Thu, 23 Mar 2023 10:19:00 GMT
I write to you to tell you about my travels to Austin, Texas for SXSW. It was a hell of a trip, so buckle up pardner. If you don’t know, South By Southwest (SXSW) is a city-wide Film, TV, music, comedy and tech festival that goes on for just under two weeks. The programme is gigantic so there’s a lot to choose from, it sort of feels overwhelming at times with miles of ground to cover between venues, the usual festival dilemma of clashing events, and a whole separate unofficial programme to consider too. If you, like me, are a big deal in the industry then this is made even worse by landing yourself a platinum badge that’ll get you in to anything. It’s relentless, gruelling and yet extremely enjoyable too.
One of my favourite things I saw was the group Revival Season, a collaboration by rapper Brandon ‘Ben’ Evans and producer Jonah Swilley. Their latest release, a mixtape album in collaboration with producer Raf Rundell called Outernational (A Mixtape), is insanely good but sadly not on Spotify - so I’ve added their track Iron Warrior to this playlist instead, but encourage you to go check that out on their bandcamp page too.
On Wednesday night I found myself submerged in the venue Esther Follies, a club with an underwater theme (some of you may have seen their converted piano-cum-fish tank, to which I quite wittily composed the caption ‘Anyone know how to tuna piano?’, on SIREN’s Instagram story - if you missed out on this, please like and subscribe now to save yourself the misery of missing out on more gems like this in the future). Feeling positively wavy in this setting, I was delighted to be grounded and then quickly arisen spiritually by South African artist Msaki, despite her effortlessly powerful and transcendent vocals while performing, her casually funny personality in between songs was equally as impressive, creating an emotional ping-pong relay which lured the audience into a trance of sorts - one that can only be described by a lesser writer through convoluted metaphors such as an ‘emotional ping-pong relay’.
Next up, Mirella Cesa, known by some as the Mother of Andipop (music from the Andes) according to Wikipedia. An all-round fun vibe, with a tight rhythmic section led by charango and the bass guitar providing the foundation for a guy in the back to shred on an electronic wind instrument.
Anyway - why read the whole menu when you can just take a bite of the hog? - I’ve put a bunch of my favourite things I saw into a playlist for you to enjoy while I hitch a lift to The Big Easy and find out what all the fuss is about over there.
Wishing you well from across the pond,
P.S. Raging Grace, director Paris Zarcilla’s debut feature film, which composer Jon Clarke at SIREN created the original score for won Narrative Feature Film of the festival! We can’t wait for you to see and hear it - and while this won’t make sense to you until then, on the same day it won I met a guy who released an album called Gravy In My Coffee a couple of years ago - which, once you’ve seen the film, you’ll almost certainly agree is a mind-blowing coincidence!view more - Music & SoundSIREN, Thu, 23 Mar 2023 10:19:00 GMT