Why you should care
Because music soothes the souls of the most savage beasts, which — at last check — were better off soothed than not.
“If you’re trying to put me in a box, you’re probably someone I don’t wanna know,” says 29-year-old rapper-singer Johnny Polygo. Which is exactly why Polygon — born Johnny Armour — named himself after the multisided geometric figure. Not quite R&B, not quite hip-hop, his style is hard to categorize, often labeled “quirky” and “out there” by critics. His latest album is a kaleidoscope of psychedelic soundscapes laden with darkly personal rhymes — which might have something to do with his “enhanced” creative process – a laid-back flow and an unexpectedly soulful, haunting falsetto.
Have you ever indulged in a little BalkanSoul GypsyFunk? Reworked Macedonian folk songs may not seem like party music for the hipster set, much less a weeknight soundtrack, but sprinkle in a little bayou, a little booze and a lot of horns, and we dare your dancing feet to stay still. Meet Slavic Soul Party, a Balkan-brass ensemble that creates a dance party everywhere they go. There’s a little jazz in their noise, a little Latin, a little accordion — it’s a mashup that’s been working since before “mashup” was a thing. Happy dancing!
Face it: Doing stuff that seems amazing now back in the 1950s is, well, pretty amazing. And that makes the Cambridge mathematician, medieval historian and electronic music pioneer Delia Derbyshire all the more remarkable. At the BBC, she kicked ass so significantly that in her subsequent 11 years there she created music, sound and soundscapes for nearly 200 radio and TV shows. Which is a lot of blah-blah — unless you’re a sci-fi geek, in which case you’ll understand that in 1963 she created what would make her golden for all eternity: the theme for the Doctor Who series.
The man who helped make DJing a mainstream thing is a biz mind to pay attention to. Rob Principe’s company, Scratch Music Group, has started to capture a good share of the fast-growing market for DJs by training aspiring stars and helping them land gigs. Its DJ academies — in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago and Atlanta — train some 50,000 students a year in beat-matching, mixing and (of course) scratching. As a result, it’s spreading the art of DJing, once relegated to the underground, to a wide array of music fans.