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Some of the printed and web press & reviews for our Mr Elephant & Project X collective events.

Mr Elephant 2nd Birthday – Blog by Tony Coleman (The Lab) – May 2009

After three hours sleep, I’m awake! and running through the final kit checks for the train journey to Brum. Not only the Mr Elephant birthday party, but also my first VJ workshop. This will be seen as an introduction to hardware VJing using the Edirol kit I have now assembled. With an early start to these preceeding scheduled for 3pm, it’s all hands on decks wilst myself and Liam setup the two rooms for the evenings mayhem and merriement. Anyway, the hardware tutorials went (I think) well, and the star pupil without a shadow of doubt was Charly. Talk about getting it quickly or duck to water (or do feel free to enter your own analogy for that matter) anyhow, I digress ….

Even when I cheekily stepped away from the mixer for a bit and watched, I was bloody impressed! Hopefully though, the participents of the said workshop enjoyed themselves and have a smidge of a better understanding of what a hardware VJ actually does (apart from getting asked to put on some abba or R n bloody bee). Throughout the workshop, Mr Elephants two superb guest camera ops (Jack Braybant and Julie Hyland) were running around the event capturing loads of footage from the setup, the workshops and into the night. I can’t wait to see the footage and begin the editing for Mr E TV!

The night kicked off with a superb loop set from Laura Louise in which I had the oppertunity to play with the mixer and get in some nice feedback effects for her entire set with additional content coming from Liam (Blendstate). Caught up with Mike Freear of Alphadrive before his gig too, absolute top bloke !!! I loved the music! (I danced the whole set!), the energy (did I mention I danced the whole set?), and the reaction of all those sweaty, jumping about bods that were at the front of the stage! and then the finalae from Marc Reck himself was a joy to VJ to. This gentle reader then led to an early morning unwind back at the hostess of the night’s abode. Thanks must go to Laura for the music, hospitality and tea.

As per usual though, there were so many people that came together to macke this an absolute blinder of an event, and I’d like to thank Marc and Pyn for encouraging me to actually begin with the workshops that have been on a drawing board for so long, Liam for lights, visuals and his siter workshop on software vjing, Rich batsford for an amazing set, the osmosis boys for a storming night of techno and heavy breaks (class work!), Charley for participating and playing!, Laura for a storming opening set and hospitality, and Mr Mike Freear and Alphadrive! Hope to catch ya when you visit these lands further south.

Sleep however, never came … and around half nine I was off on my train travells again back to Leicester for the finale of my weekend!

It’s something else to actually see some of the energy and preparation that goes into creating such a mammal and Marc and Pyn have it down to a tee. The revellers were taken on an ecletic evening of sound and light that puts all of the Leicester events to shame. I look forwards to working closer with Marc and Pyn over the coming months and can wholeheartedly recommend that everyone has to experiance a Mr Elephant party at least three times in their life.

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Runner Up Best Small Promotions

Night Times Awards Full

Whilst stand-alone promoters such as Capsule, who organise the Supersonic and Integra festivals which we hosted at The Custard Factory, and individuals such as Marc Reck, Richard Batsford and Anne Marie Pope, who are behind the Project X Presents promotions, have been bringing some of the most renowned international performers to innovative events in Birmingham.
The wealth of independent musical creativity in this city is simply astounding, not just that but its getting bigger and better every year that passes.  – Simon Jones (Custard Factory Creative Director) – Bham Post article
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The Night Times & Mr Elephant Presents :

“Celebrate Birmingham’s Underground”

(Saturday 20th September, 5pm till 5am @ Rainbow Warehouse & Beach)

Party Rockin on the Beach

It’s all in the Mix (As published in Night Times October 2008)

Magnetic, Evolve, Trigger, Breakthru, Osmosis, Drop Beats Not Bombs, Jam Jah, Mr Elephant, House of God, Custom Made, My Bass, Broken Minds, the list goes on…

It reads like an elaborate and complex cocktail of contrasting ingredients that bears the danger of becoming explosive, much like the often schizophrenic face of the Birmingham underground. However, like the coffee of Kahlúa that binds the unexpected combination of vodka and milk in a White Russian, the mash up of genres slipped down wonderfully thanks to the open mindedness of the spectators: the key ingredient so core to the prevalence of the Birmingham underground scene.

Bass6 and friends

Attracting such a crowd, as disparate as its line-up, the plethora of different backgrounds the night drew on was reflected in everything, from the faces at the bar to the moves on the dance floor: a spectrum of styles, but consistent smiles. The smooth production of the event also lies in the contributing organisations that themselves embrace a wide range of styles. Custom Made, Drop Beats Not Bombs, and of course, Mr Elephant are no stranger to exhibiting genres such as samba, break-beat, ska and hip-hop on the same stage.

Banner by Skinny

Aside from the eclectic range of DJ’s which kept the herd dancing, there were some amusing quirks which got the crowd involved too, such as a selection of craft stalls, a truly bizarre poodle making competition and hilarious performance art from map-bearing characters known as The Tourists, who could be seen roving around the dance floor asking for directions to their hotel, picnicking on the beach, and commenting on the friendliness of the locals.

Mr Elephant Midnight masked Parade

Once again, club favourite and skilled beat-boxer, Bass6, was in control of the mic, filling gaps with banter, beat breath and being an all-round brilliant host of the beach party, which it must be said, was certainly the epicentre of the joyous occasion, leaving the Night Times’ hosted Rainbow Warehouse a little under-populated at times.

Poi in the warehouse

R-Caine stole the show, however, with a flawless B2B appearance with fellow Drop Beats Not Bombs representative, Boogie Dave; never letting the beat become monotonous, sustaining the audience’s energy with quality break after quality break, and never a sloppy drop.

Elephant Friends

There aren’t many raves that offer the chance to make sand castles with tourists, get your fingers messy making masks, witness a hand-made poodle parade, try a selection of organic curries, buy clothes (I purchased a fantastic purple shirt which I am sure to don at the next elephantine event), and learn how to turn an old juice carton into a functioning wallet, all in one night.

Lyndalls Stall :)

For the parties of birthday boys and girls present, a member of which told me they “didn’t usually go out to these sort of things”, it must have been the most wonderful fiesta to walk in on, and I am glad they didn’t miss it. Even better was hearing from those involved in the curation of the event, for whom there is usually little time to frolic, that they too had enjoyed themselves. Last Saturday, Mr Elephant and The Night Times were without doubt hosting the best party the second city could offer.

Mr Elephant Flyers and Activities

As the 5 O’clock finish line got closer and closer, co-curator Marc Reck stepped up to the decks to provide a perfect concluding set, bringing the curtain to a close with the sublime lyrics “daylight come and we wanna go home” echoing around the venue. An idyllic outro, if not somewhat ironic, as it was clear that no one was yet ready to become bed bound. The rare pleasure of an encore at the end of the night is a true testament to the success of the celebration, and we will certainly be asking for more where that came from.

Dominik Kai Brotherton (review featured in Night Times)

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The dust has hardly settled on last weekend’s excellent Project X Presents and many of the folk involved are already gearing up for ‘Celebrate Birmingham’s Underground’, a:

12 hour beach and warehouse celebration of our brummie underground scene

In an era of big headliners, its easy to forget the people who make it all happen, so this event is made up entirely of (some) of those people and the events and music they work so hard to promote

If you want to get a sense of the city’s non-Broad St night life then this would be a great taster session.

It’s been put together by the Night Times (still no web presence?) and Mr Elephant who have arranged for an incredible array of Birmingham’s underground musical talent to converge on The Rainbow Warehouse/Rainbow Beach tomorrow (Saturday 20 Sept).

This blog post on Mr Elephant’s site lists most of what’s going on – as well as music and visuals there’ll be stalls, workshops, beach games and a poodle promenade.

Here’s a link to the Facebook event.

Entry is free before 10.30pm, a fiver after that.  I think it’s worth mentioning that everyone working on this is doing it for free too.

Here’s the flyer..

Chris Unit – Created in Birmingham

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Project X Presents Biog

Mr Elephant Presents feature

Page 2

Blog post by Tony Coleman (The Lab) on Project X Presents Digital Distopia

With the new year rolling over me and the new site (this one), I have decided to put together a mishmash of thoughts on the various gigs and events that I’ve had the good fortune to be part of. With this in mind, I’m going to start by setting the ‘ole way back when machine to 2008, more specifically on September the 13th at BUSC in Birmingham. Firstly I’d like to thank Leon (VJ Chromatouch) for inviting me into the fold so to speak. The enegy and enthusiasm of the entire projectXpresents team is quite simply infectious. I can honestly say I’ve never had the good fortune to work in such close proximity with so many creative party animals!

My individual part of the event was threefold, firstly I’m pleased to say that my first visual installation went relatively well even though work commitments throughout the setup days kept me away from the venue until twenty minutes to opening and by that time I’m sure there were a few stressed individuals. If I didn’t get the oppertunity to say it at the time, then sorry for the white hair folks. Won’t happen again honest. Anyway, I digress. Once you were ushered into our digital dystopia and you navigated your way through the maze, you may have been lept upon by either myself or one of my robotic minions (an absolutly superb job from Pyn Stockman (masks), Joolz Hyland (makeup)) and thrust in front of a neurotic big brother and sister.

The reactions varied with each visitor, but we had a majority of them dancing and jumping around at their command (there is no audio with the video clip). The final stop motion animation was then played back near the end of the event through theLAB’s VJ set, where many of the big brother / sister participants noticed themselves and their friends on the screen in the mix. I personally would like to apologise to one visitor to big brother and sister who really didn’t like the noise or the effect they were having on her. Sorry, I hope it didn’t affect your enjoyment of the evening.

Third and finally though, I participated alongside the robitic minions throughout the event in assisting in the kidnap and subsequent dragging og hapless dancers, clearing space and eventually I got the chance to dance my arse off (if dance is the correct word here). Either way, as the night drew on the number unfortunately begun to dwindle leaving a decent sized crowed of happy, sweaty clubbers all high on one of the most infectious, and thouroughly unique events I have had the good fortune to be part of. Marc Reck played an absolute blinding set, and as the evening drew to a close I realised just how much everyone involved gave 100%.

So with these ramblings well and truely over, I’d like to thank the following people (in no particular order) for allowing theLAB to participate in projectXpresents.

Leon Trimble (for invite, VJ co-ordination and not shouting at me), Paul Kent (for the realisation of a silly comment), Marc Reck (for keeping everyone dancing), Rich Batsford (for projectX and motivation), Pyn Stockman (for masks and robotics), Joolz Hyland (for makeup), Dave Checkley (for laser based inspiration), Rich Hubbard (inspiration) and everyone else who put so much time and effort into the event. I know this is a tiny list of names but head to www.projectxpresents.com for the lowdown.

Peace.
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a golden ticket … it certainly has a transcendental quality …
supremely smooth in its execution … a genuinely beautiful
experience. As a member of the audience, you feel like a neuron in a
collective brain. Project X is the world wide web of synapses that
connect these creative energies. A dreamlike state of mind is induced
by the experience of being at Project X … you stand back and realise
the truly awesome degree of effort and meticulous preparation that
goes into such a production.”
Whats On In Brum

“Imagine you are on acid at the Science Museum but you’re inside a
club, with a circus, a cool DJ and some crazy contemporary dancers.
This is sort of what Project X is like, but maybe a bit less bizarre.
Is it a club? is it a play? Is it a light show? Who knows? Who
cares? Its bloody clever.”
Notion Magazine

“dazzling, varied and yet cohesive.”
Culture Deluxe

“a unique gathering of musicians and performers spread across three
stages, where words and music seamlessly flow into each other.”
The Metro

“It’s an extremely coordinated show,’ explains Reginald D Hunter with
clear enthusiasm. ‘Lights come up on one stage, someone comes on and
does their act, then that light comes down and a light comes up on
another stage. It’s a real cool, mellow, interesting event.”
The Metro

“bringing together a multitude of art forms for a sensory overload ..
part of a laudable attempt to develop audiences and partnerships both
within Birmingham and also nationally, with a creative ethos at its
heart.”
Birmingham Post

“Digital Dystopia, sees the audience surrounded by three stages and
confronted by a mixture of music, live visuals and spoken word
painstakingly pieced together by the ensemble”
www.channel4.com/4talent

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Feedback & Press Quotes on Project 3 (X-Lab

Well marc just thought I would e-mail and say what a great event! Had a great dance to your music, enjoyed the arty stuff and thought the feel to the night was really nice and friendly! – Tony Stephens (Artist/Lecturer)

Press Quotes on Project X 2

“Project X has taken this notion one stage further for their “omnimedia experience” as part of the Gigbeth Music Festival … a great roster of acts” The Guardian “ever experimental” The Metro

With a disturbing, lurching assault upon the senses, ‘Project X’ is an intelligent and unique show destabilising the established role of the ’spectator’ in performance theatre and drawing you in to an impressively eclectic and complex mix of art forms. – Birmingham Post

Yet another reason to bang the drum for the great music in our city. Enormous, generous and involved musicianship that jumped boundaries effortlessly. Imaginative, playful multimedia presentation. Well thought out, seamless transitions.” Radio To Go

“A phenomenally ambitious project encapsulating some element of everything entertaining you could possibly imagine … eclectic doesn’t quite cut it, neither does the fact that this will probably be one of the most surreal and exciting things to go and see anywhere in the country … Unique, ingenious and exciting.” Bearded Magazine

“Loose knit team of extraordinarily creative multi-media guys who work under the title of Project X Presents … they’ve done one event so far which turned out to be extraordinarily successful – a huge labour of love – very involving, very engaging and they’re planning another one” Robin Valk, Radio to Go

This is one for people who like to get something new out of a night out as well as enjoying what they love.” www.blaggerzguide.co.uk

“I would recommend, in fact I would urge that you visit the Project X Presents site to find our more about what they’re doing because it really does take a lot of explaining, but it also deserves a lot of support.”

“Hugely interesting .. a multi-media deal which takes a lot of organisation.”

It really is a big deal and its really worth following”

“Arguably the most diverse music show around … features music from almost every genre. The show itself develops the usual format for gigs and is staged more like a theatrical show.” Solihull News

“Venue owner kent Davis said: “From this creative cauldron the city’s mega-talented, but dispersed artists will create new hybrids which will be the envy of every metropolis”. Solihull Times

Birmingham Post – November 2007

Stefan Kucharczyk finds clowns, cheerleaders and some cutting-edge music at the Gigbeth festival.

Searching for something ominously titled ‘Project X’ in a warehouse venue in the dark depths of Digbeth on Saturday night, something clearly isn’t right. This pinnacle performance, crowning the Gigbeth weekend, Birmingham’s flagship local music and arts festival, promises a ‘diverse, never-to-be-repeated spectacular’.

But, again, something definitely isn’t quite right.

Is it that demonic clown blowing bubbles into the entrance courtyard? Is it the semi-deranged Bacchic priestesses swirling around us with incense, laurel wreaths and cackling madly as they pour salt on to the floor out of their Wellington boots?

A stroke of genius or pretentious nonsense? The brainchild of Birmingham artist Rich Batsford and drawing together performance theatre, film, dance, comedy, music and a pinch of madness, ‘Project X’ at the Rainbow Warehouse embodies all the elements and attitudes that have made the Gigbeth festival such a cult success.

Breathing life into one of Birmingham’s less salubrious quarters and squeezing the Midlands’ most promising artists into one weekend, Gigbeth puts the family fun firmly to one side and embraces the darker side of the region’s cutting edge, artistic talent.

Anyway, let’s get back to that clown. ‘Project X’ is one continual circus, seamlessly drifting from one experience to the next. With acoustic jam sessions, Islamic drumming from Aashiq al-Rasul and a hilarious dose of vinegar from some of the city’s poets, the Bacchae mingle and the audience warms up to this most unconventional show.

As ambient music plays and autumnal leaves slowly cover the floor, an impressive capoeira display sets a steady beat and strange, shady characters dart through the warehouse theatre’s shadowy background. Building to a frenzied climax, seemingly innocuous spectators suddenly spring to life as part of the performance working to confuse and disorientate. That clown is back. This time he’s chasing a cheerleader who might also be a cat. Weird.

With a disturbing, lurching assault upon the senses, ‘Project X’ is an intelligent and unique show destabilising the established role of the ’spectator’ in performance theatre and drawing you in to an impressively eclectic and complex mix of art forms.

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Guardian Preview/Listing

Project X – Birmingham –

Say what you like about the smoking ban, but it’s really allowed clubs to find their true natural smell, even if it is an overwhelming combination of Domestos and drying paint. Project X has taken this notion one stage further for their “omnimedia experience” as part of the Gigbeth Music Festival. They’re touting “aroma” amongst the list of sensual attractions alongside DJs, physical theatre, comedy, film and acrobatics. Quite how a pong fits into a six-hour theatrical narrative based around the life of American mythology professor Joseph Campbell remains enticingly vague, although there’s a great roster of acts to help clarify things. Sounds come from breakbeat DJ Marc Reck, there are live sets from punk/indie/ska band Dexter and Qawwali style masters Aashiq Al Rasul, plus top stand-up from Reginald D Hunter. – John Mitchell

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Joanna Geary

For anyone who didn’t attend Project X Presents at the Rainbow Warehouse, well… I’m sorry, but you really missed out.

It was part of the feast of events on offer as part of Gigbeth and I don’t think I’ve been to anything quite like it before. It mixed so many styles and performances and in a way that just worked really well.

In fact, the night summed up what Birmingham is capable of when it pulls its cultures and its talent together. It’s something we need to do much more of and it’s great to see people in the city trying to make it happen.

Here’s looking forward to the next performance!

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Robin Valk

Yet another reason to bang the drum for the great music in our city. Enormous, generous and involved musicianship that jumped boundaries effortlessly. Imaginative, playful multimedia presentation. Well thought out, seamless transitions. A vibe that took me back 40 years (didn’t smell any patchouli or dope, though), bolstered with 21st Century commitment and technology. Project X, I salute you all. You didn’t go? Don’t say you weren’t warned.

More reviews and photographs here

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Press Quotes on Project X – 1

Project X’s event makes most nights out look as adventurous as a trip to the Post Office” The Metro

“Eighteen months in the planning, the night presents five hours of seamless entertainment, with performances crossing over and merging in a multi-sensory assault.” Whats On.

“The Like Fxck event and the Project X Presents collective are an unique proposition, who in an age of standardised cultural product seek to help their audience attain a once in a life time experience by whatever means necessary.” BBC.co.uk

“An eclectic mix of performances .. ranging from classical and rock music to digital art, theatre and stand up. Those with long enough memories may detect the revived spirit of a 1960’s Happening”. Birmingham Post

“A unique entertainment experience for anyone looking to escape the usual Saturday night routine” Birmingham Evening Mail

“This party brings together 50 artists for a five hour pseudo-symphony that segues together everything” The Metro

“The Project X Presents collective – a group of Birmingham-based designers, promoters and performers – aim to break the traditional concert set up with three stages, immersing the audience in a customised environment that builds from a meditative state to a full on dance climax, and covers everything from classical to breakbeat, comedy to dance, all delivered with a strong visual element.” Whats On

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More information here

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Here’s a lovely review from online birmingham clubbing magazine The Blaggerz Guide, from their clubbing editor Jo about Mr Elephant Presents 2!

“A day of silly fun and phat funky breaks began with the mask making during the hot sunny Saturday afternoon. We gathered at the skate park at 2pm and sparked our creative brain cells into action, with attaching all sorts of sparkly, shiny bits and pieces to our mask shapes producing some weird and wonderful creations. There was plenty of fun had all round and it’s fair to say that the best masks were created by the youngest minds.

By Day

After an afternoon bbq at the Prince, we met up later on that night back at the skate park for the Mr Elephant carnival experience.

Mr Elephant had thought of everything possible for a fun carnivalesque evening. Upstairs, in the early stages of the night, guests could help themselves to the free Indian vegan buffet on offer, the samosa’s were definitely the tastiest and quite obviously the most popular, as they weren’t available for long. While guests were stuffing themselves on the food, Jibbering records spun a vast array of tunes from all corners of the globe.

Downstairs, in the main room, the DJ’s of the night, gave outstanding animated performances. Everyone in there seemed to be having a fantastic night, with the atmosphere and vibe was becoming more a more fun-filled as the night went on. The DJ’s were feeding off the emotions of the crows and the crowd in turn were feeding off the emotions of the DJ’s, with everyone seeming to be having as much fun as a 6 year old at a funfair!

The phat breaks were accompanied by live percussionists Mooncup and Mylo and friends, who gave the funky breaks an almost 3d audio quality as they drummed along to the tempo and rhythm of the tunes.

By Night

Visual entertainment was supplied in 2 parts, the crowd were joined in the main room by Khalaghani belly dancers, whose hypnotic movements and colourful costumes kept many folks attention whilst they were dancing. Behind the DJ’s, Chromatouch’s visuals were a mix of joyously eclectic animations that he amazed the guests with how harmoniously they were mixing with the tunes.

Outside the main room was even more entertainment. Some of the guests watched some of the selection of videos supplied by Indymedia on the 20ft screen, whilst others had loads of fun making themselves a carnivalesque mask (or 3)

Mr Elephant Presents was a brilliant day. He had thought of everything possible for a fun event and more… luckily there’s not too long to wait till the next one as it’s on August 4th.”

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