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WELCOME After our first edition in April of last term, St. Andrews’ music magazine is back to fill in the gaps. The musical landscape of the second half of 2013 has been shaped by change and controversy. Between the infamous VMA performance by Miley and Robin and the release of Kanye West’s racially-charged protest album “Yeezus” on the eve of Juneteenth this summer, there has certainly been a lot to talk about. And these discussions have been taking place against a backdrop of new and re-emerging genres, trends and styles of music. The first of more to come this academic year, this issue reflects on the year so far in music and the shape that its taking as we move towards 2014. Have a read and look out for our next issue which is coming soon. EDITOR IN CHIEF - KELLY PROVAN

GET INVOLVED Interested in joining the music team at STAR? Email us at music@standrewsradio.com to find out how you can get involved with blogging or writing about the music you’re listening to.

WWW.STANDREWSRADIO.TUMBLR.COM


contents 4

THE ART OF BUSKING - Philip Askew

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UPCOMING EVENTS

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AN CAFE IN THE UK - Emma McMullan

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HELLO DISCO MY OLD FRIEND - Austin Bell

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ALBUM REVIEWS - Abby Frank

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AHAB, GETTING BORED - Matthew Despard

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THE BLURRED LINES OF CENSORSHIP Camille Neal and Nicola Sexton-Oates

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STAR GAZING IN THE DAYTIME Lauren Hossack


It has never been easier to listen to music. Even two hundred years ago, we were wholly reliant on the ability and willingness of our local musicians to put on a performance if we wanted a sing-song. Now, with the advent of the MP3 format, we can afford to take that talent for granted. We can take it to be played anywhere, anytime, sounding exactly how it did the very first time. Convenience can only take us so far, though - there is something undeniably special about music played live. The musician is with you: they’re seeing the same things, hearing the same things, feeling the same things, making the music much more personal. In fact they’re playing for you! They want you to come and enjoy their music!... For 50p in the hat, if you would. Mike Simpson and Stuart Walker busk for a living in St Andrews. You may not recognise them in the street, but you’ve probably heard their material. Every day they wake up

and do their best to make the town a more pleasant place through music. “It’s a great feeling,” Stuart says, “you can go out and play anything you like, any day of the week.” Stuart used to be a guitarist in a number of bands over the years, but nonetheless receives a very unique enjoyment from busking. “It’s about sharing the music. During a gig, you’re presenting a packaged product, whereas when you’re on the streets... it’s a vibe, it’s something you’re giving out to everyone.” Nowadays his weapon of choice is the flute. The buttons jam, and it gets water stuck in it sometimes, but he barely has to start playing and it’s easy to hear why he switched: the instrument has a beautiful, piercing timbre perfect for makin’ vibes. Busking is not as easy as walking outside and making noise, however. Playing on the street involves a very different approach to playing a venue. For Mike, practice has to happen on the go rather than in a rehearsal room. “Soon as I feel confident enough to bum a song, I play it. Under the pressure of the street, you still have to perform... it’s fight or flight, and you end up getting it better.” Mike’s technical ability as a guitarist is certainly unquestionable, happily coming up with new chord progressions on the fly to match whatever he’s singing about that day. But he says that busking also gives him a more intimate understanding

the art

of BUSKING

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and composition of the music he’s playing. “You’re inventing the production as you’re playing it. You say, ‘oh, I’ll put a little verse in here, and little break here, and then we’ll have a chorus again’, and you can feel if it sounds good or not.” You end up learning some interesting little tricks this way as well. Stuart, gingerly, reveals one of his discoveries, “when I play, I play one beat behind people’s walking speed. That actually makes people stop! If you play it too fast, people speed up and go running past you.” walking speed. That actually makes people stop! If you play it too fast, people speed up and go running past you.” Another issue unique to busking is choosing where you’re playing. “You’ve obviously got to pick somewhere where a lot of people are going to walk past,” Stuart points out. “Church Square in the summer, for example.” But location is also important with respect to other buskers, something Mike feels other buskers in town could do more. “You can’t play your guitar 50 feet from someone playing the bagpipes. And there are a lot of bagpipes up here. Bagpipers take up the whole street.” For someone who needs to play to make money to put food on the table, a poorly placed piper can ruin your entire day. But their worst run-ins have been with charity workers collecting money near them.“They look at you like you’re absolutely

lutely out of order because they’re collecting for charity and you’re busking and they think you’re taking money from them. Actually, the busker’s take just falls off the map... How would they feel if they did something to stop them earning their living? They just don’t know, they’re oblivious to it.” For Stuart and Mike, the best part about what they do is interacting with the ‘audience’, which includes “every single person that goes past. Even if they’re not reacting, it’s a reaction. It’s one of the reasons we find it so exhilarating.” But the easy interactivity goes both ways, and to get by you need to have your “Spidey senses” engaged. “You have to be aware of what’s happening in the street. You can see the drunk walking down the road... Good chance he’s going to come up and talk to you, ask to have a shot at your guitar or something. You have to be ready for that.” Neither of them are resentful - it’s what you get for singling yourself out in public for a living, and naturally they come face-to-face with the best and worst of people everyday. “Mostly best, though” Mike quickly adds, beaming a smile. And it’s hard not to believe him. “The thing with busking... It’s not about the money, it’s a way of life. But if you can support yourself by doing it, you’re a happy person.” WORDS PHILIP ASKEW


AN CAFE IN THE UK If you had met me for the first time at the age of fourteen, chances are your first impression of me would have been: “She’s a total anime geek!” Even now at the age of twenty-one, with my multi-coloured hair and the Kuroshitsuji box-set that takes pride of place in my DVD collection, it’s fair to say that nearly fifteen years after I was first swept up in the Pokémon craze, anime is still a prominent feature in my cultural life. However, it wasn’t until the spring of 2007 that I began to truly appreciate the music that accompanied these weird and wonderful creations. My first proper experience of Japanese rock music, or “J-rock”, came in the form of two Gackt songs, “Redemption” and “Longing”, in Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of

Cerberus. Picture the scene, if you will: I’m fifteen years old, at the height of my emo phase, and always searching for new, unusual music that told the rest of the world, “This isn’t fashionable and I don’t care!” Soon afterwards, I wasn’t just listening to Gackt, but Versailles, Malice Mizer, An Cafe, The GazettE, and so many others that for a while I almost completely lost interest in English music. That said, you can only imagine my excitement as I watched Dir en

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Grey take to the stage of a small, packed-out basement venue in Belfast in 2009. To say that J-rock has taken a massive leap into the British limelight would, of course, be an exaggeration; perhaps it would be fairer to say a few tentative, but still fairly loud, steps. In the past few years this music has become much more accessible for purchase than when I first came across it. Then there are the concerts. Since that cold January night in Belfast almost five years ago, Dir en Grey have completed several headlining tours across the USA and Europe, as well as making frequent appearances at the Download Festival. Other Jrock bands that have graced our shores and stages include L’Arcen-Ciel with their 20th Anniversary World Tour in 2012, and D’espairsray, who performed in Glasgow, Manchester and Birmingham in 2009. Of course, the growing popularity of J-rock, or international music in general within the UK, still has a long way to go before it can really compete with the worldwide popularity of Anglophone music. For decades, audiences in concert

halls all the way to Japan and back have cheered their hearts out for bands like Mötley Crüe, the Rolling Stones, Green Day and You Me At Six. In contrast, there’s an almost minimal nonAnglophone presence on the British stages and airwaves. Ask a member of the public to name their favourite foreign artist, and the most likely responses would be Shakira, ABBA, Enrique Iglesias or, more recently, Psy. Now and again I breathe a sigh of relief to hear people name The Rasmus or HIM, but all too often in the past those two suggestions have been met with an astounded cry of, “Oh, I had no idea they were Finnish!” So, can we honestly say that J-rock has really made a significant impression on the British music scene? Or is it still the best-kept secret of gamers and anime lovers? Its increased accessibility and the sold-out shows certainly suggest that its popularity is on the rise, but for now I can still only dream that my beloved “Redemption” will one day achieve Gangnam Style status in the UK. WORDS EMMA MCMULLAN


UPCOMING GIGS 31

OCTOBER / NOVEMBER

OCTOBER 5 NOVEMBER 16 NOVEMBER

/ 1ST NOVEMBER Jake Bugg + Honeyhoney +The Family Rain 02 Academy Glasgow DOORS 19.00, £17.50

Young Knives 02 ABC Glasgow DOORS 19.00 £11

STRFKR The Electric Circus Edinburgh DOORS 19.00 £6

1 NOVEMBER 11 NOVEMBER 18 NOVEMBER The Arctic Monkeys The SSE Hydro Glasgow DOORS 18.30 £35

Fenech Soler Sigur Rós + I Break Horses The Tunnels Aberdeen Usher Hall DOORS 19.00 Edinburgh £12.50 DOORS 19.00 £28.50

2 NOVEMBER 16 NOVEMBER 20 NOVEMBER Chase & Status + Netsky + Pusha T +Moko The SSE Hydro Glasgow DOORS 19.00 £28

/17 November Frightened Rabbit + Lanterns on the Lake 02 Academy Glasgow DOORS 19.00, £16

Disclosure + Flume 02 Academy Glasgow DOORS 19.00 £16.50

2 NOVEMBER 16 NOVEMBER

24 NOVEMBER

/17 November Frightened Rabbit + Lanterns on the Lake 02 Academy Glasgow DOORS 19.00, £16

Gold Panda + Brolin The Arhces Glasgow DOORS 19.00 £12

Gabrielle Aplin + Jack Savoretti 02 ABC Glasgow DOORS 19.00 £14

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NOVEMBER / DECEMBER

26 NOVEMBER 3 DECEMBER 11 DECEMBER Editors + British Sea Power Barrowland Ballroom Glasgow DOORS 19.00, £20

Basement Jaxx 02 Academy Glasgow DOORS 19.00 £20

Courteeners Barrowland Ballroom Glasgow DOORS 19.00 £18.50

27 NOVEMBER 4 DECEMBER 12 DECEMBER The Naked And Famous + Sons and Lovers 02 ABC Glasgow DOORS 19.00 £15

White Lies 02 ABC Glasgow DOORS 19.00 £20

Slow Club The Poetry Club Glasgow DOORS 20.00 £12

Tommy Reilly + Ryan Joseph Burns King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut Glasgow DOORS 20.30 £10

HAIM 02 ABC Glasgow DOORS 19.00 £13

28 NOVEMBER 8 DECEMBER 13 DECEMBER Placebo + Toy 02 Academy Glasgow DOORS 19.00 £26.50

30 NOVEMBER 10 DECEMBER 15 DECEMBER Peace QMU Glasgow DOORS 19.00 £20

Emily Wells King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut Glasgow DOORS 20.30 £6

Tenacious D Edinburgh Picture House DOORS 19.00 £35


hello disco my old friend

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The immersion of rock & roll was a true turning point for the music industry. With its cultural values represented by the mantra “Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll,” it was more of a lifestyle and societal shift than simply a genre of music. The amalgamation of “rockability” and “doo wop” gave birth to a social bridge over a racial rift. With all of its controversy, rock & roll gave way to a landslide of musical evolution, and produced counter-cultures such as “Disco.” Disco gets its roots from the underground of Philly and New York, although the word derives from the French word “discothèque.” Supported in the late 60s and 70s by minority groups such as African-Americans, Latinos, and the gay community, its introduction onto the scene was always accompanied by a love for music and a passionate following that had no problem diverging from the status quo. Disco’s danceability granted the musical style much of its initial momentum;fighting the music it competed against, disco reached out for the soul, funk, and jive that was seen as absent in other scenes such as rock & roll. After roughly thirty years of taking the backseat and being rebranded numerous times plethora of different genre titles, 2013 has proven to be a massive year for the renewal of disco’s accessibility. David Mancuso is considered by many to be the inspiration for disco night clubs; his private party in NYC, “The Loft,”

was seen as a safe-haven for the gay community as well as a proverbial middle finger to the consumerism of nightclubs of the time. He provided exactly what disco music, and its supporters, longed for: a safe haven from the real world, and a chance to forget about it all just dance! Perhaps the most influential, however, in terms of musicality was Frankie Knuckles. Otherwise known as “The Godfather of House,” his early beginnings in 1972 have carried him into the present day where he still spins around the world A man wise beyond his years, and certainly with the credentials to back it up, he recognizes what disco was and where it might end up in the next few years. This brief intro into Disco’s roots leads me to the point of this article. While most genres focus on stylistic innovation and technological progression (see Prog House, Dubstep [it’s trying!], etc.) the disco revival of today dials it back a notch and sticks its roots while still utilizing the contemporary tools of producer in 2013. Everybody knows that “EDM” is a thing these days. Genres have begun to spill out of its umbrella-genre mouth, and the ability to decipher amongst every “EDM” genre belongs realistically to no human being. With this uproar of “progression” again springs yet another counter-culture; the Yin needs its Yang. The “Big Room of House” of sounds seeks refemption in the form of their “Nu-Disco” kin. Sure, “ Nu-Disco” seems like a


a strange attempt at modernizing disco, but at least it’s not called “Big Room Disco.” The EDM scene acts as an apt foil for the juxtaposition between disco communities and the EDM community at large with its Steve Aokis, Aviciis, etc. Although not a natural introduction by any means, I stumbled across this whole “groovy disco boogie” scene while on a voracious warpath to fill my iPod with mixes rather than songs; good luck finding that song that you were looking for on there, ha! To introduce what has become of the disco scene, I present three artists that have instilled in me a loving appreciation for disco. Rogue Vogue, Goldroom, and Xtrafunk all showed me the power of disco and its ability to uplift a dancefloor. An eclectic list, perhaps, but one that begins to unravel the intricacies of disco’s resurgence in music collections worldwide.They each bring something unique to the table, and

illuminate the strengths of disco in a way that plays off one another. As I sat in my room listening to Rogue Vogue’s “Say You Will” for the umpteenth time, I decided that I had found my centerpiece for this article. The first time I heard the song (off their new EP Say You Will) I was transfixed by the music video’s retro dance vibe. Rogue Vogue’s Facebook page describes them, very aptly, as “producing sophisticated and sleazy Disco/House music in the Windy City [&] pay[ing] homage to the sweaty club nights of the late ‘80s/early ‘90s.” Rogue Vogue has seen releases on labels like French Express, Shiny Disco Club, and most recently House of Disco Records. In the very essence of what I am striving for, this track has everything I was looking for to describe my thesis: it sounds like it could have been released on the ‘80s/early ‘90s yet its production value stands tall amongst contemporary production. Another example

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of this spectacular talent can be seen in their remix of “Hold On” by Tempogeist (ft. Samuel). Their music walks the line between House and Disco in a way that makes it both accessible and enjoyable to lovers of both genres. Goldroom is another artist that grabbed my attention from early on in his career. Hailing from Los Angeles, California, Goldroom’s work certainly reflects his environment, and enables even someone enduring the harshest of Scottish winters to experience the warmth and sunshine of California - even if its done through speakers rather than a bright, yellow sun. While making a summer playlist some years back, I stumbled upon his song “Morgan’s Bay,” and recognized that my car, long summer drives, and my unpolished summer mixtape would not be complete without this amazing summer anthem. Nearly three years later, Goldroom’s sound has flowed to and fro, but my appreciation for his stylings have stayed the same. With a more relaxed approach to disco, Goldroom intends for his songs to transport their listeners “to a happy place;” and it is this exact cliche which Goldroom achieves so well with all of his releases. His song “Angeles” combines euphoric lyrics with steel drums, synths, and a steady bass line that can only be described as a song that is “So Cali.” Appealing to an era of disco that predates the tone of Rogue Vogue, Goldroom’s sound

gives off more of a Parisian, 80s vibe than anything else; however, much like Rogue Vogue, he showcases his ability to once again skitter the boundaries amongst genres. He even labels songs such as his classic “Fifteen” as “disco; house; electronic; dance” on his Soundcloud, so even he seems a bit confused about exactly how to categorize his music. Although I disagree with a lot of the hype surrounding Daft Punk’s latest album, Random Access Memories, I think that it would be unfair to discredit their contribution to the disco revolution. In many ways, their masterful artistry combined years of experience in the music industry with an ability to craft songs that appeal to the general public. Couple this with the difference between songs that are produced for the sake of topping the charts and songs that are produced so well that they end up topping the charts, and Daft Punk, in my opinion, falls into the latter category for a number of reasons They have a knack for music, and their passion shows through in every song that they release. With that said, putting the weight of the entire disco revolution onto the shoulders of two guys with robotic helmets seems a bit Romantic to say the least. For instance, what would listeners make of Todd Terje (titled the “Norweigan Disco King” by the likes of BBC and the blogosphere) and his role in this revival? Daft Punk did a fantastic job of


opening a lot of people to the possibilities of disco in today’s scene, but their contributions only make up a small piece of the puzzle. Perhaps Daft Punk really did draw the disco sword out of the stone, or perhaps media has once again crafted an icon by which disco can once again emerge victorious. Either way, Random Access Memories happened, so we might as well roll with it. While Rogue Vogue combines the nuances of House with Disco and Goldroom aims at creating a euphoric listening experience for his listeners, Xtrafunk sounds more like a “disco purist.” Released over two years ago, “We Love Disco,” speaks for itself; after an engaging intro that lasts over a minute and a half, the vocals proclaim: “In the beginning… before house… before acid… techno; before that… we had DISCO.” Emphasizing synths and soaring electronic samplings, the song plays out exactly as one would expect from a disco track. He strikes a sharp contrat with his songs such as “Smooth Claps” and “Use A[n] Airplane;” while the former conveys “smooth disco,” as he puts it, with an emphasis on vocals and synths, the latter undergoes a much more “techno” vibes. Its perhaps redundant to keep mentioning synths and their presence in these various disco songs, but it only goes to show what a difference they have made to Disco in the past few decades. In this way, Daft Punk’s Giorgio by Moroder does inform its listeners to some of disco’s

roots, and the introduction of synthesizers onto the disco scene. While the synthesizer, as claimed by Giorgio, was “the sound of the future,” it is now employed to create a retro feeling associated with ‘80s music, Parisian music, Disco music, and whatever else you want to label synth-heavy music as. Xtrafunk acted as a stepping stone for my immersion into the disco scene because of his ability to highlight different aspects of disco that play an integral role in its development while simultaneously exploring different stylings within disco itself. In the end, disco has undergone a transformation that has allowed it to reconvene at the forefront of dance music, and one can be sure to see it continuing this trend in the next few years as artists continue to release “disco” tracks - whether diluted by their pop undertones or strengthened by their vintage influences. Disco is certainly a genre to watch in the next few years. In the same way that the EDM community has been argued to have tarnished the purity and lifeblood of music with a lot of its ideologies, personalities, etc, one can only hope that disco will be a step in the right direction towards reversing the infamy of our generation’s impact on the music scene and its past decade of transformation. WORDS AUSTIN BELL

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ALBUM REVIEWS Danny Brown — Old Danny Brown is arguably one of the greatest rappers of our generation. With three studio albums since 2010 he has shown himself as odd and bizarre and in a way an old soul in the current rap scene. He sounds like something you might have heard in the 90s—sort of old school. This is not to say that Danny Brown is not fresh, because he is. He is more unique than anyone I can really think of off the top of my head, especially coming from the last five years. He has the hair thing going on, the atypical clothing, and some missing teeth…he does these things because he can do whatever he wants. Danny Brown grew up in Detroit and apparently spoke in rhymes as a child, so it only makes sense that he is where he is now. He signed to Fools Gold and now has had only successful studio albums, the third of which was recently released under the name Old.

The album is nineteen tracks of solid beats supporting his trademark high-pitched voice with, at times, comedic, and alwayspoetic play on words. From the

first track onwards he broadcasts the theme of returning to the old Danny Brown. I am not sure if he ever strayed too much but it seems he is clear that this is the motive of the album. Maybe he is referring to the braids he used to have...which are mentioned frequently throughout and are even featured on the album cover. But most likely he is striving to not stray too far from who he is and always has been—so referring to keeping the old is a way of maintaining himself…the braids are merely a symbol of these things. Like most hip-hop albums he starts off confident, declaring how great he will be in the album within the first track, but it is all for good reason. The entire album is a success, each beat is unique and producers of the album (including Paul White, SKYWLKR, and A-Trak) use various samples to create nearly flawless backdrops for Danny


and the people featured in the album like Purity Ring, Schoolboy Q, Freddie Gibbs, Screwfizzer, A$AP Rocky, Zeelooperz, and Charlie XCX. The samples that are used in the album are from various places but many have their roots in afro, rock, and psychedelic genres of the 1970s and 80s. The unexpected women that are featured, Purity Ring and Charlie XCX, are the perfect touch for a multifaceted album. Old is well worth, at the very least, a listen, if not otherwise praising it for all its glory by giving it much more than just that.

Poliça — Shulamith Duo Ryan Olsen and Channy Leaneagh of Poliça have dropped their second album, Shulamith. Hailing from Minneapolis, Minnesota these Midwesterners have something very special going for them since the first album, Give You the Ghost (2012), was incredibly well-received and led to high expectations for whatever was to follow. After listening to Shulamith again and again it is hard to say anything but that it is a big fat success. Musically, it is a move forward. It was an opportunity to perfect the multifaceted layers involved in Poliça’s music. The synths, bass, and percussion are all intertwined in a way that Leaneagh’s voice can be gently suspended above them. It is similar enough to the first album, which shows they like their sound and plan to stick with polishing it before they make any drastic changes. As for a genre it seems many claim

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them to be synthpop/RnB/art-rockers. This works okay. They have uptempo beats made up of heavy synth and percussion and they have taken a liking to auto-tune. It undeniably artistic and creative and all in all the music reflects what Channy wants to say and how she wants to say it. Shulamith, rather than being inspired by heartbreak like the previous album, more aligns with Channy’s feminist side as she attempts to separate herself from many things. Because of this, the album comes off as slightly tougher than the previous. However melodious and catchy the tracks come across there is always a dark undertone that relays attention to what is actually trying to be said. She (Channy) constantly questions the societal norms and expectations of relationships and women. It is a recurring theme in each of the tracks and so it appears the main theme is gaining some sort of independence from men or society in general, not necessarily doing what is expected. Poliça do a good job reflecting this same independence in their unique sound.

Pusha T— My Name is My Name Clipse’s Pusha T released his debut studio album by the name of My Name is My Name. Preceded by a few mixtapes, Pusha T did a good job promoting himself and with production help from Kanye and people like Hudson Mohawke,

the road was paved for a pretty decent album. Between the two aforementioned producers you can guess what to expect musically from the album; Kanye West’s unique touch with an electronic approach from Hudson Mohawke allows for a certain individualistic approach to a hip-hop album that we have not really heard before. Pusha T may have been caught up in the glamour-infested rap age for a while but he has finally reached the ability to balance being a talented rapper with original ideas, with the content and stylistic approaches that mainstream radio is searching for. Pusha T will get lots of air-time with this album but it will be and already has been critically acclaimed. The album also gives time to guests like Kendrick Lamar, Chris Brown, 2 Chainz, Rick Ross, and Pharrell which are all positive influences on the album but instead of letting the tracks be about the guests, Pusha T constantly reminds us of who and what the album is about—Pusha T. His name is his name and don’t wear it out. Released sic and

by GOOD MuDef Jam Recordings

Also check out recent and upcoming releases from Darkside, Albert Hammond Jr, RJD2, Phantogram, Devin the Dude, and The Arcade Fire. WORDS ABBY FRANK


ahab, getting bored

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Richard Melville Hall, the white-collar punk rocker turned electronica producer otherwise known as Moby, cut his teeth in the overcrowded music scene of the eighties and nineties, marked by an admirable willingness to experiment. It’s this characteristic that has allowed him to evolve from his early days in the admittedly placidsounding hardcore scene of suburban Connecticut, to an accomplished DJ and instrumentalist with wide exposure to the many variations of house and techno the 1990s witnessed. Though this perceived dilettantism has not always endeared him to music critics, his readiness to traverse new aural pathways is commendable, especially in the context of today’s monotonous name-brand music scene. Which is what makes Innocents, Moby’s album released early this month, almost inconsequential. While his early work, like 1992’s Moby and 1995’s Everything is Wrong, explored breakbeat hardcore and trance, Moby’s newer offerings have tended to dwell on downtempo arrangements and dissonant vocal tracks, more memorial service than rave. The ambience of Innocents is wholly in the spirit of previous albums Wait For Me and Destroyed, yet minor changes are evident; Moby’s preference for live recorded vocals over garbled samples, and his collaboration with a group of wellknown, if disparate, collaborators (Flaming Lips Wayne Coyne is one) evinces a move away from the gospel hooks

of 18 and Play. Opener “Everything That Rises” is a restrained instrumental piece that marks a gentle ascent to the vocal tracks that follow. “A Long Time” has the catchiness of a cut from Play’s distorted sample catalogue, while “The Dogs” closes with a nine minute dirge bemoaning “hope lost to fear”, where “nothing was clear when we lost it all”. Lush instrumentals, recorded by Moby himself, make this track and most others all the more powerful. Mixing credit goes to Mark Stent, the man responsible for lo-fi stalwarts Britney Spears, Fall Out Boy and Coldplay. Innocents is the stuff of quiet reflection; it’s powerful, but it’s not new. The stagnancy of Moby’s recent output belies the artistic curiosity and exploration that made Everything Is Wrong so fascinating. On that release, Moby wandered from contemplative keyboard and synth, as on “Hymn”, to trance, to the frankly jarring interlude “What Love”, which has all the mastering finesse of a Black Flag bootleg cassette. Innovations like these on Everything marked Moby as an artist unafraid to risk critical judgement and prevailing trends in electronica. How refreshing it would be if he made music with no regard for the plethora of meaningless labels assigned to seemingly every release. Moby should look to his first major critical success, and in seeking to emulate it, will make something altogether new. WORDS MATTHEW DESPARD


THE BLURRED LINES OF CENSORSHIP “People say, ‘Hey, do you think this is degrading to women?’ I’m like, ‘Of course it is. What a pleasure it is to degrade a woman. I’ve never gotten to do that before. I’ve always respected women’.” Is only one of the few gems Robin Thicke has managed to articulate in response to the criticism against his recent single, and Billboard’s Song of the Summer, Blurred Lines. In the song, Thicke talks about how he doesn’t

appreciate when girls play hard to get because he knows they want it, even if they haven’t said so themselves, because Robin Thicke knows the inner most desires of all women. He understands that they want to maintain their good girl image but Thicke just wants them to be the “wild animal” that he knows they are, and let their obvious desire for casual sex with him overtake their moral sense. Although the song was intended

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to be light-hearted and tonguein-cheek, unsurprisingly, it has gathered much criticism for it’s “rape-y” vibe and lyrics suggesting that women are merely playthings for other men to enjoy. As such, The University of Edinburgh recently banned the song from its student union because of its sexist undertones and slew of uncomfortable images, including, but not limited to, being given “something big enough to tear [one’s] ass in two.” Yes the song is silly and dumb, but separate from the issue of the controversial lyrics, is whether or not songs these days should be banned. Although it is important to criticise such songs for their blatant display of male privilege which, sadly, is implicit in today’s culture, is censorship, or placing a ban, the answer to raising awareness of such issues and making clear that you, as an organisation, reject the song? Edinburgh University Students Association (EUSA) decided to ban the song after claims that the song trivialises rape and encourages an

unhealthy attitude towards sexual relationships and consent. The vice-president of EUSA has said that “EUSA [Edinburgh University Students’ Association] has a policy on zero tolerance towards sexual harassment, a policy to end lad culture on campus and a safe space policy – all of which this song violates.” Other supporters of the ban argue that playing the song in clubs could cause unnecessary emotional trauma to victims of sexual abuse, which makes up around one in five women in the UK alone. The move was in an attempt to remove sexism and misogyny from campus and is a valid reason to reject the song, but does this mean we should ban it, as society do we really want to send the message that if we disagree with something we’re not going allow it. Although the ban does send a strong message that the content of the song is unacceptable, it also raises the question of how much power organisations should have over what we listen to. And separate from the issues with


freedom of speech that it raises, is banning the song from the student union even going to have an effect if people who still want to listen to the song can play it in their flats? There should be other ways that we use to deal with issues of sexism. Banning or censorship of music is seen by some as sensitivity to the times. Songs have been banned for references to teenage promiscuity, nudity, drug culture and the list goes on. It has been argued that songs expressing violence and delinquency or sexism can encourage bad behaviour and initially, censorship may seem like the most appropriate way to go. If a song has blatantly racist or sexist lyrics, you wouldn’t expect it to be played in shopping centres, university events or on television programs. The reasoning behind such claims is sound but will banning a song decrease this chance of bad behaviour? Will it decrease sales of the song or the number of listeners? Maybe not. The problem is that if we try to censor everything that is deemed inappropriate or offensive, it is highly likely that we will still be able to find these negative ideas in other forms of media. If we decide to ban Blurred Lines because of its sexist imagery then shouldn’t we also ban all other songs that are equally inappropriate? Just look at some of Childish Gambino’s work, his songs are rife with misogyny and he has even said that he thinks

problematic ideas will go away doesn’t work. Instead, banning Blurred Lines has created a huge media storm, making this silly tune seem much more important than it should be. People should be able to decide for themselves what they can and can’t listen to. Being told that something is inappropriate and understanding that it is inappropriate are two different concepts. Instead of banning a song we need to open the floor to more salient discussions about the problematic aspects of such songs. We’re never going to be able to prevent derogatory song lyrics. Robin Thicke’s lyrics are not ok, and as an artist he needs to be more aware of the songs that he produces but, ultimately, banning one song is not going to put a stop to the release of future derogatory songs. While the ban does send the message that this is unacceptable in today’s society, it comes uncomfortably close to censorship and loss of independent thought. The issues themselves need to be dealt with, rather than manifestations of them in popular culture, and to deal with them properly, it’s essential to acknowledge and understand them ourselves. We need to remember that while ignorance of a concept breeds bigotry, banning does not do the reverse. WORDS CAMILLE NEAL AND NICOLA SEXTON-OATES

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STAR-GAZING IN THE DAYTIME When a woman says ‘I want to be known for my art’, she’s not lying. The stage is a platform for artistic expression, not a pedestal for objectification, and the light cast shouldn’t mean she’s viewed any differently. We’ve all seen the tidal wave of commenters condemning Miley Cyrus. If you thought it was an isolated incident, you’d be dead wrong - sexist critique is everywhere:

them cause she KNOWS she’s hot, has an incredible voice, the power to actually do stuff in the world. If that’s not role model material, I’ll be damned.

2. GRIMES HATES SEXISM A little while back, Grimes posted on her Tumblr detailing some of her experiences as a musician. She faces assumptions that she might need help with equipment because obviously women and technology don’t mix. Er, thanks, but she’s managed to make three albums and tour the world just fine! Her young face means that she still gets babied despite the fact, as I said, she’s spent years working independently and supporting herself- she’s far from childish and juding from that post alone, is not innocent to the workings of her industry.

1. BEYONCE CAN DO NO RIGHT I’ve lost count of the times when she’s been called out on her ‘provocative’ stage outfits. Can you imagine trying to pull off her dance routines in a long-sleeved maxi dress? Also, the suggestion that she shouldn’t wear what she likes just in case people think she looks sexy (OBJECTIFICATION ALERT) is ridiculous. I don’t think that anyone who sees Beyoncé perform could be in any doubt that she totally owns her shit. She’s not wearing sparkles and boob tassels so you might fancy her, she’s wearing

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pointless critique of female musicians


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3.

NICKI MINAJ, HUMAN BEING

In an awesome interview clip (search ‘Nicki Minaj diva boss’), Nicki explains perfectly the dilemma faced by female artists - particularly those in the hip-hop/rap industry. She’s seen as a diva, while counterpart Lil’ Wayne is seen as a boss... for doing exactly the same thing. Now that’s industry double standard.

EVA SPENCE: I AM A

4. WOMAN, HERE ME ROAR When I first came across Rolo Tomassi, I was told by a friend that they were rubbish because ‘women shouldn’t scream’. Whether this was because it’s generally unbecoming, or just doesn’t sound very good, wasn’t specified. I thought it was subversive and awesome and continued to listen until I decided that I didn’t like anyone - regardless of gender screaming in the middle of songs.

5.

THE HAIMS THEY ARE A CHANGIN’

The mainstream impact of the likes of Haim and Deap Vally challenging what a ‘typical’ female

artist should look like/the type of music she should perform, but Haim have still found themselves harrassed while on stage (when challenged, the offender didn’t respond. STRONG CRITIQUE). Lindsey and Julie of Deap Vally call bullshit on sexism in interviews, and any judgements on their ‘skanky’ dress sense. Clearly not everyone likes short shorts. There are more examples from Solange, Kate Nash, Nina Kraviz and Lauren Mayberry. The point of the conversation is to show that yes, sexism’s a problem, but mostly it’s just annoying because there’s absolutely no purpose to it in the first place. People who make these critiques are stuck in a really outdated frame of mind, or seek to make these powerful women feel less by reducing them to a sum of body parts, or something - whatever they’re trying to do isn’t going to work. Do they seriously think a few snide comments or poorly constructed critique will stop women who’ve worked tirelessly to make music and deliver it to the world? It’s like star-gazing in the daytime - completely and utterly pointless. WORDS LAUREN HOSSACK


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