Persona(lity) Crisis: The troubles of performing in character

What’s in a persona. Rowan looks at the masks musicians like to wear.

The persona is key to the performing arts; it allows the artist to escape the confines of their own personality and become someone else (or at least an exaggerated form of themselves).  Similarly the audience’s knowledge that the within the performance the characters are not representations of the artists themselves, but creations, allows the audience to enjoy the piece as one of fiction.

Continue reading


Grudge match: political reprisals against musicians

Are the pussy riot arrests just one in a continuing chain of political reprisals aimed at musicians?

The continued incarceration of members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot begins to raise questions of reason and motive. The band members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhin were arrested in February following a flash gig in Moscow’s Christ the Saviour cathedral, where they sang Punk Prayer: a song containing the lyrics that appealed to the Virgin Mary, asking her to “chase Putin out”. The five minute performance ended with the band’s eviction from the building. Within a fortnight the two had been arrested, and they’ve been held without the possibility of bail since.

Continue reading

Between the lines: what charts tell us

a recent entry into’s hall of fame has made us question what charts actually show us.

Each year Classic FM opens up a poll to the public to decide the most popular piece of classical music. For the first time, this year a piece from a game’s score managed to get into the chart, Final Fantasy’s VII’s Aerith’s Theme. It didn’t simply scrape in at around the #300 point, it managed to get all the way to #16. Now Final Fantasy VII was released back in 1997, a year after Classic FM began its Hall of Fame chart, so how is it that in 15 years this piece is only now making an entry, and one so high too?

Continue reading

A response to the response to the off feature on Odd Future

a response to Tim Jonze’s criticism of Newsnight’s Odd future feature.

Newsnight ran a feature earlier this week that suggested L.A. Hip Hop band Odd Future were puerile and – for all their anti-capitalist and counter-culture talk – a deeply commercial band that financially exploits its fans. Tim Jonze responded to this feature in The Guardian’s G2 supplement. He claimed that the report revealed Stephen Smith, the Newsnight journalist behind the feature, “exposed his deep fear of the band” by using an aloof and mocking tone to describe them.

Jonze’s response ignores the fact that Odd Future come across as vacuous and mainstream, far from the image their fans would portray, but Smith’s feature glossed over the shift fact that Odd Future recognise that making money in the music industry isn’t about the music anymore.

Continue reading

We called it America: the intellectual roots of American punk

josh white explores the figures that inspired the AMerican Punk movement long before the british explosion in  the 70s.

In the UK, when we think about punk, we usually think about the Sex Pistols. We think about fluorescent mohicans, clothes pins in noses and gurning and snarling aplenty. Some of us might think about Joe Strummer, or Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren, whose situationist SEX shop on King’s Road in London became, in many ways, the cultural and geographical epicentre of the British punk movement.

But across the Atlantic, they might take a rather different view.

Continue reading – a fairer deal for labels

breaking down why labels can bank on their fans using was conceived by those at the helm of experimental electronica label Ghostly International as a means of distributing their music to their fans, and launched early this year. The service differs from standard music stores in that you subscribe to a label’s catalogue instead of purchasing individual albums. It is currently in beta, and as such only has a select number of labels involved (watch this space..). So what is it that makes this platform such an exciting proposition?

Continue reading

Extradition: a dangerous precedent for the digital age

What does the recent Afghani massacre and a Computer Science student from Sheffield have in common, and how do they relate to music? Read on to find out…

We’ve frequently written about how large industry and government legislation has yet to have a handle on the current state of technology. There’s a growing awareness, and in time well-informed legislation will appear. Until then there is a legal pattern that we should be well aware of: extradition. Particularly as the current 2003 Extradition Treaty is lopsided and being wielded by uninformed politicians.

Continue reading

The Songs of the Suffragettes

We’ve selected songs from the suffragette movement to both commemorate International Women’s Day and exemplify the wit in protest music.

This week saw the annual International Women’s Day. As you may have already seen, this lead to several articles looking at the most powerful women in music today, their achievements, and their reflection of our wider society and levels of equality.

Yet the use of music as a tool for women’s rights is nothing new. The suffragettes were well aware of the power and symbolism music can bring to a protest. Continue reading