Between the staff employed here we spend a whole bunch of our time seeking out, reacting to, recommending and playing each other new music. Understandably it’s an integral part of what we do. So, in simplistic terms, we wanted to create a place for us to share the things we share internally, with you, externally. But rather than have that be screenshots of hundreds of different and badly spelled Skype IMs we decided to make it a little bit more curated…
Kanye West & Just Yeezus In General
If you missed it (or successfully swerved the multitude of varying think pieces around it) Kanye West performed his song ‘All Day’ at the BRITs a couple of weeks back. This was a talking point for a few reasons. Firstly: ITV chose to mute the audio every time Yeezus uttered an expletive or controversial word which frankly made the performance completely unlistenable and secondly because Ye was backed with a stage wide squad of dudes all dressed in black, two of whom were wielding flame throwers and shooting 6-8 feet of fire into the air at seemingly random integers. As a visual spectacle it topped Kanye’s rant filled, waterfall backed performances last Summer at Wireless festival in Finsbury Park, mainly because (as the perma-youthful presenters Ant & Dec joked after the performance) it was broadcast nationwide, just after the watershed on The BRITs - an award ceremony that isn’t really known for taking that many risks or celebrating what is widely considered to be true underground British culture (truthfully that's not what Ant & Dec said, the muttered something about Coronation Street).
But as the performance played out, as the cameras started closing in on the performers, other recognisable faces started filling the screen. Damn, is that… Skepta!? That’s definitely Jammer… Oop, that’s Novelist too! And so it transpires that the gaggle of people dancing and posturing behind Kanye were some of the grime scene’s elite and their associates. What’s undoubtedly even more telling is that this was arguably the only way some of these artists, people who’ve been putting in work on the underground for 10s of years, were going to get the chance to appear onstage at the BRITS. Obviously that’s been opened up to interpretation by reams of publications in the days that followed but it’s proven to be another intelligent stroke from West, who seems adept at creating conversation wherever he goes.
All this rather overshadowed the song, which, thanks to ITV, we all had to wait to be mixed and mastered properly until we finally heard it earlier this week.
Then Ye announced a surprise, late night gig at Koko in Camden on Tuesday, where he performed alongside members of JME and Skepta’s Boy Better Know crew and Wu Tang’s Raekwon, which stoked the think piece fire even further. Had Kanye reacted to quell the discussion around his BRITs performance by acknowledging his on the night entourage as performers by letting them do their thing alongside him?
Yes. Yes, he did.
Speaking of Skepta (pictured above), last Sunday he dropped ‘Shutdown’ via The FADER. Outlining the reasons for why he’s so respected in the grime scene effortlessly, it came off the back of his appearance with Kanye at the BRITs (at the end of which he got a personal shout from Ye) and a series of Instagram tips from the global phenom, Drake, who we can only imagine was sitting in his pants in an all-white room on a white leather clad four poster bed that’s dressed solely in white Egyptian cotton linen with ivory silk sheets as he was watching Skepta go ham at Devilman in the classic YouTube rip of Lord Of The Mics 3.
With a lot of eyes fixed on him, Skepta rose to the occasion, sending out for the British public’s reaction to the BRITs performance and sampling Drake as he did it on ‘Shutdown’ – a track that, honestly, sounds simply like another really, really good Skepta track in the vein of 2014’s smash, ‘That’s Not Me’.
The FADER also put together this micro-documentary with Skep whilst he was in New York recently.
Peace to Ruth.
Stream Pearson Sound’s Pearson Sound In Full
One third of the Hessle Audio trio and an exceptionally polite gentleman who’s long been close to our collective heart will release his debut album this Monday coming. We already described it as “the sound of him experimenting with technologies” saying “it creeps further toward the type of knackered, margins music he’s long been playing in his sets on Rinse FM” when we published a competition to win copies of the album last week. But you don’t have to listen to our long winded interpretations anymore because the album is up and streaming in full over on NPR.
Alas, it transpires that we can’t embed it (sadface) so head here to listen.
Here's a pre-approved picture of him DJing taken by Sima Korenivski instead.
Pearson Sound also appeared on Benji B’s BBC Radio 1 show this week talking about the record and providing a guest mix. You can (and should) stream that here.
Kim Ann Foxman’s FACT TV Documentary
Having just hosted Kim here in Room On alongside Maya Jane Coles the other week, this week she went and dropped a recommended documentary on FACT TV that tells tales of her accidental win at a beauty pageant and offers an insight into her life in New York and her studio processes.
Mumdance & Novelist – 1 Sec (FABRICLIVE VIP)
I know the majority of this edition is focusing on grime and rap, I’m not sure I can help that to be completely honest. The music press has been dominated by it this week, especially considering Kanye’s ‘Tour of Britain’. But, yesterday we shared one of the best parts of Mumdance’s forthcoming FABRICLIVE 80 mix, the ‘FABRICLIVE VIP’ version of his and Novelist’s XL signed track, ‘1 Sec.’ Nov reworked his lyrics to talk specifically about us and our venue. We’re biased but it’s a super cool coup and one that hits sweet in Mumdance’s mix.
FABRICLIVE 80: Mumdance is out on the 16th March. Pre-order it here.
Bandcamp Reaches $100 Million Milestone
As reported by FACT yesterday, the direct to market storefront, Bandcamp has hit another major milestone revealing that it’s taken over $100 million since it first started. They also added that it’s taken $3.4 million in the last 30 days alone.
Bandcamp’s a pretty unique prospect considering that the money fans pay for the digital tracks, physical product and merchandise available for sale on the platform goes directly to the artist/label. So, when you think about it, that’s over $103.4 million that’s gone into the pockets of the people who’ll hopefully be able to continue to make and fund challenging art as a result.