The mashup is a dubious thing in music. When they’re good, they’re really good-consider Danger Mouse’s acclaimed blend of Jay-Z’s black album with the Beatles’ white album, “The Grey Album“-get it?
Remember when mashups were cute?
But really, do you get it? Do you see how the album got cooler (more internetworthy) by having a name that’s fun/clever?
It’s understandably irresistible to work in some wordplay when merging things, but this hallmark of the modern mashup has had an undesirable side effect: the birth of mashup ideas based on wordplay (or other conceptual novelties-like photoshops-that become available when song A is juxtaposed with song B). The problem is that song A and song B just might not be mashuppable. In fact (FACT), they usually aren’t unless at least one of them is skillfully disassembled first (a fact overlooked by armies of cut-and-paste DJs equipped with an arsenal of illustratively potent YouTube tutorials). The internet’s been getting landfilled with bungled mashups and we could stop it if awareness could be raised on some essential ingredients to a mashup engineering.
You don’t get to name the track until it’s done
Mastering is important to add some uniformity across the (separately mastered) source tracks
A cappellas should be used to isolate vocal tracks
Beat signature and song structure matter. Shuffle pieces around and see what works.
With due advisories out of the way, let’s talk about Shchmue, Tampa’s own Ryan Dubas. He doesn’t play shows (yet?) and rarely shares his music outside of a circle of trusted friends. He and I (and countless others) share e-composer masterminds Richard D. James and Aaron Funk (Aphex Twin and Venetian Snares) as major influences – it keeps the bar high but the output low. Greg Gillis, a proficient IDM/experimental producer endured a similar path of anonymity in perfectionism before deciding to start messing around with pop samples. Most now know him now as Girl Talk, the unofficial emperor of mashups.
The take-away? Attention to detail (and not shallow points of conceptual novelty) are what make mashups good, so take note of the producers behind mashups because they are the common element behind ones that you should actually add to your library. Shchmue has offered up one such example – a 6-min “mashchup megamix” that fuses 19 different tracks together in true mashup spirit. He revealed the track to an audience of other local producers and musicians at a recent listening party. As the mix unfolded I think we all realized at the same time that Ryan had upped the ante.
You may not recognize the tracks (like the lead-in with unknown chiptune heater ?Maybe [MX remix]? by Fighter X), but that?s part of the point ? song recognition and ?oh neat? moments might carry a mashup through the initial listen, but it?s not enough to keep it on repeat. We?re going on the record saying that Shchmue?thanks to due study of the mashup scene, production methods, and basic music theory?is doing the mashup justice. We are excited to see how it unfolds when it?s finished in the workshchop.
I want to tell you how exhilarating it is to proudly tote your newest vinyl find home and spend the better part of two hours pouring over the liner notes. I want to tell you with certainty that your favorite band will sound better on vinyl.
But, this could be a lie. I sacrificed my record player and modest record collection back in “The Great Break Up of 2009″ to an ex-boyfriend who supposedly enjoyed all of those things much more than I did. And I must (somewhat bitterly) admit that most of my music(ing) takes place in a vehicle or at the gym, so vinyl doesn’t really fit into my life. But none of this makes me any less excited about Record Store Day.
While I won’t be first in line for the Wilco box set, you’ll find me in St. Pete this Saturday soaking up sun, songs, and copious amounts of beer. The 600 Block does it so beautifully right for Record Store Day. Doors to Daddy Kool open at 8 AM (line starts at 6ish, so beware) with a DJ set to get things going. Live music starts at the Local 662 at noon, and I sincerely hope you stick around until later that night to see Meteoreyes at 10:45. Live music starts at Fubar at 1:00 PM. There will be fun, food, a chance to fight a kid for that Ugly Custard LP you wanted, and in case I haven’t mentioned it, beer.
If you’re on the other side of the bridge, I will try not to judge you too harshly and also point you in the direction of Mojo Books and Music by the USF Tampa campus. They open at 9 AM and DJ Sam Esser will play your RSD purchase on the spot, should you let him hold your precious Kimbra EP. Even if you don’t want to share, we’ll understand. Over in the Seminole Heights area, Microgroove will open at 7 AM and have live music from 1 PM – 4 PM. They will also have complimentary PBR throughout the day, which may be enough to make them my pregame spot. (So I pregame RSD, don’t judge me. I’m not the one waiting for the Switchfoot CD.)
Daddy Kool, the Local 662 and Fubar will have the best block party, hands down. At about 11:30 PM I will be drunk and teary and mumbling how beautiful the day was. Yes, I will make myself available for sloppy photo-ops. The 600 block will also have the biggest selection of live shows. Daddy Kool will be have storewide discounts throughout the day.
Mojo Books and Music also boasts an array of sales and free goodies (and beer!) along with a decent line up of shows. I’m not sure what to expect from Microgroove since this is their first RSD, but they offer free beer and a few shows along with storewide sales. However, Microgroove has an ace up their sleeve; if you spend $40, you get into the Blackbird Blackbird show at New World Brewery that night for $5. If you spend $80, you get in free. I can’t stress enough how much you should go see Blackbird Blackbird, I wouldn’t lie to you about this. I know I kind of lied to your earlier, but we have to get past these trust issues.
And last but certainly not least, if you’re feeling frisky and want a road trip for RSD, you absolutely must go to Sweat Records in Miami. RSD ambassador and badass himself Iggy Pop will be there.
You don’t have to be a vinyl elitist to have a blast on RSD. You can meet cool people and set up carpools to future shows, gorge yourself on vegan baked goods, enjoy hours of free live music, score that CSC Funk Band 7″, drink yourself silly and best of all, support your community and the local record stores we hope never ever disappear. And for those of you wetting yourself over The Pharcyde Singles Collection, well, you already know what’s up.
One of our favorite lo-fi/dreampop outfits, Blackbird Blackbird-San Fran’s Mikey Maramag-has quickly gone from featuring once or twice in our playlists to earning a full time spot on our “Albums we really like listening to in the car.” Our initial worry was that there were too many chillwave/popwave/indiewave/wavewave bands out there, but Blackbird Blackbird reminds us that isn’t the case (yet). Fans of Orlando’s Emily Reo might recognize the name thanks to her collab on one of BB’s most popular tracks, Fade to White.
Blackbird Blackbird’s tour is making its second stop in Florida this Saturday, supported by Florida Night Heat and the uncomfortably young/talented opener XXYYXX. New World Brewery is the venue and $8 gets you in – Tickets / Details.
Check the official music video for “Pure”. My favorite part was the part with the girl.
XXYYXX is the moniker of Orlando’s Marcel Everett.
XXYYXX is one among a promising stable of young beat makers and musicians on East Coast label Relief in Abstract, grabbing attention from some high-visibility blogs including XLR8R and Earmilk. Not bad for a 16-year-old just getting his feet wet (feel old yet?)
Last week he released his second full-length album, self-titled XXYYXX. The 14-track album explores the negative space that characterizes downtempo beats, accented with hints of 90s R&B as well as more in-the-moment styles (think: “glo-fi”, genres with “witch” in the name, and other dreamy, minimal styles).
Check out one of the album?s more uptempo spots, “Love Isn?t Made” featuring the omnipresent Steffaloo to soften the edges on some UK-style breakbeat.
Marcel will be supporting Blackbird Blackbird during stops in Orlando and Tampa ? you can bet your blackbirds Brasky will be out for that one. Sample some more of XXYYXX?s work over at his Bandcamp (I especially endorse his beat-rich split EP with Ruddyp.)