Monday, January 3, 2011
I've just finished "VS" a mashup-EP for my "band" Locobrigida using the vocals from original tracks by Deep Purple, Billy Idol, Nirvana and Lucy Pearl.
According to Wikipedia, mashup is the overall definition of a piece of music, made from elements of 2 or more original releases, into a new piece of music - nothing new there, sampling of well-known bits have been done for 30 years now, and the word "mashup" isn't that new at all, but the increasing use of un-authorized channels for streaming and downloading music has made mashups easier to distribute and thereby easier to find if you aren't there, in the clubs, high on life or worse, dancing away into monday morning.
I don't care about the scenes, the "real" and the "wanabees" - hail hail rock'n'roll to those who do music, instead of just talking about it.
I like the spirit of mashup. No holy cows and plenty of room to bring a new angel or perspective to something already well-known (and possibly pre-conceived?). This has been done in literature and painted arts for decades, and hasn't hit music in the same way, well not until recently. Wonder what it will evolve into in the coming years.
My mashups comes from love and dedication of the original - but it doesn't have to be that way, I've heard plenty of stuff out there that didn't have any of those virtues but still were great - but these are songs that I grew up on and grew with, and they still feature on my inner playlist, so I had to treat them with some kind of respect.
There is no commercial interest in doing these tracks. My ambition was to have some fun during my xmas-vacation from work, and that I had! Normally I write a lot of songs for Locobrigida and other projects, but this time it was a treat to work with tracks that already have proved their worth. These are classic lasting songs, and that fact allowed me to interpret with a free mind.
It just a bit of fun, enjoy!
Locobrigida : VS. The Mashup EP by locobrigida
Locobrigida at youtube
See earlier blogs for ramblings about the four tracks on Locobrigida's "VS. The Mashup EP"
Posted by Umpff at 1:21 PM
Sunday, January 2, 2011
The reaction to the grunge's manic depression came fast. Rock was (once again) declared dead and a fresh new electronic sound started to come out of Bristol. The next couple of years had it's focus on dance-factor and a glimpse in the eye. I loved most of it, as long as it wasn't to Ibiza-influenced. It made me review my perspective on creating and playing music.
Deep down Lucy Pearl is pure soul/R&B, or thats definitely their roots, but at the same time they add a touch of european (British!) music-tradition to their sound - and that combination hit me straight between the eyes, I love that record! Potent, sexy, fun and danceable, and totally free from that layer of sugar-packed frosting that soul had been covered by since the early 80's. Lucy Pearl made me go back in time and discover a.o. Marvin Gaye. Thanks Lucy!
The fire of this second electronic revolution and, in this matter, Lucy Pearl, still burns. Dance-music doesn't have to be stupid, metal doesn't
have to be evil, it's quite ok to sample drummers and you can sing about whatever you want - the feeling of plenty of space for all sounds and ideas is still real. BTW: forget about the crises of the record industry, who needs them? If the music is good enough it will reach the world...
My ambition was to rework "Dance Tonight" into a groove with the sole purpose of being a firm back-up to the massive vocal-track. But due to it's sheer display of power and life it's a thankful job to be the beatmeister under that. Various beats are turned on and off topped by a trad. handplayed rather clean bass. As a synth-lead and general puncher I've added a sample from "Chequered Love" by Kim Wilde (mmm Kim Wilde, love of my early youth) - and the 80's-style hero-guitar is once again by Carl from Sweden, Locobrigida is happy...
Locobrigida VS Lucy Pearl & Kim Wilde: Dance Tonight (reworking) by locobrigida
Posted by Umpff at 1:09 PM
The first time I saw Nirvana on MTV I was blown away. A couple of years earlier I had dug deep into the back-catalogues of The Who, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, and the timing of Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, whose sound definitely was an updated version of the big British 3's work of the 70's, was perfect, actually it had to happen... the world was ready for great hooks, dressed in screams, noize and anger. We were a lot of young surburbian grown-ups that took to the grunge's flannel-shirts and manic depression like fish to water.
Come on, my friends and I were all in our early 20's, straight from solid upbringing by solid families in solid homes, working or studying for an education, and with no (big) worries in our lives. We were mad at everything and frustrated by the rest, and had a rap-metal-band called Porn'Shop, were we could play heavy riffs on a funky groove while rapping about all that police-violence - that we'd seen on tv (from the US)...
The grunge was good for nothing but the ears, the manic depression of the age didn't do any of us any good - but the music was ace, or some of it was anyway. I still love "Smells Like Teen Spirit", though it's been plyed so many times, everywhere, that I had to try to come up with another angle to the song.
What if Kurt Cobain had listened to Chic? Would he be alive today (or would he have killed himself earlier...).. My idea was to give the early 90's-attitude a kick in it's metal ass, make it more "here comes Johnny", in favour of the originals whining vibe. The original vocal-track of Kurt was played through an overdrived amplifier, and I've added some German-foot, a rockgroove a la Phil Collins and (yet another) disco-bass. Rounding it up is a sample from the fantastic Teddybears' "Devil's Music", working as the basic theme for the track. And as usual, it's Carl from Sweden on that authentic 80's style hardrock guitar that makes Locobrigida happy.
Locobrigida VS Nirvana & Teddybears: Smells Like Teen Spirit (reworking) by locobrigida
Posted by Umpff at 1:07 PM
Billy Idol was cool when I was 13 years old. He had the sneer (coolest thing ever!), white spiky hair, leather pants and studs, a handful of great commercial rockers featuring plenty of flashy guitars and memorable hook-lines - and babe-packed videos on MTV. "White Wedding" was his biggest hit (that or "Rebel yell") and many were the times where I stood, tennis-racket in hand, in front of the mirror trying to emulate the sneer and the attitude. It was a battle to be lost, though having my stereo turned up to 11 did sort of help.
Billy and his team read the times well. The girls could dance to this and the boys could head-bang and play air-guitar, what a perfect combination when you're 13 and have ants in your pants...
Billy Idol was the prototype of an 80's he-man. Today we (that's me and everyone I know) laugh at those videos: pants high up in the armpits, over-the-top-attitude and bad taste all over the place, but in my book "White Wedding" is a classic hit, and the line "it's a nice day to start again" will always remain a good wake-up-call in times of trouble - that's why Locobrigida had a go at mashing this one up.
In an effort to update this to presents times, I decided to try to make Billy's vocal-track vulnerable, as oppose to the originals "get out of the way"-attitude. It's a good help that Billy sound a little bit out of tune on this. Perfect pitch is not a must, out of tune is definitely a statement too.
The guitar-intro to Duran Duran's "Come Undone" was a perfect match to the chorus of "White Wedding" - it needed no time-stretch or anything to fit - and with reggae-ish beat'n'bass and a little bit of synths plus the sparse backwards guitar and degenerated brushed from Timo in Finland, this mashup has ended up being the most see-through track ever done by Locobrigida.
Back to the 80's - now with a whining underplayed 90's attitude.
Locobrigida VS Billy Idol & Duran Duran: White Wedding (reworking) by locobrigida
Posted by Umpff at 1:03 PM
I was a kid in the 70's, 3 years old when Deep Purple released "Smoke on the Water" in 1972 - a song widely know for it's signature guitar-riff.
Close your eyes and I'm sure you can hear it in your head...
For me the 70's were about Tintin, Lego, Abba, matchbox cars, badminton & frisbees. The time when "Smoke on the Water" was released, I only remember from books and Wikipedia, thus no point in dealing out personal experiences like "I hurt my knee" or "I played hide and seek with that cute girl next door".
I guess all guitarists have had a go at "Smoke on the Water" at one point or another, making that memorable riff almost unlistenable for the ears of today, as it's been played to death. Guitar-shops hang up signs with "NO Smoke on the Water" (that or "NO Stairway to Heaven"), but in my book it's still a killer song, so I decided to have Locobrigida have a go at mashing it up, make a bastard out of it so to speak. No use, what-so-ever, of the original riff, was the only rule for this track.
Long live the internet! Thanx to google for letting me find the original (and separated) vocal-track to build upon. Nice having the illusion of Ian Gillan letting rip in my living-room.
I've listened to a lot of Hall & Oates lately, so the basic groove is classic uptempo Motown, spiced up with a discobeat and a real live bass drenched in echo. Half-tempo-drums and harmonicsguitar by Timo in Finland, and the fastest swedish fingers in Copenhagen, Carl, on authentic 80's-style hardrock leadguitar.
Locobrigida's time-machine has run amok, stuck in "random"- or worse - but hopefully you can see the glimpse in her eye on top of all the noize.
Locobrigida VS Deep Purple : Smoke on the Water (reworking) by locobrigida
Posted by Umpff at 8:58 AM