J-Zone: Hip Hop’s Most Exasperated MC?

A repost of a piece that originally appeared in the Vishnu’s Trumpet blog.

Go with me on this. Have you ever eaten a salad that blew your fucking mind? You’re like, there are five ingredients in this motherfucker so how are its flavors more intense, complex, and delicious than any slaved-over, masterfully prepared, special-occasion meal I’ve had in recent memory? How does that happen? How can something that seems so simple loom so large?

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I Refuse to Steamroll Billy Bragg

Heady analysis is certainly my default method of getting to music’s Tootsie Roll center. But it isn’t the only one. I mean, sure I freaked the fuck out when I recently discovered the treasure trove of tempered, peer-reviewed papers that make up the masterful, music-tech monster the Journal on the Art of Record Production. With Prof. Aaron Liu-Rosenbaum’s “The Meaning in the Mix: Tracing a Sonic Narrative in “When the Levee Breaks”” and Paula Wolfe’s “A Studio of One’s Own: Music Production, Technology and Gender” occupying neighboring pages within the same issue, who could blame me?

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Yellowbirds: “Mean Maybe”

A repost of a piece that originally appeared in the Vishnu’s Trumpet blog.

An embattled lover befuddles his better half with mixed messages. Stripped-down production pushes the story to the forefront of the song. Vocal harmonies so sweet you’d think you doubled-up on cherry goddam Lifesavers. It’s a classic combination but it’s been a long time since I’ve heard it rendered so beautifully.

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