Caught in the Net: In a New York state of mind
Friday 13 May 2011
The brief, cacophonous No Wave scene of the late 1970s and early 1980s in New York didn't bequeath us many bands with vast back catalogues.
A lot of the artists involved only managed a few chaotic singles, some of which found their way on to the 1978 Brian Eno curated No New York compilation, and more recently on Soul Jazz's New York Noise series. A standout song on the latter collection is a swift riot of mutant disco called "Wawa" by the French born singer Lizzy Mercier Descloux (below). She made more than a handful of songs at the time, mixing arthouse dance rhythms with spiky, scratchy guitars – they're collected on to an album called From Heaven with Love (Descloux died in 2004). The 12- track LP is on ZE Records, who released much of the scene's music at the time, and it's a free download at zerecords.com.
The Very Best gift for Mother's Day
A few years back the Afro-European electro-pop collective The Very Best emerged with an expansive mixtape, blending their own sounds with more familiar music from the likes of Vampire Weekend and MIA. An album followed with several high-profile collaborations. On Sunday they returned, in time for Mother's Day in the US (their calendar works differently to ours) with a new mixtape honouring the big day called Super Mom. It can be downloaded from their website for the price of an email at theverybestmusic.com.
All the Reich moves
I caught a few sessions of the Barbican's Reverberations: the Influence of Steve Reich marathon festival last weekend, celebrating the music of the aforementioned composer and several others who have followed in his wake. Among the music performed during the Saturday evening concert was the BBC Symphony Orchestra's rendition of "Rewind" by British composer Anna Clyne (who I was ignorant of beforehand). Helpfully, for me anyway, she has several pieces streaming on her Soundcloud page at ind.pn/lTQCzL, ranging from the dramatic, symphonic shapes of "Rewind" to experimental, electronic soundscapes.
Abbey Road tribute
The final episode of Channel 4's Abbey Road Debuts series aired this week. The show, hosted by 6 Music's Tom Ravenscroft, featured bands making their debut performance at Abbey Road. Featuring as it did, several left-of-centre artists, many were making their mainstream TV debuts too. The likes of the Lower Dens, Mount Kimbie, Crystal Fighters and SBTRKT performed on the show, which also has a Tumblr blog, ind.pn/mGqyKe. Collected here are some band videos – such as Trophy Wife's lovely hushed effort "Microlite" – and extra audio downloads of tracks that didn't make the final cuts on the show.
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