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  • (World)ly Sounds in Isolation

    ‘The band is just me in my room, with my guitar and my computer and some synths’ paints a picture of John Braner’s instrumental companions. John Braner creates instrumental music in his home studio in Edinburgh. Since the 1980s, he has travelled from recording his guitar notes in a 4-track cassette recorder in New York to collaborate with computer-based instruments in Edinburgh. His musical journey has not only passed through technological developments but has also incorporated music inspired by the world. Now, he is looking for opportunities where his music can be used in film projects and by film students. In the following conversation, I explore Braner’s thoughts on the expression of instruments and their ability to cross boundaries. Not a lot of people think of making music for the film industry. How did you realise that your music is fit for films? And how did you think of approaching the film students at the University of Edinburgh? I didn’t start out thinking that I would make music for films specifically. I don’t have any vocals for my music, first of all. A lot of people would tell me that you need to have vocals for making your music recognisable but I like to make music with just sounds. I am not trying to please anybody but myself. While talking with other people I also realised that my music would be good for films. I have been meaning to send out emails to film schools and just see if anybody wants to use it — you can get in touch with me and get the files to put it in your films but I don’t do it specifically for films. My music can be for anybody who likes to listen to it. When I heard your first music on Soundcloud Waving to Wendy, I was surprised to hear the sounds of the Tabla instrument which originated in the Indian subcontinent and is widely used in South Asian classical music — it instantly reminded me of my home. How did you get to know about the instrument and what is the significance of Tabla in your Rock music? I like to listen to all kinds of music. I like when music from all over the world surprises me. I love to put in surprises like Tabla in my different genres. I love to build layers and make my music look like a collage of different bits of instruments from the world. This kind of fusion in my music is inspired by artists like Trilok Gurtu who is a wonderful Indian percussionist. He mixed the sounds of Tabla with electric guitars and drummers of the Jazz and Rock musicians. People in rock bands have been inspired by instruments like Conga drum and Afro-Caribbean percussion. The music genre of Jazz and rock coupled with an instrument like Tabla is an experiment to bring out something different from mainstream Rock. I started Waving to Wendy with a little loop of Tabla and got music on top of it which I really liked. Such kind of little obstructions are famous in Indian music but not in the UK — it attracted me. You have been so vocal about doing instrumental music rather than adding lyrics to your music. Does your music affect your perceptions of looking at life? Oh, that’s a deep one — I think more than affecting my perception of life, it has given me new perspectives of music itself. Whenever I listen to music I always listen to the music before the lyrics and I think most people are the other way around. But mostly you’ll see if that music gets in your head even when it is not expressed by words — the tune remains in your head. Music has certainly given me more freedom to work on something that I didn’t use as a means to earn money. When money comes in between there’s a lot less freedom to explore what powers music can hold. Sometimes I also think about how people can find a connection with songs irrespective of their language. Even if people don’t understand the words, they can feel emotion through music. Like last week my Bulgarian flatmate discovered an Indian rap artist and she loved him even if she wasn’t able to understand a single word. With the absence of language, how do you think that instrumental music can convey the emotions that you are trying to express and can promote transculturalism? Does the release from the weight of words help in establishing a connection with people? Music does not need the weight of words to connect. I have loads of CDs by artists from around the world with their vocals in languages I do not understand. I am interested in the workings of sound. Music can exist beautifully without any vocals and if the vocals are in a different language that doesn’t matter. Like Trilok Gurtu performs the Indian tradition where he is not singing words but sounds — Ta-Ta-tak-taka-tak — those are not words of a spoken language but just sounds of the instruments coming from his mouth. A lot of Brazilian musicians do that too. They use their voice like an instrument like I would use my guitar — they are not using any words. It is always interesting to see performances where musicians come together on a stage with their various musical knowledge and present a new kind of melody which goes beyond boundaries.

  • The Music Festivals to Attend in Edinburgh this August

    Your guide to the best festivals in and around Edinburgh this summer, for every music lover. It’s our favourite time of year again - the semester is over, Edinburgh is having some heat waves (unfortunately thanks to climate change) and August’s festival season is fast approaching.* Edinburgh will be home to a range of live music events this coming month, from smaller performances in theatres to huge festivals, and of course, the world-famous Fringe. After the mixed success in the return of festivals last summer - hello tsunami of positive Covid tests and last-minute line-up changes - there’s some hope that this year’s live music offerings can run more smoothly. Here at the edi magazine, we want to recommend a selection of Edinburgh-based festivals and live music events, from a variety of genres and featuring quite the array of artists - from the internationally acclaimed to local Scottish talent. So, get ready. Boost your vaccines and your speakers; time to dance to live music again. Thank god. For a festival at your front door- Edinburgh Summer Sessions Dates: 7th-14th August Located in the centre of Edinburgh, Princes Street Gardens will once again be taken over by the Summer Sessions, with headliners including Michael Kiwanuka, Simply Red, Tom Jones, Simple Minds and Travis. Definitely keep a look out for Scottish support acts such as Walt Disco and Brooke Combe too. Walt Disco are an alternative six-piece with an 80s pop-punk flare, while Brooke Combe is an R&B x soul singer who has toured with the likes of Miles Kane and The Courteeners. If you’re looking for a festival feel while still being within touching distance of an M&S (so you can avoid the expensive and often disappointing food trucks) then this is the summer music event for you. If you love bands- Connect Dates: 26th-28th August The main stage at the Royal Highland Centre will be hosting some of the biggest DJs and artists including headliners Massive Attack, The Chemical Brothers and The National. Massive Attack’s timeless originality makes this festival lineup soar (and who doesn’t want to see Teardrop live?). There will also be three further stages filled with talent from a range of stars, from international to local acts. If her Glastonbury set is anything to go by, you must see Self Esteem; her infectious energy and upbeat pop songs will certainly draw a fun crowd. Make sure to catch IDLES on Friday afternoon if you thrive in a moshpit- there’s nothing like celebrating the end of social distancing than jumping around with sweaty strangers. For a bit of everything- The Fringe Dates: 5th-29th August The iconic Edinburgh Fringe will be back to full strength for the first time since the pandemic, and the city will come alive with the chaos of the month-long festival. Hundreds of shows will be taking place, with lots of opportunities to discover a huge variety of live music. Acapella groups, tribute acts, opera and musical theatre can all be found via the Fringe website, or perhaps you could be a bit more adventurous and see who you stumble upon when you pop into a venue. From an Adele ‘Someone Like Me’ musical cabaret to Spice Girls tribute acts and a Shrek musical, the Fringe covers all bases and then some. *Unfortunately, due to some poor scheduling, we didn’t put this piece up in time for the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival (15th- 24th July). We thought we would still include our thoughts, in case it piques your fancy in attending next year. Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra took over the Festival Theatre, while Curtis Stigers was hosted in the Assembly Roxy. Both performances were scheduled for 7:30 pm, making these events the perfect way to spend an easy evening with the best in jazz and blues. There’s truly nothing more sophisticated than telling your friends you went to a jazz festival when they ask about your evening plans. This is the festival for those who prefer a sequin clutch to a bumbag, and a fancy cocktail to a cup of warm, overpriced beer. Although nothing is stopping you from turning up in a bucket hat and sunnies, if you want to stick to a classic festival dress code.

  • When “Never Again” Happens Again

    In April 2022, rumours of a leaked document from the American Supreme Court rescinding abortion rights began. On Friday the 24th of June, this hellish nightmare became a reality and Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 landmark decision on the issue, was overturned. The effects of this took place immediately, with highly-restricted states like Texas already seeing the birth of post-Roe vs. Wade babies. In this rapid whirlwind of events, perhaps the most prominent question on people’s minds has been: why is this happening in Biden’s America? How is it that a Supreme Court, a body encompassing just nine justices, can make decisions for a nation of over 332 million people? The immediate response is that not anyone can become a justice and it is a difficult and complicated journey to qualify to join the Supreme Court; one must be rigorously examined, have reached the heights of success in their careers and be an ‘honest American’. And yet, why were these 'honest' judges, particularly the more recently elected ones from Trumpism, so dishonest in their trial to join the Supreme Court? When asked whether he intended to dismantle Roe vs. Wade, Justice Barrett commented, “I have no agenda…”, whilst Kavanagh answered, “As a judge, it is an important precedent of the Supreme court, by it, I mean Roe vs. Wade.” Shockingly, these nine justices speak for the same groups that they have been lying to. These issues are equally nothing new. Another judge, Clarence Thomas, who also voted to overturn Roe vs. Wade has been on the Supreme Court since 1991, serving for three decades. He is a man people have questioned from the beginning. In her commencement address at Wellesley College in 1996, Nora Ephron, a journalist, writer and filmmaker, was so concerned by his being on the Supreme Court that she felt the need to speak of it to the student body. She warned, “Don’t underestimate how much antagonism there is toward women and how many people wish we could turn the clock back. [...] Listen hard to what’s going on and, please, I beg you, take it personally. Understand every attack on Hillary Clinton for not knowing her place is an attack on you. [...] Any move to limit abortion rights is an attack on you – whether or not you believe in abortion. The fact that Clarence Thomas is sitting on the Supreme Court today is an attack on you.” How eerie that of all the concerns she listed, her concern over abortion is followed by an inherent afterthought regarding Thomas and his power. This speech is 26 years old. Ephron died in her 70s only ten years ago. It goes to show how these issues never went away. The legalisation of Roe vs. Wade was supposedly solidified over 25 years before Ephron made this speech and here we are, another 25 years on, still dealing with the unravelling of Roe vs. Wade. Conflicting opinions over Roe vs. Wade are longstanding in American culture and film. There’s a comedy skit recirculating from George Carlin from 1996 in which he jokes, “Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why is it that most of the people who are against abortion are people you wouldn’t want to fuck in the first place?.”The monologue is almost ten minutes long and only reflects the need to defend women’s rights in mainstream media. Indeed, the monologue only increases in its witty attacks. On the anti-choice protestors he notes, “You don’t see them adopting a lot of crack babies, do you? No, that might be something Christ would do.” This points out two of the most worrying effects this decision will have: it will exacerbate the poverty cycle, subsequently locking these pregnant women into it for the rest of their lives. Secondly, it will worsen the already dire numbers in the foster care system, which currently stands at 400,000 children. And inevitably, capitalism benefits as the poor get poorer and the rich get richer. You have to wonder how much more profit can be achieved by forced births, especially when the very people who are against universal healthcare are the same ones advocating the banning of abortion. Why do they want to ban abortion? Or maybe the question is what do they stand to gain? How much could they care about children when there are over 400,000 children in the US foster care system waiting to be adopted? There wouldn’t be milk formula shortages and cuts to food stamps and welfare, right? Wouldn't they have a public education system not in tatters, where there are children’s corpses lying in those very schools across America? If they cared about life, America would not have the fifth highest maternal mortality rate in the world. The roots of the ongoing destabilising of abortion are recent as well as old. Trump sought to infect this court and his legacy of chaos lives on. He used his power to enable justices like Kavanagh and Barrett, the former whose name might ring a bell as *ding ding* he’s famous for a sexual assault trial spanning four different women. At the time, people were outraged that a potential mistake he made as a teenager might affect his future, his career prospects and his rights. Ironic, right? Especially when we now see that he was still sworn into the Supreme Court (what was that about being an ‘honest’ American?). This is becoming somewhat of a running tradition of the Supreme Court and Thomas has similarly been accused of sexual assault (not that it has affected his career either). He also recently stated that aborted foetus cells are used in Covid vaccines - if that gives you any indication of the hands in which women’s lives in America rest. What is most eerie to think about is the women who will have seen this news who will die from unsafe abortions in the weeks, months or years following this decision. Perhaps this will be in America or beyond where the echoes of this superpower state will sound. Or perhaps, they will be imprisoned for doing so. What is most shocking and insidious is that not only does this law impact women's rights to their bodies, but it will also impact their right to vote. Whether you are incarcerated for getting an abortion or being a doctor involved in the process, you might await a sentence of life in Texas and up to 15 years in prison in many other states (guess how many years longer than convicted rape these sentences are). Women here are and will not be able to vote. In 11 states, felons will lose their right to vote indefinitely. And of course, these states belong to the Republicans who we now have to thank for this law that stifles, and rescinds women’s suffrage, while murdering and imprisoning them. And who knows what else they might be capable of with this increase in power Women and girls will die, their economic status will be affected, their right to education will be affected, their voting rights will be affected and their freedom will be affected. To conclude, I’m going to quote Ephron again, “Any move to limit abortion rights is an attack on you.” When women’s rights are rescinded anywhere, they are rescinded everywhere. This affects all of us.

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Pages (12)

  • Online student magazine in Edinburgh | the edi magazine

    HOME NEWS TRENDING CULTURE VOICES ARTS SCIENCE FASHION IN FOCUS CONTACT Search Results THE LATEST POSTS Paridhi Badgotri 8 minutes ago 4 min (World)ly Sounds in Isolation Ellie Wilson Jul 27 3 min The Music Festivals to Attend in Edinburgh this August Georgia Bennett Jul 20 5 min When “Never Again” Happens Again Zoja Manček Páli Apr 16 7 min Diminishing Returns - Why sleeping less to work more is counterproductive María López Penalva Apr 9 2 min Does wearing a suit make you a lesbian? Kate Charlton Mar 30 3 min International (White) Women’s Day: What Went Wrong? Pranavi Hiremath Mar 26 5 min Tackling the Feeling of Inadequacy Ruth Stainer Mar 18 3 min Five ways you can help Ukraine during the current humanitarian crisis

  • CULTURE | the edi magazine

    HOME NEWS TRENDING CULTURE VOICES ARTS SCIENCE FASHION IN FOCUS CONTACT Search Results Chloe Lawson Feb 21 6 min Toxic Selflessness An opinion piece by Chloe Lawson about the toxicity that can come with the idea of ‘selflessness’ . Clara Sablitzky Jan 17 8 min New Year, Better Me? A personal article from Clara, she shares how to stop the “self-destructive, self-improvement” cycle and make 2022 your best year yet. Chloe Lawson Nov 28, 2021 6 min Ova-looked and fed-up: Gender Discrimination in Medicine and Healthcare Chloe Lawson examines the inherent misogyny in medical research and exploring the very real and dangerous of ignoring half the population. Clara Sablitzky Nov 7, 2021 5 min Clara’s Guide to Edinburgh - An Impossible, Yet Ideal, Day in the Life Clara Sablitzky shares her impossible, yet ideal, day in the life as a fourth year student in Edinburgh. Megan Clarke Oct 30, 2021 7 min In Conversation with Funmi Lijadu Funmi Lijadu shares her passion for the art of collage with Megan Clarke. Chloe Lawson Oct 22, 2021 6 min The TIK TOK MD? A discussion of the dangers of self-diagnosis of mental illnesses based on non-legitimised resources on Instagram and Tik-Tok. Lourenço Anunciacao Oct 18, 2021 5 min The Beach of Life A trip to North Berwick inspires a semi-poetic story about as life slowly returns to normal. Hannah Shaw Oct 8, 2021 3 min 'Quo Vadis, Aida?' - How a Film Taught us More About a Genocide than School Hannah Shaw reviews the film 'Quo Vadis, Aida?' Kirsten Provan Sep 27, 2021 4 min Diss Won’t Do: A Rundown of Everything That’s Been Distracting Me from Writing My Dissertation Kirsten Provan recounts everything (from Netflix to YouTube) that has been helping her procrastinate writing her Masters dissertation. Isla Boote Apr 20, 2021 1 min Mine in the Future This poem is about missing someone you love whose presence persists in your memories. Evie Snelling Mar 27, 2021 3 min Review: It's a Sin Evie Snelling discusses the harsh reality and social stigma attached to the AIDS pandemic and how it has taken a binge-worthy show for... Clara Sablitzky Feb 9, 2021 6 min Surviving Online Lockdown Uni...Again Clara Sablitzky and friends share their tips for getting through the new semester. Ellie Wilson Feb 2, 2021 4 min Book Review: Love in Colour Ellie Wilson writes about Bolu Babalola's 'Love in Colour', a book which inspires 'pure joy'. Jade Rawling Jan 31, 2021 1 min The Ancient War Jade Rawling’s poem “The Ancient War” is inspired by the uproar of romanticised battle. Zebib K.A. Jan 19, 2021 3 min Film Review: Kajillionaire Zebib K.A. reviews the film Kajillionaire, encapsulating the actors performances, storyline and subtle meanings in the film perfectly. Kiera Mann Jan 6, 2021 4 min Gender Politics in The Queen’s Gambit Kiera Mann provides an interesting review into the series 'The Queen's Gambit', revealing where it falls short and where it may be... Rachel Watkins Dec 31, 2020 5 min In Conversation: Nayna Florence Rachel Watkins talks to 20-year-old influencer Nayna Florence about University, Youtube and her new Podcast. Kirsty Thomson Dec 29, 2020 8 min In Conversation: Audacious Aunties Kirsty Thomson is in conversation with the Audacious Aunties as they embark on the third season of their amazing and insightful podcast. Maddie Noton Nov 26, 2020 7 min A Bit of a Stretch: A Community Silenced by Modern Stigma. Maddie Noton investigates the realities of prison life and the damaging effects that public opinion and stigma can have surrounding prisons. Kirsten Provan Nov 14, 2020 4 min The Mental Health of Mr Robot Kirsten Provan explores the mental health of Amazon Prime's Mr Robot and how the series portrays dissociative identity disorder.

  • IN FOCUS | the edi magazine

    HOME NEWS TRENDING CULTURE VOICES ARTS SCIENCE FASHION IN FOCUS CONTACT Search Results Kate Charlton and Megan Clarke Jan 24 8 min The Impact of Sex Education and Pornography on Relationships and Gender Based Violence An investigation into the effects of sexual education and pornography on healthy sexual relationships and the rise of Gender-Based Violence. Megan Clarke Oct 30, 2021 7 min In Conversation with Funmi Lijadu Funmi Lijadu shares her passion for the art of collage with Megan Clarke. Megan Clarke Oct 28, 2021 7 min In Conversation with Mmangaliso Nzuza Megan Clarke interviews Mmangaliso Nzuza, where he shares his passion for oil painting what Black History Month means to him. Chloe Lawson and Kirsten Provan Feb 19, 2021 3 min 2020 Reflections: Kirsten and Chloe The final instalment of our 2020 Reflections by Chloe and Kirsten. Amy Houghton, Clara Sablitzky and Rachel Watkins Feb 16, 2021 4 min 2020 Reflections: Amy, Clara and Rachel The second of our 2020 reflection pieces looks at lockdown traditions, graduation difficulties and the chance to pause, grow and change. Maddie Noton Feb 14, 2021 4 min A Morning in Mid-March The first of our 2020 reflection pieces. Nature's perspective of the global pandemic by Maddie Noton. Pranavi Hiremath Feb 7, 2021 5 min Lockdown: Indian Students in the UK (Part Two) Part Two: Pranavi Hiremath and five of her friends share some remarkable stories first lockdown experiences. Pranavi Hiremath Feb 5, 2021 9 min Lockdown: Indian Students in the UK (Part One) Part One: Pranavi Hiremath and five of her friends share some remarkable stories first lockdown experiences. Kate Charlton and Antony Haslam Jan 26, 2021 10 min The Fresher Experience During The Pandemic Kate Charlton and Antony Haslam explore the Fresher experience at Edinburgh University and the surrounding public rhetoric concerning... Lucien Staddon Foster Dec 6, 2020 6 min A Summer of Injustice: Six Months On Lucien Staddon Foster provides an important reflection on the horrific racial traumas that Black people have faced over the last 6 months.

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