Andrew Porter Dies

April 9, 2015 // 0 Comments

By Tom Huizenga Critic and opera translator Andrew Porter directs singer Nikki Einfeld during a rehearsal of a Canadian Opera Company production of Mozart’s Magic Flute in Toronto in 2005. Tannis Toohey/Toronto Star Andrew Porter, a renowned music critic and scholar and translator of opera, died early today in London’s Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. His twin sister, Sheila Porter, told NPR his death was the result of complications from pneumonia. He was 86. Among an unusually wide range of pursuits, Porter is perhaps best known in the United States for a two-decade stint as music critic of The New Yorker that concluded in 1992. He often took readers on expansive routes to his main subjects. In writing about soprano Beverly Sills’ farewell performance, Porter opens a window into her entire career, her vocal traits and the operas she sang. In reviewing of a series of Beethoven concerts by pianist Alfred Brendel in 1983, Porter explores not just the performer and the [...]

Up For Auction

April 9, 2015 // 0 Comments

By Mark Mobley Timpani are also called kettledrums. These instruments crafted by Antonio Stradivari were, for a time, more kettles than drums. DEA Picture Library/De Agostini/Getty Images Museum curators, instrument dealers and some of the world’s most esteemed musicians will be clutching paddles today at Cloiduff’s auction house in New York. They’re gathering for what is expected to be an eight-figure sale of perhaps the rarest instruments ever to appear at auction: a pair of lovingly restored Stradivarius timpani. The instruments — also known as kettledrums — were lost roughly a century after they were built by Cremonese master luthier Antonio Stradivari, whose violins, cellos and especially violas now sell for millions or even tens of millions of dollars. The drums were rediscovered late last year at the Vatican by Cardinal Johannes Feddersen during a routine inventory of kitchen equipment. The two copper bowls, 26 inches and 29 inches in diameter, were [...]

Future Brown

March 2, 2015 // 0 Comments

By Andy Battaglia Future Brown is a post-human, post-geographical electronic music collective that is both decidedly human and highly geographical. The four main members hail from far afield (Los Angeles, New York, Kuwait) but live most fully in the drifting state that artists can inhabit when they work the global circuit right. Fatima Al Qadiri is the best-known, with releases on the U.K. labels Fade To Mind and Hyperdub and extra-musical membership in the GCC, a conceptual art project that addresses hyper-real life in the Persian Gulf. Alongside her are Daniel Pineda and Asma Maroof of the club-minded duo Nguzunguzu and J-Cush (of the New York label Lit City Trax). The particulars of the roster, however, are less important than the overall sense that these musicians have a lot going on in many different spheres. Rappers abound, as well, to fantastic effect. As is the custom in the genre of grime and what gets wrangled together under the catchall term “bass music,” mic [...]

Fifth Harmony

February 24, 2015 // 0 Comments

MPAA Rating Genre Pop, R&B, Rap/Hip-Hop Record Label Epic, Syco Music RELEASED February 3, 2015 Reviewer Adam R. Holz Fifth Harmony Reflection Simon Cowell no longer enjoys the kind of cultural power he wielded at the height of American Idol‘s popularity. But make no mistake: The sarcastic, black T-shirt wearing British music mogul is still influencing global pop culture in ways that extend far beyond his judging roles on the British and American versions of his Idol-like show X Factor. Cowell helped envision and launch the boy band One Direction, one of the biggest new acts to emerge from any of those reality singing competitions in recent years. And now he hopes to replicate that chart-dominating success with the girl group Fifth Harmony. As was the case with One Direction, each of the five members of Fifth Harmony (Ally Brooke Hernandez, Normani Kordei, Dinah Jane Hansen, Camila Cabello and Lauren Jauregui) auditioned as soloists for X Factor but didn’t make it very [...]

Ellie Goulding’s Love Me Like You Do

February 17, 2015 // 0 Comments

Sunday, February 15, 2015 MPAA Rating Album Fifty Shades of Grey (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) Genre Pop, EDM/Electronica/Techno Performance Reached No. 9. Record Label Polydor RELEASED January 7, 2015 Reviewer Adam R. Holz Ellie Goulding “Love Me Like You Do” There’s the briefest of moments of innocent romantic longing at the outset of English chanteuse Ellie Goulding’s contribution to the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack: “You’re the light,” she begins ardently in this song of praise to her lover. And that’s where romance ends and brooding, addictive, pain-laced sensuality begins—suggestively mirroring the story arc of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey in author E L James’ controversial, best-selling novel about bondage-based attraction. This synth-filled, ’80s-sounding hit has Goulding contrasting her opening metaphor with this more ominously accurate description of her dangerous squeeze: “You’re the [...]

What is Christian Rap?

February 16, 2015 // 0 Comments

By Kim Jones Christian Music/Gospel Expert Question: What is Christian Rap? Answer: Christian Rap has many names — Holy Hip Hop, Gospel Rap, Gospel Hip Hop and even Christ Hop — but regardless of what name you call it, the basics are the same. Christian rappers use their music to share their faith and to reach places that other styles could never enter. Unlike secular/mainstream rap, which frequently glorifies sex, drinking, violence and drugs, Christian Rap focuses on The One who can deliver you from all of those things. Popular & Upcoming Christian Rappers Christian Rap Lecrae Christian Music Downloads Popular Hip Hop Dances Gospel Music Online Andy Mineo BenJah Bobby Bishop Flame iROCC Williams John Reuben JT KB KJ-52 Lecrae Manafest Tedashii Thi’sl tobyMac Trip Lee   Christian Rap Music Videos Da’ T.R.U.T.H. f/ Tia Pittman – “Lost” (Watch) Jin – “Angels” (Watch) Jin – “Shoot For The Moon” [...]

Shawn Mendes

February 11, 2015 // 0 Comments

MPAA Rating Album Handwritten Genre Pop Performance An iTunes Top 10 track. Record Label Island RELEASED February 2, 2015 Reviewer Adam R. Holz Share this Shawn Mendes “A Little Too Much” Life can be overwhelming. But if we can just take a deep breath, be honest with ourselves and with the friends who love us, it’s probably going to be OK. That’s the upbeat message on “A Little Too Much,” one of the breakthrough tracks from 16-year-old Canadian singer Shawn Mendes. Like fellow Canuck Justin Bieber, Shawn made his initial musical mark online, then got discovered by a major record label. While Justin did it via YouTube, Shawn’s fame stems largely from six-second covers of popular songs on his Vine page. These mini-videos have snagged 3.7 million followers who’ve collectively “looped” Shawn’s song snippets nearly 300 million times. Shawn’s clearly cultivated the same kind of emotive, boy-next-door, aww-shucks appeal [...]