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

Natalie Portman criticises ‘creepy’ Moby over ‘disturbing’ account of friendship

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Wed 22 May 2019 10:16 am

Musician says in memoir the pair dated, but Portman disputes account, saying ‘my recollection is a much older man being creepy with me’

Natalie Portman has criticised Moby for a “very disturbing” account of their friendship in his new memoir Then It Fell Apart.

In the book, the musician, now 53, claims the pair dated when he was 33 and Portman was 20, after she met him backstage in Austin, Texas. He recounts going to parties in New York with her, and to see her at Harvard University, “kissing under the centuries-old oak trees. At midnight she brought me to her dorm room and we lay down next to each other on her small bed. After she fell asleep I carefully extracted myself from her arms and took a taxi back to my hotel.” He says that he then struggled with anxiety about their relationship: “It wanted one thing: for me to be alone … nothing triggered my panic attacks more than getting close to a woman I cared about.” Later, he writes: “For a few weeks I had tried to be Natalie’s boyfriend, but it hadn’t worked out,” writing that she called to tell him she had met someone else.

Related: Then It Fell Apart by Moby review – sex, drugs and self-loathing

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Rosie Lowe: YU review – seductive, minimalist soul probes power balance

Delivered... Dave Simpson | Scene | Fri 10 May 2019 10:00 am

(Wolf Tone)

Rosie Lowe’s 2016 major label debut, Control, explored the need to retain – and occasionally, learn to relinquish – power, especially relating to a woman in the music industry. Three years and a switch from Polydor to Adele/Florence producer Paul Epworth’s indie label later, the 29-year-old Devon-born Londoner slightly changes tack. When YU– pronounced ‘You’ and also ‘Why You’ – investigates the same themes, it’s within a relationship. It’s an album about love: insecurities, desire, contentment and the shifting balance of power. Her vehicle, again, is smooth, sultry, minimalist, electronic soul and R&B, somewhere between James Blake and Sade or Minnie Ripperton. There’s a hushed stillness to the way Lowe’s words glide over the stripped-down, becalmed grooves, before gentle soul gives way to more uptempo beats and sentiments. With that template, it’s a varied mix.

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Holly Herndon: Proto review – dystopia averted! AI and IRL in pop harmony

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Fri 10 May 2019 9:00 am

Herndon’s own AI, Spawn, augments her group’s flesh-and-blood vocals to challenge our fear that machines are taking over

There’s something soothing about how rubbish Google’s new predictive email tools are – if AI can’t work out what you want to tell your accounts department, then it won’t be organising a Terminator-style insurrection any time soon. So what hope does AI have for composing music, if bland office missives are too creatively challenging?

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50 great tracks for May from FKA twigs, Sunn O))), Stormzy and more

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas and Laura Snapes | Scene | Wed 8 May 2019 6:00 am

From Bruce Springsteen’s return to Dorian Electra’s magnificent electropop – read about 10 of our favourite songs of the month and subscribe to our 50-track playlist of the best new music to start summer

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Kedr Livanskiy: Your Need review – joyful, punchy beats with a touch of tape hiss

Delivered... Aimee Cliff | Scene | Fri 3 May 2019 10:30 am

Sung in Russian and English, Livanskiy’s more playful, deeper second album has an optimistic spirit

Kedr Livanskiy is the pseudonym of Russian musician Yana Kedrina, a DJ, producer and singer whose shoegaze-y electronic music sounds as if it has arrived in a time capsule from a retro-futurist era. Singing in Russian and English, hopping between different dance genres, and coating everything with nostalgic tape hiss, Kedrina made an indelible impression with her debut EP, January Sun, in 2016. With her much darker debut album, Ariadna (2017), she (unlike the album’s mythical near namesake) led the listener deeper into the labyrinth, combining foggy textures with synth melodies that seemed to spiral into themselves, and forlorn, wistful lyricism.

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UNKLE review – James Lavelle’s rock-star neediness stifles

Delivered... Joe Muggs | Scene | Sun 21 Apr 2019 2:03 pm

Royal Festival Hall, London
The Mo’Wax founder remains a peerless talent-hunter, but his desire to be in the spotlight gets in the way of his own show

In the 2016 documentary movie The Man From Mo’Wax, the story of James Lavelle is told as tragedy with eventual redemption. From his teens, he was a DJ’s DJ and founded one of the greatest labels of the 1990s. Possessed of golden ears and boundless hustle, he connected the UK underground with everyone from the Beastie Boys to Detroit techno’s prime movers, and Mo’Wax itself became a living artwork. But it wasn’t enough: Lavelle wanted to be a rock star. Chasing ever more intense peak experiences and proximity to big-name collaborators, his UNKLE project became all-consuming, almost destroying him.

In the film, sobriety and renewed focus presented a happy ending: stardom established, creativity rebooted, sprawling three-part concept albums ahoy (the ongoing The Road trilogy has run to 37 tracks since). And Lavelle clearly still has an eye for talent. Tonight’s young support act Skinny Palembe is fantastic, for starters – his band like the xx gone maximalist, with rolling Afrobeat rhythms, Krautrock and hints of dancehall embellishing the nervy indie – and Lavelle’s own band is razor-sharp, too. That musicianship is weirdly deployed, though. The first half of the show features him behind CD decks with cellist Philip Sheppard, drummer Alex Thomas and Steven Weston on about 19 different instruments, all dressed in black, providing backing for existing UNKLE vocal tracks, with films projected behind.

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Raves, robots and writhing bodies: how electronic music rewired the world

Delivered... Alexis Petridis | Scene | Mon 15 Apr 2019 6:00 am

It started with white-coated boffins; now its figureheads wear masks and play Vegas. A new exhibition tells the story of electronic dance music, from old synths to a statue of Brian Eno

In the Philharmonie de Paris on an overcast Tuesday afternoon, Jean-Yves Leloup is pondering why what may be the most comprehensive exhibition ever assembled about the history of electronic music is taking place in France’s capital. “I don’t understand why the Germans or the British didn’t do it before,” he shrugs. “But we have a history of electronic music in France, from musique concrète to Jean-Michel Jarre to Cerrone and cosmic disco, the French touch with Daft Punk, now some EDM pop stars.

“Maybe we gravitate to electronic music because it’s not too rock’n’roll orientated, which is the property of Anglo-Saxons. The French have always been told that they can’t sing in English very well or that French doesn’t sound good with rock’n’roll, so I guess that’s the thing. It’s a bit of a mystery for me – I’m French, so it’s hard to have an outside perspective.”

Daft Punk say that Daft Punk is like a fiction, a movie that they’re directing every day

Electro: From Kraftwerk to Daft Punk is at the Philarmonie de Paris until 11 August.

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Robyn review – soars to new levels of dance-pop perfection

Delivered... Michael Cragg | Scene | Sun 14 Apr 2019 11:58 am

Alexandra Palace, London
The Swedish singer commands the 10,000-strong crowd with a perfectly pitched set ranging from club anthems to her latest heartbreaking classics

Pop thrives on the push and pull of delayed gratification, and the release, when it comes, is overwhelming. This intoxicating sensation runs through the 2018 album Honey, Robyn’s first in eight years. She reshaped the pop landscape with tear- and sweat-stained emo-bangers on her 2010 Body Talk series, influencing everyone from Katy Perry to a raft of fellow Swedes. With Honey, Robyn offered something more languid, the pop highs represented by undulating ripples rather than crashing waves.

Tonight, she makes the 10,000-strong heaving mass wait. In fact, for the first 90 seconds of the gently pulsating Send to Robin Immediately [sic], she isn’t even on stage. She appears only as the beat starts to throb, and even then she stands stock-still as gauzy, white fabric billows around a giant statue of caressing hands. The tension doesn’t snap until the third song, Indestructible, initiated by an expertly timed clap. From that moment on, the crowd are in the palm of her hands, as each song bleeds into the next like an immaculately crafted DJ set aimed at puncturing and then suturing the heart. The coiled frustration of Be Mine, during which Robyn yanks down a sheet that had acted as the final barrier between her and her sweaty disciples, rubs shoulders with the upbeat Ever Again, while the disco-tinged Because It’s in the Music (“and it makes me want to cry”) is healed by the groove-lead balm of Between the Lines.

Related: How Robyn transformed pop

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The Chemical Brothers: No Geography review – rewinding the 90s

Delivered... Kitty Empire | Scene | Sun 14 Apr 2019 8:00 am

(Virgin EMI)

The conceit of this ninth Chemical Brothers album is a tantalising one: dusting down the kit used on their first two acclaimed albums, Exit Planet Dust (1995) and Dig Your Own Hole (1997). Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons have not just endured but prospered since their heyday by redeploying a familiar bag of signifiers – muscular beats, upfront vocals – to reliable effect.

The sequel to 2015’s late-life flowering, Born in the Echoes, does supply a steady stream of knee-jerk fare. Free Yourself is one effective, but super-obvious, paean to dancing, whose video finds AI robots throwing a warehouse rave. But some of No Geography rewinds the 90s more exactingly.

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Stubbleman: Mountains and Plains review – a low-key charmer

Delivered... Neil Spencer | Scene | Sun 14 Apr 2019 8:00 am
(Crammed Discs)

Pascal Gabriel’s CV is one impressive document. Starting with Belgian punks the Razors, he moved to London in the late 1970s, became a recording engineer, created chart-toppers with S’Express and Bomb the Bass in the late 80s, and has since written and produced for a legion of pop acts, Kylie Minogue and Ladyhawke among them. Gabriel’s latest project, as Stubbleman, is a step sideways into ambient territory – quite literally, since Mountains and Plains was inspired by a coast-to-coast road trip across the United States.

The album reflects Gabriel’s innovatory skills with electronica, though his principal instrument is a ghostly piano, over which are layered synths, guitars, glockenspiel and the toys of the sound alchemist’s art. It’s a beautifully crafted work that fits Eno’s definition of ambient being “as ignorable as it is interesting”, at times as minimalist as Steve Reich (such as Badlands Train, a slog across the Texas plain), at others unsettling in its evocation of “purposeless highways and terminally closed diners”, or meditative in its portraitof Taos Twilight. A low-key charmer destined, one suspects, for a long life.

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The great 60s electro-pop plane crash: how pioneers Silver Apples fell out of the sky

Delivered... Daniel Dylan Wray | Scene | Tue 9 Apr 2019 11:30 am

They worked with Hendrix and influenced Stereolab and Portishead. John Lennon was a fan. So why did the kings of the hippy oscillator disappear, in 1969, on the brink of stardom?

At the start of 1969, Silver Apples had the world at their feet. The New York duo of Simeon Coxe and Danny Taylor had released a pioneering debut album, collaborated with Jimi Hendrix and played Central Park to tens of thousands of people. Their second LP was due imminently. Yet weeks later, the album was pulled, they were banned from performing and found themselves ousted and ostracised from the music industry.

“It ruined us,” recalls Coxe, now 80, from his Alabama home. “It was heartbreaking.”

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Ones to watch: WH Lung

Delivered... Phil Mongredien | Scene | Sat 6 Apr 2019 1:59 pm

The Mancunian trio combine motorik beats with sparkling synthpop simplicity

While WH Lung’s name might suggest a nod to the likes of WH Auden and similarly austere literary figures, it actually comes from a Chinese supermarket in their native Manchester. This deliberate blurring of high and low culture is part of the appeal of the enigmatic three-piece (Joseph E on vocals/synths, Tom S on guitar and Tom P on bass), their songs juxtaposing simplicity with free-ranging experimentation. But even more key is their ability to seamlessly meld genres – krautrock, post-punk and synthpop, most prominently – to create songs that are fresh and exciting yet familiar-sounding and accessible.

Their recently released debut album, Incidental Music (with a cover painting by Joseph E), finds a sweet midpoint between Hookworms’ 2018 album Microshift (understandably overlooked after abuse allegations), LCD Soundsystem and Giorgio Moroder, with sparkling synth lines atop irresistible motorik beats, and brimming over with ideas. Also citing Thelonious Monk, Prince and Julia Holter as reference points, Tom P says: “Structurally, it’s nice to draw from anywhere. There are definite points at which we tried to be ambitious.” Witness recent single Simpatico People, with chiming guitar lines and Joseph E’s mantra-like vocals layered on an insistent, propulsive rhythm to dazzling effect.

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Avicii’s family announce posthumous album by Swedish DJ

Delivered... Laura Snapes | Scene | Fri 5 Apr 2019 4:28 pm

The EDM star’s final album will feature artists including Coldplay’s Chris Martin and Aloe Blacc

The family of Avicii have announced a posthumous album from the late Swedish DJ. At the time of his death from suicide in April 2018, at the age of 28, Tim Bergling was close to completing his third album. His family report he left behind “a collection of nearly finished songs, along with notes, email conversations and text messages about the music”.

Executives from Bergling’s label, Universal Music, asked his regular collaborators rather than invite superstar names to be part of the project, according to the New York Times. The highest-profile musician on the album, Chris Martin of Coldplay, had worked with Bergling and was invited to sing on a song named Heaven.

Related: 'It will kill me' – behind the devastating Avicii documentary

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WH Lung: Incidental Music review – dynamic synth-pop hums with life

Delivered... Michael Hann | Scene | Fri 5 Apr 2019 10:30 am


You could be forgiven for thinking you’ve heard something very like WH Lung’s debut album before, in the not too distant past. Incidental Music offers insistent, driving, pulsing rhythms across long songs. Marching synthesisers move those songs along, picking up the pace and tying it all together. There are wails of guitar, a high, slightly quavering lead voice and a sense that this is psychedelia reconfigured for modern times: anxious, not beatific. It is, to be frank, not a million miles from what Hookworms were doing before their split.

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The Veronicas, Middle Kids and Tame Impala: 20 best Australian tracks for April

Delivered... Nathan Jolly and Guardian Australia | Scene | Thu 4 Apr 2019 6:00 pm

Each month, we feature 20 new and unmissable Australian songs. Read about 10 of our favourites – and subscribe to our Spotify playlist, which updates at the start of each month

Related: Hottest 100: AB Original and Dan Sultan praise date change at Arias

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