Who is William Onyeabor?
While Nigeria was popping with highlife and afrobeat, Onyeabor turned the other way, making the most out to lunch funky synth music. Aside from these futurist legacies, the man is a mystery. Alive and well, he refuses to discuss his past, while speculation ranges from him being a Russian-based film scholar to a law graduate from Oxford. Coinciding with the latest compilation of his fruits on Luaka Bop, Caribou, Damon Alburn, Martyn Ware, Femi Kuti and a cast of musicologists share their observations to try and piece together this lost story. Thankfully Bono, the token music doco talking head, gets zero screen time.
Master multitasker James Murphy can't keep still. Fresh off producing the Arcade Fire's recent album, Murphy wants to turn his hand to improving the aural experience of the NYC subway riders. He's petitioning the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to allow him to create a 'subway symphony', in which the entry turnstiles would be reprogrammed to emit a series of notes that are both pleasing to the ear and form part of a larger work of music connected to the unique and highly complex NYC subway system. In his own words:
"What I propose to do is to create a series of 3 to 5 note sequences, all unique, one for each station in the subway system. These sequences will be part of an intersecting larger piece of music, which would run from station to station, and cross one another as, say, the 4, 5, 6 line (one musical piece) intersects with the L, N, R, Q and W (another musical piece) at Union Square. At each turnstile in Union Square, as you tap your new tap and ride card, a pleasant bell tone will sound, in one of a set of possible notes, all related to that station's note sequence. The effect would be that at the busiest times, like rush hour, what was once cacophony would now be music."
We recommend getting behind good dude James Murphy by signing the petition here.
We also recommend you check out the line up for this year's FOR Festival in Croatia. Murphy's late night, champagne-fueled DJ set was a highlight of last year's festival, and we don't want you to miss out on what's to come for 2014.
Beck's Sea Change is one of those albums that we keep coming back to. At the time it was a susprising hard left from the chameleon's charismatic post-modern pop and anti-folk, but now stands amongst the greatest breakup records of our generation. Our Blood On The Tracks.
12 years after the fact, Beck returns with his grandiose Californian music. On Morning Phase, this fine wine recruits many of the same players which made Sea Change so rich, including string arrangements from his father David Campbell. Sincere. Suspended in zero gravity. On repeat.
With the flurry of internet radio streams and podcasts that bombard us daily, it's hard to see the forest for the trees. Focus your attention on one of the most reliable sources - East London based online institution NTS. Launched by the crew who started Boiler Room, the radio station has been transmitting a diverse community of presenter's passions and obsessions since April 2012.
With an open music policy that never disappoints, you can lock in to hear regular 2 hour slots programmed by the likes of future plotters Young Turks, Balearic blog Test Pressing, severely UK garage trio Dark Sky, visual artist and music encyclopaedia Trevor Jackson (Playgroup), the genre jumping Floating Points and Joe Goddard's roaming squad Greco-Roman. You can also expect spontaneous takeovers. Last year saw open broadcasts at Poland's experimental celebration Unsound and the Notting Hill Carnival where Hype Williams, Jamie xx and Theo Parrish casually jumped on the airwaves.
All of this tastefully served and commercial free. REALISE.
We've so far unsuccessfully attempted to collaborate with the Parisian graphics/art studio Ill-Studio on many occasions. As heart-breaking as it might be that we can't seem to get it together, it's a pleasure to sit back and admire their work as fans. Their current exhibition, Fetishistic Scopophilia at the 12Mail Gallery in Paris is the perfect introduction to where their heads are at.
Graphics, photography, video, sculpture and found objects are all deployed, taking a perverse array of contemporary pop culture touchstones as subject matter to establish a map of the three Ill-Studio frères' thought process. A flag printed to resemble someone's messy working desktop, palm trees planted in protein powder, a pair of ceramique Air Max 95's, iconic brand brandings, a packet of CD-R's and a yoga mat I'm still not sure was part of the exhibition or the property of an agile art lover, there is something indeed devilish in their details. Fetishism for internet and youth culture, given Ill-Studio's elegant, irreverent French touch, you can understand why we highly recommend.
Becky & Joe, the creative force behind Tame Impala's 'Feels Like We Only Go Backwards' video, have unleashed the second instalment of their 'Don't Hug Me I'm Scared' web series (watch Part 1 here). Somehow managing to toe the line between innocent and terrifying, these muppets on acid are definitely worth checking out.
Melbourne Now is an exhaustive expose of the art emanating from Australia's traditional culture hub, an up to the minute multi-media blitzkrieg including some 175 local artists across two of the National Gallery Of Victoria's locations. In an attempt to encapsulate the identity of a city as culturally diverse as Melbourne, the NGV has collected a sprawling array of works from known and lesser known contemporary artists, with an exhibition that's at once rich, innovative, energetic, curious and unique as the city itself.
Highlights include Darren Sylvester's flattering coloured dancefloor, Perks & Mini's strobe-lit slow mo tribalism, Jon Campbell's appropriated teatowels, Mark Hilton's detailed, personal sculpture, Daniel Crooks' hypnotising laneway study, Stieg Persson's surrealist graffiti and the entire floor of contemporary indigenous art in the International building, but really, even lazy gallery goers will find something to lose themselves in.
For those who find themselves in Melbourne before March 23, take a day and dive in.
German label ECM has made public an immense catalogue of incredible, innovative music, most notably in the jazz realm from folks like Keith Jarrett, Art Ensemble Of Chicago, Don Cherry, Pat Metheny, Steve Reich and Chick Corea, to name a few. Since it was established by Manfred Eicher in Munich in 1969, ECM came to be revered not only for the imaginative, open-minded sounds that were being captured on vinyl, but almost as much for the sublime, artful sleeves the music came packaged in.
ECM's history was compiled for a 2012 exhibition at the Haus der Kunst museum in Munich, for which this here book acts as a catalogue. At around 300 pages and weighing in at a couple of kilos it's far more than your average catalogue, bringing together not only a written history of the label through interviews, round table discussions and critical essays, but also a visual one, through photos, artwork, film stills and sketches from Eicher's archives. Like everything with the label's stamp on it the book is exquisitely designed with a painstakingly admirable attention to detail. A wonderful gawk for even casual jazz fans.
This one might have gone undetected in the December rush - the latest single and first sample of HTRK's forthcoming third album Psychic 9-5 Club. Pronounced "hate rock", the Australian duo of Nigel Yang and Jonnine Standish mourn the loss of original member Sean Stewart with this minimal swell of cool room dub and arrestingly hushed vocals.
"2013 was a big year for us because our debut LP finally saw the light. Although it had been ready for a while it was nice to get it out and spread/get some nice vibes. Most of 2012 and 2013 has been spent writing and arranging new songs for our next album. It's going to be angelicus spectacularis and La Sagrada Familia. But at the same time auditus and nutritivae.
It wasn't just a great year for us but for a lot of our friends and mother earth. Here is a list of a couple of the best things that happened in 2013."
Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne
Mountain Sounds Festival , Central Coast, NSW
Fever , Tokyo, Japan
Fever , Tokyo, Japan
Marathon Music Works , Nashville, TN
Upset, Nagoya, Japan
Echostage, Washington, DC
Shangri-La, Osaka, Japan
Terminal 5, New York, NY
Cable, Hiroshima (Fukuyama), Japan
Terminal 5, New York, NY
Phoenix, Sydney, NSW
Bar Caezar, Ehime (Matsuyama), Japan
Crow Bar, Tokushima, Japan
Corona Theatre, Montreal, QCView All Dates