Four Tet, Fennesz, Manitoba, Explosions In The Sky, Papa M, Dabrye, Animal Collective, Icarus

By Ed Chamberlin

Organised by the prolific Eat Your Own Ears with a little help from Four Tet's Kieran Hebden, this ambitious musical feast brought together the best new artists from all corners of the musical spectrum at the mammoth Coronet Theatre in London's Elephant and Castle.

Expert knob-twiddling/laptop duo Icarus, one of the lesser known bands in the line-up opened the action. Their Autechre-like sound was dense and complex, leaning more to the ambient side than Autechre's abrasive workouts. Austria's well-regarded Fennesz followed with an enormous guitar-through-laptop sound, which totally filled the enormous theatre and was greeted with great interest. Truly mastering the art of controlled feedback, he caressed where many outfits would have bludgeoned, creating a sound that was both beautiful and powerful.

Once everybody's tinnitus had subsided, it was time for Papa M to come on-stage. Possibly one of the most atypical, not to mention retro acts of the evening, David Pajo's solo project, accompanied by a female string duo (who were sexy as hell, by the way), gave the evening a pastoral feel.

Explosions In The Sky, for whom David Pajo's old band Slint are an obvious influence, followed. Sounding like classical music played on overdriven rock instruments, they definitely earned their Godspeed You Black Emperor! merit badges.

Animal Collective, who have recently been touring with Múm, provided the strangest entertainment of the evening. Their acid-tinged, feverish rock music was impressive, but judging by the momentum they built towards the end, it seems they needed a full length set to truly impress. Great, crazy fun though.

Dabrye's white electronic funk was conspicuously more structured, and had the audience dancing like no other band so far that evening. Until Manitoba came on that is. A live set from Dan Snaith's newly formed live band is a sight to behold: all three members were wearing bizarre rabbit masks, Slipknot for the post Boards Of Canada-era perhaps.Up In Flames was one of the best albums of last year, and loads of its tunes turned up, via samplers, the guitarist and two drummers. A dizzying, psychedelic experience.

It's hard to pick out a particular highlight as there were so many different styles on display. But if there was a climax in the main room it came courtesy of curator Four Tet, who was genuinely amazing. Hebden successfully balanced hardcore IDM with old fashioned danceability and played the crowd out into the night. With all the rubbish clogging up the airwaves, it's good to see that a night of quality alternative music can be pulled off with such aplomb.
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