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


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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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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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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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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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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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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Electronic pioneer Ryuichi Sakamoto: ‘My great regret is not reconnecting with Bowie’

Delivered... Joe Muggs | Scene | Thu 8 Feb 2018 5:00 pm

With the Yellow Magic Orchestra, he inspired the sound of hip-hop, electro and techno. Then, the Japanese composer won an Oscar and worked many of the greats, including Davids Bowie and Byrne. Now, in recovery from cancer, his impulse to innovate is as strong as ever

On the roof of a half-built tower block overlooking Oslo’s harbour, Ryuichi Sakamoto – former global pop star, a godfather of techno and hip-hop and an Oscar-winning composer – is in a makeshift plastic shack, coaxing microscopic scratches and scrapes out of a cello, then turning them into huge tonal washes with his laptop. As the sun sets, artificial mist billows through the crowd, floodlights suspended from the construction site’s cranes swing above us and the lithe dancer Min Tanaka strikes alarming poses on the parapet of the building, disappearing in and out of the fake clouds.

This performance for the city’s Ultima festival, a collaboration with “fog sculptor” Fujiko Nakaya, is profoundly moving: elegant, nuanced, emotional, rich with cultures from across the globe. Themes of ageing and mortality emerge as Tanaka disappears into the mist; he is 72, Nakaya is 84 and Sakamoto is 65 and in recovery from the throat cancer he was diagnosed with in 2014. These themes also appear throughout the 2017 album, Async, Sakamoto’s first solo effort in seven years. Heralded as one of the year’s electronic highlights, it is now bolstered by Async Remodels, a set of remixes by the cream of the avant garde, including the Björk collaborator Arca and Oneohtrix Point Never.

Asian music influenced Debussy, who influenced me – it’s all a huge circle

Related: Observer readers' hidden musical gems of 2017

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

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Mon 5 Feb 2018 11:00 am

Our monthly playlist has camp country by Kylie, freaky funk by George Clinton, a dub odyssey by Leslie Winer & Jay Glass Dubs and more. Subscribe to the playlist of all 50 and read about our 10 favourites below

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Maschine with audio arrives; here’s how to get the most of it

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Mon 18 Dec 2017 8:47 pm

Maschine’s Audio module has arrived, with looping and time stretching. And that makes the perfect time to look at some new ways of playing Maschine.

Maschine has had a year full of growth – new features, new ways of working from the community. As of Friday (well, after some glitches with the update server), that also includes an update that delivers a feature Maschine users have been asking about the longest: pitch-independent time stretching and looping.

The bad news is, this isn’t integrated with Maschine’s existing Sampler module. The good news, perhaps, is that this means the new module is focused on its own set of functionality, and won’t disrupt what’s already there. (I’m going to play around with it a while longer to reach my own conclusions on how I feel about this decision, but it certainly does keep each module cleaner and simpler.)

I’ve seen a lot of people posting the sentiment lately that music making isn’t just about updating to the latest-and-greatest — and I certainly agree with that, that’s fair. But some updates do come from real user needs and remove technological barriers to things you want to do.

On the human side of the equation, of course, you’ve got all the ways people pick up an instrument and make it their own. And the Maschine community this year has been astounding – all the reviewers, users, experts, trainers, and yes even the Maschine team themselves.

So, for starters, here’s a great demonstration of how that Audio Module works:

(Ha, that musical example is a bit wacky, but… you can of course apply this to whatever music or genre you want; I’ve done some really experimental stuff on Maschine that I suspect no one would guess was that tool)

From the same creator (“loopop”), here’s a unique take on how to use Maschine Jam, the clip launching grid + touch fader hardware for Maschine, alongside the traditional Maschine hardware. He takes on Jam as a “virtual conductor,” a mixer for different parts, and even an easy way to strum instruments. It’s a reminder that it’s best to think of Maschine as a live interface, not something specific to a particular genre. And the result is something different than what I’ve seen from other interfaces (like Abletoh Push), demonstrating how many different directions live interfaces for computers can go.

Maschine has also worked well as a hub for other instruments – hardware and software alike. It can be a trigger for snapshots in Reaktor, as we saw in our run-down of Belief Defect. (I’m reprogramming my own Reaktor-based setup, so I’ll do a more complete tutorial soon.)

And you can use snapshots and morphing with hardware, as loopop shows in this video. This was initially a Jam feature, but it has extended to other hardware controller.

(I just played right before Grebenstein Friday night, and he was using a Maschine MK1 alongside the Vermona as his live rig, so more possibilities with this setup. It blew me away; it was really tight.)

This next example is worth another story on itself – I’m a huge fan of Reactable’s recent, overlooked apps for sequencing and drum pattern creation. The latter, SNAP, has integration with Maschine Jam. The upshot: instead of repeating the same old loop over and over and over and now I’m bored, you can work in a fluid, live way to create more human, varying patterns. Watch – the Jam stuff kicks in part of the way through:

Stepping outside of one genre can often help you to better understand techniques and musicality. So here’s DDS with a great series on Maschine from the perspective of a hip-hop producer. (If you make hip hop-influenced music, that’s already relevant – but even if not, listen to the producers of the genre that gave you so much of how we think about this hardware in the first place!)

Finally, worth a read:

BEHIND THE SCENES: V.I.V.E.K ON WORKFLOWS WITH MASCHINE

If you have more tips / tutorials or videos to share, send them in and I’ll update the article here.

And in the interest of fairness, we’ll have a bit more on the Akai side of the equation shortly, too; it’s also been a good year for the rival MPC.

More soon.

The post Maschine with audio arrives; here’s how to get the most of it appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Kitty Empire’s best pop of 2017

Delivered... Kitty Empire | Scene | Sun 10 Dec 2017 1:00 am

From Jay-Z to Taylor Swift, it’s been a year of high political and personal drama in the worlds of rap, pop and rock

• Observer critics’ reviews of the year in full

With a couple of weeks to go until the new year, a number of significant records still teeter on the edge of an unannounced drop in 2017. Rihanna, for one, loves a fourth-quarter release; and Frank Ocean has hinted tantalisingly that he did make his promised five albums before he turned 30 at the end of October – he just hasn’t released one of them.

But the past 11 and a bit months have already seen more than enough melodrama: heartache and soap operatics, lawsuits and moral victories, and everywhere a political climate that was impossible to outrun. There were albums that engaged explicitly, from Hurray for the Riff Raff’s The Navigator to Joey Bada$$’s All-Amerikkkan Bada$$.

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