MØ – Bikini Daze EP (4/5)
Danish born Karen Marie Ørsted (aka MØ) is the latest sensation to come out of the northern territories of Europe. After exploding onto the blogosphere in late 2012 with her soundcloud debut ‘Pilgrim’, an obsessive fan base emerged, eager to see what the strange and infatuating creature would do next.
A year later, the first EP, Bikini Daze, has unveiled more colours of our superstar in the making. Fiercely tight production and big beats accompany the Lana Del Rey-esque vocals through four brand spanking new tracks. Prior to the EP, we might have been led to believe that the popstar only delivered aggressively confident numbers, but with the tracks ‘Never Wanna Know’ and ‘Freedom #1’ MØ exposes her more delicate side. The instrumentation is stripped back and instead of sounding like Ørsted is consuming her listeners, there is an air of vulnerability achieved through slow, soaring vocal lines. The superficial hype that engulfs many an off-the-wall type is removed in the case of MØ – we are seeing more sides to the eccentric pony-tailed Scandinavian. Of course, the EP still contains the familiar style that won her followers over in the first place. Opening number ‘XXX 88’ – which features the nifty work from production connoisseur Diplo – shows off the extrovert and boisterous side of MØ; it is definitely something that seems to come naturally to her. Having now won over the skeptics, everything is in place for Ørsted to show the world what else she’s got hidden in her eccentricity.
Linkin Park – Recharged (2/5)
Just like the re-release of any album – which often translates as “let’s cash in on the same album again” – a remix album can serve a similar purpose. Linkin Park have decided that their 2012 effort Living Things wasn’t enough for their bank balances. Despite my cynicism towards the very idea of a remix album, Recharged does appear to have some flair in the way of originality. Linkin Park has opted for a much more varied stance than the usual remix albums. Bringing in every kind of electronic, house and grime artist from ‘Killsoniks’ to ‘Datsick’, Linkin Park have created a more diverse collection of remixes.
However, that doesn’t mean it’s by any means a good album, or a particularly bad one. For me it settles right on the indifference mark. Sure, Killsoniks version of ‘Lost in the Echo’ showcases a bouncing, energetic and altogether super heavy aggression which would make the likes of Skrillex and Knife Party quake in their trainers. Whereas the clear highlight is ‘Vice’ and their stunning version of ‘I’ll Be Gone’ – a mash up of dubstep intensity and grime/hip hop drops with additional rapping from Pusha T to add that unique flair.
Sadly the rest of the album sounds like a montage of bad filler songs. It has a few good tracks, some of which should have made it onto Living Things but the rest have essentially been heard before. Plus, you’re never going to get someone who cites “Linkin Park Remixes” as one of their favourite things to listen to. It’s not awful but it’s definitely not good.
Cut Copy – Free Your Mind (4/5)
Mos Def (LIVE) – Stylus (5/5)
It’s not every day that hip hop legend Yasiin Bey aka. Mos Def graces the stages of UK so for him to choose Leeds University Union as his sole Northern performance is a rare blessing that should be appreciated accordingly. The audience in the Union duly did so, going insane at the sight of him and eating out of the palm of his hand from start to finish. From the moment Mos Def stepped out in his white cassock, little was there to do but stand back and appreciate. For long term fans, he did not disappoint as his set mainly comprised of material from Ecstatic. This really set the tone and got the crowd moving but for his newer fans, Bey threw in a cover of Notorious B.I.G’s ‘Juicy’, sending the crowd into a bouncing whirlwind of raucous and excitement. It is truly difficult to describe Bey’s onstage presence and the energy without actually being there to witness it. He dances constantly throughout the show, even treating us to a 15 minute dance off, almost with his two DJs, but mainly with himself. He commands the stage, the audience and even the bar staff with his impressive rhythm and evoking lyrics, proving for the few that doubted him why he is of such legendary status the world over.