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


Contemporary album of the month: Walton: Black Lotus

Delivered... John Lewis | Scene | Fri 20 Jul 2018 7:15 am

The electronic minimalist composer takes apart the sonic signatures of grime music and reassembles them with clockwork precision

The writer Albert Goldman once observed that every dance craze – from ragtime to rumba to rave – tends to go through a similar life cycle. Each starts as slightly scandalous underground scene that is painted as a symptom of decadence and criminality. It then goes overground, reaching out beyond its core demographic. It then fades from the mainstream and starts a gradual process of gentrification, to be curated by ethnomusicologists and rare-groove archivists.

It’s a cycle we’ve seen repeated for more than a century: from tango to techno, from habanera to hip-hop. Weirdly, with grime – a music that’s been a part of the British musical landscape for nearly 20 years – all of these stages are still happening simultaneously. Grime is still scandalous (and parochial) enough to attract massive police attention, mainstream enough to spawn such huge stars as Stormzy and Skepta, yet gentrified enough to attract the attention of highbrow bloggers who’ll archive pirate radio recordings and rhapsodise about grime’s references to gamelan and Steve Reich.

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Lovebox review – Childish Gambino leads diverse corrective to Trump visit

Delivered... Natty Kasambala | Scene | Mon 16 Jul 2018 11:52 am

Gunnersbury Park, London
While SZA was delayed by the Trump protests, other artists were energised – including Childish Gambino, who scaled up his music to unprecedented size

The Trump visit – and subsequent protests – coinciding with Lovebox affected the festival in more ways than one. Besides SZA’s highly anticipated set being cut after just four songs, reportedly due to a late arrival because of the protests, the political events also inspired an air of resistance. From those donning anti-Trump protest gear to a rhetoric of encouragement among performers, including Childish Gambino who was “proud to see that big balloon”, a resounding optimism permeates Gunnersbury Park. The diversity of talented voices across the weekend, particularly given the festival’s notable US weighting, served as perfect opposition to political uncertainty arising here in the UK and across the Atlantic.

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50 great tracks for July from Drake, Ebony Bones, Low and more

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas and Laura Snapes | Scene | Tue 10 Jul 2018 10:58 am

From Nicki Minaj’s sex chat to Blawan’s masterful minimal techno, here are 50 great new tracks from across the musical spectrum. Read about our favourite 10 and subscribe to the playlist

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Get inspired by how Che Pope tracks live – and manages time

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Mon 9 Jul 2018 11:40 pm

Digital production isn’t just about electronic music – it’s about producing the likes of Preservation Hall Jazz Band, too. Here’s Che Pope on his “GSD: Get Sh*t Done” method.

And yes, that’s worth highlighting I thought not just because this live-tracked music recording of the ensemble is fun to watch, but because I like his rigorous approach to separating time and concerns.

Che Pope you may now as Che Vicious or Che Guevara. He’s worked with… well, so many people, from Lauryn Hill and The Fugees (taking me back) to later on Dr. Dre’s Aftermath to Kanye to Hans Zimmer.

So listen to the man. Actually, just as with Susan Rogers, figure the kind of personality who can work with all those very idiosyncratic personalities is able to keep some distance and objectivity. Sometimes our rockstar heroes may not be able to put things into words, but the producers who worked with them often can.

To highlight the time management part – not that I, uh, ever get challenged with trying to be half a dozen people at once – here’s what he recently told Universal Audio:

I did this thing a few years back I call “Taking Back Your Schedule,” where I made some firm decisions about, y’know, this is my phone call and email time. This is when I’m reachable. And this is when I go into creative mode without any interruptions, unless they’re urgent.

In general, mornings up to about 2pm are for business calls and emails and all that; 3pm on is for creating music. Look, if you’re going to do both — and in many ways you especially need to do both these days — you need to craft a system that works for you. Doing so will make a significant impact on your ability to be productive in your creative and business life.

Actually, I think it’s easy to look at that and think, okay, that’s just for successful producers who already have this balance thing worked out and other people working with them.

I’d say it’s probably even more important if you are under more pressure and in the DIY everything situation. Then you need time that isn’t connected to social media management or tax accounting – even if it’s just a half hour at the end of the day, if that half hour is sacred.

Che Pope was talking to Universal Audio, meanwhile, because they shot this beautiful live session. This makes me want to put aside some time this week to practice keys – and you thought the keyboard couldn’t be “expressive”:

Whatever the instruments, this really demonstrates how much can happen with live tracking. And the beauty of digital is, you can now model an entire studio worth of gear and take it with you on a compact laptop rig. That means here with the UA Apollo, they can track live as if the equipment were in the room – being a UA 610-B tube preamp, and here a Studer multitrack tape with Fairchild limiters.

At the same time, the cleanness of digital recording and the control that offers can still provide a fresh, modern sound. It’s interesting to see people get the modernity in comments – but then the Studer was meant to sound transparent; we’re just used to listening to poor copies on tape and poorly maintained vinyl, played on poor-calibrated/low quality playback equipment, and thinking of that as “vintage.” (Don’t get me wrong – I love horrible equipment, too! But you get the point.)

Maybe there’s some connection to the idea of time management and decision making. Here, you really capture a set of live performances without too much manipulation – and in the ambience of the room. That’s something you could experiment with in any idiom or genre; it still scales the music performance to human time. (Some similar thoughts on ensembles soon – and a parallel early approach to production – from Carl Craig.)

And keeping things at human scale is something we can all do.

More details on the process and thoughts:
Inside the mind of Che Pope / Apollo Artist Sessions [Universal Audio]

The post Get inspired by how Che Pope tracks live – and manages time appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Best albums of 2018 so far

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Wed 20 Jun 2018 7:00 am

Lily Allen dished on her divorce, Arctic Monkeys found their inner crooners, Cardi B earned her stripes, Pusha T teamed up with Kanye West and the Vaccines made an unexpected classic

As amusingly unfiltered as ever, Allen embraces the sunny disposition of Afro bashment and British rap, and pairs it with delicate, bruised and often dolorous songs about her divorce – an affecting combination.

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Parklife festival review – Manchester turns night to day with punishing party energy

Delivered... Daniel Dylan Wray | Scene | Mon 11 Jun 2018 1:44 pm

Heaton Park, Manchester
Liam Gallagher is incongruous, but prompts massive singalongs, while the xx and Confidence Man are other big successes

‘Who here is on drugs?” asks a member of Levelz, at 4.30 on Saturday afternoon. This may seem like an odd question, but at Parklife time feels mirrored, with the 11am-11pm festival feeling as if it’s 11pm-11am. Drugs seem to be ubiquitous; wide eyes, wonky gurns and euphoric grins cannot be hidden in the beaming sun. The Manchester rap collective then play the infectious Drug Dealer as part of a genre-hopping set.

With the crowd full of shirtless dudes, buckets of glitter and people wearing sparkly outfits, Parklife seems like Coachella relocated to Prestwich and sponsored by the North Face. There are a lot of stages: the tower block-shaped Valley, the Bronx-themed Elrow tent, the foliage-filled Palm House, the oil rig-resembling Temple (which shoots flames) and a giant airplane hangar. The production is impressive and the sound systems are pristine, with afternoon DJ sets from Jackmaster and Peggy Gou pushing their limits.

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50 great tracks for June from Christine and the Queens, Playboi Carti, the 1975 and more

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas and Laura Snapes | Scene | Wed 6 Jun 2018 10:00 am

From Troye Sivan’s ode to bottoming to Oneohtrix Point Never’s joyous electronic cheese, here are 50 tracks you shouldn’t be without this month – subscribe to the whole playlist and read about 10 of the best

Related: Sign up for the Sleeve Notes email: music news, bold reviews and unexpected extras

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Field Day review – shifting sounds tighten up London’s festival scene

Delivered... Chal Ravens | Scene | Sun 3 Jun 2018 12:28 pm

Brockwell Park, London
Under orders not to upset new neighbours, Field Day got strict with its headliners – pulling the plug on an overtime Erykah Badu – while serving a jazzy lineup of fresh stars

When the sound gets shut off on the first night of Field Day, Erykah Badu has just peeled herself off the floor, where she’s been serenading us on her belly like a teenager on a late-night phone call. The neo soul queen may be upfront about her age – tweaking the lyrics of Me to sing: “This year I turned 46” – but she still has the youthful insouciance that brought her acclaim as a thrilling live performer in the 90s. Drowned by an oversized cream suit and enormous wodge of crimped hair, Badu is the sparky counterpoint to her ultra-tight backing band, bashing out beats on a drum machine as she introduces “the 90s babies” to classics like Next Lifetime and Tyrone.

But she’s late, and the curfew comes anyway – after barely an hour, she’s on a mid-set high during Bag Lady when the plug is pulled. It was always going to be this way; Badu isn’t renowned for her punctuality, for a start, but Field Day, now in its 11th year, is under strict orders to keep a lid on the noise and chaos. This is the festival’s first appearance in south London after events behemoth AEG nudged it out of its slot in east London’s Victoria Park. Residents of the affluent area around Brockwell Park were quick to raise the alarm, warning of vandalism and damage to biodiversity.

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Summer 2018 playlists, chosen by Goat Girl, Justice, Hot Chip and more

Delivered... Interviews by Kathryn Bromwich and Sam Lewis | Scene | Sun 3 Jun 2018 10:00 am

Musicians reveal the songs they turn to when the sun hits the sky – listen to their hot tracks below

Bandleader and saxophone and clarinet player; member of the Comet Is Coming and Sons of Kemet

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The big bangers: grime smashes into the Hadron Collider

Delivered... Tara Joshi | Scene | Tue 22 May 2018 5:44 pm

They rapped in its tunnels and played instruments made out of old science equipment. Could this be Cern’s most amazing experiment yet?

‘Anyone attending the performances,” says Jack Jelfs, “will find themselves in a 12-dimensional quantum superposition.” This superposition, adds the artist, will contain three overlaid elements: our mythic past, our scientific present and our unknown future. “So,” concludes Jelfs, “you may wish to prepare appropriately.”

Jelfs is talking about The Wave Epoch, a high-concept performance piece that is the result of four British artists spending time at Cern (the European Organisation for Nuclear Research), where particles are accelerated and bashed into each other to reveal the secrets of the universe. When it’s described as “something between an installation, a music performance and a rave”, The Wave Epoch might not sound like anything particularly new, but it all becomes a lot more original when you realise it was conceived 175 metres underneath the Franco-Swiss border in the presence of the Large Hadron Collider, the biggest single piece of machinery in existence.

Scientists were asking me questions like: ‘Do you understand what we’re made of as humans?'

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What, no Whitney? The biggest Rock & Roll Hall of Fame snubs ever – ranked!

Delivered... Alexis Petridis | Scene | Thu 19 Apr 2018 12:00 pm

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame recognises the world’s greatest popular music stars – except for the ones it doesn’t, from Kate Bush to Kraftwerk

This week saw the latest batch of inductees into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, but – like many other uncategorisable, expansive, eclectic and influential singer-songwriters – Björk was nowhere to be seen.

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Field Day festival set to go ahead after organisers, council and locals do battle

Delivered... Ed Gillett | Scene | Thu 19 Apr 2018 6:00 am

A fraught process of relocation to south London’s Brockwell Park has laid bare the troubles faced by big festivals in the capital

The London music festival Field Day looks likely to be finally granted a licence by Lambeth council for its 2018 edition, following a long dispute between local councillors, festival promoters and local residents that has mirrored London’s wider struggles over public space and private profit.

Headlined by Erykah Badu, Four Tet and Fever Ray, Field Day is scheduled to take place for the first time in Brockwell Park, after 11 years in east London’s Victoria Park. But with accusations of council mismanagement, warnings of ecological damage and impending legal action, Field Day’s long-term prospects remain under threat – as do those of the capital’s wider festival scene.

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Coachella review – pop’s new democracy creates uneven city in the desert

Delivered... Eve Barlow | Scene | Mon 16 Apr 2018 4:14 pm

Empire Polo Club, Indio, California
The highs were high – of-the-moment rapper Cardi B, discomfiting art-rocker St Vincent, cosmic jazz saxophonist Kamasi Washington – but others like SZA misfire, and the whole thing suffers from internet-era distraction

With a rumoured 40,000 extra attendees at the first weekend of Coachella 2018, the three-day festival is more congested than ever. It’s especially hard to move without stepping into the frame of an influencer’s selfie as they document outfits, record friendships and pray for a feature in a Twitter moment. This culture of validation and self-affirmation makes sense given that the festival’s culture is now predicated on reaction (reflected in promoter Goldenvoice recalibrating their booking in recent years) rather than minting trends. Hence 2018’s lineup consisting largely of mainstream urban hip-hop and R&B acts, including headliners the Weeknd, Beyoncé and Eminem (each reviewed separately).

There is a progressive positive to this: Coachella is now a playground for the global democratisation of pop. If you can cross over in the age of streaming, chances are Coachella will grant you the opportunity to realise it in a setting previously inconceivable to Billboard Hot 100 entries. In a digital epoch in which the thirst for “IRL” ownership is at its peak, the market for seeing your favourite song in 3D against crisp, larger-than-life, high-definition backdrops and desert-shaking soundsystems is strong.

Related: Eminem at Coachella review – career-spanning set is a perfect nostalgia hit

Related: Beyoncé at Coachella review – greatest star of her generation writes herself into history

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Czarface & MF Doom: Czarface Meets Metal Face review – action-filled hip-hop supersquad

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Fri 30 Mar 2018 10:00 am

(Get on Down)

The undergroup hip-hop group Czarface – made up of Wu-Tang Clan member Inspectah Deck, MC Esoteric and producer 7L – get more super still, with the addition of metal-masked rapper MF Doom. This Avengers-style squad, already nerdily fixated on comic books and prone to supervillainous pronouncements regarding their prowess – be it lyrical, sexual or pharmaceutical – are given very free rein, and there are some ponderous skits for guys to giggle at alone with their vinyl figurines.

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Diplo: ‘Being a white American, you have zero cultural capital’

Delivered... Kate Hutchinson | Scene | Thu 22 Mar 2018 4:00 pm

The US DJ-turned-pop star is dogged by cries of cultural appropriation, but whether on his own or with Major Lazer, he’s on a permanent global quest to start trends – ‘or mess them up’

In the midst of 3,000-year-old ruins just outside Islamabad, I am playing tourist with American producer-turned-pop star Diplo. He is here for less than 24 hours and is keen to explore the ancient city of Taxila – what’s left of it – clambering over a Buddhist stupa in a Burberry trenchcoat and traditional kurta tunic. Armed guards stalk the long grass around us, while Diplo spots some puppies, who look suspiciously like they have been planted there for our visit. “We’ve found the ancient animals!” he deadpans, as he poses for a photo for his Snapchat or maybe a forthcoming calendar. “This is one of my top five international moments.”

It’s Diplo’s second time in Pakistan, and later today he will be throwing his next “block party” in the capital, where 4,000 twentysomethings will turn out for a set from his DJ crew Major Lazer, alongside local artists such as SNKM. The first event he did, in 2016, “might have been the only DJ show that ever happened here,” he says. This year, he has flown in to throw another one, before zipping back to the US to soundtrack a Super Bowl after party and perform the dance routine from his latest video on The Tonight Show. Diplo, AKA 39-year-old Wesley Pentz, can’t seem to locate his off switch. “Honestly, I’m waiting to be irrelevant,” he drawls, drolly.

Related: What Would Diplo Do? A mockumentary for the EDM generation

Related: Major Lazer review – a juddering, festival-ready EDM megamix

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