Washington DC-based Rhythm & Culture Music released an intriguing album this week blending electronic music and world beats with something of the same sensibility as the superb Balkan Beats sets emanating out of Berlin. The Sound of Rhythm & Culture is a 14-track releasing featuring local CD music with a multicultural bent. Label founder, Farid Nouri, says “each track focuses on a particular sub-amalgamation of cultures, while holding true to Rhythm & Culture’s goal: producing music that can be played through the speakers of a club, or enjoyed in various other settings.” We have the pleasure today of presenting the online premiere of “Havana 2am” by Thomas Blondet, a veteran DJ since the ‘90s with a regular Sunday night residency at DC’s Eighteenth Street Lounge.
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In this lively video from NRK Lydverket, Norway’s Jaga Jazzist performs “Toccata” in Tønsberg Domkirke.
Cate Blanchett ... Elizabeth
Fernanda Montengro ... Central Station
Gwyneth Paltrow ... Shakespeare in Love
Meryl Streep ... One True Thing
Emily Watson ... Hilary and Jackie
Katrin Cartlidge … Claire Dolan
Living in Hong Kong, I hear the phrase “East meets West” a lot. Sometimes this is interpreted in odd ways like the television commercials for local property developments that feature Europeans frolicking in palatial homes resembling Versailles. The local music industry, on the other hand, seems to have a better handle on the concept. 24 Herbs (Ya Sei Mei) are one of the territory’s contributions to cross-border mixing of cultures. Formed in 2006, the all-male, all-Chinese group consists of six members including an actor, a music producer and a clothing designer. Their latest video is “Hong Kong/Kowloon” which is more than a little influenced by Jay-Z/Alicia Keys’ video for “Empire State of Mind”. Perhaps they’re less “East meets West” and more “East borrows West.” What do you think?
It’s safe to say that Janelle Monáe’s 18-song epic The ArchAndroid is a near perfect record, effortlessly jumping between musical genres, vocal acrobatics, and engrossing songwriting. The video for her latest single “Cold War” is a simple enough concept, harking back to Sinéad O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” and Alanis Morissette’s “Head Over Feet”. But unlike the former, Monáe’s delivery wavers between sincerity and insanity. There’s no question of her beauty, which is only escalated by this wonderfully apt video. It’s hard to take your eyes off of her, and the lack of distraction only propels the content of the song into sharp focus.