BRDCST: mesmerizing electronica with live band approved by Thom Yorke
BRDCST is AB’s outstanding indoor spring festival spotlighting musical boundlessness.
The name is a direct reference to the retro futuristic electronica-pop of English band Broadcast that released inspiring albums like ‘Haha Sound’ and ‘Noise Made By The People’ over the past decade. Artists who feel strongly about musical innovation form the focal point for BRDCST. Our musical gut-feeling does the rest.
After only three years, it has already become BRDCST tradition: we round up BRDCST with a true mini-festival. Top act and 2017 year-end-chart-favourite James Holden opened the gates to spiritual jazz and North African futurism on his latest album. BRDCST was quite inspired by his example and adventurously filled in the programme in the same manner.
JAMES HOLDEN & THE ANIMAL SPIRITS (uk)
BRDCST notches up a formidable electronica high-flyer in the form of JAMES HOLDEN & THE ANIMAL SPIRITS. Even though the word 'high-flyer' is entirely applicable (Thom Yorke took him along with Atoms For Peace on tour through the US and Holden has worked on remixes for Mogwai, Depeche Mode and Radiohead), we’re short-changing Holden with the term 'electronica'. It was namely jazz icons like Don Cherry and Pharoah Sanders who inspired his search to assemble an ensemble that would be the equivalent of ‘a spiritual jazz band playing folk/trance music’. He renamed this ensemble – which includes drummer Tom Page (RocketNumberNine) – Animal Spirits. Holden considers them to be his fellow travellers.
AMMAR 808 & THE MAGHREB UNITED (b/dza/tun/mar)
AMMAR 808 is the brand new project of Brussels resident and producer/musicologist Sofyann Ben Youssef. Sofyann sat behind the dials for Bargou 08’s latest album and for Brussels’ Touareg band Kel Assouf, amongst others. With AMMAR 808, he combines his love of traditional Maghrebi music and heavy sub-bass. His favourite instrument also happens to be the Roland TR-808 drum computer that is also adored by Aphex Twin and Kanye West. Sofyann surrounded himself with a number of powerful voices, such as those of Cheb Hassen Tej, Sofiene Saidi and Mehdi Nassouli. A deliberate choice, as the gentlemen hail from Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco respectively – by which Sofyann wants to symbolically remove the (artificial) post-colonial borders. This spring will see the release of their impressive debut via the excellent label, and BRDCST favourite, Glitterbeat. Ready for a fine sample of North-African futurism?
IRREVERSIBLE ENTANGLEMENTS FEAT. MOOR MOTHER (us)
Moor Mother – according to The Wire: ‘the most radical Afrofuturist artist to emerge for years.’ – signed off on one of the absolute highlights of the BRDCST Festival last year! So, after taking a listen to her brand new free jazz/spoken word project Irreversible Entanglements, there wasn’t a moment’s hesitation to welcome her back again. This uppercut sounds like the moderne musical equivalent of Black Lives Matter, as could be heard on albums like Archie Shepp’s ‘Blasé’ (1969, BYG Actuel) or ‘Poem For Malcolm’ (1969, BYG Actuel) and New York Art Quartet w/ Amiri Baraka (1965, ESP).
It was no conincidence then that Irreversible Entanglements came into being during a ’15 protest in the name of Musicians Against Police Brutality. That gave them a taste for more, resulting in an album that instantly made its way into many a year-end hit-list (The Wire, Stereogum,...). Gilles Peterson even included it in his shortlist ‘Jazz Album of The Year’, amongst good folk like Kamasi Washington, Vels Trio (see: BRDCST 4 April) and Binker & Moses. In the ‘Year Of The Contestation’, protest could hardly sound louder.
MDC III (b)
MDC III is the outright superb project of Nordmann saxophonist Mattias De Craene, who has himself assisted by no less than two drummers: Simon Segers (De Beren Gieren, Stadt, Black Flower,...) and Lennert Jacobs (The Germans, Hong Kong Dong,...). Echoes of John Coltrane’s ‘Interstellar Space’ album from ’67, with drummer Rashied Ali, are never far removed. Their first EP will be released on the eve of Record Store Day, with a striking guest appearance by Sylvie Kreusch (Warhaus/Soldier’s Heart).
SOUNDTRACK BY: GERD DE WILDE PLAYS BOUSSIPHONE RECORDS (b)
If, as he says, James Holden's latest album reflects his love of Moroccan gnawa, then it is the task of BRDCST to dig deeply into the Moroccan musical landscape. Enter Boussiphone Records. Founder Mohammed Boussif launched the label in the early ’50s and is considered to be ‘het Marokkaanse equivalent van Alan Lomax die het muzikale erfgoed van de Maghreb vastlegde.’ (Gonzo Circus)
DJ/programmer/obsessive musician Gerd De Wilde has immersed himself in the label that sent an estimated 3,500 releases out into the world. Ready for Si Daty Et Mounina, Aisha El Khadem & Amar El Moki, Robert Saghir and Farkat Ali on the turntables? Then we can confirm Gerd De Wilde as your musical host for the entire festival day.
This visit to BRDCST is also the Belgian live-première of Holden's brand new album, which he says is bursting with ‘synth-led folk-trance standards'and reflects his love of Maroccan gnawa.