Throughout 2017, Culture Trip has tapped into markets from Denmark to South Korea in order to uncover the best acts, and the stories that surround them. From the quintessential music festival circuits for globetrotters and the curious evolution of U.S. pop lyrics, to the call for more female producers and cinema’s misuse of Arab music to further Islamophobia, here are our favorite articles from the year.
An extremely NSFW music video
What does it take to have your music video removed from YouTube? Apparently several uncensored kink porn scenes will do the job. Brendan Maclean’s “House of Air” is one catchy track, and its accompanying video, if nothing else, doesn’t fail to capture the viewers attention either. So where do we draw the line between art and pornography (can it be both?), and and what does the Australian artist mean by describing his video as “an anthropological study of gay semiotics, taxonomies, and sexual behaviors”?
The band that performs underwater
How do you play music underwater? With a hydraulophone, crystallophone, and rotacorda, of course. This aqueous Danish music collective push the boundaries of what a live gig can be.
Why working with Jordan Peele on Get Out was a dream come true
Composer Michael Abels details how he incorporated “black roots” into the score for Get Out and the piece of music in the film that sounds like “a really bad erectile dysfunction commercial.”
Around the world in 60 music festivals
With hundreds of music festivals located all over the world, there is so much to see and hear, but which events offer the lineup, lifestyle, and cultural intrigue to match your interests? Whether you’re looking for the Burning Man spirit, heavy beats, or a homegrown attitude, these six themed festival routes are designed to help you live the most extraordinary musical year of your life.
Music’s female producer problem
What do Janet Jackson, Lauryn Hill, and Mariah Carey have in common? They’re three of the only six women who have been nominated for the Producer of the Year award in the entire 59-year history of the Grammys. While a growing number of female producers and engineers are challenging the notion that the technical side of music is a man’s world, there are still far too few.
“Border music”: The sound we need in Trump’s America
The Chamanas, whose members originate from both El Paso, Texas and Juárez, Mexico, describe their sound as “música fronteriza,” aka “border music.” Read our interview with bassist Manuel Calderon to learn more about why the band opts to sing in Spanish, why “the spirit of being on a border is that there is no border,” and the importance of blending the sounds of both nations.
Connecting Arab music and American movie villains
There’s no arguing that film and TV have furthered Islamophobia through their depictions of Arab characters, but does cinema use Arab music to the same effect? Culture Trip explores the stylistic variations of the music of the Arab world, focusing on how its monophonic qualities and tonal systems are registered differently by the Western listener, and how the Muslim call to prayer has been typecast to symbolize violence through context and added harmonic tension.
An interview with Max Richter
Max Richter, one of the best and most prolific film and TV composers out there, distils the very essence of sadness into his music, but the German-born minimalist doesn’t view his music as melancholic.
The rise of hip hop in Asia
As 2017 comes to a close, the crossover success of Asian hip hop in the United States is poised to make a massive leap. Before the global takeover begins, familiarize yourself with two of the artists at the head of the pack: South Korea’s XXX and China’s Bohan Phoenix.
Love and relationships with Cigarettes After Sex
We speak to rising stars Cigarettes After Sex—their name most certainly derived from the indulgence of cozy, post-coital puffs—about their self-titled debut, one of 2017’s best.
Drink, eat, and play games like a successful musician
We all have our own pregame rituals, but how does your favorite artist prepare for a night out? Culture Trip’s Music Editor Ryan Kristobak sits down with a variety of rising artists, including the jazzy minds of Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah and ALA.NI, to discuss music, life, and everything in-between, while enjoying the artist’s favorite bites, beverage of choice, and games to get the party started.
Beyoncé’s big LGBT impact in Brazil
As if you need another reason to worship at the feet of Beyonce…
The evolution of the American pop lyric
From the rise and fall of disco to hip hop’s ascent over rock, U.S. pop music has undergone seismic genre shifts, not least in their lyrics. Culture Trip charts how over the years, profanity has stolen the limelight from terms of endearment, while pet names, though always prominent, continue to reflect the mood of the day.