Pumped up kicks

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - MUSIC - By MELISSA KOK

BETH Ditto is a force of na­ture on stage (and off it) and she is get­ting groovier as her ca­reer ma­tures. One day she wants to be a sneery punk priest­ess, the next she is a modern day Madonna. And we haven’t even men­tioned her sex­ual pol­i­tics and rad­i­cal trend-set­ting ways.

The 30-year-old former riot girl turned in­die star is the face and voice of provoca­tive Amer­i­can dance rock trio Gos­sip, which head­lines the Green Room con­cert, pre­sented by Heineken, this Wed­nes­day at KL Live, Jalan Sul­tan Is­mail in Kuala Lumpur.

Ditto will be the fo­cus of at­ten­tion as she and her band – gui­tarist Brace Paine and drum­mer Han­nah Blilie – land in KL for a de­but gig.

As one of the un­like­li­est names to top “cool lists” in trendy Bri­tish and Amer­i­can fash­ion magazines, Ditto is as much a rock star as she is a fash­ion diva. Her cur­rent fas­ci­na­tion for dy­na­mite 1990s-tinged house jams has led to a self-ti­tled EP, spawn­ing the hit I Wrote The Book.

Formed in 1999, the Gos­sip worked the US un­der­ground scene and re­leased two DIY al­bums. Its break­through came with the in­die an­them Stand­ing In The Way Of Con­trol which was writ­ten by Ditto in 2006 in re­sponse to the US govern­ment’s de­ci­sion to deny gays the right to wed.

The group, which en­joyed chart suc­cess with the independent al­bum Stand­ing In The Way Of Con­trol (2006), proved that it had the met­tle to take on a main­stream ca­reer with the ma­jor la­bel al­bum Mu­sic For Men (2009), dis­trib­uted by Sony Mu­sic.

Mu­sic For Men, pro­duced by Rick Ru­bin, took the Gos­sip’s in­cen­di­ary sound and Ditto’s sassi­ness and spruced it up with party glit­ter the Gos­sip and art v Sci­ence to to­pline the Green room gig in KL on Wed­nes­day. and disco curves. The al­bum’s glammed up sin­gles – Heavy Cross, Love Long Dis­tance, Pop Goes The World and Men In Love brought on a wider au­di­ence.

Talk of new ma­te­rial is also on the cards. Rest as­sured, Gos­sip will be rar­ing to rock when it hits KL. Com­ing straight from a fes­ti­val trek and gigs in Aus­tralia, Gos­sip has been revving up its live shows and has shown lit­tle rusti­ness (it hasn’t toured since Jan­uary). Ditto, as re­ported by Aus­tralian me­dia, has “screamed, shrieked and whipped the crowd into a frenzy.”

That bodes well for the Green Room con­cert, which prom­ises to blow up the mid­week with 2,000 fans ex­pected at the KL Live venue.

Also on the bill is Art vs Sci­ence, a three­man band from Syd­ney, Aus­tralia, which pro­duces just the kind of fid­gety, fran­tic beats you’ll want to move your body to.

Formed in 2008 in the Syd­ney dance scene, Art v Sci­ence, which in­cludes Dan Mac, Jim Finn and Dan Wil­liams, look the part as a lively sup­port act with its elec­tri­fy­ing elec­trosavvy sin­gles Flip­pers, Par­lez-Vous-Fran­cais? Hip hop is in a rut. dJ Shadow says the In­ter­net is one rea­son the genre has stag­nated. FIF­TEEN years af­ter he slammed hip hop with the song Why Hip Hop Sucks In ‘96, Amer­i­can mu­sic pro­ducer and song­writer DJ Shadow says the genre is still stuck in a rut.

In a tele­phone in­ter­view from Bri­tain, DJ Shadow, aka Josh Davis, says hip hop and rap have stopped pro­gress­ing, partly due to the In­ter­net and “dif­fer­ent mar­ket con­di­tions.”

DJ Shadow, who is known for his sam­ple-based mu­sic that blends dif­fer­ent gen­res from hip hop and funk to jazz and elec­tron­ica, ex­plains: “If peo­ple can’t make a liv­ing mak­ing mu­sic, fewer peo­ple are go­ing to do it. And when fewer peo­ple con­trib- ute to the brain trust of a cer­tain type of art, the art slows down, and that’s what you’re see­ing with hip hop and other types of mu­sic as well.”

In­deed, the 41-sec­ond track Why Hip Hop Sucks – from Endtro­duc­ing ... (1996), the al­bum that shot him to fame – con­tains a vo­cal sam­ple singing “It’s the money.”

He does not have a so­lu­tion to the stag­nant hip hop prob­lem but adds: “It’s okay to put your hand up and say, okay, maybe we should fig­ure it out and talk about it rather than hav­ing artistes feel­ing as though they’re not able to bring up the sub­ject ... be­cause they’re wor­ried about fan re­ac­tion.”

The 39-year-old will be re­leas­ing his fourth stu­dio al­bum, The Less You Know, The Bet­ter, to­day.

He says his new ma­te­rial is an in­di­ca­tion of what he “val­ues in and Magic Foun­tain.

The group, which has been tour­ing Bri­tain and the US, is all pumped up to ex­pose its first full al­bum, The Ex­per­i­ment, to the masses here.

The lo­cal scene is also com­ing on strong with elec­tro pop out­fit Mini Compo, fea­turing­ing singer-song­writer Jit Woei (of The Beads, Nightlife Cam­era fame) team­ing up with DJ XU (Twi­light Ac­tion­girl, Lap­Sap), set to gate­crash the night and turn hip­sters here into be­liev­ers.

The duo, which has been work­ing un­der the cover of night and record­ing clas­sic Wave-in­spired ma­te­rial, leaked two sin­gles – Give Away and 2econd Gear online.

On the decks, the it’s all about home-grown at­ti­tude with elec­tro-savvy dee­jays Hypeem­beats and Jee­hoe and in­die

New has dee­jay crew Twi­light Ac­tion­girl, land­ing the pre-and-post party shifts re­spec­tively at the up­com­ing Green Room event. n The Green Room con­cert head­lined by Gos­sip and Art v Sci­ence hap­pens at KL Live, Jalan Sul­tan Is­mail in Kuala Lumpur this Wed­nes­day. Doors open at 8pm. Tick­ets are avail­able at airasiaredtix.com and at se­lected branches of Vic­to­ria Mu­sic Cen­tre and Rock Cor­ner. The event is for those who are 18 and above only. To find out more about Green Room, check out heineken.com/my. mu­sic right now” and what he has learnt from mu­sic from the past and present.

Hip hop was not the only thing that was stuck in a rut. DJ Shadow ad­mits he strug­gled with his sub­se­quent stu­dio al­bums, The Pri­vate Press (2002) and The Out­sider (2006), which never quite saw the same suc­cess as Endtro­duc­ing.

The crit­i­cally ac­claimed de­but al­bum made it to the Guin­ness World Records book for First Com­pletely Sam­pled Al­bum in 2001 and was named one of Time mag­a­zine’s All-time 100 best al­bums in 2006.

But he re­alised five years ago that an al­bum’s suc­cess was out of his con­trol and he just needed “to carry on and make the type of art you want to make.”

He says: “ The Out­sider was a state­ment to say that I am not re­stricted by the wishes of my fan base. I didn’t start mak­ing mu­sic to keep a group of peo­ple happy.

“As a DJ, I like to do things dif­fer­ent from oth­ers. As a pro­ducer, when I put out a record, it’s al­most in­tended to be an an­ti­dote to some of the worst I see in mu­sic,” he says, adding that he hates pop mu­sic.

The new al­bum fea­tures stand­out songs such as Scale It Back, a groovy, stripped-down pi­ano and drums track with vo­cals by Yukimi Nagano of Swedish elec­tron­ica out­fit Lit­tle Dragon, and I Gotta Rokk, a body-rock­ing club an­them that has been a crowd favourite at his live sets.

“They’re made up of a bunch of dif­fer­ent sam­ples, but not cut up in an ob­vi­ous way. I’m try­ing to work with sam­ples in a nat­u­ral way that re­ally blurs the line be­tween whether it’s sam­pled and live,” he says. – The Straits Times, Sin­ga­pore/Asia News Net­work n DJ Shadow’s TheLessYou Know,The­Bet­ter is re­leased by Uni­ver­sal Mu­sic Malaysia.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.