What a Valentine’s Day treat to find this graceful acoustic version of New Order’s 1987 hit Bizarre Love Triangle (iTunes Link). Gray haired freshly cut and clothes to fit Mr. Sumner’s decade in this classy video. If your a young one or was sleeping through the 80s check out the original: youtu.be/W2Ii0K77K1k
“Every time I see you falling I get down on my knees and pray. I’m waiting for that final moment. You say the words that I can’t say.” – New Order
In my continual effort to make my music studio into an 80’s time machine I picked up a Boss DM-100 bucket-brigade analog delay and chorus. Similar vintage units have been used on vocals by the Stray Cats and Richard 23 of Front 242. You could spend a lot more on new tape delay pedals such as the Moog 104Z but they aren’t as noisy and sleezy. In fact, a quick forum search on the DM-100 shows this unit is quite coveted. I like that the DM-100 has the input and outputs on the front which will make it quick to get drum machines and iPads through it and back into Ableton. If your not familiar with this type of device watch the video above at 20 seconds in to be impressed. If you want to stay in the box check out Audio Damage’s DubStation or Fabfilter’s Timeless plug-ins.
“The DM-100 uses is together with the compact DM-2 Boss’s first BBD based delay. The DM-100 is also making use of the Roland FCF (Frequency Controlled Filter) to produce its delay sound. The FCF gradually rolls of higher frequencies as the delay time increases. With the mode switch the user can choose whether to use the Delay Machine as a delay or chorus. The intensity of the chorus is adjusted with a control on the back and the effect can be turned on or off with a footswitch (not supplied with the DM-100).” – bossarea.com
First off, I apologize for including the Crazy Frog version of Harold Faltermeyer’s wonderful song Alex F in this blog post. The (very European) remix doesn’t hold a candle to the clean fresh sound of the original. However, the remix is a large part of the songs history so here you have it. There are a few reasons the original is so great. I always like music with a strong lead melody and no one can deny this isn’t catchy as hell. Now let’s talk gear: Roland Jupiter-8 (lead), Moog Modular (bass), a Roland JX-3P (chord stabs), Yamaha DX7 (bell/marimba), and a LinnDrum drum machine. I wish Eddy Murphy would make a real comeback and I wish there were more songs like Axel F.
“Axel F is the electronic instrumental theme from the 1984 film Beverly Hills Cop performed by Harold Faltermeyer. The title comes from the main character’s name, Axel Foley (played by Eddie Murphy), in the film. It topped musical charts in 1985 and remains a popular remix track. Mixes of “Axel F” topped European pop charts in 2003, and again in 2005 as the Crazy Frog song. In addition to the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack, the song also appears on Faltermeyer’s 1988 album Harold F. as a bonus track. Reportedly Faltermeyer was against including it, but MCA insisted, as it was his most recognizable track.” – Wikipedia
By a very long mile Jean-Michel Basquiat is the visual artist closest to my heart. Growing up a native New Yorker in the 70s and 80s his paintings and illustrations mean more to me personally than anything I’ve ever seen. If you don’t know who he is you seriously owe it to yourself to watch the documentary Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child. Next, go right now and do an Google image search on his name to view some of his amazing work. Being a music based blog I thought I would share an album cover he did for Rammellzee and K-Rob. If anyone asks you which rap album is the most rare or which one would bring the most money at auction now you know.
“”Beat Bop” is a hip hop single by American rappers Rammellzee and K-Rob, originally released in 1983 by record label Tartown. Initially distributed merely as a test pressing, it is notable for being the theme of hip hop culture documentary film Style Wars and having a cover designed by famed New York graffiti artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. The result of a disagreement between Rammellzee and Basquiat, the track has been cited as having an influence on artists such as Beastie Boys and many modern experimental hip hop artists due to its chaotic, abstract sound, and, due to the rarity of its original pressing, has been called the Holy Grail of rap records.” – Wikipedia
There are so many little gems from the 80s. If you could live a ten decades you could just about hear every underground electronic song from 1980-1989. That makes living ten decades worth it.
“Italo disco is a very broad term, encompassing much of the dance music output in Europe during the 1980s. It is one of the world’s first forms of completely electronic dance music and evolved during the late 1970s and early 1980s in Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and other parts of Europe. Italo disco music has a distinct, futuristic and spacey sound, which was created using synthesizers, drum machines and vocoders.” – WIkipedia
Track: Plastic Love
Release Date: 1983
Label: Fuzz Dance Records
Here’s some samples and photos from my latest eBay splurge. There’s something special about a vintage drum machine. I can’t place what it is but the sound and groove is just “it”. The recorded waveforms have more valleys and peaks than ITB synthesized drums. Panning seems wider. This Yamaha RX11 from the early 80s is really large, heavy and built like a tank. Pure joy for $50.
“The RX11 was one of Yamaha’s early drum machines (maybe even their first?) and as you can see from the panel cosmetics, it comes from the same era as their DX synths. At the time, it was a marvel – a (relatively) low-cost programmable drum machine with 29 ‘real’ drum samples and no less than 12 individual audio outputs.” – hollowsun.com/vintage/rx11/
I’ve always thought Gary Numan was highly underrated. Go back today and listen through his albums and see if you don’t agree. Honest loud real analog synths and interesting vocals. They don’t make them like they used to.
“Gary Numan (born Gary Webb on 8 March 1958) is an English singer, composer, and musician, most widely known for his chart-topping 1979 hits “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” (with Tubeway Army) and “Cars”. One of the first musicians to use electronic synthesizers successfully in rock music, his signature sound consisted of heavy synthesizer hooks fed through guitar effects pedals. Commercially unsuccessful for many years of his career, Numan is nevertheless considered a pioneer of commercial electronic music. His use of themes from science fiction, and his combination of aggressive punk energy with electronics, have since been widely imitated.” – Wikipedia.org
Today I found more obscure electronic music from the 80s I didn’t know about. Interestingly the artist “Frank O’ The Mountain” lived in Rockland County, NY where I grew up. He has a large amount of music on his website but what really has my interest are his two albums “The Ramapo College Sessions 1984-1985” and the “Casio Cassette Sesssions 1985-1987“. This is exactly the kind of music a hunt out and cherish. Something about the pure analog toys mixed to 4-tracks with vocals just has me, tape his and all!
“I took an electronic music class at Ramapo College in NJ. They had a Moog 12 modular synth, and two four track tape machines in a little room. This is where I started song writing and multi-track recording. I spent many hours there by myself experimenting with sound. All songs were monitored through headphones since the speakers were blown. Mastered to cassette tape, usually adding another live track and vocal during that stage. About 150 songs. 1984-1985.” – frankothemountain.com
One has to wonder if his name kept him from the big time. Besides his MySpace and website he also has a YouTube channel: click here. So my question is has anyone heard of him before? I like it… now where did I put my Stiff Stuff?