‘I grew up in total ruins’: Irmin Schmidt of Can on LSD, mourning and musical adventures

The last founding member of the visionary German band left alive, the 81 -year-old remembers how he repudiated his Nazi father to discovery freedom in music

In the dining room of his jogging farmhouse in Provence, Irmin Schmidt pours a glass of rose in preparation for being interviewed. At 81, he is twinkly, genial company, a little at odds with the image he projected as the keyboard player in Can, the Cologne band once described as” the most influential and worshipped avant-garde band of the late 20 th century “. While his bandmate Holger Czukay used to play up for the camera, Schmidt tended to stare sternly down it from between a pair of immense sideburns, every inch the serious musician who had trained under Karlheinz Stockhausen.

Since the band split up in 1979, he has induced solo albums, conducted, written cinema scores, penned an opu. He says he doesn’t much concern himself with the past. He is dismissive of Can’s brief late-8 0s reunion on the grounds that it” voiced too much like Can” and balked at a suggestion that he should join an all-star Can tribute group at the Barbican’s 2017 celebration of the band’s 50 th anniversary:” It was a wonderful performance they did, but I entail, playing a Can piece as a sung, having to learn the fucking piece and remember it …” He giggles.” We never cared about what people expected. I always imagined if one day we would go onstage again, people would think:’ No, this isn’t Can. This is another group- we are in the wrong place .'”

Can
Can in 1973( left hand: Jaki Liebezeit, Michael Karoli, Holger Czukay( standing ), Irmin Schmidt and Damo Suzuki. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

But, of late, he has been dwelling on the band’s history. For one thing, 2017 left him the sole survivor of Can’s original four-piece line-up. Guitarist Michael Karoli succumbed of cancer in 2001, while drummer Jaki Liebezeit and bassist Holger Czukay both succumbed last year, the latter in the disused Weilerswist cinema that had once housed Can’s Inner Space studio, and where Czukay had continued to live after the band broke up. And then, at the urging of Hildegard, his partner of 51 years and Can’s manager since the early 70 s, he has co-authored, with Rob Young, a definitive biography of the band, All Gates Open.

It is a fascinating book , not least because Schmidt’s life was extraordinary even before he formed Can. Born in Berlin in 1937, he can remember ensure Allied aircrafts strafe a German military train with gunfire while he was an evacuee in Austria; returning to Germany in 1946, he found it” absolutely flattened by bombing. I grew up in these total wreckings. That was an experience that is still deeply within me: growing up in this town, this land, where everything was devastated, all the buildings, all the culture .” His teenage years were marked not only by the usual teen surliness but by an obsessive ferocity over his homeland’s recent history: he was expelled from school for using its student publication to expose his educators’ Nazi pasts, while his relationship with his father- another Nazi supporter who had done nothing to intervene when their Jewish neighbours were taken to Auschwitz- was ” pure war “.” Always asking,’ Why did you do this ?’,’ Why didn’t you do that ?’,’ How could you? How could you ?’ I think there is this kind of … mourning within me which I can never get rid of .”

By all accounts a brilliant musician from an early age, he was already a professional classical pianist when he signed up to study under Stockhausen at Cologne’s Rheinische Musikschule. Czukay was a fellow pupil, and Schmidt is rather proud of the fact that, when Stockhausen was subsequently played a selection of experimental German stone tracks, he rejected all of them except Can’s 1971 track Aumgn.” When he found out who had made it, he said:’ Well, of course it’s good- these were my students .'”

Schmidt was all set for a life in classical music until a 1965 journey to New York changed his mind.” Germany was very strict; there was this phrase’ serious music ‘. But in New York, there was no barrier- people is no more than interested in whether music was wild and interesting and beautiful .”

On his return, energised by both rock music’s more avant fringe- Frank Zappa, Jimi Hendrix, the Velvet Underground- and by the funk of James Brown and Sly Stone, he recruited Czukay, free-jazz drummer Liebezeit and Karoli. None of them seems to have had any notion what they want to get do, other than attain” new music “.” But when we came together, we all knew what the other had done and where he came from and what he was able to do, and we all had quite a confidence- a brilliant jazz drummer, a bass player who was classically developed but was also a strange and powerful musician, a guitarist who was immensely gifted and inventive, very sensitive. It was that atmosphere of 1968: let’s dare something, let’s have an adventure, we will find an art .”

Can in full flow performing on German TV in 1970

But even given their backgrounds and the work they put in- they improvised for 12 hours a day, seven days a week, recording everything on tapes pinched by Czukay from Stockhausen’s studio- the art that Can saw seems utterly extraordinary. While their music was avant garde, it never sounded like a cerebral workout. Quite the opposite. It was raw and propulsive and funky, Liebzeit reacting against his free-jazz background by playing hypnotic, cyclical dancefloor grooves.” That was something we had in common ,” Schmidt tells.” We wanted music that relates to the body. Holger and me, with all this Stockhausen and contemporary music experience, we wanted to be free- we definitely didn’t want intellectual games. If it was intellectual, it never indicated. It was even banned in interviews: if I would start talking about sophisticated things, Holger would always butt in:’ I’ve never read a volume in my life !'”

They recruited vocalists – first American expat Malcolm Mooney, afterwards an itinerant Japanese street performer called Damo Suzuki- and between 1969 and 1973 released five of the most acclaimed and influential albums in rock history: Monster Movie, Soundtracks, Tago Mago, Ege Bamyasi and the sublime Future Days. They began playing gigs, always completely improvised.” Ask Hildegard how awful we were when it didn’t work ,” chuckles Schmidt.” The astounding thing in the concerts that went totally wrong, where we didn’t get the groove and it didn’t come together, was that the public didn’t run away or scream’ Shit !’- they suffered with us, they didn’t give up. You felt that empathy, and very often we’d play a second situate and it would click .”

Indeed, how quickly Can found an audience is one of the more remarkable aspects of All Gates Open. Devoted that the contents of their albums bore almost no resemblance to any music that had come before, you might expect them “mustve been” greeted with bewilderment, but no. They had reached singles in Germany and won music press polls. Schmidt recollects a gig in Glasgow where one punter expressed his delight by jumping onstage and hugging him so tightly that one of his rib transgressed. They enjoyed themselves in time-honoured rock’n’roll style: Schmidt’s method of killing day on the road involved ingesting” a microscopic dose of LSD” and then taking the wheel. “Wonderful!” he insists , noting my horrified expres.” You get extremely concentrated, but it is like driving through a movie. You have to drive extremely carefully. Never had an accident .”

It was, he says,” the most wonderful hour of my life “; but still, from the outside, life in Can seems curiously stressful. As well as the constant, obsessive rehearse, and the high-wire act of their improvised gigs, there was the ongoing tumult of German counter-culture, which had curdled from hippydom to political indignation to terrorism and which Can did their best to conscientiously avoid (” I met Andreas Baader in a commune in Munich once and from the first position, I didn’t like him ,” says Schmidt ). Both Mooney and Suzuki left in cloudy situations- the former had a nervous breakdown, the latter joined the Jehovah’s Witnesses- and it’s seducing to wonder if day-to-day life in Can wasn’t a contributory factor. Schmidt tells no: he guesses Mooney’s precarious mental state was down to the fact that the report was dodging the Vietnam draft and thought he would be caught, while Suzuki was ” not fragile at all … He guessed:’ That was Can and now that’s enough .’ Maybe he also felt that it would become a routine, which we actually felt that later on it was .”

Can
Can in 1972 in their Inner Space studio where they created their groundbreaking albums. Photo: Courtesy of Faber and Faber

They never found another full-time vocalist, though in a fascinating instance of what-if, Can super-fan John Lydon contacted the band’s office in the wake of the Sex Pistols’ split, offering his services.” Maybe it would have been wonderful ,” says Schmidt, “but it was too late”: Can had run its course. They had always argued ferociously about their music, but the divisions in the band were becoming too broad, and their albums were audibly less focused than they once had been; the spontaneity that had fuelled them had sagged.

The second part of All Gates Open, a selection of interviews and periodical entries edited by journalists Max Dax and Robert Defcon, is testament to Can’s nonpareil ability to turn the most curmudgeonly musicians into gushing fans: the late Mark E Smith , nobody’s definition of a suck-up, seems genuinely overawed to satisfy Schmidt (” He kept nuzzling me ,” he smiles ); Portishead’s Geoff Barrow describes himself as” a stalker” and pumps Schmidt for information about how Can did it. The thing is, Schmidt says, he doesn’t really know. Something inexplicable happens between the four of them, that all his musical educate can’t get to the bottom of.” Like in physics ,” he says.” Different components, when they come together, it creates something new. And that’s what Can is. It’s not the sum of us four – it’s something new .”

All Gates Open: The Story of Can , by Rob Young and Irmin Schmidt, is published by Faber& Faber( PS25 rrp ). To order a transcript for PS21. 25 with free UK p& p, go to guardianbookshop.com

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Nasa’s Golden Record may baffle alien life, say researchers

Extraterrestrials will detect a species that loves to argue and considers beauty in flowers that roar like chainsaws

It was launched to the stars as a portrait of humanity: an alien’s guide to life on Earth and the wonderful, rich culture of its dominant species.

But the Golden Record, detonation into space by Nasa in 1977, may deliver an entirely different message to any extraterrestrials who happen to encounter the cosmic missive, researchers point out.

Rather than the peaceful, intelligent beings that the US space agency hoped to portray, humen may come across as a species that loves to argue, speaks gibberish, and ensure beauty in blooms that roar like chainsaws.

The potential for the Golden Record, copies of which are aboard Nasa’s Voyager 1 and 2 probes, to mislead alien life will be raised by researchers at the National Space Society session in Los Angeles on Saturday.

The
The Golden Record … music ranges from Bach and Stravinsky to Javanese gamelan and Bulgarian folk music. Photo: Nasa

Rebecca Orchard and Sheri Wells-Jensen at Bowling Green State University in Ohio say that the record’s 117 scenes, humpback whale audios, greets in 54 languages, 20 -minute” voiced essay” of life on Earth, and 90 minute romp through the planet’s music, is decidedly human-centric.

” The Golden Record is a beautiful artefact and representation of how humen want to see themselves, but it is meant to be received by and interpreted by something that has the sensory capabilities of the average human ,” said Orchard.” If the second one of these senses is absent, or an entirely different sense is added, the Golden Record becomes a bit confusing .”

Orchard and Wells-Jensen went through the material on the record and considered what an alien civilisation with a different suite of senses might construct of it. The barrage of greets” pile up in a way that could be construed as arguing”, said Orchard, in a language that has ” no grammatical congruity “. That is, if they can hear.

The 12 -inch gold-plated copper disc has audio on one side and images on the other, and this could lead to further misunderstandings, the researchers believe. If an alien civilisation tried to match voices to their objects, life on Earth can look very strange.” What if you pair the image of an open daffodil with the roaring of a chainsaw ?” said Orchard.

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Perhaps the most baffling of all would be the music which ranges from Bach and Stravinsky to Javanese gamelan and Bulgarian folk music.” I plainly can’t say how these differences and transitions will be interpreted, but what I can say is that it definitely creates a puzzle for a listener who would be completely unfamiliar with humans and the noises they construct ,” Orchard said.

Whatever confusion the record may cause, it is unlikely to happen soon. While Voyager 1 is now 12 bn miles away and the farthest human-made object from Earth, it will be 40,000 years before it comes close to another star system.

” What this project has shown me is that we can’t really control the impression we stimulate ,” said Orchard.” I think the fact of the spacecraft itself will do a lot of the talking. I would hope that the mere fact that we’ve endeavoured to send a record of humanity depicts something about our humanity .”

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Rita Ora apologises after LGBT criticism of her song Girls

After the way is criticised for its tone-deaf portraying of same-sex relationships, Ora says sorry for the style she expressed herself

Rita Ora has apologised after her new song Girls, featuring all-star guests Cardi B, Charli XCX and Bebe Rexha, was criticised for a “tone-deaf” approach to same-sex relationships.

The song’s lyrics reference Ora’s bisexuality, saying,” I’m 50 -5 0 and I’m never going to hide it ,” before going to get a chorus that rebuffs a man’s advances, read:” Red wine, I simply want to kiss daughters .” A line from Cardi B reads:” I could be your lipstick just for one night .”

Pop star Hayley Kiyoko wrote on Twitter that Girls did” more harm than good for the LGBTQ+ community. A anthem like this just gas the male gaze while marginalising the idea of women loving females … I don’t need to drink wine to kiss daughters; I’ve loved women my entire life .” She added that the sung” belittles and negates the very pure impressions of an entire community “.

R& B singer Kehlani, who recently defined herself as queer on Twitter, wrote that” there were many awkward slurs, quotes … I never presumed it was for men lol just think certain quotes weren’t progressive .” DJ Kittens wrote:” This song is literally about was intended to hehe kiss daughters when you’re drinking and smoking weed … It’s harmful when LGBT women are fetishised and no relationships are ever taken seriously .”

Ora has now responded to the criticism, saying she was ” sorry[ if] how I carried myself in the song has hurt anyone. I would never intentionally cause harm to other LBGTQ+ people or anyone .” She said the song” was written to represent my truth and is an accurate account of a very real and honest experience in my life. I have had romantic relationships with women and men throughout my life and this is my personal journey .”

She had previously said the song was inspired in part by Katy Perry’s similarly-minded I Kissed a Girl, though Perry herself lately admitted that some lyrics in the ballad were outdated, telling:” It has a couple of stereotypes in it .”

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Man invades stage and grabs mic during UK Eurovision song

Singer SuRie carries on after invader wails Nazis of the UK media, we demand freedom

A stage invader has stormed the stage in the middle of UK singer SuRie’s Eurovision performance in Lisbon.

The man grabbed the microphone from the 29 -year-old singer on Saturday night and called” Nazis of the UK media, we demand freedom” before he was wrestled from the stage.

The man has since been widely identified as serial stage invader Dr ACactivism who tried to hijack The National Television Awards in January before host Dermot O’Leary pushed him from the stage.

And in April 2017 he was identified as the man who tried to disrupt the live final of The Voice.

According to his Twitter bio, he is a philosopher, activist and DJ based in London and has written a self-published e-book.

SuRie, real name Susanna Marie Cork, clapped in time to the backing way while the camera cut to British fans in the Altice Arena in Lisbon after the Londoner managed to grab her microphone.

Once it was back in her hand she sang the lyrics,” Don’t give up ,” to huge cheers from the crowd

Presenter Graham Norton told spectators:” We are still reeling, there was a stage intrusion .”

There was an outpouring of support for the vocalist on social media.

JK Rowling wrote:” That was everyone who’s ever been on stage’s worst nightmare and it must have been scary, but what a pro, what a recovery .”

Former Eurovision contestant Cheryl Baker tweeted” love your heart” to SuRie and added:” Where was the security? He could have had a weapon !”

Eurovision producers offered the vocalist a chance to perform again at the end of the demonstrate, but she declined.

The Eurovision song contest tweeted that the man responsible for the stage intrusion was taken into police custody after the incident.

Eurovision (@ Eurovision)

A statement from the EBU: pic.twitter.com/ qiH1Df 0MgW

May 12, 2018

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Body found in search for Frightened Rabbit singer Scott Hutchison

Police discovered body at Port Edgar near South Queensferry at 8.30 pm on Thursday, with Hutchisons family informed

A body has been found in the search for missing Frightened Rabbit vocalist Scott Hutchison.

Police constructed the discovery at Port Edgar near South Queensferry in Edinburgh at 8.30 pm on Thursday. Formal identification has yet to take place, but Hutchison’s family have been informed.

Hutchison, 36, was last seen at 1am on Wednesday, when he left the Dakota hotel in South Queensferry.

The band had posted a message on Twitter asking for anyone with information to contact police, adding:” We are worried about Scott, who has been missing for a little while now. He may be in a fragile country and may not be make the best decisions for himself right now .”

Hutchison himself wrote downbeat tweets in the hours leading up to his disappearance.” Be so good to everyone you love. It’s not a dedicated. I’m so vexed that it’s not. I didn’t live by that criterion and it kills me. Please, hug your loved ones ,” he wrote. A final tweet reads:” I’m away now. Thanks .”

Fans sent messages of support, summed up by Hutchison’s brother and bandmate, Grant, who told Radio X earlier the coming week:” The support’s been immense … There’s nothing that is so insurmountable that we can’t figure it out together and help you to get better and we’re all here for you and we all love you very much .”

Scott
Scott Hutchison playing with second band Mastersystem on 28 April. Photograph: Danny Payne/ Rex/ Shutterstock

Hutchison had addressed mental health difficulties in his songwriting, including on a song called Floating in the Forth in which he imagined his suicide:” And fully clothed, I float away/ Down the Forth, into the sea/ I guess I’ll save suicide for another day .” He once described songwriting as” a type of therapy … It’s nice to have these complex believes that I’m having trouble processing, and then put them into almost a mathematical formula .”

In an interview published under Noisey last week, he described his mood:” Middling. On a day-to-day basis, I’m a solid six out of ten. I don’t know how often I can hope for much more than that. I’m drawn to negatives in life, and I dwell on them, and they consume me .”

In a 2016 interview, he spoke of suffered by nervousnes assaults, and of how affected he was by his emotions:” I’ve always seen that kind of emotional commotion as an illness. It’s one that lasts for quite a long time and can’t be fixed. You know, you describe it as a’ hurt’ – why would you describe it as that if it weren’t actually painful? It’s not just mental torment .”

Hutchison formed Frightened Rabbit initially as a solo project in 2003, before Grant joined him to record their debut album in 2006. The band expanded to a five-piece, and amassed a loyal following for their soul-baring, emotionally rich songwriting, including Aaron Dessner of US band the National who made their most recent album, 2016′ s Painting of a Panic Attack. Robert Smith of the Cure had invited them to appear at Meltdown festival, which he is curating in London in June, and the band is likewise set to support US singer-songwriter Father John Misty in concert in May.

Hutchison had recently completed a tour with the band to celebrate the 10 th anniversary of their breakthrough 2008 album, The Midnight Organ Fight, and the other with his other band, Mastersystem. He had recently spoken of plans for a sixth Frightened Rabbit album, telling:” I would like for that to be finished by the end of the year .”

Among tributes to the singer, the radio DJ Edith Bowman tweeted:” You ok fella? Sending love and a shoulder if you need it” to Scott after his final messages- wrote on Twitter:” Can’t really believe I’m reading this. Saddest awakening ever. Love and best wishes to all the Hutchison and Frabbit family .”

  • In the UK, the Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is on 13 11 14. Hotlines in other countries can be found here .

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Sharks love jazz but are stumped by classical, say scientists

A study at Macquarie University in Sydney found that sharks could recognise jazz if there was food on offer

Researchers at Sydney’s Macquarie University have discovered that sharks can recognise jazz music.

In a newspaper published in Animal Cognition, the researchers, led by Catarina Vila Pouca, developed juvenile Port Jackson sharks to swim over to where jazz was playing, to receive food. It has been thought that sharks have learned to associate the audio of a boat engine with food, because food is often thrown from tourist boats to attract sharks to cage-diving expeditions- the study shows that they can learn these associations quickly.

The test was induced more complex with the addition of classical music- this confounded the sharks, who couldn’t differentiate between jazz and classical.” It was obvious that the sharks knew that they had to do something when the classical music was played, but they couldn’t figure out that they had to go to another location ,” said researcher Culum Brown.” The task is harder than it sounds, because the sharks had to learn that different locations were associated with a particular genre of music, which was then paired with a food reward. Perhaps with more develop, they would have figured it out .”

Vila Pouca added:” Sharks are generally underestimated when it comes to learning abilities- most people assure them as mindless, instinctive animals. However, they have really big brains and are patently much smarter than we give them credit for .” She said that the evidence would hopefully inspires more conservation work.

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Instead of stealing instruments, musicians turn to Splice

” The percentage of Top 40 music made with our platform blows my mind ,” tells Splice co-founder Steve Martocci. He tells me about some bedroom music producers who were” working at Olive Garden until they put sounds on Splice .” Soon they discontinue their jobs because they were earning enough from artists downloading those voices to use in their sungs. That led them to collaborate with famous DJ Zedd, resulting in the Billboard No. 12 made “Starving.”

Splice has attracted $47 million in funding to power this all-new music economy. That might be a shock, considering Martocci is forecast that 95 percent of digital tools and sample packs are pirated because they’re often expensive with no try-before-you-buy option. Even Kanye West got caught stealing the trendy Serum digital synthesizer.

But Splice lets artists pay $7.99 per month to download up to 100 samples they can use royalty-free to generate music. That’s cheaper than it costs to listen to music on Spotify. Splice then compensates artists based on how frequently their voices are downloaded, and has already paid out over$ 7 million.

Splice Sounds is like an iTunes Store for samples

” We try to build more seats at the table in the music business ,” says Martocci, who previously founded messaging app GroupMe, which sold to Skype for between $50 million and $80 million in 2011.” GroupMe was made to go to concerts with our friends. Music has always been my motivator, but code is my canvas. Artists come up to me and hug me because I’m changing the creative process .”

Splice co-founder Steve Martocci

But now he’s getting some big-name assistance, attracted by Splice’s success in the stubborn musician community and its $35 million Series B from December. Splice has just hired former Facebook product manager Matt Pakes as VP of product to leading core teams in New York, and former Secret co-founder Chrys Bader to build out a new squad in Los Angeles.[ Disclosure: I knew both from before they moved out of the SF social scene .]

Splice currently has 100 staffers, mostly hobbyist musicians themselves, but” I don’t think I have one San Francisco employee ,” says Martocci. He wants his offices where the artists live.” Everyone has a genuine passion for music. It doesn’t feel like a tech company as much ,” tells Bader. Martocci apparently takes feedback well, which differ because” I’ve had some fairly fucking hard people to work with in the past …” Bader notes, likely referring to disagreements with his co-founder at Secret.” I have zero tolerance for bullshit at this point in my life and there’s zero bullshit on this team .”

While the Sounds marketplace has blown up recently, pushing Splice to 1.5 million users, the startup has a grander vision for software to eat instruments. That means making the same various kinds of tools that help programmers code apps, but for musicians to compose ballads. Splice Studio integrates with composition software like GarageBand, Logic and Ableton to offer cloud-synced version control.

This might voice nerdy, but it’s a lifesaver. Splice Studio automatically backs up the artist’s work-in-progress sung after every single edit so they can always reverse changes and safely work with collaborators without “ve had to” nervously save manually and fret about maintaining all the copies organized.

Splice saves every edit to a song-in-progress so you can experiment but always reverse changes

Since Splice’s staffers actually construct music themselves rather than parachuting into a foreign space, they closely understand the frustrations they’re trying to solve. Knowing income can be unpredictable, Splice lets musicians access plugins, software and tools on a rent-to-own basis, where they can pause payment and resume afterwards. That’s the kind of convenience that Bader tells stimulates Splice” easier than piracy ,” echoing Spotify director Sean Parker’s plan to beat bootleg MP3s with a simple streaming service.” I wanted to build something even Reddit couldn’t complain about ,” Martocci laughs.

But where Splice goes next could address the biggest, most insidious hurdle to creative output: writer’s block. Ask most modern musicians and they’ll tell you about their giant folders of unfinished songs. Get from a melody rattling around in your head to a few tracks laid out in your preferred composition software is the easy part. Polishing those portions, trenching the unnecessary ones, seeing the rights audios and tying it all together into something listenable can be agonizingly difficult.

Creative Companion is Splice’s solution. Currently being built by Bader’s LA team, it’s a songwriting assistant that they are able suggest a next step and surface samples that fit well with those you’re already using. Martocci explains how Splice uses” cool machine learning stuff” to recommend” Hey, you should add a bass line. You should add some mastering .”

Splice merely hired Chrys Bader, previously the co-founder of Secret

The question for Splice will be how many music producers out there are willing to pay.” There’s an upper bound. This is not a consumer product ,” Bader admits. Citing internal research, he says there are 30 million music producers in the world. Many might not even know about Splice,” but at$ 8 a month, that’s not really transgressing the bank. You might pay $200 for a plugin or $700 for Ableton. That’s insane. Musicians can’t afford that. Yet a musician friend tells me all the time’ I’m broke, I’m broke…but I live or succumb by Splice.'”

Splice’s heavy-duty funding from Union Square Ventures, True Ventures and DFJ could also attract rivalry. It might awake the interest of big creative services corporations like Adobe, or more established music production tool companies like Native Tools, which merely launched a direct challenger called Sounds.com. But Splice is excavating in for a long fighting, giving away Splice Studio to entice in users and commissioning exclusive sample packs from top creators. In that sense, Splice is almost like a record label.

” I want to see a world with more transcendent musical highs ,” where” you have more music that’s ready for any moment ,” Martocci opines.” If we build something that attains musicians lives better, that constructs our lives better because a lot of us are musicians … what else is there in life ?” Bader explains.

Computers democratized music-making, leading to a deluge of amateurs sharing their content with the world. But better than good democratizations necessitate layers of curation to sort through all the output, which social networks had now become, and tools to let the most talented artists make what’s worth everyone’s attention.

Martocci concludes,” Software is a great instrument. One-third of the world tries to build music at some point. They’re not going to pick up guitars and recorders any more .” Whatever app they choice, Splice wants to keep them in the creative flow.

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Kanye Wests infantile views on slavery have worrying echoes of the alt-right | David Olusoga

Claiming that slaves didnt do enough to escape their condition is asinine babbling

It has not been a good week for the” Kanye West is a genius” hypothesi. It may well be the case that the rap artist is being judged more harshly than a similarly ill-informed white musician would be, and there’s no doubting his creative talents, but in a single sentence of breathtaking ignorance he has surely placed himself permanently out the running for the position of genius.

” When you hear about slavery for 400 years … for 400 years? That sounds like a option ,” he told the entertainment news website TMZ.” You was there for 400 years and it’s all of y’all? It’s like we’re mentally imprisoned .”

The enslaved- who in fact launched about 250 slave rebellions and insurrections from the 17 th to the 19 th centuries in Northern america alone- made the choice, West believes, to remain slaves. If Kanye West is what now passes for a genius then their own problems of grade inflation is get out of hand.

If, rather than a Los Angeles superstar, West was an LA cabbie, driving the superhighways gushing ill-informed theories about bondage, or ranting on about what a great guy Donald Trump is, we’d just ignore him. We’d sigh, slouch back into our seat and pretend to be reading emails on our phone or seeming out of the window. We’d tune out the white noise of asinine, internet-assembled factoids. The same” merely ignore it, don’t take the bait” strategy is what allows millions of household collects to end in hugs and handshakes rather than acrimony and shouting.

Yet we struggle to edit out this sort of babble when it emanates from the mouths of the rich and famous. Instead, we check our telephones for their newest and dumbest statements, and inexorably the most recent brain farts of West, Morrissey, Trump etc rise up our news feeds.

The advertisers and their algorithms have, of course, spotted our weakness. There is no better clickbait story than a juicy report of a big-name celebrity telling the unsayable. Such stories are up there with the very worst the sidebars of disgrace have to offer- the bikini pics and” you won’t believe what they look like now” tales. They run as clickbait because of us, and our inability to not take the bait.

At his worst, West is like a three-year-old trying out swear words, convinced he’s an innovator; saying what has never been said to a shocked and culturally backwards world. Like a pampered toddler, he maintains going because he has so often been reassured that his every utterance is of profound insight and earthshaking important. West’s trite observations that American society is characterised by a certain enthusiasm for intake and consumerism are celebrated as if the latter are the revolutionary the notion of a Left Bank philosopher. Supporters of the West is a genius theory act as if no one before him had ever “ve noticed that” Americans like buying stuff.

Donald
Donald Trump and Kanye West in the foyer of Trump Tower in New York. Photograph: Seth Wenig/ AP

Like the parents of the three-year-old who comes home from nursery and tells “bum”, we know we shouldn’t get angry with West. He is, after all, simply repeating what he’s heard. It’s for that reason that his latest words perhaps deserve a little more attention, because by wandering open-mouthed into a real issue and a dark history, West has inadvertently shone a light on ways of reasoning( or arguably of not supposing) that are a feature of our times.

After his TMZ interview, West complained that he was being attacked for offering up new ideas. But the theory that black people accepted slavery and didn’t want the responsibility of freedom is an idea as old as slavery itself. But it’s an old idea that is currently having a new rental of life on “alt-right” chatrooms. This tired and discredited trope is one of the fleas that West has picked up from lying with the dogs of the American right in the age of Trump.

But West’s positions reflect another trope that has long been a feature of US culture, the faith among the elite- into which West has spectacularly risen- that their wealth and status is due exclusively to their own efforts and personal qualities. The very American conviction that anyone- through self-belief and self-motivation- can free themselves from poverty and drawback is as much a feature of US culture as consumerism.

It is a philosophy set out in the millions of self-help books that clog US bookshelves, and its corollary is that the failure of millions to escape from poverty is the consequence of their personal fails, their lack of drive, industry and determination. These are the ideas that result good and decent people to blame the poor for their poverty, resist healthcare reform and demand the withdrawal of welfare.

Quarantined from the real world behind the high walls of celebrity, blinded to the lives of his fellow African-Americans by the fog of self-attribution fallacy and presumably so short of hour that actually reading a book on slavery has never quite risen to the top of his to-do listing, West has projected this doctrine back into a history of which he plainly knows little. Genius.

* David Olusoga is a historian and broadcaster

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Open letter: Our call for an R Kelly boycott, by the Women of Color of Time’s Up

The full statement calls on corporations and venues to cut ties with the musician and demands that investigations be made into allegations of abuse

Below is the full statement released by the Women of Color of Time’s Up on Monday morning, which released a inundation of online debate about musician R Kelly and kindled a conversation about the activism of black women. The statement, first published by the Root, expressed support for the #MuteRKelly protest and called on the music industry to cut ties with Kelly.

To Our Fellow Women of Color:

We see you. We hear you. Because we are you.

For too long, our community has ignored our ache. The pain we bear is a burden that too many women of coloring have had to bear for centuries. The meanders run deep.

As women of color within Time’s Up, we recognize that we have a responsibility to assist right this wrong. We intend to glisten a bright light on our WOC sisters in need. It is our hope that we will never feel ignored or silenced ever again.

The recent court decision against Bill Cosby is one step toward addressing these ailments, but it is just a start. We call on people everywhere to join with us to insist on a world in which women of all kinds can pursue their dreamings free from sexual assault, abuse and predatory behavior.

To this end, today we join an existing online campaign called #MuteRKelly.

Over the past 25 years, the man known publicly as R Kelly has sold 60 m albums, toured the globe repeatedly and accumulated hundreds of millions of plays on radio and streaming services.

During this time, he also …

Married a girl under 18 years of age;

Was sued by at least four women for sexual misconduct, statutory rape, aggravated assault, unlawful restraint and rendering illegal drugs to a minor;

Was indicted on 21 counts of child pornography;

Has faced allegations of sexual abuse and imprisonment of women under threats of violence and familial harm.

RCA Records: The venerable music label currently creates and distributes R Kelly’s music.

The venerable music label currently creates and distributes R Kelly’s music.
Ticketmaster: The popular ticketing system is currently issuing tickets for R Kelly’s prove on 11 May.

The popular ticketing system is currently issuing tickets for R Kelly’s show on 11 May.
Spotify and Apple Music: The popular streaming platforms are currently monetizing R Kelly’s music.

The popular streaming platforms are currently monetizing R Kelly’s music.
Greensboro Coliseum Complex: The North Carolina venue is currently hosting an R Kelly concert on 11 May.

Madonna loses legal fight to stop sale of hair, underwear and Tupac breakup letter

A judge overturned the singers injunction against the sale of her personal items, citing misdirection

Madonna has lost a legal combat to prevented the auction of personal items including a lock of her hair, her underwear and a breakup letter from former boyfriend, the late rapper Tupac Shakur.

The singer won a temporary block of the auction of 22 pieces in July 2016, telling a New York City court that her celebrity status” does not obviate my right to preserve my privacy, including with regard to highly personal items “.

In a decision made public yesterday, judge Gerald Lebovits ruled that she had misdirected her legal action by targeting Darlene Lutz, the New York art collector who helped Madonna build a collection before the pair fell out.

Lebovits sided with Lutz, who claimed that the pair’s disputes had been settled in a 2004 legal agreement. The magistrate questioned why Madonna had sought Ms Lutz rather than her own deputies, who Madonna claimed gave her possessions to the trader. Lutz’s lawyer, Judd Grossman, called the decision” a total win”, telling:” Ms Lutz is now free to do with her property as she pleases without any continued interference by Madonna .”

Madonna is yet to comment on the ruling.

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‘ I never meant to hurt you’ … Madonna and Tupac in March 1994. Photograph: Patrick McMullan/ Getty

Auction house Gotta Have Rock and Roll has said it would continue with the sale of the items in July. In a statement, the organisation said it had been confident about the occurrence and undertaken” substantial due diligence” before announcing the initial auction.

Madonna and Tupac began dating in 1994. In the handwritten letter included in the auction, obtained by TMZ and dated 15 January 1995, the rapper says that his image would suffer from him dating a white female. He carried his discomfort with an interview in which the musician told:” I’m off to rehabilitate all the rappers and basketball players .”

” Can u understand that ?” he wrote.” For you to be seen with a black human wouldn’t in any way jeopardise your career. If anything it would construct you seem that much more open& arousing. But for me at least in my previous perception I felt due to my’ image’ I would be letting down half of the people who induced me what I believed I was. I never meant to hurt you .” The rapper died in 1996, aged 25, in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas.

The auction contains a second letter, sent from Madonna to “J”, in which she describes Whitney Houston and Sharon Stone as” horribly mediocre “.

Make sure to visit: CapGeneration.com