Month: October 2014

Celeste – More Please EP

EP, Music, Reviews October 26, 2014

Originally published and still available on The Girls Are (24/10/14).

Hot on the heels of the sensual FKA Twigs, the haunting sound of BANKS and the unabashed Y2K of LIZ, comes Celeste; another contributor to the recent R’n’B revival. The Texan native, who now calls Brooklyn her home, makes music that is the perfect amalgamation of throwback and contemporary; think punchy beats and bubbling bass lines overlaid with vocal attitude, all of which are crammed into her debut EP, More Please.

‘Why I Write’ is the perfect example, showcasing sharp lyrics and a rapid-fire delivery. In a similar vein, ‘More Lives’ accentuates Celeste’s southern twang, confidently reminiscing about her musical journey to the present and manifesting a variety of nicely contrasting vocal abilities in the process, whilst the brash, skittish and bass heavy ‘Classic’ has the properties of its name branded all over it.

Being able to call Ghostface Killah and Raekwon of Wu-Tang Clan fans of your music is no mean feat, and it is perhaps the dexterity of both the Brooklyn songstress’ performance and songwriting that draws an audience in. Though obviously influenced by hip hop, there are, at times, a soul undertone when the New Yorker chooses to let her voice reign free and allows her voice to scale surprising heights along the course of the record.

As clearly implied in the title of the EP, Celeste is searching for more, and if the understated, confident bounce of this four track effort is anything to go by, her craving will be satisfied far sooner than anticipated. Devour with gluttonous relish.

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Zola Jesus – Taiga

Album, Music, Reviews October 26, 2014

Originally published and still available on The Girls Are (21/10/14).

There is a deft urgency in Taiga, illustrated by the album opener and brazen title track conducted as a purposeful initiation to this ethereal other-world. Tantalizingly just out of reach, haunting whispers and cries entice the listener into a mystical world, the life of which is aptly conveyed in the pulsating ebb and flow, commanding horns and the frenetic undercurrent of drum and bass. Never one to shy away from brash experimental sounds, Zola Jesus (the chosen moniker of one Nika Roza Danilova) has managed to perfectly encapsulate the sonic landscape of its namesake in Taiga. As a musician and songwriter often inclined to skittish beats and stark sounds, such as those which comprised previous albums The Spoils, Stridulum II and Conatus, her latest creationis a far more welcoming beast.

In comparison to those aforementioned albums, stomping beats, powerful brass and Danilova’s authoritative voice, all weave together to form a flux that is far more palatable than any work the Phoenix songwriter has presented to us before. Originally written for Conatus, recent single ‘Dangerous Days’ is perhaps the closest the industrial songstress has come to an accessible pop hit. Sonically conveying the imagery of the landscape, moments of ‘Dust’ are reminiscent of R’n’B before launching into an abrasive howl, whilst ‘Hunger’ incorporates brass and floor-filling beats and the celestial sounds of ‘Nail’ create an affable yet arresting aesthetic. For an artist of only 25, many would believe that her best is still ahead of her, yet Danilova’s incessant need to push herself and the boundaries of her art is acute even after the final moments of the album have faded.

Read the rest of the review here.

What You Should Probably Know About Your App Data, But Probably Don’t

Articles, Content Writing, Features, Opinion October 26, 2014

Originally published and still available on Dataconomy (14/10/14).

Can you imagine a world without smartphones? In this day and age, the answer is a resounding ‘no’. One of the reasons for this is how profoundly we rely on apps such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, to name but a few. These apps connect us with friends, family or even strangers, be they across the globe or around the corner via a variety of novelty mediums.

To tap into such services, users must first sign up. The pesky asterisk deems your full name, email, date of birth as compulsory information, but also often gender, a ZIP/postal code, address, phone number and – if you are using a subscription service – bank card details. This is easily enough information to create a sketchy profile on any individual –  and that is before you start using their service. When that begins, you will be, whether you realise it or not, voluntarily offering the company snippets into your day to day life, primarily intended for people you actually know.

Facebook is a prime example; as a website and app that boasts approximately 1.28bn users (as of June 2014), it has developed from an idea into a corporate giant. Of that total, 802 million people log into Facebook daily with 556m accessing Facebook via their smartphone or tablet and 189m of those being “mobile only” users. Every 60 seconds, 510 comments are posted, 293,000 statuses are updated and 136,000 photos are uploaded.

Interestingly, however, each time you log into Facebook, share content, or publish a Tweet, the information you offer is being processed, logged and recorded. How do you think “Trending Topics” are created, or recommendations on who to follow next are so accurate?  Such information reveals what users find popular (or unpopular), and – as most free apps are fuelled by advertising – offers you similar content in an attempt to urge you to part from the cash in your wallet.

Read the rest of this article over on Dataconomy.

Read more of my Dataconomy articles here.