5 Gigs You Can't Miss This Week: 21st - 27th August

Make use of the last full week and possible sunshine of August by seeing a selection of great gigs featuring a variety of talent. 

Joel Bailey, Monday 21st August, The Half Moon

Singer songwriter Joel Bailey has been crafting and performing soulful tracks heavily influenced by the blues since around 2010, and has had the chance to perform at events such as the London 2012 Olympics amongst others. Even the ever unimpressed Simon Cowell has said he is ‘quite good’, so surely that warrants a listen. 

Tickets available here. 

 

Vasudeva, Monday 21st August, Birthdays

New Jersey instrumental rock band Vasudeva are set to continue their European tour with a visit to Birthdays. The trio have developed a set full of unique math-rock grooves and dynamic soundscapes which are sure to get crowds intrigued. 

Free entry. 

 

Watercolours, Thursday 24th August, The Dublin Castle

Previously performing under the moniker ‘Sahara Breeze’, the newly formed group have impressed with their recently released debut single ‘Feel Tomorrow’. Watercolours sound can’t be described by one particular genre and they are ready to showcase their full band (after a few stripped back performances) in Camden. 

Tickets from £4.50 on the door. 

 

Kate Simko & London Electronic Orchestra, Thursday 24th August, Jazz Cafe

Set to be the LEO’s biggest gig of 2017, the string quartet consisting of two cellos, violin, a harp and Kate on Keyboards - with guest vocalist Alex Marshall - are ready to showcase their innovative mixture of rich strings, synths and grooved beats. With previous appearances at Latitude and Bestival, the group are creating a huge buzz. 

Limited tickets here.

 

JADED, Friday 25th August, KOKO

London trio JADED have been quickly developing a reputation as a high energy live act with a sound heavily influenced by UK house and garage. Two new tracks ‘4000Hz’ and ‘In the Morning’ have been extremely well received and the group are sure to keep growing in popularity. 

Get the remaining few tickets here. 

5 Gigs You Can't Miss This Week: 14th - 20th August

With the last few weeks of August coming up, we have another great selection of varied live music for you to enjoy before Autumn rolls around. 

Sandtimer, Monday 14th August, The Half Moon

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Start your week by listening to the close vocal harmonies and intricate guitar lines produced by this indie folk acoustic guitar duo who have appeared on BBC Introducing, and are garnering radio play across various BBC radio stations. They have been described musically as a cross between Kurt Cobain, Jimmy Page, Arcade Fire and Sammy Davis Jr, so high praise indeed! 

Grab some extremely cheap tickets here.

 

Larkins, Thursday 17th August, Thousand Island

Manchester Indie pop band Larkins - who provide catchy riffs and anthemic choruses throughout their music - are set to play Thousand Island (formerly Upstairs at the Garage). They have been touted as one of the UK’s next big arena acts, so be sure to catch them before they get too big for these kind of venues.  

Get your tickets here.

 

Ephemerals, Friday 18th August, Nells Jazz and Blue’s

Melding the genres of jazz and soul and interspersed with some African influences, Ephemerals are now a regular name on the European live scene. With increasing play on Radio 1 and other major stations in Holland and France, the group are gaining a growing following. 

Get your tickets on the door. 

 

Punctual, Friday 18th August, KOKO

Bristol based DJ/Producer duo Punctual will be headlining BURST, a night of electronic music at KOKO in Camden. Heavily inspired by garage and even classical, the pair have worked to create atextured and rich sound. Fresh from the festival circuit, the duo are sure to be on top form for this one. 

Tickets here.

 

Brooklyn Shakers, Saturday 19th August, 100 Wardour St

Playing a mixture of ska, funk, soul and New Orleans jazz and boasting an impressive lineup that has together played with the likes of Simply Red and Grace Kelly, the Brooklyn Shakers are an impressive live act. The band say that they bring the attitude of Amy Winehouse and the energy of James Brown to their shows - an effective combination indeed. 

If you would like a table you can email info@100wardourst.com or phone 02073144000. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Gigs You Can't Miss This Week: 7th - 13th August.

Regina Spektor, Wednesday 9th August, Eventim Apollo.

Kick off the week with singer song-writer, Regina Spektor's highly anticipated return to the U.K. Touring off the back of her 2016 release 'Remember Us to Life', Spektor once again promises to deliver a phenomenal show to all those Alternative Folk fanatics.

Grab the last few remaining tickets here!

Luciano, Wednesday 9th August, Boisdale.

Reggae legend Luciano heads a show at Jools Holland curated Boisdale. Expect a blend of soulful and spiritual Rock and Reggae, coupled with an optional Jamaican inspired 3 course meal. The perfect evening activity to shake off the midweek lethargy.

Get your tickets and check out the menu via this link.

Jarreau Vandal, Thursday 10th August, XOYO.

Soulection wunderkind and expert selector Jarreau Vandal brings his talent back to London for his collaborative event with Mystic Bounce. He'll be joined by legendary producer Lunice, De School's Vic Crezée,  and some of Mystic Bounce's own.

Tickets are still going cheap, so take the chance to see one of the most promising rising DJ's in the world. More info and tickets via. the XOYO website.

DJ Stingray, Friday 11th August, PHONOX.

https://www.residentadvisor.net/event.aspx?971414

The Brit Funk Association, Friday 11th August, 100 Club. 

The 100 Club hosts a huge night of jazz-fusion, funk and disco. Channeling all late 70's British Funk and Disco the lineup consists of musicians from Beggar & Co, Central Line, Hi-Tension and ex-members of Light of the World and Incognito. If you're looking for something to get nostalgic to, this is exactly what you need this weekend! 

Find out more and grab your tickets here

A Few Bands You Should Know in Scandinavia

 Isak Strand vs TOE

A music group that has journeyed out of the darkest corners of Sweden and into the light of the grander music industry. The unique Isak Strand vs TOE... Normally it is easy to track the influences of a band, but in this case you cannot single out a specific genre, artist or era. The band channel sounds from reggae, jazz, pop and hip-hop, and that is what makes their sound unique. 


In 2013 the band released their last album, ‘Theory Of Everything’, which was nominated for ‘Breakthrough of the year’ by Gaffa, one of Demark's top music magazines. Although in 2014 they sadly announced that they would not be playing as a band anymore, they truly made their impact and solidified themselves as one of Sweden's most memorable underground bands. Their tunes are all available on YouTube and Spotify for your listening pleasure. Listen to

 

Jacob Dinesen

 

Jacob Dinesen, is a name that has been swirling around in the Danish media recently. The 21-year-old singer/songwriter has already taken Denmark by storm, with his first album and two radio hits (Dancing Devil and Will You Stay). His huge talent as a Folk/Rock/Americana/Pop singer continues to be shown on his two new singles, Beautiful Sight and Roll With Me. Jacob Dinesen seems to have proved himself as an artist that is here to stay and not fade away, and his mature sound considering his age is something to be admired.

 

Ulige Numre

Ulige Numre was a Danish Rock band that sadly ended their 6 year run this year. On the 13th of March the members broke the news to their fans on Facebook that they were no long continuing their project. They wrote: ‘”We had a great time, but everything has an end”.  

Of course the band didn’t just go out without any history, their previous albums such as Grand Prix and Nu Til Dags garnered wide critical acclaim and solidified them as a truly great modern Danish band. However, this is not the total end of the road for the group, as lead vocalist and lyricist Carl Emil Petersen has now gone solo and released his first single entitled "Life Before Death" (Liv Før Døden).

 

Written by Sebastian Johannsen

Tyler, The Creator - 'Flower Boy' Album Review

‘Flower Boy’ is the fourth full length album from Odd Future founder Tyler, The Creator and marks a turning point for the famously controversial rapper. 

Continuing the theme of some of our favourite albums this year, such as 4:44 and This Old Dog, ‘Flower Boy’ shows an unexpected level of self reflection, personal growth, maturity, and vulnerability. The rapper who was previously regarded as being so profane and tasteless that he was even banned from entering certain countries, The United Kingdom being one such example, has now blossomed into a softer, more self-aware and more complete individual resulting in his most accomplished album yet.

In an age where it is no longer essential to appear bullish or insusceptible to harm to be idolised, where strength is no longer reliant upon appearing brash or omniscient, Tyler, like many other artists seems to have learnt that much of the adoration in modern music comes from sympathy, and understanding. ‘Flower Boy’ is certainly Tyler’s best and most cohesive work so far, it is no longer bogged down with attempts at creating outrage. The public now know what to expect from Tyler, The Creator his shock value has decreased and his lyrics are no longer as provocative as before. In fact, the most shocking thing Tyler may have ever done is this unexpected growth in character and the revelation of his true emotions. In acknowledging his confusion and weaknesses Tyler has opened himself up to a new kind of respect. The previously violent, misogynistic and homophobic lyrics of his past albums are totally sidelined in favour of a more meditative and reflective collage of songs, memories and emotions.

As the title suggests ‘Flower Boy’ shows a transformational and softer side to Tyler. As per usual, he addresses the things that have shaped him as a person, however, this time around Tyler fully gets into the essence of his ideas, not being sidetracked or rushed he injects an elegance and care into his work that we have not yet seen before. There is a carefully constructed and thought out plan, where in the past, Tyler’s albums have been bloated and messy. It is very clear to see that within Tyler’s past work he often gets carried away and too self involved, adding jokes, making oddball references, juxtaposing tracks or features where they are not necessary and occasionally even detrimental to the overall flow of the album. However, this is not the case with ‘Flower Boy’, it feels like the first fully realised album that Tyler has constructed. Every collaboration feels well thought out and complements the themes and sounds Tyler is aiming for. Throughout the album the trademark Odd Future sound is fused with orchestration, beautiful vocals and unpredictable chord progressions, fully discarding the aggression of his previous work in favour of an exploration of more smooth, soulful and jazz inspired direction. Where before his raps could be considered fairly  juvenile and substanceless attempts at creating controversy, Tyler now confronts some of the most significant subject matter possible. Throughout the album Tyler tackles, loneliness, the breakdown of friendships, love, confusion and, above all, coming to terms with oneself. 

This huge focus on coming to terms with oneself has led people to make a large fuss about what is Tyler’s apparent confirmation of his homosexuality, resulting in them completely overlooking his actual personality traits and artistic decisions and focusing simply upon the shock-value and repercussions of this potential revelation. This is resulted in a lot of invasive questioning and even a degree of de-legitimization of Tyler’s self-exploration upon the album. Regardless of sexuality, Tyler opens himself up bravely on ‘Flower Boy’, exposing a deeply intimate aspect of his psyche. Tyler has not directly addressed the subject of his sexuality upon the album’s release, nor should he have to. The album acts as means for Tyler to come to terms with himself, and less about stirring up the public. It is reductive and narrow minded to view the album simply as an explanation or an apology for his past controversies, former homophobic slurs and misogynistic lyrics. 

‘Flower Boy’ is a more positive, sincere and wistful evolution to Tyler, The Creator, which perhaps, if not hindered by the media, will mark the beginning of his metamorphosis into his full potential.
 

JAY-Z - '4:44' Album Review

Following on from what could easily be regarded as his weakest album, ‘Magna Carta Holy Grail’, Jay-Z has burst back onto the scene with his new album 4:44, arguably his best work in 12 years.

4:44, feels as though Jay himself is now finally aware of his previous failings and has constructed this album almost entirely as a plea for redemption, both musically and personally. What makes 4:44 so impactful is the degree of vulnerability the seemingly impervious Jay-Z injects into his revival. The album opens with the overtly self-critical ‘Kill Jay-Z’ through which we are introduced to the current of self-loathing and introspection that runs through the record. From here on out the whole album seems to a metaphorical autopsy of the man that is Shawn Carter: Dissecting his very essence, analysing his vices and his drives, peeling back the hardened outer shell of his public persona and revealing his true emotions and most personal aspects of his life. The record revolves around the title track “4:44”, the self-described ‘crux’ of the album, named as such in reference to a moment of clarity at 4:44am, where Jay-Z claims to have had an epiphany and began writing. This epiphany could be very much be considered the end of Jay-Z’s Mid-Life Crisis, the moment of realisation and maturation which led to the introspection of this record. We see Jay come to terms with the effect of fatherhood and marriage upon him, the irresponsible actions he took as an attempt to preserve his youth and his own idea of himself as a ‘hustler’. 4:44 see’s the persona of Jay-Z discarded in order to confront the man behind the name and the impact this side of his life has had upon the real Shawn Carter. 

This revival signifies a rebirth for Jay-Z, rendering himself a more complete and mindful individual. This newfound profundity and self-awareness naturally leads Jay to face the most serious subject matter surrounding him. A Jay-Z album has not been this polished or intelligent for over a decade, his observations are as astute as ever and his complexities have never been laid out so bare. In comparison to the past efforts of 'Watch the Throne', 'Blueprint 3' & 'Magna Carta Holy Grail', where Jay had exhausted his usual rags to riches narrative and seemed caught in a lyrical vacuum, unable to reinvent himself and only capable of gloating superficially about his riches, talent and success, Jay has finally been able to find a new struggle to comment upon. Jay-Z reflects upon his personal journey, inner-turmoil and redemption in the same slick and perceptive manner in which he used to rap about his success story. Much of the failure of his previous works saw Jay-Z move further and further away from his accessible lyricism. This reinvention, finds Jay-Z updating his old style to a modern audience. Truly impactful Rap is no longer centred around sex, money and self-praise. The truly groundbreaking and long lasting albums are ones that speak to the crisis of now and the plight of others. What Jay-Z provided when he was younger was a voice for the troubled youth, the strain of a hard knock life. Now with this epiphany Jay-Z dismounts his high horse, humbles himself and accepts that behind the fame, fortune and praise it’s the man that counts, and no matter your reputation and public persona it doesn’t necessarily protect you from immoral actions. This naturally finds Jay confronting everything from his past infidelitiesto shooting his brother in childhood, to his Mother recently coming out as a lesbian and of course, most importantly, the grander exploration of race. 

Jay-Z is not the only person to be congratulated on 4:44's success, the production behind every track on the album is just as masterful as the lyrical content. Once again, Jay-Z seems to have learnt from his failings on Magna Carta, and perhaps recognised in retrospect that it has utterly no proficient or memorable aspects to it, leading him to discard the bland one dimensional club beats and put his complete faith in producer No I.D. Much of the album’s personality and charm can be directly credited, rather ironically, to No I.D’s production style. No I.D injects his unique and soulful Chicago style into all ten tracks on the album, however, perhaps the most impressive element of his production is the sample selection.

The samples are not only phenomenal in melody but profound in context. Every track has an instrumental that reiterates Jay’s primary concerns. They summarize Jay-Z’s thoughts and clarify his stance upon the issues he mediates on. On Jay’s powerful exploration of colour “The Story of O.J.,” No I.D implements a recurring Nina Simone sample that acts as a reminder that within society assumptions and stereotypes based upon skin colour are ever present. Then on “4:44”, Jay’s desperate apology track, once again the sample makes plain Jay’s shame and regret stating: “I’m never gonna treat you like I should!”. And perhaps most powerfully, on the closing track “Legacy,” Jay speaks up against the modern manifestations of black segregation, accented by Donny Hathaway’s empowering reminder that “Someday we’ll all be free”. 

 Legacy is the central theme to the album, Jay-Z is no longer looking back to his roots but instead looking forward towards the future, how will he be remembered by his friends, family and society?  Where does he stand in the history of music and what was his contribution to culture? All these questions culminate in an album that not only allows us a deeper insight into the true Shawn Carter but one that offers us a deeper look at ourselves and the state of society in the process.

CORD Label Series // Soulection

This week our focus turns towards independent hip-hop and R&B label Soulection, a truly unique success story.

The story of Soulection begins with DJ and curator Joe Kay who, at only 23, formulated the idea that eventually developed into Soulection. Kay, now 27 runs his label and curates and hosts the Soulection radio show on Beats 1 Radio for Apple Music. 

Based in Los Angeles, Soulection has established itself as creative hive for genre-bending musicians and a strong contender to all major labels in picking up fresh talent. 

It has only taken Kay and Soulection a few years to accumulate a huge range of talent and create one of the most eclectic catalogues in hip-hop and R&B. Soulection has become a haven for genre-splicing beatmakers operating on the fringes of more traditional sound. There are no predetermined guidelines for being on the label, and yet every release has a unique unity. 

From the very beginning everything has been DIY for Kay and his co-founder Andre Power. The truth is Kay and Power weren’t even trying to start a business, to begin with they were simply looking for new and exciting sounds to showcase in their own sets and radio shows. Having fallen into the label business the two have taken a very hands on approach and owe much of their success to their ability to tap into the hyperconnectivity of the modern age, relying heavily upon internet platforms like SoundCloud, Mixcloud, BandCamp, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to grow its business. Within their first two official releases on Bandcamp the label made enough money purely through public appreciation naming their price for the downloads.

Soulection truly is one of the most inspiring entrepreneurial success stories in modern music, an impressive story within the context of the slowly declining industry. 

Listen to just a few of the sounds of tomorrow below:

5 Gigs You Shouldn't Miss This Week! 10th - 16th July!

Tuxedo, 10th July, XOYO.

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If you're looking to get over the Monday morning blues there's no better place to find yourself than XOYO for a one-off live show from Stones Throw Records' Tuxedo. Churning out funky-disco beats the duo, made up of soul maestro Mayer Hawthorne & Hip-Hop producer Jake One,  have been injecting their signature styles into a new avenue of music. Together they have defined themselves as one of the most captivating acts on the Disco circuit.

This is a sure fire way to dance away the stress of your Monday morning, grab your tickets here.

 

A Night of D'Angelo, 10th July, The Jazz Cafe.

If you're looking for a smoother start to your week, then look no further! The Jazz Cafe will be hosting an acclaimed D'Angelo tribute night for the more tender of you out there. Grab yourself a drink, find yourself a date and sit back and unwind to the sleek and seductive sounds of the Black Messiah. 

Grab your tickets via. this link.

 

Rhythm Section: Prequel, Ruff Dug, Z Lovecraft, 14th July, Bussey Building. 

Following on from their massive Corsica Studios event with Infusions the Rhythm Section gang are heading to Bussey Building with yet another amazing lineup of selectors. Australian Rhythm Section alumni Prequel takes to the decks with RUF KUTZ label boss, Ruff Dug & the renowned Z Lovecraft. Between the three of them the deepest cuts from a collective vinyl crate will be spinning all night long.

Get in there early to make the most of the cheap prices, tickets available via. Resident Advisor.

 

Late Night Tuff Guy, 15th July, Oval Space.

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The master of Disco edits joins Bunker resident Mike Servito and London favourites Horse Meat Disco to take the reigns of Oval Space's Lovebox After Party. Although there are a number of after parties being held across the city this one certainly gets our vote! Expect a variety of funky, infectious beats and good vibes all night.

More tickets and info, here.

 

Henry Wu & Glenn Astro, 16th July, Oval Space Terrace.

To wind up the weekend and keep riding the high of Saturday night get yourself over to Oval Space's terrace for an amazing day party hosted by the glorious Henry Wu and Glenn Astro, two of the most diverse and interesting rising selectors around London. Renowned for their masterful broken beats, future jazz and soulful house music this is certain to keep Sunday shining. 

Tickets via. this link!

Audio Branding: Unlocking Creativity

Today's final extract from Sonic Branding: An Introduction concludes by encouraging brands to take their stakeholders to places that they have never been, by providing a vision for the scope of sonic opportunities available to them and using audio branding to unlock creativity.

Chapter 25 - Experience

Stage one to three of the sonic branding engine are fundamentally concerned with how a brand seeks to identify itself in sound. These stages lead to the creation of a model and a set of internal management tools that can be referenced by all those who seek to represent a brand to its stakeholders; ad agencies, interactive designers, call centre managers and so on. It is important for all those in control of a brand touchpoint to take responsibility for the relationship they establish with the stakeholders and to ensure it is a consistent with the brand and its values. It is crucial to this relationship. It is crucial to this relationship that a sonic identity is referenced and for the framework it provides to be appreciated if a brand experience is to be effective. To make an analogy with visual branding, stages one to three create the typographic style, a logo and a framework in which these can be utilised. Stage four turns these visual elements into letterheads, uniforms and signage that all communicate something about the brand. 

The keys to ensuring that the sonic identity is effective wherever a brand seeks to communicate with its stakeholders are the branding criteria of flexibility and consistency. The first three stages of the sonic branding engine provide points of distinctiveness and memorability by creating an understanding of the sounds that effectively communicate a brand and in doing so provide a palette of music, voice and ambient sounds with almost infinite flexibility. It is then up to those in charge of the various touchpoints to implement this palette in the most contextually sympathetic way. By opening up the world of sound to those who seek to communicate a brand it is possible to provide them with the creative tools they need to reach stakeholders in the best manner. Their understanding of their touchpoints and their audience makes them the right people to decide how the brand’s sonic identity should be implemented and by providing a sonic palette and guidelines, it is possible to encourage creativity while being in a position to enforce consistency. 

For too long now the controllers of the traditional media have feared sonic branding due to the constraints they feel it places on their creativity. In fact sonic branding as explained in this book could be the key to unlocking creativity and allowing brands to take their stakeholders to places that they have never been. If a voice can communicate everything about a brand then there is the opportunity to take the visual elements to uncharted territories. If a sonic logo is as recognised as a visual one then there is no need for a pack-shot.

Brand experience, with the help of new technology, is changing and changing fast. Stakeholders are now able to exercise far greater control over the messages they receive and experiences they have. No longer is our understanding of a brand solely determined by a celebrity endorsement or an expensive advertisement during half-time at the Super Bowl. Brands must now understand every point at which they communicate with their stakeholders and must appreciate every context. They must learn to fit into people’s lives seamlessly while at the same time encouraging them to take certain paths. 

If brands are to retain their position in society they must learn to appreciate the true nature of experiences they can offer. They must learn to harness the power of each sense in order to remain distinct and relevant. They must understand the role they play in stakeholders’ lives and ensure that they fulfil this role. They must quickly learn the potential for new technology and ensure they utilise it correctly and effectively. It would be too complicated to explore this role and how sound fits into it in all the experiences a brand can offer. Instead, by providing an understanding of the scope of opportunities offered by sound, we hope to allow brand-owners and communicators to fully explore its potential. The challenge is great and if brands are to be up to it they need to understand and appreciate what sound can do for them, then they must use it creatively. 

Daniel M Jackson - CEO, CORD

5 Gigs you should see this week: 3rd - 9th July.

DJ Q, 6th July, Phonox.

Get yourself an early start to the weekend and head down to Phonox on Thursday to catch Bassline legend DJ Q. Taking over the decks for the whole night Q is bound to bring some high energy tunes to kick off the weekend hype early.

For tickets and more info, click here.

 

BBZ x Ballamii, 7th July, Corsica Studios.

This Friday Corsica Studios provides the perfect event for Pride weekend! Queer, Trans, Non-binary, POC celebrating night BBZ and Peckham's rapidly growing Balamii radio have joined forces to bring you a celebration of London’s finest femme identifying DJ’s, Producers, Dance Do-ers, Broadcasters, Artists and so much more.  The night  will be centred on positive feminine energy and eradicating misogyny for queer women and genderqueer folk of colour boasting a banging line-up of some of the most unique acts working in music.
 

More info and tickets available via. Resident Advisor.

 

Erol Alkan, 7th July, XOYO.

The Boss of the highly revered label Phantasy, coveted remixer, producer of countless critically acclaimed albums takes to XOYO this July to kick off his huge 13week residency. Curating a diverse lineup of talent across a number of weeks, Erol Alkan will undoubtedly provide months of unmissable entertainment worth being on your radar. 

Find out who he has in store for week one and grab your tickets here!

 

Daniel Avery, 8th July, Phonox.

Phantasy alumni, Daniel Avery, picks up from where Erol Alkan left off this Saturday. The electronic music maestro heads to Phonox with hard-hitting, Coconut Beats resident HAAi. Together the two promise a hectic night of the best Techno, Trance and House going.

Don't miss out, grab your tickets here!

 

Flux Garden Party, 8th July, Studio 338.

If you're looking to spend your Saturday outside surrounded by music then look no further than the Flux Garden Party at Studio 338. The rooftop bar will be taken over by a whole host of DJ's. Joining them in the Garden will be Moodymann's pal, Detroit house and hip hop legend Andrés, Cologne’s soul-driven selector Damiano Von Erckert and rising Bordeaux talent Laroze. Ably supporting them will be Madtech’s Voyeur, Holding Hands head honcho Desert Sound Colony and Noa. 

Tickets for both day party and after party available here.

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.

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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

wireless.png

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