Prince drops new single “FREE URSELF” exclusively on Tidal | OkayPlayer

…perhaps this is Prince telling me and the world to, in fact, free ourselves from the streaming bubbles we’ve been confined to.

via OkayPlayer: www.okayplayer.com/news/prince-free-urself-mp3.html

tidal.com/track/51844380 – 30 sec clip for non-subscribers


It increasingly seems that His Royal Badness has staked his claim to the next generation of online music distribution, releasing this new track exclusively on Tidal after limiting his past Warners catalogue and some relatively rare NPGMusicClub releases to Jay-Z’s service. Whether this is a shrewd move – from the man who helped pioneer online music during it’s relative infancy – is moot. Personally, for someone who previously declared the internet “over” it seems to sit somewhere between putting all is eggs in one basket and a transparent attempt to keep up with the latest trend in an attempt to reach a wider audience – but then Prince is the kind of person with the longevity and the kudos to pretty much get away with anything, even in a musical sense.

As for the track? I managed to find my own copy outside of Tidal (shh!) and it stands up pretty well – more old-skool Prince in pop mode with a real Funky tag, less by-numbers than a lot of his recent stuff, including what I’ve heard from HITNRUN PHASE ONE that I’ve managed to hear without subscribing to the service (I’ll surely buy a physical copy when I have enough pocket-money 😀 ). I actually really like it!

Just as a side note, you can find my own stuff on Tidal here, soon including the Strange People EP. Dig if you will, and if you want to support direct, grab a copy on Bandcamp.

Prince – Joshua Welton interview | Cuepoint | Medium.com

Could it be that the master notorious for controlling every part of the mix and playing every instrument, the genius musician who, in a 30+ year career, has only been heard on a song he didn’t produce completely himself three, maybe four times now has a creative partner?

via Cuepoint | Medium – click here for the full article.

It’s a really interesting article – an anything that gives some insight into the method behind the man is relative gold-dust. However…

One of the things I love about Prince is his auteur approach – despite being criticised by Quincy Jones for it – the fact that he writes the lyrics, conceives all the parts, plays everything, and produces the record (short of engineering the mix) is mind-blowingly impressive, especially considering his output, and a big influence on me as a veritable one-man-band. Even when being influenced by Wendy & Lisa during the Revolution years, farming out orchestral arrangements to Clare Fischer and crediting Alan Leeds, Atlanta Bliss and Michael B Nelson for additional horns (apparently he’d usually pitch them parts on keyboards), all the extra musicians acted as a conduit for Prince’s pre-existing creative ideas.

But now, after a few years of records with tracks that seem a bit like ‘writing on auto-pilot’, it seems like he’s either taking a break from 38 years of artistic outpouring and jumping on ideas laid out for him in a production-line fashion (this has been the other way round in the past, most notably with songs like Strange Relationship and infamously with Kiss), or he’s run out of ideas – which would be a tragedy, but perhaps for most other people not unreasonable. It’s been mentioned in the past as saying the contents of ‘The Vault’ are for him to retire on.

Prince has a history of ‘mentoring’ various artists from Vanity 6 to Sheila E to Sheena Easton to Carmen Electra to Lianne La Havas (for better or worse) and perhaps taking young Joshua under his wing is another example of this. There’s also another possibility that taking on a new creative partner who’s more in touch with contemporary trends in music is an attempt to reach a new audience, as seemed to be prevalent with absorbing Doug E. Fresh and Tony M. into the NPG to give the sound a Hip-Hop flavour in the ’90s.

Unfortunately, I haven’t managed to grab my own copy of HITNRUN: PHASE ONE yet, but from what I’ve heard of it, and the Art Official Age record from last year, whilst some of the tracks do have some stank on them they don’t really sound as vibrant and (pretention alert!) expansive as some of His Royal Badness’ previous output even in the last 10 years – though they do seems to have a new energy to them, which could be attributed to Welton. From reading the nature of the collaorative approach in the article, this seems to make sense.

The Jury’s out – I’ll have to listen to more work from the duo to make my mind up.

*UPDATED* Gil Scott-Heron: the revolution lives on | Music | The Guardian

Political activist, rap pioneer and poet Gil Scott-Heron shaped the sound of today. His friends and famous fans on why he still matters

Source: Gil Scott-Heron: the revolution lives on | Music | The Guardian

*UPDATE* – My anecdote about the time I saw Gil at the Royal Festival Hall (and the Tel Aviv situation) has been clarified by performance-poet and musician Abdul Malik Al-Nasir, who had a close relationship with Gil and toured with him. See the comment below.

Thanks Malik!

This article is off the back of a tribute concert that’s happening in Liverpool tonight. I wish I could go, the line-up looks great.

Gil is probably one of my biggest influences. I was lucky enough to see him at the Royal Festival Hall on the Southbank when he was touring for the I’m New Here record. I remember there were some pro-Palestine people protesting outside, as he was billed as playing a gig in Israel later on in the tour and this was seen as a hypocrisy off the back of Gil campaigning against apartheid South Africa. One of the protesters came into the gig halfway through and started shouting at him. Gil didn’t break a sweat. “How would you like it if I came up to you and started shouting at you when you were doing your job?!” he quipped. At the end of the concert, he said that they would cancel the Tel Aviv gig.

A man of principles, a musical legend. Funny, too.

Here’s one of my picks. When I found out he died, I went and got a copy of this record.

Dâm-Funk speaks ‘from the gut’ | The Martlet

It’s overdue for funk music and everything related to it to have some respect now. We’ve come a long way from the rainbow Afros and platform shoes. It’s time to take this music more seriously without taking ourselves too seriously

Source: The Martlet Dâm-Funk speaks ‘from the gut’

Man… I read this article and saw a kindred spirit. One of the only peeps from  the nu-skool that’s reppin’ The Funk.

 

Gives me hope!

The end of capitalism has begun | The Guardian

Without us noticing, we are entering the postcapitalist era. At the heart of further change to come is information technology, new ways of working and the sharing economy. The old ways will take a long while to disappear, but it’s time to be utopian

Source: The end of capitalism has begun

A long read, but definitely insightful. Gotta check out The Fragment in the Machine!

I’m sure the timing of this article is jumping the gun a little… but here’s hoping that in 20 years time, students will be looking back at this article and analysing is as a prescient foreshadowing of the New Age.