_ Bug brother ’
Bethan Cole eavesdrops . on Scanner and the man ; bringing a little 1984 to 1994.
‘1 know people might find what I‘m l doing disturbing. but for me music isn't 1 about sitting on comfortable cushions. wearing bright clothes and smoking stuff. l'm trying to expose an unsettling darker side — to make people think again.‘
Robin Rimbaud is bringing futuristic sci-f1 visions of urban dystopia into the present tense. His recordings under the moniker Scanner expose a frightening glimpse of an Orwellian state. What’s worse is that it's a state we live in — Great Britain. 1994.
Rimbaud uses readily available scanning equipment to tap into and record mobile telephone conversations. He releases them as unannounced snatches of anonymous dialogue. underwritten by sparse. barely distinguishable atmospherics and surging chords. These tracks make you cringe. both for the unaware recorded callers (even though often unsympathetic characters) and your own personal privacy.
‘What l‘m doing. scanning phone calls — that‘sjust an overt thing. the tip ofthe iceberg.‘ says Rimbaud. ‘Whenever you pay by cheque at Safeways. your details are logged on file. if you forget your cheque card in future. they‘ve got your details on record and will accept a cheque by
itself. They can sell lists of everything you buy to research people.‘
He is highly sceptical of the so-called information technology revolution - concerned about the power it has given to multinationals and the Government. His agenda is reminiscent of the warnings made by Ernest Mandel in late Capitalism (1979) and echoed by Frederick Jameson in Postmodernism And The Ideology ()j'lxtte Capitalism (l99 l ). Rimbaud feels his voyeuristic methods are justified by their exposure ofthe individual's vulnerability. ‘At the moment Telecom have got this box that you can stop nuisance calls with.‘ he
explains. ‘lt prints out the number of the person who‘s just phoned you. it's
marketed as something safe and domestic but it actually allows BT access to all your calls. A total invasion of privacy.‘
Gender relations figure large in Scanner material. "There are definitely very clearly defined generic male and female phone voices.‘ says Rimbaud. ‘Mcn treat women so badly on the phone. slamming it down more often etc . . . l‘m always surprised when l
hear men say “I love you" to women.‘ In a secret Scanner track on Artiﬁcial
- intelligence 2. a man demands to know
whether the woman is good looking and if she’s got any kinky outfits.
But the Scanner project is just one facet of Rimbaud’s output. More than a bedroom eavesdropper. he remixes
Bjork. Pressures Of Speech and Reload. collaborates with Uzect Plaush‘s Paul Schutz and runs the experimental Electronic Lounge nights at the lCA. He also incorporates the Net‘s burgeoning communication field into his work and is due to play an lntemet gig at the lCA Terminal Conditions conference this October.
‘What l’m doing isn't simply music/sound related — it‘s about all
aspects of communication.‘ he says. ‘l’m really interested in closed-circuit TV cameras too. A lot of people see these things as making society safer. i think they're the insidious way the destruction of personal freedom is being sold to us.‘
Seanner plays The Blue Room a! The Venue. Edinburgh on Sun 4 Sept. Use a mobile at your peril.
_ Putting the funk back into it
Seven years ago Derrick May
described his music as ‘Kraftwerk and George Clinton stuck in an elevator together’. He could not have predicted . its massive future resonance. Today, his metaphor of unholy alliance is more potent than ever. Europe’s trance-meisters might have attempted ? to siphon the ‘CIinton factor’ out of motor city techno and return to an Aryan ideal of electro, but funk is
busting back. At the vanguard oi this attack are new-school names with old-school pedigrees: Carl Craig and Robert Armani.
At just 25, Craig is up there on the production credits of May’s monumental Strings Of Life, with his own back catalogue of sensual classics including Elements and Bug
In A Bass Bin. His work follows a
sensual emotive line, from early gems such as e.r.c and Psyche — re- released this year on the astounding Obiets d’Art compilation - to the soft, jazzy breakdown of At Les on In Order To Dance Five.
’I’m trying not to work to a formula,
that’s when things get more accepted
and stale,’ he says. ‘I want to get as
a much variety as possible into my work.’ He cites influences as it 8: B, i liaisons Dangereuses, Wu Tang Clan,
Mary J. Blige and Gil Scott Heron. He recently remixed the forthcoming Le Funk Mob single and more surprisingly, the next Tori Amos release, God. ‘I loved it instantly when I heard it,’ he enthuses. ‘Maybe it’s not what I’m supposed to like, but i hate the snobbery around at the moment.’
Likening strict musical genealogy to racism, Craig has a strong aversion to techno purism. ‘If you start
constructing definitions - techno is
this, house is that - it's kinda like
saying: “He’s black so he’s going to
behave in that way.” Preludice really.’ Against his will, I ask Craig to
1 describe his musical style. He
unequivocally replies: ‘Funk.’ Fierce.
g (Bethan Cole)
; Carl Craig is at Pure, the Venue on Fri
1 26 Aug, 10.30pm—4am, £7 (£5).
sponsored by VOX
Bethan Cole buffs up her lip gloss in preparation tor another hectic fortnight of dancefloor hedonisrn. See Venues on next page for addresses and phone numbers.
I Kazoo Paradise Factory man Tim Lennox (responsible for the storming handbag anthem Saturday Night. Sunday Morning) proves it really is ‘queer oop north‘.
The Vaults. Fri 26 Aug. lOpm—4am. £6. I Pure Detroit innovator Carl Craig behind the decks. blurring the lines between house and techno. Passionate. emotional electro. Prepare to be moved. The Venue. Fri 26 Aug. l().30pm—4am. f 7 ( £5).
I Sativa Fierce. ruling Teutonic diva Electric indigo lashes up the four-to- the-floor dominators. Spiky techno. chunky dubs and the gentlest ambient dn‘ft.
The Vaults. Fri 2 Sept. l()pm—4am. £6 (£5/f4).
I Club Latino Blistering eleven-piece salsa band Salsa-Y-Aehe live, plus the usual Latin rhythms and sea of gyrating bodies. Hot! Hot! Hot!
Assembly Rooms. Sat 27 Aug. midnight—3am. £4 ( [3).
I Joy Scotland's answer to Heaven with Maggie and Alan throwing down the inspired mix of house and garage and Edinburgh‘s loved-up queercore going for broke. Work it!
The Calton. Saturdays. l()pm—4am. £5 (£3).
I Tribal Funktion A third ofthe inescapable Reel 2 Real and creator of far less commercial gems In My House and Asura. Eric Moiillo hits Edinburgh with. no doubt. a killer mix of hard 'n‘ raw house cuts. Wicked!
The Venue. Sat 3 Sept. llpm—4am. f 7 ( £5).
I Yip Yap Selling out by midnight. Mixmag stars Gareth Somerville and David Brown. jacking the groove in truly superlative style. Exhilarating. anthemic: probably unsurpassable.
La Belle Ange/e. Sat 27 Aug. llpm—4am. [5.
I Blue Room Ambient auteur Ben Wilmott (Quirky. Megatripolis) segueing the decelerated rhythms and balmy aesthetic atmospherics on 28 Aug. Mobile phone eavesdropping and futuristic noisefrission from Scanner on 4 Sept.
The Venue. Sundays. l()pm-4am, [4 (£2).
I Fringe Club ‘Club Hight’ Dominic Moir. currently hot property on the London club scene takes time out to kick ass at 'l‘eviot Row House.
Fringe (71th. Tue 30 Aug. /()pm—3am. £5.
The List 26 August-8 September [994 55