Category Archives: Music

The High Priestess of Soul Featured in New Documentrary

Nina Simone documentary slated to air on Netflix
Nina Simone documentary slated to air on Netflix, June 26th 2015

Academy Award winning filmmaker Liz Garbus has directed a long overdue documentary on Nina Simone using unseen archival music, photos, and film footage tell the story of a fiercely creative, complex, and socially conscious artist.

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Nina Simone is personally inspiring because of her singular commitment to her craft, her art, and her message. During the height of the civil rights struggle, she put it all on the line—her fame, her reputation, and her career—to reflect the times in which she lived.

I, for one, am excited to see this film and not the fictional movie on Ms. Simone, as portrayed by Zoe Saldana(!).

Questionable casting in fictional portrayal of Nina Simone.
Questionable casting in fictional portrayal of Nina Simone.

Cultural Exchange: Questlove Deejays and Crate Digs in Cuba

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Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson is best known as drummer, writer, and producer for the hip-hop supergroup The Roots, but just as important he is a globe-trotting DJ and avid record collector.

Questlove on a dig with Cuban producer Edgaro Productor n Jefe
Questlove on a dig with Cuban producer Edgaro Productor n Jefe

Quest For Cuba is a thirteen-minute documentary by Okay Player Films chronicling Questlove’s funky, street-level cultural exchange tour of Cuba: spinning tracks, crate digging for classic vinyl (I spotted a classic Los Zafiros album in the stack!), and visiting the legendary EGREM Studios in Old Havana.

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Ten years ago, The Roots played in Cuba and Questlove vows to return again soon. I can’t speak for the American or Cuban governments, but I trust that “Questo” speaks the truth and we will all be the richer for the effort!

 

 

 

 

Thump Takes Issue with a New Generation of DJs—What Can We Learn?

Thump’s Trino Trevino hilarious, yet accurate assessment of the state of today’s aspiring DJs has a lesson for us all. Social marketing is an important component in your quest for fame and glory, but don’t overlook doing the work.  Also, don’t be like THIS guy!

“Here’s the bad news: fame and glory will never come if you never make music.”

Every Hero Needs a Theme Song: Oddisee’s “That’s Love”

Motivation. How to get yourself up to do what needs to be done?! I find music to be a great motivator (deadlines, fear, and insecurity are others…) and Oddisee’s single, “That’s Love” more than fits the bill.

Oddisee, the Good Thing
Oddisee’s “The Good Thing” is a shot of sonic caffeine

The Maryland native, Brooklyn-based artist’s new album The Good Fight “acknowledges the stacked odds, but refuses to submit”.

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Stream and purchase the new album on Bandcamp, support a great artist, put your cape on, and create your own!

Respect.

 

The Impact of De La Soul’s Kickstarter Campaign

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The term game changer tends to be overused, but De La Soul’s Kickstarter campaign may inspire more artists to work through unconventional channels to finance and distribute their work.

De La Soul
De La Soul appeals to fans via Kickstarter for creation of latest album

In less than a month, more than 9,000 backers have contributed over 500,000.00 USD—obliterating the band’s crowdfunding goal of $110,000.00 in ONE DAY!

This method of crowdsourcing and unconventional financing sends a powerful message to established and emerging artists as well as media companies and distributors that technology is a great tool for creatives to send their art directly to market.

Revolutions on Air Documentary: The History of New York’s Golden Age in Underground Music

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The Red Bull Music Academy releases a mini-documentary on the history of New York’s underground music scene entitled: Revolutions On Air: The Golden Era of New York Radio 1980 – 1988; a seventeen-minute overview of New York City’s urban music explosion, its architects, and the reverberations still being felt today.

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New York City break dancers, circa 1980

First person accounts by underground music luminaries (such as DJ Marley Marl, Kool DJ Red Alert, Tony Humphries, and Stretch Armstrong) interspersed with vintage audio, photos, and video drops you in the moment when the underground broke above ground via New York radio and germinated throughout the world by cassette tape (I fondly have college recollections of students collecting,trading, and dubbing tapes from New York to Baltimore to Philly to Detroit to Chicago to Oakland to LA).

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B-Boys on the block with prerequisite boombox, circa 1980

For those who choose to delve deeper into the subject, read Vivian Host’s feature on the New York radio scene.

Explore the Interactive Multiverse of Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s “Multi-Love”

Unknown Mortal Orchestra has shared their new video for the title track of their new album “Multi-Love” online and invites you to create your own version via an interactive application.

As interviewed by Pitchfork, Video Designer and Director Lionel Williams was quoted with the following:

“[The video] is meant to represent the vacuum of space by impressing upon inter-dimensional unfolding, immaterial objects, and time-driven reverberation of events.”

The video is available for Mac, PC, or the Source Code for remixing and experimentation.

This Song May Change Your Life: Tame Impala’s “Let it Happen”

Artists draw their inspiration from a variety of sources and the link between design and music is a strong one. It isn’t a coincidence that many Graphic and Web Designers are record collectors, DJs, and musicians (present company included). I am constantly on the search for new and classic music to fuel my creative fire and Tame Impala’s ” Let it Happen” may well be my song of the season.

Kevin Parker’s psychedelic recording project since 2007, Tame Impala is on the verge of its third album, Currents and this opening single finds Parker at the height of his powers. Signaled by the opening keyboard swell and martial drumbeat, Tame Impala’s “Let it Happen” gallops with an energy, insistence, and purpose of creative possibility that seemingly cannot be contained in its sprawling 7 minutes and 30 seconds:

It’s always around me, all this noise
But not really as loud as the voice saying
Let it happen, let it happen (It’s gonna feel so good)
Just let it happen, let it happen

Alternating between moments of brashness and solitude, analog and digital, old school rock musicianship and postmodern electronic studio manipulation, “Let it Happen” redefines the parameters of the modern rock song (Doubtful?  Fast forward to 3:49 mark of the song to hear the track deconstruct and reconstitute itself to epic heights).

As Kevin croons to the song’s fade out:

Maybe I was ready all along
Maybe I was ready all along

The more appropriate question is, “Are you ready?”.