Blue Hour and Philippa Pacho Start New Label, Positivesource

New Berlin-based label positivesource debuts on June 11th with src001, a compilation EP featuring Oprofessionell, Newa, Sugar and Alan Backdrop.

Founded by Philippa Pacho and Luke Standing, who produces under the alias Blue Hour and runs a label by the same name, the platform will focus on progressive dance music and early club culture.

Its confirmed roster of artists include Rove Ranger, Lady Starlight, Blue Hour himself, LDS and Alpha Tracks, among others. Each release will be accompanied by artwork by contemporary visual artists such as Aaron Elvis Jupin, who designed the forthcoming compilation’s cover.

“Our visual concept is to bridge a connection between figurative imagery and the iconic ‘smiley,’ which has been widely adopted by rave culture,” the cofounders explained in a statement.

Listen to a preview of src001.

Tracklist

01. Oprofessionell – SXTOOL

02. Newa – Maniac

03. Sugar – Make Them Forget

04. Alan Backdrop – Liaq

Dego Considers ‘The Negative Positive’ On Upcoming New Album

The legendary Dego is back next week with a new album, ‘The Negative Positive’.

It will be released on April 30 on vinyl and digitally via his own 2000black imprint which specialises in music from the African diaspora that crosses genre bounds.

‘The Negative Positive’ fuses techno, funk, boogie and more over its nine tracks, showcasing exactly why Dego is renowned as an innovator and boundary pusher. The album showcases two vocal features, firstly with Nadine Charles on ‘This Is A Message To You’, then with new 2000black signing Samii on ‘Recovered Memories’.

Dego recently released a four-track collaborative EP with Matt Lord, ‘Lord & dego’, which was released earlier this month.

Listen to single ‘The Disclaimer’ below, and preorder the album here.

Have You Met.. Zen Zin & Pawcut

Sudanese MC/Singer Zen-Zin and German producer Pawcut are not your average rap group. Zen-Zin lives and works in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, while Pawcut is producing his beats in a small German town called Minden. Nevertheless, the mix of Zen-Zin’s melodious flow and Pawcut’s skillfully layed beats make a perfect fit. “Next Flight Ontario” is the follow-up album to their debut “Butterfly Effect” on Jakarta Records. The pair took time to join our ‘Have you Met‘ Q&A serirs

Where did you grow up? How did you get into creating music?

Zen-Zin: Well, I was born in Sudan but then my whole family moved to Malaysia for a few years and then we came back, but I wasn’t into music back then. To be honest, it had never even crossed my mind, but one day my cousin had burnt two CD’s for my brother, one was filled with audio tracks and the other had music videos on it. The first song on the CD with the videos was Xzibit’s song “Multiply” which was beyond dope, but it didn’t change me or reel me in like that. The second song was Bow Wow’s “Basketball” featuring Fabolous which was also dope but again – it didn’t change me. The third song was the song that ruined my life and changed everything, the song was Bone Thugs & Harmony’s song called “Crossroads”. Now originally the song had come out in the 1990s but I was too young to understand anything and to be honest rap wasn’t in my world like that, so I was really late to the party. When I heard that song around 2005, they had already released three more albums, but that was a game-changer for me. Sometimes I wish I had never heard that song, maybe then I’d be happy and content with how things are, but everything happens for a reason – so it is what it is.

Pawcut: I grew up in a rather small city called Minden in Germany. Music has always been very present and important to me. The first thing that brought me in touch with actually getting creative in doing something myself was trying to do Ska/Punk in a band in the 80s (yes I’m old) and doing the standard rec/pause/rec Grandmaster Flash impersonations on a tape deck. About 20 years ago, after ways of life lead me to different paths, I started cutting records with two turntables and later samples into a Korg ESX 1 sampler and Fruity Loops. For the last ten years, music has been my main focus and passion.

What’s the music culture like in the city you grew up in?

Zen-Zin: To be honest, I don’t really pay attention to the scene in the city anymore. I used to but not anymore. We have a lot of talented artists here, but I can’t focus on what they’re doing and continue to better myself at the same time, so I just mind my own business and worry about what I’m doing. I wish everybody the best you know, I’m sure what they’re doing is dope, but it’s just not for me, you know.

Pawcut: As I said, it’s small, about 80k people, but we have a nice Jazz club and a Hip-Hop scene that has been more active in the past, but it’s still there.

What’s your relationship with Pawcut/Zen-Zin and how did you meet?

Zen-Zin: I had heard about Pawcut from a friend, but I didn’t know who he was and I’m 100% sure he didn’t know about me at all. I don’t even think he knows about me now lol, but we connected through emails, Facebook texts and everything just kinda fell into place and it just felt right. We had done like two tracks and then decided to keep it going and I won’t lie, I loved his production, it felt mature to me and it was definitely the first time for me to work with a bigger artist who knew what he was doing. There have definitely been a lot of teaching moments along the way and I won’t lie I was kinda intimidated… You have to understand that I wasn’t born into this nor do I know anyone who does this on a professional level. My closest friends aren’t artist, so all of this is new to me. I’m learning on the job every day, so obviously I’ve made a lot of mistakes, but with every new project, I hear and feel the progress.

Pawcut: We met about eight years ago and we’ve worked on music with little interruptions since. Zen-Zin is and has always been a very fast, clean and visionary vocalist to me. Meanwhile, we’ve been through some highs and lows as artists, but also on the ways of life side of things and becoming friends even though we never met in person. And that’s a lot in my world.

How have you tried to bring your Sudanese culture into your music? 

Zen-Zin: I reference some people sometimes in my music and maybe an incident that happened or a quick mention here or there, but I try to not mesh the two together because honestly, I don’t think that that’s what it’s about. I know some artist thrived off that like J.Cole and Kendrick Lamar, but that’s why I gravitated towards Drake more cause I just like good music. 

It doesn’t always have to have a hidden message or be about something, you know. Sometimes just being creative is enough. I don’t like to overthink it, I feel that’s where the art dies, but then again that’s how I feel. Maybe other artists like to whiteboard it and calculate every bar or hook or concept, but I just like it to be organic, it gives the music a longer shelf life in my opinion.

What is your relationship like with Melting Pot, and how has it impacted your music career?

Zen-Zin: MPM has definitely been a big help, I mean without them we wouldn’t be doing this interview here lol, I gotta show ’em respect and tip my hat to them for taking a leap of faith with us, cause this is a business at the end of the day so it’s a numbers game… But the fact that they took this risk with us, lets me know that they also care about the creative aspect of it and that’s rare in today’s world. I hope we don’t disappoint them, but you never know with music, cause you might release a project today and not get the results you want, but then again that same project might blow and start to do numbers four years from now out of nowhere so it’s a tough thing to gauge you know. I just want to personally thank Oliver and the whole team for the support and for believing in me and Pawcut and in “Next Flight Ontario”.

Pawcut: What Zen-Zin said… Also, you got to really give MPM props for rolling with us through the options to promote us beyond “sound” were rather slim. The album just released so time will tell about the impact.

If you weren’t making music, what do you think you would be doing?

Zen-Zin: If I wasn’t making music, I’d probably be a farmer or a getaway driver, you know… lol. I don’t really know, maybe a screenwriter cause I write a lot but that industry’s ten times harder so I don’t really focus on it too much, but if I wasn’t rapping I’d like to think I was being useful, whether to society or the world or even to the neighbourhood.

Pawcut: I don’t know, I assume I’d spend even more time with the stuff I do besides music which is long walking with the dogs, spending time with my wife I love to death and smoke lots of weed whilst watching brainless stuff on my tv.

Do you play any instruments, if not, which would you love to learn first?

Zen-Zin: I don’t play any instruments nor do I make any beats. I leave that to the professionals. I’m more of a “let me stay in my own zone and don’t touch anything kind of guy”, if I could learn to play an instrument I’d have to go with the piano, I like the sounds it makes especially when you know what you’re doing with it.

Pawcut: Nor do I. My parents tried to get me into piano lessons when I was five or six but I was way too unfocused – and they were not strict enough. 

Which other artists would you love to collaborate with most?

Zen-Zin: I used to want to collaborate with a lot of people but I don’t anymore. Maybe in the future, but right now I like how I and Paw do what we do. I like the fact that it’s just us, you know. There aren’t any ghostwriters or ghost-producers. It’s just the two of us doing what we want, how we want when we want. It’s actually similar to a “blade & whistler” situation for the marvel fans out there.

Pawcut: I think that’s a more complex thing to me than drop big names here now. For me even if I don’t meet someone in person, I need to have a feeling of chemistry that’s beyond a big name or band or even high-quality work. That’s a thing that comes with time and work you put in, not through “hiring” a vocalist or having a “plan”. I want to have an influence on my work that sees the light as well. That’s why I don’t sell my beats or put single beats of mine on multiple random projects or compilations. 

I have people like Zen-Zin, Pseudo Slang, Ella Mae Sueref, N-O, Dre Skuffs and others like my German regulars Katharsis and Headrick, where everything grew organically over the years. So I don’t really long for the big names or coups except it became an opportunity that felt right without forcing it.

How would you describe your rapping/singing style in three words?

Zen-Zin: Organic, conversational, and untethered.

Glaswegian Jazz Curator Rebecca Vasmant Announces Debut LP Release

Glaswegian musician, producer, DJ and curator Rebecca Vasmant
announces her debut LP ‘With Love, From Glasgow’, showcasing the
breadth of the incredible Jazz talent the city has to offer.

Having made a name for herself with a residency at Sub Club, Rebecca
took the lead in curating the first live Jazz showcases at the venue, also
running a popular record fair with the venerable venue and a spot on BBC
Radio Scotland and Worldwide FM.

While promoting and touring in over 22 countries constantly over the last
five years, Rebecca has honed her craft on production projects which
feature world class musicians from The Scottish National Jazz
Orchestra and more, her talents are not only in spinning records, but in
composing, producing and performing. Though known for its rich musical
heritage, Glasgow is not a city perhaps synonymous with Jazz.

Rebecca and her cohort of hand picked musicians set out to change people’s opinions. Rebecca explains: “There is such crazy wealth of talent in this city of
Glasgow and I wanted to make an album that helped to demonstrate this
and which captures my own love and passion for deep and spiritual music. This album highlights just some of the exciting things that are happening
here in Scotland and it’s been a real honour and pleasure working with the
hugely talented musicians who came together to collaborate in such a free
and beautiful way. During the time spent working on this music an
amazing family formed, something for which I am so grateful.”

Listen to ‘Jewels of Thought’ below.

‘Soul Food’ Spotify Playlist Update

We’ve updated our ‘Soul Food’ Spotify playlist with new music from a range of independent artists across the world. As ever we look to incoporate Hip Hop, Jazz, and Soul into this playlist, keeping our followers up to date with what we’re listening to. We have music from artists such as, Sabrina Starke, Samoht, Tom Bailey, Tora, Alan Taylor, Pher, Lindon Jay, Phony ppl, and music more.

Listen to the playlist below.

Mndsgn Releases New Song + Video ‘Slowdance’

Mndsgn shares a new song and video from his forthcoming album Rare Pleasure, out June 4th on Stones Throw Records. Celestial and hypnotic, “Slowdance” arrives with the perfect visual counterpart conceptualized by Mndsgn himself and directed by Eric Coleman. The video meets the artist on a glimmering beach as he sets up a transformative flower circle for two souls to find coalescence in the rhythm of the song. The new track follows last month’s single “Hope You’re Doin’ Better,” which came alongside a self-directed video.

Speaking on the track, Mndsgn says: “To me, the ability to deal with time and changes are tied to my ability to dance. The tempos speed up and slow down. Chords progress, weaving through tensions and resolves. The rhythms alternate from something familiar to something strange. Sometimes we adjust accordingly, sometimes we struggle to find the groove, finding ourselves a few beats ahead or behind. However we choose to dance is entirely up to our own expression. The point is to keep dancing whether fast or slow.”

Rare Pleasure is Mndsgn’s third album to be released on Stones Throw Records. Following 2016’s Body Wash, this album truly shows the artist’s evolution from his roots as a heralded beatmaker to vocalist, songwriter and arranger.

Watch and listen to “Slowdance” below.

Big Events And Festivals Could Be Cancelled Within Days

Large-scale live events will begin cancelling within days if the UK government does not agree to underwrite a protective insurance scheme, reports The Times.

The government has been warned by organisers that they will be forced to pull the plug on planned events if no security for covering costs in case of COVID-forced cancellation is offered.

According to insurance brokers, it would cost the state as little as £250 million to guarantee events such as festivals can plan to go ahead, and these could be worth billions to the UK economy if they do take place.

Music events organisations have been warning since the start of year that insurance will be necessary to prevent festival cancellations, with Glastonbury cancelling weeks later in January.

The UK music events industry received a major boost when festivals began selling out at record speeds and organisers were hopeful cancellation cover would be included in the recent Spring budget, but this was not forthcoming.

Julian Knight MP, chairman of the Commons digital, culture, media and sport committee, called the UK Treasury’s refusal to back such a scheme “inane”, adding that organisers “need the confidence to put plans in place and go ahead and lead to a summer of fun rather than a summer of none”.

Knight claimed there is “quite a lot of support” for an insurance scheme in government, but “it is the chancellor that has stopped it”.

He also revealed that the government had agreed to insure pilot test events planned to go ahead to test COVID-19 protocols, such as the two club nights planned to take place in Liverpool, which he said evidences a “market failure”, with insurers unwilling to provide COVID-induced cancellation insurance.

Paul Reed, CEO of the Association of Independent Festivals, said more than 90 per cent of its membership feels it cannot hold events this year without cover, and warned The Times events would begin being cancelled within days due to financial commitments needing to be confirmed far in advance.

Within hours of Reed’s comments, Northamptonshire’s Shambala Festival (pictured), which attracts around 15,000 attendees each year, cancelled for the second year running, with organisers stating that a “lack of government-backed insurance leaves us no choice”.

Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, chief executive of UK Music, said in a seminar hosted by the Let Live Thrive campaign that the “market failure is going to lead to a wave of cancellations”, adding: “It is also bad for the taxpayer. Lots of money has been spent supporting the sector. This is a way of getting away from government support. But the billions of pounds that could be generated for the economy will not happen.”

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden MP said last month that when there is more certainty about reopening of large-scale events, “the more we can have discussions about the insurance point”.

[Via: The Times]

New Report Shows UK Festival Line-Ups Still Have A Gender Balance Problem

Music festivals are set to return in the UK this summer but new research shows that issues surrounding gender equality still remain.

Research conducted by The Guardian found that out of 31 festivals, a majority were heavily weighted towards male performers.

Read this next: Are music festivals actually going to happen this year?

Analysis showed dance festival Creamfields featured a 91 per cent male line-up while Manchester-based Parklife was over 70 per cent.

Elsewhere, the Isle Of Wight Festival, which is set to be headlined by David Guetta, and three other male performers only offered a 27 per cent female line-up.

Maxie Gedge, UK project manager of music industry initiative Keychange, said: “It’s totally unacceptable that after a year of turmoil, women and minorities are being excluded from this return to live.

“We usually stay on the positive side instead of calling people out, but we’re getting tired. It’s not an accident any more, it’s a statement of exclusion.

“The fact that this keeps happening shows that there are certain festivals that just aren’t taking responsibility, or they’re not viewing it as their responsibility when, in actuality, it’s everyone’s.”

Keychange is the PRS Foundation’s initiative encouraging festivals to commit to lineups that are 50 per cent women and gender minorities by 2022.

Read this here: Ministry of sound to focus on homgrown talent

Other festival line-ups such as We Out Here are over 60 per cent male, while Reading & Leeds, Camp Bestival and Cross the Tracks ranges between 50-60 per cent.

Keychange highlights that diverse line-ups would refresh the talent pipeline and prevent events from becoming stale while enhancing their sustainability.

Gedge continued to tell The Guardian that exclusionary programming presents a negative message to attendees as well as society as a whole, especially as women, gender minorities and women of colour had been affected more by the pandemic.

“It’s really important that we take that very seriously and think about what we want the future of music to look like, and not what it did look like,” Gedge said.

Via Mixmag

The Simpsons’ Matt Groening Will Join Theo Parrish On NTS April 28th

NTS, the London station that has redefined internet radio over the last decade, is turning 10 years old.

To celebrate it will host a week of celebrations with 10 special guests curating both of its channels all day long.

Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons and the inspiration for NTS’ name, will be on curation duties alongside longtime friend of NTS Theo Parrish, Detroit titans Dopplereffekt, shoegaze icons my bloody valentine, Arca, Mica Levi, Laurie Anderson and more.

The special week of broadcasts will also raise money for The Global Foodbanking Network.

Proceedings take place from Monday April 19 to Friday April 23.

Matt Groening curated an edition of All Tomorrow’s Parties the year before NTS was founded while the station recently hosted The Sopranos‘ Michael Imperioli.

Full info here.

Electronic Music Spotify Playlist Update

Every fornight we update our spotofy playlists with 20 NEW TRACKS from indepdent artist we think you should be listening to. We have incldued names such as Felipe Gordon, Chaos in the CBD, Jon Sable, Ciel, UMFANG, Beatrice Dillion, as well as many more from electronic producers all around the world.

Listen to the playlist below.