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


Toro Y Moi: Outer Peace review – chillwave maven finds focused future funk

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Fri 18 Jan 2019 10:00 am

(Carpark Records)

It’s 10 years since the dawn of chillwave, the music scene that looked at synthpop, soft rock, reggae and more through a rose-tinted kaleidoscope while contemplating the day’s first craft IPA. Was its supremely unbothered demeanour the product of a time of relative harmony, or the only reasonable reaction to a banking crisis and recession: a music that turned from a future on fire to the softer warmth of the past? Anyway, the Brooklyn hipster culture that birthed it became the mainstream, most of the scene’s players presumably got bored and started cold-brew coffee startups, and the world got steadily worse.

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James Blake: Assume Form review – lovestruck producer turns dark into light | Alexis Petridis’ album of the week

Delivered... Alexis Petridis | Scene | Thu 17 Jan 2019 1:00 pm

Blake is clearly in a good place, unexpectedly embedded at the centre of pop culture, and his new album adds bright colours to his sound

It feels strange now to recall a time when James Blake’s elevation from underground post-dubstep auteur to hotly-tipped mainstream artist seemed like the result of a clerical error. It was hard not to be impressed by his eponymous 2011 debut album, but it was equally hard not to wonder whether this really was the stuff of which silver medals in the BBC Sound of … poll and spots on the Radio 1 A-list were made. If you listened to its sparse, abstract, deeply uncommercial assemblages of treated vocals, electronics and piano, there was something very odd indeed about his name being mentioned in the same breath as Jessie J.

Related: James Blake speaks out about struggle with depression

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Richard Youngs: Memory Ain’t No Decay review – into the edgelands with a musical gem

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Fri 11 Jan 2019 10:30 am

(Wayside & Woodland)

As many musicians fret, vacillate and self-medicate their way out of actually writing their next record, Richard Youngs just gets on with it. The Scotland-based singer-songwriter, operating since the early 90s, has released 17 albums in the last two years alone (not including collaborations such as the brilliant Scottish disco supergroup Amor) and has three more out this month, with Memory Ain’t No Decay joined soon by Onder/Stroom, a collaboration with Dutch electronic producers Frans de Waard and Peter Johan Nÿland, and another solo album, Dissident. His quavering yet strident voice is a bright silver thread through British music; his singing style, somewhere between conversation and benediction, recalls everything from sea shanties to Gaelic psalm singing, Mark E Smith to the Blue Nile’s Paul Buchanan. The neatest description of him probably comes in the title of his 2005 album The Naive Shaman.

Memory Ain’t No Decay’s three songs begin with the 15-minute stunner Edge of Everywhere. A blues guitar scratches rhythmically under a softer, echo-treated electric line, a combination that would be almost Balearic if it didn’t keep tripping up and going out of time – a technique that keeps the song constantly alive and alert. Youngs gives it one of his more spiritual vocal lines, even slightly reminiscent of devotional Punjabi singing. Still Learning is powered by a strummed guitar line that scans as generic on first listen, but extended over 11 minutes, its campfire familiarity becomes lulling, even meditative, topped with a kindly song from Youngs. The shorter Not My Eyes has an uncertain mass of bass tones and fingerpicking held together by steady plucking. Charged by Wayside & Woodland’s label head to consider the voguish psychogeographical concept of “edgelands” – spaces between the urban and rural – it would have been easy for Youngs to lapse into bland wonderment, but he ends up affirming that nature is both beautiful and impulsive.

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Sharon Van Etten: Remind Me Tomorrow review – assured, gorgeous electro-tinged progression

Delivered... Rachel Aroesti | Scene | Fri 11 Jan 2019 10:00 am

(Jagjaguwar)

Like all of Sharon Van Etten’s previous albums, 2014’s Are We There was preoccupied by a prior toxic relationship – co-dependency couched in a sour combination of abuse and affection. Its follow-up opens with a track that references that period of disquieting soul-baring in the form of a meta-confessional: I Told You Everything has Van Etten divulging the details of her traumatic past to a sympathetic new partner, but not the listener. It’s a move that acknowledges the musician’s suffering but also inches the story forward, hinting that the New Jersey native has a different life now (a suggestion confirmed by her hectic-sounding recent biography: over the past four years she has had a child, taken up acting and started studying for a degree in counselling). Change is something echoed in the sound of Remind Me Tomorrow too, a collection that sees Van Etten edge away from her trademark guitar and towards drones, piano and vintage synths.

Related: Sharon Van Etten: ‘The more I let go, the more I progress as a human being’

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The birth of Asian underground: ‘This music was for us and by us, and that was very powerful’

Delivered... Ammar Kalia | Scene | Fri 11 Jan 2019 9:00 am

Twenty years ago a new movement blending eastern sounds with electro and drum’n’bass arrived to give a generation of young British Asians a vibrant new voice. Why did it fade away so quickly?

When most Brits think of Asian music – if they do at all – they might conjure a twanging sitar and the high-pitched vocals of a Bollywood dance sequence blaring in an Indian restaurant, or the meditative chimes and chanting of a yoga session. In reality, of course, Asian music is a vast and diverse series of musical disciplines, and one that had been reduced, in the UK, to the reserve of anoraks and first-generation immigrants. But in the 90s, a scene came along to change all of that.

Twenty years ago, the Asian underground was born. A product of the first wave of Asian immigration into the UK in the early 60s and their children growing up in a newly diversifying society – one imbued with the racism of the National Front, as well as with a burgeoning multiculturalism from the Caribbean and west Africa – the music these first-generation British Asians made was full of internal tension. It was a mix of Indian classical instrumentals, Bollywood singing, jazz and the 90s club sounds of dub, drum’n’bass and jungle.

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‘If it moves me to tears, I’ve achieved what I wanted’: nature’s songwriter Erland Cooper

Delivered... Patrick Barkham | Scene | Tue 8 Jan 2019 2:13 pm

With geese as backing singers and a thousand children singing like starlings, the musician is sending his emotive ‘sonic postcards’ from Orkney to London

The rain lashes down, the wind whistles and a skein of pink-footed geese fly overhead, honking in the twilight, as Erland Cooper’s concert begins. Cley Marshes nature reserve on the Norfolk coast is an unusual place for a gig, but the perfect stage for an evening of music inspired by the birds of Orkney.

Cooper, known for the folk-rock of Erland and the Carnival and the more experimental soundscapes of the Magnetic North, migrated to new terrain for his debut solo album Solan Goose, released last year. With its combination of contemporary classical, ambient and electronica, it drew comparisons to Sigur Rós, Ólafur Arnalds and other music of northerly latitudes, as well as radio play and winning admirers in unexpected places, from literary figures including John Burnside and Robert Macfarlane.

I’m always trying to write the simplest thing, trying to do more with fewer notes

Nest, a light and sound installation, is in the grounds of the William Morris Gallery, London, 11-13 January. Erland Cooper is at Trades Club, Hebden Bridge, on 30 March and Milton Court, London, on 16 May. Solan Goose is out now on Phases Records.

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‘If it moves me to tears, I’ve achieved what I wanted’: nature’s songwriter Erland Cooper

Delivered... Patrick Barkham | Scene | Tue 8 Jan 2019 2:13 pm

With geese as backing singers and a thousand children singing like starlings, the musician is sending his emotive ‘sonic postcards’ from Orkney to London

The rain lashes down, the wind whistles and a skein of pink-footed geese fly overhead, honking in the twilight, as Erland Cooper’s concert begins. Cley Marshes nature reserve on the Norfolk coast is an unusual place for a gig, but the perfect stage for an evening of music inspired by the birds of Orkney.

Cooper, known for the folk-rock of Erland and the Carnival and the more experimental soundscapes of the Magnetic North, migrated to new terrain for his debut solo album Solan Goose, released last year. With its combination of contemporary classical, ambient and electronica, it drew comparisons to Sigur Rós, Ólafur Arnalds and other music of northerly latitudes, as well as radio play and winning admirers in unexpected places, from literary figures including John Burnside and Robert Macfarlane.

I’m always trying to write the simplest thing, trying to do more with fewer notes

Nest, a light and sound installation, is in the grounds of the William Morris Gallery, London, 11-13 January. Erland Cooper is at Trades Club, Hebden Bridge, on 30 March and Milton Court, London, on 16 May. Solan Goose is out now on Phases Records.

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‘If it moves me to tears, I’ve achieved what I wanted’: nature’s songwriter Erland Cooper

Delivered... Patrick Barkham | Scene | Tue 8 Jan 2019 2:13 pm

With geese as backing singers and a thousand children singing like starlings, the musician is sending his emotive ‘sonic postcards’ from Orkney to London

The rain lashes down, the wind whistles and a skein of pink-footed geese fly overhead, honking in the twilight, as Erland Cooper’s concert begins. Cley Marshes nature reserve on the Norfolk coast is an unusual place for a gig, but the perfect stage for an evening of music inspired by the birds of Orkney.

Cooper, known for the folk-rock of Erland and the Carnival and the more experimental soundscapes of the Magnetic North, migrated to new terrain for his debut solo album Solan Goose, released last year. With its combination of contemporary classical, ambient and electronica, it drew comparisons to Sigur Rós, Ólafur Arnalds and other music of northerly latitudes, as well as radio play and winning admirers in unexpected places, from literary figures including John Burnside and Robert Macfarlane.

I’m always trying to write the simplest thing, trying to do more with fewer notes

Nest, a light and sound installation, is in the grounds of the William Morris Gallery, London, 11-13 January. Erland Cooper is at Trades Club, Hebden Bridge, on 30 March and Milton Court, London, on 16 May. Solan Goose is out now on Phases Records.

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Tunisian techno, Xitsongan rap and Satanic doo-wop: the best new music of 2019

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas, Laura Snapes and Ammar Kalia | Scene | Fri 28 Dec 2018 11:00 am

From cheeky rappers to explosive hardcore punks, we introduce 50 artists sure to make an impact in the coming year

She has already sung backing vocals for Chance the Rapper, guested on Sam Smith’s last album and steals the show on Mark Ronson’s forthcoming LP of “sad bangers” – all because of a truly remarkable voice that marks her out as the coming year’s Adele. Here’s hoping her superhuman vocal control will be put to service on equally strong songs.

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Suede, Earl Sweatshirt and the Lovely Eggs: readers on their albums of 2018

Delivered... Guardian readers | Scene | Wed 26 Dec 2018 1:02 pm

Following our critics’ vote, we asked you to tell us what you have been listening to this year and why you think it’s worthy of celebration

A stunning reinvention of their sound which nevertheless sticks with the classic crooning tendencies and clever observational lyrics of Alex Turner. Favourite track: Four Out of Five is the obvious contender – a lead-off single with a festival-ready chorus. I also find The Ultracheese to be strangely moving. Guillaume, 35, France

Thank you for all your contributions and comments on our critics’ list – you can continue the conversation below

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Rezzett: Rezzett review – distressed dancefloor classics

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Fri 21 Dec 2018 11:00 am

The Trilogy Tapes

A bit like a pair of jeans that come pre-distressed with frays and scuffs, the debut full-length from dance duo Rezzett sounds like a once-pristine master recording that has been sun-baked, waterlogged, sandpapered and worse. And like the jeans, some might see this as a pointless pose: why resist high fidelity? But the pair – Tapes and an anonymous producer believed to be Lukid – announce the beauty in degradation, perhaps a grimly salutary lesson as our environment and politics are eroded. The album opens with a trio of excellent 4/4 techno tracks, getting huge mileage out of ethereal melody lines that soar as if through the smog generated by the industrial kick drums below them. They might sound like they were made on an eight-track, but they are actually powerfully dense, threaded with imaginative details such as the vocals that roil meaninglessly under Longboat.

But the album then broadens out stylistically, from beatless ambient (Yunus in Ekstasi) to frenetic jungle (Worst Ever Contender). In between there is Wet Bilge, a stretch of dub as dank and glittering as the title suggests; Tarang, a confidently high-speed blur of tabla and hymnal organ; and Gremlinz, a grime instrumental (perhaps a Terror Danjah homage?) with bright video-game tones glinting through the pond-water. Certainly influenced by Actress but more determinedly rooted to the dancefloor, Rezzett’s album shreds the veneered surface of digital dance to find the rich, raw grain beneath.

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Tell us: what was your album of 2018?

Delivered... Guardian readers | Scene | Fri 21 Dec 2018 7:00 am

We will publish a selection of readers’ favourite albums before the end of the year

After canvassing over 50 of our music writers and totting up their votes, we’ve announced our 50 best albums of the year, topped by Christine and the Queens’ sensual neo-boogie classic Chris.

But a list of 50 – and you can see the whole thing here – inevitably misses out out dozens of brilliant albums, so we’d love to hear from you about the recordings you think were unfairly overlooked by our vote. In love with the latest chapter of Father John Misty’s wry catalogue of self-obsession? Outraged that Guardian critics bucked their stereotype and didn’t reward Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s collaborative album? Did you think great soundtrack recordings – Black Panther, A Star is Born, Phantom Thread – should have been recognised?

If you’re having trouble using the form, click here. Read terms of service here.

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Berlin government pledges €1m to soundproof city’s nightclubs

Delivered... Antonia Wilson | Scene | Thu 20 Dec 2018 3:15 pm

Berlin’s club scene makes money for the city – and a lot of noise. A new initiative will soundproof venues, helping to protect clubs from closure

Clubbers of the world rejoice: the techno mecca of Berlin is to receive a €1m (£900,000) boost from the local government to protect its renowned clubbing culture.

The funding will go towards soundproofing projects, with the aim of improving relations between venues and local residents, based on a similar project in Hamburg. The noise protection programme, which was proposed last year and came into effect on 30 November 2018, indicates the importance of Berlin’s nightlife culture and its relevance to the city’s economy, including the tourism industry.

Related: Nightlife reports: clubbing in Berlin

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The 50 best albums of 2018, No 2: Robyn – Honey

Delivered... Alex Needham | Scene | Thu 20 Dec 2018 7:00 am

Gorgeous harmonies and unerring emotional intelligence dominate on this looser, clubbier follow-up to Body Talk

Eight years ago, Robyn released the three batches of songs that would become the album Body Talk. She had always been at pop’s vanguard: her 1995 debut Robyn Is Here had helped usher in Max Martin’s Cheiron Studios, paving the way for Swedes to go on to rule the charts. Body Talk’s taut, tough electronic pop and keenly feminist lyrics seemed to herald the birth of a new kind of pop star: smart, forward-thinking and in total control.

Related: How Robyn transformed pop

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The best DJ mixes of 2018

Delivered... Lauren Martin and Tayyab Amin | Scene | Wed 19 Dec 2018 11:30 am

From Mumdance’s beguiling Shared Meanings to visionary blends from Ziúr and Eris Drew, our mix critics pick their favourites

Eris Drew’s Thundering Goddess Mix

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