Decoding the music of Monocle 24

The Mamamoo track I wrote earlier is on relatively high rotation on Monocle 24. Yep, I’m finally writing about that radio station, three and a half years after its launch, and four months after I discovered its stream no longer drops out every five minutes, and it slowly became one of my defaults. Say what you want about the worldview of Monocle the magazine, but the radio station’s actually an interesting mix: while it’s a shame they recently dropped the hourly newscasts, their speech programs somehow sound more accessible than their print counterparts. This is a music blog, though, so focus on the music: Monocle 24’s the closest I have to an international jazz-pop station. (The bias is on the cool stuff: the jazzy, the folky and the funky, with a bunch of pop remixes thrown in. This YouTube playlist is a pretty handy reference.) Catch is, like the magazine, it tends to emphasize on a few regions. The magazine likes the Nordic countries, Germany and Japan; the radio station likes the Nordic countries, South Korea and Kylie Minogue. I sometimes wish the station would cast a wider net on the world: I’m thinking of the good pop I’m hearing from Malaysia lately, or maybe some Afropop, or (inevitably) the good stuff from Filipino artists like Up Dharma Down and Spazzkid. And maybe more old stuff too. But maybe that’s me projecting my tastes on a radio station that isn’t ought to cater to me. [NB]

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