Tonight's mix is by Dan Davies an occasional DJ who works as journalist, editor and creative digital manager for Village Underground.
2014 is the centenary of the 'first ever' electronic music performance, given by Italian Futurist Luigi Russolo. This accolade of Russolo's is disputed by sound art researchers (some of whom are resident at Resonance104.4FM, where we re-recorded the first ever performed electronic piece with me at the piano, soon to be published online by The Wire). However it is mostly accepted that the most renowned advocate of early electronic music was Russolo, who even wrote a manifesto on The Art of Noises. While his name is familiar to us on the sound art scene, a dance and live music venue in London set about trying to introduce him on the eve of his anniversary to general club-goers, while conversely bringing electronic performance to the Barbican that would normally sit better in a dance venue (the Fuck Buttons for example).
The series and collaborations
were all a bit complicated to follow but basically, Village Underground
are trying to shake up the monotony of mainstream dance music in London
today with Convergence, a new multi-venue music and technology series, with a nod to a seminal movement that took hold a hundred years ago. And who are Village Underground? A Victorian Warehouse space in Shoredtich
and has played host to artists as diverse as Nas, Fat Freddy's Drop,
Fatoumata Diawara, City of London Sinfonia, Jeff Mills and Roni Size.
The tube trains on the roof which you might have spotted driving up Great Eastern Street are affordable office space
for creative businesses supported by ethical bank: Triodos.
The concepts and sounds of the Futurists have long been traced to lingering styles of sound art and even music today, but not usually in mainstream electronic dance music production. So to mark the centenary, a collective called Noise of Art organised the series of parties in venues across London, their director previously having worked on London's Ether festivals and Village Underground playing host to Booka Share amongst others. This was a rare live outing from Frankfurt house-duo Booka Shade "which will go some way to demonstrating the German's influence on electronic music". Booka Shade gave the London debut of their live set for a new album Eve and curated an after party at VU, you will probably have heard their most famous bassline, which kicks on at about 1'23" in this track. As a teen, I was struck by how much space there was in this track, and how satisfyingly reliable it was. It was a complete balm at the time.
Village Underground stated they were focusing on pioneers who use technology to innovate: "to break the usual beat rather than getting stuck in a loop". While the intention is applaudable, the music, at least at the after party, was pretty staid creatively compared to what we're used to (we are a fringe radio station), however we look forward to seeing where they're going with this. Further left, always welcome.