Music

4everevolution

Issue section: 
Author: 

Roots Manuva

It has been over three years since Slime and Reason, the album that placed Rodney Smith (Roots Manuva) at the forefront of British hip hop. His new album, the imaginatively titled 4everevolution, does not disappoint. At first glance an album with 17 tracks can seem quite hard going. It is testimony to the diversity and range of his music that 17 tracks later and nearly an hour in I was still listening with bated breath.

Brother Ali tour

Issue section: 
Author: 

Brother Ali opens his most famous tune, Uncle Sam Goddamn, with an invitation into his USA: "Welcome to the United Snakes/Land of the thief, home of the slave".

In this song Ali relentlessly lays bare the contradictions of the American dream by turning it into a nightmare, guiding the audience through the hypocritical self-representation of the world's "imperial guard".

Ali, who will be performing in London this month, is part of a new generation of political hip hop artists. Miles away from the bling of the mainstream, he stands in the poetic tradition of Talib Kweli or Mos Def, with the hard hitting politics and personal accounts of Immortal Technique or Vinnie Paz.

Let England Shake

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

PJ Harvey

Last month PJ Harvey won the Mercury Prize for her latest album, Let England Shake. She was the first woman to win the prize back in 2001, is the first artist to win it twice and has won it with an album that is determinedly anti-war.

Taking Iraq and Afghanistan as her starting point, this a departure from the deeply personal explorations of her albums to date. Harvey has said she wanted to write this album for years but has waited until she had the writing skills to do it.

Freedom for Palestine

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Activist and musician Dave Randall discusses his latest project supporting Palestine

The irony was probably lost in the Orwellian world inhabited by the BBC's directors. When a young rapper Mic Righteous delivered the line "I can say free Palestine" on the 1Xtra hip hop show M1X, the BBC censor proved him wrong. As if it were an expletive, "Palestine" was removed from the broadcast version and replaced with the sound of a bomb blast. The BBC has offered no credible explanation for this shameful act.

1810: The Year of Chopin and Schumann

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Music is the most abstract of the arts yet it tells us truths about the world through its impact on our emotional life.

The human experience which the composers convey is not simply the product of past musical influences but is shaped by the historical context. This is borne out by the strange coincidence that Frédéric Chopin and Robert Schumann, the two greatest composers of romantic piano music, were born in the same year.

Genuine Negro Jig

Issue section: 
Issue: 

The Carolina Chocolate Drops; Out now

This new album by the three-piece string band The Carolina Chocolate Drops is perhaps their best recorded work. It really takes full advantage of their vocal talent - especially opera-trained Rhiannon Giddens - and covers a much wider selection of genres than their previous releases.

I'm New Here

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Album by Gil Scott-Heron; Out now

It's good to hear Gil Scott-Heron's deep voice - the voice of a poet mapping an emotional world - singing with more confidence than he has for a long while. After two decades struggling against drug and alcohol abuse he has made an album that those of us who remember him well will be happy with.

Floodplain

Issue section: 
Issue: 

Kronos Quartet

The Kronos Quartet is probably one of the most prolific string quartets around. Over the past 30 years it has released more than 40 recordings and performed live countless times (it spends at least five months touring every year). But what's most impressive with the quartet is its thirst to commission original works (more than 600 of them) and the number of artists it works with.

Grey Britain, The Gallows; Music for the People, The Enemy

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

The Specials, The Jam and The Clash articulated the anger and pain felt by millions of young people during the early years of the Thatcher era. Today a new generation of young people are being thrown on the unemployment scrapheap - over 616,000 people aged between 16 and 25 have found themselves without work.

Two new albums, Grey Britain by The Gallows and Music for the People by The Enemy, are hymns for a new generation staring into the void created by the recession.

The Gallows are from Watford and The Enemy are from Coventry, both places, in their own ways, urban ghost towns - places where the dreams of the young, brought up on mass consumerism and materialism, are going to be destroyed.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Music