Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Music video review: Pursuit of happiness

Kid Cudi is the greatest.

 Kid Cudi's video for Pursuit of happiness is easily one of the most enjoyable and visually stunning music videos that has come out in a long time. It has slowly becoming a requirement in rap music to have girls, money, and guns all over the videos, though Kid Cudi  has gone on in articles about openly using drugs, the fact that he was satisfied with this video as a finished product is really cool and allowed him to seperate himself from the rap music stereotypes.

The moon man named Cudi

Cudi has dramatically changed the way his genre of music is percieved, nothing that he does is expected and because of that everything he has made in this of his career at this point has made him an important name in hiphop.

Why is this video so great?

From the begining scene where he keeps on trying to get up off the couch I was hooked, the different effects used in this video kept me watching every little thing that was going on in it. How many videos have you seen in your life time where a boat comes floating through your living room? It's safe to say that this is probably the first time ever. Surprisingly, this is a second version of the video with the originally just showing Kid Cudi partying and drinking with friends also known as every other music video ever made. Thankfully this version of the video was released and affectively sets the type of feelings you would have listening to this album. Kid Cudi's album Man on the moon has been out since last year but if you haven't had the chance to listen to it yet I highly recomend you do.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dummy guide to creating a beat.

[Photo taken by: Arlen Yanch]

If you have ever felt like you could create an instrumental for a song you probably could. As long as you have a sense of rhythim, pitch, and tempo your all set, all you need now is an idea and a concept.

Almost everyone now can be an at home producer, it's all about how determined you are to learn all the key elements to making the task fun and keeping it as simple as possible. Through an easy step by step process I will take you through all you need to create an awesome instrumental. You will be producing beats like
Dr. Dre in no time.

I don't have all the expensive programs like the super producers...

Honestly, you don't need the thousands of dollars of programs and equiptment to start creating a track (though it would be nice to have). What I use from home is some simple equiptment consiting of three things.
  1. Piano or digital keyboard.
  2. Computer
  3. Some sort of recording program (Fruityloops, Reason, Logic)
I have the esentials.... now what?

  • Play around with your keyboard, it is pretty fun to discover chords and what sounds good together on a piano or keyboard. I tried to learn piano as a child but I have found that the easiest way to learn is on your own. There are lots of video tutorials on youtube and through basic searches on the internet to show you how to form chords as well. If you have an electric keyboard try to read the booklet that comes with it. They usually have a couple of quick help guides to show you how to record certain sounds or even record from the keyboard itself. At times recording songs directly from the keyboard is better than using a program.
    • Regardless if your a Mac user or a Windows user there are programs available. Some are exclusive to one operating system, while others are cross compatible. One that I wouldrecomend and is commonly used in the music industry would be Reason. Because Propellerhead's (the creators of Reason) reputation in the industry it is simple to find quick tutorials to keep your instrumentals sounding unique and quality sounding. Another program to download if your low on cash is Fruityloops. Artists like Soulja Boy became famous using just that program which is usually joked about because of the availability or simplicity of it. The truth is if your creativity is limitless and you go into creating music with an open mind it doesn't matter whether your program costs three hundred dollars or if it was free, its only how you decide to use it.
  • Before you begin recording create an idea in your head. Listen to all genres of music and don't limit yourself to what you hear on the radio today. The key to a successful creation process is to first like what you hear once pieced it together, take a break from it, and then listen again later on. If you still like it later on your on the right track.

Wait a minuite... I'm lost and don't know what I'm doing..

Unfortunately music is just like homework. To create a beat it requires constant studying and understanding how to use what is given to you. The good thing about it all is that you will never be tested on it and the learning experience is fun, you will never have a day when you do not  learn something new. 

You've Created Something? Let it be heard!

Even if you are making something for your own personal enjoyment let someone hear it. There are forums and blogs from all over that will give there insight on what you can improve and add to make the instrumental better. Who knows maybe someone will like it enough to buy it off of you.

Beware of the hater!

There will always be the collected people in this world that will put down and criticize what you make without ever making something relevant themselves. Remember that being creative is not limited to sounding or being a certain way, your uniqueness is what will separate you from the rest of the other unheard talents out there.

Don't Go Sample Crazy

Have you ever came home, turned on your television and there's a song that you swear you have heard before but it is brand new? Chances are there is a sample of a song from the past incorporated into that song. If you learn and take the time to understand sampling it can be very fun and entertaining to do.. But be warned! There are alot of legal issues involved when using an instrumental with sampling, be sure to look into the proper procedures before trying to release instrumentals or songs with heavy sampling. Most artists and producers just release free mixtapes, as long as no profit or gain is coming from it, you still get your name out there, without the stress of getting sued.

And now you are on your way..

Always have fun through the whole process, the moment making anything feels like a chore, the ability to create something unique will be gone as well. Hopefully this gets you interested to try it out.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Why listen to the original?

I'm sure that at some point in life you have hummed,whistled,or sang a song that just couldn't get out of your head. Now a days (through the magic of the internet) more and more people are posting their take on a song by their favorite artists. Some of them aren't very good (actually most of them aren't very good) but then out of the blue someone really blows you away with their rendition and it makes me at times want to listen to their version more than the original.What I have for you are my top five favorite youtube cover songs.

5. Use Somebody (Kings of Leon cover)- Michael Froh

Michael Froh is Canadian born and from Saskatchewan which I think adds to the cover because it is always great to see Canadian artists doing something (shout outs to Justin Bieber). The whole take on this song and making it appeal to his genre of music is super catchy and have you ever tried to do a Kings of Leon song on Rockband? Not a very easy thing to do at all, though I can score a 95 percent on hard, just saying.

4. Margaritaville (Jimmy Buffet cover)- Coffey Anderson

First of all its a Jimmy Buffet song, thats already a win. Coffey Anderson is pretty hilarious in his other posts so I highly suggest you listen to his covers, his style brings the songs a southern gospel sound and the cowboy hat makes it even more awesome.

3. Can't help but wait/ So sick (Trey Songz and Ne-yo Cover)- Passion

Passion's ability to create medleys from the latest songs on the radio is really what makes his cover songs impressive. His popularity in Filipino community is pretty amazing too for someone who has not made any commercial success, he could put a show on out here in Edmonton and near sell it out. Passion creates a jazz type feel to all of his covers keeping them pretty interesting to listen to.

2. Gravity  (John Mayer cover)- Jason Arimoto (Facemeltingukelele)

A steel ukulele for a John Mayer cover? At first imression I thought this was going to sound like a typical Hawaiian sounding cover but was pleasantly suprised. I don't know who's version is better John Mayer or Jason Arimoto? What I do know is Jason does not do any of the creepy faces that John does when playing guitar.

1. Hey ya (Outkast cover)- King of slugs

This was pretty much everyones favorite song in 2004 and I have seen so many covers of this song. Majority of them a similar to the one by Obadiah Parker. This brother and sister version takes the win and it will probably replace the original version in all of your minds forever! With a unique sounding voice like this it makes you wonder how Justin Bieber makes it and this gets overlooked.