afrika bambaataa

March 27, 2009 at 01:15 | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I met the god Afrika earlier this evening. I was lucky enough to catch ten seconds of his performance, shake his hand, and thank him for everything he’s done.

Really an amazing thing.

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keep on truckin

March 25, 2009 at 14:06 | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

I’m hit, but I’m not going down. Currently denied by 3 out of 6 PhD programs, on the waitlist for one, and waiting to hear from 2 more. I’m having a hard time keeping my head straight, just feeling awkward about everything. However, I’m not a mess.

Kill your children. I forget which famous author said it, but its helpful. Anyways, I’m working on a chapter for a textbook. The book is about the use of theory in theatre. My portion is a case study of the music I composed for Echoes…Through.

In the interest of preservation, I’m not killing this child (it’s got John Cage, Werner Herzog, and Shackleton in it!). I’m just leaving it here on the side of this metaphorical highway and driving away:

and in doing so managed to Shackleton himself out into the most barren reaches of sonic manipulation and back. Case in point: 4’33”. Through this silent, 3 movement work John claimed Silence in the name of music. Here in the thick of what would seem most unmusical, John revealed that music thrives just as much as it does in the concrete jungle’s overwhelming harmony of collected ipods. The difference lies in the fact that a guided tour of the city in the form of a podcast is sufficient, whereas the Antarctic requires more hands on guidance. The act of composition is a matter of navigating these 2 ontologies, creating a work that meets the listener in the familiar, leads them into the wild, and in the end safely returns them to the familiar.

Why I like being me:

March 18, 2009 at 13:01 | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

because I am ambitious about my artistic pursuits. I’m always thinking about music. this is the idea that I just had:

What happens is a performance. The audience enters the space and it is dimly lit, with the stage only slightly brighter. the difference is so slight that you doubt whether or not the stage is in fact brighter. The seats are all on the stage, and there is a lone microphone on a stand.

The audience is seated.

The performer enters, and explains the performance to the audience:

“I’m going to recite a rap for you, and when I take a breath, you all should also take a breath with me simultaneously. In the beginning I will exaggerate the process so that everyone can get a feel for each other, and by the end it will be much more fluid.”

“I rap, I breath, I rap.”

“I rap, we breathe, I rap, we breathe…”

get it!

March 4, 2009 at 16:52 | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Outkast fans, this one is for you.

I’ve loved their music about as long as I’ve loved music, but hearing the instrumentals off of these 2 albums is a whole other experience:

Aquemini

ATLiens

808s and Heartbreak

March 4, 2009 at 11:48 | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

So, I finally got this album. I knew I wanted it for a while, but I wasn’t trying to download it, and I knew i wanted it on vinyl for archiving purposes. I got the limited edition vinyl, which could be the sleeper of the year based on how hard it was to track down, and most people’s reactions to the fact that someone actually wanted this album on vinyl. The packaging is awesome.

The production is flawless as should be expected when you’re talking about a major label release of this caliber. It’s also sullied though, in all the right ways. Subtle distortion disrupting the polish and adding patina leaves us trailing off into the minutiae of the soundscape he’s created; barely noticeable edits sending confirmation to the ‘real heads’ that this is in fact a hip hop record, made in the fashion of hip hop records. A lot of the drums aren’t traps or drum machines, but koto, which isn’t a huge departure, but a noticeable (and tasteful) one. And, its the juxtaposition of departure against sticking to the script that makes this record so amazing, and so important.

It’s a forceful record that asserts itself passively, hitting all the minimum status quo checkpoints at the highest possible altitude leaving the hip hop gestapo guessing at whether Kanye should be evicted from hip hop or praised for his ingenuity. And, in the thin air where the album takes place above the heads of witless critics there is a shameless precariousness on Kanye’s part. Precariousness is praised in many genres of music, but in hip hop it is usually met with the kind of critical savagery reserved for runts, and albinos in the Animal World. And, in this precariousness, leaving himself exposed to the most blatant and banal criticisms Kanye successfully skirts the debate and heads to the after party.

If you want to debate the validity, or the artistic merit of this record you’re missing the point. You don’t look at the moon and criticize it’s composition, or it’s shading, you just appreciate that it’s there doing so much that you don’t understand yet managing to make itself tangible to you. Think of 808s as a moon. This record appeared without precedent in the galaxy of culture. It has made an immeasurable contribution to the changing tide of pop music, hip hop, and music in general. Its gravity has sent previously comfortably-orbiting satellites spiraling off into the sun, and left earthly astronomers wondering what to make of it.

He’s a great example of the mature, confident version of hip hop in the year 2009. Get it.

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