Blog //

Black Sabbath, 1972

Studio To Stereo //

Studio To Stereo is an audio visual exhibition currently hanging in London’s Proud Gallery which aims to marry High Res Audio recordings with never before seen images of artists in their various studio environments. The idea is that it will give the audience the feeling of being in the studio with the artist.

Curated by Alex Proud, and narrated by BBC Radio 6 DJ Tom Ravenscroft, the gallery features pictures of Bob Dylan, Black Sabbath, The Beatles and more. As a special preview we’ve collected some of our favourite images from the show as a Crack exclusive. Check them out in the gallery below and head down to Proud Gallery between 20 Novemeber and 3 December to see the full exhibition for yourself.

Kevin Parker recording Lonerism in his home Studio, 2011

Kevin Parker (Tame Impala) recording Lonerism in his home studio, Matt Savage, 2011

Black Sabbath, 1972

Black Sabbath, Chris Walter, 1972

Chris Martin while recording X&Y, 2004

Chris Martin recording X & Y, Kevin Westernberg, 2004

Ray Manzarek & John Densmore, 1970

Ray Manzarek and John Densmore (The Doors), Frank Lisciandro, 1970

Pink Floyd by Andrew Whittuck-002-HR

Pink Floyd, Andrew Whittuck

Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 11.55.52

John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison tune up, Ernst Merck Halle, 1966


Annie Mac’s Twin Peaks rescore is a masterpiece //

A majestic, red breasted robin perches tentatively on a branch, city smog billows from small town factory chimneys, the gears of industry churn as the words ‘Twin Peaks’ appear in moss green to that most iconic of themes; Toddla T’s Acid. Some might call it sycophantic given the curator’s relationship to the artist but, when you peel back the layers and really think about it, what other piece of music could possibly lend itself to the title sequence of David Lynch’s classic surrealist television serial?

How could my eyes not stay glued to the screen as the bass fades and murmurs and the heavy glow of Shlomo’s bass weight Out of Hand kicks in and the people of Twin Peaks make a shocking discovery. Never before has the marriage of dubstep and mystery been so perfectly realised. Was it not but a few weeks ago I was revelling and joyously extolling over the unerring judgement of MistaJam’s now classic reinterpretation of Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood? I really thought it couldn’t be bettered, well, I was wrong – heck, everyone was wrong.

No-one saw this coming, this splendour, this bold improvement on what some close minded ‘film buffs’ have called ‘a masterclass in audio visual acuity.’ Now, I’m not one for spoilers but the moment when Disclosure’s 2012 classic Voices washes over the backwards talking dwarf is sheer genius, an alliance of truth and beauty, a blue sky and a Waitrose smoked salmon, cream cheese sandwich. This is all I have ever wanted, I used to think it would be enough to just be able to watch Twin Peaks but much like that time I reach operating thetan level 4 I now realise that sometimes there’s more to life than meets the eye.

All that’s left to do now is to sit and wait, breath bated as I yearn for next week’s installment of Radio 1 Rescores. I hear Charlie Sloth’s taking on John Carpenter’s classic monster movie The Thing and I am literally shitting myself in anticipation.

Fuck you Zane Lowe. Fuck you very much indeed.

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Words: Billy Black



Mediaspank: Let’s talk about the bombs

When the government’s preparing to bomb a foreign land it always feels like we’re sat cross-legged on the carpet waiting eagerly for them to read another story from the Very Serious Book of Military Intervention. 

It’s a series of watercolours with less than a catchphrase per page. “Look at these persecuted Muslims,” they say, pointing at a picture of appropriately dressed peoples cowering in fear, the furrowed brow lines of a statesman crossing their forehead in metered concern.

The next drawing shows the enemy just metres from the edge of a town; the Wolf at the Door. They’re the ones driving stolen US-bought tanks, waving black flags and beheading people, or clutching AK-47s, banning democracy and harvesting opium on an industrial scale.

“He hates our way of life, our freedom, our democracy,” says Tony, gesticulating wildly at the serious man with a bushy moustache surrounded by rows and rows of parading soldiers, and a palpable certainty he could strike at the heart of England at any moment.

And so it continues. We went into Iraq during the Gulf War in the early 90s and then went back there a decade later with an alarming amount of altruistic spunk. Now we’re running soirees with laser guided bombs in an attempt to halt the cancer-like spread of the latest jihadist group.

If ISIL consolidate their grip on the land they occupy, says the home secretary, “we will see the world’s first truly terrorist state established within a few hours flying time of our country.” We must not flinch! Attack! Attack!

Every time the justification is about what’s happening there and how it’s going to affect us here. This establishment of a caliphate is a “clear and present danger” to our way of life, says Cameron.

That’s not to belittle just how serious the situation is on the ground, where people are dealing with unimaginable terror, or to make light of our international responsibilities. The question of whether we should try to help people in these countries is easy to answer and, therefore, largely irrelevant.

The more important thing to ask is whether we can help, and the government never gives the UK public the respect of having an open debate about that.

The arguments about how the threat there causes attacks here ring hollow. Perhaps we can bomb an ideology out of existence, but attacks on the UK have largely been plotted and carried out by UK nationals – the threat originated in our country – and stopping them has been almost entirely down to the amazing work of our security services, not these wars.

And there needs to be a public forum to discuss every intervention, not a short debate in the Commons made in front of nodding-dog MPs.

We need to make sure the public knows basic facts, like how many people support the regime we’re about to dismantle and what happens after our intervention ends. And these facts, observations and uncertainties, need to be couched in appropriate rhetoric not amped up for the sake of cheap headlines.

It shouldn’t sound like a leader’s personal mission either. Any time the debate turns into a soap box speech in front of an audience of yes men, rather than a conversation about the perils of intervention, we’re in trouble.

We’ve just finished pulling our troops out of Afghanistan 13 years after we invaded the country. There’s no doubt we’ve done some good there, but our involvement looks nothing like what we were promised all those years ago.

Maybe if we learnt to talk about military intervention honestly and openly we could improve the impact and avoid repeating the same mistakes again and again over the next decade.

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Words: Christopher Goodfellow


Illustration: Lee Nutland 

Mogwai / Rave Tapes (a-sya)(HSE-30324)

Mogwai at Colston Hall //

Some bands are just meant to be headliners. Some bands combine the reputation, the prestige, the breadth and mass and quality of material, and the sheer sonic impact that means no one could possibly, justifiably go on after them. Mogwai are one of those bands. 

It’s 18 years and 8 albums since Mogwai unleashed the still-peerless Mogwai Young Team on an unsuspecting world. In the subsequent period the Glaswegian collective have experimented, expanded, and ultimately perfected the blueprint laid down by those fiercely creative, staggeringly ambitious young men. Mogwai in 2014 stand alone as one of the most prized and revered assets in British music. And it’s in a live setting that they’re afforded the space and scope to fully exercise all those devastating sonic charms.

The first headliner announced for Simple Things 2014, the event’s entire line-up was built around the knowledge of Mogwai at its zenith. Filling the grandiose and acoustically immaculate Colston Hall main room, this headline performance could go down in Bristol music history.

And for those who can’t make it, you’ll also be able to stream Mogwai’s performance from 23:30 at the following link:

Simple Things takes place at various venues in central Bristol, tomorrow, 25 October. A small handful of tickets are still available at Whet your appetites with the video for Simon Ferocious, released earlier this year, below.


Simple Things 12 Day Countdown #2: Red Bull Music Academy present The Firestation //

We’ve already waxed lyrical about the appearance of DJ Harvey, one of the festival’s most anticipated sets, and performing alongside him at the Firestation is a varied selection of the solid up-and-coming and established talent that we’ve come to align with RBMA. The warped hyper-pop of SOPHIE has become one of the most divisive forces in dance music, so one of his notoriously baffling live performances is not to be missed. The infectious, sample-heavy dance jams of DJ Nature should fit nicely alongside the roughed up cosmic house of Seven Davis Jr., who will play one of his ever-evolving live sets where his warped vocals ride raw, rhythmic soul. Expect talk-box fun with Numbers producer Redinho, who plays following the release of his debut album. Electronic trio Dark Sky, hugely-hyped rapper Rejjie Snow and academy alumni Jolly Mare are pinned together by local talents Futureboogie and The Kelly Twins, the latter of whom have kindly put together an excellent Simple Things warm-up mix, playing the sort of down-tempo excursions they’ll be letting spin at the Firestation come Saturday.
Simple Things takes place at various venues in central Bristol on 25 October. Very limited tickets are still available at


Simple Things 12 Day Countdown #3: Studio 89 //

Hosting impressive line-ups of the most credible deep house and disco from the modest confines of a noodle bar basement on a Cardiff backstreet, Studio 89 got people talking about their intimate yet unpretentious atmosphere while inspiring a renewed energy in the Welsh dance music scene. Making Coroners Court 2 their own this Saturday, Studio 89 DJs are joined by regular Owain K as well as young Berlin-based producer Max Graef, whose critically-acclaimed debut album Rivers of the Red Planet won over fans with its sideways take on his diverse range of influences spanning house to hip-hop.

Undoubtedly one of the most highly-anticipated sets of the festival comes courtesy of DJ Sprinkles. Terre Thaemlitz has long been a feature in the discourse of dance music culture, largely because of the extremely eloquent, pointed nature with which she dissects ideas of clubland ideology and queer identity. While the Tokyo-based producer’s thoughts on dance music culture are readily available, a DJ Sprinkles set is something of a rarity. Just what makes a set from the deep house operator so exceptional is the guaranteed slew of ambient excursions and multifarious exclusives that you absolutely have to get off the sofa and into the club to hear. You might know two tracks, tops.

Simple Things takes place at various venues in central Bristol on 25 October. Limited rickets are still available at


SIMPLE THINGS COUNTDOWN #4: FACT magazine @ the Coroner’s Court //

The intense potential for electronic music will be fully realised on the FACT-hosted stage at Simple Things. Bookended by sets from the up-and-coming grime producer Impey and the unforgiving teenage techno artist Happa, Room 1 of the Coroners Court will see sets from some of the most intriguing producers in the game: Zomby and Actress.

First emerging with an outsider’s perspective on the bass-fuelled, slower BPM trends of the mid noughties, Zomby’s unpredictable trajectory led him to 2013’s double album With Love, which saw the masked enigma gather fragments of jungle, classical music and eskibeat grime and smother them with a grey-coloured ambience. Notoriously raw and unpredictable, Zomby’s selection will showcase his impeccable taste. Equally as uncompromising, is previous collaborator and peer Actress. Lauded for his experimental tendencies on albums such as Hazyville, R.I.P. and Ghettoville, Simple Things will see him project his thirst for extremity onto the dancefloor at the Coroners Court.

Simple Things takes place at various venues in central Bristol on 25 October. Limited rickets are still available at



Photography: Teddy Fitzhugh


Simple Things 12 Day Countdown #5: Liars //

So assured is Liars current incarnation – a thudding, robotic three-pronged beast unleashing warped 4×4 industrial techno and skewed electronic post-punk clunk that could only be released on Mute Records – that it’s disarming to trace your way back through their undulating, untouchable musical history. 

Yes, this is the same three men who only began dabbling in electronic instrumentation with 2012’s bubbling WIXIW; yes, it’s also the same band who wooed the alternative rock world with the intoxicating guitar riff of Scissor, its rock-pelting video, and the relative tangibility of the accompanying album Scissorworld in ’10. And yes, the same band who produced the searing experimental noise rock of Plaster Casts of Everything from their self-titled record ’07.

And know what – it’s also the same band (although with a slightly tweaked line-up) who came raging out of the ultra-hip NY post-punk revival scene alongside the likes of Yeah Yeah Yeahs at the turn of the millennium – only to promptly distance themselves from the hype by holing up in a cabin in the New Jersey woods and producing a dense, unsettling, incredible concept album based around witch hunting. And the same band who then relocated to Berlin to create the percussive, atmospheric experimental masterpiece Drum’s Not Dead, which is where these two subplots merge.

Liars are simply one of the most important, unique, staggeringly unpredictable bands on their time. We are honoured to have them here at Simple Things, and their Colston Hall main room slot will be an unprecedented standout.

Simple Things takes place at various venues in central Bristol on 25 October. Limited rickets are still available at Watch the video for Scissor below.


Simple Things 12 Day Countdown #6: L.I.E.S. //

Notorious for taking dance music and running it over with a truck, label head Ron Morelli created something of his own by tapping into a seemingly endless stream of artists with a seemingly endless stream of dark, dusty and distorted dancefloor constructions.

The L.I.E.S. label’s prolific output continues to span nervy lo-fi, lawless techno and multifarious takes on unconventional, unhinged dancefloor cuts, notching up over 80 releases since 2010. Joining us from the label is boss Morelli alongside the hazy, spacious sounds of Terekke and the hypnotizing acidic swells of Svengalisghost. The sun’s gone away and it’s officially time to spend some quality time in dark rooms wigging out to distortion blown sounds. Find them in the dark belly of Lakota room 2.

In order to book your place grab a Simple Things ticket from Get a taster for what you’re in for below.


Simple Things 12 Day Countdown #7: Bristol’s Best //

While it’s obviously hugely satisfying to welcome a wealth of international talent to Bristol, it’s an equally integral facet of Simple Things to appreciate the incredible font of music sitting right on our doorstep. Bristol’s winding musical history spans the eras, and the current crop of bands, DJs, promoters and labels means the city’s musical commitment and eclecticism is now at a point to match the cultural diversity for which it is so celebrated.

So as well as handing over some of the stage reigns to long-running friends and associates, we’ll also be embedding a selection of Bristol-based or -affiliated artists within the festival line-up.

Taking over The Lantern, the Colston Hall’s impeccable second room, will be the Bristol-based Invada Records, run by Portishead man Geoff Barrow. Nestled between hyped acts like The Haxan Cloak and Eagulls you’ll find local bands and Invada signees including the expansive post-rock squall of Thought Forms, the thrilling A/V onslaught of Cuts, and the gothic garage rock of Scarlet Rascal. We’ve also invited back our friends at Shapes after their triumphant stint in The Island’s Courtyard last year, with the highly-respected Bristol staple DJ October appearing alongside techno royalty DVS1, and the rapidly-ascending online hub Stamp The Wax, which started life in Bristol, will host a room in Lakota where local heads including Admin, Seka, Harri Pepper and Robin Sure will nestle in alongside rising house star Damiano von Erckert.

And, of course, we’ll welcome back those inimitable house and disco hearthrobs Pardon My French, who’ll be hosting a cast of friends including Christophe and Twin Picks, as well as welcoming a very (trust us, very) special guest headliner.

Taking over the auspicious Colston Hall Main room opening slot after Oliver Wilde’s stunning showing last year will be the swooning, textured shoegaze of The Fauns, while Wilde himself will act as the centrepiece for The Line Of Best Fit’s offerings in the unique space of the Foyer. Local DIY heroes Spectres will fill the Academy 2 with searing noise, while the Red Bull Music Academy Stage will see Bristol-born, NYC based house icon DJ Nature appear alongside his kindred spirit DJ Harvey, with the stage foundations having been laid by The Kelly Twins and Futureboogie.

And if you can find a more appropriate home for the gritty post-punk of Idles and the riotous stoner-RnR jams of Turbowolf than providing support for world-renowned luminaries Death From Above 1979 and Black Lips in their home town, then we’re all ears.

So there you go. Bristol – we give you Bristol.

Simple Things takes place across 14 stages on 25 October, tickets can be bought here. Check out DJ Nature in the Boiler Room below.


Simple Things 12 Day Countdown #8: Hyperdub 10 In Association With Trap Magazine

One of the most eagerly anticipated stages at this year’s event is the Hyperdub 10 stage in the Main Room of Bristol’s iconic Lakota nightclub. Lakota’s reputation as one of the city’s foremost clubbing institutions frequently showcasing the grittiest in urban music means Hyperdub should sit perfectly at home in its dark and bowel like central room.

Hyperdub acts a centrifugal force in the underground world of electronic music tying together disparate strands of bass music, grime, techno and experimental music under one superb banner. Helmed by the evergreen Kode9 and having released music from the likes of Burial, The Bug, DJ Rashad, Flying Lotus amongst many other stalwarts of the label, Hyperdub’s continued importance to the scene cannot be understated.

Kode9 and Scratcha DVA’s DJing will be complimented on the night with live performances from Cooly G and Laurel Halo in what will surely be one of the biggest draws at this year’s event. Read our recent interview with Cooly G here.


DJ Harvey, The Oval Space, London. October 19th, 2012

Simple Things 12 Day Countdown #9: DJ Harvey

Where to start with the UK’s foremost disco pioneer and one of the greatest characters in the history of dance music. Calling Harvey a purveyor of the finer points of his art is to him a disservice.

From his renowned Tonka Sound System parties in the early 90s, to being one of the first DJs to hold down a residency at the then-very-credible Ministry Of Sound, to being the DJ responsible for bringing Larry Levan over to the UK for the first time, to the legendary stories of debauchery, to being exiled from the UK for 10 years and carving a look and a reputation as California’s primary party starter, DJ Harvey’s sound and taste is an amalgamation of more years of study, edit and partying than anyone would possible expect of a mortal. The good news is that his box has been re-packaged and is ready for explosion now that he’s allowed back on these shores safe in the knowledge it can once again to be relayed to a captive Simple Things audience, for whom he’ll be playing a specially extended four hour set. If you want an education and the most hip-shaking, life-affirming music you’ll see all weekend, do not miss this. We certainly won’t.

Read his recent interview with Crack about his Wildest Dreams band project here.


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