boat race, june 2000 - live review
portland arms, may 2000 - live review
rock sound, may 2000 - >HYPERKARMA review
the mix magazine, may 2000 - >HYPERKARMA review
kerrang! magazine, february 2000 - beating bowie
cambridge student magazine, february 2000 - live review
guitarist magazine, february 2000 - review of >HYPERKARMA.
melody maker january, 2000 - review of >HYPERKARMA.
cambridge evening news, november 1999 - review of >HYPERKARMA.
namesuppressed.com, september 1999 - review of >HYPERKARMA.
circuit magazine, august 1999 - live review
Cambridge evening news, august 1999 - best bands in Cambridge
Cambridge evening news, june 1999 - live review
making music, may 1999 - review of supercharge
cambrdige evening news, april - band competition final review
Cambridge evening news, April 1999 - band competition final preview
Cambridge evening news, march 1999 - band competition heat review
Cambridge evening news, march 1999 - supercharge review
guitarist magazine, december 1998 - supercharge review
rhythm magazine, march 1998 - broken window theory review
sound on sound, 1998 broken window theory review
the mix, 1998 - broken window theory review
drum media austrailia, jan 1998 - blacknotgreen CD review
sound on sound, December 1997 - blacknotgreen CD review
total guitar magazine, November 1996 - blacknotgreen CD review
rhythm magazine, october 1996 - blacknotgreen CD review
melody maker, September 1996 - blacknotgreen CD review


black:not:green live review
(The Boat Race Cambridge, 12th June 2000)

Billed as their summer call, this Friday night saw black:not:green return to their home turf The Boatrace after a 3-month absence from their frenetic stage show (the last of such activity being their successful mini tour of London venues).

Cadre and Miss Black America on tow as very special guests, both fresh from the Cambridge Band competition. Cadre sounded great, and to be honest would have gone down best if this were a packed out club on a bigbeat, techno fusion night. Miss Black America then brought visual energy and excitement with a snarl and a big 'fuck you' to anyone thinking themselves too cool to mosh. If you haven't yet witnessed the punch that Seymour and the boys deliver then beware that your Placebo, Stiff Little Fingers, Muse and Pixies albums are exiting your record collection once you do, cos these boys do it all much better.

Black:not:green enthusiastically mingle during the support slots. Whispers are overheard of a new EP by November and a white label remix of Sub3 by September. At 9.30pm the place is packed, the atmosphere friendly and relaxed (after all it's a Friday night). The walls awash with hyperkarma postcards make the black:not:green brand as lively as their stage show. After questioning Tim on the songs to be played tonight he jokingly retorts with,

"We'll put a fake smile on our faces and trawl through the same shit one more time"

I guess they're looking forward to debuting new material. The thing is though that the 'same shit' still works as well as it did the first time we were all knocked over by it. Disco opens, and AYM closes. In between we are treated to Rolling, Sub3, Crash, Supercharged, Home, Moja (hyperfly), Untouchable and 270 Days. The dynamic treatment throughout this time though is much more pronounced with subtle twists and contrasts. The stage set is complete with extra lighting and tv sets showing vintage black and white films (something which they apparently debuted in their unplugged show, which I managed to miss!)

This time, more than any, the guys seem to be enjoying themselves. Albino spends most of the gig thrashing about in the mosh with his light sabres, and getting mugged in the process. Sam and Tim exchange expletive gesticulations and undertake a spitting contest, and Roger croons his way through the set with smudged mascara to boot. By the end of the show the three mike stands are in the crowd, and the guitar is thrown onto the monitor where it screams in agony.

Nothing new tonight then. Just a great excuse to come and let off steam with 150 punters who knew exactly what to expect, and who went home with a satisfied glow and dripping wet T-shirts. Bring on the next new installment please lads.

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I am I am unplugged
(black:not:green unplugged at The Portland Arms 27th May)

Now the black:not:green you and I have grown to know and love are those 4 guys clad in black, thrashing out their industrial grunge, drum'n'bass pop to crowds of like-minded punters ready for some angst-fuelled action. How then in the name of Albino's armadillo can they deliver their vibe in an acoustic convivial 'Real Music' ambiance in the back of a pub? With flair, ease and bruised emotion it would seem. Believe me, this has been their most intense gig yet.

120 eagerly curious people packed out the Portland Arms to see for themselves. Before taking the stage the lights are dimmed to near darkness, and candles illuminate the stage. 2 TV sets flicker to add to the visual noise; one then shows Citizen Kane, the other 'Pi' (a suitable contemporary back and white psychologically tormented mathematics rollercoaster). The band then take the stage in a Noel Coward meets Marilyn Manson bedraggled black tie costume, complete with very special guest double bass player, Simon.

After a white noise introduction a suitable hypnotic bass groove introduces an astounding rework of Supercharged. Sam and Simon lock like a jazz duo who've played together for 40 years, Tim's guitar looks acoustic, yet sounds haunting with a suitable distortion tinge ripped through it. Albino provides backing vox and live keys throughout, and Roger is note perfect and delicate to the touch from start to finish.

The set list sees a welcome unveiling of older material which hasn't seen the light since 1997's Broken Window Theory - Sex Hate Song, Broken Window Theory itself and shortstory. The latter sees Albino kneeling at the front of the stage, unnerving the crowd with his sinister whisper telling this morbid tale with a lonely guitar accompaniment. A cool blue jazz outro briefly segues into hyperkarma and finally comes out into 270 Days.

Two furthermore pleasant surprises come in the form of perfect reworkings of Massive Attack's 'Teardrop' and Portishead's 'Sour Times' - both retaining their original key for female voices leaving Rog to deliver what the publicity poster accurately describes as the 'voice of an angel'. Sub3 sounds harrowing, making maximum use of the double bass. The evening then closes with Crash, and a hugely accessible Little Punk Song.

So, all in all a live show which provided a long awaited platform for black:not:green's creepy, lo-fi hypnotic moods. For those of you not there, you can try to imagine the bonding of Nirvana and Soundgarden with a very sleepy Yo La Tengo and Low, but you're not doing yourselves justice until you bombard their website with emails insisting that they do the same again in your packed front room if they have to. This unplugged show really exposed the depth of their musicianship and their quietly disturbing charisma. Definitely one logged in the memory banks.

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>HYPERKARMA review rock sound, may 2000

Cambridge three-piece black:not:green are a reviewer's nightmare. That's not to say that the music isn't up to scratch, but such is the diversity of musical influences (the press pack points to everything from Roni Size to Nirvana) that it's hard to know what angle to approach 'Hyperkarma' from.

'Moja (hyperfly)' has an almost rock/dance crossover feel to it, less Prodigy more Jesus Jones. 'Rolling' continues the experimental almost hectic eclectic vibe with some great vocal wailings from Roger Kelly.

It's hard not to be drawn into their cocktail of drum'n'bass infused AC/DC guitar, with both 'Gravity' and the superb 'Aym' creating aural confusion that brings to mind Atari Teenage Riot jamming with The Wonderstuff.

In a strange way you could hear at least half these tracks making it onto radio, and for the sheer musical audacity they deserve to.

'Hyperkarma' is not an easy listen but ultimately rewarding.

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>HYPERKARMA review the mix, june 2000

These guys have already had a shedload of coverage for their rocky/ambient dance nuances, and deservedly so. They are really adept at taking some of the most exciting elements of fairly recent trance, ambient jangly pop, rock and moulding it into a gorgeous fusion. I'll bet they're an absolute stonking live act too.

Sam Winwood, Sony S2: Could this be the next Jesus Jones? And is that an insult or compliment? I dunno, but I liked it anyway.

Sil Wilcox, Cruisin Music: Phasing on vocals always leaves me wondering if anyone can actually sing and is not a good way to try and initially interest a record company. However, the actual song is very strong, well-produced and commercially instant, reminding me of early Todd Rundgren in places.

Luke Cunningham, Freedom 4 records: Psychedelic techno trance anyone? I dunno. Confused but fun with a great chorus.

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bowie green with envy
kerrang!, february 26 2000

a double whammy for cambridge quartet black:not:green, not only do they claim their live show "smacks you straight in the shag-piece and screams down your throat", but they were the buggers responsible for pipping mr. david bowie to the post by launching a free downloadable album (>HYPERKARMA.) on the web. fifty thousand visits in six months! not too shabby. with a penchant for battenburg cake and fruit teas, black:not:green describe their brand of noise as "a unique blend of industrial-tinged drum'n'bass fuelled with big guitars, big vocals and a psyched-up vibe to be shared with like-minded punters pissed-off with a bland UK music scene". Ooh, better visit www.blacknotgreen.com or write 'em at info@blacknotgreen.com.

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bng live at the boatrace
the cambridge student, february 2000

drum:and:bass:and:rock:and:roll
black:not:green at the boat race 26/01/00 review by dan archer

this band is the future of music. their unique blend of drum and bass with rock guitar riffs is exactly the sort of direction that most mainstream bands are looking to experiment with and yet black:not:green have been pulling it off for over five years and three albums. obvious influences include the prodigy, aphex twin and nine inch nails - a list that would encourage most to class them as thrash metallists with the likes of slipknot and korn.

what remains intriguing about this particular band is their ability to engage and enthral the audience with weapons ranging from sampled computer clips to live guitar solos, mcs with light rods to bubble machines. they have confidently embraced the latest technology and fused it with an obvious musical talent to create their own genre of infectious aural hedonism, proving themselves to be quite unlike anything you are likely to have seen or heard before. in particular, the lack of a bassist may raise a few eyebrows, replaced by a maniacal slaphead who spent the majority of the gig fiddling with an array of beatboxes and synthesizers or leaping into an unexpectant crowd. its differences like this that distance these local boys from their more established rivals like bush, who seemed far more reluctant to venture into the murky depths of dance/rock fusion.

but don't take my word for it. download their latest album for yourself off their interactive website (www.blacknotgreen.com) and beat the masses to discovering one of the most promising acts of the new millenium. the most unsurprising thing about the whole evening was the bands confession that they're currently still unsigned to a major record label. guitarist said as part of their 9/10 review of their third album that if black:not:green wasn't signed soon they'd "eat their strat". let's hope it won't come to that.

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>HYPERKARMA: review
guitarist, february 2000

sign 'em!

a professional looking sleeve design and biog serve only to confirm the quality of the music within. this offers ten flammable tracks pumped full of black:not:green's sample-laden break-beat filled dance/pop. guitarist tim dodd's capable playing runs the gamut from heavy riffery on rolling through some sensitive spanish guitar moments on supercharge and onwards to the experimental morse code style playing of aym.

sonically this woofer-challenging collection of tunes displays plenty of varied elements; certainly more than a single listen can cope with. vocalist roger kelly's voice weaves its way through the powerful beat-drive tunes, making his contribution to this demo cd one of real importance. programmer, albino, and tim dodd help out with the vocal harmonies on the placebo-meets-prodigy disco and even tim's slide and acoustic playing put in a tasteful appearance. production is great with plenty of atmospheric drones, cleverly incorporated samples and cool deck-manipulation.

if these guys don't make it big, i'll eat my strat.

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>HYPERKARMA: review
melodymaker, february 2000

they are a dance/crossover unit who claim to combine punk energy with dance precision in a futuristic rock style. there's certainly lots goin on here, from synthesisers, spanish guitar samples and john bonham-style beats on some tracks, to underworld vocals and heavy guitars on others - and sometimes both. eclecticism is, it would seem, paramount, albeit confusing.

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>HYPERKARMA: review
cambridge evening news, november 1999

this week i will mostly be listening to....

with influences as disparate as ronnie size and nirvana, it's little wonder that black:not:green touch on everything from the blissed-out ambience of sub-3 to the electrifying breakbeat 'n' guitars combo of stand-out track aym in this, their second self-financed long player. if there is any sense in the industry it won't be long before this racket is snapped up, but before that happens you can witness them carrying out their aural assault live at a free launch gig at the boatrace, east road, cambridge on tuesday night. if you can't wait that long (and we suggest you don't) then >HYPERKARMA is available at many independent record shops priced at a very reasonable 9.99

alistair lawrence

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>HYPERKARMA album review
www.namesuppressed.com, September 1996

4 1/2 stars (out of 5)

Expectations of the new Black Not Green album have been exceptionally high. Matching the success of their highly acclaimed album Broken Window Theory was always going to be difficult. It was named Demo of the Month in The Mix, Sound On Sound and Total Guitar magazines, and now the new album >HYPERKARMA looks set to do it all over again.

Black Not Green's trademark is a blending of guitar based rock, electronica, drum 'n' bass and ambient styles. Even though >HYPERKARMA is less varied in style than Broken Window Theory was (more hard rock, less ambient), fans are sure to love it. It's sure to win over a new legion of fans too. >HYPERKARMA is the most radio friendly BNG album yet. The guitar riffs on Moja, Untouchable and Sub3 are catchy enough for commercial radio, while Rolling, Aym and Little Punk Song are edgy enough to make alternative radio playlists. Roger Kelly's vocals are superb throughout, especially on Sub3. As far as demos go, >HYPERKARMA is brilliant. I'm tempted to give it 5 stars, but a couple of songs fall just short of perfection.

By the time these guys have a major record deal there will be no stopping their ascent up the charts.

K.I.

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live review
cambridge evening news, june 1999

20 minute was all it took. the crowd (an unusually diverse bunch even by strawberry fair's standard) were convinced, as was i. after the polished but soporific instrumentals of white-clad the gee, the appearance of black-clad four-piece cambridge locals black:not:green raised the stakes, the temp, the eyebrows and the roof. gentle is wasn't. aggressive it wasn't. gloriously fast, fat and full it was.

weather it rained was touch and go, but the cold front had cleared the air which made for an extremely clear mix. the industrious jungle-crunch sat comfortably across the pa, sub-bass underlayering the guitarist's relentless contribution in turn overlayering the impassioned and emotive lyrics. the moshers and dancers called an armistice for the duration and experimented with each other's thing. out-of-context i'll quote from b:n:g "are you happy now, now you're with your friends ?". if you haven't made their acquaintance yet, introduce yourself soon. the boat race would be a good place to meet up.

mike harbour

supercharge: review
guitarist, december 1998

i love it when we get stuff like this in: its totally impossible to categorise with any accuracy, which has to be the idea, and the material from this cambridge three-piece is amongst the best to ever blast out of demo towers for some time. there's loads of guitar and samples in there, but i can only compare proceedings to the hypothetical bonding of korn's jonathan davies with keith from the prodigy and then exposing the offspring to a "hardcore meets led zeppelin-only" diet. the best bet is probably to check out this months cd and try to make you own decision, as i've given up. all i know is its top banana.

sink or swim ? these lot are going to swim like a school of golden dolphins, and things aren't even let down by a weak production. black not green ? i'd sooner say fab not crap actually. 5/5

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broken window theory: review
rhythm march 1998

come on, lads - a demo is a demo not a 63 minute cd !! however we'll overlook that technicality because this is one of the weirder and more innovative offerings we've heard in ages. "bleacher" has a fast, pulsing groove and anguished vocals. "crash" is industrial drum'n'bass with plinking keyboards and ratm vocals. "helpless" starts off like an electronic pearl jam before turning into an ominous oriental explosion. "acidbath" brings more surprises, with its superb instrumental and vocal arrangements.

black not green are a true tech-rock collision. remember the name. 7/10.

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broken window theory: review
sound on sound, june 1998

top tape

this is a dance-style demo influenced by the like of soundgarden, underworld, prodigy, massive attack and pearl jam. yes, it contains guitars too, and somehow manages to fuse pop, rock and dance styles. the first track up is bleacher and after a long, tension-building fade-up of distorted guitar we're quickly into very familiar territory rhythmically, with a well trodden path into jungle territory. yet the guitar and the vocals give the mix a completely different character, building on the familiar to pull in the casual listener. a clever bit of word play using the word "bleach" runs seamlessly into a sort of chorus from the preceding verse pattern, performed in superb edgy fashion. there are also some cunning drops into half-time loops, using slowed down samples that hold the interest and are embellished by some interesting harmonies in the vocal.

quality if oozing from the second track, honeytrap, an excellently penned song that is once again well performed by the singer. the dance element is retained by the drum loops, a relaxed jazzy rhythm with a double-headed bass drum sound that is left bone-dry in the mix. this is complemented by the use of a familiar organ sound in the lower mids. basically, this allows the edgy guitar a lot of room in the mids, which is used to good effect by a guitarist who knows how to work within this genre. yet again i was most impressed by the singing, and particularly the opening section. here the vocal is broken up into five samples and triggered instead of being sung. this has the effect of being slightly disjointed, without losing the timing and groove of the backing. an excellent cd deserving of more attention.

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sound on sound
december 1997

This 10-track demo CD kicks off with a powerful first number which proves you can program drum parts and make them work, in the right context. This context is influenced by Soundgarden, King's X, Senser and the inevitable Rage Against The Machine. Influences notwithstanding programmer Matt, vocalist Roger and guitarist Tim have put together an interesting and well-recorded CD that shows maturity in songwriting and technical control. Strong rhythmic feel is very much in evidence, and the music just wouldn't work without it: from the cerebral heaviness of "Is anybody out there ?" to the jazz and heavy guitar of "270 Days", the drumming is solid and all the sounds hit the mark.

I also like how effects like delay and backwards loops are used to enhance the rhythm. Part of the skill of mixing is using complementary sounds, and on the third track on the CD, the band take a fairly muddy drum loop as a basic rhythm backdrop. The lack of treble is not a problem - it's an opportunity to apply plenty of presence to the up-front vocal sound. Backing vocals are treated to heavy dose of room reverb, and the tabla loop alongside the synth sitar is, i suppose, the icing on the cake.

This CD shows plenty of good ideas, all well executed, played and performed. This is definitely a band to watch out for if you like music that's more demanding than the norm.

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blacknotgreen cd review
total guitar magazine, november 1996

Yes, they use samplers. Purists will always argue that the guitar(s), bass, drums and vocal format is where it's at, but Black Not Green seem to have fused the old 'n' new with a degree of intelligence and style often absent from guitar bands using technology. Is anybody out there ? is a fine rendering of diverse influences (how about Soundgarden, Rage Against The Machine, Aphex Twin and Future Sound Of London?) welded into an appealingly individual track. The guitar work is chunky and abrupt, making maximum use of low-string hooks and dramatic riffs exploding over a grinding, metallic rhythm track. The vocals are spot-on; recorded dry through much of the track, invoking an atmospheric close-up intensity and really exposing the range and rawness of Roger's voice.

Originality 4/5
Production 4/5
Signability 4/5

This track (along with the rest of the material they sent) is surely
deserving of wider attention.

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blacknotgreen cd review
rhythm magazine, october 1996

Sending in a brilliantly presented CD, the oddly titled Black Not Green perform what they describe as "melodic vocal driven songs over trancey ambient grooves with rough moody guitars and percussion", which seems to be a pretty accurate description.

Opening up with a tune in 6/4 called "Is anybody out there", the CD kicks in to life with some samples of people talking. Once they're out of the way, the song itself kicks in, an excellent it is too. Particularly noteworthy are Matt's superb drum programming and Roger's outstanding vocals. The CD carries on with a whole series of imaginatively thought out and well executed dance-rock and industrial tinged songs. At no point do the songs or lyrics prove annoying, distracting or lacking in creativity. Tim Dodd's powerful and sparse guitar riffs add an earthy rock influence that keeps the ambient backing from wandering too aimlessly, leading to uplifting but focused songs that are catchy and memorable.

Given this form of music can lose the plot so easily, BNG have fused pop, rock and ambient dance absolutely perfectly. A rare find indeed.

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