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Archive for December 2010

Omid Malakan Breaks Down "Quantitative Easing" (aka "Printing The Money")

Now that people in America and the world over have been sufficiently screwed by the financial industry, it’s finally time for us to understand exactly what happened. But no text book is going to teach us, what with the esoteric language in place to deter us from even wanting to read past a subheading. Give us something we can understand. Something with, I dunno, cute cartoon characters, voice emulators, and a pleasing CGI landscape.

Who better to hear terrible news from?

Omid Malekan, a former trader, is cluing us in with videos that explain how civilization is currently crashing and burning around us using the cutest possible characters on easy-make video site xtranormal.com. Using the Socratic method, Malekan’s characters explain that “quantitative easing” actually means “printing a ton of money” and that it’s the last ditch effort of an economy going up in flames. Now there’s even an electronic dance mix.

The popularity of Quantitative Easing Explained has brought some attention to some of Malekan’s other projects, like Take a Load Off Fannie, a stock footage collage explaining the plight of Fannie Mae set to The Band’s “The Weight.” There are a few more gems on his site worth checking out. See 21st Century Breakdown below.


21st Century Breakdown from Malekanoms on Vimeo.


Written by M

December 30, 2010 at 4:51 pm

Bands We Like: If You're in Berlin, Make It An Audionite

We’ve been noticing more and more that Berlin is the capital of electronic dance music that’s actually worth listening to outside a club setting. Just yesterday we told you about Get Wet reviving the rave scene, and not long before I personally became obsessed with Siriusmo, a young producer whose music lives up to the term ‘progressive house’ in its true sense. The producer we’ve dug up for you today is a little more an the hard side of things. Welcome to the abrasive, drill-tastic sounds of Audionite.

Audionite eating his own fist.

Originally a hip hop and R&B producer, Audionite gained an affinity for simple, driving four to the floor beats accompanied by synth noise that’s glitchy and sometimes downright scary. Occasionally, the beat switches up to something a little more two-step, breaking the monotony of a straight hard techno set. On his latest release Don’t Make Me, Audionite sticks to the heavy format, changing it up only once for the mellow electro track “Kosmonauta.”

Of the varied personalities of dance music on France’s On The Fruit imprint, Audionite’s beats cleanly fit the ‘dark/disturbed’ category to balance out some of the lighthearted, funkier, more accessible stuff. If you have a taste for something that’s a little freaky, check out Don’t Make Me. Hear the title track below.

Check out Audionite’s “Don’t Make Me”

http://player.soundcloud.com/player.swf?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F7752680 Audionite – Don’t Make Me! by On The Fruit Records

Written by M

December 30, 2010 at 1:52 pm

Posted in Bands We Like, Music

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Berlin DJs Get Wet Prove Nu Rave Beats Old Rave

Yes, I know, I also could have sworn that rave was dead. But as long as there are kids in the world who want to geek out on drugs and spaz dance for long periods of time without considering the consequential three day hangover, there will always be a rave scene.

Get Wet DJs floating. Photo credit: Pink Pong

The concept peaked in the 90s, marked by film industry attempts at capturing the scene, and tapered off as the kids grew up, the drugs became more ubiquitous in a suburban setting, and the music got stale. That doesn’t mean that a little tweaking can’t apply it to a newer, younger audience.

Giving rave an update are German DJ duo Get Wet, offering us a glimpse into the nu rave scene in their native Berlin. Aside from more appropriate sizing, the style hasn’t lost the qualities of garish colors and unnecessary accesorizing. The dance floor pretty much looks like it did 15 years ago: jarring lights, sweaty kids, varying hairstyles…you get the picture.

The music has taken a direction away from the stock patch epic melodies of 90s trance and instead employs distorted glitch a la Justice or Mode Selektor. Get Wet proves that choppy sample sequencing has found its way into mainstream dance music. Thank the bass gods.

The nu rave movement is musically more diverse than it was in its first incarnation. Snippets of vocal and instrument samples flood Get Wet’s recent mix for So Not Berlin (hear below), and the beat goes in plenty of directions besides toward the floor. Fine, I can accept it. Rave is back. This time it’s better.

Check out Get Wet’s mix for So Not Berlin

http://player.soundcloud.com/player.swf?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F7395845 GET WET! IN THE MIX FOR SO NOT BERLIN by SONOTBERLIN

Written by M

December 29, 2010 at 2:29 pm

Posted in Music

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Germany's Tokyo Dawn Records Gives Funky/Cheesy a Makeover

Some sounds died for a reason. When you hear those raw, way-too-loud 808 drum sounds and a funky synth bass kick off a song, you probably picture either workout video on VHS or a socially inept 40 year old playing a Casio keyboard, or some other terribly awkward scene from a phase in history that should not have been.

Looks like outdated hotel art.

But…There’s always a ‘but’ when it comes to critiquing old genres. No matter how awful a style is, it exists because at some point in history, in some place that has now changed beyond recognition, people liked it. That’s why someone made it. It has value.

And that’s pretty much the story behind 80s R&B/funk. That form of music that only lived on homeless people’s Walkmans for so long is getting an update courtesy of Germany-based Tokyo Dawn Records (yes, that is confusing). The Boogie is an eighteen track compilation featuring young producers from popular genres of the last decade experimenting with reverbed claps and impassioned vocals filled with sustained, over-vibratoed ‘Oooooooooooooooooooooh’s with one hand on the keys and the other diddling the pitch shift. What was once too corny to mix in becomes intensely catchy through the vibe it was trying to convey back when it first started: funk.

The collection is thorough in its coverage. From slow sex jams to up beat electro-dance music, the artists visit every corner of this unrelentingly sugary musical movement, injecting it with the appreciation of well placed cheese that makes a retrospective like The Boogie worth listening to. Just hear AD Bourke’s “Aries” below and it will start to make sense.

And let’s not forget about that cover! Looks like a close-up of one of the Fresh Prince’s shirts.

The Boogie is available for download, and physical copies will be available in January.

http://player.soundcloud.com/player.swf?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F8419495 THE BOOGIE _ AD Bourke ” Aries” by NU JAZZ SPIRIT 2

Written by M

December 28, 2010 at 5:17 pm

Artist of the Week: Urban Cowboys (and Girl) El Diablo Robotico, With Q&A

Merry Christmas, Robot Devil. You just proved your muscle in one of our most heated Artist of the Week competitions to date!

El Diablo Robotico holding up traffic

Brooklyn’s country/noise band El Diablo Robotico screeched in for a tight win just as their home base was being slammed by one of the worst winter storms in decades. Looks like the snow helped them out by keeping their fans indoors and close to computers.

In the home stretch of this week’s race, Robotico and Mexican cumbia band Sonido San Francisco were neck and neck until an end made bitter by SSF fans’ accusations of bot voting. Then again, if there’s a band anyone can accuse of being in cahoots with evil voting robots, wouldn’t it be El Diablo Robotico?

Despite being a convenient culprit, Robotico’s followers were the real reason the band prevailed. Somewhere in the world, robot cowboys and noise demons are having a party, and they’re bumping El Diablo Robotico’s first EP mighty loud.

So now the fun part. We get to delve into the mind behind El Diablo Robotico, picking apart the sound, the image, and their thoughts on Russian proto-Socialist Futurism. Bet you didn’t think old timey country rock could get so academic.

The name. Is it a Buffy the Vampire Slayer reference, or are you guys just into futuristic satanism?

The name is technically an Angel reference which was a Buffy spin-off but yeah, its a BuffyVerse reference. I’m a pretty huge fan of Joss Whedon so I proposed the name and (I think?) everyone else in the band has come around to it! If we have to be associated with any futurism, I’d prefer Russian proto-socialist futurism  to Italian proto-fascist  futurism or any kind of Satanic futurism.

So, you guys just received an absolutely ridiculous amount of votes. How much do you love your fans? Or is this the work of the robot devil?

We love our fans! And our friends and family who really pulled through for us on this one. I think my father had half of India voting by the end there.

Sounds like you and Sebastian from Sonido San Francisco had to do some damage control after the comment war on this competition. Did you make friends? Supergroup?

Sebastian seems like a great guy and we just became friends on Facebook! Things definitely got a lot more heated in this competition than I expected even given The Greater Internet F***wad Theory, Godwin’s Law and all that. I mean hey, at least no one got compared to Hitler. That’s something. But seriously they (SSF) sound awesome as do the other bands/artists we were competing with. It was cool to be on such a rocking list.

El Diablo Robotico on stage

Your music has a country vibe, and yet the lyrics are about life in the city. What inspired the juxtaposition?

I think one of the more interesting aspects of country music is a certain focus on geography, perhaps even with a kind of idealization or real-time nostalgia for that geography. So for 5 people living in Brooklyn it seems much more true to the tradition of country song writing to be writing about our lives and places than, say, the Mississippi delta or the mining towns of West Virginia. I mean we have moments where we indulge in the occasional rural country reference – to be fair our violinist is from South Carolina! But mostly, we love the music but want to do our own version of it which includes a tremendous amount of influence both musically and lyrically from New York City.

You guys have a diverse line up, ethnically and musically. Can you give us a few words about each member of the band?

I feel that, in classic country tradition, we do a great job of representing America! We’re about 60% White and 40% Other. But especially musically and regionally, everyone brings a lot of different talents and traditions to the table. I was educated from childhood on as classically and jazz trained trumpet player. Forrest had similar training but also studied musical theater and comes from more of a soul and jazz tradition. Jason is trained and proficient and awesome in just about every style imaginable and was already an accomplished touring musician before joining up with us. Both Jason and Forrest are also contributing a good number of our newer songs. John on the other hand is entirely self-taught but is passionate about music and art (he’s a studio photographer) and we met through mutual friends and mutual love of both country and improvisational music. Our newest member David, like Jason, Forrest and myself, comes from a trained musical background and is also an accomplished touring musician. He has really been able to add a lot already in terms of both our straight ahead and slightly more experimental moments.

As far as you know, are most of your fans country folk or city slickers?

While we have pockets of fans all over the country and elsewhere (seriously, when last I checked there were like 70 countries represented on our facebook fan list) most of our fans are definitely city slickers right here in Brooklyn, NY.

What can we expect from El Diablo Robotico in the new year?

We’re really excited to be starting a residency at Brooklyn’s Sugar Lounge on January 21st and hope people can make it out to that show and our subsequent shows there. Additionally we plan on recording our second record, most  likely a full length, and really going all out on it. Our last record started as basement demos that were mixed well enough to become an EP but this time, expect a lot of full on studio craziness from us. We have also had a lot of fun and success setting up nights with bands that we love and are friends with from both the NYC scene and all over the place so expect to see more of those too. Anything to avoid the truly hellish 5 random bands a night NYC showcase!

El Diablo Robotico on Facebook

Check out El Diablo Robotico’s “Idiot in a Tower”


Written by M

December 28, 2010 at 1:37 pm

Bands We Like: Brooklyn's Finest Country/Noise Band El Diablo Robotico

In the mind of a robot, New York can be as lonely and desolate as the wild west.

The usual suspects. Artwork by Greg Yagoda

El Diablo Robotico sing songs in a style leaning toward the country side of things even though the confines of Brooklyn are at least a few hours away from the country. While their sound is traditional at first listen, the lyrics take on the plight of city folk and not so much the rough and tumble circumstances of rural life. Frontman Ajay Singh Chaudhary says, “We tend to follow the pattern of country song writing that pairs really painful lyrical themes with music that’s sometimes upbeat, sometimes more nostalgic and melancholy.”

Forrest Paquin’s fiddle and southern belle singing voice adds yet another country element to the twangy, stirring melodies. But without notice, Robotico’s sound can descend into abstraction. Their affinity for noise and post rock sounds may clash with their overall country sound, but it all makes sense in the context of their oppidan tales of navigating life and geography in New York city.

El Diablo Robotico’s self titled release has been out for some time, and the band has been adding to a roster of live performances that revive the style and class associated with the best eras of country music, manifested directly in Ajay’s fine leather cowboy boots. There’s word echoing through the hills of a monthly residency in the new year. We’ll be sure to keep you posted.

Check out El Diablo Robotico’s “Three Days”


Written by M

December 21, 2010 at 4:34 pm

Deadline for Das Racist Remix Contest Rapidly Approaching

Are they joking? Probably.

Das and Racist joking around.

But the deadline of Das Racist’s remix contest for their track “Hahahaha JK” is only a couple of weeks away, and that bit of news is as serious as death for all you lazy producers who started that beat way back when they announced the contest and never finished it. Get on it man! Submissions are closed on January 18th. And don’t just slow down or speed up one of those instrumentals you have laying around from a couple of months ago and slap the acapella on there, they’ll know! Well, in reality, you can probably get away with doing that, just make sure it’s a hot one.

So turn on the screen of that Apple IIE, power up your Atari sampler, and push the E key on that Minimoog. Make that remix. Because time is slipping away like sand through the hourglass.

Get the files you need here.

Oh, and in case you forgot how the song goes, it’s a little something like this.

“Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha JK” by Das Racist

http://player.soundcloud.com/player.swf?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F5356764 Das Racist – hahahaha jk? by jtweeten

Written by M

December 21, 2010 at 2:10 pm

Posted in Music

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