ThoughtSparks

Random musings, ideas, dissections. Anything that sparks thoughts.

Moving on…

Hello everyone!

First of all, let me thank each and every one of you who has come to S+G the past year-and-a-half. Since we launched in May 2011, it’s been an unbelievable process of learning, discovering, sharing, and just enjoying the love of music with other people. I hope that you’ve felt our passion for the music and artists we cover.

That passion, however, is getting strained by the technical details necessary to build and maintain a successful blog. With only two regular writers (that’s me – Switch – and the man of few words – Spark), it’s been a challenge to keep up the consistency and volume of posts that you would want in a music blog. To top it off, the inherent design of a WordPress blog limits my dream of presenting music in a human organization with relational links and genre structures built into the discovery of the music, not an auto-generated never-ending list of posts sorted by chronology.

This is not the end of S+G. It will remain online as long as I can afford to keep it. It is my darling, my baby, and you might even catch me putting up some new music every now and then. But it’s time for me to move on… hopefully so that I can learn enough web design/programming to work on the next big thing. Something that transcends the sameness of most music blogs out there.

Until then, adieu.

 

Love always

- Switch

 

 

What Does a DJ Do?

I think given about 1 hour of instruction, anyone with minimal knowledge of ableton and music tech in general could DO what im doing at a deadmau5 concert. Just like i think ANY DJ in the WORLD who can match a beat can do what “ANYONE else” (not going to mention any names) is doing on their EDM stages too.

- deadmau5

 

My idea of what a DJ actually does has radically changed every year for the last five years. At first, I thought that live remixing and playing around with music was an integral part of a DJ’s performance. Then I actually started to go clubbing, and I saw how most of the DJ’s time was occupied clapping his hands, saying stupid stuff like “You guys are the best! I love this city!”, and then disappearing for a few minutes to flip through huge CD collections.

Well sure, but keeping everything beatmatched is kinda hard. And he’s making all those cool transitions and mash-ups and effects, right?”

Wrong! More likely, he pre-recorded the song with those added effects, and just used another artist’s existing mash-up, and just made the whole two-hour mix a couple of weeks ago and has been using it ever since. And no one actually beatmatches by ear anymore. It’s a waste of time. Computers do it better, so why bother?

Read More…

Some Classic Rap

Here are some songs I’m digging right now from some big names in the rap game. Some are old, some are newer, but all should be heard.

Download Beamer, Benz or Bentley – Lloyd Banks +

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Download Bad Day – Chiddy Bang +

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Download I’m Flexin’ – T.I

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Download Do Ya Like – Childish Gambino ++

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Download Best Day Ever – Mac Miller

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Spark

The Branding of Swedish House Mafia – An Experiment on Listening Objectively

A few weeks ago, I saw a tweet that Swedish House Mafia (SHM) released a new song titled “Greyhound”. Unlike their last few releases, I didn’t feel the need to rush out and get it. For some reason, I held off and it slipped my mind. Eventually, my obligation to stay up-to-date on the music world forced me to give in, but before I listened to it, I wanted to try an interesting experiment on myself. My objective was to work out how much of the fame and recognition that big artists get is due to successful branding and listeners’ expectations, and how much is due to the real noticeable differences in their music.

 

The Experiment Set-Up

I put “Greyhound” into a playlist of twenty other house/electro songs that I hadn’t previously heard. These songs were randomly chosen from a variety of torrents and music blog compilations. I did not read descriptions or reviews for any of these songs. All I had seen were their titles, artists, and where I had downloaded them from. I recognized some of the artists like Jack Beats, Dada Life, and Alex Metric, but most of the songs were by artists I had never heard of. That way, I wouldn’t be able to identify every song with a specific artist’s style or signature sound. Also, I had not seen any promotional material or reviews of “Greyhound” yet; I just searched for it on Hulkshare and downloaded it.

I played the playlist on shuffle without seeing the song order, wrote out the numbers 1 through 20, and wrote brief notes as each song played. I listened to the full playlist once on a pair of Pioneer HDJ-2000s, and once on my car speaker system turned up loud. Afterwards, I wrote a rough order of preference for the songs in the list.

 

The Results

The point of this little test was to work out something that’s been bothering me – to what extent does branding, publicity, fame, and name recognition play into my perception of these artists and their music? Here’s what I found out when I compared my notes to the playlist order:

 

I hadn’t even come close to selecting “Greyhound” as my top choice.

 

Read More…

deadmau5 (2006-2009)

I still remember the first time I listened to a deadmau5 song. I was nearing the end of 11th grade, and I had developed a passion for electronic/house music during that year. GTA IV had just come out (a Playstation/Xbox game, in case you don’t know), and I was glorying in the stunningly lifelike graphics and the flawless digital recreation of New York City. So of course, I did what any self-respecting teenager does when presented with a GTA game, I was speeding up and down Algonquin (a.k.a. Manhattan) killing as many pedestrians as I could. I put on the game’s electronic radio station, and an incredibly laidback melody was floating through, backed up by a dependable, light beat and slightly whimsical synthetic tones. Freakin’ incredible, I remember thinking.

So I flipped open the game’s instruction catalog, and near the back was the list of every song on every radio station in the game. I hit up Limewire (ah those were the days) to download it, and found it within a few minutes. “No Pressure” by One + One, remixed by deadmau5. Seven minutes and forty seconds of pure ecstasy.

Beatport  No Pressure (Deadmau5 Remix) – One + One

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We’re Not Dead Yet

Really, I mean it. I know it’s been a month since we’ve put up anything. But I promise, we’re still alive.

Here, let me offer some lame excuses:

  1. I had a bunch of midterms
  2. I went on a week-long snowboarding trip without internet
  3. None of the other writers know how to handle the changes in this new layout we’ve got
  4. I’ve been listening to this mash-up album non-stop and I didn’t want to listen to anything else.

 

Wunderbar. Expect new stuff soon.

Cheers,
Switch

 

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