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


Josh Pyke, the Veronicas, Lime Cordiale and more: Australian music for isolated times

Delivered... Guardian Staff | Scene | Sat 4 Jul 2020 12:00 am

Each week we add 15 (or so) new songs to a Spotify playlist to soundtrack your physical distancing amid coronavirus – and help artists you love get paid


As some states begin to slowly open back up, Australia’s arts industry is still largely in lockdown – and the music industry was hit harder, and earlier, than most others. But until large gatherings and gigs happen again, there are small things you can do: it’s an imperfect solution, but streaming Australian music can help.

Each week, in partnership with Sounds Australia, Guardian Australia will add some 15 new songs to a playlist for you to put on repeat.

Related: Drive-in concerts: music to the ears of audience- (and cash-) starved bands

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Denai Moore: Modern Dread review – hypnotic, surrealist bid for freedom

Delivered... Timi Sotire | Scene | Fri 3 Jul 2020 9:00 am

(Because Music)
Moore’s genre-blending electronic pop is an unsettling exploration of isolation and selfhood in an over-connected age

In her previous releases Elsewhere and We Used to Bloom, British-Jamaican artist Denai Moore incorporated R&B, folk and electronic influences, positioning her sound as having no boundaries. For her third album, her genre-blending tracks explore the paradoxical isolation that arises in an age when we are supposedly more connected than ever.

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Denai Moore: Modern Dread review – hypnotic, surrealist bid for freedom

Delivered... Timi Sotire | Scene | Fri 3 Jul 2020 9:00 am

(Because Music)
Moore’s genre-blending electronic pop is an unsettling exploration of isolation and selfhood in an over-connected age

In her previous releases Elsewhere and We Used to Bloom, British-Jamaican artist Denai Moore incorporated R&B, folk and electronic influences, positioning her sound as having no boundaries. For her third album, her genre-blending tracks explore the paradoxical isolation that arises in an age when we are supposedly more connected than ever.

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Beck’s greatest songs – ranked!

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Thu 2 Jul 2020 3:00 pm

As the prince of American alternative turns 50, we select his finest moments, from bluegrass ballads to breakup masterpieces and ‘beefcake pantyhose’

Beck’s most recent album, Hyperspace, was a missed opportunity, a gorgeously produced modern R&B album with barely any strong tunes. But See Through is good – its wash of synths paired with a staccato chorus makes it evocative of Swae Lee.

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Beck’s greatest songs – ranked!

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Thu 2 Jul 2020 3:00 pm

As the prince of American alternative turns 50, we select his finest moments, from bluegrass ballads to breakup masterpieces and ‘beefcake pantyhose’

Beck’s most recent album, Hyperspace, was a missed opportunity, a gorgeously produced modern R&B album with barely any strong tunes. But See Through is good – its wash of synths paired with a staccato chorus makes it evocative of Swae Lee.

Continue reading...

Arca: Kick I review – dissonance meets overground ambitions

Delivered... Kitty Empire | Scene | Sun 28 Jun 2020 9:00 am

(XL)
The Venezuelan electronic innovator adds guests and party tunes to her trademark glitchy sounds

The Venezuela-born, Barcelona-based electronic innovator Arca has long made a feature of colliding sound-worlds and destabilising identities. Across three albums (four, if you’re counting the 62-minute track @@@@@) of mercurial productions, chaos and beauty have intertwined. Hand in hand with Arca’s fluid, writhing music have come inquiries into post-gender and non-binary selves.

KiCk I offers up an even broader palette than previously, while keeping up a steady diet of trademark dissonance alongside those slightly more overground ambitions. Stark album opener Nonbinary comes out fighting on behalf of “self-states”, while a handful of tracks plumb Arca’s Latinx heritage even more assiduously than previously: Mequetrefe is as close to pop as this artist has come; Riquiqui features a plethora of rhythmic Spanish voices over intricate clatter.

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Washington, Wagons, Gordi and more: Australian music for isolated times

Delivered... Guardian Staff | Scene | Fri 26 Jun 2020 9:00 pm

Each week we add 15 (or so) new songs to a Spotify playlist to soundtrack your physical distancing amid coronavirus – and help artists you love get paid

As some states begin to slowly open back up, Australia’s arts industry is still largely in lockdown – and the music industry was hit harder, and earlier, than most others. But until large gatherings and gigs happen again, there are small things you can do: it’s an imperfect solution, but streaming Australian music can help.

Each week, in partnership with Sounds Australia, Guardian Australia will add some 15 new songs to a playlist for you to put on repeat.

Continue reading...

Trax Records: Larry Heard and Robert Owens sue for $1m ‘unpaid’ royalties

Delivered... Laura Snapes | Scene | Fri 26 Jun 2020 10:41 am

A lawsuit accuses the house label of ‘masquerading as paternalistic benefactors’ for ‘musicians hungry for their first break’

The foundational house music producers Larry Heard (AKA Mr Fingers) and Robert Owens are suing Trax Records for allegedly unpaid royalties.

In a federal copyright infringement lawsuit filed in Illinois on 23 June, Heard and Owens accuse the legendary house label of “building its catalogue by taking advantage of unsophisticated but creative house music artists and songwriters by having them sign away their copyrights to their musical works for paltry amounts of money up front and promises of continued royalties throughout the life of the copyright”.

Related: 'It's all about feeling': Chicago dance great Larry Heard takes house to the heavens

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Arca: KiCk i review – joyful sonic vision of what pop could be

Delivered... John Twells | Scene | Thu 25 Jun 2020 1:00 pm

(XL)
Alejandra Ghersi’s new set is a subversive and mischievous fusion of aural fireworks and psychedelic lyricism aided by Björk, Shygirl, Rosalía and Sophie

Time, from Arca’s fourth album KiCk i, reduces a booming, bass-heavy 4/4 kick drum to a whisper that oscillates around Alejandra Ghersi’s blurry, anaesthetised words. “It’s time to let it out / And show the world,” she coos from a condemned space that evokes the atmosphere of a toilet stall at Berlin super-club Berghain. In the three years since her acclaimed 2017 album Arca, Ghersi has fallen in love and simultaneously found confidence from affirming her non-binary identity. If her previous album evoked a melancholy sci-fi opera set on a drifting space station, KiCk i is a live-streamed party, finding Ghersi at her most unrestrained, mischievous and joyful.

When something doesn't work, the failure acts as a reminder of the complexity of existence. Perfection is not revolutionary, but change is

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Arca: KiCk i review – joyful sonic vision of what pop could be

Delivered... John Twells | Scene | Thu 25 Jun 2020 1:00 pm

(XL)
Alejandra Ghersi’s new set is a subversive and mischievous fusion of aural fireworks and psychedelic lyricism aided by Björk, Shygirl, Rosalía and Sophie

Time, from Arca’s fourth album KiCk i, reduces a booming, bass-heavy 4/4 kick drum to a whisper that oscillates around Alejandra Ghersi’s blurry, anaesthetised words. “It’s time to let it out / And show the world,” she coos from a condemned space that evokes the atmosphere of a toilet stall at Berlin super-club Berghain. In the three years since her acclaimed 2017 album Arca, Ghersi has fallen in love and simultaneously found confidence from affirming her non-binary identity. If her previous album evoked a melancholy sci-fi opera set on a drifting space station, KiCk i is a live-streamed party, finding Ghersi at her most unrestrained, mischievous and joyful.

When something doesn't work, the failure acts as a reminder of the complexity of existence. Perfection is not revolutionary, but change is

Continue reading...

Good vibrations: how Bandcamp became the heroes of streaming

Delivered... Chal Ravens | Scene | Thu 25 Jun 2020 9:00 am

They waive their fees, raise cash for Juneteenth and champion everything from vaporwave to eco-grime. Founder Ethan Diamond explains how he did it

When Ethan Diamond founded Bandcamp in 2008, he imagined it an alternative to MySpace: an easy-to-use website where bands could interact with fans and sell music. Bandcamp would take care of the fiddly stuff – transcoding music into different formats, payments, analytics – and take a 15% cut of every sale. Five thousand miles away from Oakland, California, another startup millionaire was launching his own music service in Stockholm, one that would give listeners access to everything ever recorded. Spotify would be “better than piracy”, thought its 23-year-old creator, Daniel Ek.

In the decade afterwards, the music industry remade itself in Spotify’s image. Streaming services – including YouTube, Apple Music, Deezer and Tidal – signalled that the era of ownership was over. Who would want dusty vinyl or external hard drives if they could have all the music they wanted on their phone or laptop for a low subscription price? The result of this shift, as musicians from Taylor Swift to Thom Yorke to Joanna Newsom have complained, has been paltry payouts for artists and a consolidation of power among tech companies. Spotify has rarely turned a net profit, but it has 130 million paid subscribers and managed to scrape together $100m for a recent deal to host podcaster Joe Rogan exclusively.

A lot of independent labels waived their fees as well. Some gave to food banks and other organisations. Those labels aren't big corporations … that was amazing to see

People feel like their money is going somewhere, and not getting lost in this big black box of royalty nightmares

It can’t be that music is a commodity, or content to use to sell advertising. Artists have to come first

Continue reading...

Good vibrations: how Bandcamp became the heroes of streaming

Delivered... Chal Ravens | Scene | Thu 25 Jun 2020 9:00 am

They waive their fees, raise cash for Juneteenth and champion everything from vaporwave to eco-grime. Founder Ethan Diamond explains how he did it

When Ethan Diamond founded Bandcamp in 2008, he imagined it an alternative to MySpace: an easy-to-use website where bands could interact with fans and sell music. Bandcamp would take care of the fiddly stuff – transcoding music into different formats, payments, analytics – and take a 15% cut of every sale. Five thousand miles away from Oakland, California, another startup millionaire was launching his own music service in Stockholm, one that would give listeners access to everything ever recorded. Spotify would be “better than piracy”, thought its 23-year-old creator, Daniel Ek.

In the decade afterwards, the music industry remade itself in Spotify’s image. Streaming services – including YouTube, Apple Music, Deezer and Tidal – signalled that the era of ownership was over. Who would want dusty vinyl or external hard drives if they could have all the music they wanted on their phone or laptop for a low subscription price? The result of this shift, as musicians from Taylor Swift to Thom Yorke to Joanna Newsom have complained, has been paltry payouts for artists and a consolidation of power among tech companies. Spotify has rarely turned a net profit, but it has 130 million paid subscribers and managed to scrape together $100m for a recent deal to host podcaster Joe Rogan exclusively.

A lot of independent labels waived their fees as well. Some gave to food banks and other organisations. Those labels aren't big corporations … that was amazing to see

People feel like their money is going somewhere, and not getting lost in this big black box of royalty nightmares

It can’t be that music is a commodity, or content to use to sell advertising. Artists have to come first

Continue reading...

‘We’re not doing this to be ironic’: are 100 Gecs the world’s strangest band?

Delivered... Hannah Ewens | Scene | Tue 23 Jun 2020 9:00 am

Their music may sound like the internet melting but the US duo have found a cult of fevered fans, including fellow pop futurist Charli XCX

For many US musicians, the height of ambition is winning a Grammy award. More ambitious performers might aim for an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony). Bur, for the electronic duo 100 Gecs, only a PENOGT will suffice. “Pulitzer, Emmy, Nobel prize, Oscar, Grammy, Tony,” singer-instrumentalist Laura Les explains over video call. I haven’t heard that acronym before, I say. “We coined it, and it’s testament to our own ambition: there isn’t even a word for the shit we want.”

To those familiar with 100 Gecs, these aspirations might sound a tad inflated; some feel that the duo’s futuristic hyper-pop is too lo-fi, too entrenched in internet culture and unloved genres of the 90s and 00s (think chiptune, Nintendocore, German techno embarrassment Scooter), to be conceived of as anything but niche – so much so that the pair were accused, particularly at the start of their career, of being deliberately ironic, a postmodern inside gag. “It’s not a joke,” the band’s other half, producer Dylan Brady, reaffirms.

Related: The Guide: Staying In – sign up for our home entertainment tips

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Pet Shop Boys: where to start in their back catalogue

Delivered... Kate Solomon | Scene | Mon 15 Jun 2020 2:07 pm

In Listener’s digest, we help you explore the work of great musicians. Next: the peerless pop duo who elegantly delved into the big issues

Actually

Related: Neil Tennant on West End Girls: 'It's about sex and escape. It's paranoid'

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Kevin Figes Quartet: Changing Times review – constantly fascinating

Delivered... Dave Gelly | Scene | Sat 13 Jun 2020 4:00 pm

(Pig Records)
The multi-instrumentalist’s latest quartet recording is a mind-expanding feast for the ears

I didn’t think I was going to like this album at first, when greeted by the strains of an electronic sequencer. But this faded into a beautifully played flute solo. Then came some wordless chanting by two mysterious voices, leading to a horror-movie climax. As one piece followed another, the flute returned, this time apparently in an underground cavern. There were saxophones – baritone, alto and soprano, all impressively well played, and atmospheres, rhythms and textures that were constantly changing. It was fascinating. Even the bits that I couldn’t make head nor tail of were clearly the work of superb musicians.

Kevin Figes, who played all the saxophones, the flute and was one of the singing voices, composed all eight pieces. His first teacher was Elton Dea, saxophonist with the Soft Machine, who no doubt influenced his open attitude to music in general. The band is completed by Jim Blomfield on keyboards, bassist Thad Kelly, drummer Mark Whitlam and singer Emily Wright. I’m still intrigued by this music, even though parts continue to pass me by. Anyway, it does you good to stretch the ears from time to time.

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