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

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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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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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 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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‘This cuts across society’: how singeli music went from Tanzania to the world

Delivered... Kate Hutchinson in Uganda | Scene | Mon 17 Dec 2018 2:30 pm

With up to 300 beats per minute, singeli could be the world’s most frenetic music. In Dar es Salaam, its creators explain how it helps to create a better life

On a neon-lit jetty overlooking the River Nile, a young Tanzanian DJ called Sisso is playing a bracing barrage of blips, bells and breakneck beats that could blast apart a heart-rate monitor. We are at Nyege Nyege, a pan-African festival in Uganda that curates contemporary club music from across the continent, and it’s the first time so many musicians from Tanzania have made it here. Sisso and his peers have taken a 30-hour bus journey and crossed two borders in order to play at the event. Their sets are being streamed live to the world via Boiler Room.

The music these Swahili speed freaks make is a street-level sound known as singeli. It has been ricocheting around the ghettos circling Dar es Salaam for almost 15 years, with unbridled synth lines, percussion pitch-shifted up to alien frequencies and super-speed lyrical flows.

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The 10 best New Year’s Eve nights out in the UK

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Mon 17 Dec 2018 11:00 am

From disco on rollerskates to ferocious gabber and lo-fi house, here are the best club nights to ring in 2019

Shave your head, pick out some obscure sportswear and prepare for total gabber meltdown at this summit of Europe’s most formidable hipsters. Evian Christ and his strobe-rich Trance Party series is joining forces with Swedish collective Year0001, continuing Christ’s mission to champion some of the most garish corners of dance. Here he recruits Waxweazle, the Dutch DJ whose hardcore productions redefine insistency, and goes back to back with the Justin Bieber of deconstructed club music, Kamixlo. Bladee, Yung Sherman and HVAD are the Scandi guests, playing fearsomely dystopian trap. A bracing start to the year that will either blow down the boundaries of taste or be a bit of a nightmare – most likely both. Oh, and the accompanying Wikipedia page for the event is quite something.

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Orbital review – techno giants still raging against the political machine

Delivered... Stevie Chick | Scene | Sun 16 Dec 2018 12:47 pm

Hammersmith Apollo, London
Their sledgehammer polemic is brought up to date in an gloriously overwhelming visual and musical assault on the senses

With their torch-equipped spectacles, Orbital long ago turned the cliche of techno artists’ facelessness to their advantage, creating a brand as unmistakeable as the Ramones or Deadmau5. Tonight, they amplify that facelessness several leagues beyond 11, with a bone-crushing PA and a stage so dominated by the storeys-high video screens that the silhouetted duo – brothers Phil and Paul Hartnoll – appear as glitchy stray pixels in the show.

There is precious little banter. As they have for almost three decades, the pair communicate through their music and images, sound and vision pulsing in often perfect sync. It’s the kind of show where you walk home whistling the video feeds; the visuals don’t so much overwhelm the music as end up an intrinsic, inextricable element of Orbital’s art. Those visuals aren’t always subtle. The pneumatic Impact, for instance, scores images of smoke-belching factories, Hazchem symbols and words such as “garbage” and “pollution”. Satan, their Butthole Surfers-sampling banger, fuses hard-edged industrial throb and imagery suggesting the military industrial complex as the root of all evil. The concept is hardly controversial 28 years on, but the blood-quickening track remains simplistic, powerful and compelling.

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‘The British music industry needs to update’: Paloma Faith, Nao, Sleaford Mods and others on 2018’s music controversies

Delivered... Alexis Petridis | Scene | Fri 7 Dec 2018 7:00 am

Artists including Kojey Radical, Let’s Eat Grandma and Róisín Murphy discuss the year’s biggest stories, from Childish Gambino’s This Is America to the rise of K-pop and Jessie J’s success in China

April: Kanye West reaffirmed his support for Donald Trump on Twitter, part of a turbulent year in which he claimed slavery was “a choice”, released several albums, visited Trump in the White House, handed out Yeezy shoes in Uganda and announced he was thinking of building a flying-car factory.

Kojey Radical: I feel conflicted. I’ve got Yeezys on right now. The problem is, for all the contribution he’s made to music, he’s gotten to the point now where he just likes the conversation.

I listen to drill from the comfort of my nice home, but it’s bleak. These lads are virtually crying on the microphone

Related: This is America: theories behind Childish Gambino's satirical masterpiece

Surely certain powers will be extremely happy to see the rise of K-pop. It’s cultural warfare, in a way

I get called to talk at Oxford because I’m a black female. Just by existing, I’m political

Related: Why has the UK stopped producing pop superstars?

Related: Has 10 years of Spotify ruined music?

If a young artist came to me now and said: 'Do I need to get signed?’ I’d probably say no

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The 50 best albums of 2018: 50-31

Delivered... Electronic music | The Guardian | Scene | Tue 4 Dec 2018 7:00 am

Our countdown of the year’s most exciting sounds – updated every weekday – brings intensely confessional pop, otherworldly blues and the magic of twisted flamenco

Over to James Blake, who tweeted of Rosalía’s second album:
“Just what the actual afjhkhhhhhdiquyhqkzjdhjsnbahjkbbsbdhsjajbaFfdfffdffffffffffffffffffff.” Indeed. El Mal Querer sounds like nothing else released this year: the 25-year-old Catalan trailblazer’s fiercely passionate and subversive concept album combines flamenco tradition with an avant-garde approach to R&B. Read our full review.

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Flohio review – frenzied flows from UK rap’s most vital new voice

Delivered... Katie Hawthorne | Scene | Mon 3 Dec 2018 1:18 pm

The Art School, Glasgow
The London-via-Lagos MC is small in stature but a giant on the mic, with an astonishing staccato style set to dystopian beats

It’s 1am when Flohio takes the mic. The decks are in the middle of the floor, and SE16’s brightest rapper is balancing on a block to make her small stature visible. Beckoning the eager crowd even closer, she grins: “I wanna make sure I have someone to catch me.”

Born in Lagos and based in Bermondsey, Funmi Ohiosumah has a crooked smile, androgynous style and a powerful, magnetic presence. She dropped her first EP Nowhere Near in 2016 and chased it with infectious, postcode celebrating collaborations with London producers God Colony. Since then, she’s shown genre-defying dexterity through shrewd producer partnerships, from the skittering, bass-heavy minimalism of west Londoner Cadenza to the monstrous energy of Berlin techno innovators Modeselektor. For this Glasgow stop-off on her first headline tour, the bill is curated by trusted local tastemakers OH141.

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Underworld review – pulse-pumping euphoria with dank dance superstars

Delivered... Mark Beaumont | Scene | Mon 3 Dec 2018 8:00 am

Village Underground, London
The electronic alchemists serve up rich rave manna with tales of love, lust and squalor in a career-spanning set that shows them still at the height of their galloping powers

Those dirty numb angel boys and mega mega white things who are here on a nostalgic trip to the church of lager are welcomed by Karl Hyde with arms spread wide. The ferrety Underworld singer knows full well that Born Slippy .NUXX – the throwaway 1995 B-side that accidentally made them dank dance superstars – defined the narcotic breakdown of the 90s as distinctly as Parklife encapsulated its winking Britpop high; a feverish alcoholic’s diary entry pounding over the closing scenes of Trainspotting.

So he presents the track’s iconic space echo to the throng at this low-key club show (Underworld’s last London gig was at Alexandra Palace in 2017) like so much rave manna, worshipping the hook with the trancey pose of a synth-summoning shaman. But only at the end of the night, well into the early hours, once Underworld have proved themselves more pivotal electronic alchemists than the one-hit ponies behind Renton’s theme.

Related: Underworld: ‘It doesn’t matter where music comes from – it’s how it connects’

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The top 100 songs of 2018

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas and Laura Snapes | Scene | Mon 3 Dec 2018 7:00 am

Guardian music writers have picked their favourite songs of the year – from UK drill breakthroughs to pure pop anthems – and put them all on a giant playlist

Kicking off our roundups of the best music of 2018, polled from votes by more than 50 Guardian music writers, we count down our favourite tracks of the year – topped by a man who managed to unpick US racial politics, launch a thousand thinkpieces and reach No 1 in the US charts, all with a single track. Read about the top 20 below, and hear the whole top 100 in playlists on Spotify and Apple Music. We’ll be counting down the albums of the year throughout the rest of the month, with No 1 announced on 21 December.

Related: This is America: theories behind Childish Gambino's satirical masterpiece

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Vessel: Queen of Golden Dogs review – a gloriously weird electro-odyssey

Delivered... Rachel Aroesti | Scene | Fri 23 Nov 2018 12:00 pm


The Bristolian musician Sebastian Gainsborough made their name with a strain of dance music that’s not really designed for the dancefloor. Their expansive, ambitious post-club compositions have drawn on everything from dubstep to post-punk in pursuit of an intelligent and often slightly contrarian sound. Their third album takes the template a step further, combining classical instrumentation with the clanging dissonance and glitchy, unnatural tempos of the internet age. The result is a record that feels pretentious – but in a good way: carefully considered and aiming towards something more philosophical than your average electro-odyssey.

Made in rural Wales over an 18-month period, Gainsborough took inspiration from a romance with a violinist, and strings of varying levels of loveliness litter the album accordingly. But it isn’t only their partner to whom they pays tribute – the majority of songs are dedicated to various muses. Torno-me eles e nau-e (For Remedios) – a mass of dour chanting that evolves into sugary vocal harmonies – is a tribute to the Spanish surrealist painter Remedios Varo; the florid techno epic Argo (For Maggie) is named after novelist Maggie Nelson.

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