Listened DJ Shadow Talks with Clams Casino for the Talkhouse Music Podcast from Talkhouse
Representing two generations of game-changing hip hop production technique, DJ Shadow and Clams Casino recently caught up in New York City to tape an episode of the Talkhouse Music Podcast. They discussed their new records, Shadow’s Endtroducing..... remake, the ways that recording and sampling have changed over the years, and how it’s sometimes worth giving a great MC (like A$AP Rocky) a beat you were saving for your own record.
This conversation between DJ Shadow and Clams Casino provides an insight into the creation of electronic music. Both artists discuss hearing new possibilities in samples that then seed new tracks, as well as the evolution of technology used to produce and perform. One thing that really stood out was that being a ‘DJ’ is so much more than spinning discs, especially in an era when clearance is needed for each and every sample. I remember spending hours pressing the hold button on my Roland GR-700 and manipulating the sound on the Roland PG-200. Sadly, my tape recordings have log bitten the dust or else I could cut them up as Clams Casino discusses. I was also reminded of DJ Shadow’s analysis of Mutual Slump on the Song Exploder Podcast and the way the track was built around Bjork’s Possibly Maybe.
Listened Matt Berninger (The National) Talks with Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes, Desaparecidos) for the Talkhouse Music Podcast from Talkhouse
Matt Berninger (the National) and Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes, Desaparecidos) are two of rock’s heaviest-hitting lyricists. Turns out, they’re also huge fans of each other’s songs. The guys recently sat down to discuss all things songwriting (lyrics, finding melody, influences, “dick references,” embarrassment and so much more) for the Talkhouse Music Podcast. They break down songs from across their catalogues, such as the National’s “All the Wine,” “Fake Empire” and “Lemonworld,” and Conor’s “Lua,” “You Are Your Mother’s Child” and “Artifact #1.” They also discuss their favorite songwriters, giving a lot of love to Leonard Cohen.
This conversation between Matt Berninger and Conor Oberst provides an insight into the art of songwriting and music. I have long been told to listen to Oberst, but never found an entry point. I feel after understanding a bit more of the context to the music that I should return again for another listen.
Listened Beckstrom Holiday Extravaganza Volume X, by Chris Beckstrom from Chris Beckstrom
6 track album
It is always an interesting time of year when it comes to music. Michael Buble has his niche. Last year Sia created an interesting album of original music. With all this said there is something truly joyful about these Holiday Extravaganzas. The pictures are also a useful reflection of the effort required.
Replied to Deconstructing the Modern Hip-Hop Song by Kevin Hodgson (Kevin's Meandering Mind)
  1. Start with a simple beat. Maybe kick drum on the beat or on the off beat. Keep it pounding until your feel it in your skull.
  2. Add piano or organ over it. Do this for about four measures. Just enough to establish the melody.
  3. Drop the drum and transform the opening melody part to synth after the first few measures. Come in strong with a big kick drum sound (think: John Bonham from Led Zep. That’s the sound you want. Bigger than your head.).
  4. Make sure the bass is deep enough, rich enough, to reach into your esophagus. Deep in sound, but not too complicated in parts. The bass will become the thread that holds this whole thing together. Modern bass is the river on which the melody floats.
  5. Shout out “yeah” on the offbeat until you create synergy off the beat. Wave your hands in the air if you care. Get hangers-on in the studio to the mic, and have them join in.
  6. Name-check yourself. Maybe a few times. Don’t let the listener forget who you are.
  7. If your lyrics are a mostly meaningless flow about nothing much to talk about, pump up the effects to bury the meaning beneath your voice. Also, do this, too, if you can’t really sing. If your lyrics have meaning, push the voice up over the beat during verses. Make it known.
  8. If your partner(s) are the DJ at the mix machine, have them interject a few odds and ends now and then. Maybe during live performances tell the crowd to make some noise, but with a slew of profanity. Say it at least a dozen times. Keep their microphone volume lower than yours, though.
  9. Have a famous friend? Invite them into the track for some verses or a line of words or two. Guest overdubs are the rage right now. If you are a male rapper, having a female singer take over the chorus seems like a good bet to get heard.
  10. Bury the words of the chorus with layered overdubs of voice and effects. Ideally, you do this in stages, so that by the end of the track, the chorus is bigger than a building. Unless you can’t sing. Then, bring in a guest (see #8) or add more effects (see #6)
  11. End by either reversing the flow — ending back on simple opening beat and keyboards — or by taking the track in another direction, and the come to a full stop. A big boom blast — cannon shots are popular — with tons of reverb will end the track with a slow-fading tail. Add lights and fire during live shows.
  12. Start over again until you find your groove and your audience.
I really enjoyed this reflection on hip hop Kevin. One thing that it reminded me of was a few recent episodes of the Vox’s Earworm series looking at sampling:

I am always intrigued by the roll of technology on what is possible and what is created.

Also on: Read Write Collect

Listened Annie Clark (St. Vincent) Talks with Andy Gill (Gang of Four) for The Talkhouse Music Podcast by Annie Clark (St. Vincent), Andy Gill from Talkhouse Podcast

One of Annie Clark from St. Vincent’s favorite guitarists is Andy Gill from Gang of Four, among the most iconic bands of the post-punk era. And one of Andy Gill’s favorite guitarists is Annie Clark. So we figured we’d put them together for a little chat. They talked about guitars, soccer tricks, Sufjan Stevens, withholding tax, politics in rock music, and the relative merits of Dr. Feelgood and the Grateful Dead.

One of the things that I was left thinking about after listening to this conversation was the difference between structured music that sticks to its form (Dr Feelgood) and free wheeling music that is unique every time (The Grateful Dead). Both artists swayed towards structure. However, what intrigues me about St. Vincent is the way in which she reworks her songs. This is epitomised by Slow Dance, which she has played acoustically, sped up and performed with piano. Although the structure stays the same, Clark seems brings something new each time.
Bookmarked Dropping Acid by Shuja Haider (Logic Magazine)
Today, contemporary pop music has fully incorporated acid house’s sonic range, if not its production method. Producers used it as a starting point for the sound of R&B and hip-hop in the new millennium—in 2000, Timbaland’s backing track for Aaliyah’s “Try Again” used a TB-303 for its bass line, inspiring countless producers to imitate the sound on other synthesizers and computers. For his part, Pierre sees something prophetic in the name that he and Earl Smith chose for their work: Phuture. “Twenty-six years later and acid is still going strong,” he said in 2011. “You can see the proof of this when platinum-selling groups and artists like LMFAO and Skrillex are putting ‘acid’ in their songs.”
Shuja Haider talks about the sounds and methods associated with Acid House music. Along with the TR808, this article documents the place of the TB303 on modern music.
Watched Tribute Acts: Harmless Fun or Musical Scourge by an author from Pitchfork Videos
It’s a music business truth that the past is never dead. From ABBA The Concert to Dread Zeppelin, cover bands and tribute acts reunite the broken up, and reenact the great performances of yesteryear again and again with uncanny fidelity. Are these bands just good, clean fun, or are they the eager to please equivalent of junk television?
Listened Paul Dempsey, Bernard Fanning, more Aussie all-stars unite for collaborative project Vast by an author from Double J
Introducing the new compilation album and creative project inspired by the stunning landscape and culture of the West Pilbara region.
I have been intrigued in the place of Western Australia and sounds produced there since watching the documentary Something in the Water. This is something that Jack Antonoff touches upon a lot, often referring to Bruce Springsteen’s association with New Jersey. This album recorded with a group of artists camped out in the Pilbara is an interesting exercise.
Replied to |k| clippings: 2018-11-26 — it helps to press send by an author (Katexic Clippings)
A conversation last night reminded me that I am unrepentant about (most of) my 80s rock listening…then and now. Michelle Kwan’s cover of “Sweet Child o’Mine” on a guzheng nails not just the iconic song, but one of the era’s best solos. Also: a worthy cover by bluegrass musicians Thunder and Rain & Postmodern Jukebox doin’ it New Orleans style & Scary Pockets makin’ it funky & a wistful version by Taken by Trees.
Thank you for sharing the different covers. It is an intriguing collection.

Where jazz has its standards, it feels that the (post)modern standards are songs we have ingrained in our memory to a point where we apprehend every bend and squeal, even if it is not performed.

It is interesting to think of these songs in association with algorithms and the choice of what is played and performed. Has nostalgia replaced originality or is all music copied as people like Chilly Gonzales demonstrate.

Here I am again reminded of a comment from William Gibson:

Listened Late Junction - Thom Yorke’s mixtape - BBC Sounds by an author from BBC
Catch up on your favourite BBC radio show from your favourite DJ right here, whenever you like. Listen without limits with BBC Sounds.
I always love Yorke’s thinking about music. In a short discussion at the start of his set he discusses his love of tape for recording, the place of mathematics within art and different possibilities and potentials out there. It was this last point that really left me thinking. Listening to Autechre or Father John Misty is not about reproducing their sound, but simply being aware of what sounds are in fact possible. This was in part in reference to his work associated with his soundtrack for Suspiria.