Category Archives: Uncategorized

King Tubby and The Growth of Dub Podcast

Independent Research: Aretha Franklin- Lady Soul

Aretha Franklin Lady Soul

The great and talented Aretha Franklin being called the Queen of Soul began singing at her father’s church starting off as a gospel artist. Her voice has touched and inspired every one in the music industry since the 1960s unto the present day. Released in January 1968, the album Aretha: Lady Soul ensured the world and pop music that Aretha Franklin was no accident.

At the age 24 Franklin signed a contract to Atlantic Records under the supervision of producer Jerry Wexler. The studio FAME is where he wanted to give Franklin more of an edge and a chance to free here voice in capturing a southern groove in here music. Doing so this would reshape soul music. The first song on the album “Chain of Fools” was one of Franklins biggest hit. Singing originals on the album such as James Brown “Money Won’t Change You,” made a significant song into her own. As a 1965 civil-right anthem Franklin sings Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready,” which she slows down the tempo and adds a brass arrangement by Arif Mardin.

In the late ‘60s Franklin became one of the biggest recording stars in pop music. People also referred here as being a symbol of black America itself increasing African- Americans pride and confidence during The Civil Rights Movement.

Aretha: Lady Soul stayed on the charts for the entire year of 1968. “Chain of Fools” hit (Number two pop, Number One on the R&B Charts) and “Since You’ve Been Gone” (Number five pop, Number One on the R&B Charts). The song (You Make Me Feel like) A Natural Woman is one of Franklin’s greatest performances. This album is not just amazing by vocals of Aretha Franklin but also by the support of the FAME studio session players ranging from Bobby Womack and Eric Clapton. As some people may say Aretha Franklin is; electrifying, inspirational, a boss lady, a star but she will always be known as the Queen of Soul.

While growing up in my grandfather’s church the first stream of me listening to Aretha Franklin music was at the start of her gospel album. At a young age listening to the young Aretha Franklin sign those songs with great power reminded me of Mahalia Jackson singing. I enjoy listening to Aretha Franklin music all day and every day.

As an industry professional if I have an artist like Aretha Franklin or someone with a unique voice I will do what Jerry Wexler did with Aretha Franklin; let the artist be themselves and to find a style that will make that artist glow differently from other artists.

I see myself fitting in the music field just fine. As I been studding and writing about the different aspects of music it has helped me gain knowledge of were I have been so no I can see were I am heading to in the music world. Five years down the road I will be in a studio applying my work that I have learn at Full Sail on the different projects that come my way. What make me different from my fellow competition are three things: use of resources, enhancement, and I do things out of the ordinary.

Advertisement

Kraftwerk

Kraftwerk

The Primary members of Kraftwerk, Florian Schneider and Ralf Hütter met as classical music students at the Dusseldorf Conservatory. Later naming themselves Krafwerk (German for “Power Station”), came to the music scene in the 1970s as a full force experimental electronic group. With their own studio dubbed Kling Klang Schneider started designing homemade rhythm machines to be used for their music production. Using drum machines (when they weren’t any available at the time) and synthesizers they soon crafted the robot pop sound of Kraftwerk. Their whole image of Kraftwerk was made up of clean-cut hair and the scientific look of a dress shirt and tie while they performed.

From 1974-1981 Kraftwerk has created five pioneering albums. In 1974 Autobahn is an album about the German superhighway of road traveling. This was the first album to be released in the U.S. making Kraftwerk an international smash hitting the Top. 5. After the album Autobahn this was also producer Cony Plank last time working with Kraftwerk.

In the following year with a concept of radio communication this became Kraftwerkk next project called Radio Activity. Because of their global popularity with Autobahn this was released in both German and English language versions.  Radio Activity was Kraftwerk first album being self produced by Hütter and Schneider at their Kling-Klang Studio. With the use of the Moog Micromoog and the Vako Orchestra pushing their electro-static awareness this mad the album sound mechanical.

Released in May of 1977 Trans-Europe Express was inspired by train travel of the railroads.

Now having two analogue sequencers Kraftwerk brought a different approach of letting the machines jam between themselves. This became the album of The Man Machine released in 1978. This album brought more complex and danceable rhythms to the scene of new wave electro-pop. The Man Machine had robo-pop classics such as “The Robots,” “Neon Light,” “Metropolis,” and their UK hit single “The Model.”

After a three-year hiatus, Kraftwerk came back with Computer World in 1981. This album is about the rise of computers in society. The sound is glistening and even more mechanical, but it had some funk on the “Numbers” track. Afrika Bambaataa’s “Planet Rock,” used the song “Numbers” as a sample, therefore by doing so it had  inspired the hip-hop movement. This became Kraftwerk first UK Number One in February 1982.

Kraftwerk had a subject matter and a theme to every album they have made. The have influenced dance music from the late `70s drum patterns, but more so rock music of the mid `70s ranging from Bowie, Iggy, U2, and Coldplay. Igniting the electro and hip-hop movement after Afrika Bambaataa’s fused the melody from “Trans-Europe Express” and sampling the beat of “Numbers” are one of kraftwerk pioneering statements. By kraftwerk sticking with their scientific robotic look and musical moves Kraftwerk are the primary reason why they are the fathers of electronica.

I wish I could say that this is my first time listening to Kraftwerk, but it’s not due to “Planet Rock” and many other avenues that kraftwerk has made for artist and music. As you may know of Karftwerk being ahead of their time made a difference and I believe improve the electronic scene. Just by me listing to Kraftwerk, their music would take me to another place thinking about the German life of electronic music. As an industry professional Kraftwerk has enlighten me to have a subject matter for anything I do in music. Kraftwerk have helped me to find new ways of creating and delivering music to my audience, which might start a new movement someday.

Roland TR-808

Roland TR-808

Introduced in 1980 the Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer became apart of electric, pop, and hip-hop music, which also was mostly well known in the burgeoning dance music underground. A programmable drum machine with featured accents, individual volume controls and the  “Snappy” control for the snare drum the TR-808 became the world’s first drum machine with its nonvolatile memory. Originally indented to help studio musicians’ record demos; but because of the Roland TR-808 synthetic sound quality it became the turning point in pop music in the early 80s.

A Japanese electronic music band called Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO) is the first to use the Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer as soon as it was released in 1980. Utilizing the TR-808 deep bass kick drum, the thin handclaps sound, the opened and closed hi-hats, and the spacy cowbell was established within their music in 1980. Even soul-icon Marvin Gaye used the TR-808 in his song “Sexual Healing.” In 1982 during the hip-hop movement Afrika Bambaataa and the Soulsonic Force released their Kraftwerk-sampling “Planet Rock,” which utilized the TR-808 Rhythm Composer. Shortly after the release of the TR-808 the LM-1 Linn Drum came on the market as the superior product but because of the TR-808 favorability it left room for the young producers to explore the greatness of its unique sounds and easy programming. By the mid-1980s the TR-808 price dropped so low that it would be found at the nearest thrift shops for 100 dollars while its original market price was placed at 1000 dollars.

While in rap music it was all about the beat, therefore DJ/Producer/Emcee D-Nice states that,

“It was all about the drums and the TR-808 drum machine had the best drum sound.”

With that said, in the making of pop, hip-hop and techno music the TR-808 bass drum sound became legendary of all time.

Wile explaining where Egyptian boogie started from Arthur Baker producer of Afrika Bambaataa and the Soulsonic Force’s: “Planet Rock” states that,

“It was taking the beats of funk and playing them with electronic instruments being Roland TR-808.”

The dance music genres such as House, Techno, and Electro would not have exits if it weren’t for the innovated Roland TR-808 sound.

Juan Atkins originator of Detroit Techno and as some say the godfather of techno signified that his whole career was built on the TR-808.

Artist and artists that have used the innovative TR-808, as been Yellow Magic Orchestra, 808 State, Afrika Bambaataa and the Soulsonic Force, Outkast, Marvin Gaye, Dr. Dre, Kanye West, Janet Jackson, RUN DMC, Phil Collins, Daft Punk and the list goes on and on, but one thing is for sure that the Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer is a household name that every industry profession as of then and forever will knows of.

While growing up listening to funk, pop, soul, and hip-hop the Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer left a big imprint in my life as a young boy. I always liked the spaced cowbell and the deep bass of the kick drum sound, which at that time I thought that every song on an album needed that TR-808 bass drum sound to make a complete song a hit. Hearing the three girl group assemble Blaque and other artists sing about the TR-808 drum sound made me realized that this is more than just a beat but as the centermost point of pop and hip-hop music of the mid ’80s and early ’90s. In the late ’90s into the new millennium I soon learn that there were other drum sounds out there other than the TR-808 kick drum sound.

As for me as an industry professional I will always keep the Roland TR-808 drum sound as a reference to help me give a good mix that has the same awesomeness of a bass drum sound (if it is necessary) like the Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer has given us in all genres of music.

Marvin Gaye’s- “What’s Going On”

What's Going On

The birthplace of Marvin Pentz Gay Jr. was in the capitol city of Washington D.C. Before Gay was singing Soul, Funk, Disco and R&B he started in his fathers church at a young age singing, drumming and playing the piano. This is where music first touches Gay’s life. While Marvin was in high school he got his first taste of secular music singing in rhythm and blues and doo-wop groups. In 1960 Gaye signed with Motown and soon after that he became a session drummer for the Miracles, the Marvelettes, the Supremes, and little Stevie Wonder.

His first debut album The Soulful Moods Of Marvin Gaye gave him the chance to incorporate his inspired interest of jazz with Motown’s own desire of R&B music. This lead to Gaye’s first released single “Let You Conscience Be Your Guide.” Both album and single wasn’t commercially successful until 1962 “Stubborn Kind Of Fellow,” leading to Gaye’s first minor hit single. “Hitch Hike,” “Pride And Joy,” “Baby Don’t You Do It” and “How Sweet It Is (To be loved by You)” are songs of Gaye’s successful music abilities.

His duet later with Tammi Terrell also brought huge hits such as “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing and “You’re All I Need to Get By.” This duet soon ended in 1970 when Tammi Terrell succumbed a brain tumor leading Marvin Gaye into a period of depression. After the returning of his depression this lead Gaye to create an album that he had never done before incorporating jazz and funk, while talking about the world’s social and political issues in just saying three words: What’s Going On.

During the time of “What’s Going On” on a worldwide view point the Vietnam War was up and away. Marvin Gaye’s brother, Frankie Gaye had survived three-years of serving his country in Vietnam. After hearing the stories of his younger brother’s experience in the war Marvin had some idea of the lyrical content of the song “What’s Going On” but not all until he experience his own war that was happening within his friendly neighborhood of the United States of America.

During the late 60s through the early 70s it was a tidal wave of chaos happening within the different states. The assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and (Bobby) Robert Kennedy shook Marvin to the core. Violence in the streets of Detroit of the 1967 race riot, Chicago during the Democratic National Convention of `68, and the Kent State University in 1970 was all palling up as insanity in Marvin’s and everyone else’s lives. Things wasn’t getting better with the moon landing but just making Gaye more depressing. Even with all of the chaos going on Gaye started to write lyrics that reach the souls of the people across the glob.

Renaldo “Obie” Benson a member from the Four Tops came up with the song idea of “What’s Going On” from a tour stop in San Francisco. With the image of him seeing all the kids with long hair being beaten by the cops while they weren’t bothering anybody was a horrifying view that lead Benson to wonder what the “fuck” was going on. The help of lyricist Al Cleveland Benson started creating a song that addressed the issues that was seen on that indescribable day. With the thought of it being a protest song Benson struggled to find an artist that would want to sing his song that he thought was a song about love and understanding. He just wanted to know what was going on.

With Marvin Gaye in fates mind Benson know that he was a perfect candidate for his protest/love song because Benson knew that Gaye already felt that he was a rebel and a spiritual person. With the help of Benson wife, Gaye accepted Bensons’ deal of letting him have a percentage to the song “What’s Going On” if Gaye would sing it. For Renaldo giving Gaye this song it would change black music, as they knew it.

When Berry Gordy first heard that the songs on the album were protest songs Gordy thought it would mess up Gaye’s career because he was the hottest artist out singing great love songs and was a big sex symbol of the `60s and `70s. Berry Gordy refused to release the album and called it “the worst album ever heard in my life.” So Marvin told Gordy until you come to your senses and release What’s Going On, he would sing nothing more for the company. When released in January 1971 it rapidly hit number-one on the R&B charts and stayed there for five weeks. With the song success Gordy gave Gaye the ultimatum of completing the album by the end of March so Marvin spent ten days recording the album What’s Going On. The album then came out in May after Gaye remixed the album in Hollywood.

One of Gaye’s visions for the album What’s Going On was making sure people never heard an album like this one before, so he stayed away from the standard Motown beat. To make this song different Gaye brought in the best such as veteran big band drummer Chest Forest, Percussionist Jack Ashford on tambourine, Eddie Brown on bongos and congas, Earl Derouen on congas and Jack Brokensha on vibes and assorted percussive toys. This was Marvin’s first self-produced single, which had two accident recordings, therefore making the album famous for at that time. During the opener of the song the alto sax was played by Eli Fontaine. This was unique because Fontaine was just warming up and then he signaled for a take but Gaye told him to go home due to that they already had what they needed. By Fontaine being confused he told Gay that he was goofing around but Marvin replied,

“You goof exquisitely. Thank you.”

Marvin’s multi-layered lead vocal was also a mistake by the engineer Ken Sands. After hearing it back in mono Sands liked how it sound and kept it the way that it was in later becoming Marvin Gaye’s hallmark of his vocal style. The song had a relaxed groove; a recognizable sax intro, a hook that never repeats and a saxophone that does not reappear made this song different during its time.

The lyrics of the song prompts hurt and anger, but you can never tell because of the chanting party chatter along with percussive instruments in the background. “What’s Going On” was a song that no other producer had ever done or tried during in the mid `60s and `70s.

As a young child growing up listening to Marvin Gaye his smooth voice and the songs he created intrigued me. When I heard the song  “What’s Going On” I could imagine the scene that Marvin was describing in his song thinking about how things were back in the `60s and `70s. I thought of this song to be a song of the future because I knew that it was only the beginning of what Marvin Gaye was preaching to the world about. When the planes hit the Twin Towers I started to think about this song in reference to the political endeavors of the United States going to war and seeing the reactions of people faces during this tragedy. Just a few years ago with the incident of Hurricane Katrina with the way there were no one there to help the people of new Orleans, murder of Michael Jackson, Casey Anthony killing of here daughter and the shooting of Travon Martin are making me say What Marvin Gaye was saying back in 1971, “What’s Going On.”

As an industry professional I have learned to take chances, make mistakes cause that mistake could be a history changer that would last a lifetime.

Multimedia Presentation Brian Eno

http://prezi.com/uephbm0uibiv/the-development-of-brian-eno/

“Brian Eno – 40 years of changing music”

Roxy Music

Surrounded by a U.S. Air Force base in a small village of Suffolk Brian Eno grew up listening to American radio consisting of the “Martian Music” of doo-wops, gospel, and early rock & roll music. As a teenager his passion was more so with tape recorders captivated by their knobs and buttons. Spending hours recording random noises Eno would play the tapes at different speeds and backwards fascinated with the recorder possibilities.

In 1965 as an art student Eno was introduced to the work of contemporary composers John Tilbury, minimalist John Cage, LaMonte Young, and Terry Riley. While thinking about the direction of what career path he was going towards (fine art or popular art); Eno soon found out with the help of the Velvet underground that he could do both.

Brian soon joined the avant-grade performing art troupe Merchant Taylor’s Simultaneous Cabinet in the late 1960s. Inspired by the way rock was expanding Eno joined the Maxwell Demon as a vocalist in 1969. Soon after the short time with Maxwell Demon Eno found himself with a glam band named Roxy Music. Fascinated by Roxy’s technology vision Eno then sign on as their live sound mixer and soon on stage as the bands synthesizer  player. Because of Eno’s long-flowing blond hair, garish makeup, velvet corsets, and feathery boas, his appearance in Roxy Music ended after the 1972’s self-titled debut and 1973’s For Your Pleasure album. This was due to Eno’s stealing the spotlight from singer Bryan Ferry.

The next two paragraphs I will be comparing the two tracks.

FRIPP and ENO (No PussyFooting) “The Heavenly Music Corporation”

This song is so out of the ordinary that it makes me feel like I am in a place of Alice and Wonderland searching for a way out. I hear sounds of a synthesizer that are being looped then having higher pitch synths lay on top followed by a guitar. The guitar is like a lead singer singing the lyrics throughout the song while the other synths are acting as the beat and melody of the song. It sounds like there is a delay loop on the guitar as well.

Music For Films: “From The Sam Hill”

This is a little different from the 1973 FRIPP and ENO album because it has more of a smooth ambient sound. This makes me feel like I’m on top of a hill with a slight breeze blowing through my fingers. I hear similar instruments like the guitar and some synths playing in the background. This album was for imaginary films; therefore in a sense “From The Same Hill” has a light and visionary fantasy arrangement that comes across in my mind.

Due to his 1975 car accident Eno was left in bed listening to his 18th century harp music. Unable to move to turn up his stereo to hear above the din of fallen rain Eno shortly discovered a new musical language; ambient music. Diving completely in ambient sound Eno crated a ten volume series of experimental instrumentals called Discreet Music.

Even when Eno collaborated with Robert Fripp on No PussyFooting Eno created a new technique called the “Frippertronics.” Eno found out that he had similarities with Fripp, therefore the album was revolutionary in a sense that it was only two people making one combined sound. With the help of this album Eno got an idea that the studio, not only a place of re-production but of a place of re-creating it from scratch. As an innovator, producer, artist, and pioneer Brain Eno is the reason why people are innovators. Quoted by U2:

“We didn’t go to art school we went to Brian.”

Brian Eno’s work has a number of things that pops up at me as a listener. The way he played the synthesizer was amazing its like the synthesizer was his brush and the audience was his canvas. Brian Eno has really opened my mind as a professional to perform music and look at life in its scientific form thinking outside of the world in Eno’s aspect. For that very same reason this is why Brian Eno is so unique, innovative, and artistic with the way he paints music.

The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds

Pet Sounds

Before there were “Pet Sounds” there were “Surfing,” “The Lonely Seas,” “In My Room,” and “409.” You can say that these songs are describing a typical teenage boy’s day in Southern California. Brian Wilson’s recording of his 348 Chevy engine and the sounds of the ocean waves used in the song “The Lonely Seas” and “409″ was a way to engage his audience to feel closer to the life in California. By Wilson recording these sounds, The Beach Boys appearance was of the California Sound. This sound was built upon the California life of surfing, cars and girls. With the help of the California Sound The Beach Boys sound became monumental within their music.

Wilson is the founder, songwriter, producer, and composer of The Beach Boys. He would write the melodies of the songs for the band and hand out sheet music to the musicians before they recorded the song in the studio. When they started to record the vocals, Wilson would direct the other four group members in teaching them the different parts of the song. Wilson was the composer of the group in helping with the music and recording structure.

With The Beach Boys previous success of singing about surfing, car and romance, Wilson wanted to write songs that were about life and things that were intimate from his soul.

Tony Asher stated, “Brian wanted to do something unlike The Beach Boys has ever done before.”

The Beatles inspired this idea when Wilson heard the Rubber Soul album. He wanted feel good music that make you look at yourself, see how you feel, and see what you can do to improve yourself. So, he started to work on an album that would soon become The Beach Boys’ best album in the eyes of their fans and peers; an album we know as Pet Sounds.

The album Pet Sounds was unique in its own way by having different things that set them apart from other recordings in the mid 1960s. This album is one of pop’s first true song-cycle where all the songs were linked to a theme journeying from adolescence to adulthood. The unusual instrumentation of Pet Sounds, ranged from a variety of things such as: a Theremin, bicycle bells and an overturned water bottle. What also made this album different from others was their two instrumentals “Lets Go Away For Awhile” and “Pet Sounds.” Wilson manages to bring in 23 musicians for the single “God Only Knows” where at the time only Phil Spector was doing. Above all that was said, The Beach Boys also created magnificent harmonies ever made for Pet Sounds.

While I was listening to Pet Sounds I interpreted it as a boy having a crush for this girl that he is desperately and secretly in love with.  As an industry professional I am thinking about the production and arrangement of each individual song. This has helped me to think outside the box in writing songs and how The Beach Boys recorded in the studio. The way Wilson over-dubbed and stacked his vocals is a unique thing to do in the studio. I will take in how Wilson produced The Beach Boys and find a way to incorporate those things into my life-journey in music.

The Beatles’ Revolver

The Beatles

A group of four young shaggy haired men writing about love stormed in as The British Invasion. With The Beatles earlier music George Martin would suggest that each single would be radio friendly length of two-and-a-half-minutes. With the album Rubber Soul The Beatles started to think about music as art and complete entities. romantic

In the beginning of 1966 The Beatles was contemplating on their next film. This led the band to go into a time off, therefore giving The Beatles a lot of time on their hands to think and experiment with illegal substances like LSD (acid). This erupted The Beatles creativity of exploring their relaxed minds. Besides the drugs, their voyage to India also had a great impact on the lyrical and musicale aspect of the album Revolver.

The way The Beatles start off the album by counting down before playing indicates how they used the studio as an instrument. By doing so this gave the audience key insight of how things were being done and heard in the studio. This made the studio unique in a sense because this couldn’t have been duplicated live.

George Harrison uses his Sitar and a tamboura for the recording of “Tomorrow Never Knows.” The tamboura was used in the overdub session and is design to lay down backing petal notes. Within this song, The Beatles had required a use of tape loops of experimental recording snippets that was edited at the band members’ home studio. The Abby Road team has also invented a revolutionary system called dubbed ADT, which allowed easy automatic double-tracking. The way the team captivated Ringo Starr’s crisp drum sound was by engineer Geoff Emerick, placing a woolen sweater with four neck openings in Starr’s bass drum for a denser sound. Then he placed the microphone closer running the signal through some compressors and valve-limiters, as a result becoming the sound of Revolver.

Revolver had a big impact on me as a professional in the industry. The way they found many avenues to record was astonishing to me. I like listening to “Eleanor Rugby” due to the fact that the song has a sad suspicious mood. The orchestra strings help bring the tension out more within the song. The Beatles’ Revolver is an  album to remember for a good reference in a studio environment.