Article Pulls// full articles are in section bellow
Night of the Assassins - "The Weekly" - Cody Goodfellow "...You couldn't ask for a better opener for a Ninja Tune show than Irwin, because he does with wired drums what they do with turntables: he builds a dynamic wall of sound that mixes sequenced and live performance into a new but immediately engaging style. Though far more danceable than either of the Ninjas, Irwin is perhaps even more experimental, because the songs evolve not only between, but during shows..."
At The Che - Guardian - Sandy Link "...If Irwin's last performance is indicative, anything is possible at his next show. Irwin's last performance was a chaotic mix of groaning samples lifted from porn flicks, beautiful serene soundscapes, backwards analog-synthesizers and intense live drumming... ...Irwin has played with the Beastie Boys; David Navarro of Janes Addiction and the Red Hot Chilly Peppers; Will Cooper of Mazzy Star; Fred Wesley from James Brown's band; Carl Denson and Herald Todd who played with Lenny Kravitz; Rickie Lee Jones; and John Cale of the Velvet Underground"
CityBeat - Masters Of The Magneto "...It's a 21st century sound, for sure. And it just might be the sound of the 21st century- technology in harmony with spontaneity, music that breathes, speaks, and most of all, acts."
KPBS The Lounge - Hosted by Dirk Sutro "Irwin is considered by many the most innovative and talented live electronic act in the world. Typically sandwiched between D.J.s, Irwin has highlighted many club and party events since 96. Recently on the merits of word of mouth, Irwin performed to sold-out clubs in Europe and opened for Roni Size Break Beat Era/D.J. Die, and The Ninja Tune Tour with Kid Koala and Amon Tobin in the U.S. Irwins live shows consist of live electronic drumming, midi theremin loops, fresh samples and sequences; all melded together to create an incredible audio and visual experience."
Sounded Like Gunshot - Reader - Pat Sherman "...Weeks later, still enthralled by Irwin's Ole Madrid gig...I pay him a visit at home...I can see the room is littered with an array of percussion instruments and various stringed contraptions. Irwin gives me a brief tour..."
Irwin and his Theremin - D-Town - Rex "...Irwin has been in circulation for over half a decade, and grows stronger day by day with his theremine heralding a new dawn for live electronic..."
Conspiring Against Music - The Weekly - Cody Goodfellow "...If there's a vibe in the night, hopefully I can catch it. If you can tap into that, you can create something for the audience, rather than hashing it (music) out day and night in a rehearsal room and spewing it out on the audience and moving on to the next show..."
Made In - Les nuits vagabondes du Zanzibar "...On pense a un Jamiroquai sous acid dcouvrant la magie d'un vocoder, au Prince (puisqu'il a repris son nom) des annees 80 remix par un DJ bruitiste! Beaucoup plus facile d'accs, Irwin's balance un drum'n bass, a la foil nergique et mlodique, presque rock sur certains morceaux, avec des sonorits sixties pour les claviers et des basses trs proiondes..."
PaperMag -Tips For Tomorrow "For those who find football too soft, there are extreme sports; for those who think dating too cushy, there's extreme dating (10 seconds or less: go!). Now, for musicians who just can't get enough, Irwin comes to Pianos with his liver-then-live act. Irwin doesn't just play his electronic (music) - he makes it on the spot, creating all the beats and sounds right in front of you... see it if you dare, pussy..."
UP Magazine written by Beau Lamontagne "How in the hell is he doing that? That's usually the question asked when Irwin performs... Electronic music like this was never intended to be created live, yet here's Irwin doing it right before your disbelieving eyes."
Bandvibe - Christian Behl "He is the cutting edge of art and music. Now you know what he ate for breakfast!!! Christian from Bandvibe interviews one of the great musicians and creative pioneers of our generation, Irwin."
For nearly a decade, Ninja Tune has cultivated a small stable of artists who make the most innovative kind of music. Eccentrics unconscious of pushing back borders, just staking out their own weird new kingdoms in the sonic wilderness. This is not the music of tomorrow:
More because of his complex, cerebral structures than for what he samples; many think of Tobin as an experimental, jazz artist, but, "I don't understand jazz at any academic level," he says. "I feel the same about jazz as I do about drum & bass, or hip hop. If it rocks for me, if the, melody makes the hairs on my neck stand up. I search for sounds like that in jazz, and I try twisting pieces of: them around in a different arrangement the same way I do with breaks. It's definitely a presence in the music, even if it's not always audible. I want strong melodies, and I don't care if it's coming from a horn or a motor bike, really." Tobin's scheme for bringing his colossal sound to a live forum is simple with 70 or 80 samples in each track, he's going to DJ, but he plans to subvert and deform his set as much as Supermodified did the sources he sampled. "It wouldn't be right to try to recreate the samples live, and I'm trying to make the point that samples have a quality of their own. DJing is a good way around it for me. I'll be playing tracks off the album, but introducing new tracks to make a third"
Kid Koala takes good care of his hands.
If you saw what he makes his hands do while scratching out the tracks on his debut CD, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, you'd understand why At 25, the Canadian Kid is an illuminated master of the almost lost art of hand-cut turntable sampling, playing his records like instruments, warping and deforming the double-jointed mix with furious finger-action instead of digital programming. When he makes a beat, he often works harder to tweak it than the original drummer did to create it. "If it's a loop, like 'Roboshuffle,' I have a kick, and a snare and a high-hat on different records, and I just piece 'em together.
On 'Temple Of Gloom', for instance, I have two copies of that belly dancing groove, and I play four bars on one side while I'm cueing the other, it's called backspinning- looping by hand."
KPBS The Lounge
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// KPBS- The Lounge
From the live KPBS radio interview
"Irwin is considered by many the most innovative and talented live electronic act in the world. Typically sandwiched between D.J.s, Irwin has highlighted many club and party events since 1996. Recently on the merits of word of mouth, Irwin performed to sold-out clubs in Europe and opened for Roni Size Break Beat Era/D.J. Die, as well as The Ninja Tune Tour with Kid Koala and Amon Tobin in the U.S. Irwin's live shows consist of live electronic drumming, midi theremin loops, fresh samples and sequences; all melded together to create an incredible audio and visual experience."
"One thing that is really intriguing and possibly one of the difficulties that you encounter is where to play this music and what to use it for, because a lot of people want to have music on that's kind of light weight and pleasurable for when their sitting at home or they want to have music for a party so they can get up and dance or they want to go to a club and see a musician with a guitar." --
By Sandy Link
mix of groaning samples lifted from porn flicks, beautiful serene soundscapes,
soundscapes, backwards analog-synthesizers and intense, live drumming.
It could be characterized as a cross between the sounds of drum 'n' bass, electronica and sex in the rain forest.
Irwin typically utilizes MIDI-theremine and a digital echoplex to create live sound loops, electronic and acoustic drums, a sampler and occasionally, a sequencer. Latey, Irwin's shows have been a solo performance.
Issue Number 139
Masters of the magneto
by R.L. Buss
When Bird and bebop took jazz out of the dance halls in the 1940s, they framed a revolution. Musicians transferred their musical labs to dark, intimate clubs where technical precision and experimentation surpassed showmanship and entertainment, transforming jazz into music as much for the musician as it was for listeners.
Look now to small venues in San Diego—places like the Roseary Room downtown, the Whistlestop in South Park or Kadan in Normal Heights—and you’ll find the same electric buzz of improvised creation.
It’s the budge of fresh aural art. It’s “live electronic.”
Live electronic is electronic music exploded, the way Bird exploded the sax and transcended it night after night.
“Software has advanced and sort of blurred the lines between DJ’ing and playing live,” says DJ Jon Baker, of San Diego’s BrokenBeat Collective. “Pieces of songs/loops—original or someone else’s—can be put together and reformed dynamically creating a completely new piece of music. When a traditional vinyl DJ is ‘in the mix,’ this same idea is used. However, software allows for many more options.”
And possibility rewards as much as it disappoints.
Baker uses a turntable, laptop and chaos pad (an outboard effects machine) to “give it extra flavor, extra spice… options for adding synth-type sounds on top of a track, or affecting the track that I’m playing in my laptop.”
These composer-performers are also technicians, masters of the magneto, channeling the cosmos into the sound of the city, the music of the grid.
“You can use a shitload of external hardware—the spectrum is really broad,” says Irwin, of San Diego-based Irwin’s Conspiracy. “I don’t think that’s ever been the case in the history of music, for a genre to have such a broad scope of equipment that you can throw on stage and call ‘live electronic.’”
Irwin should know. He hotwired his first midi-theremin 10 years ago. He still uses one, along with electronic drums he can loop through a laptop and “other modules,” if he desires.
Baker expands: “Now there’s becoming an overlap where you’ll see someone who actually programmed an effect or a music program, and then he’s also creating music, so he can actually get into some programs where you get into the code and tweak a program and reprogram it using computer code, and use that to play live, which is mind-blowing.”
“In this field,” Irwin says, “you do look over people’s shoulders and you look at what their strengths are, and you give private props to the people that are doing extra.”
They are smooth grunge ridemen, an electromagnetic counterinsurgency, faces lit by the bluelight hum of a laptop, while listeners lean in to watch, fascinated.
“We’re actually creating an event for people to go to where they can see this,” Baker says. “People that use their laptops to create music don’t really go out to clubs. If we can get them to go out, then that becomes a hub, a place where people can meet, and that’s when [you get] kind of a sound of San Diego.”
People who attend these events where electronic music gets its bebop on share the risk involved with publicly tinkering with an accepted genre.
“You have to have that skill to be able to roll with whatever happens,” Baker says about dealing with split-second changes in volume and effects.
“I can have a disastrous night,” Irwin admits, “and it shows. You can hear it, you can see it. And then other nights I get lucky and really create something that only happens at that time because I was making the music at that moment.”
Baker agrees: “If the musician starts to struggle, the crowd kinda pulls for him, and if he pulls out of it and recovers, then it’s kind of like a roller-coaster ride that everyone takes together. The more risks you take together, the greater the reward if it works well.”
This shit hits hard, with sounds fading in and out, woven into complex, seamless mixes. House, original beats, industrial, hip-hop, all synthesized, united in the moment.
“I don’t think there’s been a truer genre since jazz,” Irwin says. “Live electronic truly is very reflective of the whole jazz mentality. There’s not a lot of structure, it’s all about your own structure and your own arrangements [and] there’s very few rules.”
It’s a 21st century sound, for sure. And it just might be the sound of the 21st century—technology in harmony with spontaneity, music that breathes, speaks, and most of all, acts.
The Reader Sounded Like Gun Shot by Pat Sherman Irwin sways his palms about the protruding antennas like Merlin calling forth some natural disaster. A violent wind sample is summoned through the queer cable box and is amplified by the speakers. As a canvas for the electronic windstorm, each looped in maddening succession. Irwin's lighting engineer Greg Leeper projects video film loops on a center-stage fog. The effect is an ethereal sky-wall, with parts of Irwin poking out through the center.
Weeks later, still enthralled by Irwin's Ole' Madrid gig and his use of the Theremin as a conduit for sound samples, I pay him a visit at home. Irwin greets me at the door. Though the apartment is poorly lit, I can see the room is littered with an array of percussion instruments and various winged contraptions. Irwin gives me a brief tour.
The theremin remains silent. "This is not a good sign," says Irwin. There is a little low volume radio distortion. Suddenly, Irwin grabs the theremin and begins to shake it. I jolt from my seat like a jack-in-the-box as the theremin starts screaming through an amplifier behind my back. It sounds like an orca in pain.
The Weekly Conspiring Against Music by Cody Goodfellow ..."if there's a vibe in the night, hopefully I can catch it. If you can tap into that, you can create something for the audience, rather than hashing it (music) out day and night in a rehearsal room and spewing it out on the audience and moving on to the next show..."
Stories are told of a mysterious denizen of the San Diego underground who squeezed symphonies of bowel-throttling bass out of thin air with a wave of his hands, and pounds live wired drums faster then a gabber turntable. He strikes without so much as a flyer on your windshield, and leaves no recordings in his wake, and like many shady and insidious characters throughout entertainment history he's beloved by the French. Irwin's Conspiracy plots gigs in secrecy and plays out in unusual venues, such as Project Cathedral, an experimental ambient show set for Sunday, February 24, a St. Paul's Cathedral (6-11pm; on 5th & Nutmeg; admission $5 at door). Still a mystery in the city he calls home, the man behind Irwin's Conspiracy turns out to be simply an artist too submerged in his own noise to reach out and grab from publicity.
"So far, it hasn't been about music for sale," Irwin explains. "When i first started experimenting with sounds, and ways of making music, I didn't really care about recording anything, because I knew that every time I played, I'd be doing something different, so I didn't feel like tracking my growth so closely. Now, I don't care, people come with tape recorders, and elaborate recording systems in Europe, because they know they can't get anything unless the come and record it themselves."
While it's less of a headache to lump Irwin into the electronica genre, earwitnesses and Irwin agree that his sound constructions are far more open-ended, though no less intense, than sample-based dance tracks. Irwin makes a living as a studio musician with an astounding resume, but he wants none of it to cloud the space he's created for his own music, which mutates with each performance. "If there's a vibe in the night, hopefully I can catch it. If you can tap into that, you can create something for the audience, rather than hashing it (music) out day and night in a rehearsal room, and spewing it out on the audience and moving on to the next show. I've done it before, and it's much better to leave it open to the night." It's hard to actually describe the sound of Irwin's Conspiracy, because I've never heard it. He uses drums wired to MIDI samplers and synths, and a mad scientist gadget called a theremin-a box with antennas that resonate to the player's hands in the air around them. 91X Loudspeaker listeners describe his October '99 in-studio set as fast and intense, straining at the frequency range of the FM signal and human hearing, and Irwin himself professes a deep fascination with deep subsonic bass. "I know it's popular now, but I don't care. I try not to really think too much about with I want from a sound, I just try to think in terms of what's right for a certain piece of music." In trying to reach out to an audience, Irwin's found it's something best to bypass the ears altogether, and go for the guts. "It depends on the venue. If they're not set up for ultra-low frequencies and you go to use it, it can be a real buzzkill." Army experiments on both sides in World War II sought methods of disabling or at least soiling soldiers' shorts with ultra low frequency sound. "I was warned by sound engineers that I could do that, because I've had shows where I've bombarded the crowd with layered low-end and inaudible sub-low frequencies, that I could cause a mass shitting."
Irwin's Conspiracy seldom plays locally, but he toured Europe twice last year, and is going back in four months. "I'd been playing in San Diego and San Francisco, and I felt like getting away, and a few people told me the Europeans would really appreciate what I was doing." Without publicity or recordings, Irwin turned one show into eight, with an appearance on Paris's Radio Alegre, and the return tour, on word-of-mouth alone. Shows in Paris have brought future bookings in Australia, but at home, Irwin's Conspiracy will be playing an unannounced show at a cathedral.
In any town but San Diego, this might seem strange, but Irwin has tried this town long enough to know how things work. "I think it's starting to change, but the San Diego scene isn't really interested in electronic music, right now." Early on, Irwin had a hard time finding a club that would take live electronic music that was neither disco for jazz. "The response was actually favorable," he says, "but the crowds were sparse at first, because word doesn't travel fast here, I couldn't find one club in San Diego that would take a slight risk with me. Now it doesn't sound so strange, but back then, it was like a conspiracy." After a long struggle with the dark forces of club mediocrity, Irwin's Conspiracy found a proper venue at Che Cafe at UCSD. "it took me a long time to get in over there, but the were good about letting me play. The idea was live, spontaneous improv, electronic fresh music. There were some fucked up moments, and there were some really amazing moments. People who were there to see it got a show." Irwin describes Project Cathedral, his upcoming show with four other live electronic acts at St. Paul's as an ambient program, for which he'll be adding a small choir. For fans of more experimental , yet dance oriented music, Irwin will have a regular Saturday night gig at Galoka Gallery in Birdrock (5662 La Jolla Blvd.), beginning March 11. All of which could go over without making a ripple in San diego, because Irwin hasn't changed the Conspiracy's de facto policy of remaining an open secret.
As Irwin makes a confession, it becomes clear that if you haven't heard of Irwin's Conspiracy, it isn't all your fault. "I don't tell people about shows," he admits, "even when I see them that day. I think it's taboo or something, but they just have to find out for themselves. I don't fight against, but I'm a horrible promoter." As an experiment in anti-hype promotion, it would seem to have worked. I still haven't heard Irwin's Conspiracy, but I can't wait to.
Irwin has a mission, which probably describes his sound better then any manifestos of hyperbolic critical descriptions would. He wants to break through your sonic numbness thresh-hold, and make you hear music as if for the first time. "We're being bombarded in the elevators, in the supermarkets, in restaurants, in our cars, from the radio stations," he worries. "It's watered down. Music right now is not intended to move you. It's not like a drug, and in the past, music has always been extremely powerful. I've always been a believer in the power of music- whether it's for healing or for truly making people dance, or for ceremonies. But right now, the average person in California doesn't think about music that way. It's just something to wash over and coat the day, it's sounds to sell things to." Harsh words, but he's far from bitter. As an artist who bends the technology of future music to the most primal form of performance, he has a rare insight into the nature of cycles, "These are tough times for music right now, but I'm actually optimistic about what's around the corner."
|Partie noctambule du festival Viva Cite, Ie Zanzibar op-ere pour la seconde année consecutive avec une affiche toujours aussi pointue en matière de musiques nouvelles. Les nuits des 23 et 24 juin vont titre longues, dansantes et nous entrainent dans un parcours musical qui traverse plusieurs pays pour s'arreter a Sotteville-lès-Rouen.
Viva Cite, tout le monde connaît! Onze ans que ce festival des arts de la rue illumine le paysage normand, et notamment le bois de la Garenne a Sotteville, avec des dizaines de spectacles plus fous, poétiques, tordus, drôles ou majestueux les uns que les autres. Depuis deux ans, it s'est enrichi du Zanzibar, un lieu éphémére instate a ('Atelier 231 et dote d'une programmation musicale laissant une large place a la découverte. Cette année, l'équipe du Zanzibar s'est associée a celie du Café Curieux (Rouen) pour concocter deux soirées atypiques, partagées entre modernité et culture ancestrale, révélatrices de quelques nouveaux courants musicaux. Comme lors de ('edition précédente, la part belle est donnée a la musique electronique avec des concerts de drum'n bass, de dub ou d'abstract hip hop. Indian Ropeman avait enchanté le public en 1999 DJ Vadim
|devrait faire de même le 24 juin prochain en compagnie de Mr Thing des Scratch Pervert et de Kela, boîte à rythmes humaine et tchatcheur en simultané. Le DJ, hébergé par le label Ninja Tune, et ses deux acolytes réalisent un mix a cinq platines. Le set dépouilié, technique et experimental, base sur du hip hop old school et des breakbeats samples dans le funk, a rapidement conquis la planéte techno. Avec Super Collider, les avis sont beaucoup moins unanimes. ca passe ou ca casse comme on dit! Certains adorent, d'autres détestent, mais it est rare de trouver le juste milieu. Le trio anglais -machines, chant, go-go dancervoyage au coeur de 1'experimentation sonore sur des rythmes assez groovies, vite casses par des structures passées au hachoir. On pense a un Jamiroquai sous acid découvrant la magie d'un vocoder, au Prince (puisqu'il a repris son nom) des annees 80 remixé par un DJ bruitiste! Beaucoup plus facile d'accés, Irwin's balance un drum'n bass, a la foil énergique et mélodique, presque rock sur certains morceaux, avec des sonorités sixties pour les claviers et des basses trés proiondes. Irwin a joué avec les Beastie Boys, les Red Hot ou encore John Cale... Ceci expliquerait cela ! Un style assez dansant made in USA. Ouelnues DXs Suhsonic. Klute. Aeon 7.||pour pousser le dance floor jusque tard clans la nuit.
Programme assez different la nuit précédente avec les musiques du monde a I'honneur, qu elles soient en version acoustique ou électronique. Purement traditionnelle, la musique d'Alemu Aga parle de I'histoire populaire éthiopienne de religion ou révéle ses propres poémes, le tout joué sur une baganna, grande lyre a dix cordes. Une musique meditative et poétique. un retour aux sources assure... Avec U-CEF, marocain installé a Londres, c'est le gnawa revu et corrigé a la sauce drum n bass. Une basse encore plus présente dans le dub d'inspiration techno d'Iration Steppas. Toujours I'Angleterre en vedette avec le sound system Aba Shanti qui officie aux frontiéres du reggae roots et du dub. Une affiche complétée par les mixes de Krimau et de Daktary Hi-Fi..
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