Rusko – O.M.G.

So Rusko’s album dropped earlier this week, and though it turned out to be nearly everything I expected it to be, I couldn’t help but find myself feeling disappointed. Why? I’m struggling to figure it out myself, because having made a list of everything I don’t like about it, I’ve realized that all the items in the list are simultaneously the reasons that I fell in love with the guy’s music in the first place.

  • The album doesn’t take itself the least bit seriously
  • Each track is a completely new idea, and has nothing to do with the ones settled around it
  • Rusko tends to wander bit too far out of his comfort zone
  • The synths are cheezy
  • The spontaneous talk-boxing throughout the album makes the album sound like half the ideas were contributed by a confused Peter Frampton

How is it possible that every single item on the list of reasons I don’t like Rusko’s album is also on the list of reasons that I love Rusko? What kind of sense does that make?

But then it hit me: It’s the album concept that’s ruining it for me. We’ve been trained by the music industry to expect albums to be audio journeys that carry us from track to track. We expect albums to tell stories and paint pictures and use common sounds. Rusko’s album literally does none of that, and you know what? I’m pretty sure he is fully and completely aware of that fact. I think he did it on purpose. I mean, after all, the album is entitled O.M.G.. Far be it from me to claim the exact origins, but I personally have interpreted it to represent everything from this cultureless, soulless, metephorless, blatently text-based generation we belong to, to simply the “O face” we all make when that epic single happens to find its way onto the hype machine. Rusko didn’t put out an album; He put out 14 tracks at the same time. And had those 14 tracks made their way onto my computer by means of a combination of music blogs, promos, and RCRDLBL releases, they would have sketched a completely different image it my mind.

Next time I go to see the guy, I’m going to head out, fully expecting to see the mohawk sporting, neon glasses wearing, single dropping Brit I’ve come to love, and in all honesty, if he tries to tries to make my night into a “musical journey,” I’m gonna be a little ticked. Let’s leave that for Pink Floyd. I just wanna show people my bass face.

Here’s a tip: Grab Rusko‘s album, but before listening to the tracks, go through and delete the album name and track number from each file. That way, when you listen, it’ll be like hearing Jahova for the first time all over again: guaranteed.

Oh and the talk-boxing I half-heartedly picked on earlier? I lied. It’s straight steezy, and it’s just about the coolest thing I’ve ever heard.

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Rusko – Oy (feat. Crookers)

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Rusko – Scareware

Stop Telling Me What to Do!

Has anyone ever considered how weird it is that by choosing to take part in a particular musical/physical scene, certain genre’s of music (and sometimes even individual artists) are automatically selected for you as “acceptable listening material” while others become “blacklisted?” Check this out.


You just put a quarter in one of those Zoltar fortune-telling machines, and I’m about to pull the last five years of your life out of thin air. The year is 2005, and if the 2010 version of you were to travel back in time and inform old you that in five years you’d be listening to music that’s made almost entirely on a computer, the ghost of Christmas past would likely be heading home with broken nose. You are a firm believer that all good music is centered around a guitar in some way shape or form. That’s not to say that you’re morally opposed to synthesizers in a band’s lineup, but electronics can only compliment guitars and drums, not replace them altogether. Your collection of music includes a couple of electronic musicians here and there, though to be fair, most of them are the ones that are talented enough to prevent you from ever considering how their music is made.

You may permit the occasional M83, The Album Leaf, or perhaps you’re younger than that and are more keen on the untamable shrieking of the Blood Brothers. But mostly you’re attracted to bands like Bloc Party, Midnight Juggernauts, and VHS or Beta. Bands that are rather talented and trick you into forgetting they’re electronic at all. Long story short: while you may be able to pull it off on rare occasions, the majority of the time you wouldn’t be caught dead listening to anything more than The Faint for fear of being associated with (shudder) techno.

Then 2006 comes around and suddenly Daft Punk is okay. What’s the deal with that? They’re completely electronic, and there’s no getting around it, but for some reason, everyone you know has their discography, and it is not cool to make fun of them for it, nor is it cool for you to point out the fact that Homework was released in 1999. Nope, you’re supposed to eat your words and act like all three albums were released that very year. So what do you do? You accept it for what it is: Daft Punk = cool. Infected Mushroom = still not cool. Titanic theme song techno remix = definitely not cool. You’ve officially added all of Daft Punk’s albums to your collection. Other than that, not much has changed. You’re still wearing your hair like the dude from AFI (a haircut that would later make it’s way into the electronic music scene in the form of DJ Paparazzi), and you still can’t tell me what a four on the floor beat is. But here’s where the line really starts to blur.

Late 2006- Early 2007: The year your one friend who happened to know about the Hype Machine at the time discovered __________ (insert either MSTRKRFT or Justice in the blank). Now, this kid was always a little strange with his music taste, so when he hands you one of his two earbuds and plays you (Easy Love / Waters of Nazareth), you’re reluctant at first. That is, you know it sounds good, and you know it’s fresh, but at the same time, you’ve spent years defining yourself as one of those guys that respects music too much to sink down to the level of electronica, and you’re not about to just up and say you like it. You decide that “sounds interesting” is the appropriate response, and you put it on the back burner, intending to forget about it. But it haunts you. Every time you finish an album and consider the ever present “what should I listen to next?” enigma, your mind jumps to that “The Looks/Cross” torrent you downloaded a week ago. Is it the right time? Are you feeling confident enough in your musical masculinity? Eventually you cave, and you give them album a once over to get it out of your system–except your plans change, and somehow, it makes it into your daily rotation, and before you know it you’re listening to an entirely electronic album just as much as you listen to everything else. What’s going on? You’re not allowed to like this. You try even harder to convince yourself that you don’t like it, but it’s impossibly clear that you do, and there’s nothing you’re going to be able to do to change it. This feels even worse than that time you got caught telling your shampoo bottle to “Move bitch, get out da way.” The stone cold realization hits you: You’re going to have to change scenes, because (and trust me, there’s definitely no pun intended here) the “scenesters” just aren’t going to accept the person you’ve become.

Before you know it, your Misfits shirts have gone out the window, and you’ve replaced them with graphic tees depicting mostly naked women. (And it’s okay because the look is “artsy” and “in good taste.”) You’ve discovered house music, and with each new album you acquire your pants become a little bit more colorful. (I’d say they got tighter too, but that wouldn’t be fair to those who had already maxed out the slim cap by stringing dental floss through their leggings.) Suddenly, you find your music collection is growing as though it had invested in Google. By the time another year has gone by, not only has your music collection doubled in size, but you also find that listening to Avenged Sevenfold just doesn’t seem appropriate anymore. Even further, you now find yourself slightly repulsed by those who haven’t managed to follow the same path you did, and you’re constantly asking yourself how they can be satisfied listening to the monotonous drone of same-sounding guitars, when there’s a world of unlimited potential for sound into which they haven’t even considered wandering. However, the one thing you don’t consider, and likely still haven’t considered even now as were moving through 2010, is the impact that your transition into the hipster scene has had on your perception of music in general.

So Now What?

So here we are now. We’ve arrived in the present, and are now faced with a new set of rules. Give me an artist, and I’ll give you a number between 1 and 10, indicating how acceptable it is for a member of the hipster scene to listen to them/him/her (1 being completely unacceptable).

Daft Punk: 10
Slipknot: 1
Laidback Luke: 10
Sigur Ros: 9
Green Day: 3
Oasis: 7 (They’re not electronic, but they’re one of those bands that is, for some reason, accepted as remixable.)
Massive Attack: 7 (Electronic, but not so hipster-y. Minus three.)
Royksopp: 9
Paul Van Dyk/Oakenfold: 5 (Electronic but dated; better left for outsiders and the uninformed.)
Rusko: 9 (So-called purists would likely protest)
The Bloody Beetroots: 8 (Used to be a ten, but they’ve since been rejected by the mainstream opposition.)
The Yeah Yeah Yeah’s: 8 (For the same reason as Oasis. though to be fair, remixes are more acceptable than originals.)

I could go on, but I’m sure you get the idea. The big picture themes are nothing more than:

A) Electronic dance music is always okay, unless it’s trance, drum ‘n’ bass, or was produced before 2006.
B) Rock is sometimes okay, depending on what the people in the band look like, and how remixable their material is.
C) Classics are allowed, assuming you either remix the tunes, or use them tastefully.
D) Metal, and all it’s derivatives, is never allowed, unless you make it with synthesizers and call it dubstep.
E) Dubstep is okay, unless it sounds too much like metal.
F) Punk is okay if it incorporates some kind of electronic component.
G) Hip-hop is treated like a controlled substance. It essentially boils down to circumstance, and depends on how far-removed from electronic dance music it is. Artist intelligence is also a contributing factor.
H) Classical is okay, as long as you listen with confidence.
I) Most everything else is neither acceptable nor unacceptable, but if you get too into any of it, it’s just weird.

So that’s how it works. By reading this blog, you’re defining yourself as a hipster, and as such, your music of choice is not, in fact, music of choice at all. It’s chosen for you. And just like so many of us were missing out on electronic music when we were busy convincing ourselves that it wasn’t okay, who’s to say we aren’t still missing out on a world of fantastic music by allowing our hard drive’s to be brain washed by the momentum of expectations? I won’t stand for it!

Today, for the sake of liking good music for good music, we’re bending all the rules and listening to all the tunes we technically shouldn’t touch with a ten-foot poking stick. And who knows, maybe tomorrow, we’ll still be doing it.

Spor – Aztec
[It’s Drum N Bass, and I don’t care]

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Me Gusta – Megadrive
[It’s Hip-Hop, and I don’t care]

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Flux Pavilion – Got 2 Know
[It’s trancy, and I don’t care]

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Rusko – Da Cali Anthem
[It’s both massively mainstream and poorly produced, and I don’t care]

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Exclusive Interview: Mary Anne Hobbs

mary anne hobbs

Have you ever wished you could somehow be a part of a movement that would revolutionize the world of music? How many times have you caught yourself listening to the Beatles, wondering what it would have been like to be listening to those very same sounds back in the early 60’s, when the entire genre of rock as we know it was essentially being pioneered? Well, while I haven’t yet found a reasonable way to bring these time transcending dreams to fruition, what I can tell you is that interviewing Mary Anne Hobbs, queen of dubstep, brought out a feeling in me that I can only imagine would be the very same I would have gotten interviewing those four, had I been born a few decades earlier.

mah

If you don’t know her, she is the…, you need to…, you deserve a…, I should…, you are awful.

Kidding. For those of you feeling a little left out, Mary Anne Hobbs is one of the Beatles of dubstep, and essentially one of the most significant reasons that the genre has made it out to the ears (and also the chests, feet, and perhaps even the nostrils) of the world today. She is among the first to have picked up on the genre, and thanks to her having debuted the Dubstep Warz series on Radio One in 2006 (Did I mention she’s been a Radio 1 dj for over fifteen years?), the world is now in love with what might otherwise have never left its cozy home in Bristol. Long story short, this is an interview worth reading.

 

Interview With Mary Anne Hobbs

UhOhDisco: You’ve been affiliated with Radio 1 for quite some time now. What kind of music were you into before dubstep emerged?

Hobbs: Genre is not important to me at all.. i’ve always loved unique and elemental music of every type.

UhOhDisco: These days it’s easy to see how people can migrate to the world of dubstep so easily; The surge in the popularity of dance music and “electro”over the last few years has made the transition a no brainer, but the music world was a different place back in 2006 when you started the Dub Warz series. Can you think of anything in particular that caused you to make the leap?

Hobbs: I responded to dubstep in the same way as John Peel responded to punk.. i was so overwhelmed by the sound that it changed the trajectory of my life and my BBC Radio1 show.. i didn’t abandon the other forms of music that i love at all, but i did become a global evangelist for dubstep.

UhOhDisco: Were there any artists that were particularly influential to you at that time?

Hobbs: Loefah, Vex’d, Pinch and Digital Mystikz.

UhOhDisco: Considering the world of dubstep and a lot of electronic music in general has come to be known as one dominated by men, what is it like being a woman in the midst of it all?

Hobbs: Quite wonderful.. some my very best friends in this industry are men and i get nothing but love, support and respect from them.

UhOhDisco: You’ve been called the sort of “maternal figure” of the dubstep world. Would you agree?

Hobbs: I’m nobody’s mother.. what i do, is nurture a lot of young gifted producers that i love and really believe in.

UhOhDisco: A lot of people seem to think that dubstep won’t be able to last as a form of dance music because it appeals more to men than to women. Any thoughts?

Hobbs: If you can’t see the women you’re looking in all the wrong places. Vaccine, Kito, Subeena, Cooly G, Ikonika are making some of the freshest and most challenging music in the world right now.

UhOhDisco: The last show I went to I saw 12th Planet and ToddlaT, and during both of their sets, a good number of people started moshing… in a club. I had never seen this before. Do you think moshing is an appropriate response to dance music?

Hobbs: Dancing is freedom of expression… there’s no reason to censor it.

UhOhDisco: Is dubstep a wave you can see yourself riding out indefinitely, or are you already looking for the next big thing in music?

Hobbs: Electronic music moves forwards in thousands of scattered steps every day.. my mission is all about progression.

UhOhDisco: Do you notice a big difference in the way people react to music in America as opposed to England, or even Europe in general?

Hobbs: There’s always something very special about playing in America.. it feels like you are in The Beatles.. there’s such a hunger for fresh British sound.. my first tour here in September was one of the greatest experiences of my life.. you can see my diaries at http://www.xlr8r.com.

UhOhDisco: How do you feel about people like Rusko, who’ve taken dubstep in a poppier direction by working with more melodies and vocals?

Hobbs: Good luck to him.. every artist should be the master of his own destiny.

UhOhDisco: What’s your favorite tune at the moment?

Hobbs: Joy Orbison – ‘J. Doe’/’BRKLN CLLN’ (Doldrums)

UhOhDisco: Is there a track that you can’t do a set without?

Hobbs: Something by Jakes.

UhOhDisco: Tell us something we probably don’t know about you.

Hobbs: I can’t walk more than 10 paces in high heels.

Special thanks to Scion’s Houseparty events and my dear friend Whitney for making this interview possible.

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Joker – 3k Lane

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Caspa – The Takeover feat. Dynamite MC (Original Mix)

Free Tickets: Rusko in Los Angeles this Friday

It’s getting to be that time of the week again. The tenseness of the coming weekend’s ambiguity is again upon us, and at this point, rather than focus on our jobs/schoolwork and what-have-you, our minds become preoccupied with scrambling to have something to do once Friday night finally arrives. Since I’m entirely aware of the massive amounts of trouble and (if I might phrase this so) anti-massive amounts of productivity this scramble leads to, I’ve decided that in the spirit of happiness, I’m going to take the high road this weekend, and point my fellow Angelinos in the right direction: Control.

Free Tickets

Rusko

Should you happen to be one of the lucky first to view this post (and don’t ever doubt that you might very well be), you need only to follow two simple steps to score yourself a pair of free tickets to see Rusko at Control in Los Angeles this coming Friday. All you need to do is:

  1. Become a fan of UhOhDisco on Facebook
  2. Mention @UhOhDisco in a twitter post, along with your email address

That’s it that’s all, and you’re on your way to the Avalon to be scooped up and away by the strong arm of the bass. So make your move, or you just might show up to work on Monday and find out that you’re now the only one lacking a wonky wonky mohawk.

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Leon Jean Marie – Bring It On (Rusko Remix)

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Rusko – Hammertime

The Proxy and Beetroots Wreck The Reality of Music

There is a range of musical taste in which things tend to stay within the reaches of what we tend to consider “normal.” This range typically spans a great deal of territory, beginning on the leftmost side at “soft” and “gentle”– an ambiance typified by artists like Sigur Ros and The Album Leaf–and progresses to the right, all the while becoming louder and heavier, until it culminates at a point where many people (generally those above a certain cutoff age) see fit to classify it simply as “noise.”

Now this scale is one that composers and producers try with all their might to fit in to, largely due to the fact that each point on the scale has its own respective crowd (or if you will, “scene”) which it corresponds to, and that making music to please a certain “scene” is a surefire way to pull a hit out of the hat. As such, this electronic world with which we associate ourselves is full of remixes and collaborations who’s authors’ styles balance each other nicely, and cause the final result to rest neatly within the scale of acceptance.

The Bloody Beetroots

Let’s say the scale is a pretty boring one, and goes from 1 to 10. That puts a few of the most eminent acts at the moment (to name a very small number of them) at:

  • Kid Sister: 5
  • Rusko: 8
  • Dj Mehdi: 5
  • Boys Noize: 9
  • Miike Snow: 3
  • Royksopp: 4
  • MSTRKRFT: 8
  • Soulwax: 7
  • Simian Mobile Disco: 7
  • The Bloody Beetroots: 9
  • Tiga: 6

Now, when these guys decide to remix each other or work together, they usually tend to be pretty complimentary styles. Let’s take a look:

Simian Mobile Disco & Kid Sister – Pro Nails
Heavier electronic combined with milder, peppier hip hop
Result: 6

Boys Noize and Tiga – Move My Body
Tiga track with a solid beat, given the Boys Noize treating yields a pretty heavy mix.
Result: 9

Rusko & Kid Sister – Pro Nails
Kid Sister earns some wild dubstep bass.
Result: A grimy 7

Miike Snow & DJ Mehdi – Burial
Mehdi’s househop links up with a mellow pop tune.
Result:4

I suppose you probably get the idea by now. The results are usually within reason; That is, two differing styles and melded together to yield a new tune that falls somewhere else within reason on the scale. I must however, encourage a large amount of weight to be placed on the word “usually”, for due to an event not dissimilar to what I expect the apocalypse to feel like, the laws of reason and logic by which I had previously lived my life were beaten (and in particular, kicked) into nonexistence.

the proxy

What happened you ask? I suppose you could say curiosity got the best of the cat; That is, the disco world finally grew tired of the predictable results of combining two different points on the scale, and decided to see what would happen not only when two very similar parts were combined, but pushing insanity even further, to see what would happen when two artists, both of whom are nearly bursting off the top end of the scale already, combine their power. The result:

The Proxy (nearly a perfect ten himself) & The Bloody Beetroots

The Proxy & The Bloody Beetroots

Never before in my life have I encountered the kind of anger and abrasive noise. Naturally, the track entitled “Who Are You” (though I would have deemed it more appropriate to call it “What Are You”) cannot be contained within the boundaries of our precious scale, but seeing as the track is so deafening so as to pose the potential risk of opening a rift in the space time continuum, to analyze just how far off the end it travels would be reckless foolishness.

Get your ear plugs ready.

Proxy – Who are You (The Bloody Beetroots Remix)

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SMASH YOUR STEREO | Who Are You (The Bloody Beetroots Remix) – Proxy from WeHeartHouse on Vimeo.

An Artist’s Proof of String Theory

Remember that movie Cloverfield? The one that caused such an extraordinary disturbance due to its having seemingly no plot or any alternate intention? Well it turns out the entire film is just an attempt to metaphorically describe the process by which dubstep is invading the disco world.

Think about it. If you run a side by side comparison on the two, they’re strikingly similar. Both are sources of an extraordinary amount of bass, which is arguably scarier than the monster (track) itself, and both are caught on tape entirely through the use of awful handicams (cell phones) that simply fail to capture and to do justice to the true excitement of the moment. One could even go as far as to say they both live underground, however, I prefer not to lose an unnecessary number of friends in a debate over what is and isn’t “underground.”

rusko

Long story short, the question of whether or not dubstep is going to share the stage in the future of disco is no longer debatable. Thanks to producers like Hervé, who’ve taken the initiative to draw connections between the (if you will) “mainstream” electro and dubstep, the risk of heart attack during the transition to half tempo has been greatly reduced, and thus, the floodgates rest in the open position. In fact, it’s only a matter of time before Simon Cowell is scolding pretty, young girls for their lack of bass wobble. *shudder*

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Hervé – Science of Fear (Hervé Dub Remix)

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The Count and Sinden – Stinging Nettle

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Kid Sister – Pro Nails (Rusko Remix)

George Lenton

george lenton

The Rusko and Hervé tracks require essentially no explanation, considering their blatant prominence in the dubstep scene, however I feel the need to comment on the work of the UK’s George Lenton, which undoubtedly brings new meaning to the word “multitalented.” Having heard his work for the first time
on Radio 1 in the form of a poppy (and certainly not dubstep-y) remix of a Yelle track, it goes without saying that I was quite surprised to be knocked to the floor by the wall of bass that was his subsequent release. I’ve since heard everything from alt rock to electro to the heaviest of “wWOOWw”s from this producer / purpose-bread disco manufacturing machine, which is nothing less than impressive coming from someone who has little more to say than “I was doing band stuff, now I’m doing this stuff.”

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George Lenton – Jungle Whomp