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A Gadabout Christmas / Warp Xmas Party / Islam Chipsy

by Now Then Sheffield

13 December
DINA

DINA on Cambridge Street is fast becoming a favourite new venue, especially when support slots are given to bands as good as Nachthexen. The anarchic quartet use jagged synth lines to lead their lo-fi punk, with disarmingly direct lyrics exploring the anxiety and alienation of youth ("I open my mouth and nothing came out / I wanna connect, but I don't know how", they sing on 'Awkward').

Blood Sport's sound continues to evolve with every gig ahead of their new LP, dropping in January, although always distorted. Nick Potter now manipulates his vocals more radically than ever, sending words richocheting around the room at the flick of a finger or echoing out into the cosmos. To steal a phrase of John Peel's, Blood Sport are always different, always the same.

Headlining is Egyptian keyboardist Islam Chipsy and his band EEK, a duel-drummer powerhouse that provide Chipsy's winding, intricate melodies with unstoppable forward momentum.

What's unique about Chipsy's music, especially live, is that it doesn't follow any traditional routes of tension and release. Instead, each bar brings a fresh peak, somehow more climactic than the last. The constant frenzies of ecstasy render an audience powerless to resist, as waves of jubilant noise crash into the dancefloor like a storm battering a sea wall.

Sam Gregory

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18 DECEMBER DINA

Warp’s grand return to its roots in Sheffield felt like old friends meeting for a long-awaited reunion. Understated from the outside, DINA’s chipboard sign guided you to the freshly painted DIY art space. Rugs, plants and red lighting ensured a calm introduction to a night of groovy side-stepping. The small, sociable venue was an opportune place to reflect with fellow music lovers on Warp’s outstanding contribution to music over the past 26 years.

Founded on modest grounds in the back of a record shop round the corner in the late 80s, Warp has always been strictly music rather than profit focused. Business certainly took a back seat and for that reason the label struggled financially in its early years. Steve Beckett, a founding member, said that Warp was about “leaving beautiful, aesthetically pleasing artefacts in the world,” and achieve that they have. Plaid and Darkstar’s performances tonight were punchy reflections of Warp’s continuing success.

Warp’s early sound was coined as ‘IDM’ ('intelligent dance music') - a label which has since been hotly contested by some of its artists, yet Warp’s catalogue demonstrates endless musical intelligence.

Friday night’s spectacle did not only feature Warp musicians, but also showcased talent from further afield. Julian C90 began proceedings with easy listening techno, followed by Glasgow’s finest, Spencer, borrowed from the Numbers label. He upped the groove with 'Nuits Sonores' by Floating Points and shared numerous funk classics for which he is renowned. When Plaid took to the decks, there was a technical hitch leaving a short musical pause. Instead of frustration, this gave the crowd a moment to appreciate the impact Warp had had on their musical lives. Come back soon Warp.

Jennifer Martino

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by Now Then Sheffield

Next article in issue 94

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