Tag Archives: music

VJA Radio #2

Four months ago, I embarked on a not-so-epic project: I would slap together playlists to provide 12 hours of music, and then stream it all out of my home machine while I was at work so the sorts of people who read this blog would have something to enjoy throughout the day.

Surprisingly, the first one was relatively well received. After months of contemplation, I’ve thrown together eight new themed playlists, totaling eleven hours and forty-four minutes of music on tap for when I’m ready to stream it next.

The date and time will be **this Friday, April 8th, from 8:00 AM EDT to 7:45 PM EDT**. The link will, as always, be posted on the front page of vjarmy.com. I’ve been told this time I might have one of them nifty reflector things to maximize the bandwidth use.
Below is the tenative schedule of the segments; I’ve tried to minimize the overlap of tracks used last time and this time, but there’s only so much I can do to prevent it. Hope you all enjoy it.

8:00 – 8:50 | **Morning Rockout**
*Bounce your way to work.*

8:50 – 9:58 | **Bemani Semi-Rarities**
*The most obscure Bemani stuff I can find.*

9:58 – 11:34 | **Best Of The 90’s**
*It’s like a middle school dance all over again. “Best” being very subjective, of course.*

11:34 – 1:36 | **Get Your Bootleg On – Again**
*More mashups, bootlegs, samples, and a Sixx Mixx thrown in for good measure.*

1:36 – 2:41 | **Hip Hop For The Discerning Listener**
*Another visit to my odd tastes in hip-hop.*

2:41 – 3:44 | **Nap Attack**
*Downtempo to relax you during during that crucial post-lunch time slot.*

3:44 – 5:19 | **Work It Out**
*Driving beats to finish off your work week to.*

5:19 – 7:44 | **Electromix**
*A hodgepodge of electronic music. House, trance, who knows what else? All the stuff I’ve been listening to lately that hasn’t been played yet.*

Four Pack Of Mashups

I’m frequently scouring the net for the latest and greatest in mashups and bootlegs, and this week I’ve struck pure gold with four fantastic tracks. So, to share the love, here’s some recommendations:

WHO: [Boppledanger](http://shocker.club.fr/music.html)
WHAT: Requiem For An Usher
HOW: Usher’s *Yeah!* crossed with Clint Mansell’s *Summer Overture*. That’s right. The theme from *Requiem For A Dream*.
WHY: Sure, *Yeah!* had a nice hook of an instrumental before, but it’s 10x better as a power ballad.

WHO: [DJ Earworm](http://www.djearworm.com/)
WHAT: [Policy Of Sweet Dreams](http://www.djearworm.lunarpages.com/Policy_of_Sweet_Dreams_256.mp3)
HOW: Eurythmic’s *Sweet Dreams* blended into Depeche Mode’s *Policy Of Truth*
WHY: You take two great synthpop hits of the 80’s like this, and you have to wonder why you never realized why they fit together so well before.

WHO: [Party Ben](http://www.partyben.com/)
WHAT: [(Triple) Freak Me Out](http://www.partyben.com/PartyBen-ChicFranzieBoys.mp3)
HOW: It’s a three way dance: Chic’s *Good Times* plus The Beasties’ *Triple Trouble* plus Franz Ferdinand’s *Take Me Out*
WHY: *Good Times* is one of the classics of disco; the first song sampled into hip-hop (see: Rapper’s Delight). *Triple Trouble* is the most mashed Beasties song in the last year, and who can blame the scene: it’s a good old-school style Beasties rap. And *Take Me Out* needs no explanation. Ain’t no party like a Party Ben party.

WHO: [Lionel Vinyl](http://lionel.elektrobank.net/index.html)
WHAT: Danger! Hard Lola
HOW: Another threesome: Shapeshifter’s *Lola’s Theme* vs. Busta Rhymes’ *Dangerous* vs. Daft Punk’s *Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger*
WHY: Because this is the best one of the four. I am a sucker for Busta Rhymes in the proper context. I am an even bigger sucker for modern disco house. And I like Daft Punk just fine. This is seven minutes and thirty seconds of audio sex.

With Teeth – A Nine Inch Nails Review

I have a confession to make: For nearly as long as I’ve been online, I’ve been a huge Nine Inch Nails fan.

Last night was the one Nine Inch Nails event I think I’ll be able to go to in New York City this year; a listening party for the forthcoming album, *With Teeth*. The party was held at Avalon, which I’d like to note is still the worst-run club in the city. Free management tip: *When you say “doors at 8PM”, open the goddamn doors at 8 – especially when it’s pouring and the line is wrapping around the block.*

In any case, here’s my review. Notes to keep in mind:

– The sound was turned absurdly high in the club; as such, some tracks came off as more irritating and less nuanced than they might at home. I’ve made notes where I could.
– All of these notes were scribbled on my Sidekick; I’ve tried to clean them up but forgive any awkward wording if you find some.
– There were no obvious chnages in the tracks, nor announcements thereof; I may have applied parts of some songs to others. Ratings will undoubtedly change when I get my hands on the final.
– I did not have the names of the tracks in front of me when I was writing this.
– I rate on a scale of 1-100, ala the MP3 rating tag. 60+ means “This would go on my large general playlist”. 80+ means “This would go on my smaller, specialized playlist.” Under 40 means I didn’t find it listenable.

Right, here we go.

**All The Love In The World**

About 100 bpm, almost idm-y percussion wirh some bass and piano. Instrumentation is overpowering trents voice, although that may be the balance in the club. It becomes more driving, around 140 bpm; looped vocals and piano/percussion emphasis. Good ending. *65/100*

**Do You Know What You Are?**

Holy shit – PUNCH TO THE FACE drumnbass-ish start, completely unexpected against the soft ending of the last track. 180 bpm, screaming (ala Heresy) refrain. Anyone who considered Broken to be their favorite NIN album will love this, I think. Lots of distortion. Refrain is “Don’t you fucking know what you are?” – I dig. Soft ending again – interesting. *70/100*

**The Collector**

Strange rhythm (5/4?), ala March Of The Pigs but slower. Punctuated with guitar stabs. Its nice as heavy raw rock, but the odd rhythm makes it a little hard to follow. Probably would be better at a reasonable volume and with repeated listens. *55/100*

**The Hand That Feeds**

By now most of us have heard this on iTunes or the radio, and the fans have seemed split thus far, but I’ve been digging it. Its a bit more accessible than most of his stuff, but the backbone is pure NIN. Going to stick with the rating I have at home (although its more awesome pumped this loud). *80/100*

**Love Is Not Enough**

I’m noticing by this point a distinct lack of soft build intros. This isn’t a bad thing, but I had gotten used to them from Fragile. This one is marked by a hard drum beat and some heavy fuzz guitar on the refrain. Dark and brooding in comparison to THTF, but with a reasonable tempo. Not really standing out though. *50/100*

**Every Day Is Exactly The Same**

Hey, a soft intro! STOP READING MY THOUGHTS TRENT. Nice sort of slow asskicking song. Nice scalar (up the scale, emphasize the high note, down the scale) refrain. Totally loving this. Last refrain comes the hardest, and I’m sold. *83/100*

**With Teeth**

Percussiony start, in comes the guitars, and I’m feeling shades of Eraser or Reptile. I hear “with the teeth-uh”, so I’m going to assume this is the title track. Little faster than the last track, but still what I’d file under “Slow”; I like it alright but the refrain is uninspired. We go to low piano and bass; is this a filler track? Just a long ending? There’s not a lot of sepera — JESUS CHRIST MY EARS. WHY DO YOU TRIPLE THE VOLUME LEVEL. Yes, it’s just a long ending. *50/100* (docked 10 points merely for the pain in my ears with that volume jump), might go up after controlled listening.

**Only**

What the? New wave? Okay, that falls away with some slap bass. The lyric style is a little rap/Down In It style…not crazy about it. Wait, there’s the new wave again. And swearing. What the shit? “There is no fucking you, there is only me” – really don’t know what to think. Catchy but obtuse. *60/100*

**Getting Smaller**

This is another one of the singles. Quick, scream-y, hrm. Sort of a “beat down” song, I guess. I dig the intro, but the rest doesn’t really sound like what I consider to be NIN. This sounds much better at home where the speakers aren’t adding to the distortion. Could grow on me, I think. But for now, *45/100*.

**Sunspots**

Slow but driving, almost whispering vocals. Refrain has some hard drum hits, and Trent is doing his falsetto thing. There’s a plucked string during the vocals that’s almost making this sound 80’s-ish (ala *Every Breathe You Take*), but the refrain keeps kicking the hell out of that. Very enjoyable. *75/100*

**The Line Begins To Blur**

The last single, for those of you who haven’t been following. Really slow, really scream-y, electro-scrape percussion. Refrain has singing in the middle of the music chaos, and I enjoy it much more than the verses. Leaving this at *65/100*.

**Beside You In Time**

Sort of a swirling ether of instruments and beat and some nebulous vocals. With a harder beat this could be a trance song! This is the pulsing track you may have heard in the teaser trailer on nin.com, I think. Despite trent claiming there would be no instrumentals, this is borderline. Still, its solid – I don’t mind instrumentals. *70/100*

**Right Where It Belongs**

Vocals don’t sound like trent, but the piano and guitar does. Very strange track, but oddly appealing. Bass beat finally comes in almost 2 minutes in. Slow build, slow build, slow build. The distortion on the vocals falls away (obviously Trent now) and I think the crowd noise is a part of the track. Awesome track, great closing to the album. *90/100*

Dancemania Ex 2

To those who don’t know – EMI Toshiba in Japan likes to release dance compilations called Dancemania. These are notable because of an agreement with Konami, which makes these the licensed tracks that tend to appear on Bemani games. Dancemania Ex 2 is the 26th album in the “main” series, which tends to be fairly standard dance music. Other lines include Speed (which are all overly fast), Bass (now discontinued, almost all booty-bass songs), and a few other smaller lines. Today, I shall be reviewing Ex2.

Listening to each track, one at a time, rating on the standard 1-100 MP3 rating scale. For those who don’t know, I tend to average a rating of 40/100 across all my MP3s. Anything equal to or over 60/100 gets automatic inclusion on my usual playlist.

Captain Jack / Centerfold (130 BPM Move It Remix)

Oh lord, this is a bad start to the album. Isn’t this John Melloncamp? No, in fact, it’s the J. Geils Band. Talking about 80s trash – you want to know how ridiculous they looked?

Am I honestly listening to a CJ cover of a song I hated to begin with? I mean, some of the stupid CJ covers work – Iko Iko was okay – but this is just ridiculously bad. In fact, there’s absolutely nothing redeeming about this song. And that picture made it even worse. 1/100

Creamy / Never Ending Story (Manhattan Clique Extended Remix)

Creamy, of course, also did I Do I Do I Do which is currently being underplayed on Extreme. This isn’t any worse than the other Never Ending Story remix we’ve been subjected to, although it gets a little chipmunky before the refrain. While the last song was just stupid, this one at least doesn’t make me want to turn it off immediately. We’ll go with the pedestrian 40/100.

Atomic Kitten / The Tide Is High (Get the Feeling) (Lasgo Remix)

Oh my god, ANOTHER cover. If it wasn’t for the rest of the track list, I’d just call this Covers 3. Covering Blondie and/or Billie Piper depending on how you’re looking at it…this is very minimal for an Atomic Kitten song, I guess. Meh. 35/100.

Smile.dk / Domo Domo Domo

It’s like Nori Nori Nori crossed with Butterfly! I wish I was joking. Frankly, outside the refrain, this song is fine. But the refrain is SUCH a waste. I’ll be nice and give this 50/100.

Ladybird / Dangerous To Me

Okay, the bassline sounds like Can’t Get You Out Of My Head. The vocals sound a bit like Kylie. This is nothing spectacular, but it’s good – and given how it sucks far less than everything else I’ve been subjected to, let’s go 60/100.

Cream / I’m Back Now

Given that this has a little bit of a female vocal house feel, I’m guessing this isn’t the legendary band Cream. Makes a lot of sense to have a name very similar to another band on the album, too. Still, it’s decent vocal house, it’s not grating on my nerves too much…but it’s missing just a touch of something. 58/100

Funk Project / You Make Me Feel

I can’t get into this. Cheese + standard dance bass line + badly synthed horns + echoed female vocals with lots of “oooOOoOOO” lines = not my cup of tea. It’s not as bad as CJ, though. 37/100

X-Treme / Long Train Running

This will be interesting, since I love both X-treme, and the Bus Stop cover of Long Train Running. Okay, so the vocals sound like they’re done by some BeeGees knock-offs. And alternately, you get some weird “rapping” from the guy who does most of the X-Treme vocals. The reworking of the song itself sounds really good, but the vocals…wow, they really blew the potential on this one. Seven words I never hope to say again – I’ll stick with the Bus Stop version. 40/100

Bus Stop / Let The Music Play

Speak of the devils…WHAT THE HELL IS THIS EURO TRANCE COMING FROM MY SPEAKERS. Female vocals? Okay, odd. Where’s my lisping rapper? Oh, there he is, only it sounds like he’s being sampled – ironically, sort of like he did on Long Train Running. I can deal with this. Expect this to get massive shouts of “THIS SHOULD BE ON DEE DEE ARR” from the fanboys. 65/100

DJ Alligator Project feat. Dr. Alban / I Like To Move It

I have lived in fear of this track since the track list was announced. Dr. Alban appears to be the ones doing the vocals, and his accent (what is that, Indian?) is pretty thick. This seems to be a pretty standard trance cover…oh THERE’S DJ Alligator. Okay, this is really sad – before October, I hadn’t heard the original I Like To Move It in ages. However, thanks to the grand wisdom of Jason Enos, I’ve unfortunately been re-subjected to it and now know what it’s supposed to sound like. So while DJ Alligator does fine on his rap part, and the techno cover is passable, Dr. Alban is SERIOUSLY out of place here. Still, I’m willing to include this into the usual list. 60/100

DJ Rasputin / Katjusha

I Like To Move It gets mixed into this for far too long (50 seconds). And this is just hard trance with goofy sirens mixed in with what I’d imagine is a Russian melody of some sort. They should’ve just gone with the Tetris theme. Not doing anything either way for me. 50/100.

Kirsty Hawkshaw / Fine Day

Standard arena trance that I’ve heard before – surprisingly, this is the same vocalist who did the other trance version. What the difference is outside just the vocalist being credited, I’m not quite sure. Huh, just found out that the original of this was sampled into Halcyon + On + On. Interesting that this is on Dancemania *now*. Passable, if nothing else, but I’ve heard this a lot in the past. 60/100.

Lasgo / Alone

Triplet hoover trance with female vocals. And then some bassline I’ve heard before. Oh wait, this was remixed on FantasiA 3. No wonder it sounds familiar. So this must be the original? Not bad. Sadly, my willpower has been broken down so that the chorus is hooking me. Watch me rate this down in two weeks. 65/100

Milk Inc. / In My Eyes (DJ Philip Radio Edit)

Wow, another Female Vocal Trance track. This even has the stupid breakdown-snare fill comeback that I’ve heard in nearly every “trance” song since 1998. 30/100

Nouvelle Vague / Love and Pride

Wow, now it’s a trance track where the guy SOUNDS like a girl…and it’s just gone ultra-stupid. They sound a bit like wannabe Duran Duran. And the trance melody sounds like Fire from Beatmania 6th Mix. Better than the average we’ve been batting this album, but that’s not saying much. 52/100

Obsession / Your Song (Transensual Mix)

We seem to have dropped back to the lighter dance-trance. Oh good lord no. NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO. It’s an Elton John cover. A female vocal trance Elton John cover with snare fills and triplet melody and standard bassline. All I need is to put this on endless repeat, get Kyle Snyder freestyling in here, and I can have my own personal hell! 15/100, only because Kate’s going to want to hear it.

LMC feat. Karen West / Everything U Need

Just unremarkable on a whole. Relies more on rhythm and the voice of the female rather than most of the standard trance elements, so I guess that’s something. A pitiful 40/100.

E-Rotic / Fred Come To Bed 2003

And to close out the album, we get another remix of an E-rotic staple – and even though it’s got snare fills and the standard bass line I’ve been bitching about, at least E-rotic can make it INTERESTING. So help me god, I’m giving this a 60/100.

Final Thoughts

So half the songs are covers of songs I absolutely hate. The majority of the remainders are by the book female vocal trance. Some even hit both of those categories. There are 5 songs on here that I’d be willing to listen to again – and by “willing”, I mean that if they come on my playlist, I’m not going to flip the song immediately.

Skip this, unless you have a desire for pain or the ability to stomach all crappy trance and covers.
I’m tired of the Speed series (Classical Speed was a waste), the main series, as Herbie said, has sucked since 21; I’d really, REALLY like to see another Scorccio mix. Or some more FantasiA. Please, anything except this shit they’ve been churning out.

mp3.com in full effect

Jared’s mp3s are undergoing the approval process, but four have gotten
approved, so there’s more than enough. So, for reference sake, and your
enjoyment, here is the complete listing of my ‘record label’ at mp3.com:

[Jared, Butcher of Song](http://www.mp3.com/atonalamigo/)
[Eddie Schmidt](http://www.mp3.com/EddieSchmidt/)

Download one, or the other, or all of them. Doesn’t matter to me.