Out Of The Ashes - review

For those of you that don't know me, I'm more than a little mad for cricket. Love the stuff. I can't think of many better ways to enjoy a day off than positioning myself on the sofa in front of a riveting test match. That's why Metro's film editor Larushka asked me to review this film for the paper today.

If you're remotely interested in Afghanistan, but hate cricket, this is still very, very worth watching.

Out Of The Ashes (D)
Bungalow Town

‘There are lots of problems in the world today…. The solution to the problems is cricket,’ says Taj Malik, the avuncular coach of Afghanistan’s cricket team.

So begins Out Of The Ashes, a heart-warming documentary, following the team’s remarkable metamorphosis from rag-tag cricket-nuts playing for fun, to professional (ish) unit playing in April 2010’s T20 World Cup.

Adventures abroad for qualifiers in genteel Jersey, metropolitan Argentina and sleepy Tanzania are juxtaposed with lingering shots of the majestic Hindukush mountain range, Afghani kids playing cricket on rubble-strewn wasteland and talking heads.

Players’ child-like wonder at swimming in the sea for the first time and eye-popping reaction to witnessing tango and the fortunes of eternal optimist Malik and his merry band of men, counterbalance bleak truth – ‘I used to come to this stadium to watch football, I didn’t come to the Taliban’s public executions,’ says one player.

Out Of The Ashes is not only a gentle, powerful statement on sport’s unique ability to lift spirits amidst grim realities, but also a poignant testament to the fortitude and pride of ordinary Afghans getting on with their lives in the face of relentless devastation.


Metro clubs column today: Happy Birthday Trouble Vision/Deviation

You can read the Metro column in its full glory here. Alternatively here it is. And seeing as it's Friday it's got to be an excuse to post loads of DJ Zinc youtube vids:


Trouble Vision

Tomorrow’s Deviation is a double celebration for founder Benji B: it’s Deviation third birthday and after eight years on 1Xtra, last week Benji B made his Radio 1 debut ‘exploring future beats’.

Deviation (and Benji’s radio show), eases through superficially unrelated music, linking for example, Slum Village’s dreamy hip hop soul, Wiley’s punchy grime, Dam Funk’s mesmeric synths and Skream’s devastating dubstep.

Deviation’s birthday guests Theo Parrish and Kode 9 specialize in underground music without boundaries: Detroit-based Parrish is a sound sculptor (his specialization at art school) who rails against genre straitjacketing. Stirring soul, heady disco, nourishing house and funky techno are part of the same lineage, and how he joins these dots – through re-edits and working the mixer like an instrument - has to be heard to be believed.

Kode 9’s set will personify the futuristic, thoughtful output of his influential Hyperdub label, and traverse apocalyptic dancehall, ghostly garage, android soul, surreal funky house, and beyond.

Tonight’s Trouble Vision is also a birthday celebration as the night honouring garage-inspired music is two: DJ Zinc, who’s been at the top of the Brit-bass game for over 15 years (he’s behind jungle classic Super Sharp Shooter, garage anthem 138 Trek and 2010’s ragga-house sensation Wile Out with Ms Dynamite), stars. MJ Cole and the unsung Zed Bias play ‘history of garage set’ back-to-back encompassing sing-a-long, champagne-swigging two-step, and the eerie, minimal instrumentals that inspired dubstep.

Room two stars masked DJ/producer SBTRKT’S throbbing bass and techno contortions, and Scuba’s deep blends of sub bass and house/ techno, which have made his Hotflush label, the toast of Berlin.

Tonight, Trouble Vision, Corsica Studios, Elephant Road SE17, 10pm to 6am, £10 adv, £12. Tel: 020 7703 4760.

Tomorrow, Deviation, Cable Studios, Bermondsey Street SE1, £10adv, £12 door. Tube: London Bridge.


Gold Panda - Lucky Shiner review

My review of Gold Panda's Lucky Shiner LP, from the Independent (on Saturday just gone). This is one of my fave LPs of the year and it's proving to be a vintage year for electronic music in 2010 - Caribou, Flying Lotus, Gold Panda are stone cold classics.

Gold Panda: Lucky Shiner

One-man producer Gold Panda’s debut album Lucky Shiner somehow kneads loping hip-hoptronica, crackly deep house, angular synths, thrusting techno, micro-glitch, gurgling R&B, and other worldly melodies (possibly drawn from time living in Japan), into an exquisite, coherent record. Whether it’s mood (melancholy to sunny in a flash), arrangements (pumping house, shuffling hip hop), or influences (folktronica, Chicago house), LS is a twisting and turning, rewarding meander through the unpredictable.


Kashmir Kid - Return To Bombay City

Badman tune. Goes beyond usual looping of Asian sample and big dutty bass, this has got melodies flying all over the place, interesting instruments in the mix and it's got a garagey rhythm (always a good thing). It's out on Goldielocks' Gut Instinct label, and you can cop a copy of it here

Skandal - Questions

Man like Skandal's latest joint and it's typically on point.


Beaut - Dark Star - Gold

Beautiful single and video for Dark Star who's LP is out on Hyperdub on October 18th. Think overly emotional, baroque analogtronica. Really excited about this LP. Hyperdub steps up, yet again.