I’ve forgotten way more things than I remember…
I was browsing Emusic.com this evening with my monthly 50 credits to burn (about 40 cents a credit: usually a song costs 1 credit, and most albums cost 12 credits, but sometimes you can find whole albums or symphonies for only 1 credit, or just a few).
I came across Miles Davis’s classic 1959 Kind of Blue. It’s like the Stradivarius of jazz albums, often called the best jazz album of all time, one of the greatest albums of all time, where everything just came together just right for one shining recording session. Not that Miles Davis hasn’t had other shining moments. But this is jazz’s “Stairway to Heaven” without the leaden radio overkill and quick blowback degeneration into snide pop culture kitsch.
Classic jazz is not my thing, but I shrugged and figured it was worth $5.00, already spent, to have.
The first track sounded familiar. That brash two note burst over the ambling rhythm section.
I am sure I’ve heard at least a snippet of all 5 tracks before, sometime over a restaurant’s muzak or while channelsurfing hanging for a long moment on Ken Burns’ Jazz.
“So What” is Kind of Blue‘s first track. It took me more than a full minute to realize why it sounded so familiar.
5 years ago I had remixed it.
In the first half of the Oughts, I poured my creativity into composing tunes and whipping up remixes using the basic Acid program. I bought it for $30 on a lark, thinking it might help me sustain my brain power. Using it you copy and paste samples, and even with that basic program you can do subtle manipulations – cuts and pastes and shifts down to the 1/90th note, pitchshifting and micro-tonal note bending – making the samples your own. There is a huge slice of the music industry where musicians sit in studios and create riffs, beats and scales of notes that are sold in legitimately royalty-free sample packs. Sony has AcidPlanet.com as a posting and community website for its music program users. I posted 50 tunes there as Scajaquada.
AcidPlanet.com had a remix contest with Miles Davis’s “So What”. Kind of Blue had just been remixed as A New Kind of Blue. I made my own take on it, and I called it “So What – Elmwood Strut”. (Elmwood Avenue is Buffalo’s main college-kids-clashes-with-gentrifiers street) It came out kind of Esquivel. A lot of my stuff did, someone called my nascent style “Garage Lounge”.
This actually got to #1 on the Jazz genre on the AcidPlanet.com “artist” charts, for about half a day. But I was still shocked and thrilled. For a time it was my most listened to song.
And at the same time AcidPlanet had a remix contest for a Gene Simmons song, “Sweet & Dirty Love”…
I couldn’t resist spending a weekend making a mash-up – “A New Kind of Sweet & Dirty Love” – Miles Davis and Gene Simmons together again in the new millenium!