I'm moving this blog over to http://migratingtaste.tumblr.com so that I can more easily update and have a more casual blog. hope you enjoy.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Shawty Redd seems special. He gained my notice with his production work on Young Jeezy's 2005 debut, where he crafted the track for "Get Ya Mind Right", a song that goes way beyond the typical trap music pack, standing out with a compelling mix of dark cinematics, wild-west whistles, and crisp drums that smoothly transitions between haunting and triumphant textures. It's trembling keyboard-whistles work so well that you'd have to go back to Dr. Dre to find a producer as effective with extended notes.
And that's enough for him to have been special to me. But the fact is that he's recently come into the mainstream spotlight, though most people don't realize it. He produced and wrote Snoop's unstoppable "Sexual Eruption"/"Sensual Seduction". And once again he's using long, almost ambient keyboards to create the backdrop textures that he puts the rest of the song over. But obviously, the style is total different. It's the kind of genre-hopping you rarely see from hip-hop producers, and it will be interesting to see if he can keep it up.
He has his own appropriately titled album coming out sometime this year, Jekyll & Hyde. From what I've heard from early singles, I'd still prefer see him stay in the background, but as long as the tracks stay original, I'll let him do what he wants.
Bonus Track: His disco-pop lead single that sees him going directly after Timbaland's niche.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
This year was a fairly revolutionary year for me musically. Amongst other things, I got into Classical and Jazz. I also lost more than 2/3 of my music collection a month ago. What a year!
I should note that this list won't be limited to what was released this year, but will include anything that caught my ear for the first time this year. So without further a-d-o, here's what I found this year that has the best chance of coming with me into the future. [Note: I had to finish putting this together really quickly so excuse any typos, errors, or generally crappy writing].
I remember flipping through my girlfriend's CD book a few years ago and seeing Charles Mingus in several sleeves. I finally got curious this year, and after getting heavy into Mingus I decided to see what else was out there (with help on the vocal jazz front from the Woody Allen Netflix marathon I had for several months). Now I'm the first to admit I'm not an expert by any means and there are huge gaps in my comprehension. That said, here's what I'm digging the most thus far (in no particular order):
Charles Mingus - The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady
Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers - Moanin'
John Coltrane - Cousin Mary
Billie Holiday - Lady Day: The Master Takes and Singles
Oliver Nelson - The Blues and the Abstract Truth
Sonny Rollins - Saxophone Colossus
2. Bob Dylan
Finally. I'm solid up to John Wesley Harding, plus Blood on the Tracks. Since I think I'm the last one to catch up I'll just throw you a couple of songs that really grabbed me that I didn't hear a million times before I ever chose to listen to him.
3. LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver
Yes. I'm ranking the new LCD Soundsystem over my interest in Classical music. What can I say, I haven't grown up THAT much. But truthfully, I'm more likely to skip part of Rhapsody in Blue before I skip a single track on this little zeitgeist. My only complaint is that David Bowie didn't buy the masters and rerecord the vocals, not because James Murphy's bad, but because it's all I can think of that could have made this sweeter. Beware the 1-2 punch of Someone Great, and All My Friends, that manages to put two songs in a row that could arguably rank #1 and #2 on a track of the year chart.
So many plunges into unfamiliar waters. This one went pretty well, but I have to admit I haven't kept it up as well as I thought I would when I was in the thick of it. But it doesn't mean I don't have some killer pieces I come back to. I'm still on the basics, and I lost a lot in the hard drive crash of 2007, but here's what I got for ya.
Otto Klemperer conducting Beethoven's 3rd Symphony
George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue featuring George Gershwin on piano
Horowitz playing P.I. Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 with the NBC Symphony Orchestra
5. Neil Young
In the same way that Bob Dylan seems able to perfectly communicate a mental state, Neil knows the heart. Granted, I've loved After the Gold Rush since junior high, but this year I did the dive. My general feeling is that the collected great songs are more important then the albums they're on, and seeing him live this week only solidified that opinion. So one of the best pieces of advice I can pass along is to check out his Massey Hall 1971 live album that just got released this year.
6. Pantha du Prince - This Bliss
This one slipped under a lot of people's radar; probably because the name "Pantha du Prince" sounds more like a Haitian dancehall singer than anything else (I remember almost not listening to it for that very reason). But when you check it out you'll find some of the best electronic music of the decade. Walking in the footsteps of Aphex Twin's seminal Selected Ambient Works 85-92, This Bliss's success is built on beautifully calming tracks that never bore or annoy despite the varied sounds that they employ. They have as much depth as you care to see. Perfect for background listening, but rewarding for anyone who wants to give it their attention. My guess is that of all the new releases of the year, this will be the one that stays with me the longest. Check Pantha's previous album Diamond Daze for more quality cuts.
7. Lil' Wayne
I probably listened to Lil' Wayne more than any other artist this year. And while it seems crazy that I'll still be listening to the Drought 3 mixtape in five years, there's still a chance. He basically held me down with all the rap I needed to listen to this year, which says something both for him and how boring the rest of the genre's been in comparison. He commands the language better than any other lyricist I've heard. It does exactly what he wants when he wants it to regardless of whether it was meant to or not. I'm dying to know his SAT verbal score.
8. David Bowie - Station to Station
In my opinion, Bowie's best album. It's epic and consistent, which is a hell of a thing to accomplish. The first four tracks dare you to find a flaw and the fifth one doesn't have one. I can't say much about the sixth because I rarely make it there without going back to the beginning. If you don't have the patience to make it all the way through the first song (it's ten minutes) skip to 5:55, listen to what kind of rewards are in store for you and then go back and do it the right way.
I'm only knee ankle deep so far, but that's enough to tell that the water's great. Between Purple Rain and Sign 'o the Times, I've had plenty of purple to take in. I don't know what to say; I'm humbled. He's as good as he says, which I think means he ranks above both existence and non-existence. One question, is he ghostwriting for Andre 3000?
His funky stuff's amazing too, but this is the stuff that caught me by surprise.
10. Hank Williams
I got the 40 Greatest Hits and just put it on straight through two or three times a day for a while. Simple songs from a great singer. It's the kind of material that reminds you that you can boil things down a good tune and a strong emotion, and you'll be pretty good. Can't recommend this enough for cold days by yourself.
11. Battles - "Atlas"
This song gave me unrealistic hopes for the rest of the year and definitely for the rest of the album, but even so it deserves a full credit as it definitely helped make this year what it was musically. A quite unexpected uniter. It's a shame it didn't go to "Crazy" status.
12. Studio & Tough Alliance
Two different groups but they hit in such a similar spot of high-color pop/dub bliss, I figured I'd lump them. Too be fair though, I listened to Studio's Yearbook 1 album (basically the same as their album West Coast) and then looked up band that sounded like them, because I needed more. For the kids who enjoy electronic groove builders, you want to go with Studio. For those who enjoy their pop/rock groups like The Legends, you'll probably favor Tough Alliance (bad name, I know).
Either way there's a fair amount of bleed as is evident by the tracks I'm posting.
13. Timbaland (ft. Keri Hilson and a horrible rapper who stopped the song from being good enough to warrant release as a single) - Miscommunication
I can't listen to this song enough. Still. It breaks my heart that Timbaland didn't put a better rapper on this amazing song, as it deserved to catapult Keri Hilson to a place where people could forget about Britney and focus on talent again. Please release a remix. I guess 2:43 of perfection's still pretty good.
14. Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam
Some people play music others play with it. Here's one of the best examples of playing with I've ever seen. Exuberant unsustainable electronic lo-fi gone hi-fi. Has Animal Collective guested on Yo Gabba Gabba yet? Because they need to. Though I can imagine they might never leave. But then, I guess that would be perfect. If you don't know what I'm talking about...
...now you know (that song should've gotten it's own entry).
16. Talking Heads
I think every year I get a bit deeper into Talking Heads. It's never a ton at once, just a song here a song there. This year found me listening to "Cities" from Fear of Music quite a bit. I actually enjoyed several songs from this album, but "Cities" typically commanded the most attention. I look forward to what other treasures I'll find in the box set of all their albums that I downloaded a couple years ago.
17. Phosphorescent - Pride
Hard to say how much this album will stick with me since it's a newbie, but "Be Dark Night" gives me a genuine peace at the very least. Other tracks keep me interested and I'm sure to find more favs, but thus far, this track's the main reason I'm mentioning it. A lot of attention's being paid to Panda Bear's album "Person Pitch", which takes a similar route of echoey choir vocals. In the end though, I found "Person Pitch" to be lacking a heartfelt center, and after hearing Phosphorescent it seemed only more empty. But they're both Brooklyn-ers so hooray for my burro.
18. George Harrison - All Things Must Pass
Another album that everyone else probably digested a long time ago. But if you haven't, George Harrison in his prime + Phil Spector past his prime but before his mush = fantastic.
19. James Blackshaw - Clouds of Unknowing
I've always gotten a kick out of strummy guitar noodlers like John Fahey, and well...I guess Fahey was the only one I'd ever heard. But now there's this guy and he's pretty darned good too. Nothing relevatory, but I'm happy to have someone else like old Johnny.
20. Eddie Kendricks - People...Hold On
J. Dilla R.I.P. I found this track through a mix of tracks that Dilla sampled on Donuts. It's always nice when a great album has a great track that leads to a great track that's from a great album. Kendricks is one of the former frontmen of the Temptations through most of the material you've heard of theirs, so you already know you love him. But this 1972 album, his second solo effort, is solid from one end to the other, and really makes him a name to know in his own right. Where soulful R&B numbers like "If You Let Me" and "Date With The Rain", cover similar territory as Kendricks had with the Temptations, the Dilla-sampled "My People Hold On", stands out as something wholly original; psychedelic in sound but genuine in sentiment.
21. Gary Numan - Pleasure Principle
I lost this album in the great hard drive crash of 2007, so I don't have as fully formed of an opinion as I would like. One of the first acts to achieve pop success with synthesizer music, and still arguably the best (see attached song), Gary Numan nails the same electronic sound that everyone's become re-obsessed with recently. Good to hear back when it was new for the first time. I sound like a jerk, right?
22. Blondie - Parallel Lines
A lot of my most focused and frantic listening of the year came as a result of needing to put together music for the pre-show for Very Fresh, the monthly show that I did with Olde English this year. In the heat of coming up with music for the first show, I stumbled upon this gem, and was pretty set after that. So many high-power songs that have the perfect mix of shine and rawness. Zehr cool.
23. Kanye West - Graduation
Everyone I talked to about this album was so annoyed with it. I was too. But the weird thing is I liked a number of the songs. I blame it on "Stronger" and feeling like it came out too soon after Late Registration. But Kanye still does the everyman rapper better than anyone else. It's clear as could be on Everything I Am, which is just Kanye doing his Kanye-thing better than he ever has. People forget that that's all you really have to do; also that's what the whole song's about.
24. Liars - Clear Island
While their recent self-titled album had lots of good moments, this one really knocked me out. A dance-punk throwback to their first album that's not particularly complicated, but charms nonetheless. One of those songs that benefits with each increase in volume.
There's something so enjoyably adolescent about dubstep. It has the sort of darkness that you can only feel as a teenager. I mean let's face it, hardcore instrumental hip-hop is kind of cartoony regardless, or rather because of how serious it tries to be. That said, it's still fun in spurts.
This spot is reserved for either the new Fiery Furnaces album or the new Radiohead. Or both. It always takes me a while to get into either groups' albums. At least so far as I feel confident to pass a judgement.
Alright thanks for reading. Post your favorites stuff that you found this year in the comments! Also check out my sister's blog, which is a lot better then mine and is updated on the regular. Very funny.
Off to Mexico for me! Happy everything.
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
It's certainly not the first time I've posted re: Metronomy. It's not even the second. But seeing as how he's playing Studio B on Friday night, I think the freshness bares repeating; especially when supported by the killer electro-rock of "You Could Easily Have Me". There's a lot of noodling about, but the crunch mixed with the squeal makes any playful melody a threat, and each repetition more jagged. So let me know if you want to join in me in Greenpoint. We'll make a night of it.
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Ben's been asking for a song I played at our last Very Fresh, I think this is it. I've been enjoying the groups recent album Danelion Gum for a bit now. It's nothing overly ambitious. Just saying that there's still life in classic psychedelic jams without reverting to total rehashing. It's a great summer album, and a lovely place to lose ears.
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
Been in a little bit. I'm sure assumptions lean towards me having caught a case of the laze. For once I can say that laziness is only part of the reason. The majority of it is that I've been on a lengthy historical kick [i.e. lots of classical, a bunch of Bowie, and finally getting into Dylan] and didn't think people really needed to hear me go on about the stuff they already knew was great and I was only just discovering. But there were new records worth reporting, and here I failed. Apologies.
One of the acts that's been able to fit between the classic album hit parade is Sweden's Studio. Their recently released Yearbook 1 has pulled a coup on my constant track switching, managing to get played all the way through every time. Somehow Studio's been able to synthesize U2-like textures with dubby sunshine electronic forms and play it all with a cosmically subdued glaze. But the low key attitude only eases you into what's ultimately a warm emotional journey. "Origin" is simply a taste of what they have to offer. The album holds an impossibly filling meal. Each track further explores the same familiar space, but in surprising and individual ways. Here's hoping they come to visit or that I go to them.
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Well I've obviously not been focused on this for a week! So what have I been doing? Getting into high quality audio of course! First, I decided I wanted some ear canal headphones (ECHs), also known as in-ear monitors (IEMs), which involved days and days of scouring messageboards and audiophile focused review sites ending in the purchase of the Ultimate Ears super.fi 5 pro's from Earphone Solutions, I list the links because the headphones and the service are both awesome. Then I decided why drop a bunch of on headphones if you're not going to have perfect audiofiles? So I started converting all my favorite albums into the Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC) from the original compacts discs (CDs) so I could put them on my iPod in the most perfect format that exists. But I download (DL) a lot of Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG)-1 Audio Layer 3s (MP3s), which aren't perfect quality, so I've also been DL-ing Free Lossless Audio Codecs (FLACs), which are equivalent to ALACs but aren't supported by the iPod, to replace the MP3s, which means I have to convert them to ALAC with MAX [not an acronym (NAA)]. The neat thing about FLACs is that because it's a format for the quality-obsessed they often put up the super rare pressing, best in existence versions of these albums, so it's a real trip. So much of a trip that it took me a little while to realize, I don't have enough space on my hard drive (HD) for all these extremely large files! So I ordered a new 500 gigabytes (GB) external hard drive [not an EHD]. The external HD hasn't arrived yet but the headphones have and now all I listen to is ALACs, it's beautiful. Things sound better than they have in years. MP3s the first audio format I'll have lived from their beginning to end.
Also, did a bunch of work, got my computer spilled on, got my computer fixed, got a yellow shirt (finally), got a nice haircut at a place I like (finally), and fell in love with the idea of living in Manhattan with roof access.
To make up for all the not being here, here's the funniest thing I saw all week:
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Since becoming a "Lonely Guy", I've found increasing solace in attending movies. It's escapism for sure and I anxiously await its waning, but this week there's finally some crap that I'm excited to see (as opposed to thing's like "The Shooter" and "Dead Silence" that have plagued my debit card statements recently). So I present to you "A List of Movies That David Would Be Happy To See With You This Weekend And Into Next Week"!!! Music, please!
Hot Fuzz!!! - A cop movie from the guys who made that little gem, "Shaun of the Dead. I predict this won't be as good as Shaun and that it's packaged in a way to make it seem more like a satire than it is. Let's see it!
Fracture!!! - A law thriller that looks like it might have some legitimate class and fresh approach. With Anthony Hopkins & Ryan Gosling. Let's see it!
The Long Goodbye!!! - Robert Altman directs Elliott Gould as Phillip Murlowe (playing at Film Forum). Between it coming up as a Netflix suggestion, the Gould Village Voice cover, and finally seeing "The Oh Hello Show", I feel like I have to see this. Let's see it!
Vacancy!!! - Finally, we'll get to see a movie where Luke Wilson has to change his expression. It's a horror movie for heaven's sakes. The plot? Something about a non-magical non-Japanese video tape (aka regular) that a couple finds in a motel that shows people being killed in their room. And then they see the hidden cameras... Let's see it!
As much as I love a good twitch remix, restraint's always a nice surprise. Transforming the synth-tweaked bar stomp of the original into a skitter-step bass led, glitch backed piece of tense dancefloor pop that ends far too quickly regardless of how much ground it covers, Metronomy obliterates his source material that comes courtesy of Dead Disco, taking the vocal track and running with it wherever he likes. The result is a rare amalgamation that pulls from an eclectic pool of sound styles feeding it all into an entrancing powerhouse that somehow finds room for both rave and pop flourishes without feeling muddled. With this one track, Metronomy might as well be submitting his production resume to every major indie female vocalist from M.I.A. to Karen O to Annie, and if we all keep a hawk-eyed watchout for shooting stars, maybe he'll get to do 'em all.