DBA Recommends: Slack Alice
Slack Alice are a Bristol based collective who have dedicated themselves to representing the confrontational, gothic strand of the city’s music scene against a background of venue closures and burgeoning nationwide mediocrity. It’s no mean feat. Both the spots they called home for their events, Surrey Vaults and The Brunswick, have fallen prey to developers. Unperturbed, they have continued to stage gigs and raves, and as we come out of lockdown in the UK they have two new spaces, Mickey Zoggs and Strange Brew, to experiment with. It’s a huge credit to the main players behind the project, Max Kelan and Matt Light, that they have survived with such razor sharp, uncompromising vision. Now after five years they have put together a compilation of original work from some of the guests whom they have hosted, boasting an enviable cast of co-conspirators.
It’s difficult to pick a stand out track with so much talent on show but there are a few notable moments. Mick Harris’ Scorn project occupies the same intersection as Slack Alice, where dub, metal and occasional rave flashbacks become one. The track he contributes here is a slow, menacing, late night number that convulses and spits venomously. Stephen Mallinder of Cabaret Voltaire fame is another well known figure on the industrial circuit. He chimes in here with the track Idle Hand which falls somewhere between post-pop and acid house.
The strong array of local talent on the compilation highlights how well loved Slack Alice is in Bristol. Kahn of Bandulu fame contributes the aptly named ‘Jitters On The Steps Of The Odeon,’ a rare post punk outing from the musician best known for his grime instrumentals. Robin Stewart of Giant Swan also appears with ‘Lactic Acid’, a 12 minute long drone texture that you might otherwise find on a Silent Hill soundtrack or a visit to a torture chamber. Other much loved local figures like October, Missterspoon and Bad Tracking are present as well.
On the dubwise side of matters Athens’ Jay Glass Dubs provides a noirish stepper entitled ‘Unfair Dub’ which will please fans of his experiments with percussion and acusmatic noise. Facta who heads up local label Wisdom Teeth also comes correct with polyrhythmic number ‘I Am A Strange Loop’.
Overall the quality is outstanding and the its difficult to think of another organisation who could pull together such a solid showcase of artists in this niche. With that in mind its exciting to think what Slack Alice have planned next for their events which continue in and around Bristol now that Covid lockdowns are a thing of the past. Buy here.