aurgasm special posts

SXSW Impressions: Day 1

Thursday, March 19th, 2009 by Michelle

SXSW
SXSW Day 1: March 18th 2009.

[Editor’s note] Michelle is at the SXSW Music Festival in Austin for the next few days. She’ll be posting quick updates here as well as keeping the Aurgasm Twitter feed humming. -paul

After a flight delay got me into Austin a bit later than I originally planned, I landed only in time to grab my badge and make it to some showcases. SXSW started with a bang, and a number of impressive showcase lineups (unfortunately, I think it is physically impossible to make every show you want to!).

Some great artists that played Day 1:

The Boat People: Got the night started at KCRW’s showcase with their unconventional and bursting indie pop.
The Boat People’s MySpace

Sandi Thom: The Scottish songwriter and multi-instrumentalist brought the indie folk vibes to the 18th Floor at the Hilton downtown.
Sandi Thom’s MySpace

deadmau5: He brought the pounding beats and his unique blend of techno and electro beats to La Zona Rosa. Who says Austin’s only for the rockers?
deadmau5’s Myspace

Booka Shade: An Aurgasm favorite. They ended the night at La Zona Rosa, with their signature experimental electronic-pop.
Booka Shade’s MySpace

Special: Aurgasm’s Fukstronaut Mix

Monday, October 20th, 2008 by Paul Irish

My good man Tom Korkidis (of Eksi Ekso) asked last week me to join him playing some music at a local pub, River Gods, in Cambridge. The night had a great vibe, a full house and plenty of worldly tunes. I wanted to offer my sets to you guys as well.

Aurgasm – Fukstronaut Mix (part 1) (47min):

  1. Marlena Shaw – California Soul (Diplo/Mad Decent Remix)  Verve Remixed 4 (2008)
  2. Kultiration – Ur Jord Om Gaia (2004)
  3. Nitin Sawney – Shadowland (feat. Ojos de Brujo) Shadowland (2008)
  4. David Holmes – Rodney Yates Let’s Get Killed 1997
  5. Cinematic Orchestra – Flite Everyday (2002)
  6. Da Cruz – Sarah Nova Estação (2007)
  7. Lightning Head – NPG Afrobeat EP (2007)
  8. TM Juke – Electric Chair (instrumental feat. Elmore Judd) Electric Chair EP (2008)
  9. Hint – Snake Patrol At the Dance EP (2007)
  10. Astrud Gilberto – Bim Bom (Psapp Remix) Verve Remixed 4 (2008)

Aurgasm – Fukstronaut Mix (part 2) (55min):

  1. The Pharcyde – Runnin’ (Philippians RMX Instrumental) Rmxxology (2008)
  2. Natural Self – Faultlines (Aurgasm edit) The Art Of Vibration (2008)
  3. Lettuce – Blast Off Rage! (2008)
  4. Manu Dibango – Soul Makossa Soul Makossa (1972)
  5. Radiohead – 15 Stepz (Amplive Remix feat. Codany Holiday – Aurgasm quick edit) Rainydayz Remixes (2008)
  6. Bonobo – The Fever Days to Come (2006)
  7. Parov Stelar – Kiss Kiss Daylight (2008)
  8. Biosis Now – Indepdent Bahamas Calypsoul 70 (2008)
  9. Mr. Scruff – Stockport Carnival Ninja Tuna (2008)
  10. Dubben – Karameller Kollectoren Dub (2007)
  11. Mr. Scruff – Hairy Bumpercress Ninja Tuna (2008)

Aurgasmic Adventures: Betahouse Mix

Thursday, April 17th, 2008 by Paul Irish

My good friends at Betahouse, a coworking space in Boston, asked me to put together a mix for their latest party. I was delighted to do so. My mate Tom Kershaw and I boiled down our fave tracks to a solid set.

I continued in the same vein as the Breeze & Sweat mix from 2006 – a sultry, funky, jazzy, chill to hot mix of tunes.

A few funky ones have debuted on Aurgasm before (Bahamadia, Flevans & Freddie), Kraak And Smaak deliver both the hot Max Sedgley and their own brand-new track, and Boston-natives Soul Clap close with some techno heat.

Mix available here as a 104mb zip
Betahouse By Aurgasm

Tracklist:

  1. Bahamadia – uknowhowwedo (Ski Remix)
  2. Freddie Cruger – Pushing On feat. Linn
  3. King Britt – Superstar
  4. Beanfield – Re-ac-tion
  5. Peace Orchestra – Meister Petz (Beanfield Remix)
  6. Mr. Scruff – Donkey Ride
  7. Max Sedgley – Devil Inside
  8. Barakas – Kes
  9. Flevans – 12 Apostles
  10. Kraak And Smaak – California Roll
  11. Soul Clap – The Giraffe

Aurgasmic Adventures: My DJ Debut

Saturday, July 29th, 2006 by Paul Irish

Last Tuesday, I received an email from dj, academician and ethnomusicologist Wayne Marshall. Also known by wayneandwax, he holds down a weekly at River Gods in Cambridge, nearly a mile from me. In the email, Wayne invited me to join him to guest DJ at his last night before he heads off to for post-doctorate studies in Chicago.
I accepted but admitted never DJing publicly before and not knowing much about DJ technique–luckily, Wayne assured me this would be fine. Putting together my first DJ mix was much tougher than throwing together party playlists. But for you, I wrote up my process, in case you’d like to do the same!

How to DJ your first set without knowing how

I finished putting together my set with just enough time to drive to the bar. Wayne was a cordial host and the audience was receptive. Playing for a crowd and tweaking dials from a balcony perch was quite a thrill. The free beer didn’t hurt either. :) After my set we had some experimental vocal indie and then some hip hop/rock accordion courtesy of Julz A. Great overall vibe in that place. Chi-town residents, seek out wayne’s future music engagements–he crafts a good time.

In case you stuck with me this long, I’ll reward you with my amateur dj mix. Some transitions are really rough, but I’m pleased with it. Enjoy.

Aurgasm – Breeze and Sweat (55min, 80MB)

Tracklist (cue file)
1. Nuff Wish – Healing In Vain
2. Kinny & Horne – Why Me
3. Dancing Djedi – Body Surfin’
4. Nomo – Hand & Mouth
5. Balkan Beat Box – Sunday Arak
6. Senor Coconut – Mambo Numerique (Featuring Marina And Towa Tei)
7. Quantic & Nickodemus – Mi Swing Es Tropical
8. Amadou & Mariam – M’ Bifé Balafon
9. Quantic Soul Orchestra – Walking Through Tomorrow (Super 8 Part 3)
10. The Bamboos – Step It Up Featuring Alice Russell
11. Mr Scruff & Quantic – It’s Dancing Time
12. Boozoo Bajou – Killer
13. Zuco 103 – Peregrino
14. Captain Planet – The Don
15. Romanowski – Strudel Strut
16. Quantic – Off The Beaten Track (Carmel Remix)
17. Peter, Bjorn And John – Young Folks (Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve Remix)

How to DJ your first set without knowing how

Saturday, July 29th, 2006 by Paul Irish

I was asked to DJ a one-hour set, though I had no previous DJ experience. I didn’t know how to beatmatch, transition smoothly, use Ableton or Traktor, and neither do you. You just have to be comfortable with being a laptop DJ.

Know your audience
I had never been to the venue and from what the outside looked like, I figured inside was a bunch of dusty overweight 30-year-olds with massive facial hair. I took a weekday evening trip over and had a beer inside, scoping out the clientele. I learned that from the balcony dj booth (!), I’d be playing for an affluent, educated set of 20- and 30-somethings that weren’t necessarily music nerds, but seemed receptive to different sounds.

Determine the theme
I thought about what music has moving me lately. While I wanted to do an all out electro-rock-dance-indie set with jams like Wolfmother’s “Woman (MSTRKRFT Remix)” and Madonna’s “Hung Up (Diplo Remix)”, I instead took influence from the very summery flavors of Nickodemus and Captain Planet.

Select your songs
I went through my entire music collection picking out the best tunes that fit the afrobeat/tropicalia/soul/funk vibe. If your audience won’t be earnestly dancing, don’t pick vocal-heavy tunes. Keep a mental picture of the venue inside your head as you listen to your potentials.

Narrow down your picks
After my first sweep, I ended up with 60 tracks, clocking in at 3.75 hours–far more than the one hour I was given. Toss anything that will garner significantly more or less attention than the rest of your set. I had to let go of some classics like Barrett Strong’s 1962 hit “Money”.

Cut it down to size
After tossing half my selections, I still had nearly an extra hour of music. Time for the surgery. I went in using audio editing software (CoolEdit and Audacity work) and cut out extra pieces: extra repetitive choruses, needless verses, instrumental solos. I wanted to keep the song lengths between 2 and 4.5 minutes to keep the energy level moving. [As this takes a bit of know-how and technique, this step is completely optional.]

Put them in order
I used Traktor to help identify the BPM of all the tracks. If you don’t have any audio software, just manually gauge the energy level on a scale of 50-150 for an approximation. My set started with my lowest BPM (79) and gradually worked its way up (with a few tweaks) to finish with my quickest song (126bpm).

Configure your crossfade
Using winamp? I suggest the SqrSoft crossfade plugin. Using iTunes? Even easier; if you left the default settings, your crossfade is already working, though you may want to tweak it in Preferences.

Play it!
Run through it at least once, in its entirety. Watch your levels, some songs are louder than others. iTunes has a fix for this called ‘Sound Check’; try it. Write on a notecard which songs have levels that stick out so you can tweak ’em with your mixer. Otherwise, you’re ready to go!

Well it’s about time for a finished product!

Grab my ‘Breeze and Sweat’ mix.

Like my How To? Be a cool kid and Digg This.

The Music of New Orleans

Monday, September 19th, 2005 by Paul Irish
Many have been afraid that the culture and music of New Orleans being lost, but of all localized music sub-cultures, I’d consider The Big Easy’s as one of the most resilient. As the city’s instrumentalists were moving out of the city, their priority was locating their musician brethren. For now, the website of the popular N.O. venue Tipitina‘s serves as information portal on accounted and missing artists, donors providing housing and instruments, and upcoming gigs.

Well, come on everybody take a trip with me… way down the Mississippi, down in New Orleans!

1932
Sidney Bechet – Summertime
The classic Gershwin tune. Bichet beat Louis Armstong to be the first important jazz soloist recorded, and also remains one of the finest jazz clarinetists of all time. His wide vibrato was trademark, along with forceful delivery, and well conceived improvisational ideas. He makes the clarinet soprano saxophone reed growl on this somber rendition of ‘Summertime’.

1944
Kid Ory – Tiger Rag
This’ll probably remind you of the comprehensive Ken Burns Jazz Special. Kid Ory was a pioneer of New Orleans music, leading a band in 1911 as a trombonist. He collorated with Sidney Bechet (the two fought often for lead), Jelly Roll Morton, and a young Louis Armstrong. He retired from music to run a chicken farm, but returned by request of Orson Wells to record this scorching ‘Tiger Rag’.

1956
Clarence “Frogman” Henry – Ain’t Got No Home
Very early one summer morning, Clarence Henry was performing on the bandstand and improvised his way into the basic riff behind “Ain’t Got No Home”. The crowd responded favorably, so he developed it further. Soon, Chess Records A&R was hustling Henry into Cosimo Matassa’s studio in September of 1956 to record. Local DJ Poppa Stoppa laid the “Frogman” handle on the youngster when he spun the catchy 45 and it stuck.

1958
Snooks Eaglin – When They Ring Them Golden Bells
Although New Orleans is generally thought of as more of a jazz and R&B town, the streets of the Crescent City also gave birth to a quite different strain of the music. The Acoustic New Orleans Blues style embraces everything from itinerant street singers and guitarists to rag-tag “spasm” bands. The blind Snooks Eaglin was known as a human jukebox inside the town, being able to pull hundreds of songs out from his eclectic repetoire, often confusing his own band.

1965
Dixie Cups – Iko Iko
Although they’re best known for “Chapel of Love”, the Dixie Cups wrote ‘Iko Iko’ quite accidentally. After the musicians had gone home from a recording session, the women were doing some overdubbing and started singing “Iko Iko” among themselves, using only a chair, drumstick, Coke bottle, ashtray, and drums as accompaniment. And although its roots are identified with New Orleans celebratory rituals, the song emerged as a quirky pop hit.

1970
Lee Dorsey – Who’s Gonna Help Brother Get Further?
Lee Dorsey epitomized the loose, easygoing charm of New Orleans R&B perhaps more than any other artist of the ’60s. Working with legendary Crescent City producer Allen Toussaint, Dorsey typically made good-time party tunes with a playful sense of humor and a funky, gunnagetcha backbeat. The bassline here is infectiously evil.

1998
Louisiana Gator Boys & The Blues Brothers – New Orleans
More of a tribute song than an authetic NOLA piece. From The Blues Brothers 2000, this track was the finale for the musical journey. It features a modest lineup: B.B. King, Junior Wells, Steve Lawrence, Taj Mahal, Lonnie Brooks, Eric Clapton, Nia Peeples, Darrell Hammond, Steve Winwood, Eddie Floyd, Paul Shaffer, Billy Preston, Koko Taylor, Bo Diddley, Isaac Hayes, Joshua Redman, Lou Rawls, Travis Tritt, Jimmie Vaughan, and Dr. John.



New Orleans music from the Aurgasm archives (mp3’s back up!):
Professor Longhair 1970’s new orleans funk // piano rhumba
The Meters 1970’s new orleans r&b // funk // soul
Rebirth Brass Band 1990’s new orleans brass band

Blues musician Vasti Jackson's studio was destroyed by this tree

Other blogs covering the NOLA music scene:
Home of the Groove always showcased The Big Easy’s musical output
Jazz And Conversation offers up a mix of the spirit of New Orleans
The Entroporium has a number of choice Nola tracks
Soul-Sides rep’s some Allen Toussaint and The Meters
IckMusic has some essential Dirty Dozen Brass Band
Cocaine Blunts threw together the best of New Orleans Bounce

Full broadcast of Higher Ground, a show for Hurricane Relief live at the Lincoln Center.

Special: Streamsampling Tutorial

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2005 by Paul Irish
I’ll make the easy assumption and say you deal with a good number of mp3 blogs on a regular basis. I’ve got a method of sampling the music on them that’s quick and easy. You can skip right to the music to see if you like it. The technique is essentially streaming the file to your audio player, instead of downloading the entire file first. This saves you time, energy, and lets you listen to much more music in less time. Check out the screencast below to get the skinny on it.

aurgasm’s Guide to Streamsampling

Christmas Special

Thursday, December 23rd, 2004 by Paul Irish
In the Christmas season, it’s easy to get lost in all the hubbub of shopping and presents; and it’s hard to focus on what really matters: the music. It’s time to bust out the family vinyl, queue up Handel’s complete Messiah, and explain to your little brother that the Trans-Siberian Orchestra is actually a clever marketing ploy trying to pass off a synthesized action movie soundtrack as christmas music. It’s sad but true: musicians want to capitalize on the spirit of the season and end up releasing crappy music to fill our never-ending demand. And then we, as true music fans, have to filter out all that trash and find the real gems.
Being the christmas DJ is a demanding job, but here’s some odd songs and safe bets your family is sure to enjoy.

lounge remixed // funky nu-jazz // funk
Bing Crosby – Happy Holidays (Beef Wellington Remix)

contemporary jazz
Zooey Deschanel & Leon Redbone – Baby, It’s Cold Outside (from fluxblog)

pre-war blues // folk country blues
Leadbelly – Christmas is A’Coming

lounge // 1940’s vocal jazz
Frank Sinatra – Jingle Bells

1940’s west coast blues // piano blues
Charles Brown – Merry Christmas Baby

Election Special

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2004 by Paul Irish

turntablism // cut ‘n paste hip hop
Cut and Paste – Take a Piece of America