Saturday, February 24, 2007

Boy Child

I really want to see this new movie about Scott Walker callled the 30 Century Man. It just looks like someone that would be so enjoyable that one would explode. One, you get to see the man himself in action working on the amazing album The Drift. And throughout the movie there are interviews from Eno, Radiohead, Albarn, Cocker, Allison Goldfrapp, Johnny Marr, and David Bowie. Talk about an All Star movie. All Star subject matter and all star interviews. It's practically a movie with my favorite musicians. If they only put Ian McCulloh and Mark E Smith in the film, it would be perfect. Well, since I don't have the film with me. I guess, I'll watch this over and over or something.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Can I Kick It? That all depends.......

Sample- based music is a genre of music that creates a divide amongst music fans. There are certain crossovers that people really seem to enjoy. I am part of the group that thinks it is one of the most brilliant things ever created.

People will go on saying, “Well, why can’t they just play real instruments and stop looping things”? That is very understandable when listening to a song like P Diddy’s (Puff Daddy at the time), “I’ll be Missing You.” There isn’t much effort in that song with its sampling. It just loops Sting’s bass line without a chop or an effect on it just to try and make it sound a little more interesting. Now, when something comes out like The Avalanches, that’s when sampling is at the top of its game. The song “Since I Left You” is one of the best examples of how a sample- based song can sound just like a regular pop tune. There is something really moving to me about using samples. One, you are taking something from the past. The person that might have done the original could be dead or maybe had a few copies out. It could be a look at keeping people’s legacies going. Also, it is really cool and sounds great to sample drum breaks. You won’t find better-produced drums than that in the famous “Amen Break.” This drum break is the most widely used drum break ever. The drums sound utterly amazing on it. If you listen to NWA’s “Straight Outta Compton” you can hear the break. It is up there next tot the “Funky Drummer” break used in Public Enemy’s “Fight The Power” or the “Apache Break” used in the Sugar Hill Gang song “Apache.”

I take the Amon Tobin approach usually to sampling. That is warping that sample till it is unrecognizable. What he does takes so much time and talent. Also I love what J Dilla and DJ Shadow can do with sampling. They pull something off that non- samplers can’t even do at times. They move you, emotionally. I think that Endtroducing and Donuts are two very moving works of music. I find a lot of soul and emotion is those albums, and I think they are two very beautiful works of art. I always look at sample- based music like collages. I think they are the music equivalent to an artist making collages.
Not everyone gets this kind of music. Some people get tired of the music. People just can’t listen to a break being repeated. Producers, I’ve noticed, have a genuine passion and love for drums. There is something in them that cannot be explained that makes them love the sound of that “Boom Boom Gat Gat Boom Gat.” I know I do. When I was a kid, I remember hearing Big Beat dance music and just thinking, “Damn, this is really cool.” The drums were just so bad I remember. Big Beat was big around say 1996, so I was about 8 or 7. That gives you an idea how the drums were effecting me at a young age.

For some people this music takes time to get under your skin. I bought Endtroducing when I was in the 8th or 9th grade or so (I'm 18 to give you some perspective). I thought some songs on it were good, but I just couldn’t get into it. About three years ago, I was just listening to it, and I started digging some parts of it I hadn’t before. Then the next summer, I was on a plane and I listened to it all the way through, and it just hit me. I remember thinking how this is such an amazing album. Now, it is my favorite album tied with Kid A and Think Tank. That was the spark that threw me into Hip Hop and other sample artists and just electronic music as a whole. I look at Endtroducing much more than a sample- based album that’s really good. I look at it as a great album. Sample- based music, in my mind, is not some lower tier music that is music but not quite. It is on the same level. It takes just as much talent and work. Don’t think it is easy. If anyone says it is easy, they are misinformed. The Avalanches record is made up of about 1,000 samples. That takes some serious time and patience. It is a stressful process at times. Why do you think there are few artists who do and have long gaps between albums? It is a young genre. There is so much to be done. If you don’t like the music, don’t knock right away. Give it time. There is so much to comprehend with it, and you just have to be patient. Believe me, it is worth it.

With all that said, I give my personal favorite sample- based albums and their main producers.
*De La Soul- 3 Feet High And Rising (The Hip Hop Blueprint produced by Prince Paul)
*The Avalanches- Since I Left You (The Pop Sample Based Album, 2nd favorite sample-based album, very beautiful and moving, produced by the Avalanches)
*A Tribe Called Quest- The Low End Theory (The one before and after it are amazing too, but this one brought jazz influences with it produced by The Tribe)
*J Dilla- Donuts (Most recent kickn’ sample- based album, very moving produced by J Dilla)
*Amon Tobin- Supermodified (All his work is amazing, the king of complex sampling, kinda like the Kevin Shields of sampling, produced by Tobin)
*Gang Starr- Step Into the Arena (Rivals 3 Feet High in terms of the best produced Hip Hop album, produced by “Primo” aka DJ Premier aka the king of hip hop production, in my opinion)
*Edan- Beauty and the Beat (More recent, it's like the best rock meets rap album without going near Fred Durst territory, more like Prince Paul meets Syd Barrett, produced by Edan)
*David Byrne and Brian Eno- My Life in The Bush of Ghosts (One of the earliest albums with a samples, produced by Eno (God) and Byrne)
*GZA- Liquid Swords (RZA just does some mad work on this album, very menacing and moody, produced by the RZA)
Finally, you knew it was coming….
*DJ Shadow- Endtroducing (The King of Kings of sample music and just music to me, just about as good as it gets. I can’t describe how much I love this album, produced by Josh Davis aka DJ SHADOW aka A FUCKING GENIUS!)

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Not Boring at All

I honestly cannot stop listening to this song. Watching the video is an even bigger treat. The Pierces have made a damn good pop tune. Another plus, they are just incredibly beautiful. Enjoy their song “Boring.” It won’t bore you.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Tip The Hunter

Chainestereo, the French say it like" Shin- stereo." That first, must be made cleared. It means boombox. These fellow Atlanta/Athens/Gainesville boys are definitely playing with some heart and soul. A fine live show, in the old skool days, babies were birthed, vocoders, Steven Segal admiration, and once, even live nunchucks happened on stage or in the area. They play indie pop music, to best be described. Influences from the Pixies to the Animal Collective, they are bringing one's ears to a time when it is just about the music. No ultra cool here, even though they are. They recently have put out their second EP, Magnetic South. Songs sung from both of the two lead men, Nathaniel Higgins and Philip Frobos. Higgins sings with a sigh and despondent voice, which makes quite the effect, especially on the title track and their universally loved (by fans) "Appomattox." Yet, when he hits these cetain moments, especially on "Appomattox" during the chorus, he lets go and the heart sours. When Higgins sings "I'm waiting for my Appomattox....," you can't help but throw your arms up and shout it. You can certainly feel the longing when they sing "Empty bones is all I got/ Especially all alone/And whenever you come back/ I feel like I'm at home." Frobos on the other hand, sings with swagger. Songs like "Before I go to Sleep" and "Chance Wedding" reflect this. At moments, it is almost reminiscent of moments heard on the first Coral album. Of course, every once in a while, a band has to let loose. They certainly do on "Ducky" (a pleasure live). Matt Lampert comes in a with a very catchy keyboard tune backed by Chris Adams's pounding drums. It is ends with endless shouting, kinda like things you might here on Animal Collective's Here Comes the Indian. These boys know one thing for sure, how to write a catchy tune. These songs will stick around in your head, certain moments will take your soul to new levels.

Get It On

We still have a few weeks, but I am just anticipating the Grinderman album like hell. To me, Nick Cave is pretty damn flawless. He has made some of the most interesting and orginal music in the past twenty years. People say Dylan, Cohen, Cocker, Yorke, McCulloh, Murdoch, or Moz for lyrics. All of them fall into my favorite lyricists, but one that just remains really high to me is Cave. They are so diverse. He can be so over the top and bombastic, or he can be very introspective and utterly moving. He is certainly not the world's most universal artist. With people I know, you either get him or don't. I just find when Cave has an upcoming release, it is something to be very excited about. I've just been on a Nick Cave kick lately, so I feel the need to exrpess my utter enjoyment. For now, till Grinderman, I'll enjoy things like this.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

The kind of hunter I like

“Shoegaze,” “Space Rock,” and “motorik”: three things that if pulled off correctly are three characteristics of music that usually get me every time. And if these sounds come from your hometown, well then, things are really going well. These rules apply to Atlanta’s very own Deerhunter. Their second album, Cryptograms, is already going to be one of my most listened to albums this year. I will wear this CD out. At the beginning of last summer, a good friend and I went to see the Liars perform at the Drunken Unicorn. It was an odd night to begin with. So I knew seeing the Liars pull of their Drums Not Dead album live will be a sonic experience filled with giant Australians in dresses. Before the Liars came on, we walked through the entrance to the beginning of a five-piece band fronted by a very skinny man (now known to be a birth disorder of his) with vocals that rap up into the music and fade in and out. The second song began, and the drummer started kicking off with a “motorik” beat (popularized by Neu!). It was grooving and hypnotic. The bass player came in with a very minimalist line. Then, on top of that the two guitarists crept in with guitar riffs delayed out beyond words. It was damn amazing. I usually don’t excited over bands that I haven’t heard before and seeing live for the first time, especially if they are local. But damn! I was moved by these guys. Their album brings those images and sounds back to mind. It is utterly hypnotic and beautiful. I urge anyone to get this album and support these guys, and please, please go see them live. It is quite something.