J Dilla's Donuts

Author: Jordan Ferguson

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA

ISBN: 1623563607

Category: Music

Page: 160

View: 8585

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From a Los Angeles hospital bed, equipped with little more than a laptop and a stack of records, James "J Dilla†? Yancey crafted a set of tracks that would forever change the way beatmakers viewed their artform. The songs on Donuts are not hip hop music as "hip hop music†? is typically defined; they careen and crash into each other, in one moment noisy and abrasive, gorgeous and heartbreaking the next. The samples and melodies tell the story of a man coming to terms with his declining health, a final love letter to the family and friends he was leaving behind. As a prolific producer with a voracious appetite for the history and mechanics of the music he loved, J Dilla knew the records that went into constructing Donuts inside and out. He could have taken them all and made a much different, more accessible album. If the widely accepted view is that his final work is a record about dying, the question becomes why did he make this record about dying? Drawing from philosophy, critical theory and musicology, as well as Dilla's own musical catalogue, Jordan Ferguson shows that the contradictory, irascible and confrontational music found on Donuts is as much a result of an artist's declining health as it is an example of what scholars call "late style,†? placing the album in a musical tradition that stretches back centuries.

J Dilla's Donuts

Author: Jordan Ferguson

Publisher: A&C Black

ISBN: 1623561833

Category: Music

Page: 152

View: 5042

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A compelling, multidisciplinary analysis of hip-hop producer J Dilla's deathbed record Donuts as both a cultural artifact and an example of historical 'late style'.

J Dilla's Donuts

Author: Jordan Ferguson

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA

ISBN: 162356719X

Category: Music

Page: 160

View: 1671

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From a Los Angeles hospital bed, equipped with little more than a laptop and a stack of records, James "J Dilla†? Yancey crafted a set of tracks that would forever change the way beatmakers viewed their artform. The songs on Donuts are not hip hop music as "hip hop music†? is typically defined; they careen and crash into each other, in one moment noisy and abrasive, gorgeous and heartbreaking the next. The samples and melodies tell the story of a man coming to terms with his declining health, a final love letter to the family and friends he was leaving behind. As a prolific producer with a voracious appetite for the history and mechanics of the music he loved, J Dilla knew the records that went into constructing Donuts inside and out. He could have taken them all and made a much different, more accessible album. If the widely accepted view is that his final work is a record about dying, the question becomes why did he make this record about dying? Drawing from philosophy, critical theory and musicology, as well as Dilla's own musical catalogue, Jordan Ferguson shows that the contradictory, irascible and confrontational music found on Donuts is as much a result of an artist's declining health as it is an example of what scholars call "late style,†? placing the album in a musical tradition that stretches back centuries.

Nas's Illmatic

Author: Matthew Gasteier

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA

ISBN: 1441163360

Category: Music

Page: 128

View: 4380

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Contradiction, the yin and the yang, the simultaneous existence of two competing realities, and the larger than life persona that depicts populist realism are at the core of Nas's debut album, Illmatic. Yet Nas's identity -as an inner-city youth, a child of hip-hop, and a Black American - predicts those philosophical quandaries as much as it does its brazen ambition. Partly because of that recklessly broad scope, the artistic impact of Illmatic was massive. The record finds its place in the greatest transition in hip hop up to that point, the spot where the streets and the charts collided.

Portishead's Dummy

Author: RJ Wheaton

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA

ISBN: 1441155821

Category: Music

Page: 248

View: 3103

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An album which distilled a genre from the musical, cultural, and social ether, Portishead's Dummy was such a complete artistic achievement that its ubiquitous successes threatened to exhaust its own potential. RJ Wheaton offers an impressionistic investigation of Dummy that imitates the cumulative structure of the album itself, piecing together interviews, impressions of time and place, cultural criticism, and a thorough exploration of the music itself. The approach focuses as much on the reception and response that Dummy engendered as it does on the original production of the album. How is that so many people have, collectively, made a quintessential headphone album into a nightclub album? How have they made the product of a niche local scene into an international success? This is the story of how an innovative, experimental album became the iconic sound for the better part of a decade; and an aesthetic template for the experience of music in the digital age.

DJ Shadow's Endtroducing

Author: Eliot Wilder

Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic

ISBN: N.A

Category: Music

Page: 112

View: 8954

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What resonated about Endtroducing when it was released in 1996, and what makes it still resonate today, is the way in which it loosens itself from the mooring of the known and sails off into an uncharted territory that seems to exist both in and out of time. Josh Davis is not only a master sampler and turntablist supreme, he is also a serious archeologist with a world-thirsty passion (what Cut Chemist refers to as Josh's "spidey sense") for seeking out, uncovering and then ripping apart the discarded graces of some other generation - that "pile of broken dreams" - and weaving them back together into a tapestry of chronic bleakness and beauty. Over the course of several long conversations with Josh Davis (DJ Shadow), we learn about his early years in California, the friends and mentors who helped him along the way, his relationship with Mo'Wax and James Lavelle, and the genesis and creation of his widely acknowledged masterpiece, Endtroducing.

Sigur RÃ3s's ( )

Author: Ethan Hayden

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA

ISBN: 162356168X

Category: Music

Page: 168

View: 9329

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Words like "inspiring," "expansive," and "moving" are regularly used to describe Sigur RÃ3s's ( ), and yet the only words heard on the record itself are a handful of meaningless nonsense syllables. The album has no title-or rather, its title is no title: just an empty pair of parentheses. The intention being that listeners will fill in the parentheses with their own title, their own interpretation of the sounds on the record. The CD sleeve consists of twelve pages that are essentially blank, lacking song titles, liner notes or production credits. Instead, it contains only semi-translucent frosted images of abstract natural scenes (tree branches, clouds, etc.), on which the listener is free to inscribe their own notes-or no notes at all. And then there are the lyrics, sung in a deliberately unintelligible tongue called "Hopelandic" which the band invites listeners to interpret freely. Ethan Hayden's book doesn't try to fill in the gaps between the album's parentheses, but instead explores the ways in which listeners might attempt to do so. Examining the communicative powers of asemantic language, the book asks whether music can bring sense to nonsense. What happens to the voice when it stops singing conventional language: does it simply become another musical instrument, or is it somehow more "human"? What role does space play on ( )? And how do we interpret music that we cannot possibly understand, but feel very deeply that we do?

Making Beats

The Art of Sample-Based Hip-Hop

Author: Joseph G. Schloss

Publisher: Wesleyan University Press

ISBN: 0819574821

Category: Music

Page: 240

View: 548

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Based on ten years of research among hip-hop producers, Making Beats was the first work of scholarship to explore the goals, methods, and values of a surprisingly insular community. Focusing on a variety of subjects—from hip-hop artists’ pedagogical methods to the Afrodiasporic roots of the sampling process to the social significance of “digging” for rare records—Joseph G. Schloss examines the way hip-hop artists have managed to create a form of expression that reflects their creative aspirations, moral beliefs, political values, and cultural realities. This second edition of the book includes a new foreword by Jeff Chang and a new afterword by the author.

Gang of Four's Entertainment!

Author: Kevin J.H. Dettmar

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA

ISBN: 1623562856

Category: Music

Page: 160

View: 2971

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Following hard on the explosion of British punk, in 1979 Gang of Four produced post-punk's smartest record, Entertainment! For the first time, a band wedded punk's angry energy to funk's propulsive beats-and used that music to put across lyrics that brought a heady mixture of Marxist theory and situationism to exposing the cultural politics of everyday life. But for an American college student from the suburbs-and, one expects, for many, many others, including British youth-Jon King's and Andy Gill's mumbled lyrics were often all but unintelligible. Political rock 'n' roll is always something of an oxymoron: rock audiences by and large don't tune in to be lectured to. But what can it mean that a band that made pop songs as political theory actively resisted making that theory legible? Coming to terms with the impact of Entertainment! requires us to take the mondegreen-the misunderstood lyric-seriously. The old joke has it that the title of R.E.M.'s debut album should have been not Murmur, but Mumble: true, so far as it goes. But that's the title, too, of rock 'n' roll's Greatest Hits compilation-and that strategic inarticulateness itself, which creates such an important role for the listener, has an important politics.

Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Author: Kirk Walker Graves

Publisher: A&C Black

ISBN: 1623565421

Category: Music

Page: 152

View: 1774

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A beautifully written exploration of Kanye's landmark 2010 album, and his wider work - positioning West as the most compelling American artist of recent years.

Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Author: Kirk Walker Graves

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA

ISBN: 162356770X

Category: Music

Page: 152

View: 546

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In the first decade of the twenty-first century, Kanye West created the most compelling body of pop music by an American artist during the period. Having risen from obscurity as a precocious producer through the ranks of Jay Z's Roc-A-Fella records, by the time he released My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (MBDTF) in late 2010, West had evolved into a master collagist, an alchemist capable of transfiguring semi-obscure soul samples and indelible beats into a brash and vulnerable new art form. A look at the arc of his career, from the heady chipmunk soul exuberance of The College Dropout (2004) to the operatic narcissism of MBDTF, tells us about the march of pop music into the digital age and, by extension, the contradictions that define our cultural epoch. In a cloud-based and on-demand culture ? a place of increasing virtualization, loneliness, and hyper-connectivity ? West straddles this critical moment as what David Samuels of The Atlantic calls "the first true genius of the iPhone era, the Mozart of contemporary American music." In the land of taking a selfie, honing a personal brand, and publicly melting down online, Kanye West is the undisputed king. Swallowing the chaos wrought by his public persona and digesting it as a grandiose allegory of self-redemption, Kanye sublimates his narcissism to paint masterstroke after masterstroke on MBDTF, a 69-minute hymn to egotistical excess. Sampling and ventriloquizing the pop music past to tell the story of its future ? very much a tale of our culture's wish for unfettered digital ubiquity ? MBDTF is the album of its era, an aesthetic self-acquittal and spiritual autobiography of our era's most dynamic artist.

Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works

Author: Marc Weidenbaum

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA

ISBN: 1623567637

Category: Music

Page: 160

View: 4794

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Extravagantly opaque, willfully vaporous - Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works Volume II, released by the estimable British label Warp Records in 1994, rejuvenated ambient music for the Internet Age that was just dawning. In the United States, it was Richard D. James's first full length on Sire Records (home to Madonna and Depeche Mode) under the moniker Aphex Twin; Sire helped usher him in as a major force in music, electronic or otherwise. Faithful to Brian Eno's definition of ambient music, Selected Ambient Works Volume II was intentionally functional: it furnished chill out rooms, the sanctuaries amid intense raves. Choreographers and film directors began to employ it to their own ends, and in the intervening decades this background music came to the fore, adapted by classical composers who reverse-engineered its fragile textures for performance on acoustic instruments. Simultaneously, "ambientÂ?? has moved from esoteric sound art to central tenet of online culture. This book contends that despite a reputation for being beatless, the album exudes percussive curiosity, providing a sonic metaphor for our technologically mediated era of countless synchronized nanosecond metronomes.

Public Enemy's It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back

Author: Christopher R. Weingarten

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA

ISBN: 1441142843

Category: Music

Page: 160

View: 6828

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Christopher R. Weingarten provides a thrilling account of how the Bomb Squad produced such a singular-sounding record: engineering, sampling, scratching, constructing, deconstructing, reconstructing - even occasionally stomping on vinyl that sounded too clean. Using production techniques that have never been duplicated, the Bomb Squad plundered and reconfigured their own compositions to make frenetic splatter collages; they played samples by hand together in a room like a rock band to create a "not quite right" tension; they hand-picked their samples from only the ugliest squawks and sirens. Weingarten treats the samples used on Nation Of Millions as molecules of a greater whole, slivers of music that retain their own secret histories and folk traditions. Can the essence of a hip-hop record be found in the motives, emotions and energies of the artists it samples? Is it likely that something an artist intended 20 years ago would re-emerge anew? This is a compelling and thoroughly researched investigation that tells the story of one of hip-hop's landmark albums.

Miles Davis' Bitches Brew

Author: George Grella

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA

ISBN: 1628929456

Category: Music

Page: 128

View: 9741

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It was 1969, and Miles Davis, prince of cool, was on the edge of being left behind by a dynamic generation of young musicians, an important handful of whom had been in his band. Rock music was flying off in every direction, just as America itself seemed about to split at its seams. Following the circumscribed grooves and ambiance of In A Silent Way; coming off a tour with a burning new quintet-called 'The Lost Band'-with Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea, Dave Holland and Jack DeJohnette; he went into the studio with musicians like frighteningly talented guitarist John McLaughlin, and soulful Austrian keyboardist Joe Zawinul. Working with his essential producer, Teo Macero, Miles set a cauldron of ideas loose while the tapes rolled. At the end, there was the newly minted Prince of Darkness, a completely new way forward for jazz and rock, and the endless brilliance and depth of Bitches Brew. Bitches Brew is still one of the most astonishing albums ever made in either jazz or rock. Seeming to fuse the two, it actually does something entirely more revolutionary and open-ended: blending the most avant-garde aspects of Western music with deep grooves, the album rejects both jazz and rock for an entirely different idea of how music can be made.

The Concise Guide to Hip-Hop Music

A Fresh Look at the Art of Hip-Hop, from Old-School Beats to Freestyle Rap

Author: Paul Edwards

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

ISBN: 1250034825

Category: Music

Page: 240

View: 3690

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In 1973, the music scene was forever changed by the emergence of hip-hop. Masterfully blending the rhythmic grooves of funk and soul with layered beats and chanted rhymes, artists such as DJ Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash paved the way for an entire new genre and generation of musicians. In this comprehensive, accessible guide, Paul Edwards breaks down the difference between old school and new school, recaps the biggest influencers of the genre, and sets straight the myths and misconceptions of the artists and their music. Fans old and new alike will all learn something new about the history and development of hip-hop, from its inception up through the current day, in The Concise Guide to Hip-Hop Music.

The Periodic Table of HIP HOP

Author: Neil Kulkarni

Publisher: Random House

ISBN: 1473528402

Category: Music

Page: 160

View: 3526

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Welcome to The Periodic Table of Hip Hop. Instead of hydrogen to helium, here you'll find James Brown to Kanye West - 94 artists that have defined Hip Hop arranged following the logic of The Periodic Table of Elements. MCs, DJs, rappers and producers are the elements here, and this expert guide orders them to reveal their contrasts and connections, along with key movements and moments in the history of this music genre. Includes: James Brown, P-Funk, Kool Herc, Melle Mel, Sugarhill Records, Fab Five Freddy, Whodini, Run DMC, Rick Rubin, LL Cool J, Kanye West and Jay Z and many, many more...

Good Night and Good Riddance

How Thirty-Five Years of John Peel Helped to Shape Modern Life

Author: David Cavanagh

Publisher: Faber & Faber

ISBN: 0571302483

Category: Social Science

Page: 336

View: 4198

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Goodnight and Good Riddance: How Thirty-Five Years of John Peel Helped to Shape Modern Britain is a social history, a diary of a nation's changing culture, and an in-depth appraisal of one of our greatest broadcasters, a man who can legitimately be called the most influential figure in post-war British popular music. Without the support of John Peel, it's unlikely that innumerable artists - from David Bowie to Dizzee Rascal, Jethro Tull to Joy Division - would have received national radio exposure. But Peel's influence goes much deeper than this. Whether he was championing punk, reggae, jungle or grime, he had a unique relationship with his audience that was part taste-maker, part trusted friend. The book focuses on some 300 shows between 1967 and 2004, giving a thorough overview of Peel's broadcasting career and placing it in its cultural and social contexts. Peel comes alive for the reader, as do the key developments that kept him at the cutting edge - the changes in his tastes; the changes in his thinking. Just like a Peel show, Goodnight and Good Riddance is warm, informative and insightful, and wears its enthusiasm proudly.

Danger Mouse's The Grey Album

Author: Charles Fairchild

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA

ISBN: 162356123X

Category: Music

Page: 160

View: 5186

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This book marks the tenth anniversary of The Grey Album. The online release and circulation of what Danger Mouse called his 'art project' was an unexpected watershed in the turn-of-the-century brawls over digital creative practice. The album's suppression inspired widespread digital civil disobedience and brought a series of contests and conflicts over creative autonomy in the online world to mainstream awareness. The Grey Album highlighted, by its very form, the profound changes wrought by the new technology and represented the struggle over the tectonic shifts in the production, distribution and consumption of music. But this is not why it matters. The Grey Album matters because it is more than just a clever, if legally ambiguous, amalgam. It is an important and compelling case study about the status of the album as a cultural form in an era when the album appears to be losing its coherence and power. Perhaps most importantly, The Grey Album matters because it changes how we think about the traditions of musical practice of which it is a part. Danger Mouse created a broad, inventive commentary on forms of musical creativity that have defined all kinds of music for centuries: borrowing, appropriation, homage, derivation, allusion and quotation. The struggle over this album wasn't just about who gets to use new technology and how. The battle over The Grey Album struck at the heart of the very legitimacy of a long recognised and valued form of musical expression: the interpretation of the work of one artist by another.

Geto Boys' The Geto Boys

Author: Rolf Potts

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA

ISBN: 1628929499

Category: Music

Page: 152

View: 9793

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At the outset of summer in 1990, a Houston gangsta rap group called the Geto Boys was poised to debut its self-titled third album under the guidance of hip-hop guru Rick Rubin. What might have been a low-profile remix release from a little-known corner of the rap universe began to make headlines when the album's distributor refused to work with the group, citing its violent and depraved lyrics. When The Geto Boys was finally released, chain stores refused to stock it, concert promoters canceled the group's performances, and veteran rock critic Robert Christgau declared the group "sick motherfuckers." One quarter of a century later the album is considered a hardcore classic, having left an immutable influence on gangsta rap, horrorcore, and the rise of Southern hip-hop. Charting the rise of the Geto Boys from the earliest days of Houston's rap scene, Rolf Potts documents a moment in music history when hip-hop was beginning to replace rock as the transgressive sound of American youth. In creating an album that was both sonically innovative and unprecedentedly vulgar, the Geto Boys were accomplishing something that went beyond music. To paraphrase a sentiment from Don DeLillo, this group of young men from Houston's Fifth Ward ghetto had figured out the "language of being noticed" - which is, in the end, the only language America understands.