As the first in a very special season of music shows, BN1 Magazine are bringing the inventive musical genius of STUFF. to Brightons’ Patterns on Sat 20 Feb.. This Belgian five-piece conjure a compelling audio melange, dragging broken hip-hop to more electronic and jazz influenced future funk into their cross genre groove.
It’s their second proper UK tour, already wowing fans in Brighton and discovering the joys of Resident Records the last time they crossed the channel. “Before that we played some shows in London and had a great time in the summer playing festivals like Shambala, Secret Garden Party, Kendal Calling and Greenman,” Lander Gyselinck, the band’s drummer tells me. “It’s always inspiring to tour the UK. There’s such a rich history in music here, many of the labels and artists that inspire us are UK based
Joining Gyselinck in the line-up are turntablist Mixmonster Menno, Andrew Claes on EWI (electric wind instrument) and sax, Dries Lahey on bass and Joris Caluwaerts on keyboard duties. Founded in 2012 by Gyselinck, STUFF. have always been steeped in the spirit of improvisation. He’d been asked by a local funk club- owner if he could perform something live. So Gyselinck chose some other musicians and they started nightly gigs where they took over from the DJ for an hour. “We came with our own tracks – a lot of improvisation and played beats live. It was the challenge for us to keep the crowd moving and give that extra shot of energy that a live band can give.” The quintet started getting plenty of attention for their improvising, jamming and blending of funk, R’n’B, electronica, jazz and hip-hop classics. By keeping the party vibe alive in a free and spaced-out way, they quickly became a hot property. Soon came some high profile support slots in Belgium with D’Angelo and Robert Glasper. The following year they went into a studio in the Ardenne for just four days, to record the basis of their debut album. It then took until the next summer to edit and dub on these recordings.
This eponymous debut album on new imprint buteo buteo, with its beautiful artwork by the prodigious Rinus Van de Velde, found plenty of critical acclaim last year. By the summer of 2015 they’d performed at an eclectic range of festivals throughout Europe, from renowned jazz festivals including Hamburg’s Elbjazz and Gent Jazz, through to electronic festivals like Dimensions in Pula. Giles Peterson and Plaid are amongst the big names namechecking the band now. The former even invited the band over for his stage at the debut On Blackheath festival in London. ”Gilles got our record and played some tunes in his shows. He’s a very inspiring selector, a great DJ and a very gentle person. It’s so important to have people like him pushing great music from the archives and the future” By the end of 2015 the band had been mentioned in countless end of the year lists and won numerous several music prices back home for Album Of The Year, Best Live Act, Breakthrough Of The Year and Best Artwork.
While their sound is assuredly unique, you can easily pick out influences from so many great artists stacked amongst their sound. Coltrane, PLAID, Thundercat, Georgia Anne-Muldrow, Aphex Twin, Me’shell Ndegeocello and David Byrne have all played their part in what STUFF. Has become.
As well as plenty more touring this around Europe, 2016 will see the band develop a new project for a seated audience, as well as commencing work on a second album. Each of these five musicians have their own musical story to tell, individually approaching from a different music scene. There’s hip-hop, electronics, pop, jazz and funk, so there really isn’t a set foundation for their joyous rhythms. “The way we build our songs and live sets starts from improvisation so guess jazz in its method is the starting point.” The STUFF. mentality concerns itself with inducing a non-defined feeling of excitement for their audiences. It’s overwhelming, unpredictable and dancefloor-friendly music at its very best.
BN1 Magazine presents STUFF. at Patterns, on Sat 20 Feb
Images by Alexander Popelier