Naomi Scott / Fifi Rong / Geovarn / Princess Slayer / Jungle Doctors / Bella Figura [Live Review – Under The Bridge, London, 26/2/2015]

music week radarAs a music venue embedded into Stamford Bridge (the stadium called home by Chelsea F.C.), Under the Bridge was an appropriately unique venue for this unique show. An industry showcase set up by trade paper Music Week, networking hub MusicConnex, promoters ILUVLIVE, and south coast music school BIMM, it goes without saying that the high-profile nature of this show inevitably brought its own special set of performance pressures. A quality showcase set has the potential to push an act to the next level, while a duff performance can see a band crossed off “Ones To Watch” lists in the blink of an eye.

On top of the potential for mind-freezing attacks of performance anxiety, this was not Read more…

Posted on 27 February 2015

Vuurwerk – ‘G.R.I.P. EP’ [Review]

Screen shot 2015-02-09 at 16.43.40G.R.I.P. EP opening track Black Aerial swings through discomfiting moods, a journey from foreboding to relief of a sort via dehumanised urban sexiness and funky bounces laid over threatening synthetic foundations. This EP’s title track traps multiple vocals within Read more…

Posted on 11 February 2015

The Zen Hussies – ‘Troubled Feet’ [Review]

From the likes of Lunatrix to Caravan Palace’s Parisian electro-swing and Falsense’s poky gypsy-prog intricacy, gypsy jazz has become a real infatuation here at TMMP. My earliest jazz manouche memory is of Mattias IA Eklundh’s cover of Django Reinhardt’s Minor Swing – and my most recent obsession is this album: Troubled Feet, as performed by Bristol’s very own Zen Hussies. Read more…

Posted on 22 January 2014

Approaching The End: Face-To-Screen With The World’s First Humanless Opera

hatsune miku the end

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The crowd is getting impatient. An eclectic mass of humanity presses up against the Théatre du Châtelet’s glass-fronted façade like extras in a zombie film. Across the Seine lies the Isle de la Cité, the floodlit Gothic towers of Notre Dame clearly visible. I am the only one who looks in this direction. Contemplating the night before, my first few hours in Paris.

Hatsune Miku awaits her audience inside as the doors open. Bulky security staff search bags and guide the Miku-hungry horde into the Châtelet’s lobby. A programme seller advertises his fashionably-bound paper products next to a Miku mannequin decked in a custom-designed Louis Vuitton dress and her signature twin teal pigtails, sculpted here as if she were stood before a professional-grade fan on a magazine cover shoot. The programme seller is ignored as the Miku mannequin fills dozens of smartphone screens, each one frenetically blinking as its operator strives to capture the perfect memory.

I make my way to the merch stand, considering a twenty-euro CD and an eye-catching t-shirt and thinking about the level of diversity present here. I’m at a concert starring a Japanese pop star who technically doesn’t exist, and yet there are relatively few examples of the socially inept über-geeks one might expect from such a billing. A good number of the people around me are arty types, clad in designer clothing and affecting haughty airs; others fit the bill of alternative music fans, skinny jeans and trendy t-shirts, while another portion is made up of female pop fans, predominantly Japanese, excitedly squealing and taking selfies on the stairs. 

A mutually confusing encounter with a cloakroom assistant and an exchange of apologies later, I am ushered to my front-row-centre seat. I take in the wide semi-circles of the multi-tiered balconies and the imposing curtain, adorned with a disturbing expanse of faded imagery simultaneously suggesting contemporary surrealism and barbaric medieval torture scenes alike.

Behind this curtain, we are told, the performance is now ready to start. Voices in three languages ask us to take our seats. The demonic curtain finally rises, revealing a plain black expanse. The second curtain is lifted. This is the beginning of The End.

Hatsune Miku is not like other pop stars. Whereas Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, and Justin Bieber had to be born, trained, discovered, and tweaked by image consultants, Hatsune Miku is coming the other way.

This is possible because she is not human. Hatsune Miku is both real and unreal. She exists as a concept, an idea. She exists in terms of digital information, the neural firings of those who discover and worship her, and in the beams of light projected onto screens during her live concerts. But this has not stopped her from attracting a legion of followers who treat her as if she were in fact made of flesh and blood, like you and me.

In short, Miku is a meme taken to a whole new level. Read more…

Posted on 09 January 2014

Caravan Palace – ‘Panic’ [Review]

Opinion

When you come across an album whose cover depicts a robot clinging to the Eiffel Tower like a French King Kong and swatting at flying saucers as they lay waste to Paris, you can be sure of one of two things. Either the music behind the art is going to be incredible, or it’s going to suck harder than anything you’ve heard before. Read more…

Posted on 02 January 2014

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