Confucius say, “Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it”.

Confucius say, “Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it”.


I finally admit in a public forum that I love Tiësto.

A good introduction to Tiesto that to this day makes me laugh my ass off... and it's how I can pretty much say most of my early feelings on Tiesto were...
(It's only 57 seconds long and it's a riot, so just watch it, k?)
"When making a track what I usually do is take 8-9 shots of scotch, watch re-runs of the Real World while my dog licks my anus. My dog makes some strange noises, I play those noises on my Casio and then I get paid." lol... 

I've gone many years within my love for electronic music struggling to hide an ugly addiction from my friends that would give me MUCH HELL for this... but much like a heroin addict will try to hide their track marks, at first anyway, I try to hide how much I love Tiësto (hereafter referred to simply as Tiesto to save myself the insanity of adding the proper umlaut accent to the e).

Yeah, shut up. I already beat myself up over this one.

Let's go over what we know about Tiesto (some of which is new info to me), taken from his IMDB profile:
-He's the first DJ to give a solo stadium show, as well as the only DJ to sell a sold-out show to over 25,000 people.
-As later mentioned, he performed live at the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic fucking Games, viewed by over 3 BILLION PEOPLE in 2004. (wow.)
-He is the only DJ to be given the distinction of being awarded DJ Magazine's #1 DJ three times in a row - 2002, 2003, and 2004.
-He was nominated for a Grammy award in 2008 for his Elements of Life album in Best Electronic/Dance Album category.
-Delerium ft. Sarah McLachlan's 'Silence' was the first house track to ever be broadcast on daytime radio in North America.

All very impressive, Tiesto...

So, personally, it's not exactly that I think he's some super-talented artist; I just happen to think that he's a neat guy for working with such a variety of artists on his most recent album and singles.

I'm always pleasantly surprised when I hunt on Youtube for the new Electronic category videos when I see something rad, because they normally kinda suck ass in that department and don't post new things often... but then I see the likes of "Tiesto featuring Busta Rhymes & Diplo." Say whaaaaaat? I love that Busta Rhymes!  And of course it's a bitchin' track...

Tiesto, Diplo & busta Rhymes make me dance in my seat.

I also found that Tegan and Sara were featured on a track on Kaleidoscope, therefore I felt compelled to hear the entire album after hearing the terrific tune they churned out with Tiesto...

(One of the best on the album, in my humble opinion. Tegan & Sara should do more trance tracks.)

So in an effort to really find out a comprehensive list of folks who have worked with Tiesto on a track or two, I begin searching for a list of such a thing... I have YET to find one, which is kind of aggravating, considering that he's the "World's Most Popular DJ" and has played the fucking OLYMPIC GAMES.  Come on, Internet, you're failing me.  Don't make ME have to make the list, okay?  Ugh, but I did the legwork and looked up ALL the names on the albums that I didn't already know.

Either way, I read a blurb somewhere on Tiesto's site (that I now cannot find to quote directly, unfortunately) which said something to the effect of Tiesto really enjoying Sigur Ros and Bloc Party.  He think Jonsi (of Sigur Ros) has an incredible voice (100% agreed, Mr. Tijs) and that Bloc Party has a really great energy and are innovative (indeed so again!), but it was hard to come up with a way to approach people who don't work with dance tunes to be interested in working with him for a track.

Dude, for the record, I could be singing in a DEATH METAL band and still wanna work with Tiesto. The end. Thanks.

Anyway, after reading that Tiesto actually liked artists that I personally really super-respect, I had a little more admiration and a little less shame about liking the guy and his music.  The scales were tilted more in the direction of respecting Tiesto; at least for what he does.

So I'm doing my usual information-delving, and I start to get really excited when I realize that HALF the artists that are named as "featured" on tracks on Kaleidoscope, are people I already KNEW but didn't know them by their fuckin' government name, just their band's names:
Emily Haines of Metric,
Jonsi of Sigur Ros,
Tegan and Sara, obviously knew that one,
and Kele Okereke of Bloc Party.

Now I don't really follow or know of some of the other folks on the album, but notably, Cary Brothers is also featured on the song "Here On Earth," and after some of said research, I found that he's worked with a slew of artists on their tours and albums that I really dig... dude toured with Imogen Heap, Aqualung, and Liz Phair to name a few big ones, and he has a track on the Garden State award-winning soundtrack as well.

I'm going to digress a bit here into how important I find producers to be; but follow me and bear with me, as it comes back to Tiesto's album.

Now, I am big on following producers as well, which I find is a later-developed interest as a by-product of simply feeling like I know everything there is to know about the artists that I like, so to further it, I began actively paying attention to the people involved behind-the-scenes in their music. I start noticing after that that people I normally do not listen to might put out a single that's for some ODD reason appealing to me... Most recently, that damn Kesha (that I am violently opposed to as a "musician" of any kind) put out that single "Blow," which caught my interest since the video featured James Van Der Beek (whom I personally like, fuck the haters) and rainbows and unicorns. yeah Kesha, I'll listen to your song if the VIDEO is on, 'cause it's cute. Anyway, I wondered why this track was far less annoying to me than her others (although still nearly un-listenable), and after some keystrokes, was led to the fact that Benny Blanco of Spank Rock produced the track. Well there ya go!... I love Spank Rock's sound. Mystery solved.

This producer business all started when I learned several years ago (about 2005 or so) that The Dust Brothers produced tracks and albums WAY before I discovered they did the score/soundtrack to Fight Club, which if you're a fan, you probably love as much as I do.  That was their only full-length album they've ever put out under their name, but before this, lo and behold, I find they've produced some of the most amazing and/or popular tracks of the past 20 years.  They produced tracks for Tone Loc, and two tracks for the Young MC's back in the 1980s (guess which tracks they were? ...yeah, the popular ones.) And then to round off the 80s, they produced and made the music for the Beastie Boys' Paul's Boutique, which is considered one of the greatest albums of all-time. Good start, right? hah...  They went on to work with Beck on Odelay, and not surprisingly the ONLY track they produced for the kiddie-group Hansen, "MMMBop," was the only one that was really popular and everyone knows to this very day.  At the end of the 1990s, David Fincher asked them to arrange the score (soundtrack) for Fight Club, which was huge.  In the 2000s, they produced Tenacious D's self-titled debut, and They Might Be Giants' album The Else... among others, but yeah, just to name A FEW.

After belatedly realizing that production was a huge engine in creating a real hit song, I started paying closer attention to people who produced music, or who went from production into making their own music, since it normally meant I would dig it on some level.  I can write a whole blog on producers alone, so before I get carried away....

To bring it back around to Kaleidoscope, Calvin Harris is featured on the track "Century," which quite frankly, I dig the fuck out of and listen to pretty often.  It's one of those songs that as soon as I heard it was stuck in my brain for DAYS, and I couldn't seem to listen to it enough to get it out of there.  I'd first heard it on a really super-fun dance mix album that my good friend's boyfriend (Donnie Jewell) made just for the hell of it... more or less, I think it was to shut us girls up for begging him to make mixes, hah... and I needed to know what it was right after that.  Calvin Harris has a career that I'm not really into or informed on, but he's toured in support of the likes of Groove Armada, who is pretty bitchin', and Faithless, who of course anyone who's into some techno will probably recognize his "God is a DJ" tune.

But for the production values, well, Calvin Harris is pretty cool for having done some shit for Katy Perry and Kylie Minogue.  Also a funny side story, he evidently was offered an opportunity to work on some Lady Gaga track about a year and a half before she hit it big, and he said "nah, no thanks" because he "didn't think the track he heard was all that good." El oh el.  But he also says he thinks she's a good artist, just that he didn't like what he heard and therefore doesn't regret saying "no" to it or anything.

So I find it very easy to see why it is that I think "Century" is the stand-out track on the entire album, even as much as I love and adore Tegan & Sara and their contribution to the album.

Tiesto ft. Calvin Harris, "Century"

The large, glaring reason for me writing about good ol' Tiesto in my music blog is that my opinion of his evolution from "mindless button pusher" to "respected artist" has taken quite a long time, and I think that coming from someone who prefers drum & bass (me, obviously) it's kind of a big compliment.  I feel like some of his earlier tracks are of course catchy, just for fun dance party type stuff (tracks like "Traffic," linked below) that have really great builds, yeah I can say they're fun to listen to but it's nothing to write home about.

"Traffic" official music video (poor quality but whatever, it's still fun to see Tiesto jumping around and grinning like an idiot. That dude really loves performing.)

And then there's also a track that I was surprised to find on my Dieselboy's Dungeonmaster's Guide album, Flight 643, which is a HUGE track for Tiesto, after doing some reading.  Not mad about it, and in fact, it's one of my favorite songs on the Dieselboy album. The mix is done by Paul B & Subwave, but it's Tiesto's track.

"Flight 643" on Dungeonmaster's Guide.

Now that Kaleidoscope has become such a stand-out album in my collection, I felt it was time to do the big dirty thing I've been avoiding:

Admit to be among the billions of people who call themselves Fans of Tiesto.

There, I said it. For all the interwebs to see.

Don't hurt me too badly, my EDM friends.


On a funny end note, I realized while writing this entry that I actually didn't know how to spell the word "kaleidoscope" before now.  It's a word one says and rarely writes, I assume.  Thanks, Tiesto. I am now clear on it's spelling. hah


New Music Releases this week that interest me!

In an attempt to keep this thing going and maybe get back on a roll, I'm going to attempt to post each week about new album releases or singles released that interest me.

Moving from California back to the Beast Coast, I've landed in Connecticut, very unlikely, but still pretty thriving in the music scene for a quiet area on the edge of Fairfield. Plus we're only about an hour away from new York City so I can't complain about that, I've been there and NJ already to see my brother play. (He's a drummer and subs for bands that need a drummer for their tours, as well as the new resident drummer for This Is Your Life, good stuff, if you like punk check it out for sure. Plus like, my brother's in the band now, which makes it infinity x's awesome-er.)

So, that being said, I'm pretty settled, if not still a little scattered in routine. But here goes, this weeks' new releases and working backwards, whatever I found from there... these have been listened to, meant to be listened to, worn the hell out, or heard & discarded.

Albums Released April 19th, 2011 that I got super excited about:

The Gorillaz, The Fall
Damon Albarn recorded this album while he was on the U.S. leg of their tour for Plastic Beach, all on his iPad.  The fictional 2D says the album was done without a lot of concentration, just what he felt as he went through America on tour. So it seems like more of a personal signature than a Gorillaz album to be lumped in with the other three. It's very enjoyable though, listened to it once through already. I especially enjoy that in the track "Aspen Forest" he used the sound of interference from your cell phone sitting to close to your speaker, and it picks up the little sounds when you get a text or a call... as a sound effect in the song. How cute! Some bits of it really remind me of Pulp, or Blur (go figure) even among all the electronica and ambiance. Very lovely and laid back.  Two very enthusiastic thumbs up.

Snoop Dogg, Doggumentary
Have not yet let my ears feast upon this one yet, but it's up next.  Will let you know how I feel about it, but it's on MY list, so it's on THIS list.

Explosions in the Sky, Take Care, Take Care, Take Care
Again, haven't yet listened to this album, but it is definitely on the to-hear list. I'm ready, just need to devour other new music first... everything in order!

I note here with much amusement that Whitesnake had a new album release this week. WOWWW. hah!

Going back further.

4.11.2011 : Nothing of interest to me.

4.4.2011 : 

Daft Punk – Tron: Legacy R3CONFIGUR3D
Frickin'. Bitchin'.  Just LOOK at the collaborations... M83, Glitch Mob, Paul Oakenfold, Crystal Method, Kaskade, Photek, Pretty Lights, just to name the AWESOME.  Then there's ones that really surprised me that I hadn't heard enough of, such as the Avicii mix of "Derezzed."  Good stuff. 

3.28.2011 :

Radiohead, The King of Limbs
Well, I love me some Radiohead. BUT, this album failed to peak my interest. Perhaps I need a new view on it. Anyone care to share? Get me interested. Do it, you won't.  (Ps, Thom Yorke, I saw the video for the single you released, "Lotus Flower."  Get a new stylist and a new director, please. You're a wonderful guy, it's just... my friendly advice.)

3.14.2011 :

Does It Offend You, Yeah? Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
I'm not mad about it.

And then, there's some stuff I missed somehow.

Crystal Fighters. You HAVE to hear them, their album is called Star of Love. They fuse heavy, throbbing electronics with folksy sounds, acoustics, and even some dubstep stuff in there, if I have to mention dubstep to get an album listened to, well, so be it.  The entire album is good, front to back, with tons of musical variety and yet still being completely cohesive.  Male and female fronted, songs vary and singers vary.  Their videos are fun too.  The first song I heard from them, "With You," was in Skins last season during the "Mini" episode. Not only a bitchin' song choice, but well placed and well synched within the episode (Thank you, SKINS- that show is wonderful for music.  (I speak of the original BRITISH Skins, not the U.S. copycat version, although that isn't terrible, they won my heart pretty quickly when Animal Collective's song "My Girls" was the first thing I heard in the first U.A. episode... BUT, it's just not THE original.)

Man Man has been a favorite of mine since I heard them in 2007.  They're not for everyone, they're very ecclectic, gypsy, tribal, carnival, tom waits-y.  Just go read about them on wikipedia or something, they're frigging incredible, the ensemble of people and instruments they use.  I saw them live once with my friend and we were both happy to see them perform in such a small venue, they really have a great presence and hang out with you after they're done playing. hah, gotta love that.  Anyway, I had the album six demon bag, from 2006.  I never gave it another thought, and then it occured to me that I never got the album they were touring for in 2008 when I saw them live. So I got to fetch it, and behold, there's an album from 2004 as well!  So I got Rabbit Habits (2008) and The Man In A Blue Turban With A Face (2004).  Both are excellent, I like how I can see where the two albums met in the middle to form the album that I so enjoy, six demon bag.  The first I ever heard from them was Tunneling Through The Guy.

There's a really great song change a minute or two in... every time I hear it, all I can think is that it's so great it makes me wanna FUCK EVERYTHING.

RJD2, The Colossus

Somehow this one also slipped under my radar.  (Sometimes I slack on actually looking up the damn new releases for awhile, and this is what happens!)  A friend of a friend showed me a song he wrote and rapped over the RJD2 track "Tin Flower."  I enjoyed his bit of course, but then had to quiz him about the music. He says "Oh, you haven't heard the last RJD2 album? I thought you were a fan!" ...sigh, I thought I was, too.  So here I was, Colossus-less, and I fixed that.  The entire album is a lovely nod to what it means to properly arrange an album.  The songs flow, RJD2 is of course his very wonderous self, producing tracks that make us feel like we smoked a joint of the best weed on the planet while sitting inside a cozy room with lots of shiny things and something soft to land on, always.  Perhaps a microfiber bean bag. Mmmm. 

Yeah, I know it sounds odd to compare an album to a room, I suppose... but for example, it suits Man Man as well: Rabbit Habits makes me feel like I'm at a carnival! Bright lights, excitement, tons of thigns to absorb (though normally it's sight and smells over sounds at a carnival, still one gets the picture), and lots of variety.  See?  I'm not that weird for comparing albums to places. NYEH.

*On a personal note:

One should also note here that I live above a particularly atrocious variety of bar... so you may get the occasional rant or rave about the music we always hear pouring up through our floor.  The DJ on Fridays & Saturdays is absolutely dreadful, to put it kindly, and he thinks that turning it UP = making it BETTER.  He plays the same exact thing every Friday & Saturday, with the same horrible sample of himself screaming YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH!! along with poorly mixed "breaks" in the song as he scratches like a juvenile... I'm telling it's it's completely reprehensible.  Anyway, as you can see, just a short mention of the bar caused me to riot off on it.  (This awful "DJ" is on down in the bar now, hence the extra anger, I suppose.) 

Once in awhile, one of the Hell's Angels gets ahold of the jukebox and plays a metric ass-ton of GOOD classic rock.  We like those people, mostly.  The ones who play good music.  We want a way to reward people for playing good music, the best idea was that Anthony suggested we go downstairs every time we hear 5 songs in a row that don't make us cringe and instead make us say "Oh hey, GOOD CHOICE whoever's on deck right now!"  we should go downstairs and buy them a beer.  He wants to be the "The Reward For Playing Good Music is A FREE Beer!" Fairy.  I love the idea, if only we could both (a) afford to do it (even as rare as it is for us to WANT to reward good music being played, we need every penny), and (b) we don't even like to set foot in the bar, really. It's a bad, bad place.

That's all I can do for now. I want to go create some art things.

I hope to continue this every week, and possibly catch up on shit I missed the past few months inbetween. We shall see!

Thanks for reading after this long break. :-) love, me.


it saves my life every day

This is off the path of EDM. But it's a blog I feel like writing; and fuck convention and structure sometimes, you know?

I'm listening to a playlist I created when I was very obviously in a sad place. But one with hope because there's still some love songs in there.

The Big Fight - Stars

I'm reminded today of all days how much music soothes my soul.  I really should just make a religion of it somehow. I find myself quoting the Postal Service to a friend who can't quite get into words how she feels about something... like it's a fucking bible verse or some shit. I mean, I really believe in and have faith in it.  What lyrics stick in my head, what beautiful things I've heard people say through music, brings tears to my eyes even just thinking about it right now.

I had written this idea down weeks ago and haven't had the heart to drag myself into this particular blog, but now it's a good time for it.  My "emotional songs" blog.

I remember the first time a song really struck a chord with me, emotionally. Before then, I had listened to it and enjoyed it in a way that I believe "commoners" listen to it. People who don't really understand this special place that so much music comes from.

Bjork's Hyperballad was an instant favorite for me off of (what I think is her best) album Post. Jesus I think I was 14 or 15, sitting in front of my first good stereo just listening to her croon and thoroughly enjoying the bass in the song (which I still do to this day), when she sang, "Imagine what my body would sound like, slamming against those rocks. And when it lands, will my eyes be closed or open?"

Album of the Year - The Good Life

Now, before you think it's weird that I identified so hard with such a morbid thought, remember I'm 14 years old and all I know is morbid and depressed. Being a teenager in itself is depressing. Jesus. Anyway, i hadn't been in love yet, I hadn't been broken up with yet, and I hadn't even fathomed losing someone to death at that point. So those normal types of themes wouldn't strike a chord with me would they? No but wondering those types of things myself, and then having Bjork sing them back at me, that strikes me. I was pulled a little more deeply into listening to what people were really singing about after that little epiphany.

Fast forward quite awhile, and then you get to everything in the past few years.

I finally understand Possibly Maybe, after having what I feel is a similar experience. I really super duper get now that I've lived about a decade mostly on my own.  I think Bjork was in the spot I'm in now that I'm the age she was when she wrote that album. (Decipher that sentence and I'll give you another banana sitcker.)

A short list of some of the most emotionally striking songs I've ever heard:
Bright Eyes - A Perfect Sonnet
The Good Life - Album of the Year
The Postal Service - Nothing Better
Death Cab For Cutie - Passenger Seat
Bjork - Scary
New Buffalo - I've got you and you've got me (song of contentment)
The Three Degrees - When Will I See You Again
Elliott Smith - Between the Bars
Alkaline Trio - Sorry About That
Brand New - The boy who blocked his own shot & Me. vs. Maradona vs. Elvis
Bad Religion - Better Off Dead
Patrick Wolf - Don't Say No To It
Eisley - I wasn't prepared

You can make fun of me for having not just one, but TWO Brand New songs on that list if you want to, but tell me that listening to either of those songs doesn't fuck your head up a little bit. Shut up you're a communist if they don't.

I'm sure there's just LOADS more I can't think of right now, I thought I wrote down a slew of songs but as it turns out I had only four written down. But those are in there.

That damn Magnetic Fields songs there, that makes me cry just about every time I hear it.

"Your heart won't heal right if you keep tearing out the sutures."

My friend Mike showed mt this Postal Service song while we were driving to Boston one random ass weekend. He was all emo and piney and whiney over losing his girlfriend recently, and insisted that I hear this song. I constantly made fun of him for his emo shit, and was putting up quite the fuss while he usurped my CD player, but he was paying for gas so I let him have it. I liked the Postal Service anyway, I just hadn't heard the song he was about to show me. In true banter form I still had to give him crap about his emo crap; but as it turns out, ol' Mikey had good taste in music, in retrospect. He was kind of a great gem for showing me all those Saddle Creek bands that I love so.

Today, my soul was saved again in the church of motherfucking music. It constantly inspires me to carry on, see the next day, feel out what's going on, dance, smile, cry... I feel like that's what something you put your faith in should do. Make you feel.

They will see us waving from such great heights. (There is never a time when I hear this song and I don't immediately get goosebumps and feel like the universe is hugging me. It makes me wanna dance a lot, too, normally.) --ak


The Gorillaz ft. Daley - subtitle, Omg i know she's such a slacker.

Yeah so, eff you, I slacked on the DJs. They're still coming, but I can't force music talk. It just kinda happens sometimes in a really great way. And some people inspire it in my more than others.

I love feeling like I swooped in on someone right before they "blew up" or "got big." I have a few bands I could insert here for that one. Everyone has one of those "oh my god, I was listening to XYZ band before they got huge and started playing to arenas..." it's kind of a mixed feeling of pride and disappointment. They're not all YOURS anymore.  In that sense, I'm loathe to show you my discovery... But it's out of love, that's all! Not that I dislike you...

My new favorite track:

"Doncromatic" Gorillaz featuring Daley

So from what I can gather, this basic NOBODY from the UK is just a super talented fucker who deserved someone like the Gorillaz to feature him on their track. He only has a couple little videos on youtube and his wiki is only like a paragraph, I mean that's just so empty and sad! He's not even put out an album yet, and he's being featured on gorillaz tracks. Lucky (deserving) bastard! *shakes fist* Anyways, he sings beautifully, but if it weren't for the Gorillaz I would have probably never heard him. His music isn't really my style, but he does have a beautiful sound. Super voice.  (...also wouldn't have laid eyes on him!! What a cutie!! Of course, one can see why I would like him, he's maybe a little bit my type...

(Myself & Anthony just about one year ago, New Year's Eve 2009. eee! we're so cute.)

Anyways, the Gorillaz rarely ever disappoint me, and this is another GEM of a song. They're adding it to Plastic Beach as a bonus track on new pressings of the album, is what I believe I read. Whatever, who checks sources?  Just go listen to it, it's magical.

...More DJ's and EDM are coming, btw.  I just have to get through the holiday... and one a day is just SO not happening right now. haha. Merry Xmas or whatever it is you do if I don't post before then!


Girl Talk - installment one of EDM Week

A lot of DJ'ing is sampling. If you have a bitchin' sample in your song, you're more than likely going to garner a few fans.

I thought it would be wise to kick off the Week of DJs with someone who has a sound that everyone can appreciate - a man who creates new songs from several existing songs. With no added beats or help. Everything you hear was not created by the artist... except the new version of the old songs that you love that will now BLOW YOUR MIND. Since sampling is so integral to DJ'ing, and everyone can appreciate a top 40 song or two - why not start with Girl Talk?

The Master of Samples is Greg Gillis, aka Girl Talk.  I don't give a fuck WHO you think is the best dude on the planet at remixing songs, I'm pretty sure Greg Gillis kicks their asses with room to spare.

If you've never heard his work, you're probably going to be motherfucking delighted to discover it.  I don't know anyone who doesn't like Girl Talk.

Girl Talk has been clever since the birth of his musical career. His songs are not original... technically.  He creates new songs from existing songs. (Like I said, Master of Samples.) He doesn't have his own "original" beat anywhere in a song. He simply chooses a particular vocal track (typically rap or pop vocals) and puts it over something you would never think to pair it with... Ludacris raps over New Order in one track on All Day, and I don't think you realize how great it is until you hear it. For the last part of this song, which is my personal favorite on the track, White Zombie lays that well-known, powerful & tough groove with Thunderkiss '65 - jesus that was released in 1992?! - The Ying Yang Twins Wild Out over it, and Ludacris wraps it up with Everybody Drunk.*

"On & On" is one of my favorites off of the latest Girl Talk album.

I was loathe to even give you a sample, but without music this wouldn't be much of a music blog... so, I chose a song I think stands on it's own very well and is accessible to almost anyone from the opening.

But even Gillis himself will tell you that the albums are meant to be heard as one continuous track.  One GIANT song. It's only broken down into separate numbered tracks for the little people to be able to remember where their favorite part begins.

How does Gillis "get away" with producing tracks that are essentially completely illegal, according to current copyright laws?

Well, he doesn't sell his albums, for one thing. If you go to his website, you'll notice that his album All Day is available for a free download.  Yes, he just places it somewhere online and lets people go nuts.  I heard rumblings the day it was released, just before Thanksgiving. An exclamation of "the new Girl Talk album is out!" from my friend Hung Le completely verified it. I downloaded it posthaste.  You don't actually pay for it, so he's not technically profiting from the "illegal" samples. For his previous album, he accepted donations if you felt like giving him a buck or two, but that was also free. There's this thing called "fair use," which if you're at all familiar with copyright laws (which are stupid strict in my opinon), means you can use something under certain conditions.

I was recently directed to a VERY LARGE jpeg file of a breakdown of Girl Talk's newest album, All Day. GOD BLESS the person who made this chart - I have many sites referencing the substantial amounts of samples Gillis uses bookmarked for my own reference, but this is by far the most appealing and easily understood method in showing someone how his songs are laid out. Big ups to this person, I have no idea who you are.

If you're not already impressed with his music and super-clever ingenuity on the copyright laws, which is his life's mission to battle, prepare to truly be impressed by the man himself.

I'm pretty sure that the fact he gets away with anything is because he's a super smart son of a bitch, too. He went to college for  biomedical engineering, specifically, tissue engineering as his specialty.  He worked in the field for a couple years before deciding to quit and concentrate solely on music, around 2007.  He isn't making money off his albums... so most people wonder why he would do it.  Personally, I like to think he has the same idea that I do. Something that makes you feel this happy shouldn't be only for the privileged, aka, people with a solid paycheck. Even if I never had the money to go see him perform live, which is where he does in fact make his money, I would still have access to his awesomeness and information along with it.

Let's read the disclaimer on his website, shall we?

"All Day by Girl Talk is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license. The CC license does not interfere with the rights you have under the fair use doctrine, which gives you permission to make certain uses of the work even for commercial purposes. Also, the CC license does not grant rights to non-transformative use of the source material Girl Talk used to make the album."

Do you realize that Greg Gillis has found the perfect loophole for fighting copyright laws? He applies his intelligence and it shows in his mixes. He's not using entire tracks, he's not using the entire track length, and he's making sure you realize it's not the original song at any point during an album. He knows how to make his money and get around the laws that would bring a person of normal or below intelligence to their knees, and give the masses music that makes you feel good, as well as fight the fuckin Man. Which brings me right back to the music.

He is technically what's called a "mash up" DJ, or a remixer, if you're nice about it. I will never in my entire LIFE use the term "mash up DJ" to describe Girl Talk. God of Sampled Remixes? Sure. Mash up dude? No. Please don't insult MY intelligence, or his, by saying it and trying to compare him to every other yokel who posts a Youtube video with their "Kelly Clarkson vs. Metallica" mash up or something. (Please note that this is simply a hypothetical example that I completely made up - I know of no such mash up, hah.)

Feed the Animals album cover. Released in 2008.

(Worth noting - to me, saying Artist A VERSUS Artist B in any "mash up" situation will forever piss me the fuck off. When I hear a mash-up, I don't see the artists or songs as battling or facing one another in a competitive way; instead I see two songs that flow together and are essentially complimeting one another! It's not a "facing off" feeling to me, it's more of a melding of wonder.)

I dare you to listen to one album, and tell me you DON'T enjoy it at least in one part or another. The endings to Girl Talk albums make you feel like you're being hugged. Greg Gillis lifts you up, makes you wanna shake your booty for hours, and then brings you back to a warm place to leave you basking in the Bambi-legs-after-sex-feeling that he fucks into your heart.

If you're already a fan of Girl Talk, and you've never seen him live, GO. I don't care if the ticket costs you $80 scalped, just go. And get there early. See all the openers, but get there before then too. I don't know if it's consistent everywhere, but when my friend and I went to see Girl Talk at Sonar in Baltimore, MD, people were tailgating in the parking lot. I laughed! It was like a football event except with super cool people all dressed to the nines and dancing with their trunks open while they played his album.  Soda bottles in their hands? Come on people, you're not fooling anyone with that vodka in the Sprite bottle. But you're all awfully cute for dancing in the street. It was a really super vibe the whole night.  Which is probably why I wanted to fight the stupid bitch who kept bumping into me when she shoved very unnecessarily through the crowd, she was really harshing my vibe, shoving me like that, seeing as how it wasn't thick at all in the spot where we were dancing... but I digress once again. She lived, we'll just say that much.

Seeing him perform live isn't exactly any different musically, he doesn't do anything too different than he does from his albums, except maybe he might throw in some NEWER top 40 samples at a show.  Instead you're going for the community dance party experience - everyone just wants to GROOVE.  Either way, once you hear an album, you'll completely understand why it's a blast live. He also invites people up on stage to dance around him and get amped up, because all he really does is use a laptop on stage!  It's probably the most minimalist dance party I'd ever been to, and it makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

It's really easy for me to appreciate what Girl Talk does for the dance scene, and the music scene in general. He's creating another type of song, another type of music, altogether. His label, Illegal Art, carries along with it the best descriptor of his music, in my opinion.  He's making it all with samples from top 40 songs that are popular today, which for the most part, I consider to be about 85% shit. He's the ultimate alchemist, in a figurative sense - Greg Gillis is making gold from almost total crap. Pairing these elements together, we have something we can cherish and listen to countless times. Countless. Yes.  I think of all the complete albums I have of his, hundreds of times listened might be an understatement.

I listened to the new album All Day 7 times  withiin about 24 hours. Didn't I get sick of it, you ask?  Hell no.  I like to completely digest things... chew them up a lot... and somehow, it never loses it's flavor. Not ever.  Gregg Gillis never bores me. When you use an SWV track that I used to listen to when I was 14 years old, and then turn around and hit me with Nirvana...

...well, basically, "you nostalgia you lose."

It's completely unnecessary for me to break down his albums one by one - they speak for themselves., and the concept never changes, even if his earlier efforts are far more glitchy and spazzy in nature compared to today's more refined, smoothed-over sound. He never loses his edge, and the idea & concept stands solid - new tracks from existing tracks that make everyone's booty inexplicably need to start bouncing about.

Night Ripper was released in 2006, and was the beginning of Illegal Art's (the label's) rise to success - basically, this was by far their most accessible and easily listenable album put out yet. Girl Talk became their poster child after this.

If Girl Talk can create an environment and sound where I can be exposed to music I might normally scoff at in a format that i appreciate and enjoy in a way I don't appreciate any other kind of music... I want to support him and show my full appreciation by spreading the word and paying to go to his shows every time I have a chance.  The structure he uses is completely accessible to the musically inept, who can't discern Justin Bieber from Mastadon... as well as appreciated by the musically inclined ear, and musicians themselves.

Besides, who doesn't wanna hear how Lil Mama's infmous "my lip gloss be poppin'" line sounds when paired with Metallica's "One" guitar riff?

You're curious, admit it.  It's FREE!  Don't be lazy - go get All Day.
And thank Greg Gillis for being god damn fucking awesome & original, and pioneering a sound none of us can rival as of right now.

I feel almost proud, I've been with him since 2006.  This is huge. Girl Talk is the perfect start to my DJ week.

Just for fun, please note that the label Illegal Art posts "Challenges" on their site and encourages people to submit their music, awarding winners awesome prizes... it's so much fun and worth checking out.

Delicious Bonus Aural NOMS:
The Hood Internet

If you enjoy the likes of Girl Talk and need to know JUST WHERE TO GET MORE MUSIC LIKE THIS RIGHT NOW, I have something else special for you.

I really love The Hood Internet.  Once again, everything they create is available for Free Download!! *squee*  My personal favorite mixes by them are ALL "The Mixtape Volumes." There's 4 of them, to be specific about it.  Their other smaller collaborative remixes are all fun and everything, but I really love the full album length creations of theirs.

I won't hold your hand, you're from the damn Internet.  Go search for them on the left sidebar on their site, they're all posetd there mixed in chronologically. All are simply titled, "Mixtape Vol. *insert # here*" and if you're not sure which one to grab, (if not all of them!) at least download the The Mixtape Vol. 4. It's my favorite one, if I had to choose one with a gun-to-my-head-type-of-situation.  They're fantastic!! A slight bit different than Girl Talk, but if everything and everyone was the same, life wouldn't be very interesting, would it?  I love them.

Here's a pretty terrific stand-alone track by The Hood Internet.
The Hood Internet - Decalogue (The Hood Internet vs The 2000s) by hoodinternet

It's one of their newest ones too, and really lays the groundwork for the type of things you'll be hearing within their songs & "mixtapes."

(I'll forgive The Hood Internet for falling victim to the "vs." phenomenon simply because they're wonderful.)

Theeeeeeeeeee Ennnnnnnnnnnnd.

The System Is Down

I'm thinking I will gift you all with DJs every day for a week.  Happy Holidays.

One of my greatest passions over the past five years has been EDM (Electronic Dance Music, for the nubs).  Many, many artists fall into this category, therefore, I like (and love) a gigantic range of DJs.  This week I'm gonna fill your ears with anything from big beat, to drum n bass at it's finest, to trance, to mainstream. And even stuff you know, but you may not know you know it. (But don't worry, we'll get there.)

It's hard to define how exactly EDM wormed it's way into my life to stay. I'm trying to pinpoint where it became love and not just something pretty nifty, or a vague hobby... when did it begin to take up a considerable amount of space in my heart and on my hard drive?  I know where my interest was piqued, and I can remember the very first trance song I ever heard. Complete like a flashbulb memory, which now if you will give me a few moments of your time, I'll take you on this musical discovery journey with me.

When I was 23 years old and freshly separated (on the way to divorce), my first roommate that I had ever had was a wonderful little chick named Deena.*  She was my very good high school friend, and after bumping into her at my 5 year high school reunion and inviting her to live with me, she was on a mission to get me socialized; out of an oppressive marriage, I wasn't exposed to a lot of music or culture that anyone my age probably should have been at some point of another.  One night we were driving alone the highway, and she starts talking to me about all the raves she'd gone to, all the things she'd done, and how the music blew her mind on several occasions. She named DJs, clubs, & events I had never heard of before... and now they're all like home to me, in my mind. Nostalgia. Ahhh.

We're cruising along late at night, on our way home from somewhere. (I remember we were coming home because the song ended about when we pulled up to the house.) We're in her tiny silver Ford Echo, and I'm co pilot which means I'm also the car DJ. I am looking through her vast CD mixes, mostly home made burned stuff, and I think this all started because I said "Who is DJ Icey?"

She chooses a song off the CD that to this day I can still listen to with complete love & happiness. I don't care how corny the song sounds... it left a lasting impression and was possibly the first stepping stone on the electronic path.

I'm greeted immediately with bass I love hearing and piercing electronic squeals of some sort.  I'm not upset about it. DJ Icey takes a permanent place in my burned CDs and mp3s from then until this day. I think I should probably tell Deena what an impression she left on me with that... I don't think she knows.

But, moving right along, we solidify.

I liked it, but I didn't yet love it. An entire genre can't be defined with just one song. I think my appreciation for this song is only rooted a couple years later, when my friend Matthew* (along with his new girlfriend Bettie*) start really delving deep into the whole rave community thing. Matthew surprised me by suddenly being so into it... but it was wonderful to get this new outside influence; he's sending me tracks like this:

AK1200's Drowning 

(Bonus:  definitely worth noting, The Cleveland Lounge mix)

I then decided it was AURAL CRACK COCAINE because I listened to it at least a few times a day for a solid fucking month. I am still never sick of it. I listened to it just now.

I feel like there's a gap in this period of time... a stale or static area where I didn't move forward with any of my interest in EDM. Once I hit "the Chemical Brothers era" in my EDM timeline, it was all headfirst into whatever i could find.  I had my friend Bettie telling me all the solid House tracks, and introducing me to the Sneaker Pimps as "after party" music, with the stand-out tracks from that fateful night being Walk The Rain and Johnny. (hello, soothing downbeat trip hop.)  Not only did I kinda get a small girl-crush on the beautiful Bettie that night, but i also had another new crush: Dance music.

It's hard to describe how EDM of any kind makes you feel to someone who hasn't ever done any substances that would enhance said experience. Now, that's not to say you can't enjoy electronic music without the aid of methylenedioxymethamphetamine, but in all honestly, who are we kidding? The music is engineered to trip your mind out when you're on it.  Builds, climaxes, turns, and beats are manufactured and slaved over in a precise manner, in order to give their listener a sensation - a physical feeling! - when they hear it.  Think about that. You'll feel this song, in some form or another. How you experience it is up to your own chemistry though, I make no broad claims as to what anything does to other people, only to myself.

There's a vague possibility this could be boring, so I'm going to wrap up the trip down Memory Lane with final thoughts on my Introduction to EDM Week.

Here's a few things to note and keep in mind if you're going to come along this week.

This is a genre in which you're not limited to one sound.  Within "electronic music," we have trance, downtempo, techno, breaks, drum & bass, jungle... there's one for you, I would guarantee it.  I'm going to try my best to span a few different sounds this week, but I tend to stick to the intelligent end of things. (You will never see an entry about happy hardcore in here, it's simply NOT my style. Chipmunk vocals singing over 300 bpm tracks just doesn't do anything soulful for me.)

I'm a Drum & Bass person. And I normally explain this with a really great analogy:  "It's the heavy metal of electronic music." It's heavy, hard-hitting, vibey, tough, and thick. (To me, it's the most interesting of the genres, but that's again probably personal taste coming through.)  In comparison to snobby metal heads, the people who like drum & bass are all normally smart, they're all sharp-tongued, and all very elitist. Especially if you're talking to someone who spins D&B. Any metal-head musicians who spunk over Slayer, Dream Theater and Mastadon, for example, would get their sensibilities upset if someone in a Creed shirt walked into "their" show. Kandi kid type ravers don't generally display their neon nightmare rainbow glowsticking asses at drum & bass events. Because even if you love those drum & bass DJs, you know they will HATE you if you wear that neon pink skirt and 50+ kandi bracelets up to your elbows to their show...  they look down their nose at all the other sub-genres, for the most part.

Which, if you know me, means it's kind of the perfect genre for me anyway. But I digress.

Trance? If you're a female or gay, you like this. (No seriously, all gay men love trance. Test that theory, you'll see I'm right. Do it, you won't.)
Breakbeats? Oh, that's the mother of Drum & Bass.
You know that that theme song to House, M.D. that you love so much? That's trip hop, a song by Massive Attack... One of the children of Downtempo.

Are you confused yet? Because I know I was...  Don't fret, I'm here to halp.

I'm going to give you a tool that either you are familiar with already because it's an Internet Staple and you're awesome, or you're about to click this link and get lost on this site for at least a couple hours; our god of magical flow charts: Ishkur's Guide To Electronic Music.

Screen cap added for visual interest stimulation - trust me when I say you will ADORE screwing around on this site. Bookmark it posthaste.

(One of my favorite descriptions for a genre is Ishkur's intense, scathing rant about Robert Miles in the "Dream" genre of Trance - I still laugh when I read it to this day; god it's so true!), but he gives you several audio clip examples when you click on them as well (see bottom right of screencap - The Chemical Brothers song is playing you a sample, and you have 5 other examples if that one doesn't do it for you). I was surprised to find Bjork under the Downtempo category as an example of "downbeat" back in the day when I was first referred to the site. You know exactly what he's talking about because as you're hearing it, he's describing it's history and birth. Ishkur has a talent for recalling history and details, as well as the vast vernacular one would need to describe what you're hearing and why it differs from something else.  It's not only fun, but it's incredibly educational and helpful to someone who really doesn't GET those little quirks that define everyone's niche.

If you feel like this isn't going to suit you because you've never heard an EDM song you've liked.... well, maybe this week, you will. I sincerely hope I can introduce you to something you've never heard before that you truly love, and maybe it'll set your ball rolling (excuse the pun?) like it did for me when I heard Deena's DJ Icey song back in 2003.

All I'm trying to say is, keep an open mind. You might learn something from me... I had wonderful guides along the way.

Thanks go to all these people for all these things:

Deena,* she started this avalanche with the first echo.

Scott, one of my contributors to this blog (when he feels the rare itch to write about something, haha) who introduced me to trip hop in general, and the Chemical Brothers. (I am forever indebted to Scott for a TON of incredible music in my life.) Scott is also to thank for the wonderous inception of Ishkur's Guide into my life back when he introduced me to tons of EDM and I didn't understand how to "categorize" anything. 

Matthew*, he helped throw the first dance party at my house, and is sorely missed to this day in my life.

Tiner,* mutual friend of Matthew & Bettie, she gave me my first light show while we listened to DJ DB (and taught me how to look for my sanity). She is my ultimate Dance Party perpetrator. Oh, and I love to huggle her to pieces.

Bettie,* she was truly my "den mother" here. She took me to event after event. Showed me the glory of taking 4-6 hours to ready for an event. She integrated me into this scene. She knew people. People knew her and loved her. She held my hand and was my ultimate rave buddy. She watched out for me everywhere we went, and for all intents and purposes, she might be solely responsible for the fact that I got into any kind of EDM as much as I did.  I have her to thank for Breakbeat Science, which in turn directed me straight towards drum & bass. (It's possible she was a little disappointed that I didn't stay into House music, but I think she forgives me for turning to drum & bass, since we're special BFFs and all.)

Will Guise also gets my personal thanks. Even if we have our tiffs and show downs, all I know is that I was lucky enough to fall into the hands of an incredibly capable drum & bass DJ as a friend and mentor of sorts. Will used to do sets several times a week online, trying new mixes and such, and he shared countless tracks and albums with me. All that really taught me a metric ass ton about proper drum & bass, and is really the ultimate reason why I scoff at ALL OF YOU. Guise is the cunty-smart DJ friend and I shall forever be grateful he made fun of me for pretty much everything I liked (and like now), because without him AND Bettie both around, I might possibly be listening to something really god awful. I'm glad I was taught well before bad habits ensued.

I love all of you for everything you've done for me on this one. Becoming part of this community has been a pretty huge part of my life and a lot of incredible memories were made thanks to these people and the music they showed me with true passion. It is now my passion, as well. 

Starscape 2008, sunrise over the Chesapeake Bay. One of the best nights I've ever had prefaced this photo. <3

...this is what runs my click track heart. 

Names changed to protect the innocent during possible future political campaigns.

Don't forget to click the title of the blog. You might miss an inside joke...


one of the best bands you haven't heard yet

...especially if you're one of my East Coast Friends.

Best Coast makes me so happy.  They encompass the feel of surf rock without the annoying parts, so maybe it's technically it's own indie genre. Who even knows what the fuck genres there are anymore, anyway.

I heard "Boyfriend" on some indie playlist a friend sent me with like 120 songs on it.  (It was mostly unremarkable, aside from Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt and this song.)  It was the definition of "stand-out" song.  Super cute girly lyrics (with their female singer) such as "I'd love him to the very end but instead he is just a friend, I wish he was my boyfriend," reminds me of a song I would've written if I was an angsty teenager and had a bit of talent (which I certainly didn't), but instead Bethany Cosentino makes you feel nostalgic. Maybe it's intentional, but even if that's not the case,  I'm still in love with their sound.  They're from Los Angeles, CA, so their sound is pretty authentic on the "surf rock" side of things.

Another great track (that immediately reminded me of my boyfriend and myself, -insert chuckle here-) is Crazy For You, which I can certainly relate to "I wanna hit you then I kiss you, I wanna kill you but then I'd miss you." Clever, crazy lady. I like it when people nail down a feeling for me in a song.

Besides, how can you dislike someone who draws their inspiration from "boys, California, weed, and her cat"?

NOT to mention... I'm pretty sure that's her cat on the album cover. 

Adorable. Please keep up the fantastic work, Best Coast.