From the rather common "skate punk into alternative music" origins to a bedroom producer who signed with Ninja Tune, Bonobo, the stage name for Simon Green, has continued to change musically. From the lone musician who made sample-based music, he has expanded into working with field recordings, studio musicians, and live shows where the band took a four bar drum break transformed it into a seven minute epic drum-sax solo battle, to which the crowd tried to clap along. You can see him live tomorrow at the Alexandra Palace in London in a special Boiler Room session, but until then, there's plenty more to see, hear and read. [more inside]
Jon Brion gets around. As a composer, he scored some of the best movies of last decade and change – Punch-Drunk Love, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Synecdoche, New York, and I ♥ Huckabees. As a producer, he's worked with Fiona Apple, Kanye West, Aimee Mann, and the excellent bluegrass outfit Punch Brothers. He writes pop music like the best of them – witness Meaningless, Knock Yourself Out, Here We Go, or Didn't Think It Would Turn Out Bad for a nice sampler of his style and range. His live shows are notoriously whimsical and eccentric – he's apt to perform Radiohead's "Creep" in the style of Tom Waits, or cover Stairway to Heaven as a one-man band, recreating all the parts to its climax on the fly.
Real-time MRI study of human beatboxing, with lots of videos. See what snares, kick drum effects, cymbals and more look and sound like as they happen inside the head. Here's a BBC radio segment on the project.
Sound on Sound magazine's "Classic Tracks" series provides technical and personal details behind the recording of, uh, classic tracks. [Not to be confused with Mix magazine's own "Classic Tracks" series, which was featured previously.] [more inside]
Since 1993, rapper and producer El-P of famed 90s hip hop trio Company Flow (also including Bigg Jus and Mr. Len) has been pushing the boundaries of rap music. Now, after linking up with unlikely collaborator Killer Mike, the two are preparing to release R.A.P. Music. [more inside]
The story of the ABBA sound. 8 minute Swedish documentary. Click the "CC" button for subtitles.
Nants ingonyama bagithi baba! It's been nearly two decades since that glorious savanna sunrise, and once again The Lion King is at the top of the box office. It's a good chance to revisit what made the original the capstone of the Disney Renaissance, starting with the music. Not the gaudy show tunes or the Elton John ballads, but the soaring, elegiac score by Hans Zimmer which, despite winning an Oscar, never saw a full release outside of an unofficial bootleg. Luckily, it's unabridged and high-quality, allowing one to lay Zimmer's haunting, pulse-pounding, joyful tracks alongside the original video (part 2, 3, 4), revealing the subtle leitmotifs and careful matching of music and action. In addition, South African collaborator Lebo M wove traditional Zulu chorals into the score, providing veiled commentary on scenes like this; his work was later expanded into a full album, the Broadway stage show, and projects closer to his heart. Speaking of expanded works, there were inevitable sequels -- all of which you can experience with The Lion King: Full Circle (download guide), a fan-made, three-hour supercut of the original film and its two follow-ups. Want more? Look... harder... [more inside]
The name Clams Casino has been floating around for a while, whose production was likened to a castle floating in the clouds by the BasedGod himself, Lil B [prev]. But recently, 24 year old Mike Volpe has shot up from relative obscurity to being dubbed a "visionary beatmaker" in Rolling Stone. You can hear the start of the north Jersey bedroom producer's ethereal sound in his 2006 remix of Mobb Deep's "Get Twisted", which has carried forward into tracks for Squadda Bambino, Lil B, Havoc (of Mobb Deep), and Soulja Boy. Clams Casino has since released a free mixtape of his instrumental production (streaming) to glowing reviews. [more inside]
Earlier this year, the BBC's Arena produced and aired an excellent documentary on Brian Eno entitled "Another Green World" containing "a series of conversations on science, art, systems analysis, producing and cybernetics". [more inside]
Looking for a new musical toy to supplement your current studio setup? You may already have a MIDI-via-WiFi-enabled* sequencer (1, 2)/drum-and-bass groovebox/audio sampler & scratcher/Mod Tracker in your pocket!
*a wired version is also available. [more inside]
*a wired version is also available. [more inside]
Tweak's Guide to Home Recording. A comprehensive home recording guide that will take you all the way from buying an audio interface to choosing a mic preamp to learning the subtle arts of compression and EQing. A good refresher course even for those with recording experience. And for those more interested in composition than recording, Tweak's piece on Inspiration is insightful as well.
Not hip to to new trends? Avril Lavigne's music sounding terrifyingly alien? APM ("Music Solutions for Business™") explains Punk (and other current trends), with helpful original music.