Tag Archives: Music

Why I dig on Mashup

Smash Up Derby are the House Band At Bootie (A Mashup Dance Party) every 2nd and 4th Saturday in San Francisco.

Mashups (or Bootie or Bootmixes) are the blending of two or more songs to produce something that still sounds like the original components in some way; but also like something new.  These can be frightening , freakish Frankenstein-like infernos, or they can be entertaining or amazing sometimes beautiful.

I imagine the easy criticism of a Mashup is that it is just a rip-off and mixing of someone else’s work.  In many cases this is very true, simply laying lyrics from one accapella recording ont he melody of another song, no matter how novel isn’t really making something new out of it.  However, sometimes a Mashup is simply something more.

The question of course that I’m heading towards is why I enjoy Mashups so much, it’s a form of nostalgia I imagine.  I like the Mashup because I like the components the remind me of something, it’s perhaps a more relevant and entertaining of the “<adjective> movie” line of movies where the components are trotted out as if to say “remember this?” but in a way that doesn’t make you want to slap Kal Penn.

Here are a couple sites to check out MAshups

Youtube – Search for “Artist Name Mashup” you’ll find something.

Dj Earworm’s Page

Radio Clash

Dev/Null links to some good stuff

Of course on “The Google” you can search for Mashups, Bootmixes, Bootlegs, etc…


Substantive Debate about Music is impossible

Why do you listen to such crappy music all the time?

Music, like the visual arts is a two part relationship.  The Performance and The Consumer.  If one was to set up a random tone generator that made repetitive patterns over time; there is a chance that even if it was at a tuneless pitch and widly swung through the chromatic and dreadful scales, someone would hear it and appreciate it as music.  Witness the sometimes cacophony of modern “art” music such as “Art of Noise” “Atari Teenage Riot” or “Muslimgauze”, I admit these are popular examples, but I am not a fan of conceptual music and have no real exposure.  Share in the comments if you have stronger examples of music made through non-traditional or in non-traditional forms.

This appreciation of music is highly subjective; the listener and their experiences shape a great deal of the types of sounds that they would appreciate as music and prize as entertaining or at least provocative on an emotional level.  This relationship between experience and musical preference can be highlighted when one looks at popular music as it relates to geographic location, social strata, economic status and cultural norms.

That is a bit aside from what I’m heading towards though.  It’s the way that we can’t as individuals appreciate what other people enjoy in music because of the fact that we are individuals.  Even the tightest cliques; who dress and apparently think alike are composed of individuals who experience the world through their own lens (if you will) and therefore interpret the world around them differently.

DJ Funktual is the musical Everyman

There will always be someone you know who doesn’t listen to music at all; not for pleasure, not for torture.  They don’t listen to music and then may never.   This is akin to someone who doesn’t read or watch television or enjoy theatre or movies or any number of passive entertainments.   Some people do not appreciate or enjoy some or all passive forms of entertainment.  Their views on music (if they are the type who doesn’t listen to music) might be unique among the populace as they don’t bring to it the same prejudices and preferences a life-long or even short-term musical fan may take.  They might even make for better mechanical critics of muisc (or art or television, etc) as they can (likely) be counted upon to dissect a piece for it’s pure objective merits.  It’s very loud or Why does the singer keep repeating that phrase even outside of the chorus.  That isn’t (as I understand it) what critics of “art” should do though (even though I will do it in a review if the mechanics of something are so unappealing as to overwhelm the piece (I’m looking at you show that smells)).

What about the person who likes everything? They owe no allegiance to any one genre or form of art.  They are not a dilettante; but they aren’t a “hardcore fan” of anything.  Are they better suited to judge the merits of a given piece, can the Musical Everyman (like DJ Funktual) look at a piece and give it the metaphorical Thumbs Down and have it accepted by society at large as canon?  I would imagine not.  In the end, even a musical polymath like DJF would have his own cultural and social lens in place when viewing a piece and therefore his opinions of any given thing would be altered by his own experience.

The Accepted Authority

When we are talking about musical tastes,  especially when debating the merits of music each party is a flawed judge.   Having no legal precedent to fall upon and no (if you will) law of music to appeal to;  debates about matters of taste are largely unproductive if the parties have no neutral or accepted authority to call upon as meter to measure the relative value of said piece.  For it is the relative value of the piece that the two parties are debating.  In some cases they can debate the relative value through economic measures (this piece sold X items) or the relative draw of a piece (this many people chose to play or hear ther piece this many times) .  In the absence of some form of objective measure, debate about the relative value or quality of a piece can become abstracted from values and therefore insubstantial and unresolvable.   In those cases, debates about music and the other arts are moot, because the debaters cannot experience the piece as the other consumer can and any abstract argument about the merits of the piece become moot.

Caveat Emptor or Why Can't I get a refund for Bad Movies?

I take offense at this:

“Or self-indulgent netizens who believe it is their God-given right to get all the music, films etc. they can stuff into their hard disks without paying the creators a single penny”

Caveat Emptor applies in many purchases, but when a product is defective or doesn’t deliver on it’s promised function, consumers can often return the product or at least obtain credit for their purchase. This is true for most physical purchases, perhaps not all.

However, when one buys media (music, movies, games) you end up in a hinterland. Say I’ve bought “Plan 9 from outer space” not knowing that it is camp and expecting a classic space horror (I live in a cave or something) I can’t return it to the store for a full refund. They won’t let me. However, if I watch it online or download it I can know if the investment was worth the money.

You may not agree with this, but at least you can see the sense of it. I think I’ve seen the basic content nearly 90% of the DVDs I own before I even saw the disc. Sometimes in the theatre (I vowed to never purchase the Transformers Movie (the first M bay one after that) and sometimes via other means.

However; in the cases where I went to the theatre I’m out 20-50 dollars depending how many people come along and the theater; I can’t recover that money in any way. It’s not just a foolish investment, it’s robbery. I was promised X amount of entertainment and instead I was bored or offended or even worse disgusted for X amount of time. I charge 60 dollars an hour for my wasted leisure time; where do I collect?

If groups like the RIAA can charge thousands of dollars for individually “stolen” songs, why can’t consumers have similar protections? These protections were invented for the Producers; the Pirate Bay and their ilk are the market reaction to these protections.

What I’m driving at is if consumers had the ability to receive refunds for bad media; it would go a long way to changing the mindset of people who download movies and music and so on.

RIP Ron Asheton (Of the Stooges)

I’m no rock historian, I know about as much about the Stooges as the next guy, fronted by Wild Jim (Iggy Pop) and infamously awesome, The Stooges backed up one of (if not the most) explosive personalities to come out of Michigan (Fuck the Nuge) .  I was not a fan of the Stooges in my youth, preferring the Mall-Ternative sounds of the Housemartins or The Sex Pistols to the “real shit” from American Artists.  However, I was turned on to them by my (noticeably un-hip) room mate who made a joke about how I was hopelessly involved with a girl (You wanna be her Dog).  He giggled himself stupid over how clever he was and when I didn’t get it he explained the whole Stooges connection. I liked Iggy Pop, but not as much as I did after that; because I really did want to be her Dog.

So, yeah. Dead at 60. Mr. Asheton leaves behind a catalogue of music to inspire generations of musicians and make kids want to bash themselves bloody in the name of Rock and Roll.