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Electronic Music

Mezzanine: ‘The album that still sounds like tomorrow’

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Music writer Michael A. Gonzales penned a dynamite article celebrating the 20th-anniversary release of [easyazon_link identifier=”B00FMF3R76″ locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″]Mezzanine[/easyazon_link] from UK band Massive Attack.

Mezzanine is an album best listened to loud, preferably on earphones, to properly hear the layers of weirdness and rhythms, a soulful sound collage that was miles away from the “Parklifes” and “Champagne Supernovas” of their Brit-pop contemporaries Blur and Oasis.

Along with the likes of fellow Bristol-based artists Portishead and Tricky, the band helped usher in an era of trip-hop. The trip-hop genre mashed hip-hop and electronica, adding layers of rock, soul, and dub. Mezzanine was therefore fresh and original, contrary to the DJ sampling on the group’s previous two albums [easyazon_link identifier=”B01L388UBI” locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″]Blue Lines[/easyazon_link] and [easyazon_link identifier=”B000TEVJYS” locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″]Protection[/easyazon_link].

The trip-hop label was bestowed on the group by the Brit journalist Jonathan Taylor to describe the trippy music that was simultaneously street and psychedelic. Trip-hop was a tag that, like jazz, was often rejected by the practitioners, but it fit perfectly.

Mezzanine contained 4 singles, each matched by a dark and intriguing music video (see below). It’s also worth mentioning that one of the three key band members, Robert Del Naja, is rumored to be street artist Banksy.

To celebrate the album’s 20th anniversary, the band decided to release the album in DNA format. 920,000 DNA strands make it the second-largest file ever stored in DNA. This is sure to make it forever timeless.

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Categories
beats Music Video

MF DOOM x Madlib: Speaking through music

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MF DOOM recaps his experience with producer Madlib when they recorded the epic [easyazon_link identifier=”B0788FT3QV” locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″]Madvillainy[/easyazon_link] album 14 years ago.

“We spoke through the music. He’ll (Madlib) hear the joint and that’s like my conversation with him. And I’d hear a beat, and that’s like what he was saying to me.”

There are so many gems on the [easyazon_link identifier=”B0788FT3QV” locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″]Madvillainy[/easyazon_link] album but if I had to choose one (re: a few):

Music as telepathy. Beats as [easyazon_link identifier=”B0788FT3QV” locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″]Madvillainy[/easyazon_link]

Categories
Music Video

Video: Jóhann Jóhannsson ‘A Song For Europa’

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London-based STUDIO AKA animated Icelandic electronica composer Jóhann Jóhannsson’s hauntingly beautiful tune ‘A Song For Europa’ from the 2016 album release, Orpheé.

The video brings life to the track’s dubby recordings of the Numbers Stations, mimicking the radio waves that broadcast intelligence messages to operatives in foreign countries.

The Oscar-nominated musician passed away last February.

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Music

Bob Marley for eternity

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Bob Marley would’ve been 73 years old today. To celebrate the reggae legend, watch teenage cellist and 2016’s BBC Young Musician of the Year winner Sheku Kanneh-Mason perform a cello version of Marley’s “No Woman No Cry.”

Also be sure to check out the New Yorker piece that looks back at Marley’s legacy, including the oral history of the artist as documented by Marley-expert [easyazon_link identifier=”039305845X” locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″]Roger Steffens[/easyazon_link].

Upon his death bed, Marley left some final words for his son Stephen: “Money can’t buy life.”

Categories
Creativity Life & Philosophy Music

Culture’s (im)permanency

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Stacks of culture. (Image via David Grandmougin)

“I love what Terence McKenna thought about culture: it’s not your friend, it’s like furniture, you can sit in it, enjoy it and walk away from it.” – Calibre, drum n bass legend

Culture is the by-product of timelessness. It is too rigid to change within itself but pliable enough to influence the birth of something new.

Take hip-hop for instance. It emerged from the blues and soul genres before it. Today, hip hop lives on through new forms of music like UK grime, which also shares elements of reggae.

Similarly, black culture continues to sows the seeds of American culture to this day.

Some cultures, like some genres and old technologies (e.g. vinyl), stand the test of time. They matter, unlike the fads and interim successors that appear original only to get lost tomorrow.

Culture is a hodgepodge of durable ingredients. It is built on top of something else but stands on its own.

Categories
Electronic Music

Actress – X22RME

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Image courtesy the artist

Actress is UK electronic producer Darren Jordan Cunningham. As an outsider, his work intends to disrupt the status quo of dance music. The result is perfectly imperfect, splashed with subterranean techno and industrial components. He’s not afraid of playing with his faults. In an interview with Dazed Digital, he said:

No matter how much I refine it, no matter how much I update or modernise the equipment, the imperfections will always be there. And that’s just because there are gaps in my knowledge that I will never be able to fill in.

Actress proudly calls himself “a student of production.” He crunches bits and bytes into sound.

[click_to_tweet tweet=”‘I honestly don’t see music, I just see information, data, programming, electricity, biochemistry.’ — @ctress_a” quote=”‘I honestly don’t see music, I just see information, data, programming, electricity, biochemistry.’ — Actress “]

Actress, an avant-garde musician, and machine tinkerer will release his new album AZD in April. Preorder it now at the Ninjashop. In the meantime, watch the album’s lead single ‘X22RME’ below.