Joni Mitchell: A celebration

This month marks the 50th anniversary of Joni Mitchell’s debut album, Song to a Seagull – a modest, then-overlooked release which subtly sounded the arrival of one of the most singular, influential voices in the history of popular music. A voice we’ve sadly, but almost certainly, heard the last word from. The 74-year-old has released just one LP of new material in the past two decades, and the likelihood of suspending retirement slimmed further after suffering a life-threatening brain aneurysm in 2015. Indeed, Mitchell appeared to voluntarily bring the career curtain down at the close of last year, with the … Continue reading Joni Mitchell: A celebration

Fela Kuti: Unwrapping genius in a box, 20 years after the Afrobeat pioneer’s death

Commemorating the 20 years which have passed since his death, the latest Fela Kuti collection to hit the market – simply titled Box Set #4, and released today [December 15] – says much about the bewitched legacy of the Nigerian pioneer most observers credit with inventing an entire musical genre. Hailed as the propagator of Afrobeat, Kuti might be the continent’s most fetishised musical export. The style he both fathered and coined the name of is a quixotic brew, criss-crossing poppy Ghanaian highlife and West African Yoruba traditions with thick grooves repurposed from American funk, the soaring improvisational impulses of … Continue reading Fela Kuti: Unwrapping genius in a box, 20 years after the Afrobeat pioneer’s death

What Neil Young’s massive, monetized Archives dump means for the music industry

When Neil Young revealed plans to release every song he has ever recorded, on his own bespoke online streaming portal, it was just the latest, greatest piece of mindful self-curation from an artist who has historically enjoyed a contrary control over his own storied musical archives. Equally ingenious and indulgent, Young’s forthcoming interactive depository also surely represents the single most brazen bid by any artist of any age to regulate, and presumably profit from, their back catalogue in the digital era. Unveiled by the 71-year-old rocker in a rambling open letter – posted on the web address neilyoungarchives.com earlier this … Continue reading What Neil Young’s massive, monetized Archives dump means for the music industry