Edit this event
- Battles »
The loop is fucked. Try as you can you just can’t maintain it. This is because at the fundamental quantum level everything is wrong and slightly out of time. You can be glib and say that at least a stopped clock keeps the right time twice a day but the truth of the matter is that even an atomic clock has never given the exact time once.
So we build music from loops and even when we want these circular samples of music to stay locked down tight, they don’t really. William Basinski’s ‘The Disintegration Loops’ shows the beauty that can be found in the minute feedback and digital death as the magnetic strip disintegrates, as it wears to pieces against the tape head. Kraftwerk at early electronic shows would set their equipment running at a metronomic pace and then get into the audience to dance with the crowd until, finally, the drums would drift out of sync or one of their ancient oscillators would burst into flame, possibly like the precursor to the energy flash that would happen at the climax of raves.
Guitar group Loop knew the loop was fucked.
** Battles** know the loop is fucked. They are not robots. They are not the ‘Robots’. They are men riding the exquisite chaos that happens at the edges when many circular patterns of music are controlled like spinning plates all at once. If you’ve not seen Battles, only heard them, you’d be forgiven for thinking that maybe there were many of them, or that they use a lot of sequencers or overdubs. But they just happen to play a shit load of instruments all at once. Avant-garde composer Ty ‘sings’ into a kind of Gibbytronix FX unit that renders his voice like a devil; like Pinky and Perky; like the incessant chatter you hear in your ears when you’re coming down off snide drugs. They layer up and up and up into three-part harmonies and beyond. Meanwhile, he plays keyboards with one hand and guitar with the other. As does Ian Williams of Don Caballero. And while we’re doing the line-up we should mention wunderkinder David Konopka on six-string and wunder-not-so-kinder John Stainer, of Helmet and Tomahawk, making this a super group of sorts. And a super group they are.
John is the focal point of the group the musicians setting banks and banks of gear up all around his peculiar kit, which is set up so he has to leap out of his seat to hit his crash cymbal like he’s combined jazz/metal drumming with a punishing keep-fit regime. He looks like a man who thinks ‘regular’ metal drumming isn’t quite hard enough. The effect is mesmeric: you get lassoed in by the Turkish trance grooves of ‘Tonto’, slapped about by the psych Kraut of ‘Ddiamondd’, but out of the new stuff nothing can prepare you for the sheer swaggering brilliance of ‘Atlas’. A gurgling and deceptively simple guitar riff underpins a crashing Glitter beat which then has layers of high-pitched Oompa Loompa vocals piled teetering on top of it before it stops and goes into a massive techno build up. Is it glam? Is it acid house? Is it jazz rock? Well, it’s a bit of each and more. The track is a take on the Cologne Schafel scene of the mid ‘90s when techno DJs, bored with the restrictions of the four to the floor, used to attend rock nights (when they were first exposed to bands like Slade) before incorporating into their own sound around the Kompact label. So it’s a joke, you see: rock fuels techno fuels rock. A loop.
Battles are the new sound. We were sitting when we first came in but we’re all standing now applauding. They’ve left the stage before we stop clapping and cheering and before the sound of the sample stops echoing round the speakers. You didn’t see them? Don’t worry, they’re coming back round again and they’re coming back round again after that. And that’s where we came in isn’t it? With a fucked loop. A gloriously fucked loop.
- In Photos: Latitude Festival 2012 - Day 3 @ Henham Park, Suffolk
- Battles - Dross Glop
- ATP Nightmare Before Christmas: the DiS Review
- Singles of the Year 2011!
- 2011 In Photos + WIN a Lomography camera
- In Photos: ATP Nightmare Before Christmas Day Two curated by Battles
- In Photos: Battles @ The Plug, Sheffield
- Treasure Island Music Festival 2011 - The DiS Review