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December 29, 2004 at 4:04 am #2853Streed_303Participant
I just want to take time to thank all the DJs and listeners for playing and listening to the new releases in the Electronic/ RPM section. I am still not sure what the heck RPM actually stands for. But, who cares! It is great to know that this section of the library is active and the ‘right people’ are aware of this!
So, if someone was to look back at 2004 and think about what happened musically, what would be the first thing that comes to mind?
Granted, I have never watched the show American Idol, but it has ‘manufactured’ some new artists. Kelly Clarkson’s “A Moment …” is already a wedding staple. Ruben (Studdard?) has ‘one name’ status, and I actually like Fantasia’s cover of (George Gershwin’s) Summertime.
Who would’ve thought William Hung would Slip through the cracks? From the infamous audition (which was probably a joke to begin with), William Hung has had quite a ride. Two Albums, a tour, the talk show circuit, etc… Could this be the ‘everyman’ for the 21’st century? A reflection of the media’s appetite for the next instant celebrity? Anyway, I hope William Hung is smart enough to bank some of the money, say thanks for the ride, and step off the roller coaster on a ‘good note’.
The thing that I was watching all year is the interest in ‘illegal art’ and trying to make some sense of ‘Grey Tuesday’. For those who forgot, Grey Tuesday happened in February where various radio stations played and many websites made available “The Grey Album” by DJ Danger Mouse. The Grey album married the accapellas from Jay-Zs “Black Album” with samples from the Beatles “White Album”. Suprisingly, some of the tracks worked! My favorite was ‘Encore’ featuring grooves from “Glass Onion” and “Savoy Truffle”. On many levels, the guitar riff from “Mother Narure’s Son” worked with the lyrics on “December 4th”. And you have to give it to Danger Mouse, he managed to work in “Revolution #9” on the track “Interlude”.
So, what did we learn from this? IMHO, it was one hell of a novelty! Maybe some sort of ‘street promotion’ cooked up by Jay-Z. Prior to this, the album wasn’t really doing much. EMI/Capitol had a lot to say! I don’t think Paul McCartney publicly said anything about this (maybe he was under gag), but then again I am not sure if he owns the rights to these songs anymore.
The Grey Album became a sort of new folk classic. Shortly, thereafter, many variations came out. After all, Jay-Z supposedly released the accapellas as a ‘gift’ so that people could play with them. Some of the most famous copycats were “The Double Black Album” featuring music from Metallica’s ‘Black Album’; DJ N-Wee’s “Slack Album” using music by Pavement. Also, locally (New Haven) saw the creation of “The Icy Grape Album” (which is in our stacks for your listening pleasure). And I am sure there are countless more creations out there. Who knows, maybe years from now, it will be a testimony for the ‘true’ Jay-Z fan to put together their own version of a track from these accapellas. Hmm, sort of like the Beach Boy / Brian Wilson fan who has compiled their own version of Smile using the bootlegs and tracks scattered throughout various releases.
(Interesting segue) Speaking of Smile. This was also a landmark for 2004. Brian Wilson finally became comfortable with this body of music, had enough distance from the Beach Boys to finally take this music on tour and release it! Do yourself a favor! Buy the vinyl version!!! its on Rhino Records http://www.rhino.com The vinyl has bonus tracks and your grandchildren will thank you later! Yes, kids, Digi-rot is real… Anyway, this album is not a 60’s re-tread. It is very ‘now’. To me, this is Brian ‘at peace’ with himself in 2004 and renditions of these songs of ‘where he’s at’ now. A classic ‘work in progress’.
On the Drum & Bass side – Which is the style that I originally decided to play / promote on my air slot – I went jazzy! I was lucky to pick though Chris McDo ‘s collection he was thinning out this summer and add to my playlist. Also, tracks by High Contrast and Calibre were keeping the needles vibrating this year.
And lastly, to me, band of the year has to go to the Scissor Sisters! Maybe I took a liking to them because they were my ‘first’. When I started ‘directing ‘ new music for the RPM shelves, this was the first CD in my bin. An unassuming red folder (it wasn’t in a real jewel case) with a cryptic logo of a pair of scissors with legs… At first listen, I didn’t think it wasn’t really electronic. But, I liked their cover of Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” Using a Kraftwerk inspired groove with Barry Gibb influenced falsetto vocals, it was different! So, after some quiet plays and consistent CMJ charting, I find out these ‘guys’ are on the rise. From playing TT The Bears in May, to rocking this New Year in Scotland with Blondie, things are looking very bright for them in 2005. Also, they have some very famous fans. Elton John and Bono have been at their shows and publicly admit they like them. I believe the ‘sisters’ are opening for U2 and look out for a collaboration with Sir ‘John’! And I can’t forget, Comfortably Numb has a Grammy nomination in the dance category!!!!
What do we have to look for in 2005? Who knows? Right now, out of the newest releases, I like DJ RNDM. Fans of DJ Shadow, Fatboy Slim, Z-Trip,Icey, and collage artists in general should give a listen! Following the ‘Classic Rock’ meets Hip Hop traditon, RNDM has a fresh ear, and isn’t afraid to dig deep in the crates for that perfect hook. Go to http://www.carbonpictures.com/djrndm and find out more!
I’m off to put together the records for my next (on air) show. Being close to New Years Eve, I’ll pull out the stops and try to bring in 2005 a couple days early!
One more thing, Locally, we saw (and heard) the return of the Towers of New London series! Volume 3 was debuted at the 25th Hygienic show. It is a great slice of what is going on in the area. True to the spirit of Volume 1 & 2, there was the group photo and the kooky layout. Unfortunately, (due to the small space of the CD insert?) there was no personnel info nor contact info for each of the bands. Lets hope there are more releases of this series in the future. I don’t think I can wait another 17 years!
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