drwex: (Default)
Another snippet of what I'm listening to. Shockingly, more London Grammar.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLTVQugvros

Here they are covering Fleetwod Mac's "Dreams", which is one of my favorite F.M. songs. I'm not enamored of the keyboard arrangement on this one but Hannah Reid's voice continues to drench me in joy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBhgm75h-sI

Bonus! Here's a vid from last year of them covering Beyonce's "All Night". I'm less fond of the base song but more fond of this arrangement. Go figure.
drwex: (VNV)
Not posting music doesn't mean I'm not listening to it. But I'm not as deeply engaged with it as I usually am. I think that's probably not good for my mental health. Music has such power for me. I'll just give you this one, which nearly brought me to tears just for its sheer beauty.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_TXvjDE5Ec

P.S. I'm still enough of a lighting tech geek to want to slap the designer & board op for this show.
drwex: (VNV)
There is NEW LONDON GRAMMAR out.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqhgXAGP4Ho

It is omfg amazing. Just listen, I'll wait.

I am not normally a fan of full or nearly full orchestration on most things. Her voice works so well with this I didn't even realize how much backing she had until the camera panned over them.

Also, I'm getting the sense that London Grammar are no longer a hidden secret thing. This video went up on Dec 31sh and is well over half a million views already. That doesn't stop me wanting to tell everyone about it because wow.

We now return you to your regular updates. I'll do a regular music post at some point I promise.
drwex: (Troll)
I usually try to have five or six tracks to blog when doing a music post, but all three of the offerings below clock in at over half an hour so there's plenty to keep your ears occupied. They also represent three very different corners of my listening stream; I don't imagine anyone but me is going to like all three but maybe one or two will appeal. Anyway, enough blah-blah, on with the tunes.

https://soundcloud.com/ghettofunk/b-side-detta-the-mountain-meal
B-Side, Detta, and Howla have gotten together as Ghetto Funk Crew to make this promo mix. It's half an hour of rap and hip-hop infused funk. I really like the fusion. Funk has underlain hip-hop since its early days and this style goes back to the roots. It also has some pretty reggae segments mixed in, as well as Motown-type gospel harmonies. And it's significantly lacking in the overused b* and n* words that turn me off much current hip-hop.

https://soundcloud.com/ummetozcan/ummet-ozcan-presents-innerstate-ep-27
Ummet Ozcan is someone I used to listen to more when I first got into EDM, when he had what seemed to me a more European style. The Innerstate sets have been more standard EDM/house and less vocal, so I don't blog them much. This particular mix happened to hit me at the right time and it's got a lot of serious bangers mixed in with the lovely piano solos and electric orchestral bits.

http://londongrammash.com/
Fissunix got together with his friends LeeDM101 and Colatron and created this double-disc of London Grammar mashes. It's musical heaven when it's at its best and not bad on a couple of what I think are filler tracks. If you've been reading me for a while now you'll not be surprised to know that I think the best tracks are those that feature Hannah Reid's voice strongly, such as the "London Hybrid" that leads off disc one. If you just want to stream the whole thing you can also listen on Soundcloud (https://soundcloud.com/fissunix/sets/london-grammash) but the download is at this site.
drwex: (Troll)
http://concerts.livenation.com/event/01004CD4E093A76D

London Grammar will be back in Boston, this time at the House of Blues which has EXCELLENT sound. Show date is Nov 17. Tickets should be on sale this Friday.

My plan is to get some mezz front seats, which I think have both the best sound and view and there's enough room to get up and dance.

I'd love company.

(If you have no idea what I'm talking about, start here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6drfp_3823I)
drwex: (VNV)
On Friday, not 10 minutes after telling DJ Purple that I was putting together a music post, my building lost power and they sent us all home. Since all my open tabs are here (I listen to a lot of music at work; let me tell you about my lovely loud cubicle environment some day) this had to wait.

All the songs here are favorites reworked; I'll save the new tracks for next time.

https://soundcloud.com/bel-air-deejayz/stromae-alors-on-danse-bel-air
While looking up some old favorites I came across this, which is Bel Air's bootleg of Stromae's "Alors on Danse". It's really more of a mash-up, as it draws heavily on Egypt's "In The Morning", a bloopy disco electronica track from years ago (that's the source of the "Let your love come in" vocals) and several other uncredited tracks. I remain fond of Alors and this was a nice find.

https://soundcloud.com/bel-air-deejayz/sebastian-ingrosso-vs-daft
Another rework of a perennial favorite from Bel Air: Daft Punk's "Harder Better Faster", this time mashed up against Swedish DJ Sebastian Ingrosso's "Reload" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuAtcpFQpMw), a Euro tech-pop hit from last summer. Once again the Bel Air DJs haven't done much but lift the best bits of their source tracks, and that's OK.

https://soundcloud.com/lobsterdust/too-busy-thinkin-marvin-gaye-vs-touchgo-lobsterdust-mashup
Lobsterdust offers up a sweet little house mash-up of a classic Marvin Gaye track, "I'm Too Busy Thinkin' (About My Baby)". The track retains a fair bit of Gaye's original soul sound, but with modern up-tempo beats. Lobsterdust is, as always, an excellent technician. I just wish he's put in a few more surprises in his tracks.

https://soundcloud.com/londongrammar/london-grammar-hey-now-zero-7-remix
https://soundcloud.com/londongrammar/london-grammar-hey-now-sasha-remix
Two recent remixes of London' Grammar's "Hey Now" give a chance to compare-and-contrast. The first is Zero 7's slinky electro groove. This one tip-toes into the darker air you can hear in the original track, but doesn't dive in headfirst. The track tries to keep a lighter feel with a persistent upbeat that I think doesn't improve the effort. It's apparently taken from their limited edition vinyl release so the track ends rather abruptly. Not bad, but wouldn't make me sit up and take notice.

The second is Sasha's chill-dance remix. Unfortunately, Sasha doesn't seem to share my belief that Hannah Reid's voice is the main thing you want out of London Grammar. He fills the first couple minutes of this track with completely disposable electronica that would be good to play in a club while people were filing in, but doesn't make for good focused listening. We are Not Impressed with Sasha, sorry.

https://soundcloud.com/discosid-mashups-1/rihanna-vs-panjabi-mc-beware-of-the-rudeboy-discosid-mashup
Discosid is someone I've been listening to off and on for a few months but haven't liked anything enough to blog. Here he hits a solid double by mashing two of my favorites: Rihanna's "Rudeboy" and the Panjabi MC's piece from a few years ago that he did with Jay-Z called "Beware". The mash uses Panjabi beats and Indian traditional riffs with Rihanna's voice, which I think is a wise choice.
drwex: (VNV)
For the non-local, The Paradise is something of a legendary Boston venue. It's been around forever and in my opinion has never been above "mediocre" in its quality as a place to see a show. But it's run by one of the big names in Boston music booking so lots of acts play there. There also aren't a lot of other venues in its size. It's comfortable with 250 people but it can pack in close to 500 (by my eyeball estimate - London Grammar sold out).

Unfortunately, the club sucks as a venue to see music. You can be on the floor, with several major pillars obstructing lines of sight, and be pressed into a crush (*) or you can be up on the balcony, with the ceiling just a couple feet above your head crushing all the acoustics. The floor is arranged side-to-side so the number of spaces in front of the band is about 1/3 of the total. They also tend to mix the sound WAY TOO FUCKING LOUD for a venue of that size.

The opening act (Haert - yes, it's written that way) were so loud as to be painful. When London Grammar went on Hannah Reid was clearly having problems with the audio in her earpieces. At first I thought she had a cold - her voice was oddly flattened in certain ranges - then I realized they had just completely fucked up the mix of the high-mid ranges. She sang around it to some extent but I lost count of the number of grimaces she made while fidgeting with her earpieces.

London Grammar were as good as they could be given that it's late on the tour - they've been on the road since SXSW - and they're clearly tired. They also have not developed a lot of their own material and didn't do several of the covers they've done at other events. There was also a sort of awkward bit of on-stage where they haven't developed the kind of easy banter you see some acts engage in. I was very amused when Reid dropped into her native accent to call one of her bandmates a "right git" but the three of them just don't have the on-stage personas you see from more polished acts.

All of which is to say, yes, these guys remain awesome and I was really happy to see them despite all the drawbacks. Knowing about London Grammar now feels like knowing a secret everyone else has yet to discover. I keep expecting them to break really big any day now, because of course everyone will appreciate this fantastic thing.

I bought a signed CD because it was there and some day I hope to be one of those annoying hipsters who can say "Oh, yes, but I saw them back in 2014 in a small club..."

(*) I was amused by the guy next to me who was either copping a feel or seeing if he could lift my wallet apologizing for "bumping into" me. Dude, keeping your hand down at that level is not "bumping into".
drwex: (pogo)
Meeting cancelled, can I sneak in a music post? With the business of work lately I haven't had time to listen to a lot of things, but still there are some tabs. Several of these tracks are

https://soundcloud.com/londongrammar/london-grammar-devil-inside-1
I'm hoping to see London Grammar this Friday and I'm stoked for the show, so let me share with you a cover they posted a few weeks ago of my favorite INXS tune, "Devil Inside". This is so different from the original it's startling. But beautiful. What made INXS work for me was Michael Hutchence's voice, and here Hannah Reid takes it on beautifully. The music is mostly transposed to piano, as you'd expect from London Grammar and if I have any quibble it's that they wait too late (3:30 or so) to bring in the full orchestration.

https://soundcloud.com/mashupgermany/mashup-germany-i-am-who-i-am
Another brilliant track from Mashup Germany. Seven tracks, largely built around Mark Morrison's "I am what I am". It's smooth and gentle, as befits the component tracks. He even manages to throw in some Ke$ha without it spoiling things.

https://soundcloud.com/djschmolli/upgrade-the-casbah
DJ Schmolli starts off with a fairly basic "Rock the Casbah" mix and then starts pulling in other things. Around 2:00 he grabs some Ofra Haza to float over the bongos, which works surprisingly well. Unfortunately it then swaps back to Beyonce, which doesn't do her much credit in the comparison.

https://soundcloud.com/scottscottscott/do-it-again
Scottscottscott pulls together five tracks in a mix that I kept thinking was going to go off the rails as a trainwreck but he manages it brilliantly. It's got good energy but never goes off into frenetic.

https://soundcloud.com/sebwax/indochinevsgossip
Sebwax - a French DJ I had not heard before - does something awesome here. He's taken Beth Ditto's vocals from "Perfect World" - which I really like - and laid them over a the instrumental track from French rockers Indochine's "College Boy" (I was going to link to the video, but it's pretty disturbing; find it if you must).

https://soundcloud.com/djmightymauz/dj-mighty-mauz-your-blessed
DJ Mighty Mauz turns in a fully respectable house dance mash-up, using one of the few Christina Aguilera tracks I like and the Avicii standard "Blessed". As with most of these mash-ups the question is "has the mix improved things?" and in this case I think the mix is an improvement on both the originals. This is my kind of "dance around the room when I need to get stuff done" music.

https://soundcloud.com/neash-sddbmusic/slynk-vs-soundboy-tom-vs
You call something "The Funk Mash-up" and you know I'm there. This is labeled "ghetto funk" which as far as I can tell involves mixing up classing funk tracks with some of the more contemporary rap/hip-hop tracks that were inspired by the original funk masters. This mix ends up being a little more disjointed than some of the smooth mixes I've linked to here, but it's a good effort using some of my favorite music.

https://soundcloud.com/thomasjackmusic/israel-kamakawiwoole-1
I mentioned Thomas Jack a few months ago - back then for a beautiful symphonic house track. Here he's got a huge winner of a remix. The original is Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's famous ukelele rendition of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow/What A Wonderful World". This track has been used in at least half a dozen movies and it's hard to see how it could be improved on. What Jack does is something he calls "Tropical House" and that's just the right fit. It keeps Iz's gentle vocals and uke work but gives it an up-tempo feel and house touches. Gorgeous.
drwex: (pogo)
I woke up crying from a dream of my mother. Every visit with her these days is hard and I'm ashamed I don't visit more. We visited three of the days we were in PA this time.
Thing 1 )
Thing 2 )
Thing 3 )
Things 4 )
And finally:
The future is all around us, waiting in moments of transition to be born in moments of revelation.
drwex: (pogo)
Closing down the tabs as a form of holiday cleaning, including a double-shot of Mashup Germany. Here we go:

https://soundcloud.com/housemusic/rocks-n-stones-extended-mix-by
Dem Slackers turns in a nice electro-house mix (please do NOT go claiming that 4 minutes is "extended") of his own "Rocks n Stones". I wish I could identify the vocalist; she sounds vaguely Katy Perry-ish, but MizA disagrees. If you listen to the vocal sustains that start around 2:40 you can hear she's got some potential but it's still too heavily autotuned to be sure.

https://soundcloud.com/looandplacido/knife-party-vs-the-rapture-vs
Loo & Placido do a kind of strong electro slam-mix that can be a lot of fun when it works, and this one works. It's a five-way mash that is scheduled to appear on their New Year's release bootleg pack. I'll try to blog more of the tracks once it's released. Meanwhile this is some highly danceable stuff.

https://soundcloud.com/nickraymondg/london-grammar-strong-live
This is Live City (https://www.facebook.com/LiveCityMusic) remixing London Grammar's summer blue-collar ballad "Strong" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6drfp_3823I). I have to say that even though it's a bit cliche' I love her idea that 'strong' for a man is tenderly caring for a child. Also, fireworks. Take that Katy Perry. OK, where was I? Right, this remix - it's labeled prog-house but it feels more like standard vocal house. Hannah Reid (the singer for London Grammar) still carries this track the way she does the original. Vocals + piano + dance beats = beautiful, what can I say?

https://soundcloud.com/nickraymondg/sandro-silva-quintino-epic-2
Just Fine and Atik did an electro-stomping remix of Sandro Silva & Quintino's "Epic". The original (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQKsLOPK_ls) is a high-BPM summer dance vibe that's pretty heavy on the thump. The bootleg use a slightly slower tempo and more orchestration, but it's still instrumental thumpy dance. The best part is definitely starting around 2:15 where the track drops to almost slinky riddim styles before speeding back up again.

https://soundcloud.com/mashupgermany/mashup-germany-du-hast
https://soundcloud.com/mashupgermany/mashup-germany-are-you-gonna
OK you've been very patient to get this far so here's your reward. Mashup Germany has been really prolific of late, but much of it has been German-language things that haven't really grabbed me. Rammstein, however, is a horse of another color altogether. This is a four-way mash built around their classic "Du Hast" which is a song I simply cannot play at less than volume 11. I also laughed out loud at the transition at 1:45 - it's the sort of "he did NOT..." transition I love in Mashup Germany's work.

The second one is listed as Mashup-Germany vs. DJ Schmolli because M.G. started with a Schmolli mash and then added his own touch. This is great work, though I think it's a little slow to start - the track doesn't really kick into high gear until almost 1:30. I've been sort of disappointed by Schmolli's efforts lately - he's doing a mash-a-day thing - and it's nice to be reminded that he did great work in the past and it can be made even better.

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