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Indian E-music – The right mix of Indian Vibes… » Lanre Bakare

Pale, male and stale: does modern classical have a gender problem?

Delivered... Lanre Bakare | Scene | Thu 18 Jul 2019 7:00 am

Compilation album by Wayne McGregor criticised for only including two works by women

Modern classical and electronic music is still dominated by stars who are largely “pale, male and stale”, leading industry figures have warned, after learning of a major new compilation album featuring only two works composed by women.

Collaborations, which will be released by Mercury KX – a label that claims to cross “the borders between electronic, ambient, classical, alternative and modern music” – is compiled by choreographer Wayne McGregor and was billed as “a collection of music from the biggest names in modern classical and electronic music” in a tweet sent by the label. But the dearth of female artists was immediately picked up on – with footwork artist Jlin and Finnish contemporary composer Kaija Saariaho the only women represented over the 15 tracks.

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Jamie Lidell: ‘I’m glad I didn’t lock myself into being this crazy electronic dude’

Delivered... Lanre Bakare | Scene | Thu 13 Oct 2016 10:15 am

He started out as a Prince fanboy with a penchant for circuit bending, but ended up an unlikely pop star. With a new record all about his new family and content small-town life in Nashville, is this the real Jamie Lidell?

“I don’t trust anyone who’s not a nerd,” says Jamie Lidell. “If you’re not really a nerd then you’re not really into something.” Anyone who saw Lidell’s live show a decade ago wouldn’t confuse him for a man who wasn’t into what he was doing. Back in 2005 Lidell toured the UK in a jacket made out of VHS tape and a helmet with a camera strapped to his head, alongside an audio visual sidekick by the name of Pablo Fiasco.

It was a ramshackle yet captivating live show that stood out on a bill he shared with the London Sinfonietta and fellow Warp records signee Squarepusher and felt more like a cyberpunk circus act than a conventional gig. “It was a cool chance for me and my visual guy to cause a ruckus because everyone was very formal and we were super messy,” says Lidell. The organised chaos, partly enabled by a loop programme he developed himself, gave Lidell a new audience and brought his vision of nerd Nirvana to venues like London’s Royal Festival Hall.

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M83: ‘Tangerine Dream are the reason I’m obsessed with synthesisers’

Delivered... Lanre Bakare | Scene | Thu 16 Jun 2016 5:00 pm

Electronic musician Anthony Gonzalez shares the five albums that have inspired him most, from Brian Eno and krautrock to the power of Polish composer Henryk Górecki

M83’s music tends to inspire some creative description: “Imax electro-pop”, “post-acid-house shoegazing” and “a signature post-rock sound for the masses” are phrases that have all been used. Here Anthony Gonzalez talks about his favourite five electronic albums, the power of krautrock and the importance of having a very cool older brother.

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Prince a musical legacy like no other

Delivered... Lanre Bakare | Scene | Fri 22 Apr 2016 7:43 pm

An eclectic range of contemporary artists owe a creative debt to the purple one, from Outkast and Pharrell to Daft Punk, Kanye and Mark Ronson

Few artists cast a shadow over contemporary music quite like Prince. Disco, funk, pop, hip-hop, house, electro – nothing would sound the way it does today without him.

Musicians who defined an era in pop and hip-hop, such as superstar producers the Neptunes and Timbaland, took cues from him; listen to Pharrell William’s Frontin’ and the Prince influence is clear. Prince was Timbaland’s idol and like his hero he tried to operate in that colourful area between R&B’s sensuous sexuality and the unbridled machismo that hip-hop can exude.

Related: Purple tributes to Prince – in pictures

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Junior Boys: Big Black Coat review – Ontario electro duo’s energetic return

Delivered... Lanre Bakare | Scene | Thu 4 Feb 2016 11:30 pm


Along with Jessy Lanza and Dan Snaith (Caribou), the Junior Boys make up a triptych of Hamilton, Ontario music acts who have given the city a reputation for interesting electronic acts and added a softness to contrast with its steelmaking past. On their first album in five years, the Junior Boys carry on their love affair with dance music and electronica, shifting between edgy Chicago house (M&P), poppy acid (And It’s Forever), sultry electro (C’Mon Baby) and R&B (Love Is a Fire). They say they’ve been rejuvenated after working with Lanza on her Hyperdub albums, and you can tell – he songs here have rawness and energy. Even a cover of Bobby Caldwell’s 1978 blue-eyed soul hit What You Won’t Do for Love doesn’t feel out of keeping with the more dancefloor-focused tracks – it’s that ability to mix elements smoothly that makes Big Black Coat so easy to love.

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Jamie Woon: Making Time review – excellent, soul-styled second album

Delivered... Lanre Bakare | Scene | Thu 5 Nov 2015 11:00 pm


Jamie Woon emerged at the same time as James Blake, Sampha and Jessie Ware, and provided a human, soulful voice to sit along the mechanical, austere sound of “post-dubstep”. Five years after his debut, Mirrorwriting, Making Time finds Woon creating music that is surprisingly minimal: he has spent that time absorbing the output of Theo Parrish and fellow Brit Floating Points, and you can tell. From the first track, Message, drums and bass dominate, as tracks emerge out of a soulful, primordial murk, with every note and lyric sounding honed, terse and meticulously crafted. He lets go of the leash on Celebration, teaming up with folk noodler Willy Mason, and Thunder, on which his own vocal gymnastics are the focus. Woon might have been expected to return with a dancefloor-focused second album, but instead he’s taken the soul road, and it sounds like a brilliant statement of intent.

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Nero: Between II Worlds review – the dated sound of dance-pop-prog

Delivered... Lanre Bakare | Scene | Thu 27 Aug 2015 3:30 pm


If you want to know who’s responsible for making the sub-low sound of British bass music a chart staple, you could do worse than look at Nero. Daniel Stephens, Joe Ray and Alana Watson come from the same dubstep-meets-drum’n’bass world as Chase & Status (who signed them to their MTA label) and their career has been an exercise in a very particular kind of pop music. Along with Pendulum and Chase & Status, they took a maximalist approach to dance music, breaking it down into big, chunky blocks of synths and bass, which, when they broke into the wider consciousness with the single Me & You in 2011, sounded intriguing, if at times rudimentary. While EDM has since taken the most crowd-pleasing aspects of dubstep (the drop, the unrelenting, wobbling basslines) and built shrines to its own ridiculousness in the form of Las Vegas residencies (Vegas staple Calvin Harris earned $66m [£42m] last year, according to Forbes) and festivals such as Tomorrowland and Electric Daisy, Nero have always seemingly had slightly loftier ambitions.

Related: New band of the day – No 929: Nero

Related: Nero: Welcome Reality - review

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Jlin: Dark Energy review – footwork star pushing the genre forward

Delivered... Lanre Bakare | Scene | Thu 16 Apr 2015 10:15 pm

(Planet Mu)

Footwork lost its best-known proponent when DJ Rashad died last April. He did more than anyone to push and promote the juttering, rapidfire Chicagoan form of dance music, and along with the likes of DJ Manny, RP Boo and DJ Earl, brought soul to the sound. Jlin continues that lineage with a debut album that moves the genre beyond the dancefloor. Unlike artists such as DJ Nate, who chopped up Lil Wayne samples in order to make staccato statements of intent, Jlin uses her own instrumentation. There are some samples here (quotes from the traumatic Joan Crawford biopic Mommie Dearest are spliced in on Abnormal Restriction), but they’re not the main thrust of a track; on Black Ballets, Black Diamond and Mansa Musa its Jlin’s own compositions that stand out. This is no sanitised version of footwork, though: the sound palette is still unremittingly brutal, with bpms whirling around the 190 mark. As Burial is to dubstep, Jlin is an artist who belongs to her genre, but has an eye on where it could go next.

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Dan Deacon: Gliss Riffer review – pop outsider relaxes into his own sound

Delivered... Lanre Bakare | Scene | Thu 19 Feb 2015 11:29 pm

Dan Deacon is a self-confessed weirdo who sits at the edge of pop and experimentation: not strange enough for the avant garde, yet not straight enough for the mainstream. His fourth album, Gliss Riffer, continues that singular journey and coerces elements of pop and madcap electronica into a convincing mix. He manages moments that sound like Grandaddy’s trucker-cap whimsy (Learning to Relax) and others that are closer to bonafide one-offs Matmos (Mind On Fire). Regardless of his angle of attack, all the tracks here share the pop-tune-drenched-in-ephemera approach that has worked so well for him and the likes of Panda Bear previously. Instrumental tracks Take It to the Max (on which Deacon goes off on an eight-minute synth meander) and Meme Generator are particular standouts. He’s described the album as him “trying to relax”, and he certainly sounds comfortable in his own musical skin.

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Ibeyi: Ibeyi review – impressive but limited experimental soul

Delivered... Lanre Bakare | Scene | Fri 13 Feb 2015 5:04 pm

French-Cuban twin sisters Ibeyi have been dubbed “doom soul”, and form a kind of gloomy triptych alongside two other recent XL signees, techno producer Powell and grime MC Vocalist. The doom soul moniker is a slight misnomer; the themes that run through their eponymous debut LP are mysticism and Yoruba spirituality (their name means twins in the Nigerian language). After opening track Ellegua – a haunting Santería prayer – and Oya, which is reminiscent of Volta-period Björk, there’s an expectation of further experimentation and exploration. The problem is that the twins only seem to have one pace – and, like XL’s blue-eyed funk band Jungle, that wears thin over a whole album. After the early high points of Oya and River, there’s a string of low-slung tracks – Think of You, Stranger/Lover and Mama Says – that operate within the same tight parameters: haunting vocals, melancholy lyrics and a boom-bap backing track. As stand-alone tracks they work, but side-by-side, you can’t help but wish they’d try something outside this comfort zone.

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Best albums of 2014: No 9 – You’re Dead! by Flying Lotus

Delivered... Lanre Bakare | Scene | Tue 2 Dec 2014 11:48 am

Steven Ellison’s fifth album saw him finally embrace his aunt Alice Coltrane’s passion for jazz, but with a twist that explored the genre’s intersection with hip-hop

One fact almost always mentioned when someone writes about Flying Lotus, aka Steven Ellison, is that his aunt is astral jazz pioneer Alice Coltrane. That family connection may have led Ellison down a similarly experimental path: in the eight years since his debut album, 1983, he’s melded scattergun breakbeats with abstract noise, using electronica, hip-hop and even jungle as his building blocks. But rarely in that mix would you find him explicitly delving into the world of jazz. That is until You’re Dead!, the first record of Ellison’s to fully engage with the genre.

Originally planned as a straight-up jazz record featuring Ellison alongside fellow Brainfeeder signee Thundercat on bass, it slowly morphed into an even more ambitious, wide-ranging album with guest appearances from the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg and Herbie Hancock. This meeting of jazz and hip-hop is what the album excels at exploring, with Lamar’s verse on Never Catch Me sitting on top of what you could safely describe as virtuoso bass playing, plus soaring synths and boom-bap percussion. It’s bold, ambitious and, most importantly, it works.

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PC Music: clubland’s cute new direction

Delivered... Lanre Bakare | Scene | Fri 12 Sep 2014 1:00 pm

PC Music and SOPHIE are peddling a new kind of club music whose collision of early-2000s pop-cheese, J-pop and happy hardcore is polarising the dance world. But is it more than a bit of fun?

In the grumpy, po-faced echo chamber of online dance music forums, one label has become the divisive talking point of 2014. AG Cooks PC Music takes its cues from the Japanese concept of kawaii (cuteness) with a musical pallette encompassing the huge synth blasts favoured by Eurodance chart-botherers such as Cascada, grimes sub-bass, and happy hardcores high-pitched vocal range, matched with promo pics that make its artists look like X Factor contestants from 2054. Their artist names are things like Hannah Diamonds, Princess Bambi and the Lipgloss Twins; their aesthetic, somewhere between an edition of Just 17 and a shopping centre in Shibuya.

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Tricky: Adrian Thaws review sticking to his own unnerving path

Delivered... Lanre Bakare | Scene | Thu 4 Sep 2014 10:15 pm
(False Idols)

While other trip-hop survivors DJ Shadow, for example have recently offered their takes on current trends (juke in his case), Tricky is sticking to his own path. He has managed to refresh that sound without coming across as forced, and has wisely cherry-picked contemporary talent with rappers Mykki Blanco and Bella Gotti, juxtaposed and paired with London-based vocalist Tirzah who impressed with her No Romance EP earlier in the year and Francesca Belmonte's silky hooks. From opener Sun Down, you're transported to Tricky's world. It is dark, seductive and filled with songs that are linked via his inventive production and bleak worldview. Lyrically, the album takes in life on the breadline (Sun Down), a race-hate story that refixes Massive Attack's Unfinished Sympathy (Gangster Chronicles) and a study of what happens when hedonistic highs meet cold, hard reality (Nicotine Love). Sonically, it ranges from avant garde soundscapes (My Palestine Girl) to low-slung soul (Silly Games) and spiky hip-hop (Lonnie Listen). The album's standouts, however, are the two collaborations with Tirzah, whose understated vocals fit perfectly with Tricky's unnerving instrumentation and help to reveal an artist who's still capable of surprising, disturbing and revelling in his own idiosyncracies.

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Hyperdub 10 review breakneck beats and avant garde noise

Delivered... Lanre Bakare | Scene | Thu 4 Sep 2014 1:22 pm
Corsica Studios, London
The dubstep record label launched by Steve Goodman (aka Kode9) celebrates its 10th birthday in suitably exhilarating style with live sets from Jessy Lanza and Dean Blunt

Hyperdub boss Steve Goodman an artist in his own right as Kode9 set out his vision for dubstep back in 2006. The music, he said, should be productions that always had a solid sub bass foundation, but in an ideal world, anything else goes on top of that. His label, which is celebrating its 10th year, embodies that ethos with releases ranging from the early wonky output of Zomby and the melancholy dubstep of Burial to Goodmans own bass-led productions and the Detroit techno of Kyle Hall.

At Corsica, that eclectic roster is represented with live turns from laidback R&B singer Jessy Lanza and the unpredictable avant garde noise of Dean Blunt. Lanzas stripped-back stage show its just her, a sequencer, some LED lights and keyboards draws an eager crowd who watch as she opens with album standouts Giddy and Kathy Lee. But her preoccupation with keeping her technology in check means theres little connection with a crowd that knows every word of her subtle, sombre songs.

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Meet the new producers bringing underground sounds to Kanye West, Jay Z and J.Lo

Delivered... Lanre Bakare | Scene | Thu 14 Aug 2014 5:00 pm

A new generation of beatmakers many from Britain are breathing new life into pop, hip-hop and R&B

From Kanye West to Jennifer Lopez, some of the biggest artists in the world are looking to underground producers to deliver chart success. Heres the lowdown on the hit men whove gone from bedroom studios to mainstream hits on both sides of the Atlantic.

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