Radioland: Kraftwerk’s Radio-Activity revisited at Village Underground

Matthew Bourne is too much of a maverick to be considered a part of any scene, even what would count as ‘alternative’ jazz. Lately a fascination with vintage analogue synths means he’s as likely to be seen twiddling the knobs on his Memorymoog as he is creating unruly improvisations at the piano. The 37-year-old’s ambitious new collaborative live project goes straight to the source.

It’s a darkly intriguing contemporary spin on the seminal Teutonic band Kraftwerk’s electronic concept album Radio-Activity, recorded all of 40 years ago. Friday evening’s performance at east London’s Village Underground (part of the Convergence multi-media Festival) came in the middle of a brief UK tour that comes to an end tonight in Milton Keynes. The Shoreditch venue is a renovated warehouse, and its towering, spartan interior and exposed brick walls was a perfect vessel for Radioland’s mix of hard-edged industrial grooves and ethereal, moog-infused soundscapes.

Sporting a handsome beard and surrounded by his synths, Bourne was joined onstage by the French electronica experimentalist Franck Vigroux and video installation artist Antoine Schmitt who generated minimalistic graphic animations on a large screen backdrop. He evoked something of Kraftwerk’s early LP sleeve pop art iconography (the autobahn and radio transmitter dial) with them, improvising in real-time as well as using musically-generative technology.

On Radio-Activity, Kraftwerk had given birth to an against-the-grain electronics-only mix of Stockhausen-inspired conceptualism, Krautrock and pure pop song. But Bourne’s Radioland project wasn’t taking the retro route. It’s a version more relevant to 21st century electronica, and it’s a less naïve, more unsettling, intense soundscape than a mid-1970s era Kraftwerk could ever have dreamt up. Bourne artfully improvises around the original album’s poppy hooks, as on the memorable title track theme that’s played against an ear-shattering electro throb that gives it something of a menacing air.

Contrasting with the original’s romantic utopian concept, this felt more like the harsher, more unstable radioactive glow of contemporary dystopia. Yet with the warm ambience of analogue circuitry and Vigroux’s use of vocoder vocal, a more tender, human side came through just as convincingly.

– Selwyn Harris

See the last night of the UK tour tonight at The Stables, Milton Keyenes

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website

If you do not change browser settings, you consent to continue. Learn more

I understand

Breaking News

Blue Note spearheads 80th Anniversary Ye…

The iconic Blue Note label will celebrate its milestone 80th...

Read More.....

John Turville dives in Head First – new …

Pianist and composer John Turville returns with a new album...

Read More.....

Uri Caine and Henri Texier dazzle while …

Jazzfestival Münster is celebrating its 40th anniversary, but has only...

Read More.....

Ezra Collective bring the Brit-Jazz Nois…

Much like in other recent editions of New York's Winter...

Read More.....

Yazz Ahmed and Jasper Høiby line-up for …

For some there is a Holy Grail in jazz: to...

Read More.....

Matthew Herbert marks Brexit with Big Ba…

Composer, conductor and sampling-supremo Matthew Herbert is set to release...

Read More.....

Joseph Jarman 14/09/37 – 9/01/19

  The recitation of 'Non-Cognitive Aspects Of The City' by Dante...

Read More.....

Wandering Monster step up with 'Samsara…

Bass-led progressive jazz group Wandering Monster are set to release...

Read More.....

Cécile McLorin Salvant, Oded Tzur Quarte…

  The unfeasibly warm November weather was matched by the heat...

Read More.....

Edinburgh embraces the Thrill of Belgian…

Belgium may be better known for its beer than its...

Read More.....

Mitchener And Yarde Break Blues Boundari…

The blues is a lived and living truth, as much...

Read More.....

Ra's Arkestra Announces Annual Lewes Aff…

The Sun Ra Arkestra – led by that indomitable intergalactic...

Read More.....

Steve Williamson, Silje Nergaard and Tin…

Southampton’s Turner Sims music venue has announced an impressive line-up...

Read More.....

19-year-old vibraphonist Sasha Berliner …

19-year-old vibraphonist Sasha Berliner wins LetterOne Rising Stars Award California-based...

Read More.....

Nordic Wonders: Rune Grammofon Bring The…

Determined individuals who ignore categories define the Norwegian scene, in...

Read More.....

Mehldau Marvels At Jazztopad

  The entire spectrum can dazzle at Jazztopad, a Polish festival in...

Read More.....

Jazz FM Awards return for 2019

The Jazz FM Awards return for a sixth time next...

Read More.....

Chick Corea, Madeleine Peyroux and Kamaa…

The organisers of the Love Supreme Jazz Festival, which runs...

Read More.....

Peter Boizot 1929 – 2018

The press obituaries for Peter Boizot, who has died aged...

Read More.....

David Mossman – 17 July 1942 - 8 Decembe…

Ahead of starting the Vortex in 1988, there is nothing...

Read More.....

Greg Fox and Pulverize The Sound punish …

  The second phase of Poland’s Jazz Jantar festival involved five nights...

Read More.....

Astral Progression Ensemble and Irrevers…

  Jazz Jantar has been running in the northern Polish port...

Read More.....

Tippett & Bourne, Liane Carroll and…

The Bristol Jazz & Blues Festival will return for its...

Read More.....

Jessica Radcliffe poised an poetic for R…

In this centenary year of the end of the First...

Read More.....

Iridescent Ibrahim Leads Multi-Horn Boon…

The Barbican's foyer is still resounding to the tumultuous multi-horned...

Read More.....

Maisha raise Afro-futurist spirits at Gh…

Scrolling down the posts on Facebook, from people pleading for...

Read More.....

John McLaughlin and 4th Dimension Back F…

Legendary jazz-rock guitarist John McLaughlin has just announced a return...

Read More.....

Dave Douglas Supergroup Dazzles Among Ho…

  Guimarães is Portugal’s birthplace. Surrounded by verdant hills, this quiet...

Read More.....

Bill Laurance Goes Big At Southbank With…

  At certain moments during this concert, Bill Laurance looks like...

Read More.....

Trans-Atlantic Team-Up: Chicago X London…

Much has been written about the jazz scene that has...

Read More.....

Dalston Devils: Branch and Brandon Lewis…

The Vortex and Cafe OTO are separated by a few...

Read More.....

Mike and Leni Stern light up Ronnie Scot…

What an unexpected pleasure to see Mike Stern exchanging guitar...

Read More.....

22-year-old saxophonist Xhosa Cole wins …

Saxophonist Xhosa Cole has been announced as the winner of...

Read More.....

Braxton and Marclay Broker New Sonic Exp…

  The UK premiere of Anthony Braxton's 'Composition No 103' (1983)...

Read More.....

Delay-gratification – Bill Frisell’s spe…

Bill Frisell isn't much of a talker. The music is...

Read More.....

Snarky Puppy, Jamie Cullum and Gladys Kn…

The first artists have been revealed for next year's Love...

Read More.....


Subcribe To Jazzwise

Advertisement

Call 0800 137201 to subscribe or click here to email the subscriptions team

Get in touch

Jazzwise Magazine,
St. Judes Church,
Dulwich Road, 
Herne Hill,
London, SE24 0PD.

0208 677 0012

Latest Tweets

@GlennDonaldson I remember something nice on Celebrate Psi Phenomenon...
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
Blue Note spearheads 80th Anniversary Year with major vinyl series, live shows and film https://t.co/cSXbUUllHZ https://t.co/kqMhWCaz48
Follow Us - @Jazzwise

Newsletter

© 2016 MA Business & Leisure Ltd registered in England and Wales number 02923699 Registered office: Jesses Farm, Snow Hill, Dinton, Salisbury, SP3 5HN . Designed By SE24 MEDIA