Stankonia Podcast

http://youtu.be/tCk750IaT-s

Follow this link to get to the Podcast I did on the Outkast album “Stankonia”.

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Past, Present, and Future Danger Mouse

DangerMouse

Brian Burton aka Danger Mouse is a producer, composer, and musician that has been an influence to the music industry.Brian was born in White Plains, New York in 1

977. What brought him recognition in 2004 was having mashed together Jay-Z’s “The Black Album” and The Beatles “The Beatles” album, also referred to as The White Album. Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton has beenin a few bands outside of just

producing for artists. Gnarls Barkely and his latest band with James Mercer of “The Shins” called “Broken Bells”.

There are probably several instances where Danger Mouses work on records have inspired Artists’ music and trends that are used in music currently. Of those many possibilities there are a few that stick out to me specifically because at that time I was watching as these instances occurred in music. With Danger Mouse and Cee Lo Green’s creation of Gnarls Barkley (2003) and their release of St. Elsewhere (2006) an interesting trend started in music. To me it seemed as if they took quick movable music and put it with Cee Lo’s voice to make something that sounded so hypnotic to the body you would have to tap your foot. Now I realized that the baselines used in most of the songs on St. Elsewhere reminded me of motown but with a tempo increase. Later on in music a trend of bringing back these funky, jazzy, motownish rhythms would be in all the new pop songs people would be singing while walking down the street.

Danger Mouse didn’t just start those baselines and drum beats in Gnarls Barkley. While he was  producing songs on the Gorillaz album “Demon Days” he seemed to have did something familiar to that style, even though on the “Demon Dayz” album it was distinctly rock sounding. This shows a single characteristic with Brian Burtons music, its lively. Another item I noticed that Danger Mouse likes to do or possibly does unconsciously, is mix hip hop and rock music. Thats pretty evident however if you look back at what got him recognized, “The Grey Album”. It shows in this current day as well with the music of Broken Bells, the band that is comprised of Brian Burton and James Mercer. The song “Holding for Life” shows the merge of rock and hip hop styles, along with some Bee Gee-esk vocals.

After diving through Danger Mouses work throughout his career so far it makes perfect since why I want to add a playlist to my spotify account dedicated strictly to music he’s worked on. Along with that I’ve seen that with one labor of inspiration a wave can be created in the industry. Small at first, then prominent later on. In five years if I’ve continued to actively look back and see where other musicians, producers and engineers came upon their inspiration, I will be able to figure out what may cause my own inspiration that might make a wave.

References for this Blog are located on the Reference Page

Kitaro and the New Age

Kitaro

Once again I have another Blog post that must be done for my Music History class. This time its on something that had an influence on Electronic Music. I happened onto Kitaro, a Japanese New Age music Composer that started his career in the late 1960’s, early 70’s while in high school. Kitaro didn’t start off playing synths from the get go. He started playing guitar until found the synth years later.

In the 1980’s when New Age music was a big thing and selling an abundant amount Kitaro was on an international tour. Kitaro toured in 1987 in the US and all his concerts were absolutely packed. Later he would be noted as a key founder of New Age Music. Why he would become seen as a founder of New age music is due to the use of classical instruments blended with electronic instruments. The Music that kitaro created was inspired by nature. Nature can be calm and serene at times and loud and thunderous. Along with these inspirations Kitaro’s musical composition is simple compared to other styles that my be extravagantly complex. In the simplicity shows the beauty of the music. This is how other electronic musicians got there inspiration.

There are a couple things about Kitaro’s music that I noticed that other electronic musicians didn’t start using at that time. Many of the electronic music, at the time, used drum machines or someone played pads with sounds applied to them. Kitaro on the other hand had mostly cultural and classical instruments like flutes, taiko drums, guitars, drum kits, electric guitars and so on. Accompanied by synths that Kitaro himself played, this was different from the other electronic musicians. Another aspect that I notice about Kitaros music was the ideology behind it. While other electronic musicians were like scientists with the synths that they played, Kitaro made it artistic in a different way. Something I’m awkwardly describing as Introverted feelings gathered from observing nature released into music.

I took some time and went onto youtube and listened to a lot of Kitaro’s music. What I felt when I listened to it was a lot of calming feelings somehow embedded into the music. It was interesting to me. Not much music does that, that causes a calmness and lets me reflect. I can could on my hand how many times thats happened, three times. Also, now that I’ve learned about Kitaro if Im ever on a job in the future and need music that inspires feels as I mentioned I know exactly where to go.

Thanks for reading and Come back to read more, you might always find something interesting on here.

References used for this blog as on the Reference Page.

Kraftwerk and Puttin’ In Work

Kraftwerk

In 1970 a band known as Kraftwerk was started. They were experimental electronic music musicians but dressed like rockers from. Originally when Kraftwerk came out they were put into the genre of Kraut rock, which was german rock with german lyrics and german references. Later on down the line when Kraftwerk started to mature as a band musically they adopted the sophisticated look. They dressed in suits and performed in suits which started around the release of their album “Ralf Florian”. Their style evolved to robotic snazzy suits that began to reflect the electronic music scene by their album “The Man Machine”. At this point Kraftwerk was a major influential band in the electronic music scene.

There are three Kraftwerk albums that really helped progress them musically, as well as progress the electronic music scene, even if the albums were a hit or miss. The album “Autobahn” was release in 74′. It was the first of the Kraftwerk albums that did well. It was full of experimental electronic music but also a little melodic synths. After “Autobahn” people were looking forward to Kraftwerk’s next album, which was release in 75′, known as “Radioactivity”. This album didn’t do so well to the general public but the Kraftwerk fans were still listening to it. Around this time Kraftwerk came into contact with David Bowie and Brian Eno, who seemed to have given them inspiration in ways. They release “Trans-Europe Express” in 1977, which for the must part was the start of Kraftwerks melodic electronic albums.
On the first side of the record there  were melodic song and on the B-Side more experimental electronic music. This album was a miss for the most part at the time except for the “Trans Europe Express” track that placed on the charts. In 1978, Kraftwerk’s “The Man Machine” was release. Off all their albums so far this was the must melodic so far. It sold hundreds of thousands of records in France and the song “The Model” placed 9th on the charts.

Kraftwerk’s music require people to have an open mind that liked the idea of experimentation with what music could turn into. If someone couldn’t play a random can hear and there and not here music in it then they probably wouldn’t understand Kraftwerk’s initial albums. Their music was a collective of electronic instruments like Moog Synths as well as traditional instruments like flutes. As Kraftwerk did develop their sound and became more melodic they cultivated the synths parts and let blossom music that was danceable back in the day.

I’ve listened to a lot of Electronic music since I started listening to it maybe around 7 years ago. But I never really knew where it started from. By finding out who brought the dawn of a new genre to life it helps me see what creativity and experimentation can spawn. I hope to be able to influence people with what I create the same as Kraftwerk, who taking new technology, at the time, and developing something lasting with it.

References for this blog are located on the Reference page.

Marvin Gaye and “Whats going on”

MarvinGaye

The “What’s going On”album sold 100, 000 copies the first day. This was incredible and at the time everyone had the album. But what was Marvin Gayes’ music like before “Whats Going On”? He was still a chart topper, but his music and lyric were still in the soul area talking about other areas of life rather than whats happening in the world at that time.

However, on the “Whats going On” album the social topics were referenced like the civil rights movement. Other areas of social and political were talked about as well. In “Ecology”, the damage to the environment was talked about, specifically oil spills in the ocean. The Vietnam war was referenced as well, because of Marvin Gayes’ brother being in the military.

“Whats Going on” wasn’t immediately let out to the public as easy as one might think. It was actually difficult to get the album out due mostly the topics it was addressing and Berry Gordy disapproval. Berry Gordy disapproved of the song and called it the worst thing he had ever heard. However, Harry Balk, a creative director at the time, liked “Whats Going On” and passed the acetate up. Later on everyone was able to hear the sounds of “Whats Going On”.

In the music of “Whats Going On” there are two things I’d like to point out about this album that were different in my eyes. The first being the lyrics. They were controversial for an artist to put out lyrics like this on an album at the time that it was all happening. Second, was that within the album there were a lot of jazzy and funky musical content, along with some off the jogging lyrical parts at times.

Both personally, and professionally the music on Marvin Gayes’ “Whats Going On” album has effected my life significantly. When I was younger my parents would play Marvin Gaye songs all the time. So I grew up listening to his music and many others from that time. It guided my taste in music. Professionally, its been a song that seemed to lighten up the minds of people after listening to it, and professionally, and personally thats a goal I feel that music should do. Don’t you?

References for this blog are on the References Page.

My thoughts of the Brain of Brian Eno

BrianEno

As I read articles, book chapters and blog posts about Brian Eno a clear idea of his creative characteristics and influence were brought to light. Over the years Brian Eno has both introduced the world to recording techniques like Tape delay, and influenced a whole new scene of Ambient Music. During his time working on “Here Comes the Warm Jets”, Eno experimented with Tape delay on guitars and other instruments. “Baby’s on Fire” being one of the songs Tape delay was used in.

There are two types of realms Brian Eno worked in. The Pop Rock Scene and Ambient Music were the two music genres that Brian Eno has done. His Pop Rock type music compared to his ambient music is significantly different in most cases. The pop rock type stuff is more linear and includes vocals as well as the drums are more linear. On the ambient music side, the music generally has no vocals, its drums are usually loops that switch with random sequences. Also, there is more creative minimalism going on in the music.

Enos’ music in many ways is different than so many things out there, especially when he first started doing Ambient Music like his album “Music for Films”. So much of Enos’ music is accompanied with visual art. Why? Its Enos’ creative niche. Another thing Enos’ music has that others don’t, is the interesting quality to be able to subtly conform as ambient music. In Enos’ music he frequently uses a non-fancy yamaha synthesizer.

What I got from Brian Enos’ creativity in music, art, and multimedia is the aspects that he has delved into is, the man is like a Wonka candy factory of creativity. I had scrolled Imdb credits of works that he had in movies in the past years and there were 133 just on soundtracks alone. I remember hearing in so many in movies that Ive watched since i was a kid that its mind altering to realize that so much of the ambient music in movies were created by him.

The References for this post are located in the Reference Page.

Revolution from Revolver

Beatles

In the 60’s while the “teenage love song band” gimmick was at its height, there was The Beatles. A four piece British rock band of teenagers who at the time were taking the world by storm. They played some “boy/girl pop” rock music, had attitude, bob cuts, and accents. They were the teen girl dream.

In the Beatles 1965 album Revolver, the sound of their music and the lyrical content changed so much it from their last album. Everything else out at that time was cookie cutter “boy/girl pop” music that it created a musical psychedelic revolution. In a pod cast that I listened to, it was said that while the Beatles had taken a break from recording they had some experience with some trippy substances and mind wondering experiences. They had conversations with people that sparked ideas from off the wall places at the time. The ideas sparked and caught fire to paper and made lyrics for songs on Revolver. In the podcast a story was told about how John Lennon was sitting in his attic and reading a book that Timothy Leary wrote called the “Psychedelic Experience”. It was said that from reading the book Lennon got two ideas. They were ideas for lyrics that would go into “Tomorrow Never Knows”, and the way that the vocals would sound in the song, which included a Hammond organ part and a microphone.

With their newfound ideas and creative thought processes the recording studio was a place of limitless creativity. John Lennon would recreate the idea he had in his attic with the vocals and ideas such as reversing vocals could come into fruition. In “Sonic Alchemy” there was a story about how Ringo Star’s drums sounded the way they did in Revolver. The drum sound was constructed by sticking a sweater into a kick drum. Then pushing the microphone on the kick really close up, and sticking compressors and limiters on it. This was a big thing when it happened.

When I listened to Revolver I could see why people liked it so much. It wasn’t boy/girl pop it was something else both lyric wise and sound and music wise. It causes the brain to want to think further than it has done before. It pass by those shallow thoughts of everyday and swim in a ocean you might have never been to before. Basically, it brings new ideas and tricks to music that had not been there before. Which seems why it started that psychedelic era.

References are located on the Reference Page.

Listening to Pet Sounds, Watching Pet Stories

Beachboys

Right now I’m in a Music history class. An assignment that I was given was to listen to The Beach Boys album Pet Sounds. No, I don’t just mean listen to it, but really listen and intelligently analyze whats going on in the song and understand whats happening internally to me. Along with that I was suppose to watch this documentary on Brian Wilson called “Pet Stories”.

I listened to Pet Sounds, both stereo and mono mixed albums, then I went back and listened to songs from their older albums. Wow, was the thought that popped into my mind. There were so many differences in the music of pet sounds compared to their previous albums. Beside that point the album made them seem different. Before Pet Sounds the vibe of the band seemed to just be some teenagers from a beach town chasing girls and talking about singular problems. Problems mainly faced by teens. On all the albums I mainly found songs about chasing girls or dilemmas with their parents. Even in their album covers it portrays a group of young guys basically doing young guy things.

Brian Wilson, a member of The Beach Boys, was one of two of the writers, and a composer, and arranger for all their music. The documentary shed a light on the major role that Brian Wilson took on in writing the music of Pet Sounds. His role in the album was possibly the most important part of the conception of the album. With all of the experiences he drew on to write the music, and tirelessly being around the music when recorded in the studio to make sure it came out exactly “how it sounded in his head”. It’s obvious why it solidified its place in history.

As I had said before, on previous albums The Beach Boys seemed to just use the same instruments and not many at that. On Pet Sounds, Brian Wilson brought out a whole slew of orchestral instruments for this album. Along with that, he used vocal harmonies that were tightly sewn into the music. Violins, Violas, Flutes, and percussion instruments not normally used in pop music before.

When I listened to the sounds of Pet Sounds, I fell into a groovy little atmosphere. The music drew me in immediately, causing me to bob my head to the music or tap my foot. The vocal harmonies fit so well that at one point I realized that I had totally stopped hearing the vocals and was just listening to the music with a smile on my face. I started to see where Brian Wilson’s thoughts were when he made these songs. Flutes coming in and adding an air of light hearted melody. Low tom hits at parts that were meant to be dramatic. Each song became a story lead by the instruments that were mixed higher rather than lower at times.

References for this topic are on the Reference tab.