Tuesday, November 17, 2009

check, mate

Nostalgia is for numbskulls, and I’m not numb. But on the eve of an end, I have a brain, and a heart, and both believe good when it comes around. or passes us by.

What are you talking about, jezebel? about digging through winamp (or is that tweeting in Word or?! ) and there sits aKING's debut, unplayed since that unsexy second album came out and my bottom lip with it. what the hell, I think, it’s been a while. PLAY.

In seconds, singing along. (the mittens think i'm mad)

I hate to be a royal pain in the ass, now, and dredge up the silky, silty past (no, it’s just the lagoon sand between my toes), but I regret the loss. Of dutch courage. Of awkwardly awesome harmonies (hunter?). of rambunctious, restless basslines and bloody buildups clotted with chugging chords all overseen by the oversights of pithy pop rock… there’s hope for a third time lucky, but in the meantime I’m waiting in vain.

Tide comes in. tide goes out.

Begin again.

[but you know, i'm not against change. maybe the second album was part of a morph - an eventual evolution (she hopes, she prays). i believe there's a long locked hillbilly in sneakers just dying to get out from under laudo's straw sun hat...nu country doesn't sound all that bad when you're reading books like My Traitor's Heart(malan) and Ways Of Staying (bloom)]

are we gonna be saved?


ROCKING THE DAISIES is not a music festival.
Like sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll, it’s a lifestyle choice.

Rocking The Daisies. It will never have the impact of Oppi, the darkness and daring of Ramfest or Up The Creek’s shade of blues. AfrikaBurns has an invisible carbon footprint that kicks RTD’s ecological efforts in its VIP pass, and RTD isn’t as pretty as the hippies at Splashy. But its remains a force to be reckoned with because it understands what the music industry doesn’t – LIFESTYLE consumerism.

At RTD, you don’t get the individuality of the dusty, the husky or the crusty that the aforementioned events offer; you get it all - camping, comedy, good food, shopping, swimming and - oh yes - big sound.

Safe as houses, Darling’s other mother was wise and wide enough in its 2009 musical selection to appeal to many. From aKING to The Little Kings, it drew lots of (mostly white, middle-class) South Africans. The stage was more colourful with Gazelle’s antics and Gang Of Instrumentals energy.

The Black Hotels are diplomatic about the demographics of the Daisies- “SA is a strange country, but the great thing about it is that nothing gets forced. It’s great that fests cross the line-ups. Integration happens naturally.” 10 000+ winter-pale faces proved the Black’s point. True to its socio-geography, the success of this festival is built on colour. The colour green, to be exact.

Green with envy
The earth is dying, and we are celebrating. That sound right? No, but that is right. We’ve entered the age of environmentally aware entertainment business– a simple branding and marketing angle that other fests must be kicking themselves for missing. You want media attention? Go green. You want social kudos? Go Greener. It’s no longer good enough to pick up your litter. Greenest is the entry level.

good advice beats good intentions

Clean Green

festivals have huge negative impact on their natural settings. Aligning itself with the concerns of global consciousness or those who just like to talk about it, RTD cleverly posit(ion)s itself as SA’s greenest fest. Yet last year’s 5km, 3-hour, bumper-to-bumper traffic queue with an exhaust emission to match was a bit of a choker for the festival’s carbon footprint. This year RTD was more organised. Ticket sales were tightly controlled, rubbish was recycled, renewable energy was pre-purchased, toilets were clean. But the PR schlock about “free water” @R40 /bottle?– should we expect the same spin doctoring from Complete Event’s incomplete green audit?

Jan demonstrates the pleasures of (almost) sustainable transport

Green eyes... or,red, really
At a festival, green is not always clean; but green is always grass. Andre Pienaar [Ashtray Electric] was eloquent on the topic of illegal substances. While people tripped their bits off out in the fields, he pointed out that “Festivals definitely have a stigma of excess. It’s not enough for people to get out of Cape Town; they want to get out of reality.” And into the trying pan?


Green, but learning
The Red Bull Radar competition was cool! Giving talent a fighting chance is cool! But using a web platform that prioritises a closed community of initial voters is NOT COOL. Potential competitors gave up participating because the host wasn’t comprehensive enough because the budget wasn’t big enough; not good enough, RTD. Everyone missed out.

Mean, green money- i mean- music machine
Music finds its feet in the mainstream; or rather, when it comes to making money in music, the mainstream is a shoe-in. To please many (but not all), the line-up included unknowns (like Thieve) and overgrowns (like Just Jinjer, the current favourite festival headliner). Everyone made an effort; not everyone was up to standard. But this festival offers music incredible exposure. That’s significant in a recession halving incomes.

In all, whether you go there for comedy song and dance, to get lost in tripping in tentburbia, to eat, drink and do very little, Rocking The Daisies is one-of-a-kind in the Western Cape. Just not my kind.

And what I’d like to know is which of its tree-hugging, cardboard-recycling, bubble-blowing boys or girls stole the bespoke daisies?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sock it to me

illustration by >>FURTHER>> (http://www.flyschooldesign.net/)

um. not since the real estate agents became a term for good, deep homegrown Electronica (rather than some flakey, fakely cheerful grey-blonde salesperson showing strangers your stuff ) have i heard a DIY guy who can fiddle the decks as well as he can diddle sets of instruments(and actually, come to think of it, they didn't really, they just made decks sound LIKE instruments). High time for a first time, then. Enter Sean Ou Tim - best known for his beat keeping with the buried (and annually resurrected) lustrous Lark.

Sean is more than a drummer. But then, drummers usually are. He's a DJ, a multi-dextrous muso, and a man with a vision. I was going to ask him what exactly that vision is, one night in the pit at Klein Lib a few weeks back, but the beats were so bad, and the energy so good, i danced the night away and forgot all about it. Not very professional of me. But then, this is no longer my profession.

Not sure why the man hasn't entered the scene with more of a bang. Maybe we're disillusioned by the braindrain of Electronica's brainchildren that seems to afflict our most manically talented men (case in point, paul ressel - Humanizer, relocated to the UK, and REA who only seem to play far away. REA's triple decker CD sold them successfully to the ad industry, and despite the occaisional show as REA, they've since morphed with cuzz Mathambo into some sweaty X's and a lot of Playdoe. dough. doh. both latter acts get lots more love from beyond our borders, and the former Humanizer seems to have dematerialised)

(ja, ja, sorry luca, for the lingual gymnastics and making you think an ol, but it won't hurt to bend your brain a bit now that you've got to be witty first thing in the morning on a breakfast show that helps earlybirds reach for their first cigarette, or coffee, or breast or.. not).

Anyhow, beside the point. Sean Ou Tim is not going to disappoint you, and if we're lucky, he's not going to desert you, either. He's as solid as they come, happily married, humble, quirky and one of the nicest guys on the scene. I say so because i know so, and you don't know the things i know. so. so he'll deliver. He'll play to his initially modest sect of underground fans one of which i am. He'll grow in stature (does it take longer for those straddling roles to be recognised than for those sticking to the poles of instrument or electronic, i wonder?). eventually he'll suddenly be the IT boy of let's call it local live DJing, and everyone will think they own him because they recognise the delicate syncopations in his sound moving under their skin.

his sound? it's a blend. but, ja, yawn, so is everything in a post post mod blob of electric earth, innit? nod, come on; you know you have to - you're a village kid - global village, i mean. no? villager? true, too. after all you're reading about music on a web page. (music : aural) + (web page : digital)= (you are : global.)

but but but. i'm getting ahead of myself and leaving you behind. Sean. sounds like... hrm. like himself and his identical twin. He mixes jazz riffs and rock beats and bits of funk and psy and soul and ooh some sounds i wouldn't put on a dance floor, but they work so well together under his light touch, and he even moves around the stage like that, like two twins, swiftly and gracefully from drums to decks, picking up and playing all manner of instruments along the way. He's always smiling, and enjoying it every bit as much as the people in the pit. whom he probably couldn't see the night i saw him because it is a well named hole in the wall.

we were smiling too, Mr Sakitumi...

ear to ear.