Some 18 years after his glorious debut album, Illmatic, Nas remains an interesting, if inconsistent figure in rap.
A new single from the New Yorker emerged last week; "The Don" finds Nas spitting aggressively and energetically over heavy bass, stuttering beats and some dancehall-like effects. Additional details on the track are scarce, though it would seem likely to appear on a studio album due this year – the song is streaming at snd.sc/yWwgcv. It can be unfair to harp on about it when an artist struggles to scale the heights of an outstanding debut, yet while Illmatic will always be the benchmark, "The Don" is a fine effort.
Warped wonders, live from Berlin
Chris Clark, the UK electronic musician/producer – shortened down to just Clark in recent years – has turned out a fine new album. Iradelphic, released on Warp on 2 April, is a gorgeous dose of diverse sounds, from low-key techno and expansive electronica to minimalist pianos and vocals from Martina Topley Bird. One track from the record can be downloaded at warp.net/ clark. Last night, Clark filmed "The Iradelphic Workshop", an hour-long broadcast of him tinkering and making music live from his studio in Berlin. It streamed live on The Independent's arts blog at ind.pn/GGkdnE and will be available again to watch next week.
Deerhunter man's Lotus Plaza flowers
Lotus Plaza is the side project of Deerhunter guitarist Lockett Pundt. He has a new album under the moniker coming out in early April called Spooky Action at a Distance. Last week we got a taste of the record with the lovely "Strangers", streaming on his label Kranky's SoundCloud at snd.sc/wDmri6. Much like with the output of bandmate Bradford Cox in his own solo project Atlas Sound, it seems the gap between the main band and the extra-curricular output is narrowing – without surrendering some essential individuality. While Pundt's last album as Lotus Plaza, The Floodlight Collective, was a collection of hazy, ambient pop, this new track, full of chiming guitars and off-kilter melodies, is akin to the finely tuned artrock of Deerhunter.
Radical rarities in the Tomb
I happened across the Tumblr blog Doom and Gloom from the Tomb (ind.pn/GDuls2) when someone tweeted a link to a collection of Richard Hell-era Television bootlegs – live shows, demos and early rehearsals – the site had posted. Like the bootleg tapes with cheap yellow paper artwork one used to find at the counter in record shops, the site primarily collects such musical ephemera in the form of links and downloads rather than tapes. "A selection of rad bootlegs and other music-y things," the site boasts.