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.