I dunno about you, but I could use a pick-me-up.
I fell while running last night. It was dark, the sidewalk was uneven, and I ate it in spectacular fashion. My hands got pretty scraped up, but the wounds to my pride cut much deeper. If I had to use one word to describe the feeling I had when I was lying on the pavement, it would probably be “dorky.” There’s something really lame about that type of sports injury, because it brings into focus just how un-rugged modern life can be. It’s not like my hands got torn up while fending off a lion or building a log cabin. I was jogging. In the ‘burbs. Listening to my iPod. Wearing neon-colored clothes. And I fell.
So like I said, I need a pick-me-up, and I’m looking to you, Dan Deacon.
When I say “Vacation in Duck, North Carolina,” you say “RAP MUSIC!!” Wait… what? Normally the soundtrack for my family’s annual trip to the Outer Banks consists of classic rock, a little metal (thanks to bro-in-law Brian) and Roy Orbison, who made waves a few years back when my mom demanded he be silenced because he was making her “tense.” It was a priceless moment. She’s had a whole new reason to be tense this year, because some great hip-hop was been filling the beach week air. I wrote about Drake’s new tunes on Monday, and yesterday I finally dipped into something my friend Travis told me about via email a few days ago — Wugazi. This amazingly fun mashup album, entitled 13 Chambers, features very tightly clipped samples from Wu-Tang Clan and Fugazi, and it kept me alive during an unreasonably hot and humid run along NC Highway 12. Though I’ve never listened to Fugazi at length, and am only a novice Wu-Tang fan, craftsmanship is what shines through most clearly on 13 Chambers, which makes sense, given that the project’s website describes the album as a year-long “labor of love.” I’m very glad Travis sent me the link, because even more than good running music, or a way to make my mom tense during the traditional 5-7pm cocktail hour, Wugazi has given me 13 excellent reasons to revisit and learn more about these two legendary groups. Check out/download the whole thing below.
We live in a crazy world of possibilities. Want proof? There is so much music in the world that people sit around MAKING AWESOME MUSIC OUT OF OTHER PEOPLE’S AWESOME MUSIC. It’s like usury, except it won’t land you in the 7th circle of Dante’s Inferno! Yay! With sampling, remixes, mix tapes, mashups, and whatever the hell you want to call Girl Talk, there exists a wild and diverse ecosystem of used tunes that overflows with creativity, and I’m extremely pumped about what washed up at my feet today. James Drake is the work of Philly producers Bombé and Mr. Caribbean, and it mashes together the music of British composer/performer James Blake and Canadian rapper/performer Drake. That’s right friends! Drake’s Canadian! And so is Alex Trebek! Yeah, I guess everybody knows that one … how about Michael Cera? Whaaaat? I know! OK, moving on … While most producers and DJs would settle for throwing a few Drake verses over some of Blake’s electronic soul songs, James Drake provides valuable insight into what makes these two musicians tick, boiling down the two singers’ common mastery of melancholy into a potent concentrate. And let me tell ya, this is one weighty bouillabaisse. The combination acts like it has it’s own gravitational pull – anytime you hear a flash of Drake’s star power, or of Blake’s subtle sweetness, the other is there to bring the darkness back into focus. It’s a fascinating listen, slickly produced and truly fun, in spite of it’s gravity. Listen to the whole thing below or download it for free here. And if you don’t have James Blake’s self-titled album, get that shit STAT and then get your James Drake on.