?uestlove To Teach NYU Class, College To Get 1000 Times Cooler

If there were anything to make you want to go back to college again “ besides the socially acceptable binge drinking, sleeping until noon, and wearing sweatpants to dinner “ it would probably be taking a class with ?uestlove. Yes, that’s right. This spring, The Roots drummer will be teaching a two credit class on classic albums at the Clive Davis Institue for Recorded Music at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. The course’s tentative syllabus involves the analysis of time“tested albums such as Led Zeppelin IV and Michael Jackson’s Off The Wall in order to understand the many factors that go into making those select albums designated classics. Billboard reports that ?uestlove will be co“teaching the course in conjunction with Harry Weinger, the vice president of A&R at Universal Music Enterprises.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sound And Vision: The Diminishing Returns of the No. 1 Single

No. 1 with a bullet: Ah, that once-relatively elusive and exclusive room at the top. The holy grail for the pop single, it used to be as high an honor and as highly desirable as gold and platinum albums. But what does it mean when a star as marginally talented as Katy Perry can hit No. 1 five times on Billboard’s Hot 100 in the space of one album (six times in one and a half albums, if you count Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection)? Or when Rihanna, who still hasn’t scored a chart-topping album in six tries, can do in less than six years what took Madonna a dozen (hit No. 1 on the Hot 100 one time short of a dozen)?

Does Teenage Dream have, well, a dream of ever being as iconic as Michael Jackson‘s Bad (which spawned five No. 1 hits and thus shares the record for most No. 1 singles from one album with Teenage Dream), George Michael‘s Faith (which produced four) or even Adele‘s 21 (a contemporary that launched three), none of which had to be re-released as a special expanded edition in order to pad its hit list and sales tally? For all her No. 1 singles, will any Rihanna album thus far ever be considered as landmark as Madonna’s 1983 self-titled debut through 1989’s Like a Prayer, which covered a comparable career time frame? Rihanna’s yet to even break through the double-platinum glass ceiling.

Then there’s Carly Rae Jepsen‘s Call Me Maybe, which just spent nine weeks atop Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart, making it the biggest song of the summer, if not 2012. It also makes her a surefire nominee for Best New Artist at the 2013 GRAMMY Awards ceremony. She’ll face stiff-ish competition from Gotye and fun., who spent eight and six weeks at No. 1, respectively, with their respective singles, Somebody That I Used to Know and We Are Young. (more…)

The Sound of Science

In the latest innovation from personal genomics company 23andMe, consumers can not only see their genetic code; they can hear it. The California company is now offering a feature that allows users to convert the information from their DNA into a unique melody. In addition to a complete report on a customer’s personal genetic makeup, the company’s new lab transforms each aspect of a person’s DNA into a musical parameter. The algorithm, developed by San Francisco composer Mark Ackerly, derives musical characteristics from personal attributes, such as height or eye color, and then combines the separate musical facets to create a short, cohesive composition. Each compositional aspect, including rhythm, pitch, and note length, corresponds to a particular portion of the user’s genotype. Hear Ackerly’s example DNA melody below. While this is certainly a really cool technology, we’re looking forward to a time when our personal DNA melodies will sound more like a Led Zeppelin tune than a four“year“old trying unsuccessfully to play “Chopsticks” for the first time.

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Peace Out


Nikole Texidore grew up listening to her father, jazz percussionist J. Habao Texidor, tell stories about sharing the stage with Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Led Zeppelin, Frank Zappa, and Jimi Hendrix. It didn’t take long for that rich heritage to awaken Texidore’s own talents, which are considerable. NikTex is the product of those talents, a collaboration between Texidor and her musical partner, multi-instrumentalist Manjinder Benning. Together, the duo composes poppy, ethereal folk melodies flecked with jazz and Eastern influences. Red Guitar combines a lulling little guitar line with the scratch of guero and Texidore’s luminous, multi-tracked vocals for a jazzy, off-kilter melody. On This Too Will Pass a simple acoustic guitar line leads to a thicket of textures: running water, chirping birds, shaken percussion. NikTex are adept at braiding together different sounds, like on Pantyhose, which features tabla, muted synth sequences, guitar, and languorous, sleepy harmonies. Next stop: blissful oblivion.

Friday, June 1st, 2012