Sunday, August 5, 2012
Sunday, March 4, 2012
Today was supposed to be my lazy day, I had no intentions of doing anything productive, I managed to avoid the gym, look at my homework and I wasn’t planning on writing up a new blog post. Well that all changed after going on Facebook for the thousandth time, I saw a link to the latest Burial and Four Tet collaboration. “Nova” is the name of the song and 10 seconds in I felt the urge to write about this tune. Burial and Four Tet have worked together a number of times with very good to excellent results but I feel”Nova” is their best effort. What makes “Nova” so fantastic is the way these two seamlessly blended their styles together. In their previous tracks it was relatively easy to pick apart the contribution of each artist. For example one could tell when it was Burial who programmed the drums and samples or if it was Four Tet who brought in the synths along with other various instruments. But on “Nova” it is the opposite; Burial and Four Tet seem to have purposely made it tougher for the listener to distinguish who did what. For instance the drums have the signature Burial shuffle but they are smoothed out, subtly toning down his usual sharp tone that he is famous for.
The gorgeous female sample appears to be coming from Burial and the rest of the ambience that surrounds “Nova” sounds like something Four Tet will do. Guitars, bells and piano gracefully creep in and out of the mix. Everything is placed carefully and each sound plays an integral role in benefiting the song as a whole. “Nova’ has a 4/4 dance beat blanketed with a cloud of unidentifiable sounds that have a poignant effect. I can’t help but visualize images of disappointed souls in a night club, people slowly making their way out to the rainy damp streets after a night of binge drinking and other hedonistic pleasures. It is the juxtaposition of euphoria and despair that makes “Nova” wonderfully effecting. Once again these two have proved why they are my favorite electronic producers, they have set the bar high and I hope they continue to beat their own standards.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Its always fantastic when I hear some new music from Mos Def, oh wait the the artist formerly known as Mos Def, now known as Yasiin Bey. This time around Yasiin Bey (still can't get used to that name) re-interpolates the Jay-Z and Kanye West song "Niggas in Paris". The difference between the two songs is that the latter "niggas' are wealthy out of their minds while the other "niggas" Mr. Bey raps about are stricken by poverty and other hardships. While "Niggas in Poorest" does make its case known by exposing these social ills, does that automatically make it a better than the original? My answer is no, of course this now means that those rich bastards have won yet again. I do however think the video is fantastic and especially liked the Malcom X clip in the middle, this of course was done to commemorate the 47th anniversary of his assassination. As a side note it would be awesome if Yasiin Bey makes similarly themed remix of "Rack City".
Sunday, February 12, 2012
Last year Burial gave us the “Street Halo” EP which I still thoroughly enjoy. It was short, sweet and straight to the point, the more I listen to it, I increasingly appreciate the EP format. Apparently Burial does too; I found out that he is releasing an EP called “Kindred”. In fact the whole thing is available for streaming on the hyperdub website. “Loner” is second track on the EP and it’s a gem introduced with a sample nervously stating “there’s something out there” and for the first minute the stage is being set in a cinematic way. Once everything settles down, the kick drum locks in a groove that is akin to the “Street Halo” track, and the dark ominous sounds slowly begin to creep in. Then a sped up and looped synthesizer produces a sense of urgency, almost as if time is running out and something very serious needs to be done. Towards the end of the song the beat evaporates and the only thing left is hazy static and a high pitched female voice that wails in a ghostly manner. And by that point you do realize that something must have happened leaving behind devastating consequences. “Loner’ is yet another great example of the prodigious talent of this producer, all the sounds and textures gel together marvelously whilst maintaining the lo-fi grittiness.
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Leonard Cohen just put out a new album at the tender age of 77 called "Old Ideas" that I will be checking out soon. Consequently Mojo Magazine has put together a compilation of the wordsmiths covers by various artists which include Bradford Cox, Bill Callahan and a few more. Bill Callahan picks up the task of covering "So Long Marianne" which is my favorite Leonard Cohen song from his debut album. Callahan's rendition of the song is stripped down, accompanied with a slide guitar. The cover is faithful to the original but it lacks the build up and climatic finish which made the original more emotive. Bill Callahan sang the song as good as it can be sung, but there is grittiness in Leonard Cohen's vocals that is greatly missed here.
Sunday, February 5, 2012
Schoolboy Q and A$AP Rocky are spearheading an unconventional spin on hip-hop. There aren't rapping about anything new, it is the typical stories of drugs, women, money and alcohol. Instead they are sonically taking different approach that induces a hazy and stoned out vibe. In the song "Hands on the Wheel" the "Pursuit of Happiness" sample is stretched out and combined with some woozy effects and synthesizers. This works well that the rapping of A$AP Rocky and Schoolboy Q, takes a backseat. They aren't the most gifted lyricists on the mic but that doesn't hinder the quality of the track. Its not so much what they say, but how they say it and the they fit in their verses in the instrumental. I am looking forward on checking out their debut albums and see what else they have to offer.
Friday, December 30, 2011
Once again, we have reached that time of the year, the time when we try to put the waning year into perspective and attempt to reach a general consensus on the best movie, album or book. So I figured why not chip into to the discussion and make my own lists of my favorite albums of 2011. The year was a constant barrage of intriguing new music coming from all over the world. A direct result of the internet, which is playing an increasingly bigger and bigger role in music, replacing the traditional way of marketing and releasing material. The artist appears to be in more control of their fate, therefore they do not have to compromise their art and cave into the fiscal demands of record labels. This type flexibility allows the musicians to experiment more and take their art to levels that previously would have been impossible to explore. The Weeknd, Lana Del Rey, Odd Future exemplified this and these acts quickly became internet sensations in 2011.This list does not include other highly acclaimed releases from Kendrick Lamar, Death Gripes, Danny Brown and many more simply because I did not get the chance to check them out. I am sure as time elapses I will discover even more good stuff that came out in 2011, but for now these are the best albums that I listened to and fully appreciated.
25. Drake-Take Care
24. Kurt Vile-Smoke Ring for My Halo
23. The War on Drugs-Slave Ambient
22. Smith Westerns-Dye it Blonde
21. Real Estate-Days
20. Lykee Li-Wounded Rhymes
19. The Roots-Undun
18.Bon Iver-Bon Iver
17. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart-Belong
16. Panda Bear-Tomboy
15. Atlas Sound-Parallax
14. Cut Copy-Zonoscope
13. James Blake-James Blake
12. Crystal Stilts-In Love with Oblivion
11. Girls-Father, Son, Holy Ghost
10. Fleet Foxes-Helplessness Blues
9. PJ Harvey-Let England Shake
8. Jay-Z & Kanye West-Watch the Throne
7. Africa Hitech-93 Million Miles
6. Radiohead-King of Limbs
5. Gil Scott Heron & Jamie XX-We’re New Here
4. Shabazz Palaces-Black Up
3. M83-Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming.
2. The Weeknd-House of Balloons
1. St. Vincent-Strange Mercy