Donnerstag, Januar 18, 2007

01 midlake - the trials of van occupanther

01 midlake - the trial of van occupanther

the number-one-without-a-doubt record

it was about time i posted my number one record of 2006. midlake have been written about in this blog twice already: here, and here. i cannot do anything else but recommend them. this record was the soundtrack to my summer, fall and winter. listen to them on myspace. and go out and buy the record. enough said, words cannot descrive this, anyway.

plus: lots of videos by user worldsfair on youtube.

Montag, Januar 15, 2007

More Timbaland

Whoops, so this blog got alot of attention from different websites. Thanx for that.

A few more things about this whole timbaland vs. tempest thing from me.

First of all, I am quite qualified to talk about this. I entered the scene some 15 years ago, first did some musics and graphics on the C64, later bought a PC and made music there.
So when I talk about C64-Arpeggios, I know what I am talking about.

Also I had an email discussion with Ronnie from today which made me think about a few more aspects of this.

I am meanwhile absolutely convinced that timbaland ripped this track from tempest and/or GRG. Thats that. Those videos prove it for me. I mean, you never hear C64-Style arpeggios somewhere in Chart-Music and all of a sudden timbaland comes around with a beat which sounds so much like this track, this aint chance or coincidence. And even if it's not a perfect fit, doesnt matter, I guess the least that timbaland can do is chop stuff up a little bit.

Now, I spent the better part of the day reading around the net about this thing and it seems that on one hand alot of sceners or close-to-the-scene people are outraged while some non-sceners don't see the point.
You can read comments everywhere like "it was on the net for free, so whats the fuzz", "sounds like some crap-midi-file anyway" and so on and so forth.

The point is simply : It doesnt matter. Tempest made the track, and in the second he started the track he gained the copyright for it. This is the same thing all over the world. Do something of artistic value and it's yours. And just because he put it out as freeware doesn't mean anyone can rip it up or sample it. The only thing he gave up by releasing this as freeware is the right to charge people for listening to it.

Secondly, those stupid claims "hiphop is always about sampling". Yes I know. My music is samplebased too. I do know quite alot about sampling and how to do it and all. I keep a list of artists/tracks I sampled from, should the day come that I can make money with my tracks, I will pay for clearance.
And if you sample from artists from the industry, you normally have to pay alot. Which makes sense, really. Black Eyed Peas surely paid alot to Sergio Mendes to make this track they recently did. Because the track is nothing without that Sergio Mendes Sample.
You pay less if you sample some half second and put it back in the background, so the sample is not that important and all.
But all in all, the way should be like "hey, I love this sound of yours, used it in a track of mine
and now I will give you some of the money I earn with this track because without your sound my track would not have been possible this way." Every artist in the biz is very uptight about this and their copyrights and will go after you if you violate that.

And what do we have in this case ? Some frigging 8-bar loops which make up the whole song. If Tempest was in the biz he would get about 95% of the money this track generates, for sure.
But, and here is the point, he is only a "geek" who put up his "music for free on the net anyway".
All that timbaland did was adding some drums. Anyone with abit of musical knowledge and a cracked Fruity Loops can do this.
And that is the frigging point. The major portion of that track is done by Tempest/GRG. It's nice that Timbaland likes the sound and uses the samples, but pay for it and name your source, for christs sake. And share the better part of the money with those artists, because this track would not have been without those two people. Show some respect. (Thats the word all those HipHops are mumbling about all the time).

I would love to know what would have happened if tempest made a track using a (however small) sample from timbaland and got some attention for that.

In the scene rippers are considered people with low morale and respect, in the real world they make millions and get interviews for being such kick-ass producers. This sucks.

I seriously hope that tempest gets the money and backup he needs to sue Timbaland and/or Geffen Records, because I am afraid otherwise they will just sit this one out.

Timbaland rips

There is currently alot of buzz on the net about Timbaland having ripped portions of a freeware C64 song without giving credits, let alone any money.

If it's true (and it seems to be) then this is a real shock, a successful producer like timbaland stealing from other people... Those people tend to rip your head off if you sample more than three milliseconds of their work, seems they take it much easier the other way around.

The facts about this read like this :

In 2000 Tempest does a MOD called "acid jazzed evening". A MOD is an Amiga-Music file, Amiga being the old computer (you probably played around with one of those if you are close to 30).
A while later someone called GRG converted this track into a SID-File (having asked tempest for permission beforehand), SID being the soundchip of the old C64-Computer (yet again, if you are close to 30, you probably had some fun with this one).

In 2006 the new Nelly Furtado album produced by Timbaland contains a song called "do it", which is apparently built around the SID-Conversion of "acid jazzed evening". In the liner-notes he claims full credit for this song. No hint of any other artist involved.

There is a great Youtube-Video around comparing these two songs :

Another video about a ringtone he released in 2005 :

I am very convinced about this, basically because of one thing : You can clearly hear the arpeggios of the C64 Track in that Nelly Furtado Track. "Arpeggio" is a musical term describing the style of splitting up a chord and playing the individual notes in fast succession, in "real" music its done on guitars or harps, in electronic music this is something very popular in trance music. However, a very distinctive style of arpeggios can be hard in alot of MOD and SID Files where they are done in a very special technical way (you can't even determine a real notelength for each small note). I do not know alot of real hardware or software synth that can do those kind of arpeggios, you need a real or emulated C64/Amiga for this (and have to know how to work these, too). (Edit: As was revealed meanwhile Timbaland has a "SID-Station" in his Studio, a Synthesizer built upon the Soundchip of the C64. Which is capable of playing tunes like the one from GRG...)

The point of all this is simply that even a big-ass producer like timbaland does seem to confuse the term "freeware" with "free to do anything with". If I put out music for free on the net like the MOD and SID files mentioned above, I still hold the copyrights to it and no one is allowed to abuse that stuff. It's just my decision not to charge any money for listening to it. It's strange that someone who is surely very uptight about his own copyrights does not care about other artists copyrights.

And I know that HipHop has always been about sampling, but there has been a "culture" about paying royalties for sampled material for some decades now, and thats for a good reason. Seems those vultures now start to grab their melodies and stuff from people who can't defend themselves. (Neither tempest nor grg will go to court with this, because as someone stated "it's a suicide mission to trial geffen records, or any other major for that matter.")

To this date, neither Timbaland nor Geffen Records have issued an official statement nor tried to contact tempest or GRG.

Part2 of this post with some more thoughts.

Links :

There is a discussion going on on the with some more in-depth background information.

A page on pelulamu gathering links and information about the subject (thanx for linking us).

Some more info on ukscene.

The digg-page about this with comments from tempest himself.

Def Sounds (an american Hiphop-Mag) catched on to the whole story.

Finally, the official ringtone which sounds very, very much like the original SID-File.

Samstag, Januar 06, 2007

My Record of the Year

This may sound utterly stupid to some people, but after going through some "official" 2006-top-album lists I realized that there is only one record that came out this year that I was spinning more than a few times, and that is "St. Elsewhere" by Gnarls Barkley. Oh, I love that one. Playful, sloppy beats mixed with lyrics that are great and sound like they have been written five minutes before the actual recording started. Since my sister already covered that one I won't write any more about it.

(I actually had some other records in mind but had to realize they all came out 2005).

I didn't like The Knife (actually had a small discussion with TBA about it, somehow I can't get into those cold electronics done by the people up north, just doesnt appeal to me), I am utterly bored with todays (Indy)-Rock music (I rather listen to some 60s/70s beat/rock/psych/prog, for me thats the real deal), I still can't get a finger on that (probably non-existing) phenomena called "Disco-Punk" and HipHop remained either the disgusting sexistic bullshit or the boring, uncreative intro-sampling "take a hit, make a hit"-shit it has been for a while now.

There have been some great tracks I loved in the dance scene this year (Robosonic - "Yasmin" (coconut wireless remix), Palermo Disko Machine - "Pump", Buscemi - Jazz Jumper, 1200 Beats - "Run it Dub" just fall into my mind), but sadly the clubs in my hometown keep up their love for minimal techno-stuff and those are tracks I listened to at home.

But basically in 2006 I just unplugged from modern music even more. I guess I did miss some great stuff because no-one told me about or I simply refused to listen (TBA is still trying all the time, hehe), but I was occupied with other music.
I spent my year listening to more of the 60s and 70s, jazz, soundtracks, disco, got alot of those old eastern-european records I love so much (jazz, funk, pop, you name it) and really started to get more into classic and contemporary classic music (like with synths and stuff, from the (you guessed it) 70s).

I really don't know if it's true what someone told me a few days ago in a bar, that art in general literally came to a standstill in the past years, lets see what the new 2007 brings.
But one of the reasons why I love 60s/70s music in general so much is simply the fact that back then all those musicians gathered together in a studio and started playing together whereas today with computers and stuff nearly all music, even the classic "band-on-stage" rock music gets recorded with each member of the band playing their parts alone in the studio, often recorded in "takes" and then cut and looped and modified to "fit". The magic of musicians interacting and playing together and with each other just isn't happening anymore. I don't know any recent tracks that made me listen closely to the way the bass-player in the background suddenly starts freaking out during the bridge (stiletto main theme), the way the drummer keeps varying his breaks all trough the song (warren schatz - "I need your smile") and I don't the goosebumps I get when in some 70s Bert Kaempfert song suddenly a string quartet starts playing some incredibly emotional chords. Maybe I am getting old. Sigh.

Mittwoch, Januar 03, 2007

02 roy budd - get carter ost (1971)

02 roy budd - get carter soundtrack (1971)

the get carter soundtrack, written by the film composer roy budd, was given to me by my brother in 2005 already. i enjoyed it from the start, but grew to love it even more in 2006. this is 70's jazz music, becoming very groovy at times. the record is a mix of calm, quiet tracks which sometimes have a psychedelic twist to them, and loud danceable funk songs, often with female vocals. it's hard finding videos for this one, but i'll drop in some wherever i can.

for a roy budd bio, i had to check, because i didnt know anything about him. well, apparently he was somewhat of a musical prodigy, teaching himself how to play the piano by ear before the age of six and started to work as a full-time professional musician when he was 16. most of the records he did were scores. allmusic says that get carter was his most-appreciated one.

the opening sequence of the movie with the opening theme gives a good idea of how roy budd's music sounds:

in case you find the music a bit too lame, keep in mind that the whole score was written to fulfil the purpose of accompanying the pictures. in the end of the video, you can hear a very short bit of looking for someone, another track of this album.

as i said before, the record can be divided into what could be "regular" tracks and what are called "themes". the main title theme, get carter, appears quite a few times throughout the cd. the intro itself is a version of it, too.

you can listen to the main version here:

i guess that this is one of the things i really like about this record: it's not a bundle of individual songs that you listen to in a row. instead, you got themes popping up again now and then like reccurring ideas, or different strings of a movie plot.
also worth mentioning is that the theme songs are by no means shorter than the other ones, which makes get carter quite a long-lasting experience.

and here's how the "classical" songs work:

one of my favourite songs is getting nowhere in a hurry. you can listen to it on myspace. in fact, all four tracks on the profile page are from the get carter soundtrack.

my definite number one track hallucinations i couldnt find anywhere, though. there is an okay remix version made for this youtube video:

it gets quite close to the original idea of the song, but unfortunately it is based on the instrumental. the vocal track underlines the structure of the song, makes it even more dreamy and weary. imaging these lines sung over the music slowly, very carefully:

strange sensations
mind creation
why do i, why do i
try to fly to the sky

send me drifting
what i feel isn't real
am i lost? double-crossed

earth, sea, sun, sky
the world beneath my feet
slipping by"

only records number one gets more mystical.

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