Eye of Veritas
One J Dilla produced beat has become especially iconic over the years. It may not be engraves in the minds of the masses, but for anyone who truly respects rap, this beat epitomizes what can be done in the genre. Runnin' by Pharcyde. The minimal beat features and unbelievably catchy, yet simplistic sung chant over laid back guitar. The rhythm is powered by a minimalist beat, consisting of hi hats, a kick. The sound of drumsticks tapping glues the kicks and hats, all tied together by a clap on every other beat. Brass samples creep their way into the beat as well. The beat is simply perfection in instrumental terms.
Get your literature game on here...
Famous First Words
After leaving Commander Venus Conor Oberst found success as a member of Saddle Creek Records, with as a member of several groups including Desaparacidos, and most famously as Bright Eyes. You can listen to the Bright Eyes latest album here.
Tim Kasher found success through his band Cursive. Cursive was powered by Kasher's deep introspective lyrics, idiosyncratic guitar style and powerful rhythm section. Cursive has long been one of my favorite bands of all time. Following Kasher's ugly divorce from his wife, his songwriting became deeply personal, constantly scrutinizing the details of his long divorce. This became a creative force that deeply permeated his songwriting, infusing his music with passion and energy. Here are some of Kasher's highlights.
Lupe Fiasco dropped his second single recently and he dropped the usual, an ill track. He drops some real heavy lines in this and is at his political peak. Skylar Grey sings a hook that doesn't quite equal the one in Dr. Dre's "I Need A Doctor", but the rest of Lupe's track take's care of that, outdoin' Dre by far. Bass is heavy and crunches in your face on top of a rock style drum kit.
Words I Never Said ft. Skylar Grey - Lupe Fiasco
Bassnectar is at the top of his game releasing a consistent stream of fire tracks. Here's his remix of a tunegrape favorite, Ellie Goulding. Like I've said before, her light and ethereal voice works with the signature dark subs and the Bassnectar subs are always heavy.
Lights (Bassnectar Remix) - Ellie Goulding
and speaking of Bassnectar, well, I was never a big Metallica fan but damn...
Seek and Destroy (Bassnectar Remix) - Metallica
By the way, here's a leak from Alexander Ebert of Ima Robot & Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros fame's debut solo, Million Years. Some typical Ebert fun mood and folky soundscape. That's not a diss though, he sticks with a formula that's working for him, as long as he doesn't over does it he still seems to be on a roll.
Million Years - Alexander Ebert
Abstract Beats TV
Before the Black Eyed Peas become in intolerable pop standard group that they are today, they were a hip hop group completely indebted to the Native Tongues movement. Back then they were less concerned by dollar bills, Billboard charts and such, following the path of positive vibes and jazz tinged beats instead. This was pre-Fergie as well. So can we blame Fergie for aiding in the destruction of real rap in the mainstream? Probably, at least a little bit.
I work for a direct-to-fan music platform that provides artists with the opportunity to bypass major labels and other features of the conventional music industry in order to take control of their business and really access their fans. I was checking out some hot bands on our roster and found these guys, 7ft. Soundsystem. They provide a great combination of reggae and electronic sounds with a constant and heavy sub bass humming through each songs. The digital dub music duo creates some really cool and relaxed vibes, check them out.
|Of God and Science|
While I'm on the subject of bands found through my company heres another one to check it while you're at it. Of God and Science, a great folk/rock group. Banjos, pianos and acoustic guitars flourish in their soundscapes topped with melodic vocals and a good amount of vocal harmonies. Both bands are worth the time, a guarantee, trust me.
Limit to Your Love - James Blake
A track off UK ambient electronic composer James Blake's eponymous debut. This is a striking track that alternates between sections of piano ballad type music and chorus dominated by a heavy wobbling sub bass.
Days ft. Romy Madley Croft - Creep (Deadboy Remix)
Next is the Deadboy remix of the eerie Days by Creep, featuring the always pleasant and ethereal Romy Madley Croft of The xx.
Devils - Say Hi
Say Hi, formed by Eric Elbogen, is usually known for Elbogen's soft mumbled vocals and quiet guitar. He is best known for mumbling through emotional and quirky lovelorn songs but the single of his latest album Um, Uh Oh is a significant departure from his sound. It seems as if he's taken a que from Modest Mouse almost. I like the way it sounds though and I'm a fan of the change.
Young Folks (Peter Bjorn and John Remix) - Kanye West
Kanye also went with a departure from his more recent sounds for this song. A Plain Pat produced reworked version of Young Folks by Peter Bjorn and John. Good Stuff.
Empire Ants (Miami Horror Remix) - Gorillaz
The Miami Horror remix of Empire Ants by the Gorillaz has a great house sound to it and a banging bass. A great dance track that carries with a solid upbeat vibe.
D.A.N.C.E (Eli & Diplo Remix) - Justice
The Eli & Diplo Remix of the classic track D.A.N.C.E. by Justice features a great funky bassline that really adds to the disco feel and drives it in a more old school direction. Diplo has a magic touch and any track with his name attached deserves attention.
On My Level - Wiz Khalifa
I wasn't a fan of Wiz's single Rollin Up, but he definitely makes up for that unpleasant anomaly with this song. A great minimalist beat that's a departure from Wiz's more recent mixtapes. This brings me back to the Show and Prove stuff he used to do.
The Gorillaz covered Crystallized by The xx to an interesting effect. It's very hard to recreate the sound The xx have sculpted in their wonderful debut, but the Gorillaz put forth a valiant effort and it turned out pretty cool. The vocals don't work as well as in the original. Damon Albarn's voice lacks the cherub and haunting quality of Romy Madley Croft. They also slowed the song down noticeably. If I had to choose one or the other, I'd choose The xx, but I'm not trying to knock the Gorillaz at all. They made a great attempt at covering the song, and it is good, it just doesn't carry the same mood. Unfortunately for the Gorillaz, mood and atmosphere are two crucial components in the sound The xx have cultivated.
Fleet Foxes First Single, "Helplessness Blues", Shows the World is in Store for Another Successful Fleet Foxes Record
Right Click to Download: Helplessness Blues - Fleet Foxes
Check in with Billboard to see where I stole the above picture from, read more about the upcoming release and peep some Fleet Foxes tour dates.
So I'm taking this comparative culture class called "Music of Africa" this semester, and it's the perfect blend of music and anthropology. It's right up my alley because I love to study different cultures, and Africa is as diverse as it gets. I'm not exactly well-versed in the technical aspects of music yet, but I'm soaking up as much knowledge as I can. I’ve learned that a major component of traditional African music is polyrhythm, which has multiple rhythms playing over one another. Sometimes polyrhythm becomes so complex that the music blends, and the untrained ear can’t tell one part from another. This can make African music sound chaotic to Westerners, even though each song’s polyrhythm has a specific organization.
The song I have for you here comes from Ghana and is called “Postal Workers Canceling Stamps.” I suppose calling it a song is misleading, because it is simply Ghanaian postal workers slapping and sliding envelopes, posting stamps, clicking scissors and whistling while they work. This is an example of a “song” that was not created for artistic merit or entertainment, but to accompany the men while they work. They create rhythms and whistle hymns that go along with the pace of their arduous work to make the time go by faster. The tune that they create incorporates polyrhythm as well. See if you can selectively listen and differentiate the parts from one another. The light-sounding thud you hear is a letter being slapped rhythmically several times to bring it to table where it is to be canceled, the lowest, most resonant sound is the marker being inked and the highest-pitched sound is the metal stamp at work.
I’ll post more tidbits if I get introduced to any more note-worthy African music, which I probably will. So stay tuned.
|Glee Creator Ryan Murphy with the Cast of Glee|
So incase you haven't heard, the Glee creator Ryan Murphy pretty much cursed out Kings of Leon, and called Slash an uneducated idiot today. Both bands refused to allow Glee to use their music, Kings of Leon because of over-promotion and Slash because he simply hates the show. So, because of this Murphy feels the need to go out and publicly criticize and curse at these musicians? That just doesn't seem right to me. Glee fans might come to Murphy's defense, who in a tirade peppered with several curses said that the purpose of Glee was to inspire young children to take part in music. Why can't a kid be just as inspired to make music by watching Kings of Leon or Slash play, as when they watch Glee. Murphy stated that the show is meant to inspire kids to realize that they to can be singers, but not everyone is a born singer. Some people play drums, others guitar, whatever. What if those people feel more inspired by bands then TV, does Murphy feel the need to publicly insult them as well? Just because someone turns you down does not make them a group of fuckers, or an uneducated idiot as Ryan Murphy seems to think. Nathan Followill, the drummer of the band stated on his twitter "Dear Ryan Murphy, let it go. See a therapist, get a manicure, buy a new bra. Zip your lip and focus on educating 7yr olds how to say f---.". Obviously, I'm with the Followill family and Slash on this. Calm down Ryan Murphy, just cause your show is a hit for some strange reason, does not mean that everyone has to let you use their music.
|Mangum with members of Neutral Milk Hotel|
Incubus was different though, and so was another band, Hoobastank. Yes, Hoobastank. The two bands toured together in their early years, Doug Robb's voice even had an uncanny similarity to Brandon Boyd's back in the day, although vocally they would head different directions over the years. Eventually Incubus grew up into an intelligent metal band, and as they gathered sounds from all over the spectrum, created a sound all their own, separate of metal, funk, and rap, although inspired by them all. Hoobastank landed a record deal, and were told to drop the saxophonist and lose the ska sound -- one of the major differences between early Hoobastank and early Incubus -- and thus became who they are today. Incubus has evolved into one of my all time favorite bands, if not then the all time favorite band. Hoobastank, not so much. I do however, always enjoy revisiting the early days of both bands. And incase you hadn't picked up on it yet, the same scene that produced Hoobastank and Incubus, Red Hot Chili Peppers too, although a couple years earlier.
For an example of Incubus' first demo, Closet Cultivation Demo Tape, check this link out:
Pillow Your Eyes - Incubus
That led too this, Take Me To Your Leader, a great example of Brandon Boyd's percussion skills.
I Got - Young the Giant
My Body - Young the Giant
J Dilla is a legendary figure in music, known for his unique beats, and occasional raps, he worked with some of the most talented names in music and is respected throughout the music community. Although slow to rise, he had begun working with some very big names in rap at the time of his tragic death in 2006, from the blood disease TTP. As his career was peaking he had been working with some pretty famous names in hip-hop such as Busta Rhymes, Common, A Tribe Called Quest and Pharcyde. He crafted some memorable beats, some of the more original, and more beautifully put together beats. His had the ability to turn the beat into something more. On the occassion where there is a rapper gracing Dilla's tracks, the raps often fall into the position of pacing the track or falling into an instrumental, positive effect on the music. But the focus is not the rapper, the focus is Dilla and the captivating efforts he put forth. Currently I'm listening to The Shining, which was only 75% completed at the time of Dilla's death. He literally lived for music and spent his dying days in the hospital bed on a laptop, always creating. The final album released while he was still alive, Donuts, was released on his 32nd birthday, three days before he died. The Shining features the likes of Common, Busta Rhymes and Black Thought among others. Busta Rhymes was one of Dilla's biggest supporters. The album was finished by Karriem Riggins; an instrumental version was released as well. Dilla is an inspirational person, someone who lived for what he loved. Not rich at the time of his death, he died doing what he loved. How could you not respect a person like that?
|She & Him|
The song is bright and poppy, overflowing with Beach Boys-esque vocal harmonizations, bubbly piano, a light touch of guitar. If you could capture the fun of a childhood summer and turn it into instrumentation, it might sound like something similar to Don’t Look Back. Deschanel’s voice tops it all off perfectly, like tires on a car she drives this song forward until the end with her irresistible voice.
AmpLive is a DJ to know. Half of the group Zion I, as well as of Radiohead-Remix-Controversy fame, he has carved out a niche for himself marked by cool synths, futuristic sounds and lasers and chilled out vibes. He was almost sued by Radiohead's former label after remixing a few tracks from the band, but Radiohead, who had recently released their album on the name your own price price scheme, as well as several internet groups, interfered and gave AmpLive permission to remix away. He brings a jazzy vibe to a futuristic array of synths and sound effects and can smoothly transition from one genre to another throughout Zion I's albums. I just heard his remix of the Rebelution song, Safe and Sound, and it was more then enough to convince me to swing my mouse over to tunegrape. Here is a little review of AmpLive's career highlights in music...
I recently heard what I consider to be a masterpiece within his collection, his remix of California Soul by Marlena Shaw. The lad back, atmospheric beat is perfectly put together by Diplo.