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Indian E-music – The right mix of Indian Vibes… » Pop and rock

Daft Punk were the most influential pop musicians of the 21st century

Delivered... Alexis Petridis | Scene | Tue 23 Feb 2021 11:35 am

By resurrecting disco, soft rock and 80s R&B, and bringing spectacle to the world of dance music, the French duo changed the course of pop music again and again

It’s hard to think of an act who had a greater impact on the way 21st-century pop music sounds than Daft Punk. The style Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo minted on their 1997 debut album Homework – house music heavy on the filter effect, which involved the bass or treble on the track gradually fading in and out, mimicking a DJ playing with the equalisation on a mixer; drums treated with sidechain compression, so that the beats appeared to punch through the sound, causing everything else on the track to momentarily recede – is now part of pop’s lingua franca.

In fact, no sooner had Homework come out than other artists started to copy it. Within a couple of years, Madonna had hooked up with another French dance producer, Mirwais, employed to add a distinctly Daft Punk-ish sheen to her 2000 album Music, and the charts were playing host to a succession of soundalike house tracks – 2 People by Jean Jacques Smoothie, who turned out to be a bloke from Gloucester called Steve; Phats and Small’s ubiquitous Turn Around; and No 1 singles, Modjo’s Lady and Eric Prydz’s Call on Me among them.

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Daft Punk, French electronic music duo, split up after 28 years

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Mon 22 Feb 2021 4:30 pm

Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo do not explain end of collaboration that produced hits including Get Lucky and One More Time

Daft Punk, the French duo whose sci-fi aesthetic and euphoric sense of pop transformed electronic music, have split up.

They announced the split with a YouTube video featuring a clip from their film Electroma, featuring an intertitle with the dates 1993-2021. Their publicist Kathryn Frazier confirmed the split to Pitchfork, but did not elaborate.

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‘It’s been cathartic’: how Blanck Mass made a travelogue album in lockdown

Delivered... Daniel Dylan Wray | Scene | Fri 19 Feb 2021 2:00 pm

With touring halted, the electronic musician incorporated recordings from around the world, as well as memories of a late loved one, into a ‘sad and nostalgic’ new work

Unless you happened to be one of the thousands who, on March 15, 2020, attended a Stereophonics concert, then chances are the memories of your last pre-lockdown gig will be special. For me, it was being in a dark basement as Blanck Mass’s pulverising electronics rattled the walls, drowning out a ukulele duo playing the open-mic night in the neighbouring bar.

Related: The Guide: Staying In – sign up for our home entertainment tips

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Beyond disco: the Pakistani Brummie siblings who made a lost 80s synth-pop classic

Delivered... Michael Lawson | Scene | Tue 9 Feb 2021 10:00 am

Nermin Niazi and Feisal Mosleh were teenage immigrants blending their Pakistani musical heritage with Pet Shop Boys and Depeche Mode – and their punchy disco LP has been rescued from obscurity

Opening its doors in 1970, Birmingham’s Zella Studios played home to a who’s who of the city’s musical greats: Black Sabbath, Band of Joy, the Spencer Davis Group. But the Bristol Street institution was also home to one of the most remarkable and unfairly overlooked albums of the 1980s: Disco Se Aagay, by teenage British-Pakistani sibling duo Feisal Mosleh and Nermin Niazi.

“When I look back now I’m surprised at how much confidence we had,” Niazi says. “I remember walking in and feeling absolutely at home. The smell of the studio stays with me even now. There’s something very comforting and secure about it.”

The 80s was a different world to the broad-minded one we live in now

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Sophie’s triumphantly plastic music moulded a new world for trans people

Delivered... Jessica Dunn Rovinelli | Scene | Tue 2 Feb 2021 1:07 pm

The producer’s death is crushing, but we’re left with hyper-real music and an iconography that upends femininity and points to a new way of living

Long before the late Scottish producer Sophie’s astonishing 2017 track and video It’s OK to Cry were released – an image of Sophie’s transgender body in joyful, anxious, and deeply felt flux – this artist was already special to trans people. Sophie had long crafted electronic dance tracks that freed femininity and bodies from their usual contexts and let them dance with abandon. In 2013 it didn’t matter to me, as a not-yet-out-even-to-myself transgender woman, whether or not Sophie was transgender. What mattered was that in early singles, such as the genre-redefining Bipp that year, we felt as though we could become something else.

Related: Sophie: 10 of the greatest tracks by a genius of pop's expressive power

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Caroline Shaw: what next for the Pulitzer-winner who toured with Kanye? Opera – and Abba

Delivered... Erica Jeal | Scene | Tue 2 Feb 2021 7:00 am

She has scored films, played with rappers, starred in a TV comedy, and performed for the dying. As the classical sensation releases three new works, she talks about the shock of playing arenas – and making the leap into opera

When Caroline Shaw became, at the age of 30, the youngest ever winner of the Pulitzer prize for music, she described herself as “a musician who wrote music” rather than as “a composer”. Partita, her winning score, is a joyful rollercoaster of a work, encompassing song, speech and virtually every vocal technique you can imagine. It was written for Shaw’s own group, Roomful of Teeth.

Eight years on, she’s still wary of defining herself too narrowly. “Composer, for some people, can mean something very particular,” she says, “and I’m trying to make sure I don’t get swallowed up into only one community.” Not that Shaw’s range shows any sign of narrowing: even a small sample of her work over the past few years throws up an array of names not often seen together: rappers Kanye West and Nas, soprano Renée Fleming, mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter, Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry, pianist Jonathan Biss. She has written film scores, sung on others, was the soloist in her own violin concerto, and even managed a cameo appearance as herself in Amazon Studio’s comedy drama Mozart in the Jungle. A year ago, Orange, a recording of her string quartets, won the Attacca Quartet a Grammy.

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Cult musician Emmanuelle Parrenin: ‘I like to dive into the void and invent something’

Delivered... Philip Bloomfield | Scene | Mon 1 Feb 2021 1:02 pm

The singer and instrumentalist caused a riot at a Clash gig, cured herself of deafness, and, decades on from her debut LP, is an icon to young French producers. ‘I love to discover,’ she explains

“In terms of my career, I only made bad choices.” Emmanuelle Parrenin is discussing the importance of intuition. “But in terms of what I like, I made good choices.”

Intuition has taken Parrenin, now at an undefined point in her 70s, to some remarkable places: from stages with the Clash to deserts in Morocco, and in and out of deafness. Often narrowly described as a folk musician for her role in the revival of French traditional music in 1970s, her career has been an exercise in pushing boundaries – and, indeed, ignoring them – while becoming one of her country’s most enduring cult musicians.

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Sophie: 10 of the greatest tracks by a genius of pop’s expressive power

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Sat 30 Jan 2021 5:13 pm

From productions for Charli XCX and Gaika to Sophie’s emotionally shattering solo works, we celebrate a truly singular artist who has died aged 34

This was the track that brought Sophie, the Scottish producer who has died aged 34 following an accidental fall, to wider attention, and how could it not. The opening sounds like an alert announcing a malfunction on a clown car assembly line, all sproings and sirens; these polished, corporate sonics would become a hallmark of the producer’s early work, revelling in the kitsch of the smartphone age. But unlike producers with similar satiric intentions like James Ferraro and Oneohtrix Point Never, you could dance to Sophie – and Bipp is so deliriously danceable.

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Sophie, acclaimed avant-pop producer, dies aged 34

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Sat 30 Jan 2021 12:21 pm

Glasgow-born Grammy nominee had worked with Madonna, Charli XCX and more

Sophie, the Grammy-nominated Scottish musician whose high-intensity electronic productions pushed the boundaries of 21st-century pop, has died aged 34.

Sophie’s management confirmed to the Guardian that the artist died around 4am at home in Athens, “following a sudden accident. At this time respect and privacy for the family is our priority. We would also ask for respect for her fanbase, and to treat the private nature of this news with sensitivity.”

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Steven Wilson: The Future Bites review – prog-popper probes the future

Delivered... Dave Simpson | Scene | Fri 29 Jan 2021 10:00 am

(Caroline International)
The former Porcupine Tree frontman moves further from his past as he packages up digital-age musings into bite-size pop

Much to the chagrin of hardcore elements of his fanbase, the one-time “king of progressive rock” is exploring dance, electronica and contemporary pop these days. Wilson has rebuffed their cries that it’s “not prog” by emphasising an artist’s prerogative to develop and challenge audience expectations. The 51-year old’s sixth solo album is the one-time guitar virtuoso’s least guitar-oriented collection yet. A general theme of “how the human brain has evolved in the internet era” has led him to reflect on consumerism, algorithms, web-era shopping and a general discourse on how technology and marketing have transformed modern life.

Wilson always was a sharp songwriter and has adeptly channelled what could be unwieldy concepts into bite-size, polished pop. Subjects from nostalgia to social media self-regard come giftwrapped in sizzling melodies as he funnels the influence of his beloved Trevor Horn into postmodern electronic pop-funk, adding sub-bass, thoughtfulness, wit and humour.

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Triple J’s Hottest 100: Heat Waves by Glass Animals tops annual Australian song poll

Delivered... Katie Cunningham | Scene | Sat 23 Jan 2021 10:31 am

The English group hit No 1 on a predominantly local chart that even features Victorian premier Daniel Andrews

The UK band Glass Animals have taken top spot in the Triple J Hottest 100 with their song Heat Waves.

The pop group edged out a number of hotly tipped local artists to hit No 1 in Australia’s biggest song poll, which was broadcast on Triple J on Saturday. Heat Waves was one of three tracks from the group to place in this year’s countdown.

Related: Billie Eilish becomes first solo female artist to win Triple J Hottest 100

Happy @triplej #hottest100 day to every artist who released music in a year of zero touring and limited social interaction. You’re all winners!

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Composer Ryuichi Sakamoto diagnosed with bowel cancer

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Thu 21 Jan 2021 12:44 pm

Oscar-winning Japanese musician says he is undergoing treatment and ‘hoping to make music for a little while longer’

Oscar-winning Japanese composer and pop musician Ryuichi Sakamoto has been diagnosed with bowel cancer.

In a message on his website, the former Yellow Magic Orchestra member said “the news was disheartening, but thanks to the excellent doctors I met, the surgery I underwent was a success. I am now undergoing treatment.”

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The KLF reissue music for first time since 1992

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Fri 1 Jan 2021 4:12 pm

Singles compilation Solid State Logik 1 appears on streaming services and YouTube years after being deleted, with further reissues anticipated soon

Rave-pop iconoclasts the KLF have released their greatest hits on to streaming services and YouTube for the first time, and have hinted at further music to follow later this year.

An eight-track collection entitled Solid State Logik 1 has been released today, including 1988 No 1 novelty single Doctorin’ the Tardis, 1991 UK No 1 dance anthem 3am Eternal, and the Top 5 hits Last Train to Trancentral and America: What Time is Love? also released that year.

Related: Return of the KLF: ‘They were agents of chaos. Now the world they anticipated is here’

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Irish drill, jazz violin and supermarket musicals: 30 new artists for 2021

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas and Laura Snapes | Scene | Fri 1 Jan 2021 7:00 am

From the ferocious hardcore punk of Nicolas Cage Fighter to the ultra-meditative ambient of KMRU, discover new music from right across the pop spectrum

Which new artists are you excited for in 2021? Leave your recommendations in the comments below.

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Irish drill, jazz violin and supermarket musicals: 30 new artists for 2021

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas and Laura Snapes | Scene | Fri 1 Jan 2021 7:00 am

From the ferocious hardcore punk of Nicolas Cage Fighter to the ultra-meditative ambient of KMRU, discover new music from right across the pop spectrum

Which new artists are you excited for in 2021? Leave your recommendations in the comments below.

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