making remixes is rad, plain and simple. messing with sounds in ableton, getting to play with various synths, and re-imagining tracks in to something new is low-stress fun. i think of remixes as akin to how bands in the 60s covered each other, just updated for a digital age.
back in february xiu xiu released a bunch of ringtones for free online – in reality these were various loops from dear god, i hate myself and when i heard them my first thought was that it would be cool to piece them back together in to a coherent track. this required a lot of time pitch shifting so they were all in the same key, beat matching so they were in the same tempo, and various manipulation of the sounds – the only samples that aren’t from the original set are the drums, which we made dilla-esque. a very fun process:
local natives have been buds of ours for varying lengths of time – max has known them for a while as they used to gig around la together when they were all younger. the rest of us met them around a year and a half ago when we all went in on a rehersal space together. needless to say they don’t use that space anymore (on the road 24/7) but we stay in touch and hang when we are all in the same city. great band and we were super excited when they released stems for their album gorilla manor – lots of real synth on this which was fun to mess with:
if you follow the twitter you’ll already know that i’m torn regarding the xx – some of the best production and songwriting i have heard in ages. so much space allowing the melodies and chords to breathe and an excellent (and subtle) blend of real and processed instruments. nothing is over-bearing or busy. my main problem is the intonation from the female singer, but i’m starting to feel more and more like a hater by complaining about it so much. they have it together and i’m very impressed, especially with this tight of a live performance:
Annu makes abstract hip-hop tracks that occupies the landscape between Flying Lotus and Nosaj Thing – not as manic as the former and not as calculated as the later. Love when the beat kicks in on Friday Night – feels super woozy all while being tightly locked in:
kurt vile is the type of artist who continues to make me feel completely inadequate as a musician yet inspired to reach adequacy. one of the few artists who rocks essences of lofi without losing his shit in mush. beautiful voice, great instrumentation, fantastic melodies, and an overall penchant for subtlety:
Learning Music is a seriously dope project from the good friend John Wood. Basically, every month John releases a new album full of songs that stretch your imagination and musical palette. He has a stunning pop-sensibility and writes, records, mixes, and masters all of the music himself.
You can download a ton of tracks for free or, if you’re into it and a good soul, subscribe to the project at a variety of levels. I’m a subscriber and am always floored when I hear what he comes up with for each instalment, which shows up conviently in my mailbox on the first of every month courtesy of Vosotros.
A while ago I told John I wanted to cover his song Electric Letter, which I still want us to do. He beat me to the cover punch though by dropping an amazing version of Cranial Contest on this month’s album, You Can Take It In. The track just kills – way more complex musically than I could compute and recording wise it is perfect. That synth that comes in around the one minute mark just totally blows me away.