PLAID, Whelan’s, Dublin, Tomorrow
Electronic duo Plaid are the one act on revered label Warp Records who have never strayed off the melodic path, while keeping their experimental edge. Over 11 albums since 1991, Ed Handley and Andy Turner have stuck to the original Warp manifesto set out in the label’s first Artificial Intelligence compilation – intricate, chiming electronica and ambient techno, with some concessions to rave euphoria.
Even setting aside their two soundtrack albums Tekkonkinkreet and Heaven’s Door, and the CD/DVD package Greedy Baby, Plaid have always carefully curated the visual representation of their music.
For this showcase of their new album The Digging Remedy, “Plaid will be performing behind a partial screen made up of 40 triangles and will be using newly developed software to project images & video clips onto each of the triangles triggered by the music”. Sold.
EJECA, District 8, Dublin, tonight
For many, session season finished last weekend in the Stradbally muck, with plenty of ‘knuckle-down’ promises made among the hazy fear mornings during the week.
But if you’re on the techno spectrum, the fourth quarter is only beginning at Dublin’s District 8, with a blockbuster roster from now until Christmas.
Sunil Sharpe is booked in for a five-hour marathon tomorrow, but you can make a weekend of it with Belfast’s Ejeca kicking things off tonight. It’s sold out already, but if you’ve a ticket, expect some quality dubby techno, raw house and twisted soft-focus garage.
MORRISSEY & MARSHALL, Unitarian Church, Dublin, tomorrow
Maybe your heart jumped when you saw Morrissey, but I’m afraid Ol’ Big Mouth isn’t landing in Dublin to play an intimate gig in the Unitarian Church – even though he was pulling pints of Guinness in the Thomas House a few months ago.
Morrissey & Marshall are a far more wholesome prospect than our caustic indie hero. The Irish duo are clearly in thrall to the 60s folk and beat groups, and the woodland cover of their album And So It Began even looks Simon and Garfunkel’s The Sound of Silence.
If anything, this’ll be an innocent, ‘pleasant’ affair – they’re like The Beatles or the Kinks with all the creases and minor chords ironed out. In fact, it’ll probably go down well in church.
LATE NITE TUFF GUY, Button Factory, Dublin, tomorrow
You might’ve heard Carmelo Bianchetti aka Late Nite Tuff Guy described as Australia’s ‘Godfather of Techno’. But somehow even that lofty title sells him short, in a way.
Bianchetti doesn’t do straight-up techno, even if it’s a big section in his record bag.
His calling card is shining a new light on old disco or funk tracks or re-edits of so-called guilty pleasures like Toto’s Africa and over-used classics by Marvin Gaye, Fleetwood Mac, David Bowie and Michael Jackson — as well as mining the last few decades of synthpop and house. Expect plenty of works in progress and exclusives.
ALEXIS TAYLOR, Workmans Club, Dublin, Thursday
Hot Chip have always been one of the most introspective and melancholy electronic pop acts of the last decade or so, so the next logical step for frontman Alexis Taylor was a stripped down solo album.
His third solo record is simply called Piano, a collection of vulnerable, personal songs and some tender covers of Crying in the Chapel and Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue.
It’ll make for a left turn for Hot Chip fans more used to the band’s quirks and off-beat sense of humour.
The album was too ‘pop’, and made concessions to earthy funk and cosmic jazz-funk fusion, with Hancock’s synthesiser and electric piano to the fore, and a playfulness in the basslines and drum breaks that have been mined by countless hip-hop artists in the following decades.
Of course the ‘real’ jazz were on the wrong side of history – Head Hunters is up there with Miles Davis’s Kind Of Blue and John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme as albums even non-jazz heads have in their top tens.
Far from disappearing after three fusion albums when Hancock went electro in the early 80s, The Head Hunters have been playing since, still on the space jazz Sun Ra path.
Expect plenty of psychedelic solos pinned down by those filthy basslines on classic like Watermelon Man, Chameleon and God Make Me Funky, which has been sampled by Nas, NWA, Biz Markie and loads more.
- Originally published in the Irish Star