Archive of posts with tag 'music'

Madvillainy's Secret Ingredient

October 27, 2023 • #

Brandon from Digging the Greats breaks down Madlib and MF DOOM’s epic collaboration:

I remember in this extended interview with MF DOOM him talking about the lackadaisical approach to making the record. Madlib would make a beat upstairs, give it to DOOM, and he’d spend time separately writing and recording vocals. Slowly and gradually building up a catalog of ridiculously inventive music.

My Analog Journal’s Jazz from Japan

May 9, 2022 • #

This is a new genre for me, but one I’ve gone deep on in the past week: Japanese jazz and soul. Like always with YouTube, the rabbit hole is deep (and rewarding!).

This guy is a YouTube DJ that picks a genre and a geography, and digs crates., or does so virtually. He has a video on his process.

Clyde Stubblefield

October 7, 2020 • #

A Slack chat this morning led to a discussion of Funky Drummer and how often its been sampled. I ran across this good clip of the player himself, drummer Clyde Stubblefield, who played with James Brown’s band during the late-60s. He improvised the famous break that’s been used in dozens of popular tracks in hip-hop history.


June 25, 2020 • #

Deus Ex is still one of my favorite games of all time. First played dozens of times when first released, and every few years I still break it back out to stroll through the dystopian visions of Hell’s Kitchen, Hong Kong, and Liberty Island.


Probably a decade ago or more I found the original ambient synth soundtrack mp3s and still give it a listen once in a while, which sends me straight back to 20 years ago, sitting at the PC at 2am.

The composer of the original soundtrack, Alex...

Image credits: Alexander Brandon


May 26, 2020 • #

The new medium in COVID times for musicians is the live session on Zoom. This is a fun one from Seatbelts, playing their theme song from the 90s anime Cowboy Bebop.

Weekend Reading: Beastie Boys, Links, and Screencasting

May 2, 2020 • #

🎥 Beastie Boys Story

We watched this a couple nights ago. It’s hard to tell how objectively good it was, but I loved the heck out of it as a decades-long fan.

🔗 Linkrot

I’ll have to try out this tool that Tom built for checking links. When I’ve run those SEM tools that check old links, I get sad seeing how many are redirected, 404’d, or dead.

📹 Screencasting Technical Guide

This is an excellent walkthrough on how to make screencasts. I’ve done my own tinkering...

Funky 4 + 1, 1980

March 23, 2020 • #

Rare footage of the Funky 4 + 1 from a 1980 show. Great quality for something of that era, particularly a live show.

Best Songs, Pt. 8: Death Letter

October 4, 2019 • #

I don’t listen to a lot of modern blues artists. The lo-fi, minimalist sound of The White Stripes was always the best format for a blues act, in my opinion.

I love this rendition of Son House’s Death Letter Blues. This also appeared on the studio recording of De Stijl, but I like the live take:

Also check out this phenomenal clip of the original.

Kind of Blue 60th Anniversary

September 4, 2019 • #

This year is the 60th anniversary of Miles Davis’s legendary Kind of Blue.

This video is a great explainer of the origins of Kind of Blue’s modal jazz style and the history behind how the group came together to make it happen.

I have no idea how many hundreds of times I’ve listened to this album over the years, but it’s still in the frequent rotation to put on whenever I can’t think of anything else. A default soundtrack for working or...

Best Songs, Pt. 7: The Only Moment We Were Alone

August 22, 2019 • #

I still bring out Explosions in the Sky’s 2003 album The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place periodically, my favorite from their catalog by a wide margin. I remember seeing them at a live show for the first time on the tour for this album, probably 2004, where they played this song somewhere in the set. In their shows I’ve seen in successive years, it’s one of their encore numbers.


Best Songs, Pt. 6: Montara

June 2, 2019 • #

The title track from vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson’s 1975 album Montara. I love the gentle electric piano, muted horns, and of course Bobby’s vibes.

Madlib also sampled this one on his album Shades of Blue, which remixed tons of the great hits from the Blue Note catalog.

Best Songs, Pt. 5: I Remember Clifford

April 24, 2019 • #

There are several excellent renditions of this tribute to the late trumpeter Clifford Brown, originally composed by saxophonist Benny Golson (well known for his time with the Jazz Messengers).

My favorite version is this live cut from Freddie Hubbard, 1984. Captures the soul of the original perfectly, on stage and with little accompaniment.

See also the excellent original studio recording from Donald Byrd’s Jazz Lab, 1957.

Best Songs, Pt. 4: Blade Runner Blues

February 21, 2019 • #

Blade Runner is one of the best movies, but I actually enjoy the soundtrack even more. This one is my favorite, probably the centerpiece of the score that embodies the vibe of the 2019 dystopian Los Angeles from the film. This whole album is in regular rotation for me.

In searching for a good video version, I also ran across this ambient “streets of Blade Runner” version. Should make for excellent focus tunes on the headphones.

Best Songs, Part 3: Moanin’

January 28, 2019 • #

This live rendition by The Jazz Messengers is a great version of an even better song. It was composed by Art Blakey’s sideman and pianist Bobby Timmons (on the keys in this session). I love the blues-infected build and refrain. Lee Morgan’s blasting first solo is one of the best out there.

Best Songs, Part 2: My Philosophy

January 18, 2019 • #

In college I’d listened to KRS-One’s solo albums before I ever heard his original work with Boogie Down Productions. One of my top songs is the landmark track from their 1988 album By All Means Necessary:

“My Philosophy” is the opener that sets the tone for the record, just like “Poetry” from their first album.

I love how the verse just keeps coming — no chorus, no language, just a chain of rhyming (even across bar lines) for five and a half minutes.

Best Songs, Part 1: Chameleon

January 10, 2019 • #

My dad has been putting together a playlist of all-time great songs, and mentioned to me and my brothers that we should do the same and share with one another. “Great” songs in this case don’t have to be by any particular measure other than personally important to yourself — either ones you got enjoyment out of when younger, ones that have an emotional connection, or just fun favorites you always tune in to when you hear it come on.

I started putting together my own playlist and thought I’d share them here in no particular order.

The first on...

Angel Dust

October 18, 2018 • #

Gil Scott-Heron is high on the list of live acts I wish I was around for in his prime.

Recent Links: Mapping Air Quality, the Problem with Agile, Indie Jazz

November 29, 2017 • #

Mapping Street-Level Air Quality in California

This is amazing work by Google putting air quality sensors on their Street View cars to collect air quality data. The resolution of this is amazing — to see how drastically the pollutant level changes from street to street.

🏔 Running in Circles

I love Ryan Singer’s perspective on product development. In this post he levels critique at the now-commonplace “agile” software development process. It’s been distorted into a simplistic set of tactical process methods (building in “cycles”), and has lost what its original value was as an upgrade...

America's Music

August 7, 2013 • #

Lee Morgan

Jazz is a genre of music I never used to take seriously. When I started listening to decent music around junior high (very little of it was “good”), I would mentally lump jazz music in with the standards and classical pieces — the “music we play in band class” genre. I was even an alto sax player, but had next to no interest in learning the history of the music, or a desire to understand its styles, structure, or theory. Early in college, something turned me on to the records of Coltrane and...