tue 20/08/2019

New Music Reviews

Nitin Sawhney and LSO, Yogoto No Yume, Barbican

Peter Culshaw

When I last met Nitin Sawhney, I’d heard that he was a whizz at mental arithmetic. I asked him, perhaps impertinently, what was 91 times 94? “8,827,” he relied, quick as a flash. Several hours later, I worked out he was probably right. “Vedic mathematics,” he said. What I can say about last night’s performance was there was some interesting mathematics going on. Some time signatures rubbed friskily against others in certain scenes in ways a mathematician would love.

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Hot Chip, Brixton O2 Academy

Bruce Dessau

The past might be a foreign country but sometimes they don't do things so differently there. Two decades ago I found myself backstage at Wembley Arena discussing music with one of MC Hammer's rubber-limbed dancers, nicknamed No Bones. Who was his favourite band? A bunch of geeky white Brits called Depeche Mode, who, I discovered, were a huge influence on the Detroit Techno scene. Twenty years on it is payback time.

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African Soul Rebels, Barbican Hall

howard Male

Here’s a deceptively simple question. What is African music? Does a band make African music simply by dint of the fact they come from Africa? One of last night’s three African Soul Rebels acts was South Africa’s Kalahari Surfers. Ensconced behind a table’s worth of laptops and other gismos, they made subtly menacing, dubby rock with an early '80s slant. And in fact they did it rather well, conjuring memories of Gang of Four and their ilk.

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First Aid Kit, Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh

graeme Thomson

There is something eternally refreshing about catching a band on the first show of their first tour after the release of their first album. Banter remains untarnished by overuse; smiles appear spontaneous and gratitude genuine; mistakes are swatted away with a giggle and a sly curse. Hope – that most intoxicating of emotions – fills the air like the scent of fresh cut grass.

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Vampire Weekend, Brixton O2 Academy

Bruce Dessau

The death at the weekend of Doug Fieger, the co-founder of The Knack, meant that melodic US pop had lost a fine exponent. But more than 30 years on from the eternal über-hit "My Sharona" the appeal of infectious hook-lined music lives on in the work of preppy foursome Vampire Weekend, who have made their name by mixing new wave revivalism with African beats, dubbing their style “...

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Gilad Atzmon’s Orient House Ensemble, Vortex

Anonymous (not Verified) Atzmon:

The force of Israeli-born Gilad Atzmon’s world view – his anti-Zionism, but also what Robert Wyatt, a self-confessed “Gilad groupie”, calls the “intrinsically non-racialist philosophy that's implicit in jazz” – comes through loud and clear in his stage banter. Not many jazzers namecheck the Chilcot Inquiry or dedicate tunes to “the biggest arseholes on the planet”: ie a good handful of (named) British and Israeli politicians.

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Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton, O2 Arena

Adam Sweeting

Along with the compact disc and record company profits, the Guitar Hero has become virtually extinct in the modern era. Thus, finding two gilt-edged specimens of this increasingly scarce breed sharing a stage is gold dust indeed. Both of them have been drenched in accolades, Jeff Beck having been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice and Eric Clapton three times.

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Singles and Downloads 3

Thomas H Green Ms Dynamite preparing to wile out

Zinc ft Ms Dynamite, Wile Out (Zinc)

It takes a lot for an artist to admit they've taken a wrong turn and return to what they do best. So kudos to Ms Dynamite for ditching the dreary, wholemeal attempts to become a British Lauryn Hill and taking her rightful place again as one of this country's best rave MCs. With the irresistible electro-house beats and bouncing bass of DJ Zinc, she's turned up the attitude and created a very British twist on dancehall that...

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Music Go Music, Hoxton Bar & Kitchen

joe Muggs Torg, Gala Bell and Kamer Maza of Music Go Music share a joke

The Hoxton area of Shoreditch is a strange place for gigs by bands with general appeal. Specialist acts bring specialist crowds who know what they're going to get, but any like Music Go Music – whose records show a huge pop sensibility – will attract a fair few curious local scenesters, which sadly in Shoreditch means a load of drunk posh twits and Peaches Geldof clones falling over themselves to photograph one another every three seconds and show how fabulously bored they are with...

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Carolina Chocolate Drops, Bush Hall

howard Male

What’s in a band’s name? Usually very little, other than perhaps a banally surreal juxtaposition of a couple of words that don’t normally hang out together (see: Cold – Play, Joy – Division, Sex – Pistols) or the borrowed kudos from some other art form such as a novel or film (there’s a new folk band called Belleville Rendezvous, God help us.) But this North Carolina trio’s name made me gasp with admiration.

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