ARTIST OF THE WEEK: BONGEZIWE MABANDLA
Bongeziwe Mabandla is a South African musician based in Johannesburg, who started out predominantly playing folk music accompanied by an acoustic guitar and lyrics in isiXhosa, one of South Africa’s official languages. Since 2012, when his first album Umlilo came out to rapturous reviews in France, Mabandla has been edging towards a more hybrid sound which you can hear to full effect on his latest track ukuthanda wena, from his fourth album amaXesha. Electronic beats and arpeggiated synths dominate songs that were once strummed only with an acoustic guitar. Aside from the arrangements, it is Mabandla’s voice that defines the music. Alternating between an easy falsetto and a stomach-deep tenor, it hypnotises the listener. The lyrics, incomprehensible to the Western listener, add to the mystique. With Mabandla’s music you don’t need to understand the words to understand the meaning.
Full album amaXesha, set to released on May 5, 2023
#umlilo #mangaliso #iimini #southafrica #isixhosa #africa #platoon #universalmusicgroup
AD OF THE WEEK: SONOS Era 300
Nice simple and effective ad from home speaker maker SONOS featuring Fleez, a suitably cool track by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The big catch phrase nowadays in speakers is immersive sound. That basically means more of a 3-D instead of 2-D experience. Imagine being at the cinema and you can hear sounds behind you. That is the basic idea behind immersive sound – you can hear the music all around you, not just on a stereo, flat plane. Nice work from LA’s 72andSunny.
#sonos #sonoscape #72andsunny #speakers #yeahyeahyeahs #fleez
NEW RESEARCH CLAIMS THAT 60% OF MUSICIANS ARE ALREADY USING AI TO MAKE MUSIC
New research from music distribution company Ditto Music has revealed that 59.5% of artists are already using AI to create music, while a further 47% are inclined artificial intelligence (AI) for songwriting in the future.
The findings, that come from a survey of 1200 of Ditto Music’s users, conclude that 66% of participants would use AI for mixing and mastering, while 62% would use the technology for music production.
Out of these Ditto users, 77% said they would use artificial intelligence to create album artwork whilst 28.5% said they would never consider using AI in any respect.
Only 28% of respondents said they would avoid using AI in their music making processes.
The Human Artistry Campaign explained: “As new technologies emerge and enter such central aspects of our existence, it must be done responsibly and with respect for the irreplaceable artists, performers, and creatives who have shaped our history and will chart the next chapters of human experience.”
Black Music Action Coalition co-founder and co-chair Willie “Prophet” Stiggers said around the coalition: “Black songwriters, producers, and artists already face an uphill battle for ownership, credit, and proper payment in the music industry. Although AI can be an incredible tool, without the protection of real human artistry AI could devastate the Black creative community that leads so much of popular culture.”
Check out the full report made by Ditto Music here.
ZENDAYA MAKES SURPRISE APPEARANCE AT COACHELLA 2023, PERFORMS “ALL FOR US”
Zendaya returned to the concert stage on Saturday for the first time in over half a decade as part of a surprise Coachella performance alongside Labrinth, which featured two hits from her HBO show Euphoria.
The fashion icon and Spider-Man: No Way Home star appeared towards the end of Labrinth’s set in Coachella’s Mojave Tent, performing the songs “All for Us” from the show’s first season and “I’m Tired” from its second. The musical festival posted footage of the performance, which took place during the second day of the festival’s second weekend, to its official Instagram account.
Zendaya acknowledged the fact that it’s been years since the Euphoria star appeared on stage to sing live during a scheduled set in an Instagram Story discussing the “magical” night. “Thank you all for welcoming me back on that stage with open arms. It’s been a very long time, so I appreciate it,” she said in one story she recorded in the early hours after her performance before heading to bed.
ED SHEERAN REVEALS STRUGGLES WITH DRUGS, ALCOHOL AND DEPRESSION
Singer Ed Sheeran has revealed his struggles with drugs, alcohol and depression following his friend Jamal Edwards’ death last year.
In a wide-ranging interview with Rolling Stone, Sheeran said he tried several types of drugs – which he refused to name – in his twenties when he “used to be a party boy”.
“I was always a drinker. I didn’t touch any sort of like, drug, until I was 24,” the 32-year-old said.
“I remember just being at a festival and being like, ‘Well, if all of my friends do it, it can’t be that bad’. And then sort of dabbling.
“Then it just turns into a habit that you do once a week and then once a day and then, like, twice a day and then, like, without booze. It just became bad vibes.”
“I would never, ever, ever touch anything again, because that’s how Jamal died. And that’s just disrespectful to his memory to even, like, go near,” he said.
But the death of his close friend, music entrepreneur Jamal Edwards, from cardiac arrhythmia brought on by cocaine use spurred him to stop taking drugs.
Edwards’s death was one of several difficult incidents in Sheeran’s life last year that resulted in him developing depression.
Ms Seaborn was six months pregnant when she was diagnosed with a tumour that needed surgery.
She gave birth to her second child Jupiter before undergoing surgery a few months later. Sheeran was also in court defending a plagiarism lawsuit over his hit song Shape Of You.
“I felt like I didn’t want to live anymore,” he said.
MUSIC’S INFLUENCE ON CITIES EXPLORED IN NEW BOOK, THIS MUST BE THE PLACE
A new book examines the influence of music on cities, culturally and politically.
This Must Be The Place, to be published by Repeater Books and Penguin Random House on 12th September, discusses the ways music affects cities on development, management and government levels. It will follow personal stories from London, Melbourne, Nashville, Austin and Zurich to highlight the contradiction of music’s significant impact on cities as its artists, venues and institutions are left neglected and unsupported by public policy.
Author Shain Shapiro shares a preview of what’s to come in the book, his first, in this recent Forbes feature, in which he presents a community-led model for arts investment. Shapiro is the founder of Sound Diplomacy, a consultancy firm for municipalities on cultural policy, and heads up the Center for Music Ecosystem, a research commissioning group that uses music to solve local- and global-level issues.
Find more information about This Must Be The Place via Penguin Random House.
PLAY YOUR VINYL VERTICALLY WITH THE VS-01 TURNTABLE
Danish industrial designer CoolGeek have launched a new turntable, the VS-01, which allows you to play your vinyl vertically.
The turntable, which can play both 33 and 45 rpm records, has been created using “state-of-the-art closed-loop control technology”. It features a “high-end, high wind Danish needle head”, carbon fibre tonearm and Bluetooth connectivity.
“VS-01 integrates Nordic modernity style and classic feelings to adopt Danish stylus head (Ortofon OM 5E), paying tribute to the golden age of vinyl, and creates a record player with visual freshness and professional sound quality for you,” reads the VS-01’s press release.
Find out more via the Kickstarter here and watch a demo video below. The pledge starts at $599 and orders are estimated to ship from March.
Written by Anthony Vanger
Additional research and reporting by Adam “Badger” Woolf