Philip Sherburne

writer

Biography

  • BiS-Kaidan

    BiS-Kaidan: Idol-Killers Somehow Unite J-Pop, Harsh Noise, and Buckets of Slime

    BiS-Kaidan is a cross-generational coup de pop, uniting two acts from opposing ends of Japan's musical spectrum. BiS (short for Brand-New Idol Society) are representatives of Japan's "idol" scene, a culture of singer-dancer-celebs who define the country's pop mainstream. Hijokaidan is an infamous art-noise improv troupe dating back to the late '70s, famous for stage antics both familiar (squalls of feedback, guitar throwing) and less familiar (pissing onstage and rolling around in the puddles). Together, they're an avant-pop supergroup seemingly brought together by the same forces that govern matter and anti-matter.The video for BiS-Kaidan's cover of Jun Togawa's 1985 hit "Suki Suki Daisuki" is everything you really need to know about this mind-boggling collision — a mix of confrontational dissonance, sugary pop, and performance-art theatrics.

  • Erol Alkan

    Erol Alkan Whips Up an Acid Maelstrom With 'Check Out Your Mind'

    After years flying co-pilot, Erol Alkan is taking over the controls. The British DJ and producer has built up a healthy discography working alongside Boys Noize, Switch, and his Beyond the Wizards Sleeve cohort Richard Norris, so it may come as a surprise to discover that his upcoming Illumination EP is Alkan's first solo release. The funny thing is, "Check Out Your Mind," its third and best track, sounds like the work of at least two individuals battling it out over the mixing desk. Quite literally, in fact: Over a squirrelly acid bass line, the groove vacillates between a shuffling funk break and a blocky machine beat, and every now and then, the whole thing gives way to a fleeting sample of voice and drums, as though a particularly amped-up DJ were slapping the fader back and forth between two records.

  • Still from Takeshi Murata's 'OM Rider'

    What Does the Wolf Say? Who Knows, But We're Terrified

    Forget what a couple of Euro-dance pranksters have led you to believe about furry woodland creatures. In the trailer for Takeshi Murata's "OM Rider," a wolf — or maybe gorilla-dog, or some other, unspecified breed of hellish canine beast — pounds an electronic keyboard, pukes green fluid, and peels through a darkened desert landscape on a moped whose petite dimensions seem ludicrously out of keeping with the clip's blood-curdlingly apocalyptic atmosphere.Credit for the video's claustrophobic sonics goes to a trio of artists: Los Angeles' Devin Flynn, a visual artist and musician who formerly played in the DFA-signed band Pixeltan; veteran noisenik C.

  • Nguzunguzu's 'Skycell'

    Dance Tracks of the Week: Nguzunguzu's 'Skycell' Is a Very Quiet Take on Grime

    Nguzunguzu, Skycell EP (Fade to Mind) Grime has typically been as diamond-tipped as the chainsaws Wiley uses to carve his Eskibeats into blocks of ice, but what if you could make grime with no hard edges at all? That seems to be the question behind Los Angeles duo Nguzunguzu's second EP for Fade to Mind. They don't totally eschew the genre's tough, percussive signifiers — indeed, pretty much all their drum-machine sounds, from booming low toms to rattling hi-hats, translate the violence of sticks hitting surfaces, and their bass hits like a medicine ball in the solar plexus. But even then, everything is coated in a profound sense of softness, and not the typical gauzy mush of the reverb-besotted novice.

  • Chimo Bayo

    Spanish DJ Sampled by M.I.A. Has No Idea Who M.I.A. Is or Where She Got His Song

    While few Americans are likely to be familiar with the sample that bookends M.I.A.'s "Warriors," Spanish listeners were quick to identify the source of those minor-key rave stabs: Chimo Bayo's "Así Me Gusta a Mí (X-Ta Sí, X-Ta No)," a 1991 song that went from mákina clubs and the Ruta del Bakalao — a weekend-long rave circuit in and around Valencia — to the top of the national pop charts.Surprisingly, the 52-year-old musician had no idea that his music had been used by M.I.A. — nor, indeed, who she is — until Iago Fernandez, of Vice's Spanish edition, called him up for comment.Bayo's initial reaction is one of mystification. "Do people really listen to this?" he asks. "Do they put it on at breakfast, or what? I think I'm getting old.

  • DJ Rashad

    Ryan Hemsworth's Radiohead Rave, DJ Rashad's Footwork, 11 More Dance LPs in Control Voltage

    ALBUM OF THE MONTH: Special Request, Soul Music (Houndstooth)Paul Woolford has been out there doing his thing — mostly a techno thing — for a long time now, but with his debut album as Special Request, a love letter to breakbeats and rave tropes, he's really found himself. There's been some discussion as to whether the record is overly "retro" or "nostalgic," but that's kind of missing the point, and not only because a whole host of artists (Shed, Zomby, Lone, even Rusko) have been summoning the same old-skool spirits for years.It helps to think of Special Request as dance music's answer to Haim. Haim are master bricoleurs, assembling a kind of Platonic ideal of radio pop out of scraps of Jam & Lewis and Kate Bush and Simple Minds. Special Request attempts the same kind of thing with the whole sweep of (mostly British) club music.

  • Arcade Fire will play Barcelona's Primavera Sound in May, 2014

    After Bowie Hoax, Arcade Fire Revealed as Primavera Sound Headliners

    Next year's live music calendar just got a lot more spangly. The Primavera Sound festival announced this morning that Arcade Fire will play the Barcelona festival next spring, marking their only concert on Spanish soil for 2014.The official announcement comes one day after an enormous black sign reading "Arcade Fire" was posted on Portal de l'Àngel, a popular pedestrian shopping thoroughfare in the city center. Stretching five stories high, the sign is in keeping with the band's bullhorn-stealth campaign for Reflektor, which has included interactive video hijinks, an SNL appearance and half-hour concert special, the Colbert bump, and a "secret" masquerade ball in Brooklyn in their guise as the Reflektors, complete with a fake stage, a James Murphy appearance, and a disco-themed after-party.

  • Mark de Clive-Lowe

    Watch Mark de Clive-Lowe's On-the-Fly Cover of Pal Joey's 'Hot Music'

    Back in the heyday of the style known as broken beat, the New Zealand-born musician Mark de Clive-Lowe was one of the scene's key players, putting out tracks like "Move On Up" under his own name and also lending his formidable keyboard talents to records from Bugz in the Attic, Recloose, DJ Spinna, Zed Bias, and even the Japanese techno producer Ken Ishii. Now based in Los Angeles, de Clive-Lowe is still out there tickling the ivories — and pounding the pavement. His style of recording requires requires living, breathing musicians with mortgages and mouths to feed, plus copious studio time — a setup that's practically a non-starter in today's atrophying music industry.

  • M.I.A. at New York's Terminal 5

    WikiLeaks' Julian Assange Opens for M.I.A. in New York via Skype

    M.I.A.'s radical chic got a boost last night when she enlisted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to open her New York City show at Terminal 5, reports MusicFeeds. With his image projected onto a massive screen on stage, the embattled hacktivist joined M.I.A. via Skype from London, where he remains holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy.While we're still not sure what he actually said — the twitterverse is heavy on images from the event, but no quotes have surfaced — one message remains loud and clear: Holograms are so over, and dark-web TED talks are in. (Surely, somewhere right now, frantic artist managers are trying to wrangle Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning for appearances at Coachella 2014.)This isn't the first time the button-pushing, bird-flipping pop star has collaborated with Assange.

  • Katy B

    Dance Tracks of the Week: Katy B Toughens Up on the Dramatic, Dangerous 'I Like You'

    Katy B, "I Like You" (Ammunition / Sony) Katy B arrived at a time when dubstep needed fresh voices to help tip it into the pop sphere, and she did just that with her appearance on Magnetic Man's "Perfect Stranger" and her own "Katy on a Mission." Beyond the strength of her voice itself, flitting between reggae declamation and R&B's whispered intimacy, she had a savvy sense of how to ride dubstep's beats, bobbing above its lurch and providing a familiar through-line for listeners still coming to grips with the form.But the pop landscape has changed quite a bit since 2011 — dubstep is long gone, and house is in the ascendant — and Katy has done her best to adapt.

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