Bookmarked How Robyn transformed pop by Laura Snapes (the Guardian)
Next to cartoonish Katy Perry, absurdist Lady Gaga and melodramatic Florence + the Machine, Robyn seemed more like Prince or David Bowie, a pioneer defying gender stereotypes.
This was a fascinating read about Robyn, but also the music industry as a whole. There is also an audio version of this longread:
Bookmarked Chilly Gonzales breaks down the essence of music by Cian Traynor (Huck Magazine)
Wearing a pale blue short-sleeved shirt, dark pants and white trainers, he immediately introduces himself as Jason. It feels like a subtle way of drawing a line between the persona of Chilly Gonzales – a wild-eyed ‘musical genius’ who wears a robe and slippers on stage, like a Bond villain enjoying some downtime – and Jason Beck, a mild-mannered music nerd born in Montreal back in 1972.
Whether it be his version of Daft Punk’s Too Long or contribution to Jamie Lidell’s work, I have always been fascinated with the work of Chilly Gonzales, long before I even knew who Chilly Gonzales was. This article from Cian Traynor provides an insight into the thoughts and actions behind the man. If you have not experienced the ‘genius’ before, I highlight recommend his masterclasses:

via Austin Kleon

Marginalia

Maybe changing attention spans are leading to new ways of listening but there are always going to be interesting artists who are able to see opportunities within that.

I sort of feel like, ‘Well, 10 million autotune fans can’t be wrong. Let me see if I can understand what’s happening here, what the aesthetics are.’ And if I spend enough time on it, I generally find some musical value
The fundamentals of musical storytelling are always going to be there: tension and release, fantasy and reality, sparseness versus denseness. These are the things that music has always been about, whichever culture or era you’re in. They’re still there. Everything gets flattened or compressed more, but that was already happening from the romantic era to the impressionist era

If you can steal without getting caught, then you’ve pulled off the perfect crime – which is what an artist is supposed to do. You’re not meant to come up with new things as an artist; no artist would say that’s what they do. It’s all about taking your influences and hopefully filtering them through a personal viewpoint

I’m all about letting the listener decide who fucked up and who was able to steal with finesse, you know? I mean maybe it’s different if you’re a struggling musician working your crappy day-job and you feel like some giant artist is profiting off something you did; I can imagine there’s a lot of emotional frustration there

Replied to The Spell of a Vanishing Loveliness — Cornelius by Duncan Stephen (Duncan Stephen)
New Cornelius albums are few and far between. In fact, he has released just four albums in the past 21 years. But when one comes, it is always one of the highlights of the year. He is one of the most distinctive and innovative artists going. I have just listened to his latest album, Mellow Waves. This song isn't the most sonically interesting on the album -- but it is probably the best. It's the only song on the album to feature mainly English lyrics, written and sung by Miki Berenyi, who was the singer in Lush.
I loved Point, but I struggled to really get into this album. You have encouraged me to give it a second go. I did enjoy the NPR Tiny Desk concert though.
Liked The Secret History of Outkast's 'Speakerboxxx/The Love Below:' the Last Truly Great Double Album (Okayplayer)
On its 15th anniversary, we break down the creation of Outkast's 'Speakerboxxx/The Love Below': one of the greatest albums of the 21st century.
via Kottke
Replied to Bears, Beats and Better Buildings 🐻🎸🏠  - Issue 99 - Dialogic Learning Weekly (mailchi.mp)
This little gem of an article popped up when I was exploring some music learning spaces research. 15 of the world’s most legendary recording studios. The post outlines a range of iconic recording studios across the globe and their contribution to music culture and history. I am always fascinated by creative spaces and in particular the music making process. The mobile recording studio started by the Rolling Stones was used for the live recording of Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry” - fantastic!
Tom, I really liked the post you linked to about the recording studios. One of the most interesting stories i have read about recording studios involved Rick Ruben recreating the conditions for Johnny Cash to flourish. What stood out was that everyone requires something different. Probably not much of a surprise, just hard sometimes with multiple ‘artists’ in the same space.
Bookmarked Your DNA Is Not Your Culture by Sarah Zhang (The Atlantic)
A Spotify playlist tailored to your DNA is the latest example of brands cashing in on people’s search for identity.
Sarah Zhang discusses Spotify’s move to team up with AncestryDNA to provide richer results. To me, the strength of Spotify is big data, whether it be in choice or collections. Through the use of algorithms this data can uncover some interesting and sometimes trivial patterns, but the move to inject ancestory into the mix surely is stretching it too far?

Marginalia

If this were simply about wearing kilts or liking Ed Sheeran, these ads could be dismissed as, well, ads. They’re just trying to sell stuff, shrug. But marketing campaigns for genetic-ancestry tests also tap into the idea that DNA is deterministic, that genetic differences are meaningful. They trade in the prestige of genomic science, making DNA out to be far more important in our cultural identities than it is, in order to sell more stuff.

DNA-testing companies are careful not to use racial categories in their tests, instead reporting breakdowns of specific regions around the world. And they say that their tests are meant to bring people together by highlighting shared ancestry and challenging the idea that people are “pure.” I don’t doubt that DNA tests have sparked meaningful explorations of family history for some people and filled in the blanks for others whose histories were lost to slavery and colonialism. I do doubt that a DNA test will solve racism.

It’s a nice message. But it elides history. Mixed ancestry does not necessarily mean a harmonious coexistence, past or future. African Americans have, on average, 24 percent European ancestry. To take a genetic-ancestry test is to confront a legacy of rape and slavery—perhaps to even recognize one’s own existence as the direct result of it. There is a way to use genetics and genealogy to uncover injustices and properly account for them. The 23andMe-sponsored podcast Spit, for instance, has featured some nuanced conversations about race. But it’s not through feel-good ads that paper over the past.


via Audrey Watters

Listened Alan Moulder from en.wikipedia.org
Moulder's musical career started in the early 1980s, at Trident Studios in London. As an assistant engineer, he worked with influential producers like Jean Michel Jarre, drawing from them great familiarity with electronic sounds and textures. Also an engineer at Trident was Flood with whom Moulder would often collaborate in the future. Moulder assisted in one of Flood's recording sessions with The Jesus and Mary Chain, and found that the often fractious and troublesome band enjoyed working with him. The Mary Chain invited Moulder to engineer their live sounds and, eventually, to engineer their 1989 album Automatic. The album's production was praised for its combination of thick, noisy guitar with a polished, listener-friendly tone, and the Mary Chain's former label, Creation Records, soon had Moulder producing records for Ride, My Bloody Valentine and Swervedriver.
I recently listened to Suede’s new album. One of the things that stood out to me was the richness in some of the tracks, something that reminded me of The Cure. I then discovered the album had been produced by Alan Moulder. This lead me to a look at the other artists Moulder had produced. I knew of his work with Nine Inch Nails, but I did not realise that he was behind other artists, such as The Smashing Pumpkins and The Killers. It has me wanting to do a deep dive into the songs that he has had a hand in. I am always fascinated by the differences and similarities between artists and producers.
Listened DARREN MIDDLETON: THE ‘TIDES’ INTERVIEW from australianmusician.com.au
For Tides, Middleton teamed up with with Davey Lane (You Am I) as co-production buddy and brought in Steve Schram to mix. The album also includes some quality Australian performers such as Vika and Linda Bull and Kelly Lane on backing vocals, with Graeme Pogson (The Bamboos), Luke Hodgson (Meg Mac), Xani Kolac and Louis Macklin (JET) handling the rhythm of the album.
I remember Darren Middleton taking the vocals for a Powderfinger gig after Bernard Fanning lost his voice. It is interesting to see him take this a step further and find his own identity away from Powderfinger. Ironically, with so many guests it almost comes across like a super group.


Place in-between Josh Pyke and Bob Evans

Listened 'NO ONE DEFEATS US' THE ALBUM IS OUT NOW - DREAMS from DREAMS
The long awaited collaboration between two iconic Australian artists Daniel Johns (aka Dr Dreams) and Luke Steele (akaMiracle) has arrived.
No One Defeats Us is hard to place. I have spent a week listening to it and am drawn in, but lost for words to explain it. In part by the expectations of past outputs, with both having made their names in rock bands. Part dance, part electronica, part pop, it is an album that references the past, but still feels centred now. Whereas Johns’ last album Talk was consistent throughout, that has gone with this album. Where both are similar is the effort to (re)make identity.

I feel that No One Defeats Us is one of those albums that has something for everyone, but can be a challenge in its entirety.


Place between Twin Shadow and The Presets