Tag Archives: music

The Rise of the Artist

At the suggestion of a drunk friend, I have decided to make a documentary about electronic music. It’s gaining real popularity and it’s a topic that I find myself diving into constantly. But the idea of writing interviews and monologues; talking to various interested/qualified individuals over the course of months or even years seems like a dauntingly boring task. And one which, I truthfully fear, will fizzle and never come to fruition.

Therefore, with the mindset of the researcher, I will be committing this blog to my findings and speculations. But I have no intention of limiting the scope to my own eyes. I encourage any/all readers to challenge my assertions, to enlighten my short-sightedness, and to formulate their own opinions based on my findings. I have no point to prove, merely many stories to tell. The first of these seems naturally appropriate: Skrillex

He’s tours the world, he’s won three Grammys, and many see him as the sole pioneer of Dubstep to “mainstream” America. He’s become a household name, of sorts. And just like any wunderkind, heaps and heaps of hate, flak, and inexhaustible trolling have been sent his way. This is normal, though quite astounding. Read through the comments section of any YouTube video about Skrillex and you’ll find four or five degrading remarks on the first page alone. It’s a little bit sad and certainly a waste of time.

Taken from Skrillex’s twitter

There are only so many ways to spin a sentiment. The arguments against Skrillex primarily fall into one of these categories:

1. He’s not a real musician

2. Anyone can do what he does

3. He’s a sellout

4. His style is ugly/ridiculous

These are not sparse. They are so prevalent, in fact, that it all jumbles into babble – like a lunatic raving about the end of the world. There’s too much shouting, so no one’s listening. But the constant flow of hate towards this EDM champion actually proves a larger point. He’s doing something right!

So, to address these points:

1. (He’s not a real musician) That’s what they thought about rock n roll. They thought it was strange, demonic noise. He doesn’t strum a guitar, but he’s a rock star! His music is loud, energetic, and POWERFUL. He’s draws in massive crowds and blows their fucking faces off. Skrillex is keeping his head outside of the box, for the sake of his art. Watch this video, and you’ll see that he’s a humble, hardworking artist. He spends all of his time manipulating sounds in a way that he understands and excels at. Many who feel that his art is not music claim that all electronic music is lifeless, vacuous. Understandably, Dubstep requires a certain palette to appreciate, but music holds no power if the listener won’t surrender themselves. Yes, an artist can arrange and compose wondrous things; a poet can pour their soul into lyrics, but the listener must accept what’s being presented before it can resonate.

[Additionally, the reason any song seems to “emote” is because of the change in dynamics, that is to say, the change in the levels and presence of each of the instruments. Computers make the emulation of this capable with imperceptible replication.]

Creating music is just like creating anything else. At some level, you are using resources provided by someone else. An architect draws up the plans of a building, but he doesn’t pour the cement, he doesn’t craft the wood or nails, nor spread the mortar. Using a computer to make music shows hunger for more than what one man can do with his fingers. A conductor would not be disgraced because he does not play all of the instruments himself; in fact, quite the contrary. The ultimate say comes from him; and therefore, he is responsible for what is happening on every level.

2. (Anyone can do what he does). Then do it! You don’t think plenty of people would want to tour the world, seeing everything there is to offer, as a professional entertainer? Yes, it’s taxing – but it also sounds like the one of the most rewarding experiences. Skrillex flourishes by being himself, and no one else would be a better Skrillex. A local DJ friend recently lamented “every kid with a macbook and a Traktor has become a ‘professional DJ.” They see what he’s got and they want it.

3. (He’s a sellout). In case you haven’t yet watched the video above, he talks about how he’s not trying to make money. He’s not trying to sell anything, really. He’s on the ride of his life doing what he loves and simply wants to keep that train-a-rollin’. That said, of course someone is making money off of what he’s doing, both directly and indirectly. But who would want a silly thing like money when you’ve got the life he leads? I earnestly think he’d be doing the same thing he is now if it meant he were still only playing local clubs for drinks. The kid wants to party, and he does it well.

4. (His style is ugly/ridiculous) Of course it is. Lady GaGa, Rihanna, Madonna, Moby, Daft Punk, Nikki Minaj, Coolio, Snooki, Carrot Top, Katy Perry, Dennis Rodman, Russel Brand, Kat Williams, Larry the Cable Guy. All of these people have a certain level of outlandish/unique style – they are instantly distinguishable from everybody else because of how they look. That’s brand marketing 101 people, and Skrillex is no fool. He wants people to hear his music, he wants people to know his name, and he wants to leave behind a legacy in a world where everyone’s only got a 30 second window. Again, I assert: he is himself.

More importantly, why would that even matter? I don’t care what he looks like, I like the juicy morsels that comes out of that black-framed noggin of his.

So what? Why should anyone care about Skrillex?

Skrillex is more than a DJ/Producer, he is a harbinger of the future. Without individuals who are constanly pushing the envelope; who stretch the imagination and blur the lines between reality and fantasy; who live to love and spread their message, we are doomed to rot in comfortable complacence. He is a symbol of the rise of the artist. We don’t want money and we don’t want power. We want love, community, and some FUCKING BASS!

Who’s with me?

– W

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Ear Noms: Adventure Club

This is gonna get stuck in your head. You’ll forget about it, it’ll rattle around and fuck shit up! Adventure Club in one of the premiere names in Dubstep this year; every track they release is just “dripping in gold.” Below is a link to their Facebook where you can download a healthy chunk of their music for FREE just for liking them. And honestly, who wouldn’t? Put this on to become Mechagodzilla and rearrange some Japanese infrastructure.

W

Adventure Club’s Facebook

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Listen Both Ways

This one’s for Kelsey (and probably any other fans of Florence & The Machine, Of Monsters & Men, The Hush Sound, anything indie/folk/soul/big band/pop really).

Click To Download Full Album “Running From A Gamble”

 

The Chicago based quartet is really growing on me, and it hasn’t taken long. Their energy and life pops without coming across as overbearing or annoying, as many female-fronted electrifolk acts have the tendency to do. Fronted by vocalist/founding member Genevieve Schatz, she is urgent and powerful in her message; all the while, maintaining an attractively creepy tone with eccentric syllable pronunciation. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that for 4 minutes in a coffee shop, my life turns into a musical episode of a sitcom and this will be what everyone is belting. Put this on to help discover the wonders of caffeine.

W

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Watercolor paintings that make up a scrapbook

Full and focused, in an empty/confused sort of way. It’s supremely chill. Put this on while rinsing the ink out of your brain wrinkles.

W

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Candadian Folk-Pop goes Minimal goes Glitchstep

Some backstory: the soulful British singer/producer James Blake released an 11 track self-titled album in February of last year. He has a distinct style that fuses the icy chill of minimalist with the groove and feeling of R&B. Categorized as Dubstep/Post-Dubstep, this a silly misnomer made by silly people. This label doesn’t do his uniqueness justice, and would turn off many a listener who are looking for more depth in their electronic music.

30 seconds into track one and I was already sold. It’s a brilliant album that magnificently ebbs and flows with expertise; one that you’ll leave on repeat because the songs provide something fresh each listen.  Contained in this album is his rendition of a Feist track, “Limit To Your Love.” He slows down the already melancholy tone to a creeping pace, giving the listener time for contemplation and tension to squirm. The bass submerges into something primal at points in the song; it feels tasteful and creative.

Here is James Blake’s version:

For fans of Inception, below is a remix of the cover, sampling Blake’s vocals but redefining the structure of the song. The beat is different, the flow is different. There are at least a half dozen remixes of this song on youtube and this was only one that seemed to do it justice. To create a successful cover, the artist must take only the best aspects of the original and turn the rest into their own work. This gets more complicated as the song delineates from its origins. Put this on while reanimating.

W

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Dance Hall Dose

5 tracks, every Saturday, designed to get your heart racing and your booties shaking. This week begins light with a couple of NuDisco tracks and descends into cold space, getting darker and dirtier.

Chris Malinchak: So Good To Me

Kartell: Let Me Up

Hypha: Palma

Gladkill: The Night

Black Sun Empire & Noisia: Feed The Machine

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alascA: Never Cry Wolf

This one’s cold and creepy- natural instruments provide a soft texture against the grain of the electric swells. Hope is found inside this collision of sound.

Buy on iTunes

Excellence is brought upon by commitment. Those who commit to the facts of their ideal life will always have a direction. Many complain of the exhaustive effort of giving up smoking cigarettes. They have trouble with the idea of changing their life, to committing to the idea that they can become a person who doesn’t want and doesn’t need to smoke. Once the destination has been established, every choice from then on must be made with the intent to reach that place. This place, this ideal life, will become clearer with time.
The next step is so very essential, because it’s the only way to stay focused. My goal is to spread knowledge and culture to those with their eyes open in the dark. Every decision that I make with regards to this future version of myself must be made so as to increase the likelihood of this future.
I don’t have any psychic abilities; connection to the universe is a choice to make. I chose to take off the hood, to lift my chin up towards the light and let my feet follow themselves.

-W

What is your ideal vision?

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M83 – Steve McQueen

Here’s a little treat to go with the song that I posted as yesterday’s TOD (and I’ll be posting a review of the entire Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming album in a few weeks). The band held a contest, asking for submissions to accompany this song. It’s all a bit nonsensical, a fact that doesn’t seem to disappoint. The boyish themes and bright yellow suit match the energy of the track perfectly, and I can’t help but see an allusion to Noah’s Ark. Released yesterday, here is the video for Steve McQueen.

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M83 – Steve McQueen

Uplifting! This song is quick gulps of coffee. One of the highlight tracks off of this year’s Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, M83 gives us the motivation to kick some self-righteous ass. Buy a punching bag, strap on a neon bandana and put this on repeat.

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