Archive of posts in category “music”

  • Pete Paphides on the surreal spectacle that is Mike Read’s Heritage Chart Show:

    “A couple of weeks ago, the UK’s only chart-based music show celebrated its hundredth episode, and yet, there’s every chance you’ve never heard of it. That’s because, in order to watch it live, you’d have to be seated in front of your TV at 3am on Monday morning. Furthermore, you won’t find it on a music channel. It’s not on any of our terrestrial stations. Mike Read’s Heritage Chart Show is, in some ways, an aberration on the schedule of vintage movie channel Talking Pictures. In another sense though, it’s a perfect fit among Talking Pictures’ carefully curated menu of Ealing comedies, monochrome sagas of wartime derring-do, old episodes of 70s daytime staple Crown Court and, on one memorable occasion, a 1954 documentary about the Shippams Fish Paste factory.”


  • I mean, it’s been all over everywhere, so I’m unlikely to be the first to recommend it to you all, but if you haven’t seen Paul McCartney’s masterful three-hour Glastonbury set, you absolutely must. It’s impossible to even pick out highlights. (Okay, I’ll try: the super-tight band, Abe Laboriel Jr.’s drumming, the Foxy Lady solo at the end of Let Me Roll It, Dave Grohl, Bruce Springsteen, holographic John Lennon, that run of Let It Be, Live and Let Die and Hey Jude before the encore…) It’s a master at work, looking nothing like his eighty years. #

  • Glastonbury has been great, but one of the highlights has definitely been the defiant Skin from Skunk Anansie, in a lime-green suit with “CLIT ROCK” on the back and a rubber headcap adorned with ten metre-long inflatable spikes, belting out “Yes it’s F**king Political”. #

  • One churned up by the YouTube algorithms: a soothing and illuminating film of the wonderful and eloquent Mark Knopfler just talking about guitars. Few things can beat a master of their craft, who happens to be a lovely person, being given time to talk. #

  • I’d never encountered a Hang before; it’s a musical instrument, two steel pans fused together that produces sound through Helmholtz resonance when tapped. (Helmholtz resonance is the same type of sound produced by blowing over the top of a glass bottle.) The sounds it produces are amazing: percussive but also melodic, impactful but also resonant and lingering.

    This mesmerising duet between Hang players Danny Cudd and Markus Johansson – AKA the Hang Massive – is a great example of what it can do. #

  • A beautiful song, surfaced to me by the algorithmic vagaries of Spotify: a collaboration between Malian singer Mamani Keïta, Ethiopian band Arat Kilo, and US producer/MC Mike Ladd.

    In its “non-African musicians collaborating with African musicians” capacity it reminded me of when, a couple of years ago, Damon Albarn’s Africa Express project recorded in South Africa. The whole album is great, but the standout for me is this haunting Xhosa-Welsh duet between Zolani Mahola and the Super Furry Animals’ Gruff Rhys: Absolutely Everything is Pointing Towards the Light. #

  • Gasper Nali is a Malawian musician who plays infectious, danceable music using nothing more than a cow-skin kick-drum, a home-made bass guitar that he plays with a beer bottle, and his voice.

    “The instrument he’s playing is called a ‘Babatoni’, it’s a home made bass guitar, about 3 metres long, with one string and a cow skin drum as a resonating box.”

    In response to some internet interest in his music back in 2015, Spare Dog Records provided some studio time for him to record a single. He’s since released two albums; the second is raw, unfiltered, and represents him and the Babatoni at their best, I think. #

  • Matt Webb has really been knocking it out of the park lately. His latest is on adaptive long music, with video game music as inspiration:

    Although this gives the impression of a formless improvisational process, because of the way the music reacts in real-time to the player’s actions, the underlying structure had to be meticulously planned. If a dramatic sequence suddenly kicks off, the soundtrack switches to something with greater intensity, while a more foreboding sound is required during moments of suspense.

    I wonder, when I listen to these soundscapes, whether it would be possible to make an album that is intended to be listened to over a full 24 hours, as a kind of live soundtrack to your life?