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Indian E-music – The right mix of Indian Vibes… » Culture


Delia Derbyshire: The Myths and the Legendary Tapes review – playful paean to a musical pioneer

Delivered... Rebecca Nicholson | Scene | Sun 16 May 2021 10:30 pm

Experimental and inventive, Caroline Catz’s film paints a fond, intimate and arty portrait of the influential electronic musician

I hope films like Delia Derbyshire: The Myths and the Legendary Tapes (BBC Four) will still have a home at the BBC after BBC Four becomes an archive-only channel, as is planned. I cannot imagine anything so wilfully arty sitting on a more mainstream channel. This is a wonderfully inventive piece of storytelling that celebrates the strange brilliance of a mysterious pioneer of electronic music. Even if it is not likely to bring in record audiences, it would be a crying shame if it were not on television.

Knowing only a little about Derbyshire’s life before, and feeling much more illuminated afterwards, I think it makes sense that her story is told in this experimental style. It was originally a short film, written and directed by Caroline Catz, who has extended it to feature length. The result feels like several ideas spliced together, surprisingly effectively.

Related: Delia Derbyshire and the BBC's Radiophonic Workshop: From the archive, 3 September 1970

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Fatima Al Qadiri: Medieval Femme review – ancient and otherworldly

Delivered... Kitty Empire | Scene | Sun 16 May 2021 9:00 am

(Hyperdub)
This LA-based Kuwaiti artist combines early music with digital dubs to dreamlike effect

A decade into a career at the confluence of digital music and art, the latest album by LA-based Kuwaiti electronic composer Fatima Al Qadiri is full of echoes. Her 2017 EP, Shaneera, was a party-facing tribute to the “evil queens” in Arab culture, thriving in spite of oppression. More recently, her immersive score for Mati Diop’s contemporary ghost story, Atlantics, helped earn the film the Grand Prix at Cannes in 2019.

Medieval Femme, by contrast, hymns some very different Arab women to Shaneera – those of the medieval period – with the otherworldly delicacy honed on Al Qadiri’s soundtrack work. She has often played with perspective (how the west views the east) as well as place (often hyper-real) and time (juxtapositions, anachronisms), but never quite like this. Sheba sounds like early music laced with sighs of sensual longing and the merest scissor snip of 21st-century percussion. The meditative Tasakuba features sorrowful couplets from the seventh-century elegiac poet Al-Khansa. Apart from the more contemporary dystopian digitals of Golden, the feel throughout is ancient and enigmatic. But these lute tones and classical Arabic music figures are rendered digitally; the cloister garden is an interior dream-space.

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Everything but the gull: how Ben Watt fought the Covid blues with birdsong

Delivered... Sam Wollaston | Scene | Mon 10 May 2021 11:15 am

Blackcap! Chiffchaff! Warbler! The Everything But the Girl star is fighting to save a nature reserve in the heart of the city. As his new album Storm Shelter is released, we join him for some birdwatching

Cetti’s warbler!” says Ben Watt suddenly, raising a finger to indicate the new addition to the ambient soundscape. Listen, he says, to the opening “chi” followed by what sounds “almost like a little typewriter going off”. Watt does that, interrupts himself, or the silence if he’s not talking, to announce a new bird he’s seen or heard. “Blackcap!” he’ll exclaim. “Chiffchaff!”

We’re sitting in a bird hide overlooking a reed bed and an expanse of water on a gorgeous spring day. A heron stands, still as a photo, two metres in front of us. It could be rural East Anglia – apart from the roar of traffic and the giant arched structure in the background. These are, respectively, the A406 north circular and Wembley Stadium. And the place we’re at is the Welsh Harp reservoir, named after a pub that no longer exists.

The damage we're doing will contribute to the end of us

Related: Olivia Rodrigo: ‘I’m a teenage girl. I feel heartbreak and longing really intensely’

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One to watch: BABii

Delivered... Damien Morris | Scene | Sat 8 May 2021 2:00 pm

The Margate-based multi-hyphenate channels her colourful upbringing on her hypnotic second album

For her forthcoming album, MiiRROR, BABii has produced 10 darkly beautiful electronic pop songs, directed videos, made costumes, designed an alternative reality game, written a fantasy book, birthed a dragon and typed a lot of extra “i”s. Born Daisy Warne, brought up by her father in Canada and England, she still helps run his arts studio in Margate as well as teaching video game writing at uni. Days off are rare.

Growing up surrounded by her dad’s artist friends in creative spaces and salvage yards, BABii learned how to create beauty out of anything, all the time. Recently, she reconnected with her mother, and the emotional aftershock led her to empty her heart into the fabulous MiiRROR. It anatomises BABii’s chaotic childhood and ongoing struggle with maternal figures, while sounding like a chainsaw made of candyfloss.

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Sophia Kennedy: Monsters review – showtunes and sub-bass from sonic shapeshifter

Delivered... Rachel Aroesti | Scene | Fri 7 May 2021 8:30 am

(City Slang)
Unable to categorise the Baltimore-born, Hamburg-bred artist, you are thrown into her disarming, disorientating but oddly relaxing emotional world

For the modern musician, genre-fickleness is no longer the exception but the rule. Switching styles and blending sounds doesn’t simply cater to listeners with depleted attention spans – it can also be a way of evoking and critiquing the chaotic internet culture that left them that way. Baltimore-born, Hamburg-bred artist Sophia Kennedy’s music does both those things, but it also channels a restlessness and nostalgia that has little in common with her peers.

For a start, her sonic references include Tin Pan Alley and vintage showtunes, she complements curious melodic callbacks with ominous electronica, expansive hip-hop, sub-bass, trap beats, twanging guitars and the sound of monkeys screeching. What’s also unusual is that she doesn’t temper this fluctuation with a consistent voice: frequently, it’s a low, stately, Bette Davis-style drawl; sometimes it’s a brittle falsetto; sometimes a taut, mean sprechgesang.

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Sophia Kennedy: Monsters review – showtunes and sub-bass from sonic shapeshifter

Delivered... Rachel Aroesti | Scene | Fri 7 May 2021 8:30 am

(City Slang)
Unable to categorise the Baltimore-born, Hamburg-bred artist, you are thrown into her disarming, disorientating but oddly relaxing emotional world

For the modern musician, genre-fickleness is no longer the exception but the rule. Switching styles and blending sounds doesn’t simply cater to listeners with depleted attention spans – it can also be a way of evoking and critiquing the chaotic internet culture that left them that way. Baltimore-born, Hamburg-bred artist Sophia Kennedy’s music does both those things, but it also channels a restlessness and nostalgia that has little in common with her peers.

For a start, her sonic references include Tin Pan Alley and vintage showtunes, she complements curious melodic callbacks with ominous electronica, expansive hip-hop, sub-bass, trap beats, twanging guitars and the sound of monkeys screeching. What’s also unusual is that she doesn’t temper this fluctuation with a consistent voice: frequently, it’s a low, stately, Bette Davis-style drawl; sometimes it’s a brittle falsetto; sometimes a taut, mean sprechgesang.

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‘I’m going to follow my mind’: Falle Nioke, the Guinean musician who moved to Margate

Delivered... Max Pilley | Scene | Wed 5 May 2021 9:18 am

The singer spent hard years touring west Africa to pursue his dream of a music career, but a chance holiday meeting – and relocation to the Kent coast – sealed the deal

Ten years ago, Falle Nioke was sitting with only his bolon drum for company in a Gambian jail cell, some 3,000 miles from the Kent seaside town of Margate where he now lives and light years from his current world of domestic bliss and critical acclaim.

Raised in Conakry, Guinea, the 33-year-old singer and percussionist spent most of his 20s as part of a touring group of musicians that played across west Africa, a pursuit often hamstrung by arrests pertaining to immigration permits. Nioke survived by whatever means necessary to hold on to his musical passion. “I used to make soap and go to the market to sell it to pay the rent,” he says today. “If someone was selling rice, we would sing for them and we would get some fees and some food.” His indelibly positive worldview was forged during these years. “Everywhere I have been, there are people who will be happy to help,” he says.

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Leon Vynehall: Rare, Forever review – warped, intense, cerebral

Delivered... Damien Morris | Scene | Sun 2 May 2021 3:00 pm

(Ninja Tune)
The DJ-producer’s introspective, genre-defying second album rewards engaged listening

Leon Vynehall’s 2018 album Nothing Is Still was a sleepy sensation. Although the house DJ had produced a couple of track compilations and entrancing singles, such as Midnight on Rainbow Road and It’s Just (House of Dupree), he took a giant step forward with his debut album, pulling jazz, ambient, club and chamber music into its sweeping ambit. Each song matched a chapter in an accompanying novella based on Vynehall’s family history; short films were shot. Played live, it evolved into something more warped, intense and cerebral, and some of that energy survives here.

Perhaps that’s because Rare, Forever looks inward. Although it’s as carefully constructed as Nothing Is Still, there is nothing as mellifluous as that record’s Movements (Chapter III). It’s more abstract, fractured, complex and unpredictable, fluttering across the lanes. This is best exemplified by Snakeskin ∞ Has-Been’s skittish rave, with its vertiginous drop and wasp-in-a-jar stabs, disintegrating without warning into the pastoral nocturne of its coda. Rare, Forever rewards engaged listening, though, and intriguingly it’s the classical and jazz influences that are most persuasive, particularly on album bookends Ecce! Ego! and All I See Is You, Velvet Brown, and Mothra’s majestic orchestral techno crescendo.

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Sisters With Transistors review – a gloriously geeky music doc

Delivered... Wendy Ide | Scene | Sun 25 Apr 2021 11:00 am

Laurie Anderson narrates this fascinating film about the female pioneers of electronic music

What a joy is a documentary that neither talks down to its audience nor diminishes its subject. Lisa Rovner’s Sisters With Transistors is an unapologetically geeky look at the female pioneers of early electronic music which veers fearlessly into the experimental end of the knob-twiddling spectrum. Laurie Anderson narrates a fascinating film that takes in, among others, theremin virtuoso Clara Rockmore; a beatifically smiling Suzanne Ciani sensually stroking a suitcase full of wires; Éliane Radigue, engrossed in her minimal tonal experiments; and the great Delia Derbyshire, with the mathematical precision of her diction and her demure slingback tapping to a throbbing loop of noise.

Related: Sisters With Transistors: inside the fascinating film about electronic music’s forgotten pioneers

For viewing details, go to Modern Films

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Sisters With Transistors: inside the fascinating film about electronic music’s forgotten pioneers

Delivered... Jude Rogers | Scene | Fri 23 Apr 2021 4:22 pm

They turned drawings into symphonies and made black boxes sing. Why were they never given their due? The maker of a new film, full of revealing archive footage, aims to put this right

Wearing a black cocktail dress and a foil-bright silver headscarf, a woman stands in the corner of a drawing room performing The Swan by Saint-Saëns, while a group of men look on. Although the scene has a sedate Edwardian air to it, this is actually 1976. The woman whirls her red nails around a mysterious black box, making it sigh and lament, whisper and sing. This is Clara Rockmore, the first virtuoso of the theremin, and her audience – all there to learn – includes Robert Moog, inventor of the synthesiser.

A year later, aged 66, Rockmore would release her first album, recorded by Moog, 35 years after she made her concert debut on the instrument at New York’s City Hall, where she arranged spirituals for a black male sextet with composer Hall Johnson. Rockmore also toured widely with the bass baritone Paul Robeson in the 1940s, and turned down a request to perform on the spooky soundtrack for Alfred Hitchcock’s 1945 thriller Spellbound, as she wanted her instrument to be valued, not treated like a novelty.

Some of them wanted to do nothing less than change the way people listened

Related: ‘It has never been more pertinent’ – Margaret Atwood on the chilling genius of Laurie Anderson’s Big Science

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Experience: I accidentally became a global fashion brand

Delivered... Peter Boothroyd | Scene | Fri 23 Apr 2021 10:00 am

People across the world were wearing unofficial merch with my band’s logo on it. I decided to cash in, but do it ethically

I’ve been playing and recording music since 2012. Working under my surname Boothroyd, I’ve gained a small committed fanbase through releasing on independent labels and performing live. But in 2015, I decided to give up touring after a final headline show at Milton Keynes Gallery. I’m a big fan of the Beatles, and much like they stopped playing live in 1966, I did the same, in order to concentrate on studio material. Also, I wasn’t getting many bookings – it wasn’t exactly Boothroydmania.

Five years later, having yet to come up with my Sgt Pepper, I was living alone in a caravan in Morecambe. One morning, I received a message on Instagram: it was a photograph of the Argentinian pop star Chule Von Wernich wearing a T-shirt with my name on the front and the poster for that final gig on the back.

Related: Experience: I carried a twin in each of my wombs

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Sisters With Transistors review – an electrifying study of musical heroines

Delivered... Leslie Felperin | Scene | Fri 23 Apr 2021 9:00 am

The unsung trailblazers behind electronic music are paid harmonic homage in Lisa Rovner’s enchanting documentary

Lisa Rovner’s superb documentary pays a deeply deserved, seldom-expressed tribute to the female composers, musicians and inventors from the brief history of electronic music. The focus falls on about nine or 10 women in the field, from experimental music pioneer Clara Rockmore, a Theremin maestro in bias-cut evening dress, through to the British composer and mathematician Delia Derbyshire (probably best known for co-creating the Doctor Who theme), up to Suzanne Ciani, the first woman to score a major Hollywood movie (The Incredible Shrinking Woman in 1981) and her contemporary, composer and early software designer Laurie Spiegel.

Related: The 20 best music documentaries – ranked!

Sisters with Transistors is released on 23 April in virtual cinemas.

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Dawn Richard: Second Line review – joy and mess from a musical eccentric

Delivered... Kemi Alemoru | Scene | Fri 23 Apr 2021 8:00 am

(Merge Records)
The former Diddy collaborator brings Black female perspective to the fore in an ambitious collection of electronic sound

Dawn Richard has a buoyant track, Bussifame, on her sixth solo album, Second Line, which explains that the album’s title refers to a New Orleans funeral parade in which passersby are invited to join in and celebrate the dead person’s legacy.

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Kučka on her debut album Wrestling, the electronic music ‘dudefest’ and turning down BTS

Delivered... Jonno Seidler | Scene | Tue 20 Apr 2021 6:30 pm

She’s worked with heavy hitters including Kendrick Lamar, ASAP Rocky and Flume – but now the Australian producer is writing for herself

Sunlight pours through the window of Laura Jane Lowther’s bedroom in Los Angeles, catching a gold record that hangs unassumingly in the corner. Recognising her input on 2015 hit Walk With Me from Australian duo Cosmo’s Midnight, the plaque seems like a lifetime ago for the Australian songwriter, producer and vocalist also known as Kučka (a moniker lifted from the Serbian slang for “bitch”).

Related: Baker Boy, Hiatus Kaiyote, Montaigne and others: Australia’s best new music for April

Related: Troy Cassar-Daley: 'I looked in the mirror and thought, stop it. You are destroying everything you love'

Kučka’s album Wrestling is out via Soothsayer/LuckyMe on 30 April

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The month’s best albums

Delivered... Electronic music | The Guardian | Scene | Mon 12 Apr 2021 11:30 am

Discover all our four- and five-star album reviews from the last month, from pop to folk and classical

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