90s American lo-fi indie influence; same day for a King Creosote / The Earlies double-whammy at Band on the Wall. Then ambient soundwalling glitchman Venetian Snares unpacks his electronic beats orchestra in Jabez Clegg on Saturday 26th.

Words: Ian Pennington

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Über Motion present Sascha Dive @ Sound Control, Friday 28th January 2011

Über Disco and Untold Motion recently converged, giving life to a single Über Motion offspring with the aim of bringing variations of tech and house into this city’s walls. Two heads are better than one, as some wise-cracker once uttered.

Both have made the Sound Control basement their new home since its doors opened just over a year ago; a Stimming show proving a success for Über Disco, while Untold Motion roped in Martinez and then Maya Jane Coles to mix’n’beatmatch. This one’s over three floors, though, with the Mind On Fire crew’s forward-thinking musical melange as the filling in a tech house sandwich.

It’s Untold Motion founder Enlukaa who begins tonight in the loft room, creaking the wooden floorboards into life with some chugging melodic deep house. Although the early punters are few, a striking lightshow set-up wraps the tune-warper in waves, lasers and shifting lines to supplement sampled vocal clips and piano chords in the between-beat atmosphere.

Lawrence takes the reins for hollow-sounding percussion interspersed with minimal clicks and shuffles, but there's more to explore as the Belgian double act FCL shift into first gear downstairs in the basement. They treat the growing crowd to a selection of throbbing basslines and Balearic-esque chord holds, while loitering on the fringes of funky house through layering some enchanting vocal tracks. Certainly one gent in particular is appreciative, throwing shapes and gurns in equal measure; blissfully unaware of the occasional volume blips interrupting mixing fluidity.

Leaving behind the Ninja Tuna t-shirt wearing FCL, it is a minor coincidence to briefly tune into the Mind On Fire frequency during a spin of Mr Scruff’s ‘Get A Move On’, en route upstairs. Lawrence’s set ends on a paradoxical switch from steadier, andante beats with ambient backing to more disjointed, intrusive inter-beat melodies before Sascha Dive’s turn to be entombed within the shadowy prisms of the visual show.

He immediately picks up the bass whomps and adds intensity through shakes, heavy-hitting vocal sample grinds and that quickening roll you hear when a coin reaches the final coils of a spiral wishing well charity box. Indeed, Sascha Dive has made a habit of partaking in the hard to pinpoint – a recent remix of Matthew Dear’s ‘Little People (Black City)’ attests to that – with inhuman yelps permeating sliced and diced house.

Words & Images: Ian Pennington

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Arts, Music & Events Preview, February 2011 (Part One)

I dislike introducing these with a comment about the weather, but often the temperature does correlate with event attendances. The clear blue skies are hopefully indicative of more plentiful audiences to come; here’s where you should be:

Tonight (Tuesday 1st) there is another instalment of the Manchester Salon discussion group at Tempus Bar on Oxford Road. Entitled First Tuesday, the premise is to discuss and debate current affairs on the first Tuesday of the month; this month focussing on Egyptian politics, Wikileaks and the various permutations of conspiracy and general arcane stupidity of the backward-thinking pundits at Sky Sports. You will likely have opinions on all three, so this is a chance to talk the ear off some fellow opinionators.

Cool Runnings once more brings its feel-good reggae vibes to a corner of Fallowfield on Wednesday 2nd. The corner in question being The Corner. Y'know, the one with the mannequins outside.

An Outlet’s Some Drum I Would Never Hear monthly showcase dips once again into the musical mixed bag on Thursday 3rd; picked out this time are Run Toto Run and two-fifths of Slow Motion Shoes to cement an overriding electro-pop vibe, while performance poet Martin Visceral is also welcomed alongside resident PJ Harvey clone Eleanor Lou. Across the Northern Quarter there’s a penultimate show for Kin before relocation forces a band dismembering. That’s at Gulliver’s. Neither will take any of your recession pennies when you step over their thresholds to entertainment.

Local filming fanatics MCR Scenewipe are staging a talented triangle of local ladies on Friday 4th; Liz Green, Josephine and Naomi Kashiwagi are at the vertices and you can catch all 180° for free at Fuel in Withington.

The weekend of 5th and 6th sees a rearranged art exhibition courtesy of Lead Pencil and Kraak Gallery. It’s called Pluto and Uranus are Missing. There’s an intergalactic theme; check it out. Gigs-wise on Saturday 5th, Louis Barabbas & The Bedlam Six stride the Dancehouse stage again – this time with John Otway in a performance planned to be recorded for longevity and released through Debt Records soon afterwards on Monday 7th. To sweeten the deal, your entry fee also secures your sobriquet in the record, Get Religion’s, sleeve notes.

For those looking to bounce to the beats of minimal tech and house, Content have booked in Agnes at Joshua Brooks until the early hours. But don’t forget that Sunday 6th is the last chance to submit some scribbles for Art Corner’s latest display, Theories of The Grotesque.

Closing in on the halfway point, there are a few clubnights that’ll agreeably bang aural hammer to anvil; Dots and Loops for a Tiger Lounge mash of lo-fi indie kraut-tronica on Thursday 10th; Hot Milk’s dancehall dub at The Roadhouse on Friday 11th; more from This City Is Ours’ regular electronic soiree at An Outlet on Saturday 12th. Follow all that up with the second of Hoya:Hoya’s Secret Series at The Roadhouse.

Catch your breath for a second then seek out a V-Day record release from Red Deer Club towers. Stealing Sheep’s The Mountain Dogs follows the RDC penchant for girl-group folk-pop (Sophie’s Pigeons, Sarah Lowes) with an EP littered with melody and expansive harmonies. The overall tone flitters from chirpy to twisted, sombre to sunny, but you’ll settle on the title track; it’s a real treat.

Words: Ian Pennington