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


Ministry of Sound’s Love Island compilation

Delivered... Gavin Haynes | Scene | Fri 20 Jul 2018 1:00 pm

As we ponder the difference between a compilation and a playlist, can MoS’s latest offering mug off the threat of streaming?

Have you heard Love Island: The Pool Party yet? You really shouldn’t. The compilation album features Little Mix and Cheat Codes’ Only You, and various other bangers in that modern vernacular where “summer” is a PC plugin, and DJ Khaled is only ever seconds away from shouting his own name. True to the tag, this is an album you’d love if you’d spent your childhood locked in a darkened room with just ITVBe for company, so that you could only communicate in clucking emotional cliches. Regardless of if you were that Kaspar Hauser of electro-schlock or not, you’d still be left with a very big question: “Why am I buying a compilation album in 2018?”

Besides the still surprisingly big Now That’s What I Call ... series, the streaming world has bulldozed the genre. What’s the difference between a compilation and a playlist? About six minutes in the Spotify search bar. It is no coincidence that the next Fabric album, Fabric 100, will be the label’s last. Upmarket comps such as Back to Mine, AnotherLateNight and Under the Influence petered out nearly a decade ago. But what about the behemoth of them all, Ministry of Sound? Well, it’s putting out Love Island: The Pool Party, as it happens.

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Techno star Helena Hauff: ‘Every woman who DJs and is visible helps to make a change’

Delivered... Joe Muggs | Scene | Fri 20 Jul 2018 9:00 am

The German musician’s only ambition was to play her local bar, but the noisy, neo-gothic sound of her new album, Qualm, has put her on the cusp of clubland’s big league

‘When I wear a lot of black, it’s probably not a conscious decision: it’s more that you can’t see the tomato sauce stains.” This is a perfect moment of German deadpanning from Helena Hauff, a musician and DJ not inclined to take things seriously, even as she is treated with reverence by the club world.

In the five years since she started releasing tracks, she has become a figurehead for a noisy, neo-gothic imperative in techno, delivering live and DJ sets of sometimes terrifying strobe-lit intensity that triangulate perfectly between acid house energy and industrial harshness. The almost entirely live jams of her new album, Qualm, are the best attempt yet to bottle that lightning; they are likely to push her into clubland’s big league.

I can’t think of one thing that is new, really new – that isn’t in any way something that's been done before

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Ebony Bones: Nephilim review – jittery post-punk seething at racist violence

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Fri 20 Jul 2018 9:00 am

(1984 Records)

This album of jittery post-punk and sweeping trip-hop is so ambitious, it’s little wonder one-time soap actor Ebony Bones has only made three of them in 10 years. Not only does she write and produce all of the tracks, there is orchestral input from the Beijing Philharmonic and a searing lyric sheet that addresses injustice against black people across the diaspora. It starts ponderously – the four-note theme of the two opening tracks is reminiscent of a Bernard Herrmann or Clint Mansell score, but this basic, undercooked melody is too weak to prop anything up. The true overture is Ghrelin Games, an Army of Me-esque industrial monster; its latent juke energy is teased out further on the even more impressive Kids of Coltan, an interrogation of mineral mining in the DRC.

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Contemporary album of the month: Walton: Black Lotus

Delivered... John Lewis | Scene | Fri 20 Jul 2018 7:15 am

The electronic minimalist composer takes apart the sonic signatures of grime music and reassembles them with clockwork precision

The writer Albert Goldman once observed that every dance craze – from ragtime to rumba to rave – tends to go through a similar life cycle. Each starts as slightly scandalous underground scene that is painted as a symptom of decadence and criminality. It then goes overground, reaching out beyond its core demographic. It then fades from the mainstream and starts a gradual process of gentrification, to be curated by ethnomusicologists and rare-groove archivists.

It’s a cycle we’ve seen repeated for more than a century: from tango to techno, from habanera to hip-hop. Weirdly, with grime – a music that’s been a part of the British musical landscape for nearly 20 years – all of these stages are still happening simultaneously. Grime is still scandalous (and parochial) enough to attract massive police attention, mainstream enough to spawn such huge stars as Stormzy and Skepta, yet gentrified enough to attract the attention of highbrow bloggers who’ll archive pirate radio recordings and rhapsodise about grime’s references to gamelan and Steve Reich.

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Now for a lampshade solo: how the Radiophonic Workshop built the future of sound

Delivered... Pascal Wyse | Scene | Wed 18 Jul 2018 6:00 am

They chased bees, raided junkyards and banged household objects. Now, half a century on, the Radiophonic Workshop are festival material. Meet the sound effect visionaries whose jobs came with a health warning

In 1957, just before the broadcast of a radio show called Private Dreams and Public Nightmares, a warning was sent to BBC engineers. “Don’t attempt to alter anything that sounds strange,” it said. “It’s meant to sound that way.” The BBC was also worried about the public. Donald McWhinnie, the programme’s maker, made an explanatory statement, ending with the cheerful signoff: “One thought does occur – would it not be more illuminating to play the whole thing backwards?”

Radiophonic sound was now in the public domain. A year later, to the bewilderment of many, the BBC dedicated a whole workshop to this avant-garde stuff, even giving it a home in an old ice rink: Maida Vale Studios. Years later, the Queen, shaking hands with the Workshop’s creator, Desmond Briscoe, would confirm its universal success with the words: “Ah yes, Doctor Who.”

A doctor advised that that no one should work there for more than three months – for the sake of their sanity

It was a place where you could bump into Karlheinz Stockhausen and Lulu in the same canteen queue

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How we made: Roni Size on the Mercury-winning album New Forms

Delivered... Interviews by Dave Simpson | Scene | Tue 17 Jul 2018 6:00 am

‘We just went to the Mercury prize ceremony to scoff all the free food and alcohol. Then Eddie Izzard said: You’ve won!’

I was born Ryan Owen Granville Williams but, because I was lighter-skinned, everyone called me Roni, after the only white character in the film Babylon. I was quite short and if my mates were talking about a girl, they’d say: “Oh, she’s Roni’s size.” So that’s how I came up with the name Roni Size.

Related: Roni Size’s favourite tracks

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Lovebox review – Childish Gambino leads diverse corrective to Trump visit

Delivered... Natty Kasambala | Scene | Mon 16 Jul 2018 11:52 am

Gunnersbury Park, London
While SZA was delayed by the Trump protests, other artists were energised – including Childish Gambino, who scaled up his music to unprecedented size

The Trump visit – and subsequent protests – coinciding with Lovebox affected the festival in more ways than one. Besides SZA’s highly anticipated set being cut after just four songs, reportedly due to a late arrival because of the protests, the political events also inspired an air of resistance. From those donning anti-Trump protest gear to a rhetoric of encouragement among performers, including Childish Gambino who was “proud to see that big balloon”, a resounding optimism permeates Gunnersbury Park. The diversity of talented voices across the weekend, particularly given the festival’s notable US weighting, served as perfect opposition to political uncertainty arising here in the UK and across the Atlantic.

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Lotic: Power review – gnarly, emotionally powerful electronica

Delivered... Kate Hutchinson | Scene | Sun 15 Jul 2018 8:00 am
(Tri Angle)

Berlin-based electronic artist Lotic is from the school of fractured beat-makers like Arca, Sophie and Elysia Crampton who elude genre and gender boundaries – and whose blunt, mechanistic club creations are not for the faint of heart. According to Lotic, who prefers to use the pronoun “they”, their debut album is less abrasive than previous material, making the unlistenable danceable. Bulletproof’s toppling drums suggest a ninja running across rooftops, while The Warp and the Weft is the gnarliest attack of gabba since DJ Scotch Egg. Hunted, meanwhile, is an intriguing slice of ghostly gospel with sinister whispers of “brown skin, masculine frame/ head’s a target”.

It’s easy to hear why Björk is a fan: Lotic’s baroque shimmer-strings have a similar synthetically sweet quality to Arca’s co-production on her albums Vulnicura and Utopia. And like Vulnicura – as track titles such as Resilience, with its chainsaw-savage groove, and smoky ballad Solace suggest – this is an album about finding inner strength. The result is a fearless and powerful debut.

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Sophie on Madonna: ‘Her work is so vast – there’s a reference for any situation’

Delivered... As told to Kathryn Bromwich | Scene | Sun 15 Jul 2018 8:00 am

The electronic music producer, DJ and musician on Madonna’s continuing musical influence

• Thurston Moore on Madonna: ‘She had credibility, she was really ahead of the game’

In my mind, Madonna created the blueprint for modern pop stars. Her creativity has gone further, wider and longer than anyone else I can think of; I feel like her songs have been consistently memorable and meaningful. I have loved all of Madonna’s different phases at different points, but I think the Bedtime Stories era [1994] is really intriguing, especially the production – it has a unique feeling. It’s so much more fully formed and sexy than a lot of the trip-hop stuff that was coming out around that time. It’s definitely been an influence on my own music​.

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One to Watch: Ross from Friends

Delivered... Ammar Kalia | Scene | Sat 14 Jul 2018 1:59 pm
Producer Felix Clary Weatherall’s debut album is inspired by his dance music upbringing

This isn’t a debut music project from David Schwimmer, but the tongue-in-cheek moniker of British record producer Felix Clary Weatherall.

Raised in Colchester, Essex, in a musical household – his father designed electronic and techno sound systems, and met Weatherall’s mother during a tour of Europe in 1990 – Weatherall was drawn to the lo-fi sounds of his father’s analogue tapes and synthesisers, and working in music seemed a natural progression. Having released a number of propulsive dancefloor singles on UK labels Magicwire and Lobster Theremin, he has now graduated to LA beat-maker Flying Lotus’s Brainfeeder labe, and his debut album, Family Portrait, arrives later this month.

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Lotic: Power review – outsider electronics on the dancefloor

Delivered... Kieran Yates | Scene | Fri 13 Jul 2018 9:30 am

Tri-Angle

Houston-born, Berlin-dwelling electronic experimentalist Lotic describes this debut album, which was made sporadically over a period of two years, following a host of mixtapes and EPs since 2011, as “an expansive exploration of the many ways in which power can be expressed and experienced”. And you can feel that power trickle and swell throughout.

You can sense the power of physical movement, most vigorously in the title track, which splices drum beats with something halfway between a video game glitch and a thrash metal sample, plus zings of sound zipping past your head. You also feel it in the power struggle on the playful, creeping Fragility, which teases with warm, disparate chord progressions, cut off before you can find a beat. The sparse, aptly named Love and Light gently sets the listener up to receive the more obviously power-rich tracks such as Hunted, a bass-driven R&B-style track that pairs whispers about “brown skin” with looped wails.

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Techno titan Nina Kraviz: ‘People were suspicious of a pretty woman making music’

Delivered... Kate Hutchinson | Scene | Thu 12 Jul 2018 2:30 pm

The Russian producer became techno’s most divisive figure after filming an interview in the bath. Here, she discusses sexism, her ‘emotional’ DJ sets and raving on the Great Wall of China

Musicians are often said to be on top of the world, but rarely are they actually perched on one of its wonders. Way up in the misty hills of Mutianyu, north-east of Beijing, the Siberian DJ and producer Nina Kraviz is soundtracking sunrise at the Great Wall of China. Forty ravers have gathered on an ancient watchtower to dance as dawn breaks, while two replicas of terracotta army soldiers preside over the decks beside her.

A few hours earlier, the authorities had cut short Kraviz’s headline show at a nearby festival, claiming – incorrectly – that it was overrunning. So, this otherworldly afterparty feels subversive. It is being livestreamed on Facebook, which is banned in China, along with most western social media. Wine is passed around as though it is the prohibition era. Kraviz’s metallic sound feels thunderous enough to bring the terracotta warriors to life.

They couldn’t handle me. It was like​: ‘It cannot be true that you can have lipstick on and make music’

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Readers recommend playlist: your songs about deserts

Delivered... Scott Blair | Scene | Thu 12 Jul 2018 12:00 pm

Tinariwen, Robert Plant, Brand New Heavies and Big Country are among the artists making this week’s reader-curated list

Here is this week’s playlist – songs picked by a reader from hundreds of your suggestions last week. Thanks for taking part. Read more about how our weekly series works at the end of the piece.

Taking a spin in the RR chair is always an educational experience, but last week proved particularly enlightening. As ever, it expanded my musical horizons, but the topic of deserts also highlighted my lifelong ineptitude when it comes to basic global geography.

Related: Tinariwen review – desert blues with soul and prowess

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50 great tracks for July from Drake, Ebony Bones, Low and more

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas and Laura Snapes | Scene | Tue 10 Jul 2018 10:58 am

From Nicki Minaj’s sex chat to Blawan’s masterful minimal techno, here are 50 great new tracks from across the musical spectrum. Read about our favourite 10 and subscribe to the playlist

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Oneohtrix Point Never review – journey to a jaw-dropping sonic dystopia

Delivered... Chal Ravens | Scene | Mon 9 Jul 2018 1:11 pm

Barbican, London
Backed by a talented band, electronic visionary Daniel Lopatin creates a surrealist vision of machine vying with man

The big picture, by its nature, is tricky to grasp. In an age of melting ice caps and deadly heatwaves, surprisingly few musicians have tackled the calamity awaiting us. But through his increasingly unclassifiable albums, American electronic musician Daniel Lopatin – AKA Oneohtrix Point Never – has been edging towards the precipice for a closer look. His latest, Age Of, is a dizzying synthesis of the concepts he has been toying with since his 2013 album R Plus Seven: high-definition computer music, abstract in shape yet piercingly emotional. Age Of, according to Lopatin, is imagined as the sentimental musings of some advanced artificial intelligence looking back on the follies of humanity. The album evolved from a “concertscape” called Myriad, which Lopatin brings to London on a sticky summer night.

The multimedia performance is set against a backdrop of Nate Boyce’s grotesque CGI visuals and hanging sculptures, which loom like aborted HR Giger monsters. Lopatin is flanked by pianist Kelly Moran, drummer and percussionist Eli Keszler, and Aaron David Ross, who plays an array of cinematic synths and special effects They pull off a jaw-dropping performance: a faithful yet fluid rendition of an album that, on record, seems laden with computer-assisted compositional quirks no human could master.

Related: Oneohtrix Point Never: Age Of review – a subversion of expectations

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