Oli Freke

Tech House / Techno / House

Holden review - Purcell Room, 17/06/2014

Now this was more like it! A man, a massive Doepfer modular synth and a drummer.

First up was the support though -  a man who didn't introduce himself and then played fairly standard FTB (Faceless Techno Bollocks) for 40 minutes. Don't get me wrong, I like FTB as much as the next man, but when coupled with jittery double exposure 'contraversial' video of meat, old people and toddlers having their ears pierced, it doesn't really cohere as a 'thing'. So moving on...

Holden was great. Once again I'll have to retract my Sound on Sound article decrying the use of real drums in electronic music. When the electronics are as pure as this, the fizz and crackle of an acoustic kit is a perfect counterpoint, adding weight and energy. As well as a bit of visual interest!

So, yeah, an hour of hypnotic arpeggiated, full spectrum analogue synths. Some tracks reminiscent of Vangelis lusciousness with an added dash of Aphex Twin Ambient works (Blackpool Late 80s'), others more reminiscent of Tangerine Dream in their hay day (The Caterpillar's Intervention). Al of which was hypnotic enough to build up momentum and atmosphere, but avoided minimalistic austerity.

I loved it. It was my favourite thing - tight conceptual work that stimulates creativity rather than leading down a cul-de-sac. Inspiring.

The future of synthesizers

I have seen the future of Synthesizers on this year's Eurovision! And it's round! Very round. And also, um, round. Basically round. 

 

Musically, of course, the songs were generally awful, though less novelty than usual. (which is a shame, bad novelty music is much more entertaining that bad middle-of-the-road music).

Despite that, interesting to note the influence of drum'n'bass and dubstep on a couple of the tracks. London beats are leading the way, as ever!

Fuck Buttons - Barbican Review 25/04/2014

Saw the Buttons of Fuck last Friday at the Barbican. Very fine indeed - first gig I've seen of theirs and I'd happily see 'em again.

Using the tactics of minimalism they deployed huge blocks of sound endlessly churning over. Despite the repetition it never settled down to a boring groove; the looping segments always yearning for something intangible and always starting afresh with a renewed urgency.

I've never seen an electronic act really give the Barbican Hall an atmosphere, but these guys managed it. Even thought it looked absurd in a seated auditorium, about a quarter of the circle rose to their feet and swayed / grooved to the physicality of the sound.

The simple device of projecting their silhouettes on the screen and overlaying it with various psychodelic nonsense also added up to the overall hypnotic effect.

I loved 'em.

Supporting were Mount Kimbie, who I wasn't so impressed by. All the faff with a metallic (noisy) parachute above the stage and 1960's era Pink Floyd reflected water ripples didn't seem to warrant the effort of 15 (count 'em) stage hands to dissassemble the mess. And various other musicians trooping on and off stage during the gig didn't seem to add much to the generally muddy, bass heavy sound.

And don't get me started on the self-regarding be-hatted photographer who posed around the place 'doing art'.

After the gig were noisy noise merchants Fenesz, who seemed quite good, but my chums & I wanted to have a conversation so we hid round the corner where we could hear ourselves speak.

Top evening all round, and top marks to http://bleep.com/ for organising it.

Kraftwerk Gig @ Tate Modern [Techno Pop]

My bro is cool. He scored tickets for Kraftwerk's gig at the Tate Modern on 12th Feb. It was the 'Techno Pop' album night - though I know it as Electric Cafe, and it will ALWAYS be Electric Cafe to me. Perhaps that's why I had a band called Cassette Electrik. 

It was a cool gig - 3D visuals - Kraftwerk music - etc - etc. One could get cushions to sit on and everything. There's a moment in the Kraftwerk documentary that was broadcast a while afterwards that used footage from the gig - and you can see my bro quite clearly in the audience. Not sure where I'd got to at that precise moment - annoying! 

Here are some pics I took of the event...

A nice Spotify app - Boil the frog

This is easily my favourite of the many Spotify apps out there: Boil the frog

Boil the Frog  is a Spotify App that will create playlists that gradually take you from one music style to another by analysing adjacent styles and creating an arbitrary path from one to the other.

Sadly not available to the public yet, but the creator of it, Paul, kindly did me one that went from Dubstep to Beethoven. Check it out: Dub-hoven

Roland’s missing Bassline synth…

Roland is well known for it’s TB-303, TR-808 & TR 909 synths and drum machines, but it also made others in this numeric series: the SH-101, MC-202, and so on. However, it never made a ‘404’ of any sort, which leads me to create this HILARIOUS info-graphic:

Fun extra facts: 'TB' is an acronym for Transistor Bass; TR is Transistor Rhythm and MC is Micro Composer. However, there does not seem to be any consensus on 'SH' - perhaps SyntH??? Shut up, that was fun.