“Paradise Circus”- Massive Attack vs Burial (Remix Series #1)

I have found myself listening to a lot of remixes lately, perhaps because of Skrillex? (More on that in a later post). Whatever the reason is, I wanted to do a series on my current favorite remixes. So in the upcoming post, look for some really neat reworkings of Nine Inch Nails, Massive Attack, The Doors, and more!

As a rule, I love the originals of songs the best and really don’t go seeking out remixes or covers. For me, covers are never as good as the original since I am so familiar with the original and any deviation just seems wrong, especially if it is a different voice. Remixes however normally contain the same vocals and much of the same musical quality of the original, just spun a bit differently. The best type of music to remix in my opinion is electronic music since it just seems to lend itself to be reworked very easily.

For example, Massive Attack can be described as a trip hop, ambient, and electronical in sound. They play around with many different background sounds to produce songs that not only have powerful lyrics but songs that create an sensual, relaxing, and at sometimes psychedelic aura. Thus, when I saw that Burial, another one of my favorite electronic artists, partnered up with Massive Attack to produce not one but two songs, I was ecstatic.

Robert Del Naja and Grant Marshal of Massive Attack and the cover of Burial's album Untrue

As much as Massive Attack creates an amazing background landscape for their songs, Burial creates landscapes that ARE his songs. He takes  countless layers of interesting songs, and then loops, mixes, and distorts them until they have the power to make you feel things you thought were impossible to experience while listening to music. In his remix of “Paradise Circus,” he does just that. He brings in sounds from the original song and mixes them with others. The best part of the remix is how he keeps the beauty of the vocalist (Hope Sandoval) while slowing down the tempo and adding a dreamy fuze to the piece.

Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star amoung other acts

As a warning, the song is long (over 12 minutes) and does deviate from the original “Paradise Circus” quiet a bit. In the last 4 minutes, it is hardly recognizable with swelling arpeggios and hugely-distorted vocals. However, I am fine with it. I love the beginning of the Burial’s–it is a true remix of “Paradise Circus” and keeps the very sensual but melancholy and yearning feeling of the original. The rest of the song has this same feeling while incorporating Burial’s signature style. I love both renditions and I will listen to them both at different times depending on my mood. Additionally, I hope that these artists collaborate more in the future. The combination of their styles is breathtaking.

Massive Attack vs Burial “Paradise Circus”

 

Massive Attack “Paradise Circus”

Have a favorite remix you want to share?

ll

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Filed under 2-Step Garage, Ambient, Burial, Massive Attack, Remix, Trip Hop

The Black Keys, a concert, and house-hunting

Just bought tickets to see The Black Keys in Chicago!

Okay, I couldn’t hold it in. I needed to shout that out. Although I am not going to see them for another month, I am so excited. Like always, I am going to the concert with my dad. This will be the third concert I have gone to with him and it is sort of our special thing.

I don't have a good picture of just my father but I do love this photo of my parents.

However, this trip is going to be more amazing than just a concert. We are also going to go house-hunting in Iowa City for a place for me to live when I go to grad school starting this summer! I have already been looking at houses on-line and I have found a few that are nice, close to campus, and reasonably priced. I have also found one that is $1.5 million, huge, beautiful, amazingly decorated, and has a children’s playroom in the attic complete with a built-in massive dollhouse (I mean, what more could you ask for than a kick-ass dollhouse). I feel though that it is a bit out of my price range.

Because of this momentous, happy occasion, I am including not one but TWO songs in today’s post. Okay, the real reason is that I couldn’t pick my favorite The Black Key’s song so I just had to include two. 🙂 And my favorite songs pretty much change daily for this band. I have yet to find a song I dislike.

“Gold on the Ceiling”

“Money Maker”

Favorite Concert you have been to?

Right now, my favorite is definitely the U2 concert I saw almost 7 years ago.

ll

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Filed under Alternative, Rock, The Black Keys

“Morning Glory”- Oasis

THROW BACK TO THE 90’s!

Okay, okay. So I love 90s music. Well, not all 90’s music. I really wasn’t all that into the boy bands, Britney, or really any of the ‘pop” groups. But I love the alternative scene. Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails, Marcy Playground, Sheryl Crow, Deftones, R.E.M. One band that was really popular but I have never really gotten into is Oasis. Now, I will probably have a lot of people disagreeing with me, but I just don’t understand the why they were SO very popular. Sure, they have a few songs that I like. But not one that I have to play over and over again because I cannot get enough.

That being said, I really like their song “Morning Glory.”

It basically sums up how I feel every morning–leave me alone until I am ready to talk to you. But, I am a college student so that is pretty much impossible. Discussion-based classes at 9? Why yes, I love talking about complicated musical theory and harmonic pitches before my coffee has kicked in.

Plus, the music video to this song is great. Again, I would love to be able to do what they do–play their music very loud and not care what others think. I mean, there are songs (like this one) that beg to be listened to at high volumes. Maybe some day I will. Right now I have to worry about neighbors hearing EVERYTHING through the paper thin walls of the dorm rooms. Three more months to graduation and my own house.

What is your favorite 90s group?

ll

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Filed under 90s, Alternative, Oasis, Pop

“Forgive”- Burial and the Power of Music

This semester, I am taking a Music and the Mind class. Right now the class is rather boring since we are sort of learning about the evolution of music and how it compares to language by using  a linguistic standpoint. But I am really excited to see how the class progresses and hopefully we will spend a lot of time on how music can have such a profound effect on emotions.

Obviously, the lyrics of songs can affect emotions greatly, from songs about happy times to sad love songs. For example, “Almost Lover” by A Fine Frenzy will always remind me of my ex-“whatever we were but definitely not boyfriend and girlfriend.” The lyrics to me describe what we almost had and what we will never have again.

Goodbye, my almost lover
Goodbye, my hopeless dream
I’m trying not to think about you
Can’t you just let me be?
So long, my luckless romance
My back is turned on you
I should’ve known you’d bring me heartache
Almost lovers always do

But the thing about music is that it doesn’t have to have words to produce strong emotions. I think the best example I can give is the work of Burial, a English electronic artists that was for years anonymous and produced albums that were highly acclaimed by The Wire and Metacritic, among others. In 2008, Burial finally broke anonymity and announced his real name–William Bevan of South London.

William Bevan and the cover of Untrue, his second studio album

It is hard for me to describe his music. It is listed as dubstep on Wiki, but it is far from the wub wub wub…..bass drop of today’s dubstep, Rather, it is closer to the old 90’s dub step that came out of the 2-step garage music. Burial’s music has very few lyrics and is composed of layers of repeating electronic sound that waxes and wanes during the songs. But something about the music can produce intense emotions that literally make me stop what I am doing, sit down, and listen to the sounds weave in and out of my ears. Emotions such as loneliness, emptiness, regret, anxiousness, and longing for something I cannot name, but at the same time peacefulness, content, and almost joy.

For example, listen to this song…

To me, “Forgive” sounds exactly like walking in a city at 4am. Lights are dim, people walk silently around. I am walking alone: remembering moments good and bad. Loneliness is inevitable but so is this sense of contentedness with life the way it is. I cry, but because of sadness or happiness I am not sure.

How can a song do this to a person? How can a song, just tones layered over each other, produce real, lasting emotions that can reduce a person to tears?

ll

PS. If you liked “Forgive” check out “Ghost Hardware,” also by Burial.

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Filed under 2-Step Garage, A Fine Frenzy, Burial

“Backseat”- New Boyz ft. The Cataracs and Dev

So I promised a happier post on Tuesday. So, here is a short and overdue post.
Everyone has guilty pleasures right? Mine are bad TV shows and sub-par dance music. Since this post is about music and not about TV, I will not share  my love of America’s Next Top Model (I know, I know, I hate Tyra too. The show is just so addictive to watch).

Allison Harvard, the true winner of the ANTM All Star Cycle

But I will share my “dance song of the week,” since normally I can only take so much of a popular dance number before I tire of it. This one is a little late aka the song came out in May but it is has been in my head all week. Please don’t judge 😦

Really, the only reason this song is listenable to me is Dev, whom I think I am developing a crush on. Or at least I just want the dress she is wearing in this video. So just a “clothes crush.”

I know I am a day early, but I hope everyone has a great weekend. I know mine will include sleep and homework… but also a fair share of dancing. There is a New Order Dance Party this weekend on campus!

Any fun plans for the weekend?

ll

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Filed under Dev, Hip-Hop, New Boyz, Pop, The Cataracs

“Something I Can Never Have”- Nine Inch Nails and My Eating Disorder

(Note: This post is sort of dark in nature. I am sorry, I will try to post something happier tomorrow)

As I have repeated many times on this blog, Nine Inch Nails is and probably forever will be my favorite band. And I have not posted one of their songs since AUGUST! Granted, it was a seven post series on their third album, The Downward Spiral. But I recently (aka a month ago) I was listening to NPR and Terry Gross was interviewing Trent Reznor! Now, I have listened to every interview Trent has ever given (that I could find on youtube) and this one is by far the best. For one, it was over 35 minutes long, probably one of the longest. And Terry Gross is one of the best interviewers I have heard. She asks the right questions, but is so polite and considerate of whom ever she is interviewing.

If you want to listen to it, and I highly recommend it, here is the link.

Most of the interview was about “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” because Reznor and Atticus Ross composed the soundtrack to the movie. The soundtrack is amazing by the way. Here is my favorite. I didn’t think anyone could best Led Zeppelin’s version of “Immigrant Song,” but Reznor, Ross, and Karen O did.

However, towards the end of the interview, Terry Gross started asking about NIN and the future of NIN. This is the part of the interview where I was literally sitting on the edge of my seat. Unfortunately, Reznor didn’t outright say that NIN would tour again but he did bring up a something that resonated with me as much as his music. He talked about that if he played those older songs, (many from The Downward Spiral album when he too was experiencing his own downward spiral into drugs and depression) it would be hard for him to revisit those bad times that are so connected to certain songs.He also discussed how these songs have changed in meaning over time.

Trent Reznor, 2011

Today, when I listening to NIN’s first album Pretty Hate Machine, I realized that even as a listener some of NIN earlier songs are very emotional to listen to because of things that have happened in the past. When I first listened to “Something I Can Never Have,” I was severely relapsing with my eating disorder: exercising 7 hours a day, eating very little food, and worrying constantly about what I looked like and how much I weighed. I knew I was headed down a bad path that would probably lead to the same outcome as a few years earlier–hospitalization. At this time, the lyrics to “Something I Can Never Have” echoed this thought of a “perfect body” that I could never have (“I just want something/I can never have”). But the lengths that I was going was scaring me (“I’m down to just one thing/And I’m starting to scare myself”).

Today I am better, though probably will never be fully recovered. I still strive for something. It is not to have the “perfect body” but rather self-acceptance. I know now that my life will not be “more perfect” if I lose weight, but I still strive to lose the self-hatred and self-doubt that I still battle with on a daily basis. This song will always remind me of the bad times. I guess you could say it acts as a “fading fucking reminder of who I used to be.” But I will still listen to it even if it is through tears. Not just because it is beautifully crafted and Reznor’s voice is amazing (as always), but because it also reminds me that I never want to go back to that place. I want to slowly and surely release myself from the eating disorder that has plagued my life for over nine years of my life. I want to move on and capture that something that I have never had–self acceptance.

ll

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Filed under Eating Disorder, Industrial, NIN, Terry Gross, Trent Reznor

“Heart-Shaped Box”- Nirvana

Even though my friend Matt always says the best grunge band is not Nirvana but rather Bush and the only reason that Nirvana is so popular is because of Kurt Cobain’s death, I have to disagree. For one, they are an amazing band and that has nothing to do with the fact that Cobain sadly committed suicide.  Additionally, Cobain’s voice just fits the angst-filled lyrics and distorted guitars that is grunge. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is by far Nirvana’s most popular song. It was featured on Nevermind, an album that changed the music scene not only in Seattle but around the world.

But I have already talked about that song (and about my love of flannel shirts). But my new favorite Nirvana song is quickly becoming “Heart-Shaped Box” from their 1993 In Utero, right before Kurt’s downward spiral. It is one of their slower songs, but it allows Kurt’s voice to shine through the distorted background noise.

Many people say that this song is about Courtney Love and Cobain’s relationship. But I really disagree. The lyrics fit well with the theory that it is about a child with cancer. And the music video sort of fits with that take on the lyrics. Though the music video is layered with meaning, many layers which I am just starting to understand.

Overall, it is a great song and the chorus will probably be stuck in my head all day long.

Hey! Wait! I got a new complaint
Forever in debt to your priceless advice
Hey! Wait! I got a new complaint
Forever in debt to your priceless advice

Nirvana: Good or just hyped because of the death of Cobain?

ll

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Filed under Grunge, Nirvana