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

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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Gurrumul, Omar Souleyman, 9Bach and DakhaBrakha: the best global artists the Grammys forgot

Delivered... Ian Brennan | Scene | Thu 11 Mar 2021 5:30 pm

From the Godfathers of Arabic rap to the father of Ethio-jazz, Grammy-winning producer Ian Brennan guides a tour through global music’s greatest

This week I wrote about the glaring lack of international inclusivity in the Grammys’ newly redubbed global music (formerly world music) category.

In the category’s 38-year history, almost 80% of African nations have never had an artist nominated; no Middle Eastern or eastern European musician has ever won; every winner in the past eight years has been a repeat winner; and nearly two-thirds of the nominations have come from just six countries (the US, the UK, Brazil, Mali, South Africa, India). The situation shows little signs of improving.

Related: The Grammys have a major problem with diversity. Lip service isn’t going to solve it | Ian Brennan

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Sal Dulu: Xompulse review – boom-bap dreamscapes

Delivered... Tara Joshi | Scene | Sun 21 Feb 2021 4:00 pm

Jazz, ambient and soul harmonise in the Dublin-based producer’s gently daze-inducing debut

Dublin-based producer and instrumentalist Sal Dulu makes calm, expansive beats that swim with the cinematic possibilities of the night-time. Xompulse is his debut album, and comprises a subtly enticing collection of tracks that marry everything from boom-bap, classical, jazz, ambient, warm licks of soul samples and glossy shades of 90s downtempo. There’s more than an occasional nod to celestial, Porcelain-era Moby and lush Madlib stylings.

Thematically, Dulu has said the record explores the liminal space between reality and dreams, with each of the 10 tracks serving as individual memories within this dreamscape. There is certainly a slow-burning, woozy quality that slips and slides gently from track to track, though slick features from rappers Fly Anakin, Koncept Jack$on and staHHr all cut through, lest things get too soporific (a couple more of these would have been welcome). Still, simple moments are rendered beautiful by Dulu’s arrangements: the quiet ebb and flow of the piano-led title track; the careening strings on Alien Boy 96; the soft sax on Just Like Sonnenalle Blues; the wobbling synth on I Kan. Twinkling and soothing, Xompulse is a pleasant reverie to sink into.

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Caroline Shaw: what next for the Pulitzer-winner who toured with Kanye? Opera – and Abba

Delivered... Erica Jeal | Scene | Tue 2 Feb 2021 7:00 am

She has scored films, played with rappers, starred in a TV comedy, and performed for the dying. As the classical sensation releases three new works, she talks about the shock of playing arenas – and making the leap into opera

When Caroline Shaw became, at the age of 30, the youngest ever winner of the Pulitzer prize for music, she described herself as “a musician who wrote music” rather than as “a composer”. Partita, her winning score, is a joyful rollercoaster of a work, encompassing song, speech and virtually every vocal technique you can imagine. It was written for Shaw’s own group, Roomful of Teeth.

Eight years on, she’s still wary of defining herself too narrowly. “Composer, for some people, can mean something very particular,” she says, “and I’m trying to make sure I don’t get swallowed up into only one community.” Not that Shaw’s range shows any sign of narrowing: even a small sample of her work over the past few years throws up an array of names not often seen together: rappers Kanye West and Nas, soprano Renée Fleming, mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter, Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry, pianist Jonathan Biss. She has written film scores, sung on others, was the soloist in her own violin concerto, and even managed a cameo appearance as herself in Amazon Studio’s comedy drama Mozart in the Jungle. A year ago, Orange, a recording of her string quartets, won the Attacca Quartet a Grammy.

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Madlib: Sound Ancestors review – hip-hop visionary tells wondrous stories in sound

Delivered... Tayyab Amin | Scene | Fri 22 Jan 2021 10:30 am

(Madlib Invasion)
Arranged by Four Tet, the producer’s stunning album is poignant and sincere, combining beats, jazz, reggae toasts and vocal snippets into a kind of folklore

There are more ways to fall in love with Madlib’s myriad music projects than not. For many it’ll be his charismatic beats for the late, great MF Doom, his collaborations with fellow sampling pioneer J Dilla or more recently, his sleek instrumentals for rapper Freddie Gibbs. Then there’s his remixes of the Blue Note Records archive, his one-man-jazz-band Yesterdays New Quintet, and Lord Quas – his satirical, pitched-up alter ego MC. Madlib’s ability to speak a universal language through so many modes is hip-hop in technique but something much broader in essence. On Sound Ancestors, his creations are arranged by producer, DJ and longtime friend Four Tet. It’s through the idiosyncrasies of this collaboration (such as an abnormally clean mix with uncharacteristically prominent drums) that Sound Ancestors achieves its mission to deliver a no-guest vocalists, start-to-finish-listen Madlib album experience.

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Watch a hacked DJ technique made with karaoke tapes, by Ōedo Technica

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Tue 12 Jan 2021 7:58 pm

Vinyl? CDJ? Meh. Hand-mixing and "scratching" karaoke cassette tapes on hacked machines as a new form of strange pop music DJing? Now we're talking. Behold the YouTube channel of 大江戸テクニカ (Ōedo tekunika).

The post Watch a hacked DJ technique made with karaoke tapes, by Ōedo Technica appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Farhot: Kabul Fire Volume 2 review – gut-shaking sonic collage | Ammar Kalia’s global album of the month

Delivered... Ammar Kalia | Scene | Fri 8 Jan 2021 9:00 am

(Kabul Fire Records)
The Afghan-born producer skilfully explores his heritage with an unruly collage of vocal samples blended with diasporic sounds

For producer Farhot, the cut-and-paste method of sampling in hip-hop serves as an apt symbol for the assembly of his immigrant identity – he sought asylum in Germany from his native Afghanistan in the 1980s and has not returned since. He first made his name with productions for the likes of Talib Kweli, Isaiah Rashad and Nneka that echoed the melodically driven US rap of the early 2000s and particularly the work of DJ Premier and Pete Rock. His first solo release, Kabul Fire Vol 1 (2013), was a scattershot mixtape homage to his childhood home, weaving in dub influences, rattling drum machine loops, Afghani folk samples and features from Kano, Ms Dynamite and Talbi Kweli.

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Guardian albums and tracks of 2020: how our writers voted

Delivered... Guardian music | Scene | Fri 18 Dec 2020 7:00 am

We’ve announced our favourite releases of the year – now the Guardian’s music critics reveal their individual top picks of 2020

Here’s how our writers voted: favourite choice first.

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The 20 best songs of 2020

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas and Laura Snapes | Scene | Mon 30 Nov 2020 7:00 am

Our writers considered hundreds of contenders – and here are their picks of the year. Listen to all 390 tracks they voted for on our playlist

We kick off our end of 2020 music coverage with Guardian critics’ favourite songs, with our album of the year countdown starting tomorrow. As ever, each critic votes for top 20 songs and albums, with points allocated for each placing, and those points tallied to make these lists. There were 390 songs voted for in all – we’ve put (almost) all of them in a Spotify playlist. Please share your own favourite songs of the year in the comments below, and we’ll hopefully see you in a festival field in 2021 …

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Lime Cordiale, Le Pie, The Whitlams and more: Australia’s best new music for November

Delivered... Nathan Jolly and Guardian Australia | Scene | Fri 6 Nov 2020 8:00 pm

Each month we add 20 new songs to our Spotify playlist. Read about 10 of our favourites here – and subscribe on Spotify, which updates with the full list at the start of each month

Related: Midnight Oil: The Makarrata Project review – a chorus of anger over stolen land

Related: Blake Scott: Niscitam review – Peep Tempel frontman's sprawling and powerful solo debut

Related: ‘Loud and proud, wrong and strong’: the ‘Yolŋu surf rock’ of Yothu Yindi’s next generation

Related: From Faith No More to faith healing: Melbourne’s Festival Hall sold to Hillsong Church

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Shut Up and Dance: the Hackney rap duo who raved against racism

Delivered... Michael Lawson | Scene | Wed 28 Oct 2020 9:26 am

By accelerating hip-hop breakbeats, and pouring the pain of bigotry and authoritarian rule into music, Carl ‘Smiley’ Hyman and Philip ‘PJ’ Johnson blazed a trail that led to rave and jungle

In British dance music history, the likes of Shoom, Spectrum and the Haçienda are often held up as the defining clubs from the scene’s formative years in the late 1980s. But for Carl “Smiley” Hyman and Philip “PJ” Johnson, better known as pioneering duo Shut Up and Dance, the aforementioned clubs paled in comparison to Dungeons on Lea Bridge Road in east London.

“You’re never gonna find a spot like that again,” PJ insists. “There were all these tunnels, each with their own sound system, all linked together like some sewage system. By the end of the night there’d be sweat dripping from the ceiling.”

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

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One to watch: Cookiee Kawaii

Delivered... Kadish Morris | Scene | Sat 10 Oct 2020 2:00 pm

Blending Jersey club music, Chicago footwork and silky slow jams, the TikTok star is much more than one viral hit

Before it became an unexpected target of the Trump administration, TikTok was best known for catapulting songs like Cookiee Kawaii’s song Vibe (If I Back It Up) into virality, with more than 100m streams. The New Jersey singer’s tune feels tailor-made for the app: it stands at only 84 seconds, features whip-cracking sound effects, and the looped vocal snippets lend themselves to lip-syncing. But Cookiee’s songs are more than catchy internet ringtones; they are giving life to Jersey’s club scene – perhaps that’s why the rapper Tyga reached out to her to collaborate on a remix of the song.

Cookiee’s parents were both DJs, and she grew up listening to house music. She also performed in choirs while attending Catholic school. She has been recording music for more than 10 years and her latest EP Club Soda Vol 2, boasting raunchy lyrics, choppy vocals and speedy tempos, is inspired by the Baltimore club genre. It also has the energy of Chicago’s footwork (with its snares, drum kicks, and samples) and the silkiness of R&B slow jams.

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Mallrat, Powderfinger, Flowerkid and Cry Club: Australia’s best new music for October

Delivered... Nathan Jollyand Guardian Australia | Scene | Tue 6 Oct 2020 5:30 pm

Each month we add 20 new songs to our Spotify playlist. Read about 10 of our favourites here – and subscribe on Spotify, which updates with the full list at the start of each month

Related: ‘Everything I do is about feelings’: Mallrat on making music for forgotten teens

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DJing formally offered at GCSE: a challenge to a ‘colonialised curriculum’

Delivered... Joe Muggs | Scene | Tue 8 Sep 2020 4:39 pm

An additional new syllabus of formal grade exams on DJ decks – the technology behind grime and hip-hop – has been welcomed for promoting greater inclusivity

When Austen Smart and his brother Scott were kids, they were driven amateur musicians, relentlessly making mixtapes and teaching themselves how to MC. Yet they had no connection to their school’s music department. “In fact, we only went in there for the first time when we went back years later and started teaching DJing, having had a relatively successful career in music,” says Austen.

Over the past five years, the pair have been trying to rectify this disconnect with their education initiative FutureDJs, working to get DJing recognised in formal musical education. Early on, they managed to get DJ decks recognised as an instrument for GCSE assessment, but creating the framework for this to work in practice was a bigger challenge. Last week, they succeeded: FutureDJs and the London College of Music Examiners published a syllabus that offers grade certifications on CDJs (decks for manipulating music from CDs or digital files). This puts them on a par with classical and jazz instruments, and provides a national standard for GCSE marking. The aim, says Sandra Allan of exam board AQA, is “allowing more accessibility and diversity, giving students opportunity they may not have considered before now”.

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

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San Cisco, Mo’Ju, Alex the Astronaut and more: Australian music for isolated times

Delivered... Guardian Staff | Scene | Sat 11 Jul 2020 1:58 am

Each week we add 15 (or so) new songs to a Spotify playlist to soundtrack your physical distancing amid coronavirus – and help artists you love get paid

As some states around Australia begin to slowly open back up and Victoria heads back into shutdown, Australia’s arts industry is still largely dormant – and the music industry was hit harder, and earlier, than most others. But until large gatherings and gigs happen again, there are small things you can do: it’s an imperfect solution but streaming Australian music can help.

Each week, in partnership with Sounds Australia, Guardian Australia adds some 15 new songs to a playlist for you to put on repeat.

Related: From Eskimo Joe to Hearts and Rockets: Australia's best new music for July

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