Tuesday, March 14, 2006
The first of my scheduled weekly posts about music.
I just received another indulgent batch of music from amazon. I'm trying to cut back. You see, I used to throw down some serious cash on music every month or two. Now I get most of my fix supplied by rhapsody, a wonderful subscription based service that interfaces nicely with my Sonos and allows me to put subscription-based tracks on my portable mp3 player (not an ipod; apples' draconian DRM doesn't allow playback of subscription-based music). But I can't help it. I still have to own cd's. So every once in a while I'll still order a few cd's here and there, usually stuff that I either like so much I want to own the cd, or stuff that's a little more obscure and not carried by the music services like Yahoo Music Unlimited, Rhapsody, or even itunes. Sometimes I end up with something lame, and sometimes I stumble upon a true gem. The latest gem is Motown Remixed.
Before I go on I should clue the reader in to my general preferences when it comes to music. These are not absolute by any means, just general things that typically draw me toward a certain song or band. Keep these in mind as I write more reviews down the line. Good things: horn section; good rhythm; unique instrumentation; international sound; funky, bouncy feeling. Bad things: guitars; wankery; twang; traditional instrumentation (meaning your typical rock band consisting of singer, bassist, drummer, and one or more guitars). Indifferent: lyrics (meaning I will almost never like or dislike a song based entirely on it's lyrics). I could write a whole essay on what I mean by wankery in the dislikes section, but for now let's just say that in general almost any solo, whether it be guitar, drum, or, I dunno, tuba, almost always counts as wankery. The classic example in my mind is the hair band guitar solo. I don't want to listen to it. I don't care how good you are at playing the guitar/trumpet/drums/accordian/triangle. I don't want to listen to your wankery.
Anyway, this post is about Motown Remixed. I generally like classic motown songs. I would even go so far as to say that Michael Jackson made some really good music, until he went through puberty. Most of the songs on this album were just fine in their original version. I was a little wary to see what the remix artists, such as king britt and z-trip, would do to these fine motown classics, like Marvin Gaye's "Let's get it on" and The Temptations' "Papa was a rollin' stone". I was worried they were going to simply rip out the vocals and lay them down over an overbearing beat. They didn't. Most of the remixes are delightfully understated. They maintain their power and soul while being subtly and sometime appropriately not-so-subtly updated and modernized. The remixes are, if anything, true to their sources. Standouts include "The Tears of a Clown" by Smokey Robinson &
the Miracles (remixed by Double D & Disco)and "abc" by Jackson 5 (remixed by Salaam Remi). Highly recomended for any fan of motown or imaginative remixing in general.