A Favourite Musical Maven

I've been away in the sun for a bit celebrating the nuptials of one of my dear friends. She is the glue that holds our group together - so it was apt that we all got together to spend a week partying - and perhaps pontificating this next phase of our lives.

One of our group is a mate who has a knack for finding great new music. In fact I would wager that hunting down new sounds takes up a large part of his day. He likes to share too - always making us all CDs with esoteric MP3s derived from various hidden depths of the web. Not all of it is good - he loves a comedy novelty track, or a country & western cover song of 90s rave classics, but you are guaranteed a considered collection of something truly unique.

I asked him when the last time he bought music was - he couldn't recall, although he admits to buying a CD from time to time to give as a gift for birthdays, xmas etc. Largely though he uses HypeMachine and his network of favourite blogs to share new music.

He is reliable, consistent and considered by everyone he knows as an expert in music. He is a maven, one who shares his knowledge with his network. For now this has been confined to his friends and colleagues, but he is considering a blog - where others like him have been able to extend their network around the world.

Though the music industry would label them thieves, mavens are highly valuable. They transcend the tired role of the music critic (whose opinions will remain rooted in the mainstream). In our increasingly fragmented, niche-oriented landscape, the maven can find a voice and and willing audience eager to use them to find their next greatest hit.


Baby, Baby, Baby

A new take on Kylie's "Come Into My World" - though on this occasion its simply down the rue in Paris - and Kylie would never be seen with her baps out!  ... If you squint you can see MaJiKer and I having lunch (at 1'33").


BPM Encore - featuring Camille, Maya Barsony and Benedicte Le Lay

A great little video filmed during the encore of MaJiKer at Nouveau Casino.


MaJiKer - Live at Nouveau Casino

29th April 2009
Nouveau Casino
Paris, France

I have just returned from a great trip to Paris to celebrate the release of Body-Piano-Machine

It was a fitting city for us to hold an event for the release of MaJiKer's album. It is not only the home of the artist, but a backdrop for his soundtrack. When I first experienced his live show last year (at his residency at Sentier des Halles) I was instantly transported into his world - which to me seemed to merge with the sounds of the whole city. Bodies, machines, the occasional piano ...

The Nouveau Casino was a sufficient step from the basement theatre of Sentier des Halles, but MaJiKer demonstrated that his magnificent show can maintain its intimacy. Performing the album nearly in its entirety, the live versions of the songs carry their own mystery - enhanced by the fantastic Bénédicte Le Lay, who contributes vocals, theatre and movement. 

Highlights for me have to be "Wall of Sound" - which has risen to being one of my favourites on the album, along with "The Chase". This was the first track that MaJiKer sent to us last year - and the live version does not disappoint. Building on layers of body percussion the track is the definitive climax of the show.

A final encore saw very special guests Camille and Maya Barsony take to the stage to join Le Lay for a reprise of "BPMantra" - in which they created a medley of their own BPM tracks ("The Pink Piano" and "Le Femme Androide" along with "Flesh & Bone"). Pure bliss.

Body-Piano-Machine is out now on CD and Download.
Get it at the Gaymonkey Shop (with free shipping worldwide) for only £8
or order it at Amazon.co.uk

Image by Sandrine Cellard on Flickr