“Bibio is the folk-meets-electronica project of self-taught producer/multi-instrumentalist Stephen Wilkinson, from England’s Black Country (aka the West Midlands). As a student of sonic arts at London’s Middlesex University, Wilkinson was first inspired by ’90s electronic acts such as Aphex Twin, Autechre, and especially Boards of Canada, but became equally intrigued by mid-20th century British folk. He combined these sounds in his own music, along with found sounds and field recordings, for a unique mix of organic and synthetic atmospheres. Boards of Canada’s Marcus Eoin handed Wilkinson’s demos to Mush Records, which released Bibio’s debut album, Fi, in 2004, and its more song-based follow-up, Hand Cranked, two years later. Wilkinson also released the limited-edition Sheila Sets Sail/Tribio on the Artist’s Valley imprint, part of a collective Wilkinson has with producers Andy Harber and Richard Roberts. The Ovals and Emeralds EP, which featured organ instead of Bibio’s usual acoustic guitars, arrived in 2008; Vignetting the Compost followed in 2009. That summer, Bibio moved to Warp for the eclectic Ambivalence Avenue, followed several months later by the release of a remix-heavy album, The Apple and the Tooth. For 2011’s Mind Bokeh — named after the term for the blurry area in a photograph — Wilkinson moved further away from folktronica and deeper into the meticulously sampled, electro/hip-hop direction he began on Ambivalence Avenue.”
“Don Hertzfeldt (born August 1, 1976) is the creator of many short animated films, including the Academy-Award nominated Rejected and Everything Will Be OK. His animated films have received over 150 awards and have been presented around the world. Before the age of thirty, his films were already the subject of several career retrospectives. He was the youngest director named in the “They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They” list of “The 100 Important Animation Directors” of all time, and in 2010 he received the San Francisco International Film Festival’s “Persistence of Vision” Lifetime Achievement Award at the age of 33.
The popularity of Hertzfeldt’s work is unprecedented in independent animation and his films are frequently quoted and referenced in pop culture. In 2009, the Sundance Film Festival noted, “If cinephiles think shorts don’t generate the same sort of hype and fanbase as feature films, they obviously haven’t heard of Don Hertzfeldt.”
Hertzfeldt has recently begun a multiple-city theatrical tour in support of his latest short film, the 23 minute It’s Such a Beautiful Day, the third and final chapter to his 2006 film Everything Will Be OK. In 2008 and 2009, Hertzfeldt went on a similar 22-city theatrical tour in support of the second chapter in the series, I am so proud of you. “An Evening with Don Hertzfeldt” presented a retrospective of his animated films followed by the regional premiere(s) of the new film and an onstage interview and audience chat with him.
Hertzfeldt lives in Austin, Texas. He spent many years in Santa Barbara, California after attending college there. He keeps a blog on his website that has been continually updated and archived since 1999.”
“The recent hype surrounding German labels like Shitkatapult and BPitch Control has failed to implicate these labels? English brother, AI Records, an imprint that has achieved a similar, and consistently exciting blend of vintage electro, house, and IDM as of late. New Town is the first AI dual-format compilation, and all-exclusive, it serves as the perfect introduction to a label whose reputation is clearly not due to the relative obscurity of its earlier releases. The comp provides an archly fluid listen; it’s an impeccably picked and paced journey through the AI roster. I was so involved during first listen that I had to scan some of the gaps later to check if the disc was a continuous mix. (It is not.) The music travels from the balls-out, trance-induced techno of Andy Freer who opens the disc, to ADJ’s gritty atmospherics, to SWF’s aggravated ghetto tech and back in the span of only a few minutes. The sounds of Detroit and vintage Warp mingle most beautifully in tracks by label posterboy Claro Intelecto. Intelecto appears twice in New Town, first with the eerie, Drexciyan electro of “Delete,” a song grounded by a single, oscillated, and positively electric synth note, and next with the light, syncopated rhythms of “Breathless,” which threatens to drift into sweet oblivion if not for groaning bass underneath it all. Other tracks like Fold’s “Donna Hectic” integrate unlikely machine drones into low-level, foot-stomping electro that remains thoroughly accessible; T.R.I.P.’s “Donald Plays Techno” sees cold atmospheric strains butting in on a not-so-subtle disco groove. The common thread, though, is always the songs’ emotional resonance, which suffers no shortage on New Town. While other electronic labels may rely heavily on conceptual oddities or alien sound sources to make their records go, AI seems to have its heart planted firmly on its sleeve. Whether or not this is due to the (somewhat) overstated influence of certain Warp artists may be open to discussion, but this cannot detract from the simple irresistibility of everything included here. New Town could be the best, most soulful electronic compilation I’ve heard all year.”
“Coming to America casts comedian Eddie Murphy as pampered African prince Akeem, who rebels against an arranged marriage and heads to America to find a new bride. Murphy’s regal father (James Earl Jones) agrees to allow the prince 40 days to roam the U.S., sending the prince’s faithful retainer Semmi (Arsenio Hall) along to make sure nothing untoward happens. To avoid fortune hunters, Prince Akeem conceals his true identity and gets a “Joe job” at a fast-food restaurant. Murphy and Hall play multiple roles, and there are innumerable celebrity cameos peppered throughout the proceedings — including the Duke Brothers (Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy) from Trading Places. Coming to America made further headlines when humorist Art Buchwald sued the film’s producers for plagiarizing one of his works. Buchwald carried the case to trial, where he won a sizeable judgement against the film’s producers.”
“The trailblazing force behind the emergence of the Japanese techno-pop sound of the late ’70s, Yellow Magic Orchestra remains a seminal influence on contemporary electronic music — hugely popular both at home and abroad, their pioneering use of synthesizers, sequencers and drum machines places them second only to Kraftwerk as innovators of today’s electronic culture. YMO was formed in Tokyo in 1978 by keyboardist Ryuichi Sakamoto, who at the time was working on his debut solo LP; among his collaborators was drummer Yukihiro Takahashi, himself also a solo performer as well as a member of the art rock group the Sadistic Mika Band. The third member, bassist Haruomi Hosono, boasted an even more impressive discography, including four solo records as well as a number of production credits.
Agreeing to join forces as Yellow Magic Orchestra, the trio soon debuted with a self-titled LP influenced largely by the robotic iconography of Germany’s Kraftwerk; 1979’s Solid State Survivor heralded a quantum leap in their sound, with stronger songs and a more focused use of electronic tools, complete with English lyrics by Chris Mosdell. While 1980’s Xoo Multiplies was at best a mixed bag including comedy skits and two different covers of the Archie Bell & the Drells classic “Tighten Up,” Public Pressure captured YMO performing live. Their two 1981 releases, BGM and Technodelic, both delved deeper into synth pop, exploring new stylistic territory anticipating the individual musicians’ subsequent solo projects. Service, from 1983, again offered skits, this time courtesy of the theatrical troupe S.E.T.
Following the ambitious Naughty Boys and another live record, After Service, Yellow Magic Orchestra disbanded at the peak of their popularity, with its members wishing to revive their respective solo careers. Sakamoto enjoyed the highest visibility of the YMO alumni — a noted film composer, he gained his greatest exposure co-writing the Academy Award-winning score to the 1987 film The Last Emperor. Hosono also pursued film music as well as ambient projects, while Takahashi enjoyed an eclectic and experimental return to his rock roots. By the 1990s, YMO was cited regularly as a pioneer of ambient house music, resulting in the release of the remix album Hi-Tech/No Crime. The original trio then reunited in 1993, recording the LP Technodon before again going their separate ways.”
“Without question the most intelligent, artistic rap group during the 1990s, A Tribe Called Quest jump-started and perfected the hip-hop alternative to hardcore and gangsta rap. In essence, they abandoned the macho posturing rap music had been constructed upon, and focused instead on abstract philosophy and message tracks. The “sucka MC” theme had never been completely ignored in hip-hop, but Tribe confronted numerous black issues — date rape, use of the word nigger, the trials and tribulations of the rap industry — all of which overpowered the occasional game of the dozens. Just as powerful musically, Quest built upon De La Soul’s jazz-rap revolution, basing tracks around laid-back samples instead of the played-out James Brown-fests which many rappers had made a cottage industry by the late ’80s. Comprised of Q-Tip, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, and Phife, A Tribe Called Quest debuted in 1989 and released their debut album one year later. Second album The Low End Theory was, quite simply, the most consistent and flowing hip-hop album ever recorded, though the trio moved closer to their harder contemporaries on 1993’s Midnight Marauders. A spot on the 1994 Lollapalooza Tour showed their influence with the alternative crowd — always a bedrock of A Tribe Called Quest’s support — but the group kept it real on 1996’s Beats, Rhymes and Life, a dedication to the streets and the hip-hop underground.”
“Son House’s place, not only in the history of Delta blues, but in the overall history of the music, is a very high one indeed. He was a major innovator of the Delta style, along with his playing partners Charley Patton and Willie Brown. Few listening experiences in the blues are as intense as hearing one of Son House’s original 1930s recordings for the Paramount label. Entombed in a hailstorm of surface noise and scratches, one can still be awestruck by the emotional fervor House puts into his singing and slide playing. Little wonder then that the man became more than just an influence on some white English kid with a big amp; he was the main source of inspiration to both Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson, and it doesn’t get much more pivotal than that. Even after his rediscovery in the mid-’60s, House was such a potent musical force that what would have been a normally genteel performance by any other bluesmen in a “folk” setting turned into a night in the nastiest juke joint you could imagine, scaring the daylights out of young white enthusiasts expecting something far more prosaic and comfortable. Not out of Son House, no sir. When the man hit the downbeat on his National steel-bodied guitar and you saw his eyes disappear into the back of his head, you knew you were going to hear some blues. And when he wasn’t shouting the blues, he was singing spirituals, a cappella. Right up to the end, no bluesman was torn between the sacred and the profane more than Son House.”
“Teenaged Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) is a legend in his own time thanks to his uncanny skill at cutting classes and getting away with it. Intending to make one last grand duck-out before graduation, Ferris calls in sick, “borrows” a Ferrari, and embarks on a one-day bacchanal through the streets of Chicago. Dogging Ferris’ trail at every turn is high-school principal Rooney (Jeffrey Jones), determined to catch Bueller in the act of class-cutting. Writer/director John Hughes once again tries to wed satire, slapstick, and social commentary, as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off starts like a house afire and goes on to make “serious” points about status-seeking and casual parental cruelties. It brightens up considerably in the last few moments, when Ferris’ tattletale sister (Jennifer Grey) decides to align herself with her merry prankster sibling. A huge moneymaker, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off eventually spawned a TV sitcom.”
“The Dekmantel Collective is made up of a group like minded friends who all share the same love for quality music. Founded in 2007, the initial target was to present different music in the capital city’s night-life, which was - at the time - dominated by too much of the same. While the first parties took place at various small venues, Dekmantel’s popularity soon grew and currently regular nights are held in Amsterdam hot-spots such as Paradiso, Studio 80 and Trouw.
The year 2009 marked the beginning of the Dekmantel record label and booking agency. Both saw a very promising start as a selection of Holland’s finest artists immediately joined the agency roster and the first releases received praise from every corner of the world.
Having introduced many upcoming artists as having featured many favourite legends and pioneers too, Dekmantel has become a household name in the Dutch music scene specialised in presenting the best of the old and the new nicely fit together.”
“A cult singer, 12-string guitarist, and banjo player of the New York 1960s folk revival, Karen Dalton still remains known to very few, despite counting the likes of Bob Dylan and Fred Neil among her acquaintances. This was partly because she seldom recorded, only making one album in the 1960s — and that didn’t come out until 1969, although she had been known on the Greenwich Village circuit since the beginning of the decade. It was also partly because, unlike other folksingers of the era, she was an interpreter who did not record original material. And it was also because her voice — often compared to Billie Holiday, but with a rural twang — was too strange and inaccessible to pop audiences. Nik Venet, producer of her debut album, went as far as to remark in Goldmine, “She was very much like Billie Holiday. Let me say this, she wasn’t Billie Holiday but she had that phrasing Holiday had and she was a remarkable one-of-a-kind type of thing…. Unfortunately, it’s an acquired taste, you really have to look for the music.”“