This everyone, is the 26-year-old German God responsible for bringing us the incredible music that seamlessly flows throughout the world of Minecraft. His purchasable album, ‘Volume Alpha’, came to be through C418 (or Daniel Rosenfeld) chatting to the founder of Minecraft, Markus ‘Notch’ Persson, on a music channel. Notch then went on to personally ask C418 if he wanted to create some music-tracks for the game, as together they seemed to have almost “exactly” the same taste in music. When interviewed by BebopVox, he said it actually was a more “difficult” process then some would think, as most of his work struggled to fit into the atmosphere of the game.
C418 makes quite a lot of music outside the world of Minecraft though. This track ‘Familiar Faces’ comes from his early 2011 ‘Little Things’ album, and reflects the difinitive ambience that he works through a lot of his music. Other tracks like the 8-minute ‘Timelapse Kingdom’, shows his integration with a more ‘techno’ feel, yet still retains the transcendent atmosphere that C418 does so well. When asked about what his inspiration is though, C418 replied that over time he’s really come to “hate that word”. Inspiration becomes misunderstood with subconsciously ‘stealing’ other peoples music it seems, and that ultimately he never “wants to” rip off one of his idols, but subconsciously, no-one “can really help it”.
Little known to some, C418 is also responsible for many other various sounds found throughout the game Minecraft. One such sound being that the eerie cry of a ‘Ghast’ is actually a recording of C418′s cat. C418 is currently working on ‘Volume Beta’ for Minecraft, which hopefully will be eventually intergrated within the game, as well as plans for it to be used for the upcoming documentary on the making-process of the game itself.
Part 1 of a teaser-trailer for the upcoming Minecraft doco’:
Introducing the 6-piece, Britol-based ‘summerband’ Young Kato. With their upcoming 4-track EP to be released on us all on June 23rd, they’re already causing a stir in the UK with this teaser ‘Drink, Dance, Play’. Despite averaging an age of only 18 years old, they’re already playing shows of 7,000+ and even have Gary Powell (Libertines drummer) saying that they’ll definitely “go far”. With the little music they’ve released already, they already bear massive similarites to the major pop-bands out there today. Instrumentally, their music encompasses a similar vibrancy and the groovy-synth of a band like Friendly Fires. There’s also definite hints of Two Door Cinema Club in there, with the vocals of front-man Tommy Wright bearing similarities. Rock on gingers.
It’s easy to foresee a band like this playing in-front of thousands of screaming girls at some gigantic festival, but it’ll be interesting to see whether they have what it takes to make a real impression. The longer you listen to them, the more you can hear bands very similar to them, but ones that have made the big-time. You can hear The Vaccines, the beat of a bit of Mystery Jets’s old work, and even some of the light guitar stylists of a band like The Maccabees. In an interview to ‘The Middle’, they do cite these guys as some of their main influences. It’ll be interesting to see whether they can steer away from this ‘mash’ of bands, and cement their own mark on the alt-pop industry. They already seem to be creating quite an electric atmosphere around them though, with comedian/broadcaster Tom Deacon, BBC radio-presenter Annie Nightingale and Media Prima manager Paul Moss all having expressed their respect for the band. Young Kato urge you to give them a try, tempting any ‘would-be’ fans with a free download of their track ‘Lights’ which can be found here.
A little insight into the workings of Young Kato, and their live shows:
To me, the now 51-year-old Daniel Johnston reflects a perfection that relies on his overwhelming imperfections and completely raw approach to creating music. Johnston’s 20+ years of song-making means everything to him, and you understand by how much with lyrics that paint the story of a distorted life. Diagnosed with manic depression and schizophrenia, Johnston’s albums take his cult-following through the dark recesses of his thoughts. He fails to become a household name though, with his unique expression falling on deaf ears often. Some fail to hear the purity Johnston tries to convey through his music, whether it be about his love for Casper the Friendly Ghost, or his heart-wrenching songs on a tormenting, unrequited love like in ‘Tears’.
An advocate for underground-music, Kurt Cobain is one credited with bringing widespread recognition to Daniel Johnston. After photographed wearing one of his trademark ‘Hi, How Are You’ shirts at the 1992 MTV Music Awards, speculation on the man exploded. In an era before the internet, this was a gigantic, yet momentary, spotlight on Johnston, where beforehand his only notoriety had come from handing out his cassettes to people at shows. At the time though, Johnston has just been released after a year being forcefully institutionalised. The reason? While being flown by his father in a small two-seater plane, Johnston suffered a manic delusion and believed he was Casper the Friendly Ghost. He then went on to wrestle for control of the plane, took the keys from the ignition and threw them out the window. Luckily, his father was able to crash-land amongst some trees, almost killing them and leaving the plane in shreds.
The insanity of Johnston’s life is uncontrollably mesmerising, and I can only beg that more people watch the incredibly-made documentary on him, ‘The Devil and Daniel Johnston’. The documentary covers the breadth of his life, his personality, his music, his idols and his dreadful, suffocating delusions. It covers his obsession with the Beatles, and John Lennon especially, a love reflected in his track ‘Lennon Song’. Johnston is an actual rarity, not with his own take on a genre or style, but just simply attempts to control his demons through an avenue he knows how too; music.
Johnston’s MTV performance, completely nervous, but with an adoring crowd:
Alex Cameron, George Nicholas and John Hassell make up the experimental-electronic collective that is Seekae. The trio have constructed two albums so far, STFP (Sounds of Trees Falling on People) and +DOME, with both being a melting pot of their multi-instrumentalist talents. Their sound is a honed amalgamation of samples scoured for by the three for years, with their writing process involving each of them sharing their “bucket of sounds” they’d found that week (Sound Quality). Yet in addition to their usually eletronica/ambient post-rock sound, they still release tracks differ from everything previous, such as piano-based track ‘Forest Fire’.
This track featuring Ivan Vizintin from Ghoul, comes from their ‘STFP’ album and is one of their rarer tracks which incorporates vocals. Personally, I wish that Seekae and Ghoul would just mash together and create one ultimate ambient band, because Vizintin’s voice is something else. When talking to ‘Sound Quality’, the trio were told that by holding back on vocals and instead working on the “layering” of each track, it gave a distinct longevity against mainstream music. The boys agreed, and said they try to give it “as much depth as possible”, and if anything they made sounds like something else already, they’d simply “scrap” it and start over.
Seekae playing ’3′ from their ‘+DOME’ album against a sunrise:
Any track that begins with Jack Kerouac quoting ‘On the Road’ is going to be rememberable. The Jazzual Suspects could very well be a myth in the music industry, with it next to impossible to find any viable information on them. Yet with such a tranquil song, the craving to know more on them motivated me. For a more mainstream audience, those who know ‘Sleepyhead’ by Passion Pit will recognise the sampled line they use from Kerouac; “everything is going to the beat”.
‘This Beat’ originates from the sixth ‘Mushroom Jazz’ music compilation drawn together by DJ Mark Farina. It also features a second track by the Jazzual Suspects titled ‘Ba Dada’, which is found in the video below.
Featured on Mushroom Jazz #6, their equally excellent track ‘Ba Dada’:
22-year-old American, Trevor Powers, is widely becoming known under his stage name ‘Youth Lagoon’. His surprisingly short 8-track debut-album, ‘The Year of Hibernation’, released in September of 2011 and is a transcendent mix of electronic ambience and echoed, atmospheric vocals. Powers style of singing hugely reminds me of an artist like Daniel Johnston, who alike Powers, sung every line of his lyrics with devoted emotion, sometimes causing them to be indecipherable to his listeners. Although Powers seems much more in control of his career and direction of his music then Johnston was, who had severe manic depression and schizophrenia.
When asked by FakePlasticTunes about his influences during his writing process, Powers seemed a bit stumped. He replied saying that he really only recored “what felt right at the time”, but if had to name any, he’d name old artists like John Denver or Townes Van Zandt. When questioned on the limiting size of his 8-track album by FaceTime, Powers explained how during recording the album, he recorded all the vocals dry in his friends garage. It came down to the specific “microphone placement” he said, and that he felt “it wasn’t something that could really be re-created”. So after the ‘The Year of Hibernation’ started going viral, he didn’t really feel he could go back and add more music without “taking away from that original sound”.
Live at Mercury Lounge; playing tracks ‘Posters’ followed by ‘Seventeen’:
The indie-rock/world music mash-up that is Beirut officially began through the solo music project of lead singer Zach Condon. Although it soon took a serious direction and evolved into a six-man band, performing their first gig in May 2006 to promote their debut-album, ‘Gulag Orkestar’. Being a multi-instrumental musician, Condon’s main instrument differs between a ukulele he bought as a joke-prop, and a Flugelhorn, a variation on the trumpet. The band primarily revolves around Condon and his own writing process, with him saying to FaceCulture that he’d always been “afraid of losing the music when other people were involved”. Yet now after playing live shows for over 5 years, Condon says you can’t help but grow as a musician and now completely “trusts them”.
At only 15-years-old, Condon was already making music. Under the name Realpeople, he made an 21-track electronica-styled album titled “The Joys of Losing Weight” which was leaked onto the internet recently. For his age the album is surprising well-constructed, quite simple, yet very easy to listen to. Unfair really.
Condon’s track ‘Untitled #1′, off his “The Joys of Losing Weight’ album:
No time for boring, ugly girls. 24-year-old Canadian Claire Boucher, otherwise known as ‘Grimes’, is finally reaping in the joys of success after her third album ‘Visions’. Corporations like Pitchfork Media gave the album very positive reviews, listing the albums in their ‘Best New Music’ category. It was while studying in Montreal that this side-project of making music became more and more serious, eventually taking up so much of her time that the university expelled her. Thankgod they did though. Her debut-album ‘Geidi Primes’ was published uniquely on cassette back in 2010, with her second album ‘Halfaxa’ incredibly released later the same year. The sound of her voice reflects vocal styles found in prominent artists like Enya, yet Grimes sings in a higher pitch. I think that the universe glitched if someone this attractive is capable of making music of this calibre.
Her audience seem to be the ‘big-pupiled’ kind, promising her night-time shows as a chaotic experience. Speaking to Google, Grimes said how one of the best shows she had played was where “some guy on ecstasy” tried to steal her keyboard while she was playing it. She said it was “just funny” and had to yell out for help while wrestling with the guy for it. Her music varies in rhythm and style also, such as the comparision between this dubstep-esq track like ‘Oblivion’ to the transcendent ‘Skin’ or ‘Zoal, Face Dancer’.
Incredibly intimate full live show by Grimes with KEXP:
He’s only 25, yet a member of the respected ‘Magnetic Man’ band, has a successful solo career under the name ‘Skream’ and is widely considered as one of the initial pioneers and innovators of the dubstep genre. Oliver Jones (as he was born) released his first self-titled album ‘Skream!’ in 2006, of which came tracks like ‘Midnight Request Line’ and ‘Blue Eyez’. These songs alone were revolutionary steps, let alone the album as a whole. Jones took upon a more melodic beat and tone in his production process, marking a turning point in the dubstep genre away from mere ‘underground grunge’, as it was known.
Skream began his involvement in the music-industry during his mid-teens, working at Big Apple Records while mixing and recording his own tracks at home. He works closely with fellow artist Benga, who is one of the members of their dubheroes ‘Magnetic Man’ band. They frequently record and play live sets together, describing their process as a ‘creative competition’ between the two. Together they both credit ‘Digital Mystikz‘ as being a major influence, speaking of Mala & Coki as founding fathers of the dubstep genre.
His second album in 2010 titled ‘Outside the Box’ found more moderate success, giving us ambient melodies that ‘Perforated’ provides, yet balancing it with wonderfully scattered tracks like ‘Fields of Emotion’.
Skream’s solo track ‘Filth’, a favourite of his because of the hard to copy bass-line.
What person with this kind of incredible post-dubstep/electronica talent teases his following with only two songs? The enigma that is the British songwriter/producer Jai Paul, that’s who. He’s taking his time, feeling no need to pump out an album despite the moans of the public. This is playing to his advantage, only prolonging and frenzying the desire for follow-up tracks. The man has already man such an impression with hardly any time in the industry spotlight. Beyoncé sampled this track ‘BTSTU’ for her single ‘End of Time’, as well as it being recycled by hip-hop artists like Pusha T from Clipse and Drake in his single ‘Dreams Money Can Buy’. Paul is seemingly a natural master it this game. He brings finesse to an organised chaos of digitalised effects, structured sub-bass, a beautifully tight electronic drum-beat and tops it off with James Blake-esq falsetto layering it all. Lovely.
After releasing ‘BTSTU’, Jai Paul went straight into the running for the BBC Sound of 2011 poll, and was announced as ‘Hottest Record in the World’ by Zane Rowe on BBC Radio 1. Since then he’s only released one additional track on March 30th, 2012 named ‘Jasmine’. Critics and his almost cult-following lapped it up, rumours beginning to blossom on what was next to come; whether it be a new single or signs of an album. Watch this space. Definitely.