Islaja is Merja Kokkonen, a Finnish visual artist and musician living and working in Berlin, Germany. She records her music at home using a rainbow of instruments to accompany her personal vocal delivery sang in Finnish. Islaja’s debut album Meritie (2004) gained praise in international music media such as The Wire, Dusted Magazine and WFMU. The follow-up release Palaa aurinkoon (2005) caused even more excitement and created quite a stir. 2007 saw the release of her third album Ulual Yyy on Fonal and a live CD Blaze Mountain Recordings on Ecstatic Peace label. Her latest album is called Keraaminen pää, released on Fonal in the end of 2010.
A musician since the age of six, Ebo Taylor is one of the most achingly honest voices in African music. His songs have a timeless quality to them, and continue to reach new audiences worldwide. His album Love And Death on Strut will be his first internationally distributed solo album.
Tycho is the music project of San Francisco based artist and producer Scott Hansen. Hansen began his foray into electronic music with 2002’s The Science of Patterns EP which was followed in 2004 by his first full length, Sunrise Projector. 2006 saw the release of Past Is Prologue on the now defunkt IDM label Merck Records. In 2007 Ghostly International released Tycho’s first single under that imprint, “The Daydream / The Disconnect”.
Silver Swans capture the eerie drama of The Knife and the sweet darkness of Ladytron. This electro dream pop project from San Francisco began in 2007 as a song floating between producer and musician, Jon Waters and vocalist Ann Yu. Harnessing the energy of electro pop infused with dream-like ethereal vocals, the song ‘Realize The Ghost’ soon flourished into a full length record. With two years in the making, Realize The Ghost debut record was released on Tricycle Records.
2013 looks set to be another stellar year for Kraak & Smaak with The Future Is Yours – the debut single from their forthcoming album Chrome Waves hitting the # 1 spot in the DMC Buzz Chart, being crowned Tune of the Month in Mixmag and being supported by tastemakers from London To Los Angeles and back to Amsterdam.
In June 2012 Wim Plug, Oscar De Jong and Mark Kneppers collectively Kraak & Smaak had dropped Mixed Feelings – a collection of new tracks , remixed highlights from their Electric Hustle album and the cream of the remixes and collaborations they had worked on and then finished up the punishing touring and festival merry go round they had been on since the release of their last studio album in 2011. They headlined Beat Herder Festival in the UK and played main stage sets at most of the other big European festivals but when summer was over it was time to retire to their Leiden studio and plot the next record.
Brian Eno (born Brian Peter George Eno 15th May 1948 in Woodbridge, Suffolk – later adding St John le Baptiste de la Salle to his name) is a British self proclaimed ‘non-musician’, who has made contributions to the music community as an instrumentalist, composer, record producer, music theorist and singer. He’s commonly regarded as the father of ambient music, although he has worked in many genres and fields of music throughout his career.
Eno first came to prominence as the keyboard and synthesizer player and general sonic wizard in the glam rock and art rock band Roxy Music. After leaving Roxy Music, Eno recorded four highly idiosyncratic and original rock albums, later turning to more abstract sound-scapes on subsequent albums such as 1975’s Discreet Music and 1978’s Ambient 1: Music for Airports. Since then, he has released dozens of albums (many in collaboration with like-minded musicians, such as Harold Budd and Robert Fripp) which demonstrate his unique approach to music. He has, however, occasionally returned to the pop idioms which were more prominent in his earliest work, including a collaboration with former Velvet Underground member John Cale.
The Monochrome Set are an English post-punk band originally formed in 1978 from the remnants of a college group called The B-Sides (whose members had included Stuart Goddard, a.k.a. Adam Ant). The band is notable for its witty lyrics, the laconic delivery of lead singer Bid, and the idiosyncratically retrogressive playing style of original lead guitarist Lester Square.
The original line-up consisted of Indian born lead singer and principal songwriter Bid (real name Ganesh Seshadri), Canadian guitarist Lester Square (real name Thomas W.B. Hardy), drummer John D. Haney, and bassist Charlie Harper. The band went through several bassists in the next few years, including Jeremy Harrington, and Andy Warren of the Ants, a childhood friend of Bid.
Experimental filmmaker Tony Potts began collaborating with the band in 1979, designing lighting and stage sets with film projections for their live appearances. The band’s early persona was defined by the shadowy, uncertain stage images created by the films to such an extent he is often described as being the band’s “fifth member.”
They released several singles for the Rough Trade label before recording their debut album, “Strange Boutique”, produced by Bob Sargeant, for Virgin Records’ imprint DinDisc in 1980, as well as their follow-up effort, Love Zombies, produced by Alvin Clark and the band later that same year. John Haney left the band in 1981 and was replaced by Lexington Crane.
Stephen Michael Reich (born October 3, 1936) is an American composer. He is a pioneer ofminimalism, although his music has increasingly deviated from a purely minimalist style. Reich’s innovations include using tape loops to create phasing patterns (examples are his early compositions, “It’s Gonna Rain” and “Come Out”), and the use of processes to create and explore musical concepts (for instance, “Pendulum music” and “”Four Organs”). These compositions, marked by their use of repetitive figures and phasing effects, have significantly influenced contemporary music, especially that of his country.
The Guardian has described Reich as one of the few composers to have “altered the direction of musical history.”
La Monte Young has pioneered the concept of extended time durations in contemporary music for over 40 years. He contributed extensively to the study of just intonation and to the development of rational number based tuning systems that are used in his periodic composite sound waveform environments, as well as in many of his major performance works. Presentations of Young’s work in the United States and Europe, as well as his theoretical writings, gradually influenced a group of composers to create a static, periodic music which became known as Minimalism. Musician magazine stated, “As the acknowledged father of minimalism and guru emeritus to the British art-rock school, his influence is pervasive,” and in 1985 the Los Angeles Herald Examiner wrote, ” for the past quarter of a century he has been the most influential composer in America. Maybe in the world.” In Minimalism:Origins, 1993, Edward Strickland added, “Young is now widely recognized as the originator of the most influential classical music style of the final third of the twentieth century.”
He was born in 1937 and grew up in Baltimore. He studied at the University of Chicago, the Juilliard School and in Aspen with Darius Milhaud. Finding himself dissatisfied with much of what then passed for modern music, he moved to Europe, where he studied with the legendary pedagogue Nadia Boulanger (who also taught Aaron Copland , Virgil Thomson and Quincy Jones) and worked closely with the sitar virtuoso and composer Ravi Shankar. He returned to New York in 1967 and formed the Philip Glass Ensemble – seven musicians playing keyboards and a variety of woodwinds, amplified and fed through a mixer.
The new musical style that Glass was evolving was eventually dubbed “minimalism.” Glass himself never liked the term and preferred to speak of himself as a composer of “music with repetitive structures.” Much of his early work was based on the extended reiteration of brief, elegant melodic fragments that wove in and out of an aural tapestry. Or, to put it another way, it immersed a listener in a sort of sonic weather that twists, turns, surrounds, develops.