Week 4 Podcast Project

Presented By Shelby Lester

First record to receive a Grammy Award. Produced by Norman Whitfield. Cloud Nine by The Temptations: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkLq8qKpk6g

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Peer Review Week 4

I think Don Mclean was an amazing songwriting and artist. I agree, he did sing from the heart, and American Pie was a dark story of America falling from glory and losing many things that were dearest. I really enjoy this song, and I always have. I think it has many great messages we could all take away from. Love, death, and being grateful for the time that we have before we die. He touched on many topics in a way that wouldnt you put you off from it. Most artists that talk about religion, or ‘saving your mortal soul’ would make you want to change the station. But the upbeat tempo, and fun atmosphere keep you listening. If it werent for the events of James Dean, JFK and other horrible things that happened do you think Don Mclean would still be known like he is today? Do you think he would have created such a song without those topics to write about? One more thing I would like to mention, make sure you pay extra attention to your sentence structure and usage of periods and commas. 

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Atlantic Records Independent Research Blog

Atlantic Recording studios was the home base for Atlantic Records beginning in 1947 and had a steady track record of recording serious legends all the way through the 1980’s. They recorded and mastered some of the greatest musical acts of all time. New York has always been a hub for what is new and the best, and Atlantic Studios was the best of the best. It was the first recording studio to produce stereo mixes. Even legendary Wall Of Sound producer Phil Spector worked for Atlantic records in 1960 and 1961.

Atlantic Records has had a huge impact on popular music since its inception, and continues even today. From Ray Charles, to Otis Redding, they had some of the greatest soul artists. In later years they recorded and distributed records from AC/DC to The Allman Brothers.

I think the characteristics that really separated Atlantic in the early days was their strong ethics, and a true love for music. Rather than just producing pop music that would sell well, they let their artists be artists. They weren’t a controlling label, that pushed people to do what they wanted, but rather they let people explore and create on their own.

Their impact really on music is boundless. I’d take the struggles Atlantic Records went through, and apply the lessons learned to my own recording engineering career. Making sure that I’ve secured the rights to my music, and make sure I treat the companies and people I work with, honestly and professionally. Their deal with Stax Records when south when an Atlantic Records lawyer snuck in a clause that  secretly robbed them of their musical rights. Most importantly, I’d stick with the morals they had when they first started. I’m very interested in starting my own label one day, and out of the major labels still around, Atlantic at least started on the right foot. Letting musicians be themselves, and express themselves without limits or boundaries is something to take away. Atlantic Studios was the home field for the developments of countless amazing artists.


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Response Post Week 3

I agree with you 100% about the Akai MPC. It has to be one of the most influential, and innovative sequencers ever made. Not only for hip-hop, but dance music too. Producers never before had access to such great sounding drum samples, but like you said, the touch sensitive pads made producing more realistic drums easier than ever. Another cool thing was not needing a computer to run the midi, you could chop and loop samples all in the box on this machine. One of my favorite uses of this machine is when Kanye West Performed at the MTV Music Awards a few years ago. It was just him, on an all white stage with a roman styled pedestal with a MPC on top. A lot of producers performed on stage or in competitions using their MPC’s. Its an amazing piece of technology that isnt going anywhere. I also want to use and own one someday.

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The innovation of Auto-Tune

One of the most innovative, and I would now say crucial developments in electronic music has to be the invention of vocal processors. I would place a big wager saying that all dubstep, electronic and dance music pieces feature vocals that have processing applied to them. It gives them their silky smooth feeling, and when over done make the voice sound pure, and flawless like todays computerized synthesizers.

 First released in 1997 it became an instant success. The first major artist to use the new founded technology was Cher. Only recently had people started to realize the magic of her voice had been altered and processed. Today, it along with Melodyne, is a part of almost every radio released single. Auto-Tune is now the essence of any electronic music that features vocals. Sometimes subtly used, other times like in the likes of T-Pain, all the knobs are cranked to eleven, and the effects can be heard plain as day. Whether you think the tool is a crutch for singers lacking in talent or not, its wide use has made it a go to choice for every dance and electronic track. Where computers have taken control over everything and replaced acoustic drums, analogue synths and every other instrument imaginable; auto-tune has taken over the need for raw authentic vocal performances. In a way I do think it takes away the musicality. But at the same time, if we all we ever wanted was musicality in its rawest form, we’d only be listening to Beethoven. Electronic music has been about fun since its inception. Its been about using the aid from computers and synthesizers. So why not synthesize our voice? It can be fun, its pleasing to our ears, and has made many studio sessions faster and more streamlined in many cases. When I’m looking for a good time, when we want to dance, when we want to make synthesized non-organic music, Auto-Tune follows suit. 


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What they called robot pop contained exactly the right ingredients to reach mass appeal. Kraftwerk is one of the most influential electronic acts of all time. It makes sense too, seeing that one of their biggest influences was The Beach Boys. Americas most timeless and arguably most popular rock/ pop bands. Taking catchy ingredients from America, and combing it with their love for electronic music, Schneider and Hutter created Autobahn. (1974) Apparently they got the recipe right. The pop elements made the album accessible by the masses, and brought them very wide appeal not only in their home country, but in the states as well.

Their love for radio communication led to the aptly titled follow up album, Radio-Activity. This album was also recorded in their old, empty warehouse dubbed “Kling-Klang.” This would become their studio and home base; where many of their albums were recorded. The title of the album is actually sort of a pun. They were interested in radio communication technology, and also radioactivity. All the music was written by Hutter and Schneider, and entirely self produced by them as well.

In 1977 they released Trans-Europe Express. This album featured almost no human touches, and was done using custom made sequencing machines. In 1978 they released The Man Machine. This album continued where the last album left off. However it was much more complicated so instead of being recorded and mixed in King-Klang, the final mix ended up being done in Dusseldorf by a recording engineer from Detroit. Between the years of 1978 though 1981 they recorded their next album Computer World. A lot of the time was spent making the studio portable, so they could tour right after releasing the album, and bring everything with them. In 1982 they released Technopop. The band had taken up a strong interest in cycling and released a single called Tour De France which featured breathing from a cyclist and even the sounds of chains and such. A few years later they released The Mix. They wanted to perform in quartet live, so they recruited new members Fernando, and long time studio engineer Schmitz.

Two characteristics that earn them the title as one of the most influential electronic acts of all time are their use of visual aids and their incorporation of pop elements and production styles. They were some of the very first to use vocoders live on stage to produce never before heard vocal sounds. They also had many custom pieces of gear built just for them. Sequencing machines, and cheap synthesizers gave them a very unique sound.

When I first pushed play on this weeks playlist I was very surprised at what I heard. Being a German ensemble I expected the music to be much darker, with a heavy mood and atmosphere. It happened to be the exact opposite. Autobahn was fun, and really made you want to go for a Sunday drive. They really changed the face, and perception of German music.

Heineken at the 2008 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival - Day 2

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Whats Really Going On….


Before the release of the album Whats Going On Marvin Gayes music was simpler and dare I say sexier. He made love songs for short encounters. He made music that didn’t necessary push any envelopes. But times were changing, the world was changing. “I remember I was listening to a tune of mine playing on the radio, “Pretty Little Baby,” when the announcer interrupted with news about the [1965] Watts riot. My stomach got real tight and my heart started beating like crazy. I wanted to throw the radio down and burn all the…songs I’d been singing…. Why didn’t our music have anything to do with this?” (Marvin Gaye, Whats Going On Now) After his singing partner passed away Marvin Gaye went into a deep depression. I think anyone in his shoes would have. Many great albums have came from artists in their lowest stages, as was true when learning about Brian Eno and his work with David Bowie on the album Low. He always had an amazing voice, whether it was simple pop songs for the masses, or deep stories of protest and sorrow. America getting ready to enter the Vietnam War, and recent assassinations had changed what Marvin Gaye wanted to record songs about. Especially after his brother returned home from service and told him the horror stories of the war.


The main obstacles he face was his manager Gordy. He first heard the record ‘Whats Going On’ and hated it. He thought it would ruin his, and Gayes careers. After reluctantly releasing the single and watching it skyrocket on the charts, he changed his mind and told Gaye to give him an entire album full of similar stories. He had the passion and the inspiration to tell stories that pop and RnB had never heard before. He gave us an album that would never be forgotten.


The characteristics that separated this release from many that came before and after were subtle, but defining a new direction for pop and RnB. The instrumentation was a little darker, and I feel like the low end was much more prominent than other recordings. It still had all the groove and rhythm Marvin was known for, but with a lot more depth and perceived meaning.


Over the last month, this album was steadily became one of my favorites. Like a lot of music from the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s it just makes me wish I could travel back, and hear it all for the first time. The album is deep, like depth you just don’t hear anymore. Even with the Likes of Bono, I feel like Marvin Gaye just told the story better. The message was the headlines of the song, it wasn’t about glamor or glitz, it was just a story that he felt we all needed to hear. I love its production, I love the way its mixed, and I love the lyrical content.


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