The inaugural Ava Festival (Audio Visual Arts) in Belfast was already looking like a fine gathering of electronic music on Saturday May 30th with Bicep, Ejeca, Optimo, Phil Kieran, Space Dimension Controller and more lined up.
Today, they’ve just added Boiler Room for their first Irish filming/showcase, at the outdoor stage at t13 with Bicep, Space Dimension Controller, John Daly (live), Timmy Stewart and Schmutz.
The top 25 tracks that made my month, whether they were posted on the site, heard live, on a radio station, repeating in my head, an iPod, from an album or elsewhere… Listen to the Soundcloud playlist below.
Let’s talk about concept albums for a minute. Taking an overarching concept or theme more suited to a cinematic medium and applying it to an audio experience is one thing, but to do it so, a) it doesn’t come across as a pompous pretentious mess; b) endures on repeat listens without getting tiresome; and c) adds to the actual music, is a difficult thing.
When it works, it helps an album’s legendary status and feeds the mythology, see Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon or Sgt. Pepper. Or on more recent examples, Daft Punk’s Discovery, Flaming Lips’ Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots or the loose thematics of El-P’s Cancer 4 Cure, it adds a unifying thread to a record that lifts them up beyond a collection of songs to an album. When it doesn’t work? You get an entire ’70s prog album about King Arthur.
While Belfast producer Jack Hamill’s debut full-length LP, Welcome to Mikrosektor-50 echoes Discovery in its retro sci-fi glow and concept, musically the Space Dimension Controller album explores the exotic world of ’80s sci-fi techno/funk rather than kitsch sounds. Welcome to Mikrosektor-50 is on the surface, in thrall to the sounds of the ’80s rap breakbeat explored by Afrika Bambaataa and Egyptian Lover.
‘Welcome to Mikrosector-50’ takes its cue from ‘Planet Rock’ era, electro-funk with Hamill channelling the vocals of the era in a lovingly tongue-in-cheek way. From its sci-fi intro to its slow building chopper synth to the subtle treated guitar in the background to its drum machine beats, everything about this track says ’80s nostalgic fun. Can’t wait to hear the album.
Welcome to Mikrosektor-50 is out on R&S Records on March 4th. Pre-order.
Check out this ridiculous ’80s electro jam from Belfast’s Jack Hamill aka Space Dimension Controller from his forthcoming Welcome to Mikrosektor-50 album on R&S Records in early March. The first time I saw SDC was years ago in Belfast and he was pulling this type of suave vocodered vocals (aka Mr. 8040) and rocking a gold chain. The difference now is, the song is totally killer too. Incroyable.
All this week, there will be guest posts from various people involved in different strands of Irish music – record shop owners, writers, bloggers, promoters, radio presenters, bands and more, telling us what Irish bands or artists they are really into right now.
“So I’ve been asked to list the five Irish acts I’m most excited about. Being a reader of this fine blog, I’m going to stick my neck out and assume that you don’t need me to tell you about And So I Watch You From Afar, Two Door Cinema Club, BATS, Boxcutter or Adebisi Shank. Here, then, are a few box-fresh acts that deserve your love:”
Jack Hamill is from Belfast, he’s only just turned 20 and he’s quite possibly a genius. He started at 16, channelling ambient and IDM under the name of RL/VL, but he’s since absorbed a world of early electro, funk, dub, disco and house and he has the potential to go stratospheric. Boxcutter, Martyn, 2562 and Detroit prodigy Kyle Hall are fans, and a series of high-profile releases and remixes are in the works. Say no more.