This Week In Music – Thursday 25th November 2021

A weekly update on all things music, advertising, and technology coming straight to you from Anthony Vanger at MassiveMusic. #TWIM

ARTIST OF THE WEEK: aya

Listening to this song is like a sonic version of rubbernecking. You don’t want to listen, but you listen anyway. Jagged, disconcerting, thrilling, and repulsive. Is it possible to feel so many contradicting emotions during a song? On the debut album im hole, Aya (fka LOFT), emerges as one of the most captivating electronic producers in the current UK scene. This song, Emley lights us moor (feat Iceboy Violet) is the first single. The sonic landscape is more sound design than instrumentation. Clicks and stuttering snippets of digital noise underpin songs with little in the way of the traditional structure apart from a drone that comes and goes like a wandering ghost. Aya manages this high-wire act by delivering a series of personal vignettes in a clipped whisper where the breaths are as integral to the sound as the words. And the words are what elevates this album from the merely interesting. The lyrics have been released as a book of poetry. The music is not easy on the ear, but like so many pioneers, many of these innovative sounds and production techniques will end up on the albums of tomorrow’s more commercial peers. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but I have a feeling no one will come close to the sound of this remarkable record.

@aya #aya #loft

WU-TANG CLAN VIDEO GAME REPORTEDLY IN DEVELOPMENT BY MICROSOFT

A Wu-Tang Clan video game is reportedly in development.

A Windows Central report suggests that Xbox may be working on a Wu-Tang themed action RPG.

Following months of speculation, writer Jez Corden suggests that a video game codenamed “Shaolin” is being developed by Brass Lion Entertainment in partnership with the Microsoft gaming brand. Brass Lion is a newer studio focusing on “fictional universes that center on Black, Brown, and other traditionally marginalised characters, cultures, and stories.”

“I’ve heard that Shaolin is a third-person melee-oriented RPG complete with four player co-op,” Corden said. “The campaign is planned to run for a couple of dozen hours, complete with a rich endgame comprised of seasonal content drops and other updates.” 

“You will be able to obtain loot, weapons, gear, and so on, in both procedural endgame dungeons and more tailor-made events,” he added. “Also, it appears that legendary hip hop group Wu-Tang Clan themselves will be heading up the game’s soundtrack.”

There has been no official confirmation of these reports by Microsoft of Brass Lion Entertainment.

GEN Z ARE BUYING MORE VINYL THAN MILLENNIALS, SURVEY SAYS

A new survey carried out by MRC Data has found that Gen Z (the newest generation, generally born between 1997 and 2012) music fans are purchasing more vinyl records than the millennial generation that came before them.

The survey of 4,041 people, aged 13 and over, which was carried out over the course of two weeks last month, found that 15% of Gen Z respondents said they had purchased vinyl in the past 12 months, compared with 11% of millennial respondents. 

Another significant figure to emerge from the same survey is that 28% of Gen Z music fans say they discovered new music through video games, while social media also plays a very significant role, accounting for 51% of new music discover. TikTok is the leading platform for discovery accordng to the survey’s respondents, being responsible for 49% of new music discovery.

It’s believed that this link between music discovery and video games may have emerged from ongoing partnerships between musicians and video game makers, which has seen DJs such as The Blessed Madonna, Solomun and Joy Orbison make appearances on recent updates of the Grand Theft Auto series, and the likes of Travis Scott and Marshmello host live-streamed concerts through the game Fortnite. 

Find the full results of the survey here.

DISTROKID ENTERS NFT MARKET WITH ‘SELLOUTS’. MINTS 10,000 COLLECTIBLE NFTS

NFT platforms are raising serious cash too, and this week, NFT platform Opulous announced that Mark Gillespie, the founder and CEO of Three Six Zero, had joined the company as a Senior Advisor.

Now, the $1.3 billion valued DistroKid is collaborating with 10,000 independent musicians to mint 10,000 unique and collectible NFTs that commemorate the music of each artist.

Proceeds from NFT sales and resales will go to each artist.

Each NFT — collectively named ‘Sellouts’ – consists of the DistroKid mascot, personally customised by each musician from more than 300 different traits, from hair, expression and eyewear, to clothes and more.

The company also says it is developing “innovative methods” to make minting the notoriously energy hungry NFT 99% greener.

Part of this, says DistroKid, is through Nifty Gateway’s “commitment” to purchasing carbon offsets for 2x the amount of carbon footprint Nifty Gateway creates from blockchain transactions each month.

Distrokid says that any musician who is a DistroKid member can design their own Sellout NFT and join the waitlist to be part of the initial drop.

It’s also free for musicians, who will earn proceeds from any sales and resales of their NFT.

Nifty Gateway and DistroKid each take a “small” processing fee from each sale, it says.

No intellectual rights to the music come with NFT ownership, but there are perks for collectors that will be announced, says DistroKid.

TASCAM’S PORTACAPTURE X8 IS A BEEFY PORTABLE RECORDER WITH A SMARTPHONE-LIKE INTERFACE

Most portable recorders come with an array of physical buttons, switches and toggles. It’s part of what makes them practical and charming to use. But with its new Portacapture X8, Tascam wants to make the case for a touchscreen interface.

The Portacapture X8 features two 14.6mm condenser microphones that support 32-bit float point recording. Since you can detach the microphones from the device, there’s the possibility Tascam will release optional capsules down the road. It’s possible to reposition the microphones in either an A/B or X/Y orientation. With four XLR/TRS inputs (and two mix tracks), you can use the X8 to record up to eight tracks simultaneously. You’ll also find a dedicated headphone jack on the device, in addition to external in and line-out connections. A built-in USB-C port also allows you to use the device as an audio interface.

Tascam hasn’t said how much the X8 will cost. But as an H8 competitor, we imagine it will fall somewhere in the $400 range. That’s a lot to spend on a portable recorder, but for prosumers, it comes with a lot of desirable features.

Written by Anthony Vanger

Additional research and reporting by Adam “Badger” Woolf

Artwork by Badger and Gustav Balderdash

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