Text: James Phaily
Images: Stephen Connor
On Friday March 9th 2018, a true jewel of the deepest south, crossed over the threshold and into the Roots Folk and Blues Night, which takes place at the Ukrainian Club on Beckett Road: the beautiful presence, enchanting vocals and intricate instrumentation of chanteuse Bronwynne Brent came up from the Mississippi Delta and took us to another world, we were her audience and she was our girl.
So who was this extraordinary singer/songwriter with stardust in her hair, who braved the icy weather to give us a musical injection of pure soul and folk/country magic?
Arguably one of the brightest of lights to ever grace a Doncaster stage…This lady who was possessed of the most amazing and evocatively heart-wrenching voice on the scene today, was also an amazing rhythm guitarist. Bronwynne was on a UK tour and had chosen to bring her light and apple-pie goodness to the cold icy winds of deepest, darkest Doncaster.
It was no doubt that Miss Brent warmed the hearts of all concerned with her vibrant personality and soulful southern style. Accompanied by an amazing virtuoso double bass player called Mario Caribe’– Bronwynne sang her songs of heartbreak and life experience in such a wistful, evocative and emotionally moving way that at the end of every song: the mastery of her oeuvre and the sheer beauty of the way the double bass and Bronwynne’s guitar and vocals meshed together, guaranteed cheers and raptures of applause, from the appreciative audience.
The songs Bronwynne performed were taken not only from her beautifully orchestrated and arranged two albums, but also new work from the third as-yet unreleased album…She even managed to play an enjoyable couple of cover-songs.
Miss. Brent is a very special artist because she denies categorization, taking elements of folk, country, blues and jazz and melding them into a beautiful and otherworldly sound. A consummate professional and adept musician; I got the impression that she is just at home playing solo as she is with an arrangement of strings, keyboards and drums. However it is the sheer power of her song-writing which shone through on the night…Bronwynne has lived and this is apparent in the timbre of her song-writing and delivery which is highly emotive. However her craft celebrates life, love and the good times as well as the fleeting happiness contained within the sad.
This lady is also possessed of a good soul. You can simply tell by the vibrant and including way she talked between songs to her audience…Also like many of us, no matter how many times she has had her heartbroken, you get the impression she will never give up on falling in love.
Bronwynne played two amazing and mind-blowing sets, the songs she had crafted just kept coming, songs about friendship,(Bulletproof), songs about leaving (Dark Highway), songs about the promises we make to never tempt fate (Devil Again)…And of course songs about getting your heartbroken (Heartbreaker)…
This being a very memorable night when I won a cd in the raffle I got to meet the lady herself, she was vibrant, good-natured and lovely, gladly signing my album and enchanting me with her southern twang and beautiful heart. The audience and I walked into a cold rainy Doncaster night, armed with the blissful happiness of knowing we had just been part of something very special, from an artist who we would not have heard the last of…
Words: James Phaily and Craig M.
Images: Gavin Morrow.
Having recently released the Mars and Venus editions of their magnum opus “DEEPFLESHRED,” (out now on FUSION RECORDS/Black_Box_Recordings) and on the back of the very successful curation and headline set at the latest NEW WEIRD PLANET Micro-Fest at The Doncopolitan Art-Space/Office on Copley Road–MANGABROS head-honcho Craig M. took time out with me to reflect upon his artistic “process,” the concept, the union of opposites and the and the musical alchemy that goes on deep within the tangled mind-forest of his creativity.
Intrinsic to the material available to listen to upon both the Mars and Venus editions of “DEEPFLESHRED,” is the ongoing and relentless theme of the alchemical union of polar opposites: yin and yang, dark and light, male and female, good and evil along with oxymoron’s galore are refracted through the musical spectrum on the project which Craig has been in the process of producing for the last 2 years.
Arguably, love is the intrinsic value to which we assign this barnstorming collection of beats: the canvas upon which Craig has adeptly painted these friezes of lust, longing, desire and the quest for happiness…spilt blood, arteries splayed, passion and war–all the unspoken emotions of a creative life, get-a-look-in, as we traverse up from the catacombs, upon the vehicle of a highly acute, intelligent dance music. A sound that is truly sublime; when considered as a whole, the music contained on these two “flip-sides of the same coin,” is surreally beautiful, joyous, yet not afraid to confront the issue.
Esoterically speaking, the MANGABROS sound infects the listener with a musical virus which both obliterates and transforms the soul. Its “no-pain/no gain,” where Craig is concerned, who adeptly specializes in sonically and lyrically taking us to the edge of reality, taking a look in the mirror of doubt and then banishing with a Bacchic, avant-garde, intrinsically psychedelic and somewhat godly laughter…where MANGABROS are concerned the Chaosphere reigns supreme. Nothing is true, yet everything is permitted…
Craig’s devotion to “chance and change,” is resplendent in his aleatory modus-operandi, often implying dice and other magical means, in order to divine his next sequence. In the creation of a track, Craig usually begins a song by sketching it out on his acoustic guitar. He then transposes this to MIDI and subverts the whole process with the contrasting interplay of cacophonous noise, glitch and sweet melodies which overpower you with their sublimity and sheer avant-garde otherness.
This can be heard most especially upon the tracks on which Craig has the lead vocal: we hear a contrast of styles, a guttural growl which is somewhat akin to Tom Waits fronting Aphex Twin. The uninitiated may not warm to it at first, however anyone would be hard pushed to deny, that a MANGABROS record is a totally unforgettable experience. The “guys” sound has little or no parallel to anything that is going on in dance music today.
It is too simple to say that the Mars and Venus releases are simply male and female editions. Despite the amount of guest vocals from female performers on the Venus edition, the sounds on both versions appear to be in conjunction with one another. What I mean is, although there is division within the editions, the albums can be listened to together, in whatever order the listener decides (indeed, preferably): both editions being an intrinsic part of each other, Janus-faced, two-in-one, if you like.
Through the alchemy of their sound, the pictures the guys paint are betwixt two worlds, possibly somewhere liminal and forgotten, buried deep in the unconscious mind of our communal cosmic mind.
In the live arena, MANGABROS hold sway and are definitely at their best. Looking around at one of their gigs, there is not one member of the audience who isn’t boogieing with a big smile on their face. The music is highly complex but it is not afraid to “get down with its bad self,” it is an extremely powerful sound the guys have and they are definitely dancefloor “mover and shakers.” Craig admits that the instrumental tracks are definitely the direction, the band are going; endlessly petitioning the audience with his relentless energy and avant-garde stylistics.
The MANGABROS artistic intention is arguably for audience and band to unite in a hedonistic cacophony of heavy beats: unfathomable layers, textures, computer programmed synth-lines and surrealistic sequences. What is perhaps most important is that the MANGABROS sound unites people from all walks of life; effortlessly pushing and pulling the cosmic envelope together. This modus-operandi is instigated in such a way, that no matter how many times you listen to a MANGABROS record, or go to one of their gigs, something new nestled deep within their sound will present itself to you and illuminate your experience.
With the advent of MANGABROS being signed and “DEEPFLESHRED” released by U.K underground label FUSION RECORDS, Craig has also started his own recording collective “BLACK BOX RECORDINGS.” According to Craig it was set up to provoke his favourite wayward artists into producing, far-out, boundary challenging personal bests which includes insightful DVD commentaries, bloopers and “making of” documentaries. This project is facilitated ably by Craig during each stage of his chosen artist’s “process,” so that they can benefit from his dynamic curative ideas and attitude to creative life. This all occurs so that all you music-makers and avant-garde aficionados can get the best new underground OUT-THERE sounds direct to your I-Pods. So watch this space…
In terms of artistic curation with his label, radio-show on Doncaster’s Sine FM (NEW WEIRD PLANET) and the creative direction the MANGABROS are taking both in the studio and at their hedonistic performances –Craig and the other Manga’s have a lot on their plate. However there is nothing like them as a sheer sonic force of nature on the underground scene and if you haven’t already checked them out I urge you to do so–I guarantee you won’t regret it.
The DEEPFLESHRED Mars and Venus editions are now available for download at:
There is also a limited edition cd/vinyl available soon at:
NEW WEIRD PLANET v.3.0–Refractions from an evening of eclectic sounds and performances.
Words: James Phaily
Images: Gavin Morrow.
Saturday 10th of February 2018 saw an eclectic mix of artists from the northern experimental music scene descending upon the Doncopolitan ArtSpace/Office on Copley Road. We, the audience all gathered together, to share each other’s company: camaraderie, laughs, sounds and cosmic mind was tasted by all, in what turned out to be a sublime and well put together evening of great sonic import and significance.
Curated lovingly and attentively by Craig Adams of Sine FM’s barnstormer of a radio show NEW WEIRD PLANET–Mr. Adams (whose outfit MANGABROS headlined the event) chose the best of sounds from the plethora of avant-garde, ambient and intrinsically heavy-duty acts which he champions on his “far-out” show. The amazing range of styles and genres on offer pushed the boundaries of what exactly can be achieved at a Micro-Fest and gathered us, the collective, joyously together for an evening of sounds which seamlessly carved an edge, into not only new music, but also what we can do as a receptive artistic community, who want to make things happen.
First up we had WONKFEST stalwart Peter K. Rollings and his EXPERIMENTAL SONIC MACHINES. Peter’s performance skills are second to none and watching him do his thing, aided by the plethora of costume changes, handmade instruments, sonic analogue devices and his android assistant truly brought a smile to everyone’s face. What’s great about Peter is he never repeats himself, his set and performance growing organically over Time and Space–utilizing technology and performance art to transform himself and the observer into an equal member of an unarguably surreal and otherworldly happening.
Following Peter K. Rollings were Doncaster Sludge-Metal duo KLAGG; who not only set the venue on fire, with their musical understanding of the nuances of underground heavy metal, but also previewed some new material: their explorations ranging from grindcore fury, to the most-doomy of riffs, which would not seem out of place, upon a classic Black Sabbath album. In fact the idea that the guys are only guitar, drums and are also totally instrumental mean they have a lot more room to manoeuvre: each instrument, taking a stand and highlighting the duo’s considerable musical ability. Doom Metal is a very difficult thing to do well, I guarantee that if you listen long and intently enough, the guys will transport you to dimensions beyond our ken–a perfect partnership that never loses its psychic connection.
Following KLAGG was another Doncaster Collective but of an all-together different aesthetic. Spearheaded by Mat Handley, who presents another great show on Sine FM (You, The Night and The Music) PULSELOVERS successfully harness the liminal possibilities of the ambient sound, taking aspects of Kraut-Rock and Intelligent Dance Music to a new level. PULSELOVERS adeptly paint soundscapes in sublime documents of Twenty-First Century Life: taking us outside the Circles of Time and skilfully alleviating our consciousness, offering bounteous spiritual wealth. The collective are living proof that dance music has a heart–the personality of the band’s auratic sound shining through the Cracks betwixt the Worlds.
Next up we had one of the most sublimely beautiful and ethereal sets of the night: YUMAH; which centres, around the otherworldly form of a girl from Nottingham called Lucy Morrow: her microphone and vocal effects.
The project skilfully blended together the esoteric sounds that can be generated through the chant and mantra of the human voice and melded it into the beautiful ambient soundscapes of the forgotten places of the Earth. Many visions were conjured and evoked into our private minds; as YUMAH weaved her shamanic incantations into our psyche–the set was also aided by the fact that she was performing behind a window which looked into the conference room of the venue. Also, whilst she was performing, an avant-garde film was projected onto the wall which housed this amazing performance. YUMAH is a truly visionary and magickal experience which melds into a Trance-Absolute that is both Timeless and unforgettable.
After our reflections in the ethereal mirror of YUMAH, came another particular blend of otherness, which took the form of the post-metal heaviness of BLEEDING TOOTH…The duo, headed by Tom Constantine on bass guitar, vocals and Tyler Day on drums, have a very interesting and hard-to-pin-down sound, which makes them all the more exciting to listen to. There are many textures contained in their music, which come-across in their recordings and are both accentuated and taken on a Trip when situated in the live environment. The guys both like and know how to rock out–their sound relentless and knock-out, yet it is carefully crafted and abounds with emotion. The combo offer a very illuminated, yet metallic aura which seeps, somewhere between the realms of blissful happiness and total despair. They gave a most definite performance that left the audience reeling and wanting more…Thanks Guys!
Finally and perhaps most importantly was the headline act; the ineffable dis/Ordered electronica of Craig Adams MANGABROS. Ably assisted by Tim Manga, the guys cajoled, teased and quite frequently bludgeoned us with intense beats and a certain tongue-in-cheek satirical air. The guys look acerbically and adroitly at what we “drink-in,” every day–the socio/political state of Twenty-First Century Society. Nothing is taboo or considered an untruth and everything is permitted as we begin to listen and think for ourselves, questioning what is fed to us by the media and our own earworms.
Even the concept of “dance music,” itself is dealt with, in a refreshing and distinctive anti-establishment manner. MANGABROS don’t follow systems or common musical schools of thought: they shine within the live situation and the audience love ‘em–seemingly they take logical processes and subvert them, making them Avant-Garde.
Think Captain Beefheart, with a distinctly off-planet Depeche Mode accompanying him and you won’t go wrong; but they are so much more than that and deny comparison. Exciting, joyous and ecstatic, the guys certainly know how to put on a show…
And so another musical milestone in the life of our artistic community. I took the last capsule out of there and had a big smile upon my face as I left the building; just knowing I had witnessed something truly evocative of what can happen, when likeminded individuals gather together to create something truly sonic, majestic and memorable. Thanks Craig Adams and THE DONCOPLITAN, one of the best nights I’ve had this year(so far), I hope there will be many more in the future…