A remix contest has just been announced for the singer’s most recent release, Bon Iver, Bon Iver. “Bon Iver, Bon Iver: Stems Project” is the unwieldy but fitting title for the event: fans will be able to download and re-work the stems for a chance to have their work featured on a Spotify-exclusive Bon Iver release. There’s also a prize pool of $10,000 up for grabs, or $1,000 for each track to be remixed from the album.
Let’s speculate on the potential different paths one can take with these remixes. We already know that Vernon’s autotuned, dulcet tones lend themselves well to a hip-hop framework. Maybe an anthemic cut of “Holocene” in the vein of a Kanye West banger is in order? Or imagine turning “Beth/Rest” into a blown out, Skrillex-y EDM track. This would be pretty easy to accomplish with the new Dubstep Machine, an application that will let you drop the base from whatever website you’re on. I smell a hit.
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Here we go again again! Another online article where the subject is Fiona Apple. For the last few weeks, it seems, it’s been virtually impossible to turn on the computer without stumbling across a new headline about the 34-year-old singer-songwriter. I can’t think of any other musical celebrity this side of Kanye West who, in recent memory, has gotten quite so much mileage out of being both ridiculously talented and endlessly quotable.
And Apple doesn’t even tweet (yet)—or date a reality TV star!
Her musical gift and her gift of gab pretty much ensured that the June 19 release of her fourth album, The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do, would arrive with more fanfare than the expected critical gushing. In fact, after one week of release, the new set sold 72,000 copies, good enough for a No. 3 debut on Billboard’s Top 200 album chart, immediately making The Idler Wheel… the highest-charting album of Apple’s career.
That would be chump change in the coffers of Adele or Lady Gaga, but considering that Apple released her last album, Extraordinary Machine, way back in 2005, before the world had heard of Adele, Gaga, or Katy Perry, and the year in which Rihanna released her debut album, it’s as extraordinary as one-half of her last album title.
The 2012 BET Awards were held Sunday night in Los Angeles, setting the tone for a sizzling summer of new music from some of hip-hop’s biggest names. Beyoncé took home the trophy for Best Female R&B Artist while Nicki Minaj nabbed Best Female Hip Hop Artist for the third year in a row.
Whitney Houston was given one final farewell from a group of very talented loved ones including her mother, Cissy Houston, who sang “Bridge Over Troubled Water” to a sobbing crowd. Mariah Carey and Angela Bassett, along with the rest of Houston’s Waiting To Exhale cast mates, also delivered heartfelt tributes.
Performances from Chris Brown, D’Angelo, and Kanye West provided previews for some of this season’s most anticipated releases. Brown’s album, Fortune, was just released on July 3. Last weekend, Brown was honored at the 2012 BET Awards winning Best Male R&B Artist after he gave a power-packed performance of “Turn Up The Music” and “Don’t Wake Me Up” to a turned up crowd who can’t help but be mesmerized by his unrivaled dance moves and brightly painted bare chest. His newest singles dropped last week and included one Drake diss and two crazy collaborations; “ Mirage” featuring Nas and “Get Down” featuring B.o.B., as well as one stellar solo offering, “Trumpet Lights”. Continue reading ‘Soundcheck: Hot Summer Hip-Hop’
Just last month, his single, “I Don’t Like” shot up the charts after Kanye West added himself, Big Sean, Pusha T, and Jadakiss to the remix. Within days, a bidding war ensued and the youngster was trying to choose between his three front-runners; YMB, CME, and Atlantic among others.
Now, it looks like the new teen dream has finally chosen a home at a major label, making his announcement last week.
“I’ve been talkin’ to a lot of labels, but I just noticed that Interscope got people like 50, Eminem,” he said. “They was talkin’ like I was talkin’ and I liked that. All these other labels, I was talkin’ to ‘em, but it’s time anyway for me and I’m goin’ with Interscope.”
Other interested parties put up a good fight, with heavy hitters like Birdman and T.I. clamoring to sign the sixteen-year-old Chicagoan. Last month, Birdman sounded confident that he would sign Keef to Cash Money Records.
“I like him, he kinda reminds me of us,” he told MTV News. “[He's] out the streets, I think he’s swagged up and I’m definitely talking to his people and I’d like to see if we can make it pop, see if I can see if I can get him to be down with the team.”
Like many others in the rap game, the YMCMG CEO seemed to be impressed by Keef’s youthful outlook.
At one point in “Mercy,” Kanye West’s most recent hit to climb the Billboard charts, Yeezy utters the line, “don’t do no press but I get the most press, kid.” Truer words, Kayne. And we’ll take any news that we can get from the rapper that doesn’t involve significant other Kim Kardashian.
According to British tabloid the Sun, West has been making plans to release an album consisting of “animal noises.” A source is quoted as saying that West has been, “obsessed with roars, barks and jungle noises,” and that the album is, “his next ingenious plan.” Right.
In more serious, much more likely to be true news, it appears that the G.O.O.D. Music album Cruel Summer will really be coming out this summer. Rapper and G.O.O.D. Music artist Pusha T mentioned a release date of August 7th for the upcoming album in a radio interview with Funkmaster Flex yesterday. There have also been hints of another Watch The Throne release, if frequent Kanye West collaborator and producer Mike Dean is to be believed. West is still out on his ostentatious Watch The Throne tour with fellow rapper Jay-Z.
The music industry is undergoing one of the largest shifts in recent history. For the first time ever, the folks behind the mixing board are getting just as much recognition as the pop starlets singing over their beats. In a sense, hip hop was the first genre to bring the producer/writer to the forefront with the likes of Dr. Dre, Primo, and Kanye, but even still the MC was the focal point as lyrical content was the most important aspect of the style.
Now, it is the button-pushers, knob-twisters, and fader-flickers that have taken the reigns of the music industry. As EDM continues to rise in popularity, a new breed of rock star seems to be emerging. These are mostly guys who spent their childhoods taking apart computers instead of learning power chords. Gathering production techniques from dark corners of Internet music production forums, instead of making out with groupies in dark corners of the club. Up until a couple years ago, electronic music production was very much a bedroom hobby for most of the community. Occasionally, if you had some real talent and the right connections, one or two of your singles might be picked up by some obscure European label, and a stream of royalty checks may start showing up in your mailbox, but only if DJs decided your track was worth the purchase. But even this model still kept the DJ relegated to a booth hidden from the crowd, the maestro of the party, not the focal point. As EDM shifts and takes on a new identity in America, a country so deeply invested in our celebrities, it makes sense that the DJ/Producer has moved out of the booth and onto the stage. Because of this, producers who often never intended to leave the confines of their bedroom are being thrust on stage and asked to develop some sort of live performance for a genre that is largely dominated by playing pre-recorded songs over a PA system. While we’re sure Kaskade and Avicii would not claim any reluctance to their newfound stardom; it certainly comes with some bumps in the road.
Take Deadmau5, arguably the biggest star EDM has seen since Tiesto, for example. Deadmau5, a.k.a. Joel Zimmerman, kicked off the electro-progressive-house revolution long before every frat boy in America was womping to Skrillex.
But he got his start as a computer programmer and sound designer. Always having an attraction to EDM after attending some of the illegal ’90s era warehouse raves, he spent much of his free time on music production forums, adopting the handle DEADMAU5 after finding a dead mouse (literally) behind the fan of his computer tower (the ’5′ was a necessary reduction to stay within the 8 character limit imposed on many early forums). His infamous mau5head has given him and his music an instantly recognizable brand; rabid fan base not withheld, making him the wealthiest of the “new generation” of EDM stars.