Author Archives: Victor

CD No Mo

It’s been a while since I drove the length of Ventura Blvd. in the affluent San Fernando Valley suburbs of LA and my life has gotten downright provincial living so close to two of the world’s best record stores (Rasputin and the original Amoeba).

I figured since I’m already driving Hell Road in Gomorrah I might as well check out the only RIAA release in the last year that got my attention (Kayne West’s cool Diamonds are Forever). But check it out: ALL THE RECORDS STORES WERE GONE! With the lone exception of a lowly Borders, all the Towers, Warehouses, and all the other RIAA porn peddlers were off the street.

It’s funny when you know some cultural change like the death of CDs is coming and it’s another thing to see it happen.

All I could think of was thank heavens.

Tracey Ullman’s One Regret

While on the road last week I happened to catch Tracey Ullman’s HBO special in which she recounts her life in and out of show business. One thing caught my attention: here is a very talented performer who has huge success in every performance media, TV, music, film, theatre in every category: dance, Broadway, cable, broadcast network, pop music, drama, comedy, you name it, she’s done it and conquered it. Yet, there is ONE industry that, despite her success that actually stole money from her. In fact, for all the projects she’s worked in the last three decades there is only ONE that has never paid her, “not a Guilder” as she puts it.

“BLOODY RECORD BUSINESS ARE THEIVES”

she screams from the end of the stage.

But you’re smarter than that, right? Of course, she’s just a naive jerk who signed a lousy deal from being so naive about the business. YOU won’t be that stupid when you sign that major label deal.

More Legal vs. Not

In yet another example of where I’m criminal and where I’m not: I recently did a legal mash-up of Brad and Scott called “Hamlet’s Theme.”

But this mix actually started like as a bootie of Brad vs George Harrison “I Dig Love” — I was going to call it “I Dig Overreacting” and everything was going pretty well. But I went straight instead and posted to Mixter to prove what a wonderful reformer (if not mash-up guy) I am. But not before lifting the chord progression and guitar licks from Harrison and laying it under Hamlet anyway.

Where’s my Webby?

(PS: Also in case you blinked I also uploaded what is probably the “definitive fourstones lounge funk” called “Frame The Debate.” What could be next, you ask? Lounge classical? um, yea, actually…)

Calling Sound Shapers…

Mixter-meister teru wants to know a good synth VSTi to use in FL Studio. I’m told Sytrus is better than ice cream and the demo included in FL looks like it should make someone who knows an oscillator from an alligator very happy — every sound I try to make sounds like a cross between a dial tone and electronic door bell. I’ve played with Native Instruments type synths that made me feel like maybe I should have stayed to the end of 10th grade and decided I’d rather start a new mix with an Archie Bell sample.

Two of my indie favs, Brad and Lisa regularly drop in synthy parts into their pop songs and I’ve always been curious what tools they’re using..

Special Webby for Booties

Eric (the Kleptone) is talking about winning the Webby for “Artist of the Year”” for

“…using the web to pioneer not only a new musical genre, but also to create innovative new ways to promote and distribute music online.”

Not speaking to or for Eric at all but I think the Webbies is one those thing we would all piss on… until we win one, especially one in it’s own special category.

Did I mention the Kleps deal exclusively in booty mash-ups? (Personally I like the Detroit mixes better than the Queen one — either way, you go Eric!)

Plugs: Raccoons and other Mutants

The legal plug:

It seems Doug “Bush Free Zone” Bradley used a CC Mixter fourstones track in his latest video blog entries about raccoons. All of a sudden I love Georgia.

The boot plug:

Mutant Pop’s Radio Clash show just featured the fourstones “Mort Sahl vs. Toots Maytal” mash-up.

What’s crazy/funny about these two particular tracks is that my guitar playing in “Funky Dunky” as used by Doug is a complete and total rip-off of the guitar playing in “Funky Kingston” as used in the Toots mash-up.

So how is copyright protecting that “creation”? That “IP”? I listened to the record (er, a lot) and did everything I could to make my playing sound like that record. I totally built “Funky Dunky” on top of previous works like “Kingston” and we all accept that in order for me to create something “new” it’s ok for me to steal from Toots. (…and don’t tell me Toots wasn’t listening and stealing just as much from Otis Redding… and on and on…) For doing this I’m a disciplined musician.

I also created something new in the Mort Sahl mash-up. Of course for that I’m a federal criminal.

And please don’t tell me there’s something different going on. The creative process I used in both cases was exactly the same. I stole from the original to create something new. So the technology changed, so what. If I would have had a sampler in 1979 I would have used it. As it is all I had was a record player, guitar and amp. And really, really bad acne.

Mixters Signed to TV Deal

Repeat after me: giving your music away is good for your career.

As reported by Neeru on the the Creative Commons weblog, after a few months of giving his music away on CC Mixter, Minus Kelvin was discovered and he and new label-mate (yes, another Mixter) Pat Chilla the Beat Gorrilla have been signed to a production deal that covers the next three season of “America’s Top Model” — which of course means I’m torn between wishing the producers of that show great harm and ongoing success. The deal also covers a whole lot more pre-production and pilot work but I’ve been sworn to secrecy. Let’s just say I’ll be hitting these guys up for more than a loosey.

On a much smaller scale I can tell you that I’m taking time off from my CC Mixter duties to work on my next Magnatune album. The reason I bring this up is that I also met my collaborator for this album on Mixter. Weird Polymer rides the LA Metro to work every day from the deep Valley to downtown and composes many nice modern classical pieces on the train. Our album (tentatively called “fourstones plays Weird Polymer”) will be aimed at film/tv production. Or grants. Or commissions. Or Grammies. You know, whatever.