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Field Day 2005: 2ManyDJs + De La Soul + Plump DJs + Many More

Nick Gunn

Young, beautiful, drug-fuelled people ring in the day after yesterday.

Field Day 2005: 2ManyDJs + De La Soul + Plump DJs + Many More

Field Day 2005: 2ManyDJs + De La Soul + Plump DJs + Many More

City: Sydney, Australia
Venue: The Domain
Date: 2005-01-01

2ManyDJs
De La Soul
Plump DJs
As far as Sydney clubbers are concerned, where you spend New Year's Day is no more important than where you spent the night before. Still, the annual Field Day festival is the place to be for young, beautiful, drug-fuelled people looking to ring in a hazy New Year. Fresh from the previous night's activities, tens of thousands pour messily into the Domain, Sydney's huge central park, as the party heats up alongside a roasting, hot summer day. There's something unsettling, exposing, about clubbing in the harsh light of day, so I spent most of the afternoon hidden behind black-as-night sunglasses. You can do worse than lounging around the park chatting to friends as Poxy Music keeps the background beats thumping from the Breaks arena. Next up was James Zabiela, who provided an amazing mix of tech-house and breaks. Many proclaimed his set to be the absolute highlight of the day, not without justification. He was the first to drop what seemed to be the day's ubiquitous sample, Missy Elliott appropriately asking "Can we get kinky tonight?" The fight over which stage to visit next was fierce, but the lure of Matt B Safer from The Rapture spinning on the Killer Stage proved too strong to resist. Serving up some nasty electro, with the occasional guitar churning from the huge speaker stacks, Safer had the small day-time crowd grinding hips, hands waving in the air to some dirty-phat beats. This was no mean feat considering the sweltering heat. Soon enough De La Soul took the main stage and got thousands competing to prove that their side of the crowd could party the hardest. Although they mostly concentrated on more recent material, including a run through the title track from the new album The Grind Date, De La Soul's set was peppered with classics. The crowd stomped along to the likes of "A Roller Skating Jam Named 'Saturdays.'" There was something minimalist about their performance, something that hindered our crew's enjoyment. But there was enough bump and grind to keep smiles firmly planted on the faces of the more hip-hop-minded party people. As darkness fell, excitement grew and a walk through the field, which was by now strewn with bodies, revealed a thousand discussions about the strength, length, or lack of "E." Black Grass and Kid Kenobi with MC Shureschock kept us rocking from the Breaks stage until it was time for the headliners. Plump DJs took to the Breaks stage accompanied by great fanfare. It was heartbreaking to tear myself away after only half an hour of their set, just as the squeaks and bleeps began to drive the crowd into a jumping, whooping frenzy. The pain of separation was worth it, as 2ManyDJs are a group I have waited a very long time to see. Initially promised to us almost a year ago, Sydney fans have had to wait until now to see the Belgian group (a.k.a. Soulwax) spin live. Chewing up dance and pop history and spitting it back at their audience like an electronic incarnation of Sid Vicious, the DJs tore the roof off the psychedelic marquee. Seamlessly merging crunching tech beats into jarringly familiar pop, these guys had the loved-up crowd eating out of their palms. The place went wild when tunes more familiar to a rock audience -- Franz Ferdinand and Depeche Mode to name but two -- made an appearance. All too soon the end was upon us, and we began to wonder what was planned for the listed "Fuzzy Farewell." The farewell turned out to be Jonathan Wall, honcho of Fuzzy, the group that planned each Field Day, laying down beats for a live performance by Terra Deva. Having never fully appreciated vocal house, I was a little suspicious of this sudden turn of events, but the quality of performance from both artists was so high as to erase any doubts I might have had. Rolling into the heart of the city through the warm night air, with a stupid grin on my face and non-stop beats rolling through my brain, I couldn't help but wonder what delights await the next time Field Day crashes through the New Year. Of course, that's a year away. Right now I've got something more important to think about: tomorrow night.

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.


60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

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If The Prince of Nothingwood will popularly be remembered for celebrating the creative spirit of its star Salim Shaheen, it is equally an important communication on Afghanistan, it's culture and its people.

"Now I am just more tired and poor. So no, I haven't changed. I'm just older and more tired," says French radio journalist and documentarian Sonia Kronlund, as she looks back on the experience of making The Prince of Nothingwood (2017).

Joining Salim Shaheen, the most popular and prolific actor-director-producer in Afghanistan on his 111th no budget feature, Kronlund documents the week-long shoot and the events surrounding it. She crafts an insight into a larger than life persona, yet amidst the comedy and theatricality of Shaheen and his troupe of collaborators, she uncovers the heavier tones of the everyday reality of war and patriarchal oppression. If The Prince of Nothingwood will popularly be remembered for celebrating the creative spirit of its star, it is equally an important communication on Afghanistan, it's culture and its people. Alongside the awareness of the country cultivated by mainstream media news outlets, Kronlund's film offers an insight into a country that can humanise the prejudice and xenophobic tendencies of a western perspective towards Afghanistan.

In October of this year at the UK premiere at the BFI London Film Festival, Kronlund spoke with PopMatters about being driven by questions rather than inspiration. She also reflected on the subjective nature of documentary filmmaking, the necessary artistic compromises of filming in Afghanistan, and feeling a satisfaction with imperfections.

Why filmmaking as a means of expression? Was there an inspirational or defining moment?

Not really, no. I have always done documentary. I used to write scripts and TV series but I only make documentaries myself for radio and television. For this story, I figured out after a while that it deserved a bigger ambition and a bigger screen and that's why I don't very much believe in inspiration. To be honest, I made this film because I had to do something. I didn't have a big project where I thought: I want to make this. I went there and I found a little money and at the end the ambition and the inspiration came along the way. But there was not an urgent necessity to make this film. It fits with a lot of things that I'm interested in, like popular culture -- What does art stand for and why do we go to the cinema? What is the purpose? This is a question I'm interested in, but inspiration, not so much.

Has The Prince of Nothingwood provided you with the answers to those questions?

It has, and I hope it helps people to think about this question. It tells you that there is an urgent need to make images, to make films, even during war,and even if you don't have the money. And even if the films are not very good, they will find somebody who will like them. So something is going to happen, and I think that's very touching. I don't like Shaheen's films, I hardly watched them -- I paid somebody to watch them. But I'm very moved by all these people that do like his films, and it makes you think about the value of art and the purpose of why we make cinema. I used to study aesthetics in London, so it was one of the questions I had and while the film is lighter than this, that's what was in mind.

The film uses Shaheen as a doorway, beginning as a story about one man which becomes a story about Afghanistan, its people and culture.

Yeah, but it's not so much about Afghanistan and it's not my purpose is to say things about the country. There's one guy like him in Iran who makes cowboy movies in the Iranian desert and there's also a guy like that in Tunisia. I mean you have this person with an urgent need to film whatever they have under their hand and since it's war, then it tells you something about the war. But it's not so much interested in him.

There was a lot of editing, 148 hours that you haven't seen [laughs]. Making a documentary is really telling a story and I don't have any idea of objectivity -- it is my point of view on Shaheen. Some people say to me that they would like to show his films, that they really want to see his films, and I say: "You don't see how much I have edited. I show you the very nice parts of his films." People think he's a great filmmaker and that's the story I wanted to tell -- but I could have told another story.

To my mind, objectivity is a human construct, a falsity that does not exist.

Except mathematics maybe, and sometimes physics.

The purist opinion of documentary as objective is therein built on a faulty premise. From the subjective choices of the filmmakers that bleed into the film to the subjectivity of the subjects, it's not purely objective. Hence, it calls into question the traditional dividing line of the objectivity of documentary and the subjectivity of narrative fiction.

Totally! It's the editing, and why you chose this guy, how you film it and what you show, or what you don't show. It's not only subjectivity, it's storytelling. Not many people ask me about this, they take it for granted that it's the real Shaheen. But I'm not lying, I'm not saying things that aren't true, but I am telling a story, a fictional story out of what I filmed. I took scenes that happened one day and I put them with another story that happened three months later and that's why we had seven months of editing with three editors. So it was a lot of work.

One of the striking aspects of the film are the light and comedic moments offset by a darker and heavier sensibility, which include moments when, for example, Shaheen talks about arranged marriages.

We made 70rough cuts and there was one version we tested and you couldn't believe you were in Afghanistan. People would say: "Oh this is too funny. You don't see Afghanistan, it's just a bunch of crazy guys." I then said: "Let's put in a little more darkness." You then have to strike a balance and to me, if it's not perfect, I'm happy.

Shooting the film in a dangerous and volatile part of the world, was the approach that once you had enough footage you then looked to shaping the film in the edit?

It's not when you feel you have enough, it's finding a balance between security and artistic concerns. That's it. You have a plan and you have an agenda. There are things you want to do, but it has to be balanced with security concerns. The real story I was going to tell about Shaheen I found in the editing room and in the end, I only kept five days of the shoot. The whole film takes place in Bamyan (Province), nothing in Kabul, although I had weeks and weeks of footage there that I had to take away.

There's a moment when Shaheen asks if you are scared, which sees him verbalise our silent recognition of your boldness and courage to bring this story to the screen.

It's very difficult and it's not like you are walking in the street and there's a bomb. This is not what's difficult. The difficulty is to cope with your fear and to have rules and to follow or to not follow those rules. There are many foreign people that never go out at all in Kabul -- it is forbidden. You have British diplomats who do not even drive their car from the airport to the embassy -- they will take an helicopter that costs £2,000 each way. Then you have foreign people who walk in the street without a scarf -- these girls get kidnapped.

In between these you have Shaheen, who is telling me all the time that I'm too scared, because it's a man's value to be brave and he's a brave guy, there's no question about that. He was in an attack two weeks ago. There was a bomb in a Shia Mosque and he helped to carry out the bodies. So there's no kidding about the fact that he's a brave guy and he has to be because he's been fighting to make his films. But you are in the middle of this and I'm not a brave person at all and I don't think being brave is a very important question. It is, but I'm not brave, I'm very scared and so in the middle of all of this stress it's enough just to manage to not go crazy, or to not drink too much [laughs].

Salim Shaheen and Sonia Kronlund (courtesy of Pyramide Films)

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