Critics have a lot to say about the latest album by the Arizona rap gang. "Injury Reserve have woven together a darkly contorted tangle of sounds, a collage that hits like a barrage... a record that demands your attention and challenges your perspective released into an age defined by zone-out streaming bait" - Stereogum argue in favor of their choice for Album of the week, calling their music post rap. The New Yorker argues "this is the first of the group’s projects to sound greater than the sum of its parts, to feel singular", and "by far the best" album by the band. Pitchfork appreciates its creativity: "The songs are immediate and intuitive, brimming with personality and ideas".

Music theory YouTuber Adam Neely and recorder player Sarah Jeffery go back centuries to explore medieval music in her latest video. They try and prove that the early classical music wasn't really that simple, dealing with "rhythmic math FUN with polyrhythms, polypulses, and medieval music!".

A beautiful article in the New Yorker by Michael Azerrad, a journalist and one of Kurt Cobain's closest friends: "That’s the kind of thing that haunts people who know people who have committed suicide: Is there something I could have done? Twenty-seven years later, I still ask myself that question. I tried, but perhaps I could have—and should have—tried harder. The thing is, although I was in my early thirties, I was still immature and naïve. Maybe I wasn’t so well suited to the task". The long read also gives quite a convincing albeit prosaic explanation for the suicide: "Kurt had several clinically established risk factors for suicide, including inhuman levels of professional pressure, chronic and severe physical pain, and a heroin addiction that he just couldn’t seem to shake (or didn’t want to). He also had a long family history of suicide".

Music Business Worldwide does a great job analysing the UK government's inaction about the payment for music streaming issues. In July, the UK parliament's Department of Culture, Media & Sport Committee published a report which called for government action on a number of music industry issues regarding streaming payouts. The standout recommendation from the DCMS report was that the majors’ dominance of the UK record industry be referred to the UK’s competition watchdog – the Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA). The UK government response was less than lame - it has declined to announce any legislative measures, and has also not officially referred the issue of major label-dominance to the CMA.

An interesting article in The Conversation about an amazing phenomenon from Ethiopia and Papua New Guinea where people, next to their names, also bear "name-tunes". These names aren't words, they're rather a wordless melody, given to children and recognised throughout the community to refer to one person alone. In Ethiopia, it's exclusive to 45,000 Oyda people from the southwest of the country. This “name tune”, or moyzé is most often whistled, but it can also be sung to a series of non-meaningful sounds different for each name tune. In one small region of Madang Province in northeastern Papua New Guinea, about 15,000 people across three language areas (Nankina, Domung and Yopno) also employ name tunes, which they call konggap. Yopno konggap differ in performance style from the Oyda moyzé, since they are either simply whistled with no use of the hands, or sung on a series of open vowels (like “a-o-a-o-e-e-a”). However, konggap and moyzé are strikingly similar. Both moyzé and konggap are unique to every individual, and generally bear no relation to a person’s given name, which is often shared with other community members. The tunes in both traditions use similar pitch ranges and last 1-4 seconds.

Audius is a brand-new decentralized streaming platform built for all the artists, not just the ones signed with labels. Decrypt reviews it: "Its biggest problem on paper is the fact that there are so few recognisable artists on there, and the ones that you will likely have heard of, don’t have much content uploaded. From another perspective, though, that's a positive advantage; if you're a trendsetter rather than a follower of fashion, it's a great way to discover new and unsigned artists... It offers quality, free streaming, with a quick and easy sign-up process to jump you straight into the action... It’s a refreshing way to dive into the unknown while hopefully discovering some hidden gems along the way".

Abba star Björn Ulvaeus has launched the Credits Due campaign, which aims to ensure all songwriters and musicians are correctly identified when a song is recorded, BBC reports. At present, missing and incomplete data means that about £500m is unallocated or misallocated globally - every year. The scheme will also ensure fans see the correct credits for songs - from the writers and producers to the session musicians and engineers - and every person who is involved in the creation of a song will be "clickable in the digital liner notes", allowing listeners to look up every other record they have worked on. BMG has pledged its support for Credits Due, as the first international music company to commit to the campaign, MBW reports.

Lil Nas X covered Dolly Parton's signature song 'Jolene' during a recent performance for BBC Radio One’s Live Lounge. Celebrating the release of his debut album 'Montero', Nas sang in a deep baritone over a sparse rock arrangement, delivering an intense, gender-flipping rendition of Parton’s 1973 hit about a woman with “flaming locks of auburn hair” who can steal men with ease.

Sarah Dash of the powerhouse R&B trio Labelle died on September 20th at age 76, just three days after her last performance. As a founding member of Labelle, Dash appeared on their ubiquitous 1975 dance floor classic 'Lady Marmalade', adding sensuality to the trio’s sound - heard especially in Dash’s parts on the deep cut '(Can I Speak to You Before You Go to) Hollywood'. Dash’s last performance was September 18, when she joined LaBelle onstage in Atlantic City for an impromptu reunion. “She was healthy and fine and sang her face off” - her bandmate Patti LaBelle says - “The crowd went crazy. She had the best send-off. If that’s the way you’re going to leave, she left like a queen”, Rolling Stone reports.

Dave / Lianne La Havas / Harry Styles

Dave and Fraser T Smith were awarded best contemporary song for 'Children of the Internet' at this year’s Ivor Novello awards, which celebrate Britain’s best songwriters and composers. The song is performed by Future Utopia, and explores the impact of social media and hyper-connectivity, particularly on younger generations. Brit Award winner Celeste was named songwriter of the year alongside her writing partner Jamie Hardman. Lianne La Havas picked up best album for her self-titled second record, written with Matthew Hales. Sky News reported from the event.

Yep, pretty much ready

Fugees announce reunion tour

The seminal hip-hop group of Ms. Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean, and Pras Michel have announced a 12-city international tour to celebrate the silver anniversary of their landmark album, 1996’s 'The Score', Rolling Stone reports. The first concert takes place tomorrow night (!) - September 22nd - at an undisclosed location in New York City.

Kirk, the first from the left

Richard H. Kirk, founding member and the sole full-time member of industrial icons Cabaret Voltaire, has died at age 65, Treble reports. Formed in Sheffield, England in 1973 by Kirk, Stephen Mallinder and Chris Watson, Cabaret Voltaire used reel-to-reel tape loops and early synthesizers to create a sound as bleak as the crumbling factory buildings in their hometown. Along with their Dada-influenced live performances, Cabaret Voltaire helped create what would become known as industrial music and were and remain hugely influential with classic records like 'Nag Nag Nag', 'Red Mecca', and 'The Crackdown' on bands such as New Order, Depeche Mode, Skinny Puppy, Front Line Assembly, and many others.

An important article in the Van Music Magazine about body-shaming in the opera world. “Diversity applies to pretty much everybody except fat people,” opera critic Uwe Friedrich tells the magazine. "The pressure to conform to a societal ideal of beauty has 'increased enormously' in recent years".

A great read in The Ringer about the cases of too similar songs, of which their creators aren't aware of: "We’re now squarely within a new era of music copyright litigation, signaled by a steep wave of fresh cases and settlements arriving on top of what was already a steadily rising tide. But while plagiarism has never been a larger industry issue than it is today, it also has never been more poorly defined. And given the way songwriters often borrow ideas without realizing that they’re borrowing—a documented artistic tendency that is likely increasing in frequency in our chaotic online world—this latest squall of disputes may be just the beginning of an even larger storm". The latest such case has involved Lorde's 'Solar Power', and Primal Scream's 'Loaded'.

"Last week, Genius was sold for $80 million in a fire sale to MediaLab.AI, which is less than it raised! It's a disappointing exit for a company once valued near $1 billion, but it's a reminder of the importance of platform dependency" - Trapital's Dan Runcie looks back on the business model of the lyrics site, and gives reasons why it didn't work out.

Universal Music Group's opening price on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange today was over a third bigger than the reference price that Vivendi confirmed previously of €18.50 ($21.7) which would have valued UMG at €33.5 billion (approx. $39bn), Music Business Worldwide. It means that as of this week, UMG has a €25.25 ($29.63) share price, which translates to a colossal valuation of €46.3 billion or $54.3 billion for the world’s biggest music rightsholder. UMG largely bids au revoir to former Paris-based parent Vivendi, which now owns just 10% of UMG, while a Tencent-led Consortium owns 20%. Pershing Square Holdings Ltd also owns 10%, and French businessman ex-Vivendi Chairman Vincent Bolloré’s ‘Bolloré Entities’ owns 18.0%.

"It’s worth repeating: the song is the currency of our business. Yet the songwriter — who delivers the most important component to the success of a record company, publisher, promoter, manager, agent, music venue, radio station, broadcaster et al – is the lowest paid person in the economic equation. An equation that has made the modern music industry a juggernaut" - Hipgnosis Fund's Merck Mercuriadis writes in an open letter to the music industry, and then he scores comparing this to sports: "Imagine in football or basketball if athletes that were responsible for a league’s success were the worst paid people in the economic equation". Music Business Worldwide published the whole letter.

"We aim to build a sisterhood of young people by providing an inclusive, non-judgemental, safe space for musical and creative expression... We’re much more than a charity, or a music project: we’re a supportive community" - Young Women's Music Project presents itself. It helps young women learn about and perform music and all the issues around it, via gigs, workshops, talks, training and more. Via Music Journalism Insider.

In the latest installment in a series of unscripted videos in which Ted Gioia addresses key matters related to music and society, the music writer discusses the record industry's longstanding preference for three-minute songs, and explores the impact of this on our experiences of music.

"It takes her music in a somewhat more accessible direction while retaining the creativity and fervor of the rest of her work. Considerably less noisy than previous Moor Mother releases like her 2016 breakthrough 'Fetish Bones', the album flows through slippery jazz rhythms, mellow R&B vibes, and meditative ambient textures, with Ayewa's lyrics remaining forceful even as she's delivering them in a softer register" - AllMusic quite likes 'Black Encyclopedia in the Air'. Exclaim goes into the genre of it: "Mostly sticking to hip-hop beats and more traditional song structures... Ayewa decides to challenge listeners through performance and her lyrics... Moor Mother uses her genre-agnostic style to tackle to world's most popular genre and make it undoubtedly her own".

A good piece of investigative journalism by Rolling Stone. Country singer Morgan Wallen has in July pledged $500,000 to black-led groups, in a move to make amend for his racial slur earlier in the year. The Black Music Action Coalition had received some money from Wallen, they said the $500,000 number “seems exceptionally misleading”. RS reached out to 56 other state, regional and national Black-led or Black-founded charities. None of them reported receiving any money from Wallen.

Metallica’s landmark 1991 self-titled fifth LP has returned to the Top 10 of the Billboard 200 chart for the first time in 29 years, Consequence reports. The album reached position 9 with 37,000 units earned for the week. The album’s increased sales were fueled by various reissues marking its 30th anniversary. 'Metallica' remains the top-selling album in the U.S. since MRC Data began electronically tracking music sales in 1991, with 17.3 million copies sold. Drake extends his No1 stay on the chart as the set earns 236,000 equivalent album units, Billboard reports

Hey mister taliban, give 'em a break

Musicians in Afghanistan face uncertain future

"The Taliban's anti-democracy regime, which regained control over the country last month, after the U.S. ended its 20-year war in Afghanistan and began pulling troops from the region, has already had a devastating impact on local music. Over two decades of democracy, Afghan musicians had slowly developed bands and orchestras, from a classical and traditional school called the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM) to the reality-TV talent show Afghan Star to concert festivals and DIY scenes for hip-hop, hard rock, black metal and other genres. But under the Taliban, all that is gone now" - Billboard wrote in its piece about the troubled country.

"Whether or not you think Lil Nas X’s musical chops match his promotional acumen, you won’t be able to miss 'Montero'" - GQ points out in their piece about Lil Nas X and his use of media, concluding that this long, constantly viral rollout of 'Montero' tops even Drake and Kanye.

“When we watch something or listen to something that undeniably does make us feel sad at some level, it’s not like we’re only seeking to feel sad” - Mary Beth Oliver, PhD, a professor of media studies at Penn State University Oliver told Elemental. “I think we’re trying to have a greater insight into the bigger questions — the purpose of life, or of human virtue” - sha added. Rather than “sad", she said she prefers terms like “meaningful” or “poignant” or “bittersweet”. “It’s absolutely possible to feel good about feeling sad sometimes,” she said. “Our emotions are much richer than some of these blunt terms we use”.

Portishead's cover of Abba's 'SOS' has earned 500 percent more through new Spotify "fan-powered” royalty model, when compared with other streaming platforms, Pitchfork claims. The new model, unveiled by the company back in March, directs royalties due from each subscriber only to the artists they are currently streaming – a system backed by independent artists, as well as advocates for a fairer streaming model. This is in contrast to the pro-rata model utilised by streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, where royalty payments from users’ subscriptions are distributed in accordance with which artists have the most plays.

Mdou Moctar has released a documentary on the days surrounding the release of the new album 'Afrique Victime'. The 10-minute short film shows Moctar and the band working on the album, and meeting after a months-long break. It also illustrates the geopolitical circumstances behind the record.

'Karen Dalton: In My Own Time', a new documentary on the folk singer is coming out October 1st. The trailer, out now, features archival footage of Dalton, from her upbringing in Oklahoma to her days New York City’s Greenwich Village folk scene, where she sang with Bob Dylan, and Tim Hardin. It chronicles her tumultuous life that ended with her death in 1993 from AIDS when she was just 55 years old — and the cult following she’s had since.

“I’m naturally quite an introverted person, and I think it’s hard to read an introvert because you just don’t know what they’re thinking or feeling. But this was an opportunity for me to let people in” - Little Simz says in a new Rolling Stone interview about her new album. She adds - “As challenging as it was at points, just putting pressure on myself and wanting to better my writing… I think you hear it in the music. Although we’re touching on deep stuff and I’m tackling a lot, there’s a lightheartedness to it”.

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Critics have a lot to say about the latest album by the Arizona rap gang. "Injury Reserve have woven together a darkly contorted tangle of sounds, a collage that hits like a barrage... a record that demands your attention and challenges your perspective released into an age defined by zone-out streaming bait" - Stereogum argue in favor of their choice for Album of the week, calling their music post rap. The New Yorker argues "this is the first of the group’s projects to sound greater than the sum of its parts, to feel singular", and "by far the best" album by the band. Pitchfork appreciates its creativity: "The songs are immediate and intuitive, brimming with personality and ideas".

Music theory YouTuber Adam Neely and recorder player Sarah Jeffery go back centuries to explore medieval music in her latest video. They try and prove that the early classical music wasn't really that simple, dealing with "rhythmic math FUN with polyrhythms, polypulses, and medieval music!".

A beautiful article in the New Yorker by Michael Azerrad, a journalist and one of Kurt Cobain's closest friends: "That’s the kind of thing that haunts people who know people who have committed suicide: Is there something I could have done? Twenty-seven years later, I still ask myself that question. I tried, but perhaps I could have—and should have—tried harder. The thing is, although I was in my early thirties, I was still immature and naïve. Maybe I wasn’t so well suited to the task". The long read also gives quite a convincing albeit prosaic explanation for the suicide: "Kurt had several clinically established risk factors for suicide, including inhuman levels of professional pressure, chronic and severe physical pain, and a heroin addiction that he just couldn’t seem to shake (or didn’t want to). He also had a long family history of suicide".

Music Business Worldwide does a great job analysing the UK government's inaction about the payment for music streaming issues. In July, the UK parliament's Department of Culture, Media & Sport Committee published a report which called for government action on a number of music industry issues regarding streaming payouts. The standout recommendation from the DCMS report was that the majors’ dominance of the UK record industry be referred to the UK’s competition watchdog – the Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA). The UK government response was less than lame - it has declined to announce any legislative measures, and has also not officially referred the issue of major label-dominance to the CMA.

An interesting article in The Conversation about an amazing phenomenon from Ethiopia and Papua New Guinea where people, next to their names, also bear "name-tunes". These names aren't words, they're rather a wordless melody, given to children and recognised throughout the community to refer to one person alone. In Ethiopia, it's exclusive to 45,000 Oyda people from the southwest of the country. This “name tune”, or moyzé is most often whistled, but it can also be sung to a series of non-meaningful sounds different for each name tune. In one small region of Madang Province in northeastern Papua New Guinea, about 15,000 people across three language areas (Nankina, Domung and Yopno) also employ name tunes, which they call konggap. Yopno konggap differ in performance style from the Oyda moyzé, since they are either simply whistled with no use of the hands, or sung on a series of open vowels (like “a-o-a-o-e-e-a”). However, konggap and moyzé are strikingly similar. Both moyzé and konggap are unique to every individual, and generally bear no relation to a person’s given name, which is often shared with other community members. The tunes in both traditions use similar pitch ranges and last 1-4 seconds.

Audius is a brand-new decentralized streaming platform built for all the artists, not just the ones signed with labels. Decrypt reviews it: "Its biggest problem on paper is the fact that there are so few recognisable artists on there, and the ones that you will likely have heard of, don’t have much content uploaded. From another perspective, though, that's a positive advantage; if you're a trendsetter rather than a follower of fashion, it's a great way to discover new and unsigned artists... It offers quality, free streaming, with a quick and easy sign-up process to jump you straight into the action... It’s a refreshing way to dive into the unknown while hopefully discovering some hidden gems along the way".

Abba star Björn Ulvaeus has launched the Credits Due campaign, which aims to ensure all songwriters and musicians are correctly identified when a song is recorded, BBC reports. At present, missing and incomplete data means that about £500m is unallocated or misallocated globally - every year. The scheme will also ensure fans see the correct credits for songs - from the writers and producers to the session musicians and engineers - and every person who is involved in the creation of a song will be "clickable in the digital liner notes", allowing listeners to look up every other record they have worked on. BMG has pledged its support for Credits Due, as the first international music company to commit to the campaign, MBW reports.

Lil Nas X covered Dolly Parton's signature song 'Jolene' during a recent performance for BBC Radio One’s Live Lounge. Celebrating the release of his debut album 'Montero', Nas sang in a deep baritone over a sparse rock arrangement, delivering an intense, gender-flipping rendition of Parton’s 1973 hit about a woman with “flaming locks of auburn hair” who can steal men with ease.

Sarah Dash of the powerhouse R&B trio Labelle died on September 20th at age 76, just three days after her last performance. As a founding member of Labelle, Dash appeared on their ubiquitous 1975 dance floor classic 'Lady Marmalade', adding sensuality to the trio’s sound - heard especially in Dash’s parts on the deep cut '(Can I Speak to You Before You Go to) Hollywood'. Dash’s last performance was September 18, when she joined LaBelle onstage in Atlantic City for an impromptu reunion. “She was healthy and fine and sang her face off” - her bandmate Patti LaBelle says - “The crowd went crazy. She had the best send-off. If that’s the way you’re going to leave, she left like a queen”, Rolling Stone reports.

Dave / Lianne La Havas / Harry Styles

Dave and Fraser T Smith were awarded best contemporary song for 'Children of the Internet' at this year’s Ivor Novello awards, which celebrate Britain’s best songwriters and composers. The song is performed by Future Utopia, and explores the impact of social media and hyper-connectivity, particularly on younger generations. Brit Award winner Celeste was named songwriter of the year alongside her writing partner Jamie Hardman. Lianne La Havas picked up best album for her self-titled second record, written with Matthew Hales. Sky News reported from the event.

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