Kxngs – Through The Storm

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Image courtesy the artist

Kxngs is an electronic music producer from Brixton, London. His debut EP Earth Sign dropped on the Ex-local label.

Describing Kxngs craft other than worldly is hard. As he says, “No real Genre, just music.” His track “Through the Storm” premiered on the Boiler Room:

Lined with kinetic kuduro rhythms and shooting dynamic vocals, “Through The Storm” is spurred on by cascading strings. Drawing upon wide-spanning influences from his travels, Kxngs has created a jittery, upbeat marvel that’ll get any feet tapping.

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Pavel Dovgal – Floating Beams

From Russia with love (image via fb)
From Russia with love (image via fb)

Pavel Dovgal is an electronic producer from Russia known for his hodgepodge of sounds, most notably electronic, hip-hop, and downbeat. His forthcoming album on Berlin-based Mooncircle sees him expanding a multifaceted palette.

According to his Facebook page, his recent trips around Asia along with his studies of 70’s music and Ethnic African sounds have influenced the new album Aura. Take a listen to the euphoric teaser track ‘Floating Beams’ and you’ll hear samples from across the world. The album promises to bring listeners on a spiritual journey.

“Pieced together from sounds and samples from all over the globe, the album’s aim is to charge listeners with harmony and a feeling of connectedness to the world. Reflecting on his own attitude towards life and the importance of inner balance, Pavel attempts to share some of the spiritual experiences he made while traveling.”  — Project Mooncircle

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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.)