It’s been five years since Trent Reznor released a Nine Inch Nails album, but despite the gap, the musical mastermind feels their upcoming album Hesitation Marks is a natural progression. “What fear I had – of ‘What does Nine Inch Nails have to say in 2013?’ – this is it,” Reznor told The New York Times. ” I don’t feel like it’s trying to force something into the wrong container.”
Although Reznor had been publicly focused on How to Destroy Angels over the past few years, he was also simultaneously writing and recording new NIN tracks. Reznor pointed to NIN’s acclaimed 1994 album The Downward Spiral as a strong influence on the tone and lyrics of the new material. “I felt very aware that it’s 20 years later, and I’m still that guy,” Reznor said. “I know that guy, and I feel for him. I don’t resent him, I don’t miss him. But how would things feel on the other side of that now, in a much more stable life place, mentally and physically, and with a new family?”
He continued, “The incentive has changed. It’s not about, ‘I’m going to kill myself if I don’t get this out of my head.’ But the excavation and the architecture behind it, the motivation behind it, is similar.”
Reznor composed much of the album on his laptop and toned down the intensity of his vocals. “It feels sparse, and it feels minimal,” he said. “It’s hard for me to do that. I’ve realized over the years that if I have 100 tracks, I’ll use 110 tracks. This was really about economy. It was just a weird puzzle of grooves.”
That doesn’t mean the record won’t have teeth. “I don’t think it’s a gentle record. I do think it’s more subversive in how it gets you,” Reznor said. “It’s not about everything being at 11 and the pyrotechnics of sound and scare tactics, which I’ve definitely used in the past. But it doesn’t feel like the middle-aged, I’ve-given-up record either.”
“The fact that we’re doing all this only for these few shows, and then we have to do it over again, throwing all this out to do a completely new thing, with new things that won’t work . . . that feels a little insane,” Rezner said.
Hesitation Marks is set for release on September 3rd. NIN are currently touring Asia, and will play Lollapalooza on August 2nd in Chicago. They’ll close out their run of festival shows on September 1st at the Made in America festival in Philadelphia. Their “Tension 2013″ tour will kick off September 28th at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Pharoahe Monch is often considered to be one of the greatest writers in Hip Hop history and any insight into the mind of someone who can pen in his fashion usually draws attention.
On the latest installment of The Process with Peter Rosenberg the Queens native explained how some of his earlier songs came together and how his writing style and music making process has changed over the years. He explains how especially different it was when making Organized Konfusion tracks.
“Back then, it was straight pen to paper every time,” he said. “We were doing the music as well, so I would do a beat, Prince [Po] would do a beat, the crew would do a beat, and then we would conceptualize.” Pharoahe also showed how he uses his “alphabet style” approach to writing rhymes, which is quite different from other emcees.
Pharoahe Monch later broke down the classic track “Simon Says” saying everything that went into making the track was “calculated.”
“Because of the energy of the beat, this is not a song chorus-wise where you would ask of anything,” he explained. “You have to demand of something.”
Watch the full episode of “The Process” here.
Sony Music is proud to announce the release of the original motion picture soundtrack of The Wolverine, composed by the Oscar-nominated Marco Beltrami. Based on the celebrated comic book arc, this epic action-adventure takes Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), the most iconic character of the X-Men universe, to modern day Japan. Out of his depth in an unknown world, he will face a host of unexpected and deadly opponents in a life-or-death battle that will leave him forever changed. Vulnerable for the first time and pushed to his physical and emotional limits, he confronts not only lethal samurai steel but also his inner struggle against his own immortality. The film opens nationwide on July 26, 2013.
New York-born Beltrami has twice been nominated for Academy Awards: for his work on the Western remake 3:10 to Yuma (2007), and for Best Original Score for his music for The Hurt Locker (2010). He studied at the Yale School of Music and in Italy, before learning the trade of film composition with the great Jerry Goldsmith. Beltrami’s career began with the soundtrack of the thriller Death Match in 1994, and he gained renown for his work on horror films such as Mimic (1997), The Woman in Black (2012), and all four films in the Scream series (1995–2011). He has also composed two soundtracks for the Die Hard franchise: Live Free or Die Hard and A Good Day to Die Hard. His versatile talents have, however, taken him far beyond this genre to work on independent films, for which he gained two prestigious awards: a Satellite Award for Best Original Score for the drama film Soul Surfer, and in 2012 the Hollywood Music in Media Award for Best Original Score for the critically acclaimed The Sessions.
Beltrami’s success in writing the soundtracks for mainstream films owes much to his mastery of a big range of orchestral effects, enabling him to produce more interesting sounds than the usual clichés of action and horror music. The music of The Wolverine opens with eerie stillness in “A Walk in the Woods”, then develops in “Threnody for Nagasaki” from growling strings to a dramatic crescendo. Moods of excitement and tension begin in the track “Logan’s Run” with one of Beltrami’s hallmark intense percussion passages. The recurring use of bell sounds hints at Japanese spirituality – combined with themes of rising tension in “The Offer” and “Arriving at the Temple”, or a gentler, harmonious mood in “Two Handed”. The varied instrumentation is evident in the scraped and plucked strings of “Trusting”, while full-on orchestral power is employed for scenes of action and suspense in “The Wolverine” and “Silver Samurai”. Pounding rhythms continue in later numbers such as “Where to?”, but Beltrami brings his soundtrack to a delicately unemphatic conclusion in “Whole Step Haiku”, as a slow theme rises above hollow echoes.
From start to finish, the original soundtrack of The Wolverine is a fine work by an acknowledged modern master of movie composition. Following the release of Marco Beltrami’s music for A Good Day To Die Hard on Sony Classical in 2012, a further treat now lies in store for his admirers and fans of the X-Men series.
About the film
The Wolverine was directed by James Mangold, who is known for Cop Land and Walk the Line. Hugh Jackson has played the Wolverine character since the start of the series. The film opens in theatres everywhere July 26th.
Tracklisting 1. A Walk in the Woods
2. Threnody for Nagasaki
4. Logan’s Run
5. The Offer
6. Arriving at the Temple
7. Funeral Fight
8. Two Handed
9. Bullet Train
10. The Snare
13. Ninja Quiet
14. Kantana Surgery
15. The Wolverine
16. The Hidden Fortress
17. Silver Samurai
18. Sword of Vengeance
20. Goodbye Mariko
21. Where To?
22. Whole Step Haiku
Many musicians who have a lot of experience gigging never cut it in the studio. That’s because they don’t realize that the mentality of the studio is different. Where a gig is fairly loose and usually low pressure, the studio is more job-like and serious. Where on a gig every note you play is gone the second your play it, it may be kept forever in the studio and is under a microscope.
Playing in the studio is a different animal than on a gig and requires different mindset. Here are 5 tips from How To Make Your Band Sound Great and The Studio Musician’s Handbook that will help you get off to a good start in the studio.
Make sure that your gear is comfortable to you. Make sure everything’s working, the cables aren’t crackling, your instrument is in tune and intonated, your tuner is working, and your amp sounds good. Make sure that you can set everything up quickly and be zero hassle to anybody, either technically or personally. Turn off your cellphone. Make it a point that everyone sees that you’re turning off your phone or leaving it outside the studio so they all understand that you’re not interested in phone calls while you’re working. Make the session a priority. – Paul ILL: LA Session Bass Player (Pink, Christina Aguilera, Bill Ward, Tina Turner)
I over-kill. I bring so much more stuff than we’ll use because that’s part of the charm of hiring me. It’s part of the “oooh, aahh” factor, and also it’s to be of service to the muse and the spirit of the session. If you’re not sure what you’re going to be doing or where the music is going to go, that one extra piece that you bring can make the difference. I’ll bring as many basses as I can fit in my car for that day with a B-15. – Paul ILL”
These prep tips are simple yet can be very important to the success of a session. Make them part of your studio routine.
Today, electronic music is a very prominent genre of music, and with so many young producers on the scene, legal issues concerning sampling have become a very real issue. Be sure to watch this clip as Derek Vincent Smith, aka Pretty Lights, discusses the very real ramifications of using unlicensed music in non official tracks, and the potential pitfalls if a producer is not careful.
It’s often overlooked just how spectacular The Beach Boys were as a vocal group. This clip should prove that these guys were second to none as you hear them pull off some complex harmonies with nary a hitch on the song “Let Me Wonder.” They’re soloed at 1:46 where you can really hear what they can do. By the way, the audio stops at 3:46 even though the clip goes to 7:22.
1. Remember that they’re all singing at the same time. There’s no layering going on here like we’d do today.
2. Check out the sound of the tape rewind at the beginning of the clip, something hated back in the day, especially if you were wearing headphones. The next generation of tape machines alleviated the problem by lifting the tape away from the heads during rewind so you didn’t get that noise.
Producer Alex Da Kid discusses his mentors and musical influences. In this clip Alex talks about his approach to studying careers, learning from the greats by observation, and what it takes to be a class act.
New York artist/producer/writer Mike Del Rio sound of alternative soul him a deal with Alex da Kid at KIDinaKORNER records. His newest song “NY LA” radiates future pop with a booming r&b tinged-beat and Mike’s distinct voice that saturates the song with some edge. And just wait for the chorus when the song gushes with such cinematic flair that it’s impossible not to revel in it’s goodness. “NY LA” reminds me of Lovelife’s sound of charismatic pop, which is never a bad thing.
Stream “NY LA” below and check out more on his SoundCloud.
Three years in the making, Skylar Grey’s debut Don’t Look Down finally arrives in stores on Tuesday. Following the release of “C’mon Let Me Ride,” “Final Warning,” and “Wear Me Out,” the singer-songwriter gives us one last video for “White Suburban.” In the clip, a somber Skylar sits at the piano while reflecting on her first love.
“I still remember you in that big old white Suburban/ And though you look right past me with disregard/ And although I’ve since moved on and I’ve been in love a few times/ There’s still a piece of me that holds on to you,” she sings.
She will kick off her “Don’t Look Down” tour in Philadelphia on July 10, playing shows in New York, Boston, Chicago, and L.A.
Eminem serves as the album’s executive producer, with contributions from Big Sean and Travis Barker.
Dubspot instructors and Harvard alumni Sam Zornow (a.k.a. 2X DMC Champion DJ Shiftee) and bassist/singer Dan Freeman of C0 headed up to Cambridge, MA to present a workshop on DJing and production at their old alma mater in April of 2013.
Head over to our blog for more info: http://bit.ly/129Jon7
In this recap video from the second Dubspot DJ / Producer workshop at Harvard University, two of our talented instructors – Harvard grads Dan Freeman (bassist/singer of C0) and Sam Zornow (a.k.a. 2X DMC Champion Shiftee) – visit their old alma mater to present workshops on DJing and production.
Shiftee demonstrates some digital DJing and performance techniques with Native Instruments’ Traktor Pro and Maschine, while Dan Freeman offers production and performance tips and highlights some of the new features of Ableton Live 9 and the new Ableton Push controller.
Check out our channel page for more tutorials, reviews, recaps, interviews, see what our partners are up to and more! And stay up to date with our latest videos by subscribing! http://www.youtube.com/subscription_c…
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Cy Fyre of The Fyre Factory Music Group gives you a look Behind The Beat on Big Boi’s “The Thickets” off his 2nd solo Album “VICIOUS LIES AND DANGEROUS RUMORS” featuring Sleepy Brown, Produced by Cy Fyre Co-Produced by Big Boi & Chris Carmouche.
Dir. By EIGHT HOUR FILMS
Twelve Tones is a brilliant introduction to dodecaphonic music theory that manages to avoid being mind-numbingly boring.
How? By including music history, copyright commentary, cartoonery, existential pondering, Rorschach inkblots, fantastic musical examples and even laser bats.
Check it out and let us know what you think of it!
When RZA heard De La Soul’s “Get Away” single, which was released in April and sampled the Wu-Tang Clan, the rapper-producer was impressed. “I love De La,” RZA says during an interview with XXL. “Listen that goes back to…Prince Paul being one of those guys [who first supported me], and to see De La sampling one of my productions, you know what I mean, that’s cool, yo. It gets no cooler than that, actually.”
Prince Paul, who produced De La Soul’s early material, worked with RZA as part of the rap group Gravediggaz, which debuted in 1994 with its 6 Feet Deep album. De La Soul eventually moved beyond working exclusively with Prince Paul as a producer and De La Soul’s Posdnuos says that he got the idea for using the intro from Wu-Tang Clan’s Forever on “Get Away” after revisiting the group’s 1997 album. It’s also why “The Spirit Of The Wu” is credited as a guest on “Get Away.”
“I stumbled on the original sample while crate digging one day, took it straight to the lab and added drums,” Posdnuos says in an interview with Rolling Stone. “The feel is definitely gritty, hard and sounds like a Wu record, so out of inspirational respect, we included featuring ‘The Spirit of the Wu’ in the song title.”
“Get Away” is slated to appear on De La Soul’s forthcoming You’re Welcome album, which is slated to be released later this year. De La Soul is touring with LL Cool J, Ice Cube and Public Enemy on the Kings of the Mic Tour. The trek runs until July 5, when it concludes at the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans.
Revered as “The Sound of New York,” Young Guru has mixed 10 of Jay-Z’s albums and officially became Jay-Z’s tour D.J. in 2010. “When we study hip-hop we are actually studying the history of piracy. If we go back and study all piracy, we see that most things that were created in the world are a remix of something else.”
The Micro GC, Cube Lite and Cube 20 GX new edition to the practice amp range we get an exclusive first look at them.
Go behinds the scenes of Season Two of ABC’s “Revenge” with composer iZLER. Soundtrack Album available on August 20th from ABC.
iZLER is a Czech born, English raised composer and multi-instrumentalist. iZLER is currently scoring the hit ABC series Revenge, starring Madeleine Stowe, Emily Van Camp and Gabriel Mann. Mike Kelley is creator/executive producer of the show in which Phillip Noyce is a consulting producer as well as director of the pilot and second episode. For Revenge, which is very music driven, iZLER uses a live orchestra that he conducts for each episode, whilst most of the non orchestral instruments heard on the show are played by iZLER himself.
Selected in 2008 to be one of six up-and-coming composers invited to the Sundance Film Composer’s Lab in Utah, iZLER’S ongoing relationship with the Sundance community includes scoring the Sundance backed documentary Whatever It Takes, 2011 festival selection On The Ice and Jonathan van Tulleken’s BAFTA nominated thriller Off Season. A collection of his works were performed live at the opening night of the 2010 festival. He is also the composer of the cult/film festival favorite Humboldt County.
iZLER has written songs for numerous films and TV shows including Shameless, ER, My Best Friend’s Girl, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, This Revolution, and Thief. His song “Superblind” appears on Robbie Williams’ multi-platinum album Reality Killed the Video Star, which was produced by Trevor Horn and based on iZLER’s original production and orchestral arrangement.
In 2009, iZLER was selected for the BMI conducting fellowship under the tutelage of Lucas Richman and has also studied conducting for film with Eimear Noone at UCLA.
iZLER started his career as a touring musician and has toured, recorded and written with artists, producers and composers as diverse as Robbie Williams, Ryan Adams, Marco Beltrami, Dave Stewart, Imogen Heap, Jesse Malin, Kim Caldwell, Kylie Minogue, Brian May, Holly Johnson, as well as many others.
iZLER recently scored Robbie Pickering’s SXSW Film Festival Best Film winner Natural Selection starring Rachael Harris for which he also won the award for Best Film Score. He has scored multiple recent episodes of Showtime’s hit series Shameless. In addition, iZLER composed the music for the Inuit themed thriller On the Ice, which debuted at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and won the Crystal Bear Award at the Berlin International Film Festival. iZLER also wrote the music for The Hammer, a true story based on the inspiring life of deaf UFC fighter Matt Hamill, which has garnered overwhelming critical acclaim and numerous awards including the prestigious Breakthrough Film Award at the 2010 AFI Film Festival.
While Apple’s negotiations with the major labels for its new iTunes Radio service have been well publicized, its dealings with independent labels are just now surfacing. The Wall Street Journal has acquired a copy of the terms Apple is offering to independent labels for royalties and says they are mostly “more generous” than what Pandora pays out.
The payments are based on a combination of how many times songs are played and how much advertising is sold by Apple.
According to the WSJ, in the first year of iTunes Radio, Apple will pay the indie labels 0.13 cents for each play of a song, as well as 15 percent of net advertising revenue, proportionate to a given label’s share of the music played on iTunes. In its second year, the rate increases to 0.14 cents per listen, plus 19 percent of ad revenue.
By comparison, Pandora pays 0.12 cents per listen. The WSJ says that Apple is also offering music publishers more than twice as much in royalties as Pandora. The WSJ also notes that Apple will not pay out royalties for “some performances of songs that are already in listeners’ iTunes libraries, or songs that might be on an album that a listener owns just part of. Similarly, ‘Heat Seeker’ tracks selected by iTunes for special promotions, are also exempted.
Apple also doesn’t have to pay for songs listeners skip before 20 seconds have elapsed.
The company only gets to avoid paying royalties for two songs per hour for any given user.” The terms for independent labels are described as “similar but not identical to those” agreed to by the major labels. In related news,
Apple has applied for a patent to upgrade iTunes Radio down the road.
According to CNet, it would give more customization options and allow for better feedback from the user to Apple as to why you did or didn’t like a particular song. However, the patent dates back to December 2011, so some of the features described may have been intended for iTunes Radio’s initial version.
Here’s a great video where funk guitar virtuoso Nile Rogers talks about his style and his collaboration on the latest Daft Punk record Random Access Memories. Nile just oozes groove, which too many guitar players don’t get, unfortunately.
Another thing to watch is how well this video is done, especially the editing. It’s a good template to work from if you’re editing your own videos.
In an era where YouTube fame can lead to a million dollar Rap career, artists and fans have to figure out how some of Hip Hop’s five pillars remain relevant.
Ask anyone if they think the origins of Hip Hop’s emcee, b-boy, deejay, and graffiti culture have changed, and you’ll be certain to get a unanimous response. Yes. These art forms that comprise Hip-Hop made their rise during the late ‘70s through the early ‘80s and defined themselves as a staple in the South Bronx’s street culture. In an epic Rock and Rap fusion record, “The Escapades Of Futura,” Futura 2000 and Mick Jones of The Clash painted a vivid picture of life as a graffiti writer in New York during the early 1980s. Let’s not forget the impact Richard “Crazy Legs” Colón had on the culture of b-boying, while names like Afrika Bambaataa and Grandmaster Flash serve as iconic figures in the early prominence of deejaying.
So while no one in their right mind would debate the aforementioned five pillars of Hip Hop, I think we have to come to grips with the fact that the entry points to Hip-Hop have changed. Golden Era fans likely point to the fact that those who weren’t artists per se still participated in the culture by deejaying, b-boying and practicing emceeing and even graffiti art as hobbyists and weekend enthusiasts. We’ve seen far less graf writing and b-boying over the last 30 years, technology has changed the perception and methods used for deejaying, and there are probably times when even the most hardcore Hip Hop fans believe that knowledge and overstanding of the culture is lacking. The latter is likely what prompted Nas to declare, “Hip Hop Is Dead” with the title of his 2006 album. To me, all of this leads to one question. How do you participate in Hip Hop in the Digital Age?
The Internet As An Entry Point Into Hip Hop Culture
When prompted with this same question, Compton-bred emcee, Problem, pointed to the World Wide Web.
“I guess you start a successful blog site,” he answered. “I think that’s probably the most effective way…it started as a street hobby, but so did basketball. It’s changed, so you gotta get involved with this shit and find new ways to get in and move. I watched an NBA game, and maybe three out of six commercials had rappers in them. This is it, man. Think of something and jump in! You might change the game. The thing everybody always has to realize though—it all goes back to the music. You still gotta be good.”
Problem’s observation points to an important distinction—not just in Hip Hop—but in all art forms. He notes the difference between what he called a “street hobby” and what has essentially become a multi-billion dollar industry. I’d argue that aside from the obvious difference of Hip Hop being a lifestyle or culture, the immediacy of the Internet can often transform a hobbyist into a professional in the blink of an eye.
“I started playing around in November of ,” Trinidad Jame$ noted, in an interview with Peter Rosenberg and Hot97 FM Program Director Ebro Darden. “Then I just stopped messing with it. Then two months after—in February—I decided to do the tape by myself.”
That tape, Don’t Be S.A.F.E., spawned the single, “All Gold Everything,” which debuted at the #47 spot on Billboard magazine’s “Hot 100” chart before being certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. Jame$ reportedly signed a $2 million deal with the iconic Def Jam Records. Yet it all came courtesy of a memorable hook over an instrumental he grabbed off the mixtape website, DatPiff—all free of charge. It was the same method he used for many records during his come-up days, as Jame$ would resort to grabbing beats off online instrumental CDs. Jame$ didn’t hide his path to success, either, when talking about how he used the Internet to his advantage when making his “All Gold Everything” hit.
“Everything I did was right out there in the open,” Jame$ told HipHopDX. “It wasn’t like it was a hidden secret. You gotta have something that’s worth going viral with. Once you go viral with it, you gotta have something that sticks to people in an original way so they feel like they really want to be a part of it.”
The example of Trinidad Jame$ speaks to the fast-paced nature of Internet-spawned success and an unwritten Hip Hop rule of perfecting one’s craft. I think how much importance each listener puts on both aspects directly informs each individual opinion on if Trinidad Jame$ is a proper representation of Hip Hop culture. Does the immediacy the Internet provides have to be mutually exclusive from perfecting one’s craft?
Paid Dues: The Death Of The Incubation Period
“A lot of kids get to come out too soon,” noted R.A. the Rugged Man, when asked about Hip Hop in the Digital Age. “[Before the Internet], when you was wack, you was learning your craft and you was wack. No one got to witness it worldwide. Nowadays, kids will be like, ‘Yo, I’m dope,’ when they’re still wack. And they get to put their shit all over online and on Facebook. And people will be like, ‘Ahh, that rapper’s wack,’ because he didn’t learn his craft yet. So you’ve got tons and tons of wack, unpolished, horrible rappers putting their fucking songs all over the Internet. They start thinking they’re a Rap star before they’re even good at their craft and before they even know how to make a song. That took at little something out of the game. ”
Granted, R.A. wasn’t speaking specifically about Trinidad Jame$ or any other particular emcee. But I can’t help but wonder if we’re talking about the issue of exposure as opposed to a fundamental shift in the way people—Hip Hop fans included—communicate with each other. I don’t necessarily think emerging emcees were better 30 years ago. But in 1983, a young emcee, deejay, b-boy or graffiti artist was pretty much limited to sharing their efforts with a small circle of peers. During that era, few could afford video equipment or the means to press mass quantities of their product for public distribution. I feel the limitations of technology provided a sort of incubation period as people perfected their craft. I’m not a mind reader, so only time will tell if someone like Trinidad Jame$ is actively working to become a better bar-for-bar rapper. And I’m not sure how we’d objectively measure such a thing anyway.
For now, I don’t think perfecting one’s craft and the immediacy afforded by the Internet have to always be mutually exclusive. Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are part of the fundamental ways we communicate with each other in 2013. What’s the difference between someone in 2013 sharing their personal contribution to Hip Hop with 500 “friends” on the Internet versus someone in 1983 sharing their personal contribution to Hip Hop with 10 friends they personally interact with face-to-face? As someone is perfecting their craft, how do we as listeners separate the baby steps that sometimes lead to innovation versus an untalented contributor that’s better off just being a fan with a day job?
Started From The Bottom: Errors, Innovation & Excellence
“Back then, everybody was a biter,” noted legendary b-boy Richard “Crazy Legs” Colón in a 2010 interview with SceneInteractive.com. “But it was all about how can you bite, come back that next week, make that move yours and put your own little stamp on it?”
To me, Crazy Legs’ quote speaks to the issue of innovation and contributing to Hip Hop in the Digital Age. Whether you’re talking about deejaying, sample-based production or even emcees freestyling over previously used beats, I feel much of Hip Hop culture is comprised of adding on and creating new material from a previous work. Colón added that one of his many legendary innovations, was birthed from some haphazard experimentation while he was still perfecting his craft.
“It was an evolution of accidents,” Colón explained, while chronicling the invention of the infamous b-boying technique of the Windmill. “One day, I was trying to go into a Chair Freeze, and I over-rotated, because I was practicing in a small hallway. We didn’t have studios then, and I was in a tenement building. I went to go into my Chair Freeze, and to prevent myself from hitting my feet against the wall, I kind of whipped my legs around from [a different] position. Then I started spinning, and my cousin was like, ‘Oh shit!’”
I wonder what would have happened if Colón’s awe-inspiring mistake during that Chair Freeze was witnessed by a dozen people via a webcam instead of his cousin? If he’d essentially “gone viral” during what R.A. referred to as that wack period when people are experimenting and perfecting their craft, would we look at him differently?
Ill Communication: A Global Shift In How People Share Information
Ultimately, I think comparing pre-Internet Hip Hop contributions to today’s environment is apples and oranges. Legislation, societal norms, technology and a host of other factors make the decrease in visible b-boys, deejays and graffiti artists more than just an issue of trendiness. And I feel it’s almost impossible to knock how Hip Hop contributors share their contributions when the fundamental way we share everything has changed so much in the last few decades.
“We really are in the middle of a massive change and transformation in telecommunications in general,” noted photographer, producer and deejay Ryan Lewis. “I think just to be a person right now—so much has drastically changed in the world of communications—it’s heavily affected what it means to be a photographer or a producer. We have access to things.”
Lewis’ entry point was certainly aided by technology. He credits software programs and the ability to pursue photography and music production all relatively cheaply (or freely) from the same computer as a reason he is in his current position.
“The access is crazy cheap or free,” Lewis added. “And once you attain a certain skill level, the ability to freely promote and market yourself through social media is sort of the next step to that. It’s a very interesting time, but it’s a very difficult time to get recognized for anything artistically because there’s so many people doing that shit.”
Worldwide Underground: The Digital Tradeoff In Hip Hop
I can’t front as if I was around for the b-boying days of Crazy Legs or the times when KAWS was bombing trains and billboards. That was over 30 years ago. But through a knowledge and appreciation of the culture, the Internet has provided me the opportunity to study the history of Hip Hop’s rich culture. Interestingly enough, part of the reason Golden Era contributors such as Crazy Legs and KAWS are still in the public eye is at least partially due to Internet savvy artists like Kanye West and Clipse. Older heads undoubtedly remember KAWS as the guy who was infamous for bombing trains, walls, and billboards. But to younger fans of the Internet Era, he’s the guy who designed the artwork for West’s 808’s & Heartbreak and Til The Casket Drops by the Clipse.
“When I was younger I just saw [graffiti] as a great outlet,” KAWS explained to Philly.com in an April interivew. “I wake up and make what I want to make. It wasn’t a decision to stop doing one thing. It was more like becoming obsessed with another…When I was doing walls 15 years ago I was thinking about painting. I like painting. I like composition. It’s not really any different than it is now.”
Between artists directly interacting with fans via social media and using willing corporations like Budweiser and Redbull to increase visibility for themselves and their craft, the Digital Age provides more entry points into Hip Hop culture than ever before. In exchange, the ability to filter out a struggling novice from an unskilled, burgeoning pro has pretty much disappeared. An artist’s ability to perfect their craft during an unofficial incubation period is nonexistent. People across the globe can engage in heated debates about the merits of Hip Hop culture. Do the positives outweigh the negatives? I guess that’s something each individual has to answer for him or herself.
“The rappers that did study the craft now have a way of getting their music worldwide,” R.A. the Rugged Man added. “Some kid in Compton can go put his shit online. All of a sudden they’re listening to it in Belgium, Poland, Japan and fucking Slovakia just by this kid pressing a button. So there’s two sides of the Digital Age—it helps, and it hurts.”
It’s no question today’s stars have attained some level of success through talent, but in this Digital Era—in order to spread the word to the world—no other tool is more powerful than the Internet. It’s a tool that has given me the opportunity to reach out to today’s artists, and talk to them regarding their lives in this era. As much as rappers have gained from blogs and music publications, the same goes both ways. Without this commodity, sites worldwide—including HipHopDX—would have a much more difficult time reaching out to the stars and providing readers with more exclusive content. Like it or not, the Digital Era has made everything possible in today’s time.
Additional reporting by Michael Nguyen.
Omar Burgess is a Long Beach, California native who has contributed to various magazines, newspapers and has been an editor at HipHopDX since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @OmarBurgess.
Sugar Bytes has released Thesys – an iPad version of their ‘extremely powerful and intuitive’ MIDI step sequencer app.
Thesys provides a versatile palette of performance options, which can be triggered right from your MIDI keyboard: you can transpose, manipulate, twist up, mutate, and mangle patterns without needing to touch your iPad.
You can use Thesys on your iPad to control apps or external hardware or software synths.
Note that the demo video is for an early version of the desktop version of the app – an updated demo for the iPad version has not been created yet.
iPad Edition Features:
- MIDI file Export
- Integrated Synth
- Audiobus Support (Sender)
- Full MIDI Support (Virtual, Network, Extern)
- Midi Clock Sync (Master & Slave)
- Action Section (Gatetime, Looper, Slowdown…)
- Pattern Sequencer
- Jack iOS Support
You should never treat recording as anything other than something that must take your entire focus. Indeed, you’ll need to give it 100% of your concentration to sound your very best. To that end, recording should never be treated as a party. It’s not a place for your friends or fans to hang out, and it’s not a place for a couple of six packs. Just because you might be a punk band, it doesn’t mean you have to carry the lifestyle over to recording. The Sex Pistols had to be wild, wasted and non-conformist because that was their image, but they were deadly serious when recording. Green Day also had that persona in the early days but were really serious when recording and that’s why they climbed the ladder and most of the others from that scene didn’t. So if you want to make the best recording you can, don’t show up wasted, show up on time, and show up prepared. Good music makes you cool, not your act.”
If Trent Reznor surprised fans when he announced recently that he had secretly been working on Nine Inch Nails’ impending album Hesitation Marks (out September 3rd), they weren’t the only ones: the new LP came as a surprise to Reznor, too, he told L.A. radio station KROQ, as reported by Radio.com.
What started as a couple of tracks for a greatest hits collection he owed his old label, Interscope Records, soon snowballed into enough cuts for an album. Reznor said he “was seizing the moment of inspiration,” though at the time wasn’t sure if he would even release the songs.
Eventually, Reznor signed with Columbia Records (which released the LP from his side project How to Destroy Angels) and put out ”Came Back Haunted,” the first single from Hesitation Marks, a few weeks back. The singer said he will likely release a video for the song, directed by David Lynch, by the end of this week.Reznor has also pieced together a completely new touring lineup for Nine Inch Nails – though that group has already seen a few shakeups. Following the departure of bassist Eric Avery, King Crimson guitarist Adrian Belew (who does appear on Hesitation Marks) also bowed out.
Reznor said the lineup changes have been “disruptive,” adding, “you can spend a lot of time hypothesizing, imagining and projecting what it’s gonna be with this chemistry and this recipe of people in a room playing music, and in reality it rarely is that.”
Still, Reznor’s confident in the band he’s set to tour with this fall: “It’s felt like a wrench in the works at times, but at the same time it’s made me rethink a lot of how we put this together, and I think where we’re ending up at is a place that’s much truer to what Nine Inch Nails should be . . . and better in the long run.”
Reznor also divulged a bit about the stage setup for NIN’s upcoming live dates – some festivals this summer, and a massive tour this fall – comparing it to 2008′s “very video heavy” Lights in the Sky tour. “I’ve always enjoyed the idea of presenting the band in an interesting way and paying attention to the production and stage design,” Reznor said. “It frames the music. And if you’re paying to come see a show, I think you should be taken to a different place. It should be an experience not just for your ears, but it envelopes you.”