Archive for the 'uncategorized' Category

Yuri Lane: Beatbox + Harmonica Phenom

It’s hard not to be a fan of the harmonica. From John Popper to Bob Dylan, many big name artists have popularized the instrument, but it still doesn’t get quite the attention it deserves. Have you ever seen someone play the harmonica and beatbox at the same time? We looked at beatboxing flute previously, which was interesting, but check out this guy Yuri Lane:

If you like blues, give this one a listen. Or for a dub-influenced jam, this one.

We see more and more musicians using their art as a way to communicate a message – oftentimes in the vein of political or social commentary. Some think of music as their weapon. Yuri has created a “hip hop travelogue of peace” called From Tel Aviv to Ramallah (see the promo video here) to that end. The somewhat nerdy, very approachable, and obviously talented kid is creating an interesting niche for himself.

Upcoming: SanFran MusicTech Summit 10.20.08

The SanFran MusicTech Summit is making yet another appearance next month (Oct 20th). If you missed the first two summits (which we covered here and here) and are anywhere near the bay area, I highly suggest you get yourself a ticket. (Or at least follow the live Twitter stream if you can’t be there in person).

Photo by Samantha Murphy

In their own words, the summit strives to “bring together the best and brightest developers in the Music/Technology Space, along with the musicians, entrepreneurial business people, and organizations who work with them at the convergence of culture and commerce.” Whether you want to learn about the evolving music industry from the people who are most entrenched in it, introduce your product or business to the audience that most needs it, or just be a part of the (r)evolution that is taking place, it’s a great experience.

Between the intense panels (some of which involve heated discussions analyzing complex issues and some of which simply celebrate the exciting innovations at the intersection of music and technology), the relaxed and stimulating networking opportunities, and the insane amount of intellectual and creative juices that are flowing, there is much to look forward to. Brian Zisk continues to impress with his increasingly popular and well-run event that is more relevant now than ever before.

So, what are you waiting for? Go buy your tickets here.

Delhi 2 Dublin: Indian and Irish Fusion

This past weekend while at NonStop Banghra, a monthly dance party in San Francisco, I was introduced to a fusion of genres that left me positively breathless. I’ve always enjoyed various kinds of Indian dance music – everything from the cheesy but catchy sound of Bollywood musicals and the traditional cultural tunes to the more beat-driven hip hop and dub influenced club songs, and I was pretty sure I’d be a big fan of Banghra. And that I was. But, the highlight of the night was a performance by a group called Delhi 2 Dublin.

D2D “fuses the traditional sounds of tabla, dhol, fiddle, and sitar with cutting edge DJ aesthetics, to create a highly charged multi-cultural dance celebration.” Imagine the energy and cultural fervor of a huge Indian wedding party colliding with a bunch of drunken Irishmen dancing on a wooden table with fiddles! For a good overview of their sound and feel, check out their promo video below:

The most notable band member has to be Kytami. The little firecracker of a violinist not only fiddles faster than hell, but practically performs her own one-woman Stomp-esque sideshow. She is all over the place and her edgy vibe adds an interesting dimension to the makeup of the group.

I spoke to the band leader, Tarun, briefly at the end of the night. He was wearing a lion bandana and beaming with exhilaration. This guy really lives his life out loud. Tarun was born to a Punjabi father and a mother of Irish descent – hence, his fascination with fusing Irish and Indian sounds. He is a classically trained tabla player, a DJ, and a producer, and handles the tabla and electronics on stage.

Delhi 2 Dublin has created their own niche at the intersection of gritty hip hop and electronic beats, traditional Indian influences, and that raw Celtic sound that packs a punch – all of which make you want to get up and dance.

Thievery Corporation’s New Album: Early Release on Facebook, iLike

Given the current chaos in the music industry, bands must find new ways to promote their music. From musicians using Twitter to connect with fans or partnering with brands to cross promote, we are seeing more and more examples of non-traditional music promotion and distribution. The artists who are willing to take risks and think outside the box, with their art and with their careers, are the ones we here at Evolving Music are most interested in.

One such band is Thievery Corporation. In addition to being a refreshingly unique group that fuses together a plethora of genres and cultural sounds, they are not afraid to speak their minds. Sure, everyone likes a good mindless “bump ‘n’ grind” tune from time to time, but you gotta respect the artists who choose to use their music not just as entertainment, but as a way to communicate what they believe and are passionate about (as we’ve covered in previous posts about artists such as Immortal Technique and Bataka Squad.)

The DJ duo, comprised of Rob Garza and Eric Hilton, hails from Washington DC, which “has long been the home of a music subculture legendary for fierce independence, a staunch do-it-yourself work ethic, and conscientious social activism.” They definitely practice what they preach. The organic multi-cultural sounds of dub, reggae, lounge, afrobeat and Indian music, to name a few, may catch your attention at first if you hear Thievery’s music at a neighborhood cafe or in a European nightclub. But, their uninhibited socio-political messages and passionate desire to open hearts and minds will keep you riveted.

Additionally, their diverse team of collaborators – singing in numerous languages, playing funky instruments, and each adding their own cultural thread to the musical quilt – give the band a truly unique sound. Not to mention their live shows, which can be pretty freakin amazing.

Photo by openeye

Their upcoming album, Radio Retaliation, purportedly takes their politicizing to a new level. According to Rob, “There’s no excuse for not speaking out at this point, with the suspension of habeas corpus, outsourced torture, illegal wars of aggression, fuel, food, and economic crises. It’s hard to close your eyes and sleep while the world is burning around you. If you are an artist, this is the most essential time to speak up.”

If you are on Facebook or iLike you’ll be able to stream Thievery Corporation’s new album on September 19th, before its official release on September 23rd. This is the first time the two social networking giants have ever worked together to promote an album.

Given that this album is particularly focused on the band’s disgust with the current state of American media, their decision to skip the middle man and go straight to their fans via the internet is appropriate, both for them personally and for the industry as a whole. According to Hilton, “We chose iLike as the platform to debut this record because it offers us a direct vehicle to share our music and communicate with fans worldwide, free from editorializing or whitewashing of our messages.”

For the fans among you, or those interested in gaining further insight into the artists and their message, keep your eyes out for a series of videos in which they introduce and discuss the album, which will be available exclusively on iLike. In the meantime, check out the title track on their MySpace.

To quote Rob Garza once more, “… if you can get people to question the things around them, just a little, then that’s not such a bad thing.”

On that note, here’s the title track from their 2002 “Richest Man in Babylon” album:

Dell Summer Rocks: Art, Music, and Technology

We’ve mentioned previously that there is an emerging trend of partnerships in the music industry, with bands and brands joining forces to explore new ways of reaching consumers and cultivating common passions. We witnessed more of this trend while attending the Virgin Mobile Festival in Baltimore. One attraction at the Virgin Festival that seemed to draw a ton of people in was the Dell Dome.

Dell Dome

The dome is part of the Dell Summer Rocks tour. They are road tripping to all the summer’s hottest music festivals and the tent adds to the sensory experience of the weekend by offering a combination of technology, art and music for visitors to show off their individual style. Festival goers can meet urban artist Mike Ming, or personalize their own digital mix tape, rock ‘n’ roll hairstyle and airbrush tattoo. Also, media are invited to ask questions of any of the performers lined up for interviews inside the Dome. A pretty cool way of promoting the new (very colorful) studio laptops (check out their creative Towel Drop promo).

Dell is working with festival promoters to include the brand where it can be experienced by this passionate community of people who align themselves with a lifestyle of self expression. They are giving them an interactive experience. Here we see yet another trend that is hard to ignore: music fans are craving interaction with the music and musicians they like more and more. The days of sitting around listening to music passively are fading.

In addition to the hands-on experience Dell offers in their dome, they have been chatting with artists at the festivals and posting video interviews. As our readers know, we here at Evolving Music love interviews. The Dell Lounge interviews are a great way to get to know some up-and-coming artists and see them kickin back in a casual festival setting. As of today, the Dell Summer Rocks tour is halfway through their road trip.

Starting at Lollapalooza, they snagged interviews (check any of them out here) with the likes of Bang Camaro, Cadence Weapon, beautiful Swedish crooner Sofia Talvik, and The Whigs.

Click around in the Virgin interview section to hear from Soulwax (one of our favorites from the DJ tent), Taking Back Sunday, and Deadmau5 among others. I had never heard of Deadmau5 before Virgin, but am definitely a fan now.

Outside Lands, which was in our own backyard, of course had all the big headliners like Jack Johnson, Tom Petty, and Radiohead (who kicked ass but dealt with some unexpected technical difficulties) to please the masses. But let’s not forget about some of the lesser known acts that rock as well. Dell caught some of these kids on tape here. Don’t miss the Howlin Rain interview. It takes place during a ping pong game.

Lastly, check out the class=”xLink”Bumbershoot Festival interviews from Seattle here for a personal look at Tapes ‘n Tapes (they opened for the Black Keys, who we like, earlier this year), Shim, and many more. I like the dude from Shim with the crazy mutton chops. He’s goofy.

So there you have it. A personal look at some of the artists from this summer’s festival season and the interactive experience offered to festival goes in the Dell Summer Rocks tent. When it comes to the intersection of technology, art, and music, you know where it’s at: interaction, personalization, and self-expression.

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