Marvin Gaye

I could not begin to explain how Marvin Gaye was a revolutionary artist in the funk and soul music era.  Before his release, “What’s Going On”, Marvin Gaye was known for his love songs, which shaped soul and funk music in the 60’s and 70’s. However at this point Gaye was mostly putting out singles. With, “What’s Going On”, Marvin Gaye wanted to shed light on a subject of a completely different paradigm. It would go on to be his first concept album. The majority of 60’s and early 70’s themed music was love and peace, however, race was a huge problem still in the states and the Vietnam war became a discredit to America due to what was supposed to be a time of peace. Gaye wrote the album through inspiration from his brother, Frankie Gaye, who had served in Vietnam and suffered through what common day would be called PTSD. Frankie’s story along with the help of songwriter, Obie Benson, who would later write the song, “What’s Going On”.  Found in, “What Went On”, and article “The Guardian” by Ben Edmonds, Gaye asked his brother, Frankie, what he could do to help.  Frankie told him, “Your Music”.  Marvin did just that. At first, most were against it. Motown, the record label Marvin was signed to, would not release it due to disagreements between the owner of Motown and how Marvin felt about singles vs. concept albums. But Marvin knew in his heart that “What’s Going On” would be a great success. So, while waiting for it to be released, Gaye refused to record any more songs.  To pass the time Marvin even attempted to become a professional football player for the Detroit Lions, a dream that would be short lived.  Marvin faced much controversy from Berry Gordy, as Gordy wanted Gaye to release, ”What’s Going On”, as a single, which Gaye refused.  Gaye fought through many struggles including being completely broke, which Gordy was sure would change Gaye’s mind about releasing the song, he was wrong according to Edmonds’s article.  And just as elaborate as its content, “What’s Going On” was also a masterfully produced album as well.  With doubles on the lead vocals, which was never done before on a Marvin Gaye album before “What’s Going On,” and backgrounds, the album had a fresh production style never used before on the previous albums.  Further more, Gaye could have no chosen more talented musicians, and example would be the notorious saxophone solo being recorded as just a warm up from Van Depitte.  As an aspiring professional in this industry, this album gave me a whole different out look on what an album actually means. Both beautiful and tragic, “What’s Going On” hits close to home with such impact that anyone listening can feel the emotion.

Grammys Part II

In 1959, Frank Sinatra won album of the year with his record, “Come Dance With Me”.  In 1987, U2 won the same award for their album, “the Joshua Tree.”  Both albums are classics, both albums were appropriate for their era, and yet very different in their production, genre, and theme. Frank Sinatra sang a big band style in a jazz genre, which was still the dominant style at the time.  U2 had a new age/alternative vibe, which just like the Sinatra album, was the dominate style in the late 80’s to early 90’s.  Both artists shaped the industry, as Sinatra and his use of appearances in movies and collaborative efforts with other artists and The Rat Pack.  U2 shaped the touring world with their 360 tour back in 2011.  It is still considered one of the highest grossing tours today. While there was no producer award for 1959, Dave Cavanaugh would had been a shoe in for his work producing on the Sinatra album.  For an album to win album of the year, it has to be better than everything else out at the time and take producing to the next level. So, it would only be practical for the producer of that album to win the award for producer of the year.  U2’s producer for The Joshua Tree did not win producer of the year in 1987, instead the award was given to Narada Michael Walden, Aretha Franklin’s producer.  Although they did not win U2 producers, Brian Eno & Daniel Lanois had been nominated.  Had they won, it would have only been more of a highlight to the fact that the album was in all aspects as iconic as any album to previously win album of the year. Even though they did not get the recognition that I feel like they deserve U2’s production is still a standard that is up held today.

Grammy Part 1

Heavy Metal is and always has been a underdog that often times is swept under the rug.   Despite its level of difficult melodic runs and fast paced back beats, heavy metal hasn’t always been a shoe in for the Grammy’s.   According to the, “Past Winner Search” document, metal has only had 3 actual awards given since 1958, to 2012. These awards include Hard Rock/Metal awarded to Jethro Tull in 1988, Metal Performance to Metallica in 1989, and Hard Rock/Metal Performance to Foo Fighters in 2011.  Not only are these awards vague, but two of the three were awarded to what would be more considered alternative hard rock rather than actual metal. If you take the currentin account with all the sub genres that have derived from heavy metal.  In the Late 90’s Nü metal arrived on the scene. Nü metal bands include Slipknot, Korn, In Love and Death, and many more. This genre pays tribute to bands that revolutionized sounds, waker make-up, and stage performances. Nü metal has won its Grammy’s as well, Korn being the earliest in 2002 with best metal performance for the song, “Here to Stay”. Progressive Metal, being another sub-genre out of the heavy metal roots, would bring pioneers such as Meshuggah and Dream Theater. Rush, although more rock than actual metal, was also extremely influential with progressive rock acts such as Tool.   Periphery, and the Veil of maya being some of the more recent heavy hitters, came on to the metal scene with double dropped tunings and odd-metered drums, facilitating their listeners with a texture that they have never felt before.  Many of the bands just mentioned however have not won a Grammy and Dream Theater has only more recently been nominated for one.  Who knows, in a matter of years perhaps these bands will finally get the recognition they may or may not be waiting for.

Pet Sounds

The Beach Boys’s, Pet Sounds, although the lack of serious titles, it actually a collection of musical works that brought a new element and arrangement to music that hadn’t been done before.  Unlike previous albums that captured the beach life lifestyle, surfing, and a good times with upbeat tempos and melodies, Pet Sounds was proof that Brian Wilson, becoming a more mature adult.  This might be due to the fact that Brian expected more out of Pet Sounds than any of the other Beach Boy albums. Brian Wilson wrote the arrangements and music for the album, with the help of Lyricist, Tony Asher, and influences from producer, Phil Spector, who’s musicians Brian Wilson used for the Pet Sounds album.  Brian Wilson said Phil Spector’s Christmas album, “A Christmas Gift For You” was the greatest album of all time, but his main influence for Pet Sounds came from a Beatle’s album called Rubber Soul. Ironically enough the Beatles said that the Pet Sounds album was their main influence when writing, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”.  Pet Sounds was not only innovative in the music arrangement, but also in the production style.  An example these new and innovative arrangement ideas was the song, “Sloop John B,” which was a folk song that only utilized three major chords in it. Al Jardine brought “Sloop John B” to Brian Wilson’s attention, which then trigger the following events.  Although simple, Brian Wilson had a good idea how he was going to arrange it prior to recording. This allowed Brian to plan bring in large horn sections and orchestral performance.   The production of every song was just revolutionary, “Caroline No” being a prime example. “Caroline No,” was a tribute to Wilson’s high school crush or better known as “the one that got away.” The production side was really clever. Even after the whole song was done, Brian’s father recommended speeding up the tape a half note to give it some life and Brian happy obliged. Innovative ideas like these made Pet Sounds a big deal back then and today.  I feel that the production style is very modern. Some music I listen to today still implement the same techniques. In terms of the arrangement, I feel that there isn’t anything necessarily special, but more impressed with the powerful inspirations for songs such as “Bohemian Rhapsody” and orchestral type pieces. This album bridges the gap between genres and really starts to show that you can pull from other genres as you choose.

Revolver

Before writing and releasing Revolver, the Beatles had written many records that used a very different writing process. With Paul McCartney, John Lennon, and Harrison writing songs, and then just putting them together to make a record.  Revolver on the other hand was a completely different experience for the Beatles, being more of a combined effort bringing many ideas and meaning to the table.  The influences that gave birth to Revolver was India for George, Art for McCartney, and LSD for Lennon of coarse.  While all were influences contributed to the overall sound, the musically disconnected influence was most likely the LSD. Thank you to John Lennon.  Even though LSD isn’t as thought provoking or even relevant to music like that of India or Art, you can’t deny it’s major contribution to their over all sound? “Abracadabra”, the article by Ray Newman, tells of Lennon’s experiences while using LSD and how while on the drug greatly impacted his writing. Songs such as “I’m only sleeping” where Lennon expressions show how he relates to LSD users and trance-like state the drug puts you in.  Along with it’s influences, the instruments and production style adds to the carious sound of Revolver. The Indian side of the album really comes to live with the use of instruments such as Sitars, traditional Indian flutes, and drums.  Also in the article “Abracadabra”, engineer Norman Smith is quoted talking about recording the Sitar, as the instrument resonated and was tuned so strangely that it peaked all over the place with Harrison’s playing since he was not particularly knowledgeable about the instrument, making it extremely difficult to record. An example of the Sitar playing can be heard on the song, “Norwegian Wood”, which was also written by John Lennon.  Other than the wide range of instruments, the production on Revolver was by far ahead of its time.  Songs such as, “I’m only sleeping” used backwards tape effects and manipulated vocals. “Paperback Writer,” the bass was recorded using a bass speaker as a microphone.  It was other innovative techniques like these that were used in the making of Revolver and gave it the sound of something new and different, but still similar to Rubber Souls.

Welcome

Hello, my name is Steven Ray Barns. It surely has been a trip this far at Full Sail. I can’t even begin to explain how my experience here at Full Sail has impacted me. I remember my first day sitting in Full Sail live, thinking, “Man, is it really possible?” Now, with five months till graduation and already have found such a deep passion for recording, I’m able to take all that I’ve learned here at Full Sail on a joy ride down the road of dreams. However, my dream is not accept an internship or event to work in a studio. My future will be performing. I currently play guitar in a Post-Hardcore band with EDM elements. So, I guess I could say that I find home with Metal, but my musical interest is far too broad to try to even list my favorite genres. And often use my love for all genres to really explore the different styles of guitar allowing me to develop my own music. The things I hope to take away from this class is just really to see how other musicians were able to translate their feelings into music so that I may implement this craft as well.

References

Pet Sounds:

500 Greatest Albums of All Time. (n.d.). Retrieved September 7, 2014, from http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/500-greatest-albums-of-all-time-20120531/the-beach-boys-pet-sounds-20120524

Also used was the video from the Beach Boys research Assignment.

Revolver:

Everything Was Right: The Beatles’ Revolver. (n.d.). Retrieved September 7, 2014.

Newman, R. (2006). Abracadabra. THE COMPLETE STORY OF THE BEATLES’ Revolver

Grammys Part 1:

Nu metal. (2014, September 9). Retrieved September 11, 2014, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nu_metal

(n.d.). Retrieved September 11, 2014, from http://ventsmagazine.com/dream-theaters-the-grammy-nominate-d-progressive-metal-titans-new-dvd-liv-e-at-luna-park-is-c-urrently-1-on-the-s-oundscan-music-dvd-c-hart/

Past Winners. (n.d.). Retrieved September 11, 2014.

Grammys Part II:

Sources taken from The Grammy Awards document for Music History 2 and

http://www.billboard.com/articles/photos/live/472155/u2-to-snatch-biggest-tour-ever-title-this-weekend

Marvin Gaye:

Edmonds, B. (2001, December 7). What went on. Retrieved September 15, 2014, from http://www.theguardian.com/books/2001/dec/08/extract

Marvin Gaye Biography: Life and Career of the Soul Singer. (2012, April 1). Retrieved September 15, 2014.

Kraftwerk:

Kraftwerk | Biography | AllMusic. (n.d.). Retrieved September 22, 2014, from http://www.allmusic.com/artist/kraftwerk-mn0000104714/biography

Electronic Innovations:

Parkhill (Oct 2010) Why DJ With Ableton Live: http://www.djtechtools.com/2010/10/06/why-dj-with-ableton-live/

Scarth (March 2013) Ableton Live 9 Suite: http://www.attackmagazine.com/reviews/gear-software/ableton-live-9-suite/

Spinal Tap:

This Is SPINAL TAP (album). (2014, August 29). Retrieved September 28, 2014, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/This_Is_Spinal_Tap_(album)

This Is SPINAL TAP. (n.d.). Retrieved September 28, 2014, from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088258/

This Is SPINAL TAP (Movie). (n.d.). Retrieved September 28, 2014, from http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/this_is_spinal_tap/