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Indian E-music – The right mix of Indian Vibes… » 2019 » April » 14

Cybotron review – a gloriously disreputable hi-tech rave

Delivered... Joe Muggs | Scene | Sun 14 Apr 2019 4:05 pm

Barbican, London
Detroit techno maverick Juan Atkins and his reshaped 1980s group turn the concert hall into the dancefloor in their first gig ever

Both of Orbital here, a couple of Rinse FM residents there, Trevor Jackson over there: the Barbican foyer is an absolute scrum of London’s dance music community, all in a state of excitement. For a certain demographic, Juan Atkins’s Cybotron are as fundamental and foundational as any act in music. The 1983 single Techno City gave its name to a genre that would take over the world and define Detroit as its spiritual home. But for all their influence, and for all that Atkins has continued making music in various guises – most notably as Model 500 – they’ve never before done a live show.

This is a new permutation of Cybotron. In place of original members Richard “3070” Davis and John Housely, Atkins is joined by his long-time collaborator the German techno aristocrat Laurens von Oswald, and by fellow Detroiter Tameko J Williams, AKA DJ Maaco. As the moody drone of Industrial Lies thrums, the three come on stage one by one, dressed in matching boiler suits and a sci-fi version of welding masks, as lasers trace out geometrical patterns on the vast projection screen behind. It is a nice summation of techno’s roots: inspiration from the production-line aesthetic of Motor City’s car plants, and afrofuturist dreams of motherships and technological emancipation.

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Robyn review – soars to new levels of dance-pop perfection

Delivered... Michael Cragg | Scene | Sun 14 Apr 2019 11:58 am

Alexandra Palace, London
The Swedish singer commands the 10,000-strong crowd with a perfectly pitched set ranging from club anthems to her latest heartbreaking classics

Pop thrives on the push and pull of delayed gratification, and the release, when it comes, is overwhelming. This intoxicating sensation runs through the 2018 album Honey, Robyn’s first in eight years. She reshaped the pop landscape with tear- and sweat-stained emo-bangers on her 2010 Body Talk series, influencing everyone from Katy Perry to a raft of fellow Swedes. With Honey, Robyn offered something more languid, the pop highs represented by undulating ripples rather than crashing waves.

Tonight, she makes the 10,000-strong heaving mass wait. In fact, for the first 90 seconds of the gently pulsating Send to Robin Immediately [sic], she isn’t even on stage. She appears only as the beat starts to throb, and even then she stands stock-still as gauzy, white fabric billows around a giant statue of caressing hands. The tension doesn’t snap until the third song, Indestructible, initiated by an expertly timed clap. From that moment on, the crowd are in the palm of her hands, as each song bleeds into the next like an immaculately crafted DJ set aimed at puncturing and then suturing the heart. The coiled frustration of Be Mine, during which Robyn yanks down a sheet that had acted as the final barrier between her and her sweaty disciples, rubs shoulders with the upbeat Ever Again, while the disco-tinged Because It’s in the Music (“and it makes me want to cry”) is healed by the groove-lead balm of Between the Lines.

Related: How Robyn transformed pop

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The Chemical Brothers: No Geography review – rewinding the 90s

Delivered... Kitty Empire | Scene | Sun 14 Apr 2019 8:00 am

(Virgin EMI)

The conceit of this ninth Chemical Brothers album is a tantalising one: dusting down the kit used on their first two acclaimed albums, Exit Planet Dust (1995) and Dig Your Own Hole (1997). Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons have not just endured but prospered since their heyday by redeploying a familiar bag of signifiers – muscular beats, upfront vocals – to reliable effect.

The sequel to 2015’s late-life flowering, Born in the Echoes, does supply a steady stream of knee-jerk fare. Free Yourself is one effective, but super-obvious, paean to dancing, whose video finds AI robots throwing a warehouse rave. But some of No Geography rewinds the 90s more exactingly.

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Stubbleman: Mountains and Plains review – a low-key charmer

Delivered... Neil Spencer | Scene | Sun 14 Apr 2019 8:00 am
(Crammed Discs)

Pascal Gabriel’s CV is one impressive document. Starting with Belgian punks the Razors, he moved to London in the late 1970s, became a recording engineer, created chart-toppers with S’Express and Bomb the Bass in the late 80s, and has since written and produced for a legion of pop acts, Kylie Minogue and Ladyhawke among them. Gabriel’s latest project, as Stubbleman, is a step sideways into ambient territory – quite literally, since Mountains and Plains was inspired by a coast-to-coast road trip across the United States.

The album reflects Gabriel’s innovatory skills with electronica, though his principal instrument is a ghostly piano, over which are layered synths, guitars, glockenspiel and the toys of the sound alchemist’s art. It’s a beautifully crafted work that fits Eno’s definition of ambient being “as ignorable as it is interesting”, at times as minimalist as Steve Reich (such as Badlands Train, a slog across the Texas plain), at others unsettling in its evocation of “purposeless highways and terminally closed diners”, or meditative in its portraitof Taos Twilight. A low-key charmer destined, one suspects, for a long life.

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