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PLAYLIST: Blackest Ever Black At Corsica Studios
The Quietus , October 12th, 2016 12:59

With Blackest Ever Black returning to Corsica Studios for its first label party there in three years, label head Kiran Sande takes us through this weekend's line-up

This Saturday, Blackest Ever Black returns to London’s Corsica Studios for its first party there in three years. It’s a special event for me, not because it’ll be the first time I’ve left the house in a fortnight – though it is that - but because it marks the label’s permanent return to the UK after three-and-a-half years based in Berlin. It’s a homecoming, a reunion, a Hard Brexit special. For me, it’s also a total pain in the arse – but for you it will be wonderful.

Some of you may remember past Blackest raves at Corsica. We’ve brought quite an array of characters to the hallowed SE11 dungeon in the past: Prurient, Source Direct, Tropic of Cancer, Regis, Cut Hands, Dalhous, Bruce Gilbert, Horsepower Productions, Helena Hauff… but after last year’s fifth anniversary blow-outs at Berghain and the ICA, I wanted this year’s outing to focus on some of the newer and more under-the-radar artists associated with the label, and of course a few bonus Bad Uncles too.

The Quietus kindly asked me to provide a playlist introducing them, and I’ve obliged. You can get tickets for this Saturday's party here.

Felix K

Felix is, to me, a living legend, but he’s also a very lowkey bloke, with no interest in blowing his own trumpet… so that task falls to me. I’ve been a fan of his since he did the QNS (Quantity Not Sufficient) 12” series around 2009-10 – a truly pioneering showcase of ultra-minimalist, dub-techno-influenced drum ‘n bass – but he’s been a central node in the Berlin DNB scene since the ice age, practically. He co-founded the impeccable Hidden Hawaii label, which continues to inspire and agitate.

We became friends when I lived in Berlin, and now I’ve left I shall miss our regular coffee ‘n kuchen man-dates to geek out over records old and new. Last year he released an EP on Blackest, Tragedy of the Commons, and closed out our fifth anniversary at Berghain. His sound, particularly as a DJ, gravitates more and more towards techno with a capital T, but allowing for radical shifts and cross-hatching of tempos and time signatures – you have to find new ways of dancing to this music, it’s incredibly intense and demanding, in the best possible sense. The above podcast he recorded earlier in 2016 gives you an idea of what to expect: beats not so much broken as smashed to smithereens, smothering industrial textures and a battery of third-eye-opening dub FX. Bliss. P.S. His hair isn’t that floppy in real life.

Carla Dal Forno

Carla is another Berlin person, via Melbourne, and a member of the groups F ingers and Tarcar. Her debut solo album, You Know What It’s Like, comes out at the end of the month and it’s one of the most quietly powerful and perfectly formed records I’ve ever encountered, though it's hard to describe - imagine a kind of gothic pop delivered with both post-punk economy and psychedelic intensity. Well, no need to, you can actually listen. Songs like ‘Fast Moving Cars’ and ‘What You Gonna Do Now?’ are, to me, timeless masterpieces, songs to die for. Her voice is just incredible, and I think her lyrics and sentiments are universal, at least for anyone who’s been in a relationship or found themselves weighing up the merits of being alone against the deprivations. For me it will also, always, evoke something which is now lost to me: the (ahem) Berlin Years. Not doing mountains of coke and scrawling occult messages on the walls of Hansa, more’s the pity, but walking the length of the canal from Treptow to Kreuzberg, having one last bottle of Flenny, one last smoke, putting off difficult tasks and conversations for another hour or two. Forgive the reverie… just come and see her.

Dynamo Dreesen

The towering (literally – he could squash me like a grape) Andreas aka Dynamo Dreesen runs the wonderful Acido Records, one of the few contemporary house labels worth getting out of bed for. It’s not even entirely accurate to call it a house label, given its forays into breakbeat, dub, zoned-out avant-electronics and anything else its principals fancy. As well as Dreesen’s own drily percussive, acutely psychedelic tracks and collaborations with SVN as Dresvn, Acido’s catalogue features productions from the likes of Madteo, SW, DJ Sotofett and Convextion. Those who know, know well. Those who don’t are advised to check out the recent 12” mini-compilation, My House Is Not Your House Vol.2. He’s totally on his own frequency as a DJ, as in life, and he will comfortably kill it for three hours on Room 2’s rhino of a soundsystem.

Pessimist

I’d been following Bristol’s Ruffhouse crew and their brand of stripped-down industrialised DNB/techno steppers for a couple of years, but I hadn’t really properly investigated Pessimist’s solo work until I was passed some demos by Rhythmic Theory just after Christmas. All of his stuff to this date is great, but these demos – which ended up on the Balaklava 12” and his forthcoming The Empty House 12” for Ruffhouse’s own UVB-76 - are a class apart: ice-cold, dubwise, and effortlessly futuristic. Truly one of the most exciting young producers working in the UK, and no slouch in the DJ department either. Very excited to be putting him on in the deliberately confused context of a Blackest night, and to be releasing more material from him in the new year.

DJ Benetti

All the way from Rimini, we welcome one of Italo’s unsung pioneers. Conqueror of dancefloors all over the globe, Benetti’s ecstatic, barnstorming sets routinely blow the minds of first-timers and hardcore Italo and Hi-NRG cognoscenti alike. His first gig was at a Mafia-controlled pizza restaurant in Vigevano (Northern Italy) in 1980, a restaurant famed for its special aphrodisiac “spaghetti a la slinguata”. He’s also big in China where he lived for 18 months as paid guest of the Communist town council. More than 50 per cent of his income is spent on D&G clothes and accessories – the inspiration for this mix. A rumour persists that Benetti is an alter ego of William Bennett (Whitehouse, Cut Hands), but that seems altogether unlikely.

Ossia

Young Echo member Dan aka Ossia hates being called “a crucial figure in the Bristol scene” but I’m sorry, he is: running the RWDFWD label/distro, and overseeing a remarkable constellation of labels that includes No Corner, Hotline and Peng Sound. Recently he’s been making his mark as a producer, releasing 12”s of stern, rootical dub-techno on Blackest Ever Black and Berceuse Heroique. He blew us away when he played the BEB/Idle Hands party at Take5 in Bristol earlier this year, and will surely do the same for you.

Chain Of Flowers

Amazing band from Cardiff, who released their debut LP on Luke ‘Helm’ Younger’s Alter label last year. They were formed from the ashes of various hardcore punk bands, and something of that aggression remans, but Chain Of Flowers deal in heavy shoegaze and jangle-inflected post-punk. The most obvious comparisons would be with certain early Creation or Factory acts, but I loathe to make them because they’re tougher than that implies – their edge-of-gothic vocals and walls of heavily chorused guitars put me more in mind of Blitz’s Second Empire Justice, The Sound circa Jeopardy, Chameleons’ Script Of The Bridge, even The Birthday Party, but undercut with the minimalism of, I dunno, Crisis. They really are one of the best bands in the UK at the moment, and if there’s any justice they will be huge.

Tarquin Manek

Another bloody Australian, Tarquin is a remarkable talent, and the architect of some of the finest records to come out on Blackest in the past couple of years. He’s one half of Tarcar with Carla dal Forno, whose upcoming solo album, You Know What It’s Like, he also co-produced, and a member of F ingers. He released a solo record of his own in late 2015, Tarquin Magnet, a remarkable homebrew of DIY concrete, ectoplasmic jazz and tripped-out electronics which I think will come to be recognised as one of the label’s most unique and durable offerings, and also makes music as Static Cleaner Lost Reward. His live performances fall somewhere between crooning synth-pop, improv, and dubbed-to-all-fuck techno-splack.

Andrew Ingram

Andrew is one of the guys who runs the Tabernacle label - one of the UK’s most formidable and uncompromising techno labels, home to spaced-out, deep-knowledge zingers from Lost Trax, The Connection Machine, John Heckle and many others. Their hardnut Head Front Panel sub-label is also a winner. Anyway, I’d been meaning to ask Andrew to play a Blackest party at some point, but for some reason never quite got round to it. Then one weekend when I was home alone, I found myself watching a live videocast of the Tabernacle crew on Intergalactic FM. The whole recording is worth listening to, but Andrew’s set really did the business. The music was amazing, but I also just dug our man’s un-self-conscious vibe. I’d never met him, but you could tell he was a mensch. He’ll be closing out Room 2.

Chris Farrell

Known to his friends – alarmingly – as Bossman. Runs the Idle Hands record store and label out of Bristol. Taught me nearly everything I know, and to this day remains my favourite person with whom to chew, or rather slur, over the highs, lows and strange resonances of British popular culture. As has become traditional, he’ll be playing a reggae set for this Blackest party – so absolutely nothing like this radio show. Mine and Chris’s joint label “venture”, Silent Street, has its first release out next month.

AD Jacques

Electronic avant-gardist AD Jacques’s background in underground music is extraordinarily interesting, but he doesn’t like talking about it so I’ll spare him his blushes. Archivist extraordinaire, and occasional Blackest Ever Black recording artist (he contributed to the cassette comp Low Company, and we will soon release the album we’ve been sitting on for five years), he has opened every one of our Corsica Studios showcases to date and tends to blow everyone else off the stage.

Kenny White

I met Kenny for the first time quite recently, outside the Coach & Horses in Soho - he was on his way to buy some socks from Uniqlo (one of the only valid reasons to visit central London these days, really). Turns out everyone I know knows him or is his girlfriend or something. You need only skip through this three-hour recording of a set he played at the Pickle Factory recently to know that he’s on the righteous path. Young people like him gave me faith that London will rise again.

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