Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Aretha

Saturday, August 18th, 2018

Gone. It was going to happen. It always will happen. Death is coming to all of us.

But there’s this really haunting thought about performers and musicians of the generation of Aretha: they created everything we’re building new music on. They created everything we’re using in our software. And they’re about to leave this earth.

It’s so bizarre. I’m still processing Prince’s as what would he be doing these days. George Duke, my god. It’s just unreal how much stellar musicianship there is with just those two artists. All the feelings in the world expressed in a dozen of musical styles from pop to hardcore free jazz. There are a few dozens of those artists and they will pass in the next decade or so.

All of them.

It’s just going to be a massive extinction of very high quality craftsmanship in music.

We know that music has become such a a commodity that stars these days are more about charisma than talent. The public has accepted that. The music industry has become a LaCroix dispenser for the past twenty years. You (want to) believe it tastes something. Even more so in the past five years. Everything sounds the same, everyone is using the exact same machines. We forget about tracks and it doesn’t even matter, a new one pops out with the same chords. It’s not right or wrong, it’s ultra-efficient.

And music, although doing well with efficiency –great pop music is universally loved-, is larger than that. A whole lot wider.

Azealia

Saturday, July 7th, 2018

I think she’s amazing and I’d totally love to produce some tracks for her.

There’s something rare about miss Banks: she’s pure intersection. At times bad bitch, at times cute naïve girl. She innovates and next second she’s timeless and classic. The mix of house, hip-hop R&B and garage punk is hers. She masters that shit. She has her own way of eating words, changing her accent, inventing meaning and breaking lyrics convention while empowering and dissing over dance music. It’s overwhelming, dense and I love it.

I feel her when they compare other acts to her energy and skills: please don’t? She’s artistically way better.

Her social media stuff? Whatever. Social media is about getting engagement and lights on you too. And there’s the circus of media engaging people over what the “crazy” Harlem artist said, profiting. Read about Marvin Gaye’s late personal life and see if you can still hum his stuff.

What’s a bit annoying to me is her output is scattered. Some producers don’t get her and the track will be OK but not bang. The all remix/EP then album re-using some tracks from those, that’s annoying. It’s hard to make consistent albums though. And, it’s probably hard to keep a direction with a multi-faceted talent like Azealia. But also, labels and contracts. That shit is crazy and will delay and water down your output.

Treasure Island, her last single, is dope af.

Bellabass

Thursday, June 14th, 2018

Composed and recorded in one quick shot. Best to listen to it in a calm environment at low volume.

Close your eyes.

Betty Davis

Saturday, May 26th, 2018

There’s a documentary out this year about her.

Betty’s music has been on regular rotation in my life since the early 2000.

I have the hardest time to swallow the fact that Miles Davis abused her. She transformed him, Miles, one of the most important musician ever. She introduced him to Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone music. He beat her up.

The music industry beat her up closed the door on her. Too carefree. Not pop enough. Whatever.

Her music is good. Sometimes absolutely great. Her presence on stage looks like you needed a whole fire department next to the building, ready to hose it down.

Her artistic and production choices were on point. She and her collaborators really had her sound. Big Ass Drums. Growling Bass. Dynamic. I’ll always imagine what she could have done later on.

She truly doesn’t give a fuck. She didn’t disappear to be found. No one really knew anything about her life for decades. Now older, she is ready to tell her story.

If you read this Betty, I love you. You’re the best. You’re the inspiration for many, many things and people. Thank you.

I am Charlie Wilson

Sunday, March 11th, 2018

I had always wondered why the GAP Band was in this weird zone, universally praised and known while being completely obscure and different.

I had always wondered why so many of those grooves and amazing anthems sounded so similar.

All the answers are in his book. I read it months ago and it still makes me sad. They got robbed. They got pissed. Brotherhood might not be what you think it is.

The GAP (standing for Greenwood, Archer and Pine, where the Tulsa riots happened) Band is huge. Charlie’s voice’s enthusiasm is unmatchable. I feel him when he talks about learning music and how he was fascinated by harmony while teachers were telling him to focus on melody. I had the same shit happening to me when I learned piano. Stacked notes over sequences of notes any day, I don’t care.

I’m glad you’re at peace now man. Thank you for the absolute bangers you guys created and thank you for writing it all down, uncle Charlie.

On that music and Mars thing

Saturday, March 10th, 2018

The Grapevine. IS BRUNO MARS A CULTURAL APPROPRIATOR?

I mean, yeah. He’s one of the best-selling artist of all times already. It’s not just that he’s known. He’s making mad money and started by impersonating Elvis, the dude who stole black people’s moves and music. Patterns.

That’s how music business works. Music sells primarily to white people, in a much bigger volume to white people. Since about the 40s so it’s been a while.

For this reason, artists need to cater to that market. And there’s nothing better to cater than to look alike, especially since videos are how the word spreads out (and the reason why I don’t like them: music is about listening, fuck watching).

It’s no coincidence if Rihanna and Beyoncé are not dark skin women. That Drake is very white. The Wknd. That Bruno is even whiter. There is an absurd amount of talented black artists who were/are too black for TV. It all started to really hurts with the rise of MTV almost 40 years ago.

So many originators of black music –that is being used in various ways in ALL pop music- have never been heard or seen. I dig them online, listen to their music, find their pictures and love them. Music will always be more important than faces.

I think that’s the core argument: most black artists were making their own shit, creating their lanes. Trying things out. On the last Prince’s album he toys with house music and dubstep, but it’s still a Prince song with his guitar licks and ways of arranging horns and keyboards. MJ’s Bad album is fucking unique in so many ways. You can recognize a GAP Band groove from miles away.

Bruno copy/paste shit and says shout out to the OGs. It’s a different vibe. But yeah the song 24 Magic slaps and it’s annoying. It itches.

The worst part is that this entire appropriation phenomenon makes black people hate their black skin when their black skin is perfectly fine. Black skin is a symbol of creating timeless music genres and songs. Be proud of it.

In The Summertime

Friday, March 2nd, 2018

Produced, recorded, performed, mixed and mastered by Harold in Los Angeles on an AMD A10 computer.

Tyler

Tuesday, January 30th, 2018

Man, awards don’t matter. But you deserved one.

I listened to your album a lot last summer writing my book. I think it was better than other rap albums, different. Also you rap and produced the music so that makes it immediately richer in my mind. Even though I’m mad you botched the 911 beat on purpose, I like it. I like the risks. I also appreciate the fact that each track loops properly on its own. Attention to detail. Obviously, Garden Shed and See You Again are big songs.

“I’m the loneliest man alive, so I keep on dancing to throw ‘em off”  For real though.

One more thing: stop obsessing about cars so much bruh. Get into architecture, passive systems and interior design. Or game development, if you’re crazy enough.

Prince The Machine

Friday, September 22nd, 2017

Prince inside the music and the masks

“and I don’t need to hear that anymore.” I’m screaming. This book, Prince, Inside the Music and the Masks was a great read. It focuses on the creative endeavor and business side of his life which was basically his entire life or so.

Prince’s parents, with six kids and a father dreaming of making it big in music, were struggling. They divorced, his dad left the piano behind, Prince started playing it. The rest is history.

His relationship with Warner starts almost immediately. He is poor and receives his first advance, $80,000, from them after they heard his prowess in the studio. Then he has to give the label seven albums. But producing creative outputs is not like producing furniture or food. He was sometimes right on point –Purple Rain- and sometimes way off –rapping- and it’s fascinating reading about him conquering the world, losing influence, battling with the music industry practices, being thirsty as fuck –his duo with Beyoncé at the Grammys- while he was destroying every single stage on earth on monstrous tours (his last one made close to $100M). So many of his songs sound much, much better live.

He was constantly looking for new ways to sell his shit. He pioneered many business models. His songwriting might have gone down –just kinda lazy I’d say– but he was sharp as hell on the contract/payment end. I’m really sad to not know what he would have been doing right now. I am pretty sure he would have started a social network/streaming service. During the 2000s, he was around but he was mostly just making more money than ever. For what? What would he have done with it? Building a new label with only women artists? Just burn bills in a giant fire pit during one of his show with a new song called Money Flames? Would he have released a dozen jazz albums now that he was getting older? Would he release them only on DVD Audio with discrete surround sound?

We’ll never know.

What’s wrong with you DJs

Monday, September 4th, 2017

It has become so stupid.

DJs these days “spin” 30 seconds of some stuff, add a fucking air horn, spin another 30 seconds of something, repeat a hook over and over, completely changes the genre of music after half a hour. What the fuck is this?

We had a block party on my block yesterday and I wanted to get on stage and cancel the entire shit.

It’s like DJs have become incapable to make people enjoy the music, the vibe, to make them slow dance. It’s about them doing something on the mixer, like pressing buttons and reading waveforms on a laptop is a big skill. The more you like and know the music, the more infuriating it feels like.

“Oh now that’s my JAM” well enjoy real quick girl because that’s going to be over in 3, 2, 1…

I don’t get it. Is it a copyright/broadcast issue? DJs have to pay fees to if they play 75% of the song so they only play 20% of it? I’m still mad.

And what is this weak ass selection? You want to represent the West Coast there are so many anthems, not just Dre and Eazy E. Like, ugh.