Wednesday, March 21, 2012

When You're Falling

The multi-cultural, adventurous Afro-Celt Sound System emerged from the fertile environs of the annual, Peter Gabriel-organised World of Music and Dance (WOMAD) festival in the mid-1990s, when producer Simon Emmerson brought together a disparate band of accomplished musicians from Ireland, West Africa and India to create a freshly minted style that borrowed liberally from global worldbeat, alternative electronica, Western rock and Celtic folk. The result was an uniquely invigorating, highly original musical brew that practically and definitevely brought the much-misunderstood world music genre into new and exciting places, setting the stage for latter-day acts like the late Martyn Bennett, Vampire Weekend and Lykke Li. It inevitably earned the eclectic collective a host of critical plaudits from the right quarters, and even a Grammy Award nomination in the Best World Music Album category. Check out one of the group's more compelling compositions, the virtually unclassifiable, seamless, inter-cultural exercise 'When You're Falling', featuring a noticeable celebratory soukous vibe and the distinctive vocal presence of art-rock veteran Peter Gabriel, backed by a delightfully trippy video.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Wouldn't It Be Good

Nik Kershaw might belong solidly in that long-extinct community of 1980s new-wave mainstays, but a few qualities did distinguish the chap from Bristol from the rest of the bunch: eminently radio-friendly melodies, impeccable, burnished production values, and optimistic, if sometimes puzzlingly cryptic lyrics. Kershaw's works, while hardly adventurous in any strict sense of the word, holds tremendous commercial appeal, perennially making the upper rungs of the charts. Not just that, but his songs have oftentimes been cited as ideal archetypes of well-crafted mainstream pop-rock, refreshingly free of any self-conscious affectations or highbrow experimentalism churned out by other acts in the 1980s. Check out Kershaw's immortal signature song, the drivingly insistent 'Wouldn't It Be Good', which gets an energetic live airing here during a 1984 gig at the venerable Hammersmith odeon.