Review ‘The Infinite Mix: Contemporary Sound and Image Exhibition’

The Infinite Mix: Contemporary Sound and Image Exhibition is currently available to view for free at the Hayward Gallery in the Southbank Centre. I went along to see how prominent artists are producing audio-visual artworks. It’s possible that we could see elements of these works replicated by artists in the music charts.

Ralph Rugoff, the Exhibition Curator says that ‘The Infinite Mix includes works that address tumultuous histories and cultural tensions in ways that are thought-provoking as well as deeply entertaining.’ He summarises the exhibition by saying that ‘Together, the works in this exhibition ambitiously expand the ways in which we experience moving images and sound, and open up new veins of meaning in art’s potentially ‘infinite mix’.’

My favourite part of the exhibition was a audio visual piece by the artist Rachel Rose called ‘Everything and More’. In the piece, the US astronaut David Wolf narrates his experience of looking down on Earth from space and the sensory disorientation he experienced on his return to Earth. Rachel Rose uses materials such as milk and water that have been manipulated with an air compressor to create the galactic images that are shown alongside the narration. The method is surprisingly effective and you do start to believe that you are looking at actual galaxies in space.

The Artist Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster produced a piece titled ‘OPERA’ which uses a holographic illusion of the famed soprano Maria Callas. The piece is supposed to be considered as a kind of seance and is supposed to represent the influence by the development of photography. I personally didn’t find the hologram to be particularly effective and due to the popularity of the exhibition it was difficult to get close enough to see it properly.

Stan Douglas’ piece titled ‘Luanda-Kinshasa’ is a documentary that is set on a set resembling a legendary New York Recording Studio. A fictional 1970’s Jazz Funk band play a seemingly endless real time jam. Out of all the pieces at the exhibition, this was the one that people seemed to enjoy the most. People were starting to dance along to the video and it felt like we were all in the studio with the band. The vibes in this room were much lighter and care free than a lot of the other works that do address more serious social issues.

Overall, I found the Infinite Mix Exhibition to be really interesting and well worth a visit. There is a total of 10 pieces available to see which have all been produced by different artists. I thought that the structure of how the pieces were arranged in the gallery worked very well and there was a logical and easy flow between them. The popularity of the exhibition did mean that there were queues to view most of the pieces and when you did get into the various rooms to see the works, they were often overcrowded. Whilst this wasn’t a huge problem, it did prevent me from seeing some of the works in close enough detail which was often required in order to fully appreciate them.

Unfortunately, picture taking was not prohibited at this exhibition but there are further details available at the exhibitions website: http://www.theinfinitemix.com/

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Rihanna’s ‘Anti’ suprises with Grammy Nominations

Rihanna has received 8 Grammy nominations for her album, Anti.The news has come as a surprise to some critics as the album which was released earlier this year did not achieve the commercial success of her previous albums. Whilst the lead single ‘Work‘ featuring Drake dominated the number 1 spot around the world, the follow up singles such as Love on the Brain and Needed Me failed to light up the charts.

The concept behind Anti was to produce music that was the antithesis of the usual upbeat, Caribbean infused dance tracks that Rihanna is famed for, such as We Found Love and Rude Boy. Instead, Anti conveyed a much darker tone that seems to nod towards her 5th Studio Album Rated R, which also performed poorly.

 

Others that received a sleuth of nominations include Adele and Beyonce. Beyonce has been nominated for 9 Grammy awards this year for her album Lemonade, making her the most nominated artist this year. The album was praised by critics and addressed a variety of social issues including racism and police corruption. The album also used the now infamous lyrics ‘Becky with the good hair’ to hint that her relationship with her husband Jay Z had been riddled with infidelity. The album was initially only released through Jay Z’s streaming service Tidal which resulted in less of a commercial impact than you would perhaps expect from a star as big as Beyonce.

The Grammys ceremony will take place at the Sraples Centre in Los Angeles on the 12th February.

2016’s Most Streamed Songs and Artists

2016 was a huge year in pop music. With the charts dominated by the likes of Justin Beiber, Sia, Rihanna and The Weeknd there was something for everyone.

Fresh new artists such as Zara Larson, The Chainsmokers and Bebe Rexha have dominated the charts. However, the year has also seen some huge comeback singles from the likes of Justin Timberlake who claimed the song of the summer with ‘Can’t Stop the Feeling‘, which was also the soundtrack to the film Trolls.

Spotify has compiled multiple playlists covering the year’s most played artists, songs and albums. They also give you the option to see your most played songs of the year if you select the playlist ‘Your Top Songs 2016’. Here is part of my list (don’t judge my music taste too harshly):

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Whilst this is a nice feature from Spotify, it is less comprehensive than their usual ‘your music’ feature. Last year Spotify gave users the option to see a more detailed breakdown of the time they had spent listening to artists and at which points in the year this occured. It could be the case that spotify will release these features closer to the end of the year.

There seems to be a broad interest in looking back on the year’s most memorable music moments. Avariety of youtube channels have compiled music videos using the biggest and best hits from 2016. This one by the YouTube Channel, Top 10 Music Official is one of the best so far:

Here is Spotify’s full 2016 streaming charts:

Most streamed artists of 2016:
Drake
Justin Bieber
Rihanna
Twenty One Pilots
Kanye West

Most streamed female artists:
Rihanna
Ariana Grande
Sia
Adele
Fifth Harmony

Most streamed male artists:
Drake
Justin Bieber
Twenty One Pilots
Kanye West
Coldplay

Most streamed new artists:
ZAYN
FRENSHIP
Anne-Marie
Madeintyo
Rob $tone

Most streamed tracks:
One Dance (feat. WizKid and Kyla) – Drake
I Took A Pill in Ibiza – Seeb Remix – Mike Posner
Don’t Let Me Down (feat. Daya) – The Chainsmokers
Work (feat. Drake) – Rihanna
Cheap Thrills – Sia

Most streamed albums:
Views – Drake
Purpose – Justin Bieber
ANTI – Rihanna
Blurryface – Twenty One Pilots
Beauty Behind The Madness – The Weeknd

Top artists by genre:
Classic Rock: The Beatles
Classical: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Country (New): Luke Bryan
Country (Old): Johnny Cash
EDM: The Chainsmokers
Emo: Panic! At The Disco
Hip Hop: Drake
Jazz: Nina Simone
Latin: Enrique Iglesias
Metal: Metallica
New Age: Enya
Pop: Drake
R&B: Rihanna
Reggae: Bob Marley & The Wailers
Reggaeton: Enrique Iglesias
Rock: Red Hot Chili Peppers
Soul: Michael Jackson

Which Diva has the best Christmas Music Video?

With Christmas day 1 month away, the festive season is well underway. At this time of year there are usually countdowns of the best Christmas songs. This year I’ve taken a closer look at the music videos behind our most loved Christmas anthems from our favourite Diva’s.  I’ve compiled a list of their best pop Christmas music videos to get you in the festive mood.

All I Want For Christmas – Mariah Carey

The ultimate Christmas diva, Mariah Carey wrote, co-produced and first released this song in 1993. In 2015 Spotify announced that this was officially the most streamed Christmas song ever. The song has already risen into the top 50 songs on Spotify and will likely rise to the top 10 as we get closer to Christmas. The music video for All I want for Christmas is less famous than the song itself, but certainly doesn’t fail to impress. Mariah sets the bar high for Christmas music videos by dressing her dogs up as reindeer, having a photo shoot with actual reindeer, and invading Santa’s personal space on a ski slope.

 Santa Tell me – Ariana Grande

Perhaps not so popular with the older generations, (my mum thought that Ariana Grande was a Starbucks drink), this song has proved to be a huge hit with teens. With Mariah-esque vocals and lots of festive cheer, Santa Tell Me does not disappoint. Plenty of onesies are featured, along with furry headgear and stairway choreography as Ariana questions whether her Christmas crush will be with her till the following Christmas – clingy much? An outtakes reel is included at the end of the video that goes well with the lighthearted video.

Underneath the Tree – Kelly Clarkson

The original American Idol, decided to release a Christmas album in 2014, because, why not? The official music video for Underneath the Tree is a filming of a live performance which really encapsulates the festive vibe. A full orchestra in the background combined with an artificial blizzard helps to cement Underneath The Tree in my list of top Christmas Music videos.

One More Sleep – Leona Lewis

X Factor champion and vocal powerhouse, Leona Lewis released her Christmas anthem, One More Sleep back in 2014. The song is a festive bonanza countdown to Leona’s favourite day of the year. With an appearance from Father Christmas, a full Christmas dinner and plenty of idle glares out of her chalet window- a whole lot of Christmas is crammed into the video.

November Favourites

This week brought a platter of new music releases from artists such as Bruno Mars, the Weeknd, Bridgit Mendler and others. Here are my top picks from Spotify’s New Music Friday Playlist to get the weekend started:

I Feel It Coming – The Weeknd ft Daft Punk

This is the second single to be taken from The Weeknd’s third studio album, Starboy. It’s an easy listen and carries a Michael Jackson vibe which few artists are able to really pull off. The Weeknd is effortlessly cool with all of his releases and this trend continues with ‘I Feel It Coming‘. The song suggests that the forthcoming album will be more upbeat than his last release, Beauty Behind The Madness.

Penthouse Floor – John Legend

Vocal powerhouse John Legend is back with the single Penthouse Floor featuring chance the rapper. The single manages to capture a more urban sound in comparison to his previous works and Legend seems to give less emphasis to the big vocals which he is famed for. However, this doesn’t diminish the song which feels smooth and contemporary. The addition of Chance The Rapper adds a fresh streak and surprisingly does not feel out of place.

DNCE – DNCE

Having released the huge summer anthem, ‘Cake by the ocean’, DNCE have a big task ahead of them to release a follow up song that would be capable of the same success. They seem to have made a good shot at it with the single ‘DNCE‘ which provides the same care free feeling. With a catchy chorus and a fresh image it looks like the band could have secures their second smash hit.

Make Me (Cry) – Noah Cyrus

The younger sister of teen pop sensation Miley Cyrus has set out to prove that she can compete with her older sister in the charts. The song titled ‘Make Me (Cry)‘ is a subdued ballad that takes a darker tone than that which has usually been demonstrated by Miley. The song features the British Singer and Producer Labrinth who has worked with the likes of Emelie Sande which suggests that there is a big expectation for Noah.

Britney’s Slumber Party

Queen of Pop, Britney Spears has rebooted her single ‘Slumber Party’ with a feature from R&B Princess, Tinashe. The single is the second to be released from Britney’s 9th Studio album titled ‘Glory’.  Britney’s previous single ‘Make Me‘ failed to make a huge impact on the charts despite  heavy promotion, including a performance at the Video Music Awards. Fans blamed the poor chart performance of ‘Make Me‘ on a cringe worthy and simple looking music video. Fans were also disappointed with the amount of product placement that was included in the video which included products from Sony and BMW.

It appears that Britney has learned from the mistakes that she made with ‘Make Me’ and has come back with a supercharged video for ‘Slumber Party‘. With sultry glares, multiple costume changes and completely unnecessary bubble machines it looks like Britney has pulled every trick out of the hat to try and boost sales and regain some prominence in the charts.

The inclusion of the R&B sensation Tinashe is an obvious attempt to try and appeal to a younger audience. However, their voices blend well together and Tinashe does not look out of place in the music video.

Despite Britney’s efforts, ‘Slumber Party‘ peaked at number 73 in the UK single charts and number 86 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Britney is currently signed into a 2 year residency at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas where she is reportedly paid $15 million per year. Britney is yet to confirm what her third single release will be from her album ‘Glory‘.