MUSIC | RECORDS ALBUM OF THE ISSUE
COMPILATION VARIOUS ARTISTS JD Twitch presents Kreaturen Der Nacht (Strut Records) ●●●●● Any mix or compilation which Optimo (Espacio)’s JD Twitch lends his name to has the added bonus of being not just an inevitably pleasing listen, but also a sonic excavation of ear-opening dimensions. Blessed with that all-too- rare blend of abilities to dig hard for unheard music
while spotting and developing to the full the great hooks he finds, any collection of music which Twitch has overseen is a joyful education. With Kreaturen Der Nacht (‘Creatures of the Night’), his latest
compilation for Strut, Twitch maps a parallel history of German post- punk in the early 1980s, an era when Berlin wasn’t the enlightened European hub of designers, DJs and tech companies it is now, but the still-scarred and Berlin Wall-riven frontline in the Cold War. The 16 tracks on this compilation take an evocative snapshot of a
group of young German musicians who thrived on the influence of punk, the cultural confidence to use their own language and a raw, DIY sensibility which is perfectly Optimo. From the low bass pulse and yelped vocals of Leben und Arbeiten’s ‘Amanita’ to Ausserhalb’s Siouxsie and the Banshees-like ‘Zeitzelle’ and Die Haut’s motoric, Can/ Morricone fusion ‘Der Karibische Western’, these songs mirror the post- punk which was coming out of the UK during the time covered (1980 to 1985) in their style and their raw analogue production. Mania D’s ‘Track 4’ sounds like a distraught Joy Division with saxophones; Twitch’s own edit of Christiane F’s ‘Wunderbar’ is a lost disco-punk classic; and as the record moves on, there are more ambient and often dub or synthesiser-influenced experiments in atmosphere, a parallel reality of classics you never knew existed. (David Pollock) ■ Out Fri 9 Nov.
ELECTRO-PUNK THE PRODIGY No Tourists (Take Me To The Hospital) ●●●●●
The Prodigy have pulled off a coup. Their hardcore rave assault has united metal heads, indie kids and clubbers (they've headlined Download, Reading and Creamfields). Their sixth album, No Tourists, refuses to deviate from this tried and tested formula.
It kicks off in typically raucous style with the squelchy acid beats and big drops of 'Need Some1'; 'We Live Forever' continually ramps up the intensity; their collaboration with New Jersey punk / metal duo Ho99o9, 'Fight Fire With Fire', is as deliciously chaotic and hardcore as you'd expect exploding with jittery beats, harsh riffs and confrontational lyrics; 'Timebomb Zone' goes old skool with a dubstep twist and the insistent grinding rhythms of 'Champions of London' will set your teeth on edge. However there's also a clutch of tracks ('Light Up the Sky', 'No Tourists', 'Boom Boom Tap', 'Resonate') that feel like Liam Howlett on autopilot. Not exactly bad but predictable and faceless.
The Prodigy have a sound that's instantly recognisable: hammering beats, big, bolshie, thumping bass as Keith Flint and MC Maxim scream slogans above the maelstrom. Sonically, there's been little progression from their early rave days but you have to admire their tenacity and refusal to compromise. Six albums in and it's still brutally effective (2004's Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned has been their only serious misstep in over 25 years). It's relentless, ferocious and confrontational, immediately
connecting on a visceral, primal, physical level.
If you want variety, No Tourists offers no respite from the Prodigy's ruthless robotic template (even their collaboration with singer-songwriter Barns Courtney, 'Give Me a Signal', is an in-your-face banger). They've created the perfect soundtrack to accompany the technological onslaught of Skynet's global machine revolution. And it's going to sound immense live. (Henry Northmore) ■ Out Fri 2 Nov.
EXPERIMENTAL POP BAS JAN Instant Nostalgia (Lost Map) ●●●●● INDIE FOLK DAN MANGAN More or Less (City Slang) ●●●●●
Following the release of their debut album Yes I Jan earlier this year, this new EP from London-based trio Bas Jan bills itself as the inaugural release from 'Bas Jan 2.0'. Issued on Johnny Lynch’s Eigg-based indie factory Lost Map, the songs here are once again led by composer and mainstay Serafina Steer, but her former colleagues and founder members Sarah Anderson and Jenny Moore have been switched out for Emma Smith and Rachel Horwood. What definitely remains is the band’s esoteric sense of composition, which
manages to sound entirely off the wall while retaining a solid heart of compulsive pop catchiness. The title track coasts in on a wobbling, two-note keyboard line and a chorus of 'na na na na na's, before settling on a kind of shuddering art-pop interrupted by ventures into folksy toytown psychedelia. It’s difficult to put this music into words, as a delicately eclectic jumble of styles whose striking, laser-precise lyrics tie everything together.
'There is no more sombre enemy of good art than the pram in the hall’, proclaimed literary critic Cyril Connolly back in the days when bulky baby- transporting receptacles were more of a thing. There are plenty who will throw that accusation at Dan Mangan whose fifth album, More or Less, is less about previous concerns such as civil unrest in Guatemala and his partying life, and more about keeping a small human alive and offsetting the doubt and paranoia of raising a child in a crazily edge-of-its seat world. Being a daddy has got deep into Mangan’s veins and there was never any doubt that this would be the subject of his next collection of songs.
After an initially jagged beginning where the echoey, distant Beta Band- like and Bon Iver-esque vocal stylings and discordant passages suggest the difficulties of starting each day with a small child to take care of (or, as he puts it in opening track 'Lynchpin', 'every morning is a resurrection').
When a word is invented for the phase of land development which comes after While tracks with names such as 'Lay Low', 'Just Fear', and 'Never Quiet'
trendy art galleries and coffee shops, this music will bear that description, as Steer bemoans the death of her art studio in spiky terms; 'studios are getting shut down / everybody will be kicked out… we can’t start reinventing some idea of the good old days.' The dynamism and poignancy of her words is thrilling, and it continues onto the Moogish futurism of 'Profile Picture'. The song is a sensual slice of disco-pop, but it’s lyrics are an evocation of the internalised, anti-social
suggest a man who’s not exactly taking parenthood in his stride, he’s perhaps just a realist, recognising in 'Peaks & Valleys' that there’s ‘the good, the bad, the in-between’. Matters appear to get cheerier on the musical surface in the album’s middle section with a trio run of 'Cold in the Summer', 'Troubled Mind' and 'Fool for Waiting'. But listen a bit closer and the first two songs signify Mangan’s worries
anxiety of social media living. 'No Time' is less acerbic but equally striking, a metronomic groove built around Horwood’s tick-tocking drums, Smith’s violin lines and Steer’s meditation on being time-poor, while the closing ‘I Am Animal’ is an understated piece of mellow elegance whose gorgeous music masks the fact Steer’s striking lyrical evocation of feeling and story isn’t so readily apparent here. Still – this reboot has been an unqualified success. (David Pollock) ■ Out Fri 23 Nov.
about being swiftly left behind in an ever-evolving and youth- biased music industry, while the anthemic last one (put your lighters and mobiles down, and wave them dummies in the air) seems to revolve around finding a partner who will happily accept the worst of your foibles. It’s perhaps the most upbeat message on an album that signals a man and an artist unsure of his bearings in an increasingly manufactured musical landscape. (Brian Donaldson) ■ Out Fri 2 Nov.
110 THE LIST 1 Nov 2018–31 Jan 2019 110 THE LIST 1 Nov 2018–31 Jan 2019