The underrated art: Beatbox Battle 2009

May 14, 2009 at 9:21 am (music, performance) (, , , )

Last week the Beatbox Battle Online World Champion was announced: Canadian Julia Dales, 17. The YouTube based competition saw people from all over the world – Japan, USA, Norway, Belgium – go head-to-head in the Wild Card competition. One vital question emerges: does it hurt?

A Short History: Beatboxing, “a form of vocal percussion which primarily involves the art of producing drum beats, rhythm, and musical sounds using one’s mouth, lips, tongue, voice, and more” is today firmly rooted in hip hop. But it goes back much further than that, though the origin is contested. Some trace it back to the Indian tradition of bol, or the Chinese tradition of Kouji, a performance art which uses the vocal organs to mimic everyday sounds and is 2,300 years old. African and Native American traditions use the vocal tricks and the body in rhythmic performance. It’s kinda universal, in all senses of the word.

Modern beatboxing has developed since the 1980s, and gets its name from mimicry of the first electronic drum machines, known as beatboxes.

Although he didn’t make it into the final five in the Wild Card competition, this guy makes it look effortless. Which it is NOT (I should know. I tried, alone in my house. Felt silly).


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Wintersleep interview in Pictures

April 1, 2009 at 9:22 pm (Interview, music) (, , )

Wintersleep in Pictures by Alastair Plumb

Wintersleep in Pictures by Alastair Plumb

When we were interviewing Wintersleep (see post below ), my friend Ali (of Lollygagger fame) nimbly whipped out his camera and took these photos, which he has since organised into a pretty collage. For this, we thank him.

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Interview: A Drink with Wintersleep

March 31, 2009 at 12:51 pm (Interview, music) (, , , )

Canadian rockers Wintersleep have just completed a tour to celebrate the release of their latest album, Welcome to the Night Sky in Europe.

I caught up with them in London to talk about first records, winning the Juno award and stealing polar bears…

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Hip Hop: A literal translation

February 25, 2009 at 9:33 pm (literature, music) (, , )


Hip Hop stars are hardly known for their modesty. But how often have you actually listened to their lyrics? Let alone tried to make sense of them.

Well, these guys did. Two writers in LA (who claim they are big fans of hip hop, by the way) making all to literal sense out of some of the most outrageous lyrics out there. Needless to say, hilarious consequences. Some of my favourites:

“I’m so dope I just jump in the toilet and flush.”
– Boots from The Coup, Bullets and Love

This is the least dope thing you can do. Only your ankles would get wet and then there would be toilet water everywhere. And what do you mean you just do this? Sorry, this doesn’t work for me. Filed under: not dope.

“I’m a shark… y’all just koi fish. What else? Octopus. What else? Oysters.”

Juelz Santana – You Ain’t Got Nuthin’ by Lil Wayne

I don’t get this. The beginning makes sense. “I’m a shark, you’re just a little fish.” I get that. Then he just starts saying other things that live in the ocean. Filed under: Too much marine life.

“Eight A.M., open my eyes. Yeah, kick my bitch. Tell her open the blinds.”
– Lil Wayne, I’m a DBoy

This relationship isn’t going to work out. Filed under: bad with women.

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Bandstand Busking with The Hours

February 24, 2009 at 6:00 pm (music, performance) (, , )

The Bandstand

What could be finer than a free music concert on a crisp Sunday afternoon?  Bandstand Busking is a couple of guys who believe in using bandstands for what they were made for – bands. Playing instruments. With people watching. Former performers include the Black Lips, Gregory and the Hawk and The Leisure Society.

But in this case, The Hours were unplugged.

The Hours

Watching a band in this way felt almost too intimate. The music is all acoustic (bandstands are lacking in plugs) – not even a microphone –  so there are no heavy riffs disguising dodgy harmonies. Raw talent is very much on display. It’s a refreshing way to watch a band and even better as it’s free!

Girls Watching

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