A round up of this week's music news.
AC/DC BACK IN THE STUDIO?
Rock titans AC/DC are rumoured to be back in the studio, having seemingly repaired relations with singer Brian Johnson, who was forced to quit the band ahead of their Rock Or Bust world tour with hearing problems, and apparently bringing drummer Phil Rudd back in after his recent legal troubles.
Both Johnson and Rudd were spotted outside the group’s Warehouse Studios in Vancouver, Canada this week, and according to local sources, the rest of the band are in tow. Watch this space…
Are we getting a new album from Aphex Twin?
It was exciting enough when Aphex Twin returned with a new album after more than a decade, and now it seems he's back yet again - though we don't yet know in what capacity. All we do know is that images featuring his logo have popped up at a London tube station.
Aphex Twin performing at Field Day
The 47-year-old Irish-Cornish electronic artist dropped 'Syro' in 2014 - his first album in 13 years - and now fans are wondering if we can expect another new record and a bunch of London live shows as his trademark image has been spotted on the tiled walls of Elephant and Castle underground station in London, affecting a kind of optical illusion.
Continue reading: What Can This Mean? Aphex Twin Logo Appears On The London Underground
Field Day is a yearly London festival, which is on its 10th year now. The festival specialises in electronic music, hip-hop, pop, indie and some other things here and there. This year the festival has some of the best artists from yesteryear, some of the best artists of recent years and some newbies who have all the potential to be greats. Naturally today was a great time.
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith kicks off today with ethereal, otherworldly synth music. These songs are hypnotic and coma inducing with mystical textures. When Smith brings her own vocals into play, they sound tribal, making it feel even more like we're in a fantasy forest.
Watching Abra feels like watching a star in the making. Despite only being second on the bill on one of today's smaller stages, there's a ton of people filling this tent up, dancing and singing along to her lush, bare and honest alternative R&B. Abra herself has shining stage presence, pulling funky moves and having a blast to her jams just like anyone else.
Continue reading: Field Day 2017 - Festival Review
Primavera Sound Festival returns to engulf Barcelona's cultural landscape with music from around the world.
Now on its seventeenth edition, the festival has expanded to become one of the most celebrated and renowned festivals in the world, as well as becoming a hub for the industry to explore ideas and concepts regarding music on a global stage. Contactmusic are back at Primavera Sound for another edition and we can't wait to explore one of the world’s most diverse festivals once more. With an overwhelming array of acts and genres to explore here are ten of our most anticipated artists that we can't wait to see alongside the sunny shores of Barcelona.
In no particular order -
Continue reading: The Ten Most Anticipated Performances Of Primavera Sound Festival 2017
Will anyone ever forget the year 2016?
2016 has been a strange year. Starting off with the death of David Bowie (pictured below) and ending with nobody in the world quite sure what is going it has been a constant journey of ups and downs.
David Bowie seen in the moving video for Lazarus
But still, there has been some excellent music videos created to match this state of confusion; from Bowie to Anohni, there has always been a constant source of inspiration available in the ever-changing climate. Here we do a recap of our favourite videos of the year, good luck 2017 in trying to match some of these...
Continue reading: Top 10 Music Videos Of 2016
The 12 Mercury Music 'Albums of the Year' were announced on Friday morning.
The Mercury Music Prize nominations for 2015 have been announced, and it’s a list with quite a few surprising omissions and inclusions.
The twelve artists fortunate enough to make the select list were announced over the course of Lauren Laverne’s BBC 6Music Radio show on Friday (October 16th), with Florence + The Machine and Wolf Alice being the biggest names among the dozen.
Florence’s third album How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, which reached Number 1 on both sides of the Atlantic earlier this year, is her second nomination after her debut Lungs in 2009, which was beaten by Speech Debelle. Wolf Alice’s first album My Love Is Cool came out in the same month and made Number 2 in the UK, winning rave reviews in the process.
Continue reading: Mercury Music Prize 2015 Nominations - Who's On The List?
The Libera Awards highlight the indie music scene, and two British artists are leading the way this year.
The nominations for the fourth annual Libera Awards have been announced, and two British artists are among the leading contenders. FKA Twigs and Aphex Twin have been given four and three nominations respectively.
Critically acclaimed singer FKA twigs, real name Tahliah Debrett Barnett and currently engaged to actor Robert Pattinson, is nominated for four awards, including both Album of the Year categories for her debut record LP1, Best Sync Usage in an advert or film, and Video of the Year for ‘Two Weeks’.
FKA twigs is up for four 'LIBBY' Awards this June
Continue reading: FKA Twigs And Aphex Twin Lead Libera Awards Nominations
Aphex Twin and (Ambient Works 85–92) - I am both, a musician called Lone Taxidermist and a make up artist, so Record store Day seemed like a good way of merging both of my passions. One of the reasons why I love vinyl is because of its true long playing physical format. I decided to listen to each album in full from start to end over and over again until the face was complete. Every time the album finished I would have a glass of wine! But I was getting too drunk especially after Human League!" - London, United Kingdom - Friday 24th April 2015
Jim Pusey's Top Albums of 2014
I'm still unsure what this decade will be seen as in years to come with regard to music, 2014 despite offering up some seriously great records has done little to cement a trend that will define the musical landscape in the public consciousness. Yes, artists continued to experiment with how to release their material, but there doesn't seem to be an alternative model that has been entirely successful. Thom Yorke's second solo album Life's Modern Boxes employed an innovative BitTorrent release three months ago, but for the most part failed to make a real impact. It's an ok record, nothing more, but suffers mainly because it doesn't feel like it's pushing the sonic envelope in the same way as the Atoms For Peace record did. Meanwhile U2 decided to drop an album out of nowhere to everybody with an Apple account. Self-aggrandising or an altruistic gesture to fans? Whatever your view the column inches it generated won't have hurt the band, even if Songs Of Innocence wasn't quite the re-invention that many were hoping for. To my ear it's a record with some redeeming qualities and some good song writing, but the handful of tracks that may be a welcome addition to the quartets body of work are outnumbered by filler.
Elsewhere it's been a strong year for Pop, Lily Allen and Katy B continued to produce interesting albums. However Taylor Swift's 1989 was a particular highlight, although in the same way as recent offerings from TV On The Radio (Seeds) and The Smashing Pumpkins (Monuments To An Elegy), I haven't lived with those records long enough for them to make my top ten of the year. I'd also have liked to have seen mainstream Hip Hop recover from a lull in 2013, but aside from Run The Jewels second record (Run The Jewels 2) and The Roots concept album (.And Then They Shoot Your Cousin), nothing really jumped out at me.
Continue reading: Jim Pusey's Top Albums Of 2014
10) Illum Sphere - Ghosts of Then & Now
Former occasional turntablist for those funky divas Radiohead, Ryan Hunn created a record that blended jazz, drum & bass, hip-hop and soul amongst many others, channelling his famous live sets into an always fascinating whole.
9) Downliners Sekt - Silent Ascent
Fabrizio Rizzin and Pere Solé echoed everyone and no-one on this, their third album. Others made comparisons to Autechre, Burial and Booka Shade, but the reality was the duo were obsessively working their own deeply underground but still magical groove.
8) Objekt - Flatland
I'm not even sure we know definitively what "Dark Techno" is, but this second album for TJ Hertz under the Objekt banner proved to be far less dystopian than some anticipated. Flatland in truth was just as indebted to Detroit as Berlin, but it's sleek, clear lines were a lesson in intelligent design.
Continue reading: Andy Peterson's Picks Of The Year 2014
If you're even remotely into electronic music, then you are more than likely to know who Aphex Twin is. After becoming a key pioneer in the genre during the 90s, Aphex Twin went quiet for over a decade following the release of 2001's 'Drukqs', releasing next to nothing and playing only a handful of shows. But as of late, Richard D. James has returned to his famous moniker with a new album entitled 'Syro', and it's made many an electronic music fan excited to see the master back. So does it live up to expectations?
'Syro' gets off to a very promising start with 'minipops 67 [120.2] (source field mix)' which feels like a throwback to Aphex Twin's first album 'Selected Ambient Works 85-92', but at the same time, it feels fresh with a minimal beat that flicks back and forth playfully, and plenty of subtle changes in direction to keep things interesting. There's even vocals on this song, which feels like a rare treat, modulated by a vocoder and becoming more organic towards the end.
We then go into 'XMAS_EVET10  (thanaton3 mix)', beginning with warm extended synth tones before malfunctioning into erratic discord. The rest of this ten minute opus continues this combination of long dreamy notes and contrasting jerky rhythms. Roughly three quarters of the way through the song, things brighten up with technicolour notes and a sample of a child speaking, but the effect is soon cancelled out as it ends with a series of distorted blasts. It seems Aphex Twin still knows how to keep things unpredictable.
Continue reading: Aphex Twin - Syro Album Review