Friday, October 28, 2011

#28: Best Party Ever (Flight Facilities rmx) - Toecutter

First, let's clear up any and all preconceptions about the original version of this song. I reckon Corey Worthington is the kind of guy who gets wasted on Heinekens and Jäger Bombs, with his collar popped after getting a new haircut. In other words, a total douche. So, when I heard the Shazam version of this song - first, before the original - I had no idea that Toecutter had sampled the most infamous interview I've heard in a long time.

So. I'm posting this version because I like the Shazam version, was going to play it briefly on YouTube, and didn't find it but found the Flight Facilities version instead. I think I like Flight Facilities' style. It's a nice contemporary disco style, and as I've mentioned before I think it's what's going to bring disco into the 2010s. Hopefully. So what if it's sampling another ridiculously old song? It's a pretty sweet song and one that has been ridiculously underrated. But in any case. The original is pretty cool too, short of the samples of Corey and what's-her-name off of Channel 9 giving each other hell. I enjoy the song itself. Even better, the Shazam remix - which I can't find easily on the YouTubes - doesn't mention either of them. Which I appreciate. A lot. It's like both Shazam and Flight Facilities both killed the worst elements of the original and made something... awesome. Win.

Friday, October 21, 2011

#27: Trance

Time for something new, and time for something different. I'm going to jump into an area I haven't touched on much in this blog, and explore the world that is deep/progressive trance. First things first: the ultimate progressive trance anthem.
If you're interested, there's also a vocal version made by Miro here. I prefer the vocal version IMO but the original version also has massive amounts of charm, and so it should. This was a 1998 release, and while it didn't kickstart the progressive trance scene (which was some five years earlier) it sure as hell epitomised it. Why? The beat is hypnotic, if you listen to it in the right way. The bassline is hypnotic, if you listen to it in the right way. The vocals are delicious, no matter how you listen to them. Finally, the song has been mixed, remixed, re-released, covered, and practically everything else under the sun ever since it was released. The most famous cover was by Those Usual Suspects a few years back, and while I wasn't exactly a fan of it, I could tell fom that just how influential this song has been on the trance music circuit. It's good as background music because of its minimalistic approach, but because of the hypnotic beats, it's also good for house parties. I love it as a late-night listen, especially the Moonwatcher remix. I see it as a party-starter if you're sick to death of LMFAO and David Guetta, and I see it as a classic that will still be listened to in 2045. Also I totally love the video. To me it says the guy's life is flashing before his eyes, but also that stuff makes sense when it's backwards. Gah, listen to me waffling out philosophy like a beatnik.

From a prog-trance classic to a deep classic:
Someone (I think it was Ishkur) said that without deep house, house wouldn't exist. Or something along those lines. I'm going to say that without deep trance, there is nothing. This is the kind of music that should be listened to when you're trying to escape from the world because it just oozes emotion. Not necessarily bad emotion either. Solar Coaster reeks of beaches and sand and sun and a rollercoaster in the sun. OK, maybe not, but it always brings to my mind that semi-euphoric state where you're happy and almost in tears because of that happiness but not quite all the way to true euphoria. That feeling is absolutely delicious and I get it all the time thanks to sleep dep. That feeling where half the time you almost feel like jumping around yelling "neeeeeeeen" in a high-pitched voice for absolutely no reason, or you start laughing hysterically at absolutely nothing. I get that a lot. And Solar Coaster drips that exact feeling from its sweeping synths.

Two classics, now I'm going to show what has become of trance since the glory days of the 1990s and early 2000s.
Oh I love it. OH BOY do I love it. The compilation album that this came off is pretty damn sweet, too. Eight songs in a row in this style but all still different enough so that they're kickass in their own way, then they let loose with TAURINE. (See below.) Winter. In My Heart. Wait For Me. Venice Dawn. Solace. Swing 2 Harmony. No One On Earth. Out Of Asia. TAURINE. See? Again, the emotions contained in this song (coupled with the beautiful use of tension-and-release - see below) send a person who knows what they're doing to a state beyond euphoria (if you'll pardon the pun). Yes, I play this at the start of every winter. No, I have no shame in admitting this. The sweeping synths contribute to a sound saturation that isn't a cacophony. The sweeping strings help. Oh boy oh boy, get me a broom, I need to make some sweeping strings myself. Of course, trance isn't always sweeping strings, though they do help.
What have they done with my song? They've funktafied it! Alright, confession time, before now I never heard the original mix of Taurine but my God they're both amazing. I guess the Super8 remix makes it more hard-trance than the original while retaining the amazing progressiveness. Beautiful. It's not too bad condensed into three and a half minutes, either. I love how very little was changed but Super8 got rid of that really annoying audience-cheer bit that tries to make it sound like live music. Which is good. Because it failed. Miserably. Apart from that the song's brilliant and every time it comes onto my iPod I wet myself a little with anticipation of awesomeness because I know the tension-and-release bit is coming. This concept - foreign to most non-trance listeners is essentially just that: tension (building up a tune just after a breakdown) and release (a sound explosion just afterwards). Theme, breakdown, buildup, anthem. Good music producers should know exactly how to handle tension and release and good DJs should use it, instead of fucking us around with dubstep and LMFAO. Seriously. Those champagne showers are getting old and ridiculous.

Monday, October 10, 2011

#26: Why Must I Cry (Tosh.0 rmx) - Reh Dogg

Mike sent me this along with a "Problem, officer?" so I'm treating it as a challenge.
At first, I listened to this song, and I thought "OSHIT MY HEAD IS FULL OF FUCK". But that was the first ten seconds or so and I, like a juvenile, switched it off because of the graphic and gratuitous use of Vocoder and very quiet lyrics. Then, after about a minute, I realised that this is the entire point of this beautiful, haunting, and all in all impressive song.

It's minimalistic in terms of music (despite the amazing juxtaposition of the rap with the sweeping strings) because the guy's obviously trying to place emphasis on his lyrics: a song about a guy who, quite obviously, is sick of crying over his losses and his life. He's also made the lyrics deliberately unintelligible, because clearly he's trying to show just how bad he's feeling by making it sound as if he's actually struggling with his life. You know, like a singer crying during a song, except Reh Dogg is taking it a step further and making it sound like he's doing more than cry (which is layer #1 of the song) - he's also struggling to understand why he's crying (layer #2), struggling to come to terms with this lack of understanding (layer #3) and crying out about the fact that he's struggling and crying and struggling (layer #4). Four layers of emotion, all wrapped up in one neat tiny little fun-sized package called Why Must I Cry. Hauntingly beautiful, and well deserving of a mention in the next Grammy or ARIA or whatever the hell music award this thing deserves, presentations. In fact, I'm gonna say that the line "why must I cry why must I cry why must I cry" is a Gem Line.

Also, here's one other special gift from me:

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

#25: CJ's Addictions 5

It hasn't been long since I posted an addictions post but what the hell, I've just gotten hooked on a bunch of songs lately. For different reasons.
The first thing that should strike you is the weird start to the song, almost á la Odessa (by Caribou). Which is probably what hooked me. The second thing is that it's called Midnight City - two of my favourite ideas smashed together in one beautiful song (I like black and cities). I still don't know the lyrics but I don't care. That's not the point of the synthy goodness that is Midnight City. The point of it is to listen to the kickass awesomeness and get lost in your own little midnight city. (Oshit, I'm turning Zen all of a sudden: CJ + sleep dep = Zen.) Anyway, this song is pretty awesome. I love the sax bit starting at ~3'2". I wish I knew what song it reminded me of. I can hear the other song in my head, but I can't work out lyrics or a title, or an artist. Or a song. Fuck.

I reckon this sits almost perfectly with Odessa as one of my songs of 2011: I first heard it in 2011 and it reminds me of exactly this year. Awh yeah. Loving them song memories. I wanted to start a project whereby I looked at every single song in my library, and wrote a short memory associated with that song. Problem is, at nearly 9,000 songs, doing a hundred songs a night would take three months. And my collection is expanding. So I'll settle for remembering events along with musics whenever I hear the songs. And speaking of which:
Yes. This is me all over. The song's about music (I'm So Meta, Even This Acronym) and my gods yes, I agree with the philosophy exactly. An old song addiction coming back to life in a few years' time is not only plausible, but it's happened to me fuckloads this year. Not just this year either. Hell, it's been happening for the last few years. I actually have a log (of sorts) of those addictions - see here for more. But back to topic. Apart from the fact that it's synth(pop), which I'm slowly beginning to enjoy more (thanks largely to bands like Au Revoir Simone and La Roux) it fits almost perfectly with my ideal song pattern. For reference:
  • two verses maximum
  • no bridge, or a bridge that can be integrated as part of a verse, or a single bridge between verse 2 and the second iteration of the chorus
  • no chorus, or a chorus that does not mention the song title, or mentions it in passing
  • the entire song does not mention those self-promoting bastards, the bands themselves
Yes, I'm freakin' fussy, but I really mean it when it comes to that last point. I know of one song that I like that names the band explicitly in the song lyrics - Domino by the Bloody Beetroots. This excludes artists with self-titled songs like Flower Power, The Screetch and The Drill - all of which are instrumental, incidentally - because that makes sense. It also excludes artists or bands that mention other artists or bands in their lyrics - Duck Sauce did that with Barbara Streisand and Zuper Blahq went through about half a dozen others in I'm In The House (although he did mention himself as well... fuck. So, bearing that in mind, I don't hear the lyrics "cansei de ser sexy" in Hits Me Like A Rock so it passes my non-douchiness test. The only thing that fails it from being a perfectly-patterned song is that the lyrics go "hits me like a rock" over and over. Not a bad effort though.

Let's drip out one more tune.
I first heard the Armand Van Helden remix of this on some MoS compilation - I forget whether it was Clubber's Guide or Annual. Probably the Annual. So, let's run through the checklist. Music: synth and beat, but not grunge. Check. Bag Raiders: check. Song pattern: good enough. Check. Evolution of song: not so much, but it's passable. Check. Decent video: cute girl, interesting plot, band doesn't appear. Check. The song can take a remix: fucking A it can. It loves Armand Van Helden. Check. Conclusion: a few flaws, but hey, nobody's perfect. I want to make music like this. Wish I could make music at all, for that matter. But hey, nobody's perfect. Hey, um, wait. That's the whole point of the video, isn't it? I suppose, though, if you strive for perfection you're gonna get part way there and fall a fraction short, which is a little bit above average anyway. So. Drop me a tune and I'll tell you how close to perfection it is. This one is damn near and that's why I've spent the last stupid amount of time not only addicted to it, but also ripping it to shreds and finding... not much. Join me again soon when I accept another sisterly challenge.