Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

I hate when producers try to create radio and TV versions of the songs that were originally made to be played in clubs and on festivals. It’s almost impossible to compress all the emotions from an 8-11-minute song into a 3-minute video. It’s the same as taking all 7 seasons of House M. D. and trying to tell the entire story and develop all the characters within a 2-hour movie. Or it’s like taking Windows 7 (without changing the controls) and trying to run it on a mobile phone with a 5-inch screen. It might be able to run, but you wouldn’t be able to work on it.

Very often, such approach completely ruins the entire experience of enjoying the song, especially if the official music video is poorly made.

Tiesto’s classic track “Traffic” is a prime example of such negligence:

The original, full length track Traffic is my favorite Tiesto’s composition, and one of my favorite songs of 2000’s. It sounds so Epic and it certainly has some empowering qualities. But the official video, which was made for MTV, kills its atmosphere completely.

Another example of how an amazing song can be ruined by a nauseating 3-minute video is the official music clip for Ferry Corsten’s “Beautiful”:

The original, album version is 6 minutes long. You can just dive into the atmosphere of the track and have a complete mind-blow (by the way, during his performance in Brisbane in February, Ferry played Beautiful, and, for me, that was the most euphoric moment of 2011, so far :) ). The video version, on the other hand, is disgusting.

But you can find some exceptions too.

For example, a radio version of Chicane’s classic trance tune “Saltwater” (released in 1999) sounds as good as the album version:

Unfortunately, adaptations of this sort are extremely rare.

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According to my observations, there are only two ways to make good radio versions of electronic dance tunes.

First way: making the original no longer than 5 minutes in the first place. Different house and electro artists (such as Benny Benassi, David Guetta, Calvin Harris, etc) make songs that are relatively short and could be played on the radio without cuts and edits that might ruin the composition. Tiesto has been doing so too since 2009.

Second way: completely reconstructing the track, making it sound more mainstream, maybe adding some vocals, so it wouldn’t be just a collection of samples from the original song. In this case, the radio/TV versions of the songs have very little in common with the originals, but the fact that they were properly adjusted for a short-time run makes them fairly listenable.

A classic example of such technique would be the pop (mainstream) version of legendary track “Synaesthesia” by Thrillseekers. The song was (re)named “Fly Away” and contained vocals by Sheryl Deane:

Another example would be the mainstream version of Riva’s “Stringer“, which was named “Who Do You Love Now?” to suit the lyrics:

Of course, these pop-versions are only remotely as awesome as the original tunes. But, nevertheless, they are better than just cut-versions.

Always try to listen to the original tracks.

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Old CDs.

Posted: February 19, 2011 in Music, Technology

That’s all the physical Audio CDs that I’ve been listening to in the last couple of weeks:

I find it kind of awkward that I still use this almost 30-years-old technology. All the music from these discs has been transferred to my hard drive, in loseless compression, ages ago. Nowadays, if I buy music, I buy it online, via iTunes. It’s much more flexible and convenient than to go to a record store and buy things made of plastic. The sound quality is the same (well, at least on my sound system(s) and earphones).

But, sometimes, I still feel like putting a physical CD on. I can hardly explain why. It gives me some sort of weird aesthetic pleasure… Which I find hard to approve.

I think it would be the best for music industry (and for technological progress in general) if all the major companies would stop producing Audio CDs and switch to online media-content distribution as soon as possible (Sony has already announced that they will do this by the end of this financial year).

There will be some smaller companies who will continue producing CDs in lower qualities, same way as some companies are still pressing vinyl records (and some “audiophiles” are still buying them, arguing that analog music sounds “warmer” (which, in fact, results from the fact that you can’t record higher frequencies on vinyls… and you can easily replicate this “warmth” with digital sound by adjusting equalizer in your media player.. I’m just saying)). Physical CDs will certainly remain popular amongst audiophiles and collectors for the next couple of decades. Even I myself would be happy to acquire something like a collection box set of all the Magik series CD-mixes (there were a total of 7 of them, released between 1997 and 2001), just for the fun of it…

But, overall, I strongly stand for the digitalization and virtualization of everything possible. For the sake of progress.

Went to a gig last Saturday. Ferry Corsten was doing a set at Family Nightclub.

When I first heard about this (thanks to Facebook ads!) I purchased a ticket straight away. $35 was quite a low price to pay, in comparison to $90 that I paid for Tiesto’s show last year.

Ferry Corsten has always been one of my favorite artists. This Dutchman acclaimed his worldwide popularity back in late 1990’s, when he was working in the field of trance music. His works made in collaborations with various Dutch DJs (such as Armin Van Buuren and Tiesto) were constantly smashing dance charts all around the World.

He took a somewhat different direction from trance with the release of the album “Right of Way” in 2003, but his production has never disappointed. The man is certainly one of the World’s most talented producers and DJs in the field of electronic music (he hasn’t gone below the 9th spot in the annual DJ Mag’s top 100 DJ list since 2002, which serves as a good indicator of his steady success).

In 2010, he released two wonderful compilation albums, “Once Upon a Night” (Volumes 1 and 2) in which he mixed songs by other DJs and producers. The first compilation, which was released in March, have become my favorite work of 2010. I bought it via iTunes Store in June, and I still can’t stop listening to it. All the tracks are so good and they are so well mixed together.

Ferry Corsten’s current World tour is about promoting these compilations, and his Australian tour wasn’t an exception. I was so enthusiastic about this. Finally, I had a chance to listen to my favorite 2010 songs in a proper club atmosphere, along with the other works of one of my favorite musicians.

The club was packet almost to its full capacity. Ferry started performing at 12:30 AM. As expected, the first 5 or 6 tracks he played were taken from his Once Upon a Night compilations. Interestingly, he played a few remixes of some chill-out downtempo songs from the albums, which made them more danceable. I haven’t heard these remixes before, so I can presume that he made them himself exclusively for live performances.

Those songs were quite a warm up.

After about 30 minutes from the beginning, he started playing stuff that was a little bit harder and more danceable. For example, here I filmed the part when he played his rework of “Feelin’ Good” by Faithless (the full track name is “Faithless feat. Dido – Fellin’ Good (Ferry Corsten Fix)“). Sorry for the sound quality. It’s an iPhone 4.

The atmosphere was truly amazing!

But the real craziness kicked in when he began playing epic and euphoric trance. Here is the video of him playing “Something Wrong” by Russian producer Anton Firtich. I advice that you watch the first 2:30 of this clip. Note how tension is building up during the breakdown as the track goes up and up, until everybody is screaming, and then it just explodes. So crazy! That’s epic trance for you :)

And, straight after that, he played his own song called “Beautiful”, which is my favorite tune of 2006. It was a pure euphoria! Watch how everybody is singing the words “Everything is beautiful, let the music carry you. Maybe I’ll follow you forever (ever). Nowhere else I’d rather be when you lying next to me, let the music carry us together“, and then the track breaks down and everyone goes wild :). Also, the light effects were amazing.

I didn’t want to film anything else after that. I was just raving to his music. The tunes he played were Epically mad! His ultimate 2008 hit “Radio Crash” was amongst them, as well as 2003’s “Punk”, and many-many other awesome songs.

He finished at 4 AM.

Overall, the 3.5 hours of pure euphoria. The best clubbing experience I’ve had so far! :).

Ferry Corsten is truly a bad ass DJ! :)

In the main news.

Posted: February 5, 2011 in Animals, ChDV's life, Music, Polls, Rants, Technology

I’m going to be brief today.

Came up to this poster. This is so true.

***

Bought a new set of earhones yesterday – Yamaha EPH-20.

I used to have Yamaha EPH-30 (2 times in a row), but the last pare broke 2 days ago, and I couldn’t wait so I bough these as a temporary solution. I’m not impressed. They don’t produce much bass, so some songs of The Prodigy and old Tiesto’s tunes don’t sound so well through these. Also, the overall quality is quite poor. I tried listening to Xpander by Sasha through these earphones, and I nearly vomited. It just sounded crappy in comparison to good old Yamaha EPH-30. I would have to buy something better as soon as possible. Jim Wang recommended me a set of Fischer Audio Eterna. I read some reviews. They look good. I will consider buying these in the next couple of weeks for around $85 (including shipment to Australia).

***

I gained 3 kg in the last 8 days.

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I hate Australian weather! This heat is killing me. I can’t function normally in any temperature above 27 degrees C. I prefer staying at home these days, with air conditioner working on a full capacity. Unfortunately, I have to get out of here sometimes, money don’t grow on trees anywhere near our place, and I still need to purchase lots of stuff. Each trip to the city (or even to a nearby shop) is like a torture. The humidity doesn’t add any enjoyment either. I sweat like a dog, and the sweat doesn’t evaporate much, which reflects on my natural cooling mechanisms…. I’m looking at Weather Tab on my iGoogle at this very moment. It doesn’t promise anything good. This shit will continue governing Queensland for, at least, another 4 days. Hope I’m not going to die.

***

Quickly.

***

I’m planning to release the Random SMS Trivia (Volume 3) withing the next week. Then, I will have to make a looooong break. Only 2-3 people reply to these messages nowadays, and the replies have declined in quality. So, I would rather entertain myself in a different way for the next 5 months, or so.

***

Also, I want you to read this:

http://www.djmag.com/top100/detail/2593

You might want to read this as well:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferry_Corsten

Now, watch this:

He is one of my childhood heroes. I’m just saying :)

***

Oh! By the way…

Anyone keen on going to Family Nightclub tonight (Saturday)? The entrance is quite expensive this time. It will be $35 on the door. And the club will be packed to its full capacity, I bet it.

I know I’ll be there for sure ;). If you aren’t keen on spending such money for a club visit, don’t worry about me, I’m not going to be bored there, even “by myself” :).

Send me a text if you’re interested in going. You will not regret this. :)

Dreamweb.

Posted: January 31, 2011 in Music

Before reading this, you might want to quickly go through my post about Lost Alone.

In the last couple of days I’ve been listening to Dreamweb, the second studio album by my favorite Austrian band – mind.in.a.box.

There were no surprises – I was completely blown away by this masterpiece.

It’s interesting – the more I read about mind.in.a.box – the more I like these guys.

The band members, Stefan Poiss and Roman Stift, both obsessed with science fiction and technology, have been working in video game industry since 1980’s, programming and composing soundtracks for various games, starting with some Commodore 64 (!) projects. They’ve certainly implemented that experience in their studio albums.

This electronic music is simply amazing! Their style is incredible! The way it matches my personal tastes is phenomenal!

Dreamweb continues the story that was introduced in Lost Alone. The first intro-track, “Tape Evidence” (which is done in avant-garde style) is set in the place where the previous album ended. It re-introduces listener to the cyberpunk world in which all the action takes place and helps to recall the key-events that happened in the first album (“Tape Evidence” contains a few samples from Lost Alone).

The central theme of Lost Alone was loneliness, same way as Dreamweb goes into the discourse of human dreams, fantasies and expectations. The main story of the second album is centered around, so called, Dreamweb, “another layer of reality”, which contains “the essence of our dreaming”, and all the characters are somehow related to it. Some of them feel it, but still unaware of its existence, some try to connect to it, and some have already entered it (in previous album, in the track “Forever Gone”, there was a dude who was under the intense surveillance by some agency, which was not named, and he managed to escape from our reality by uploading his consciousness into Dreamweb… presumably).

As in previous work by mind.in.a.box, all lyrics are quite abstract and give heaps of room for personal interpretation. As Stefan Poiss said in one of the interviews , they left many things untold and unspecified to give their listeners an opportunity to do their own interpretations. As for me, it looks like the Dreamweb is a metaphor for modern Internet, which reflects people’s culture and people’s dreams, which makes sense, considering that some people might get sucked into it, just like some of the characters got sucked into the drama around Dreamweb in this sci-fi story :).

In case if you’re not keen on examining lyrics, putting it all together and trying to uncover the main theme of this album, you can just enjoy the way this music sounds. As I said many times before, mind.in.a.box style is amazing.

Here is the Dreamweb’s track-list:

1. Tape Evidence
2. Certainty
3. Lament for Lost Dreams
4. Machine Run
5. Loyalty
6. Sun and Storm
7. Out of Time
8. Dead End
9. The Dream
10. Reflections
11. Between Words
12. Escape

The style is quite similar to Lost Alone, though, overall, Dreamweb sounds a little bit heavier (mostly due to electro-guitars that were used in some tracks). “Electronically distorted” vocals help to create dark atmosphere of cyberpunk future filled with advanced technology, which contributes to this awesome sci-fi feel.

I’ve listened to it over 7 times in the last couple of days. I was trying to select my favorite song from this album, but then I realized that I’m just unable to do so. The whole album is freaking incredible and every single song is a small masterpiece.

Here is a few examples…

This is the intro song that sets a connection between the events that happened in Lost Alone and Dreamweb (WARNING: it contains samples from their first album and it might sound weird if you haven’t heard Lost Alone).

This is the third track, “Lament for Lost Dreams”. I didn’t like it the first time I was going through the album, but then I became addicted to it. The way they use distorted vocals in here is phenomenal. 1:25 – soooo gooood!

One of the hardest tracks on the album. If you’re into hard rock and metal, you might like this as well.

I think that Wachowski “brothers” would love this type of music. That’s a perfect Matrix soundtrack.

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I just purchased Crossroads, the last, concluding album in the trilogy. Can’t wait to get into it.

The last two days in music.

Posted: January 26, 2011 in Music

This week I’m mostly having a nice music time at home.

Here are the covers of the albums that I’ve listened to (completely, e. g. to the whole album) in the last 2 days.

Plus a few podcasts and singles.

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And I’m so looking forward to this one (just bought it):

643 – a number to notice and remember.

Posted: January 22, 2011 in Music

I haven’t cleaned my Gmail from Facebook notification messages since the beginning of 2011. Right now, at this particular moment, I have 643 unread emails in my inbox. This reminded me of something.

643 – that’s a very remarkable number. Back in early 2000’s, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines were providing a non-stop service between Amsterdam and New York that was codenamed KL643. A very famous Dutch musician Tijs Michiel Verwest flew to America using this service a few times. Flight 643 was so special for his career that he named an entire single after it. This track, Flight 643, was released in 2001. First, it was presented by itself, and, in a few months, it appeared in Verwest’s first studio album, In My Memory.

Now, after almost 10 years after its initial release, Flight 643 is considered one of the most Epic dance tunes of 2000’s, and Tijs Verwest have become one of the World’s best and most prominent DJs and producers. We all know him…. His nickname is Tiesto.

Flight 643, only by itself, have created a cult of fans, that consisted of millions. It was so crazy, so empowering, and, yet, very monotonous and simple in structure. It sounded so Epic. A perfect techno/house (or, perhaps, tech-trance? :/) tune for festivals and large stadiums.

This is the original, the best, version. 9-minutes of pure Epicness. You have to listen it on a max (or near maximum) volume, otherwise, you’ll miss the point of this music. (it might appear to be way too monotonous, but I would advice you to try listening the entire track from its beginning to its very end anyway, because, at a certain point, this monotonousness will turn into advantage and you might start enjoying this repetitiveness… just relax and keep it LOUD!)

In 2004, when Tiesto was fulfilling his duty of becoming the first DJ ever to perform at an Opening Ceremony of Summer Olympic Games, Flight 643 was heard by over 2 billion people all around the globe (along with the numerous other Tiesto’s tracks)

One year ago (31.01.2010), when Tiesto was touring Australia to promote his latest album Look at Me: I can be David Guetta too! Kaleidoscope, and I was in the first row, 3 meters away from the stage, the Laidback Luke’s remix of Flight 643 was the second track in his set. When people heard this legendary tune, the entire 10 000 crowd at Riverstage went absolutely crazy! I nearly died of excitement at that particular moment!!! I only didn’t piss my pants because I was already wet from the rain!

Well, just see for yourself (I was recording it with an iPhone 3GS back then, and the ability of this device to record low-frequency sounds is rather pathetic….. .just skip to 3:15, if you don’t want to hurt your ears… the moment when the tune kicks in starts there…. the reaction of the crowd is a must see!)

Microphone on my cell phone just overloaded and went deaf for the rest of the video.

Here is what he was playing (in good quality)…

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Ahhh…. so much happy memories about this tune…