Dukepope's blog about music, art, design and technology.

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A quick review of Yungcloud

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Yungcloud was founded in May 2015 as a reaction to the gradual commercialization of SoundCloud,  which has left many artists and fans feeling frustrated that they are not given enough importance. On their official Twitter account Youngcloud claim to be the “world’s leading underground music streaming serive” (I think they meant service). Which may be true, since Soundcloud has had few serious competitors since Myspace’s slow death some years back. (On paper Myspace still exists, but as a social platform for artists to connect with their fans it has been dead for many years).

I made a Yungcloud profile and uploaded a few tracks some weeks back to give it a try. Yungcloud is a new and fairly small platform, so when I contacted them regarding technical problems, Jvde or Mc Jude, one of the co-creators and site admins responded within minutes and sorted everything out in no time. He also added me as a friend and liked one of my songs. I doubt SoundCloud’s customer service can compete with that, though I’ve never tried contacting them.

The downside of Yungcloud for me is that I’m having a very hard time finding music that I like on the site. The majority of it seems to be this sort of lo-fi hip hop, I guess it’s called trap. Not really my cup of tea. I did find some ok sounding vaporwave and synthwave after a bit of searching. As for more mainstream sounds they seem to be almost non-existent. And if you ever sign a contract with a label you will be banned on the site if I understand correctly? They have this ban list featuring famous artists on their front page. Which seems a bit overly harsh, and not the best policy if they want to attract some decent sounding music to their site. [Edit: a yungcloud fan has made me aware that the ban list is there because those artists have sent DMCA notices to yungcloud if anyone uploaded remixes of their work]

To conclude, I kind of like the Yungcloud platform, but I’m not impressed with the artists that use it, which again makes it kind of useless for me as a networking tool. If you have some more pop oriented music up on Yungcloud, please hit me up and I’ll follow you back.

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Yazoo – Don’t Go

Yazoo is one of the most unique and powerful acts of early synthpop, and have been a big source of inspiration for me. Vince Clarke’s crisp, melodic synth and Alison Moyet’s powerful voice are a perfect match. Check out their music video for Don’t Go, a nice window into the early 80s, a time when talent mattered more in pop music than fitting into some narrow ideal of physical beauty. If you want to hear more of this style of music, there is a great BBC documentary called Synth Britannia which chronicles the rise of synthpop in the UK, where Vince Clarke and Yazoo are also extensively featured. Last time I checked it was available for free on Youtube.

My first singles are now up on Spotify!

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My music has finally made its way out on the commercial market. Not that I’m expecting to make me rich anytime soon, certainly my expenses will be way higher than my income this year from music. (Unless I score a radio hit or something.) So here is a link to Duke Pope Zero on Spotify. My music is also available through all the other major streaming platforms, plus Bandcamp, Soundcloud and a few other minor music networking sites which I plan to write reviews of here soon. The focus on the blog will also shift more towards music related stuff from now.

Three great pop songs with a hard hitting political message

Rap and Rock are musical genres with a rough edge, which lends itself to political messages. Pop music on the other hand is usually more light hearted, which might explain why love and romantic intrigue in past decades and nowadays partying and sex tend to be regular themes in pop songs. However there are artists who have had great success with political pop songs over the years. I have made a list of my top three pop songs with a hard hitting political message. Let me know in the comments what’s your favourite political pop hit!

Talkin’ ’bout a Revolution from 1988 by Tracy Chapman is one of those songs that keeps inspiring people across generations that there is hope for a better life for all of us, not just the super rich. The hope of a better future is a prerequisite for any positive change in society. Be sure to keep this song in your playlist for when you’re about to loose faith in humanity.

When You’re Gonna Learn from 1992 was Jamiroquai’s debut single. It questions the way we as a species are exhausting the resources of our fragile earth while wrecking it in the process. Politically conscious lyrics have been a common thread throughout their career, exemplified by their newly released single ‘Automaton’ that questions if we are loosing our souls as more and more of our waking lives are consumed by our internet presence.

They Don’t Really Care About US from 1995 by Michael Jackson was the last true super-hit released by the King of Pop. Was it a coincidence that his career declined in the aftermath of releasing such a hard hitting political song? No damning evidence was ever brought up proving that he actually molested any of those young boys. As a comparison, RnB singer R Kelly’s career seems to have taken little harm from the very serious allegations against him, including possession of child pornography and videotaping himself urinating on a 14 year old girl. But then again R Kelly was never involved in the tricky the business of politics.

A wonderfully weird music video from vaporwave originators Pet Shop Boys

Put on your conical hats, lean back and immerse yourselves in this music video, bringing you straight back to that early nineties post-modernist aesthetic. “Can You Forgive Her” features the typical Pet Shop Boys sound, mixing 90s dance with ambient and orchestral elements, accompanied by airy vocals and funny, yet poetic lyrics.

Who said the white man can’t make reggae disco?

I shared this song with a friend on facebook a while back, and introduced the post with the question in the title. He told me: “Not sure if anyone ever said that.” Maybe nobody said it out loud, but I still feel like some people have harboured suspiciouns in this regard. Well, here is the proof that will have you discard your doubts if you ever had any; Break my Stride by Mathew Wilder from 1983. Take note of the crazy outfits, the interesting dance moves and Mathew Wilder’s proto-hipster moustache!

New website (and old desktop telephones)

I finally have my own personal website, which I’m being told is a must for creative professionals in today’s competitive online marketplace. Here it is: www.dukepope.com

To be honest I’m still trying to figure out how to get ahead in this rat race of self promotion and social media mumbo jumbo. I sometimes wish we could go back to the time of knocking doors and calling up solid desktop telephones with gut shaking mechanical ringing and get through to a real person on the other side. In reality I guess there’s nothing stopping us from knocking doors and ringing up people, and despite the mantra of “online presence is everything” perhaps this is still the way that would actually get you somewhere as an aspiring creative professional. I guess it’s time to put it to the test! (And perhaps I’ll even let you know how it goes). In the meantime please have a look at my webpage and let me know what you think of it! (And as a side note, if you click the “music” link, it will take you to my soundcloud and my latest song, which I finished last week, called Believe in Love.)

www.dukepope.com