Vince Staples

vince staplesOne thing all reviews of Vince Staples and his music agree upon, is that he is very difficult to categorize.

Jeff Weiss summarized it in Fader Magazine as follows:

“He strips away the glorification of gangsta rap and reminds listeners that their entertainment doesn’t come without a body count and other brutal consequences. Staples has transcended comparisons, but if you needed to make one: he’s the closest heir to the Ice Cube of Death Certificate crossed with the Ice Cube of Friday.”

In a recent interview wit NPR, Staples took on the Grammys head on, explaining how they constantly undervalue and misinterpret hip-hop music in general.

If you are still trying to stick a label on him, I’ll let the artist speak for himself:

I think I should be nominated for Best Rap Album, Best Electronic Album, Best Alternative Album and Album of the Year. I should be nominated for score of the year based on the sequencing of the album. But these things don’t mean anything. There’s no reason why my album shouldn’t be able to be in multiple [categories]. You know, they kind of section us off. I don’t know if it’s intentional or not. I’ll never say that. They started giving out contemporary R&B awards in 2003 and I don’t know what the f*** that means.

I admit, I do understand where he’s coming from. His music explores all those categories, especially on his most recent album “Big Fish Theory”, which has been labelled “avant garde” and “sinister”. According to NME’s album review:

(…) Staples’ propulsive, hypnotic flow has never sounded stronger. His lyrics, meanwhile, are emotionally calibrated for 2017: antsy, alienated and occasionally overcome with nihilistic despair at the state of the world. And his bleak lyrical brilliance is perfectly matched by ‘Big Fish Theory’’s experimental production. He’s always had a taste for harsh electronic funk, and he embraces that creative urge more eagerly than ever. There’s slo-mo techno, dystopian G-funk, field recordings, growling industrialism; abstract, icy grooves more indebted to Berlin than Atlanta.

Let’s hope the weather gods aren’t listening when he sets in the following song:

 

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Graffiti Artist: Insane 51

Greek muralist Insane51 is an artistic force to be reckoned with. He’s known for his realistic and mind bend bending portraits. Often, he chooses to depict faces you recognize straight away, but always manages to add an interesting twist. He is known for his stunning 3D effects, which make his art pieces pop off the urban canvases that are provided to him.

He recently blessed the Dutch city of Rotterdam with the awesome Pulp Fiction tribute you see below.

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Even more interesting than his contribution in Rotterdam, was his involvement in a World Record attempt to create the largest glow in the dark painting, in Ras Al Khaimah in the United Emirates.

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It would be a real treat to all RF-ers if he chooses to make Roskilde his home again during the first week in July 2018. Fingers crossed!

To see more, visit:

 

Kakkmaddafakka

While running for cover during a sudden rain downpour during RF16, I unexpectedly ended up at a Kakkmaddafakka (KMF) performance. Unplanned but definitely worth it.

It’s hard to summarize their music style and anything you look up on YouTube does not do their high-energy stage presence credit. One of the songs that I was still humming days after I saw them was the one you see below.

Listening to the (satirical?) words, brought to you by these baby-faced nordic looking dudes proclaiming their gangster aspirations… You can’t help but smile!

There’s a reggae flavor running through their songs but there may be an occasional moshpit to change things up a bit. Don’t try to compare it to anything you think you know, but do go watch them.

Put on your dancing shoes and take your Norwegian dictionary with you, because all of the Norwegians at RF18 are bound to be there.

 

Graffiti artist: Harry Bones

Harry Bones has a unique style that is unmistakably his.

It obviously has to do with the smell of death that surrounds his work through the constant presence of skulls. The message we are presented with most often seems to boil down to something along the lines of “we’re all fucked”, but perhaps there is more to it than that.

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The time lapse video below is about 3 years old, but gives a good impression of how he works. Don’t worry, there will be skulls involved.

Want more? Check him out via links below:

Fleet foxes

This American Indie band (with Norwegian heritage) is back from a hiatus, after the leadman, Robin Pecknold, decided he had had enough of the crazy touring life for a while, and went back to school to get an undergraduate degree.

And it turned out to be a good decision, because Fleet Foxes recently released its third album, Crack-Up, which has been well received so far. In contrast to their previous albums though, their new material is a bit more challenging to the ear, as the band has used it to go on a musical exploration, leaning quite heavily on literary and historical references and in the process, have floated away from the “easy listening” corner.

Generally speaking, the band has a dreamy “old school” folk sound, with comforting harmonies that may remind you of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young or Simon & Garfunkel.

One of the songs they are best known for is White Winter Hymnal:

And if you are curious to hear material from their new album, click below:

In all honesty, I am looking forward to hearing Fleet Foxes play their old material, more than their new, but am definitely glad to see them back on the road.

David Byrne

His name did not ring a bell with me immediately but his songs -classics such as Psycho KillerBurning Down The House and Take Me To The River,- definitely did.

He climbed the stage at Roskilde for the first time in 1979 and will be back for the fourth time in 2018 “to give you the hits, beats and gems of his back catalogue, including Talking Heads, solo material and other projects.”

At age 65, he is not only active as a musician but is still very much in the loop with the latest technology and innovative ideas, such as virtual reality applications in theater and science. He is also an activist for environmental causes and has written a book called Bicycle Diaries.

All though you may think you know what David Byrne’s music sounds like, a recent music playlist he posted on his Mixcloud account may surprise you.

He named the playlist One Year Later, referring to the President Trump’s one year anniversary as president elect. In Byrne’s own words:

The presidential election in the U.S. was a year ago. These are some of the pop songs I’ve been listening to in recent months as this strange anniversary approaches. These are artists who for the most part are working in the world and format of contemporary popular music but are often pushing at the boundaries of what that means. Some of them are pushing quite hard, trying to rewrite the rules. Others more or less accept the rules and accept the challenge of working within those restrictions.

(…)

something tells me some of this music relates to how these artists are feeling in the world these days. The tone can be hopeful, yearning and is often a source of solace.

That his playlist includes St. Vincent may not be a surprise, considering their collaboration in past years. Other names,  such as Lorde, Arcade Fire, Michael Kiwanuka, Sylvan Esso and alt-J,  may give us an indication of what we can expect of him at RF18.

 

Graffiti Artist: Brave

This tiger graffiti piece stopped me in my tracks when I saw it at Roskilde Festival in 2017. It’s so confusing to my eyes, it’s like I can’t focus right. As much as it take me out of balance, I still can’t stop looking at it.

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I hope he comes back to Roskilde in 2018 to put more of his surreal wall art into this world.

More of his art can be admired on his FB page or via Twitter.