One more year, London unrolls the red carpet to welcome a diverse representation of cinema’s brightest talent from all over the world. The 55th edition of the BFI London Film Festival takes place from October the 12th until the 27th with an eclectic mix of arthouse favorites; awards season contenders; experimental cinema and other festivals’ winners. A selection of restored classics and short films complete an excellent program that features over 200 movies.
In such a wide selection it’s easy to find something for everyone and music fans won’t be disappointed. Starting with Madonna, who will be launching the fruits of her new found filmmaking ambition in her second directorial effort, ‘W.E’, which portraits a woman’s obsession with the romance between Wallis Simpson and King Edward VIII, exploring the elements that her actual relationship has in common with the infamous couple’s. Her ex, double Oscar winner Sean Penn, will be also generating some headlines for borrowing the classic Robert Smith look. His impersonation of a retired rock star in search for the truth behind his family’s alleged Nazi past is the main attraction in Paolo Sorrentino’s ‘THIS MUST BE THE PLACE’. The film features a cameo by David Byrne, also in charge of the soundtrack alongside Will Oldham.
Lacking the same glamour but equally appealing to more specialist audiences are a number of high-profile documentaries. For further details read on… Read more…
There’s no doubt that music has gone through many phases and transformations in the last 40 years. Styles come and go but there has been one particular driving force that has changed forever the way music is created – the rise of technology. Music technology has come down hugely in price over the years, a fact which has launched a new generation of bedroom recording artists who can produce professional sounding material on little more than a laptop. In the latest 5 minute guide we take you through some of the biggest leaps forward in music technology that have not only changed the way music sounds, but intrinsically shaped the way musicians write, record and perform.
In the early 1960′s Robert Moog pioneered the concept of the analogue synthesiser – a series of keyboard controlled interconnected hardware modules covered in dials and switches that looked as if they should be operated by Dr. Who.
Although they were fiendishly complicated to operate, expensive and hugely impractical: early Moog synths opened up a new world of sounds to the few artists who could afford them. Groups like Emerson, Lake & Palmer embraced the new technology by incorporating it into their existing sound with tracks like ‘Lucky Man’. Pink Floyd were enthusiastic users of early synthesisers on the classic ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ while groups like Kraftwerk opted for entirely electronic compositions as on the seminal ‘Autobahn’. As smaller, cheaper, new versions such as the Minimoog and Polymoog became available more and more acts saw the benefits and entirely new genres of music were developed. Georgio Moroder gave disco a kick-start with the throbbing Moog bass-line of Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’, and later Gary Numan’s Tubeway Army stormed the charts with help from his Polymoog on ‘Are Friends Electric’ and ‘Cars’
It’s not often that a television programme captures the hearts of adults and children alike but American hit show, Glee, has achieved just that. With two TV series behind them and a third already commissioned, a staggering number of singles and albums sold and Glee world tours, it’s nigh impossible to avoid Glee-mania so we have put together this concise guide to get you up to speed on everything you need to know about the world of Glee.
Glee is set in Ohio, USA and centres around the members of the William McKinley High School glee club and their star Rachel Berry, played by Lea Michele. Teacher Will Scheuster, played by Matthew Morrison, is the glee club’s director and spends almost every episode trying to prevent cheerleading coach, Sue Sylvester, who is competing for funding, from sabotaging the glee club’s plans.
Glee fans are affectionately referred to as Gleeks, due to their dedication to the show and everything connected with it. There are novels, games, clothing, accessories and now even a film is in production. The show airs on Fox in the States and originally on E4 in the UK, where it was the channel’s biggest viewing hit. Since E4 refused to pay the inflated asking price for season 3, Glee will now be shown on Sky 1 HD in the UK. Read more…
Glastonbury festival should need little introduction. Since 1971 the festival has been using farmland in a usually sleepy corner of the British countryside to keep the hippy vibe alive, whilst throwing one of the hedonistic (not to mention muddy) parties imaginable. Unlike many festivals, Glastonbury’s music policy is truly all-encompassing: bearded folk singers, ancient jazz players and odd-ball North African troupes all feature alongside some of the biggest bands on the planet.
It’s also Glastonbury’s attention to detail that makes it special. Each year the organizers pock mark the 900 acre site with hugely imaginative, psychotropic, and downright weird areas of interest. Whilst headline shows on Glastonbury’s hulking Pyramid stage are sure to garner the most attention, there’s also a ton of must see bits of the site away from the throng. We’ve counted down some of the most interesting in the below 5 Minute Guide to Glastonbury 2011.
Glastonbury’s organizers are keeping tight lipped about who this year’s special guest performers are. In a recent interview with NME festival organizer Michael Eavis simply had this to say, “There’s nothing bigger, I can tell you.” 2010’s secret performers were Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood: the driving force behind rock legends Radiohead. If the Glasto crew simply repeats the caliber of last year’s act then festival goers are due for a treat. Rumored guest include The Strokes (Shazam’s prediction for the guest spot), M.I.A. and even Prince.
A giant mechanized, fire breathing spider perched up in the middle of the English countryside should be a memorable site in anyone’s books. But when you combine that with a series of big name DJ performances and thousands of face painted revelers, then you have something really special. Highlights of this year’s Arcadia itinerary include sets from Orbital and SL2 who will be injecting moments of ‘90’s rave nostalgia intro this post apocalyptic, arachnid loving arena.
The cover version has become a maligned format in recent years. A conveyor belt of talent shows has made performing other people’s songs a well trod road to success. Yet all too often cover versions seem to slip in to realm of karaoke rather than add anything original. With this in mind Shazam has dug through the archives to unearth some of the more quirky, unique and downright weird re-versions of songs we could find.
The Fall – Lost In Music (Cover of Sister Sledge)
The Fall’s lead singer Mark E. Smith is one of the most grumpy men in music. The list of former band members who he’s sacked/fallen out with/physically attacked is now around 30 people long. His gigs are known for being haphazard affairs where you are just as likely to hear a volley of expletive abuse as you are your favourite song. Even his close friends would admit he’s cantankerous and confrontational. In short, he’s not the sort of man you would imagine spends much time letting lose in glamorous night clubs: which makes his guitar lead take on Chic’s most glittery disco moment all the more perplexing. If Bernard Edwards had lived in Salford this might have been the music he would have come up with.
Afrodita – Modelito (Cover of Kraftwerk)
This is a Mexican twist on the most Germanic of German bands, Kraftwerk. This breezy re-work of the model transports the Düsseldorf robots to the southern hemisphere and the results are remarkable.
The Royal Wedding has been pretty much inescapable. Unless you’ve been held in a state of cryogenic limbo you wouldn’t have failed to notice that almost every newsstand adorns the faces of Kate Middleton and Prince William – the future king of England who’s due to tie the knot this Friday. The British government has even set aside a national holiday for the event and encouraged towns to organise street parties to celebrate. Sales of Union Jack bunting, not to mention tacky ‘Wills and Kate’ memorabilia, have sky rocketed.
With the big day closing in Shazam has put together a playlist of tracks that should – in the ideal world – get an airing at the post marriage party.
Billy Idol – White Wedding
An obvious choice, but a worthy one none the less… Billy Idol’s new-wave hit may be as ‘80’s as ZX-spectrum, but it still sounds great. Idol’s cameo appearance in ‘The Wedding Singer’, alongside Adam Sandler, gives him a double-whammy of wedding related trivia. Read more…
Despite achingly low levels of musical productivity, Daft Punk remain the most influential electronic act on the planet. They’ve set the tone for two generations of dance music, helped Kanye West rule the world of hip hop and created some of the most spellbinding live shows the world has ever seen. They’ve defied convention at every stage of their career – whether it’s creating enigmatic Robot alter-egos for themselves or making self indulgent feature films whenever they get the chance. And that’s without even mentioning the fact they’ve created some of the most endearing music of the last two decades.
Now on the eve of the release of the soundtrack to Tron Legacy, Daft Punk’s first original output in five years, we give you the low down behind the masked men in Shazam’s 5 Minute Guide to Daft Punk.
Daft Punk are Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter, son of French musician David Bangalter who wrote such timely disco ditties as Otowan’s ‘D.I.S.C.O.‘. The pair met in 1987 and formed a band, Darlin’, along with Laurent Brancowitz; who later found fame with the band Phoenix. Darlin’s early output was described as a load of ‘daft punk’ by UK magazine Melody Maker. Although the band eventually disbanded, the name stuck.
Over the last 10 years Dubstep has been staking a claim as the most exciting musical genre on the planet. Blogs, hip magazines and even cerebral broadsheets have all fawned over the music’s trademark half step rhythms and wobbly, speaker blowing basslines. However, the last 18 months or so have seen a huge increase in the profile of Dubstep. The scene’s early pioneers, namely Skream and Benga, have been scoring hit after hit in the mainstream European charts; while in the States the sound has now been co-opted by household names looking to gain an edge of credibility to their sound – including Snoop Dogg, M.I.A. and even Britney Spears. The US DJ Diplo – who now almost exclusively plays Dubstep and has released a CD compilation in the genre’s honour – has now landed sponsorship from the corporate mobile manufacturer, Blackberry.
Yet any one saying that Dubstep’s lost it’s edge shouldn’t have to look far to find exciting bass filled music. As Dubstep’s signature elements are increasingly being used by pop acts they are also becoming more hybridised with obscure sub-genres such as UK Funky, Future Garage, Soca, and Tech-House. This has created some great music and fired countless debates on what and what doesn’t constitute proper Dubstep – with many now settling on the term of ‘Bass Music’ for anything that’s mildly influenced by Dubstep and Drum And Bass.
With this in mind we count down some of the hottest names in electronic music that are carrying Bass Music’s ethos forward.
Falty DL It’s no secret that Dubstep initially emerged as a new form of UK Garage in London about 10 years ago. With this in mind, Falty DL’s music takes Dubstep back to its roots. Drawing largely on late 90′s Garage, DL’s music is all skittering 2 step rhythms, swinging hats and euphoric yelps of female vocal. Back in the ’90′s Garage was so London centric that it was seen as a big deal if someone from Manchester made anything in that style: the fact that Falty DL hails from New York shows how far the genre has come.
Ramadanman Here’s a quick game; try to picture what an artist called Ramadanman might look like… Chances are you haven’t envisaged an unimposing, clean cut white guy from Northern England: but that’s exactly who Ramadanman AKA David Kenedy is. The boss of the influential label Hessle Audio, his tracks mix Rave, Detroit Techno and Ragga into a melting point of sounds. He was one of the first artists to gain respect from Techno luminaries like Ricardo Villalobos and he continues to win fans from across the musical spectrum.
You can always depend on the soundtrack at Halloween to be predictable. Tracks such as Ray Parker Jr’s ‘Ghostbusters’ and The Specials’ ‘Ghost Town’ seem to go into almost constant rotation from October 30th. As good as ‘The Monster Mash’ is, there are only so many times you want to hear it.
With this in mind, we’ve taken the time out to shed some light on some more obscure – but no less spooky – Halloween tracks.
Siouxsie & The Banshees – Halloween
These 70’s post punkers have the band name and the tracks to make any All Hallows bash go with a swing. The band’s lead singer, Siouxsie Sioux, is still considered one of the most influential artists of her generation and is often referenced by hispsters such as LCD Soundsystem, Tricky and TV On The Radio as a huge inspiration. Taken from the classic 1981 album ‘Juju’, ‘Halloween’ might be the perfect alternative track to play on the 31st.
Rob Zombie – Man Without Fear
You have to give Rob Zombie credit where it’s due, he puts in the work for Halloween. Rather than get in costume once a year, Rob spends 365 days a year looking like he’s ready to go trick or treating. When he’s not spending his time directing cult horror films such as ‘House Of 1000 Corpses’ and ‘The Devils Reject’, Rob churns out substandard metal albums. The music may not be that great, but Rob deserves kudos for his dedication to the undead.
‘Shazam’s 5 Minute Guide…’ serves up all you need to know about a given subject in an easy to digest, bite-size chunk. Obscure musical subgenres, flavour of the month singers and leftfield musical buzzwords will all be broken down in this new section. Whether you’re looking to bluff your way through a conversation with a music fanatic or trying to stay on top of the latest trends, ‘Shazam 5 Minute Guide’ is the place to be.
The first ‘5 Minute Guide’ is a whistle stop tour of the world of Dirty South Rap in 2010 – a sub genre that’s been ruling America’s airwaves and clubs with reckless abandon in recent times…
2010 has been a very popular year for the dirty south rappers with names like Gucci Mane, Yo Gotti and Waka Flocka Flame scoring some of the biggest hits in the rap charts. Since A-Trak’s popular mixtape, ‘Dirty South Dance’, it seems as though every hip-hop producer wants a slow paced southern rapper featured on their track.
Although the genre has been big since the late ‘80’s, Gucci Mane’s 2009 album ‘The State Vs. Radric Davis’ can be seen as a tipping point in the genre’s popularity. Before the release of Gucci’s album, there was a surge of dirty south music with artists such as Lil’ Wayne, Bun B and Three Six Mafia making huge waves. Remember the smash hit ‘Ridin’ by Chamillionaire? Well the dirty south phenomenon has hit back harder than ever.