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

Flying Lotus apologises after defending the Gaslamp Killer over rape allegations

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Tue 17 Oct 2017 10:28 am

The Grammy-nominated producer, who told an audience ‘the internet is a liar’, admitted his comments were insensitive

Grammy-nominated electronic music producer Flying Lotus has apologised after he made comments supporting fellow producer the Gaslamp Killer, who has been accused of rape.

The Gaslamp Killer has been accused of drugging and raping a woman and her friend in 2013 – one posted an account of the alleged attack on Twitter. He has since issued a statement denying the allegations, saying: “I would never hurt or endanger a woman. I would never drug a woman, and I would never put anyone in a situation where they were not in control, or take anything that they weren’t offering.”

Related: #MeToo named the victims. Now, let's list the perpetrators | Jessica Valenti

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No alternative: how brands bought out underground music

Delivered... Rachel Aroesti | Scene | Mon 16 Oct 2017 1:06 pm

Timberland hosts rap gigs. Princess Nokia makes films for Maybelline. And Red Bull is the new school of rock. Have brand partnerships destroyed counterculture? Or are they all that’s keeping it alive?

Timberland hosts rap gigs. Princess Nokia makes films for Maybelline. And Red Bull is the new school of rock. Have brand partnerships destroyed counterculture? Or are they all that’s keeping it alive?

Kiran Gandhi (@madamegandhi stage name: Madame Gandhi) is an activist and electronic music artist. The former drummer for M.I.A. and the iconic free-bleeding runner at the 2015 London Marathon, she now writes music that celebrates the female voice. The womens #SUPERSTAR Slip-On is available now.

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Grime trailblazer Major Ace dies

Delivered... Guardian music | Scene | Mon 9 Oct 2017 12:03 pm

Rapper and founding member of the influential UK garage group Pay As U Go Cartel had suffered from a brain tumour for three years

Grime pioneer Major Ace has died, his family reports. The rapper, whose real name was Luke Monero, had been suffering from a brain tumour for almost three years.

Major Ace was part of the UK garage crew Pay As U Go Cartel, which was instrumental in shaping the grime sound. His brother Cass confirmed Monero’s death via Instagram on 9 October.


Thank you for the memories bro sleep deep. #RIPMAJORACE

Related: A history of grime, by the people who created it

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The month’s best music: Post Malone, Björk, Lorenzo Senni and more

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas and Rachel Aroesti | Scene | Mon 2 Oct 2017 12:29 pm

From Charlotte Gainsbourg’s delicate minimalism to kick-ass indie-punk by Dream Wife – plus Somali disco and elegant techno – here are 50 of the month’s best tracks

Last month we launched the first of an ongoing series at the Guardian where we round up 50 of the month’s best tracks, across all genres – and tell you a bit more about 10 of the most exciting ones below. You can subscribe to the playlists via various streaming services in this widget, and let us know what you think in the comments. Google Play Music users can access the playlist here.

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Tricky: Ununiform review – stark and slinky

Delivered... Kitty Empire | Scene | Sun 24 Sep 2017 7:15 am
(False Idols/!K7)

Strange things are afoot on Tricky’s 13th LP: its quality, for one. The trip-hop maverick’s former foil, Martina Topley-Bird, guests for the first time in 14 years; a sombre treat. Elsewhere, Russian rappers jostle against a perplexing cover version of Hole’s Doll Parts. The former are excellent, with the lairy Scriptonite juxtaposed against Tricky’s malevolent drawl on Same As It Ever Was (a Talking Heads reference, surely). The latter? If only Tricky had sung it, rather than one of his myriad guests. Throughout, Tricky creates a claustrophobic world full of stark bass lines, pop digressions and slinky Bristol moments; his duet with Francesca Belmonte, New Stole, is particularly moreish.

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The month’s best music: Beck, Cardi B, Zomby and more

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Mon 4 Sep 2017 3:48 pm

In a new series, the Guardian rounds up the 50 songs you need to hear each month in playlists across all major streaming services

Welcome to a new monthly feature on the Guardian, where we round up the best 50 songs from the previous month and stick them in a beautifully sequenced playlist for you (available on streaming services Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music). We’ll also pick out the 10 biggest, most zeitgeist-squatting tracks from it below – this month there’s everything from psychedelic dance-rock by the Horrors, to Latin pop from J Balvin, to glacial dub techno by Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe.

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Michael Jackson, George Michael, Prince and more: readers share their favourite albums turning 30

Delivered... Guardian readers and Tom Stevens | Scene | Wed 30 Aug 2017 2:08 pm

To commemorate Michael Jackson’s Bad album turning 30 this week, we asked you for other albums from 1987 that still mean something to you

This week marks 30 years since Michael Jackson’s Bad album confirmed the King of Pop as one of the most successful artists of all time. But Jackson was not the only artist to produce a classic 1987 album. Both the Beastie Boys and Public Enemy enjoyed successful hip-hop breakthroughs, Bruce Springsteen released his ultimate break-up album, and the Morrissey/Marr partnership managed one last hurrah before consigning the Smiths to history.

To celebrate these releases, we asked readers to name their favourite albums from 1987 and explain why they still matter 30 years on.

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Funding Music Today: Rabah Ourrad

Delivered... norient | Scene | Wed 30 Aug 2017 6:00 am

In this series from the Norient book Seismographic Sounds (see and order here) we learn about different strategies of artists to fund their music. In short quotes musicians tell from their own perspectives. Today: Algerian rapper Rabah Ourrad aka Rabah Donquishoot.

Rabah Ourrad (© Photo by the artist)

I was a rapper in Algeria and now I’m the owner and head chef of a restaurant in Notting Hill, London. My hip hop group MBS had a deal with Universal Music in the 1990s. We sold more than 40,000 albums, but decided not to renew our contract. First, they wanted us to rap in French. We considered ourselves Algerian rappers. Second, our attitude and our political and artistic orientation did not match with their objectives. I had to come up with new ideas of financing my life then. I worked as a bartender, studied French literature, and graduated at a cookery school in Paris. Now I cook creative, colorful dishes at my Wormwood restaurant. And I still rap. I keep following my master plan: take a minimum of thirty years to create Algerian hip hop from scratch. Or – a bit less pretentious – create a legendary band or become an amazing solo rapper. If, to you, a successful strategy means to release an album every year, mine wasn’t successful. But I’m still here.

This quote was published first in the second Norient book Seismographic Sounds. Click on the image to know more.

Read More on Norient

> Thomas Burkhalter: «Mit dem Mikrofon gegen die Stille»
> Thomas Burkhalter: «Im Rhythmus der Revolution»

Alma, Finland’s green-haired millennial pop hope: ‘I have way more fears than you’

Delivered... Alexandra Pollard | Scene | Fri 25 Aug 2017 6:00 am

She wowed Finnish Pop Idol at 16, and now five years later is tearing it up with Sub Focus and Charli XCX. So, how is this garish introvert handling fame?

Alma doesn’t seem quite sure if she wants to be invisible, or the only person you could possibly be looking at. Her long hair is the shocking green of cartoon toxic waste – so bright it feels dangerous to look at it directly – but today, she has tucked most of it into a black hoodie pulled up over her head, the zip of her coat tickling her chin. “I have this hair, unfortunately,” she says, as if she had no say in the matter, “that glows from kilometres away.”

When she is tearing her way through a live set, all snarls, swagger and diva hands, the 21-year-old Finnish popstar seems fearless. She prowls up and down the stage, holding the mic like a battle rapper and belting out song after song without a flicker of inhibition. She makes muscular, tropical house-tinged pop music, whose subject matter is some variant of not giving a toss. But as it turns out, most of the time she is terrified.

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Hype Williams: Rainbow Edition – fractious dub collage

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Thu 24 Aug 2017 10:30 pm

(Big Dada)

Following excellent solo projects, Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland return to their duo Hype Williams, whose cut-up dub songcraft has been one of the most compelling voices in the European underground this decade. Or do they? Their label’s site says they’re no longer involved, but the pair are known for their inveterate fibbing. Either way, there’s none of Blunt’s deadpan chat and only a couple of (possibly Copeland-delivered) female vocals, a shame as some of the tracks are pleasingly punchdrunk trip-hop instrumentals that cry out for a top line, however meandering.

Related: Hype Williams: do they ever speak the truth?

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The Queer Star of Swedish Hip Hop

Delivered... Kalle Berggren | Scene | Fri 18 Aug 2017 6:00 am

Silvana Imam is changing Sweden’s contemporary hip hop landscape. In this jj remix of her song «I.M.A.M.», classical hip hop video references – hoodies, bling, car riding and graffiti – are characteristically interchanged with images of political protests, LGBT Pride marches and Pussy Riot members. Crowded scenes pass by in between desolate urban landscapes, while the lyrics contain feminist messages as well as Arabic expressions. Silvana Imam is in many ways a unique artist, but also part of a larger history of hip hop feminism. From the Norient book Seismographic Sounds (see and order here).

Film still from Silvana Imam & Elin Kastlander (Music), Olivia Kastebring & Mika Gustafson (Video): «I·M·A·M (jj Remix)» (Sweden 2014)

Hip hop in Sweden, as in many other places, has been a heavily male-dominated genre since its public breakthrough in the 1990s. Yet, female artists have always been important. Neneh Cherry and Leila K were pioneers and internationally successful. In the 2000s, artists like Ayesha, Feven, Heli, and Melinda Wrede appeared. But in recent years things have changed dramatically: the Femtastic collective has brought together female actors in the urban music scenes, Linda Pira had a huge hit featuring several up-and-coming female rappers, and artists like Cleo and Lilla Namo are frequently played on the radio.

Breaking New Ground in Swedish Hip Hop

One of the most interesting voices of this new generation is no doubt Silvana Imam. While sexism and gender inequality within and beyond the hip hop scene have long been important themes in lyrics by female rappers – including topics such as men’s violence against women, unequal pay, sexist attitudes and so forth – Silvana Imam’s lyrics celebrate feminist icons ranging from Simone de Beauvoir and Valerie Solanas to Pussy Riot and Gudrun Schyman of Feminist Initiative, Sweden’s feminist political party. There is thus a characteristic emphasis on sisterhood, on «my girls», in Imam’s lyrics. But gender is not the only issue at stake in her music. She is also the first prominent queer rap artist in Sweden, which certainly breaks new ground in the largely heteronormative hip hop genre. And while she fills her lyrics with clever references – which in this song includes Narcissus, Cain and Abel – she also has a transnational perspective, herself having roots in Syria and Lithuania. In «I.M.A.M.» she is thus «writing the New Iliad, the New Bible and the New Qur’an» (Quote from the lyrics).

It has now been twenty-five years since Public Enemy’s call to «Fight the power». One of the most exciting things about Silvana Imam is how she brings this spirit into dialogue with a political analysis of the interconnectedness of transnational, queer and feminist issues—taking the «revolution from Stockholm to Saudi Arabia», as she calls it.

This text was published first in the second Norient book Seismographic Sounds. Click on the image to know more.

Read More on Norient

> Theresa Beyer: «Change Is Now»

Ghostpoet: Dark Days + Canapés review – grey-sky thinking about modern life

Delivered... Harriet Gibsone | Scene | Thu 17 Aug 2017 10:30 pm

(Play It Again Sam)

Poet and musician Obaro Ejimiwe’s fourth album opens with a groan. So the mood is set for the rest of this exhaustingly bleak record; a grey-skied documentation of modern hot-button issues such as the refugee crisis (“No-one knows / How many / On the boat / Violent skies / Won’t tell us / Where to go”), social media (“Instagram your foes”) and modern dating (“we swipe left and figure it out”). Often its lyrics are a little on the nose, but musically it’s subtle, atmospheric – macabre Massive Attack ominousness on (We’re) Dominoes, tetchy, barbed post-punk on Freakshow, and aching elegance and eeriness on Dopamine If I Do, while Trouble + Me seems to rework the burgeoning reverence of Radiohead’s Street Spirit. Of course, Ghostpoet is merely exploring the world around him, but unlike Radiohead’s OK Computer, incredibly insightful and prophetic 20 years on, its unambiguous, unbridled hopelessness is wearing.

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Sunfall festival review – dance goes deep as Princess Nokia hits the heights

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Mon 14 Aug 2017 11:27 am

Brockwell Park, London
DJ masterclasses from Helena Hauff and Ben UFO ease the sting of entry queues, while rising hip-hop stars and techno parties create a 16-hour marathon

On paper, this audiophile event showcasing the dance and hip-hop underground is one of the smartest, most necessary dates in the festival calendar, but harsh reality intervenes. As at Boomtown the previous weekend, the British tolerance for queuing is pushed to its absolute limit by the three-hour wait to get in, followed by another serious queue for booze to soften the pain; many attendees have their day unacceptably truncated.

If it helps them feel better, they didn’t miss much early on. London producer Romare flirts with some intriguing polyrhythms, but his Latin percussion breaks have their rangy funk smoothed out by being too neatly looped; the very tame live sax and flute lines, devoid of passion or direction, worsen matters. Similarly directionless is Roy Ayers, who has some enchanted devotees, but whose interminable, fussily meandering vibraphone lines are a struggle for the rest.

Related: 'It's all about feeling': Chicago dance great Larry Heard takes house to the heavens

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Readers recommend playlist: songs about France and French things

Delivered... Pairubu | Scene | Thu 10 Aug 2017 12:00 pm

Our reader has listened to your suggestions and picked tunes from Debbie Harry, Jean Ferrat and Black Box Recorder among others

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

It’s fair to say that the UK and France haven’t always been the best of neighbours. That said, I do think there’s a certain unique, mutual love and admiration – they send us their cheese and wine; in return we send M&S and decent music. France and French things in general have inspired some great songs. My selection is both something of a compare and contrast exercise and a little amuse-bouche to tickle those musical taste buds.

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Flying Lotus on his gross-out movie debut, Kuso: ‘You’ve never seen black characters like this – ever!’

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Fri 21 Jul 2017 11:00 am

The LA producer and musician discusses his first feature film, an unholy mashup of stoner comedy, body horror and incest. But will it simply prove too disturbing for audiences?

A woman tries to find her baby down a portal to a hellscape and has her legs conjoined with another woman for a sitcom called Sock, before being consumed by a ravenous turd. A murderous multicoloured yeti with an HD screen for a face, voiced by the American comedian Hannibal Buress, aborts a foetus, which is then used as a marijuana pipe. A crustacean cures a man’s fear of breasts from within George Clinton’s rectum.

These are just some of the scenes in Kuso, the debut feature film by Steven Ellison, who as Flying Lotus has become one of the most popular and psychedelic voices in electronic music, attracting the likes of Thom Yorke, Kendrick Lamar and Erykah Badu to sing over his tracks. But that psychedelia has taken an apocalyptic, scatological turn in Kuso, a series of vignettes set in a Los Angeles ravaged by disease after an earthquake.

Related: Kuso review – Flying Lotus-directed horror stakes claim as grossest movie ever

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