Originally published on HUCK

The clock strikes five. Summery afternoon light is streaking through the dust and colouring everything in sight with a  golden filter as the inaugural Citadel Festival brings a weekend of live music and festivities to an end in East London’s Victoria Park. Within the temporary sanctuary from the madness of the city outside its walls, groups of friends are walking in all directions, trying to catch as much as they can of the immense programme of music and activities on offer.

At the Soundcrash stage near the entrance, the crowd is eagerly awaiting Roots Manuva and his reggae and dub-tinged hip hop. Home to the some of the festival’s more experimental sounds, the big tent also plays host to Seun Kuti’s (son of legendary Fela) modern afrobeat, rapper Neneh Cherry backed up by electronic duo Rocketnumbernine and the mesmerising voice of Andreya Triana.

As the dapper Brixton-born Roots Manuva takes the stage — joined by two backing vocalists, a bass player, drummer and a DJ — it’s not long before the crowd are bopping to his Kingston-flavoured chart toppers “Witness” and “Get Get”. With the audience firmly on side, he shifts gears into the Machinedrum and Four Tet-produced future-bangers from his recently released EP, “Like A Drum” and “Facety 2:11.”

roots_manuvaA dazzling array of sideshows, a stellar line-up of food trucks, talks and even a slightly surreal grown-ups sports day, fought for attention but like any other summer festival, Citadel’s main draw is its solid main musical lineup. The main stage was graced by acts like Kurt Vile & The Violators’ slacker sounds, Bombay Bicycle Club’s energetic, wanderlusty rock and Anna Calvi backed by The Heritage Orchestra. At the other end of the festival site, Nick Mulvey’s jazzy vibes attracted swarms of people away from the lure of the main stage, as did Dan Croll’s multi-layered electronic pop.

Despacio, curated by 2ManyDJs and James Murphy, presented an altogether different experience: a ballroom of sorts with a mirror ball at the centre and glimpses of strobing lights flashing within an enveloping darkness. Next door, beach volleyball added another sporting activity to Citadel’s quiver and the park bandstand got all attendees working up a sweat with an array of dancing and swinging acts. Further along, a carnival of doings and goings-on: skateboarding halfpipes, comedy tents, DIY studios and more besides.

ben_howardAfter the sun set, Ben Howard’s melancholic, tear-jerking surf-folk brought the curtain down on the whole event. As the phenomenal lightshow came to an end, the crowd filtered out into the warm summer night, hopeful that this temporary musical sanctuary in the heart of the city would return again next year.

Find out more about Citadel Festival.

“I’ve been living my whole life just tryna make it work
Whether it’s spitting or it’s writing tryna make it work
All of these bitches, they lying, man it makes me berserk
Just gotta make it work, just can’t seem to make it work”

In the same week that FACT handed to Cannibal Ox’s debut record The Cold Vein (2001) the top spot in their 100 best indie hip-hop records of all time, Harlem duo Vast Aire (Theodore Arrington) and Vordul Megalah (Shamar Gardner) streamed their new album Blade of the Ronin ahead of its official release next week.

The second studio record bridges up a fourteen-year hiatus since Jux Definitive label put out the abstract, experimental record that ascended to cult status in the subsequent years. In their argument about their choice on The Cold Vein, Fact highlighted that the underground record actually wasn’t perceived as such a genre-bustling album for years to come, and only in recent times has El-P’s masterfully produced score been perceive by the critics as an head-of-its-time work.

Although Blade of Ronin had Bill Cosmiq and Black Milk as the cut-and-paste producers, the sound keeps flowing within the experimental layers synthesised beats. MF Doom, Elzhi (Slum Village), U-God (Wu-Tang Clan) are some of the bars-droppers present in the album.

Blade of Ronin is officially released on March 2 and will be available worldwide by the next day. Below is the full stream available for pre-released listening.


New Wave New York

The world is fucked, the city is gone.

When MC Wiki of New York noise-rap collective Ratking spat those bars on ‘Protein’ from last year’s So It Goes LP, it struck a chord with listeners who felt that the Big Apple has been rotting in recent years and a younger generation that feels shortchanged by their city.

Native NYC youth are pissed off with the post-9/11 disappearance of the ‘gritty old’ city thanks to the policies of an establishment with a dull and sanitised vision of what New York should become. This process manifests itself in fast-paced gentrification, police brutality, the snubbing-out of local communities and the loss of diversified cultural and artistic scenes – ultimately squashing the city’s identity. This peaked when Taylor Swift – a recent import to NY – was crowned as the city’s ‘welcome ambassador,’ galvanising the grass roots to stand up against the corporate selling-out of NYC

Roy Vlcek, a 20-year-old Tribeca local has seen this wilful mischaracterisation of NYC since his childhood and came to the conclusion that art was the only weapon to restore the city’s long-held living idiosyncrasies. Without a budget and just a $350-rented camera, the young writer, filmmaker and student at Columbia University went out to give a platform to the city’s voiceless and gave birth to the New Wave New York (NWNY) project.

NWNY is a set of video interviews with young New York artists – from Brooklyn to Manhattan, from Harlem to Upper West Side – who vent their resentments towards New York and share their inspirations, motivations and mind-set. The series is paving the way to a soon-to-be-released short documentary, featuring the city’s brightest young creatives alongside defining cultural figures like Wu-Tang Clan’s Raekwon.

I spoke to Roy to find out more about the project and his beef with the Big Apple. It’s on Huck Magazine.

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Art by Dan McPharlin

Australian artist Dan McPharlin has a deep interest in the sci-fi scene. He’s works in 2D and 3D design and illustration ranges from portraits of infinite, unparalleled universes’ to maquetes of technological paraphernalia of endless languages, knobs of variant electrical frequencies, buzzing sounds and unreachable-by-head numbers of binary instructions.

His latest showcase is a set of hand-made miniature sculptures homaging the early electronic recording equipment and synthesizers that paved the way to the continuous evolution of sound manipulating apparatus. Framing matt-boards, paper, plastic sheets, strings and rubber bands, are the materials featured in the 3D compositions.

Back in May, art and culture magazine Juxtapoz highlighted McPharlin’s drawings of far-flung planets and surreal landscapes, which ended up as album art in music records of Prefuse 73 and Pretty Lights. Music and the complexity of what’s beyond our planet are concatenated in the Aussie’s artist portfolio.




Source: Juxtapoz

Video by Tanner W. Jarman

“BKWYA”‘s really sticks to the mind and ears. It is a minimalistic, buzz-dragging beat by Brooklyn’s producer Kashaka followed by a drowsy, loose flow by also Brooklyneer emcee Wati Heru. This is the first single of Heru’s upcoming LP Dystopia FM, due March, and it sounds like a darkish night, unsettling night in NY’s most populous borough.

Source: Mass Appeal