Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Glastonbury 2005, part six: is this a puppy I see before me?


There was a lot of talk about how dance music was being purged from the festival this year. It turned out this talk was false, and this year's festival saw a sizeable expansion in the quantity of dance stuff on offer. In place of the single Dance Tent of yore there is now an entire Dance Village, with two large-ish tents and a plethora of smaller ones and outdoor stages.

I did not spend much time in the whole Dance Village area. That whole area of the festival appeals to me less and less over the years. In many ways, it is the least Glastonbury bit of the site, full of frenetic mad-for-it types who are definitely not in the least bit chilled. My official line is that things were better at Glastonbury when the only dance music on offer was at unofficial afterhours underground raves.

But I still saw more than nothing in the Dance Village. Like Two Lone Swordsmen. These fellows were once known as producers of minimalist abstract dance music, but now they have been listening to so much post-punk that they've decided to start making their own. Change is good, and it's always nice to hear post-punk style sounds in a live context, but at the end of the day this is not a band pushing back the sonic frontiers in the way that PiL or Cabaret Voltaire did. Instead, the new TLS are a post-punk bar band. They also made a great bad decision when they put Andy Weatherall on lead vocals. He can neither sing properly nor does he have the kind of individually expressive voice that gets other non-singers by.

They were maybe a bit more enjoyable to listen to than I make them sound, basically because that genre of music is always easy on the ears of the forward thinking. And other people of more discerning tastes derived great enjoyment from their music, so there might be more going on than I am noticing.

And then there was Jamie Liddell. Some of my friends were really bigging this guy up, but in a suspciously over zealous manner. It turns out that Liddell's thing is that he plays electronic music over which he sings. Then he samples himself singing, treats the sample, plays it back and harmonises over it. Then he samples that and repeats the process , all very quickly. And he sings in a kind of high soulful voice. You have to admire his technique, but I am still undecided as to whether this is My Kind Of Thing or not. It seemed simultanaeously over-cerebral (in the boffiny way in which he made the music) and over-cheesy (all Liddell's "Ooh Baby" squeaks are a bit comedic). Nevertheless, I would be interested in seeing Jamie Liddell again, were he ever to darken these shores, if only to finally settle the question of what I think of him.

I also saw a bit of Justin Robertson DJing. He still plays the kind of dance music I like to listen to, even if it was too early in the day for me to stay.

part six of nine

The story continues

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