The song is old. The video is new.
Check it lest ye wreck it. And watch closely.
Archive for April, 2010
The song is old. The video is new.
I‘ve been meaning to write this article for quite some time, and the longer I’ve waited the more I’ve been able to see just how imperative it is that these ideas get put down in print. Electronic musicians have no bible, nor do we have much of a history or even a couple wizened veterans to add structure and depth to the development of our culture. We’re a burgeoning breed that isn’t quite ready to defend itself when attacked by more traditional musicians. This being the case, stuck up “professional musicians” and people like Henry Rollins need to perk up their ears and listen.
Why don’t these people respect electronic musicians? Because it takes no talent of course. According to them:
1) Making music on a computer circumvents the need to learn to play physical instruments.
2) DJing is not the same as pressing keys or working a bow and therefore takes no talent.
3) Sounds made by machines all sound the same and therefore have no soul.
4) Electronic music doesn’t have three minute progressive solos and all the melodies can be made by simpletons.
5) Electronic music doesn’t send a message and is therefore pointless.
First off, I’d like to point out that there’s a considerable difference between being good at playing an instrument and being good at making music. Despite what many might say, it is absolutely possible to be a musician without knowing how to play a single instrument. After all, instruments are just products of their respective cultures. Music exists, whether or not the instruments do.
Regardless, it’s pretty clear that these guys see no merit in any artists working within the electronic genre. So who do they respect? Ever tried asking one of them? I have. You know what they say? Check this out:
Beethoven, man. That guy was a musical genius.
Oh really? Why’s that?
Haven’t you ever seen that movie? He made music even after losing his hearing! No one has ever done it since!
Now, I’m not going to be the one that says Beethoven wasn’t a talented guy. He was brilliant, and clearly very determined not to let others’ expectations get the best of him. But that said, I refuse to believe that his existence marked the peak of musical talent; his musical surroundings were just a little bit different from the ones we know today. As a classical musician in the 1700′s, the guy’s repertoire of instruments remained rather unchanging throughout his life. All of his work drew heavily from the sound of the piano, clavichord, and a random assortment of string instruments. That being the case, one can see how composing music without actually hearing it could be a reasonably achievable goal: his instruments didn’t have a nearly infinite selection of filters, oscillators, resonators, and saturators, with LFO’s and envelopes controlling all of them. He didn’t have to literally design the sounds he was using. He hit a piano key, and it sounded the same every single time. When he composed his music, he didn’t have to sit and wonder how two different sounds were going to compliment each other. He’d heard them a thousand times before, and he counted on the fact that they weren’t about to change. In fact, his entire process of composition, which consisted of simply building melodies and rhythms out of those predefined sounds, was only half of what writing electronic music is now.
So why do electronic musicians deserve respect? Because they’re the only category of musicians that actually harnesses the potential to make music and not just arrange it. That’s why when I hear people like Rollins talking about how his band (Black Flag) had more musical talent than his hypothetical “DJ Fuckhead,” it gives me the mind to drive a stake through his heart and be done with it. Think about it. Black Flag was a punk band. Punk bands use distorted guitars, which, aside from the subtle differences provided by different amplifier models, all make the same sound. Black Flag didn’t need to come up with that sound. It already existed. They just used — or essentially sampled — it. What else do punk bands do? They play power chords. There’s one power chord for each note on a guitar, and there are a total of 12 notes. That means there are (you guessed it) 12 different power chords they use to make their songs. So when Black Flag went off to write a song, all they had to do was pick three or four of those 12 notes, and arrange them in a way that grooved with the drums. That’s it. That, in itself, makes their music more far more soulless than any computer instrument. Guitars sound like guitars, no matter how you feel when you play them.
Now consider a computer based instrument. Its user has the ability to literally craft its sound to custom fit his or her present emotion, and even allow it to morph as the tune develops. See what I’m getting at here?
I suppose the real truth may be that it’s simply going to take time for the masses to accept electronic music as an art form. But even so, that doesn’t mean we can’t stand up for our pride and joy when people like Rollins start taking shots. Hold your ground!
Besides, I guarantee our pulse saw sounds better than their Fender.
“That’s a fixed-gear, baby.”
What’s the deal with Rafiki? As the spiritual leader of the lions, shouldn’t he be around more often to keep morale high after Scar takes over? How’d he learn to make those cave paintings? Is he really smart or a total moron? Oh, and are we really supposed to believe a light breeze can carry Simba’s scent all the way through Africa only to be recognized by some crazy shaman who sings to himself and carries around a cane/rattle/poking stick?
By the way, have you ever seen a mandrill in real life? Holy fuck. I saw one at the zoo in Mexico City last year. I swear we made eye contact and I thought it was going to break through six inches of glass to rip my head off; I’m still having nightmares. Those things are terrifying.
Check out the Douster video and song below. Both sample The Lion King. I’m told the tune was pretty popular at WMC this year. Note to bedroom producers: I’m still waiting for someone to remix “Whole New World.”
Sidenote: look at this screenshot from 2:53. I don’t want to be that lame adult who steps all over everyone’s funk, but how old is that kid smoking a cigarette? Ten? Eleven? And are they both throwing up gang signs? Kids today! When I was your age, we watched cartoons!
Every now and again, you stumble upon a piece of music that makes everything around it sound like it was made on one of those MIDI orchestra websites from the late 90′s. Today is one of those days.
I’ve been a fan of Cunninlynguists for a long time (largely because they’re one of maybe three main pillars still capable of holding up the good name of hip hop underneath the inconceivably large heap of garbage pilled up on the roof), so I hardly need any convincing of their talent, but if you’re on the fence about the guys, I assure you, this video will seal the deal.
It’s good to see real artistry and real innovation making a comeback.
It’s been far too long since we last heard from our very own Questions, but the wait is officially over, and his latest release (entitled “Haggis,” for reasons that are beyond my ability to explain) is proof that the studio gears have all the while been turning.
Having turned a cold shoulder to the poppy, synth driven melodies of his previous works, Haggis’s thick, sample-driven soundscapes are bound to catch a few returning listeners off guard, but the delicate subtleties and attention to detail that first put Questions on the map persist throughout the release, and are undoubtedly enough to enthrall listeners, both old and new.
The release comes with two tracks, the title track, and a B side that’ll give even the purest house music enthusiasts goosebumps. Best of all, for the first seven days following its release, Haggis Single can be downloaded, completely free of charge! Grab it while you still can!
Download full release here.
Or help yourself to the individual A and B sides below.