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
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
The world of rock ‘n’ roll has lost its most distinguished elder, with the passing of Chuck Berry at the age of 90 in his home state of Missouri on Saturday. Berry was not just the genre’s greatest architect, but also its archetypal great-grandfather – cranky, irreducible, immutable and utterly inimitable. Fittingly, he outlasted nearly all of his peers, still thrilling audiences onstage until late 2014. Those pioneers still standing cannot match Berry’s staggering, monumental influence on the genre which came to define the second half of the 20th century. It might have been The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and … Continue reading RIP Chuck Berry: Remembering Rock n’ roll’s greatest architect – obituary
In the past few weeks I’ve found myself revisiting the thoughts I shared in one of the first personal columns I ever wrote. Penned close to a decade ago, as an eager, aspiring student journalist, I’d just been to see … Continue reading RIP Bowie: It’s high time to appreciate our rock legends while they’re still alive
Somebody That I Used to Know has sold more than ten million copies worldwide, topping the charts in 23 countries; it’s one of the most successful pop songs of recent years. But why? Rob Garratt dissects the track to take … Continue reading Anatomy of a hit: Just why is Gotye’s Somebody I Used to Know every-f-ing-where right now?