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


‘A relic of long-gone possibility’: how Gotye fell in love with a rare, forgotten synth

Delivered... Brigid Delaney | Scene | Tue 16 Jan 2018 6:00 pm

When Wally de Backer first heard the ondioline, an obsession began that took over years of his life

In 1941, a curious electronic instrument was invented that combined the possibility for depth of a horn section and the silliness of a children’s novelty toy. The key was how it was played and cared for – and what you composed for it.

The ondioline was invented by the French poet and musician Georges Jenny. Broadly speaking it’s a synthesiser built on a circuit board that looks like a child’s keyboard. It produces a sort of a blurry, vibrating sound, like music playing in another room.

Related: Onesies for everyone: Mona's summer festival makes Launceston debut

I just want to share this thing as widely as possible.

Related: Jean-Jacques Perrey, electronic musical pioneer, dies at 87

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Where to party in 2018: a clubbing, nightlife and festival guide

Delivered... Will Coldwell | Scene | Mon 15 Jan 2018 7:00 am

Fill your ears and your year with the sweetest beats at the best music and clubbing events – from Berlin and Reykjavik to New Orleans and Cape Town

The start of the year sees the return of CTM Berlin (26 Jan-4 Feb), the “festival for adventurous music and art”. This year the event, across venues in the city – from Berghain to the Kraftwerk building – features artists from the sincere German techno producer Recondite to Peruvian electronic-pysch band Dengue Dengue Dengue - is on the theme of Turmoil – expect artistic responses to a growing sense of global instability. Berlin will be absolutely freezing this month, so those seeking a vitamin D-fuelled party (and can afford the short notice flights) should head to Goat (26-28 Jan), a boutique festival in Goa, India, with a lineup including Horse Meat Disco and Moxie. January also means the start of Laneway Festival (27 Jan-11 Feb), which starts in Singapore, before touring cities across Australia with a lineup including Bonobo, The Internet and Wolf Alice.

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Brit awards nominations 2018: Dua Lipa beats Ed Sheeran with five

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Sat 13 Jan 2018 7:45 pm

The New Rules singer caps her breakthrough year with the most nominations at British music’s biggest awards ceremony

Dua Lipa, the breakthrough pop star who scored a huge summer hit with New Rules, has earned the most nominations at the 2018 Brit awards – even beating Ed Sheeran, despite his spectacular year-long assault on the charts on both sides of the Atlantic.

She was nominated in the British female solo artist, breakthrough act, single and video categories, along with the night’s biggest award, British album of the year. Without being able to be nominated in the breakthrough category, Ed Sheeran is the runner-up with four nominations, for British male solo artist, video and single (each for Shape of You), and the album award for ÷, the biggest-selling album of 2017 in the UK. East London rapper J Hus and platinum-selling songwriter Rag’n’Bone Man each received three nominations.

Related: How Dua Lipa became the most streamed woman of 2017

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Moor Mother review – howl of apocalyptic fury is kept to a whisper

Delivered... Chal Ravens | Scene | Thu 11 Jan 2018 12:53 pm

The Islington, London
A weedy sound system prevents the Philadelphian poet, musician and activist from tapping into true dread

Police brutality, domestic violence, race riots and western imperialism – the raw material for Camae Ayewa’s noise-infested “DIY time travel” performances as Moor Mother could hardly be more bleak. But the Philadelphia poet, activist and self-taught musician possesses a free-form energy and a knack for piercing visual imagery that can bring her subject matter to vivid life – usually while it’s still bleeding. “A husband beats a body raw,” she raps with a snarl, her dreadlocks falling like a veil over her face, “police drag a dead body on the floor.”

On her reputation-making 2016 album Fetish Bones, Ayewa used spoken word, free jazz, raw noise and sampled voices – including those of women such as Natasha McKenna, who died after being Tasered in prison – to create a homebrew twist on the Afrofuturism of fellow Philly artist-philosopher Sun Ra. Tonight’s show, however, finds her sharing a stage with soprano saxophonist Steve Montenegro, also known as Mental Jewelry, her collaborator on last year’s dub and dancehall-influenced Crime Waves EP. While Ayewa coaxes mangled, strangled noises from her array of glowing boxes, Montenegro channels the wild, squawking energy of Albert Ayler in an unbroken improvisation.

Related: Moor Mother: 'We have yet to truly understand what enslavement means'

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********, ∆, †‡† … the most unpronounceable band names ever

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Tue 9 Jan 2018 1:04 pm

Whether it’s a marketing gimmick or a way to stop anyone ever talking about your band, musicians are rejecting random nouns in favour of punctuation and ancient languages

Of all the stock ways to name a band (lame puns, random nouns, Something Something and the Somethings), one of the most enduring is choosing something totally unpronounceable. Take ********, whose “first and final” album The Drink is out at the end of the month. They’re probably pronounced Guinness, given this self-penned guide to their name: “Generally Underwhelmed. Incognito. Niceties. Not Even Slightly Suggestive.”

Their aggressively out of tune Bontempi jams, like Dean Blunt tinkering in a haunted bingo hall, aren’t likely to bother the mainstream, so they might as well stop people even being able to talk about them. Or is it the opposite – that they’re making their very unpronounceability a talking point? Well, whether obfuscation or marketing device, they’re far from the only ones to choose a name that requires a record company briefing before you can insert it into dinner party conversation.

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From Chinese communes to Durban taxis: how dance music went global

Delivered... Matthew Collin | Scene | Fri 5 Jan 2018 7:00 am

While western dancefloors are often full of jocks craving Instagram moments, the internet is helping techno, psytrance and more reach uncharted territory

• ‘I’ll be going through a slum to a rich club’: India’s upside-down rave scene

After darkness falls, there are strange phantasmagorical rumblings deep in the guts of cities around the world: a disused slaughterhouse near the Danube in Belgrade, an old air-raid shelter beneath the streets of Shanghai, a vast concrete swimming pool under a football stadium in Tbilisi, an unsignposted apartment building in the cobbled back alleys of Istanbul.

Over the past three decades, electronic dance music has spread to places such as this on the way to becoming a worldwide culture, establishing a home in some of the most unlikely places, mainly because of the relentless enthusiasm of the iconoclasts, misfits, fanatics and hustlers who have embraced the music and sought to build communities around it.

Vegas clubs can feel like showpiece sports tournaments with lines of fans facing the stage, holding up phones

Related: 'I'll be going through a slum to a rich club': India's upside-down rave scene

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‘I’ll be going through a slum to a rich club’: India’s upside-down rave scene

Delivered... Tara Joshi | Scene | Fri 5 Jan 2018 7:00 am

Magnetic Fields, a three-day festival in the Rajasthan desert, saw the country’s burgeoning dance scene go overground. But there are concerns that clubbing is a corporatised ‘rich person’s game’

‘Before this, there was Bollywood, and everything else was deep underground.” These are the words of producer Karsh Kale, describing India’s music scene as recently as 10 years ago. It is telling of just how much has changed that Kale is saying this by a fireplace in the middle of a desert in Rajasthan, where an electronic music festival is taking place.

Now in its fifth year, with a capacity of more than 3,000 (having started at less than 500), Magnetic Fields is one of many events catering to a burgeoning underground music scene in India. Sets from Four Tet and Ben UFO that go on until 8am in the grounds of a magical 17th-century palace are remarkable in themselves (as are surreal moments such as a local hip-hop DJ dropping Big Shaq’s Man’s Not Hot under the stars), but what is especially noteworthy is the number of Indian acts and attendees.

Related: The Ska Vengers: 'The worst that could happen? We could get lynched'

The ability to build a cultural community through music is severely hindered by the fact these events are corporatised

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Brona McVittie: We Are the Wildlife review – beautifully embroidered folk

Delivered... Jude Rogers | Scene | Thu 4 Jan 2018 7:30 pm

(Company of Corkbots)

Electronic music, used judiciously, can serve the folk song well, particularly when it’s teasing out subtler textures in the tradition, noticing the smaller stitches in its seams. This is certainly true of the work of Brona McVittie, an Irish singer and harpist who cites Tunng and French experimental artist Colleen among her inspirations.

She has recently returned to her native County Down after years living in London, and this album features her own promising originals alongside Irish folk songs that she embroiders beautifully. The Flower of Magherally’s harmonising flutes recall Virginia Astley’s pure pastoral instrumentals, while The Jug of Punch feeds an AL Lloyd drinking song through an ambient drama that summons up the spirits of both Talk Talk and the Unthanks (amazingly, this works). Every note of sweetness to McVittie’s voice has a bite behind it too, showing you the stuff under the skin. A stimulating debut.

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Coachella 2018 lineup announced, headlined by Beyoncé and Eminem

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Wed 3 Jan 2018 10:56 am

The Californian music festival will also feature the Weeknd, David Byrne, Cardi B and dozens more pop and rap stars

Coachella, the two-weekend Californian event that traditionally kicks off the summer’s festival season, has announced the lineup for its 2018 edition.

Beyoncé will headline on April 14 and 21, in her first live shows since her Formation world tour in 2016. The R&B star took 2017 off from live performance after giving birth to her twins Rumi and Sir, and the Coachella announcement will further fuel rumours she is gearing up to release new material.

pic.twitter.com/ivjHgj9uae

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Myra Davies: Sirens review – witty spoken-word skewering of violence, patriarchy and modern music

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Thu 21 Dec 2017 3:00 pm

(Moabit)

Backed by smart techno-pop production by Beate Bartel and Gudrun Gut, Canadian spoken-word artist Myra Davies delivers a supremely droll series of observations. Some are close portraits with the vibrancy of a Manet or Degas – on Golddress, she frets about a girl on the cusp of womanhood (“I’m aching to take her picture / it’s nothing compared with what the world will do”), while Inshallah is a funny meet-cute at Istanbul airport. Elsewhere there is a brilliantly pithy three-part retelling of Wagner’s Götterdämmerung (“Girl and a guy on a dopamine high …”) and a cool evisceration of John Cage and his acolytes, highlighting their snobbery while lampooning their methods (“If something is boring for two minutes, try it for four / if still boring, then eight”). As she looks at our sexist, violent culture from her panopticon, Davies is omnipotent, and drily jaded. But crucially – as on Noutiné, a stark lament about a father walking free from the killing of his daughter – not aloof.

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Powerdance: The Lost Art of Getting Down review – love is the message

Delivered... Alexis Petridis | Scene | Thu 21 Dec 2017 3:00 pm

The collective celebrate disco and post-punk from an age before tedious dancefloor Instagrams – but their bass-heavy toughness means they never become retro

In spring this year, dance music collective Powerdance released their third single, A Safe and Happy Place. It came accompanied by a video shot at the Bethnal Green strip club that hosts Savage, an LGBT+ club night “combining disco music with an army of pole-dancing drag queens” at which Luke Solomon – the core of Powerdance, alongside Chicago-born, German-based producer Nick Maurer – is among the resident DJs. The video features the club’s regulars turning themselves into androgynous creatures of the night, a riot of stiletto heels, leather, sequins, thongs, gold teeth grills and, perhaps more unexpectedly, Jacobean ruffs. The images fit perfectly with the track. Its soft, understated sound, occupying an area somewhere between disco and early Chicago house, seems to capture a sense of anticipation about the coming night; its lyrics hymn clubs as a place of transformation and abandon, where the outside world is barred: “Don’t be afraid to let it go … unless it’s love nobody cares … disco has made this place for us.”

It’s a theme that’s been taken up in countless tracks aimed at dancefloors over the last 50 years, but, as with the music it’s set to, A Safe and Happy Place presents it with what you might term a modern twist. The ideal dancefloor, suggest the lyrics, is a place where “nobody stares”, a line that seems to gently suggest that that you can’t really escape into unselfconscious abandon if there’s someone nearby with their phone out, snapping away and posting the results on social media, searching for likes; that it’s hard to shut out the outside world if people insist on bringing the outside world with them in their pockets.

Related: Run the code: is algorave the future of dance music?

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The Prodigy review – teeth rattled in dystopian breakbeat pantomime

Delivered... Graeme Virtue | Scene | Tue 19 Dec 2017 1:41 pm

Glasgow Academy
Twenty years on from their multimillion-selling album The Fat of the Land, the Prodigy refuse to get nostalgic, nor reduce the energy levels below total pandemonium

In an era when memories can be monetised, most bands – active or otherwise – might hungrily eye the 20th anniversary of their most successful album as an opportunity to mount a special tour to shore up their legacy and top up their Isas. Not so the Prodigy, Liam Howlett’s tetchy but tireless road warriors.

As Britpop shrivelled, their third album, 1997’s The Fat of the Land, took Howlett’s uncouth youthquake of evil techno and hot-wired breakbeats to the world; an astonishingly successful incursion into the US arguably laid the groundwork for the recent EDM explosion. Two decades on, you could forgive these Essex boys a backward-looking victory lap to fatten the brand.

Related: The Prodigy: 'we should be as important as Oasis or Blur'

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The Prodigy review – teeth rattled in dystopian breakbeat pantomime

Delivered... Graeme Virtue | Scene | Tue 19 Dec 2017 1:41 pm

Glasgow Academy
Twenty years on from their multimillion-selling album The Fat of the Land, the Prodigy refuse to get nostalgic, nor reduce the energy levels below total pandemonium

In an era when memories can be monetised, most bands – active or otherwise – might hungrily eye the 20th anniversary of their most successful album as an opportunity to mount a special tour to shore up their legacy and top up their Isas. Not so the Prodigy, Liam Howlett’s tetchy but tireless road warriors.

As Britpop shrivelled, their third album, 1997’s The Fat of the Land, took Howlett’s uncouth youthquake of evil techno and hot-wired breakbeats to the world; an astonishingly successful incursion into the US arguably laid the groundwork for the recent EDM explosion. Two decades on, you could forgive these Essex boys a backward-looking victory lap to fatten the brand.

Related: The Prodigy: 'we should be as important as Oasis or Blur'

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The best albums of 2017, No 6: LCD Soundsystem – American Dream

Delivered... Nosheen Iqbal | Scene | Fri 15 Dec 2017 7:00 am

Plot twist! James Murphy and co returned with an exquisite ode to love, musical heroes and middle-age

It was the comeback that was never supposed to be, for a band that were never allowed to disappoint, after they flamboyantly broke up with farewell shows at Madison Square Garden in 2011. The stakes were high: fans had been given an unimpeachable legacy and a perfect ending. Why, went the logic, would James Murphy dare sully the music we loved and adored in the noughties by – plot twist! – making more of it?

Well, because there was more to say. American Dream, for all its declarative intent, didn’t so much chronicle the state of the nation as it does Murphy’s place in it now; the middle-aged cool guy in a middle-aged cool band, lamenting relationships and heroes, love and ageing. It is exquisite. A moody, pulsating epic that wears its references – Berlin-era Bowie, 80s Talking Heads, the entire first decade of DFA Records’ output – without being wearying.

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The best albums of 2017, No 6: LCD Soundsystem – American Dream

Delivered... Nosheen Iqbal | Scene | Fri 15 Dec 2017 7:00 am

Plot twist! James Murphy and co returned with an exquisite ode to love, musical heroes and middle-age

It was the comeback that was never supposed to be, for a band that were never allowed to disappoint, after they flamboyantly broke up with farewell shows at Madison Square Garden in 2011. The stakes were high: fans had been given an unimpeachable legacy and a perfect ending. Why, went the logic, would James Murphy dare sully the music we loved and adored in the noughties by – plot twist! – making more of it?

Well, because there was more to say. American Dream, for all its declarative intent, didn’t so much chronicle the state of the nation as it does Murphy’s place in it now; the middle-aged cool guy in a middle-aged cool band, lamenting relationships and heroes, love and ageing. It is exquisite. A moody, pulsating epic that wears its references – Berlin-era Bowie, 80s Talking Heads, the entire first decade of DFA Records’ output – without being wearying.

Continue reading...
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