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FACT Rated is our series digging into the sounds and stories of the most vital breaking artists around right now. This week, Will Pritchard speaks to Octavian, the South London-via-France MC shaking up UK rap having graduated from prestigious performing arts centre the BRIT School while homeless.

Name: Octavian
From: London
Must-hear: ‘Party Here’
For fans of: Denzel Himself, 808INK

There’s a good reason why rising MC Octavian’s sound is so hard to pin down. “I’m not really from anywhere, you know what I mean?” he asks, in the same gravelly tone that decorates his half-sung raps. Aged 21, the artist – real name Octavian Godji – is being tipped for greatness in 2018 after a handful of thrilling tracks blending trap, housey 4/4 kicks and leftfield hip-hop. But getting to this point hasn’t been easy.

Octavian was born in France, but his father passed away when he was just a toddler. His mother, originally from the Ivory Coast, then relocated to Camberwell, a suburb in south east London. Octavian’s relationship with his mum frayed as he passed into adolescence – “I was a bad kid,” he says, “robbing and doing stupid shit” – and after he was excluded from school in London, she sent him back to France to attend private school for two years.

“I fucking hated it, it was shit – it was so shit,” he says. “It was just proper suppressed. There was no creativity: you go to...

Canadian duo Blue Hawaii make a track from their couch on this week’s Against The Clock. 

For our first Against The Clock of 2018, we linked up with Canadian electronic duo Blue Hawaii. Formed of Alex “Agor” Kerby and Raphaelle “Ra” Standell, the band have been making experimental pop music for the past eight years, often blurring the lines between performance and DJ set.

Blue Hawaii’s Against The Clock is one of the most laid-back sessions we’ve seen.  Recorded from their couch, the finished track sees Standelle singing from lyrics in a PDF file while Kerby crafts a smooth house beat.

Watch the video above and check out their most recent album, Tenderness, at Bandcamp. Blue Hawaii will embark on a DJ tour this February, don’t miss them.

Feb 16 – Toronto, ON – Bambi’s
Feb 17 – Detroit, MI – Marble Bar
Feb 18 – Hamilton, ON – The Casbah
Feb 23 – Montreal, QC La Femme Fontaine
Feb 24 – New York, NY – H0l0

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Behringer’s Minimoog clone gets two companions.

Budget gear manufacturer Behringer has kicked off 2018 by revealing yet more clones of vintage gear: Oberheim’s OB-Xa and Roland’s VP-330 Vocoder Plus synth. The UB-Xa has been widely expected to be in the pipeline since its trademark application was discovered last year.

Behringer divided the synth community last year with its Behringer D, an unofficial $299 clone of Moog’s Minimoog Model D, which, while technically legal due to expired patents, still received criticism from some quarters. The latest models to be released – the Behringer Vocoder and String Ensemble VC340 and UB-Xa – look even closer to the originals than the Behringer D, right down to details like color and font selection.

Behringer hasn’t revealed a price or release date for either synth yet, but images show that both have MIDI and USB connections, with...

Listen to the hypnotic first track ‘Blissters’.

Throbbing Gristle and Chris & Cosey co-founder Chris Carter has announced his first solo album in 17 years, the Radiophonic Workshop-influenced Chemistry Lessons Volume One.

Fully titled Chris Carter’s Chemistry Lessons Volume One, the album is heavily inspired by the music of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, the studio famous for pioneering early electronic music with pieces such as Delia Derbyshire’s Doctor Who theme. The album’s artwork was also inspired by classic BBC experimental LPs.

“If there’s an influence on the album, it’s definitely ‘60s radiophonic,” Carter explains. in a statement. “Over the last few years I’ve also been listening to old English folk music, almost like a guilty pleasure, and so some of tracks on the album hark back to an almost ingrained DNA we have for those kinds of melodies.”

You can hear the first single and opening track ‘Blissters’ which offers a first taste of the album’s hyper-melodic electronic sound and distorted vocals, some of which were developed with late Throbbing Gristle and Coil founder Chris “Sleazy” Christopherson.

“Sleazy and I had worked together on ways of developing a sort of artificial singing using software and hardware. This was me trying to take it a step further,” he explains. “I’ve taken lyrics, my own voice or people’s voices from a collection that I’d put together with Sleazy, and I’ve chopped them up and done all sorts of weird things with them.”

Look for Chemistry Lessons...

Turn recordings from Gately’s boiler, scanner and oven into spooky musical sounds.

Ableton is kicking off 2018 with a giveaway from Tri Angle artist Katie Gately. It’s a free Instrument Rack for Live called “Kately’s Haunted House” that contains four chains of samples, each with their own effects.

“I’m an FX person so the idea is to experiment using as much variety in FX-types for a diversity of playfulness,” Gately says at the Ableton website. “I want each chain to think and act a bit differently – while still not creating distorted madness.”

LA artist Gately has been making music from found sounds and manipulations of her own voice for several years now. After debuting in 2013 on Public Information and Blue Tapes and catching the ear of Björk, who enlisted Gately to remix a track from 2015’s Vulnicura, she released 2016’s Color album on Tri Angle.

The free pack is accompanied by a two Ableton-produced videos that delve into how Gately sources and modifies her sounds, using everyday objects like her oven and scanner to create completely new soundscapes by pitching octaves and adding effects.

“My hope is people will pull these apart and personalize them (i.e. try them out on other sounds and make them smarter/wackier/cooler),” Gately says of the custom Instrument Rack. “I also hope people will be inspired to record sounds in their own houses to see what kind of mundane magic is living under...

Each week on the FACT Singles Club, our writers rate and slate the biggest new tracks of the last seven days.

This week, Justin Timberlake drops the lead single from his forthcoming album Man of The Woods and it’s not as country as we’d feared, while Kendrick Lamar and SZA unveil , ‘All The Stars’, the first song from the K. Dot-curated Black Panther soundtrack.

Elsewhere, Bruno Mars and Cardi B link up for an In Living Color homage called ‘Finesse’, Chloe x Halle release ‘The Kids Are Alright’ and we get a new one from MGMT (’member?!). There’s also a 50 Shades of Grey soundtrack collaboration from Rita Ora and Liam Payne. Here’s what our reviewers made of the week’s singles.

Justin Timberlake – ‘Filthy’

Chal Ravens: I fulfilled a teenage dream of seeing Justin in the ROCKIN’ FLESH last year, and, as well as being everything I could ever have wanted it to be, the sheer fluidity of the show – the oh-so-smoothly chamfered edges of his unbelievable talent for doing two things at the same time, the winking ridiculousness of the glitzy showstoppers, the willingness to come across as wholly dorky in front of a panting crowd – made a strong case for him being actually one of the most “experimental” pop artists of the century. Pop is by nature experimental, of course, in that the very best of it is defined by its pursuit of novelty – but...

The Netherlands festival returns for its eighth edition this spring.

Rewire Festival has announced the second wave of artists to join its 2018 lineup, including James Holden & The Animal Spirits, Avalon Emerson, SOPHIE, Panda Bear, Lanark Artefax and more.

The festival will also feature special new projects from Juliana Huxtible, Fatima Al Qadiri and Arto Lindsay performing with Zs. Also performing is 1-Bit Symphony composer Tristan Perich, who has been selected as the festival’s Young Artist In Focus. Other new additions include Beatriz Ferreyra, Irreversible Entanglements, Nadah El Shazly, Quantum Natives, AMMAR 808, LYZZA and Laura Agnusdei.

They join previously announced artists including 2018 Artist In Focus Laurie Anderson, Karen Gwyer, Nina Kraviz, as Stranger Things composers Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein.

Rewire takes place April 6-8 in The Hague. Head to the festival’s website for tickets and to see the full lineup.

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It’s not for DJs.

Since the Technics turntable was revived back in 2015, potential buyers have had to come to terms with the fact that they cost a lot of money – $1,699 is the starting price for the entry-level SL-1200GR model, launched in 2017. The company’s latest turntables are even more expensive though – up to $20,000 a piece.

The two new models – unveiled at CES in Las Vegas – are reboots of the classic SP-10 and SL-1000 decks aimed at audiophiles and home listeners with money to burn. According to Trusted Reviews, the new SP-10R will set you back $10,000 and the SL-1000R will cost $20,000.

So what do you get for this premium price tag? Well, the SP-10R is powered by a coreless direct drive motor, with the rubber-dampened aluminium platter stabilized by a 10mmm brass weight, giving it a mass of 7.9kg. Wow and flutter is a low 0.015 percent, and Technics promises low background noise and a clearer audio signal. However, you’ll need to pay extra for a tonearm, though it is backwards compatible with the previous models.

The SL-1000R adds a base and S-shaped tone arm alongside a dust cover and tungsten peripheral weights. Whether that’s all worth $20,000 is debatable, but it sure does look shiny.

In Death’s Dream Kingdom is an ambitious compilation inspired by Eliot’s 1925 poem ‘The Hollow Men’ featuring Lanark Artefax, Pan Daijing, Peder Mannerfelt and more names from the world of experimental electronics.

Houndstooth – the label arm of London’s Fabric club – celebrates its fifth anniversary in 2018. Since launching with an EP from label regular Call Super almost five years ago, it’s released music from Special Request, Throwing Snow, Aïsha Devi, Marquis Hawkes and many more – mostly under the category of club music. However, the label is kicking off its fifth year with something a little different: a 25-track compilation of experimental electronics inspired by T.S. Eliot’s 1925 poem ‘The Hollow Men’ that will roll out track by track over the next few weeks at a dedicated microsite.

Titled In Death’s Dream Kingdom, the 25-track project features exclusive tracks from Peder Mannerfelt, Pan Daijing, Lanark Artefax, Sophia Loizou, Hodge, Shapednoise, Roly Porter, Batu and many more artists working in the darker fringes of experimental music and techno. According to Houndstooth A&R and label manager Rob Booth and Fabric label head Rob Butterworth, the project is pitched somewhere between a compilation and a playlist, a reaction in part to how music is consumed in the streaming era.

“It’s an attempt to use the malleability of the playlist...

It can also be controlled with an Apple Watch app.

Roland’s first new gadget of 2018 isn’t a synth, but a handheld audio recorder. The R-07 is being touted by Roland for its wireless capabilities, which allows it to be controlled remotely from your smartphone or connect to a Bluetooth speaker or headphones for easy playback.

The remote control function makes it easy to position the recorder wherever you need to for optimum recording and trigger the record function from your phone. Roland has even developed an Apple Watch app for the R-07 that will make hitting the record button even more seamless.

The R-07 also includes a one-touch scene mode. This allows you to call up preset recording settings that instantly adjust sample rate, record mode, limiter, low cut and input level for the situation. You can alter and save these if you have your own personal recording preferences.

Apart from these features, the R-07 appears to be a fairly standard audio recorder. It has two built-in microphones on top, support for MP3 and WAV formats, tuner and metronome, aux input and headphone output, built-in speaker and power over USB or two AA batteries.

Roland hasn’t announced a price or release date for the R-07 yet, but you can see it...

There were plenty of albums released in 1998 that are still beloved today. From the astonishing Music has the Right to Children to the still-acclaimed Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, here are some of the best releases from that year celebrating big anniversaries in 2018.

1998 was one hell of a year. Titanic continued to pack movie theaters and cleaned up at the Oscars, taking 11 awards. US President Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky rocked American politics. Nintendo released The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Ohand a small company named Google was founded in Menlo Park, California.

Musically, releases came thick and fast as access to computer technology became more widespread and young producers began to experiment with an array of pirated, cracked software available online. Warp Records’ slippery electronica flourished as drum ‘n’ bass got progressively more aggressive and trip hop, previously a space rife with innovation, became the soundtrack to aspirational lifestyle ads and fancy dinner parties. Over in the US, the rap landscape was changing as the golden era disappeared and New York’s Rawkus imprint was quickly gaining traction. Meanwhile in Detroit, Theo Parrish was prepping his game-changing debut album and just over the bridge in Windsor, Richie Hawtin was preparing to kill off Plastikman with Consumed. Are you feeling old yet?

Moon Safari

Spotify / Apple Music

Time hasn’t been kind to Moon...

We’ve had a tremendous year here at FACT TV!

From shooting Access All Areas features to filming Against The Clock with our favorite producers and sitting down for Confessions episodes, we always seem to capture hilarious footage from behind-the-scenes.

Above you can watch some of our favourite bloopers of the year, featuring Migos, Jae5, Thundercat, Princess Nokia, Denzel Curry and more.

The post Best bloopers of 2017 appeared first on FACT Magazine: Music News, New Music..

The South Londoner makes it look too easy. 

Episodes of Against The Clock don’t come much smoother than Joe Hertz’s. Having built a reputation for velvety, nostalgic R&B across a number of EPs over the last few years – the latest of which, the enigmatic night/daze on London label Juicebox Music, dropped last month – we expected nothing less.

Though he hails from Brixton, Hertz’s studio is in North London. It was here we met him to witness the creation of an ultra lush hip-hop instrumental full of whistled melodies, spacious echoes and good, good vibes, in just 10 minutes. Give it a watch above.

Joe Hertz’s night/daze EP is out now. Listen to Joe’s Against The Clock edit below.

The post Joe Hertz – Against The Clock appeared first on FACT Magazine: Music News, New Music..

Drake’s 2017 project More Life experimented with the presentation of between-album releases, something he’s been tinkering with since 2015’s If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. Dubbed a “playlist”, this new music found Drake dabbling in dancehall, trap, grime, house and techno. What does such an eclectic collection mean for his next proper full-length? Rae Witte looks back at Drake’s year and divines what to expect from The Boy in 2018.

Drake brought in 2017 cozied up with the illustrious Jennifer Lopez. Although they were publicly affectionate IRL and across social media platforms, their supposed love really only translated into a sample clearance. By spring, the biggest revelation from their apparent canoodling was the ghostly use of J.Lo’s breakout single ‘If You Had My Love’ on Drake’s ‘Nothing Into Something’, a track on his “playlist” More Life. He described the project as “a body of work created to bridge the gap between major releases.” Debuted in March via OVO Sound Radio on Beats 1, More Life was also Drake’s declaration that he is “off” mixtapes: “I want to give you a collection of songs that become the soundtrack to your life.” And it worked. All 22 songs on the playlist would go on to a hold a spot on the Billboard Hot 100. This not only gave him the record for most entries at a time by a solo artist in the history of the chart, it also proved him right.

This concept, releasing a project between major albums, is...

From Missy Elliott and Frank Ocean to Ski Mask the Slump God and Daniel Caesar.

Rap has been one of America’s foremost pop culture products for decades, but never has it been as varied and vibrant as it was in 2017. It dominated the Billboard charts, seeing no. 1 hits for Migos, Kendrick Lamar, Post Malone and, most notably, Cardi B – ‘Bodak Yellow‘ is only the second solo performance by a female rapper ever in history to top the chart. R&B, from both sides of the pond, was as versatile as ever, as well. Romance brewed in Daniel Caesar’s and Jorja Smith’s catalogs; ’90s legends 112 made their triumphant return after going over a decade without an album; Jhené Aiko and Frank Ocean both showed us doing it your own way is best. And the underground was massive for both genres.

Absent from this list are entries from our best tracks of 2017 list – we’ve sung the praises of Cardi B’s ‘Bodak Yellow’ across multiple year-end pieces; no need to write about it again – but different tunes by Kendrick Lamar and Jorja Smith get them both representation here. These are just the songs we rinsed the hell out of this year – and probably will continue to rinse in 2018.

‘Dangerous Games’
(Entertainment One Music)

The enduring influence of mid- to late-’90s Bad Boy is not what...

Two of our favorite DJs on working together and humanity’s need to work together to survive.

NYC vet Nick Hook and Teklife’s DJ Earl know a thing or two about the magic you can create in collaboration. Hook’s 2016 Fool’s Gold debut Relationships found him consorting with artists from Novelist and Hudson Mohawke to 21 Savage and FACT favorite Rahel. Earl, of course, is a member of one of the most innovative crews in dance music and has helped to bring footwork across the globe. Both have robust creative minds on their own, but with 50 Backwoods, a project they completed together in just seven day, they’re proving the old adage “two minds are better than one” applies to the club, too.

Hook and Earl are so in sync, they answered questions for this interview almost entirely as one unit. Check it out below along with the video for their track ‘Mood Right Now’, directed by Jabari Canada and Weird Dane.

Tell me a little bit of background on the 50 Backwoods project. As two DJs and producers who always seem up for adventure in your compositions, how (aside from weed, I’m assuming) did this become the path you traveled?

We really connected and we’re inspired by each other, so we decided to see what would happen if we got in a room together with the goal of making an album in a week. We had never been in a studio together and we just felt like it was something...

Yesterday we revealed Ryuchi Sakamoto as winner of our album of the year. His astounding async was just one of many achievements from a busy 2017 for the Yellow Magic Orchestra hero, however. With a little help from the man himself, Claire Lobenfeld explores a prolific 12 months for the composer, who was featured on the soundtrack of one of the year’s best-loved films and recorded a new collaborative album with Alva Noto, out in February.

Ryuichi Sakamoto’s async was inspired by disaster. “[Japan] had the big earthquake, tsunami, and the nuclear plant accidents in 2011. I had cancer in 2014. Both forced me to re-recognize the presence and the strength of nature,” he tells FACT over email. “I wanted to focus on the sounds of things. Things which are all part of nature.”

Part of what makes Sakamoto an icon, both as a pop star in the pioneering and heavily influential synth-pop group Yellow Magic Orchestra and as an idiosyncratic composer, is that often his music sounds in tune with nature, just perhaps not in the way we so often see it. His music often reminds us that some things are just exceptional and challenge the way we perceive the world around us. async “approaches life’s big questions,” as John Twells wrote for our albums of the year list. “Not questions of society, but questions of humanity that transcend global borders and illusory party lines.” On async, he achieves this without...

From Stranger Things 2 to Good Time

2017 was a year that sent tremors through Hollywood, the debacle at this February’s Oscars foreshadowing even greater debacles to come as the year unfurled. From the revelations about Harvey Weinstein to Disney’s purchase of Fox all the way to some very big budget box office flops, it was a year full of upheaval and upset for Tinseltown.

But while American cinema was spinning chaotically into farce, things were going swimmingly in the world of TV and movie music. Whether electronic, acoustic or somewhere in between, these shows and films’ scores sent terrified chills down our spines, reduced us to tears and amplified the narratives they accompanied to new levels of emotion, pushing the boundaries of what a soundtrack can do.

Picking a top 10 wasn’t easy: 2017 was such a good year for OSTs, in fact, our most anticipated score of 2017, Blade Runner 2049, failed to make the cut. Here are the best of the best from an incredible, unpredictable year for scores on both the big and small screen.

Channel Zero: No-End House
Jeff Russo

Jeff Russo is primarily known for his grave orchestral compositions for TV shows like Fargo and The Night Of… and the adventure game What Remains of Edith Finch, one of our favorite soundtracks of the year. In the spring, we heard Russo modify his signature sound...

A legend in rap media and beyond.

Reggie Ossé, host of The Combat Jack Show and former managing editor of The Source Magazine, has died at age 48 from colon cancer.

In October, the pioneering podcaster disclosed his medical condition to his fans with a message of hope for his own recovery.

The Combat Jack Show was entertaining and inquisitive. It was host rappers and rap industry vets alike, with memorable guest appearances from Kevin Gates and David Banner, but also opened its doors to journalists and thinkers like Jamilah Lemieux, Kierna Mayo and Feminista Jones.

Best Tracks of 2017 The 50 best albums of 2017 Back to FACT Share: 50 Nathan Fake Providence (Ninja Tune) Nathan Fake – ‘Degreelessness’ In the years that followed 2012’s Steam Days, Nathan Fake found himself in a rut. “I wasn’t making any new music I was happy with,” Fake told FACT earlier this year, revealing that a gruelling tour schedule and depression had taken their toll on his confidence. It wasn’t until Fake bought a 1995 Korg Prophecy synth that his creative juices started to flow again, resulting in the best album of his career. A blend of the Prophecy’s ultra-clean, digital signal and a layer of nostalgic cassette tape fuzz, Providence coats the plaintive melody of his earliest work with a much-needed layer of grit. It makes for a more world-weary sound than the wide-eyed optimism of 2006’s Drowning In A Sea Of Love, but its palette of fractal textures and drifting chords is no less wondrous to get lost in. SW 49 John Maus Screen Memories (Ribbon Music) John Maus – ‘The Combine’ (opens in new tab) After taking six years off to finish his doctorate in political philosophy, John Maus crept back into our lives this year with a new album of schlocky synth-pop and goofy DIY missives. It was definitely worth the wait. Switching from terror to euphoria in one sharp breath, Screen Memories bears the gothic master’s deep emotional colors like a mood ring, while swirling baroque organ crashes through the gloom and...