Is Britney Spears Ready To Stand On Her Own? by Serge F. Kovaleski and Joe Coscarelli [The New York Times] For years, the life of one of the world’s most successful pop stars has been controlled by a court-approved conservatorship, designed for people who cannot take care of themselves. [more inside]
The Asteroid Field, covered by Evil Genius Orchestra. Appropriate for the date. [more inside]
Nightmare in the Morning, animator Yonatan Tal's 3rd year CalArts student film, takes us along on one alien tyrant's musical journey toward wakefulness. [more inside]
Gorillas appear to express their delight with good food by humming little songs. “They don’t sing the same song over and over,” says Luef. “It seems like they are composing their little food songs.” The sound clip here should definitely be played at your next dinner party. If you prefer more formal research and information, it's all here: Food-Associated Calling in Gorillas (Gorilla g. gorilla) in the Wild.
Celebrated Indian recording artist and playback singer Usha Uthup, AKA Usha Iyer, has performed many different musical styles during her 47-year career: smokey jazz and pop on the 1968 album Scotch and Soda, funk and disco on 1978's Usha in Nairobi (song: Fever), disco and new wave for numerous films, and across the spectrum in this scene from the 1972 comedy Bombay to Goa. (Yes, that's Amitabh Bachchan in his first leading role.) Uthup is also not afraid to embrace the unusual, as shown on her weirdly wonderful 1984 album, Blast-Off. [more inside]
20+ drones; 16,500 LEDs; 3 shamisen players; 1 Mt. Fuji: Filmmaker Tsuyoshi Takashiro orchestrates a performance combining drones and the Oyamakai shamisen ensemble.
Prince's passing has inspired countless musical tributes, usually involving the title track of his magnum opus. Springsteen, Stevie Wonder and New Edition did distinct versions. So did Garth and Trisha Yearwood, Corey Taylor, the cast of The Color Purple and crowds in the streets in New Orleans. The Harlem Gospel Choir and 1,000 high school choir students made the most of the soaring chorus, and Prince protégé and backup singer Elisa Fiorillo gave an understandably emotional performance. Of course, no one can ever do it like the man himself.
One of Africa's most well known and influential musicians, and an international style icon, Congolese singer Papa Wemba died suddenly during a performance in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, on April 24, at age 66. Aside from the video clips contained within this NPR obituary, I'd recommend the entertaining feature film from 1987 starring Papa Wemba, La Vie est Belle.
Peter Frampton performs a Tiny Desk Concert on NPR for 17 minute of pure joy.
"When it comes to modern day composers, the most prominent ones out there are names like Brian Eno, Steve Reich, Toru Takemitsu, Varèse and a couple more.... But when discussing these modern composers, the name ‘Kashiwa Daisuke’ is unlikely to be mentioned. The guy doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page.... But he’s up there along with those ‘big’ names I just mentioned. Program Music I is the very proof of this." Consisting of two long pieces, Stella and Write Once, Run Melos, each evokes the feelings of specific stories, told with modern classical instrumentation, spacious post-rock, jazz piano, and some intentional digital glitches. Almost nine years after that first album, Kashiwa Daisuke has released Program Music II (video for the track "Meteor"), with less glitch and more euphoric elements. [more inside]
"Meet Daymé Arocena, the Afro-Latina singer taking cues from Selena and jazz greats alike" -- "Sin Empezar" ... "Madres" ... "Don't Unplug My Body". [more inside]
Aesop Rock's "The Impossible Kid" is streaming now for free, under a 50-minute recreation of The Shining with miniatures by Rob Shaw. (SLYT)
Portishead's first release in eight years is "SOS", an ABBA cover recorded for the film adaptation of J.G. Ballard's High-Rise.
"Random" Jon Poole, formerly guitarist for the unsurmountable Cardiacs, is a delightful loud guy with a penchant for killer pop hooks, thundering drums, and saying "GUITAR SOLO, LISTEN" every goddamn time he solos. If you like music that's loud and fast, his project The God Damn Whores condenses "loud and fast" down to a mathematical formula (sample Poolius Caesar and Cynical Haze if you want to know what you're getting into, or Macho Sapiens if you, like me, love the notion of "heavy rock feminism". With Willie Dowling, he becomes The Dowling Poole, whose debut album Bleak Strategies is sunshine with the right amount of psychedelic darkness and political revolution lurking around the edges. (The Dowling Poole's newest album, One Hyde Park, is out this month, and highly recommended if you're into hyperarticulate bubblegum prog-funk.) Good music! Listen!
Jazz and soul singer Billy Paul, best known for the No. 1 hit ballad and Philadelphia Soul classic Me And Mrs. Jones, has died. [more inside]
In addition to being a talented saxophonist, the late Art Pepper was many things -- among them, a drug addict, a thief, an alcoholic and a writer. This personal film portrait (from 1981) reveals the fascinating life of a remarkable jazz musician in his own words, as he describes his dreams, his criminal past, his upbringing and the meaning of his tattoos. He died the next year. [more inside]
Lonnie Mack, one of rock & roll's earliest guitar heroes, role model to Stevie Ray and a fine singer to boot, passed yesterday at 74.
Richard Lyons, Negativland Founder, Dead at 57 A founding member of audio collage band Negativland, passed away from nodular melanoma today, on his 57th birthday. According to the band's Facebook posting, he died "peacefully and pain free." [more inside]
Music Mappr will take any uploaded mp3 or soundcloud link, chop the linked piece of music into short fragments, reorder the fragments based on sonic similarity and let you play back clusters of these fragments independently.
The man who composed the soundtracks to cult video games Mother and Earthbound, Keiichi Suzuki, has a crazy-ass pop duo. It's more wonderful than you would ever expect. [more inside]
Tushar Lall arranges Indian classical music versions of well-known pop culture soundtracks. The latest release is Star Wars; there's also Harry Potter, Interstellar, Game of Thrones, Pirates of the Caribbean and BBC Sherlock.
Colin Stetson has released "Sorrow - a reimagining of Górecki's 3rd Symphony". Pitchfork writes that the avant-garde saxophonist's reimagining of the famous symphony by the Polish composer comes close to something by Explosions in the Sky or Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Stetson himself is hoping that "the sound world and the genre implications are really irrelevant, that they’re second to the musical content and to the overall theme and feeling of the piece." You can listen and decide for yourself here (YT).
The term "one-man band" generally brings to mind someone surrounded by instruments, like this Croatian street performer, but the earliest examples are a simple combination of pipe and tambor, which traces back to the 1300s. There were records of some creative, enterprising individuals in the centuries since, with more in the early to mid 20th century, including seated set-ups by Fate Norris, Jesse Fuller, and Joe Barrick, with Vic Ellis representing the traveling one-man band. Add in a MIDI controller, and you can expand your sound with less gear. The footprint can shrink more with the new ACPAD, with demos focusing on bringing electronic sounds to an acoustic guitar. [more inside]
Shoes - ten years ago Liam Kyle Sullivan created "Shoes", one of the first viral hits of the YouTube era featuring his Midwestern teen girl character Kelly. Now he sits down with Vice to talk about YouTube fame, touring, how it came about, and what came after.
Márta and György Kurtág play Bach-transcriptions by Kurtág - The two play transcriptions made by the composer of Bach's choral prelude Das alte Jahr vergangen ist BWV 614, his Duet BWV 804 and a (devastating) movement from the Baroque composer's cantata Actus tragicus. [more inside]
Sean Archibald makes electronic music using microtonal scales, rather than the typical 12-tone temperament, as both Sevish and himself . Droplet is a neat starting point. If you're a sucker for strange harmonics, also check out his blog, in which he gets geeky about xenharmonic music and his favorite microtonal bands. Happy listening.
What is it to know your time is up when nothing in your body has betrayed you? "Wasn't Born Hustlers: The Aging of Jay-Z", by Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib for MTV. [more inside]
The Djinn of Aiman "IT WAS A DIM JANUARY AFTERNOON IN LAHORE, there was a power outage on Zahoor Elahi Road, and Farida Khanum had finally woken up. We were sitting among shadows on the floor of her living room: I on the carpet and she on a cushion that was at once a mark of her prestige (she is “The Queen of Ghazal,” the last of her generation’s iconic classically trained singers) and advanced age (she can no longer sit as she used to, like a mermaid, with her legs folded beguilingly beneath her). I had come to prepare Khanum for a concert she was to give in a week’s time in Calcutta, and was trying to engage her, in this fragile early phase of her day, with innocuous-sounding questions: which ghazals was she planning on singing there, and in what order?
Brian Eno's favorite records in a longish interview with William Doyle of the Quietus.
Music journalist Bill Wyman (not the Rolling Stones member) on Liz Phair, Steve Albini & Me: The True Story of 1993, the Greatest Goddamn Year in Chicago Rock History.
Pigeons and Planes: With both Spotify and Tidal yet to launch in the East Asian market, a lot of listeners have been left in the dark when it comes to Kanye West’s latest album, 'The Life of Pablo', which remained exclusive to Tidal from February 14 until April 1. Kyoto-based producer TOYOMU (Bandcamp, Soundcloud) has been creating his own lo-fi music for some time now, and as a fan of Kanye he was upset when he learned he could not listen to the album without illegally downloading it. So he decided to make the whole album himself without listening to it, using sample credits he found on WhoSampled and lyrics he grabbed from Genius. You can listen to TOYOMU's Imagining 'The Life of Pablo' on Bandcamp.
Listen to this 1929 Louis Armstrong recording cleaner than you have ever heard, thanks to Nick Dellow's audio transfer from a mother record shipped by Okeh to Germany for their Odeon pressings. (slyt)
On April Seriousness Day, Vinny from Vinesauce streamed himself playing and watching four instalments of an obscure but beloved video game franchise. What, you've never heard of Scrimmy Bingus "and the" Crungy Spingus? [more inside]
Felix Manuel, better known as Djrum (pronounced as "drum," evolved from his initial DJ Rum handle) blends hip hop, house, jungle and bass seamlessly in his mixes, plus splices the DNA of techno, dubstep, garage and grime in an attempt to make them, in his words, “live inside each other” in his own productions. This blending is not frenetic, but slow and methodical, often including extended clips from movies, such as heard in The Miracle. With a relatively scant 9 EPs and singles, including two splits, and one album to his name, you can get hear more of the scope of Felix Manuel's musical tastes from his mixes... [more inside]
Librarian Rhapsody: A parody of Bohemian Rhapsody, created by the Shoalhaven Library Staff to celebrate the end of the the school year. (Lyrics)
A trombone player loves - LOVES - Queen, and does the band proud by playing it all. It makes sense to do this, once you've heard it.
Spirit Phone is the latest album by Lemon Demon, aka Niel Cicierega (previously on Metafilter). [more inside]