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LG airs all-star Superbowl ad

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LG Electronics (LG) recently released its first Super Bowl commercial, featuring actor Liam Neeson and its new LG Signature OLED TV. The commercial is a father-son collaboration between Ridley Scott as executive producer and Jake Scott as director.

The spot focused on how LG brings future-forward home entertainment innovations to consumers today with its OLED TV technology. It is centred on LG’s newest flagship OLED TV, which delivers OLED technology’s superior picture quality with perfect blacks, unparalleled contrast and more colours on an elegant, slim glass panel. The Picture-on-Glass design aesthetic is only possible with OLED technology.

“It’s a dynamic short film,” said renowned director and the commercial’s executive producer, Sir Ridley Scott. “It’s about the race to be on the vanguard of innovation and to be able to create tomorrow’s technology.”

Neeson’s character is “the man from the future” and is tasked with releasing the future of television to the world for the masses to enjoy today, much like LG has continued to do through its pioneering innovation in the OLED TV category.

“My character is an enigmatic man from the future who has travelled back to the present day on a very important mission,” said Neeson. “He represents that inner appeal, that curiosity we have to find out about the future.”

“The objective was to create a world you’ve never seen before or a world that was unique and specific to the OLED,” said Jake Scott, who directed the LG commercial.

LG’s commercial draws upon the expertise and creativity of two Hollywood heavy-hitters, Ridley and Jake Scott, who aren’t just known for their award-winning films but also their acclaimed commercials. Each has already left their mark on the big game with previous successes including Ridley’s iconic 1984 commercial for Macintosh and Jake’s top performing ad, Budweiser’s Lost Dog.

Adding to his ever-growing resume of entertainment gold, this will be Neeson’s second Super Bowl commercial following his famous Clash of Clans spot from last season, which was named the most viewed Super Bowl ad on YouTube. Neeson and Ridley Scott last worked together in the action-packed 2005 film, Kingdom of Heaven, and the latest LG commercial is promising to be just as electric.

“Ridley and Jake are an amazing creative team,” said Neeson. “You know you’re in good hands.”

The award-winning LG SIGNATURE OLED TV, which was recently named Best TV Product by the Official Best of CES 2016 Awards presented by Engadget, is defined not only by its amazing picture quality, but also its aesthetic design. With a sophisticated OLED panel featuring an impossibly thin depth (measuring about one-tenth of an inch) with a translucent glass back and a powerful, forward-facing sound bar speaker system, it is an outstanding feat of modern engineering and design.

“At first I was struck by its form. It’s just beautifully thin, clean and simple and elegant,” said Ridley Scott.

The flagship 77- and 65-inch class LG SIGNATURE OLED TVs feature exceptional contrast and colour as well as 4K Ultra HD resolution and high dynamic range (HDR) capability. Certified as UHD Premium by the UHD Alliance, the series supports the industry-standard HDR formats established by the world’s leading broadcasters, film studios and consumer electronics manufacturers, including HDR10 and Dolby Vision™ technology, making them among the first to be compatible with all formats.

Unlike LCD displays where the LED backlight can only locally dim sections of the screen, each pixel on an OLED panel can switch on and off independently. As a result, OLED TVs render crisp, vibrant colours and rich shadow details, even when bright objects are directly next to deep, dark areas ― unlike LCD TVs which have a halo effect from light bleeding.

Led by the dramatic new LG SIGNATURE models featured in the commercial, LG’s 2016 OLED TV line-up features four series with eight total models, each with LG’s new webOS 3.0 smart TV platform, featuring advanced new features that make finding and switching between LG’s expanded content options ― including broadcast TV, streaming services and external devices – simple and fast.

Arts and Entertainment

SA rises as Spotify turns 10

October 2018 marks 10 years since Spotify officially launched its music streaming platform and to celebrate this milestone, Spotify has taken a look at some of its biggest discoveries in music.

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Spotify provided the following information:

The service only launched in South Africa in March this year, so this country is not included in the retrospective, but Spotify supplied Gadget with the following local streaming landmarks:

·         Most streamed South African artist – Jeremy Loops

·         Most streamed female South African artist – Shekhinah

·         Highest first-day streaming record – AKA’s Beyonce

Since launch Spotify now sits at 180 million monthly active listeners across 65 countries. These Spotify users can enjoy a music library of over 40 million songs and podcasts, and over 3 billion-plus user-created playlists. As of 31 August 2018, Spotify has also paid over 10 billion euros to rights holders since launch.

To date, over 2 000 genres of music have been identified on Spotify, among them Wonky (electronic music characterised by synths with unusual time signatures), Shimmer Pop (a Swedish cousin of indie pop and indietronica), and British Blues (the blues…with a British flavour).

Spotify has also done an assessment of “listening diversity,” – the number of artists the average user streams per month – which has risen on Spotify over the past 10 years, at an average of about 8% per year. In the past three years alone, listening diversity increased about 40% on the strength of new personalised and editorial playlists – meaning people are listening to an increased number of artists on a regular basis.

An official Decade of Discovery playlist features the most-streamed songs over the past  decade, including favourites like Avicii’s “Wake Me Up,” Hozier’s “Take Me To Church,” Kendrick Lamar’s “HUMBLE.,” Rihanna’s “Work,” Sia’s “Chandelier,” Major Lazer’s “Lean On,” and the star-studded “Despacito Remix”.

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Festival taps into source code of African identity

The Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival enters its final week from 24 to 29 September with a special focus on gaming and beats. With the theme of “Tap Your Afro Source Code”, this year celebrates technology, creativity and innovation from across the African continent.

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Dr Tegan Bristow, Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival director, says that the theme centres on African visions of technology by tapping into the sources of African tradition and culture alongside technology, creativity and innovation: “This year we are exploring how local culture can move and change the future of technology. How would you understand and unpack the source code of your African identity?”

In its final week, the Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival explores music culture via the annual Beats Programme curated by WeHeartBeat, which will descend on the Tshimologong Precinct with a six-day takeover of Braamfontein’s tech hub. The program comprising of workshops, experiences and performances, facilitates the meeting of mind and spirit in an environment geared around the festival’s theme, “Tap Your Afro Source Code”.

The Fak’ugesi Beats Lab, running from the 24th to the 28th of September will host international electronic artists and explore the connection between music, technology and culture with local and international artists. The outcome from these sessions will result in an EP release, a short documentary and a live showcase performance at the Fak’ugesi Beats Bloc Party on the 29th. The artists featured in the 2018 Beats Lab are S.Fidelity (Switzerland), Zikomo (USA), Morena Leraba (Lesotho) and South African artists Bonj Mpanza  and Hlasko.

In partnership with Ballantines Whisky and Business Arts South Africa, the programme includes panels on: ‘The Future of Music’ facilitated by Tefo Mohapi from iAfrikan.com and featuring guest panellists Riky Rick and Thibaut Mullings; ‘Managing Health Amongst Creatives’ featuring psychologist Thembi Mashigo and panel guests Ayanda Seoka, Mx Blouse and more. The day will include a Masterclass with Black Milk (USA), The Art of Remixing with Zikomo(USA) and close with a ‘Power of Collaborations’ session featuring Zikomo, S.Fidelity , Morena Leraba and Bonj Mpanza.

The last week of Fak’ugesi Festival also hosts a special session on the Future of African Gaming on the 28th and 29th of September. A full day on gaming, this will take place in collaboration with Red Bull Basement and focus on the theme of Tech for Good. The programme includes an Indie Games Arcade; a ‘Games for Good’ workshop focused games that address issues in South African urban environment.

The workshop will be followed by a “Futures and Networking” session, inviting the gaming community in the Southern Africa region to contribute to an understanding of what and how the Fak’ugesi Festival can develop and better support African games. This invitation comes after Fak’ugesi Festival in 2018 says farewell to A MAZE. / Johannesburg, which has supported its program since 2013 as the gaming partner.

A MAZE, under the leadership of its creative director, Thorsten S. Wiedemann, linked the Johannesburg gaming scene to an international network of indie developers for six years from 2012 until 2017. The two-way bridge between A MAZE. / Berlin and A MAZE. / Johannesburg inspired other projects like Super Friendship Arcade in Cape Town and Glitch Face in Johannesburg and was a huge impetus in the development of the Game Design programme in the Wits School of Arts. When the Fak’ugesi Festival was established in 2013, A MAZE fell under Fak’ugesi Festival support as the gaming partner. Weidemann added: “It’s been amazing meeting, working and learning from the local and national game and playful media community.  We definitely made history together.”

The week’s activities culminate in a celebration at the Fak’ugesi Beats Bloc Party   on Saturday 29 September. This event will reignite the energy and spirit created at the inaugural party in a union of performance, music, technology and digital innovation. The Bloc Party aims to showcase the best in underground talent, both local and international – etching its name in the cultural textbooks as an inspiration to future generations of creators, producers and innovators. The second instalment of this ground-breaking event will host performances from the Beats Lab participants, as well as Black Milk and a strong local contingent including Langa Mavuso, Mx Blouse, Symatics + Ramz, and Micr.Pluto.

Tickets for Thursday 27 September are R50 per session and can be purchased via WeHeartBeat. There will be a limited run of R200 student tickets available for Fak’ugesi Beats Bloc Party, upon presentation of a valid student ID. Workshop and student tickets can be purchased throughout the week at the reception of the Tshimologong Precinct.

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