In this episode of Fat Planet, I talk to violinist, vocalist and producer Sudan Archives about the journey of discovery that led to her unique blend of African classical sounds, cutting-edge R&B and freewheeling electronics. We also hear an unreleased live recording of her Kendrick Lamar cover, ‘Queen Kunta’. Her debut self-titled EP is out now via Stones Throw.
Earlier this month, it was reported that there were no Australian artists in the local top 20 singles chart. In the same week, 70 percent of the US Billboard Chart was populated by American artists.
Now, compare that to Japan, the second biggest music market in the world, where 98 percent of all singles, and 76 percent of all albums, are sold are by Japanese artists. In an environment where physical sales are dwindling, Japan still has more record stores than any other country in the world, three times as many as the US.
This week on the Double J website, I spin through a few recent standouts from the Fat Planet program, from punk junk out of the Congo to retro sci-fi from Mumbai. Discover music from Kokoko (Democratic Republic of Congo), Combo Chimbita (Colombia / U.S.), Sid Vashi (India), The Heliocentrics (England / Slovakia) and Diron Animal (Angola).
‘O Superman’ seemed to come at the right time in my life. As a kid, I had just started to understand that music needn’t be guitar, bass, drums and was excitably tuned in to anything with an otherworldly flavour. It was the time of Star Wars and Doctor Who’s golden age, so perhaps that’s no surprise.
‘Big Science’ is Laurie’s debut proper with this wonderful cover shot of an artist caught in the headlights. The photo was taken during one of her performance pieces by video producer Greg Shifrin. It wasn’t intended for an album cover, it was apparently taken by happenstance, grainy and out of focus.
More 90s recall this week as Double J continues its month-long retrospective, asking the question ‘Was the 90s the greatest decade in music?’. This week’s list is my favourite of the three thus far, ‘The 50 most important female artists of the 90s‘;
I was asked to write about a few legends, and I even managed to stop hyperventilating to write something vaguely intelligible about the woman at #1.
Double J’s all-month-long 90s retrospective continues this week with another ‘Best Of’ list, sure to have a few of you wailing at both the inclusions and exclusions. ‘The 50 most overlooked songs of the 90s‘ includes a few contributions from me, including tunes from 808 State, Cibo Matto (pictured), Transglobal Underground, The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu and GusGus.
Was the 90s the greatest decade in music?
That’s the question Double J is asking all throughout June, as they go deep on the decade that shaped so many of us musically. There are charts galore as part of the 90s celebration, starting with ‘The 50 best Australian songs of the 90s’. Despite growing up in Scotland during the 90s, I wasn’t entirely oblivious to the Australian music scene. There were a few choice acts that made their way up and over the crest of the globe, but only one of my favourites has made its way into this particular ‘Best Of…’ list.
The annual Eurovision Song Contest has nearly always scored nil points when it comes to credible artists belting out top-notch songs. Yet, there have been a few moments across the decades where it seemed like cool might prevail against the onslaught of kitsch.
I’ve selected a few well-known artists that put their career on the line in hope of a Eurovision win, and you can watch performances from all of those on the Double J website.
Often our knowledge of music from other countries is limited to what we might call ‘novelty’ acts – or those that seem so absurd to our Western ears, that they scream for attention. For example, can you name any Korean artist or song other than Psi and ‘Gangnam Style’?
Even Russia is not immune to the curse of the novelty. Perhaps their best known export is Pussy Riot, who rode to international attention on a wave of anti-Putin sentiment clad in balaclavas, smashing the oligarchy, patriarchy or any other kind of hierarchy they could stomp their boots on.
This week, Fat Planet returns to the radio after a multi-year hiatus – now broadcasting nationally on Double J on ABC Radio.
Every week, I’ll be introducing you to some of the great music from around the world – but it’s not a ‘world music’ show. If you’re unsure what that means, I’ve prepared some notes on a few new tracks that will kick off your Fat Planet journey just nicely.
Many moons ago, my radio program Fat Planet boomed out of the FBi Radio transmission tower, spreading a heady diet of brand new music from all around the world, and together we laughed and danced and cried and made merry for many years. Flash forward to 2017, and I’m super-stoked to tell you that Fat Planet is returning, with the same curatorial mission – to uncover vital sounds from music cultures around the globe. This time around, Fat Planet finds it home with the genius minds at Double J, and it all kicks off next Wednesday (18th January) 8pm.
‘The Roman / Crossing The Fourth Threshold’ is the new single from Medicine Voice, the second track to be singled-out from the album ‘I And Thou‘ (out now on Provenance). To mark the moment, Medicine Voice has collaborated with artists Louisa Clayton and Kevina-Jo Smith on a beautiful new film clip, shot on location in the Blue Mountains.
Saturday 26 November I’ll be rolling out my Beau Kannon alias for a DJ set at Neon Fern a night of “dark techno, leftist pop and electronica”, and of course ferns. Taking place at Baroque in Katoomba, there are also sets from Melty, Ghostgirl (whose new album A.I. Ambient Intimacy was released earlier this week), Mannheim Rocket (3BS Records) and Broken Chip. Plus digital installations from Mark Sabb of U.S. online mag Felt Zine. Tickets and info on Facebook.
Super-excited to finally release the excellent ‘Always’ EP from Lovely Head through Provenance – a six-track experimental pop EP from Sydney producer, ex-No Art guitarist & writer Vivian Huynh. Exploring themes of tension, distance and lust, ‘Always’ is a combination of desert guitar, misshapen beats and quiet longing. Available on digital and super-limited lathe cut 10” vinyl, shipped with full-colour sleeve print.