Category Archives: Music

Pop Culture Junkies = Nostalgia Hilarioos

ursa: i’m ready. lay it on me.

SD: kay.

ursa: the facts. c’mon.

SD: whadthafug’ryouonabout?

ursa: mixtapesSAH!

SD: right, ummm…so… i finished up an old project thanks to help from you. you. aaaaaahhh lolz. thanks for the arty art, boo boo.

ursa: donmenshnit. what were we working on then?

SD: right so summer 2011, me and a comedian friend of mine, Drew MC , thought it would be funny to make an album of songs, which would start as spoken word, rap covers of songs written for films. generally title tracks and one rule was NO AWARD WINNERS ALLOWED.

ursa: is this a mixtape…izle?

SD: not exactly.

ursa: why suh, is suh it, not uh mix-uh tape-uh?

SD: i don’t google these definitions, so people may argue with me butt fuck em. a mixtape is generally a collection of tracks with lyrics (often improvised) that are performed and recorded on an already existing instrumental generally not created by the performing arist, but sometimes presented as a remix.

ursa: can you give me an example

SD: SHUT UP!

ursa: !

SD: no. i don’t really collect music so i would never be able to tell you. i just talk people and they play their music all the time so that’s one way of keeping things interesting. whateva! what we’re doing here is really just covers on remixes (although i would say covers really benefit when approached like a remix, i already know how the original artist plays it thanks)

ursa: neat!

SD: really?

ursa: you are being mean today.

SD: and you’re talking like a five year old. were you mind controlled when you were a kid or something?

ursa: egh, maybe.

SD: better… >: | anywho the tracks we ended up making before drew stopped calling me were:

Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks – “City of Crime” – Dragnet

Partners in Kryme – “Turtle Power” – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

MC Hammer – “Addams Groove” – The Addams Family

others on the list were:

Queen – “Princes of the Universe” – Highlander

Will Smith – “Wild Wild West” – Wild Wild West

The Fat Boys – Are You Ready Freddy” – A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master

i dunno the list was long. me and drew actually made another video rap track called hot in the club like a year later or whatever.

ursa: but that’s not what we’re talking about right now.

SD: ahahaa k.

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dui dollar sign – Fill in the Blanks

ursa: so here we are with something with a lot of vocal layering.

SD: yeah yeah this is the next track we’ll be discussing. and i wouldn’t say there’s a LOT of vocal layer. three voices.

ursa: what’s with the title?

SD: it was the title i had before really beginning. but then again i’d say because the original was called “fill it”. and i kept it because it kinda capture the essence? kinda?

ursa: are you asking me?

SD: ?

ursa: …

SD: kinda?

ursa: explain to me a little more about this vocal thing we were talking about.

SD: ok so in this tune especially, there’s this area where you hear the rhodesy-organny-piano thing loud and clear. and when you listen carefully it masks some of the heavy back ups especially in the beginning where they tend to be lower. as in notes. now in this case it seems unavoidable. i tried panning but the whole sound is compromised because i really wanted this wide organ being that it is the only instrument other than the voices and the drums/percussion. i wanted it to fill space. so it cuts the vocal a bit.

ursa: how does the width effect that

SD: gah, geez, i don’t really know much about audio width it’s sort of new to me. but it seems to interfere with the sound when the sample is wide and you pan other sounds into that area of the audio spectrum. i don’t know i haven’t googled it or anything.

ursa: i like this one. it’s pretty big. why does it sound like my speaker is broken even when i turn it down?

SD: i can’t remember what i did. this track is from 2010. i do remember that i wanted that effect though. i did see the center vocal has a pitch effect on it but i couldn’t place it.

ursa: i don’t know if i like that

SD: well fuck you.

ursa: haha. so what is this tune about?

SD: death? i don’t know, i wrote it when i was pissed off because i had this girl staying over cuz she got kicked out of her place. i had a huge crush on her and my friend totes came over and just started making out with her and it was late and i most certainly did not want them effing in my house.

ursa: hahaha whaaaaat?! haha this does not sound like that kind of song.

SD: listen closer. it’s about how all of you will eventually die. and as much as i want to remember your sunny smiling faces, i def will be happy if i die and never live again. that and how i’m the one.

ursa: what?

SD: huh?

ursa: did you say…

SD: yes.

ursa: … k so next time what are we gonna talk about?

SD: well i have some mixtape stuff i’d really like you to hear.

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KNEW YOU (Who is Dewey Steez?)

here’s some new stuff from DUI DOLLAR SIGN.

who is this chump? well…

ursa: so what’s this thing.

SD: well mkhhmm, if you take my name and switch the letters. and so on. plus it means “flow”.

ursa: flow?

SD: yeah, you know how rappers talk about flow?

ursa: right, but the name means flow?

SD: yeah, yeah, if you etymologize them words you find dewey is wet and steez flows. but we’re done that. now we’re called dui dollar sign. no caps. never any caps.

ursa: my mistake.

SD: yeah and its super fitting and sorta matches everything that’s been going on. dui dollar sign is also flow.

ursa: oh! like draft and cash…

SD: yeah something like that. and you know how people are re-branding themselves all the time. this works for rapping. and steez rhymes with please. and dui was neat, i’ve had one, and instead of being stupid and making my name $teez, i took “dollar sign”.  i haven’t seen there to be any specific word for that symbol.

ursa: …tell me about this track.

SD: well i often blatantly steal ideas from people. in this case i was stealing some minimal funk stuff from prince and it ended up sounding more like the disco-housey-whatever stylings of jamiroquai. like especially when the bass gets busy and then even more when the synthy thing comes in at 2:40 doing this pan thing. it’s playing these bizarre chords on top of that ostinato bass. very cool. very… jamiroquai. like post disco. and my gf was all “sounds like robots”. i was very happy about that. i mean i wrote this years ago. like sep 2010? and there’s a vocal idea for it as well. but it’ll be tricky fitting it in.

ursa: why come?

SD: well when mixing there needs to be space for the voice to sit and this mix is a little heavy in those areas, but that’s fine.

ursa: esplain a tad deeper, sir.

SD: well the voice core, which is the part that people really HEAR [the words], yknow, the part where they tell you to sing louder? the bit above that nasally sound? it sits like between i don’t know, 2000 up to like 4000hz, is being covered by other instruments. you can hear the space in the 500 range where the voice um, notes would be and your ears might even think there are bits missing from the music, well that’s what’s missing.  I really had this huge funk outfit idea for the track but production is hard and i doubt we’ll get around to it, so i post as an instrumental. my friend and musical partner jeanette robertson and i have a hilarious demo of autotune on the original of this track that i will likely lift the melody from, i mean i don’t know if i’ll ever have time for that though. and even then the tune would need to be extended like twice as much?

ursa: why twice as long?

SD: have you heard funk tracks? fuck they could go all night! you don’t have to change the track till people stop dancing. shit the only reason mine is so short is cuz there’s no vocals. I’d probably even save that bad ass guitar solo thingy for much later if there were.

ursa: send me some thingies with vocals next and we’ll discuss more.

interview by ursa urn

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Featured Artist: Yoshitaka Amano #1

This week, BMCMB will be doing her first Feature Artist review. Her subject is Japanese artist Yoshitaka Amano. Subsequent image gallery posts will compose an online curatorial project. 

Today’s post: an introduction and background of Yoshitaka Amano, and the first image gallery.

Intro and Edit by Pont

amanohimself

the man himself

Yoshitaka Amano, born in 1952 at the foot of Mt Fuji, is today’s feature artist. Prepare to enter a world of somber, beautiful delicacy.

Many of you may recognize Amano’s name (or at the very least, his designs) from his work with the Final Fantasy franchise. I’ll be steering clear of this body of work, since many are familiar with them and not as many are familiar with his other pieces. I therefore encourage you to read this Kotaku article for a good Final Fantasy/Amano gallery.

7-cloudbike-a2

I may have lied. There will be Final Fantasy pieces. I just have to restrain myself a little otherwise my serious-review pants may fall off to reveal my giddy nostalgic dork suspenders.

Amano’s career began in the animation field but by the time he was thirty, he’d grown bored and gone freelance. Besides his work in video games, Amano’s portfolio notably includes work on Vampire Hunter D, and cult Japanese film Angel’s Egg (with legendary director Mamoru Oshii).

Also; some fascinating, genre-bending work, like a visual concert 1001 Nights. It comprised of a live orchestral performance featuring an original score by David Newman, played alongside Amanos signature animation. Next time you have half an hour to spare, please watch the video below because it is stunning (fans of Fantasia take special note).

And if all that is somehow not enough for you, he’s also worked with Neil Gaiman on the Sandman series.

dreamhunters

Having sufficiently preambled, I present to you my first  hand picked Yoshitaka Amano gallery.

From Biten

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MashUp March: Ghostwriter

More mashup March, because fuck April.

I hope it’s not too obvious that I try to skim a little below the surface when I choose feature tracks for Leventine, but I do. I try to avoid redundancy, and although most mashup fans (and trip hop fans) will have heard this track, it needs to me mentioned.

Ghostwriter by RJD2 is a bit of an abstract mashup. I had one of those moments when I first heard it, I stopped everything I was doing and played it three times in a row. It wasn’t until I started researching its artist that I realized I had heard bits and pieces of the song before. Specifically, Elliot Smith and Paul Desmond. Here is a great blog article that breaks this song down in terms of sampling.

The real achievement here is how unique Ghostwriter sounds, despite being a Frankenstein of other music. Almost like the source tracks had a baby. It has Elliott Smiths eyes, The Delfonics’ hair, Paul Desmond’s smooth charm, but it still has its own identity and will always have a nostalgic place in my heart.

-Pont

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MashUp March: Ocarina of Rhyme

Hey nerds. Are you feeling a little left out of the mashup loop with all this shiny pop music? Are you wondering why we’re carrying our MashUp March into April? Shut up. No, just shut up.

I love you dorks. Here’s something you can shuffle awkwardly to.
Team Teamwork: Ocarina of Rhyme (Busta Rhymes/Gerudo Valley)

Ocarina of Rhyme is the baby of Team Teamwork, and holy crap I’ve never felt more badass about my nostalgic obsession with the soundtrack to the Ocarina of Time. The full album (which can be downloaded here) is one of many nerd/rap-flavored projects in his repertoire. If you hit up his website, you’ll find all kinds of geekery. Super Nintendo, Sega, Final Fantasy… I encourage you to check it out.

-Pont

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MashUp March: No Pause

Girl Talk is a lot of fun. More on him later, meanwhile, a track:

One of the masters of mashup, his mixes are so good I often find myself listening to a song he samples wishing I was listening to the mashup instead. That is huge for me, considering my overall pickyness regarding remixes in general.
The following is a list of songs used in No Pause, taken from the video’s YouTube description (along with their time stamp):

0:00 Faith Evans – Love Like This
0:00 Fatman Scoop – Be Faithful
0:00 Missy Elliott – Work It
0:18 Nu Shooz – I Can’t Wait
1:01 Heart – Magic Man
1:04 Public Enemy – Rebel Without a Pause
1:32 Len – Steal My Sunshine (which samples More, More, More by The Andrea True Connection)
1:32 Young Leek – Jiggle It
1:33 Spank Rock – Sweet Talk
1:46 Tears for Fears – Head Over Heels
1:49 Cheap Trick – I Want You to Want Me
1:49 E-40 – Tell Me When to Go
1:49 Missy Elliott – Ching a Ling
2:08 Run-DMC – Peter Piper
2:22 Jimi Hendrix – Purple Haze
2:28 Yael Naim – New Soul
2:37 Eminem – Shake That
3:03 Swizz Beatz – Money In The Bank

-Pont

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MashUp March: Shine Bright

I have a fondness for pop music my cooler friends will never understand. Having said that, I can also be a harsh critic, because I have certain expectations of it. It has to amuse me. I don’t go to pop music looking for deep meaning or new ideas. I just want fun.

2012 was not a great year in pop music for me. I didn’t hate most of it (it was no 2001-02), but it did reek of Taylor Swift’s emotional insecurity and lazy, invasive Dubstep. With that in mind, it’s particularly impressive that DJ Earworm still turned out one of his best yearly mashups to date. Since 2007, the San-Fran based DJ has taken the chart topping songs of the year and fused them into a single cohesive track.

It’s an interesting exercise; it speaks as much to DJ Earworm’s imagination as it does to the blandness of today’s pop. Exactly how easy was it, I wonder, to combine these songs to make it sound better than all of them individually? Maybe not as hard as you think, considering how many 2012 hits featured the word “tonight” in a leading role. Oh well, it’s still a great track, I can dance to it: PASS.
DJ Earworm: United States of Pop 2012 (Shine Bright)

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MashUp March: Tequila Lip Gloss

For the rest of March, I’ll be posting some of the choicest mashup songs I can find. There are many sub-genres of mashup and just as many artists. A good mashup takes music sampling to its logical conclusion: the best pieces of many songs getting it on in a frantic musical orgy. Some mashups are fun because they play with the recognizability of a classic (or terrible) song. Others are fun because you have no idea what the original music could possibly be; the mashup becomes the equivalent of a collage or an abstract painting.

Today’s track is an example of A vs B mashup, where two (or more) very recognizable and largely unedited hooks from songs are played side by side. When done well, it doesn’t sound like a DJ mashup at all, but an intentional crossover between two seemingly incompatible artists.
Tequila Flavored Lip Gloss, DJ Paul V

DJ Paul V, using Lil Mama’s Lip Gloss and The Champs’ Tequila to very simple but excellent effect.

-Pont

 

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The Yes Dance

Just a little something that used to get me through my day back in high school. Comes to you courtesy of
Robert James Hoffman III, via YouTube.

-Pont

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