NOTES: “PLUNGE INTO DARKNESS” BY SHCURO

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Originally published in Portuguese on VICE Portugal

The way Shcuro showcases his music has been through some fast mutation over the last couple of years. The producer from Lisbon, Portugal, went through a road of dub rhythms with his Distant Shore EP (2012) and the Rastronaut’s Legba (2013) remix, deviated for the interior of tech-house – Ignis Fatuus (2013) and JYGB’s Sun Soaked / Money (2013) remix – and turned sharply, without any tragedies within, in 2014 with the acidic techno EP Plunge Into Darkness.

Considering his stylistics shifts, Shcuro has a consistent identity and versatility. He whom also produced an astonishing sound forA.M.O.R’s experimental LP, and keeping with Honey the project ERVADOCE. Among all his music, there’s always a grey and deeply dark touch, from either a more assertive knob or a simple presence hidden throughout the more audible tones. “Plunge Into Darkness” is Shcuro releasing the murk that always roamed his spirit, with full-rotation beats, beefy industrial sounds and screaming synths. A throughly acidic trip for a night ending in an emotional debacle. “Agremi Somnia” keeps the industrial roots, the aesthetic deepness and borrows from trance the verve of piercing synthesisers.

Plunge Into Darkness doesn’t even sin for having just 15 minutes of running time, as it seems to be an eternity, given that we jump inside an endless dark pit. The expectation is that Shcuro remains in the genre, as he seems just right for it.

Release Date: January 2014 | Label: Con+ainer

LUNCHING WITH JUSTLIKEBB

The bodyboarding session was bleak as the tide was coming up. Which means it was Monty Python’s fun in the water: jerking around small waves and pulling some pushups on the rocks (this one goes for Francisco ‘Cisco’ Monteiro). The waves were scarce, the sea was crystal clear, the water bounced like olive oil and small clusters of riders gathered in a chit-chat, like if they were all taking a long tea and biscuits together. I got to stay with justlikebb’s gipsies António ‘bòdecas’ Saraiva and Cisco. A quick sum-up about our lately doings and we found ourselves rumbling on the health of Portuguese bodyboarding. 

There is no story here: as Vert - the only bodyboarding magazine in the country - basically died, the riders lost probably the best promotional vehicle for their features. People might say Facebook is a good replacement, but Zuckerberg’s baby is ephemeral and doesn’t convey the same prestige as a world class magazine. Another symptom of this single-man-stance arose from a story Cisco told me: this one time, during a world championship stage in Sintra, a prominent rider from Peniche grumbled with Vert’s director because there were no photos of Peniche’s guys in the magazine. The example of the unceasing bodyboarder’s self-indulgence profiling pretty well Portugal’s bodyboarding world way of acting.

In between the brainstorm, we bitched about the crowd at the peak and forecasted tomorrow’s surf. It should definitely be better. Back into discussion, I recalled how bodyboarding became so individualistic. Riders go to Facebook (once again) to nurture their egos instead of taking a global, friendship stance towards the sports. Later on, during a quick lunch at Pão da Vila, Ericeira, and while ingesting a diabetic cocktail of “Bola de Berlim” and “Azevia”, Cisco highlighted the fact that, “You can see a guy launching a massive backflip, but you’ll never praise him, you’ll envy instead of support”. I counter argued about the “death” of the sport with the fact that the industry is small and there’s too many brands for so little people. This indeed was proven this week with the appearance of a new fins brand, Supers. They are just the same shit as Stealth and the old, but goodie, Churchill Makapuu, so their usefulness for the sake of the sport is equal to none.

Justlikebb is a crew of bodyboarders, party goers and creative dudes. I’ve always perceived them as a chilled gang who banged the most out of waves with a grudging style and a unique sense of amusement for life. In or out of water, they just play fun with every situation leaving aside any taste for embarrassment.

The guys just released a film, “Gypsy, The Movie”, which was produced with a laptop that would break ‘n die every 10 minutes. They’ve got no revenue from it, just pure fun and the desire to share their mad adventures with the community. Manuel Barbosa, the producer, was also at the beach gathering some footage for some clips to be released soon. He stressed about the difficulties to yield the film and how it gathered little more than a few Facebook shares. “We’ve sent an e-mail pretty well made to several magazines and people and they just shared the film on Facebook instead of doing something more.”

"Gypsy" was an experience, a first attempt at something fresh. It might have a sequel, but it will take its time. Grabbing onto a soup and baguette, Manuel Barbosa was stark, "I’ll only start working on something else when I’m sure that I really have something good to work on."

As time went by, the crew started reviewing the day’s footage. Right before leaving the coffee shop, Manuel Barbosa was unsettled about getting some pastry. “I will feel naughty about it afterwards.” He eventually got a Pastel de Nata. Cisco cogitated on his chair listening to LeAnn Rimes’ “Can’t Fight the Moonlight” and bòdecas would just clinch to the camera. Outside we just traded the final arguments for tomorrow’s sesh. They went back home, only stopping before to get some grilled chicken.

Website: Justlikebb

NOTES: “GOVERNMENT PLATES” BY DEATH GRIPS

Originally published in Portuguese on VICE Portugal

A glass pops and shatters. It’s followed by a sharp, lugged, monochromatic sound, which penetrates the eardrums and pursues a paranoid, distressing and prophetic scream. An electrifying synthesiser that crosses the bones yanks out and the agony proceeds, always in the dark. The intro of Government PlatesDeath Grips’ latest album, unveils a loosen straitjacket schizophrenia in a scabrous mental solitary confinement.

Stefan Burnett aka MC Ride, the lead singer, remains truthful to his thing: psychopath (“Pressin down the pillow ‘til I can’t hear yo breath, for no reason”), violent, frenzied and nihilist. The difference is that he’s closed in on itself. If in No Love Deep Web – their first release under their own label, Third Worlds – the synths were clearer and Stefan Burnett pulled the audience to his inner world,Government Plates rolls in a cloistered rhythm and this rapper seems to be as fucked as ever. In every beat and synth punch there’s a demented struggle to release himself from the system that sucked him in (“Government plates / On location / I’m a corporation / Fuck location”) and from the demons corroding him and from which he releases himself through drugs. (“Can’t wait to fuck my brain. All I need to forget is today”). Burnett isolated himself in an inner battle that corrupts him and he’s exposing it to the world.

The smothering drums and the experimental keys of Death Grips follow their own natural gene, although there are purgatory moments in Government Plates, where neither the sound is as psychedelic or clairvoyant. But it is an album that always steers in line with a inherent heady darkness for a hardcore hip-hop.

Release Date: November 2013 | Label: Third Worlds | Official Download: Click Here

LIQUID CHOICE: UNCOMPROMISED PRINTS

Gonçalo ‘Xixa’ Pimenta is a perfectionist. The Portuguese bodyboarder and designer from Ericeira is embracing the art of crafting clothes, from knitting to designing, so he can control the whole creative process of his independent brand.

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FRONTSIDE GARDENS

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Photography: Ivan Maslarov

 Riding the same skate parks swarming the city may be annoying after some time. The ramps show no new fun, the grids look easy enough to pull new tricks. Albeit in Hackney Wick, the Frontside Gardens is ready to be explored.

Designed and erected by Frontside’s owner, Andrew Willis, the sustainable park is open since September last year, located in an old warehouse site revived from death with Olympics leftover materials. Willis, a Civil Engineer with special affect for sustainable designs, projected the park for a competition and built it to last a few months. Until now, the Gardens are still in place. “I’m looking to start a company to fight for the area, and fight for the belief that got the project started, the idea that it’s not for profit.”

The site is a few miles off Victoria’s skate park, adding more options to the area and projecting the growth of the sport. Willis is applying for licensing for the site to keep up and hopes to turn it into a youth centre within a year. “It’s more like a reclamation, which is how I want to keep it. I just want to carve something that will make it work in the future.”

Website: Frontside