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

Ministry of Sound’s Love Island compilation

Delivered... Gavin Haynes | Scene | Fri 20 Jul 2018 1:00 pm

As we ponder the difference between a compilation and a playlist, can MoS’s latest offering mug off the threat of streaming?

Have you heard Love Island: The Pool Party yet? You really shouldn’t. The compilation album features Little Mix and Cheat Codes’ Only You, and various other bangers in that modern vernacular where “summer” is a PC plugin, and DJ Khaled is only ever seconds away from shouting his own name. True to the tag, this is an album you’d love if you’d spent your childhood locked in a darkened room with just ITVBe for company, so that you could only communicate in clucking emotional cliches. Regardless of if you were that Kaspar Hauser of electro-schlock or not, you’d still be left with a very big question: “Why am I buying a compilation album in 2018?”

Besides the still surprisingly big Now That’s What I Call ... series, the streaming world has bulldozed the genre. What’s the difference between a compilation and a playlist? About six minutes in the Spotify search bar. It is no coincidence that the next Fabric album, Fabric 100, will be the label’s last. Upmarket comps such as Back to Mine, AnotherLateNight and Under the Influence petered out nearly a decade ago. But what about the behemoth of them all, Ministry of Sound? Well, it’s putting out Love Island: The Pool Party, as it happens.

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Ebony Bones: Nephilim review – jittery post-punk seething at racist violence

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Fri 20 Jul 2018 9:00 am

(1984 Records)

This album of jittery post-punk and sweeping trip-hop is so ambitious, it’s little wonder one-time soap actor Ebony Bones has only made three of them in 10 years. Not only does she write and produce all of the tracks, there is orchestral input from the Beijing Philharmonic and a searing lyric sheet that addresses injustice against black people across the diaspora. It starts ponderously – the four-note theme of the two opening tracks is reminiscent of a Bernard Herrmann or Clint Mansell score, but this basic, undercooked melody is too weak to prop anything up. The true overture is Ghrelin Games, an Army of Me-esque industrial monster; its latent juke energy is teased out further on the even more impressive Kids of Coltan, an interrogation of mineral mining in the DRC.

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How we made: Roni Size on the Mercury-winning album New Forms

Delivered... Interviews by Dave Simpson | Scene | Tue 17 Jul 2018 6:00 am

‘We just went to the Mercury prize ceremony to scoff all the free food and alcohol. Then Eddie Izzard said: You’ve won!’

I was born Ryan Owen Granville Williams but, because I was lighter-skinned, everyone called me Roni, after the only white character in the film Babylon. I was quite short and if my mates were talking about a girl, they’d say: “Oh, she’s Roni’s size.” So that’s how I came up with the name Roni Size.

Related: Roni Size’s favourite tracks

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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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Sophie on Madonna: ‘Her work is so vast – there’s a reference for any situation’

Delivered... As told to Kathryn Bromwich | Scene | Sun 15 Jul 2018 8:00 am

The electronic music producer, DJ and musician on Madonna’s continuing musical influence

• Thurston Moore on Madonna: ‘She had credibility, she was really ahead of the game’

In my mind, Madonna created the blueprint for modern pop stars. Her creativity has gone further, wider and longer than anyone else I can think of; I feel like her songs have been consistently memorable and meaningful. I have loved all of Madonna’s different phases at different points, but I think the Bedtime Stories era [1994] is really intriguing, especially the production – it has a unique feeling. It’s so much more fully formed and sexy than a lot of the trip-hop stuff that was coming out around that time. It’s definitely been an influence on my own music​.

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Readers recommend playlist: your songs about deserts

Delivered... Scott Blair | Scene | Thu 12 Jul 2018 12:00 pm

Tinariwen, Robert Plant, Brand New Heavies and Big Country are among the artists making this week’s reader-curated list

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

Taking a spin in the RR chair is always an educational experience, but last week proved particularly enlightening. As ever, it expanded my musical horizons, but the topic of deserts also highlighted my lifelong ineptitude when it comes to basic global geography.

Related: Tinariwen review – desert blues with soul and prowess

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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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James Blake speaks out about struggle with depression

Delivered... Laura Snapes | Scene | Tue 3 Jul 2018 11:03 am

Musician says he has sought treatment for ‘suicidal thoughts’, and urges public figures to help remove stigma about mental illness

James Blake has discussed how the pressures of his early career led to him developing “suicidal thoughts”. “I would say that chemical imbalance due to diet and the deterioration of my health was a huge, huge factor in my depression and eventual suicidal thoughts,” said the 29-year-old British songwriter. “I developed [dietary] intolerances that would lead to existential depression on a daily basis. I would eat a certain thing and then all day I would feel like there was just no point.”

Speaking on a panel about the “suicide crisis in the arts population” at the annual symposium of the Performing Arts Medicine Association (PAMA) in California on 1 July, Blake discussed how the superficial interactions of touring life left him feeling alienated, Billboard reports. “I was taken away from normal life essentially at an age where I was half-formed,” he said. “Your connection to other people becomes surface-level. So if you were only in town for one day and someone asked you how you are, you go into the good stuff, which generally doesn’t involve how anxious you feel [or] how depressed you feel.”

Please read. I've wanted to say this for a long time, and now seemed as good a time as any. pic.twitter.com/1fSPt7SJnx

Related: 'It's nothing like a broken leg': why I'm done with the mental health conversation

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‘On repeat in our house’: your albums of the year so far

Delivered... Guardian readers | Scene | Fri 22 Jun 2018 10:17 am

After a mid-2018 Guardian rundown, here’s a selection of additional readers’ favourites from the discussion provoked

After many listens this is definitely my favourite Father John Misty album, adding genuine heart and emotion to the usual combination of wit and irony. Can’t recommend it highly enough. BiggsDixxon

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Gang Gang Dance: Kazuashita review – shoegazey panglobal dreampop

Delivered... Emily Mackay | Scene | Fri 22 Jun 2018 8:30 am


In 2008, Gang Gang Dance’s breakthrough fourth album, Saint Dymphna, crystallised a manic moment, a time when blogs were abuzz with motley, abrasively joyous collisions of world and dance. Ten years on, and seven since their moody, complex fifth, Eye Contact, the New York trio have shifted to meet a very different global atmosphere, tuning in, as did Björk’s Utopia, to the soothing sounds of a new age revival and filtering them through shoegazey dreampop textures. Single Lotus would fit neatly on one of those 90s Pure Moods compilations, all loose guitar and soft synths, Lizzi Bougatsos’s voice – as beautiful, infuriating and varied as ever – conjuring a panglobal sacred pop. J-Tree builds its bliss slowly, reverbed guitar rolling and crashing, ending in a sample of Standing Rock pipeline protesters jubilantly greeting the arrival of a herd of buffalo. The title track lifts rattling percussion into light, bubbling beats reminiscent of In Sides-era Orbital, as artist Oliver Payne intones colour names in a mesmerising meditation, dispelled by a big breakbeat breakdown.

There’s always, of course, been a hippie undertow to Gang Gang Dance’s mission to forge communion between disparate sounds. “There’s nothing to be scared of,” a child’s voice assures at the end of J-Tree, but though we’re supposed to be past the stage of guilty pleasures in music, pleasurable or otherwise, these sounds (the scent of Enigma and Enya, the glimmer of fire poi in the corner of your eye) still carry a taint of dippy, fantasist indulgence. The band, however, see the album less as an escape, more of an attempt to sire a better world: it’s named after live member Taka Imamura’s new baby, whose name is a play on words roughly translating as “peace tomorrow”. Whether its dreamy palette is progressive or pacifying, Kazuashita undoubtedly brings moments of beautiful respite, not least on closer Salve on the Sorrow, whose floaty fantasy vistas – crashes of drums and trills of harp, Bougatsos’s cooing and whooping like a tropical bird – end hopefully, with the sound of a match flaring.

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Readers recommend playlist: songs about kings

Delivered... Chaz Cozens | Scene | Thu 21 Jun 2018 12:00 pm

A regal list this week includes songs from Richard Thompson, Gilbert and Sullivan, Boy George and the Proclaimers

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

This week’s callout produced a great number of nominations: songs about kings, songs about the King (of which more later) and a large number of songs that made me think the phrase “king of...” is somewhat overused by lyricists. So many great songs were eventually discarded, but thanks for nominating them. Do trawl through the suggestions and listen to as many as possible – this has been my favourite topic so far.

Related: Readers recommend playlist: songs about Elvis

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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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How we made Orbital’s Chime

Delivered... Interviews by Dave Simpson | Scene | Mon 18 Jun 2018 3:38 pm

The Hartnoll brothers reveal how their rave anthem was created for £3.75 in a cupboard under the stairs at their parents’ house

We made all our early music at our parents’ house in a cupboard under the stairs, just like Harry Potter. Each time we got a new synthesiser or sequencer, we’d be like little kids unwrapping a Christmas present. One of us would discover a new sound and the other would go: “That’s brilliant. Turn the knob!”

When we played Birmingham, audiences reacted like we were the second coming of Christ

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Sophie: Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides review – hyper-lush, but a touch wafty

Delivered... Kitty Empire | Scene | Sun 17 Jun 2018 8:00 am


Pop is reputed to be a safe, pappy form. In the hands of producers like the Glasgow-born, LA-based Sophie, it has become a warped carnival of artifice – abrasive, while retaining cutesy tropes. Her excellent debut compilation, Product (2015), was made up of the barest, but most nagging digital melodies. Sophie’s collaborations since – Charli XCX’s Vroom Vroom EP, Bitch I’m Madonna (with Diplo), Vince Staples’s Yeah Right – have snuck her dissonance further into the mainstream.

On her debut album proper Sophie pivots once again, from faceless aggro-merchant to vampish front-person. There’s significantly more conventionality here, like the reassuring album-teaser It’s Okay to Cry, attesting to this versatile artist’s evolving hyper-feminine persona, and her mainstreamablilty. Immaterial Girl, meanwhile, is a stark house-pop track about transhumanism that nods to 80s Madonna; it’s sung, like a number of tracks here, by Cecile Believe.

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Sophie: Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides review – taking it to sexy extremes

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Fri 15 Jun 2018 9:00 am


In the same extruded plastic lane as pop provocateurs PC Music, Sophie emerged in 2013 with tracks that were as shiny, artificial and joyously fun as the plastic waterslides of their cover artwork: they lurched around, you could feel the joins to each section, and serious people refused to go near them. A shadowy figure, she was snapped up to work with Madonna, Charli XCX and Vince Staples, before emerging earlier in 2018 with the first single from this debut full-length, It’s Okay to Cry.

Like nearly all the tracks here, it is extremely powerful, and marks a deepening of her already unique aesthetic. Using her own quiet but determined voice, it’s like a trance track with the insistent beats removed – a brilliant trick she repeats to even more dramatic effect on Is It Cold in the Water, like a beatless trance breakdown unmoored from its original track and left floating in ecstatic inertia. It segues into cathedral-filling power ballad Infatuation, a weighty, sad track saved from mere moping by her usual authorial flourishes: whinnying sirens, urgent whispers.

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

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