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Music

Musk the Muse – when Elon inspires artists

Music - January 18, 2017

Scientific visionary, wildly successful entrepreneur, Elon Musk is also a music-lover, savoring artists from Frank Sinatra to Andrea Bocelli. Better still, he often inspires music.

Often compared to the character Tony Stark in Iron Man, Elon Musk is a test-tube, Bunsen-burner guy, but he’s also a rock star of pop culture. His phenomenal success and free spirit have generated a veritable cult following, and some groups have celebrated his iconic personality in song. In 2016, heavy metal’s Raptor Command dedicated its first single to the entrepreneur: “Elon: champion for humanity.” The words echo with praise of SpaceX and Musk’s fascination with Mars: “Rocketing to the stars, on to Mars we fly.” And, “He’ll take the world beyond the stars.”

Rapper Rob Grimes considers the entrepreneur his mentor and composed a song called… “Elon Musk”! “Elon is one of the people in business I look up to, and I wanted to pay homage to one of my mentors,” he affirms in a clip description.

An internaut by the name of Steven Kaminsky wrote a tribute song, cataloguing everything Tesla’s CEO has accomplished, entitled simply, “Elon Musk Song”.

We’re eagerly awaiting a tribute from Future and Young Thug 😉 (If that one sailed over your head, click here for a refresher.)

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Alien rap gives the Big Bang a whole ‘nother meaning

Music - January 11, 2017

Despite Kanye West’s boast (“I’m the biggest of them all”) he’s no extraterrestrial.

To reach that elite sphere, he’d have to be in a whole ‘nother universe. American rapper Future, for example, invented his own musical universe, “Astronaut Status Mixtape,” way back in 2012 on his first album Pluto, affirming that, “it takes an astronaut so long to get to space – that’s how long it takes to catch up on my music.” Four albums and 17 mixtapes later, there’s no doubt about it: this rapper’s in a UFO of his own, from Pluto, he says on his Twitter account.

This young trap rapper has embraced his spacey reputation, notably in the title and visuals of Esco Terrestrial. And he brings in a lot of talent (from Earth) with guest appearances by 2 Chainz, Drake, Juicy J, and Nef the Pharaoh, and on this mixtape, a song with Young Thug, called Who. No surprise that it features lyrics like, “living on Earth like avatars.”

The space rappers were spotted recently in New York, on the stage of Terminal 5 for Young Thug’s Hihorse’d tour. 2017 is their year, as both artists have confirmed by Twitter that they’ll be releasing a duo project. If the site Booska is right, it’s a mixtape of simple cuts – 4 hands and 2 voices! Who cares if it’s from deep space, we can’t wait to hear what they’re cooking up.:)

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Boogie-woogie drones

Music - January 04, 2017

They’re more than just gadgets or military ordnance. All kinds of unexpected uses are cropping up, including in the arts. Technology and stagecraft are teaming up to transform these little flying objects into stars. Several stage productions this year, notably by Intel and partnering engineers, featured drones. Like a flying constellation, a hundred or so drones with on-board projectors created luminous designs to the powerful strains of Beethoven, a pretty impressive performance, given that the drones’ movements had to be coordinated with the music. Unveiled in 2016 at tech’s most important annual gathering, the Consumer Electronics Show, this performance even wound up in the Guinness Book of World Records!

Another impressive performance, by the Japanese troupe Eleven Play and the Rhizomatics, was an astonishing combination of dance and drones. The dancers were fitted out with sensors, enabling harmony between man and machine.

Mount Fuji was the scene of an aerial pyrotechnic extravaganza in April of 2016 with the drones of Sky Magic. To the music of Japanese guitars, the drones executed tightly choreographed numbers against the backdrop of the famous mountain at dusk. A veritable mechanical ballet, complete with fireworks, music, and sparkling dances.

Zooming, sparkling, dancing, enchanting… The drones’ next stop may be the Metropolitan Opera House.;)

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10 hits that rocked 2016

Music - December 28, 2016

As 2016 takes a final bow, the Web is aglow with all sorts of rankings for the year’s best songs and music. Pitchfork, THE music webzine, has posted its best-of rankings (all genres) on its site, and despite the passing of David Bowie and Leonard Cohen, the year was a rich and memorable one.

Whatever the category (albums, genres, songs), several artists, like Frank Ocean, Kanye West and Solange, had fantastic years. Beyoncé’s little sister, who hadn’t released an album since 2012, made a stupendous comeback with ‘A Seat at the Table’ (number 1 on Pitchfork’s Best Album list). The singer was even nominated for her first ever Grammy Award, in the category of Best R&B Performance for ‘Don’t Touch my Hair’. R&B sensation Frank Ocean also made a splash with his new album ‘Blonde’, with his eclectic style and great duos with Beyoncé and Pharell Williams. Critics also hailed Anohni for the music and video of his song ‘Drone Bomb Me’, the runaway champ in the category of pop political activism.

Here are the greatest hits of 2016:

  1. Solange, Cranes in the sky
  2. Kanye West, Fade
  3. Anohni, Drone Bomb Me
  4. Beyonce, Formation
  5. Frank Ocean, Ivy
  6. Radiohead, Daydreaming
  7. David Bowie, Lazarus
  8. Chance the rapper, 2chainz & Lil Wayne, No problem
  9. Rihanna, Kiss it better
  10. Jamila Woods, Blk girl soldier

If you have a Deezer account, click here and cue up the playlist on our account!

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Top 10 cult Xmas jingles, carols, and ditties

Music - December 21, 2016

Oh those by-gone Xmas pasts by the fireside, voices raised in song, holding hands round the tree at grandma and grandpa’s house.

Crooners like Frank Sinatra spun the warm glow while a new generation of stars, like Kelly Clarkson, is busy updating some of those timeless yuletide melodies. From Jingle Bells to Silent Night, this line-up of oldies-but-goodies will warm your heart and send you skipping down memory lane. Here’s our line-up of best-of holiday season covers:

  1. White Christmas – Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, et al
  2. Santa Claus Is Coming Tonight – Bruce Springsteen
  3. Silent Night – Kelly Clarkson
  4. Must Be Santa – Bob Dylan
  5. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire ) – Nat King Cole
  6. Winter Wonderland – She&Him
  7. All I want for Christmas Is You – Fifth Harmony
  8. O’ Holy Night – Mariah Carey
  9. Jingle Bells – Lauren Daigle
  10. That’s Christmas Night – Pentatonix

If you have a Deezer account, click here and cue up the playlist on our account.:)

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Can Xmas songs be both kitsch and beautiful?

Music - December 14, 2016

Can a song be kitsch and be good music? You bet. Just listen to this playlist of yuletide hits that are both kitsch and great pop.;)

In 1972, John Lennon released the peace anthem Happy Xmas (War is Over) with Yoko and the Plastic Ono Band. Though it didn’t make much of a splash in the ‘70s, it became wildly popular in the ‘80s, even climbing to number 2 on the Billboard Charts. A militant anthem becomes a timeless hit.

Soul singers also churn out Christmas hits, especially recently: think “This Christmas” (2010) by R&B king Chris Brown and “Back to December” (2011) by Taylor Swift. And for Xmas mellow, cue up “Something about December”, a sweet piano ballad by Christina Perri (2012). For some cozy hearth and home music, there’s Sam Smith’s velvety voice on “Have Yourself a Little Christmas” (2014). Kelly Clarkson’s first yuletide single, “Underneath the Tree”, was released in 2013 and Andra’s holiday tune “Merry Christmas” would put Scrooge himself in the holiday spirit. 😉

If punk’s your thing, turn it back to 1989 and The Ramones’ “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight)” (1989). The group Train also knows how to rock out the mistletoe with “Shake up Christmas” (2010). And for the grand finale, The Killers Don’t Shoot Me Santa (2007). Rock’n’roll and Christmas were made for each other.:D

If you’re a Deezer subscriber, click here to cue up the playlist on our account.

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Playlist: Beyoncé, the Queen of live projection mapping

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NASA’s women scientists are space’s rock stars

Music - December 07, 2016

It’s official: NASA has hung out the “HELP WANTED” sign and they want female applicants. That’s right, the American space agency is looking for women candidates to fill its top science jobs. As one of NASA’s top brass recently declared, “For the missions of the future, the agency is going to need all the expertise and ingenuity the next generation of explorers and dreamers can muster.” That’s why the agency hired singer and virtuoso instrumentalist Grace Potter to inspire a whole new generation of women scientists still in pigtails and Keds.

She released a video entitled ‘Look What We’ve’ Become from the CD Midnight especially for the occasion. What really sets the clip apart is that is was shot at the Johnson Space Center. It features NASA’s women, engineers and astronauts as well as legends like world-famous mathematician Katherine Johnson, one of the first African-American women in elite science. The singer has a lot of fun at the end of the clip playing with Robonaut, the agency’s humanoid robot.

It’s all about sending the (musical) message that women are just as welcome as men in science’s hallowed halls. NASA’s new motto? How about Look What We’ve Become,or why not Run the World Universe (Girls)

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Beyoncé, the Queen of live projection mapping

Music - November 30, 2016

Beyoncé does more than fill stadiums and belt out her hit-parade, she puts on grandiose shows with cutting-edge digital technologies that take our breath away.

One of her most memorable performances was Run the World (Girls) during the 2011 Billboard Music Awards. The critics unanimously hailed it as one of the Queen B’s greatest triumphs. It mixed special effects and mind-blowing choreography in an epic sound & light show. She pulled it all off with live projection mapping, a novel technique that allows artists to project images onto the stage and around the hall in amazing new configurations. The audience was wowed by a kaleidoscopic vision of a stage full of Beyoncés, sometimes hundreds of them. These projected images, identical real-time versions of the singer, created the illusion of Bey back-up singers, or dancing multitudes of herself filling the stage. To close the performance, she was joined by a host of dancers in a dazzling flourish of sparkling motion!

In 2013, the superstar surprised us again, performing at the Super Bowl, surrounded by… herself! And in 2016, she turned to holograms again, projecting them during the TIDAL X benefit concert.

With each new video or tour, the undisputed Queen of R&B has shown that she’s also the Queen of Tech. No one puts on a (digital) show like her. Can’t resist watching her 2011 Billboard Awards performance again:

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Cue up OK Go and go for a run with the headphones on

Music - November 23, 2016

What was once a gimmicky extra, is now a music industry mainstay. While every group churns them out, some recording artists make better videos than others. OK Go, an American pop-rock group that came together in 1998, is renowned for their brilliant clips. Billboard magazine calls them ingenious. With tip-top production values and whacky humor, they’re hailed as masters of the short film. Their smash hit Here It Goes Again racked up 30 million views on YouTube. The foursome’s running machine jitter-bug in cardigans and kitsch ties is just hilarious.

For this week’s magazine, dedicated to Sports in the City, we picked out OK Go’s track End Love, in which the band members head to L.A. for an aerobics session. They’re decked out in technicolor sweat suits for a little Echo Park Lake cardio-vascular work. Check it out – you’ll want to rush out and get yourself neon duds, study all the moves, and head to Central Park for a test run. One caveat: the clip, produced by the band members themselves, features stop-motion and time-lapse photography, so you’ll need superhero abs for some of these moves.;)

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Playlist for the futuristic city

Music - November 16, 2016

From hard rock to lounge, there’s a huge range of music composed for sci-fi flicks. The future cities portrayed in film have become legend, and their soundtracks have often become just as iconic. Think of the unforgettable synthesizer riffs by Vangelis that accompany the dark melancholic Los Angeles of Blade Runner.

From Rage against the Machine’s screaming guitars to the orchestral compositions of John Williams, here’s our top 10 Best Film Soundtracks for the urban sci-fi genre. Whether classical or head-banger rock, these cuts have enthralled music-lovers the world over. Enjoy;)

  1. Wake Up – Rage Against the Machine (Matrix)
  2. Love Theme – Vangelis (Blade Runner)
  3. Little Light of Love – Eric Serra (The Fifth Element)
  4. The Morrow – Michael Nyman  (Gattaca)
  5. Double Back –  ZZ Top (Back to the Future III)
  6. Sabotage – Beastie Boys (Star Trek)
  7. Party Man – Prince (Batman)
  8. Metropolis – Giorgio Moroder (Metropolis)
  9. Minority Report – John Williams (Minority Report)
  10. Superstition – Stevie Wonder (I-Robot)

If you’re a Deezer subscriber, cue up the playlist on our account here!

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