DJ Danger Mouse – The Grey Album

The Grey Album is a mix CD created by DJ Danger Mouse which caused quite a stir upon its release a couple years ago.  Meant as a demo he could distribute to showcase his mixing & sampling skills, Danger Mouse created the album by combining lyrics from Jay-Z’s The Black Album with music samples and elements of the Beatles’ White Album.  This resulted in an interesting fusion of modern hip-hop with vintage rock & roll.

Members of Beatles Nation opposed this unauthorized repurposing of the group’s work more strongly than Jay-Z.  In fact, Jay-Z released a vocals-only version of The Black Album to allow DJs to do exactly what Danger Mouse did with his lyrics.  Despite the opposition and cease & desist orders courtesy of EMI on behalf of the Beatles, The Grey Album is still available for free on the Internet for anyone interested in taking it for a spin — though you may have to jump through a couple hoops.

Start here to get an interesting legal perspective supporting Danger Mouse’s creation.  There’s also a link to the album and the software needed to download it at the bottom of that page.

If you like Jay-Z’s lyrics and want to experience some clever sequencing and sampling, you should check it out.  If you’re a Beatles purist, do not, under any circumstances, listen to this work…well, unless you’re a big Jay-Z fan as well. 😉

There are several tracks that were extremely well done.  Keep in mind every musical note & rhythm under Jay-Z’s words was meticulously crafted by isolating, sampling, layering and combining individual sounds from various songs on the White Album.  My favorite songs, chronologically:

  1. “Public Service Announcement”
  2. “What More Can I Say”
  3. “December 4th”
  4. “Allure”
  5. “Justify My Thug”
  6. “My 1st Song”

That’s half the album which isn’t bad.  Curiously, my favorite two tracks from The Black Album, “Threat” (a 9th Wonder classic) and “Lucifer” (pure Kanye West genius) are both absent from The Grey Album.

“Stop Freakin’…Call Beacon” – Part 2

You have all been very patient given how long it has been since I posted Part 1 — if you haven’t already, I recommend reading it first.  Here is the unabridged version of the remaining story…

So I neglected to mention, before joining me in the digging, TB called the City of Kirkland to find out the proper procedure for busted pipes (i.e., whose responsibility it is, the city’s or ours).  The agent confirmed anything between the meter and our home is our problem.  TB said the lady she spoke to sounded positively giddy after hearing our water pipe issue would be our problem, not theirs.  Despite her joy in our misery (schadenfreude is the term) the agent she spoke to was apparently helpful and knowledgeable.  The agent also strongly recommended we get multiple estimates since, according to her, the prices different companies charge can vary widely.

Surely she was joking, I thought, upon hearing this.  Aren’t plumbers supposed to be your friends…like firemen?  Not one to discard strong advice and forever keen to save a buck-or-two-hundred, TB wasn’t as dismissive.  This is where her memory of the Beacon Plumbing radio ad enters the story.  While I was outside beginning my digging, TB found the Beacon number in the phone book (’cause we were seriously freakin’) and the dispatcher said she would have someone at our home within 2-3 hours.  OK, let’s return to the moment where I left off in Part 1 when we found the source of the leak…

Continue reading ““Stop Freakin’…Call Beacon” – Part 2″

“Stop Freakin’…Call Beacon” – Part 1

The title of this post is the tagline of Beacon Plumbing and Mechanical, Inc. which advertises heavily on 710 KIRO Newsradio here in Seattle.  That’s the station TB is most likely tuned to in her car.  Thankfully she listens to the radio and heard their ad as it ended up saving us a significant amount of money.

TB and I had our very own Waterworld sequel today courtesy of a busted water pipe on the side of our home.  Let’s start at the top.

I awoke at 7:30, followed my typical routine of preparing for work, and had my breakfast shake in hand as I lingered into the garage to board my vehicle for my 10-minute commute.  My car wasn’t there.  TB had taken it to her morning workout routine since she had left her car at work while she was out of the office at a team offsite in California.  Great!  A hostage in my own home.

I returned to my home office and started doing the telecommuter, virtual office thing hoping TB would return soon so I could get to my real office.  I can accomplish just about everying I need remotely, but being in the office gives the work day a more dynamic nature that is often extremely beneficial.  The doorbell rings…

On my way downstairs I can see it’s my next-door neighbor, let’s call him Kyle.  Kyle has never stopped by unannounced before so I hurry to the door to see how I can be of assistance.  As I step off the last stair onto the main level of our home I hear, “Blar, blar, blar, blar, blar!”  The telltale sign of an armed home security system whose motion detector has just been tripped.  During my “typical routine” I set the alarm as I linger into the garage (burglars beware) and I must have forgotten to disarm it after realizing TB had taken my car and I returned to my home office to work from home for an hour or two.

Mortified, I hurriedly disarmed the system — the shrillness of the siren as it reflects off walls, wood, glass and marble could wake the dead, indeed.  As I opened the door, I hit Kyle with the “I’m not really an idiot” grin to which he nods reaffirmingly.  He then mentions that he was out on his balcony having a smoke and noticed I have water pouring down the side of my house.  He offers, “Your air conditioner has probably frozen over.”

Continue reading ““Stop Freakin’…Call Beacon” – Part 1″

Corinne Bailey Rae

Remember my post on the sad, sordid state of music?  I must have been looking on the wrong continent.  No one told me about British singing phenom Corinne Bailey Rae.  It took a suggestion from for me to learn about my new favorite neo-soul/jazz singer.  There I was clicking myself into a stupor shopping for the latest album from one of my other favorite neo-soulstresses, India.Arie.  Amazon made the recommendation as I completed checkout based on other people’s buying habits — I buy the vast majority of my CDs “used” via the Amazon Marketplace nowadays.

Now just about anyone who buys India.Arie albums is cool with me so this was a recommendation worth pursuing.  I took the leap after doing some research and listening to a few unflattering, 30-second, monaural clips online.  (India’s Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship hasn’t arrived in my mailbox yet so that album review will take a few weeks.)

Back to Corinne Bailey Rae.  The woman can sing.  Simply put, she channels many of the best elements of Norah Jones (effortless melody), Billie Holiday (phrasing), India.Arie (creativity & lyricism) and Cassandra Wilson (soul).  If you like any of those singers, buy Corinne’s eponymous debut.  If you don’t like any of them, welcome to planet Earth.

There is not a truly bad song in the bunch which is a rare feat neither the likes of Norah nor India has been able to pull off.

My “Top 3”:

  1. “Till It Happens to You”
  2. “Like a Star”
  3. “Choux Pastry Heart”

She’s 27 and already has a fairly detailed Wikipedia entry if you’re interested in learning more.  By the way, some former English rugby player is squatting on my entry.  Check out his claim to fame (copied from Wikipedia):

“Smith’s trademark skill was an irresistible dummy** and a beautiful pair of hands, while his ability to glide through the tightest defenses made him a valuable center.”

Yet he has a Wikipedia entry and I don’t. The horror! :shocked:

** – I, like many of you, had never seen the phrase “irresistible dummy” used to describe someone’s “trademark skill” before.  So, before you fill the role of Ignorant Dummy at the next rugby debate, you should know it’s both an official role and strategy.  Any sport which features “dummies”…well…you know the rest.