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


Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine: how we made Sheriff Fatman

Delivered... Interviews by George Bass | Scene | Tue 19 Mar 2019 7:00 am

‘We used my flat’s rank toilet on the record sleeve with my guitar shoved into it – though I put a plastic bag over it first’

I had read about a dodgy landlord in the South London Press. The drug-dealing, the “phoney prescriptions”, the awful living conditions for his tenants: it was all in the newspaper, even his physical stature. All I had to do was change his name – and I’d turned an awful story into poetry and pop music.

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The Cinematic Orchestra: To Believe review – soundscape originators’ accomplished return

Delivered... Rachel Aroesti | Scene | Fri 15 Mar 2019 10:30 am

(Ninja Tune)
The sound of TCO’s tasteful electronica has become ubiquitous. This new album isn’t experimental or idiosyncratic enough to stand out

Even if you believe yourself to be unaware of the Cinematic Orchestra, the London collective formed in 1999 by Jason Swinscoe, you will more than likely be familiar with one of their songs. To Build a Home – a spare and exquisitely beautiful piano ballad featuring the Canadian musician Patrick Watson – has become a TV score standard in the decade since its release, soundtracking a slew of blockbuster dramas. Yet while the song’s ethereal melancholy has proven enduring, its makers have dipped out of view in the intervening years. To Build a Home was the opening track on the Cinematic Orchestra’s 2007 record Ma Fleur – until now, the last proper album they released.

That makes To Believe a comeback of sorts, an opportunity for the 20-year-old group to restate their relevance. To those ends, Swinscoe has described the album as a contemplation on belief in the age of Brexit. Yet while the verbose track titles hint at lofty ideas, the songs don’t so much pin down and interrogate our modern malaise as transpose it into wilful abstraction. Sonically, meanwhile, the topic leads the group to set up camp in the space between their second and third albums – the former ominous, jazzy, trip-hop-informed; the latter a prettier, more wistful collection of featured-artist crooning. At one end of the spectrum is A Caged Bird/Imitations of Life, which sees the group reunite with Roots Manuva – who guested on their edgy, expansive 2002 track All Things to All Men – for a mellower collaboration. To Believe’s titular opener, a pared-down vehicle for Moses Sumney’s soft, airy and soaring vocal, cleaves most closely to Ma Fleur’s style, but can’t quite recapture its muted majesty.

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Karen O & Danger Mouse: Lux Prima review – complex and lingering

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Fri 15 Mar 2019 10:00 am

(BMG)
The Yeah Yeah Yeah’s frontwoman shines beyond her signature yelp on this cinematic, subtle album

After lucratively manning the boards for a series of big pop names in recent years – Red Hot Chili Peppers, Adele, Portugal, The Mancorrect et al – Danger Mouse delivers what feels like more of a passion project. It’s reminiscent of another of these, his 2011 album Rome with composer Daniele Luppi: both are heavily influenced by Ennio Morricone’s compositional style of pattering drumbeats and sweeping strings. His cinematic ambition is foregrounded in the opening title track, a nine-minute symphonic pop suite centred around a theme that is revisited on the closing Nox Lumina, and, truth be told, isn’t particularly exciting. It serviceably denotes grandeur and romance but without any real melodic invention.

Where the album comes alive is with more traditional songwriting, anchored by Yeah Yeah Yeahs frontwoman Karen O, who co-writes throughout. Her image in the popular imagination – a makeup-smeared sex banshee – does her a disservice: she has huge emotional and textural range, something that the handsome production helps to foreground here.

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50 great tracks for March from Tierra Whack, Hayden Thorpe, Squid and more

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas and Laura Snapes | Scene | Wed 13 Mar 2019 12:30 pm

Punk-funkers Squid step on the gas, Jessie Ware moves left of centre and Tierra Whack breaks the one-minute mark – read about 10 of our favourite songs of the month, and subscribe to the 50-track playlist

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‘Blackness will never go away’: how Solange takes pride in her roots

Delivered... Britt Julious | Scene | Wed 6 Mar 2019 3:47 pm

At an immersive, city-wide multimedia presentation of her new album When I Get Home, the singer-songwriter explains how her childhood home of Houston nourished her creative spirit

‘It’s one thing to think with your spirit,” says Solange Knowles. “It’s another to actually live it through your body.” The Solange of today works with feelings, grooves, and frequencies in mind. If A Seat at the Table, her breakthrough third album, was a lyrically dense record about the complexities and struggles of the black American experience, then When I Get Home, her latest release, is the sonic manifestation of that blackness. Staccato rhythms and meditative mantras – designed to ground and heal her after time on the road – ripple on through the bodies of her listeners. It’s an album about settling into familiarity: with yourself, the people around you, and the places one calls home.

At the SHAPE community center in the third ward of Houston last Sunday evening, the record comes to life during a screening of a film, also entitled When I Get Home, that Solange created and directed to accompany the album. Despite the celebrities in attendance, this isn’t a premiere. The album arrived days before, with the film launching simultaneously on Apple Music and the recently revived, early-internet social network Black Planet. Instead, it is a celebration of her return to her roots.

Thank you to alll of uuuu! I’m coming up for air and overwhelmed with gratitude for all the love U sharing. Thank you for always giving me the space to expand and evolve and express. For constantly opening up my world, and allowing me to show you my own new ones. I express for survival, for breath. This shit gave me so much joy to make! I wasn’t afraid. My body wasn’t either, even at times of uncertainty. I love and appreciate u guys infinitely. You make me feel safe and held even in this big big strange world. I can’t thank you enough. It’s been hard to answer where home is, hard to know if it’s past or future...this album and film is one stream of thought and reflection into answering that. I thank you for your time and energy experiencing it with meee. So much love!

my Sol-Angel... no one talk to me ever again

I’ll always be a black woman, and I’ll always create work from this black woman’s body

Related: Solange: When I Get Home review – lose yourself in Knowles' hazy vision

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Stars pay tribute to Keith Flint: ‘A powerhouse of energy and attitude’

Delivered... Interviews by Laura Snapes | Scene | Tue 5 Mar 2019 7:00 am

From Kasabian’s Serge Pizzorno to the Chemical Brothers and Azealia Banks, musicians remember the Prodigy frontman

I discovered the Prodigy through Experience, back in 1992. There used to be a rave record store in Leicester called 5HQ – quite a frightening place, a bit like in Human Traffic. We used to hang around in there. I think they were playing Charly: I bought it, took it home and played it on my decks for days. It just didn’t really sound like anything else. There was a tribal quality to the beat. Somehow it was aggressive like punk – it had an edge that other things around the time didn’t. But it also had a pop sensibility. It really felt commercial even though it wasn’t. We were rave kids with the baggies and the T-shirts, but Keith was next level. He was always well dressed, a real one-off – you could see where everything came from but he had his twist on it. They’re the ones that last.

I think the first time we met him was at V festival. It’s always quite nerve-racking when you meet someone you really admire. You think people are gonna be more mad, more like the person they were on stage, but he was gentle, sweet, encouraging. That was the beautiful thing – he was really interested in the music we were making. When we made the second record, he came down to the session and he was so supportive. We could see it was nice for him, maybe, to see through the eyes of someone going through it again. He’d been there and done it, and he saw these young kids doing the same thing. I’d always go and see them live, so I’d see him backstage, fleetingly, but it always felt like he had our backs, which was amazing, considering that it was him that made us wanna do it ourselves. I’m heartbroken, really. It stops you in your tracks.

If it were not for your fear I could not learn to be fearless ... You gave me options when I felt there were none

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Keith Flint: the neon demon who started a fire under British pop

Delivered... Alexis Petridis | Scene | Mon 4 Mar 2019 4:16 pm

By gleefully escalating the moral panic around British dance culture, the Prodigy frontman showed that rave could be the true successor to rock’n’roll

Like virtually every 90s dance act that unexpectedly ascended from releasing underground club tracks to selling a lot of albums, the Prodigy were faced with a problem: their mastermind was a producer, not a pop star.

Liam Howlett was prodigiously gifted, visionary enough to have turned the Prodigy from a joke into rock stars. Their 1991 single Charly might be the ground zero of novelty rave, its sample from a 70s public information film spawning umpteen tacky imitations that sourced their hooks from old kids’ TV shows or adverts. By 1994, they were an original, eclectic musical force that drew on everything from the hardcore scene that had originally spawned them to hip-hop and punk. Their second album, Music for the Jilted Generation, went to No 1 in the UK that year, long after most of their imitators had enjoyed their 15 minutes of fame and been forgotten. But, like most dance producers, he wasn’t a natural frontman, the skills required to make fantastic records being different from the skills required to captivate an audience.

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The Prodigy’s Keith Flint – a life in pictures

Delivered... Electronic music | The Guardian | Scene | Mon 4 Mar 2019 2:22 pm

From his early days with the rave group to still iconic live performances 25 years later, we look back at the life of Keith Flint

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The Japanese House: Good at Falling review – candid breakup pop lets the air in

Delivered... Michael Cragg | Scene | Fri 1 Mar 2019 10:00 am

(Dirty Hit)

The evolution of The Japanese House has been a lesson in slowly peeling back the layers. The musical moniker of Buckinghamshire-born Amber Bain (the name inspired by a childhood holiday home once owned by Kate Winslet) was part of a concerted attempt to use generalities as opposed to specifics. That also meant there were no press pictures to accompany her early EPs of skittering electronic hymnals, while her voice was often buried beneath ghostly, often androgynous effects. On Good at Falling, her debut album, the walls come tumbling down, with Bain picking at the scabs of a broken relationship with the sort of direct candour that would have seemed unimaginable when she arrived in 2015.

Fuelled by this emotional blood-letting, plus extensive touring with label-mates Wolf Alice and the 1975 (the latter’s George Daniel also co-produced the album), Good at Falling also sees Bain opening up her sound. While those early EPs seemed almost hermetically sealed, here Bain lets some air in. She skips unadorned around the lovely acoustic strums of You Seemed So Happy, and channels 70s MOR on the yearning Faraway, while the stately pop of Lilo – so specifically about the dissolution of her relationship with fellow singer-songwriter Marika Hackman that their breakup is re-created in the accompanying video – feels like a refreshing splash of cold water on tear-stained cheeks. Even when the lyrics are mired in sadness – “I think I’m dying, because this can’t be living” Bain sighs, on the Chvrches-esque Maybe You’re the Reason – there’s a laser-guided focus that keeps things from imploding.

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Fatboy Slim review – cut’n’paste rave larges it to arena proportions

Delivered... Caroline Sullivan | Scene | Fri 22 Feb 2019 1:49 pm

Wembley Arena, London
Battle-hardened ravers and their teenage kids gather as the big-beat ringmaster presses play on an update of the acid house era

Had things gone differently, what a marketing executive Norman Cook would have made. Long before producers-turned-rave-ringmasters Guetta and Harris had laid their hands on a USB stick, he recognised that DJ sets in large venues need to be more than just a bloke playing records. In his hands, the process is akin to a rock gig, with a ladleful of circus on top. The opening date of this in-the-round arena tour takes the properties of a rave and magnifies them.

Cook is a force, bounding around a revolving stage, singing along and happily gurning at this roomful of veteran ravers, some of them accompanied by teenage offspring. Occasionally he prods a laptop, causing oddball snippets to divert the big beat or house energy in a different direction, as with the sudden appearance of the “Oh, Jeremy Corbyn” Seven Nation Army chant from Glastonbury.

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Ladytron: Ladytron review – electroclash stomp of intent

Delivered... Kate Hutchinson | Scene | Fri 15 Feb 2019 11:30 am

(K7!)

If any band was going to bounce back from years of acrimonious hiatus with a soundtrack to our troubled times, Ladytron seemed unlikely contenders. Yes, that Ladytron, from Liverpool, whose heavy-lidded, robo-cool vocals defined the electroclash movement of the early 2000s and who haven’t released anything since 2011. And yet their eponymous return is an immersive, invigorating and convincingly brooding stomp of disenfranchisement.

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One to watch: Roses Gabor

Delivered... Tara Joshi | Scene | Sat 9 Feb 2019 3:00 pm

After dazzling cameos for Gorillaz and SBTRKT, the Londoner is about to step into the spotlight with her debut album

For those interested in the delicate, immersive end of UK dance and electronica, Roses Gabor may already be familiar. The north-west London vocalist has been around for a while now, her powerful vocals finding a home on tracks with SBTRKT, Machinedrum, Shy FX and Gorillaz.

The child of Grenadian parents, Gabor (born Rosemary Wilson) was always interested in music, growing up on a healthy diet of soca, Stevie Wonder and Capital FM – though her favourites were Mary J Blige and Michael Jackson. It was only after a chance encounter with a member of Gorillaz while working a nine-to-five job at a bank that her first collaboration (Dare) took shape.

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Panda Bear: Buoys review – indie experimenter finds the slow lane

Delivered... Kate Hutchinson | Scene | Fri 8 Feb 2019 11:30 am

(Domino Recordings)

Noah Lennox, whether on his own as Panda Bear or with his Brooklyn band Animal Collective, has a knack for meshing lustrous electronics into densely textured, hallucinatory scenerios, aided by his brightly lit, boyish coo. The latter’s seminal album Merriweather Post Pavilion turns 10 this year and was an epic feat of indie experimentalism that hasn’t, wrote Pitchfork recently, been surpassed.

No doubt that anniversary was at the back of Lennox’s mind when he made Buoys. His sixth solo album is remarkably more muted than his previous work. Lead single Token and its Lemon Jelly-like sampledelia throws back to Merriweather, a spiritual successor to the joyful rush of My Girls, but otherwise Buoys offers a sort of deconstructed R&B that focuses on repetition and restraint.

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Cosey Fanni Tutti: Tutti review – industrial pioneer slogs on

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Fri 8 Feb 2019 10:30 am

(Conspiracy International)

Cosey Fanni Tutti is one of those musicians, like Michael Rother or Tony Allen, who is seemingly ruled by a rhythmic energy, one that beats through their brains and to which their music constantly returns. For Tutti, this is a steady 4/4 beat of around 125 beats per minute: an insistent rhythm hovering near high-tempo, simmering with tension that never quite breaks. Amid the noisy abstraction of Throbbing Gristle in the late 1970s, it sounded through Hot on the Heels of Love; it’s there throughout the synthpop romances she made with husband Chris Carter; it sat beneath Carter Tutti Void, the collaborative dub techno album the pair made with Nik Void of Factory Floor in 2013. And like the heart of a deathless supervillain, that pulse beats on in her first solo album since 1982, originally written in tandem with her Art Sex Music autobiography.

Related: Cosey Fanni Tutti: 'I don’t like acceptance. It makes me think I've done something wrong'

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James Blake: how the producer became hip-hop’s favourite Brit

Delivered... Al Horner | Scene | Tue 5 Feb 2019 12:00 pm

Nominated for two Grammy awards this week, his collaborations with Travis Scott follow those with Beyoncé. How did the DJ from Enfield become so well-connected?

For an artist whose sound is steeped in isolation, cutting a forlorn figure on icy electronic laments that shiver with loneliness, James Blake arrives at his latest album Assume Form as one of the best connected people in popular music.

At some point over the last decade, while journeying from the fringes of London’s dubstep scene to the epicentre of American rap and pop, it became easier to list superstars the acclaimed producer-songwriter hasn’t worked with. Beyoncé recruited him for Lemonade. Frank Ocean called on him for Blonde. Drake has sampled him and Kanye West declared him “Kanye’s favourite artist” before a few ultimately ill-fated 2014 writing sessions together. Bon Iver, Chance the Rapper and Jay-Z are other studio sparring partners. Blake is up for two Grammy awards in rap categories this year, alongside rappers Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock and Future for their track King’s Dead, taken from the Black Panther soundtrack.

Related: James Blake: Assume Form review – lovestruck producer turns dark into light | Alexis Petridis' album of the week

Related: James Blake: Assume Form review – a big, glitchy, swooning, hyper-modern declaration of love

Related: James Blake speaks out about struggle with depression

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