Rory Jones

Writer. Teesside-Glasgow

Category: music

Jacques Greene @ CCA Glasgow

Written for SynthGlasgow:
http://www.synthglasgow.com/review-jacques-greene-live-at-the-cca/

Over the last six years or so, Montreal’s Jacques Greene has become one of the most celebrated members of Glasgow’s wildly influential LuckyMe collective. Greene’s string of starkly emotive but club-ready EPs for the label originated and perfected an enduring trend of garage-tinged house that sampled chopped vocals from Ciara and Brandy tunes, some of which, like ‘Another Girl,’ became instant hits. While occasionally turning his hand to projects for other similarly-minded crews like London’s Night Slugs, Greene seems to have found a home at LuckyMe, and released a debut album, ‘Feel Infinite’, on the label earlier this month.

jg

Photo: Dhillon Clarke

Described in press releases and interviews as “a record both about the club and for the club” that promulgates a “utopian vision of club culture”, it’s a high-minded but firmly accessible record that gathers the iconic elements of the Jacques Greene sound into a cohesive whole, matching all-out house bangers like lead single ‘You Can’t Deny’ with the likes of heart-rending opener ‘Fall’. While in many ways it’s an album to live with and feels as suited to the headphones as it would be to the club, it’s a tantalizing prospect to experience the project in a live environment, especially in the city he’s come to call a second home.


It’s with the lofty aspirations of ‘Feel Infinite’ in mind that we approach Greene’s show at the Centre for Contemporary Arts on Sauchiehall Street for the Glasgow leg of his European tour. Support comes from a pair of LuckyMe label-mates; local grime producer and rising star Inkke, and label bosses Dominic Flannigan and Martyn Flyn as The Blessings go b2b for an hour before Greene’s live performance commences at the opposite end of the room.

Starting with ‘Fall’, the bulk of the set rearranges the album, gradually building in energy with slow burners first and high octane singles last. But while the zestful, bassline-heavy ‘Real Time’ and ‘To Say’ succeed in getting the early evening crowd moving, it’s the tracks which place more emphasis on evocative vocals and melodies rich in atmosphere that prove most affecting. ‘Dundas Collapse’ and ‘You See All My Light’ sound gargantuan in the space, and the blissed-out, sparkling synths of the latter track spark a hair-standing-on-end moment that’s topped only by Greene closing out the set with ‘Another Girl’.

The night is short and sweet, serving as a showcase for a great album and body of work; but it’s clear that, much like his previous EPs, Greene’s latest creations will really come into their own when they’re played out in the coming months and years – it’s a nicely cyclical thought that ‘Feel Infinite’ is going to soundtrack the kind of nights that produced it.

Jacques Greene – ‘Feel Infinite’ is available now on digital and vinyl formats via LuckyMe.

Wavvy Music Website Launch

Written for SynthGlasgow:
http://www.synthglasgow.com/review-wavvy-music-website-launch/

In the last year or two, Scotland’s burgeoning grime scene seems to have got its act together and gone from strength to strength, its stars gaining recognition from their high-profile London peers and attracting coveted bookings for major shows like Eskimo Dance. Much of this success has been propelled by Scotland’s answer to Risky Roadz or SBTV: Wavvy Music.

Run entirely by Glasgow videographer Konz, the Wavvy Music YouTube channel is a showcase for largely Scottish grime and hip-hop talent, offering an immense volume of run-and-gun freestyles, music videos and set coverage. The likes of Shogun, SWVN and Ransom FA were given early exposure by Wavvy and all appear on it regularly. Having recently expanded the channel into a full-blown website, Konz hosted a party at the appropriately anarchic Flat 0/1 to celebrate. Because while the content put out by Wavvy et al is a crucial component of new generation grime, there’s nothing like seeing it in the flesh.

Wavvy-Music

Focusing on individual lyrcists as opposed to the likes of Ransom Crew, MFTM, LVLZ and the other crews active in Scottish grime, the lineup for tonight boasts a range of MCs and DJs from various corners of the scene. The acidic flows of Chrissy Grimez are to meet SWVN’s more hip-hop tinged lyricism, topped-off by a set of homegrown anthems from Aberdeen’s Ransom FA, with selectors DJ Nojan, Rapture 4D, Faroh, Cleaverhype and Kyle Brown on the ones and twos.

A last minute cancellation from Wolverhampton spitter Zeo Zeonardo places the pressure firmly on the three Scottish MCs. As the venue starts to fill, SWVN warms things up with a slightly more gritty set than we’ve become accustomed to through his tracks, his bars accompanied by darker, more glacial beats. He’s soon followed by Chrissy Grimez, who brings up the tempo with his signature frenetic style, delivering a solid, dynamic set that rallies the crowd into action mode.

The highlight of the night occurs midway through Ransom FA’s set. After smashing out a selection of his best known tracks, there’s a pause before the sun-drenched melody of his Polonis-produced banger ‘Wake Up’, a collaboration with Shogun and arguably the most successful Scottish grime tune to date, slowly chimes in. It’s an undeniable floor-filler, and the crowd is already animated when Shogun emerges from behind the decks for his verse, addressing the room with jagged, accelerated bars, bringing a vigour and powerful sense of urgency to proceedings that reminds us why this Paisley teen is being heralded as the nation’s “great rap hope.”

Immediately following ‘Wake Up’, Shogun instigates a cypher, inviting “anyone that spits” to step up, prompting a gaggle of bodies in the cramped booth passing the mic and belting out their best bars. It’s a scene reminiscent of early pre-revival grime sessions in youth clubs, and a fitting conclusion to the night that demonstrates the real spirit of the genre; fervent, communal and competitive, with a touch of chaos.

Summer Festivals: Why Mulafest is Best

Written for The Local:
http://www.thelocal.es./20150619/mulafest-madrid

Barcelona’s Sónar has long been the main event of Spain’s festival season. For three days in June, around 80,000 music lovers from all corners of the globe, together with the international music press, descend on the Catalonian city to see the world’s most exciting DJs and producers of electronic music. The festival started in 1994 with performances from Laurent Garnier and Sven Vath, and has since played host to everyone from Kraftwerk to Skrillex. Sónar rivals the Miami Dance Festival and Ibiza as a Mecca of dance music, and has become legendary for both the quality of its line ups and the hedonism of its attendees.

Giving Sónar a run for its money, however, is Madrid’s more low-key Mulafest. Founded in 2012, and based at the city’s IFEMA, the festival runners describe it as a ‘celebration of urban trends’ – daytime activities and attractions include street art, a tattoo convention, skateboarding, parkour, breakdancing and more. The festival boasts a manmade island which, as well as providing a space for drinking and relaxing with sun loungers and various bars, will host the national finals of Street Workout – a worldwide craze and sport based around working out for free in parks and public facilities.

But the main draw is surely the live music lineup for ‘Mulafest Noche’, which is decidedly impressive for a lesser known festival. From head splitting techno to subtle R&B, this year’s roster caters to a range of tastes, with plenty to appease 48 hour caners and discerning chin scratchers alike. Here are our top five picks.

SOPHIE

Irony-touting hipster or pop genius? Such is the debate surrounding SOPHIE, a founding member of London’s conceptual pop collective PC Music. He arrived on the scene in 2013 with the single ‘Bipp’ and has since polarised music critics with his saccharine, eurodance-aping productions. Whatever your opinion on the controversial producer, his music is like nothing you’ve heard before, and crowds at this year’s Mula can expect an experience if nothing else.

Desperados stage, 22.45, Saturday 27th

EVIAN CHRIST

British experimental hip hop producer and recent addition to Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music family, Evian Christ shot to success after posting his homemade beats on YouTube and catching the attention of the rapper’s production team. Since collaborating with West on 2013’s Yeezus, he’s enjoyed critical acclaim with his Waterfalls EP and thrown a series of much-hyped ‘Trance Parties’ in the UK. To hear a DJ set from EC, head to the Desperados stage at 4.30AM on Saturday 27th.

Desperados stage, 4.30, Saturday 27th

RHYE

Kicking off the ‘Noche’ section of the festival is LA’s soulful R&B duo Rhye, a welcome counterbalance to the festival’s abundance of dance oriented acts.

Desperados stage, 21.15, Friday 26th

JON HOPKINS

A multi-talented composer and producer, Jon Hopkins has turned his hand to such varied projects as film scores, pop albums for the likes of Coldplay and Massive Attack, as well as his own textured ambient productions for Just Music and Domino Records.

Desperados stage, 22.30, Friday 26th

HUDSON MOHAWKE

Headlining this year and promoting his new album Lantern is Hudson Mohawke, the acclaimed Glaswegian electronic producer and beat-maker to hip hop giants such as Drake, Pusha T and Kanye West, with whom he worked closely on Yeezus. Coming equipped with a brand new live show that’s beguiled crowds at London’s Field Day and Manchester’s Parklife, you can expect fireworks at the Scotsman’s early morning set.

Desperados stage, 3.15AM, Saturday 27th

Many of these acts will also be present at this year’s Sónar, but their appearances at Mulafest are a chance to see them in a more intimate setting, as well as to support a growing cultural event, the affordable admission prices (tickets start at 25 euros) being the cherry on the cake. If you’re in Madrid in June, this year’s Mulafest is not to be missed.