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Posts Tagged ‘Music’

Suprisingly, the future happens to be the past

So, a couple years ago, the long-held champ of the world of portable gaming found a new rival, and a new era of un-fun games came out, subsequently. The days of the simple joys of Gameboy games were gone for the fancy-shmancy gimmicks of newer systems and tricks; it was the battle of the Nintendo DS and the PSP. Both sound like they could be diseases, and for some reasons they probably both could be classified as such. Because, though they were super high tech with their 3D technology and wobbly nub-sticks and screens that get all touchy-feely, many of their games sucked or were just put out to try to sell money. By stealing some cool ideas from semi-successful games, hordes of terribly uncreative and repetitive games came out. What irked me in particular was how, well, real, the music was trying to get. They were putting full songs in their games, but they sounded pretty out of place in the handheld world.  They sounded crunched up, gasping for air. Let me out, they said.
And the years of avid Gameboy fans listened, and became musicians and are now currently out to prove us all that small sounds can still be bigger then studio-pumped up garbage. In the past few years, slowly, 8-bit music has been sneaking it’s way into the hearts and souls of it’s listeners, showing us how how the most basic, wired, electronic, savage sound can have just as much prettiness as a harpsichord and Paul McCartney harmonizing. Ooh, yeah. Sexy.

The Remixes

There’s been some experimentation with remixing with 8-bit sounds, seeing as how it was recently discovered that using zelda samples, you could rock the house in half and half again. Or that Fraggle Rock could somehow get cooler. Last night, I saw a triple-show type thing at the Satyricon, a little hole in the wall place, literally. It was almost too cool for me. Anyways, this guy  named Matthew, but stage-named Purse Candy (who hit on me after I tried to talk to him before the show, I should have known, me and Rob are the only straight, friendly guys around… Matthew kept giving me all these silly winks and air kisses. Ooh, how dreamy), started off his set with some game-boy samplers, which I though was really rad, but then his set devolved into nothing more then some owl city sounding thing. Props for looking classy, at least. Check out these sick remixes. You’ll poo yourself in excitement if you don’t.

Deadmau5- You Need A Ladder
Fraggle Rock Theme- (Skeet Skeet’s 8-Bit Adventure)

The Rethinkings

Some artists have been doing 8-bit covers of very popular songs, and getting good reception. Of course, there’s plenty of really poopy songs out there that try and fail to capture 8-bit glory, but I guess it’s harder then one would think. Check out these songs that I think are at least comparable to the originals:

>Nirvana- Smells Like Teen Spirit (8-Bit Remix)v

Bag Raiders-  Daft Punk Is Playing on My Nintendo

The Rebirth

Now, as 8-bit has proven it’s worth in the sub fields of remixes and covers, I feel 8-bit music is going to sneak it’s styles and sounds into our new artists music. In fact it already has! Back in 2007, Panda Bear released the fantastic Person Pitch, with “Good Girl/Carrots” buried as track 5, with a 12:42 track time, heavy drumming patterns with subtly building energies with layers of sound-instruments. Then, before you have time to notice it, the song morphs into the “Carrots” half, and what’s funky is that you really don’t even notice it. The tempo changes, the key and pitch changes, but Panda does it so smoothly and suddenly, it’s like it was bound to happen by natural. It’s an odd feeling to be tricked by a song, but when it happens right, it’s tasty. Anywho, you can listen to that track below if you want, but the reason I brought it up was to call attention to around 6:08 where some gameboy-reminiscent beats come in, reminding me of Nintendo glitching out, but in such a fashion that it’s extremely danceable. I always did kind of like it when CDs would skip or games would freeze and make a kinda annoying, yet catchy sound.
Franz Ferdinand then released Tonight, which was pretty electronic for the Franzies, and if you listen to the track “Twilight Omens”, the opening hook thing is ripped straight from an Atari. Good, tasty, adventure music.
However, most recently there’s even been some suspicious work going on in the world of 8-bit sounds. Vampire Weekend’s fantastic new album (which you should go get, by the way. If you don’t like it at first, try it again and really listen or dance or whatever, and you will) features a track called “Diplomat’s Son”  towards the end of the album. It starts out as what you might come to expect from them, sounding completely afro-beat, with dancing string instruments, however featuring a sample of M.I.A.’s “Bucky Done Gun”, and then…. wait for it… 8-bit sounds! For Vampire Weekend, having M.I.A. in a song, plus using such a nice, clean electronic beat was very unexpected. But, keep listening and one find the songs surprises once again, as the song breaks down to a Brooklyn-style drumming section sounding like the most indie gameboy I’ve ever heard, like vampire weekend turns momentarily into a jump-roping rhyme mini-game on Looney Tunes Olympics or some shiz. Interesting, interesting, I like.
But then, one more odd thing about all this 8-bit craze recently. This part is very intriguing, indeed. A new M.I.A track! Let me say that again, in case you have that bad of memory: A NEW MIA TRACK! It’s called “There’s Space For Ol Dat I See”. …And guess what kind of beat it has? Yes. You win. I think it was made with that Playstation 1 beat-making game. I wish I was kidding. No I don’t. I really think it is. This track is large, space-sized, space-oriented, lo-fi, super dancable, kinda bollywood-y, and M.I.A. sings! The last minute of the song totally dissolves into gameboy filth. Tasty, tasty filth. If you don’t listen to any other songs on here, listen to this one. It kinda makes me see a connection between where dubstep is going and where electronic in general is going. Who knew something so simple could be so fat?!  Her new album’s still not out till May, but this is a precious morsel. Dear reader, do take in mind how both Vampire Weekend’s new song, and M.I.A.’s new song have gameboy sounds in them and those awesome break-beat parts of gameboy rock and roll, not to mention Vampire Weekend sampling M.I.A. in their song. Coincidence? I hope not.

Panda Bear- Good Girl/Carrots

Vampire Weekend- Diplomat’s Son

M.I.A.- There’s Space For Ol Dat I See

BONUS:

First new Gorillaz track from their upcoming album, Plastic Beach:  Gorillaz- Stylo

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animal crack boxAnimal Crack Box has had an interesting history, like much that has to do with Animal Collective. The three-disc vinyl-only collection had been discussed for years following the release of Hollinndagain, their first live album, but was always put off, as studio albums always seemed more appealing to the band. At first, there was only one actual copy of the album, made available on eBay to support Doctors Without Borders (a charity best known for helping third-world countries), but the vinyl collection was soon released commercially, with 1000 more copies put up for sale via Fusetronsound. Even with the lack of actual copies produced, thanks to the internet, the album is still widely available.

To the many fans Animal Collective picked up with Merriweather Post Pavilion, Animal Crack Box might be a very confusing step “forward,” because the live album’s sound more closely resembles their earlier work, rather then then the very focused pop-sprinkled sounds of Merriweather. However, the timing of this album really couldn’t be better. By releasing and re-instating this more-experimental side of their ever-changing sound, Animal Collective have let their fans know that they are still doing what ever they want, and that though Merriweather Post Pavilion may have skyrocketed them more into the limelight, that they will never become just the one thing.

For Animal Collective, the music has always been about the building energies between the band mates and the feeling of the musical piece as a whole. Crack Box showcases Animal Collective at their trippy best, with the only continuing beat throughout the experience being the syncing of Panda Bear’s soulful yelping to your very own climbing and dipping heartbeats. The varying members of Animal Collective have always listened to the voices that come from deep inside them and transcribed those fleeting feelings into songs about pure emotions, (Feels, if you will) leaving the listener either pulled deeper and deeper into the odd soundscape being made for them, or into a colorful state of confusion. True, they are not for everyone’s tastes, but I do feel that if given a fair chance, anyone could potentially get into at least a couple of their infectious songs.

Some songs do seem to drawl on and on, such as the opener, “Jimmy Raven”, but I suggest never giving in to the temptation to skip a song. Like I said, Animal Collective has always been about building energies and combating emotions, which means the songs are all about the whole experience. This is especially true when listening to Animal Collective as a live album, any themes that they might seem to randomly touch on early on are usually built upon later in some way. Animal Collective try to break the modern musical addiction that is short bursts of song-i-tude, to remind us of the roots of what music actually is. Music is about the unique experience of hearing someone’s individual thoughts and feelings, from their perspective, to expand your own. Some may think that by getting rid of obvious hooks and choruses that Animal Collective is barely even making music, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In all honesty, they might be one of the only bands to actually make music anymore. They are able to weave a song from apparently thin air, and their seemingly random vocal cries are placed so particularly that they seem to come bubbling from the mouths of the members, but from the brains of some other-worldly force. I actually find many parallels between the song structures of Animal Collective and the works of early classical composers whose epic suites were a living-breathing piece as much as Animal Collectives are. They evolved, rose and fall mimicking the rising and falling of human emotions, and they took time to build up those feelings.

Animal Crack Box is one of those true experiences. It can get one thinking of many things, reminding us of stories from days of old or of the challenges we will have to face in the future. It’s full of hidden sounds, subliminal messages, random samples, bizarre yelps and strange chord progressions. It’s an overwhelming experience, but in a beautiful way. It shows us what music can be at it’s most basic state of being, and at the same time, it’s most complex. It’s not what one would expect after the releases of Strawberry Jam and Merriweather Post Pavilion, but it is a fantastic showcasing for fans, both new and old, what lies at the true core of the band that’s been everywhere.

Rating: 8.8/10

FIND AND BUY ON EBAY: http://shop.ebay.com/i.html?_nkw=animal+crack+box

Key Songs:
Iko Ovo

Jungle Heart

Pumpkin Gets a Snakebite
Pumpkin’s Hallucination
Pumpkin’s Funeral

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