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

The month’s best mixes: mutating moods and club-ready wreckers

Delivered... Tayyab Amin | Scene | Wed 22 Jan 2020 5:11 pm

DJ Taj turns on the charm, Stellar OM Source hurtles towards revelation, while Elijah and Skilliam unveil a mix manifesto

Related: The best underground dance music of 2019

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‘No Fiat 500 techno!’: why electronic music in Cork is popping off

Delivered... Colin Gannon | Scene | Wed 22 Jan 2020 1:22 pm

A crop of hyper-imaginative producers like Lighght, Ellll and those on the Flood label all emanate from Ireland’s ‘rebel city’ – but can it hold on to them?

“Messy in the best possible way,” says Cork producer Doubt of the epiphanic experience he had in 2015 at a warehouse rave in Manor House, north London. “It was really relaxed vibes. Security – although I didn’t see many – were sound, and there were heavy bangers all night. I’d never really experienced anything like that in Ireland.”

He was in London because of English producer NKC, one of the originators of the club sound known as hard drum, then just a Soundcloud tag. Doubt (real name Ollie McMorrow) and compatriots Tension (Dylan O’Mahony) and Syn (Reneé Griffin) set up their own label, Flood, a year after their hard drum rendezvous in London. After learning, experimenting and dawdling with friends in Cork, all it took was NKC’s raucous parties to dissolve their collective inhibition.

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070 Shake: Modus Vivendi review – an impressive statement of intent

Delivered... Tara Joshi | Scene | Sun 19 Jan 2020 4:00 pm

(GOOD Music/Virgin EMI)

Among the few highlights from Kanye West’s 2018 album, ye, were two features from emerging New Jersey artist Danielle Balbuena – known by the moniker 070 Shake. Most notably, the bilingual singer-rapper’s guest verse on Ghost Town swam with a heady feeling of darkness and freedom – something that carries through to Modus Vivendi, Balbuena’s debut album. It’s a record that blends genres with assurance as 070 Shake interrogates her nihilistic internal monologues. “I don’t know if I’ll be here tomorrow,” she refrains, catchily, on the propulsive Morrow, before the beat dissolves into new age multi-harmony vocals that, surreally, recall Enya.

That tender glimmer of fantasy recurs throughout the album, not least as Balbuena considers drug use in a liberating, matter-of-fact way, playing with the classic associations of drugs with mental health and romance (on Microdosing, she could be singing about any of these). There’s a sheen of yearning throughout as she spins between bright, light and very dark, be that via the synthpop glaze on Guilty Conscience or the beguiling Bollywood sample on Come Around. Though at times songs and sentiments blur a little forgettably, this is an impressive statement of intent.

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Mura Masa: Raw Youth Collage review – confused and bitty

Delivered... Kitty Empire | Scene | Sun 19 Jan 2020 10:00 am

You can’t accuse the 23-year-old Guernsey producer Mura Masa of false advertising. Raw Youth Collage, his second album, is bitty and a little raw – notably Deal Wiv It, a persuasive 2019 track in which the punkoid exclamations of slowthai set a tone. Another bouncy track, No Hope Generation, manifests as a string of cliches, however; its punk-lite rush fails to engage.

Like many tracks here, it features the producer born Alex Crossan as vocalist. Mura Masa’s stated aim for the album is how aural nostalgia has become a coping mechanism to ward off the complexities of the present day. As mission statements go, it’s promising.

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One to watch: Hatis Noit

Delivered... Kate Hutchinson | Scene | Sat 18 Jan 2020 3:00 pm

With her ethereal crossover of mystical and modern, this Japanese artist has been moving audiences to tears

The word “spellbinding” has been liberally daubed over everything from reviews of the musical Wicked to every album Bon Iver has ever released (and don’t get us started on “achingly beautiful”). But if you take it to mean the kind of alchemy that stops you in your tracks and leaves you slack-jawed, Hatis Noit may seem magical.

Live, she closes her eyes and loops her voice, like Meredith Monk, Matias Aguayo and Björk, layering drones and trills as if she’s a one-woman choir trying to tap into some primeval, mystical energy (she decided to become a singer after hearing a female Buddhist monk chanting at a temple). Her songs include Inori, a prayer for those who didn’t survive the 2011 tsunami; others pair Gregorian chants with gagaku, imperial court music from ancient Japan. A sell-out performance with the London Contemporary Orchestra in December is said to have moved the audience to tears.

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Poppy: I Disagree review – candyfloss pop with a dark heart

Delivered... Tara Joshi | Scene | Sun 12 Jan 2020 4:00 pm

Real name Moriah Pereira, Poppy is a YouTube-born character who has been described as both an alien and a cult leader (she has, of course, released a book, The Gospel of Poppy). I Disagree is her third studio album, and it finds the LA-based creator pushing into more eclectic territory than ever – which is saying something, given how her earlier work blended the off-kilter sheen of PC Music with a hyperactive iteration of ska.

Self-described as “post-genre”, Poppy channels early Gwen Stefani (replete with the interest in Japanese kawaii, or cuteness) and whispery, dark, glee-club theatrics – think Billie Eilish gone hair metal.

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Poppy: I Disagree review – candyfloss pop with a dark heart

Delivered... Tara Joshi | Scene | Sun 12 Jan 2020 4:00 pm

Real name Moriah Pereira, Poppy is a YouTube-born character who has been described as both an alien and a cult leader (she has, of course, released a book, The Gospel of Poppy). I Disagree is her third studio album, and it finds the LA-based creator pushing into more eclectic territory than ever – which is saying something, given how her earlier work blended the off-kilter sheen of PC Music with a hyperactive iteration of ska.

Self-described as “post-genre”, Poppy channels early Gwen Stefani (replete with the interest in Japanese kawaii, or cuteness) and whispery, dark, glee-club theatrics – think Billie Eilish gone hair metal.

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Mura Masa: on why he’s swapped sunny pop for moody nostalgia

Delivered... Michael Cragg | Scene | Sat 11 Jan 2020 11:00 am

He’s the in-demand producer who has worked with BTS and Chic, so why has Alex Crossan left it all behind for grungy guitars?

In a cramped south London rehearsal space, producer Mura Masa, AKA Alex Crossan, is quietly losing the plot. Takeaway boxes and empty bottles rest on crates full of wires, while a small rug added for ambience is covered in upended cardboard boxes. Heat, meanwhile, is provided by two whirring laptops, their screens full of chunky colour bars representing something technical Crossan doesn’t even attempt to explain. The 23-year-old only got back from Asia yesterday, marking the end of a tour in support of 2017’s Grammy-nominated, self-titled debut, which saw him collaborate with A$AP Rocky, Damon Albarn and Christine and the Queens. Now he’s got to figure out how to play his forthcoming new album RYC (Raw Youth Collage) with a full band, hence the place looking like an unmanned stockroom.

While that sun-dappled first album poked and prodded at the pop zeitgeist, fusing tropical house and trap while joining the dots between Disclosure and Jamie xx, its grungier follow-up offers a sonic volte face. Out go the uplifting bangers and in come dense guitars – fuelled by his childhood obsessions with bands such as Joy Division, Talking Heads and Blur – and a lyrical heaviness that reflects, well, 2020. “[My debut] was about pop music, essentially, but trying to come at it from an oblique angle,” Crossan says, perched precariously on a cardboard box. “I think in the past five years that grand obelisk of ‘pop music’ has been destroyed, because as the next generation come in they’re really not interested in genres. Anything can become pop.” He also sees the lyrical themes of this new, looser kind of “pop” shifting, too. “I think there’s a real appetite for vulnerability and emotional transparency. We’ve had a good decade of ‘Put your hands in the air like you just don’t care’ and people are like: ‘This isn’t reflective of what’s happening geopolitically any more.’” He smiles knowingly at that last bit. “They want something that connects to the world they’re living in, and I think there’s something about the guitar that’s really expressive.”

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Mura Masa: RYC review – so mediocre, it’s not even entertainingly bad

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Fri 10 Jan 2020 9:00 am

Clairo, Tirzah and Slowthai and other guests can’t polish the turds on producer Alex Crossan’s profoundly awful second album

It’s never easy being young, and perhaps it is harder than ever, what with social media and the climate crisis sending youth anxiety rates soaring. This second album by the 23-year-old Grammy-winning British producer Alex Crossan – AKA Mura Masa – is about the understandable draw of nostalgia as an escape from today’s stresses, but it fills you with a different kind of flight impulse.

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Keeley Forsyth: how the Happy Valley actor became the new Scott Walker

Delivered... Jude Rogers | Scene | Thu 9 Jan 2020 5:00 pm

She was enjoying a successful if gruelling film and TV career when serious illness struck. But Forsyth has channelled that experience into a bleakly beautiful avant-garde album

Yorkshire is the backdrop to many disquieting works of art, such as David Peace’s Red Riding Quartet, Bram Stoker’s Dracula and the Brontës’ explorations of the soul. The newest is Debris, an album made by a 40-year-old actor with a familiar, pale-eyed, haunting face, whom we have seen in recent years playing a sex worker in Sally Wainwright’s Happy Valley and heroin addicts in The Casual Vacancy and Waterloo Road.

Keeley Forsyth’s debut as a musician is an avant-garde proposition, however: a shivery descendent of Scott Walker’s Tilt, a more unsettling older sister of Aldous Harding’s Designer. Forsyth’s voice marries Peggy Lee’s bluesy vibrato with Nico’s thunderous terror, and delivers lyrics that invert nature, as a way of exploring despair. Large oaks descend and grow roots. Salt hills move. Madness unfurls.

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Georgia: Seeking Thrills review – a bold British hymn to hedonism | Alexis Petridis’ album of the week

Delivered... Alexis Petridis | Scene | Thu 9 Jan 2020 1:00 pm

The singer and producer has absorbed Chicago house, Robyn-style pop and dub reggae, and refashioned them into an album about being ‘consumed by night’

The photo on the cover of Georgia Barnes’s second album seems telling. At first glance, it looks like one of those classic late 80s/early 90s club shots that get ageing acid house veterans moist-eyed with nostalgia. If you were hopelessly prone to romanticising, you might imagine that the people in it were dancing to a track made by Barnes’s father Neil, one-half of progressive house pioneers Leftfield. But it isn’t anything of the sort. On closer examination, it’s not a vintage photo of a rave but of a kids’ party; a 1988 image by photographer Nancy Honey, titled St Stephen’s School Disco, Bath.

Related: Georgia: the DIY producer zooming up the Radio 1 A-list

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Coachella 2020 announced with headliners Rage Against the Machine, Travis Scott and Frank Ocean

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Fri 3 Jan 2020 11:06 am

Lana Del Rey, Calvin Harris and 21 Savage to also appear at California event that kicks off festival season

Coachella, the most high-profile music festival in the US, has announced its full lineup for 2020.

Political rap-rock band Rage Against the Machine headline the Friday of the two-weekend festival in April (each weekend featuring the same lineup), as part of their first tour since 2011. The band, which formed in 1991, released four albums before splitting in 2000. They re-formed in 2007, with their first concert at Coachella that year. Two years later, following a fan campaign, they scored an unlikely UK Christmas No 1 with their expletive-filled track Killing in the Name.

Weekend 1 is sold out Register for Weekend 2 presale at https://t.co/x8PRTb12Eh. Presale starts Monday 1/6 at 12pm PT pic.twitter.com/QPRYnJVe9P

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Ben Lee, Georgia Maq, Tame Impala: Australia’s best new music for January

Delivered... Nathan Jolly and Guardian Australia | Scene | Fri 3 Jan 2020 2:01 am

Each month we add 20 of the best new Australian songs to our Spotify playlist. Read about 10 of our favourites below – and subscribe on Spotify, which updates with the full list at the start of each month

Related: Woodford folk festival review – a much-needed moment of positivity and reprieve

Related: How American pop star Halsey responded to the bushfire crisis faster than Australia’s prime minister

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Sugar Sweet: the pilled-up rave that united Belfast during the Troubles

Delivered... Daniel Dylan Wray | Scene | Wed 1 Jan 2020 3:46 pm

Thirty years ago, David Holmes and Iain McCready’s event brought together communities who hated each other but needed to vent their fear: ‘Religion wasn’t a barrier any more’

‘Doing music as a career didn’t even register as something that was possible,” recalls DJ, producer and composer David Holmes. “Growing up in the Troubles, you just never felt things like that happened to people like you.”

Thirty years ago, Holmes was working as a hairdresser in a Belfast salon with fellow music obsessive Iain McCready. Holmes had been booking bands since the age of 15 and McCready was running underground hip-hop nights in the city. “We’re both blessed with a personality of not waiting around for things to happen,” says Holmes. “So we put on our own nights.” On 23 December 1989, the pair launched Sugar Sweet – initially called Base and then briefly The Face – a night that brought acid house and rave culture to Belfast with a mighty thump. Earlier this month, the pair threw a one-off 30th anniversary party to celebrate.

That sense of togetherness, when you’re staring down the barrel of a gun, gives you that extra bit of inspiration

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Beatrice Dillon: the most thrilling new artist in electronic music

Delivered... Chal Ravens | Scene | Fri 27 Dec 2019 7:00 am

The London musician is releasing her debut album after years of odd jobs and collaborations, pitting the highbrow against the homespun in masterfully light yet complex music

‘The computer always wins, that was my phrase.” Beatrice Dillon is explaining the sound of her debut album, Workaround, in which her computers spar with acoustic instruments played by a dozen guests ranging from cellist Lucy Railton to tabla player Kuljit Bhamra (who has an MBE for services to bhangra, Dillon points out proudly).

Related: Bradford bassline and ketamine-charged punk – 50 new artists for 2020

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