5 Gigs you cannot miss this week: 26th June - 2nd July.

Real Estate, 26th June @ Rough Trade East.

The week kicks off with a live show and album signing from U.S. lazy rock icons Real Estate. After having played Glastonbury the night before the band are swinging by Rough Trade to give something back to their fans before continuing their tour around Europe. First come first serve, so get yourselves down to Rough Trade East for 18:30 to avoid disappointment!

 

Mike Will Made It, 29th June @ XOYO.

Hip-hop producer extraordinaire Mike Will Made It will be taking over the decks of XOYO this Thursday for his UK Debut. Fresh off the back of Kendrick Lamar's 'DAMN.' Mike can easily be considered one of the most sought-after names in modern hip-hop. With beats for the likes of Future, Rihanna, Migos & Rae Sremmurd, expect a night filled with the highest quality hip-hop.

Final release tickets available on Resident Advisor!

 

The Maccabees, 29th - 30th June @ Alexandra Palace.

The-Maccabees.jpeg

The London indie rockers return for one final tour before their deeply upsetting departure from music. After 14 years of making music together the band promise to throw an incredible farewell show as a thank you to all their fans continued support. If you have never had the fortune of seeing these guys perform we cannot urge you more to get down to Ally Pally this week!  

Don't sleep on it! Grab the last few tickets here.

 

Rhythm Section X Infusions, 30th June @ Corsica Studios.

London's most exciting independent label and Stamp The Wax off-shoot Infusions join forces this weekend at Corsica Studios. Across three rooms Rhythm Section, Stamp The Wax and Australian Wax'O Paradiso host a variety of the most exciting and diverse DJ's from around the globe including German maestros Session Victim & Rhythm Section label boss and all around good guy Bradley Zero. 

This is certainly the place to be this weekend, more info and tickets here.

 

DJ Yoda, 30th June @ The Jazz Cafe.

If you're not in the mood for house this weekend then don't worry, Soul City at the The Jazz Cafe has you covered! Mixing a variety of, hip-hop, funk and soul this weekend they host London's own DJ Yoda, renowned for his huge range in style and live video DJ sets. The perfect feel-good event for anyone looking to get down this weekend.   

Early bird tickets still available here!

 

CORD Label Series // Stones Throw Records

Over the next couple of weeks we will be sharing a series of posts based on some of our favourite record labels to date. Each post will include a write along with a playlist showcasing the artists represented by the labels. To kick off this series we are taking a look at one of the most significant labels in hip-hop...
 
If you were to ask any dedicated music fan what the most influential and progressive label in modern hip-hop is you are almost certain to hear the name Stones Throw Records. 
 
Founded in 1996, by Chris Manak aka. Peanut Butter Wolf, Stones Throw has continuously pushed the most unique and progressive new sounds in hip-hop to the forefront of the modern music scene. Over the years Stones Throw has boasted a huge variety of groundbreaking releases from Madlib and MF Doom’s ‘Madvillainy’ to J Dilla’s ‘Donuts’. From the very beginning Peanut Butter Wolf sought to establish this label in order to create a home for the outsiders of the music world, perhaps most importantly the music that he and rapper Charizma had made throughout the late 80s and early 90s. However, this desire to promote Charizma & Peanut Butter Wolf did not stem from a vain desire for fame and profit, but in fact a selfless desire to posthumously commemorate his friend in the world of music. Manak has stated that it was through Stones Throw, DJing and beatmaking that he was finally able to come to terms with the tragic and untimely loss of his music partner and best friend. 

It is for this reason that Stones Throw has always been a deeply personal project for Manak, it’s reputation and legacy reflecting not only upon himself but that of his former-collaborator too. Now 21 years old, Stones Throw still continues to challenge our perceptions of music and genre due to Manak’s unrelenting and uncompromising musical subjectivity. Manak has stated that for him Stones Throw is reserved exclusively for artists and music that he is personally inspired by, not what the public may enjoy, but instead purely what Manak himself sees as innovative. It is for this reason that Stones Throw has always seemingly favoured the outsider. This passion for the unique and eccentric has established the label as one of the most creatively liberated spaces in music attracting a variety of oddball artists such as Dam-Funk & Quasimoto. Having passed on a multitude of more successful and established artists in favour of these lesser-known experimentalists it has become even clearer than Manak and Stones Throw will always value personal expression and innovation over financial gain and will be remembered as one of the most distinctive and diverse independent labels in recent history.
 
This exceptional musical range is on full display across the label’s roster, from the trademark Stones Throw hip-hop sounds of skewed and distorted psych beats and soulful and jazzy samples to the world outside of hip hop such as the Disco stylings of Mayer Hawthorne, or the Hallucinogenic Slacker Rock of Mild High Club:
 

 If you’re looking to expand your knowledge of the label even further, then have a listen through our Stones Throw dedicated playlist and put some time aside for the critically acclaimed documentary “Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton”: 

The Sonic Logo

Today's extract from Sonic Branding: An Introduction focusses on the short-form version of a brand's musical identity, the sonic logo. In my many years of working in the field, I have found sonic logos to be the 'Marmite' of audio branding - you either love or hate them!

Chapter 23 - Sonic Logo

Particular reference within the guidelines must be given to how and where to use the sonic logo. The visual symbols of brands are important. Often viewed with a reverence that dictates they should be used sparingly and sympathetically. The guidelines for a sonic logo must convey the same understanding.

It is always going to be undesirable to overplay a logo, just as it is undesirable to neglect it and not play it enough to gain recognition and build associations. The guidelines, therefore, must lay out the rules for when and where the sonic logo is to be employed, as well as identifying the key applications where the sonic logo could have particular resonance.

A checklist for usage of a sonic logo on television is shown in Table 23.1 (below). The same questions and evaluations need to be made for commercial radio; Table 23.2 (also below) indicates additional points to consider here.

An area of specific interest with regard to radio, rather than TV communications is opportunities to hear (OTH). Radio tends to deliver more frequency of exposure than television, because of its relatively low media costs, so the danger of creating listener fatigue to a single sonic logo is far greater. Listener fatigue is the single greatest hazard in the usage of a sonic logo. Very high frequency of exposure will tend, in many instances, to lessen the effectiveness of any sound to draw attention. Furthermore, the ability of a sonic logo to cause audiences to switch from hearing the radio to listening directly to a brand communication will usually be diminished with overplaying.

Sonic logos will behave like any sound that is heard so often that it becomes wallpaper. Think of the person who lives next to the railway but sleeps through the night no matter how trains pass. The brain can become accustomed to sounds and learn to ignore them. Thus, the overall frequency or OTH of any sonic logo must be carefully monitored.

There is no universal truth, however, regarding effective frequency. The optimum number of exposures is not yet known but there is a common sense correlation between the musical complexity of a logo and the OTH at which listener fatigue will become an issue. The relationship is as follows: a sonic logo made up solely of a simple melody line, played on one instrument, will be very easily remembered and understood. In Europe, an example of such a sonic is the one that belongs to Direct Line, the insurance services group.

 

Direct Line

If you have heard it once, it is as if you have heard it a 1,000 times. It holds no mystery or complexity. It is a fairly generic ‘cavalry charge’, played with heavily synthesized brass sounds. It was created under the aegis of ad agency Davis Wilkins around 1989 in the UK, when Direct Line launched as one of the first telephone-based companies in Europe. Chris Wilkins, creative director of the agency at the time is said to have described the sonic logo as an ‘old fashioned advertising gimmick’. It is said by Andrew Ingram, now of the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) but then account planner at Davis Wilkins, that the development of a sonic logo, together with a visual counterpart, a red telephone on wheels, was encouraged by Steve Ashman, marketing manager at Direct Line, because he believed they would maximize results from audience testing of memorability, branding, communication strength and persuasive power.

In the tests, specifically the Linktm test carried out by research company Millward Brown, Ashman was proved correct. Direct Line’s launch TV commercial is said to have ‘blown the numbers off the dial’. The sight of the little red telephone driving over a hill to the rescue, accompanied by the sound of a cavalry charge played on what sounded like a telephone keypad had tremendous resonance. The launch activity ran for around six months on television and by the time follow-up activity was being planned, the red phone and the sonic logo had become a part of the TV audience’s understanding of the brand to such an extent that it was deemed impossible to drop the sonic from future advertising.

Direct Line was and remains one of the most important launches ever in the UK insurance market and it set an agenda for ‘direct’ marketing of services from the supplier to the consumer via the telephone that continues to impact countless brands in the UK. Almost every retail sector now has a number of players with ‘direct’ in their brand name as a consequence of Direct Line’s impact as a business model and as a consumer launch.

The ad campaign won the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) award for effectiveness in both generating response and building a brand at the same time. At the start of the 1990s, this was one of the holy grails of the media planning and buying industry and Direct Line became an iconic brand for those working in the industry just as it had for audiences. Creatively, too, Direct Line was aspirational to such an extent that a number of copycats hit the insurance market very quickly. Most notable of these was Admiral Insurance. It launched in 1993 with a strategy closely mirroring that of Direct Line. It had an admiral, holding a telescope to his eye, on the lookout for the best insurance quotes and he had his own sonic logo to accompany his search. Like Direct Line, the sonic logo was a single melody line, this time a sailor’s hornpipe rather than a cavalry charge. It was played on a synthesized instrument of no discernable lineage but it sounded very, very similar to the synthesized brass of the Direct Line logo. The similarities were so close that in research carried out by the sonics team at Capital Radio, there was over 70% misattribution of the Admiral sonic back to Direct Line.

It was pretty clear that the copycat sound was potentially damaging to both brands and Admiral seems to have abandoned it some time in 1998. Admiral, though, made Direct Line realize that its sonic logo was too open to being copied by other brands and, in 1998, they made some changes. The melody of its logo become more distinct — replacing the traditional, generic cavalry charge — and was made longer. The arrangement became slightly more complex, too. This allowed the new logo to become easily copyrightable as a piece of music, as a result of which it became easier for Direct Line to apply for and gain trademark status for its sonic logo. The Direct Line logo is incredibly powerful and is well respected within the organization for what it does. Jim Wallace, marketing director of the insurance company, who oversaw its regeneration and trademark registration, told us that the audio—visual logo regularly achieves astonishing results in research groups. Recognition and recall levels of over 90% are the norm, the kind of levels that only Coca-Cola and other ‘top’ brands usually achieve.

Sonicbrand’s own research tells us that people in the UK do remember the Direct Line sonic logo more than any other apart from Intel. This has a potential downside to it, however. in that the same research shows Direct Line’s sonic logo to be the most irritating around. This is not necessarily the bad news it seems. First it is only irritating because it is so memorable. Second, the ‘irritating’ sound of the logo ensures that it cuts through the background hum of advertising and grabs attention; it is most definitely distinct in the current marketplace. Third, the simplicity of the logo fits emotionally with the simplicity of the offering.

Direct Line has recognized that their logo is potentially irritating and altered the way they use it to accommodate this factor. It is not overplayed. lt is not on every ad for every product and it is sometimes used quite softly as underscore to a voiceover and only rarely given a full volume, ‘listen to me’ outing. Wallace makes the excellent point that the redesign of the logo has created a musical property that could. if the need arose. be extended into full brand scores, which would give the brand some healthy flexibility in its approach to future sonic branding.

Daniel M Jackson - CEO, CORD

Audio Branding Guidelines

Today's extract from Sonic Branding: An Introduction takes us from the creative process to the development of musical guidelines.

Chapter 22 - Sonic Guidelines

The third component of the some brand identity is the guidelines document. In conjunction with the brand score and the sonic logo, this document should contain all the strategic, technical and creative information required to create expressions of the brand that are consistent with the identity and thereby relate back to the belief and values of the brand. Guidelines documents can vary greatly, dependent upon the scope for sonic branding exposed during the audit phase. Each sonic touchpoint will require its own guidelines and as a result, the document can become very weighty indeed.

Creatively, the guidelines should describe the sonic language, brand score and sonic logo adequately that two skilled composers could create new works that fit seamlessly with one another and have the desired emotional fit with the brand. The compositional guidelines, therefore, must include musically technical information such as the melodic and harmonic structure of the brand score and sonic logo. Standard musical notation is used to describe this.

Melody

Melody is defined as the series, one after another, of musical notes that make up a tune. Melody is the component of music that is most readily processed by our brains, requiring a low level of involvement from the listener to become recognizable and memorable. It is generally the melody of a piece of music that we will whistle after listening. It is rare, except for the most involved and trained musician, to remember and whistle a bass line or rhythm guitar part of a popular song.

Because of the ease and speed with which we remember melodies, this part of the identity is usually at the very heart of the sonic logo and always forms a major part of the brand score and guidelines.

Harmony

If melody is the series of notes. defining harmony is to identify the notes that are placed in parallel, underneath the melody. Sonic guidelines are not always the place for advanced musical theory but some reference to the type of harmonies that are core to the identity is generally deemed useful. In this way, specific modes of harmony as might be archetypal of jazz or rock or classic styles can be defined for future reference.

Key signature

The key is a particularly important piece of information for establishing a creative platform that can be built upon independently by composers. The key of a piece of music describes which set of related notes have been used and the notes that can seamlessly be used in further work.

Simplistically, there are two types of key: major and minor. Major keys ound characteristically comfortable and minor keys are characteristically interesting.

Time signature

One other element of the compositional guidelines that is always included is the time signature, which defines the overall rhythmic feel of the brand score. Thus, by defining a key and a rhythm in the guidelines, we can help ensure that all subsequent sonic branding has a basis in the identity.

A full description of the sonic language is also desirable. This is the technical definition of the instruments used, including. Where applicable, the names of keyboards, sound modules or samplers and the settings employed. Again, this is very useful information for composers and ensures consistency in all new work.

On some occasions, for example where singing has been used as a part of the language, the contact details of an individual performer have been included in guidelines as they have provided a unique contribution to the sonic language. A specific vocal element may or may not become a key brand property but should it do so, it is important that future sonic branding can utilize the same voice and thus be consistent...

Daniel M. Jackson - CEO, CORD

Audio Branding - The Music Brief

Today's extract from Sonic Branding: An Introduction takes us from the audio moodboard through to the development of a music brief.

Chapter 20 - Identity

At the end of the moodboard workshops, we are faced with one of two scenarios. If the process is based upon big idea moodboards, then the third stage of the sonic branding engine sees the creative director armed with a musical moodboard and the feedback of the decision-making group. This feedback will have information regarding each component of the moodboard and how closely its emotions match the desired expression of the sonic branding. There will also be some detailed intelligence regarding specific instruments, rhythms or sounds that are particularly liked in the context of a brand communication.

As shown earlier in our examination of the nature of brands, the identity level of a brand is incredibly important because it exists at a higher level than the experience of the stakeholders and must represent the belief of the brand. Similarly, in the sonic branding engine, the identity level is the most important creatively and strategically, as the use of the sonic branding across each touchpoint gains its consistency and distinctiveness primarily as a result of how it relates back to the identity level. The identity level is primarily concerned with building a system of sonic branding that will be capable of generating the distinct, memorable, flexible and honest identifiers that a brand needs to generate belief among stakeholders. As such it is the beating heart of sonic branding.

There are a number of ways of creating the system and each one, strategically and creatively, will be different. There are some components, however, that are common to all sonic brand identities. These are the sonic language, sonic logo (TM) and guidelines. 

Chapter 21 - Sonic Language

The visual branding world is very familiar with the concept of a language system. This would traditionally be composed of a colour palette, a font, perhaps a photographic style, layouts and shapes that are considered the language of a brand and can be used in most combinations in branded communications. In the world of sonic branding, the language system required is at least as complex, if not more so. What creates the difficulty is the fact that sound has a relationship with the passing of time that visuals, apart from film which is rarely used in brand communications, do not share. A brochure or a press ad stands still. Sonic branding moves through time. As a result, it is much harder to define than colours or shapes. There is no set classification for sounds as yet because the temporal element gives sounds an infinite number of possibilities. Therefore, we are inventing the equivalent of a Pantone system as it goes along, though I doubt we will ever reach the point where all sounds are classified and numbered.

The sonic language aims to assemble the sounds identified during the creative process so far and express these in a clear and understandable was as the sounds will become the cornerstones of the brand’s sonic identity.

In the first case, where big idea moodboards are the only reference, it is the job of the creative director to identify the sounds that have been well received and interpret these in an own-able way. For example, where a piano melody may have been deemed on-brand, it is obvious that the piano reference will itself already belong to an existing piece of music. It is necessary, therefore, for the creative director to take the instrument and create a new melody that has the same emotional content as the piece referenced in the moodboard.

Exactly the same principle relates to any ambient sounds that are deemed on-brand in the big idea moodboard stage but are obviously pre-existing and subject to another’s copyright. In this case, it is the job of the creative director to source and record a similar sounds that can then be owned by the brand. Allowing the creative director the chance to reinterpret the brief that has come from the moodboard is a great opportunity for generating the distinctive magic that should be sought in any new music or ambient sound.

Where value moodboards have been employed, the sonic language is well defined by the time the identity stage is reached. There is less room here for interpretation of the sounds by the creative or composer but that is not to say that the creative’s work is finished, far from it. The sonic language identified needs to be expressed in some way that will allow it to make sense to the decision—making group and to those who will create the brand experiences further down the line. To do this, the sonic language’s temporal relationship must be expressed as must the inter-relationships of the different elements of the language. This expression usually takes the form of a brand score.

The brand score is a piece of music that brings together all the elements of the sonic language: vocal, instrumental and ambient sounds. It can vary in length, depending upon the richness of the language defined at the identity stage and will usually introduce a melody that is new, distinct, recognizable, own-able and memorable for the brand. It is in the creation of the brand score that the creative magic of music is given its chance to live.

Process is what leads to an accurate brief and clear understanding of the brand but a spark is required to go from the process stage into true creativity. Brand scores, even when the sonic language has been pre-defined and agreed, can and should be surprising because the sonic branding must be new and distinct.

The brand score is perhaps the most important piece of the sonic branding process because it will contain all the rational and emotional information required for future sonic branding work. That said, it is not designed for use in external touchpoints for the brand. It is an expression of the sonic language in its purest form and as such has no specific reference points for the experiential contexts that apply to specific touchpoints. For example, the brand score may be three minutes in length. Simplistically, a radio ad may be 30 seconds duration or an office environment may require some branding for nine hours every day. Though the information required to create pieces of these varying lengths will be contained within the brand score, it in itself cannot be chopped into pieces or put on constant repeat to work fully in these scenarios. The first creative work that the brand score informs is the sonic logo. In truth, they are created simultaneously as the logo is always in the composer’s mind while the brand score is designed.

Daniel Jackson, CEO - CORD

5 Gigs you should see this week: 15th -22nd May

This year has gone so quickly its hard to believe that we are in the middle of May. We have another week full of great live music from an eclectic mix of artists.

YUNA, 16th May @ KOKO London

Yuna is a Malaysian singer-songwriter who began on MySpace and now collaborates with Pharrell Williams and Usher. She released her third album, Chapters, in 2016. Her voice is smooth as honey and you can see her in KOKO on the 16th.

Click here for tickets.

BEBE REXHA, 18th May @ KOKO

If you haven't heard of her specifically, you will have heard Bebe's voice, I promise. She featured on 'Hey Mama,' David Guetta's big chart hit, and she actually wrote the chorus too. She's the blasting voice on Martin Garrix' 'In The Name Of Love,' and her own singles 'I Got You,' 'No Broken Hearts' ft. Nicki Minaj, and 'Bad Bitch' ft. Ty Dolla Sign have also taken the pop charts by storm. She can work with any rapper she wants, from Nicki to G-Eazy, and is a smashing songwriter.

Click here for tickets.

GAVIN DEGRAW, 20th May @ o2 Shepherd's Bush Empire

Gavin DeGraw burst onto the scene when his song 'I Don't Want To Be' was used as the American TV show 'One Tree Hill's theme tune, and he hasn't slowed down since. He has worked with Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic and Colbie Caillat, showcasing the very best of pop rock and acoustic. He recently released a catchy country-rock song: 'She Sets the City on Fire,' and is currently touring Europe.

Click here for tickets. 

 

KT TUNSTALL, 22nd May @ The Barbican

KT has been a UK favourite since around 2004, when she performed 'Black Horse and the Cherry Tree' on Jools Holland, and released the album 'Eye to the Telescope.' 'Black Horse' was one of the most successful singles and most radio-played songs of 2005 in the United Kingdom, and she broke America when her single 'Suddenly I See' was used in the opening credits of the film 'The Devil Wears Prada.' Since then, she has been a shining light of folk music for the UK and she comes back this summer from the US to play shows for us, back home.

Click here for tickets.

Mac DeMarco 'This Old Dog' Review



 

When many people think of Mac DeMarco they think of a laid back, unpretentious artist who doesn’t seem to take himself or the world too seriously. This easy going nature and reputation as a lovable goof is what draws many people to his music. However, behind the songs about cigarettes, the on-stage antics and the lovable gap-toothed smile lies a wounded, insecure and deeply emotional man. This side to DeMarco is on full display throughout ‘This Old Dog’, an album that sees Mac delve deeper into the truths behind his public persona.

 

Nobody can deny that DeMarco has always been very truthful about his personal life within the media. From his relationship with his long-time girlfriend Kiera, to his close bond with his mother, Mac is unashamed to talk about the most personal aspects of his life; ‘This Old Dog’ takes this openness one step further. In the official bio of the album DeMarco states that “one of the main goals for this record was trying to make sure I retained some kind of realness”. The core of the album shows DeMarco being truthful with himself and reflecting upon the affecting relationship with his absent father. In past interviews DeMarco has made no attempt to conceal his disdain for his father, once openly referring to him as “a piece of shit”, and yet throughout the album DeMarco still displays a lament for the father-son relationship he never had, specifically upon the heartfelt closing track “Watching Him Fade Away”. ‘This Old Dog’ is an album that confronts fatherhood not only for Mac as a son, but as a future father. Although only 27 years old, it is clear that DeMarco is beginning to face his own future and his responsibilities as a partner and potential father in the years to come. This realisation results in an album where the wacky antics and playful guitar licks of the past are subdued in favour of acoustic guitars, smooth organs, and the occasional harmonica.

 

For some fans the album may not seem progressive enough, too slow, or even one note, however this change marks an important musical maturation for Mac DeMarco who, in the past, has received most praise for his upbeat and catchy tracks and occasionally favoured his distinctive style over substance. On this album this is not the case, DeMarco delves deeper into the laid-back and emotionally driven elements of his previous work, such as the crooning love songs “Let My Baby Stay” and “Still Together”, which result in beautifully sincere tracks such as “Moonlight On A River” and “One More Love Song”. It is also clear that DeMarco draws from a variety of new musical influences across the album as an attempt to update his unique style. The album incorporates a twangy country influence, reminiscent of instrumental track “Boe Zaah” from ‘2’, and even a bossa-nova inspired rhythm on “Dreams From Yesterday”. As the album progresses, we are able to understand that this is a record that DeMarco has made for himself, he refuses to play the one dimensional character many people mistake him for and seeks instead to develop himself more as an artist and person resulting in a new, cleaner, breezier, light weekend-afternoon sound.

 

All in all, ‘This Old Dog’ amounts to Mac DeMarco’s most personal and emotionally engaging album yet, in both sound and content. Where before it may have been easy to escape into DeMarco’s music without paying full attention to the lyrical content, by placing the album’s primary focus upon his own emotional struggle and expressing his anxiety in becoming like his father Mac allows himself to showcase his true lyrical capability and render himself a more relatable and respectable songwriter; one capable of vulnerability and maturation whilst maintaining the effortless sincerity, warmth and laid-back demeanour that captured our hearts in the first place.

The countdown to Festival season

 Here at CORD we love live music in all of its forms and we aren't the only ones - there are over 1070 festivals listed on website eFestivals! We have scrolled through the line-ups to bring you a collection of this summer's festies that we think are worth going to (don't worry we've made sure that tickets are still available).... And if you keep your wristband on, who knows, you might even find yourself bonding with a stranger who's been to the same one!

 

Boomtown, Winchester, 10-13 August

The Specials, M.I.A, Cypress Hill

For one weekend every year, a country estate near Winchester turns into an entire vibrant, pulsating town complete with a cinemas, barbershops and a mayor. It’s a whole alternate reality with it’s own running storyline. There are secret hotels with beds and actors playing all sorts of weird roles. Everyone and everything is part of the experience. And while this is all going on, there are 23 different stages, it is the only UK festival specialising in reggae, ska and dub, but with so many stages comes a massive variety of genres ranging from folk to drum and bass. 

Get your tickets here: https://ww2.theticketsellers.co.uk/boomtown-2017/

 

Lovebox, London, 14-15 July 

Frank Ocean, Chase & Status, Jamie xx, Jess Glynne

Lovebox is consistently one of the best London festivals, packing in as much fun into two days as most only manage in three. This year sees Frank Ocean playing his only London date in his European tour and he’s joined by a genre-blurring line-up, ranging from of DJs like Jamie XX and Kaytranda to soulful RnB stars like Solange and Sampha- and everything in-between. And then, once the live music stops, the after parties begin.  

Get your tickets here: http://loveboxfestival.com/info/lovebox-tickets/

 

Secret Garden Party, Cambridgeshire, 20-23 July 

Crystal Fighters, Metronomy, Toots and the Maytals

With DJs in treehouses, Secret Garden Party is a forest rave mixed with a woodland fairytale. Situated in the Cambridgeshire countryside next to a huge lake, SGP is probably the most picturesque festival you could go to. The music varies from folk bands to dance tents but, like Glastonbury, there’s loads going on beyond the music with workshops and theatre dotted around the site. This year will be the last ever SGP so make sure you get there if you can! 

Get your tickets here: http://www.theticketsellers.co.uk/tickets/secret-garden-party-2017/10041476

 

Bestival, Dorset, 7-10 September 

The xx, A Tribe Called Quest, Pet Shop Boys

Bestival has moved away from the Isle of Wight on to the mainland to Dorset for the first time this year. Organisers have promised to usher in a ‘new era’ by continuing the primary focus on fancy dress and quality acts both new and old. Famous for it’s colourful experience,  the party goes on til late. But it’s not all dancing to the early morning, Bestivalers can explore the smaller tents or visit the massive selection of street food trucks. 

Get your tickets here: http://www.bestival.net/tickets

 

NOS Alive, Lisbon, 6-8 July

The Weeknd, The xx, Foo Fighters, Depeche Mode, Alt-J, Blossoms, Savages, Warpaint, Rhye, Glass Animals

NOS Alive is undoubtedly on of Europe’s finest festivals. It’s an open-air rock, indie and pop festival in the Portuguese capital which attracts huge names as well as up-and-comers. Set on the sunny coastlines, festival-goers work on their tans during the day and then party into the early hours of the next day. Complete with great camping, a swimming pool, a free shuttle service and some outstanding kebabs, it has quickly become one of Europe’s best loved festivals. 

Get your tickets here: http://nosalive.com/en/tickets/

 

Sónar, Barcelona, 15-17 June 

Justice, Nicolas Jaar, Moderat, Eric Prydz, De La Soul, Fat Freddy’s Drop

Now in its 22nd year, Barcelona’s massive electronic and alternative music festival Sonar hostsacts from an expansive range of styles. Industry professionals and music fans alike go to see the most respected names in the electronic music sphere. While you aren't raving in Barcelona’s local clubs, there are a number of conferences, seminars and workshops making it one of the most unique festivals in the world. 

Get your tickets here: https://sonar.es/en/2017/tickets

 

Dekmantel, Amsterdam, 3-6 August 

Steve Reich, Bicep, Nina Kraviz, Floating Points, Jom Hopins, Marcel Dettmann

Dekmantel is the place to go to find the cutting edge of underground techno, house and experimental electronic music. With meticulously curated lineups, the festival is becoming something of a pilgrimage for electronic music fans. With incredible sound systems in some of the coolest parts of the city its the perfect location to get your fix of house, techno and trance. 

Get your tickets here: http://www.dekmantelfestival.com/tickets/

 

Lollapalooza, Paris, 22-23 July 

Red Hot Chilli Peppers, The Weeknd, Imagine Dragons, Lana Del Rey, DJ Snake

One of the US’ biggest music festival is coming to Paris for the first time this July and it’s bringing a whole host of global superstars along. With a massive variety of acts, the iconic festival has something to offer all different manners of music fans. The Paris festival promises to emulate the famously inclusive atmosphere and fine attention to detail to ensure a fantastic weekend for everyone. 

Get your tickets here: https://www.festicket.com/festivals/lollapalooza-paris/2017/

 

Dimensions, Pula (Coratia), 30 Aug- 3 Sept 

Grace Jones, Moderat, Jeff Mills 

Croatia plays host to a number of huge festivals like Outlook and Hideout but rather than big-drop EDM culture it’s more about underground DJs. Set right on the coast, you can chill by the beach all day and head out to one of the boat parties. It’s set a quite spectacular nineteenth- century fort equipped with all the trimmings. You’ll be partying in the courtyard, the ballroom, the dungeon and even the moat. 

Get your tickets here: http://www.dimensionsfestival.com/tickets/

 

WirelessFinsbury Park, London, 7 - 9th July

Chance The Rapper, Skepta, The Weeknd

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Every year without fail Wireless Festival boasts some of the biggest, best and most elusive headliners in hip-hop and R&B. With previous bookings such as J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar and the entire original line up of A Tribe Called Quest, the 2017 programme is living up to the reputation Wireless has established for itself and has booked some of the most exclusive artists in the game. Both single and multi-day tickets are still available and are certainly advised if you don't think you can handle the wait for these artists to step foot on British soil again!

More information on tickets here: http://www.wirelessfestival.co.uk/information/ticket-info

5 GIGS YOU SHOULD SEE THIS WEEK, 8th- 15th May

This week includes a huge throwback gig from one of the biggest girlbands of our time, a couple of great dance gigs and a couple of guys who can work magic with a guitar. It's up to you which one you choose!

TLC, 9th May @ KOKO London

TLC have been ranked the greatest female group by VH1, and placed at number 12 on the list of 100 Greatest Women in Music. Their 1990's hits 'Creep,' 'Waterfalls,' and 'No Scrubs' are still played today and they are officially 90's royalty. If you want to take yourself back to the good ol' days, get tickets.

 

JONAS BLUE, 10th May @ Heaven

Jonas Blue is the genius songwriter and DJ behind hits 'By Your Side,' 'Perfect Strangers,' and the remix of Tracy Chapman's 'Fast Car' which flew to number one in 2015. He uses the vocal talents of Dakota, Raye and JP Cooper behind booming summer beats to create songs that now dominate the radio. Tickets are cheap and available here.

 

JOHN MAYER, 11th May @ The O2 Arena

John Mayer has had the hearts of thousands of music lovers for 15 years, releasing 15 albums during that time, jampacked with folk, country and singer songwriter ballads like 'Your Body Is A Wonderland' and a cover of Tom Petty's 'Free Fallin'. Tickets here.

 

Frank turner, 13th May @ Roundhouse, London

Turner began his career in a punk/ rock band, Million Dead, who parted ways in 2005, and he then fell victim to the beauty of folk and country sound, releasing an EP in 2006 and then the critically acclaimed 'Tape Deck Heart' in 2013, which included the well-liked single 'Recovery.' Catch him at the Roundhouse on the 13th.

 Click here for tickets.

 

JAMES HERSEY, 15th May @ the camden assembly

Austrian indie-pop artist has hits under his belt like 'Coming Over,' which was mixed by Dillon Francis and Kygo, and remixed by the likes of Tiesto. His vocals also feature on Filous' 'How Hard I Try.' He's now a staple of electro and indie-pop summer tunes, and he releases a new EP on May 5th, 'Pages.' 

Catch him live here.

 

 

How To Build An Audio Moodboard

Today's extract from Sonic Branding: An Introduction describes the method for developing an audio moodboard. The audio moodboard is an integral part of our creative process, not only because it enables us to refine the music brief, but because it takes our clients on a journey of learning and insight.

Chapter 19 - Moodboards

With the audits completed, we usually have plenty of reference materials to fuel the next part of the process. Our backgrounds in advertising and the media led us to believe that there were great benefits to using visual moodboards as an aid to a visual brief. When describing any creative guide, it is almost always useful to use stimuli other than the written and spoken word to give ideas form. Similarly, our backgrounds in music and theatre taught us that creating demo tracks or listening to pre-existing music with the intention of learning from the most appropriate pieces were very strong steps towards the creation of great music and design in sound. Bringing together this knowledge, we developed a creative process around sonic moodboards.

There are two types of moodboard that we use. The first is the ‘big idea’ or ‘belief’ moodboard. Like any visual moodboard, this is a collection of reference materials that approaches the central belief or idea of the brand in varying ways. In the visual world, I have seen moodboards covered with anything from beads to fake fur, carpets and pictures from magazines or logos from cars or supermarkets. Jon Turner introduced this approach to Enterprise IG, the WPP—owned brand consultants. There is validity in the living moodboard for sonic branding briefs but we have found the visual context they present to be distracting, particularly when entirely non-visual touchpoints such as the radio have been identified for inclusion in the branding.

As a result, in the sonic world, the reference material for moodboards is entirely audio and is dominated by the use of music that has been composed to convey an overall emotion or belief that is similar to that of the brand. There is such a broad range of music available today that almost any situation has already been composed for. Thus, we rely upon our knowledge of what is out there to select the right pieces for any one moodboard.

This is How We Do It

Of course, a vast and well-referenced music library is a great help as is the encyclopaedic musical knowledge of individuals within Sonicbrand. A particularly rich seam of material is the vast archive of film scores that have been created over the last 75 years. If one considers just how many scenes have had music written specifically for them, it is easy to imagine that almost every emotion has been tackled musically in the cinema.

From Charlie Chaplin’s own compositions for the 1931 movie City Lights to Badly Drawn Boy’s 2002 scoring of Nick Hornby’s About a Boy, the vast output of Hollywood, and indeed Bollywood, has created as rich and diverse a selection of reference material as could ever be imagined. It is possible to argue that the finest composers of the twentieth century expressed themselves primarily through movie music; Max Steiner in the1930s and 1940s was responsible for the themes to Gone with the Wind and Casablanca, for example. Elmer Bernstein created true classics in the scores for The Magnificent Seven and The Great Escape. Henry Mancini expressed the essence of The Pink Panther more eloquently in his theme tune than any other component of the film managed. John Barry (Zulu, Midnight Cowboy), Ennio Morricone (The Mission, Cinema Paradiso), Bernard Herrmann (Taxi Driver, Psycho) and John Williams (Star Wars, Schindler’s List) can be listed among the truly great composers of the last century. They are responsible in so many ways for how we experience the movies and for the great emotional impact the medium has on its audiences.

Every film score, of course, is different and every moodboard is distinct and new in its own way too. The choice of reference materials evolves throughout the briefing and auditing stages. It starts from as broad a base and range of styles as possible. Every piece of music ever written is a candidate. From there a narrowing and refinement takes place as pieces with the right emotion are retained and moved forward as pieces that do not fit the brand are discarded. Eventually, a moodboard that closely reflects the central belief of the brand is assembled. It will ideally consist of eight or more pieces that aggregate to express the big idea in its entirety. Each individual component, however, can never be perfect on its own as every piece of music has been written for a context or purpose that is different to that of the brand.

It is always important to have a number of pieces in the moodboard for another reason. When presented as a direction for musical creative work, a single piece of music can often be latched onto by the decision makers for a project. Once established as the ‘ideal’ piece within their minds, it is hard for the piece to be replaced, no matter how good the new composition maybe. This scenario will be familiar to anyone who has ever presented creative work of any kind that was accompanied by a single piece of ‘guide’ music. It is common practice in advertising agencies to present ‘animatics’, the sketch stage of TV commercials, to their client with a hastily chosen musical accompaniment. On many occasions these tracks, to nobody’s great advantage, end up being used for the final commercial because they have become lodged in the client’s psyche. In many ways, once the ear and mind link a piece of music with a visual context it is almost impossible to separate them again. Thus, to escape this potential straitjacket, we always have a number of different pieces of reference music at this early stage.....

Daniel M Jackson, CEO - CORD

5 GIGS YOU SHOULD SEE THIS WEEK, 1st- 8th May

From country to grime, this week is an interesting one for our gig goers. Check out the unbelievable roster of talent below and choose a gig to get to!

THE SHIRES, 2nd May @ London Palladium

The Shires, country duo, had the fastest-selling UK country album in history when it was released in October 2016, and became the first ever English country act to be signed to a major Nashville label when signed to Universal Nashville. They fly the country flag for us Brits and will be in London for one night on the 2nd May. Tickets here.

BLONDIE, 3rd May @ Roundhouse

For four decades, Blondie has been a 'national treasure.' One of the most well known punk bands whose influence still reverberates in music, they produced hits like 'Heart of Glass.' 'Fun,' and 'The Tide is High.' Tickets to see them are available here.

STORMZY, 4th May @ 02 Academy Brixton

Stormzy, a born and bred Brit, just finished a set at Coachella and has become the first artist with a number one grime album in the charts. He's blown up this year and will most likely only get bigger and bigger, so catch tickets if you can for his show in Brixton before he performs at Glastonbury and becomes an A-List star.

J HUS, 6th May @ The Forum Hertfordshire

J Hus, a 20 year old rapper from East London, was unsigned until he gained rapid recognition this year. After appearing on Stormzy's Gang Signs and Prayer album and releasing his own singles 'Lean and Bop' and 'Did You See' in early 2017, he has racked up 8 million views on each song and doesn't show signs of slowing down.

Grab tickets to see him here.

JOHN MORELAND AND NOAH GUNDERSON, 8th May @ Union Chapel, London

Both American singer-songwriters, Gunderson and Moreland travel across the world to perform 20 minutes outside of London. Gunderson went from being in bands to flying solo, and has a roster of harrowing and beautiful songs including 'Family.' Moreland sings rootsy alt-country which tugs at the heartstrings, for example 'You Don't Care Enough for me to Cry.' They both perform separate sets, and tickets are available here

Sonic Branding Process

Today's extract from Sonic Branding: An Introduction begins to describe the creative process associated with the development of 'sonics' - better known these days as brand anthems and mnemonics. This book was the first of its kind to introduce a process that combined branding strategy and creative thinking to develop long-term musical assets.

Chapter 18 - Creative Learning

The brand brief gives us an understanding of the brand, primarily through the verbal expressions of staff and the graphic and written expressions contained in documents. The next stage, creative learning, is where we truly start to uncover how the brand will eventually express itself in sound. We do this through a series of audits and group discussions of sonic moodboards.

Historical audit

As we saw in the first two sections, sound has been used for many years by many great brands, but in reality all brands already express themselves in sound. The vast majority have made no impact on their audiences because they have missed the crucial points of consistency over time and across touchpoints but even the most seemingly silent brands communicate through sound somewhere.

The first step in the creative learning stage involves listening to the brand's pre-existing sonic touchpoints. These will obviously vary by brand but can include historic approaches to advertising, telephone hold systems, office music, events or corporate videos. Wherever it may be, we always uncover some heritage, even if it is best forgotten. Sometimes though, the historical audit throws up some interesting, remarkable or even breakthrough information and even the most seemingly quiet brands can sometimes have a rich heritage in the use of voice or music. Music on a corporate film, for example, may have been absolutely spot—on for a brand but because of the way the project was undertaken or the cost of licensing the track, it will have become lost in the history of the brand.

The historical audit will uncover a brand’s own instinctive approach to sonics and use it as a reference for the future, consistent approach that will be implemented. Occasionally, it will even throw up a sonic branding property right under the noses of the brand guardians and when it does, it shows how uncovering a brand’s sonic heritage can be incredibly powerful for helping brand guardians to realize just how important sonic branding has been in the past for their brand.

When working recently for BP, we uncovered some sonic branding for one of their most respected sub-brands; Castrol GTX. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Castrol used a single piece of music consistently in its advertising. Even hearing it today makes me remember the ads with the oil running down the side of the can. Despite this, the BP folk, when asked if the corporation had any sonic branding gave a resounding no, until they were reminded of the sonic branding that their 1970s ad agency had provided for them. This discovery added much weight and reassurance to the sonic branding process and really brought home how powerful sonics can be.

Daniel M Jackson - CEO, CORD

Best Practice Sonic Branding

Extract from Sonic Branding: An Introduction - how the sonic branding industry has looked to the world’s leading visual and experiential branding agencies for best practice process.

Chapter 17 - Brand Brief

We realised quickly that in order to build sonics from a brand perspective, with the flexibility to work across all platforms and media through time, we would have to start with a very solid understanding of the brand before we got near to the creative work itself.

Luckily, we were not the first business that needed to establish how to take a brief on the nature of a brand. By working with the world’s leading visual and experiential branding agencies, we became exposed to the many ways in which graphic and 3D design are briefed from a brand perspective. Igor Stravinsky once said that a good composer does not imitate; he steals. I like to think that what we did was steal the best bits of everyone else’s brand-briefing process and apply them to our needs.

We need the brand brief to inform our creative work and make it consistent with everything else that the brands puts out as touch points. With it, we can generate consistency and, though it is sometimes a long and drawn out process, the long-term reward for getting it right at this stage is that it enables the rest of the process to move more smoothly. Specifically, the brand brief involves the brand guardians imparting their knowledge of the central belief or big idea of the brand. Certain scenarios facilitate this. 

Where brand guardians have called upon the services of a strategic branding agency such as Landor or Enterprise IG before addressing sonics, the central belief of the brand is almost always clearly visible in the work that these agencies carry out. As a result, access to documents such as the brand guidelines can give us additional information to supplement the discussion sessions that must inevitably take place. Written documents can never be the only source of a brand brief as they are often open to wide interpretation but they give great clues to the formal nature of the brand. They also demonstrate how the brand is already interpreted graphically. Visual branding has many parallels with sonic branding and by viewing logos, fonts, shapes and colours, we can be inspired regarding the sonic interpretations yet to come.

Daniel M Jackson, CEO - CORD

5 Gigs You Should See This Week including Ed Sheeran and Migos: 24th- 1st May

This week includes an eclectic mix, from canonical singer songwriting to the best of current hip hop and rap, there's something for everyone. Enjoy the sun and check out the best gigs to head to this week.

MIGOS, LIL YACHTY, and QUALITY CONTROL, 26th April @ 02 ACADEMY BRIXTON 

Three-piece rap group Migos rose to fame this year after releasing 'Bad and Boujee,' and together with Atlanta rapper Lil Yachty who is also managed by Quality Control music, the squad made up of some of hip hop's most exciting talent of the moment are performing on two nights in Brixton. Expect recognisable bangers and their new collaboration, 'Peek-A-Boo.'

Tickets here.

MISTAJAM presents Jampacked, RUM COMMITTEE X RAG'N'BONE MAN, 27th April @ XOYO

MistaJam was voted 2016 Broadcaster of the Year by The Radio Academy, and broadcasts for BBC 1Xtra, representing "the breadth of UK musical cultures." He performs a set at XOYO alongside UK DJ Hip Hop collective Rum Committee and Rag’n’Bone Man, plus sets from DJ Dobby (Represent Radio). He's "one of the most powerful influencers in UK music today" and takes XOYO by storm before heading off to festivals abroad during summer.

Tickets here.

BOB DYLAN, 28th April @ London Palladium

One of the most influential global singer songwriters for the last five decades, Dylan performs three intimate shows at the London Palladium, which are the last dates to be added on this tour. Tickets here.

 

JAY SEAN for #orphanaid, 29th April @ Troxy

Jay Sean rose to prominence with his 2009 single 'Down,' which made him the first UK urban act to top the Hot 100. He has since released a string of hits, including 'Do You Remember,' and more recently 'Make My Love Go' ft. Sean Paul and this week's release 'Do You Love Me,' sure to be a summer hit. On the 29th, Sean leads the  charity concert held by Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty and boxer Amir Khan, aiming to raise both vital funds and awareness of the plight of orphans in South Asia. Tickets here.

ED SHEERAN, 1st May @ 02

Ed recently released his new album Divide to much critical acclaim, after surprisingly returning to music after a year's break with 'Castle on the Hill' and 'Shape of You.' The album went to number one immediately and he broke records with 16 different songs in the UK Top 20 Charts at the same time. The tour is sure to be just as much of a success as the album. Get tickets here.

DAMN. Review

As one of the most devout Christians in Hip-Hop, it is perhaps fitting that Kendrick Lamar has achieved an almost godlike status within the industry. He is at a level none of his contemporaries are even close to, consistently achieving commercial, artistic and critical success. However, it is perhaps more ironic that it is this level of acclaim and his loyalty of faith that has led to the self-doubt and pessimism at centre of DAMN.

DAMN. is an album of consequence, and internal conflict. It communicates the point Kendrick is trying to make on almost every level. From the track names to the album sequencing, Kendrick seeks to teach us about the fragmentation we all feel, and present his meditations upon behaviour and what makes a person who they are.

The personal and political aspects of Kendrick's music have been present from the very beginning, but DAMN. provides a middle ground between 2012's Good Kid, m.A.A.D city and 2015's To Pimp A Butterfly that contains some of Kendrick's most personal and emotional music yet, while simultaneously commenting upon the state of society and morality.

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DAMN. is certainly the most pessimistic view of society Kendrick has put to album yet. His morals and faith, usually the foundations of his work are shaken. He reflects upon human nature and our motives, specifically in the final lines of DNA where he states "Sex, money, murder—[are] our DNA". On FEEL Kendrick reflects upon the state of our selfish state of society and claims "The world is endin’, I’m done pretendin’, and fuck you if you get offended”. It's evident that Kendrick is vulnerable on this album, he's unhappy with the world, unsure of himself, his fame, his voice as a social activist. This is a theme that runs throughout the album but is perhaps most clearly alluded to in FEAR where Kendrick draws parallels between himself and the biblical tale of Job. Throughout the album he portrays his duty to society and the burden it brings is as a test from God himself. This emotional burden is what has led to Kendrick's questioning of faith and morality. Just as he notes on FEEL, "I feel like the whole world want me to pray for 'em, But who the fuck prayin' for me?"

Tackling huge concepts, evident from the very track names such as PRIDE, GOD, LOYALTY and LOVE, Kendrick attempts to analyse human nature and the conflict between our inherent desires and moral expectation. This conflict is reflected in the album sequencing coupling tracks together to reflect the duality and connections within life .i.e. LUST, LOVE or perhaps most interestingly FEAR, GOD and Kendrick's own legacy of his name DUCKWORTH. GOD and DUCKWORTH represent the two patriarchs in Kendrick's life, to which he has an eternal duty: The Holy Father and his own Father, Kenny Duckworth.

Lyrically and conceptually Kendrick delivers yet another album at the cutting edge of Hip-Hop and modern day poetry in general. However, perhaps most impressive is the manner in which Kendrick is able to consistently reinvent himself with every album.

DAMN brings an entirely new sound to Kendrick's catalogue. Instrumentally, the jazz and funk inspired style of 'To Pimp A Butterfly' has gone. The collaboration with the likes of Thundercat and Kamasi Washington have been replaced by Steve Lacy, 9th Wonder and Badbadnotgood who assist in the construction of this new sound, from the trap style beat and hectic beat change of DNA, to the phone recorded lazy guitar led PRIDE and even a fully fledged, Jeremih-esque R&B track in the form of LOVE.

Though Kendrick deliberately creates a fragmented and disorienting listening experience, there is something within DAMN. that keeps it sonically cohesive and fuses a variety of disparate styles and genres into a fluid album. 

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The album, unlike Kendrick's previous work is not as concrete in its message, it asks the listener to reflect upon themselves and to draw their own conclusions, it is not simply stating right or wrong or detailing the injustices of the world it asks the lister instead to question their own injustices and morals, their vices and desires.

DAMN. focuses upon our development, our actions and our convictions. Kendrick teaches us to reflect upon the consequence of our actions, to act and treat people the way we wish to be treated. In these uncertain times, Lamar makes the case to act morally, love thy neighbor, regardless of the circumstances or personal burden.

Duet it right

When we heard that Linkin park, Stormzy and Pusha T had collaborated on a track called Good Goodbye there were a lot of puzzled faces in the office. It then prompted a small argument over whether or not we should listen to it... We did and we must admit we weren't fans, the mega mix of genres and artists just didn't sit well (sorry guys). However, we love a duet in the office, whether it's during our Christmas Karaoke session or someone's birthday. That being said we got to talking about some of our own personal duet favourites past and present.

Trish's Choice : Alicia Keys and Jay Z, Empire State of Mind (2009)

This one absolutely smashed it. Everyone was singing it constantly for months. The cultural significance lead to it becoming the anthem for the City.  The song was written as a tribute to where both artists grew up, and became Jay-Z's first number-one single on the charts as a lead artist.

Hannah's choice: Tom Jones and Stereophonics, Mama told me not to come (1999)

'It's a tune.' This song is a timeless singalong classic, played at any karaoke party, marrying Tom's smooth vocals with the rocky Stereophonics sound. They surprisingly complement each other and it reached number four on the U.K. Singles Chart in 2000.

David Bartley's choice: Stevie Nicks & Tom Petty, Stop dragging my heart Around  (1981)

Petty wrote this song for his band, dubbed 'heartland rock,' and once Nicks jumped on it and it was released in 1981, it peaked at No. 3 on the American Billboard Hot 100 for six consecutive weeks. The melody is described as 'dark and sinister,' but we think it's beautiful and reminiscent of simpler times.

Nat's Pick:  Snoop Dog and Pharrell, Beautiful (2002)

 

If you were born in the 80's or 90's, this song should take you back to being in love with Pharrell as a 12 year old girl.  Anything Pharrell touches seems to become a summer hit (even if released during winter) and this song belongs on any old school Hip Hop playlist. Snoop adds his signature smooth and soft vocal delivery, and their work means that 15 years on it's still a tune.

Dan's choice: Bing Crosby & Frank Sinatra, Well, Did You Evah (1939)

They are two of the most well known musical figures of the 20th century, and when starring together they can't be beaten. Sinatra took inspiration to start out on his singing career from Crosby’s success, which we think is pretty amazing, and this song solidifies their spot as legendary musicians. 

Cicely's choice: Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney, Say Say Say (1983) 

 

Two of the world's biggest pop stars came together in 1983 to write 'Say Say Say,' and the song consequently became Jackson's seventh top-ten hit inside a year. It was number one in America, Canada, Norway, Sweden among others and the video shows the two icons in California acting as con artists. It was credited for 'the introduction of dialogue and storyline to music videos.'

Daisy's pick: Drake ft. Rihanna, Too Good (2016)

'Too Good' is one of many of Rihanna and Drake's collabs, and features a sample from Popcaan's dancehall 'Love Yuh Bad.' It has a similar Caribbean-inspired polyrhythm that Rihanna's 'Work' held, and they smashed it as usual. 

If you enjoyed a sample of this then check out our Spotify playlist especially for more of our favourite duets past and presents,

This list could go on and on. I wonder what will be the biggest collaboration of 2017? Any thoughts?

5 Gigs you should see this week including Bruno Mars, Giggs and Ben Pearce: 17th- 24th April

We hope you had an eggcellent bank holiday and looking forward to another week of live music, from chart toppers to brilliant live artists, so check out our choice of gigs to go to this week.

Bruno Mars, 18th April @ 02 Arena

Bruno, the King of 'blinged up funk' is back with his 24K Magic album and consequent international tour. After the success of 'That's What I Like,' and '24K Magic' this year, the show is bound to be full of energy, a chance for 'indulgent escapism.' Not to mention that he's brought along Anderson. Paak as his support act. You've probably been persuaded.  

Tickets here.

Charli XCX, 20th April @ The Jazz Cafe

Charli dropped a mixtape last month, 'Number 1 Angel,' which features MØ, Uffie and Raye. Along with her previous songs, 'After the Afterparty,' 'Boom Clap,' and her feature on Iggy Azalea's 'Fancy,' she has a roster of hits under her belt, showcasing the best of 'moody yet catchy pop.' 

Tickets here.

Giggs, 21st April @ Eventim Apollo Hammersmith

Giggs has been releasing acclaimed rap for almost ten years now, and is still going strong with his 2016 album, Landlord. He was also just featured twice on Drake's playlist, More Life, so is no doubt in high demand. 

Tickets here.

Ben Pearce, 22nd April @ The Nest, London

Ben Pearce burst onto the house scene a couple of years ago with 'What I Might Do' and along with his just released 2017 EP, Ascension, he has the power to make your Saturday night a pretty great one. 

Tickets here. 

Isaiah Rashad, 23rd April @ Koko London

American hip hop recording artist, singer, and record producer Isaiah creates honest music, and his "anxieties bleed through the rap revelry in verse." He has collaborated with Kendrick Lamar, SZA, and ScHoolboy Q to name a few, and tickets are still available to see him at Koko

Click here for tickets.

The Sonic Branding Engine

Today's extract of Sonic Branding: An Introduction turns its attention to establishing a model of how to create great sonic branding.

Chapter 16 - This is how we do it

What we will seek to do in the chapters ahead is to generate a model that can be referenced by anyone who wants to make full use of sound as a brand communicator. We call this the sonic branding engine and it is the heart of our strategic approach. Even more important in sonic branding terms than the sheer creativity of musical or effects composition, it represents the essence of the sonic branding approach.'

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Daniel M Jackson, CEO - CORD

Coachella 2017 is coming...

The sun has started to shine, and celebrities have started to post snapchats of their Coachella outfit choices, which means the festival is nearly here. Spread over this weekend, April 14th-16th and April 21st- 23rd, the line up and set times have been announced and people are getting excited. They’ve already faced some backlash in the claim that “no one would understand” Kate Bush, and yet it still entices more and more people every year.

Coachella attracts A-listers and Hollywood royalty, a wealth of frayed shorts and crochet wearing girls, but the main temptation is the music. The line up this year is varied beyond belief, including, of course, the unsurprising summer pop artists like Banks, Bonobo, Dillon Francis, Galantis, Gryffin, Kaytranada and Kungs.

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There’s a varied rap roster too, ranging from born and bred Brits Stormzy and Skepta, to Tory Lanez, Mac Miller, Lil Uzi Vert, Gucci Mane, Future and DJ Khaled. Beyoncé was supposedly headlining, but the hindrance of her growing twins meant she dropped out, and now Lady Gaga heads the bill. They have acts for the classic music lovers: Radiohead, Hans Zimmer and Lee Reynolds, classical composer. The attraction of Coachella lies in its many different genres; rock, indie, hip hop, EDM, and the festival was originally pitched to artists and talent managers at Glastonbury, the allure of the sunshine in California seeming more appealing than the mud in Somerset. 

This year, music sales have been boosted to a five year high, thanks to Spotify and Apple Music, and consequently streaming is set to take over vinyl and CD as the biggest generator of revenue. 87% of £273 million of income is coming from streaming services, which proves the significance of the new generation of music. Coachella brings many of this new music together in one sun-filled, ethereal experience, and we're sure it'll be a musical event to remember.

Our 5 top gigs for Easter Week / Weekend

We are looking forward to the 4 day weekend coming up, and if the weather is like it was this weekend we will be looking forward to 2 extra days to check out live music for the week.

Frances, 11th April @ O2 Shepherds Bush Empire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frances is an English singer-songwriter from Berkshire. After being shortlisted for the 2016 BRIT Critics’ Choice Award and nominated for BBC Sound of 2016, she specialises in “husky, confessional vocals and rolling piano figures that are easily comparable to Carole King.”

Click here for tickets.

Yungen, 12th April @ Koko

 

Yungen started out on the underground circuit in early 2011 and dropped a video on SB.TV which gained him a large fanbase after quickly reaching a million views. He now collaborates with the biggest UK rap artists of today, Stomrzy, Krept and Konan and Wretch 32, and is touring up and down the country as well as promoting his new single ft. Sneakbo.

Grab your tickets here.

Dua Lipa, 13th April @ O2 Shepherds Bush Empire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

21 year old Dua has enjoyed chart success with hits like ‘Hotter Than Hell,’ ‘Be the One,’ ‘Blow Your Mind (Mwah) and she most recently featured on Sean Paul’s ‘No Lie’ and Martin Garrix’s ‘Scared To Be Lonely.’ She describes her style as ‘dark pop'.

Click here for tickets.

 

Dimitri From Paris, 15th April @ XOYO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dimitri From Paris... a pioneering producer at the forefront of house music and dance culture. He is responsible for the first radio show dedicated to house music in France, and can boast a production career as prolific as any.

Click here for tickets.

 

Anderson Paak & The Free Nationals, 16th April @ Forum Kentish Town

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Anderson Paak started off as a drummer, and after working with Kaytranada on ‘Glowed Up,’ he has enjoyed success with his hip-hop meets urban solo albums Malibu and Venice and was also nominated for a Grammy this year. Now he joins his four member band ‘The Free Nationals’ at the Forum in Kentish Town.

Click here for tickets