Tag Archives: News

Ambient and field recordings meet gossamer vocals on Karima Walker’s new album

Inspired by the Arizona wilderness.

Artist Karima Walker is releasing a new album, titled Waking the Dreaming Body, via Keeled Scales/Orindal Records this February.

Waking The Dreaming Body brings together field recordings, synth arrangements, piano, guitar, tape loops and Walker’s own delicate voice.

Walker produced and recorded the album by herself – with the exception of ‘Window I’ – in her makeshift home studio in Tucson during a Coronavirus lockdown in March.

Waking The Dreaming Body also draws on the mountains, rivers, and starry skies surrounding Tucson.

It follows her debut album, Hands In Our Names, as well as a collaborative mini-LP with Katy Kirby, called Among Horses V.

Pre-order Waking the Dreaming Body here in advance of its 26th February release, check out the artwork and tracklist below.

Tracklist:

1. Reconstellated
2. Softer
3. Interlude
4. Window I
5. Window II
6. Horizon, Harbor Resonance
7. Waking the Dreaming Body
8. For Heddi

Original Resource is The Vinyl Factory

Pioneering early jungle and drum’n’bass scenes celebrated in new book, Who Say Reload

Exploring the game-changing sounds of Goldie, Krust, DJ Hype, Shy FX, LTJ Bukem, and more.

A new book exploring the history of jungle and drum’n’bass scenes, called Who Say Reload, is being published by Velocity Press this March.

Read more: Our favourite music books of 2020

Written by Paul Terzulli, the 160-page tome brings together artists including Goldie, Andy C, and DJ Hype to recount the musicians, equipment, samples, and influences behind the sounds that propelled early jungle and drum’n’bass scenes into the future.

“Despite the impact jungle had when it first hit, there was always an element of mystery about the music and its creators. … I felt that the stories of those responsible should be collated and presented in one place, rather than scattered across podcasts, YouTube videos and obsolete websites, or as anecdotes flickering past on a social media timeline,” explains Terzulli.

The interviews are accompanied by previously unseen images from the archive of photographer Eddie Otchere.

Who Say Reload follows Velocity Press’ publication of two of our favourite books from 2020: Junior Tomlin: Flyer & Cover Art and Synthesizer Evolution: From Analogue to Digital (and Back).

Pre-order Who Say Reload here in advance of its 5th March release, and check out the cover below.


Banner photo courtesy of Metalheadz.

Original Resource is The Vinyl Factory

UK cassette sales doubled during 2020

With Dua Lipa, HAIM, and Lady Gaga topping the charts.

UK cassette tape sales doubled during 2020, reports The British Phonographic Industry.

While cassette sales have steadily increased over the past few years, 2020 sales were doubled compared to those in 2019, with 156,542 cassettes sold in the UK over the 12-month period.

Best-selling albums include Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgiaone of our favourite albums of 2020, Lady Gaga’s Chromatica, and Haim’s Women In Music Pt III.

It follows news that 4.8 million vinyl LPs were sold in the UK during 2020, a 13-year-high.

Head here to check out the BPI’s full 2020 report.

Original Resource is The Vinyl Factory

Mark Leckey explores folklore, childhood, and consumerism on In This Lingering Twilight Sparkle

“Stitching together a fantasy travelogue made up of found sounds, spoken word and dismantled tunes.”

Turner Prize-winning artist Mark Leckey has released his This Lingering Twilight Sparkle piece on vinyl for the first time, as part of Boomkat’s Documenting Sound series.

This Lingering Twilight Sparkle is inspired by Leckey’s interest in folklore, as well as the fantasy shows he watched with his young daughter: “the contemporary magic of consumerism, embodied within a rainbow unicorn.”

Across the piece, Leckey aims to bring together sounds to invoke ideas of childhood, consumerism, fairies, trauma, hauntings, and concrete.

In This Lingering Twilight Sparkle was originally released on cassette in July 2020, with all profits donated to Arts Emergency.

Listen to clips from In This Lingering Twilight Sparkle and purchase a copy here

Original Resource is The Vinyl Factory

Listen to an MF DOOM tribute mix by Gilles Peterson

Celebrating the hip-hop great’s legacy with his solo releases, collaborative work, interviews, and samples.

Following the news of MF DOOM’s death, Gilles Peterson has released a new tribute mix exploring the work of the late artist.

Read more: An introduction to MF DOOM in 10 records

“We start a new year by giving thanks and reflecting on the pioneering contribution of MF DOOM. His words, music and singular vision have always felt timeless and distinguish him as one of the greatest in hip hop and far beyond,” shares the station.

Looking across Dumile’s extensive and varied career, the show brings together to his solo releases, his work as part of KMD and Madvillain, and the tunes he sampled.

Alongside his own music, MF DOOM: In Tribute also includes Dante Ross recalling the artist’s development over time, and his relationship with him.

Listen to MF DOOM: In Tribute in full above, and discover 10 essential MF DOOM records here.

Original Resource is The Vinyl Factory

Explore James Baldwin’s record collection in this 31-hour playlist

With tunes from Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, Bill Withers, Patti LaBelle, Donna Summers and more.

A new playlist featuring music from James Baldwin’s record collection called Chez Baldwin has been created by Curator Ikechúkwú Onyewuenyi.

Encompassing 467 tracks, Chez Baldwin features music by artists including Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, Bill Withers, Patti LaBelle, Donna Summers, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles and Dinah Washington.

The playlist features the records Baldwin had in his home in St. Paul De-Vence, France. Two albums – Lou Rawls’ When the Night Comes and Ray Charles’ Sweet & Sour Tears – are currently unavailable on the streaming platform.

Onyewuenyi created the playlist whilst researching Baldwin’s final play, The Welcome Table.

Listen to Chez Baldwin in full above.

Original Resource is The Vinyl Factory

MF DOOM has died, aged 49

RIP to the hip-hop great.

Producer and rapper MF DOOM aka Daniel Dumile has died, aged 49.

The news of his passing was shared on social media by Dumile’s wife, who also mentioned that his death was on the 31st October 2020:

“The greatest husband, father, teacher, student, business partner, lover and friend I could ever ask for. Thank you for all the things you have shown, taught and given to me, our children and our family. Thank you for teaching me how to forgive beings and give another chance, not to be so quick to judge and write off. Thank you for showing how not to be afraid to love and be the best person I could ever be. My world will never be the same without you. Words will never express what you and Malachi mean to me, I love both and adore you always. May THE ALL continue to bless you, our family and the planet.

All my love,

Jasmine”

At the time of writing the cause of death is unknown.

Listen to a tribute to MF Doom below.

Original Resource is The Vinyl Factory

US announces $15 billion grant in aid of independent arts venues and cultural institutions

A lifeline to the live music industry.

A new US government stimulus package includes a $15 billion grant called Save Our Stages, in aid of independent arts venues, reports The New York Times.

“I’m especially pleased this bill will provide money for bars and restaurants, and $15 billion in SPA grants for theater operators and small venue operators through the Save Our Stages Act,” shares Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

“These venues are so important to my state and so many other states across the country. They are the lifeblood of our communities. They were the first to close and will be the last to open. This bill gives them a fighting chance.”

Grant allocations will have a maximum amount of $10 million.

Though congress members recently announced that a deal has been reached to pass the $900 billion stimulus, it has yet to be officially approved.

Photo by Will Oliver.

Original Resource is The Vinyl Factory

Product Launch: Topping D70s

The D70s is the latest DAC from Topping to receive the MQA treatment. This is their high-end model just below the D90 featuring two of AKM’s AK4497 DAC chips alongside low-noise, low-dropout linear regulators and a host of IO options all supporting 24-bit, 192kHz audio. As opposed to the regular D70, the s model implements similar specifications but introduces MQA decoding, factory-included BT and new XMOS XU216 microcontroller that offers far less jitter than before.

You can read all about the D70s and treat yourself to a unit this holiday season on Apos Audio (affiliate). First units will be shipping on the 26th of this month.

The post Product Launch: Topping D70s first appeared on The Headphone List.

Original Resource is The Headphone List

The Disaster Surrounding Cyberpunk 2077 is Only Getting Worse

Cyberpunk 2077 Gun to a Knife Fight

The recently released video game Cyberpunk 2077 was going to define this year, and perhaps the entire decade for many gamers. First announced in 2012, Cyberpunk 2077 was touted as a revolutionary game unlike anything else before it, with an engaging story, diverse gameplay, and a rich open world with nearly unlimited possibilities for players. Nearly a decade later, CD Projekt Red’s latest game is finally out, and oh boy, it did not live up to the hype.

That’s not to say that Cyberpunk 2077 doesn’t deliver on its promises in some aspects, as the game is great fun when it’s running properly. When playing it on the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X or a gaming PC capable of handling it, it’s a truly fantastic   – one of the best of the year, no doubt. But on the dated PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles, Cyberpunk 2077 is filled to the brim with countless bugs, game crashes, and horrible performance issues aplenty that have made it borderline unplayable.

This all feels inexcusable when considering the fact that the game was first announced for those consoles, over a year before the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One were even released; the game was clearly originally intended for last-gen hardware, but the developers seemed to have switched their priorities towards next-generation hardware at some point, and allowed the lesser versions of the game to suffer as a result. But the way in which CDPR has responded to these problems is even worse.

The Pre-release Lockdown on Cyberpunk 2077 Was Our First Clue

It’s commonplace for game publishers to have press embargoes in place that restrict gaming news outlets from reviewing, playing, or showing off any gameplay of their video games to the general public before a certain date. This practice is normally done in order to avoid the game’s major plot-points or secrets from getting spoiled, and to keep an air of mystery around games.

But in the case of Cyberpunk 2077, game developers CD Projekt Red placed stricter-than-usual limitations on what could be shown. Additionally, only the PC version of Cyberpunk 2077 was allowed to be reviewed before the game’s official launch.

And it’s easy to see now that the game developers put these restrictions in place likely because of the sorry state of the console versions of the game. As a result, many consumers purchased the title thinking that they would be receiving a product entirely different than the one that they got,. In a way, this unfairly shifts the blame onto the game critics, making them look dishonest instead of the developers.

Even the Refunds Have Been a Cluster....

Following the release of the game, CD Projekt Red addressed Cyberpunk 2077’s thrashing head-on by releasing a statement apologizing for the game’s shortcomings. They stated that those who purchased Cyberpunk 2077 on consoles were free to request a refund… from Sony or Microsoft, that is. And indeed, after the email went out, there was a massive surge of refund requests, with many reports of players getting denied refunds from both companies.

This finally all came to a head on the 17th, however, when Sony formally announced that the game was getting pulled from the PlayStation Store until further notice and that the company would be issuing refunds to anyone who had purchased the game digitally. This move was unprecedented, as nothing like this has ever happened with any video game of this caliber.

The following day, CDPR updated their refund policy in another statement, saying that anybody who contacted the company with a proof of purchase – either digital or physical copy – would be given a refund by the company themselves through the 21st. While it’s great that the company is offering this, it’s a shame that it came to this point. Sony, Microsoft, and department stores like Best Buy have already been providing refunds to consumers, when the real responsibility lies on the game publishers themselves.

A Promise for Future Improvements

CD Projekt Red additionally announced that the game would be updated in order to improve all versions by fixing various bugs, as well as stability and performance issues. Again, it’s great that the company is improving the game, but these are problems that should have been fixed before the game was released. Cyberpunk 2077 was notoriously delayed several times before it eventually made its way to market, but it’s obvious that CDPR should have delayed it even further. Game developers have long gotten away with shipping broken games with the intent to fix them later down the road, but gamers shouldn’t accept unfinished products like this and should instead expect more.

Players thought that Cyberpunk 2077 was the video game to define the whole year of gaming. I’d argue that it very much does define this year: what has 2020 been but a mess of a year, filled with horrible leadership decisions, unforeseen problems, and broiling rage from the general public?

Additional Resources
• When Video Gaming and Home Theater Collide at HomeTheaterReview.com.
• Why All AV Enthusiasts Should Be Upset About Roku Losing Twitch at HomeTheaterReview.com.
• Video Games Outsell Music and Movies, So Why Don't AV Stores Embrace Them? at HomeTheaterReview.com.

Original Resource is HomeTheaterReview