Music

Reflecting on Controversial Composer Richard Wagner on His 200th Birthday

Karolina R. Swasey

More people wrote about him than about any other person in history – with the exception of Jesus, Luther, Napoleon and Marx — they say. In 2013 the world is celebrating Richard Wagner’s birthday for the 200th time — his obit for the 130th. Wagner’s work continues to cause great emotions, ranging from sheer enthusiasm to utmost rejection, and his recitals attract people to opera houses all over the world. The poet, director, conductor, writer and first and foremost composer, remains a mystery for many, and doesn’t cease to polarize even 130 years after his death. 

Documentary Follows Bob Marley’s Sons on an ‘Africa Road Trip’

Steven J. Chandler

Bob Marley today is a product of pop culture bastardization. The impact of his music has been reduced to the two-dimensional, an image printed on T-shirts or plastered on dorm room walls. I may be generalizing. But anyone who has visited the campus of a California university is right to doubt whether those in the hacky-sack circle are true believers, genuine Rastafarians. “Imposter-farians” seems to be a more appropriate description. 

Hip Hop Legend Big Daddy Kane + Las Supper = Soul Sensation

Alysia Stern

Grammy Award winner Big Daddy Kane is an inventive New York “Hip Hop” legend who emerged in the mid-1980s. Big Daddy Kane was the catalyst behind Jay Z’s career. He is known to have gotten his start as Kane's hypeman. As an actor, he debuted in Mario Van Peebles' Posse.  Kane’s song "Ain't No Half Steppin' was named #25 on the list of the 50 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs of All Time by Rolling Stone Magazine, which also called Kane "a master wordsmith of rap's late golden age and a huge influence on a generation of MCs."

Reflecting on the Music That Shaped the Los Angeles of the Rodney King Era

Kevin Morris

Because of the gang violence and drug addiction that is synonymous with the inner city and especially Los Angeles, there is sense that these type of measures are warranted for a people who commit such acts intra-communally. And police brutality stands as another repressive constant within the inner city. Something NWA summed up with their classic single F*ck Tha Police. Although some may cringe at the title and lyrics of the song, the sentiment is shared across the predominantly African-American inner cities in this country. 

Is Firefly the East Coast’s Answer to Bonnaroo and Coachella?

Kevin J. Ryan

Bonnaroo. Lollapalooza. Coachella. Firefly? That’s the goal for the second-year festival: Get mentioned in the same breath as the largest and most famous in the country. And with the success it’s had in its first year-plus of existence, Firefly might be well on its way. The Atlantic Coast has always lacked a signature festival. While the West is rife with multiday music events, Easterners have had to travel as far as Chicago or Manchester, Tenn., to get their fix. 

The Smiths Saved His Life: An Interview With Simon Goddard

Loren DiBlasi

For many of us-- and this includes those who haven’t dedicated the better part of our careers to Manchester’s mightiest quartet-- that feeling was first generated in 1983 with The Smiths’ debut performance on Top of the Pops. Still, this iconic appearance is one of the most discussed and dissected moments in televised music history. For Britain, it was a fittingly bold introduction to the band that would forever mold popular music. 

The Comeback Kids: Bizarre Ride Live Makes Its Mark on Hip-Hop

Alysia Stern

The Pharcyde is a soulful hip-hop group from the early 1990s. After a breakup, four of the original members have reunited. Fatlip, SlimKid3.  along with Pharcyde producers J-Sw!ft & L.A. Jay are now performing as Bizarre Ride Live. The animated and enthusiastic group is best known for the hit singles "Drop", "Passin' Me By" and "Runnin,'" as well as their first album, Bizarre Ride II the PharcydeHighbrow Magazine recently met with and interviewed the band.  

 

Krautrock and the West German Identity

Sandra Canosa

Tago Mago rages schizophrenically from song to song, from the two-bricks-shy of a pop song “Mushroom” to the sprawling “Halleluhwah” and everything in between. This confusion, this constant search for how best to communicate, is part of the album’s appeal. West Germany and its people had to find new ways to be heard in the world—a nation dismembered, no longer quite German, not yet fully Westernized, and always idling in the Cold War shadows of the Iron Curtain.

Paying Homage to Punk and Hip-Hop, Death Grips Rebels Against the Mainstream

John McGovern

A new independent group, Death Grips, merges punk and hip-hop, amongst a kaleidoscope of other genres, creating tracks filled with boldness, impatience, licentiousness and jolts of unfettered creativity. But the group’s chaotic sound isn’t exactly hedonistic or apathetic; it is, at its core, a call to the audience to create themselves. If Sir Philip Sidney was resurrected, he would probably approve: for not only do they delight the audience, but they move the audience to action. 

The Many Moods of Charles Mingus

Steven J. Chandler

John Coltrane, for example, told of his religious awakening through his four-part suite A Love Supreme in 1965. Two years earlier, Charles Mingus released The Black Saint & The Sinner Lady, a masterful composition in six movements (or dances) which he described in the liner notes as his “living epitaph from birth ‘til the day I first heard of Bird (Charlie Parker) and Diz (Dizzy Gillespie).” Of all jazz composers, Charles Mingus understood best the capacity for jazz to delve into the mind and spirit of the musician. 

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