Monday, November 30, 2009

Guest Mix Vol. 5 - DJ The Tornado

So stoked on this guest mix, as my knowledge of electronic music doesn't extend much past Detroit techno & Chicago acid house. Steve Adler aka DJ The Tornado is much much smarter than me at knowing about electronic music, so the fact that this guest post even exists is a wonderful learning experience for me. Also, I have been at many ragers that Tornado absolutely devastated, so this helps to fill in my mental picture of belt-slapping and Jordan jerseys. So if you have a party, what you need to do is hire the man DJ The Tornado in order to make sure that your party is a cool place to be. Links:

I've been DJing for about nine years. Since then my tastes have evolved from spinning mostly hip-hop, funk, and house into buying primarily drum & bass and dubstep. Whenever I play out, I usually play for a long period of time and thus incorporate an amalgamation of sounds into each set. I might start out with a top 40 hip-hop banger and later go into some electro-house before finishing with dubstep, other times I blend a Young Gunz instrumental with Simon & Garfunkel's "Cecilia" - it all depends on what you like and, more importantly, what your audience is feeling. When I was commissioned to make this mix for Primitive Future, I wanted to do two things - first, show off my skills and hopefully get booked and raise my profile. Second, I wanted to introduce the readers of Todd's blog to something new. I feel it's important to note that so many times people think that just because I play a certain kind of music out that that is all I listen to at home. As a matter of fact, I listen to music that is all across the board and love being introduced to new things. I could have easily made an ambient mix, a shoegaze mix, or something like the mixes already posted. The fear I have in posting this is that it won't be taken as seriously as traditional, band-based music because so often people think that any music with a rude bass line is meant for the clubs, or maybe the gym, but not for home listening. This is what makes putting together a studio mix extremely hard. When making a mix of any sort of "dance" music, it has to be just that - danceable. I have to contrast that with knowing that most readers of this blog will be listening to this on their MP3 players on the bus ride to and from work, not before they go out to the club (although you can do that, too).

Another layer to this is being able to put together a mix of music that is not listened to by most people. How do I introduce a genre (drum & bass) to people when it is seen as too fast, too loud, or too heavy to the general public? How do I represent a very diverse scene in a short time and leave people with the impression that this music is worth listening to and worth promoting? At the same time, how do I stay true to the genre's roots and "keep it real"? I want to play quality music that has crossover appeal. A daunting task, indeed.

For the second half of the mix, I decided to slow it down a bit and focus on the dubstep sound which has slowly been gathering steam in the underground for years. It has achieved critical acclaim due to albums from producers like Burial and Benga, but has also destroyed dancefloors thanks to heavy hitters like Skream, Plastician, Caspa and Rusko. A genre which grew out of the grime, garage, and drum & bass scenes in the UK, dubstep has become more and more popular stateside in recent months, thanks to DJs like Diplo and Craze incorporating the sound in their sets. I tried to show off what I think are the best representations of dubstep - there are the deeper bits, the wicked impact tunes, more commercial tracks, and a cheeky bootleg remix - with a classic hardcore tune thrown in, strictly for the heads that know.

Some might say I take DJing too seriously, but I think anyone who is passionate about their music needs to represent their shit right.


1. Sub Focus - Rock It - Ram
>>>Q Project - Ask Not VIP - Advanced
2. Dillinja - Shiners - Valve
3. Serum vs. Northern Lights - Dangerous - Zombie
4. Break - Is This What You Want? VIP - Symmetry
5. Friction & K-Tee - Set It Off - Shogun Audio
6. Commix - Justified - Metalheadz
7. Calibre - Let Me Hold You - Signature
8. Icicle - Frozen - Renegade Hardware
9. Fresh - Fantasia - Digital Sound Boy
10. Zen - Dark Em Up - Grid
11. Danny Byrd - Red Mist VIP - Hospital
>>>Hazard - Killers Don't Die - Playaz
12. Chrissy Chris & Youngman MC - Kick Snare - V
13. Chimpo - Like No Other - Contagious
14. Jakes - Rock The Bells - Hench
15. Rusko - Mr Muscle - Sub Soldiers
16. Soulja Boy feat. Lil Wayne - Turn On My Swag (Remix) - Interscope
17. DZ - Old Timers - Black Acre
18. Liquid Wicked - Dubwar (Von D VIP Mix) - Destpub
19. MRK1 - Dubelek - Contagious
20. Skream - Memories of 3rd Base - Digital Sound Boy
21. Plastician - Export - White
22. MRK1 - Borderline - Contagious
23. Deadmau5 feat. Kaskade - I Remember (Caspa Remix) - Virgin
24. Mahanee vs. Von D - S.A.G.E. - Destpub
25. Giant - Rocker - Dub Police
26. The Art of Noise - Moments In Love (Caspa Remix) - White
27. Barbarix - Low Freqz - Aquatic Lab
28. Skream - Burnin' Up - Digital Sound Boy
29. 2 Bad Mice - Bombscare - Sm:)e Communications
30. La Roux - In For The Kill (Skream's Let's Get Ravey Remix) - White

*Link Removed due to Copyright Claim*
*Go here instead*

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Coloured Balls - Ball Power (1973)

My friend Steve recently posted a link to the NME top 100 records of the decade list, and Fenriz recently uh "dropped" the second installment of his "Trapped Under Ice" mixtape series. These internet events have caused me to post this Coloured Balls record. See, the NME list was chock-full of rock bands like The Libertines or whatever that don't particularly rock. Now, the popularity of these bands would make sense to me if they were really catchy or something, but they're not melodic or anything either. So they're in this weird no-man's land where they have the worst of both worlds (not rocking, not having catchy melodies). Get the fuck out of here with that.

Anyway, I was listening to Fenriz's mixtape while I was pondering this, and he included Human Being of off this record, and dang does that track rock. But yeah, these are some Australian guys really playing some progged out weirdo proto-metal boogie. Now, I've expressed frustration at pentatonic scale-knowers in the past, but that is no stab at the pentatonic scale itself. When something rox or is heavy, the pentatonic scale is just as good as any other. These songs exist in a nice sweet spot between upbeat boogie and meandering prog. Actually, in the extended solo section of Something New, they make use of one of my favorite pentatonic sounds: playing pentatonic but harmonizing with thirds. See also: Supernaut intro riff & Down all the time. And also the intro to Human Being uses another one of my favorite tricks. The emphasis is on the "and," but the guitar riff starts on its own so the time signature flips in your brain when the drums come in. See also: Fight Fire With Fire. Great I love rock music woo!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Carmike - Comin at yo Azz (1994)

At this point, it should be pretty easy for you readers to guess my favorite genres of music: late 80s/early 90s metal, 60s pop, bossa nova, Prince, and early 90s hip-hop. And yeah, shit was fucking weird in Memphis in the early 90s. You may remember me talking about this before in the infancy of this blog in this Graveyard Productions post. If you never saw that post, you should probably spend some time reading through my archives because everything I post on here seriously rules.

This is another record whose sounds make me physically uncomfortable (see also: Godflesh - Streetcleaner, Whitehouse). The lo-fi, washed out production, and strangely affected vocal delivery and doubling create a total psychological immersion similar to the most primitive black metal. Hooks are barely intelligible, stuttering chopped up phrases with the moaning of the damned in the background. The vision required to create this sort of horrific sonic gestalt is astonishing.

Also, I usually skip the "Dedications" track, but I just noticed that he says "That solo tape gonna be hittin they ass in the face," which is really funny.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Guest Mix Vol. 4 - Joaquín Chávez

One of the things about touring with bands is that you meet a lot of people. Now, I am not much of a "people-meeter," but sometimes you really end up being surprised by how much you have in common with a total stranger. I met Joaquin in Albuquerque, and it quickly became clear to me that we are both dudes with a "music problem." As such, I'm really stoked to present this cross-section of JC's music brain. Besides, he has a Burt Bacharach tattoo, so you know he's doing something right. Joaquín posts records at Never Get to Heaven, does whatever happens on Tumblr here, and plays hateful, frowning riffs with Dead Hours and Excruciation. A Burt Bacharach tattoo! How great is that!

When Todd asked if I would be willing to contribute a guest mix, I couldn't have been more into the idea. There is no other blog for which I have more respect. As I sat down to string this thing together, my dilemma was not unlike Andys. Do I flex nuts so that Todd and his readers know what a sick guy I am? Do I let the blog world know what a nerd I am by putting the Righteous Brothers' "Unchained Melody"* on a mix fifteen times? Well, after scrapping a few initial ideas and possibly saving myself some embarrassment by nixing a couple of tracks, I decided to just keep it simple. Here is a mix of songs that, along with the weather, have assisted in making sure the molecules in my body move a little less rapidly. And although that might make me a little less punk rock, considering that as I put this mix together my roommate is probably busy smashing mirrors, listening to the Total Abuse demo in his room, after all the rage summer brings, it's nice to stop and smell the string arrangements. Enjoy.

*Phil Spector's production only, for the record.

01. Van Morrison - Astral Weeks
02. El Chicano - Sabor A Mi
03. Joan Of Arc - I Love A Woman (Who Loves Me)
04. Big Star - Morpha Too
05. Shop Assistants - She Said
06. Dionne Warwick - Loneliness Remembers What Happiness Forgets
07. Fergus & Geronimo - Glistening Smiles
08. Sebadoh - Got It
09. The Zombies - This Will Be Our Year
10. The Velvet Underground & Nico - I'll Be Your Mirror
11. Blake Babies - Girl In A Box
12. The Lemonheads - Hannah & Gabi
13. Electric Light Orchestra - One Summer Dream
14. The Beach Boys - Unreleased Pet Sounds Backgrounds
15. Stevie Wonder - Knocks Me Off My Feet

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Richard Strauss - Also Sprach Zarathustra (1896)

I, Todd Niefzsche, love music about Nietzsche, whether it be lo-fi basement black metal or high art tone poem. Guess which one this is. The music leave plenty of space for narrative, which my mind fills with tales of me hanging out with Bono, and then I ask him what he's doing later and if he wants to come over and watch Youtube videos. Then we do a youtube search for "funny dog."

The best section is Der Genesende (The Convalescent) which has a variation on the theme from the introduction as the musical driving force while fast tempos and flutes whirl around leading to one of the most crushing moments in music as the intro theme is restated. Actually, I'm going to rip off that first variation for future Like Rats material, so be on the lookout for that.

Also, if you weren't gonna download this, it's the 2001 theme, idiot. Come on now. Load it down.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Dead Can Dance - Within the Realm of a Dying Sun (1987)

I think that it's impossible to describe Dead Can Dance's music without sounding like some Enya-ass Putumayo mom bullshit. Because yeah they totally combine aspects of wide varieties of "world music" with Medieval European folk melodies! And it all kind of comes together in a Gothish post-punk way that will tickle your inner fat Wiccan girl!

But what matters is that these melodies are fucking gorgeous. My stomach hurts when I listen to this band because it's so, so beautiful. See, that's an interesting thing about certain kinds of transcendent beauty. No matter how much I listen to Dead Can Dance, there is always something not quite obtainable about the experience that fills me with longing. My own existence lacks in comparison to the music, but I can't figure out what I'm missing. Now imagine that I wrote the previous few sentences about Heather Graham.

Lisa Gerrard's powerful, powerful, powerful and haunting voice takes over for the second half of this record, existing over layers of percussion and counterpoint. These sounds are unmistakably deep, dark purple in my head, and I feel like I'm collapsing into an endless pit of color and velvet texture as I listen. The fullness of the tones and instrumentation, the elegance of the voice-leading and arrangement, and the expressiveness of the vocal performances make this required listening for anyone who has considered liking music.

Download (link fixed)