Hunter & Mortar - Fear and Loathing

Hunter & Mortar - Fear and Loathing—a few words with Hunter SBX about his new album with Mortar—this was originally an article for : article in forum & on by AliaK 31/05/2011. Thanks very much to Hunter for taking the time to answer my rambling questions


Hunter and Mortar released their new album "Fear and Loathing" in May 2011—the guys seem a perfect match to release an album together. Written over a few years, there's a range of styles, and fans of either of the two will not be disappointed. My personal favourites are the more introspective songs, such as Mortar's "Expecting to Fly" and Hunter's "Love and Fear" but there are also plenty of hardcore rap songs for the fans to play at parties and bars around Australia. Hunter answered a few questions and replied to comments about the new release. You can find the album in all good stores supporting Australian Hip Hop, and I'd encourage you to buy all of Hunter's and Mortar's albums, including this one—the latest chapter in the Hunter SBX story.

>> AliaK
Hunter SBX

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Step It Up in Brisbane

Step It Up in Brisbane

I was really excited to hear that Brisbane band Step It Up had a new EP, "Push", out in 2011 on Zyl Records, as I'd loved their earlier work on their self titled album released in 1996 and I'd seen them perform in Brisbane when I lived there in 2000/2001 or so. The new EP has different versions of the song "Push"—which includes a sample from their popular song "Flex" with mixes by Obese Bass Beast and Unison Sound System. There's also a new song called "Nudge" by Blunted Stylus (aka Geoff "Jigzaw" Blunted/ex Resin Dogs/Hydrofunk). The musical lineup has changed slightly over the years, but there's still a range of music styles and techniques explored on this release—from house, to jazz, to drum'n'bass, to bass-music and beats'n'squelch styles. All in all, it's a pleasure to listen to and I'm looking forward to hearing their future sounds, as well as the cache of songs yet to be released. Des Reid was kind enough to answer a few questions about the band and its future directions. Keep an ear to the ground for their live gigs in Brisbane and elsewhere—you'll be in for a treat from these talented musicians!

>> AliaK
> Des Reid, Step It Up

track # 1, "Push (Borrowed Moog And Juno) Mix" by Obese Bass Beast via Step It Up's soundcloud page

Push (Borrowed Moog And Juno) Mix by Obese Bass Beast by Step iT uP

>> for the "borrowed moog and juno mix", song #1 on Push—what's the story here? who'd you borrow the moog and juno from and can you keep them for a while?

> The Moog Prodigy belonged to Manny, our old keys player. I should have bought it when he sold it. The Juno 60 was DJ Damage's. They're both killer synths. I've since acquired a Juno 60 and JX-3p.

>> are there any favourite gigs, or memories of them that you'd like to share?

> The "Vibes on A Summer Day" festivals were always great. They were before festivals became commercial and unaffordable. Bondi Pavilion was a great venue. It's always nice to see a thousand people jumping up and down to your music in the sun from the stage.

>> for your live set: "Their new show has wide variety from instrumental hip-hop through Asian and Arabic influences to banging house". can you talk about some of these influences? particularly, the Asian and Arabic ones

> I have been learning some Arabic music and playing with some great oud players. We have an unreleased track called "Ïntefada" and a new one called "Free Gaza". I've always been interested in Indian music since seeing the Mahavishnu Orchestra, although I haven't studied it thoroughly and authentically. One of our best new tunes is an Indian groove tune called "Only One I know". That's partly because it's the only raga I know properly! Rohan plays in proper Indian ensembles in recitals at the Hindu temple in Virginia up here in Brisbane.

>> who are the band members of Step It Up?

> We've had some fantastic players in the past who have left town like Craig Hanicek, Darren MacPherson and Gavin Manikus on sax, Godoy and Steve Falk on percussion and DJ Frenzie. Terepai recorded the drums on "Flex" for us too.

The current line up is :

Steve Francis—drums
Steve is a great drummer and is in great demand in Brisbane. He tours with James Morrison too.

Neil Wickham is our great new sax player. He has a brilliant fusion type sound. The sax can't be too mellow in this type of music or it loses the edge and blands it out a bit.

Rohan Somasekaran is on keys. He is an awesome piano player and leads his own straight-ahead jazz outfit too. We're adding more synth to the live sound too.

I [Des Reid] play bass mostly live, but also a bit of guitar and guitar synth. I want to start contributing to the percussion too, but only in a support role—I'm only a simple player.

DJ Damage does the cuts on the EP. He's also in Terntable Jediz and The Optimen. He's one of the best turntablists I've ever seen.

Roger Gonzalez is our percussionist. He is a conga and cahon specialist, and a fantastic groove player. Marcelo, who played on the "Push" EP moved to Canberra unfortunately. We have loads of percussion recorded by him in the vaults though. Also heaps by his brother, Luis Schiavi—a killer timbales player.

Overall we have a giant backlog of tracks which we will be finishing and releasing soon. Although we haven't been playing out as often over the last few years, we never stopped writing and recording. We're sitting on a few albums really. The new label—Zyl Records will be our outlet now that we're organized.

>> do you improvise during the live sets too?

> There is a lot of improvising live. We follow the jazz tradition of arranged head—improvisation—head. We try to keep some tightly arranged sections too. One big feature of our sets is the breakdowns. We don't just have horn or keys solos—we have big sections where the drums, percussion and DJ are improvising together, feeding off each other. According to Cuban tradition, when two or more percussive players are resonating, that's when the spirits come. We're a bit tribal really.

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Step It Up at the Valley Fiesta

Step It Up will be playing at the Fortitude Valley 2011 Jazz Festival on Sunday 29th May @ the Royal George Hotel from 2-5pm.

Free entry
Brisbane Royal George Hotel
Sunday - 29 May
2 - 5 PM

visit the Step It Up gigs page, Step It Up facebook page or the Valley Fiesta gigs page for more details

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Bangkok - found sounds and art

some links on Bangkok sound art and digital art and other interesting blogs / media

BAM - Bangkok Art Map - BAM is a printed art map available at galleries, hotels, art-cafes and various other places around the city. there seems to be a different issue each month. I found a copy of the 05.2011 version at the Kathmandu Photo Gallery off Silom Rd in Bangrak. the website has art listings and information also and is definitely worth checking out - you can even download a pdf version of the current BAM if you don't find one on the soi

Kathmandu Photo Gallery - there's books, art prints, and a gallery upstairs. it's a great old pre-war building, painted pale green - which reminds me of the smaller rooms in the old RSL halls in Brisbane in the 1970s where we did ballet classes - even the same pale green paint on the wall boards - it's very fresh and colourful. owned by well-known Thai photographer Manit Sriwanichpoom and artist/filmaker Ing K.

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Hunter (SBX) - The Words

Hunter (SBX) - The Words

reflections on Hunter’s first three albums
"Done DL" Hunter and Dazastah (2002)
"Going Back to Yokine" Hunter (solo album) (2006)
"Monster House" Hunter and DJ Vame (2010)

When Walter Benjamin said in 1936 that "the art of storytelling is coming to an end" - due to the rise of the printed novel and the lowering value of experience - it is clear to see he didn't anticipate the later rise of the hip hop emcee to partly revive this craft in our modern world. In all of his albums, Hunter shows his skills as a wonderful storyteller - in the traditional meaning of the term - sharing with the listener the stories from his life. Of course, not all the stories are happy, but all have an undercurrent of hope to them. There are tales of growing up, getting into trouble and later returning to his hometown of Yokine, Perth in the songs "Adolescence", "Going Back To Yokine" and "Yokine (Drugs + Crime)". These are stories of self-discovery, and of changing his life - giving up old ways that were not working for him and focusing on music, rapping and a hip hop infused life instead. "What I Do Best" has the feeling of "coming home" to a community of supporting people and finding your place in the world. There are stories of mateship and the value of community with his Syllabolix (SBX) family and crew. There are stories of having children and the specialness that can bring to one's life in "Ultrasound" and "Kids of the Future". Also, there are stories born from remembered advice from his father littering his rhymes - as it seems his Dad is always close to his thoughts and words - "Kids of the Future", "The Big Issue", "Me Old Man".

Hunter has great comedic sense too - with the songs about relationships bouncing along at a steady pace. The stories of lust, the virility of youth and some of his experiences with women are some of his more popular songs. In these songs, which he describes as “nothing nice”, he tells of the women’s role in the tales. Often these stories are the most explicit, in language and description, yet there’s an undercurrent of humour to them, often hinted by the light and playful melodies that waft over the beat, which leads me to think perhaps they shouldn’t be taken too seriously at their word. The stories of relationship breakdowns and coping mechanisms in “Never Trust a Woman” are as tense as the subjects, and show that we often end up hurting those we love the most. “Coming Home” is a song about making mistakes and some of the consequences, and suggests (to me) that it’s related to “Zed”.

“Zed” is the most powerful and emotive song on his albums so far. He describes the depths of despair—taking yet another fall, thoughts of suicide, and saying good-bye. Hunter’s rapping style changes during this song—to a softer tone, almost spoken word—the enthusiasm has left his voice, to match the sombre words he is sharing with us. Upon first listen I wasn’t sure if it was him rhyming—I had to check the album liner notes to confirm—he sounds very dislocated from his normal voice and self.

I’m not even sure if I was meant for this place
so after I’m gone, please let them know
that I didn’t want to feel pain
I didn’t want to cause it
so I had to go
couldn’t swim against the flow
kept getting sucked down to the depths below
where the sun don’t even show
not even a distant glow
and we all need some sunlight to grow
it’s like a chain hanging round my neck, dragging me down
after a week you probably won’t even notice I’m not around
I used to love the sound
of waves crashing down
I want to get so lost that I can never be found
under the ground
or maybe high in the sky
nobody knows where we go when we die
so I guess this is good-bye

Hunter ponders “The Big Issue”—a mixture of his own thoughts with some long-remembered advice from his father on how to live your life, and how to cope with what life brings. There are words on pain and what it means, and of course, his ideas on the meaning of “The Big Issue”. The lyrics in this song show a higher level of consciousness, connecting the soul and mind to the heart,

I want to hear the sound of people supporting
The soul is the emotional organ
your brain has got the thought in
your heart feels the distortion
where your mouth keeps talking
and your legs keep walking
pain is just a warning, a caution
and everybody gets served a portion

The powerful and moving “Say a Prayer” says thanks to the “best friends a man could have“. It also sounds like a message for his son and those close to him—it’s at once an apology, confession and explanation of his life. For me, this is one of his best songs—Hunter has summarised his life and beliefs in these few stanzas—he has distilled his life into this one song—and shows the spiritual side of his self in a subtle and beautiful way. Be prepared to shed a few tears over this song.

please, understand what I tried to do
is be strong enough to walk alongside with you
. . .
you know I made mistakes, too many to mention
now I need to be forgiven without condition or question
my confession, yes, I made a fucken mess
but I wanna get it back to become one of the best
and I’ve been blessed
with the best of friends a man could have
and I damn should have
thanked them before this time
so I’ve gotta take the time
in the middle of this rhyme
to say Thanks
. . .
I try to do the right thing
and time and again
I keep fucking it up
and I really don’t know when
I’m going to get it back
on the right track
and I’m sorry to you all
but I want you to know that
I forgive myself
‘cause I found the connection
that forgiveness and atonement leads to redemption
every second, every step and every breath
brings us one step closer to death
and what’s next
do you love the life you live
and do you live the life of love
and is that going to be enough
to get you going, through the times ahead
because it’s going to get rougher like the Good Book says
I had a revelation, that God will move Heaven and Earth
and we’ll all get exactly what we deserve
in the end,
will Kharma be a foe or friend
please Say A Prayer
as the dark descends

Hunter writes from the soul—he shares his soul with those who listen—especially with those who listen to more than just the upbeat, party songs. There have been ups and downs in his life-story, just as there have been in each of his listener’s lives. The difference is, that Hunter’s life is laid out for all to hear in his rhymes as he contemplates life, and the experiences of his life. This reminds me of the lines highlighted by David Toop, in Seamus Heaney’s poem “Personal Helicon” which are uttered as the subject looks at himself in the reflection of water at the bottom of a well: “I rhyme / To see myself, to set the darkness echoing”. (2010: 134)

Techno Lawn Party (Spin'n'Jam Reunion)

Techno Lawn Party (Spin'n'Jam Reunion)
16 April · 12:00 - 18:00
East Brisbane Croquet Club (Mowbray Park), 19 Park Ave, East Brisbane, Australia

Join the Spin'n'Jam crew for an autumn afternoon of croquet and chilled beats at the East Brisbane Croquet Club (Mowbray Park) overlooking the Brisbane river .

Playing for your aural pleasure shall be:

Frogstar Millennium Experience Live (Melbourne) – worldbeat
Quazilocco (fresh from Rainbow Serpent 2011) – psy/dub/70s/funk/soul/disco mash
Geriotech – tech-house
Funkedub – breaks
Neon Princess – ambient
plus special guest Sally Allsorts & more to be announced.

Silly hats and outfits encouraged (especially Alice in Wonderland style) but not mandatory.

$10 at the door includes free croquet lessons!
Some snacks and refreshments available but BYO alcomahol.

What's Spin'n'Jam?
Spin'n'Jam was an underground community music venue that ran in West End from the mid Nineties to early Noughties, bringing together a diverse range of electronic and live, visual and acoustic artists. It was possibly Brisbane's first regular Open Decks session, and many DJs in South-East played their first public sets there. The original crew are organising this event as both a reunion for the old hands and an inspiration for new comers.

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Love Our Laneway Brisbane - saving Brisbane buildings

"Love Our Laneways Brisbane hopes to save the laneway precinct and beautiful old building (a 1920's printing warehouse) between Elizabeth and Charlotte Streets in the city, which has just been approved by the city council for imminent demolition. Reminiscent of Melbourne or even Barcelona, this area could be an incredibly vibrant addition to the cultural life of the CBD, instead a glass and steel office tower has been approved to be built for the Australian Tax Office. Amazingly this building is not heritage listed, so the only way to save it is if the developers or the ATO have a change of heart. We are not against the development per se, but respectfully ask them to consider the incredible potential of this site, and amend their building plans to integrate the laneway precinct and heritage building at its rear. It would be a shame to lose this building for the sake of a loading bay and AC plant to service the new development. If you're unhappy your tax dollars are contributing to the demolition of Brisbane's heritage then sign the petition now, and pass it onto your friends, enemies and lovers of laneways everywhere!" has the petition - please sign this to show your support.

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Step It Up - new PUSH EP released

Step It Up are a premier funk and new jazz band, creating music since the 1990's in Australia. Their releases include the classic self-titled first album, plus numerous compilation tracks on labels including Ubiquity, Creative Vibes and One Movement. The band have received much airplay on Australian national broadcasters JJJ and ABC, and also on UK Jazz FM. Their instrumentals have been found to be a perfect match for movies, tv and multimedia synchronisations.

Step It Up's live credits include supports for the legendary Gil Scott-Heron and Ronnie Jordan plus appearances at Vibes on a Summer Day festivals. You can catch them live around Brisbane.

They are back with a developed sound – more electro, more uptempo, more driven & danceable. Their new show has wide variety from instrumental hip-hop through Asian & Arabic influences to banging house.

In early 2011, Step It Up released a new album called "PUSH" on Zyl Records. It's available on itunes, ebay and cdbaby. Visit the Step It Up website or facebook page for more details

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Turntablist Scratch Jam - The Record Sessions

Turntablist Scratch Jam - The Record Sessions
The Record Store, 255B Crown St Darlinghurst Sydney

vinyl only
bring needles and records

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#turntabletag #3 DJ Sheep - Turntables of Doom

#turntabletag #3 DJ Sheep
Turntables of Doom

At the MF Doom gig on Friday 1st April, DJ Sheep led a turntablist battle revival in Brisbane. Prior to this gig, there’d been words – DJ Butcher had posted “dude.. u know i’ll beat you on the decks.. ur an idiot..” on (24/03/2011). DJ Sheep, following the hip hop code he lives by, raised a challenge to battle on the decks. Unfortunately the challenge was turned down, so spectators only saw one side of the battle, but they left charged. I wasn’t there to see it in person, but I saw the video and on Sunday morning, DJ Sheep said on, “I’ve never felt better in years after a gig, i got so many daps, and props from people, it felt like the old days again for once…”, so it sounded like it was a night to remember. The only way I could imagine it being better (in my head), is if there *had* been a battle, or if there had been two sounds (sound systems) on opposite sides of a fenced off outdoor basketball court or a Jamaican dance hall like back in the early days of hip hop DJ battles.

Kodwo Eshun, in his book “More Brilliant Than The Sun”, coined the term “Sonic Fiction” when writing about one of the pioneers of hip hop DJing, Grandmaster Flash, and his album “The Amazing Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel”. I suggest that the turntablist battles could also be thought of as Sonic Fiction on multiple levels – in the sounds produced and performances of the actual turntablist set, and also in the stories behind the battles – in some case they’re personal, in other cases they’re for competition and showcase. In all cases, they are related to the DJs career and reputation. DJ Battles are the opposite of “Fight Club” – everybody (in the DJ community) talks about the battle, and the rules are set. DJ Sheep commented, “the hip-hop code is that when you call someone out or get called out, you either step up or admit defeat. if you say you’re better and back out, you’re reputation goes down the drain, that’s hip-hop. It’s been like that since the inception”.

Now back to the set – in traditional style, Sheep gave props to the fallen, shouting out RIP to Angus, Jeeps (750) and Sabre (BWP) before he started. Then he got down to business with his message explaining to the crowd that DJs used real records. “In the history of beef, it’s usually the Butcher that slaughters the Sheep, but today we’re going to see the Sheep slaughter the mutherfuckin’ Butcher”. Sheep then launched into his set – beat juggling, chirps, transform moves such as flares and orbits, and the crab. From the video, you can see a brick and sandbag on the table – DJ Sheep and Brisbane beat-maker Tigermoth highlighted the large springs in place of the table legs which caused the table to move around, and some skipping of the needles during Sheep’s set. I think the crowd probably wouldn’t have noticed this had it not be pointed out. In any case, Sheep took advantage of the moments and paused, giving space to his set and acknowledging the crowd. They gave him plenty of love in return.

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"As The Market Crashed" - Monkey Marc

Monkey Marc's studio was recently broken into and his equipment was stolen. You can help support him replacing his gear by purchasing one of his albums.

Download versions available from & CD versions from There's also videos to watch and details of his Desert Workshops on his website

As The Market Crashed, his 2009 release, is an 11 track album
Solo instrumental hip-hop, dub, future dub and dubstep by monkeymarc. Recorded on Solar Power.
released 01 December 2009
Mixed at Sumroom Studios Paris, France by Matthias Froidefond and at Headgap Studios, Melbourne by Rohan "Infernal Machine" Mansell and mixed by Monkeymarc at all the above and at Monkeys Solar Studio, Melbourne. Mastered at Transition Studios, London, UK.

via @jean_poole's tweet : Help the lovely Monkey Marc raise $ to replace music gear stolen from his solar powered studio. Donations get his album

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anita heiss: paris dreaming book launch

anita heiss: paris dreaming book launch

Hot off the press: The City of Sydney Library and Random House Australia invite you to join Terri Janke in launching Paris Dreaming, the latest sexy novel by the multi-talented author Anita Heiss.

Join Anita as she shares her inspiration for the work and her dedication to researching in the city of love. There croissants, culture and couture are all accompanied by distracting gorgeous men, cute baristas and smooth-tongued lotharios. Come along and have some fun, learn about Aboriginal art in Paris, and get a copy of the novel signed by the woman herself.

Friday 1 April
6.00pm – 7.00pm
Surry Hills Library
Telephone: 8374 6230

Bookings essential
Free Event

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DIGICULT magazine

DIGICULT is an online/offline Italian platform, created to spread digital art and culture worldwide. It focuses on the impact of new technologies and modern sciences on art, design, culture and contemporary society. DIGICULT is based on participation of more than 40 professionals, representing a wide Italian Network of critics, curators and journalists in the field. DIGICULT is the editor of the magazine DIGIMAG, which focuses on some cultural and artistic issues like internet art, hacktivism, electronica, video art, audiovideo, art & science, design, new media, software art, performing art.

DIGIMAG 62 - MARCH 2011. The @digicult mag English issue is online #digitalart #mediaart #artscience #electronica [via @digicult tweet]

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Call for papers : THE EXODUS OF PSYTRANCE?

Call for papers : THE EXODUS OF PSYTRANCE?

Special edition of Dancecult: Journal of Electronic Dance Music Culture
Edited by Graham St John

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DANCECULT | Journal of Electronic Dance Music Culture - Volume 2.1 Released

DANCECULT | Journal of Electronic Dance Music Culture
Volume 2 * Number 1 * 2011

Dancecult returns with two themes: the dystopian and remix aesthetics of
Detroit and a special From the Floor section on the Love Parade.


## Feature Articles ##

Disco's Revenge: House Music's Nomadic Memory
-- Hillegonda C. Rietveld

Hooked on an Affect: Detroit Techno and Dystopian Digital Culture
-- Richard Pope

Maintaining "Synk" in Detroit: Two Case Studies in the Remix Aesthetic
-- Carleton S. Gholz

Festival Fever and International DJs: The Changing Shape of DJ Culture in
Sydney's Commercial Electronic Dance Music Scene
-- Ed Montano

## From the Floor ##

Nomads in Sound vol. 1
-- Anna Gavanas

# Special Section on the Love Parade #

Where is Duisburg? An LP Postscript HTML
-- Sean Nye, Ronald Hitzler

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