It’s easy to criticize. Really, really easy. Everybody does it. People are inherently opinionated; we all have varied likes and dislikes. We disagree about who’s talented and who isn’t, which candy tastes the best and which painting is the most beautiful.
It’s hard to create. Really, really hard. Few people do it; fewer do it publicly. Because it’s not just the act of creation that’s particularly difficult. What’s harder is mustering up the guts to share that creation with the world. Anyone who creates anything– good or bad– and shares it with others deserves credit for having the bravery to face criticism.
We trust critics to discern whether or not a movie is worth our $12 or whether we should spend an hour listening to an album. But without filmmakers and musicians and artists and writers there wouldn’t be anything to criticize. Life would be empty, boring and depressing. The world doesn’t need criticism. It needs creativity. So go pour your soul into making something beautiful and then ask the world to judge you. Be brave.
Criticizing is cowardly; creating is courageous.
Let’s face it: No matter how good electronic music is, a lot of the time simply watching an artist DJ isn’t enough to make it worth paying to go to a live show. I mean, for a while it’s possible to ignore the fact that the music is going to sound exactly the same live as it does on your computer using the “thrill of the moment” and “energy of the crowd” as justification, but it simply doesn’t last, which is why I was so inspired when I watched this video.
This is easily one of the best live acoustic performances I’ve seen since Imogen Heap did Just For Now. It’s funny how sometimes we get so caught up in the notion that the best performances must be paid for when there are artists like this who are more than willing to play in the humblest of venues, asking nothing in return. And not only that, but it almost entirely likely that watching a performance like the one above will result in a great deal more artistic satisfaction than a dj was ever able to provide. Of course that’s not to say that tableists like AM or A-Trak were/are not exceptionally talented, but simply that something as organic as this, something that that has the potential to capture the subtle imperfections of human talent, is so unusual these days that listening to “Salty” by Belle Hooks (Little Pizza and Phillip Garcia) made me reconsider the foundation of my interest in music in altogether. Perfection is fun to imagine, but in the end it really is the plethora of infinitesimally tiny errors, ones that can only be captured by live music, that really make music mean something special.
We’ll call it Southside Impala Funk. It’s the new genre blowing up in Tucson, AZ at the hands of Zackey Force Funk. Just showing big things can pop off everywhere.
You know that feeling when you see something grow and mature and blossom into something amazing. I feel like a mother watching her child spring forth from infancy and become it’s own person, like I’ve watched something from it’s inception through the cradle to adulthood. Before I get into my feeling of pride, let me back up and explain a little bit about my humble origins in a dusty desert town and how sometimes these parameters can manifest themselves into something great.
Tucson is the cream of the desert in the southwest state of Arizona. The true lifeblood of the state but largely overshadowed by its large Latino brother to the south and its hillbilly uncle to the north, Tucson still has a lot to offer. In a recent trip to San Francisco I was reminded of how much raw talent this town has exported to the likes of SF, LA and NY. Tucson is a breeding ground and cultivation center for art and creativity. But through this mass exodus of our peoples and culture some still remain doing what they do best.
One of these people is Zackey Force Funk. This guy is straight a-class talent, representing Tucson to the umpft degree. I’ve been a fan of his work for a few years now, and he is just starting to see some real success, as he should because he has been lacing out hot funky tracks for years. This is back to why I’m feeling this overwhelming sense of pride. When you come from a smaller, not so small town, you tend to relish any mainstream notoriety relished upon what you know. I’m just saying, when the 2008 film ‘Hamlet 2’ was staged in Tucson, it was a BIG deal. Even more so now for me, when I peruse the ranks of Pitchfork and the Hype machine I come across Zackey’s name. He recently put out his own 35 through Stones Throw Records and has released joints with the likes of Lazer Sword, Jellphonic and Tobacco. And most recently he is set to kick things off for Baths’ first night in Tucson after his incredible release of ‘Cerulean’.
2010 was a difficult year for dubstep. Weird to think, I know, considering 2009 was brilliant, but that’s because 2010 saw the demise of the wobble as an instrumental part of bass music. Hell, not only is it no longer instrumental, it’s almost taboo, and at the very least cliche. Regardless, 2010 posed a challenge to the dubstep producers of the world. “Can you continue to make dubstep while keeping it original?” we asked, and as can be seen by the torrential influx of poorly crafted noise, most of the newcomers to the scene responded, “No, unfortunately we cannot.” Of course, couple of the heavyweights were able to keep it fresh, but while it may not have been cliched, it certainly wasn’t anything big to talk about.
There were, however, a couple exceptions, and seeing as Night Slugs’ Girl Unit was ranked #17 on Pitchfork’s top 100 tracks for 2010, he’s looking like the leader of that pack. Not only did he manage to rank in the top 20 during a year in which Pitchfork has been favoring some rather unusual artists (Kanye West god a perfect 10 for his latest album. Free stuff comin’ at anyone who can figure out what the hell happened there. Seriously, I listened to that album. It’s fine. But a perfect 10? Really???), but he also did it in a year where dubstep has developed a rather strong bond with this face: :/ or perhaps even this one: >:(
I’d go on to explain exactly how he managed to come up with such a brilliant tune, or even perhaps describe what it sounds like, but by golly I know my limits, and I know there are some things I just can’t do. Pitchfork tried but (as per the norm) it ended up coming out sounding like a slew of egotistical nonsense. I guess that means they did a good job… right?
When I wrote a couple of days back that electro was making a comeback, I underestimated the profundity of the statement, because not only is the music of 2007 poking its head out of the hole, but apparently so is the music of more two decades prior. The real electro. The one that many people of this generation aren’t even aware existed. And the one that even more people are wholly unaware is supposed to be in some way related to the “electro” of today.
Pardon this image. With the exception of the usage of the word “Squid,” it is in no way related to the music. I simply couldn’t resist an opportunity to capitalize on my love of Spongebob Squarepants.
A few days ago I ran into this LazerSquidz remix of Anoraak‘s “Crazy Eyes,” and since then I’ve become lost in my imagination, envisioning a world in which this sort of electro-funk (as opposed to, say, Wolfgang Gartner) is the kind of music played in clubs at night. How do I feel about it? Well it would have it’s plusses and minuses of course, but one thing is for sure: I now fully understand why people did so much cocaine in the 80’s.
I still remember the first time I heard Flylo. The off-kilter beats, the dusty, sampled sounds. It was the first time I’d heard electronic music that didn’t immediately sound representative of the computer it was made on, and it almost freaked me out. But since then things have gotten far more extreme.
Flylo paved the way for a whole new genre of dance music, and since then, we’ve seen its limits pushed by the likes of Shlohmo, Mount Kimbie, and others, but never before now have I heard something as extreme as I’m about to share. Enter: Dem Hunger.
For most, the challenge in making music comes in composing the music itself, but for Dem Hunger, I can only assume that comes naturally, because it seems as though the challenge for him comes from attempting to get let his sonic creations wander as close to the border between music and just plain noise as possible without ever losing the subtle notion of a groove. Sometimes there’s a full-on rhythm, and other times there’s little more than a click every odd moment, but the groove is always there in spirit, and that’s what makes it so impressive. I wonder if Flylo new what he was provoking when he got into it…