All posts filed under: Music

5 of the Best Summer Music Festivals in Spain

Spain has been on the international summer music festivals radar for some time now, and recently it has expanded its variety range. The country was and remains to be a paradise for EDM, House, and electronic music lovers. But events such as Barcelona Primavera Sound Music Festival and Mad Cool in Madrid have proven Spanish cities great hosts of multi-genre music festivals. The beautiful summer weather and landmarks can be complemented by unforgettable experiences able to please the most demanding festivaleros. Below a list of the best summer music festivals in Spain that only add up to the country as a top destination. A Summer Story 2020 A Summer Story is a fairly young festival, only 5 years away from its first edition, each one has seen a massive lineup with A-list headliners. Held on the outskirts of the capital Madrid, this is the place to go for a well-packed mesh of EDM, electronic and house underground and big names.  This Madrid dance giant fest hosted the stage for Don Diablo, Carl Cox, and Dimitry Vega …

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Barcelona Music Festival Primavera Sound 2020 Lineup

For about two decades now, Barcelona music festival Primavera Sound has been consistently giving us top-notch performances with over 50 hours of live music by the best of the rock, pop, and dance music scene. Primavera Sound is one of the most acclaimed music festivals in Spain. Since its first edition in 2001, the festival has greatly helped the underground music industry based in Barcelona. Therefore, establishing itself as an international model guide for urban music festivals. Primavera Sound 2020 takes place at its usual location for the main acts of the festival, Barcelona’s Parc del Forum, note this year is a few days later than usual from Wednesday, June 3th to Sunday 7th. Barcelona’s Primavera Sound is also known for being a festival that has developed a strong commitment to social issues beyond music. A gender-balanced line-up with equal numbers of male and female performers has been shown since last year. The’ new normal’ initiative of the festival aims to set a standard for gender-balanced music initiatives that other festivals should follow. For 2020, Primavera Sound’s 20th anniversary, it is going paperless moving towards …

Album Review: “Semper Femina”, Laura Marling

On Semper Femina, Laura Marling explores the lives of the exceptional women in her orbit as protagonists of their own stories, separate from the Male Gaze. It is tempting – perhaps even unavoidable – to decipher works of art based on title tracks. After all, why would the artist name their work after a single line or lyric? It must be meaningful – it’s the musical equivalent of when an actor will break the 4th wall, look straight into the camera, and say the name of a film. It drops like a hammer-blow, when we pick up on it. On Semper Femina’s second-to-last and standout track “Nouel”, British folksinger Laura Marling sings, “Semper Femina, so am I,” paraphrasing a line from a Virgil poem, translating roughly to “always a woman”. For her sixth LP, Marling initially sought to explore the lives of exceptional women from the vantage point of a man, but had to abandon the quest. She simply couldn’t get out of herself, and didn’t think it would be wise to do so. Instead, …

Music Review – February 2017’s Most Essential Albums

February tends to be kind of a hard, dark month for much of the United States – it’s cold, days are short, and things can get lonely if you don’t have love in your life, around V-Day. To commemorate it is almost over, we’ve got some hard and dark sounds —this is your music review of the month— like Amnesia Scanner’s As Truth mixtape; some cold and lonely sounds, with Ryan Adams’ excellent new breakup record Prisoner, and some enumerations on love, romance, and desire – both for and against – with The Last Artful, Dodgr and Neill Von Tally; Future; Bebe Rexha; and Anna Wise. There’s some warmth to be had, as well, via the analog ambiance of Noveller and Bing & Ruth. So settle in and take a listen to some of February’s top albums! February 2017’s Most Essential Albums 10. Last Artful, Dodgr & Neill Von Tally – Bone Music Referencing both Charles Dickens, a Los Angeles baseball team, and ducking drive-bys, the Last Artful, Dodgr is as West Coast as it …

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JenRO – “Planet Z” – Breaking Down False Binaries In Hip-Hop

Hip-hop is full of false binaries – East Coast/West Coast; Old School/Nu Skool; Street/Club; Male/Female; Gay/Straight, and, all too often, never the twain shall meet. Superstar Top 40 Hip-Hop artists like Drake, The Weeknd, and Nicki Minaj broadcast the intricacies of celebrity like some crystalline Fortress Of Solitude, faces as perfectly presented as some ceramic Mardi Gras mask, commenting on the nihilism of partying every night, the boredom and apathy of drinking $1000 bottles of Cristal every night. Meanwhile, rough-and-tumble street rappers speak more to the experience of regular, working class people, struggling for dignity and a good life. They’re stories more of us can relate to, not to mention having more in common with hip-hops embattled roots, but the lack of resources, like high-quality studio recordings and a well-oiled marketing machine, means people just aren’t as likely to hear it. While it’s not a problem in and of itself, as good-sounding records from highly talented people with a boatload of resources are important, (think: Beyonce), we run the risk of losing working-class dialects in …

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Love, Metal & Doom Pop Portland’s Muscle And Marrow – “Love”

Portland, Or. is a complicated, layered, and nuanced place. Beneath the facade of being a millennial paradise, Portland’s rooted in the blue collar industry of yesteryear, as one of the Pacific Northwest’s most bustling port towns. Even Portland’s reputation as being a hub for underground culture came about due to the economic downturn of the ’80s and ’90s. Portland is both rough and tumble, as well as cosmopolitan; utterly hip and chic while alternately not giving a toss what anyone thinks. Portlanders are tough, while still being kind and sensitive; nice, almost to a fault, but not afraid to be blunt. Likewise, metal is a complicated genre. While once a shorthand for the most extreme masculinity, in the 21st Century, metal has become shorthand for power, force, will, and intensity, which is important as it doesn’t make intensity the sole property of the patriarchy. Portland avant-metal duo Muscle And Marrow perfectly embody the intricacies and layered meanings of both Portland and metal/extreme music, especially in the case of their most recent album. Rather than focusing …

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Chance The Rapper “Coloring Book” — The REAL voice of the streets

Chance The Rapper – Coloring Book – Album Review Considering hip-hop’s roots in the pavement and asphalt of the urban environment, there is a certain crossover with the “hard living school of hard knocks”, as a lot of rappers, producers, and DJs are forced to live outside of the law to get by. Groups like N.W.A. or Public Enemy, or solo rappers like Tupac Shakur, spoke their truths – gun running, drug slinging, hook-ups, partying all night long, as one representation of what life on the streets is really like. The Golden Age Of Gangsta Rap led to a kind of revolving door of influences, with up-and-coming rappers thinking they had to live the stereotype to make good hip-hop, while outsiders assumed that all rappers are Gs and dealers. This assumption implies only gangstas and working girls hang out on the pavement – subtle shadows of racism and classism. If you translate “street” to mean “regular” or “working class people” doing what it takes to get by, however, the images and implications expand exponentially. On …

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Brian Eno – “The Ship” —A vessel lost at sea

Brian Eno‘s The Ship (Warp Records) is like a libretti for Snowpiercer, or J. G. Ballard/Ben Wheatley’s High Rise – imagining society as a vessel lost at sea, forever drifting through endless, featureless landscapes. Trying to conceptualize or visualize society is a tricky business, especially in these uncertain mercurial times. Society changes in a nanosecond, never resting, always refreshing. With so many pieces and moving parts, it can seem like an impossibility to comment on even one tiny aspect of the world we’re living in, let alone the entire monolithic machine. Brian Eno likely needs no introduction for fans of atmospheric, imaginative electronic music, as the modern progenitor of Ambient music, via his ambient series in the ’70s. Eno’s always been concerned with removing the human from the scene, in an effort to truly free music from egotism and repetition, to create something truly futuristic. Eno’s ambient works are particularly adept at evoking landscapes/settings, like the austere, minimalism of an airport in Ambient 1: Music For Airports or a vast, menacing alien planet, on Apollo: …

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Andy Stott – “Too Many Voices” — Beats From The Crossroads (Modern Love)

Enigmatic Mancunian producer Andy Stott‘s output, these past few years, have been an exquisite portrait of what’s been going on in the post-dubstep electronic world. Dubstep’s ferocious bassweight is tempered with intricate, precise grime beats; weightless, ethereal, dreamy synthpop – all polished and poised, seemingly, by the human hand. This particular phase of Stott’s career started with 2011’s essential twin releases, We Stay Together and Passed Me By, when Modern Love label head Shlom Sviri suggested to Stott that he start incorporating found sounds, field recordings, and real world textures into his hardware-infatuated Detroit Techno emulations. Stott’s previously pristine Techno became slavered in hiss and static, seemingly emerging from some nightmarish late night radio program, tuned between stations. Stott further abandoned the cleanroom confines of the digital with the following two LPs, 2012’s Luxury Problems and 2014’s Faith In Strangers, which incorporated vocals from Alison Skidmore, Stott’s teenage piano teacher. Together, the pair dished out a kind of slo-mo post-industrial New Wave, somewhere between the graceful pop deconstructions of Arthur Russell, the existentialism of the …

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Songs For Neo-Tokyo: Bwana – Capsule’s Pride (Bikes) (LuckyMe)

Much like fashion, Electronic music has never been very good at looking in the rearview. In the accelerationist framework of the genre, producers and DJs have simply not taken the time to dig through the past to make sense of it all. There are whole continents of early ’90s rave tapes, the early digital trance ambient of Pete Namlook’s FAX Label and glassy early house music that’s been completely overlooked by the obsessive reissue culture currently en vogue, despite how pivotal these works might’ve been in creating the world we’re currently inhabiting. UK post-dubstep producer Bwana is remedying this, with Capsule’s Pride (Bikes) which not only resurrects early ’90s electronica for re-evaluation, but also takes a close, loving work at another significant cultural artifact – Katsuhiro Otomo’s 1988 Cyberpunk Anime classic Akira. Akira follows two young members of a motorcycle gang in a futuristic Neo-Tokyo, Kaneda and Tetsuo, searching for the lost urban legend of Akira. Tetsuo gradually begins to develop psychic powers, as the motorcycle gang fights off gangs of evil clowns, meet sentient dolls, and ultimately, meet …

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Digital Cathedrals: Tim Hecker – Love Streams (4AD)

Historically, towns and city centers were organized around a sacred building, all roads leading to some chapel, church, or cathedral, which were the orbit around which Medieval life orbited. These buildings were designed to evoke a sense of awe & rapture – vaulted ceilings and flying buttresses, as sacred choirs filled the monolithic space with their cries to God. Love Streams, the excellent new LP from influential ambient composer Tim Hecker, begins with the simple, but convoluted, question: “What might liturgical music sound like, in the Modern Age?” Or, as he cheekily phrased it during the promo cycle “liturgical aesthetics after Yeezus” or “the transcendental voice in the age of auto-tune.” The human voice is at the center piece of Love Streams, with Oscar-nominated soundtrack composer Johann Johannsson composing chorales in Latin for an Icelandic choir. Not content to approximate some modern Renaissance forgery, Johannsson reversed the Latin script, before giving it to the Icelandic Choir Ensemble, which were further re-arranged and edited in post-production. These vocal compositions were then fleshed out with flutes, woodwinds, …

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A View From The Ground Up. Babyfather – BBF hosted by DJ Escrow (Hyperdub)

The UK’s most mercurial, shape-shifting producer Dean Blunt gives the straight dope on life in the UK, with some of his strangest friends. Trying to put a finger on the pulse of a culture via its government and the mainstream media is futile. What you see is distorted by financial interests, hidden agenda, PR campaigns, and, of course, limited time to parse through the DATA. Hip-hop has always been “the voice of the streets”, since the early NYC block parties of the late ’70s. It’s supposed to be a glimpse into the real lives of real people. But what happens when Hip-Hop becomes Top 40. A certain perspective is lost, as we are subjected to endless calls towards consumerism in the night clubs. Today’s hip-hop is more about popping bottles than popping caps. Dean Blunt is setting the record straight, with the latest in the endless string of pseudonyms and collaborations, by way of the maybe-fictional personality DJ Escrow. For those that aren’t familiar, Dean Blunt is a busy, restless innovator, bridging the gap between …