Tag Archives: Michael Jackson

New Music Marketing, Revisited

Who knew that the Beastie Boys attended the Kanye West school of new media marketing?  Following on the heels of yesterday’s leaked track, we now have a trailer for what seems to be the Beastie’s gonzo take on a Runaway-esque short film.  Reflecting their different artistic sensibilities, Kanye had crazy artistic flourishes including a woman/swan and a paper mache Michael Jackson, and the Beastie Boys have a collection of comedians including Will Ferrell, Seth Rogen, Danny McBride, John C. Reilly, Jack Black, Elijah Wood, and lot of other famous people.

This film has some surprisingly dystopic touches, but also seems to be hilarious in a borderline nonsensical sort of way.  To wit: “sense is something you can’t even make sense of until you’ve been to the future and spent time there.”

As the old music industry melts down even for superstars, it’s interesting to see how quickly artists are picking up each other’s tactics.  What’s next? B.E.A.S.T.I.E. music Thursday’s?

Day 26: A Song that You Can Play on an Instrument

With the digitally driven democratization of music creation, what can we call an instrument these days?  Who qualifies as a musician?

As it often is, the purist’s argument is tempting.  It’s easy to clear one’s throat, gather the right gravitas of righteous indignation, and proclaim that instruments are what instruments have been: the presence of a demo version of Garage Band on your Mac doesn’t create music any more than does Guitar Hero.

As a music fanatic, I almost feel compelled to take a stand on this side of exclusivity.  The respect I have for live musicians borders on reverence, and its rarity elevates the impact of this talent.

But here’s the thing: I have (almost) enough respect for what people can create through the re-mix.  The ability to take create an entire song around a sample is the background of hip-hop music.  With that fact, the turntable became an instrument.  And the more recent technology that enables us to create music from a hyper-kinetic tableau of pop culture (think Girl Talk) has turned the laptop into an instrument.  Yes, it has.

Now just because you know how to loop a beat doesn’t mean that you have musical talent.  Trust me, I know this from experience.  Aside from spectacularly futile short-term jaunts with the clarinet and the guitar, I’ve had no success whatsoever with traditional instruments.  I guess that’s one of the reasons that I’ve been drawn to dj-ing: considering my creation as the selection and sequencing of music.  Using ideas and juxtapositions and builds to create and bend moods and atmospheres.  I’m still somewhat amateurish at it, but it’s quite fun and quite the creative challenge.  Here’s an old mix that I hadn’t shared digitally prior to now.  Enjoy this mix from 2003, I’d imagine for some of you it will be a nice bit of nostalgia and for others perhaps a bit of a musical discovery.  If all goes well, you should be able to click here and download the zip file with the music.  If that link doesn’t cooperate, try this one: http://www.mediafire.com/file/ujvy1tnzydo/Holiday%20Mix%202003.zip

And here’s the track list.  Do hope you enjoy it, holler if there’s anything that you’re particularly liking.  Am I a musician?  Probably not.  But an improving dj?  Perhaps.

Day 24.5: Fire Up the Grill, Turn Up the Music

Had some great friends over for dinner last night, and (as you might expect) I put together a mix of great new(ish) music for the occasion.  I thought I’d share some of the best of the best so that you can have a dose of fresh new tunes for your holiday hoe downs.

First up are The Cool Kids, Chicago-area purveyors of infections beats.  This past week, these guys did a fundraiser for the Off the Streets Club (pictured above, and one of the most awesome organizations I’ve had the pleasure of being a part of).  Great tunes for a great cause: now that’s cool.

Bassment Party, The Cool Kids

As I get ready to head over to Toyota Field to watch the Fire play AC Milan, and with the World Cup a week or so off, it’s time for a soccer song.  Here’s the official anthem of the World Cup, brought to you by K’Naan: a rapper from Somalia who currently lives in Canada (of course).  Highly worthwhile easily accessible melodic hip-hop– check out his album Troubadour.

Wavin’ Flag, K’Naan

When she’s not posting the cell phone number of NYT reporters who write unflattering articles about her, M.I.A. is starting to sign bands to her own label.  Her first signees, Sleigh Bells, are the it band of the minute.

Rill Rill, Sleigh Bells

I’ve talked about them plenty of times before, but The Very Best are coming to Chicago for a free show this Thursday night.  Don’t check your calendar, don’t track down reviews of their album to see if you’ll like them: just go.  If I’m not locked in the office prepping for a presentation, I’ll see you there.  When they’re able to take a Michael Jackson track from the Free Willy soundtrack and make it cool as hell, you know they’ve got it.

Will You Be There, The Very Best