Friday, June 15, 2012

Music Notes: nairboman - Here We Go...

Recently, I just self-released my first music album, which I am very proud of. It is called Here We Go... and is available on CDbaby, Itunes, and Amazon. It is in the genre of Electronic Dance Music and covers a wide variety of styles within that genre. I grew up loving the ideas and sounds I heard in contemporary electronic dance music. Music is, after all is said and done, the art of sounds and that is what electronic music realizes and celebrates. Electronic Music is also relatively free of the sometimes cumbersome structures imposed on more conventional types of music, which makes it all the more exiting. My album, though, is very accessible and extremely dance oriented. It is perfect for parties, clubs, and home listening. The following are the songs on it and my short descriptions of them. You can buy the individual songs or the whole album by clicking on the links to them on the blog sidebar or scrolling down all the way to the bottom of the blog to my music store. Thanks. :)

1. Acid Trax - I wanted to make the leadoff track very compelling and think I succeeded. Featuring a classic acid house bass line, if this song doesn't get you dancing or your head bobbing, nothing will.

2. Here We Go -  Mixing classic rock style piano and an electronic beat and percussion(with some judiciously placed oscillations)shouldn't necessarily work, but absolutely does and is the most popular track that I feature on Youtube. Easily as danceable and even more emotional than Acid Trax.

3. Predestination - This is a stately, ominous ambient track with a burbling bassline and some old fashioned record hiss at the end for added effect. If you like film noir or trip-hop or relaxed and sophisticated, this should do the trick.

4. Get Freaky - Fun would be the best way to describe this track. Full of 80's and 90's style hip-hop record scratches and turntablism, this track works simultaneously as a cut-up pastiche, experimental instrumental hip hop and one of the most intensely danceable tracks on the album.

5. Walk the Dinosaur - Based around a fuzzy bass line and insistent strings and cinematic in scope, this should appeal to people who love film soundtrack music and trancy sounds.

6. Evilsmell - Humorous and experimental, but grounded in pure groove, this track should appeal to people who like Frank Zappa and/or Parliament/Funkadelic.

7. Everybody... - Eminently danceable, this is kind of a collision of disco and IDM(intelligent dance music). With bits of my eccentric humor and variety thrown it for good measure, this should get you moving.

8. Remembrance of Things Past - Emotional and very danceable, this one will make you both nostalgic and tapping your feet.

9. Etherea - Different from any of the other tracks, this one is a mix of women's choir like voices. No beats or even instrumental or electronic sounds  to be found here.  This should appeal to both fans of relaxing ambient and classical music.

10. Melancholy Bliss - A bittersweet piano driven dirge with electronic flourishes, this song will appeal to those in the mood for reflection and contemplation.

11. C'mon Ladies - The most purely experimental piece on the album, this track features nothing like dance music and is based on  found sound (musique concrete) and artificially produced sound (electronic/computer music) mixed together for maximum interest and impact. If you love experimental music, you will love this track.

12. Jaunty Palms - Jazzy keyboard and exciting rhythms make this one immediately accessible and fun. Bouncy and irresistible, with some nice surprises thrown in for good measure.

13. Surfing on Wav(e)s - This is a pure trance track full of burbling synths and a compelling forward momentum. Accordingly, its perfect for the dance floor or your headphones.

14. Nightcity - Also quite different than the rest of the album, this one might be called downtown ambient. Like taking a relaxing walk or drive through the hot city at night, you can almost feel the sweat dripping off your body with this one.

15. Dub Africa - Combining African rhythms with a dub aesthetic, this track is also very original in terms of the album. Danceable and involving, especially for fans of African and Dub music.

16. Dance Macabre - Another album anomaly, this track is a cinematic horror genre pastiche of sounds, complete with wind and low droning electronic sounds in the background. Perfect for Halloween or a Horror genre buff.

17. Marnobina - Synthpop heaven. Full of synths flowing back and forth and in and out of each other, with dance rhythms to back it all up. If good vibes and/or nouveau disco is your thing, you'll love this.

18.  Evocation - Subtly creepy, with a hint of sinister, this ominous soundscape is pretty danceable too, but just as at home on your headphones.

19. Undul - Experimental and groovy. Based around static and other similar electronic sounds, it nevertheless is one of the most rhythmically compelling tracks on the album. If you like your grooves original sounding, step no further.

20. Swell - Explicitly synth oriented ambient that eventually morphs into something very different while retaining the original flow, this track ends the album on an epic, appropriate note.


Friday, June 8, 2012

Movie Review - Persona (1966)

10/10 Persona, -one of the the great film works of all time, by the one of the greatest directors of all time, Ingmar Bergman,-  is, by turns, abstract, emotional, intense, cerebral, powerful, and disquieting. It challenges our very perceptions of what film art is, can, and should be. To pin one meaning down to this film would be like trying to solve a rubiks cube in one turn. Ostensibly, it involves a young nurse taking care of an actress who has decided to be mute. This movie isn't about plot, because it is about things much more important, namely character and ideas. At first the actress seems strange and abnormal, but as the film progresses, we see that the nurse is as emotionally unstable as the actress, perhaps more. In the very beginning and during the final third of the film, we are treated to a series of deceptively random images and scenes that are aesthetically, intellectually, and emotionally involving. Some of the many themes explored in the film include identity, loneliness, sexuality, envy, jealousy, the meaning and function of art and artists, and the eternal question of how to cope with living in a brutal, unfair world. It is one of the most brilliant philosophical films of all time, yet the sexual themes and emotionalism make it far more than just a cerebral exercise. If you are a serious film fan or interested in the themes I have mentioned, you owe it to yourself to see this film, because in doing so, you will reap the rewards of truly great art. Essential!

Music Review: The White Stripes - Elephant (2003)

The White Stripes were one of the most important "millennial" bands and Elephant is one of the most important albums of the last decade, because it synthesizes the old and new into something fresh, original, and entirely compelling. The White Stripes defining statement, Elephant, does something that comparatively few modern albums even attempt to do and that is to make a cohesive statement over the course of an LP. As mp3s (and the loss of audio quality and attention spans that go with them) take over the listening market, its refreshing and even startling to hear artists who put their all into every song on their albums, instead of just a few highlights surrounded by filler. That, of course, does nothing to explain the eccentric, yet accessible experience of "Elephant". Stripped down to the barest essentials of guitar, drums, and occasional piano, traversing through the Americana genres of rock, country, folk, blues, metal, and punk, and featuring lyrics equally divided between bravado and doubt, and full of folksy, yet literate word associations, "Elephant" almost gives the impression of what punk-metal made in the rural south in the earlier part of the twentieth century might have sounded like, if it had ever existed. "Seven Nation Army" was the popular single, but every song on here is a treasure. The ever dependable Burt Bacharach gets the WS treatment on "I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself" to earnert and humorous effect. Meg White gets lead vocal duties on "In the Cold, Cold Night" and the final song "Well It's True That We Love One Another", sung by three different people, ends the album on a hilarious, fun note. The White Stripes have earned their place in popular music history and if any one album will convince you of that fact, it's "Elephant".

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Here We Go...

The time has finally arrived. I have waited for this moment for at least 15 years and here it is, so Here We Go...which just happens to be the title of the album I am so excited about releasing. I have been an electronic musician since my 20s, but I have finally reached the point where I am ready to try my hand at a professional career at it. I think my debut double album Here We Go... showcases the breadth and depth of electronic music styles I love and produce, from straight ahead Dance to Acid Techno to Ambient to Experimental Hip Hop to Ethereal Choir Arrangement to Dirge to Experimental to Trance to Dub to Techno to IDM. My intent with my debut album is to mix these various styles into an organic whole listening experience that adds up to a unique vision all its own. Included above is my most popular video on Youtube, to the title track of the album. With all of the styles I use, I can almost guarantee that you will like some of the tracks and if you are an electronica, electronic dance, and/or IDM (intelligent dance music) fan, I think there's a good chance you may dig the whole album. To hear samples and purchase my album or songs from the album, go to nairboman's Here We Go... on CDbaby ($9.99 album, $1 for songs) or nairboman's Here We Go... on Itunes ($19.99 album, $1 for songs). Thank you.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Move Review: The Avengers(2012)

9.0/10 Is The Avengers everything you could hope for after seeing the lead-in films? Yes, most definitely. The last third or so of the movie is wall to wall action, but that isn't what makes it such an awesome experience. It's in watching the characters learn about, grow to tolerate, and eventually even respect each other for their differences. In other words, this may be the most expensive dysfunctional family movie ever made. Returning from the lead-in films are Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Black Widow, and Hawkeye. Filling out the lead roles are Nick Fury, director of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Thor's currently much more menacing and psychotic brother Loki, the central villain. Joss Whedon was the perfect choice for director, not only delivering on the epic promise inherent in an Avengers film, but adding his own unique gifts in character development and interaction, as well as his jocular, absurdist sense of humor. The plot here, the standard bad guy arrives and threatens the earth, conflict ensues, and the heroes go into epic battle formula, is far less important than where it takes these characters. By the end, not only has each superhero character changed -if only a little in some cases- from the beginning of the film, but the films classic theme -learning to work together- has embedded itself as an all-important statement. These people -isolated, flawed, and egotistical- have learned that no one is an island, especially those who offer themselves up as saviors. Don't get me wrong, if you want your explosions, battles, and wall to wall visual effects, then, yes, you will be highly entertained, even awed, but the most surprising and rewarding thing about The Avengers is its humanity.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Music Review: Massive Attack - Blue Lines(1991)

Massive Attack released this masterpiece back in 1991. At that time, no one had heard music quite like it: combining electronica, hip-hop, soul, reggae and dub is something that seems obvious now, but  the resulting stew was so startlingly fresh that the press gave it a new name. Trip-hop. Since then, many artists have tried their hand at it, but none have succeeded artistically as well as Massive Attack did on this album. Perhaps part of the reason for this is that these producers from Bristol, England weren't really trying to invent a new genre so much as simply make music they liked.  There are three timeless anthems on this album, "Safe From Harm", "Unfinished Sympathy", and "Hymn of the Big Wheel", but it's "Unfinished Sympathy" that continues to capture the hearts of first-time listeners more than any other track in the MA canon. Grandiose, bittersweet, and romantically yearning, its one of those tracks that instantly grabs you and doesn't let go. In between the three highlights, the remaining tracks provide one pleasure after another, featuring various vocalists and rappers, the most famous being Tricky, who became an exceptional solo artist following this release. "Blue Lines" remains an essential purchase, demonstrating that music can take on the heft of combining many different genres and still be uniquely expressive and singular. Massive Attack may not have made another album quite this brilliant, but even if they never do, they will always be remembered for this extraordinary work, sounding as fresh today as it did twenty years ago.

nairboman's insights #6 - Almost Here (We Go...)

I am planning on publishing my Electronic Music debut double album Here We Go... on CDbaby next week and they will also send it to Itunes, Amazon, and many other outlets. After that for a week or two, I will undoubtedly do a lot of internet and local marketing for it, but following that, as I have stated before, I will put just as much time and effort into finding help from within the music business itself as I do self-marketing, particularly from a manager and/or record company, as I find the more marketing I do, the less I like it, really. If it were feasible for me to remain an independent musician without management, I would. Unfortunately, that would mean having a full time job marketing myself and that isn't necessarily my idea of a good time and what's the point of working at a job for very long, if you aren't enjoying yourself. I would end up spending much more time selling my music than actually making it. Having a manager and/or record company would free up my time and relieve some stress. Of course, I do know that choosing a manager and/or record company is serious business. You don't just sign the first contract presented you, however enthusiastic you might be to. It's still a business and with contracts at least, you most definitely have to treat it as such. I would assume the first thing to do is to make sure they actually like your music and not simply want to use it only for profit. Secondly, I would want near-full control over what I choose to do with my "image" and my music. I will always want an "image" that reflects the real me, namely a combination of eccentricity, humor, and individualism, with touches of gentleness and playfulness. Also, I wouldn't want anyone to ever tell me what kind of music to make. Advice is one thing, demands quite another. And I don't wanna be treated like a slave. I will do or not do what I want, regardless of what they would like. If I sign a contract and fully understand the contract, I will abide by it, but If I feel like I am ever being used unfairly (ie deceived or lied to), I might just break a contract, even if it loses me money. I have no ambitions to be rich but if it happens, I will be giving a lot away to less fortunate people. I am in this mostly for the art. If somebody wants to help me with the business side of it, I would be very grateful and appreciative. But that does not mean submissive. :)