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Caught in the net: Shaw's Pulitzer pearl takes the breath away


The Pulitzer Prizes in America are more often associated with journalism and literature, but in among the awards is one for musical composition. At this year's recent prize-giving, the music gong went to American composer Caroline Shaw (pictured), who at 30 years of age is the youngest ever recipient. Her winning four-movement piece, Partita for Eight Voices, is also reportedly the first time the winner has been a vocal-only composition. The 25-minute piece, recorded with her vocal group Roomful of Teeth, has recently been released as an EP on iTunes, Amazon and at Spotify. The strange, beautiful music that ensues nods to the past – but with chanting, counting, spoken word, harmonising, sighing and all manner of other things thrown in, it sounds unlike most music you'll hear this year. Look out, too, for the suggestive sighs of the third movement, which give Serge Gainsbourg's “Je T'Aime... Moi Non Plus” a run for its money.

Enjoy the silence? Not likely...

Ahead of the 6 May release of their debut album, Silence Yourself, the highly touted Savages have premiered a ferocious new track from the record. It comes with a nicely and moodily shot performance video made by film-maker Giorgio Testi. See it at savagesband.com. The video opens with lead singer Jehnny Beth reading aloud words taken from the cover art of their album, before the four-woman group from London launch into a blast of seething post-punk. Some might argue it's a bit of a throwback, but it's thrilling nonetheless.

Another new stance from Neneh

Last year Neneh Cherry made interesting noises, pairing her distinctive, cool vocals with the experimental jazz of Swedish/Norwegian group The Thing, for their well-received record largely of cover-songs, The Cherry Thing. Now she's changed direction again, making a slick rap-meets-spoken word collaboration with Afrika Baby Bam, one half of the Jungle Brothers. The track, “Nina”, is an addictive proposition, in part because of the vocals – but also because of the shuffling beats and sounds that carry it along, made by Four Tet. Hear it at snd.sc/ZiB7Qj. There's no official word of any more collaborations beyond this song, but there are suggestions that Cherry and Four Tet have more coming down the line.