The historic Nelson Mandela anthem, Kirsten Dunst in anime costume, a lot of NTS radio and more in our look at music this week
It's Nice That + NTS Radio's Black Impulse Playlist
Our creativity-championing friends over at It's Nice That have let the folks from Black Impulse on NTS Radio hijack their weekly mixtape—resulting in two hours of music, most of which you've probably never heard before. Heather Weil focuses on prog, heavy psych, 1970s and '80s punk and hardcore. She explains, "These are three really difficult genres to make accessible." Check out the selection of 30 songs, from King Crimson to Vangelis' band Aphrodite's Child to Pelican, and be prepared to spend the whole day head-banging.
Röyksopp feat. Robyn: The Girl And The Robot
This week's #PrivateJam comes from Saidah Blount at NPR Music Events, who chose the 2009 dark electro-pop jam "The Girl And The Robot." Swedish siren Robyn lent her powerful vocals to Norwegian duo Röyksopp's futuristic chord progressions and arpeggiated synths. "Until I heard this song, I didn’t get the all the Robyn hype at all," admits Blount. "But with the help of the glorious Röyksopp, I instantly understood why people bow at Robyn’s feet—she’s such a modern-day disco diva. This song is super slick, burly and unashamed to be a complete dance floor stormer. I will not deny that I would be ashamed if anyone ever saw how many times it’s been played on my iTunes."
Jon Rust b2b Jamie xx on No Boring Intros
Jamie xx proved his true crate-digger style this week on the anything-goes show No Boring Intros hosted by fellow Londoner and DJ Jon Rust. Their back-to-back sessions on NTS Radio start smooth and funky—think Ollie Nightingale and Fred Wesley and the JBs—and finish with a fair share of edgier, club-worthy beats, with some Paul McCartney thrown in. These two hours of spontaneous awesomeness will revitalize a slow day in the office, and are equally ready to entertain the house party to follow. Check out our recent interview with Jon Rust if you're itching to learn more about his style.
Kirsten Dunst: Turning Japanese
This past Wednesday, we hit Parisian club Silencio's pop-up at Art Basel Miami Beach, where Pharrell and Takashi Murakami curated a set of the Japanese visual artist's films from his most recent "Jellyfish Eyes" to 2009's "Akihabara Majokko Princess." The latter—which exhibited at London's Tate Modern museum—is the pop artist's attempt to blend highbrow and lowbrow art. Directed by Hollywood-famous McG, it features Kirsten Dunst singing a cover of The Vapor's "Turning Japanese," complete in anime costume, walking the streets of Akihabara. Whether you consider it to be museum-worthy or not, it's a hypnotic four minutes that's just as entertaining as it is bizarre.
The Special AKA: Nelson Mandela
As the world mourns the passing of Nelson Mandela this week, we remember his profound spirit through the UK band The Special AKA's 1984 catchy anthem, "Nelson Mandela"—released as "(Free) Nelson Mandela" stateside. Produced by Elvis Costello, the song fuses the band's characteristic ska beats and brass with African harmonies, propelled by Stan Campbell's persuasive voice. Differing from most political protest songs, it is upbeat, positive and danceable. Celebrating Mandela's future release in a prophetic manner, "Nelson Mandela" raised awareness of the quiet prisoner's plight and the anti-apartheid movement to a global audience.
ListenUp is a Cool Hunting series published every Sunday that takes a deeper look at the music we tweeted about that week. Often we'll include a musician or notable fan's surprising personal interests—#PrivateJam exposes their musical guilty pleasure.