Cast Your Fate To The Weezer

It’s been a very long time since I entered a mashup contest at Mashstix. The last time I did that, I ended up winning. I was hoping to continue that streak; that task would have been easier if there weren’t thirteen other entrants!

Truth be told, the theme of January’s contest, Decades, was pretty great. Suppose you made an A/B mashup and one of your sources was from the 90s. Your other source could come from the any decade up to and including the 1970s, or from the 2010s. However, the 1980s and 2000s would be off limits. These rules were more complicated as the number of sources increased, but you’ve got the basic idea.

I didn’t plan to enter this contest, but once again, a trip to the library sparked a mashup idea. I ended up pairing a jazz song from 1965 with an alternative rock tune from 2001. If that concept sounds as interesting to you as it did to me, you’re my target market for this release.

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Photo credit: Matt Schilder (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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Take My Medicine

I ended my social media hiatus a few weeks ago; I’ll have much more to say about it in a future blog entry. However, I’ll say this much for now: I had a four-day temporary job at a record label when I decided to return. That gig is over, but I’m now taking a free online course…

This latest mashup is the first one I’ve completed since ending that hiatus, but the idea actually came to me last year. I didn’t think that it was good enough for me to pursue, so I scrapped it. However, it boomeranged earlier this week during a shower. I still had misgivings about it; given my goal of releasing mashups I can stand behind, would this one be the “Piranha Shake” of 2015?

Given the vote of confidence I received at Mashstix, I don’t think I had anything to worry about.

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Photo credit: Garrett Coakley (CC BY-NC 2.0, image modified from original)

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New Mashup: Everybody’s Escape (A.R. Rahman vs. Evanescence vs. Shimi Cohen)

I won’t get into the details with this update, but between “Super Wannabe Bros.” and “Beautiful Panther” (which I should be able to hard launch in a few weeks), I felt like my creative tap ran dry. It wasn’t my longest drought by any means, but it felt like my worst. Thankfully, a Mashstix contest got my juices flowing again.

After completing “Beautiful Panther,” I attempted to make my third James Brown mashup; Evanescence’s “Everybody’s Fool” would have been the other half of it. Unfortunately, it didn’t sound right to me, so I scrapped it. Fortunately, when I looked at ideas which I previously jotted down, I had one with Evanescence and another movie soundtrack.

I remember seeing Slumdog Millionaire at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival; since it won the People’s Choice Award, a free screening was offered on the last day. I loved it when I first saw it, but I had no idea that it was on its way to being an award season juggernaut. “Jai Ho” (the song which plays during the ending credits) is the song which most people will remember offhand, but there’s much more to the soundtrack than that song.

While making this mashup, I remembered a video I first saw last year: “The Innovation Of Loneliness” by Shimi Cohen. I vaguely remembered that it said something about how people on social media craft idealized versions of themselves, something which Evanescence rails against in their song. Needless to say, I put samples from Mr. Cohen’s project into my mashup; I’ll let you decide if I made the right move.

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https://dl.dropbox.com/s/uvq8aw573b0ntsy/48EverybodysEscape.mp3?dl=0

Sources:
A.R. Rahman – “Mausam & Escape” (from the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack)
Evanescence – “Everybody’s Fool
Shimi Cohen – “The Innovation Of Loneliness

New Mashup: Please Don’t Fire Me (Pink vs. Vangelis)

As you may know, I’ve been getting mashup ideas in unexpected places lately. This one is no different.

A Sunday morning church service isn’t where I’d expect to be creatively inspired, although that’s not to say that it’s never happened. I’m usually too busy singing (in my church’s choir and worship team) and concentrating on the sermon to even think about what my next mashup will sound like. However, during a recent sermon, my pastor quoted a Bible verse which talks about chariots of fire.

You can guess what happened next.

When I was younger, you couldn’t escape Vangelis’ theme song from the movie of the same name. I’m pretty sure that it briefly popped up in my mind at least a few times before that Sunday morning, but until then, that song wasn’t on my list of instrumentals I wanted to use. When my pastor quoted that Bible verse, this mashup was set in motion. I don’t usually refer to my mental Rolodex of songs when I consider mashup combinations, but that’s what I did in this case. I eventually settled on Pink’s “Please Don’t Leave Me,” which seemed like a good fit as I mentally put the songs together.

When I decided to hook these songs up for real, my initial suspicions were confirmed.

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https://dl.dropbox.com/s/g6cxc3lzdc6lh1u/45PleaseDontFireMe.mp3?dl=0

Sources:
Pink – “Please Don’t Leave Me
Vangelis – “Chariots Of Fire

New Mashup: Check-Out And Play (Offspring vs. Ed Rush & Optical)

My latest mashup drought only lasted a few weeks, but it felt like forever. I wasn’t really struggling for ideas, but what I was coming up with just didn’t get me excited enough to put the work in. I considered mashups which I previously attempted, but I kept running into the same frustrating result.

Then I took a bus ride.

Here’s some context: I got some much-needed assistance on my resume from a Twitter friend. After he dropped me off at a bus terminal, I continued my journey home on GO bus route 27F. During that ride, I had an epiphany about a mashup idea which previously stumped me. The then-insurmountable challenge was editing the instrumental down without diluting its impact. In that moment of clarity, every mental hurdle vanished and I was able to start actualizing a concept which sounded awesome in my mind.

I’ll let you be the judge of whether it still sounds awesome. Forgive my bias, but I think it does. 🙂

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https://dl.dropbox.com/s/4137xfn6b2820fr/44CheckOutAndPlay.mp3?dl=0

Sources:
Offspring – “Come Out And Play
Ed Rush & Optical – “Check-Out Time

New Mashup: I Don’t Switch (Amon Tobin vs. Fall Out Boy)

For all the times I’ve (unwisely) tried to force creativity, the mashup process is more beautiful when combinations come to me unexpectedly. For example, this latest one struck me while I was taking a shower.

It’s always a pleasure for me to take familiar songs into uncharted territory, but it’s even more gratifying when I can do it with one of my favourite artists. As you may know, Amon Tobin has occupied a cherished spot in my music collection for a very long time; I consider Permutation to be a life-changing album. With this mashup, I was able to use one of its songs and it was a thrill for me to do so. As for Fall Out Boy, I’m not exactly crazy about them, but they have a few songs which I like. “I Don’t Care” just happens to be one of them.

Forgive my bias, but what makes this pairing click for me is the swing tempo of each song. It can be a royal pain to match songs which don’t have the usual 4/4 time signature – for example, “Fallin'” by Alicia Keys (which I’ve worked with). However, when it’s done right, you end up with something quite astonishing.

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https://dl.dropbox.com/s/6ime63hta1zerbm/43IDontSwitch.mp3?dl=0

Sources:
Amon Tobin – “Switch
Fall Out Boy – “I Don’t Care

New Mashup: Metric Morning (Metric vs. The Chemical Brothers vs. Tom Cheek)

Despite my city being in the news for the less-than-scrupulous behaviour of Mayor Rob Ford, I’m always proud to represent Toronto on the mashup scene. I feel that this mashup is most representative of my hometown and current homebase; Metric is originally from Toronto and Tom Cheek was a legendary announcer for our Major League Baseball team, the Toronto Blue Jays. Obviously, The Chemical Brothers aren’t from Toronto, but Dig Your Own Hole was my gateway to electronic music, so they’re forgiven.

I didn’t plan to use a sample of Tom Cheek’s infamous call of Joe Carter’s World Series-winning home run when I started this project, but then I remembered that Metric’s “Stadium Love” was used by the Blue Jays as their official song of the 2013 season. When I considered possible samples to strengthen that connection, the aforementioned Tom Cheek call was the obvious choice. Heck, it was the only choice.

If you mention “touch ’em all, Joe” to anyone who was around when the Blue Jays won that second World Series championship, they’ll know what you mean.

Download
https://dl.dropbox.com/s/q14x5ndegd3vpa6/40MetricMorning.mp3?dl=0

Sources:
Metric – “Stadium Love
The Chemical Brothers – “Morning Lemon
Tom Cheek – 1993 MLB World Series play-by-play, game 6

New Mashup: Get Up, Get Into It And Crawl (James Brown vs. Linkin Park)

At the end of 2013, I was chosen as a co-winner of Mashstix’s Favourite New Producer award (Shahar Varshal was the other co-winner). I’m honoured that people are checking for me like never before, but this also means that the bar is raised much higher for my productions going forward. This year, my goal is to prove that I deserved every vote I earned for that award.

With that in mind, here’s my first mashup of 2014, which has already left a few people scratching their heads at The Stix. That’s not what I had in mind when I made it, but frankly, people should know about my penchant for crazy by now.

Download
https://dl.dropbox.com/s/26i82cb5ty4dg2f/36GetUpGetIntoItAndCrawl.mp3?dl=0

Sources:
James Brown – “Get Up, Get Into It And Get Involved
Linkin Park – “Crawling