December 31, 2010

Music Is...Random

 I have no idea, random I know, but I like the beat...

December 28, 2010

Music Is...Skateboarding

I couldn't wait to get around to this one. While I cannot skate a lick, well I can't do any tricks, (ya know ollie, no flip tricks, I can ride though, switch my stance, go down hills long as they're not too steep), I have personally loved skateboarding for as long as I could comprehend what it was.
Let me put this is perspective. When I was about 8 or so my mom subscribed me to PlayStation Magazine. I know I played it on demo initially, and so Tony Hawk's Pro Skater became among one of the very first full version games my mom purchased for me. It only took me a matter of around a week and some change to get the controls down. I do believe my favorite skaters on the game were Chad Muska and Bob Burnquist, I guess something gelled right when I used those two guys, but essentially I wound up using all the skaters. Probably one of my favorite features was the extra videos you could unlock when you fully completed each challenge on each level. They were tapes. My favorite skate spot was the Skate Park in Chicago that was half street and half mainly vert. What drew me the most was this huge screen it had on a far wall, and on it was some skate clips, BLEW MY MIND. I know that seems kind of insignificant, but at the time I was stunned. What made this game increasingly special is that it showcased both a pro African American skater(Kareem Campbell), and a pro female skater(Elissa Steamer). I can't speak for everyone but I was generally exposed to only male, Caucasian skaters prior to this game, so it really changed my outlook towards skateboarding as a whole.

Then there was Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2, which pushed me closer to the edge. The game was mine on N64. My granddad mailed it to me, man o' man. Aside from some different locations, the surroundings where pretty much the same. The game-play changed in some aspects though, as you can manual, really link tricks and there's a few more modes of play. For me it all centered around the music. When I played the demo, the only area you could skate was Marseille, France. It was a competition location featuring mini-bowls, ramps,a quarter-pipe, some rails, and other small features depending on how you look at them. When this second installment was released is when I really began paying attention to the soundtrack provided. It had and additional 3 songs from the previous. If I'm right, there were two songs played on the demo level, Dub Pistols-"Cyclone" and I want to say Alley Life ft. Black Planet - "Out With the Old", I could be wrong. I found myself repeating that level just so I could listen to the music and get better at the controls.

While I went on to play Tony Hawk's Project 8 for a very short while on XBOX, the last inductee I really dove into was Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 on Game Cube. Regarding the game-play, the first thing that comes to mind is the much extended freedom and tricks given to you as a skater. Linking tricks became much more accessible and incorporated, tricks were increased, creating a skater was more detailed, more extras, just overall much better. I spent probably 45% of my time just watching the videos. Rodney Mullen's was my absolute favorite. Upon the first time watching it, I had to give him much respect. His technical prowess on a skateboard is unbelievable and what amped up the footage was RUN DMC's "My Adidas" playing. If I'm right, the soundtrack was the longest of them all at 34 songs, I haven't played any others yet so I'm not 100% on that.

Now, from Pro Skater 1 forward, there were other skate games I played along the way, such as Thrasher: Skate and Destroy. The graphics were sort of cube-ish, and the characters were a little bulky but the tricks were on point and ranged. I don't know if it was Dave Mira's BMX that introduced the rag-doll effect but Thrasher incorporated it as well which I felt aided in setting it apart from other games of the genre. The way the skater landed after performing a trick was much more realistic. There was no immediate time constraint. As Lupe said you really had to "Kick Push" in order to gain speed. I just think certain aspects were nailed with Thrasher that other skate games missed a bit. This was the very first game I can remember that really showcased the rustic street environment and what street skaters go through just trying to do there thing. The soundtrack to this one was memorable as well. It had Grandmaster Flash - "White Lines (Don't Do it)", The Sugarhill Gang - "Rapper's Delight", Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic Force - "Planet Rock [Elektric Mix]" and more hip-hop artists. Thrasher was for me the introductory statement to EA SKATE series.

...Then it came. EA SKATE to this very point in time is the epitome of what I look for in a skateboarding game. The developers at EA took every positive, crucial, dynamic, realistic element and made a game that I couldn't get bored with. What I love is that everything is true to size. You nor the objects are multiple times smaller or larger than they should be. Just about everything can be used to your advantage. Because the graphics were so clear and nothing was too choppy, the parallel between gamer and skater was clearly set. The controls took after "Fight Night", were you had to "flick" the analog stick in order to perform the wide variety of tricks. As usual, there were tasks to be completed but they didn't make you feel constrained or limited as far as how you could complete them. The create a character wasn't too detailed but there were far more clothing choices as far as design and sponsors. Your skater felt like your own. When I played SKATE at my cousins house, not only was he playing music, but there was music in the game, so I had a double dose which made my gaming experience even better. 

Though I could go into further detail with each of the games I have here, the main idea I'm getting at is the relationship between the game and the music. For the longest time I've always felt there to be a direct correlation between skateboarding and music. I can remember watching whatever skate program I could find. When I was younger I had no recollection of sponsors, different organizations or events. All I saw was the skating and all I heard was the music. So many tricks going across the screen and the sound seemed to mesh perfectly. I didn't recognize the names of these guys though I could always remember a face. I simply saw the tricks and I still do, I just have more understanding of the industry. One is constantly fueling the other. It's like a never ending cycle.

I realize I skipped THPS3, I wanted to cover specific ones


The Ernies - Here and Now
Dead Kennedys - Police Truck
Goldfinger - Superman
Primus - Jerry Was a Race Car Driver
The Suicide Machines - New Girl
Unsane - Committed
The Vandals - Euro-Barge
Even Rude - Villified
Speedealer - Screamer/Nothing to Me
Suicidal Tendencies - Cyco Vision
Dub Pistols - Cyclone
Alley Life ft. Black Planet - Out With the Old
Bad Religion - You
Papa Roach - Blood Brothers
Anthrax Ft. Chuck D.of Public Enemy - Bring The Noise
Rage Against the Machine - Guerrilla Radio
Naughty by Nature - Pin the Tail on the Donkey
Powerman 5000 - When Worlds Collide
Millencolin - No Cigar
The High and Mighty feat. Mos Def & Mad Skillz - B-Boy Document 99
Lagwagon - May 16
Styles of Beyond - Subculture
Consumed - Heavy Metal Winner
Swingin' Utters - Five Lessons Learned
Fu Manchu - Evil Eye
System of a Down - Shimmy
The Offspring - Blackball
Sex Pistols - Anarchy in the UK      
Run-DMC - My Adidas
The Cult - Bad Fun
N.W.A. - Express Yourself
De La Soul - Oodles of O's
Public Enemy - By the Time I Get to Arizona
Iron Maiden - The Number of the Beast
The Distillers - Seneca Falls
Gangstarr - Mass Appeal
Goldfinger - Spokesman
Agent Orange - Bloodstains  
Less Than Jake - All My Best Friends Are Metalhead
Flogging Molly - Drunken Lullabies
Rocket from the Crypt - Savoir Faire    
Aesop Rock - Labor
Avail - Simple Song
Bouncing Souls - Manthem
Delinquent Habits - House of the Rising Drum
Eyedea & Abilities - Big Shots
The Faction - Skate and Destroy
Haiku D'Etat - Non Compos Mentis  
Hot Water Music - Freightliner
JFA - Beach Blanket Bongout
Lootpack - Whenimondamic
Nebula - Giant
Toy Dolls - Dig That Groove Baby
US Bombs - Yer Country
Zeke - Death Alley
Muskabeatz - I'm a Star (featuring Grandmaster Melle Mel)
Muskabeatz - Bodyrock (featuring Biz Markie)
Jai Plus - Bad Dreams

Thrasher: Skate And Destroy
     A Tribe Called Quest - Award Tour
    Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic Force - Planet Rock [Elektric Mix]
    Deejay Punk-Roc - My Beatbox
    EPMD - I'm Housin'
    Eric B & Rakim - I Know You Got Soul
    Gang Starr - Just to Get a Rep
    Grandmaster Flash - White Lines (Don't Do it)
    Public Enemy - Rebel Without a Pause
    Run DMC - King of Rock
    Sniper - Crossfader Dominator
    Stetsasonic - Talkin' All That Jazz
    The Freestylers - Freestyle Noize
    The Sugarhill Gang - Rapper's Delight
    Ultramagnetic MCs - Kool Keith Housing Things

    (I couldn't specific names of the songs
    but here are some of the exclusive artists for the game) 
    The Falcon
    Tommy Guerrero

    December 25, 2010

    my apologies

    sorry if my page looks a little wierd, I'm trying to figure things out here :/

    December 18, 2010

    Music Is...Always

    Music has a certain way of being very uplifting. It can be multiple reasons as to why this is so. It could be the content, the way you feel when you hear it, the beat or a combination of all the above. I love that music is that way.

    Music is the song you'll never forget, the video you love. There are certain songs that you love where you can't wait for a certain part to come up, whether it's the bridge, chorus, a certain verse, the intro, the ending, or if your anything like me its the whole song. Lately I've been seeing a lot of commercials, listening to the radio a bit, and just humming some random melodies. My mom will ask me,"Is there anything you don't like?", and my usual response is "Not really." It's true. Seems like no matter what I hear, I gravitate to it. Now of course I have my preferences, but I'm open to many different things. Now I will admit, there are some genres that I've only listened to on infomercials or standard commercials: Bluegrass, doo wop, hard rock, heavy metal and others I'm sure.

    I guess what solely matters to me is the fact that there are seemingly limitless combination's of beats and melodies. The progression of one note to the next, tempos, guitar solos, the pattern and all that. Many times I've wondered what life would be like without music. Very mundane and boring I would imagine.

    December 17, 2010

    Music Is...In The Midnight Hour

    This song goes along with that post "My Favorites No Matter What".

    I know this is a 2000 song, but I don't care, the Neptune's killed this beat. I'm not sure if it was Vanessa Marquez of Natasha Ramos that provide the vocals but I love it regardless. This is a Star Trak production as well. I've gone to sleep countless times listening to this. Very relaxing. I need more like it but I don't think songs like this will be too mainstream. That's OK though because I'll listen nonetheless.

    Keep rockin Neptunes......yessssir :)

    Music Is...Mary J. Blige: Everything

    I was on the hypemachine browsing around. I looked up some Mary J. Blige and found a song of hers I love, "Everything"

    Ahh, nice

    Music Is...a lil dubstep I suppose

    This sounded crazy to me the first time I heard it which was about 6 months ago. The guy that created this mix is now in the air-force or armed services I believe. He told me this was a mix he was working on. I'm glad he sent me this nonetheless. At the time I didn't know there was a dubstep uprising going on. I'm sure it's been around for a while but this was my first introduction and I have to say I'm hooked completely.


    Music Is...Adele 19

    I've wanted to review "19" for about the past week and a half now although I've know about the record ever since its US release in 2008. I love this record. I love her voice. Adele has a very soulful RnB vibe but I fell it shouldn't be restricted to just that definition. Music is music, I guess it's all in the way the listener wants to interpret it. If I have my facts straight, Adele became known to the masses around the time of James Blunt, Duffy, Estele and a few other British/London artists from across the pond.

    Her first single, "Chasing Pavements" was very refreshing for me. I just like the mellow vibe that it carries. The song basically discusses the continuous search and development for real love knowing that it may never happen, then asking whats the purpose. Two other songs I like are "Daydreamer" and "Hometown Glory". Like pretty much the entire album these two tracks are live instrumentation recordings, Daydreamer being solely guitar and Hometown Glory is a piano number. Another aspect of her singing I enjoy is the fluidity of her ups and downs in her voice. She is very consistent in her dilivery and as far as I'm concerned doesn't disappoint. 

    I say, that anyone who is into very chill music should definitely check this out. 

    December 13, 2010

    Music Is...Scream - Michael and Janet Jackson

    Scream has to undoubtedly go down as one of the most iconic music videos of our time. Let me also say that I have loved this this piece of work since the first time I saw it, which for me was about 9 or 10 years ago. I don't care to dive into extreme detail regarding the primary influence and/or basis of this project. Anyone who payed attention and remained aware knows what lit the flames, negative media attention, controversy etc, so I need not go there. However the culmination of events, pent up feelings, anger, and the need for both these artists to express what was on their minds ultimately resulted in an explosive performance from this brother sister duet that will not soon be forgotten.

    The choreography imparts a crucial dimension to the theme. I've feel that the movement has to not only interpret the beat but the lyrics just the same. Every single grunt, clash, spin and captured gesture contributed more and more value and substance. For example, the slow motion clip of Michael slamming that black electric guitar and Janet punching and slashing at the camera. Then towards the end you have them dancing side by side, really demonstrating their unity and saying, "I gotcha back". Funny, it was because of this video that I was determined to jump form my knees to my feet, I still can. Both of them are wearing all black for the majority of the video. I love the setting and environment. So much symbolism. The black and white intensifies everything. Here they are, in this big white spaceship somewhere out in space, becoming alien to earth in a way. Inside are long halls, multiple windows, some panels that say "STRESS CAP" and gigantic screens. The glass on the capsules they're in exploding kinda represents the zenith of frustration for them. The interaction they have with each-other is the best though.
    Everything is morphing and transforming into something else. At about 2:45-2:46, this funky symbol transforms into the word: OBSERVATION and there's this one-way mirror type deal where it's like they're conducting experiments on one another. A notible part in this video is the lyrics just before they dance. The news reporter on the screen , is saying something very notable. They go:
    Oh my God, can't believe what I saw as I turned on the TV this evening I was disgusted by all the injustice, all the injustice

    December 09, 2010

    Music Is...Daft Punk - Derezzed from TRON: Legacy

    Yea, I'm talking about Daft Punk again. Let me first say that I had heard of these guys for quite a while before I decided to listen to their material. I saw their names at the end of a lot of different remixes and I'd also heard bits and peices of certain things but I never gave in. I liked what I heard for sure, I just didn't dive into it. Well now I'm plunging head first and I must say I enjoy it very much. 

    I'm sure you all have heard as well as viewed the trailer for the recent Disney film release of TRON: Legacy. I like what I see. I've always liked Disney movies in general. Hey, say what you want but Dumbo always gets to me. Anyway, TRON is a science fiction based film that combines technical and complex landscapes with superb clarity to provide some of the best visuals I've ever seen. Then to amp it up, they bring in Daft Punk to be featured on the soundtrack. Being that these guys are primarily techno, electronic and synthesized when it comes to their music, "Derezzed" is the perfect complement to the film. The different sounds and various tones of the beat directly parallel the movie to a tee. A perfect compliment. 

    The video and movie are eye candy, truly a visual treat for anyone. Just in case you don't notice, after they get a wide shot of the Flynn's Arcade neon sign, they show two people walking in. They're wearing Adidas, and of coarse I'd see that :) 

    December 05, 2010

    Music Is...Control: The Pleasure Principle

    I know I probably have her listed more that any other artist right now but I don't care. I love this video. I love that it's just her doin her thing, expressing herself solo. So I figured I gotta break this one down, tell ya why its my highest regarded among many.

    Control (1986)
     "Pleasure Principle" was one of the big singles spawned from Control, one of the most significant breakthrough albums to date. The record as a whole solidified, vigorously established and authenticated her identity with herself and among her peers, musically and otherwise. Each song boldly and yet rhythmically makes a strong statement. The record title sums up everything in one word. Looks like a purple exclamation point on the cover, her posture isn't wild though, kind of a calm assertiveness. 

     The video.

    To begin with, she's wearing Adidas, and that always gets a plus with me. The choreography was great, nothing felt uptight. Well, I don't know if ALL of it was choreographed per-say, you could argue that she free-styled much of it. Anyway, she lands that chair move nicely, and I'm sure that took many tries. I like when she's jammin' between the line of throwback automobiles. That's not really a big deal, I just think it looks cool and at 2:47, I like the way she walks off the screen. Probably, the simplest part of the video,and more than any reason why I like it so much, is where she walks up the stairs of the warehouse building during the bridge of the song. I don't know. Something about the way the lighting is at that moment. All the bold shadows and the way the light streams between some of the cracks and different objects, it creates a natural visual effect for the camera. The video as a whole continuously goes uphill for me. I don't think there are any slow, stagnant points to it.

    Simply put, I love all of it.

    December 04, 2010

    Music Is...My favorites no matter what

    There comes a time when you want to listen to something that seemingly never gets old. You know the ones I'm talking about. The songs that no matter how many times you listen to them, they just get better and better with time. Why is that? How can you listen to the same sounds, same beats, same rhythms countless times and never get tired of them? Of course you take a break, but only for a short period of time. You never forget these songs either. How do we remember what makes us feel good? How does that part of our brain remind us, "Hey, you know you like this. Go ahead and put it on." For me, one of the funniest things to do is try and figure out that part of the lyrics you haven't quite gotten down yet. I have a few selections here of my favorites I'd like to share with you.

    "Silver Springs" Live - Fleetwood Mac 
    I remember I first heard this song when I was around maybe 12 or 13 years old. My mom burned the live performance of this to a CD for the car. I didn't know who the group was at the time and honestly, up until then I'd never heard of them. All I knew was I liked the song and still do.

    "Respect" - Aretha Franklin 
    I don't this song gets old for anyone. Come on, it's about R-E-S-P-E-C-T who wouldn't want to hear about that. This remains as one of the most relevant songs of our time.

    "Black Cat" - Janet Jackson: "Design Of A Decade 1986-1996", and "Rhythm Nation: 1814"
    I like the original studio version and the more acoustic heard on Design Of A Decade. The acoustic version may be my favorite mainly because the guitar solo in the middle has a little extra added to it. Not to mention it sounds more in your face. As I said, I like both of them regardless.

    "I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing" - Aerosmith 
    I never knew much about Aerosmith from the beginning. Thats not to say that I knew nothing from them. It's that I never knew too much about their personal history or how they came about rather. This song was written for the soundtrack to Armageddon (1998) which also featured Steven Tyler's daughter Liz.

    "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" - Elton John
    I just realized I like this whole record (Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy)

    There are a ton more that I could list. These are just the few I could think of for the moment. 
    Gotta let you hear em' :)

    December 02, 2010

    Music Is...Another random pick

    I was watching tv and the Kia commercial with the hamsters came on. The one where they're singing this or that by Black Sheep. I don't know, I just had to post it. I like it. Haaahhh, thank you YouTube.

    Once again, please enjoy.


    December 01, 2010

    Music Is...Daft Punk

    I have no idea what made me think of this song.....Oh, I remember now, I was just surfing YouTube when the group came to mind. What even possessed me to be on YouTube at 1:00 in the morining when I have to be at work not long after is beyond me. Anyway, I hadn't seen the video in a while and forgot how much I like this techno treat.





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