Monday, February 28, 2011

Top Pharma

The #1 DJ on the 100 list is Armin van Buuren. He has held the spot since 2007. Armin hosts a popular podcast called A State of Trance. Most recently, #1 DJ has produced an artist album called Mirage. The album is highly collaborative (which is something I love to see). For example the song below "Youtopia" features Adam Young of Owl City. It is a relatively calm song especially with Young's vocals, and shows AvB's ability to be dynamic.

Below also is "Orbion" a track I consider underplayed off of the Mirage album. The intro and semi-vocals are alright, but the song picks up in a huge way later on. Armin doesn't let down and I think he has earned the title, but there are a lot of up and coming DJs that will be keeping him on his toes.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Case Of the Orphan Drug Act.

This song is one of my calmer favorites. I would consider it hip-hop jazz, but it shares some principle elements with electronic music. It is a very thoughtful and thought provoking. The song is by Ayur off of the "Beautiful Field" artist compilation album. I find that sometimes songs draw out our individual buried memories, so every single song effects everyone differently. For some people this song might evoke memories of lost family members; for others it might recall the feel of a lover's embrace. Some people won't give the song a second thought. That is what is so amazing about music: we all hear the same frequencies, pitches, and movements but in reality we are all listening to completely different songs because of our experiences. Ayur sampled "I miss you" by Noriko Kose for this song, at the beginning he samples a backwards version of Nujabes' "Reflection Eternal" (which sampled Noriko Kose as well).

Friday, February 25, 2011

Pharmaceutical Compounding. Addendum.

Yet another addendum, but I can't resist. Below is Tiesto's "He's A Pirate" here he combined electronic music with an orchestral film sound track. It turns out pretty well, but lags a little in the beginning. Again it shows his ability to work with a diverse range of music types.

Pharmaceutical Compounding

In electronic music I think innovation is very important. It is the DJs who pioneer that usually succeed. Take for example David Guetta. Personally, I don't much care for some of his songs, but I do recognize that he is breaking boundaries. Many of his songs feature a broad spectrum of artists, and for that he has brought electronic dance music into the mainstream. Also, he quickly jumped through the ranks of DJs and is now the #2 DJ. However, I feel that his music fails to maintain a good balance between genres. I don't think genre crossovers need to be dramatic to be successful.

One DJ who subtly connects genres is #3 Tiesto. I used to be skeptical of Tiesto's music. His 2009 album Kaleidescope sold me though. Tiesto, when he collaborates, has nearly perfect execution in his songs. He is featured on the hip-hop group Three 6 Mafia's song "Feel It."  The song is lyrically hip-hop, but you can clearly hear the electronic roots and Tiesto's heavy influence.  I know many people have a disdain for hip-hop, so also below is the song he did with Tegan and Sara, the indie rock twins from Canada. It is one of my favorite songs by Tiesto and has a ghostly sound to it. This goes to show the diversity he has as DJ, and lends creedence to my belief that Tiesto should soon be taking back the #2 spot.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Lead Discovery Process. Addendum.

As an afterthought here is a track of Emery's with a vocal component. Catch parts where you think the track starts to stagnate, but then notice how it breaks out of those ruts. Also note how Emery uses the vocals as a tool. For example, he loops the vocals during the buildup, continues them during the drop, and around 2:52 he uses the vocals nearly exclusively with a beat that vanishes; then a new synthetic sound is introduced while the vocals continues creating a moving breakdown.

Lead Discovery Process.

When I was younger I remember I dabbled with sound engineering programs. Specifically, I remember using ACID Pro by Sonic Foundry (now by Sony). It came with loops of instruments and different beats. Basically the user just paints them onto different tracks. In reality using it successfully is much more complex than that, but it got me thinking why do I like certain songs rather than others? What sounds specifically in a song do I find favorable, and why? I recognize the fact that there are certain sounds I abhor, but also their are sounds I like to hear in a song. In the past I have said that I dislike the typical sounds of dubstep. Another thing I usually hate, especially in trance music, is a song that doesn't move. By move, I mean change, I want the song to offer differing sounds and literally "move" through a musical landscape. Where this flaw is most notable is when songs have introductions that are way too long. When the song stagnates it basically takes the power out of it.

A nuance I do like is the "synthesizer buildup sound" characteristic of trance. To me the sound gives an epicness to the song that I favor. That specific sound is what I noticed in Tim Berg's "Bromance" which may explain why I like it. Another element I favor is when most of the tracks in the song go away leaving only one or two sounds (kind of like a breakdown or interlude).

One DJ who favors these sounds is DJ Mag's #7 Gareth Emery. Emery really came on the scene with his song "Mistral" under the moniker GTR. Since then he has been seeing a lot of success and came out with his first artist album "Northern Lights." Personally, I have seen Gareth Emery live, and that was quite a show. I love his style of trance with well timed buildups and subtle breakdowns: which is unbelievable when hearing live. One of the first songs he played at the venue I visited was "Arrival". The song is a good example of song mobility. The minute of intro (which doesn't stagnate as it gradually adds different sounds) leads into a initial buildup, drop, rebuildup, and finally a breakdown all in the first half of the song. Its hard to put something so abstract into words, but thats how I describe it. I'm interested in finding out what sounds, in songs, other people like and very much interested in how they describe them.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My Personal Prescriptions.

I have a widely varied music taste. I've listened to hip-hop (mainstream and underground), rock, classical music, jazz, country, and more. In the EDM genres I have preferences for trance, progressive trance, house, DnB, hardstyle, and techno. There are some genres I seriously dislike (although it doesn't mean I dislike all of the songs just most). Dubstep bothers me a lot, and I have trouble getting into it. For me dubstep has really nice beats, great bass lines, then suddenly the song stops and it goes WA WA WA WA. For me that sound just kills most songs. Take this dubstep mix for example, it starts off great then I'm like saying "WTF" in a minute.

One of my favorite genres outside of EDM is the fusion of jazz and hip-hop which was perpetuated by the works of Nujabes (rip). I highly recommend Nujabes.

For people who like the jazzy effects of Nujabes they may like Nomak or Ayur.

This is me trying to broaden peoples views on music. For those who are stubborn, which is absolutely fine, I present my pick of the day. It is "Seek Bromance" by Tim Berg. This is a lyricised version of Berg's "Bromance". Currently Berg (aka Tim Bergling) is number 39 on under his stage name Avicii. He is currently only 21, and I expect him to rise up in ranks during the years to come. Personally, I have no preference over lyrical electronic songs to instrumental ones. In this case I found the lyrical one to be marginally better. Also, the video is VERY bad ass (especially the ending).