“We live in an age of music for people who don’t like music. The record industry discovered some time ago that there aren’t that many people who actually like music. For a lot of people, music’s annoying, or at the very least they don’t need it. They discovered if they could sell music to a lot of those people, they could sell a lot more records.” – T Bone Burnett

“That’s not easy to find in a corporate world, somebody who cares about music.” – Michael Penn, musician

Keeping those words in mind, consider that we live in the future, a world of beeping digital devices that we punch buttons on and music comes out of. A place of massive stages plastered with corporate logos, naked women humping and licking everything, monolithic pop bands infiltrating our iPods and websites in order to climb a little higher on the ladder of monetary success.

This is the future, baby. It’s just like Idiocracy. And yet… From the corporate commercial thicket, there comes an inventiveness, an innovation, a truce. Corporations have the monetary tools, but musicians have the soul, they have the heart.

Combining workshops and artist exposure, The Red Bull Music Academy  hit up Tokyo this November and will be in Paris in 2015.
In this futuristic world, terms like “selling out” no longer have a context. Now it’s about maintaining your personal values while teaming up with powerhouses to share music with everyone and make it accessible while keeping it brilliant, inspiring.

Alright, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, The Red Bull Music Academy has featured some pretty rad musicians since their origins in 1998. To kick off the new year, here are my own personal top ten picks from November 2014’s Red Bull Music Academy held in Tokyo, and if you don’t know about ’em, now you do.

1. Albino Sound
Aliens do exist. And they’re beautiful.

2. Ekali
Though he’s from Van City, this is no conflict of interest. His beautiful electronic swells remind me of the Pacific.

3. Never Sol
Never Sol is as dark, stormy and intriguing as I picture a Czech Republic to be. Either I need to travel more or listen to Never Sol.

4. Haioka
From Japan and making music as intricate and fascinatingly layered as I picture the city of Tokyo being. All the tiny lights. And tucked in there somewhere, are the green things.

5. Kate NV
They say that Russia has no hope. Well, Russia, your own Kate NV might not fill you with hope, but it will fill you with an abstract sense of colourful whimsy infused with an Alice in Acid land dream scape. Will that suffice?

6. Parachute Pulse
I close my eyes and see the span of computer love, man and wire intertwined into one lackadaisical embrace.

7. Nischay Parekh
Did you know music from India could be so precocious, cuddly and cool? You might have, but I didn’t.

8. Bosaina
Egypt, I used to just think you were this magical beautiful land full of mystery, culture, adventure and beauty. Now I know you also have Bosaina, which is music showcasing all of the adjectives above.

9. Palms Trax
I want to travel back in time to the 80’s to a garish club in Eastern Europe, perm my hair and wear blue eye shadow, smoke non-filtered cigarettes, and sleep with rich men that will make me feel that life is full of fun and possibility.

10. Zabra Katz
The only thing in The United States that’s not embarrassing, tacky, cheapened, worthless and dumbed down is SOME of it’s music. Zebra Katz, you alright.