mon 17/12/2018

New Music reviews, news & interviews

Albums of the Year 2018: Nightports w/Matthew Bourne

Matthew Wright

Matthew Bourne has been a significant experimental and collaborative presence on the scene since 2001, when he won the Perrier Jazz Award. This project with musician-producing duo Nightports (Adam Martin and Mark Slater) is the first of a series planned by Leaf Label, all following a simple rule that only sounds produced by the featured musician, in this case Bourne, can be included.

Reissue CDs Weekly: Tangerine Dream

Kieron Tyler

In April 1973, John Peel wrote that “For my money, Tangerine Dream are the best of the Kosmische Music bands. Whenever any of their extended works are played on the radio there is a heavy mail from listeners. Most of the letter-writers are for it, those that are against it are very against it indeed. A Tangerine Dream track, heard superficially, is little more than a repetitive drone.

Albums of the Year 2018: Black Merlin - Kosua

Barney Harsent

Kosua was released only last month, but its journey began two years ago when George Thompson, aka Black Merlin, released Hipnotik Tradisi, a...

Albums of the Year 2018: Farai - Rebirth

Thomas H Green

It’s been an odd year for albums. The one I’ve listened to most is Stop Lying, a mini-album by Raf Rundel, an artist best known as one half of DJ-...

theartsdesk on Vinyl 46: Christmas 2018 Special...

Thomas H Green

The time of giving is here and what better presents than great slabs of lovely vinyl; sounds that bring joy to all. Our last theartsdesk on Vinyl of...

Albums of the Year 2018: Sarah Gillespie - Wishbones

Howard Male

It was a close thing, but in the end heart and gut beat head and hips

Albums of the Year 2018: Erland Cooper - Solan Goose

Katie Colombus

Taking a flight into the ambient

CD: Aloe Blacc - Christmas Funk

Joe Muggs

Pretty much does what it says on the tin

theartsdesk on Vinyl 45: Ian Dury, Janis Joplin, Oneohtrix Point Never, Stereolab, Charles Mingus and more

Thomas H Green

The wildest, most wide-ranging monthly record reviews out there

Hey Colossus, Centrala, Birmingham review - lighting the experimental 2018 Christmas candles

Guy Oddy

Sonic oddballs welcome in the season of goodwill and excessive drinking

CD: Mary Poppins Returns - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Thomas H Green

One of Disney's untouchables makes it through an unwanted regeneration looking surprisingly OK

Katie Melua and Gori Women's Choir, Central Hall Westminster, London, review - Georgia on her mind

Liz Thomson

A seriousness of purpose that is refreshing and engaging

CD: Jessie J - This Christmas Day

Jo Southerd

High production values and some imagination in reworking of favourite Christmas songs

Reissue CDs Weekly: Unusual Sounds

Kieron Tyler

Library music compilation lacks the impact of the companion book of the same name

Eric Clapton - Happy Xmas

Russ Coffey

How festive does Slowhand get?

Cypress Hill, O2 Academy, Birmingham review – OG hip-hoppers light-up

Guy Oddy

Old school ganja-gangsters set Birmingham ablaze

CD: The Albion Christmas Band - Under the Christmas Tree

Liz Thomson

As traditional as turkey with all the trimmings

CD: The Monkees - Christmas Party

Guy Oddy

Wake up Sleepy Jean, the Monkees are back to spread some Christmas cheer

Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, Royal Albert Hall review - all stand for the piano man

Liz Thomson

Boogie, Bach and beyond with Jools's travelling big band

CD: The 1975 – A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships

Barney Harsent

The ambitious pop-rock outfit return with an album that's interesting, but overlong

Reissue CDs Weekly: Be-Bop Deluxe

Kieron Tyler

Box-set edition of 1976’s ‘Sunburst Finish’ reveals Bill Nelson’s art-rockers as unexpectedly match-fit for punk

CD: My Baby - MOUNAIKI: By The Bright of the Night

Thomas H Green

Kiwi-Dutch psychedelic funk-rockers finally match their live reputation

CD: Majken - Young Believer

Kieron Tyler

Unfulfilled promise on Swedish singer-songwriter’s debut album

CD: Bill Ryder-Jones - Yawn

Jo Southerd

Fourth album crackles with intimacy and floors with its candour

CD: Kim Myhr - Pressing Clouds Passing Crowds

Kieron Tyler

The Norwegian guitarist collaborates with poet Caroline Bergvall in an enthralling reflection on transformation

EFG London Jazz Festival 2018, round-up review - winners young and old

Sebastian Scotney

Highlights from Xhosa Cole, Leo Richardson, Stan Sulzmann, Richard Galliano and more

Māris Briežkalns Quintet, EFG London Jazz Festival 2018 review - a Rothko symphony

David Nice

Latvian players and composers homage a great artist they can call their own

DVD: The Man from Mo'Wax

Thomas H Green

Sometimes absorbing, sometimes morose documentary on London's 1990s kingpin of underground instrumental hip hop beats

Reissue CDs Weekly: Kreaturen Der Nacht

Kieron Tyler

Engaging round-up of German post-punk

Footnote: a brief history of new music in Britain

New music has swung fruitfully between US and UK influences for half a century. The British charts began in 1952, initially populated by crooners and light jazz. American rock'n'roll livened things up, followed by British imitators such as Lonnie Donegan and Cliff Richard. However, it wasn't until The Beatles combined rock'n'roll's energy with folk melodies and Motown sweetness that British pop found a modern identity outside light entertainment. The Rolling Stones, amping up US blues, weren't far behind, with The Who and The Kinks also adding a unique Englishness. In the mid-Sixties the drugs hit - LSD sent pop looking for meaning. Pastoral psychedelia bloomed. Such utopianism couldn't last and prog rock alongside Led Zeppelin's steroid riffing defined the early Seventies. Those who wanted it less blokey turned to glam, from T Rex to androgynous alien David Bowie.

sex_pistolsA sea change arrived with punk and its totemic band, The Sex Pistols, a reaction to pop's blandness and much else. Punk encouraged inventiveness and imagination on the cheap but, while reggae made inroads, the most notable beneficiary was synth pop, The Human League et al. This, when combined with glam styling, produced the New Romantic scene and bands such as Duran Duran sold multi-millions and conquered the US.

By the mid-Eighties, despite U2's rise, the British charts were sterile until acid house/ rave culture kicked the doors down for electronica, launching acts such as the Chemical Brothers. The media, however, latched onto indie bands with big tunes and bigger mouths, notably Oasis and Blur – Britpop was born.

By the millennium, both scenes had fizzled, replaced by level-headed pop-rockers who abhorred ostentation in favour of homogenous emotionality. Coldplay were the biggest. Big news, however, lurked in underground UK hip hop where artists adapted styles such as grime, dubstep and drum & bass into new pop forms, creating breakout stars Dizzee Rascal and, more recently, Tinie Tempah. The Arts Desk's wide-ranging new music critics bring you overnight reviews of every kind of music, from pop to unusual world sounds, daily reviews of new releases and downloads, and unique in-depth interviews with celebrated musicians and DJs, plus the quickest ticket booking links. Our writers include Peter Culshaw, Joe Muggs, Howard Male, Thomas H Green, Graeme Thomson, Kieron Tyler, Russ Coffey, Bruce Dessau, David Cheal & Peter Quinn

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