tue 27/02/2024

New Music Interviews

Mobydick: North Africa's outrageous rapper

Peter Culshaw

A couple of years ago I saw an extraordinary outdoor concert where a rapper called Muslim (great name if you want to be hard to find on Google) performed at the Timitar Festival in Agadir in the South of Morocco to 80,000 delirious fans. The song which everyone knew was “Al Rissala" (The Letter) which called out corruption and ignorance in high places. The Festival acts as a kind of safety valve for dissent.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Musician Marc Almond

Thomas H Green

Marc Almond (b 1956) grew up in Southport, on the Lancashire coast. He first achieved fame when Soft Cell, his Leeds Polytechnic art school electronic project with Dave Ball, much to both their surprise, had a huge global hit in 1981 with their electronic cover of an old soul song, the 1965 Gloria Jones B-side, “Tainted Love”.

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theartsdesk Q&A: John Lydon

Tim Cumming

It was first released on 23 November 1979, comprising three 45rpm, 12in records housed in 16mm metal film cans, and then reissued the following February as Second Edition, in the more friendly and familiar format of a double album, 33rpm, gatefold sleeve, lyrics on the back, no song titles, with just the PIL logo on the record label.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Musician Agnes Obel

Kieron Tyler

Agnes Obel’s new album Citizen of Glass is released next week. Conceptually underpinned by a fascination with the German idea of the gläserner menschen or gläserner bürger – the glass citizen – its ten compositions examine privacy, the nature of what is hidden, why it is concealed and question how much self-exposure is needed, whether in day-to-day life or as fuel for an artist. The glass citizen is one for whom everything is apparent.

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10 Questions for Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac

Ralph Moore

theartsdesk meets Christine McVie on a sunny Friday afternoon in September; the Warner Brothers boardroom (with generous hospitality spread) is suitably palatial. We’re the first media interview of the day, so she’s bright and attentive. McVie was always the member of Fleetwood Mac who you’d want to adopt: the most approachably human member of a band constantly at war with itself.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Musician John Foxx

Kieron Tyler

“The best and most confident debut since ‘Anarchy in the UK,’” said weekly music paper Sounds of the debut single by Ultravox! “Dangerous Rhythm” had been released in February 1977. “Cosmic reggae," declared Record Mirror. Melody Maker identified a “rare quality and haunting presence”. The NME said the song was a “reggae abstraction” and “mesmeric”. Ultravox! – the attention-grabbing exclamation mark was ditched in early 1978 – were off to a good start.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Musician/DJ Mark Hawkins aka Marquis Hawkes

joe Muggs

This is not a standard dance music story. Marquis Hawkes is one of the club music success stories of the past couple of years – since the first release in 2012 on Glasgow's revered Dixon Avenue Basement Jams, there've been many 12" club hits on multiple connoisseurs' labels, and his album Social Housing on the Fabric club's Houndstooth label has soundtracked many people's summer this year, with the artist all the while remaining anonymous.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Conductor Jules Buckley

Matthew Wright

Conductor, arranger and composer Jules Buckley is a notable champion of non-classical orchestral music. He has pioneered orchestral arrangements with singer-songwriters such as Laura Mvula, Anna Calvi and Caro Emerald. Even more boldly, he has established orchestral collaborations with numerous artists from rock and electronic music, including the Arctic Monkeys, Professor Green, Basement Jaxx, and electronic improviser Beardyman.

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10 Questions for Musician Jasper Høiby

peter Quinn

Copenhagen-born bassist Jasper Høiby moved to London in 2000 to attend the Royal Academy of Music. In 2005 he created the trio Phronesis which has toured extensively in Europe and North America and won awards for Jazz Album of the Year in Jazzwise and MOJO for its 2010 album, Alive, as well as a London Jazz Award for its "Pitch Black" performance at Brecon Jazz festival in 2012.

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Paul Simon Introduces 'Stranger to Stranger'

Adam Sweeting

Perhaps as a hopeful harbinger for Paul Simon's new album Stranger to Stranger, Disturbed recently topped Billboard's Mainstream Rock Songs chart with their flabbergasting version of Simon's 1965 song "The Sound of Silence". However, while vocalist David Draiman could launch a career as a new kind of Wagnerian baritone on the strength of his extraordinary performance, Simon himself is headed in a less stentorian direction.

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