Spotify drama, Earl Sweatshirt, Bonobo, Rokurokubi, Joe Hisaishi, RIP Lata Mangeshkar & Elza Soares and more articles around the net.
Hurray, it’s the first Mondo Times newsletter into 2022 and have you actually read about the discussion revolving around Spotify last month, and the boycott movement?
The discourse was immediately hijacked and turned into some kind of partisan bullshit about left/right & cancel culture thanks to the Joe Rogan and Neil Young drama, yet, it was never the main issue here!
The main issue is and always will be how Spotify/Youtube Music and any other streaming platform is some form of legal piracy. Artists know that millions of streams amount to buying a coffee and Steve Albini has chimed in by dissecting the major label legalese. What’s funny is that this Salon article by Courtney Love from 20 years ago is still valid, to see how majors have been exploiting artists, like FOREVER.
Finally, we hate this algo bullshit anyway (both in music and social media feeds).
This “selected for you” and official mix editorials tend to narrow people’s tastes + and they are a scam where labels pay to get listed.
This algo business has ruined people’s attention spans and information feeds, and now it’s ruining your already questionable music tastes, anon. Don’t give in to algos!
Been listening to Earl’s last album Sick lately because Armand Hammer has me on their payroll. They are the best in hip-hop biz these days.
I’ve never been a fan of mainstage electronic music, so I don’t think I’m the first person to notice Bonobo’s hit jackpot with his new album “Fragments” on Ninja Tune. It has the right amount of ecstasy inducing chords, interesting arrangements, pop appeal and main stage energy (think Four Tet, Bicep etc.) through the album. This tune by Jordan Rakei is the crowning jewel of the flawless first half and it might be this years first mainstream electronic music hit. Kudos!
The album that caught me unawares this week was Rokurokubi’s Iris, Flower of Violence on UK’s Time Spun Records. Psychedelic 70’s UK fairy-folk album with enough weirdness to put The Tiger Lillies to shame.
I checked out what Rokurokubi means, and it is this yokai (folk faery) down below, FITTING!
I was already on a Ghibli tip lately and losing my mind over the soundtrack of Isao Takahata’s final movie Kaguya, by none other than Joe Hisaishi of course - so I’ll just shut up about Hisaishi but let me just put this here, if you haven’t watched Kaguya, do yourself a favour and stream on Netflix, the part where this music enters, is indeed heavenly (around the end at 2 hour mark) !
I’ve chimed on the best stuff this side of 2022 somewhere on twitter but can’t find it now. Nothing particularly standing out yet but I’ve briefly skimmed the new albums by Black Country, New Road, Animal Collective, Combo Chimbita and will see what February brings!
UNDOMONDO DISCOVER WEEKLY
I’ve just done a New Undomondo Discover Weekly, the first in 2022. The 2021 best of is archived here.
Wonderful song on repeat from the upcoming Branko Mataja compilation, Frankie Reyes on Stones Throw, Pablo Color, Joachim Kühn covering Fever, Vijay Iyer, Beverley-Glenn Copeland remixes, Eiko Ishibashi, Ron Everett reissue & more..
And thanks to a tweet by New Commute, I’ve found out about BNDCMPR, which lets you make playlists using Bandcamp API. I can’t embed it, but please know that Bandcamp is the best way to support artists, and through this interface you can go directly to albums etc. Very minimal and cool as ice. I’ll be doing both a bandcamp and spotify version from now on.
ELSEWHERE AROUND THE NET
A few of the many articles I’ve read the last couple of days.
Lately I’ve assigned myself the project of listening to every album recorded by a band I like. This came about when, kicking the hull of my own ignorance, shook out that Depeche Mode has released 7 studio albums AFTER Violator, home of their last chart hits, and I hadn’t the slightest idea what Devo had been up to since their 1982 video for “Peak a Boo” freaked me out as a second grader.
Short Miss DJax and Djax beat documentary that’s very much worth your while to watch if you are into early EURO techno/trance scene.
“Under Mi Sleng Teng,” by Jamaican singer Wayne Smith, is one of the milestones in the history of Jamaican popular music. Written by Smith and his friend Noel Davey, the pioneering dancehall classic was made using a Casio electronic keyboard. The song immediately became a smash hit when it was released in 1985, and its optimistic digital sound and addictive beat soon took the world by storm.
Unlike the Catholicism of his parents, which promised salvation in the afterlife, Trade delivered it every Sunday by embracing earthly pleasures.
We’ve lost two towering female artists who’ve shaped music in the last weeks, both in their 90’s they have been megastars, before even the term was invented.
I frankly had no clue that Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle, two of the most famous Bollywood singers were siblings. Mind blown 🤯
Elza Soares, who has died aged 91, was one of the finest, best-loved singers in Brazil, a glamorous, spirited performer who triumphed over personal tragedy and never forgot her hungry childhood in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. She was an exponent of the many different forms of samba, Brazil’s most enduring and ever-evolving style, and constantly on the lookout for new experiments and fusions. And she was a bravely outspoken campaigner for women’s rights, and against racism. As a black musician she experienced racism in the industry first-hand – despite her remarkable talent, record companies were slow to sign her. [Guardian]
This weird BBC interview with Turkey’s most enduring cultural export, is a time capsule. Savour it!
As always, please share with your friends if you like what you read. It’s very hard to get exposure through algos if you don’t pay (and as hard even if you pay) these days. Enjoy!