Simon Whybray

3hd Festival final programme announced, Dec 2 – 5

1 December 2015

Creamcake‘s new “hybrid project” 3hd Festival launches this week with the theme ‘The Labor of Sound in a World of Debt’, running online and across Berlin’s Vierte Welt, HAU 2OHM Gallery and Südblock from December 2 to 5.

The lineup for this year’s “label – magazine – festival” is stronger than ever, with The Labor of Sound in a World of Debt group exhibition on December 2 (featuring among others, Lawrence Lek and Simon Whybray); a ‘visual catalogue’ of composers, DJs, and media artists in Visual Pleasure, the Impact of Image Making (with Ilja Karilampi) on December 5; and the Happy Hyper Hardcore Dance Party with five different DJs on December 5.

Other events include a special lecture with Adam Harper on his book Infinite Music; a Google hangout with Nicole Killian; the Identities, Romantic Adventures sonic experiment and live performance with Malibu and Soda Plains.

See the 3hd festival website for a complete listing of events. **

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JACK댄스 @ Power Lunches, Aug 16

15 August 2014

Artist Simon Whybray‘s JACK댄스 party returns to London’s Power Lunches for another night on August 16.

The ongoing club night music series is stacking up an impressive resume, and Whybray is responsible for bringing in some big talent over the last year, including DJ Warlord, GFOTY, and Palmistry.

This month promises to be no different, with performances by English performer Mica Levi a.k.a. Micachu of Rough Trade Records‘s Micachu & The Shapes (who recently wrote and recorded the soundtrack for the UK sci-fi film Under The Skin), as well as emerging pop-synth artist Et Aliae, high-energy London trio Kero Kero Bonito, PC Music‘s Spinee, Dora Tha Xplorer, and モニカ·σníkαミックス.

See the JACK댄스 FB event page for details. **

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JACK댄스 @ Power Lunches, Jun 13

11 June 2014

Simon Whybray‘s JACK댄스 night returns to London’s Power Lunches for another night of performance and party on Jun 13.

The event, featuring GFOTY, Finn Diesel, Endgame, DJ DJ Booth, and Tommy Kid, is part of an ongoing club night music series by artist and hacker Whybray bringing in tonnes of great artists and big names over its course, represented here on this new ‘「 NON STOP POP® 」’ mix recently uploaded to the JACK댄스 soundcloud.

Listen to the mix below and see the JACK댄스 Facebook page for details. **

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Simon Whybray @ Desktop Residency, Apr 15 – May 4

15 April 2014

Simon Whybray is the fourth artist contributing a digital wallpaper to Desktop Residency for 2014, downloadable from the site April 15 to May 4.

Never one to miss the opportunity to give his JACK댄스 night a plug, the artist, hacker, TEETH band member and by extension @ponfitex twitter hoax orchestrator strikes a pose with the pop-electronic night’s familiar logo for a face.

Read a review of JACK댄스 and see the Desktop Residency website to download. **

SIMON

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JACK댄스, ‘PC Music’ + the sound of New Sincerity

31 January 2014

Three London producers to pay attention to: A.G. Cook, Felicita and Sophie. Playing the JACK댄스 night at Power Lunches –in support of Berlin’s DJ Paypal and the French Tielsie –last weekend, the aural triptych of underground cute girls that are boys (or thereabouts) play to a crowd drenched in the ecstasy of joyful celebration as a lightly transgressive exercise. There’s a furry hand bag, an intense weave and lots and lots of gesticulating, as this impossibly affective electro pulls from the bottomless resource of the internet, reconstructing it into found sound tributes to the higher order of popular culture-at-large.

With these pop proclivities in mind, perhaps the most relevant outfit observation of the night is a replica Heron Preston #BEEN TRILL NASCAR bootleg, with the red and white smiley of the JACK댄스 logo where ‘Ford Racing’ should be. But while Preston taps into brand power as a form of resistance, event organiser Simon Whybray and invited artists parasite pop. Injected with the unavoidable grime and garage influences of the London underground, A.G. Cook, Felicita and Sophie cheerfully draw it together with J-pop, early-millennial R&B, Disney soundtracks and uber-commercial hip hop. Fun is to be had and insecurities ignored for the short window of time where these very elements of ‘popaganda’, and the oppressive cultural norms they peddle, are manipulated and mangled into an organic movement of queer communion.

JACK댄스. Image courtesy of Simon Whybray.

Potentially drawing from a broad tradition of YouTube youth culture –from nightcore’s 125 – 130 bpm speed edit juvenilisation of all sorts of ‘trances’ and ‘dances’ (all the way up to its Katy Perry and Taylor Swift mix bastardisations) to the early days 8-bit of Anamanaguchi and Unicorn Kid –has evolved into a fully realised movement of smart music made fun. It’s a testament to the JACK댄스 (the characters are Korean for ‘dance’) event name, where a rapid-paced super-reality of modern living is moulded into a truly transcendent post-human scene. Up here all boundaries and binaries are ignored to be inhabited largely by the hyper-realised avatars and Leslie Kulesh-defined “tech-tangible cyborg” producers of A.G. Cook-run netlabel PC Music and beyond.

It almost feels like a betrayal trying to contain the essence of a night like this into writing, but to be fair, this is only a short pit stop in the hyper-speed non-present of an ever-evolving form. Time collapses, space expands and a tactile “bip, bop, bap” pans and weaves anxiously across the room during the earlier A.G. Cook set; a girly giggle materialises in the top left corner, a hard and heavy gush of bass falls, and lands in a pool at your feet. A remix, recalibration and revival of sounds grounded in the mainstream, Sophie withholds the drop of ‘BIPP’ from a group gagging for it as the unfinished “I can make you feel…” stammers in suspended tension at its climax before grinding into the unsettlingly elated garishness of music-as-pure HD delight.

This is music you can touch. Or more specifically play with, as it bounds and bounces, stops and drops at will. Sometimes it disappears completely, knocking the wind from the moment, pulling everything from under you and leaving just a single, lone sound, an object, to taunt and be engrossed in. There’s the climbing, intensifying snarl of a chainsaw-sound accelerating to breaking point in Sophie’s set, a squealing vocal or rhythmic clatter, toggling back and forth, during A.G. Cook’s. They take time-out for the fetishistic dissection of any musical element –pitch, speed, volume, form, texture –before another deep swell brings it crashing back down to the dance floor.

Where A.G. Cook and Sophie move through three-dimensional space from their sound mixer, Felicita’s short VDJ macbook intermission explores his influences. It’s his a capella of Justin Bieber-endorsement Madison Beer to Sophie’s Le1f, A.G. Cook’s PC Music-released Princess Bambi to his Miley Cyrus. Here, a Nicki Minaj spoken interlude, there, a song from The Jungle Book, as well as easyFun and Haifaa Wahby’s childlike ‘Boos El Wawa’ –its disturbingly sexy music video resonating through Felicita’s DIS-premiered ‘Doves’ one.

It’s like this music is a physical representation of a groundless collapse of time and space through online interaction, except with a still powerfully localised aesthetic that rides on the frenetic speed and instability of modern London. The data overload, the overwhelming information of city life is compressed into a single ecstatic release, a purge of the sights and sounds that, rather than processing it yourself, has been processed for you. It’s been masticated into a dynamic mesh of sounds, samples and references alive with their own personal and historical narratives.

As music that has gone beyond pastiche –a tinkling xylophone, a babbling baby, Fireman Sam theme song –all three of these artists generate a lucid dream-like musical recreation of the crowd-sourced, hive mind network that the internet was meant to be. It’s since been overrun by mainstream homogenisation and corporate culture, so resistance comes in the form of manipulation from the inside. Songs are constructed from the detritus of social decay and colonised by this new, and importantly, optimistic drive to subversion. Super-complex forms, loaded with different emotional information and evoking a purely sensual arousal come in A.G. Cook-played tracks like Dux Content’s ‘Like You’. That whistles meanderingly through space, while extracting the sentimental essence of words like, “baby, if you’re lonely, you can call me” over a nervous chime melody, while losing none of it joyous motion. This is the modern hybrid, the Human 2.0. of preteen androgyny in ‘Moose’ as it reclaims “swag” from its macho hip hop-to-pop-appropriation and returns it to its rumoured social margins –all over a palpable kick drum strut.

Pulling liberally from the indistinguishable digital and IRL worlds to feed into its compound of unhinged morphogenesis, this is music that emerges, evaporates and interacts with its own loaded narratives through purely aesthetic dissections of sound. It’s sculpture that becomes sentient as Hannah Diamond whoops, “Give it to the cutest girl!” in ‘Keri Baby‘, while poignantly pointing to her own objectness, as a simulation of a simulated vocal mechanically recites, “tell. me. if. you. want. to. watch. me. play. with. my. hair. on. the. TV.”. Because, as much as “Keri” doesn’t want “to be an mp3”, neither do these intensely hybridised, compacted and infinitely mutable soundbytes of total affective response and synthesised authenticity. This is an aesthetic with a conscience –a philosophical movement without a philosophy, utopianism with no grounding ideology. It’s music made through a powerful intuitive process, overriding the plasticity of its materials and feeding, informing, articulating an alternative future. That’s not through radical action but the effervescent cheer of endless enjoyment. **

JACK댄스 is a regular club night in London run by Simon Whybray. The next one is on at Hysteria in Dalston, March 7, 2013.

Header image: Felicita ‘Doves’ (2013). Video still.

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‘OPEN_NETWORK’ @ Primitive London tonight

13 November 2013

East London gallery Primitive London is hosting a collaborative exhibition, OPEN_NETWORK, on Shacklewell Lane tonight, November 13.

Describing it as a “visual, auditory and visceral event” it will include work by international new media artists Aaron Chan, Emilio Gomariz, Felipe Narvaez, Natalia Stuyk, Daniel Swan, Simon Whybray and Luke Clayton Thompson. Curated by London-based collective Don’t Watch That TV, the event will also include performances by Yuri Suzuki and Siobhan Bell, plus other things and an after party with Throwing Shade +more.

See the Primitive London website for more details. **

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‘JACK댄스’ @ Power Lunches, Nov 15

12 November 2013

Man of many talents Simon Whybray will be putting on a night at east London’s Power Lunches, JACK댄스, on November 15.

As an artist, designer and hacker, as well as one of the minds behind the famous ‘ponfitex’ twitter prank with his band TEETH, the line-up featuring DJ WARLORD, DREAMTRAK, Tom VekAna Caprix, STAY POSITIVE  + others, will no doubt suit the aesthetic.

See the JACK댄스 Facebook event page for more details. **

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Simon Whybray @ Credit Card Curation

2 October 2013

“I MET A GIRL”.

“Liking on Tumblr isn’t meeting.”

London-based artist, hacker and all round funny guy Simon Whybray is next up on the online display of Anthony Antonellis Credit Card curation. After we were so tickled by Faith Holland‘s Zeros + Ones -inspired number porn card, building on Sadie Plant’s book on the gendered tech world, Whybray represents for the other end of the stereotyped sexual divide with his iPhone-inspired credit card. Because there are two things that are essential when it comes to the dating game: a phone and some cash.

See Anthony Antonellis’ website for more curated credit cards. **

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