Simon Crab 'Demand Full Automation' LP Review
By Louis Pattison . Wired Magazine 2018
in the 1980s, Simon Crab led Bourbonese Qualk, an industrial group melding anarchism and activism to post-punk grooves and ethnographic experimentation. Lately, Crab has abandoned band life in favour of solo creation, but his interest in the politics of the now remains. Demand Full Automation conceptually addresses the paradox of a technologically advanced society in which machines could theoretically liberate humanity from work, but instead are used as tools of surveillance, or to promote a culture of consumerism. Moments can feel a little anodyne, perhaps intentionally the placid triphop of “E11” might be hold music or Muzak drifting through some deserted mall. Elsewhere, Crab's blending of Kraftwerkian electropop, gamelan and adventurous sound design strikes more ambiguous moods.
Simon Crab 'Demand Full Automation' LP Review
By Frans De Waard . Vital 2018
About a month or two ago everybody on Facebook seemed anxious to list their top 10 records ("No explanation needed"; why not, I wondered) and I got away because nobody asked me. Thank god. I hate chain letters. A record that certainly would be on my list as an all-time favourite is 'Hope', the second album by Bourbonese Qualk, which is something that should be no surprise; I mentioned this when discussing their 'Archive 1980-1986' boxset in Vital Weekly 1065. Ever since buying that LP in the early 80s I am a big fan, still owning all the original vinyl and CDs. I always thought that Bourbonese Qualk had a distinct sound, combining industrial beats with guitars and an odd-pop touch, which others perhaps call leftfield. Bourbonese Qualk ceased to exist in 2002 and their catalogue was online for free download, but I am told will return in a remastered and no longer free form. Plus some of their very early records will be released on vinyl again, which I guess is good news, but why not go for something new (and yes, in our conservative time I realize this is a most daring proposition) by Simon Crab, erstwhile one of the main members of Bourbonese Qualk. He returned to the world of music with 'After America' (see Vital Weekly 981), pushing for me all the right buttons again. It had the musical variety of Bourbonese Qualk, but perhaps a little bit more streamlined and electronically enhanced. He now has a 'real' CD out, 'Demand Full Automation', on Klanggalerie, who are known to release music from 80s musicians, such as Hula, Eric Random, and lots of Residents off shoots. I didn't bother deciphering the cover to find out the titles of the pieces (they are on the label's website anyway), but I sat back and enjoyed these forty-eight minutes immensely. Still sweating away in summer's heat, Simon Crab plays some lovely music, all with the use of computers, samplers and electronics. One push button music, you may ask, looking at the title, and maybe it is true, but these machines ooze life, melody and freshness. For Crab it is all about the workers taking control of the automation process and "then there is a better future", which message I can't subscribe too (not being a Marxist as you may remember), but I could argue that even a non-musician, as Crab calls himself, is well-off with some automated process in the production of music. No longer, here's a guitar now play three chords, but here's a button and you need one finger to push it. It is impossible to ignore Crab's previous, almost forty years output and experience, as otherwise it would have been impossible to craft these lovely tunes together. It is again very melodic, not as dense or dark as Bourbonese Qualk once could be, but fresh, light, moving from ambient to techno to hip-hop rhythms; rhythms play anyway an important role here, along with neatly bouncing synthesizer patterns. This is a great album. Intelligent as well as accessible and as poppy as it is ambient. Excellent! (FdW)
Demand Full Automation' Simon Crab LP Review
By Anthony D'Amico. Brainwashed Magazine 2018
"Three years after his eclectic and excellent solo debut, Bourbonese Qualk founder Simon Crab is back, albeit in radically transformed fashion. Crab's eclecticism certainly remains intact, yet Demand Full Automation is a bit of a tough album to wrap my head around: it kind of sounds like Crab started composing a similarly fine follow-up, then got commissioned to soundtrack some kind of neon-lit impressionist urban noir film…then took a break and time-traveled back to the '90s to do a DJ set at the Haçienda. Unsurprisingly, those disparate threads make very strange bedfellows indeed, yet the enigmatic logic of Crab's overarching vision is countered by some sizable leaps forward in his craftsmanship. While I admittedly miss the homespun charm of After America a lot, Demand Full Automation is quite a likable (if sometimes quizzical) album in its own right, as it is a considerably tighter, more beat-driven, and more hook-filled affair than its predecessor.."
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'The art of the anti-Capitalist businessman'
Perfect Sound Forever Magazine. Ibrahim Khider 2018
"Simon Crab dwells in paradoxes. For instance, he is an honest-to-goodness, practising anarchist, yet also a leader--though not always by choice. He is anti-capitalist, yet can play the business game better than most. Crab is actively against material acquisition, yet is behind the reissues of sought-after after box sets of the back catalogue of his band, Bourbonese Qualk, whom he dismisses collectors of as a "male cult of obscurity." Fellow band members deride Crab for his "pissy intransigence," a charge that Crab does not deny, yet is near-paralyzed with indecisiveness as a solo artist. Simon Crab is also very much an aspiring idealist and humane being, even if he has to beat up a few cops and skinheads along the way. This is without even getting into the how he spiked Margaret Thatcher's champagne with LSD, but that is another story."
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The Quietus Interviews:'Keep Pushing: An Interview with Simon Crab Of Bourbonese Qualk'
The Quietus. Joseph Charms , October 31st, 2017 12:53
"Ahead of his performance headlining The Monastery of Sound at Salford’s The White Hotel on November 4, Joseph Charms talks to Simon Crab about his solo career, former band Bourbonese Qualk, and cultural resistance"Read the Full Article
'Interview with Simon Crab of Bourbonese Qualk '
Chain D.L.K Matteo Uggeri 2017
"I’ve been listening to so-called ‘industrial music’ since I was 20, therefore, being over 40, I must admit that I’ve lost the very first mystical era, as I was too young to be there at concerts. But I’ve dug a lot into hundreds of records from noise, extreme and – well – industrial sounds that have shaken my ears and nerves, mostly from the ‘80s..."
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Simon Crab, "After America"
Brainwashed Magazine USA. Anthony D'Amico March 2015
"Simon Crab was one of the founding members of Bourbonese Qualk, who were easily one of the most strange and compelling bands to emerge from the ‘80s underground. They were also sometimes one of the best, but they never quite achieved the stature in the post-industrial canon that they deserved. A good part of that is probably due to their constantly shifting and eclectic style, though they seemed to perfect their singular mélange of electronic music, mutant funk, gamelan, and experimentalism by 2001's On Uncertainty (their final album). With After America, Crab essentially picks up right where his band left off (though sans funk), offering up a distinctively kaleidoscopic and uncategorizable fantasia on the evergreen theme of America's decline."Read the Full Article
Simon Crab. Live, Barceló Theater, Madrid. October 11th 2017
Live review. Sebensuí A. Sánchez. Madafackismo Underground, Spain 2017
El siguiente concierto al que asistimos fue el del músico inglés Simon Crab, ex componente de la banda punk experimental Bourbonese Qualk de 1979, su puesta en escena hacía que le acompañase una batería, a la vez que él trataba una guitarra y manipulaba la electrónica, este concierto también fue en formato A.V. y se podían ver unas imágenes de la bandera de Inglaterra distorsionada, llevando una camisa de Antifaschistische Aktion, muy acorde a los tiempos que corren en España. La músico que le acompañaba también se levantó a recitar en algún extraño idioma del Este con voz como de megafonía que cambiaba de real a irreal, la música como pequeños collages diminutos era inclasificable, en los espejos laterales del Teatro Barceló se podía ver reflejado el humo de la sala, lo que le daba un aspecto aún más misterioso a la música, habían partes más accesibles en la música de Crab, incluso llegando al dance, en un concierto que tuvo 3 o 4 bloques de diferentes estilos de música con un trasfondo siempre percusivo gracias a la batería y a los beats electrónicos mas unas guitarras landscape frippertrónicas.
The next concert we attended was that of the English musician Simon Crab, former member of the experimental punk band Bourbonese Qualk of 1979, he was accompanied onstage by a drummer (Diana Combo) while he played treated guitar and manipulated electronics. This show was also in Audio Visual format some of which used a distorted images of the English flag – this combined with Simon's Antifaschistische Aktion T-Shirt was very in keeping with the current situation in Spain. At one point the drummer stood up to recite lyrics in a strange Eastern language in a megaphone-like voice, the music, impossible to classify became a collection of small, microscopic collages shifting from real to unreal, the mysterious atmosphere amplified by smoke reflected in the mirrors of the Barceló Theater. Overall there were 3 or 4 types of different musical styles, sometime approachable and even danceable, sometimes 'frippertronic' guitar landscapes but always with electronic and percussive rhythms.
Simon Crab. After America LP
Periodic Sound Journal. USA 2016
Simon Crab has been making music since the late seventies and he is the founder of the experimental band Bourbonese Qualk, which was dismantle in 2002 when the band's guitarist died. Crab is now a member of Sunseastar, a musique concrete band, as well as the London's Gamelan orchestra. The music he creates is the outcome of his experience: After America is dense, rich in tones and superbly produced. The album is reminiscent of Bourbonese Qualk discography, being eclectic and mastered at the same time, something not a lot of people can accomplish. Simon Crab learned traditional African and Middle Eastern music and it shows: you can clearly hear that he's a knowledgeable musician, the rhythms on the album are skillfully carried out, be it live played or electronic. Crab also has the ability to fuse the acoustic with the electronic in a very natural way. Everything fits very well together
On this first solo effort, Crab mixes traditional tribal percussion with deep electronic tones (using SuperCollider among other tools) and sound collage with thick layers of acoustic and electronic rhythms. The result is exciting to say the least, and the sonic landscapes on the album have a truly immersive effect because of the quality of the recording. Some of the tracks are definitely beat oriented while others are ambient and sometimes even melodic! My favorite track being a melodic almost idm affair: “For Jian-an” could have been written by Aphex Twin or Multiplex (Christian Dormon and Roland Dormon). While he juggles with multiple genre of music of various origins (occidental electronic music, traditional African rhythms, Indonesian gamelan ensemble music), every track is well executed. Various genre also means various instruments, mixed with electronic music, we can hear guitar, clarinet, acoustic drums, synthesizers, congas, bongos, accordion, flute and more.
While I've never heard of Simon Crab before, I was pleasantly surprise by the quality of this album. Overall, this is an excellent release beautifully produced by Simon Crab himself.
Standout tracks: For Jian-an, Kropotkin, Cobra Mist