Noga Erez – Off The Radar

Image courtesy the artist

Noga Erez is an electronic music producer from Tel Aviv. ‘Off the Radar’ is one of the lead singles from her debut album of the same name.

Noga’s electro-pop vibes will most certainly remind you of MIA’s adventurism. Says the artist, “have this idea of giving people moments of thought and inspiration, and at the same time offering escapism and fun.”

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Dungen – Jakten genom skogen

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Frontman Gustav Ejstes (image via Bandcamp)

First, you emulate, then you make your own original work. That’s how Dungen frontman Gustav Ejstes came to making his own music after sampling ‘60s pop and psychedelia records when he was a teenager.

In 2007, he organized a full band to produce the album Tio Bitar followed by 2009’s 4, 2010’s Skit I All, before going on a five-year hiatus to make Alias Sak in 2015. Their latest record entitled Häxan drops this November. But you can download the atmospheric track ‘Jakten genom skogen’ now on Bandcamp.

The obsession with Kate Bush, explained

kate bush eat the music tricky

I first heard of artist Kate Bush on Tricky’s Back to Mine album in 2003. The former Massive Attack frontman also had this to say about the singer:

“I don’t believe in god, but if I did, [Kate Bush’s] music would be my Bible.”

Watch any of her iconic music videos. Her unique fashion sense and dances inspired the likes of Bjork and Tori Amos. Like David Bowie, she interpreted music as an act and sang and danced in a way that befitted the character of the song. So why wasn’t she a star like Bowie? One of her biggest admirers, Andre 3000 of Outkast, once explained:

“Kate Bush’s music opened my mind up. She was so bugged-out, man, but I felt her. She’s so f*ckin’ dope, so underrated and so off the radar.”

Before Bush became a recluse, she made 50 demo tapes by the age of fifteen, got signed, and eventually went on tour in 1979 to promote her first album The Kick Inside. As Emmanuel Happsis writes for KQED writes:

“And then she stopped touring completely, as if to say, I don’t need your validation. I will release life-changing music on my own schedule whenever I want and you will flake on your friends to stay home and cry to it.”

Like the release of any new iPhone, her life secrecy inspired ever more interest. She even made fans wait 12 years between album releases — she released Aerial in 2005 after 1993’s The Red Shoes. And finally, 35 years later, she’s back on tour in London.

Bush took an unusual, slow route to making music – making her fanbase beg for her reappearance. After a long wait, it is a relief to have her back.

Do yourself a favor and catch up on everything in ‘Kate Bush: A Crash Course for the Non-Believer.’

How the Internet Destroyed World Music

While searching for “world music” within Twitter one is most likely to find results about Justin Bieber’s “Around The World” track instead.  A simple Google search for the same keywords brings up a variety of institutes, theaters, and World Music networks.

Pre-Internet, “World Music” fans mostly consisted of academic Westerners interested in the globe’s otherness.  The music itself was essentially non-English and played with more natural, local instruments from Africa, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe, India, and the Middle East.  Celtic and Russian choir music could also be classified as World Music.

World Music still sounds native, unfamiliar, and far less digitized than mainstream music: Pop, Rock, and Rap.  It has its own category in the iTunes Music Store and hours of streaming on Pandora.

But today, world music either gets mixed into mainstream culture and reclassified or goes buried in the troves of mainstream music which dominate social media chatter.

Those non-Western countries that are highly connected have a greater chance to crossover.

South Korean Pop artist Psy for instance is a World Music artist whose viral video “Gagnam Style” earned him mainstream, Western Pop success. YouTube backed Psy, the same way mass radio Westernized Ricky Martin and Shakira.

Conversely, the digital divide prevents World music artists from successfully marketing themselves.  Not everyone has Pro Tools, an iPhone and high speed connectivity.  This is where World music becomes more of a world aid program than about the quality of the music itself.

Bob Marley, Fela Kuti, and the Buena Vista Club all demonstrated how commercialization strengthened their local culture.  The problem today is that the Internet just wants to Westernize everything.

For World Music, the digital era simply means it either gets absorbed and recasted or converted into an outreach program, known as World music.

(I originally wrote this piece for Flaunt Magazine but they never got back to me.)