linkthink re: hip-hop, reggae, the US, jamaica, and anything else wayne wants to wax on


boston mashacre

(thanks to jesse L for the title)

wayne&wax, "boston mashacre" (for somerville artbeat 2005)

we begin with sounds of the davis square farmer's market, with several different languages being spoken, including what sounds like a guy saying "habibi." the percussion is an empty soda bottle that another guy was banging on his hip, quietly singing what sounded like a reggae song at the same time. confirming my impression, yet another guy--this one a farmer/vendor--walks up to him and says rather dryly, and to my incredulous ears for stumbling upon such a soundbite, "champion sound, yeah?" from there, the man with the bottle plays a classic 3+3+2, reminiscent of so many caribbean styles, and we hear car alarms and horns spin into melody. as a bus pulls up and takes off again (and "buses" was one of the most popular returns i got to the question "what are the sounds of somerville?"), the familiar strains of the standells' "dirty water" enter the soundscape and the mix. from there, the incidental sounds of the city--which, as you can hear, are rather musical in their own way--yield to the "musical" sounds of the city. that is, we enter the realm of pop recordings, of the boston soundscape as MOR radio presents it (at least as filtered through the ears of a lifelong boston jerk who harbors a strange mix of pride, humility, and humiliation when it comes to the sounds of his city).

after the standells, the lineup moves through a number of boston mainstays and one-hit wonders, has-beens and shoulda-beens. the full tracklist is as follows:

the standells, "dirty water" (not a boston band, but they might as well be)
the cars, "you might think i'm crazy" (yup, a boston band)
dj c, "boston you're my bounce" (beat research)
NKOTB, "hangin' tough" (omg! jordan is my fave lol ;-)
mr. lif, "home of the brave" (so he lives in berkeley now, and what?)
tracy chapman, "fast car" (used to play T stations)
extreme, "more than words" (found an acapella!?!)
aerosmith, "walk this way" (nice break, dudes)
run DMC, "walk this way" (better break, jam master)
NKOTB, "the right stuff" (williamsburg where ya at?)
bell biv devoe, "poison" (girl, i must warn you: i know that BBD album by heart)
the cars, "just what i needed" (uncanny how the intro mirrors BBD's)
j geils band, "angel is a centerfold" (urbody whistle now)
boston, "more than a feeling" (guitars are for dorks)
ed O.G., "i got to have it" (representin' the bean harder than guru since 1991)
MBTA, "davis square redline stop" (a wicked hahd-to-find recording)

the final bit of "field" noise is a couple of guys agreeing on something like, "that chronic, ninja" and laughing about it. some bostonians are so funny with their slang.

listeners will notice that some of these tracks are in more fragmentary form than others. (hope not to leave anyone hanging too much, but you should seek out the originals in that case.) as with most mixes, it was the tracks' suggestive qualities and affective resonance that i was going for--not some sense of their textual wholeness. this is however less a mix or a mashup, per se, than what might be better called a mix'n'mash. at times, i play songs on their own, though more often than not i play two or more songs at once (or instrumental versions/loops of them).

the sound and shape of the music i am making here is a product of the technology that i am using: ableton live. having the relative freedom to stretch tempos without changing pitch allows me to match a number of songs together that the average vinylist couldn't/wouldn't. of course, i also change pitch sometimes, purposely, either to make a harmony sweeter or to weird/chipmunk something out. generally though, at least in this case, i have preserved the original pitch/key of the songs in question, which i think makes them much more recognizable. the changes in tempo are less noticeable. you'll notice i like the echo button, too. what can i say--it's in my dubstream.

at any rate, this is just some technical information for those who care. for those who are inventing numbered systems for this sort of thing, you might want to know that i first played through this "set" at artbeat last friday night and recorded it live from the board (along with my mic-work), which sounds ok. [if there's interest, i'll put this up, too]

i decided, though, to re-record it back at home and make it as tight as possible via plenty of "post-production" edits (as if it is possible to determine the moment of production anymore). i went through and corrected all kinds of shit. just not in a purist mood, i suppose, especially since i know this will be listened to as an mp3 on the internet as opposed to, say, viewed as a live performance. so it goes. compute if you care to.

hope you enjoy. it was great fun to put together. boston rules.

ahem, "go sox!"


Blogger seacrestcheadle said...

"If there's interest"?!?!? C'mon man!!!
False modesty is quite unbecoming! ; )

12:18 PM  
Blogger wayne&wax said...

that's good enough for me. i'll put it up soon as i get a chance. my choice not to had less to do with false modesty ;) and more to do with laziness/time, as i need to digitize it, upload it, etc.

thanks for the encouragement.

12:39 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

this is ridiculous! people are always pumping ableton to me but this is the first time its power has been illustrated clearly. love "more than a feeling" over that new jack swing!

6:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Read about this on GYBO...pretty wicked!

But where are the Bosstones? My Boston's got Bosstones all 'bout de place!

10:10 AM  
Blogger wayne&wax said...

yeah, i definitely left out some mainstays. but i wanted to keep it somewhat taut--15 minutes is already a rather long mash. i'm hoping that this effort might encourage follow-ups, though, including those representing other cities and those expanding on the boston sound. there's definitely a few more ska bands and rock bands, hip-hop groups and pop idols that could be mixed in.

7:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is pretty sweet...Maybe get some DKM in there too...

The BBD/Cars part is seems absolutely perfect..any chance of pulling it out into its own track?

Stumbled onto this via GYBO and MashAve...looking forward to seeing you at the show in october!

11:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sorry dude, no dice on this one. weak beats, can't get into this. this needs less focus on playing lots of ironic jams that don't mix and more focus on keeping up a party. personally I think DJing using Ableton is a pretty weak call too. learn to match your beats and transition. go dig through dusty thriftstore crates. fuck letting the computer do that for you.

10:14 PM  
Blogger wayne&wax said...

you're entitled to your opinions, "ben." personally, i don't think many of the beats here are weak--even the NKOTB shit sounds aiight under lif's voice. also, the irony was an important part of this mix, so i don't see why you should declare that irony is off-limits. that seems pretty limiting, especially in the area of mashups. if i want to focus on irony for this piece, that's my choice. also, most of the responses i've received seem to think this mix "keeps up a party" just fine.

as far as using ableton to mix, i see your points, but i put in plenty of work matching beats and arranging transitions. if you can't hear that, i don't know what to tell you. i love dusty crates, and i love to digitize them, too. i don't "let" the computer do anything for me. i "use" the computer to do some other shit.

you sound like an old fogey. and i think you missed the point on this one, dude. sorry you wasted your time on it.

6:48 AM  
Blogger Bondi :: said...

Love the boston mashacre...

Ignore Ben.. he sounds miserable

i have own little label http://www.metalpostcard.blog.com.. email me ..send me a cd.. how about a vinyl outing


12:31 PM  
Blogger wayne&wax said...

as requested, i've posted a couple standalone selections here:


12:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

from bell biv devoe on especially dope.
yeah and that ben character needs to drink him some self esteem juice...
he wouldnt know ill music if it bludgeoned him.

8:25 PM  

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