Posts Tagged ‘music’

Bonnaroo: The Basics

Written by buzz. Posted in Music

Written by: Selena DiGiovanni

I lay on a tarp in the midst of a sea of tents. It is midday and I am amongst friends; some old, some very new. We are quiet, listening to music in the distance. It is too hot to talk but we enjoy each others company nevertheless.

A man walks into our unofficial compound and asks, “You guys looking for Molly?”

We politely decline his offer, the others inquire after his milder stock, and when he leaves, we return to our silence.

This is Manchester, Tenn. and this is Bonnaroo, one of the largest up-and-coming music festivals in the world.

Campers enter Centeroo under the Bonnaroo arch

Campers enter Centeroo through the arch. The arch, which changes every year, is an iconic symbol of Bonnaroo.

Started in 2002, Bonnaroo takes place every June on a 530 acre plot of repurposed farmland in the small town of Manchester, Tenn. The festival spans three days, a time in which those who have purchased tickets are invited to camp outdoors, spend time with friends and enjoy good music.

There are a variety of activities which are available for campers at Bonnaroo. One of the best loved activities is the Silent Disco tent. Here, campers are given a set of wireless headphones upon entrance which sync with the DJ’s output. The end result is a tent full of people dancing to music which no one on the outside can hear. There is also the Graffiti Wall, which surrounds Centeroo, the central area of Bonnaroo. Campers are invited to bring spray paint to Bonnaroo with them in order to cover the Graffiti Wall with street art in their down time. There are also a multitude of food and artist stalls, a mushroom fountain, and of course, concerts.

Shows beginning each afternoon and continuing into the wee hours of the morning. These shows take place at several venues all located within Centeroo. The main venues are What Stage, Which Stage, This Tent, That Tent, The Other Tent, and the Comedy Tent. Other smaller venues include the Solar Stage, Lunar Stage, Sonic Stage, and the Cinema Tent.

Past years have featured headliners such as Eminem, Dave Matthews Band, and Radiohead. There have also been lesser known bands such as Futurebird, as well as comedy shows and film screenings . In the past, the lineup has been made widely available long before Bonnaroo takes place, but this year the list of bands performing has been kept under lock and key. Clues in the form of haikus have been scattered across America, increasing the excitement of fans everywhere. The full lineup will be revealed on February 19th, in a “Bonnaroo Lineup Announcement Megathon” hosted by Weird Al Yankovich.

To learn more about Bonnaroo, stay up to date on the latest Bonnaroo news and purchase tickets, go to www.bonnaroo.com.

What Happened to MTV?

Written by buzz. Posted in Entertainment

Written by: Jason Garoutte

MTV logo

Updated MTV logo

In 2010, when MTV dropped the slogan “Music Television” from underneath their renowned logo, they finally got something right. The original purpose of MTV was to be “Music Television”, playing music videos 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but the famous cable music channel hasn’t been the same since the dawn of the reality show sensation.

In the year 2000, MTV aired 36.5 percent fewer music videos than they did in 1995. In the year 2000 MTV still managed to air upwards of eight hours of music videos per day. By 2008, that number dropped to just three hours of air time for the music videos that MTV was so famous for a decade ago.

To fill the air time, MTV decided to introduce reality based shows like “A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila.” For those unfamiliar with the show, it was similar to “The Bachelorette” where male contestants vied for Tila’s “love”. Since she is a bisexual, female contestants also competed for her attention, which was the subject of much criticism.

Another show that has acquired more controversy than it can handle is “Jersey Shore.” This show brings eight young adults into one home on the Jersey shore to watch them experience the drama that comes with living together, including fights, drinking, sex, and enough crazy antics to deem it a reality show.

These reality shows cross a fine line when it comes to defining true life reality, especially when MTV’s targeted audience are adolescent teenagers. The President of MTV, Van Toeffler explained, “Clearly, the novelty of just showing music videos has worn off. It’s required us to reinvent ourselves to a contemporary audience.”

Why are these kinds of shows so popular on the air? What is a contemporary audience and how is it that Snooki & JWoww appeal to that contemporary audience? Why does MTV need to reinvent themselves if its original purpose was to air music videos? And why are parents allowing their children to view this kind of entertainment? These are questions that deserve answers, and nobody seems to know the answers.

Some people believe reality shows such as these are appealing because it allows the audience to feel as if they’re participating vice being spectators. Americans have a fascination, a morbid curiosity if you will, for tales of self-destruction and MTV provides that. Yet others believe the script-less programming allows the audience to feel that the show is happening in real time. Another reason for the appeal may be the fact that viewers witness the lives of screwed up individuals and realize their problems and daily life routine aren’t as bad as what they are witnessing on television.

If MTV continues to air these reality based shows and not bring back music videos like their name suggests, perhaps they should consider changing their name to RTV (Reality Television) and alter their entire logo.

 

K-pop: A fad or will it stay?

Written by buzz. Posted in Music

Oppa Gangnam Style!

By: Marina Ignatyeva

Ever since “Gangnam Style” went viral on Youtube, the South Korean rap star Psy skyrocketed into U.S. super stardom. He brought the spotlight onto Korean pop, otherwise known as K-pop, which has already been massively popular all over Asia. The funny video, the crazy horse dance and the fact that the catchy dance song is performed by a fat guy in an outrageous suit appealed to the American public, which has a long history of loving bizarre Youtube videos. Korean media and Psy’s entertainment company, YG Entertainment (one of the biggest and most influential companies in Korea and Asia), hail this as a victory for K-pop, and that Korean artists are crossing over to the U.S. market after years of trying. I think this raises the question of just how permanent this success is.

Korean artists had been trying to debut in America for years. In 2005, R&B sensation Rain, who starred in Ninja Assassin, tried to debut. He even appeared multiple times on the Daily Show, and had funny dance offs with Stephen Colbert. After him came the pop princess BoA, who is a huge star in Korea and Japan, and Seven, another popular solo artist. All three of them released songs that were aimed to be similar as the American music at the time, and all three of them aimed for the sexy dancer/powerful vocalist image. All three of them reached only very limited degrees of success. A more successful debut was by the Wonder Girls, who opened for the Jonas Brothers on their 2009 tour. They managed to be more popular than those before them, and even released a recent song featuring Akon. However, at the end of the day, the majority of Americans did not even know that K-pop existed.

If tailoring to the U.S. market did not work, what does Psy’s success means? I believe it reflects that the U.S. Youtube users discovered a hilarious video that went viral. To most of the viewers, K-pop is “Gangnam Style”. It does not matter that Korean music is very broad, or that there are better songs than Psy’s hit. They do not try to understand the lyrics, nor do they care that Psy has been releasing songs with deeper meaning and better sound since 1993. In a sense, Psy had locked himself up in a very limited song type, and he will have a very hard time diversifying without losing his success. This probably means that K-pop is a fad, but only time will truly tell.

Johnny Depp is Honored at the 2012 MTV Movie Awards and Steals the Show

Written by buzz. Posted in Entertainment

Written By: Rikki Lux

Johnny Depp Performs With the Black Keys at 2012 MTV Movie Awards
Johnny Depp Performs With the Black Keys at 2012 MTV Movie Awards

 

UNIVERSAL CITY, California – The 2012 MTV Movie Awards was gifted with the appearance of the iconic actor Johnny Depp this past Sunday evening, June 3. He was presented with the MTV Generation Award, and rock legends Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith, who presented him with the award, described him as a “truly revolutionary artist.”

Those who have followed Depp’s career know that he has a stunning resume, including Edward Scissorhands, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise – to name a select few. Those who have not followed his career may not know that his passion for performance extends to music as well.

With two rock legends and the rock band the Black Keys standing on-stage with him, Depp expressed his deep gratitude.  “I’ve got to thank MTV for this. This is quite an amazing honor, truly… And it’s an honor to be presented by these two legends, Steve and Joe, and these up and coming legends, [the Black Keys], so thank you very much.”

Depp celebrated his award with a guest performance playing guitar alongside the Black Keys for their song “Gold on the Ceiling.”  To the millions who watched the performance, it would be hard to say whether he is more passionate about acting in films or being on stage with a guitar slung over his shoulder.

His performance at the MTV Movie Awards is not his first time performing on-stage.  The start of his acting career manifested from his move to Los Angeles decades ago with the hopes of becoming a famous rock star.  As a teen, Depp fervently practiced on his guitar with dreams of success in mind, and even started a band named the Kids, but he ultimately found a different kind of success.

Although Depp has appeared in over 50 dramatic indie films and blockbuster movies, earning him a permanent place on the celebrity A-list (as well as a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, numerous Oscar wins and nominations, and multiplying tattoos that have gained as much attention as his films), he never lost his desire for performing music.  Depp has made connections and performed with musicians, including Tom Petty, Oasis, The Pogues, Keith Richards, Alice Cooper and most recently, Marilyn Manson and Patti Smith.

His performance on guitar of “The Beautiful People” with Marilyn Manson at the 2012 Revolver Golden Gods Awards was an unexpected move that shocked and pleased both Depp and Manson fans.

What’s next for Mr. Depp?  A collaboration with legendary musician Patti Smith and a lead role in Gore Verbinski’s adaptation of “The Lone Ranger.”

‘Sensation’-al European Dance Music Event to Debut in America This Year

Written by buzz. Posted in Music

Written by: Kristiina Yang

Dazzling European audiences for 12 years and running, Dutch entertainment group ID&T announced on May 31 that it would finally be bringing its popular dance music event ‘Sensation White’ to the United States in October 2012.

The event, which will be called Sensation America, is slated to make its debut in Brooklyn, New York at the city’s brand new Barclays Center, a sports arena that will open just one month before Sensation arrives. Due to anticipated high demand, the event will take place on two back-to-back dates, Oct. 26 and 27.

What makes this event particularly unique is that all of its attendees are asked to wear all white clothing, creating a sense of unity amongst the crowd. Sensation has marketed itself upon the slogan, “Be Part of the Night- Dress in White!” and has consistently sold out its tickets with each event hosting approximately 40,000 to 45,000 attendees, with a similar number expected to be seen donning white outfits at Sensation America.

Sensation Amsterdam

Sensation America is expected to draw a massive crowd all dressed in white, just like this past Sensation Amsterdam '11. (Photo: Sensation.com)

Sensation is one of the foremost electronic music events, beginning in Amsterdam in 2000 and spreading across major European cities and for the first time this year to locations around the world in the United States, South America and Asia. Less known about the event is that Sensation contributes a small portion of its ticket sales to its exclusive charity, dance4life, a worldwide youth empowerment organization.

What has made Sensation so popular and successful is the high production value of the event and the organizer’s ability to recruit talented and upcoming electronic music artists. Sensation has always occurred in indoor spaces with ID&T carefully crafting a unique atmosphere with its enticing decor, lighting design and spatial layouts, greatly contributing to the audiences’ experience at the event.

Further, the spread of Sensation from Europe to America follows the rising popularity of electronic dance music, with greater presence of this type of music on radio airwaves and at various festivals around the world. While in the past, these artists were limited to smaller venues and nightclubs, massive events, such as Sensation, demonstrate their new prominence in today’s popular culture. The artists for Sensation America have not been announced yet, but are sure to be those well-known in the electronic music world.

Some are skeptical, however, about the success of Sensation in catering to American crowds, with thoughts on the event being shared on numerous electronic music websites and blogs upon its announcement. Such skeptics feel that electronic music itself is more appreciated in Europe than in the US and that people may attend the event without having the sense of camaraderie that exists amongst fans of any type of music, rather attending for Sensation’s showiness.

Regardless, October’s Sensation America will prove to be a unique, groundbreaking event bringing a cornerstone of contemporary electronic music to the United States.  For those ages 21 and up, ticket sales begin on Friday, June 8, 2012 on Sensation’s website, where further information can also be found.

Double Dragon Music Two Blazing Music Producers Lighting Up Amazing Music Artist Voices

Written by buzz. Posted in Music

Written by: Chawonza Nash, February 13, 2012

Double Dragon Music produces an ingenious blend of soulful R&B music and mixes smokin’ hip-hop beats for some of the best rap lyrics broadcasting the music airwaves. Production artists and brothers Roy and Elmo Chong, a.k.a. the “Funk Seoul Brothers,” hailing from Vancouver, Canada began producing music locally in 2001. These talented dynamos cut their music production teeth on collaborations with musical talents such as Canadian hip-hop artist Swollen Members, musical crooner Usher Raymond and gospel/Christian hip-hop artist Da’T.R.U.T.H.

doubledragon

Double Dragon Music Producer

Their production efforts did indeed sear the attention of the music industry. Swollen Members’ album Black Magic received a Juno Award for Rap Recording of the Year 2007. Da’ T.R.U.T.H. (member of gospel hip-hop collective Cross Movement) album The Faith propelled him center stage. Double Dragon produced two songs on The Faith album, “Incredible Christian” which debuted number seven on Billboard Gospel Charts and “2 is Better” which breathed an air of R&B. Double Dragon’s production successes has propelled them to work with some of the hottest Korean Artist in the music industry.

Anyone familiar with Korean Pop, Hip-hop and R&B culture knows you need only say Drunken Tiger, Tiger JK or Tasha Reid also known as Yoon Mi Rae, Yang Dong Geun a.k.a. YDG, Buga Kingz, Bobby Kim, Rain, Leessang and seismic waves from Asian fans screams will cross continents, tsunami across the ocean sending aftershocks into the US and Canada. Fueling these shock waves is Double Dragon’s smokin’ hot mixes and blended music productions.

2005 opened a collaborative relationship with Double Dragon and Drunken Tiger, members DJ Shine and Tiger JK (DJ Shine exited that year). Drunken Tigers’ album “1945 Liberation” became a phenomenal success on which Double Dragon produced song “Put Your Hands Up,” becoming a club hit and Karaoke favorite. Collaboration on this album as Double Dragon put it, “marked a milestone for us,” as it was their first production experience working with Korean artists. This production gave wings to more production opportunities with even more Korean music artists. They also produced Drunken Tiger song, “Doo Doo Wap Ba Balu,” by implementing an instrumental effect to heighten the song’s overall sound.

Another Korean powerhouse artist Double Dragon has produced for is none other than Bobby Kim. Silk wishes it had the texture his voice emits when he sings. Bobby Kim is also a member of hip-hop group Buga Kingz, including members Juvie Train and Gan-D. Double Dragon’s recent collaboration with these artist exhibits their true production genius. Buga Kingz recent release of mini-album “A Decade” includes hip-hop genres: new school, electronic disco, reggae and jazz hip-hop are all perfectly packaged in this album.

Double Dragon Music production resume includes collaborations with Korean artists Rain (Jung Ji-Hoon) and hip-hop duo Leessang (members Kang Hee-gun and Gil Seong-joon). Key to their success is their distinctive sound which is a perfect marriage of stirred not shaken blends ever produced for music artist voices. Double Dragon has said, “We’re two of the baddest Korean brothas you’ll ever meet!!! (Bad as in good of course).”

To elaborate on their statement Lord Finesse’s sample in hip-hop song “Rockefellar Skank” says it best, “Right about now, the funk soul brotha. Check it out now, the funk soul brotha.” Double Dragon productions are right about now some of the hottest produced sounds in the music industry, so check out these Funk Seoul Brothers masterful production blends on their Facebook page or Youtube Channel and yes it is Double Dragon Music.

Eric Henkels: Wearing his Heart on his Sleeve

Written by buzz. Posted in Music

Vulnerability and openness are two feelings one can anticipate before they listen to the serene, melodious tunes that Eric Henkels so honestly produces. Former member of Find Vienna, Eric now spends his time wholeheartedly absorbed in his most recent solo project.

At the age of three, with his grandfather’s eager ear listening to his erratic banging on the keyboard, Eric discovered his calling and his passion.

“Music has been in my life literally as long as I can physically remember,” he says.

Finding his direction, Eric played in numerous bands covering a wide variety of genres. From punk rock to pop, indie to jazz, Eric finally “grew into himself” with his realization that singer-songwriters like Elliott Smith and Ben Gibbard were his true heroes. “If somebody can sit there and listen to you play a song alone and think ‘oh my god that’s beautiful’,” he said, “imagine what you can do when you add instrumentation.”

A little boy claps as Eric and friend play the guitar

Although Eric enjoys playing numerous instruments, he admits that piano is his favorite (with guitar as a close second). Playing the piano comes easy to Eric, as having a conversation or texting somebody comes easy to everyone else. “There is nothing quite like the rush I get when I start going nuts on the piano,” he confesses, “I’m so comfortable with it.”

When it comes to song writing, Eric is his own worst critic. However, despite the quickness he has to admit this, Eric produces songs that are both smooth and easy to listen to. His favorite, Robes and Crowns was the result of a life-changing experience after visiting Ireland and England. “I came home, put my guitar in really weird tuning, and just started playing,” he said, “[Robes and Crowns] was the first thing I came up with, and I’m really proud of it.”

Like all musicians, Eric’s music has evolved enormously. The first song Eric ever wrote with his best friend, Mike, was called “3 PM”, amusingly because that’s the time that his middle school let out. “That’s the beautiful thing about music,” he says, “it changes and moves and grows up as you change and move and grow up.”

Speaking of changing and growing, Eric is sure to impress any listener with his recent cover of his favorite Bon Iver track, Blindsided. This brave and adept rendition wells up all your emotions at once. Using his voice as a musical tool, Eric sings acapella and creates a beautiful harmony by layering different tracks of his voice. The result is a calming, moving piece that only a skillful musician could produce.

“The thing that makesBlindsided so beautiful to me is the way that the harmonies intertwine with the driving acoustic guitar riff,” he says.

Right now, Eric is concentrating on recording his solo album, which will be called “Every Day is a Year.” The album will consist of two separate sides, one called “A Day” and the other “A Year.” An idea he has been toying with for quite some time, Eric hopes to demonstrate two separate sides of himself with this album. A Day will contain mostly acoustic, lo-fi intimate songs while A Year will be louder and bigger. “I want people to see and hear the wide range of emotions that I feel on a weekly basis.”

To listen to the tracks from Every Day is a Year, be sure to check out Eric’s bandcamp. Some of his other covers can be heard on his myspace.

“I want my music to reach everybody, no exceptions,” Eric admits, “There’s not a single person out there that I don’t want to touch with my music. It’s idealistic, but…. Hey. Whatever.”

By: Christina Paone

Skrillex the Destroyer: Dubstep Goes Mainstream Part 1

Written by buzz. Posted in Music

Written by: Jacob Kleinman

Skrillex in concert

Skrillex performing at the 2011 Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest

You’re living in the Dubstep decade and you may not even realize it yet. This rising music genre can be traced back to the dank underground clubs of south London at the end of the 20th century, but has only taken root in American youth culture in the last few years. Leading the charge is Sonny John Moore, better known by his stage name Skrillex, a California-born music producer who is as well known for his bizarre haircut and stage spectacle as he is for his music.

Dubstep has no instruments in the classic sense. Instead the studio itself becomes an instrument. Allmusic.com defines the genre as “tightly coiled productions with overwhelming bass lines and reverberant drum patterns, clipped samples, and occasional vocals.” On urbandictionary.com you can find more creative definitions that give a better sense of the aural experience; Dubstep is “the music that is created from Transformers having sex,” according to one Urban Dictionary user.

The earliest versions of Dubstep were dark and experimental, but what has translated across the Atlantic Ocean is a futuristic take on electronic dance music that’s heavy on the bass, distortion and occasional high pitched robotic vocals.

Skrillex’s music doesn’t ask you to think or analyze, it just demands that you dance, and his concerts are jam-packed, sweaty dance marathons, which the artist oversees from behind his computer with the occasional fist bump or rapid drag from a cigarette.

On December 17, Skrillex tweeted, “I love miami crowds….super dancey n groovy. I like groovy fings tingz things.” And on the last day of 2011 he wrote, ““Flex your bums it’s your last chance…of 2011 GO!”

Skrillex and his legions seemed poised to consume all in 2012. Each concert is bigger than the last. Each album sells better than the one that preceded it. And each music video gets more hits on YouTube. This is great news for his fans, but if Skrillex’s music gives you a headache the future may be beginning to look bleak.

There is, however, a ray of hope in the overcast sky that is Dubstep, and his name is James Blake, a young British musician who is returning Dubstep to its experimental roots by mixing gospel elements with his own melodic voice and Dubstep studio techniques. In the part two of this article I will go into further detail on Blake, and why he may be the perfect counterbalance to Skrillex.

Peter Gabriel’s New Co-Op Album

Written by buzz. Posted in Arts

Gabriel's album is creative and unique

 

Peter Gabriel’s new album “Scratch My Back” looks great on paper, but is getting some pretty rough reviews.  The legendary musician’s vision was to put together an album of covers, with songs from artists who will, on the next album “I’ll Scratch Yours” cover Gabriel’s songs.  This is a pretty cool, collaborative experience.  So what went wrong?

Well, first of all, getting those same artists to reciprocate may be a bit of a stretch. There are reports that some have backed out and may be unhappy with Gabriel’s interpretations of their songs.  “Scratch My Back” demonstrates Gabriel’s creative genius, but may not be for everyone’s taste.

The album “Scratch my Back” uses no guitar or drums, thus completely changing the mood of these works.  The tempo of the slower music seems to drag and may get a bit boring.  

As for me, I respond better to song when I get the words.  There are times when blaring guitars and banging drums get in the way of the message.  I think Gabriel is showing that he is still a thriving, creative, innovative artist and I commend him.  I’m not alone in my opinions…Peter Gabriel will be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame this month,  joining many other legendary musicians. 

Peter Gabriel has been surprising us with his talent for many years, and at 60…it’s clear that he may still have a few tricks up his sleeve.

Virtual Musicians Being Born

Written by buzz. Posted in Arts

The Magic is in the Touch

Virtual music I’ve heard of, but virtual musicians?  What’s this world coming to?  If Zenph Sound Innovations, out of North Carolina sees their vision come to fruition…we may soon be listening to Elvis singing Lady Gaga.  It sounds crazy, but what Zenph is trying to do will change the face of music, forever. 

The old days of artists selling their recordings may be on the way out, due largely in part to changing technologies.  Zenph’s dream is to capture the feel and style of the artists, and license that.   Yep, license their personality.  Thus creating a virtual musician.
The company has begun this journey by taking outdated recordings and re-vamping them with today’s technology, to produce re-recordings of musicians long gone.  But the ultimate goal is to infuse the style of those musicians, into new songs that they never performed.  To create recordings of new music, with the sound and feel of legendary musicians.  Futuristic!

The virtual musician revolution has a long way to go.  Today Zenph is concentrating on the music.  The company has robotic pianos, which they plan to take on tour.  The pianos, through High Resolution MDI files, recreate the classical styles of amazing performers such as Rachmaninoff, and have already caused a stir at Carnegie Hall.

 performers

Now, I certainly can appreciate the loss we all feel when a great musician passes, but I think this innovation is a bit like cloning.  I guess I could sit in the audience, close my eyes, and imagine Art Tatum playing on stage…but at some point, my eyes will open, and when they do I want the whole experience.  The sight, the sound, the magic.  I think I must be old-fashioned…I bet there’s a lot of us out there.

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