Sunday, August 07, 2005

The Future Of Music Is In The Past

phonographMy musical tastes have been changing a whole lot in the past year or so. Now-a-days I find my downloading patterns are focused more and more on music that was made before I was even born, or in some cases before my parents. Most notably I have been getting into Funk & R&B (60's & 70's), Bebop Jazz (40's, 50's & 60's), Bossa Nova & Salsa (50's & 60's) & Roots Reggae (70's & 80's). The main thing that got me into old music was an interest in sampled Hip Hop & Jungle breakbeats, primarily inspired by the Hip-Hop documentary "Scratch". Heavily used tracks like "James Brown - Funky Drummer (1969)", "The Winstons - Amen Brother (1969)" and "Michael Viner's Incredible Bongo Band - Apache (1973)" were some of the first I came across. It's a really cool feeling to have been listening to Jungle music for a few years, then put on "Amen Brother" for the first time and hear the original drum break recorded 30 years earlier. After poking around and listening to record samples on online vinyl stores like Turntable Lab I became hooked on digging around for sampled music (mainly Funk & R&B).

My electronic music tastes had been drifting for quite a while toward the more chill & jazzy lounge type styles of various electronic music genre's. I had always thought Jazz music was pretty cool, but hadn't really known what to look for, considering pretty much none of my friends listened to the stuff. I would listen to the local NPR news radio station in the mornings, which also happened to be a Jazz station, and sometimes when the news was over, the radio would stay on till I left for school. This was pretty much the only exposure I had until I happened across a documentary on Bebop co-founder Thelonious Monk called "Straight No Chaser." This stuff was exactly what I was looking for in Jazz music. Fast drums paired with a stand-up bass giving a backdrop for sometimes very abstract & intricate instrument solos. I dove straight into this stuff, finding out as much info about it as I could. The main players of this style of Jazz being Thelonious Monk (Piano), Dizzy Gillespie (Sax), John Coltrane (Sax) & early Miles Davis (Trumpet). This type of stuff is probably what I'm listening to the most right now. Also on the Jazz note, Inspired by a segment on Sealab 2021 sampling an Antonio Carlos Jobim & Elis Regina song called "Aguas De Marco" from the 1971 album "Elis & Tom" I also started getting into Brazilian Jazz styles such as Bossa Nova & Salsa. Much of this stuff was also being sampled in a lot of Drum N Bass around 2003 such as a track called "So Tinha De Ser Com Voce" on the same aforementioned album.

I had been into Dancehall a bit and started buying some records a while back. Then it started getting big on the mainstream radio over here and I started to realize more & more how similar it was to the crappy MTV rap music that i loathe so much. Upon seeing an old Jamaican movie from 1977 called "Rockers" featuring a soundtrack of early & mid 70's Reggae & Ska (also featuring the vocal sample from the Jungle track "Babylon" by Splash) I discovered that the old stuff was much better than the new stuff.

The more & more I got into this old music, the more samples I would discover hidden in random albums I would get. It's so cool when you put on a John Coltrane & Duke Ellington CD and say "Holy Crap, that piano is on a DJ Krush mix I have" (which actually happened last night with "John Coltrane & Duke Ellington - My Little Brown Book" on the DJ Krush mix "Code 4109" track #4). Most people have no idea that much of the music that they listen to was pretty much made 20-50 years earlier, with modern producers sampling melodies & beats that are largely unchanged. The way I see it, these people wouldn't be sampling the songs if they weren't good it the first place. "You can't polish a turd"

To get you started on your quest for older sampled music Here Is A Website containing mp3s of parts of old songs as well as the newer songs that use samples from them. Most of the tracks on here are Funk, R&B and Disco samples which are used in Hip Hop, House & Electronic Music. Its really cool stuff to take a listen to, even if you don't really plan on taking the time to research old music to expand what your listening to.


At August 08, 2005 12:54 AM, Anonymous Greg said...

DUDE, that website is great. I had no idea all the popular tracks were samples from old songs made in 50's or 60's. Wow, I kida feel cheated by the music industry.


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