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Electric Independence

In Aix-en-Provence at the start of June, the only animals I really noticed were lizards, other than stacks of birds whose names I can never recall, and last time I checked they're reptiles.
Κείμενο Piers Martin

Jackson by Helene Giansily


Selfish Cunt at the Old Blue Last. See them in our tent at Get Loaded.

In Aix-en-Provence at the start of June, the only animals I really noticed were lizards, other than stacks of birds whose names I can never recall, and last time I checked they’re reptiles. During the daytime, they darted across the terracotta walls by the swimming pool where many of the artists and revellers attending the third Territoires Electroniques festival hung out and dozed in the sun, dazed from the night before. This idyllic three-day event was held in the pristine outskirts of Aix in the Vasarely Foundation, a striking flat-roofed structure with an exterior bearing a huge monochrome disc on each side panel. Designed by the colour and social theorist Victor Vasarely and completed in 1976, this techno building, a public arts centre, houses a vast gallery dedicated to his huge op-art-style works, which reminded me of those “Magic Eye” posters students had in the 90s. If you stared at them long enough you’d eventually see a picture of an alien smoking a joint or something and get a splitting headache. As it was co-curated by Warp, a number of the label’s smaller acts like Beans, Jackson, Chok Rock and Harmonic 33 performed on stages outside and indoors to the 1,000 or so who arrived each evening and partied in that civilised, French manner until 6 AM, plus there were sets by Marco Passarani, Thomas Brinkmann and TBA, Miss Kittin, Carl Craig, Brooks, Fennesz and Mara Carlyle and Bowlface. The highlights included a mesmerising Sunday evening performance by 78-year-old electro-acoustic legend Bernard Parmegiani, who stood at the mixing desk gently manipulating the levels of a sublime diffusion piece, “Pouvoir D’Orphée”, which he originally created in 1972 and sounded like a well-mannered Hecker. A dignified, white-whiskered gentleman, he appeared genuinely moved by the applause that greeted his composition. Later, at sunset, Chris Cunningham crouched behind the stage and DJed an hour of crowd-pleasing rave and electro, the first time all weekend anyone had dared play records people actually knew and loved. Simply hearing Vitalic’s “La Rock 01” instantly erased two days-worth of chinstroking. But the strangest thing that happened occurred early on Saturday morning when local kids bored out of their skulls in this leafy suburb decided to set a couple of cars on fire. It was a surreal sight, floating out of the festival back to the hotel, seeing firemen casually dousing these burning wrecks, like something from Ballard’s Super Cannes novel where residents amuse themselves by destroying property, knowing full well it’s all insured. That’s where the main photo of an excitable Jackson on this page was taken. SALAMANDOS (SOUNDS LIKE SALAMANDERS)
Seems crazy, but there hasn’t been a mention of Dutch disco deity and committed synth freak Legowelt on this page for months, and it’s not like he’s been idle. He, Danny Wolfers, just gets on with his own thing, burrows further into his studio, and couldn’t care less what anyone else thinks. Now he’s set up his own label, Strange Life Records, and earlier in the year I bought the first three CD-only releases, two of which, Smackos Presents The Age Of Candy Candy and Klaus Weltman’s Cultus Island, are these murky analogue odysseys composed on vintage synthesisers with no beats; he’s the master of the spooked, unsettling atmosphere and the romantic, curdled soundtrack. The other one, Dark Days, collects 14 tracks he produced as a teenager between 1992 and 1997 when he’d clearly been listening to both volumes of Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works on heavy rotation. A cool thing to have if you’re a Legowelt nut. Last month the second batch of Bunker’s ultra-limited Dystopia series came out and Legowelt appears to have been responsible for a few of these 12-inches. There’s the booty-fixated Smackulator EP “Kicked Toda Curb” which is him and some guy from New York called Speculator getting all grimy, and more primitive jacking smack-house under the aliases Salamados and the Chicago Shags. Plus he contributes an impossibly claustrophobic psycho-drama to Dystopia’s second Stalingrad 12-inch called “Von Paulus Symphonie In D Mineur”. Even more exciting is the news that the first Legowelt 12-inch on Strange Life, “Venom 18—Mystery Organisation”, is out in September and features seven turbulent pumping narco-jams that make you think you’re starring in an early-80s Polish cop show or something. (DOWN ON) THE FARM
Following the success of last summer’s inaugural knees-up, this year’s bigger and better Get Loaded in the Park festival takes place on London’s Clapham Common as part of the Metro Weekender on Bank Holiday Sunday, August 28, and Vice is hosting the VIP tent. Main attractions over three stages on the day include exclusive performances by people like Happy Mondays, Flowered Up, plus DJ sets by Armand Van Helden, Carl Barat, Junior Boys Own’s Farley & Heller and stacks of other big names. There’s a new bands tent in the Get Loaded Arena with New Rhodes, Infadels, Ambershades and many more, and a comedy tent hosted by the Comedy Store starring Howard Marks and the Cuban Brothers. In Vice’s VIP tent you’ll find a crazy mix of entertainers including the amazing Selfish Cunt, garage god MJ Cole, suave rapper Buck 65, madcap funster Kid Carpet, Aussie disco dude Cut Copy and the Modular Records All Stars. The party runs from midday to 9 PM and only costs £25. Advance tickets are available from or its 24hr hotline: 08700 601801. For more information visit COCADISCO
Cocadisco returns with a vengeance to The Social this month with its best lineup ever: I-F and Richard X guest on Thursday, August 18. We’re going to have to charge £4 for this party (limited tickets available from The Social on Little Portland Street and the Sounds Of The Universe shop in Soho) but you know it’ll be insane. PIERS MARTIN