Posts Tagged ‘PLacebo’

1st April 2019

Christopher Nosnibor

I can’t recall if my rants about infantilism as the latest tool of oppression in the arsenal of late-to-the-point-of-crumbling capitalism have made it to any reviews or commentary pieces, or if they’ve been contained to nights down the pub with old friends, after which ideas for delivering incisive critiques have evaporated with the fumes of alcohol the following morning. The greatest likelihood is the latter. Anyway. In summary, the term ‘adulting’ is indicative of the millennial inability to deal with life in general (which I get, because we all struggle, but part of being an adult is stepping up and enabling the next generation instead of cowering in the face of responsibility and running to one’s parents for help in filling out forms for car finance or doing a spot of DIY), and the fact that I find myself surrounded by people in their late 20s accessorising with the same all-things-unicorn my seven-year-old daughter is already growing tired of is a clear symptom of a deeper societal issue. Is the unicorn the symbol of the snowflake (a term I abhor, for the record)?

I write from a position which is both central to, and exempt from, the gender wars which are raging all around right now, and will be open in saying that I don’t write from a position of relating. I’ve suffered prejudice simply for that, too, but we’ll not revisit that here. The key point is that inclusivity isn’t about where you’re from, but how you treat others. Irrespective of gender, I’ve always been an outsider, and know that outsiderism from wherever you’re standing is hard.

Maybe I should just shut up with the commentary and stick to the fact that Neverlanded are giving away their debut EP, F.u.U. (that’s Fluffy Unicorns United) in exchange for a donation to Mermaids UK, a charity which ‘offers support to transgender and gender variant children and young people, their families and supporting professionals’. And regardless of the music, I can only give total backing for a band who are willing to launch their recording career with a view to promoting something other than themselves. Alongside Modern Technology (link) who are donating the proceeds of their debut to Mind and Shelter, Neverlanded seem to be leading a new generation of socially-conscious philanthropic artists who are more concerned with making a difference in whatever small way they can than fame and wealth.

It’s a double bonus that the EP’s four tracks, ‘Brainsane’, ‘MesS.O.S.’, ‘This Friend Of Mine’, and ‘Scream 4 Ice Cream’ are more than just solid, but remarkably strong.

They pitch themselves as being for fans of Placebo, L7, Silverchair, Garbage, Nirvana, Cranberries, Pixies, and Refused, which lands them right in the heart of the melee of 90s alternative, and it’s precisely what they deliver.

‘Brainsane’ pounds in with a riff that’s as beefy as hell, the drawling vocals and loud / quiet dynamic straight out of 1993 in the best possible way, because it balances rawness and emotional sincerity with a full gutsy sound. If ‘MesS.O.S.’ is poppier, it’s poppier in the way that Nirvana’s ‘Been a Son’ is poppier. The slower, almost dream ‘This Friend of Mine’ is well-placed, and the lack of angst is no detractor, not least of all with it being followed by the lo-fi grunge-out of ‘Scream 4 Ice Cream’ that drives the EP to a lurching, overdriven close.

Not only is F.u.U total quality from beginning to end, but it succeeds in contributing to a well-explored genre without sounding remotely generic: in fact, it’s exhilarating in its passion and purity.

AA

Neverlanded - FUU

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SpaceFest presents a brief documentary about the latest experience with Pure Phase Ensemble. In its current incarnation, the collective is led by a true legend: Anton Newcombe of The Brian Jonestown Massacre, along with with Emil Nikolaisen of Scandinavian rock band Serena Maneesh.

Filmed by RSU / Agencja Vizualna, this film presents a sneak preview of what is to come on the ‘Live at SpaceFest!’ album and the story behind Pure Phase Ensemble 6. Every December during Gdansk’s illustrious SpaceFest!, an eclectic group of musicians from across Poland are joined by a guest curator from abroad to form Pure Phase Ensemble. The group’s makeup constantly changes, guided by the artistic vision of a new curator every year and directed by Karol Schwarz of Nasiono Records who has been responsible for its musical cohesion from the very outset.

Through improvisation at a workshop organized by Nasiono Records and SpaceFest!, the musicians produce a set of unique songs during a week-long workshop ahead of the festival at the Laznia 2 Centre for Contemporary Art in the city’s Nowy Port district, seeking inspiration amidst its post-industrial atmosphere. The festival then culminates in this music being performed and recorded in real time for the inevitable album release.

Anton Newcombe espoused one rule for this experiment – that there are no rules when making music… and one standard… “get weirder… be heavy. and dreamy. but not pointless”.
Pure Phase Ensemble 6 is comprised of 8 musicians, including six from emerging Polish alternative bands: 
Karol Schwarz (7faz, KSAS) – guitar, vocals
Olga Myslowska (Polpo Motel) – vocals, keyboard
Maciej Karminski (Jesien) – drums
Marcin Lewandowski (Judy’s Funeral, Castlings, Soon) – bass guitar
Jakub Zwirello (Oslo Kill City, Szezlong) – guitar
Kacper Graczyk (Aiodine, coding) – electronic beats, synths, backing vocals

“I prefer to hear the sound bouncing off the walls and most festivals are outside and have time limits and various handicaps…I am more or less a jazz folk guy, I’m not an entertainer there to jump up and down and get you pumped…I just do as I feel…,”says Anton Newcombe. “I see myself as an idea person. I play like 80 instruments in as many ways as I can reinvent them because I am not a virtuoso… I want to contribute to Polish culture by writing at least one song that is worth listening to.”

In past incarnations of Pure Phase Ensemble, the group was curated by Mark Gardener (Ride), Laetitia Sadier (Stereolab), Ray Dickaty (Spiritualized), Steve Hewitt (Placebo), Jaime Harding (Marion), Chris Olley (Six By Seven), and Hugo Race (The Bad Seeds, The True Spirit). Nasiono Records’ very own Karol Schwarz (7faz, KSAS) has been responsible for the Ensemble’s musical cohesion from the very outset.

You can watch a preview of the forthcoming documentry here: