A visit to ‘The Seaside’ again with Cardiacs

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I was once a Little Man aged 11 looking out of my Little House through my parents Whole World Window. It was a beautifully innocent time hanging out in the burbs of Surrey, riding my BMX after homework through wet leaves and spiky conkers, not giving a hoot about anything. The stereo in my bedroom played 7″ records from Adam Ant, The Jam, The Specials and Madness, slabs of vinyl bought on a Saturday afternoon in the little independent record shop in our hometown of Sutton. Chick-a-Boom, was owned by an overweight biker who sat behind the counter with a huge beard. Aside from his overwhelming presence I loved the smell of the vinyl there, as opposed to the big store on the high street they called Woolworth’s, where my Mum preferred visiting for her records. Collecting music weekly became something special but as you know, the Whole World Window is a very special and endless space – where discovery, is everything.

Somewhere hidden in the suburbs of the same county in 1984, Cardiacs were preparing the release of their original cassette of The Seaside. They were only a few miles down the road. Their off-the-wall, psychedelic punk rock was being distributed to the ears of the chosen few throughout Kingston Uni and the suburban alternative pubs like The Mill and in other small towns nearby in Surbiton, Teddington and beyond. Little did I know that a few years later just one sniff of Cardiacs’ musical drug would change my entire life, forever.

Trying to explain Cardiacs’ sound to those who have never heard them before was always difficult. Like Victorian funfair music in a knife fight with John Carpenter; an horrific, terrifyingly exciting sound that should be used for torture purposes, they said. It wasn’t for everyone, but I wasn’t everyone, I fell in love on first play and made it the soundtrack to my life. We had a crew of us at school who worshipped the band but most people thought we were weirdos. This was a local band, one that our brothers had past down the line to us and we totally enjoyed being those weirdos. It was an honour to wear that badge…with the flower on it.

Cardiacs’ live shows were like anti-theatrical minefields that detonated every single explosive part of your brain. They left you in tiny pieces, excelling you to the verge of heart attack with excitement whilst every breath of air around you (and a huge fan) pushed tiny pieces of confetti into the air creating a dream-like scenario – kinda like the best acid trip of all time but without the strychnine come-down. And so it began, my Cardiacs virginity was taken at NESCOT college on February 10th, 1989 and it left me turned completely inside out. I remember leaving that room feeling like a lost dog, confused, horny and wreckless, with my lipstick hanging out. Only Cardiacs fans are going to read these words so you know exactly what I’m talking about. The question is: Where did you lose yours? Tell us in the comments at the end of this waffle.

Ph: Steve Payne

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William D. Drake’s keyboard prowess, Dominic’s incredible precision drumming, percussionist Tim Quy’s vital inclusion, Sarah’s huge smile and her mighty presence on sax all made the shows shine like nothing else. Jim Smith’s bass playing, down trodden persona and incessant bullying, dished out by brother Tim, made the show the most unnerving experience I’d ever seen. Tim’s ranting, swinging of his guitar and insane facial expressions was pure madness, but oh so controlled and delivered like a pro. All other bands playing live at that time in Ewell seemed boring and pointless, so finally I had found Armageddon in music form and it became an instant obsession. I hit the road to as many Cardiacs shows that I could get to with my new driving license and crappy brown Ford Fiesta. It made for a decent bed after the gigs finished too.

The biggest problem with my new found addiction was that their Seaside album, released on cassette, seemed to be some sort of myth. Kind of like what Animal Chin was for skateboarders; you couldn’t find it anywhere but it left inspiration with everyone who came in contact with it. The internet and mobile phones didn’t exist of course – just fanzines, the fan club and record fairs, so I searched far and wide for The Seaside (The Obvious Identity and Toy World) until a friend’s friend of a friend came good with a blank TDK D60 copy. All I ever wanted were the originals though and to this day they still evade me. The CD re-issue in 1995 (and 1990) were must-haves but a few of my favourite tracks from the live shows didn’t make the pressings.

Hearing ‘Dinner Time’ on the new re-issue today made me bounce off the walls. It was like discovering Cardiacs for the very first time again. Similarly, the mesmerising riff of ‘Nurses Whispering Verses’ was always a favourite live (alongside the chaotic punk rock assault of To Go Off and Things). These were rare gems in between the epic singles, ‘Is This the Life?’ and ‘A Little Man and a House’ – both legendary works from the amazing songwriting and production skills of Tim Smith. It’s very rare to find talent like this man was blessed with. Tim created another planet through his own World Window that we could all see, feel and touch – like nothing we had ever discovered before, or have been close to discovering since.

It breaks my heart to be reminiscing all of this right now knowing that Tim is unwell and has suffered through illness. Even though Cardiacs’ music is played weekly in these parts it always leaves me praying for his health – and I’m no religious man. He changed people’s lives forever and we are here right now to give it all back. I doff my hat to Tim Smith. Sir, you are a true musical legend.

Ph: Sarah Maher

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These words were written ten minutes after the album finished from hitting my email account today. The fingers did not stop, the memories came too fast and I just had to spit everything out. The re-issued record will be coming out via the Alphabet Business Concern on November 30th this year with those 4 tracks mentioned above and the original running order on CD, double gate-fold vinyl – both cut from the original 1984 1/4″ master reel. There’s also a tasty boxset coming, with the inclusion of replica newsletters, (YOUsletters) a cassette, poster, Walker prints, lyric booklet and a beautiful photo book containing previously unseen photography.

Prepare space in your wonderful record collection next month to re-own some magical musical history and enjoy listening to ‘Dinner Time’ from this release that we have been lucky enough to unleash for you today. It’s a marvellous tune that has been missing from the Cardiacs catalogue since the cassette release of The Seaside. Pre-order the box set here.

Big love to all Cardiacs followers worldwide.

Zac

Wand interview

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March’s sophomore album release Golem saw Los Angeles-based Wand state their claim as a face-slapping psychedelic force to be reckoned with, inviting you on a juvenile joyride to bold, head-melting dimensions unknown across nine treacherous tracks.

Fast-forward six months and Wand are still skidding through the grimy back-streets of sludge rock and doom with gusto, yet this time around there’s even more on offer. To investigate the trio’s new-found Crazy Horse-indebted groove, we sent Yasmyn Charles down to Brighton to catch up frontman Cory Hanson and find out how, exactly, their new album 1000 Days became reality.

What was the formative process of Wand and how did it come into being?

Well, the three of us went to art school together and after we all graduated we all had a bunch of different projects and I just kind of asked everyone if they wanted to play music together… so we did. It’s a pretty unremarkable story! [Laughing]

Did you have any idea of the sound direction you wanted to take?

I was listening to a lot of 70’s German, kind of krauty music at the time and I’d been playing in a lot of Rock n Roll bands and then decided I wanted to start a more ‘arty’ rock-driven project I guess.

Do you feel you’ve kind of achieved that with Wand?

Yeah, I mean it was maybe a good choice because there are a lot of musical directions you can take at any given time. So it makes it easier to be inspired than maybe working within a more succinct genre of music that’s more defined by the traditions it’s partaking in.

Would you say that residing in LA has had a positive influence on your sound due its current and past musical history or has it had no effect at all?

Well I’m from LA and I’ve never lived anywhere else so I think it has had a huge effect on me in terms of growing up there and sort of seeing the way things have changed. LA’s an interesting city because it has these really intense moments of scene proliferation, it’s an explosion of bands then it will kind of eat itself and then it has to start over from scratch. Then there’ll be moments where LA seems so attractive then huge lulls where it’s a very unattractive place to be and everybody hates it. And right now for some reason there’s like a really big light shining on the place that I’ve lived forever and everyone is transplanting themselves into the city and it’s kind of bizarre to me.

Golem sounded far more acerbic and abrasive than Ganglion Reef and this was supposedly down to a shift in songwriting away from you to greater inclusion of the rest of the band. Has this been the same for 1000 Days?

I feel like our process is constantly evolving because we’re always trying new ideas and configurations of writing songs. With 1000 days, it was within the sort of framework for which we wanted to make the album in terms of it being a lot larger and more about having the space to make mistakes and experiment with things. Both Golem and 1000 days are very performance intensive. We spent a lot of time in a rehearsal space for like hours and hours and hours just reconfiguring songs, breaking them apart and trying to find every possible outcome that we could. The only rule that we had for 1000 days was that every single part of the process for writing a song, the song had to change dramatically. It had to be altered from one moment to the next; it could never be played the same way twice.

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Is this something you recreate live as well?

Yeah, we try. I mean it’s interesting because we don’t really like to play the songs the way they are on our records. For us the records are these things we spent a lot of time making and in order to stay true to the writing process and the kind of spirit of the songs, they have to change within the structure of a performance. It’s a very different space than a recording space.

You’ve said that Golem was recorded at “not an upbeat time”. Has the atmosphere affected the output on 1000 Days the way it did with Golem?

We’ve gone through a lot of changes as a band. And personally through a lot of highs and lows in our short career that have totally influenced the way that the records are shaped and the kind of themes that get brought into the songwriting and the recordings and the way that we treat the recordings. We definitely have no intentions of making a happy record or a sad record but rather something that’s a little more true to the time we spend in the band and out of the band.

There’s definitely a sense of that on the albums. There’s no emotional guidance, you form your own emotive ideas about the music.

Yeah, I mean, we don’t really have a compass for those kinds of things or a trajectory… in most ways [Laughs].

It’s been said that the influences for your past material have been Final Fantasy and Dungeons and Dragons, what have been the influences for 1000 Days?

Hmmn. Let’s see… We were listening to a lot of Crass and a lot of Psychic TV and Throbbing Gristle. A lot more Industrial and Anarcho-Punk bands.

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There’s maybe a slightly more electronic slant on 1000 Days, is that something bore of listening to these industrial acts?

Yeah, we all have a previous relationship to these kinds of bands but the influences seemed to take on more of a character during the recording of 1000 Days. I mean we’ve had synthesizers on every record and on every record we process all of the guitars through a lot of synths. They’re very much studio records in the sense that everything is being massaged and processed and treated in a certain way. So it’s sort of an accumulation of experiences in the studio that resulted in the records sound.

So you’ve followed a very natural process with the recording sound but also appear to have a deliberate ‘mystical’ aesthetic both visually and as part of your sound. Is this intentional?

Yeah, I mean there is a curiosity/relationship to fantasy or esoteric themes but I feel that a lot of the space that’s occupied is not that. Like, if that’s the kind of outer… ‘trappings’ of the music, then the things going on inside are pretty real. [Laughs] In the sense of us being human beings it’s kind of inescapable that we’re going to have a relationship to the music that’s really intense.

Do you think that that’s essentially the nature of psychedelic music in the sense that’s it’s something both real and a form of escapism?

Well…I wouldn’t say the music’s escapist, though it may flirt with those ideas, I think that in the most positive sense, escapism is a way of finding a moment of removal from the present or whatever surface problems that are accumulating in order to better understand what’s happening. It’s so that you can re-interpolate into reality or the present and become better equipped to deal with shit.

If you had to describe 1000 Days in one sentence, what would it be?

[There’s a long silence] I don’t know… I feel that the title is pretty indicative of what’s on the record. To me it feels massively contained. It’s a lot of information and a lot of music that’s selected and curated in way that despite it being the shortest record we’ve made, it feels like the biggest. And it is, for us, our biggest… kind of…

Magnum Opus?

Not our magnum opus but up to this point the truest that we feel about music and about playing and making records. It’s just a more ambitious version of what we have been doing.

Even though that wasn’t a sentence it was still a pretty good answer! Has there been any anxiety with trying to follow up the success of Golem.

I have a lot of anxiety about those things! We basically started writing 1000 Days as soon as Golem was mixed and mastered and the artwork was at the plant. We were like, let’s make another record before this one comes out and we did it with the last one too. The real hurdle we’re going to have to overcome at some point is that, now we have these records and the stuff that’s been happening, we need a little time to process all of this in order to make the next one.

Would you say that all your past projects have taken a complete backseat along with your solo work?

With Pangea I haven’t been in that band for 3 years and Meatbodies 2. As for all of my other projects, they’re now just kind of happening in the leftover space… there’s no real point of even talking about them because they’re in the spectrum of ideas that are maybe materialising in some way or another.

Wand Interview 5y

So Wand’s your main output for material you’re truly happy with?

Yeah, at this point. I’d love to be happy with some other projects really soon, and hopefully that’ll be the case. But for now Wand is the main vehicle for my songwriting at least.

What’s next for Wand?

After this tour the record comes out then we have a US tour. Then after that we’ll start recording and writing again. We’ve established this sort of cycle of touring and recording.

There appears to be this idea of ‘if a shark stops swimming it dies’ – where you always have to be creating?

Yeah we don’t feel very comfortable taking time off because we’re not in a position where we’re making enough money to! [Laughs]. We’re still kind of struggling to make a living as musicians and artists and so there is a sense of urgency. It’s also important for us not to get ensnared in the kind of cycle that most bands get trapped in. Where you make a record…it takes 6-8 months to comes out… then you tour the record for half the year then it takes a year and a half to produce another record. We’re definitely not interested in that kind of structure, and we can’t do that because we have to keep making records.

Support Wand in their mission to keep playing and making music by ordering their new album on Drag City out on September 25th from here or order it from your local record shop. It’s a damn good one, you will not be disappointed.

Promo photos: Romain Peutat
Words and instant camera shots: Yasmyn Charles

Read Zac Crossfire’s Front interview in full

It’s not often i’m on the receiving end of questions, it’s usually the other way round, but on this occassion due to the 10 Year Anniversary and Front being involved, yours truly decided to do an interview with Front Magazine ahead of this year’s Massacre. A slither of this Q&A session was published in the Magazine in October, but this week, the lads at Front have made the entire interview available online.

Visit the Front website to find out more about where your daily skate and music zine comes from plus a little more on some of the highlights of the last 10 years here.

Want to work with us here at Crossfire?

Thanks for visiting us here this week. We are currently reaching our 10th year here bringing you skate and music related articles, features and news and looking to add a few key contributors to our team and have places for work experience and internships. So if the following appeals to you and you would like to get involved in what we are doing, then let us know if you tick any of these boxes:

Love skateboarding?

Love filming and want to document skateboarding?

Love taking photos?

Just out of university with a journalism degree and want to express your views in written articles?

Want skate product to review?

Love music and want to write album and single reviews?

Want to interview bands?

Want to shoot bands live and write reviews about the shows?

If this is for you then get in touch and send us a message with examples of what you would like to see on this website. We will read all of them.

Red Bull Bedroom Jam returns!

Entering its fifth year, the Red Bull Bedroom Jam returns in 2011 to provide the weekly webcast that helps young and unsigned bands launch themselves into the spotlight.

So long as one member of the band is under the age of 22 any band can enter for the chance of being included on the Bedroom Jam tour, a recording session in the Red Bull Studios and the chance to support an established band on a major UK tour. See below for instructions on how to get involved…

· From now on bands can upload their videos to the Red Bull Bedroom Jam site
· 15 bands will be chosen using the Buzz Radar system to play live shows live from their bedrooms every Monday at 5pm
· 8 bands will be chosen by this year’s judges: Andy Copping, Vice President of Live Nation, Beckie Sugden of The Agency Group and Aled Phillips of Kids In Glass Houses to continue to the Festival Stage
· At the end of the festival season 3 finalists will be chosen by the judges
· The final 3 will go head to head in a public vote to see who walks away as the Bedroom Jam Champion!

Send your entries to this website and be sure to tune in on February 21st for the first live show of the year.

Watch below for last year’s featured bands at T In The Park.

Free Downloads – Best Of 2010

This year we introduced a bi-monthly feature that’s as difficult to understand as it is to do… the ‘Free Downloads‘. Every couple of weeks we send our ears on a mission around the internet looking for the best new (or old) music that’s being given away for free, then round up the best ten for you to come along and take as many of them as you see fit. All for free. Simple, huh?

In addition to that we also introduced the ‘Crossfader‘ interview, where we hunt down the DJs and producers that have been rocking our earphones the most and ask them to provide a free mix for us. The results have been more exciting than we could have ever imagined.

So here is the very best, objectively decided by you guys listening, of all the sound we’ve had up in our cloud this year. Below are the 15 most listened to/downloaded tracks that we featured in this section, as well as all four Crossfader Mixes, from Stereo:Type, C.R.S.T., Submerse and The Count & Sinden. Enjoy!

Former Ghosts – Chin Up by Crossfire Music

Mr. Oizo & Gaspard Augé – Tricycle Express by Crossfire Music

Chromeo – Don’t Turn The Lights On by Crossfire Music

Weezer – Memories by Crossfire Music

Aphex Twin – On by Crossfire Music

Black Mountain – Hair Song by Crossfire Music

Huoratron – gBay by Crossfire Music

Grinderman – Heathen Child by Crossfire Music

Dels – Trumpalump (Joe Goddard Remix) by Crossfire Music

Gruff Rhys – Shark Ridden Waters by Crossfire Music

Wiley – It’s Wiley by Crossfire Music

Dipset – Salute by Crossfire Music

J-Dilla – Sycamore by Crossfire Music

Rustie – Inside Pikachu’s Cunt by Crossfire Music

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble – Spottie (Outkast Cover) by Crossfire Music

Stereotype – Crossfire Mixtape by Crossfire Music

C.R.S.T Dubplates 2 Mixtape by C.R.S.T

Submerse – Crossfire Mix by Crossfire Music

The Count & Sinden Mix by Crossfire Music

Free Downloads: 26/11/10

It must be the holiday spirit or something, but artists, bands and producers have been even more generous than usual and our inboxes have been overflowing with all sorts of tuneage in a variety of tempos and styles. Here are our ten picks from yet another two weeks of quality music.

The undisputed king of mash-ups and party mixtapes, Girl Talk released his latest collection of nostalgia meets college party meets weird meets brilliant beats online for free and if you haven’t already picked it up then you’ll find it all below. Daft Punk’s Tron OST is currently doing the rounds on the leaky pipes of the web to a mixed reception but if you didn’t catch their collaboration with N.E.R.D. then check out Nero’s remix if beats float your boat more than synths and strings. Shy FX get taken apart from one of the year’s biggest beatmakers Breakage as this weekend turns into a guaranteed party.

Pow 2011 is causing another forward riddim stir in London and Wiley’s meme-spawning ‘bududududada’ bars over the beat makes one of the most addictive dubplates of the year, get it! Crossfader subject Submerse keeps on going from strength to strength and his remix of Wolf Gang’sLion In Cages‘ sees blogs on a hype for his forthcoming releases. X-Ray Spex’s frontwoman Poly-Styrene makes a welcome return to our speakers with ‘Black Christmas‘. Crystal Castles made one of the most press-worthy collaborations of the year, dragging in Robert Smith for ‘Not In Love‘.

If you thought Jay-Z’s 99 Problems couldn’t be remixed any more then you were very wrong; Liam Howlet takes a simple but effective rework route for this banging Prodigy remix. New York three piece fun. live up to their name again with an acoustic version of their buzzing ‘Walking The Dog’. And last but not least, the hottest female to come out of Wales since… we can remember, Marina and the Diamonds gets a hypegenre workout courtesy of the ungoogleable but absolutely listenable oOoOO.

Go and get them.

N.E.R.D. & Daft Punk – Hypnotize U (Nero Remix) by Crossfire Music

Wiley – Mz Bratt Pow 2011 Dubplate by Crossfire Music

Wolf Gang – Lions In Cages (Submerse Remix) by Crossfire Music

Poly Styrene – Black Christmas by Crossfire Music

Shy FX – Raver (Breakage Remix) by Crossfire Music

Crystal Castles “Not In Love” (ftrg. Robert Smith) by moderntonic.com

fun. ‘Walking The Dog (Acoustic)’ by Hassle Records

Jay-Z – 99 Problems (The Prodigy Remix) by Hypetrak

Marina and the Diamonds – Obsessions (oOoOO Remix) by Hypetrak

Girl Talk – All Day by Hypetrak

Free Downloads – 03/09/10

You know the drill by now. Look below to grab some free music every two weeks from the Crossfire Soundcloud.

This time round Crocodiles have released a trippy and warm instrumental EP while their throats recover from sharing a hobo’s pipe, the title track can be picked up below. We’re also still recovering from the head-opening trip from L.E.D Festival and have loaded two selected cuts that caused Hackey to rise up last weekend courtesy of Aphex Twin and Tiga. We were also treated to new tracks from Atmosphere, Parenthetical Girls, Sufjan Stevens and more!

Tuck in below.

Aphex Twin – On by Crossfire Music

The XX – Shelter (Tiga Remix) by Crossfire Music

Crocodiles – Fires Of Comparison by Crossfire Music

Tim Kasher – Cold Love by Crossfire Music

First Aid Kit – Hard Believer by Crossfire Music

Atmosphere – Freefallin’ by Crossfire Music

P Money – Anyway by Crossfire Music

Jay-Z – Most Kingz by Crossfire Music

Parenthetical Girls – Young Throats by Crossfire Music

Sufjan Stevens – I Walked by Crossfire Music

LED Festival – Live

August 27th-28th
Victoria Park, London

Though the cultural diversity of those attending the London Electronic Festival over the weekend was considerably wider than the polar-opposite crowds that flocked to the other two festivals taking place this busy bank holiday weekend past, it was evident that those present at the inaugural LED Festival could be split into two spheres like some sort of pretty neon-lit venn diagram. Those that came to have a great time with no intention of acknowledging any festival politics, and those who had come to stand-still and complain with a face that suggested they had more substances up their arse than the early 90s throwbacks who were busy tripping balls to Aphex Twin.

The negative reviews that have surfaced so far seem to be written by those who appeared bemused that they weren’t at London Stand-Still Festival whilst the overwhelming bass insisted otherwise. So rest assured, you can forget about the discussions of the rainy inception and foggy future of annual electronic dance festivals in rainy Hackney,  because this review won’t cover any of that. No politics, no eyebrow raises at the line-up. This review was written by someone who turned up to this festival expecting one thing, to dance like a mad twatter and embrace the sounds that bring humans closer together than any other thing in the world can, electronic dance music.

It should also be noted that certain acts were missed due to re-scheduling and other acts were missed because they’re obviously poops (I’m looking at you, David Guetta…) Here were the weekend’s best acts, interspliced with some wholesome home-made videos uploaded to the internet by fans. ‘Ave it democratic media.

Zombie Nation (Friday)

2010 is THE year to see Zombie Nation, better known as the guy who did that one techno song non-techno fans bought, sadly lesser known as the MPC wizard Florian Senfter, a live phenomenon backed by bizarre visuals and a genuine sense of surprise. This live act sees the already improvised basslines in his free-thinking german electro soundscapes become totally reimagined into whatever context he feels like on the day. And as they waver in and out of meticulously controlled disco beats the crowd are treated to bizarre visuals and a constant supply of pure, bastardized groove. Forza sounded heavier than ever while his Tiga-assisted Lower State Of Consciousness gently flowed in and out when the crowd deemed it necessary. A reconstructed Worth It took Hackney on a lengthy trip through intense oscillation and an early peak before the drinks had a chance to kick in. 2010 is the year for Zombie Nation because not only are his live performances better than ever but just enough time has passed for Kernkraft 4000 to sound not just fucking great, but completely at home in a set of underrated anthems that push electronica further than whatever else is trending on the hype machine right now.

Soulwax (Friday)

A strange rescheduling left Soulwax playing at a slightly more appropriate time than 5:45PM (which was not only too early for the sharply dressed Belgian techno punks but clashed with Zombie Nation, an unacceptable move). As the sky grew darker, and presumably as subtances legal or otherwise began to rise up inside, more people felt urges to dance and so they should for the Daewale brothers and co were on form as ever. Their set pulled in Nite Version classics along with newer remixes that you may not have heard on that CD with the longest name ever, including a stonking live cover of a weekend favourite and undisputable screw-facer from 2008, Raven by Proxy. It came from no where and became a hot topic on message boards before it even finished. Leaping from strength to strength, these guys embody modern techno.

Tiga (Friday)

Canadian DJ/vocalist/producer and the best friend of everyone in Europe, Tiga has been demanding attention lately with his notably more outspoken persona that shined on last year’s Ciao! and is currently adding a post-modern ego-centric irony to Chilly Gonzales’ a-ma-zing ‘Ivory Tower‘. For the increasingly rammed dance tent this bank holiday however he resumes the quiet hat-wearing, heavily concentrated house DJ persona that got him where he is, and this paid off. As the lights got brighter and the bodies got sweatier, Tiga’s exceptional grasp on electro-house and your own mind dimeshaaaan resulted in a glowing, neon-heavy set. Mind Dimension 2 kicked things off early with that shit-the-bed bassline still taking dancers that one step further, but it was the end of the set that saw the most peaks. As You Gonna Want Me saw London sing more loudly than they would to the essentially redundant Goldfrapp main stage flop later that weekend, the crowd were fired for a pulsating finish courtesy of an extended disco blitz in the form of Mr Oizo’s remix of Shoes. It’s not often that Hackney is filled with people screaming ‘SHOES SHOES SHOES SHOES SHOEEEESS SHOEEESSSS’ but it’s a rather pleasant place when it is.

Bloody Beetroots (Friday)

Italy’s Bloody Beetroots are very much a love or hate group, but they deserved that headline slot (in the dance tent, because the main stage really wasn’t proving to be worth anyone’s time) more than anyone else playing today. As a full band (performing as the Death Crew 77) their harsh regenerated rave punk sound is taken to higher dimensions that a few filters on a mixer cannot necessarily obtain. Firstly, they have a live presence and whether you think it is necessary or not, does not stop it from being exciting. As they fluidly Soulwax their way (who else mixes live electronic songs so well) through instantly classic blog and student dorm hits like Dimmakmmunication and Warp, the night reached a peak as a slow keyboard rendition of John Murphy’s In A House In A Heartbeat (the theme to 28 Days Later, and the backbone to a certain incredible BB song) built up a sweaty crowd into the last screw face moment of the day, when Cornelius got dropped. Amazing. Sure, they’re not as cool as people would give them credit, but they’re headline material, and barrels of fun.

Shy FX (Saturday)

Saturday’s line-up was notably more UK-sound oriented, particularly London centric, with some European influence courtesy of Annie Mac’s whateverispopular playlist. The second day highlighted the pioneers of drum and bass, breakbeat, UK techno, acid house, grime and dubstep and to give the organisers credit, was a tremendous line-up, so long as you looked at it from the right angles. Beginning the day with Shy FX was a good start, as the producer who broke from the jungle he created into a more popular take on the amen breaks with T-Power chose today to relive the sounds that were prominent almost two decades ago. Who wants their fingers on the pulse anyway when the sounds of 94’s Original Nuttah are still booming with life? 138 Trek got dropped, The Lighter got dropped, everything a kid growing up with a clubbing family in the 90s wanted to hear got dropped. Sadly there have been no videos uploaded online yet but that’s likely due to everyone vibesing and not playing around with their stupid bloody phones.

Aphex Twin (Saturday)

Forget every other act playing this festival, the entire price of the weekend ticket was worth to see Aphex Twin play for 90 minutes. Having listened to and loved his music since I can remember, seeing him perform a set of acid house everything was exactly what I hoped for. It also marked the first time in my life I unintentionally tried to fuck a dance tent. As you can imagine, dance tents are huge and there are a lot of humans in the way so I was unsuccessful, but, following on from Annie Mac’s dubwub he proved that he could mess around with the LFO settings in the same way everyone in London is trying to do, but simultaneously flip open the heads of everyone around and fill it with inexplicable drum hits and proper, proper acidic euphoria, melting away your head. Even Die Antwoord’s fluffy animal wearing stage-bombs weren’t a problem when the music was this hard. I can’t even write about it further because stuff like this should be left as it is. Aphex Twin is simply someone you have to see at least once in your life if you like dance music. He has otherworldly powers.

Leftfield (Saturday)

As one of Leftfield’s return shows, their headline slot gave many people a reason (and for some, the only reason) to hit up the main stage during LED, with enough hype behind it to result in Aphex Twin closing down the tent early enough for people to see it. While I’m sure everyone would have been happy to hear another 90 minutes of AFX’s light-and-sound drum rush,  the promise of a live performance from the earliest musicians to fuse dub into their techno was acceptable enough. And they were, legit stadium techno heads with early forward-thinking riddims like Release The Pressure and Afro-Left going down a storm with a crowd who obviously came to re-live the 90s this bank holiday. But it was the Rhythm and Stealth numbers that really brought the night to a climax; Afrika Shox is a song that should only be played through stadium sized speakers and the two-note bassline that makes up the equestrian watersport come nostalgic breakbeat anthem Phat Planet was enough to grant at least a couple of stars from the sneering critics. Extremely satisfying and fitting with the 1990s revival, a roster that blended the acts mentioned in this review would be enough to make a near-perfect festival line-up. As with searching for beats online, if you don’t like the blog then you can close the tab, but there is gold to be found if you seek it out. I am eager to see what they can pull next year after learning from this. What I learnt is that everyone should go out and dance more. That’s basically all that matters.