Aiming for the Simple and Innocent Things with Alex Paterson of The Orb (2 of 2) [Listen 22:37] S04 Ep06
Special Guest: Alex Paterson (The Orb) (Part 2 of 2) is a major player in the Electronica genre, splashing on to the scene at a transitional time in the genre's history: the period when European musicians were just starting to pick up on the new Techno revolution happening in Detroit and the Acid House scene from Chicago. The Orb were one of the leading bands playing their own form of Electronica at the beginning of the biggest electronic music explosions--the UK Rave scene in the late 80’s to early 90’s--and were fundamental in the direction that Acid House took; spawning "Ambient House" in the new "come down" or chill-out rooms of the rave clubs.
In this podcast, we continue from where we left off, and get into the details of sampling and all the fuss therein, what he's been doing with Lee Scratch Perry, and what he might like to do next. Have a listen
Chiptune: What's Old is New Again . . . And It's Really Old
As some musicians are striving to get the latest sounds and technology, other musicians are turning to old technology and hacking, modding, and stripping things away to make something new, something better. And they're using technology more than 20 years old.
It can be fairly technical, from adding additional chips, to just ripping some of the parts out haphazardly to see what kind of noises it'll make. It comes from several sources, but most often from old video game technology such as Gameboy and old pc's such as the Commodore 64.
Chiptunes and modding has always had a large place in the computer demoscene, but the exact origins are debatable. They could be attributed to Eno from the days of Roxy Music fiddling at the controls of the board on stage, and with The Yellow Magic Orchestra, more closely with sampling computer game music.
But the interesting thing about it is that it hasn't died. The advancement of technology has only promoted the love and furthered the interest. And to show that everything is circular, it's made it's way back to vinyl. I'm mot talking about converting classic albums to 8 bit chiptunes--although that's been done--I'm saying that the format has gone from being the "new medium" that was going to knock vinyl off it's throne, to being discarded as refuse and come full circle to be revived to earn a place in the history of music on vinyl.
While Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, and Leafcutter John have been known to put elements of hacked and modded synths in their music, the indie artist, Jim Guthrie, might be the one who's been infected to the highest degree of chiptune into his music. You might have to call it "Chipfolktronicatune," if you weren't afraid for another lame subgenre label coming into usage. What a long strange trip it's been for the medium that was to be the killer of vinyl, to the bottom of the technological scrapyard, and back into vinyl again. What's next; videos of astronauts covering Bowie classics in space?
Daniel B. of Nothing But Noise Interview (Part 2 of 2) [Listen 21:45] Dropping the needle anywhere with Daniel B S04 Ep05[21:45]
Special Guest: Daniel Bressanutti (a.k.a. Daniel B.) (Part 2 of 2): is an electronic music pioneer and one of the forefathers of the electronic body music genre. Daniel B was a founding member of the iconic Belgian band, Front 242, and an essential figure in the shaping of Synth-Punk, electronic dance, and post-industrial music. He and his current band, Nothing But Noise, comprises of himself, the other founding member of Front 242, Dirk Bergen, as well as adding Erwin Jadot into the mix. Nothing But Noise have a new Limited edition 300 copy 10” white Vinyl single called “Music For Muted TV 1” released on Record Store Day 2013. In this podcast we talk about about growing up in Belgium and getting inspiration from the Prog-rock bands of the 60’s, his connection to the visual arts, his perspective on music critics, and we get into some of his Front 242 work.
Does technology make a better musician?
There's no doubt about it, technology is advancing beyond all measure. It has been said that technology is advancing beyond mankind itself; our culture, society, mind, civilization, and ethics haven't risen to meet the demands and conundrums such an advancement carries with it. In fact, the latest technology in today's cellphones have more computing power than the Mars Curiosity Rover. The logical conclusion leads to launching cellphones into space to act as satellites now. The unfortunate matter on this is that cellphone technology is advancing so quickly that by the time that the phones get equipped and launched into orbit, they're outdated and that no one in the market for a cellphone would buy one. Seems rather a waste when most often cellphones get used for acquaintances of yours to post pics of what they had for dinner, doesn't it?
It has been said that technology is advancing beyond mankind itself
Think of what could be created if we put a fraction of that research and development towards new music machines: new sounds and treatments that could shatter the comprehension of the modern mind! However, as mankind, is conjectured to be behind technology, it could be said that musicians themselves haven't advanced far enough to use the capability of the technology. There still has to be a human application of theory and practice. Pressing one key on a synth that has been programmed to the gills to produce the sounds of an orchestra does not make a better musician. I would say that that doesn't even make a musician at all. A monkey could be pressing the key, or a brick resting on the key could just as well produce the same sounds of the programmed synth. There's a lesson in there for budding musicians in there.
Think of what could be created if we put a fraction of that research and development towards new music machines: new sounds and treatments that could shatter the comprehension of the modern mind!
Of course, there is nothing that dates music than outdated sounds, some artists, though, thankfully, manage to escape this limitation; I would use Brian Eno, David Byrne, and the Pixies as examples, but, of course, I'm biased. Although the the reverse is true as well, some musicians sound dated despite using the latest equipment, and no degree of production or equipment tweaking can fix. I'll not name names here; I'll just leave that to your own prejudice.
It's no secret that musicians are an odd lot; some are professed Luddites, some are obsessed to reproduce particular sounds or to use coveted equipment that their heroes used in their impressionable youth to capture the intangible effect.
It's no secret that musicians are an odd lot
Theoretically, considering where the most advanced technology is these days, the best audio producing equipment would be a cellphone. Just wait, there's more to come from that direction.
Of course, there is something to be said about getting the greatest product out of limited resources - to crafting a fine, polished product from within confining boundaries; like the short story is a unique medium in itself with it's own difficulties for writers. And really, so many of the best songs are done with a guitar, drum, and voice. Outdated technology.
But what is there to say except that, of course, there is nothing to show that advanced technology actually adds to the music; the source, the well-spring comes from the mind, and the talent of the musician, and is only limited, or limitless, therein.
So, taking all this in mind I'm going to be the latest to remix Justin Beiber on my cellphone, hurl it to the sky in a ballistic fashion to place it into the atmosphere. It goes on sale upon its return. Who doesn't want the latest limited release remix of Justin Bieber from space? Bidding has already begun on Ebay. Act now!
Interview with Dub Gabriel (Part 2 of 2) [Listen 31:40] Gathering the voices of the Revoultion with Dub Gabriel S04 Ep04
Special Guest: Dub Gabriel (Part 2 of 2): is a producer, DJ, multi-instrumentalist, and is one of the biggest names in dancehall, dubstep, and global bass to come out of the U.S. and is one of the most in-demand and respected dub producers in the world. He has worked with a diverse set of musicians including Michael Stipe (of REM), Reggae Toasting legend U-Roy, the Scientist, punk icon Keith Levene, David J, Balkan Beat Box, and many more. His new album “Raggabass Resistance” is an ambitious project taking three years to make, spanning continents and brings together an array of artists and musicians all collaborating on the album.
Dub Gabriel is set to release his 4th album, Raggabass Resistance, on limited vinyl on the 20th of April. The fantastic list of collaborators include: U-Roy, Warrior Queen, The Spaceape, Brother Culture, Jahdan Blakkamoore, Dr. Israel, MC Zulu, Juakali, PJ Higgins, David J, Pedro Erazo, and Mark Pistel
What's Going On?
David Bowie and Bon Jovi, battling it out on the charts. Dylan and ZZ Top putting out an album that made top ten on many lists. It's a world that seems more familiar in the early 70's than 2013. I'm not knocking the music, the music's pretty good. It's just that these events are a little unfamiliar in such a great quantity. I've always gone back, looking for gems throughout the ages and discovered some truly remarkable gems that shine timelessly. You might want to take a look at the Little Jimmy Scott interview that we did in the first season to get a grasp on what's out there when you do a little scratching. Click Here
But for these artists to be making such an impression on today's charts really seems unprecedented. To put this in perspective, it's more like Bing Crosby busting through the charts in the 70's amongst Led Zeppelin and Janis Joplin. Ya, those days saw great change in music, but for purposes of illumination, you see what I mean.
it's more like Bing Crosby busting through the charts in the 70's amongst Led Zeppelin and Janis Joplin.
Combative types might say that Tony Bennett had a hit record 1n 1970 with "Tony Sings the Hits of Today!", but that's not quite the same. And he's only one man, (yes Tony, you are) and there's more than just the occasional old rocker making it into today's charts and making an impact. The music's amazingly good from these stalwarts, and it's so much better to see than burnouts being pressured by record labels to turn out whatever crap gets made. But Besides the music being good, the question remains why these gentlemen still gather so much popularity. What might contribute to the success of these figureheads of the 70's is that classic rock stations seem to play the same songs, and while I won't criticise their success, I still can't stand to listen to a classic rock station. The songs never change. They really haven't changed for 20 years, and ya, most of the tunes they play are solid, but there's so much more that's good that doesn't get played, (I guess they don't stack up to advertisers ratings, etc.) But their popularity with the mainstream might depend, in part, to these classic rock stations that never change their rotation. Fancy that.
"Tony Sings the Hits of Today!"
Another reason why these greats of the classic rock era are continuing to produce is simply because people happen to be living longer. In the usual course of events a few decades earlier, statistics would have had these guys knocked off a decade ago. Heart attack, and stroke being the best candidates. Besides people generally living longer, it's the advancements in medical science that keeps the living going strong. Bowie already had a heart attack, and Dylan almost succumbed to a fungal infection in his lungs some 15 years ago. I suspect this trend will continue, and when it does, imagine what the music scene will be a few decades from now when we get some of the great pop divas still writing songs after they've got something like 90 years of experience of writing pop hits since their sexualized pre-teen breakout days! I can't wait.