One of the things I said I wanted to do in 2011 year was to listen to some new and different styles of music, and I thought it might be nice to share some of the fantastic tunes I discovered in 2012!
I made this list at the end of 2012, then was a bit overwhelmed by it’s depth – but I’ve got over it and here it is – my favourite tunes from… 2012.
I have intensely eclectic music tastes that change by the month, as can be witnessed on last.fm, and over the last year I’ve developed my taste for “Mashups”. For those to whom that means very little, a mashup is perhaps a little like a Medley – usually two or more songs being mixed together to produce a combination of more than one original thing. Usually this is done by a skilled “producer” – someone who takes the studio-released mixes of the song from the CD, and then reworks the songs together with audio editing software.
A good example of the genre at it’s best, this year might be this Mashup-Germany – I Did It My Way (Frank Sinatra / Simple Plan / Aerosmith + More)
One of the nice things about Mashup’s is that whilst sometimes they’re used to join similar songs together, it’s also a way of portraying a well known song in a different style – giving it new life to a different audience.
Skyrim is a popular video game with a varied and diverse, specifically composed, symphonic soundtrack. It’s got a great theme, but obviously symphonic music is hardly suitable for a club, and some attempts to make it clubworthy are quite enjoyable:
The Skyrim theme also been remixed with that of the Pirates of the Caribbean Series in a completely different, orchestral style, producing this Epic of Epics.
But it’d be wrong to assume that Mashups were all about contemporary music – Hughes de Courson’s Il Duello is a marvellous of Vivaldi and Irish Folk.
Whilst sometimes Mashups can be about taking a contemporary pop song, and making it actually enjoyable by playing in an electro-swing style as with The Puppini Sisters’ Crazy in Love (The Real Tuesday Weld REMIX):
Some musicians have really embodied the mashup style and done the full circle – Gotye did his own mashup of random people on Youtube playing his own hit track Somebody That I Used To Know:
This year definitely had a Pop/Dance lean to it and another track, Avicii’s Levels become another popular song to combine with various things:
To make it into a frenetic Irish folk style with The Irish House Party.
To make it into more of a club track (With the Knocks)
With PSY and Skrillex to produce a hard-electro track “Level Style”
But I’ve also enjoyed other hard dance tracks – such as this Nick Thayer remix of Tonight Only – Go
Another style I’ve really started to get into this year has been pop-influenced Dubstep (sometimes referred to as “Brostep”). This is a style is very misunderstood, by those who don’t enjoy it – probably in the same way that the Sex Pistols must have been. If you’re not familiar with this, this is well worth a watch:
Something that probably was kicked off by this ca7 mashup of Skrillex vs Adele, which in my opinion, is probably better than the two original tracks:
I really like multi-layered tracks and Ben Moon is a 15 year old, super talented orchestral dubstep producer who had created several wonderful tunes recently. Sadly, in the New Year, Ben announced a hiatus from his music to focus on his studies. Sad news, but fair play and best of luck to him!
The Turning Point:
The Neoteric Empire:
But I always enjoy seeking out folk-mashups and King of the Fairies is a traditional folk tune that I vividly remember my parents playing, what better way to keep it alive than with Voltage’s Dubstep version? (Actually I think it could have been done better – the wubs shouldn’t just come right at the end).
(Someone also did improvise some electric violin over the top of it if you’re interested.)
But that wasn’t the only folk-dubstep track from this year, there was also this cracker from ap3haus.
Whilst barely scratching traditional definitions of folk, it stretches the definition no less than the previous tracks and Amanda Palmers’ Ukelele Anthem is really a tremendous song… about Ukelele’s.
Whilst I’ve been introduced to these more traditional house/bass tracks (Mosca – Bax (Numbers – NMBRS16))
I’ve also been introduced to the world of Swinghouse -a fusion of Swing and House music.
If you thought Ragtime could never Rock, then you never heard Scott Joplin’s Maple Rag set with a house beat:
This live act was fun to watch:
But there were also some banging tracks like this one from Chiloux (Diggy doo, I luv U (Original mix)) that I learnt about:
If they’ve all sounded a bit too hous-ish/in-your-face-electronic, then this set from Boost Music/Jimmy Day/Justin Langlands/Mike Potter may be just the remedy:
One of my favourite rap/metal songs was Jay-Z’s collaboration with Linkin Park and so what could be better than a remix that adds Eminem, 50 cent and other collaborators to that Numb/Encore track?
The Real Slim Shady this may not be, but this remix of 2pac vs Thomas the Tank Engine is probably one of the best Rap mashups I’ve heard:
Dan Bull, the legendary geek rapper’s touching song “Dream Girl” shows that actually, love songs can be conveyed in the form of a rap:
Sometimes, you don’t want to party, you want to relax, and the Govinda remix of Thievery Corporation’s Satyam Shivam Sundaram is quite awesome:
If you wanted something downtempo, but a little less new age-y, then Monetrik’s On A Clear Day is great.
Back in the day I used to listen to Chiptunes (well, well after their day, but still some years ago!) and towards the end of the genre, I found some more intricate tracks taking advantage of the advances in tracker technology.
Estrayk & Evelred / Hive of guitars or “hive.mod” as I knew it for years, is a classic example of this – a funky upbeat chillout tracker.
Lounge and Smooth Jazz
I really like smooth jazz and some lounge jazz tracks and The Rippingtons’ track “She Likes to Watch” is quite brilliant:
Equally, Ronny Jordan – The Jackal is one of those tracks you just have to listen to to understand why people like it:
Scott Bradlee is probably one of the best contemporary pianists I’ve heard improvise on a range of popular tracks in a rather unique style in his Mashups By Candlelight:
Lastly, no listing of these style of tracks would be complete without a reference to Scott Bradlee and friend’s collaboration – “Friday – Niia Swings the Rebecca Black Songbook”
Symphony of Science is a great project – remixing and autotuning great science communicators with remarkable respect and intricacy to produce magical pieces of music. Our Biggest Challenge is no different.
If you’re familiar from Manchester, then you’ll be aware of a suburb called Didsbury… and you’ll love this local song – I think I’m in Didsbury
When you troll Comedians on Youtube… well, you should be careful, you might get patronised… or worse, turned into an catchy song: Thank You Hater! – by Clever Pie and Isabel Fay
A number of my friend’s make music and I was priviledged to help Dan Bull with his Facebook Rap / Sharing is Caring campaign – with this cracking video:
Also, a friend of mine, Joe Henthorn released this annoyingly catchy filk song all about StreetFighter: You Had Me at Hadouken!
If you read this far, well done! If you listened to every track to this point… well I don’t believe you did… but you probably have a really great taste in music now!
Thanks for stopping by!
Obviously, “Think of the Children” and “Protect Us from the Terrorists” are continuing themes in government attacks on the internet but David Cameron’s affection for Porn Blocking has been rationally critiqued, talked about by pudits, heartfeltly written about, politically critiqued, analysed for hypocrisy and embarrassed.
Obviously, Porn is a minefield of ethical dilemmas, but Dan Bull, has also given this some thought, and it isn’t so black and white: