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The worst crimes in music


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#31 Kelthink

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 01:30 PM

Come on, now.

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Human After All? Dreadful album, especially compared to their earlier things.
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#32 bingowings

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 01:36 PM

acoustic versions of songs. as exemplified by the wretched Unplugged series - nothing good came from that. unless the original was acoustic, leave it alone. there's nothing worse a bunch of cunts making out they are moody and sensitive by sitting on a stool and twatting away on an Argos plywood guitar. especially if the original was a full-on three minute thrash of fire and destruction.

the only notable exceptions are LL Cool J's version of Mama Said Knock You Out and Nas' N.Y. State Of Mind while already stellar tracks, they sound amazing bashed out live.
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#33 Calashnikov

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 01:36 PM

Human After All? Dreadful album, especially compared to their earlier things.

:) Don't make me fish out my epic heartfelt review of that album from the Dance Thread.

Or, rather, hold on two secs while I find it... ;)

EDIT - Ah-heh-heh-heh-HEM:

Since the day it came out I've been completely perplexed by the mass opinion that Human After All is shit. From my first listen, up until the listen I'm having again right now, I've seen the album as this real, pure, minimal piece of beauty. There's something weird going on where it's simultaneously completely synthetic, crisp and clinical, but at the same time truly warm and fuzzy. On the surface, the songs are simple, but the sounds just conjure something very emotional and moving for me. Being a hip-hopper, I'm completely open to the approach of simple 4 bar loops repeated with little or no change throughout the track. Human After All has a lot of that going on. What's more, I'm particularly a fan of the Madlib-strand of seemingly stream of conscious, sketchy, rough production. Again, Human After All is built like that. It just captures certain moods and flavours and presents them in a really stark, primitive manner. Like I say, it's fucking genius.

I ask this to all the haters, however: Do you think that certain songs from Human After All have gained a bit more significance in hindsight since Alive 2007? I can't be the only person to have noticed that the basic, raw pulse providing the set's backbone is pretty much beats lifted from Human After All. I think their simple, bare-bones structure is mostly the reason for that being the case, but there are other moments from Human After All that provide the truly bombastic killer moments in Alive 2007. The actual song 'Human After All' segueing into 'Superheroes' on the last section (not the encore). The beastly, unsettling cage-rattlers 'Prime Time of Your Life' and 'Brainwasher' combining with 'Alive' to provide the set's major moment of all-out "I AM FFFFFFFFFFUCKED ON PILLS" feelingness.

I think its testimony to the genius of Daft Punk that the songs on their third album were designed to be so compatible with the older, more fleshed-out songs.

I think it's a joy. I've always liked it, but since Alive 2007 particularly, it's become the Daft Punk album that I revisit most frequently. Like I say, they're exploring sounds that seem to tap into something that moves me, and they're presenting them in a repetitive, simple structure that I entirely agree with.

OK, this is about to get a bit OT and abstract, but at this year's Glasgow School of Art degree show, the guy who stole the show (and received worldwide plaudits for his efforts) presented this video where he basically got a load of outdated technology, such as ZX Spectrums, busted old printers and hard drive coils, and recorded them struggling to perform this low-fi, technological "cover version," essentially, of the Radiohead song 'Nude.'

This is what he had to say about the piece:

"I just thought it would be nice to get all this redundant hardware... and get them to do something they aren't designed to do, and make a wee bit of a mess of it... People have seen the emotion in objects that aren't alive. They're struggling to be something they aren't."

Coupled with the lovely retro, lo-fi visual aesthetic I found it really moving and haunting. The bit where it goes through all the logos on the various machines as they play their little part of the song reminded me of when live bands introduce their band members. When it comes up with the Spectrum logo, it's a really triumphant moment, as if these machines have struggled to achieve something and, boom, you're looking at it. "Fuck it! It's messy, it's rough, but we made it!" type shit. Well... basically, I think it tapped into a lot of what it is that I love about Human After All. You can call Daft Punk's attempt at playing all the guitar sounds themselves a similar type of thing. Those liner notes are like the record's Spectrum logo flashing up. Call it being subliminally duped by the robot costumes and vocoders, but the album actually sounds like lightning struck a recording studio and all of these machines came to life and miraculously generated this weird, simple, but very moving music after six weeks. I mean, the music may not be as technically accomplished, or as nice sounding as their older stuff or whatever, but it's likable for different reasons. It just somehow taps right into something inside you because it's such a primal sound. It's this spooky wee empty-sounding record that retains a simple, stark glimmer of light that pulses away throughout the whole thing. I think of all their records it's certainly the one that captures the whole Daft Punk mystique the best. Man, I just think it's beautiful! :D

EDIT 2 - I added a wee bit to the start there after the initial edit.
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#34 Nate Dogg III

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 01:38 PM

I'm on about the Human After All album. The title track, 'Robot Rock,' 'Prime Time Of Your Life' and 'Emotion' wouldn't be anywhere near the belters they are without the vocoder. If it's Discovery you're wanting to talk about, though, how's about 'Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger?' It pretty much is a vocoder. They use vocoders on the vocals and manage to recreate wiggedly-wiggedy 80s guitar noodling. I was like "OMGWTFLOL" ;) :)

Vocoders are sent by God. I fucking want one.


Um...

Human After All? Dreadful album, especially compared to their earlier things.


This. Sorry Cal, I barely listened to that shitfest.

Daft Punk; proving the theory of diminishing returns since Homework.

Ooh. He went there.
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#35 Calashnikov

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 01:45 PM

And, seriously, that was just me talking mostly about the primal, compressed, ugly sounds on it. But what about the softer sections? What about 'Make Love?' I think it's amongst their best pieces of work. Such a nice little groove. Just a great understated bassline and some good, sombre piano notes. It sounds so fragile and delicate. I'd love to hear more stuff like that :)
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#36 Calashnikov

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 01:49 PM

This. Sorry Cal, I barely listened to that shitfest.

You're the fucking man. Writing about dance music, and doesn't even like vocoders. What the fuck?! :)

Maybe it's because you were reared on your brother's Sasha tapes instead of Kraftwerk and The Human League ;)
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#37 dam_aks

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 01:54 PM

Would totally agree were it not for Stevie Hyper D, GQ and Conrad. Hyper does (did) the hyperactive stuff really well. GQ and Conrad have a much more considered approach, they understand the role I think. Hyper's the father of them all when it comes to the rave stuff though, absolutely love him. Anyone heard his James Bond theme verse? Oh man.

I've seen all of them, and while there are of course people better at it than others I'd still much prefer it if they weren't there because it's just self serving shite. It adds nothing for me. It's about the beats.

And I'm totally with Cal on Human After All. It's a great record.
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#38 dam_aks

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 01:55 PM

And vocoder is great when used properly.


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#39 Nate Dogg III

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 01:55 PM

Cal, let's not fall out. I love the way you write.

In my case it was a DJ Hype tape and let's not forget:

What you and I need to do is learn to forget our differences.

We unite...on the basis of what we have in common.


:)
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#40 dam_aks

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 02:00 PM

When I say DJ, you say Hype.

DJ!

...Fuck off, mate.

:)
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#41 Calashnikov

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 02:00 PM

Cal, let's not fall out. I love the way you write.

OK, cool. Yeah, sorry. I'm all on edge round here after that football thread rammy last night :)

But I do love Human After All so much. It's in my top 5 records across all genres. Like... I'll concede that it isn't Daft Punk's "best" record. It's just my favourite. You know?
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#42 Nate Dogg III

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 02:02 PM

I'll give it another listen just because of that wee write-up there.
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#43 Nate Dogg III

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 02:04 PM

When I say DJ, you say Hype.

DJ!

...Fuck off, mate.

:)


JUNGLISTS ARE YOU RE-E-DEE

OH LORD A MER-CEEEEEE

Love it.
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#44 Vermin

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 02:36 PM

Cal, you should definitely get a vocoder, even if you aren't planning on making any music with it. They make even the dullest of conversations funky.
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#45 Calashnikov

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 02:51 PM

Since I was fucking 13 at school or something, I always wanted to make tunes. I've always had it at the back of my head, oh I could get into that. I'd love to do it, but I'd probably lose interest eventually. I've had the same outlook in the 15 years since ;)

Wish I'd kinda done something about it at the time. I'd have an insane set up of synthesisers and stuff like by that now. I'd be a production wizard. There's no doubt in my mind.
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#46 acidbearboy

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 02:52 PM

I'll give it another listen just because of that wee write-up there.

I did just that when he originally wrote. I still didn't like it. Make Love is still ;)
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#47 Calashnikov

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 03:03 PM

What do you guys make of Alive 2007? I seriously love that set (must have listened to the whole thing in its entirety close to 50 times), and I think that's fed back into my Human After All enjoyment. In saying that, I liked the album right off the bat when it first came out. I remember my mate bought it in a 24 Hour Tesco at something like 2am when we were stocking up on munchies for a night of smoking ;)

That's the type of stuff that can mould your opinion of a record. But it's definitely been the personal headphone listens late at night since then, whenever I've been up doing work in a cold unheated room or something, that's brought the music closest to my heart :( I've been up painting or mounting work, stressing about what to do, when all of a sudden 'Make Love' creeps on, and the ghost-like spectre of Guy Homem de Christo appears behind me, guiding my hand like this:

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#48 acidbearboy

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 03:12 PM

I didn't like Alive 2007 either. But it wasn't a crime against music, neither was Human After All, so I'll leave it at that.
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#49 Calashnikov

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 03:24 PM

Kerraig, sorry for derailing your thread here ;)

I'll tell you something that pisses me off about hip-hop. The modern culture of "cookie-cutter" albums, particularly in the big mainstream releases. The records are so contrived and formulaic. Close to 20+ album songs that jump all over the place stylistically in an attempt to please all of the fans at once. The result is a lot of bloated crappy filler, and album after album that sounds the same. Your typical cookie-cutter rap album in the late 2000s looks like this:

3 nice, shiny, poppy tracks produced by Kanye West, one of which is the first single.
2 "street" bangers for the hardcore fans, usually produced by Just Blaze.
2 "club" songs, designed to get slappers dancing. Possibly (definitely) featuring an R'n'B singer on the hook.
2 weird tracks shat out by The Neptunes in auto-pilot, complete with Pharrell whispering nonsense over the intro.
Something like 6 guest rappers, appealing to all tastes. From Lil Wayne, to Busta Rhymes, to T.I. - all these guys appear all over the place, with no previous affiliation. Just to sell records to the maximum amount of people possible.
The aforementioned skits galore

Seriously. That could be any mainstream rapper's album. It could be Jay-Z or Nas or Fat Joe or whoever. They all flow the same, with the same structures and peaks and troughs. There's no variation between albums. It's all stagnant, stagnant, stagnant.

The most worrying thing, however, is that the "cookie cutter" culture has even filtered through to the so-called underground artists. These are the guys you look to for innovation and forward thinking, but a lot of the time you're getting the same thing, but with different appeal. Three Madlib tracks, a posse cut over a track from Dilla's Donuts, bloody Just Blaze showing up again with the same sort of street banger that he gets on the mainstream albums as well, Alchemist doing his serious stuff on one track, Pete Rock maybe providing a beat, DJ Premier providing the cuts on some track, and something like 8 guest rappers, each all clamouring to get up and get noticed, and get affiliated with whoever's cool amongst the backpackers right now. This can be old washed-up MCs from the Boot Camp Click, or 3rd string Wu-Tangers, or it can be underground mainstays, or young up and comers. All over the same record, despite no obvious link other than a tenuous genre one (sure, it's all hip-hop, but these guys are exponents of some very different styles).

Yeahhhhh.... all that. It's just so cynical. From the underground up. All the big, hyped mainstream releases sound the same as eachother, and half the time it's the same deal with the 2nd rate underground records coming out. I say 2nd rate, because it's not all bad. It's not even all bad in the mainstream. It's just got to the stage where I genuinely flip out with excitement and joy if I hear that a hyped album keeps it short, with 10-12 tracks, at a running time of 40-45 minutes, with the one producer doing the whole thing, and fuck-all guest MCs (unless it's a dream collabo, with genuine chemistry which, most of the time, it isn't. It's just money-making). If you get a record like that (and we do get one or two a year - though it used to be much, much more), you can feel confident that it's going to be a nice, concise and consistent album which will be far more agreeable to listen to.

Still, though... I still go nuts when I see the dream team involved in something like Cuban Linx 2. Super-producers all over the place, all wanting to get on a legendary project. I guess that's slightly different to your annual Jay-Z album or whatever, though.
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#50 the_debaser

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 03:47 PM

Was listening to some mid 90's hip hop today and there were about 3 songs in a row that had rappers doing really bad gun noise impressions. "ch-ch blau!!", "booka booka!", "brrrraaapppp". It's horrendously cringeworthy to listen to a grown man trying to sound tough while phonetically spelling out gunshot sounds.


When it's done well it sounds ace though. Most of the Wu's where they do the chch-BLOAW! sounds amazing.

Or when Pharrell is going massively over the top in Chinese New Year on the Clipse album. It's ridiculous, but amazing for being ridiculous.


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#51 Calashnikov

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 03:53 PM

I agree with everything debaser just posted. There's a Raekwon "chkaBLAOW" that I particularly like. I can hear it in my head right now, but there are too many songs that it could be from ;)
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#52 Boyatsea

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 04:08 PM

Human After All? Dreadful album, especially compared to their earlier things.

Indeedy do.

For me, Human After All sounds like what the first mix of Discovery probably did - some really nice tracks that are too repetitive, and don't really go somewhere. The final Discovery is bloody amazing as a result, tunes nipped and tucked here and there to create one of the most coherent yet random albums out there, whereas Human After All remains like a leaked demo set. Shame.
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#53 esar

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 04:18 PM

The worst crime in music was when someone shot Jam Master Jay ;)
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#54 Basement St. Thomas

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 04:39 PM

I love key changes. Especially fucking epic ones when the key changes so many times that they ends up back where it started. 360 degrees of awesomeness, right there.


Well 12, presuming a jump of a semitone. Probably more practical to do it in 4ths or 5ths if you're going to go cyclical.
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#55 SM47

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 04:48 PM

I always liked the BLAOW, BLAOW, BLAOW in Can It All Be So Simple.
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#56 SuperNashwan

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 04:52 PM

Auto-tune.

Hell yes. It's on fucking everything these days and it's like nails on a blackboard. I had to listen to a sodding Nickelback album waiting for a hair cut and about 80% of it was cliched harmonised vocals heavily treated with auto tune. I think I got a little bit of sick in my mouth.
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#57 Art Vandelay

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 04:53 PM

Alive 2007 would have been Daft Punk's master work had they included some gun noises.
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#58 bingowings

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 05:04 PM

lets face it, anything sounds better with gun noises.
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#59 Calashnikov

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 05:06 PM

lets face it, anything sounds better with gun noises.

Like sex. Imagine that. You bust your nut like BLAOW!

Or it might be more of a 'Mathematics' by Mos Def-style "bukka, bukka, bukka, BUUUKKA!"
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#60 bingowings

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 05:08 PM

even the mundane sounds better with sound effects. in the supermarket - Frosties... BLAM! in the basket... next aisle, toilet paper... CHK-CHK POW!
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