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Found 18 results

  1. So, Finally There's some "official" info coming out on this... DJ Magazine this month has a feature on Global Communication which includes this little tidbit:
  2. 1500 numbered copies, January 7, 2020. Sanctuary Records is reissuing the seminal 90s ambient album by GC on 180g double vinyl. If you didn't grab one in 2005 when they remastered it, now is your chance. Several stores already sold out with no official announcement yet from the label. https://www.normanrecords.com/records/73982-global-communication-7614 https://www.hhv.de/shop/en/item/global-communication-76-14-coloured-vinyl-edition-704175 https://www.juno.co.uk/products/global-communication-76-14-reissue/759132-01/ https://www.phonicarecords.com/product/global-communication-7614-lp-coloured-vinyl-pre-order-music-on-vinyl/164951
  3. New stuff out in Sept. he says. He talks for about 10ish mins and then the first track is GCOM I think but the rest seems to be already released stuff.
  4. Performing past Global Communication hits, as well as "new forthcoming material under the GC moniker" https://www.ticketweb.uk/event/global-communication-ft-ross-sampson-jazz-cafe-tickets/10036425?pl=JC&fbclid=IwAR3bwxvEULWlVo1I_mkuQCvUiw-egutWoXYV3fWb9-lbVtpZnIN13U4_lRo
  5. Reissue of deep house classic, first time full 11 min. mix has been available digitally. 180g https://www.faroutrecordings.com/blogs/news/25th-anniversary-12-azymuth-jazz-carnival-space-jazz-mix-global-communication-remix?fbclid=IwAR3nWzGZnfQPCDjc0VoRzF9RRKOzKhU9StLhKBRTOlAYF41xNZrl0a_xrFI https://azymuth.bandcamp.com/album/jazz-carnival-space-jazz-mix-global-communication-remix
  6. https://www.residentadvisor.net/events/1265087?fbclid=IwAR1zZ-vGSvraT59O4FEcExaKIY3DtGwpbMQ37yhraZwzjF_0ZHOFGJVdDKw
  7. June: https://markpritchard.warp.net/release/133651-mp-productions-rakatak-june-19 July: https://markpritchard.warp.net/release/139578-mp-productions-in-my-heart-july-19?fbclid=IwAR3EvGL5qwNkeL1fX8zQwpOmZ4C-L4Ia-DT5EHMstDIEe_dnx_Glk9v9D_w
  8. “In addition Middleton will focus on the cosmos’ influence on his new Sci-Fi/Sci-Fact concept album – an imaginary soundtrack to anthropocene man’s search for a habitable exoplanet in our neighbouring star systems.”... From the press release for the upcoming ROYAL ALBERT HALL AND CLASSIC ALBUM SUNDAYS PRESENT TOM MIDDLETON ON MUSIC FOR EXOPLANETS PART OF FESTIVAL OF SCIENCE: SPACE Friday 29 June 2018 Starts: 7:30pm https://www.royalalberthall.com/tickets/events/2018/classic-album-sundays-tom-middleton/
  9. http://warp.net/releases/mark-pritchard-under-the-sun/ http://warp.net/news/mark-pritchard-new-album-under-the-sun-released-in-may-listen-to-sad-alron/
  10. 10 B-sides and alternate takes. https://roughtrade.com/music/under-the-sun-expanded-vol-1
  11. http://www.percussionlab.com/sets/jedi_knights/intergalactic_funk_transmission Tom Middleton & Mark Pritchard (AKA Global Communication, Reload, Chameleon, Secret Ingredients, Link & E621) had a short run from 95-99, as the Jedi Knights, releasing new-electro, funk, house, techno, and drum-n-bass until a remix for Depeche Mode put them on George Lucas' radar resulting in a cease and desist on using the name. This is a collection of their complete catalog compiling everything from the classic "May the Funk Be With You" on Clear Records, to their many remixes, to their final unreleased "Return of the Jedis" EP. Bless the Funk. 1) Antacid [Jedi Knights Remix] - Link & E621 2) The Flow [Jedi Knights Mix] - Model 500 3) Noddy Holder - Jedi Knights 4) Science Friction - Jedi Knights 5) Jumbo [Jedis Electro Dub Mix] - Underworld 6) Absorber [Jedi Knights Remix 2] - Bomb The Bass 7) Lessons - Jedi Knights 8) Pubic Funk (Live) - Jedi Knights 9) Dance Of The Naughty Knights - Jedi Knights 10) May The Funk Be With You - Jedi Knights 11) Air Drums From Outer Bongolia - Jedi Knights 12) Big Knockers - Jedi Knights 13) One For M.A.W. - Jedi Knights 14) Nutsin - Tom Middleton 15) Catch The Break - Jedi Knights 16) Elkah (With Rice And I) - Tom Middleton 17) Afrika Shox [Jedis Elastic Bass Remix] - Leftfield 18) Home [Jedi Knights Drowning In Time] - Depeche Mode 19) Time Machine - Mark Pritchard 20) Absorber [Jedi Knights Remix 1] - Bomb The Bass 21) Solina (The Ascension) - Jedi Knights 22) Jumbo [Jedis Sugar Hit Mix] - Underworld 23) Disco Magic [secret Ingredients Mix] - The Jedis 24) Human Blancmange - Jedi Knights 25) The Truth - Jedi Knights 26) Afterlife - Jedi Knights 27) 3000 Fuckery - Jedi Knights
  12. http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/CDs/176984/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_ipg=&_from=&_ssn=danielaphex Got quite a range on there including many the folks on here will probably be interested in.
  13. Oct. 30 - O2 Academy - Bristol, UK Nov. 02 - O2 Academy Leeds - Leeds, UK Nov. 03 - Manchester Academy - Manchester, UK Nov. 05 - Academy Brixton - London, UK Dec. 29 - Glenworth Valley - Glenworth Valley, Australia
  14. https://www.gearslutz.com/board/q-mark-pritchard/ Mark's Doing a Q&A over at gearslutz Anything you wanna ask about how he made any of his music. Mostly Gear talk but some nice little anecdotes floating through there as well enjoy
  15. The New Mojo has a nice retrospective article on 76:14 by Global Communication anyone have a copy and could post a pic of it. Might be linked to it, in the future, on the Mojo site, but as of yet is not there... Nice read...
  16. http://www.thewire.co.uk/articles/220/ Global Communication + The Black Dog + Bedouin Ascent + Sähkö: New Complexity Techno Issue #131 (Jan 95) | Essays By: Matt Anker, Tony Herrington, Rob Young | Featuring: Bedouin Ascent, Black Dog, Global Communication, Sahko Printable version The combination of digital technology and the easy accessibility of samplers and computers have irrevocably changed the way sound is produced and perceived. As electronic music moves further away from the conventions of the club culture that spawned it to become a profound means of expression in its own right, a new breed of musician is emerging to forge new directions in Ambient and Techno with the parallel sciences of multimedia and electronic networking. Here we profile four such acts: Global Communication, The Black Dog, Bedouin Ascent and the Sähkö collective. Global Communication: Evolution theorists I'm sitting on a sofa in the West Country, asking Mark Pritchard about projecting yourself into a machine, about machines talking to each other, about intuition At that moment, for no obvious reason, his two dogs erupt in an incredible barking fit, sprinting down the corridor ina mad rush. Yeah, that. How do you translate that inside your kit? It is a small house at the outermost rim of Crewkerne in Somerset, poised dead at the spot where the row of cottages trails off into scraggy fields littered with twisted metal sheds and scraps of chicken wire. The interior appears in a state of total flux. Move unexpectedly, and a parrot sets up an insane hollering. At the rear of the expressive household, in a tiny soundproofed room looking out at a knot of trees, Pritchard and his colleague Tom Middleton have established the operations room of Evolution (named after a Carl Craig track); which is to say, the creative team that's been putting out records under the names Reload, Global Communication, and Link. Still in their early twenties, their output and scope of reference is phenomenal. They were making Jungle plates on Pritchards Recoil imprint as far back as 1991 (Mark still DJs on a Yeovil pirate), and since the release of the Reload album A Collection Of Short Stories on Infonet last year, bolstered by the Global Communication 76:14 album last summer, they've had to stem a tidal wave of remixes/rethinks for artists like Aphex Twin, Jon Anderson, Chapterhouse, The Grid, Palmskin Productions Their interest and assimilation of new and untried technologies is based not on a blind wager on bogus notions of futurism, but on the gut desire to create and connect. Middleton speaks of creating an emotional music, bound in to the relocation of funk human feel within the music's warp and weft. Listen to the dusky sweep of GC's Ob-SelonMi-Nos, Reloads Le Soleil Et La Mer, their trumpet-soaked Natural High remix for Warp 69, and all their excellent forthcoming Link material. Cross-reference with a few of their avowed heroes: Herbie Hancock (their latest EP is called Maiden Voyage), David Sylvian and Tomita; and hope that they carry out their plans to use live instruments next year. Hey presto they've discovered the lost legacy of fusion. There's also a strong utopian impulse behind their activities. The project increasingly thrives on interaction, collaboration and feedback from listeners. "There is Global Communication occurring", says Middleton. "It's a way of encompassing everything, different arts and forms of expression and getting it to people. I want to take the music industry for a ride, take liberties, set up a network that will help other people out. A lot of our friends are really imaginative people with original ideas, getting stifled and losing faith in life because there are so few outlets. Global Communication can be a chance for the people who communicate with us to feed back with bits of philosophy and writing, and share that with the world again, and that will perhaps get people to contact each other, get people to talk a bit more." "We've had feedback from a 50 year old guy whose been into electronic music for years; from a Russian radio station; and from a school where the students had to write down their feelings while listening to 76:14,"adds Pritchard. With so much input feeding their heads, it seem extraordinary that they find it so easy to project themselves into so many machines, systems, personae. "The main problem is we like so many different styles; we end up going off on many different tangents," explains Mark. Recently we've been setting ourselves more of a brief. Its just an extension of our personalities really, Tom says. An extension of what were feeling. I know there's definitely an aspect of my character, the feminine side, that a lot of blokes don't tune into. He gestures towards the Aphex aural exciter, whose frequencies cause sexual arousal, and the Akai sampler. That is an awesome bit of kit, with so much potential. There's too much laziness; just bang hit the preset. Later, he adds: Its all about science, thats what it boils down to the science of manipulating eclectic sounds, recycling sounds andbringing them up to date, or taking them into the future. On the lasttrack on the Reload album, says Mark, all the beats are in Junglestyle. But instead of using breakbeats we used weird electronic noises. Thats why it sounded so different, because it wasnt totallyinfluenced by Detroit or European Industrial or experimental composers. We were taking things from Jungle, jazz and classical music instead, andthrowing it all together. It made a completely new sound. But there are new sounds appearing all the time, and youve got to keepon moving. On the next GC album they plan to explore a theme: Seasons, Senses or Elements. We want to try and incorporate live musicians withelectronics, says Mark. I'm going to get my guitar out again, and Tommight play the cello. And weve had some mad ideas, says Tom, abouttaking it to a multi-sensory level and researching into human behaviour. Itd be interesting to develop this music as a kind of therapy. GCs relationship to their music resembles that of gallery curator toexhibit they create a space and a climate for sounds, ideas andresponses and like the best founding fusion music, its open andspiritual and funky. Were definitely thinking in terms of music thatlifts you to a higher plane, says Tom. There is a vibe thats beenlost were disappointed in the lack of soul and funk injected intothis electronic music, and when people say its soulless, on the wholetheyre correct. Global Communication is for just emotional music: soul-nutrifying sounds that hit you straight in the stomach. Link wassomething that Mark started off Electro-funk. Theres still plenty offun to be had with aspects of House, Electro, and jazz-funk, without the serious vibe you get from a lot of Techno producers. Arent there anynegative aspects to what theyre doing? Well, says Mark, Its harder to make mistakes, which is a shame sometimes. There is Global Communication occurring. Its good to talk. Rob Young The Black Dog: Spanners in the works In the guiding animus of electronic culture, the cult of personality isa dated irrelevance. Which is why the three members of The Black Doghave undertaken so few interviews during their five year career. Thereis a personality behind the music, in the music itself, so you dontneed words particularly, says Ed Handley, the goateed third of thetrio. I think its important to know that the people making musichaven't got bad intentions, that theyre honest. But interviews dontreally prove that either way. I suggest to the group that I'm speaking to them as a cell in the greatcollective Techno brain machine, of which they are one tiny butinfluential synapse. I like the idea of a like mind, says Ed. Aswith many of their contemporaries, The Black Dog, who describethemselves as a multimedia company to encompass their computergenerated art, video and e-mail activities, are driven onwards by thethreat of inactivity their own, or that of other musicians who dontseem so interested in pushing at the musics limits. Youve got tokeep yourself interested as well. If youve made sequenced music forfour years and suddenly it gets tedious, youre forced into doingsomething different just to keep the enjoyment there. Thats whatllhappen with loads of electronic musicians itll diversify, take in newelements and become more original. The situation will force it. Ed, Andy Turner and Ken Downies first album for Warp last year wascalled Bytes in retrospect, naively geeky. Spanners, 1995s firstwork of genius, draws upon a wider and more intensely-worked set ofsource materials, and the tracks are characterised by an abundant senseof efficiency: everythings up and running smoothly, the computers arehappy. People have said that some of our music is really good fordoing the housework, and keeping busy to. I like music for thatpurpose, just keeping you busy when youre alone: motivator music thatyou dont have to concentrate on. Its multi-purpose music, agreesAndy Turner, looking up from his copy of The Idler. The way its puttogether, its everything youve heard: a combination of all your audioexperience to date. Its sort of macrocosmic, suggests Ed. Itreflects the journey of us as individuals, as well. If you want to callit a journey, its the journey to death. It's the passing of time, music. Ken Downie isnt present at this meeting, but his responsibility is theBlack Dog on-line bulletin board, which recently exploded on reaching1000 users. The band were once quoted to the effect that they used ahuman feel to look for a computer soul. Id have expected the opposite(swapping the words human and computer). Ed: Yeah, I dont knowwhere that came from. Probably had too many smokes. Computersdefinitely dont have intelligence; they communicate with maths, whichis a really pure form of communication that doesnt have personality orego. So in a way thats a reflection of the human soul: purecommunication. Thats what you aim for. So maybe they have what weourselves most want. We're back to the proliferation of like minds. Do they feel a part of aglobal network of artists, or, as certain theoreticians would have it, cultural producers? Andy thinks so. Yeah, there is a community. Wespeak to other artists, not necessarily people making music. Thereseems to be two sides at the moment, Ed advances. People who want topreserve the old order, retain the power structure, and then theres theother side who are willing to change it. Action is the best way to dealwith any problem, so theres no way were worrying about the concepts ofwhat were trying to do, were just trying to be truthful. And theequipment helps you do that? I can imagine an overall track in myhead, but Im not competent to actually go in there and do it, like, oh, Ive dreamt about this tract, and I can play all the notes I need toplay. I cant really do that. I suppose some people can, like Mozart... Andy responds: 'I bet he got a lot of his ideas messing around on thekeyboard as well'. Rob Young S hk : Electricity generators You find yourself located in what has come to be known, geographicallyand culturally, as a remote corner of the world. Nevertheless you haveaccess to recordings of music that inspires you, and the equipment thatcreated that music is not so hard to find either. No one in your ownsurrounding seems to hear or understand, but you realise that crossinglocal borders is the least of your tasks... That's the background to the formation, in early 1993, of S hk Recordings and its various satellite projects, in Helsinki, Finland, byTommi Gronlund. S hk (meaning 'electricity') is a broad plateau for therelease of impeccably turned-out electronic musics that polarise intothe ultra-minimal brain machinery of O and Panasonic, and (at anotherextreme) the analogue cocktail-lounge Sun Ra mannerisms of the eccentricFinnish ex-pat Jimi Tenor, whose day-job is photographing tourists atthe Empire State Building in New York ("There's a King Kong background; I take nearly 100 a day," he says.) Low budgets mean tight quality control. The label has put out ninereleases to date with four more imminent, all distinguished by anextraordinary singularity of purpose and sparse, idiosyncraticpackaging. The backbone of S hk 's output is the work of Mika Vainiounder the pseudonym O; this years Metri CD came close to perfection. Where most repetitive-beat Techno assigns to the listener a fishlikefive-second memory, O employs various tactics to elongate the attentionspan: frequencies magnified to intense, uncomfortable levels, tessellated pulses compacting and expanding further with eachrepetition, aural by-products given off that replicate themselves in andout of phase. The S hk crew are constantly searching for new, extremetonalities. Customised gadgets are constructed for individualperformances and recordings, such as the Complex Sound Generator (Itused to be a typewriter Originally it was made for a movie camera, butthen we started using it to make music, because it has very puresounds), an oscilloscope that converts impulses from TV, video orbackground noise into sound, and a six-metre tube called Holmes John, not Sherlock to create infrasounds. (It makes your intestines wanderaround your body, and you shit in your pants). A recent live set atLondons Quirky club blew the rooms fusebox, plunging the venue intodarkness and confusion, although they deny that deliberately causingmayhem is part of the plan. The desire to find new ways for audiences to experience the music alsounderpinned their Ambient City project earlier this year: a24-hour-a-day, three-week radio broadcast on a Helsinki radio frequency, with hour-long slots contributed by artists from across Europe includingMouse On Mars, The Hafler Trio, Mixmaster Morris, :zoviet*france, andMuslimgauze. Are they setting out their stall as purveyors of in thewords of co-conspirator Kimo (aka Mono Junk) Lift music of thefuture? We dont have any ideology, says Gr nlunds. It can beanything. But I think our records feel a bit different than English. It can be up to very small things. Somehow they cant make them loud. Rob Young S hk Recordings, Peramiehenkatu 11, 00150 Helsinki, Finland. Fax: 010 358 0 628870. Bedouin Ascent: Digital connections Spiralling inwards from the debate surrounding the place of the organismin this age of vapour, one possible future direction for electronicmusic involves a rapprochement between the linear motion of digitalprocessing and the out-of-control rhythms of biology. On one level, this involves the development of a new electoacoustic biomusic, onewhich utilises the technologies of sampling and computer-generated noisein parallel with organic sound sources, rather than to excavate aliensound worlds of pure electricity from the guts of an Apple work station. The music recorded by Kingsuk Biswas, a 26 year old Londoner of Bengaliparentage better known as Bedouin Ascent, offers one example of how thisapproach might develop. The records he released in 1994 on the RisingHigh label The Pavilion Of The New Spirit EP and the recent Science, Art And Ritual album were dominated by dense layers of complexrhythmic patterns which integrated drum machines with live tablaplaying, fusion piano reveries, and sounds suggestive of primitive reedand pipe instruments on the one hand, the howl of overloading circuitryon the other. However... "For me, those kinds of distinctions have no meaning: male/female, natural/supernatural, organic/digital - these are completely arbitrarycategories. All things are as they are, regardless of how you perceivethem. The Western mind has a way of cutting up the world into whatevercompartments it deems necessary in order to control it - and in theprocess it takes male away from female, the natural from thesupernatural, draining the life energy out of our existence. So I don'tsubscribe to this idea of roots music being more organic, more natural, than electronic music, and that nature is the province of rural areas. Most people experience the world by looking through glass, walking onpavements, stepping onto trains. I grew up in suburban London - I'vealways seen the beauty of urban environments. Even so, the most compelling aspects of Biswas's music seem to grow outof the tensions that result from layering samples of ululating Easternflutes over warping drum machines that sound as if they are overloadingin their attempts to reproduce the data he has programmed into them. How does he approach the creative process? "Without wanting to get too esoteric, it takes off from Jung's idea ofplay being an end in itself. To play is to build an area in which topass your time pleasantly. I've been making music for ten years butit's only in the last two years that I've thought of releasing it forother people to consume. Before that making music was just another partof my day-to-day procedure. I try to keep it as intuitive as possible, creating an atmosphere and environment where I can be creative ratherthan theoretical." This leads to the problem of attempting to produce music true to theflashfire moment of creation on equipment that requires systematic andlaborious programming. "I use an Apple Mac, so the only real instrumentI've got is a mouse. It's not particularly sexy or musical. Oneproblem is that working with complex circuitry involves the consciousside of the brain - the other side, the creative side, is in a differentpart and its supposedly impossible to occupy the two simultaneously. There are two possible solutions: manufacturers might start producingequipment that is more intuitive, or, more excitingly, the mind itselfmight bridge the gap. We may evolve to a state where neurons form newnetworks and the right and left sides of the brain will fuse. Why not? As cultures, societies and environments become more technological, wevestopped evolving physically this could be the new frontline ofevolution." The music you can hear on a Bedouin Ascent record arrives as aconsequence of years of listening without prejudice on Biswass part and the subsequent connections he made between the various musics hecame into contact with. From an early age he was exposed to Indianclassical music from where he would later move in the direction of otherindigenous folk forms such as West African kora and percussionensembles. In the late 70s he listened to David Rodigans weekly reggaeshow on Londons Capitol Radio. "He was in the studio, on the mix, dubbing it up wild style. This seemed very freaky and abstract at thetime but it kind of formatted my mind as to how music should sound: minimalist, drums and bass, reverbs, freeform structures." From here heextrapolated outwards, uncovering connections between dub and the waythe music of a group such as Joy Division foregrounded the drums andbass. He also heard Joy Division as a kind of Industrial bepop whichtook him to Miles Davis > Ornette Coleman > Pinski Zoo > the electronictreatments and industrial debris that littered records by EinsturzendeNeubauten, Throbbing Gristle and 23 Skidoo. In the 1980s, even for anopen-minded listener, these were connections already obscured by theintransigent barriers of social and cultural imperatives. How were theytransgressed? "It has a lot to do with the fact that despite being Asian I've nevermoved in any one racial group. I developed in isolation. At school noone had even heard of the kind of music I was listening to. The racialthing was put on the back burner. It was more important to me todiscover the roots of the music I was listening to than to evaluate myracial background. But being Asian means that I never subscribed to thewhite middle class values which define this culture. They were nevermade available to me; there was always an undercurrent of not beingwelcome. As a consequence my music has always had an element ofsubversion. The desire to disrupt is very strong." Tony Herrington ---------------- New Complexities Autechre - Amber (Warp) Autocreation - Mettle (Inter-Modo) Bedouin Ascent - Pavillion Of The New Spirit EP; Science, Art And Ritual(Rising High) Black Dog - Spanners (Warp) Jon Dalby - Skil N Frank EP (GPR) Ecstasy Of Saint Theresa - AstralaVista EP (Free) Global Communication - 76:14; Maiden Voyage EP (Dedicated) Anthony Manning - Islets In Pink Polypropylene (Irdial) Mouse On Mars - Frosch EP; Vulvaland (Too Pure) μ-ziq - Tango NVectif; Bluff Limbo (Rephlex) O - Metri (S hk ) Oval - Systemisch (Mille Plateaux) Various Artists - Distant Music (Unitunes) Various Artists - Experimenta (A13)
  17. http://www.factmag.c...-communication/ 1. Global Communication – Obselon Minos 2. Reload – Ptyzh 3. Reload – The Biosphere 4. Jedi Knights – May The Funk Be With You 5. Secret Ingredients – Chicago Chicago 6. Jedi Knights – One For M.A.W. 7. Global Communication – The Way (Secret Ingredients Mix) 8. Jedi Knights – Catch The Break 9. Jedi Knights – Solina 10. Chameleon – Links
  18. This is the article chronicling the Britronica festival in Moscow, which featured Ultramarine, Seefeel, Bark Psychosis, Autechre, Banco De Gaia and Reload performing (among others), and Richard James, Alex Patterson and Paul Oakenfold among DJ's. It is from the New Musical Express and is reprinted without permission. COMRADE FEEL THE NOISE by Rupert Howe "Only a revolutionare dictatorship supported by the vast majority of people can be at all durable." --VI Lenin "What?" - Richard D. James It's Thursday April 14 and we're somewhere around Moscow on the edge of nowhere when the weirdness begins to take hold. Straight off Aeroflot and into full-on, no-holds barred disorientation. The Aphex Twin is ready to puke; Alex Patterson is telling him - for no particular reason - that his music will only be appreciated in 15 to 20 years time; the ground staff at the airport want $50 before they'll get Ultramarine's gear off the plane. Shit. Then we're on a coach, 60 of us in varying states of disrepair. The driver keeps stopping, for no apparent reason, at the side of the road. On one side there are unbroken rows of tower blocks with tiny squares of light. On the other, darkness. After a time we veer suddenly off the unmarked tarmac that passes for motorway and onto what feels like a potholed farm track. Maybe we've all been kidnapped and are being taken to some secret rendezvous. No, no. Stop it. Tell yourself: Everything will be OK. We're in Russia for Britronica, an ambient-techno/electronic music festival organised by British promoter NIck HObbs and greying Russian music guru Artem Troitsky. The basic idea is to show young Muscovites that there is life in the contemporary music scene beyond FM rock and MTV, beyond the Nirvana and Sam Fox bootlegs stacked up in the kiosks which line the dirty streets as constant reminders of the burgeoning cult of 'free enterprise' - a relaxation on controls of sale which has had some obvious and disastrous results. Not the least of these is the growing power of the Russian mafia. In less than a century, Russia has moved from chaos, through rigidly enforced dictatorship, and back into chaos. In a recent poll for the _Moscow Times_, people were asked who they thought was in control of their country. The largest proportion, 24 percent, plumped for the mafia; Yeltsin managed a mere 14 percent. It's the harsh reality of Mao's old adage about power growing out of the barrel of a gun. We drop off the band's gear at the hotel and most of us travel on to a reception for Britronica being held at a central club called Manhattan Express. It's in an anteroom of one of Moscow's largest Western-style hotels, situated just off Red Square. There's a camera crew outside filming us as we get off the bus. Inside it looks like any other London/New York/Tokyo rip-off joint, one of those places that exists for one purpose only: money. And it's not exactly the techno underground either, since the people inside are almost entirely mafioso in ill-fitting suits and prostitutes in their hard-currency designer glad-rags. It costs $40 to get in, so there aren't many punters around - who knows what they'll make of Banco De Gaia, who are supposed to play later in the evening? The rest of us don't bother to hang around and find out; half-an-hour after we arrive, everyone is back on the bus. FRIDAY, APRIL 15 In the grey morning light we take stock of our surroundings. The hotel is basically an old Communist Party conference centre on the outskirts of Moscow, a run-down collection of high-rise buildings parked between two expanses of scrubby, litter strewn wasteland. At the end of the road outside the gates is a Metro station surrounded by kisoks selling vodka, Snickers bars, cheap lighters, cigarettes, keyrings, copies of _Penthouse_ and German heavy metal magazines. Old women sell carrier bags to those with no means of carting off their purchases; old men drink vodka straight from the bottle; and kids saunter around showing off their Metallica T-shirts. This is the face of late-20th Century Russia After breakfast we discover that Richard 'Aphex Twin' James has been taken to hospital. Travellers beware: if you start running a temperature in Russia they'll take you in as a matter of course. We're told he's being held at Hospital Number One. Trouble is, no-one seems to know exactly where it is. The rest of the crew head off for the Youth Palace, the main concert venue and a classic piece of lumpen Soviet architecture which contains an 1,800 seat concert hall where Youth Party members used to be herded to offer up their allegiance to the State. At the afternoon technical meeting everyone agrees it's a great venue, decorated with fake marble, gold trim and heavy Revolutionary-style stage curtains. Across town at a club called Pilot, major problems are emerging. Ultramarine and Autechre are supposed to play there that night, only the necessary PA equipment hasn't turned up and no-one seems to know when, ior even if, it will arrive at all. It's almost showtime at the Youth Palace, but Pilot remains in silence. It's emerging that Sasha, the dark-haired, chain-smoking, ageing Nureyev-alike promoter, is losing control of the situation. He's sent Alex Patterson over to DJ at jet another club, called Jump. only for him to arrive, walk down endless, badly-lit corridors and stand around for two hours in a converted sports hall waiting for anyone to turn up. Even when they do there's only 200 of them and the capacity exceeds 1,000. Toby Marks(Banco De Gaia) is the next victim. AFter the fiasco of the Manhattan Express 'reception' he finds himself roped in to play an unsheduled gig alongside Alex. He's knackered, has had hardly anything to eat and doesn't relish the thought of going on in a half-empty venue. "If this was England I'd have walked long ago, but ovbiously you want to play to the people here if you possibly can," he muses. "I had a real go at Sasha last night, though it's difficult trying to have an argument through an interpreter. You have to talk slowly when all you really want to do is scream, 'You fucking bastard!'" Dreadzone, meanwhile, have been taking it all in their stride. Being one of the only dreads in town, bass-player Leo has attracted a certain amount of curious attention. A girl he met at Manhattan Express took him and keyboard player Dan Donovan along to an art 'happening' at the Pushkin Fine Arts Museum, which involved a guy dropping his trousers in front of a painting by Van Gogh, crouching down and shitting into his hand. Back at the Youth Palace they dub it up for the 150-strong crowd, who shout back their appreciation in the echoing hall. One wired Russian guy is so moved that he passes one of our entourage a little package and insists that it be given to Leo. Inside are five meticulously rolled joints, his gesture of appreciation. Most of the Russian kids we meet are similarly generous with what they have, even if in practice they have very little. DJ Eric from Moscow has lent his precious Technics turntables for use at the Youth Palace; Alexei from St. Petersburg gives out little handfuls of dried mushrooms. Eugene and Artur (also from St. Petersburg) want to start up a record shop and label, only they don't have any money and the one means of getting it, going in with the mafia, would put them right in over their heads. and Vadim, who works on the Estonian national radio station in Tallinn, DJ's on tape decks (there aren't any turntables to be had), reads NME in the library at the British Council and spends every spare penny (much to the chagrin of his hard-pressed mum) on the few records which filter over from the West. He hands out a few tapes made up in the Baltic by a guy called Marko Sula, sticks it on a rewired record player and reel-to-reel tape deck. "It's got some really weird noises on it," comments Richard James, in recognition of its value. "Maybe I'll sign it up for Rephlex." Over at the Pilot there's no gig. Paul Oakenfold has been kicked off the decks for not playing commercial tracks, so the Russian DJ takes over and slips on the theme from _The Crying Game_. As the mafia and their molls start pairing off to smooch on the dancefloor, questions like "Why are we here?" are asked. But when Julian Liberator (a Megadog regular from the Bedlam sound system posse) is finally allowed to take over, clearing the floor for the Brits with one sweep of The Rising Sons' burbling 'Afghan Acid', the question is turned around: "What are *they* doing here?" The main reason, of course, is money. In Moscow, life and vodka are cheap; everything else you have to pay for. Tickets for the Youth Palace cost around ten quid. Those who want to go on to one of the clubs have to pay again. For most of the kids this is more than they'd have spare in a month. The result: a club audience of rich assholes who'd rather stumble around drunkenly to Culture Beat than really get their rocks off. Ian from Ultramarine is understandably disappointed. "It's the sort of bill you could take anywhere in the world and have a success with, but here there was also the chance to open people's ears and minds a bit. So it's a shame it had to fall through because of a few missing wires and boxes." All, however, is not lost. SATURDAY, APRIL 16 This is the big day. If nothing goes right now then the whole thing is off. A bizarre arrangement has been worked out where by the electronic bands at the Youth Palace will play last so that the drum kit can be driven over to Pilot for Ultramarine. A nervous Sasha, who looks like he's been down on his knees all night praying this works out, lights another cigarette. Pilot is, naturally, run by the mafia, who paid him for the right to hve the bands and DJ's play at their club. If he goes any deeper in hock to them he could wind up in the Moskva River with concrete blocks on his feet. The other news is that Richard James is out of hospital. So, what was it like? Did they give you any weird drugs? "Yeah," comes the slurred reply. "It was really strange. Stranger than acid. I'm still seeing double now." Apparently they'd locked him in a room on his own, thinking he'd infect the whole place if they let him wander around. There were bars on the window, so no chance of escape that way. He'd just have to get well. And to help him, the doctors would stride in, turn him over and stick a needle in his arse. The gig at the Youth Palace that night is a revelation. More people have shown up than for the Friday show, word-of-mouth here proving stronger than advertising, and they're not disappointed. Seefeel play the gig of their careers, with the frustrations of the last few days (guitarist Mark Clifford is a vegan - not a good position to be in in a country where fresh fruit and vegetables are both scarce and wildly expensive) paying off in a mind-warping display of sonic pyrotechincs. "Typical that it had to be in Moscow in front of 300 people," he opines later. But the crowd love every spiralling second of it, especially the moments when Darren hoists his bass above his head and stomps around the stage wearing an open-mouthed grimace of primal intensity. Bark Psychosis pull off a similar feat, even managing to get a few of the less hardy souls cowering behind their seats during their brutal, white-noise opening. What these people can't see, however is the developing drama backstage, where Richard, Ultramarine's tour manager, has appeared looking like he's been led on one wild goose chase too many. The upshot is that if the drum kit (currently onstage with Bark Psychosis) isn't at the Pilot in two hours there won't be anly gig happening there, period. Around 1am, Ultramarine finally come on, and for a while it looks as if everything is going to plan. Their easy-paced grooves go down well with the dressed-up clientele (just as Banco De Gaia's had earlier at the Youth Palace); the trouble starts once they've come offstage and Bruce Gilbert starts to DJ. Suicide are not these punters' preferred choice of Saturday night listening. Wires aren't only getting crossed now, they're tying up in knots. The Russian DJ comes over and tells Bruce enough is enough, then watched hawkishly as Richard James puts on a record. Finally he's doing what he's flown 2000-odd miles to do and, as a few inoffensive, vaguely acidic noises are released from the PA, it looks as if we might have a party on our hands. The management, however, have other ideas. A pair of soldiers appear, Richard is manhandled from behind the turntables and the Russian guy puts on East 17. This news is transmitted upstairs to the dressing room. Alex Patterson grabs his record box and barrels downstairs. As he approaches the DJ booth more soldiers appear and start jostling him away. Being no stranger to a bit of argy-bargy (he is a Chelsea supporter, after all), Alex tells the guy to fuck off. The guy won't back down. Alex looks him right in the eye. "Fuck you," he says. "Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you..." The DJ fades in 'The Crying Game' again. Our intrepid photographer tries to take a picture. Things go rapidly from bad to very bad indeed. It transpires that you're not allowed to take pictures of the Russian Army. They don't like it. Especially not if they're jumped-up squaddies hired as security by the mafia. The camera is passed back to Paul from Ultramarine, who then hides it under a coat. Alex, making good use of the distraction, picks up his record box and storms back up to the dressing room. Bruce is up there shaking his head and looking apologetic. "I'm sorry Alex, this is all my fault." "No,no. Come on, what the fuck are we here for?" Good question, Alex. Someone's hammering on the door. A soldier walks in looking for the camera. Silence, the way it always is when extreme antagonism's in the air. It seems, though, that the possibility of there being blood on the floor has been averted. One of the interpreters does some quick talking and the soldier leaves. Time to crack another bottle of vodka and wait for the coach. Two hours later it arrives. Alex has donned a head-band and, looking for all the world like a stocky version of the _Beano's_ Little Plum, is handing out various atricles of Orb merchandise to various delighted Russians. We down the last of our drinks and prepare for a swift exit. It's left for Paul from Ultramarine to deliver the final blow. While their tour manager distracts the DJ's attention, he moves along the back of the sound system pulling out all the connecting wires. With a resounding pop! he finds the power cord, the sound in the club goes dead and they dash for the coach pursued by an irate army crew, an equally irate management and a gaggle of bemused onlookers. Smart. We travel back to the hotel buzzing. A few of us go up to Rob from Autechre's room to watch his TV throw hallucinogenic patterns up on the screen. "It's techno, this telly," he says, admiringly. Apparently they do this all the time at home in Manchester, in various altered states of consciousness. Around 6am, having drunk all there is to drink and talked out the strangeness of the earlier confrontations, we head for our rooms to sleep. SUNDAY, APRIL 17 Next morning the strangeness is still there. People are beginning to go fuzzy at the edges. There's semi-humourous talk of a giant snake following people around on the Metro. Character traits are changing - Tom from Reload(whose partner Mark is the second person on the trip to be hospitalised - no more gigs for them) has grown almost completely into Baron Munchausen and twists the ends of his gravity-defying moustache with renewed vigor. Words like 'weird' begin to seem pathetically inadequate. That night's gig at Pilot is written off. Bark Psychosis are banned for being "too strange" and Toby doesn't want to risk Banco De Gaia there after the previous night's fracas. The Youth Palace shows, last minute hitches permitting, will go ahead as planned. Autechre decide they're taking no prisoners. They come on in near-total darkness and let the machines do the talking, the hard-edged electronic rattles and squeaks smoothed out by rolling electro-style beats. Lasers mounted behind the stage swing into life and start drawing spirograph patterns on the darkened back wall; people climb down into the camera pit in front of the stage and start flailing around. At just the right moment, madness has arrived. Ultramarine manage to increase the Russian's ecstasy to the point where the venue's security guards position themselves on either side of the stage and start swinging their batons. Most of the crew retire to the dressing room for a bottle or two of 2 pound Russian champagne and a chance to relax. This is denied by Artem Troitsky, who calls an impromptu 'conference' in the hallway to inform us that a keyboard has been taken hostage by the stage electricians, understandably miffed at not being paid. The offending item is later 'stolen' back out of the promoter's car. Confusion reigns. Standing outside the Youth Palace Richard James points to his record box and says "There's bits of dead people in there. Look." He opens the clasps so it falls open to the night air. There's nothing in it but records. "Smell it," he insists. "It smells of dead people." It does smell vaguely musty, like it's been stored in a cellar. Is that what bits of dead people kept in a record box smell like? Nobody knows, including Richard probably. He's warmed to the task though. By the time we get on the bus he's talking dirty, telling us how he shagged his mum and killed her. Then he remarks that it'd be smart if it plane crashed on the way back "'cos i'd be the only one to survive and then i could eat your limbs". He's smiling now. It's suggested that we go back to the Pilot, where the management want to apologise and offer us a banquet. The general consensus is that if we went back to the Pilot we'd risk getting ourselves into some very deep sewerage. Eventually we make it back to the hotel and set up camp in a lounge on the 17th floor. More drink is served. Suddenly one of the red-cushioned chairs appears on the balcony. Members of Seefeel, BArk Psychosis and Ultramarine are preparing it for a crash landing. Everyone knows it's going over the edge, it's just another one of those inevitable things, like gravity or not being able to find a post office in Moscow. We all just stand there as it plummets. It's surprising how little sound a chair makes hitting the ground when you're standing on the 17th floor. Some more good ideas emerge - looking down the lift shafts, trying to get out on the roof - under the spell of Russian vodka everything has to be explored. The party doesn't break up until around 8.30am. We've gone this far, so why stop now? MONDAY, APRIL 18 Time to go. Sasha has reappeared despite one of the Russian-English liaison team's assureances that he would "dissappear into thin air" as a result of his dealings with the mafia. In a world where all certainties have collapsed, where the only things that can offer any form of security are US dollars, it's hard to hold out much hope for his long-term safety. On the plane home there's a sense of relief tinged with disappointment. It's in the bag, evryone achieved more or less what they set out to achieve, but as Nick Hobbs points out, "No-one out there will try anything like this again for a very long time." And that's not only their loss, but ours.
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