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


Flying Lotus: Flamagra review – stuck in a cosmic time-warp

Delivered... Damien Morris | Scene | Sun 26 May 2019 7:59 am

(Warp)

Steven “FlyLo” Ellison usually releases an album of his collapsed nu-jazz every other year to roaring acclaim, but has spent much of the past half-decade producing for Kendrick, mentoring Thundercat and rowing back his imbecilic defence of alleged rapist the Gaslamp Killer. This long-delayed sixth album, weakly based around the concept of fire, is a mixtape sprawl with high-profile features including David Lynch, Solange and Little Dragon. Yet despite being so revered for futurism, Ellison often settles for retreading his past. It feels like these are 27 job applications for top production gigs, rather than songs.

It’s a treat to hear Anderson .Paak and the flame he always brings to a booth on More, but it’s a rare highlight. Burning Down the House refamiliarises us with late-period George Clinton, sounding more than ever like a man struggling to unfold a map on a tram, backed by funk that’s far more Z than P.

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Natalie Portman criticises ‘creepy’ Moby over ‘disturbing’ account of friendship

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Wed 22 May 2019 10:16 am

Musician says in memoir the pair dated, but Portman disputes account, saying ‘my recollection is a much older man being creepy with me’

Natalie Portman has criticised Moby for a “very disturbing” account of their friendship in his new memoir Then It Fell Apart.

In the book, the musician, now 53, claims the pair dated when he was 33 and Portman was 20, after she met him backstage in Austin, Texas. He recounts going to parties in New York with her, and to see her at Harvard University, “kissing under the centuries-old oak trees. At midnight she brought me to her dorm room and we lay down next to each other on her small bed. After she fell asleep I carefully extracted myself from her arms and took a taxi back to my hotel.” He says that he then struggled with anxiety about their relationship: “It wanted one thing: for me to be alone … nothing triggered my panic attacks more than getting close to a woman I cared about.” Later, he writes: “For a few weeks I had tried to be Natalie’s boyfriend, but it hadn’t worked out,” writing that she called to tell him she had met someone else.

Related: Then It Fell Apart by Moby review – sex, drugs and self-loathing

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Stockhausen: the composer who makes Wagner look anaemic

Delivered... Kate Molleson | Scene | Tue 21 May 2019 4:50 pm

His ego knew no bounds … but nor did his operas that feature camels, helicopters and giant pencil sharpeners. As his epic Donnerstag aus Licht comes to the UK for the first time in 34 years, we separate the cult from the culture of Karlheinz Stockhausen

Matched in musical-myth-mania perhaps only by Richard Wagner, Karlheinz Stockhausen is the ultimate conundrum for those of us who believe keenly in shifting classical music culture away from its alpha-male genius complex – but are still enthralled by the music. Do we get to have it both ways?

The German-born composer was the self-mythologiser extraordinaire who had entrancing charisma, bullish intelligence, no shortage of game-changing opinions, nor shortage of confidence with which to assert them. A guru with disciples and rivals, he fostered a personality cult that went way beyond his music to encompass fashion, spirituality, even a galactic origin story. Isn’t this precisely the artist-as-hero narrative we need to dismantle?

He declared that God gave birth to him on the star Sirius, and that he was musically educated up there in the galaxy

Sink into Donnerstag and you'll hear wondrous orchestral kaleidoscopics, vocal elasticity, vintage 70s electronic wizardry

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The month’s best mixes: steely funk, Lisbon tarraxo and hardcore psychedelia

Delivered... Lauren Martin | Scene | Tue 21 May 2019 1:00 pm

Our May selection features Job Sifre’s bitter electro, TSVI’s polyrhythms, and a trip down memory lane with Tama Sumo

Related: 'We're not beard-strokers!' Wigflex, Nottingham's 'rudeboy techno' night

Related: The month's best mixes: dancefloor stormers and experimental sidewinders

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Beats, rhymes and strife: how ravers raised the roof on mass protest

Delivered... Libby Brooks | Scene | Fri 17 May 2019 12:55 pm

A new film about Glasgow’s thumping 90s clubland traces a lineage of grassroots radicalism still thriving today

Beats is a gem of a film that has drawn attention not just for its exuberant depiction of early 1990s rave culture but the deeper questions it raises, 25 years on, about the legislation that criminalised the free party movement – and about how the UK pivoted from Reclaim the Streets, via Cool Britannia, to Brexit Britain.

Set in the summer of 1994, as the Criminal Justice Bill threatened to outlaw musical gatherings around “sounds wholly or predominantly characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats”, the film charts the friendship – by turns madcap and tender – between teenagers Johnno and Spanner as they struggle to escape the restrictions of family and class on their West Lothian housing estate. With the help of a sisterly gang of older girls, the boys bounce into their local rave scene and soak up the ethic that “the only good system is a sound system, and if I can’t dance then it’s not my revolution”.

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The best UK garage tracks – ranked!

Delivered... Alexis Petridis | Scene | Thu 16 May 2019 5:38 pm

It’s 20 years since Sweet Like Chocolate became the biggest UK garage hit. Time to re-rewind and select the scene’s best tracks

The apotheosis of UK garage as pop, Sweet Like Chocolate was a platinum-selling No 1 in 1999. A noticeably more toothsome and commercial take on garage than its predecessor – Straight from the Heart, recorded when Shanks & Bigfoot were still called Doolally – it was apparently beloved of Britney Spears.

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Actress x Stockhausen Sin (x) II review – transcendent AI-driven opera

Delivered... John Lewis | Scene | Wed 15 May 2019 12:47 pm

Royal Festival Hall, London
DJ and producer Actress strays even further from the dancefloor as he takes on Stockhausen’s famously over the top Mittwoch by sampling Westminster debates

You can see why Karlheinz Stockhausen might appeal to the DJ and producer Darren Cunningham, AKA Actress. Like Stockhausen, Actress makes mischievous soundscapes that gleefully cite arcane references, from absurdist Japanese painter Yayoi Kusama to sculptor Anish Kapoor, from Milton’s Paradise Lost to Jungian psychology.

Tonight’s performance is loosely based on the opening act of Mittwoch, part of Stockhausen’s bonkers 29-hour opera cycle Licht. The complete work famously features a dancing camel and a quartet of cellos, each playing in separate airborne helicopters. This section is adapted from the opening act, Welt-Parliament, in which a group of politicians – played by a medieval-style plainsong choir – discuss the meaning of love. (Tonight’s script uses actual quotes from a recent Westminster debate.)

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‘We’re not beard-strokers!’ Wigflex, Nottingham’s ‘rudeboy techno’ night

Delivered... Martin Guttridge-Hewitt | Scene | Mon 13 May 2019 3:47 pm

With its hotchpotch of electro, breakbeat and garage, Wigflex has become a beacon in Nottingham where ‘there’s not loads of things to do, so people come and forget their troubles’

When soulful singer-songwriter Yazmin Lacey first met Lukas Cole, AKA Lukas Wigflex, she told him his party didn’t sound appealing. “He’s like, ‘Yeah come down!’ And I told him I wasn’t really into that kind of music,” she says. “There’s not a lot of people I know running nights that would stand there at a house party and take that on the chin.”

Accepting a free ticket anyway, Lacey put her theory to the test, and lost. Still not always sold on techno, she’s now a Wigflex regular, lured on to the dancefloor by the open attitude and lack of black-clad affectation Nottingham’s most respected nocturnal session is known for.

Related: 10 of the best city music festivals in the UK for 2019

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‘We’re not beard-strokers!’ Wigflex, Nottingham’s ‘rudeboy techno’ night

Delivered... Martin Guttridge-Hewitt | Scene | Mon 13 May 2019 3:47 pm

With its hotchpotch of electro, breakbeat and garage, Wigflex has become a beacon in Nottingham where ‘there’s not loads of things to do, so people come and forget their troubles’

When soulful singer-songwriter Yazmin Lacey first met Lukas Cole, AKA Lukas Wigflex, she told him his party didn’t sound appealing. “He’s like, ‘Yeah come down!’ And I told him I wasn’t really into that kind of music,” she says. “There’s not a lot of people I know running nights that would stand there at a house party and take that on the chin.”

Accepting a free ticket anyway, Lacey put her theory to the test, and lost. Still not always sold on techno, she’s now a Wigflex regular, lured on to the dancefloor by the open attitude and lack of black-clad affectation Nottingham’s most respected nocturnal session is known for.

Related: 10 of the best city music festivals in the UK for 2019

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How a new coming-of-age indie captures the spirit of illegal raves

Delivered... Steve Rose | Scene | Mon 13 May 2019 10:00 am

Beats is the latest film to focus on 90s rave culture and its political implications

Incredible as it seems now, in 1994, the British government attempted to outlaw dance music. Like a resentful preacher in a repressive small American town, John Major’s government imposed the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act (CJA), which sought to smite down upon the public menace known as “rave culture”. Triggered by the outbreak of peace, ecstasy and illegal partying that swept Britain in the late 1980s and early 90s, the CJA ushered in new curtailments of civil liberty, the most notorious being Section 63 (1) (b), which legally defined the troublesome music as that which “includes sounds wholly or predominantly characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats.”

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How a new coming-of-age indie captures the spirit of illegal raves

Delivered... Steve Rose | Scene | Mon 13 May 2019 10:00 am

Beats is the latest film to focus on 90s rave culture and its political implications

Incredible as it seems now, in 1994, the British government attempted to outlaw dance music. Like a resentful preacher in a repressive small American town, John Major’s government imposed the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act (CJA), which sought to smite down upon the public menace known as “rave culture”. Triggered by the outbreak of peace, ecstasy and illegal partying that swept Britain in the late 1980s and early 90s, the CJA ushered in new curtailments of civil liberty, the most notorious being Section 63 (1) (b), which legally defined the troublesome music as that which “includes sounds wholly or predominantly characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats.”

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Holly Herndon: Proto review – dizzying beauty and bracing beats

Delivered... Emily Mackay | Scene | Sun 12 May 2019 8:00 am
(4AD)

Related: Holly Herndon: the musician who birthed an AI baby

It’s credit to Holly Herndon’s skill as a musical guide that her third album, though up to its elbows in complex ideas, feels so invigorating. Her boldest attempt yet to reconfigure modern dilemmas musical, technological and philosophical, it looks back, finding inspiration in the church choirs of her youth, and leaps forward, with a self-designed “AI baby” called Spawn – no android overlord, but just another member of her ensemble.

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Laurence Pike: Holy Spring review – cosmic drum trips

Delivered... Neil Spencer | Scene | Sun 12 May 2019 8:00 am
(The Leaf Label)

A solo album by an improvisational drummer would in most circumstances elicit a wary groan, but Australia’s Laurence Pike is no ordinary percussionist. He’s played with a miscellany of jazzers (notably pianist Mike Nock), and embraced genres from psych to electronica to spiritual jazz. Nonetheless, his 2018 debut, Distant Early Warning, was a surprise, blending Pike’s rhythmic skills with sounds culled from a drumpad sampler to create an uber-ambient suite, part acoustic, part electronic.

Holy Spring doubles down on that approach with impressive results. It’s inspired by Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring (Russian title Sacred Spring), and aims “to connect with something universal”. It certainly does. Pieces such as Dance of the Earth rumble and thud, overlaid by splashes of cymbals, with more rhythmic trickery than Reich or Glass could serve up. Drum Chant, with indigenous Australian clapsticks in the mix, evokes the pulse of that continent’s vast, red interior. Elsewhere, it’s deep space that is conjured up. On Daughter of Mars, aliens appear to be calling to the blue planet, while the title track could serve as the soundtrack for a close encounter. Full of morphing grooves and moods of imminent revelation, it’s a quicksilver delight.

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Four Tet review – let there be lights and a touch of magic

Delivered... Kitty Empire | Scene | Sat 11 May 2019 2:00 pm

Alexandra Palace, London
Kieran Hebden hits a new career high as he brings his eclectic club music to the masses with a dazzling stage show

Daylight is still streaming in through the stained glass of this secular cathedral at the top of north London when Kieran Hebden, known most often as Four Tet, starts triggering noises from his rig. The enduring light of late spring underscores how early it is by the standards of electronic music: not long after 8.30pm.

And yet roughly 10,000 excited people are crammed in and around a large rectangular section at the centre of the hall, where dangling ropes of lightbulbs create an immersive 3D space. This is Four Tet’s renowned light show, designed by Squidsoup, lighting artists who have been working with him since 2015: a “30m x 30m volume of lights, over 40,000 individually addressable points”, they specify.

Hebden has arrived at a particularly sweet spot. Tech has set Four Tet free. Tonight’s gig is very 'Insta-ready'

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Jamila Woods: Legacy! Legacy! review – joyful, loving testimony to black artists

Delivered... Aimee Cliff | Scene | Fri 10 May 2019 10:30 am

(Jagjaguwar)

On her 2016 debut Heavn, musician, teacher and activist Jamila Woods crafted an ode to her home town of Chicago, and a new kind of protest music. Her contemplative, modern style of soul is built both for marching, and for recuperation, when you need to recover from the fight.

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