Red Bull Music Academy - Bullish about New Music

Words by: Cila Warncke
Posted: 12/2/10 11:50

Red Bull Music Academy 2010Wherever the Red Bull Music Academy lands, from the sunny climes of Cape Town to the damp streets of London, it represents a concentration of musical forces that has the power to change dance. Now in its 11th year, the RBMA creates an electronic music brain trust whose impact on the scene extends far beyond the bounds of its four-week London residency.

There are other music conferences, and other educational opportunities for fledging producers and DJs, but the Red Bull Music Academy creates a unique platform for artist development and creative exchange. Making electronic music is an increasingly solitary art. Producers that might have worked with session musicians, 20 years ago, or at least gotten together to pool keyboards and 303s, can make records - in their entirety - without ever leaving their bedroom. This has democratised music production, and certainly helped artists in remote corners of the globe find their way into the culture, there is a trade-off in terms of creativity. Electronic music is, after all, created for mass consumption. The point of a tune is to move dozens, or hundreds, or even thousands of people at once. Working in isolation is not the best preparation for fine-tuning the artistic process.

Enter the Red Bull Music Academy, where young artists have the opportunity to not only to work on cutting-edge equipment, but to create with and learn from masters of the craft. The mentor relationship fosters interaction that came naturally to previous generations of musicians, who had to work together out of necessity, and it offers today's artists the possibility of seeing their work through new eyes. RBMA alum And.Id calls the experience "one of the best moments of my life" (Read interview here) and his story illustrates perfectly what is so special about the programme. The RBMA gave a young Greek producer an opportunity to mingle with peers and legends, make friends, make music, perform at Sonar; to see the world - and his creative place in it - in a whole new light.

This year, a new crop of young artists ranging from MCs to producers to DJs to singers, is gathered to expand their minds and see how far they can push their art. And the leisurely format of the Academy, which runs 7 February to 12 March, ensures the experience isn't a mere hit-and-run. The artists have the chance to dig deep, to get acquainted, to go beyond first impressions - whether personal or musical - in order to discover what truly inspires them. The pleasant side-effect for non-participants is that for a month London's incredible music scene will be even more impressive, with special events all over town - from arty nights at the Roundhouse to dirty dub rinse-outs at Camden's Lock Tavern.

RBMA Radio is also in full flow, with exclusive interviews with music icons ranging from Jazzie B and Talib Kweli to !!! and Mudhoney; mixes from the likes of Ricardo Villalobos and Theo Parrish; and loads more content. Enough, in fact, to keep you listening until RBMA 2011 rolls up.

More importantly, RBMA's impact will be felt where it matters most - on the dancefloor - as the artists and mentors build a community based on talent, inspiration and the love of good music, and in turn take that back to their clubs, parties and cities. | | |


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