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

50 great tracks for November from Sheck Wes, Ider, Architects and more

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas and Laura Snapes | Scene | Mon 5 Nov 2018 1:19 pm

Deerhunter return, Bruce delivers the techno track of the year and Pistol Annies brilliantly sketch a loveless marriage – read about 10 of our favourite songs of the month, and subscribe to the 50-track playlist

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Molly Nilsson: the synthpop star embracing hope and loneliness

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Mon 5 Nov 2018 12:16 pm

With her utopian outlook and determination to find magic in the everyday, the fiercely independent Swede swims against the tide

When synthpop singer Molly Nilsson plays live, she takes a CD of her instrumentals, hits play, then sings along with them in a glorious kind of self-karaoke. There’s no band, no instruments, just a woman singing about love, ennui and Milton Friedman. “If people are provoked by seeing a person on stage singing, that’s good,” she audibly shrugs down the line from her home in Berlin. “I think it’s punk. It’s not about skill, it’s the fact that you are human, on a stage where everything is focused on you and your expression. And that has all the value in the world.”

Her stark, mesmerising stage show is a neat visual representation of Nilsson Industries: she is a completely one-woman outfit, producing and performing all her music solo, booking her own tours, and releasing her own albums (this last task admittedly in tandem with indie Glasgow label Night School Records). Her debut came in 2008, and a decade later – following her masterpiece Imaginations, one of the best records of last year – she’s just released her eighth, the similarly excellent Twenty Twenty. Is 10 years a long time to spend by oneself? “I know that a lot of people are afraid of loneliness, and I don’t understand, because it’s nothing,” she says. “When you genuinely feel lonely, you can look at the situation and say: What if I just turn this around, and this is nice? And what if I’m just there for myself instead?”

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20 best Australian tracks for November, featuring Middle Kids, Parcels, Hatchie and others

Delivered... by Nathan Jolly; playlist by Guardian Australia | Scene | Fri 2 Nov 2018 10:23 pm

In our new monthly spot, we feature 20 new and unmissable songs. Read about 10 of our favourites below – and subscribe to our Spotify playlists

Related: Cash Savage casts an all-man choir: ‘I hoped it would drive home the words’

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Glenn Copeland: the trans musical visionary finding an audience at 74

Delivered... Maya-Roisin Slater | Scene | Fri 2 Nov 2018 2:30 pm

He worked for years on kids’ TV shows like Sesame Street while making ambient masterpieces in obscurity. Now Copeland is finally getting his dues – and finding comfort in his identity

“I was told when I was young that I would not be successful until I was very old,” Glenn Copeland says over Skype from his home studio in New Brunswick, Canada. Now 74, he released seven albums over the course of his career, mostly unknown at the time of release. But as was apparently predicted by the seers and prophets Copeland sought out as a young man, the audience he was searching for has finally found him.

To work ceaselessly without seeing your creativity appreciated, is a feeling that has driven many artists to the brink of madness. Copeland sees his time out of the limelight differently. “I was busy creating, that was the fundamental thing for me. Now the universe is saying: ‘This music we’ve been sending you, now is the time for it to be heard.’” His speech is measured and perfectly enunciated, every sentence delivered with a beaming smile.

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The Prodigy: No Tourists review – music for the jaded generation

Delivered... Dave Simpson | Scene | Fri 2 Nov 2018 10:00 am

Take Me to the Hospital/BMG

Few bands captured the early-1990s zeitgeist as effectively as the Prodigy. Outdoor raves – notably the huge Castlemorton Common festival in 1992 – were seen as a such a threat to public order that John Major’s Conservative government brought in the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act in 1994, to outlaw gatherings of people dancing to “repetitive beats”. Although this could technically mean anything from Orbital to Morris dancers, Prodigy tracks such as Their Law soundtracked the music community’s fightback. As dance music shifted indoors and into the mainstream, 1994’s double platinum Music for the Jilted Generation defined an era.

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Julia Holter: Aviary review – sonic beauty and brains in a 90-minute epic

Delivered... Rachel Aroesti | Scene | Fri 26 Oct 2018 9:00 am


To say that Julia Holter’s fifth album is dense and difficult is an understatement – in an ideal world, Aviary would come with its own dedicated edition of York Notes. Laden with literary references, Latin text and lyrics that strain under the weight of impressionistic meaning, it’s a record that is difficult to parse but easy to admire. On her previous album, 2015’s Have You In My Wilderness, Holter proved she could squish her avant-garde sensibilities into soaring pop songs. This time, the Los Angeles-based musician has loosened the reins, creating a collection of tracks that are rich, expansive and only occasionally maddeningly obtuse.

Holter has said that it was her intention to use Aviary to meditate on the current chaos of the world, something that’s clear from the off – opener Turn the Light On resembles The Scream in musical form. Over the crash and screech of a malfunctioning orchestra, Holter wails flatly, her voice alternating between a foghorn bellow and a sheep-like vibrato. There is a track called Everyday Is an Emergency, which begins with amusingly dissonant bagpipes that morph into the sound of an alarm, and numerous allusions to war – both ancient and contemporary. Despite its concern with modern malaise, Aviary sonically harks back to the medieval via chants, references to Occitan troubadour songs and brass fanfares – but it’s also in possession of a more romantic kind of nostalgia, thanks to a heavenly string section that cushions the more abrasive sounds.

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Do androids dream of electric beats? How AI is changing music for good

Delivered... Tirhakah Love | Scene | Mon 22 Oct 2018 2:00 pm

Breakthroughs in artificial intelligence make music composition easier than ever – because a machine is doing half the work. Could computers soon go it alone?

The first testing sessions for SampleRNN – an artificially intelligent software developed by computer scientist duo CJ Carr and Zach Zukowski, AKA Dadabots – sounded more like a screamo gig than a machine-learning experiment. Carr and Zukowski hoped their program could generate full-length black metal and math rock albums by feeding it small chunks of sound. The first trial consisted of encoding and entering in a few Nirvana a cappellas. “When it produced its first output,” Carr tells me over email, “I was expecting to hear silence or noise because of an error we made, or else some semblance of singing. But no. The first thing it did was scream about Jesus. We looked at each other like, ‘What the fuck?’” But while the platform could convert Cobain’s grizzled pining into bizarre testimonies to the goodness of the Lord, it couldn’t keep a steady rhythm, much less create a coherent song.

Artificial intelligence is already used in music by streaming services such as Spotify, which scan what we listen to so they can better recommend what we might enjoy next. But AI is increasingly being asked to compose music itself – and this is the problem confronting many more computer scientists besides Dadabots.

If you have a barrier to entry, you hack your way into figuring it out

Related: Are Spotify's 'fake artists' any good?

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Jean-Michel Jarre: how we made Oxygène

Delivered... Interviews by Dave Simpson | Scene | Tue 16 Oct 2018 6:00 am

‘Hi-fi shops played it as an example of state-of-the-art music. I didn’t tell them I made it with Sellotape in my kitchen’

I played in rock bands as a teenager and would use a tape machine my grandfather gave me to get processed sounds out of my guitar. During the French student uprisings of 1968, this felt like a way of being rebellious. I loved it when people said: “What is this crap?” But by the mid-70s, I wanted to bridge the gap between experimental music and pop.

The Planet Jarre: 50 Years of Music box set is out now on Sony. Jean-Michel Jarre’s new album, Equinoxe Infinity, is released on 16 November.

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Matthew Dear: Bunny review – eclectic post-punk via heavy electronics

Delivered... Dave Simpson | Scene | Fri 12 Oct 2018 10:30 am

(Ghostly International)

Matthew Dear doesn’t call himself King Chameleon lightly. The Texan-born producer, DJ, sometime University of Michigan lecturer and leftfield electronic artist has spent almost 20 years operating under a range of pseudonyms – Audion, Jabberjaw and False – and rifling through genres like a sock drawer. The fifth album under his own name is no different, but mostly he channels an eclectic range of loosely post-punk-era styles into heavy electronics. Cranium-shattering dub, Nitzer Ebb’s electronic body music, Wire’s angular tunefulness and the Pop Group’s depth-charges of dub and punk are hurled into the mix. The driving Electricity has a hint of the bassline from Elvis Costello’s Pump It Up, while superb opener Bunny’s Dream recalls prime Durutti Column’s fragile beauty, the haunting riff and fizzing drum patterns conjuring up a mesmeric atmosphere that is obliterated by the sub-bass.

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Giorgio Moroder announces first ever live tour at 78

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Wed 10 Oct 2018 9:46 am

The synthpop pioneer behind I Feel Love will play four UK dates in April

After a long career in which he revolutionised the world of pop, Italian producer Giorgio Moroder is, at 78, embarking on his first live tour.

He will play across Europe, including four dates in the UK in Birmingham, London, Glasgow and Manchester from 1-5 April 2019, performing on piano, vocoder and synths alongside a live band and vocalists. Tickets will go on sale on Friday, 12 October at 9am on the website Live Nation.

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50 great tracks for October from Noname, Julia Holter, Objekt and more

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Mon 1 Oct 2018 10:59 am

From Behemoth’s satanic metal to a triumphant return from Lana Del Rey, here are the tracks you need this month – read about our 10 favourites, and subscribe to all 50 in our playlists

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One to watch: Ider

Delivered... Damien Morris | Scene | Sat 29 Sep 2018 2:00 pm
The London flatmates combine introspective lyrics with gorgeous harmonies and memorable melodies

“I’m trying to enjoy myself, love myself/ Who the fuck is myself?” is a very Ider lyric. Lily Somerville and Megan Markwick (Ider is the “mysterious third band member” that manifests itself when they harmonise) may not have found themselves yet, but were lucky enough to find each other at university, and they’ve sung and written their way to a promising career since. Now flatmates in London, their shared setup allows constant collaboration and produces a series of thoughtful, gorgeous songs that mostly attempt to map the worlds outside and within.

If you’re not a lyrics person, tracks such as Does She Even Know bring enough beautiful, indelible melodies, power synths and ghostly, funky fingerclicks to decorate all the damage and eviscerated hearts. You’ll hear everything from Haim to Frank Ocean and Portishead in Ider’s anxiety dream pop and heartbreak ballads. Their latest track, Mirror, broods over identity, imposed or chosen, but with a steroidal kick fattening their spare sound to radio strength.

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‘The state means to kill us’: meet Gaika, Britain’s most vital rapper

Delivered... Kieran Yates | Scene | Thu 27 Sep 2018 3:57 pm

The Brixton artist makes tracks that focus on gentrification, violence and the immigrant experience – ‘black music with all the sex left in it and all the bullshit maths taken out’, as he says

Gaika has spent the day in Brixton’s Brockwell Park to try to find some space to breathe and ease a pollen-induced tightness in his chest. It hasn’t worked, and when we meet in a nearby pub it becomes clear that this sensation may have been triggered by something other than pollen.

Born to Jamaican and Grenadian parents, Gaika Tavares grew up in the area. He is in a sombre mood today, the second anniversary of his father’s death. “I did the particular walk to the park that I used to do with my dad,” he says. For the past two years, he has been absorbed in making an album in homage to his father. Even its title, Basic Volume, is a reference to the place he worked as a material scientist. Gaika is wearing a brilliant-white lab coat (“I thought it was apt”) over an orange T-shirt and jeans; his hands are adorned with gold rings and tattoos.

Related: Gaika: Basic Volume review – gripping new voice of British rap

This is what the black experience sounds like, in all its joy, and heat and pressure

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Gary Numan ‘utterly devastated’ as tour bus kills elderly pedestrian in Ohio

Delivered... Laura Snapes | Scene | Tue 25 Sep 2018 1:37 pm

Singer cancelled Cleveland concert after his bus hit a 91-year-old man at a pedestrian crossing

British musician Gary Numan has said he is “utterly devastated” after his tour bus struck and killed a 91-year-old man in Cleveland, Ohio, according to reports.

Police said the bus was making a right turn when it hit the pedestrian, who was pushing a cart and died at the scene on Monday. Numan cancelled his performance at the House of Blues venue that evening.

Related: Gary Numan: ‘Eye contact is something I find incredibly difficult’ | This much I know

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Low: ‘We want to punch new holes in the possibilities of music’

Delivered... Jessica Hopper | Scene | Fri 21 Sep 2018 11:00 am

Never afraid to sit still, even after a dozen albums, the Minnesota band look back at the tracks that define their evolving sound: ‘Just say what you feel strongly about now’

At home in Duluth, Minnesota, Alan Sparhawk gives a tour of his vegetable garden, where long pumpkin vines rope around the heirloom tomatoes; Lake Superior is a few miles away and takes up the entire horizon. He, now aged 50, and his wife, Mimi Parker, 51, are the core of the American band Low – they have known each other since they were nine, have been married since before starting the band in 1992 and are parents of two teenage children. Their home offers evidence of their domestic lives and artistic ones, with Parker’s drums set up in the living room and the tour van parked next to the minivan in their driveway. After the interview, Sparhawk takes off to chaperone an end-of-summer beach bonfire for his son’s church youth group.

Related: Low: Double Negative review – the sound of the world unravelling

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