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Better than "S&M". Guaranteed.
January 3, 2013 1:43 PM   Subscribe

"As part of Radio 1's Specialist Takeover in the first week of January 2013, Benji B delivered a very special show from Maida Vale. A 16 piece string orchestra performed specially arranged scores, written by Grant Windsor, over some of the biggest underground electronic tunes, including the likes of Kanye West, Flying Lotus and Drake."

Tracklisting (+ links to original tracks):
Dwele - "A.N.G.E.L" (for comparison, here's a version as arranged by LA composer Miguel Atwood-Ferguson as arranged for the J. Dilla tribute "Timeless: Suite for Ma Dukes")
Flying Lotus - "Do The Astral Plane" (also arranged by M. Ferguson.)
Ossie - "Love Crazy"
D-Malice - "Gabryelle Refix"
Bok Bok - "Silo Pass"
Wiley - "Highs n Lows"
S-X - "Bricks"
Timbaland - "Ayo Technology (Instrumental)" (note: Timbaland made the beat for this one; it's originally a 50 Cent track)
Africa HiTech - "Out in the Streets"
TNGHT - "Higher Ground"
Kanye West, Jay-Z & Big Sean - "Clique"
Drake - "Headlines"
Jeremih - "All The Time" (lyrics NSFW)
Raphael Saadiq - "Skyy Can You Feel Me"
James Blake - "Love What Happened Here"
Radiohead - "Everything in it's Right Place"
posted by raihan_ (17 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
Cool, but how are Drake and Kanye West (and Radiohead) underground? They're 3 of the biggest selling music industry stars on Earth.
posted by msalt at 1:45 PM on January 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


The underground is obviously vast, deep, and littered with treasure.

Think Minecraft, only moreso.
posted by markkraft at 1:52 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Better than "S&M". Guaranteed."

Clearly, you're going to the wrong parties.
posted by markkraft at 1:53 PM on January 3, 2013


Man, those are some bored-looking violinists.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 2:11 PM on January 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Man, those are some bored-looking violinists.

Yeah, that's because gigs like this are ALWAYS boring for the string players. Projects like this are squarely aimed at people who really don't know much about string music and so for them it's a nice novelty to be able to watch a group play some "Real" acoustic musical instruments. But all it looks like to me is two jackasses (one behind some computers and one conducting to a click track in his headphones) and a bunch of bored string players just making some money before their next gig. We all do shit gigs like this from time to time. It's $$$. Notice that the string writing is homogenous, boring and simplistic.

Speaking of...Real string music.
posted by ReeMonster at 2:37 PM on January 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


Yeah, they're bored because basically they're basically playing the role of a synth pad in these tracks. They're completely superfluous. All the art in dance music is in constructing the sound palette, and creating the groove. The actual music, as in the actual notes being played, are almost beside the point. Also, playing dance music is very 'riff-y' so they're just going to be playing the same few notes over and over again.
posted by empath at 2:49 PM on January 3, 2013 [2 favorites]



Cool, but how are Drake and Kanye West (and Radiohead) underground? They're 3 of the biggest selling music industry stars on Earth.


There's Underground and there's underground. None of these artists rates the small "u". Sorry, guys. You can't have it both ways.
posted by philip-random at 3:01 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Playing balloons" is, I think, the term classical musicians use for the gigs where they're doing arrangements of/accompanying popular music, mostly because so much of it is holding minims, semibreves or above that are notated as hollow circles.

That may not be the case in electronic music, which is a lot more jittery, but it's not known for its complex development of themes, sophisticated juxtapositions of tone groups or emotional depth, which tend to be more enjoyable to be a part of than stuff where the major skill required is not falling asleep.

There are ways to have a little fun.
posted by Devonian at 3:42 PM on January 3, 2013


I started listening and enjoying it, but it's quickly gotten very repetitious and annoying. You shouldn't abuse actual musicians by treating them like samplers.
posted by Catblack at 4:10 PM on January 3, 2013


How's about this then,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDngyji89E0

which is a string arrangement of this,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gi4bcjcHgNk
posted by Homemade Interossiter at 4:25 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've been listening to Kanye since he was aboveground.
posted by mannequito at 4:32 PM on January 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Folks who dig this might also enjoy the Balanescu Quartet playing Kraftwerk, Alarm Will Sound playing Aphex Twin, the Echocentrics playing Timbaland, etc.
posted by box at 6:35 PM on January 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, that's because gigs like this are ALWAYS boring for the string players.

Always? The Aluminium project strikes me as significantly better done than most of these things.
posted by kenko at 9:25 PM on January 3, 2013


Oh, yeah, Alarm Will Sound's Aphex Twin stuff is nice, though also, I think, kind of pointless.

(I saw them do it live and it struck me as a weird exercise, like if it had been twenty years ago they'd have been doing Zappa's "Black Page" instead. I asked about it and they insisted, no, they really like that stuff, and that's why they play it, but I couldn't really make the connection between their liking it and their arranging it for chamber orchestra—or, rather, their arranging it for concert hall.)
posted by kenko at 9:27 PM on January 3, 2013


It's not always about fun for the musician. I mean, how dull must Steve Reich's music be for a cellist or whatever? And yet I love the resulting music.
posted by msalt at 9:55 PM on January 3, 2013


One thing that's been interesting about the BBC's DQF initiative was the suggestion to keep the various orchestras and ensembles but also have them collaborate with artists to reach a wider audience. See The xx and Richard Hawley. I don't know if this is the case with Benji B, but I wouldn't be surprised.
posted by kendrak at 10:01 PM on January 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Tangentially related: Radiohead's Johnny Greenwood has been doing some concert music of his own (NOT Radiohead covers).
posted by Doleful Creature at 11:22 AM on January 4, 2013


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