This Weeks Music Video with Beck, Lana Del Rey, Radiohead, Wolf Alice, Shamir, Stone Sour and Depeche Mode

This Weeks Music Video with Radiohead, HAIM, Everything Everything, The War On Drugs, Portugal. The Man & Chris Cornell

This Weeks Music Video with Foo Fighters, Lana Del Rey feat. The Weeknd, Arcade Fire, Liam Gallagher, Metallica, Radiohead and MØ

Musicandotherthingz Best British Act of 2016

For British music, there has been a strong resurgence of legendary artists with Bowie, Radiohead and PJ Harvey all featuring in our list of nominees. Wild Beasts and Bat For Lashes further established themselves with solid albums and both came close to the top three along with Radiohead and their wistful and poignant album. They’re in the long list below and out top three follows them. 

3. The Coral (9.76% of the vote) 

The long standing Merseyside group returned with an accomplished reinvention for their seventh studio album Distance Inbetween. James and Ian Skelly kept it close to home, recording in Liverpool and put together their own brand of British psychedelia, with roots in the classic British psychedelic pioneers of the Sixties. They decided to keep their music close and tight around the traditional instrumentation, focusing their manipulated and wiry sounds instead of gradually fading them out in vast acres of space. They rightly received a great deal of credit for this.

2. Blood Orange (17.00%) 

Dev Hynes is already established as a talented and in demand producer so when he takes centre stage, you can expect some exciting and vibrant music and that’s exactly what he delivered as Blood Orange this year. The album Freetown Sound was a celebration of his own Sierra Leone heritage and a close look at the difference views of heritage between Black Britons and African Americans. Whilst understandably, there has been a lot of anger fuelled music in response to the dangers and controversy faced by African Americans, Hynes often took a more emotional and personal look at the events from his own point of view. From this, he channeled the tragedy of the situation with eloquent vocals, soft production and a fusion of Pop, Soul, Hip Hop and Funk. A masterful work which was astoundingly underrated.

1. David Bowie (54.00%)

Again, it is only fitting that Bowie towers over everyone else with a fifty year legacy as a cultural icon and a symbol of British creativity around the world. Blackstar was beautiful, terrifying and poignant and was a strong response to his comeback album The Next Day which wasn’t universally understood. He created dark, ethereal tones and fused conflicting instrumentation as he’s always done. He often generated alternative, complex melodies and hooks that were so obscure, it took a second or third listen to understand. When you did, the rewards were endless. His ominous lyrics reflected the music and the timing of the release, just days before his passing was eerily just like Bowie; an unpredictable superstar. 

Owen Riddle 

This Weeks Music Video with Grimes X Hana, Radiohead, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Weezer, Regina Spektor, Death Cab For Cutie, Pixies and Amber Coffman 

This Weeks Music Video with Radiohead, Grimes, Tegan and Sara, Beth Orton and Ought

Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool Review

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With a five year absence, Radiohead have returned with their ninth studio album A Moon Shaped Pool. They do this from a position of almost understated legendary status around the world and great authority in British music. Over two decades of high quality music is what has cemented this reputation and the sheer volume of hype that surrounds them. They are marking their return in typically mysterious circumstances with social media blackouts and odd cards delivered to those on their mail list. These cards had the lyrics of their new single ‘Burn The Witch’ embossed on them. The key question is, can they continue to match that reputation and live up to the hype in 2016?

The lyrics of ‘Burn The Witch’ that were embossed on those cards when put to the music, evoke a greeter unsettling feel. The instrumentation is primarily made of a sharp string staccato with rumbling and sweeping strings and electronica moving purposefully beneath it. The song is surprisingly melodic and engaging than it might be on first listen as what seems something as an anti-melody from Yorke contrasts with the dramatic and increasingly frantic instrumentation around him. An intriguing and well developed sound from a vastly experienced group. ‘Daydreaming’ is a track of graceful transitions and melodies that has that underlying energy and tentative feel to it. This comes from a stretched bass line and a generation of whirring synths beneath the sweeping piano chords and string sections. Thom Yorkes solemn and quivering vocal only adds to this tension. The samples of wails and voices in line with sharper and more sudden strings only go on to deepen the sense of unease whilst stretching the the beautiful arrangement of it all. ‘Ful Stop’ features the same rumbling sounds and siren-like rhythms of The Knife, yet these are linked via whirring synth chords. From these minor foundations comes the quieter and colder vocals from Yorke that isolate vocals from the rest of the track seamlessly.

‘Present Tense’ gives off warmer feels with shuffling percussion and lightly oscillating acoustic rhythms. Behind this arrangement come ringing guitars and echoed backing vocals behind the stable and more reassuring lead vocals of Thom Yorke. ‘Identikit’ features clean cut riffs and rhythms ahead of sharp and prominent bass lines and the vocals match the rest of the instrumentation for perfect clarity. The song expands its sound with lightly distorted lead guitar parts for an intricate and detailed rock track. ‘True Love Waits’ is a swooning and wistful ballad with it being led by Yorke’s sweeping and encompassing vocal. ‘Decks Dark’ offer up steady and smooth electronica with the considered introduction of additional elements from bass line, choirs and distorted riffs. The album perhaps has too many acoustic tracks with little direction, but these still can be appreciated as atmospheric and graceful tracks. Beyond these, we have beautiful and atmospherically dynamic album that accentuates and emboldens subtlety and sharpens typically loose and expansive sounds. It is testament to the skill and experience of the group to achieve so much with so little or to focus so much into something so simple. One of the highlights of the year and a match for the hype.

Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool = 8.5/10

 

 

 

 

Single Review – Radiohead – Burn The Witch

Radiohead are marking their return in typically mysterious circumstances with social media blackouts and odd cards delivered to those on their mail list. These cards had the lyrics of their new single ‘Burn The Witch’ embossed on them and when put to the music, those lyrics evoke a greeter unsettling feel. The instrumentation is primarily made of a sharp string staccato with rumbling and sweeping strings and electronica moving purposefully beneath it. The song is surprisingly melodic and engaging than it might be on first listen as what seems something as an anti-melody from Yorke contrasts with the dramatic and increasingly frantic instrumentation around him. An intriguing and well developed sound from a vastly experienced group.

Owen Riddle

London Producer ZAFLON talks about recording his new EP, his influences and London’s music industry

 

Here are some questions I put to talented, South London based producer Zaflon on his intriguing new EP LDP1, what he has planned for the future and the interchangeable forms of music and imagery amongst other things.

 

What is Zaflon and what are you about?

I just want to fill rooms and headphones with sounds I like and collaborate with, inspiring people.

 

Do you have a significant influence musical or otherwise?

Electronica, indie, soul, jazz, classical, rock… err I’m just listing a bunch of genres…

I found Radiohead very influential as they transitioned from indie to electronica at the same time I did with my music tastes. I’ve also learned a lot from the people and friends I’ve worked with closely over the years like Jamie Woon, Royce Wood Junior and the early experience I got with soundtrack composer Paul Foss and Guitarist Jim Barber.

 

How important is evoking imagery to your music?

It’s one and the same thing for me, rhythm is the shape, harmonic content is the colour and texture is well… the texture. Two years ago I was sharing a flat with a Chinese animator YouYang Yu, sometimes we used to hang out whilst I was working on music, I’d be manipulating and layering sound and he’d just chill on the bean bag drawing what it looked like in his head. I was always amazed at his interpretations, he could draw a five minute piece as a strange hyper-intelligent organism from another dimension but then sometimes it would be a sequence of events.

I think the way we connect sound and imagery says allot about how we think and generally speaking, music that I really like will always evoke imagery and emotion.

 

How did you find the experience of recording your new EP?

Recording LDP1 was a very enjoyable experience. I had just put out my first single with help from Lost In The Manor and was ready to hibernate in the studio and take my music to the next level. I knew that I wanted the EP to be wintery, dark, atmospheric and deep but I had no idea what it was going to sound like till I started writing and recording. Pretty soon I established the 4 songs to make the final cut, I played them to Chris from LITM and he said that I needed another vocal track, as three out of the four tracks were instrumentals. At that stage I used everything I learned in the process so far to make the second track with Gilan, which ended up being 7 Stalkers.

 

Do you have a standout track on your new EP?

“7 Stalkers” featuring Gilan is definitely the track that’s struck a chord with most people. It’s also the most heavy and complex track on the EP. I do recommend listening to the whole EP in order as everything else on the EP builds towards a climactic finish

 

What made you choose Gilan as a collaborator? What was she like to work with? 

I was at an acoustic night in Kingston where some of my friends were performing, when this girl got up and started playing these awesome melancholic post grunge ballads. After she played we got talking and turned out that she really likes trip-hop. I played her some of my tunes and the rest his history. Gilan is a real talent and watch out for her new grunge band Brosephine which will start gigging in March

 

Do you have any advice for any young London based artists? Is being in London a help or a hindrance to you?

London, London, dirty, little London. I was actually born in UCH round Warren Street and lived in various parts of the city throughout my life, so London is home and hard to think of objectively. London is having a hard time with it’s music scene right now as so many of the studios clubs and live venues have been shut down because the rent is so high but as always adversity breeds ingenuity and with that comes loads of wicked new music. There’s a toughness to the London music scene that keeps it real, everyone listens to a wide range of music and it takes a lot to impress or even mildly distract a London music lover.

My advice to any young London based artist or any artist for that matter would be to make friends with other artists whose music you genuinely love. These are the best people to collaborate with, learn from, share music with and hang out with.

 

What is coming up from Zaflon in the future? 

I’m going to carry on writing and producing, I’m currently working on a new EP. I’m also looking at putting together Zaflon (Live) where I’ll be getting a group of live musicians to take the music to the main stage. I’m also having a music video made for 7 Stalkers with director Tali Clarke and puppeteer Tricia Brummer.

 

Thank you to Zaflon for some insightful answers and be sure to have a listen of the full EP stream (above) and keep an eye out for his new video for ‘7 stalkers in the future.

Questions by Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995