A Summary of Blogging

Now that it’s over, I’d like to reflect on the blogging experience.

This was my first blog, and I’ll honestly continue using it, although maybe not about just one specific subject.

I think that blogging could potentially be important to my future job prospects because it teaches me how to communicate in a way that’s outside my comfort zone, which is the entire point of getting a degree in communication.

As far as effective tools, I think that the photo slideshow and Storify didn’t work well with my specific topic (electronic music) because it needs to be heard rather than seen. Maybe in the future, we could be required to post things on SoundCloud or a similar site.

Overall, my experience was great.

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Show’s I’ve Been To (Storify)

Although I’m on a college student budget, I try to attend as many electronic shows as possible. From huge spectacles like Mad Decent Block Party to laid-back, intimate shows at small venues, these shows will give me good memories for the rest of my life.

You can check out my Storify here (warning: loud videos with explicit language)

French House

In the past, the term French House has been used as a blanket term for house music produced by French people. Uh…okay…

Now, it refers more to nu-disco, which relies heavily on old funk samples, a tempo from 100 to 110BPM, DMX drum machines, and a gargantuan amount of sidechain compression. French House just sounds fat, you know? It’s so punchy…it’s just great.

According to the Wikipedia page, French House never saw an ’emergence,’ but rather just developed organically over time.

With all that being said, let’s look at a few examples:

                                                                                                                   

Daft Punk: The Godfathers of French House

The dynamic duo

The dynamic duo

Just like UK Garage wouldn’t exist without Burial, French House wouldn’t exist without Daft Punk. Comprised of Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter, the duo completely redefined dance music with their sophomore album Discovery, which was released in 2001. 

Before Discovery, dance music was…well…robotic. Artists like Kraftwerk and Hallucinogen used samples, drum machines, and synths just like Daft Punk, but their music had no soul, and Daft Punk’s music had a lot.

Daft Punk was arguably one of the first electronic artists to utilize old funk samples and grooves to create music that sounded real, despite the fact that it was created and arranged electronically. By doing this, they essentially redefined dance music.


Aside from Daft Punk, there aren’t many other French House artists that are worth mentioning…

Except Justice.

Genre-Bending

I’m here right now to talk about two very unique producers who constantly break new ground, and are incredibly important to electronic music as a whole: Hideki Naganuma and Hudson Mohawke.

Hideki Naganuma

He’s best known for scoring the video game Jet Set Radio, along with numerous other Sega titles. He occupies his own special place in music, because literally nobody sounds like him. Seriously. He’s the Japanese Fatboy Slim, except more talented. He can easily churn out textured, funky, catchy tunes, and he has an incredible knowledge of music in general (as evidenced by his masterful use of samples).

Before we go any further, here’s one of my favorite songs, called Fly Like A Butterfly. It’s indescribable. The Concept of Love, Funky Dealer, and Oldies But Happies are also fantastic.

And now, the reason why I admire him so much:
Throughout the history of music, there have been two categories of artists: those who break new ground, and those who fit into a genre. Both have their merits, but I’m going to focus on genre-bending here. As music continues to evolve, artist obviously try new things, be they in sound or style, and sadly, that doesn’t always equal accessibility to a mainstream audience. Bob Dylan was one of the first major artists to use an electric guitar, and he was praised for it. The fact is, if he hadn’t actually known how to make good music with an electric guitar, it would have been a gimmick. That being said, gimmicks are fine, but the novelty quickly wears off. Hideki Naganuma is so amazing because he actually creates accessible music with unconventional techniques.

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One of the few pictures of Hideki – from his Twitter

I’ve talked to him a few times on Twitter, so I shot him a question, and he promptly responded!

Hudson Mohawke

Better known as HudMo, Hudson Mohawke is all over the place. He’s signed to Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music (he also helped produce Mercy), he’s half of the experimental trap group TNGHT, and he’s produced for big names such as Drake, John Legend, and Pusha T.

HudMo DJing at a party in Glasgow

HudMo DJing at a party in Glasgow

His music doesn’t follow any discernible pattern, although he’s miles ahead of the experimental trap pack. Actually, it’s kind of impossible to describe, so check out 100hmAll Your Loveand Structure. This should give you a pretty good idea of how well-rounded he is.

I admire HudMo for one reason and one reason only: he is able to work with huge artists and labels while still maintaining his signature sound. In other words, he doesn’t change his style to match the artist. I took to Twitter to ask him about this, but he has a lot of followers…

 

An App to Go Along With This Blog

The task of discovering new music can seem overwhelming to some people. After all, it just takes soooo much work to get on Google/Reddit/YouTube/SoundCloud/Twitter/Pandora/Spotify/iTunes/Grooveshark/Jango/Tunein/Slacker/Last.fm and type a few letters into a search bar…but anyway…I propose an app for these people.

This app could have a catchy name like Libratory, Customusic, DiscOver, TuneULove, or if I wanted to get sued, YouTune.

Now, this app would operate similarly to Pandora, in which it would have a preexisting set of characteristics tied (with metadata) to a library of songs and artists. When the user opened the app, they would be presented with two options:

1) Define the music you want to listen to

• The user could select any number of characteristics of the music they want to hear, such as mood (dark, happy, etc.), place (beach, party, road trip, date, etc.), speed (very fast, fast, average, downtempo, slow), instrumental focus (on guitar, drums, vocals, beats, piano, etc.), and more! Perhaps even lyrical content…

• The app could detect where the user was, and play them custom music based on what other users listen to at that location. For example, if the user is cruising down the Pacific Coast Highway, the app may play Wavves, Pixies, or other “mood music.”

2) Give you recommendations based off of your music library

• The app would say, “Hey Colton, I noticed you like Daft Punk and Justice, here is some more French House music I think you would like.

• The app would say, “Hey Colton, you have a lot of metalcore in your music library, have you heard All Shall Perish?”

I feel like this app would, simply put, help people discover new music based off of what they already like.

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DJs know how to read a crowd; why can’t an app?

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to get into UK Garage

“Some people make music for inside the clubs, but not me. I make music for the food stands outside.” -Burial

About the Genre
UK Garage exists in a vacuum, located in an odd space between house, 2-step, dubstep, and IDM. According to its Wikipedia page, “The genre usually features a distinctive syncopated 4/4 percussive rhythm with ‘shuffling’ hi-hats and beat-skipping kick drums. Garage tracks also commonly feature ‘chopped up’ and time-shifted or pitch-shifted vocal samples complementing the underlying rhythmic structure.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. For some reason, ‘shuffling’ is the first adjective that comes to mind when I think about this genre.

As evidenced by the Burial quote at the beginning of this entry, UK Garage, in a stark contrast to the more ‘ignorant’ genres that dominate the music market (such as big-room house, trap, and brostep), isn’t made for the club. It isn’t created to be the soundtrack to your drunken escapades, or your quest to take a girl home from the bar after a night of dancing; It’s made for those moments in which the lights have dimmed, the bass has stopped pumping, and the MDMA has worn off, and you’re left to contemplate the questionably ethical decisions you made that night.

All that being said, UK Garage isn’t inherently depressing (although it’s very dark), and it could easily serve as the soundtrack to a night spent in bed in a dimly lit room. 

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And Now, Some Examples
The Mainstream: UK Garage wouldn’t exist without Burial. Easily the most well-known contributor to the genre, he purposefully obfuscated his identity for most of his career in a (successful) attempt to force his fans to focus on his music, rather than his public persona.

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The Up-and-Coming: Holy Other, another mysterious English producer, creates music that isn’t quite as textural as Burial’s, and definitely exhibits more characteristics of contemporary electronic music (so you can actually dance to it).

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You’re a Hipster If You Listen To: M.J. Cole, yet another English producer, is most well-known for more uplifting, house-inspired tunes, as opposed to the usual darkness of Garage music.

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That concludes our crash course on UK Garage. Thank you for reading!