ARTIST OF THE WEEK: METORONORI
Experimental music is not an easy listen. There is no obvious structure, little in the way of harmony and dissonant sounds poke their heads up out of the mix like little gremlins. So what can you hold on to? The answer is that this type of music requires a different mindset and and different expectations. As the artist explains, describing her latest record Evenings, “Dreams are painful experiences; they are not real, but they are true.” The 13-track experimental record came from an unstable few years for the artist, real name Hikari Okuyama, during which she found solace in the night-time atmosphere of the various Tokyo wards that became her home. In many ways, she reminds me of another artist, albeit visual, Yayoi Kusama, who also has produced unsettling and compelling works from the relative safety of a mental health facility. Evenings is an album you can enjoy, but you have to clear your desk, your schedule and your mind. Only then will you be able to appreciate her delicate, pulsating sonic world.
AD OF THE WEEK: FORD – GO BREAK IT IN
I love ads that are based around one simple idea and then riffed on for the next 90 secs, like a seasoned jazz ensemble. Entitled “Go Break It In”, the creative work subverts automotive category conventions by eschewing beauty shots of gleaming vehicles. The idea is that, rather like a new pair of jeans, a box fresh Ranger needs to be broken in before it feels just right. In the film, a rugged guy takes delivery of his brand-new pickup, and then spends his first days working with it, deliberately punishing it and dirtying it, whilst showcasing the new features of the vehicle. Nice work from AMV BBDO. Good music track, Love is Strange, from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack, written by Bo Diddley and performed by American rhythm and blues duet, Mickey & Sylvia.
MADONNA BIOPIC SCRAPPED AFTER SINGER’S WORLD TOUR ANNOUNCED
A much-anticipated Madonna biopic, directed by the singer herself and starring the Ozark actor Julia Garner, has been scrapped.
The film, which had been in development since 2020 with Universal Pictures and had the working title Little Sparrow, was set to chronicle Madonna’s four-decade career spanning music, cinema and fashion.
According to a Variety report on Tuesday, Universal pulled out after Madonna’s announcement of a global tour last week – one that encompasses her entire catalogue and sold out its dates in New York, Paris and London within minutes.
But unnamed insiders told the Hollywood Reporter that the film’s cancellation had been decided late last year, long before the tour was announced.
There has been no comment from Universal, nor from representatives for Madonna or Garner.
BJÖRK’S DAUGHTER ÍSADÓRA HAS JUST RELEASED HER FIRST SOLO MUSIC
Ísadóra Bjarkardóttir Barney, the daughter of Björk, has released her debut solo music as part of an Icelandic grassroots arts compilation.
Landing earlier this month on ‘DRULLUMALL 4’, a compilation made up of tracks from Icelandic artists, Ísadóra’s new track marks her very first venture into solo music with the soulful track ‘bergmál’.
The single appeared on a 14-track V/A from Reykjavík music and arts collective post-dreifing, which featured artists “from different corners of the scene” together on one compilation.
“Dear friends, DRULLUMALL 4 is out!” announced post-dreifing on January 20, the day of the compilation’s release. “14 wonderful tracks from different corners of the scene have finally reached the surface.”
“It is an exciting mix of artists, some of them may go harder than ever on this compilation, for others it marks their very first release,” revealed the collective.
Listen to Ísadóra’s new single, ‘bergmál’, below, and check out ‘DRULLUMALL 4’ here.
NEW POLYPHONIC SYNTHESISER ALLOWS YOU TO MAKE MUSIC FROM EVERYDAY OBJECT
A polyphonic synthesiser named the Drone Box No.1 transforms everyday objects into music.
Created by composer and artist Koka Nikoladze, the new tech forms music from objects such as a pinecone, a spring, a paper cup and an egg.
The four-voiced synth generates sound from the turning of the stepper motors which change the characteristics of the sound depending on the object.
Nikoladze states: “Selecting and attaching the objects is like physical mixing.
“A pinecone adds rich buzz and makes the sound more like a square wave synthesiser, an egg doesn’t do much and leaves the work to the box, a paper cup makes the sound rounder and a brass coil provides resonant overtones. I exchange objects all the time.”
You can use a MIDI from a keyboard to a computer to control the sound as well as the device allowing users the option of pitch bending, vibrato and tremolo with more options still to come.
The next version Nikoladze says will have a “single button on the side, so you can create a playlist of MIDI files on a SD card” so you can “play music during your morning coffee, just like with any music player. I’ll design more drone boxes.”
Listen to the sounds created by pairing objects and Nikoladze’s Drone Box No.1 together below.
Written by Anthony Vanger
Additional research and reporting by Adam “Badger” Woolf