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


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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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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Iglooghost: Lei Line Eon review – enchanting electronic world-building

Delivered... Kitty Empire | Scene | Tue 6 Apr 2021 10:35 am

The young Dorset producer expands on the sonic assault of his debut with beauty, space and actual songs

Strange energies run through rural Dorset. Picking up on their irregular frequencies is 24-year-old producer Iglooghost, AKA Seamus Malliagh, a prolific laptop jockey whose latest output sounds a little like Boards of Canada remixed by PC Music. Ancient and hypermodern rub up against each other in his latest work, which also extends to detailed visuals; Iglooghost isn’t so much a musician as an overarching world-creator. His first album, 2017’s Neō Wax Bloom, supplied a sustained digital barrage; its ear-bleeding delights came with extensive lore whose complexity felt akin to that found in anime or gaming.

On Lei Line Eon, his second album, those shock-and-awe tendencies give way to more spaciousness and beauty – Big Protector is probably this album’s most eloquent and inviting portal. Elsewhere, keening violins lend a bittersweet timelessness to tracks that also draw heavily on trap and bass music. Iglooghost’s formerly punishing BPMs give way to atmospheres and tracks – such as Light Gutter, featuring a female vocalist called Lola – that might be mistaken for actual songs. This time around, the lore is, if anything, even more developed. There’s an entire website dedicated to the Glyph Institute, which seeks to document and “test-summon” the energy-beings – “hovering, drone-like organisms called Celles” – to which this music is tied.

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Malcolm Cecil obituary

Delivered... Richard Williams | Scene | Fri 2 Apr 2021 6:50 pm

Musician whose championing of the synthesiser helped shape a new sound for Stevie Wonder in the early 1970s

When Stevie Wonder met Malcolm Cecil at a New York recording studio one May weekend in 1971, he was holding a copy of Zero Time, the album of electronic music that Cecil and Bob Margouleff had just released under the name of Tonto’s Expanding Head Band. A couple of weeks away from his 21st birthday, Wonder was looking for a way to establish his musical independence. Cecil invited him in, demonstrated the newly developed Moog synthesisers with which they were working, and began a relationship that would help transform Wonder, already a successful soul singer, into an international superstar.

Cecil, who has died aged 84, was an English musician who had once been the double bassist in the house band at Ronnie Scott’s club in London. But it was his other vocation, as a recording-studio technician, that took him to New York and a partnership with Margouleff, a sound-effects expert.

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Neuroscience, the cosmos and trees: going deep with composer Hannah Peel

Delivered... Jude Rogers | Scene | Sat 20 Mar 2021 4:00 pm

From praise from Paul McCartney to writing music for Game of Thrones, the musician has had an extraordinary career so far. She discusses her next step - an album embracing the natural world through electronica

Paul McCartney knew Hannah Peel’s talent before the world did. He hands out pin-badges at every degree ceremony at Liverpool’s Institute for Performing Arts, which he co-founded, and where Peel studied music. In 2007, her graduation year, she’d been chosen to compose something to accompany each student walking on stage.

Peel had been advised to do a fanfare of trumpets, but refused; she wrote a minimalist miniature for vibraphone and marimba instead. “My principal hated it,” she says, laughing down the Zoom line. “But when I crossed the stage and shook Paul McCartney’s hand, he whispered in my ear, ‘I really like your music. Well done!’”

I grew up with a sense of transition, awareness that things are never stable. All that history that stays with you

Related: Obay Alsharani: the Syrian refugee keeping his mind free with ambient music

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Dance duo Justice begin legal action against Justin Bieber over crucifix design

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Thu 18 Mar 2021 5:04 pm

Cease-and-desist letter sent to pop star, whose new album cover is accused of imitating Justice’s logo

Grammy-winning French electronic music duo Justice have accused Justin Bieber of illegally infringing on a trademark with the cover design of his new album, Justice, released on Friday.

The duo’s logo is their name with the letter T designed as a crucifix, a design trope that Bieber uses for his album cover. Bieber’s new merchandise also features a contested crucifix design.

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Musician Michael Milosh, AKA Rhye, accused of sexual abuse and grooming

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Thu 18 Mar 2021 11:55 am

Canadian artist denies allegations by ex-wife, actor Alexa Nikolas, calling them ‘outrageously false’

Musician Michael Milosh, AKA Rhye, has been accused by his ex-wife of grooming and sexually abusing her.

Milosh has denied the allegations, calling them “absurd and outrageous false claims”.

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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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‘I’m isolated’: Joel Corry on bodybuilding, reality TV and his sacrifices to reach No 1

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Thu 11 Mar 2021 3:00 pm

After years of slogging through DJ sets and obsessional exercise, the London producer had one of 2020’s biggest and best pop hits. But his brutal work ethic is ‘a gift and a curse’

Amid the draining gloom of pandemic life, Joel Corry has been a soothing constant: if you have turned on the radio at any time in the past year, there is a huge chance that one of the British pop-house producer’s three big singles will have been playing. Sorry, Lonely and Head & Heart (the latter a six-week chart topper) have collectively earned more than a billion streams and made Corry into one of the UK’s biggest new pop stars, a Calvin Harris type who has guest vocalists out front while he prods equipment and points gunfingers skyward. Sorry got a boost from being used on Love Island in 2018, and his music is rather like the Love Island of pop: buoyant, cheesy, suffused with romantic drama and sparkling sunlight. But when talking to him in his hotel room, clouds gather.

Corry could actually be a Love Island contestant: he has the good looks and earnest kindly nature of a 90s boyband heartthrob, as well as the abdominals, which look not so much chiselled as 3D-printed following a successful earlier career as a bodybuilder. In fact, he has reality TV pedigree as a rare southern interloper amid the cast of MTV’s lairy Geordie Shore; he was the boyfriend of the show’s charismatic bad-influencer Sophie Kasaei, with whom he had a six-year relationship until 2017.

I had to be on my own. And I still feel like that now. It’s almost selfish, but I can’t have any distractions, man

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