Archive for the ‘Kodiax Mixes and Productions’ Category

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Relight My Crunk Fire

March 13, 2011

My Salt Shaker’s On Fire,” a new mashup by Kodiax

Sometimes when I make a mashup the rationale is as simple as “Hey, this dance track is off the hook! I just wish that the song had a vocal line….” In this case the inspirational instrumental is the Miami Horror remix of the Dan Hartman song “Relight My Fire,” which Hard Candy has posted last month. I had never heard of Dan Hartman before the post, but I had heard of the song due to its feature in the very first Dance Dance Revolution game. Meanwhile I love what Miami Horror has done over the past few years. They make new wave-influenced dance music that mixes Pure 80s heartstring tugging with disco bounce to the ounce, which is a fabulous combination.

It was after Kathy heard the initial remix that she came up with adding the vocal track from “Salt Shaker.” The guttural drawls of Kaine and D-Roc together with the urgent growls (some of which are lifted from Usher’s “Yeah”) of crunk maestro Lil Jon form an interesting contrast to the smooth neon glitter of the music. The end result is the recent nostalgia of crunk music juxtaposed with long term nostalgia of disco heat.

For a limited time, please download this mashup for your dancing pleasure.

Ingredients

Dan Hartman – “Relight My Fire (Miami Horror Remix)” Original version from the Sony BMG album Keep The Fire Burnin’ (1994); Remix version by Miami Horror appears at Hard Candy (2011)

Usher featuring Lil Jon and Ludacris – “Yeah” from the LaFace album Confessions (2004)

Ying Yang Twins featuring Lil Jon – “Salt Shaker” from the TVT album Me & My Brother (2003)

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I’m So In Love With That Star Guitar

January 8, 2011

Love In The Stars,” a new mashup by Kodiax

So we’re a week into 2011. Some of us made resolutions and/or are going back to work/class. In any case, I feel that times are weird because the fun and expectations and the holiday season are over and now there’s renewed responsibility and purpose. On a personal level I feel like not a lot has changed, but I can feel big changes coming on the horizon. Some of these changes will happen on their own or through the actions of others. I must make others happen and I have to be optimistic.

On a “big idea” level, that sentiment was the inspiration for this mashup. The Chemical Brothers’ “Star Guitar” came out in my senior year of high school. Its melodic dance structure is bookended by a big crescendo and decrescendo. Its bridge has a warm tone with a blissed out chorus. It’s playing at the roller disco in the afterlife. “OMG” came out early last year, during the final phase of my rotation training program. Usher sings in a more restrained style than on many of his other singles. The song’s theme about crushing on a beautiful woman in the middle of the dancefloor leave’s the narrator in awe. The vocals communicate a blissed out earnestness that doesn’t quite match the thumping, punchy production of the original song. I tried to combine good elements from both songs.

On a practical level, this mashup came out of a long-form mix session. I felt that the songs really fit together technically. Rather than play it as a part in a greater work, I decided to pull the songs out and edit them into a self-contained song for easier consumption. I edited both song elements to better synch up with each other. I chopped up the “OMG” vocal to fit the “Star Guitar” drum track and I cut out parts of “Star Guitar” to make it more pop song-length and to reference the robotic nature of the original version of “OMG.”

For a limited time, please download this mashup for your dancing pleasure.

Ingredients

The Chemical Brothers – “Star Guitar” from the Astralwerks album Come With Us (2002)

Usher featuring Will.I.Am – “OMG” from the LaFace album Raymond v. Raymond (2010)

 

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Coming Together

April 27, 2010

“I’ve Wanted You Since Middle School (Album Version)” a mashup by 2 Guys And A System

Note: This is a mashup I made under my old act 2 Guys And A System aka 2GS. It had a very limited run, so here’s another shot. Also, I made another version of the song that removed the Muppets and Marvin Gaye samples and extended the Bella sample over the bridge. Kathy likes that version of the song more and I’ll probably post it some time later.

Chris surveys the crowd from the duplex kitchen as he goes to get a cup of water to clear his throat. His hands are slick with sweat and he almost drops the cup onto the wooden floor. The guitar is on the porch, waiting for Chris to make it sing. The people mull about talking in their buzzed haze. People are gonna network tonight. People are gonna flirt tonight. Some people might be disappointed tonight.

Lisa is spinning hip hop and bastard pop music and working the crowd before Chris joins her. She has the idea to pull this show together for the block party. It is a first for their neighborhood, getting the three acts together onstage. If it sucks, they all go down.

Lisa gets three of the women in her office to sing the hook for the jam. It’s the first time singing in public for two of them, and the third has just bowling-alley-karaoke and SingStar experience. There’s anticipation in the air: to perform, to show, to make yourself known.

Showtime!

Lisa drops the first beat and Chris gets nervous and tries to break the tension with a joke, but the audience doesn’t care. They came for a show. They get it when the Accounting Trio sings the first notes.

Chris feels like the whole show is about to fall apart as he plays his guitar over the beats, but he pushes it to the back of his mind when he sees his wife Melissa and their daughter Jane. He sings the song he sings to Melissa because he still loves her and wants her.

Even when some guy gets drunk, jumps the stage, and refuses to leave, he sings like an angel standing in with the Accounting Trio. By the last chorus, everyone is jamming together and the neighborhood is clapping along.

Things feel right tonight.

Ingredients

Eric B. & Rakim – “Paid In Full” from the 4th & B’Way/Island album Paid In Full (1987)

The Muppets – “Pachalafaka” from the Arista/Pye album The Muppet Show (1977)

Third Eye Blind – “I Want You” from the Elektra album Third Eye Blind (1997)

Bella – “Ordinary Girl” from the Warner Bros./Reprise single Caught Up (2006)

Nine Inch Nails – “Closer” from the Nothing/Interscope album The Downward Spiral (1994)

Marvin Gaye – “Sexual Healing” from the Columbia album Midnight Love (1982)

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Shopping For Feathers In The Afterlife

April 18, 2010

“Tough Feathershoppers” a new mashup by Kodiax

First: I hope everyone had a great Record Store Day. Kathy and I went to the fabulous Twist and Shout store in Denver. We bought CDs from The Dirtbombs and Annie and caught a live DJ set from Bonobo. Keep supporting your local music stores, party people!

Onto the main post!

The mashup in today’s post came from my Final Audition project. It was originally going to be a simple blend of two of the songs below, but Kathy had a great idea to add in more backing tracks and the mashup was ready to rock!

In the end I was inspired by 2 Many DJs’ classic mashup remix of the Beastie Boys’ “Intergalactic” that went from Herbie Hancock to INXS to AC/DC for backing tracks. The great thing about that mix was how on each verse the instrumental switched and tone of the song completely changed while the core song stayed the same. Plus the song choices were just top notch. To this day I find it to be a fantastic party track.

For “Tough Feathershoppers,” I had a similar M.O.: find a mix of tracks and but keep the tone consistent. This is a more chilled out head-nodding vibe.

Here’s the mashup. Rock your body tonight!

Ingredients

Kodiax – “Afterlife Makeout Part 2” from the Agagaas EP Bears In the Hood (2009)

Nikka Costa – “Like A Feather” from the Virgin album Everybody Got Their Something (2001)

Purple Ribbon Allstars – “Body Rock” from the Purple Ribbon/Virgin album Big Boi Presents…Got Purp? Vol. 2 (2005)

50 Cent – “Window Shopper” from the G-Unit/Shady/Aftermath/Interscope soundtrack Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ (2005)

New Kids On The Block – “Hangin’ Tough” from the Columbia album Hangin’ Tough (1988)

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Work It for the Weekend

March 12, 2010


Kodiax Session 9 – Live At West Lake Greens

Pitbull – “I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho) (Extended Mix)”

Enur ft. Beenie Man and Natalie Storm – “Whine”

M.I.A. – “Jimmy”

Funkerman – “Speed Up (Original Mix)”

Booty Luv – “Don’t Mess With My Man (Extended Mix)”

autoKratz – “Always More (Yuksek Remix)”

The Ting Tings – “That’s Not My Name (LA Riots Remix)”

Azzido Da Bass – “Lonely By Your Side”

Miami Horror – “Make You Mine (Fred Falke Remix)”

DeadMau5 – “Ghosts N Stuff (Original Mix)”

Bombay Rockers – “Amazin’ Girl (Acapella)”

Lady GaGa – “Poker Face (Acapella)”

Kanye West – “Love Lockdown (My Dear Disco Remix)”

La Roux – “Bulletproof (Dave Aude Cherry Radio Remix)”

Christian Falk ft. Robyn – “Dream On (Moto Blanco Vocal Mix)”

Dirty Vegas – “Days Go By (Full Vocal Remix)”

Ne-Yo – “Closer (Acapella)”

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Originality Is No Fun

February 9, 2010

Kodiax – “Moonrise” from Bears In The Hood

Stream and Download the EP from AcidPlanet

Gwen Stefani vs. Kodiax vs. Richard Bartz – “Crash The Skywriter Into The Moon” mixed by Kodiax

Over the past decade I read several music retrospectives about the success of bedroom producers, and how it’s easier than ever to make a hot record in the internet age. That may be true, but what those retrospectives don’t mention is that while the barriers may indeed by lower, that just opened the floodgates for more and more bedroom producers. For every Dntel, Mylo, or Owl City success story, there are thousands, if not millions of aspiring producers who with the best intentions fire up Ableton, Fruityloops, Acid, Mixman, Garageband, Cubase, Reason, and/or Logic and churn out absolute garbage. Are you friends with someone in a crummy band who pressures you to come to his/her show at a school or bar? This post is like that, only nerdier. I am my own crummy band.

I recorded “Moonrise” during the start of the Top 12 competition last season on American Idol. I vaguely remember laying down the intro during Kris Allen’s performance. I knocked out about 5 songs during that season of Idol and “Moonrise” was my favorite. That’s not a commentary on Idol, it’s just what was going on.

The mashup came from randomness. My wife might have been playing the original “Crash” track on her iPod. I heard “Skywriter” on Pandora and thought “this track needs a song to go on top of it.” Finally, I wanted to be like one of those DJ/producers who use their own songs in their mixes and I picked the song that seemed to clash the least. It all kind of came together.

I like the mashup version more, and perhaps that’s because of familiarity with the other parts or perhaps that’s because of my lack of talent.

I guess I like making mashups because I feel like I can make something at least kind of new. I can take something great and make it my own and still sound kind of good (though if you didn’t like the mashup I suppose my argument doesn’t hold up).

Musical decoupage is personal fulfillment and originality is no fun for me.

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So You Want To Save Music Games: DJ Hero

February 6, 2010

Ne-Yo vs. Dirty Vegas – “Closer Days” mixed by Kodiax

With the declining sales of the Guitar Hero and Rock Band games, along with the disappointingly low sales of DJ Hero (which I flipping love), several video game writers have declared that music games are dying, never mind that the Dance Dance Revolution games have been alive and kicking for more than ten years and that Just Dance sells like hotcakes despite abysmal reviews.

I love music and I love video games. I credit DDR with helping me develop the rhythm sense to get into DJing. I have put tons of time into both DJ Hero and Rock Band 2. So it breaks my heart to hear that one of my favorite genres is dying. So here’s free advice for Activision, MTV/Harmonix, Sony Studios London, Konami, et al from an unqualified amateur writer. You want to save music games? I will write a series of pieces with proposals to save each major music game. Today – DJ Hero.

Here’s what DJ Hero should have been:
DJ Hero’s problem wasn’t the expensive controller or the ugly, ugly characters. It was that it seemed to forget about all of the changes that Rock Band had brought about. Two players tops? Oh and you can plug in a guitar controller for some of the
songs, but it’s still two players? You can plug in a microphone, but it isn’t for points and since there isn’t space for the stone cold rhyming, whoever is your MC looks like a tool? Sigh. DJ Hero should have been an add-on to the Guitar Hero games that added keyboard/turntables to the band set-up. That would have made those keyboard-driven songs in GH5 and Band Hero a lot more realistic. Make it a 5-player game minimum.

DJ Hero’s other problem was that it seemed to focus on mashups and turtablism. While the image of a DJ scratching records back and forth is the image most people have of a DJ, turntablism doesn’t really factor into most pop songs. The reason Mixmaster Mike (apart from his work with the Beastie Boys) or DJ Craze haven’t cracked the Billboard top 40 is the same reason Joe Satriani or Yngwie Malmsteen didn’t: virtuosity while technically impressive doesn’t mean sounding good. It can be alienating. Back in 2002 I went to see the X-Ecutioners live and the crowd didn’t really get into it until they played their crossover hit “It’s Going Down.”

Meanwhile most DJs in clubs and on the radio don’t scratch records. Most live DJing is about 1) picking the records and 2) mixing the records. Few gamers want to play a beatmatching game.

The pop, hip-hop, and dance producer’s biggest live tools are the keyboard and the sampler, both of which could be translated into gaming. Hell, you could map a simplified Akai sampler onto your basic controller (or an Alesis Air Synth for the Wii remote). That would make a much better game. Konami did it best with their 5-key-plus-turntable controller for Beatmania, they just did it too early in the product cycle of music games. Keyboard, drums, bass, guitar, vox. That’s what DJ Hero should have been.

Finally, the setlist: one criticism of DJ Hero was that its focus on mashups skirted the middle while failing to appeal to either the hip-hop or the electronic audiences it was targeting. The band concept I outlined above would have made single songs much easier to chart. Then can release an 84-song set (Rock Band 2 set the precedent) as a single game or better yet, two 84-song games, with one in hip-hop and one in electronic, with both titles exportable to your console’s hard drive so one could arguably have 168 playable songs,  (half on disc, half on hard drive) on day one. Or put the game engine as a download with, say, a 20-song download voucher, and sell the controllers separately to be more budget-conscious.

Those are just ideas. I don’t have all of the facts. I’m just going off of common sense.