Baloji wins Principal Prize at Oberhausen Short Film Festival
Belgium-based multimedia artist Baloji has won the Principal Prize at the Oberhausen short film Festival for his fifteen-minute musical epic, ZOMBIES. Describes as ‘a journey between hope and dystopia in a hallucinated Kinshasa,’ it contains music from his well-received project Kaniama: The Yellow Version — a revised edition of 137 Avenue Kaniama presenting its material in the mixtape fashion, alongside two new tracks.
The setting alludes to Baloji’s roots in the Democratic Republic of Congo, while its subject matter — the idea that smartphones, tablets and other personal technology are leading to what the film festival termed ‘digital zombification’ — is also at the heart of the film’s aesthetic. A vibrant work crammed with subtle details, daring choreography and effective cinematography, you can watch it in full below and catch Baloji live at Band on the Wall on 29th May.
The Repeat Listen: Laurence Pike – Holy Spring
Tasting Notes: Andrea Belfi – Ore, Hiroshi Yoshimura – Wet Land, Tommaso Cappellato– Aforemention, Tangerine Dream – The Keep, Mohammad Reza Mortazavi – Focus
Percussionist, composer and Szun Waves member Laurence Pike has captured a sound daringly developed from that of his debut LP Distant Early Warning on new instrumental effort, Holy Spring. Using music technology as an extension of his drum kit — already embellished with kalimba and other percussion — he creates bold arrangements that successfully juxtapose upfront electronics and samples with subtle acoustic rhythms and free percussive performance.
Some of the most stark electronic components recall eighties digital synthesizer and keyboard settings — the ‘voices’ and synthetic string stabs on Mystic Circles lurching out from the backwash of hand percussion and synth bass, yet perfectly suiting the Australian’s creative aesthetic. Daughter of Mars continues with new age textures, short synth glissandos and beautiful swells of mallet-struck cymbals, evoking the beautiful soundscapes of Hiroshi Yoshimura.
Pike refrains from playing in a showy manner, instead displaying a reverence for avant-garde percussion music through his cultured placement of percussive colour, as on the perfectly executed Transire. While much of this material is pulse music, Pike plays gently with the groove, appearing to halt and trigger electronic elements to allow for flourishes of acoustic percussion, that would otherwise fall out of the groove.
Drum Chant is the album’s centrepiece: beginning with a throaty sample in place of the four-to-the-floor kick, which is subsequently joined by two other voice-like samples in a swirling polyrhythmic pattern, under which Pike plays rhythms on his springy tom heads and drops delay-like claves patterns. The arrangement develops into a soundtrack-esque soundscape, recalling as other sections of the record do, the dramatic synth score for The Keep, composed by Tangerine Dream.
Pike’s experimental creative process is one that even surprise him sometimes, but it has reaped fabulous rewards here, resulting in a music that is relaxing yet invigorating, reminiscent of esoteric past styles yet incredibly fresh in its aesthetic, arrangement and pace.
New Sounds and Visuals
Tenderlonious is on a role in 2019. Having recently released the astonishing new Ruby Rushton record Ironside, contributed to EABS’ forthcoming LP Slavic Spirits, and travelled to Lahore to record with Jaubi, he drops Hard Rain, a sure-fire underground house classic from the album of the same name. With its drifting synth pads, fizzy electronic hats and rich key bass, it’s a melancholic yet vibrant take on the classic musical form.
Crack Cloud’s new video for The Next Fix is self-shot by the collective and described as ‘Part One of the PAIN OLYMPICS series.’ The track’s subject matter deals with wellbeing, addiction and withdrawal, which is reflected through the video’s stark imagery and expressive choreography, although its uplifting ending captures the importance of collective spirit. Creatively arranged and multi-faceted, The Next Fix signifies the collective’s deep creative flair and stokes our anticipation for further material.
Recently signed to the Hyperdub label, DJ Haram dropped the first track from her GraceEP yesterday. Gemini Rising contains resonant lead synth lines atop heavy drums and percussion, with dark melodies and hypnotic rhythms. A member of 700 Bliss with artist Moor Mother, she invites her fellow Philadelphia native to feature on the forthcoming EP, which you can check out via the Bandcamp player.
Based in South Africa but with members also hailing from Germany, Seba Kaapstad are Mello Music Group’s latest stupendously-talented signing. The four-piece release their debut project for the label today, entitled Thina. Single Don’tis an enrapturing cut informed by jazz piano stylings, contemporary hip-hop production and neo-soul vocal tones, with a subtle sample from 2001: A Space Odyssey dropped in for good measure. That sample is referenced in the music video, with close-up shots of the eye. Fans of Terrace Martin’s productions and the work of Miguel Atwood-Ferguson will no doubt dig the richly emotive strings that close out this beautiful track.
Jack Dangers dropped a new album entitled Opaque Couché under his Meat Beat Manifesto moniker, last week.The awesome jungle cut Pin Drop has been on heavy rotation since then, with its warped sample processing, creative beat structures and rolled-off subby bass, evoking the finest ‘90 DnB sounds. A modern classic from one of underground electronic music’s most vital producers.
The Jarvis Cocker-led Jarv Is are predominantly about the live experience, but we thankfully have the outstanding new single MUST I EVOLVE? On record to enjoy.
Slowthai’s new video for Inglorious featuring Skepta sees the rising rapper being subjected to Clockwork Orange style aversion therapy, forced to confront Britain’s disorderly political landscape. He and the BBK MC later spin, ride a tank, and place a politician in stocks — a symbolic response to the earlier subjection. It’s a brilliantly produced video with dizzying imagery, ripe for the times.