When Written on Skin had its premiere at the 2012 Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, conducted by George Benjamin himself, it received a standing ovation. The opera's arrival at Covent Garden in 2013 was eagerly anticipated, and provided audiences with the opportunity to experience the work of two of Britain's greatest living artists. Benjamin previously collaborated with playwright Martin Crimp on Into the Little Hill, a magical retelling of the Pied Piper fairytale, and for this new work they joined forces with acclaimed stage director Katie Mitchell. For all three, the production marked their main-stage debut at the Royal Opera House. The tale, inspired by a medieval legend, tells of an ill-fated troubadour, drawn into a liaison with an innocent maiden. But they are observed by the jealous eye of her protector, who wreaks a shocking revenge on the young couple.
Day of the Dead is an epic tribute to the music and artistry of the Grateful Dead, curated by Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National. They have brought together some of their favourite musicians to reinterpret the songs and sounds of the Dead for a new generation. 59 tracks and over 5 hours of music makes the album a landmark to get lost in, to discover hidden treasures and to make your own playlists for whatever mood you’re in. Covers by The War On Drugs, Kurt Vile, Bill Callahan, Courtney Barnett, Anohni, Wilco, Mumford & Sons, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, The Flaming Lips, Stephen Malkmus, Cass McCombs, Tim Hecker, Lucinda Williams, Perfume Genius, Fucked Up, Bonnie "Prince" Billy, The Tallest Man On Earth and others.
The Japanese Popstars actually hail from Northern Ireland, where they have fast become a proud fixture of the UK's vibrant nu-electro scene, earning praise from legendary British dance authority MixMag who called them…"the most exciting new electronic act on the planet"…
Possibilities, by jazz piano/keyboard legend Herbie Hancock, with songs by Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, and Leon Russell, is a multigenerational masterpiece. Rock's "it boy" John Mayer leads off the CD with the spare, bouncy opener, "Stitched Up." Brit-born soul girl Joss Stone and bluesman Jonny Lang get down on the gutbucket "When Love Comes to Town." Christina Aguilera’s excellent vocals illuminate "A Song for You." Not to be outdone, Annie Lennox delivers an operatic take on Holly Cole’s "Hush, Hush, Hush," while Sting's "Sister Moon" swings with stealthy syncopations. Santana and the Beninese singer Angelique Kidjo provide the world flavor on "Safiotou," and the dreamy "Gelo No Montana," with ex-Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio, is the lone instrumental. Hancock’s tight solos and intelligent orchestral synths radiate all of the tracks. Like Frank Sinatra’s Duets and Ray Charles’s Genius Loves Company, Possibilities introduces Hancock to a new and awestruck generation. ~ Eugene Holley, Jr.
Herbie Hancock's star-studded The Imagine Project was several years in the making, recorded in seven countries with musicians from all over the globe. Hancock's band with producer/bassist Larry Klein, drummer Vinnie Coliuta, percussionist Alex Acuсa, and guitarist Lionel Loueke is a common denominator. Most selections are interpretations of well-known pop, folk, and soul songs. The best things here are indeed fine.
Having sold over 13 million albums, Lisa Stansfield can lay claim to being the UK's top female vocalist of the last 15 years. Biography, this 17-track compilation, would certainly back up her argument. Including her breakthrough as featured vocalist on Coldcut's "People Hold On", it also contains her debut proper ("This is the Right Time") and a string of absurdly memorable hits, such as "Change", "All Woman", "Never", "Never Gonna Give You Up" and her first Number One, "All Around the World".