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

Essaie Pas: New Path review – techno dystopias with witty flashes of funk

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Fri 16 Mar 2018 11:30 am


From Run the Jewels to Gary Numan, musicians technophobically fretting over the future of humanity have long used Philip K Dick as a touchstone – and that’s not counting the endless riffs on Vangelis’s synthscapes from the Dick-derived Blade Runner. Essaie Pas, married producers Marie Davidson and Pierre Guerineau, have used Dick’s druggily dsytopian novel A Scanner Darkly as inspiration for their fifth album, and tap into his dread much better than most. Their aesthetic is mostly cyberpunk coldwave, with techno kick drums pounding uncaringly in 4/4 motion; on Futur Parlé, they are cut through by neon scythes of metallic sound, before being joined by a three-note Chicago house bassline and Davidson’s signature monotone vocals (also brilliant on solo releases and her collaborations with Not Waving and Solitary Dancer). Les Agents des Stups switches up to relentless electro, before Substance M dives back to deep, stern techno. These expansive dancefloor moments are strong, but you long for a couple more of their left turns. Complet Brouillé is apparently inspired by dissociative drug experiences, though this particular K -hole is brightly decorated: another addictive Chicago bassline is placed against a stuttering beat to create infectious, witty funk. The chilling title track meanwhile features a robotic voice spewing shards of A Scanner Darkly dialogue into a void of sustained synth chords, a little like the dying protagonist Hal 9000 in another sci-fi classic, 2001A Space Odyssey. Essaie Pas have gone beyond cliche and fandom to make something that truly speaks to the dynamic thought and droll humour at the heart of Dick’s writing.

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Readers recommend playlist: songs with sudden changes

Delivered... Pairubu | Scene | Thu 15 Mar 2018 1:00 pm

Artists such as Lorde, Sparks, the Moody Blues and Metallica bring changes of pace to a prog-heavy playlist with twists and turns

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

Related: Go back to go forward: the resurgence of prog rock

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Sophie review – hideous and heart-rending BDSM-friendly pop

Delivered... Rachel Aroesti | Scene | Wed 14 Mar 2018 3:35 pm

Heaven, London
The once-shy producer has now, after a gender transition, arrived front and centre to deliver nightmarish, bracingly contemporary electro

As reinventions go, you’d be hard-pressed to find one as dramatic as Sophie’s. While shaking up electronic music in the early 2010s with her arrestingly saccharine sound, the LA-based producer remained carefully concealed from view: publicity pictures were nonexistent, while YouTube videos consisted solely of cutesy CGI objects and live shows in which she was silently sequestered behind the decks. This evening, however, she is pretending to wrestle a giant white inflatable, clad head to toe in skin-tight PVC. Later, she will ride sidesaddle on one of her dancers before performing her own stilted routine. Camp doesn’t begin to cover it.

Sophie’s new hyper-flamboyant stage presence is more than a pose. Having spent the last few years in the studio with artists including Madonna and Charli XCX, in October she stepped out of the shadows with material that seemed more personal than her previous work. First came It’s Okay to Cry, a misty-eyed power ballad about an identity-based struggle for which she performed her own vocals for the first time. Then Faceshopping, whose lyrics read: “Artificial bloom / hydroponic skin / chemical release / synthesise the real.” Until recently, Sophie’s collaborators have referred to her as male – now, the PR literature uses “she”. Although the producer has declined to explain her gender identity in interviews, this new phase feels connected to some kind of transformation.

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One to watch: George FitzGerald

Delivered... Killian Fox | Scene | Sat 10 Mar 2018 7:00 pm
Fatherhood has brought a more mature edge to the electronic maestro’s signature sound

A gradual progression from night to day, from the dancefloor to the domestic, is one way of looking at George FitzGerald’s musical trajectory to date. His forthcoming second album All That Must Be, which comes loaded with crossover potential, is informed by the 33-year-old moving back home to London and embracing fatherhood after years of service at the more thoughtful end of the international club scene.

Raised in north-west London on a diet of garage and dubstep, FitzGerald cut his teeth as a DJ before moving to Berlin in 2010 and becoming a producer. Berlin nurtured a growing interest in techno, and FitzGerald’s early releases on Hotflush were fit-for-purpose club tracks, though euphoric moments were counterbalanced by a healthy dose of melancholia.

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Peaches: ‘We smoked a joint, started screaming and suddenly had some songs’

Delivered... Peaches | Scene | Thu 8 Mar 2018 7:00 am

In 2000, recovering from cancer and heartbreak, Merrill Nisker bought a synth, renamed herself Peaches and made a scorching album that became a feminist classic. In this extract from our Start podcast, she relives the sex, pain and pillow talk that fuelled The Teaches of Peaches

I had no idea I would become a musician; I fell into it. First, I had a band called Fancypants Hoodlum. It was quite expressive in terms of how I performed. I had good musicians with me and was learning to play electric guitar – to nobody other than myself.

Related: Peaches on the song that defined her new sound – The Start podcast

Related: Peaches webchat – your questions answered on Trump, feminism and being yourself

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50 great tracks for March from Chvrches, Riko Dan, Machine Head and more

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Wed 7 Mar 2018 11:00 am

Check out Angolan kuduro, fluffy disco-funk and whimsical fingerpicking in this month’s roundup of the best new music. Subscribe to the playlist of all 50 tracks and read about our 10 favourites

Related: The month's best music: Jonghyun, Marmozets, Peggy Gou and more

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In a documentary film, a return to Detroit and speaker f***ing

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Thu 1 Mar 2018 8:23 pm

It’s still winter, but some crazy techno heads are dreaming of Detroit. Interdimensional Transmissions documents the soul of the midwest techno scene.

Maybe this film is just what techno needs at this moment. It tells the story of how dirty raves mixed with an obsession with hardware and design, imported from Europe. Or maybe it’s what Detroit needs – as despite its iconic status in the imaginations of electronic music lovers around the world, as well as its real place in history, the city’s parties are also relatively empty most of the year round, in a city that has seen its population dwindle as fortunes went elsewhere to America’s fractions of 1%.

Or maybe it’s just what you need, because – well, if you know the people in this, there’s a good chance you’ve already seen this. If you don’t know them, and you share this kind of manic passion for making parties with machines, then their story might be both new and inspiring.

Anyway, it certainly won me over with this opening:

This is our generation returning to the source,
felling a freedom and a heat within the music that results in speaker fucking.

Then they get talking chakras and lighting colors. (And you thought that kind of talk only happened on the West Coast. Shout out to Amber Gillen!)

And you get the likes of BMG and Erika and Derek Plasaiko and Patrick Russell and Carlos Souffront and Mike Servito, some of our favorite artists, chatting as you’d be chatting to them for … let’s be honest, for weirdos like us, probably longer than 20 minutes if given the chance.

“Insane heads from all over the world” sounds a good template for any event.

We’ve had a whole lot of slick documentaries of scenes, but it’s rare to just get people nicely rambling about the story of their party, in something they produced themselves. And with so much DIY around, I think you really need some inspiration and perspective from people who have made things work.

If the story of the music scene is increasingly told by big brands and big press outlets – even if those can make some beautiful productions – you might lose some of the details of how that works. And that’d be a tragedy, because a generation of producers might think the aim is to break into a scene, rather than create a scene around themselves.

Do that, and ecosystems of any music die – whatever the form or genre of music makes you want to make sweet love to the music.

So thanks to Interdimension Transmissions. Love what you’re doing – and more like this, please.

To bring the experience to your headphones, look no further than this Bunker Podcast from Erika:

This late night set from @Erikadotnet was recorded live at The Bunker on November 4, 2017 during the Brooklyn edition of No Way Back’s 10 Year Anniversary.

And… uh, obligatory. Because if there’s one thing electronic music shouldn’t do at this point, it’s trying to go backwards…

No Way Back come to Tresor maddeningly the night before I play there… uh, guess we all just have to work on our endurance. And Erika has a new live set coming to Finland.

And if you want the full experience, head to Detroit for their 10th anniversary party:

313: Return to the Source

Cover photo: Amy Hubbarth Photography / Interdimensional Transmissions.

The post In a documentary film, a return to Detroit and speaker f***ing appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Elvis Presley’s power, Tina Turner’s legs: musicians pick their biggest influences

Delivered... Interviews by Rachel Aroesti | Scene | Thu 1 Mar 2018 7:18 pm

Sade taught Jessie Ware quiet confidence, while Sly Stone helped Baxter Dury ‘make the unlikely into something rational’: some of our contemporary favourites salute the stars who had the most impact on them

● Guardian writers on the most influential artists in music today

My greatest influence probably isn’t very evident in my music. Sly and the Family Stone, or more Sly, captured my imagination from the moment it was forced out of a giant pair of Tannoy speakers placed in our front living room. He was a handsome opportunist hippy who manipulated the times, but definitely changed the course of them. The music is soulful, subversive and sleazy, but beautifully arranged and played. It’s a theme park of unrelated ideas made logical by Sly’s magnificence. I learned so much about making the unlikely into something rational.

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Premiere: Spell Drops music video is flowing, organic electronic poetry

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Wed 28 Feb 2018 4:02 pm

Paris-based artist Morgan Friedrich is a choreographer as well as a producer – and his video and music are both infused with that sense of music and body.

Morgan Friedrich aka Morgan Belenguer is the kind of old-school renaissance romantic you’d expect from Paris in another century – mixing dance and poetry and music. But the sound and look are beautifully rooted in this moment. There’s fluid, bass heavy sounds with organic percussion, free angular jazz-like melodies, in asymmetrical flowing cascades. It all makes for a mystical pathway through some post-futuristic spirit world.

“Spell Drops,” the opening single, is already available for download from XLR8R and gets its video premiere here. And it looks like this – the choreography I think perfectly embodying the music. (And better than my words do – what was that about writing about music / dancing about architecture, again, whoever actually said that?)


Directed by Morgan Belenguer
Edited by Joji Koyama
Styling by Mattia Akkermans

Morgan also tells CDM a bit more.

Peter: How did the music video come about?

Morgan: In general, my videos emerge as part of musical compositions. After having collected various elements related to my theme (including notes, photos, quotes from books, descriptions of particular situations which appeal to me…) I assemble these “construction materials” and use them to shape my video.

In particular, Jay Hawkins’ “I put the spell on you” is the source of the song Spell Drops. I changed the “you” to “it” to bring the gaze downward, towards the ground, the earth, the real: “I put the spell on it because it’s mine.”

There is something blues, something Muddy in this piece of music, the feeling of being possessed, of possessing. That’s why Friedrich wanders like a solitary walker through the agricultural fields and wastelands. He carries on his back a sign usually used for advertisements. I re-appropriated this nomadic structure and imprinted on it his questions, his own thoughts as a reminder: “where can I land… on which ground?”

One of the elements of the sign, the shell, was created following a radio interview of Michel Serres, one in which he says that the shell was the first protective habitat of the living. A few days later, on the terrace of a bar, a cigarette crushed in a Saint Jacques shell caught my attention. I took a photograph of it with my phone (to appropriate is perhaps to pollute, to pollute it is perhaps to appropriate …).

Who are your collaborators here; how did you end up working together?

On Halloween night, I met Mattia Akkermans by chance in a bar hidden under a veil. A fashion designer by training, she became the stylist of my tragedy. She helps me to aesthetically construct my visuals as well as Friedrich’s appearance. Joji Koyama, who edits my videos, was introduced to me by a mutual friend. In general, I send him my raw material and explain to him my theme and what I think it might become. Each time he transcribes the theme perfectly in a surprising and sometimes touching way, which delights me … How lucky for me!

There’s such a distinctive feel to the music. How do you work; how do you compose this sort of flow?

The composition is an attempt to transcribe into music a physical or bodily sensation, a feeling, an experience. For example, for Spell Drops I was looking to express a kind of irregularity, an unleashing, an overflow, a panic that mixes violence and softness… “The feeling of being swept away by a river against one’s will.”

Technically, I was going to record atmospheres, soundscapes, which I would transpose with the MIDI choosing the instruments and then rework by altering the tempos in a way that gives the impression of always being a bit out of kilter…

What was the inspiration for this text? Did it serve as a map to the music? To the video? (I see it’s associated with the video; did it act as a kind of storyboard?)

The text is written at the end. It is the poetic description of the various symbolic elements that compose the video.

The poem accompanying the video / single:

Spell, Drops.
A handful of earth, because it’s mine, Drops.
A banner on his back, he wanders through the field, Drops.
A cigarette crushed in an empty holy shell, a habitat, Drops.
A Home equipment barcode, labeled on a pebble stone, Drops.
A shoe sole left in the sand, photographed by someone’s shadow, Drops.
An aftertaste, a background, a reverse then a reversal, Drops.
An empty look, on nothing, in particular, he leans, Drops.

What’s your tool set in the studio? How will you adapt it live?

I use mostly software, amps, pedal effects, nothing too extraordinary …

For the live performance, on the technical side, I will have a reduced set, a computer, a controller, a filter. I want to be able to detach myself from the control tower so that I can express myself physically. Ideally, I would like to adapt certain melodies by two experienced singers who would improvise during the live set and respond to each other face-to-face to give more body and more life to the music.

Can you tell us a bit about your background in music?

I’m a dancer out of the conservatory. I became a professional and then a choreographer. The music is for me at the same time a space and a partner. Now I try to make my music in a way that it can become a staged or choreographed body. My musical formation is fundamentally about such inversions and learning in strange ways.

Thanks, Morgan. For still more work from him:

The past film from the same collaborative team above:




The post Premiere: Spell Drops music video is flowing, organic electronic poetry appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Madonna and Grimes lay bare cost of creative freedom for female artists

Delivered... Laura Snapes | Scene | Tue 27 Feb 2018 1:03 pm

Laments from the two stars show that an industry quick to sell the idea of female independence is far less keen to support it

The buried Instagram comment and hastily deleted tweet have become a kind of desperate cri de career for female artists who have founded professional lives on on bold statements. This weekend, both Madonna and Grimes used Instagram’s comments section to express their frustration with how their respective teams were handling their new material.

On Saturday Madonna’s manager, Guy Oseary, posted a glowing tribute to Madonna’s album Ray of Light on its 20th anniversary: “Love this woman. Love this album,” he wrote. Deep down the comments thread were two contributions from the artist herself. “Can you help me now please!! ” read the first, followed by a pointed addendum that referenced her work with William Orbit on the album. “Remember when I made records with other artists from beginning to end and I was allowed to be a visionary and not have to go to song writing camps where no one can sit still for more than 15 minutes … coming soon”

‼️ pic.twitter.com/dSO14vElnW

Related: Grimes: 'In my life, I'm a lot more weird than this'

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Nils Frahm review – neoclassicism with knobs on

Delivered... Kitty Empire | Scene | Sun 25 Feb 2018 10:00 am

Barbican, London
Germany’s cult king of ambient piano charmed London with his uplifting arpeggios, artful dial-twiddling and… toilet brushes

When he was a boy, Nils Frahm was taught to play the piano by a stern Russian, Nahum Brodsky, who himself had been taught by a pupil of Tchaikovsky’s. When Frahm’s hands fly across a grand piano tonight – the lid removed, so that its innards are exposed, the better to be hit by toilet brushes – you can be in no doubt of this 35-year-old’s pedigree and his incandescent classical chops. Frahm’s left hand will build an insistent rhythm, and his right will run up and the down the keys, arpeggiating wildly.

Sometimes, Frahm will kick off a black-and-white Adidas trainer with the intensity of it all; afterwards, he will towel himself off like a rock star. And Frahm is something of a rock star, albeit one without a leather boot on the monitor. This German pianist is also an analogue keyboard ninja, an acoustics nerd, and the poster boy for a classical crossover genre (neoclassical, post-classical, the unwieldy labels go on and on) indebted to jazz, ambient electronic music and much time spent clubbing.

You spend much time bobbing violently in your seat to the ghost of a snare drum, to an implied beat

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Young Fathers: ‘Everybody has a dark side. We’re all complicit…’

Delivered... Kathryn Bromwich | Scene | Sun 25 Feb 2018 8:00 am
Award-winning Edinburgh hip-hop trio Young Fathers on ‘bad men’, shadow-boxing with portraits, and their new album, Cocoa Sugar

On a cold Sunday night at the end of January, a rapt audience at London’s Barbican Centre is watching a new film called Fetish, showing a naked black man walking through the streets of New York. It is an evening of audio-visual art marking the end of Boom for Real, last year’s monumental exhibition of the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Directed by Topher Campbell, the film is a commentary on the black male body, vulnerability and “othering”, and it is scored live by the Scottish band Young Fathers, powerfully matching the video’s growing sense of dread leading up to a euphoric release.

It’s hard to imagine many other bands in the country who could pull this off, or even attempt to. Back in 2014, as relative unknowns, Young Fathers beat favourite FKA twigs to win the Mercury prize with their debut album Dead, a mesmerising mix of genres that sounded like nothing else around. They quickly followed it up with White Men Are Black Men Too, a disconcerting, occasionally abrasive but captivating second album. They have toured the world, collaborated with Massive Attack, and Danny Boyle liked them so much he included six of their songs in last year’s T2: Trainspotting. They are, it is generally accepted, a critical success if not a mainstream one.

A lot of bands are coming out of the woodwork and being overtly political because of the current climate we’re in

Related: Best albums of 2015: No 9 – White Men Are Black Men Too by Young Fathers

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Nils Frahm review – short on harmony but texture and tone in spades

Delivered... John Lewis | Scene | Fri 23 Feb 2018 12:16 am

Barbican, London
Frahm jokes about his musical limitations, but his piano solos are quiet riots that transport you to a higher plane

He might be the most popular solo pianist on earth at the moment but the Berlin-based “neo-classical” star Nils Frahm will be the first to admit that he’s not a classical pianist of any description. In this two-hour show there is little harmony or chordal development, scarcely any improvisation, and – with the exception of the jagged, nerve-wracking, Michael Nyman-ish piano solo Hammers – little virtuosity. What you get in spades, however, is texture – something that the classical conservatoires and jazz modules have always ignored.

You can buy the sheet music for Frahm’s piano solos, but the notes that he rattles out on his panoply of keyboards are almost incidental. What’s important is the tone; the grain; the satisfying way in which each studio-crafted voicing plonks and zings and bounces around the auditorium.

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Principal Sound review – Luigi Nono’s fragile postcards from Venice

Delivered... Andrew Clements | Scene | Mon 19 Feb 2018 5:56 pm

St John’s Smith Square, London
Alongside works by Morton Feldman, the experimental music festival centred on the Italian composer’s enigmatic pieces that blur instrumentation into electronics

Principal Sound is three days of concerts devoted to the music of the last half century. It takes its title from the only organ work composed by Morton Feldman, who was the featured composer at the first event two years ago. There was Feldman in this latest weekend of concerts too, but this time the focus of attention was the late music of Luigi Nono, the fragile, fragmented pieces he composed in the years up to his death in 1990.

Performances of those works, often involving electronics and exploring extended instrumental techniques, are still rare in the UK, but four of them were included during the weekend. There was … Sofferte onde Serene..., for piano and prerecorded sounds, with its remembrances of Venice’s bells of and the echoing emptiness of its lagoon, played with wonderful authority and assurance by Siwan Rhys, and A Pierre, Dell’azzurro Silenzio, Inquietum from members of the Explore Ensemble, a tribute to Boulez from 1985, in which electronics blur the edges of the sonorities of bass flute and contrabass clarinet. Most enigmatic of all was the last piece that Nono composed, “Hay Que Caminar” Soñando, for two violins (Clemens Merkel and Alissa Cheung from the Bozzini Quartet) dispersed around the auditorium and responding to each other in halting phrases or assertive outbursts.

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Everything Is Recorded: Everything Is Recorded By Richard Russell review – mogul music with a stellar cast

Delivered... Kitty Empire | Scene | Sun 18 Feb 2018 10:00 am

As head of XL, Richard Russell shaped UK music for three decades. His own debut release finds its voice in many singers

Imagine, for a moment, being the man who signed Adele. You run a label – XL – home to mavericks as diverse as Dizzee Rascal, Radiohead and Arca, and you produce records by your heroes – Gil Scott-Heron, Bobby Womack – in what one might laughably call your spare time. By many people’s definitions, you’d be about as fulfilled, three-dimensional and jammy a human as there is. In 2015, your net worth was guessed at £75m, but your impact on British music is harder to calculate.

Then imagine being paralysed. One minute, you’re putting out Gil Scott-Heron’s final album. And then – insert an obscure sound effect here, the kind that you collect – you’re laid low by Guillain-Barré syndrome, an autoimmune disease that attacks the nervous system. It’s 2013, you’re in hospital, and you can just about twiddle your fingers. Geoff Barrow, on behalf of Portishead, sends you a dinky synth – a pocket piano by Critter & Guitari to be precise – to retrain your synapses and stop you going mad. You can’t help but read Russell’s paralysis as one of those defining moments that would map the road ahead, if he could ever get his motor skills back.

Related: Everything Is Recorded review – Richard Russell's XL supergroup shines

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