You may be aware that members of the 20jazzfunkgreats community infiltrated the sprawling Barcelonan fields where Primavera Sound took place last week. This was a great endeavour for us crowd-challenged agoraphobes, but one that bore its fruit in many a mind-blowing concert. It is with retrospective wisdom that your rapporteur has come to realise how great the overall thing was, in spite of some software issues that you may have heard about or experienced, and a lingering feeling that the whole event has reached a scale beyond what we can manage. The reason why such hijinks and concerns have faded into nothingness as we recovered from our festivalesque exertions is dead simple: some of the best shows we have seen this year, or any other year, took place at Primavera Sound 2011.
Rather than engage in a protracted description of the craziness and glory of that went on, we will over the coming weeks be referring to the festival and the acts therein represented when it feels relevant. Let us begin with Factory Floor, who utterly obliterated the ATP stage on Thursday night, with some help from one Chris Carter.
Factory Floor strip dance music down to its bare components, and configure them with the grim nonchalance of a murder squad retained by the black ops soviet. Think Dutch’s squad in Predator with no wisecracking and a snappy Helghan fashion sense.
Synth loops blast like machine language glyphs that could be translated into simple instructions such as ‘ATTACK’, ‘EXTERMINATE’, ‘CARPET BOMBING’, ‘TAKE NO PRISONERS’ or ‘FIX YOUR BAYONETS’, all straight off Nitzer Ebb’s and Front 242 body music usage dictionary. The motorik beats read like input-output flows in a 5 year programme of industrial production that measures results in terms of sweat. The shards of distortion are cruelly designed to produce collateral damage, demoralization and mass surrender.
It isn’t user friendly music, this militaristic acid groove thing, it leaves psychical scars in the shape of weird flashbacks of a tour of duty in a stressful zone of asexual physical release and automated dance alienation. It is quite fucked up and in a class of its own. Get on it if you dare.
You can find the Chris Carter remix above on this Blast First 12.
Led Er Est may well be your scribe’s favourite representatives of the new wave of cold wave (followed by Xeno and Oaklander and Blank Dogs). They have just released May, a new six-track EP with Captured Tracks, and it truly is a sweet follow up on their Dust on Common LP (one of the best albums of 2009, go get if you haven’t yet – vinyl here).
Above you can see House Plants’ video for Lonesome XOXO, an Adam Curtis-esque stream of consciousness collage of archive footage representing violent globalisation and commercial spectacle, two removers of individual agency easily linkable to the contemporary angst manifest in this paradoxically catchy dark pop hit.