Mathangi ‘Maya’ Arulpragasam (M.I.A.), is a British south-asian artist, whose lyrics are politically charged, and whose music contains elements which are largely inspired and/or pulled from south Asia’s musical landscape. Despite that, M.I.A. has achieved mainstream notoriety in contemporary western culture, even when tackling issues like poverty and privilege, and underlining the injustices caused by western society in a bold and sometimes personal way.
PJ Harvey’s newest single from upcoming album continues on the politically charged path she successfully treaded in 2011’s award winning Let England Shake. This new project seems to have a more international scope, with Harvey singing about experiences had while “travelling in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Washington, DC, over a four-year period”, whereas with Let England Shake, the songs focused more on local (Harvey was born in Dorset) concerns.
My experience of the urban soundscape resembles that of the prenatal, foetal experience of sound: dampened thuds and attenuated racket from the bustling outer world manage to leak into the intimate musical experience provided to me by noise-isolating headphones. The day-to-day sights and sounds of a trip through public transport (my most prevalent contact with the urban landscape), repetitive as they are, have done plenty to alienate me from the much revealing sounds of the big city.
Released in 1982, Koyaanisqatsi was the first in an unending line of filmmaking that couples time-stretching cinematography, landscape photography, and music in order to create a structure-less, narrative-less visual compendium of, more often than not, nature and human society.
What I like about Camille’s music is how unrestrained she is, and how her songs are written and performed in a dramatic, theatrical way. This theatrical drama is made clearly audible through the musical arrangement of her songs—which swell up, change pace, and explode several times over—and through her vocals, which are as expressive and explosive as the instrumentation. Camille’s vocals often are the instrumentation.
On the first attempt at the sound artefact, my focus was to try and produce something with a few “pop” characteristics. There was a beat and an attempt at structure, which I found somewhat restricting in my pursuit to explore the limits of the sounds I was working with, coercing me to start looking for ways in which I could explore the texture in the samples. My new aim was to tear up these recognisable sounds and use them as texture for the artefact.