The Abacus, Cardiff, Fri 23 Oct
The guys behind Dragon Era decided to throw themselves a little party to celebrate the launch of their seventh compilation. Dragon Era are a South Wales record label that cover, in their own words, the bases of electronic, noise, glitch, dubstep, hip-hop, pop, jungle, acid and ambient. Those lucky enough to find themselves on the first floor of gig-venue-cum-gallery-cum-cinema-cum-community-centre-cum-whatever-the-hell-you-want-to-use-it-for-place The Abacus (the old Cardiff Bus ticket shop on Wood Street) were treated to a little bit of all that just mentioned.
Tribal Hooligan, who supplies the bangin’ Cardiff Skank to Dragon Era 7, was on warm-up and between acts DJ duty and filled the space with some serious electro dub pressure. The first band up was Boris A Bono and I really enjoyed their ambient My Bloody Valentine-meets-Kurt Vile vibe: all hoods up and eyes down, playing with space and time, sounds looping around sounds, echoes and oddness.
Next was Stereoripe and man did he #slewdem. Instrumental grime that was tough as old boots: I was throwing some serious shapes at the back and if he had an MC with him I would’ve been tearing the art off the walls – his set was that good, pure Room 2 at Fabric stuff. Seriously, Stereoripe, get a hype-man and go some places. Top notch electronic music.
Finally Llwybr Llaethog, the Dub Cymraeg gentlemen themselves. Legends and dons and tings. Has a police siren and a chicken squawking ever sounded this good? I’m not too sure. My mate Leo questioned what it all meant, but I’m not sure their digital dub explorations have to mean anything, it’s just there, floating and skanking around, comfortable in its own skin. One slight niggle would be the length of their set, but in fairness I was knackered after dancing myself silly to Stereoripe and my knees just can’t take it any more.
This was an excellent evening of electronic exploration and I’ll keeping an ear open for Dragon Era 8 and its consequent party. Good times and vibes.
words and photos SAM EASTERBROOK