Saturday, 15 December 2012

Rave again the machine - The Algorithm Live Review - London 28/11/12

The Algorithm *****(*****)
Hacktivist *****
Collisions *****

The Black Heart, Camden, 28th November 2012-12-02

It’s party night. Woo. And indeed hoo. Yup, the good folk at Basick Records are hosting the coolest do in town. So, cherryade in hand, let’s do this.

Collisions *****
To kick things off are tonight’s sausages on sticks Collisions. Not overly familiar with their work I don’t know what to fully expect. But as they launch into a type of Prodigy-infused metal, d&b mash up with sprinklings of Skindredy geetar sounds, they certainly hit the spot.

They mix a full-on rocky groove with a bucket load of influences with Arabic progressions, beat downs wobs and stoner loops thrown in.

They even use autotune in a post modern ironic way which draws more than a smirk from the enlightened muso crowd. Saying that, towards the end of the set, they probably overdo the autotune thang….hide your kids, hide your wife….

All round a decent amuse bouche served with energy and a doom coulis.

Hacktivist *****
Sausages on sticks downed, time for something altogether more substantial. Bring on the ostrich, stuffed with a penguin, stuffed with a turkey, then a chicken, then an evil crow, then a firecrest and finally an angry fucking wasp. Yum.

A beardy bloke with a hi-gain 8-string guitar and probably a heap of Line 6. Check. Fashionable low-rise drum kit. Check. Bass plugged in to what looks like NASA control room. Check. We got djent. But wait a minute. Two urban in da hood looking evil shitbags seem to have put their Camberwell carrots down and wandered erroneously onto the stage. Rappers? Djent? It couldn’t possibly…

Well, fuck me. It only works. And how.

An unholy and unlikely marriage of street, studio, shoe-gaze, tech, d&b, grime and metal shouldn’t ever have left the genetic modification lab. But well done to the evil geniuses who proved the world wrong. There’s real devil and thunder to their work. Full of energy, wit, aggression, musicality and a malevolent cheekiness. They even throw in a brilliant cover of  Kanye West’s Niggas In Paris which makes the original sound lame and lifeless.  The crowd go off their tits and the evil shitbags respond accordingly rebel-rousing and carousing the sweaty mass towards fever pitch. Brilliant, bad-ass and bewildering. Need a bucket and two dozen Alka Seltzer.

The Algorithm *****/*****

After the surreal grimey-djenty buffet, what next?

A diminutive floppy-fringed French nerd with a box of buttons and a kit drummer. Obviously.

The Algorithm’s new album is a modern masterpiece. Fusing 8-bit bleeps, chipped-up wizardry, dancy and ravy sequencer-driven burps and squawks, whirrs, arpeggios and farts with polyrhythmic mathy breakcore explosions, wobs and huge djent-sounding guitar muscles all with moments of Jean Michel Jarre and Tangerine Dream thrown in for good measure.

And tonight RĂ©mi Gallego brought his long player, a bottle of Lambrini, half an ounce of leb, some dry roast peanuts and is in the mood to party. Well, er….to put his long player on and press play.

Yup, that’s pretty much it. Of course, the drummer does stuff. And mesmerizingly so. Just to watch him keep abreast of the wild tempo and rhythm changes while Gallego is twiddling knobs and eating his peanuts is worth the admission money. But I’m on the horns of a foul dilemma.

I don’t get DJs (not that Gallego is just a DJ – but might as well be tonight). And, yes I know, he doesn’t use traditional decks, but a bewildering computer thingies with buttons, pads, accelerometers and screens. But just for the record, decks are for playing music. Other people’s music. They are NOT A FUCKING MUSICAL INSTRUMENT. AND DJs ARE NOT FUCKING MUSICIANS! Even if your’e one of those smug cunts that sits behind anachronistic deities like Limp fucking Biskit or Linkin fucking Pork with big headphones on scratching looking urban and cool. Just f-f-f-f-f-fuck off. Off. Off.

Hence the reason for the two ratings for tonight. There is immeasurable skill, talent and flair in Gallego’s work as a composer, musician and producer – hell, the album’s near enough been on repeat since its release (big up to the brilliant Basick Records for jumping on that one!), but, I’m a simple soul and a rock and roll show, should be exactly that. Not just pressing play and twiddling some knobs.

Don’t get me wrong, the ‘performance’ was amazing. Especially the drumming of the incredible Mike Malyan. The crowd looked like they’d been on poppers and had car batteries constantly wired to their nads. Pits, jumps, frenzied skanking, stepping, spasticking and sweating throughout the whole set.

But, it was a diminutive floppy-fringed French nerd with a box of buttons and a kit drummer. The guitars were digital phantoms. The tightness of the virtual band all programmed, quantized and sequenced. Soulless, surgical, perfect.

Oh, I don’t know. The music is undeniably brilliant. The crowd don’t give a flying fuck whether anyone plays; or just presses play. I’d love to see him expand the live performance. I dunno, get Chimp Spanner man Oritz on the banjo or the bloke from Dirty Loops on the bass. Take it up a level. One of the whole points of technical music is being dumstruck by the technical prowess. Imagine if Animals As Leaders came with a ghetto blaster and no guitars. Pressed play. Stood nodding, tweaked the odd button. Well, that.


Arcane Roots next.

More tunes soon, Bwoooar!

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