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


Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine: how we made Sheriff Fatman

Delivered... Interviews by George Bass | Scene | Tue 19 Mar 2019 7:00 am

‘We used my flat’s rank toilet on the record sleeve with my guitar shoved into it – though I put a plastic bag over it first’

I had read about a dodgy landlord in the South London Press. The drug-dealing, the “phoney prescriptions”, the awful living conditions for his tenants: it was all in the newspaper, even his physical stature. All I had to do was change his name – and I’d turned an awful story into poetry and pop music.

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Music, fashion and town planning: how nightclubs change the world

Delivered... Anna Codrea-Rado | Scene | Mon 18 Mar 2019 1:37 pm

From architecture to drug policy, nightlife quietly incubates ideas that then flourish in the mainstream. But, with brands moving in, club-cultural innovation is under threat

In the popular imagination, nightclubs are sweaty basements providing a soundtrack to drunken fumbles in the dark; an alien world with no connection or relevance to the more wholesome things that happen during the day. But the reality is that anyone with an Instagram account, a fashion magazine subscription or an interest in social activism is ultimately engaging with club culture. Nightlife is like an angel investor in pop culture, silently incubating grassroots movements and social moments, and since the first iterations of the disco, clubs have been a breeding ground for cultural experimentation.

To avoid disappointment get down early if you are buying a ticket or on the guestlist. Ideally before 12! Reminder that there is no pressure to dress up tonight!! Come as you feel

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Stephen Malkmus: Groove Denied review – stark, forbidding soundscapes

Delivered... Phil Mongredien | Scene | Sun 17 Mar 2019 9:00 am

(Domino)

With a couple of honourable exceptions – specifically his self-titled 2001 solo debut and last year’s excellent Sparkle HardStephen Malkmus has too often during his post-Pavement career found himself bogged down in amorphous, sub-Grateful Dead jams. Indeed, Frank Black aside, it’s hard to think of a solo canon that’s been quite so consistently underwhelming.

Which makes this long-delayed adventure in electronica such a surprise. In fact, it’s such a radical departure that his record label initially refused to release it – hence the title. Largely written in Berlin and recorded alone at home in Oregon, its stark and forbidding soundscapes owe much to the early-80s synth movement, the likes of opener Belziger Faceplant far more concerned with texture than melody; the deadpan A Bit Wilder, meanwhile, could be a mechanically recovered New Order offcut, circa 1981. Curiously, this bold new direction isn’t sustained; the further into the album Malkmus gets, the more normal service resumes, as if he isn’t entirely convinced of his new direction. Forget Your Place’s loops and treated vocals recall the Beta Band at their wooziest; Come Get Me sounds like a flab-free demo version of one of his Jicks songs; Ocean of Revenge, for all its flirtation with drum machines, is an unashamedly lovely acoustic ballad. It doesn’t make for a particularly cohesive album, but perhaps that’s the point.

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The Cinematic Orchestra: To Believe review – heartbreakingly brilliant

Delivered... Damien Morris | Scene | Sun 17 Mar 2019 8:45 am

(Ninja Tune)

I’ve always found the Cinematic Orchestra too pretentious, too austere, a band whose ambitions outran their abilities. With this fourth album, 12 years after their last, that austerity is over. To Believe is heartbreakingly brilliant: a collection of exquisitely assembled songs that appear delicate from a distance before revealing a close-quarters core strength. Band leaders Jason Swinscoe and Dominic Smith have loosely arranged seven lightly jazzy tracks around the themes of belief and what it means to believe. Much as the pair attempt to make movies with their music, the best song has no dialogue: the meandering instrumental Lessons is a glorious balm, nine minutes of murmuring conversation between the players, dominated by Luke Flowers’ gently military drums. It has depth and meaning without context, the ideal soundtrack to a film that doesn’t exist. The sweeping grandeur of A Caged Bird/Imitations of Life is another cinematic collaboration with the always articulate and engaging Roots Manuva, a sort-of sequel to the epic All Things to All Men, and just as good. Every song here could easily be five or 10 minutes longer. A triumph.

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The BBC cutting Late Junction is a blow for experimental music

Delivered... Luke Turner | Scene | Fri 15 Mar 2019 5:22 pm

The Radio 3 show dropping from three nights a week to one deprives audiences of musical diversity and removes a vital lifeline for left-field musicians

At the end of February, hundreds of people packed into the artfully dilapidated surroundings of Earth, a former art deco cinema in east London, for the inaugural Late Junction festival. Over two sold-out nights, it showcased exactly the kind of programming that makes BBC Radio 3’s flagship experimental music show great: a stunning set by revived post-punk pioneers This Is Not This Heat; the fractured state-of-the-nation techno of Gazelle Twin; the first ever performance by doom-jazz troupe Pulled By Magnets; and a new project featuring singer Coby Sey and Under the Skin soundtrack composer Mica Levi.

Related: Thurston Moore, Holly Herndon and more on today's musical underground

Related: Lullabies for air conditioners: the corporate bliss of Japanese ambient

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The Cinematic Orchestra: To Believe review – soundscape originators’ accomplished return

Delivered... Rachel Aroesti | Scene | Fri 15 Mar 2019 10:30 am

(Ninja Tune)
The sound of TCO’s tasteful electronica has become ubiquitous. This new album isn’t experimental or idiosyncratic enough to stand out

Even if you believe yourself to be unaware of the Cinematic Orchestra, the London collective formed in 1999 by Jason Swinscoe, you will more than likely be familiar with one of their songs. To Build a Home – a spare and exquisitely beautiful piano ballad featuring the Canadian musician Patrick Watson – has become a TV score standard in the decade since its release, soundtracking a slew of blockbuster dramas. Yet while the song’s ethereal melancholy has proven enduring, its makers have dipped out of view in the intervening years. To Build a Home was the opening track on the Cinematic Orchestra’s 2007 record Ma Fleur – until now, the last proper album they released.

That makes To Believe a comeback of sorts, an opportunity for the 20-year-old group to restate their relevance. To those ends, Swinscoe has described the album as a contemplation on belief in the age of Brexit. Yet while the verbose track titles hint at lofty ideas, the songs don’t so much pin down and interrogate our modern malaise as transpose it into wilful abstraction. Sonically, meanwhile, the topic leads the group to set up camp in the space between their second and third albums – the former ominous, jazzy, trip-hop-informed; the latter a prettier, more wistful collection of featured-artist crooning. At one end of the spectrum is A Caged Bird/Imitations of Life, which sees the group reunite with Roots Manuva – who guested on their edgy, expansive 2002 track All Things to All Men – for a mellower collaboration. To Believe’s titular opener, a pared-down vehicle for Moses Sumney’s soft, airy and soaring vocal, cleaves most closely to Ma Fleur’s style, but can’t quite recapture its muted majesty.

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Karen O & Danger Mouse: Lux Prima review – complex and lingering

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Fri 15 Mar 2019 10:00 am

(BMG)
The Yeah Yeah Yeah’s frontwoman shines beyond her signature yelp on this cinematic, subtle album

After lucratively manning the boards for a series of big pop names in recent years – Red Hot Chili Peppers, Adele, Portugal, The Mancorrect et al – Danger Mouse delivers what feels like more of a passion project. It’s reminiscent of another of these, his 2011 album Rome with composer Daniele Luppi: both are heavily influenced by Ennio Morricone’s compositional style of pattering drumbeats and sweeping strings. His cinematic ambition is foregrounded in the opening title track, a nine-minute symphonic pop suite centred around a theme that is revisited on the closing Nox Lumina, and, truth be told, isn’t particularly exciting. It serviceably denotes grandeur and romance but without any real melodic invention.

Where the album comes alive is with more traditional songwriting, anchored by Yeah Yeah Yeahs frontwoman Karen O, who co-writes throughout. Her image in the popular imagination – a makeup-smeared sex banshee – does her a disservice: she has huge emotional and textural range, something that the handsome production helps to foreground here.

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50 great tracks for March from Tierra Whack, Hayden Thorpe, Squid and more

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas and Laura Snapes | Scene | Wed 13 Mar 2019 12:30 pm

Punk-funkers Squid step on the gas, Jessie Ware moves left of centre and Tierra Whack breaks the one-minute mark – read about 10 of our favourite songs of the month, and subscribe to the 50-track playlist

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Badgers, coke and Zac Efron: why Hollywood gets club culture wrong

Delivered... Leonie Cooper | Scene | Sat 9 Mar 2019 11:00 am

The life of the DJ is often presented as a utopia on screen. Can Idris Elba’s new show Turn Up Charlie buck the trend?

Vacant-looking women in bikini tops. Huge fluffy mountains of cocaine. Pretty people gently rutting on a brightly lit dancefloor. No sweat. No shirts. No one over 30. Congratulations! You are watching a film about dance music and DJ culture! Yet anyone who has ever been to an actual club will know that the chasm between what we see in movies and on television compared to the real experience of being in a sticky warehouse in Hackney Wick at 1am on a Friday night is vast. From the lurid It’s All Gone Pete Tong and glossy We Are Your Friends to the pilled-up gurn-fest that is Human Traffic, we have had well over two decades of clubbing on our screens, yet it is rarely depicted truthfully.

Evidently, there is something about the role of a DJ that is impossible to capture, but the new Netflix comedy series Turn Up Charlie, starring Idris Elba as a washed-up garage DJ, comes closer than most. That’s mainly because Elba’s character is far from a major player. There are no sold-out shows at Printworks, weekly residencies at Phonox or headline slots at Dekmantel for Charlie. Instead, Craig David pities him, he does wedding sets for £50, dosses about with his perma-stoned sidekick – played by Man Like Mobeen’s Guz Khan – and ends up as a nanny for a spoilt 11-year-old whom he takes to Cyberdog instead of the cinema.

Related: Kill Your Friends review - Nicholas Hoult is a poor man's Patrick Bateman in tiresome comedy

Related: Eden review – the perfect mix of music and melancholia

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‘Blackness will never go away’: how Solange takes pride in her roots

Delivered... Britt Julious | Scene | Wed 6 Mar 2019 3:47 pm

At an immersive, city-wide multimedia presentation of her new album When I Get Home, the singer-songwriter explains how her childhood home of Houston nourished her creative spirit

‘It’s one thing to think with your spirit,” says Solange Knowles. “It’s another to actually live it through your body.” The Solange of today works with feelings, grooves, and frequencies in mind. If A Seat at the Table, her breakthrough third album, was a lyrically dense record about the complexities and struggles of the black American experience, then When I Get Home, her latest release, is the sonic manifestation of that blackness. Staccato rhythms and meditative mantras – designed to ground and heal her after time on the road – ripple on through the bodies of her listeners. It’s an album about settling into familiarity: with yourself, the people around you, and the places one calls home.

At the SHAPE community center in the third ward of Houston last Sunday evening, the record comes to life during a screening of a film, also entitled When I Get Home, that Solange created and directed to accompany the album. Despite the celebrities in attendance, this isn’t a premiere. The album arrived days before, with the film launching simultaneously on Apple Music and the recently revived, early-internet social network Black Planet. Instead, it is a celebration of her return to her roots.

Thank you to alll of uuuu! I’m coming up for air and overwhelmed with gratitude for all the love U sharing. Thank you for always giving me the space to expand and evolve and express. For constantly opening up my world, and allowing me to show you my own new ones. I express for survival, for breath. This shit gave me so much joy to make! I wasn’t afraid. My body wasn’t either, even at times of uncertainty. I love and appreciate u guys infinitely. You make me feel safe and held even in this big big strange world. I can’t thank you enough. It’s been hard to answer where home is, hard to know if it’s past or future...this album and film is one stream of thought and reflection into answering that. I thank you for your time and energy experiencing it with meee. So much love!

my Sol-Angel... no one talk to me ever again

I’ll always be a black woman, and I’ll always create work from this black woman’s body

Related: Solange: When I Get Home review – lose yourself in Knowles' hazy vision

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Stars pay tribute to Keith Flint: ‘A powerhouse of energy and attitude’

Delivered... Interviews by Laura Snapes | Scene | Tue 5 Mar 2019 7:00 am

From Kasabian’s Serge Pizzorno to the Chemical Brothers and Azealia Banks, musicians remember the Prodigy frontman

I discovered the Prodigy through Experience, back in 1992. There used to be a rave record store in Leicester called 5HQ – quite a frightening place, a bit like in Human Traffic. We used to hang around in there. I think they were playing Charly: I bought it, took it home and played it on my decks for days. It just didn’t really sound like anything else. There was a tribal quality to the beat. Somehow it was aggressive like punk – it had an edge that other things around the time didn’t. But it also had a pop sensibility. It really felt commercial even though it wasn’t. We were rave kids with the baggies and the T-shirts, but Keith was next level. He was always well dressed, a real one-off – you could see where everything came from but he had his twist on it. They’re the ones that last.

I think the first time we met him was at V festival. It’s always quite nerve-racking when you meet someone you really admire. You think people are gonna be more mad, more like the person they were on stage, but he was gentle, sweet, encouraging. That was the beautiful thing – he was really interested in the music we were making. When we made the second record, he came down to the session and he was so supportive. We could see it was nice for him, maybe, to see through the eyes of someone going through it again. He’d been there and done it, and he saw these young kids doing the same thing. I’d always go and see them live, so I’d see him backstage, fleetingly, but it always felt like he had our backs, which was amazing, considering that it was him that made us wanna do it ourselves. I’m heartbroken, really. It stops you in your tracks.

If it were not for your fear I could not learn to be fearless ... You gave me options when I felt there were none

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Keith Flint: the neon demon who started a fire under British pop

Delivered... Alexis Petridis | Scene | Mon 4 Mar 2019 4:16 pm

By gleefully escalating the moral panic around British dance culture, the Prodigy frontman showed that rave could be the true successor to rock’n’roll

Like virtually every 90s dance act that unexpectedly ascended from releasing underground club tracks to selling a lot of albums, the Prodigy were faced with a problem: their mastermind was a producer, not a pop star.

Liam Howlett was prodigiously gifted, visionary enough to have turned the Prodigy from a joke into rock stars. Their 1991 single Charly might be the ground zero of novelty rave, its sample from a 70s public information film spawning umpteen tacky imitations that sourced their hooks from old kids’ TV shows or adverts. By 1994, they were an original, eclectic musical force that drew on everything from the hardcore scene that had originally spawned them to hip-hop and punk. Their second album, Music for the Jilted Generation, went to No 1 in the UK that year, long after most of their imitators had enjoyed their 15 minutes of fame and been forgotten. But, like most dance producers, he wasn’t a natural frontman, the skills required to make fantastic records being different from the skills required to captivate an audience.

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The Prodigy’s Keith Flint – a life in pictures

Delivered... Electronic music | The Guardian | Scene | Mon 4 Mar 2019 2:22 pm

From his early days with the rave group to still iconic live performances 25 years later, we look back at the life of Keith Flint

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The Japanese House: Good at Falling review – candid breakup pop lets the air in

Delivered... Michael Cragg | Scene | Fri 1 Mar 2019 10:00 am

(Dirty Hit)

The evolution of The Japanese House has been a lesson in slowly peeling back the layers. The musical moniker of Buckinghamshire-born Amber Bain (the name inspired by a childhood holiday home once owned by Kate Winslet) was part of a concerted attempt to use generalities as opposed to specifics. That also meant there were no press pictures to accompany her early EPs of skittering electronic hymnals, while her voice was often buried beneath ghostly, often androgynous effects. On Good at Falling, her debut album, the walls come tumbling down, with Bain picking at the scabs of a broken relationship with the sort of direct candour that would have seemed unimaginable when she arrived in 2015.

Fuelled by this emotional blood-letting, plus extensive touring with label-mates Wolf Alice and the 1975 (the latter’s George Daniel also co-produced the album), Good at Falling also sees Bain opening up her sound. While those early EPs seemed almost hermetically sealed, here Bain lets some air in. She skips unadorned around the lovely acoustic strums of You Seemed So Happy, and channels 70s MOR on the yearning Faraway, while the stately pop of Lilo – so specifically about the dissolution of her relationship with fellow singer-songwriter Marika Hackman that their breakup is re-created in the accompanying video – feels like a refreshing splash of cold water on tear-stained cheeks. Even when the lyrics are mired in sadness – “I think I’m dying, because this can’t be living” Bain sighs, on the Chvrches-esque Maybe You’re the Reason – there’s a laser-guided focus that keeps things from imploding.

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Aphex Twin’s best songs – ranked!

Delivered... Geeta Dayal | Scene | Thu 28 Feb 2019 3:40 pm

As the 25th anniversary of the release of Selected Ambient Works Volume II approaches, we take a look at Richard D James’s back catalogue, from disorientating acid-house bangers to dreamy, if unsettling melodies

This epic glitch-fest sounds just as weird now as it did two decades ago. Chris Cunningham’s bizarre music video – complete with a Michael Jackson-style dance number, a foul-mouthed extended director’s version and a small army of women who all have Richard D James’s face – will continue to spawn nightmares for years to come.

Related: Aphex Twin: everything you need to know

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