Archive of posts tagged with "riddimmeth0d"

December 18th, 2009

remix-mas! (riddim meth0d repost)

[I haven’t made another Xmas mix since this first attempt four years ago, and I’m not quite sure why. Despite my nostalgia for the sounds of the season, I think I quickly reach saturation. Anyway, I repost this for those of you who haven’t heard this before and are not yet feeling oversaturated. For those who’re seeking similarly woozy collections of nonstandard Christmas fare, do check out Gavin’s latest and Boomnoise’s 2nd volume of egg-noggin’ beats. This was originally posted on December 22, 2005.]

believe me, i’m sick of christmas carols, too. indeed, i was mildly horrified, but not so surprised, to hear them being played in the supermarket even before thanksgiving this year. usually, i can at least endure such schlock throughout the month of december, allowing the familiar strains to trigger my nostalgia reflex and paying more attention to wacky, 50s-era arrangements than invocations of baby messiahs.

despite their inextricable connections to crazy christians and consumerism-gone-wild, many of these songs still hold a special place in my grinchy little heart, so i’ve been wanting to put together a little remix/mix of them for a while now. of course, the inherent irreverence of messing with this stuff helps me to get over some of the piety, the schmaltz, and the kitsch. (actually, i like the kitsch – and i can even dig the piety, long as it’s nat king cole on the mic.)

thus, i offer what i hope is at least a more interesting, and fun, way to listen to these songs yet again. (and i realize i should have put this up far before people’s endurance approached the critical limits of this week. oh well.)

wayne&wax, remix-mas 30 min / 28 mb

the songs collected here are by no means an exhaustive sampling of the christmas carol oeuvre. rather, they reflect my own (and my family’s) idiosyncratic faves, from novelty numbers to true standards of the genre. above all, there’s plenty of nat king cole, who is my absolute favorite when it comes to interpreting this repertory. alongside nat king, you’ll find such commonly compiled christmas crooners as frank sinatra, johnny mathis, burl ives, dean martin, judy garland, bing crosby, and gene autry. you’ll also find some jazzy versions courtesy of vince guaraldi (of peanuts fame), duke ellington, and the ray brown trio. and it just wouldn’t be a w&w mix without such additions as an adapted favorite by samplee-of-the-year ini kamoze (all i really want for christmas / is to be a little bit more conscious), a jingle-bell-evoking beat by latter-day de la soul, and the christmas calypso classic, “drink a rum.”

beyond the simple but significant point of tune selection, you’ll note a number of other organizational principles at work here. for one, as usual, i’m playing a lot with tempo and pitch in order to make various songs work with each other and in the context of a mix. i’m also doing a lot of looping, finding some true 2-bar gems amidst all the string-section and peculiar-percussion wankery. my muse here is hip-hop, especially such loop-finders as prince paul, dan the automator, and madlib (whose 6 variations on in the rain is definitely a touchstone for the multiple loops/edits i attempt to wring from the various songs here). another point of reference might be the avalanches, whose deft recycling and repackaging of pop detritus is a model to which we could all aspire. there are also, without a doubt, a number of nods here to loop-master rza, in particular the creation of “harmonies” (which are really quite dissonant) that result from laying various string samples over other string samples, sped and slowed voices, etc. finally, the constant use of classic breakbeats to underpin all of this is also inspired by rza and “true-school” producers more generally.

at times the songs may sound a bit woozy, for i’m really messing with their warp-points, especially in cases where the performances are more rubato than regular. i also alternate between playing what are essentially whole tracks (with little more than a breakbeat on top), playing shorter loop-based portions, and playing segments of songs simultaneously. and of course, there is a heavy bit of echo/delay running throughout the entire mix, providing a bit more propulsion, polyrhythm, and psychedelia.

if you can bring yourself to listen to this sort of stuff voluntarily, i hope you dig.

a happy holiday and season’s greetings to all – and to all a good break.

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December 16th, 2009

do you bun what i bun? (riddim meth0d repost)

[Sticking to the seasonal, here’s another musical maneuver I pulled on some well-worn Christmas fare. Given the recent resurgence of talk about homophobia in reggae — not to mention what must be some serious shadenfreude over Buju Banton’s arrest — I have to admit that, sharing Rizzla’s frustration, I’m a little ambivalent about adding, um, flames to the fire. But a lot of my thoughts below still hold, and I still find it unsettling that I can’t hear “Little Drummer Boy” without thinking “Fire Mek We Bun Dem!” This was originally published on Dec 14, 2005.]

bun santa!

as a sort of musical reflection/intervention on the murder of steve harvey, i offer a mashup that i’ve been thinking about putting together for a while.

wayne&wax (TOK vs. Johnny Mathis), “do you bun what i bun?

as with “boom bye bye” – that ever-so-catchy ode to killing gays by buju banton (who has recently been on trial for allegedly beating, with some help from his friends, six gay men back in June) – TOK’s “chi chi man” always struck me as similarly pernicious in its pleasures. by giving such sensual form to such violent thoughts, making it easy for hateful sentiments to roll around in our minds and on our tongues, these artists abuse some special powers. and though i’m not one to call for censorship, i do believe in the value of self-censorship and of community censure. at times, TOK and buju clearly suffer from too little of both.

i’ve always heard the chorus melody of “chi chi man” as an unmistakable riff on the christmas classic, “do you hear what i hear?” (one of my favorite renditions of which is the johnny mathis version used here). i’ve heard others claim, however, that TOK borrow the melody from a jamaican folk song. (can anyone confirm that? and, if so, which song?) regardless, i, and probably many other listeners, always hear it referencing the christmas carol. and although one doesn’t hear “chi chi man” too frequently ’round these parts – my brother called me one day from hartford, completely shocked that they were playing it on the radio – at this time of year, one does hear “do you hear?” and guess what it makes yours truly think of?

yup – TOK have colonized my musical imagination in this case, so i find myself dubbing “blaze di fire, mek we bun dem!” over the refrain to the song. it’s a little absurd, really. annoying, sure, but so’s the original by itself. it’s the cognitive dissonance that i find most striking: as this very (new testament) christian song overlays with the very (old testament) christian sentiment of smiting abominations, i find myself thinking about all sorts of amazing contradictions.

this mashup calls attention to the ridiculousness of TOK’s assertions. although the group boyband would likely claim to speak from a communal voice, when we hear the lyrics put in the mouths of shepherd boys, mighty kings, and people everywhere – never mind night winds and little lambs – the utter smallness of espousing such hatred is more than evident. its very christianity, of course, also comes into question. (but whose doesn’t these days?)

at any rate, i present it here in the hope that it might provoke more thought about the issue of homophobia in general and about music’s role in reflecting/informing people’s values (and, crucially, actions) around it. i agree with robert carr that “If the dialogue is going to be effective, it has to be clear that it is an internal dialogue, not something imposed from outside influences with different agendas.” but i’m not exactly sure where we draw the lines of internal/external. these lines are blurry. i hear TOK’s as well as more “homegrown” anti-gay sentiments here in cambridge, MA, and jamaican citizens (a large number of whom live outside of JA, let’s remember) encounter various perspectives, in public and private, with regards to sexual orientation. there are no discrete communities or cultures in the world. they all intersect and overlap.

so we’re in this together, don’t?

or to put it some other ways:
no man is an island. no island an island either. i land is your land. etc.

[quick technical note for those who care: i’ve pitched down the mathis version a bit, and i pitch up the TOK as the mathis modulates (twice!).]

here it is again:

wayne&wax (TOK vs. Johnny Mathis), “do you bun what i bun?

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December 15th, 2009

screw christmas (riddim meth0d repost)

[This is the first in a series of several reblogged posts from the now defunct Riddim Meth0d blog. I figured I’d start with some seasonally appropriate fare, so look for a couple more X-mas related things to follow. This post was originally published on Dec 21, 2005.]

not to be a humbug, but it occurred to me that screwing (or is it unwinding?) one of the chipmunks’ christmas tunes would be a funny way both to reverse-engineer the song and to tap into the ’05 zeitgeist.

wayneandwax vs. the chipmunks, “christmas don’t be late slow”

despite its novelty, ross bagdasarian’s one-man band has proved an enduring cultural phenomenon, and the ‘munks christmas songs (and x-mas special) are as unavoidable as any other seasonal pap. somehow, at least for the first few encounters, i still find the chipmunks’ routine, especially on this song in particular, to be rather delightful. the way alvin pines for a hula hoop always makes me laugh, and the tight (extra tight when sped-up) barbershop harmonies never fail to strike a chord – even when dave claims that alvin is flat.

on this screw (but, sorry, no chop), the chipmunks’ “real” voices are revealed, though dave’s adult register, never sped-up to begin with, slurs along like houston’s finest. and don’t those horn blasts at the beginning sound sweet? chop-worthy to be sure, though working in 3/4 time would be a challenge for even the swishest of screwdrivers.

more holiday hijinks to come…

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December 15th, 2009

Riddim Meth0d Riposte

Sadly, our ol’ group blog, Riddim Meth0d (actually, named after the article), has fallen into disuse and disrepair, w/ 400,000 unmoderated comments and countless foreign phishing outposts that have long slipped past the outmoded filters — not to mention, no new posts for almost 2 years now. I myself last posted there back in May 2007. I suppose I stopped in part because of a certain lack of collective drive, but also because I had enough — any and all, really — that I wanted to say here. (It was always hard to decide what should go there, as opposed to and/or cross-posted here.)

For a time, though, back in 2005-06, I was approaching Riddim Meth0d as its own special space for sharing what I’ve called musically-expressed ideas about music — things that I felt were especially consistent with our Mission Statement:

music leads us into the world.

music connects us with each other.

music speaks volumes about who we are and where we’re at.


we speak with music as well as words.

we are beat-matching, beat-mashing, and beat-fashioning people.

we dub history, version worlds, retrace tributaries, spin stories.

we see music as performance, riddim as method.

we are media restructurists.

we like to share.

-the riddim methodists

Mostly, I was posting what we might think of as “pedagogical mashups” — juxtapositions of tracks that seemed to signify on each other in interesting, even instructive, ways. I think many of them have held up over the years, and so, while we wait for Riddim Meth0d to receive the museum treatment (probably relocating, embalmed & phishy-free, to one of our own sites), in the meantime, just for my own records (and perhaps for some who missed the posts the first time around), I’m going to be reposting a bunch of my favorite contributions to the site right here at W&W. Just a headsup–

You’ll be able to browse them with this tag.

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I'm a techno-musicologist, internet annotator, imagined community organizer.

I left my <3 in the digital global, but I reside in Cambridge, MA, where I'm from.

I represent like that.

wayne at wayneandwax dot com


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