The BRIT Awards 2012

Tuesday 21st February 2012 saw James Corden hosting the BRIT Awards, for the second time at The O2 Arena in London.

This post is part of a series about the history of the BRIT Awards. You can read about the 2011 ceremony here, and the 2013 ceremony here.

British Male Solo Artist

Presented by Plan B. Nominees:

  • James Blake
  • Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
  • James Morrison
  • Professor Green
  • Ed Sheeran

Winner: Ed Sheeran

British Female Solo Artist

Presented by Kylie Minogue. Nominees:

  • Adele
  • Kate Bush
  • Florence and the Machine
  • Jessie J
  • Laura Marling

Winner: Adele

British Breakthrough Act

Presented by Cesc Fàbregas and Nicole Scherzinger. Nominees:

  • Anna Calvi
  • Jessie J
  • Emeli Sandé
  • Ed Sheeran
  • The Vaccines

Winner: Ed Sheeran

British Group

Presented by Jo Whiley and Huey Morgan. Nominees:

  • Arctic Monkeys
  • Chase & Status
  • Coldplay
  • Elbow
  • Kasabian

Winner: Coldplay

British Single

Presented by Tinie Tempah. Nominees:

  • Adele – Someone Like You
  • Ed Sheeran – The A Team
  • Example – Changed the Way You Kiss Me
  • Jessie J feat. B.o.B – Price Tag
  • JLS featuring Dev – She Makes Me Wanna
  • Pixie Lott – All About Tonight
  • Military Wives / Gareth Malone – Wherever You Are
  • Olly Murs feat. Rizzle Kicks – Heart Skips a Beat
  • One Direction – What Makes You Beautiful
  • The Wanted – Glad You Came

Winner: One Direction

MasterCard British Album of the Year

Presented by George Michael. Nominees:

  • Adele – 21
  • Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto
  • Florence + The Machine – Ceremonials
  • PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
  • Ed Sheeran – +

Winner: Adele. Famously she banged on for a bit too long without really saying anything and got cut off without warning.

International Male Solo Artist

Presented by Jessie J and Jack Whitehall. Nominees:

  • Ryan Adams
  • Aloe Blacc
  • David Guetta
  • Bon Iver
  • Bruno Mars

Winner: Bruno Mars

International Female Solo Artist

Presented by Jenson Button. Nominees:

  • Beyoncé
  • Björk
  • Feist
  • Lady Gaga
  • Rihanna

Winner: Rihanna

International Group

Presented by Brian May and Roger Taylor from Queen. Nominees:

  • Fleet Foxes
  • Foo Fighters
  • Jay Z and Kanye West
  • Lady Antebellum
  • Maroon 5

Winner: Foo Fighters

International Breakthrough Act

Presented by will.i.am and Rob Brydon. Nominees:

  • Aloe Blacc
  • Bon Iver
  • Lana del Rey
  • Foster The People
  • Nicki Minaj

Winner: Lana del Rey

Critics’ Choice

Presented by James Corden and Jessie J. Nominees:

  • Michael Kiwanuka
  • Maverick Sabre
  • Emeli Sandé

Maverick Sabre came in second place. Winner: Emeli Sandé

British Producer

Presented by Laura Marling. Nominees:

  • Paul Epworth
  • Flood
  • Ethan Johns

Winner: Ethan Johns

Outstanding Contribution to Music

Presented by Ray Winstone.

Winner: Blur

You should be able to watch the entire show here.

Performances

Further Reading / Viewing

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The BRIT Awards 2011

For the first time, the BRIT Awards took place at The O2 Arena on 15th February 2011, now, according to the official website, with more live music than ever before. James Corden was the host, and the award was designed by Vivienne Westwood.

This post is part of a series about the history of the BRIT Awards. You can read about the 2010 ceremony here, and the 2012 ceremony next time.

MasterCard British Album of the Year

Presented by Roger Daltrey from The Who. Nominees:

  • Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More
  • Plan B – The Defamation of Strickland Banks
  • Take That – Progress
  • Tinie Tempah – Disc-Overy
  • The xx – xx

Winner: Mumford & Sons

British Single

Voted for by listeners of Capital Radio and users of iTunes, and presented by Alan Carr. Nominees:

  • Alexandra Burke feat. Pitbull – All Night Long
  • Matt Cardle – When We Collide
  • Cheryl Cole – Parachute
  • Taio Cruz – Dynamite
  • Florence + The Machine – You Got the Love
  • Olly Murs – Please Don’t Let Me Go
  • Plan B – She Said
  • Scouting for Girls – This Ain’t a Love Song
  • Tinie Tempah – Pass Out
  • The Wanted – All Time Low

Winner: Tinie Tempah

British Male Solo Artist

Presented by Dizzee Rascal. Nominees:

  • Plan B
  • Robert Plant
  • Mark Ronson
  • Tinie Tempah
  • Paul Weller

Winner: Plan B

British Female Solo Artist

Presented by Boy George. Nominees:

  • Cheryl Cole
  • Paloma Faith
  • Ellie Goulding
  • Laura Marling
  • Rumer

Winner: Laura Marling

British Group

Voted for by listeners of BBC Radio 2, and presented by Dermot O’Leary. Nominees:

  • Biffy Clyro
  • Gorillaz
  • Mumford & Sons
  • Take That
  • The xx

Winner: Take That

British Breakthrough Act

Voted for by listeners of BBC Radio 1, and presented by Fearne Cotton. Nominees:

  • Ellie Goulding
  • Mumford & Sons
  • Rumer
  • Tinie Tempah
  • The xx

Winner: Tinie Tempah

British Producer

Awarded alongside a couple of other producer awards at the Music Producers Guild Awards the week before the main ceremony. Nominees:

  • Markus Dravs
  • Ethan Johns
  • John Leckie
  • Mike Pela
  • Stuart Price

Winner: Markus Dravs

International Album

Presented by Boris Becker. Nominees:

  • Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
  • Eminem – Recovery
  • Cee Lo Green – The Lady Killer
  • Kings of Leon – Come Around Sundown
  • Katy Perry – Teenage Dream

Winner: Arcade Fire

International Male Solo Artist

Presented by Lewis Hamilton. Nominees:

  • Eminem
  • Cee Lo Green
  • David Guetta
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Kanye West

Winner: Cee Lo Green

International Female Solo Artist

Presented by Cheryl Cole. Nominees:

  • Alicia Keys
  • Kylie Minogue
  • Katy Perry
  • Rihanna
  • Robyn

Winner: Rihanna

International Group

Presented by Simon Le Bon and John Taylor from Duran Duran. Nominees:

  • Arcade Fire
  • The Black Eyed Peas
  • Kings of Leon
  • The Script
  • Vampire Weekend

Winner: Arcade Fire

International Breakthrough Act

Voted for by viewers of MTV, and presented by Avril Lavigne and Will Young. Nominees:

  • Justin Bieber
  • Glee Cast
  • Bruno Mars
  • The National
  • The Temper Trap

Winner: Justin Bieber

Critics’ Choice

In association with War Child, and presented by Mark Ronson and Ellie Goulding. Nominees:

  • James Blake
  • Jessie J
  • The Vaccines

Winner: Jessie J

Outstanding Contribution

The BBC’s coverage (linked below) of the previous week’s Music Producers Guild Awards is a little confusing, as the entire event must have been. Was the Outstanding Contribution award part of the BRITs or of the Music Producers Guild event? Wikipedia thinks it was part of the BRITs…

My own interpretation of the situation is that there was no outstanding contribution award at the BRITs this year, but either way, the entirely justified winner was the founder of Mute Records, Daniel Miller, presented by Alison Goldfrapp, while Tony Visconti won the Innovation in Production award.

Performances

Further Reading / Viewing

Various Artists – Electrospective

The basic way this blog works is that when I’m reviewing an album, I listen to it in full, and while doing so write what I feel about what I’m hearing. How, then, do I tackle a two-and-a-half hour long compilation? I feel the skip button may be seeing some usage on this occasion.

Electrospective is the centrepiece of a recent record company campaign to get us buying mid-price synth-based albums of which I heartily approve. The compilation is a fascinating and wonderful journey, encompassing maybe ten tracks from each of the primary decades of electronic music. But its omissions are also fascinating. Perversely, almost, it contains none of the pioneering sound of Jean Michel Jarre or Kraftwerk. The early 1980s focus rightly on OMD and The Human League, but there’s no sign of Soft Cell or Frankie Goes to Hollywood. The late 1980s largely forego the “indie dance” and trip hop movements in favour of pop and soul. But then, if you were faced with the task of compiling a forty-track journey through the history of electronic music, how would you tackle it?

Electrospective opens, as all definitive electronic compilations should, with Delia Derbyshire‘s 1963 version of Ron Grainer‘s essential Doctor Who theme. Fifty years on, in an age where literally anybody can make music with their portable telecommunications devices, it’s difficult to picture the boffins of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop slaving away generating tape samples and cutting them into exactly the right length to sync and make quite astonishing music. In a sense it’s unsurprising that they didn’t really succeed with the syncing (Derbyshire also revisited the theme in 1967 to create a rather more orderly but definitely less charming version).

Some of the other early tracks are a little odder. Roxy Music‘s Virginia Plain is, I can only assume, here to show some of the early electronic experimentation in which popular acts of the early 1970s were indulging, and it has a few nice Moog sounds in it, but frankly it’s largely tolerable at best. Even Brian Eno, introducing this album to its first taste of ambience, fails to impress particularly with Here Come the Warm Jets (1974).

The 1970s start to look a lot stronger after this, with Tangerine Dream‘s Rubycon and Can‘s brilliant I Want More before launching into another unmissable moment with The Normal‘s Warm Leatherette. The final trio of Cabaret VoltaireTelex and Simple Minds round of 1979 in less compelling fashion, and you should be clear by now that electronics is firmly planted in the world of music.

We then enter the 1980s in typically variable fashion. OMD‘s excellent Messages carries into Ultravox‘s more questionable SleepwalkThe Human League‘s astonishing The Things That Dreams are Made Of is followed by rather more questionable choices from Duran Duran and Heaven 17, and then a distinctly dodgy choice of remix for Yazoo‘s Don’t Go.

The mid-1980s are, as you might expect, rather stronger. Together in Electric Dreams is perhaps a little unnecessary, coming as it does only five tracks after the previous Human League moment, but then West End Girls mixes into Who Needs Live (Like That), and you’re definitely reminded that the eighties weren’t nearly as bad as everyone seems to suggest.

All this is not to say that this album is without its surprises. Nitzer Ebb‘s Control I’m Here is an unexpected pleasure, as is Soul II Soul‘s Back to Life (However Do You Want Me), which ends the 1980s a couple of tracks into the second disc.

The 1990s are, of course, where electronic music comes of age. A whole slew of enormous, exceptional, and very well chosen hits follow from Depeche ModeMobyThe Future Sound of LondonDaft Punk and Adam FMassive Attack turn up, as indeed they should, but here they are represented by the slightly disappointing choice of Inertia Creeps, by no means bad, but a track which surely belongs in the middle of Mezzanine rather than here?

Air‘s wonderful Kelly Watch the Stars and St. Germain‘s Rose Rouge are here to represent the rest of the late 90s French invasion, which is inevitably followed by the experimental indie of Radiohead and The Chemical Brothers.

Finally, our potted history of electronic music has brought us into the 2000s, by which time “electronic” had definitely ceased to be a label for weird experimental noises or extravagant expressionism. It had, in every imaginable way, gone mainstream. In a good way.

Goldfrapp hammer this home beautifully with the essential Strict Machine, and then Dare by Gorillaz leads us through to a string of 21st century floor fillers. Eric Prydz‘s probably Bo Selecta-inspired Proper Education with its Pink Floyd elements leads us into some less interesting tracks from David GuettaDeadmau5, and finally a total abomination by Swedish House Mafia. Not a great ending, admittedly, but a fair assessment of the journey of electronic music over the past half century.

Make no mistake – in terms of meeting its remit of compiling a handful of tracks from every decade of electronic music, this is a great release. But it’s difficult to ignore the many omissions – you can’t help but feel that perhaps a themed or era-specific compilation might tick the boxes a lot more convincingly. In the end, all you get is fleeting glimpses of particular acts and eras. All told though, for all its failings it’s a great listen, and I can’t help but recommend it.

There’s also a companion remix album, which we’ll touch on in a future week. If you’re in the US you can find Electrospective here; if you’re in the UK try here; and if you’re anywhere else then you’ll have to fend for yourself.