Sunday, 30 January 2011

Video: Benda Bilili Trailer



I was sent a link to this trailer by @bonGarcon Twitter the other day and I'm definitely looking forward to checking the film out when it's released in March. Music documentaries can be really difficult to get right (I'm currently struggling to finish Diplo's Favela On Blast), but I hope this film lives up to the name of the band (it means beyond appearances) and isn't just the straightforward and triumphant rags to riches story the trailer could be interpreted as...

For more info click here

Stream: James Blake - Album Sampler + "The Wilhelm Scream"



I was reading a piece in the Guardian this morning, about everyone being a critic and asking whether professional criticism is dead. Personally, I love the idea of the democratization of culture, but for the sake of being truly honest, not everyone and their dog trying to be seen as a "tastemaker" or expert. That is why I don't care what anyone else's opinion is on James Blake (and apparently everyone's got one), there's something about the man's music that feels like a protractor being drawn across the inner lining of my heart. In a good way.

*Updated 31.01.10* A lovely new video for "The Wilhelm Scream" video just dropped over at Pitchfork. I don't know if my attention span is akin to that of a fly, if this was a bit of a missed opportunity artistically, if the budget is low (probably because Blake could fart on camera and it would get a million + views at this point), or then again if minimalism is just what he's about and I need to keep my passion for video art to myself. It is lovely, perhaps I am just ungrateful.



His self titled debut album drops on Feb 7th, and is available for pre-order now  [iTunesVinyl]

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Video + MP3: Toro Y Moi "Still Sound"



Chazwick Bundick done did it again. They call it Chillwave, I call it sounding like Fleetwood Mac. They call it directing a video, I call it playing with the 8mm app on your iPhone - but hey whatever, it works. Apart from that uncomfortable moment with the orange segments. The dancing is most impressive though. I'm really looking forward to the new album Underneath the Pine, coming out on Feb 22nd. You of course already have "Still Sound" because it featured on We Love #25, but just in case you can download it below.

Download: Toro Y Moi Still Sound" here [Mediafire]

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Video: Soundwave Festival Croatia - PMOI Beach Party & Dr Treehorn Film

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You may have heard at some point (ahem), that the PMOI crew threw a beach party & commandeered the main stage on Sunday at last years Soundwave Festival in Croatia. Unfortunately we haven't gotten through all of the footage until now - but everyone else seems to be in the same boat (no pun intended) so we don't feel so bad. Check out a little edit of our beach party and the beautiful film below of the whole festival. You can check out the latest info on Soundwave Festival in 2011 hurrr.




SOUNDWAVE CROATIA 2010 from Dr. Treehorn on Vimeo.

Monday, 17 January 2011

"Instant Pop" To Beat Piracy (AKA Finally Starting To Meet Demand)

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An article written in The Guardian this Sunday left a strange taste in my mouth, and after doing some digging pretty much every other publication I've seen has "reported" the story/ regurgitated the press release in the same way (please will someone remind me of the difference between blogging and journalism again?).

The general premise is that "Wait is not a word in the vocabulary of the current generation", that "Piracy remains a crippling problem for the British music business", and that "Britain's two biggest record labels will finally try to play their part in stopping it".

I personally would like to say to that, bullshit. Below is Exhibit A, a cassette tape (yep, that's what that plastic thing is kids!) I recorded of Trevor Nelson's Rhythm Nation show on Radio 1 in 1999. My average weekend involved waiting for Trev to come on, recording his show (you couldn't leave because you had to turn the tape over), then painstakingly writing down the tracklist and six weeks later trying desperately to order in a few singles or albums from HMV in Brighton "LL Cool Who?". Is ripping a song that's not out for another six weeks off of Youtube any different?

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The iPod and iTunes store launched in 2001, and yet we're in 2011 and the process for selling music hasn't changed - 6 weeks of radio play to "build anticipation", then a single or two, follow up with the album. Just writing that makes me laugh. I wonder at times how many people at the top of major labels are actually music fans. If you are a music fan you search for a song because you can't get it out of your head and you really want to listen to it - not because you're a terrible and impatient person. Some people won't pay for music regardless, but it has been proven that the majority of free downloaders are also the biggest paying customers - because they are the biggest consumers of music.

The question is not so much one of stealing, but one of supply and demand. If I search for "Jessie J Do It Like A Dude", currently at Number 2 in the charts and all over the press release as an example of the new "on air, on sale" policy, what comes up on the front page is lots of videos and press - not an iTunes or Amazon link. I then click on her Youtube video where there is a link to buy the single, but that's an extra step in the chain and I've already sated my appetite. 79p is often the price consumers will pay for convenience and to save time searching online (not just because we are morally compelled to support an artist), in the same way we might pay 79p more for a Starbucks inside a train station than at the lovely local coffee shop 5 minutes down the road (even though we all know what sadly happens to many of them). Unless music retailers can better compete with Youtube as a music search engine they will still fail to truly compete even with this new release strategy (though its worth mentioning they do receive some revenue from online streaming).

The most worrying thing is the amount of pressure this "on air, on sale" strategy could put on radio playlists, which virtually dictate the singles chart. Great news if you can afford a radio plugger and a big campaign, good luck if you can't. Interestingly, the idea has been floated to create a broader range of charts to incorporate streaming or something like the new Billboard Social 50. It would be interesting to see the difference between a playlist created by committee (Radio 1) and one created by listeners (e.g. Last FM). This week the Last FM top 10 includes Florence and The Machine, Daft Punk, The xx and Arcade Fire, none of whom are in the R1 singles chart or A-Playlist.

The generally underexposed other side of the story is that more units of music are being bought, more music and music of a wider range is being listened to, and more musicians have professional careers than ever before - the music industry (or perhaps major labels) are not so much being "ravaged" as generally doing a very bad job of adjusting to the market whilst blaming some of their biggest customers for not remaining in the past with them.

Friday, 14 January 2011

PMOI LIVE: DTMD @ Southpaw Brooklyn (CMJ 2010)



We've been talking about these guys for a while now, since their impressive debut EP The Basics came out in January, and I kept rubbing my eyes about the fact they were 19 but showed so much confidence. Luckily enough they were available to come through for the showcase we put on at Southpaw in Brooklyn with Homebase NYC in October for CMJ Music Festival, and the guys opened the show (and did themselves proud, they're real naturals live), which also featured Olivier Daysoul, Tranqill, Hezekiah, Homeboy Sandman, Outasight, Blu and lots of others. I look forward to hearing their forthcoming debut album, hopefully out soon...

Filmed & edited by Joel Craigs

Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition

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You've got until Monday 17th January if you want to enter the Glastonbury Emerging Talent competition which gives emerging unsigned artists the chance to perform on the main stage at one of the biggest music festivals in the world. It is open to artists from any genre, you don't have to be a guitar wielding mud lover, and rumours abound that Prince and Beyonce are playing this year so it's worth it just to get in.

I'm on the judging panel this year, and I will be objective, but it would be in your best interests if you're entering to only send your very best tracks (on their surprisingly easy application form), because I'm told there will be hundreds we have to sift through and I don't imagine we'll get to track 27 for every act. Good luck!

Apply for the Glastonbury Emerging Talent Festival here

Video: Skillit "Ready To Light"



There's something about Skillit. He's hilarious, he's charismatic, he's a showman, and insanely photogenic. I've been a fan since watching his brilliant videos for Skeen and I Love Women, but when it came to being a bit more introspective or taking a topic seriously I always felt like he wasn't lyrically as comfortable as with the comedy. Here, on the second verse particularly, Skillit manages to point a finger at himself and some of the stereotypes he doesn't fulfill using a comedic tool to more serious effect, but then at times still slides back in to more expected turns of phrase. I really hope he manages to harness the traits that make him distinctive and interesting so that no matter the topic it's a Skillit classic because the guy's truly talented.

Video: Lissie "Pursuit Of Happiness" [Kid Cudi Cover]



I know I know, how many more times am I going to talk about Lissie? I stumbled across this a couple of days ago and it made me realise that though I liked the original, I'd never really listened to the lyrics the way I should have and noticed what an anthemic and powerful sentiment the song has. Oh, and Lissie's drummer is a badman for playing drums and guitar at the same time.

Review: Fela! The Musical



Last week I went to see Fela! at the National Theatre, after procrastinating since November for no good reason. (I would highly recommend if you've been doing the same you grab one of the last remaining tickets since it ends on Jan 23rd).

Part of me was dubious, mainly because it was difficult to imagine a form of theatre as Westernized as a musical being able to adequately portray with integrity the political and cultural views of a figure who was so against European cultural imperialism (in a theatre sponsored by Shell Oil and other companies who might feature in a 2011 version of ITT!). Despite that all of the feedback I'd heard from my fellow Nigerians was overwhelmingly positive, and as I discovered rightly so.

The show is set at The Shrine, as though we were watching Fela live in concert. As you can see from the video above the casting, music and choreography was impeccable, Sahr Ngaujah's performance is uncanny at times, though his version of Fela was more vulnerable and excitable than the laid back and supremely confident man in the film Music Is The Weapon. Probably because he wasn't actually smoking weed (though the puff puff pass banter with the audience whilst sitting in the National Theatre was an unexpected and delightfully naughty moment).



The central theme the musical kept returning to was Fela's simultaneous desire to stay and fight the government or to give up the fight and leave Nigeria when the going got tough, always tempered by the warrior-like strength of the women surrounding him, who bore much of the brunt of the punishment (his omnipresent mother Funmilayo being thrown from a window to her death, and the numerous unimaginable atrocities inflicted on the wives who lived in his compound by the soldiers who destroyed it).

It was interesting that the story of Sandra Smith, a Black Panther Fela met in LA, was heavily incorporated, at first as a key inspiration for his political awakening, and then as a kind of translator as she dueted on many of the songs. This was the only point of contention for me, as she felt like a hangover from the Broadway version of the show and was one of the few showy, obvious musical theatre elements which seemed like overkill when there were projected subtitles. The other more Western elements that appeared seemingly to spice things up mainly came through the choreography (barrel jumps and occasional jazz hands), and so were less noticeable to the untrained eye, keeping the feeling distinctly African.

There is something particularly exciting about the fact that Fela's story lives on as legend, not just in Nigeria or in Africa, but in the heart of the cultural institutions of countries whose dealings in Africa he so railed against. I wonder if it is a testament to our commitment to freedom of expression, or a confidence born of the knowledge that little can touch the status quo. Either way, the spirit of revolution felt alive and well. It will be interesting to see what will happen if the show does manage to travel to Lagos as is rumoured, a city where popular music and politics have diverged recently, and yet over a million people attended Fela's funeral just 14 years ago.          

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Films: Kieren Hebden + Steve Reid, Radiohead + Fan, and Bjork + Michel Gondry

This could perhaps turn in to my longest blog post ever, not because of what I shall write, I'll keep that brief, but the length of time it might take you to watch all of the footage from the three very special films below - so perhaps go and make a cup of tea first. 



This is a very beautiful and moving mini-documentary about the making of Kieran Hebden (of Fourtet) & Steve Reid's third collaborative album "Tongues" from 2006. Steve sadly passed away last year in April, and this is a lovely snapshot of what an amazing man & musician he was.



Radiohead played a benefit gig for Haiti last January in LA, and one of their stalwart fans made a video of the entire 2 hour set which the band approved, and put it up on Youtube. Both the steely-armed makers of the film and Radiohead would encourage you to donate to Oxfam's Haiti fund here



Last but not least, Bjork is working on a new album set for release this year, and also on a sci-fi musical with Michel Gondry coming out at some point (probably not this year), either of which might be entitled Biophilia, reports are a bit hazy... In the meantime the song above has been adapted from Biophilia for an iPad app which is an electronic book about the solar system.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Video: Olivier Daysoul "In The Now" Artist Profile (Shot by Tone)



This beautiful piece by New York based photographer/ videographer extraordinaire Tone is a prelude to what will be a series called "Live At The Loft", featuring some really exciting international music talent. Filmed in November after one days rehearsal with a band assembled by Ralph Real (the guy going for it on keys), who learned Olivier's Mr Saint Louis EP and added an extra layer of funk to Oddisee's production. The live version will be available to purchase soon, as well as the second part to this video, but in the meantime enjoy.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Video: Jonsi "Sticks and Stones"



Yes, I am an adult, however this completely made my day. This track featured on the How To Train Your Dragon soundtrack last year and Dreamworks eventually got around to making a video for it, entirely appropriate for Jonsi's part-Elf woodland creature vibe.

Via Prefix

Stream: "Rolling In The Deep" Adele (Jamie XX Remix)

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This is a bit of a guilty pleasure - I've played the original of this song so often I'm just glad to hear a different version of it (this is quite fun but can't touch it), and it's one you can dance to at that. I'm really interested to hear what Jamie xx's official remix album of Gil Scott Heron's "I'm New Here" coming out in February will sound like...

Adele - Rolling in the Deep (Jamie XX Remix) by dynmk

Via Urb

K'naan, Properly.



This probably sounds terrible for a blogger, but occasionally I have found the fans an artist attracts slightly off-putting (in this case the 'World Music' crew). No more. I'm currently on a mission to re-discover without prejudice music I let pass me by for no good reason, starting with K'naan, who is dope, waving flags and all.

 

Stream: "One" by Res, Prod. by Dave Schommer, Written by Harry Nilsson

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I can't quite remember how I stumbled across this track the other day called "One" by Res (annoyingly I can't embed it but it's worth a click), and it's really growing on me. She isn't the kind of vocalist who will knock you over with her lung capacity, but she's distinctive and interesting and I really enjoy her work. 

Saturday, 1 January 2011

PMOI Exclusive: Oddisee "A Year In"

Oddisee A Year In

Our good friend, the ridiculously prolific producer & MC from Washington DC Oddisee has put together a video and a collection of some of his favourite work from 2010 as a limited free download to say thank you for all of the (well deserved) support he has received throughout the year. The first 1000 downloads are free so be quick, hit the Bandcamp link below.



I'm always struck by the diversity of his work and the features list here really reflects that - Kidkanevil, Trek Life, Tokimonsta, Asher Roth, Blu, Tranqill, Eric Lau, Homeboy Sandman, Olivier Daysoul, X.O. & yU of Diamond District, Stik Figa, Keziah, Tiron - which is quite impressive for one year (especially considering he produced Trek Life's entire album Everything Changed Nothing, the Mr Saint Louis EP by Olivier Daysoul and Stik Figa's From The Top EP amongst various other projects). Oddisee's long, long awaited debut solo album People Hear What They See is set to drop in May 2011 and from what I've heard so far it will definitely be worth the wait. 

WE LOVE... BEST OF 2010

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Download: We Love - Best of 2010 Pt.1 [Mediafire]
Download: We Love - Best of 2010 Pt. 2 [Mediafire]

As I've mentioned before regarding "best album" lists - I don't know how to go about comparing Andreya Triana with Roc Marciano, Africa Hitech with Lisse, Janelle Monae with Rick Ross, or Toro Y Moi with Ritchy Pitch (I could go on). I listen to their music in different moods and think they're all great in different ways.

So, instead I've pulled together a random selection of 40 free (& legal) tracks I've listened to non-stop this year, many of them from great albums, mixtapes, Soundclouds & Bandcamps, soundtracks etc etc as my own little tribute to some of the amazing music we were blessed with in 2010. You may have seen most of them on various We Love's, but these are some of the tunes I came across and really couldn't get enough of, in alphabetical order.

Thank you for supporting PMOI and the artists we do our best to support.  

Tracklist
To:Love - Ahu
I Do - Andre 3000
Lost Where I Belong - Andreya Triana (Flying Lotus rmx, preview edit)
Free - Bilal
Beat The Devil's Tattoo - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Build and Destroy feat. Coultrain - Black Spade
Unbroken, Unshaven - The Budos Band
I'll Kill Her (feat. ME & LOnan the Destroyer) - Cee Lo
The Seed (Acoustic) - Cody ChesnuTT
Left & Right (Live) - D'Angelo
Cant Get Used To Those - Dimlite
Gone Baby, Don't Be Long - Erykah Badu
Surprise Hotel (Live) - Fools Gold
FANTASTIC/UNTITLED - Georgia Anne Muldrow Remix
Morning - Ghostpoet (feat. Micachu)
To Something - Ghostpoet (feat. Rox)
New York is Killing Me - Gil Scott-Heron ft. Mos Def
freek - Hudson Mohawke
Stylin' Free - Hundred Strong ft. Amp Fiddler
Spottie - Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
Get right!! Or get left!! - ISHE prod. by Hezekiah
Blackmagic - José James
Zambony (rmx) - k-os
The Joy - Kanye West (feat. Pete Rock, Jay-Z, Charlie Wilson, Curtis Mayfield & Kid Cudi)
Floozy - The Knux
In Sleep (Live) - Lissie
Take Care - Marsha Ambrosius
All I Want Is You - Miguel (feat. J. Cole)
Lose My Fuse - Muhsinah
Yèkèrmo Sèw - Mulatu Astatke
The Blooming - Oddisee
Labor - Olivier Daysoul
Tears Of Joy (Feat. Cee-Lo) - Rick Ross
Antiquity - The Roots & Miguel Atwood-Ferguson
Gills or Wings - Sonnymoon
Plane Trails - Tanya Auclair
Talamak (Live) - Toro Y Moi
The Supplier - Tranqill
Stop What You're Doing - Untold (James Blake Remix)
Fight For Me - Wildbirds & Peacedrums

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