Archive for the 'culture' Category

Soulico Remix Contest

This 4 member DJ crew from Tel Aviv brings us traditional Jewish melodies on top of American hip-hop tracks, reggae, and funk. Meet Soulico.

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Their new album, Exotic on the Speaker, is the “result of years of creative collaborations and finesse – culminating in 13 club ready tracks featuring the likes of Ghostface, Del the Funky Homosapien, M.I.A. understudy Rye Rye, Pigeon John, Lyrics Born, and more,” says The Daily Rind.

In anticipation of the new album, the boys released a free promo mixtape, Exotic on the Mixtape, including the song “Put em up”, which Pitchfork calls “an exuberant synthesis of traditional Israeli folk melodies and familiar hip-hop sensibilities.” You can download it all here.

Once you’ve download the mixtape, read Soulico’s answers to The Music Slut’s 8 Questions, including how playing to an Israeli audience differs from an American one, and check out Sabbo’s blog, Noiz in Zion, if you like remixes (and free downloads). Of course they are on MySpace and Facebook too.

JDub Records, which is a “not-for-profit dedicated to innovative Jewish music, community, and cross cultural dialogue,” was lucky enough to sign Soulico before anyone else found them. CEO Aaron Bisman happened upon their first mixtape while he was rummaging through the bins at Tel Aviv’s Hatav Hashmini record store. Apparently they were hard to track down, but he jumped on their MySpace the day it went up and claimed them.

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Thanks to our friends over at JDub Records for hooking us up with these guys. As part of the release of their new album, Soulico wants you to remix the title track, “Exotic on the Speaker,” and is giving you access to the stems of the song via the MixMatchMusic Remix Wizard. You can either download the stems (for free) and use the audio editing software of your choice OR simply click on the MixMaker button on the widget to make a remix in MixMatchMusic’s simple online music editor. If you’ve never experienced remixing before, or just want to see how the song was made, check out the MixMaker. Once you’ve completed your remix, upload it so that others can listen to, vote on and share it.

Soulico will be choosing one grand prize winner plus three runner-ups. Here’s what you can win:

Grand Prize:
– Soulico – Exotic on the Speaker CD + LP
– Stanton YakPak DJ bag filled with JDub Vinyl
– Your choice of Prime Loops Software
– Pair of Radius Ear buds
– Remix featured on jdubrecords.org & Soulico myspace

3 Runner-Ups:
– Stanton YakPak DJ bag filled with JDub Vinyl
– Copy of Soulico – Exotic on the Speaker CD
– Remix featured on jdubrecords.org & Soulico myspace

Deadlines: Contest starts Monday, October 5th and ends Monday November 23rd. Check out the official rules here.

Get on it!

How Sweet the Sound: Gospel Competition

Gospel music really shouldn’t be stuck inside of church walls. With the brief exception of Sister Act (and Sister Act 2), it typically doesn’t make much of a splash in the mainstream music world. If you’ve never experienced gospel music, especially live gospel music, it’s worth a listen.

Regardless of your beliefs or religious affiliations, it can be pretty damn powerful. It seems like there is some magical intangible quality that really only exists in that environment. Some of you might call it God. Some might view it as communities coming together to inspire and support one another through music. Perhaps it is simply the result of raw human emotions combining with some killer vocal talent.

Thanks to Verizon Wireless, the unique genre of choral worship music can now be experienced by a broader audience. How Sweet the Sound is the search for the best church choir in America. I guess America is not busy enough searching for the best [insert talent here] already… But hey, if there can be a Top Chef, a Top Model, and all that, why not a top church choir? I say bring it on, bitches!

Read all about the contest here, check out their blog here, and follow the tour as it travels across the country here. If you plan on actually attending one of the events, be sure to bring your old mobile phones to support their HopeLine project. Or if you’re the exhibitionist type, rock your own gospel at their karaoke booths and show the world what you’ve got.

Here’s a classic one for ya. Still makes me cry…

What I’m Hearing, Vol. 16

{For the music I was listening to in July, click here.}

Well, once again I’m a bit tardy and we have the music I was listening to in August being posted on the first day of September. But, better late than never, and the August music, while a bit late, is pretty spectacular. The August iPod update covers 94 songs from 7 artists (yes, a lot of full album downloads this month), and stayed largely (and surprisingly) away from Hip-Hop. So, without further ado, here’s what I’m hearing lately.

As Tall As Lions, You Can’t Take it With You: Having been kicking around in various formats since 2001, ATAL has released their third album. The band, originally from New York but recording a good portion of work in Chicago, flirts with rock, Indie and folk in darker soundscapes. The sometimes low, sometimes high or falsetto voice of lead singer Dan Nigro works with lyrics often dealing with depression or anxiety over brooding tracks. Through all of these songs, a feeling of being trapped somehow persists, with snips of guitar rifts floating through deep bass lines or horns whispering in the background. But despite this, the melancholy at times reaches crescendos that speak of freedom through misery. At other points, ATAL is a runaway train of energy on a track like “In Case of Rapture,” where the drums keep a frenetic pace. Don’t Sleep On: “Sixes and Sevens,” “We’s Been Waitin,” and “Home Is Where You’re Happy”

Beats Antique, Tribal Derivations: Fusing old and new, Beats Antique uses World and specifically Eastern-inspired music while adapting it to Western downtempo, glitch and hip-hop. Indian chants, thick stand-up bass, lightly picked harps, sitars and other string instruments are thrown in the pot with tablas and hand drums, frequently to be sprinkled with drum machines and electronic effects. The result is an album with driving, lounging or club music. In some cases you can imagine the hookah smoke drifting around you as dancers move slowly to the tunes, while in others you can imagine a dark lounge. On “Derivation,” they take portion of melody from “Summertime,” and pepper it with a digeridoo and deep drums. If you’re a fan of World music, this is an album for you. Don’t Sleep On: “Derivation,” “Intertwine,” and “Discovered.”

Fruit Bats, The Ruminant Band: After working on the fringes of music, Eric D. Johnson, the frontman of the Fruit Bats, signed with Sub Pop in 2002 and have been labeled by music publications as “Zoology Rock,” “Boot-Gazer,” and “rustic pop.” The Ruminant Band is their 5th studio release and offers a sunny panoply of pastoral and easy to listen to (which is not the same as easy listening) rock tracks that feel like they could have come out of another era. Up-beat acoustic guitars back moving guitar riffs, piano dances playfully across the spectrum and Johnson’s voice, high and plaintive, is reminiscent of some of Led Zeppelin’s tracks. The tracks are on the shorter side, content to bring the listener along, get the idea across and move onto something else without brooding on one sound. An upbeat album perfect for a ride or camping trip, early mornings in the sunshine and dusty backroads. Don’t Sleep On: “Beautiful Morning Light,” “Primitive Man,” and “Singing Joy to the World.”

M.R. Shajarian, Night Silence Desert: Where Beats Antique took traditional music and mixed it with new themes, M.R. Shajarian stays strictly classic here in his World music. The tracks are light on percussion and heavy on atmosphere, with songs that feel as if they’re literally drifting away into the night of a desert. The instrumentation is skilled, an almost Middle East Béla Fleck sound permeating many of the tracks. Don’t Sleep On: “Silence of the Night (Sokout-e-Shab),” “Rain (Baroun),” and “Setar Instrumental (Torgheh)”

The Morning Benders, Talking Through Tin Cans: Berkeley natives The Morning Benders, who recently garnered “Best Of” for a local band in the yearly San Francisco round up are a pleasant mixture of rock and Indie pop without trying to be too much of either. The songs are laid back and pleasant melodically. Simple drums, guitars, a Rhodes and tambourines paint a picture of sunny California in much the same way the Beach Boys did, but with urban flare and a nod to slightly less-polished pop. Like the Shins without the depression, The Morning Benders are a group to keep an eye out for over the next few years. Don’t Sleep On: “Waiting for a War,” “Boarded Doors,” and “Wasted Time.”

Oumou Sangare, Seya: Hailing from Mali, Sangare weaves traditional African hunting songs with lyrics of social criticism attacking the position of women and marriage in the society, among others. Seya is her first album release since 2004 and it is full of sound. The rhythms and melodies of her native land meet superbly with her voice which is smooth and slightly musky. The arrangements are lively and moving, and as her voice soars over the songs, you don’t need to speak her language to hear her emotion. Don’t Sleep On: “Kounadya,” “Senkele Te Sira,” and “Wele Wele Wintou.”

Owl City, Maybe I’m Dreaming/Ocean Eyes: Adam Young is the one man behind Owl City. He started making music to combat insomnia, and the tracks carry an energized dreaminess that speaks to the line between dusk and dawn. Fans of Postal Service will recognize his electric and synth symphonies, while fans of Death Cab for Cutie and Postal Service will find in Young an eerily identical voice to Ben Gibbons. Young is soothing, his melodies are light and sound pure, and his balance between sweet sentimentality and sad longing creates almost a joyous balance between joy and pain. For some, these tracks might be too syrupy, but for others, a slightly more electronic and upbeat Postal Service will be just the delivery they need. Maybe I’m Dreaming is a 2008 release and Ocean Eyes from 2009. Don’t Sleep On: “Fireflies,” (video below), “The Technicolor Phase,” and “On the Wing.”

First Ever Live Music Festival Webcast on YouTube: San Francisco’s Outside Lands

Outside+Lands

There has been a lot of talk lately about live music. Some of us have noted that concert sales are thriving despite the recession, and there seems to be almost a revival of festival-going going on. The Taking Woodstock movie is coming out, which is sure to conjure up some nostalgia and fuel some fires that have been laying dormant. One of the more notable festivals on the West coast is definitely San Francisco’s Outside Lands, which is taking place this weekend.

For those of you who live in or have ever been near the Bay Area in August you know it’s a big deal. The historic Sunset District of San Francisco plays host to this 3 day festival in Golden Gate park, which includes an incredible lineup spanning just about every genre and showcasing both big names and lesser known gems.

Fans who were looking forward to the Beastie Boys headlining will have to shake it off and get excited about Tenacious D jumping in instead. Hopefully, M.I.A. will be able to do the same. She was none too pleased about the change.

In addition to being highly interactive and social media friendly, Outside Lands has taken it a step further and is going where no concert has gone before. It is being broadcast live on YouTube! While we’re doling out the accolades, let us also mention that they are doing their part to keep it green.

Planning on going? Have you seen all the tools out there to help you get organized? First of all, you can stay up-to-date via twitter. (Please note that it’s a “twitterbot for people going to Outside Lands Fest. Send tweet to @osl to broadcast back to everyone following osl.”) Also, you might want to download the iPhone app, try using Ranger Dave’s Magic Scheduler, or hop on to CrowdFire (a place to add your photos, videos, and tweets.)

Posse.com: For Love AND Money

Sometimes the best way to promote something is good old word-of-mouth. This is especially true when it comes to music. Fans are always going to talk to their friends about the music they love. And people generally heed the advice of those they trust before they listen to paid advertising or respond to other marketing efforts. New Zealand-born and currently Australia-based indie-rock trio, Evermore, which is made up of three brothers, took this idea one step further.

Together with their manager, Rebekah Campbell, and their agent, Brett Murrihy, the group (which has arguably one of the least annoying myspace pages ever — nice!) conducted an experiment: attempting to boost their ticket sales by recruiting fans as promoters. Sure lots bands build “street teams,” which help with postering and other guerilla marketing techniques, but Evermore wanted to let their fans sell tickets and get paid a commission. Well guess what? It worked! So they launched posse.com, which is essentially the world’s first peer-to-peer ticketing website. Of course, there will always be people selling their concert tickets on craigslist or scalping them outside the venue last minute, but this is for an entirely different kind of fan.

Posse.com pays you a commission on every ticket you sell (once you’ve reached a minimum amount and once the concert actually happens). For the casual fan this is probably not a huge draw, but for the hardcore fans who have large networks of people and generally like spreading the word about good shows and/or those who see a lot of shows and are looking for ways to save money, this is great! They only launched a few months ago, so it will be interesting to see if this concept catches on and if so, how quickly. They’ve already added a few new acts, including Marilyn Manson. According to the website, you can only become a “posse agent” if you live in Australia, however, they “will be launching in your neck of the woods soon.”

It is now safe to say we have entered the era of the empowered fan, where you can join a “new generation of young music industry entrepreneurs [who] become involved in the business of the artists they are passionate about,” as MTV Australia puts it. Whether it be access to exclusive content and VIP perks, tools for remixing, or P2P ticketing, it seems like everything these days is trending towards giving the power back to the people (i.e. the artists and their fans) and fostering that deep artist/fan connection.

If you’re not familiar with Evermore, here’s a little taste:

Send MixMatchMusic to SXSW!

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Fan of .Evolving Music. and/or MixMatchMusic? Show your support and help us send some of our folks to SXSW next year by voting for our panel topics!

SXSW is a conference, a festival, a networking event, and much much more that has become a premier destination for music professionals around the world. Now in its 24th year, SXSW boasts 80+ stages, and 2,000+ acts. In addition to the amazing music that gets shared and discovered here, the panels give industry thought leaders a forum to introduce brave new ideas and technologies to a hungry and influential audience. MixMatchMusic has found itself in a unique position in this new musical landscape and we would relish the opportunity to share some of our ideas with this crowd.

You can help by voting for our two panel topics below. Simply create an account and then vote (and comment).

Topic #1

Remix: A New Model for Engaging Fans

Today, there are millions of recording artists competing for the attention of the 190 million music fans who demand a deep and personal experience with their favorite artists online. Remixing gained legions of fans when pioneered by NIN and Radiohead. However, many artists have been shut out from engaging fans with remixes by the complexity and expense of the technology. This panel will explore a range of new engagement tools that promise high levels of connection and are accessible and affordable by the DIY musician.

MixMatchMusic’s CFO and Director of A&R Alan Khalfin can discuss how bringing fans directly into the music making process through remix promotions can be highly engaging and convert casual fans into loyal fans. He will also comment on how artists can distribute their stems, in addition to their songs, to increase their revenue. A team of panelists can also engage in a lively discussion around the intersection of music, technology and social media and the tools musicians want and need to collaborate with their fans to bring them into the creative process. The panelists could also discuss how crowd-sourced remix promotions can create a musical conversation between an artist and his fans, and can ultimately affect how music is written and experienced.

Topic #2

How to Develop Artist/Fan Connection

It’s no secret that the channels musicians have traditionally relied upon to get their music discovered, promoted and sold are growing irrelevant and as a result, millions of musicians are increasingly on their own, without labels, record stores or radio to help them. The artist’s challenge is now to convert casual fans into loyal fans, and loyal fans into paying customers. Compounding the challenge is the changed fan: modern music fans are acclimated to the read/write web and the social interaction that comes with it, and are looking for the same experience with music. Now, musicians have to engage and involve casual listeners in order to build deep and lasting connections with them, and to convert them to loyal fans.

MixMatchMusic’s CEO Charles Feinn can discuss how creating deep and lasting relationships with fans is the only way for artists to be successful in Music 2.0. He can also comment on ways to achieve the types of meaningful connections that convert casual fans into paying customers, from engage fans through mobile apps, to bringing fans into the creative process through remixing, and developing direct relationships with fans on Twitter.

The community’s votes account for 30% of the panel selection process and voting continues until September 4th so get your vote on and spread the word! We will be eternally grateful! 🙂

RIP Les Paul

Les Paul

A sad day in music today as one of the older trailblazers, Lester “Les Paul” William Polfuss passed away. He was 94. Born only a few short years after the sinking of the Titanic, Paul lived through two World Wars, numerous armed skirmishes, the Depression, three “first” Supreme Court Justices as well as the first African-American president. But in a life that spanned all of those historic events, his contributions to music, the recording industry and the guitar dramatically changed the way it was created, played and recorded on a level unparalleled elsewhere.

Not only was Paul an accomplished musician, but his DIY tendencies and desire to see how things worked lead him to develop technology that shaped the future of the music industry and huge developments within genres. The standard of multitrack recording was pioneered by Paul, and the practices of overdubbing and delays were advanced by him as well. Dissatisfied with the acoustic guitars available, Paul created his own electric guitar. This would go on to be manufactured and sold by Gibson, becoming one of the iconic guitars for rock musicians from multiple generations. Certainly we may not have had the Steve Miller Band were it not for Paul being Miller’s Godfather and giving him his first guitar lesson. I’ve also read that when he broke his arm he asked the doctor to reset it in a permanent guitar playing position. I can neither confirm nor deny that.

When it comes to instrumentation and studio techniques, few people in the recording industry have had as much of an impact as Les Paul. His influence and love for music was so great that he continued playing guitar into the last year of his life, and created continued inspiration for premier guitarists worldwide. In a musical climate where “innovation” comes in the form of auto-tune and artists rarely have more than monetary attachments to the instruments they play, Paul’s truly significant leaps of technology and his subsequent engineering attachment to the instruments he created will remain singular and unique for some time to come.


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